March 29, 2008

searching for a dog

so ronda and i are looking for a dog.  i've mainly been looking at petfinder.  ronda has been looking more locally at places like wonder dog rescue, rocket dog rescue, california underdog rescue, and the peninsula spca.  today we went to a rescue event organized by smiley dog rescue to meet a wonderful 4 year old bernese mountain dog named truffle. we're interested in adopting her, but there's another person before us in line. this seems to be a common situation since someone else also beat us to meeting lucky, who is being adopted from hopalong rescue.  well, we'll just have to keep up the search and keep meeting dogs.

March 24, 2008

and another thing

it's a phrase that ronda occasionally uses that i particularly like.  the delivery is great since she'll usually use it with a (only partially affected) slur when she catches herself in the middle of a drunken diatribe.  why do i bring this up?  because yesterday i finally got around to measuring the specific gravity of my last remaining keg of home brewed beer, called biere de garde.  i actually brewed this one in feb 2007, so its over a year old.  it's also the strongest beer i've ever brewed at about 10% abv.  this explains why when i get home from work and have two pints to unwind i end up feeling pretty damn good....  and another thing...  i think i need to institute a one pint biere de garde limit.

March 23, 2008

a busy start to spring

i've slowly been making invisible progress on my new shelving project.

yesterday i went to macbeath hardwood company and i picked up 38 board feet of rough four quarter soft maple in ten foot long boards of assorted widths for $155. leading up to this purchase i spent a lot of time researching the terminology related to buying lumber, finding different lumber suppliers near me, and balancing the properties of different the woods and their cost. i finally settled on soft maple because it looks good and is reasonably cheap.

i've been designing my shelves using google sketchup, if you'd like to take look at how the shelves will look then install sketchup and click here to download my design. i'm finished with the design itself, but i'm still working on alternate views that can be used as printouts for when i'm in the garage doing the actual construction. hopefully i'll be able to start milling some of the wood next week.

sat afternoon ronda and i celebrated the arrival of spring in a time honored SF fashion, we went to the zeitgeist for burgers and beer. we met up with some of ronda's friends there and afterwards went for some martinis at martuni's.

today we did a bunch of random cooking. last weekend we cooked up three pounds of tasty corned beef from marin sun farms (our favorite meat supplier). we used half the corned beef last weekend for corned beef hash and we finished it off this weekend by making ruben sandwiches. rye bread, thinly sliced corned beef, thinly sliced swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and home made russian dressing, all cooked up in the panini press. mmmm...

after the ruben sandwiches for brunch, i tried out a new salsa recipie for papalote salsa. just in case you're not familiar with papalote, it's an awesome taqueria in the mission, and they serve a salsa that's more addictive than crack. i have to say the version that i made isn't exactly the same, but it's really freakin good.

i also wanted to make (but never got around to making) some sikil p'ak. i normally buy little $6 tubs of this stuff at the farmers market from primavera. the problem is that the little tub never last past two sittings (if it makes it that long). so i did some digging around on the internet and i came up with this recipie for sikil p'ak. i bought all the ingredients and hopefully i'll be able to try it soon.

since i was on a salsa kick, i also created a peppers file as a convenient reference for all my pepper cooking needs.

i also went roasted the second half of a 3 lb lutz beet that i picked up last weekend at the farmers market from tierra vegetables. i had never heard of or seen a lutz beet before, but tierra is one of my favorite people at the farmers market often times i'll just buy whatever they bring just to try it out. i roasted the beet by cutting it up into 1" square strips, putting it in a tray with 3/4 cup water and some olive oil, covering it with foil, and sticking it into the oven at 350 F for one and quarter hours. after that i pulled the skin off and cut it into chunks so that ronda and i can have it later during the week.

March 3, 2008

the long way

ronda and i have been living at our current house for almost two years now, and honestly, we don't have much furniture to prove it. well, i've decided that we need some shelving. so instead of behaving like a normal person and going out and buying a bunch of shelving, or even a normal practical and creative person who would go out and quickly create a bunch of shelving, instead i'm setting out to learn google sketchup so that i can design some shelving. even though the shelving will be pretty simple and basic, i'm hoping to create a detailed model in sketchup that includes all joinery, assembled and exploded views, component lists and measurements, and cut lists for lumber. i've found a really good blog that covers sketchup from a woodworkers perspective, and i'm slowing reading my way through all the old entries.  once i have the design finished i'll be sure to post it here on my website.

March 1, 2008

farewell to babcia

well, on Feb 7, 2008 at around 9:30pm my grandmother passed away while sleeping in a hospital in warsaw, poland.  my father, mother, sister, and i all flew out during the preceding week to be with her.  she had stopped eating a few days before i got there so she was very skinny and much more of a fragile woman that the one i remembered visiting 7 months earlier.  she was suffering from an assortment of physical aliments (leukemia, seizures, internal bleeding, etc), but mentally she was very sharp and was in very good spirits.  she recognized all of us and enjoyed talking to us, she would tire pretty easily so we took turns sitting with her throughout the day.  i think she knew exactly what was going on since (aside from talking about going out with us to a restaurant) she was talking about how my father was arranging for a gathering of the pilatowicz clan outside of warsaw (which is exactly what he was doing since she was going to be buried outside warsaw).  she was also very excited by the fact that ronda and i had gotten married late last year and described the pictures of our wedding to me from her memory.  she also somehow got it into her head that ronda was pregnant, so she spent a while talking to me about good names for children.  i wasn't going to correct her.  on the night she died my father and i were at the hospital with her till about 8:30pm.  we left the hospital for the night and shortly after got a call from her doctor.

i've never been through an experience like this before and it was really difficult at times to be with her there in the hospital and see her wasting away and struggling to communicate, but even though it was very difficult i'm glad that i did get to see her again and spend some more time with her.  while there, sometimes i tried to recount to her the good times i had visiting her, but i was unable to think about those times without crying, so usually i had to talk about other random things.  now after the fact i can finally go back and slowly go through those old memories.  in the end, i think it all went as well as something like this can go.  she was always worried about dying alone, but luckily most the family that she cared about was present at the end.

after she passed away arrangements were made for a cremation in a new public cemetery in the town of czestochowa, and from there we took her to be buried with one of her sisters and her mother in the town where she was born.  she was the youngest of all her siblings and at 86 years old she had also lived the longest of them all.  she was a religious woman so there was a mass for her before the funeral and another in warsaw for people that knew her there.  i'm sure that now she's with the god she believed in.

in addition to spending time with grandma, the two week trip also entailed spending lots of time with family, which was really good since these days we only get together once a year for the holidays.  it had actually been over 19 years since my dad, mom, sister, and i were all together in poland.  we also met up with old friends of the family, and and lots extended family.  i met cousins, cousins once removed, and cousins twice removed, some of whom i knew and some of whom i'd never met before.

it was all a very tiring experience and i was very happy to finally get back home.  future trips to poland will be very different without babcia there.  she'll be dearly missed by many.  o'yeah, here are some pictures from the trip that don't really reflect the somber occasion for the visit.