Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Staycation

Is there anything more brilliant than being on vacation? I've been taking a the day of my birth off of work forever (why the hell would you work on your birthday?). But about 4 years ago I started taking time off for my birthday. For the last few years this has involved some type of trip, but this year I decided to just take a week off. I have been extremely excited for weeks now and yesterday was the first day.

And it was absolutely perfect!
  1. 65-70 degrees. WARM. It was warm. If you don't live in Seattle at the moment you cannot truly understand the brilliance of this. It has not been warm in Seattle this year. Even if it happens to manage to be sunny, it has been COLD! I can't tell you how many times I have gone outside in normal spring time clothes and nearly frozen to death. Really! All 'spring' if I haven't had a down coat and gloves on I've been cold (and, of course, grouchy). But yesterday, all one can really say is OMG. We all lay in the sun and just felt warm.
  2. Crossfit. Have I mentioned I LOVE Crossfit? Yesterday morning I arrived at Crossfit with low expectation after not sleeping properly for 3 nights. All my favorite Crossfiters were there including some very strong ladies. Typically these women are just a little bit faster than me (especially if there any jumping involved - as my legs are virtually fast twitch free). Yesterday, we did a lot of running (starting with 1200 meters), pullups and thrusters (heavy bar held at chest level, squat down and stand up thrusting bar overhead). I decided I just needed to go at my own pace and not worry about trying to keep up with the fast ladies. So at the end of the 1200 meter run they were well ahead of me. Jump ahead a few levels of pain later to the second set of thrusters, I pulled ahead and never looked back!! Fastest female at proscribed weight, second fastest overall!
  3. Spring greens = the best salad ever! I forgot about farmer's markets and really really fresh light FLAVORFUL vegetables. Yes I have been going to the farmer's market all 'spring', but heavy root winter vegetables are not the same as a truly fresh, light salad mix. I can't wait for the real stuff to start (strawberries, raspberries, peaches, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, broccoli that taste like candy!).
  4. 8pm bed time. Yes it was Saturday. And yes it had been sunny all day so everyone in the city was probably out having an incredible amount of fun. But I'd been out two nights in a row and hadn't been sleeping so at 8 I got in bed to read and the next thing you know I'm sound asleep -- for 10 beautiful glorious hours of rest!
I'm trying to think what else made yesterday so awesome. It's not like I did anything outstanding. I think it was the summer break feeling. You know when it's warm out and you know you're going to be free for a long time. So the first couple days (before the 'mom, I'm bored' sets in), you're just happy!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

South Lake Union

See how happy SLU people are!

Any of you who have driven in Seattle have probably at some point been plagued by traffic on Mercer Street. It's a mess. And now that Amazon has moved their head quarters to the area, it's only getting worse. The city has a plan to make this better, they're making it two way, instead of one way. I'm really not sure how a two way street is going to improve things, but, I digress. The real point is that yesterday Mercer was closed in preparation of it's new bi status, and I had to detour into the heart of South Lake Union to get myself up to Capitol Hill.

So yesterday, I had a little impromptu tour of South Lake Union. And let me tell you, it kind of rocks! There are lots of fancy new condo buildings (filled with Amazon working hipsters), tons of restaurants including a new Tom Douglas hot spot. There is a fancy new park (with the extra fancy title of Lake Union Park) that has a toy boat pond and a bunch of cool old ships. There is a pea patch! A street car name SLUT that people actually ride (it seems like it doesn't go very far, so I'm always surprised when people ride it). Not to mention, massage, yoga, martial arts, coffee shops, a hardware store, whole foods! Seriously it's all there.

As I drove through, I saw lots of smiley people in restaurants and people meandering to places they needed to be. I guess you could say it looked very self contained without being in the middle of downtown.

So, I think that's where I want to live. Not now. Now I have my house that I love. I have my own personal green space. I have lots of cute little sprouting plants that need a place to live. A dog that lives only to lie in the 'sun'. But, I think that might be my 10 year plan. In 10 years, when I get sick of taking care of my house, buying new roofs, weeding the endless blackberry, dandelion and ivy sprouts that will not stop cropping up. In 10 years, I will buy a cute little condo in walking distance of everything. Of course, in 10 years I will be the old lady in a sea of old hipsters, but as long as I'm still doing Crossfit, at least I'll be able to kick their butts!

'Please please, don't take me away from my sun spot!'

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Well, I'm guessing you all are dying to hear updates on project homesteading. I believe someone made a Portlandia comment in regards to my new meat requirements. Yes, I have become just like the Portlandia 'Ordering a Chicken Episode' and it's a bit ridiculous. But let me just state for the record, that I DO NOT go to restaurants and ask where my meat came from. I may worry about it, but, really, that would be embarrassing.

Anyhow, I have been (well, twice now) cooking whole chickens. The first chicken was good. The second chicken was pretty much amazing! (It was so good, I had to hold my mom back, as she was trying to deprive me of leftovers).

And, twice now, I have made chicken stock. The first time it's didn't work so well. I ended up feeding the stock to the dog until it went bad. Then I threw it out. The second time, I actually followed a recipe and then froze it (yep, the happy homesteader). Last night I made soup with my stock. Yes, soup from my very own stock!! It is the first time I've ever made soup without dumping stock out of a can. Last night I thought my soup was okay. But I forgot that soup gets better. Today, my soup was the very best thing ever eaten on this planet. Can I mention that cooking a whole chicken, then making stock, then making soup is essentially 3 major projects. This takes a lot of time and effort. It's a good thing the food is tasty. As I told a friend this week, I will make someone a fine wife. (Well, at least I would have made a fine wife in the 50s - well maybe 1850s. Now guys will probably just think I'm crazy.)

In other exciting news, the vegetables are growing. Well, most of them are growing. The beets are on the back porch and they are just starting to sprout. The walla walla sweet starts have survived the deluge of rain we had this week and seem to be doing quite well also. Everything else is inside in the 'professional' greenhouse and doing okay. The broccoli family (kale and broccoli) grew a bit too quickly and are now all droopy. The purslane, which for some reason I'm extra excited about, is doing a lot of nothing. Pepper, onions and basil are good. Everybody is getting excited about their trip outdoors. However, given that I am still wearing down coats and gloves, it may be a while before they get that adventure. Though they did move to the window today.

That's all I got.

A rather blurry picture of Daisy guarding the veggies in the glory days,
before the broccoli family got droopy.

Droopy Broccoli in it's new home.

Complete gratuitous but insanely cute picture of my friend's
new puppy, Penny (+ tween hand).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Things About Myself That Drive Me Crazy

This could be an extremely long (endless?) blog post, but I'll just keep it short and start with the current item of dismay, my complete inability to throw something away until it is COMPLETELY empty. One would think I had grown up in the depression, or at least raised by people who grew up in the depression. But neither is actually the case (I am much to young for that).

That case at hand, you may not be able to see it from the pictures, but these dish soaps are basically empty. There is a tiny bit of detergent in both of them. Any normal person might decide they are finished and throw them away (I have already purchased their replacement). Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to do that. This means two things. First, when I try to get soap out of the bottle it takes lots of time and shaking. And secondly and even more vexing, bottles with very little content do not stay upright. So I am continually knocking both of them over, which is extremely annoying. Not to mention the fact that I have two bottles sitting on my counter at all times.

Not to embarrass them unduly, but my family does this as well. Well probably not my brother, but I know my sister makes sure she finished every drop. The other day my mom offered me some soap she had saved from a hotel. I'm afraid I reacted rather strongly. You see, I have my own little soaps that I have been unable to leave at hotels and am desperately trying to get rid of. I cannot take on anyone else's soap guilt.