Thursday, September 30, 2010


Back in August when I was in NYC with the girls, I made a point to pop by and say hello to Doreen and Brandon who also live in the city. Haley and I checked out their new-ish apartment and we engaged in small talk about Life Lately. "You'll have to let us know if you and Tyson are going on any trips this year." Brandon said at one point. "Actually, we are going to Utah in October." I said, quickly pondering how fun it would be if these friends joined us. I threw the idea out there nonchalantly with a mini urge that if they were interested they could certainly jump on board. And well, they did. Brandon and Doreen booked and are flying in from NYC, and Haley and Josh booked and are flying in from Minneapolis. To Utah. Next weekend. Over my birthday. Eeeek!

Tyson and I have had no shortage of good times with the four people mentioned above. In fact, they have been a part of some of our greatest adventures and I hope they know how much I appreciate their willingness to take a leap next weekend. They are troopers!

Doreen's recent visit to Seattle:

Haley and Kristi flew out to Seattle last year in a surprise visit to watch me run my marathon.

Over the years, both Haley and Doreen and their respective partners have been staples in PNW awesomeness.

Years ago, Haley and Crow were out in Seattle on a Girls' trip where we spent a day hiking in the mountains. She and Josh were here a few years before that for a snowboarding trip to Whistler, and even several years before that, they both came out (Kristi and Mitch too!) and we road-tripped the Olympic Peninsula.

In 2008, Doreen and I tackled Steven's Pass snowboarding and only a few months later she and Brandon joined Tyson and I on a backpacking trip in the Enchantments area that was a highlight for me that summer, and required not one post, but two.

I look SO forward to seeing what the convergeance of the six of us will look like. I have no doubt it will be a total blast and I cannot believe it is all happening over my birthday! We leave in a week next Thursday morning. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The best weekend ever.

I was trying to think up something witty or creative for a title, but really, that pretty much sums’er up.

What a great weekend!

First off, there is nothing better than a Friday night where I do not have plans. The fact is, there is always something to do. If you really want to get out and see people, more than likely there are options. But if you do not, and you just want to walk through the door knowing the remainder of the evening is yours and yours only, well that is just lovely. I made a quick list and zipped off to the grocery store and then returned to make swiss chard lasagna with a glass of red wine in-hand. Pandora was rocking my world with one good song after another and when I flopped down on the couch to watch a little movie around 10:30, instead of feeling old and boring I felt totally relaxed and happy. Giddy even.

Saturday I was up early. The day was straight out of the definition of what a great fall day should look like. Sunny. Leafy. Blue skies. People in corduroy but also still in t-shirts. I slowly crept along the 7.5-mile loop of Lake Union, running to the beat of yet again Pandora now on my iPhone. I returned home to do an hour of scheduled cleaning while Ira Glass spoke about Crybabies. Then I headed out into the sunshine and eventually sat for coffee at the Joe Bar for a few hours of the afternoon. I painted my fingernails orange. I talked to Kes on the phone.

Tyson came into town and we decided to head over to Fremont for the Oktoberfest beer tasting event. When the difference in ticket options was five tastings or ten tastings we took one look at the teeny cup and went for the ten. After sampling microbrews from WA, Colorado, California and german-style beer from both East and West Germany, we started to realize that mayyyybe ten was a bit too much. Alas, it really was a good time. And nothing a stop at the taco truck at midnight doesn't go well with.

After some coffee and interesting pancakes, we saddled up on Tyson’s motorcycle for a long, windy ride through the Magnolia neighborhood looking out at the Puget Sound and evntually landed at the Ballard Farmer's Market yesterday.

I felt like I was beating a dead horse but I could not get over what a perfect fall day/weekend it was. Leaves were all over the place lightly blowing in the corners of the street. Vendors sold all kinds of late summer/early fall produce. We ordered a couple of lattes and sat outside a little cafĂ© watching kids and dogs and an elderly man play the accordion in the sunshine. Life was pretty slow and pretty great. I remember thinking, if I could actually bottle up my happiness in that moment sitting across from Tyson with my coffee in-hand, I could put it on a shelf for those inevitable not-so-great days. Then we popped over to Bess’ house to watch the rest of the Seahawks game and returned home just in time to make black bean enchiladas and watch a movie with Rob and Claudia.


I woke today to the nightmare that is Monday. Oh well.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Happy first day of Fall!

Today I look forward to:
+ The pumpkin patch
+ Carving my pumpkin
+ Making soups
+ Writing
+ Downloading new music
+ Burning candles
+ Watching movies
+ Crisp runs
+ Tyson
+ Snuggling
+ Sweaters and scarves
+ Apple Upside Down cake (Thanks, mama)

Two great things for Fall:
Whole-Wheat Quinoa Bread (have not yet made, but there is a weekend coming up)
Provencal Kale and Cabbage Gratin (this is delish)
And my friend Aylin came over to cook with me the other night. She cooked and pureed butternut squash with some maple syrup and butter. She then slathered it on a tortilla, added some goat cheese and another tortilla for the top, and then cooked her up in the cast iron skillet. Amazing quesadillas. Never underestimate the power of a great quesadilla.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Week Two< Parents' Road Trip.

So we headed south to visit my parents who were occupying a lovely RV spot on the waterfront of Sauvie Island - just twenty minutes outside of Portland. In an ironic twist of fate, my friends Lindsay and Matthew have become their sidekicks in the world of all things long, four-wheeled and adventure led.

We finally rolled in Friday evening with careful instruction to heed the 5mph sign on account of many chickens running free on the remote island. We popped open a bottle of champagne and stuck a few candles on cupcakes in honor of my Papa's birthday and Tyson's mom's birthday. Let the weekend on the island begin <

That night just a few trailers away, we joined Lindsay and Matthew to sleep in their 18.5 feet of glory while the adults appropriately slept in my parents' RV. I found myself continually amazed that my friends had spent the last five months existing in this same 18.5 feet of space. And though the island was beautiful and completely relaxing, it still didn't take away from the very fact that well,...frankly I don't know many people my age who choose to co-exist in such a way. Living in a trailer. Going to work each day. I know from talking to Lindsay that the decision to live on the island for the summer was not easy, but soon she realized the it wasn't going to last forever and in fact, it was an opportunity. She started volunteering at a start-up CSA farm down the street that gave her weekly amazing fresh produce for $7. She and Matthew road bikes all around the island and on some days filled buckets of hand-picked black berries.

Lindsay and Matthew shared a kinship with my parents too. When they purchased their Airstream Linds and Matthew actually bought it from a man in MN. And when they traveled to MN to pick it up they stopped by my parents' farm meet them and have dinner. I remember thinking it was really fun to have some of my west coast friends see my roots and meet my parents. And now nine months later my parents returned the favor by buying an RV in Oregon and descending upon Portland to reunite with Lindsay and Matthew.

The four of them are adorable. They share a common experience but they are also friends. And there is something really great about seeing your parents through your friends' eyes. Lindsay and Matthew absolutely love my parents and they cannot get enough of them. They see my parents as inspirational and adventurous. They ask them for advice. They rave about Mama and Pops and soak up time with them like a sponge. I swear I think the four of them might even have inside jokes.

So on Saturday we crawled out of our trailers and we all went to brunch. Later we headed over to the CSA farm for a harvest celebration. I hesitate to use the word magical, but it really was. They had a large barn that was open on both ends and twinkle lights dangled from the rafters. Outside was a brick oven the young farmers had constructed to bake wood-fired pizzas. We watched all kinds of people chop veggies from the farm, roll out dough, and add homemade cheese to the tops. One after another the pizzas showed up and we ate until we couldn't put another slice in our mouths if we wanted to.

Then on Sunday the ladies picked blackberries while the guys went off to some 'Camper World' or 'Home Depot' or something manly-ish.

The result was a giant brunch feast of pancakes with blackberries, and eggs and sausage while sipping coffee and looking out at the Columbia River. It was really great.

I just had the best time with my parents on the west coast. They are so fun and I appreciate them in my life more than ever. I wish them well in the remainder of their journey and I'm so happy I was able to share in a little bit of the adventure. And as we pulled way to head north for Seattle, I watched the four of them link arms and wave at us driving away. I was pretty sad to say goodbye. What a unique experience and one I'll never share again. My friends, my parents, on an island, in Trailers, on the west coast. Pretty awesome.

I love my parents. They really do rule.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week One < Parents' Road Trip.

I was giddy when I imagined my parents zipping along in their camper and spending hours talking about all the events of their life leading up until this point. I am still giddy though their trip agenda and general plan has changed considerably. True to form, my parents like to shake things up and do things a little different. Never expected and certainly not the path of least resistance. As a child this drove me absolutely insane when I'd see my friends families embark on typical vacations to cabins or to Disneyworld, or even drove newish cars that were bought fully functioning and needed no handiwork. Over the years I've come to appreciate my parents' sense of frugality and the never-ending surprises that come with marching along to the beat of their own drum. For one thing, I believe I have them to Thank wholeheartedly for any sense of adventure that I currently posses. Still, I may enjoy lists and structure more than the average person as a result of my childhood chaos. (I love you, parents).

So, instead of driving Matilda - the woman-gendered camper they have been fixing up specifically for this trip for the past several months - my father decided to buy a camper online that "had a few problems" and they flew to Oregon last week to pick it up. Turns out they were a little nervous about Ole Matilda making the long journey and so they booked last-minute flights and a last-minute rental car. And when they showed up in Eugene the campers problems were larger than they had anticipated. When I heard the news, my anxiety level started to rise. I was nervous for them. And again, I like to pre-plan and have a general guideline for what my adventures entail. For me this is almost an insurance plan for seeing and doing all of the crazy things I want to pack in. If its on the list, more than likely it will happen. My parents though, they fly by the seat of their pants and they are open to whatever crosses their paths. So, they picked up the camper, did some contemplative trip evaluation over a few beers at a pub, and decided to fix-up the less-than-perfect camper and give'r a go. When I say less-than-perfect I do mean that this new camper had no appliances and no furniture and actually had been totally stripped on the inside. But fix it up, they have! Since their arrival on the West coast and despite any hiccups they have endured, I've been continually amazed by the conversations we've exchanged. They are doing their trip the way THEY want to do it, and having a blast in the process. They are bright and giddy and open-minded. They are relentlessly positive and the electricity of their excitement nearly zaps me through the phone.

"You should see your father." I could hear my mother smiling. "He's just chatting everyone up! Calling RV places and picking out things to revamp the inside. Learning about licenses and fishing in the area. Did you know the salmon are running right now? This is terribly exciting!"

Later and again with the energy she said, "You know, I have learned something new about your father even after forty years of marriage."
"Really, Mother. And what would that be?" I urged.
"Well, I've decided that I like him a whole lot better when he's got a project. When he sits on that couch all night with the television on, I just can't stand it! But now he's out and talking to people. He's figuring things out and he's making things happen. He's got a project and he's alive! He's talking to all his cronies back home too and getting them all excited."

Insert me having no idea who Dad's "cronies" are and my mom explaining that his cronies are in fact his friends. Well, his friends and then also his cousins who have actually been his best buddies since they were all children.

"Doug has since bought a camper down in Florida and I guess Donna and Jim are out shopping for one right now!" she beamed.

My giddiness turned to a sparkly pride. My parents have been talking about this road trip for forever and now they are on it. They are Doing It. And regardless of the way in which its done - chaos or not - they are actually out and living and I can feel that LIFE when I talk to them. Its completely inspiring and wonderful. And to hear that others are possibly grabbing a hold of their own little reigns as a result made me a little teary.

I watched a video at work the other day where we recorded people that we consider our target audience segment. To gain insight the moderator asked them Why they spend time in the outdoors. Many of them expressed that getting out and doing things makes them feel alive. Like they're not just letting life pass them by. That pushing themselves sometimes past their comfort zone is exhilerating and breeds joy and excitement in life. I think the same is true for my parents and I am love them so much for taking this leap!

We are heading south to Portland this weekend to meet up with them on Sauvi Island. Stay tuned. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Poppy! I love you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I heart these rooms.
I heart the tables. And the sporadic colors and mixtures.
I heart how simple and modern it all is and yet its comfy and not stiff.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Three-day weekends.

Three-day weekends should be the norm. When people talk about quality of life, as far as I'm concerned the only answer is four days of work, then three days of play.


That fuzzy, giddy feeling on Saturday when you know that the following day ISN'T the last one before having to be on the clock. That you actually have a whole additional day - Monday - to sit and play and relax. And that in fact, SUNDAY is available for whatever is on your list.

Here's what three days in a row of not going to work looks like:

+ Tyson was here. That in an of itself makes for a spectacular weekend.
+ We played tennis and munched dinner and sipped beers with Rob and Claude.
+ The four of us then made plans to get together again on Saturday morning. For brunch. More food and chatter because Friday night clearly wasn't enough.
+ The boys went to watch college football so true to the stereotype Claudia and I went and got pedicures and shopped.
+ I spent some quality time on the phone with a best friend as she moved her family from Chicago to Minnesota. Exciting.
+ Tyson and I met friends for drinks at a cozy cafe on Capitol Hill and laughed A Lot.
+ Bess, Tyson and I decided to go camping. Meaning we rose on Sunday, drove to the forest and we set up our tents, made lunch and a fire. And then we decided to go home. On Sunday evening. Because the weather was crap.
+ Tyson and I donned sweatpants and went down the block to our favorite Pho restaurant for Sunday night eats. Perfection considering the damp and chilly weather.
+ Slept in. Never do this. And it was awesome.
+ Tyson made MONDAY brunch.
+ Tyson gave Bess a motorcyle lesson while I putzed around the house and started chicken tacos in the crockpot. They sat and cooked all day filling the condo with the most amazing aroma.
+ We ate dinner and watched 'Away We Go'. Which was awesome.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


As a forest ranger, Tyson can be plucked up in the event there is a forest fire where the standing bunch of firefighters are not enough to tame the flames. For the four+ years Tyson has been a ranger I think he's wished for the day he would be called upon. His day did finally arrive and for two weeks he was in southern Oregon working 12 to 16-hour days and usually working during the night while the rest of us slept. One would think that sleeping on a gymnasium floor and never having the luxury of a shower for fourteen days straight would be enough to take the shine off of an experience he'd been looking forward to for years. Nope. Tyson thought it was great. All of it. He said he learned a lot and worked really hard. I know he's glad to be home, but I also know that he's glad he was able to experience being a firefighter even for just a short couple of weeks. Doesn't every little boy at some point wish he could be a firefighter when he grows up? Well for Tyson, he can give that little box a Check.

During the Tyson hiatus, I had tickets for us to see Ira Glass at Benaroya Hall. I slipped into a pair of heels and with a smear of lipstick I headed downtown by myself. After selling my extra ticket to a nice lady on the street, I settled into my seat and felt my stomach smile as the sound of Ira's voice left the stage and filled every corner of the hall. I've listened to This American Life on Saturday mornings while sipping coffee and munching on brunch prepared more often than not by Tyson. I've folded laundry and cleaned my condo to its archives streaming from my computer on random days when its not scheduled on the radio. I've been en route to a party and become gripped by a story that by the time I've parked and sat in my car so that I can absolutely hear how the story ends, I am eventually thirty-five minutes late to the party.

Ira Glass's voice is iconic. He makes me laugh. He makes me think of things in different ways and wonder about the lives of all kinds of people all across this place we call America. We all have stories to tell.

Here is the story that made me sit in my car. It is the second segment in the link, and unfortunately you have to listen for a few minutes to get to it. Click the link, then click on "Stream Episode":

It will be well worth your time. I promise.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quintessential .

I came accross an album on Facebook where someone had recently visited Seattle to attended a wedding. I stole these photos from that album. Because as I clicked through it, and checked out a stranger's trip, I was seeing all of the reasons I love living here.



Really good beer.

Being in the outdoors.


And, float planes. They are just cool.