Category Archives: Friends

Interviewing and a Ragnar relay

It was amazing having a week off of work while my friend Lia was here, but my life got back to being crazy right after she left.  As mentioned in the last blog post, I was interviewing for jobs lightly in June, and it become more intense towards the end of June.  Typically with tech interviews the first couple of interviews are phone interviews which are relatively easy to work around your schedule, although they require some prep.  Then if you make it through those, you start getting full day interviews scheduled, and those require a lot more prep and are a lot harder to work around your schedule.  So I had a one-day interview the day before Lia flew in (see previous blog post), and I had another one the week after Lia left, and those were the two primary jobs I was considering.

The interview before Lia came went well, but it honestly didn’t feel like the right fit for me.  The work was all work that I already know how to do (and have been doing) for the past couple of years.  It honestly didn’t really feel worth it to me to change jobs just so I could keep doing the same thing… I really wanted some opportunities to grow and do something totally different.  The job that I was interviewing for a week later at Sonos seemed much more in line with my goal to learn and grow.  The “gotcha” there is that it of course meant that I wasn’t uber qualified for the job.  Oh, and the second “gotcha” is that most of the team was located in the Boston Sonos office rather than the Seattle Sonos office.  So a few *slight* roadblocks.  However, the first two phone interviews went really well, so I found myself with a full day interview scheduled in Boston.  I flew out on Sunday afternoon and got to Boston around 6pm.  Ideally enough time to get to bed early and adjust to the time difference since Boston was a three hour time difference from Seattle.  I interviewed all day on Monday, and then flew back to Seattle on Tuesday at 7am (4am Seattle time!).

The interview itself felt like it went really well.  I got good vibes from everyone on the team, as well as the hiring manager, and the other people on the interview loop.  Of course, I didn’t have much domain knowledge for the job (embedded software team lead), but I was very up front about that before the Boston trip, so everyone was on the same page as far as my knowledge went.

After the interview, the hiring manager invited me to dinner with himself and a few other managers.. super nice of him!  I was honestly exhausted after the trip and the day of interviewing, but it seemed like a good sign that I got a dinner invite and I wanted to spend more time getting to know the people at Sonos.  We went to a tapas place with an outdoor patio and sat outdoors during dinner… the weather was just perfect!  After dinner, I went back to the hotel and decided that I REALLY needed a run to wind down and calm my adrenaline-filled day.

The St. Charles River that runs through Boston is just gorgeous!

So pretty! And calming!

So pretty! And calming!

 

The sun set while I was running, and it was just so peaceful.

Lovely

Lovely

And then of course there was the 4am alarm the next morning (1 am Seattle time!) so I could catch my 7am flight.  Kind of an exhausting trip, but such a great interview experience!

Long story short, I got a job offer, accepted it, and started at Sonos on Monday (7/31).  Super excited to be there, and I’m already learning so much!  Ready for the journey!  🙂

So… what else has been going on?

Well, two weeks after the interview, I had a big team relay race (Ragnar Northwest Passage) that I had signed up for back in December.  Basically, a team of 12 people split up into two vans run a 200 mile relay race over 1-2 days.  I honestly was feeling like I already had so much going on that I wasn’t sure about doing the race, but I had already signed up and it definitely wouldn’t have been fair to bail on my 11 other team members.  So I went into it with the goal just to get through it.  And of course, as is the way with many things in life, I had such an amazing time!!  I’ll detail how it all went.  I apologize in advance if you have no interest in running.  But for what it’s worth, Ragnar isn’t a normal race, and you may read this and decide that you want to run one too.  🙂

I was in Van 2, which meant that the six runners in Van 1 started running the relay first.  The race started up by the Canadian border around 10am, and the six of them had to cycle through their legs before my van started.  Our van met them about thirty miles south of the initial starting point at the start of Leg 7.  We arrived there in plenty of time to pick up our Ragnar shirts, decorate our van windows (which seemed to be an exceedingly popular thing to do) and “tag” other teams’ vans with our team’s magnets (another exceedingly popular thing to do).  I also learned that you mark the numbers of people that members of your van pass on the van as well, so you can keep track.  It’s all in fun though… everyone who passed me was really nice and encouraging to me, and I did the same when I passed others.  And then around 2:30pm, we got word via text message from Van 1 that they were close to the exchange point.   So our first runner, Alex, queued up at the exchange point, ready to grab the baton and start running.  The first exchange point was really busy… lots and lots of teams waiting for their first set of runners coming in.  When the sixth runner from our first van streaked up, Alex grabbed the baton and took off, and then Van 1 got a break for several hours while our van of 6 people cycled through their legs.  The members of Van 2 piled into our van and started off to the exchange point between Alex (runner 7) and Anna (runner 8).  It was HOT.  And most of the roads weren’t shaded.  A couple of us in the van checked the weather and saw that my leg (9) and Drake’s leg (10) were going to be the two legs during the hottest part of the day.  And I really wasn’t trained for this with all the interviewing prep I’d been doing.  Ugh.  Oh well.  Time to put my running shoes on, pull a Nike, and “Just Do It”.  Alex handed off to Anna, and we piled back into the van and drove to the next exchange point.  I had time to do a few stretches and use the porta potty before we saw Anna coming down the road.  The sun was very hot on my head.  This was going to be rough.  I grabbed the baton and started off.

Starting the first leg after taking the handoff from Anna

Starting the first leg after taking the handoff from Anna

My first leg was 6.6 miles, which isn’t a ton but felt like a lot in the hot sun.  I hadn’t brought a water bottle with me, because it wasn’t hot in Seattle, so I didn’t realize how hot the race was going to be.  Fortunately one of the other runners (Ken, who really ended up being our hero) lent me his.  The van passed me around mile 3, and they offered to give me water, but I shook my head.  I had made my legs find a groove and didn’t want to risk stopping.  Plus I had the water bottle that I was carrying with me.  After what seemed like a really long time, I finally saw the “1 mile left” marker by the road and picked up my speed a little (even though Anna had warned me that sometimes those “1 mile left” signs were a little inaccurately placed).  A mile later, I approached the hand-off, gave the baton to Drake (who was already sweating just standing in the hot sun), and then he took off.

Checking off my first leg on the van window

Checking off my first leg on the van window

I was left standing there with my other van members literally dripping sweat.  My average pace was 7:54min/mile.  Fortunately we had tons of baby wipes in the car.  Most of the runners in our van were veteran Ragnar relay runners who knew the value of baby wipes in the absence of a hot shower.  I wiped off as best I could, and we headed for the next exchange point.  Nick started stretching.  His leg was fairly short, so he wanted to run it fast.  Drake came in hot and breathing hard and handed off to Nick.  Back in the van, we were already starting to plan.  Anna’s achilles had been bothering her a lot in the few weeks prior to the race, and it was really hurting after her first leg, so we were trying to figure out a way to minimize her running by trading legs.  My next leg was 2.2 miles, and hers was 5.5 miles, so she and I decided to swap.  And Ken, our 12th and final runner, who is a running monster, said he’d take her third leg in addition to his own (which meant he was running four legs instead of the three everyone else was running).

Nick came in fast, and Ken took off fast (they’re both 7 – 7:20 min/mile runners).  When we picked Ken up after his leg, we had about four hours off while Van 1 took over for the next six legs.  We found our way to a grocery store that had a buffet in the deli area and we all got some dinner.  I didn’t want to eat anything that might upset my stomach since I knew we’d be doing our night runs next, and night running definitely wasn’t something my body was used to.  After eating, we drove to the exchange point where we’d pick up from the Van 1 runners.

Driving to the next exchange point in the fading light... the number of people we passed marked on the van window

Driving to the next exchange point in the fading light… the number of people we all passed while running aggregated and marked on the van window

A bunch of vans were already there and many runners had sleeping bags laid out on the grass to try to catch a few hours of sleep.  Unfortunately there was a giant Ragnar party going on at one of the houses across the street from the exchange point, and they were blasting loud music and had a lights show going on, even though it was already 10pm, and the sun was setting.  The six of us went to a grassy area and foam rolled out our muscles to keep them from getting stiff before we started our second legs.

Waiting for our night runs

Waiting for our night runs… Drake out cold

Drake wrapped himself in a sleeping bag and enviably fell asleep immediately.  The rest of us just foam rolled and talked as it got darker and darker.  Around 11pm we got word that the Van 1 runners were just about done, so Alex got ready to go and got to the exchange point.  There were still quite a few runners around us, but definitely not as many as there were the first time we exchanged between Van 1 and Van 2.  Our team was surprisingly fast (certainly not the fastest, but faster than we had expected to be) and had started putting some distance between us and other teams.  Alex took off, and I (taking over for Anna) would be going next.  I had originally been dreading the night leg, but after the super hot sunny weather earlier, I was actually very excited to run in the cool darkness.  With the sun down, it was 55 degree running weather… completely perfect!  And my night leg would be along the shore of a lake, over the lake on a mile-long boardwalk, and then along the other side of the lake to the hand-off point.  I was definitely shivery as I waited for Alex to show up at the exchange point.  Running in 55 degree weather is perfect, but just standing there waiting isn’t quite as perfect.  Finally I saw Alex’s swinging hand lamp (almost everyone else had headlamps, so Alex was easy to spot) coming down the road.  He was running fast and almost missed seeing me until I yelled his name.  And then I was off!  The van wasn’t able to stop to give me any water or anything on this leg because it was on trails by the water (and on the boardwalk bridge over the water), so there wasn’t any access for cars.  But I didn’t need water.  I didn’t need anything.  The weather was cool, there was no hot sun beating down on my head, and I felt like I was flying!  When I hit the mile-long boardwalk, I completely zoned out and just focused on the rhythmic thud-thud-thud of my footsteps on the boards, and I came off of the boardwalk at a dead run.  Half a mile more, and I’d be at the exchange point.  I even managed to pass a few people as I emerged from the trail at the exchange point.  I handed off to Anna for her 2.2 miles, and then I was done with the second leg.  And it felt great.  Well, great is a little strong of a word.  My hip flexors were kind of sore.  But overall I felt great.  It’s that runner’s high that everyone talks about.  The night runs were tough on our team, because there were some really long ones.  Alex had a 10 mile run, Nick’s was 9 (and went over the huge Deception Pass Bridge to Whidbey Island), and Ken’s was 9.  So we were driving most of the night.  Around 3:30am we handed off to Van 1 and went to get a few hours of sleep.  We had less of a break this time, because the lengths of Van 2’s last legs were pretty short, so we knew they wouldn’t take more than three hours or so to get them all run.  We drove to the final exchange point hoping to get a little sleep since (with the exception of Drake) no one had slept yet.

The last exchange point was at a school, and runners had the option of sleeping in the school if they wanted.  Sleeping in a room with a couple hundred other people on a hard gymnasium floor didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to sleep in the van.  Eventually, Nick, Anna, and Alex went into the school to sleep, and Ken, Drake, and I tried to find comfortable positions to sleep in the 15 passenger van… so nice that we had such a big van!  We all got our own row!  Definitely not like the crowded car trips you may have taken in the past!  I still ended up mostly curled up in a ball against some of the luggage though (probably not the best thing for my already-sore hip flexors, but oh well!  It was an adventure!).

I had set my alarm for 5:30am so I could have a little time to clean up in the school bathrooms before we would be taking over from Van 1 for our final let around 6:30am.  However, I ended up waking up around 5am without the alarm for a grand total of 1.5 hours of sleep.  I grabbed the container of baby wipes, my last change of running clothes, and headed into the school.  I looked and felt like a mess.  Almost no sleep, sweat from two runs still sticking to me, my hair pointing every which way.  There were already people up and moving around in the school, so there was a line in the women’s restroom.  While I waited for a restroom stall, I used one of the sinks to at least brush my teeth and wash my face.  Then, when I got into a stall I pulled out a bunch of baby wipes since that was all the “shower” I was going to get.  I found myself in that little bathroom stall staring down at my bag of running clothes, and my meager bag of toiletries and feeling like a total mess, and it felt like such a deja vu moment of Lia’s, Mike’s, and my experience a few weeks earlier when we got rained on during our several hour hike and ended up cleaning up afterwards in a Walmart bathroom.  I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.  Was this a new pattern in my life?

I emerged from the bathroom stall feeling a little cleaner and a lot clearer headed.  Interestingly, my most tired point had been around midnight, but my run at 1:30am woke me up and got me going again.  And that 1.5 hours of sleep really seemed to have brought new life to me.  Alex was already awake and getting ready.  Apparently the Van 1 runners were running even faster than we’d been anticipating, and they were going to come in 15 or 20 minutes early.

Van 2. Drake, Nick, Alex, Anna, me, and Ken

Van 2. Drake, Nick, Alex, Anna, me, and Ken

Everyone in our van got roused, got ready, and prepped for our final run.  Alex took the hand-off a little after 6am.  The nice thing about the early runs is that the sun wasn’t fully up yet, so it wasn’t as hot as yesterday.  My run wasn’t until 8am or so, though, so I fully expected that the sun would be fully up and it would be hot.  But definitely not as hot as the afternoon run the day before!

Alex came in strong, despite the hills that were the hallmark of the final legs, and handed off to Ken, who was taking Anna’s last leg.  He took off like he had a bear chasing him, and we drove towards the next exchange point.  I stretched as much as I could, but at that point I was stiff and sore, both from the two previous runs and from sitting in a van for 24 hours.  So I honestly wasn’t really trying to optimize my general muscle soreness… I was just trying to optimize my last run.  I figured if I could get through that, I could take the whole week to recover if I wanted to.  Ken came in strong (as always), and I picked up from him.  It took me a mile just to get into a rhythm.  My stiff legs were rebelling.  I kept waiting for the van to pass me, but it didn’t.  I wondered if they’d given Ken some extra time to dry off and stretch out, since he still had one more leg to run.  My last leg was 7 miles.  It was definitely hilly.  Up a hill, down a hill, up a hill, down a hill, etc.  Not the best movement for my sore muscles, but at least this last leg was mostly shady.  There was only about a mile that was in the full sun, and I knew that the last half mile was all downhill, so that was good to look forward to.  Finally when I was halfway done with my leg, the van passed me.  They offered me water, but at that point I had my legs in a groove and definitely didn’t want to stop.  When I turned the last corner and felt the final downhill start, a huge runner’s high kicked in.  I was almost done!!  I ran as fast as I could down the final hill, and Drake was at the bottom waiting to pick up from me.  He headed off for his last leg, and I tried to process the fact that I was done running.  However, we didn’t have a lot of time to process, because we had to head to Drake’s hand-off point.  Everyone’s last run was strong, and Ken, our final runner, was really fast (despite it being his fourth leg, and despite the hot sun which was now definitely overhead).  All of us waited a tenth of a mile back from the finish line for Ken to come in so that we could all cross the finish line together.  As it happened, Ken was chasing down the runner in front of him and was running so fast that he didn’t even see the eleven of us (despite the fact that we were all wearing bright turquoise matching running shirts), and so he tore across the finish line with the rest of us running frantically behind trying to catch up to him.  🙂

Official finish line pic for our team of 12

Official finish line pic for our team of 12

 

Because we had more men on our team than women (7 men, 5 women) we were judged in the Men’s Open category and came in 8th out of 162 teams in that division with a final time of 26:38:27.9.  We all ran fast, but we definitely could not have pulled that off without Ken.  He would have won the MVP award if we had one.  🙂  But anyway, it was absolutely a blast!  It took running, which is such an individualized sport, and turned it into a team sport where we all worked together and all cheered each other on.  I am totally hoping to do it again next year (maybe even on the same team if that same team forms again).

And you’re probably all thinking… this job interview stuff is fine, and the Ragnar relay is fine, but where is MIKE in all of this??  I read the blog mostly to hear about what MIKE is doing!

So Mike wasn’t interested in running Ragnar, but he has been going to the gym regularly and lifting lots of heavy weights.  Very heavy weights.  Dead-lifting, benching, squatting… those kinds of heavy things.

Mike has been very work-focused for the past several months.  I suggested to him that he get a hobby, but he is enjoying learning a bunch at work and said he would rather work extra hours than have a hobby (crazy guy!!).  So he has been working, and he also read a really long autobiography of Keith Richards’ life (from the Rolling Stones) that I got him for his birthday last year.  It took him awhile to start reading it, but when he actually started reading it, he literally couldn’t stop.  Some nights he came to bed at 3am, having read for several hours.  Now that he finished that, we bought the biography of Elon Musk for him to read.  And we have been watching Game of Thrones together now that the current season is airing.  And he’s been playing with Piper.  🙂

We still go out for a date night at least once a week.  Last week’s was Thai food in the Queen Anne area of Seattle, and it was DELICIOUS!

Mike and me having yummy Thai food! Mike's with a spice level of 1, and mine with a spice level of 4. Exactly how we like it. :)

Mike and me having yummy Thai food! Mike’s with a spice level of 1, and mine with a spice level of 4. Exactly how we like it. 🙂

 

And…. that’s all that’s been going in our corner of the world lately.  Hopefully now I’ve talked about the big things going on, and the next post can be a more day-in-lives-of-Mike-Karena-and-Piper kind of post.  I PROMISE to get Mike out doing more things so that there will be more info on Mike in the next post… Stay tuned!  🙂

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Filed under Cats, Friends, Pictures, Seattle

Spring in Seattle

So let’s talk running.  I haven’t talked a lot about running in the past few blog posts, but my running has been going really well.  As in… I have never been this fast.  A friend and I ran a 15k (~9.3 mile) race last week, and we averaged a 7:45min/mile pace.  I typically don’t even run that fast for a 5k, much less a 15k.  And it’s crazy how it all seems relatively effortless.  I’ve been trying to think what might have changed, and I’ve really only changed one thing since my running started improving so radically over the past few months.  I (finally!!) took the advice of a naturopath doctor I went to two years ago who told me that my body had trouble processing B-12, and recommended a special B-12 supplement for people with the MTHFR genetic mutation (which apparently a big percentage of the population, including me, has).  Since anemia is also a symptom of B-12 deficiency, maybe this supplement will also stop the on-and-off again anemia I’ve had forever?  Regardless, the B complex vitamins affect energy levels strongly, so maybe my body finally has some methylated B-12 at its disposal and has energy to burn?  So I’m speculating that the B-12 levels are what’s making the difference in my running.

Regardless, my friend and I had a great race last weekend!!

After the race in front of Lake Union!

After the race in front of Lake Union… notice the Space Needle to the right of my head

Oh!  And in other super-fun-fitness news, a new fitness studio opened up very near our house, and they offer a wide variety of classes.  I was instantly intrigued by the boxing class they offered so I started taking that.  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  So much fun!!  I literally love it!  The hour long class just flies by without me noticing it.  The first half of the class is warm-up/conditioning (so things like holding a plank pose, jumping rope, etc).  The second half we get on our wrist wraps and gloves and hit heavy bags.  HOW HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE??  It is absolutely a blast!  So now I’m trying to do that Monday evenings and Saturday mornings.  I’ve done cardio kickboxing before, but this is actual boxing where they talk about keeping your hands in guard position to avoid getting hit by your opponent and stuff.  It’s so much fun, and the instructor is so patient and helpful.  I already bought my own wrist wraps and I feel like a ‘real’ boxer of the Simon and Garfunkel variety walking to class carrying them, even though in reality I’m completely a beginner and still forget not to pull my elbow back before going in for an uppercut and forget my footwork as soon as I start doing punching combinations.  🙂

Lest anyone think that I have a corner on the fitness-fun market, Mike faithfully goes to the gym twice a week and lifts very, very heavy weights.  I tried to get him to come to boxing with me, but he literally can’t understand the joy of hitting something hard.  I get out of work on Monday and can’t wait to get to boxing class where I can pound the living daylights out of a heavy bag, but Mike just doesn’t get that.  He wants to go to the gym and deadlift and benchpress 150+ pounds, which sounds like a huge nightmare to me.  So each to his own, right?  🙂

Since we’re on a fitness roll, I’ll continue on this theme for another paragraph.  🙂  Now that I’m a registered yoga teacher and a certified personal trainer, I have twice the continuing education credits to rack up every couple of years so that I can renew both.  And before you ask… no, you can’t use the same credits for both.  That would make life too easy.  🙂  So I’m currently taking a class for renewing the PT certification in Corrective Exercise.  It’s a fascinating class and is making me a lot more aware of my own movements and the movements of those around me.  I’m literally finding myself riding in the car with Mike and commenting on a jogger running by who has a hip hike and a knee abduction going on that probably indicates a tight IT band and a weak gluteus maximus.  Mike patiently puts up with me.  🙂

Speaking of the nice weather (was I??), it has been amazing!  The Saturday and Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend were really wet and windy and I got caught in a downpour during my long run.  I literally walked in the door soaking wet.

Running in the rain.  But with gorgeous purple flowers!

Running in the rain. But with gorgeous purple flowers!

However, starting on Memorial Day the weather has just been wonderful!  The weather has been in the high 70’s/low 80’s with just enough of a breeze to keep things cool and keep our house from overheating.

Watching sailboats on Lake Union last week with our neighbors!

Watching sailboats on Lake Union last week with our neighbors!

 

While watching sailboats, I got friendly with a couple of ducks...

While watching sailboats, I got friendly with a couple of ducks…

Piper of course loves the sun, and quite frankly Mike and I are loving it too.  We have been grilling at least once a week for the past month… we’ve already grilled our standard favorites multiple times.  We’ve grilled lots of corn, potatoes, and kale, and have also done some sweet potatoes and a pepper and onion mix.  And for the carnivores among us, we have also done chicken and beef franks and hamburgers.  And all of our leftover food always gets eaten!  Every last nibble.  Yum!!  We are definitely enjoying the grill so far this summer!

The first time we grilled franks this summer, I was trying to explain to Mike the trick to making sure they got brown all the way around and Mike just looked at me like I was crazy.

I paused.  “Do you already know how to do this?”

“I know how to do everything,” Mike replied, somewhat imperiously.  “There are multiple ways to do things and I know them all.”

Well, you can’t get much more of a grill master than that.  😉

So, while our summer is off to a great start, it has been busy!  Mike was in California on business part of last week and thought he was going to be gone this week as well but it’s been pushed out so it will be next week instead.  So with the unpredictability of his travel it’s really difficult to plan anything.  That’s been a little draining for him, and my job has been really busy which has been a little draining for me.  I basically got promoted to senior level right when we had a department-wide reorganization and, being one of the few senior engineers in the department, I’m expected to be one of the driving forces in the new organization.  Hmm… tall order!  🙂

Basically I think Mike and I are ready for a vacation but haven’t really decided how to handle that since Piper basically needs daily injections.  I think a perfect example of where we’re at mentally is when I was making Mike scrambled eggs and toast for dinner tonight.  When I cracked the eggs, they seemed thinner-shelled than normal, and I said, “hmm”.  Mike instantly picked up on that.

“Is there something wrong with the eggs?”

“No, no,” I assured him.  “They’re fine.”

Mike looked at me, kind of tired and 100% not convinced.  “Can I have a normal egg?  I’m not in the mood to weather a weird egg.”

And that’s where we are at, I think.  Totally fine but not in the mood to weather any weird eggs.  🙂

In frivolous, uninteresting news, I got a bright pink workout tank top on sale.  I mean really bright pink.  Like… almost iridescent.  It looked fine online, but… in person it’s a little intense.  When I wear it I feel like I’m basically screaming for people to look at me, which I don’t really like.  Also, I was doing sit-ups while wearing it, and the towel I had underneath my back turned pink.  So basically I now know that I can’t wash it with anything else or it will bleed neon pink over everything.  #firstworldproblems!  What is the lesson for me to learn here?  😉  Don’t buy workout shirts on sale?  At least not sight unseen?  Or only buy innocuous colors that can’t bleed over anything?  (Incidentally, I’ve tried that, but then I end up with pale grey shirts that I have to worry about everything else bleeding other colors onto.  At least the neon pink shirt holds its own… I have no fear that it will turn any other color in the laundry other than that extremely loud boisterous neon pink.

In other frivolous news, I read an article that eating pickles and pickle juice after running helps rebalance sodium levels.  Apparently vinegar is also really good for helping lower inflammation in your body after a run.  Any excuse to eat pickles and pickle juice, right?  Am I right??  Well, Mike doesn’t think so.  Mike can’t stand pickles and isn’t a fan of this new trend I’m trying.  He claims I smell like pickles the rest of the day.  One day I came home from boxing and ate some pickles and Mike, always creative in coming up with less-than-flattering nicknames, pronounced me a “boxing pickle-nose”.  So that’s my current nickname around the house.  Lucky me.  I still don’t have as many nicknames as Piper though.  I literally couldn’t count all of them.  I think the only reason Piper hasn’t learned the entire English language is because she’s kept busy just keeping track of all of the new nicknames we have been giving her over the years.

In other news, one of our rose bushes died over the winter, so a month ago Mike put in a new one.

Can you guess which one Mike put in?  If you guessed the super thriving looking one, you are RIGHT!

Can you guess which one Mike put in? If you guessed the super thriving looking white one, you are RIGHT!

 

One more thing this guy can do... grow roses...

One more thing this guy can do… grow roses…

Already Wednesday evening… on to the weekend!  Mike and I have a cooking class this weekend which should be fun called “Cooking without Recipes”.  I think that’s the next step for me in my cooking development… relying less on recipes.

I hope everyone is enjoying the start to the summer!

Puget Sound from my office building... gorgeous!

Puget Sound from my office building… gorgeous!

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, Friends, Gardening, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Running, 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

Taking risks with watermelon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope everyone is having a good, relaxing week!

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

A beautiful spring. :)

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

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

Piper looks like she needs to reconnect too...

Piper looks like she needs to reconnect too…

So let’s see… where should I start?

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

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

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

And yet somehow all this stuff is easy...

And yet somehow all this stuff is easy…

 

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

 

Grill food!

Grill food!

 

Grill veggies!

Grill veggies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Um… kind of sounds the same…

 

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

Too cute!

Too cute!

 

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

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

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

Piper believes in setting a good example for Mike and me

Piper believes in setting a good example for Mike and me

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

Piper, Cashews, and Thanksgiving

Autumn has come to Seattle!  The weather is colder and rainier and we’ve officially retired our portable air conditioner for the winter.  Since moving off of daylight savings time, it’s also shocking how early it’s already getting dark!  By 4:30 or 5pm we’ve already lost most of our daylight.  We definitely have a long, dark winter ahead of us!  I’m torn on how I feel about that.  On one hand, I never like the idea of winter, but it’s kind of cozy getting home at night when it’s all cold and dark and rainy outside.

I also think somehow Mike and I are more social when the weather gets colder and darker because we’re less likely to just do things on our own in the evenings.  A few weekends ago we went to a friend’s house on Sunday night, and that was really fun.  (So fun that the time flew by quickly and we didn’t leave until almost midnight!)  Tonight we’re having some other friends over.  We’re planning to go out to eat in Fremont and then come back to our apartment and hang out for awhile.  I’m excited!  Piper’s probably excited too… they’re definitely cat people and she liked them the last time she met them.

In other interesting news, I am now officially an expert at giving cats pills orally.  Piper can vouch for it.  She is on a long round of antibiotics to basically make sure her UTI is completely wiped out.  I also have her on a grain-free diet (suggested by her vet as a possible way of preventing all of these UTI’s).  I don’t know about the UTI part of the diet, but she definitely has SO MUCH energy on the new food!  She used to want to play for about 30 seconds each day (a cat’s attention span is pretty short, and 30 seconds seems to be about the limit), and now she’ll play with Mike for five minutes at a time.

In other (interesting?) news, Mike and I have gotten back into watching Top Gear.  I don’t remember how it started exactly, but we’re back on a Top Gear kick (the British version with Jeremy Clarkson OF COURSE).  The episode we watched last night featured the new Maclaren P1 supercar.  All I can say is Wow!!  Its specs are amazing, particularly given that it has both an electric and a standard fuel engine.  Those episodes are so much fun to watch!

The CSA produce is sadly over for the year.  Fortunately there still seems to be a lot of good local produce in the stores, so that’s not too bad.

I’ve already done two weekends of the ten total weekends for yoga teacher training, and the teacher training definitely makes for a busy weekend!  The class is held on Friday night, and then for 8 hours on Saturday, and then 4.5 hours on Sunday.  However, I’ll only have yoga teacher training one weekend out of every three or so, so it won’t be too intense.  I love the class so far!  🙂  It’s amazing how quickly I’m already getting to know the other students in the class.  I guess when you’re essentially spending a whole weekend together, you get to talking pretty quickly!  The first weekend was focused on intro stuff, getting to know each other, talking about some of the required reading, breaking down some asanas (postures) and focusing on the anatomical implications of the postures, and some basic anatomy.  The second weekend was entirely anatomy.  It was intense, but not too bad (for me anyway), because I’d had all of that anatomy as part of the personal training curriculum so it was mostly a refresher.  We’re working through a very cool yoga anatomy book that shows all of the muscles used in each of the poses.  The full-color illustrations are so helpful for really getting a sense of which muscles are contracted and which are lengthened in each pose.  It’s been a very busy fall between yoga teacher training and work!

Also, of interest, is that Piper apparently cannot digest cashews.  We found this out the hard way.  (Most things worth learning in life are learned the hard way, I think.)  We left to go out to dinner one Sunday evening at 4:30pm.  Piper usually has dinner at 6pm, so I figured I would feed her when we got back.  However, we ended up stopping at a couple stores on our way and didn’t get home until 7:15pm.  When we opened the door, we saw that a bag of cashews that had been on the counter was now on the floor and had been chewed open.  And most of the cashews were missing.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.

Piper seemed fine, and googling ‘can cats eat cashews?’ was comforting.  Apparently there are people who feed cashews to their cats as snacks.  So all was well until I walked in the door from work the following day.  I had been on the phone with my mom telling her about Piper’s cashew theft incident and how I hoped Piper didn’t have digestive problems from it.  I looked around and there were literally piles of vomited cashews, almost entirely intact, lying in various places around the apartment (none of them on the hardwood floor, which would have made them so much easier to clean up).  After a lot of cleaning, Mike and I agreed that more cashews were not in Piper’s future.

However, last weekend we also went out to run some errands, and when we returned we found a bag of trail mix that had been on the counter on the floor and (you guessed it), chewed open.  The one nice thing was that it appeared that almost none (if any?) of the trail mix was gone.  We held our breaths and hoped that Piper hadn’t eaten any of it.  Maybe the cranberries in it had turned her off so she hadn’t wanted any of it?  The following day I got home from work, steeling myself to the possibility of cleaning up after Piper’s indiscretion.  However, I found one single vomited cashew on the carpet.  And that was it.  It was almost as if Piper had started eating the trail mix and then thought, Wait a minute… I feel like I have bad memories about this taste.  Regardless, Mike and I were thrilled that there wasn’t more of a problem.  Needless to say, Mike and I aren’t keeping anything nut-related on the counter anymore!

Since Thanksgiving is almost here, and apparently stores have decided to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas this year (as evidenced by the photo below!), Mike put up our little LED Christmas tree.

Christmas candy... already??

Christmas candy… already??

 

I love our little tree.  🙂

Our Christmas tree!

Our Christmas tree!

In case you’re wondering about the giraffe figurine at the base of the tree, he’s kind of the best thing ever.  I named him Gerard, and I really like him.  He is a year-round decoration, and is just temporarily sharing the end table with the Christmas tree.  🙂

I was telling Mike that he needed to implement some kind of timer for the lights on our tree… something to make it come on at like 6am and turn off again at 11pm or something like that, and he disagreed.

“What if you want to turn it off at 7pm but it’s on a timer?” Mike wanted to know.

I thought about it for a second.  “Can’t you implement it like cruise control on a car?” I asked.  “Like it’ll turn on if you speed up, but won’t turn off if you slow down… or something…”  I trailed off, trying to work through what seemed like a good idea in my mind but wasn’t coming out verbally very well.

Mike rolled over on his side and propped his head on his hand as he looked at me.  “And exactly how do you envision cruise control working on our Christmas tree?”

I had to admit with my explanation it was no wonder I was confusing him.  🙂

So for now we’re just manually turning the tree lights on and off.  🙂

Friday night Mike and I went to the small theater near our house and watched St. Vincent with Bill Murray.  It was a heartwarming story, although a little predictable.  I always like watching Bill Murray.  He’s such a great actor… comedic or tragic as the situation requires, but always convincing!

Mike and I are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving with a pre-made meal from our local PCC grocery store.  All I have to do is follow directions and re-heat an already cooked turkey and side dishes.  That sounds so stress-free to me, especially given that Thursday is the only day I have off of work!  I hope everyone else has a relaxing and wonderful Thanksgiving!  🙂

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Filed under Christmas, Friends, Holidays, Thanksgiving, Work

Fun in Portland!

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks (hence the non-existent blog posts!).

Last weekend Mike and I drove down to Portland to see Lia who was in town visiting her aunt and uncle.  Her friend Rae took the train up from Eugene, as well, so the four of us hung out and bummed around downtown Portland together… so fun!  We had a fun afternoon of shopping, and Mike was so laid-back even though of course shopping in women’s clothing stores isn’t exactly his thing.  😉  While we looked at clothes at Anthropologie, he examined the furniture in the store.  🙂  After a relaxing early afternoon of shopping and a brunch at Whole Foods we headed to Pittock Mansion.  You can read all about its history on the site, but it is a beautiful mansion on a cliff-like hill overlooking Portland… so beautiful!  And surprisingly like Highclere Castle!  Apparently despite the U.S.’s separation from Britain, we took our ideas of fashion, decorating, and architecture from them!

Just a normal living room.  Nothing special.  ;)

Just a normal living room. Nothing special. 😉

 

And a harp!

And a harp!

 

The house was beautiful, and unlike Highclere Castle in England we were able to look through all the rooms!  That meant that we got insight into things like the way people from that era showered.

Mike's engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

Mike’s engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

 

Don't get wet, Lia!  :)

Don’t get wet, Lia! 🙂

 

We had a lot of fun!

Friends!

Friends!

Just like with Highclere Castle, the winding staircase was AMAZING!

Love, love

Love, love

 

And such a gorgeous view from the back of the house over downtown Portland!

Foggy Portland

Foggy Portland

 

So last weekend was lots of fun!  We left late-ish after being gifted with the most amazing home-made applesauce by Lia’s aunt.  (So fresh that it was still WARM!)  Yum!!  Our drive back to Seattle was great… driving in the darkness is always kind of relaxing.

I’ve been back to running!  Not quite as fast as I was yet, but my speed is definitely coming back!

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering.  :)

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering. You can see the ace bandage on my knee in the background!

I LOVE running in Seattle this time of year… it’s just beyond gorgeous!

Lake Union

Lake Union

 

So gorgeous...

So gorgeous….

 

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment... so amazing....

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment… so amazing….

 

Mike and I finished season 4 of Game of Thrones…. so that’s that for the next, oh, eight months or so.  Bummer!

Mike has continued to play his guitar quite a bit in the evenings.  Oftentimes we’ll go the gym together and then take a short walk together afterwards.  The weather has cooled down a lot in Seattle and is down in the low 70’s during the  day now.  That makes for perfect walking weather in the evenings, particularly when there’s not much of a breeze.

I haven’t been quite as up on using up the CSA produce the past couple of weeks… I think the knee recovery slowed me down a little.  But I’ve still been using up most of it.  This week we got a beautiful little carving pumpkin in our CSA produce.  I’ve been badgering Mike to carve it, but he thinks it sounds messy.  Bummer!  Maybe I’ll just get a black sharpie and draw a face on it myself?  Should I go for a happy face, a scary face, or something else?  Any ideas??  For now I’ve set it outside our apartment door so that it lends a fall-like atmosphere to our floor.  Love it!

Halloween is also coming up!  I’m excited and determined to go somewhere and dress up!  (Since we bought costumes two years ago and have yet to use them… I think it’s time we did!)  So I’ve been looking at Seattle blogs for party ideas… there’s so much going on this time of year in Seattle!

Again, because of my knee, Mike drove me to pick up the CSA produce a couple weeks ago, although typically I walk.  When we arrived at the pickup site there were police and fire trucks everywhere as well as a good handful of vehicles bearing titles like “Emergency Cleanup Crew” on their sides.  Uh, oh!  That didn’t seem good!  As it turned out, there’d been a fire in one of the metal-working shops in the area, and apparently you need a whole host of weird chemicals to stop metal fires.  Who knew??

Last night we met up with a friend of Mike’s from work and his wife at Cichetti, a new favorite haunt of ours.  (So much of a favorite, actually, that we were also there last Friday.)  It’s an amazing place to go just to talk and hang out, and it has an amazing view of Queen Anne, Magnolia, Seattle, and Lake Union.  Mike proclaimed early in the evening that the purpose of the evening was pure relaxation.  We definitely just relaxed!  We looked down at the amazing view of Seattle and just chatted and shared small plates of food while Mike offered his expertise recommending drinks for everyone.  We actually didn’t notice the time until 11:45pm!  Wow!  Staying out until almost midnight!  What kind of a crazy, partier am I?  I also emailed Rae last week after 10pm and texted Lia sometime after 10pm the week before… am I turning into a night owl, or what??  😉

I took Piper in for her follow-up vet appointment yesterday, and so far everything’s looking good with her UTI.  Yay!  She still needs to be on antiobiotics for another couple months, though, because the vet wants to make sure all of the bacteria are completely eradicated.  Piper doesn’t like taking pills but by this point I’m a pro at giving her the pills.  I pretty much pull her mouth open and pop the pill down her throat while she glares at me.  I actually have to give her 3/4 of a pill, which is kind of a pain because it means giving her two pills: one 1/4 pill and one 1/2 pill.  I asked the vet if I could just give her a full pill, but he shook his head and said that she’s only 3/4 of a cat and only needs 3/4 of a pill.  🙂

Completely off-topic, one thing that I have been focusing on the past few months is thankfulness.  And so here’s my mini piece of advice: live and love every day.  Be thankful for everything, especially the small things.  This is one thing I definitely learned from my mom… be thankful for the color of an orange pumpkin or the way the wind moves through the trees, or the way the random stranger on the bus smiles at you.  Such an enriching way to live life!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful fall!

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Filed under Cats, Cicchetti, CSA, Food, Friends, Halloween, Holidays, Pictures, Running, Seattle, Weather