What can you build with 2 x 4’s?

Last week was a busy week and the weekend was even busier weekend!  On Friday after work I had to pick up a race packet for a 10k I ran on Saturday morning, then I had to get showered and changed, and then Mike and I went to a movie with a group of my friends from work.  The movie we saw was really interesting… Straight outta compton, a movie about the history of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and their group.  Obviously kind of a one-sided telling, since Dr. Dre and Ice Cube made the movie, but still interesting.  And of course I have the music from the movie going through my head four days later.  ;)

Last week was busy too.  On Tuesday night Mike went to a going away party for a coworker after work, and on Wednesday night I got together with a friend for coffee, and on Thursday I went to run club at the gym while Mike worked out at the gym.  It seriously feels like Mike and I have something going on EVERY NIGHT!  It’s fun for a few days, but then I find myself wanting a little bit of a break.  Friday was busy too, between a bunch of back-to-back meetings and teaching yoga.

In general everything seems to be going at the speed of light these days.  I’ve been  refining my Javascript/Coffeescript/Node knowledge like crazy as well as learning a little about Go while I’m at it (kind of an intriguing computer language from Google with the world’s cutest mascot… the Go Gopher).  I think I kind of have to get behind any language with a mascot that cute, especially one that’s based on the C programming language.

Even running with the run club at the gym has been crazy!  I use a GPS on my run so that I know how far and how fast I went, and on our last run there were three miles that we ran in under an 8min/mile pace.  Holy cow!!  I am NOT the kind of runner who routinely lays down 7:50 minute miles!  Or maybe I am now?  I have definitely noticed that when I try to keep up with the faster runners it’s hard for me, so maybe my body is adapting to a newer slightly faster pace?  Regardless, I’m on board with it!  It seems to be helping because I ran a 10k on Saturday that was my fastest 10k to date.  Crazy!

Likewise, Mike has been busy too.  He’s been learning a ton at his new job, although things seem to be stabilizing for him somewhat.  Lately he’s been spending his free time researching laptops so that he could successfully choose the best laptop for his birthday present.  Now that his birthday computer is on order Mike has been relaxing a little.  It is due to arrive tomorrow, and then he’s going to be having fun for awhile installing things on it and getting it configured the way he wants.  Lately he’s been saying that what he really wishes he had was a project that required him to nail 2×4’s together.  I can’t even imagine that.  Having to nail 2×4’s together sounds like my worst nightmare (apart from a forest full of spiders, which I’ll discuss below).  And I love going to the gym and he doesn’t enjoy it at all.  In some ways we are VERY DIFFERENT people.  Regardless, I tried to think of projects that would require him to nail 2×4’s together, but couldn’t really think of anything.  I’m not really sure what kinds of things people construct with 2×4’s.  Roof beams maybe?  Maybe Mike can add another story to our house.

For the most part, the weather has still been dry, so Mike and I have been keeping up with plant watering.  We have an agreement with our neighbors in which they water all the plants in the front of both of our yards, and we water all the plants in the back.  It’s a little bit of a relief not to have to carry a 500lb hose from the backyard to the front yard all the time.  Also, there’s the spider issue.  Apparently spiders love hot weather or something, because we seem to have a plethora of spiders in and among the trees along the side of the house.  For someone with self-proclaimed arachnephobia I’ve been doing a pretty good job of weaving among the trees to water all of the plants along the side of the house (albeit carefully).  Although somehow I don’t seem to be as afraid of spiders as I used to be (no, this is not a free license to mail me a tarantula).  Maybe I’m starting to see them as living things just trying to make their way in a big world.  Living things that weave webs to catch living insects, which they can then wrap up alive and paralyzed and eat.  Hmm…. maybe I have to rethink the sympathy thing.  ;)

Last night Mike and I took a long walk down by Lake Union in the evening.  Our days are finally starting to cool down, and it got windy a few days ago which has mostly cleared away the foggy haze hanging around Seattle due to the forest fires in the state.  It was so refreshing to walk in the windy twilight past lots of people walking dogs, biking, running, and just hanging out in Gasworks Park by the water.  We ended up being gone almost an hour and we walked back past a new restaurant that just opened and according to Bon Appetit is one of the best new restaurants in 2015.  We were hoping to get a vibe from the restaurant, but it was closed the night we walked by so we really didn’t get a sense of the vibe at all.

Mike’s birthday was this weekend, and we celebrated by going to the Bellevue Mall (which we have somehow managed to live in Seattle for five years and not ever visit).  We mostly just walked around, but it was a fun, big, light, airy mall.  We also celebrated by going out to a restaurant Mike really likes for dinner and drinks.  They even gave Mike a free dessert of his choice since it was his birthday!  :)

I have somehow continued to keep up with the CSA produce, which is unusual.  Usually by this point (week 5), I’m starting to kind of fall behind and feel like I really don’t know what to do with more zucchini.  I think the lack of rain has affected the crops, because we’re getting a different distribution of vegetables than we have in previous years.  We have been getting LOTS of snow peas, so apparently snow peas are resilient to droughts.  We have been getting less lettuce, which is actually working out since I’ve been eating salads for lunch at work and haven’t typically come home wanting more salads.  Although at this point, it’s pretty fortunate that Mike really likes peas because I’ve about run out of interest in snow peas.  We’ve also been getting a lot of onions, which I can always use, and lots of cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, etc).  So far it seems to be a good CSA year!

I hope everyone is having a great week!  Mike and I both had pretty crazy days at work, but I taught a yoga class at work over lunch, and I think I may have needed the calming and centering more than the students today.  ;)  The busy-ness definitely makes the days fly by!  How is it already fall?  I need to find some fall bonfires or something for Mike and me to go to… I’m in that kind of mood.  :)

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, CSA, Life in Seattle, Rain, Running, Seattle, Seattle Restaurants, Shopping, Weather

Taking risks with watermelon

Mike and I were definitely ready for a weekend by the time last weekend rolled around!  It had been a pretty busy week at work for all and sundry in our household!

Our Seattle summer has been extremely uncharacteristically hot and dry, and in some kind of weird, extreme re-assertion of Seattle weather, we had thunderstorms and torrential rains all day on Friday and it was 66 degrees.  The previous day, though, was 85 degrees and really dry.  If that isn’t a pretty extreme temperature shift, I don’t know what is!  Unfortunately it freaked Piper out.  She was home alone all day during the storms and it was much colder and darker and wetter than she was used to.  This all culminated in a bunch of stress.  When I came home from work she was literally mewing her head off.  Let me just say now: that is never a good sign.  Piper has limited vocal cords and can only make a select number of sounds, but she definitely takes advantage of every tweak she can make to her sounds to make them mean unique things.  And I knew the sound of this one.  It was the “I’ve-been-bad-according-to-your-definition-of-things-but-really-I’m-just-upset-and-don’t-understand-why-but-I’m-unhappy-and-PLEASE-COMFORT-ME!!!!!!!’  So basically she led me upstairs to where Mike’s flip flops were sitting and she showed me that she had urinated in one of them.  *sigh*  Oh Piper.  When will you learn there are better ways of dealing with fear of the weather besides inappropriate urination??  (By the way, I didn’t invent the term ‘inappropriate urination’.  That’s what the vet calls it.)  So anyway, Piper was extremely unhappy until I cleaned up after Mike’s flip flops and assured her I still loved her.  Then she sat on my lap purring her very deepest, throatiest purrs.

I taught my first Tuesday yoga class at the company where I work as a software developer.  I’ve been teaching a yoga class on Fridays, but this was my very first Tuesday class.  (I’m EXPANDING!  Yay!)  However, I felt completely off of my game on Tuesday.  I was in that place where you direct the class through a complex sequence on their left side based off of your instincts rather than off of any predefined plan and then you find yourself in downward facing dog trying to remember exactly what the whole sequence was, because now you need to guide them through it again on the right side of the body!  And one of those days where you find yourself saying ‘ground down into the heels of your legs’.  What the heck does that even mean??  LEGS don’t have heels; FEET have heels!  Basically all people have some ‘on’ days and some ‘off’ days.  And Tuesday was just an off day.  And, since it was my first Tuesday class I had all new students.  Clearly I must not believe in starting off on the right foot (or the left foot?)!  ;)  But shockingly, after class they were all really appreciative and anxious to come to the next class.  What is up with that??  Were they just being nice?  Was my complete and utter disorganization completely not apparent to them?  I have no idea.  I’ll find out next Tuesday when they either come back or don’t.  ;)

I also had to give a presentation for work, which went well.  It went a lot better than I expected it to, and a lot better than it likely would have gone if I’d practiced it at all beforehand (which of course I didn’t.  Why would I practice when I can go in stone cold and wonder what on earth I’m going to say?).  At least I seem to have the gift of gab and am not at a loss for things to say in most circumstances.  The quality of what I’m saying, though… that’s another matter.  ;)

I’m being a little facetious here, but you get the idea.  It was one of those weeks.  Mike has also continued to stay busy learning the ropes of his new job.  So far he’s really enjoying the learning, though.

And Piper had a hard Friday with the thunderstorm and rain and cold.

So between Mike, Piper, and me, we were really ready for the weekend!

Friday night Mike and I went to the gym and then went out to one of our favorite restaurants afterwards.  We sat at the bar and just hung out there for a couple of hours.  We ended up chatting with the woman sitting next to us because we were all in love with the roasted turnip appetizer.  Talking with her was such an amazing experience!  What a cool woman!  She has bicycled across the whole United States and is a singer/songwriter of Hebrew chants.  Talking with her was really fun!  She and I chatted nonstop, and Mike sat in the middle of us, clearly not sure what to do with all this chattering.  However, the woman seemed to understand Mike just fine anyway, and told him that she knew he “had a mind” and wasn’t very talkative.  Yes, she had him pegged.

On Sunday I went crazy with CSA produce and sautéed up kale and bok choy, roasted some beets (good old beets… I am determined to find some way that they taste good because they’re high in antioxidants and high in iron), and made up a chicken and broccoli dish for Mike.  All in all, it was a productive weekend.  Mike got some Sonos speakers which basically allow you to control them via an app on your phone, and he put them in the kitchen for when I’m cooking.  So I made full use of those during all the CSA cooking!  Mike and I kept trying to find stuff that we felt like listening to and nothing really sounded good, so eventually we went with a relaxed electronic playlist from Spotify.  It was very good!

Sunday afternoon we went for a drive so long that we almost got lost and we were out in the middle of a bunch of farmland.  Neither of our cell phones were getting a signal, so we couldn’t navigate via cell phone.  We were basically back to the stone age days before cell phones existed.  It was kind of a fun adventure, which we ended in Bellevue buying Jamba Juice and visiting a rare coins store.  Everyday adventures.  :)

I also had a watermelon that I finally got up the nerve to cut up last weekend.  It’s kind of a pain because Mike doesn’t really eat watermelon, so once I cut it open I’m pretty much committed to eating watermelon for the next couple of days so I can eat it up before it goes bad.  And it’s also really messy.  And it takes up a lot of room in the fridge.  But I love it anyway!  So I cut open the watermelon on a big cutting board on the kitchen counter.  In retrospect I should have put the cutting board on the counter next to the sink since cutting up a watermelon is such a messy job, but of course hindsight is 20/20.  And foresight (at least mine) doesn’t appear to be anything close to that.  So I found myself at the end with eight pieces of watermelon and a completely waterlogged cutting board with reddish watermelon juice all over it.  I debated my options and decided to risk trying to balance it so that all the watermelon juice stayed on it long enough for me to bridge the aisle between the counter and the sink so that I could dump it safely into the sink.  Well, let’s just say that was a bust.  I spilled watermelon juice kind of everywhere.  You haven’t actually experienced living until you’ve tried to clean watermelon juice off of all of the major surfaces in your kitchen.  It’s pretty crazy.  And yet, somehow, masochist that I must be, I bought another watermelon a few days later.  At least I was more careful with where I cut up that one.  ;)

Mike’s birthday is almost here!  For his birthday, we’re getting him a laptop.  His current one is really old.  He’s interested in trying some new computer games… something to do to unwind from work that’s easy and immersive.  He focuses on work so much that he really needs something immersive to take his mind off of work.  He’s also been thinking about music more lately, so I have the feeling once he gets his music room set up, he’ll be starting music again too.

One of my friends lent me a book a month ago about Paris in 1919.  It looks really interesting, but somehow I haven’t even started it yet.  I think it’s because it’s a physically thick book and every time I look at it I get intimidated.  The thought of being on page 1 of a 500 page book just seems so overwhelming.  Maybe that’s one reason why e-books have worked out so well for me.  I’m really not aware of how long the book is… I’m only looking at the current page.

It’s getting to be fall at work, and that means that our interns are starting to go back to school.  It’s been a fun ride with them over the summer!  Always fun to see how they learn and work in their first engineering job!  Love it!

This weekend Mike and I are going out to a movie with friends on Friday night, and then to a friend’s birthday party on Saturday, plus Mike’s birthday on Sunday, so we have some fun things to look forward to this weekend!  That’s always nice, since last weekend was pretty much all cleaning and chores.  Not bad, but not very exciting.  :)

I hope everyone is having a good, relaxing week!

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Filed under Birthdays, Cats, Cooking, CSA, Friends, Life in Seattle, Weather, Work, Yoga

Tuesday – the new Friday

This weekend Mike wanted to take a look around the Microsoft store to see what new stuff they have out these days and when we walked into the store everything seemed to be advertising Minecraft.  I have to preface this by saying that I really don’t know anything about Minecraft at all.  I have some vague sense that it’s a computer game of some sort, but that’s about my only knowledge of it.  Mike didn’t know a lot either, but he did know that it was almost a lego version of a computer game where you obtain materials and use those to construct other things and eventually you can construct really complex things.  Mike was kind of interested, so he launched the game that was installed on one of the demo laptops in the store and started playing.  He basically started out in a giant field surrounded by cows.  He started running around trying to figure out what he was supposed to do and accidentally ran into a cow and somehow ended up punching the cow.  The cow jumped in the air, ran around in circles, and generally didn’t seem too happy.  I can’t really blame it.  I wouldn’t be too happy about being punched by a random stranger either, even if I were only a digital cow.  The cow finally stopped running around and Mike tried pressing some buttons to see if he could pick up some sticks near the cow, but he only succeeded in punching the cow again.  “Michael!” I screeched as the cow commenced its running around in circles.  “Stop punching that cow!”

“I’m not trying to punch the cow,” Mike said while trying to get into a non-cow area to experiment with keyboard shortcuts.  “I’m pretty sure the point to this game is to build things, not to punch cows.”

It was a fun time.  :)

We’re a couple weeks into the CSA produce season now, and so far I’m doing really well finishing up all the produce.  This week I made up sautéed radishes and greens, curried kale, a beef parsnip stew, and a pan of a variety of roasted vegetables.  The start of the CSA season is always so refreshing when I just get a fresh load of interesting produce every week!  By the end of the season I’m always wondering what on earth I am going to do with another five zucchini, but at this stage of the process it’s all still fun and new and exciting.  :)  I’m picking up a CSA load today, and I’m excited because I’ll be getting bok choy.  There’s not much I like better than some bok choy… either in a salad, sauteed, or wilted in soup.  Just kidding.  There are definitely things I like better than bok choy.  But I do really like bok choy.  :)

In other news, this is the best thing I have seen on the internet in a really long time: Orphaned wallaby has a friend.  Actually, it’s the best thing I’ve seen since the whole knitting sweaters for penguins thing started circulating around the internet.  If you haven’t seen either of those articles, I have probably just made your whole year.  You are welcome.  :)

The weather here has finally cooled down a little… now we’re in the low eighties instead of the low nineties.  I’ll take it!  :)  As much as I love the hot weather in general, the plants around our house get really parched when it’s sunny and 90 degrees for a week straight.

I saw an interesting article about which countries consume the most meat, and (unsurprisingly?) the U.S. is near the top of the list.  What I found more interesting is that no European countries made the list.  Also Scotland just banned the growth of GMO crops.  While the U.S. is still (apparently?) afraid to require mandatory labeling of GMOs for fear of rising food costs (or because of the millions of dollars chemical giant Monsato is pouring into anti-GMO advertising!), other countries are skipping mandatory labeling entirely and going straight to just outlawing the growth of GMOs altogether.  Interesting!

Speaking of Legos (which I was earlier in the blog post, and apparently my mind jumps around), Mike and I saw the most fun, interesting documentary about the history of the Lego company called Brickumentary!  We both grew up with legos, so we really enjoyed seeing the history of the company from an adult perspective.  We also learned that there’s a huge Lego expo each year in Seattle called Brick Con.  I had vaguely heard of Brick Con, but definitely didn’t know any of the details.  Mike and I will likely go this year, though, so that we can check out everyone’s cool Lego creations!  Probably as a result of the movie, Mike and I headed to one of the Lego stores in the Seattle area and looked at a bunch of the Lego sets.  Lego has come SO FAR from where it was twenty years ago!  I look at some of the Lego sets available now and think how much I would have wanted those as a kid.  What a great, creative toy!

Mike has really been committed to his new job and has been learning up a storm!  This weekend, though, we were both ready for some down time.  On Saturday we ran errands most of the day, and on Sunday we just relaxed and did a few errands (namely watering the plants, paying bills, and paperwork), but nothing too strenuous.  Piper loved having us home and loved having Mike around all day.  She loves playing with him.  Also, he tends to give her more salmon treats than I would.  So he’s always a more fun person for her to have around.  This evening, Piper was prowling around the kitchen mewing a little and Mike asked her if she’d like some salmon.  Yes please!  Piper ran to the drawer that holds the salmon and started mewing maniacally.  So apparently Piper now knows the word ‘salmon’!  Clearly we’re going to need to start spelling things.  Although it’s interesting that she learned ‘salmon’ in just a month or so whereas other words like ‘sit’, she still hasn’t gotten the hang of.  I’m going to call it selective learning.  ;)

Last night Mike and I started watching a movie called Ex Machina.  I’m finding it freaky in a “The Shining” kind of way.  Not because there’s a psychopath Jack Nicholson running around (it really doesn’t get scarier than that), but because the main character is basically secluded in the middle of nowhere with a scientist that I’m not convinced isn’t a mad man.  Actually I’m becoming more and more convinced that he is a mad man.  We stopped halfway through the movie last night because it was getting late and I was getting freaked out, but Mike honestly couldn’t understand what it was about the movie that scared me.  I’m pretty convinced the only thing that Mike is afraid of is scratching the paint on the car bumper.  ;)

On to another day!  I’ve heard that Tuesdays are the worst day of the week because you are no longer riding the weekend high, but you still have a long way to go until the next weekend.  I might subscribe to that except for four things:

  1. CSA pickup day – lots of fresh new veggies!
  2. Barre class at the gym
  3. “New Music Tuesday” on Spotify that features playlists of all of the new music just coming out
  4. Teaching a yoga class at the company where I work (I used to only teach Friday classes, but I’ve added a Tuesday class now as well.)

So all in all, Tuesday doesn’t look like it’s shaping up to be so bad.  In fact, with those four things it might even be a great day.  So everyone enjoy your Tuesday, because Tuesday is really the new Friday!

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Filed under Animals, CSA, Life in Seattle, Weather

Early adventures in home ownership

All right, everyone!

I’ve gotten several comments to the effect of What happened to your blog??

So here I am.  And I will try to be better about posting.  I literally can’t tell you how busy Mike and I have been since buying the house.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.  Literally!  Can’t believe it!  All these new responsibilities!  It’s been in the 90’s for much of our summer so far.  Yes, apparently this is the new norm this year in Seattle!  We’ve already broken all historical records for the number of days over 90 degrees in one year.  That’s right… for all of recorded history, Seattle has never had a summer as hot as this one!  I bet we’ve never had a summer as dry as this one either… but I don’t remember seeing any stats on that.  So each night I spend 20 minutes watering the plants around the townhome and trying to avoid the spiders that tend to build webs in the tree branches.  I actually have green living things depending on me to SURVIVE!  Talk about responsibility!

Also, Mike has a new job!  He got it back in June and started after my brother’s visit to Seattle.  He is diving in with both feet and is working much longer hours than usual.  He’s enjoying it and wasn’t really pursuing any other hobbies this spring, so that’s all good.  But it does mean that Piper and I are holding down the fort.  And by Piper and me, I pretty much mean me.  Piper is an extremely talented cat, but her talents center mostly around learning to open doors I would rather she couldn’t open.  She’s not so good about handling bits of yard work, cleaning, cooking up CSA produce, doing the endless loads of laundry that this super hot weather is generating, prepping for the once-a-week yoga classes I’m teaching to my coworkers, doing grocery shopping, getting the dishes washed, meeting with contractors to get small stuff on our house fixed, etc, etc, etc.  And in the free time I have, I’m typically either taking zumba or yoga classes, running, or otherwise actively occupied.  (Yes, even in spite of the heat.  The run club that I’m part of at my gym has been running at 6pm even on the uber hot 90+ degree days.  After the runs we basically form one long line at the gym’s single drinking fountain and hog the water supply.)  And of course, I’m still working full time.  Whew!

So the blog has fallen by the wayside.  Hopefully I’ll get back in the rhythm of posting, though, regardless of busyness!  :)

Our CSA deliveries finally started a couple weeks ago!  The farm we were going through started their deliveries over a month late… I think because of drought-related issues.  Apparently this no-rain, 90 degree thing isn’t making plants very happy.  (Hence my watering of the plants around our townhome.)  It’s a good thing I decided not to start a garden until next year because as bad as I am at gardening there’s no way I could have kept anything alive through this summer.

Speaking of watering plants.  That has been a whole adventure in and of itself.  When Mike and I first moved into our townhome we were so focused on getting the inside organized and planned out that we didn’t even notice what was going on with the plants and shrubbery around our house.  Until Mike’s parents came and Mike’s dad looked out our living room window towards the ground below and said, “Don’t you guys ever weed??”  Um, no.  We didn’t ever weed.  We looked out the front window to see that the Japanese maple in the front had become almost obscured behind four-foot dandelion bushes (I kid you not!  Dandelion BUSHES!  They were INSANE!)  So Mike and I spent one long afternoon pulling up all of the weedy trees and shrubs that had taken over our lawn space.  There was really no difference between the weeds and our desired plants height-wise so I kept having to ask Mike what was what to prevent pulling up any plants that the builder had specifically put there.

The advantage of pulling out weeds that are as tall as trees is that your work is rewarding in a hurry.  With each weed you instantly see a difference.  It’s really the best scenario you can hope for if you’re a weed-puller who is into instant gratification.

The disadvantage is that you basically need a shovel to get some of the weeds up.  Mike had a big weed whacker tool that was meant for some pretty serious weeds, but my little purple-handled gardening trowel was really not cutting it.  Eventually I was relegated to picking up the big tree-weeds that Mike uprooted and breaking them up.

As we were working a neighbor from further down the street came by walking her dogs and stopped to say “THANK you for cleaning this up.”  Very passive-aggressive.  Very Pacific-northwest.  A two-edged compliment.  THANK you for cleaning this up and what took you so long?!?  Love it!  :)

So we got weeding under control and started to feel like we were getting a handle on this home ownership thing.  And then the really hot, dry summer started.  We became slowly and vaguely aware that our plants didn’t seem to be growing.  And then that they were turning brown.  And then that their leaves were all crackly.  Mike and me and all of our neighbors realized around the same time that we really, REALLY needed a way to water our plants.  And within a week hose racks started going up on the back of everyone’s townhome.  It was really pretty hilarious how in-sync we all were.  But the most hilarious part was how very, very different Mike’s and my hose was from everyone else’s hose.

I’ll start back at the beginning.  Mike and I decided that we needed a way to water the plants.  I wanted to get a cute watering can.  Maybe something light-blue painted aluminum.  Mike wanted to get a hose.

“The hose would have to be too long!” I protested.  “It would have to reach all the way from the back of the house around the side and up to the street if we’re actually going to use it to water all of the plants we have.”

“No, it’ll be fine,” Mike said, already researching hoses online.  “Fifty feet should do it.”

“Measure it with a tape measure before you buy anything,” I said.  “I bet it’s more than fifty feet from the back of our house to the front.”

And thus we ended up with a 100 foot hose.  A 100 foot hose!!  Isn’t that the length of a football field or something??  No… actually that’s 100 yards.  Never mind.  But you get the idea.  It’s a LONG HOSE!  And not only is it a long hose, but after extensive research and hose discussion with his friends at work, Mike had picked out The Best Hose.  The Hose which will not get kinked, bent, twisted, broken, or otherwise mangled.  The Hose to end all hoses.  This hose was a very strong recommendation from one of Mike’s best friends at his old job.  Interestingly, when Mike’s friend was talking with his wife about us needing a hose to water our plants, she said, “Why don’t they just get a watering can?”

Great minds, people.  They think alike.

But Mike had already set his sights, not only on the Hose-to-End-All-Hoses, but also the Hose-Rack-to-End-All-Hose-Racks and the Hose-Nozzle-to-End-All-Hose-Nozzles.

So.  While everyone else in our townhome community got mini spiral hoses not drastically bigger in diameter than a plastic drinking straw, Mike mounted the Hose-Rack-to-End-All-Hose-Racks on the back of our house and hung what basically amounts to a huge black fireman’s hose on it.  The hose doesn’t look drastically different than a giant Burmese python coiled up against our house.  But sadly, the hose is far longer (Longest Python) than the longest python on record.  So our hose could be a really, really long python if it were EIGHTY-ONE FEET SHORTER!

While it may sound as though I’m bitter about not getting my sky blue aluminum watering can, I’m learning to love the hose and am pretty comfortable lugging bulky coils of it around the side of the house so that I can water the plants in the front yard.  The hose and I have established a pretty good relationship.  It has seriously helped our relationship that the hose is capped off by the Hose-Nozzle-to-End-All-Hose-Nozzles.  Although I may not have been a big fan of the hose, I have speedily become the world’s biggest proponent of the hose nozzle.  It has like fourteen different settings, some of which imitate a water can, some of which shoot a long stream of directed water, some of which shoot a long-range sprinkling of water, some of which are appropriate for filling a bucket.  Basically, however you want to squirt water, this hose nozzle does the trick.  I love it!

So, there we are: the joys of home ownership.  For all of you renters out there, now you know what you’re missing out on.  A ONE HUNDRED FOOT BURMESE PYTHON HOSE!  And the best hose nozzle ever!  ;)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see what I can do about posting more regularly.  :)

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Filed under Gardening, Life in Seattle, Running, Seattle, Weather

A beautiful spring. :)

I realize it seems as though I’ve fallen off of the earth lately as far as this blog is concerned.  Truth to tell, it almost feels to me as though I’ve fallen off the face of the earth lately.  I’ve definitely been rushing from one thing to the next over the past few months.  Actually, it’s pretty much been since January.  Just to recap, in early January I started a new job.  In late January Mike and I put in an offer on a house.  About a thousand signatures later, we moved into our new home in late February.  The month of March was spent cleaning, unpacking, taking things to Goodwill, figuring out what the contractors still needed to work on in our house (i.e. the heater, the grout in the bathroom, one of the light fixtures, the refrigerator… etc).  The month of April was spent getting things for our new house in preparation for entertaining Mike’s parents and my brother who are coming to visit in May and June, respectively.  Also during the month of April and into early May, the yoga teacher training really amped up in intensity and I found many of my Friday nights and weekends filled which, although I seriously love the teacher training, ensured that my time to work on organizing the house was limited.  And somehow, after four and a half years in Seattle with a surprisingly small social life outside of work, we’ve actually been hanging out with friends more, which has also cut into blogging time.

However, I don’t want to lose touch with the blog.  It’s really my best way of keeping everyone back in the midwest aware of the fact that we’re still alive and life is still plugging along.  :)  And now that things seem to be on their way to slowing down a little, I want to reconnect.

Piper looks like she needs to reconnect too...

Piper looks like she needs to reconnect too…

So let’s see… where should I start?

This weekend Mike’s parents are coming, and we are getting excited!  We’ve been doing lots of cleaning and organizing to make sure that our house is in as good a state as we can get before they get here (although the basement still isn’t organized… we’ll have to work on that later this summer).  Then in June, my brother is coming for a visit, so I’m already making plans for things to do with him.  :)

The yoga teacher training is nearing an end.  It really amped up in intensity during March and April, and now I only have one Friday night class left and our four-day yoga retreat at the end of June.  No more full weekend classes!  It’s been an awesome, crazy ride, and I’ve loved it, but I am ready to have a little more free time.  :)

We have an afghan that my Mom and grandma and I made years and years ago over our new couch so that Piper doesn’t scratch it with her back claws.  However, the afghan is about a foot and a half too short.  My mom knitted up a bunch of squares for me, and now I’m in the process of sewing them together to add on to the afghan so that it’s long enough.  Mike, whose mechanical and electrical knowledge knows no bounds, finds it a little mysterious that yarn can be made into squares and those squares can be put together.  I remember once when Mike was at my parents’ house, my mom mentioned something about sewing a button on and Mike looked at her like she’d lost her mind.  Mike’s experience with losing buttons on a coat is that it means you either have to hold your coat shut or you have to buy a new coat.  So interesting how different peoples’ minds work.  :)

And yet somehow all this stuff is easy...

And yet somehow all this stuff is easy…

 

Mike and I have been using our new grill pretty much every weekend.  We’re getting good at prepping the veggies for the grill, and Mike has a really good sauce to use with chopped-up grilled carrots made up of honey, balsamic vinegar, and some other stuff.  Very yummy!  :)

 

Grill food!

Grill food!

 

Grill veggies!

Grill veggies!

I joined a run club at Mike’s and my gym and have been enjoying the weekly runs with a group.  It definitely motivates me to run faster!  Sometimes, probably too fast.  Last week I was trying to keep up with a guy who’s legs were probably twice as long as mine.  I don’t know why I thought I’d be able to do that.  :)  I kept up with him for the first three miles, and then dropped back for the second three miles.  At least I’m out there pushing myself.  Our whole run club is going to run a 15k race together at the end of May sponsored by Brooks Running Shoes, so I’m excited about that!

Mike has been doing all of those housey kinds of projects that I knew he would love.  He’s been drilling holes everywhere, hanging up pictures, towel hooks, etc.  He’s also been putting felt feet on the bottom of all of our furniture and adjusting the heights of all of the desks so that they’re correct for hardwood floors now rather than carpeted floors.  He also built a bench to put inside the closet in the downstairs bedroom.  He has been carrying tools everywhere and has been making more trips to Home Depot than I can possibly count.  It’s becoming his new favorite thing to brows concrete cleaners and various types of screws at Home Depot.

I think someone forgot to tell Mike that we don't have space in a townhome for him to do this...

I think someone forgot to tell Mike that we don’t have space in a townhome to do this…

Mike also got a drill to put up pictures, and he has been drilling holes everywhere he can find a place to drill a hole.  He is absolutely LOVING his new drill!

Last weekend was my first weekend without yoga teacher training in awhile, so Mike and I ran a bunch of errands on Saturday and pretty much relaxed on Sunday.

In other random news, is Seattle the only place I would see this?

A signal for a bike.  Next to a one way street sign.  Below a 'straight only' sign for cars.  Confusion abounds!

A signal for a bike. Next to a one way street sign. Below a ‘straight only’ sign for cars. Confusion abounds!

 

In yet more random news, does anyone remember how I kept collecting all those Puffins cereal boxtops with the plan of adopting a Puffin?  When I started collecting boxtops (like six years ago.  I’m not kidding… it was actually six years ago) you needed 250 boxtops to “adopt” one puffin for a year.  However somewhere along the line, the number changed from 250 to 20.  What?!?  So I basically had enough to adopt eight Puffins!  I sent in a huge manilla envelope with all the boxtops rubberbanded in groups of 20 back late last year and kind of forgot about it.  And then literally the day that we were moving out of our apartment, my Puffins certificates came in the mail.  Close call to missing that!  (although maybe the Post Office would have forwarded it?)

One of my eight Puffins!  (Well, 'mine' for a year anyway.  I think after that I need more boxtops.)

One of my eight Puffins! (Well, ‘mine’ for a year anyway. I think after that I need more boxtops.)

 

I was all excited to read all about my Puffins.  Go to the Barbara’s Bakery website!   Read about puffins!  Buy Puffins cereal and collect boxtops to adopt your own puffin!  (Or just send me your boxtops and I’ll renew adoption on one of my puffins.)  ;)  Mike already has one of his friends whose kids eat puffins cereal donating to my Puffins cause.  And I had an old friend at Amazon who ate Puffins and always brought me his boxtops too.

Mike and I discovered that the fire station in our neighborhood is the coolest one ever.  Check it out… they’ve got a statue of Piper on their roof!

Is that Piper up there?  No, it's 1000 times bigger than Piper.

Is that Piper up there? No, it’s 1000 times bigger than Piper.  But it’s walking off of a roof, which seems like the kind of thing Piper would think was a good idea.

 

Random fact of the day: Starbucks baristas will have NO idea how to spell Karena!  ;)

Um... kind of sounds the same...

Um… kind of sounds the same…

 

Random fact #2: I saw this old Volkswagen beetle and kind of fell in love with it.  Too bad it’s not for sale, right?  I mean, this is a cool car to drive around, right??

Too cute!

Too cute!

 

This Friday night Mike and I have some friends coming over to watch episodes of Planet Earth.  I’m not quite sure how that happened.  Especially since we only have a 40 inch TV.  I probably should have mentioned that to my friends before I invited them over to watch Planet Earth?  Oh well…

Anyway, I’ll try to be up here posting more regularly.  As far as everything in life, I’ve got a handle on the new job (not so new anymore… I’ve already been there five months!  How did that happen?), Mike’s work has been going well, yoga teacher training is nearing a close, grilling at our new townhome is awesome, Piper’s loving the sunshine and all the windows, we’ve been connecting with friends more regularly, and we feel very grateful that things are starting to slow down a little.

It’s important to take some time and smell the roses.  Or lounge in the sunshine.  :)

Piper believes in setting a good example for Mike and me

Piper believes in setting a good example for Mike and me

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Filed under Animals, Apartments, Cats, Cooking, Friends, Pictures

Starting to enjoy summer!

Last week was a week of working during the day and getting the house more cleaned up at night.  We’re getting to the point where the main things left to organize are Mike’s office room and the shoes in the bedroom closet.  Not so bad!  :)

We also got our new dining room table yesterday, which is weird.  I literally haven’t had a dining room table in so long that I barely know what to do with it.  I’ve been eating on the couch and (in our more recent apartment) at a kitchen bar area for years now.  Actually, I was thinking back, and the last time I had a dining room table was when I lived in my second apartment in Heritage Hill, and that was over five and a half years ago.  Time definitely flies.  So I’ll have to take some time to get used to that.  :)  Mike, who values eating food at a table and not getting crumbs on the couch, is definitely ready for the transition.  ;)

Two weekends ago I had another yoga teacher training weekend, which meant I didn’t have time to do much else.  The topics were very interesting though!  As always, the time went by really quickly!  I was just looking at the class schedule the other day and I realized that there are only two weekends left plus the final four-day retreat at the end.  This class has gone by really fast!  It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this since early November!

This past weekend was the first weekend in awhile in which Mike and I didn’t feel like there was anything super pressing to do, so we relaxed.  Well, mostly.  Mike cleaned all of the grout in the upstairs bathroom on Sunday afternoon while I went crazy in the kitchen.  I basically used every pot I owned, and made a chicken and broccoli stirfry over rice, a dozen hard-boiled eggs, a huge pan of vegetables roasted in coconut oil  (Thank you for the tip about the coconut oil, LJ!), and a batch of banana avocado muffins.  It was quite the afternoon!  I started with chopping up all the vegetables for the roasted vegetables, because that part’s so easy… no thinking and no recipe required!  The veggies this week included yams, potatoes, beets, and asparagus.  When I got ready to coat the vegetables in coconut oil, I had a little bit of a shock because the coconut oil was more of a solid than a liquid,  Then I remembered (pretty belatedly) that coconut oil is almost purely saturated fat, and that saturated fats are solid at room temperature.  Fine time for my nutrition classes to make an appearance.  However you don’t get to be my age without having a little ingenuity.  I turned to the trusty microwave, and a minute later my kitchen literally smelled like a tropical paradise.  Yum!  :)

Success!

Success!

Next up was the chicken stirfry, and there were no surprises there (except that by the time I’d steamed the broccoli, cooked the rice, and made up the chicken mixture, I’d used three pots.  That seemed a little excessive.

Three pans later...

Three pans later…

Next I put the eggs on to boil while I mixed up the banana avocado muffin batter.  The banana avocado muffins were really out of character for me to make, honestly, but I had a two-fold goal.  One: I had three bananas that were really going bad and needed to be used ASAP.  Two: I had just bought a muffin tin and was ready to take it for a spin.  Oh, and I guess a third reason was because I wanted to feel like I was feeding Mike something reasonably healthy.  I watched Mike closely as he ate his first muffin, hot from the oven.  I was pretty afraid he’d notice the green tinge to the muffins and not even give them a chance, but fortunately he was too tired from cleaning the grout and didn’t even notice.  He started chewing away while I watched him intently.  After wolfing down a third of the muffin Mike became aware that I was watching him.  He started chewing more slowly.

“What’s up?”

“Nothing.  Do you like the muffins.”

“Yeah, they’re good.”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Really?”

Mike started chewing even more slowly and glanced at the muffin in his hand.

“Really.  Why do you keep asking?”

“Nothing.  Well, I mean, it’s just that they’re healthy.”

Mike stopped chewing altogether and set his muffin down on the table.  “How healthy?” he asked suspiciously.  “What’s not in here that should be, or in here that shouldn’t be?”

When I told him it was avocado, he seemed half apalled, half relieved.

“Well, all right then,” he said, as he stared at the muffin and started to realize that its color was a little unusual.

Mike wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the muffins though.  On Tuesday I was on my way home from work talking to my Mom on the phone.  I was just telling her about Piper’s strict diet and how she’s not allowed grains of any kind as I approached our house.  My voice started to trail off as I realized that there was an upside down muffin on the bottom stair just inside the door.  Good grief!  I pulled open the door and examined the muffin.  She had definitely eaten some off of the top and had torn the muffin wrapper and eaten another little chunk out of the bottom, but most of the muffin seemed in one piece.  So there was at least a fair chance that there wouldn’t be huge litterbox consequences to pay for her indiscretion.  I went to look at the muffin pan, because I had left all of the muffins in the muffin tin covered with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Sure enough, Piper had chewed a hole all the way through the aluminum foil directly above one of the corner muffins.  She had then apparently discovered that the foil lifted up, because the foil was also bent upwards in the corner, and the single muffin in the corner had been removed from the tin.  Piper was mewing and seemed all around very pleased with herself.  She had “caught” the muffin and had presented most of it to us as a gift on the stairs, the same way that she would likely leave us part of any mouse she caught.  I guess there are many worse things that a cat could leave on my kitchen steps… I’m probably lucky.  ;)

Since the weather has been so lovely lately, Mike and I have been taking a lot of walks.  We’ve found some fun and interesting things.

I fell in love with this old beetle... too bad it wasn't for sale.

I fell in love with this old beetle… too bad it wasn’t for sale.

We also discovered that we are literally right around the corner from a fire station.  Which hopefully we’ll never need, but it’s good to have it there, right?

Love the Piper cat on top!  :)

Love the Piper cat on top! :)

 

There’s still work that Mike and I are actively doing with the house as well.  Mike did some paint touch-up stuff after work this week.

Hard at work!  At his second job, which is owning a house

Hard at work! At his second job, which is owning a house

 

Piper has been loving the warmer weather lately too.  She spends lots of time at windows!

Keeping an eye on the street outside

Keeping an eye on the street outside

 

Lounging in the sunshine

Lounging in the sunshine

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and enjoys beautiful weather!  :)

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Filed under Baking, Cats, Cooking, Food, Pictures

Lots of house projects!

And here we are again.  The past few weeks have been extremely busy.  (I feel like this is starting to sound like a theme.)

Because we have new construction, apparently it took the post office awhile to figure out what to do with us, so we didn’t get mail for the first couple of weeks and had to have it held at the post office and then go to pick it up each week.

So these days Mike and I have been unpacking, organizing, and drilling lots of holes.  Well, more specifically, Mike has been drilling.  He hung up a rod for my pots and pans to hang on.  He hung up hooks for coats inside the front door.  Next up is hanging up rings for our towels in the bathrooms.  The guy has been going crazy with the drill lately.

Mike drilling like crazy!

Mike drilling like crazy!

He’s also been working on unpacking some of his studio stuff.  I was working with him moving stuff around in his studio room a few days ago and picked up a big, long, black stand.

“Wow!” I said.  “This thing is huge.  This is like the guitar stand to end all guitar stands!”

Mike just stared at me and then it.  “Ok,” he finally said.  “But that’s not a guitar stand… it’s a tripod for a camera.”

Clearly, I don’t know what all of the things he has are.  ;)

What else has been going on?  Well, the grout got reworked, and Mike sealed the grout in the kitchen so I have finally started to cook and use the kitchen again!  No more filling up our water glasses in the downstairs bathroom because we’re afraid of getting water (and thus the beginning of mildew) on the grout above the sink!  The first day I was able to use the kitchen I went a little overboard and made up roasted vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, a batch of chicken burgers, and a slow-cooker chicken veggie soup.  This weekend I kept things light and just cooked up some more roasted root vegetables… this time it was asparagus, beets, potatoes, and yams.  I was planning to put onions and carrots in as well, but I ran out of room in my pan.  :)

Work has been busy but good for both of us.  Piper went to the vet on Thursday for a six-month checkup by the vet for UTI’s.  It looks like she’s got a clean bill of health!  It was 60 degrees on Thursday and sunny so I just walked over to the vet with Piper.  Piper, who usually hates being taken places in her carrier, was surprisingly docile and quiet.  I think she was just enjoying the beautiful weather!  She is absolutely loving the new home.

Looking out into the sun

Looking out into the sun

 

All stretched out in the sun

All stretched out in the sun

 

Being goofy in the evenings...

Being goofy in the evenings…

 

A chair that Mike and I bought on sale a week ago got delivered, and this weekend we got it out of the box.  It was fully assembled, but did need feet put on it.  When we were at the store looking at chairs, the woman who helped us said that the feet would be inside the chair when we received it.

“You have no idea how many people call us complaining that they didn’t receive the feet,” she laughed.  I didn’t laugh along with her.  The last chair Mike and I bought was from Target and when it was delivered, I thought they’d forgotten the feet until Mike found them inside the chair itself.

Mike and I also went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and we bought some clothes hampers and a trash can.  When we came out and wrestled all three of those things into our Civic, Mike was tired and threw the crumpled receipt into the center console.

“Can I just throw this receipt away?” Mike asked.  “Or do I need to file it?”

“Throw it away,” I said.  “It’s not like we’re going to return hampers.”

“What if they don’t hold clothes?” Mike asked, not too tired to have lost his sense of humor.  “What if they don’t hamp?”

Speaking of fitting things in our Civic, we have fit some pretty crazy stuff in our car over the past few weeks including, but not limited to, a six foot ladder, a seven foot long piece of acrylic (that Mike said was for a “bumper” on the edge of a corner in the basement… I think he was intimating that I scraped up one of the corners of the wall, but I don’t think I did  ;)), and a 4ft by 2ft Ikea desk (and the feet were still on the desk when we put it in!!).  That little Civic has proven to be extremely versatile!  I wonder if Honda engineers tested for these kinds of use cases.  Hey, let’s see if we can fit an Ikea desk in here… I bet people will want to do that at some point.

I just finished reading “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”.  It was an absolutely raw, horrifying, beautiful story.  A friend recommended it to me, and she’s a big reader, so I feel like she’s pretty discriminating.  I would highly recommend reading the book.  I think it was just made into a movie, as well.  I haven’t seen the movie, but the book was amazing.  True stories of human resilience are amazing and inspiring and awe-inducing to me.

Mike is reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage a book about Ernest Shackleton, the explorer who went to the South Pole.  The book was recommended to him by a coworker he went to Minnesota with last month.  The past week we’ve shared crazy (true!!) snippets from each of our respective books, and it’s just amazing.  The words “Endurance” and “Resilience” which feature prominently in the titles of our books really say it all.  We both really love reading true stories of human lives!  It has also undoubtedly helped Mike’s and my reading that the TV isn’t hooked up yet.  ;)  So no Top Gear, and no other shows.  A friend of mine at work lent me a new movie that just came out on video called “Whiplash”.  It’s about a drummer, but I don’t know anything else about it.  Hopefully Mike and I will watch it next weekend.  We can easily get the TV hooked up… we just haven’t done it yet.  A cable guy came and got us all hooked up with internet/cable our first weekend in the new house, but we haven’t gotten the TV all set up yet.  The cable thing was also another one of those this-is-only-a-problem-with-new-construction kind of incidents.  He spent five hours here because our town homes are new so he had to actually run a new wire out to our home from the main data line on the street.  Talk about scary jobs!  He had a ladder that he hooked over the cable line on the street and then he climbed up that.  And it was a windy day.  Wow.  The ladder was moving, and the cable guy seemed a little disconcerted when he came back down, but he did a great job!

With all of this going on, we’ve still had the chance to go out on a couple of dates.

Going out for a night on the town.  :)

Going out for a night on the town… standing next to our very own tree!  :)

 

I have also been making some time to run… the weather has been getting warmer here.  It’s definitely spring!  I went on a short run a couple nights ago, and it was wonderful!  It was very slightly misting, and so peaceful and beautiful.

Looking into Seattle at night

Looking into Seattle at night

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Filed under Beets, Cats, Cooking, Food, Furniture, Pictures, Running