Thursday, May 11, 2006

essentially thursday

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

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

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

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

My new obsession (crunchy and moderately healthy for you)

My arm still hurts from the shot

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

like a sum bitch

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

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

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


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

New banner

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

Check it out.

pretend you are 11" tall

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, May 08, 2006

day in the life

Alien Landscape, London May 2006.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1400 Take shower and drive to emergency room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2200 I take motrin and go to bed.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

500 miles and one strawberry shake later

Ernest, in the rough. May 2006.

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

back and really really happy

Busy weekend in North Finchley, not the most swank part of the city, but I got a bunch of stuff done in the garden, well, at least it looks better.

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday, April 29, 2006

when the cat is away

Meat and two veg, April 2006.

Dinner chez nm when NM is off to London.

Steak, potatoes and fresh Washington asparagus.

Have a great weekend y'all. I'll get back to you on Tuesday.


Friday, April 28, 2006

sometimes itis better not to read the lyrics

I'm grooving on the new Dunkin Donuts ads for which They Might Be Giants are providing musical backing. Y'all know I don't watch tv, so don't be thinking I have started. I learned about their contribution while listening to a review on some NPR program about new stuff going on at DD and went to the website. I will admit that I would rather drink DD coffee that Starbucks and I route myself through BOS and ORD just to get my fix. Really!

So, I have been listening to the jangly poppy sounds of TMBG all day long and it might be the caffeine in my tea or it might be the lyrics I looked up since they had been plaguing me for decades. Now that I have seen them, I have decided, sometimes it is just better to hum along than to try and understand quite what they were trying to say.

Click here to see their new ad for DD.

Tonight, we're off to the preview benefit for the Arboretum Foundation Spring Sale and then I'm thinking that I'm off to London, with about 16 hours of teeth nashing work to do on the plane.


Thursday, April 27, 2006


Epimedium leaf, bicolored, April 2006.

Hmm, what can I say, Jen has this essential Tuesday thing going and I'm thinking Essential Thursday is a good thing.

So, today's topic, what is in my carryon for an international trip.

Plane ticket
wallet stripped of everything but essentials (drivers license, credit card(s), ATM card, airline status card (someplaces more important than others), list of phone numbers I may need
Cell phone with charger and numbers written down on something else
Painkiller of my choice (advil or aspirin)
Eyeshades (I have about five hundred pairs from different amenity kits)
Ipod (okay, not everyone needs this)
Camera (bigger than before, but still essential)
Lipbalm and small moisturizer
prescription medication in original bottle (yes, folks, this is necessary)
Pashmina or scarf for curling up with
Baseball cap that may or may not be used by TH
Extra pair of smalls
Luna bar or something to tide me over in case of a delay
Pen/notepad/tear off sudukos

This all fits in a Lancel bucket bag that has seen better days, but still performs like a champ. Its obnoxiously red, but it works for me.

I'm going to London on Saturday, my aunt is in San Francisco visiting for a few months and I decided that it'll be easier to garden without her around telling me I'm going to get cold, I'm getting tired and I'm doing too much.

I probably will weed, prune and trim and that will make a dent in garden until sometime in the fall. Its not the most amazing of spaces, but I have a great love of its gentleness.

I hope to do a bit of cheese prowling as well, but that will be the extent of my excitement. I'll be back on Tuesday and all sorts of fun things happen that week!


dining out for life

Click here to get more info. We'll be at the Union Bay Cafe tonight. I can't believe they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. I believe my first meal there was 1988. Sigh. Has it been that long or short? The best part is that it is walking distance, which can't be beat.

I was supposed to be in LA today for the Freddies, but for the first time in a long while, decided that it was okay to stay put and deal with life before doing something I wanted to do, but didn't have to.

Gosh, I must be growing up.

More later.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Triple Digits

According to Z's counter, we only have 999 days left in the GWB whitehouse, if he lasts that long.

Things here have been interesting, not good, not too bad, but interesting. I am really using my inner nm to figure out what I want be when I grow up and that is a good thing at the ripe old age of, er, nevermind.

The lilacs are blooming, I wish CD, PP and JM could see them, it is quite lovely here in Seatle right now.

We have many birds nesting in our backyard so things have been loud, but fun. Dinners in the over (leek, sausage and chicken pie) and I think I'll stop doing this right now and go sit on the porch with TH and enjoy the rest of the evening.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

life without a soundtrack

Today we went to a plant sale, great sale, haven't planted them yet,but I did place them in the correct spots.

What was strange was that there was music at the plant sale, not performers, but loudspeakers and some cd music playing. I suppose it was to excite the crowds before the much anticipated plant auction, but honestly, in a huge aircraft hanger, it just seemed wierd and totally unnecessary.

Life comes with a soundtrack these days. Whether you are on hold with customer service, boarding a plane, walking the mall (piped music), listening to other's music coming through their ipods, trying to find a quiet place to eat that isn't 60 bucks per person before drinks, we're just overwhelmed by noise. I hate it, sometimes I get up and leave because its just too much. I can't remember where TH and I were recently (maybe it was Rome?), where we asked and they did turn it down, but they looked at us like we were crazy. I'm not crazy, I just want to be able to have a conversation and hear myself think.

Other than that, pretty non eventful weekend, filled with gardening, erranding, pilfering the easter candy (bad nm) and just enjoying a lovely mid April weekend in Seattle.

Life is good.


Friday, April 21, 2006

free at last

Well, almost.

Not quite caught up, but maybe by the end the of the weekend, if I bring my laptop home and spend some quality time converting dbf files to excel files and writing a macro. Okay, at least I can make a plan, right?

Here's to the last weekend that I'll be at home and free from all parental responsibilty for the next thirteen years. I think.

Hi to all that are out there lurking, those stuck on a ship in the Bering Sea with frozen nets, those who braved a trip to the North Pole on Monday, those who are in Texas (whatever).... the lilacs are starting and I promise to get your ppatches covered and partially planted. Really! Don't worry there is plenty of gardening when you all get back.

Everyone is gone somewhere this weekend,so I guess I'll just wait until next week to get out of town. ;)

Great plant sales this weekend and TH will be nearly finished building the new stone bed! Now, we can fill it.


Thursday, April 20, 2006


Listening over and over this cd makes me realize that Gwenyth Paltrow is one lucky girl.



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

spring cleaning

It isn't Washington D.C, but the cherries are yummy. April 2006.

I spent most of yesterday evening gardening. Mostly pulling noxious weeds that would suffocate my raspberry patch in our long season ppatch. Honestly, I have no idea how morning glory roots can be a thick as spring asparagus stalks, but its better to try and take them out now that battle with them in July.

I have to say that the same principle can be applied to Spring Cleaning in the garden and the house. TH did a great job of cleaning off our porch last week and I spent five minutes today sweeping it up again so it looks lovely and pristine.

I picked the first rhubarb yesterday. I can't really describe what the garden smells like now,but it is a combination of earthy, tangy and sweet from all the flower blossoms. I love the smell of fresh rhubarb and came straight home to make baked rhubarb to serve with plain yoghurt for my breakfast.

Some people love the really tiny rhubarb stalks, I like mine medium. My plants will grow so large that they will hide a mini cooper. I try to keep them picked to keep production going. I can see we're going to have a very busy summer thinking of things to do with all this rhubarb.

Without further ado....

Baked rhubarb ala nm

2 lbs rhubarb stalks (discard the leaves, they are poisonous)
1/2 cup sugar
a bit of vanilla

Wash rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces, if the pieces are too wide, cut them in half.
In a mixing bowl, mix the rhubarb with the sugar and sprinkle with a little vanilla

Place in a oven proof dish (I use le creueset bakeware) and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees until soft.

Let cool and then spoon over plain yoghurt.

Please note that I like my rhubarb tart, some may need to increase the amount of sugar.

Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

seattle traffic and a little bit about me

Forget me not, back garden, April 2006.

Traffic today sucked eggs. The President of China was/is in town along with a cadre of reporters and dignitaries touring the military industrial complexes that flourish here in the Emerald City . Since most of the action was on the other side of the Lake, why the hell didn't he stay there?

Which leads me to telling you a little about me. My name is NM and I hate stopping on hills. Hills in Seattle are not hills in San Francisco, but they are still hills and there is nothing I hate more than sitting and idling on a hill in fear that even with an automatic transmission and great brakes, I'm still going to slip out of gear and hit the car behind me or go into cross traffic. It all goes back to a very eventful trip across the country with TH and a faulty transmission, which as amusing as it is now, was not at the time.

So, today after taking TH to the train station, I sat through three lights on Cherry on the hill not moving and slowly starting to hyperventilate. Next time, I'll take the exit by the Four Seasons hotel (is that Union?).

Spring has sprung, I'm seeing too many people wearing gauchos who shouldn't, flip flops without pedicures and puka shells.

Time to rethink some fashion trends.

I also see that TomKat gave birth today. Thank ye gods that that is over and we can now obsess about other things.

I'm not one to discuss world politics in this forum, my friends know most of my leanings, but honestly, these days I fear opening the paper in the morning to see what has happened in Iran overnight. Both sides reactions are to be feared and I worry for my birth country and what will happen in the next few months.

Okay, I've said enough, I'm going to my ppatch to harvest the second batch of asparagus and plant dahlias. It is time!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Monday musings, redux.

Segovia, April 2006.
Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
As I came in this morning from hanging 20 plus placemats and napkins out on the line to dry, I commented to TH that now I know why people use paper napkins and tablecloths when they entertained.

She laughed.

I wasn't.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter 2006

Just a few pics. Indulge me, will ya?

Eggs, 300 carefully filled and hidden --

by the Easter Scruffy.

Attacked by a hoard of egg hunters from 15 months to er, nevermind, on a somewhat blustery morning and then stuffed with both candy, coffee cake, ham, quiche and fruit salad.

That was all she wrote, they ate, they laughed, they chased eggs and they went home pooped.

Hope your easter was as much fun.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Easter Basset

Jacques, Easter 2004.

Happy Easter from the Easter Basset.

We will miss you very much this year.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

brazen hussy

brazen hussy
Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
God how I love you.


Thursday the 13th

Not much to report. Picked up my jetsetting mother from the airport and first phone call she gets other than my perpetually calling father is her swedish cousin. Yes, there are Iranians in Sweden and they are related to us.

She's such a talker and schmoozer my mom.

Its freaking cold here. I have told all my guests for Easter to dress for weather. I am thinking we may be eating in shifts and drinking hot cocoa instead of orange juice.

As for the actual festivities, its pretty basic, hunt for 30 minutes, check out your bounty and then eat real food.

The easter basset works hard every year to get those eggs out and hidden for good Easter foragers. Most are good hunters and look high and low for those eggs and will try and find each and every one.

This year's weather doesn't look so hot, we may need to waterproof the eggs, but unlike a few years ago, they won't melt.

What are your easter plans?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rainy days and money on my mind

Today I spent 600 bucks with 2 bags of groceries, nice clean windows and new car tabs to show for it.

I wish I earned 600 bucks today.

Seems that I am having a string of such days and I hope the end is near.


paring and culling

I'm removing myself from countless email lists that I amcurrently subscribed to. It is quite lovely. I hit the unsubscribe and my three days later my mailbox is half the size. I'm even doing this at work, Sun Microsystems be damned, I need not to get three emails a day about new products. If I need something, I'll check it out myself.

I just cancelled netflix for the third time. I love it, but honestly, when do I have time to sit and watch a movie other than on a plane? If I'm lucky, I'll get it from the library. If I find myself missing it, I'll start up again.

As for culling, everytime the different charity organizations call, I'm happy to donate.

Ditto for books, if I don't get it at the library, I buy it used. If I don't feel its worthy of keeping, I either donate to the Seattle Public Library or package them off to send to the book exchanges at the various Admiral's Clubs throughout the system.

I'm using freecycle right now to rid myself of a few things that you couldn't even believe that people would want -- tires, diving weights, cleaning supplies. Its amazing what you can share with others who may find treasure in your cast offs.

Check it out yourself. Freecycle.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

more on life and concentrating

Bleeding Heart, March 2006.

Life here is okay. I am still working on the concentration thing. I had some success today and even though I have to leave work, I'll continue to chug on later tonight, just to catch up from my lame Monday.

Here is an interesting thing I picked up from LifeHacker on what I think I am experiencing Attention Deficit Trait.

Other than that, managed in one hour to drop off lots of toxic waste and get my car emission tested and pick up 5 new 5 gallon buckets. ;) In that way, life is good.

Now, if the DOL liscensing site would work, I would be good as gold.

Monday, April 10, 2006

monday musings

Things have been quiet around here. I hope you are all okay.

Today I just couldn't get things together. That is, I could things I wanted to do together, but not the things I had to do, like get my act together at work. This is bad news these days. I can't really put my finger on my trouble, but I can get work work done at home, but in the office, I am distracted beyond belief.

Oh well.

At least I managed to get 9 things off my to do list at home.

How do you all get and stay focused at work?

I share an office with a dear person, who is very intensely busy right now and my lack of productivity makes me feel even more lame.

Its just a phase, I know, but its bumming me out.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

not falling far from the tree

My mom is hosting 48 people today for brunch. This number is down from the parties of the past where 100 was the norm and my mom did all the cooking, but for many it is a daunting task. I can't imagine knowing 100 people well enough to invite them into my house, but the entertaining gene is very much something I inherited from my parents and of that I am happy.

Ditto for the gardening gene. My father can be found puttering in the garden morning and after his nap each and every day, when he's not gardening, he's plotting something and he is often visiting nurseries. He's not an expert and many would not think he's the most elegant gardener, but it makes him happy and keeps him busy.

I picked that trait up from him as well, I would be happy puttering, weeding, pruning, cultivating pretty much every waking moment that I'm home. Like my father, when I'm not gardening, I'm thinking about what we'll do next and how it may look.

I may look like my father (spookily so) and have my mom's soft touch and laugh, but I'm happy to have inherited two things from them that I truly hold dear, my love of feeding my friends and tending my garden.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Busman's holiday

Piante di Roma, March 2006.

Two weeks ago today I came home from one of my best trips in a long time. TH and I basically ran around Rome looking for inundation markers from a series of floods that occured over time. Not all of Rome was flooded, but when you start digging into the history, the topography, the hydrodynamics of the river and how Rome changed after the Reunification of Italy in 1870, things get interesting.

Lots of people have looked at the inundation, but not necessarily mapped it, nor really delved into why and how they were designated. This perplexes me and gives me yet another reason to go running after the ones we didn't get. I will probably put together a Google Earth Map that shows where these were, but as lovely as it is, it isn't really spatially enabled, its just a nice visual representation. I want something meatier.

Well, there is always next November or December to finish up. I could do it earlier, but why should you only have to fly two segments to Rome when you can fly three?


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

where's waldo?

I had a funny conversation with my father this past weekend where he asked if we were going somewhere over the weekend. I said no, he was shocked. He's used to his kids running hither and yon and never being home.

Today my brother is on his way to Paris to give a talk at a meeting and then to Turkey for two weeks to do much the same and take in some sights. He's been there probably 20 times and will get to meet a new member of our extended family, Miss Celine. He'll be off to Brazil and back to Europe again in a month or two, so he's also a frequent flyer.

I've actually booked some flights for the end of the month, it maybe that I'm missing the dinging at 10,000 feet telling me its okay to turn on my approved electronic devices or that I have no time to do sudukos now. In any case, in three or four weeks, I'll be ready to roll. I may have done it also to tempt fate, in hopes that a certain someone invites us to Goldendale that weekend that I'll be out of town. ;)


Know when to hold em, know when to fold them

Not my cards, but my frequent flyer miles.

I'm trying to get my aunt here from London, we're marginally flexible on dates and now that she has decided when she wants to come here and where she wishes to land, I can work with the Mileage Plan to get something that will work. I hope.

I very rarely use miles for myself. I do some brain addled calculations to figure out the cost per mile using real dollars and then what the ticket would cost me in ff dollars, which are half or a third of that. I sometimes use miles for upgrades, especially on hard to upgrade flights like out of JFK. I usually clear the upgrade list, but with TH who is one tier behind me, its better to just use miles. I never use miles for free tickets for myself, I would rather earn than burn in most cases unless its a god given emergency.

So, using 90 to 125K miles to fly British Airways in Club or First with a stopover which would be a $12,000 ticket seems like good use of miles to me. To squander that same amount on four tickets to Vegas or San Diego when the tickets can be had for $238 bucks, is bad use of miles.

Cross your fingers they can get me what she needs.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Agent double 00

I am looking for new jeans, not the 165 buck ones that I love and admire and until I lose a bit of weight am not willing to shell out more cash to buy a size that will show off more of me that anyone needs to see.

So, I go to the Banana Republic website and see that they now have 00 sizing. WTF? I wear a size 6 in Banana Republic, which is really probably closer to a size 12 in 1970's sizing. So, a 00 would be a size 4 in 70's sizing.

We're either getting smaller and smaller or bigger and bigger. Pro-ana sites and baby seats for obese babies, we're seeing it all.

Case in point. NM needs new shoes (always), most stores no longer carry size 5 or 5.5, just 6 as their smaller size. I wear a 5.5 M, I cannot prance into Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Ann Taylor, Cole Haan or in some cases, Nordstrom anymore because those sizes just don't sell, so they stop stocking them.

Oh, okay.

So, I shop online for shoes hoping that the size is true to fit as well as the color and style.

As for banana, I'll be in this evening. I need pants. I hope you have some in my size, whatever you want to glamour size me into believing.


Monday, April 03, 2006

March Garden Pics

Click to see March Garden Pictures

I should be ironing napkins, reading a novel or just maybe getting ready for bed. However, I thought I would share March's garden pics. Some are not very good, but as you can see, spring is our time.

The blurry pics of the jays are just that, a bunch of Steller blue jays are hanging out on a screen that TH is using to seive out rocks and evil bamboo for a bed she just made. The job is done and according to the folks at our local Audubon Society, they may just be looking for nesting material.

The pile goes on Friday, so I hope they are done by then.


The 72 hour rule

Anemones, Rome, March 2006.

We have rules and regulations chez nm and TH. One big one is that no plant shall remain encumbered in its plastic pot for more than 72 hours after it has been brought back from the nursery or plant sale.

Not that we always follow our own rules, but this afternoon's gentle rain means that we'll be putting all those rhodies, a few hellebores and other choice plant material in the ground as soon as we get home and get that creamed spinach on.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring forward

Don't get me wrong. I love the longer days, it is the getting up that hurts.

This week was full of firsts. The first plant sale, the first of two seasonal hotdogs provided by the Lions Club of Federal Way and the first of a hundred blasted plant pots that will overfill a 33 gallon trashcan until TH and I summon the courage to visit Flowerworld way up north to recycle the pots.

All in all, the idea of coming home at 5:30 or 6, gardening, eating dinner and then have more time for either gardening or going for walk in the light has great appeal to me.

How about you?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Things that vex

Crocii in the lawn, chez nm, Spring 2006.

TH called me while I was at the store on Wednesday. Turns out our lawn dude (yes, we have one) came by and mowed. He mowed down our crocuses. WTF? For the first time in my life, I actually fired someone on the spot. He was confused. He thought I told him to wait until the crocuses has stopped blooming to start mowing. He was wrong. I said, I would call him when we needed him. We typically don't mow until the crocus foliage dies down and the energy goes back to the bulbs. For a guy who has gone through the master gardener program, he's a few nutrients short of the 10-10-10 N,P,K ratio needed by most bulbs.

So, what do you do?

TH went out and bought some little containers of tete a tete daffodils and spread them through the lawn. It looks better.

I was chatting up the clerk at MM, bemoaning my lawns fate. She gave me the name of her parent's lawn guys and says they are good. So, hah, now I have a name. Poor Ms. C who asked me the day after the massacre for the name of the lawn dude. I hope this other person works out better. I have to say MM is one of the best things to happen to View Ridge/Bryant in a long time. Thanks peeps.

This morning on my way to work. I looked at the lawn and peeking out of the edge was the purple of two late blooming crocuses that made it through the edging and mowing and give us a sign of life.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

word cloud

Word cloud, March 2006.

From snap shirts website that I found while following a Seattle blogger, Michelle de Seattle, from Jenorama's blog. I hope you are feeling better today. Yowch.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

ducks in a row

Angus, the scottish duck. Edinburgh, Scotland March 2004.

Ack, it is tax season and other than knowing where all my stuff is, I haven't done diddly to get it to my dearest accountant who I'm sure is just salivating to get cracking on my taxes.

So, tonight, I will sit with the pile of papers, the statements and try and give her a glimpse of where the heck all that money went.

I have to say, that I should be getting a honking return, which will be nice as it ain't going to be that way much longer.

Right after tax season, she'll be vacationing I'm sure and you all will promise me you'll do a better job than me of getting your ducks in a row before next tax season rolls around. Right?

The same can be said for updating your wills, estate planning, figuring out your withholding, doing a FSA through your employer and maybe taking a few more dollars out of your paycheck pre-tax. I had three good conversations this past weekend with three women who are in charge of their finances and they all convinced me that I need to be a better job of dealing with my pre-tax dollars.

Thanks ladies.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Year's the Roman way

My haft sin, March 2006 in Rome. Funny thing was that just down street (via) of our apartment was a Persian Rug shop with a lovely haft sin and a nice sign for Persian New Year. I purposefully walked that way daily just to see it.

I liberated my hyacinth (sombol) in the planter outside of our building. I will visit it sometime next Spring and hope it is flourishing.


Monday, March 27, 2006


Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
Okay, I'm lame and busy and tired. Here is a little bit of my mom's ajil for your perusal.

I think there is a tad left and I went to the Iranian grocery store on Saturday for some dried mulberries and a few more almonds.

For those of you who are wondering what the heck is up, I'm just tired and trying to catch up with my life.

More later on this most beautiful spring day.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

hyacinth and going home

Hyacinth, March 2006.

On my way home from Rome, sitting in the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge at LHR dining on shumai and other delectables. The Hong Kong flight has boarded and we have the lounge to ourselves. Our transit has been remarkably easy this time. Bulkhead on BA, upgraded on AA and I'm looking forward to reading a few magazines, taking a nap and getting my menu ready for my persian new year dinner.

See you all later.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Happy New Year - Aide shomah mobarak

Haft sin, Rome March 2005.

Happy New Year 1385 from chez NM to you.

May this year be much better than last year and the the following years even better.

Peace to all.

For more information about Persian New Year, please visit Persian Mirror.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

out for coffee

Cafffe Camerinno, the coffee with three fs. Rome, December 2005.

We'll be back in a few days, so just sit tight.


Friday, March 17, 2006

miracles happen

Roman holiday, March 2006.

My camera showed up today, just when I was starting to really groove on J's Fuji that he kindly sent me. I promised him I'd send him a cd of my pics, so I'll try real hard.

I'm almost packed and if the weather goddesses are with us, we'll make it through DFW between rain and thunder.

Later taters.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

airline pet peeve number 344

Well, more like an airport club one. People who speak very loudly on their cell phones in relatively quiet lounges when there are little work cubicles to be had.

The US airways lounge in BOS is pretty nice. Decent tarmac views and other than self-important peeps and the inability to carry in outside coffee, it works.

That does not work.

Had a fabulous day in Boston. Dinner last night at Durgin Park with a really great waitress (yes, J, she was great) who gave us two tips for places to get a lobster pizza and lobster roll next time we have a car.

Hotel was good too, nice suite upgrade and welcome from the GM. It was a bit out of the way, not really in Cambridge, so we had a 9 buck cab ride each way into Harvard Square. After the conversation with Jacques, the taxi driver, discussing his plans for opening a pizzeria, I decided that I was hungry again. Half a felafel sandwich from Cafe Algiers helped ameliorate that. :)

A walk from Newbury street through the Common towards Locke Ober was brisk and sunny. We had a great lunch and toasted TH's father who loved the restaurant. I had a great lobster salad and carrot ginger soup. TH had lobster bisque and roast beef hash. We left sated and killed some time at Filene's Basement.

Now, we're at the airport, getting excited (?) to go home. I'm hoping to get some work done. If not, I'm hoping that I'll just get some sleep.

Back home tomorrow and then off to Rome.

B--- you'll get your ajil tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

not for tourists

Not for tourist guides - available at many independent bookstores or

I love these guides. We have one for Boston which we'll use today and the one for DC is equally as useful.

I'm a big fan of alternative guidebooks, not the Fodors, Rick Steves or Frommers variety, but more like Time Out or Cadogan. In France I like the Routard guides and the Paris est a nous, which I have blogged about in the past.

The NFT guides are great local guides with hints on parking, where the nearest good food is and the maps are easy to read. I recommend you pick one up the next time you are going to Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco or Chicago or another fine metropolis.

Other good on line guides include Gridskipper and I'm always happy to search and post on Egullet and if it is seat pitch, airline lounges or what they are serving in first class Paris-Singapore I'll happily use the search function on Flyertalk.

Me, I'm looking forward to dinner at Durgin Park (I know, I know, but the coffee jello...) and lunch and Lock Ober.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

the eve before the last wednesday of the new year

It is nice to be able to celebrate more than one new year. In this case, we're getting ready bit by bit chez nm for the Iranian New Year. Granted I don't do the big huge celebration that you would see in the Southland, but in my own little martha-ey way, I get things together. Alas, like last year we'll be in Rome, we know when New Years will be and we'll do our portable haft sin as usual.

Today is the the celebration of last wednesday before the new year also known as Chahar Shanbeh Soori, the traditions are based on Zoorastrian Fire Festival. People light fires and you are to jump over them getting rid of the illness and bad juju and bring happiness to the new year. We do it in the small scale, a candle on the porch. In the past we would pass the candle under Jacques and Roya and jump over it ourselves.

The other tradition is to eat a noodle soup - ashe reshteh and to have a special fruit and nut mix (ajil) that one's mother is kind enough to provide.

The chahar shanbeh souri ajil

In equal proportions mix

Shelled pistachios
Roasted chick peas (found in Iranian grocery stores)
Almonds (fresh and non toasted is great)
hazelnuts ( I like mine roasted)
Dried figs (these little ones are very dry and yummy)
Dried apricots (my mom skips this step)
Raisins (we use two kinds - flame and sultanas)

Mix together and enjoy during the next three or four weeks, if it lasts that long.

Nushe jan!
Eat up, buttercups. My friends will attest to the yumminess of the mixture. TH leaves behind the chickpeas (my mom often makes a chickpea free version for her) and B. eats TH's chickpeas. Its a win/win situation.

The outpouring

Thank you all you lurkers who have emailed me or asked TH if I'm okay after my smooth move last Thursday.

Let's put it this way, I am staying away from watering cans, benches and woodstoves for the foreseeable future.

I'm touched.



Monday, March 13, 2006

my manicurist hates this time of year

No matter how many pairs of latex gloves I don, my nails looks like crap this time of year. She's going to be very cranky later today.

She's going to have to live with it, its definitely time to get dirty. Two pairs of socks is not enough to keep the earth out of my froggy boots.

It'll be vamp red toes for me starting next week or maybe I should go with something more earthy?


Sunday, March 12, 2006

rogue daffodils

Not so rogue daffodils, March 2005.

Today I spent the day going to and fro our fair city including a trip down Montlake Blvd with a requisite stop for bridge traffic. It was a beautiful and sunny day and who could blame folks for taking their boats out even if it means that the rest of us have to turn off our engines and hope that we'll make it across the cut before the next set decides to go through snarling traffic further.

If it wasn't a lovely glorious sunny day it would really suck, but it gave me a chance to admire what we call rogue daffodils, the daffodils that have naturalized on the slope between Montlake and the Burke-Gilman trail. We look forward to their appearance as they brighten our trips to and from our neighborhood to Montlake, Dowtown and the eastside.

Pretty much everywhere with the exception of Alaska should be seeing the first of the narcissus up and at em. I can't tell you how much it brings joy to my heart to see them popping up and spreading as the years go by.


Friday, March 10, 2006

what a day

When you start out your day by spending 10 minutes trying to hunt down your orange coffee mug you know it is going to be one of those days.

I have no big plans for the weekend. I'm actually here all weekend, I get to go to airport to pick up TH, but no flying or trains for me. I'm quite happy.

I'm ready to collapse now, so that is what I'm going to do.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

flat on the keester

Twice this week, the first time was last Friday morning going through the turnstile at the Gare du Nord Metro station, I went forward with my computer bag and my rollaboard did not cooperate. By the time we yanked it out, I went flying and landed butt first onto the landing. Very graceful.

Today I was watering some plants on our porch and standing on a picnic bench. I fell off and hit my back against the Franklin stove that used to grace our living room/dining room before the floors were done. I think if I had been anticipating the fall, it would have been worse. Good thing I was wearing a charcoal grey wool coat as I think I would be covered in soot and to the cleaners tomorrow. So, just call me grace, because this week I have proven to be not very light on my feet and happy to show it to the world.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Time shifting

This morning I went to a session at AAG on Podcasting and alternative technologies entitled Unfiltered: Podcasting, blogging and knowledge transmission. It was probably the best thing I saw today. Having just opened my brain to the concepts of podcasting, rss feeds and really how we deal with the constant bombardment of information and the best ways of filtering it to what we need and to determine what is the most accurate.

One thing that they did talk about was the concept of time shifting, which originated from recording television shows onto videotape for later transmission. Life is now about time shifting, paying bills on line with different due dates, tivo, podcasting, buy now, pay later. Time is both crucial as things happen so fast and yet, we try to make things work with our now hectic and managed schedules.

This alone is a topic of a dissertation.

TH and I had a great lunch today at Rhapsody. The weather was nice and we both decided that we could not stand eating out of a plastic clamshell, so we splurged and had a nice three course meal for 20.06. We're heading back out now for a plenary and dinner with dear friends. Sad to say, I have to be up at the COD for a 8:15 flight.

At least my upgrade cleared. :)


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

back in chicago

Today and tomorrow. Just had dinner with my bro and now I'm sitting on the couch of my room looking at the river and the Wrigley building. The weather is fine and tomorrow I look forward to seeing some great talks and catching up with some friends. I didn't score the Monarch suite this time but its still pretty decent. As TH stated four hotel room in 4 days is a bit much for her.

I'm hoping to do a bit of shopping while I'm here, but other than that, its work, work, work.

I love a city where 2 bucks gets you from the airport to downtown.


Monday, March 06, 2006

that nagging feeling

Signage, Lurie Garden, Chicago, January 2006.

I was awoken by my neighbor's car alarm at 4:37 am. I was actually asleep and I thought that it was one of our cars. Nope, it was his POS that continues to beep/screetch/honk at various and sundry times of the night and day and does he do anything? No.

Me thinks its time for a little talk.

Anyhoo, now that I am up, I am thinking that I am not sure if I have a hotel reservation this week for my trip to Chicago. I'm pretty positive that I did make a hotel reservation when the meeting dates were announced, but I'm not positive, thus the nagging feeling.

I log into my account and low and behold, no reservation pops up. Yikes. I go to my email and there is a reservation, but starting tomorrow not today. So, I check and I can get a reservation, which is a save. However, I'm now hoping that my reservation is still valid. If not, we'll be hotel hopping from McCormick place to Deerfield to the airport and somehow I'm not sure we're up for it...

None the less, TH has a room for tonight and given how she's been feeling, that is a good thing.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

not quite the wrap up to the weekend

TH is sick and is still in BRU. I think she tangled with something and honestly, it was better she just stay in bed today. I am quite used to travelling by myself, sometimes I prefer it. However,when I left her feeling miserable in the hotel room at 6:45 this morning, it felt strange, as if I was leaving part of me there.

She'll be flying tomorrow if she feels up to it. I can't thank the change desk in BRU enough for making some changes and getting her out tomorrow without the tortuous four hours that I have in JFK right now. It is too short to go anywhere and too long to sit here. The flight across was gorgeous - sunny across Belgium and France and England and beautiful when we made landfall in Canada. I got some really nice views of Long Island which is great since I'm currently working with that data.

The best thing is that I will finish that darn book before I leave here. Oops, I better go find something else to read.



Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's Saturday, I know I'm in Brussels

Oy, what a day.

Off to a cafe I know of near the canal and rue antoine daensaert. They have some really good hot chocolat and decent coffee.

Sunny and cold here, better than cold, sleet and grey of Paris...

More later.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

travel necessities

travel necessities
Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
Here in the ORD Flagship Lounge, the second time in two weeks. I was supposed to go through New York today, but the ever vigilant TH check the weather report for JFK and we rearranged our flights. I tried using the superduper premium line and was told I could buy a new ticket. TH went the not so super duper route and they rebooked us, retained our domestic upgrades and got us the bulkhead in coach. Good thing, because our original flight to JFK was cancelled this morning.

So, the lounge is starting to fill with VIP (in their own mind) types doing important things and chowing down on chicken skewers, scallops wrapped in bacon and strange triangle shaped things of which I am afraid of.

I'm hitting the DD for a nice big coffee (decaf) preflight and a half an ambien.

I have noted some of David Lebovitz's favorite chocolate places to try on this trip. The weather appears to be defective, so me thinks we'll be visiting Christian Constant for a TH chocolat chaud tasting.

A bienot.

I'll be blogging remotely. I think.


70K and counting

The Falls available at your local bookstore.

I have been carrying this book back and forth in my laptop bag for the last five months. I am giving it one more chance and if I doesn't move me, its going to be let free at a nice little English bookshop near Jardin de l'Odeon in the 6th.

I do this, buy a book and it doesn't move me to read it, it taunts me, it makes me feel guilty and then I either leave it at home or at my last destination. TH is a big believer in bringing as many books as possible, she reads voraciously and is always fearful that she'll run out of things to read en voyage.

So, her bag is laden with books that will soon be jettisoned and replaced with ballotins of chocs.

Sounds like a fair tradeoff.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

another pathetic evening chez ff

JK says her life is pathetic. She went to a show last night. I bored my seminar with my discussion of mapping flood markers in Rome and now at 11:30 pm, I am downloading data onto my laptop to take on vacation.


No worries, TH is right with me, working on her talk for a meeting on Wednesday.

Very PoMo here. Dueling laptops with external harddrives. Me thinks next we need a roomba and an espresso machine.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

one more time with feeling

God, its nearly midnight and TH and I have dueling laptops and are working from home. I think I may have to divorce my laptop and consider that life is much more interesting when you don't spend it working.

Then again, if I spent time at work working instead in meetings or on the phone about a meeting I would have time to work.



Pancake Gals

I'm sorry I won't be in London today for the great Pancake Race. Its Shrove Tuesday to some, Mardi Gras for most and all I care about is TH's pancakes for dinner with a bit of lemon and sugar. Yum.

Its a tradition that I'm all for keeping up with.


Monday, February 27, 2006

It doesn't really matter what day it is

Me, sometime in my infancy, I believe in Chicago, 1965.

I was on the phone with my mom yesterday morning and we talked for about 10 minutes about this and that and finally I said - "aren't you going to wish my a happy birthday?" She said "Your birthday is tomorrow, the 26th". I told her today was the 26th. Anyways, no matter what day, you have to be in the mood to celebrate. This weekend was not it.

Like last year, I have a major work crunch, a paper for my seminar and too much on my plate to even enjoy dinner out. I fell asleep reading about landscape and memory last night.

So, I'm celebrating my prime birthday (you figure it out), in Paris on Friday with dinner at Cafe Cassette or maybe somewhere swankier like Violin d'Ingres and a brief shopping excursion somewhere interesting.

TH consoled me with the fact that until his dying day, her father was convinced her birthday was six days later than it was, her first due date.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

the love boat

I had a moderately sheltered childhood. I'm not saying it was a bad thing, in fact, I think it was good. My parents were very social people and every other weekend would find us at the home of an Iranian friend who was hosting a "mehmooni" or party that usually started around 7 and went until 11 or 12. There weren't that many Iranians in the Pacific Northwest in the 70s, so we stuck together. The kids grew up together and we are all still pretty close. If the family hosting the gathering was further than our watersheds (Redmond, Medina, Three Points, Bridle Trails or Seattle), it would make for a long day. We would start early and make a trek to Centralia (god, we didn't know about Burgerville back then) or Olympia and it seemed so exotic.

In any case, it was good clean fun. Our parents would talk and laugh. It would feel like a salon after dinner where they would discuss politics or poetry. Before dinner, it was typically gender segregated with the women in the kitchen talking and prepping the food and then men in the living room usually talking shop (most of them were doctors). The girls would usually help set the table with the chafing dishes and all the large silverplate platters for rice, stews, salads and greens. The guys, probably were outside rough housing or inside playing foosball. It was well before dvds, Playstations or easy availability of recreational drugs. Dinner was served with great fanfare and as with all Iranians, you just can't have one main course, so there was lots of variety. I think this gene has skipped this generation. The kids would come in and get food and go eat at the kids table and the adults would get food and then find places to sit around the table or in the living room. Iranians are not big on sit down dinners. Go figure- generation skipping gene strikes again.

When dinner was done and some sort of sweet was served, the parents would go on saloning and the kids would all gather up around the tv in the rec room for the Saturday night line up of the Love Boat and then Fantasy Island. I learned to love the Love Boat and looked forward to the guest stars. It kept us happy for a few years, until we discovered boys, rock and roll and that there was life outside our happy clan. I still think fondly of that show and look forward to a few snippets I see when I channel surf on travel. I never got into Fantasy Island. I'm not sure if it was Herve Villechaise or the sinister plotlines, but it always felt so desperate.

I also was so tired from figure skating practice that I conked out sometime after the plot was outlined for FI. I would be happy when I woke up with a quilt draped over me and my parents gently nudging me off the couch to say my blearly farewells to my friends and our hosts and popped into the car for the drive home.

Tonight as I sit at home with dueling laptops crunching data, I wish I could be 11 again, watching the Love Boat with my friends and having not a care in the world.


Friday, February 24, 2006

numb and whatever

Mmmm. Donuts. February 2006.

I really needed to go back to work this evening to see if my data had transferred to my latest trinket from TH. It is pictured here. I wanted something in a red box for my birthday, but as excited as I am about this, I was hoping that it would come from another company famous for its red boxes, not Lacie in Hillsboro. I guess that is the cool thing about being an adult, you can make your purchases if you wish. As for going back to work, I just couldn't do it. It was too cold. I was exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Today, I left at 5:30, that is the earliest I have in weeks. It was light when I got home, that was wierd.

I did succeed in getting the USGS to cooperate tonight. I have lots of data now and we'll see if I can make it all work this weekend, my deadlines keep getting moved up!

later taters.



TH and I received emails today inviting us to the Memorial Service of a friend we had no idea had passed away. She was only 46 and though we had not been in contact in years, we had both thought of her in the last few days. She was a great friend, mom and all over good person. We tried to keep in contact, but for some reason, they pulled away from us. After a while, its just not any fun to even try to keep in contact via christmas cards or birthdays.

I can't believe she's gone.

I was going to spend my tomorrow morning putting back my study, but I guess I'll just go to a Memorial Service instead.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

truly getting back to normal

Crocuses, Front Lawn, February 2006.

Dinner was delightful and knife and forky. Thin cut pork chopped dredged in flour and herbs, sauteed in a pan with shallots and sliced mushrooms and finished off with some marsala. Artichokes and herbed spinach pasta for sides. It was definitely yummy and normal.

Spitting now and cold and raw. The garden looks like it miraculously made it through the worst of the cold weather. There is a forecast of below freezing for the next few nights, so we'll be covering the citrus again. I can't wait for the fucshias to make it back out. I love them, but not in my front hall.

I think I lost two small hellebores that were in pots, at least their flower potential. Me thinks the plants are okay. I'll miss the first great plant sale of the year next weekend, but there will be more to come. I noticed today that the first of the peas are starting to break through the ground. I'm going to read the forecast discussion before I make the first few rose prunings.


network issues


"System Status:
Network Outage: Thursday February 23, 2006. The system is down due to network issues. We expect the system to be available again this afternoon. Thank you for you patience and we apologize for any inconvenience."

Yeah, right. You have been down all week and I can't get dick done.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

feeling like a truck ran over me

Flood Marker, Rome January 2004.

Half our developers are sick, I'm all blurry and really feeling nasty. I will chug down vitamin C today, but right now the idea of spending three hours staring at slides does not excite me. I am happy to report that we did find somewhere to stay in Rome for March and D. has graciously offered to bring his camera for me to test this week. It will be interesting to stay somewhere different. I wanted to stay on the other side of the river, but the place we wanted was not available. This is close to TH's favorite gelateria, some grocery stores and our coffee place of choice. I am planning on spending some quality time on the streets looking for signs much like the one you see in this entry. Katherine Rinne, an architect, who started the Aquae Urbis Romae: The Waters of the City of Rome project which I am building some of my own work on. As long as the apartment has a moka, a good bed and some light, I should be happy. If I'm desperate for a computer I know where to go.

I need to start looking for a GPS now.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006


My Nikon D50 crapped out this weekend, right when I was going to take some pics. It was flashing some errors and when JK and I got back from erranding etc. I spent some quality time on some message boards trying to figure out how to troubleshoot from 5500 miles away. I shot off some nice pics on Saturday, which I would love to share, but sorry, you'll have to wait. I took the camera back to the store (local chain) and they said it had to be fixed by Nikon. I bid a sad goodbye to my most favorite camera and hopefully they'll either replace the body or fix it. Its under waranty and TH was smart enough to buy the extended waranty when we bought the camera in late September. I'm bummed since I have an upcoming trip to Brussels and Chicago and in less than a month I go to Rome. I have grown quite dependent on the D50 and I can't go back to my 5 megapixel camera now.

TH mentioned that it bummed her that something so technologically advanced could peter out in 5 months of use and wasn't sure we could trust it in the future. The manager of the store said that they would probably replace the body,which though I appreciate makes us realize that there are no longer craftsmen/women who take care of these things. Everything gets shipped off to the factory and more than likely, it will get trashed and a new one sent. Just like the Ipod, just like my first portable CD player, just like the hundreds of VCRs and DVD players that end up by the side of the garbage dumpsters or in landfills.

In the meanwhile, I'm without my D50. I did ask a friend if I could borrow or pay him to use his SLR Pentax for the next few weeks, he just replaced it with a D200, so I have that option, but I'm just bummed.

Other than that, a bit tired, but not jetlagged. I made dinner tonight and though it was basic, it was all done at home in a kitchen with without boxes everywhere.


Monday, February 20, 2006

stygian darkness

Nothing like flying across the Atlantic without a window and stygian darkness. At least I finished my netflix, worked and watched 8 episodes of that adorable Jason Bateman in AD. At least I got out for an hour or so this morning, walking towards Holborn and through back streets to avoid the hustle and bustle that is Oxford Street.

Back home now. Cheese is in fridge, rollaboard unpacked, clothes in hamper, chargers accounted for and presents presented to TH. We have dueling laptops right now and I'm about to wash off 5500 miles of jet fuel and go to bed. God, I get to do it again (Paris and Brussels in 10 days).

Later taters,


Sunday, February 19, 2006

sunday lunch

Actually, brunch at st. john with JK and E. and it was yummy. Great room and definitely will return for lunch, other than that, picking up some books for TH and some club bars as well. Visited my aunty in Finchley and realize that I'm due for a Ground Force weekend in April. Other than that Now, just hanging in the room and about to hit the club for a decaf cappucino to warm up with.
Tomorrow a few errands and then back to the airport. I'm glad I came, TH has kept herself busy with fun projects and hopefully I can convince her to return with me in April.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

things that require thinking

How many masters degrees does it take to send a text message?

Three, one for JK and two for me.

Had a nice day puttering about picking up cheese, fighting crowds at Borough Market, lunch at Roast, dinner at wagamamas with crazy Flyertalkers and then drinks at the Groucho Club and a visit to a Crapper Toilet.

Will post pics when I get back. That is the only cord I forgot.


Friday, February 17, 2006

off like a herd of turtles

Bank for notary and then off to the airport where my flight is already listed as late out of Seattle, giving me a tiny connection time in Chicago. I think I may pick up a sandwich just to be sure that I dont' starve to death (never really a problem.

I have data to test for my beta and that should keep me busy for a while.

Yes, it is the first time since 2003 that my upgrade has not cleared.

Talk to you all from London.

I think.


baby its cold inside

The freezer that is. I was rifling through the deep freeze today looking for my will and power of attorney I realized that first, you should put in in the freezer because its a fire proof place. However, its cold and honestly, its a stupid place when you are a hurry.

However, the next few weeks we'll be eating a lot of white salmon, blueberries, tomato sauce and lamb.

Its cold out as well. Many of the neighborhood plants are covered in blankets and sheets. The cold snap is not as severe as first thought. The forecast discussion sounds dissapointed. I'm not.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

i'm a mule

Hellebore orientalis, February 2006.

There is a really long old thread on flyertalk about the things that we are asked to bring back and forth as frequent travellers. My mom just talked to my auntie in London. My bag, once empty but for a few tech documents, powercord for my cracktop, a skirt, yoga pants, tights and a tshirt or three is now chockablock full of zip lock bags and emergen-c. No biggie, she has done millions of things for me in the past and I love her to death. I would bring her my mom if she would decide that London in February wasn't so bad.

Typically I bring emergen-c, ziplock bags (I question this), l'oreal conditioner, chicken stock and lemon pepper. I bring back cheese. That is about it. I love London to bits, but short of cheese and a few books, I need nothing from there. I will be hitting the cheese shops and perhaps a bookstore or three if time permits, but mostly I'll be there to make sure JK doesn't get into too much trouble.


I usually don't check my seat assignments very often unless I have a crap seat, which I do LHR-ORD on Monday. In hopes of moving from my okay seat to a better one, I have been checking the seat maps in hopes the others coach to business class upgrades have cleared and their seats have opened. That is, the creme de la creme of the coach seats that mere mortals cannot pre-reserve.

Just my luck, 31B opened on my return, so I'm back to the rollaboard as the ottoman, the latest OK!, powerport and tons of leg room seat on a not very full flight. A picnic lunch from the Cathay Pacific First Lounge and a large costa coffee and I'm good for the next 9 hours.


Now if my domestic upgrades would clear and I would feel better, then we could be very excited.

I'll stop boring you with the minute details of my life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

too much information

It appears if I will be flying in the back of the bus for my trip to London on Friday. The transatlantic part doesn't bother me that much as I'm getting used to it and I have an exit row which if I can leave my rollaboard down for most of the flight, should be great.

My Seattle-ORD flight may suck, again I'm in the exit row, but for some reason, they just aren't yielding the seat for me.

I hate that.

I usually pick my seats on my preferences, exit row, bulkhead, desire to see Greenland, etc... If it is a plane I'm not familiar with, I use something like Seatguru as my guide. The website has lots of seat maps for different airlines and plane configurations and gives you the locations of the powerports and user comments. I have found it a great resource. You do need to know your equipment though, you can usually find that on your reservation and itinerary.

Give me strength. I was seriously considering calling Alaska and seeing if I could redeem 90 to 120K for a Club/First seat on Friday just to avoid Chicago and the infinite delays, no points, but a non stop flight.

And I'm catching something...


Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I would send you all a bunch of marshmallows, but I'm about 12 hours from a working kitchen, so that is going to have to wait. You're going to have to settle for virtual mallows.

I used to hate Valentine's day. I like it now, its close to my birthday and there is usually chocolate involved. TH used to hate it, but I think she now realizes that its not a bad way to show your affection.

Then again, shouldn't every day be valentine's day -- be good to yourself, your loved ones and realize that if we all showed a little more patience, understanding and compassion, life would be more sane.

Oh, pass the bonbons will ya?


100 hours and counting

My upgrade for sea-ord on Friday has not cleared. They are holding 5 revenue seats, I am either number 1 or 2 on the waitlist. At least I have an exit row and will go to TJ's on the way to airport to pick up asian chicken salad for lunch. So, maybe I'll have JK's luck and I'll clear.

If not, its going to be a looooooooooooooong day.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

let the fun begin

Woke up this morning to the rat a tat of a flicker trying to drill a hole into a birch tree, it was comforting and a sure sign of spring.

Spent the day running errands including a trip to the Winter Market for veggies and hellebores, Ace for more little felt pads and trying in vain to wash my car. It was sunny, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Spent a bit of the afternoon celebrating the impending decadal bd of AM, while lunching at the Bayshore Room at the Yarrow Bay Grill. Yummy food, lovely room and lovely company.

Tonight TH and I being dragged to a garage in Interbay to listen to AM and his childhood friends, college friends and med school friends play loud instruments and eat bbq. We're bringing Top Pot donuts and earplugs. Should be good, Steelpole bathtub, Mr. Epp, Morphine and Snowman Hospital. Like I said, I'm bringing earplugs and my camera which are key. JK is in Austin, but I know if she wasn't she'd stay until the bitter end. ;)


Friday, February 10, 2006

drat, foiled again

Trying to find somewhere to stay in Rome for four days in March. The apartment we would use is booked, I tried to get another one in the same area and was told by Dottore M. that our stay was too short and his apartment was too exclusive to rent it to us for a shorter stay because we were not really going to see all we could of the Eternal City in such a short period of time.

WTF? What the heck does he know what we are planning on doing while there?

Geez. I responded snarkily that I spend 15 days a year in Rome. I was not a tourist and there to do a research project (I am) and that I would find somewhere else that would be more amenable to our short stay. I refuse to stay in a hotel, which limits our ability to find something that will work. I continue to look, hoping that I can get into this as a stand by.

Bite me D. Mauro.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

frequent flying

Great circle mapper - January-March 2006. Oh the places you will go! Some over and over again, it seems.

Today I spent a great deal of time placating JK whose upgrades to DFW/Austin hadn't cleared before the 24 hour mark and figuring out with TH how to get to London and back and then to FCO with the least amount of stress to our pockets and our bodies. Hint: Upgrading on BA to Club on 2 hour flights makes it all better. It is all okay, its just part of the game, the checking the flight loads, calling the super secret line, figuring out the cost/benefit ratio to upgrading v. sitting in coach. I still managed to get California to behave and have a decent conversation with my accountant as well. Sometimes, multitasking is a good thing.

Anyhoo,when I put in my travel from January until the end of March, I was appalled to see that I will have flown over 64K. Yes, campers, that is alot of peanuts and little bottles of water and luna bar and only 15K of it will be work related!

Hmm, I wonder why I can't seem to lose any weight.


storage lust

TH wants one of these for Valentine's day. Seems practical and honestly, ever since I lost my work laptop hard drive, I have become fanatic and obsessed about backing up and archiving data, photos and documents. I use a thumb drive for some stuff, but its now too small. I love my lacie 160 gig drive, but I'm looking to buy another one, like this, for another back up.

How do you back up your information?



Aqua Virgine, Rome December 2005.

I'm trying hard today, I've been sort of negative the past few weeks with all the stuff that has been going on.

Things that currently make me smile:

1. Spring is springing up here! I'm excited to see my bulbs up, the sun out, neighbors and their dogs out walking and that maybe we'll get out and garden this week.
2. My silly district line cosmetic bag that TH bought me for Xmas. The color scheme is orange, yellow and black which matches my computer bag perfectly and reminds me of London every time I use it. I still can't understand why the green district line has orange upholstery.
3. My father, for all that he can drive me crazy, still calls me every day at work just to check in. I love that.
4. TH, since she came up with a brilliant idea for my project topic for my "representations of Rome" seminar that takes into account my love of maps, rivers, flooding, GIS and symbology. She is soo smart.
5. The fact that we both do the same sorts of things technology wise and that we can talk about it at length and bounce ideas back and forth of eachother.
6. That Saturday may be marshmallow making day chez nm.
7. Tomorrow night I will be buying bulbs at the NW Flower and Garden show.
8. Sunday, I will be planting sweet peas.
9. That for all I bitch and moan, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, February 06, 2006

just a wall to lean on

That is what I am currently doing, leaning on a wall in my hallway as there is not a place to perch to blog.

We went to my parent's condo tonight for dinner, TH made a yummy mushroom udon with springish vegetables and a chicken we roasted the night before. It was excellent and green. I caught up on a up/down and TH channel surfed until we got bored and decided to go home. Neither of us are big tv watchers, but the other options at home are to read (no big there) or sleep. Since there is no where to read, we would just sleep and sleeping at 8 pm is not an option.

So, here we blog, leaning, like we're at the airport.

Things are looking up - its supposedly dry this week. I'm going to scoot out early on Thursday and Friday and hack back at my blackcurrants and raspberries and maybe even go for a walk in the light. Imagine that!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

chaos redux

TH and I spent today everything from the living room into the kitchen and the front hall. This entailed putting little felt squares/pads onto every piece of furniture we own. I feel like the next step will be doilies, little lladro figurines and coasters.

They are starting on our living room Monday. We are going to call and accept the bid on the cabinets (I think), so we're in for even more disarray.

However, we can enter the kitchen from the back, so we can at least get to our refrigerator. Even managed to eat a home cooked meal for dinner, not at our house, but close enough.

Things could get back to normal by say mid March.

On a bright note: The daphne is starting to bloom, we have tons of irises blooming and things are bursting in the garden.


Friday, February 03, 2006

weather girls

I have spent most of the last week dealing with how science and policy mix and don't mix and really wondering how our next generation of female scientists will excel in a world that still has men saying "so, what do you ladies do" - "er, i'm a rocket scientist" or "I model large scale atmospheric and oceanographic data sets". If I could live my life again I would have combined science with policy at an early age and learned something about management organization so that I could lead instead of follow. That is the only way I believe that women will see positive movement in the sciences.

This week has been very eye opening for me.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


My Phil, London, November 2005.

The other Phil's prediction.

Don't remove that mulch. Phil has gone back to sleeping, eating chocolate and watching DVDs. He noted that it was nice to see the first ice follies daffodil in full bloom and the rest of the buds looked inviting. He enjoyed the daphne and the irises, but he'll wait for the really fat buds, an infusion of debauve and gallais from Paris (all dark please) and then he'll think about coming out again.

P.S. Methinks it is time to start soaking those sweet peas seeds for early blooms.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006


White boy flights. Yup, that is what I had today, the guy who looks like he has the IQ of a tadpole who can't be bothered to take off his sunglasses or his bose headphones the whole flight. The one who was doing multiple guess tests for his futures trading exam and threw his shit on my seat.


The next flight had a more well mannered guy who did much the same. What is with these boys? Can you perhaps wait until you are positive you don't have a seat opponent before putting all your crap on my seat?

Could you perhaps help the sub 5' woman get her rollaboard out of the overhead?

I'll bet you tomorrow will be much the same.

Other than that, the floors look great. I called on my way back from the airport and they told me not to walk on them for a while, I said I had to go home to get ready to leave again, they said okay, sans shoes.

It really looks nice. I can't wait to see it in the light.