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I wish I knew enough about cooking or food or whatever to not feel overwhelmed and intimidated by all the cheese and meat at the Italian grocery down the street. I go in there every once in a while to buy one thing but marvel at the people who are confidently ordering a half-pound of this meat and a third pound of this cheese. Especially at the holidays--the store was packed with people ordering what must have been hundreds of dollars of cured meats and I really wanted to be invited to their party. I don't even know what most of it is, which makes me feel like a failure of my ethnic heritage. What would I do with a whole smoked trout? Or Spanish ham that costs $97/lb? A tube of anchovy paste? Why are those capers in sea salt but these ones in vinegar? I don't know but I want it all.
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Do you ever feel like you can't keep up with being a grownup? I feel like I am constantly behind on things like housekeeping, doing the dishes, laundry, returning emails, etc. I don't know if I am bad at managing my time or I'm just extra uptight to worry over these things so much, but no one else I know seems to ever decline brunch on Sundays because they have to spend eight hours scouring their filthy apartment. I suspect it may have something to do with regular maintenance in small batches, which I can't seem to make a habit.

I bought a pair of shoes last week for a wedding and felt very pleased about now having two pairs of sleek, grownup, work-appropriate shoes but I put on my old shoes this morning and noticed they are all scuffed and the leather on the heels is beat-up and peely, from bad cobbling and drunkenly sinking them into the cracks in the sidewalk I guess. Back down to one un-embarrassing pair, you see what I mean? I can't get ahead. I suppose one pair is better than none. But I look around at other girls on the bus and their shoes are always scuff-free and perfect and I wonder what their trick is.

Also, my favorite pair of jeans have a giant hole in the butt-thigh area but I continue to wear them because I can't find a pair I like as much. Not really related except it contributes to me feeling like kind of a mess. See also: frizzy unwashed hair. See also: lint all over my black pants today. I thought approaching 30 would be a magical tonic for put-togetherness, or at least I'd have figured out the secret to faking it well by now. Perhaps it's just as simple as having more money (or credit card debt).
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My friend Kristen and I went to Target this morning to investigate the Orla Kiely line. Of course it was super picked over already but I suppose that is for the best because how much cheap plastic crap do I really need? I was hoping for the flower serving tray and some pear plates but they had neither. I got a small gray pear canister and some flower tumblers. I also got a cardigan and I have to say the Northgate Target has the skinniest mirrors ever. Even though I knew it was an illusion I was like damn, I look good. I want one for my house!
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My gym canceled the pilates class and last night was the last night. They gave us absolutely no notice! I was so upset I thought I was going to cry. I really really liked the teacher and you know, you get a lot of personal attention in pilates and you build a relationship with the instructor. It sucks. She doesn't teach anywhere else, either. I wrote a stern email to the gym and when I sent it I said to myself, "I bet they tell me to take yoga instead." Sure enough, I got a reply today: have you tried the yoga classes?

YOGA IS NOT THE SAME.

I would really like to take pilates at an actual pilates studio and get good at it so I can swallow a balloon and pop it with my stomach like this girl I saw at a party a few weeks ago, but it's really expensive. I'm considering trying it out at a place my instructor at the gym suggested. They have a intro package with a five-class punch card and a private lesson for $100. But five classes after that is another $80, so spendy! My gym is $35 a month for unlimited whatever I want, but of course you are at the mercy of their business decisions. That gym isn't very convenient for me since I switched jobs (I was mostly staying for the pilates, in fact) and they have been annoying me for a while anyway so I guess I will shop around for a new one. Fuck you rain fitness, and I hate that you don't capitalize the first letters in your name!

Curtis gave me this Black Milk cd and I can't stop listening to it. I am not world's biggest hip hop fan but this is rilly good.
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I've been doing a detox diet and it's been going really well, except for when I ate a bunch of fried chicken last weekend. It's not a detox in the Master Cleanse sense, more like the diet my naturopath put me on when I had what he called "leaky gut syndrome." I'm kind of a beginning cook and so it has actually been 1000x easier for me to have a limited ingredient base to work with--to say, "what can I make with this stuff" instead of "what should I make," and I've been cooking up a storm. I think it's pretty common to feel more creative when given restraints. I even made dinner for my boyfriend the other day and he liked it--baked salmon and goat cheese quinoa over a bed of garlicky sauteed spinach. I feel pretty great! I've been eating really well and I don't really feel deprived. I don't even really miss booze--I drink soda and bitters with a lemon and it practically tastes like a whiskey soda with bitters anyway, without the hangover. Next week is the last week but I hope to carry on a lot of the principals of the diet beyond that--seems like a good guide for healthy eating. I've also been going back to my Wednesday night Pilates classes and I don't really know why I stopped. I really enjoy them. I guess life gets in the way. Anyway, I started a concerted effort for portion control at the beginning of December and between that and this I'm making excellent progress in my weight loss goal for 2009. Yay me!
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Chicken Feet Stock

When I first started making stock, it never gelatinize properly. You may not know this (I didn’t at first) but homemade chicken stock should end up kind of like chicken Jell-o. It’s not congealed fat as my boyfriend wondered—it’s the gelatin from the bones, which leaches out as you slow cook it (you get congealed fat too but it rises to the top so once your chicken broth has cooled you can kind of just scrape it/peel it off the top and even use it to cook with). I finally made a stock with two carcasses instead of one and it gelled up really beautifully and I realized you just need more bones. Chicken feet are a good way to get a lot of bones without having to roast two chickens but of course you have to handle chicken feet. The woman at Uwajimaya was quite impressed that white ol’ me was buying feet. “What are you going to do with them?” she said. “Most people don’t like feet!” It wasn’t nearly as gross as I thought it would be, even when I had to cut off their tiny little toes. I should have taken a picture of all of them on my cutting board. And the stock turned out just lovely. I know it is easier to buy broth in a can but there is nothing like homemade stock. Unfortunately I wasted half of it on this lentil soup that kind of turned out so-so.

Next fall when soup season approaches I think I am going to just spend one weekend making a giant batch of stock in my 33 quart canner so I have enough for the whole winter rather than making these little batches once a month or so.


Black Bean Dip

I made this for poetry group on Monday. I did not expect it to be such a hit! Everyone raved and it went faster than the cheese and crackers, which is saying something. It’s really easy and I suppose pretty healthy. I served it with corn chips.

- - - -

SOUP SWAP
If you are in Seattle and interested in participating in a SOUP SWAP, where you make a huge batch of homemade soup and then swap portions with other folks, leave a comment. I’m thinking of hosting it January 25—a Sunday, so you can have soup for lunch following week! HOMEMADE SOUP ONLY. Depending on how many people are into it I might make a NO TOMATO rule (I am allergic). It’s my soup swap, dammit.
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I hadn't really considered how the economy might affect Ebay as it has normal retail. About six months ago I came very close to buying an unused set of Seattle World's Fair Frosted Promotional Tumblers that were distributed by Mobil for $70 but I decided I didn't want to spend that much. Today I bought the exact same set (like this) for NINTY NINE CENTS. I almost feel guilty! But that's what he set his opening bid at so I guess it's his fault.
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Are shoes getting bigger or are my feet shrinking?
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OMG! I was supposed to work a half day today but I asked to take the whole day off because I am worried about the roads. Off to Portland in a few. If you were wondering why we are all having such a hard time over here, I present a fun article about how the streets are all turned into ice rinks "by design." Thanks City of Seattle!!! I have bruises on every side of my ass now.

Happy holidays everyone!
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Girl you gotta ten piece now don't be stingy.
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More snow! I think we've got about 7 inches on the hill. This is a Seattle miracle. I think it is beautiful but I'm pretty tired of trudging around in it and having wet feet. My shoes haven't fully dried since Saturday and they are my only suitable pair. I'm going to see if I can hunt down some more wool socks today. People aren't equipped to clear their sidewalks so it's either weird sanded snow that is like walking on a beach, or compacted and icy snow, and either one is kind of exhausting to walk in. I fell again on the way to work this morning and all these jerks standing in front of the Starbucks just stared at me. We're supposed to drive to Portland on Wednesday...Curtis is pretty determined! I feel really bad for anyone trying to fly out. Most people I know are having to cancel their trips altogether.

I pretty much spent all weekend at the Redwood. It was starting to feel like I was on a mountain vacation and Redwood was our ski lodge. We went sledding at 2am on Saturday at the best secret sledding spot.

snow quiet

Dec. 18th, 2008 10:07 am
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snow at 7:20 am

Thunder woke me up at 5:30 this morning. I peeked outside and saw a fine layer of snow covering everything, untouched. No footprints yet, no tire tracks. It felt like my secret snow. By the time my alarm went off at 7, there was a couple inches. My voicemail said the office wouldn't be opening until 10. I went back to bed. Strapped on my hiking shoes and carefully walked in. My street was picturesque but downtown is brown and slushy. It's still coming down rather steadily. I don't think they'll let us out early today--there's a lot to do. But I have a beautiful fifth floor window view of seagulls and big fat snowflakes.
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Some fool bought fat-free half and half for the office. What is this unnatural simulacrum? It tastes like it’s trying too hard to be normal half & half. It claims you can bake with it. Personally I’d rather have a smidge of healthy, natural fat in my coffee than “corn syrup solids” and some unpronounceable chemicals. The only other option is fat-free French Vanilla coffee mate, which is also appears to be some kind of chemical sludge. Sometimes I get so creeped out by processed foods.

Yesterday Curtis and I went Christmas shopping at University Village, which is this big outdoor shopping center. Even though it was freezing it was so fun and festive, with the lights everywhere and snow on the ground, and we had holiday coffee beverages and candy samples at Williams Sonoma. After that it was an Indian feast at Cedars with our Entertainment book coupon and then off to Candy Cane Lane. It was kind of a letdown. It is a very cute little street with a bunch of super perfect cute houses and they all had decorations, but I thought it would be, like, mega crazy light displays that make you question the sanity of the owners. This was just cute.

Today it is freezing. It is supposed to be in the low 30s-mid 20s all week, which I know probably sounds balmy to a lot of you but it is really unusual for Seattle, this sustained freezing temperature. For some reason it seems like the air conditioning is on above my desk. I am wearing pants, tights under my pants, a long sleeved shirt, a sweater, a scarf and my winter coat and I am still really cold. I like winter but I am not properly outfitted for more than a day or two of below-freezing weather. Tomorrow I have to dress nice for a big presentation too. Which means I probably can’t wear 200 layers. So much for global warming, AM I RIGHT???

snow!

Dec. 14th, 2008 10:22 am
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obligitory snow picture!

It totally snowed last night. I woke up early to go to the gym before brunch but it was so slippery, walking downtown seemed awfully difficult. Kids at the bus stop said they'd been waiting for a long time. After I watched one guy bite it on Denny and spill his Starbucks all over himself I decided to turn around and go home. Thanks, snow. :)
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knit purl
Originally uploaded by Mizrobot.

This is my first Flickr photo, of me and Daphne knitting during a KCTS pledge drive. I didn't even take this!

Hmm, this must mean my pro account is going to expire soon.

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Oh gosh, this week has been so busy. I am finally hitting my stride at work and feeling like I am not fucking up on everything. Yesterday I had to be at work at 7:30 am for an 8am meeting. Shoot me! Ugh. Then I didn’t end up leaving until 5:30pm. I had some kind of spotty vision/severe headache situation for most of the day too. The client LOVED my copy for his brochure so I hope I’ve secured more of that kind of work in the future. We’ve had just a ton of RFPs coming in, which is good from a business perspective but so much work. And because of the bad economy, people want to line-item every last little detail so they can pick and choose what services they might want so writing these proposals is a huge pain the ass.

I finished printing all my Christmas cards this week and hope to get them all sent out this weekend. Then I can start candymaking! I saw these on The Kitchn but they have to be refrigerated so I don’t know how practical they would be for gifts. I LOVE peppermint patties.



I bought a bunch of craft crap on Martha Stewart the other day. EVERYTHING on her site is on sale and you can use the code HOLIDAY to get an additional 20% off. I was bummed that the craft punch I’ve coveted since her line was introduced was all sold out though.

I’ve also been cooking a lot. Whole chicken was on mega sale so I roasted a chicken and hope to make stock this weekend so I can try this recipe. I also got some tips from the Taco Gringo guys on how to make delicious greens without using a ton of bacon fat. I’m trying to be healthy and my goal is to get down to my best weight by the time I am 30. Which is in March. WTF. My coworker gave me a coupon for a free week long trial membership to her fancy downtown gym but unfortunately I left my workout clothes at home. :( Does anyone here go to All-Star Fitness? It sounds really nice!

And finally, THANK THE LORD I do not have to go to Portland today for work!!! So I get to see my boyfriend’s band tonight. This weekend I also hope to go to Candy Cane Lane. And maybe it will snow.
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This morning I watched a bicycle plow right into a pedestrian. The pedestrian was crossing on the green in the crosswalk and the bike rider was whizzing through the red. And it wasn't like the light had just changed--I was over halfway through the intersection myself. He was lucky it wasn't a car. I am not trying to be anti-bike but there is so much bicyclist indignation, and yet it often seems like a lot of riders only follow the rules when it is convenient for them. (Correct me if I'm wrong and bikes are allowed to run red lights.)

Last week I came upon the aftermath of a pedestrian-vehicle collision. The guy was okay but really shook up. "My umbrella is broken! My umbrella saved me!" He kept exclaiming. When it's pitch black and rainy, people just aren't paying attention to who is in the crosswalk. I try to make eye contact with people before I cross, and it's amazing how many people jump when they suddenly realize someone is standing right next to their car, staring at them and trying to get their attention while they've been craning their neck hoping to make a right on red. I'm ready for some pedestrian indignation, I tell you what.
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Last night was incredible. After trying to get into several overly crowded parties we landed at Neumo's, which, blessedly, did not have a line. I don't think I will ever forget when the red words "BREAKING NEWS" spun onto the screen and CNN called the race for Obama. I am tearing up just thinking about it. Even though the polls were positive, I guess I had a hard time believing after all that's happened in the last eight years, America could elect a man named Barack Obama. I'm sorry I doubted you, America.

We left Neumo's to find another party, and ran right into one on Pike Street. People were going crazy, drinking and dancing and letting off fireworks in the street. The cops came and we thought it was over, but they just herded everyone down to Broadway and Pike and blocked off the intersection with their cars so no one would get run over. Thank you, cops, for letting us celebrate. We bought a bottle of champagne and drank it from a bag. It was incredible, all the energy and passion. WE WON!!!! I've never seen anything like it and was so glad I was there to witness it.

I took cell phone pictures but then I dropped my phone for the 800th time and since this time was on concrete, this time it did my phone in. It was actually the second time I dropped my phone THAT DAY. Idiot!!! I think that phone is extra slippery or something. That was a mistake I can't really afford right now. :( Can't decide if I should cough up for the cheapest phone at Verizon today or try to get one off Ebay. Normally I'd be fine with not having a phone for a few days but Curtis is out of town and I might have to go drive up to Index to pick him up on Saturday so I need to be able to communicate. I think because I am on Verizon I can't just use any old phone because they don't use SIM cards, is that true?

When I got home I drunkenly upended my Goodwill pile trying to find my old cell phone (I found it, but not the charger) and I woke up this morning buck naked with half a bag of popcorn next to my head. Good times. GO AMERICA!!!

Oh, and all the local stuff I voted for is winning too! Gregoire, the Democrat candidate for Governor, is kicking slimy Rossi's ASS; Tim Eyman's stupid selfish traffic bill is going down in flames; and transit and death with dignity is winning by wide margins. YAY!!!!!

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yes-we-can-has-copy

I too turned in my ballot this morning. The line was fairly long but I had my absentee so I just cut to the front. Now it is waiting, waiting. After two years of anticipation it feels like today we should just all jump off a cliff, like there shouldn't be or couldn't be a post-campaign existence. It's hard to imagine waking up to either outcome tomorrow, in a way. But I'm crossing my fingers for a "mandate."
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