If I learned nothing else this year, I have learned well that maintaining a strong financial house leads to a lack of stress in all other aspects of life.

This was reinforced for me in the last three days when I saw a deal for the laptop I have been thinking about buying.

It was a very good deal.  But I have not stashed away the money to buy it at this moment.  I could have figured it out but that’s not the point.  The reality is that the deal came along BEFORE I had the money ready for the purchase.

Now I must admit, this is not a NEED.  This is a want, a fond desire.  My current laptop has served me well for almost 7 years but it’s dying a slow and ugly death.  I would very much like to replace it and I was thinking that I could do that easily before June of 2010.

But this deal popped up.  45% off.  That’s amazing.  the deal was to last for 3 days.  So I didn’t buy it right away, I thought about it.

On the second day when I went to look again… the price had risen.  The deal wasn’t the same.  Was it worth buying outside my comfort zone?  I took another day to think and the price rose again.

A sure sign that I should follow my first instinct and wait for the right time to purchase  the laptop.

Another deal will come up when I have the money.  And since I don’t NEED to buy this item right now I have the ability to wait until the time is right for the money and the price… at the same time.

And now it’s New Year’s Eve.

I’ve learned a lot this year and I look forward to the next year and all it brings.

Be careful out there.



New Dough

December 30, 2009

Thinking about Amelia’s Pizzeria made me realize that I was going to make pizza tonight.

But I didn’t want to use my go-to pizza dough recipe.  The Thin-Crust Pizza Dough recipe from Williams-Sonoma.

It’s a great dough but I’m rather over it.  Besides – I hate needing to have cake flour in order to make it.

So I looked for a new dough recipe and found this one on Epicurious.

It really is a fabulous dough… and I like the advice to pre-bake the dough before you put the topping on it.  And now I miss Gourmet magazine again.

Oh well.


So today was a wandering adventure kind of day.  I checked my PO Box and returned books from the library.  I picked up two new ones (and actually talked to a librarian – which will make my librarian friends happy.)  Then I walked down Shattuck towards MacArthur BART to catch the Go-Around.  Final destination IKEA and the continuing saga of organization.

On my rambling journey towards MacArthur I finally saw the pizza place Rosie told me about a while ago…  Emilia’s Pizzeria.

Here’s a really good review / interview about Emilia’s.

I love that they do one thing and only one thing and apparently do it very, very well.  I love that they twitter when they have sold out for the night.

I really admire this business model.  In fact, it makes me want to go out and buy a pizza.

Too bad they are closed today.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.


in fear of the McMansion

December 28, 2009

I was driving around my old neighborhood when I was struck by the amount of reconstruction that had happened.

Oh it’s been happening for a long time but now it’s just too hard to ignore these monstrosities of scale.

My neighborhood was planned around the 50’s or so…  nice 3 bedroom ranch houses on twisty streets with plenty of nice parks.  Then people started doing little add ons… another bathroom, a family room, etc.  Fine… nothing out of the ordinary.

But now there are these 2 story houses that stretch from one end of the property line to the other.  It’s a whole lot of house.  I want to say something like “it takes all kinds” but then I saw this house…

Okay – so yes it’s a corner lots so it is a little bigger but come ON!  They built a faux Mediterranean villa on the edge of a 50’s suburb.  This is just wrong.

THIS is what houses in the Park are supposed to look like.

Am I the only one that think this fad of building as much house as you can fit on your property is a bad idea?

Maybe it is just me.

oh well


University Avenue Adventure

December 23, 2009

So off I went to avoid the lack of water in my apartment today.

There it is, University Avenue.

I walked all the way down to 4th street where I did a little shopping.

I took pictures of random stuff along the way like this…

A: Who goes to “Magic Fingers Massage Therapy”?  B: What kind of massage are they expecting?  and C: what kind of certification do the employees have?


Random statuary behind a chain link fence… of course.


It’s good to know that what with the Hot Fudge Brownie and the Apple Pie you can get a nutritious glass of milk with your kids meal.  So much healthier.


Isn’t this a wonderful mural?

Still not quiet at 4th street yet…

Here we are at last… anyone who needs a few day laborers… this is where they hang out.

Now I haven’t been to 4th street in a little while but I was surprise by the number of changed.

Sketch Ice Cream is now Chocolatier Blue… Napa Style is now Books Inc… and Three Little Piggies children’s clothes is now Title9 (yes – I bought socks because I had to but sadly they were sold out of the box of socks.)

The coolest thing I picked up is this waterproof dopp bag from Z gallerie.

The SCARIEST thing I saw was these taper candle holders at CB2.

At first it looked like a choir but after talking to the salesperson we decided that they are an army.  Be afraid.

And finally the coolest things said to me today was “I love the things that people say in the check out line where it makes sense to them but I’m missing a key piece of information.”  Here’s how it happened.  I went to Blick because it was on the way to 4th street.  I looked around.  Couldn’t afford the cool graphic stencils.  Decided that the price on the acrylic was good enough to lure me away from Artist and Craftsman… took a tube of black and a tube of white up to the counter.  The guy asks me… did you find everything you need?  I say “I can always use more white and black… maybe now I’ll finally finish the painting.”  He says his line and I tell him I can make the sentence even stranger… “maybe now I’ll finally finish The Answer Is Buddha.”  He laughed.

That was today’s adventure.


the timing kind of sucks

December 22, 2009

I have tomorrow off.  How cool is that?  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to stay in bed and lounge around all day long?

Except when I left for work yesterday I found a flyer on my front door warning of a water turn off for the building from 9am – 3pm.

This is pretty much the textbook definition of a wrench in the plans.

So tomorrow I will wake up and get out before they shut off the water and go adventuring.

In the mean time would someone sleep a couple of extra hours for me tomorrow?  Thanks.


I actually learned this from Suzanne who is to be trusted on things of this sort.

The Mythbusters say it isn’t true but Bon Appetit says it is….  Having used the trick myself I can say that it works for me.

Bon Appetit

A friend recently asked how long she could store an opened bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine in the fridge. While it’s best to consume the bottle within hours of opening for optimal freshness, there are two options for storing bubbly in the refrigerator. The first, and most effective, is a Champagne stopper, which hermetically seals in freshness and effervescence for up to four days. The second method, frowned upon by wine snobs the world over and dismissed as an old wives’ tale, is to dangle the handle of a silver or silver-plated spoon into the bottle. I’ve found that the bubbly retains its fizz for about 24 hours, though it’s admittedly not as sprightly as when it was initially opened. But it is a fun and stylish party trick. Better yet, to avoid the issue altogether, finish the bottle—or look for producers offering half-bottles (375 ml) or half-splits (187 ml).

Lifehacker said this…

If you can’t finish a bottle of champagne after you’ve popped the cork, don’t dump it down the drain. Here’s a handy trick that might keep it fizzy and drinkable for at least another day.

Photo by Velo Steve.

Bon Appetit’s Heather John says grab a metal spoon and drop the handle into the neck of the champagne bottle. (A fork should work just as well, but skip the knife because you don’t want the utensil falling all the way into the bottle. )

John says that although the spoon-in-the-bottle trick has kept her champagne fresh for as long as 24 hours, it’s often denounced as nothing more than an old wives’ tale. The industrious folks over at Kumkani Wines decided to find out for themselves and ran a little experiment to find out whether this method really works. After what must have been an exhausting trial apparently involving a crate of champagne, a camera, and several weekends of imbibing (“It was a struggle, but we’ll do anything for science,” notes one of the, uh, researchers), they drew some final conclusions.

It turns out that putting a metal spoon in the neck of a champagne bottle does preserve much of its effervescence. The team also came up with a potential theory for why it works:

What we think is happening is that the spoon is acting as a radiator and when it hangs in the bottle, the air inside the neck of the bottle cools faster than the air inside a bottle without the spoon. Because we had measured the temperature drop inside each bottle we could confirm this.

Now, colder air is denser than warmer air, so the bottle with the spoon gets a ‘cold plug‘ on top of the wine sooner than the bottle without the spoon. The weight of this colder denser air means that less gas can escape so the bubbles are preserved. In addition, cold bubbly keeps more of its carbon dioxide in solution than warm.

Have you ever tried this method with leftover champagne? Got any extra insight on why it might work? More to the point, who actually ever has leftover champagne? Isn’t that like leaving one cookie in the bag? Enlighten us in the comments.

Update: Several readers are pointing out that MythBusters tackled the spoon trick and called it a myth, but for whatever it’s worth—and as our own intern Dustin points out—the MythBusters test is far more subjective than the Kumkani test. We’ll have to call this one inconclusive until we try it out ourselves.

Jeannette gave me this to keep my champagne bubbling…

Here’s to bubbly champagne.