Thursday, June 23, 2011

Brown Shoes

I'm strictly a black shoe kind of a gal. In fact, I'll step back a bit and mention that I am pretty fond of black clothes as well. It's not that I'm scared of color, but I like to balance out my color with black. I can wear a colorful skirt, but it will almost always be balanced by a black top. Color on color makes me nervous. And so for shoes, black always seems the safe choice. It goes with everything and I always feel like there is slightly less chance that black shoes will spend their life hiding in my closet (ie I might actually wear them).

When I saw the above pictured boots, I fell in love. I promptly tried them on and equally as promptly asked if they came in black. They did, but they were sold out. So I did not buy the boots. Weeks went by and I kept thinking about the boots and how perfectly they would fit into my wardrobe. I planned my outfits and then was sad the boots couldn't contribute. I tried to find black ones online for a reasonable price. Finally, I threw caution to the winds and decide to BUY THEM IN BROWN!! And guess what, I love them. They go with everything, even black and they have become the perfect addition to my wardrobe.

But then summer came around. Well let me just stop right here and say that summer has not really come to Seattle in any shape or form, but it is sort of warm enough to no longer want to be wearing boots with cashmere socks. And suddenly I realized that without a brown summer shoe to wear, my life was not complete. I needed a summer version of the brown boot. And voila, my new brown wedges, again the perfect wardrobe addition that goes with everything!

Who said I can't be flexible.

More photos from the photo shoot.

Daisy practices her model walk, she's got the tail down.

Otto ruins a shot, hey buddy, we're on a tight budget.

Daisy's working on her lean, sultry model look. Otto practices the look away.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My First EVER Haiku.

An ode to my home grown kale.

Kale, a hearty feast
Grows eagerly in the cold
Morning eggs rejoice

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sundays with Otto

I've been trying rather unsuccessfully to come up with a blog topic for this week (if you haven't noticed I've been trying to blog at least once a week). So, I decided to look no further than the title of my blog for inspiration. A day in the life. Sundays. Here ya go.

Seattle is awash in farmer's markets. Every year that goes by there are another 2 or 20 farmer's markets. I think there is one in every neighborhood. Well, except, of course, Beacon Hill, my fine neck of the woods. We have no farmer's market. However, in the winter, the market's are few and far between. So about 4 months ago when I decided I could ONLY buy meat from a happy farmer, I started heading out to Ballard every Sunday. Ballard probably has one of the oldest, most established markets. It happens every Sunday rain or shine, whether or not there is a single vegetable to be dragged from the ground. And so, every Sunday Otto and I head out, Otto pees and I buy meat at my favorite meat producer, The Skagit River Ranch. Occasionally a vegetable is purchased. Hippy candles, soaps, and other hand made knick knacks are never purchased.

Here's the skinny.
The very first thing we do is head to Cafe Fiore. Otto stands in the doorway looking forlorn, which usually gains him a treat or two and I buy a delicious green tea matcha latte. Yummy and very green. Not only tasty but WARM. For the last four months I think there has been one warm day at the market.

So, I got a little carried away taking pictures of flowers. The colors at the market were crazy this week. We actually had some sun for a day or two (yes temperature is a theme in my brain at the moment as it was nice every day as I sat at work and it's been freezing all weekend), so the flowers must have gone crazy. They were all amazingly bright and vibrant. The upper part of the bottom picture is some very cool garlic.
Oops, only one picture of veggies. This week was the first week I started to get excited about spring/summer vegetables. So far it's been just kale and beets, the hearty early spring/winter fair. But it's time to get ready for veggie heaven.

Mmmmm meat!
The Skagit River Ranch booth is really not very photogenic, but their meat is 100% grass fed and the bomb!

Veggie starts! This is where I got every thing from my garden that I didn't start myself - kale, cukes, squash, broccoli.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the market from Otto's perspective. Two words, pee fest.

We spend most of the trip with Otto dragging me off to the side so he can make his presence known.

Really, the better two words are olfactory frenzy!

Occasionally some tasty food will be dropped (there are lot of kids). Mmmm ice cream! Mom, want some? (okay, I'm sure he was not thinking that last sentence)

At least he's not the only food obsessed hound at the market.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Garden

Art Shot

I had a request for a garden update and because a. I've been meaning to do it anyhow and b. I would NEVER want to let a loyal reader down, here goes:

As my regular readers have probably guessed from the purslane blog, this gardening thing has been an emotional roller coaster. Highs and lows, sadness and happiness, glory and despair. I guess you can sum it up by saying the the movie review would be, "I laughed, I cried'. And of course, 2 thumbs up. This stuff is fascinating!

Bed #1
  1. Beets, planted from my seed by ME! This is my most successful crop. Most are very happy with a few little stragglers there in the middle that can't quite seem to get their act together. I've eaten some of the greens and they're very tasty. I have no idea how I decide when the beets are finished.
  2. Onions, the ones on the right I bought from PCC one little box for $3 or something. And they are growing like gang busters. Again, I have no idea when I might pick and eat them. Mixed in and probably not visible in the photo are some really small measly onions I grew from seed that were knocked over a couple times by the animals before they made it outside.
  3. Way up there in the upper left corner are some not so happy broccoli rabe maybe? Again started by me, knocked over by animals and never very happy.
Bed #2
  1. Bottom of the photo, basil. Some I got for free and some I planted myself. All was very happy before it made it outside. They are all growing (or should I say not growing and) increasingly unhappy.
  2. On the left hand side is some lemon cucumber (MMMM). I bought one set at the Ballard Market and it promptly died within a week. So this is the second set. I wasn't supposed to separate the plants and I'm supposed to weed out of a couple of them which is very hard for me (talk about emotional, that's just murder)! So there are probably too many in a little bunch to really thrive, but they look pretty healthy.
  3. Above that is a mixture of broccoli and broccoli rabe some grown by me, some purchased, and some knocked over by the animals (yes, there is a theme here. I put the plants in the sun in the window sill which is also where the animals like to lie when the sun comes out. It seems the plants were not the alpha dogs) . All in various degrees of healthy and vitality.
Are you bored yet? Have you stopped reading? don't worry, I'm almost done and we're saving the best for last!

Bed #3
  1. The unmentionable purslane.
  2. Kale! Lots of kale. It happens to be my very favorite vegetable. Tasty. Chock full of nutrients (most nutrient dense vegetable per calorie). My #1 favorite thing to eat with eggs in the morning. The big stuff at the end I bought at the Ballard Farmer's market. I have eaten it a couple times and it's might tasty! The other stuff I started myself and it's been slow to get going, but I think it will live to be a tasty additional to my eggs.

Bed less
  1. Squash. I was going to grow delicata squash from seeds, but you're supposed to start it in the ground in June when it gets warm and that hasn't happened yet, so I just bought some. I've got 2 spaghetti squash and two delicata. It's possible Daisy (the cat) has decided this is her new litter box. So if I invite you over to eat squash, beware!
There ya go! My garden. Not bad for a first time I guess. We'll see how it all pans out if the sun ever comes out. Oh, and not so confidential to the person who commented on my purslane post, I got the seeds from Wild Garden Seed in Oregon. I just found them through a google search - oregon tilth certified and organic - and possibly guaranteed NOT to grow.

The next blog will be a fascinating one for non gardeners, I promise.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Deadlift

Warning, most might find this too much detail! (But it's my blog)

I have been working on my deadlift for 2.5 years now. I remember at my old gym, when I was first learning, deadlifting my body weight and thinking that was good and enough. My coach at the time explained that usually people can deadlift more than their body weight. So I went a little heavier, but didn't really push it. At my current gym, there is a focus on weight lifting, particularly heavy weight lifting. So the days of lifting just my body weight were long gone. I remember one workout when I first started at my current gym with 70K (154 pounds) deadlifts that was absolutely impossible!

Since then, my deadlifting has had its ups and downs. I'd get stronger. Then I'd get injured. Then my brain would have deadlifting strikes. It was a roller coaster, at least as sad as my purslane misadventure.

About 3 months ago we did a 1 rep max. I managed to deadlift 107K and then tried 109K about 3 times and couldn't budge it. I decided that 107 was probably a good number and I didn't need to go any heavier - EVER. But my coach kept inching up my 5 rep max and trying to get me to try a 1 rep max again. And then something clicked. It was actually one off hand comment my coach made that adjusted my form a bit. I did a 5 rep max at 108k and finally felt strong. I finally felt like I was in control of the bar, instead of the bar controlling me.

So today, when Craig asked me to try a 1 rep max I said okay - though my brain was still doing some 'heavy deadlifts are too hard' moping. I warmed up to 108 and then he said 113. I was a little dubious, but I tried and it felt easy! Then 117, then 120, finally 122 (268 pounds, almost 2x my body weight). And it was still easy (ish)! I guess next time I go heavier.

Not bad for middle age!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Purslane Blues

Happy purslane!

You may think you're looking at dirt, but this is my purslane crop!

A year ago when I was contemplating my gardening project I was buying a lot of purslane. I went to this farmer's market regularly and one of the farmers sold purslane. He advertised it as a 'superfood'. Never one to pass up on magic food that can cure all ills, I decide to give it a try. And fell in love. It's got a bit of a lemony crunchy taste, it's great in salads (I eat lots of salad), plus, it's a wonder food. It has more omega-3 fatty acids than any other green leafy vegetable. It's also chock full of vitamins a, c, some bs, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. And if that wasn't enough, it makes your brain happy. One website claims purslane has 'positive effects' on the brain. Possibly combatting depression, bipolar disorder, alzheimers, autism, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity. And really, whose brain couldn't use a little extra help.

The farmer told me that purslane is a weed. So I did a little research and it was the first plant I decided I wanted to grow in my garden. I was so excited that I added a 'note' on my phone so I wouldn't forget about it. I was also excited because it's a weed. Who can't grow a weed? I figured it was a shoe in!

So, when I started my garden, the first thing I did was go online and order purslane seeds. When they arrived, I added them to the 'professional greenhouse' (see previous post) and waited and watched. And nothing. The purslane all popped their little heads up, then nothing. After a while they just died. All the other vegetables did something. (Some of them didn't do anything very exciting, but everyone did enough to make it outside, except the purslane.)

So I went with plan B and just decided to throw some seeds in my new garden beds. So far the outside purslane is giving me about as much love as the inside purslane. It popped its head up and then nothing. It's so sad, as I have been awaiting this event for a year now! If anyone has any sway over the purslane gods, please put in a good word on my behalf! I'll invite you over for salad!