Thursday, May 31, 2007

little mr. sunshine

Our neighbor who is selling his house to the south of us reported today that he believes the house next to us will be a tear down and they'll be putting up a little megamansion. I should say, it was said with a bit of glee.

Thanks dickhead for making my evening.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

the best part of the weekend

got everything planted~

on the lighter travel plans

Sounds divine doesn't it? I am cleaning out my work email to bring it down to a managable level of chaos.

I found this email I replied to TH. Life before Ernest is what it could be entitled.

leave here on FRIDAY
arrive in London on SATURDAY
spend the morning scrumming for cheese (remember one thing, its a
saturday before christmas and all the
'chesters are in London for a dirty/shopping weekend), buy books (maybe
find some small place to do this)
take afternoon train to Paris arrive Paris around 7 pm
spend the night in Paris, scrub up , have a delightful dinner, eat ice
cream, watch the world go by, have reserved a room at the Madeleine
using 15K pts for Saturday night.

Depart Paris on Dimanche matin after eating our share of croissants, get
to St. Malo, putter around, pick up car, wander somewhere we have not
been and hope that the day trippers from London have departed. Maybe go
to the aquarium (lorenzo wants to go). (sunday all day somewhere)

Drive to Cancale or stay in St. Malo (sunday night).

Spend at least one night at Les Maisons de bricourt. eat fish, if we are
super duper lucky, the weather will hold and we can go tide pooling.
(monday and monday night)


Take train to paris on Tuesday, walk around, eat some more, replenish
macarons and cheese supplies, spend the night at jardins de l'odeon.
sleep in, get on the RER at St. Michel and go to airport on Wednesday.

I can't believe I once had the energy to do this.

for sale by owner

Our neighbors, two houses to the south are now moving as well. I can't fault them, he got a great job way up North and East.

I will miss their kids.

Anyone want to buy it and move to my hood? Ernest promises to let you pet him.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

picking your battles

The house next to us is on the market. Its not winner, but at 500K without any work being done on it and for sale by owner, it makes you wonder. Is this going to be a tear down or a flip/resell. It has been a rental for the last twelve years and the owners have not been our favorite people on the planet for various and sundry reasons.

Let's hope for flip/resell for our sakes.

There are neighbors around us who still refer to the house as Grandma Koontz's house, her rose bush is still out front. I have been pruning it when the house occupants can't be bothered.

Does it make me sad that this house is a commodity?


Does it make me sad that our neighborhood is changing?


Does it make me angry that a house that has fine lines may be torn down to put in a house that will change our street?


Does it bother me that I don't even flinch when I hear that a rental in my neighborhood is going for 700K and some moron will buy it?
A little bit, I no longer have sticker shock, that is for sure.

Where do all these people who sell their houses for 700K move to? Certainly not anywhere else in the city.

Does it make me sad to see our street make up change?

Not really, we have some pretty cool people, I just hope they can afford to stay here. I like having families around, I like to talk to my neighbors. I actually like my neighbors. I hope that who ever buys the green house with the old apple tree in the back yard with several cat graves and the final resting place of Henny Penny will appreciate it for what it was, Mrs. Koontz's house.

Just trying to be optimistic folks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

having a shirley valentine moment

All this and no miles!

I am going to Greece for my cousin's big fat Iranian/Greek/German wedding and trying to coordinate with my parents who are too tired to deal with thinking about another trip, my cousin and his lovely wife who are flying in from San Francisco and my brother, who is a whirling dervish of activity that is hard to pin down. The wedding is on a Saturday, but the partay starts in Athens a week earlier and wends its way to Thessalonki. Partay all the way baby. Unfortunately for me, I have a half in Philly and I'm not missing that or Morimotos for the world, right the Js?

I can't find an award seat that doesn't have me routed from sea-ord-lhr-ath-skg-ath-lhr-yyc-sea!
Remember, I have status that opens seats for me when there are none and even I'm getting slim pickings. I don't even want to know how much that would cost me in cold hard cash. I have one ticket on american, but my dream would be to board in SEA wake up in LHR, take a nice shower in the lounge and then go off to Greece, but that ain't happening. I am trying all sorts of machinations on this one, all I know is I'm spending three days in Thessaloniki, two days in Athens, two days somewhere else (Rhodes?) and then heading home via London (ugh) unless something else pans out.

Or, maybe Paris, you never know.

I love my cousin, I love all my cousins, I just wish you could be teleported places.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

new rules

Rainy day, West Seattle, May 2007.

Today, I did good things. I walked beat the bridge and had a great time with J doing it. I made manicotti, cookie dough, cooked up someother stuff,ran a bunch of errands and wasted hours on flickr. Seriously, seriously, seriously. I am so pissed.

So, new rules are no computer time other than 15 minutes on weekends.

Granted it sucked today weather wise, but still.

There is dog that was bored, a house that could use some sweeping and a couple of closets that could be cleaned while TH is bobbing around the ocean.

Dog is pissed because I forgot to pick up margarita mix for him today.


Oh, new photos from new camera on flickr. Yes, I bought the Canon SD800IS and based on what I've seen other people do and what I did today, it may work.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

unoscotto - biscotti that doesn't kill you

TH requested one thing for her cruise, a breakfast biscotti that I first made in 1994 from Martha Stewart living. I managed to get rid of all my magazines and thanks to the internets I was able to find the recipe again.

Its a cornmeal biscotti, great for eating on the go. I remember making this recipe a lot in the 90's (dating myself) and varying the dried fruit and nut mix. This time, TH requested hazelnuts and dried cherries, though I am partial to cranberries. I remember gesticulating with my biscotti in my hand on the way to work and Jacques who was visiting us lurching over the seat and taking away my biscotti. It was basset approved.

This recipe is my kind of biscotti, easy to make and without butter so it is lacks the crumb that some really like in a biscotti, but I dislike. TH also loves it baked once, not twice, which gives biscotti its name - twice baked.

Tonight, I took them out of the oven, she came over and pronounced them done. I cut them with a bread knife and by tomorrow they will be air dried enough to pack in her bag and go off to the far west - nearly the east if you are being technical.

Without further ado, the recipe.

Yield: 7 Dozen

1 ½
cup All-purpose flour
1 ½ cup Yellow cornmeal
¾ cup Light-brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoon Finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon Salt
2 large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
¼ pounds Whole shelled hazelnuts (about 3/4 C)
½ cup Golden raisins or any dried fruit
½ cup water

1. Heat oven to 325'. Lightly oil and flour a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. 2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt until well blended. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 C water, the eggs, and the vanilla and stir into the flour mixture; the dough will be sticky. Stir in hazelnuts and raisins. 4. Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. On a heavily floured work surface, shape each portion into a log about 13 inches long by 2 inches wide. Place the logs 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until logs are firm and golden brown on the bottom, about 45 minutes. Remove logs from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. 5. With a clean serrated knife, cut each log into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. Place the slices in a single layer on a clean baking sheet (you'll probably need to use 2 baking sheets). Bake until tops of biscotti are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake until golden brown and very dry, about 15 minutes more. Cool the biscotti completely on a wire rack before serving. Store in an air- tight container.

Source: Martha Stewart Living/October/94

Adapted from:

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

random scribblings of a tuesday in seattle

Hmm, what is new?

I went to Boston, drove to New Hampshire, went to Maine and then to New Hampshire for dinner last Friday. I would not recommend it for the faint of heart, it sucked the life blood out of me and no amount of dunkin donuts iced coffee (milk, no sugar) revived me.

I have been really really tired. My doctor and I are trying all sorts of new and exciting things, so we'll see.

TH is leaving town for Alaska! That means that E and I can eat popcorn for dinner and jalepenos for breakfast and listen to NPR all the time, well, mostly while deconstructing closets. We hope she has smooth sailing and seas. Just talking about it over dinner made me queasy. I spent a lot of time doing the same things she is about to do and I can't imagine ever doing it again. Then again, microscope work in 10' seas is always exciting.

It was hot here today. TH and I were going to Pair for dinner, but then she decided that eating outside was desirable to much adored mushroom bisque and small plates. There are very few restaurants in Seattle that are not located downtown or in a mall that have outdoor dining. Ciao Bella, located in the 98105, has a great patio (albeit on a busy street) and great vitello al limone so that worked for me. It was good, the best part was listening to the owner and his friends talking about Lazio football. TH decided that it felt truly like eating in Rome and that made her happy.

Ernest the puppy stayed home all day. He was super brave for a young basset and now is exhausted. Staying up all day to protect your home against maruding cats is hard work!

Other than that, nothing much, the published one is back in MKE, the parentals were last heard from on a train from Teheran to Mashad sharing a compartment with two meterologists. Imagine that, if only they could convey the information that their beloved daughter could talk storm surge with them...

I hope they are having a good time.

NM and her cousin emailed each other today making arrangements for our big fat greek wedding reunion. We both booked into the same hotel in Athens, isn't that wild? I tell you, great minds think alike. Now, I must perform the impossible and find a BA ticket to get me there and back with a stop over in CDG to pick up chocolate.

So, that is my wrap up. Nothing too exciting to report.

How is it going in your world?


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Heeeeeeeeeellllllllllllloooooooooo out there

Father sun, the greenhouse, Seattle, WA May 2007.

Is it something I said, or didn't?

Things here are fine. We're just wrapping up another exciting work week here. Papers are almost done and on Thursday night we're on our way to Boston and not such beautiful New Hampshire to deal with a family issue.

My family is fine, thankyouverymuch. My father met another 15 relatives yesterday and my brother has met close to 60 M&Js he had never met. Pretty cool huh?

I will just be happy when by brother texts me from Paris telling me he's okay.

I've been busy taking all sorts of pictures, you should check out my Flickr photostream and using my rss feed to see my new pics as I load them. Some are silly, some are really bad (those are the ones taken with my phone) and some are down right awesome. I'm contemplating buying a new point and shoot because TH will take the D50 to Alaska with her and goddamnit, I take pictures every freaking day.

Check out my contacts too, they take great pictures.

Well the dog is snoring, I'm ready to read something that doesn't pertain to hazard planning and scientific python and hopefully one of you will comment before too long.



Tuesday, May 08, 2007

the miracle of the mommy network

Where the mommy mafia met, from the

Today my Khaleh Mehri called me to thank me for the email I sent this morning to her son updating her on what my family was up to and where they were in their journey. I know that by sending out an email to a core bunch of my mom's friends, their kids and my family, the news will get disseminated far and wide and fast!

The mommy network is an amazing thing. I know I have written about it before. These are a group of amazing women who went to nursing school together in the 50's and still remain amazingly close friends, well, maybe more like sisters. I cannot begin to explain their bond. They laugh together, they cry together and they mourn together.

They are also amazing in their ability to run to eachother in the time of need or find the resources through their networks to make sure things are done correctly. I cannot tell you how much we benefited from K.Mehri when TH's dad needed help and we were 700 miles away.

I love them all.


Thursday, May 03, 2007


University Bridge, Day after. April 2007.

I was able to leave my office and make it downtown and parked right in front of my hairs salon (you cut more than one n'est ce pas?) in less that 45 minutes this afternoon during rush hour.

Considering yesterday's news of traffic hell due to sink holes, traffic diversions, the relentless media coverage and warnings, I was flabbergasted. Busses signaled they were changing lanes, pedestrians did not dart out in traffic, drivers were less stupid than usual merging onto the freeway and Westlake was open on my way home.

I even managed to make it home over the University bridge and not fall in.

Sometimes this city amazes me, and in a good way.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

kung fu hip

My hip and lower back are killing me and the last flying I did was two weeks ago, or was one, I can't remember.

Yes, I had a bulkhead and yes, I'm sure I put my feet up. I know it is wrong, I shouldn't do it.

However, I can attribute this rash of pain to one thing ...

Kung fu hip - the hip that comes from kung fu kicking and kick box kicks that comes from crushing snails on retaining walls on our daily walks.

Damn, now I'm going to have to pull them off and crunch them, which takes more time and is not as satisfying.

Time to take some more advil.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

view from afar

Shemiran, north Tehran, April 2007, photo courtesy of the published one.

How I wish I could be there to see my dad see everyone again.