Wednesday, February 25, 2009

a brother ties it.

Toby and Missy wed last Saturday in St. Louis. Out of five siblings, Toby is number two in line after Tim, then Tom, then Tracy then last and best, Tyson. The last is of course the best. Insert wink. I say that knowing full well that I too am the last. The baby.

It was a small wedding. Small in number of attendees, but definitely not small in the measurement of laughter, great conversation, consumption and love. I have only met Tyson's family a handful of times - aside from his fantastic sister who also happens to live here in Seattle - and yet, somehow I feel like I know them all quite well. It may be that I'm connected to many of them through gmail chatting and Facebook, but also because they treat me like part of the gang. And I love it.

Toby and Missy were both so excited to make things official. To become a family. And everyone in that livingroom watching them take their vows felt their throat swell and their eyes well up a little bit. Like at the end of the movie Beaches when you're trying REALLY hard not to cry but you just can't help yourself. Just like that. It was very, very sweet. And I couldn't be more happy for them.

Oh and we celebrated. With great food. A few trays of tequila shots. And then a wedding just isn't complete unless the bride does a keg stand. Twice. And her 60+ parents. And me. And Tyson. And his brothers. And Tom's fiance, Meg. And And And.

Sunday was a rough day. But well worth it.

Congratulations, you crazy love birds.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

good ole Midwest.

I flew out of Seattle Friday morning bound for St. Louis. I had never been, and frankly, wasn't exactly sure where St. Louis was on the map. I mean, I know the general area, but for some reason I felt I was going to the South. Anyway, I knew three things about St. Louis = the Arch lives there, Anheuser Busch brews beer there, and asking people "Which High School did you go to?" is a big deal. That particular piece of information tells I lot, I guess.

Tyson went to high school in Illinois. Warrensburg - Latham High School. That doesn't tell me a whole lot, but many of his high school friends were in St. Louis for Mardi Gras and a little reunion party was scheduled. They picked me up at the airport- they being Tyson, his older brother, Tom, and his fiance, Meg, and we headed over to said party. I had never met any of Tyson's friends from Illinois. Many of them reminded me of my own high school friends. Small town. Super nice. Unintimidating. Generally just good people. Asking for dirt on Tyson I had to dig and dig. One measely story about he and some friends throwing eggs at a car one night surfaced. But that was it. Meeting the people someone grew up with can tell you a lot about a person. I guess I learned my Tyson is a pretty straight arrow with good friends who were excited to see him after several months or several years. I decided not a bad thing to say about him is a good thing in my book.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Seattle has had an unusually glorious winter. Sun after sun after sun after 55 after 53 after 56 degrees. Admittedly, I've been a little bitter about it considering my handicap. On President's Day, Tyson and I spread out a blanket in Volunteer Park and soaked up some vitamin D. All I could think about was how badly I wanted to hop on my bike and zip around the city.

This of course sent me into a classic Andrea moment of over-thinking and planning. Cut to me putting dates on my Google calendar for Spring and yes, Summer, in an attempt to make sure I start doing things I love immediately. Some people don't really like to plan. I love to plan. And to make lists. And to walk around and go running and back-packing and camping and I can't wait until the sunshine is a sealed deal in Spring.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I've had several requests for proof of my grocery store joyrides. I have to say, it was humiliating the first time I cruised around in this scooter - beeping like a garbage truck every time I needed to move in reverse. But after navigating the store with ease and filling my basket full of yummy food I realized there was power in the scooter. I could do anything I wanted despite my injury. Things may take a bit longer, but overall I'd be just fine if something happened to me requiring more than a 6-8 week recovery. I felt pretty good about that.

endless sipping.

For hours over brunch.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

super yum.

Green Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Warm Spices

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tsp. turmeric
6 cups vegetable stock
1 ½ cups French green lentils, picked over for stones and other debris
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
A few grinds of black pepper
1 ¼ cups coconut milk
¼ tsp. fine sea salt, plus more to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, warm 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, thyme, and turmeric. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and very soft.

Add the stock and the lentils, bring to a simmer, and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and tender.

In a small saucepan, warm the remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When the butter is entirely liquefied, there will be a foamy white layer on top. Skim it away and discard it. What you’ll have left is clarified butter – a clear, yellow liquid – and a bit of white sediment at the bottom of the pan, which are the milk solids. Carefully pour the clarified butter into a small bowl or cup; then rinse the sediment out of the pan. Return the clarified butter to the pan, and place it over medium heat. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper, and warm them, stirring, until they are very fragrant, a minute or two.

Pour the clarified butter and spices into the soup. Add the coconut milk, and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Taste, and adjust the salt as necessary. Serve.

Note: Like many things with complex spicing, this soup improves with time. It’s great on the first day, but it’s even better on the second.

Yield: 4-6 servings


Boiled Kale with a Fried Egg and Toast

About 8 ounces kale
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
A pinch of dried red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 to 4 cups mild chicken stock, or water, or a combination of the two

To serve:
Thick slices of country bread
Olive oil
Prosciutto, torn into bite-sized bits (optional)
Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano

First, prepare the kale: trim away any discolored spots, and then remove and discard the ribs and stems, if they are thick or woody. Stack a few leaves at a time; then slice them into ¼-inch-thick ribbons. Dump the sliced kale into a salad spinner, and add plenty of cold water. Swish the kale around to free any trapped dirt. Let stand for a minute or two – this lets the dirt fall to the bottom – and then lift the basket from the spinner. Pour out the dirty water. Replace the basket, add fresh water, and repeat. Spin dry.

In a large (4-quart) saucepan, warm the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are translucent but still firm. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and the kale, and stir until the kale is fully wilted. Add stock to cover by about ½ inch. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and continue to simmer until the kale is tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Taste, and salt as needed. This dish needs quite a bit of salt, so don’t be shy.

To serve, toast one slice of bread per person. While still hot, lightly rub both sides of the toast with raw garlic. Place the toast in the bottom of a wide soup bowl. Now, fry some eggs – one per person, probably – in olive oil. Pile some kale onto the toast in each bowl, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, and top with a fried egg. Strew with prosciutto, if you want. Grate some cheese over the whole thing, and serve.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

week Four.

I'm well into week four of the recovery process. Post-week Four, I've been told, is a turning point and once its complete many people make the mistake of thinking, "Lord, I'm healed!" and begin to put exorbitant weight on the injury of course resulting in a longer recovery process. Ick. I don't want that. I started walking sans crutches on Monday and quickly learned I was premature in that step. I'll wait until NEXT Monday. Week Five.

Current thoughts during week Four include:
Being really sick of wearing the same shoes - all having to be flats. And a nagging curiosity about what it will be like when I go pairing shoes again. Will the right foot be significantly more worn? Will my gorgeous new boots look completely mismatched considering the left foot has only seen the light of day two times compared to the right foot's countless walking experiences? Stepping into my apartment is a sight also = all right foots sitting by the door. I smile every time.

Oh and my boot is smelly and occasionally I catch a whiff while seated at my desk.

Monday, February 9, 2009

sweet nectar of life.

I started walking in my giant, bionic boot yesterday. Sans crutches. I didn't walk very far and it was really more of a hobble, but the freedom and independence felt amazing. My overall mood was lighter and my feelings of doom subsided. And well, that could've also been due to the fact that Tyson flew in from the Midwest after being gone for almost two weeks! Aren't reunions the best? Everything is so fun and exciting. A hug. A look.

Though many things for me personally are moving in a general direction of goodness, I decided to pop into Value Village yesterday on a hunt for a popcorn popper to which I'm planning to roast my own coffee beans at home. Value Village is like Goodwill, except, not as cool. Many of my friends scour Goodwill and find treasure after treasure of other peoples' discarded items. Value Village, to me, isn't a place to find treasures. Its dark, smelly and overall unpleasant. And with this economy being the way it is, it also seemed unusually packed for a sunny Saturday afternoon. As I looked around at the people shopping, they weren't people hunting for hip vintage T's or used books, they were people who really probably couldn't even afford to buy the things they NEEDED to be buying that day. And my heart sank. I hope I don't eventually lose my job as a result of this "crisis" but more than that I hope a lot of people FIND jobs and keep them, and prosper and live good lives. Its such a reality that people are suffering and yet I don't see it around me in my every day life.

Friday, February 6, 2009

real estate or dream?

From about the age of, oh 24, I've been looking at real estate. At first because I wanted to buy, and since then because it allows me to be curious about design and what I like, don't like and what I would do to change it. It allows me to be curious about the prospect of living in another neighborhood, city, or country and to dream about what living in a particular place would be like.

Today I expanded my usual multi-city curiosity search across the pond to Spain. NYTimes always features fantastic slideshows of various properties for sale around the country and it wasn't until today I clicked my mouse internationally. Can you imagine? Living in Spain with a spare bedroom for visitors to come and enjoy cobblestone streets, sunshine and el mar? I immediately saw myself sitting outside little cafes, eating incredible food, traveling around the country and I was so nervously excited. Is it possible!? I don't really know, but those who know me have seen me do just about anything to make something happen. And I'm not even sure I WANT to do this, but its fun to dream, right?

Look at this listing:
A two bedroo, two bath condo with terrace overlooking the sea for $370K.

And there is this listing:
A three bedroom, two bathroom townhouse.

Maybe someday...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Its getting serious...

Hello, you.

Its been two weeks since I broke my ankle and let me tell you, my couch and I have become very close. Its an intimate relationship full of ups and downs, but overall its supportive, loving and comfy.

Its funny how most of the time I wish for life to slow down a bit, and now, as I sit where I've sat for days and days I can only wish to participate in the 55 degree temperatures and sunshine outside. When I am out with friends, I find myself feeling tired from average nights of sleep or anxious thinking about how long I'll have to stand on my crutches or walk. I realize there are people in this world who are struggling much more than I am, and I try to see that perspective as much as possible, but tonight I'm feeling a little down.

I made an appointment with a sports doctor and am hoping my recovery process will be a little clearer. I need things to work towards and to look forward to. Until then, I'll try and take things slow and not do anything I wouldn't be proud to tell my Grandmother.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

x chromosomes.

I've managed to have more Gal time in the last week than I've had in months. Its like a great workout for the soul and lungs as most instances involve lots of conversation, connection and reflection.

Last week I was part of a Gals' night that included the following list of not necessary, but fantastic items making such nights one of the greatest pastimes possible:

Popcorn + sixteen different toppings (i.e. cheese POWDER, butter etc;)
Great girl movie where comments can be made about outfits, hair, love - insert The Dutchess
Lots and lots of conversation

BOOM, a voicemail from Lindsay with plans to come up from Portland for a party on Friday night and wondering if she could crash on my couch. Let me see, umm Yep. She's not only a favorite of the people I've met on the West coast, but in life in general. After our party, we stayed up late into the wee hours chatting on my couch. Saturday we woke and headed to Coastal Kitchen for brunch and three hours and four cups of coffee later, we paid the check. It was 55 degrees and sunny in Seattle leading us to keep the coffee train rolling grabbing lattes to sit outside Vivace endlessly bantering. Sweet Lindsay brought me the gift of a coffee bean roaster in the form of a popcorn popper. She and several other friends of mine are heavy into roasting and I was eager to roast my first batch.

This morning I made plans to meet Caitlin for brunch with the intention of helping her brainstorm and start a blog for her business. We spent 5% of the time talking about the blog and 95% just talking. About all sorts of things. And I returned home feeling so great. Why is it that spending time with other women rocks so much. I've experienced women who don't have a lot of other female friends and I really cannot understand that. I feel like I've just returned home from vacation or something. Sigh. Minus the tan.