Monday, January 31, 2011

Seattle grey, pink, purple, green

This AM, went to get coffee with Jaclyn and the sunrise was spectacular, all pink-purple glorious.

On Saturday I had an awesome fun time celebrating a friend’s birthday, she like nearly every one of my friends is a transplant here. So were our dinner companions. Birthday friend is still adjusting to this move, to the cloudy skies of Olympia from her native south; she moved here for love and is trying to make it work.

The dinner companions however were all in various states of fed-up with the PNW. Now, we’ve had a nasty winter this year for sure but all around the table people were sick of the clouds, the rain, the boring. A frequent complaint was there isn’t enough to do. At one point I had to chime in, that I just couldn’t even relate to this discussion. Having left Michigan nearly seven years ago I still wake up every morning ecstatic that I’m not back in the Mitten. Each time I glimpse the mountains, or even just the view of houses huddled together on our city hills I get a thrill. Back home everything was flat, this time of year, everything is dead, brown. The sky is grey and the clouds never break to show you the sun. As a kid we would sometimes visit my grandpa, the snow bird in Florida. I remember on several occasions looking out the window as we landed at DTW wanting to cry because returning to that landscape was so depressing. My first Christmas season here I remember asking a co-worker if the grass stayed green all year (it being December now) and she just laughed… of course it did.

As we walked round Capitol Lake on Sunday morning my friend brought up SADD and how it gets to people here. I told her that my battles with depression were always so much harder back in Michigan. I joked that my depression was more situational than environmental. Maybe that’s the whole deal, Michigan wasn’t a place where I could be happy. I forget what the journal entry was about but I recall my composition teacher in high school laughed after I was done with a reading and told me “girl… you got to get out of here. You better find a bigger city, or this place is going to kill you.” An astute woman she was.

Maybe I can chalk it up to having a bonkers family, or Detroit being the only big city I knew growing up… but Seattle to me is Paradise, no joke. The mild winters, the brief, but perfect summers. The green, seeing everything grow so well (except tomatoes), magnolia trees over a hundred feet tall. We have the mountains and the rivers I can go camping, or kayaking easily, but I can walk to a store that sells ice cream till midnight, and I can always get a cab home from the bar.

Today another friend was bemoaning the grey and missing her home. A place I think of only as a sweaty sandy hell-hole. So I don’t take it personally when people don’t love Seattle the same way I do, but I don’t understand what’s not to like. If nothing else the natives provide endless amusement.

Maybe if I put a bird on it, they’d like it better.

Monday, January 24, 2011


So last week was the second time I haven’t made my 28 goal… but this time it was by a more significant margin. The first was the week of Christmas, where I was two items short, this last week it was nearly ten. I use this goal to push myself, not beat myself up with… so some reflection.

I had a couple of factors to blame. I was super-fatigued, which left the cooking up to Joe and what he could glean from the freezer, or take-out. This was a survival week, just trying to get to Sunday afternoon with a basement ready for new tenants. If I could have rallied myself for a smoothie I would have gotten much closer to the limit.

This week I’m still fighting back fatigue, and I have started my new 4-10 schedule that I’m very excited about. So today has been, and will be a long one. I didn’t go to bed at a reasonable hour last night and have only myself to blame. So I’m starting another week struggling to plan a menu.

I have a really hard time meal-planning in advance.

One website I like for inspiration is They have contests, and themes, and other things that keep it from getting boring. This last week was all gluten-free! It’s also adjacent to my biggest house-porn-vice apartment

Where do you go for new meal inspiration, and for that matter does anyone have tips on planning a week’s meals in advance? I try to think of three or four meals, and then I just sort of see what’s available at the store. I bought a membership to the Madison co-op. I figure 6 years is a respectable time to hold out before buying a diesel wagon and joining the food co-op. But, you can go screw yourself if you think I can be convinced that fleece clothing is appropriate for fine dining establishments.

Speaking of joiners, my friend Sarah has been impressively kicking ass at her new gym, I’ve contemplated the nearest YMCA but was appalled at the prices (more than corporate gyms). So, for now Joe and I will try and eat healthier and talk a lot about how we should go for walks more often. Also, I almost considered buying some hand weights at best buy (I have no idea, they we’re by the cash-wrap).

I’m thinking of this as my year of six million dollar man year. “We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better...stronger...faster.”

Weird side note: As a kid we had a si man/ bionic woman play-doh play set. These little molds made action figure sized bionic peoples, and there was a plastic mat that was an aerial view of the bionic man and woman’s apparently adjacent homes and yards. We never knew where it came from, and the show was over a decade off the air at that point so we didn’t have much point of refrence, but we loved that toy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today I have two more radiation appointments, nearly done. The fatigue that was so rough this week seems to be subsiding somewhat. It wasn’t as bad as when I had mono… but it got really, really close. My twisted ankle, plus a sinus infection, plus the fatigue just kind of ganged up on me. My radiation doc said it would take me “a month to feel 80%”. I kind of think she’s full of shit. I plan on feeling awesome very soon.

I’m really excited to have the basement all spruced up for our new tenants. I need to take some more pictures of the finished bedroom. I’m not sure if I ever posted photos of the bathroom that Alex single handedly finished. My mom did the bedroom all by herself. Next stop, emptying the red room (storage) will be nearly single handedly Joe (see fatigue comments).

We still have a couple projects to work on once Alex and Monika get in. We need to drywall up a doorway, and work on some sound deadening for Alex’s music room (formerly red room).

It’s been sunny lately, and I’m looking forward to spring. New projects in the house, more travel abroad.

Weekend trip to Portland in Feb, and a week in AZ/NV in March.

Both of my cars are running at the moment, things are VERY good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 Making, Doing.

Coming into the New Year I have as always a million projects, but some long term ones are finally getting some traction.

My kitchen which hasn’t been touched in over a year is going to get a forward push that will allow me to do more cool stuff in 2011. A lot of my remodel process depends on good old cash, but also what I am able to locate through salvage shops, I wait and watch for the right stuff.

Today is the last day of my steroids and so last night I was putting more stuff up in the freezer awaiting the inevitable drop in energy. I was thinking about investing in a food sealer to go along with an auxiliary freezer in the garage. If this year’s garden and farmers market commitments pan out those two things could really come in handy. They might even save money in the long run… which I could spend on my favorite thing, my house. Or maybe one of my unreliable old cars… or maybe a vacation.

My mom is coming back to town to take care of the new low energy me as I get through the end of radiation and as always she’s coming to DO WORK. Her boundless energy and special talents mean my house is getting upgraded while she is here.

We’re prepping the basement for our new tenants Alex and Monika. New floor, base board and paint in the bedroom.

While Alex is in the mitten we’re also taking advantage of the last days of two kitchens , two baths to spruce up our own kitchen and bath.

Also in the new year I’ll be taking delivery of an art print made by Michigan friend Emily Franklin, you can preview it here.

I am SO excited about this new piece, partially I think it’s really cool to have something a friend has made, also… it is awesome. The piece is about making, maybe even alchemy. Making is my favorite thing! It’s why I love cooking, its why I love home remodeling.

This winter so far I’ve been stacking up more art. Cancer treatment really put a hold on the physical labor I could do… and it’s stagnated some of my bigger projects much to my chagrin. It’s got me snatching up new art, and has poured energy into nesting. As always I’m constantly doing research online, about a process, or searching for materials. Joe has always called this “house porn” especially the magazines I sometimes buy.

Attached is the freakiest bit of “house porn” I’ve yet to find. While digging around craigslist for old stoves… I keep looking for the holy grail 6-burner dual-oven monstrosity of my dreams. I find this old Wedgewood. The blue knobs put it over the top, and are what I think make it look like its going to come alive and start singing like Disney animation. I imagine if we bought it I would open a window and allow woodland creatures to come in and clean it for me. It’s out of our price range… but how do you put a price on oven scouring squirrels and sparrows?