Wednesday, May 31, 2006

nick of time

Oriental poppy, end of May 2006.

I got home from work just in time to bring in four loads of laundry before the rain started. Even managed to get Ernesto, the not very cooperative basset, to spend some quality time in the backyard chasing an old latte cup.

He played a bit of bball with Leo from up the street, attacked cuppie, ate like a small horse and is now down for the count. Oh well, I thought maybe we'd go to VS and pick up our free underwear while he's still small enough to go shopping. I guess it'll have to wait until Saturday.

I guess I'll go back to reviewing the 300 fricking pages of exhibit 300s that yours truly must review by tomorrow to answer yet another unfunded gov't mandate that keeps us all on our toes. Who would ever think that you could fall asleep at your desk reading an appendix to a revised OMB circular? I can and I did.

Now I'm off to buy a plane ticket or three. TH and I are going into Paris and out of Brussels in October. Doing a chocolate run which we would typically do in September, but have decided that work and Ernest will have to change our plans. At least things won't melt, fashion week will be over and we can get into the Madeleine for a decent price. Its been an expensive day chez nm.

We signed Ernest up for six weeks of all you can stand puppy kindergarten including field trips and play sessions. I understand everyone graduates, but me thinks we'll be attending more than six sessions. He is practicing the fine art of flat basset followed by jello basset when it comes time to walking.

Ack, its really raining now.

later taters.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Ernesto, the wonder basset, Seattle, Memorial Day 2006.

I'm still recovering from this weekend. Not the excitement that comes from partying like its 1999 or 1979, but more like I have a bored basset hound who melts in the rain and a antiquated way of doing laundry that requires sun.

My secret to whiter whites and crisp towels - a clothes line. Well, one of those clothes line things that is sort of an umbrella shaped. I'm glad we don't live in "rusty pine blister on poorly drained bioswale estates" where HOA covenants prohibit the use of such things. We're hipper than can be in energy conscience Seattle.we save tons of money on drying because we use our dryer about once a month. Just think if drove a hybrid and had chickens, maybe Sunset would come and do a feature on us!

Amazing, isn't it?

Well, this weekends weather sucked for clothes drying the NM way and when we finally got around to some sun we just didn't do it as a team. It was a toss up between having the clothes smell like bbqued salmon and dealing with our minor plumbing crisis --it's all been left to yours truly to do today.

I have a Mt.Washmore to conquer and its nearly 88% completed. I'm out of room for towels on the clothes line and I wish that I had another one of those little smalls hangers that I bought in Tokyo for smalls, so that excitement can wait until tomorrow.

Other than that, Ernesto is just fine, he is sacked out in his bed and it is time to let him out to do the final O-U-T bedtime procedures (pee, dewormer, bisquit and lockdown). He's definitely discovered three dimensionality and spatial problem solving, so his TH mom is quite pleased with him. I'll be happy if he realizes that as hard as he tries, there is nothing that interesting in the tiny space between the cabinet and the oven and he should get over it. He's growing so fast that one day he'll get stuck, I know it.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

sleepy saturday

Ernesto and TH spent a bunch of today sleeping. TH catching up from no sleep while traveling and Ernest from growing. The boy has eaten 5.5 cups of food and a cup of treats since he arrived in Seattle and has grown 40". He will be the size of a Great Dane by the end of the weekend.

Moral of the story: If you want to see him small and squiggly, visit sooner than later.

Anyhoo, the rain made the U. District Farmer's market defective. TH, B, Ernesto and I went to TJ's to stock up and then I dragged them off for a brow wax at Red. They went to Dahlia Bakery, I did the wax.

Spent the day pushing bassets outdoors in the cold rain to ablut between killer kong sessions and the attack the commuter mug game. We took him to CUH for him to gain appreciation of the finer things in life and he spent most of the time picking large pieces of wood out the mulch and learning the fine art of drop it.

I did read Anne Tyler's Digging to America this afternoon. I'm still digesting it, it cut quite close to home.

Well, Ernesto is down for the 8-9pm nap before one more round of zoomer basset. He learned how to pull the toilet paper off the roll. If you come to visit, remind me to give you a roll before you sit down. ;)


Thursday, May 25, 2006

all together now

Bernese Mountain Basset, Goldendale, WA early May 2006.

TH is home and not going anywhere for the next few days. Ernest met her at the airport with a woof and a wiggle and he got his one big chance to sit in my lap as TH drove home. There will be very little of that happening in the future. The breeder says he's expected to grow to 65 lbs of solid slobberchopness and that is way too much lap basset for moi.

Anyhow, he did some pretty fun things today (window shopping, latte comparisons, getting many skritches from his adoring public and most importantly, meeting his doppleganger in a Bernese Mountain dog. It was too funny they have the exact coloring as each other including the eyebrows.

He's pooped now and I get last call on Ernest duty. Tomorrow he has a vet appointment and a meet and greet at work. We'll spend the evening hanging out doing nothing much and honestly, that sounds good to me.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

cool product find

New Tree chocolates - renew, restore and eat up.

TH sent me a package from Woods Hole today with some treasures from Maine. Other than a nice card and a good dog training guide which I need I received a yummy bar of chocolate.

I'm always willing to be the first to try new things, but if I tried that with all the chocolates that pass through our house I would be really fighting the battle of the bulge. However, this bar intrigued me, its a nice dark chocolate with blackcurrant with the name of Renew. I'm not buying the need for antioxidants, but that is how the bar is marketed.

I'm just happy to taste blackcurrants in something other than Ribena or pastilles. They are hard to come by in the US of A.

Here's the website for New Tree Gourmet Chocolates made in Belgium but easily found at many better food establishments around the country.

Oh Ernest, he's just fine. Currently incarcerated while I check on some stuff. We're considering a drive to the petstore to buy a new kong/chewy toy. The snowshoe chair is proving to be quite tasty and that just aint going to happen little man.

On his campaign front, he's still looking for strategic advisors.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rant and rave

Rant from my point of view....

Banning Iran from participating in the World Cup?

Right. Not. Never.


States must have pet evacuation plans.

I'll admit I would have been hard pressed to leave if we were in that situation.

Other news.

Ernest weighs 18.6 lbs. That is one heavy pup considering he still fits in a jelly roll pan that we use for pet dishes.

He has fallen in love with his own reflection and is in awe of the fact that our house has floor to ceiling windows and he can look out and down.

Life is changing for a basset that soon will run for president.

Oh, he's starting to blog as well.

More on that later.

nm and ernest

Monday, May 22, 2006

finally home

Ernest is in the hood. Partially vocal on his way from Goldendale, but very well behaved. Enjoyed his dinner, snuffle down the block and exploring what he can of the house.

He's sprawled out on Jacques old bed, conked out and probably ready for one more out and then off to bed.

So am I once I submit my final funding report....

Oh, a happy birthday to JK.

May the day be great, you can celebrate tomorrow if you wish and I really hope that your bro made it to the sale so that you got your plastic turkey.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

miles from my home

Undersides, Allium, May 2006.

It has been a weekend that has been fun, freaky and very quiet in a strange sort of way. Rainy and muggy, sunny and cloudy, slow and really fast at the same time, does that make any sense?

Yesterday, P and I went to go see the Cowboy Junkies at the Kirkland Performing Arts Center for a matinee. Wow, what a show. I love their new stuff and as much as I dreaded the idea of spending two hours in a darkened intime performance hall, it was worth it. It was one of the best Junkies show I had seen.

Last night I put together Ernest's crates. I can't believe one day he'll actually fit in these monster crates. He seems so tiny right now. We're going to try him on one of Jacques last beds, its huge, but I think he'll grow into it.

I am beginning to get antsy and scared about his arrival. We have spent the last ten or so years, not really caring about things like dropped rubber bands, electrical cords and exquiste Italian loafers or purses and laptop bags on the floor. Jacques couldn't be bothered unless it was food or his cat. Now my shoes automatically go in the closet and my purses/bags/laptop up on the blanket chest.

It'll be an adventure. P& I ran errands today downtown, West Seattle and our hood and he's driving with me to Goldendale tomorrow. He's good company and I'll need it. Its strange that he was the one who helped me nearly a year ago when Jacques declined and came to my rescue for those grueling three days when we didn't know what was wrong with him and TH was trying to get back from Woods Hole to get to us.

I'm happy that he's getting to meet Ernest and TH will come back from Woods Hole to a different experience and bittersweet to be sure.


Friday, May 19, 2006

date night

Netshed, St. Pierre, June 2003.

We don't have them, maybe we should. I guess if count walking around Green Lake drinking Peet's coffee and running into Starbucks at the end to pick up coffee grounds exciting, then I guess you know what date night chez nm is like.


It works for us and we've been together since the dawn of creation or the microvax, whichever came first.

So, why I am boring you with this?

Last night I went and ran errands up into the next 'hood up from ours. I finished the errands and decided to treat myself to the only thing that starbucks has done recently that I approve of -the green tea latte, hold the melon syrup. Anyhow, I noticed this guy in an Escalade leering at the women in the "Desert sun" store/tanning salon and generally making me nervous (me, short middle aged woman in yoga pants and running shoes and definitely not his type). It appeared that he was waiting for his wife/domestic unit for an appointment at the tanning salon.

Okay, that is modern. That is wierd, don't you think? Do they share a cube or a bed? Use a splitter on the Ipod? The mind boggles. Some things are just meant to be done alone or just not at all. The same thing goes for the guys who insist their girl friends come in while they are getting back waxes. Why? Do I want you there when I get a bikini wax? Do I need you to come in while I get my hair cut? Is anything sacred? Can there be too much togetherness?

Maybe they should have gone down the street and sat at Top Pot and discussed their plans for the summer, the kids or why they need to go get a tan at 9 pm on a Thursday night.

I just don't get it, I'll admit to you that I would rather look at ducks together than redden epidermis together.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Essentially Thursday

I can't really think of anything, but it is essential to thank my friends for putting up with me today and the last few weeks while I have had exsistential crisis after another.

Thank you all for putting it all in perspective for me.

Y'all know who you are.

Smooches to all of you.

puppy proof

Puppy proofing 101. May 2006.

The house is getting there, only a few more days until Ernest shows up.

Poor guy is going to be introduced to the wilds of urban living, baby gates and having to deal with concrete, small children, top pot donuts and figuring out what we're going to have for dinner.

Life at Ernest's level.

I think he'll survive.

I think we will too!

TH does a touch and go next Thursday and looks like as long as I have something to deliver by the end of May, I can stay at home and work too. It'll be nice picking her up at the airport with a wiggling basset hound to greet her at departures (not arrivals). It has been a long time.

Yeah for Ernest!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Planning ahead

Allium bulgaricum, May 2006.

Summer is coming up and other than gas being oh, say 3.44 a gallon last I checked, airline ticket prices also suck. Nothing is competitive out of Seattle these days, if I lived in Wenatchee, I would be fine, but Seattle on AA, not.

Here, you can check it out yourself.

I have at least two exciting work trips planned for the summer, one involves a decent outlet mall and date shakes, the other, my parents, so its not that bad.

Other than that, its NYC in June for VAF and Miss JK coming up for a day or two, Vancouver and Calgary and now it seems that JK and I have ingratiated ourselves on my brother's annual midnight croquet party in MKE. We figured we could combine hotel stays, frequent flyer points with Irishfest and drunken croquet by Lake Michigan and oh, a trip to Marshall Fields as well.

I am hesitant to buy any plane tickets with the current prices, but since I have committed myself to London for Remembrance Day and TH is out of chocolate and we need to go to Paris. What the hell, no one needs to go, my financial advisor will tell me. Its double mileage at AA for their 25th anniversary, so its time to buck up and buy those tickets. Just think, I'll hit 2MM before November. Oh the joy.

Oh Ernest, he can stay home with grandmere or his best K, or maybe we'll just tag team it.


royapoya mismaloya

Siberian Iris, May 2006.

On this day last year, we lost our dearest cat, Miss Roya. I first met Roya as a 6 week old kitty and she lived in wierd little house by Kitchykoo and Roosevelt High School in Northeast Seattle. She was the only female in the litter and the only one who wouldn't go into the box. I really wanted her and my roommate and I put her in a little box, caught the bus up back up to the Ave, went to get cat litter, food and beer with this yowling small cat. Did I mention we were on the bus? Luckily, we ran into my brother buying beer at the store and he gave us a ride back to the hovel we lived in off of 4th ave NE and the rest is history.

Miss Roya was no ordinary cat. She looked like a cow with her spots, she was very interactive,very gregarious, but very gentle and acted like a dog. Our friend B loved to call her Buddah Kitty, because that is what she often resembled. She lived with me for a few years in various houses that 20 somethings live in. When I moved into an apartment that didn't take cats, my parents graciously took her for what they thought would only be a few weeks.

She lived on the lake with a 75' sandy litter box for the next five years. When my parents retired to California, Roya came to live with TH and myself. She fit in very well in the house. TH loved her even if she was allergic to her and after Jacques came to live with us permanently, they became best buddies.

When your cat reaches 16 years old, you think they are golden forever. Roya was healthy and spritely and we kept up with everything that she needed (geriatric screenings, kidney food, cat toys and rare steaks). Each summer I would gaze at her in the garden enjoying watching her surroundings and wondering if she would be there the next year. She passed 16 year milestone, then 17 and then her 18th birthday. Sure she slowed down, but we kept her happy, hydrated and other than the yowl fests, she seemed content.

About ten days before she died, she just slowed down and lost weight. We had to feed her new things to keep her interested and when I took her to the vet, he said it didn't look good. TH came home early from Oregon to be with us. Her vet said her time wasn't now and to watch her and she would tell us when she was ready to go. TH stayed home with her that day, she went outside and took a gander around her garden. That night, she died at home. I can't tell you how happy I was that she was able to do that one last time.

I can't go into the garden this time of year without thinking of Roya, her love of spring, having to coax her to come in and finding her teeth marks in the irises.

If you see an iris today, that is Roya, smiling at you.


Monday, May 15, 2006

unseasonably warm

Ribes sanguineum, May 2006.

I think 80 degrees for the middle of May in Seattle sucks. Why? Because my kiwis are about to blossom and they don't need to fry before they set fruit. I am going to have to replant my cukes as they are fried and I don't appreciate lettuce bolting by June.

'Nuf said.

It is time to think about warm weather foods. Salads, cold dishes (revenge?), make ahead meals and finger foods that will work as meals.

I'm all for salads. TH often will grill extra protein based sources and we'll have them later. I'm also all for things that can be made ahead - cold soups come to mind.

Yesterday I made tabouleh. Today I ate grilled asparagus and cold grilled chicken and some arugula and walnut salad.

Tomorrow, who knows? But as long as its in the high 70's, its not going to be lasagne.

Stay posted as I start posting some summertime favorites.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

eating locally

Today I did amazing things. I sat outside again and read a book and chilled. I managed to get much of our year round ppatch weeded out and watered and planted. I also made dinner and lunch using stuff from our own garden --Lettuce, chives, cilantro, asparagus, parsely and rhubarb.

It is an amazing thing.

The rhubarb is baking right now. I have a nice tabbouleh that I'll enjoy this week and I'll save the seven asparagus spears I have left over for dinner tomorrow.

Life is good.


Mother's Day

If you want my personal opinion, every day should be Mother's Day.

Hope you had a good one.

Yours with many scratches and some love,


Saturday, May 13, 2006



This is what I have to look forward to in the morning. Smooshing gooseberry sawflies before they destroy every leaf.

They say hand mushing is the best thing. I'm itching just thinking of it.


sluggish saturday

Hosta, May 2006, Seattle.

While TH is gadding about the rainy Northeast, I'm at home, obsessing about work and trying to enjoy the weekend. The two are exclusive of each other no? I need to seriously take a chill pill.

Sunny Saturday meant up and early to the farmer's market, TJ's, post office and then being a slug. Yup, me. Sitting around reading Baltimore's own Lippman mysteries (2 of them in one day!), taking a nap, planting stuff and finally getting off my butt to weed and water the ppatch and visit with M&B and partake in some yummy blackberry cobbler.

TH says the weather sucks, so she's not sure what they are going to do tomorrow in Hanover. I believe her Monday will be spent driving to Orono, ME and maybe visiting at the altar of LL Bean. I wish I could be with her, but I'm probably better off here weeding out my dahlias and combatting what the hell is devouring the leaves of my gooseberries.

Tomorrow I'm not sure what I'll do, but staying away from the chocolate is in order.


Friday, May 12, 2006

the big picture

Greenland, the big picture, May 2006, LHR-ORD from seat 9J.

At work, I'm a big picture girl, which seems to get me nowhere here these days.

However, I digress.

I have been obsessing about the stock market, my retirement and how one day (say, in 9 years), I'll be able to stop working for the man and doing my own thing.

So, two days of down markets have me down.

I say stop looking but maybe call the broker on Monday and ask why we're holding on to something that is tanking? Or should I just stop looking and realize I can't touch this stuff for the next 20 years and take a chill pill?

It is like the scale, daily weighing can be both good and bad.

Maybe I need to ask the doctor for some anti anxiety meds.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

essentially thursday

Gigantic- a big, big love. May 2006, Seattle, WA.

My week has sucked like something you don't want to suck out of your bird bath. I can't really put a finger on it, but I can't say more than if I could crawl under a rock until the next fiscal year, I would.

So, what is essential on days/weeks and months like this?

Music -- both moody and jangly
Eels, They Might be Giants, Sarah Harmer, anything that I can get from 3

My new obsession (crunchy and moderately healthy for you)

My arm still hurts from the shot

Decaf tea
I'm moody enough right now, I don't need to add caffeine to the mix

outdoors if possible, even 15 minutes of garden therapy would help

The ability to search flickr and find pictures of blood hounds, basset hounds and things that make me smile

The occasional f*ck this sheet dinner of margaritas and tacos at a local tacqueria like we had tonight at Mr. Villa.

The thought that in a mere 10 days I will be bringing Ernesto home.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

like a sum bitch

My arm is still killing me from my tetanus shot. TH had to help me out of my clothes (don't get excited, here), turn off my light and other mundane chores for the last two nights.

I can't say enough about the pain other than advil is my friend and I'm laying off the weights until next Tuesday.

It is lovely outside. The lilacs are amazing, the wisteria is going full force and everything is green. I released 7500 ladybugs last night in hopes they would decimate the aphid population. I guess I'll give it a day or so and then bring out the hoses.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New banner

Sheryl at Paper Napkin is very creative and a great banner maker, not to mention a pretty fantastic blogger.

Check it out.

pretend you are 11" tall

I have been anally walking around the house and garden pretending that I'm about 11" tall and 10 lbs and will eat anything like looks mildly better than kibble.

I have managed to find many stray pieces of wire and some yummy old clothespins and had our rodent guru move all the bait stations out of Ernest territory.

Our house looks like we're ready for a child, we have ordered two new baby gates and most of the cords are covered with this wierd plastic tubing to stop him for chewing on cords. I am going to enjoy computing on the floor for the next few weeks, as me thinks that won't be happening anytime in the near future. I love my laptop, but I don't need noseprints on it.

We have baby latches underneath the sink and if the boy ends up opening the fridge, I hope he likes frozen food.

TH is going to finish up some stuff in the yard and honestly, the first few months of his life with us, he won't be hanging out in the garden unattended, but for the first time in my life, I'm thinking like a small basset.


Monday, May 08, 2006

day in the life

Alien Landscape, London May 2006.

Sheryl suggested doing this, so I'll bore you with my Sunday. It was an unusual day, so don't think I have this much fun.

0250 Awaken by what sounds like a lawnmower and can't fall back asleep. TH is in Oregon for a meeting, so I turn on light and read The Great Influenza. Good soporofic and I'm back to sleep in 20 minutes.

0700 Up for good. My foot is killing me. I stepped on a rusty nail yesterday while trying to do some cleanup before bringing home Ernest. It broke the skin, but didn't bleed. I haven't had a tetanus shot since 1990. I wonder if I should go in.

0730 Decide that I am going to skip the gym. Sort bills and file, read paper in 15 minutes, it is that lame.

0800 Make a cup of chai and a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast.

0815 Check email and see that TH is having a defective time at her meeting. Email her about my foot.

0830 Post to Flyertalk about my foot, I did try and get information from my brother, the doctor, but he's not answering his phone.

0840 Leave home to go to the Pike Place Market to pick up weekly tulips.

0910 Arrive at TJ's for some shopping, no good samples. Remember to pick up most everything we need for the week so I don't have to go again. My goal, never attained.

0925 Return home, put away groceries. Really achy, sleepy and cranky. Read email, surf web (bad idea), read replies on Flyertalk to my foot crisis. Decide that maybe I should deal with foot.

1100 Remember that I forgot to pick up bamboo barrier for TH, call nursery up north, they have it. Drive up to nursery, pick up bamboo barrier, more ladybugs to kill off aphids, some more annual bedding plants, leave 76 bucks poorer.

1200 Stop by Starbucks to redeem my free green tea latte cert. Its a strange combo, but it works for me. Eat a cupcake I don't need to and kill time before library opens.

1230 Find out Library has been open for 30 minutes, get books.

1300 Return home, eat processed salad from TJ's, decide that maybe I will go to Emergency Room and have foot looked at. Take a small nap, I am tired.

1400 Take shower and drive to emergency room.

1630 Leave emergency room with Great Influenza finished having had three different people look at my foot (which looks fine) and a tetanus and whooping cough booster.

1645 Arrive home. Change clothes, start stock from leftover chicken.

1700 Start weeding, clipping, spreading mulch and put most of the plants we bought last week and this week in the ground. All that is left is the tomatoes. Yeah!

1745 Stop for food break. Leftover home made pad thai cold. Yum.

1900 TH returns from Oregon with work to do and a nice supply of chocolate bread from Pearl Bakery. Oh, and 40 lbs of asparagus from Wapato for D&A. Yikes.

1945 Friend stops by with homemade bread. I can't stand it.

2015 TH realizes I'm not going to eat dinner. Reheats leftover chicken and pad thai.

2100 I feel terrible, I get ready for work (gym stuff, paperwork) and sit and read part of a marcia muller mystery. TH types in notes from meeting, very exciting evening.

2200 I take motrin and go to bed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

500 miles and one strawberry shake later

Ernest, in the rough. May 2006.

Today TH and I left Seattle in all its mid-Spring glory and crossed the Cascades to visit with a young basset hound pup that would we like to raise. We've seen pictures of him since his birth and have received updates about his progress, but we never had seen his bassetness in real life.

One stop in Ellensburg for Winegar's yummy ice cream and some BBQ and off we went down to Goldendale to meet Ernest.

Ernest is one cute pup, we were enchanted by him and his sister, Phrace and met the rest of the family.

We won't get Ernest for a few more weeks, I wish we could have taken him home now, but the breeder has some great reasons to keep him a bit longer. It gives us a little more time to puppy proof our house, which already has gotten a thorough going over.

Life is going to change, I hope for the best.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

back and really really happy

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.

I made very good friends with the folks at the local home depot store there. I was impressed, they even did a delivery on a bank holiday Monday. Granted I paid them money, but way better than carrying cocoa bean mulch and compost and fence pieces on a trolley across a road and to the house. I went in the store late on Monday night and the manager asked me how my delivery went. Geez, am I that recognizable? The short American lady with the orange baseball cap and dansko clogs? I guess.

I spent my waking hours in the garden clipping grass, killing dead old snails and wondering why in hell no one did anything in the last year?

I also watched lots of bad british television and ate lots of microwaved meals. The meals were actually really good - just needed to be steamed. Oh, and cheese, lots of cheese.

I'm home for the next six weeks. Really. No where until New York in mid June.

We leave tomorrow to see the boy. I can't wait.