In the heights

My work persona is 5'5".

But Heather, you're only 5'1".

Not with the help of THESE babies.

Today though, I'm sporting a different shoe. I'm heading to the airport after work (Colorado, I'm coming!) and didn't want to change shoes so I wore my flats instead. After three years of wearing four-inch heels nearly every day, I'm discovering how my work world should really be instead of the false reality I'd inadvertently created. Why can't I reach anything? These shelves seem farther away. And since when is Dave so tall? It's a little alarming.

So long, beloved Chi

So long, my Chi. You served me faithfully for five years and I never gave up on you, even when others told me I should. Even though you sparked daily, you never caught my hair on fire. And when your heating element broke and alternated randomly between hot and cool bursts, you still got the job done. But now you refuse to blow hot air at all, which is simply unacceptable. I will remember you fondly.

Can we just throw hair dryers away or do we have to go through some sort of special recycling?

The cost of laziness

My spacey brain cost me $84 yesterday.

I had to park my car around the block two nights ago because there were no spaces in front of our apartment. The next morning, I didn’t want to walk that far in my heels so my morning logic said, Mark’s in central Washington – just take his car (parked out front) to work. Genius! I hopped in his car and drove to the office. An uneventful day passed and as I was a block away from the apartment on my drive home, an awful, awful thought occurred to me: I had parked my car on the school side of the street the night before, which is illegal during the hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. I panicked and thought certainly my car must be towed by now. I talked myself out of the initial panic – if I assume the car is towed, seeing the empty parking spot won’t be such a shock – and went into problem solving mode. Small group is at 7:30 – who can I call to take me to pick up the car?

After what seemed like a miles-long block, I rounded the corner onto the street where I’d parked the night before – and there was my car, still sitting in its spot. Mocking me – I’m still here!

But I wasn’t exactly out of the woods yet. A telltale envelope peeked at me from beneath my windshield wiper. A ticket is better than a towing, I thought. But a closer glance revealed the envelope contained not only one ticket but two. Both infractions are still better than an impounded car (trust me, I know – our car was towed during our honeymoon and wasn’t THAT a shock to come back to) but are nonetheless a blow to the wallet.

So in conclusion, laziness doesn’t pay. In fact, it’s quite costly.

Midweek Tidbits

I love Emma's style on "Glee".

A mild controversy is occurring over the similarity of one of last weekend's SNL skits to another comedy show sketch.

Vulture's recap of the season premiere of Saturday Night Live.

The Bed Bug Registry includes an interactive map that shows you where bed bug infestations have popped up. It's kinda freaking me out.

A gorgeous photo tour of the top 65 cities in the world.

Eight-legged hate: continued

Apparently the spiders can't leave us alone.

I came home to find this one nesting cozily in our door frame. SICK. Mark was still in Yakima and I'm usually OK dealing with spiders when I'm by myself. Usually. I approached it twice with the fireplace poker but retreated both times and ended up texting our downstairs neighbor for back-up.

Heather: Do you have a fear of spiders?
Mai: No, why?
Heather: Can you come help me kill one? It's so big... :(

Two minutes went by and Mai bounded up the stairs with an envelope and a tupperware container: "It's NOT big! I'm not going to kill it, I'll put it outside!" I cowered in the corner while she trapped it in the container (it escaped once and she had to capture it again), and then thanked her profusely. I've still got the chills... this spider might show up in my nightmares.

Pressure guages and PSI

As of right now, my car has never had a flat tire. Clarification: at least two cars in which I've been a passenger have had flat tires (a certain freezing night circa February 2005 comes to mind), but my car has not. I've thus far dodged the bullet of changing my own tire.

I thought all that was going to change Wednesday morning when my tire pressure light came on and started beeping at me. I didn't even know it was my tire pressure light at first - the icon wasn't exactly intuitive (two half circles enclosing an exclamation point - that could mean anything!) A perusal of the car manual directed me toward the tires so I circled the car, hoping for an obvious leak. None of the tires looked dangerously low but the manual said in BOLD BLARING LETTERS to not drive on the freeway under any circumstances with the tire pressure light on. I was about 20 feet (literally) from the I-5 entrance so I did what most wives would do - I called Mark and asked for advice. He told me to get to the nearest gas station and put some air in the tires, measuring the PSI of course. He asked if the tires were low and I think I worried him when I replied, "Um... no?"

I drove to the gas station and took a look at the air hose - a combination device that included a pressure guage. I couldn't figure out how to work the pressure guage (although if i would've put the quarters in and started the machine then I probably would've figured it out but I didn't want to waste my quarters in case I couldn't), so I  walked into the gas station and asked if someone could please show me how the pressure guage worked. The gas attendant took pity and filled my tires for me.

Attendant: "What's the PSI for the rear tires?"
Me: "Umm... 140. Wait, no... 34?"

He just laughed, and rightfully so. Next time Mark has to put air in the tires, I'm asking if I can pinch hit so I can learn and not be a walking stereotype.

Eight-legged hate

To the spider who so viciously attacked me without provocation:
You are mean.

If you are the same spider I found in the bathroom yesterday, then I relish your death. If he was your comrade, I still relish his death. If you are still at large, then be afraid. Be very afraid.

I have stalking skills like nobody's business. So as soon as the swelling in my arm goes down (your FIVE bites packed a punch), I'm coming after you. With a big stick. And maybe a shoe.

Midweek Tidbits

OK Go - "White Knuckles"

This was all done in one take.

Power Sculpting :: When in Rome

My mom once taught me a valuable life lesson – if you get yourself into a situation where you don’t know what’s going on or you don’t understand something, be quiet and listen – you’ll usually figure it out on your own. Or as my uncle put it, “Stop your broadcasting and start receiving!”

I’ve been trying to get to a specific class at my gym – power sculpting – for three weeks now and I finally made it on Wednesday. A small crowd congregated outside the workout room about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the class, and I soon found out why – class members must collect their dumbbells and bars at the beginning, and the popular weights sell out fast. I overheard one girl tell her friend that they had to be at the front so they could be first to the dumbbells and true to form, the minute the doors opened those girls made a beeline for the dumbbell bin. But not only do you have to grab your dumbbells (two sets), you must assemble your bar with the weights you want (multiple sets so you can change the resistance based on the exercise), grab a mat, and get your step platform. And of course stake out a prime position on the workout floor. Did I know any of this prior to the class? Not a clue. I merely followed the others and did what they were doing. When in Rome, right? So I assembled my menagerie of weights, seated myself on the step platform and waited for class to begin. And waited. And waited some more.

The instructor arrived 30 minutes later (“Sorry guys, traffic was awful!”) and promised to make the remaining 30 minutes worth our while. And boy did she ever – lunges, squats, curls, dead lifts, presses… UP THAT RESISTANCE! She’d fit right in with Jillian Michaels – buff, intense and motivating. I heard (I’m great at eavesdropping) that the instructor was new and the gym had worked hard to find a great instructor for this particular class. I thought to myself that I didn’t know if I could handle a normal 60-minute session – half an hour was killing me.

I definitely want to go back but I’m afraid the class will get too popular (the instructor was that good) and I’ll have to fight for my weights. But maybe a couple more class sessions and I’ll be able to hold my own in the race to the dumbbell bin!

Stir Fry Ginger Beef

Photo courtesy of Simply Recipes
We don't eat a lot of beef here - we're mainly a chicken household - but I decided to try this ginger beef stir fry I found to switch up our meat options. Below is the recipe (courtesy of with my modifications.
  • 2 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (I used seasoned because that's what I had on hand)
  • 5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Beef and stir-fry
  • 1 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb top sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil (preferably peanut)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (optional)
  • 3-4 green onions, cut on a diagonal, 1/2-inch apart, including the greens
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 hot chiles, preferably red serranos, seeded, sliced (I used fresh jalapenos because I couldn't find serranos)
  • 1-inch nob of ginger, peeled, cut lengthwise into matchstick shapes (the slices were a little intense - I might grate it next time)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped cilantro (totally forgot about the cilantro - it's almost like I make it my goal to forget at least one ingredient per recipe)
1  Chill the steak in the freezer for 30 minutes before you slice it, this will make it easier to cut in thin slices. Slice the steak first crosswise in 1/2-inch thick slices. The cut each slice lengthwise into strips.

2  In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients; the soy sauce, vinegar, grated ginger, honey, red chile flakes, and cumin. Mix the beef in with the marinade to coat and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, and up to 4 hours, in the fridge.

3  In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.

4  Heat the oil in a wok, or a large sauté pan, over high heat until it is nearly smoking. As the oil is heating up, pat the beef dry and separate it into small batches no larger than what can fit into the palm of your hand. Working in batches, sauté beef until just brown outside but rare inside, no more than 1 minute. Transfer beef to a bowl.

5  When all of the beef is cooked, put the chiles and garlic into the pan and stir-fry 30-45 seconds. Add the julienned ginger and cook for 30-45 seconds more. Add the beef back to the pan. Add the cornstarch slurry. Add the scallions (I think the author meant the green onions?) and mix everything together. Cook for 1 minute.

Turn the heat off and mix in the cilantro (yeah forgot that). Serve at once with steamed white rice.

Serves 4-6.

Country roads, take me home

I just bought my plane ticket to Denver! I'll be there in three weeks but will only be home for three days. I'm excited to stuff as many activities as possible into those three days to make them as action-packed as I can. Mark won't be able to join me this time as he's working tons of overtime this month, but I'll blow some kisses from good ol' CO. I had an extra day of vacation to use before my PTO zeroed out and started over October 8 (my work anniversary), and I can't wait to spend it at home.

See you there!

Labor Day: surf and turf

We went camping and rafting with some friends during the long weekend in central Washington. The weather held up decently enough and the rafting was super fun. This was the first time I'd camped in five years so I was glad we were only out there for one night - I was ready to head home after the rafting excursion. The river was very technical - very narrow and plenty of rocks - but we had a great guide who knew what he was doing and navigated excellently.

Could this be a North Face ad? This is the guys' tent.

Our awesome girls' tent - three rooms!

Overheard at the gym

I was in a side room at the gym doing crunches on the floor when a personal trainer and his trainee walked in. They had apparently been talking about popular fantasy novels/movies as the conversation seemed to revolve around the differences between "Twilight", "Harry Potter", and "The Lord of the Rings". The trainee asked her trainer if he had read the LOTR series, and he replied that he had.

Trainee: "My friends and I were disappointed to see that Tom Bombadil didn't make it into the movies."

Trainer: "Who?"

Trainee: "... Did you read the books?"

Trainer: "Yes!"

Trainee: "You should probably know who Tom Bombadil is..."

I piped in from my corner: "Don't worry, I know who you're talking about!"

Trainee: "Ha thank you!" To the trainer: "You should probably read the books again."

Midweek Tidbits

I know I won't have time to post more links today so I wanted to share a video that made me laugh so hard I cried. This guy must be an exceptional dog trainer or that is one very smart dog. I love how happy the dog looks the whole time...

A first :: yoga class

I didn't know it was possible to lose such copious amounts of sweat.

I participated in my first power vinyasa yoga class at the invitation of my friend Claire this morning. Seattle dawned misty and cool, but the temperature inside the yoga room remained at a steady 90 degrees throughout the class. Claire brought an extra mat for me and I rolled it out next to hers, shot her a nervous glance and admired the rock-hard muscles of the other attendees (in a completely non-creepy way, have no fear). The teacher walked in and introduced herself, and I spent an hour and a half translating terms like "downward dog" and copying Claire's every move, meanwhile sweating buckets.

I've always heard that yoga is quite the full-body workout, but all the testimonials and praise doesn't really prepare you for the experience. The poses improve your strength and balance, since you're consistently holding or lifting your own body weight. Meanwhile, the effort required to hold the poses elevates your heart rate, so you get cardio and strength training rolled into one experience with minimal damage to your body (as opposed to running, which can be hard on your joints).

I couldn't do some of the poses so my option was to hold the easier pose while the rest of the class progressed with the harder variations - "Now, transfer your weight to your arms and your palms and lift your legs off the floor!" Yeah right. But maybe someday.

Friday Rant

I know that commercials are meant to sell services or products, but I heard one in particular the other day that just got me boiling. It was advertising a casino, and casino commercials are annoying anyway - they make the casinos sound classy and high-end, but here in western Washington those promises only go so far. This isn't Vegas, people.

The commercial started with a girl who I assume is 18 or perhaps in her early twenties: "So I was saving for a trip to Europe with all my friends, but four pairs of shoes and two shirts later, there went that..." (I can practically hear her flipping her hair.) Then her mom chimes in with something like, "She was kind of down, so I took her to *casino name here*!"

Great. Trade one spending problem for another. Awesome job (radio) MOM who should probably be reinforcing the value of hard work but is instead enabling her daughter's destructive behavior. What is this teaching people? The total amount of consumer debt comes in at right around $2.5 trillion. Trillion. Yes, I realize the daughter is an adult and thus responsible for her own decisions. But parenting doesn't stop at high school graduation.

Yes, I know this is a commercial... but it really got my goat.

Deal the card(igan)s

I recently bought a cardigan that's similar in style to the one above - mine is gray, has three-quarter length sleeves, and the bottom corners taper to a point at the end (I’m sure there’s some sort of technical fashion term for this but I have no idea what it is). It also has some ruffles on it, meaning it’s my new favorite thing.

I showed it to Mark and he said, “Hmm, it’s kind of weird.”

Me: “… I’m fashionable!”

Mark: “Well, you would know better than me!”

Don’t worry boys, we know you mean well.