Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Monday, February 01, 2016


Happy New Year. I seem to say this a lot, even now.

January was not the best of months. There was illness, there was drama, there were few naps and I'm happy to say that it is over.

 February is my least favorite month. I'm not sure why. It is my birthday month, but I still don't like it. I do love the spring bulbs that are way too early this year. I love the fact it is light until 5 pm again. I love the fact that after 28  29 days the month is over.

 I'm subbing February for January this year. Instead of making lists of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2016, I'm focusing on finishing the relevant tasks of 2015 that are overdue and adding in a few things where I can fit them in.

 I'm still thinking about how my workflow has changed now that I'm working from home again. I'm back to using my large monitor and sitting at a desk instead of plopping down anywhere and writing/surfing/working. I'm blocking sites that I find both time and attention sucking. If I find something that works, I'll pass that along.

I think 2016 will be a year, much like the rest with a few good things tempered with the bad and sad. I'm going to continue to say "no" more than "yes", but with a little more patience than before.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Life and Death 2.0


This evening, I briefly saw a friend of mine at a food blogger event.
She is one of the most ebullient people I know. Tonight she was very distant and standoffish, and definitely not her cheerful self. She excused herself and left early.

Soon after, I sat down at a table with friends and checked my "streams" It was then that I saw a Facebook post mentioning the passing of Kim Ricketts, literary event promoter and genuinely amazing person. I was shocked, not just by the devastating news, but also in the delivery. RIP via Social Media? Do we no longer send black edged cards announcing the passing of family or friends? That is too slow and requires postage. We now do things quickly, instantaneously, and sometimes without thought. Like it or not, life does happen in 140 characters or less - but is it always appropriate?

My memory is filled with the exact place, time and delivery of the news of the death of loved ones. When I was little, I grew to dread the middle of night telephone calls that usually meant that someone back home had died. Later, we would receive telegrams and letters expressing sorrow. It seemed to prolong, yet at the same time soften the blow of loss - 6000 miles and staticky phone lines help, along with a touch of youthful innocence.

Making phone calls to family and friends after the death is also something I have grown accustomed to. After the death of TH's father, I remember sitting with the phone book in my lap making call after call. I hoped that the phone would ring and no one would answer so that I could hang up. I was relieved when I heard a friendly voice would pick up on the other end. The first words are the hardest, and I dread silence on other end - wanting to fill the gaps of comprehension.

I cannot say enough about the grace of my friend who while consuming her own grief and shock, did not announce to the world her mourning and loss. She is a class act.

We all have our ways of processing loss and expressing grief. I did post on my Facebook wall about my shock of her death and my sadness. She was an amazing person that had the knack and gift of building a community of food lovers, chefs and writers. I read others' twitter streams and realize that having an one to many conversation about loss is how they deal with grief. This is something I cannot do well in 140 characters or less, I need more bandwidth.

I will honor Kim by continuing to cherish books and the written word. TH and I will toast her with hot cocoa and wish you all had had the good fortune to have crossed paths with her.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009



I have been remiss. Sorry to my six loyal readers.

Its been a hard summer. For those of you who see me on a marginally regular basis can attest to my Pepcid AC swallowing and deep breaths. For those of you who aren't, you are not missing anything particularly pleasant.

This week I am pretending I'm somewhere else. Poutine, Molsons, bagels and a beaver will fill some gaps, but not all - including finally meeting Sherry, Graham and Sophie.

Well, there is always a next time and I'm a pretty lucky person these days, considering.

Happy September, the month could end now for all its worth.

Monday, August 18, 2008

the keenest of peaches

variety is the spice of life

On the hottest day of the year, I bought two cases of peaches for canning. It always seems to be that we start preserving for the fall and long winter when the mercury rises about 90 degrees. We don't get started until after the dinner dishes are done and all the jars are scrubbed and ready to go and we don't end until way past our regular bedtimes.

Frankly, I was happy to see the rain and wind and cool temperatures of Monday. I was even happier to get the show of canning on the road before 9 pm.

The peaches we got are wonderful, they are seconds - blemished, but they are juicy, perfectly ripe and locally grown. While we have two peach trees in our garden that typically produce well, this year we have not one peach thanks to a mismatch between bees, flowers and our typically flaky weather.

I miss picking peaches off the tree this year.

I also missed the opportunity to pick peaches off the tree this spring when we went to visit the communities near Fresno that grow amazing varieties of peaches on small scale family farms. The cold weather had us off the first harvest by a crucial week. However, it was still fun to watch our friend Paul jump up on the processing line and show us all the facets of peach packing. Trust me, you had to be there.

Most of all, peaches signify to me the beginning of a long lasting relationship between food, TH and myself. Our first real date involved ten hours together going in search of peppers, peaches and warm weather in the 509. On the way home we stopped to get some peaches. When we got back to TH's house, we needed to make a cobbler for a dinner party to which we were both invited.

The peaches were not ripe and TH and I boiled the life out of them to get them to soften.

It was the act of cooking together and trying to figure out how to make something good out of something bad that made me realize that there was something here that was real.

I think TH felt the same way.

Other than the cobbler, we both don't remember much about the what else was served that night, but we laugh every time we think of that peach cobbler.

Here's to more moments of brilliance in life and the kitchen

Saturday, August 16, 2008

carrying on


Today I walked by myself before the heat of the day. My training plan has me at 10 miles today and eight tomorrow. I walked 7 before 8 am fueled by Aimee Mann, Franz Ferdinand, Cold Play and assorted tunes. I carried nothing but my ipod and my house keys.

It felt good.

Today was the first time in something like eight weeks I was able to go to the Farmer's market with TH, do the TJs run and assorted other errands. I think she liked it until I began to micromanage her purchase of goat cheese.

Then she turned to me and said "don't you have another three miles to do?"


While the mercury rises to 92 degrees today, I will start packing for my trip to Greenland. A few days ago at a lunch with a group of people that work with TH, we mentioned Greenland and one of the women at lunch mentioned she had just returned from a work trip to Ilillusiat and had her packing list.

This is a woman after TH's heart.

Greenland for seven days with one carry on and one personal item.

Her list is wonderful, informative and timely.

TH will probably carry on Boston and then surrender her bag to Iceland Air in hopes that it will show up in Nuuk. I am taking my chances that British Airlines will get my bag to Copenhagen in one piece- while I am a big fan of the no check/no worries of bags, this time I fly with a trekking backpack its just not going to work while going through the terminals of Heathrow. Its a given that Air Greenland will make me check my bag from Copenhagen to Nuuk via Kang, it just a weight and balance thing.

It feels good to carry on -- with life and with baggage, you just have to pick and choose which parts you can live without for the journey.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Field of dreams

Somewhere in Colorado, September 2006.

Note I wrote this 11/30, last Friday, thank you for your patience.

It is cold here in Corvallis. It was very strange driving into campus today with TH and have her explain to me the passing landscape, she has a knack for describing things that makes it easy for me to imagine what it looked like in different seasons. TH did this drive for three years, transiting back and forth from Seattle to Corvallis by plane, train and automobile. She was lucky enough to have a home with our friends L&E kept her in divine food, clean clothes and coffee for those long quarters of classes, papers and commuting.

They gave her respite and a place to escape in a beautiful house in the middle of Christmas tree farms.

Over time, she found her perfect drive to and from campus. She would drive windy back roads through small family farm plots full of spinach, hazelnuts, blueberries and leeks. While, this morning it was sleeting and gray, I could picture what it must have been like for her in the early spring when the blueberries were starting to flower and the hazels were unfurling their first light green fuzzy leaves. In the early fall, when the hazels all turned yellow and the corn was ready to be cut, she could see yellow for a few acres. The drive was a good way to prepare before she was to present her work on Bayesian modeling in her informatics class or discuss how ideas in science diffused. We talked a lot on the drive down yesterday about learning, school and when you are ready to be done with school. Neither of us believe that you ever finish learning, there is so much out there. School, that may be another story.

Today, I can say that she knows more about the cutting edge of mapping, information sciences and visualization and how they can be applied to a slew of environmental issues. She has approached these ideas as a geographer, scientist and historian and made sense of them.

Good job TH, Dr. TH to the rest of you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Posh marshmellows, chocolatier Foucher, Paris, October 2007.

I'm knackered, it is the time change.

Ernest goes by his own clock, so up he was at 6 am and now he's down at 6:30.

He's a by the book kind of guy.

I have nothing of real import to report, I'm a bit sad today. One of our family friends is putting her husband in a nursing home. There is that subtle shift between the acceptance of your elderly relatives needing to leave home when their husband/wife/partner or caregiver can no longer provide them the care they need and when it becomes the person that introduced your father to the practice of medicine.

I can't even imagine what my parents are going through today. They went to go see them today.
On a happier note, some of my pics are up from our last trip to Paris, London, Brussels. Go check them out. I have yet to tag them properly. We found a lovely new chocolatier on rue st. Dominique (Jen, you must check him out) and all the favorites were just fine.

My risotto is burbling, my artichokes are as well, TH is setting the table and its time for dinner.


Friday, November 02, 2007

weekend reading

Geez, why not.

Actually, its four weekends or is it five until I go somewhere again. I should be happy. If I don't have my Holiday shopping done by November 15th, you can kiss my grits.

I'm in a contrarian mood today. I'm frustrated at the dog who had kennel cough and played with Ernest and whose owner was so gormless as not to tell us. I am trying not to be frustrated with Ernest, he didn't do anything but want to play. I am relieved in a way to be home as well, I have a presentation to put together for a meeting and now I'm not scrambling to get it done. TH has more time to work on her proposal as well, but still, beach, sand, sun.....

Ernest is also confused. He's not allowed to play with anyone for the next 10 to 14 days. That sucks. He's quite active, just sounding like crap. He doesn't know why he can't say hi to his buddies.

What is on tap for the weekend? I'm trying some new recipes, cleaning the now 10" pile of assorted papers off my desk to be filed, shredded and dealt with, planting 400 bulbs, deadheading and maybe a short walk/run in there somewhere.

I recollect signing up for some half marathon in November. I guess I should get ready for it.


Sunday, October 07, 2007


Sorry I have been out of commission. I have lots of great ideas to discuss, but really have been without a spare few moments.

Right now the heavens have let loose. Taking what I said in my last post to heart, I embraced every last moment of dry weather and squeezed it dry yesterday and today. We took down what was left of our allotment yesterday. It was time that TH carved out of her very busy planned to the minute schedule because it had to be done. Sad as it was, we did it. We harvested another handful of carrots, some huge beets, lots of squash, pumpkins that are show quality and more green tomatoes. We are left with chopped up sunflowers, some beets that can be gleaned, some radicchio that sounded good at first, but wasn't the kind we're crazy about. I am hoping the food bank recipient that gets it can put it good use. I couldn't bear to chop down our amazing dahlias. We'll do it on Friday, rain or shine and take the huge fistfuls of tubers to our long season plot and replace dahlias that just didn't seem to want to show off their flossy flowers this year.

Our year round plot is amazing me with its raspberries. We picked and ate yesterday. I'm sure the rain right now is not helping matters, but in tomorrow's promised sun before more clouds, I'll run down and pick what is ripe. I see a small tart in my future. Ditto for our pear supply, why plant fruit trees if you are not going pick your crop? Every day on our walk, we scrump (Sorry Kerri), pears from our neighbors yard mostly to keep ourselves from injury from slipping on mushy fruit that falls to the ground. TH picked six today, some will go on our salad, some in a nice pear tart tatin for tomorrow.

Yesterday the rain held off enough for TH and I to attend the Arboretum Foundation bulb sale and make our contribution the cause. We only brought back three full bags of bulbs. This year I feel to scattered to make a good estimate at where we need bulbs. I'll augment the amazing collection of narcissus and species tulips I bought with alliums from my friends at Choice Bulb Farms at the Farmer's Market.

The rain held off long enough for an impatient basset hound to have a great walk and putter in the maples at the Arboretum to feel that his day was not all about retail for humans.

This morning the rain held off long enough for me to drive from Seattle to Bellingham at 4:30 for the half. It was a strange drive for me to do in the dark. There with very few people on the roads and I realized that until you go north of Marysville, you are infested with lights and signs and development that makes you were old enough to remember more than getting sick on Chuckanut Drive every summer you spend two weeks up in Birch Bay. Skagit Valley when your friend Paula's grandparents farmed and ran an u-pick for raspberries, you know, the Skagit Valley that was about farming and not about Paper Zone, Lowes and Premium Outlets. It was a drive where I listened to songs from my youth spun by a disc jockey with whom I went to high school.

The rain held off until J, F and I were safely enclosed in our booth at Anthony's over looking the last .2 miles of the marathon/half marathon route. We had a great race, with the nastiest hills and wind that I have ever seen, we made a amazing times. I send a grateful thanks to the nice woman I walked/ran with the last three miles for keeping my spirit in check and my motivation up to try and make my PR.

For this I am thankful.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

call me paranoid

Moroccan salt poppy, June 2007, Seattle, WA.

I haven't backed up my pictures off my hard drive in six months. I have uploaded a lot of them to flickr, but I haven't done a big back up.

So today, this is what I do while I wait for software to load to my work laptop.

Remember this tragedy?

I'm still verklempt thinking of all the cool pics I lost. Then again, I can always go back and visit the Salt Lake contingent and the Steens - all in five days.

I started training with chuckit for the Seattle Half Marathon. I am going to try and get excited, I think I might want to move to the run/walk group as my goal is shorten my time, not to finish. I know I can finish, I just want to shave 30 minutes off my time. However, I see my Saturdays being sucked up with four hour walks and runs. Oh well, better than a poke in the eye and since that market is open until 2, I know I'll be able to stop and pick up my flowers at some point in time.


Other than that. I'm getting ready to leave. Everything is planted, just need to pack for work trip followed by Anchorage for the half. Paranoid us (not just me) thinks we should pack for both trips and in case we're delayed, just keep our bag of ANC stuff (shoes, running gear, mucklucks) with us in case we can't get home.


Monday, June 04, 2007

I have nothing of substance to say, that is positive.

House next to us sold. Storage boxes are in place. TH and I are expecting the worse and hoping that it will be better. We're realizing that the never used driveway to the north of us will soon become a battle/construction zone and there will be a fence between us and our new neighbors.

That is of course, the worse case.

Something like this piece of crap that is currently behind and kitty corner to us.
Slated to go on the market for only $1.1 million! Just! The house next to it is no winner, but still.

So, we think of our contigencies, contact surveyors and pray that it doesn't get demolished.

Other than that, Ernest and I are painting the main floor bathroom. He has been very participatory. He escorted me to the hardware store to buy paint and tonight helped prime the woodwork.

Tomorrow, he gets to paint! I hope he likes bluebonnet for his ears.

I'm in the process of trying to find the least painful way to get my parents from Santorini to London and guess what, there is no way unless you want to fly Thomas Cook Airlines, so we'll all plod to Athens together and see what they can do for six or seven hours before they head back to London.

This travel thing, more than one person, is quite confusing. TH and I have it down to an art.

More on that later.



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.


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.


Monday, April 30, 2007

everything is wonderful, having the time of my life

Ribbons of chocolate. April 2007.

Not much to report. Heard from everyone, they are fine and I'm very relieved.

Vexed by spreadsheets and contemplating my career choice. I never thought my life would be ruled with such things.

I'm looking forward to a mellow week - I hope.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

earth day redux

So, it is earth day.

What did you do?

I composted, didn't really drive anywhere (no where in fact), cleaned out my fridge, ran four loads of laundry, walked my dog four times, had a good conversation with my dear Pat and took a nap for my own conservation.

Hey, for us, every day is earth day. We compost, we minimize what goes into landfills, we think before we buy, we recycle, we minimize our use of electricity and we do it without any hoopla, any color adverts in the papers and without a big media flurry.

It just happens.

Other than that, we're enjoying ourselves here.

Ernest has been very busy (read his blog). I am killing snails left and right (have shoes, will travel). TH managed to get some work done today (yeah). We spent about thirty minutes today cleaning out the freezer and by god, we'll be done with the salmon, halibut, berries and lamb before the next batches come in! Well, at least closer than we have before.

I am so ready for the week to begin and be over.

Does that make sense?

It does to me.

Buhbye historical data in seventeen different formats! I am so done with you.

nm, exceling, zoning and interoperating in April 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Musings and rants

Not necessarily the best carbs to load on, Seattle, April 2007.

First of all, I turned to TH yesterday and said "a year ago, would you ever have thought you would be carrying a bikini-clad rubber chicken to the car to entice your dog to follow?".


Next, it is spring here.

I am so happy. I could have done without the downpours of yesterday leaving me with a pile of wet sloppy clothing hanging on the line that I am going to have to take off now, spin and then throw in the dryer. The lilacs are blooming as are the fruit trees. Looks like our old cherry will mostly rejoin us this year. I am relieved.


I need to pack for my half marathon tomorrow. Desitin (don't ask), glide, three pairs of socks, ibuprofen, second skin, some power bars, sunscreen (always hopeful), some water and rain jacket.

Should be fun! Will be treated at the end by TH and Ernest bringing us back to Miss J's car.

Yesterday, I received a terse email from our homeless acquaintance thanking us for the 100 dollar donation we made to the Humane society when he had to surrender his cats for what we believed would be a fostering situation. It paid for their euthanization and cremation since they did not pass the old cat physical.


Like, when we found a home for them for the last nine months, kept them in food, litter and vet bills and then tried to find a fostering situation when he was incapable, we were being cruel and thoughtless.

Just call me nm, cat killer.


Serenity now.

You can kill me snail killer. I have been forcing Ernest on long (1 hour walks) in the morning in the hood, just to kill snails. I need to know just how far on someone's property I can creep to pick up snails and bring them to the sidewalk to kill.

Would you as a homeowner be incensed if I was to pick snails off of your retaining wall or rockery or steps (the first two to your garden) to kill them before they get to your hostas?

I need to know.

I don't want someone coming out with their NYT and latte and beating me over the head with it and throwing hot caffeinated coffee at me. I drink decaf, that would be bad.

On that happy note, I'm going to sign off now until tomorrow when I will return to you aglow, in pain and done for the month!

nm, cold blooded killer according to few

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

zipity do dah

I can't describe my week. All I can say is that it just isn't getting better and the amount of money coming in is certainly not equaling the amount of money that is pouring from my accounts.


I wish I had just decided that the life of science wasn't that wonderful at an earlier age. I hear what my friends in consulting make or in sales and I am gob smacked.

Anyone had a change of heart and decided that they were willing to give up their comfort zone in order to live a bit more dangerously - e.g. change careers at your midlife?;taking up paragliding, living somewhere cheaper or different; or take time off to figure out what you want to do?

I am tired of my comfort zone.

nm who just inhaled six mini meringues from le panier because they were there