Sunday, May 29, 2011

May Days and Birthdays and Sunny Days

As the summer months approach, it's time to reflect on the doings and goings-on of another season passed.

When we left off in March, Pearl was just about to head to Ohio to give her first conference paper at the British Women Writers Conference. Though it was a little daunting at first, she had a great experience delivering her first paper. Everyone was very supportive, and she answered the questions asked of her with articulate ease. More importantly, the conference gave her the confidence boost she needed in preparation for her Orals exam, more about which anon.

Upon her return, we joined Stu and Mags on a hike around the Albany Bulb, a former landfill that juts into the Bay and which is now covered in volunteer art and graffiti.

The next evening we joined a group of friends to celebrate Sascha's birthday at Cafe Tibet, where we had tasty vegetarian food in the company of great friends. We had been hearing raves about the restaurant since we first moved to Berkeley and we were glad to finally have an excuse to go.

That weekend found us at the Green Festival which, due to reasons of economy, was noticeably toned down from prior years. Highlights from the festival included the Nada Chair (, Pearl's Global Exchange hippie pants (not only are the pants environmentally-sustainably made, they were a steal for $15!), and, of course, the amazing food which was the best part of the festival: vegan corn dogs, knishes, and felafels!

The next week and a half were quiet (Chris marked his 6-year anniversary at work), until mid-April when Pearl took her oral exam...and passed with flying colors!!! After the test she said she felt as if 8 years of weight (marked from the start of her Masters program), was lifted from her shoulders. That night, to celebrate, we went down to Oakland to watch the Red Sox take on the A's. The Red Sox lost, leaving them 1-4 in the five years we've seen them here. While it was a bummer, the actual experience was still fun, especially as The Coliseum has the best vegan hot dogs we've ever tasted.

Around this time, Pearl participated in her second conference and gave a paper with Jasmine on essay writing and sequencing - Jasmine and Pearl co-created a syllabus on which the conference paper was based. The support from Davis professors & graduate students were overwhelmingly kind, and it was nice to partake in a composition conference, which differs greatly from English conferences.

On May Day, we took a walking tour/class called Wildflowers Of Skyline Serpentine Prairie, up in the Oakland hills, where we learned about the different native wildflowers in the Bay Area. We also learned that bees like the colors pink, purple, blue and white and cannot see red - good thing we planted lots of purple and white flowers in our yard! It was a great class (and free!), and we can't wait to take more free classes with the East Bay Parks.

A few days later we were in Massachusetts, visiting Chris' family for Mother's Day. It was great to see everyone and to have four generations together to celebrate.

On our return, we got to see one of the final performances of The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh at UC Berkeley, which was funny and shocking and very well acted.

The following week brought us two of the greatest days of the year: our birthdays! For Chris' birthday (which coincided with World Naked Gardening Day), we spent all day in the garden...clothed, it was cold :(. With Lisa's help we got a bunch of the bolted veggies out of the ground and a lot of new ones in. We planted cucumbers, melons, beans, hot peppers, carrots, beets, kale, and lots more tomatoes to go with the celery, chard, spinach and lettuce we planted earlier. We're not sure what will survive (our peppers didn't last year), and what won't get eaten by the neighborhood critters (as our cukes did last year), but we'll post pictures to show the progress.

In between the birthdays, our friend Diana paid another visit and we got to meet some of her lovely friends over salads and beers at Jupiter Cafe.

For Pearl's birthday, her sisters came out west and the three of them, with family friend Jose, went to Sacramento to watch Glee perform live. The sisters' visit was so much fun. We tried a number of different restaurants in San Francisco (Thirsty Bear for Spanish tapas, and Hogs and Rocks for jamon and oysters) and took the group to Martuni's, a piano bar where participants can sing along with the piano player. We also checked out the Vacaville Outlets -- it wouldn't be a Filipino reunion without outlets shopping, and we even found time to work out together (walks, pilates, yoga).

On Sunday night, we threw a party to introduce them to some of our friends, and thanks to performances from Jose (pilates class, singing), Mags (hula hooping, crumping), Stu (hula hooping), and Pearl (wind flute), it can safely be said that a good time was had by all.

A few days later, Pearl gave another conference paper at UCD where she was able to share the start of her dissertation project to an audience. This was her third conference - she's becoming a pro!

And that just about brings us up to date. Oh, wait! I left out the part about Pearl being one of the models in Sascha's video for his acupuncture practice (appointments still available, operators are standing by). And training for the 5K. And signing up for the EB Parks Trail Challenge. And how Chris grew his first beard (he's so grown up now)...then shaved it down to a mustache in a tribute to Steve Prefontaine (it helps with the running). And how we've started sprouting beans for salads again. And the komboucha. And...