Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

Halloween Costume

Last year when my dog had her ACL surgery and wore a cone of shame for two weeks, I thought to myself, “That would make a fantastic Halloween costume.” So I stored it away in the closet and hoped I’d remember when October rolled around.

A few days before a Halloween party on Friday, I remembered. I dressed in all black to look like my dog and put on the cone of shame.



It was a great hit! People couldn’t stop laughing at me trying to eat and drink. It was pretty difficult. I feel bad for my dog having to deal with this for as long as she did. I barely survived a couple hours.



The old standby

My dinners become fairly predictable. I like to roast veggies in salt and olive oil, sauté spinach in olive oil and garlic, and make caprese salad. Here are two variations on a theme from the last two nights.



Slightly different ingredients last night. Can you tell?


Roasted veggies and caprese salad

Another evening with caprese salad, this time both the basil and tomato were from my garden. Add a little zucchini and a sweet potato.


The caprese salad was drizzled with olive oil and vanilla-fig balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with a little hawaiian sea salt. The other half of the plate was zucchini and sweet potato, tossed in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt then baked in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes, flipping at the 10 minute mark. 


Full Circle

This morning, I walked the dog and fed the pets like always. Then, I called the hospital in New Hampshire, where my mom is staying after her hip replacement, to order flowers to be sent to her room. I know she said no flowers, but I think it is fun to send them anyways. Hospital rooms need some decorations, guests need cheering up, and it is the least I can do since I can’t be there.

The woman at the gift shop who took my information was having a hard time hearing because of all the background noise. I should have made her repeat the full credit card number since after she repeated the first four digits, one of them was wrong. But I didn’t. I should trust my instincts.

I showered and headed to my eye doctor appointment. The office is located in San Jose, and I’ve been enough times that I didn’t ask Siri how to get there. I got lucky and didn’t hit traffic on 280. At the doctor’s office, between the assistant asking me all the good questions about my drinking (yes), smoking (no), and family history (I don’t remember), I was alone in the room for a few minutes when my phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize from Vermont.

I answered. I hate those people who do that while in a doctor’s office, but the doctor wasn’t in the room yet. As soon as I started talking, the doctor walked in. Sure enough, the woman at the gift shop had gotten the credit card number wrong. I told her the correct number, hung up, and profusely apologized to the doctor. He said he knows I’m not the kind of person who does that normally, so he figured it was something. I was just trying to be a good daughter.

The doctor went to put drops in my eyes. We had the normal conversation about not dilating my eyes. The last time I had that done was years ago and I came very close to passing out. Sounds got really far away, I had tunnel vision, and I had to lay on the floor with my feet in the air for half an hour. He says that some people have that reaction to it and that they are always good about mentioning it. But these drops were numbing drops so they could touch my eye. I hated the feeling, but I didn’t pass out. 

I got to work in time to watch some live blogs about something. Afterwards, there was cake and champagne before lunch. I failed at my diet today. When I start the day with cake and champagne, all bets are off. So being Tuesday, I went for a (veggie) burger with the boys at the normal Tuesday lunch haunt. I do miss hanging with them, but my wallet, my diet, and my liver keep it from being a regular thing. But I was already down the path of no return today, so I might as well enjoy it.

In the afternoon, in an effort to counterbalance earlier mischievousness, I had a half-caf, non-fat, extra ice, iced latte. Just enough caffeine that I suddenly felt ridiculously productive and even figured out the solution to a coding problem I’d been staring at on and off for days. Next thing I knew, it was after 6 pm and I was already late to dinner.

Dog walked, and pets fed again, I headed to dinner in San Jose. I let Siri tell me how to get there and she directed me away from the highway traffic and over surface roads instead. After parking the car, I rang the door bell, but no one answered, so I walked into the house. I figured the hosts are the kind of people who would find this acceptable. They hadn’t heard the doorbell because everyone was hanging out in the backyard enjoying the lovely evening. I was greeted by the most gigantic, gentlest dog I’ve ever met. He decided I was allowed to enter and let me through.

I was asked often how I know the hosts. The answer is always that we met through Mountain Man from Colorado (we are wondering when Mountain Man will be in town next). He’s a common friend in another state, but no, I have never lived in Colorado, I live here. The hosts are known for picking up strays like myself, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.

At one point, the men separated from the women, and as seems to be a common theme this week, the conversation turned to breasts. Not mine this time, but another woman who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. So I remind you again, if you are a woman you should get mammograms, and if you are a guy, make sure the women in your life get their mammograms.

Mastectomies, breast replacements, enlargements, and reductions eventually faded away, but somehow dinner conversation evolved into talking about vasectomies and manscaping. It wasn’t me, I swear, since I have no personal knowledge of these things.

Our table of fantastic foods and desserts attracted three female bees, one of which took a nose dive into my wine. She was rescued, but I was on to tea by then anyways, so it wasn’t a problem. I was watching the bees, and one kept falling over as it walked. I asked, “Is it the drunk one that keeps tipping over?” just as one of the women’s chair legs sunk into soft ground and she spilled out of it. “I meant the bee! The bee!” The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and the table erupted in laughter.

Before leaving, I did my best to get Murphy to sit still for a selfie. He’s about as good at getting his photo taken as Perl is. This is the best I got.



That is not a camera trick. I do not have a tiny head. That really is Murphy’s head. He is enormous!

After tea and dessert, I headed home. I could have found my way, but I like to listen to Siri, since she is usually the only guest I have in my car. She took me past the house, down a different road than the one I’d come in on. We turned a corner and suddenly I recognized the street.

I passed my eye doctor’s office and the day had come full circle.


Some popping corn (skip the microwave), a bit of Greek olive oil with a nice grassy taste, and some Hawaiian sea salt.


Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a pan. Wait until it is good and warm. Dump in the popcorn and cover. Shake it once in a while to keep from burning. Listen for the popping to stop.


Sprinkle with the sea salt and eat while watching an episode of Burn Notice.

Grilled veggie wrap

Tonight’s dinner. Start with whatever veggies you have on hand. In this case, the rest of an onion, a pepper and eggplant (also known as aubergine—I’ve learned to love them) from my garden, and tomatoes from a coworker’s garden since mine aren’t quite ripe yet. You will also need a whole wheat burrito wrap, some hot sauce, and I suggest taco seasoning from Spice Hound.


Chop them all up and toss them in some olive oil over medium high heat until they brown. I’m still scared of hot oil, but I’m learning to deal with it. Start with the onion, add the eggplant, then the pepper towards the end. This is also good with tofu, zucchini and squash. Some people, not me, might like mushrooms.


Once browned, sprinkle the taco seasoning. While this is happening, if you have a glass cooktop, place a piece of tin foil over a burner, turn it on really low, and put the burrito wrap on it to warm it up.

Assemble the burrito wrap with the chopped tomatoes and hot sauce. You can also add shredded cheese, but I’m trying to keep the calories down.



Enjoy while watching an episode of Breaking Bad.

Dirty things

Seen at the Art and Wine Festival yesterday.


Self-Supporting Garden

Seems my tomatoes needed support and got it from the cucumber plant. Plants supporting plants.


Hair Porn

Wilson darkened the fire red. Good thing I wasn’t too attached to it turning pink.



Homemade Dinner

Surprisingly, Chef showed up out of nowhere tonight and managed to create dinner out of what was in my fridge and growing on my deck.  This is what Chef created.

Chef started with homemade pesto with the overgrown basil on my deck.


  • 3 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Following the instructions, Chef made too much pesto, but I have a lot of basil. I’ll have to freeze some of this.



Chef realized we were hungry, so made a few appetizers. Chef started with a cucumber from my garden, and some Hawaiian Sea Salt.




Then Chef made some Caprese Salad. Chef was going to use the tomato from my garden, but it isn’t quite ripe yet, so we used one from a coworker’s garden.



Tomato with a slice of mozzarella, and a leaf of basil, sprinkle a little salt, and drizzle olive oil and some Vanilla-Fig Balsamic Vinegar on top. Yum!




Dinner was then served. Farfalle pasta with pesto, spinach sautéed with garlic in olive oil, and a yellow squash tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and freshly ground pepper then oven roasted.


Just for fun, a little bit of vanilla ice cream with a raspberry-chocholate sauce.



Thanks to Former Student (who I swear has a name, but I can’t remember now—I might need some new names around here) for suffering through another creative dinner night.