Life’s a gas, laugh it up

Don’t you hate it when you pass someone on the freeway who’s been pulled over and think to yourself, SUCKA, and then you get pulled over yourself?

Before you ask me how much my ticket was, this didn’t actually happen to me. But I was in my gym’s parking garage the other day waiting to exit when it became apparent that the guy in front of me hadn’t gotten his parking pass validated by the gym. Since the cost of the garage without validation is a solid $8 (yes, I’ve forgotten to get my ticket validated once too), I could see that he was attempting to talk his way out of the parking garage. And from experience I knew there was no way he was getting out without either paying the $8 or reversing out of the lane, parking again, and getting the ticket validated.

We (the car behind me and I) sat there for a few minutes while he waved his arms around and the faithful parking attendant shook her head and pointed to the adjacent lane where he could pull over if he wished. He finally acquiesced and sent his significant other to me and the car behind me to ask politely if we could back up to which I replied cheerily, ‘twasn’t a problem, I’ve been in the same situation.

Then I pulled up to the attendant and handed her my validated ticket.

“Your ticket isn’t validated either!”

I’m sure I looked shocked as I exclaimed, “What?!” and took it back from her, sure she’d made a mistake. But she hadn’t. So I bit the bullet, reversed (by this time the car behind me was getting frustrated), pulled in behind the first offender and ran for the elevator. I’m not paying $8 just for a work-out!

This wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t actually realized at the BEGINNING of my gym session that I had left my parking ticket in the car, ran out to the car to get it, and handed it to the front desk attendant to be stamped. She took it and did something with it, but apparently did not stamp it. Thanks for nothin’.

And the moral of this story is to never show your frustration or impatience when the person ahead of you is taking their sweet time, because YOU could be the next person wasting someone’s time! I ended up crossing paths with the first car’s passenger, she on her way out of the gym and I on my way back in, and we both laughed at ourselves.

You know you read too much Sounders news when…

February 2011 045
Qwest Field, taken from the Smith Tower observation deck.
You hear off-hand at a game that a defender is out with a concussion and respond with, “Really? I didn’t see that on today’s injury report.”

A post-workout dinner

There’s nothing like a hearty bowl of pasta after a workout of squats and deadlifts! I’ve heard it’s important to nourish your body shortly after a workout so your body can recuperate properly and also so your body “learns” that you’ll give it what it needs to build muscle and burn fat. So I pulled together some foods from the kitchen to give myself the mix of carbs, protein and healthy fats (and some not-so-healthy ones) my body needed post-workout. And it included bacon – get excited.
  • 3/4 cup of bowtie pasta
  • 1/2 cup of frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 slice of bacon, diced (preferably the thick-cut slices from the deli)
  • Olive oil
  • Preferred seasonings: I used garlic salt, onion powder, and dried parsley (garlic and onion… I’m such a treat)
Start the pasta a-boiling. Fry the bacon (yummers) and dry on a paper towel. Next, I washed out the bacon pan and steamed the edamame in it. Drain the pasta and the edamame and combine those two with the bacon. Drizzle it with some olive oil! Normally I’d use butter here but since we ran out the other day, olive oil was the next best thing. Plus, it’s probably better to avoid the butter anyway if you are already going to have the bacon fat. Right? Fine, let’s be honest, if we had butter it would have totally made it in, bacon or not! Then season to your heart’s desire. Red pepper flakes would’ve been an excellent addition but I didn’t think of it until now.

Confession: I could’ve used leftover rotisserie chicken instead of bacon but, uh, the bacon will go bad if I don’t use it so, uh, say YES to bacon. The edamame’s the real powerhouse here: over 8 grams of protein in half a cup.



#26: Butternut Squash and Green Bean Curry

NOT my best night.

I’d planned on making this nearly a month ago and had bought a butternut squash at the time, so I fully expected the squash to be rotten by now. I wish it had been, for it would have saved me some time and frustration.

I wanted to use frozen green beans instead of the fresh ones the recipe called for because I knew I had some stowed away in our freezer. Of course, when the time came to add them after I’d steamed the squash, I realized they were completely and thoroughly freezer burned. I suppose I could’ve just eaten the steamed squash and called it a night, but I figured since I had the time then I might as well just find another vegetable to substitute – I settled on frozen shelled edamame.

Everything was going well until the moment came to add the specified spice to the dish: whole mustard seeds. I began browsing our steadily growing spice shelf for the mustard I was positive I had bought weeks before: hmm, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, pepper, cinmamon, turmeric, cayenne, thyme, oregano… where were those stupid mustard seeds? I took every spice off the shelf and still no mustard seeds. A faint realization came to me that perhaps I hadn’t bought those mustard seeds after all.

To the Internet! The Internet told me that powdered mustard could be substituted for mustard seeds but the flavor wouldn’t be quite the same. But what else could I do? I’d gone way too far to stop. I made the substitution and finished the dish, and it was kind of blah. I actually liked the edamame in it but without the main spice, there was nothing special holding together the mix of rice, vegetables and coconut milk. Of course, I ate the entire dish over a few meals so it wasn’t a complete wash. OH and I discovered that butternut squash is the MOST AMAZING vegetable ever. I think I’ve eaten it almost every day for a week – bring on the beta carotene! Soon I’ll turn orange!

Substitutions/omissions: the edamame for green beans and the powdered mustard for mustard seeds. The edamame worked but the powdered mustard lacked the pizzazz that whole mustard would have provided.

Mistakes: See above.

Repeat? I did like it though it was boring, and I will try again when I have actual mustard seeds in my possession.


Word on the street is that spring might finally be here at last?

It's been a LONG winter.

I cheer myself up by looking at cute springy clothes!


Where on earth have I been?

Work has been exceptionally busy lately, especially since I've been preparing for our three-week trip to Central America in April. I want to get everything done and prepared before we leave.

Items I still need for our vacation:
  • Sunglasses (Nordstrom, I'm looking at you - BP selections are only $10!)
  • Higher socks I can wear with my adorable hiking shoes so they won't rub my feet and give me not-so-adorable blisters.
  • A new camera? My trusty Canon Powershot (4.0 megapixels -- top of the line at the time!) has been with me for six years now and is showing its age. The casing is coming apart slightly at the seams and it tends to get stuck on video mode unless you know exactly how to hold the slider that changes the mode from video to camera (I'm a pro at this, but handing it off to others to take a picture of you proves tricky). And it would be awful for it to die during the trip!
Less than three weeks until Central America! No puedo esperar!

A sunny Saturday (two weeks ago)

I meant to publish this weeks ago but somehow I found it in my drafts?

The view from the Smith Tower downtown. You can see the Space Needle between buildings on the right, and the Olympics stretching out in the distance. I recommend the Smith Tower for views of Seattle rather than the Space Needle - the same view for half the price!

Dang bees

Yesterday I discovered a drowned yellow jacket in our kitchen sink.

Let me back up.

Wednesday I came home with an armload of groceries and nearly stepped on a yellow jacket camped on our kitchen floor. We had a staredown for a few moments during which I tried to decide if he was injured or just trying to intimidate me. Since he didn’t try to fly away but was obviously alive, I grabbed the nearest large weapon – a kitchen towel. I slapped him a few times with it but he just buzzed along the floor and, most importantly, DIDN’T DIE. He was too big to squish but too injured to fly away, so I trapped him under a plastic container and left him on the floor while I made dinner and washed dishes. At some point I remembered that we had an invasion of yellow jackets during the summer due to a nest lodged under our deck within the house. After weeks of killing yellow jackets who had meandered into the apartment during the day through the open windows (we’d come home to five or 10 of them crawling on the floor or languishing in the window sills), we finally called the landlord to get rid of the dang thing (also our friends were starting to get nervous to sit near the windows). The nest was promptly removed because, as our landlord said, what if they came further into the house and found a way into our apartment from the inside?

I then dropped to my knees and inspected where the floor met the walls but I didn’t find any others. This one must have just gotten lost. After dinner, I decided to move him from the kitchen floor to the kitchen counter so I gingerly slid a piece of paper under the plastic container and transported him to the counter, where I left him while I went and visited a friend. Mark came home later and “discovered” him (“Why is there a yellow jacket on the counter??” “I told you he was there!”) and must’ve nudged him into a water-filled bowl in the sink and left him there, where I found him the next day.

I almost texted Mark, “Why am I coming home to a dead yellow jacket in the sink?”

But then I figured I’d probably get back, “Why did I come home to a LIVE yellow jacket on the counter?” Fair question.

Birthday flowers


Courtesy of Mark and Metropolitan Market :)

Cupcakes and the Fifth Avenue Theatre

My sweet friend Maile treated me on my birthday eve with a cupcake and a musical downtown, the Pulitzer prize-winning "Next To Normal." It was literally my last day to take advantage of the 5th Avenue Theatre's $20 ticket price for those 25 years old and under and the ticket guy didn't even card me. Which, really, is very odd considering every other time we've bought those tickets we've had to show our IDs before they'll even bring out the seating chart. We cajoled him into asking for my ID anyway, since I'd never be able to use the discount again.

Thus begins a new era of paying adult ticket prices. But first, a recap of the shows the 5th Avenue Theatre so generously let me attend for only $20:

1. Next To Normal, with Maile - thank you friend!

2. Into The Woods, which I begged Mark to take me to since we had done the show in high school.

3. Mame, the originator of the Christmas song "We Need A Little Christmas" (who knew?) and co-starring the man who voiced Gaston in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", which sent me into a state of awestruck anticipation. My what a guy, that Gaston!

4. A Christmas Story, the musical version of the beloved movie of the same name, which we saw with our friend Nicole.

5. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - this one ranks well in our memory because we ended up with seats in the center of the fourth row for $20. Lucked out!

I wish I'd taken advantage of more shows at that price but I guess we'll have to pay full price like normal people now. But it was great while it lasted!

Estudiando espanol

In preparation for our trip to Central America next month, I’ve been seeking out resources for conversational Spanish. I’ve been spending time on, which has great basic lessons on grammar, and I’ve been downloading and listening to podcasts from Radio Lingua Network, which has a program called Coffee Break Spanish – 20-minute lessons great for my drive home from work or the treadmill. The only roadblock to Coffee Break Spanish is that the hosts have Irish accents, which confuse me at times! But I love their intro song, which includes the line “Mas cerveza, por favor! Cafecito, I want more!” I’m going out on a limb here, but I don’t think beer would help my speaking skills. :)

Studying Spanish grammar has made me realize how much I’ve forgotten (or perhaps didn’t know in the first place) English grammar. If you were to ask me what the present perfect tense or imperfect tense is, you’d get a blank stare and a shrug. My friend Melanie, on the other hand, can rattle off definitions of those tenses at the drop of a hat. But then she is an English teacher, so we expect that from her! Mel also told me about a site called where people can schedule “meet-ups” to discuss common interests. I know it sounds sketchy, but my friend and I went to a conversational Spanish meet-up a couple weeks ago (at a bar on Capitol Hill no less) and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Well… to be honest, my Spanish-speaking level was just below being able to converse with most other people there, but it gave me a great guideline of what I need to work on and how much I actually know. I thought that most attendees would be from Spanish-speaking countries or perhaps students, but plenty of nationalities were represented – I spoke (marginally) with a French girl and a Ukranian man, as well as a guy from Mexico and an American girl who now teaches Spanish. I want to go back soon – necesito practicar! (I need to practice!)


Like double-fisting, only completely work appropriate and much less hazardous.