Thanks Starbucks

I recently posted a blurb about getting a Starbucks coupon for a free pint of ice cream and I said I'd update you all if the coupon actually worked. There were definitely skeptics out there (I won't name names), but I'm proud to say that we picked up our completely free pint of Starbucks java chip frappuccino tonight at a local market.

Take that naysayers! Woot!

Alpha female, watch out

The gender scale of our office tips heavily male. There are three full-time female co-workers versus 13 male co-workers. Two-thirds of the office estrogen are on vacation this week, leaving me as the only one to hold down the female fort. But there are some benefits to being the only woman.

1. I am alpha female by default. No need to mark my territory.

2. No drama. I have no one to accidentally offend with my sarcastic remarks and I don’t have to worry about taking sides when infighting happens.

3. I can sing along to the radio without bothering my co-worker with whom I share a common area.

4. We have a one-stall bathroom and it’s all mine.

The one con: I seem to be the only one who knows how to use a dishwasher.

Selective Silencing

I’ve got an idea for the cell phone makers out there: Samsung, LG, etc. listen up. Do you find yourself wanting to selectively silence your phone? For example, you’re on a coffee date but your mom said she was going to call with an update on your grandma. You don’t want to leave your phone on and be potentially barraged with texts and phone calls and be that person with the cell phone in Ladro. You could switch your phone to vibrate, but you’d still have to physically check your phone to see if it was indeed your mom calling.

Solution: selective silencing. You could select this option, and it would ask you to optionally set a number or contact as “Always Ring”. Then when your phone rings, you don’t have to screen the call and interrupt your coffee date friend. There would also be an option to reset your “Always Ring” numbers back to normal (complete silencing or the full ringer).

It all makes sense in my head. And don’t tell me the iPhone has an app for this. I’m having trouble coming up with reasons not to buy one already.

A letter

Dear Qwest Field:

Mark and I have dutifully patronized your services during the inaugural season of the Seattle Sounders FC, and have been thus far pleased with your services. Our seats are decent, we're not surrounded by crazies, and the women's restroom is right off the entrance to the field. For this, I thank you. However, there are some issues I'd like to address.

1. The women's restroom, while conveniently accessible, contains at least one stall that has a door susceptible to sticking. If a girl shoves it shut to keep out the other vultures circling the stalls, it's extremely hard to open again, and could require some expert shaking and jimmying of the latch and maybe even several double-handed pulls of the purse hook with one foot planted on the floor and the other braced against the stall wall. Meanwhile, said girl has to suppress a rising anxiety attack and fight the urge to give in and wave her hands above the stall and call for help. Not that that girl was me or anything. I'm just saying.

2. If you're going to offer water fountains, could you make sure the water is slightly cooler than a steaming tea kettle? Ok so it wasn't that hot, but for water-fountain water it definitely had a fever. It doesn't have to be cold, I'd settle for room temperature. I'm not too picky. But hot water out of a water fountain seems to defeat the purpose, doesn't it? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the water and all. I'm just saying.

We won't meet again until October, so this gives you about six weeks to rectify these problems. In the meantime, I'll continue to sing your praises and we'll pretend like we're friends, ok? Cool.


Browse until I... drowse?

A lot of you know I’m not really a shopper. I just get so frustrated because I seem to be shaped weirdly, so not much fits. Here’s my beef: you take your Saturday and you tell yourself you need three things. The goal is to get at least one pair of nice jeans with a flattering cut and that cost less than $75, black heels for work that must be at least 3 inches tall or you’ll have to re-hem your pants, and capris that don’t look like clamdiggers on you. Five stores and 10 pairs of jeans later, you’re crying in a dressing room, cursing your hips and vowing to wear sweatpants as long as you live. You then decide to forgo the search for capris because what’s the point when you know they won’t fit you. And you’re never going to get these two hours of your life back. And now the lock is jammed.

Ok so I’ve never been locked in a dressing room but it could happen. What I don’t like the most about a specific shopping trip is the pressure to buy something to make the trip worth your time. I get these expectations built up that I’m going to come home with the perfect pair of shoes and I’m crushed when I don’t find them (or they’re too expensive to even consider). And in my book, I better be absolutely in love with a piece of clothing (or at least have plenty of faith in it) before I’ll drop the cash and bring it home.

I think we can conclude that “shopping” stresses me out, which brings me to my new lunchtime obsession: browsing.

In my mind, browsing is very different from shopping. I browse with the intent of getting ideas, learning what the new fashions are, and letting my mind wander while looking at pretty things. If I’m browsing, I never intend to buy. That would pressurize the browsing session and stress me out (“I wasted my lunch break looking for shoes and now I’m still hungry and still shoeless!” I can also try on things I might never try on in a “real” shopping session: a crazy fashion fad or a super-expensive pair of Coach shoes. “Real” shopping sessions usually consist of a targeted effort for specific items, so why would I want to waste time trying on things I’m next-to-positive I won’t like or that I’m not looking for in the first place? If I’m browsing, I know I’m not going to buy the item, so I may as well try it on and at least get a feel of how it looks or how it fits so I can prepare for the “real” shopping session (i.e. I already know Gap jeans don’t fit me so they are barred from the “real” shopping session).

I suppose you could argue that browsing itself is a waste of time if you don’t plan on buying but… it all makes sense in my head. I’m also not an impulse buyer, which is probably why I can browse for an hour and walk away sans a shopping bag and with a smile. I work next to the Southcenter Mall, so I’m never short on stores to browse. Popular haunts include Kohl’s, DSW Shoes, Forever 21, H&M, the ever-reliable Macy’s, and Nordy’s if I’m feeling ambitious. Non-clothing stores are not exempt and I can also be found at Cost Plus World Market or Borders. Browsing is just my way of taking my mind off work and getting out of the office for an hour. Browsing is Heather time. I sing songs in my head and flip through racks.

I’ve even carried the browsing outside the stores and onto the Web. I now have a “shopping” tag for my Delicious bookmarks so I can check the sites multiple times and see what’s gone on sale. Who am I becoming? It’s like I don’t even know myself anymore!

Saturday fun

One of the letdowns of the upcoming move is that we won't be quite as close to the water as we are now. Mark's parents were in town this weekend and his dad brought over his kayak. Getting to the water only requires a short little jaunt down two flights of stairs.

The pull of what's to come

It’s hard not to live in the future. Take me for example. I want to move into our new apartment RIGHT NOW. Our tenure at our current place is a ticking clock and I just want the bell to ring already. I have seen the milk and honey of Canaan and I’m ready to be out of the desert because I’m just running in circles and stepping on Mark’s toes in the process. My dreams of the future are strongest in the morning circa 6:45 a.m. If you’ve seen our bathroom, then you understand there’s barely room for even one person in there. But 6:45 rolls around and Mark and I both crowd the mirror and sink with all kinds of dangerous objects: flatirons, shavers, hair dryers. Objects that we probably shouldn’t be operating around running water. Add my elbow gouging Mark’s chest in an attempt to get my bangs just right by holding the flatiron just so, and then Mark displaces me to a counter spot sans mirror so he can spit out his toothpaste. “Heather, move over!” “But then I can’t see!” I suppose it’s a comedy of errors. Anyway, the point is that the new place has two bathrooms, and they are both larger than our current bathroom. But it’s a double-edged sword. Two bathrooms mean twice the amount of cleaning, and we may as well double that again because the spaces are bigger. I could quote “Spiderman” and say that with great power comes great responsibility, but perhaps an increase in bathroom space doesn’t necessarily equate to more power. But it WILL equate to more freedom, which brings with it its own responsibility I suppose.

Enough of this domestic stuff. To get back to the point, though I’m looking forward to moving soon, I’m going to enjoy our cabin-on-the-water as long as I can. As my friend Jessica put it, it’s better to leave on good terms!

Pear bread

I wasn't sure if this recipe was going to be a keeper, but it actually made some pretty delicious pear bread! It's more of a dessert than a bread really, so I think it would go great as holiday fare. I buy pears at Costco and it's always a struggle to eat them before they go bad. This makes for a great back-up plan!

Julie and Julia

First impressions of “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell

1. After my recent spate of fiction, I’m having trouble remembering that this is an actual account of an experience by a real person. What crazy project can I blog about and end up with a book and movie deal? I’m open to suggestions.

2. I’ve seen one movie trailer, yet the faces of Amy Adams and Meryl Streep keep floating through my head.

3. Given the inclusion of a stick or more of butter in seemingly every Julia Child recipe, I’m concerned for Julie’s arteries.

4. Julie’s husband seems to be a willing and enthusiastic guinea pig. Are we sure this is nonfiction?

Fremont Sunday market

We spent our Sunday afternoon meandering around the Fremont Sunday Market browsing the oddities and eccentrics. A local artist caught our eye with a striking photo of the Pine Street and Pike Place intersection, and it now graces our wall. You can find his work at He'll even take your own photos and transfer them to mounted canvas, which we think is pretty sweet.

New digs!

We are excited to announce that we are leaving the quasi-closet apartment we now call home and are moving to a bigger apartment only three blocks away! While we aren't particularly thrilled with the thought of moving, especially since we now possess heavy furniture, it will be nice not to be continually bumping shoulders while trying to navigate our tiny bathroom and kitchen. The new apartment is part of a four-plex in an old house in the Eastlake neighborhood (the house was built in 1910). I've made a list of the pros and cons of our new place and included a map.

1. The apartment is almost double the size of what we currently have. We'll have a guest bedroom and bathroom, an office closet (you'll have to see it to understand), and a bigger kitchen. The huge deck sports a better view of Lake Union, the Space Needle and downtown, and the price tag is a steal for sure.
2. We'll have a fireplace, a DISHWASHER, a full-sized oven and a full-sized refrigerator. What an upgrade! We can actually use our baking sheet!
3. The landlord is very personable and responsive.

1. Carpet throughout, no hardwood floors. I guess we're going to have to pick up a vacuum cleaner at some point.
2. The washer/dryer is not in the actual unit, but accessible by a separate door on the outside of the house. PRO: the coin-operated set costs less than our current set-up, and we'll be sharing the W/D with only three other units rather than nine.
3. The freeway is on the other side of the street. The city just built a large retaining wall to block most of the sound but you can still hear the traffic. This is something you can get used to though, so we're not too concerned. Especially since Lake Union is a landing strip for seaplanes, so we're already used to traffic of a different sort.

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Un ejercicio

Se habla espanol? No? Un poco? Ok, then count to four with me. Ready? Listo? Uno… dos… tres…

If you just yelled “CATORCE!!”, please join me in writing a letter to Bono complaining that he is the reason I can’t count to four in Spanish anymore. Thanks Bono. Thanks a lot.

I tried to embed the actual music video but YouTube wouldn't let me. So here's U2 live from Milan.