Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Schober Freak Show

Wyatt started climbing up Matt's back the other night. The boy is so light that Matt didn't quite realize what was going on.

The boy just got given a skateboard today. Blame my dad. The rule is no helmet, no skateboard. We watch him like a hawk, too.

Can you say, "shred?"

NB: New laptop. Microsoft Vista sucks. I needed a new one for work. I don't have to pay interest until August, when it will be paid off.

The painting of Matt's grandpa Art (behind Wyatt) in all his Western splendor.
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[Bootsy] Collins Pond has been frozen since November.

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Monday, February 26, 2007


Wyatt started morning daycare today. He LOVED it. This makes Matty and me feel good. We were having the normal trepidation that parents get when they put their wains in daycare. Matt felt weird when we were getting together the things the boy might need. The trigger was the new sippy cup. Do you remember the strange feeling of excitement over getting new school gear, but the queasiness of being settled into the middle an alien environment with strange kids?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Decaf, take me away

Yesterday, I had six shots in three coffee drinks. Konrad's cappuccino at Black Sheep still slays me. I didn't order it, but that place is like Cheers and like our old bar in Hong Kong, they start pulling your drink the minute you walk through the door.

Konrad and Peter are going to the Western Regional Barista Comps in a few weeks. Matt and I won't be going as part of the support team because we have a weddin' to attend, but GO EASTSIDE!

Pulled the first shot I have liked on the Silvia- George Howell's DECAF La Lapa from Costa Rica. You wouldn't know that it was decaf. Lovely crema. Smooth. Fine with or without milk. We are really starting to geek out, keeping a notebook of grind settings and relative humidity for different beans.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Having fun with the Silvia

The new Rancilio Silvia has a steep learning curve, but it's fun. It makes lovely microfoamed milk, too. The tamper got left out from the shipment, so it's only going to get better. I am not comfortable enough to use the naked/crotchless/bottomless portafilter with the 3 shot basket. I'm busy working on my temperature surfing techniques.

Matt's ankle hurts and my hip hurts. This means a big storm is coming in. Big enough to keep my dad home and not hang out with Wyatt tomorrow.

Daycare will be a bit of an adjustment for Wyatt. He's just not used to being around so many children. His peer group so far has been a bunch of 40 year old alcoholics who swear too much. He will have to learn about children sometime. It won't be the end of the world for him. We're only looking at daycare 2 mornings a week. He's been lucky to have had it so good for so long.

NPR's Day to Day did a lovely wee segment about the Front Lawn. Naomi mentioned something over Chinese New Year festivities about "some obscure New Zealand band on NPR." Little did I realize it would be something so near and dear to my heart. It was lovely, they talked to both Harry Sinclair and Don McGlashan who said the Front Lawn releases still sell. Bless.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Gung Hay Fat Choy

My mom is 60, which makes her an auspicious piggy this year. The boy and I will have a contest to see who can go the longest without a hairwashing. The Chinese believe that it's bad luck to wash one's hair on or close to Chinese New Year.

We went down to LA to celebrate the new year with Naomi and Dave. Jean-Michel and Lucie and Michelle and other nice folks were there, too. It was fun. It was more traditional than I've had it in years and years and years.

The boy was a doll baby and mostly kind and even tempered. There is a god.

I got my fill of tripe and Asian food. We returned the Saeco and came home to the Rancilio Silvia waiting for us on the doorstep. There is a god, and he loves us! We are not cremamasters yet, but the shots are already smoother and lovelier than from the best ones from the Saeco.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wyatt is speaking

Sometime in the last few days Wyatt started reading his Richard Scarry books to us. The syllables spill out all over the place, but they are all mostly there. Bless him. "Bulldozer" is his crowning achievement.

He told me and Kylee (his 16 babysitter whom he calls "Tyee" because hard "Ks" are still impossible) that his Puppy doll was a girl. I think it is because Puppy lacks a penis.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

ski and coffee

First ski of the season for me. It's been a dry, dry year. Matty and I will take turns skiing and watching the boy.

We are trading in the Saeco Aroma espresso machine for a Rancilio Silvia. Just realized that we should probably have the machine we want now instead of working up towards it. It's helped by the fact that Costco will give us back the $215 we paid for the Saeco. Wow. We don't normally return things, but in this case, the machine didn't quite work as we hoped .

The refurbed Mazzer Major doserless beast (it weighs twice as much as Wyatt) that Billy made for us is working well. It grinds beans like a champ.

We've been trying lots of different espressos with Peter in the last month. Ecco (astringent?), Intelligentsia's Kid O (fabby everyday dark chocolate tones), George Howell's Terroir (peanut butter nut fluff marzipan, but the Decaf La Capa is pretty amazing), Vivace's Vita and Dolce (really needs the milk to bring out the sweetness)...At the end of the day, I'm still pretty happy with what Peter's got going on at the Black Sheep most weekends. I'm grateful for what Chris Tacy taught Matt and me about coffee going back five or so years now and for what Peter provides to the wee community of coffee addicts. How sweet is it that one of the best coffeebars is only a few hundred yards away?

So, no, this home set up isn't replacing going to the coffeebar, it's just making our rushed weekday mornings a bit easier from home.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Was able to finish all the articles out of an issue of the New Yorker (less the fiction, I'm bad that way) last night. That was the first time in years.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Wilhemina Graham Presents

Two things keep me cheerful: the possibility of bringing the Phoenix Foundation through the Owens Valley to play a few gigs in May and going to Belgian Beer Weekend in Brussels this September.

I feel sorry for friends in Bishop and Mammoth. I keep nagging, quizzing, brainstorming with them about the viability of hosting gigs here. I've got the lovely Michelle who will ask the Icebreaker rep she knows if the company will consider sponsoring a gig in Mammoth. I mean, Icebreaker is Kiwi and indie and the band are Kiwi and indie. I gave Michelle a long page of talking points and remembered another this morning, the star of Eagle vs. Shark, a film the Phoenix Foundation scored, was an Icebreaker model.

The Valley is just so isolated and beautiful and its denizens are so appreciative and supportive. We definitely need more rock and roll in our lives. That, plus we are on the long route between LA and SF.

So, at night I try to read up about putting on and promoting small gigs, think about logistics, money, etc. It beats thinking about being addicted to Oxycontin and going to physical therapy for months and months on end to build up a broken hip.

"boing, boing."

This morning, we went for a wee four wheel drive up in the White Mountains. We went up the canyon just south of Chalfant and found remnants of an old mine, miner's cabin, and tram. The highlight, though, was FINALLY SEEING BIGHORN SHEEP!

Matt would get bummed out every time he heard of folks running into herds of them. He'd never seen them. Must have been all those years packing in the Sierras and not exploring the Whites.

Wyatt must have seen them before Matty because he kept saying "boing, boing" from his backpack perch.

We were standing on a narrow rocky game trail and heading back to the car when I looked up the hill and saw a big buff colored pig. It was about 150 yards/100 meters away. There were five in all. They all had horns, some huge, curved and majestic. They were watchful, but relaxed. It was rad.

We made the boy walk the 10 minutes back to the car. He did so cheerfully. Not bad for a not-even-two year old.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What will we do with ourselves?

Saw A.T. and Karen and my Dad off this morning. Janet leaves for the Bay Area for her 10 day Feldenkrais (sp) Method course. Matt and I have a hot, so to speak, date to use the sauna after we put the boy to bed. Matty is actually not sleeping well at night, working out some engineering problems in his head. This is really unusual.

We're both rather yearning for a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine. Just can't justify the $500 price. Maybe the $200 industrial doserless espresso grinder that Billy is putting together for us will make the cheaper Saeco work better.

The baby has the scoots. He seems a bit run down, but cheerful otherwise. His vocabulary is growing by the day, especially for things like forklift, skateboard, freezing, bath, heck, etc.