Thursday, January 31, 2008

Only One Month Behind!

That's WAY earlier than I usually am.

Those in the know will notice that I have not yet, this year, had "We Regret These Errors" or "Stuff I Did" or "Next Year's Resolutions" posts yet, and I'm sure you were losing sleep over it.

That will happen no longer. I don't really have a "We Regret These Errors" post in my head, and I'm not sure if that's because I did fewer things I regret or, alternatively, if I tried fewer things and then failed less. I tend to the latter assumption because I'm firmly of the belief that if you're not making mistakes, you're not trying hard enough, so even though I have fewer regrets, I'm a little sad about that. I swear I did some exciting things, though, and just in case you don't believe me, I am going to tell you all about them. Get a cup of coffee.

2007: A Recap


Still reeling from a horrible fight between friends, I cooked a lot and rediscovered my passion for classical music, which I filled my Landlord's house with as I utilized his huge, gourmet kitchen. I took time out to visit the LT's family in Texas for a well-deserved break in the sunshine, and went on just a few skiing trips, including one to Whistler.


In February, I MOVED into this gorgeous apartment. While there, I wrote this long post about feminism and sex, and the LT went to Texas again to attend the service for his aunt. I took the time to build a pegboard wall.


In March, I kicked off women's history month by co-writing a post with the LT about sororities and body image. My Little came to see me, I went to California, I went to Whistler, and I went to California again. Also I moved office buildings and joined a gym.


In April, the LT and myself met our friend Mike in Tahoe, and then I totaled up how much I'd spent on skiing, discovering it to be very expensive in terms of shoes but pretty cheap in terms of therapy. I had a long, snarky, judgmental, and thoroughly enjoyable discussion with my brilliant friend D about declining education standards. I wrote a long post about past decisions and got a THIRD speeding ticket in a year. Adding to my finance issues, I also donated to my alma mater. The LT and I attended his last Submarine Ball.


In May, I went to the dentist, not big news but still important, and learned how to clean before I hosted Mother's Day at my apartment, and I was helped along in this process by my discovery of (which I still don't use, but occasionally try). I skied on Cinco de Mayo and read Suze Orman and opened an IRA. I attempted to bike to work. Finally, the LT, myself, Titan, and our friend Dave went camping, and almost rolled Helter off a cliff. (Part 1.) (Part 2.)


In June, the LT and I celebrated our one-year anniversary with a dinner out and then a tasty breakfast of banana walnut pancakes, which I still drool over. Or maybe I'm just drooling over those GORGEOUS ROSES. I locked myself out of my apartment in bare feet, and had some further adventures in housekeeping. This happened right before my gorgeous cousin and her awesome fiance came to visit me, whom I then left in the care of the LT as I left for T-Town's Bachelorette Party Weekend, possibly the most relaxing and detoxing weekend ever. All of us, even the drivers, showed up extremely hungover, and after three hours of mineral bath and massage we felt young enough to pass for pre-teens.


Well, for one thing, T-Town GOT MARRIED in July! I explored summer culture, my good friend BLarr came to see me and Geeber, I stayed up until 3:30 am finished the final Harry Potter, and the LT and I went to a second wedding.


In August, my microwave blew up and I bought a motorcycle helmet, and the LT and I ran away to Seaside. After that, LT's friend Leslie came to visit us, making her the fourth set of houseguests I'd had so far. More exciting things happened as I went out with Julie, Dave's wife, and sat backstage for a Wilco concert when my Little came to town again. I entertained some vegans from the Vegan Freak forum (wow!) when they came to town.


In September, I went to MIAMI and on a CRUISE with some of my best friends ever! (More Miami pictures here and here!) LT went to Texas for his ten-year reunion and then built me a new computer as I flew back from Miami and had to fly out to San Jose the same day. I remember telling the MasterPark shuttle guy that I was back at the airport for the second time in four hours, and he said, "Holy Crap, you must be exhausted!" I got a landline and got in another fatal and friendship-ending fight, seems to be a theme this year but I've accepted both occurrences as necessary. LT had his motorcycle stolen while we were volunteering at Beerfest, and I threw an excellent Back to School Party. I bought a Polaroid camera for this event, and I swear I'll have pictures soon.


(Hang in there!) In October, I stopped being vegan, and the LT got his motorcycle back, thank Blog. I bought some Mary Kay and answered a lot of questions about my ING account. I met Crazy Aunt Purl on the LT's Birthday, I got banned from the Vegan Freaks website and was then flamed to eternity, and escaped from it all to go to Sacramento for my cousin's wedding. I also contributed my helping of snark to the world.


In November, I went to Boston, Baltimore, and Minnesota, none of them warm places but only really freezing in Minnesota. I posted my novel excerpt and voted, I celebrated Veteran's Day, and I said to my big sister. I spent several days in Baltimore staying with the amazing Sarah and saw my friend Anna get married. Much less impressive but still important, I tried Chez Gaudy, and started a real blogging job.


Finally, in DECEMBER, I burned a frittata, I got crafty for the holiday spirit, I turned 27 and discovered life-hacking, and attended about five million holiday parties. Finally, I ate at Quinn's and froze my rear off at New Year's Eve, inspiring a New Year's Resolution for next year!

Happy 2008 to everyone! Even if it's been around for a month already!

Extra, Extra! ONE DAY ONLY!

I'd like to wish a very special January 31st to the LT, who--as of the end of this day, I think--is no longer in active duty in the U.S. Navy. You'll notice that the countdown in the right side bar now says Countdown COMPLETED!

Running and Aarwenn: Fighting

It happened. I went on my run yesterday--at four minutes of running and three minutes of walking, this week--and I anticipated that it would be easy, as I was basically doing four minutes of running last week.

Well. Pride goeth before a fall, not literally in this case, but certainly my lungs felt like collapsing. Wednesday was an extremely windy day here in Seattle, and I had a hard time catching my breath. Not only that, but I ATE before I jogged--nothing serious, just a few crackers and tahini and a piece of chocolate--but I think even a little food is too much. The body tries to digest and exercise at the same time, and it's not possible. I ate because I have a fear, instilled in me by several years of experience, that I'll suddenly run out of calories, get light-headed, and pass out, something that has only happened once or twice in my life, but has almost happened at least a dozen times.

Taking the vegetable broth fast, however, seemed to practically sure me of this, an unexpected but very welcome side effect. For years I held on to the fact that my blood sugar was irregular, welcomed the sudden pressing needs to eat and the occasional light-headedness. I thought it made me look exotic, fragile, feminine, and might even require the purchase of a fainting couch one day, a great excuse to buy such an item. And when eating several small meals came into vogue a few years ago, I blended in much more with society, and eating every three hours no longer seemed odd.

Well. I'm done with looking fragile and exotic, if indeed that was how I appeared in the first place. Much more likely that I appeared whiny and high-maintenance, and I was constantly obsessed with food; I had to bring food with me everywhere, I always had snacks, and I was loathe to leave any food behind in case I wanted it later, so I was constantly carrying around bits of sandwich in huge boxes that would collapse and spill, half-full yogurts that I would have to choke down before boarding aircraft while the LT held all my bags and contemplated leaving my behind...well, behind, and so on. Drinking coffee and alcohol, too, seemed more treacherous; sometimes I'd metabolize it well, other times one cup of coffee or wine would either have me climbing walls or snoring and drooling.

I'm not sure if the vegetable broth weekend had any affect, or if it's more likely that five days to myself--not planned out, just happened--gave me some time to meditate on what was important to me and what kind of person I wanted to be, not to put too formal a spin on it. No matter the cause, I now find myself less obsessed with food. I eat it when I'm hungry, I don't eat it when I'm not. I seem to metabolize caffeine better, especially since I also weaned myself off of caffeine during that time. It's really not exciting to anyone but me, but I feel...more whole. More calm. Less fidgety and obsessive.

Now if I can just remember to not eat before running.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Food in Sad Times

My friend C lost her mother on Wednesday. There's no soft way to put that and it's not an easy thing to say, or to contemplate. I've grown up with C and her sisters and knew her parents well; I ate dinner there once or twice, and they were the first people to introduce me to fondue, that happy marriage of cheese and wine, one of the most perfect foods in the world. Her father passed away a few years ago, and her mother hung on until this year. They were both classically trained musicians, and their easy sophistication--and especially C's mother's tall, lanky grace--seemed like the last word in elegance.

I've been asked to play my flute for the service, as Petra was an excellent flautist, and I'm honored. I need to get out the flute TODAY to start practicing--it's been awhile and I'm scared I'll screw up, and I want it to be perfect for Petra.

In the meantime, there is food. I had the chance to see C last Thursday, and brought a few things--wine, chocolate gelato good enough to bathe in, fresh chevre from the local market. (I feel very posh being able to buy fresh-made chevre.) She cooked dinner, despite the fact that she had every excuse to subsist solely on cheese, chocolate, and wine for the next month, and we talked about old times. It seems as if those days are long gone, but I realized, driving home, having just had dinner with a girl I've known for fifteen years, that we are making our own good times, our own old times. History is happening now, even in the midst of sadness.

In Which Seattle Freezes Over and I Start Running

Seattle has apparently opted out of the global warming (so much for "global"), as it has snowed at least five times here since December. This may not seem like a lot to those of you who, say, live in Pittsburgh (shout out!) but here in Seattle proper, we might get snow once a year. Some winters go by with no snow whatsoever. For those of you who are now wondering why I keep talking about skiing, if there's no snow, come on out to Seattle and visit me and I will show you the wonders of elevation. Rain down here in the city means snow up above 2,000 feet, and since Seattle is somewhat known for its occasional rain, you can guess just how good our snow is.

In fact, it's been snowing all this morning; Titan and I took an early walk and actually frolicked in a nearby park, off-leash. (Shhhhhh!) He chased the snowballs I threw for him, crunching them to bits when he found them, and terrorized the local crows, something I think every city bird population needs once in awhile. (By all accounts, those crows are actually smarter than Titan, although I chose not to hurt his feelings by telling him that.)

And if snow in Seattle isn't, in itself, a sign of the apocalypse, I have been...



Not away from my fears or toward a Starbucks free coffee line or any such good excuse. No. I have been running, like, for exercise. With my iPod and safety vest. And Titan. I have been running for exercise, and the worst part is, I kind of...

...I kind of like it.

I never thought this would happen to me. I never used to MIND running, when I was younger, and actually ran track for a few ill-advised months in middle school. But as I grew up, went through puberty, started swimming, started smoking, discovered alcohol in college, etc--running grew less and less enjoyable. It wasn't in the water, which I loved. It wasn't dancing or step aerobics, which I also loved. It was the same step, over and over. No mental challenge, no excitement. I still loved walking, but running just exhausted me. And it was boring.

I'm not really sure what happened this time around. I read an excellent article (found in my beloved Blueprint) on running, which laid out a few guidelines for first time runners--DON'T expect to complete a marathon on your first try, start out with intervals of walking and running, take it slow, don't push yourself very hard--and I was feeling a little fat and out of shape and I thought, What the heck, right?

It's been three weeks now and I'm still doing it. I go three times a week, and I took the article seriously when it said to not push yourself too hard. The first week, I ran one minute and walked for three minutes, then repeated, for twenty minutes. The second week, I ran for two minutes, and backtracked on my progress a little as I tried to run errands while running. I learned that a) running up hills is a lot harder than running on flat ground, and b) a beginning runner has no real energy for anything else, including juggling poop bags, keys, an iPod, a dog, checks to cash, and groceries, and will invariably drop all at once and curse loudly, because you (and by you I mean "me) are just too tired to think of other words besides curse words.

Last week I started running for three minutes and walking for three minutes on flat-ish ground (this IS Seattle) with nothing in my hands except keys, an iPod, and a dog (and a poop bag) and had a much easier time, even not wanting to stop after three minutes and just deciding to keep going with the jog. This week I'm on four minutes of running and three minutes of walking, and I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I'm looking forward to it. I was surprised at how soon my lungs adapted, although they're still not in great shape; the first week, running a minute went okay, but I was grateful to fall into a walk again, and then by the end of the week a minute was no problem. By the end of the second week, two minutes was no problem, and like I said, by the end of the third week, I wasn't bothering to slow to a walk if I felt like jogging longer. I'm still scared that I'm going to lace up my shoes, get out the door, and suddenly find myself panting and cramping, the reaction I USED to get when running, but so far that hasn't happened and I'm still going. I don't work fast--even on my running parts, I'm still slowly jogging, Titan never breaks his fast trot--but I get there. I'm not afraid to slow down when I need it, as long as I'm technically still jogging and not walking.

I was also surprised at how well running fit into my schedule, which seemed to be too packed to accommodate even the most convenient of gym classes; between work and tutoring, I have only two week nights free, and I dreaded dedicating those to a gym, and paying outrageous gym fees to use it twice a week. Running has none of those problems. The only expensive things devoted to running are shoes and jogging bras (essential for a well-endowed girl like me, I love the Enell, which looks like chain mail but WORKS), and while both of those things wear out eventually, they're not monthly costs by any means. And running--especially right now at the twenty minutes that I spend--is a stupidly-quick method of exercising. I warm up for five minutes, jogging in place and maybe doing some jumping jacks, then just...head out my front door. No more than thirty minutes later, I'm back. Technically you could do your entire workout in less time that it takes to run a load of laundry, just in the washer alone.

Of course, just running isn't enough. I've also recently discovered the free workout videos in On Demand, if you are unlucky enough to have Comcast. Make the most of their pricey product and terrible customer service by doing every workout video on the the On Demand screen! Punch in your TV at the end! Therapy included! Moving on. Doing all the fitness videos would actually be impossible, unless you didn't work and had someone else to clean your house--there's a ton of them. Some are very cheesy, but some are quite good. Some are permanent fixtures and some are only there for a limited time--definitely check out the limited time ones first, as those are usually the better ones.

Finally, and I had no idea this would be such a long post, putting the right music on your iPod is more important even than warming up, and I think that's pretty important. I was completely inspired by this post on Bluelines, about half of which I have either downloaded or reserved at the library already. Here's mine:

Expect an update post when my knees give out. I still can't believe I'm doing this.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Have I not mentioned that I bought a dishwasher? I didn't? Good, I get to go over the whole story again.

For many months now, especially with all this cooking I've been doing, I've been bemoaning my lack of a dishwasher. It seems like I have a never-ending array of plates, silverware, and glasses, all of which could be washed in a dishwasher (seemingly) faster and easier than I could do it myself. And because my sink is very small, if I stack a few glasses and plates in it, then when a big thing comes along like a cast iron pan, and it can't go into the sink, it sits out, dirty, on the stove. Forever. And then the dishes pile up around it and I can't use the cutting board because that's where the dishes are, and really, I start to go crazy. And that's no good. I did some research and read a lot of reviews. I learned several important things:

1. The place that I had set aside for my portable dishwasher wasn't tall enough for even the smallest "portable" dishwashers. I'd have to get a countertop version.

2. There's about three brands of countertop dishwashers available on the market, all about the same price.

3. There's none available on freecycle or craigslist, and they don't seem to become available. Countertop dishwashers are apparently a niche market.

4. There are some on Ebay!

5. Made a purchase!

I got the Edgestar Countertop Dishwasher, featured in Apartment Therapy. My Christmas money went for it. (Thanks, Grandma.)

So far, it takes longer to wash dishes--especially big ones, because only a few fit in at once--but that's because I've been letting the dishes pile up for several days and so I'm running a lot of loads. I hope that after this I'll run the washer once or maybe twice a day, wash everything, and keep my kitchen cleaned of dirty dishes and crumbs. Hey, I can hope!

The problem is, neither will THIS dishwasher fit in the space I've provided for it, mainly because it has to be a maximum of six inches below the drain source (my sink, so it can't go on the floor.) Right now my kitchen is taken up by huge appliances. I will have to rearrange.

And I will keep y'all posted on the status of the dishwasher.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War: Feminism and Sex.

The LT and I just saw Charlie Wilson's War, an excellent little movie about an overlooked period in American history and also a great source of background on the conflict in Afghanistan today; we enjoyed it. In the movie, set in about 1985, Julia Roberts' character is a wealthy Texas woman who is extremely intelligent, well-informed, politically aware, and oh yes--drop dead gorgeous. She seduces Tom Hanks' character and convinces him to cash in his many favors and meet with the president of Pakistan at the time, President Zia, and intercede personally in what was then the Soviet slaughter of Afghanis. On the way to the dog park, the LT and I were discussing the movie, and I was musing about personal fantasies.

"Have you ever wanted to be a character either in real life or out of a story?" I asked. "As in, if you could redo your life and live someone else's life, actually be them, would you pick someone?"

"Sure," he answered. "Neil Armstrong, for example."

"I've always wanted to be someone like Julia Roberts' character," I said. "A woman with intelligence, power, a talent for subterfuge; the ability to know what she wants and go after it."

"But her character used sex to get what she wanted," he said. "Isn't that completely against the ideas of feminism?"

"Absolutely not," I said strongly. "Feminism is about treating men and women equally in the eyes of the law. At no point is the phrase 'and women can't use sex to get what they want' stated in my view of feminism." (See my piece on sexy coffee stands.)

"But isn't the idea that women shouldn't HAVE to do that? That they should be able to, instead of sleeping with a Congressman, that they should be able to BE the Congressman instead? Isn't that what power is, to be able to move budgets and send armies, instead of sleeping with someone who can move armies?"

"Absolutely not," I said again, even more strongly. "In fact, I view that as one of the fundamental flaws of the mainstream feminist movement, that it views the two kinds of power that men and women have traditionally had, where men make on-record decisions and move armies and women sleep with the men that move armies--often in order to convince them to move armies--as unequal. I strongly disagree. The two kinds of power ARE equal, it just depends on which you feel more comfortable with."

Julia Roberts' character was (I assume) a traditional woman from East Texas, who would certainly not have called herself a feminist (as the LT pointed out, and I agreed) and I'm sure she wouldn't have thought of herself as powerful. But she was, in her sphere. What she cared about--the people of East Texas, the rights of humans all over the world, the specific cause of the slaughter of Afghanis--it never occurred to her to sit on her hands and mourn and do nothing just because she was a woman. She saw what she could do and she did it, and that is the MEANING of power, the idea that you, as a person can change your world, and I don't give a damn how women (or men, for that matter) personally choose to do it. The great moralist Terry Pratchett might have said it best, in Carpe Jugulum: "If we were men," Nanny Ogg says simply, "we would be talking about laying down our lives for our country. As women, we can talk about laying down."

Feminism has achieved the MAJOR goal--and never for one second think that I don't realize what a major achievement it is--of bringing the U.S. to the state in which women can be U.S. Congressmen. And I think that is wonderful. But Feminism should stop there. At no point should it tell women, "So, now that you HAVE the power to be a Congressman, it is no longer good to SLEEP with a Congressman to influence him; that is wrong, bad, and not empowering." (A word that I'm coming to hate.) "The only way to have power is to follow this path that we (Feminists For the Greater Good of Women) have pre-chosen for you; namely, you must attempt to be the Congressman* yourself." And now that THIS is the only way to behave, it is a short step to see that by the same argument, all the PREVIOUS attempts by women to change history with our traditional powers--Cleopatra leaps immediately to mind--are now examples of what NOT to do, so perhaps all of that history is sort of okay, since it already happened, but not really how women TODAY should behave. And it's a short step from there to hate your own gender for its previous accomplishments, and I'm not going to bother to explain that because it's a very gender-specific thought.

Feminism should never, ever, tell women HOW to behave. It has, and still is, putting the legal avenues in place for women to be congressmen, senators, and even president. (Placing us behind PAKISTAN in electing a woman Head of State, but that's another story.) And its role is not only legal; legal anti-discrimination policies equal social change. But when feminism steps in to tell women how to behave in this new and bright world that Feminism has created for them, it is just another way to control the actions of women. And I am against that at all costs.

*For brevity's sake, I've left out the argument about the word Congressman vs. Congresswoman, which could easily take up three hours.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Definition of a Man Who Lives Dangerously

Me: "Hey, I've lost eight pounds!"
LT: (wraps his arms around me and squeezes, appearing to meaure) "Hmm...I'd actually say seven."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Post Written in Early December, When I Was Still Full of Hope

It’s a Saturday morning and I’m doing one of those things that Seattlelites are amazingly lucky enough to do: I’m taking the ferry, and it is gorgeous.

It’s stunningly blue, stunningly bright. I just passed a lighthouse, which must have once seemed very tall but now seems to be fighting to hold its own against a forest of gigantic evergreens that has grown up around it. The horizon is too hazy to see either mountain range, which is almost a good thing—it occurs to me that having so much beauty around us, with water and mountains and hills of green, perhaps lowers the visual impact of each one. Today the ferry is sailing on a dislocated sea of blue, cradled only by haze and evergreens.

It’s Christmas time, and the LT and I did the normal thing and decorated his house—in a minimal way—for the winter holidays, hoping that might have some effect on the buyers. No angels, nothing that would be overly Christian, just a wreath and some ribbon. And two plants outside. My own apartment is not decorated yet; that waits for Thursday and T-Town Girl. But it’s not like I’ve been avoiding Christmas or my tasks altogether; heck, no! In fact, I discovered a very cheap way to do your Christmas shopping in Seattle: walk.

No, really. In jeans and comfortable shoes, you can easily walk from Capitol Hill to downtown, and catch a bus—for 1.25—on the way back, and you will have saved about ten dollars in parking and, if you’re me, a 35 dollar parking ticket. (By the way, I spent Friday morning defending two recent parking tickets, and got them both canceled. Thank you, city of Seattle.) I spent a whopping 87 dollars at Ross and got things for almost everyone on my list. Adding in the 2.75 cheese and tomato crumpet I got, the 2.52 chai, and the 1.64 tea, and that’s still incredibly cheap for a day of shopping. A full day, meals included! As I said before, there are many days where I just spend that at Starbucks alone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Best Comment About My Looks, Ever

Me, describing the situation at my new work site:

"Well, I'm the only girl among about thirty young men. I'm not model good-looking or anything, but-"

Jen: "Yes, you are!" (Then she takes in my jeans and unwashed hair.) "I mean, when you're cleaned up a bit..."

Hello to everyone! It is Tuesday, I'm still in debt but getting better, and I just ensured I would nullify all my getting-out-of-debt activities by planning travel to NYC, Pittsburgh, and Japan, in chronological order, clearly not in order of importance. That's right, I said Japan. The aforementioned Jen and her awesome husband, J, (and their last name starts with J, too) are off to Japan (which also starts with J) in May for about ten days, and I am determined to go with them. Having just paid down my American Express bill by $1500, I am all ready to charge it up again. The LT can't go, sadly, as he just started his Brand New Civilian Job! and has no vacation, but he said I could go anyway and I'm holding him to that.

In addition, I have lost six pounds--back to losing weight again, yay to losing weight but boo to HAVING to lose weight again--and I have bought this dishwasher, with Christmas money (thanks, Grandma).

It's amazing how personal improvement seems to happen in waves. Why is it so much easier to suddenly stop buying things and save like crazy to pay off an American Express bill than to just save throughout the year? Why is it easier to gain and lose weight than to just keep at a constant weight? A mystery, I tell you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blogging the Relationship: Dracula

Me: "I finished Dracula!"
LT: "Wow, all in one day?"
Me: "Yes. It was really incredible. I expected it to be dry and it wasn't, not at all. I devoured it, no pun intended."
LT: "Good! Glad you enjoyed it. I hoped you would."
Me: "One odd thing, though. Not to put too feminist a spin on a classic work about my favorite subject, but I noticed some interesting views on women in that book. When human, they were these perfect examples of purity, innocence, and goodness, the perfect woman, who never had an impure thought or cursed or had any desire whatsoever. When they were in their vampire state, they were seductive, wanton, voluptuous, all 'kiss me, kiss me', with deep, kissable lips."
LT: "That's not how women are in real life?"

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Apartment

Yes, finally. It's here. The pictures from the Re-Organization of my apartment, affected by T-Town, and while you're at, she finally updated her blog today. I'm so proud.

First things first: Christmas tree.

It looks good from outside the window, too.

Mirror, decorated for Christmas. Sorry for the bluriness, but I hate flash.

Other mirror, decorated for Christmas. (See the little red bow?)

The whole setup, with both mirrors:
The picture in the middle is caricature done of my father when he was younger than I am now.

Eating nook:


Close up of the entry way, and you can see the range of my apartment to the rear of this picture, through the eating nook to the TV area.

Closeup of a Holiday decoration.

From the entry way we move on to the dog on the sofa:
Titan sez: Stop taking my picture. (You can see one of the chairs of the eating nook behind the sofa, if you're trying to get a sense for how my apartment is laid out.)

And finally, the view from the sofa:
Sofa and CD tower both scored for free off Freecycle, my favorite thing in the world.

And one more just for kicks:
My kitchen, with my favorite sign in the apartment.

That's all, folks! Hope you enjoyed! Notice there are no pictures of the computer at which I spend all of my time or the glowing pink exercise ball, so really this is a completely unrepresentative view of my apartment, but that's all that design magazines show anyway. Somewhere in there is an exercise bike, a computer, and a pink exercise ball--now you know.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I Found the Falafel Truck!

So much of Capitol Hill is mysterious--it reminds me in that way of Europe, even the big cities where the fad of American customer service has had time to penetrate. Stores are open some days, they're not other days. Sometimes they're closed for weeks and then suddenly re-open. Sometimes they close for religious observance days. Sometimes storefronts only operate for a day and are actually an art installation. Whatever.

So you just have to keep going out, being on the street, walking different routes, and also checking back by places you want to see more of. And when you see the thing you want, YOU HAVE TO GRAB IT because it may not be there the next day.

Case in point:

Picture by LT.*

While stumbling out of the Cha-Cha--I think, my memory's sort of fuzzy--I saw this falafel truck and jumped for joy on the sidewalk. No, I really did. I have been LOOKING for this truck EVERYWHERE--in Georgetown, where I hear they did lunch, in Capitol Hill the last time I was there, and couldn't find him--so I was super excited to see the bright yellow truck in its customary alleyway by Cafe Vita. LT and T-Town Girl went to get hot dogs--I didn't care. I wanted my falafel. The tahini sauce is creamy, the falafel is spicy and yummy, not dry and bland like so many other falafels, and Rick, the guy who runs the truck (Shout-out!) is totally nice and pretty punk, in a good way. And you get a pickle, which is totally cool. All joking aside, this is some damn good falafel, the best I've had in Seattle.

*LT called me from Texas and demanded credit for this photo. I have created a monster.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

I Am Doing What I Thought I Would Never Do

I am on a fast for the weekend, and I haven't had any caffeine since FRIDAY. (Outside of chocolate.)

Update: I started this post yesterday, and since then I definitely did not stick to the fast, supposed to be just vegetable broth and a few cooked vegetables. I have homemade cookies and rolls in my kitchen, and I am just a weak woman. But still, I have eaten very little, and it feels great. I'm not light headed or weak, and my brain still seems to be working. I'm even cleaning the house. Not like there's anything else I can do. I'm sick and trying not to spend money. (Sorry--was that bitter?)

Still, it's a worthwhile effort, I think, to attempt to reset your body for a weekend. I crossed a lot of things off my to-do list, including find my camera (which was lost for a week), cook all the vegetables in my fridge, take Titan to a dog park, and take down my Christmas decorations--but not before I photographed them!--and a host of other things. Most enjoyable. I missed a few important things--a friend's birthday party that I was much too sick to go to, and a night of hanging out at a friend's house--but I got a lot of personal things done, and that is great. Hope everyone's weekend was just as enjoyable.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Time Warp/Space Warp

You ever have one of those mornings where you get up and you stumble around for a minute and you think, "What the hell day is it? What day was yesterday? What's the last day I can remember?" and then you realize you haven't even been drinking?

I woke up this morning tired, stumbled out into my living room and almost tripped on my bike, which I'd spend an hour setting up on the trainer and riding the night before, and then was equally surprised by my gigantic pink exercise ball that I blew up to be a chair in front of my computer. Lifting Titan's leash off the hook by the door, I looked at the new prong collar attached to it and thought, "Wow, did I buy that only YESTERDAY?"

I don't why it happened like that. It was just one of those morning.

As the most casual reader has already guessed, the bike propped up on an exercise trainer and the gigantic pink exercise ball have been installed solely to annoy the, I mean, because of New Year's Resolutions! Although I fear they will annoy the LT greatly--my apartment is already quite small, and a large glowing pink rubber ball and a bike sitting on a trainer just take up more of the space, and the LT will be spending quite a lot of time here in the future as he is in the process of moving from 75 miles away to FIVE miles away! Yay!

Pretty soon we'll have a real, in-the-city relationship. I'll get to see him on weeknights. We can watch TV together, take Titan to the dog park together, maybe even cook together. Maybe we can become less dependent on going out to eat and join a gym. Maybe I'll suddenly develop the discipline needed to finish my novel and sell it. Maybe all sorts of things.

No matter what, time with the LT will now be in abundance. This has put all sorts of thoughts in my head, none of them asking if they're allowed there or saying as much as excuse me. Suddenly I'm looking forward to cooking for him, seeing what he likes and doesn't like, maybe moving beyond the world of "sauce made out of everything" over "leftover pasta". I'm picturing myself spending time with him in the evenings and making dessert, or maybe bread, while he chills, being online or maybe watching TV, and then I pretty much want to stab myself in the eyeball because I can't BELIEVE I am imagining a scenario where the LT will sit on the sofa and I'll be cooking and I'll be HAPPY about it.

Here's real life: I'm tutoring three nights a week--Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday--so there will be no Betty Crockering on those nights, and when I'm not tutoring, I'm going to want the TV to myself, goddammit, because I too have shows I want to watch and they all feature stylish women in the work place making funny, sarcastic comments about each others' love lives while dressed impeccably with perfect lighting. And at no point do I enjoy cooking for the LT without him helping me, or at least watching, or at least being within shouting distance as he relays me the news of the day or I can ask him to chop garlic and onions (something he used to do a lot when my kitchen was open, but now as the kitchen is barely big enough for two people, it never happens. Boo.) And even if we do cook together and I get control of the TV, WHEN am I going to ride my exercise bike or do sit ups on my glowing pink exercise ball? I positively drip with sweat when on the bike and then I make unattractive groaning sounds as I do sit ups, and I'm not sure I want the love of my life seeing me in either of those situations.

Those of you who live with or within biking distance of your significant others, how do you DO it? Hope he comes home later than you do or that he leaves earlier? Wake up way earlier? Agree that you won't spend time together more than two nights a week because of tutoring and a night or two to myself? I'm doing the math and it's not adding up. Help.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I Haven't Forgotten About You All!

I have spent most of my vacation singing in choir, skiing (five times so far!), buying gifts and wrapping them (kraft paper and string looked great), attending way more holiday parties than I thought possible, and eating. A Lot. I am a little fat, but enjoying myself hugely.

Also I completely failed at getting my cards out, have lost my camera (hopefully just misplaced it), asked a guy about our relationship future for the very first time in my life ever, and taken Titan to a dog park. Happy 2008 to everyone!