Piper, Cashews, and Thanksgiving

Autumn has come to Seattle!  The weather is colder and rainier and we’ve officially retired our portable air conditioner for the winter.  Since moving off of daylight savings time, it’s also shocking how early it’s already getting dark!  By 4:30 or 5pm we’ve already lost most of our daylight.  We definitely have a long, dark winter ahead of us!  I’m torn on how I feel about that.  On one hand, I never like the idea of winter, but it’s kind of cozy getting home at night when it’s all cold and dark and rainy outside.

I also think somehow Mike and I are more social when the weather gets colder and darker because we’re less likely to just do things on our own in the evenings.  A few weekends ago we went to a friend’s house on Sunday night, and that was really fun.  (So fun that the time flew by quickly and we didn’t leave until almost midnight!)  Tonight we’re having some other friends over.  We’re planning to go out to eat in Fremont and then come back to our apartment and hang out for awhile.  I’m excited!  Piper’s probably excited too… they’re definitely cat people and she liked them the last time she met them.

In other interesting news, I am now officially an expert at giving cats pills orally.  Piper can vouch for it.  She is on a long round of antibiotics to basically make sure her UTI is completely wiped out.  I also have her on a grain-free diet (suggested by her vet as a possible way of preventing all of these UTI’s).  I don’t know about the UTI part of the diet, but she definitely has SO MUCH energy on the new food!  She used to want to play for about 30 seconds each day (a cat’s attention span is pretty short, and 30 seconds seems to be about the limit), and now she’ll play with Mike for five minutes at a time.

In other (interesting?) news, Mike and I have gotten back into watching Top Gear.  I don’t remember how it started exactly, but we’re back on a Top Gear kick (the British version with Jeremy Clarkson OF COURSE).  The episode we watched last night featured the new Maclaren P1 supercar.  All I can say is Wow!!  Its specs are amazing, particularly given that it has both an electric and a standard fuel engine.  Those episodes are so much fun to watch!

The CSA produce is sadly over for the year.  Fortunately there still seems to be a lot of good local produce in the stores, so that’s not too bad.

I’ve already done two weekends of the ten total weekends for yoga teacher training, and the teacher training definitely makes for a busy weekend!  The class is held on Friday night, and then for 8 hours on Saturday, and then 4.5 hours on Sunday.  However, I’ll only have yoga teacher training one weekend out of every three or so, so it won’t be too intense.  I love the class so far!  :)  It’s amazing how quickly I’m already getting to know the other students in the class.  I guess when you’re essentially spending a whole weekend together, you get to talking pretty quickly!  The first weekend was focused on intro stuff, getting to know each other, talking about some of the required reading, breaking down some asanas (postures) and focusing on the anatomical implications of the postures, and some basic anatomy.  The second weekend was entirely anatomy.  It was intense, but not too bad (for me anyway), because I’d had all of that anatomy as part of the personal training curriculum so it was mostly a refresher.  We’re working through a very cool yoga anatomy book that shows all of the muscles used in each of the poses.  The full-color illustrations are so helpful for really getting a sense of which muscles are contracted and which are lengthened in each pose.  It’s been a very busy fall between yoga teacher training and work!

Also, of interest, is that Piper apparently cannot digest cashews.  We found this out the hard way.  (Most things worth learning in life are learned the hard way, I think.)  We left to go out to dinner one Sunday evening at 4:30pm.  Piper usually has dinner at 6pm, so I figured I would feed her when we got back.  However, we ended up stopping at a couple stores on our way and didn’t get home until 7:15pm.  When we opened the door, we saw that a bag of cashews that had been on the counter was now on the floor and had been chewed open.  And most of the cashews were missing.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

Piper seemed fine, and googling ‘can cats eat cashews?’ was comforting.  Apparently there are people who feed cashews to their cats as snacks.  So all was well until I walked in the door from work the following day.  I had been on the phone with my mom telling her about Piper’s cashew theft incident and how I hoped Piper didn’t have digestive problems from it.  I looked around and there were literally piles of vomited cashews, almost entirely intact, lying in various places around the apartment (none of them on the hardwood floor, which would have made them so much easier to clean up).  After a lot of cleaning, Mike and I agreed that more cashews were not in Piper’s future.

However, last weekend we also went out to run some errands, and when we returned we found a bag of trail mix that had been on the counter on the floor and (you guessed it), chewed open.  The one nice thing was that it appeared that almost none (if any?) of the trail mix was gone.  We held our breaths and hoped that Piper hadn’t eaten any of it.  Maybe the cranberries in it had turned her off so she hadn’t wanted any of it?  The following day I got home from work, steeling myself to the possibility of cleaning up after Piper’s indiscretion.  However, I found one single vomited cashew on the carpet.  And that was it.  It was almost as if Piper had started eating the trail mix and then thought, Wait a minute… I feel like I have bad memories about this taste.  Regardless, Mike and I were thrilled that there wasn’t more of a problem.  Needless to say, Mike and I aren’t keeping anything nut-related on the counter anymore!

Since Thanksgiving is almost here, and apparently stores have decided to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas this year (as evidenced by the photo below!), Mike put up our little LED Christmas tree.

Christmas candy... already??

Christmas candy… already??

 

I love our little tree.  :)

Our Christmas tree!

Our Christmas tree!

In case you’re wondering about the giraffe figurine at the base of the tree, he’s kind of the best thing ever.  I named him Gerard, and I really like him.  He is a year-round decoration, and is just temporarily sharing the end table with the Christmas tree.  :)

I was telling Mike that he needed to implement some kind of timer for the lights on our tree… something to make it come on at like 6am and turn off again at 11pm or something like that, and he disagreed.

“What if you want to turn it off at 7pm but it’s on a timer?” Mike wanted to know.

I thought about it for a second.  “Can’t you implement it like cruise control on a car?” I asked.  “Like it’ll turn on if you speed up, but won’t turn off if you slow down… or something…”  I trailed off, trying to work through what seemed like a good idea in my mind but wasn’t coming out verbally very well.

Mike rolled over on his side and propped his head on his hand as he looked at me.  “And exactly how do you envision cruise control working on our Christmas tree?”

I had to admit with my explanation it was no wonder I was confusing him.  :)

So for now we’re just manually turning the tree lights on and off.  :)

Friday night Mike and I went to the small theater near our house and watched St. Vincent with Bill Murray.  It was a heartwarming story, although a little predictable.  I always like watching Bill Murray.  He’s such a great actor… comedic or tragic as the situation requires, but always convincing!

Mike and I are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving with a pre-made meal from our local PCC grocery store.  All I have to do is follow directions and re-heat an already cooked turkey and side dishes.  That sounds so stress-free to me, especially given that Thursday is the only day I have off of work!  I hope everyone else has a relaxing and wonderful Thanksgiving!  :)

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Filed under Christmas, Friends, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Work

A Vancouver race and dealing with fruit flies

What has been occupying Mike’s and my time lately?

Lots of things!  For starters, Mike and I went to Vancouver over the weekend for a race.  Let’s talk about this Vancouver trip.  I was the one who planned the trip, since I was the one who wanted to do the half marathon.  I took the liberty of signing Mike up for the 10k race even though he had previously only done 5k’s.  Last week was SO BUSY at work, and I ended up working later than usual on Friday night.  When I left work on Friday I had that uncomfortable feeling that Mike and I were going on a trip the next day, and I had literally hadn’t really planned anything.  I looked way back in my emails to find out the name and address of the hotel where I’d made a reservation.  And then I remembered at the last minute that we’d need to bring our passports.  Yeah, it was that kind of last-minute trip.

Mike and I had a mini cleaning fest Friday night (yes, we live wild out here) because we had Piper’s cat sitter coming in to feed Piper and we wanted the house presentable.  On Saturday we packed up our stuff and got out of the house by 11:30am so that we could make it to Vancouver before 5pm, which was when the race expo closed where we would pick up our race bibs and timing chips.

Our trip to Vancouver was pretty uneventful except that an hour into the trip Mike said that he wished it were raining because he likes driving in the rain.  Twenty minutes later it started pouring rain, and it continued pouring rain for the remainder of our drive and on through the night in Vancouver.  Mike definitely got his wish!  :)  The lines at the CA border were long… we ended up waiting for about 50min as cars inched forward.  Mike and I passed the time by listening to music and discovered there are a surprising number of French radio stations in Canada.  We also commented on cars (which is a surprisingly fun pastime that Mike and I have perfected.  We’re not always nice in our remarks, though, so it’s definitely not a good game to play with your windows down and the possibility that the car’s owners can hear us.  Everything from the pattern on the rims to aftermarket mufflers to the quality of the paint job to the presence of dents in the side panels is up for discussion.)  When we finally got up to the front of the line, though, we were waved through pretty quickly.  Interestingly, one of the questions we were asked before we were allowed into Canada was whether we had recently been to New York or Texas… clearly the Canadians are taking Ebola seriously!

Once in Canada we got a little turned around finding our hotel.  This was mostly due to the fact that the Dunsmuir Viaduct was in fact only labeled ‘Viaduct’.  Apparently Vancouver-ites only have one viaduct and don’t call it by its full name.  Once we realized the ‘Viaduct’ referred to the Dunsmuir Viaduct, though, we were good and found our hotel quickly.  We had the option of self-parking or valet parking in the hotel parking garage.  Mike opted to self-park and found a spot in a corner where it was unlikely that any other cars would come close enough to dent our car.  We checked in and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were on the 14th floor and had a really nice view of the other tall buildings in the city.  We were ready for dinner but had to get to the race expo to pick up our bibs and timing chips.  We wandered through the race expo and ended up buying matching race shirts.  Upon returning to the hotel, we discovered that the two things I had told Mike to pack himself, his toothbrush and his deodorant, had not been packed.  We went out in the pouring rain and found a drugstore at which we could buy supplies and then when we got back to the hotel, we discovered that I had forgotten my toothbrush as well.  It was definitely that kind of trip.  :)  But who cares, right?  We were bumming around Vancouver together and it was all a fun adventure.  :)

The morning of the race we both woke up early, ate our energy bars, and headed for the start line.  We had figured that we’d probably be running through the rain given how much it had been pouring the night before, but surprisingly the rain stopped around 4am so although everything was kind of muddy, there wasn’t any rain coming down.  I hadn’t done much research on the course itself, but I did know that the 10k started half an hour earlier than the half marathon and that we’d have to walk about a mile to get to the start line for the 10k and that the start line for the half marathon was a block away from our hotel.  Since I had an extra half hour before my race started, I walked with Mike to the start of the 10k.  There were a lot of people heading towards the race!  I was surprised by how many!

Lots of people!

Lots of people!

I guess I should have expected it, though.  It was an inaugural event, and it was part of the world-famous Rock ‘n’ Roll set of races.  The race itself was really enjoyable.  My knee was still not quite recovered, so I didn’t run as fast as I would have liked, but that was fine.  It was a gorgeous day, a gorgeous course, and a very fun city!  :)  Mike ran his first 10k ever and finished in just under an hour.  Go Mike!!  :)

Mike ready to rock the 10k!

Mike ready to rock the 10k!

 

The race medals for finishing the race were really cool… apparently there’s a Lion’s Gate Bridge in Vancouver, and the medals showed the lion statues guarding either end of the bridge!

Lions from Lion's Gate Bridge

Lions from Lion’s Gate Bridge

As far as Halloween, we were fully planning on dressing up and going out to a party.  However, Mike was also looking for a good time to put in a new oxygen sensor in our car, and as it turned out October evening was the only time that really worked for him to install it.  He found a place south of Seattle where you can rent a vehicle bay by the hour, complete with a lift and tools, and do your own car work even if you don’t have your own garage.  How convenient!  So Mike picked me up after work on Friday and we drove down there together.  I was moderately helpful by holding up my cell phone as a flashlight for Mike, but apart from that I didn’t do much of anything.  Mike had the old O2 sensor off and the new one on in no time!

Mike's handiwork

Mike’s handiwork

When we got home from changing the O2 sensor, we saw that our neighbors had the most adorable idea for pumpkin decorating that didn’t involve any messy pumpkin carving!  I am so jealous that I didn’t come up with the idea first, because these mummy-pumpkins are literally the cutest Halloween decorations I’ve ever seen!  I am seriously in love with these pumpkins.

Googly eyes and gauze wrapping for the win!

Googly eyes and gauze wrapping for the win!

I did a run this weekend… not quite as long as usual, but it was a beautiful day for running around Lake Union!

West shore of Lake Union

West shore of Lake Union

I got stuck on the Fremont Bridge because the drawbridge went up so I stopped and took pictures of the sailboats coming up to go under the drawbridge.

Sailboats!

Sailboats!

 

Tonight Mike and I are going over to a friend’s house, so that will be really fun and relaxing!

In other completely unrelated news, I feel like Mike and I have seen natural selection occurring right before our eyes in our apartment.  :)  We had about fifteen fruit flies in our apartment about a month ago.  (Mike blames the fruit flies on my CSA produce and I blame it on his bananas.)  ;)  Either way, I did online research on how to get rid of fruit flies, and I saw that the recommended way was to put an inch of apple cider vinegar in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap with holes poked in it.  The idea is that the fruit flies fly in the holes, attracted by the vinegar, but can’t figure out how to get out again.  And then they die.  Honestly, I like quick deaths rather than slow ones even for undesirable bugs, but there weren’t any suggested ways of getting rid of fruit flies that were quick.  So I set out the apple cider vinegar and waited.  Almost all of the fruit flies went into the vinegar and died.  Crazy!  However, there were still two fruit flies flying around that apparently didn’t like apple cider vinegar.  And those will be the two that are probably reproducing in our apartment somewhere as we speak.  Survival of those who do not like apple cider vinegar!  :)

I hope everyone is having a good Halloween weekend!  :)

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Filed under Halloween, Holidays, Rain, Running, Vancouver, Weather

Fun in Portland!

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks (hence the non-existent blog posts!).

Last weekend Mike and I drove down to Portland to see Lia who was in town visiting her aunt and uncle.  Her friend Rae took the train up from Eugene, as well, so the four of us hung out and bummed around downtown Portland together… so fun!  We had a fun afternoon of shopping, and Mike was so laid-back even though of course shopping in women’s clothing stores isn’t exactly his thing.  ;)  While we looked at clothes at Anthropologie, he examined the furniture in the store.  :)  After a relaxing early afternoon of shopping and a brunch at Whole Foods we headed to Pittock Mansion.  You can read all about its history on the site, but it is a beautiful mansion on a cliff-like hill overlooking Portland… so beautiful!  And surprisingly like Highclere Castle!  Apparently despite the U.S.’s separation from Britain, we took our ideas of fashion, decorating, and architecture from them!

Just a normal living room.  Nothing special.  ;)

Just a normal living room. Nothing special. ;)

 

And a harp!

And a harp!

 

The house was beautiful, and unlike Highclere Castle in England we were able to look through all the rooms!  That meant that we got insight into things like the way people from that era showered.

Mike's engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

Mike’s engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

 

Don't get wet, Lia!  :)

Don’t get wet, Lia! :)

 

We had a lot of fun!

Friends!

Friends!

Just like with Highclere Castle, the winding staircase was AMAZING!

Love, love

Love, love

 

And such a gorgeous view from the back of the house over downtown Portland!

Foggy Portland

Foggy Portland

 

So last weekend was lots of fun!  We left late-ish after being gifted with the most amazing home-made applesauce by Lia’s aunt.  (So fresh that it was still WARM!)  Yum!!  Our drive back to Seattle was great… driving in the darkness is always kind of relaxing.

I’ve been back to running!  Not quite as fast as I was yet, but my speed is definitely coming back!

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering.  :)

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering. You can see the ace bandage on my knee in the background!

I LOVE running in Seattle this time of year… it’s just beyond gorgeous!

Lake Union

Lake Union

 

So gorgeous...

So gorgeous….

 

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment... so amazing....

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment… so amazing….

 

Mike and I finished season 4 of Game of Thrones…. so that’s that for the next, oh, eight months or so.  Bummer!

Mike has continued to play his guitar quite a bit in the evenings.  Oftentimes we’ll go the gym together and then take a short walk together afterwards.  The weather has cooled down a lot in Seattle and is down in the low 70’s during the  day now.  That makes for perfect walking weather in the evenings, particularly when there’s not much of a breeze.

I haven’t been quite as up on using up the CSA produce the past couple of weeks… I think the knee recovery slowed me down a little.  But I’ve still been using up most of it.  This week we got a beautiful little carving pumpkin in our CSA produce.  I’ve been badgering Mike to carve it, but he thinks it sounds messy.  Bummer!  Maybe I’ll just get a black sharpie and draw a face on it myself?  Should I go for a happy face, a scary face, or something else?  Any ideas??  For now I’ve set it outside our apartment door so that it lends a fall-like atmosphere to our floor.  Love it!

Halloween is also coming up!  I’m excited and determined to go somewhere and dress up!  (Since we bought costumes two years ago and have yet to use them… I think it’s time we did!)  So I’ve been looking at Seattle blogs for party ideas… there’s so much going on this time of year in Seattle!

Again, because of my knee, Mike drove me to pick up the CSA produce a couple weeks ago, although typically I walk.  When we arrived at the pickup site there were police and fire trucks everywhere as well as a good handful of vehicles bearing titles like “Emergency Cleanup Crew” on their sides.  Uh, oh!  That didn’t seem good!  As it turned out, there’d been a fire in one of the metal-working shops in the area, and apparently you need a whole host of weird chemicals to stop metal fires.  Who knew??

Last night we met up with a friend of Mike’s from work and his wife at Cichetti, a new favorite haunt of ours.  (So much of a favorite, actually, that we were also there last Friday.)  It’s an amazing place to go just to talk and hang out, and it has an amazing view of Queen Anne, Magnolia, Seattle, and Lake Union.  Mike proclaimed early in the evening that the purpose of the evening was pure relaxation.  We definitely just relaxed!  We looked down at the amazing view of Seattle and just chatted and shared small plates of food while Mike offered his expertise recommending drinks for everyone.  We actually didn’t notice the time until 11:45pm!  Wow!  Staying out until almost midnight!  What kind of a crazy, partier am I?  I also emailed Rae last week after 10pm and texted Lia sometime after 10pm the week before… am I turning into a night owl, or what??  ;)

I took Piper in for her follow-up vet appointment yesterday, and so far everything’s looking good with her UTI.  Yay!  She still needs to be on antiobiotics for another couple months, though, because the vet wants to make sure all of the bacteria are completely eradicated.  Piper doesn’t like taking pills but by this point I’m a pro at giving her the pills.  I pretty much pull her mouth open and pop the pill down her throat while she glares at me.  I actually have to give her 3/4 of a pill, which is kind of a pain because it means giving her two pills: one 1/4 pill and one 1/2 pill.  I asked the vet if I could just give her a full pill, but he shook his head and said that she’s only 3/4 of a cat and only needs 3/4 of a pill.  :)

Completely off-topic, one thing that I have been focusing on the past few months is thankfulness.  And so here’s my mini piece of advice: live and love every day.  Be thankful for everything, especially the small things.  This is one thing I definitely learned from my mom… be thankful for the color of an orange pumpkin or the way the wind moves through the trees, or the way the random stranger on the bus smiles at you.  Such an enriching way to live life!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful fall!

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Filed under Cats, Cicchetti, CSA, Food, Friends, Halloween, Holidays, Pictures, Running, Seattle, Weather

Autumn in Seattle

The weather in Seattle has finally cooled down, and you can smell fall in the air.  And some of the leaves are starting to fall and provide a crisp, crunchiness under your feet when you walk.  This has put me in the mood for apple cider and.

So let’s talk about running.  And knees.  And specifically knees and running together.  I went out for a brisk 12-mile run on Saturday.  I ran around Lake Union, I ran out by the Ballard Locks and back, and I ran up to Green Lake, ran part of the way down, and started back towards home.  I was at mile 11 out of 12, I was feeling pretty good, and it was a beautiful day.  I was approaching a crosswalk, and saw that a car was coming so I attempted to make eye contact with the driver to see whether they were planning to go or let me cross first.  And in that moment of attention on the car, I ceased to pay attention to the ground and tripped over some uneven concrete.  I went down, skidded on the concrete (on my knee).  And there I was.  On the sidewalk about a mile from home with a bloody knee a little ripped up from the concrete.  Ouch!  My first thought was that I would call Mike, and he could come and pick me up.  Unfortunately, Mike’s phone must have still been in silent mode from work on Friday, because Mike didn’t answer my repeated phone calls.  Ok.  Did I have an ORCA card so that I could ride the bus home?  No.  And there really wasn’t a bus line near me without walking half a mile anyway.  I could just sit by the side of the road and wait for Mike to wake up, check his phone, and call me back, but it was Saturday morning.  It was unlikely he’d be up soon.  I tentatively tried standing up.  Painful, but doable.  I decided I could hobble a mile home.  I could even take the back roads so I wasn’t quite so conspicuous.  I had walked about a block before I looked down at my knee again.  Hmm… now it was bleeding all the way down to my shoe.  Fortunately I was wearing old shoes.  Also fortunately, I was wearing one of my least favorite running shirts.  I stripped it off (Don’t worry!  I had a sports bra underneath!) and used it to wipe up as much of the blood as I could and then limped my way home.

I cleaned it up as best I could, looked doubtfully at the small gouge in my knee, shrugged, poured hydrogen pyroxide on it five times (that was fun), and then bandaged it up.

When Mike woke up, he insisted on re-bandaging my knee better.  “Hmm…” he said when I took my homemade bandage off and he looked at it.  “That’s not a knee scrape.  That’s a gouge.  For a knee scrape, we should put a bandage on it.  For a gouge, we should go to the doctor.”

Bummer.  I argued a little, but I kind of agreed that it was more than a scrape, so the next thing we knew we were at the doctor’s office waiting to see a PA.  She agreed it was more than a scrape and did all kinds of fancy irrigation stuff on the wound to flush out any debris, then she superglued the flaps of skin on my knee closed (sorry, probably too much information here… it’s a little gross.  I just thought it was fascinating.  I didn’t know they had medical super glue for these kinds of situations.).  She thought about stitches but ultimately ended up with some tape-like sutures that she put over the wound.  The superglue and the sutures will dissolve on their own in 5-7 days.  The real key here was that until they dissolved, I was not supposed to bend my knee.  At all.  If I bent it, it would break the super glue and the sutures loose… and then I would have to go back and get all that re-done.  So I’ve got the area all wrapped up, and the ACE bandage pretty much prevents the knee from bending.  As it is, though, I’m on day 5 of the 5-7 day plan, so I should be bending my knee again very soon, and I haven’t had any real pain yesterday or today.  :)

In other health-related news, poor Piper has another UTI.  So she’s on another round of antiobiotics plus the vet is recommending that we try some different food for her.

Apart from health-related news, things have been fairly busy.  Saturday evening Mike and I got together with a friend of Mike’s from work and his wife and we went out to dinner and then hung out at their house for awhile.  His wife lent me the new Hercule Poirot book… apparently there’s a new author who has been blessed by Agatha Christie’s surviving family to take up the Hercule Poirot books.  Interesting!  I’m enjoying it so far.  As is typical with the Hercule Poirot shows, I can’t figure out what’s even going on in the story, much less who is responsible for the murders.  Very fun!

Because of my knee Mike has been dropping me off at work and picking me up from work.  I could walk to and from the bus stop myself, but I’m walking slowly since I’ve got the bandage on my knee, so it’s nice to be dropped off and picked up.  That means that I’ve been at work longer hours, because Mike has to drop me off before 7:30am and doesn’t get back down to South Lake Union until 6ish, but that’s ok.  There’s lots to do at work these days.

I already have picked up 16 loads of my 20 CSA loads this season!  I’ve been doing surprisingly well using things up, although I had an off week last week somehow and had to throw some stuff out.  Mostly just because I forgot I had it buried in the fridge.  I made up some chicken veggie soup for Mike over the weekend.  He has been wanting lighter foods these days since he’s been eating healthier and working out more.  I also made some eggplant curry for me.  Yum!  I also baked some corn on the cob, steamed a whole head of Napa cabbage (which I eat cold with salt on it… like a proper Irishman!).  :)  I also steamed up some sugar snap peas and green beans.  The green beans are always a hit with Mike, and it’s great to have veggies around that he enjoys!

In other news, I’ve been drinking beet smoothies these days.  I can honestly say beets are one vegetable that I hate.  I can’t even think of any other vegetable that I remotely dislike as much as I dislike beets.  But if I get them from the CSA, I’ll use them one way or another, and a smoothie is one of the better ways to hide them as long as you don’t use too much beet in each smoothie.  Also, beets are very anti-inflammatory and de-toxing, and given that I want my knee to heal quickly, they seem like a good addition to my diet.  They just don’t taste good though.  I wrinkle my nose every time I have to eat them.  I have found that they work best mixed with carrots and greens.  The carrots and greens both have pretty compelling flavors that mask the beets pretty successfully.

Mike and I went to UVillage over the weekend to do some window shopping.  Somehow it always takes us forever to get a parking spot in the parking ramp, because the cars in front of us go so slowly and then will stop if they see a car about to leave so that they can take that car’s spot.  When you couple these slow parkers with the fact that Mike likes to park at the very top of the parking ramp and thus it takes us several minutes just to drive all the way around up to the top anyway, we usually budget about fifteen minutes just for parking.  This weekend’s trip was no exception.  Mike was behind a Subaru that was driving at 5mph and put on his brakes anytime he thought he might see a spot opening up.  Mike threw his head back against the headrest.  “C’mon Subaru!” he said reading from the sign that happened to be right in front of us.  “There’s 750 stalls… CONTINUE UP!”  Once we finally parked we had a fun time wandering around the stores, and Mike got a chia berry smoothie from Evolution, an amazing organic smoothie place.  He is loving that chia berry smoothie.

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday… the week is just flying by!  I will put some pictures in my next post… I have some lovely ones of South Lake Union in the fall!

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Filed under Beets, Cooking, CSA, Eggplant, Food, Running, Smoothies, Weather

A Series of Unfortunate Events (actually only mildly unfortunate)

This has been a roller-coaster of a week.

Not in any ways that are too major, but in a lot of little ways.  For instance, a few days ago, Mike woke up before the alarm and got up to get a drink of water.  He didn’t turn on any lights, and the next thing I heard was the distinct sound of shattering glass.

“What happened?” I called out, even though it was pretty obvious what had happened.

“I dropped the glass,” Mike called back.

I lay in bed enjoying the warmth for three extra seconds, before I called out, “Don’t move!” and scrambled out of bed and out to the kitchen to turn on the lights.

Yup.  There was Mike, standing at the kitchen counter amid some cracked and splintered glass.  I picked up the big pieces, and Mike brushed up the small pieces on the kitchen counter.  Then Mike started vacuuming the floor around that area while I emptied Piper’s water fountain and cleaned it, since that was near where the glass had shattered.

Everything was going very efficiently until the portable air conditioner in our apartment came on, and then all the lights went out.  No more sounds… not of the air conditioner or the vacuum cleaner.  Mike and I were completely still in the darkness for a moment, and then I heard Mike’s voice.

“And that’s why we don’t run the vacuum cleaner and the air conditioner at the same time.”

“Why?”

“Because we blew a fuse.”

“Oh.  Can you fix it?”

Mike fortunately has enough flashlights around that he knew exactly where to go to find a flashlight.  And, of course, he knew exactly where the fusebox was.  He opened it and peered at the switches.  He tried flipping the one labeled ‘Kitchen’.  No dice.  He looked at the panel some more, shrugged, and flipped the one for ‘General’.  Voila!  All the lights came on.

By the time everything was said and done, Piper had a squeaky clean water fountain, we had one fewer water glass, and Mike and I just managed to get out the door for work on time.

This is just one example.

Here’s another one.

I went to a late yoga class on Monday night, and Mike offered to pick me up afterwards.  He picked me up, drove home, and parked in our parking garage.  Then he reached over to pick up his house key which was in the center console of the car… and it fell.  Apparently between the seat and the center console.

Mike pulled out a flashlight (this guy has flashlights EVERYWHERE I promise you!) and climbed around on the front seat looking for where it could have fallen.  He couldn’t find anything.  He tried again, this time from the backseat.  No dice.  After five minutes, I offered to give it a try.  Mike turned the flashlight over to me, and I essentially did a headstand on the floor in the backseat shining the flashlight every which way.  It seemed surprisingly clean under there (this is Mike’s car we’re talking about after all), but that only served to make it more obvious that the key wasn’t there.  I tried my modified headstand again, this time from the front seat shining the light back.  Still, nothing.  We tried the seat cushions.  Nothing.

Mike sighed.  “It’s probably inside of the seat.  I don’t know it could fall in there, but there is a small hole in the side where the seat belt buckle comes out.”

I looked at the small hole.  “It just seems so farfetched that it would fall in a hole that small!”

“Yeah, I know… but where else could it be?”

I sat up.  “What does that mean… you have to take the seat apart?”

Mike shrugged.

I groaned.

“Hey,” Mike said.  “Did you check under the floor mat?”

“Why would I check under the floor mat?” I asked.  “A key can’t fall under a floor mat.”

Nevertheless, I pulled up the floor mat, and Voila.  There was the key nestled under the edge of the floor mat.  I’m still not sure how it fell under there, but I guess stranger things have happened.  And when you’ve just discovered that you don’t have to actually take apart an upholstery assembly, you’re not typically in the mood to overanalyze the reasons you don’t have to.

So it’s been that kind of a week.  :)

One piece of interesting news, though, is that after many years of delay I’m FINALLY starting yoga teacher training in November!  All of the pieces fell together exactly right, so I’ll be spending some evenings and weekends taking training classes from November until late June.  I am pretty much beyond excited, and Mike has been extremely supportive.  What a guy.  ;)  I’ve started some of the reading for the class just to get a head start (because apparently there are some habits from college that die hard), but apart from that I’m just enjoying the yoga classes I’m taking and really focusing on running, since I have a half marathon to run before the training starts!  So if all goes well, I should be certified by the Yoga Alliance to teach yoga by the end of June.  Exciting!

Speaking of running, the new Brooks running headquarters is officially open in Wallingford!  I heard through the grapevine that they might be starting a running club… perfect for Mike and me!  :)

Brooks running!

Brooks running!

Mike and I have been watching Game of Thrones season 4, and there are only 10 shows in the entire season.  Kind of disappointing, given how addicting the show is.  We’ve been trying to keep ourselves to one each week so that the show lasts longer, but it’s been difficult, and we’ve already watched two so far this week so we’re not exactly batting 1000 here (1000 is a good batting score… isn’t it?  My lack of baseball knowledge is surpassed only by my lack of golf knowledge.).

Veering completely off-topic, I have noticed something really bizarre about weather.com (which I use to determine the weather rather than just looking out the window.  Because, really.  We’re living in an age of technology.  Why would I look out a window and actually interact with the physical world when I can pull out my smart phone and limit my interactions only to pixels?).  Before about a month ago, the chance of rain always displayed in increments of 10% (i.e. 10%, 30%, 90%), but recently the chance of rain started to be displayed in 1% increments.  And, furthermore and somewhat bizarrely, it is extremely likely to rain if the chance of rain is 1%.  Twice this week, while walking to work, I have gotten unexpectedly rained on even though weather.com cheerfully proclaimed that the chance of rain was only 1%.  As a computer programmer, I have a theory about the buggy code that’s causing this, but I won’t bore you with the details.  Regardless, I’m not going to get the chance to look through their code and fix it, so in lieu of that I’ve just started carrying an umbrella with me to work when the forecast calls for a 1% chance of rain.  And, really, I live in Seattle.  I should be carrying an umbrella to work every day anyway.  :)

1% chance of rain?  I don't think so...

1% chance of rain? I don’t think so…

Mike has continued to play his guitar pretty regularly.  He got some little black box that can simulate guitar amplifiers so that he can play his electric guitar at night and the sound goes into the box and from there into his headphones rather than going into his big guitar amp and potentially keeping everyone on our floor awake.  What a great invention!  (Although I enjoy listening to him play, so it’s a little bit of a bummer for me!)

Not the best pic of Mike's new guitar, but I didn't want to disturb him...

Not the best pic of Mike’s new guitar, but I didn’t want to disturb him…

 

I hope everyone else is enjoying their week!

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Filed under Life in Seattle, Random Thoughts, Running, Weather, Work, Yoga

A low-key weekend

Mike’s week-long team project for improving the manufacturing process for one of the projects he’s working on is finished!  What a relief!  He was working long hours all of last week.  And when he did come home, it was typically late and he was typically wound up and only really up for thinking about work.  Unsurprisingly after his hard work all week, he had a headache on Saturday morning.  That did make us realize that he has been getting far fewer headaches the past several months though.  It’s probably the working out and healthier eating, because he also got far fewer headaches when we were going through the P90X exercise program last year.  It’s hard to believe that it’s already been about a year since we started that program.  I still remember all of the jokes the lead trainer says in all of the DVDs even though we haven’t done any P90X workouts in probably 8 months.  It’s amazing how that stuff stays with you!  :)

Work has started relaxing a little for me, which has been really nice.  Mike’s work will be more relaxing now that last week is over as well.  You would think that we would have been raring to go this weekend, but we were both still pretty tired from work and laid low.

On Saturday morning I woke up planning to run and then realized it was raining.  I dawdled getting ready to go hoping that it would stop, but it seemed to be raining pretty determinedly.  Finally I gave up, put on a raincoat and went for a run anyway.  I was expecting to be a little miserable, but the misty rain actually felt really refreshing after a hot, dry summer of running in primarily 80 degree heat with the sun beating down on my head.  I ended up running 10 miles at a very relaxed pace and having a really good time.  I also saw an adorable orange cat.

He had striking pale green eyes!

He had striking pale green eyes!

On another running note, I convinced several guys at work to run the Seattle half marathon, and they insisted that they’d only run it if I ran it too.  So… that’s how I ended up committed to a half marathon in Vancouver in October and another one in Seattle in November.  I’ve already decided that I’m taking it easy for the Seattle one though… the Vancouver race will be the one that I really race.  That will also be the race where Mike runs his first 10k.  He’s gotten pretty adept at 5k’s though.  Mike and I are actually running a 5k in Fremont next weekend.  That should be fun!  It’s part of the Fremont Oktoberfest festival, and Fremont always gets really bustling and crowded during Oktoberfest.  So fun!  :)

Greenlake during one of my runs...

Greenlake during one of my runs…

Mike played a lot of guitar this weekend, and I listened to him while I made up some ratatouille with all of the fresh vegetables from our CSA produce this week.  I got some artichokes, which traditionally I have no idea what to do with, but this time I just threw them on top of the ratatouille.  Why not, right?  What is one more vegetable on top of a vegetable dish going to hurt?  Just as a reference in case anyone decides to actually make this recipe, the artichokes on the top actually got kind of charred.  I didn’t mind; I like charred vegetables.  If you don’t, though, the artichokes aren’t necessarily recommended.  :)  I also made up some chicken risotto for Mike as well and made some mediterranean snow peas.  Lots of CSA-related cooking!

Snow peas!

Snow peas!

Mike fixed our vacuum cleaner with some parts that he ordered from Hoover.  Apparently there was some rubber seal that wasn’t sealing anymore.  As a precaution, Mike ordered several parts from Hoover in case the rubber seal alone didn’t fix the problem.  When he showed me the parts he bought, one of them was the plastic front piece of the vacuum.  Whereas our current front piece had the Hoover brand all over it, the new one was completely blank.  Knowing Mike’s history of de-badging cars, my mouth dropped open.

“Did you de-badge our vacuum cleaner?”

Mike started laughing.  “No.  By default the part doesn’t come with the Hoover logo.  You have to pay extra for that.  But if I would have thought of it, I would have de-badged the vacuum cleaner.”

I felt a modicum of relief.  I thought maybe in the absence of recent car work he was redirecting his car interests into our vacuum cleaner.  De-badging is fairly benign, but somehow I could picture Mike researching superchargers for vacuum cleaners and pointing out how great our carpet looked compared to everyone else’s carpet with our newly supercharged Hoover.  What a relief that his ‘debadging’ of our vacuum cleaner was entirely accidental.  ;)

Since using the dishwasher has been saving me so much time, I’ve started to make other efficiency improvements as well.  For instance, I’m no longer folding socks and underwear before I put them away.  (Yes, I did that… it’s a little embarrassing to admit.)  I think I’m realizing that there’s a point at which you get diminishing returns for the work that you do.  And when it comes to folding underwear, that law of diminishing returns catches up to you very quickly!  Mike hasn’t been complaining, so I suspect he hasn’t even noticed.  So, I get an extra few minutes back in every day from that.

On Friday night Mike and I got a little dressed up and went out to dinner at Boom Noodle.  It was a very relaxing evening!

Dressed up and ready to go!

Dressed up and ready to go!

On Saturday night Mike and I went for a long drive, ostensibly to see the Northern Lights, which were supposed to possibly be visible in the Pacific Northwest last night, but mostly just because we wanted to go for a drive.  As it turned out, we didn’t see even the remotest tinge of color in the northern sky.  We did see constellations, though, which we hadn’t seen in a long time given Seattle’s general cloudiness and the fact that the sky is pretty lit up with all the Seattle lights where we live.  We also saw a beautiful half bright yellow moon.  Typically the moon looks white, but last night it was most definitely yellow.  We also drove past the Boeing factory and saw what looked like an Aer Lingus airplane being assembled (if the green tail was any indication).  On the way north towards Everett we listened to the new Maroon 5 album, which I mostly like.  The lyrics are universally cheesy for all of the songs, but this is Maroon 5 we’re talking about.  They’re not exactly known for their compelling lyrics; they’re really mostly known for Adam Levine’s striking tenor voice.  And despite the lyric cheesiness, the songs are almost all really catchy, so much so that I sang along to the cheesy lyrics.  On the way back we listened to the new Wiz Khalifa album.  I really like most of the songs on that, and it provided an excellent introspective album that was a good complement to the fluffiness of the Maroon 5 album.

I hope everyone has had a low-key, relaxing weekend as well and feels ready to tackle the upcoming week!  How do weekends always go by so fast?

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Filed under Cooking, CSA, Food, Maroon 5, Running, Vancouver, Weather, Work

A race at Gasworks Park and Mike’s birthday

Work is getting more manageable these days, and both Mike and I got some key things done last week that frees us up a little.  Mike is in a Kaizen this week at work, though, which will make for a pretty busy week.

Last Thursday night, interestingly, both Mike and I had work events going on in the evening.  Mike was attending the “going-away” party of one of his co-workers, and I was attending the graduation ceremony for the Girls Who Code program for which I’ve been a mentor this summer.

Girls Who Code has been a very rewarding program to be a part of.  Seeing the girls grow in confidence and knowledge is really cool.  I really enjoyed working with the program and hope they continue their Seattle programs.  (This was its first year in Seattle… I believe it’s been going on in the Bay area for a couple of years.)

Friday night Mike worked late, so I went to the grocery store and ran some other errands.  I had a 10k race on Saturday morning which went ok.  It wasn’t terrible or wonderful.  It was a pretty strictly run-of-the-mill race with a run-of-the-mill finishing time.  There were a couple of things I really liked about the race though.  It started and finished at Gasworks Park, which is half a mile from our apartment, so getting there in the morning was really easy.

Gasworks Park (the day before the race... it was much busier the day of the race)

Gasworks Park (the day before the race… it was much busier the day of the race)

 

Also, the course was beautiful… right along Lake Union and the Ballard locks.  I was surprised at how many people there were!  I hadn’t realized it was such a large race!

Getting ready for the race!

Getting ready for the race!

 

For the first mile and a half (which is a quarter of the entire race), all of us runners were pretty much running shoulder to shoulder and there weren’t many opportunities to pass people.  (That probably didn’t help my overall time, actually, now that I think about it.)  After that, though, things thinned out and we had a lot more room to run.  It was still one of the more crowded 10k’s I’ve run though, so it was a fun, new experience.  A couple of other things I liked about the race.

1) They attached the race timing chip to your race bib, so you didn’t need to put on a bib and a timing chip on your shoe separately.  In the past I think the technology was such that you had to have the timing chips really close to the ground (where the sensors are) in order to detect your time.  Now apparently, as in all areas, technology has marched on and you can now put a timing chip all the way up on your chest and the timing sensors can still pick it up.

2) Rather than picking up your race T-shirt ahead of time, you picked it up when you crossed the finish line.  This is very convenient as it meant I didn’t have to pick up my T-shirt before the race and then figure out where to stash it until the race was over so I could take it home.

3) They offered two different color T-shirts at the finish line, and you got to pick which one you wanted.  What a fun idea!  I got to choose between blue and yellow, and I picked blue.  Mostly because I just got a bright yellow-ish green race T-shirt for the Seafair 5k Mike and I did a month ago.

4) Gasworks Park is just cool in general.  I don’t know the history of it or why it’s called Gasworks Park, but it’s got some pretty crazy equipment there.

Umm... not sure what this is

Umm… not sure what this is

 

Saturday was also Mike’s birthday!  He started the day with dropping the car off to get routine maintenance while I ran my race.  Then we had a present opening session where he opened his birthday presents.  In the evening we went out for dinner to Cicchetti, a favorite spot of ours.  It specializes in middle-eastern food and specialty cocktails.  The ambience there is incredibly relaxing… we actually ended up lingering there for about two hours just talking.

On Sunday I got a lot of CSA produce made up into food.  I made up a lemon chicken slow cooker meal for Mike, and I made up a pan of baked ratatouille.  It’s so good!  :)  I got all of the CSA produce used up from last week, so I’m all ready to pick up new produce tomorrow.  I’m already halfway through the CSA season, and I’ve been doing really well as far as food waste.  Basically the only food that’s gone to waste has been three bulbs of fennel (I seriously don’t know WHAT to do with that licorice-tasting vegetable!) and some cilantro and summer savory.  (I just don’t use that many fresh herbs, I guess.)  But I’ve been keeping up with the peas and green beans and zucchini (things that went bad last year), so I feel like I’m doing pretty well.  It’s helping a lot that I’ve been sending some lunches to work with Mike, and I always include some vegetables in there since he’s been eating healthier.  He isn’t a huge vegetable fan, but does like peas and green beans!  :)

The weather here has been warm and sunny… almost too sunny.  Seattle’s getting pretty dry and could use some rain!

Piper enjoyed having us home over the weekend.  She’s had a lot of energy lately and doesn’t seem to be sleeping as much.  Typically by Sunday she’s pretty exhausted having us home all weekend, but this Sunday she still was very awake and alert.  Mike and I really need to brush her more, because she seems to be shedding a lot this summer.

In honor of Mike’s birthday I told him I’d watch any movie he wanted to see.  He chose Mad Max.  It was seriously one of the weirder movies I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t quite get the location/scene set up, didn’t quite get the main characters’ motivations, and in general just really didn’t get the movie.  I wish I could analyze it a little more, but I can’t.  I can say that it reminded me of Quentin Tarantino’s very early works (think, Reservoir Dogs), so that probably tells you something about the almost comically extreme violence.  Quite frankly, I wouldn’t watch it again.  Mike liked it, but there were half hour long car chases with giant old muscle cars sporting super chargers so large I’m surprised that the drivers could even see past them down the hood of the car.  I think it was basically Reservoir Dogs meets The Fast and the Furious.  Actually, the more I think about it, the more accurate that seems to me.  So you can take that for whatever it’s worth.  :)

We also ran a couple of errands, and Mike fixed our vacuum cleaner.  There was something in it that wasn’t sealing correctly, so Mike ordered parts for it a week and a half ago.  They took forever to arrive, but when they finally did Mike dove in to fixing it.  We haven’t tried it out yet because there was a little foam strip Mike had to glue and that apparently needs 24 hours to set.  But soon we’ll be back to full vacuuming strength!  :)

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

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Filed under Birthdays, Cooking, CSA, Fennel, Food, Running