Friday, November 30, 2012

Gone November

Even with November being my first full month unemployed it was still a better month than October. October was a stinker!

I have just finished boiling some more black-eyed peas. I am making soup again on Sunday.

Yesterday I finished the second Hunger Games trilogy book: Catching Fire. I continue to fail in both book clubs I have been trying for various reason, but I am still reading a fair amount anyway. Earlier in the month I also read Divergent which I often see compared to the Hunger Games but most public opinion seems to favor the Hunger Games.

I really wasn't super taken with the first Hunger Games book so I initially would have said I liked the Divergent series more, however I liked Catching Fire much better than the first book so who knows. Both are fast reads.

I need a break from Youth Fiction and I have started Gone Girl which was a book club book I couldn't get out of the library in time several months ago. I am a few chapters in. At first I wasn't loving the back and forth between her diary and present events, but I am getting with the flow a little better now. Not passionate about any of the characters yet either.

Today I ended up hiking way longer than intended. It was still unexpectedly dry when I did my errands around Issaquah and Bellevue so I decided to head up Squak Mountain.

The downpour caught us on the way out.

Bully sticks arrived today and they came with free samples! I had to laugh because these aren't, say a fancy umbrella like Striving Cynic got...:)

...but they made Nim happy. He is an eating machine too so these will be gone in no time!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roof Cleaning and Wind

Tuesday was the sort of weather that you wish you had all fall season.

It didn't rain, it even had some sun, and it was almost "warm."

My friend Cindy - Aquadog Spa, not to be confused with my online friend Cindy - Bird Brains and Dog Tales :) was telling me how she cleaned her gutters over the weekend. This shamed me into getting on my roof and dealing with the gutters and roof moss.

Even 6 months ago I wouldn't have dared get on a ladder with Nim loose below me.

He was perplexed.

As usual I set off all the neighbor dogs. We have a ton of free-roaming, unattended barking dogs on my street, but there is something about me on the roof which really sets off the frenzy more than my other yard work. It is not a particularly loud task and most can't see me so I have no idea why.

Nim got bored supervising.

Wednesday was a lot more cold and a lot more wind. We got one quick walk in before the rain hit in the afternoon.

Totally off topic but my hair is out of control this fall/winter. I normally have pretty straight and a fair amount of hair, however this season it is like it has an inner-frizz that wants to come out. I am seriously about to get a headband it is driving me so nuts. I haven't seen it this out of control since I drove cross country and had to deal with some of the cold and dry states.

I almost need a Christmas season sewing project, but I may have to just be content with the NASCAR quilt. Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Faces of Nim

Another very cold good morning! I am so darn happy it isn't raining, but it is clear, cold, and the winds are pretty brisk.

Most of my sunrise photo attempts just don't make it. Photos often just don't capture that feeling I get looking out at a sunrise. Trust me, this morning was beautiful.

I am not in great shape right now for hiking with this head cold, but I find I am more productive with my studies and job applying if I get out even a bit. Hiking generally balances me. If I am going to worry anyway, might as well be hiking while I do it.

These creek-side photos were from yesterdays walk. By the way, I don't know if it is from this head cold but wow did I fall a lot. My balance was pathetic!

As you can see, Nim LOVES rushing water. Loves it. He wishes that I would back him up to a rushing creek every day and take photos.

Finally I moved more inland and all was right in his brain. There were smells to smell and birds to scream at.

Then, we did this mornings sunrise hike:

LOL. It was NICE and windy. A slicing cold wind. He was in an awesome mood about it. I love his ears flapping and the grass all blurry behind him. I think I need to start packing his coat.

(Fuller Mountain is the bump in the foreground - one of my favorite places)

Have a great day! More webinars and knitting for me...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Very Cold Monday Morning

It is very cold and clear out here this morning, although apparently not at freezing, it just feels like it.

All Natural Bully Sticks is doing a cyber-special. That is about as much shopping as I am doing. :) They do also sell antlers similar to what Millie was modelling earlier in the month. I almost tried them but they seem to splinter for the powerful chewers (which Nim is) so I decided not to chance it.

I pretty much came down truly sick like most of the world on Thursday. It really took out my weekend and one of the sorts that you simply cannot sleep because you are so miserable. By Sunday I was in a desperate situation I was so tired. After dog training in the morning I fought hard to keep awake until night so I wouldn't nap and really screw things up.

It gave me time to make a new soup for the week: Daily Garnish Kale and Roasted Vegetables Soup:

I didn't have rutabaga so I just added more sweet potato and as you can see there was no roasting going on either. My energy is low making me exceptionally lazy. Basically I started out the onion and garlic and then added the sweet potato. Eventually I added 4 cups of water (I often don't bother with veggie broth especially when I know I am going to blend a soup) and simmered until the potatoes were soft.

I do dry beans in batches and freeze. I didn't have black, but I did have black-eyed peas (my favorite) so they went in with the kale. Then I added the cumin and salt and did some blending. It came out great!

Another recipe I would definitely recommend. I am eating a lot of soup right now and the less I can do from the can the better.

We did get out for a "training walk" yesterday as well. I am so adamant that we are going to be able to succeed in the rally obedience events next year that I try to get us out at least once a day for about 20 minutes of practice.

Have a great week! We have some cold but dry days ahead so I am hoping for some hiking.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Thanks Lex)

Probably one of my more favorite cards in a long time. :) Everyone have a Great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Save Us

This morning after a bit of job applying I got nice and stressed out from one application (if it wasn't ridiculously unprofessional and totally unhelpful in my job search I would really let loose on some of the systems out there), quickly shut it down and turned on the Christmas music.

This may have also involved singing and dancing. Confusing to Leela, exciting for Nim.

And yes, that is a pair of pants on a chair drying.

Let's talk about yesterday instead.

I actually wore an apron which is not normally my thing. However it satisfied my need to wear a dress and worked well with the rubber boots. The rain has been relentless and my yard is nice and soggy. 

First things first, Cranberry Orange Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts:

I have been on a bit of a Brussels break, but this is an incredibly good dish. I can eat an expensive amount of Brussels Sprouts and the tartness of the cranberries actually slows your consumption down. I even did the orange zest part which is one of my least favorite things to do.

I also made this really good Mushroom Millet Soup. I halved the recipe and it was still a ton of soup. Today (day two) the onion flavor is coming in strong which is good to me. I also probably went heavy on the onion.

You will notice the Mushroom Millet Soup is paired with Cheezy Garlic Bread. Instead I opted to make this Cauliflower Pizza crust that I have been wanting to do for quite awhile. I will give you time to stop laughing at my results.

So I consider this attempt #1. I am not ready to fully give up on it, but clearly I ran into some problems and by the way while it is baking as a crust alone - that is not a good smell.

The recipe had the oven degrees in Celsius. While I know the world shouldn't revolve around the US unit standards I didn't notice until after 20 minutes when I thought it was odd that nothing was setting up. I then had a slightly heated, gooey mess but I wasn't about to waste a full head of cauliflower.

In the end it was salvageable but nothing I would serve others. Despite the smell it actually is a good taste and I will definitely play with this one again.

Cashews soaking for another project...have a great day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hiking and Cooking


It rained an unbelievable amount yesterday. So this morning when I woke up and it was quiet out I grabbed the dog for a quick hike just before sunrise.

I have an entire collection of photos of Nim sticking out his tongue that never make the blog. This one was too good however. I was actually trying to get the snow capped mountains in the background. Oh well.

It is 10am my time (pacific) and it is literally already darker than it was around 8am. We are setting up for another day of rain and I have a day of cooking and baking planned.

Stay tuned...

Oh, and for Thanksgiving I will be scanning in a card from my sister. I don't think I have ever had a Thanksgiving card make me laugh so much. Perhaps because of my current state of life? :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pleasant Friday

Yesterday the sun was shining, it wasn't super cold, and I was totally grouchy!

The good news about being grouchy on a nice day is that you can still get out and walk which is better than sitting around and grouchy.

This is the banks of the Snoqualmie River going through Fall City. It isn't even running fast or strong and Nim still had no interest.

Then we headed along the Rutherford Slough towards some trails. According to my shadow I am a clothespin person.

I have been WAY overdue to bath him in case he was contagious while sick. One of the things I like about washing Nim is that it is almost meditative; I sort of check out while moving in a continuous pattern over his body.

It is cold, gray, and getting ready for a big rainy weather system. I am glad we walked yesterday, even if I was grouchy. :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dessert Auction

Mostly it was rainy and dark yesterday so I never did get this quilt outside. I tried one more better lighting photo in the house.

People liked the quilt but I know for next year this particular auction is not the right venue. :) It was still good for me to have a sewing project right now. Perhaps NASCAR quilt is back in my future.

I did get Nim and I out for a fast hike between the rain. By the time we got to our turn around point we were even above the clouds!

I also baked for the auction:

Peanut Better Doughtzel Balls (all gluten free ingredients)
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (all gluten free ingredients)
Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf (not gluten free)

I used the Bob's Red Mill GF mix for both cookies. I definitely prefer spelt or something more wheaty in the oatmeal raisin.

I think the peanut butter cancels out the lack of wheat taste in the other cookies. Maybe oat flour would work for the oatmeal raisin? Both recipes do well gluten free however.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pinwheels Quilt Finished

This has been a long day of sitting and I am paying for it now. Nim (and honestly me) is going nuts from lack of activity and my back is worn out from the quilting.

I just came in from walking Nim in circles in the dark in my yard, but I will have to do better tomorrow - pacing the yard is hardly a dent in his activity needs.

Turns out the cats don't much care about what I am doing until after 2pm. Prior to that they are still sleeping.

Today was boring for everyone in general. Too much quilting for cats and no exciting cutting or measuring.

I have moved the dog bed under the sewing table. Sigh. This is because primarily because Emile was too cold next to the windows and I kept finding him on the slate next to a space heater. Leela spent a lot of time on the chair behind me while I was sewing.

I still think I liked turning the sewing machine like we learned at the Puyallup Sewing and Stitchery Expo. My biggest struggle is that with the machine in this position I occasionally sew over my own stitches. I never had that problem before.

If the weather cooperates tomorrow I will try and get a better lighting photo tomorrow, but I love how this quilt turned out. It is in the wash as we speak given all the cat participation.

Tomorrow is baking! Technically this quilt is going to be an item at a dessert auction, but they wanted to have non-dessert options. They have never had a quilt or anything like a quilt so let's hope it does OK.

Quilt Progress (give me strength)

I had every intention of finishing the quilt this weekend (totally doable) but my schedule ended up completely off and I didn't get it done.

At least I did have some time at home to make progress. My first attempt at the full quilting process in the general living area with cats nearby  has proven to be at times frustrating and at times funny.

Everything sewing related has become an obstacle to steal (LOTS of theft going on), chew, jump, or hide in.

The measuring tape is a hot item. I rescued it from Leela (who used to drag a stuffed hippo that was larger than herself around the house and stash it), only to watch it immediately start to disappear off another corner of the table.

I looked over the edge table...yup, Emile.

Other hot item: the scissors. Perhaps Emile will lose those last pounds in exercise.

Leela is always present. She has no problem being in my space and taking what she wants. Emile is stealth attack.

Leela enticing Emile for an attack:

The above photo was followed by some jumping and hissing.

Leela supervises my every move while contemplating what she is going to touch or take next.

She also has this roll technique to get under the cardboard:

Regardless if I have something carefully laid out on the cardboard.

Leela also invited Nim to get on there with her which he had no problem doing. She can get a really fast scamper/spin going on the smooth coated cardboard which is attractive to both Nim and Emile and sends anything on the board flying. Grrr!

Despite a ton of interruptions that were either too blurry to post or too fast to capture the top is done. I should be sandwiching later this morning and getting the quilting going.

It is dark, rainy, and cold out here. Have a great week!