Knives and Earthquakes (not together, one hopes)

Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm in Family, Food & Cooking, Self-Reflection, WIP

Whew. What a week. I know I said that on Friday, but I thought I’d elaborate a bit. First up: KNIVES.

Now we're getting serious

A week ago Friday I finally did something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time – I took a knife skills class!  I was super excited. After some persuasion I managed to get Jeff to come as well, because I knew he would be willing to be my sous chef if he knew how to be a pro about. I think we’re both getting new knives.  He wants the Shun you see on the left, and I want the middle knife. I have a chef’s knife already that I’m quite fond of, but I liked the flat edge of that one. I took the class (3+ hours jam packed with info) at Berkeley’s Kitchen on Fire with chef MikeC. I wish I could pass on every last bit of information to you guys, but um … well, he DOES have a DVD, I suppose. Seriously, it was a great class, the guy’s a great teacher, funny and yet very seriously knowledgeable about his subject.

I will say, after learning the techniques, that I don’t think I know anyone who wields a knife properly. Which is sad, because it’s so much faster and safer!

Cherry blossoms in rain

I spent today helping my brother move out of his apartment. He’s experiencing a few major life changes, both positive and negative, and I’m very happy to be able to be nearby so that I can help. I’m super pleased to report that he is going to graduate school next fall at the University of Nevada Reno to earn his master’s degree in environmental planning and policy, specializing in GIS use.  The cherry blossoms in the picture above are from outside his window in Placerville – it’s spring!  I will miss going up there to visit him, but I am really happy he’s going in a positive direction in his life, and I’m sure I’ll make it back up there on my own anyway.

Painting, done

I continue to spend time finishing items for the kitchen/dining area. As you can see above, the benches are nearly done, and I have a lot of commentary on building furniture in my head for another post. We have one coat of paint to apply and they’ll be ready for use. I’m sewing with piping for the first time for the bench cushions, which is giving me palpitations. I’m terrified I’m going to do this terribly wrong, but I’m forging ahead anyway. I have a seam ripper, after all. I don’t know how to build furniture either, and that seems to be going well despite all the many things that could go poorly. I’m definitely ready for these projects to be over, though. I’d like to move onto something else.

Tsunami makes its way to Emeryville, CA (SF area)

I, along with many others, have been watching the news from Japan about the earthquakes and tsunamis with horror and sadness. The news just isn’t getting any better. Like many others, I’ve donated to the Red Cross, and it’s really all that I can think to do. I went to bed Thursday night extremely grateful to be living in an earthquake-safe apartment building and working in a retrofitted earthquake-standard office. It’s not everything, but … when you live less than a mile from the not-insignificant Hayward fault, it’s hard to hear about massive earthquakes and not personalize those thoughts just a wee tiny bit.

Flickr user Dr_Speed (via Berkleyside) caught the photo above of the tsunami rolling through San Francisco Bay on Friday. That’s SF in the background and the Bay Bridge crossing the water. The Alameda docks are on the left and Emeryville (just south of Berkeley) is in the foreground. There’s also a video from the same vantage point. Not so big, right? Kinda slow. Now realize that wave has traveled more than 5,000 miles. Unbelievable.

Well worn

With the exception of the tsunami photo these pictures are from Instagram – three weeks ago I decided to start a 365 project, and those photos are from that series. For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, I watched several people on Flickr do one of these in various ways. Basically you take a picture every day for a year, often of yourself, and post it. Some people do a 52-week version. I’d wanted to do one, but never thought I’d keep up with it until I started using with Instagram on my iPhone. You take a picture and it applies an effect to it (or not), imitating a lomography camera or a 60s or 70s picture, or various other vintage and color filters. Since I usually have my phone with me, it’s simple to remember to find something worth looking at from my daily life and photograph it.

I’m hoping that this project reminds me to keep a sharp eye on what’s amazing and noteworthy around me in my daily life, instead of just letting the increasingly familiar landscape fade into sameness. Moving to a new place opens your eyes in so many ways, and I’d like to keep the magic of that viewpoint with me as long as I can.

Off to bed! I’m sure with the time change the morning is going to see unbearably early for this night owl.

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The benches are looking good.

Jennifer — Mon Mar 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm (link)

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