Monday, March 31, 2014

off the grid, but not off the 'net

(we have wifi, courtesy of this microwave connection)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Joshua Tree!

A quick plane flight followed by an hour drive, and we're at our rental house, next to the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park!

Lots of rocks on the property.


That's the house we'll be staying in for the week. It's off the grid, powered by nine solar panels that charge a battery system for the house. (Eagle-eyed watchers will note that there are two cars at the house—we arrived a bit early, so the house cleaner was still there.)

First sunset.

Friday, March 28, 2014


Dinner at Barney's leads to absurd statements, like, "if you want to have more of your shake, you have to eat some more french fries, first."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hurry-Up Cake

The kindergartners at the San Francisco School get to bake things. Anders brought this Hurry-Up Cake that he made home today. Sigrid and Soren decorated it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Week two at La Petite Baleen, and both boys have moved up a level.

Soren was awarded his rainbow ribbon, and is working toward his green ribbon.

Anders was awarded a red ribbon, and is working toward his white ribbon.

(They're switching to a new system soon, so the ribbons the guys are working toward might change.)


Through strategic use of a bandana, Sigrid fits the hoedown theme for the SF School auction.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Garden update

A few of the carrot seeds have begun to sprout.

We also planted a few seedlings that Anders brought home from school. These are beans of some sort.

And our peas are doing well.

Friday, March 21, 2014

PG&E, minus some G and E

This week, Keker & Van Nest's main building lost electrical power for a full day due to a blown underground transformer. And when PG&E finally restored power, it was only by putting the building on a temporary generator (the white truck in this pic). We stayed on that generator for two days, until we were switched back to regular power once the transformer had been replaced.

Meanwhile, at home, PG&E has been doing work on our block all month, preparing to switch us over to high pressure gas service lines. This week, they finally got to the actual switchover, at least for our house.

For us, the process also involved having our meter moved from our basement to a nook just outside the house. But when PG&E moved it, they stuck it in an awkward spot that was not quite what we had agreed to. So PG&E moved it back about a half foot on Friday. But no one ever turned on our gas again, or left us with any sort of note about what was going on. By six, with no one on site anywhere in the area, we called PG&E. Four phone calls and six hours later, service had been restored.

Although this whole month things have been noisy, and we've had less street parking than usual, I had actually been pretty pleased with how the work was going. The prospect of a weekend without gas (and thus without a stove, hot water, heat, or a dryer) soured me on the process. The tech who finally came out a bit after 11 pm and worked on things until about quarter to midnight, however, was great. (As a bonus, he cleared a partial clog in the jet for one of our stovetop burners.)

Not so easy, going to breezy

I took Soren to Easy Breezy for frozen yogurt after a doctor's appointment. But I guess seeing the doctor tired him out.

But he eventually woke up.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two whales

After a long hiatus, we have resumed swim lessons, this time at La Petite Baleen. And, this time, Soren is taking lessons, too! Here he is at his first ever swimming lesson.

I thought this mat was a great way to get the kids used to the idea of floating, especially on their backs.

For the last five or ten minutes of the lesson, Soren and his classmates swam through this tunnel and back while wearing swimming tubes.

Soren really enjoyed his lesson.

(Plus, as an added bonus, he let me really cut his hair this morning, rather than forcing me to stop after a quick trim.)

Anders is taking lessons at La Petite Baleen, too. Here he is, practicing swimming on his back, using a pool noodle to support his neck (which is a great idea, by the way).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

At the bus stop...

...on our way to the Exploratorium.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saturday, March 08, 2014

We have limes.

(we also have Botanica gin and Fever Tree light tonic)

A hopeful time...

...before the rogue squirrel comes to explore.

Birthday party!

Ok, maybe we don't know the birthday girl, but we were at the park when the clown started making balloon animals and balloon light sabers.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

He plays hard.

It's hard being Anders's shoes.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

soft pretzels

When I was a kid, I used to make soft pretzels. It's a great recipe for kids. I saw a soft pretzel recipe recently, and finally got around to trying it with the boys. It was a success.

  • 3¾ teaspoons dry active yeast (or 3 teaspoons instant)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2½ cups lukewarm (105°F) water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 500 g (4 cups) flour, maybe more
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • kosher salt
  • melted butter
  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast and sugar with 1½ cups of lukewarm water.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix baking soda with remaining lukewarm water.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour and table salt.
  4. Add yeast mixture to stand mixer bowl, and knead with the dough hook until the dough comes together. If the dough is tacky, add some more flour.
  5. Remove dough from bowl, spray bowl down with cooking spray, and return dough to bowl. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 425°F, and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  7. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll each into 2+ foot ropes.
  8. Shape each rope into a pretzel, dunk into baking-soda water, place on baking sheets, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter.
  10. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 01, 2014


For Haraboji's birthday, we had the extended family over for a samgyeopsal dinner—grilled uncured pork belly, dipped in salted sesame oil, and wrapped in lettuce with rice, green onion salad, and perhaps raw garlic and ssamjang. It's best eaten hot off the grill, so I bought a portable butane burner and a grill plate at KukJe Market in Daly City. That's also where I got the sliced pork belly, the pre-shredded green onion, and a variety of banchan.

I don't know that we'll have this dinner often (buying five pounds of pork belly should probably be a rarity), but the butane burner worked really well! If nothing else, we can take it camping.

Happy birthday, Dad!