Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Autumn Baking

There are a many things I love about Autumn, and one of those things is baking with seasonal ingredients. I'm not the biggest fan of the zucchini unless it's in yummy Chocolate Zucchini Bread. YUM! It's also good in Zucchini cookies, but they take so much more work to bake.

The fabulous Catto's vandalized our kitchen by leaving freshly picked zucchini and corn and just dug potatoes from Uncle Dutch's garden. That man sure can make good stuff grow and the DH and I are very grateful for their willingness to share.

Here's the one big zucchini all grated up. It made enough for three batches of zucchini bread. One batch is made and the other two bags are ready for me as soon as I stock up on a few of the ingredients that I finished off this evening.

I highly recommend then wonderful recipe that I got from Virginia Nickel (the master baker of the universe).

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 Eggs
1 C. White Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Cooking Oil
3 Tlb Vanilla (that really is 3 Tablespoons!)
2 C. Flour
1 tsp Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tlb Cinnamon
1 Tlb Cocoa
2 C. Grated Zucchini
1 C. Chocolate Chips
sugar/cinnamon mixture

Mix together eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and zucchini. Mix well. Add nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips if desired. Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured loaf tins. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and super fine sugar/cinnamon mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reading... Or Not

So, I've been reading The Master Butcher's Singing Club and I really like it. However, I will not be done by the end of the month. I'm sorry to disappoint, but we'll have to postpone any discussion until I finish the book. Although, I'm not sure how many people are playing along anyway, so perhaps it will not matter so much when I come in late with my discussion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

By Popular Demand

There have been multiple requests to see the DH's new tattoo. I thought it might be OK to show you all what it looks like. I think it's really pretty, especially since I'm partial to the old school ink work.

Didn't he do a nice job picking that out? And it's covered by a short sleeved shirt, so it's mostly just for me (and him).

Orange for Autumn

I'm hooked on these silly quizzes. Penny Longstockings at Orange and Other Bright Colors took the Orange quiz and came out Pumpkin.

Here are my results for the Orange quiz:
Apricot -- Soft and sweet, over time you let your provocative nature shine through.You are definitely unconventional, but you don't broadcast it.You offer people a fresh perspective on life - so fresh that it can be shocking!

I also took the soda quiz. My results there were:

7-up -- Understated and subtle, people warm up to you slowly. But once they're hooked, they can't imagine going back to anyone else!

Your best soda match: Diet Coke (how did they know?!?)

Stay away from: Mountain Dew

The Cursed Working Class

A couple of years ago, I left my job with a small consulting company in Seattle. It was a good job, but I needed new challenges. I went to work at a large software company in Redmond and got challenged in ways I never expected. The first six months were the hardest I’ve ever endured.

Shortly after I started there, the company I previously worked for was purchased by a larger international company. It’s grown and that has created new opportunities. The Chief Operating Officer at the company contacted me a few weeks ago about an opportunity she wanted me to consider. She wants me to come back as a Vice President and run the consulting business in Seattle. They have some new accounts they’d like to grow and one major existing account that needs to be revitalized.

I received a formal offer for the job last weekend and spent an agonizing week deciding what I should do. I had no idea how difficult the decision would be, but my current company has perhaps the best benefits on the planet and I would be going to a company with good, but not spectacular benefits.

In the end, I made the decision based on the work that would get me excited to get up in the morning and go to work. I think it’s a really good decision for me. The DH is happy with the decision as well, so we’re happy as a clam.

In the past, when people have asked how I like my job, I always said the commute was the worst part. Now I’ll be working in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, so my commute will be much easier again. However, that’s not the best part of the new job. The best part will be working with some wonderful people again that I’ve missed over the last couple of years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Catching Up

I've been the scattered blogger for a while now, so it seems like it might be time to catch up.
  1. I spent four days last week at Paradise Point Resort & Spa. It sounds fabulous, and it was quite nice. The only thing is that it was a work trip with 40 of my favorite collegues. I was away from my husband, sleeping in a strange bed, and working.
  2. I've been mulling over taking a new job. It's been weighing on my mind, but I think I may have made up my mind. More on that tomorrow.
  3. Today is the first day of Autumn. It was a beautiful day in Seattle and I've enjoyed it immensely.
  4. Yesterday, the DH and I went with a couple of friends to the Greek Festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church. It was a great experience. We ate wonderful Greek food and enjoyed the company. I highly recommend it.
  5. The DH got a new tattoo. I didn't think I'd appreciate it, but when he got one with my name on it in the old school style, I couldn't resist. It really is beautiful. And don't worry Mom, once you have a bunch, one more really doesn't make a difference. You'll like it (or at least you won't like it any less than any of the others).
  6. Tonight, Kiri te Kanawa is singing in Vancouver at 8:00. I got tickets for the DH and me to go see her. The concert was going to be at 3:00. I have a friend that gave us keys to his apartment so we could stay there for free while he's gone. It was going to be fabulous, until there was a civil strike in Vancouver and the concert had to be changed to a late start and now I'm not going. I'm very disappointed, but I may get over it eventually.
  7. I really enjoyed church today. We got out early, which is always nice, but I really enjoyed sitting next to the DH and just being there with so many people that I love. I don't always have a good attitude about it, but today was really good.
  8. Last weekend, the DH and I went to a concert downtown at the Showbox. It was a group called the New Pornographers (but don't worry, they don't have anything to do with porn). I've decided that I need to go to fewer concerts and just buy the music I like and listen to it on my own. Even with earplugs, it was hard to enjoy the sound and the opening bands were horrible. The headlining act didn't come on until 11:00 and I just realized that I'm too old for this. That's a horrible thing to realize.
That's all for now. More tomorrow!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My DH: the Playlist God

I'm in San Diego this week for a management offsite for work. I don't especially relish being away from home for several days with co-workers, but I didn't really have a choice, so here I am. Before I left, the DH made a playlist for me to listen to on my iPod while I'm away.

All I can say is that it's brilliant. He put it together in less than half an hour with 65 songs strung together in a way that any DJ would be proud of. Seriously, amazing.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Can't See (Useless) by Oingo Boingo
  • Because by Dave Clark Five
  • I Like It by the Dixie Chicks
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis
  • Same Denomination by Exene Cervanka
  • I Love You by the Zombies

It's a great mix of old, new, and everything in between.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Burrito Cherry is My Hippy Name

Annzy did this great meme, so I had to join in too. She cheated a little, so I decided I could take some liberties as well.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: first pet & current car
Cinnamon Prius

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie
Praline Shortbread

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: favorite color, favorite animal
Blue Lion

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: middle name, city where you were born
Robertson LeGrande

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first

7. SUPERHERO NAME: ”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink
The Red Milkshake

8. NASCAR NAME: the first names of your grandfathers
Oz Ray (funny how this one turned out the same as my sista’s)

9. STRIPPER NAME: the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy
Vanilla Snickers

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: mother’s & father’s middle names
Karoline Joel (again, the same as Annzy’s – go figure)

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter
Brown Bozeman

12. SPY NAME: your favorite season/holiday, flower
Autumn Rose

13. CARTOON NAME: favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”
Peach Undies (hopefully that didn’t just cross a line)

14. HIPPY NAME: What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree
Burrito Cherry (I just laughed out loud at this one even though I’m sitting alone in a hotel room writing this)

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: ”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”
The Blogging Fog Tour

That was fun. I think you should join and post this one too!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Autumn Already?

This afternoon, when I got in my car after work, I noticed a red leaf had fallen on the windshield. I can't believe this is already happening. Autumn is my favorite season though, so I'm not too disappointed that summer is on it's way out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the DH and I had a great weekend last week, celebrating our anniversary.

The first thing we did was take a ferry over to the peninsula and drive to Port Townsend. We rented a little cottage on one end of town and spent the night there after having a lovely dinner at Fins and watching the DH complete his Fantasy Football draft.
The next day, we went to church with the Port Townsend ward in Chimicum and then roamed around Port Townsend. We enjoyed our short stay there, then headed to Quilcene for the Olympic Music Festival. We heard three classical music chamber pieces as we sat in a really old barn on a bale of hay. Good times.

After the concert, we headed to the ferry in Port Townsend to head North. Then we drove to Anecortes and got on another ferry. Of course, we had an hour and a half to wait, so we walked up the road to a restaurant called Charlie's and had some of the best clam chowder I've ever eaten. It reminded me of my mom's potato soup with some yummy clams thrown in. I think my dad might even like that clam chowder and he's no fan of the clams.

We hopped the ferry in Anacortes and landed in Friday Harbor on San Juan island. It was late, so we went straight to our bed and breakfast where we spent twenty minutes trying to figure out which room was ours. We'll chalk that one up to just being a bit tired. When we got to the room, we enjoyed the private deck and hot tub. It was a beautiful starry night and perfect for soaking a while.

The next day, we had a wonderful breakfast at the B&B and then went and rented mopeds at Susie's Mopeds. After my ten-minute lesson, we were off. I LOVED IT! It was such fun. The only down side was that we couldn't chat while we were traveling.
We stopped at a few sites and enjoyed the fresh air and wind in our hair. I even got a little sun, which surprised me. I never seem to look like I got sun since moving to Seattle.
Our last stop with the mopeds before turning back to Friday Harbor was a lavendar farm. It was
wonderful. We walked out into the lavendar fields and the scent wafted over us and all we could hear was the hum of the hundreds of bees in the lavendar. I could have enjoyed that for hours. We also stopped at the gift shop to buy a bit of sugar-free lavendar shortbread (YUM!) and for the DH to get a recommendation for a place to fish. He's always thinking about fishing and this trip was no exception.
The woman in the lavendar shop told us to check out Egg Lake. We went there and enjoyed an hour or so of fishing. The DH caught two fish, but they were so small you could barely see them. He had to throw both of them back. No delicious bass for me that trip. Oh, well.
The next morning, the DH tried his hand at the fishing again, but absolutely no bites on the second try. Those are some wiley fish and they just didn't want to get caught.
After the DH gave up on fishing, we drove out to Roche Harbor at the opposite end of the island from Friday Harbor. It's a quaint little tourist town and we enjoyed the few sights and shops they had to offer.
From there, we headed the rest of the way around the island and stopped for some whale watching. We saw a few whales and also walked out near the lighthouse. The views were lovely and we definitely felt like we saw everything there was to see on the island and a little ways off shore, too.
Then it was back to the ferry to Anecortes and a quick drive home and we were back to reality. We would highly recommend the island to anyone who wants to get away, but we think we would stay in a place outside of Friday Harbor next time. The town is really small and quite bustling in the mornings, so you definitely felt like you got a wake up call in the morning.

Monday, September 03, 2007

All in a Day's Work

This was our Labor Day labor. Patrick did a bunch of the prep work on Wednesday last week and we bought the sand and stepping stones on Saturday, but most of the work was done today.

We put in the flagstone, planted decorative grass along the fence, and then put some ground cover in between the stones. We're super pleased with how it turned out. In fact, it looks even better than I expected.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lucy's Eclectic Literature Club for September

Well, since I'm in charge, I get to change my mind, right? I want to put off the King Arthur story until October and read something else for September.

For September, we'll read The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich.

Woven with intrigue, romance, death, sex and humor, it's an emotionally complex tale of European immigrants who have settled in the fictional town of Erdrich's previous novels, Argus, N.Dak. Bordering on magical realism, this marvelous yarn introduces a world of rich, expansive imagery and an abundance of memorably compelling characters. There's Delphine, who acts as a human table for her lover, Cyprian, an Ojibwa balancing artist. Delphine cares for her father, Roy, an alcoholic accused of neglectfully murdering an entire family. And then there's Fidelis, a former sniper for the German army who is now the singing butcher of the title. Although some breaks in cadence occur throughout the reading-it seems almost as if Erdrich is seeing the material for the first time-her soft style gradually blends with the story and, rather than seeming inappropriate, becomes invisible.
For October, we'll go back and read Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff.

For fourteen centuries the story of Arthur was a legend, misted over by the tradition of romantic hero-tales. But he was real--a man of towering strength, a dreamer and a warrior--who actually lived, and fought, and died for his impossible dream. The man whom legend calls Arthur of Britain combined the best of Roman civilization with the fierce dedication of his Celtic ancestors. Down through the generations his passionate determination to preserve the values of decency and freedom against the darkness of barbarism has been a clarion call that speaks to the best in humankind.
I got the idea for this one from the fabulous book Book Lust that my friend Kathleen game me. (Thanks, Kathleen! It's wonderful.) It's one of the author's favorite books and I've loved all the other books -- and I've read many -- on the legend of King Arthur. I figure that it's a pretty good bet we might enjoy it.

Shout out to the BIL and Bro!

Happy Birthday to my BIL Brent (the husband of my lovely sister Whitney)! His birthday was yesterday. And, Happy Birthday to my Bro! His birthday is tomorrow. There's a fairly large family gathering going on at the homestead this weekend, but the Seattle families didn't make it there.

We hope everyone has a great time and that the two birthday boys celebrate in style!