Tapas night

Last night we got to rediscover our favorite tapas from our honeymoon in Spain. Mike knew of a place in the Mission that has a good selection, so we tried it out, and it was fantastic.

The place itself was pretty no-frills, but it had the same casual atmosphere as tapas bars in Spain, and they even had a guy playing guitar right outside.

We got Estrella Damm and a glass of sangria, and I was bowled over to find that the wine was only about $4.50 a glass. You know I love SF, but drinks there are usually in the $8-$12 range, which adds up fast.

We’re always trying to find pimientos de padron, the little deep fried peppers we had in Barcelona, and they had them!

They were so good. And I loved that all the tapas were portioned small enough so you could try a lot of them. In Spain we actually had a problem finding them small enough for two (or at least we were too dumb to order them that way).

We also had patatas bravas with a tangy aoili (sorry for the bad photo, it was dark),

fried calamari, which I didn’t get a photo of, and little chorizo sausages, which were like the best lil’ smokies you’ve ever had.

It was another perfect way to mark our anniversary. And I will definitely go back to that place if anyone else wants to try authentic Spanish tapas.

As I was going back through my photos to see if I had pictures of tapas, I realized I had some more photos from Barcelona that I never got to share. So here you go…

Rediscovering: soda crate

Looky what I found.

Back when I first moved to Des Moines (for the third time) in 2006 I asked my mom to find me a soda crate so I could make it into a little herb garden. I pulled out some of the slats and lined it with plastic, then filled it up with dirt. It was a total fail. Seedlings are hard enough to grow with their own little dishes with a grow light. This setup just wouldn’t work, and larger plants would need more depth for roots, I think. The plants died and I gave up.

But I found the crate in the garage today, and thought it was worth rescuing. I cleaned it out and tried to push the slats back in.

Me: What do you call that thing you use to pound in stakes?

Mike: A tenderizer?

Me: No, like garden stakes.

Mike: Oh, a mallet.

Me: Do we have a mallet?

Mike: Yeah. It’s in the garage.

Me, to myself: Of course we have a mallet. All guys have mallets. Duh.

So anyway, I pounded in the stubborn slats and got it looking back to normal. Only now i don’t know what to do with it. I already have a magazine rack, and I don’t really have knick knacks small enough to display in the holes. Also, now that I have pounded the heck out of those slats with a mallet, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to get them back out, should I want larger openings.

For now, it’s just sitting in the entryway looking retro. I love it.

Rediscovering: yarn!

I blame Brianne for the fact that I almost peed my pants at work today thinking of how exciting it would be to get back to knitting/crochet projects. Am I an 80-year-old woman in a 27-year-old’s body? I think so.

But seriously. I pretty much tossed my knitting bag into hiding as soon as the temperature hit 50 and haven’t thought about it until she talked about knitting a cable scarf today. I kind of go nuts when I’m working on things that involve yarn, resulting in burnout by the end of the hat/scarf wearing season. Just ask Mike — it is yet another example of my obsessive-compulsiveness.

But even though it’s July and (supposed to be) hot as hell, I’m ready to pick up where I left off. I started clicking through the Lion yard Web site at all their mostly free patterns and I just couldn’t stop. I got so excited. I don’t know what it is about knitting and crochet (especially since I end up not liking and getting rid of half the things I make) but I just love watching those projects come together and thinking how cool it is that I made something myself. I guess I live for that project that turns out even better than you imagined and attracts a lot of you made that? type comments. It’s crafting crack and I can’t get enough.

Soooo, when I get done with my photo framing project and my super top secret craft-to-sell idea I’m cooking up you better believe I’ll be at Michael’s stuffing yarn balls into a basket and squealing like a ‘tween.

Rediscovering: yoga

It’s not really that surprising that I let go of my yoga practice. After my two yoga buddies left town, my favorite studio abrubtly closed and I didn’t make the effort to go to another one. That was also around the time I started to realize that I was going to be in debt forever if I didn’t stop spending my money on extras I didn’t really need. So out went $10 a pop yoga classes.

And back came my back pain. I’d like to say that surgery fixed all my problems. But the truth is that I sit in a chair all day and that’s why I had problems in the first place. The more I sit, the stiffer I get. Throw in a different activity, and boom. Big time soreness.

But after a few months I realized I could take yoga at my gym, for money I was already paying, up to three times a week. All I had to do was just go. So two weeks ago I finally pulled out my mat and my embarrassingly tight pants and went. And it was great.

The teacher is a veteran of one of my old studios, and her class is just the right mix of challenging and confidence building. When I get home I’m not sweaty and disgusting, but I do feel like I’ve had a good workout. And I just feel that calm that only yoga has been able to give me. It’s amazing, a workout that calms you down. But it’s true! All workouts should end with meditation. All workouts should consist of stretching. Not just stretch at the end — the whole thing is stretching.

So anyway, I’m just feeling like there’s more balance back in my life (ha ha). Of course my teacher is about 8 months pregnant and about to leave for a while, but I can’t let that keep me from going. When you find something that works for you the way that yoga does for me, you think nothing could make you stop going. But life will make you stop if you let it. This week, I’m back to the mat.

Rediscovering: Sylvia Plath

Last weekend “Sylvia” arrived from my Netflix queue. Gwyneth Paltrow plays Sylvia Plath and Daniel Craig plays her cheatin’ husband. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever made, but I did like it, and it did get into how she never really got the help she needed for her depression.

Anyway, it got me thinking that I had a copy of “The Bell Jar” around the house. I must have read it for a class in college, because the copy I have is pretty aged and has one of those ‘used’ stickers on it. But I cracked it open last night and have been enjoying it for a second time. I really like her writing style – she has great descriptions. And the subject matter (working at a magazine in NYC) of course appeals to me.

Brianne also let me borrow a book of poems I had never read.

I was telling Mike that I reread a lot of books – half of them because I never quite got them in the first place (or I read them in 10th grade, long before I could really understand their meaning) and the other half because I just get so much pleasure out of reading them. Some books I could read every week and still be happy; I just tear right through them.

Anyway, if you’ve never read any Sylvia Plath, I would definitely recommend it.