Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I love hosting friends for dinner.  I'd say, since moving in to my new apartment, it is one of my favorite pastimes.  But I have a lot to learn about proper preparation and timing tricks.  A lot.  I wish I could say the typical day went something like this: 

Dinner parties happen with some consistency and frequency in the house. Usually it’s to commemorate a special occasion but sometimes we have people over to thank them for their friendship and fill our house with noise and cheer. It’s the kind of noise reserved for good friends spending time together, laughing and sharing stories. Each menu is crafted for the occasion, focusing on local, seasonal goods brought to the table one course at a time. Food and friendship brings us together, but there’s always something special waiting for them when they get here.

In the days leading up to the dinner, I start taking notes relating to the season. A pen and stack of paper sit on my lap as I plan out the meal and ingredients needed. I turn to magazines and books for inspiration, but often the only inspiration I need can be found at the market down the street. So I scribble down anything and everything that comes to mind and slowly narrow it down. I head to the market and start crossing items off the list, occasionally altering my choices depending on what is stocked and fresh.

Saturday starts off slowly. Over a coffee I begin breaking down the day. Time issues, cooking schedules, prep and planning. As the day winds into the afternoon the main is usually ready for the oven and resting until needed. Dessert is well under way as is the soup, which is simmering away and building flavour on the stove. By mid-afternoon I’m putting the finishing touches on the hors d’oeuvres and things are moving along nicely.

With a couple of hours to go until our guests arrive I start muddling, mixing and making the cocktail for the night. I pull out my shaker and bar tools and start muddling the cucumbers and agave nectar. Almost methodically I work step by step until I have the flavour just right. I pour myself a glass and settle in. The first taste hits all the right notes. Now, with my glass still close by, I make a pitcher full, altering the quantities to make enough for everyone. And seconds.

The last minutes of the day feel like the calm before the storm, when things get silent and still before the clock reminds us how little time we have left. We are moments from a flurry of activity in our house. My wife has the mood set, table prepared and night’s music in rotation. She dims the lights and tries the cocktail. Instant love. We share our last moment alone together over a drink. And then the doorbell rings and the ritual settles in. She heads to the door while I stay in the kitchen, stirring the pots and looking over everything one last time. I can hear the voices in the distance and the mood is light and cheerful. I line up ten rock glasses and pour the contents of the pitcher into them, each one the same as the last. I top them all with a dill sprig and add a quartered lime. I load them on a tray and wait while they continue to filter in.

By now some of our guests approach me. I smile. “Hey! Welcome to our home! Glad you could make it tonight. Help yourselves to a cocktail, it’s especially made for tonight!” We like to start things right. We let them know all our dinner parties begin with a drink. It sets the tone for the evening and lets them know they’re in good hands and they’ll be taken care good care of.      [The Boys Club - my new favorite blog]

In my home, it looks more like last second runs to the store, wondering if we even own foil yet, trying to finish cleaning up the apartment and a dozen other things that have us running around 'til the moment the door rings (if we're lucky!). 

Things I'm noting:
  • It is easier on a Saturday!  I get home from work around 6:30 - so having friends for dinner at 7 is a trip!
  • It is SO nice having John there to help.  At first, he'd mix drinks for guests as they arrived (because he's good at it! and because it buys me time.)  Then, I'm sad to admit it, but sometimes I'm sending him to the store 2 minutes before our guests are due.  But most lately, he's been making dinner sometimes - and it is delicious!  Either way, having a guy to help balance, whether it's just me, or me and meg, is wonderful.  And he's gosh darn good at it too!
  • I have got to plan out the menu/drinks the weekend before - and shop!
  • For the weeknights we do have friends over (and even the ones I'm just cooking for Meg & John), I've got to find ways to prep the night before and cut down on time.  Eating at 9 just isn't fun for anyone on a Wednesday. 
  • It would be incredible to have a "moment" before guests arrive to just enjoy with John and/or Meg and calm ourselves.  That is a new goal.  :) 
  • I love inviting people in and making them feel cared for.  I want to become better at the "caring" part.  
  • Sometimes, with good friends, it's okay to be a bit of a mess and just share a meal.  And thank God for that!!!
Happy Halloween!

What are your plans for tonight?  Roomie, Beau and I will staying in - living it up with delicious flavors, a fire and an old scary film on the projector.  It will be our first Halloween in our new apartment and we have high hopes for lots of little trick or treaters at our door!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ace & jig

Yes Please.

This morning I walked into work early.  Grabbed coffee, opened up the great interwebs and dived into a half a dozen different windows.  Load Orca card.  Order more posters.  Follow up with event coordinator.  Find contact info for press release.  Check DJC for RFQs.  Research Architecture in Horror Fiction for my work presentation tomorrow.  Contact property manager for work.  Has anyone asked Local 360 if they'd post up regarding the Special Hope Benefit, since they are catering?  Does OMG still want to donate to the auction? 

No joke - my mind is only running along 3 or 4 tracks right now - they are just very fast trains. 

The DeVotchka Pandora station is helping keep me calm, and the coffee keeping me fueled. 

I'm really in heaven.  These are the things I love.  Researching and writing about the intersections between architecture and literature - how the corruption of basic tenants of architecture can be used to create a sense of terror, casting shadows that become the primary character of a story and stir emotion in a reader decades after publication.  Analysis and writing - I miss this!!

Coordinating communications for a benefit I'm excited about, an organization I believe in, and an artist I support - I'm alive. 

Responding to all the other calls, emails, breaking down printers, running low toners, invoice questions and calendar scheduling with friends and the Beau.... they are pleasant kindle on a cold rainy day like today.  I like a clean desk with one project sitting on it and two black pens - but I like a dozen projects firing along in my mind and the freedom to switch from one to the other as creativity and innovation strikes.  This is where I'm happy in work.  And this morning, I have it all.  Surprisingly, we are only 3 hours deep.

And on top of all this, there are new hopes and goals I'm itching to stretch my fingers out to when a few of these current trains pull into station.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just discovered a few old photos of my sweet roomie. :)

Friends!!!  The Special Hope Network benefit is 2 weeks away!  And.....there are ways you can help! (because I know you want to!)

1.) Go buy your ticket.
2.) Tell a friend.
3.) Repost the Event to your Facebook Wall
4.) Pin up a poster in your neighborhood.

Let me know if you'd like a few posters to put up (at your work, school, church or local coffee shop!) Email me at  We'd love new ideas for how to spread the word, and we're still accepting donations for the silent auction.  ;)  Truly all, it's going to be a great night.  So come and celebrate a  great cause, and be a part of touching the lives of children on the other side of the world! :)

Friday, October 26, 2012


I don't know that I am going to make it to 25 books this year.  Boys.  They tend to get in the way of reading time.  But, it's a trade I'm willing to make.  Especially for one that likes to read to me.   Book 13 of 2012:  The Little Prince, as read aloud by Beau.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I've been trying to see this guy in concert for years.  And tonight, I finally will. :) 
Such a bonus that he's touring with A Fine Frenzy

Last night, we caught Jonathan Russell.  Tonight it's Joshua Radin and A Fine Frenzy.  Tomorrow night I think we'll catch Blind Pilot.  And Saturday is Devotchka. 

John and I both took off Friday (or rather, both worked our 40 hours before Friday!) to enjoy the festival.  And then I agreed to work most all of Saturday for a friend.  Why did I do that?!?!  I'm already regretting it.  I'll be working at a women's show for 6 hours.  On the weekend.... The weekend I tried to make a 3 day weekend.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I've developed a bad habit.  I buy food for meals.  And never make them.  Between my busy schedule, and the ones of my Roomie and my Beau, it just doesn't happen as often as I'd like.  I pulled out the meat yesterday morning to let it defrost.  By the time I was heading home, it was almost eight and Meg was out with friends and John about to be the same.  We picked up sandwiches at the deli down the street instead.

Tonight, they both have plans again.  I decided I didn't care.  I was making the stuffed peppers I'd planned for the meat.  I pulled out the ingredients, the wine, and my MacBook.  I turned on the Michael Buble.  And I got the most wonderful feeling.  Why don't I cook for myself more often?  Pour myself more glasses of wine?  Just me.

Well, me and Michael.  Which is what inspired me to write.  For the past 8 years or more I've shared Michael with 3 very special people.  "The Neighborhood." We've spent countless summer hours listening to him - at the beach, on the way to the beach, after the beach, the morning after the beach.  But really - most summer evenings included him at some point. We sang along in the car together as we drove to Rob's grandma's in Camano, or as we sat on my back porch.  He crooned while we baked cookies, and cooked dinners, crowded together in one of our kitchens.  We've seen him twice in concert all together.  The first time right after Jeff and Elise started courting.  The second, soon after Rob & Amie got together.  I can't hear him without thinking of them in some small part of my heart.

I've made incredible friends over the past 10 years of my life.  I spend my days with a number of them. But there is this tiny little growing community known as the "Neighb" that I just can't ever get over.  I love them.  And sometimes, without warning, Michael begins to sing, and I begin to cry.  Not even really because I miss them (and I do), but because I love them.  And I can't believe how incredibly blessed I was and am to have them in my life.  Seriously.  Can't get over it.  Can't get over them.  I don't get to see them every day like I did for so many years.  I don't even see them every month.  But they constantly come to mind, especially when I'm cooking,  when I'm sipping wine, baking cookies, playing Scategories, sitting in the sunshine, or swaying and singing along to Buble.

Time to rebuild the wood pile again, Mumsy. ;)

Fire = Energy [I'm no scientist]

Per the suggestion of Kim R., I have been going to the wonderful Dr. Tuttle for daily adjustments.  And while I can feel the positive changes my head and neck feel like they will burst at this moment, or simply melt and drip down into my feet.  I've also been working longer days, which means getting in as early as I can (since there's always evening fun to be had, right?).  These two facts mean 6am alarm clocks. 

Last night I was in bed and asleep before 10, and it was marvelous.  But I was still so incredibly tired as I crawled out of bed this morning (or, fell... for those of you who have seen the height I have to "crawl" out of each day.  I basically have bunk beds, the floor takes the bottom bunk and I take the top).  John and I have come to joke quite a lot about our "quality time".  Basically, we watch a movie and I fall asleep.  Or he reads to me, and I fall asleep.  Or maybe we make dinner, then I fall asleep.  Suffice to say, we've been taking more walks.  Those are a tad  bit more difficult to fall asleep on, but believe you me, I think I can figure out a way. 

My family has long teased me for my ability to fall asleep quite literally anywhere.  We have photos of my face in spaghetti, jello, and a dozen slightly more normal (and less liquid) places.  But with that, I also had this ridiculous energy as a kid.  I wasn't allowed to nap.  Ever.  They say that if I'd fall asleep for a minute, I'd be up all night.  I don't remember that.  What I do remember is being woken up with spray bottles in the face, or a cold wet washcloth draped over my eyes.  I'd jump awake and see the entire family gathered around, smiling.  It became a sort of game.  Kristin recently found this photo of me as a kid that she loves.  She swears it is exactly what I look like today if you wake me up.  The terror and confusion you see in my eyes - I think that has something to do with the family "game". 

I'm pretty sure my dad talked to my boss, because I'm still not allowed to take naps.   But I'd like to try.  I'd like to see if I'd ever stop falling asleep on my poor boyfriend.  John?  He thinks it might just be I need more sleep.  I'm convinced I shouldn't need more.... unless it's naps of course. :)

I was sitting in the chiropractor's office yesterday, waiting for him to come in with my x-rays.  Naturally, I studied all the signs on every wall.  The chart directly across from me explained the back and all the nerves, the organs each serves and the consequential injuries and pains one might experience from trauma.  The second or third spot down on the neck - where I am most injured -  traces a long line to a series of possible inconveniences and pains, among them:  exhaustion and chronic tiredness. 

Also, headaches.  I kid you not - my head might explode - or melt into a fiery puddle, drip right on down that spine this very moment.  Too gross for 8am?  :(   Sorry.   Well the goodness is, perhaps there's hope.  Maybe Dr. Tuttle can help me stop falling asleep on quality time with my Beau each evening.  Maybe what I am feeling at this moment, is energy crawling up my neck into my mind.  Yes, I am sure that's what it is.  Not a headache.  It's just energy that feels like fire. 

Happy Wednesday:  Drink Coffee.  Be Grateful.  Wear a Scarf.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

6 months ago today, this guy took me to the symphony. 
After the following week of being told by nearly everyone that it was a "date"
 and beginning to hope that perhaps it really was, 
he told me exactly that.  

A moped, kite, Gasworks, a bag of cookies, chocolate milk, long talks by the water... over dinner.. over drinks.  He introduced me by name to one of the Real Change vendors in his neighborhood, Kat.  He purchased her artwork in a card set for me. He knew her story.  Every moment seemed to include the greatest and kindest attention to little details, with me in mind: Reservations, an intentional gift (children's nursery rhyme book in Italian, need I say more?), a violin concerto, my car door opened every time.  Certainly one wonderful day, and one that led hope to spring in my heart.  

I'd like more time with this man, John Turner. 

And I've been given just that.  I couldn't be more grateful.  

Who knows where this is meant to go, we don't yet.  But I know that every minute with this man has been a blessing in my life.  He has taught me kindness and love and sacrifice in new ways.  He's made me uncomfortable in my own comfort - and at the same time, never have I felt more comfortable being raw and real and unkempt.  

I'm grateful today for not just John, but for all the people God has placed in my daily life in this season of stretching and growing.  Of wrestling and discovering what God has for each of us.  He has been so faithful.  And His provision has been so kind.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Look what I just came across on Linkedin. 

Ask Bob video series.

from Life Chasers.

Tom Douglas takes retail space in Via6

Seattle DJC
October 11, 2012


Restaurateur Tom Douglas will lease 10,000 square feet in the Via6 apartment complex under construction at Sixth Avenue and Lenora Street in downtown Seattle.

The space will house a new restaurant called Grange Hall, and three other businesses: a market that sells Tom Douglas products, a cafe and a bakery. The architect for the space is Graham Baba.

The building has a total of 16,000 square feet of retail and 14,000 has been leased, said Jane Lewis of Pine Street Group, the project developer.

Douglas owns and operates 13 restaurants in the Belltown and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

Other retail tenants in Via6 are Velo Bike Shop, which is moving from Capitol Hill, and ViaBike, a club that gives bike commuters a place to park bikes and get them serviced.

Via6 will have 654 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments. It opens next February.

GGLO designed Via6, Lease Crutcher Lewis is the general contractor and MKA is the structural engineer.


More to Love!! :)  I wouldn't mind grabbing my morning coffee and croissant at a TD restaurant.  :)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Hey Friends
There is something great coming up on November 10th.  I'd refer to her as "a friend of mine" but by now, most all of you have not only met Mallory MacDonald, you've been photographed by her.

I met up with this kind hearted (and talented) woman last week over coffee to discuss details for a benefit that's been on her heart for some time.  If you've hired her you have already been a part of supporting Special  Hope.  10% of all her proceeds continually are sent to Uganda.  Over coffee last week, she began by telling me all about this couple who had become mentors to her years ago.  They had adopted four children with special needs.  And Mal had become their babysitter.  This families heart for children with disabilities in third world countries eventually led them to move to Uganda and begin Special  Hope. 

This Christmas, Mal would like to send a little something more than the 10%.  November 10th, at Maker's in Belltown, she's pulling out all the stops.  She's currently visiting Special Hope, collecting photos and video of the children who have captured the heart of Special Hope (and Mal's). 

There will be a silent auction, live music, DJ, hors d'oeuvres by Local 360, a film by Mallory MacDonald and a lot more. 

Doors open at 8pm and tickets can me purchased prior here for $20, or at the door for $25.

Please let me know if you'd like to learn more about Special Hope, or to help spread the word.  We will have fantastic packets with everything you need to let your friends and neighbors know about this wonderful evening. 

I'm excited to support an artist I respect and believe in as she invests in a couple who's heart and vision I respect... in an undeniably fun evening.  :)

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Perhaps the best article in the DJC, ever:

October 4, 2012

Restaurant thief must be a plumber

WOODLAND, Cowlitz County (AP) — Someone is stealing pipes from restrooms at restaurants in Woodland and Longview, and the evidence suggests the thief is a good plumber.

Pipes and valves have been taken from two McDonald's, a Dairy Queen and a Mexican restaurant.

The manager of the Dairy Queen in Woodland, Alicia Leyva, told KATU the thief must have had tools and experience because no water spilled on the floor Sunday when a urinal was disassembled.

Police think the parts may have been stolen for scrap metal.

The season has begun.
Update on the Frank Lloyd Wright home in Phoenix.

October 4, 2012

Demolition on hold for Wright house in Phoenix


Photo by Scott Jarson [enlarge]

The potential demolition of this 1952 house set off a firestorm in the architectural community. PHOENIX (AP) — The city of Phoenix and a developer who was poised to demolish a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home have reached an agreement that will put any work on hold while a search continues for a buyer, a city official confirmed Wednesday.

The agreement with the developers who bought the 1952 home in the city's Arcadia neighborhood delays for nearly a month any demolition of the house, said Brendan Mahoney, a senior adviser for Mayor Greg Stanton.

The deal signed Monday allows time for a potential sale to buyers who will preserve the house, and also protects the developers, who contend they were issued a valid demolition permit that the city claimed was issued in error.

The potential demolition of the sweeping home on more than 2 acres set off a firestorm in the architectural community. The Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy hurried to get historic status designation for the home when it learned a developer was planning to buy it, split the parcel of more than two acres and tear down the existing home.

The conservancy got the city to begin the process of having the house designated as a historical landmark before it was purchased by the developer in June. That put on hold any effort to get a demolition permit, but the developers managed to get one anyway.

“It's a unique design by Frank Lloyd Wright,” said Janet Halstead, the conservancy's executive director. “It is probably the most important residential design of the last decade of his career. Many architecture experts consider it among the 20 most important Frank Lloyd Wright designs ever built.”

The home was built to rise above the surrounding orange orchards, with a spiral ramp leading up to the main level of the concrete block home.
“It's also particularly interesting for Phoenix in that when (Wright) designed it, it was something he designed as a response to “how to live in the Southwest,” Halstead said.

The home was designed for Wright's son and daughter-in-law, David and Gladys Wright, who lived there until their deaths. The home was sold by the family in 2009, then acquired by developer 8081 Meridian for $1.8 million in June.

The owners of the development company, John Hoffman and Steve Sells, weren't available Wednesday. Their attorney didn't immediately return a call.

The conservancy found a potential buyer who offered more than $2 million, a tidy $250,000 profit for less than three months of ownership, but it was rejected, Mahoney said.

With time ticking down to the expiration of the demolition permit on Thursday, the developers approached the city.

“When they brought this issue up, there was five days left under the permit and they said, ‘Well we've got to do something or we're going to lose it,'” Mahoney said. “And we said fine, let's kick the can down the road because there are offers coming in to purchase the property that may solve all of this for everyone.”

Mahoney said other buyers have contacted the city, even as the historic designation goes forward.

“I'm pretty confident that given sufficient time, the home will be purchased by someone who will not only consent to historic landmark status ... but will also consent to a perpetual conservation easement,” Mahoney said. “The mayor is a strong proponent of historic presentation of all kinds, but this building in particular is an architectural jewel. It would be destroying a Rembrandt or a Picasso.”