Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Day 308: Wild Turkeys

I spent several hours today doing a bunch of errands, and after emptying the compost and picking up some bagels at Noah's, I headed up 16th Street, which turns into Route 160. Just past the final stop light on 16th, I glanced over at the levee area where 160 crosses over the American River Parkway, and I spied a quartet of wild turkeys wandering amidst the green grass and enjoying the sunlight.

I used to see turkeys and other urban wildlife near the River when I did my long runs along the levee, so it was a nice reminder to catch a glimpse of these birds, even if it was from my vantage point in the driver's seat of Odo.


Day 307: Magpie Cafe

S and I had our rescheduled Happy Hour tonight and planned to go to Shady Lady, but it was way too crowded and loud. Instead, we ended up next door at Magpie Cafe:

I've been to Magpie a couple of times before, although it's not in the usual rotation for Mr. E and me. Many people love this venue for its fresh and local cuisine, but we tend to find it a bit off-putting due to spotty or lackadaisical customer service and slightly high prices.

S and I had a lovely time, however, and shared the Farmstead Cheese Plate, which was very tasty. And Mr. E and I have definitely put this on the list to try for brunch, now that Magpie is actually open on weekends for more extended hours.


Day 306: Sacramento Meeting Place

One of the large health-focused foundations in this state, The California Endowment, has a Sacramento regional office at 14th & K Street, just a few blocks from CPCA.  Part of the office includes the Sacramento Meeting Place, which consists of several meeting and conference rooms that are available for free to non-profit and community groups.

I first learned about this community resource when I was still working at PPMM, and we used the larger of the rooms for an Ed Leaders meeting. Since I've been at CPCA, we've used the larger and smaller rooms several times, as it can be helpful to get out of our office and into a new environment for certain types of gatherings.

What I particularly like about these meetings rooms is that each of them has an inspirational and motivational name: Power Up, Progress, and Change. Although this may seem a bit contrived, it actually is easier to feel creative and innovative in a room with that sort of association than in a typical Conference Room!


Day 305: Coffee Shop Transition

A few weeks ago, I noticed that the former Tantric Coffee on the ground floor of the Esquire Building had changed its name to Grace Coffee.

I occasionally frequented Tantric for lunch or smoothies, and I enjoyed the wrap and salad options, although the service was sometimes a bit on the slow side. I don't know why Tantric closed, but I'm glad that the storefront didn't end up vacant for any significant period of time.

The two Yelp! reviews so far are quite positive, and I'm definitely planning to try the new spot. I especially appreciate that the business donates 10% of its profits to a non-profit organization that provides support to girls and women rescued or escaped from the sex-trafficking trade.

This is the first location for the business in downtown Sac, as it originated in Elk Grove.


Day 304: Thankful to Live in Sacramento

Today in Sacramento, we had slightly cloudy skies and temperatures that ranged from the low 50s to about 60.

On the other side of the country, in my hometown of Marshfield, my Mom was dealing with blizzard conditions, no electricity or heat, and excessive high tides.

Here are some pictures of Brant Rock, the beach neighborhood just to the south of where my Mom lives in Ocean Bluff:

Evacuating at the intersection of Route 139 and the Brant Rock Esplanade

Looking towards the Esplanade (roughly from the Fairview Inn)

Arthur & Pat's, a popular local breakfast spot, in the flooded Esplanade

Houses in Brant Rock

Broken sea wall along Bay Street in Brant Rock

And here's a view of the street, Foster Ave, that is one block from my Mom's house:


Day 303: Taylor's Kitchen

Taylor's Kitchen is right next to Taylor's Market on Freeport Boulevard near Land Park:

When we went to dinner with B&B on Saturday evening, we had early reservations right when the restaurant opened at 5pm. That time-frame ended up working out quite nicely, as we didn't feel at all rushed, and then Mr. E and I could still get to Lenscrafters afterwards to pick up my new sunglasses (the old ones were a casualty of the Sacramento Harvest event last week!).

I had the cheese plate and a roasted beet salad. Mr. E ordered the foie gras appetizer special and the pork chop. We both enjoyed our meals and would likely be amenable for a return visit, but neither of us was completely overwhelmed by the experience or service or value.

For example, I thought it rather odd that the cheese plate didn't have any sort of cracker or crostini as an accompaniment -- just a blueberry compote, marcona almonds, and fresh honeycomb. All of those items are very tasty, of course, but I was extremely thankful for the yummy Acme epi bread that is served to every table, or I wouldn't have had anything on which to enjoy my cheese!

The interior is quite attractive, with lovely exposed brick:

However, it did get a bit loud once the other tables were filled, so I was glad that we had a table in the front corner, as that little area was a bit more protected from the noise (not to mention the customer and server traffic).


Day 302: Evan's Kitchen

Mr. E and I have a list of local restaurants that we'd like to try, mostly based on recommendations from friends and colleagues and compiled over the years that we've lived in Sacramento. This year, we decided to be more proactive and methodical about visiting these venues, so we wrote the list on the white board near the kitchen, which is also where we keep our grocery shopping notes and coupons.

This weekend, we actually managed to visit two new places -- Evan's Kitchen on 57th & H Streets in East Sacramento and Taylor's Kitchen on Freeport Boulevard near Land Park (more on the latter tomorrow).

We went to Evan's Kitchen yesterday morning with our monthly brunch group, as the menu for the morning meal is quite extensive and seemed to provide a good opportunity to test out the restaurant. Here's a sample of the breakfast offerings:

I had a yummy DIY omelette with spinach, mushrooms, and avocado. Mr. E had the corned beef hash, which came with two eggs, and the french toast. I appreciated the option of fruit rather than potatoes for a side (especially with no additional charge), but Mr. E wasn't overly impressed with the hash. He prefers his meat shredded rather than diced, so although there was nothing actually wrong or bad about his meal, he would order something else the next time around.

Our brunch companions all seemed quite satisfied with their meals, and given the reasonable prices, comprehensive menu, ease of parking, and lack of wait time, we'll likely include this as a recurring spot for our monthly brunch gathering. It's farther for the majority of us who live in Downtown or Midtown, but it's closer for M who lives in the Arden Arcade area, so it's still pretty convenient and worth keeping in the rotation.


Day 301: Murder of Crows

My earlier-than-usual bike commutes at the end of the week, both in the clear and in the fog, were highlighted at the end by a murder of crows swarming in the skies north of the Capital, centered mostly around 13th Street, all the way from L to I Streets. The cawing black birds crowded into the trees near the Sheraton Hotel, the nearby parking garage, and the CPCA office building, looking something like this:

I actually rather enjoyed having these avian companions at the end of my journey, although I was a bit concerned about the potential debris falling from the sky. At first, I thought perhaps the sound was dripping water from the trees, but then I realized it was likely some other sort of liquid falling from above... yuck!


Day 300: Early Morning Bike Commute in the Fog

My bike commute this morning was quite different from yesterday's trip. Today, the Sacramento area was blanketed in heavy fog, and as I rode along N Street and through Capitol Park on 13th Street around 7:20am, I couldn't even see the Capital Building at all! The fog limited visibility to about 1.5 blocks, so everything was muffled and hidden. The only part of the Capital that was visible from the 13th Street cut-through was the lower half of the eastern entrance and entry stairway.

I actually really love seeing fog like this, as I find it unique to Sacramento compared to the other places where I've lived. At the same time, I'm also grateful that I don't have to drive long distances with this type of minimal visibility!


Day 299: Early Morning Bike Commute

Today and tomorrow, I have to be at the office by 7:30am for a training program, which means that my bike commute occurs in the early morning when the sun hasn't quite risen all the way yet. The dawn light is quite lovely and enjoyable, especially riding through Capitol Park and seeing the State Capitol lit up against the gradually lightening blue-grey sky. 

This image is a pretty accurate portrayal of the scene I get to enjoy on my way to work:


Day 298: Traffic!

My primary commute methods are bike, light rail, and walking. Every once in awhile, however, I take the scooter out for a spin, and given how the lack of activity recently caused the scoot to need some maintenance work, I now have a goal of riding it at least once very other week to give it some exercise.

We have a Honda Metropolitan that we bought in late fall of 2003 to help with my post-foot surgery recovery phase. Our scoot is dark "denim" blue, which isn't produced anymore, so we don't see too many twins out on the road:

I scooted today because I was planning to run an errand in the afternoon and needed a faster mode of transportation than my bike. In the end, I didn't have to take a break from the office after all (too bad!), and as I headed to the gym after work, I remembered why the other commute options are so much better than any form of vehicle -- 5pm traffic in downtown Sac.

Granted, compared to major large metropolitan areas, Sac doesn't really have much traffic or gridlock. But at the moment, the various road construction projects within a half dozen blocks of each other are creating quite an unpleasant situation. There are lane closures on I Street between 8th & 9th; on L Street all along the Arena construction site from 7th to 5th; and also on 7th Street near the Capitol Park Towers apartment complex between N & P.  Add all of these restrictions to the general influx of folks heading out of downtown in the early evening, and you can end up with a real mess.

The only redeeming factor of the scoot is that California law allows motorcycles and scooters to ride "in between" lanes of car traffic, so I often edge up alongside cars waiting at a light in order to make it through the next cycle and not get caught in a holding pattern. Of course commuting by bike, light rail, or foot allows me to avoid all of these problems...!!!


Day 297: Sacramento Dine Downtown Week

Sacramento is celebrating "Dine Downtown" week from Jan. 15-24 this year (yes, this is actually more than 1 week, but I think the point is to include 2 weekends in that time span).

The goal of this promotion is to highlight restaurants in Downtown, Midtown, and Old Sacramento by offering special 3-course prix fixe menus at $31 per person. In previous years, the cost has been $30, and that extra $1 this year is to support the non-profit Food Literacy Center, which works to "inspire change in community food education."

Mr. E and I have taken advantage of this promotion in the past to try out some higher-priced restaurants where we might not otherwise dine, and we're thinking about heading to The Firehouse this weekend, possibly to meet up with my colleague B, and her spouse, B.  The Firehouse is a rather pricey special-occasion-type restaurant in Old Sac, so the option of a $31 prix fixe menu is quite a value at this spot. If we do make it there, I'll definitely post about the experience!


Day 296: Harvest Sacramento Community Event

The CPCA office was closed today for the MLK, Jr. holiday, and I decided to put my day off to good use by participating in a Harvest Sacramento community event. This is a program run by Soil Born Farms that aims to pick ("glean") fruit from trees around the city in order to provide fresh produce to community members and neighborhoods. We're so lucky in Sacramento to have fresh food that grows all year long, and yet much of what is produced by the local fruit trees ends up on the ground or in the garbage.

I worked with a team of 7, including a team leader, to harvest from 3 homeowners in the Curtis Park area. We picked grapefruit, oranges, and more grapefruit from rather tall trees that looked similar to these:

We used long-handled citrus picker tools to harvest the fruit:

The best of these tools were those on the poles donated by a paint company, which were really easy to extend and retract. The most challenging part of the activity was having to tilt my head up to find the higher-up fruit, which got to be rather uncomfortable on my neck after awhile.

Overall, this was a great experience, and I'd be very interested in getting more involved if there are groups in Downtown or Midtown. I think Mr. E would really enjoy this as well, so I hope we have the opportunity to participate together.

At the very least, I'll definitely volunteer again if Harvest Sacramento does the same event next year, and I'll see if I can organize a group from CPCA to join in.


Day 295: New Eateries on 16th Street

Mr. E had mentioned a few weeks ago that he noticed a sign for a new Noodles & Co. in the corner spot of the northern building of the recently-completed apartment complex across from the Fremont Building mixed use development on 16th Street.

Today, as I was leaving SuperCuts (in the northern part of the Fremont Building), I saw that two more new eateries are getting ready to open as well -- Togo's, the sandwich shop chain; and Fit Eats, which looks quite interesting, although I'm not sure if it's an eat-in spot or just for delivery.

Regardless, it will be nice to have a few more casual dining options within easy [walking] biking distance.


Day 294: LivingSocial Experiment at Bistro Michel

Mr. E and I have never used LivingSocial or Groupon or any of the other group discount platforms. We have had pretty good luck with a couple of Goldstar discounts, including our recent trip to San Francisco that included a local musical "Foodies" (perhaps fodder for a future post). However, I get emails from various list-serves for Sacramento-area events and activities, and one of the messages this week included a LivingSocial deal for archery lessons in Rocklin.

Ever since we watched "The Hunger Games" last year and completed our basic firearms course, Mr. E and I have been talking about how fun it might be to try some archery (more than I did informally at the YWCA day camp back in my hometown). So I decided it was worth purchasing the LivingSocial voucher for a 1-hour lesson and equipment for 2 adults, especially since we have until May 16th to use the discount.

Once I got onto the LivingSocial site, I found a few other discounts for the Sac area, including a deal of $50 for $30 at Bistro Michel, a restaurant located at 14th & O Streets that was on our list of places to try this year. We decided to go out tonight, especially since Mr. E had been working so hard all day on reconfiguring the metal plates on the living room wall that will be the basis of our new home entertainment system.

Note to self... before purchasing another LivingSocial deal, be sure to check out the recent Yelp reviews.

Although we very much enjoyed the food -- Mr. E's steak and my fish were perfectly cooked and delicious -- we did not appreciate the unexpected requirement of the restaurant that each person had to order four items in order to use any discount or promotion. We also didn't appreciate the prices of the dinner menu, which aren't displayed online, oddly enough, even though the brunch and lunch menus are comprehensive and show all costs.

So Mr. E and I would definitely agree with the Yelp reviewers who criticized the restaurant for limited options and restrictive policies, especially as related to discounts and promotions that should be a benefit to diners and help to drum up repeat business. Umm... yeah, not so much in our case.

We definitely won't be making a repeat visit. We'd much rather spend that same amount of money at someplace we really love, like The Press.


Day 293: Popcorn at CAC

Twice week, usually on Tuesday and Friday evenings, the CAC brings its popcorn machine out into the lobby seating area near the racquetball courts, and supplies small paper bags so that members can enjoy the snack. Mr. E doesn't usually partake of the offering, but he'll often bring a bag home for me if he knows I haven't been at the gym that evening, especially on Tuesdays when he plays volleyball 'til relatively late. Yum!


Day 292: Foggy Mornings

This week, we've had very foggy mornings, so I've had to use my bike lights and reflective vest during my morning commute to work. And on the two days that I went for a run, I used not only my headlamp but also the same reflective vest, which I rarely use for anything other than biking. Given the dense fog, however, I figured it was better to gear up as much as possible to make sure that I'd be completely visible to all of those drivers and morning auto commuters out there around the Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods.


Day 291: Keith Haring Exhibit

One of the main reasons that Mr. E and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with a San Francisco weekend was to attend the Keith Haring exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. We're both fans of Haring's unique and iconic artistic work, and it was really interesting to see an exhibition that was focused on some of the pieces that express his political views and ideology.

Mr. E took some great photos as we strolled through the exhibit halls:

That last image is one of my favorites. The piece is actually inscribed wood with enamel painted into the carvings. It's much more striking in person, as the individual drawings and vignettes are clearly articulated and easier to discern than in some of his other two-dimensional pieces, which to my eyes can sometimes be so full of action and lines that they become almost disorienting. I imagine that might have been his intent, but I find those pieces somewhat overwhelming.

Both Mr. E and I were amazed that Haring was so prolific. He died in early 1990 at the age of 32, and he left behind such an enormous and inventive portfolio of art with a variety of media and messaging.


Day 290: "Zipper Truck" Project on Golden Gate Bridge

When Mr. E and I drove to San Francisco this weekend, I noticed a sign on I-80 near Berkeley indicating that the Golden Gate Bridge was closed and to use I-580 if going to Marin. I wondered why the Bridge was closed, and Mr. E said that he'd seen a story about a project to install medians on the bridge to help accommodate heavy traffic times by using the "zipper truck."

We're familiar with this type of traffic control from the Boston area, where the HOV lane on I-93 (the Southeast Expressway) has been in place for many years. This mechanism shifts concrete barriers from one side of the highway to another so that the newly-isolated lane can be dedicated to traffic going in one direction rather than the other, i.e. into Boston during the morning rush hour, and out of Boston during the evening rush hour.

Here's an aerial view of what happens inside the truck and a photo of the truck itself in action:

For the Golden Gate Bridge, part of the motivation for installing the barriers was related to safety concerns related to head-on collisions. On Saturday evening, we caught part of a news story on a local San Francisco TV network that provided an update of the project, so I assume that the zipper trucks and barrier adjustments have now been implemented.

I wonder if that will somehow impact the route of the San Francisco marathon?  I have very fond memories of running across the Golden Gate Bridge when I ran that marathon in 2009.  I can't imagine that having the new barriers would make a difference -- it would probably just make it even safe for the runners to take over a lane for the race.


Day 289: Sea Lions at Pier 39

One of my favorite things to do when we go to San Francisco is visit the sea lions at Pier 39:

This year is the 25th anniversary of the sea lions' arrival at Pier 39, with special events to celebrate the event all next weekend. I don't think Mr. E and I will be able to get back to SF again to partake in the festivities, but maybe I can at least see some of the events with the live Sea Lion Webcam!

I'm also quite fond of the "sea lion love" statue along the Embarcadero:

On a previous visit, Mr. E bought me an awesome sea lion magnet that looks very much like this statue as a surprise souvenir, and it's on one of my file cabinets at work as a reminder of these fabulous (and noisy) pinnipeds.

Haiku for the sea lions:
Your home is K-Dock.
Bask in the sun, lounge in the fog.
Barking pinnipeds!

Swim in the bay, flip
your tails and fins at the tourists.
Barking pinnipeds!

Roll on each other,
nudge for your space on the dock floats.
Barking pinnipeds!

For twenty-five years,
you've made Pier 39 your own.
Barking pinnipeds!

For you, we need to
keep the Bay clean, healthy, and safe.
Barking pinnipeds!


Day 288: Bay Area Bike Share

Mr. E and I were in San Francisco this weekend to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary (go Team JEMS!), and we decided to expand on our recent tradition of check into and sometimes trying out the bike share program in cities that we visit (see previous post about Chicago and Montreal). This system is called the Bay Area Bike Share, and includes some sites in other Bay Are cities, such as San Jose and Palo Alto.

We saw a few folks on these recognizable bikes as we were walking along the Embarcadero, and we finally found a station just past the new cruise terminal, so we decided to use the bikes as our mode of transportation for the remainder of the journey to the Ferry Building.

After getting some snacks, we got got new bikes for the journey back to our hotel. We followed Market Street and returned the bikes near the Powell Street BART Station, just in front of the Ross Store (how convenient!).

Both of us enjoyed the bikes, especially since they're the same design as those we used in Chicago, so we felt very comfortable on them.

However, I found it odd that the San Francisco system is so concentrated in just the northeast corner of the city rather than being more dispersed and widespread. For example, it would be great to have stations to access the trails in and around Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, but there's absolutely nothing available west of Van Ness Ave or south of 14th Street. I'm sure there must be some reason for the structure of the network, but it seems like a missed opportunity and certainly much less useful than the networks in other cities that cover more area.


Day 287: Trick Pony

Another local venue I passed during my morning run yesterday is Trick Pony, which has taken over the site of the former Tuli Bistro at the corner of 21st & S Streets, just across from a small Rite Aid.

Mr. E and I had some VERY negative experiences at Tuli, despite the general widespread acclaim and fondness expressed by other Sacto patrons. I'm glad that the site hasn't remained vacant, and it looks as though this is another spot to try, based on the reviews in Yelp and elsewhere.

Apparently, the initial opening and offerings weren't too successful, but there's been changes in management and some PR efforts to compensate for that rocky start. If we put it to the JEMS test, I'll definitely report-back on my blog with an update!


Day 286: Sunh Fish Company

I went for a run this morning and passed Sunh Fish Company at the corner of 19th & V Streets.

In the past, the business has always been closed and dark when I've gone by, but today the lights were on so I could see inside to some of the display cases. Mr. E and I have never tried to make a purchase of fresh fish from this store, but some of the reviews on Yelp are quite compelling.

We do try to patronize local businesses when we can, particularly for any special ingredients or a special meal, so perhaps we'll add this to the list of potential options, especially if we ever [finally] decide to get adventurous and try to make our own sushi or sashimi!


Day 285: Sacramento's New Downtown Arena Project

Officially known as the Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC), the new downtown arena is currently under construction, replacing part of what used to be the eastern portion of the Westfield shopping mall. In theory, the new venue's grand opening will be in October 2016 (there's a countdown clock on the web site!).

When Mr. E and I couldn't ice skate last week, we spent a few moments overlooking the enormous construction site from the corner of 5th and L Streets.

Mr. E wondered if there might be a live construction camera feed for the development, similar to the construction cam that had allowed me to follow the progress of the new high school in my hometown. Sure enough, I found links to two camera views, one from the official ESC site, and the other through the local CBS station.

I really hope the final development lives up to its potential...

At least the new arena will be in the central city rather than way out in the middle of nowhere in Natomas!


Day 284: New Hummingbird Feeder

One of my holiday gifts from Mr. E was this red glass hummingbird feeder.

We'd talked about getting a feeder for several years, as we've occasionally seen hummingbirds flitting about the patio when we had flowers blooming in the pots out there. Of course, we don't have the leafy foliage and environment as shown in the photo above, so when I set up the feeder about a week ago, I hung it from a large hook on the wooden fence that we share with our neighbors at 900 Q Street. And I was so excited to see our first avian visitors the very next day!!!

Hummingbirds are just such amazing creatures to watch, as I mentioned in a previous post, and the kitties seem to enjoy the new source of entertainment as well. I'm so glad that our feeder has attracted some visitors! Now I just have to remember to clean and refill it on a weekly basis.


Day 283: Cold Weather Running Haiku

Lots of layers, a
hat, and gloves. The sun rises
over Southside Park.

Brisk early morning
air wafts in the door, as the
cats welcome me home.


Day 282: Berkeley Veggie Burger

I experimented tonight with a new recipe for the Berkeley Veggie Burger, which consists primarily of grated golden beets and brown rice, bound together with some panko and eggs. Here's a picture of the burger as prepared according to the exact recipe:

I made a few changes along the way, of course -- no chives, no cheese, and no mayonnaise-based sauce (yuck!). I also inadvertently left out the toasted walnuts (oops!), but Mr. E and I both put them on top of the burger for some extra flavor. We didn't have any arugula or fresh horseradish, so those items were also missing. We put on some additional dijon mustard and used the yummy kalamata olive bread from Safeway (see below) instead of "artisan" rolls, which gave the patties an extra savory kick.

These are definitely not a substitute for a traditional burger in either taste or texture, and you absolutely need to be fond of beets to enjoy this recipe, so that all worked out quite well for Mr. E and me for an interesting and different type of weeknight dinner.

And we even have 5 patties as leftovers to enjoy another time!


Day 281: End of the Holidays

Mr. E and I took down all of our holiday decorations today. We managed to purge a few things and consolidate multiple small ornament boxes into a few larger ones (with accurate labels, of course). Everything looks so bare right now!

This will be good motivation to finally complete the new home entertainment set-up with everything mounted on the wall (hint, hint, Mr. E -- ha, ha).

In a couple of weeks, we'll be able to put up some Valentine's Day items along with our special Chinese New Year decorations, so our home will look a bit more festive again.


Day 280: Skating at Downtown Ice Rink... almost....

Mr. E and I headed to the Downtown Ice Rink at 8th & K in the hopes of skating during the 2pm session this afternoon. Unfortunately, the session was sold out, as this particular ice rink is rather small (about 1/4 block) and thus runs "sessions" every 2 hours with a limited number of skaters able to participate. Oh well. We'll have to try again sometime before the rink closes for the season on January 19th.

We decided to go for a short bike ride instead to take advantage of the sunny weather (still chilly, though -- 30 degrees at 8:45 am this morning!), so we headed along Capitol Ave, across the Tower Bridge, and over to one of the new developments in West Sac near Raley Field.

I blogged about The Park Moderns a couple of months ago, but we hadn't had a chance to tour a model during the first release dates earlier this year. So today, we wandered through a 1,450 square foot model town-home, which was open for tours on the weekend until 4pm. I think this was the model we toured (or at least very similar):

We both agreed that we like this development better than the SoCap Lofts near us here in downtown Sac, but there's not much else around The Park Moderns at this point in terms of retail or amenities, except for the ballpark. The longer term plans for that area include additional development, which will likely include restaurants and other retail establishments, but for now, it's still sort of in the middle of nowhere.

As Mr. E pointed out, buying a property there now is definitely an investment (and a statement of faith) in the future of the neighborhood. I think I'm a bit too risk-averse to take that chance!


Day 279: Go Badgers! Go Big Ten!

The Badgers beat Auburn 34-31 in overtime yesterday in the Outback Bowl. GO BUCKY!!! Mr. E and I considered going to an Outback Steakhouse today to take advantage of the free appetizer offer (coconut shrimp) as a result of the Big Ten win (had Auburn won, the offer would have been for a Bloomin' onion), but we decided that even our loyalty to Big Red wasn't compelling enough reason for us to hit up the chain restaurant.

Mr. E was even happier when Ohio State beat Alabama later in the day, as that brings a Big Ten team closer to winning the inaugural College Football Playoff, which will be played in Dallas on January 12. Good thing we'll be home from our SF trip in time for Mr. E to watch the game, especially if Ohio State wins its semi-final!


Day 278: A New Year Begins

28 degrees at 7:45am in Sacramento when I went out for a run this morning. Brr! It was almost like being back in Louisville over Halloween weekend!