Tuesday, June 28, 2011


      A mid-afternoon thunderstorm is rolling in again, just like yesterday.  I love it..I'm sitting by the bay window in my house and with each rumble it kinda shakes the window and reverberates.  I like the feeling that something outside is happening (besides lots of people popsicles melting in the mid 90F heat).

      I've been back to Cup A Joe in pursuit of more beautiful cup&saucer lattes..gotta love that foam.

Cup A Joe (Hillsborough St, Raleigh) latte
 I went to Cup A on Friday night with Amelia and Rachel before we went to see a movie outside at the NC Museum of Art, part of their Movies on the Lawn series.  They were showing Morning Glories, which we all liked..it had Rachel McAdams (who I saw in the Phoenix airport), Diane Keaton (she's still at it!), and Harrison Ford (him too!).  And because I hadn't had enough of the whole viewing-a-movie-outside-on-a-huge-screen Dad and I went back the next night to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1.  Part 2 comes out in a few weeks, will prob be the first movie I go to see in College Station w/ my new oceanography dept. pals!
Still reading Wild Sheep Chase
 I got to see my bff Stephen at Carrburritos last night before he went to a show @ the Cats Cradle.  I had the sweet potato burrito b/c A) its awesome and B). because when I was in California Allison told me I had to have one there in her honor before I left NC.   It was super good--and I really enjoyed their salsa verde and salsa fruta.  Hadn't been here in months.
Carrburritos papas burrito w/ their awesome flour chips

Grapefruit mexican soda, delish
      Sooo good to see Stephen (terrible to have to say goodbye again though!) and catch up a bit!!  But that's not all that was great about last night!  I just found out a few days ago that my friend Alex, who I started Yoga Club w/ and grooved to Enya w/ at UNCW, is working in Pittsboro this summer at a summer camp for kids w/ autism.  And he told me he had a surprise..and it turned out that my loooooong time childhood friend, Kendal, works there too--woah woah!  I was stoked to see her b/c we hadn't seen much of eachother at all since high school.  We met at church when we were tiny and were great friends all through high school.  She was my inspiration for joining the high school cross country team, which was the greatest thing eva.

Alex, me, and Kendal @ carrburritos
We had great food @ carrburritos then went to Open Eye cafe for coffee and more talk talk talk. :D 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams Thursday

  I lounged around at Crema this morning, drinking a latte, having a snack, and reading..just a lovely time..
Brought the chocolate chunk banana bread!  And a banana for good measure.  What's that sandwiched in between the banana bread??  No, not peanut butter.  Not a nut butter.  No sunflower seeds either..

It's Biscoff Spread!! Its a spread made out of cookies! What could be better.  It's very popular in parts of Europe apparently.  I'd never really heard of it or tried it; love it.

 I got it at whole foods and have tried it on apples also and it was great, like a caramel apple from the fair.  Except better.  It doesn't have any hydrogenated oils either (b/c Europeans are smart like that).

I made it to The Galaxy this afternoon for a matinee showing of Werner Herzog's latest film, a documentary called Cave of Forgotten Dreams.  Check out the trailer (below)..it is about the discovery of the Chauvet Caves in southern France that contain the oldest paintings ever found b/c the art was uniquely preserved when the cave system was sealed off by rocks.  We're talking old:  Homo sapiens were in here painting perhaps as early as 40,000 B.C.  Craaazy stuff!  There were tons and tons of animals..panthers, mammoths, lions, horses, bison...and neanderthals were still around too!!  It was really moving--I cried towards the end when the footage was scrolling over the walls slowly with choir music in the background and there was a bison that was looking out of the wall (instead of just being a profile flat against the rock face) and it was just such a piercing, intense gaze I couldn't help myself.

And  I finished after the quake (a short story collection) today..you know its a good story when you get shivers at the end.  Murakami can definitely write short stories.  Maybe he was even originally a short story writer.  It is cool to notice common themes, recurring dialogue and word choice in his 3 works I've read now.  I am loving him more and more!  Ready to start getting into A Wild Sheep Chase now..I have 1 week until I have to return it b/c I'm moving to TX!  Yikes
Self portrait @ Crema Coffee

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lazy and lively

Today the air quality was much improved here in Cary!! So glad. The relatively small wildfire in eastern NC yesterday really gave me some insight into the grossness and inconvenience of wildfires (and air pollution!) that are affecting many areas of the world.  It's terrible to want to go outside but realizing that its unsafe for you to be breathing out there so you'd better rethink that completely natural thought...I walked to the YMCA (so nice to have that close by! and have visitors passes!)to go to spin and yoga class yesterday evening and felt lightheaded and a bit of lung pain when I started cycling..could have been psychological but maybe not?..

After lazing about all day rolling coins to take to the bank, reading newspapers, blogs, etc.. I finally headed out for a run to the park and then to yoga class in an actual yoga studio in Raleigh that my good friends Boo and daughter Emily like to go.  They had invited me to class with them and I'm so happy I went..everyone was at an experienced level so we practiced handstands, headstands, back bends, etc etc!  Got very acrobatic and it was lots of fun!  We were focusing on Anusara principles open-mindedness, inner body bright, and inner spiral.  It was lovely. 
Practicing falling over

into a full wheel

     Did I mention that one of the guys in yoga class tonight had a real tattoo of the Deathly Hallows symbol? Ya!  It looked pretty badass actually, so if you weren't a harry potter fanatic you might just think it was a nice tribal symbol or something.  

      After class I went to Trader Joes for a few things and got several.  Of course!  They have so many mango things at TJs I was thrilled as it was what I was cravin'.  They even had Mango Lassi! I think its new..It was right next to their kefir, as it is billed as "Indian style probiotic beverage"  Love Love.. The cashier and I had a heart 2 heart about mango since she noticed all my mango selections.  She told me a pretty lengthy story actually and I admit I had a hard time following b/c she was talking quite fast. 
Mango to the max!!!!
 I also got some delish Mochi ice cream since I had heard about it being at TJs on the web.  I just started liking mochi aka glutinous sweet rice goodness recently, as they had it on the fro yo bars out in California.
Natural purchase as Mochi is a new fav food of mine

Strawberry mochi icecream w/ green tea ice cream YUM
Mango lassi w/ more mango

     One of my goals for this last week of summer relaxation was to brush up on my world geography.  With a few quick searches I found several great Apps on the iPad and covered the whole world in about an hour in one App called TapQuiz World Map and plan on playing other ones tomorrow.  I really like knowing where countries are!  It just feels good, ya know, esp. when you listen to the news and hear about things happening places to at least know where the country is in relation to others.  While I was walking around the grocery store and waiting at traffic lights, I found myself naming countries on mental maps..can't wait to play more tomorrow!!  Angry Birds just doesn't compare..hah
Supa sweet geography quiz App

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Smoky start to summer

Happy longest day of the year!  Would be outside but there's some wildfires in eastern NC and totally making it all smoky out!!  I knew in just one inhale that something was up when I stepped out on the porch this morning.  I didn't look into it for several hours, preferring instead to finish watching Like Water for Chocolate and then a documentary on the making of Steinway pianos (random, but they had come into discussion over the weekend and it happened to be on my Netflix reccomendaysh list) that turned out to be quite good.  
Anyhow, with the smoke and high ozone levels making today a pretty terrible air quality day all-around, I'm not even hanging out on the screened-in porch any longer and I def cancelled my long run at noon thirty.

Normally I'm a bit sad on the first day of Summer..odd, but I like looking forward to longer and longer days and knowing that the days will be getting (ever so slightly) shorter each day is just a bit depressing.  BUT this year is quite different for me:  In Alaska, where I'll be doing field work during the month of August, my day length will be between 24 and 20 hours long (depending on where I am in the state).  Crazy right?!
Welcome, summer season!     

Readin Murakami short stories at Caribou
The Google illustration today for First day of Summer is by contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, no relation to Haruki Murakami I think.  I'm enjoying the short stories in after the quake.. nice change of pace
Chocolate chunk-coconut butter-1 banana bread! this a.m.
Mmmm best banana bread I've ever baked!  (Not an impressive feat b/c I've only made it once I think hahh)  The moistness is just right on the inside and crisp on the outside..and the flavors are rich and complementary.  This loaf is studded with semi sweet bakers chocolate on the interior and Endangered Species organic milk chocolate on top..Mmmm 

I was in the mood for some of my recently purchased green tea ice cream after a simple japanese lunch of chilled kamut udon noodles and tofu with red miso soup.  The SO Delicious brand Green tea coconut ice cream is super good.  The matcha flavor is not shy and it goes really well with the coconut milk.  The flavors actually do a magical yin yang balancing act on your tongue.  Highly recommend
Crazy good green tea ice cream (Pictured with green tea Itself)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

 Happy Father's Day, Don Sparrow!!!!  That's my father.  (The unsuspecting one with the salad!) Cutie
 The other fellow is a house sparrow who definitely saw me taking his picture and promptly flew off.

Pop and I got to do everything today together: have toast on the screened-in porch, take our bicycles out for a ride, get mocha lattes at Cup a Joe (Home of the King Mocha) and catch a flick: Jane Eyre (w/ Mia Wasikowska as Jane) which was playing at The Galaxy.  It was a tortuous love story to be sure, with a fantastic heroine.  My dad and mom have both read the story of course, but I didn't know it at all.  I'm really amazed at the posture, mannerisms, and demeanor with which 21st century actresses like Mia and Keira Knightley (playing Lizzy in Pride & Prejudice) can dynamically play these early 19th C. women. 

Yesterday for lunch our family intended to go out for African food at a cool place we recently discovered and loved but Oh! we had to discover they are Closed on Saturdays..would have been much to our dismay had there not been an Indian restaurant right nextdoor.  And not just simply Indian, but South Indian Vegetarian buffet!  Woah mama.  Largest selection I've ever seen.  No naan, here folks!  But its heavenly tandoori ovenlicious bread void was filled with several South Indian jewels: Dosa, Tali, Appam, Pappadum, and Chapati.  Man and there were a dozen fantastic dishes with chickpeas, spinach, paneer, a yellow dal, and some great chutneys, even a Coconut chutney!! and lots of desserts including a salty yogurt rice pudding and mango "moose" haaha.  Great great great!  We all loved it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Good reads and ice cream purchases

 Ah Murakami, you amaze me.  I can't go a day without reading you! I returned Sputnik Sweetheart and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and checked out after the quake and Wild Sheep Chase so I'm probably set for the rest of the month.  His work is, as one reviewer put it well, "dreamlike and compelling."  It's totally Japanese culture meets West meets Surreal.  Stephen recommended him to me and I'm so glad.
 Oh man! What's that I'm holding?  Something I won on kittee's blog months ago and hadn't redeemed!  It's Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss.  They're a real cool company.  Started from their kitchen, all that jazz.  I hadn't decided what flavor pint I'd like to have first..but realized that the end of June is coming up too fast and I had better decide whilst I'm near a Whole Foods!
Yaaaa! I chose the one with the best name..and its descripsh is "Exhilarating mint with dark chocolate flakes."
Gorgeous and frosty..oh and it's delicious too!

Goddess of yogurt
 Also in my whole foods haul today I got Liberte yogurt, it's unparalleled in the yogurt world as far as I've tasted..again, thanks to Stephen for encouraging me to get it.  They either just got it (in only 3 flavors) at WF or else they were always on the tip top shelf and I didn't see them the past few weeks (and of course I have trouble believing that!)
My stand-by fav
 Whole Soy & Co. makes some goood yogurt though.  It's definitely not like anything else or any other soy yogurt out there.  Very thick, tangy.  I had it often when I was babysitting for Jackson and now it makes me think of him!  I get a big container of it.

 And what's that lurking beside the sour cherries??  OOooh more ice cream.  Once I was in the ice cream aisle I just had to purchase another thing that grabbed my attention.  Will go perfect with some som tam.

In other news (moving on from the refrigerated and freezer sections of life)..I went to see Woody Allen's new movie, Midnight in Paris and I really liked it!  It had a ton of Paris in it!  Really really made a tribute to the city itself, and I think that having visited Paris myself and getting to recognize and recall the streets and sights like old friends was a large part of my enjoyment of this film.  Great theme though, too..about current generations always believing that the Golden Age is behind them.  Def recommend.

My brother is playing with the NC symphony in their lawn concert of Paul McCartney music later today so my fam and I are having a picnic out on the lawn.  I hope you're having yourself a lovely weekend as well and starting it off right..I am with some delish french press from Crema.  MMmmm

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green tea bubble tea and choice asian produce
 Grand Asia Market today!!  Rachel went with me and we had a grand time.  In produce I got a honey tangerine, a small jicama, and a small green papaya.  I plan on making som tam tomorrow of course!!
Fresh red bean bun and some choice sweets.
 I also got a hot n fresh red bean bun, some mochi candy, pocky, and some chocolate biscuits.  Supa fun!!  I'm gonna take the chocolate pocky to my fav barista because she's a fan.
At my (old) residence..that's the ocean in the background!! gawsh

I am missing wrightsville beach, just my life/friends there really, not the whole rush rush student thing.  duh.  Ah well..I'm off to watch Lost in Translation now..I watched Insomnia a couple nights ago just for the whole Alaska during eternal daytime feel of it all and last night I happened to watch My Best Friends Wedding (I can watch anything with Julia Roberts in it for some reason..) which leaves me with the moral, "Perhaps the love of your life will not have feelings with you and will marry someone else, but at least your best friend will surprise you by coming to the wedding reception and dance with you and you will be happy." Also JR insinuates that College Station, TX is a drab place to live :/  too bad I'm moving there in 16 days, and am pretty set on looking forward to it!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recalling a great hike in CA

Stoked to head out for a nice long run around Cary
Ah, summer vacation.  It is so so nice to wake up early and have a whole day to do whatever you like.  I woke up and had a bowl of cereal and then went off to Crema Coffee to chill and have an espresso and read my Murakami novel (Sputnik Sweetheart!) for a couple hours.  At 11 I got ready to go for a long run..I keep doing that! running in the middle of the day, not the best I know, but I suppose I'm getting used to running in 90 degrees..putting on plenty of sunblock that's for sure.  Anyhow, I came back from my fav 9 mile loop and then went out to get some lunch with my nextdoor neighbors, Amelia and Sarah.  After eating up a delish plain bagel w/ plain cream cheese (plain sort of mood!) we left Bruegger's, home of the best bagels in town, and went and chilled with some cool beverages at Crema.  I was in the mood for an ibc root beer, so that's what I got. Sarah and Rachel just got back from Bonnaroo, a dusty crazy time to be sure!  I would have loved to see Beirut and Arcade Fire.  Speaking of being outdoors for hours on end..but in a very different setting...
Bear Canyon Trail in the Cleveland Nat'l Forest
 Allison and I went on a great hike 2 weeks ago while she and I were visiting Shira in San Clemente.  Shira was at work, so the 2 of us drove east out to Riverside Co. to the this trail we had heard about, up to Sitton Peak.  It was 10 am and we were pretty excited.

 Great trails and we only saw 3 other souls in the whole 11 miles!  There was one girl hiking and one guy..he wrote in the log book at the top, "Sure beats work!"  I wrote that I was scared to come down!  True story, it was super steep to get up to the top!  My old running shoes didn't give good traction at all, but it could've been worse, actually, the 3rd person we encountered was a guy on horseback who told us that he had just passed 2 rattlesnakes in the middle of the trail and that we'd better watch out.  Yea that was a scary few hundred yards!  But we didn't see them.
2200 ft elevation change later..This is the view from the rock on Sitton Peak where we perched at the top for some lunch!! 
Looking up at Sitton Peak..man it looked far away at that point!

Tired legs
 Between the hiking and the tide pooling, my legs were pretty beat!  I was so jazzed to get to be outside so much and that I got to see so much awesome CA country (rocky cliffs! beaches!  mountains!).
West Coast Reunion!!!  It was gorgeous out.  Like it is every day there!
One morning we went tide pooling on the rugged coast over where my friend works in Dana Point.  Shira and Allison found all kinds of things in the rocks as we scrambled across the rocks, trying not to let any of the waves come crashing in on us.  We found anemones, wavytop turbin snails, brittle stars, sea stars, limpets..so rad.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Getty! in LA

 Wow!  I was so impressed with this place!  Ilana, Ben, and Griffin took me here.  First off, The Getty Center offered incredible views of the LA area.  The museum is nestled at the top of a ridge and you can see pockets of skyscrapers, and out to several of the islands off shore.  Way too cool.
It was the type of place where you just feel completely at peace and far-removed, leaving you to really appreciate aesthetics.  As a museum-goer, you park your car at the base of the mountain and wait for an automated 3-car tram to come and take you up to the top.  Very cool and atypical museum experience.
Super cute family, right?
Ilana, Ben, and Griffin frequent the Getty quite a bit.  Griffin really likes the tram ride and the cactus garden..
Griffin's fav part of the Getty
 Griffin absolutely loves the cacti around his house and that you see all over LA, but the cactus garden had a ton of different types all in one space.  Griffin has very interesting likes and dislikes, I loved learning about him during my visit.  And though he's more articulate than most kid's twice his age, he is still 3 and still needs food and sleep on very regular schedules..so we had to leave pretty soon after getting there.  Ben and I did a lightning quick appreciation of a Cuba photograph exhibit as we passed through the building back to the tram..
I was smiling every other second, I swear
 I'm pretty used to having to walk away from really cool museums/places of interest after just getting a taste--in Paris a few years ago I got to see a lot of places but like at Versailles, I had to just do a quick run through of the stunning rooms of the chateau itself in something like 35 minutes before closing because I had spent all day walking the grounds and seeing the other little buildings of the palace! 

Chik*n wings, sweet potato fries, purple slaw
For dinner that night we ordered in Veggie Grill--sounds unassuming and kinda boring but it was anything but.  They offer up all-american fast food that's all totally veg.  The mango cobb salad with tangy lemon dressing and tempeh, chik*n, and bac*n was out of this world too.  Ilana and Ben also took me to Cafe Gratitude (L.A. location)!!---Out of this world..luckily I had learned a bit from my blogger friend Natalie about CG so I didn't completely freak out at the coolness.  All of the menu items are self-empowering statements like, "I am Eternally Youthful" (vanilla milkshake) the kind of hip place where all the cheeses--ricotta, mozzarella, etc. are made of nuts, several of the entrees, even enchiladas, and nachos are raw, and kombucha is on tap!  Ilana and I had fresh sangria.  Some people aren't too fond of the "hippy-dippy"ness of the whole empowering statements or whatevs, but I don't think that anyone can argue that their food isn't insanely good and that their spattering of crazy cool veg restaurants along the CA coast isn't a great thing!

Next up:  A really sweet day hike in the hills east of LA with Allison

Friday, June 10, 2011

Southern California Fun

I fell in love w/ original tart & the really tasty, not just plain pretty, fruit at these establishments

 First order of business after we had gone to Old Navy so Allison could get a swimsuit was to begin what would be a 3 day fro-yo taste adventure!!   This place called Cherry On Top or something was all pink and white and trendy on the inside and was my first taste of LA style selfserve fro yo.  You get a lil sampler cup the same thing for dispensing ketchup into at a fastfood place and go crazy tasting until you actually get a real cup and start to get Serious with your selections.  haha.  the cups are huge!  I was in love at first biodegradable spoonful.
Ohmygosh these kelp air bladders were so fun for me to collect and subsequently pop!  Never seen anything like them..they looked like jewels washing up along the tide line and I must have gathered 3 dozen of them up and popped them.  Shira gently warned me not to pop open too many close to my face, as they have carbon monoxide inside.  Duly noted!

 Day 2:  The 3 of us went tide pooling!! Will have show-and-tell (picture style of course) lata.  But for now a full demo on yogurting!  yogurting (verb):  to self-serve yourself some delicious yogurt and smile all along the way.
         First, you ask for a sample cup and try out all the flavors that appeal to you and perhaps the ones you don't think you'll want in your final bowl..dunno that was my strategy.  So basically try every flavor of the 10ish ones available.
Here's that sample cuppie I was talkin about.  Non-commital stage of yogurting     
Mmm Plain Tart.  The perfect base for a yogurt bowl

Next, grab the giant cups for actually self-serve purchasing purposes and get your base flava.  Original tart if you're me.  Then, proceed to add all your other flavas and toppings if you want them.  MMMMhmm.  Then pay the nice man .39 cents per frozen amazing crazy delicious creamy tart ounce.  Then go outside and enjoy it while basking in the lovely California sunshine and feelin the cool Pacific ocean breeze!!
  [ Luckily this LA sensation has crept its way over to the East Coast so it is true that I and everyone else ova here can replicate this in the east coast humid humid heat..but yogurtlands was seriously the best (w/ the most creative and well executed flavors!) frozen yogurt that I've ever had in mah lyyyfe.  And the fruit was so sweet and fresh tasting in cali, even at froyo places (not just at farmers markets!).]

Finished bowl: Plain tart, pink Guava, Coconut, Pistachio, and Kona Coffee  

Must talk next about my visit w/ cousin Ilana, husband Ben & lil Griff in W Hollywood!