Monday, December 26, 2011

Hanging out with the cool kids.

One of the crazy things about the internet are the relationships one can develop with people around the world, people one has never met. Or perhaps I should say the relationships you think you have with people. Relationships that, perhaps, in reality are only relationships in one's little brain.

There are a few people right at the moment that I have serious internet crushes on!

The Whole 9:
Melissa and Dallas (of course, we're on a first name basis), run a program called the Whole 9 that's all about eating good, healthy, unprocessed food. Actually, their program goes well beyond nutrition, they also write about sleep, a bit about exercise, reducing stress, and generally living the good life in a semi primal fashion.  In short, they believe everything I believe, except they have things like degrees in nutrition and physical therapy, so they can actually talk about their lifestyles in an intelligent fashion (when I try to explain why it's good to eat/live how I live, I quickly forget every scientific fact I have read about the issue and end up babbling a bit).  In addition, they cool and super cute and do bad ass things like spend 6 weeks in Mexico writing a book. In short, their lives seem pretty dreamy. AND, they post of Facebook all the time. So if you 'like' them on FB their posts show up on your page regularly, adding to the notion that they might actually your friend AND giving the impression that they are communicating with ME!

The Clothes Make The Girl:
Here's what Melissa says about herself on her blog 'I’m on a mission to be a superfit, well-fed, dressed-to-kill, glossy-haired, rock-n-roll, tart-tongued detective.' She does crossfit, she used to play roller derby, she's eats like I eat AND she's a great cook who makes up awesome recipes. In fact, she's such a great cook she just wrote a cook book. (Which, of course, I ordered the day it came out so I could seem cool. Plus, I've made a couple things from her blog and they are truly amazing.) And, she's nice. When you make the occasional comment on her blog or FB page she always responds and she's super sweet.   
I'm sure if I actually met these people we'd be best of friends, right? They would quickly see how insanely awesome and cool I am.  Unfortunately, at the moment, I merely one of thousands of love struck fans.

Hmm, I wonder how many of my (14) followers are staggeringly in awe of me..........

Friday, December 9, 2011

There's an app for that!

For a while now I've wanted to try meditating. Everything I read about it, both from the woo woo spiritual angle and from the hard core scientific angle, talks about how good it is for you. Your body is filled with lots of good calming chemicals (hormones) that do wonderous things.  It reduces the hard core edgy chemicals that us semi uptight folks typically flood our body with.  A quick google search of meditation benefits reveals '100 Benefits of Meditation'.  100!  That's nothing to sneeze at.
Some of my favorites:
  • Increased brain wave coherence.
  • Mind ages at slower rate
  • Purifies your character
  • Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
  • produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
 And that's just 5 things I plucked off the list. There are a hundred of those suckers, each one better than the last. You can see why I would want to snatch up this wonder drug.

So, last week I didn't sleep very well and decided it was time to give this meditation thing a try. There are different ways to 'learn' to meditate. You can take classes. You can pay to download meditation sessions. Before diving in to far, I decided to try some free youtube videos. (I wasn't watching, just listening). But before I got too deeply into my first youtube session the nice meditator man started talking about god. And, well, I am not going to talk too much about me and god in my public blog, but I will mention that when someone starts talking to me about god via youtube, the whole meditation thing pretty much falls apart.

And then I had a brilliant thought.  There's an app for that. I pulled out the old Iphone. Searched for meditation and virtually plopped down $1.99 for a mindfulness meditation app. I can now meditate in increments of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 and 40 minutes. My little meditation app man is very  hands off. He starts me off getting me all comfy and focusing on my breathing.  He talks to me gently about being relaxed yet focused like a mother watching a young child and then pretty much disappears. Except every couple minutes he surprises me and pops out of no where!  Usually (magically) just as my brain just begins to wander away from my breathing to some future chore I need to do or thing I need to dread. He pops in and reels me back. He tells me that's just fine, not to change my experience in any way, but gain control of my damn thoughts already.

I think I've done it four times this week and so far I give it two thumbs up!  We'll see how long I keep it up. But watch out, I may be perfect soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things That Drive Me Crazy About Myself, part ??

Baggies!!!!!  OMG so many baggies!

Today I am going to do a little adventure cooking. It involves an Indian spice called Josh Rogan which in turn is really a mixture of about 10 different spices. So I made a list and headed off to my spice cabinet to see what I had and what I needed to buy.

And then all hell broke loose. Okay, here is where a picture is worth about 1000 words. The picture that I did not take (because I was not thinking blog when I embarked on this adventure) would have shown 30-40 baggies full of small amount of spices shoved into my spice cabinet. Yes, shoved, because there were so many that any placement action less than shoving would have resulted in falling baggies.  The entire shelf was baggies.

Let me step back for a minute and share that years ago (10 or so) my mom recognized this problem and bought my a spice rack with lots of jar and labels just ready for my bulk spices to inhabit. The jars are set up, labeled and ready to go. But WHAT DO I DO?????  I buy baggies of spice and don't take the 2 seconds to put them in their jar. Then, for example, a year later on thanksgiving, I bring home 4 new baggies of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and add them to the pile.  Why do I do this when I already own all these spices??  Because the ones I already own are on the bottom of the pile of baggies and who wants to take the time to dig through it all.


So, today I just spend 15 minutes or so (YES THAT'S ALL IT TOOK), emptying the baggies into their proper jar and organizing.  I will give myself a slight pat on the back and mention that all the baggies except one or two WERE LABELED!  Yes, that is a lesson I learned because back in the day who would have taken the time to write the spice on the baggy.  I will also give myself a second pat on the back (woo, my arm is getting tired!) and mention that today I threw away the spices in the unlabeled bags (my tendency is to keep them because who knows when I'll need them, even though I have no idea what they are).

After. Ack, what's that baggy there in the back!

Okay, final baggy gone. Phew! I need a nap.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Treat!

I haven't blogged about Crossfit for a while, so I thought maybe I'd share an extra special workout I got to do this week. I am sure you can only handle the woo woo of the yoga blog for so long, bring back the real Roberta..........    

My very very favorite type of crossfit workout is a chipper!  In most crossfit workouts you do a certain number of rounds of the same three or four exercises, repeating  or increasing the same pain with every set.  In a chipper you do maybe eight or nine different movements and you only do them once.  They're usually a bit epic and they always rock, though maybe only after you finish.  We don't do them nearly enough, but sometimes we get them for a holiday treat. This Thanksgiving we were treated to an extra special holiday chipper.

5 Rope Climbs - 20 feet
10 Heavy Thrusters (40k ie 88lbs)
15 Cleans (also 40k)
20 Ring Dips
25 Kettlebells swings (heavy 24K or 53lbs)
30 Pull Ups
35 One Arm Dumbbell Snatches (35lbs)
40 Wall Ball Shots (14lbs)
45 Box Jumps (20")

All my loyal readers probably remember a counting post a while back in which rope climbs figured prominently. At that time I attempted 2 rope climbs in a row during a work out and couldn't make it to the top the 2nd time. Well guess what, Thursday I did 5 IN A ROW!!!! Yes, I was impressed with myself and feel free to revel in my glory as well.

And guess what else, 5 rope climbs in a row is exhausting!  I thought the 10 thrusters would be one of the easier parts of the workout. Sure they were heavy, but only 10.  But I was so tired after the rope climbs I could barely get the bar to my shoulders to do the thrusters!

The rest of the workout was just slow and steady and painful.  But, the great thing about chippers is that while every exercise usually sucks you only have to do it once and that's it! For example, while there is nothing good about 25 heavy kettlebell swings when you're already tired, you know if you suck it up you can move on to pull ups which are fun!  (Special thanks to Tracy and Dina who were cheering me on during the KB swings and made me feel like a rockstar.)  

I finished in 34 minutes plus some change. I am pretty sure I could take 3-4 minutes off my time. I had a good 3-4 minutes of completely gratuitous resting.  Or time spent dinking around instead of focusing, switching medicine balls and targets, getting distracted by things that were none of my business!  But I was only one of two women who did it as proscribed and was faster than most.

And yes, these are the things that I consider fun and for which I am thankful!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Clearly yoga didn't always make me blissfully happy!

This blog is dedicated to my favorite yogis; my dad who found yoga later in life after he was diagnosed with cancer and became quite giddy with it, Jonna, who taught me the importance of the proper form, and Phyfe, who started it all.   

I love yoga. I used to practice yoga regularly, attempting (mostly in vain) to unlock my body from hours of running and cycling. For me yoga was a physical endeavor, an attempt to open hips and hamstrings, unlock my back and neck. I wanted to work as hard as possible and I was always a bit resistant to the woo woo aspects of yoga (chanting and whatnot), but what with all the mandatory breathing practice and ohming, I'm guessing a got a bit of woo woo and stress relief as well.       

My not so necessarily brilliant yoga career started in 1996 or thereabouts. A group of us went to India for my stepbrother's wedding and his future wife's family had a yogi come give us daily lessons. I don't remember the poor guy's name, but I do remember he induced endless laughter (which I'm sure he found very confounding). He would put us in corpse pose at the end of class and tell us to 'imagine a dead body', which did little to encourage relaxation, as it was all we could do not to burst into hysterics. A bit of an inauspicious beginning, but it started me off, and for years after that trip I did yoga multiple times per week. But when I started crossfit, that all seemed to drop off as I ran out of time and energy for any other physical endeavors.

But really, with crossfit I need yoga more than ever. But maybe I need the quieter, calmer, gentler, more restorative yoga (closer to the woo woo side of the spectrum) to counteract the crossfit. This week I read the blog of a crossfiter who is starting on a yoga adventure. And it inspired me. So I channeled my inner Jonna and pulled out my Iyengar book and stop watch. I channeled my inner Phyfe and tried to remember where my 'locks' - root etc - were ('apply the locks' competes with 'imagine a dead body' as my favorite yoga quote of all time). I dug around the edge of my brain and found I could still kick the ujjayi breathing. I tried to ignore the two pairs of eyes (Otto and Daisy) who were staring at me with great expectation and surprise. And I was on my way.

And it rocked!  OMG, yoga makes you feel so good. I did some twisting and some hip opening and some back bending and when I was done, my back and hamstrings were singing with happiness! I am hoping this is just the beginning and my inner yogi will continue to shine.

BTW, Google roberta and yoga and this is what  you get! (A pose I did not do today.)

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Channeling Janet Jackson, 'what have you done for me lately?'  

Much like his mom, Otto has never really understood how to play.  Lately, he's been super antsy and full of extra energy. I'll take him for a long walk after work and then when we get home he'll stand beside me whining and jumping on my chair in an attempt to get me to play with him. Today (a Saturday), he was full of energy. He had three walks this morning (including one extra fun walk in the woods), yet all afternoon he was following me around whining,  torturing the cat and acting, well, kind of puppy like.

So, this afternoon, I decided we should go out to the dog park so he could play. Mind you it's 45 degrees and raining, so I wasn't super excited about standing out in the cold. But, he needed a walk  so I figured I might as well be miserable at the dog park.

So, we get to the park and I'm patting myself on the back about what a good dog mom I am, and what happens??????  Otto walks around the perimeter of the park peeing, then stands beside me and stares at me with a 'what have you done for me lately' look on his face. Other dogs try to entice him to play and he's having none of it. Quite frankly, he was getting more exercise inside my house. Finally, at the very end, as my fingers are freezing and I'm working on quite grouchy, he decides it's time to run with the pack. Of course, he's not playing, he's policing, essentially attacking the top dog in an attempt to get them all to stop playing. We had to scuttle out of the park with our tails down to avoid being shunned by the other dog owners.

What? I'm playing.  My feet are moving so fast they're blurry.
Otto (and mom) stand to the side as the others mix and mingle.
Pre park, Otto attempts to play as I attempt to nap.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Beautiful Squash Soup

BSS, I love you. (Please note the very fancy and almost professional looking photo!)
As I get old (maybe I can still say older?), I find that I dread the coming of fall and winter. Oh, it's okay when it's a beautiful, sunny, warmish fall day. But when it dips into the 40s, and it's all rain and clouds, drizzle and grey, I say no thank you. Not only is it just depressing, but I get cold. And I feel like I'm cold most of the time during the winter.

I have a friend who is always hot. Even though it was maybe 45 outside, she arrived at the gym the other day in a tank top and flip flops. She had elevated from her condo to a heated garage and driven to the gym. I woke up in my 55 degree 100 year old house, walked the dog, and rode my bike to the gym. I was wearing arm warmers, a wool shirt, a fleece jacket, a cycling jacket, the warmest cycling gloves I have been able to find, and my extra warm bike pants. And I was still cold. My  life is not conducive to cold weather. In fact, as I get older, I begin to think longingly of Arizona.  Or maybe Florida.  And Warmth!

Oh course, there is one amazing thing about the winter. Squash. In particular, my two favorites Delicata and Butternut. I am pretty sure that roasted delicata squash is the most tasty food ever.  I'm not kidding. My favorite used to be chocolate chip cookies, but I think RDS may have usurped that spot in my life. If any of you have not tried RDS, Do. Now. You won't be sorry. Add lots of oil. Slice it thin. And let it get a little crispy!  You'll say OMG, I love RDS.

Another squash favorite is butternut squash soup, or as my mom calls it, beautiful squash soup.  I made my first batch of BSS last weekend. Oh, get this, not only did I make my first batch of the season, but I made it with my very own homemade chicken broth. Really, life doesn't get much better than that. I make my BSS with about 10xs the amount of ginger and lime indicated in the recipe, and let me tell you, it was a little taste of heaven.  Actually, to be honest, I tried some right after I made it and was disappointed. It was kind of thin tasting and I thought my chicken broth wasn't holding its own. But the next day, after the flavors had had time to sit, well, it was competing with its brother RDS for my affections.

So, I guess fall and I have a bit of a love hate thing going. Maybe I'll just buy some extra layers and cook up the paleo comfort food.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Drama in Seattle

Phew, I'm exhausted. This week was trauma and drama in Seattle. The Alaska Way Viaduct was closed all week.  I believe most of my readers are Seattle natives, whether or not you currently live in Seattle, but a very quick recap for any who are not so lucky.  The AWV was built in the early 50s and since then has happily carried cars from North to South/South to North along the water with a BEAUTIFUL view (well at least the upper deck folks get a beautiful view).  Anywhoo, AWV blissfulness soured a bit with the after the 2001 earthquake when there was damage and people began to worry about 'the big one'. (People were probably worried before, but this was the first I heard of it.) Drivers now had to fear death if the earthquake hit mid trip. A bunch of downtown Seattle folks happily jumped on the bandwagon with a 'why do we have this monstrosity blocking our view  of the water' argument and 10 years and lots of pre trauma drama later, we are starting our new tunnel project. (Lots of pre trauma drama including a new mayor who ran primarily on a 'the tunnel sucks' platform!)    

The AWV was not a part of my life prior to moving to Beacon Hill. But, but since moving I have fallen madly in love.
  1. the view northbound is insane
  2. it gets one to Ballard with much less dodging and scooting around side streets than I5
  3. it's consistent. (I5 is very tempermental, sometime it will allow you to arrive in a timely manner, sometimes the traffic is a nightmare.)
So, with the impending closure, all of us South end folks were feeling a little gloom and doom in a 'the Apocalypse is coming' kind of a way. And we weren't disappointed. All week long we were oppressed by the drone of traffic helicopters looking for every traffic hiccup.  The first day traffic wasn't so bad, as I think everyone decided not to drive. Then as the week progressed, traffic got worse and worse.  By Friday there were 14 mile backups on I5 and trips into the city from close suburbs were estimate at 110 minutes or so. I know this, because after 4 days of waking up early and heading to 7am crossfit, I decided to sleep in and go to evening crossfit. So I got to spend an hour in traffic listening to traffic reports. I guess closing a highway carrying 110,000 cars per day is an issue.

Anyhow, they tore down half of it and opened up this strange detoured version of it that is guaranteed to slow things down and confuse people (I drove on it today and first couldn't find my entrance then missed my exit even though I saw the signs and was looking closely).

Many people seem to be nostalgic.  I don't have an sadness, as it is uglier than ugly, but I'll miss the dreamy lightning fast (exaggeration) convenience. Goodbye viaduct.          

Sunday, October 23, 2011



Halfway through the workout, I knew I was in trouble. I was feeling that intense muscular fatigue that you know will only get worse. As I left the gym and felt my legs spasm and collapse slightly on the TWO steps out of the gym, my brain sighed in resignation. I tried to avert it.  Yesterday (the day after) I  worked out  but took it easy, in the hopes of flushing out my muscles and avoiding the inevitable. But it's, here, the day after the day after and I can't move.

For those of you who don't exercise, a metaphor. It's like getting a cold. That first day you have a sore throat and you're a little tired, you don't feel too bad, but you know you're going to get sick. You can't do anything to stop it and you know there will be days of suffering. Intense muscle fatigue is like that. With Crossfit, I have various muscle aches and pains throughout the week. Fatigue moves around my body as the week progresses and we do different exercises. But usually it's just dull aches. This movement limiting soreness is a different beast.

At various times in my athletic career I have decided to run stairs. Running stairs is great when your body is adjusted, but when you first start it's hell. It always feels okay that first day, while you're doing it, but you know, two days later you won't be able to sit or stand or walk up and down stairs. You'll want to use the handicap stall in the bathroom so you can lower yourself with your arms not your legs.  Even if you try to take it easy that first day, you can't stop the inevitable, there will be a couple days when regular day to day movement becomes impossible! That's where I am now.

So today, I'd love to do some yard work. Vacuum. Walk the dog without looking like Frankenstein. Hell, I'd even like to get in and out of the car. Instead, all I can think about is lying flat on my back completely still. I suppose I should look at the bright side, think of how strong I'll be - tomorrow (or the next day)!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Is this my life?

I'm getting one of these!
The other day I got home around 8pm or so.  It had been a day spent crossfiting, working, riding bike too and from work, running errands, A.R.T. appointment, and finally dog walking. Phew. that meant that pretty much I started my day at 5.20 got up fixed lunch and breakfast, walked the dog, rode my bike to crossfit, completed crossfit, worked 8 hours, rode my bike home, grabbed car and dog and ran to my ART appointment (physical therapy but better), walked dog, went to grocery store, and headed home 8ish.

Here's what happened next in my dreams: I walk in the door and find scents of a delicious dinner simmer on the stove, ready to be dished onto my plate while I relax and some gorgeous male massages my feet and whispers sweet nothings about how wonderful I am.

Here's what really happened: I walked in the door already knowing the dog had rolled into something so insanely foul smelling that a bath was an immediate necessity. As I walked into the kitchen, trying to figure out what food could get quickly into my stomach before I dealt with the dog, I stepped on cat poop. Yes, my cat had pooped on the floor in the doorway of the kitchen. Meanwhile, both the cat and the dog were whining/meowing because they were starving. So, clean up cat poop, wash dog, clean entire bathroom because that is what is required after dog washing, do a load of laundry (again necessitated by a dog wash), feed dog and cat. Feed myself.

By this time, of course, it is about 10 and I am past my bedtime because I HAVE to get 8 hours of sleep and I have to wake up the next day at 5.20 so that I can wash/rinse/repeat.

And I don't even have kids!  If kids were stacked into the picture. Think how much more complicated all this would be.

Hmmm, there might be more to solving this dilemma than a dog washing machine?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Last Garden Update of 2011, I promise!

I actually grew this!
I know, I know, most of you read 'garden update' and our eyes get heavy. But I had a request, so what am I supposed to do?  For you non garden peeps, I promise another blog soon. I have multiple topics written on my bamboo 'white' board so I won't forget.  And if those of you non garden folks are patient, you may be rewarded with a joke or two and at the end of this blog with some extra cute Daisy and Otto photos!

Overall, I'm going to rate Garden Project 2011 a success!  There were some challenges:

Peppers - So tiny they aren't even worth discussing.
Broccoli rabe - nothing, but it's quite possible I was not patient enough with these. They bolted and I pulled the damn things.  That was in the early days. Do you remember those very sad days of summer 2011. There was NO sunshine and everything was NOT growing and I was getting frustrated. Perhaps they just needed time and space and not to be yanked from the ground.
Beets - They flowered pretty quickly and ended up being very fibrous and not very good.

But, let's not dwell on sadness and tragedy, let's jump to the good news.

Onions - I grew some kind of onion from seed and I haven't tried those yet (they are small and were slow), BUT the walla walla sweet starts I got from PCC have been insane! I think I only have about two left and will be very sad to see them go. Though, maybe my co-workers won't mind, as I tend to eat copious amounts in my daily lunch salad and may be fragrant post lunch.    
Basil - Mmm delicious salad addition
Lemon Cucumbers - They were awesome and cute.  Though stressful because there were just too damn many of them!  And how many lemon cucumbers can one person eat?
The remnants of lemon cucumber (with a basil leaf thrown in), cute!

Broccoli - nothing to say but awesome! Oh, wait, I just remembered the aphid crisis, it was rather brief an did not effect the overall crop! Though I did spend lots of time murdering aphids.
Purslane - Ah purslane. It finally grew, but unlike the succulent lemony stuff at the farmer's market, mine was completely bland and tasteless!
Kale - kale was my super star. I ate (and am still eating) lots of my kale. There was an aphid thing for a bit (the aphids moved from the broccoli to the kale), but overall a success.
And finally, Squash!  I am finally eating my squash; delicata and spaghetti. OMG, so good. Even the animals eat them. (BTW, special shout out to Tracy and MB, the spaghetti squash was purchased with a gift certificate from them!!!!)
I know, my meals all look the same, but kale, broccoli and spaghetti squash fresh from the garden, how could you not eat that every day, all day!   

File under, completely gratuitous. As promised, this was Daisy and Otto hanging on the porch in the sun yesterday. Even cuter than a lemon cucumber!

So that's the garden story. Until next spring when I get to bore you all again.  


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Keeping Up (or not)

As all my regular readers will no doubt remember, almost a year ago when I got the new Iphone 4, great amounts of stress were undergone when I had to upgrade the operating system on my computer - Since then my computer has been slow and I promised myself that next spring I can upgrade and get a new computer.

Then on Friday I get a call - out of the blue - from my internet company and a nice electronic lady tells me that my modem is really old (that would be 6 years old, since that is when I moved and got hooked up) and that it's probably effecting my service and internet speeds. Oh my. Things I have never ever thought about or considered. Maybe my modem is making my computer slow, not my computer?

So for the last hour I have spent my valuable time pouring over Amazon reviews of two modems from the same company (one a slightly newer version than the other). Mind you these two modems are virtually exactly the same, both are considerably newer and more advanced than my current modem, and I haven't given any thought to any modem ever before in my life. And suddenly I'm reading reviews to try to decide which of two virtually identical modems I should buy.  Goodness!

Anyhow, after way too much time, I decided and a new modem is on it's way promising me lightning quick computing speed. Hopefully, not so lightning quick that I will decide a new computer is not necessary.  

But me being me, now I start to worry. What about my wireless device?  Is that now too slow?  Too old?  What else needs upgrading?


(By the way, update to last week's post, homemade coconut milk yogurt is the best thing EVER!  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Happy Homemaker

All I need is the hot guy out front polishing my car!
 After all the talk this year about cooking chickens, making broth and growing my own veggies, I am sure you are all dying to hear about my next homesteading adventure. Well, wait no more......

As I learn more about food and health I spend more (too much) time thinking about how things are effecting my body. And more (way too much) time thinking about what makes up the things I am buying/eating. But, it seems there is actually a plus side to this obsessing. It seems it is actually very easy to make things yourself AND these things might actually taste exponentially better than the crap you buy at the store.

I had some free time this weekend so, in addition to writing TWO BLOGS, I did a little food experimenting.

Mayonnaise.  Anyone who knows my family, or at least has eaten fish with my family, knows about our love affair with mayonnaise. Next to popcorn, it was my dad's favorite food. He always 'fixed' his mayonnaise. This involved lots of lemon juice and spices.  And then he ate it, lots of it on crackers, on potato chips, with cottage cheese. A reunion of his family this summer involved large vats of tartar sauce (essentially fixed mayonnaise) on fish.  And it was mighty tasty. 

But, have you ever actually read the ingredients of a mayonnaise jar?  Most of the stuff in there you just do not want to eat. Even the happy 'healthy' kinds from the expensive yuppy stores.  Well, it seems you can make olive oil mayonnaise in the blink of an eye!  Olive oil, egg, mustard power, lemon and a blender and pow (or whirr)!  Delicious!  (The only catch was waiting for the egg to reach room temperature. After my waiting patiently for 4 hours, my egg calmly rolled itself off the counter rather than be a part of my culinary adventure. And neither Otto nor I nor all the king's horses could save that poor egg. )

Yogurt. Many of the books I have been reading lately tout the benefits of fermented food. But, much like mayo, if you go looking for yogurt in the regular stores you get.... Well first of you get dairy which I don't eat, but secondly you get lots of words that I don't even understand.  And I'm tired of eating words I don't understand. But fortunately, it seems if you want to eat fermented food you can grow bacteria in the comfort of your own home.

Coconut milk yogurt was today's adventure.  And I wish I could tell you that it was delicious, but unfortunately, yogurt is a painfully slow adventure. My bacteria are currently duplicating in the back room.  I can tell you my genius for of the day. It seems to grow cultures properly you need to keep them at about 110 degrees.  With that news, I was about to give up my yogurt plans when suddenly I realized that the 'professional greenhouse' I used to grow my plants this spring might be the perfect tool for yogurt. So my coconut milk is sitting on the plant heating pad. (I think this ingenuity probably multiplies my homemaker status).  Anyhow, keep your fingers crossed!

    If it looks anything like this, I'll be in heaven (and probably ready to quit my day job)!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Double dipping is just rude!

An expert concerned about the double dip.

Well, much to the excitement of all of you, today we are going to be talking recession!  I seem to have some confusion I need to work through. I spend time listening to NPR and trying to stay up on world affairs. And everything sounds terrible. But are we in a recession?

Here's what the news tells me. Every time NPR mentions recession, they quickly pull out an expert. This expert always has one of three opinions.
  1. We are already in a recession (Yes, the dreaded DOUBLE DIP is always mentionned!)
  2. We are not currently in a recession, but we're our the way there (NO, don't DOUBLE DIP).
  3. Things are bad, but we'll pull out. (This is the one I always tend to believe.)
So that's the 'truth' according to the experts. But, as you can see, it doesn't actually tell me anything.

Here's my layman's view point. Every time I go out to eat in Seattle I am amazed by the number of people out spending lots of money.  Restaurants that I consider expensive are packed.  In fact they are so packed that for the first time in my forty plus (ack) years in Seattle reservations are required.  I kid you not. I have never worried about reservations in Seattle, but suddenly you need them or you're not eating. And I'm not necessarily talking a Friday or Saturday night, these places are packed all week!  Does this sound like a recession?

So then I think, maybe Seattle is just lucky. But, I work for a large national retailer and sales are great.  Sales are great not just in Seattle, but all over the country. Again, confusion.

So, I don't know the answer. But I've been thinking about it a bit lately. If you listen to the news, we should all be saving our pennies and stocking up on ramen. But in life, well it's just regular life.  So, double dip?  Will the 2008 crisis be back soon?  Or maybe I should just go spend some money and help the US avert the worst. But, I am pretty sure, if I hear the expression Double Dip on more time, I just might scream.       

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Counting to Ten

 Happy and healthy (or something)

Just for the fun of it, I thought we would do my week in numbers.

One. The number of times Daisy got bitten by another cat.  I think cat bites/fights are pretty common for those of us terrible pet owners who let our cats wander outside. But Daisy always been a pacifist. And I think on Sunday she wasn't fighting, but running for her life. Post bite, she spent the day lying in one place panting and hissing at me if I came within sight. It was very sad and traumatic for us all and led to .....

Two. The number of times Daisy went to the vet this week. This would also be the number of times Daisy has gone to the vet in the last 11 years.  This I distinctly remember because in 2000 I broke my collar bone and something happened to Daisy.  I had to drive her to the vet with my broken collar bone and my non power steering/manual shift car.  Then, I had to give her daily medicine with one arm.  Again, traumatic for all.  Daisy doesn't go down often, but when she does she goes big. Oh, but current vet trip. She's been on antibiotics and possible surgery watch if infection set in, but seems to be healing nicely.  Phew, only $150 and not $$$$$.

Three. Moving off Daisy for a  minute.  There are other events in my week. Three is not only the magic number, but the number of birthday parties I am going to this weekend.  What's up with September and Birthdays?  Oh, New year's eve?

Four. This is an exciting one.  The number of folders I set up on my IPhone.  My apps are now carefully organized.  It doesn't get any better than that.

Five. The hour during which I have been waking up all week, whether I need to or not. Now that I regularly crossfit in the am, my body (and pets) seem to have decided that 5-5.30 is the perfect time to get up. But you know what, it's NOT!

Six. This is a big one.  SIX is the number of days I managed to not eat (not even taste) and barely even think about an open and 1/2 eaten bar of chocolate that was sitting in my desk drawer at work. I am sure this is some kind of record and I should probably call Guinness.

Seven (ish). The number of rope climbs I did early one morning. Really, nothing says good morning like a 20 foot rope climb. The workout actually called for ten rope climbs, two climbs in each of five rounds. I was fine doing on the first climb but then would get about 3/4 of the way up on the second and decide it was time to come down. I was pretty proud of the 7 (ish) but next time it needs to be all 10!

Eight. The number of times I rode my bike to and from work.

Nine. I am sure I did nine of something this week, but I can't think of what that might have been. 

Ten. One a scale of one to ten, with one being deathly ill and ten being bright eyed and bushy tailed, ten is how Daisy looks today compared to a week ago.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Are You Kidding Me???

This blog could also be titled, it's way too hard to be me.

I'm reading a new book about primal living and how to keep it real like our ancient ancestors. It's an interesting book, though I think the author has hyped things up a bit. Every chapter she brings up a new topic - gluten, soy, fats etc etc, - and talks about how terrible each is, all the crazy things it makes your body do, and all the ways it will kill you. And while I personally believe most of what she is saying, I think the tone of her book would probably turn most people off pretty quickly.

Anyhow, I'm not going to spend the ENTIRE blog just writing about a book none of you have read. Instead I'm going to talk about gluten and my hair (or I guess more specifically my scalp).  Hello!

So, about three years ago I stopped eating gluten. I'm not sure I'm allergic, but definitely 'intolerant'. And over the last few years I have found my body is much happier without a daily chocolate chip cookie fix. So I figured with gluten (and various sundry other things) gone, I was happy and healthy.

About a year ago I found out all the terrible things (toxins, cancer causing drugs etc) that are put in many sun screens and cosmetics products. I promptly went to and looked up all my products, only to find out that  most of them are leeching terrible toxic sludge into my body (your skin being the largest organ absorbs all kinds of shit it is exposed to).  Some things I adjusted. Some things I decided I couldn't care about and life when on (and I mostly blissfully forgot).

And then I'm reading this book - all cocky because I'm thinking I don't eat gluten, so I'm good -  and come to find out that beauty products have gluten in them and if I'm sensitive to gluten, well guess what, MY SHAMPOO IS KILLING ME.  Yes, I jumped out of bed, and looked at the labels on my conditioner and shampoo and they BOTH have wheat protein. As you can imagine, I didn't sleep so well that night.

The next day I rushed to to Whole Foods and Madison Market, thinking they'd have happy shampoo bottles, sparklingly label 'gluten free'. But no, not only are there no gluten free labels, but all the shampoos there (the ones that I can actually read the ingredients) all have wheat in them too!  And half the stuff in those bottles, who even knows what they are. And yes, you can go online and find gluten free hair care products, but who even knows what else I innocently contact on a daily basis that is killing me through my skin! Car exhaust (duh), clothes?, computers?, the new rubber strap I bought to help stretch, the water Otto drinks from the street after a rainfall?  

Holy Guacamole!  What's an overly conscientious, health  obsessed citizen to do?              

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School

And what new boy in class wouldn't find me smashing in this ensemble?

Every August I get nostalgic for the time when fall meant 'back to school'. When you're in school, every year you get to start anew with a new school, new teachers, new friends. It's a time of shiny school books (unless you had to buy the slightly different, used version that didn't quite match the teachers copy) and fancy new clothes and shoes (that two weeks later your mother was bribing you to wear because somehow what you thought was extra cool in the store was actually less cool for school). It's a time of new possibilities. Maybe you'll be in the cool kids clique (even though later it turns out maybe they weren't so cool). Or maybe that extra cute boy will decide you're extra cute and ask you out (even though the previous year you were too scared to even look his way and probably wouldn't know what to do with a date anyhow). In any event, in the days leading up to Labor Day, the school year is still open to possibility, unjaded by reality.

This year I didn't have the best summer. I guess I can't really complain about June or July, except the weather extra sucked. But August, I don't know, I was just grouchy and not very happy with myself - for various and sundry reasons. Anyhoo, I have decided that this year I'm going back to school. There won't be an huge external changes, but internally I have some ideas for shiny shoes, crisp clean smelling books, and maybe hanging out with the cool kids!

It's going to be a good year. Happy studying! (What would this be, 40th grade or something?)

This isn't back to school, but pretty cute! I think I would have had more luck with the men here than my actual back to school look.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


For today's blog, a poll.

As I've mentioned before, when I first got Otto he was a sad, sad dog. He'd been abused. He was scared of my back bedroom and his own shadow. And he had no idea how to relax and/or enjoy life. All he wanted to do in those early days was lie on the couch. And he was so sad and pathetic, well, who was I to deny him his one pleasure. So, the couch became his home. In my house it is perpetually covered with a sheet and dog hair. I never sit on it!

I'm new and scared!

Lying on my dog bed makes me very unhappy (even when I'm surrounded by toys)!

Ahh, much better.

So, at our cabin we have a bit of an issue. Otto really wants to sleep on the comfy new futon, but it has a light colored cover and my mom, for some strange reason, doesn't want him on the futon. So, the result is that Otto sneaks on the futon and then gets confused when he gets yelled at. It's very sad.

Well, my mom just got a new chair for the cabin and it came complete with an ottoman. Yes, an OTTOman. If that isn't a piece of furniture with his name all over it, I don't know what is.

Unfortunately, and very tragically, my mom doesn't agree. Poor dog!

Please vote, Otto on the Ottoman, yes or no?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This and that

Today we get to talk about some exciting updates in my life (you'll soon see how 'exciting' my life is).

Appliances, new ones!

First there is the fancy stove. It actually doesn't look too bad in the ancient kitchen, though I could use an entire remodel now! And it works like a charm. Well, actually the oven works great. And it's got this cool feature where you can actually fit two pans in the oven side by side! (My old oven was very narrow as much of it's 36" was taken up by a warming drawer I never used). Not to mention that I've actually got two ovens and convection so you could stack everything up and and down and it would still work perfectly. The stove top and I haven' t quite figured each other out, but we're talking. And there is this large oval burner in the middle that I really don't know what to make of. Perhaps one buys an oval pan?

Vacuum! After I saved a bunch of money on the stove (on sale + floor model) I told the sales person to sell me a vacuum. He wasted no time and I left with a shiny blue vacuum. Miele. It's growing on me. I think I had this expectation that if you spend money on a vacuum it should be magic. You should plug it and and ZIP all the dirt and pet hair in your house immediately is gone and everything is shiny clean. There seems to be a little more sweat involved than that, but it does a good job. And it's got this cool hose extension feature that is sucks in those spider webs that had been taking over the crevices of my ceiling.

Old stove. It seems the company I hired to fix the old one no longer has the $375 I gave them as a down payment. The owner got quite indignant when I got upset because she told me she needed to pay her electric bill and rent instead of giving me back my money. It seems my expectations were way too high! She ended the conversation by telling me I could take her to small claims court. Hmmm, she blamed her problems on the economy but I'm thinking a bad economy should actually be a good time for appliance repair??!!?? Perhaps her personality is the issue. (My credit card company has promised to get me back my money!)

What else? Family in town? That's a loaded topic that perhaps should not get public attention. It seems my 16 year old self can surface at any time!

New pet food? I've been buying Otto this fancy raw food and although he has been eating raw food ever since I got him he seems to only want to eat this if I hand feed while coaxing him or cook it. I'm about ready to pull out both his hair and mine! Ingrate. Fortunately, I've got the new vacuum if much of our hair ends up on the floor.

Veggies? It seems I'm supposed to plant fall crops now but I might need a vacation from gardening until next year. There is a lot of work and emotion that goes into this gardening business.

Okay, that's all I got, something fascinating next week, I promise!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Food and cooking.

Oh shit, Roberta is blogging about food and her garden again. Can't she find anything more interesting to talk about?

No, it seems that this is the only interesting topic I have in my life at the moment. Well, maybe I'll expand and rant on the other TOI (topic of interest) in my life.


1. Food from my garden. I just wanted to mention that roasted broccoli and onion greens is the very best food item in the entire world and I eat it at least once a day. When the sun is gone and there are no more onion greens or fresh broccoli from either my garden or the farmer's market, life will be very very sad.

Bye bye.

2. I'm getting a new stove. According to a post on my Facebook profile I have not had a stove (oven actually) since June 8! Despite numerous internet warnings, I managed to hire the world's very worst appliance repair company. (Just say no to Jimmy-Z Appliance). After many moons and many many phone fights with the appliance company, I threw in the towel and bought a new one. (Actually, they are mainly fights with the appliance company voice mail, because they pretty much avoid my calls at the moment. And requests to speak to management are unheeded!)

Here is a partial transcript from my most recent call (after 6 weeks of nothing but promises that never came true.)

me: Can I speak to your manager?
appliance company employee (ace): she's speaking with the owner.
me: don't you think a customer is more important (I didn't actually say that, but wish I had),
ace: Can I leave a message?
me: Um yeah, HAVE HER CALL ME!!!!!!!!
ace: I'll try
me: what does that mean? she won't call me?
ace: oh, i'll give her the message

NO CALL and they haven't answered the phone or responded to emails since.

Anyhow, enough ranting. I'm a bit sad that I will no longer have the cool vintage stove that fits perfectly in my kitchen. In fact now that I'm sitting in my kitchen looking at a picture of the new stove, it is looking very out of place. I will have a crazy looking modern stove that is too narrow for the space and will probably make my entire kitchen appear to be in dire need of a remodel.


But, I WILL have an oven - actually two of them (and convection no less). I will have 5 burners (god knows 4 was never enough). And maybe someday I'll get back the $400 Jimmy-Z owes me!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Things I will be eating in the next 24 hours.


As in the garden is booming.

Some onions and beets!

Check it, it looks like real live grocery store broccoli! *

Purslane, yes some purslane grew. It isn't super tasty and lemony like the stuff I buy at the farmer's market, but I'm sure it's healthy. (Off to the side is kale which you've already heard about.)

Basil finally decided to show up as well!

This squash I will not be eating in the next 24 hours, but I'll be eating it someday!

*For those who are interested, after a sad week, the aphids ditched the broccoli and went flying on over to the kale. For the most part the broccoli is but free. But some of the kale is kind of a disaster. Better the kale than the broccoli in my opinion!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cricket Saturdays

Every year it surprises me, but there is cricket in Seattle. There is a Samoan cricket league and every summer they play cricket up at the Beacon Hill Community Center. Every Saturday there is a series of games - men, women kids. And all week long they have practice every night. Even after walking by them multiple times per week for five years, I don't understand the game at all. Here's what I know. There is a lot of throwing to someone holding a battish thing. Lots of attempting to hit (it looks like it should be easy, but maybe not so much). An occasional hit. An even more occasional run (hitting doesn't seem to automatically equal run). And a very occasional catch. All genders wear skirts. They are not small people.

I'm not sure how many Samoans live in Seattle, but I'm guessing a good percentage of them come out every weekend it's pretty cool. Though really hard to capture in picture.

In other news, for you sizzling hot midwest and east cost suckers, it's amazingly awesomely perfect here today - high 70s and slightly breezy. However, so you don't get too jealous, it was 55 all week. I woke up every morning listened to news of the heat wave on the radio then my confused brain remembered to don my fleece pants, long sleeve wool shirt and fleece jacket to ride into work. I am pretty sure the weather has become the number 1 and possibly ONLY topic of conversation in this city!

That's all I've got today. Well, except for some cuteness, Otto and Daisy enjoying the day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I do the majority of my shopping for food and the basic daily necessities of life at a local co-op. It works out well. I feel like I'm doing good, supporting a local business and, best of all, I know exactly what I buy and where it's located. The thinking involved is minimal and could probably be mapped out in a very simple flow chart (we auditors like flow charts) - do I need more broccoli? yes/no. Chicken or fish? If chicken.... Should I buy this bar of chocolate? etc

Unfortunately, life is not always so straightforward. Sometimes I venture into real stores - grocery or drug - and my poor head explodes. The other day I needed to get a tube of toothpaste for work. So I headed off to Bartells (yes, this is a locally owned business as well, but on a slightly larger scale and shopping there has a slightly lower level of smug self righteousness built in). One would think that buying toothpaste would be an easy adventure. Typically it's just Tom's. Most of us 'mid 40s liberal do the right thing' people buy Toms (even though they sold out years ago). But somehow when I buy work toothpaste it's like being on vacation, I don't have to do the right thing, I can buy something sexy.

But W-H-O-A. Somehow when I wasn't looking the array of toothpastes became dizzying. There are toothpastes for whitening, freshness, tarter control, with various types of mouth wash built in (scope or listerine), root cavity protection, regular cavity protection, enamel strength, extra whitening (better than whitening) and for those with sensitive teeth. Yes, whoa. In addition, there is every possible combination of the above. And in case that wasn't enough, there are some which make even bigger claims: power smile, pro health (yes, your tooth paste can improve your health), extreme clean, dry mouth (why drink water just brush your teeth) and (my very personal favorite) AGE DEFYING. (That's in capitals in case you had stopped reading, I didn't want you to miss age defying tooth paste). Let me add a little disclaimer here, I did not make any of these up, I was in such awe, that I stood there with my phone and typed the descriptions in.

The choices were over whelming. I actually gave up on the project. Instead I went elsewhere in the store and bought a mini trial size. Why trial size you ask? Because there were only 10 or so trial size options, instead of 50 or so regular size options. Why, you ask, didn't I just buy Toms? I have no answer for that.

I will tell you what I bought, Arm and Hammer Advanced White (I don't think there was a non advanced white, but whatever) with Baking Soda and Peroxide. Here's what it does:

3 Shades Whiter, Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste Tartar Control Gently Cleans Away Surface Stains Penetrates Tiny Crevices to Clean Away Deep Stains Safely Lightens Tooth Enamel For Whiter & Brighter Teeth. Contains Fluoride For Cavity Protection

Yep, penetrates tiny crevices better than any other toothpaste and makes them 3 SHADES WHITER (maybe non advanced is only 1 shade whiter)!

And, for you marketers out there, why I chose this out of the 50-60 options I had, different size and shaped bottles, different descriptions, different colors? Well, duh, the box was extra cute with gold and silver sparks. Nice job Arm and Hammer!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cute Kids!

I am quite possibly the cutest child ever, and even cuter in a cape!

Uhm, no I'm the cutest child.

Many of my friends who have blogs are able to depend on the cuteness of their children when fascinating blog topics run dry. In fact, in many cases capturing every moment of cuteness is the sole purpose for the blogs existence, as loved ones who live afar need to track all stages of growth. As you well know, sometimes I try to fall back on Otto when I'm desperate, but quite frankly, I'm really the only one who is very enthralled by blogs that are solely Otto (so sad). But, last weekend, I got to hang out with the insanely cute and sweet Erbeck kids, so I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity and make this the cute kid blog. (It's either that or whine about the aphids who are devouring my broccoli and moving onto my kale!)

It seems that life gets much more fun when you put a cape on, who knew?

It also seems that when wearing a cape, it's important to reach out your arm and point, imparting a spell on the one being pointed at, I'm sure!

Hey, what about me???

Yes, Otto was forgotten. Hiding in the closet in an effort to escape sure death from fireworks, Otto was out of site and out of mind, poor guy. No cape wearing or fighting for cuteness points.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ack, Aphids!

Mmm, tasty.

Dear Aphid Colony,

I don't know where you came from or who informed you that you were welcome to snack on my broccoli, but I don't like you. That's right, we're not friends. It's MY broccoli. And I am the only one who can authorize snacking on my plants. And quite frankly, the broccoli (and the kale too) are for me, and me alone! I would like to ask all of you and any other slimy family members who are on their way to pack up your bags and head on to some other poor sap's garden. You are not welcome here!


Roberta, (and Otto and Daisy - though I'm not sharing broccoli with them either)