Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
My birthday is coming up in a little over a week. I'm calling this one 30FUN, though I somehow still feel like I'm 25 and was getting carded for cigarettes until I stopped buying them.

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence, but lately I've been incredibly moved to get on a healthier track and work on feeling and looking better in general. A friend and his girlfriend have been doing a cleanse/detox and posting their progress on tumblr and that Fat Sick and Nearly Dead documentary has been everywhere these days. I have been eating better after becoming more adept at creating balanced meals for one person though I still eat far more processed foods and not as many vegetables/fruit as I should. Obviously, I am hoping my balcony garden experiment will put a dent in that.

I'm patiently waiting for my order of Barlean's Greens capsules to show up; last time I quit smoking I was having killer headaches that my LMP suggested were caused by detoxing and would be helped by the greens. I drank the powder with juice and and it was still a bit too gritty for my taste but it definitely seemed to work on my headaches as well as giving me more energy, so the capsules should hopefully be just the thing. Also, I finally got one of those cute little insulated cups for work and I'm drinking a lot more water lately to help flush all the crap out of my system. Still, I think I'll do some research and the week after my birthday I'll probably do some additional detox/cleansing. Juicing sounds promising but I don't own a juicer, nor do I want to invest in one at the moment. Anyone have any leads on cleanses/detox programs they have used successfully?

While I'm priming my insides, I am not neglecting the outside! I am using whitestrips for my teeth as a mini-reward for not smoking anymore (they work and you can find them super cheap on eBay, y'all) and now that the sun has come out in Seattle I've gotten a nice, healthy tan.

In spite of all the stress from this past year, I've made it to another birthday feeling improved inside and out - fitter, smarter, and in fine feather emotionally as well as spiritually. I think 30FUN is what it's all about, kids.

Tahini and sesame oil.

Monday, August 29, 2011
They're even close not the same, folks. All this time I've been making my hummus with sesame oil (because I had failed to find tahini in any of my normal grocery stores) and it did not taste right. Dubs improved it by encouraging me to add lemon juice, but it was still weird until she hooked me up with a big ol' jar of tahini from a downtown mexi mart. It makes a huge difference and it became pretty clear there's no good substitute. My hummus is now delicious.

Work was crazy for a few weeks and killed my social life, but conveniently it occurred right around the time I decided to quit smoking (AGAIN) which is much easier to do when I'm not out visiting with friends over drinks. Maybe not so weirdly, I've been inspired to try to be healthier in general so I'm easing back into yoga and pilates and trying to watch what I eat more closely. I think the daily visits to my garden help my motivation, though I am patiently waiting for something other than my chives to be ready to harvest. I have a wee eggplant that seems to be coming along nicely, but my chard and broccoli still have a ways to go. My burpless bush cucumber has basically tripled in size, but I'm not seeing any real fruit yet.

This week I'm going to try to wrap up all the little miscellaneous projects around the apartment and work on finally getting my bedroom settled. It hasn't been much of a priority but now that I'm back in the swing of things and I plan on having guests over more often it's probably a good idea. I'm still trying to figure out what to do bed frame wise, but I know sooner than later I'll have to get my mattress off the floor, 'cause that's just not very classy.

On the "away from home" side of things, I have started planning for a possible trip to NOLA to the French Quarter Festival in April. I haven't taken a vacation in ages and I've never been anywhere in the South nor gone on a trip alone, so I am trying to mentally and financially prepare for my first solo adventure. I am slightly concerned about finding reasonably priced accommodations, but one I have my flight booked I'll be researching like crazy. It's actually really nice to finally be able to look forward to a trip and not have to worry about planning or scheduling around anyone else!

Hello people!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I have not forgotten about you; I have just been slammed at work and too exhausted to formulate complete sentences once I get home. Consider this your musical interlude before I return to (somewhat) regular posting again.

I f*cking love The Black Keys.


Friday, August 12, 2011
Please do excuse the blurry picture, I have yet to master the camera on my new phone and I'm no pro, even with a regular camera.

This is my current set up for veggies and herbs, minus the calabrese broccoli which has just been started in another area of my balcony. I hijacked an old picnic bench from The Madre (and strung the cutest little set of lights underneath -more pictures to come, swears) to create enough height for the green babies to get enough of the sun and add ambiance in addition to it's functionality.

From the top: I have burpless bush cucumbers, ichiban eggplant, neon glow chard, chives, Moroccan mint and chocolate mint. This weekend I have a feeling I'll add some basil - all of a sudden I have to desire to be able to make fresh pesto.

Last weekend I picked up a hanger for my butterfly garden pot; installation should be a quick
weekend project and then I'll be on the lookout for a new pot to accommodate the new mini bee balm, which is apparently pretty bushy. On the floral side, I'm really focusing on plants that are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, but the bee balm also has the added benefit of being a wonderful tea herb and salad garnish. I truly just thought the flowers looked neat. I haven't seen any hummingbirds around and I have my doubts they'd target my 4th floor balcony, but a girl can dream, right?

By the time I've got everything organized for my housewarming there should be a bounty of pretty things out there for my guests to enjoy. This weekend when I'm not working on the garden and getting the rest of my place prepped, I'm going to take advantage of the forecasted rain and find some time to hang with the bffs as well as finish reading my current book. Hopefully I can round it off with a nice pancake brunch (a friend's brilliant housewarming idea) and some mimosas in Ballard and be ready to return on Monday to another week of work hell.

...and I'm feeling good.

Thursday, August 11, 2011
I spent a little time hanging out with one of my exes recently (no, not "Bear," though we did go back and forth yesterday on facebook, with no positive results) until it became more and more clear that he was still a hot mess and came with way more baggage than I'm interested in checking on Alyson Airlines.

Since I quickly put the kibosh on that one, I have returned to my temporary boy boycott and am continuing to settle into my apartment. Honestly, I don't know that I've ever been happier! I feel more functional and evolved than I ever have been before and completely content to be single as I move forward.

Almost every weekend I get out with the Madre to wander around to find new plants and supplies for my balcony garden. The vegetable portion is coming along nicely; last weekend I added eggplant and burpless bush cucumbers and I am digging all the greenness. My hanging "butterfly garden" pot has yet to bloom, but I picked up some miniature bee balm to placate the part of me that wants flowers NOW. Sadly, I think it's too late this year to bloom the dahlias and peonies I had hoped to plant.

On the nerdy tip, I'm almost done with Clash of Kings from the Song of Fire and Ice series. My coworker who is a book behind me went on vacation and I barely resisted the urge to paper her monitor with spoilers. I've got book 5 (acquired at the reading last week) just sitting on my shelf, staring at me and pressuring me to hurry the eff up, but these books are all just a little under 1000 pages a piece so I don't imagine I'll finish before the end of the summer.

Still, as I lie in my bed reading at night with a view of the progress on the balcony and Gizmo and Bread beside me, I can't help but feel like my life is really GOOD.

Shameless Plug - Charles: Ace of Bass sketch comedy

Monday, August 1, 2011
Shamefully, I hadn't been in the 619 Western building for possibly years before Sunday night despite the fact that a few of my friends have shown at numerous First Thursdays. If I had been, I might have been more prepared to walk into a colorful, characterful, likely deathtrap that as of August 1st is no longer allowed to hold public events. The intentional graffiti helped distract me from the gaping cracks in the walls, notices that made it very clear we'd be totally screwed if an earthquake were to hit and the sense of impending doom, so yay for that.

You, Dear Reader, will be lucky enough to see the Charles: Ace of Bass show at Ballard Underground because A) that's where the show will be continuing this Friday and Saturday and B) you're buying tickets because you'd be stupid to miss their first full-length original show.

Shortly after settling into my seat, Stephen Ross (of Ubiquitous They Fame, also helping with tech for this weekend's gigs) dragged out a big blue cooler, telling the audience that the show would be starting in a few minutes and he would be leaving said cooler full of beer at the front of the stage until they were ready to proceed, while encouraging the audience to help themselves. Any show that offers me a free beer upfront automatically wins bonus points...

Not that these guys needed my bonus points.

Opening up, Clayton Weller and Ryan Schmidt from UT showcased a high energy sketch set I hear they've been work-shopping for a while, filled with rapping, coordinated dance moves and lots o' fun pantomime. After a brief intermission where the blue cooler reappeared to everyone's delight, Chuck and Charlie of Charles took the stage (also to everyone's delight - I'm not sure if it was specifically this show, but the turn out was impressive and everyone seemed to know each other.)

Man, these cats are funny, and in that smart way that doesn't make everyone in the crowd feel condescended to. The sketches had a really good flow and the segues as well as additional props (how do you even do that with a Billy the Bass?) were handled deftly. I feel like I could go on and on about how talented I think they are and how much I laughed my ass off, but I also feel like I should impress upon you the awesomeness of the deal they are offering: approximately 90 minutes of hilarity for $10 is a freakin' steal. C'mon, it's Seattle - you know you've paid more for less funny. Truly, my only disappointment stems from the fact that my work schedule prevented me from taking them up on their audience-wide offer to have drinks with them at a nearby bar afterward.

So, GO FORTH AND BE AMUSED my fine friends, and if you need someone to hold your hand on the foray to funny hit me up and I'll gladly attend with you. This week's openers are The DK and Morgan Show from Bellingham (who unfortunately I am completely unfamiliar with but seem to be drawing equally assuring praise.) Do it.