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zomg baby!

Just in case anyone doesn't follow my new blog: we had a baby! His name is Kai and he is amazing. See updates at or follow the lj feed at sandpaperletter.

Blog cross-post

...because this news needs to be repeated in all corners of the internets that we inhabit.

Daily photo from November 19th, now being made public:


More on the blog in this post, or (as always) see the LJ syndicated account sandpaperletter.

Apologies for those following both this account and that one; there won't be any other crossposts after this one. :)

BTW: !!!!!!!!!!!!1


Change of Venue

Hi everyone!

This is just to say that I've decided to move and re-purpose my blog. I'll still follow along here as long as there are folk to follow, but for me LJ seems to be less and less appropriate as I look to write more about professional pursuits. You can now find such things at I've also set up a livejournal feed that you can follow, and if you want to comment there I'll check (though I might not reply as much there as on the main blog, so as to keep the conversations as consolidated as possible). Of course you can add it to your main feed reader should you prefer that.

Here's the text of my first post:

"I've decided that it's time to graduate to a new blog! Hopefully this will become a repository for all the thoughts I'm having on things that interest me lately. Mostly I'll be talking about garden work, school/Montessori thoughts, photography - and probably a fair amount of food, travel, and general life stuff as appropriate.

"Sandpaper Letters" refers to the material in a Montessori classroom used for teaching the sound and formation of letters. The child is encouraged to trace the letters with his or her fingertips, which are formed with a slightly rough material on a smooth background, while simultaneously speaking the sound that letter makes. It prepares the child's hand for writing and mind for reading. If the teacher is a keen observer and catches the child in the sensitive period for learning the letters (usually around age 3-4), that child can work through the entire alphabet in a matter of a couple weeks.

Next up: a post about what I'm doing at school, and what I'm planning on doing next."

See you over there!

(Note - I'll still be following along over here as long as there's people to follow.

Photos and Doing Things

Hey! I did a bunch of stuff semi-recently. These are some photosets I've uploaded lately (more photoset reviews to come) - no individual image links beyond the one to the photosets, because I AM LAZY:

We attended various dinner parties/BBQs at Tortuga and the Money Pit:

Being a new parent doesn't mean you don't get to ROCK anymore!

(Note: The particularly frenetic nature of this photo was somewhat staged. :D)

Kate and Schwern visited!

We went to the Academy of Sciences!

And delicious foods were eaten.

I did a Gardening With Preschoolers workshop at the educational gardens at UC Santa Cruz - somewhere I'd be spending a lot of time if I do decide to apply to their how-to-farm school next year.

We went to Burning Man, where due to dust and distraction I seriously took fewer pictures than I ever have there ever. Oh well!

We participated in DASH, a multi-city puzzle hunt run by our friend Deb, which took us all over the city and was lots and lots and lots of fun.

Deb giving everyone their marching orders, in front of City Hall.

The hunt ranged over a large area, including Alamo Square.



From this summer at the Oregon Country Fair:

New photosets on Flickr:

(If you want to see the actual photos full size, you'll need to click to them out of the photosets. Sorry, I'm just too lazy tonight to provide individual links. :) )

OCF Pre-Fair

OCF Friday & Saturday

Excelsior Reunion

There was an observatory! Jofish almost broke it.

To close this one out, I present the above picture of me. Camping, yet clutching a freshly-made Pimm's Cup, and - to top it off - cooking up a batch of fresh fried chicken. As I say in the captions/notes in the photo page, If someone were looking to gain a quick, shorthand beginning understanding of What Jess is All About, they could do worse than to analyze this photograph.

Jun. 23rd, 2009

So on Sunday we participated in a dinner party potluck where everyone was required to make at least one thing from the Alinea Cookbook. Alinea is a restaurant in Chicago that specializes in pushing the boundaries of a culinary experience. I won't go into what they're all about here - if you require explanation, go here and read this simple comic explaining what a meal there is like.

ANYWAY, we ended up with a bunch of stuff that looks like this:

See it all in my flickr set.

It was a fantastic chance to push my own boundaries in terms of what I'm capable of and comfortable with in the kitchen. And while it's not at all a type of cooking I will especially seek out in the future, I learned at least a few new techniques and DEFINITELY was inspired by some of the flavor combinations.

Most of all, though, I WANT to eat there. Colin went a couple months ago while in Chicago for a wedding and he HAS NOT STOPPED TALKING ABOUT IT since then. I'm thinking mid-September, around my birthday. Anyone want to join us? YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

Seriously, though, it'd be fun to get a group trip to Chicago, so let me know if you have any interest and I'll keep you in the loop!


May 19th: Accented

May 19th: Accented
May 19th: Accented,
originally uploaded by Jess and Colin.

May 19th: Accented

I like the way the red is splashed throughout his photo. The child in the red hat was a happy coincidence!

Taken while waiting outside Flour + Water, our new neighborhood pizza joint (2 blocks from our house!!). Wow, that was a damned tasty dinner.

May 24th: Walking to Pluto

May 24th: Walking to Pluto

Due to the observatory's presence, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park has various astronomical related attractions to it. One of them is the Planet Walk: there's a sign with a sun on it that's like 18 inches across, and then you can walk to a far distant ridge that's the equivalent distance away that Pluto would be at that scale. Along the way, you pass other various other planet markers.

Walking to Pluto is tiring work!

May 23rd: Camping Food, TimeCube Style

May 23rd: Camping Food, TimeCube Style

Yes, I hauled a big ol' camp stove, a pint of peanut oil, Thai marinated chicken drumsticks, rice flour, and a cast iron pan out to our campsite. And yes, it was AMAZING. (Also delicious: the impromptu onion rings that followed the chicken. Nom nom nom.)

By the way, in that silver cup behind the pan? A freshly mixed up Pimm's cup, complete with lemon soda, mint, strawberries, and other such nonsense.

I think this camping trip should win some kind of prize for food decadence. For reals.

May 22nd: A Duck

May 22nd: A Duck
May 22nd: A Duck,
originally uploaded by Jess and Colin.

May 22nd: A Duck

When I was 19-21ish, my apartment's bathroom was all done up in a serious rubber duck theme. Bath mat, shower curtain, wall art, and (of course), actual rubber ducks galore. They were all named after U.S. Presidents if I remember correctly. This is not one of those original ducks (though I think I may still have some of them), but rather one of our cat Tesla's bath toys. Yes, our cat has bath toys. Yes, she is exceptionally strange.