Saturday, April 29, 2006

when the cat is away

Meat and two veg, April 2006.

Dinner chez nm when NM is off to London.

Steak, potatoes and fresh Washington asparagus.

Have a great weekend y'all. I'll get back to you on Tuesday.


Friday, April 28, 2006

sometimes itis better not to read the lyrics

I'm grooving on the new Dunkin Donuts ads for which They Might Be Giants are providing musical backing. Y'all know I don't watch tv, so don't be thinking I have started. I learned about their contribution while listening to a review on some NPR program about new stuff going on at DD and went to the website. I will admit that I would rather drink DD coffee that Starbucks and I route myself through BOS and ORD just to get my fix. Really!

So, I have been listening to the jangly poppy sounds of TMBG all day long and it might be the caffeine in my tea or it might be the lyrics I looked up since they had been plaguing me for decades. Now that I have seen them, I have decided, sometimes it is just better to hum along than to try and understand quite what they were trying to say.

Click here to see their new ad for DD.

Tonight, we're off to the preview benefit for the Arboretum Foundation Spring Sale and then I'm thinking that I'm off to London, with about 16 hours of teeth nashing work to do on the plane.


Thursday, April 27, 2006


Epimedium leaf, bicolored, April 2006.

Hmm, what can I say, Jen has this essential Tuesday thing going and I'm thinking Essential Thursday is a good thing.

So, today's topic, what is in my carryon for an international trip.

Plane ticket
wallet stripped of everything but essentials (drivers license, credit card(s), ATM card, airline status card (someplaces more important than others), list of phone numbers I may need
Cell phone with charger and numbers written down on something else
Painkiller of my choice (advil or aspirin)
Eyeshades (I have about five hundred pairs from different amenity kits)
Ipod (okay, not everyone needs this)
Camera (bigger than before, but still essential)
Lipbalm and small moisturizer
prescription medication in original bottle (yes, folks, this is necessary)
Pashmina or scarf for curling up with
Baseball cap that may or may not be used by TH
Extra pair of smalls
Luna bar or something to tide me over in case of a delay
Pen/notepad/tear off sudukos

This all fits in a Lancel bucket bag that has seen better days, but still performs like a champ. Its obnoxiously red, but it works for me.

I'm going to London on Saturday, my aunt is in San Francisco visiting for a few months and I decided that it'll be easier to garden without her around telling me I'm going to get cold, I'm getting tired and I'm doing too much.

I probably will weed, prune and trim and that will make a dent in garden until sometime in the fall. Its not the most amazing of spaces, but I have a great love of its gentleness.

I hope to do a bit of cheese prowling as well, but that will be the extent of my excitement. I'll be back on Tuesday and all sorts of fun things happen that week!


dining out for life

Click here to get more info. We'll be at the Union Bay Cafe tonight. I can't believe they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. I believe my first meal there was 1988. Sigh. Has it been that long or short? The best part is that it is walking distance, which can't be beat.

I was supposed to be in LA today for the Freddies, but for the first time in a long while, decided that it was okay to stay put and deal with life before doing something I wanted to do, but didn't have to.

Gosh, I must be growing up.

More later.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Triple Digits

According to Z's counter, we only have 999 days left in the GWB whitehouse, if he lasts that long.

Things here have been interesting, not good, not too bad, but interesting. I am really using my inner nm to figure out what I want be when I grow up and that is a good thing at the ripe old age of, er, nevermind.

The lilacs are blooming, I wish CD, PP and JM could see them, it is quite lovely here in Seatle right now.

We have many birds nesting in our backyard so things have been loud, but fun. Dinners in the over (leek, sausage and chicken pie) and I think I'll stop doing this right now and go sit on the porch with TH and enjoy the rest of the evening.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

life without a soundtrack

Today we went to a plant sale, great sale, haven't planted them yet,but I did place them in the correct spots.

What was strange was that there was music at the plant sale, not performers, but loudspeakers and some cd music playing. I suppose it was to excite the crowds before the much anticipated plant auction, but honestly, in a huge aircraft hanger, it just seemed wierd and totally unnecessary.

Life comes with a soundtrack these days. Whether you are on hold with customer service, boarding a plane, walking the mall (piped music), listening to other's music coming through their ipods, trying to find a quiet place to eat that isn't 60 bucks per person before drinks, we're just overwhelmed by noise. I hate it, sometimes I get up and leave because its just too much. I can't remember where TH and I were recently (maybe it was Rome?), where we asked and they did turn it down, but they looked at us like we were crazy. I'm not crazy, I just want to be able to have a conversation and hear myself think.

Other than that, pretty non eventful weekend, filled with gardening, erranding, pilfering the easter candy (bad nm) and just enjoying a lovely mid April weekend in Seattle.

Life is good.


Friday, April 21, 2006

free at last

Well, almost.

Not quite caught up, but maybe by the end the of the weekend, if I bring my laptop home and spend some quality time converting dbf files to excel files and writing a macro. Okay, at least I can make a plan, right?

Here's to the last weekend that I'll be at home and free from all parental responsibilty for the next thirteen years. I think.

Hi to all that are out there lurking, those stuck on a ship in the Bering Sea with frozen nets, those who braved a trip to the North Pole on Monday, those who are in Texas (whatever).... the lilacs are starting and I promise to get your ppatches covered and partially planted. Really! Don't worry there is plenty of gardening when you all get back.

Everyone is gone somewhere this weekend,so I guess I'll just wait until next week to get out of town. ;)

Great plant sales this weekend and TH will be nearly finished building the new stone bed! Now, we can fill it.


Thursday, April 20, 2006


Listening over and over this cd makes me realize that Gwenyth Paltrow is one lucky girl.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

spring cleaning

It isn't Washington D.C, but the cherries are yummy. April 2006.

I spent most of yesterday evening gardening. Mostly pulling noxious weeds that would suffocate my raspberry patch in our long season ppatch. Honestly, I have no idea how morning glory roots can be a thick as spring asparagus stalks, but its better to try and take them out now that battle with them in July.

I have to say that the same principle can be applied to Spring Cleaning in the garden and the house. TH did a great job of cleaning off our porch last week and I spent five minutes today sweeping it up again so it looks lovely and pristine.

I picked the first rhubarb yesterday. I can't really describe what the garden smells like now,but it is a combination of earthy, tangy and sweet from all the flower blossoms. I love the smell of fresh rhubarb and came straight home to make baked rhubarb to serve with plain yoghurt for my breakfast.

Some people love the really tiny rhubarb stalks, I like mine medium. My plants will grow so large that they will hide a mini cooper. I try to keep them picked to keep production going. I can see we're going to have a very busy summer thinking of things to do with all this rhubarb.

Without further ado....

Baked rhubarb ala nm

2 lbs rhubarb stalks (discard the leaves, they are poisonous)
1/2 cup sugar
a bit of vanilla

Wash rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces, if the pieces are too wide, cut them in half.
In a mixing bowl, mix the rhubarb with the sugar and sprinkle with a little vanilla

Place in a oven proof dish (I use le creueset bakeware) and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees until soft.

Let cool and then spoon over plain yoghurt.

Please note that I like my rhubarb tart, some may need to increase the amount of sugar.

Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

seattle traffic and a little bit about me

Forget me not, back garden, April 2006.

Traffic today sucked eggs. The President of China was/is in town along with a cadre of reporters and dignitaries touring the military industrial complexes that flourish here in the Emerald City . Since most of the action was on the other side of the Lake, why the hell didn't he stay there?

Which leads me to telling you a little about me. My name is NM and I hate stopping on hills. Hills in Seattle are not hills in San Francisco, but they are still hills and there is nothing I hate more than sitting and idling on a hill in fear that even with an automatic transmission and great brakes, I'm still going to slip out of gear and hit the car behind me or go into cross traffic. It all goes back to a very eventful trip across the country with TH and a faulty transmission, which as amusing as it is now, was not at the time.

So, today after taking TH to the train station, I sat through three lights on Cherry on the hill not moving and slowly starting to hyperventilate. Next time, I'll take the exit by the Four Seasons hotel (is that Union?).

Spring has sprung, I'm seeing too many people wearing gauchos who shouldn't, flip flops without pedicures and puka shells.

Time to rethink some fashion trends.

I also see that TomKat gave birth today. Thank ye gods that that is over and we can now obsess about other things.

I'm not one to discuss world politics in this forum, my friends know most of my leanings, but honestly, these days I fear opening the paper in the morning to see what has happened in Iran overnight. Both sides reactions are to be feared and I worry for my birth country and what will happen in the next few months.

Okay, I've said enough, I'm going to my ppatch to harvest the second batch of asparagus and plant dahlias. It is time!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Monday musings, redux.

Segovia, April 2006.
Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
As I came in this morning from hanging 20 plus placemats and napkins out on the line to dry, I commented to TH that now I know why people use paper napkins and tablecloths when they entertained.

She laughed.

I wasn't.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter 2006

Just a few pics. Indulge me, will ya?

Eggs, 300 carefully filled and hidden --

by the Easter Scruffy.

Attacked by a hoard of egg hunters from 15 months to er, nevermind, on a somewhat blustery morning and then stuffed with both candy, coffee cake, ham, quiche and fruit salad.

That was all she wrote, they ate, they laughed, they chased eggs and they went home pooped.

Hope your easter was as much fun.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Easter Basset

Jacques, Easter 2004.

Happy Easter from the Easter Basset.

We will miss you very much this year.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

brazen hussy

brazen hussy
Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
God how I love you.


Thursday the 13th

Not much to report. Picked up my jetsetting mother from the airport and first phone call she gets other than my perpetually calling father is her swedish cousin. Yes, there are Iranians in Sweden and they are related to us.

She's such a talker and schmoozer my mom.

Its freaking cold here. I have told all my guests for Easter to dress for weather. I am thinking we may be eating in shifts and drinking hot cocoa instead of orange juice.

As for the actual festivities, its pretty basic, hunt for 30 minutes, check out your bounty and then eat real food.

The easter basset works hard every year to get those eggs out and hidden for good Easter foragers. Most are good hunters and look high and low for those eggs and will try and find each and every one.

This year's weather doesn't look so hot, we may need to waterproof the eggs, but unlike a few years ago, they won't melt.

What are your easter plans?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rainy days and money on my mind

Today I spent 600 bucks with 2 bags of groceries, nice clean windows and new car tabs to show for it.

I wish I earned 600 bucks today.

Seems that I am having a string of such days and I hope the end is near.


paring and culling

I'm removing myself from countless email lists that I amcurrently subscribed to. It is quite lovely. I hit the unsubscribe and my three days later my mailbox is half the size. I'm even doing this at work, Sun Microsystems be damned, I need not to get three emails a day about new products. If I need something, I'll check it out myself.

I just cancelled netflix for the third time. I love it, but honestly, when do I have time to sit and watch a movie other than on a plane? If I'm lucky, I'll get it from the library. If I find myself missing it, I'll start up again.

As for culling, everytime the different charity organizations call, I'm happy to donate.

Ditto for books, if I don't get it at the library, I buy it used. If I don't feel its worthy of keeping, I either donate to the Seattle Public Library or package them off to send to the book exchanges at the various Admiral's Clubs throughout the system.

I'm using freecycle right now to rid myself of a few things that you couldn't even believe that people would want -- tires, diving weights, cleaning supplies. Its amazing what you can share with others who may find treasure in your cast offs.

Check it out yourself. Freecycle.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

more on life and concentrating

Bleeding Heart, March 2006.

Life here is okay. I am still working on the concentration thing. I had some success today and even though I have to leave work, I'll continue to chug on later tonight, just to catch up from my lame Monday.

Here is an interesting thing I picked up from LifeHacker on what I think I am experiencing Attention Deficit Trait.

Other than that, managed in one hour to drop off lots of toxic waste and get my car emission tested and pick up 5 new 5 gallon buckets. ;) In that way, life is good.

Now, if the DOL liscensing site would work, I would be good as gold.

Monday, April 10, 2006

monday musings

Things have been quiet around here. I hope you are all okay.

Today I just couldn't get things together. That is, I could things I wanted to do together, but not the things I had to do, like get my act together at work. This is bad news these days. I can't really put my finger on my trouble, but I can get work work done at home, but in the office, I am distracted beyond belief.

Oh well.

At least I managed to get 9 things off my to do list at home.

How do you all get and stay focused at work?

I share an office with a dear person, who is very intensely busy right now and my lack of productivity makes me feel even more lame.

Its just a phase, I know, but its bumming me out.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

not falling far from the tree

My mom is hosting 48 people today for brunch. This number is down from the parties of the past where 100 was the norm and my mom did all the cooking, but for many it is a daunting task. I can't imagine knowing 100 people well enough to invite them into my house, but the entertaining gene is very much something I inherited from my parents and of that I am happy.

Ditto for the gardening gene. My father can be found puttering in the garden morning and after his nap each and every day, when he's not gardening, he's plotting something and he is often visiting nurseries. He's not an expert and many would not think he's the most elegant gardener, but it makes him happy and keeps him busy.

I picked that trait up from him as well, I would be happy puttering, weeding, pruning, cultivating pretty much every waking moment that I'm home. Like my father, when I'm not gardening, I'm thinking about what we'll do next and how it may look.

I may look like my father (spookily so) and have my mom's soft touch and laugh, but I'm happy to have inherited two things from them that I truly hold dear, my love of feeding my friends and tending my garden.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Busman's holiday

Piante di Roma, March 2006.

Two weeks ago today I came home from one of my best trips in a long time. TH and I basically ran around Rome looking for inundation markers from a series of floods that occured over time. Not all of Rome was flooded, but when you start digging into the history, the topography, the hydrodynamics of the river and how Rome changed after the Reunification of Italy in 1870, things get interesting.

Lots of people have looked at the inundation, but not necessarily mapped it, nor really delved into why and how they were designated. This perplexes me and gives me yet another reason to go running after the ones we didn't get. I will probably put together a Google Earth Map that shows where these were, but as lovely as it is, it isn't really spatially enabled, its just a nice visual representation. I want something meatier.

Well, there is always next November or December to finish up. I could do it earlier, but why should you only have to fly two segments to Rome when you can fly three?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

where's waldo?

I had a funny conversation with my father this past weekend where he asked if we were going somewhere over the weekend. I said no, he was shocked. He's used to his kids running hither and yon and never being home.

Today my brother is on his way to Paris to give a talk at a meeting and then to Turkey for two weeks to do much the same and take in some sights. He's been there probably 20 times and will get to meet a new member of our extended family, Miss Celine. He'll be off to Brazil and back to Europe again in a month or two, so he's also a frequent flyer.

I've actually booked some flights for the end of the month, it maybe that I'm missing the dinging at 10,000 feet telling me its okay to turn on my approved electronic devices or that I have no time to do sudukos now. In any case, in three or four weeks, I'll be ready to roll. I may have done it also to tempt fate, in hopes that a certain someone invites us to Goldendale that weekend that I'll be out of town. ;)


Know when to hold em, know when to fold them

Not my cards, but my frequent flyer miles.

I'm trying to get my aunt here from London, we're marginally flexible on dates and now that she has decided when she wants to come here and where she wishes to land, I can work with the Mileage Plan to get something that will work. I hope.

I very rarely use miles for myself. I do some brain addled calculations to figure out the cost per mile using real dollars and then what the ticket would cost me in ff dollars, which are half or a third of that. I sometimes use miles for upgrades, especially on hard to upgrade flights like out of JFK. I usually clear the upgrade list, but with TH who is one tier behind me, its better to just use miles. I never use miles for free tickets for myself, I would rather earn than burn in most cases unless its a god given emergency.

So, using 90 to 125K miles to fly British Airways in Club or First with a stopover which would be a $12,000 ticket seems like good use of miles to me. To squander that same amount on four tickets to Vegas or San Diego when the tickets can be had for $238 bucks, is bad use of miles.

Cross your fingers they can get me what she needs.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Agent double 00

I am looking for new jeans, not the 165 buck ones that I love and admire and until I lose a bit of weight am not willing to shell out more cash to buy a size that will show off more of me that anyone needs to see.

So, I go to the Banana Republic website and see that they now have 00 sizing. WTF? I wear a size 6 in Banana Republic, which is really probably closer to a size 12 in 1970's sizing. So, a 00 would be a size 4 in 70's sizing.

We're either getting smaller and smaller or bigger and bigger. Pro-ana sites and baby seats for obese babies, we're seeing it all.

Case in point. NM needs new shoes (always), most stores no longer carry size 5 or 5.5, just 6 as their smaller size. I wear a 5.5 M, I cannot prance into Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Ann Taylor, Cole Haan or in some cases, Nordstrom anymore because those sizes just don't sell, so they stop stocking them.

Oh, okay.

So, I shop online for shoes hoping that the size is true to fit as well as the color and style.

As for banana, I'll be in this evening. I need pants. I hope you have some in my size, whatever you want to glamour size me into believing.


Monday, April 03, 2006

March Garden Pics

Click to see March Garden Pictures

I should be ironing napkins, reading a novel or just maybe getting ready for bed. However, I thought I would share March's garden pics. Some are not very good, but as you can see, spring is our time.

The blurry pics of the jays are just that, a bunch of Steller blue jays are hanging out on a screen that TH is using to seive out rocks and evil bamboo for a bed she just made. The job is done and according to the folks at our local Audubon Society, they may just be looking for nesting material.

The pile goes on Friday, so I hope they are done by then.


The 72 hour rule

Anemones, Rome, March 2006.

We have rules and regulations chez nm and TH. One big one is that no plant shall remain encumbered in its plastic pot for more than 72 hours after it has been brought back from the nursery or plant sale.

Not that we always follow our own rules, but this afternoon's gentle rain means that we'll be putting all those rhodies, a few hellebores and other choice plant material in the ground as soon as we get home and get that creamed spinach on.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring forward

Don't get me wrong. I love the longer days, it is the getting up that hurts.

This week was full of firsts. The first plant sale, the first of two seasonal hotdogs provided by the Lions Club of Federal Way and the first of a hundred blasted plant pots that will overfill a 33 gallon trashcan until TH and I summon the courage to visit Flowerworld way up north to recycle the pots.

All in all, the idea of coming home at 5:30 or 6, gardening, eating dinner and then have more time for either gardening or going for walk in the light has great appeal to me.

How about you?