#14: Visit the San Juans

Mark and I took a mini vacation up to Orcas Island last weekend to celebrate our third anniversary, so I got to cross #14 off my 100 list! I've heard such great things about the San Juan Islands and I can't believe it has taken me eight years of living in the northwest to visit one. I didn't have a specific reason for choosing Orcas other than I had some friends who had gone before, and I secretly hoped to see an orca whale while we were there. That didn't pan out unfortunately but I have no regrets. This little trip reminded me that while we talk a lot about world traveling, there are still plenty of locales worth visiting that are close to home!

I've posted more pictures after the jump: click the link below to expand the post.

Sewing projects?

For some reason I thought learning to sew was on my 100 list but I was apparently wrong. Regardless, my mom sent me her sewing machine but it's been sitting in my closet for a couple of months while I figured out an easy project to ease me into it. Then my friend Sharon suggested we sew some scarves and I jumped at the chance! So I can now thread the bobbin and thread the machine all by myself, and sew in at least a semi-straight line. Above is the photographic proof. Funny thing though: we set up the machine on a coffee table and sat on the floor, but you can't really operate the foot pedal while you're sitting on the floor. So our sewing was a dual effort with one of us guiding the fabric and the other one operating the pedal. Cooperation makes it happen!

So if you have any *easy* projects to send my way, please do!

At season’s end

I didn’t end up with the winning season but I didn’t end up with a losing season either! I came out in the middle of the pack: four wins and four losses. Unfortunately, my last win had to come as an opponent forfeit but hey, I’ll take it!


The league standings haven’t been updated as some aren’t done with the season yet so I’m still waiting to hear if I’ve made it into the end-of-year tournament, which is similar to the season where you get the schedule in advance and organize the matches yourself. I hope we hear soon because I have a feeling our prime weather may be waning, though we’ve been lucky to have had such a streak of sunny days this October.


So we shall see, tournament-wise. One of my reasons for joining the league was to meet some other tennis players in the area and since I now have a list of girls I can call up for a friendly, I consider the whole thing a success. :)

A tennis update

Remember that time I told you I joined a tennis league? I’m now six games into the eight-game season with a record of 3-3, though one of those wins occurred because of an opponent’s forfeit due to injury. I’ve so enjoyed being a part of this league and I’ve had a great time meeting other tennis players in the Seattle area and playing a friendly but competitive match. 


My most challenging match so far came earlier in the season where I lost the first set 2-6, then was down in the second set 2-4 but came back to win the set 6-4. We called the match in the third set while I was up 2-0 because we were playing by the light of one streetlamp in the parking lot and both of us were practically playing blind. It was getting dark by the time we started the second match and at one point I suggested we reschedule since the courts didn’t have lights and it was getting hard to see. My opponent didn’t want to though (she was up 4-2 at the time and was probably hoping to finish me off) so we continued and I kicked my competitiveness into high gear, unfortunately for her. Even though we did have to eventually call the match and I took the win, I felt that it was more of a mental victory – you can always come from behind for the win! I just figured, hey, if I’m playing blind then so is she!


The only downside to a fall tennis league in the northwest is the weather. So far I’ve been able to play all my matches outside – it’s my personal goal to get through this season without having to reserve an indoor court. Nothing against indoor courts, but man are they expensive here! There are only two options in the Seattle/Bellevue area and the Seattle court takes the cake for most expensive at a hefty $36 per hour. The Bellevue courts aren’t much better - $32 per hour. But I hear we’ve got a spate of sunny days coming our way so I’m going to try to get my last two matches scheduled during them. The goal is to end the season with a winning record of 5-3, so I’ll let you know how that goes!

Lost and found!

I was THIS close to ending up with a dog this weekend.

And when I say THIS close I mean I could’ve kept him for a couple of hours and then had to whisk him away to an animal shelter. But fortunately for little Helmud, it didn’t come to that.

I had dropped off our car for its oil change and was jogging back to our house when I nearly stumbled over a collarless chihuahua wandering the sidewalk alongside a busy road. If it were any other dog, I wouldn’t have stopped. But everyone knows that chihuahuas can’t really take care of themselves and I was afraid he would get hit or die from cold, so I stopped and looked around for his owner. No one was in sight so I knelt down to the dog and tried to get him to come to me, to no avail. He wasn’t interested in me at all, only in peeing on everything he could see (no joke). He seemed skittish when I reached out to pet him so I gave him some time and he eventually warmed up to me. So I scooped him up and headed to the apartment complex we were in front of since I thought his owner probably lived inside.

We hung out around the front of the complex for a while as I waited for someone to come out (stalker) but no one did, so I headed around the block to the alley behind the complex and made up my mind to talk to the first person I saw. As I walked down the alley, a garage opened and I saw a couple heading from their house to the garage. Before they got in their car, I approached them and asked them if this lost dog looked familiar. Imagine my shock when they told me they did, and that they were pretty sure the owner lived in the apartment building I had just been stalking and also pointed out her apartment (her balcony faced their house).

So I did what any good stalker would do – I went back to the apartment building and started ringing doorbells! A guy and his dad came out to look at the dog but told me it didn’t look like the chihuahua that did live in their building, which disheartened me. What on earth was I going to do with this dog? I couldn’t just put it back down and walk home but I also couldn’t take it anywhere since I didn’t have my car and I didn’t want to bring it to the apartment because dogs are not allowed. So I stood outside the building for a while and looked lost.

Then, miracle of miracles.

A family parked in front of the building and got out of their car. The man looked at the dog and said tentatively, “Helmud?”

Turns out the chihuahua was his mom’s dog, who did indeed live in the unit pointed out to me by the couple in the alley. And her son just happened to pull up outside while I contemplated what to do with little Helmud. So I turned him over (somewhat reluctantly by this point but I’m pretty sure Helmud peed on me) and said my goodbyes. Then I called Mark and said he was darn LUCKY that I didn’t come home with a chihuahua. And that I wanted one.

I’ve Seen You Somewhere Before… part three

If you watched last week’s “Community” on NBC you saw a cameo by Martin Starr as the college political science professor. I couldn’t place him at first (he looked SO different) but a little IMDB search proved he’s the same guy from the since-defunct Starz product “Party Down” as well as from the older “Freaks and Geeks”. I couldn’t find a good screen shot to include here to show you what he looks like, so instead I found this hilarious image of him with fellow “Party Down” co-star Jane Lynch (better known as Cheerios coach Sue Sylvester from “Glee”). It’s not really the best shot of him but I just thought it was too funny not to include.

In other cameo news, I was delighted to see David Cross on this week’s “Modern Family” episode, especially after hearing that there will be one more season of “Arrested Development” leading up to a feature film based on the series.

I’ve Seen You Somewhere Before… part two

I used to be a big SNL fan. And when I say that, I mean I watched it post-Will Ferrell and  that crew so I know I missed the golden years, but still. Sometimes I still watch it on Hulu but I’m no longer willing to stay up late to watch it, especially since someone *ahem, Mark* just falls asleep during it anyway. Nonetheless, I remain a huge fan of Kristen Wiig’s and feel like I’m supporting Kristen by supporting her former castmates so today I’m throwing the spotlight on Casey Wilson.

CaseyWilsonCasey was only on SNL for a year and a half, but that’s long enough to help me recognize her when she’s moved on to greener pastures, namely ABC’s “Happy Endings” where she co-stars alongside Elisha Cuthbert (“24”) and Damon Wayans, Jr., among others. I probably won’t watch the show (I’m following way too many shows at the moment) but I saw the first 10 minutes of this season’s premiere and was entertained.

Tomorrow: Martin Starr!

I’ve Seen You Somewhere Before… part one

Fall television is finally back! Now I have MORE excuses to not clean the apartment. And with new shows come new faces and perhaps some old ones, to which this post is dedicated.

Exhibit A: Max Greenfield
Viewers of FOX’s “New Girl” starring Zooey Deschanel may see familiar face Max Greenfield, best known (at least to me) as Leo D’Amato from the CW’s “Veronica Mars”. Mark and I went through a huge “Veronica Mars” phase last year when we discovered the series on Netflix and burned through all three seasons. Max played Veronica’s love interest, a sweet-talking, small-town cop. I’m always glad to see anyone at work after “Veronica Mars” since it was canceled WAY too soon.

Speaking of FOX, mind if I go on a little tangent? I didn’t think so. FOX locks their episodes online on Hulu and on their website so you can’t watch them until eight days after the air date. An eight-day delay means that now I can NEVER watch their shows when they actually air because I missed the series premieres, and now I’ll always be behind with no way to catch up. The only way around this is to watch it online through Comcast but you have to be subscribed to their cable service, which we aren’t. Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? No other network does this. So now if YOU wanted to check out “New Girl”, you’re doomed to only watching it online because you can’t get caught up. FOX is missing out on potentially higher ratings here. I wish I could say I’m boycotting FOX in protest but Zooey Deschanel is too adorable and I need my “Glee” fix. Dang FOX and their addictive programming.

Tomorrow: Casey Wilson!

Spicy tomato basil soup

I’ve been a little under the weather this week, which always means it’s time to dust off the trusty soup recipes. I found a great recipe last year for tomato basil soup that I use and tweak depending on what ingredients I have on hand.
  • 2 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 TBSP sugar, more to taste
  • 1 cup of cream or half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 20 leaves of basil (or dried basil to taste)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, more to taste
I puree the tomatoes beforehand to make a smoother soup but you don’t have to if you prefer your soup a bit chunkier (or don’t want to bust out the blender). Add the crushed tomatoes and broth to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir to melt. Reduce to a simmer. Add the cream, butter and basil and stir to combine. The soup is ready when the butter is melted!

Some notes:
  • I’ve used diced tomatoes as well as whole tomatoes in place of the crushed tomatoes and haven’t been able to achieve the same texture that crushed tomatoes give. I’m not sure what’s so different about the crushed tomatoes but I think they make the best soup. If you go the whole tomato route, a good starting point is a peeled and seeded tomato. That was the problem with the diced tomatoes: all the seeds.
  • You could probably use milk in place of the cream or half-and-half, but the soup will be thinner. Don’t look at the calorie count of cream – it’ll make you faint! Or go look but you might never eat it again! You’ve been warned.
  • I prefer my soup spicy so I use a healthy sprinkling of cayenne pepper. This may be too much for some people but if you like spicy food then I completely recommend it.