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A new boxing gym and lots of warm sun!

What a long blogging absence!

Well, spring has come to Seattle.  Almost summer, really.

Mike and I have been enjoying some warm evening walks and great grilling sessions.  We are definitely ready for summer!  Oh, and our heat-loving cat is also ready for summer and spends most of her time lounging in furniture next to windows where she can soak up the sun’s rays.

This past few weekends were kind of a whirlwind.  In a sad twist, the boxing gym that I have been attending and loving for the past year closed.  Not enough members to make it financially viable!  😦  A big group of us from the gym went out last Wednesday night after the final boxing class for the gym and had a great time together laughing and chatting.

Love this group!

Love this group!  Well, not the two people at the bar.  I have no idea who they are.  😉

Hopefully our community will last despite the gym closing.

Final boxing class! Clearly this class builds great arms and shoulders

Final boxing class! Clearly this class builds great arms.

The boxing instructor from there also teaches at another gym, so I went there for a trial run last weekend.  It was good… I could see myself going there regularly.  There’s a picture of a panda bear with googly eyes wearing boxing gloves hanging over the water fountain and I’m kind of in love with it.

This is how I feel when I have to spar with heavyweights

This is how I feel when I have to spar with heavyweights

When I mentioned it to my boxing coach, he laughed and said that everyone loves that panda and he doesn’t know where the picture came from.  There’s also a giant colorful painting of the Seattle city skyline with a beautiful phoenix rising from its midst.  I think the idea is that you work out and…. rise above your expectations… in Seattle….. I’m not really sure exactly the idea.  But it’s oddly inspiring anyway.  The owner’s dog Brody also frequents the gym and I can totally get into petting a big, friendly great dane mix while I’m wrapping up.  In the class on Saturday, there was a super nice but very tough woman who my boxing coach says is my future sparring partner.  There’s also a super nice guy with a mohawk and a couple of newer boxers.  All in all, I think it will work out.  I’m going again tomorrow after work with one of my boxing buddies from the old gym.  I have the feeling several of us will end up there.  🙂

There’s also a pull-up bar in the new gym, and I did four unassisted pull-ups on that yesterday.  Getting stronger!  My dad always asks me if the boxing is going to help me to defend myself if necessary, and based on this article I ran across from a few years ago, maybe yes?  I know I definitely wouldn’t try to mug anyone in my boxing class.  🙂

While we’re on the topic of articles, I’m also in love with this dog who flunked out of police academy for being too friendly.

Apart from finding a new gym, I have been doing some cooking lately.  My most recent creations are a coconut red lentil dal and roasted herbed chicken with brussels sprouts and carrots.

Red lentil dal

Red lentil dal

 

Roasted herbed chicken with veggies

Roasted herbed chicken with veggies

 

My team at work also had a team building event last week where we attended a cooking class together.  It was pretty fun.  We made tapas, which are basically Spanish small plates.  Definitely a lot of cooking has been going on lately!  This weekend, though, I’m prepping for Lia’s arrival on Tuesday instead of doing a bunch of cooking.  I’ll likely do some cooking while she’s here, but nothing that I’ll make ahead of time.  Anything cooked will be fresh from the oven!  🙂  Hopefully the weather is good enough to grill one day too.  🙂  Most of our days have been beautiful lately but they have been interspersed with rain.  We’ll see how the weather goes!

Last weekend I went out with Mike and a couple of friends and I was talking about how great it was to have a cat.  Then yesterday morning, one of my previously-petless friends texted me and said she she was at the humane society and was getting a cat.  Then she called me half an hour later and said she was at the pet store and wanted advice on what litter/food/toys/etc to buy.  Then she texted me that night to say that her new cat was asleep on her lap and was purring.  So sweet!!!  I’m glad I’m spreading the cat love.  🙂

This weekend was a really relaxing, laid-back weekend.  Mike did a lot of cleaning in his office room and I did some cleaning of my bathroom drawers.  They were embarrassingly cluttered with soap, extra containers of floss, moisturizer that I haven’t even used yet, etc.  I didn’t get it organized up to Mike Danenberg standards, but they are better than they were before.

Piper pretty much just lay in the sun all day.  Sometimes she was on the couch, sometimes in her heated bed, and sometimes on the floor near the back door, but always in the sun.

One cool thing I discovered recently is that the Seattle Light Link Rail system (i.e. our train/subway-ish transit system) that used to mainly go between downtown and the airport now has stations in Capitol Hill and in the University district.  I knew they were building them, but didn’t realize they were finished until a group from work wanted to take the Light Link Rail up to Capitol Hill.  We literally got there in three minutes.  Three minutes!  I can’t stress how amazing this is!  Taking driving, traffic, one-way streets, and parking into account, that easily would have been a thirty minute trip by car.  Public transit is amazing!  The Capitol Hill and University stations are both really nice and shiny and new too.  That definitely opens up more evening dinner options for Mike and me since we normally didn’t go to Capitol Hill because parking is such a pain up there.

I went to try out a new gym this afternoon with some of my friends from our old gym that closed.  The class we took was pretty fun.  It was basically circuit training that took place in a giant, sunny studio with floor-to-ceiling windows on two full walls of the gym.  It also had a giant projector that showed what song was currently playing in the gym.  Overkill?  Probably.  Reasonably fun for a change?  Yes.  Interestingly, despite the giant projector displaying the song currently being played, there wasn’t a clock anywhere in the gym.  I don’t like to think of myself as a clock watcher (how many minutes are left of this workout anyway??), but I do like to have some sense of whether I’m thirty minutes in or fifty minutes in.  So that was a little weird.  Wouldn’t it have been easy to make the projector also show the current time as well as the current song?  I can’t really see myself going back to the gym anyway because it’s pretty pricey for the monthly membership fee and honestly didn’t have a ton to recommend it besides it’s floor-to-ceiling windows, but it was fun to try.

Our weather in Seattle today was 80 degrees and sunny.  Perfect!  Although it does mean I have to be better about watering my tomatoes.  A few of the plants looked a little wilted when I went out to check on them today.  (The sungold tomato plant actually has small tomatoes on it already though… soooooo exciting!)  The basil is of course thriving.  It loves 80 degrees and constant sun.  Actually, Piper and that basil plant are very similar from that perspective.

Hoping everyone has a wonderful week… we’re already approaching the solstice and the end of our lengthening summer days.  How did that happen so quickly?

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, Food, Life in Seattle

Halfway through 2016! (How did that happen so fast?!?)

Here we are in the second half of 2016… wow, has time ever flown by!  And I have not been very consistent with writing on my blog (major understatement).  I have missed writing on it, but somehow I am always. doing. something.  Almost literally.  I keep thinking of things I would like to write on my blog, but then never take the time to actually write them.  So what have Mike and I been up to that I am apparently never at my computer long enough to write a blog post these days?

Well, for starters, Mike has continued to be busy with travel here and there and that keeps both of us on our toes (always prepping for him either coming or going).  It looks like that’s finally going to slow down a little which will be nice.  It’s getting difficult to keep explaining to Piper why her best friend is gone.

"I'll lay on top of you so that you can't go anywhere."

“I’ll lay on top of you so that you can’t go anywhere.”

 

I’ve also been continuing my running, and my running buddy and I had a great half marathon three weeks ago!

A 1:45 half marathon!

A 1:45 half marathon!  If we look happy it’s because we ARE!  🙂

 

We’ve signed up for a full marathon in Portland in the fall and are really excited!  We’re planning to train together through the summer… we have both helped each other become much faster over the past couple of months.

I also picked up boxing several months ago and am kind of in love.  I’ve been taking 2-3 classes a week for the past three months, so at this point I’m committed.  I ordered my own pair of boxing gloves so that I can stop using the gym’s.  I ordered them partially because it’s time to take my boxing relationship to the next level and partly because my mom thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world that I’m learning to box and she wants a picture of me in Rocky shorts wearing my boxing gloves.  I’m way too embarrassed to ask someone in my boxing class to take a picture of me with my gloves on (like… do I think I’m Floyd Mayweather or something??), but if I have my own gloves Mike can take my picture himself.  Anyway, the boxing gloves are on the way, with a picture of boxing Karena to follow in the near future.

Mike and I also finally started an herb garden on our roof!  We carried tons of soil and heavy planters up to our roof.  And by “we”, I mean “Mike”.  I carried nothing.  I’m a boxer and a runner, not a weight lifter.  😉

 "Any more sixty pound bags you need me to carry up THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS??"

“Any more sixty pound bags you need me to carry up THREE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS??”  Good thing this man lifts weights.

 

For the first round of the herb garden, I only planted basil, silver thyme, parsley, and rosemary.

Garden Project: Phase 1

Garden Project: Phase 1

 

Round 2 occurred when the nursery we go to had a Fourth of July sale… 40% off all herbs!!

Garden Project: Phase 2

Garden Project: Phase 2

Phase two consisted of one additional (and healthier-looking) basil plant, golden thyme, oregano, and mint.  The mint is in a separate pot in the planter because apparently that’s how you do mint so that it doesn’t take over all of your other herbs.

Mike and I also picked up hiking!  We went on a big hike up Mount Si over the Fourth of July weekend.  Eight miles roundtrip!  The website says that he first four are solely uphill, and Mike and I can vouch for that.  Four miles steadily and steeply uphill!!

Our shoes are ready for some trail miles! Eight, to be exact.

Our shoes are ready for some trail miles! Eight, to be exact.

 

The drive to Mount Si was only 45 minutes… so close!!  It was also very cloudy, but we figured that climbing a mountain is probably better on a cool, cloudy day than on a hot, sunny day.

The drive to Mount Si

The drive down I-90 to Mount Si

 

The sun actually ended up coming out, but the trail was almost entirely shaded by all of the big, old trees.  The hike was amazingly beautiful.

Lots of gorgeous, old trees!

Lots of gorgeous, old trees!

 

It's a looooong way up to those treetops! (But don't worry... we surpassed those treetops by a long way before we reached the top of the climb.

It’s a looooong way up to those treetops! (But don’t worry… we surpassed those treetops by a long way before we reached the top of the climb).

 

The view from the top was amazing.

I don't know about you, but this is why I climb mountains.

I don’t know about you, but this is why I climb mountains.  Otherwise I’d just, you know, box.

 

In other completely and totally random news, I have picked up adult coloring.  Has anyone heard of this as a thing??  The pictures have much finer levels of detail than children’s coloring books (and thus require more work to stay inside the lines).  Apparently it’s good for your mental health too.  Bonus!  I find it relaxing to sit down with my uber adult, detailed coloring book and colored pencils.  And tell myself it’s way more adult than what I did when I was five.  😉

For the Fourth of July, Mike and I didn’t watch the fireworks (even though they shoot them off about a mile from our house so we really should have gone).  But I was really busy coloring and Mike was looking up record players online, so it was pretty hard for us to justify leaving our house.  We did go over to a friend’s house who was having a dinner party earlier in the day, though, and that was so much fun!  It is blueberry season here in Washington, so there were loads of fresh blueberries on sale at the grocery store.  So I ended up making blueberry bars to bring, and they were well-received.  🙂  We ate outdoors because it was so nice outside, but it got colder as it got darker so then we all ended up inside for dessert.

In addition to looking up record players, Mike has been busy helping me with the herb garden.  (It’s a good thing someone was strong enough to carry all those bags of soil to the roof, because Piper and I certainly weren’t.)  He’s also been researching lighting fixtures because he wants to add light to our kitchen and put up a pendent light in the kitchen.  I helped select the pendent light, and then I’m staying out of it.  This is definitely a Mike kind of project.

Also, we finished watching this season of Game of Thrones.  And by the way, for a season that was as ho-hum as this season, it sure went out with a bang!!  I will NOT post any spoilers, but oh my gosh!  That final episode of this season had my jaw dropping after the first twenty minutes.

So, long story short, things are plugging along here.  Mike, Piper, and I are enjoying the summer.  Well, we mostly are.  Piper has another UTI, but at least this one can be treated with pills instead of daily injected antibiotics like last time.  And so it goes.  That poor girl.  She’s a lot crankier when she has a UTI, though, so she’s been a little difficult to live with lately.  Even more queenly and intolerant than her normal queenly and intolerant self.  🙂

Our first CSA produce delivery is next week, so I’m very excited for some new cooking inspiration from all of the farm fresh produce… I literally can’t wait!  I’m so excited that I texted Mike in the middle of the workday to let him know that I was excited.  Clearly I only communicate about important matters.  😉

And work continues to be busy for both Mike and me.  Mike is doing some work that he finds more interesting these days, so that’s nice.  And work is really busy for me too.  I somehow managed to get myself promoted again, this time to technical lead for my team.  I keep thinking about that phrase about everyone getting promoted to their own level of incompetence (is that something from Dilbert and the pointy-haired boss?  Where did I hear that phrase?).  I keep feeling like I’m going to hit that point soon if I haven’t already.  That point where I’m out of my depth and am just being incompetent at my job and really need to be demoted to get to a productive point again.

And that’s our life in a nutshell these days!  Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth and is looking forward to the second half of 2016!

Happy 4th from my queen cat who likes to sit on dining room chairs, but only dining room chairs that have towels on them.

Happy 4th from my cranky queen-cat who likes to sit on dining room chairs, but only dining room chairs that have towels on them.

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, CSA, Gardening, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Running, Seattle, Weather, Work

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

Winnie-the-Pooh and brown sugar bears

We have been having the most gorgeous weather in Seattle!  On Friday it was 82 degrees and sunny… perfect for being outdoors!  I went on a run Friday morning with the run group I’m part of, and the weather was literally the best running weather ever!  After work, Mike and I definitely took advantage of it and walked down to downtown Fremont and went to Eve, a new restaurant that opened a couple of months ago!  It was our first time there, and it was a really fun, relaxing evening.  On Saturday morning the weather was still ok and I went for an 11 mile run in the morning, but by the afternoon it was cloudy and rainy so Mike and I drove around running errands.  We were cold and a little wet, so around noon we stopped for lunch in Everett at a Thai restaurant that Mike recommended and it was so good!!  Mike had the green curry with chicken and I had the yellow curry with veggies and the food was so good!  I had them spice my food to a level 5 (according to the menu 5 was VERY VERY spicy, but fortunately it was all good.  Typically Thai food isn’t uber spicy, and a 5 star Thai spice is nothing like a 5 star Indian spice (which would probably kill me on the spot).  It was so nice to have traffic back to normal this weekend!  For the past week or two all of the traffic in Seattle has pretty much been at a standstill because one of our only two north/south highways was closed.  The WA-99 viaduct is hard for me to explain, but this wikipedia article does a good job.

Life has been busy these days!  Mike’s job has been keeping him busy and he’s still got business trips to California about every other week, so we’re always thinking about the next trip to the airport.  He’s also been cleaning out his office room and selling stuff on ebay/craigslist and getting that room more livable.  Work has been really busy for me too, and my manager is out for a couple weeks which definitely makes everything busier.  I’ve also been studying for the NASM corrective exercise specialist certification in the evenings/weekends.  That will let me renew my personal trainer certification for the next renewal cycle, and it’s awesome knowledge both for my own fitness and for the yoga teaching I’ve been doing.  Basically, the goal of the course is to learn how people’s muscle imbalances manifest themselves, how they can get injured as a result, and how to correct the imbalances through targeted exercises.  I’m finding it fascinating, and it’s a good review of all the muscles in the quadriceps and hamstrings muscle groups… somehow I never seem to remember all of the muscles in those groups.  🙂

I’m also still spending time taking care of little Piper!  I’m now giving her fluids and a pill every day and putting special phosphor-reducing powder stuff on her food daily.  She’s doing really well on the new plan, though, so that’s great.  She definitely was enjoying the hot sunny weather last week and spent lots of time on the couch in the sun!  🙂

Happy Sun-Cat

Happy Sun-Cat

I’ve also been doing cooking on the weekends.  The past two weekends Mike and I did a lot of grilling… yum!  The first weekend, I baked up parmesan chicken and Mike grilled corn, potatoes wrapped in foil, and a foil packet of chopped green peppers and onions.  The second weekend, Mike grilled beef franks, corn, and sweet potatoes, and I made baked beans from scratch (including soaking the navy beans the night before, boiling them, slow cooking them, etc).  The baked beans turned out pretty well, but honestly I was a little underwhelmed.  I mean they were fine, but honestly canned/boxed baked beans are really just as good.  Maybe because they make them in such a bulk process that they’ve totally got everything figured out??  Regardless, it was fun making them from scratch for once, but I don’t think that will be our new norm.  😉

This weekend it was too rainy to grill so I cooked up some roasted veggies and some chicken risotto.  I’m thinking about making up a lentil veggie soup for me too, but haven’t decided yet.  I still have some leftovers to finish up!

In other cooking news, I was really looking forward to getting CSA vegetables this spring, but the farm I’ve been going through the past couple of years isn’t offering a CSA this year.  😦  So I’m going to try a new CSA and hope that it’s as good.  The one I’m going to try doesn’t start until early July, though, so I’m going to have to buy my own produce at the grocery store for another month and a half.

In other news, I’m afraid I lost my brown sugar bear.  If you aren’t familiar with brown sugar bears, you are either completely missing out or you have never used brown sugar.  Basically, the brown sugar bear is a terra cotta, clay-looking bear that you soak in water and then put in your opened bag of brown sugar.  And somehow the brown sugar absorbs the water from the brown sugar bear and then it stays moist instead of getting super hard.  I am in general not a fan of really specific kitchen utensils and prefer more general purpose ones, but I 100% make an exception for the brown sugar bear.  This thing is magic and awesome.  When I told Mike I lost my brown sugar bear, he looked at me skeptically.

“Where could you have possibly lost it?”

What I didn’t particularly want to admit to, is that I had a feeling it was still in my bag of brown sugar but had gotten buried and was no longer visible.  One of my to-do items today is to sift through my brown sugar looking for the bear.  Because honestly if it’s not in the brown sugar I have no idea where it is.  I noticed that in the Amazon link for purchasing the brown sugar that I linked to above, there’s an option for buying a set of two brown sugar bears.  That makes me wonder if I’m not alone in losing the bear.  Maybe it’s a common thing for it to become buried in brown sugar and stay “lost” until a great deal of brown sugar is consumed and it surfaces again.  Either that, or it’s common for people to have two open bags of brown sugar and need one brown sugar bear for each bag?  I would scoff at this idea except that I happen to have two open bags of brown sugar right now (I opened one at some point without realizing I already had an open one.  This is compounding my lost brown sugar bear problem because I’m going to have to sift through two bags of brown sugar looking for it.).

Mike spent some time on the landscaping last weekend and he was intensely precise with spreading beauty bark (aka mulch) around the rose bushes.  I argued that he shouldn’t have to be such a perfectionist with everything he does and that the quality of the beauty bark spread wasn’t worth his time.

“I can’t help being drawn to quality,” he said, his head near the base of the rose bush.  Then, after a pause, he turned to look up at me with a roguish smile.  “That’s what drew me to you.”

I opened my mouth to respond and then shut it again.  Well.  Hmm.  Hard to argue with that logic.  That took the wind out of my sails, even though I know Mike well enough to know that he was just trying to get me on his side about the importance of the mulch around the rose bush roots.  😉  In other news, though, the new rose bush Mike planted looks great and has some lovely roses on it!

Gorgeous!!

Gorgeous!!

Piper has been such a lap cat lately!  Maybe because the weather has been warmer, she’s been less active and has spent more time lounging in our laps.  As I type this, she is literally lying with her rump in my left elbow and her chin on top of my right wrist.  In case you’re wondering, yes, that makes typing difficult.  😉  However, when I try to get a picture of her and me together, she still always tries to get away.  She is so photogenic, but hates getting her picture taken!

The look on Piper's face is priceless!

The look on Piper’s face is priceless!

What I’m listening to lately: Everything.  Music from the 60’s through 2016.  For some inexplicable reason I have been coming back to the Smashing Pumpkins pretty regularly and have been listening to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness at least a few times a week.  I’m not sure why.  For some reason their music has been resonating with me lately.  Also, did anyone notice that Kygo came out with a new album on Friday?  Most of the songs had already been released as singles, but it is still worth a listen if you’re a Kygo fan (which I kind of am… not a rabid fan, but a reasonable fan.  Is there such a thing?)  🙂

Completely unrelated to anything else, Mike and I got in a Winnie-the-Pooh discussion yesterday.  I love Winnie-the-Pooh but Mike wanted to know what is up with a bear who only wears a shirt and no pants and who is called ‘the Pooh’.  What’s ‘the Pooh’?  I tried to convince Mike (unsucessfully) that the books were better than the cartoons but I didn’t succeed.  And honestly I haven’t read those books in so long that maybe they’re actually not good and I only remember them as being good.  Who knows?  🙂  Any strong thoughts one way or the other on Winnie-the-Pooh?

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Filed under Cats, Cooking, CSA, Food, Life in Seattle, Pictures, Weather, Work

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!

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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.  🙂

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

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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