Showing posts with label seattle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seattle. Show all posts

Sunday, February 07, 2016


There is something about the first day you realize that 5 pm has passed and it is still light out.  That day where you decide at 4 pm that you'll go outside and rake and weed for a bit before you start making dinner.

Then there comes a time when you can barely stand being inside to make dinner let alone eat it. It is that time when all you do is look around the garden and see a hundred things that need to be taken care of NOW.

Today was one of those days.  The bulbs are going crazy in the lawn, perennials all need be cut back and every leaf needs to be carefully removed from the beds.  It is a slow process bringing the garden back to life in the Spring.

There are a lot of big projects that need tending to in the garden, just like with life, but I'm taking it slowly and savoring the stolen moments with my secateurs, the trowel and the millions of dog tooth violets emerging from the ground.

Happy Sunday.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Communication Breakdown

It was truly a beautiful day even if I was stuck inside for most of it.
Things that just shouldn't happen - telling someone that they are out of a job via a text message.

This happened at the salon I frequent, 7 Salon in downtown Seattle.  It was uber convenient when I worked a block away, now not so much. It was also getting really expensive for just a haircut.  My stylist rates had gone up nearly 20 bucks in one year, so I started to space my cuts out a little further apart because I just couldn't justify that much money every six weeks.

There is a Facebook page to link up stylists with their clients and that is a great use of social networking - connecting people. I'm not sure if I'll end up doing using it, but I'm delighted to see so many stylists connecting with their clients and to see the offers of jobs come in via Facebook  and Reddit.

Getting laid off sucks, getting laid off by phone is hard (trust me), but getting laid off by text is not only tacky, its illegal.

What really saddens me is that the owner of the salon is no slouch in this area.  She comes from a family that has deep roots in the arts and business community. She should have known better.

Now, I'm in the market for a new salon and maybe a new haircut.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Happy November

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

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

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

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?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Wrapup

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

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 15, 2015

The wanting, the waiting

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on
Waiting room - Terminal 2F, Aeroport Charles de Gaulle, November 11, 2014.

I'm in love with these chairs and want them.

 I also realize that although I want them, I don't really need them.

They are the same ones that one sees in Parisian parks, so they are even more lust-provoking in my heart and mind. They are also on sale - but not the exact style I want. So I'll wait, somewhat patiently until the right style comes along.

Waiting is hard. Waiting is something I'm terrible at and waiting is something I need to learn to be better at. I'm not of the mind that all good things come to those who wait, because that is not the way the world seems to work now.  It is more like the "early bird acquires the worm and fires all the worm's besties and shelves the worm's technology".  Its a worm eat worm world out there.

I'm glad this week is coming to an end.  I'm looking forward to the following week and hoping that it brings less waiting and more action.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Right Place, Happy Plant

Friends, I come you today with one thing on my mind other than the vile weather we're still having.

We're in a drought and we've been asked to cut back our residential water consumption by 10%.  This really shouldn't be too hard without having to resort to showering with another person.  Here are some easy to implement suggestions -

  • Shorten the time you run the water in your shower/bath by 20% by simply turning off the water when you lather up and shave your legs. 
  • Turn the water off when you brush your teeth. 
  • Run full loads of laundry and ditto for the dishwasher.  
  • While it may be gross - refrain from  flushing  after every pee (at home) but still wash your hands.

For the love of Pete (whomever he might be), don't stop watering your vegetable garden, the one you ripped out your sod and cut down that street tree to put in your parking strip.  The same one you spent so much time and money talking about installing, waiting in line at the Tilth sale, instagramming and blogging about.  Those beds need to be watered and tended until the crops are done producing and you've pulled out the last wizened tomatoes plants from those really expensive cages you bought (to instagram, natch).

All plants require water as  they become established. Seeds need water to germinate,and need moisture to establish roots, Judicious watering plumps up those tomatoes, beans and strawberries you desperately want to eat.  Most imporantly,  everything needs to be planted in the right place and in the right containers.

The picture I took today was in our neighborhood.  I'm sure the person who planted their parking strip had the best of intentions, but something got in the way of their regular watering and tending of their strip garden.   It kills me to see a huge patch of strawberries dead - maybe from the lack of water, maybe because they were planted in full western exposure and probably because they were planted in a metal trough which baked the poor plants.  It was likely a combination of all three of these things.

In my dream world, I would own a large pumping truck full of water and I would go around with my minions in the dark of night, watering all these poor beds and on occasion performing interventions and removing blueberry and gooseberry plants from unsafe homes and rehoming them in boggy areas where they can fruit in peace. 

There is a great concept - Right plant, Right place and even I need a refresher course on how important placing plants with the same growing requirements can help conserve water and your time because you are not having to adjust your watering schedule or tempo from one plant to another.

Yes, I sound like a crank, but do it for next year's strawberries.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The sounds of silence

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on
If you are ever in Ketchum, Idaho and have a hankering for a decent glass of wine and flatbread (what is it with flatbread?), do stop by Enoteca.  You won't be sorry. 

I'm sitting here listening to rain on the roof. Yay rain! It rained on our walk home from dinner tonight. I love the smell of first raindrops hitting the pavement, the promise of our rain barrels filling up and our poor lawn getting a drink it so richly deserves.

One of these days lawn, one of these days.

TH passed this article off to me today and I am glad to see that others are not willing to put up with the  noise/din in restaurants any longer and are getting up and walking out.

Diners refuse to be silent about noise.

I know it is cool and designerly to have hand hewn tables made from the wood of a million buildings that have been demolished in the name of progress in one's restaurant, but tasteful soft furnishings do make for quieter restaurants. One of my favorite rooms, Restaurant Nora, in D.C. hangs lovely handmade quilts on the walls to keep the noise levels to a moderate level. I am glad restaurant reviews in the NYT are now rating restaurants based on their noise levels and online reservation sites such as OpenTable allow you to select dining spots based on their noise levels (hint: search for restaurants with quiet conversation).

As much as I detest carpets in restaurants, it makes things so much more quiet. We recently ate at ABC Kitchen in NYC. I loved the food, but by the time we left, I was completely hoarse from having to raise my voice to be heard. What is it about this frenetic pace and level of noise that makes dining seem so cool? I'm not sure it helps my digestion and it certainly doesn't make me want to stay longer and eat more. Maybe that is their intention.

If you have to text your dinner date to tell them something, you best consider finding somewhere else to eat.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

Sunday wrap up

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

For five seconds it felt like we were starting to a cooling trend in the 98105. Alas, we're back to a muggy 86 degrees for our high today.  It was a good day to stay inside and edit book chapters and read a few books.

I picked up a Kindle Paperwhite last year and I really like it, especially for travel. I do miss the feel of a book. Thumbing through a kindle via the notes is just not the same as thumbing through a book to find that bent corner or that check mark by something that you wanted to remember.

Books are also awesome places to stash boarding passes and receipts, try doing that in a Kindle.

You can judge a book by its cover and you will likely remember what you were reading if you could see the cover and it will spark your memory - the why and how you came about to select the book and when if you were to physically handle it.  My memory is often jarred by place and tactile sensations and the Kindle doesn't give me that pleasure.

My reading these days is all over the place - I'm reading a little about vegan main courses to get inspired for the fall,  a bit of gardening how to and lots of fiction.  This weekend I read a book that was a fast read but my guess will stay with me for a long time - Alex Shearer's  "This is the life" is an amazing and short read about the relationship between brothers and how it changes as the younger one takes care of his older brother as he undergoes cancer treatment.  It isn't a Jodi Picoult kind of book, but it will make you learn to accept that life is what it is - you can work to make it better, but sometimes you just have to accept your choices and make do.

Read it.

And after that, go visit my favorite bears fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska. They are pretty busy right now.

What are you reading this summer?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Staying Alive - or how I spent July

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on
Welcome to the new reality, weather forecast for Seattle, late June 2015. I'm not going to sugar coat it - it is August 1st and I'm over Summer.  I love the long days, waking up to the early morning light and being able to walk the dogs late into the evening. I enjoy seeing neighbors out watering, walking, weeding and visiting with each other.  What I am definitely over, along with millions of others in the Pacific Northwest is the relentless temperatures over 85 F.

I feel like I spent the whole month of July just keeping things alive - running hoses to newly installed plantings, checking on dogs, my parents and trying to stay as sane and calm as possible given that we all feel like limp rags by the late afternoon.  Planning an out of town trip - two days to Orcas or four days at a conference had us cringing at the seven day forecast and writing long detailed notes to our awesome house sitters on what needed water, and when and hoping that they (the house sitters) would be willing to come back after all we put them through.

Unfortunately, this is the new reality. This shift in climate regimes means we're going to have to learn to mitigate and adapt to adjust to this new reality.

I am coping by escaping to the garden early in the day to get in a good deep watering of our vegetables.   I try and get to the gym before it gets hot. I encourage  and coax E to do walk early in the day as well.  We try and get all the things done (errands, writing, job applications, editing and chores) before the heat of the day. Our work your butt off and through lunch culture in the United States does not lend itself well to the siesta - a chance to recharge and rest before taking on the rest of the day.

Maybe this is where we're going to have to start adapting.

Ditto for the garden, ditto for home energy efficiency and definitely to how we eat and function.

I see more watermelon for dinner and  planting garden succulents in the near future.

Stay cool and pray for rain.

Monday, May 11, 2015


A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on
Marie Kondo advocates for socks standing up in the drawers, I would rather see skunk cabbages stand at attention.  

I am a pro at overthinking things - airplane routings, hotel loyalty strategies, dinner options and now - where to donate my stuff.

A million bloggers have written about Marie Kondo and her best selling book about how tidying up can change your life and release unicorns. I know I have piles of things that do not bring me joy, but I'll be pretty pissed if I go looking for something specific and it is gone. The truth is that I don't need four gray cashmere sweaters and six pairs of chinos that really do nothing for me better than before butt.  I do need to keep at least two pairs of Prada flats, one pair of Jimmy Choo pumps and a few purses because I'm not going to spend money to replace those.

So, the letting go is hard for me. I have memories associated with many things - shoes that I instagrammed to death in Paris and Rome, a slightly tight sweater I bought because I was cold somewhere and promised myself would look great if I took off 10 lbs. and never wore again, a hard backed sketchbook I bought in Boston that I never used to write my deepest thoughts because it was the wrong dimensions.  Some of these objects are captured through photos so I can refer to them if I want such as the shoes, but others (tight sweater and sketch books) serve to remind me that I did not follow through with my goals.

What vexes me the most now is the actual disposing of the piles of unloved goods. It seems that most places (shelters, hygiene banks, help centers) are not as interested in your stuff, no matter how awesome it is and want money instead. I really can't blame them - money is easier to handle and can be used to provide directed services, but it is getting more and more vexing as a person who would love to see her stuff go somewhere.

I was happy to see that YWCA's Dress for Success Program is taking career clothing - which I have a bunch of as well as barely used casual jeans and tops which I am also happy to donate. I found an organization in Seattle that teaches young kids how to write and communicate that can use my many sketchbooks and who knows who will get small kitchen appliances and thousand orchid pots that we keep on accumulating.  I'll probably take this to Goodwill which has kindly opened a donation center on my daily ant path of errands.

To me there is no joy in the art of tidying up my stuff, it makes me realize that I do a lot of impulsive buying and not knowing what I leads to duplicate purchases.  While I'm not going to spend a lot of effort inventorying my closet, I have a better grip on what I have and hopefully will find some excitement in putting on those Choos to go to lunch with the girls.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Happy Saturday

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

Today must have been the hottest day of the year to date. This is probably why I decided to spend two hours or two back episodes of "This American Life" pulling up morning glory, quack grass and trying to figure out what to do with a million other perennial weeds in my ppatch.

It was probably a really good day to sunscreen the back of my neck, eat breakfast and hydrate before gardening. I was famished when I got home and must have demolished everything within my wake. This is not a good way to eat brunch.

For the last six weeks I've been eating a 90% vegan diet and so far so good. I have had a few lapses into salmon, 10 year old aged cheddar and cream cheese for a bagel. There is so much you can do when you are traveling.  I'm pretty excited to keep up with this for the next six weeks.

Today we went to my parents for a pre-Mother's Day dinner that featured burgers. The vegan burgers are not cutting it for me. I'm going to have to make my own. I think sometimes it is the toppings and the crispy bun and the ritual of construction that are just as important as the meat/meat substitute as burger.

I look forward to the same meal tomorrow except tomorrow I'm bringing my own relish.

Happy Saturday.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas

Chestnuts roasting on a 22" monitor.

I love this so much.  What a nice way to brighten up your work day - with a roaring fire, some Frank Sinatra and a ton of code reviews. 

Happy Humpday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to feed a startup

Pecan shortbread dipped in bittersweet chocolate, likely never to be blogged. 

I bake a lot.

This is not a secret.

Every week I bake a few quick breads or a batch of cookies and take them into work. We're not huge (yet), so it is not an onerous task.  It is something I enjoy doing. It gives me a chance to try some new things out to a very appreciative audience who is happy to give me feedback on this week's treat. 

Getting feedback is a great thing. It makes me a better baker and if I make the same batch of cookies again, you get to experience the improved product. If you are lucky, I'll tell you about it the recipe and why I chose to bake it. I may even share the recipe with you and you'll take the cookies to your next potluck. You might decide to share the same recipe with friends via your blog, Instagram or Pinterest that might get spread further through social media and continue this cycle of sharing.  As a cookie baker, you may want to make some changes to make it even better and hopefully you'll include me in the loop and I'll make some of those tweaks to the recipe over time.

Friends, this is how you feed a startup.

Eat, tell, share, rave.

Our product is in beta and I would love for you to try it.   We've developed a web app, ClipCard that connects to Dropbox, Google Drive, and other apps and let's you see across all of them at the same time from one place.  ClipCard helps me connect the dots and see the relationships between my files and contacts and get things done without spending a lot of time and falling down a rabbit hole of irrelevant searching.

Join at

If you sign up, post a comment and I'll be sure to send you an sweet acknowledgement for your help.


Saturday, November 02, 2013

last light

Hey! Did you see the blue sky today?

The sadness of the last few hours of light today was hard to take.  I hate Standard Time. I hate coming home in the dark.  I am resolved to get out at lunch and catch some sunlight.  I'm lucky enough to take Ernest on two to three walks a day, but this time of year, they are all in the dark. TH does his lunchtime walk.

Light is important.  I live for flights above the clouds. I pine for Hawaii in December, but always end up in London.

I'm just waiting for Dec. 21.

Let the light shine in.

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.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dear Joan,

I am so glad you have finally released a new album, but do you think in all your traipsing around the left coast, you could perhaps make an appearance in my area code. I am willing to travel one area code away, but do not have the strength to go further afield.

Yes, I promise not to sway and sing along to Willow. Okay, maybe not.



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.



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.

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.