Sunday, December 31, 2006


Just got back from an ice skating expedition at the Rink on The River here in Reno. Pretty nice operation they have, and fairly popular during the holiday break. Julien's reaction was fairly similar to skiing; "I'm not good at it, so I don't want to do it". He's smiling in the pictures, though. Our friends Anju and Mira had been practicing, zipping around like pros...

Photogenic Gene

Man, someone in our family didn't get the photogenic gene. It is SOO hard to take a good picture of Sofia. Maybe it's my camera; the preflash tends to make her blink just as the shutter goes off for real. Here's an example at sushi the other night...

Blogging Resolutions

I'm not generally big on resolutions, but I've come up with a couple blog-related ones this year. Didn't come up with these on my own; they are things that other people have done, and which have gained a kind of following with other bloggers. The first is to take one picture a day for a whole year to post and archive. This sounds like fun; a way to make me take more pictures, and think about what in my everyday life is worthy of being photographed. The second is to read and document (blog about) 50 books in a year. I can't imagine this will even be an issue; I generally read a couple books a week. I might be suprised at how close I am on this, though. At any rate; look forward to more photos and book reviews, starting... Hey! Tomorrow! Happy New Year!

Christmas pics

Sorry about the radio silence here; holidays and all... Anyway, finally got some christmas pictures posted to flickr. Kind of disappointing - I took a lot of pics, but only a few turned out usable. Couple of examples here...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Grail

In preparation for a trip up to the Oregon wine country around McMinnville next summer, I've started reading some wine books specific to that region. The first that I've finished is The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling Through an Oregon Vinyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wild World, by Brian Doyle. Well. I really liked it. My first reaction was "needs more periods, less commas" - he has a kind of loopy, run-on writing style that I thought would be annoying, but I grew to like. Made me feel like I was listening to someone exuberantly describe something they were passionate about, which I guess he is. Doyle claims to be an essayist at heart, and does a wonderful job capturing the spirit of the Lange family and their winery in a kind of "year in the life" format. Made me really care about the family, their wines, and the area - I can't wait to kick around in some of the places he described. I hope I can find a bottle or two in the local shops; if not, I may have to find a way to order a taste.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Dining in the dark

No, we didn't jet to Paris to visit "Dans le Noir", the restaurant where you eat in the dark served by a blind waitstaff. We were out to dinner last night at an Outback restaurant in Sparks with Ken and Gail (had a gift card to use.) The lights flickered once right before our salads came, then as we were eating our salads, they went out for good. Our dinners were ready, so they brought them out and we ate in the dark. Kinda fun. They were turning people away from the door, though, so we were pretty sure the lights weren't coming back on. Eventually our very gracious server told us they were having problems with their credit card systems as well, so we scoured our wallets and came up with enough to pay the bill. We walked back out into the VERY windy night to an almost apoctalyptic scene. There were sirens screaming by on the street, debris blowing by, and a nearby hilltop was on fire (a transformer failure, we learned later.) Pretty exciting night, though - we went home and got candles ready just in case, but we never lost power at our house.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Winter Beer

Attended a Winter Beer tasting at a friend's house last night - we tasted an incredible amount and variety of different winter beers, from hoppy spiced IPAs to milk stouts. Had a great time, but I'm kinda craving hash browns right now...

Early Xmas with the Tiars

Marc, Morgan and Lola stopped by yesterday to play Santa and have a little early Xmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Program

Julien had his Kindergarten Christmas Program last night - Packed everyone into a classroom and sang a few songs. It was nice and short, and the kids did a great job. Little Sofia didn't much want to be there, though...

Birthday Dinner

Had dinner last night at Lulou's to celebrate our friend Anju's birthday. She hadn't been there since their big remodel a few years ago, and was pretty impressed. We agree - for my money, they have the best food in town. I'm "wowed" every time I eat there. Other places have great atmosphere, make me feel really comfortable, but from a sheer food standpoint, Lulou's does it for me. Excellent service as well.

We started sharing three appetizers, a Hamachi Sashimi, a Carpaccio, and a Baked Lobster dish. The Hamachi was served with a really interesting fruit sauce, and the Carpaccio was wonderfully tender. The Baked Lobster was amazing, though - served in an escargot plate, we were dipping the lobster butte rout with bread until they took it away. Mich and I each had a salad - she a blue cheese and I a butter lettuce with enormous radish slices. Mich continued with the "Colorado Lamb" - very nice. And Anju had the Ono, a whitefish that was beautifully textured. I ordered the Veal, partly because I hadn't had veal for years, and partly because it was served with "Truffled Mac & Cheese", which I just had to try. Most amazing macaroni I'VE ever had. Coffee was followed with a white chocolate sundae, a warm chocolate tart with pear creme anglaise, and a caramel pots de creme. Excellent!

We tried a Willamette Valley Pinot with dinner, and I can't remember the label. I'm going to have to call them later today to get the name - it was very pleasant.

Turi's Gingerbread house

Turi's Gingerbread house
Originally uploaded by turi_b.
By request - apparently I didn't include a picture of MY gingerbread house in the post about them the other day...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Posting methods

Kind of a test post here, to see if I have things set up right to send posts out via email - a few people I know don't need to be bothered with RSS feeds, but would like to know when I post a new entry. If you fit this description, please let me know...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

No Touch Monkey

Boy, I'm glad I didn't have to travel with Ayun Halliday when she had the experiences depicted in the early parts of No Touch Monkey: And other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late. Much as I like the global backpacker ethos in theory, she seems to have been one of those people who take the thriftiness side of it to extremes. (At one point, she mentions turning down a $4 a night lodging despite its amenities, because most of the other options were closer to $3. Sheesh.) That's one thing that I love about the Globe Trekker series on PBS; they have the spirit of the backpacker thing, but aren't afraid to try a few interesting things that might cost a couple bucks. At any rate, I did enjoy reading about her experiences, and I became less annoyed with her in the second half of the book as she learns what she missed by being such a cheapskate in her youth. The final chapter, on traveling with kids, though, shows that despite all her travels, she isn't immune from unrealistic expectations...

Actually, I see that Halliday's latest book is called Dirty Sugar Cookies: Culinary Observations, Questionable Taste. I think I liked her writing style enough that I'll put out an Interlibrary Loan request for that.

Snow Kids

Had some fairly serious snow last night - only an inch or two at our house, but it made the roads really ugly for a holiday Saturday night. Dianne couldn't make it back to Carson, and spent the night with us - we all got up and played in the snow a bit. Mostly melted off the streets now, just our dumb north-facing driveway is going to stay snowy for awhile.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gingerbread finished

Just finished up the gingerbread houses - ate some candy, got a little messy. Julien had some practice at school on Friday; he was all ready with a plan of what he wanted to do. He seems to understand that they aren't really for eating, too. Didn't stop him from eating straight frosting...


Finally finished The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, which I'd been working on for awhile. What a crazy book! Just a giant flight of fancy, the product of a hyperactive imagination. Really hard to describe this book - I've heard it compared to Douglas Adams, but that's not quite right - it doesn't have any of the social commentary of Adams of Terry Pratchett. In fact, I kept trying to make the book have some deeper meaning, but it seems like it's just a big pile of fun. This is a book that I would recommend to certain people, but I'm not sure why - it was a really engaging read, and made me chuckle all the way through.
Apparently there's a sequel, too, Rumo: And His Miraculous Adventures. I'm going to wait a while before starting in on that one...

Bond New Years

We were given tickets last night to the James Bond New Years party at Bubinga, a lounge in the Eldorado downtown. Already have costumes - I hope there's a costume contest! (Thanks, Alicia!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Saw this post at last week, and it looked kind of library-crafty. Gave it a try at work, and it worked pretty well. Had a great idea, though - make it out of duct tape! It actually worked out better than with the paper - firmer, easier to work with. The "chrome" duct tape used here looks really good...


Stayed home Monday with a sick Sofia - got some stuff done around the house. Painting a big bookshelf for the guest/computer room, wrapping presents, some cooking. Hope she's feeling beter this morning, or might take her to the doctor. We'll see...

Lost Cosmonaut

Had the Granite Christmas party on Saturday night, and, for a number of reasons, made it back to the room early. Found I was just as happy sitting and finishing up a book as I was at the party. Oh well. Did finish up "Lost Cosmonaut" - kind of a weird read. One of those books where the blurbs and promotional material on the cover don't really give a good idea of the book. They made it sound like it was going to be the "manifesto of the anti-tourist" or something, when it was really just a slacker from Ireland living in Russia, taking irrelevant side trips and mooning about them. Actually, that's kind of harsh - I liked Kalder's writing style; how he jumps from insightful and poetic to Tarantino profane and back, and I may read something else of his if I see it, but this book just didn't seem to have a worthwhile point

Friday, December 8, 2006


Going to try a gingerbread house with Julien this year. Here are a few pics of the planning stages, reading the recipe and the actual baking. Lots of leftover dough, made a bunch of snowman and christmas tree cookies to decorate, too.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Feast or Famine

I seem to either be looking for something good to read, or have a whole bunch of stuff come in at the same time and have to rush to finish up. Just gave up halfway on The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries in order to concentrate on a couple of travel-ly Inter-Library loan books that came in. Just started Lost Cosmonaut: Observations of an Anti-Tourist. Enjoying it so far, more in-depth review later. That's my at-work book, at home I'm getting into The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear - a crazy but engaging fantasy. And I've finally finished reading through the James Bond Series at the gym in the mornings (went back and reread Casino Royale, too, because of the movie. Forgot how short it is.) Anyway, now I've started on a Terry Pratchett offshoot series called The Science of Discworld , which uses Terry Pratchett's Discworld as a narrative framework to explain some pretty cool science. There's three in the series - it'll take me a little while to get through them...

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Kids Table

Kids Table
Originally uploaded by turi_b.
Had the Tobey/Dahls over for dinner the other night - Here's a Turi's-eye view of the cousins digging into post-dinner ice cream.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Bike Back!

Finally got my motorcycle back from the shop - it was in for almost a month! Had all sorts of stuff done to it - new starter and front tire, 15,000 mile service, front shock overhaul. Doesn't ride too different except a little change in how the shifter feels - I guess I'll get used to it. Hopefully the weather will stay nice for a little while...

Bond Books @ South Valleys Library

Bond Books @ South Valleys Library
Originally uploaded by turi_b.
Saw and enjoyed the new Bond movie recently - in honor of it, I have a display of my collection of Bond novels and other books on display at my library.

Bonus Bond trivia question: Which Bond movies had theme songs that had titles that were different from the movie's title?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reach of a Chef

Just finished Michael Ruhlman's The Reach of a Chef. Enjoyed it as much as I have his other books. Really makes me want to have a seperate bank account just to go eat at some of the places he writes about, though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bill Nye's Birthday

Saw in the newspaper that it was Bill Nye's 51st birthday on Monday - decided to make him a little cake. Chocolate-chocolate chip with nutella frosting, and a little pink candle. I should have taken a picture of it. We sang "Happy Birthday, Bill Nye" and then the kids ate his cake. Messy!

Monday, November 27, 2006

First snow

Little dusting of snow on the ground here in Reno; not as much as expected, but exciting nonetheless. Can't quite suit up the kids and go play in it, but that'll be before we know it...

Sunday, November 26, 2006


another new friend
Originally uploaded by turi_b.
Kind of a test entry here, to see how the flickr connection works. This is Sofia's first pet, an as yet unnamed fish that currently goes by "pishy", as in "pishy food" and "pishy eat?" Any suggestions for names?

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Well, so I've got a blog. Hope I can keep up with this and make it worthwhile. I'll try to get some pictures of the kids up here to start things out...