Cooking, running, and filtering

Spring (summer?) finally came to Seattle this past weekend!  We were getting temps in the 70’s and everything was sunny and warm!  It has been so nice that I have been walking some extra blocks before catching the bus so that I can enjoy the weather longer.

Mike and I had probably our most relaxing weekend in recorded history.  For once we had nothing that needed to be done… only minimal chores.  I ended up going for a run on Saturday morning and inadvertently ran into a race.  It was actually a race that I had considered running and then decided against.  So I got to run part of it anyway.  :)  About the most ambitious thing we did was get a car wash.  Our car was literally coated in pollen, so a carwash definitely seemed appropriate.  Unfortunately we neglected to take into account that there’s still plenty of pollen floating around the air, so by the following morning our car was covered with pollen again.

We went out Friday night and went downtown to the Belltown neighborhood and had a blast.

We walked past the new biospheres that Amazon is building downtown so that Mike could show them to me.

Mike and biodomes

Mike and biospheres

 

We also went out to eat at a really nice pizza place that had an amazing bar!

Pizza and old-fashioneds.... yum!

Pizza and old-fashioned’s…. yum!

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately.  This weekend I made chicken parmesan with spaghetti squash and carrot cumin coconut soup.   I also cooked up some acorn squash and roasted up some vegetables.  I had made the carrot soup before, so I knew how amazing it was.  I did one weird thing making it though.  I decided I wanted it to be more brothy and less lentil-y this time than last time so I decided to add more broth.  However, I wanted to keep the cumin and coriander proportions right, so I ended up doubling the amounts of everything that went into the soup except for the lentils.  After I had doubled the carrots, garlic, celery, and onion I stopped to think about it and realized it would have been much easier to just make the recipe as-is and halve the amount of lentils rather than double the entire receipe except for the lentils.  Oh well!  It’s so good that I definitely don’t mind having the extra soup!

The chicken parmesan was another story.  It was full of unknowns.  I’ll start at the beginning.  The natural foods grocery store that we go to offers a lot of cooking classes (a couple a week).  Mike and I signed up for one called “Mastering the Pan” that showed you how to sautee, sear, and other pan-related techniques.  The class was so much fun!  It was a hands-on class where we all helped out chopping things up and cooking them under the instructor’s direction.  The instructor for the class is actually a chef, and he was extremely knowledgeable!  He was so knowledgeable that I trusted (almost) everything he said about cooking.  Well, one of the things he said is that you should always use stainless steel pans rather than non-stick.  He said that when you burn something or something sticks to the pan when you’re using a stainless steel pan, it’s not the pan’s fault… it’s the cook’s fault.  As someone who has only had a few brushes with stainless steel pan cooking, I felt like he was talking directly at me.  He taught us how to gauge the heat of the pan by listening to the oil and other techniques for cooking with stainless steel pans.  As it happens I have a nice stainless steel pan, but have mostly been too afraid to use it because whenever I cook with it, it seems as though everything sticks to it.  So I decided that I should put my new cooking skills to use while they were fresh in my mind, which was why I decided on the chicken parmesan receipe.  It involved pan searing chicken followed by baking the chicken in the oven, which was exactly like one of the things we’d done in the class.  So it felt mostly within my comfort zone.  I was intimidated enough by the whole pan searing in a stainless steel pan thing that I cut and chopped all the vegetables for the recipe and prepared the breading for the chicken before I even so much as turned the stovetop on.  Then with bated breath, I turned on my burner, liberally poured some oil in the bottom of the pan, and waited anxiously to see the oil form ‘legs’, a term we had learned in class that meant the oil was forming lines moving vertically up the sides of the pan and was ‘medium-high’ heat.

“Hey,” Mike said.  “Why is your pan starting to smoke?  Do you have the heat on too high?”

I had been so intent watching for ‘legs’ that I had barely noticed the smoking.  I stared at my pan, trying to figure out why it was smoking so much more than the instructor’s pan.  As I glanced at my bottle of olive oil on the counter, understanding dawned on me.

“I used olive oil,” I said, slightly ashamed that I had already forgotten that the instructor had specified that olive oil is not good for searing because it’s not a high heat oil.

“That’s not a high heat oil.  It smokes,” Mike said.  “You better open the windows and get that off the stovetop before our smoke alarms start going off.”

Yup.  And time to find the sunflower oil.

Fifteen minutes later I had cleaned and dried my pan, rid the kitchen of smoke, and was ready for round two against the stainless steel pan.  Did I say ‘against’?  I meant ‘with’.  Clearly.

I dunked the chicken in my egg mixture and then in the breading.  Then I tossed the first three pieces into the pan.  First of all: don’t ‘toss’ chicken into a pan with hot oil on it.  I got a few oil drops on my legs and it wasn’t the best feeling I’ve ever had.  Then I went to prep the other pieces of chicken in the breading mixture.  That only took me a few minutes, but before I had even finished, Mike spoke up again from behind me.

“Is the chicken burning?  It looks like it is.  Remember this isn’t like in the class where we were searing chicken with the skin on.  This is skinless chicken breast with a breading on it.  Searing chicken skin takes a lot longer than browning a breading.”

The chicken was burning.  I whisked it out of the pan and onto a baking sheet.  I carefully inspected it.  The side in contact with the pan was darker than desired, but it was still ok.  I stuck it back in the pan, turning the other side down to sear (this time making sure that I only let it sear for a minute or two).  Then I popped the whole set of chicken pieces in the oven.

And realized that I was kind of left with a mess.  Searing chicken in a pan results in lots of pops of oil that render your stovetop kind of a mess.  I had pretty much decided that I was done with the whole stainless steel pan experiment (it was fun while it lasted… it’s not you, stainless steel pan; it’s me!).  But then Mike tried the chicken.  And he really liked it!  And had seconds.  And then thirds!  Unprecedented!

So, I think I need to keep the stainless steel pan along the sidelines, ready to come to my aid for the occasional seared or sautéed dish that can benefit from some heavy heat.

You’re probably wondering what Mike was doing all the time I was cooking (besides showing up occasionally to let me know what I was doing wrong… I swear he has like a sixth sense when I don’t know what I’m doing.  He never hangs around when I’m cooking stuff like veggies that he knows I can handle in my sleep.).

Well, Mike was installing a water filter inline with our refrigerator so that the water and ice cubes that come from our refrigerator are now FILTERED.

This was my idea (so that we can have the clearest, cleanest water possible), and Mike spent like a month researching how to do it and the best filters and everything, and then he got ready to work.

Every conceivable tool. Actually, not every conceivable tool. I've been in Tool World in Lowes and Home Depot way too many times to think these are the only conceivable tools.

Every conceivable tool. Actually, not every conceivable tool. I’ve been in Tool World in Lowes and Home Depot way too many times to think these are the only conceivable tools.

 

He also got out all the flanges and bolts and screws and farrells he needed.

Bolts and screws and... yeah. Lots of stuff.

Bolts and screws and… yeah. Lots of stuff.

And then he got to work hard-core.

Working hard. And thoroughly. And one-track-mindedly. I couldn't get him to respond much during this time.

Working hard. And thoroughly. And one-track-mindedly. I couldn’t get him to respond much during this time.

 

Piper wondered what all the cooking and plumbing fuss was about.

Actually she didn’t wonder at all.  She napped in the sun.

SO much more fun than working!

SO much more fun than working!

 

And eventually Mike had an awesome setup and the filter project was finished!

A filter! And a water regulator and a gauge. Because what's the use of anything if you can't measure it?

A filter! And a water pressure regulator and a gauge. Because what’s the use of anything if you can’t measure it?

 

I finished cooking way before Mike finished, so I went on a run in the gorgeous weather and saw lots of cool stuff.

This flowering tree had the most beautiful flowers! No idea what kind of tree it was...

This flowering tree had the most beautiful flowers! No idea what kind of tree it was…

 

This St. Bernard puppy is already as tall as my knee and already weighs like four times what Piper weighs. SO CUTE!

This St. Bernard puppy is as tall as my knee and already weighs four times what Piper weighs. SO CUTE!

 

Crossing the Aurora Bridge at dusk... I love my neighborhood!

Crossing the Aurora Bridge at dusk… I love my neighborhood!

 

And then later, Piper and I had to cuddle up for a selfie!

Say 'cheese' Piper! Piper? Piper?

Say ‘cheese’ Piper! Piper? Piper??

Unfortunately the weather was really too good to last given that it’s only early April.  Monday was significantly colder, and Tuesday was colder yet along with a lot of rain.  Ah, well.  It was a taste of summer, so hopefully we have a beautiful summer to look forward to!

And that’s all for this blog post!

I love this cat.  Which no one who reads this blog knew previously.

I love this cat. Which no one who reads this blog already knew.  ;)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Cooking, Food, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Running, Seattle, Weather

Races, family, and getting back in the blog-posting saddle

Somehow my puzzling has fallen by the way side.  I’m not sure what happened.  I bought two puzzles at the same time around Thanksgiving, and had so much fun putting the first one (a gnome castle) together.  The second one (a view of Venice at night) has just been languishing on the dining room table for over a month.  I dutifully assembled the border and a few small chunks of pieces, and then it’s just sat on the kitchen table.  I’m honestly not sure what happened.  My best guess is that a gnome castle is somehow inherently interesting.  And maybe a picture of Venice isn’t (although the real experience of going to Venice definitely is).  Regardless, I disassembled the little bit of puzzle I’d done so that we have more dining room table real estate back since I don’t seem to be getting puzzling traction.  Mike is trying to be sorry that the puzzling isn’t working out, but it’s hard for him because he’s looking forward to having a full dining room table again.

I ran a really fun 15k race a couple weekends ago.  The route was scenic and went along the waterfront downtown and then north all the way up SR-99 right past Mike’s and my house before turning around and heading back downtown again.  There were 12,000+ people signed up for the race, so it was recommended that you arrive early.  I used to be so conscientious about getting to races early, and now I count it a victory if I arrive just as the start gun is going off.  It took me about fifteen races before I realized that if you get to a race early all that earns you is the right to stand in the cold (and usually wet) morning for an extra forty-five minutes.  Oh, and it also gives you the right (the need, actually) to use the port-a-potties at least twice before the start of the race.  And, really, who wants to use a port-a-potty even once (much less twice)?  So now I try to time my arrival so that I’m barely in the nick of time and I’m completely happy.

When I woke up to an almost sunny morning the day of the race, I was optimistic that I would get out of the whole race dry.  I hopped a bus downtown (picking one that wasn’t on a re-route schedule for the race).  The race started and ended at Seattle Center, which is an area where a lot of Seattle events take place.  There are two main advantages to running races that start at Seattle Center.

  1. They have a huge auditorium (several actually), and they always open up the main one before races.  So if you don’t want to stand around outside freezing to death waiting for your race to start, it’s very advantageous to pick a race like this one that has a giant heated space to do your stretching in prior to the race.  Literally the trickiest part of any race is to arrive early enough to get a parking spot while also being late enough so that you aren’t standing outside forever waiting for the race to start.
  2. Bathrooms!  Lots and lots of them.  It’s somehow in a runner’s psychology to decide fifteen minutes before the start of the race that they should use the restroom one last time.  This causes literally huge and terrible lines at all the port-a-potties stationed at the race start lines.  However, when you have a giant auditorium you have (you guessed it!) INDOOR bathrooms.  And a lot of them!

I arrived plenty early, so I hung out inside stretching.  All was well until about ten minutes before race time when people started crowding to the windows and I saw that it had started pouring rain.  I really hadn’t dressed specifically for rain.  I had a running coat on, but it wasn’t waterproof, and I didn’t have a hat.  I did have a wide headband that I figured would help a little though.  I watched as some of the more prepared people around me started pulling out disposable glorified garbage bags to slip over their heads like ponchos to keep the rain off.  I watched as some of the less prepared people wearing shorts and tank tops shifted from one foot to the other.  We all headed out en masse towards the start line and fortunately the rain already seemed to be lessening.  We headed off down hill towards the waterfront.  That was nice from a scenic perspective, but I’m always suspicious of races that start off with a mile of down hill running.  What goes down must come up (at least where running races are concerned), and I knew I’d be seeing those same hills later in the race but I’d be headed up instead of down.  We ran down along the water front for a mile or two and then turned and headed back up towards Seattle Center.  The rain had cleared and the sun was actually out.  I was getting overly warm and contemplated tying my coat around my waist but ultimately decided against it since I didn’t feel like stopping.  We ran past Seattle Center and headed north on Aurora all the way up past Mike’s and my house and almost to the zoo.  When we got close to the turnaround point to start heading back south to Seattle it started to rain again all of a sudden.  When we turned south, I realized that there was a strong south wind that I hadn’t noticed before because it had been at my back but now it was in my face in full force.  At least it was mostly downhill headed back to Seattle!  After about half a mile of running south, the skies opened up and it started pouring rain.  I tried to check the time on my running watch, but it was raining so hard that I couldn’t wipe the water off of my watch fast enough to see the time (while running anyway).  At that point I was committed.  I was already soaked so I had nothing left to worry about.  I tore back down Aurora, looking forward to seeing Seattle Center, a finish line, and a warm building (not necessarily in that order).  The rain finally let off a few miles later, and I ran the final couple of miles in only a sprinkling, misty rain.  Since I was already soaked, though, it almost didn’t matter whether it kept raining hard or not.  At some point your clothes physically aren’t going to absorb any more water.  When I finally hit the place where we turned west to go to Seattle Center I tried to kick up my pace a notch and was surprised that my body didn’t want to go any faster.  Maybe I had been running faster than I’d realized given that I didn’t have anything extra left to give at the end?  I managed to keep up my pace through the last quarter mile, but I definitely wasn’t able to speed up at all.  The finish line (with the big warm auditorium behind it) was a welcome sight, and I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:18:12 and an average pace of 8:24 min/mile.  Definitely better than I was expecting, especially given the weather and the hills.  Or maybe the weather actually helped, because I was motivated to get the race finished.  ;)

The same weekend of the race, Mike did a lot of landscaping work.  He pulled weeds in the front and along the side of our townhome and then laid down “beauty bark” which is apparently something that helps prevent weeds from growing in the future, although I’m a little unclear how that works.  I did lots of cooking while he did that.  I have been getting bored of cooking variations on the same things, so I made up some different dishes this week.

I started with smoky chicken with crispy chickpeas, and then made an eggplant coconut curry and a maple chicken with roasted squash.  Everything turned out surprisingly good.  I am loving Clean Eating magazine and am now getting my recipes almost exclusively from there.

Despite all my cooking, Mike and I felt like going out to dinner one night a couple weeks ago, so we went to a Taco Bar that was only a few blocks from our house but somehow we had never been there.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I have literally never had tacos that good in my entire life.  I had the black bean sweet potato tacos and they were phenomenal.  They took tacos to an entirely new level.  I was already contemplating how soon we could return as we left.  Afterwards we went to a whiskey bar conveniently located only a block from the taco bar.  I enjoyed some scotch while Mike opted for Old Fashioned’s.  It was all entirely too good.  And it being only a four minute walk from our house?  Amazing!  How are we somehow blessed enough to live close enough to all of this stuff??  Then we came back to our house and started watching an episode of Suits, a law show that we’ve been watching off-and-on, but we were too tired to finish it.

I have been in a ‘second cat’ mood these days, so much so that I got Mike to go with me to the Seattle Humane Society last weekend to look at cats.  However, I had already poured over all the available cats on their website prior to going, so I already had one specific one that I wanted to see.  Unfortunately he wasn’t actually at the Humane Society… he was at a Petsmart in Issaquah to get more exposure.  Darn.  Again, Mike tried to be appropriately sad for me even though he doesn’t want to get another cat.  He even offered to go to the Petsmart with me to see the cat, but I declined.  Issaqah is a ways away and it was a pretty rainy day.  And I didn’t feel like I was actually going to get a cat that day so it would have been a rather futile effort.

My music choices have been beyond bizarre lately.  I’ve been alternating between old Celtic folk music, 90’s rock/alternative, modern rap, and he new Chris Cornell album (because I think Chris Cornell basically deserves his own genre).

This past week, Mike’s parents were here visiting from Michigan!  What a treat!  We got to hang out with them and with Mike’s sister Catherine and her two daughters over the weekend.  It was a whirlwind weekend that started with a ferry ride to Whidbey Island followed by a little shopping and a long drive to Deception Pass.  We were attempting to get there before dark and didn’t really manage that.  However, it was surprisingly gorgeous at night, especially with the full moon overhead illuminating the gorge and water below the bridge.  So that actually worked out well.  We ended up getting back down to Everett late, and Mike and I went out to dinner with his parents at an Irish pub close to their hotel (really about the only place we could find that was still open at 11pm).  The food there was good, though, so it turned out to be a good choice!  The next day we went on an abbreviated trip to the zoo.  I say ‘abbreviated’ because we didn’t really get to the zoo very early, so we skipped parts of the zoo and just focused on the animals that the kids especially wanted to see.  It was a nice day for walking around the zoo regardless, though, and we enjoyed it!  The following day was filled with some shopping and some wine tasting in Woodinville.  We went on a short tour of Chateau St. Michelle and I was impressed with the lineage of their wines and interested to hear about how they create their wines.  It was fun to hang out with everyone for a few days!  Going back to work after such a full weekend to a day packed with back-to-back meetings definitely felt like a change!  But at least the day flew by!

It’s already almost April…. I literally have no idea how that happened!  My goal for April is to post more blog entries.  I’ve really been letting that go lately because it literally feels like I am always 100% busy.  However, it’s important to keep the blog posts coming… I sometimes think  that writing is about the only ‘creative’ outlet I have these days, so it’s definitely important to keep it up!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  And my mom reminded me that Easter Sunday is this weekend.  So Happy Early Easter to everyone!  (How is it already Easter?  It must be here early this year!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Family, Life in Seattle, Rain, Running, Seattle, Seattle Restaurants, Visitors

Why you should not wash all your coats at once

My blog posting lately has been woefully sparse lately.  I’m very aware of this, and hope that things slow down.  In all honesty, 2016 has been a whirlwind!!  Mike has been traveling back and forth to California for work since his company has a location there as well as in Seattle, and his team works with them quite a bit.  So in the past three weeks, Mike has spent at least part of each week in California.  And he was there for two weeks in December and one week in January.  This has meant that airport runs, doing laundry, and packing clothes to accommodate these frequent trips are no longer a novelty but a part of life.  It’s looking like this will slow down soon, but in the meantime everything has been hectic since I’ve been taking care of things that Mike would normally take care of.  Case in point: On Monday I worked from home to be there when a home inspector came to look at our house (we’re coming up on our one-year warranty!  How have we already been here a year??).  On Friday I was at work in a meeting with a co-worker and had to take a quick break before the meeting to call the mechanic about taking a look at the TPMS in our tire.  After my call, my co-worker shook her head and said, “You have been busy lately!”  On top of that, my job has been super busy lately.  I’ve been at Groupon just about a year, and I’ve found from past experience that after I’ve been at a job for about a year I understand it well and end up getting pulled into a variety of projects.  I love it because my days fly by, but holy cow!  It has been keeping me busy lately!!

So, that’s my big long disclaimer.  Basically I know I haven’t been posting… I hope things get better after mid-March when the biggest project I’m working on launches.

Here are some practical, random thoughts on having a husband who seems to be gone on business half of the time.

  1. I have to turn the heat up higher at night.  Apparently Mike runs hot enough that he heats up the bedroom, and without him I need extra heat of the electric variety.
  2. The dishwasher doesn’t get full before I run out bowls.  I’m a bowl person and eat almost anything I can out of bowls, and Mike is more of a plate person.  What that means is that when Mike isn’t here to fill up half of the dishwasher with plates, I run out of bowls before the dishwasher is full enough to run.  #firstworldproblems
  3. Trying to cook is difficult, since Mike often leaves town and doesn’t get back until the food I’ve cooked has gone bad.  I really need to learn the art of freezing food.  For some reason it intimidates me and I never do it.  And if I do, I never thaw it because I really don’t know how, so I end up throwing it out after six months anyway, thus defeating all the point to having frozen it in the first place.
  4. Piper expects me to play with her since Mike isn’t around as much, but then when I try to play with her she just stares at me with her eyes half closed as if to say ‘Really?  Really??  That’s all you got?  That’s pathetic.  Where’s Mike?’   And then ten minutes later I see her throwing her crumpled receipt up the stairs and then running after it by herself.  So apparently Mike is the best person to play with.  Piper herself is second best.  And I am third best.  Or last best.  Or just the worst.  I haven’t decided how I’m spinning this situation to myself yet.

In other news, despite Mike’s frequent trips, I have been doing a lot of cooking.  This weekend I made a tomato veggie soup that was yummy!  I increased the amounts of all of the spices, which I think helped a lot.  Otherwise it may have been a little bland for me.  But I’m also the person who puts salsa and sriracha on everything, so I may not be representative of the general population.  I also made some balsamic brussels sprouts that turned out really well.  Mike ate the first bite and then turned to me solemnly and told me that was the best thing to ever come off of our stove.  Score!  Sunday night I made red peppers stuffed with chicken and veggies.

Although I have been doing pretty well in the cooking department, I had an instance of very bad wife-dom a week ago (Is wife-dom a word?  No?  I guess I just made it up then.)  Mike had gotten back from one of his trips late, and his windbreaker didn’t smell great.  I threw it in the washer, and while I was at it I threw his second, slightly heavier coat in the wash too.  I made a mental note to myself that I had to move those to the dryer before I went to bed or Mike wasn’t going to have a coat to wear to work the next morning.  Well, we all know what happens with mental notes.  (Or maybe just what happens to me with mental notes?  Lately I feel as though I always have twenty things in my head that I’m remembering to do and a few always fall off my radar.  Or maybe I’m just living in denial and it’s actually a ‘senior moment’?  ;) )  Anyway, of course, I went to bed forgetting all about the coats and didn’t remember them until the next morning when Mike was getting ready for work.  I threw them in the dryer then, but it was really too late.

“So I have no coat?” Mike asked, when I confessed what I had done.

“Well…” I hedged.  “Not no coat.  Just not those two coats.”

“But those are the only two coats I ever wear,” Mike said.  Good point, but not one I was going to cede without a fight.

“Right… but you still have that down coat,” I reminded him.

“Yeah, but it’s super hot.  I’ll get overheated in one second.”

I was already frantically looking through our closet and emerged triumphantly with his running jacket.  “Here!  This is even black.  And it’s not too cold out today.  This will work.”

Mike shrugged, put it on, and left for work.

And of course, it started to rain that day and we got a windstorm.  As I walked to lunch with a coworker I told him all about how I had washed all of my husband’s coats and left him with nothing to wear except a running jacket.  And, as I recounted it to my coworker, I remembered that the running jacket didn’t even have a hood.  And Mike never carries an umbrella because he typically wears one of his two coats with hoods that were at that moment in the dryer.  I felt guilty for wearing my hood.  I felt like I should put it down.  Since I had taken away both of Mike’s hoods, what right did I have to be enjoying my hood?

I was concerned about Mike on and off all day as I looked out the window at the rain and wind.  I even contemplated crazy stuff like going home over lunch to get his now-dry coat and then dropping it off with him at work.  But frankly work was way too busy for me to have much more than a bathroom break all day so an extended lunch to go home and back wasn’t really in the cards.  Then I thought that after work I could at least drop off my umbrella with him at work so he would have something while he waited for the bus, but he ended up leaving too early for me to do that.  I had only been home a few minutes when he arrived.  I hurried him in out of the rain and offered him a hoodie.  He looked at me like I was crazy.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a hoodie!  So you can warm up after being wet and frozen with no coat all day.”

“What?”

“You only wore your running jacket today, and there was a windstorm and it rained!”

Mike looked at me as though only barely understanding me.  “Oh, I actually got too warm in this coat.  It wasn’t very cold out.”

So apparently I spent significantly more time thinking about that than he did.  :)

I have been listening to so much music lately… I’m not sure, but I’ve definitely been in a music mood lately.  I have been loving Chris Cornell’s new album

Incidentally, this article about why you should date an engineer is literally the funniest article I have seen in all of 2016 so far.  I could not stop laughing when I read it.  Could.  Not.  Stop.  So accurate.  Numbers 9 and 15 have literally happened to us exactly as they are written.  Multiple times.  The only way in which I seem to be more of the “engineer” in the relationship are numbers 11 and 19 (I laugh at myself for re-arranging the dishes in the dishwasher even as I continue to do it.  Time.  After.  Time.  After.  Time.)

Incidentally my running has been getting fast.  I ran 2 two-mile intervals at a 7:30min/mile pace last week.  That is fast for me!  How did this happen?  A good friend at work is taking a three day hiking/climbing trip at Mt. Rainier in July with a mountain climbing group.  His ambition is starting to remind me that I keep planning to do a sub 4 hour marathon.  Maybe 2016 is the year?  All of that training sounds like a pain… but…. the thought of a shot at that four hour marathon sounds pretty good.  We’ll see.  :)

Speaking of mountain climbing, has anyone seen the documentary Meru??  Oh my gosh… SO good!!  Watch the trailer at the link I gave so you can see if it’s your kind of movie, but I loved it!  Such an amazing story!

Leave a comment

Filed under Cats, Cooking, Life in Seattle, Seattle, Weather, Winter

A Missing Puzzle Piece

I have been on a huge sautéed greens kick lately.  The grocery store where I buy produce has a deli section, and sometimes you can buy pre-made sautéed greens.  Which I love and buy whenever they have it (which is not often).  I’ve tried to make my own, but I feel like I’m not doing it right.  Mine turn out all wilted, which is ok I guess, but not as good as the crisp, tender texture of the ones that I buy.  I just bought some kale to try making it again, though, so I’m far from done trying to figure this out.  You would think that with the more complicated things I’ve made sautéed greens would be easy, but apparently not.

Piper has found the New Best Toy in the World.  Mike and I went to Home Depot last weekend and there was a survey at the bottom of our receipt that made the receipt extra long.  (By the way, does anyone actually fill out any of those store surveys?  I haven’t done this even once ever in my life.)  Mike carelessly crumpled up the receipt when we got home, and Piper’s eyes instantly became as big as saucers.  I’m not sure why… something about the sound of the crumple?  So Mike tossed the receipt to her, and she went crazy!  She ran around batting it back and forth, and she even carried it in her mouth up and down the stairs.  This was clearly the best toy in a long, long time!  So for the past several days Mike plays with the receipt with her in the evenings by throwing it around for her.  Her favorite is when he throws it up the stairs and she has to chase it without knowing which stair it will land on.  Another one of her favorite things is batting it underneath the railing to the basement and then running down all the stairs to retrieve it.  It’s crazy how much she likes it!  Interestingly, Mike thought the receipt was lost last night and crumpled up a new receipt for Piper to play with and she had no interest in it.  So there’s something special about that particular receipt.  Fortunately we found it underneath an end table, so we were in the clear and didn’t lose Piper’s Most Favorite Toy of All Time.  :)

In other Piper news, I took Piper back to the vet for her six week check (six weeks of being on antibiotic injections), and she is doing great!  She was up 0.2 lb (which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re a 6lb cat it’s actually a significant percentage of your body weight), and her kidney enzymes and her urine look good.  So now she and I are done with the antibiotic injections (at least until the next UTI?), and I’m giving her subcutaneous fluids every third day instead of every other day.  It’s awesome!  I think Piper was really ready for a break from all those injections!

So what have I been up to with all my free time now that I’m not giving twice daily antibiotic doses?  Well, Mike and I took a cooking class on Sunday afternoon with some friends.  It was fun!  The theme of the class was ‘Market to Table’, which basically meant that it was cooked with local ingredients that you can get from one of the year-round farmer’s markets (of which Pike Place is the most famous).  I am always interested in learning new cooking techniques and getting ideas for new ingredients so it was pretty interesting.  By chance, the cooking school happened to be in the same building that Mike and I used to live in when we lived in South Lake Union.  It was a little weird that we never went there when we lived right upstairs but now that we moved across town we went.  After the class we went next door to one of the best coffee shops in Seattle for a coffee (which we always do when we’re in the neighborhood… their coffee is so good!  It is so strange going in there now because most of the people that we know who worked there have long since moved on.  We used to know all of the baristas when we lived right upstairs!  It’s interesting going in there now and realizing how much has changed… and then realizing that we are at the point in our life in Seattle where we actually think of a lot of our time in Seattle as being in the distant past.  It’s been three years since we lived down there!

Some of you may remember that I ambitiously bought a 1500 piece puzzle and Mike and I worked on putting it together.  I was hoping to fully convert Mike to liking puzzles, but I was only partially successful.  He was a good sport about doing the puzzle occasionally, but he definitely didn’t enjoy it the way I do.  I actually think the most successful evening we had involving the puzzle was when he was watching an old-school Japanese samurai move from the 1940’s in all its dubbed glory while I puzzled several feet away at the dining room table.  It was really the best for both of us.  I was able to monitor the movie enough for Mike to make comments to me about it throughout so he was happy and I got to puzzle while hanging out with Mike so I was happy.

Anyway, we had one interesting puzzling evening a few weeks ago in which I was trying in vain to find one particular puzzle piece.  I had found all of the pieces around it, so it was just one empty place in a big area that was otherwise completed.  Mike and I teamed up to try to find that piece for an hour.  Mike kept saying they forgot to ship that one piece in the puzzle box, but I have done enough puzzles to know that there are always pieces you think are missing, but you find them later. I assured Mike he just had to “trust the process” and the piece would turn up.  However, we didn’t find that piece.  A day later we still hadn’t found it.  I was starting to secretly doubt “the process” and wonder if we had somehow lost the piece.  Or maybe Piper had batted it off the table and under some furniture?  I did some discreet checking but still didn’t find the piece.  I had finally given up on it and was working on another part of the puzzle when I realized that one of the pieces I had already put together didn’t quite fit after all.  I jiggled it back and forth a little before determining it actually didn’t fit for sure.  I pulled it off and realized with a flash of joy (yes, joy.  Apparently finding puzzle pieces fills me with joy.  Don’t judge.) that it was the piece I was missing!  I stuck it in and got the same feeling I used to get playing Dungeons and Dragons on Atari in the 80’s.  You would go through all these mountains getting supplies, boats, keys, arrows, etc, you would kill wild beasts and monsters and then you would finally find two halves of a crown.  And when you got the second half, the whole screen lit up, the two pieces of the crown fit together, and there was the sound of a gong.  Fun stuff.  But anyway, that moment of finding the piece felt the same to me as the moment of finding the second half of the crown… very final and satisfying.  My faith in the puzzling process is restored!

Anyway, that was a long rabbit trail, but before I leave the puzzle topic entirely, I want to make sure to say that Mike and I finished the puzzle!

Our gnome puzzle... completed down to the last piece!

Our gnome puzzle… completed down to the last piece!

 

Surprisingly, Mike is now proud of the puzzle and doesn’t want to take it apart.  Or at least that’s what he says.  What is probably more likely is that he actually doesn’t want to take it apart because I already have another 1500 piece puzzle on deck and he doesn’t want to get roped into working on another puzzle.  And we definitely don’t have room on our dining room table for a completed puzzle and in-progress puzzle.

I’ve been trying to feed Piper healthy foods for her kidneys, and I have a wide assortment of foods to give her.  The problem is that there is no rhyme or reason to what food she wants on any given day.  So I am basically guaranteed that she will be in the mood for one of the six foods I have for her (one and only one), but I don’t know which one.  And she changes her mind each day, so the one thing I do know is that there’s a very low percentage of chance that she’ll want the same food she had yesterday.  And if it’s not the food she’s in the mood for she won’t eat it.  It’s a guessing game basically every day.  So that’s usually a fun part of each morning… which food will Piper want this morning?  Apparently the phrase “hunger makes the best sauce” doesn’t apply to cats.  For them only the best sauce makes the best sauce.  And furthermore, that sauce changes from day to day.

Piper likes the food she likes and snoozing on laps.

Piper likes the food she likes and snoozing on laps.

 

The Starbucks a few blocks from our house showcases different local art each month, and I always make a point of stopping in occasionally to look at the art.  This month there’s some cool prints on slats of reclaimed wood.  One of them had part of a quote from the Velveteen Rabbit on it that I thought was so sweet!

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit

I messaged Mike a picture of the art, and Mike messaged back.  “What?  Your eyes drop out?  That doesn’t sound cool.”

And then it turned out that Mike has never read The Velveteen Rabbit.  *Sigh*  I love that story!

On a completely unrelated note, I have found that whenever I wear my tall boots to the grocery store I forget to bring my reusable grocery bags.  (If you don’t know what reusable grocery bags are or never use them, you definitely don’t live in Seattle.  Plastic bags aren’t legal here so grocery stores have paper bags, but you have to pay five cents for each one to encourage people to use reusable bags.  So everyone mostly uses reusable bags.  Those nickels add up fast.)  Anyway, I always remember to put the reusable bags by the front door, but then somehow when I’m walking to the store I realize that I don’t have them anymore.  I finally realized what’s causing this.  My tall boots have a big long zipper on them, and zipping up those two tall boots seems to take exactly long enough to make me forget the reusable bags.  I always remember my bags when I wear my shorter boots.  But those zippers are only about a third the length of the tall boots.  So somewhere in the time between zipping the length of my shorter boots and the length of my longer boots, I forget the bags.  Interesting.  Now that I realize what’s causing my forgetfulness, I wonder if I will remember the bags regardless of my boot height?  Awareness of the cause of the problem is halfway to a solution, right?  ;)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

4 Comments

Filed under Animals, Cats, Cooking, Life in Seattle, The Arts in Seattle

Visitors and iPhone batteries

Mike was busy this evening, and Piper and I had lots of options for fun things to do in his absence.  We considered all of those options, but then decided it would be nice to write a blog post while listening to classical piano music and spending a cozy evening at home.  Because that’s how Piper and I roll.

This has been a crazy few weeks, folks.  Basically a bunch of work got backed up over the holidays (because of deployment lockdowns and lots of people being on vacation and now things have sped back up to warp speed.  I suspect it will be a week or two before things start to settle down.

Last week was very exciting because we got to see Mike’s sister Catherine and her family!  They are staying in Washington (up in Everett) for several months, so hopefully we’ll get to see more of them.  :)  They came down one night last week to see our house and so that our nieces (aged six and three) could open the Christmas presents Mike and I got for them.  We even kept our tree up an extra week so that we could have the presents under the tree for them when they arrived.  It was so much fun seeing all of them!  And I loved the change to reconnect with our nieces… they are at the ages where they change so fast in between visits!  :)

A friend of mine’s wife posted a meme on Facebook teasing him about rearranging the dishes that she puts in the dishwasher.  At first I started to laugh.  Like really?  Who reorganizes in the dishwasher?  Who even cares??  And then I realized that I do that when Mike puts dishes in the dishwasher.  I mean, he means well, but he puts them in wrong.  And inefficiently, so that we can’t fit as many dishes in there.  And what’s worse, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I have been rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher for years until I saw that meme and had a minute to think about it.  Scary!  How many other meme-able things am I doing that I don’t even realize??  Is this one of those ‘ignorance is bliss’ instances?

Speaking of dishes, I ran out of mugs (and by ‘ran out’ I just mean that they were all in the dishwasher.  Carefully arranged too, I might add), and I wanted to have some hot tea.  So I really had two choices:

  1. Dig out my set of four big mugs from one of the cupboards
  2. Use a tall water glass instead

I was starting to lean towards option 1 when I realized that I wasn’t even 100% sure where the big mugs were.  Well, that settled it.  I wasn’t going to go through cupboards looking for the big mugs.  A tall water glass it was then.  Mike has an electric hot water heater (What it that thing called?  I know it isn’t called a ‘hot water heater’; that’s the thing that everyone has in their basement that allows them to take long, hot showers.  Some kind of an electric tea kettle or something.).  He uses it to heat up water for his French press coffee, so I used that to heat up water for my tea.  I actually had no idea how much water a tall water glass would hold.  I know our mugs hold 12oz comfortably or 16oz really full.  But who knew how much the water glasses held?  I eyeballed it and filled the little hot water heater with water and turned it on.  And then I looked dubiously at the water glass, suddenly doubtful whether it was meant to hold boiling water.  Well, it was glass, right?  Glass wouldn’t melt like plastic would or anything.  It would probably be fine.  I was trying to remember whether I’d ever microwaved anything glass and, if so, how it had turned out, when the water boiled.  I dubiously poured it into the water glass and was interested to see that the water glass held 24oz.  Mental note to self, should I ever again need to know how much water fits in a standard tall water glass.  I poured the water into the glass, and steam poured out of the top and fogged up the sides of the glass.  Which was fine, I guess, but when I went to pick up the glass it was waaaaay too hot.  So clearly water glasses aren’t designed to be as thermally insulated as coffee mugs.  I had to hold it by the very top edges (which didn’t feel very safe, by the way) to carry it downstairs to the computer where I was typing.  And I had to wait a few more minutes before it was cool enough for me to be able to hold it in my hand without burning myself (why are there no warning labels on water glasses warning that they are not appropriate for hot liquids?  There seem to be warning labels on everything else.).  So clearly, water glasses don’t seem to be optimized for hot liquid.  When I was carrying it, I pictured the temperature differential overcoming the glass and it shattering in my hand.  (I’m sure when I started telling this story, that’s what you thought would happen because in general I am the type of person that sort of thing happens to.  Normally this is true, but not tonight thankfully.)  :)

I had a little excitement over here tonight.  I was going to go for a run and wear a new Lululemon shirt I just got on sale.  I’m normally a little wary of buying Lululemon stuff on sale, because it’s so good that if it’s on sale there must be something wrong with it, but this seemed like a nice-looking red yoga shirt.  At least it looked nice on the model on the website.  When I tried to put it on there were so many straps and diagonal pieces of material that I wasn’t sure I was putting it on right.  And, in fact, when I got it over my head and struggled into it, I felt a little weird.  I looked in the mirror and saw that I absolutely had it on wrong.  I had gotten the straps right (only because I have some practice with Lululemon tops… I wouldn’t recommend  a beginner try it), but one of the decorative diagonal pieces of fabric was across my back instead of across my chest where it belonged.  It’s a testament to how busy my life has been these days that I actually considered just going for the run like that rather than waste time getting that impossible shirt up and over my head and try getting it on correctly again.  The top looked a little funky, but it covered everything important just as it was.  However, I decided against that because the diagonal piece of fabric already felt really tight across my back and I had the feeling that it would suffocate me when I started breathing harder during the run.  It would be pretty embarrassing to be taken to the ER because your incorrectly-worn shirt had caused you to pass out from lack of oxygen.  Eventually I got the shirt in place correctly (I think?  It still didn’t really look like the one on the model.) and got out for my run.  And that’s why that top was on sale.  I should have known.  The tops that I have bought at full price there last forever and only have two straps so you don’t have to have a degree in running clothes to understand that one goes over each shoulder.  Lesson learned?  Probably not… I can’t resist a sale tag at Lululemon.  ;)

Isn’t it life that when you’re trying to get your phone to run out of battery it refuses to, but when you’re sitting there hoping the battery lasts just a little bit longer it dies?  It’s supposed to be good to fully discharge your phone battery periodically.  Mike says that helps the software ‘learn’ what fully empty is so that the percentage of battery life it shows you is more accurate.  So after my run today when I saw that my battery life was down in the single digits I decided I’d run the battery fully out and then recharge it fully.  Well, easier said than done.  I’ve started every processor-intensive app on the phone.  I’ve turned on location services, bluetooth, and wifi.  When it still refused to run out of battery, I tried to tell  google maps to calculate a route from my house to Antarctica (that ought to get the processor going, right?), but google maps is smart and came back right away saying there were no known routes.  So instead I settled on Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins in Florida (no, I have no idea what this is, but I already had Antarctica typed into my phone, and Antarctica: Empire of the Penguins was one of the options.)  Google maps did come up with a route to get me to Empire of the Penguins, FL, but warned me that the route required tolls.  Given that the route was 3,000+ miles I would be surprised if there weren’t a few tolls in there somewhere.  And still, the phone has been stuck at 1% for the past half hour.  Clearly I’m doing something wrong.  Maybe in some odd, inverted law of physics, the more work you have the processor doing the more efficient it can be with power consumption.  Although that might interfere with the law of the conservation of energy.  Oh well.  Never mind.  I turned the screen brightness up all the way and have it sitting beside me so if it tries to turn the screen off to save power I’ll be here to stop it and make sure that screen keeps glowing.

You’re probably wondering how Piper is doing because I hardly ever talk about my cat.  ;)  She is feeling much, much better!  She still has two weeks of antibiotic injections left, but she and I have fallen into a rhythm with those, so it’s not so bad.  First thing in the morning, and then first thing when I get home from work.  I remember when I first started doing this, the vet told me that it’s typically easier to give a cat an injection than to give them a pill, and I remember wondering what he was smoking to think that.  But now, as surprised as I am to say it, I actually agree.  As long as it’s a small needle, I’m to the point with my ‘technique’ now where Piper barely seems to even register the poke.  And only two weeks left!  Very exciting!  What will I do with all of my free time after I don’t have to prep antibiotics and give injections?  Probably learn a foreign language or knit an afghan or something equally big and dramatic.  Or cook.  I’ve actually been doing quite a bit of cooking lately, but that will have to wait for the next blog post because the battery on my phone finally died, and now I’m going to go start it charging again.  :)

I hope everyone is having a good week and is not experiencing too much snow!  Unless you’re a skier, in which case I hope you have all the powdery, dry snow your heart desires.  :)

4 Comments

Filed under Cats, Christmas, Family, Life in Seattle, Random Thoughts, Running

Welcoming 2016!

Well, here we are in 2016.  How are we already in 2016?  In a way it feels like I have done so much in 2015, but on the other hand, it doesn’t seem like another year could possibly be gone!  Let’s go over where Mike and I were this time last year.

  • I was two months into an eight month yoga teacher training class and still a little nervous about actually doing yoga teaching.
  • Mike and I were still living in an apartment with no buying prospects.
  • Piper was not receiving twice daily injections from me.
  • Mike was still working at Fluke.
  • I had just quit Amazon but hadn’t yet started at Groupon.

A lot has happened in 2015!  It will probably be difficult for 2016 to measure up, but we’ll see how it goes.  :)

I have officially survived the holiday store closures of the Christmas/New Year’s season!  For some reason that is completely unknown to me, I get a little freaked out when the grocery stores are closed on Christmas Day (and to a lesser degree I also freak out a little when they have shorter hours for Christmas Eve, New Year’s, etc).  I have literally no idea why this is.  It’s not as though I go to the grocery store every day.  It’s not as though there aren’t grocery stores that are open, even on Christmas Day (the one that’s right by our house is closed, but if we drove a mile we could get to one that was open).  It’s not as though we have nothing in the house to eat even if I don’t go to the grocery store.  It’s not even as though we’d starve if we literally had nothing to eat on Christmas Day.  But despite all logical, common-sense arguments to the contrary I freak out a little bit inside when I know that I will be unable to run to the store if I unexpectedly run out of something.  What am I afraid of?  “Oops… that was the last of the milk.  OH NO!  Now Mike can’t have milk for 24 hours!  No CEREAL!  No PROTEIN DRINKS!  No MILK AND COOKIES!”  In case you were wondering, this is what is officially meant by the term “first-world problems”: twenty-four hours without the ability to buy anything from a fully-featured grocery store a five-minute walk from one’s house results in a crisis.

Mike and I spent a very quiet New Year’s… we thought about going out at night, but we are both kind of tired of going out when it’s dark outside (which happens almost always this time of year because the days are so short).  It’s much nicer being outside while it’s light outside.  So we went out during the day and then spent a quiet evening at home watching a movie.

Mike and I have been seeing a lot of movies lately.  I’m not sure what’s up with that.  I think the key is that usually Mike wants to watch scary movies, and I don’t, and then we compromise by watching nothing.  (Great compromise, huh?)   Over Christmas/New Year’s though we’ve both opened up our horizons (and Mike has laid off the scary movies at least for now), and we’ve seen several interesting movies together.  We kicked off our movie spree by seeing the new Quentin Tarantino movie The Hateful Eight in 70mm film.  In case you don’t know much about film (which I absolutely didn’t), all modern movies are filmed in digital.  Old school movies were filmed in 35mm film.  And a very few epic films were filmed in 70mm film (movies like Ben Hur and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World).  And of course Quentin Tarantino who loves the glorious film days of old, filmed his new movie in 70mm film and wanted it screened in a longer “roadshow” version in select theaters nationwide using a film projector (i.e. not a digital film projector).  The special roadshow version was screening in one of the Seattle theaters, and Mike and I bought tickets immediately and made plans to go with some friends of ours.  We had dinner before the movie with our friends, and got to the movie about fifteen minutes early.  That was clearly not early enough, because the theater was already almost full and we had to sit down in the front row area.  I’ve only sat in that super front area once before when watching Ocean’s Eleven (so obviously a long time ago!).  We settled in our seats, which were really comfortable and enjoyed the show.  Well, enjoyed might be the wrong word.  Tarantino movies are always interesting in that I  never ever have any idea what’s going to happen next, but they’re usually pretty extremely violent so ‘enjoy’ is a strange word to use for them.  About fifteen minutes in, the projector temporarily broke and had to be readjusted (clearly the older film projector is not being maintained these days), but someone got it up and running again in about a minute.  I heard that a lot of theaters had “technical” problems related to the film projector, but our experience was fortunately mostly good.  It was strange to see the flickery artifacts of film on a screen again… I haven’t seen those in a really long time!  All in all, it was a fun evening.

Then Mike wanted to see the new Star Wars, so we went to see that.  And I will say absolutely nothing about it since I’ll just end up spoiling something for someone who hasn’t seen it yet.  Instead I will just say that Mike and I thought it was better than the three prequels but not as good as the three originals.  Which is likely in the range everyone thinks it will fall.  And I will say that I love, love, love BB8!  Cutest droid EVER!  Apparently I’m not alone in thinking this since you can buy your own little motorized BB8 droid from BestBuy and from Brookstone.

I chose The Intern to watch.  It’s a movie starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway in which Anne Hathaway’s character owns a startup internet-based business and Robert De Niro comes in as part of a senior intern program.  Really interesting and left Mike and me with lots of food for thought!  And of course, it’s basically impossible for either Anne Hathaway or Robert De Niro to pull off a bad acting performance, so the acting was really good.

For our final movie of 2015, we watched The Hidden Fortress.  And I really don’t know what to say about it.  It’s a 1958 Japanese movie (but with English subtitles).  It was a good story, but it was definitely a really old movie.  I think overall I feel that it was very well-done, but wouldn’t work well with the short attention spans of modern mainstream audiences.  There were long stretches where nothing significant seemed to happen, and Mike and I watched it in several chunks.  Still, a very interesting movie to round out our 2015 movie watching!

Also, in the spirit of closing out 2015 with a bang, Mike and I started a 1500 piece jigsaw puzzle.  This was most definitely my idea, but Mike was fairly ok with it even though he had no great desire to spend time doing a jigsaw puzzle.  I can now say that I finally understand why people need dining room tables; they need a place to spread out 1500 similarly-sized jigsaw puzzle pieces.  I literally don’t know how you could do a puzzle this big without a pretty large table.  So, for the moment, there’s only one end of the table that we can actually eat on and instead of being a dining table it’s really turned into a puzzle table which we occasionally also use for eating.

Mike and I have also been doing some cleaning in the spirit of entering 2016 with more of a clean slate.  Last night Mike wanted me to come downstairs to see his cleaning progress on his room.  I had Piper in my lap and told him I’d be down later when Piper wasn’t on my lap anymore.  Mike walked straight to the kitchen, got out a salmon treat from the fridge, left the fridge door open, and put the salmon treat next to Piper’s food dish.  Piper and I both jumped up immediately, Piper to get the salmon treat and me to close the fridge door.  Mike grinned mischievously.

“Looks like I got you both up at once,” he said.  “Want to come see my cleaning progress downstairs?”

Score one for Mike.  ;)

The weather here has been really cold lately!  It hasn’t been precipitating, but if it were it would be snowing.  As it is, there is frost on the leaves in the morning (and the frost pretty much stays there until the sun hits the leaves… which given how short our days are sometimes doesn’t happen).  I’ve still been running (in fact, this is actually pretty great running weather since it’s been dry and sunny, even though it’s cold).

I wanted to make New Year’s resolutions this year (and pretty much every year).  Mike didn’t want to, but I remembered that when I talked about New Year’s resolutions to one of the personal trainers at our gym, the trainer said he didn’t like ‘resolutions’ because it sounded weak.  He preferred ‘goals’.  So I asked Mike if we could set New Year’s ‘goals’, and Mike agreed right away.

Score one for Karena.  ;)

As far as Piper goes, she is feeling much, much better.  She’s back to playing, tearing around the house, and spending a lot of time looking out the windows and watching people and dogs go by.  I took her to the follow-up appointment at the vet, and she no longer has a UTI which is awesome and means that these antibiotic injections are working.  To make sure the bacteria is 100% gone, I’ll be continuing to give her injections for the next month and then she’ll go back to the vet for a final follow-up appointment.  And the injections are really ‘old hat’ at this point, as surprising as that seems to me.  It helps a lot that Piper is really cooperative.  She hates the injections but she sits still for them.  And who knew I would become so adept at changing needles on syringes, mixing up antibiotics, and giving injections?  Certainly not one of my aspirations for 2015, but things happen!  I called the vet so many times with questions over the first few weeks that I think they were probably ready to block my calls entirely.

I suppose Mike and I will have to take down our Christmas tree soon.  *Sigh*  We have really enjoyed it, and I loved having all the twinkly lights from the tree on when I came downstairs in the morning, but oh well.  Mike says we need to put it away soon so that it’s special when we put it up next year.  True, and even a little profound.  :)  Happy 2016!

2 Comments

Filed under Cats, Holidays, Weather, Winter

Happy 3rd Anniversary to Us!

Mike and I have had a really busy December… I mean a really, really busy December.  With Mike’s long hours the past week or so, I haven’t been doing much cooking so all my careful weekly food prep is kind of out the window right now.  (Hopefully I’ll get back on board after the holidays… it can be one of my New Year’s resolutions.  Which reminds me… I should look back to last year’s resolutions and see if I got anywhere with them!)

Anyway, Mike has been working a lot, and I have spent my evenings shuttling Piper around to the vet, giving her meds, running errands, etc.  It’s all good, but Mike and I will both be glad of a little time off over Christmas and New Years!

Fortunately, we both took time to celebrate our third wedding anniversary.  I feel like it should actually be our 10th anniversary instead of our third since we’ve actually been together over 10 years, but oh well.  We’ll go with three.  Three is a good number.

I made plans to go to a live show and dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse downtown.  I have co-workers from Brazil, so I have discovered the entity that is the ‘Brazilian Steakhouse’.  I even bought a Groupon for it (yay Groupon!), so it was much cheaper than it would have normally been.  We got there, and the interior was just beautiful!  Dimly lit, dark wood… very lovely!  We had a very relaxing time hanging out, listening to their live Brazilian music, and making multiple trips to their super amazing all-you-can-eat salad bar.  I came back from my first trip to the salad bar with a hugely overloaded plate full of exotic olives, sliced veggies, roasted veggies, pickled veggies, and a few odds and ends like roasted mushroom salad (SOOOO good!  And I don’t even like mushrooms!) and quinoa salad.  Mike’s eyes shot up when he saw how full my plate was.

Mine is the plate on the right. ;)

Mine is the plate on the right.😉

“Are you going to be able to eat all that??” he asked.

“Ha!” I said.  “You’ve actually been with me for ten years without knowing the copious amounts of vegetables I’m able to eat?”

I not only ate that whole plate but I went back for another similarly-sized one.  Mike shook his head while he attacked our meat platter.

Lots of different types of meat

Lots of different types of meat

 

Suffice it to say we both left absolutely stuffed!  Great food, great atmosphere, great company!  Here’s to three years and hopefully many more!

Mike relaxing

Mike relaxing

It has been raining cats and dogs out here.  And I don’t mean typical Seattle rain… I mean, rain pouring from the sky, rivers flowing down the street kind of rain.  Every time I mention to Mike how much it is raining, he says, “Well, our plants are probably happy.”  This is the difference in perspective when you become a home owner, I guess!

Seattle rain and fog. This is what we're known for. This and coffee.

Seattle rain and fog. This is what we’re known for. This and coffee.

On Tuesday I took my CPR refresher class after work.  It’s probably the fifth or sixth time I’ve taken the class, so you wouldn’t think there would ever be any new info in them, but surprisingly each instructor has a different background and a different take on the info so I always find that the time goes by really fast and I always pick up some useful nuggets of information.  One of Tuesday’s nuggets: if you are alone and encounter a person who needs CPR, you should first call 9-1-1 and then start CPR if the person is an adult; you should do two minutes of CPR and then call 9-1-1 if the person is a child.  Interesting.  Also of interest: King County (Seattle) has the highest rate of survival for cardiac arrest in the world.  I seem to remember hearing that in my last CPR class, too, so maybe it’s been at the top of the list for the past two years?  Not sure on that one!  Last item (potentially) of interest: My bottom hand when doing CPR was really sore the next day and felt bruised.  Maybe I’m a little bit too enthusiastic in my CPR?  Anyway, now I’m all renewed for my personal trainer cert for the next two years.

I went to Piper’s vet one evening after work last week to get a refresher course in giving antibiotic injections since guess who is not responding to the current antibiotic?  If you guessed Piper, you’re wrong.  It’s the bacteria in Piper’s bladder.  Apparently those bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic pill that’s been working so well for us for the past couple of years.  Don’t use antibacterial soap, folks.  This is what it leads to: resistant bacteria.  Maybe if Piper wasn’t always washing her paws with antibacterial soap…

Anyway, we’ll see how well twice daily injections go over with Piper.  And with me!  We have fallen into a good rhythm with the subcutaneous fluids that I give her every other day.  That just feels a lot less often than the twice a day antibiotics I’m now giving her.  It feels like I’m always calculating when 12 hours has passed and it’s time to give her another injection.  But onward and upward, right?  That’s Piper’s feeling.

We had stuff spread out on the table here, and she was very interested!

We had stuff spread out on the table here, and she was very interested!

Mike and I did some Christmas shopping for our nieces last weekend and ended up at Toys ‘R’ Us.  Holy cow!  That store is crazy!  Has it always been that giant and that crowded??  Somehow as a kid the only time I remember being there was when I got a new bike and I really only remember the bike aisle.  But there seemed to be just millions and millions of toys.  One of our nieces likes the Elves and Friends lego sets.  I totally do too, although I don’t own any!  Cora, you and I should hang out and play legos!!  :)  I am not too old for that!  ;)

Last weekend I went for a run  at 4:30pm, which at this time of year in Seattle might as well be midnight.

This is 4:30pm! How is that even possible??

This is 4:30pm! How is that even possible??

 

Love this bridge at night! (Or, you know, 4:30pm)

Love this bridge at night! (Or, you know, 4:30pm)

 

I had heard of the movie Love Actually multiple times through the years as a good, British Christmas movie, but had never watched it.  Well, I decided this was the year to see it!  Piper and I watched it while Mike was working late, and it was so good!  At least I liked it.  Lots of different, heart-warming stories going on, some happy and some sad.  So good!  Warning if you decide to watch it: I cried through the last twenty minutes and I’m not typically a movie crier.  But there’s only so many heart-warming love stories I can withstand at one time, and this movie has like fifteen.  I made Mike watch it with me later (and he agreed only if he could drink a beer while watching).  I again cried through the last twenty minutes (even though I completely knew what was coming this time) and Mike didn’t cry at all, shrugged at the end, and said they were nice enough stories.  We are going to see the special Christmas release of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie Hateful Eight on Christmas Eve, and I strongly suspect that will be much more Mike’s speed that Love Actually.  :)

Our Christmas Day plans are still undecided, which at this point probably means we don’t have any.  Which is fine!  We’ll both have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off, so that makes for a four-day weekend.  I should probably get my cooking in gear enough to at least make a nice meal even if it’s not the over-the-top traditional Christmas meal.  I asked Mike if he wanted to order the pre-cooked meal from the local grocery store this year, but he said that a whole turkey is always so much food.  Which it is.  And that we’ll end up wasting most of it.  Which we will.  And that we’ll forget to freeze the turkey before it goes bad.  Which we always do.  So I think we’ll go for something smaller and less traditional this year, but I haven’t decided what yet.  Maybe something Mexican?  Quesadillas maybe??

Piper has decided that she likes the Christmas tree, so it turns out that our little Halloween cat is also a Christmas cat!

Halloween Christmas Cat!

Halloween Christmas Cat!

 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  (Because sadly as busy as things have been with Mike’s work and with Piper’s health the past couple months I haven’t gotten any Christmas cards out at all).  So a blog ‘Merry Christmas’ callout to friends and loved ones may be the closest we get this year!

One of our neighbors came over and dropped off a plate of Christmas cookies one day this week… all different flavors and types… just the kind of plate my mom would make up (although no frosted cut-out cookies… Mom, you’re still the only person I know hard-core enough to make those!)   I am so full of admiration… both of them work full time…. where do they find the time to make a big variety of Christmas cookies?  Clearly I need some lessons in time management!

Anyway, Merry Christmas again, from the west coast Danenberg household!  Sending lots of love for a wonderful 2016!  :)

Leave a comment

Filed under Animals, Cats, Christmas, Food, Holidays, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Rain, Running, Seattle, Seattle Restaurants, Weather, Winter