Friday, December 29, 2006

End of the year Meme!

Taken from Bad,Bad Badger.

Take the first sentence of each month and tell us how you really feel.
Tagging JK, Z, Mony and Jen.

January: Happy New Year from chez nm.
February:White boy flights.
March:JK says her life is pathetic.
April:Don't get me wrong.
May:Busy weekend in North Finchley, not the most swank part of the city, but I got a bunch of stuff done in the garden, well, at least it looks better.
June:Ack, muggy day here.
July:I am sort of taking tomorrow off of work
August:Happy August Peeps.
September:It is hot here.
October:I'm still in the market for a new 2007 planner.
November:It is very rare that I take advantage of the concierge service of any hotel I stay in.
December:Okay, today has been a day.

From my first sentences of each month you can tell that 1. I have lots to say about the weather; 2. I like short sentences; and 3. I like the first day of the month.

Not much else to report. Glorious two days here weather wise. Spent alot time ripping apart my wardrobe (I have no clothes left), some closets and doing some end of the year yard work.

I am happy to see 2006 end. I can't say it was the worst of years, it really was okay, but I think 2007 just sounds better.

2006 brought Ernest the puppy, sale of my condo before the market plummeted in So. Cal, a nice retirement nest egg for nm, lots of travel -both fun and work, some job trauma that got sorted out, lots of job responsibilities, great visits with friends new and old, continuation of my parent's amazing love and their good health, great things for my brother and fun times with TH.

I wish the same for you, good health, fortune and happiness.

nm

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

food for the soul

I have been in a funk recently, I'll admit it.

London was great, Brussels remains fabulous, being treated like a high flyer once in a while is really good for the ego, but it isn't real life, you know what I mean?

Life is dealing with crises at work, running around before the holidays because you forgot that someone needs something, experiencing the joys of teenage puppyhood complete with stubborness and mouse breath, realizing that life is not getting easier as you get older and no matter what they say, there isn't peace anywhere on this earth.

So, yesterday, I sat here, trying to rest and get my body back to a healthy place and I realized that part of me just seems to be not my usual perky self. I seemed to be missing my cooking panache, goove, mojo or what you want to call it. Nothing excites me - most of the little arguments at Chez Florandflying revolve around what we're having for dinner - seriously.

Yesterday, I was motivated to get that oomph back in my cuisine life with the ingredients on hand.

Roasted chestnuts found in the freezer section of Trader Joes, chicken stock from Friday's chicken, half and half, milk, parsely, cloves and onions and a bay leaf became a yummy cream of chestnut soup.

Pork loin, parsely, shallots, bread crumbs and olive oil and herbs became a lovely herb crusted rolled pork loin.

Potatoes from the UDistrict market, milk and butter made some pretty tasty mashed potatoes.

Bitter braising greens from the U District market, olive oil, shallots and balsamic vinegar added some vitamins to our mix.

Butter lettuce gently tossed with walnut oil and balsamic vinegar and herbs de provence salt made a nice palate cleanser.

Leftover brioche, milk, dried cherries, vanilla, brown sugar and eggs created a lovely, rich but not too sweet bread pudding.

Chocolates selected at Wittamer last week finished off the meal that was graced with some yummy Rooster Brothers coffee from Ellsworth, Maine.

Good friends sharing laughs and stories made it even more like soul food for me.

I think I may have found my food groove again.

Thank you.

nm

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

boxing day redux

Um, what can I say, Christmas around here was very unusual. We stayed home, keeping our germs within our watershed and basically other than eating two platefuls of cookies, coffee and a nice christmas dinner, we read, slept, read, looked at ernest and slept.

It was strange, but honestly, it was fine.

I missed my family, our friends and festivities, but there is always next year.

Today is boxing day, TH made me stay home, M&B are coming over for dinner and then we'll schelp in the rain to see the BBG lights.

E.dd will stay home with his squeaky toy and protecting us all from vacuum cleaners.

He's brave that way.

nm

Sunday, December 24, 2006

merry merry merry

Here I sit telling E.dd to leave the tree alone. Our friends R&A said unbreakable ornaments were the way to go.

I have to agree, though the tree looks funny without our normal ornaments. TH picked up some very nice birch and felt ornaments in London, but it just isn't the same.

We're all sort of under the weather here at Chez flora and flying. TH is exhausted, E.dd has the doggie sniffles and I still feel like crud.

I'm hoping a low key tonight and tomorrow will cure us. It will be the first Christmas that TH will spend totally by ourselves - no guests, no family and no 777 to london. My mom and dad are visiting long time friends in Los Angeles and my brother is in the frigid North. I will miss them, but they are in our hearts and I'm sure we'll all talk tomorrow. I will also miss a mild and often sunny Berkeley Christmas. Who knows, maybe Ernest will be a good flyer and we'll start taking him there for Christmas.


Everyone, please have a happy day tomorrow, think of your good lives, your health, your friendships - old and new and save me a mince pie will ya?

smooches,

nm and e. dd

Friday, December 22, 2006

comfort and joy

I am sick. I am not blaming anyone in particular, okay, maybe seat 5G who was sneezing and snorting the whole way back from BRU and talked to us at Baggage claim about his cold.

Ack.

Its not bad, but given my track record for getting over illness rapidly recently, I decided to just stay home.

Yes, stay home. I am missing latkes and my dinner with our godchildren, my manicure, work and many small purchases. However, I am not going to AMS and the half marathon hacking and losing sleep and work because I couldn't be bothered to stay home one day.

later taters.

nm

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

vacation notification

TH and I are off to London for a few, meeting up with JK, NKK and RK for some holiday fun.

We're using points for our hotel stays, even checking out the Park Lane Polonium. :)

Wish us luck.

More tomorrow.

nm

Monday, December 11, 2006

go team M!


Welshpool Munitions Factory, Women's Football Team, 1915. Image courtesy of http://www.gtj.org.uk/en/item1/24655.

Not the Mariners, but the two delightful women I worked with this quarter in my preservation planning class.

All of us wear glasses and our last names start with the letter M.

We were all busy, so we divided up the work, did not obsess over anything and got it done.

What a lovely change.

I will miss them, but I will not miss that class.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

when does it stop?

My day in a nutshell...

Paper, dog, market, dog, Trader Joes, dog, Metropolitan Market, walk dog,Center for Urban Horticulture,walk dog, jumpy dog, laundry, paper, no internet to check references, dog walkies, cookies to be made, cookies to be made, roll cookies, bake cookies, roll cookies, roll dog, walk dog, feed dog, impound dog.

The dog is now sacked out and snoring on the futon in my office. I really want to kennel him, but he weighs 45 lbs. I guess I could wave a ginger bread basset under his nose and see if he'll get up.

My paper is 87% done. I need to clean up the text, compile the bibliography and hope that our third party will complete by 6 pm tomorrow.

I am soo sick of school.

Sick of cookie dough as well.

Who would have thought.

nm

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

sliding down...

Image from VA Tech Image Base - http://imagebase.lib.vt.edu/browse.php?folio_ID=/va/wom/clas

I am two hours and seven pages away from my preservation planning certificate.

Not that I'm acting like I have short timers syndrome.

It just feels like such a downer.

My undergraduate final class was mycology. The last thing I had to take to get my BS in Botany. I hated that course and our final was a lame multiple choice. Mind, it was hard, but it seemed so easy and such a let down after all that work.

My first master's, I can't even remember what I did before I turned in my thesis.

My second, I remember taking History of Housing seminar with Gail Dubrow as my last two credits needed for graduation. I remember it was a great class, lots of reading, one book on housing types a week, lots of writing and some big project time line. I took it as pass/fail since I left for two weeks in the middle of the quarter to vacation in Venice and Rome while my committee considered reading my tome. I loved that class and worked my ass of in it even if all I had to get was a 3.3 to pass.

This time it just doesn't seem that interesting. For one, I feel older than G-d and I have told that to numerous people. My dear Pat, who went through grad school with me has listened to my many strange thoughts about being in school again. My reoccuring dream about losing my felcos that we had to have for our planting design class and that our department chair was mad at me for losing mine. Strange since I never took a planting design studio. She also has heard me lament that I will be happy to never set foot in the Easy Shoppe across from Gould again. It is just time to leave, ya know?

Well, in any case, if I get my act together and my ass in gear, I can be done with my part of my paper by tomorrow, edit on Friday and be done with it.

Next time, I'm going with something a bit more my speed, but for now, I think I'll take a break.

nm

helllllllllllooo out there?

Where are you people?

Shopping?

Baking?

Meeting your deliverables?

Getting better?

I miss you.

Not much going on here. I have had many conversations with health care professionals on the state of my slowly filling with plaque arteries.

No sampling at Neal's Yard anymore, no white flour, no sugar, no nothing.

No biggie.

I managed to do something today that I never thought I would ever... I added a segment to my upcoming flight so that I would qualify without flying another round trip. Cost me 200 bucks, but no change in fare. Now, I get home 30 minutes after TH, but get to visit DFW as well.

So, dish, what is up with you?

nm

Monday, December 04, 2006


I just sent my first evite.

I can't believe it. Me, the woman who makes her invites by hand, used the internet to invite people to an event she damn well knew was happening months ago and could not get the oomph to get it together.
Ack.

Should be loud here on Sunday, if you are coming by, wear earplugs.

Oh, Ernest, he just ate a library book and the fine is coming out of his allowance.

nm

Sunday, December 03, 2006

CMR and other things

Yesterday I went on a Comfort Mileage Run (CMR). This term is coined by a Flyertalker, RTWStarAlliance. It basically means that you go on a mileage attaining trip with confirmed upgrades.

In my case, only my loong return cleared. My outbound was marvelous with an exit row with no one between myself and my seat opponent, a mocha extra dark from Dilettante, satsumas and roasted veggie enchiladas precooked from TJs.

I managed to snag gratis a new snack box served in coach.

  • Bumblebee Sensations Lemon & Pepper Tuna
  • Late July Organic Classic Rich Crackers
  • Stacy's All Natural Pita Chips
  • Tree Top Natural Apple Sauce
  • Bear Naked All Natural Granola Peak Protein
  • Brown & Haley Almond Roca
  • Emergen—C Super Orange Nutritional Supplement
Just needed to snag a yoghurt from the Board Room and bring my own lemon and I would set be the flight. Can I also applaud Alaska Airlines for actually providing milk for a flight? No creamer, dairy or non dairy, but real milk. I enjoyed it in my coffee.

Way better than most snack box options as analyzed by the Diet Detective.

Back home in just under 14 hours (time in transit was shorter, it is the drive to and from and waiting that sucks) and I'm done (sort of for the year).

Today, I went on my first true training walk for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon that I'm doing next month (yikes). We survived. Next week, one more mile gets tacked on.

nm

Friday, December 01, 2006

just saying

Okay, today has been a day.

Really.

Nothing positive to note, but Ernest the puppy did have a nice farewell scritch from Deb Andrews of the Arboretum Foundation on her last day at work. He has a very broad basis of support that dog.

Other than that, like JK, I'm questioning my very expensive stay in London. I am wondering if the night bus is better than spending 400 bucks a night for the Hyatt.

Thankfully, we were only going to stay two nights.

As for JK, maybe you want to go to Paris with me in February and burn those nights at the Vendome.

nm

Thursday, November 30, 2006

hedging

From Photomaven http://www.flickr.com/photos/maven/

The US dollar is tanking overseas. Most of you could give a whack. For those of you heavily invested in foreign stocks, lucky you. For me, I think I have something like that and my portfolio is good, so I'm not complaining in the big sense.

I'm just glad we hedge currency at home. That is right. We take out extra currency when we're overseas (Euros and pounds and CAD) because we know that Bushie and his cohorts will continue a policy that will bring the US dollar to its knees.

We're not talking hundreds of thousands, but hundreds. Honestly, when we spend four nights in London next month at nearly 400 bucks a night (rethinking this as we speak) and meals that are 30 bucks for a plate of noodles that I could get in Seattle for 3.95, I'll be happy I did.

nm

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

fabulous things

Quick post before blogger goes bye bye for the night.

I am five freaking hours away from my certificate. Not five course credits, five hours, 300 minutes.

Whoo hooo.

Trader Joe's now takes Amex. I can now ditch that MC that I only use for Hyatt stays and only use my Amex.

I am soo happy.

Other than that, check out ernest's new pics.

Ernest in November.

What a handsome boy he is.

I was going to expound on food - chile stew for what ails, hot chocolate and what not, but it is going to have to wait.

nm

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

bridges freeze before the roadway

It is cold here in the Emerald City, so cold that we stayed home today because, well we could. Mind you, we worked, but those seven hour walks with Ernest were cold and he wanted to sniff every freaking thing.

However, tomorrow is another thing. We need to go in and in we will go. I hope my locks don't freeze and that the expected snow tomorrow night comes in after I get home. I'm thinking pumpkin soup and since tomorrow night I have to make a dessert for an AIA auction, I better figure it out before I get to work.

Our house is a small citrus holding pen. Not as elegant as a limonaia, but it will work until the weather warms up. The rest of the potted plants are covered with mexican blankets, down comforters and odds and bobs. I hate it, but it is an annual ritual chez nm.

I knew there was a reason we keep such things around.

I hope that you and yours are bundled up and warm.

nm

Monday, November 27, 2006

cyber monday

I have to admit, it hooked me. However, short of buying the kids very cute little flannel robes from Lands End (double miles!), everything else on the list was for moi!

Lucky me, I received a 20 buck gift cert from Lucy today (no strings attached), 15% a purchase of more than one book from the University Bookstore and found another gift card.

Good thing I procrastinated.

Did I say that it snowed? It did, Ernest is in heaven. He loves it.

His grandmere is skeptical. I believe she now wishes she had left with grandpere. However, she has cable, her art projects and food to keep her amused until we can shovel her out tomorrow.

Lucky duck.

nm

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Saturday, November 25, 2006

'tis the season


Sugar! December 2005.

Black Friday has come and gone. TH and I went to the Ace Hardware in Maple Leaf for some double point fun, Cost plus in Bellevue for stocking stuffers and to Exeter Avenue for more turkey. We were lucky enough to have Aunt Pat and Cousin Scruffy come visit for a while and Ernest was able to work it with Scruffy. It was not a pleasant sight.

Today it was cold, but moderately sunny. Much yard work, gutter cleaning, running around and sadly, finding our neighbors deceased cat in our yard. It was a hard phone call to make and though the outcome is awful, at least she has closure.

Other than that, we're at home, enjoying a reprieve from turkey (tomorrow -enchiladas!).

Ernest's christmas presents have been ordered or located. Its the rest of the planet that is going to have to wait.

nm

Friday, November 24, 2006

Ernest in the window, November 2006.

W
ho is that tiny doggie in the window?


Three Thanksgiving meals later, I'm done.


nm

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

four o'clock in the morning

This morning (4 am) TH and I discussed the new security regulations coming down the pike and how hard it would be to conduct research and development when most of your waking hours are spent keeping up with unfunded IT security mandates.

Basically, you can't do any work, so why bother even trying.

Then we discussed other uplifting things and at around 6 am I went back to sleep to only wake up even more groggy and cranky.

I think from now on, I'll just get up and get on with my day.

nm

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

the heavens opened

Seriously, like three times today. I even went out to check on Ernest to see how he was doing when we had lightning and thunder.

He was asleep.

I love Seattle, I even love this weather, but today, I could use a little sun.

I passed 2,000,000 miles on American Airlines today. I guess my miles from my Tmobile account posted. I guess I'm relieved and as much as I know JK and others won't believe me when I say --I'm taking a break from this game.

I'm pooped.

I may even fly on miles this winter and give TH all my upgrades.

Lucky girl.

nm

Monday, November 20, 2006

nothing to report

of note. I feel crappy and this is a Week with a capital W. My hips are killing me and I'm behind today on my training. Yoikes.

Didn't go in for the blood draw today. Am working on liquids, thanks Z! and hopefully tomorrow am they can suck it out of me.

Other than that, E.dd's grandmere and grandpere are on their way up to Rainy Seattle to see their tiny puppy and admire all 44 lbs of him.

He's a bruiser.

Tonight, we're going out to dinner. None of us can stand to cook and whatever we eat, it is not going to be fowl.

later taters,

nm

Sunday, November 19, 2006

close but no cigar

Two weeks to the second of when we bought TH a new phone, we found the one.

Can't return it now, so we're just going to unlock it and have another UK phone.

Sigh.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

thanksgiving saturday again

Regeneration, Mesa Verde, September 2006.

Today is the Saturday before Thanksgiving Thanksgiving. One that has nothing to do with your nuclear family, the bad juju that some people associate with Thanksgiving and family holidays and travel and all that baggage that comes with "holiday rituals". It is a tradition borne of young 20 and 30 somethings who had family obligations on the traditional Thanksgiving, but felt that Thanksgiving is something that should also include friends. This is the 17th year. It continues to amaze me.

Ours is simple, mix friends, some wine, a goose, a turkey, foods that are important to you to have at the table and to sit for four hours and be thankful.

I haven't been in the best of moods the past few weeks and this is a good time to sit and reflect and realize that I am one of the luckiest people in the world.

L is the kitchen with TH making her famous corn pudding, E and L are at the condo watching the turkey and the Apple Cup. Scruffy and Aunt P are off for an adventure, but will be back for dinner and everyone else is due in at 6:30.

We miss those who are in Italy this year, we already talked to L in Maine, we miss B&P in Santa Barbara and we will raise our glasses to toast you.

We know that you will grace our table again, very soon.

smooches,

nm

Friday, November 17, 2006

denial part 3

Posh bangers, Borough Market, November 2006.

I failed my blood test today. The phlebotomist couldn't find a vein. She even tried for my hand. I blacked out and said I'd come back on Monday.

Eck.

We went shopping for Saturday before Thanksgiving Thanksgiving and discussed what to do about our suicidal homeless friend and whether or not he would be committing himself tonight.

This is not what Thanksgiving is about, unless, of course, you are thankful for your sanity and that you have a roof over your head.

It just puts a damper on the whole thing, doesn't it?

nm

Thursday, November 16, 2006

denial part 2

Oxo Tower, London- Remembrance Day 2006.

I am going in tomorrow for a fasting cholesterol test. My doctor tested my non-fasting and it was high. I am 41 years old and starting to fall apart. Something tells me next year will be about oatbran, saving more for retirement and pilates.

Maybe I shouldn't have had brussel sprouts with bacon and hazelnuts for dinner.

Sigh.

nm

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

denial

Three days before Saturday before Thanksgiving and a week before traditional Thanksgiving and I haven't done anything.

Yoikes.

Must order flowers tomorrow.

nm

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

nothing to declare


I have stopped buying things in London unless I really think it is necessary. Everything is so expensive and nowadays, so available anywhere. Most of the time, my bag has the Sunday Times, some cheese, Hello! and OK! and maybe a few things from Muji. I don't even declare 75 bucks and luckily, they never really ask.

The only sure thing is that each trip requires a visit to a chemist to buy feminine protection. I have no idea why, but I am doomed to visit anywhere with the joy of bleeding to death.

It is a given that I will have approximately 2 tampons in my bag at the beginning of my trip and64 minus what I used by the end.

So, next time they hassle me at customs, I'll proudly display my lil-lets and see if they ever bug me again.

smooches,

nm

Monday, November 13, 2006

knackered

My flight is delayed out of ORD. I will arrive at home at 2:30.

I am not amused.

nm

Sunday, November 12, 2006

london kills me redux

Yeah, you know who you are. London, November 2006.

To tell you the truth, I hate large events. I avoid large crowds of flyertalkers, I hate to talk points and miles for very long. We’re all fascinating people who lived fascinating lives away from our airports/hotels and our obsession of miles (1,963,000 to date on AA and counting). I hate the drama that can happen at any event. I’m too old and detached to give a crap about what someone said about someone else. In the last few months, I have realized that life is too short to deal with psychic trauma- mine and yours.

Imagine that all yesterday, there was none.

Okay, I had a little bit when I needed to get John to pick a hotel so that I could go in search of cheese. He bucked up and we moved on.

Thanks John. J

All day yesterday, there was none around me that I could detect. I loved it.

I also enjoyed meeting people I had only heard of and in some cases, admired from afar. You know what, they are all normal people.

It was fun.

Dinner was great. I actually won something (2 nights anywhere in the Hilton chain, I’m thinking Japan) and had some really good conversations and really good food at CafĂ© Lazeez. JK, we’re going here and a panto.


Smooches,

Nm

Friday, November 10, 2006

I'm tired and the idea of sitting on the plane for seven hours has no appeal.

Flight is chock a block full.

I think it's going to be a full on ambien, ear plugs and decaf dunkin donuts expereince. Pardon me if I ignore you for the next seven plus hours.

The doode on the FL desk is dork.

Nuff said.

smooches,

nm

idiots to the right please


Merle, the triceratops, at the BR, SEA-ORD-LHR. November 2006.

Can we talk?


If you don't know what to do at the airport, I recommend you spend 10 minutes at the TSA.gov site and learn.

Smooches,

nm



Thursday, November 09, 2006

chocolat chaud

Chocolat chaud, Marche Raspail Biologique, December 2005.

I love hot chocolate, not too sweet, but very hot and chocolatey. We recently sampled some of EATS hot chocolate at the West Seattle Farmer's Market. TH got some and I was supposed to hold it while she shopped and I chaperoned Ernest the puppy. Well, that hot chocolate didn't last too long around me.

It was yummy.

Today I went to Fran's to pick up some salted caramels and truffles to take to our hosts of the London Mega Do. I declined the caramel with macadamia nuts and she offered me a sample of their hot chocolate.

Yum is all I'm going to say.

TH and I will go to Fran's after perambulating E. the puppy in the Village. He usually is seen jumping into the fountains and woofing at things that squirt him. I get a latte and she gets a mocha. Things may have to change after this new discovery.

Okay, off we go to bed. To the airport in the am, no, my upgrade did not clear. I plan on a nice yogurt parfait from the dilletante, a latte and maybe I'll slice up some of that yummy mouse house cheddar that F&J brought in September.

Travel safe y'all.

nm

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

oh what a day....


Fabulous news on the political front. I felt great last night and this morning I felt even better and gosh darnit, after I came home from my board meeting, I felt like taking ernest for a walk, even if I would be drenched.

Welcome to the new world. I love this country and maybe today, I feel like my vote counted this time around.

Now, if we could get that continuing resolution dealt with and give us a budget...

Other than that, I'm leaving for London on Friday. It'll be fun, I'll see Jen and catch up with some others. I have a Sunday planned that includes Columbia Road followed by five hours of gardening at my aunts (Pray for good weather)....

Oh, I read with fascination about Britney and Kevin. It repulses me, why do I care?

later taters.

nm

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

PSA

Vote today as if your life depended on it.

Because it does.

nm

Monday, November 06, 2006

all good things come

Persimmon, chez NM, November 2006.


R
ainy Day here. We watched the radar all day. Looks like the worst is over.

Not much else to say, we have two persimmons this year. It took 15 years, so I am happy.


nm

Sunday, November 05, 2006

insurmountable

I have 3000 plus pictures in flickr. They all need captions and new tags.
I say 50 a day. What do you think? 75 if I'm procrastinating.

nm
Today we went out and bought TH a new phone. The same freaking one we had. We also upped our plan as we somehow (damned conference call) managed to go over our minutes to the tune of 60 bucks.

For some reason, I didn't have a text message plan. WTF?

Okay, so now we're 100 bucks poorer.

Its been a day.

The dog also has gas. How fun is that.

nm

Saturday, November 04, 2006

motivate me

Hat house, October 2006, South Park.

I have to write a measly 1400 word paper for my preservation planning seminar. I have the topic, I have materials, I have ideas, I just don't give a whack.

I have to be done by tomorrow to finish my AMS extended abstract.

Very interesting topic. I'm looking at a house that a bunch of community members nominated for landmark status and received it, which basically made it impossible for the new owner to short plat the land around it enough to make it economically viable. He felt that the house was not worth saving, the land was valuable, thus the house should be destroyed.

In the process I have learned that this house - very lovely and architecturally significant, was a meth production facility in a old Seattle neighborhood. The house has a happy ending, someone offered to move it to a lot close to its original location and fixed it up very nicely. The house is now being rented for a song if it was say, in my neighborhood, but very expensive for where it is.

The old lot is now a sea of hideous new tract houses.

The landmark is lovely, if not totally out of context in a sea of newly developed market rate townhomes, even with a 10' buffer, it looks strange.

Makes me wonder if things like this are worth preserving when taken away from their original landscape. It also makes me wonder about what motivates people to save things in a neighborhood that is going to change, no matter what.

nm

Friday, November 03, 2006

needle in a proverbial haystack

How hard is it to find a cell phone in a moderately well organized and clean house?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Sigh.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

nablopomo away




Its National Blog Post a Day for Month according to Z, who heard it from fussy. I'm up for the challenge I think even if it means posting from a skanky internet cafe next weekend. NM is not taking a laptop to London unless necessary. Too much overhead these days....


Anyhoo, not much to say, TH is sick, Ernest has pano, I feel like crud, so we spent most of the evening feeling sorry for ourselves. Me, snoring on the couch, TH and E. dd on the futon in my office. I think E. dd now thinks that all beds should be this big.

Now, we're all awake and its close to midnight.

If you blog, join us, link to Fussy and wow us with your witty thoughts and prose.

nm

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Roma, Roma, Moleskine City Guide, October 2006.

It is very rare that I take advantage of the concierge service of any hotel I stay in. This past weekend, I did use the concierge to book a table for me at Lutetia Brasserie for lunch, find me a restaurant and to track down the elusive Moleskine city guides for the cities I am most likely to visit and annotate any guidebook or map I may have.


They were located at the WH Smith on Rue de Rivoli, which is an expat hangout. I did try the Bon Marche book and paper department, called Brentanos and checked a few places that were independent with little luck.


Turns out WH Smith had most of them and at least the Paris guide was waiting for me at the cash desk.


What can I say?

I am a bit dissapointed. They are small, which I guess is good if you are going to carry it everywhere, but the maps are not so great. The London maps have very little detail on them, so unless you stay on main drags you'll get very little use. The Paris guide is much better on maps and the metro map is useful, but why not put in a RER map? I'm used to journalling in a bigger moleskine, so it was hard to adjust to this size.

I didn't start filling out our Paris one, I may do it this week.

I'll take my London one next week. I don't suppose I'll be seeing anything new or exciting, so I'm not sure how much I can fill it out, but it is a step in the right direction.

I'll post the maps and details on my flickr asap.

nm
Colissmo, XL. October 2006.

What I did last weekend.

5.5 kilos of chocolate sent.

Mon dieu.

Monday, October 30, 2006

How can two people who were gone for five days and had done laundry before they left, have generated four if not five loads of laundry?

Geez.

Bags emptied, chocolate aliquoted, laundry started, mail sorted, bags put away, email checked and showered.

Off to bed.

nm

so sue me

In Chicago, tired, but happy to be almost home.

Lots of fun in Paris, getting there was not a lot of fun - sitting on the ground Seattle, not sure we'd make it to Paris directly, long wait for a train to Paris (locale) on the anniversary of the Riots in Clichy sous Bois.

However, it was lovely once we got there.

Chocolate, macarons, a stunning view of the Tour Eiffel, catching up with JB and making plans for collaboration, finding the elusive moleskine Paris and really just trying to chill.

Brussels was much the same, I had a great time watching TH buy chocolate. By then I was on chocolate overload. Not even Pierre Marcolini could tempt me.

Back in the Flagship lounge, where cell phone usage is now limited to the old smoking lounge, I give a dirty look to a guy on his cell phone in the cell free zone. He tells me to call his lawyer if I have a problem.

Really.

So sue me.

nm

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

carrot and stick

Boul. Raspail Marche biologique, December 2005.

If you are a basset who loves both sticks and carrots, what do you do? The carrot is supposed to tempt you, but the stick is also tasty. Its a hard thing. Sometimes, you should just pick one, but which one.

I am realizing that in my desire to lose 15 lbs by the end of the year, that I have gained five and it is all in my stomach. My friend S. calls this the Buddah belly. My spring coat is tight and unfortunately, its 68 degrees in Paris. Oh well, they say black is slimming.

So, do I beat myself with the stick for using food as reward or punish myself with carrots for eating too much? I'll tell you after I have a salad for lunch on Friday in Paris and then stop at Laduree for three macarons - citron, framboise and maybe fruits de bois.

Sigh.


nm

Monday, October 23, 2006

Peppery goodness, Billy's peppers, U. District Farmer's Market, October 2006.

Not much to say. Tired, busy, running around like a chicken with or without a head. Lots to do and not enough time in the day. I still have 40 pages or reading to do for class.

Sigh.

Right now the house smells like peppers. They got ahead of us, so we roasted them. Should be great in soup in say, November.

Sort of reminds me of Santa Fe.

nm

Saturday, October 21, 2006

better than anything

I cancelled my trip to Boston, slept in my own bed, albeit with the equivalent of 15 otter pops on my back (blue ones), woke up stiff and sore and felt great.

The sun was shining after the fog lifted, TH, B and I went to the Market, did the normal TJ's run, hung out and scritched the dog and other things that I would be missing if I spent the day wandering around Boston.

I even managed to prune many things and leave the prunings for my garden assistant tomorrow.

TH recreated a pizza we had from Serious Pie. Chanterelles and crimini mushrooms on a cornmeal crust with truffle cheese and quattro frommagio.

Serious yum.

I even managed to pick raspberries, kiwis and the last of the apples.

Ernest managed to get in a bath and turnip chase.

My back feels way better.

Life is good.

nm

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Feeling your age

Squash, Georgetown, October 2006.


Today I feel all my prime years. To tell you the truth, I have never felt any worse pain in my lower back. I am going to call what I have bulkhead syndrome.

What the heck is that?

It is what you get when you are a short woman, with the luck and desire to usually get seat 1A.

Why?

So that no one reclines into me and that I can put my tootsies up on the bulkhead.

Well, that is all fine and good until you do it for about 20 hours in one week and then your lower back screams in agony because you are putting so much pressure on it by putting your tootsies up on the wall as in this picture.

NM's life on Alaska Airlines.

Today I stayed home and I worked from home, I tried to rest. I didn't go to the gym. The doctor saw me, prescribed massage and sent me on my merry way. I can't get in until Monday afternoon. I have tons of Advil and ice packs. I cancelled my personal trainer for tomorrow and Ernest promises not to pull.

What am I doing tomorrow night? I am flying in seat 1F and I'll be damned if I put my feet up on the bulkhead. I can't take the pain.

I'm still waiting for my upgrade to clear on the return, but honestly, I'll be fine if it doesn't, less chance of injuring myself.

nm

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

a pink pony please

Snow, October 2006, UCAR parking lot.
I'm getting a million emails today about what everyone wants in metadata files (you know, data about the data). I'm thinking the metadata will be larger than the data by the time they are done.

I'm going to ask for a pink pony too.

Sigh.

It is snowing here. I am so not excited.

Monday, October 16, 2006

deja vu

The road not travelled, Colorado, September 2006.

See this post here.

I'm back again, in a different meeting, a different context (data management guru) and a different lab.

I am one of two women at a meeting of modelers, data managers and standards setters for large scale hydrodyamic models. That is right, we're 4% of the population at this meeting. I'm not a modeler and honestly, some mornings I can't even imagine why I am here.

However, I'm enjoying myself and me thinks we may have a new data standard to play with when we get back to the lab.

Dinner tonight is the Ted, he always picks the best places. ;)

I'm bummed that Katja had to go to ABQ to play with her satellite. I'll think of you tomorrow when I replace my missing jibbitz.

Yes, JK, I am going to glam them up.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

words of endearment

Tiny little handprints, October 2006.

Today while in Trader Joes, TH murmured to me the words that are part of our enduring relationship --"when exactly are you leaving again?".

I can't blame her, I'm a nutcase today.

nm

Saturday, October 14, 2006

saturday night and the partying is right

Okay, I'm back from DC. What can I say other than I survived.

One transcon to go and then Denver. Whoo hoo. At least I get to spend the day with my cousin A. who is matriculating at BU and should be good company.

Last night I went to bed without the use of pharmaceuticals and had some strange dreams. The most disturbing is the "getting ready to leave and can't find my passport" nightmare that was a melange of a major work deadline (hmm), extra security for the foreign nationals at my work place that made me nervous and not remembering my passport before I left for the airport.

Yes, campers, this is a nightmare of mine. That and losing my boarding pass (happens frequently).

Today my travel day was smooth, my upgrade to DC did not clear, but I had pleasant seat opponents. I managed to read the paperwork for my meeting, finish two mysteries, take a nap and on the way back watch a really bad movie on the way back. The food in First was nothing to write home about. I ate the beans/rice and the salad and my cheese and apple. My decaf was kept full and I was happy that the Husky game traffic was over before I made it home. I even picked up the Post for Sunday's reading.

By the way, Go Beavs!

Friday, October 13, 2006


The bells of Pecos. Pecos, New Mexico, September 2006.

Nothing to say today, I am tired. I am off for my only mileage run of the season (SEA-DCA-SEA) in one day tomorrow. My upgrade cleared on my return and I'm still waitlisted on the outbound. I have 3 lbs of paperwork for my meeting on Monday, so I have something to amuse myself with along with the new Dianne Mott Davidson and 30 sudukos.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

nm

Thursday, October 12, 2006

its easier the 19th time around

Sunset, Pecos, New Mexico. September 2006.

I'm still cranking on my model outputs. I have discovered a little operator error in the naming of the files and now realize that I could rerun the model without displaying the results faster than I could rename 700 files.

So, I'm praying there are no windows updates tonight and that I can run this overnight and call it art.

I stayed home today and worked. I wish I could do it daily, but it ain't going to happen. I worked from 8 to 3, took a nap and have been working from 8 until god knows when.

I'm still coughing. I seem to be feeling no adverse effects of the codeine. I just wish I could stop the cough.

Tomorrow we'll put the rest of the garden to bed and begin my two weeks of travel hell.

At least my upgrades are clearing.

nm

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

not to freak out or anything

Leaves, Dumbarton Oaks, October 2006.

I have three two transcontinental flights, one to Denver and one to Paris in the next 20 days.

I am still using my codeine cough stuff and feel like crap. Its a viral cough, it'll eventually peter out. Right?

I have a paper to write for AMS by the end of the month (no real progress as of yet), another abstract for another meeting, a paper for class and general work stuff. I have to fly to Denver next week for a work meeting and I hope that 1. it does not snow 2. that I will understand 20% of what is discussed at the meeting.

Not just baby steps, its time to seriously start planning my days by the 15 minute increments.

Yikes.

nm

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

back up and double check

Check out this flickr set on the Bonneville salt flats.

We encountered a little heartbreak on our road trip last month. NM stupidly lost a memory card for the camera. So, we lost the first four days of our vacation pictures. The things that happened are in our brains, the landscape, the silly signs, the pictures of the weather station at the top of the Steens in the 25 degree blowing snow.

I wish I could share them with you, but as TH and Mony have stated, what is in embedded in your brain is more important.

We can easily recapture those images. I had some great pictures of the Spiral Jetty, but I guess we'll have to drive back down that hideous gravel road and take them again. My awe at the landscape of the Great Salt Lake, the salt flats and the semi-permanent monuments are still with me.

This last week, I finally downloaded the memory cards, put them on the hard disk of Thor and uploaded most to flickr to edit. It'll take me a while to them up and running. I wasn't too sure if everything was downloaded onto Thor, so when I was in DC last weekend I was hestitant to delete anything. So, I went to motophoto in Dupont and they copied everything off the card in the camera and put it on CD for a whopping six dollars.

I'll do that from now on - insure myself against loss or heartbreak.

nm

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ernest at 7 months


Isn't he handsome?

Thank you for being literate

Mocha mexicano and french toast bagels, Dilletante Mocha Cafe at Seatac, October 2006.

The title of this post is exactly what the TSA screener said to me this morning after she inspected my 1 quart ziplock bag full liquids and gels. She was amazed that I had read the paper and understood the rules.

Okay.

Here we are at the airport on our way to DC for the weekend. The BoardRoom is full of loud mouths and small children who are able to mosey up to the bar and order shirley temples and I can upload a meeting abstract that is due today.

More later.

nm

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

I gotta ask myself

Why at 10:46 pm I'm setting up a model run that I'm 89% sure will crash by morning.

I have definitely found some bugs in the candidate release of the new ArcGIS 9.2 software that are really making me mad.

All I need is for this bad boy to finish by 4 pm tomorrow so that I can work on animating it by the end of the weekend.

Yes, Virginia, I will be in DC this weekend, working while TH spends her time reading about multidimensional representation of space.

At least we'll eat well.

nm
Apples, September 2006.

I have a prescription for codeine cough syrup and antibiotics to take me through the next anthrax scare. I just need to fill them. I still feel like crap and hopefully, these will make me feel better. With my next few weeks of back to back flights I can't go on sounding like this unless I want a row to myself.

I have so much to do, I need to get well.

I am trying, just failing.

nm

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Am I the only one who lost money today on the stock market?

Geez.

Again, repeat after me "I'm in it for the long term- find your happy place".

On a happier note(?), I am going to see the doctor about my tubercular cough. Even my boss, who I believe was the initial disease vector remarked that I shouldn't be here sounding like I do.
Maybe it would be better if our group stayed put in Seattle instead of going to Bali, Australia, Guam, Hawaii and Boulder every freaking week and bring back foreign germs.
While I get paid not very obscene amounts of money to think about data, endure endless conference calls about data standards and attend lots of meetings about such arcane things, JK gets to meet interesting people, scan all sorts of media for her job and listen to endless banjos.

I have not a clue where she found this, but it made me spit my decaf out onto my screen.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

portrait versus landscape

I'm still in the market for a new 2007 planner. As much as I love Moleskine, thanks to Viv for turning me onto Moleskine and moving me out of the filofax world. I detest the new format. I want to see my days and week in a vertical (portrait) layout. I want to see my time blocked out as it happens and know that I can tell at glance if my 10 am slot for Friday is free or not.

Since I got hooked on the Moleskine last year, I don't know if both formats were available. All I know is when I looked at this year I was bummed.

Today we went down to the University Bookstore so that I could get the book for my last class for my preservation planning certificate. Yes, campers, I may have graduated years ago, but more knowledge is good knowledge and with only a few more classes to go, I decided to finish it off. What is left is the first of the series of planning classes, I'll keep you up to date on my progress.

Anyways, the bookstore is pushing all sorts of planners. I picked up the moleskine, weekly planner and then was intrigued by the Quo Vadis. It is just perfect for me in terms of organization, though I am not too crazy about the size - its a bit bigger than the moleskine, but it has the week in vertical by hour, places for notes and just like moleskine, a pull out address book. Interesting colors for covers too. I may let it sit on my desk for a while and then decide. I may also just look when I'm in Paris in a few weeks.

Getting organized takes work and planning and learning what works for you is key. Pick up your planner and look at it, does it feel right? Will it fit in your bag? Do you need it to block out projects? Do you just need it to do simple tasks? Can you live with a soft covered planner or would you take it more seriously if it was hardback? Can you doodle in it?

So many questions, so many options!

We can talk about this more if you want, I'll even pencil you in.

nm

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Happy Blogiversary or whatever you say

March flowers, chez nm.

I have been blogging for a year now. I have about 12 dedicated readers who will admit to knowing me and comment.

Thanks for putting up with me.

I have nothing profound to say other than today's post is very much like last years postings around the same time. I went to the farmer's market (this time with TH, B, her parents-F&J and E.dd), Trader Joe's and then the Arboretum Bulb Sale.

There we spent enough to pay for seventeen hundred goats for goat herders in small emerging country or two, but who's counting? The best parts were having the Foundation Director say hi to us and then promptly asked if we had brought Ernest and seeing M&G and the dogs who we hadn't seen in forever.

For as much as blogging about my mundane and pathetic at times life has been fun for me and maybe fun for you to read, my life hasn't really changed and I'm okay with that.

Check it out.

nm

Friday, September 29, 2006

Getting organized

Hack away : http://wiki.43folders.com/index.php/Moleskine_Hacks

I'm still sick. In fact, I think I'm sicker than before. I am having a hard time kicking this thing I have. Normal routine for me, go on a trip longer than two days, get sick for 21 days.

Things here are interesting for the end of the month, the beginning of a new fiscal year, school year and fall.

I'm looking at calendars are trying to figure if out if I should hack a moleskine to make it work for me, or just go with the new weekly format which I despise.

While I have been at work today, dilgently crunching through a model that is on step 202 of 1800, I have been intrigued by the number of moleskine hacks I have come across, including using a moleskine with David Allen's GTD to increase productivity.

In honor of the new fiscal year (FY07, if you are keeping track), I'm going to try this at home.

What I am really waiting for are the new -Moleskine city notebooks do it yourself guidebooks - great for those of us who travel to the same places over and over again. Here is a great flickr page that shows you a sneak preview. How I wish I could get one for Paris by October 25th, at least I'll pick up my London one in November (I hope).

nm

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crying on the way home from Trader Joes

I may be hormonal, but this piece by Firoozeh Dumas had me bawling all the way home from the grocery store. I know the world revolves around Marjane Satrapi and Persepolis (pronouce with me - Purse-Police), but I think that Firozeh and I may be separated at birth. We were born in the same hospital in the same year and by god, we both have the lowps (cheeks) of a well-fed Iranian girl.

Famous author, NPR commentator, Firoozeh Dumas.
Infamous blogger (or wishes she was) and basset hound wrangler, NM.

What do you think?

nm

just for aunt pat

Ernest and scruffy together on flickr.

smooches,
nm

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pulling at the heartstrings

Dual monitor basset love fest, September 2006.

How I miss you my tiny dog! Smooches on your wrinkled brow.

love,
n.mom

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

publish or perish

Today I was informed that I need to start publishing more. What a surprise. I left a research position years ago to do data management/IT research and now I have to publish again. When am I given time to get something ready for publication? Its not like I can carve out 20% of my work week to work on papers in progress.

I guess I'll start looking for journals that will accept innovative IT applications to solving problems in my field and start finding yet more time to spend on another unfunded mandate. Not that I don't spend 15% of my time already doing that. Maybe looking for a job doing consulting is not such a bad idea....

Other than that, it is warm here -- much too warm for me, but it'll soon by grey and rainy again.
TH is having a great time, she's in Wyoming for the second day and tomorrow night, it'll be yellowstone for her. I am soo jealous.

It will be the last weekend home for a while, time to put the garden to bed, deal with outdoor stuff and get reacquainted with ernest the puppy.

God, I miss him.

nm

Monday, September 25, 2006

vacation interruptus

Two things made our vacation a bit defective.

1. I caught a cold on Wednesday before we left and though I fought the cold part off valiantly, I have spent the last five days or so hacking out my lungs. I am home today working because, no one needs to listen to me.

2. Email checking and the end of the year procurement woes. TH has let some contracts out for work that seemed to just be fine until the last minute. Not that she did anything wrong, its just that even though you do your part, things just seem to blow up. We don't get our funding until late in the fiscal year and then boom -- you have to spend it all (lucky you think, but it is not that great). She spent a few hours writing emails in SLC, checking her voice mail and email in Moab, making phone calls to procurement and contracts and contractors in Las Vegas, NM and now, at 11,000 feet somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, she's taking a phone call about a contract that seems to have blown up. Life was easier when we couldn't stay connected.

If she wasn't so responsible she just would let this go, but she can't.

I feel bad for her.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I may look insane, but my brows are great.

Back home this afternoon with a bushel of mild green chile and the proud owner of one of those coolers that I fear when I check into hotels -- the ones on wheels that look like rollaboards.

TH is in Leadville, CO hoping to go up through Rocky Mountain National Park if the weather cooperates.

The only thing of note I did today was reschedule my brow wax for today instead of tomorrow. My god, I was about a week overdue.

Lovely summer/fall day here in the Emerald City, but my refrigerator smells like chile.

nm

Friday, September 22, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

This morning we left our very nice and cheap room at the ABQ Hyatt and started our trek up I-25 towards Vegas. We stopped for the requisite Frontier cinnamon roll, no frosting and a cup of coffee. Can you see that this trip is about food and driving?

We drove up to Las Vegas and frankly, after the last Pecos exit I fell asleep. I love the drive from Santa Fe to Pecos, so at least I saw the scenic parts. We arrived at the plaza in time to take a nap and then deal with TH's end of the fiscal year contracting fiasco that required three individual phone calls to Utah and Seattle and led me to wonder why go on vacation at the end of the fiscal year?

Las Vegas charms me. The first time we went was on the suggestion of Chris Wilson from UNM who thought we might enjoy the plaza and the historic district and a few drives around Rociada. It was a cold March day and the chile from the El Rialto was hot and kept me up most of the night, but the morning was beautiful. We walked around, taking in the railroad town architecture and eating huevos rancheros at the now defunct Spic and Span.

I later spent time in Las Vegas when I was doing field work at Valmora. I loved the drive, I loved the chile and "vibe" of Vegas. I was happy to return, sad to see that Eli's was gone (apparently he got a job with the city) and happy to see alot of work done in the historic district in terms of preservation.

If you are ever in Santa Fe, want to leave the faux Georgia O'Keefeness of the place, see what made New Mexico - railroading, mining, speculation and health, point that car north up to Las Vegas and enjoy the green chile without beans at the El Rialto.

nm

Monday, September 18, 2006

As seen at the sharpie display at the Office Max in Salt Lake City, September 2006.

In Moab tonight. Good food at the Moab Diner, great independent micro roasted coffee and books at the Arches Bookstore (cut up your starbucks card at the bookstore and get a five dollar gift card) and a nice mellow night.

I'm sitting here waiting for my laundry to dry and wondering why every place must advertise free wifi.

nm

monday morning


First good coffee and pear/apricot tart east of the Cascades, SLC September 2006.

As JK has posted I spent the first three days of my road trip freaking freezing. Yes, Virginia, there is snow up in the hills and at elevation depending on where you are.

We went to the Steens. There was plenty of blowing snow and temps of 25 degrees at the top. We'll go back earlier in the year. But we did have fun.

I'm now in SLC. Enjoying a few days of internet access and a comfortable bed thanks to RD and his travel schedule.

I like this place. The housing stock is phenomenal, inexpensive, the food is great and there is independent coffee. I just keep on thinking I'm going to see Heather, Jon and Leta walking up the street.

So, off to Moab, Mesa Verde and then to New Mexico - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Scorroro, Las Vegas, Pecos and maybe Rociada. Who knows? All I know is that its going to get warmer and I'll be happier.

I have spent the first day of the last three seasonal changes- Spring, Summer and Fall away from home and that sort of bums me out.

I'll try and post from the road, but who knows. I know I want to write about Eastern Oregon, landscape change, food memories of the past, the great salt lake, sex in public art and the west.

nm

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ah, thanks for the reminder

American Airlines just emailed me to remind (hound ?) me that I need 35,000 miles this year to make their top tier. If they spent less time sending out emails and more time checking my tickets purchased so far, they would see that I need only 872 miles to make their top tier.

No, I'm not going to route myself through three small cities in the midwest. I'm going to drag TH to Chicago for a night at the Park Hyatt and a trip to the field museum instead. I'll credit one half to Alaska, thus finishing up my year with them and the other half to American.

How difficult is that for them to figure out?

nm

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

east to southwest

Tilt a whirl, the sunflowers, September 2006.

Without too much effort we will drive east of the mountains, south and head to eastern Oregon on Thursday. TH fell in love with the Steens when she was there for her field course "boot camp" for grad school. Coincidentally, the trip fell during september 2001, so it is a bittersweet return.

I know every person in the world has blogged about what they were doing that day. I was in Seattle, TH was in Oregon and all I wanted was for her to be home and safe.

Anyways, the trip is on, we're heading east towards Pendleton and Baker City, the the Steens, Northern Nevada, Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake, New Mexico, Albuquerque, Soccoro, Santa Fe (Pecos) and Las Vegas.

TH is leaving me to go up to Wyoming. Oh how I wish I had the leave to do the same.

This time we are renting a car, not risking any transmission losses or ujoint issues and hopefully not logging in until my return.

Hang tight till then, but yes, JK, I will tell you all about it.

nm

for my 366th post

Anemone, September 2006.

I will say not much of anything. I am tired (I say that alot), stressed (that too), and moderately under/overworked (over somedays and bored to death others). I leave for a ten day road trip with TH this week and even though life is basically on an even keel, I feel like its tottering.

My family is scattered this month. My parents are vacationing in London and Turkey, my brother in the midwest and then to Canada for the week, others are leaving for Italy (insert jealous sigh), Mexico and Alaska and my dog is with his sister destroying blueberry bushes.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I just need to chill.

Don't you think?

nm

Monday, September 11, 2006

lucky me

I know no one can comment on my blog. I am sorry, just be anonymous, clear your cookies and just don't tell me to fuck off.

If I write you a check, say for 600 bucks and its laying on your desk, cash it please, will ya?

I am lucky enough to have a slush fund in my checking account, but still, I know that there are at least 1100 bucks in checks floating around the left coast that need to come home, sooner than later.

Other than that, looking at my salad for lunch and wondering if m&ms would be better...

nm

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ernest has been whisked away to Goldendale and we have the week to prepare for our trip to the Southwest without the pitter pattering of little paws and lots of running out to check on what he's gotten into.

I have winnowed down his plastic bottle collection and removed his last trophy squash from his bed.

I do miss the little bugger.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

christine ferber, you can kiss my ass

I spent today canning peaches and making peach butter. Nothing complicated and I know in January I will be happy. As much as I love hoity toity preserving, when push comes to shove, the Ball Blue book is the bible of canning (old testament) as is the Farm Journal Canning book (the new testament). There is no need for quince juice, apple puree or copper pots and honestly, if you are going to be faced with 25 lbs of peaches, fast and easy is the way to go.

Have you ever seen a basset hound bark at a canning jar? He was very afraid. Quite amusing.

nm

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

fallen pleasures

Fig/Raspberry tart, August 2006.

While I sit and listen to Ernest the puppy sneeze thirteen times in a row (yoghurt up the nose?) I am hearing TH sigh happily as she finishes her piece of fig raspberry tart. My first exposure to such a beast was in June 1992 when I flew to Berkeley after TH's mother died. While I never had the honor of meeting her, that day began a seven year relationship with her father that started with a meal at Chez Panisse and continued on with love of food, bassets, landscape history, France and geography and his daughter to bind us.

I had only heard of Chez Panisse before that day and that meal upstairs was very good. I can't remember what my main course was, but the dessert was a fig tart with raspberries and lavender honey ice cream was memorable. I have made it for the last fourteen and change years. The recipe is simple and elegant and brings back memories of a more innocent time with a start of a great relationship.

Fig tart with Raspberries (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts, 1984.)

One lb puff pastry (thawed - I use delaurenti's and one lb is the right amount). Pepperidge farm will do as well. One sheet.
3/4 pint fresh figs (mission, but if you have kadota, why not mix it up?)
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 T raspberry eau de vie or cointreau
2 T sugar
one egg yolk mixed with 1 T milk for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F

Rinse figs, cut off tops, cut into quarters, macerate in a mixture of eau de vie and sugar. Add raspberries.

Roll or fold out pastry, score the ends and sides and fold over so you have an edge. Place figs with cut sides up in rows (overlapping if you can) and sprinkle the raspberries on top. Wash the edges of the tart with egg wash.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry starts to brown and figs are softened but still hold their shape.

Serve with lavender honey ice cream, vanilla ice cream or on its own.

nm

Monday, September 04, 2006

Tiny dog in the gravel pit. September 2006.

God, can the week zip by please? I can use a vacation from my three day weekend.

nm

Saturday, September 02, 2006

happy saturday

It is hot here. I am getting ready to hit the farmer's market and TJs (corporate shopping! on the smaller scale! non texas style!) and then head home to check on e.dd.

TH is doing a mr to BOS and back today. She just called to inform me that Alaska swapped planes and put the 737-800 on the flight which means her bulkhead is not a bulkhead and the person in front of her in First is reclining into her.

Fun! not!

Imagine if you had an exit row on the old 737-700 configuration and it has now been swapped for 25e! I would be livid. Maybe you would be too.

Did you notice that I'm using a lot of exclamation points this morning?

Anyways, if you really need that exit row or want a bulkhead, go to Seatguru to look at the configurations. Also check the aircraft the airline purports on their website to put you on and then call and double check, because things change as loads change.

At least her upgrade is secured for her return.

Off to the market to get peaches, peppers, flowers and cherry tomatoes for the boy.

nm

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Map of the world, from the bottom up. Courtesy of Lamont-Doherty.

On Saturday morning, we opened the New York times to see that Marie Tharp had died. Marie Tharp was one of the first female cartographers to map the seafloor. Outside my office is the map of the world ocean floor complied by Marie and her co-investigator Bruce Heezen. Marie was an innovator, a female who definitely forged her own path and one that was not easy by any means. I ran across a oral history she did for WHOI when I was helping TH at the archives. She was an amazing woman. Mapping is so much easier now, satellites, multibeam, huge databases and cooperative work makes it easier to integrate data. Women,though still in the minority in the ocean and atmopheric sciences, are still breaking ground.

I can't say it better than the folks at Lamont-Doherty. Here is their remembrance.

some things are better done at work

I'm home today trying to get some documentation written and now that E. dd is conked out, its working better. However, a 15" laptop screen does not hold a candle to my two 21" monitors where I can compute and then document on different screens.

Then again, my laptop is running some intensive software with a removable hard drive, so things are really slow.

I guess I can load data and empty the dishwasher while its happening.

Sigh.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things to look forward to this weekend.

Mom and Dad coming up from SD to see their son, daughter, her TH and granddog.

20 lbs of NM green chile coming up with mom and dad.

Mom spending a bit of time showing me how to make a few persian pickles.

Three blasted days off.

A chance to see my brother before he turns into an international superstar.

A chance to run to the dump.

Three mysteries to read.

Shopping (finally) with my mom.

Er, I can't think of anything else right now.
Geez, I totally spaced that this was ending soon.

Guess my trip to the library on Friday will also include a visit to HAG to see this before it disappears.

nm

thick skinned

I started moderating comments because someone told me to Fuck off. Good enough. Now people say my blog sucks. Really?

I ask you why?

I guess when you put your life out there, you shouldn't expect it all to be sunshine and lollipops and not everyone will agree with you.

However, if you think I suck. Please tell me why so I can tell you why you suck.

Smooches on a rainy (praise the gods) Tuesday morning.

nm

Monday, August 28, 2006

bring on fall

Well, at least fall weather. I am not liking warm days, neither is TH or E. dd.

Tonight we ate pasta caprese with tomatoes from the garden, basil from the garden and spinach fettucine from pasta and co. It was a quick meal that dealt with the glut of both basil and tomato and could be put together in ten minutes. These days, dinner is a 30 minute prep or it isn't happening. Things are just crazy here and I don't see it slowing down.

I'm not big on garlic, which sounds strange, but all fresh tomatoes, whole milk mozzarella and basil needs is a bit of salt and some decent extra virgin olive oil. I'm partial to Ratto's from Oakland, but any good oil will do. I let it sit for a bit and then toss with hot pasta.

Tomorrow, we're trying roast chicken with tarragon. Its use it up week leading into the preserving hell that is September.

nm

Thursday, August 24, 2006

three days to hope

Our pals Ruth and Loretta start the 3 Day walk tomorrow. They have trained hard and I am going to be cheering them on when they hit Husky Stadium on Sunday.

Check out their website - there is still time to donate.

Ruth and Loretta's 3 day site.


nm

points and miles

My god, they are starting to add up. My double miles from the American Airline 25th anniversary are starting to post and if my tmobile sign up bonus posts soon, I'll be at 2 million miles before my December trip.

Wow.

Seems that now, it may be time to move over to another airline. I'm thinking United.

Why? Widebodies out of Seattle, a SFO-CDG flight, a club in San Diego that will work for the mess by the Alaska gates. In the last few months I have been accruing 1500 UA miles with every Hyatt stay, so I'm up to a whopping 15,000 miles without having flown in the last four years on UA.

I know others hate them, but they go to Hong Kong and Australia. Try that on American.

nm

romancing the night away

TH and I are roadtripping to NM in September. I just booked us in a romance package at the SLC Sheraton for 109 bucks a night, cheaper than their regular rate and gets us champagne, strawberries and breakfast in bed for three days.

Er, I think it should be fun checking in.

I'm now working on 10,000 waves and seeing what we can get there for NM. I wouldn't mind another mind numbing chain hotel experience, but the fact the rooms have courtyards and some no tvs has great appeal to me.

nm

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

reason 577 for not shopping at whole foods

Reason number 577: Cashier and bagger spend the time they should be interacting with custormer carrying on a dreary conversation about existentialism and basically blowing the customer off.

Reason number 578: No locally grown foods, bad move, doodes.

Reason number 579: Screaming children running amok. Contain thy child in a shopping pod.

Other than that, I think I love my new stereo with the Ipod adapter. Apparently the ipod cable is a scarce commodity in the US of A, so I could have sold mine for the price of my car stereo.

Yes, I went to Milwaukee where I should have drunk more and not eaten at Martini Mikes. You can catch up with JK and find out what went down last weekend.

Oh, and a big congrats to AM, whose book is hot on the amazon.com list and creeping up slowly. It was published this week and our parentals got a nice dedication.

Good work, bro.

nm