Archive for October, 2009

It’s been a while, I know. Midterms took up too much of my free time and now I’m thinking about finals, ugh! I have two 20-page papers, a news story where I need to interview eight sources and a take-home final exam all due in early December so I really need to get a jump-start if I’m going to make it to the holidays. So, today you get an extra long post of my favorite things about being back in Reno.

Beer Barrel Reunions 

Sad to admit, but I spent a good deal of my college nights at the Barrel. Think of it as the Cheers of Reno, where everybody knows your name…the one place you could go on any night and be guaranteed to know at least half the people there. Oddly enough, the black layer of sludge with its distinct scent made you feel right at home. Not to mention the residue that stayed on your jeans for at least 3 washes (and you wondered why Pi Phi’s were known for wearing black pants)! Sadly…well, probably fortunately for any parents with children at UNR…the Barrel closed years ago, but the owner of the Barrel opened a new bar, Amendment 21, in downtown Reno. It’s much nicer, actually has tables and chairs, serves food, doesn’t wreak of sludge, and substantially bigger than the Barrel, which is always helpful for fire codes! Last Friday, Amendment 21 had a Barrel Reunion just in time for Homecoming. With so many friends in town, it was just like the good old days of college, only we all had legit IDs and most of us were home by midnight! 

 amendment 21


It doesn’t get much better than game days in the fall but Homecoming might be the best one of the year! The tailgater was sponsored by Grand Sierra Resort, free food and drinks and a DJ…seriously! We had such a good time laughing with friends and catching up with people we hadn’t seen in ages. Then it was on to the game where we stomped University of Idaho. Jimmy went on to mingle with his SAE alums at the house while I went home to nap with the pugs (I can’t function of just five hours of sleep – and it was cold outside and the pugs are snuggly). It was a great weekend over all. Can’t wait to do it again next year!!



If the social scene isn’t enough for you to understand the beauty of this place, check out the view from my kitchen window. We are in the perfect location in our community, open space all around and amazing views of blue skies and pink sunsets.

sunset 10-09


I imagine this might make my “Least Favorite Things About Reno” list in a few months but the first snow, my favorite! It’s just perfect when you’re home for the day, a big pot of potato soup on the stove and pets lounging by the fire. It wasn’t enough to stick but just perfect to watch floating to the ground. It’s quite chilly today but well worth it!

snow 10-09

Now, after all that, don’t you want to come visit us soon?

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a fun recipe for you to enjoy (I imagine not many of you tried the dog treats!). So, among the many things to be happy about today, I’m giving you a fabulous bread recipe.

Wondering why today is so great in our little world? We’ve all been a bit under the weather for a couple days (Jett included) but today we woke up free of sore throats and tummy aches and to our surprise, a sky full of gloomy rain clouds…my favorite!!

I haven’t seen a full day of rain in ages. I missed the rainy June in Reno and right after I left Vegas, in came the monsoons, so I haven’t enjoyed a day of rain in quite some time.

With the soothing drizzle of raindrops on my windows, a healthy house and a stocked pantry, I decided it was the perfect day to bake bread.

About a year ago, Jimmy and I decided the healthiest bread would come from our own oven. We had a vegan stint in our lives and you’d be surprised how hard it is to find bread without honey! Tucked back in our pantry, we had a fancy R2-D2 looking bread machine circa 1974 and while it may appear to be straight from the Brady Bunch, it’s the easiest thing to use and produces amazing bread! 

bread machine

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Limited Edition Cook Book and is the best we’ve tried so far in terms of the good old bread machine. If you’re kneading and letting it rise on your own, you’d probably want to start by mixing the yeast in hot water then mixing all the dry ingredients then the wet, but with a bread machine, pour the yeast, followed by flour then all the rest on top.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 1/2 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup flax meal

1 cup bread flour

4 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter (I use earth balance)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

3 tablespoons water

This makes a 1 1/2 pound loaf which is about 16 slices. Once it’s all in the machine, press start and four hours later, you have soft, fluffy bread and a house that smells like a bakery. It’s the best thing for a rainy day!

sliced bread

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Vegas Vacation

We’re finally back from a weekend of fun in Vegas! Our dear friend Anne married the amazing Ted Sunday which was the main event of our trip. But we managed to pack in two full days of visits starting with Grom’s house where my mom and Aunt Trisha promptly put Jimmy to work moving bins of goodies for their garage sale. He’s such a good sport, always so helpful and never complaining. I had a group presentation to finalize and he even helped me do some research for three hours on Saturday! I have the best husband ever!! After our family-filled Saturday, we paid a vist to our old church that I miss so much and then stopped by Kimm’s to see this precious little one. Can you believe she’s walking already…only 10 months old! Such fun!


Then it was time for the beautiful wedding of Anne & Ted at The Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas. The ceremony was perfectly simple and sweet with just the right amount of humor. Anne looked stunning! We caught up with some old friends we hadn’t seen in years and had a blast laughing and chatting until way too late! We felt so fortunate to share in Anne & Ted’s special day and are so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives!

lake las vegasritzme, anne, ted, jimmycake

Now if only we had another weekend already to catch up on our sleep and my homework!

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My journalism class yesterday was so educational, I couldn’t wait to share it with you! First, and most exciting, we had a group of about 15 journalists visiting from the Middle East. They were here to observe our journalism graduate program at UNR. I was amazed at how quickly their translator could speak between all of us. All were so inquisitive about how journalism works in the US and if it helps to specialize, like my program focuses on journalism for the environment. They shared the same concerns our journalists have with more papers going online, mass layoffs, lack of funding, commercial and party influences, etc. The class was four hours long but I could have listened to their stories for days. They were fantastic!! So, part two of the most interesting class ever, my teacher for this class worked for the Sacramento Bee for 20 years and now works for the California EPA. Yesterday we discussed how to go about writing an investigative environmental story from start to finish and the example he used was a story he broke a while back about asbestos in El Dorado Hills!!! That’s where Jimmy is from and where his parents still live for those of you who aren’t sharing in my excitement. His presentation showed pictures of Jimmy’s high school and talked about how the government and community is handing the threat. So interesting, don’t you think? Here’s a link to a follow-up article he wrote. I just love learning new things about familiar places!  

To top off my day, we had a lovely dinner with Jimmy’s parents who are so kindly pug and kitty-sitting for us while we’re in Vegas this weekend and then saw the play 42nd Street! Such a good, busy but good, day!!

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