Monday, November 26, 2012

TV & Me

Welcome to the Monday after a holiday break. Mondays like this are worthy of valium, repeat viewings of The Holiday, and a nightcap. That's not why I'm writing though. This is just a shout out to let you know I finally wrote again for "All on TV" about my odd obsession with America's Next Top Model. Check out the post, not to mention the other great posts from other contributors...and here's to a happier Tuesday!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Adopted Family

In the MPA program, my classmates and I quickly became like family in our home away from home. Emily and Karla came for a whole week at the end of the October, and for a brief moment I felt like I had my MPA family close by. We ate good food, we caught up on all the MPA gossip, we talked about boys and life and job prospects, and we played tourists in San Francisco and other great spots in the Bay Area. I love these girls and really hope they come visit again soon (or even better, move here!!). 
At the end of September, the SRV crew gathered at the Pinkertons' for their annual Thanksgiving dinner. This is the Thanksgiving where Zach gives a speech about how we can't choose our family, but we can choose our friends and how great it is to spend time with the family we choose. I love the Pinkertons and am so grateful for their constant love and hospitality. This was the final picture of the night - Katie, Amber, Julie and I are part of the original SRV crew. I've been so blessed to have them in my life. 

Dear Jenessa - Part Two

Dear Jenessa-

I kept most of my promise. I posted about everything I mentioned except "shoes" - which I don't know what that refers to anymore except that I have a random picture of shoes in my iphoto library and our "half-marathon" - which still requires that I get the rest of our pictures included. I'll work on that...hopefully soon.
More importantly, thanks for making the trek to Tahoe to hang out for the fastest weekend known to man. I had a great time. You are welcome to crash my grading weekends anytime.

Love you tons and see you in two weeks!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Answers

The answers to "what have you been up to?" are usually varied and often exceptionally random. Lately though, the answers are going to include movies, the Food Network, running, or trying new recipes. 

Movies: The best movie I've gone to lately is Argo. Even if you're not a history buff, it's still absolutely fantastic. Ben Affleck is great - both as the star of the film and the director. Go see

Food Network: I don't need to bore you with the details of Chopped, Sweet Genius, etc, etc, but it's love....and if you're (un)lucky enough to show up at my house, I may make you watch with me. 

Running: I've told you plenty. The next half-marathon is in Santa Barbara this upcoming Saturday.
(One of my latest cheesy running posters. Trying to stay motivated as the weather turns cold.)

 New Recipes: Seth and I have been on a kick lately of trying new recipes. We've made caramels (round one and two weren't nearly as successful as round three), joconde with a strawberry mousse, chocolate mousse with chantilly creme, manicotti, Thai stir-fry. On the horizon is chocolate mints, mozzarella, ice cream, etc, etc.  The manicotti was especially amazing, but Seth makes that from memory. Next time I need write it down so I can recreate it. The chocolate mousse with the chantilly creme is my favorite of the desserts. We should have taken a picture, but it was late and we were in the midst of burning caramel. We'll get better at documenting, but you should just come over so you can try our latest creations. Happy cooking!
(Not the most magical picture, but again, it was close to 11pm - strawberry mousse in a joconde cake.)

Post seven complete...almost there.

Primo's Run

I have been hearing about the Primo's Run since I started work in the district in 2007. Melissa and I decided on a whim that we would do the run. I think we were both a little surprised that we followed through, but on an exceptionally foggy morning we trekked to San Ramon with her two kiddies in tow.

Our 5k run turned into more of a walk because the running stroller was out of commission and the umbrella stroller only held one of the kids at a time. Melissa had a kid on her back or in her arms for more of the course. I was on stroller duty which included lots of "we're almost there" (which started after about one kilometer) and keeping the kiddos wrapped in the jackets and running shirts. 

We look ready to run though, right? All in all, just a fun excuse to chat and laugh at the hilarity of trying to keep the adorable Savannah and Rockwell happy throughout the run. If only we'd found the balloons before the end of the course. 

Post six complete. Are you keeping track Miss Ness?

Orange October

 I wrote a whole piece once on why God invented October. My main answers were fall leaves and baseball. Naturally, that's made up, but those two things are two of the reasons why I love October so much. This Orange October was spectacular - a second World Series win in three years was more than most Giants fans could hope for, but it happened and most of us are still waiting to wake up from the dream. 
 My dad managed to get tickets for us to game one of the National League Division Series. It fell on the night before Jenessa, Maria, and my half-marathon. We should have been home in bed, but instead we ate junk food and screamed until we had no voices left. Best type of race preparation I can think of.
 It's important to note that Maria is a Dodgers fan in Giants country. She was a good sport at our not so veiled "we hate the Dodgers" comments. She even rooted for the Giants to win against the dreaded Reds.
The energy of 43,000+ fans at a playoff game is tangible. It was beyond amazing.
 It seemed we were bound to lose the NLDS, but the Giants came back and took it. Crazy to think we were down again and came back to win the NLCS. Magical, underdog feeling, kind of ride (if that makes any sense at all). 
We're looking a little tired, but on a Monday we snuck to a NLCS playoff game between the Cardinals and the Giants. Cameron is there too. Not sure where those pictures ended up in the excitement.
I can measure my life by Giants seasons. This one is no exception. We're World Champions (if you can say that about a league that only plays in the United States and Canada) once again. Could not be more excited. 

[Post number five complete. Only a few more to go....]


When I look back through the posts I've written, very few of them include references to work though it's something that occupies my time and thoughts every day. In fact, I never even mentioned that I got a new job for this school year at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon. It's been a very strange beginning, but the kids are great - for the most part, very motivated and kind - something you don't usually find in the collective whole of teenagers. 

I am on the second floor of the 1000 building. Our school is five years old and looks more like a small junior college than a high school. For the record, I go by Miss Hutchins instead of Ms. I know that's an odd distinction, but for some reason I see Ms. and picture someone in their forties. The mug poster is because when I was asked what things I collect, all I could think of was how I buy mugs from the places I travel to. The poster still confuses my kids when they come in, but I'm pretty sure my staff pal is one of my students so I don't want to take down her work. 

This is what my grading stacks in Tahoe look like this weekend, so that's all the detail you get about school for now. Long story short, I'm glad to be at DVHS. Go Wildcats!

ps. Whenever I say Wildcats, I hear High School Musical in my head.

Post number four complete. Getting closer to being caught up!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

mini high school reunion

In high school I was blessed with great friends. Yes, there was drama. Yes, there were occasional tears, but usually those tears were from laughter. A few of us got together on a Saturday in October to catch up and marvel that one of the original Stargazers (our 6th grade core name) had a baby. We commandeered a table at BJ's for three hours - it had been way too long.
 I know I used this picture back a few months ago, but four of the fab five were present at the lunch. (I'm still working on old pictures of the Rachel and Nicole. They're coming, I promise.) So from left to right, Juri, Jen, Cassey, Lorraine, and myself. 
From left to right - myself, Nicole, Cassey, Juri, Rachel, and Lorraine.  I feel like we should have changed more, but it felt just the same as it always did even though it had been years since some of us had seen each other.  The difference between the two pictures is fourteen years - shouldn't we look more different?? Pretty amazing to think how much these girls affected my adolescence. I'm lucky to still have them around. 

Post three complete.

The Munsons!!

In September Jewels, Brett, and their two adorable kiddies made the trek out to California. It was a fantastic week where I ignored everything I was supposed to do and just got to hang out with some of my favorite people. 
 This little man wins you over with one look of his big, blue eyes. Loved every second I got to hold him. 
 Even though it doesn't sound strange to say I'm an aunt, I still find it amusing to say my parents are grandparents. I love that Mae calls my dad "papa".
 Welcome to the real reason Brett and Jewels' trip was scheduled during September.
 We didn't know then how amazing the season would wind up being. Just glad to be there. 
 Mae (and the rest of the family) came to visit me at school. This is Mae teaching us about letters. 
 Did I mention how obsessed I am with Henry?
 I know it's a bit blurry, but we're besties already. 
Princess Mae and her tiny carrot from the garden she and Marme planted this summer.

Can't wait for the Munsons to come again!
(things on the to do list already when they do: hand & foot (not the disease, the card game), endless hours of Food Network, Chef Chao, not mention just playing with the kiddies)

Post two complete. :)

Keeping Promises and Catching Up

I am behind. There is no qualifier. There is no one reason why. I just have let myself get pretty much everything - grading, projects, posts, etc. And I am perfectly okay with that...except that I promised Jenessa I would post about a bunch of different things all by Monday, November 5th. I'm not one to break a promise, so fingers crossed that I can get this all done.

Here's a shout out to the things I don't have real pictures of from this fall, but are standout moments just the same....

Apple Hill: It's tradition to drive all the way the foothills above Placerville for apple donuts, the best apple juice you've ever tasted, and the first glimpses of fall. Seth, Tracy, David, Patrick, and I made the trek on a cool September morning. It was a perfect day to visit, though ironically we didn't document any aspect of the day. Too busy picking what we were going to eat, I guess. 

Opera at the Ballpark: Seth and I naively thought we could fit Apple Hill and Opera at the Ballpark in the same day. Apple Hill, like I mentioned being up above Placerville, and the ballpark being the Giants stadium in San Francisco. Throw in that Seth was feeling sick, and the day turned into quite the adventure. Opera at the Ballpark is literally as it sounds. The San Francisco Opera shows their debut performance of the season on the big screen at the ballpark for free for the community. 35,000+ people showed up. It was absolutely freezing, but it was really fun and unlike anything I've ever done before. I would totally recommend it. 

St. Vincent's: I love to eat out. Emerald and I made this connection in college and would justify spending money we didn't have as students and young professionals on dinners that were just a little bit more interesting than your run-of-the-mill chain restaurant. A few weeks ago, I went with Seth and a couple of his friends visiting from Long Beach and Japan to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in San Francisco called St. Vincent's. The lighting was so dim that pictures looked ridiculous, but the food was as beautiful as it was delicious. I tried things I don't usually eat - sea urchin, crab chowder, tuna (you know how I am about things that swim in the sea) and fell in love with eggs pickled in red radish, and eggs pickled in curry. I tried honey and sweet milk ice cream topped with sea salt and honey comb and had a ham chop served with splitzenberg apple and sweet corn bread. The best part was actually Seth's (can you tell everyone at the table was trying each other's plates) heirloom tomato salad. Am I allowed to say best tomatos ever?

Post one complete. At least half a dozen to go.