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!

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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!  :)

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

Our first Christmas tree and our hungry cat

Friday morning by chance I ended up riding the bus downtown with a neighbor from the townhome next door.  We talked all the way, and she told me that the young couple renting one of the other townhomes in our complex got engaged over the weekend!  How exciting!  The neighbor I was talking with already guessed this was happening before she “officially” found out because she saw a trail of rose petals going down the stairs at the back of the town home complex and guessed that Dan was proposing.  Coincidentally, I also saw the trail of rose petals, but a romantic meaning never even remotely occurred to me.  I assumed someone had gotten a flowering shrub for their landscaping and it shed some petals as they carried it to the house.  That’s really sad, right?  I mean, that kind of puts me in the hopeless category.  It’s a good thing it would never even remotely occur to Mike to do anything like that for me, because it wouldn’t remotely occur to me what to do with it.  This is called ‘compatibility’.  ;)  I was feeling like I was about as hopeless as you could get short of being dead when I texted Mike the news.

I rode the bus into work with our neighbor.  Dan proposed, and now he and Amy are engaged!  :)”

A minute later Mike texted back.

I thought they were married.”

I texted back instantly, “What?  No!  They were dating.  They’re our neighbors a few doors down… Amy’s a med student doing residency.  Do you know who I’m talking about?”

“Yes.”

“Ok well they aren’t married, but now they’re engaged.  You kind of took the excitement out of that.”

Sorry.”

So I may be hopeless as far as romanticism goes, but at least I know the marital status of our neighbors.  Unlike some people.  ;)

Piper and I have been navigating the murky waters of subcutaneous fluid injections.  We’re semi-getting there.  Injecting a cat, especially one who now knows that it’s coming, isn’t typically very easy.  And surprise, surprise, Piper has discovered that she doesn’t like getting a shot in the neck and having to sit still for seven minutes while I inject fluids into her.  But we’ll see how things go over the next couple weeks.

The skies in Seattle have been pouring rain the past several days!  It doesn’t exactly feel wintry, but it definitely feels Christmasy.  I guess we’ve been in Seattle a long time when “Christmasy” means super short days and lots of rain.

Mike and I had originally decided not to get a full-size Christmas tree this year.  Big trees are expensive and we didn’t have enough ornaments to really fill out a big tree.  But then at the last minute we saw that a lot of Christmas stuff was already 50% off at the mall.  Apparently most people get their trees right after Thanksgiving and by December 3rd, Christmas trees are already dead weight and a liability in stores.  Wow.  This was the first weekend we really even considered.That made the whole thing a lot more affordable so we decided to get a tree and some ornaments.  Because of the big Christmas sales, we actually had to drive to two Home Depots and one Lowe’s before we found the artificial tree we wanted (we knew we wanted slim, but tall).  Getting the ornaments turned out to be equally difficult.  Macy’s had a Christmas store where everything was half off at the mall, but somehow we had a difficult time getting to the mall.  We originally passed the freeway exit for it and then tried to go up a couple exits and turn around but somehow ended up going south on I-405 instead of I-5.  Oops.  I’m blaming it on the darkness, the rain, and the fact that we were talking a mile a minute.  When we finally ended up on I-5 south, we still had a couple minor wrong turns before we finally ended up at the mall.  But when we got there it was worth it to get a few more ornaments to round out our tree.

When we got home, Mike took the tree out of the box and assembled it.  Then he stood back, looked at it, and frowned.

“It doesn’t look very full.  It actually looks really scraggly.  Is that just an artificial tree thing?”

“No, no.”  I took over the work from him.  “You have to fluff out all the branches on artificial trees.  They get all squished in the box so we have to make it full again.”

I did a bunch of tree fluffing work and then started on the actual tree decoration while Mike worked on the Christmas tree timer (so that the lights would turn themselves on and off without our interference).  When we finished, we were really glad we decided to put up the tree.

Piper seems to enjoy the lights.  (And the jingle bell ornaments we put on the tree.)

Piper seems to enjoy the lights. (And the jingle bell ornaments we put on the tree.)

Mike started showering midway through my tree branch fluffing efforts, so he didn’t see the incremental progress.  When he came up the stairs after his shower, he stared at the tree in awe.

“The tree looks beautiful!!” he said.  “Good job!”

I can’t actually remember the last time he used beautiful in the same sentence as, oh, say, me.  Or other women.  Or even a car.  But oh well.  ;)  How am I supposed to compete with a lighted, decorated 7-foot tall plastic tree?  I can’t actually complain, though, since I totally agreed that the tree looked beautiful.  ;)

Beautiful!

Beautiful!  Yes, that’s the right word.

It definitely made our house so much more festive!  And we realized that this is the first full-size tree we’ve ever gotten by ourselves (i.e. not counting the trees at our parents’ houses that we enjoyed and helped with but weren’t directly responsible for).  Score for one more of those adult things checked off of the list.  This has been a very mature year for me… making my first lattice crust apple pie and getting and decorating my first full-size tree.  Oh, yeah, and I guess the house purchase qualifies too.  Clearly a busy year!

In other news, I bought a pack of six stacks of disposable paper plates to give Piper her food on.  I thought they would last me forever, but the other day I reached into the cupboard and realized that I was completely out.  How did that happen?  Weird.  I had to give Piper her food in some weird colored paper bowls that I had from a long time back.  Piper looked at me like I was a little crazy.  Don’t you know these aren’t the right plates for dinner??  But fortunately for me, Piper deigned to eat off of the incorrect plates anyway.

Mike and I watched the first episode of the show ‘Veep’.  Has anyone else seen the show?  I thought it was hilarious!  I’m looking forward to watching the remaining episodes.  I literally laughed out loud multiple times during the show.  :)

This evening we’re relaxing before what we expect to be a very busy couple of weeks, especially for Mike.

Relaxing in front of the Christmas tree

Mike and Piper relaxing in front of the Christmas tree

 

In other completely bizarre news, Piper hasn’t been feeling super well these days, but her appetite is starting to come back and she is ALL ABOUT Mike’s and my food.  I mean, she eats her food as well, but she has started to beg for Mike’s and my food which she has never done before!  I don’t know why this is, but I have a theory.  Two weeks ago Mike gave her a few pieces of the popcorn he was eating, and she’s pretty much been unstoppable with begging for our food since then.  It is bizarre!  I keep telling her ‘no!’ and directing her to her food dish, but she keeps sneaking up behind us (especially Mike) while we are eating and wiggling her head under our arm to get towards our food.

Ninja cat ready to sneak some chicken stew!  (The expectation on her face is priceless!)  :)

Ninja cat ready to sneak some chicken stew! (The expression on her face is priceless… STEW!!  JACKPOT!!)

 

I hope everyone’s holiday season is off to a wonderful start!  :)

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Christmas, Holidays, Pictures, Rain, Seattle, Weather, Winter

Thankful things and the pie-making process

Mike and I had a great Thanksgiving and were especially grateful for the long weekend following it!

All right.  Here we go on things I’m thankful for, in no particular order (I know some people try to make these lists in priority order or in alphabetical order or whatever, but I am really not up to that level of organization.  I actually feel pretty good about just making the list at all.  ;)

Piper: As I mentioned in the last post, she’s been a sick little cat recently, which has definitely made me more affectionate and appreciative of her.  I’m also probably spoiling her a bunch now too.  *sigh*  Oh, well.  I like to think she deserves it.  ;)  She’s very intuitive, affectionate when the occasion calls for it, annoyed and short-tempered when the occasion calls for it, and 100% honest about her feelings always.

Mike: Seriously, this guy is it.  He’s smart, philosophical, open-minded, honest to an absolute fault, funny, cute, very kind to all animals, thoughtful, musical, and very handy with everything mechanical and electrical.

Family: Obviously we don’t see family very often because we’re so far away, but it’s always a blessing to know that both Mike’s and my families are supportive and always available!

CSA Produce: Seriously, every year I do this CSA produce thing, I get better at it.  This year I wasn’t stumped with any of the ingredients I got and I felt like I was much less wasteful in previous years.  And it was always so refreshing to get a fresh load of produce every week.  It kept me cooking all summer long!  The CSA just ended last week, and I’m not really sure how to stay on the cooking wagon now.  Hopefully my new cookbooks will help!

New Cookbooks: I went to an author book-signing event at a cookbook store a few blocks from our house, and that was so inspiring!  I bought that cook’s cookbook and then I also bought a vegan cookbook that I am loving!  Since cooking and eating end up being every day occurrences, anything that gets me more excited about cooking is a good thing!

A New House: This time last year Mike and I were still renting and, as nice as that was, it’s nicer to have our own space that we actually own.  We are also thankful to have found a place in a neighborhood that’s really difficult to buy in.

Friends: It feels like a lot of the time that Mike and I have put in getting to know people over our five years in Seattle has really paid off in terms of a lot of good friends.  Most weekends we’re getting together with one friend or another, and we feel very grateful for that network of people to socialize with!

Jobs: Mike and I both currently have jobs that we feel satisfaction in, and we both work in pretty good teams and get along well with our coworkers.

God: I have been blessed in many ways and feel like God continues to lead Mike and me in our paths in this strange place called Earth in this strange thing called life.  I feel very fortunate in that!

Cute Dogs: It literally makes my day every time I see a cute dog.  The other day Mike and I were in a sock store (yes, the whole store is actually dedicated to selling socks… it’s really the best store ever), and I saw a guy there with two keeshonds.  I had to say ‘hi’ of course, and he even let me take a picture of them.  So sweet!  So cute!  I love dogs!  And cats.  And most other animals really.

Pot Racks: Mike put up a pot/pan rack in the kitchen shortly after we moved in, and it is the BEST!  I’ve never had one before, but now when I want a pot or a pan I literally just reach over to the rack and pull off the one I want… no more digging through cupboards trying to find the right pan which might be under five other pans.  Revolutionary to cooking, for sure!

Learning: Both Mike and I have been learning a lot at our new jobs this year, and that’s awesome.  That was really what we both switched jobs hoping to accomplish, so it’s wonderful to see that playing out.

Lots of things to be thankful for in 2015!

And now let’s talk about other things.  Specifically pie-baking kinds of things.  I actually made a pie for the Thanksgiving potluck at our neighbors, but I feel like, as with so many things I do, it was an adventure.

Let’s start with the basics.  My first thought was that I would make my Grandma’s apple pie.  Aside from being amazing, there’s something cool about bringing a third-generation recipe apple pie to a potluck, right?  I emailed my mom over the weekend asking for the recipe and I received this email back:

I’d be happy to send you Grandma’s apple pie recipe, except that she never used a recipe.  I can tell you about how I make mine, based on what she did, though.  (I don’t really have a recipe, either.  :) )

This is the problem with coming from a long line of excellent bakers.  No one has a recipe.  Recipes are for people who don’t know what they’re doing (like me).  My mom proceeded to give me some basic instructions which may or may not have included such phrases as “1/4 cup of flour (about, depending on how juicy the apples are….more or less)” and “a generous amount of cinnamon”.  Unfortunately those measurements mean nothing to me.  If there’s not a ‘generous’ scoop I can fill up and dump in the pie, it’s really a no-go from my perspective.  And what exactly is or isn’t a ‘juicy’ apple?  Aren’t they all kind of juicy?  Plus, my mom and grandma’s “recipe” has a top crust, which I was a little unsure about.  Bottom crusts are easier because if they crumble, worst case you can just mash them onto the bottom of the pie plate.  Top crusts actually have to stay together enough to place them across the entire top of the pie.  So I turned to the internet and found a recipe for an apple crumble pie.  I was a little iffy on it because it called for using canola oil instead of shortening or butter, but what do I know?  Maybe everyone was using canola oil these days and butter was so twentieth century.  On Tuesday I went to the grocery store and got all the ingredients for the apple crumble pie.  I was feeling pretty good about things until I talked to a friend at work who’s a great baker and who was coincidentally also making a pie for Thanksgiving.

“You’ll be fine,” he assured me.  “As long as you chill the shortening or butter before you roll up the pie crust you can’t go wrong.”  So… he and my mom both use shortening for pie crusts.  Maybe no one does use canola oil and I just had some weird rogue allrecipes.com recipe.  By the time I got home I had decided I couldn’t possibly make a pie using canola oil.  Fortunately, allrecipes.com, as if knowing my plight, sent me a ‘Thanksgiving recipes’ email that included a highly rated 4.5 star caramel apple pie.

Done.  I headed out to the store again and got the ingredients for the new pie (which included butter so I immediately felt better).  I also, fortunately remembered that I didn’t have a pie tin, so I got one of those while I was there as well.  I wasn’t sure whether or not I had a pastry cutter either, but they didn’t have any of those at the grocery store so I figured I’d make do with what I had.  After I got home I dug out my rolling pin (that I don’t think I have used in the past, oh, ten or so years) and looked for a pastry cutter.  As it turned out,  I didn’t have a pastry cutter.  I had something that looked kind of, sort of similar, but it was a microplaner for cutting herbs.  If you were ever wondering if you can replace a pastry cutter with a microplaner, you can’t.  I tried.  Enough said.

My first act towards actually making the pie crust was spilling flour on the floor.  Not a very propitious beginning, but oh well.  At this point I was committed.  I cut up my chilled butter as small as seemed reasonable and mixed up the pie crust.  It was a kind of long process.  I belatedly realized that the recipe I was using suggested pulsing the dough using a food processor (which I don’t have) so I had to make do with a fork.  When I added all the chilled liquid to the dry dough, I stared at the pathetically small pile of liquid in disbelief as I started attacking it with a fork to mix it in.  Well, that wasn’t working.  It vaguely reminded me of meatloaf.  There never seems to be enough liquid in the meatloaf either until I start mixing it with my hands.  Well, that gave me an idea and ten minutes I had a good pile of well-mixed dough and very buttery hands.  I put the dough in the fridge to chill for the day with a feeling of satisfaction.  I was going to let it chill all day and then make the pie in the evening.

That evening I realized I had made a generic pie crust recipe, which included the crust for both the top and the bottom.  I actually figured that was ok.  That way I had a ‘back-up’ crust.  If I screwed up the first one I had another set of dough on deck.  I chopped the dough in half with a knife and then took the larger of the two halves for my bottom crust.  I attacked it with the rolling pin.  And realized that it was WAY too hard to roll out!  How do people do this?  I had to basically mash the mound down into a flatter pancake before I could even start rolling it out.  Maybe it was because I chilled it all day?  However, (surprisingly?) I got something that looked remarkably like a bottom pie crust after awhile.  I had totally watched my mom often enough to know to fold the crust in half, and then lift it up over the pie plate and then unfold it and tuck it around.  Things were going really well.  Too well, really.  I was suddenly filled with doubt.  Was my crust too thick?  Is that why it rolled out without cracking or crumbling?  Because it was too thick?  Well, too late to do anything about it now.

A pie crust!  Well, the bottom part at least...

A pie crust! Well, the bottom part at least…

Now was the time to make the ‘caramely’ stuff to pour over the apples in the pie.  Basically sugar and butter melted with a little cinnamon.  I got that started on the stove.

Now was the time to peel, core, and slice a bunch of apples.  So somehow I was really fast at peeling, coring, and slicing apples, and it felt like second nature.  Have I done this before??  I always eat apples whole and never peel them, so I’m not sure how I would know how to do this… but regardless, that part went fast.  Then I went back to my recipe.  My original plan had been to make a crumble top even though the allrecipes recipe I was using called for a lattice top.  The way I figured it, from a risk perspective, crumble tops are low risk, full pie crust tops are medium risk, and lattice tops are high risk.  However I did have a hunk of dough left over for another pie crust, and rolling out the bottom pie crust hadn’t been too bad.  What the heck.  I grabbed my floury rolling pin again, accidentally dumping a fresh cup of flour on the floor.  *Sigh* Oh well.  Time to clean up the floor and then try the top pie crust.  Halfway through rolling out the top pie crust I just decided to make it a lattice top.  Why not live a little dangerously right?

In progress...

Who needs a pasty cutter when you’ve got a PIZZA CUTTER?  That thing cut through the dough like it was butter.  Actually the crust is almost entirely made out of butter so that is a really accurate simile.

 

Yeah, strips aren't so bad

Yeah, strips aren’t so bad

 

Now the caramel-y stuff on top.  I spilled one drop of caramel topping.  Sure beats the whole cup of flour I spilled.

Now the caramel-y stuff on top. I spilled one drop of caramel topping. It sure beat the whole cup of flour I spilled.  Clearly my kitchen skills were improving towards the end.

 

Ta-da!  A pie.  Because no one has probably ever seen one before and will be super excited about this picture

Ta-da! A finished pie. Because probably no one has ever seen one and will be super excited about this picture

 

Surprisingly, the pie crust itself turned out great!  The part that didn’t turn out as great was the pie filling.  It tasted good but was too runny.  Probably my apples were too juicy or something.  Clearly I don’t have this pie thing fully figured out yet!

Thanksgiving Day was fun!  Saturday morning I prepped the brussels sprouts with the shallot and balsamic sauce I was putting over them.  Then I headed to the yoga studio where I’m now a sub teacher, because they had a bunch of their teachers participating in their special Thanksgiving Day gratitude class, and I helped perform adjustments during the class.  It was a great class!  Full of energy and full of people!  I also got to meet most of the other instructors there, which was great.  Then I got back, got cleaned up, roasted the brussels sprouts, and headed over to our neighbors’ house.  They had quite a few people over so it made for a good group.  Everyone brought good food, and I overate the cranberry sauce because it was sooo good!  But then regretted it for the next day and a half since my stomach really can’t take as much sugar as I’m sure was in there.  Fortunately my stomach felt pretty good in time for teaching yoga on Sunday morning, and that was the main thing I cared about.  After all the bustle leading up to Thanksgiving, Mike and I were both happy to just enjoy a relaxing, laid-back rest of our weekend.  Although we just started watching Man in the High Castle, a new Amazon prime show, and it is WAY intense.  We watched several episodes of that, so I guess we technically didn’t have the most relaxing possible weekend, but it was intense in a good way.  :)

I feel like I’ve already talked a lot, so I’ll save some things to say for my next blog post, but I’ll leave you with two of the best things I saw this week… super cute-animal related, so if you can’t stand looking at cute animals you should probably skip the links.  ;)  Happy Thanksgiving!

Adorable parent/baby animal pictures

Kitten meets a bunny – And why is that bunny shuffling instead of hopping?  He looks absolutely adorable, but I thought bunnies hopped??

P.S. I went through all the pictures on my phone and apparently I have no pictures of Mike or me over Thanksgiving.  Apparently my picture-taking priorities were as follows:

  1. Pie-making process
  2. Everything else

And I guess I never got as far as ‘everything else’.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took significantly more pictures of friends and loved ones than I did!

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, CSA, Food, Life in Seattle, Seattle, Thankful Things Thursday, Thanksgiving, Winter, Yoga

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 (ohsheglows.com), 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