Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catching Up

We finally made it to the Pride Parade after 6 years here in the Bay! We always seem to be out of town for Pride weekend, but this year's celebration at the Civic Center was so much fun, and made the sardine-like BART ride into the city worth every squished minute. We sat close to center stage, listening to the speeches and performances while we people watched and got some sun. The celebration was a rainbow of costumes, outfits and naked bodies of every color. The best part of the afternoon was when the guy next to us came back from getting some food and excitedly screamed to his friends: "We just saw furries!"

Later that evening, we walked to Cellspace with Blair & Sascha to watch MUCH ADO ABOUT LEBOWSKI, The Big Lebowski as writ by William Shakespeare: "an adaptation of an adaptation of a parody of a farce." The cast, the crew and the crowd all drank caucasians throughout the evening and a good time was had by all. The cast spoke a cross between Elizabethan English and The Dude's uniquely stylized L.A. English with ease, and the chorus of three men singing 70s music to accompany the action was classic. Highly recommended.

Our friend Jim recently returned to the Bay Area after a nation-wide tour with his band, The Love Dimension (, and we were able to catch two of his shows last month. We were excited to finally check out both venues (Cafe Du Nord and The Starry Plough, must-see venues in SF and Berkeley, respectively), and to get to see Jim perform again.

Leah's close friends, Rain and Bebe, were in SF touring with their group The Paper Doll Militia (, as they presented their latest show THE TWISTED TALE. The show incorporates aerial apparatus, live music, shadow puppetry, slide projection, and narrative poetry, and was super impressive with dazzling flying sequences and creative costumes and characters. They are currently in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival - check them out if you're nearby!

We celebrated the 4th of July with a grand barbeque in our backyard that included lots of white sangria, hula-hooping, juggling while hula-hooping, laughing while falling while juggling while hula-hooping, and lots of food, fun and general silliness...all capped off with a few rounds of Celebrity (of course)!

As we've noted previously, this summer we joined the East Bay Park Trails Challenge, which means that we have 26.2 miles to hike by the end of the year. To put some miles on our log, we went on a 4.1-mile hike in Pinole with Blair and Kristin. It was a beautiful hike right by the bay. The trailhead is across the water from the Richmond shooting range, so we set off to the sound of discs flying and guns popping. The best part of the hike was the flora (blackberries!), and fauna: we saw a number of beautiful egrets and cool lizards running about, and and even got to see the cutest baby fox with its momma while picnicking by a lake reserve.

Out first round of pickles was mostly a success, with some recipes working better than others (the one with dry mustard, turmeric and celery seed, with a 3-to-1 water/vinegar ratio has been our favorite so far). The cucumbers in our garden are looking amazing, and we can't wait to start pickling the home-grown cukes. First, though, we have to get through the 5 jars of pickles we have left in the fridge.

And our kombucha has been going really well, too! We split the last batch in two and infused half with lavender (from our CSA), and half with mint. Both turned out amazing, especially the lavender which had a really strong flavor.

All in all, it's been a fun month. And August, with it's scheduled trips to Oregon, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Florida, should prove to have more than a few blogable moments. Until then...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Further Experiments Involving Jars

Earlier today we did our test pickling experiment using store-bought cucumbers. We tried five different recipes, using ingredients such as: dill, mustard powder, mustard seeds, garlic, peppercorns, whole chili peppers, celery seeds, turmeric, and coriander.

These pickles should be ready in a few weeks, at which point the six varieties of cucumber plants in the garden should start producing fruit, and we can start all over again.

We'll let you know which recipes we like best next month.