I'm taking the train home to Spokane tomorrow, so let's hope it goes smoothly there are no delays with the tracks! Last year it was a blast - very festive and boozy! I'm taking along some knitting, two books (Just Kids by Patti Smith, and #4 of the Blue Bloods YA vampire series) and renting a couple movies on iTunes (Girl Who Played with Fire and Kick Ass)
Check out this adorable article about a woman who has been illustrating Hallmark cards for 55 years. She thinks cards have a place in our lives because "people like something they can save." I agree!
Pete and I just finished watching the original Star Wars trilogy - which never gets old - but I just found out there was a Star Wars Holiday Special, which looks truly awful. Apparently, Princess Leia sings. Why??
While I really didn't do much holiday cooking this year, I might still try to make Panettone before the new year.
Something just knocked me out for the count last Wednesday. Sore throat, fever, chills, body aches. I went to the doctor because I thought I had strep throat. No, not strep throat, she told me. Probably just the virus that's going around right now; it lasts seven days.
- Catch up with your favorite shows online (for me: Top Chef, Project Runway, 30 Rock [Modern Family didn't come out until today])
- Fresh flowers - They really lift the spirits when you still feel like absolute crap on Day 5 of the virus. (Thanks Pete!)
- Fresh air - Even though I couldn't actually do anything, it felt good to sit outside or in front of an open window.
- Antihistamines/Decongestants - They are your friend. They help you sleep. And, they also help prevent all the gross sludge congested in your head from coming out of your eye ducts . . . not that I'm saying that happened to me . . . . because that would be disgusting.
- Stieg Larsson books - Seriously, it would have been a much more boring week without The Girl Who Played With Fire. I was so sad when it ended! At least I still have one more book to look forward to.
- Liquids - Green & Lemon tea, Squirt & 7 Up, water and lots of soup (see below)
- Whiskey - No, really. I don't like whiskey normally, but a tiny little amount in the evening felt really good on my sore throat.
- Ice Cream - Pete and I found the perfect combination of coconut ice cream, mango sherbet and lychee sherbet (you can get them all at Uwajimaya)
- And, of course, lots and lots of rest.
Queen - Have you listened to Queen lately? Well, you should. Because they are awesome. NPR did a story on them this week, and I've been listening to them non-stop at work since then. It's really been helping me to keep me energy up during a week when I'd much rather be taking a nap most afternoons.
I REALLY wish I could have gone to a queen concert!
Don't you wish men still wore white pants like these? I kind of love them.
And, a sweet (pun!) story about some guys in Ballard spreading some sugary love at Cupcake Royale. Here's the story from MyBallard:
“Coolest dudes ever!” The Cupcake Royale Facebook page states, “These lovely gentleman just came in to our Ballard cafe, threw down a one hundred dollar bill, and told our baristas to buy the next customers who walked in the door thier coffee and cupcakes until the hundred was gone. Wow! You guys rock!”
Well, it's oddly foggy in Seattle this morning. But I have faith that the sun will come out by the time my mom (and Pete's mom!) get into town later today for a wedding planning weekend. Besides the mandatory dress shopping, I'm hoping we have time to hit up the Phinney Ridge Farmers Market tonight, take a walk at Green Lake, eat some Molly Moon's ice cream and Mighty-O Doughnuts, stop by Golden Gardens to scope out our reception site, go to church to scope out the ceremony site and maybe grab a meal at Oddfellows. Whew!
Then followed that beautiful season,
Called by the pious Acadian peasants the Summer of All-Saints!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood.
Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart of the ocean
Was for a moment consoled. All sounds were in harmony blended.
Voices of children at play, the crowing of cocks in the farm-yards,
Whir of wings in the drowsy air, and the cooing of pigeons,
All were subdued and low as the murmurs of love, and the great sun
Looked with the eye of love through the golden vapors around him;
While arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow,
Bright with the sheen of the dew, each glittering tree of the forest
Flashed like the plane-tree the Persian adorned with mantles and jewels.
Books - I'm not into the Twilight books (actually, I think they're terrible - don't hurt me for saying this!), but I do really enjoy the whole vampire trend. It's kind of fun and scary and campy. I watched True Blood for a while, but it got a little too creepy and I'm a little too much of a scaredy-cat. But, I have recently breezed through the first two books from the young adult Blue Bloods series. So fun! It's about hot young socialites in New York that happen to be - you guessed it - VAMPIRES!
TV - Have you been watching Parks and Recreation? It has been cracking me up lately. And I do work for the government now, so I feel a little more loyal to the show. I happened to see the episode where the staff goes hunting. Hilarious. Seriously, watch it. Amy Poeler is so great in this clip.
More TV - How much do I love PBS? A lot. I even became a member! I'm really into all their mystery shows (most of them BBC) because they're interesting without being absurdly violent and disturbing (I'm talking to you, Law & Order SVU!) Plus they have America's Test Kitchen, Tavis Smiley, Antiques Roadshow, Newshour . . . I could go on. I saw an incredible documentary on Kenya called Good Fortune that talked about the challenges and complexities of outsiders trying to come in and provide aid.
A little more TV - Did anyone watch American, The Story of Us on the History Channel? I think I'll have to get it from Netflix. I took an American history class this spring at the community college, and I'd be interested to see how they put this series together.
Wedding stuff - Let me tell you, there are a million wedding blogs and website. Talk about overload! Some of them can really make you feel inadequate and lazy - but I've just stopped following those ones. A couple highlights: Wedding on Wheels!! and a truly lovely Scottish wedding (I don't know, maybe I just love mist, lace and plaid?).
Disguises - A downloadable disguise kit! I feel like you could make a fun photo booth at a party with this. Kind of like the one at a wedding Pete and I recently attended.
I had a few heads (hearts?) of Romaine left over from a barbecue I hosted, and yesterday got the idea to make Caesar salad with them. I knew I had some old halves of French bread in the freezer and most of the other ingredients I would need (since I've now started keeping lemons and Parmesan cheese on hand at all times). I wanted to make one that was tasty (obvs) but simple. I had just read about how to make the fancy French version in Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone. (BTW - I really enjoyed the memoir by the former New York Times restaurant reviewer and Gourmet editor.) It involves coddled egg (which I learned is an egg boiled for one minute in the shell) and anchovies. It also had a somewhat complex set of steps for assembling the salad. I'm sure it's delicious, but it's not quite the direction I wanted to go last night.
I'm going to eat some of the lettuce up at the lake this weekend!! The big bushy area is all salad greens, and I'm going to take them up to the lake this weekend for everyone to eat.
You may be asking: What's going on with Katie? We haven't heard much from her lately.
- Our engagement and the adventures of wedding planning, and specifically planning a wedding in Seattle
- A couple more quick dinners
- The lessons we learned in New York (I'm waaaay behind on this one)
- An update on my garden
P.S. I'll use any excuse I can to post a Marvin Gaye song. His version of: What's going on?
“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
- Groucho Marx
- Rhubarb Lime Margarita and Strawberry Rhubarb Jam via From Me to You
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble from 101 Cookbooks
- Roasted Rhubarb from Orangette
- Spring Shells and Cheese from Bitten Word (I think I'll definitely have to make this over the weekend. I'll have to wait on the rest until rhubarb and strawberries show up at the Farmer's Market.)
Man, I've got something nasty that won't leave me alone. I've been home for three days trying to get rid of a cough and stuffy head, and cabin fever is starting to set in. I'm still feeling optimistic that I'll be able to recover in time for my birthday and New York. In the meantime, I've been relying on my sick day staples: Cream of Wheat, tea, and a mixture of lemon carbonated water with grapefruit juice.
I've also been making fruit smoothies: frozen strawberries, blueberries and mango combined with almond milk and strawberry kefir. It tastes really good, especially on a sore throat.
Wish me good health!
- Coffee: The New York Times recently had a good article on coffee shops . I'm thinking we'll try to hit a few of these. I kind of want to go to Cafe Grumpy just for the name!
- Drinks: Located in Rockefeller Plaza, I read the Rainbow Room was a good spot for a drink and a good view of the city.
- Bakeries: I've found a bunch that sound good including Cupcake Cafe.
- Barbecue: I definitely want to check out the Brooklyn Ice House.
- I've tried to list a lot of the places that sound good in a Google Map.
- This woman posted her list of travel necessities. It's handy, and pretty comprehensive.
- Also, not martha just linked to this excellent list of flying tips. I think I'll download the free white noise app. I also have Where the Wild Things are on rental from iTunes, so I'll put that on my iPhone.
- I've found iPhones to be immensely helpful while travelling. I've downloaded a few free New York apps that, let's hope, come in handy!
P.P.S. Isn't John Mayer's version nice?
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Frozen corn
- Cheese (usually some hard Italian and cheddar)
- Chicken and vegetable broth
- Polenta (either dry or in tubes)
- Brown rice
- Black beans
Is it just coincidence that I was born in National Poetry Month? I think not! I'll make a goal to seek out some new poetry this month (which shouldn't be too hard since I barely ever get around to reading it). Let's start the month with a poem shared with me by Pete's dad.
It really hit home and caused a physical response in me when I read it. I have to trust that like the wind, I'll find my way to the right place as well. But that's so hard sometimes!
Message to self: Let go. Let go and trust.
by Thomas R. Smith
It's like so many other things in life
to which you must say no or yes.
So you take your car to the new mechanic.
Sometimes the best thing to do is trust.
The package left with the disreputable-looking
clerk, the check gulped by the night deposit,
the envelope passed by dozens of strangers—
all show up at their intended destinations.
The theft that could have happened doesn't.
Wind finally gets where it was going
through the snowy trees, and the river, even
when frozen, arrives at the right place.
And sometimes you sense how faithfully your life
is delivered, even though you can't read the address.
A New Dress - A friend alerted me to the fact that a (very) expensive dress I blogged about was half off. Who could resist!? Let's hope it looks good on me - not just on the Web site. I'll report back!
- Parmesan Pastry Pups - Basically Pigs in a Blanket. They come frozen and were a big hit. (Find it in the frozen aisle.)
- Sharp Cheddar Pub Cheese - Yes, it's a spreadable cheese that looks unnaturally bright orange. But, dang, it's tasty! (Find it with the other cheeses.)
- Spinach and Artichoke Dip - Heat it up in the microwave, and you're ready to go. I could not stop eating this. (Find it in the frozen aisle)
1/2 cup packed fresh mint
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/3 cup packed fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt, more to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
Raw chopped vegetables or pita chips, for serving.
1. Place mint, parsley, basil, garlic, scallions, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until finely chopped. (I used a blender - it worked fine once I added the olive oil.)
2. With motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add feta and process until smooth; pulse in yogurt. Taste dip and add more salt, if desired.
3. Serve dip immediately with vegetables or pita chips or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. (You can add mayo to make it a little creamier, but I didn't this time.)
That's right! I made an impulse buy the other day at Trader Joe's - Frozen Chocolate Croissants. (Who, me, make an impulse buy??)
You take them out the night before to let them rise, and then just pop them in the oven the next morning for 20 minutes. And you have warm, gooey chocolatey, flaky pastries right at your own kitchen table.
Now, this wasn't the best chocolate croissant I've had in my whole life. But, it was pretty darn good! Highly recommended. I made the excuse of buying them for my friend's visit from DC, but she got snowed in!! Guess I'll have to eat all of them myself. Poor me.
P.S. This has nothing to do with a sunny day, but I had my iPhone camera going, so I snapped a pic. This is one of the saddest, rundown apartment buildings near my workplace on Capitol Hill. And, what an apropos name:
by Shane Koyczan
When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we've got a few
or that we made these crazy things
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world's anthem has been
"been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
we've done and we've been
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say "eh?"
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
"keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.