sarea: (russell excited - up)
Just picked up from the library:

- Dr. Who S2
- Merlin S1
- 500 Days of Summer
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Swedish film)

Eeeee!

Still in the middle of:

- Tongues of Serpents (Temeraire)
- Mockingjay (Hunger Games)
- BSG (Blu-ray rewatch)
- The West Wing S1

The BSG series is so awesome right from the start, particularly considering the mini-series was rather slow going. I'm kind of stalled on Mockingjay... just not that into it, partly because I'm loving Tongues of Serpents, even though it might be the book in which the least amount of action/progression happens, at least so far. Not sure I'm going to be able to make it through The West Wing. That speed-talking jabber thing that Aaron Sorkin is so well known for bugs me. I was able to work past it on Sports Night, but that was a half-hour sitcom that only lasted a season, if that. I don't know if I can put up with 7 seasons of an hour-long drama in that style.

Just bought off Amazon:

- Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens. It's supposed to be one of the best if not the best Nikon lens to use in low light, and since I'm often photographing food in restaurants with bad/low light, I'm really hoping this will be awesome for that. Won't know for awhile though, because I had it sent to my parents' house to save over $40 in taxes. Freaking Amazon being based in WA state!

- My very first kitchen apron! I know, WTF that it look me this long. It is so adorable, lol! Fashion and function!
sarea: (mulder & scully)
OK all you people who live in Seattle and enjoy food: Restaurant Week is back again! Oct. 17-28 (minus Fri. & Sat.). WHO'S WITH ME?? $25, 3-course meal, awesome restaurants! You know you want to go! I am keeping that entire week+ open so I can go to as many as possible. <g> So let me know if you're interested and we shall plan to go. There are a few restaurants I want to hit for sure -- Dahlia Lounge, Mistral Kitchen, Spring Hill -- but am also open to anything.

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Speaking of food, I've actually been cooking quite a bit, and have just posted a big roundup about it here.

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Dealing with some work insanity the past couple of days. Sigh. And I so tried to avoid having this happen. I wish my work didn't so often consist of making sure other people do their jobs. You're not in control of your own destiny when that's the case, and there's a lot of sitting around worrying about how other things are going so that your bigger picture can fall into place. The good news is that everything went well, despite Murphy's Law coming into play.

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Did someone recommend Patricia Gaffney's To Have and To Hold to me? Was it maybe when I was talking about Laura Kinsale's Seize the Fire and that novel's bastard of an anti-hero? I ask because it was apparently in my library queue so I picked it up yesterday. But what I found odd was that it was an "inter-library loan" (meaning not one of the 16ish libraries in the Sno-Isle library system that basically share a catalogue) -- it's from Harvard-Westlake School in California. O.o How random is that? For that reason it cannot be renewed, so I pretty much have to read it right away (there is a serious back up in my reading queue).

The problem is that there's another one I also have to read right away -- I just got Tongues of Serpents! I think there's a big waiting list for it right now, so I probably won't be able to renew and if I wanted it again would have to wait in the queue all over. It always takes me a page or two to get back into reading a Temeraire novel, because of the language. But it's cool because once I'm back in it, it reads like any other book.

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I finally caved and bought the BSG series on Blu-Ray. There's conflicting reports on exactly what's included (The Plan y/n?), so I'll have to see when it gets here if it's missing anything.

Finally on S6 of XF. I know a lot of people didn't like that season... but I don't know why. It's hands down my favorite season. Almost every episode is totally rewatchable (unlike the second half of S5, after Bad Blood). I guess I like the lighter fare, though I will admit that the lighter fare wouldn't be as good if all the dark stuff hadn't happened to them before that. Still, just last night I saw Triangle, the two Dreamlands, and How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, and I'm only on disc 2! I LOVE YOU SEASON 6, I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE SAYS.

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And the VERY LAST TV Show Meme!! I started this way back in June. Wow. O.o I took my sweet time with it, didn't I?

Day 30 - Saddest character death

Since this is potentially spoilery, my answer behind a cut. )
sarea: (Default)
Conan O'Brien: The FDA egg recall has hit a total of 380 million eggs. I can't wait till they find the tired, evil hen that did this.

:))))))))))

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If you've requested books from me and aren't someone I regularly see in person, please provide your address (if you haven't already). Sadly, the day has not yet come when I can beam them to you using only the powers of my mind. ;-) Also, a few of those books have been requested through the PBS system, so they're no longer available. If I have somewhere to send them I can take them out of the system. If you've changed your mind that's fine too. :-)

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Tried a new burger joint per [profile] jade_okelani's recommendation: Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They have a ton of great press/awards from the east coast/south, but I think they are slowly making their way westward. Apparently they started out in the DC area; I can't believe I never heard about this place when I lived there. They have 2 locations in the Seattle area, one in Northgate and one "coming soon" in Lynnwood (yay). It was very, very good. I still like In-N-Out burgers more, but their fries are way better.

I got to use Lexus Destination Assist for the first time trying to find this place, lol. Jade had told me it was called "Five Brothers." So this woman was trying to help me find it, and we kept going back and forth on what it could be; I knew the location and that it served burgers. The coolest thing was her finding it for me, then "beaming" the location to the navigation system in my car, which then led me to it. For as long as my free trial lasts, I won't have to call Jade for addresses/directions to places!

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Books I am excited about:

- Mockingjay, the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Amazon has told me that they've shipped it. Yay!

- Clockwork Angel, Cassie Clare's new steampunk series, which is going to be out at the end of this month.

- The Passage by Justin Cronin, which [profile] corianderstem highly rec'ed. I've been looking for a used copy at HPB, but couldn't find one until the other day when I found a signed first edition -- argh! I can't resist such things! So I ended up paying more than cover price for it. Sigh, hopefully one day it will be worth more.

- Tongues of Serpents, which I hope to have soon. I'm #3 in the queue!

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I watched Inception again this weekend. Still love it. Even after second viewing I still have some unanswered questions. If your brain wants to go there... )

I also saw The Switch, which I had great hopes for because I love the leads. Ugh, what a total waste of talent. It was terrible. It sucked the life out of me when I was watching it. Spoilery stuff. )

Finally, I also saw Brick, a whodunit set in high school, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I LOVED it. He is so mysteriously hot. And it's an excellent movie, even if the dialogue takes getting used to.

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TV Show Meme, Day 24 - Best quote: "Remember when he ate my goldfish, then you said I never had a goldfish? Then why did I have the bowl Bart? WHY DID I HAVE THE BOWL?" - Milhouse, The Simpsons

LOLOL that still cracks me up. Oh Simpsons, there's no one like you.
sarea: (Default)
This weekend I basically chilled. But not literally, because it was in the 80s here and I was in the garden a lot and went walking at Lincoln Park.

The garden... is doing well now that summer has finally arrived. Many little tomatoes have fruited, and now I'm worrying about why none of them have changed color yet (the ones of decent size -- primarily cherries -- are all still hard and green). It might be a case of giving the plants too much water. I've read that tomatoes like infrequent, deep watering, so I've been watering them deeply once a week. But maybe even that's too much. It's so sad that at most I will have 1 harvest of tomatoes, when others around the country just get harvests throughout the summer. Sigh.

I also went to Trader Joe's and they had their tall basil 'starters' for $1.99. I bought 3 of them, figuring that at this point in the summer, there wasn't any reason to hold back, as my little basil plants, while doing well, are just not going to give me an abundance of basil. The TJ plants are HUGE -- which isn't necessarily good. They're very leggy rather than bushy, but whatever, they were $1.99. I planted all 3 of them out into the bed, and I worried that they hadn't been properly hardened off so might wilt/die in the sun, but so far they seem perfectly fine. I also gave one of them a good trim, which yielded a huge amount of basil (and the plant is still quite bountiful), which I'm going to turn into pesto tonight.

Speaking of pesto... wtf is up with the price of pine nuts? $15 for 6oz? Granted these were organic, but un-organic ones are not that far off in price. Did pine nuts replace gold as the world's most precious substance and I missed it? I don't know how/where it's harvested, did that somehow become more difficult? This reminds of me when avocados were like 3 for $1 and suddenly it was 1 for $3.

I made one of those bacon meatloaf explosion thingys and I wasn't a fan. Basically you lay out strips of bacon, press on some seasoned ground meat and vegetables, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, and bake in a loaf pan. I thought it might be good in one of those guilty-pleasure ways, but I didn't much like it at all. I've now dumped the leftover roll into my crock pot with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and some other random stuff, and hope it will turn into a decent spaghetti sauce. We'll see when I get home tonight. Fingers crossed!

Since I'm blathering on about food, I might as well mention that I am in love with the almond croissant from Bakery Nouveau. It is unbelievably awesome.

Finished Victory of Eagles, Temeraire book #5. It was sooooooo good! So far I've loved them all except for book #3, which was okay but not as good as the rest. A few spoilery comments. )

TV Show Meme, Day 13 - Favorite childhood show: The Wonder Years

I loved little Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper and Kevin's bullying elder brother and all of them. Even though it's hazy now -- I can't remember a single episode with any real clarity -- I remember that every one was able to make me laugh AND make me cry. It was just that kind of show. It's a travesty that it's not out on DVD yet, because I'd love to watch it again and see if it's as good as I remember.
sarea: (Default)
Had a pretty uneventful and relaxing weekend, though it passed by all too quickly. I thought 4 days would feel like longer.

My pets, especially my dog, would beg to differ about the weekend being "relaxing." Talis basically spent all of July 4 in his carrier kennel, hiding from the fireworks. The couple of times he ventured out, his entire body shook uncontrollably. It's the saddest/cutest thing. This happens every July 4, which is why I knew to take out the carrier kennel so that it would be ready for him to hide in. Jaime was only fazed during the particularly loud bangs (they're SO loud where I am that the big ones actually make the house shake, and things fall off the walls if not completely bolted on), and when those happened he hid under the bed. But he ventured out once in awhile -- unlike Talis, who was basically like, "I live in this carrier now."

I'm still not a Tweeter, but I do have an account -- sareaokelani -- for the day when I decide not to live in the Dark Ages anymore. I haven't even Tweeted once, lol. I checked the account today, though, and I was following 20 people/accounts! HowTF did that happen? I hadn't even heard of 99% of them! I wouldn't have followed them on my own (to be honest, I wouldn't even have known HOW to follow them until like 3 weeks ago), and no one else has access to my account. So how the hell did I start following them? Does Twitter just randomly add you to ones over time, or is there a way people can force you to add them, or what? I'm disturbed by all of these scenarios.

A few posts ago I shared some pics of my garden, including a lovely catnip plant I was growing in a pot. Well, it's no longer lovely. :-( It's been violated!! I went outside the other day and saw it had been knocked over. At first I thought it was the wind that had caused it, but it's a pretty heavy pot so that seemed odd as it hasn't been very windy. I turned it right-side up, and it was in a shambles. A few branches had broken off, some of it was just plain gone, as it no longer looked as full as it once did, and generally looked as if it had been mightily abused. And -- there was cat hair ALL OVER IT. Sigh. One of the neighborhood cats must've finally found it and made mad, fierce love to it, because the poor plant was looking positively wrecked. I could have wept. It had been growing so nicely. There's nothing I can do, though. I don't want to grow it indoors because it loves the sun, and my house doesn't get my sun. (Plus, in the house it'd be in danger from Jaime, or if I kept it in a room with the door closed, I'd probably forget to water it.) Outdoors, there's really nowhere I could keep it that would be out of the reach of a cat. For now I've placed it in between some tall weeds that keep growing back no matter how much I rip them out; hopefully it will offer some protection. I suppose I could try and put bird netting over it...

Speaking of the garden, I've had my second harvest from it. :-) I cut off the scapes from the garlic and made garlic scape pesto. I had some of it with farafelle and it was so. freaking. good. I've frozen the bulk of it (not that there was much) for later in the summer, when the tomatoes have hopefully come in. I was actually pretty productive in the kitchen this weekend, so go me. (BTW, K.'s verdict on my rocky road ice cream? "Best rocky road I've ever had." See Dad, SEE.)

Also, finished Empire of Ivory. It was very good and went quickly. It was only book 3 that really dragged on. Now I just have to hope the library queue for book 5 goes quickly. Of course, my turn still hasn't come up for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies... actually wait, I just checked my account and I don't even have it on hold. So I either imagined that I ever put it on hold, or my turn came up and I somehow missed it. Anyway, did you know that there's now a "prequel" to that book, but it's written by some other guy?
sarea: (Default)
Jaime's food problem

Still a total piggy. He eats all his food, and if Talis doesn't immediately eat his, Jaime will go after it, especially if there's any wet food in it. After all the reading I did about how dogs like to eat cat food because it's more strongly scented, I totally thought I was going to have the opposite problem -- the typical problem of getting my dog to stay away from the cat's food. Instead, Talis is as picky as ever, and I have to keep Jaime from eating dog food. SIGH.

The cool thing is that I was at Trader Joe's and their canned cat food seems to have all the good ingredients that Wellness has, but is much more reasonably priced -- $0.59 for a 5.5oz can (a 12.5oz can of Wellness costs about $2.50). I bought a few cans and will see if Jaime likes it, though I can't imagine he won't.

My dad complained about how I wasn't treating Talis fairly because I wasn't giving him the good wet food that I was giving Jaime (he's a dog person through and through, and Talis is definitely his favorite grandpet). I explained how I had tried wet food on Talis before, and he just wasn't into it, but to be fair I had never tried giving him the good stuff, i.e., Wellness. So I bought him a can of Wellness, and as per the usual, on the first day he ate it up and enjoyed it immensely. The next day? He didn't want to have anything to do with it. I ended up giving it to Jaime (I only mix in a tablespoon or two with his dry cat food, so it's not like it's really bad for him, as he'll get his taurine as usual).

Also, I have to admit at this point that I tasted both Jaime and Talis's cans of Wellness. >.> And it actually does not taste bad at all. Mushy, yes, but it doesn't taste like crap -- it tastes like real food. I can totally understand the people who are down on their luck and eat pet food now. Of course, you can get canned human food for cheaper than a can of Wellness, so they're probably not eating Wellness. Plus you can get fast food these days for really cheap that tastes better than pet food.

My Garden

I've had my first "harvest" -- five strawberries that ripened during our warm last few days. Unfortunately the birds had gotten to 2 of them. Still, they were very pretty (and yummy). :D I see a few more baby tomatoes -- yay! I think it'll be another 2 months before they actually resemble anything I can eat, though. Some of the garlic scapes are starting their second loops, but I'm still trying to hold out until they all have at least one loop before I harvest the scapes. However it occurred to me today that I could harvest the scapes at different times, so as to stagger the actual harvesting of the garlic heads... but that might be a bit ambitious for a first-time grower.

Reading

I've started Empire of Ivory, the fourth book in the Temeraire series. I don't think I mentioned when I finished book 3, Black Powder War... that's because it was pretty unmemorable. Not nearly as good/interesting as the first two books.

I'm also reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but it's slow going because I find it hard to keep the unfamiliar names of people and places in my head. I'm lame like that.

TV Show Meme

Day 05 - A show you hate

My answer to this one isn't going to make me very popular, because everyone and their mom seems to like this show. Actually, it's a tie, but most people seem to like them way more than me. Anyway, my answer? It's a tie between all reality shows and True Blood. I hate them all. Reality shows I find vile in general. Not only are they totally lame (and I personally don't find them the least entertaining), but they are KILLING good TV. Why should networks fork out the cash for a great drama when they're getting the same ratings if not better with a cheap reality TV show? It's a travesty to me that so many people watch them. I weep, WEEP, for the days when they were rare and not a dime a dozen. Now I can only depend on HBO for quality television.

As for True Blood... I just don't get the hype or the love. I watched both season 1 and season 2, not because I enjoyed it, but because I was doing it for someone I loved and wanted to be able to share it. Well, that reason no longer exists. So I can let fly the fact that I think it's total dreck. The characters are super annoying, the storylines are trite and, in the case of season 2, a total mess, and the vampire thing has been DONE. And BETTER. (And no, I am not talking about Twilight.) There is not one thing about it that makes me want to tune in week after week to watch it. And yet, it seems to be universally liked. I guess this is just one where I am not in touch... I just don't get it, why it's compelling to so many people. The one thing I will give it is that I think the show has fine actors. They are, however, wasted on these characters and this show. I even tried to read the first book, thinking that it might explain the furor over TV series... but what I read of the book was even worse than the show, which is saying something. Seriously, after Twilight and True Blood, I feel like all I need to do is write some vampire dreck and I will catapult to overnight success. :P

Now y'all hate me for dissing all the shows you love... but I had to be honest.
sarea: (quinn/puck)
This weekend I Gleeked out and rewatched the first 13 episodes, plus the newest 6 that I hadn't seen. It's like the best show ever. Spoilers. )

So I saw Robin Hood. I can't in good conscience recommend it. It was just too all over the place and nonsensical. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is still all the Robin Hood I need, though if I could I would totally switch the actors playing Robin and Marian. Morgan Freeman and Alan Rickman made PoT great.

For K.'s birthday dinner D. made linguine with clams. It was so good and so easy I made it again, with a few tweaks. Posted about it on my food blog.

I'm halfway through Black Powder War and started Jinx by Meg Cabot. It's one of the 527901354102 books she's written in the last few years that I haven't yet read. She's too prolific; I can't keep up with her. She writes as many books as I read. It's kind of ridiculous.

The handyman came on Saturday and fixed the toilet and two tubs, installed a peep hole (though unfortunately he went a bit higher than we agreed and it's a bit too high for me), and sprinkled moss killer over the roof. He got everything done in under 2 hours. I'm pretty pleased. That was really a $45 well spent (plus $15 for materials) -- not only did I get all that stuff I've been wanting fixed, fixed, but now I know a decent go-to handyman!

It's gotten so cold here that it's almost like we've been in fall and now it's approaching winter. People on [community profile] gardening are showing pictures of their first tomato HARVESTS and here in the Pacific NW most people don't even have their tomato plants in the ground yet. It's pathetic.
sarea: (puppet angel working)
My co-worker's wife had their baby this morning. It was 9lbs, 15oz. As far as I know, not a C-section birth. I can't. even. imagine. :O

Went to the doc's this morning. They took some X-rays and she had me perform some simple strength tests... everything went normally except when she had me hold out my arms in front of me, thumbs pointed down, and pressed down on my arms. I was able to push back with my left and keep it up just fine, but my right arm couldn't do it. She says that she's going to start me on physical therapy, because that's usually the solution for most problems, and we'll see how it goes in the next 2-4 weeks. After that, depending on the tests the PT people do and what they can gauge is wrong with my arm, she may then want to do an MRI, etc. It's possible that I've torn one of the muscles in my rotator cuff (ironic since it's a common injury for athletes and I am like the opposite of an athlete); if that's true I think I even know exactly when I did it. Regardless, what a pain.

I've started reading the 3rd Temeraire book, Black Powder War. There's a dragon in it named Arkady; when I was at the doc's and making an appointment with PT, the girl making the appointment for me's nametag read: Arkady. What are the chances, with such an unusual name?? Synchronicity, so freakish. As for BPW... Spoilers. )

So did I mention that I've nearly killed all my seedlings? :/ They were growing SO well. And then I repotted them, kept them out in the sun too long over the weekend, and overwatered. Now they are yellowing and some leaves are curling and so frail they're practically transparent. Cry. I guess I wanted them to grow up too soon. I'm now coddling them again; they're back in the guestroom under the Grow light and no inclement weather. I think they'll survive, but they look so pathetic compared with how they looked before. :(
sarea: (lucille pissed)
I don't feel good today. It kind of hit me all of a sudden, I feel kind of nauseated and slightly headachy and I just want to lie down. Unfortunately I rode the bus today so I don't have my car and can't lie down in the backseat, which sounds like HEAVEN right now.

I'm still kind of grumpy about the weather ... I had to turn on the heater in my room last night because my nose was getting uncomfortably cold. That's a good indicator of when the heater needs to come on. I brought in my seedlings from the other room so they could be in the warm room, too. They are doing REALLY well. Okay, they might be slower than those Florida kids, but they're beautiful. Some of them have multiple leaves and are growing tall and strong. The trouble is, they are mostly all tomato. I thought some of them were rosemary, but I was wrong. It's like 5 cauliflower, 2 basil, and then the rest are tomatoes, lol. That is WAY more than I can plant. K. says that her daughter's preschool is asking for tomato starter donations (they have a little garden that they tend with the kids), so I am going to donate some of my seedlings to them. I'm glad they'll be going to a good cause/home, but I'm still wibbling about which ones to give away. If only I knew which variety was which! Damn my lack of labeling! I don't want to accidentally give away all of one kind. Sigh.

I finished Throne of Jade. Spoilers. )

So Peter Jackson has optioned the rights to the books, eh? I think I read somewhere that he wanted to make it into a mini-series instead of a movie. Makes sense to me because I'm not sure there's actually enough *plot* in each book to make a good movie; it's more rich in detail and interpersonal/interdragon (?) relationship development, and the other stuff just sort of happens all at once.
sarea: (sharon)
Garden Stuff...

I had quite the adventure at Flower World on Saturday. I spent a ton of time roaming around, coveting all the pretty and unusual-looking flower transplants they had available, but not getting them because I don't actually have any interest at the moment in floral gardening (particularly annuals, which most of them were). I also had to resist getting a bunch of things I wanted but didn't really need THAT VERY DAY, because I had to cancel my Discover card and get a new one (long, lame story), and I want to hold off on spending money as much as I can until I get the new card. I spent a lot of time finding the stuff I did want right away -- herbs, another (bigger) aloe vera, pots, and fish emulsion -- only to realize after I stood in the long line to pay that I did not have my wallet.

The adventure continues. )

In case you're interested, there are some recent photos of my seedlings on this thread. They're about a month old, and I saw someone else's month-old seedlings in Florida, and OMG at the difference! Theirs are like super mature plants, while mine still look like little babies, even if some of them are developing their pretty true leaves. I blame the cold start of spring we've had so far. :/ Mine are nowhere near ready to even try to harden for transplanting! Grr.

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Food Stuff...

Had a lovely dinner with [profile] corianderstem last night. We went to Seastar. The sordid details. )

Oh! I posted pics of my food from Crush to my food blog, here. I took my camera to Seastar, but accidentally had left my SD card at work. D'oh!!

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Reading stuff...

- Throne of Jade (Temeraire Book 2): Totally into this! Laurence and Temeraire are as entertaining as always (OMG how funny was his delirious note at the beginning), and am very interested in all the China stuff. Very curious to see how this is all going to work out.

- Into the Wild (story of Chris McCandless): Very, very interesting, but it's giving me nightmares. Seriously, I read a chapter or two, and then I have these bad dreams about either what happened to McCandless or some other explorer that the author tells us about. I should stop reading it right before bed, but that's when I feel like picking it up!

- Breaking Dawn: I've read a little more. Yeah, my compromise of reading a chapter of this, then something else, etc., is no longer happening. I just don't have any real interest, because I always get so irritated when reading it. And who wants to feel that way?

- Goblet of Fire: I'm not reading this one, but am listening to the audio book while driving. Stephen Fry's version is 100x better than Jim Dale's.

I've also vaguely been wanting to reread Anne of Green Gables, one of the best books evar. Yesterday I found a copy of it at HPB that was printed in 1935 and bought it. I just love old books like that; I can't wait to read it. I know, I'm weird.
sarea: (books)
I have found a new espresso drink to love: the Americano. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's basically the exact same thing as a latte, but made with water instead of milk (so if you're like me, you have to add your own cream and sugar separately). It's got a lovely, strong coffee flavor, and is harder to 'screw up' in case you're not sure of the barista. It also costs less than a latte, but not THAT much less considering there's no syrup and water is much cheaper than milk. Still, it tastes really, really good, especially with pastries.

K. and I went to Mistral Kitchen last night. It was the first night of Seattle's Restaurant Week. She and I are planning to take full advantage; we both have 4-5 restaurants that we're planning to go to. Tomorrow night we're going to Canlis, then on Thursday I'm going to Crush with my friend S., who's in town from Oregon. (I'm actually seeing him tonight, too -- we're going to Bai Tong, which I've heard from a number of sources is the only Thai restaurant in Seattle worth going to -- we shall see.) Then on Monday I am going to Seastar with [profile] corianderstem, to Dahlia Lounge with J. on Wednesday, and finally to Union with my mom on Thursday, the last day of Restaurant Week. Whew!! I do so love eating out.

That's also a good segue way to the fact that my mom is visiting soon in order to help K. out with the kids while K.'s husband is out of town. It'll be really cool to see her, of course, but not THAT exciting since I JUST saw her recently. Plus it means there will be EVEN MORE eating (too much of a good thing in too short a time). She's already made me promise to take her to Senor Moose, and she'll be joining me and K. at Spring Hill for their special, by-reservation-only, fried chicken dinner. K. and I have been looking forward to that for AGES. Also I'm planning to cook at least two dinners while she's here -- a Korean-themed meal and an Indian-themed meal. Hope I can pull it off. What IS really cool is that she'll be here over Mother's Day, and while she's here K. can show her how to use her pressure cooker, which is identical to the one I just got her.

If you haven't already seen, a fabulous mystery artist drew this for me as part of the D/G Fic Exchange. Squee!

The newly repackaged (making a number of improvements, and adding one of the movies) Blu-Ray set of Battlestar Galactica is now available, and Amazon is selling it for $149.99 (retail price is $349.99). So... tempting...

I'm in the middle of 3 books at the moment. I've started Breaking Dawn, which is torturous so far. It's somehow even worse than the series has already been. I find myself wanting to throw it aside in disgust every other line. The worst part of the series is how much Bella HAS, that we are somehow supposed to feel sorry for her for having. Her life is SO DIFFICULT. Not. (To be fair, it is sort of like Mia whining about having to be a royal princess in The Princess Diaries, except Mia is likable. You know, to me.) The only way I am getting through it so far is by allowing myself to stop after every chapter, or every few pages because the chapters are so long (at least, it seems like it -- and ugh that the book is as thick as OotP), and reading something else. Which brings me to the other two books that I've started: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, a real-life story pieced together about this guy who abandons everything in his life, goes off into the wilderness of Alaska, and is found there 4 months later, dead; and Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, the second book in the Temeraire series. The latter two are so engrossing that I find myself really reluctant to put them down in order to go back to the dreck of Stephenie Meyer. BUT I promised [profile] jade_okelani that I would finish the series, so I will, and plus once I'm done I can list all 4 books as a set on eBay.

Finally, a confession: I have cheated in my garden. I am a total garden cheater. I went to Flower World yesterday, and if you've never been, it's basically like a giant amusement park for gardeners. It is ginormous. There's a map, just like an amusement park, to help you get to different parts of the nursery because it's that big. There's even a part where you can kind of drive through to look at all the big potted trees for sale. Also, there are chickens. What I got... )
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So Esalen was a blast. I learned a lot from my workshop, which was all about body balance and natural posture. Its tenets are based on studies of people around the world who carry heavy loads regularly, but don't have any back/knee problems that seem to afflict so many Americans. Even Americans were in balance until about the 1950s, when our posture went all out of whack, and now our young people look like old people with their curved backs and slouching figures. I'm a terrible offender myself. So now I'm using their guidelines to try and improve my posture and hopefully get my body back in balance, but it's the sort of thing that's going to take a lifetime of working at it.

The day we got there, it was pouring rain. Which is not fun on the best of days, but since we were also traversing mountain curves it was even more iffy. We got there safely, however, and starting the next day it was completely clear and gorgeous the rest of our time there.

My mom and aunt were afraid that we wouldn't have enough to eat during our stay, because K. had told us that the food at Esalen is from their own gardens, etc., so they'd brought all these snacks. It turned out that we were stuffed to the brim every single day. The food was awesome, served cafeteria style, with as much as you could eat, and a fresh/changing salad bar (indeed filled with fresh veggies from the Esalen garden) every day. The night we got there, there was oven-roasted turkey (so tender and juicy), mashed potatoes, etc. Breakfast consisted of 5 different kinds of hot cereal, including a savory quinoa, soft and hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, and the bread bar. Lunch was usually consisted of a 'lighter' main course, such as a BLT (or the vegetarian option -- Esalen is very vegan/vegetarian friendly), along with a selection of soups. Dinner is heavier, with fare such as BBQ tri-tip steak, hand-caught local halibut, etc. And the beverage bar as well as the bread bar are open all day -- this consists of all kinds of bread that they bake themselves, butter, four kinds of jam, organic peanut butter they make themselves (that was sooooo good), fresh juice, lemonade, milk, coffee, tea, etc.

Far from starving, we rarely even felt HUNGRY during our stay, because we were basically eating all day. Start out with breakfast, followed by class, followed by lunch, followed by a break then class, then dinner, then class, then sleep. I felt full almost all the time.

After lunch I would usually go to the baths, which are situated right near the water, fill up a private tub in the "silent" section (as opposed to the "quiet" room next door or the upper tub, which has no noise restriction), and read the first Temeraire book, His Majesty's Dragon. I LOVED the book, even though I find the stilted formal language a bit off putting (even as I admire Naomi Novik for being able to write it), it went very quickly. It's not nearly as dense as A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm glad I have the other books in the series on hand. Anyway, from the baths you have a view of the ocean, and a lot of people get massages there. It was the only place at Esalen that was clothing optional (and co-ed).

I took a TON of pictures, and these are probably the best of them. You can see larger versions if you click on them, then select "all sizes" and choose "large."

VERY picture intensive. )

Whew! So, great trip, but the middle-of-nowhere location is really tough. So much driving!!

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