Thursday 13: Spring 2011 photo snapshot

Life’s been pretty crazy for the last several months (okay, years). Here’s a snapshot of some Spring happenings for this week’s Thursday Thirteen.

1. A big change: The Chop. Went from nearly-waist-length hair to a bob courtesy of Cricket (aka Marm) from Hoshall’s Salon and Spa in Carmichael.

Ditched long hair for the first time in a decade. (More on that later)

2. A bigger change: Moving HOME!

Tired girl in a packed-to-the-gills Corolla!
Saying goodbye after two years living in the desert.
Already tired of having his photo taken.
And now he’s messing with me. Ahhhh!
12 hours on the road = Boredom = An increase in self-portraits.
Great job Corolla-mobile!

3. Major accomplishment: Finishing my PhD coursework in two years flat. Next up: Comprehensive exams. Fun.Times. 

Yeah, I read all that. And about 15 other stacks just like it. Oi. Because I finished my classes, I’m able to base myself out of Sacramento now, instead of Phoenix. Woot!

4. Flights taken since January: 24 one-way legs (down from 30 scheduled)

From Oklahoma City to Phoenix.
Crater Lake!
Rainier. The most gorgeous day ever in Seattle!

5. Most eventful flight of my life: Southwest 812

If you want to know what it was like to experience an explosive decompression and emergency landing, click here.
Yeah, that would be the gaping hole in the fuselage of the plane. No good!

6. Focus groups conducted: Eight. New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Chicago, Oklahoma City, Seattle. When I first signed up for the research project in November, I never thought I would survive the extra flights in a semester, let alone gallivanting around the country. But I did. Whew. Below are my three favorite locales.

Hawaii, naturally. This would be a view from my hotel room. A-mazing.
Diamond Head. Also from my hotel room. (Is it time to go back yet??)
New York with my beautiful sister! We’re standing on the Williamsburg Bridge.
The most expensive elevator ride in the world.
Pike’s Place Market in Seattle. An utterly gorgeous day.
I’m convinced the Pacific Northwest is trying to woo me. Every time I visit, it’s like this…

7. Folks I miss already: My Cactus Land ladies. The hardest part about leaving the desert (outside of not seeing cacti everyday), is not being around my dear friends and fellow veterans of PhD school madness.

Kristin, Gheeta, Colleen and me at Four Peaks. If you’re in the Tempe area, get thee to Four Peaks and order the chicken nachos and garlic beer bread. To die for and enough food to feed a small country.

 8. Something strange: 

How I missed the gigantic hands by the Apache light rail station until last month is BEYOND me.

9. Something perplexing: A Hitchcockian turn to apartment living. A couple weeks before I moved home, pigeons decided to take up residence on our front porch. Practically every time I stepped outside, a rush of beating feathers would sound–pigeons taking off from just outside our door. One day I came home to an egg. And then a couple days later, it was gone. Pretty sure mama and papa pigeon ate it. 🙁

Noisy neighbors.

10. Something I’m looking forward to: Tomatoes!

After months and months of mealy grocery store tomatoes, I can’t wait until harvest!

11. A shirt I wear way too often: The $9 grey Costco tanktop that has appeared in half of the photos in this post practically.

At the Russell’s annual Memorial Day BBQ. Me and T with his folks, Ray & Zana, aka M-5 and Ray-Dad. Photo by Todd P. Emerson.

12. Most decadent meal ever: A night at Ella. I plan to write more on this later but the long and short is we met our friend Taylor for dinner at a gorgeous downtown Sacramento restaurant and ate at least a month’s worth of calories. It. Was. Divine. Taylor is friends with the chef, and he asked the chef send out amazing morsels for us to try.

Taylor gives thumbs up to the quail and ramps.
Happiness on a plate. Wild boar ravioli over tenderloin with fiddlehead ferns, blue cheese cream, port reduction, onions and edible flowers of some sort. And Chef Kelly said it was fat free, isn’t that nice?
As you can see, I hated it.

13. Culinary inspiration: Ramps. A few weeks after our dinner at Ella, I asked Mr. T to pick up some veggies for dinner. He came home with an interesting collection of organic green beans, mung beans (aka bean sprouts) and ramps. I turned the ramps into a delightful spring pasta. Recipe to follow soon!

Ramps, sometimes called wild leeks, are a wild onion. They have a spicy almost garlicy flavor.


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