Monthly Archives: February 2013

Swan Apples

Apple swans?

Either way, Gossip Girl (henceforth known as Gigi) decided to teach me how to carve a swan out of an apple. Apparently, it’s possible to carve many different kinds of animals into a wide variety of fruits, but we stuck to one species tonight.

She learned this in 7th grade, which I feel was a little too early considering how many fingers we almost lost. But here’s how it happened:

Step 1: Assemble the ingredients. (Step 1a: Discover that the apples you bought 11 months ago when you moved into your apartment have finally gone mushy. Step 1b: Panic. Step 1c: Drive to Safeway at 9 p.m. and buy nothing but three Braeburns. Contemplate getting some paper towels but decide against it.)

Step 2: Wash the apples. Don’t forget to remove the sticker! You don’t want your swan to have a tattoo.

Step 3: Get a knife. The sharpness of the knife depends on how much you trust your fine motor skills.

Step 4: Make a base for your apple. This will help with the not-cutting-your-fingers-off part of the project.

(A good blogger would have photo documentation of all of these steps. I, however, was lazy.)

Step 5: Carve the head. Make a notch-y thing in your apple, opposite the base. Remove the apple piece now filling said notch-y thing. Cut it into a sort of neck shape with a beak-type thing attached to the top.

Step 6: Carve the wings. This involves all sorts of voodoo magic and near-amputations.

Step 7: MARVEL AT THE WONDER YOU HAVE CREATED. Gigi’s apple is on the right, and the student apples are on the left. (Mine is the far left one. He doesn’t have a face, but I don’t even care. SO CUTE.) 

Apple Swans

Step 8: Appreciate still having all your fingers.

Step 9: Eat your apple swan.

Guess I know what I’m doing for my next dinner party: fancy napkins and fruit animals! This blog is really upping the expectations for classy shindigs.


I Have Awesome Friends

It was my birthday this week, which means I’m cheating on today’s blog post. (As someone who had cake for breakfast on three separate occasions over the past seven days, I feel like a little bit of cheating is totally allowed.


I just turned 25—the big quarter-century—and this week I learned that I have some truly amazing people in my life. Not that I didn’t know that already, but there’s nothing like a birthday to make you appreciate the really important stuff:

People who understand the meme potential in this picture of an ocean sunfish.


People who bear with me as I gawk at the weird jellyfish lights that will one day grace the halls of my imaginary mansion.


People who convince me that, maybe, after 24 years of reacting to the thought with utter disdain, eating seafood might not actually be that bad. Especially when enjoying it in front of a view like this one. (The fries were still my favorite part. Let’s be honest here.)


People who realize that, even as an adult, nothing beats a pirate-themed birthday party.


People who make me dinner and buy me cookie cutters and notice that my kitchen might be lacking in spoon rests. People who wake up before dawn to trudge to yoga with me. People who are always there when I need them and who trust me to be there for them too. People who make me feel loved and important.

This week I learned that I have awesome friends, and I hope they all know how very much they mean to me.


Today’s post is a little different because, instead of learning something from someone I know, I decided to learn something with someone I know.

One of my friends has been talking up this yoga studio near my house for ages, and when we discovered a Groupon for it, we decided it was a call to action.

(From this point on, my cohort will be known as Raphael, even though she is a girl. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: What should I call you in the blog?
Her: Um…I dunno. Something Ninja Turtle-related.
Me: Well, which one do you want to be?
Her: Raphael. Obviously.


So before signing up for our Groupon deal, we peruse the studio’s website to check out when their beginner classes are. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:15 a.m.

Oh, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I read that correctly. Was that seven fifteen IN THE MORNING? That means waking up before dawn, people! Anyone who knows me knows that me rolling out of bed before 9 a.m. is a feat. 10 a.m. is preferred. Actually, you know what? Maybe just leave me be until noonish.

Still, it was for science. And blogging. And, you know, general health and wellness, I guess.

We had our first class on Tuesday. I was up before the sun (appropriately horrifying), it was freezing, and we both showed up looking like death, I’m sure. We were introduced to the instructor, I told him I was new, and he assured me we would have a lot of fun. Fun, he calls it!

Actually, I forgot a part. When we were still deciding whether to actually sign up for the Groupon, Raph mentioned that it was a heated studio. I think her exact words were “I think they heat it a bit during the class.” And we quickly discovered that by “a bit,” they actually meant “to over 90 degrees.” Sooo…yeah. Surprise hot yoga!

Will (our instructor) took us through a number of asanas and vinyasas and all sorts of other words I would probably spell and/or use incorrectly, but overall he was right, and it was really fun! We’ve been back twice more since and have inspired additional people to (begrudgingly) accompany us. And, even though I couldn’t move my limbs or my torso the day after my first class, I am proud to say that I am almost completely functional again after my third.

Also, as I have not yet mastered the pose that lets you take selfies while performing your vinyasa, the only photo I have is of my mat (and towel…which is so much more necessary than I ever thought it would be).


The end! Yogi out.

Inflating a Bike Tire

Okay, so it’s kind of a boring topic today, but the skill that I had planned for this weekend ended up falling through due to cold-like symptoms, and I had to come up with something else.

I just bought my very first road bike! Yay!

Bike 1And I just found out that said road bike had a flat tire! Well, a flattish tire. Boo.

So I pulled out my bike pump and was confronted with this:

Bike 2

I’ve owned the same mountain bike since I was 11, so this freakish valve was all new to me. To the interwebs! (The interwebs are my favorite.)

After much Googling, I discovered that I was trying to use a Schrader pump on a Presta valve. Silly me!

I ventured to the local cyclery to acquire an adapter, and I did manage to find one—along with a new Nalgene, a set of bike lights, and some fancy velcro reflector bands. (This bike is turning into a money pit, but I am going to be the fanciest broke cyclist in all the land!)

Took about half an hour to actually get my tires inflated to the proper pressure, but I finally did it! Plus, bonus skill, I figured out how to actually use my bike pump gauge. So much learning!

And I know this post was lacking in excitement, so in honor of the Super Bowl, have a superb owl: