Hey pumpkin

We carved pumpkins with our small group Tuesday! And yes, Megan, I totally stole this from you.

In the name of fresh bread

I decided to go all out and make lasagna last Friday to cap off the week. CARBO LOAD. I'm still not too good at this whole meal planning thing ("I want lasagna! Right now!!") and didn't think ahead as to what side dishes we might want with our lasagna. Ten minutes into making the sauce, I decided I'd use the hour-plus of simmer time to leave the concoction on the stove (simmering safely on low heat) and race to the nearest bakery to pick up a loaf of fresh bread and maybe a bottle of wine.

A quick Google search revealed a bakery a few blocks down the street - closing in 10 minutes. Before I left, I made absolutely sure I had my keys and that there was no possible way I could lock myself out of the apartment (which has happened before - I was lucky that time and saved the pot of rice). I flew down Eastlake even though I knew 10 minutes was plenty of time to get inside and pick my loaf. I turned into literally the teeniest parking garage I've ever encountered and eyed one of the available spots. It looks pretty small, I thought. Meh, I can make it! I cleared the cement pole with my side mirror and concentrated on not hitting the car next to me - and heard a scary CRUNCH. For a second, I couldn't move. I thought this couldn't be happening to me. Where was I? Why was I here?? My sauce is on the stove! Abort! Abort!

The pole got me. Or rather, I got the pole. But there was no time to assess the damage - I needed that bread. I straightened my car in the (cursed) parking spot, hopped out and ran into the bakery with five minutes to spare, but was still the fourth person in line. Images of my apartment going up in smoke started flashing through my head. My turn came soon enough and I asked what types of fresh bread they might have.

"Oh I'm sorry, we're actually all out," the cashier said.

Is this not a bakery?

Fine, I do realize it was a gamble trying to find fresh bread at a bakery five minutes from closing. But now I had a scratch on the side of my car and didn't even have bread to show for it. I decided to take another gamble and see if the market down the street had fresh bread, even though I was pretty sure it didn't. Lucky for me they did stock fresh bread from a local bakery so I counted the trip as somewhat of a success, plus I didn't even burn down the apartment!

Sadly, the scratch is going to cost a pretty penny to fix. But at least when I had to 'fess up to Mark about what I'd done to the car, I could follow it up with, "But look! I made lasagna!"

Midweek Tidbits

Cat vs. Printer

Mumford and Sons concert

 Mark and I treated ourselves to a performance of one of our favorite bands - Mumford and Sons - for our anniversary. We headed to the Moore Theater Sunday night, planning to get to the venue at least an hour early since our tickets were general admission. Street parking was procured less than a block away from the front door of the theater - we should've been more suspicious but chalked it up to good parking luck instead. But a quick glance at the theater revealed locked doors and no lights. Something was definitely wrong. The marquee had no mention of M&S but we approached anyway and saw a small sign hanging over the ticket window: "The Mumford and Sons concert scheduled for October 24, 2010, has been moved to the Paramount Theatre." Good thing we were early!

The Paramount Theatre,
Seattle, WA
We headed to the Paramount and saw the nearly three-block-long line for the concert formed outside the venue. Definitely the right place this time. We found one of our friends in line and she told us she'd received an e-mail about the venue change - I'm guessing I didn't receive it (I later checked) because I got our tickets directly from the box office and not from an online ticket service?

We got into the Paramount expecting to head up to the second or third level since our original seats at the Moore were general admission to the balcony. However, since we had originally bought our tickets when the show was still at the Moore, we were told we could go wherever we wanted! The Paramount had removed all the seating from the main floor, creating a more typical concert atmosphere, so we secured standing spots about eight rows back from the stage. Perfecto.

During the "Ian Interlude"
And the band. My goodness. What a talented group of musicians - the lead singer alternated between the guitar, the mandolin and the drums; the keyboardist alternated between the keyboard, the drums, and an accordion; and another guitar player alternated between the guitar, the slide guitar, and the banjo. INCREDIBLE. Their energy was infectious and I don't know if I've ever seen a more dedicated group of fans.

One fan in particular was singled out in between songs, in what was dubbed the "Ian Interlude" - Ian was wearing a glow-in-the-dark shirt, which prompted the lead singer to forbid any more black lights unless they wanted him to start laughing during a song.

All in all, the concert was completely worth it. We'll totally go again. Plus they played three new songs, all of which were amazing. New album? Yes, please!


You know you've been out of college too long when...

... you're playing Scrabble online against a robot and, when it won't allow you to place "prys" on the board, you say, "What?! The stupid computer won't let me put 'prys' on the board! Like, 'he prys open the car door!' Wait... that's spelled with an 'ie', never mind. As you were."


Make me laugh. Just try.

I have an affliction.

If someone purposefully tries to get me to laugh, and I catch on, I will refuse to laugh. I’m not sure if this is some deep-seated rebellion or perhaps a response to what I deem as manipulative, but you will not even get so much as a smile out of me. My resolve strengthens if I’m in a poor mood.

So know this, Jokesters-Who-Try-To-Provoke-My-Laughter: I’m on to you.

Oh and for some reason this doesn't work for the game "Honey if you love me" - I'm absolutely horrible at that game.

Time... is on my side?

It's a total cliche but it still holds some truth: there just aren't enough hours in the day.

By the time I get off work, spend some time at the gym, make dinner and maybe get some chores done, it's already time for bed. I know I'm pretty good at time wasting but I can also be pretty efficient if I want to be, yet I still feel so unaccomplished at the end of the day. Maybe this is because I still see so many things that need to be done. But if I didn't ignore tasks that need to get done, I'd never sit down. And then I'd get bitter and resentful, and no one wants that.

I seem to have two speeds in life: full speed ahead ("Ramming speed!") or completely stopped. I need to find a viable in-between.

I was in "completely stopped" mode last night when I decided to give the evening a kick of spontaneous - I asked Mark if he wanted to go to a tea shop and play a game. Get out of the apartment for a while. I was surprised when he agreed - we aren't usually very good at spontaneity! ("What do you want to do?" "I dunno... what do you want to do?" "I dunno...") So we went to Remedy Teas on Capitol Hill, ordered a pot of Black Satin (a mix of vanilla, mint, and hints of chocolate), and played Dominoes. I could've been doing laundry, cleaning up the apartment, or myriad other little tasks around the house. But the break was worth it for the change of scene and some quality time with Mark.

Midweek Tidbits

Can't wait to see these guys live Sunday!

How in the world had I not heard there was a new Muppets movie in the works starring Jason Segel?

Adhesive nail designs are the new fad. Has anyone tried it?

Singing is cool again! Especially a capella singing.

"The Blind Side" made for a great movie, and many other football players share the same story as Michael Oher.

My 100 List: still in progress

Like my friends Claire and Maile, I’ve been working on my 100 List, or rather, my bucket list – 100 things I want to accomplish in my life. Some of them are silly and easy to check off, and others require more work or time. I’ve been working on it for weeks now, and I still only have 50 goals. I’m not sure what this says about me yet. By nature I’m a goal-oriented person, so I tend to live my life by lists like these. However, I don’t want to add something to this list just to get closer to 100.

A random sampling so far:

14. Visit the San Juans
27. Drive a Mini Cooper
49. Feed a giraffe

Lake Union Park

South Lake Union got a facelift this month with the grand opening of Lake Union Park. The city did a great job, finally cleaning up the eyesore on Broad and Westlake that had me looking the other way when we drove past. Can you find the heron in the tree?

All part of living in the city

Living in the city has its advantages - walkability and scores of restaurants and entertainment options come to mind. But every once in a while, the suburbs sound like a good change of pace for me. We run into the oddest people in Seattle, and half of them happen to live next door. Nearly every interaction I've had with someone living in that house has led to my recapping the conversation with Mark and ending with, "I'm pretty sure he was high."

Yesterday afternoon we came home to a full-blown yard sale going on next door - on a Thursday afternoon in the pouring rain. Not only were old furniture and items strewn all over their front yard and into the street, monopolizing a precious parking space, but a BONFIRE was raging in their charcoal grill. On the lawn. Under a tree. They asked me if I wanted to come look at their $2 offerings but I declined since I was in a rush. By 10:30 p.m., everything was still in the yard and the street, the radio was blasting and the fire was still going. Bedtime rolled around and I had just asked Mark to do something about the blasting radio (we could hear everything from our bedroom window) when we heard another neighbor yell "TURN IT OFF!" At that point the radio was turned off and the night grew quieter, but we were later awakened by a loud cracking noise (at first I thought someone was breaking into the apartment) which seemed to be coming from the neighbor's lawn and was accompanied by voices and laughter. I can only assume they were breaking apart the furniture they couldn't sell to feed the fire.

I can't imagine why anyone would organize a yard sale in the rain but I've come up with a few hunches.

a. "We're broke... LET'S HAVE A YARD SALE. RIGHT NOW."
b. One of their housemates up and ditched the place, leaving behind some belongings. The housemates left holding the bag decided to sell them. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
c. A bonfire in the rain sounded like a good idea and the yard sale was an afterthought. "Since we're already outside..."

Oh and when I left the house this morning, the furniture and items were still on the lawn and in the street. Way to clutter our block, people.

Midweek Tidbits

My new favorite duo at the moment - "Simplistic Duplicity". If you get bored of the piano playing (if you do, please don't tell me and I won't judge you), watch the guy in the background playing Mario Kart - at one point he steers with one hand and pulls out his phone and starts texting with the other.

I marvel at Andrew Bird's talent - multiple instruments and looping everything. He's obviously a genius.

Michael J. Fox was not the original Marty McFly - Eric Stoltz was.

A list of SNL's best and worst characters from this season's cast - I don't agree with some of these (there's a special place in my heart for the "What Up With That" sketches) and I also don't think Kristen Wiig can do any wrong. With that said, they hit the nail on the head with Jay Pharoah's impression of Denzel Washington - close your eyes and you'll swear it's Denzel himself.

October means... pumpkin seeds!

Photo courtesy of AllRecipes.com
Fall is upon us! I made this recipe last year at a pumpkin-carving party and I could NOT STOP eating them. It's like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal but with pumpkin seeds. If you're looking for a sweet version of toasted pumpkin seeds, try this out. Best to limit yourself to a handful if you can... unless you want your dentist to yell at you. I'm taking the risk.

Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer. (Heather's note: let the seeds dry overnight if you are removing them right away from the pumpkins, or do whatever you can so that they are as dry as possible. I didn't do this last time and they took about an hour and 15 minutes to fully toast.)
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

What I'm Learning From my High School Journal

My mom recently found and gave me the journal I kept in high school – I’ve been reading it and recalling vividly (and sometimes not so vividly) who I used to hang out with and how I’d spend my time. It’s been quite a kick. The journal covers April of my junior year through March of my senior year and hits home what I’d previously forgotten – I had a great high school experience and it shows on every page. Journaling used to be an important part of my daily routine – even when I’d miss a day, I’d go back and write the recap so each day would have an entry. I got out of the habit some time in college (then back into it, then back out of it) but going through old entries has made me dust off my current journal and change my strategy.

1. Do not assume you’ll remember your friends 10 years later. Several times I’ve encountered names of people in my journal whom I obviously knew well at some point but cannot for the life of me remember who they are now (like Steven, Krysta and Matt – I know I didn’t go to school with anyone with those names, so who could they be? Youth group kids I guess?) I suppose last names might help but I feel silly including last names of people I feel I’ll always remember. But now I know better. You think you’ll always remember these experiences and people but you won’t.

2. There’s a place for vagueness and veiled references but a journal is not it (unless you want to hide your thoughts from snooping eyes?). At the time I thought I’d always remember what I was talking about but turns out that “I got in a tiff with so-and-so… I hope it blows over soon” is just not enough information to go on. The use of acronyms also proves cryptic: “I finally did my DBQ today! (Chris didn’t.)” What does this even mean??

3. Through re-reading my posts I've realized that I was nearly never home. Most posts involved being at someone else's house and I found quite a few lines like "We didn't get home until 1 a.m." I also barely remember doing any homework in high school but the journal tells me otherwise.

I've gone through the whole journal now and probably won't pick it up for another 10 years, which by then I'm sure I'll remember even less. And I'll probably laugh at myself all over again.

Midweek Tidbits

The trailer for the remake of "True Grit" looks pretty good. 

Gardens are the big trend for restaurants this year.

Friends for hire.

The tech battle of 2010 and beyond: iPhone vs. Android.


These are the cats at my aunt's and uncle's house in Greeley. My favorite is the upper left - I thought he looked like a bobcat. I texted Mark his picture and he texted back "Cute cat. No, you may not have one."

Who says you can't go home?

Time in Colorado: 68 hours

Old friends visited/seen: 12

Number of times pulled over: 1 (no ticket for Richard!)

Number of dogs to play with: 6

Number of cats to play with: 7

Traveling hours between Denver and literally all over the front range: 8 ½

Number of times I killed my old stick shift: 0 (oh yeah… bring it on ’86 Honda)