Sunday, November 15, 2015

Basset selfoui #dailyernest

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I need longer arms.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It feels like winter is here - must start storing acorns 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Order of Operations

This is a crucial part of learning how to perform calculations and how to deal with life and all of its challenges. I'm starting to believe that the world and my fate is part of a large field calculation and that it is a good thing to step back and look at where things may go wrong and fix them. I'm also a big believer these days in object oriented living. Taking things down to their component parts and reusing and referencing them, saving time and redundancy. I wish the rest of the world felt the same way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All of the tracking

That's my kind of #5aday - thanks @simplymeasured #liftsocial

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I started tracking my food again - it is not helping. I am still eating way too much sugar. I'm still not getting enough of the green stuff.

I'm still eating like a four year old with a somewhat sophisticated palate.

At the same time, I'm making reservations for Michelin starred restaurants for my December trip to Paris.

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


that feel like Mondays are hard.

I could use do over of Monday with part of Tuesday to boot. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week.

I wish I had more to say, but my mind is filled with calculations, bar charts and thinking about what Thanksgiving will bring.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Monday musing

There is no place I would rather be today 

Although this was pretty cool to wake up to 

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Some days it is just better to stay in bed or carrying it with you. 

Friday, November 06, 2015

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Happy Holidays from Starbucks.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Real life

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There is something to be said for flying from LA and  going straight to the office. This followed by  spending an hour in traffic  to sit for another three hours in class and then to come home to stream a sitcom and eat mediocre soup dumplings.

Nothing changes on the return to Seattle except for the 40 lbs of fruit we hauled back. There are the same bills,  bags to unpack and the same spreadsheet you were happy to close on Tuesday hasn't miraculously fixed itself. I sometimes wish this were not the case.

 I am glad to be home for the next month to deal with all of this and more.

Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Hump Day

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This year I have seen some spectacular things - Swaths of snowdrops in Lincolnshire,  the back roads of Southeastern Tennessee, Monet's Giverny in full bloom, Great Dixter at a quiet time of year, the Columbia Gorge with its salmon heading home to spawn, the northern New Mexico landscape in the winter and fall and the view below the Golden Gate Bridge by boat. Today, I finally made it to Joshua Tree.

In one word, amazing.

We didn't hike or pull off the road to see every marker or scenic point, but the drive and views were spectacular at 35 miles an hour.  The park is not too crowded this time of year and the weather was magnificently brisk, but manageable.  It made me realize that there are so many things I have yet to experience.  It has inspired me to start thinking and planning new travel itineraries.

All in all a pretty awesome hump day.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Inland Empire

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I find myself in the Redlands today. I am not down here for anything special. TH is giving a talk at a meeting and I tagged along to get some sunshine. Please note that the picture above was taken when I landed. Ontario was 2 degrees F warmer than Seattle this afternoon.

It seems weird not to be going to this specific meeting this year. I presented two years in a row, but I'm sitting it out this year and I'll tell you why.

I sometimes think we have meetings for the sake of having meetings.

I've been working at building programs and meetings for the last ten years. I strategized over time tables and room sizes and what topics will draw a good crowd. I spent a goodly three years working with an amazing group of program managers, scientists, industry folks to develop a great conference highlighting emerging technologies in weather and climate.

Here's the rub - What is the use of talking to the same people year after year? Are the same folks who lead the plenary session, sit on panels and are considered the big draws the right people to be up on the stage? I understand inspiring a crowd and hitting key points in policy or new directions, but sometimes I wonder if we should change the way we approach conferences.

--I've been involved in lightning talks - that is one way to change things up.

-- I've been on panels and that is another way to do things - but the mix of panelists and an engaged moderator are key.

 --I've stood in front of a research poster and prayed that someone would talk to me at the same time prayed that no one would talk to me.

 --I've wondered if anyone would come to my talk - the last one of the day on the last day of the conference usually placed in a session that has nothing to do with my topic.

--I've questioned if parallel tracks are effective.

 I think about ways to get people to come back at the end of the day and try and wrap up what happened. As our attention spans get shorter and shorter and we spend more of our time disseminating information during the sessions via social channels, I wonder if we're really engaging in the conference.  Sometimes I wish we could turn off the wireless (which we all begged and pleaded for in the past) in the conference rooms just to get people to pay attention to the speaker.

I know it sounds crazy, but I think it might be time that we rethink the conference/meeting framework and start thinking of new ways to engage with our peers.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Wishing and Plotting

Apes - go away, but come back for my lunch and biscuit walkabout #dailyernest

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There is something about the first Monday of the month that fills you with such excitement for the rest of the month, even if is the beginning of the Holiday rush.

The calendar is fairly empty, the new month beckons and I'm already whooped.

I looked out the windows at work and saw the dusk at 440 pm and by the time I left it was pitch black. I broke out my new long down jacket to walk the dog and I'm wearing slippers in the house.  After our hot and relentless summer, you would think I would rejoice in this weather, but honestly - I can do without Winter this year.  Let's skip it and go right to Spring.

My dream in life is to chase Spring around the world - go from zone to zone and let bring me hope and joy - new life and all the opportunities that come with sowing seeds, cleaning house and the lightness of April mornings and May dusks.

I was lucky enough to hit Spring in four different locations in 2015. I'm going for five in 2016.

I hope Tuesday goes better than Monday.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Happy November

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How dare October end so suddenly? I needed another week.

Happy November. It is time to get the content filled and some ideas down on the keyboard. I've missed writing and I'm not sure you have missed reading my rants.

I've been here, there and everywhere for the last six weeks.  None of it too exciting but I was happy to be grounded for eight long days. It gave me a chance to figure out what the rest of the year should look like and be ready to accept what it is going to look like.

I've been to New Mexico, Nashville and South East Tennessee, California, Portland, Yakima!, Chicago and back and forth across the city.

It is also NaPoBloMo. I will post daily (even if it kills me) and hopefully some of you will follow along.

Day 1 is over.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Go outside before it is too late

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Today's weather was a gift. I was indoors for most of it - but I did manage to look out the window where I was working in search of eagles.  As the days grow shorter and then evenings slightly oppressive, I'll take any chance to be outside and bask in the not so warm, yet still bright sun.

I'm trying to come up with a list of things to do to make my 2015 Fall and 2016 Winter evenings feel less than jail time and more like yard time. I'm not a big lover of nesting and making stews and ragouts. I hate coming home from work and staying indoors unless the dog needs a walk.  I'm going to make the effort to get out more.  I have class once a week and god knows, I'll likely be gone one day a week traveling, but it is the other five nights I would like to fill. Watching TV is not an option, I try and limit my weekday watching to the gym.

What are your coping mechanisms for the onset of the long nights?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Why we can't have nice things

You know how we feel about twists. #coffeetalk @e_m_o_h @myrakohn

Espresso with a twist is definitely a nice thing and I have 78888 espresso cups that I could be using to make my own. Taken in January 2012 - New Orleans. 

I'm not talking about the usual response to things going wrong or getting broken that seems to elicit this response from the sarcastic me. I'm trying to turn it around and think of it this way - "Why do we  have nice things and why don't we use them" or better yet - "Is it possible to be gracious and accept a nice thing as a gift without getting all defensive and embarrassed and then dismissive because you can't just okay, thanks, bye."

Yup. That kind of nice thing.

I look around at the things I have left to shrivel and die in corners because they are too nice and I'm afraid that our lifestyle is too casual or I'm not pretty or special enough to carry something off. I let a beautiful silk nightdress sit for twenty years before I wore it. Today,  I looked longingly at a soup tureen TH gave me a million years ago that sits in a cabinet neglected instead of serving a lovely soup  to my friends and family because I'm afraid to use it because something may happen to it.

Who uses a soup tureen? I'm going to starting now.

Who wears beautiful silk to bed? Other than Rita Hayworth, I suppose I could/should.

Who should stop coveting and start using? All of us.  Things other than some wines don't really get better with time. I'm not getting all Kon-Mari on you and tell you to release your stuff, but maybe we should all release some of the fear and self-doubt that makes often makes it hard for us to enjoy what we have.

If you see me walking around in a beautiful silk robe carrying around a soup tureen, just smile and nod.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Missed day

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I had promised to post each day, but yesterday got away from me. 

Today seems to be doing the same.

 Tomorrow should be better.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Packing is a big game of Tetris. This makes it so much easier when the Agriculture inspectors go through each item on your return to the States. 

At least my macarons arrived home safely.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The little things

There is something decadent about taking a nap in the middle of the day, even if it means skipping lunch or more sightseeing. 

There will always be Paris.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Friday Wrap Up

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Giverny - Check
La Defense/Grand Arche - Check
Parc Martin Luther King - Clichy/Batignolles - Check
Dinner at Coretta - Check
20k steps walked - Check

Thursday, September 03, 2015

New territory

Can't wait for sparklemotion #nmcdgsept15 #hyattlife @hyatt_etoile

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I either have allergies or am coming down with the summer cold. This happened to me during Snowdrop Mania in February and I was not amused, but for the most part I soldiered on. I'm going to do the best I can tomorrow to get to Giverny . I have some ibuprofen  and what I believe to be an antihistamine, so down the hatch they go.

My goal this trip is to see four things I've never seen before (not in a particular order):

Vaux le Vicomte 
La Grande Arche
The new park for Clichy and Batignolles 
and if I'm lucky on my way home from Vaux on Saturday - I'll hit the small park near the Palais de Decouverte.

I try and plan and make sure I do things in the most efficient routing possible. I hate retracing my steps, so I make mental maps and then validate them on paper or on-line maps. I still get lost and sometimes things don't work out - delays happen, new and interesting things are discovered or you fall ill and decide that a day in bed is better than four hours on a bus.

I've got a few good decades left in me - most of these places have been around for a long time and are likely to be there next year and the year after.

Are you happy doing the same thing trip after trip or are you always looking for new things to do when you travel?

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Thinking about packing

This is one in a series of boring posts,  which I hope you will find helpful about how I pack for trips so that I'm ready for anything and nothing gets wasted.  First you need to think about your trip and I give you several questions to think about before you start the process.

I wish I could say I’m a packing pro, but I’m not.  My conferences and meetings do not happen in boardrooms or ballrooms. I don’t possess a navy or black suit with three contrasting silk shells. I’m more of a skirt and sweater girl, but even that can be pushing it depending on the meeting I’m attending.  I saw more cargo shorts and polo shirts at my last meeting than business casual attire.

These days I’m doing more leisure travel which can be even more vexing in terms of packing.  I’m not confident I’ve picked the right mix of clothing types.  Will I sweat through every t-shirt I bring and what happens if I get a blister and need to swap out shoes? What if I get cold or too hot?

The great thing is most of the places like I go are in the first world and thanks to globalization – I’m likely to be within spitting distance of a GAP, so I can replenish my wardrobe if necessary.  Better yet, I can subscribe to the weather alerts for the places I’m visiting to get a better idea of what to expect on the ground. 

So, here are my rules to pack efficiently for a trip to the first world.  It takes time and a few iterations to get it right, just like product/market fit.  My objective when it comes to packing is to make sure that everything I bring get used during the trip.

Before starting to pack ask yourself these questions:

What is your packing goal for this trip?
Are you checking luggage?
How are you traveling? Will you be moving around or staying in one place long enough to dry your smalls over night?
Are you participating in an activity that requires event-specific apparel and shoe wear?
Are you the kind of person that can eat a ripe peach wearing a white t-shirt and have it remain white?
Are you averse to washing out smalls in sinks if necessary?
Are you okay wearing the same shirt or pants two days in a row?
Are you comfortable relying on hotel bathroom amenities and leaving your own stuff at home?
Are you planning or willing to buy new clothes on your trip?
How much electronic/craft equipment will you be bringing along with you?

Once you answer those questions – you can start thinking of the most efficient way to pack for your trip so that you can feel confident in your choices and not get cranky when you find you packed five pairs of socks and no smalls.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The first of the month

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Hello September!  I managed to post each day last month - even if it was a photo with some terse comment.  This month I plan to do better - really!

I'm looking forward to a long flight with a new tapestry and some Orphan Black - now available to download on your i-device or a-device as long as you are an Amazon Prime member. I'm not sure if it will work if you are overseas, but like with many things, VPN is a great solution.

I bought a new suitcase this week - my old girl had over a million miles on her and it was time to trade her for something a little sleeker. I'll give you a report soon. Everyone has their issues with their bags and packing. I seem to have a great way to pack but at the last minute, I start to panic. Mostly this revolves around accessories and shoes.  

No one cares, but I know that you do and you can make yourself crazy.

Off to change out purses again and look for a pair of shoes to go with my purse.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer's End

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It was chilly this morning when I started in Portland and by the time I got to Wapato, it was roasting (relatively speaking). I love the high highs and the lower lows we're having these days. What I do hate is the darkness. In the winter, I love the first time it is still light at 5:15 pm and it feels amazing to be gardening at 7pm in April. By July, we're in a summer light rut - we have had so much of it, we stop taking it for granted.

 As I swept up have the branches from our big sycamores out front today, I realized that the light is fading so much earlier. While our house is light and airy most of the time, the front rooms don't get a lot of evening light - so everything feels dark and hopeless inside even as early as 6 pm these days.  I was happy to put on my jacket to sweep and prune just to be in the light.

I'm not looking forward to the next fifteen weeks of shortened days and weaker light. I'm trying to spend as much time outside as possible to soak up as many photons as possible. Its a coping mechanism, but it works.

Happy September.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sunday in Portland Wrap Up

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Number of cups of coffee consumed: 5 (all decaf)

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Number of waxed mustaches spotted: 6
Number of books purchased: 6

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Number of tasty meals: 2.5
Number of not so tasty meals: 0
Number of needlepoint canvases purchased: 5
Number of dogs I played tug and catch with today in a needlepoint shop: 1
Number of rain showers experienced: 3

All in all not a bad Sunday.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

September Goals

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My goal for August was to post every day to this blog and also to log my food everyday. I am doing pretty well on both fronts. Nothing has changed on the food front - I eat a lot, exercise some and would make my naturopath very cranky if she was to peruse my food logs.

So, what should I do for the month of September? I have travel, schedule changes, more stress and unlike some people hate chunky sweaters and boots.

Food challenge? Actually eat seven to ten servings of fruits and veg a day? Possibly.
Writing challenge? Perhaps post usable content?
Brand challenge? Stop being so schizophrenic and drill down to what I want to achieve with my writing?
Mood challenge? Try to not be so cranky?
Health challenge? Attempt to get over six hours of sleep?


Do you think I'm up for it?

Now off to confess my eating indiscretions - thanks Alaska Airlines fruit and cheese plate.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


I took myself out to a lovely lunch today at the Cafe at Chez Panisse. It was my first visit since they remodeled and the rooms felt much the same to me, much like eating in a Berkeley home with all the wood, hard benches and the feeling that you are suspended in the trees.

What I did not love about my lunch as listening to the conversation carried on by the ladies lunching next to me.  I was not trying to listen, but the seats are quite close together and I was entertaining myself, so I had a book but not much else to keep me occupied. I suppose I could have live tweeted it like the woman who documented to a couple breaking up on her flight she witnessed in real time.

I heard more about polyps, mammograms, ungrateful and directionless adult children (hmm) and the tribulations of being the spouse of a trial lawyer that I had anticipated when I sat down. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure my conversations would bore you to tears, but I am not likely to discuss my upcoming colonoscopy while dining in a public place, especially when sound travels and we're sitting cheek by jowl.

For me it was also a reminder that polite conversation should avoid politics and polyps, especially while dining in public spaces.

Lunch, by the way was outstanding.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


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It is so late in the evening and I've given up on having anything useful to say. I'm out of words.

Maybe something will come to me tomorrow - after I review abstracts, find an electrician, meet with roofer and attend conference call. Maybe it will happen after I take myself to lunch at Chez Panisse where it is impossible to make an OpenTable reservation for one (WTF?).

Looks like the weather is changing at home. I could feel a change on Monday. I'm reaching for my down jacket for early morning dog walks and gym visits.  I love and hate it, but I have to learn to accept it. Fall is coming.

3/4 of the year is over. I'm not sure what the last quarter brings, but I'm certain something will change for the better.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

To the South

In Berkeley for a few days....

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It was fine day for fig picking.
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and then some lemons ....
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I so very much missed the sunsets.
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I'm glad to be back.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Comfort of the Familiar

The croquet pitch at the Four Seasons Lodge at Koe'le is one of those familiar places for me. 

Jacques, our previous basset travelled between Berkeley, Seattle and Northern B.C. for the first seven years of his life. He hated the flying and the kenneling that accompanied it. However, as soon as he arrived at his destination - he went straight to his water bowl and then to his bed for a nap. Ernest does the same thing - water, sniff around and nap, no matter how long it has been between visits.

There is something about having a well worn routine and a familiarity with a place that makes going and coming easier.  For some, it may be going to the same cabin every year or visiting family and knowing you'll be in the guest room with the really loud wallpaper.

This week I'm revisiting my old familiar, in a different capacity than before. It should be interesting and challenging and I'm clinging to the hope that there will be a little sliver of fun as well.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Wrapup

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That is what we call Can-Mari - Seattle style.  Please note that some foods are much better in theory than in practice - Chioggia Beets for one, deviled ham is another.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead with some travel, a lot of work and hopefully a change of scenery that will lift me up.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

To the north

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Missing this view and the relative silence that comes with it a lot.

I'm plowing through errands and such at home in preparation for a busy week ahead.
I can't believe September is around the corner and with it - the last quarter of the year.

Happy Saturday.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Canning it

What I accomplished today in the world of preserving -

Dried Peaches
Plum-Apple Chutney
Poire Belle Helene - pear and chocolate spread
Tomato sauce

The damage -
one minor cut to my hand

The upside -
no pepper burns
no cracked jars

I love and hate canning this time of year - it is warm during the day, but the time the last batch of salsa that goes in the canner, it has cooled off enough to make it pleasant to be in the kitchen. I'm happy to say that after tomorrow's  next batch of salsa and the remaining peaches, I'm done preserving until the apples come in and we're inundated with another crop of tomatoes.

Last year, we did a pretty decent job of eating through most of our stuff. I'm starting to distribute the last of the marmalade and jams from earlier in the year and I'll make some effort to enjoy the remaining stash from 2014. This year, my goal is to have nothing go to waste.

In my desire to Kon-Mari my stash and make my canning a more pleasant experience (read: no longer dread), I'm thinking we'll skip peaches and canned tomatoes as neither give me joy.  Salsa gives TH joy and is easy to make and I would stand each jar of chutney up so that I could admire it before diving in and devouring it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Summer's bounty

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The harvest and preserving season is upon us and this year I promised myself not to get carried away. 

Easier to say than done.

I see salsa making in my weekend plans and peach drying and some plum chutney.

Don't get me started on the tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Closed. #dailyernest #bassetsofinstagram

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We grow weary of the weather and talking about it. Apparently tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 70s and I have a date with some mildewed squash leaves and quack grass.

Thank goodness.