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Every thing is just beach-y, but where did the time go?

I started on Monday to answer the questions posed by Cee in Share Your World…before I knew it Tuesday had come along (Tuesdays of Texture by de Monte y Mar) so I thought I would take a few pictures of beach-y textures and do one post for two.

I corrupted my Lightroom program so I couldn’t load pictures and get that post done until I reloaded it… Somehow it is now late on Saturday and nothing is done…although I did get the living room vacuumed.

Summer is shooting by like a meteor.

My answers, at last:

List some of your favorites types of teas. I like tea, both black tea and green tea. For regular I tend to drink Red Rose, which is not bitter like Lipton’s, and reminds me of my Grandparents, who always drank it. A good Darjeeling is truly “the champagne of teas and I splurge on it when I want something really nice.

In China, twice now, I have been to a tea tasting in a shop and brought home what is probably the best black (they call it red tea: hong cha, which makes sense since the brewed tea is red) and green teas I have ever tasted, but I don’t know how to get them except to go to a tea shop in china with the packages. I tried white tea but it really didn’t do anything for me flavor-wise. I’m not mostly jazzed by herbals or ones with fancy flavors.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be? I only saw this sign once: End of Hard Margins. I couldn’t have my husband pull over for a picture because the shoulders were soft. It was in Ireland 23 years ago. On our last trip, in 2013, I did not see that sign, even thought I looked for it. The reason I relate to that sign is that I was a stress analyst in aerospace at the time, and we used “margins of safety” to describe how robust a structural element is compared to its expected loading. We were always being asked whether this or that part, which wasn’t quite to specification, might still be used. (I mentioned something like this in my Delta Analysis post). I thought it would be fun to have that sign posted by my desk.

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you? Being nice. I still, 27 or so years later, remember stopping at the grocery store with my baby son in a carrier and wanting some oranges. The produce clerk not only pointed me in the right direction but he said “be careful, sometimes there are moldy ones” and proceeded to check every orange in the box to make sure I got a good one.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.

I like to swim and ice skate. I haven’t done either in a very long time. I have poor balance and never got beyond a waltz jump, but I like the feeling of gliding along and the feel of moving water.

Last week is a blur. Next week is supposed to be hot. This week has been lovely with two days on the beach.

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My World

I haven’t been posting much of late. My world is changing right now. My husband retired two weeks ago and that means having someone around a lot of the time. He used to be at work a lot and when he was home he was often working so I was often alone even when he was in the house. Because of that I have a habit of trying to be always available when he is home and not working. That is going to have to change if anything is ever going to get done (not just blogging, if applies to things like vacuuming as well).

The other reason why I’ve been blogging less often is that I am taking a series of on-line courses in HTML and CSS. In order to try and really learn I created several sets of content to play with so that I use the techniques in each lesson several ways. This all takes time.

So, in the name of trying to get back on track, here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week:

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I like to have a fire going and bake something that smells cinnamon-y.

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary). Homemade bread, apricot jam, French roast coffee, dark chocolate, and cherries are the first things that come to mind right now. Although what I like shifts about some all the things listed are always pretty high on it.

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests? I usually take them to my Dad’s on Vashon. It is probably pretty presumptuous for me to assume that people like to be wet, muddy and covered with dog hair…but it is a very northwest experience.

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with? My husband. Even if it s hard to get used to him being around all the time there is still no one else I’d rather be with. And he is one of the more clever people around so he might be better at figuring out how to get un-trapped…and having the tools to do it with.

Gratitude: So many things:  Summer has arrived, but so far it has been moderate in temperature (I don’t take heat well) and the world is full of beautiful flowers. My Yellow Transparent apples are ripening so it is time for pie! Grandma is doing okay.

Looking ahead: We are getting ready to go and visit good friends at Mount Rainier tomorrow.

 

Delta Analysis

Back when I worked as  stress analyst I did a lot of “delta analysis”. The basic system was in place, but things change: a part might be built of a different material, a particular mission might have higher loads than the initial predictions…The question we were answering is “is it still okay?”

There isn’t a  picture to go with that…but the beach where I spend a lot of time is also a delta for a creek. Over the years the silt has built up and the landscape and animals one sees have changed. One thing I find really cool is that every year the path of the creek through the delta shifts because of winter storms…so it is an example of both fast and slow changes, and yet when the tide is in it looks the same as ever.


Delta

Emergency Sunset

Driving home from my dad;s tonight I saw purple in the sky. From the raod I couldn’t really see much, but I was fairly close to a waterfront park (Lowman Beach in West Seattle) so I pulled over and trotted the block or so to the park.

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It’s been a busy week: my niece graduated from high school and I arranged to get my 94 year old grandmother who is mobility impaired to the ceremony. My husband retired on Friday and we had a celebration dinner party. We had a family gathering today at my dad’s to celebrate a belated father’s day, the graduation, and retirement.

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I almost didn’t stop for the sunset, since I was ready to be home. However, the twenty minutes or so I spent just being there, watching the shifting colors as the rays of the sun hit different clouds and breathing the salt air were more uplifting than getting home to unload the car and put things away a few minutes earlier. You can’t go back and see a sunset you have missed.

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As the sky darkened I noticed the minuscule sliver of the new moon above Mount Constance. A symbol of a new beginning, change, and the circle of life. All the things today’s celebration were about.

Maybe I need to make a bumper sticker or t-shirt that says: I break for sunsets.

Transient

Rose petals

Rose petal is a texture: soft,  in a silky way, cool and slightly moist. A bit like charmeuse, but less slippery and a bit more substantial, and the best ones have a slight rose fragrance as well. It’s hard to capture that feeling in a photograph.

This morning I “harvested” my roses. So the dropping petals are my texture for today. By harvesting I mean a combination of dead heading and cutting the flowers and buds, for vases now and, if I stick to my intentions, drying petals for culinary use later. I saw a scrumptious looking recipe for scones that use rose petals and pistachios that I want to try.

I think there is a pretty good chance for a second wave: in Seattle one wouldn’t guess that we’re at the solstice, it’s pretty cool, although the promised rain hasn’t materialized in our part of town. Doesn’t feel much like summer, but it beats the heat wave elsewhere.

Any advice about other ways to cook with rose petals? I use rose water quite a bit but I’ve only seen the one recipe with petals in it.

Tuesdays of Texture & Cee’s Flower of the Day

Looking out my front door…

I live in the city with no particular view. There are a few trees between us and the street, although today the nicest one, our Japanese maple, is adorned only with raindrops. In winter the most exciting thing  is an Anna’s hummingbird buzzing in for a snack.

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In the summer and fall it is a bit prettier:

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My standards are pretty high. Here are two views from my dad’s front porch (I’m over there once or twice a week, so it kind of counts.

Photo a Week Challenge: View from my front porch

It used to be my town…

The sculpture in the picture above is called “Welcome”. It is located on the waterfront in Seattle, and it is new.

My husband and I went downtown today. I can’t really say when we last did that. I used to be familiar with downtown. Seattle used to be my town, I felt at home in it…I even drove in it. I knew which streets were one way and where to park.

Today we went to Metsker’s Maps. It is an old Seattle institution, an all around cool place, if you like maps and globes and stuff, which we do. It used to be in Pioneer Square but moved up by the Pike Place Market some years ago. This is only the second time we have been to the “new” location. We were searching for maps of southern South America for an upcoming trip.

Metskers was Metskers, and we were emboldened by that to see if, by some twist of fate, a store that specialized in Middle Eastern food preparation supplies was still there. No such luck, and seeking it through the crowds of what may be the last nice Sunday this fall soon had us regretting the impulse. We decided to walk along the water front to one of our old favorite places: The Owl and Thistle Pub, which is pretty close to both the water taxi and the last bus stop before the viaduct to get back to West Seattle.

ksm20161106-my_town-01Construction thwarted us. We stood and discussed and someone with a British accent stopped to give us some advice. In my town I didn’t know which way to go!

When I was a child my father worked for the Port of Seattle and, especially after the divorce, we spent hours exploring that very area on foot to kill time while Dad was working before we needed to catch the bus or train back to Corvallis, where we lived with our mother. (Now-a-days that would perhaps be considered neglect.) You wouldn’t know it for the same place if the Market weren’t there. The skyline has changed completely and is still doing so.

ksm20161106-my_town-03Following the advice of the “newcomer” we got down to the waterfront and walked along. Happily The Owl and Thistle was still there and they still have the same lovely happy hour menu.

As we waited for the bus, at a temporary stop because of construction. I noticed some tourists taking pictures. Inspired by the Discovery prompt from a couple of weeks back: Flâneur, I went up and took the same pictures, obviously if I want this to still be my town I am going to have to spend some time getting reacquainted. Trying to see the city through a stranger’s eyes seemed like a way to start.

Taking it slow

Luxury is a relative word.

Sometimes it means an exquisite sensation: tasting rich dark chocolate and raspberries; feeling silk velvet against your skin; hearing a beautiful piece of music…The list goes on and on.

I spent last week at Mount Rainier with my husband and some dear friends. That is a luxury, even though the physical experience itself was rustic (and strenuous!) at times. As I wrote that sentence I realized that I don’t generally associate my sense of sight with luxury. Mount Rainier provides gorgeous visual sensations:

 

A while ago I wrote about luxury, Luxury. What is  luxury? ,noting that things like a flush toilet and a shower are luxuries (two of my favorites!). Ones that much of the world don’t have. How very relative the word “luxury” can be: if it weren’t for burlap would we appreciate silk velvet? Stale crackers make a peach luxurious, and a week with a squatty-potty latrine and basin of water to wash with turn a simple bathroom the height of luxury.

So, on this rather grey morning, with things unpacked, the laundry done, and the Empress (our cat) home from her visit to the colonies (she stays on Vashon Island with my father while we are away), the luxury is taking things slow. When the sun shines I feel like I have to get going and do things.

Let the feast begin!

One week ago tomorrow they completed my kitchen. I am finally able to cook.

Last weekend I brought home a 20 pound box of apricots (it was only $14!) from a fruit stand in the Yakima Valley. So the last few days have been kind of fruity.

Yesterday I had my first “jam session” in the new kitchen, I kicked out two large-ish (5 pints each) low sugar and one small (one pint) no sugar (sweetened with Spenda) batches of apricot jam.

I have been anticipating my new kitchen since before the work started in the usual book addict fashion: I got two cook books, Baking for Two from America’s Test Kitchen and But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner. The first I got because I love to bake but since our fledgling flew off I have had to throw out some great, carefully made delicacies. Two of us eat less than half what the three of us did.

The vegan cookbook I saw at Costco, perused and found interesting. I rationalized the purchase (I had no kitchen at the time but my vegan in-laws were due to arrive almost as soon as it was complete). My reasoning was that we have friends and family who are vegan and my husband’s last blood tests showed that his cholesterol and blood sugars are creeping up and I thought a couple of vegan dinners a week might help.

I have been reading those cookbooks for a couple-three months now, anticipating trying out some of the recipes. The kitchen was almost done when the vegan in-laws arrived but stuff wasn’t put back into it and I was not feeling overly energetic so we ate out and snacked.

This week I finally got started using the kitchen: Last night I made a very tasty “Mediterranean tofu scramble”; tonight I tried a Lentil-mushroom loaf (I won’t call it a “meatloaf” even though the author did). Tonight’s loaf was solidly okay, I left out two ingredients, the fennel seed because they didn’t have it at the store and the celery because when I went to my vegetable drawer the celery had melted into a nasty blob (often my fridge will freeze things in the vegetable drawers, celery expecially dislikes this treatment). I opted to do without over going back out into the world. I also put in less than half of the salt called for. I suspicion that these were poor choices and that if I followed the recipe it would be much better.

Tonight I also concocted a pumpkin soup (no recipe, I had to make room in the freezer for the apricots so the pumpkin got thawed out) and sierra cup apricot cobblers that used the drop biscuit recipe from the Baking for Two cookbook.

So the Feast begins. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?