My First Trip to Autozone in Five Years

It has been raining like crazy in Seattle for about a week.  Any thought of droughts that we had during the summer has completely been obliterated.  But, of course, our little area of Fremont has kept its Seattle spirit, regardless of the torrents of rain.  On Saturday morning when I was looking out the window I saw a man with no umbrella and no hood on his coat riding down Fremont Ave on the sidewalk on a Segway in the pouring rain.  It really didn’t look like safe weather for Segways.  I mean, do they even test those things in the rain on hills?  Probably not, but the guy seemed to be maneuvering it fine, so maybe it was just my perception that Segways aren’t really rain friendly!

On Saturday night, we had some friends over for about an hour, and then we all went out to dinner.  They brought their two and a half year old son, and Piper, even though she was still recovering from a round of antibiotics, was so interested in him!  He was very gentle with animals, and we told him Piper wasn’t feeling very well.  He still wanted to go up to her and very carefully patted her on the head.  Piper, who doesn’t like being patted on the head, didn’t mind at all when he did it and she was fascinated with the way he jumped up and down on the rug and the way he crawled under the chair to sit next to her.  You could see the wheels turning in Piper’s head.  I think she thought he was half cat/half person or something.  :)

The clutch pedal on our car started to squeak so Mike stopped by an auto parts store to get some kind of grease to lubricate it.  There was a guy with the hood of this cat open, a bunch of tools on the ground around him, who was working on his car a couple feet outside of the door.  Ah, it brought back memories of all of those Autozone trips in Michigan.  There always seemed to be someone working on their car in the Autozone parking lot.  And the aisles were set up exactly as I remembered them!  And they’re still selling boxes of those blue machinist paper towels.  And those icky smelling ‘air fresheners’ that you can hang from your review mirror (because who wouldn’t want to smell strong, chemically pine scent a foot in front of their nose while driving?).  And there was a person hogging the attention of the person at the counter who basically wanted the Autozone employee to do everything but fix their car for them.  (Actually they probably would have been fine with the employee fixing their car if he had offered… which he didn’t.  But they did ask his advice for like fifteen minutes.)  It was all just like I remembered.d  Ah, Autozone.  The memories we share.  :)

In other news, Mike and I have been invited to one of our neighbor’s houses for Thanksgiving for a potluck.  They’re providing turkey and potatoes, and everyone else can sign up to bring things.  I’m a little excited.  What will I bring?  What will I bring??  Since I’ve been doing a lot of cooking over the summer with the CSA produce, I feel ready to take on a Thanksgiving potluck!  I was thinking about balsamic roasted brussels sprouts (because that’s about the only way Mike likes eating brussels sprouts), and maybe an apple crumble pie (strategically chosen so that I don’t have to mess with making a top pie crust.  I know I’m ready to take on the potluck world… but maybe not the top pie crust world.)

Speaking of CSA produce, I made some good stuff with this last batch.  I made a curry lentil soup from this vegan cookbook I just bought.  I would totally recommend the cookbook by the way!  The recipes all look amazing and aren’t difficult!  The woman who wrote the cookbook also writes a blog (, so check that out if you’re looking for great, tasty, easy vegan recipes!  I also made a beef stew with a bunch of the root vegetables I got.  And I rounded out my efforts with a pan of roasted vegetables (mostly beets, but I’ll try to find a different way to sell them to Mike when I offer them to him.  As soon as he hears the word ‘beet’, he pretty much shuts down.).

In other news, Mike and I got four new tires for our car.  Going into winter it seemed smart to have grippy tires, especially since our’s were getting old.

I have surprisingly been running, despite the cold, rainy, windy weather.  I’ve just been strategically picking my times so that I’m running during the warmest, driest parts of the week.  On Sunday evening I went for a hill run.  I was just mentally spent, and that is the best time to run.  I pounded up and down the same hill over and over and realized that I finished four miles of hills averaging an 8:33 min/mile.  That is fast for me, people!  I usually run hills more in the 9 – 9:30 range.  Clearly I had some stress or something to work off because I barely registered that I was running faster than usual, and I felt completely released and relaxed when I got home afterwards.

In Piper news, she has had quite a week.  A couple weeks.  About a month actually.  And so have Mike and I.  Urinary infections + two types of antibiotics + appetite-inducing pills + every other day subcutaneous fluid injections + a whole new diet == a healthy Piper.  At least so far.  Lately when people ask me what I’ve been up to, I want to say ‘taking care of my cat’.  Which sounds extreme and like I must have time for lots of other things.  But, you know, I actually don’t.  Let’s go through her current regime…. just to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.

Morning & Evening:

  • Two pills – an appetite inducer (because guess who stopped eating during this whole episode?  Not that I can blame her…) and an antacid to get rid of heartburn caused by weak kidneys
  • Special food to help her kidneys (usually given multiple times throughout the evening because she’s back to eating and she’s HUNGRY!)

Every other evening:

  • Subcutaneous fluids (fancy vet-speak for ‘give your cat an injection and pump them with 10ml of water’) – administered by me

Once she’s feeling better:

  • Subcutaneous antibiotic injections twice a day (again, administered by yours truly… I am going to be a pro at this subcutaneous business!  At least I hope so for Piper’s sake since she’s the one getting her neck ruff injected by me all the time.)

In all seriousness, though, I’m just glad that there are things I can do to help her… even though I wasn’t super excited about having to learn how to give her injections, I just love her to pieces!

In completely unrelated news, I finally ran out of space on my iPhone (all those pictures of Piper I keep taking, I think) so I went to backup my iPhone via iTunes (which I do maybe twice a year).  My phone was SO FULL that it was too full to do a backup.  Apparently a backup requires some temp space on the iPhone… which I totally didn’t have.  Also of interest, I checked how many apps were running and it was twenty.  Twenty!  How did that happen?  That’s definitely something Mike would give me a hard time about given that he doesn’t even have twenty apps on his whole phone.  However, he wasn’t home at the time so I was spared that minuscule embarrassment.

The weather here in Seattle has been crazy!!  Thirty-seven hours of consecutive rainfall, people!  And 370,000 people without power because of windstorms!  That’s a LOT of people!  At some point don’t the clouds run out of water??  And the answer to that would be a resounding YES.  After 37 hours apparently even Seattle clouds are out of water.  Not to worry, though!  The rain has (mostly) stopped.  Now we have a windstorm!  I went out to lunch with two coworkers today, and it was kind of nuts!  We nearly got blown around the sidewalk by a wet, raindrop-filled gusty wind!  I think the wind is supposed to die down tomorrow, though, so we’ll see how things go.

With all the rain, Mike and I are constantly coming and going from the house with umbrellas, and that has caused us to run out of good places to put wet umbrellas that are waiting to dry.  Since necessity is the mother of invention, I realized this evening coming home from work that we have cobbled together a solution to the problem.  I had set a small box by the back door that I was planning to break down and lacked motivation to actually break down, and that has become our bona fide umbrella holder.  And it’s disposable enough that it’s fine if it gets wet and ruined.  Does anyone else have a good ‘where do we put the wet umbrellas’ solution?  And if you have an attached garage, coming into your house through the garage and putting the umbrellas in the garage before entering the house is NOT an acceptable solution.  I mean, it clearly is for you, but we don’t have a garage (attached or otherwise).

Today on the bus coming home from work I ran into a friend from my yoga teacher training earlier in the year!  What a wonderful opportunity to do a quick catch-up with her while we rode the bus home together!

When I picked up the CSA produce today I was NOT prepared for how big the box was!  The preliminary email sent out about it said that it was a ‘holiday box’ and that it would be ‘bigger than usual’, so I took two big reusable bags to pick up the produce instead of my more usual one.  Fortunately I was able to stuff everything into the two bags, but between the giant bag of carrots, potatoes, turnips, and squash and the other bag filled with two feet tall leeks and the most giant stalk of celery I’d ever seen it was an interesting few blocks of walking home!  I was grateful that the wind had died down enough that I wasn’t getting blown off my feet (although quite frankly with all that produce as ballast I probably was better off with the produce than without it).

Is anyone else strangely taken by Seal’s new album 7?  I’m loving Daylight Saving and have listened to it a disturbing number of times since its release last week.  I love Seal’s voice and the way he infuses meaning into all of his lyrics.  Supposedly this album is very personal to him, and it really comes through to me.  Actually there has been a lot of new music I’ve been loving this fall.  Any music anyone else is loving lately?

I’m thinking I definitely want to do a Thanksgiving post this year where I just focus on things I’m thankful for.  Especially after Piper being sick, I’m ready to focus on all the wonderful blessings Mike and I have!  So if you’re in a thankful mood too, look forward to that post and/or maybe put together a list of your own.  It’s one of my favorite things to do this time of year!

Onward to the weekend!  :)

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Cooking, CSA, Food, Holidays, Life in Seattle, Rain, Running, Seattle, Thanksgiving, Weather

A Teepee for a Halloween Cat

This has been a busy week or two!  Very, very busy.  Work and everything else has just been pretty crazy for both Mike and me.

I’ll start with the stuff at the top of my mind first.

I didn’t get Piper as a kitten, so I have never had any idea when her birthday might be.  I always called her my little Halloween cat since she’s all black, though, so I kind of said that her birthday was Halloween.

A month or so ago we turned one of our armchairs upside down on the floor to put felt feet on the bottom of it and Piper ran underneath the upside down chair and absolutely loved it.  She was so disappointed when we turned the chair right side up again.  This gave Mike cause to think about ‘hidey-holes’ and after some time thinking, he came to the conclusion that what Piper needed was a teepee.  I was skeptical especially when he pointed out a giant one built for a 10 year old that would never fit in our living room without being the major focal point, but Mike continued to do his research and he ended up finding a place on Etsy that custom makes pet teepees.  Mike emailed back and forth with them about getting a solid black teepee with a solid black fleece cushion inside (Piper seems to know that she’s black and she likes blending in, so she always likes hanging out/in/around black things.)  Her teepee arrived in the mail today and Mike did the minimal setup work.

Did Piper like it?

You bet she did!

You bet she did!


(Mike says she looks like a Jawa from Star Wars.  I looked them up, and I think Piper is WAY cuter than Jawa.  He also says she looks like some kind of dark fairy nymph from an old fairy tale.)  Basically when Piper is in her teepee and her eyes are closed I literally cannot see her in there.  It’s Piper’s perfect hidey-hole!

Last Friday night after work Mike and I went out with some friends to Toulouse Petit.  I had heard of the restaurant before, and it was rumored to be very nice, but we had never been there.  Somehow we almost never get to Queen Anne, the neighborhood the restaurant is in.  The restaurant itself was lovely!  Dim lights and lots and lots of candles!  In fact a couple hundred tea light candles were mounted on the back wall, and they looked amazing!  I speculated on how long it might take the servers to light those each evening, but the general consensus in our group was that multiple people probably did it and it probably didn’t take that long.

We really didn’t dress up for Halloween.  I was all ready to go as a dark fairy (having bought a costume last year and never having worn it), but Mike was unsure.  And by unsure, I mean he really would rather have done almost anything in the world rather than dress up.  I suggested he could go as Steve Jobs.  That seemed like an easy costume since it’s basically a black turtleneck and jeans and Mike already has the brainy look going for him.  But Mike wasn’t into that.  Then, to compound to Mike’s uncertainty about dressing up, we were invited over to the house of some friend’s on Halloween.  I was excited to see them, but we weren’t going over for a Halloween party… we just went to hang out.  No costume required.  Or even expected.  So what I ended up doing was dressing up in my dark fairy costume Friday night (Halloween Eve) when we went out to dinner so that at least I could get a little mileage out of my costume.  I wasn’t prepared to be the only person in the restaurant who was in costume (come on people… it’s HALLOWEEN EVE!  Where are your costumes??).  What was worse is that, for practical reasons I decided not to wear the wings of my dark fairy costume (because it was cold outside and I couldn’t put on my coat if I had the wings on… funny how none of my coats accommodated wings with a three foot span) and apparently the wings “made” the costume.  Without them I was a woman in a short, black, lace-y dress and dark eye make-up.  I got complimented by two of the waiters on looking nice, but no one knew I was dressed up for Halloween.  So that whole trying to dress up for Halloween was kind of a bust.  Next time I’m wearing the wings even if I freeze.

What else has been going on?

Mike has been doing landscaping.  Lots and lots of landscaping.  Last Sunday he was outside most of the day ruthlessly rooting out weeds and laying down wood bark chips to keep the weeds from returning (or at least returning as fast).  It was basically pouring rain all day Sunday so he was working outdoors in the rain, the wind, and the dirt all day.  He did take a couple breaks to enjoy the seasonal oatmeal stout from Fremont Brewery.

Enjoying some beer while working in the rain ALL DAY! How did he not get sick??

Enjoying some beer while working in the rain ALL DAY! How did he not get sick??

If it had been anyone else I’m sure they would have gotten a cold, but Mike doesn’t really get colds.  I think he’s had three in the entire time I’ve known him (12ish years).  (Speaking of time going by… Mike and I will be celebrating our three-year wedding anniversary in a little over a month.  Talk about time flying!)

We also went to a garden nursery to get some new bushes for the landscaping.  I was only so-so interested, but they did have an amazing holiday section!  It was basically like a Christmas winter wonderland.

Christmas! (Who cares that it's only early Nov?)

Christmas! (Who cares that it’s only early Nov?)

Mike would have liked to recruit me to work on the landscape, but I had CSA produce to cook (*whew*… lucky break!), so I stayed indoors and cooked up homemade meatballs and a giant pot of vegetable soup.  I’ve discovered that the real secret to using up CSA produce is to make everything you’re going to make with your veggies and then throw the rest in a pot, simmer it for three hours with vegetable stock and plenty of fresh chopped basil, and you’re golden.  It’s like the perfect “catch-all” plan for other vegetables you may not know what to do with.  I also roasted up a brightly colored pan of root vegetables, golden beets, red beets (which have a fancier name, but I can’t remember what it is), yams, potatoes, and carrots.  Plus plenty of thyme.  I think thyme may be the secret to taking beets to a palatable level.


Colorful root vegetables, including beets

Colorful root vegetables, including beets


On Halloween, as mentioned, Mike and I went to some friends’ house.  They had just bought a new home, and we got our first chance to see it.  It was beautiful and I loved the work they’d done decorating it!  Of special note: they had a pantry.  That’s right… a specific walk-in closet-ish area full of shelves for food.  Ooooooh!  Loved it!

And their pets loved Mike.  It was so cute!!

Mike... the life of the party. Also, the animal magnet.

Mike… the life of the party. Also, the animal magnet apparently.


Possibly of interest: I’m now a sub teacher for Bala Yoga in Fremont and will be sub’ing my first class on November 29th.  I’m also a sub for a gym nearby.  How exciting!  In addition to teaching at my corporate job, it looks like I’ll have some studio experience also.

Lately Mike has also been doing touch-up painting around our house.  Piper loves it when Mike paints because he brings out his work light which emits a ton of heat.

Piper's very own heater

Piper’s very own heater


I’m actually loving running in the cooler weather!  The days are all cool and cloudy.

Cloudy fall days...

Cloudy fall days…


Piper’s enjoying the few rays of sunshine we’re getting these days.  She’s been a little quieter and more thoughtful.  I think she’s mentally gearing up for the colder, shorter, darker days of winter.

A very pensive Piper

A very pensive Piper


Also, if you love cats, here are some of the rarest breeds of wild cats.

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Filed under Animals, Beets, Cats, Christmas, Cooking, CSA, Friends, Halloween, Holidays, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Seattle, Weather, Yoga

Grace Hopper 2015!

For those of you who didn’t know, my company sent me to the Grace Hopper conference in Houston this year.  This conference is a really big deal in the tech world and focuses on women in tech.  This was my first year attending, and it was absolutely crazy!  So, so big!  The conference center itself was huge and there were 12,000 attendees.  Suffice it to say we filled up every hotel in Houston.  It made for a really fun time!

Big Buildings in downtown Houston

Big buildings in downtown Houston

I knew the Grace Hopper conference was a big deal, but I don’t think I realized quite how big of a deal until my friend and I boarded our flight from Seattle to Houston and realized that half of the plane was made up of women wearing tech T-shirts.

Ready to fly to the conference!

Ready for the conference… in my first 787!

It soon became obvious that many of the people on the plane were headed to the conference, and when we landed in Houston the line to get cabs was about seventy people long and was entirely those same women in tech T-shirts.  Fortunately my enterprising friend kept hitting refresh on the Uber app until she got us an Uber car.  We went all the way to the convention center to register and then ended up hanging out with some Microsoft employees at a fancy restaurant where we had dinner and drinks.  Not a bad way to end day 1 of the Houston adventure.

On day 2, I ambitiously went to four or five sessions, which were interesting, but not revolutionary.  I had signed up to work the Groupon booth the morning of day 3, so I showed up early that morning to set up the booth.

Our booth!  Spelling out Groupon in green was my idea.  :)

Our booth! Spelling out Groupon in green was my idea. :)

The remainder of the conference I alternated between attending sessions and helping out at the booth.  Honestly I liked working the booth the most.  A big part of the conference is that it’s a way for tech companies to recruit new college hires and a way for college students to network and get jobs/internships.  So basically when I worked the booth I was met with a steady stream of young college students handing out their resumes and anxious to talk about themselves and what they were looking for in an internship/first job.  For someone who loves talking to people, that was exactly the kind of thing that appealed to me.

Lots of people wandering around the expo with all the booths!

Lots of people wandering around the expo with all the booths!


I even ran into some old friends from Amazon!

I even ran into some old friends from Amazon!


The keynote speech on Thursday evening by Sheryl Sandberg was great… really inspirational!

Sheryl Sandberg's keynote... she's up on that stage somewhere

Sheryl Sandberg’s keynote… she’s up on that stage somewhere!


And then in the evenings I typically went out with friends.  It definitely made for late nights and early mornings, and that, coupled with the timezone difference meant that I was pretty tired by the end of the conference!

Last day selfie... getting tired!

Last day selfie… getting tired!


Basically through no fault but my own earliness I ended up at the Houston airport an insane number of hours early for my flight.  There were lots of reasons for this, although Mike would undoubtedly say that it was due primarily to my own deeprooted need to be early for everything.  He may be right.  My flight was at nine, so I figured the Houston airport was huge and there would be a glut of people there who were leaving the same conference that I was so it seemed like I should get there two hours early.  So that meant 7pm.  But how long was it going to take to get there?  Half an hour in a great world, but this probably wouldn’t be a great world.  In fact, given the combination of a bunch of people leaving the convention at the same time and the fact that we would be running right up against  downtown Houston rush-hour traffic on a Friday afternoon, it seemed as though I should leave earlier than 6:30pm.  And  what if I couldn’t get an Uber and/or a cab?  My friend and I had a difficult time getting either when we first landed in Houston.  So maybe…. maybe I should leave at more like 5pm.  Yeah, five was good.  And I didn’t really know much about Uber and would rather not have to figure it out on day four of being pretty exhausted, so maybe I would just try to carpool with other people.  Probably every single person at a conference full of tech people already knew how to use Uber.  I put out a ping in the chatroom for anyone looking to leave around 4:30pm.  (I don’t know where that extra half hour came from… this is what Mike would say is due to my inherent desire to spend most of my life waiting impatiently because I was too early.)  I got two pings, one from a woman who wanted to leave at 4pm and one from a woman who wanted to leave at 3:30pm.  (And one from a woman who wanted to leave at 4:30pm but who was flying out of the other Houston airport, so that was a no-go).  Well… it wouldn’t kill me to get to the Houston airport early.  I could get dinner, wander around, read a book on my phone.  So that was fine.  I met the two women at 3:30pm.  We all picked up our baggage from the baggage check at the conference, and then I suggested getting an Uber.  One of the women was a grad student whose phone was dead or wasn’t getting good signal reception or something.  The other was a student who was very willing to call Uber until she realized that you didn’t ‘call’ Uber like you would call a person… you had to install an app and set up an account, which she didn’t have.


Somehow in my life it seems as though I am always the person in these situations where I can’t just go with the flow… I need to figure things out.  I guess that’s what I signed up for for being an engineer.  Fortunately Uber’s business model is to make it really easy to use so that people use it.  Five minutes later I had an Uber on the way.  The grad student was talking a mile a minute about unrelated topics while I was trying to direct the Uber driver on how to reach us since some of the downtown roads were closed because of the conference.  Eventually the Uber driver showed up and we all piled in, the grad student politely but firmly asking if it was ok if she had the front seat.  Sure, why not?

The Uber driver was an incredibly nice, caring, friendly woman who was more talkative than most Uber drivers I had experienced.  (I have had whole rides where the driver didn’t speak to me once.)  The grad student, Betty, and the Uber driver seemed to hit it off right away, and the sweet, but very quiet college student and I mostly sat quiet.  Actually Betty and the driver seemed to get along so well that they kept interrupting each other in their effort to keep talking.  Betty’s flight was the first one of the three of our flights, but she didn’t know what terminal she needed to go to.  The driver figured it out for her and dropped her off at the appropriate terminal.  Betty thanked all of us for the wonderful conversation (even though I didn’t recall contributing very much to it) and wanted all of our emails (including the Uber driver’s) so that she could stay in touch.  Maybe I am way too old and cynical, but I knew the chance of ever hearing from Betty again was slim to none.  As a matter of fact, she probably forgot all of us once she got in line to go through security, but I kept my curmudgeonly thoughts to myself.  :)

Normally it would have taken me time to get myself to the right terminal for my flight, but the extremely nice Uber driver took both the college student and myself directly to the front doors for our terminals.  Well, that was nice.  Security took about an hour to get through, but I still found myself through security and near my gate at 5pm with about, oh, four hours to spare.  And that was before my flight got delayed.  At first it was just a little delay of 14 minutes.  Then it was 30.  Then there was an announcement that the aircraft we would be traveling on was late coming in, but it was now in and they would be getting us on board as quickly as possible.  I watched as all the passengers de-boarded.  The first fifteen to de-board looked slightly panicked and were literally running off the plane and off through the airport without a second glance at anything.  Clearly they were the ones with tight connecting flights.  The remainder of the passengers looked tired, annoyed, and unhappy.  Definitely not a friendly group you’d want to talk to.

I was beginning to understand where they were coming from when, twenty minutes later, they still hadn’t made any move to start boarding us.  I walked back and forth impatiently until they finally began boarding.  It was a 737, so it took awhile to board, and then once everyone was in their seats and all luggage had been stowed in overhead compartments or under the seats in front of us, I waited (im)patiently for the flight to take off.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally the flight attendant’s voice came over the intercom system, sounding frustrated, annoyed, but kind of resigned.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now all ready to depart except that we have no pilots.  We have not been told where the pilots are.  We’ll update you with information when it becomes available.”

Of all the people to lose.  Those are the two you really can’t take off without.  Worst case we can manage without the flight attendants because I don’t need to be offered water every hour, even though that’s nice.  And worst case if a few errant passengers don’t show up, no problem.  That just means that the people on standby get a shot at a flight.  But the pilot and copilot were pretty critical parts of this whole operation.  After waiting another twenty minutes a man announcing himself as the pilot got on the intercom sounding breathless and apologized for being late.  Apparently he’d been on another flight that had been delayed. Another flight before mine got delayed by an hour as well.   Ah, the night of flight delays.   At least for United.  Oh well, at least United has one thing going for it; their intro safety video is more entertaining than most of the safety videos I’ve seen and even features flamingos.  That has to count for something, even if most of my experiences with them have resulted in delayed flights.  ;)

Mike considerately picked me up at the airport even though it was around 1am and I told him I could take a cab or an Uber.  Mike was happy to see me, but Piper was just tired and a little disgruntled at being woken up when I got home so she didn’t exactly give me a ringing welcome.  :)

Regardless, glad to be back and be all caught up on laundry!  :)  I hope everyone else had a wonderful week!

Bye Houston!

Bye Houston!

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Filed under Pictures, Planes, Travel

Autumn carwash fun

This weekend was a pretty laid-back weekend during which Mike and I got a lot of stuff done.  Mike had some stuff to do at work, so he headed off to work on Saturday, and I went to the bootcamp class at our gym, and then headed out to a hair appointment.  I absolutely love my hair stylist… she is amazing and inspirational and such an artist!  I was thinking about it the other day, and I’ve been going to see her for over four years!  She’s been at three different salons during that time, and I just keep following her.  I’m currently very fortunate because she’s in a salon literally one block south of my house.  So convenient!  :)  I remember when I used to have to walk up a mile long hill to get to her salon!  :)

I haven’t been talking much about CSA produce and cooking on the blog, but rest assured, a lot has been happening in that department!  Saturday afternoon I chopped up all my veggies and then Sunday afternoon I did some cooking!

The highlights were:

  • Roasted beets and potatoes with fresh thyme
  • A soup that started out as a tomato green bean soup but very quickly morphed into ‘throw everything that isn’t nailed down into the pot’ soup
  • A chicken sausage pasta dish

Everything turned out really well, and I have to say I was impressed with the beets roasted with thyme.  As I recall, on one of my posts long ago (almost exactly a year ago, in fact) both Lia and Aunt Joanie extolled the virtues of roasted beets with herbs.  I was highly doubtful and have tried roasting them in the past with dried thyme and still really wasn’t on board with them.  Maybe I just didn’t have the right herb combination?  But this weekend I tried them with fresh thyme, and the world stopped revolving around the sun for a second!  Wow!!  Very good!  In fact I tried to get Mike to eat some by calling them ‘roasted veggies’.  He said sure.  Then I brought him a bowl and he saw they were beets and wrinkled his nose.

“Never mind,” he said.  “I don’t like beets.”

After a little cajoling I managed to get him to try some, and he went so far as to say he ‘actually didn’t mind them cooked this way’.  All things considered, that’s a pretty ringing endorsement.  And when you consider all of the antioxidants and iron in beets, how can you say no?  So that was my big cooking success of the weekend.  :)

I also started making a tomato green bean soup that I made all the time last summer with my abundance of green beans.  However, I kept throwing in a little of this and a little of that, and the next thing I knew my tomato green bean soup had somehow morphed into tomato, green bean, summer squash, cucumber, swiss chard, red pepper soup.  First I thought I’d just add some summer squash because it was a good way to use up summer squash (of which I’ve gotten a lot this summer).  The summer squash was in the same bag in the fridge as three cucumbers.  Three cucumbers is a LOT of cucumbers, so I decided to chop one up into the soup.  I did that and then felt like it looked like there was almost no cucumber in there compared to all the other veggies, so I decided, why not?  And chopped up the other two cucumbers as well.  Then I remembered a red pepper I needed to use up, so that went in as well.  And I had just washed a whole head of swiss chard, and so somehow that ended up in the soup as well.  The soup turned out phenomenally!  About the only thing I made sure I did from the recipe was to put in the quarter cup of fresh basil.  Let me tell you, my friends, I have discovered that there is basically no soup, no salad, and no roasted vegetables that do not benefit from a quarter cup of fresh basil.  I’ve become so fanatical about it that I’ve been buying about a quarter pound of it a week (which seems pretty excessive for a spice!) and have gotten Mike to promise that we can have an herb garden on our roof in the spring.  Sadly I discovered that basil cannot be successfully planted in October, even in Seattle where the weather is pretty mild year round.  Apparently basil should be planted in May in Seattle, and without doing all the mental mathematic acrobatics, May is a long time away.  Ah well.  I guess that will give me time to learn how to grow basil so that I don’t kill it as soon as I plant it.  I’ll likely be pinging the only master gardener I know (*coughDad) to see what I’ll have to do to keep basil alive.  Apparently it’s a finicky plant.  Rosemary grows everywhere from the Pacific Northwest to the desert with ease (which probably explains why I was so successful growing it the past couple of years, because basically it doesn’t care what you do to it), but basil is easily killed.  I have a conscientious friend who inadvertently killed his basil plants, and I myself killed a basil plant back when I lived in the midwest.  So I’m really only cautiously optimistic.  Growing basil might be beyond my skill level.

The third thing I made was a ‘robust Italian sausage’ slow cooker meal.  I added some stuff… like a bunch of roma beans and an extra onion.  I didn’t throw fresh basil into that… Mike doesn’t have quite the love affair with basil that I do and I wasn’t sure he would appreciate it.  As it was, he really liked it.  When I ask him what he wants, he can’t really think of anything to ask for except for chicken soup.  But then when I make chicken soup he’s kind of tired of it.  So he’s been telling me to just make something.  When I found the Italian sausage thing it looked like something he’d like, but something that I could ‘healthify’ with less pasta than the recipe called for, organic chicken sausage, and extra veggies.  Everything turned out well!  So nice!

What else has been going on?

Let’s see…

Work has been busy!!  For both Mike and me!  On Monday when I left work the Seahawks vs Lions game was starting in Century Link stadium (which happens to be right across the street from where I work), and I actually saw the fireworks go off to signal the start of the game.  It was a lot louder than I thought it would be, but I did have the presence of mind to snap a couple pictures of the firework smoke before it faded away.

Fireworks behind the Union Station clock tower at the stadium

Fireworks behind the Union Station clock tower at the stadium


With autumn coming and the days getting shorter, I’m also seeing gorgeous sunrises in the mornings as I wait for the bus and in the evening when I’m downtown.

Walking around the South Lake Union area at dusk

Walking around the South Lake Union area at dusk


Piper has been unsure about the colder weather.  It definitely means that she wants to cuddle up more with us for warmth.

Pretty typical place for Piper lately

Pretty typical place for Piper lately


Mike has still been working on his ethernet wiring project.  He had some kind of breakthrough tonight that he was really happy about.  He went around talking about things being ok again due to mis-measurement errors.  I think he forgot to take into account the thickness of a door jam or something.  Anyway, he’s happy, so I’m happy.  :)

By the way, I was reading the news the other day and saw this.  What in the world is up with that?  Wooly mammoth bones found in Michigan?  Crazy!  And I saw this.  Beard championships?  Really??  I think I’ve just been overwhelmed with strange news this week!

Next week I’m going to a tech conference in Houston with a bunch of people from work.  It’ll be fun!  We’ll go to lectures, and talks, and stuff like that.  I’m excited!  I’m planning to make up a big pot of chili this weekend so Mike has something easy to heat up while I’m gone.  Mike has already said he’s going to need a project to do while I’m gone.  I suggested the ethernet project, but I think he’s hoping that will be done this weekend before I leave now that he knows that some measurements were miscalculated.

Last Sunday Mike asked me if I wanted to go with him to get a carwash.  Not exactly the world’s most exciting date, but I was up for it.  ;)  We drove all the way up Aurora looking for Mike’s favorite car wash.  Going through car washes is always kind of fun.  Am I the only one who feels like car washes are a remnant from another era?  There is literally nothing mechanical like that anymore.  It’s basically made up of a bunch of gears and levers that move around and whack your car with brushes and pummel it with soap and water.  And that giant dryer at the end that basically walks up your windshield?  I mean, really?  Car washes are old school.  Interesting and kind of fun, but very old school!  You know what else is old school?  Those giant vacuum machines outside of the car washes.  And that of course was where Mike wanted to go once we’d gone through the car wash.  I like the car wash because it’s kind of interesting (especially for someone with a two minute attention span like me since it really doesn’t last any longer than that), but the dryers are a different matter.  Mike basically kicks me out of the car so that he can vacuum my seat and then he wants to stay at the dryers until we are all out of quarters.  Every time the dryers start beeping crazily indicating that the time is running out Mike frantically starts feeding more quarters into it.  Because there’s no way we want it to stop.  Because basically we want to stand outside in the chilly evening vacuuming all night.  I watch the timer hopefully thinking that the time is almost up… and then Mike throws more quarters into it at the last minute, resetting the time back to five minutes.  Ah, well.  All good things come to an end eventually, even  fun with dryer machines.  Because at some point we actually do physically run out of quarters (and all cash money we have that can be converted into quarters).

I hope everyone is having a good week!  I’m ready to make chili this weekend!  Anyone else enjoying fall foods yet?


Filed under Beets, Cats, Cooking, CSA, Gardening, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Seattle

The Lunar Eclipse of 2015!

Here we are with another weekend gone!  This weekend went by FAST!  It was definitely our coldest weekend of the year so far with temps hitting the high 60’s, and somehow it seemed as though Mike and I were outdoors all weekend!

It's autumn in Seattle!

It’s autumn in Seattle!

On Saturday Mike had a fitness challenge event that he signed up for through the gym.  It was basically four different events made up of things like sprints, pushups, carrying heavy dumbells around, etc.  Mike definitely figured it would be really tough, but neither one of us figured on it being so long.  Each of the four events took around 10 minutes, and there were over 50 people participating who were broken up into 8 ‘heats’.  That basically meant that however you looked at it, each event took around an hour and a half, and the whole thing took around 6 hours.  Mike and I dressed reasonably warm, but the event was held outdoors at a turf field half an hour north of Seattle and it was very windy and cloudy so it felt pretty cold.  Also, being outdoors for six hours in general gets pretty chilly unless it’s really warm outside.  During the times where Mike wasn’t participating in his heats, we walked around and talked.  I speculated on how they maintained the ‘turf’.  It was grass-looking, but yet definitely not real.  I wondered aloud to Mike what happened if someone spilled gatorade in it.  Literally twenty minutes later, a representative from the school that owned the field walked up looking for the person in charge of our event.  Two minutes after that, the gym fitness director was walking around telling everyone that only water was allowed on the turf field… no other beverages.  Mike turned to me.  “Well, that answers your question,” he said.  “It must screw it up somehow because that guy sure doesn’t want it on his field.  About half an hour before the end of the event, it started to rain.  Everyone ran to their cars for coats and umbrellas.  One advantage of the ‘turf’ is that at least things didn’t get muddy.  :)  By the time the event ended, Mike had worked out really hard and was pretty beat.  We headed home, and Mike took a nap in the afternoon and then woke up feeling more refreshed.  On Sunday morning I went for a 10 mile run, and the weather was perfect!

From my run...

From my run…

It was still chilly, but when you’re running that’s fine (and even kind of desirable).  I took a route that I’ve only taken once before just for a change of scenery and it was fun.

Hazy Seattle...

Hazy Seattle… if I had moved the camera one millimeter to the left I wouldn’t have cut the Space Needle in half, but I was blinded by the sun

I arrived home windblown with a pink nose, and Mike said he wanted to run some errands so we headed out again once I showered.  Then in the afternoon, I opened the kitchen window and prepped and cooked up a bunch of CSA produce while Mike wired more ethernet stuff.  I think he’s headed towards the end of that project, but his eye for detail and desire for quality are making sure that he improves the wiring rather than just adding to it.  I made a triple green tomato soup, chicken with rice and carrots, and a summery tomato basil salad (which admittedly may be too summery for the current very fall-like weather).

Then on Sunday evening, I was really excited to go outside and see the lunar eclipse.  It was supposed to start in Seattle around 7pm because that’s when the sun would set enough for the moon to be visible.  However, the moon would already be mostly eclipsed by that point.  I was ready to see what there was to be seen!  I basically cooked all afternoon, and then around 7pm when the sun was supposed to start setting I grabbed Mike and told him we should head outdoors in search of the eclipse.  Mike was in the middle of some wiring and hadn’t really heard anything about the eclipse but gamely through on some flip fops and headed out with me.  We didn’t see the moon anywhere, so we decided to head towards the Aurora bridge because we figured we would have an uninterrupted view east from there.  As we walked out onto the bridge we saw that there were about ten other people on the bridge.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought the Aurora bridge would be a good viewing spot.  We all stood there, lining the pedestrian walkway of the bridge while we waited somewhat impatiently for it to get darker.  Finally it got dark-ish.  Definitely dark enough to see a moon.  We had just seen the moon the night before and it was huge and unmistakable, even shortly after sunset.  But, I reminded myself and Mike that the eclipse was going on at the moment, which was probably why we couldn’t see the moon.

“So basically we came out here to not see a moon?” Mike teased.  “This isn’t very good entertainment.”

We waited for another ten or fifteen minutes.  I looked around and realized that the bridge was filling up.  There were probably 50 people there at this point, all straining their eyes towards the eastern horizon hoping to see some glimpse of a moon.  Finally Mike nudged me in the side.

“Hey… is that weird wisp thing the moon?”

“What weird wisp thing?” I asked.

“A couple inches above that blinking light on the horizon.”

I strained my eyes, and did in fact see a weird wisp thing where Mike was pointing.  It was way too faint to be distinguishable as a moon, but in the absence of other clouds it seemed likely that maybe it was the moon.  Mike and I continued watching that spot, and over the next ten minutes that wisp transformed into a dark reddish moon!  I was ecstatic (although a little cold since we’d been outside for about 45 minutes at that point).

“If I would have known we were going to be out here for so long I wouldn’t have worn flip flops,” Mike said.  “I thought the eclipse would be faster.”  He paused and looked at all the people around us with cameras.  “I also wish I would have brought my camera with me.”

At this point according to my reliable internet source, the moon was in the darkest part of the earth’s shadow (the umbra), so there shouldn’t be any major visual changes until the moon started emerging from the earth’s shadow on the other side.  Mike and I decided to go home, get warm clothes and cameras, and head back.  We headed back home and discovered that the moon was now high enough in the sky that we could see it from our roof.  I was all for staying at home and watching the remainder of the eclipse from the warmth of our house, but Mike wanted to try to get some pictures of the moon over Lake Union, so he wanted to go back to the bridge.  I’m not sure how good the pictures that he got were… he still has to get them off of his camera.  In the meantime, here’s a really grainy one of Mike and me on the Aurora bridge and the very faint, very wispy start of a visible moon.  Not quite the caliber of the other pictures of the eclipse I’ve seen circulating around the internet, but I’m going with it.  ;)

The lunar eclipse... kind of

A weird wisp thing that is actually a moon to the right of my head

Here’s another pic… the dot in to the left is the moon; the dot to the right is an airplane.  Apparently my phone camera doesn’t have the resolution to tell the difference since they look pretty much the same.

The dot to the left is the moon

The dot in the center is the moon


The photo gallery here has much better Seattle moon pictures.  In fact they make mine look pretty terrible, so I’m not sure why I posted mine.  Hindsight, my friends, is 20/20.

This week has been pretty crazy at work for both Mike and me.  I am looking forward to a weekend in which we have nothing planned!  No gym events, no cleaning the floors since I just cleaned them last weekend… no nothing!  Well, actually some laundry.  And of course dishes.  And errands.  But aside from that stuff, nothing planned.  :)

We have some friends who are in Italy right now and they’re posting pictures of Venice on Facebook… it’s making me very nostalgic for Mike’s and my trip there!  I am really ready for one of those giant European vacations!  We’ll probably take a big trip next spring, and that can’t come quick enough for me!

In other mildly interesting news, I’m taking an intro krav maga class with two friends from work next week.  Actually it sounds weird to say ‘two friends’, because it’s basically a peer of mine, and then the director of our department.  So basically if I screw up crazily I get to do it in front of the director of my department.  :)  If you aren’t familiar with krav maga and aren’t motivated enough to click on the link above, it’s basically a form of self defense fighting developed for the Israeli military.  I’m not entirely sure how the class will go, but the studio where they teach it is on my bus route home, and I’ll try most things if they’re on my bus route and don’t inconvenience my commute too much.  :)

I have the feeling this Friday night will be a go-out-to-dinner kind of night for Mike and me.  After the crazy busyness of the week we won’t feel like cooking or even heating up leftovers.  And then maybe a movie or a few shows… something relaxing!  :)  Next week is also going to be busy for both of us, and then the week after I’m going to Houston for three days for a tech conference with a group of people from work.  Fun!

I wish everyone a wonderful rest-of-the-week!

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Filed under Cooking, CSA, Food, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Running, Seattle

The joy of a working washing machine

Last weekend was uneventful, but that is probably the most relaxing way it could have been.  Both Mike and I have had a couple of busy weeks at work.

Traffic was supposed to be crazy Tuesday thru Thursday of this week because the Chinese president was in Seattle.  I’m not entirely sure about all of the political things he’s doing while he’s here… I was more interested in what this was going to mean for my bus commute.  The metro website warned that riders should ‘expect very long delays’.  What is a very long delay?  I can deal with an hour… but could it be two?  Even more?  I rode the bus into work Tuesday morning with my running shoes on and the expectation that if I had any bus issues on the way back I would be running back instead of taking the bus.  I only work about five miles from home, and I knew that commute would be totally doable via running in under an hour regardless of what was happening with the roads.  My bus commute to work was extremely uneventful.  However, there were people who showed up at work who had had a pretty bad time.  Lots of bus re-routing and half hour commutes turning into hour and a half commutes.  It made me nervous about my trip home.  I had hoped to leave a little early but as it turned out I had meetings right up until the end of the day.  I headed out to the bus stop and was surprised to see that there were already a lot of buses coming.  That was good news and meant that apparently the buses were at least moving.  I hopped on one bus and realized there was almost no one on it.  Usually the buses coming home are packed!  The entire trip home actually took almost 10 minutes less than usual, and the bus and the roads continued to be fine.  I suspect that everyone heard how bad the delays were going to be and stayed home!  I thought Wednesday might be bad also and again brought my running shoes with me to work, but again, there were no issues and the bus seemed no slower or faster than usual.  Seattle clearly took all of the traffic warnings to heart and stayed well out of the traffic, thus ensuring that there was no traffic.

There is a definite chill to the air these days!  Last night after dinner Mike and I took a walk around the neighborhood and stopped in at a cozy brewery.  We are loving the fall weather!  On Sunday Mike and I participated in a 5k in our neighborhood, and it was a lot of fun!  A lot of people dressed up for the race (because in Seattle, really, why would you pass up any opportunity to put on a costume?), and it was just a fun community event.

Mike spent a lot of this weekend wiring things.  Lots of things, but mostly ethernet-related things.  This meant lots of trips to Home Depot.  On Saturday, we actually went to the Home Depot closest to us but they didn’t have the crimpers Mike was looking for, so we drove to a Lowe’s farther north, and they didn’t have what we were looking for.  Finally we went to a Home Depot even further north and found what Mike wanted.  Three home improvement stores in one day isn’t necessarily my idea of a fun, eventful Saturday, but Mike took me out for pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) on the way, and I’ll suffer through most things in the hope of getting pho…. it’s so steamy and warming… definitely one of my favorites!

On a very sad note, one day this week, Mike and I were in our home with the windows open, and we saw a fire truck go by with its siren on.  That’s not unusual since we live right around the corner from a fire station, but it was followed by two ambulances.  And then another fire truck.  And then yet another fire truck.  We counted five fire trucks go by!  “Are they doing a drill where it’s just one truck driving around the block?” Mike wondered.  We wandered out in the direction the fire trucks were heading… and there were helicopters in the sky overhead!  And the big highway right by our house, I-99 was blocked off!  Very soon, the news broke, and we found out exactly what had happened.  So tragic!  And it made national news… and happened literally a quarter mile from our house.  They diverted all of the traffic off of the bridge (which was pretty intense since that’s one of two north/south commuter highways), and diverted everyone to the street our home is on.  So all day the street in front of our house was a giant tangled mass of cars and honking horns.  I’m not sure if the bridge will re-open tomorrow morning, but Mike and I have planned alternate routes to work just in case.  So, so tragic!!  :(  My thoughts and prayers are with those involved in the crash and with the families of the victims.

I hate to end a blog post on such a somber note, so I’ll detail one more event from Mike’s and my life lately.

One interesting thing that happened over the weekend is that our washing machine stopped working.  For the couple of days leading up to the demise of the washing machine I noticed bits of foam in the clothes that came out of the washer.  I thought that was pretty weird, but Mike has some pretty weird stuff in his pockets at times, so I chalked it up to something like that.  And then on Sunday afternoon, the washing machine had a couple of glitches where we had to reset it to get it to work again.  And then, on Sunday night, it happened.  The washing machine died.  Right after the rinse cycle and before the spin cycle.  For those of you familiar with the inner workings of washing machines, what this meant was that the washing machine died still full of water.  And because this is the way life works, I had been washing two new pairs of jeans which apparently still had some color bleeding to do.  So our washer died full of a load of blue jeans and blue water.  I thought Mike might get stressed about it, because that was yet one more thing we had to figure out (no landlord this time to go running to!), but he took it all in stride.  We both looked at each other and shrugged.  First world problems, right?  I joked that we could just leave it broken and wash all our clothes in the sink.  After all, people lived for thousands of years without washing machines, right?  Right??  Yeah, I probably couldn’t do that.  I think my ancestors were tougher people than me.  And no running water and no indoor plumbing?  Count me out.  Clearly I’m not a pioneering type of person!  So Mike and I spent half an hour bailing water out of the washing machine with a soup ladle.  No, I’m really not joking.  I couldn’t make these things up if I tried.

Both Mike and I worked from home on Thursday so that we could be there when the guy came to fix the washing machine.  He examined the motor, and that was fine.  And the water pump, and that was fine.  And then, the interesting part started to happen.  A clog was discovered in the drain pipe for the washing machine.  Oooookay.  After an hour of working, he and Mike got the pipe unclogged and somehow also got water all over the bathroom floor (meaning that some heavy duty cleanup work would be in order when everything was said and done).  And there was a bunch of shredded foam in the pipe.  What in the world, right?  Apparently that’s where the little pieces of foam in the laundry were coming from.  But where was the foam originating?  The washing machine guy shook his head.  “I have no idea what that is,” he said.

Well, eventually part of the foam was pulled from the pipe intact.  And, my friends, it was the foam bra cup insert for a sports bra.  And there were a couple other foam inserts in there that were completely shredded and unrecognizable.  “Ah,” the washing machine guy said.  “I do know what that is.”  Yes, he did.  And, yes Mike did.  And, yes I did.

Well.  As far as embarrassing moments, this should have ranked pretty high on my scale.  We call out a washing machine repair man to dig through our clogged pipe and find five shredded sports bra inserts.  I resolutely pushed back any embarrassment though.  I mean, I do work out, don’t I?  And I should be able to wash my workout clothes in my own washer, right?  Apparently the bra pads were thin enough that they got out of the main enclosure and into the draining area.  The washing machine guy said finding those in the drain pipe was a first for him.  Yes, of course it was.  I’m pretty sure Murphy’s Law would demand that.  I wonder how many people he told about that after work.  That’s clearly an interesting on-the-job story!  Suffice it to say I’ll be hand-washing those foam inserts in the future!  So be fore-warned!  If you buy workout shirts with foam inserts, they do not play nice with front-loader washing machines!

And I think that’s the only useful piece of information I have to share today.  And now off to do laundry, since we have accumulated quite a bit in the past five days!  :)


Filed under Laundry, Life in Seattle, Seattle

Good races and bad directions

Here we are at the beginning of another week, and it is definitely a fall-feeling week in Seattle!

Our temperatures had started to gradually creep back up and late last week we were back with 80 degree sunny days.  Saturday was also a beautiful day, although a little bit colder.  Mike and I went to the birthday party of one of my friends from work.  It was really great to meet his family and his other friends.  And it was amazing to hang out with his two dogs… a 10 year old Great Pyrenees (which is literally the size of a small bear and the most relaxed, laidback, sweet, amazing dog) named Cleo, and a 16-week old Corgi puppy named Benito.  Seeing the two dogs playing together was just amazing.  Cleo is SO motherly towards little Benito.  It is so sweet to see how protective she is of him.  They are absolutely too cute for words!

Sunday morning I had a 10k race planned.  The weather forecast called for clouds, but 0% chance of rain.  I got up, got ready to go, and literally walked out the door when I realized there was a misty rain going on.  Ok, no big deal.  The name of this blog is rainy day runner, right?  Not like I was going to let a little rain deter me.  Nevertheless, I did go back inside and change from a short-sleeved shirt to a long-sleeved shirt, and I also put on a running hat.  It was designed to keep the sun out of the eyes more than the rain off of the head, but I decided it might be able to at least deter much of the rain.  I had a couple mile walk/jog to get to the start line of the race, and the rain continued just doing its misting thing.  I was perfectly happy with that and figured it would keep me cool while I ran.  At the start line I picked up my race packet which I had forgotten to pick up the previous day because of the birthday party, and I headed for the start line.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the T-shirt they gave me since I was of course already wearing a shirt.  I considered just not taking a shirt, but it was a really pretty aquamarine color so I kind of wanted it.  I ended up stuffing part of it in the back of my running pants and letting the rest hang out behind me.  I had seen lots of other runners do that before, so I figured it was valid even though it probably meant that I would look like I had a plume sailing out behind me as I ran and it might even be comparable to running 6 miles with a giant wedgie.  I figured I was about to find out.  I met a friend from work at the start line to say ‘hi’ since we were both running the race.  The interesting thing about this race compared to other races is that this was a women-only race.  It was a little weird lining up and only seeing women around me… a little weird, but kind of cool!  The race horn sounded and we were off!  The race had both a 5k component and a 10k component.  I was doing the 10k, which meant I would do two loops of the 5k.  The first 3/4 of a mile was PACKED!  In the future they should probably consider using corrals to group runners of like paces so that they can get the event off and moving faster, but it was still fun and kept me from starting out too fast.  I started my running playlist and zoned out and started to cruise on auto-pilot.  After 3/4 of a mile the crowd thinned out a lot!  The rain also started to get more intense.  By that point I was already pretty wet, so I didn’t really care except when there were slight hills because my sneakers slipped a little on the pavement.  I just kept running.  I had ‘live tracking’ turned on on my Garmin watch so that if Mike was awake he could track my progress.  After I passed mile 2, Mike texted me and said, “Hey you ran the last two miles at 8min/mile pace!  You’re running fast!”.  That was fast for me, so at that point I deliberately tried not to slow down.  I tried to keep track of my pace on the Garmin but by the time I reached mile 3 the rain was coming down hard enough that my Garmin screen was wet and hard to read, so I just kept going.  When I passed the halfway point and started around the loop for the second time, the crowd had thinned out a lot and I could basically run at whatever speed I wanted.  Which was definitely nice compared to the much more crowded races I’m typically in.  As I rounded the west side of the loop around the lake I realized I was almost done, and kicked it into high gear.  When I passed the 6 mile marker I realized I still had a lot of energy, so I started running even faster.  My final time when I crossed the finish line was 51:05 and my splits are below.

1.0 mi 08:08 min/mi 00:08:07
2.0 mi 08:03 min/mi 00:08:02
3.0 mi 07:59 min/mi 00:07:58
4.0 mi 07:58 min/mi 00:07:57
5.0 mi 08:02 min/mi 00:08:02
6.0 mi 07:59 min/mi 00:07:59
6.3 mi 07:37 min/mi 00:02:16

I do not usually run that fast!  In fact, that’s the fastest 10k I’ve done to date!  My next goal is going to be to break 50 minutes (even though that means knocking more than a minute off of my time.  Given how much energy I still had at the end of the race, I really could have been running faster.)  I called Mike and he generously came and picked me up with two big towels since by that point it was pretty much pouring rain.  After a shower, I felt much more like a human being and less like a ball of rain-soaked race clothing.  (Moisture-wicking clothing only wicks to a point… after that it starts absorbing!  There’s everyone’s fun fact for the day!)

I checked the final stats for the race, and there were 283 participants in the 10k, and I was the 22nd to cross the finish line!  Shocking!  Again, I’m not usually this fast.  Except that this summer, somehow I have been.  I’m loving it!  :)

Mike has been busy wiring ethernet through our house.  Well, I should clarify.  The ethernet was already in the walls, but wasn’t actually wired into the jacks… the phone cables were wired into the jacks instead.  Mike’s been taking out the phone wire (since we haven’t had land lines for over 10 years!) and is replacing them with ethernet.  That project alone has required three trips to Home Depot over the past week.  Sometimes I wonder if Mike mostly enjoys projects or mostly enjoys trips to Home Depot.  ;)

In other news, Mike and I went to the Bellevue Mall on Saturday afternoon.  It was ok.  The Bellevue Mall is frankly not my favorite mall.  The whole ambiance just isn’t my thing.  However, one thing that I did very carefully was note our parking spot when we went in the store.  We were in section R1.  The Bellevue Mall parking area is big enough that it’s easy to forget where you parked.  When we exited the mall, I headed toward the right.

“Whoa,” Mike said.  “Where are you going?”

“To our car.”

“Our car’s this way,” Mike said, pointing in the opposite direction.

“Nope,” I said, sure enough of myself to be emphatic.  “It’s this way.  I took careful note before we went in.”

Mike shrugged and followed me.  I led him proudly to the area where our car was.  Except that the sign said ‘A4’ instead of ‘R1’.  What in the world??  I paused and looked around, trying in vain to get my bearings and hoping that there was an ‘R1’ sign around somewhere close by.

“It’s not here, is it?” Mike said.  “It’s back the other way.”  Apparently so.  I could have sworn (and would have sworn up and down if asked) that I knew where our car was, but apparently not.  After following Mike’s lead, we found our car several minutes later, but I was still convinced that somehow the car had migrated to the opposite end of the parking garage by itself.  There was really no other explanation for the car having moved.  And the ‘R1’ sign was moved as well, I guess.

On Sunday afternoon Mike and I went to a store that sold coffeemakers.  My job was to get us directions there since it was 20 miles outside of Seattle.  I had the GPS on on my phone and traced our progress up the I-5 interstate.  Once we exited the freeway, Mike made a left onto the street at the end of the exit ramp.

“Wait!” I said.  “We have to turn around and go the other way on this street.”

“Really?” he asked.  “I thought it was west of the freeway.”

“It looks like we should have made a right based on the map,” I said.  Mike shrugged, found a place to turn around and a few minutes later we were heading down the street in the other direction.  We’d driven about a mile when I looked at our GPS dot and saw that it was moving in the opposite direction of the coffee store.

“Aaaahhh!  You’re going to hate me forever!!” I said to Mike.  Possibly a little dramatic, but I felt it was warranted given that this was my second navigation mistake in the same weekend.  “We actually need to go the other way after all.”

Mike rolled his eyes as he looked for a place to turn around on the busy street.  “All right, Karena,” he said.  “But it’s important that you understand that we only have six hours until the store closes.  We can’t just drive up and down this street all day.”  I meekly sat back against my seat and decided that it was just not my weekend for directions.

I hope everyone else had a great weekend!  Mike’s and my weeks are off to a busy start… lots of stuff going on at work for both of us!  But at least it makes the days fly by!  :)

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