Wednesday, August 02, 2006

beset by wednesday

Almost ripe. Peaches chez nm, July 2006.

I have had a not very good day. Work was okay, it was work. I had a good one hour acupuncture appointment which was followed by more work and the realization that I had 1. misplaced or lost my moleskine calendar 2. my driver's license 3. forgotten to ticket my parent's tickets to antayla 4. book a car reservation for San Jose 5. call about transitional housing for my friend.

I hate that, I hate losing control of these things by taking shortcuts to getting things done. If I had put my liscense back into my wallet, put my calendar back in my bookbag, made a to do list and crossed off these things, they would be done.

I did find my calendar, my liscense and manged to make my car reservation. My parent's reservation requires more dedication and I must call about transitional housing tomorrow. Options are running out for our friend and our first line of defense fell through this afternoon. We're not giving up, he'll find shelter soon.

It's just frustrating.

Oh, my acupuncturist worked on my hips and tonight, while walking/running ernest, I managed to trip over him and pull something and now I'm in pain again.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thorny, yet attractive

Rosa sericea pteracantha, The Edgewood Garden, July 2006.

Happy August Peeps. I'm happy the month of July is over, it sort of sucked in my opinion and many others around me. So bring on August with meetings, puppies, weddings, tomatoes, blackberries, peaches, drunken croquet and the Campari Open if I can ever get my act together.

Question of the day: A new month begins, do you ever think of it as a fresh start?

Discuss and post.

That means all of you.

Come out and even be anonymous.



Sunday, July 30, 2006

licking the beater

Last night, the weather was perfect for a long putter with one's basset to pick blackberries and to make brownies for the Chocolate in the garden event at The Edgewood Garden to benefit Northwest Harvest. TH requested my chocolate polenta brownies and I made a batch of brownies with small dillentante semisweet chips and cocao nibs. They were both delicious and honestly, had I realized how great they were, I wouldn't have saved any.

If you know what I mean.

I used the back of the box one bowl brownie recipe that lends itself to quick execution and quick clean up, but other than a whisk, no beaters. TH and I discussed the lack of beaters and who would get to lick the bowl. Growing up, I had to share the beaters with my brother as my mother had a Sunbeam mixer with two beaters- one curved and one sort of rectangular. TH said she shared with her father or mother depending on who was doing the baking. For this recipe we use a whisk, which has its own issues.

My mother has graduated to a Kitchenaid and TH and I have a Kitchenaid pro, butcher than my mom's but with a beater alignment issue that nags me to this day. The Kitchenaid has only on beater, so we have to toss a coin to see who is going to lick that beater.

When you have a moment, some unsweetened chocolate, and a hankering for rich and chewy brownies, give these a whirl.

Baker's One bowl Brownies.

Be creative, don't use your microwave -ugh, I use a double boiler. Add cocao nibs, dried cherries, polenta, orange extract, dried cranberries, dark chocolate pieces, almond extract, more vanilla, let your imagination run wild.

Oh, the brownies were a success, but honestly, the number of chocolate desserts was astounding and the garden is looking amazing.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

TH and I both have Alaska Airline companion fares vouchers that we forgot about this year. We got an extension, so by the end of the weekend, we need to find two free weekends before December and find somewhere we want to go, buy and ticket these vouchers.

I am aiming for the most mileage bang for my buck and combined with good food. Looks like it may be Lobster pizza north of Boston and DC to see JK and family K and maybe a nice sushi dinner in Bethesda.

The bummer is that neither TH or I can use the hundreds of dollars in cancelled tickets we have right now on Alaska to ticket these vouchers. We have to use new money. I guess at least we should be lucky that Alaska lets us apply the ticket value to another ticket and you can also use that same money towards a ticket for another person. There aren't many other carriers that let you do this.

It seems that I have a second career as a travel consultant. Last night, I gave some ideas to our friends who are travelling to Rome for a few months and wish to upgrade on their Star Alliance partner (can't do it, bummer, must be on UA metal); my cousin who wanted to know whether his upgrade from World Traveller plus to Club on BA would give him a class of service (COS) bonus (not) ; and my office mate who wanted to know if all the Hawaiian flights he flew this year could help him up his status on Alaska (not, just add to your total mileage acrrual).

So, if you have an airline related question, drop me a line, but honestly, check out flyertalk and search for your answers. I think you have to register to search, but it is worth it.

Hey, that is how I met JK. I'll have to tell that story sometime, eh cupcake?
I have a trip to London planned in November. We traditionally go around Remembrance Day, but this time, TH is staying home and I'm hanging out with about 150 Flyertalkers. Well, maybe not all of them, but I'm sure I'll see a bunch, maybe even at St. John for lunch on Saturday. ;)

I usually stay with my Aunt or at the Churchill. However, dear readers, I'm not forking out 400 clams for a hotel room per night for this trip. I'm going to priceline the room and hope for the best. I have had decent luck in London and if it sucks, I'll add someone from Flyertalk who needs a room and then I'll just spend the weekend schleping on the Northern Line back and forth to N. Finchley. I could also use a free hilton night I earned last week or start using points from SPG, but I want to do that when I can splurge somewhere interesting and exotic and cheaper points wise.

I am also considering what we have gone through this past week with our friend and his currently transitional state of housing. I feel guilty about spending all that money for six luxurious pillows, a fine club room and some of the best damn hotel hospitality outside of a Ritz Carlton when someone you know is looking for housing on a night to night basis.

So, I will read the bidding boards for awhile tonight and see if I can find something that appeals to me. Good thing I know my London neighborhoods and am picky, but not too picky.

Other than that, I'm currently trying to clean up my office and finish up three things to get my plate scraped before I leave for the last fricking free weekend until September!


You know its been a week when all four of your cars have been to the garage.

Mostly for oil, lube andfilters, but still.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Essentially blackberry

Globe Thistle, July 2006.

Ack, today was busy, good busy, but busy nonetheless. I did get a chance to go out around 4 pm in the heat of the day to do my first blackberry pick of the year. We collect Nancy's half gallon yoghurt containers just for this purpose (usually from B, since she eats more yoghurt than us) and these get filled with some of the plumpest, sweetest and tastiest berries of the year. The smell of ripe berries, the bees, the lapping of the waves, oy what a way to end the work day.

Blackberries are my favorite berry. I have many fond associations with blackberries. The first recipe I ever published was for blackberry delight. I was in the 3rd grade at Three Points Elementary School on Evergreen Point and we each contributed a recipe for our class cookbook. I can't remember all the details, but I believe the recipe went something like" collect berries, add sugar, mush them together and add whipping cream and eat".

My recipes have a bit more structure to them now. I tend to still write them down on little pieces of paper and throw them into a notebook I take when we go to the Charlottes or when I lived in Rome. My crisp recipe adapted for Rome makes me smile when I see it. There were so many apples that fall and alpen meusli was cheap. We were desperate for a dessert to make and it was the easiest for all of us to make.

Blackberry crisp is much the same, simple and easy and a real crowd pleaser.

Adapated from Cooks Illustrated, sometime last century.

Blackberry crisp with a butter cookie topping

Pick some ripe berries (1 quart), rinse them and let the drain. Toss with sugar (1/3 cup) and 1 T of cornstarch. If you are inclined, add a bit of vanilla.

The topping I used tonight was one I hadn't tried in a while, but it was a keeper.

For a 8 * 8 pan, I combined 8 T butter softened, 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until soft. Then I added 1/2 t vanilla and 1/2 egg beaten. In a separate bowl, I combined 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 t baking powder and a pinch of salt. I mixed the dry ingredients with the wet and it made a soft dough.

Take the dough and sort of drop it on top of the crisp. It won't be even or pretty, but it should spread out.

Bake at around 25-35 minutes at 375 until golden brown and the blackberries burble.

This recipe is a keeper and I had any leftovers, I would happily have taken a picture.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fashionista - not

Bling. Don't you love the little details?

I'm okay with these if you are.



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

ding ding ding

My car is still dinging, my electric locks don't work and I'm still missing the crucial hour before 7 pm that one needs to visit the folks at Speakerlab to pick out a new car stereo.

I even called JK today while driving so I could share this joy with her.

Other than that, I'm exhausted and happy its cooler. We're all perkier.

Things are marginally chaotic here, we're dealing with a friend who is now "homeless" and needs social services and I'm realizing how hard it is to get such things if you are a white male who looks healthy. I can't imagine going through this without an advocate, they deserve superstar status.

I have lots of interesting things to say about all sorts things, but honestly dear ones, I'm too tired to deal.

Talk amongst yourselves, I have a very bouncy dog who needs a walk.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

dear asshole redux

Dear asshole,

I have had to drive a lot this weekend and the fact that I don't have a stereo is not such a problem, but the bigger issue is that my seatbelt indicator ding is continually on based on your fine ripping out of my stereo. I mean all the time, to mill creek and back all 30 miles.

Thanks for adding another 50 bucks to my installation bill.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

looooongmont or bust!

Had a great day in Longmont. Presentation went great. I got to see J from Miami (last time I saw her was 30 seconds in DC on her way back to Miami). The rest of the presentations were interesting and tonight was tons of fun. Katja whisked me away from my palatial digs and took me on a scenic tour of Longmont and off to Boulder where we had a yummy dinner at the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse where even my mom would be impressed with their take on Persian cuisine. It was the best meal I had eaten in weeks. Mmm.

Oh, what I ate? A persian type of cod and shrimp over a bed of saffron rice with herbs much like what you see in a sabzi polo with a nice gastrique of pomegranate juice. It was seriously yummy and I wish I could get a take out. Katja had a lamb kabob that looked good as well. She said it was delicious.

Anyhoo, then we meandered over to Pearl Street where I decided right then that I must now own a pair of crocs from the Pedestrian Shop. Are you hearing me JK? We had a very fun time picking out my new gold bling crocs with the new jeweled tibbits or it ribbits? That really jazz them up. I am looking forward to wearing them to the big Neema's wedding in August. I hope to find an lbd to match.

A nice cappucino later, my hostess whisked me back to my hotel where I checked in for my flight and decided that 15 emails from the last time I checked was too many. Tomorrow I will read a GAO audit on the plane and try to catch up on everything that has happened in my 36 hour absence.

Thank you Katja and the doode at the Croc store for making my trip to Boulder/Longmont so much more enjoyable!


Running naked through security at the airport

Yesterday started out with a bang and just got better and better.


I left my folder with all my travel stuff on my desk. No big deal, really. I have all of it on email. Silly me, I needed another boarding pass, which required seeing an agent. The line for First Class and elites was relatively short, but not really since everyone was going to Australia on Qantas and had a 10 minutes minimum check in. So, I spent 25 minutes trying to get a boarding pass. The elite line at security was very short but slow, very very slow. I can't even imagine what the hold up was, but it took 10 minutes for the five people in front of me to get screened.

Note to all you out there, empty those pockets before you go through the metal detector and even I take my shoes off before get to the magnotometer. Also consider that a tank top and a micro mini and cork wedgies are not the best thing to wear on the plane in case of an emergency?

This, along with the doode in the airport club who insisted on putting his jacket on the seat next to his shit and looked hostile when I asked him to move it just added to my experience.

At least I made it to Longmont without too much trouble. I just sort of headed west and north.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Miss B, this one is for you.

Jordan's life story on the big screen

dear asshole

Thanks for being so kind as not to not destroy my dashboard when you retrieved my moderately new
stereo from my old blue last night. I know it was kind of me to leave my windows down to make your job
easier. My guess is that you'll get 25 bucks for it and it may buy you a bit of meth or crank. I appreciate
that you didn't look hard enough in the car to realize my housekeys were all the way in the back.

I am no so much pissed at you, but at myself for not doing my normal routine last night because
I was so fucking tired, behind and not just caring. My guess is that if I had just spent the one minute longer to do my final round up, this wouldn't have happened. My bad, as they say.

So, I guess I get to go out this weekend and replace the stereo. Next time, I think I'll go
with something a bit less bling and with an ipod adapter.

Thanks dickhead for making my morning.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

beat down

Sorry for the radio silence, I'm beat.

Really. I have a one hour thingie in Longmont on Thursday and honestly, if I could do it via the web, I would. I, nm, cannot stand the thought of flying, driving and hoteling and then powerpointing.

What is up with that?


Check this out.

If you are in the Cascadia region, that is.

I'll give the espresso with cinnamon chip cookie a thumbs up, though at 430 calories, I'm eating them in fourths.

Had another self deprecating day around here. Must work on that attitude.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Canadian musings

I really can't say much right now because I'm tired, but we had a great weekend sitting and reading books in dappled shade while listening to some amazing music in Vancouver.

The Canadians show great love towards music and Vancouverites towards their city.

I'll write about it tomorrow.

There were some really amazing highlights and then some things that really vexed me that I need to think about.

Anyways, we're all home now. E.dd is napping in the kitchen after a weekend learning that it is okay to sit and wait before you go barreling through the door and we learned that are things he needs to learn.

Laundry is churning, thermarests are back in their alloted homes until we do this again and once again, this week is about running around like bassets who know that their is a bisquit hiding behind their masters back.



Thursday, July 13, 2006

oh so true

In the hopes of finding something on the old NIOC hospital today, I found this and man can I relate.

As my mom used to seay, we named you after a flower, trust me.

I hated my name growing up. I really did, it was hard to pronounce, I had a million nicknames and none of them I liked. I shortened it, which to led to other problems, I even changed the spelling so it wouldn't be so obviously anti-semetic. It isn't, its just the root is such a common one in Farsi.

My dad, my aunt and some other family members call me one pet name that I like and one dear family friend calls me one nickname that no one else calls me, but it was the name that was the easiest for Americans to pronounce when I was in nursery school. I will still answer to it.

Many of my friends have changed or anglified their names. I guess for what they do professionally- law, commerce, medicine it makes sense. But I have grown to love my name and if you mispronounce it, I'll gently correct you.

Unlike Houman or Who-man as it is pronounced, my last name is simple and awfully Italian.

Lucky me.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

headache humpday

Variety is the spice of life, garden hose nozzles, July 2006, Seattle, Wa.

God, I feel like toast. I am not getting it to work at work and I'm flummoxed. Who said data compression was fun?

Anyhow, life here just goes on. Managed to nail down a spa weekend for E. dd while we go off to BC for the VFMF. To tell the truth, I'm not charged about the line up, so maybe we'll just spend Friday night walking around downtown Vancouver and going to the RainCity Grill for dinner.

Or not.

I love Vancouver, but prefer it when its cool, rainy and not full of tourists. It will be cool, hopefully not rainy as we're outdoors all day and unfortunately, based on hotel occupancies, full of tourists.

Good thing I cashed in points for the Hyatt. That stay alone would be close to 650 USD plus with taxes for a not very exciting hotel room. No, the Sylvia is never ever available because the VFMF diehards book 330 days ahead of time.

At least I have a stack of book to read, mostly mysteries, but good for sitting with a canadiano and a polarfleece blanket and listening to Feist and Jane Sibbery.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the worst of both worlds


Can you imagine? It means you'll have to continue getting pedis in the winter in order to wear these.


Monday, July 10, 2006

monday musings

Sunflowers, Oxbow Ppatch, Georgetown, July 2006.

TH is out of town (Berkeley for the day/night) and E.dd and I had many things to do. We did go to work, which was passable but not thrilling. in the time I was optimizing grids and finding my data, I managed to get E.dd liscensed, paid my huge Amex bill, and did other financial things as well as figure out the best way to deal with my new summer scourge - the moth.

is a lucky girl, her dry cleaner in Bethesda will store her sweaters for the summer. We don't have that option here in the city. I tried calling some of the more bespoke cleaners in town and no one stores sweaters. I even called a fur storage place, no dice. They did make one suggestion, cedar infused plastic bags. It just seems strange, storing sweaters in plastic.

So, I am going the other route, I am cleaning most of the sweaters I don't wear in the summer and then replacing my plastic containers with cedar lined storage containers - both sweater canvas caddies and the storage containers.

Good sweater storage tips.

Containers I'm about to buy.

Other cool things are this bag that TH picked up at Heathrow on Friday. It was a gift with purchase with a magazine. I live for these things. This purse is so cute with all the hummingbirds and the magazine wasn't so bad.
TH also brought home the new and improved American Airline amenity kits. I have to say they are keepers. I have a few British Airlines ones (mostly club) and a few Cathay kits, but these are great- multifunctional, a shoe bag and a great cosmetic storage bag with detachable mesh pockets. You could even use it for storing electronics, which is what TH uses hers for. The temple spa products are still awful and will get donated.

Check it out.

front view:back view:

I took advantage of's offer of free shipping including products purchased on without meeting a minimum dollar amount. I managed to pick up the paula dorf eyeshadow I thought I had purchased in NY, so stay tuned while I learn about eyeliners.


Other than that, life goes on, I finally ironed the 40 napkins and 30 placemats that I had piled up while watching a doris day/james garner, The thrill of it all on my laptop. She cans catsup in the movie, she's my kind of gal.

later taters,

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Football remembrances of things past

From Happy day in Italy.
I'm not a big sports fan, but I like football. I like it for various and sundry reasons. For example, I like that it is a world wide game. I like the fact the in So. Cal there are leagues devoted to Iranian women playing football, but I honestly, didn't pay that much attention to the world cup this year. I am happy to see that Italy won. Why? Because I had fond memories of being in Rome in late June of 2001 when AS roma won the Italian championship for their league and it was wild. I can't imagine what is like in Rome now.

That sunday in Rome was hot and muggy. TH decided that she would go up to the Janiculum hill in search of a breeze and an aqueduct. I went the opposite direction, towards the Spanish step to the French Consulate/Villa Medici which was hosting a Rodin exhibit. After the exhibit, I went wandering up towards the Villa Borghese. I couldn't help but notice how quiet Rome was that day. The streets were deserted and it was easy to move around. I did notice lots of people clustered around their cars listening to football announcers and once in a while a cheer burst out.

At the end of the game, there was lots of loud cheering and by the time I met TH near the Pantheon, things were getting crazy. We went back to our 5 story walk up apartment on the Vicolo di Governo Vecchio to change, and off to the Bar Pace for a drink and a meeting of Gaetano the basset in his AS Roma jersey. By the time we went for our farewell dinner at La Carbonara the Campo was filled with cheering and quite snockered fans. Our taxi took us to the airport bright and early the next morning, we passed by bedraggled fans by the Circus Maximus who were still whopping it up and realized that the city loved its team.

The second great football memory is being in Japan for the last World Cup. JK, a seasoned Japan traveler went with me, the novice and we had a great time. We wandered around Tokyo and did day trips to Nara and Kamakura which were fun as well. We spent a day in Yokohama after the World Cup, wandering around the vast city and having the most fun at the Ramen Museum.

All the world cup fervor has made me a bit sad. The trip to Rome was the last that we took on TWA before the service was discontinued and I am hankering for a visit to Japan just because its been so long. I know I'll have my chance soon and everyday I think of Rome when I wear my personal control device which hangs on a AS Roma lanyard. I'm lucky to have had these experiences.


Friday, July 07, 2006

300 posts

and really not much to say.

Worked, picked up TH, came home, played with e.dd, aunt B. came over for some puppy love and we all went to burgermaster and then a walk through the trail by CUH. E.dd is behind me right now asleep and TH is heading that way. She managed to snag the last seat on the 12:15 out of ORD. Good thing or else, she would still be on the way home via Dallas.

Which brings me to a funny thing.

My office mate has been doing a buttload of travel - Anchorage and Honolulu, almost monthly. He is slowly attaining status on Alaska Airlines and I am giving him advice on how to proceed. I told him if he was 3000 short in December, he and I were flying to ORD and back just to make status. He thought I was insane, but maybe when his upgrade to ANC clears at 72 hours, he'll be thinking differently.

Other than that, TH brought me a stack of magazines, a loaf of bread from neal's yard, lots of cheese including a half fat farmhouse mature cheddar that is to die for and most importantly, herself.

Well, back to cleaning up and getting E.dd to bed.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

day in the life 2

So, answering our dear Sheryl's charge, I will try and encapsulate my day, pathetic as it may be.

0535 phone rings, once. I'm up, but not out of bed, read a bit
0555 decide that I better get up
0600 let ernest the puppy out, he pees, sits down and then decides its time to poop
0610 feed ernest, put stuff out for the Blind pick up, pack up lunch, pack Ernest snacks, tidy up house for cleaning diety, brush teeth, get stuff in car for work, stuff for food bank, Ernest asks politely to go out again, we go into the back yard for a bit of self serve on the raspberries.
0630 TH calls from London, recaps day, says she can't take money out of cash machine, I remind her that food, in any class, sucks. She says she has already purchased her pret pots for her flight. She's soo smart.
0650 put ernest in car, with half eaten carrot.
0655 at gym
0700 trainer flakes, I elliptical for 40 minutes and read about brad/jen/britney/supermarket diets and watch cnn
0750 leave gym, take ernest to vet
0820 leave vet, 57 bucks poorer, with a rabies vaccinated dog, a toothbrush and some flea stuff
0830 go to met market, pick up coffee and dicuss ernest with katie and the girl who grew up with bassets
0840 arrive work, score a shaded parking place, back ernest in, take him out for an ablut and a bit of paw stretch
0850-1120 work on boring work stuff, answer emails, review document, try and deal with our image clipping issues, nothing is working eat lunch, snack and chocolate in frustration
1120-1150 take ernest for a .5 mile walk, sit, collapse and work on come. The sun is coming out, it is defective
12oo continue to work, pull out hair, get frustrated, talk to developer to see if he has any great ideas, eat cheetos (WTF?), get email from B, she did the same.
1400 Y. calls from Augusta, where yesterday she gave birth to a baby boy. I can't wait to see him. She sounds great. I continue to beat head on keyboard, because nothing is working.
1430 ernest goes for another short walk, drink, cookie
1730 finally leave work, giving images to our photo. specialist to see if he can create something in photoshop that will work.
1740 arrive at mudbay, buy ernest one bag of adult food and one bag of puppy food, he is so hyper.
1755 arrive home, eat dinner, the both of us. It is clean in here, David did a great job.
1830 we go for another walk, he is being a bit cussid, our walk is short
1845 I start working again, try another approach, redownload clean copy of data, download trial version of program
2020 decide that ernest and I need a break. Go to the Village to burn off some energy. He does most excellently. I wonder if its okay to wear fendi slides while carrying a dior purse?
2050 get back to car, drive to work to look for cell phone and check on jobs. Cell phone is there, jobs bombed. Send some email and then go home via cash machine, starbucks (okay, I know, but a rice crispie treat sounded good), library
2200 arrive home, full of self loathing for eating too much and for no good reason, take ernest out, he comes in and eats again, runs around, one more out and he's in bed. TH calls from Heathrow, she is trying to get on earlier flight out of ORD. Had to buy another ticket, but its so expensive, its changeable.
2200 my last thing worked (whew)I have a file that may work for the application! I will rerun it tomorrow to fix a few things, but I have something. Thank the gods. I do believe I have found a bug, so I will log it tomorrow.
2300 run dishwasher, finish putting away work stuff, get packed for gym and work tomorrow, burn cds and off to bed.

caged animal and other things that vex me

Dahlia, my darling, July 2006.

I was really freaking out here today at work. I have lots to do and no matter how many ways I twist the rubik's cube, nothing is working. I'm having to resort to photoshop to mask an image, how is that for lame?

I'm trying something now at home. It better work.

Other than that, I'm behind as usual on summarizing work issues, reviewing proposals and getting information to those who need it NOW.

Ya know what I mean?

I'm reading an interesting book about home management that could be applied to the work world. It was written before the age of widespread computer use and project management software, but the system seems to work and I may just apply it to my life.

Which, is really not that bad, considering.

At least my house is clean for the next 30 minutes before I unleash Hurricane Ernest from his time out. Toilet paper does not grow on trees young man. :)

So, other than that, he weighs 27 lbs and I'm not sure how many more weeks I can pick him up.

I'm off to the Village to amuse the boy, pick up some stuff and hopefully tire him out.

TH is back tomorrow and I am happy, she comes home with the newest in trashy british tabloids and cheese. Lots of cheese.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

crash into you

When you go wolf dinner down, stop your food slave from eating her dinner to let you out, go for a .5 mile walk and then come inside to chase cuppie and drag liter containers of tonic water out of the pantry for half an hour, you are entitled to crash and crash hard.

I wonder if I can put him in lockdown and plant all those bedding plants I bought yesterday?

I am now hooked up again. I'm not that excited. I have to take my old phone to Tmobile to get the numbers moved over to my new phone. Its a cute phone, orange pebl that has a camera and can take video. It is cute and orange, did I mention that?

TH got the same model she had before with better gsm capabilities, my parents got a free phone. Yes, I'm on the family plan.

TH and I chatted today, she's okay, but tired. Currently, she's at my aunt's house and hopefully going into the city to pick up cheese and some books. I don't think I need anything, but considering she has lots of room in her bag... Naw, I'm okay.


Well, I guess I should check on the boy and then go out and plant and water.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

sweet pea

Originally uploaded by flora and flying.
Okay, here is a little summer for you all. Ernest and I got up from our respective naps and went to the garden to check on the raspberries.

We found the sweet peas in profusion as well as the dahlias.

No one was there either. Fanfrickingtastic as far as I am concerned. I may have to spend part of tomorrow evening bushwacking the morning glory, but things are definitely looking good.

The fireworks are going off, so I'm mustering the courage to get E.dd ready for a viewing at the secret parking garage.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Real bad news

TH got a letter from London today. A week or so ago, one of her mom's dearest friends died unexpectedly and the funeral is day after tomorrow. I had many an occasion to visit with her and she was a lady and an amazing person. She was so fit and full of life, I can't believe she is gone. For TH, this is also hard. She is currently on a plane to ORD and then off to London and god willing, she'll be in Oxford by noon on Wednesday. Her mother's other dearest friend is also in Oxford by the way of Birmingham. She is also an amazing lady. Funny thing is until the one moved from Birmingham to Oxford, they had never met. Their only connection was TH's mom, her father and then TH. We usually saw them at least once a year, going up for a lovely lunch around Christmas. For some reason, we didn't make it this last year. The year before was amazing, the food, the conversation, the long, drawn out puddings and coffee in the lounge. Oy, what memories.

TH really struggled with the descision to fly to London for the service. In some ways, its a frivolous journey, but in some ways, it is important, to keep the ties with her kids, to see her partner and to say goodbye to someone that is a link to the past.

Friends, all I can say, is that there isn't always another time. Treasure each other.


technology gap

I am currently mobile phoneless. Really. Don't even try calling me.

I'll be back up and running on Wednesday, but until then. I'm off the "grid".


Back to spatchcocking.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

three day week

I am sort of taking tomorrow off of work. I need to go in and mail my laptop off to MPC and get the case and hinge fixed before things get worse, but hopefully that won't take too long. I have a lot of gardening to do.

Other than that, life is sucked by Ernest's needs.

I am a sponge.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

essentially summer desserts

Its that time again, the cherry guy is at work, our trees are full of rainiers, we are picking two or three pints of raspberries a day and soon we'll have gooseberries and currants. What to do with all this goodness?

I'm thinking the four c's for the summer - clafoutis, crisp, cobbler and crostata.

All yummy, all simple and all delicious the day of or the following day. I use several sources for the recipes including MTAFC, Chez Panisse Desserts and the Joy of Cooking.

The next few days I'll share with you these recipes. I'm thinking we'll be seeing a cherry crostata for the Fourth and maybe a blackberry crisp (okay, I'm cheating with last year's harvest) for sunday night.


Everything here is just dandy. I'm busy with work and so is TH. I am really trying to finish off what I can so that I don't have to think about anything work related for the next few days. I have a pile of books, lots of weeding and a need to get that princess plant in a new pot before Sunday!

Later taters.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

nothing like a good song

We went to see Arlo Guthrie tonight at the Zoo. The last few shows at the zoo have been mediocre at best with screaming children, poor sound quality and not very dynamic performers. Wow, Arlo and family were dynamic, witty and just fabulous. The kids were pretty well behaved and the sound quality was great. We had low expectations and we were overwhelmed.

He even did "this land is your land", which always make me smile.

I can't believe the quality of music I've heard this year, Keith Jarrett, the Junkies and Arlo and that I still have Calgary and Vancouver to hit makes me quite excited.

Work was hectic today. I have a major project undertaking that just isn't clicking and needs to be finished by Friday. I have many fires to tend and all I can think about is gardening this weekend and maybe visiting cousin Scruffy and aunt Pat in Mineral.

Are we still on cupcake?

Ernest is sitting his his bed and having his pre-bed snack of a carrot and me thinks its time to get organized for tomorrow.

later taters.


Monday, June 26, 2006

a long drink of water

Ernest in the bed, June 24th, 2006.

This weather sucks. It is hot, sunny and generally great for those without things to do and Viewridge pool memberships and bad for small mostly black basset hounds and the people that must check on them.

Today, Ernest went to work for about one hour (yes, I had pre-reserved his shady location), sucked on my ice cubes from my iced coffee and then decided that lock down chez nm was a better option.

He did okay, I think being stuck in lock down may help him increase that bladder control as well, which would be a positive thing.

Tomorrow should also be defective in the weather department, so other than a quick morning snuffle, its lock down for Ernest.

This past weekend we did a lot of things, mostly the mundane, but punctuated with a visit from Aunt Pat and cousin Scruffy, Ernest's first Pride March on the Hill, his first exposure to Dykes on Bikes (not impressed), a ferry ride to Vashon and visit with Amadeus, the great dane and his very charming people. He loved them.Ernest and the Dykes on Bikes.

Ernest meets cousin Scruffy.
Ernst (his german name) meets Amadeus.

It was busy around here.

Life here is okay, my work is getting sort of interesting again with lots of exciting things going on if you enjoy data management. I'm thinking I may take Monday off and have a four day weekend at home. Imagine that! So out of character for moi, but I might be able to do things as mundane as go to the dump and just read the paper.

We'll see what the rest of the week brings.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

more later

Once again I have managed to slice my finger open with my felcos,so I can't type. Everything is just fine, Ernest had a very busy basset weekend, we did do, it is too hot for me and TH is sweltering in Portland until Tuesday night.

I'll be back tomorrow with some pics and exciting things to say.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

new york new york

Jk said it best.

Check it out here.

I spent the morning at the paper sessions for VAF, while JK hung with the butterflies. I was happy to finally catch up with Uncle Bill who is teaching at CCA this year and walked around Columbia a bit. There is something about finally seeing Avery hall after using the avery architectural index all your life. Saw a nice wedding as well.

It was another morning of train screw ups, so we ended up over shooting the Columbia station and had to go back down on a local train.

I finally met someone who I had heard about, so that was nice.

Other than that, everything JK said was totally true and other than not getting my eyeliner, I'm pretty happy with most of my purchases.


happy summer

Okay, I have to admit that I really hate summer. I hate the fact it now is getting dark again. Everyone is happy summer is here, me, I can't wait for winter.

What really makes me sad is that I'm missing the longest days of the year in Seattle. When I drove back from Cabezon tonight at 7:45, it was getting dark. The sun was so amazingly huge and firey, but it just wasn't right.

I managed not to buy anything but three pairs of smalls at the outlet. I did enjoy trying on many cute pairs of Prada shoes, but after Saturday's shopping spree at Henri Bendel, I figured I would give it a rest.

Just how many pairs of black loafers and kitten heels does on girl need? No, Miss C, I have not counted yet!

Other than that, I have hit the Tj's in Redlands, coffee tea bean and leaf and now I'm back in my luxurious hotel room fully sated by a plasticized salad and a large bottle of water. I'm hooked on Dog, the bounty hunter and soon the king of cars will be on. I can't believe that I'm watching this drivel. Now you know why I don't have a tv.

I had an amazing day of testing, talking to the lead developer, learning some new stuff and still managing to be coherent during my 2 hour conference call this morning.

Tomorrow, more of the same, breaking the software and reporting bugs. I am going to drive west to see my parents for dinner. I can't wait.

My mom informed me that she just bought Ernest a new water dish for his southern visit.



Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Its a dry heat

Not that you all care, but I have either been without internet connection (wireless card is kaput) or really just busy. This week I'm in Redlands, California doing all sorts of fun stuff with software and trying hard to break it.

I learned a lot today and hopefully, they learned something from me.

Last week in New York City it was about 89 degrees and muggy, here its 90 degrees and dry. I can't say I like either, but I'll be home by the end of the week and it'll be nice and cool.

TH and Ernesto are muddling along. He was 2 lbs heavier and 44" longer than before.

Well, I just ate some of the best mexican (fourth time this week!) I have ever had right here in Colton, CA and once I check my mail etc. I'm going to head east to the outlets and see if I can beat any "bargain" I saw and did not buy in NYC.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

always ahead of the curve

OPI chocolate mousse, reef flip flops, talbots skirt, Bush School Graduation, Seattle, WA June 2006.

God, I had no idea.

I brought my cole haan very cute kitten heeled sandals to wear for a wine tasting and graduation this past weekend. Gosh, it was hot and everyone else was doing it. In fact, the graduates of this esteemed liberal bastion of secondary education were either shod in flip flops, high heeled shoes that were worthy of the prom or barefoot. I thought I was fine.

Well at least I had a nice pedicure.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dog tired

Between E.dd's worrisome cough (turned out to be allergies), my mother's complicated travel plans, TH's worsening cold and all day of travelling, I'm tired, but not tired enough to haul my keester into bed.

I'm in New York City for the next five days attending the VAF meeting. I came straight from the airport to the opening session at CCNY and hung out waiting to register. I was happy to see some friendly faces in the crowd from Madison, Conn and U of W. I loved the opening session and learned alot about what we're going to see in both Manhattan and Queens. I did skip the reception in hopes of keeping to my fitness bootcamp goals of not overeating and hopped into a cab for my ride to midtown.

Checked into the GH New York, dropped off my laptop and bag and went to the Grand Central Oyster Bar for a nice dinner or smoked Maine day boat scallops on a bed of white asparagus with a leek and caviar vinagrette. I washed it down with an iced tea.

Why do I love it there? You can sit at the bar and eat alone and its okay. No one bothers you and you can eat a lovely meal while reading a book. As usual, TH and JK both suggested coming here for dinner and they were once again, right on!

I ran up to the Regency Club and scored a tiny brownie and some decent and fresh decaf for the evening. I should be in bed, but I am still awake. I am waiting for input from folks on a project and I am getting radio silence.


Tomorrow I have a full day of the Tenement museum, commercial vernacular, some self guided tours and hopefully some shopping.

I wish I could unpack, but my room is getting moved tomorrow, so I am once again, living from the rollaboard.

Oh, E.dd is driving TH crazy, I wish I could go home to relieve her, he's bored and very active, but most of all, he's so food centric, she can't take him anywhere without constantly taking crap out of his mouth. Its very frustrating for them both.

Come on Ernesto, behave.


all four paws

Ernest woke up this morning with something that sounds like kennel cough and that isn't good.

He's due for his next set of shots this week.

Let's hope he just has a bit of a cold or allergies.

TH will take him to the vet this morning.

His blog is up and running., NM says check it out.

Why all four paws? I used that phrase alot in graduate school, I either used all four paws to jump into a project or used all four paws to dig in and not start a project. In any case, all four paws is also what we use with Ernest to remind him that bassets need to keep all four paws down on the ground at all times to keep their backs healthy.

Well, its time to leave the Alaska Boardroom, pick up a dilettante mexican hot chocolate or a latte and schelp over to my gate for my flight to JFK.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I feel like I am grounded, a novice at flying and travelling, not quite sure which way is up or down today.

I have no idea why. Maybe because I haven't been anywhere on a plane in a month, maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I just want to stay home.

My brother just called me from the plane, he's on his way to Rio today to give a talk at a conference and then off to Istanbul for more of the same. I think he's been to Turkey three times so far this year.

I haven't packed for my trip to New York tomorrow. I am just hoping that I can transfer the files I need to my laptop, finish writing up a work flow process and go home in time to take E. dd to boot camp, visit my mom and my aunt and come home and pack.

I should make sure I have enough sudukos to make it through the week.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


Busy weekend, busy week, life is consumed by running outside with e.dd, running inside with dog, familial obligations and realizing that once again, I'll be gone for five days straight, followed by 20 hours at home and another four days away.


I feel sorry for TH, she's on full time E.dd duty and as adorable as he is, he's still a handful.


Monday, June 05, 2006

running on empty

I really hate that song, but that is what I feel like today.

I actually made it to the gym this morning, first time in a few days. I have decided that my gym time is a non-negotiable part of my life and E.P is just going to have to deal with that. It felt good to work out and get to work hungry and pumped for an exciting day of reviewing documentation and other nuggets of my thrill a minute existence.

The best part of course is going out and seeing E.P. once in a while and getting out in the sunlight.

Today I went and did the one year mammo thing. Last year this time, I was going in for a secondary screen, an ultrasound and maybe even a needle biopsy. It was not a happy time for me, TH was gone, Roya the cat had just died, Jacques was failing and I was running through a million scenarios in my head, none of them particularly positive. I was lucky enough to have P. go with me to my mammo and wait with me until I got the results. They were good and we celebrated by eating a nice lunch at Grand Central Bakery.

I have had follow ups that are all clear and today I was blessed with the results and having the same excellent mammography technician who I have seen the three times I have gone to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She is so calm, gentle, funny and informative. Today, she came back just to tell me that the doctor was busy with a procedure and that is why I hadn't gotten the all clear and that I shouldn't worry.

I celebrated by having a late lunch of lovely roasted asparagus salad replete with radishes, asparagus, mixed greens, gran padano cheese and hazelnuts at the same Grand Central Bakery on Eastlake.

I also volunteered a subject for a breast cancer study today. I gave blood, not one of my favorite activities and realized how lucky I was. Here am I today, healthy giving blood as a control with lots of gravely ill people around me. I hope that I can help the researchers get their answers sooner. One of my mom's best friends and ring leader in the mammiosas (the gentle band of global mommies that are available to me at any time) is currently fighting the good fight to beat her breast cancer. I pray for her everyday, she is the rock for my mom and the rest of the the mommies, who have known each other for the last 55 years.

Please do me a favor and check those boobs of yours and if you are at the age the yearly mammogram, do it, don't put it off. It hurts, but so does waxing and we're willing to that on a monthly basis.

If you won't do it for me, do it for Khaleh Mehri, k?


Sunday, June 04, 2006

can't fault a guy for trying

Weekend is over and Ernest puppy has learned to climb into my chair.

We just put a large obstacle in his way and he's still trying to get in from the side.

I'm so proud of him for making it onto the chair and pissed at him for getting big enough to do it.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

essential recipes

Ack, muggy day here. Made for cranky NMs running on no sleep and lack of enthusiasm for their appointed tasks.

However, we had an upright basset day, a good walk/snuffle and after having angst over muddy orange flats (sigh) and what to do have for dinner, I made chocolate chip cookies.

What does this have to do with recipes?

What are your essential recipes, the top 10 recipes that are your foundation for cooking/entertaining and living?

Here are mine

Baking: toll house cookies (from heart baby)
pate brisee
pound cake

Eating/life sustaining: Roast chicken
Meat loaf
Stewed meat/some sort of stew (chicken, beef)
pumpkin/squash root vegetable soup with a cream base
basics: chicken stock
: cream sauce
: red sauce
: some sort of green sauce/salsa verde/agliata/pesto

With these simple things you can make dinner for ever including leftovers.

I keep these recipes close to me, some are memorized, some are in a notebook that I carry with me when travelling to places that I may end up cooking. Its crammed with all sorts of recipes and things from cooking classes I took. I treasure the book and refer to it often.

I know we live in world where its easy to run to the store and get ready made food and sometimes its worth it. But you know that you will season the chicken to your taste and that it won't be so salty that you can't make a decent stock with the leftovers. I know you can run to the bakery and pick up some cookies, but honestly, they just won't taste homemade, they'll be pallid, greasy and often times taste like plastic.

With a stick of butter, a cup of oatmeal, brown sugar, lemon zest, flour, some cake spice, toasted walnuts and three bags of blackberries you picked last summer you can make many people happy in May. You can do the same with the hundreds of apples that you picked a vowed to make into sauce in October, but up the cinnamon, will ya?

Cooking takes time, patience and creativity, things that we're happy to apply to other things that occupy our time. Taking time to sit with the paper and read the headlines while dinner is in the oven, no matter how depressing the news may be,walking the dog while the chicken is in the oven or deadheading while the artichokes are burbling is a lost 30 minutes of our time that needs to be recaptured to keep us sane.

What are your essential recipes?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

nick of time

Oriental poppy, end of May 2006.

I got home from work just in time to bring in four loads of laundry before the rain started. Even managed to get Ernesto, the not very cooperative basset, to spend some quality time in the backyard chasing an old latte cup.

He played a bit of bball with Leo from up the street, attacked cuppie, ate like a small horse and is now down for the count. Oh well, I thought maybe we'd go to VS and pick up our free underwear while he's still small enough to go shopping. I guess it'll have to wait until Saturday.

I guess I'll go back to reviewing the 300 fricking pages of exhibit 300s that yours truly must review by tomorrow to answer yet another unfunded gov't mandate that keeps us all on our toes. Who would ever think that you could fall asleep at your desk reading an appendix to a revised OMB circular? I can and I did.

Now I'm off to buy a plane ticket or three. TH and I are going into Paris and out of Brussels in October. Doing a chocolate run which we would typically do in September, but have decided that work and Ernest will have to change our plans. At least things won't melt, fashion week will be over and we can get into the Madeleine for a decent price. Its been an expensive day chez nm.

We signed Ernest up for six weeks of all you can stand puppy kindergarten including field trips and play sessions. I understand everyone graduates, but me thinks we'll be attending more than six sessions. He is practicing the fine art of flat basset followed by jello basset when it comes time to walking.

Ack, its really raining now.

later taters.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Ernesto, the wonder basset, Seattle, Memorial Day 2006.

I'm still recovering from this weekend. Not the excitement that comes from partying like its 1999 or 1979, but more like I have a bored basset hound who melts in the rain and a antiquated way of doing laundry that requires sun.

My secret to whiter whites and crisp towels - a clothes line. Well, one of those clothes line things that is sort of an umbrella shaped. I'm glad we don't live in "rusty pine blister on poorly drained bioswale estates" where HOA covenants prohibit the use of such things. We're hipper than can be in energy conscience Seattle.we save tons of money on drying because we use our dryer about once a month. Just think if drove a hybrid and had chickens, maybe Sunset would come and do a feature on us!

Amazing, isn't it?

Well, this weekends weather sucked for clothes drying the NM way and when we finally got around to some sun we just didn't do it as a team. It was a toss up between having the clothes smell like bbqued salmon and dealing with our minor plumbing crisis --it's all been left to yours truly to do today.

I have a Mt.Washmore to conquer and its nearly 88% completed. I'm out of room for towels on the clothes line and I wish that I had another one of those little smalls hangers that I bought in Tokyo for smalls, so that excitement can wait until tomorrow.

Other than that, Ernesto is just fine, he is sacked out in his bed and it is time to let him out to do the final O-U-T bedtime procedures (pee, dewormer, bisquit and lockdown). He's definitely discovered three dimensionality and spatial problem solving, so his TH mom is quite pleased with him. I'll be happy if he realizes that as hard as he tries, there is nothing that interesting in the tiny space between the cabinet and the oven and he should get over it. He's growing so fast that one day he'll get stuck, I know it.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

sleepy saturday

Ernesto and TH spent a bunch of today sleeping. TH catching up from no sleep while traveling and Ernest from growing. The boy has eaten 5.5 cups of food and a cup of treats since he arrived in Seattle and has grown 40". He will be the size of a Great Dane by the end of the weekend.

Moral of the story: If you want to see him small and squiggly, visit sooner than later.

Anyhoo, the rain made the U. District Farmer's market defective. TH, B, Ernesto and I went to TJ's to stock up and then I dragged them off for a brow wax at Red. They went to Dahlia Bakery, I did the wax.

Spent the day pushing bassets outdoors in the cold rain to ablut between killer kong sessions and the attack the commuter mug game. We took him to CUH for him to gain appreciation of the finer things in life and he spent most of the time picking large pieces of wood out the mulch and learning the fine art of drop it.

I did read Anne Tyler's Digging to America this afternoon. I'm still digesting it, it cut quite close to home.

Well, Ernesto is down for the 8-9pm nap before one more round of zoomer basset. He learned how to pull the toilet paper off the roll. If you come to visit, remind me to give you a roll before you sit down. ;)


Thursday, May 25, 2006

all together now

Bernese Mountain Basset, Goldendale, WA early May 2006.

TH is home and not going anywhere for the next few days. Ernest met her at the airport with a woof and a wiggle and he got his one big chance to sit in my lap as TH drove home. There will be very little of that happening in the future. The breeder says he's expected to grow to 65 lbs of solid slobberchopness and that is way too much lap basset for moi.

Anyhow, he did some pretty fun things today (window shopping, latte comparisons, getting many skritches from his adoring public and most importantly, meeting his doppleganger in a Bernese Mountain dog. It was too funny they have the exact coloring as each other including the eyebrows.

He's pooped now and I get last call on Ernest duty. Tomorrow he has a vet appointment and a meet and greet at work. We'll spend the evening hanging out doing nothing much and honestly, that sounds good to me.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

cool product find

New Tree chocolates - renew, restore and eat up.

TH sent me a package from Woods Hole today with some treasures from Maine. Other than a nice card and a good dog training guide which I need I received a yummy bar of chocolate.

I'm always willing to be the first to try new things, but if I tried that with all the chocolates that pass through our house I would be really fighting the battle of the bulge. However, this bar intrigued me, its a nice dark chocolate with blackcurrant with the name of Renew. I'm not buying the need for antioxidants, but that is how the bar is marketed.

I'm just happy to taste blackcurrants in something other than Ribena or pastilles. They are hard to come by in the US of A.

Here's the website for New Tree Gourmet Chocolates made in Belgium but easily found at many better food establishments around the country.

Oh Ernest, he's just fine. Currently incarcerated while I check on some stuff. We're considering a drive to the petstore to buy a new kong/chewy toy. The snowshoe chair is proving to be quite tasty and that just aint going to happen little man.

On his campaign front, he's still looking for strategic advisors.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rant and rave

Rant from my point of view....

Banning Iran from participating in the World Cup?

Right. Not. Never.


States must have pet evacuation plans.

I'll admit I would have been hard pressed to leave if we were in that situation.

Other news.

Ernest weighs 18.6 lbs. That is one heavy pup considering he still fits in a jelly roll pan that we use for pet dishes.

He has fallen in love with his own reflection and is in awe of the fact that our house has floor to ceiling windows and he can look out and down.

Life is changing for a basset that soon will run for president.

Oh, he's starting to blog as well.

More on that later.

nm and ernest

Monday, May 22, 2006

finally home

Ernest is in the hood. Partially vocal on his way from Goldendale, but very well behaved. Enjoyed his dinner, snuffle down the block and exploring what he can of the house.

He's sprawled out on Jacques old bed, conked out and probably ready for one more out and then off to bed.

So am I once I submit my final funding report....

Oh, a happy birthday to JK.

May the day be great, you can celebrate tomorrow if you wish and I really hope that your bro made it to the sale so that you got your plastic turkey.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

miles from my home

Undersides, Allium, May 2006.

It has been a weekend that has been fun, freaky and very quiet in a strange sort of way. Rainy and muggy, sunny and cloudy, slow and really fast at the same time, does that make any sense?

Yesterday, P and I went to go see the Cowboy Junkies at the Kirkland Performing Arts Center for a matinee. Wow, what a show. I love their new stuff and as much as I dreaded the idea of spending two hours in a darkened intime performance hall, it was worth it. It was one of the best Junkies show I had seen.

Last night I put together Ernest's crates. I can't believe one day he'll actually fit in these monster crates. He seems so tiny right now. We're going to try him on one of Jacques last beds, its huge, but I think he'll grow into it.

I am beginning to get antsy and scared about his arrival. We have spent the last ten or so years, not really caring about things like dropped rubber bands, electrical cords and exquiste Italian loafers or purses and laptop bags on the floor. Jacques couldn't be bothered unless it was food or his cat. Now my shoes automatically go in the closet and my purses/bags/laptop up on the blanket chest.

It'll be an adventure. P& I ran errands today downtown, West Seattle and our hood and he's driving with me to Goldendale tomorrow. He's good company and I'll need it. Its strange that he was the one who helped me nearly a year ago when Jacques declined and came to my rescue for those grueling three days when we didn't know what was wrong with him and TH was trying to get back from Woods Hole to get to us.

I'm happy that he's getting to meet Ernest and TH will come back from Woods Hole to a different experience and bittersweet to be sure.


Friday, May 19, 2006

date night

Netshed, St. Pierre, June 2003.

We don't have them, maybe we should. I guess if count walking around Green Lake drinking Peet's coffee and running into Starbucks at the end to pick up coffee grounds exciting, then I guess you know what date night chez nm is like.


It works for us and we've been together since the dawn of creation or the microvax, whichever came first.

So, why I am boring you with this?

Last night I went and ran errands up into the next 'hood up from ours. I finished the errands and decided to treat myself to the only thing that starbucks has done recently that I approve of -the green tea latte, hold the melon syrup. Anyhow, I noticed this guy in an Escalade leering at the women in the "Desert sun" store/tanning salon and generally making me nervous (me, short middle aged woman in yoga pants and running shoes and definitely not his type). It appeared that he was waiting for his wife/domestic unit for an appointment at the tanning salon.

Okay, that is modern. That is wierd, don't you think? Do they share a cube or a bed? Use a splitter on the Ipod? The mind boggles. Some things are just meant to be done alone or just not at all. The same thing goes for the guys who insist their girl friends come in while they are getting back waxes. Why? Do I want you there when I get a bikini wax? Do I need you to come in while I get my hair cut? Is anything sacred? Can there be too much togetherness?

Maybe they should have gone down the street and sat at Top Pot and discussed their plans for the summer, the kids or why they need to go get a tan at 9 pm on a Thursday night.

I just don't get it, I'll admit to you that I would rather look at ducks together than redden epidermis together.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Essentially Thursday

I can't really think of anything, but it is essential to thank my friends for putting up with me today and the last few weeks while I have had exsistential crisis after another.

Thank you all for putting it all in perspective for me.

Y'all know who you are.

Smooches to all of you.

puppy proof

Puppy proofing 101. May 2006.

The house is getting there, only a few more days until Ernest shows up.

Poor guy is going to be introduced to the wilds of urban living, baby gates and having to deal with concrete, small children, top pot donuts and figuring out what we're going to have for dinner.

Life at Ernest's level.

I think he'll survive.

I think we will too!

TH does a touch and go next Thursday and looks like as long as I have something to deliver by the end of May, I can stay at home and work too. It'll be nice picking her up at the airport with a wiggling basset hound to greet her at departures (not arrivals). It has been a long time.

Yeah for Ernest!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Planning ahead

Allium bulgaricum, May 2006.

Summer is coming up and other than gas being oh, say 3.44 a gallon last I checked, airline ticket prices also suck. Nothing is competitive out of Seattle these days, if I lived in Wenatchee, I would be fine, but Seattle on AA, not.

Here, you can check it out yourself.

I have at least two exciting work trips planned for the summer, one involves a decent outlet mall and date shakes, the other, my parents, so its not that bad.

Other than that, its NYC in June for VAF and Miss JK coming up for a day or two, Vancouver and Calgary and now it seems that JK and I have ingratiated ourselves on my brother's annual midnight croquet party in MKE. We figured we could combine hotel stays, frequent flyer points with Irishfest and drunken croquet by Lake Michigan and oh, a trip to Marshall Fields as well.

I am hesitant to buy any plane tickets with the current prices, but since I have committed myself to London for Remembrance Day and TH is out of chocolate and we need to go to Paris. What the hell, no one needs to go, my financial advisor will tell me. Its double mileage at AA for their 25th anniversary, so its time to buck up and buy those tickets. Just think, I'll hit 2MM before November. Oh the joy.

Oh Ernest, he can stay home with grandmere or his best K, or maybe we'll just tag team it.


royapoya mismaloya

Siberian Iris, May 2006.

On this day last year, we lost our dearest cat, Miss Roya. I first met Roya as a 6 week old kitty and she lived in wierd little house by Kitchykoo and Roosevelt High School in Northeast Seattle. She was the only female in the litter and the only one who wouldn't go into the box. I really wanted her and my roommate and I put her in a little box, caught the bus up back up to the Ave, went to get cat litter, food and beer with this yowling small cat. Did I mention we were on the bus? Luckily, we ran into my brother buying beer at the store and he gave us a ride back to the hovel we lived in off of 4th ave NE and the rest is history.

Miss Roya was no ordinary cat. She looked like a cow with her spots, she was very interactive,very gregarious, but very gentle and acted like a dog. Our friend B loved to call her Buddah Kitty, because that is what she often resembled. She lived with me for a few years in various houses that 20 somethings live in. When I moved into an apartment that didn't take cats, my parents graciously took her for what they thought would only be a few weeks.

She lived on the lake with a 75' sandy litter box for the next five years. When my parents retired to California, Roya came to live with TH and myself. She fit in very well in the house. TH loved her even if she was allergic to her and after Jacques came to live with us permanently, they became best buddies.

When your cat reaches 16 years old, you think they are golden forever. Roya was healthy and spritely and we kept up with everything that she needed (geriatric screenings, kidney food, cat toys and rare steaks). Each summer I would gaze at her in the garden enjoying watching her surroundings and wondering if she would be there the next year. She passed 16 year milestone, then 17 and then her 18th birthday. Sure she slowed down, but we kept her happy, hydrated and other than the yowl fests, she seemed content.

About ten days before she died, she just slowed down and lost weight. We had to feed her new things to keep her interested and when I took her to the vet, he said it didn't look good. TH came home early from Oregon to be with us. Her vet said her time wasn't now and to watch her and she would tell us when she was ready to go. TH stayed home with her that day, she went outside and took a gander around her garden. That night, she died at home. I can't tell you how happy I was that she was able to do that one last time.

I can't go into the garden this time of year without thinking of Roya, her love of spring, having to coax her to come in and finding her teeth marks in the irises.

If you see an iris today, that is Roya, smiling at you.


Monday, May 15, 2006

unseasonably warm

Ribes sanguineum, May 2006.

I think 80 degrees for the middle of May in Seattle sucks. Why? Because my kiwis are about to blossom and they don't need to fry before they set fruit. I am going to have to replant my cukes as they are fried and I don't appreciate lettuce bolting by June.

'Nuf said.

It is time to think about warm weather foods. Salads, cold dishes (revenge?), make ahead meals and finger foods that will work as meals.

I'm all for salads. TH often will grill extra protein based sources and we'll have them later. I'm also all for things that can be made ahead - cold soups come to mind.

Yesterday I made tabouleh. Today I ate grilled asparagus and cold grilled chicken and some arugula and walnut salad.

Tomorrow, who knows? But as long as its in the high 70's, its not going to be lasagne.

Stay posted as I start posting some summertime favorites.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

eating locally

Today I did amazing things. I sat outside again and read a book and chilled. I managed to get much of our year round ppatch weeded out and watered and planted. I also made dinner and lunch using stuff from our own garden --Lettuce, chives, cilantro, asparagus, parsely and rhubarb.

It is an amazing thing.

The rhubarb is baking right now. I have a nice tabbouleh that I'll enjoy this week and I'll save the seven asparagus spears I have left over for dinner tomorrow.

Life is good.


Mother's Day

If you want my personal opinion, every day should be Mother's Day.

Hope you had a good one.

Yours with many scratches and some love,


Saturday, May 13, 2006



This is what I have to look forward to in the morning. Smooshing gooseberry sawflies before they destroy every leaf.

They say hand mushing is the best thing. I'm itching just thinking of it.


sluggish saturday

Hosta, May 2006, Seattle.

While TH is gadding about the rainy Northeast, I'm at home, obsessing about work and trying to enjoy the weekend. The two are exclusive of each other no? I need to seriously take a chill pill.

Sunny Saturday meant up and early to the farmer's market, TJ's, post office and then being a slug. Yup, me. Sitting around reading Baltimore's own Lippman mysteries (2 of them in one day!), taking a nap, planting stuff and finally getting off my butt to weed and water the ppatch and visit with M&B and partake in some yummy blackberry cobbler.

TH says the weather sucks, so she's not sure what they are going to do tomorrow in Hanover. I believe her Monday will be spent driving to Orono, ME and maybe visiting at the altar of LL Bean. I wish I could be with her, but I'm probably better off here weeding out my dahlias and combatting what the hell is devouring the leaves of my gooseberries.

Tomorrow I'm not sure what I'll do, but staying away from the chocolate is in order.


Friday, May 12, 2006

the big picture

Greenland, the big picture, May 2006, LHR-ORD from seat 9J.

At work, I'm a big picture girl, which seems to get me nowhere here these days.

However, I digress.

I have been obsessing about the stock market, my retirement and how one day (say, in 9 years), I'll be able to stop working for the man and doing my own thing.

So, two days of down markets have me down.

I say stop looking but maybe call the broker on Monday and ask why we're holding on to something that is tanking? Or should I just stop looking and realize I can't touch this stuff for the next 20 years and take a chill pill?

It is like the scale, daily weighing can be both good and bad.

Maybe I need to ask the doctor for some anti anxiety meds.


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.