Dumpster Camera Dump

Following the "Week in iPhone Photos" trend, I've decided to dabble in semi-regular, random picture posts. But lacking any iPhones, we had to come up with a different angle. 

Did you know that our camera came out of the dumpster? 

I'm sure it's no surprise that Pete has spent some time digging around in dumpsters. One man's trash is another man's treasure, ya know? A few years ago, Pete came across a pretty nice point-and-shoot that was in excellent condition but missing a battery charger. Not a problem Amazon couldn't solve for a couple bucks. 

We use our dumpster camera all the time. The photos aren't prize-worthy, but they certainly get the job done.

The Dumpster Camera Dump will be a space for me to dump all the photos that are vaguely interesting but not blog worthy on their own. (Or maybe they are blog worthy and I've just been lazy, in which case, I'll expand on those later).

Without further ado...

Spring Cleaning

Easter brunch in San Fran with some old pals

San Francisco

Hunky Jesus Contest

Zac Brown Band

Sittin' on the dock of the bay

Hawaiian shirt Friday!

Just another Friday night at the Sport's Page

Memorial Day BBQ

Chillin' with some dog friends

Rope swing lunch break


Conservatory Wedding

Lauren & David got hitched!

Tasty brunch with Andrea

Sunday Funday with Jake "The Great Lake", Pete's stepbrother

Midway Airport

Oh, Chicago, how we miss thee

I've Got the Power!

After a month of lollygagging and tomfoolery, we're back in the blogosphere! Did ya miss us!? What's that you say? You didn't even know we were gone? Sounds about right.

Life in the Winnebago has been fairly mundane and predictable. Pete and I are both working super full time these days, so the Winnie has become our free place to crash at night.

But, hey, the view's nice!

Unlike the year we spent at an RV park in Austin, nowadays we're boondocking in the Winnie. No electricity. No water. A small ant problem. It's glorified camping, really.

So you can imagine my dismay when I would come home to write a blog and my computer's battery was hovering around 38%. Absentmindedness and laziness kept me from charging my computer at work or while driving (we have a fairly crappy DC to AC power converter). And my disdain for spending money on something I could get for free kept me out of coffee shops.

We're not the kind of people that are tethered to technology. We don't have a TV or smart phones or hell, even a decent radio (our only form of consistent entertainment...when the rechargeable batteries aren't dead). But we wanted the option to get online, do a little work, maybe watch some Hulu. Oh yea, and blog I guess.

Holler for a 12-volt computer charger!  

We have three 12-volt plug-ins available in our Winnie. One in the front cab, one by our bed and one next to the dinette. Unfortunately, since we're using Google's free Wi-Fi, the only place where I can snag a somewhat sufficient internet connection is on the bed. Which makes for a super cozy office but also makes for a super sleepy Kara. 

The charger has proven to be a success in the maintaining charge department. If fails, however, in the actual charging department. Start at 78%. Stay at 78%. Sometimes the computer will even lose some of it's charge, albeit at a much slower rate than when it's totally unplugged. Which is certainly a result of the house battery fading due to all the extra plugging-in I'm doing these days. 

So you're probably asking yourself, "But how do you charge the house battery!?" Or maybe you're just not a critical thinker. 

Well, if you've been with us for a long time, you'd remember our journey down to Austin back in December 2010 and our alternator mishap. Basically, before all of our fabulous upgrades, Pete and I busted our alternator by simply flipping a switch (that can't happen anymore, thank goodness). We had no way to charge either of our batteries (house and starting).

We were determined to make it to Texas, though. So we stuck to daytime driving (which, in the winter, is not very abundant) and bought solar panels to charge up the starting battery en route. 

It was silly but not terribly ineffective. And we did make it to Texas! To be clear- we broke down in a Walmart parking lot in Greenville, TX - but it was still Texas!

So, utilizing those same solar panels, I've been able to use my computer for two hours longer than normal! AND we can air out our musty motor home with one of our vent fans without worry. It's a sun-powered miracle!

Happy Mother's Day!

Pete and I would like to wish all of our mommy readers a lovely, wonderful, relaxing Mother's Day! We'd like to specifically thank our amazing mothers for raising us to be independent, hardworking and without a doubt, wacky. 

Let's take a look at these awesome ladies, shall we? And embarrass some people while we're at it. 

Pete's mom, powerhouse, curious, gentle, understanding. 

Fran with Precious (RIP) and Daisy:

Fran and Pete in the "shady" basement in Chicago:

Fran with some awesome kiddos: Sam, Emily, Kaytee, Isabella and Nunu:

Fran loves her grandbabies!

Fran and her husband, Mike with their granddaughter, Emily:

Mike and Fran in the basement eating at the Pete-built kitchen picnic table:

Fran and her lovely children, Anthony, Marie and short-haired Pete:

BONUS! Old school Fran and her lovely old school children. Pete in a bow-tie = priceless!

Kara's mom, tough, survivor, social, rock star.  

Tommi with daughters, Ashleigh and Kara, in Aruba:

Tommi and her husband, Doug, in Aruba:

Tommi rockin' out on the keys during a concert with her band: 

Tommi enjoying a wacky dinner on a cruise:

Tommi showing off some leg on Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel in Chicago:

Tommi enjoying a rainy day crab feast in true Maryland style: 

Tommi para-sailing in Aruba (she likes Aruba, OK?): 

BONUS! Old school Tommi in high school:

SUPER BONUS! Tommi and her mom, Bobbi, downing some jello shots!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the super duper, powerful moms out there! You're all the best!!

Birthday Bust

Last week, we tried to make my 25th birthday "happen." They say that you're supposed to know everything about yourself by 25. Well, it's a good thing I know that I like cocktails. 

Birthday drinks with Sara and Jess 04/26//12
I also know that I like the beach. More specifically, a warm, sunny, and calm beach. That's why I opted to have a post-birthday get-together at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, a notoriously frigid, foggy and windy beach. I know myself so well

Thinking we'd spend the night in the city, we took our beloved Winnebago. After purchasing three over-priced, heavy boxes of firewood, we searched around for a decent parking spot and prepared coconut steak skewers for grilling on the beach.  

From the shelter of our lovely Winnebago, we were unaware of the severity of wind conditions on the beach. Merely saying it was windy is an understatement. It was whipping. Sand was blowing everywhere. Not really ideal beach grilling conditions, ya know? 

After Marc, Jess, Robbie and Vera arrived, we basically stood around staring at each other, cold, pissed and hungry. 

Knowing our steak skewers weren't gonna cook themselves, a grill solution had to happen. And quick. After a lengthy period of silent, aggravated brainstorming, Pete got to work. When Pete's around, there's always a solution. He's quite the clever problem solver, I'll have you know. 

The biggest conundrum was eliminating wind flow over the grill, so we wouldn't get stuck with sand-covered steak. Utilizing our over-priced, heavy boxes of wood and a tarp, Pete was able to build a wind barrier. Beneath that, he and Marc dug out a giant hole for the grill. Worked like a charm. Birthday success! 

The skewers were perfect and sand-free! As the sun set, the wind died down a bit, but it was still really cold.  Bonfire to the rescue! We gathered our chairs around and stayed toasty around an impressive and well-constructed fire. The same can not be said of the three "let's take shots" ladies to our north who continually squirted lighter fluid onto a small flame. 

After valiant attempts to drink cold, sandy beer, it was time for s'mores, obviously. Right after Pete retrieved all the yummy ingredients from the Winnebago, a shovel-toting cop approached us, informed us of all the illegal stuff we were doing and then promptly pooped on our party. Just as the fire was getting good, he killed it with piles of sand. Birthday fail. 

So much for my birthday party. Not the first time the authority has rained on my parade. Anyways, we packed up our makeshift campsite (in the dark) and were rushed out of the parking lot by the police. So much for spending the night in the city. We weren't interested in driving around for overnight parking so instead, we just head back to Mountain View. 

After a luxuriously restful night of sleep, Pete and I spent the next day washing the bonfire smell out of our clothes and utilizing leftover goodies from the bonfire. 

First, and most importantly, were the s'mores. But how to roast the marshmallows without firing up an entire grill? I suggested the use of a lighter or a candle, but Pete reminded me that eating those fume remnants may be disastrous for one's health.  

Saves-the-day Pete had a better idea: he would make a bitty grill out of a beer can just for our roasting needs. And so we drank. Oh, PBR, how we've missed you! We used to drink this stuff all the time, but ever since we moved to California, we've gotten a little fancy. The 24-pack of PBR we bought for the bonfire was never even opened, so we had plenty to spare. 

After we finished drinking the "grill", it was time for punching holes. Pete used a fork to create an airflow through the can. The more holes, the hotter the grill. 

Next, we brought our project outside. Placing a single piece of charcoal on top of the holed-side of the can, Pete doused said charcoal in a generous amount of lighter fluid. 

And then it was onto the flames!

We patiently waited for the charcoal to come to white-hot temperature. And boy, was I craving some s'mores! This moment couldn't come soon enough!

Finally, it was grilling time! Sitting on our uncomfortable bucket, I steadily (and sometimes not-so-steadily) held my marshmallow over the charcoal. 

Discomfort set in quick and I had to compromise my marshmallow grilling stance. I sacrificed looking cool (and the possibility of my hair catching on fire) for the promise of a perfect marshmallow. 

And, by golly, it was DELICIOUS!

Even Mr. "I Don't Like Sweets" Pete enjoyed his portion. 

We skipped out on free dinner that evening in order to bring classy back. We had an unopened 8-pack of hot dogs leftover from the bonfire and they were calling our name! We hadn't eaten a hot dog in...oh, a very long time. 

Don't worry folks, we still got a little trashy in us after all! Nothing like some PBR and copious logs of "meat" to cap a mediocre weekend. 

And, by golly, they were DELICIOUS!