Archive for January, 2012

I had a dream about Robert Pattinson last night.  We were at a party and he was being all cool and Edward-y (minus the sparkles), and I was being all swoony and silly, and then, in the wee hours of the morning, I woke up.  I suffered just the shortest moment of disappointment that it was over, but then I rolled over and I looked at my husband sleeping next to me, snoring in his easy, quiet way, and I thanked my lucky stars for him.  I bet Shane is reading this now and thinking, “Say what?  You snuggled up on me this morning and wanted to spoon because you had a dream about a Twilight character?!”  But honey, no, that’s not it – I snuggled up on you because I love you and sometimes I am just so stinkin’ happy that I get be yours.  That you get to be mine.

Sometimes I forget to be thankful, and I spend my energy nagging, or pouting, or pushing Shane away, and I’m sorry for that.  Because, really, my man in the bee’s knees.  Cases in point:

He makes me laugh.  Probably every day.  I was sitting in the living room last night blog-surfing and he was downstairs in the office hackin’ around (my phrase for his complicated technological exploits), and suddenly, in the midst of the quiet, I heard him belt out the lyrics to some old-school Rage Against the Machine song.  I poked my head into the office and he started playing the air-drums and wildly shaking his head from side to side.  He had his headphones on, and the fact that I couldn’t hear the music made it even funnier.   He may or may not have been singing for me, but I don’t care – I’m just glad to bear witness to his unabashed silliness.

He’s my #1 fan, my loudest cheerleader and strongest advocate.  He shares in all my greatest joys, never hesitating to tell me that he’s proud of me and remind me that I have the potential to do anything I want to do.  And he often tells me that I’m hot.  That’s awfully nice.

He’s a rock.  He’s steady under pressure, cool in the midst of chaos, affirming when life starts to feel kinda…ick.  And he never ever lets me feel like I’m going at it alone – even in tough situations that don’t directly involve him, he insists “We will get through this”.  Sometimes I’m bugged by the “we” that so often replaces “I” once you get married, but sometimes that little two-letter pronoun holds so much comfort.  We got through the stress of my licensing exams a couple of years ago, we carry each other’s burdens in work and finances and relationships, we figure out how to do life together.  His contribution might be as simple as picking me up from work when I’ve had an especially long day, but sometimes that’s all it takes for me to be reassured that he’s not expecting me to fly solo.

So…thanks, baby.  Edward ain’t got nothin’ on you.

Our winter wonderland has melted into a cold, dirty slush – this weekend was full of rain and dreary gray skies.  Hmmph.  So I’m seeking comfort wherever I can find it, drowning my post-snow sorrows in:

Fresh-baked banana bread – my second loaf of the weekend just came out of the oven, and the house smells like the happiest place on earth.  It’s cheap and easy, rich and moist, and so wonderfully versatile:  perfect for a morning brunch or an after-dinner dessert.  Shane eats it like it’s goin’ out of style.

Sunday afternoon football.  Not so much for the sport, but for the quality relaxation I get as I curl up next to Shane on the couch and read or nap while he watches the game.  Maybe because I grew up in a home of football fans, maybe because it’s something so inextricably linked with mellow winter weekends, but there’s something really comforting about an afternoon with the NFL.    p.s. Dang it, Ravens!

My Kindle.  I resisted the e-book revolution for a long time, arguing that there just isn’t any substitute for the feel of a book with flippable pages in your hands, but now that I’m a Kindle owner, I’m never ever going back.  I have stocked this itty bitty device with a dozen classics (free!) and am frequently taking advantage of the library’s list of e-books (free!).  Never again will I be caught without something to read.  Brilliant.

Candles, double pairs of socks, and blanket cocoons.  I feel like I’m in semi-hibernation, but I’ve made myself one heck of a cave.

Indeed – the return of the weekly sketch!  I’ve been off-track for a few months now, but I’m back – doodling, cutting and pasting, and, most notably, painting.  I have pulled out my crusty old watercolor set and am having a lot of fun re-exploring this medium.  I like the drippy, spotty texture of watercolor, especially paired with straight, fine graphite lines.  And hot damn, it feels good to be art-ing again.

spotlight (2011.12.20):

canyon tracks (2012.01.09):

pebble beach (2012.01.12):

drop-off (2012.01.17):


Seattle was abuzz on Tuesday with the forecast for a major dumpage of fresh snow – this city goes a little nuts when the weatherman deviates from the normal forecast of gray skies and rain.  At the first sign of a snowflake, transit becomes unreliable, many businesses close their doors, and Facebook is flooded with excited talk of “Snow-mageddon” and “Snow-pocolypse”.  Lots of Seattle-ites love to scoff at all the over-reactors while secretly stocking up on water and foil-faced blankets, but it’s true that we’re just not equipped to efficiently clear roads and create safe driving conditions, especially with the number of hilly streets that criss-cross every neighborhood.  Shane and I went to bed with clear skies overhead on Tuesday night, wondering what kind of mess we’d awake to on Wednesday.

Although the city wasn’t quite the disaster zone people had predicted, there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground by 8 am.  We were both tempted to call it a snow day and hunker down indoors, but Shane’s manager had said it was absolutely essential that he make it into the office, and I wasn’t too keen on using a vacation day to hang out at home by myself, so we boarded the ever-reliable Link Lightrail, simultaneously relieved and annoyed that getting to work wouldn’t be an issue for either one of us.

Downtown was quieter than I’ve ever seen it, with hardly any cars in sight.  The snow-laden trees and balconies gave a new vibe to the same streets I’ve walked down every day for the past several years – it was kinda magical…

I headed home a little early, instituting “snow hours” for myself at work, and settled into the couch with a hot cup of tea and a good chick flick.  Shane got home a couple hours later, and although it was dark by then, we were still eager to get out and enjoy our little winter wonderland.  We took a walk through the neighborhood, tossed a couple of snowballs at each other, and remarked over the glow of the sky and the quiet of the streets.

We were about to head inside when Shane eyed the big hill across the street from us with a mischievous grin on his face – 15 minutes later, he and our neighbor Justin were strapped into their snowboards, cruising down the road, whooping like little boys.  Justin termed it “urban snowboarding” – I like it.

Today brought more snow and icy roads.  Shane worked from home and I went into the office for a few hours, again leaving early when the City of Seattle put out a statement that commuters should try to get home before dark because of “treacherous” road conditions (“snow hours”!).  I rounded the corner when I got home to find Shane and Justin fort-building with the kids from sheets of ice that could be picked off cars – they had the start of a pretty good igloo going.

I know it’s Frugal January, and I know we said we wouldn’t eat out this month, but something about a snow day makes you feel like breaking the rules, so we asked Jack and La Verne (fellow frugal-ites) if they’d be up for making the trek over to Tutta Bella for a pizza dinner.  They agreed with minimal (errrr…no) arm-twisting, so Shane and I bundled up and walked down to Rainier Avenue to meet up with them.

And, wow, it was worth it.  We justified the evening by ordering off the happy hour menu (these pizzas are not quite so giant as they look) and reveling in just how good it felt to be “out”.  Turns out that a Tutta Bella dinner is a sure-fire cure for cabin fever!

It’s another cold night out there, and we continue to be so thankful for our warm home and steady supply of hot chocolate and fresh-baked muffins.  Tomorrow things should start getting back to normal, with warmer temperatures in the forecast.  I’ll be kind of sad to see this crazy weather come to an end – the playful afternoons and cozy evenings have added some variety to the seemingly loooooong Seattle winters.  Now if only I could afford to take up “rain hours”, life would be so much sweeter…

We are now half-way through our annual tradition of Frugal January – 16 days and counting of no eating out, no stops at the cafe for a piping hot latte, no shopping, no non-essential spending.  And really, it hasn’t been so bad, especially when we have weekends like this one when all I really want to do is hole up inside with my Kindle and my stash of tea and chocolate, anyway.  The past couple of days might very well go down in the books as laze-fest 2012, as I spent nearly every waking moment on the couch, leaving the house only to accept a couple of dinner invitations from friends (which was perfect, since cooking would have required more effort than I was willing to put forth, anyway…).  And it. was. glorious. Sunday was particularly perfect – we’d heard murmurings on Saturday that Seattle-ites could soon expect the first snowfall of the season, and I awoke the next morning to frosty rooftops and freezing temps.  It wasn’t quite the white wonderland I’d hoped for, but I kept my fingers crossed and by 10am, big, puffy flakes were falling from the sky, draping our yard in a bright white blanket.  We watched the neighborhood kids make snow angels in the driveway, I baked pumpkin spice muffins, and we burrowed under a pile of blankets for some serious veg time.  While Shane watched football, I pulled out my watercolors and played around in my sketchbook, reveling in the comfort of our home and the pretty, bright light that came through the windows as it bounced off the snow.  It was all kinds of good.

We ended the day with a hot pot dinner at Jack and La Verne’s – a January tradition I’ve come to associate with so much warmth and laughter and fellowship – a good-for-my-soul kind of meal for a good-for-my-soul kind of weekend.

Yes, I’m a couple weeks late on this – I’ve spent quite a bit of time lately reflecting on the ups and downs of 2011 and am just now getting on board with 2012 and all it has to offer.  Without further ado, the list:

Read the Bible in its entirety.  Even though I’ve spent my whole life being part of various churches, I think there are still parts of the Bible I have yet to crack open.  And so when our pastor challenged us to spend the next year going through the whole, daunting, entire thing, Shane and I jumped on board.  It’s going to take some big-time commitment, especially once we hit Leviticus, but I’m all in.  Bring it, Moses.

Catch up with a friend over coffee every week or two.  My life is full of people that I want to know better, but I suppose I have some initiative issues when it comes to relationships – my homebody tendencies usually win out on a Saturday afternoon.  Wine, pie, and ice cream sundaes are also acceptable means of relationship-building.

Check out one new (to us) Seattle restaurant each month.  We still have much love for our tried-and-true neighborhood pizza joint, but every time I open our latest issue of Seattle magazine, I can’t help feeling like we’re missing out on a whole lotta culinary goodness out there.  On the list:  Spinasse, Kona Kitchen, Maekawa, and June.

Read the Economist leaders each week.  Several times, I’ve expressed a desire to be more “in-the-know” when it comes to current events, and several times, I’ve fallen short.  For months now, Shane’s been leaving his copies of the Economist under my nose, opened to stories he thinks I’ll find interesting, and this year, I’m validating his efforts.  My husband will be so happy when he can throw out words like “Gitmo” and get more than a blank stare in return.  This one’s for you, babe.

Juice at least once a week.  We invested in a nice juicer over the summer, and we were both feeling fantastic at the height of our kale/celery/carrot/apple intake, but lately the Breville isn’t getting much use – it just sits on the counter and stares me down as I grab that carton of whatever’s-on-sale OJ from the fridge.  Ideally, we’d be juicing every other day, but in the winter, I’d settle for just one tall glass of hearty green stuff each week.

Cheers, 2012 – I’ve got a good feeling about this year.

It’s official – I’m back on the handcraft-wagon.  This was a fun project, easy but not too tedious, and a good re-introduction to knitting after a nearly two-year hiatus.  I was a little anxious about how it would all come together in the end, as it looked a bit strange on the needles (Shane kept asking me if I was knitting an octopus), but once I bound off that last stitch and slipped it over my head, I was (mostly) pleased with the finished piece.  I wish it had been a bit chunkier, and I’m not entirely sure about the color, but knitting season has just begun for me, so there’s plenty of time for round 2!

Pattern found here from kirsten johnstone.  I modified it slightly by adding an 8th loop and decreasing the amount of length variation between loops.

I got a shiny new Kindle for Christmas and have been on a reading rampage for the past week – I blazed through The Hiding Place in just a few days and have been scouring the library’s e-Book offerings this evening, making a list of all the books I want to tackle this year (the beginning of a new year has me feeling all goal-oriented and list-crazed).  I also like the idea of taking a look back at what I’ve read over the previous year, so here’s my recap:  I read 15.1 books in 2011 (that .1 is for the 150 pages I read of Les Miserables, before deciding I love reading too much to make myself trudge through all 1450 pages of Victor Hugo’s looooooong-winded story).  There were a few definite winners in here, a few solid Sunday afternoon companions, and a couple that I just wish I hadn’t wasted my time on.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

 The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebowitz

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Naked by David Sedaris

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Best books of 2011:  Three-way tie between Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,  The Hiding Place, and Cold Sassy Tree.  They were all dramatically different (child wizard vs. concentration camp survivor vs. mischievous boy in the early 1900’s South), so I can’t compare them – I’ll just say I loved them all for different reasons: the fantastical unraveling of an epic story, the spiritual inspiration, the witty and endearing characters…  The Poisonwood Bible and The Help were close runners-up.

Worst book of 2011:  The Friday Night Knitting Club.  Don’t read it.  Just don’t.  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was also sadly unimpressive.

On the docket for 2012:  The Hunger Games Trilogy (a carry-over from my 2011 to-read list), The Great Gatsby (I missed classics this year), and The Power of One (I’ve heard amazing things).  I’ve decided that despite the rainy forecast, it’s going to be a very good winter.