8.25.2012

Hiking Peters Canyon

As part of her "take back my life" campaign, the Middle Sister declared this month "action packed August".  In addition to running with me a few times a week, she started taking classes at the gym five times a week and looking for more active things to do.  She ran a 5K earlier in the month and then decided she wanted to do some hiking.  I am not sure if you remember our adventure hiking El Moro Canyon, but I am always up for something active so last weekend (when So Cal was still having a heat wave) we got up early to hike Peters Canyon.

Now the Middle Sister had done her homework and we were going to do a Peters Canyon hike with the Sierra Club.  They were meeting at 8am and she got directions from their website.  Only problem was that when she clicked on the map to get directions, it ended up taking us to one of the many entrances to Peters Canyon that were in a residential neighborhood.  Not the entrance where the Sierra Club was meeting.  So we show up,  look around, and realize there has been an error.  No big deal.  There are lots of people hiking and running, so we decided to check it out on our own.

Here is the Middle Sister at the beginning of the "hike".
We started up the Creek Trail and soon made it to the Peters Canyon trail.  The Middle Sister and I had brought backpacks with water and a few snacks because we thought we were hiking.  When we got to the Peters Canyon trail I thought it would have been a better idea to wear our running clothes.  There were tons of people out running, walking, biking and hiking.  I don't know what I was thinking, but it wasn't this.
The main trail (seen above) for Peters Canyon is so big you could fit two cars on it.  It is made of dirt and clearly used a lot.  We passed at least 100 people and even saw a few cross country running teams training here.  When we came up from the Creek Trail, we turned right and soon found we were near the end of the canyon.
We found a map and started exploring.  We ended up taking Scout Hill up to the East Ridge and making our way toward the lake.  Being on the East Ridge was a little more like hiking but we were still getting passed by groups of runners.  I told the Middle Sister that we were going to have to go running here to do some hill training.  She didn't seem to happy about that.

Here is a picture from the top of the ridge looking back over Peters Canyon.
Here is a picture looking the other way toward the lake.

The Middle Sister and I never did find the Sierra Club but we kept saying we were hiking with them.  When ever the trail looked like this (below) she would tell me to take a picture so we could show what it was like to hike with the Sierra Club.....

What can I say.... we make ourselves laugh.  Over all I think we will probably end up running Peters Canyon a few times but I am not sure if I would call it a hike.  We did have a good time and it was nice to be a tourist in my own town and be a part of "action packed August"!

8.23.2012

Project of the Week: Fall Garden Plan

Another project of the week down. This little sketch might not look like much, but behind it are a few hours of research for what to plant in my garden. Now I just need to get on it! I am thinking that is a Labor Day weekend project for sure.

8.19.2012

Review: Les Bouquinistes (Paris, France)

My apologizes.  I was going through my drafts for this blog and came across a few I had yet to post!  I couldn't believe it.  These post were kind of like old friends and brought me right back to these great experiences.  I thought I would share them here.  Better late than never....

From my Paris trip in Summer 2009

Les Bouquinistes (a restaurant in Paris) was recommended by a friend and visited on a very rainy day in Paris. We were walking along the Seine trying to find it hunched under umbrellas and avoiding puddles at every turn. When we came to the address we started laughing, we had passed it a few days before and made a comment how it was one of "those" fancy restaurants. Oh well, we were hungry and it was highly recommended. We were going to try it. Ducking out of the rain, we entered Les Bouquinistes.

Atmosphere:
The atmosphere that greeted us was very modern. Clean lines and contemporary art filled one white wall while windows took advantage of the corner location. The wait staff was dressed in contemporary black suits. They were what I will call "french friendly" meaning they don't smile nearly as much as we Americans tend to but were very polite and helpful. We were asked if we had a reservation (we didn't) and then shown to a round table dressed with linen and crystal. The table screamed "fancy restaurant" but the wait staff seemed to whisper "just enjoy yourself".

Food:
Les Bouquinistes has a prix fix menu for 29 euro. It includes a glass of wine, appetizer, main plate and dessert. The little sister and I went for this option. The middle sister is a vegetarian and the prix fix menu didn't really have anything for her. She ended up ordering a salad and the waitress asked the kitchen to make her a vegetarian main plate.

What we had:
White wine
Bottled water
Fish with risotto
Pork with Chorizo and mashed potatoes
Asparagus Salad
Roasted Vegetables
Dessert
Coffee

The food here is delicious and creative. One sister pointed out this was a Guy Savoy (famous chef) restaurant and that is probably why. I had a lot of amazing food in Paris, but I have to say the Pork with Chorizo with mashed potatoes might be my favorite. The pork was cooked perfectly with the texture and flavor of the chorizo complimenting and not overwhelming the dish. The mashed potatoes tasted like mashed butter with some potatoes in them. They were so good. The little sister said her risotto was perfect, creamy and delicious. The middle sister had an asparagus salad made of green and white asparagus. The white asparagus was marinated and diced while the green asparagus was slivered.
Score: 5

Staff:
The staff at Les Bouquinistes worked as a team with one key waiter in charge of our table. They all seemed really young, like in early high school but that was just my perception. Tables were cleared, water and wine poured and everything was kept very neat and orderly by the staff. We never needed anything. The only black mark against them is that our waiter forgot to add the water and the middle sisters' wine to the bill. We pointed it out and our bill was fixed.
Score: 4.75

Overall we really enjoyed our lunch at Les Bouquinistes. The food was amazing and the atmosphere and staff completed the contemporary feel. We talked about going back there numerous times but never made it. Go for the food. It is amazing.

8.17.2012

Summer Food: 2012

One of my Year of the Dragon: 2012 goals was to photograph food with the Little Sister.  Rereading the goal I see it was also about making some Donna Hay recipes.  I was feeling like I was not completing this goal then I started looking at photos on my phone.  HELLO!  Looks like I have been taking tons of pictures.  I even think I have been fulfilling my goal of photographing Donna Hay recipes with my sister because she has been cooking through Easy Entertaining by Donna Hay and I have been photographing the food for her.   You can see her blog posts about it here.

I really love to eat.  If you have been around this blog you probably picked up on that theme.  Sometimes I take photos of what I eat and those photos bring me back to that meal and that moment.  It's kind of cool.  Here are some of my favorite moments from Summer 2012.

My lamb burger slider.  I loved this and wrote about it here!

I went to Ireland with my sisters (read about it here) and wasn't very impressed with the food, but did have a few things I really liked.

This was part of a Prix Fix menu at 55 North in Northern Ireland near Port Stewart.  Our BB owner JJ recommended the place and I really liked it.

This is called Banoffee Pie.  Thank goodness I could split it with my sisters.

I got this "Tray Bake" in Belfast.  Picture a cut up brownie on a mountain of ice cream.  Yum!

My favorite place I ate in Ireland was The Oystercatcher Bistro.  FABULOUS. Worth every penny.




When I got back from Ireland I ate fruits and vegetables from the Farmers' Market everyday.  I had missed them so much.

T made his bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos a few times and is also now making an ABC (avocado, bacon, and cheese) burger.


I went to Russia and was not very impressed with the food on the boat I was on.  Nothing to write home about.  I did eat my way through St Petersburg one day and that was awesome!  Searching through my summer photos I really liked this one of the wine bar we checked out on a layover in D.C.

I fell in love with Iron Press, a new beer and waffles place near me, and ate there a few times this summer.....



Had a few good eats in the Eastern Sierra.


And got to enjoy some Donna Hay meals from the Little Sister.




Ironically one of my other Year of the Dragon goals was to lose five pounds a month.  That doesn't seem to be working out for me as well as I had hoped!  

Bon Appetite!

8.14.2012

Project of the Week: weed garden boxes

Technically this is last week's Project of the Week, but I didn't post it because I was trying to compete my Fall Garden Plan. That is still in the works, so I weeded my garden boxes instead. Part of being able to plant my Fall Garden Plan is having boxes that are ready. I would have had to do this eventually.

Project of the Week: CHECK!

8.11.2012

End of Summer Trip with the Little Sister (Rock Creek Lake and Mammoth)

A week after leaving Mammoth I headed back up with the Little Sister for a weekend trip.  It was one of those spur of the moment trips and I'm glad it worked out.  We biked and hiked and just enjoyed ourselves.

Leaving at 5am on Friday we arrived at our friend the Fish Whisperers house at the base of Mammoth.  He works at Hot Creek Fish Hatchery and I felt so luck they have an extra room we could use.  

After stopping in, the Little Sister and I headed up to Rock Creek Lake to have some pie at Pie in the Sky Cafe.  My late Grandmother used to camp at Rock Creek Lake and loved it there.  I have gone a few times but always seem to miss the pie.  Not this time!  The Little Sister and I split a Mud Pie and took a piece of Chocolate Pecan Pie for the road!  Yum! Yum!
Seeing as we went from Sea Level to about 8000 feet, I thought it was a good idea to take it slow and not do anything crazy the first day.  That is why I thought Rock Creek would be a good for us.  The "hike" at Rock Creek is really a walk with a few climbs.  That being said, my heart did get pumping a few times!

The Little Sister and I had a contest going on this hike.  She has very bright running shoes that she wore and I had on my "Bacon Makes Everything Better" t-shirt.  We started getting comments on these two items so we started keeping score to see who got the most comments.  At the end of the hike she beat me 6-4.

Here are a few pictures from our hike.  Notice the BRIGHT shoes in the first shot.


The Little Sister had a pretty bad headache as we headed back to the hatchery.  We had picked up some food for dinner and threw some stuff together for the Fish Whisperer and a friend before the Little Sister called it a night.  I am pretty sure she had a mild case of altitude sickness with the headache.  In hind site maybe we should have not gone to Rock Creek Lake.

The next morning we were going to spend the day in Mammoth.  We started with a trip to Devil's Postpile.  I had never been to Devil's Postpile and was excited to see it.  It was supposed to be like the Giant's Causway in Ireland with the same baulast lava columns.  The Little Sister was excited to see this but when we got there it was a little underwhelming.  I looked around and then awarded Ireland a point on this one.  Devil's Postpile is a tenth of the size of the Giant's Causeway.  The Giant's Causway is stunning and fades into the sea.  Devil's Postpile is surrounded by some trees.  I guess it was underwhelming becuase Giant' Causeway was so cool.  I am still glad I saw the Devil's Postpile, but Ireland wins this one.


Back in Mammoth we had lunch at Burgers, one of my go to lunch stops during the snow season and then we took the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain to see all the mountain biking trails and view.  It was cold at the top of the hill and we could see weather moving in.  The whole point of going to Mammoth was to ride bikes, so at 3pm we finally got in line for the Lake Basins shuttle (the trolley takes your bike too) and waited for our chance to ride our bikes.  When we got on the shuttle it was reported that it was pouring rain at the top of the hill.  The weather had cooled off significantly and I was starting to get cold.  By the time we reached our stop it was really raining. The Little Sister was on the fence about going and I said, let's do it.  We grabbed our bikes and started down the hill.

The bike path from the Lake Basin in Mammoth is paved and mostly downhill.  It meanders through trees and campgrounds taking you by great vistas.  When we started this bike ride it was pouring rain.  My hands were so cold they were almost numb.  I was drenched and wondering if we had made the right choice but soon the rain let up and we got to enjoy some of the ride.  The wet roads made us cautious, but it was still a fun ride.

We ended the day listening to a band in The Village at Mammoth and then headed to the hatchery.  The Fish Whisperer was camping with his Lady so we had the house to ourselves.  Thunder and lighting stroms crashed all around us and we decided to turn in early.  The next morning we headed for home with a breakfast stop at the Alabama Hills Cafe and then a drive through the Alabama Hills.  I had a great weekend and I was a good end to my summer. 

8.07.2012

Russia pictures posted on Flickr......finally

I finally got all my Russia pictures posted on Flickr.  You can see them here.  The funny thing is that I realized I never finished posting my Ireland photos on Flickr.  I guess that is next....

Have a great week!

8.02.2012

Project of the Week

I am one of those goal oriented people.  I am a person who can be counted on to complete whatever project I am assigned, to show up on time, and to be dependable.  I am what some people call a "doer" because I will do things instead of just talking about them.  I like people like me.  We get things done!  Well..... eventually.

The truth is that I am really good about being dependable for others and getting all kinds of projects done at work, but I started to realize I am not getting my personal projects done in the time frame I would like to get them done and that bummed me out a little.  So I came up with Project of the Week.

Project of the Week is basically a goal I have to work on one of my projects once a week.  It doesn't mean I need to finish the project, just move forward on it.  Little by little.  Some of my projects are easy and some of them are huge.  Each week will dictate how much time I can work on one of my projects but at the end of the day I am just glad I will be moving forward and completing some of my personal projects. As one of those goal oriented people I like to cross things off my list and this is going to help me do that.

Coming Soon-- Project of the Week: Fall Vegetable Garden Plan

8.01.2012

Take Away: Summer 2012 (Ireland, Russia, Deadman Creek)

Summer 2012 was not what I thought it was going to be.  I had the chance to visit Ireland with my sisters for two weeks,  visit Russia with my Mom for 16 days, and camp with T in the Eastern Sierra for a week.  Looking back on it all now I can only say it was a medium summer.

How spoiled do I sound?  I shake my head when I think about it.  I got to go to Ireland AND Russia and all I can do is say it was okay.....  Whenever anyone asks me about the trips I mention a few of my favorite moments but usually end up admitting they weren't my best trips.  My parents would call me after I would post something on this blog to see if everything was okay.  My Dad would laugh and say he could tell I was not having fun and my Mom would call to make sure I was doing okay.  The truth is you can't win them all and sometimes you need to have some medium trips to appreciate the incredible trips that come along.

I did learn a lot about myself this summer.  In Ireland I realized that I like to have a "home base" when I travel.  I like to take my time to explore an area and not be on a schedule.  I remembered that I love public transportation and don't like to drive in an other country.  I realized that food is a big reason I travel and that I need to make sure I travel to places with great food.

In Russia I learned (or remembered) that I hate to be treated like cattle.  I dig my heels in when I am herded somewhere and hate to have everything scheduled out for me.  I realized that traveling with my sisters is my favorite way to travel but traveling with friends is fun too.  I like to discover things on my own and have the freedom to do what I want to do.  I realized I could travel with my Mom and it is fun to see a place through some elses eyes sometimes.

My camping trip this year even had a few revelations for me.  Camping with T has slowly gotten to be not as much fun as it used to be.  This makes me sad because I used to love to camp with him and I found myself trying to figure out what was going on.  The truth was that I was camping by myself a lot because T would leave to go fishing.  There was a day that he left at 8am and got back at 11pm.  That day sucked for me. I was trapped at camp.  It was hot.  I read two books that day.  I wanted to go home.  I was mad. I was supposed to be camping with T, not camping by myself.

I talked with T a little about this on our trip and he told me I need to learn to fish so I can go fishing with him.  I don't want to learn to fish.  I mentioned this a few times and eventually I decided I need to find something to do while he fishes or I need to stop going camping with him.  I would rather miss him while he is away fishing then be trapped and abandoned on a camping trip.  I thought I might take up mountain biking, but am really wondering if I want to keep camping at all.  I mean, camping should be fun.  I shouldn't have to work really hard to make it fun.

Ultimatly this summer taught me to guard my time.  To only do things I really want to do and to find a balance between doing something, and doing something I enjoy.

Next summer T and I are supposed to take an Airstream roadtrip to Glacier National Park in Montana.  I am not sure if it will happen or not.  At this point I am not worried if it does or if it doesn't.  I have a feeling it will be like our last trip in the Eastern Sierra and don't feel like being the non-fisherman on the fishing trip for three weeks.  If that is what it looks like it is going to be than I will probably spend the summer working on my garden, going to the beach, and having BBQs with my family and friends at home.  And right about now, that sounds like the perfect summer to me!