Happy Earth Day!

image courtesy of Karl LeDoux

Suit up, Earth, because today is your day!

Did you know that Earth Day is the only holiday that is recognized everywhere in the world? That’s awesome!

Being more “green” and earth-friendly is something that is pretty near and dear to me, and is probably why I was drawn to the Pacific Northwest. You could say that I’m a passive environmentalist(i.e., a little lazy), but I really believe that every little thing counts…even the small things.

So in celebration and recognition of Earth Day, here are a few little changes that we’ve incorporated into our lives to try and be a little more earth-friendly:

  • switched almost all of the light bulbs in our home to compact-fluorescent bulbs

  • began paying more attention to what we eat and where it comes from – we get a certified organic fruit & veggie delivery from Pioneer Organics every week and we try to pick as many locally grown foods as possible for our order

  • eliminated meat from at least 2 dinners per week, and oftentimes more than that

  • Karl drives a short distance to a park & ride and then takes the bus into work

  • recently started using a more natural cleaning solution (once we use up our current stash of 409 and Windex we’re going to start making our own so we don’t use so many harsh chemicals)

  • trying to use glass containers for food storage instead of plastic

  • bought some furniture from Ikea – their EU standards are more environmentally friendly than ours are here in the US

  • trying to be better about turning off lights and unplugging unnecessary items when not in use

  • keeping our thermostat pretty low during the winter (ridiculously low, as some members of my family might point out)

  • started bringing our own bag to the store (an awesome LL Bean hunter’s tote that fits a ton of groceries in it)
There you have it – a few little things that we’ve done. And I’ll be honest, there are things that I’ll never do (A 4-minute shower? Ummmm, no thanks….that ranks right up there along with driving only 25 mph in the impossible-for-me-to-do category.). And there are other things that we do where we weren’t motivated by the environmental impact but by the financial impact on us (Because let’s face it, Ikea furniture is relatively cheap and taking the bus into downtown beats paying for parking any day!) … but even so, I like to think that we are at least trying to make better decisions.

There are lots of other things that I wish we could be doing – like installing a rainwater collection system for use in watering our yard, replacing all of our appliances (and windows) with Energy Star rated ones, driving hybrid cars, buying only used or locally-produced goods and installing solar panels on our roof – but that will all take time and money (that we don’t currently have). In the meantime, I try and educate myself as much as possible so that when we do have the time and money we can make well-informed decisions.

Happy Earth Day!


All Better!

I worked from home today so I could keep an eye on Henry, and I'm pleased to report that he is 100% better!

When we got home last night, the cats were very concerned about the pup. I thought this was crazy sweet (since they usually growl and/or run away from him....but now we know that that's all show), but Henry didn't so much want any attention from his feline brothers. So they finally settled in where they could keep an eye on the little guy but not get in his way, and Henry slept off the sickness (and drooled a lot) in my lap. This morning he was about 80% back to normal, and he finally hit 100% in the early afternoon. Welcome back to full health, Henry!

I can't even explain how scary that was last night. Our pets are our world, and to be so helpless when one of them was in pain was terrible. I'm totally loving our new vet clinic right now, and they did a fabulous job of making us feel better last night. A good vet makes all the difference!



So I jinxed myself by saying that I had had a great birthday and was heading out for yummy Indian food. Less than 5 minutes after I hit "post" it became clear that something was drastically wrong with Mr. Henry. He vomited then kept his mouth open and cried A LOT, plus his little belly was really tight. I left a tearful message for Karl (who was down at Pike's Place buying me some beautiful flowers, as it turns out), then rushed him to our vet's office but they couldn't see him right away because they'd just had 2 dogs brought in who had been hit by 2 separate cars. Luckily, our evening turned out better than the 2 dogs' evenings did. It was still quite stressful and scary, nonetheless. I'm glad that Karl rushed to the vet's office once he got the message, so I didn't have to deal with all of that by myself.

Our wonderful vet took x-rays to make sure Henry didn't eat anything that would cause alarm (thankfully there was nothing but a large gas bubble...probably caused by something that he ate while playing outside...). Then she gave him fluids, anti-nausea medicine and a narcotic injection to calm him down. He drooled like crazy (still is) and cried from the gas pain (still is), but the doctor said that he should be fine. We're going to monitor him tonight and will check in with the vet's office in the morning, and we've got the 24-hr emergency vet clinic information just in case.

Now we're just home from the vet's office, and Karl's making me a grilled cheese sandwich. Happy birthday, indeed. We'll celebrate tomorrow, assuming the Henster is all better. I'm just so glad that I was home when it happened and that I could get to the vet's office before it closed. And of course, the best birthday gift of all is that we didn't have to have emergency surgery on our little guy!

You look like a monkey...

Four score and seven years ago...I was born! (actually, it was just 29 years ago) :)

It's been a great day, and I've got some super friends and family. A good day, indeed. Now it's off to eat some delish Indian food!


I spy...

...a kitty cat outside! Yep, we finally caved in to his demands and started letting Cooper outside. Supervised visits to the grass, we like to call it. Mostly he sits beside the backdoor and chews on grass (which oddly enough seems to maybe be helping his digestion), although he did make it all the way down to the rose garden on Sunday before Henry corralled him back into the house.

Hobbes, on the other hand?

He's totally content to remain a housecat! :)


Happy Easter!

Fresh and fluffy from a bath, Henry (and the rest of us) wishes you a happy Easter!

As a side note, notice how Henry's ears are different? His one ear always stands up, while the other one flops over. I wonder if his brothers and sisters are like that, too?

Added to the Rotation

Oh that darn Martha, she’s gone and done it again! Just when I think I’m done with her, she draws me back in with a winner…or rather, a Good Thing. The following recipe is a good thing, indeed. And it also helps with our goal of having meat-free dinners at least a few days a week. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Pasta with Artichokes, Olives, and Tomatoes
from http://www.marthastewart.com/

Serving: Serves 4 (or, if you are like us, 2 people can gobble this whole recipe up in no time!)
· Coarse salt and ground pepper
· 12 oz. whole-wheat spaghetti
· 1 Tblsp olive oil
· 1/2 medium onion , thinly sliced, lengthwise
· 2 - 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise (recipe called for 2, but we love garlic so I used 6!)
· 1/2 cup dry white wine (I made mine a fat ½ cup)
· 1 can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
· 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
· 1 Pint cherry or grape tomatoes , halved lengthwise
· 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more serving
· 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Return pasta to pot.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, cook, stirring occasionally until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.

3. Stir in artichokes and cook until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add olives and half of the tomatoes; cook until tomatoes start to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta to skillet. Stir in remaining tomatoes, oil, cheese, and basil. Thin with reserved pasta water if necessary to coat the spaghetti. Serve with additional cheese.


Ahhh, Spring

I just love this photo of the Italian plum tree in our backyard....because it's a sign of spring, because it was actually light enough outside after work yesterday to take a good photo, because the little blooms make me so happy and also because this is the first time that I've successfully gotten depth of focus in a photo! :)

Happy Friday!


Leavenworth (the mountain town, not the prison)

Leavenworth was beautiful! Dan & Leslie, I think I've decided one place that I'd like to go camping this summer... :)

We stayed at a resort called The Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort, so named after a section of the mountain that looks very much like a reclining woman. See the outline of her face and chest? If you look closely, you can also see that she's got a bit of a soul patch going on...not very lady-like, if you ask me!

This resort really supports the art community and there were sculptures and art pieces all over. They also are big advocates for getting out and enjoying nature - so no TV, no email and hardly any cell phone service. A perfect location for training because you can't be distracted by anything other than the task at hand (well, and the beautiful scenery).

The Bavarian town of Leavenworth was really cool, too. I didn't get to do too much exploring because we only had a few minutes of personal time in town to look around. And at this time of year, everyone closes up shop really early. Next time!