Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Worst

This afternoon at 4:40pm my little Bud will be going away. He's been my friend for 3 months shy of 10 years. OMF and I adopted him from a shelter in Santa Rosa where he had been waiting for a home for over a month due to his dog aggression, small benign tumor on his left eyelid, and what we later came to find out was a wicked case of heart worm.

We spent the whole drive back from Santa Rosa throwing out names to see what he would respond to and by about Vacaville Buddy is what stuck. The old man pulled over at a AMPM and bought him a Slim Jim thus beginning his slow build commitment to us. Bud is a funny little dog who was not easily won by treats and affection. It took him about 6 months to fully settle into our lives.

Once we connected we were solid. Solid to the point that he would follow me into the bathroom and lay on the floor while I showered and sat on my foot while I took a pee. He's been my fluffy white shadow since August of 2004 and the idea he's about to leave me in impossible to process.

Earlier this week after getting the diagnosis that he has lung cancer I went through photos thinking it would make me feel better. In a way it did in that it made me realize what a big part of our lives we've made him. On the other hand it's crushing me to think about what a void he'll be leaving. Bud traveled with us through eight states, two countries, and five cars. He was with me when our house was burglarized and road shotgun as I (foolishly) pursued the thieves that robbed us. He was my studio mate through four different work spaces and tagged along amiably from the warehouse, to our crappy rental apartment, to the home we now own.

Verge's big dinner is in three days which seems completely impossible. Holding it together when all I really want to do is spend time with my dog feels like a miserable negotiation to have to make. Even so we've taken off as much time as we can to take him on car rides, feed him cheese burgers, and lavish him with as much attention as we can before the end.

I loved you very much Bud.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gift stew

My post regularity is crap these days for reasons I won't go into now except to say that blogging has felt like a bridge too far for some months, neigh years, as is apparent by the slow down in posts. What might bring me out of quasi-retirement besides images of some of my favorite bathrooms? Venison stew(!) and my desire to record this recipe before it vanishes in a puff of smoke.

OMF received some gift venison a couple months ago after a friend went hunting in Idaho. It's been sitting in my freezer ever since with me feeling a little too intimidated to do anything with it, until today. Over the past few months I've been honing my stew skills usually with chicken, and occasionally beef or pork. Everyone I asked about how to cook this two pound gift said the same thing... it's hard to cook because it's soooo gamey. Thanks, very helpful. This "advice" was a real damper in wanting to approach the stuff. 

Fortunately, I got over it and in a fit of divine inspiration I whipped up the following. It was beyond amazing, tasting a lot like beef only richer in flavor with a hint of the gaminess present in lamb. This evening left me patting myself on the back both for conquering venison and pulling off an excellent stew. 

Venison Stew

2 lbs venison cubed (word on the street is that it can be found at whole foods if you don't know a hunter)
1 lb small yukon gold or red potatoes halved
2 carrots cut in big chunks
1 10oz bag of pearl onions peeled and left whole
1 1/2 cups earthy mushrooms chopped (oysters, maitake, wood ear, crimini, the funkier the better)
2 stalks of celery cut in large chunks + the leafy tops chopped fine and set aside separately
3 cloves of garlic chopped
2/3 cup flour
3 tbl olive oil 
4 cups beef or veal stock
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 healthy dash of worcestershire sauce
1 healthy dash of cinnamon 
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
8-10 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 handful of parsley chopped
Pepper to taste

Place the potatoes, carrots, chunked celery, thyme, rosemary, and  bay leaves in a crockpot and set to low heat. Dredge the venison in the flour, dust it with the cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and brown it on all sides in two tablespoons of the olive oil on medium high heat. Once the venison is nicely browned add it to the crockpot. Reserve the leftover flour from the dredging for a later step. 

In the same pan the venison was browned in add one more tablespoon of oil and the onions cooking about three minutes until the onions began to brown. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and celery tops, and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften. Once the mushrooms begin to cook down scatter 1/4 cup of the remaining flour over the mix cooking until the flour begins to brown slightly. Add the dijon mustard, worcestershire, and tarragon and stir until the mustard coats the ingredients in the pan. Once this is done begin adding the wine in small amounts stirring as you go to avoid lumps. Once the roux is evenly combined add it to the crockpot along with the stock and remaining salt. Give the whole combo a solid stir, add the chopped parsley reserving some for garnish and put the lid on. 7 hours later you'll have the best stew you ever tasted!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I've encountered some epic bathrooms as of late.

Historic bathrooms.

These days repurposing parking spaces is becoming all the rage.

It's soap! It's not possible for it to be dirty!

Spotted at a bar in Folsom. This "height chart" had all kinds of cute nicknames on it like Miss K, and Sweetie, oh and "Slutty Lady," perhaps the most endearing pet name of all. For the record SL was the tallest of the crew.

My one regret this week was not photographing a Smokey the Bear sign that said "Only YOU can prevent pit toilet odor. CLOSE THE LID." Sadly the haste which led me to said pit toilet caused me to forget my camera.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Super cool kid

A post about everything! 

Beginning with Ai Wei Wei.... Last Friday's screening was fantastic. Everyone who came out of the screening had glowing reviews. I haven't seen a documentary that good in a long time. If you have a chance, get down to the Crest and see it before it's gone Thursday!

Summer's almost over.... I'm gonna have to get a lot more of this in before it's gone... OMF and I took his surfboard to Sutter's Landing last week which was super fun minus the chaffing on my bare legs from surf wax and sand and the epic wedgie my Betty Grable swimsuit afforded.

The assault on Casa d' Foster-Moe continues. I'm finding hella stuff for the Verge rummage sale including a bunch of books. This is an image from "The Writer's Desk." Check out Terry Southern, enjoying a cocktail amidst one of the dirtiest, corniest, and most quasi-unreadable novels ever. He did write "The Magic Christian" though so I suppose all is forgiven.

In addition to Wei Wei the weekend brought a lovely party at Quinta Luz and a fond farewell for Renny. His absence in this region is a tremendous loss. At least Oakland isn't that far away.

Sunday I went to a dinner at Feeding Crane Farm. It was delish. So much so that I ate too much and drank to much, and felt like a very classy lady when indigestion woke me up multiple, multiple times throughout the night. My fault tho', definitely not the cuisine.

When we left we were invited to take home veggies. The above is a variation on a Jeff Smith zucchini pasta dish that I've made twice now since I saw this clip. This time out I added some chopped black krims and infused a bonkers hot mystery pepper I picked up at the farm in the olive oil. Tossed with homemade pasta it was thee bees knees.

I haven't watched the Frugal Gourmet since I was a kid, although I LOVED it back then. Microwave popcorn and an afternoon with PBS cooking shows was my jam around 9-11 years old, cuz you know, I was a super cool kid. During the opening sequence I always marveled at what a fancy gourmet he was in the way he really contemplated his glass of wine and took his time picking out produce. Looking back this is so 80s, it's pretty rad. Also, so far his recipes hold up pretty well.

Revisiting the shows led me to look up his sex scandals in the 90s. I had already stopped watching his show by that point so I don't think I really knew what caused it to go off the air. It's odd to watch his youtube clips and not think about the allegations against him.

Monday, August 13, 2012


I'M HAVING A SHOW!!!!!!!!! 

A two-person show with Elisabeth Higgins-O'Connor, in October at Bows and Arrows. Who'd a thunk it? Opening reception on Friday October 5th! YEA!!!

Getting back to work means lots of feathering my studio with fabulous things, like this afghan which boasts, quite possibly the worst color combo I've ever seen in a afghan and that's saying something. 

These coozies tell you everything you need to know about their previous owner.

The jury is still out on whether this is an ICP thing.

A shiny nickel to whoever can tell me what this stuff is. It's like fiber optic material of some sort. I thought it was a weave but I think it might be way too course. 

GIF animations generator
GIF animations generator


After working in my studio all day Saturday we opened for 2nd Saturday which was really nice. Here's Lisa Camhi explaining the registration process in print making to JE Paino! It was a sweltering night but we had a steady stream of visitors and I gave a lot of great tours. 

Finally, don't forget to mark your calendars for the movie this Friday. I am really, really excited about it and Verge artist Jiayi Young will be introducing it. It's really fantastic that the Crest supports us on these screenings and best of all a portion of the proceeds of the screening support Verge and things like the print lab you see above. 

Never Sorry a film about Ai Wei Wei, with an introduction by Jiayi Young
Friday, August 17, 7pm

See you soon!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Bridge to Somewhere!!!

Verge will be open tomorrow for second Saturday! 

Come on out and I'll give you a tour across this awesome bridge to somewhere!!!! AND you can check out that print lab I posted pictures of early, AND you can catch Lisa Marasso's new drawings, AND get some tours around the studios. AND I'll see you Saturday from 6-10pm!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This Old House

It's pretty unbelievable that last Friday night I was partying in Oakland with hoards of people.
And by Saturday morning I was back in Sac tearing apart our front room and converting it into an office. In order to spare myself the embarrassment I'm not posting the actual before pic and am instead starting with the total accumulation of the contents of the front room's book shelves stacked en masse. It's possible we may need more books.

Our house will be 100 years old next year and I plan to host a birthday party for it in June, the month we moved in. In past lives it was a farm house to the surrounding neighborhood - which was a former orchard, a rental, a so-called 'drug house,' a HUD house, and the victim of a bizarre and unfortunate remodel at the hands of the most recent owners before us. Over the past few years I've been trying really hard to love this house and my frustration with what it's not has led me to let it languish for the past 6 or so years we've owned it.

We bought the house about two months after we got married and Tim's mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer right around the week we signed the papers. Moving in was pretty crazy and disorganized and initially was just a process of getting it done. I ripped out all the carpet and threw it away and initially painted the floors red which is a design element I have since decided I am way, way over. It doesn't wear particularly well, nor does it cover well, and the longer I've lived with it the less I'm into it as a design feature.
In it's place is a nice harbor grey a la grad school studio. Good coverage, soothing neutral grey, wears well, easy to touch up, and now in my new office. Note the nasty skin-tag-colored ceiling is gone too. Yuck-ola!

The old man purging. This image is the highlight of my year!

Beyond painting the floors, removing the excessive rubber duck decor from the bathroom and tearing out the spiral staircase in the front room, the interior of the house has been pretty much the same as when we got it. In recent months, however, I've realized that learning to love this house will take some cosmetic touches. I think I've been dreaming this whole time of a kitchen remodel, etc and in the meantime figured I'd just let the place sit until then. I'm glad I'm getting over this wrong-headedness.

I've basically been busting ass since Saturday, working about 14 hours each day to accomplish as much as possible. I'm sorta looking forward to work today but then there's part of me that thinks I could take the rest of this week and still just barely scratch the surface. So far I've cleaned, cleared and begun painting the front office including the walls and ceiling, painted the counters in the kitchen, painted the cabinetry in bathroom, and begun the process of painting the vinyl flooring in the bathroom. Fixing this place up is also taking me deciding it's okay to paint the already heavily over-painted wood work throughout the house which is some places no longer closes because of years over painting. What are ya gonna do? I tell ya what I'm not gonna do... Strip that shit.

Various blogs are assuring me this is a good idea. We'll see if they're right. Regardless it'll be better and easier to keep clean than the dog's-ass, cheap-as-hell, vinyl that was in there before.