Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Living in Paradise

Stone Brewery

In a wild twist to my spring break, I actually threw back a few beers yesterday when Tom and I made an impromptu visit to Stone Brewery

Now, normally I'm a wine girl, but I had a grand time getting reacquainted with the world's oldest alcoholic beverage (according to Wikipedia). We went on a super-fun tour led by the highly-entertaining Ken.

 That's Ken. He knows a lot about beer.

On the tour, we got a brief overview of how beer is made and learned all about Stone's focus on sustainability and all-natural approach. Their mascot, the stone gargoyle, is charged with warding off "modern day evil spirits such as chemical preservatives, additives & adjuncts." In addition to using natural products, Stone meets 50% of its energy needs through the solar panels on the roof of the brewery and all of the food served in the onsite bistro is organic and locally grown. 

During the tour, Ken frequently touted the joys of home brewing. Now, I bought Tom a Mr. Beer home brew kit for his birthday in December and he has been having fun experimenting with different recipes, so we were nodding knowingly as Ken explained how easy it is to make an excellent beer at home. That is, until Ken said, "If anyone offers you a bad home brew, you can be sure he made it with a Mr. Beer. A Mr. Beer kit is a toy, a novelty's like trying to cook a gourmet meal with an EasyBake oven."  Ouch, Ken.

High fructose corn syrup, consider yourself warned.

After the tour, we enjoyed a complimentary tasting of four of Stone's most popular brews, including the unexpectedly popular Arrogant Bastard.

Just as Ken had warned us it would, the beers stimulated our appetites, so we were stoked to learn that Stone participates in the great San Diego tradition of Taco Tuesdays. A few avocado and calamari tacos later we were on our way home, now deeply ashamed of the Mr. Beer kit hanging out in our kitchen but happy to have discovered a new, fun place to take visitors once the zoo has lost its luster.


You can purchase this and other "commemorative health reform t-shirts" here.  Awesome.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reason #767 Why I Love Southern California

The beach is a lovely place to be in March... Today I took Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy to the beach in celebration of another blissful week of spring break.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What's in a Name?

This is Mia. She lives next door. I want to steal her. And rename her. I believe that the line between people names and pet names is becoming dangerously unclear. That is all.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Three Sisters Waterfall


It was a lovely, picturesque, and thoroughly ass-kicking hike. Curling up on the sofa now and looking forward to an early bed and another whole week of vacation!

5th Avenue, Hillcrest

Going to try to be better about posting a picture every day... It may of course be the optimism of spring break, but that's the goal for now. Even though I haven't posted them here every day, I have taken a picture every day since my birthday. This would be number 108 out of 365.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eat, Sleep, Read

In addition to all the baking, I've also been wildin' out at the used book store. Before you know it, I'll be antiquing.

I could spend hours poking around Bluestocking Books. Luckily my partner in crime is patient...

I came away with this classic, one of the many books that, as an English teacher, I am ashamed to admit I have never read.

I love this poster. They had it for sale there; I am tempted to go back for it. I could hang it in the classroom until I get my home library...the one with the floor to ceiling bookshelves and rolling ladders.

This Girl's Gone Wild

Spring Break. This used to call to mind tequila shots, day drinking, and general debauchery... Thanks to this teaching gig, I still get a spring break. Only now, instead of getting baked or baking in the sun, I am literally baking... It is only week one of this glorious two week respite and I have already baked a loaf of whole wheat bread from my favorite new cookbook, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day ...

plus two batches of these delicious carrot cake cookies (with the aforementioned Cosmic Carrots).

One batch went to my sister and her carrot-cake-loving special friend/new roommate, with the exception of two cookies that became a birthday whoopie pie/cake for my other, no-longer teen-aged sister. The other batch went to our lovely neighbors Bud and Fern (no joke) who generously donated a cooler when our fridge gave up the ghost over the weekend...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cosmic Carrots

Sounds like something the Jetson's would have added to their salads, but apparently, orange carrots only became popular in the 17th centuray, and before that it was all about the Cosmic carrot and its purple-y goodness.

These lovely purple-on-the-outside, orange-on-the-inside, yellow-in-the-middle carrots arrived in this week's CSA box, and I have (very unhealthfully) turned them into two batches of delicious carrot cake cookies.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Walking the Watershed

In an attempt to take advantage of Disney's Give a Day, Get a Day program and work toward accomplishing #9 on the list (volunteer for a charity I care about), Tom and I headed to Monroe Middle School in City Heights on Saturday for a community event put on by San Diego Coastkeepers and Outside the Lens

Coastkeepers is a group dedicated to protecting the beaches, bays, rivers, and watersheds around the county; they provided trash bags and set up education stations along the half mile length of Swan Canyon. Outside the Lens is "a youth media literacy program dedicated to celebrating the vision and voices of children around the world and across cultures." Outside the Lens also happens to be working on a three-year project called Water in Focus, "a global photography project that calls youth to action as they document the use, waste, conservation, and pollution of our most precious resource through words and images."  

Outside the Lens seemed like a really cool organization, plus.. Kids? Cameras? Around the world and across cultures? Conservation and pollution? Words and images? Sign me up! So sign me (and Tom) up I did. We showed up Saturday morning, trudged down into the canyon, and helped to set up OTL's education station where we, along with four other volunteers, were to encourage people to sign a petition in support of the Water for the World Act and try to get people psyched up for the photographic scavenger hunt that OTL had created.

Now apparently the photographer who was supposed to cover the event didn't show up, so after my very supportive husband grossly oversold my photography skills, I found myself reassigned.Tom and I spent the next hour or so walking around the canyon taking pictures of all of the kids and families who had dedicated their Saturday to restoring the canyon. 

 learning about seed balls

 over 275 pounds of garbage removed from the canyon!

planting native species 

pledging to conserve

After a couple of hours of cleaning and learning about the canyon, participants marched out of the canyon to Hamilton Elementary for a closing celebration complete with performances by the teen dance troupe Transcendance, a skit about the dangers of plastic bags featuring the evil villain, Bag Monster, and a delicious array of tamales.

Bag Monster

handing out tamales

All in all, it was a great Saturday morning, made even better by a stray puppy found wandering the streets around the school.

If not for Tom's frequent reminders of our landlord's no pets policy, I would have scooped this guy up and taken him home.