Sunday, February 27, 2005

Reading, pt 2

Back in my post in early January about things I wanted to do this year, I said I was going to keep a running list of books I'd been reading. I try to do this every year, because I like looking back through them later to see which ones have left an impression, but my lists are sporadic at best.

So since reading is the subject lately on here, I thought I'd try to get a starting list together. As far as I can remember, this is what I've been reading since the list was formed:


  • Rules of the Wild, Francesco Marciano - loved this one, but I posted about that a few days ago.
  • Magical Thinking, Augustan Burroughs - disliked the first couple chapters, which seemed like a clone of David Sedaris, but after that it got very unique and absorbing. I enjoyed it enough that I followed it up with...
  • Among Flowers, Jamaica Kinkaid - great, classic Kinkaid
  • The Sweet Life - Reflections on Home and Garden, Lauara Stoddan. Eh. Nothing special.
  • Stone Garden, Molly Moynahan - bought it ages ago, finally read it. What to say about this one? It was one of the most beautifully done but incredibly painful books I've read in a while. I had to keep putting it down to sob convulsively. But it wasn't sappy, just incredibly real. I'm glad I read it. I'm keeping my distance from it now, but will probably read it again someday.
  • Creative Vegetable Gardening, Joy Larken - potager stuff
  • The Art of the Kitchen Garden, Jan Gertley - ditto
  • Encyclopedia of Snow, Sarah Maino - I. Did. Not. Get. This. Weirdweirdweird. Random bits of stuff that's supposed to form a story but I did not see said story amid all the bits. Interestingly, I can't find this on Amazon.
  • The Center of Everything, Laura Moriarty - enjoyed it, but a couple days after finishing it I couldn't remember what it was about.
  • 3-4 guidebooks about Paris. (January obsession #1)
  • 5-6 books on kitchen design. (January obsession #2)
  • Nearly all of Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson - I like it, I really do, and I'm almost done. But the book is so fricking heavy, physically. It's not like you can read it in the bathtub, or at the gym. Just hefting it is a workout in itself.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon - wonderful.
  • The Good Wife Strikes Back, Elizabeth Buchan - expected your typical chick book and was pleasantly surprised. This is one of those plots I find myself able to recall a month later.
  • Invisible Acts of Power, Carolyn Myss
  • A Sideways Look at Time, Jay Griffiths
  • The Last Pope, David Osborne - I bought this because I'm a sucker for stuff about the papacy, but I only got about a quarter of the way through before I had to throw the book across the room in disgust and scrub my eyeballs with bleach. Good god, what dreck.
  • Blink, Malcolm Gladwell - saw him read from this about a month ago. Great book. Mike, did I give this back to you yet? Hope so because I don't see it around here...
  • Miss Wyoming, Douglas Coupland - not bad, not great.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

I'm being watched

On a lighter note, here's a picture I took from my spot on the couch. I was reading, of course, when I got that intense sensation of being watched. Looked up to find Max watching me from outside the living room window, perched like vulture on the neighbor's chimney.

Reading sickness

So far this weekend, since Friday at 3:00, I have read two books, start to finish. Even for me, a rather manic reader, this is a bit much. I actually feel a little woozy from how hard I've been reading, a little motion sick, as if in some way this isn't particularly healthy of me. Like I'm sitting around inhaling cigarette smoke instead of words. Or smoking crack. Or eating tube after tube of Pringles and washing it down with Jolt. But really, it's just words.

I've always been prone to using books as an escape mechanism. It started when I was thirteen, just after we up and moved to the village of Ada, a tiny town of 2000 people where no one in my class read much, or gave long answers on their English questions that the teacher made fun of ("who's the brainiac?"), or (god forbid) played violin. I did all of these things. To say I stuck out like a sore thumb at first is understating it. And so I began a strategy of always, always, ALWAYS having a book in hand. Didn't matter if I'd already read it four or five times - all that mattered was that I had a paperback in hand so that I could bury my nose in it in class, before class, after class, whenever things were tough. I was too busy to care. I was reading.

Before that and after that, books were more of a vehicle for pleasure. But that year or two, I hid myself in them. I was the weird kid who read too much. And this weekend, I feel like that same kid again. Hiding out from things that are painful by making myself sick on a diet of all words.

Except that Brett is off fetching us chinese food. So soon I'll have some real honest-to-god protein to balance it out. And maybe television.

I forgot to mention...

That of course Monkey and Herschel have now been to Leavenworth as well.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Bathrobe confusion

Phoenix is confused by my bathrobe.

Let me back up. First of all, I have a new bathrobe I bought over Christmas break that is perfection itself, in that it's warm and fuzzy and resembles nothing quite so much as a big fuzzy blanket. Sexy, it is not, but it is comforting. I wear it with my big fuzzy slippers I got as a Christmas gift from my sister. Yes, I am styling. Envy my husband, boys.

For years now, Phoenix has had a habit of coming over to me, when I'm laying around reading and have a blanket over my knees, and nudging the side of the blanket until I lift the edge up and let him climb under. And then we loll around happily, me with a warm kitty beneath my legs and him in a nice little tent of blankets, all safe and warm and snug.

But since I got this bathrobe, he's very confused. He thinks it's a blanket. I came home early today, exhausted and careworn, and immediately shed my work clothes for pajamas and bathrobe and settled in on the couch with a book.

A little later, Phoenix comes over and starts pawing at the edge of my bathrobe. Oh no, sweetie, you're mistaken, I show him, it's a bathrobe.

No comprendo. He climbs up on the couch and tries the other side of me. Maybe I can lift up the blanket from there. C'mon, let me in, will ya? I'm tired.

I pick up my legs and show him that there is no underneath to get under with this particular garment, but he still doesn't get it, keeps going from one side to the other, looking so pathetic that I eventually have to get up and go GET a blanket to throw over the both of us, at which point he settles in happily for a small late-winter's nap.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

One of the nice things about being married

...is that once in a while there are times when you come home from a not-so-great day, only to find that you've suddenly grown funnier. When your partner laughs heartily at each and every half-assed little joke that you make, all night long, and smiles at you delightedly as if to say, "Who is this amusing person I've married?"

And suddenly you find that you've giggled your way through an evening -- and you feel indescribably better.

Bark

I recently got sort of interested in tree bark, one day when I was wandering around with a camera.

I mean, look at this.


Is this not sort of amazing?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Can't you hear Linus and the gang singing?

The grounds at Sleeping Lady were full of these excellent little Charlie Brown christmas trees. I wanted to wrap a sky-blue blanket around the base of each one of them.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Retreat pt 4

Dinner here is communal, but fabulous – gourmet goodness served buffet style on trays. Around 5:50 – everyone, and I do mean everyone – streams out of their cabins en masse and over to the dining hall, which only serves for an hour, to stand in line with their trays. This is a pain, but the food is so worth it. Prime rib. Mahi mahi. Four kinds of salad. Three vegetables. Five desserts.

Still, it’s funny to see the lines.

“It’s like summer camp,” Brett observes, “but without the cruelty.” He’s right. It’s camp for grownups – a set schedule, some activities, and a closely clustered camp – but upgraded a whole lot, and with a lot more privacy. As a concept, I’m sold.

At dinner tonight, we run into a fellow writer from work who we know slightly, here with his wife. We wave but mutually head off in different directions. We haven’t been feeling very much like talking to other people on this trip. We’ve achieved such a remarkable separation from the worlds of Seattle and work that I’m simply not willing to resubmerge.

On the way back from dinner we seek out Caesar in the gift shop and urge him to join us later. He heads out to hunt, which we hope is a precursor to a visit in a couple hours. How smart is this cat? Does he remember where we sleep? Does he have another cabin penciled in for tonight?

Alas, this is the last we see of him. Clearly our one night of company was the only favor he was prepared to bestow on a single cabin.

We reluctantly pack up on Sunday morning and head home - but with a new favorite place that's a lot closer than Winthrop, our other habitual stomping ground. You can get from Seattle to Leavenworth in just under two hours, even in the winter. Not bad. Brett inquires all about Christmas and whether they're open then (yes) as we're leaving, and I have a feeling we're going to be back.

Retreat, pt 3

By day two our timeline has slowed and our plans are now:

  • Breakfast
  • Read
  • Nap
  • Lunch
  • Exercise
  • Read
  • Nap
  • Dinner
  • Read
  • Sleep


We set about this right away, abandoning our plans of hiking (it’s truly cold up here) or snowshoeing (not quite enough snow), in favor of the Seattle PI and the book I randomly picked off the “haven’t read yet” shelf and am now (fortunately) engrossed in – Rules of the Wild, by Francesca Marciano.

We have long conversations, not about work. This is nice – we don’t talk all that much in daily life, outside of the daily commute – we’ve been busy lately. It’s good to reconnect.

Over the course of our day, we both take walks separately – me with the camera while Brett is napping, and Brett later, while I’m engrossed in my book. A few more shots:








I finish the Africa book about 24 hours after I started it, and am loathe to begin another of the books I brought because I’m still wallowing in the mood and aftertaste of this one. The writing has blown me away – so lyrical and poetic, full of rawness and power.

I check the back cover and author notes several times to ensure it is fiction – it feels so true that it seems like it must be autobiographic. It may be – there’s such an intimate knowledge of Nairobi and expatriate life in this novel, such a foreign and subtle world view that I can’t quite imagine anyone simply making it up. But then again, that’s what makes people good novelists. I do note that this is a first novel. Good lord. I have made a mental note to buy any other books Francesca Marciano puts out.

Retreat, pt 2

Shortly after dinner the first night, we’re back in our room reading when a rather loud meowing emerges from outside the front door. I open it and in shoots Caesar, a corpulent and love-hungry brown tabby, one of three resident cats. He’s known, the desk ladies tell us, for inviting himself in on cold nights.

He ingratiates himself via purrs and rubs, lets us pet his fat little belly, and settles down for a winter’s nap. Noting from our warm welcome that he’s won the lottery in the random room-selection game, he wisely decides to spend the night with us. He asks to leave around 7:30 a.m., and Brett gets up to open the door for him. We hope he returns, maybe with a friend.

Things the desk ladies tell us these cats have to deal with that ours do not –

  • raccoons who hate them
  • coyotes who like to eat them
  • eagles who can swoop in and carry them off

Better to be a city cat and only have to put up with the occasional mocking of crows.

Caesar's friends, Marmalade (who clearly takes his work in the hospitality industry seriously) and Kiska.

Retreat, part 1


We headed off to Leavenworth this past weekend, or rather to the woods outside of Leavenworth, to shed the cares of the world for a few days and get a change of place. We were staying at the Sleeping Lady - a woodsy resort (named for the mountain feature above) sans phones, computers, or television sets.

In some ways, this is a tough transition to make – we left work early on Friday to get up to this fabulous retreat area before dinner, and I must admit to having had a few moments of feeling like “Okay, we’re here. Now what?” after we first checked in.

After weeks of stress and busy-ness, finding yourself in the middle of a deep cedar wood in a cabin with just a bed and a desk and a nook – no tv, no computers, no phones, no chores – can feel a bit disorienting. An hour later, though, the sun had gone down and we’d had the most excellent dinner and tromped around in the snow and had a drink at the fire pit bar and suddenly, there we were, transitioned. Suddenly the lack of stimulus felt fine – wide open and welcome.

The Sleeping Lady, nestled in the Stuart range of the north Cascades, is a soothing place, full of immense firs and cedars and sparkling stars that are so much brighter here than in Seattle. The rooms, set in clusters arranged around central gardens or courtyards, are tiny but perfect – rustic, simple, warm, lightly furnished but with a great daybed/windowseat that Brett immediately claimed as reading central. It was wide enough for us both, and within an hour we’d moved all the pillows over there and each claimed an end of it with our books and coffees, our newspapers (him) and notebooks (me).

The nook:

The room:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Weight loss

My friend Mike likes to track the amount of weight he's lost in terms of the number of full milk carton equivalents he's lost. I've been trying to lose some winter poundage myself lately, and recently hit the point where I'd lost about nine pounds. How to describe this?

One thing that jumped immediately to mind is that I've lost the equivalent weight of a newborn.

Cool! This seemed quite a workable description system until I realized how icky it sounded to go around making joking references to how many babies of weight I'd lost. "Yeah, I've lost two babies recently..."

Um, no. Back to milk jugs.

Blue logs

I'm sitting here on my living room couch at 8:00 p.m. alternatively working and staring at the bright blue flame in my fireplace. No, we don't have a gas fireplace - somehow, a recent grocery trip brought us a package of those duralogs that burn blue. (Do you see how I'm avoiding placing blame, there?) I've seen these at the store before, but never understood why anyone would want these, or their hideous "burns red and green!" cousins that are so prevalent at Christmas.

What's wrong with regular old flames? Must everything be messed with? I mean, logs and flames have been burning orange for the last 150,000 years and if that was good enough for the cavemen, it's good enough for us. I don't need a "Burns Red!" log for valentines day or a "Burns Green!" log for St. Patties. Orange is fine.

And yes, I'm working at home again in the evenings. My happiness in life seems to have a direct correlation between how often I have to work at home at night and how often I can leave work and not think about it much. Lately, it's been more the former than the latter, starting around superbowl weekend and continuing straight through until now.

I'm behind. I'm behind on everything. "What are you behind on?" the helpful husband inquired tonight. "I don't see what could be so overdue." Whap! Everything, that's what. Yes, I'm spazzing out. I'll stop about five weeks from now, when we get on the plane for France.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The husband...

...has been listening to Elvis for something like seven hours now.

I like Elvis. I do. But by about hour five I was getting pretty tired of it. And now, really, I just must flee to the front of the house.

And if that doesn't work I may have to flee to a hotel.

Cabin fever

I'm having quite a bad case of cabin fever lately. I think it's just that it's February. While it hasn't been a bad winter, weatherwise, I've nonetheless been cooped up inside and not able to go out and play in the yard all weekend like I do in the spring, summer, and fall. We had a few nice days a week or two ago, but since then the weekend days have been wet and chilly.

And so I'm getting to be at loose ends with my indoor self. I'm normally not someone who's bored much. But I can't seem to sink my brain into anything for very long right now. Now and then I find a book that absorbs me, but I finish it in a day or two, and then nothing else strikes my fancy for a while. I'm tired of television. I'm tired the computer. I'm not tired of the cats, but they offer only limited amusement - and they sleep a lot. I'm not tired of Brett. But he doesn't always seem to want to amuse me 24 hours a day, even if I expected him to (and I don't).

I clearly need to DIG. And weed. And have enough light to come home from work and spend a couple hours outside. It's just a bit too early to do any of these things.

February: not my favorite month.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Shopping and things I got for free

Things bought at the garden show today:

  • Two diet cokes
  • One brownie
  • Tuna salad sandwich
  • Lavender hand cream
  • Three dahlia tubers, all red, now in my dark, cool closet waiting for May
  • Three small lily-of-the-valley pips in little terra cotta pots, now sitting in the kitchen window.
  • One hard-to-describe metal wall art thing made from old oil drums –it’s kind of a partridge in a pair tree. “Looks Judaic,” says Brett. I guess that means he approves.
  • Two 8x10 prints by a woman named Mary Ann Nagy that I just love beyond all reason. One is called Night Vision, and one is called Prevailing Hope. The second one is a close-up of a daffodil - quite beautiful, but it was its name that made me choose it over my other choice – one of a vegetable series, called Cosmic Carrot.
  • Books:
    • Gardens in Normandy (because we’re going there)
    • The Meaning of Herbs: Myth, Language, and Lore (love plant mythology)
    • The Sweet Life: Reflections on Home and Garden (blog fodder, all quotes)
    • Zeriscaping: Planning and Planting Low-Water Gardens

Things I got for free:

  • Two new pencils
  • A small notepad
  • Many, many bookmarks
  • Lettuce seeds
  • Laminated planting calendar, now hanging on the wall of my home office
  • A million and a half pamphlets, magazines, and brochures
  • Various coupons for upcoming plant sales all over the state
  • A few randomly-snapped pictures (but on the little camera rather than the big one, so I can’t promise great quality)
  • Sore shoulders from hefting around increasingly heavy purse and bags
  • A couple of cuts from the earlier-mentioned Metal Wall Art Thing. It’s sharp.

Garden Show

Last night I opened my back door and found a pot full of tiny jonquils in full bloom. This morning on the way to the garden show I saw a big camelia bush in full bloom, blazing red. It's the ninth of February. Back in Ohio, my parents are buried under a foot of snow and won't see a crocus for at least a month. I love the Pacific Northwest.

***

As previewed, I spent today at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. I've never been to a garden show before, and was somewhat hesitant about the whole "crowd" thing - sometimes I'm good with crowds, and sometimes they turn me rather hostile. But the whole garden show vibe turned out to be lovely -- it was crowded, yes, but the people there were happy, mellow. We were there because we like plants. There was no pushing or shoving or hostility. People smile and say things about hellebores to random strangers. I kept walking around with what I term an "interior smile" - just that inner feeling of happiness that may not translate into a direct expression but makes you look pleased all the same.

Fantastic day. If I could swing it, I'd cut work for the next two days and just hang out listening to interesting people speak. As it is, I'll probably go back Saturday.

***

A few pictures from the day: Seattle Tilth had what was by far the coolest of the display gardens - this big, heat-retaining concrete greenhouse with a green roof and windows that tilt out and every kind of edible plant known to man.


A flower arrangement I thought was interesting - lettuce and white roses. Who would have thought?


***
So who goes to these things? Well, everyone - young, old, locals, out-of-towners, men, women. The only really unifying theme I can find is that there aren't many teenagers (but you'd be surprised how many I saw), and no one is dressed up. No black turtlenecks, even, or urban chic weekend wear. We have warm fleece vests on with lots of pockets. We all carry notebooks to jot things in. We're gardeners. Our cuticles are ragged, the skin on our hands is sub-saharan parched, and we understand the comfort of good shoes that stay dry. I haven't seen a boot or a heel since I got here. Just a lot of clogs.

***
More pictures -

Living checkerboards with those concrete pillow stepping stones that have been all the rage for the last year or so:


And a big purple tree:




***

I went to a couple great talks - one about designing small spaces, and one about low-water use gardening (or, as the conference organizers advertised it, gardening with plants that thrive on "benign neglect"). The latter was given by Ann Lovejoy, who is apparently the celebrity du jour. The line for the morning talk was short and reasonable, but the line to pick up passes for Ann's talk was a solid mass, three abreast, snaking up and down corridors. I was about eighty people back in this monstrosity and had no trouble getting in.

As I waited for my pass, I watched the seemingly crazy lady in front of me who kept talking to herself in that kind of loud and inappropriate way people have when they're a little off balance or need a whole lot of attention. She has a 8" potted viburnum in her purse. "It has blue berries," she says to anyone who will listen. "I love anything blue." Everyone nods, enthusiastic. Outside this context, people would probably shy away from her. Here, the plant in her purse marks her as one of us.

Art

Hello readers, please see our friend Beth's beautiful new Web site showcasing her prints, paintings, ceramics, and glasswork.

http://www.ebrinton.com/

We have several of her prints hanging in our house, including this one (first on the page), which hangs over the fireplace, and four of the five small seasons prints. And even with all of those, I'm coveting the Signs of Spring, Forsythia print and hoping she eventually offers prints from some beautiful paintings she did of our wedding arrangements.

I wish I could paint...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Biking to nowhere

Hallelujah, thank god thank god, I'm off work tomorrow. I initially requested the day off so that I could go to opening day of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Little did I know at the time just how badly I'd need a day off just about now.

Work has been especially brutal the last two weeks. Working at top speed and stress and efficiency all week, then working 12+ hours over the weekends, then right back into top speed again on Monday and never quite catching up. It's not usually this bad - just a combination of factors: we're interviewing on my team, it's review time and I'm directly responsible for 13 performance evaluations, we're down a manager in my group, and we're facing bad end-of-cycle deadlines, all hitting at once.

*pantpantpant*

Anyways, I'll survive, but I'm more tired than I've been in months. Brett's feeling it too. We dragged our bedraggled selves to the gym tonight looking and feeling like cat puke, but once there I was pleased to find that karma was smiling upon me at last -- in the midst of all of the ever plentiful, multiple copies of such tintillating read-while-you-workout fare as Golf Digest and Popular Mechanics, there was one -- yes, one -- copy of People on the magazine racks.

I snatched it up, trying not to openly dance a little jig at having found the one non-testosterone magazine in the whole place, and plonked myself down on an exercise bike for 45 minutes. Which is a pretty pathetic workout, really, but it was all I could manage tonight. And now I'm all up to date on what everyone wore to the Golden Globes and how Brad and Jen are handling their separation.

Biking to nowhere while reading People. Such is my Tuesday night.

Monday, February 07, 2005

At last night's super bowl party

I was gently made fun of for putting out a pile of cloth napkins with the big huge platter of cheese and olives and salami that the menfolk were picking at while watching the game.

"We're not so crazy about the cloth napkins," one of them said.
"Or the little plates," added my husband.
"Yeah, really, we'll just use our hands," said someone else.

Men. ;)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Let's call it a game of chicken

How much beer can one consume before the process of completing your first draft of ten performance review forms becomes untenable?

Ha. I'm kidding. I've only had one beer so far. But Brett's superbowl party is well underway out in the living room, and I seem to keep joining them. Luckily, I'm over halfway through the review work that's due first thing tomorrow, but I do still need to plow through three more forms before the end of today.

It's a delicate balance. Concentration in the back of the house vs. party in the front of the house vs. good snacks in the other room vs. don't really care about football vs. but there's beer vs. but I really must get this done.

I'll let you know who wins - my good side or my evil side.

Ugly cookie fans

Go take a look at this post on my sister-in-law's blog.

Garden and books

I went out yesterday and pruned the roses, which always fills me with fear. This is only the second time I've ever done this in my life, but they didn't die from it last year, so I'm hoping we'll be okay. Anyone know if it's really important to seal the cuts with white glue? Leave a comment if you do.

Shortly after I finished doing this, we had a freakish slush storm - piles of gray quik-e-mart slushee falling from the sky. Two hours after that it was 54 degrees. Who can figure out what's going on in Seattle this winter?? Not me.

Reading right now:
  • The Art of the Kitchen Garden, in line with my current obsession with potagers and decorative edible gardens. Boy is this a beautiful piece of work.
  • Seven Blessings, Ruchama King - learning all about Jewish stuff from this one. :)

Just finished:

Noodling my way through between other books:

  • Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson - I like it. But it's SO long. I'm over two thirds through it, so I'll finish it, but I put it aside from time to time in favor of something more digestible.
  • A Sideways Look at Time, Jay Griffiths - on loan to me from Judy at work. Loving this, but reading it irregularly.

Started and gave up in disgust:

More restaurant madness

Today's search term favorite which brought someone here: idle devil. Not that this is all that weird, but I wonder what the person who typed that into google was hoping to find. Not this blog, I'm guessing.

It's been a pretty good weekend so far, marred only by the fact that I should be working -- yes, right now, even as I'm writing this. Started yesterday at yoga with Kim from Pagooey (less kick-your-butt hard than last week and more that "wow, I feel great!" feeling that you hope for with yoga), followed by books and naps, followed by dinner at my used-to-be-favorite Chinese restaurant, Choys, then we ditched our plans to see the Aviator in favor of sitting around at home eating ice cream and watching Carey Grant in "How to Catch a Thief."

Around dinner time yesterday I was feeling slightly at loose ends with myself - it was a hard week, for one, and I've been having low grade stomach problems all week in that I feel just slightly nauseous just about all the time. Not enough to be actually sick or not function, but enough that all food sounds gross. So I was hungry and not wanting anything and unable to come up with any suggestions. Brett, bless him, suggested Choys, which we haven't been to in over two years. In the car on the way I asked him why he thought of that.

"Well, when you're needing comfort food you always like chicken and broccoli," he said, which is 100 percent correct but something I'd never thought of.

"Wow, you're getting really good at this married thing," I replied.

Choys itself was quite funny - it's been the weekend for weird restaurant experiences. I don't want to say anything bad about them because this is the place that fed me dinner at least once a week for something like five years (my favorite delivery place when I lived in Queen Anne), but it was for sure an off night.

We got there around six thirty, and were pleased to see about half the tables were open, if uncleared. So we sat down to wait. Twenty minutes or so later, the one harried waitress serving the whole place had not yet cleared any tables for us. We only got a table because one rather angry-looking couple who'd obviously been waiting to place an order for a long time got up and left, and we slid into their table. Throughout the rest of the meal, people came in, waited a while for a table, never got one, and eventually left to go elsewhere. By the time we left, of the twelve or so tables in the restaurant, two were occupied with diners and TEN were covered in dirty plates. We never saw her clear a one, the whole time we were there.

We blame the Sonics. Queen Anne is a crazy place when there's a Sonic's game. Clearly someone had called in sick or something and the poor waitress was just over her head. But still - we had to go up and get plates from her after she brought our platters of food, and we ended up drinking the water left by the previous folks because we never got any of that either. We kept joking that if she'd just give us a tray we'd clear a few tables for her.

Afterwards we walked over to a used bookstore nearby (as much to pet their cats as to look at books) and then came back by the restaurant fifteen minutes later or so. Still no cleared tables, and only one diner. Yikes.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Sushi snarks

On the way home from French class tonight, I practiced my newly acquired language skills by whining incessantly about how much I wanted sushi. "Je voudrais sushi! Beaucoup! Je voooooodraaaaais suuuuuushi! Je suis malade! Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeee voudRA-A-A-A-AIS!" Brett, bless him, folded quickly and took us to the neighborhood sushi joint - not our usual place where they know our names and orders by heart, but the one that's just a couple blocks from the house.

What a difference. Their rice is slimy, the restaurant was filled with smoke, and the service was slow. And to top it all off, we ended up sitting next to two of the bitchiest sushi customers in the known universe, who proceeded to look askance at Brett's order (he gets a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sushi) and make snarky, underhanded comments to each other about it that he didn't hear but I did. "That is SO wrong," one of them snarked to the other, more than once. Um, bite me, you skinny bitch.

As it turns out, they were squeamish about sushi anyways, and spent the whole meal giggling in terror at their two pieces of tuna nigiri and talking about how gross it was. But their comments about us were not in the joking vein.

How rude can you be? They were only separated from us by about five feet. They knew I could hear them, and just in case they didn't, the bitchy looks I gave the girl a couple of times must have made it quite apparent.

I put up with it for a while, and then I looked at Brett and said, rather loudly, "Why are these people talking about your food??" Then I picked up my chopsticks and continued to eat.

No more comments from the sushi snarks.

Brett, actually, missed the whole thing, including my comments. I explained it to him on the way home. "They what?" he said. "That makes me want to just go right back in there and pee on their food."

"That's right, honey," I replied. "No one gets to pick on you but me."

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Random snippets

It's nice to come home and find that your husband, who probably never made the bed in his life before he met you, now makes the bed on those mornings when you get up and leave first. I'd attribute this partially to love but also partially to the fact that the fear of having a cat puke on your bed has great motivational power to encourage you to cover the bed up at all times. Much easier to clean a duvet cover than to clean a mattress.

Either way, I'll take it.

**

Came home tonight and took myself out to dinner at the Alehouse - Brett was off working with Alan, and I was tired and hungry and not feeling like cooking or shopping. This shouldn't be a remarkable event, but it's interesting to me because a) I do this so rarely, dining out alone and b) it used to be a remarkably big huge deal for me to do this at all. The first time I ever had dinner alone in a restaurant was on my 2002 trip to Italy when I spent a week alone in Florence. I think I've gone to a restaurant alone in Seattle about all of three times, of which this is the third. I used to find this unbearably intimidating, but now it just seemed like no big deal. Grabbed my copy of the Stranger, grabbed a good table, ordered my goat cheese salad, and spent a nice hour relaxing before heading home to continue work for the evening.

Apparently I'm getting less and less self conscious as I get older. That, I must admit, is a good feeling, sensing some of that dropping away.

**

Brett and I, as mentioned at least once previously, wrestle from time to time. Those of you who know him know Brett is built like a tank and has been doing serious weight lifting for, oh, something like 35 of the 40 years he's been alive. Needless to say, I don't hold my own real well in these matches, but in spite of that I nearly always initiate them. I'm smart that way.

Over the last year, there's been a marked increase in the number of times I've actually won or made it really hard for him to win - I attribute this to my own two-years-now regimin of weight training that has made me Freakishly Strong (tm) , myself.

This past weekend, though, there was just no "close" about it. I lost. Badly. So bad that I actually had to give up to be let up from the lock I found myself in. Brett doesn't usually rouse himself enough to defeat me so soundly, preferring instead to just pin me down while still reading his book. He must have been motivated that day.

So I went and told my trainer that this morning. And then Brett walked in and came to say hello.

Brett: TrainerDude, you need to start doing power training with her so she doesn't get her ass kicked so easily.
TD: Hey, I'm giving her pointers!
Me: Yeah, like he suggested I try it at work - tackle you in a meeting when you're not expecting it.
TD: Or go for that spot behind the knee and knock you over before you realize she's coming for you.
Brett: Hey, man, I said make her stronger, not meaner.


Heh. Heh. Heh.

Of course I wouldn't really do these things. But I don't know if he should be aware of that.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

And just to prove that Phoenix is a nice cat

Here's a picture Brett caught of us napping.

He may hate everyone else in the world, but he loooooooooves his mom.

Love

A work comment

Someone at work today told me I was superfly. This is a word I've never heard used in describing myself, and I had to admit I kind of liked it. I walked around mentally repeating it for about a half hour after that. Hey, self, I said, did you know that you're superfly? Cuz you are. Superfly, that is.

But am I crunk? That's what I really want to know.

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