Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crying on the way home from Trader Joes

I may be hormonal, but this piece by Firoozeh Dumas had me bawling all the way home from the grocery store. I know the world revolves around Marjane Satrapi and Persepolis (pronouce with me - Purse-Police), but I think that Firozeh and I may be separated at birth. We were born in the same hospital in the same year and by god, we both have the lowps (cheeks) of a well-fed Iranian girl.

Famous author, NPR commentator, Firoozeh Dumas.
Infamous blogger (or wishes she was) and basset hound wrangler, NM.

What do you think?


just for aunt pat

Ernest and scruffy together on flickr.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pulling at the heartstrings

Dual monitor basset love fest, September 2006.

How I miss you my tiny dog! Smooches on your wrinkled brow.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

publish or perish

Today I was informed that I need to start publishing more. What a surprise. I left a research position years ago to do data management/IT research and now I have to publish again. When am I given time to get something ready for publication? Its not like I can carve out 20% of my work week to work on papers in progress.

I guess I'll start looking for journals that will accept innovative IT applications to solving problems in my field and start finding yet more time to spend on another unfunded mandate. Not that I don't spend 15% of my time already doing that. Maybe looking for a job doing consulting is not such a bad idea....

Other than that, it is warm here -- much too warm for me, but it'll soon by grey and rainy again.
TH is having a great time, she's in Wyoming for the second day and tomorrow night, it'll be yellowstone for her. I am soo jealous.

It will be the last weekend home for a while, time to put the garden to bed, deal with outdoor stuff and get reacquainted with ernest the puppy.

God, I miss him.


Monday, September 25, 2006

vacation interruptus

Two things made our vacation a bit defective.

1. I caught a cold on Wednesday before we left and though I fought the cold part off valiantly, I have spent the last five days or so hacking out my lungs. I am home today working because, no one needs to listen to me.

2. Email checking and the end of the year procurement woes. TH has let some contracts out for work that seemed to just be fine until the last minute. Not that she did anything wrong, its just that even though you do your part, things just seem to blow up. We don't get our funding until late in the fiscal year and then boom -- you have to spend it all (lucky you think, but it is not that great). She spent a few hours writing emails in SLC, checking her voice mail and email in Moab, making phone calls to procurement and contracts and contractors in Las Vegas, NM and now, at 11,000 feet somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, she's taking a phone call about a contract that seems to have blown up. Life was easier when we couldn't stay connected.

If she wasn't so responsible she just would let this go, but she can't.

I feel bad for her.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I may look insane, but my brows are great.

Back home this afternoon with a bushel of mild green chile and the proud owner of one of those coolers that I fear when I check into hotels -- the ones on wheels that look like rollaboards.

TH is in Leadville, CO hoping to go up through Rocky Mountain National Park if the weather cooperates.

The only thing of note I did today was reschedule my brow wax for today instead of tomorrow. My god, I was about a week overdue.

Lovely summer/fall day here in the Emerald City, but my refrigerator smells like chile.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

This morning we left our very nice and cheap room at the ABQ Hyatt and started our trek up I-25 towards Vegas. We stopped for the requisite Frontier cinnamon roll, no frosting and a cup of coffee. Can you see that this trip is about food and driving?

We drove up to Las Vegas and frankly, after the last Pecos exit I fell asleep. I love the drive from Santa Fe to Pecos, so at least I saw the scenic parts. We arrived at the plaza in time to take a nap and then deal with TH's end of the fiscal year contracting fiasco that required three individual phone calls to Utah and Seattle and led me to wonder why go on vacation at the end of the fiscal year?

Las Vegas charms me. The first time we went was on the suggestion of Chris Wilson from UNM who thought we might enjoy the plaza and the historic district and a few drives around Rociada. It was a cold March day and the chile from the El Rialto was hot and kept me up most of the night, but the morning was beautiful. We walked around, taking in the railroad town architecture and eating huevos rancheros at the now defunct Spic and Span.

I later spent time in Las Vegas when I was doing field work at Valmora. I loved the drive, I loved the chile and "vibe" of Vegas. I was happy to return, sad to see that Eli's was gone (apparently he got a job with the city) and happy to see alot of work done in the historic district in terms of preservation.

If you are ever in Santa Fe, want to leave the faux Georgia O'Keefeness of the place, see what made New Mexico - railroading, mining, speculation and health, point that car north up to Las Vegas and enjoy the green chile without beans at the El Rialto.


Monday, September 18, 2006

As seen at the sharpie display at the Office Max in Salt Lake City, September 2006.

In Moab tonight. Good food at the Moab Diner, great independent micro roasted coffee and books at the Arches Bookstore (cut up your starbucks card at the bookstore and get a five dollar gift card) and a nice mellow night.

I'm sitting here waiting for my laundry to dry and wondering why every place must advertise free wifi.


monday morning

First good coffee and pear/apricot tart east of the Cascades, SLC September 2006.

As JK has posted I spent the first three days of my road trip freaking freezing. Yes, Virginia, there is snow up in the hills and at elevation depending on where you are.

We went to the Steens. There was plenty of blowing snow and temps of 25 degrees at the top. We'll go back earlier in the year. But we did have fun.

I'm now in SLC. Enjoying a few days of internet access and a comfortable bed thanks to RD and his travel schedule.

I like this place. The housing stock is phenomenal, inexpensive, the food is great and there is independent coffee. I just keep on thinking I'm going to see Heather, Jon and Leta walking up the street.

So, off to Moab, Mesa Verde and then to New Mexico - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Scorroro, Las Vegas, Pecos and maybe Rociada. Who knows? All I know is that its going to get warmer and I'll be happier.

I have spent the first day of the last three seasonal changes- Spring, Summer and Fall away from home and that sort of bums me out.

I'll try and post from the road, but who knows. I know I want to write about Eastern Oregon, landscape change, food memories of the past, the great salt lake, sex in public art and the west.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ah, thanks for the reminder

American Airlines just emailed me to remind (hound ?) me that I need 35,000 miles this year to make their top tier. If they spent less time sending out emails and more time checking my tickets purchased so far, they would see that I need only 872 miles to make their top tier.

No, I'm not going to route myself through three small cities in the midwest. I'm going to drag TH to Chicago for a night at the Park Hyatt and a trip to the field museum instead. I'll credit one half to Alaska, thus finishing up my year with them and the other half to American.

How difficult is that for them to figure out?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

east to southwest

Tilt a whirl, the sunflowers, September 2006.

Without too much effort we will drive east of the mountains, south and head to eastern Oregon on Thursday. TH fell in love with the Steens when she was there for her field course "boot camp" for grad school. Coincidentally, the trip fell during september 2001, so it is a bittersweet return.

I know every person in the world has blogged about what they were doing that day. I was in Seattle, TH was in Oregon and all I wanted was for her to be home and safe.

Anyways, the trip is on, we're heading east towards Pendleton and Baker City, the the Steens, Northern Nevada, Salt Lake City, Great Salt Lake, New Mexico, Albuquerque, Soccoro, Santa Fe (Pecos) and Las Vegas.

TH is leaving me to go up to Wyoming. Oh how I wish I had the leave to do the same.

This time we are renting a car, not risking any transmission losses or ujoint issues and hopefully not logging in until my return.

Hang tight till then, but yes, JK, I will tell you all about it.


for my 366th post

Anemone, September 2006.

I will say not much of anything. I am tired (I say that alot), stressed (that too), and moderately under/overworked (over somedays and bored to death others). I leave for a ten day road trip with TH this week and even though life is basically on an even keel, I feel like its tottering.

My family is scattered this month. My parents are vacationing in London and Turkey, my brother in the midwest and then to Canada for the week, others are leaving for Italy (insert jealous sigh), Mexico and Alaska and my dog is with his sister destroying blueberry bushes.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

I just need to chill.

Don't you think?


Monday, September 11, 2006

lucky me

I know no one can comment on my blog. I am sorry, just be anonymous, clear your cookies and just don't tell me to fuck off.

If I write you a check, say for 600 bucks and its laying on your desk, cash it please, will ya?

I am lucky enough to have a slush fund in my checking account, but still, I know that there are at least 1100 bucks in checks floating around the left coast that need to come home, sooner than later.

Other than that, looking at my salad for lunch and wondering if m&ms would be better...


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ernest has been whisked away to Goldendale and we have the week to prepare for our trip to the Southwest without the pitter pattering of little paws and lots of running out to check on what he's gotten into.

I have winnowed down his plastic bottle collection and removed his last trophy squash from his bed.

I do miss the little bugger.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

christine ferber, you can kiss my ass

I spent today canning peaches and making peach butter. Nothing complicated and I know in January I will be happy. As much as I love hoity toity preserving, when push comes to shove, the Ball Blue book is the bible of canning (old testament) as is the Farm Journal Canning book (the new testament). There is no need for quince juice, apple puree or copper pots and honestly, if you are going to be faced with 25 lbs of peaches, fast and easy is the way to go.

Have you ever seen a basset hound bark at a canning jar? He was very afraid. Quite amusing.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

fallen pleasures

Fig/Raspberry tart, August 2006.

While I sit and listen to Ernest the puppy sneeze thirteen times in a row (yoghurt up the nose?) I am hearing TH sigh happily as she finishes her piece of fig raspberry tart. My first exposure to such a beast was in June 1992 when I flew to Berkeley after TH's mother died. While I never had the honor of meeting her, that day began a seven year relationship with her father that started with a meal at Chez Panisse and continued on with love of food, bassets, landscape history, France and geography and his daughter to bind us.

I had only heard of Chez Panisse before that day and that meal upstairs was very good. I can't remember what my main course was, but the dessert was a fig tart with raspberries and lavender honey ice cream was memorable. I have made it for the last fourteen and change years. The recipe is simple and elegant and brings back memories of a more innocent time with a start of a great relationship.

Fig tart with Raspberries (adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts, 1984.)

One lb puff pastry (thawed - I use delaurenti's and one lb is the right amount). Pepperidge farm will do as well. One sheet.
3/4 pint fresh figs (mission, but if you have kadota, why not mix it up?)
1 cup fresh raspberries
3 T raspberry eau de vie or cointreau
2 T sugar
one egg yolk mixed with 1 T milk for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F

Rinse figs, cut off tops, cut into quarters, macerate in a mixture of eau de vie and sugar. Add raspberries.

Roll or fold out pastry, score the ends and sides and fold over so you have an edge. Place figs with cut sides up in rows (overlapping if you can) and sprinkle the raspberries on top. Wash the edges of the tart with egg wash.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until puff pastry starts to brown and figs are softened but still hold their shape.

Serve with lavender honey ice cream, vanilla ice cream or on its own.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Tiny dog in the gravel pit. September 2006.

God, can the week zip by please? I can use a vacation from my three day weekend.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

happy saturday

It is hot here. I am getting ready to hit the farmer's market and TJs (corporate shopping! on the smaller scale! non texas style!) and then head home to check on e.dd.

TH is doing a mr to BOS and back today. She just called to inform me that Alaska swapped planes and put the 737-800 on the flight which means her bulkhead is not a bulkhead and the person in front of her in First is reclining into her.

Fun! not!

Imagine if you had an exit row on the old 737-700 configuration and it has now been swapped for 25e! I would be livid. Maybe you would be too.

Did you notice that I'm using a lot of exclamation points this morning?

Anyways, if you really need that exit row or want a bulkhead, go to Seatguru to look at the configurations. Also check the aircraft the airline purports on their website to put you on and then call and double check, because things change as loads change.

At least her upgrade is secured for her return.

Off to the market to get peaches, peppers, flowers and cherry tomatoes for the boy.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Map of the world, from the bottom up. Courtesy of Lamont-Doherty.

On Saturday morning, we opened the New York times to see that Marie Tharp had died. Marie Tharp was one of the first female cartographers to map the seafloor. Outside my office is the map of the world ocean floor complied by Marie and her co-investigator Bruce Heezen. Marie was an innovator, a female who definitely forged her own path and one that was not easy by any means. I ran across a oral history she did for WHOI when I was helping TH at the archives. She was an amazing woman. Mapping is so much easier now, satellites, multibeam, huge databases and cooperative work makes it easier to integrate data. Women,though still in the minority in the ocean and atmopheric sciences, are still breaking ground.

I can't say it better than the folks at Lamont-Doherty. Here is their remembrance.

some things are better done at work

I'm home today trying to get some documentation written and now that E. dd is conked out, its working better. However, a 15" laptop screen does not hold a candle to my two 21" monitors where I can compute and then document on different screens.

Then again, my laptop is running some intensive software with a removable hard drive, so things are really slow.

I guess I can load data and empty the dishwasher while its happening.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things to look forward to this weekend.

Mom and Dad coming up from SD to see their son, daughter, her TH and granddog.

20 lbs of NM green chile coming up with mom and dad.

Mom spending a bit of time showing me how to make a few persian pickles.

Three blasted days off.

A chance to see my brother before he turns into an international superstar.

A chance to run to the dump.

Three mysteries to read.

Shopping (finally) with my mom.

Er, I can't think of anything else right now.
Geez, I totally spaced that this was ending soon.

Guess my trip to the library on Friday will also include a visit to HAG to see this before it disappears.


thick skinned

I started moderating comments because someone told me to Fuck off. Good enough. Now people say my blog sucks. Really?

I ask you why?

I guess when you put your life out there, you shouldn't expect it all to be sunshine and lollipops and not everyone will agree with you.

However, if you think I suck. Please tell me why so I can tell you why you suck.

Smooches on a rainy (praise the gods) Tuesday morning.


Monday, August 28, 2006

bring on fall

Well, at least fall weather. I am not liking warm days, neither is TH or E. dd.

Tonight we ate pasta caprese with tomatoes from the garden, basil from the garden and spinach fettucine from pasta and co. It was a quick meal that dealt with the glut of both basil and tomato and could be put together in ten minutes. These days, dinner is a 30 minute prep or it isn't happening. Things are just crazy here and I don't see it slowing down.

I'm not big on garlic, which sounds strange, but all fresh tomatoes, whole milk mozzarella and basil needs is a bit of salt and some decent extra virgin olive oil. I'm partial to Ratto's from Oakland, but any good oil will do. I let it sit for a bit and then toss with hot pasta.

Tomorrow, we're trying roast chicken with tarragon. Its use it up week leading into the preserving hell that is September.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

three days to hope

Our pals Ruth and Loretta start the 3 Day walk tomorrow. They have trained hard and I am going to be cheering them on when they hit Husky Stadium on Sunday.

Check out their website - there is still time to donate.

Ruth and Loretta's 3 day site.


points and miles

My god, they are starting to add up. My double miles from the American Airline 25th anniversary are starting to post and if my tmobile sign up bonus posts soon, I'll be at 2 million miles before my December trip.


Seems that now, it may be time to move over to another airline. I'm thinking United.

Why? Widebodies out of Seattle, a SFO-CDG flight, a club in San Diego that will work for the mess by the Alaska gates. In the last few months I have been accruing 1500 UA miles with every Hyatt stay, so I'm up to a whopping 15,000 miles without having flown in the last four years on UA.

I know others hate them, but they go to Hong Kong and Australia. Try that on American.


romancing the night away

TH and I are roadtripping to NM in September. I just booked us in a romance package at the SLC Sheraton for 109 bucks a night, cheaper than their regular rate and gets us champagne, strawberries and breakfast in bed for three days.

Er, I think it should be fun checking in.

I'm now working on 10,000 waves and seeing what we can get there for NM. I wouldn't mind another mind numbing chain hotel experience, but the fact the rooms have courtyards and some no tvs has great appeal to me.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

reason 577 for not shopping at whole foods

Reason number 577: Cashier and bagger spend the time they should be interacting with custormer carrying on a dreary conversation about existentialism and basically blowing the customer off.

Reason number 578: No locally grown foods, bad move, doodes.

Reason number 579: Screaming children running amok. Contain thy child in a shopping pod.

Other than that, I think I love my new stereo with the Ipod adapter. Apparently the ipod cable is a scarce commodity in the US of A, so I could have sold mine for the price of my car stereo.

Yes, I went to Milwaukee where I should have drunk more and not eaten at Martini Mikes. You can catch up with JK and find out what went down last weekend.

Oh, and a big congrats to AM, whose book is hot on the list and creeping up slowly. It was published this week and our parentals got a nice dedication.

Good work, bro.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

wither the garden

While I have been lollygagging all weekend in Milwaukee and Chicago, TH has been busting her keester keeping the boy amused with kong, sticks and numerous celebrity death matches with buster the cat. Buster keeps on beating Ernest, so I don't know why he even tries. We have had numerous conversations about the garden, our water bill (higher than ever), our ppatch (pathetic this year), the weather too hot to do anything.

I feel bad for her, but I really can't do anything from 1601 miles away.

So, I listen sympathetically and on occasion am secretly glad to not be home.

The garden is really in bad shape this year. Most years, it takes care of itself if we have put a good amount of structure into it. Rain, work and Ernest all came at the same time and this year, we just don't have it together. We will not get the yields we usually do, but the saddest thing is that even going to do the smallest thing - watering and picking isn't even any fun right now.

What is more important right now? Getting a tiny puppy trained or growing basil? I think the pup comes first and the basil second. Next year, things will be different. We may build a small basset holding pen or just learn that it is okay for bassets to be left at home while their people mulch.

Right now, all we're able to do is triage. TH watered and picked some stuff, our tomatoes look terrible and thankfully, we don't depend on much to make it through the fall. Trying to balance a busy life with a garden, a puppy and travel this summer has been a experience that at times has challenging to say the least, but nothing can beat watching a small basset eat his first raspberry.


Friday, August 18, 2006

really I must be going

However, this little gem has come my way and I must determine whether or not my cetaphil would qualify.

Please read along with us: TSA changes to personal lubricants.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Daydreaming in Japan

Check out my pal, J's blog. He's visited us in Seattle for a brief few hours, but his pictures of life in Japan just make me want to fly there right now. Well, okay, maybe when the persimmons are ready for the picking.

Z world.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sometimes I wish they would bring back the simpler versions of things, my Volvo 245 wagon with its boxy look, the ability to load a washier and dryer in the back and no bells and whistles. I wish I could use cold cream as moisturizer and not worry about sunscreen.

I wish ESRI would bring back ArcView 3.2 so that I could create fast and easy files that didn't require rocket science and a overblown application to create.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

touch not my monkey

Scroll down to the bottom of this TSA directive.

Other than that, same old shit, different day.

Monday, August 14, 2006

blogging in two places

I'm testing out blogging for the world's largest frequent flyer message board right now. It's sapping up my brain power. That and Ernest and work and my weight and my lack of motivation to do something about my weight and the fact that I am surrounded by inertia.

So, excuse my lame post. I may just end up meme-ing for a while.

I'm having fun thinking about approaching the world of points and miles from the non-traditional view - I'm not a middle aged business man, a young go getting female consultant or the leisure hardcore mileage accumulator that will route themselves through Bali to get from Boise to Boston.

I'm just me, 30% of my travel is work related, the rest is fun. I buy a mixture of full fare and discount tickets, I am doomed to coach on occasion and more often than not, I don't travel with my laptop.

It has been fun.

Right now, I'm waiting for my dermatologist to give me a Rx for my moisturizer. I can't check this all the time.



Sunday, August 13, 2006

Home again

For the rest of the week. Okay, until Friday.

What can I say, my cousin N. married the beautiful Miss S. on Saturday and it was one of the best weddings I had been to in years. They are on their way to Bali tomorrow and I am looking forward to seeing them down in the Bay Area when they return.

The only damper on the festivities was R's flight from London was cancelled, so he didn't make the wedding. Well, next year in Greece it'll be his big fat Greek/Iranian/German wedding - that I can't wait for.

Neither can TH, I think.

I have lots to rant about re: TSA, airlines, mascara and the state of the world, but it can wait.

After this weekend, I am happy that my parents are still alive, healthy, happily married and hanging with their friends of 50 years that are the same. I am happy that my mom summoned up the emotional strength to make it to N's wedding and that Khaleh M. was their as her support system.

I'm happy that though life at home can be hectic, I wouldn't trade it for anything and underneath all the glitz, glamour and diamonds, money cannot buy you happiness.

Night all.


Friday, August 11, 2006


DSC_1666, originally uploaded by flora and flying.

I miss my dog. TH is picking him up tomorrow and as far as we can tell, he may not want to come back. All that running around, sheep poop and cat chasing is more fun than hanging out at the village getting petted by overfed children.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

personal shopper

Okay, here's one you are not going to believe. I loathe shopping for myself if it involves dresses, floofy things and anything that will bring out some of my worst features - my arms, my thickened waste, my porn star boobages and my uneven tan line.

Yes, it is wedding time and I have dutifully avoided looking for a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding on Saturday.

Good thing my mom was free today. She was on a mission and she did well.

I have a dress that just needs me to haul my keester over to the Nordstrom lingerie department at lunch and get a new bra.

Thanks mom.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I miss my boy

DSC_1673, originally uploaded by flora and flying.

Kisses on your big nose tiny puppy.

you know, it just never stops

Who is to think that just because you are going to a meeting, your work doesn't stop? No, in fact, in my case, things just start piling up.

Case in point, its nearly 1 am and I just finished submitting an abstract for a meeting in January.

I totally envy people that can go to conferences and not have to do anything when they get back to their rooms.


Just kidding.


Monday, August 07, 2006

invisible girlfriend

What is with men and their need to drive with one hand up on the passenger's headrest like they are caressing their invisible girlfriend?

Trust me buddy, you could merge in traffic much better if you used both hands.


I could bore you with the details of my life, but today has been quite fun one, stupid dongle issues (no, it is not a dirty word), a heap of unspecified work to be heaped upon me and other things that some of you had to hear via email. Thank you for listening to me rant.

When I went downtown today to see Katrina at Red, I was lucky enough to score a great parking place and unlucky enough to see touristas in minimal dress. Try harder will ya? Its Seattle, not Orlando.

Oh, E.dd is doing just fine.

smooches from the Board Room near Gate D1 at Seatac,


Sunday, August 06, 2006

fish tacos galore

Off to SD tomorrow for a few days of overwhelming maphead love.

I can not even begin to tell you what is like. Glitzy, provoking, frustrating and very exhausting.

For some really good analysis, you can visit James Fee and see what I'll be doing on Wednesday morning at 8:30 am.

Now, I must swap the dongle from Thor to Magpie.

Does that sound strange or what?


Saturday, August 05, 2006

all is quiet on the western front

E. dd has been delivered to Goldendale and it is quiet here. It feels funny to have the house to ourselves. We have removed chairs from the couch and we can go in and out as we please without shutting the doors tight.

I think I would rather have him here, but my guess is he's having a blast with Phracey.

Sleep tight tiny dog.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Um, how can I say this?

Or, can I ask for y'alls advice?

Does anyone know how to clean the carcasses of mosquitos off of their semi-flat high hide white walls? Our bedroom looks like a murder scene occured there and yes, we have screens.

It is just that TH is tasty to those nasty critters and we both spend time each night before bed performing the mosquito reconnaissance and on my low bedroom ceiling are the remnants of kamakaze mosquitos who did not return from their missions. It is sort of gross and short of painting, I can't imagine what to do to make it look better. When she gets bitten during the night, we get up to find the bastard that did her wrong, because he's going to come back for more. So my short nights are broken down into even shorter segments.

Me? I don't seem to be tasty fodder.

I'm not complaining, I'm just thinking painting the ceilings chinese red and the walls sort of moth brown all in satin would hide a myriad of sins.

Other than that, TGIF. It has a been a bitch of a week.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursdays make me happy these days. I guess mostly its because I leave in the mornings and when I come home, my house is clean. I will admit to the outsourcing of my life. I am not proud, I am just pratical. There is no way in heck I have time to clean, mow, iron and wash my windows and do them all well.

Can I also say that I watch not one smidgen of TV or DVDs or anything entertaining and spend absolutely the minimum amount of time that I can get away with online?


Where the hell does all the time go? I get up at 6:30, am at work by 9, work until 6 and don't go to bed until 10:30. I do not stop.

How can people spend the time that I don't have watching tv and feel like they can get their house cleaned, their lawns mowed and their shirts ironed? I know you can clean while watching tv and iron shirts, but lawn mowing, that I have to see.

I'm not saying what I do is right, but right now, it is thing that is keeping me or us, sane. It means that NM does not buy shoes for the next three months (really, Ms. C) and that we cut back on eating out, but I am not sitting in my living room looking at piles of tiny dog fur building up on my floors and having it drive me crazy.

Okay, back to watering my droopy plants and molesting my dog.


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?