Christmas roses & a relaxing week

Merry (belated) Christmas to everyone!  Mike, Piper, and I spent Christmas morning listening to the Trans-Siberian orchestra on Spotify (check it out if you haven’t… you can download it and listen for free to tons and tons of songs and even create your own save your own playlists of songs.  Very cool.)  It was fun… I hadn’t listened to them in a long time.

On Christmas Eve Eve (i.e. Monday) I came bundling through the apartment door after work.   I was weighed down by my laptop backpack, two bags of groceries, and the mail from our mailbox.  I maneuvered my way through the door in time to hear a thunk from the kitchen followed by Mike’s voice.

“Oh.  You weren’t supposed to be home yet.”

I paused.  That often meant there was a mess that was supposed to be cleaned up by the time I got home.  “I can go back downstairs and pick up a package we have in the front office.  And I can take my time.  You want me to do that?”

There was a pause.

“No.  Things are kind of out-of-control anyway.”

Uh oh.  The last time I heard that I found a basketball-sized set of suds on the living room floor from Mike’s attempt to clean up Piper’s hairball.  Trust me, it took much longer to clean up all those suds than Piper’s original mini hairball.

“What happened?”

Another pause.  “Well, it’s a long story.”

Another mental ‘uh oh’.  The longer the story, the worse the mess.  Typically.

“You don’t want me to go downstairs and come back later?”

“No.  I might need your help.”

I worked my way around the grocery bags.  Yes, it was probably bad, but the suspense was worse than not knowing at all.  When I turned the corner into the kitchen I saw a vase of a dozen lovely red roses.  I also saw stem and leaf trimmings, red petals, and white powder all over the kitchen floor.

“Careful,” Mike warned.  “The stems probably have thorns.  You weren’t supposed to come home until I had all this cleaned up.”

“Aw, you bought flowers,” I said, focusing on the important fact and ignoring the mess on the kitchen floor.

“Yes, but I made a mess,” Mike said, trying to pick his way through the thorny stems pieces on the floor.  “I was trying to cut them all so they’d fit in the vase.  I also think I spilled that white powder that’s supposed to give the flowers nutrients.  So that’s around somewhere too.  On the floor, but mostly on the counter.”

I smiled, again focusing on the important part.  “You bought flowers.”

Mike paused, registering what I was saying.  “You’re not mad?”

“Well, this is a crazy mess, but I have a policy against being mad at guys who buy me flowers.  Tell you what, you go pick up our package from the office and I’ll clean this up.”

This was a SLOW week at work for me.  Most people took the week off, so it was very quiet.  In a way I loved it… there were almost no distractions.  On the other hand, it was so quiet it was enough to make you sleepy.  Particularly if you were up late the previous night watching Poirot.  Which Mike and I may have done multiple nights.

In other news, Mike and I officially have two days of P90X left.  In a way it’s crazy that it’s over already, but in another way it feels like we’ve been doing it forever.  To get myself back into the swing of running I went for a seven mile run on Christmas day.  That clearly was not a wise idea.  I may be able to do 5 unaided pullups, but I haven’t run more than three miles in a couple of months and that 7 miles was painful.  Not nearly as painful as it was the following day, though, when my hamstrings were tight enough that sky-high heels were actually more comfortable than flats.  🙂  My calves are still sore today, but they feel much better than they did on the 26th.  It looks like I should ramp up on my running a little more slowly.  🙂  With P90X over, both Mike and I are weighing our options for our next fitness endeavors.  I’m leaning towards trying to set a personal record for a half marathon in the spring and doing yoga more regularly, and Mike is leaning towards continuing with P90X but cutting back the number of days each week he does it and focusing more on the cardio DVDs (probably a wise move since at this point if he keeps lifting weights and his biceps get much bigger his polo shirts won’t fit anymore).

Last weekend Mike suggested that we go to brunch at a restaurant by the Puget Sound up in Everett and asked me what I thought about it.

“Sure.”

“Does ‘sure’ mean you really want to go or just that you’re compatible with going?”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t think about it that much.  Can’t ‘sure’ just mean ‘sure’?

Mike contemplated me for a moment.  “You know that in my entire life women never say what they actually want?  They always just say ‘sure’ and that they are ‘fine’ with things.  That’s true with all the women I’ve ever known.  Why is that?”

I paused, feeling the weight of explaining the apparently universal behavior of my entire gender on my shoulders.  “Well, I think it’s because we’re helpful and friendly and willing to participate in most things,” I said, coming up with something that sounded remarkably complimentary given how quickly I’d had to come up with it.

Mike raised his eyebrows.  “I think it’s so that they can reserve the right to complain about it later if things don’t go the way they want.”

I opened my mouth to refute that but wasn’t entirely sure there wasn’t at least a grain of truth in it, so I closed my mouth again.

Regardless, we had a good time at the restaurant in Everett and no complaining was done.  It was right on Puget Sound, and it was a grey, rainy day (not unlike most of our winter days), so we could look out the window and enjoy the beautiful grey view.  There was one lone sea gull circling the area.

I got a picture of Mike with a bunch of the sailboats behind him.

At the restaurant in Everett

At the restaurant in Everett

On Christmas Eve we decided to drive to the University Village mall just to relax and enjoy ourselves.  It was fun walking around and feeling no Christmas stress since we had already done the light Christmas shopping we were going to do.  Everyone seemed to be in a pretty good mood despite the grey rainy weather because of the Christmas lights, Christmas excitement, and of course the Christmas sales.  😉  Mike and I ended up stopping at Boom Noodle, one of our favorite restaurants currently, for drinks after we’d wandered around for awhile.

In other news, I haven’t discussed cooking in awhile!  This morning I made banana bread.  Mike looked happy when he found out it was in the oven and told me that was his reward for not eating all the bananas.  I think he secretly plans it so that he eats just enough bananas so that there are enough left to go bad and get made into banana bread.  🙂  Two nights ago I Sausage Cavatappi, which sounds much fancier than it actually is.  It’s basically pasta with sausage, onions, and peppers.  Pretty standard, actually.  Mike liked it, but he didn’t love it.  He loved the sloppy joes I made a week ago, though and was disappointed when he’d eaten up all the leftovers.  He is definitely a meat kind of guy.

One thing I have discovered is that cracking eggs without making a mess is easy, even trivial, if you don’t think about it.  Once you start thinking about it and picturing the mess you could make, though, it becomes almost impossible to crack them cleanly and you wind up with egg white and bits of broken shell all over your fingers.  Am I the only one who experiences this?

On Christmas Day Mike and I went over to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner.  She had all three of her kids there, plus their significant others, her mother, and a smattering of other friends, so it was a full house.  We also discovered once we got there that her oven had broken and she had prepared the entire dinner (minus what other people had brought) on her stovetop and her grill!  What an inventive woman!  I feel like if my oven broke I’d call everyone and suggest take-out.  Everything turned out great, though, and it was a very fun relaxing time.  At her request I brought roasted squash, which I discovered requires more finesse to make than regular baked squash since it involves cutting the squash into cubes prior to cooking it while the squash is still very hard.  This site was invaluable in directing me through the process of peeling and cubing the squash.  Then I tossed the cubes with olive oil and rosemary (from our rosemary tree on the roof which is still thriving) and roasted it all at 450 degrees.  It turned out well, although I think it was a little mushy and I should have taken it out of the oven sooner.  450 degrees gets things cooked pretty quickly.  Mike got a picture of the city skyline from the roof when he went up to get the rosemary.

Seattle skyline

Seattle skyline

I was planning to post some pictures of our apartment today, but Mike wants to get them taken using his nice camera, so they will have to wait for the next post.

Merry Christmas everyone, and Happy soon-to-be 2014!  🙂

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1 Comment

Filed under Baking, Christmas, Cooking, Food, Friends, Hercule Poirot, Holidays, P90X, Rain, Running, Weather, Winter

One response to “Christmas roses & a relaxing week

  1. Lia K

    I’ve never heard of Spotify–I’ll have to sign up! I’ve been listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra like crazy this winter. I play their stuff through Pandora and have discovered other great artists that way.
    Nice pic of Mike! He looks like a guy who’s familiar with the ways of the sea.;)
    Yes, I have the same trouble with cracking eggs if I over think it. Being a perfectionist, I’ve found this to be true with other things as well. Sometimes you just have to dive in!
    Peeling and cubing squash raw, especially butternut, can be terribly frustrating the first few times. I make a polenta squash gratin that requires a similar technique. I made the mistake of using a very, very dull carrot/vegetable peeler. It took a really l-o-n-g time! I’ve since discovered Costco sometimes sells them already cubed…If you’re in a hurry or feeling lazy.;)

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