That's Bam-Tastic!


Bam is the new unofficial school mascot.

Bam and his friend, Zoe.

Bam is trying to understand why the water moves in the river.

Bam's first look at our school.

Bam and his brother Danny, sweetly sleeping in our car.

Bam likes to sing along with us.

My Bam-burger!

I never knew I was a dog person. But now, at the age of 25, I've got my very own doggie (of course, to share with Aaron). We have been looking for some time, but I've had this major fear that I would forget to feed the animal, or lose him somewhere, or even-God forbid-become one of those people who leaves the dog in the car as he slowly overheats to death. So yes, I was scared that I would not be responsible enough to keep a big animal like a dog alive.

When I was a kid, my parents didn't let us get a dog. "You guys are not responsible enough, and I'm going to be the one picking up all the poop!!!", my mom always said. Did you parents ever say that, or were mine the only ones?

So a couple weeks ago Aaron and I went out on his birthday, "just to look", and we played with puppies and dogs all across Santa Rosa. I fell in love with a cutie little puppy at Petco, but we decided to keep going in case we found one better. Our next stop was a family who was getting rid of their 8-year-old American Bulldog, Bam Bam because they had four kids in the family and could not give Bam Bam the attention he needed, but they sure loved him. (maybe my mother's words do ring true.)

Bam ran right up to our car and it was almost love at first sight. Sure, he wasn't a puppy, but he had the energy of a young one but the obedience and self discipline of a well-seasoned companion. After getting his history and playing with him for a while, we knew that we were meant to be, and we took him right home with us.

Here is why Bam is awesome:

He doesn't jump on people
He plays well with others
He's not slobbery
He's well trained and has no bad puppy habits
He's protective, but really sweet to all the students
He's incredibly patient with little kids who try to climb on him, pull his ears, and try to crinkle his tail
He loves our hiking trails and river and motivates me to get out and get some exercise
He's a conscientious pooper-goes in well-hidden spots in the woods
He loves to be with either Aaron or me and stays right by our side all day long (he has a little nest under Aaron's desk)

And my favorite reason why Bam is awesome? When we come home, even if we've been gone for a few minutes, he acts as if he hasn't seen us in years and missed us more than his little heart can handle. He wriggles around our legs and lets out these asthmatic yelps of glee as he does all he can to not lick us from head to toe, and makes us feel like the most loved people on earth.

Anyway, because I have not had a dog before, I did not expect all this wonderfulness to come from just an animal. And while I used to judge and snicker at those crazy dog people, I totally get why they want to snuggle with their dog, or walk around the house talking to him, or even put a cute sweater on him in the winter. Aaron laughs at me now and calls me a dog person. But he's wrong-I'm a Bam person. Aw, I love my doggie!

The Tomato Fury


From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

For those of you who have been following my facebook updates, you know that we received a 5 gallon bucket full of red Roma tomatoes from a student's mom who has a small farm. As she brought them into my house, I stared at her aghast, wondering what I would do with 200+ tomatoes! She said (very nonchalantly), "Oh just can them or make a sauce out of them", and then she left. So I was left alone with this monstrosity and immediately sought help from my FB friends who gave great suggestions, such as salsa, spaghetti sauce, bruschetta, putting em in a blow up pool and squishing them, making ketchup (!?), and more. It was a bit overwhelming, to be honest, especially since I have never every done any canning.

But I began to research it anyway and was even more intimidated by all these science-y rules about canning that have to do with acidity, temperature, making sure the cans seal right, and it seemed to be really really complicated. Instead of relying on my own understanding of a scroll bar on the internet, I decided to consult our campus's resident real life Google lady (she knows everything), Mrs. Benson and see what she suggested. She pointed me to her next door neighbors, who were retired and happened to have canned some pears that very morning.

Mr. and Mrs. M. were more than happy to push me in the right direction of canning and even hooked me up with MORE vegetables from their gorgeous and overflowing garden. They gave me a canning bath and the cans to do it. Mrs. M. even gave me a copy of a vintage looking canning instruction sheet then walked me through the entire process. Then she confessed that she didn't actually like to can, because it's so time consuming and stressful.

It had been a good 3 days since I'd received the tomatoes and I was a little worried about their wellbeing and decided to commit to this process before I had a big pile of rotting tomatoes.

I decided to make one batch of spaghetti sauce, then one batch of salsa (inspired by Aaron's parents this summer). I don't think anyone really warned me of how much of a pain it is to prepare and de-skin tomatoes! I wrestled with those stupid things for 4 HOURS before I got the skin off. I felt like a crazy person and had to get out of the house, and gave up around midnight.

The next morning, I began to boil and mash up some of the tomatoes for the sauce. After adding all the other ingredients and cooking for a while, I tasted the sauce and it tasted like nothing but tomatoes. Panicked, I called my college roommate Ansley (who is a renowned for her cooking), and she suggested adding sugar to take the bite out. In my worry, I also started dumping other herbs that I happened to have in my cupboard and the sauce ended up tasting a little bit Indian due to the cumin. Oopsies. I canned it anyway and think I'll just make sure to add fresh vegetables when I open it again since it's so saucy.

The salsa actually worked out a lot better, although I think I added a little too much sugar and it tastes slightly sweet. I finished in the early afternoon of that day, with a grand total of 9 hours spend cooking and canning, and 14 jars of stuff to show for it. After that, I hoped and prayed that I'd never have to do it again. I kind of think I did it, just to say i could do it. Women of the 50's just didn't get the credit they deserved!

(i don't really think I'm gonna make it as a housewife, if canning makes me feel like throwing a pot full of tomatoes across the kitchen)

In the end, I used some reserved tomatoes to make that bruschetta and pico de gallo and ended up feeding 2 meals to dorm kids, and they liked it. I do much better with fresh food than cooked food that requires patience and hard work.

Starting Over can be AWESOME!


From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

From The Rikon Expedition

I know I gloated a lot in the last post. And I'm going to try to be more informational this time, rather than "look at all the good deals we got!" But seriously, we are so blessed. I've always loved change, and this move has been so easy and beautiful. Our apartment is the perfect size for us, and I have a big open kitchen. After doing laundry in the boys dorm for a few weeks, I almost had a nervous breakdown (boys laundry room=anarchy/chaos!), and the wonderful principal delivered a washer and dryer to us and that just made my day.

Here is what we do here:

Aaron is the Assistant Boys' Dean and he works very long hours, but the work is so easy! Sure, they have their moments of discipline or stern talks, or man-herding, but for the most part it seems like he sits in his office and talks to guys. It's actually so much fun that I've been going in there and hanging out with the guys too. And when I say "hanging out", I really mean laughing at them because they are so funny and ridiculous most of the time. Aaron works about 4 days a week but the days are really long (9am-1am), and then he's off every other weekend. He has 2 other deans that he works with (quite the cushy situation), and they're both so cool. The head dean has a wife about our ages and they have an adorable baby boy. The other dean is Danny, who's practically family to us, and we dragged him out here with us from Tennessee. He's a mega-talented animation major (graduating '12) and the boys just love him.

Let's see...I'm trying to write what I official role so far is a Freshman Mentor/Tutor. Our school is starting a program this year to help the freshmen transition into high school and I get to be with the freshmen girls every night for study hall. (Danny is with the guys). We make sure they're on task with their homework and teach them study skills on the way. We also hold them accountable for their grades and attendance and also meet with them regularly to see how their high school experience is going. It's a lot of fun-better than reality tv-except now i'm realizing that the drama is SO high and I just feel bad for girls sometimes and their lack of tact when it comes to gossip.

Other than that, I'm regularly applying to jobs and doing everything I can to find some sort of regular work. It's tough! I've sent out about 74 resumes and am now getting to be a little cynical at craigslist posts and have decided that they're mostly scams. I've heard back briefly from a couple companies but haven't been invited to interview yet. I'm too far from San Francisco for the more numerous non-profit and communication jobs, and I really feel like a tiny fish in a huge school of applicants. Sometimes I try to mentally attach "PLEASE MEET ME! THEN YOU'LL KNOW I'M PERFECT FOR YOUR JOB!", to my emails to people, but I refrain from actually doing that. It's frustrating, but at the same time, it's opened up time for me to get to know people, students, other faculty members, and has forced me to think about and prioritize what it is I actually want to do for a career.

(which is why I haven't yet settled for a restaurant serving job...yet).

Anyway, again, we're happy to be here and are so grateful to the people who have helped us transition here.