9.30.2008

Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week Banner, originally uploaded by DML East Branch.

It's the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. As an intense lover of books, it's a good day to say "Boo Yah!" to those darn censors and go read a banned book. A few recommendations from the list of commonly banned books:

  • The Color Purple
  • Harry Potter
  • Are you there God? It's me, Margaret.
  • Brave New World
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • The Giver
  • How to Eat Fried Worms
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • James and the Giant Peach

Did I miss any other good ones?

You can learn more about the history of censorship and book burning at NPR.

9.24.2008

100 Pushups

About three months ago, I made an offhand comment to a few friends that I wanted to try and work toward doing 100 pushups using the training plan online at one hundred pushups. Was I serious about it? Sort of. But the idea caught on and I was carried along on the wave of pushup mania.

When we started, we tested ourselves to see how many we could do in a row. I coud do six pushups. SIX. So, I had a long way to go.

Well, I'm happy to report that on Monday we gathered to give ourselves a final test. And . . . I did it! I DID 100 PUSHUPS!

It was tough, and it took a lot of commitment and sweat. But, if I can do it after starting at six (SIX!), then anyone can do it.

Oh, and I've decided to reward myself with a t-shirt.

9.21.2008

Beer. Yum.

Fremont Oktoberfest over here in Seattle was a little overcrowded and under-warm. But, at least it wasn't raining while I was there. I discovered a few new beers and breweries that are worth sharing.

Iron Horse Brewery - Ellensburg, WA
I had to support a brewery from Eastern WA! I tried the Iron Horse IPA - kind of a dark, burnt IPA. I also tried a sip of the High Five Hefe, which was very light and a little sweet. Both very interesting takes on popular beer types. I think I'll try to hunt this brewery down in Ellensburg sometime.




OK, I don't even really like Porters - unless they taste like coffee! And the Pipeline Porter does just that. It uses (what else?) Kona coffee and has a little bit of sweetness.

I found another Porter I actually liked - Purple Yam Porter! (Maybe I really do like Porter and I just never knew. I feel like I've been living a lie!) Anyway, this Porter was also delicious - sweet and kind of complex. They also have a Ginger Pale Ale and Mango Weizen that sounded interesting. In Seattle, it's sold at Whole Foods, Uwajimaya and Top Foods.

9.19.2008

Talk Like a Pirate Day! Argh!

Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Argh!

Ahoy!

Walk the Plank!


I try to celebrate this day every year. The day has an official Web site. And, I love this, they now have a knitting section on their Web site with a link to this awesome Yarrrrn t-shirt.




Or, if you prefer needlework, you can embroider these cute pirate patterns. Maybe I'll get them done by TLAP Day next year?

9.17.2008

Comic Sans


Nerdy Confession: I love fonts and I'm very particular about which fonts I use. It all started in my days of studying Publishing & Printing Arts at PLU. Certain fonts just seem to pop up everywhere - totally cliche and over-used. A perfect example of this is Comic Sans, which I HATE. And I was reminded today about this great Web site, Ban Comic Sans. You can print out images and put them up to fight the scourge of comic sans. Totally dorky. And I LOVE it!

9.13.2008

A Sunny September Weekend

I think we all feel like the wolf is at the door*, and these sunny days will soon turn into cool, gray, misty fall. But might I suggest a few pleasant ways to maximize a sunny weekend.

Visit the Farmers Market


Lots of strawberries at the University Farms Market this weekend!

Fall is coming! How do I know? Pumpkins!



Go for a Hike

Why in the world would anyone take Swamp Trail? We went up Tiger Mountain.





Do the Puyallup Fair!




Bunnies!


Cows. Moo.

I mean, really? So cute.

Lemon Meringue. Pecan. Yum.


This guy shot out of the rocket. Pretty cool. I'd kind of like to do it too.

I'm not condoning smoking, but I thought the chainsaw carvers were pretty cool.


OK, and just for fun:
video

*I heard a story on NPR about MFK Fisher's book "How to Cook a Wolf," about how to make fresh, creative food during the time of World War II rations. She sounds like a pretty forward, feisty lady!

DIY

My mom was in town a few weeks ago, and we completed a couple projects around my apartment. (When I say "we," I mean my mom knew what she was doing and I was just trying to help.)

Danish Chair
A couple years ago I bought this chair at the Fremont Sunday Market. I just fell in love with it instantly. It was either $40 or $75; I can't remember. But, the old bands under the cushion were totally worn out and it got to the point where it really wasn't comfortable to sit in it. Plus, I'll admit that these cushion were more retro-ugly than retro-cute.
I took the chair in to be re-glued and to have new webbing put in under the seat. And we made new cushions for it, kind of following a pattern and kind of making it up as we went. Don't you think it turned out cute?


I think the fabric is Amy Butler's home decorating line.


Kitchen Chairs
We also re-covered a couple kitchen chairs from Ikea:
I got these for free about a year ago. They had a very depressing, faded blue fabric on them. And now, I'm not embarrassed for people to see them! We just used a staple gun to put this fabric over the top of the seats.I just love this print! I found all the fabric for these projects at my new favorite fabric store in Ballard, The Quilting Loft.

9.11.2008

Veggie Love

Aren't vegetables beautiful? I roasted all my veggies, plus some tofu last night. Yum! I especially love the fingerling and purple potatoes.



Speaking of veggies, the NY Times food section has a recipe for Late Summer Minestrone. All the ingredients are at the farmers market right now and it's just about soup season. Although, surprisingly, Seattle weather is still holding on to some summer. And, I need it to stay warm for a little longer because all my tomatoes are still green!

9.07.2008

Farmers Market Finds

Today I went to the Capitol Hill Farmers Market and, as usual, came home with more than I'd planned:
  • Patty Pan Squash - yellow, light green and dark green
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes - Red, Purple and Fingerling (My favorite potato guy was there from Olsen Farms in Colville!)
  • Apples - Gala and Golden Delicious
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Yellow Wax Beans

I successfully resisted the urge to buy a warm, soft pretzel - only because I've eaten so much this weekend. But, I highly recommend them!

I think I'm going to roast a bunch of stuff all together later this week - squash, potatoes, onions and tofu. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And, I already ate one of the apples while I sat on the beach at Golden Gardens and read my book. Sunny day, good book, crisp apple - it's the best of summer meeting the best of fall!

P.S. Speaking of Farmers Markets, I used the Local Goods Smoked Jalapeno Barbeque sauce as a marinade for chicken breasts - quite good!

9.06.2008

A Washington first!

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've never been to the San Juan Islands - until this weekend! I had a lovely overnight visit to Orcas Island involving fresh oysters (grilled and raw) and steamed clams, caught right down the road at Birch Bay. Eating fresh shellfish was another first. (Hey, don't blame me, I'm from the Inland Empire!) The weather offered some sunshine and some morning mist - and I even saw seals swimming just off the coast (although, no Orcas).

We went on two hikes at Moran State Park:
  1. Mt. Constitution - We hiked to the top of the mountain; it was a great workout and a beautiful view from the top. The trick is to have a friend drive up to the top to meet you, so people with bad knees and IT Bands (me!) don't have to walk back down.

  2. Cascade Falls & Lake - An easy, mostly flat hike that allowed us to play in the falls and on fallen logs, but still work up a bit of sweat.

Moran State Park was easy to get to, and I saw quite a few nice camping areas.

We visited the Orcas Island Farmers' Market in Eastsound (runs until 3:00), where I stopped by the Local Goods stand, and bought a bag of Organic Honduran Coffee and a bottle of Smoked Jalapeno Barbeque Salsa.

We ate the most delicious bread and pie I've had in a long time from Rose's, a bakery in Eastsound. I'm not sure what kind of bread it was, but I ate about ten pieces in a 24-hour period. I do know that the pie was cherry, and it was excellent.

And, after a few too many glasses of wine, I decided to go for a late-night dip in the Puget Sound. I was told that there was phosphorescence in the Sound, but I had no idea it was so beautiful! When we made our way down to the water we saw what looked like lightning bugs turning on and off under the water. And as soon as we stepped in the entire floor lit up! Tiny bugs skirted across the water, leaving what looked like a tail from a shooting star behind them. We played with our hands in the water, watching our movement leave a shadow of glowing embers. It really felt magical.

Getting there was a cinch. We just caught the ferry at Anacortes and it took us right to the island.

I can't wait to go back!

I'll try to post a few pictures soon!