Monday, December 23, 2013

Picture Update! Sawnsons

I love Swansons.
Not only are they a great place to relax and admire the flowers, they have reindeer and a camel for Christmas. The critters come by for a couple of weeks before the holiday and they "fly off" on Christmas eve. I had to go visit before they went to work!

Also - koi pond. Super friendly fish.





Monday, December 2, 2013

I want to ride my....

bicycle!

I'm saving up for a bike so I can pedal around in the summer. Be on the alert - I have a fascination with all things on two wheels.

Other news: I <3 my job. I really do.
I get to help people help themselves and everyday I have the opportunity to change someone's life.
Plus... it fun damnit!

More later...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Car talk...

Hubs: I'm your rock.
Me: If my rock was pumice. 
Hubs: That's awesome! I'm a rock that floats. I could be your life saver!
Me: What I need is an anchor...
Hubs: *Pout*

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

City Unicorns

It is my belief that if snow white city pigeons are the unicorns in our midst. If you catch one and let it go you get to make a wish.

I catch snow white city pigeons...and use a whole LOT of hand sanitizer!










Also - Hubs looks totally ridiculous in naval hats! Haha!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's my birthday and I'll squee if I want to, squee if I want to , squee if I want to!

So - Halloween is headed our way and that means the great satanic celebration ( my birthday ) is almost here! Normally I keep the party to myself to relax and reflect, but this year features friends, new jobs, and apparently - great gifts!

My husband - the Great Doc Venture, is an amazing, if not normally thoughtful, person. He is smart and funny but I wouldn't call him kind or considerate. He wouldn't describe himself that way either.  I bring the kindness to our table and we are both cool with that. But this year he surprised me! He was thoughtful and giving and had a gift planned for me but put his grand plans aside when I saw this purse and he knew I wanted it more. 





If you're interested - I asked him to describe himself in three words and they were:
1. Laid-back
2. Nerdy 
3. Funny

What are your three words?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Great Sugar Shake-Down ... Day 6 & 7

The sugar shake-down is officially over!

I'm also officially sick. Sore throat, runny nose, painful pressure in my ears, the whole jazz.

My week without sugar went pretty well. Honestly, I got a little grumpy at the end waiting for the week to be over, but otherwise the project was a success! I made it through the low glycemic 7 days with lots of unsweetened tea, soup, and popcorn.

Also - besides the fun of sugar being back on the table, rocking this cold, getting excited over a new job, and birthday plans - Dez said she was coming over!

Dez!!!!



Friday, October 11, 2013

The Great Sugar Shake-Down ... Day 4 & 5

AAAAAAKKKKKK!!!

I fell asleep on day 4.

On day five I found out our good friend Dez is coming out from Denver to visit for Halloween and the most sacred of satanic holidays - my birthday.
Yay!

I also got a job offer.

I also had a soda. *dun dun DUN!* (That's drama music by the way)
Who knew soda had so much sugar?! I mean, I suppose I knew that yes soda does have sugar, but 37 grams?! AK!

So, I politely asked the Hubbs to finish it for me. Hubbs is a polite gentleman do he gulped it down even though he doesn't like it. I had a slight bit more than half the soda, I'm sorry, but can I say it was an accident?

Reed's Ginger Beer = delicious guilty sugar rush

Almost done with Sugar Shake-Down week. My limbs are still attached, nothing dramatic happened to my body. I didn't lose 20 lbs or die of grumpiness...yet.

I am pretty grumpy though. I attribute that to the decline in chocolate consumption. Normally I eat something chocolate once a day. It is a major food group after all, right? I think it goes something like tofu, veggies, fruits, and chocolate are the four major food groups in my life. Eating seems kinda silly without at least one of them.

We make our own hot cocoa mix here at home. Ty just made some, so that'll be my chocolate and sugar for the day. It still has some sugar to it, but it isn't the same as a chocolate bar or cereal or something with a secret evil sugar content like soda.

Two days left!!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Great Sugar Shake-Down ... Day 3

Today was okay. 

Devin texted that he wanted cookies. I want cookies too. :-(

I worked at the studio today where they keep a flowing supply of Trader Joe's Half & Half. Half lemonade, half ice tea... and maybe half sugar. Over 20 grams of sugar in 8oz?! 
If one ounce of water has about 30 grams and there are 8 oz in my glass then that's 240 grams, 20 of which are liquid sugar. That seems like a lot. 

I had to have some so I tried it and WOW - it was so sweet it tasted sour!
I couldn't drink it all. 

I wish this week was over already. 

Only 4 days away from CHOCOLATE....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Great Sugar Shake-off ... Day 2

Sweet things, oh how I love thee. I'm sad and angry with you, but I still love you.

It doesn't help that I had to sleep at a friend's house last night because otherwise I was looking at an hour commute for a 4 hour gig. Since I didn't sleep well, I felt grouchy all morning, then stressed while commuting from job one to job 2, then exhausted after crossing the city one more time on the way home.

The Fiat is fantastic on gas btw. Thank you Fifi!

All day I wanted cake. Chocolate cake. I still want cake. :-(

Is it weird to have such a specific craving?

I'm settling for tea. An herbal concoction from the Pike Place Spice Market. It is delicious, but I'm three cups in and still restless. I even added agave, but it isn't a good enough substitute tonight.

Tonight I'm going to dream of cake.



PS - Beth, I got your letter! Thanks so much, and I love the pictures!!






Monday, October 7, 2013

The Great Sugar Shake-off - Day 1

Well, welcome to a sugar-free me, Day 1!

I've always been told that trying to give up sugar, or even reduce sugar intake, comes with a terrible attitude, headaches, and a general grumpy outlook. But things don't seem so bad thus far! I'm excited about finding foods that I can eat and trying different things to satiate my sweet tooth.

Tea isn't so bad - I've been sticking to herbals instead of black. I miss my Earl Grey, but I could use Agave instead of sugar if needed. I just haven't needed to do it yet.

Yogurt is horrible! How do they get 25 grams of sugar in one cup of yogurt!? That's got to be half the damn cup. I never knew there could be that much sugar in there.... *shakes head*
I've settled on some lite peach yogurt that I can use to blend in with smoothies but nothing that I'd want to eat alone. I can't stand plain yogurt...unless it gets blended with cucumber and drizzled across some falafel.

Cereal is out.

Eggs are in!

Frozen blueberries are in!

Chocolate is out. *weeping* I'm not looking forward to this. I work near Sweet Mickey's - a beautiful candy shoppe (yes, shoppe) and I love checking out the latest beautiful creations they are showing in the truffle case. I went in on my lunch break today and gushed over the adorable devil face truffles, pumpkins, and ghosts they have for Halloween. I only bought one piece - a dark chocolate cherry cordial that I will love forever.

I'm missing it right now... mmm sugar...



Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Week Without Sugar... Let The Battle Commence!

In honor to Devin's uncle and a family of sugar-related health conditions, this week Devin and I are trying to cut down on our sugar intake.

It officially starts tomorrow.

You have no idea how much I want a big slice of chocolate cake right now...

The battle begins!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Helmet lurvs...

I have an awesome helmet - The HJC IS-Max BT modular helmet in soft matte black.

Its beautiful, comfortable, breezy, and I love it but it isn't very visible. I didn't want a black and white one though - I wanted one that was black and hyper-reflective.

So...




It is a work in progress, but I feel it is progressing pretty well.

Helmet love!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A whole month goes by...

...and the world is upside down again.

Since coming to Seattle I've been laid off twice and the past month where I didn't type anything was because I was laid off again and spent my time trying to get a new job.

I had just started at that job and left a place I had been working at for a long time for that job and BOOM!
One day I go to work like normal, and I'm greeted with my last paycheck.
No warning. I didn't do anything wrong. He just couldn't afford to pay the new people he'd hired on so he had to let us go.

Goodbye and good luck.

*%($)#*@)!?

I spent the rest of that day (I was already dressed) and the next couple of weeks looking for work. Unemployment wasn't any use because I had "voluntarily quit" (to use the official term) my old job and hadn't worked long enough at my new job for it to count. It would be useful now...but I'm working now so instead of helping it just wasted a bunch of my phone minutes and half a day where I could have been looking for work.

I did find jobs - right now I'm working three. Sometimes 4, but that last one isn't regular work just occasional hours.

I work more than a full time job for no benefits but I do get more freedom to arrange my own schedule and I'm hoping to fit some painting in there. Maybe its all the frustration, but I feel more creative with what I'm doing now than when I was in a steady 9-5.  

I'm treading water and waiting for the tide to come in.
It'll come, I only hope I can hold out long enough.

Goodbye and good luck.







Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buell Blast carb tuning

I do lots of stuff - make fancy lunches, knit, watch internet videos for new ways to style my hair, and now I gut bikes and fiddle with what's inside.

I bought my bike from Ride West about 3 months ago. I wanted something cheap and reliable to get to work and back. Minor wear and tear issues would have been fine, but instead, what I got was a bucking, wild beast! I named her Cupcake.

Cupcake wouldn't start, she would rev super high and extremely loud and then the revs would drop off a cliff and she'd die. When she would run she'd scream the whole way - loud enough to make my ears hurt and leave me ringing long after.

Mind you - Ride West said that this bike was running fine. I've never owned a bike before so I relied on their information. I had a friend do the test ride and up and down the block it seemed to be okay. Silly me, up and down the block was fine, but anything more than that and I'd be pushing it home.

I had to push it from Home Depot to The Scooter Store - Thanks guys at the Scooter Store for letting me keep it there until I could get someone to come pick it up!

So, as far as repairs go - in the three or so months since I got this bike -

Replaced the muffler insulation...well, not really replaced- there was nothing to take out and replace, I just put a new one in.

Bent the handles so I can actually reach the brake and clutch!

Changed the connector that attached the carb to the engine.

That connector was faulty so I had to remove the new one and attach and new new one.

Changed the pin in the carb

New spark plug.

Of course, I have no idea how to do any of these things - I have a dear friend who is helping me, and the internet videos that I use to learn new braiding techniques are on the same site used to find videos for carb tuning.

I use my cell to take pictures of every nut and bolt and tool used to take everything apart and then flip backwards through those pictures to put everything back together again.

Put the yellow thingy on the top thing and twist! (That's how I operate)

Changing a Carb!




Monday, June 3, 2013

The New Job

So, for a while, I was very unhappy at my work.
The actual work wasn't a problem, but the long commute, the culture, and the politics made it a pretty difficult situation. Hubbs was awesome, and listened to me whine about my days. But I didn't come to Seattle to be upset and cranky most of the time.

When I went for a routine check-up my doc said that I'd gained 10lbs (eek!) and when I went to the dentist they said I'd been grinding my teeth in my sleep. WTF ?! These are signs something needs to change...

Sad face = changes = happy face

Now I work at a statuary near the canal in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. I love working in the garden, watering and planting flowers, talking with customers face to face, and generally having a great time. More to come on that later.

For now - Pictures!!

This is where I take my lunch-



Awesome sauce



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring brings rushing changes

Super busy this month - and we're only 8 days in.
Sold our old car - $$
Bought a car - Fiat!!
Bought a motorcycle - Buell Blast!!
Seriously job-hunting
Met couchsurfers and went rock climbing with one and out to tea with another
Had the first grill of the season
Set up a gazebo
Went to the Seattle Tilth Plant sale...

So far it's just been one amazing thing after another. yay!


For your picture pleasure -

Finding purple starfish during a motorcycle trip in the cold north:
(That's my amazing armored motorcycle jacket by the way - First Gear's Monarch Jacket with D-30. Full review to come later.) 



 Kite flying - look! I can almost do it!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Tiny flower update!

Yay! My garden grows!

This is turning into a lunch blog...

I've got a thing for lunch. Instant oatmeal may be fine for breakfast, and ramen is alright for dinner - but lunch needs to have something a little special about it.

I usually make my lunches the night before. They can take some time to make so today I tried two days of lunches at the same time. I made a crusty bread sandwich the "Alton Brown" way, added dried apricots and prunes, banana chips (on one only because I had a little extra room), chocolate cinnamon roll, cantaloupe, and grapes.

Another recent lunch:
Salad with black pepper and italian dressing (that little bottle with the aqua cap), white cheddar Cheeze-its, dries apricots, and watermelon over angle food cake. 


And one more lunch made using the same container: 
Veggie lasagna, strawberry Nutra-grain bar, apple sauce, soy yogurt, apple slices, banana chips, and a different brand of dried apricots that made me feel ill, made my dog ill, and made the Hubbs gack. We threw those out when I got home. 



These were all made using the Sistema container I raved about before. I dropped one of the containers while setting it in the drying rack and the connector piece that holds the top to the bottom shattered. I was so upset  I won't even mention - but Ty calmed me down and I used some fancy duct tape skills to reconnect the two. That's why on some of the photos the connector has gone white. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rainy Sunday Rhubarb Canning

Its a rainy afternoon in Seattle.

Mr. Venture and I are just getting over a cold, the dog was sick Friday night, and I'm being L-A-Z-Y with Devin reading on my couch. Normally this would all add up to tea time, but since it's Spring, we made strawberry rhubarb compote instead!

Yesterday, while hunting for a motorcycle jacket that is a blog post all on it's own, we wandered into an Indian / East African grocery store. Between the 5 different types of cumin, wondering what to do with raw green almonds, and hunting through the bin of broken tamarind pods, I found a bunch of organic strawberries and Devin spotted some rhubarb for $1.99/lb.

Devin washed and rinsed all the canning jars / lids / rims, and I got straight to cleaning and slicing the strawberries.

I threw them into my tall stainless spaghetti pot.  


Devin filled the even larger canning boiler. Its like a big lobster pot with a removable wire rack inside that holds the jars steady and evenly spaced while you are bathing them. It covers two burners on my stove so we filled it 3/4ths of the way up, put the lid on it, and cranked both burners to high while we turned our attention to the rhubarb. 

After rinsing it and chopping off the ends, we sliced the rhubarb lengthwise and then diced it like carrots, adding to the steel pot as we went. I like mine sweet, so I added about 1 cup of sugar for every 4 cups of material. I didn't have any cornstarch, so I followed the guide on my jar of pectin. It came to about 3 Tbsps of pectin. 

Stirred till rolling boil, poured into prepped jars that had been drying the the warm oven, lidded, rimmed, and set carefully into the bath. I should really get a jar lifter - but since I don't have one, I used my silicone tongs to pull the jar up just enough to clear the water level, then slide under the jar with the oven mitt to guide it to the table. 

Devin helped:

We waited a bit for the jars to pop and then tightened the rims. Of course, there was slightly more filling than could be jarred - so we sampled the remaining filling over some strawberry ice cream - YUM!

Finished results: 



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

New Lunch Box Lurvs

I heart the Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube. While nothing is unsexier than "lunch cube," it's a totally functional lunch holder and deserves love despite the horrible name. It holds enough to be a real meal, the different sized compartments rock my love for more fruits than veggies, and (very importannt) it's easy to clean.

Traditional bento boxes are pretty awesome - but I hate losing those little dividers down the garbage disposal!! I don't like putting my hand down that thing to fish them out...gives me the shivers.

So this is my lunch -

Sammich, veggie mac, applesauce, and up in the right top corner are dried cranberries and apricots. Under the dried fruit there'll be some cashews and almonds. Yay Lunch!

Not just lunch really...it can hold enough food to be breakfast, lunch, and a 2pm snack if you pack it right.

It folds up to look like this - 

It's an easy shape to store in the fridge and then grab in the morning before running out the door. The divider that covers the sandwich area locks in with the divider on the bottom so nothing gets messed up even when you toss it into the passenger seat while trying to find your ID badge.

I'm pretty happy.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring has sprung!

This weekend I :
  • went to Moisture Fest  ( yay yodeling cowgirl! )
  • took the climbing 101 class at Stone Gardens ( Holy rope-burn Batman!) 
  • prepped my patio garden for Spring
The before was just too horrible, and I forgot to take a picture, so you only get afters...

It doesn't look like much now - but I'll try to put more updates as everything slowly wakes up again. 
last year the hops went so crazy they took over the whole balcony and I had to cut them out bit by bit from the plastic webbing we use to keep the dog from jumping between the bars.

So far this year it looks like the honeywart is trying to take everything over. It grew wild from last year's seed fall. In fact, everything has been from last year. Hopefully I can resist the urge to buy more plants...I think I have an addiction...





















These are my indoor plants - 

The Jade was my first houseplant in Seattle. Its weathered many an absence of water without much complaint.

The little creeper I found on the floor at Home Depot. It had broken off a larger spider plant. It refuses to die.

The large plant on the left is some kind of lily...but the flowers are a deep maroon / brown color. 
Try searching "brown flower," or "brown lily" on Google - it's all resources on plant care. So I have no idea what plant this is exactly. It seems happy enough in a deep pot with lots of sun. Its pretty, so I don't myind my nameless stranger. I call her Chocolate. 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today’s new thing starts with the statement:
    “I love my husband.”
My husband, the guitar playing, laundry rockin', ace cook, cannot drive in downtown. He just can’t. When he does, it's like free scream therapy or the scary part of the roller coaster as you slowly go up cringing as you listen to the sinister click-click of the chain locking you in position. We just keep going around the same block, nerves fraying, knuckles white, face contorted in fear.
 Part of the problem is that we drive a boat. I don’t know many cars longer than our Subaru Outback. We need to get something shorter – but haven’t gotten around to it yet. Normally it’s not a problem, but when you’re downtown, and it’s all mini/fiat/motorcycle spots, I really start to wish we’d gone car shopping shortly after moving to the city.
 The other part of the problem is that my husband is too nice. He lets people get in front of him, waits while they take the spot that just opened up, refuses to stop and wait for another car to back out because there’s a car a block and a half behind him. It's just terrible. 
We did it though, and now we have a resolution that, when we know we're headed downtown - I drive. I'm aggressive, I have good peripheral vision, and I know exactly how big the car is. 
This scary adventure was all for the greater good though - Ferris Wheel pics!!  




Monday, February 25, 2013

When it's too cold for jogging...

Ty and I clean the fridge!

                          BEFORE:



                             AFTER:

What to do with too many pomegranates


I don’t always talk about motorcycles, nope, sometimes I can also talk about food.
A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a lot of pomegranates. They weren’t storefront pretty anymore, but they were totally edible and cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap.  Not wanting to bite off more than I could chew – I bought 6.

I promptly forgot about them for a week and had to throw one out – so I started off with 5 no-so-pretty fruits. Since no one eats the outside of a pomegranate, it didn’t bother me they had a few brown spots. All I cared about was the ruby red pips filled with tart juice.

My method of getting the pips out involves cutting the fruit in half, sticking it in a bowl of warm water and tearing it apart. Its fast, fun and somewhat therapeutic after a long day. The outer pith floats in water while the pips sink to the bottom of the bowl. Easy sorting!

I pour the fruits into a pasta pot and heat them to a low simmer for 10 minutes.

During those 10 minutes I rinse out and heat up some canning jars, lids, and rings. I have a collection of various sized canning jars gleaned from older friends and thrift shops. I like to boil them and keep them on their own special shelf in my pantry. A pantry is a blessing, especially for canning.

Since no one I know goes through jugs of grenadine, I used 1/2 cup jars.

After the jars, lids, and rings have been laid out on a clean cloth to air dry. Turn off the juice, strain out the seeds. You can strain the seeds into some sackcloth and squeeze out the last drops if you like.

Straining little bits of pith off the top: 


Return the liquid to the stove and bring back to simmer. Add ½ cup sugar and 1tsp lemon juice for every two cups of liquid.

Cut the heat, and carefully funnel into the waiting jars. Fill to the ring line, leaving about ¼” of space. In order to seal properly, before you put the lids on make sure that there’s no juice spatter sitting on the lip of the jar.

Lid up!

Time for a bath! You should follow the food safety instructions for your particular jar size – but I set mine for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!
 Finished jars of delicious garnet liquid:


A spoonful of this garnet liquid over ginger ale and ice finished with a twist of lime is the perfect pick-me-up after a long day. You can also use this anywhere you might use liquid sugar or agave syrup. Try it in a vanilla bean or strawberry cupcake recipe!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The hazards and benefits of buying gear on Craigslist

So I’m a bit of a miser-  though, I prefer the word spendthrift. It brings to mind images of the “buy it, make it , or do without” posters of WWII.
Imagine ladies darning socks, canning victory garden crops, and all that.

In that vein, if I can’t make it, or do without it, I check Craigslist to see if I can thrift it. I love checking out the weird (and sometimes awesome!) stuff people post on there.

Recently, I’ve been on the hunt for good used gear, and I’ve gotta say, I’ve done pretty well. There’s a pair of men’s textile pants I bought that are too big for me – but I got a jacket, boots, and pants that fit for $235. Not bad.
My helmet and gloves are new, but I was able to save a bit by shopping around and waiting until the prices came down a little.

I did spend of lot of time hunting the gear down. Time I could’ve spent gardening, skating, or painting my nails…although I’m pretty sure there were a few times I did paint my nails while gear-shopping online. Time isn’t a drawback to just shopping on Craigslist though, you could enter a time warp perusing Ebay, Mod cloth, or Fab too. My general idea of  the benefits vs hazards of Craigslist follows:




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The start of this great venture


Yay beginnings!

I guess the upside of this is that I can look back and say that, that point right there is where things all started to go wrong...or right..or whatever the case may be. 

That point, the origin of all these shenanigans,  comes from one simple enough question - 
How do you wear long hair under a motorcycle helmet? 
Serious. Google it and you'll get one of three answers: 1. chop it off, 2. get over it, or 3. the low ponytail.
1. Isn't gonna happen
2. How can I get over it?! That's the equivalent of giving up and consigning myself to bad hair days everyday. I want to ride everyday - to work and from it, and I'm not going to get dressed and do my hair in the teensy bathroom stall with bad lighting and spotty sewage. 
3. Is boring. I could do a low pony and get that weird crease at the back of my head with a super flat top. I could swap the pony for a bun in the previously mentioned ladies room - but that doesn't solve the deflated volume issue. I also get super snarly when I ride with my hair in a low pony, braids, or ponytails with extra bands going down to the tips.

So...how do you get sleek supermodel hair to come cascading out of your helmet when you take it off after a ride? 

This isn't a manly-rider question, but you can't call it silly unless you either have a solution for the problem, or you dig lady bikers with permafrizz hairdos.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Testing Testing 1,2,3...
Feeding squirrels by hand at Golden Gardens