An appropriate investment.

Saturday, October 30, 2010
At Turkfest a few weeks back I had the opportunity to meet another American/Turkish couple, though in their case she's the Turk and he's the American. He had learned to speak Turkish and mentioned that in his opinion Rosetta Stone was useful for languages such as Spanish and French but not so much for Turkish. I can see what he was getting at - I have no idea why I need to learn the words for "horse" and "elephant" before I learn "hello." Seriously? I'm pretty glad I didn't pay for the program.

Approaching a year of being together, it really feels like a more than appropriate time to put the effort into learning his language since he's been so dutifully learning mine. The day after Turkfest (which was fun and educational) I ventured back to the website for the Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington (TACAWA for shortsies) to look into the classes I know they usually offer. Turns out that the Fall Quarter for Beginning Turkish basically runs for 6 weeks starting the first week of November, with one two hour class every Wednesday.

Bear is going to be gone at least 6 weeks and probably a bit longer, so really, the timing couldn't be more perfect. While he's gone, I'll be gettin' my learnin' on. It's gonna cost me a bit more than Rosetta Stone did, but the ability to communicate with my boo in his native language is pretty much priceless, in my humble opinion.

Soooo, by the time he returns I'll actually be able to speak some Turkish and give him a lap dance. Hokahey!

Gone, but not forgotten...

Thursday, October 28, 2010
As in, my presence on this blog lately and my boyfriend. Thankfully, neither absence is permanent.

Shortly after my most recent post earlier this month, Bear confirmed the date for his return trip to Istanbul (leaving exactly one month before our one year anniversary.) I was basically left with just over 2 weeks to get in all the Fall festivities and snuggle time I could manage. We went go carting, we went to TurkFest, we went to The Farm, we carved a pumpkin (his first jack-o-lantern,) drank a lot of tea and watched the rest of The Wire Season 3 together. It was pretty darn glorious and I was feeling like I was definitely mentally prepared to be away from my guy for a few months.

Oh, I was wrong. (But at least this time I didn't put him through 2 weeks of being all weepy beforehand!)

It's been a rough week. Realizing that not only did my boyfriend leave he took my best friend with him was tough (and eye-opening,) and work has been a little crazy with the impending ownership changes...I was ready for the weekend by Tuesday afternoon and feeling totally unprepared and uninspired for what is usually my favorite holiday EVER - Halloween.

Finally yesterday I got to talk to Bear on the phone, which was a huge help in raising my spirits. We'd only been able to email and that is honestly one of my least favorite ways of communicating (most likely because I am totally impatient.) Last night I got to visit with my favorite homegirls AND my favorite 'mos and tonight I'll probably get to see my dude on Skype, so I'm hoping to be mostly cleared of my funk by this weekend.

Still, I have 2 classes starting next week and a somewhat busy schedule - it probably wouldn't hurt to stay in, right?

Trip to Spokanistan?

Saturday, October 9, 2010
One of my FAVORITEST BANDS EVER, Barcelona, is playing an all-ages show in Spokompton in a few weeks and I am seriously considering going.

I've never seen them live which is mind-boggling since they are a freakin' Seattle band, but they play here so INfrequently I don't have many options. The only concert date they've had locally since I discovered the Absolutes album just happened to be on the evening that we flew to SF for Bear's show, and the next one is actually only a performance at a Symphony Guild event.

The cool part would be that I've got family in that area that could meet up with me, including 2 college-age cousins who I don't get to visit with nearly enough AND it would be a fun first time roadtrip with Bear. We could probably stay with my lovely school-teacher Aunt, but I'm concerned we might overwhelm the bf with family stuff so I've been scoping out hotels for Friday night.

Still, it's quite the trek. On the other hand, I have no idea when they'll play a full show in Seattle again and it's NOT OKAY that I haven't seen them live.

How far would you go to see one of your favorite bands play?

No "winter weight" for me, thanks.

Friday, October 8, 2010
Yes, Fall is here and I am cooking (and therefore eating) up a storm and it's oh-so-easy to come home and hit the couch when it gets darker earlier and earlier, but I am determined not to find myself saddled with a bunch of hibernation weight in the Spring.

I took a few weeks off from running after Iron Girl and managed to maintain my lower weight, but lately I've found myself feeling so "blah" that I knew I had to get out and hit the pavement again - if not for my waist, for my sanity. Thankfully, I'd typically rather run in the rain than than the hot sun, so this is always a productive time of year for increasing my mileage.

On those days where I'm just not feeling up to getting wet, I've stocked up enough DVDs to keep me occupied and have a groupon for Hot Yoga I finally need to use; in November I'm signed up for Pole for the Soul's "Art of Seduction & Exotic Dance" 4 week class, which should also hopefully help keep me toned up.

One DVD in my arsenal that I haven't gotten to try much but I'm looking forward to using frequently this fall is "Element: Ballet Conditioning." The reviews were pretty good and the workout I tried during my 10k training was kinda brutal even with variations and occasional breaks, so I'm extremely curious to see the results of a few months of using it. If So You Think You Can Dance is any indicator, dancers usually seem to have bangin' bodies and I feel it's definitely worth a try.

What about you: is there a routine you follow in the colder months? Do you give in to the holidays and bust your ass in the Spring to try to get your "summer body" back? Or do you go with "just say no to cookies" when the inevitable piles make their way to your office?

Someday I will publish a cookbook.

Thursday, October 7, 2010
This probably isn't a surprise to most of you who know me; the Madre has definitely been hearing me say it for a very long while now. Every weekend, my Facebook is covered with pictures of whatever I may have cooked up for Bear and if requested, I am always happy to pass along the recipe.

In the meantime, to spark creativity when needed, I have become quite partial to a cookbook written by someone else: Kitty Greenwald. Oddly enough, I found her on Esty (my favorite social commerce website.) Kitty is the chef for "Eatsy" lunches at the Brooklyn offices: a regular Wednesday staff meal that is provided by the company for employees. One of her recipes was featured on an e-newsletter I received and from there my attention was drawn to her super cute cookbook titled "Life's Too Short to Chop Onions: 99 Dinners to Make When You'd Rather Be Doing Something Else."

Not that I often wish I were doing something else; clearly I love cooking, but I'm definitely not a fan of hugely involved recipes that take hours or days of work...I was immediately intrigued enough to purchase the book.

So far, I've made the Baked Chicken Meatballs, Red Rice Royale, Brazen Broccoli (adapted with frozen heads to save even more time,) Simply Stewed (made with home grown chard instead of spinach,) One Potato Two Potato Gratin, and used a few of her basic recipes for salmon and asparagus. Every single thing that I've made has gone over like gangbusters, and her suggested menus have been incredibly helpful at pairing items together - I really couldn't be more pleased.

Out of the stack of cookbooks I have in my kitchen at all times, this one definitely gets used the most. The recipes do seem very Mediterranean-based (probably why the bf is such a fan,) but I have been informed that the recipe for "Turkish Oranges" is not so authentic...As in, my Turkish boyfriend had no clue what they were.

Of course one day I hope to be able to call myself a published author of a cookbook, but for now I'll be working my way through Kitty's. What is YOUR favorite cookbook or recipe resource?


Tuesday, October 5, 2010
and meh.

Had one of those weekends that vacillated between wonderfully cozy and absolute suck, and I ended up on the other side in a funk, for sure. Even with a haircut scheduled and a light day at work, my Monday wasn't looking too great.

Thankfully, by the time I left Helle at 8 PM (after sticking around for a glass of wine and a long overdue chance to catch up with one of my besties,) I was the proud owner of a new Sour Puss oven mitt/pot holder set, the happy reciever of multiple hugs, and less of a sad-sack.

Of course, we covered the "howsitgoings" and jokingly discussed the fact that it always seems to be Mercury's fault when things are going wonky with our lives or the people and things around us. Today when my friend posted a link to this article covering Mercury's latest antics, I had to smile...until I read the following:

"Communication planet Mercury battles it out when Pluto, the planet that tends to obsess to the point of domination. If you’re feeling at all depressed, unsatisfied, anxious or even wishy-washy about something going on in your life, those thoughts could lead to compulsions, and those compulsions could show their nasty little faces when you’re interacting with those closest to you. Meaning, while you may try to divulge your emotions and frustrations, you could end up causing harm to your relationships by saying too much, being too harsh or acting without enough care and consideration. At the same time, it’s important to be aware that someone else may bring their problems onto you, and in a wrong or ineffective way."

It's fine if you don't believe in astrology, but that hit the nail on the head for me. This week I'm definitely doing a little bit of hiding (mostly just to let the stuff in my own head blow over, but it sure ain't gonna hurt to get my filing done.)