a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

Archive for September 2010

11,707: Catastrophic failure

leave a comment »

My headphones magically stopped working. I’m not really sure why, but they are eerily silent while the display on my player is happily bopping along, counting up each second of each song.

I really don’t mind that the headphones stopped working since I am quite rough on them and use them just about every day during my commute. What I do mind is that the headphones had what I would call a "catastrophic failure." Both earbuds just flat out stopped working and I am left with no music. The funny thing is that usually my earbuds stop working one at a time, so I can keep using the same pair of busted headphones until both ears quit, but this time they both died at the same time. Sad, really.

I guess this means I have to go back to actually listening to what’s going on in the real world. Maybe this is a good thing.

Written by Reese

September 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

Posted in just life


with 2 comments

Blown to pieces

[Self-portrait with strangers]

After three weeks, I finally went to hospital to check on my knee and make sure everything was just fine. My doctor continues to be friendly and somewhat competent, but he strikes me as someone who is also a bit clueless. Maybe it’s because he’s young, but I think it has a lot more to do with the way he carries himself than his actual intelligence. It’s difficult to explain.

Usually this doesn’t bother me in a doctor because I don’t visit them often and when I do, it’s usually for a very routine visit (full bloodwork and all other vital statistics). I don’t often have physical issues, but lately with a few bike-related injuries, I’ve been feeling less healthy than than usual.

Having lived the first 30 years of my life as a robust, vigorously healthy person, year 31 has really sucked physically. I had some running-related knee damage, fell off my bike a few times, and have dealt with a few long term aches and pains that simply won’t go away. Maybe I just need to learn my limits, or maybe I’m getting older and I can’t recover as quickly as I’m used to, but either way, it really sucks.

I don’t mean to complain or anything, but I would just like to go back to feeling relatively fit again where I could run to catch a train or I could take a random route home and ride up whatever hills are along the way. Right now I’m not able to do either of those things, and it makes me feel pretty un-fit.

This past summer, I meant to get back into doing a little weekend running, but the current state of things isn’t allowing that. I would really like this coming year to have less accidents and injuries and more time spent feeling fit and healthy. Hopefully a little physical therapy will fix me right up.

Written by Reese

September 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

Posted in just life

11,703: The week’s baking

with one comment

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been into baking and cooking again. I experimented with cooking rice noodles and have been picking through the baking blogs for recipes that wouldn’t require getting out the stand mixer or another trip to the store to get ingredients I would only use once.

One recipe I was interested in was for an olive oil cake, but I wasn’t so pleased with how it came out. The texture was a bit too oily, but the taste was decent. I don’t think I would use the same recipe again. Luckily, I found a bunch of other recipes for olive oil cake that include lemon or orange rinds, so I’ll probably use one of those next time and see how it turns out. Anyway, at least it looked really pretty!

Olive oil cake

I had three bananas that were heavily spotted and much too ripe for eating raw. Being the type who hates to throw away food unless it’s growing mold, I decided to bake some banana bread. A quick internet search of blog recipes yielded a recipe for jacked-up banana bread over at Smitten Kitchen.


This recipe turned out really nicely and I am so very happy. By the way, I used the lesser amount of brown sugar (3/4 cup instead of 1 cup) and it turned out with the perfect amount of sweetness for me. I will definitely do this recipe again.

Banana bread

Written by Reese

September 27, 2010 at 6:55 am

Posted in just life

Five on Friday: Furry friend edition

with 2 comments

As you probably know, I have a cat, and I love that little nutjob (to death!!). She’s cute and she likes really simple things like:

1. Getting wet food when I get home
2. Greeting me in the morning and getting hugs
3. Sitting in my lap when I’m on the soft
4. Parking herself in whatever room I’m in at the moment
5. Bothering me at every possible moment while I am at home

She’s a great little spy and she keeps tabs on what I’m up to at any given moment. So anyway, today’s Five on Friday is a bit of a departure from the norm and I’ll just wax poetic about my awesome cat and then provide you with thumbnails of 5 cute photos of her. Yeah…. It’s that kind of Friday. Oh wait, I also provided a short list of five things she does right up there, so I guess I’m covered as far as the Five on Friday technicalities (which are only imposed upon myself by myself).

Jumper I have a question She is deadly liked On top She kneads me

If you have a cat, maybe you understand all these things that cats do, but maybe your cat isn’t as co-dependent as mine and doesn’t bother you as much as mine does. Hope you all have a good weekend planned! I’ll be seeing friends and doing whatever else happens, and hopefully laughing a lot and enjoying life in general.

Written by Reese

September 24, 2010 at 10:42 am

Posted in just life

11 700

with 4 comments

In the bike car on the train, some of the seats are arranged in sets of 4 seats facing each other. Now, this would be really great, except that the seats are very very close together such that you end up knocking knees. Of course, somehow people are able to arrange their legs so that you aren’t poking against each other. It’s actually pretty amazing how strong the social taboo of touching strangers is, and how widely accepted this is. We may have different ideas of how far our personal space extends, but it seems like people all agree that actually touching someone else (except in extenuating circumstances like an extremely crowded place) is not okay.

Pretty interesting.

Written by Reese

September 23, 2010 at 10:54 am

Posted in just life


leave a comment »

I was discussing self-confidence with a friend today and I mentioned to him that, while I may be modest at times, I have a pretty healthy ego. While I am definitely not big-headed about myself, I do have a quite realistic view. Well maybe it’s a bit on the optimistic side, but I think that’s a good thing when it comes to self-image.

No matter what your life is like, it’s important to be proud of yourself, be it your accomplishments, appearance, mental acuity, physical abilities, etc. Your mom was probably right: you’re pretty awesome. (This assumes that your mom is your #1 fan; my mom totally thinks I am smart, pretty, and downright awesome.)

I don’t go around bragging to people about my life, but I do think it’s pretty darned awesome. If I didn’t think my life was going pretty well, I’d really have to wonder why I wasn’t working to make it awesome. I don’t know if it’s so much as being satisfied with what you have, as much as making realistic goals about what you want out of life working towards those goals.

And just because I’m happy with my life now doesn’t mean I don’t have goals that I’m working towards. In the next few years, I am very interested in moving to a new area, changing jobs, and making new friends. Sometimes I get the feeling that because I usually have my eye on the "next place" I think it might scare some of my current friends because they know that it’s only a matter of time before I sail out of their lives. I just hope that people understand that I never want to get rid of friends when we move, and that we don’t move because we hate the current place. Most times, we love where we live right now, but we also love exploring new places. The way I see it, we can always move back to places we’ve lived before.

Hopefully wherever we live next, there will be a good local biking infrastructure, but if not, I’ll probably try to make it work. I’m really interested in keeping with this hobby since I find it really entertaining and it puts a smile on my face. The thing is, even if I can’t make biking work wherever we go next, I’m almost positive I’ll find some other fun activity instead to fill the void. Ha.

Written by Reese

September 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Posted in just life


leave a comment »

Transit Funtimes

I’m a little too chatty for my own good. Sometimes I just want to have a quiet, anonymous train commute, but since I’ve made friends on both ends, I tend to run into them and end up chatting with them. I guess I could always be unfriendly, nod a quick hello, and put my headphones on, but if you know me, then you know I just can’t do that.

Oh that’s right… I’m back on the bike. I had stopped riding to help my knee heal, but Franny is on a business trip right now and I really hate driving by myself, so I’m back to riding to work (slowly of course) and taking the train on both ends. The past two weeks Franny has been dropping me off at work in the morning, and I’ve taken the work shuttle to the train station in the afternoons. It’s been really nice riding the train without a bike because I can just go sit anywhere and not worry if my bike is okay, but I really hate having to walk home from the station since it takes a while.

I am so glad to be riding my bike to work again (of course you already knew that).

What a crappy chemist I would make

Throughout my many years of education, I always made a better physicist than chemist. My experiments never turned out so well. I’m bad at precisely measuring, and I’m quite clumsy in general when it comes to using scales and powders, etc.

(One time I poured dilute HCl all over my hand; it turned red and itched for the rest of the day. The lab assistant was very unhappy with me.)

In an effort to help improve myself, specifically my poor chemistry skills, I’ve decided to do more baking. Baking is like chemistry: you precisely measure out ingredients, mix them in a specific order, and then keep them at temperature for a certain amount of time. The bonus of baking is that you hopefully end up with something good to eat instead of just doing some random chemical reaction (unless I’m using chemistry to make meth, in which case I’ll get to make money off selling meth to junkies while endangering my life and the lives of everyone on my block, yay!).

I’m really more of a cook than a baker; I like tossing this and that in the pan until it tastes right and making it up as I go along. Following recipes precisely is quite difficult for me, so this needs to be improved. No shortcuts, no substitutions. I’ll just find recipes, follow them to the letter, and see what happens. Somehow, I think that the first step of actually following recipes will already greatly improve my baking.

I’ll try out my first baking experiment this week before Franny gets back from his business trip (I have a lot of free time these days). I’ve even been thinking about doing some baking and then sending a short-notice email announcement out to SF friends to meet me somewhere in the Mission for a drink and some experimental sweets.

Yes, this sounds like a fun plan.

Now I just need to find Madeira wine…

Written by Reese

September 21, 2010 at 11:16 am

Posted in just life

Five on Friday: Post-birthday apocalypse

with one comment

I’m still riding high on the birthday aftermath. Seriously, guys. It was so fun and I’m so glad for all the well wishes and the folks who came out and celebrated with me.

(Thanks everyone who gave me a present too! Really completely unnecessary, but totally appreciated. Love you guys.)

I hope it was just as fun for everyone else (or at least you enjoyed a slice of my peanut butter pie or a tasty beer and the company).

This week’s list is going to be…. well, just a nice and random one. Wait, aren’t my lists nice and somewhat random every week? Yeah, I guess so.

1. Barley

I wrote about this previously, but I am really loving barley as a grain right now. I add it to soups and cook it in the rice cooker in place of starch. Man, that stuff is great. Perfectly chewy and wonderful!

2. A walk in the park

Since I’m off my bike of late, I’ve started walking home from the train station every afternoon. Luckily, my workplace offers a shuttle to the Caltrain station and I can hop on the train and ride all the way to SoMA. From there, I walk about 20 minutes to get home. It was a little challenging at first to walk so far without my knee swelling up like a melon, but now it’s getting a little better and I can make it home without having to take an advil when I get there or throw ice on immediately. Progress comes in small, incremental steps. I’ll take it.

3. Caffeine-fiend

I’ve been taking coffee every morning for a while now. I don’t know if I’m necessarily addicted, but I do love the feeling of being excited in the morning to get to work. And it has to be coffee, not tea, not chai, not soda. Wait, I haven’t had soda in… ages! That stuff is way too sweet, but sometimes I do have a slight craving for it (which I satisfy with something else sweet instead).

4. Painted nails

I painted my fingernails for the first time in… ages! (I don’t do this girly stuff too often, since I often chip the polish rather quickly.) This past weekend, I was bored and had a few hours to kill, so I painted my nails a pretty iridescent purple shade. It’s not really a traditional shade, and maybe a little rockster for the office, but somehow it’s okay. Maybe if I died my hair purple to match, people would wonder if I’d lost it.

5. The full 8 hours

I don’t really like to talk about my work on my blog, and for good reason. The way I see it, work is something to be discussed privately with close friends and family, and not online where anyone can find it. Thus, I don’t really have much to say in this bullet point except that I have had a really damned good week at work. I meet more interesting (and generous) people everyday, and I am really enjoying my time here.

Written by Reese

September 17, 2010 at 9:18 am

Posted in just life

The secret entries

leave a comment »

I have something to admit to you guys.

(Or should I have written, "I have to admit something to you guys"?)

I write a lot of entries, but maybe only half of them actually get published on my blog.

So why don’t I publish everything I write? The reason is mostly because I’ll write and entry complaining about something and by the time I finish writing, re-reading, and editing it, I go to hit the send button and realise that no one wants to read (yet) another whiny entry from me. Seriously, I get all worked up over a lot of random stuff in life, and I use writing as my outlet to get my (lame first-world) frustrations out. The good news is that I realise that just because I need to rant and rave about something does not mean I really need to share this with the world.

The process goes something like this:

  1. Get riled up over something stupid
  2. Write scathing blog entry in email client
  3. Re-read and edit said blog entry
  4. Ask self: Is this whiny, non-constructive, or just plain stupid?
  5. If it is –> Save as Draft. If not –> Send.

That said, I have a number of (really quite lame) fully finished entries that have not made it to the blog. They sit in my Draft folder until I get fed up and delete them.

In fact, I’ve recently written unpublishable entries on various topics such as:

  • Inane people who can’t think for themselves,
  • How to know if you’re drinking enough water,
  • The really terrible mashup of 3 different leftover dishes I had for lunch (it worked somehow),
  • Stalkers and awkward moments,
  • Boys who can’t handle just being friends with a girl,
  • And finally, people who are into status and image (see first bullet point)

So for any normal personal blogger, these are all topics that are just as viable as, say, writing about what kind of pen they really like. The nice thing about personal blogging is that you can write whatever the heck you want on your blog. Unless you’re internet famous, a whole lot of people won’t even read whatever drivel you are spewing all over your blog.

(Well, your current/future employer might, so you might not want to mention how you were toking up in the loo that one time to help you relax before that big presentation. Bad idea, kiddo.)

(FYI, I have never done that.)

Sometimes I wish I didn’t so carefully edit myself on my blog, but at the same time, I know it’s a good thing because this stuff is really public. I guess you won’t get to read about awkward family conversations, my thoughts on the futility of how overly zealous pro-environment folks are really turning off the rest of us "normal" folk, or my disdain for people who buy into the hype of the latest trend and waste money trying to up their status.

On second thought, that’s probably a good thing.

Written by Reese

September 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Posted in just life

Damn hippie kitchen

with one comment

Moving to California has changed me.

I exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. I have resorted to using castile soap pretty exclusively, except for washing my hair, which I only wash my hair once a week to promote the production of healthy oils and good scalp health. At one point, we shopped at the farmer’s market exclusively for vegetables, but it’s fallen down the priority list and we have been shopping pretty much everywhere for fresh vegetables and fruit instead. We try to cut back on eating a lot of packaged food and end up with lots of fresh food that we have to cook ourselves.

If you come over and peek in the fridge, don’t expect to see frozen meals. The fridge mostly contains jars of stuff (ketchup, mustard, peanut butter, jam, hot sauce, etc), possibly some large bottles of sparkling water, some leftover takeaway containers, and a lot of fresh vegetables.

We also have a lot of dry goods, like grains and pasta. I pour them out into random jars that I save and line them up on the shelf, hopefully remembering which is which because I never label anything. The good news is that a lot of grains have a unique look to them. The bad news is that you still need to keep that straight. I am almost positive at one point that I will decide that the fat jar with the black lid holds bulgur, when it really is full of barley or farro or something like that, and I’ll be woefully ignorant (yet again).

Have I told you guys about that one time I made catnip omelettes for my friends? I was completely convinced that the catnip was actually basil since I have almost no skill in differentiating plants and wasn’t sure what basil really smelled like.

(Yes I know, how could I not know what basil smells/tastes like? Oh come on now.. I get confused quite easily… Besides, my detective skills sucked and it did not occur to me to smell my jar of dried basil to help determine which plant was which.)

(I now know what basil plants smell and look like now, just so you know.)

But anyway, back to the grains.

My latest obsession: barley. I’ve been adding it to beef soups and just recently learned that cooking it in the rice cooker is insanely convenient and easy. Plus, it’s really easy to set the rice cooker on a timer and wake up to a pot of fully cooked whatever-grain. (If you don’t have a fancy cooker with a timer, you could just hit the button when you first get up in the mornings.)

Right before leaving, I scoop some into a microwaveable lunch container, pour some frozen vegetables on top (I like using spinach or that lima bean/corn/peas mix), drizzle the whole thing with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Sometimes I also put a bit of hot sauce in there too. If I have any leftover food from the night before, I’ll just throw that in the container instead. It’s definitely a nice change from my regular (rather pathetic) PB&J sandwich.

Written by Reese

September 15, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Posted in just life