last day of summer [break]

it is indeed the last day of summer break, and tomorrow the beginning of the end starts. That is, its the start of my final year as an undergraduate! woohoo! I could not be more excited. Well, actually, I could be more excited but I know how stressful times can get. But so it goes. My books are bought, my notebooks are blank and ready, my pens are filled. My brain is empty and somewhat soggy.

I have been filling my last few days of freedom in Berkeley with very good and very simple things that I enjoy doing. For example, laundry and cleaning my room. Kidding, I don’t enjoy all those things, but I did do them.
I had some much needed conversations with several friends and family.
I went to caltopia to get some free stuff. My best score was probably a shirt.

I rode my bike. I decided to go down to Oakland to Tip Top Bike Shop and Remedy Coffee, my favorite cafe in the area. At the Bike Shop, my plan was to simply fill air in my tires. However, upon speaking with one of the dudes at the shop and asking him about the crack in my tires, I had decided to go ahead and simply replace them. I could have gone a few more months on my old tires, but that was running the risk of explosion and then having to replace my tube along with my tire when the time came. I did not feel like dealing with this catastrophe during the school year; replacement felt like a good precautionary measure. After fixing my bike, I rode down to Remedy. Or, what used to be Remedy and is now an empty storefront with a “for lease” sign in the window. WHAT?!?!?! I was devastated. Asking a few locals in the area as to why they shut down, no one knew, but everyone was upset. It was (apparently) an overnight type thing.
Well, about a block away is Arbor Coffee, which had been on my summer list and I wanted to try. I hobbled over there to read for a bit and sip some coffee which was french press and pretty good. The atmosphere at Arbor is great. They have an assortment of mismatched furniture, everything from comfy couches, to large communal tables, to smaller single person worktables. The space is big and even when crowded with people it doesn’t feel like someone is breathing down your back. They’ve got a food menu too, with soups and salads and sandwiches.

I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns in about 2 days with snot dribbling down my chin and tears streaking my cheeks. That being said, might I recommend this book? It takes place in Afghanistan and follows the stories of 2 women as they grow up. Eventually, the 2 tales intersect during a time of war and turmoil. It reveals the human side and the human stories which the media often fails to acknowledge when they speak of Afghanistan and the terrorists.

I also did some cooking and baking over the last two days, knowing that time for extravagance will run out very shortly.
First off, a pasta dish. I sauteed 2 cloves of garlic in a bit of olive oil to brown them. I then added about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of brown sugar to make a reduction. It simmered for 25ish minutes until it became nice and syrup-like. I then added 2 chopped heirloom tomatoes and cooked them just slightly. I added this sauce to the cooked pasta, along with some fresh salad greens from the farmers market. The heat from the pasta and sauce wilted them ever so slightly.

I then made [veg] Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, recipe courtesy of the PPK. Chewy, chocolatey, with a kick from chipotle and extra cinnamon. Definitely an addicting cookie. It would be delicious turned into a sandwich cookie with creme filling. 

The roommate’s bananas were going very brown and about to be chucked. They had to be rescued and transformed into banana bread with some pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts, and a bit of silken tofu to retain moisture. It turned out very delicious. Its quite unfortunate the bananas had to meet their fateful end in this manner.

Because I have actually kept up this blog for a year or so, I want to somehow revamp it, and maybe start sorting and tagging posts into reviews, recipes, random thoughts, etc. I am still not quite sure how to sort them and how to make it work, but I have tagged this one with “food” and “reviews” and “excursions”. I just feel like all my posts would be tagged with the same thing, as generally those are the three things I write about. Maybe that means I need more specificity in my tags. 
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