Monday, January 22, 2007

Sugar overload

Okay, this is a pet peeve of mine: gatherings or public events that have NO healthy food choices. I know it's cheaper to buy sugary, preservative-laden junk food to feed the masses, but jeez: can you at least TRY? Or splurge on one tray of veggies or something? This is from a public event I attended over the weekend. It may be a bit hard to make out in the picture, but those are two trays of assorted doughnuts (cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar and sugar sprinkles), next to baked jelly-filled turnovers of some sort. To be fair, the picture doesn't show that farther down the table, there were some bananas cut in half, but bananas are one of the highest sugar content fruits around. The beverage choices were coffee and canned sodas. Aaaaargh. It's the same story at high school athletic events, which I attend often because my husband coaches. The concession stands usually only sell an assortment of chips, candy (most of them supersized), and sugary drinks. I mean, would it kill you to have some low-sugar granola bars, snack crackers or trail mix packs on hand?

Am I the only one who has seen the studies that show diabetes on the rise around the world? Heck, walk through almost any mall in the U.S. on the weekend and you'll be shocked by the obesity on display. I know some people will say, "It's their choice to eat crap and look that way." Of course. But I don't have to enable it. I think if people are at least presented with one or two healthy choices, they will occasionally make a better choice. And as someone who has seen the effects of diabetes in her family and who tries not to eat junk, I like to have a healthy choice when I attend public functions. So for those who'd care to do the same, here are some healthy food choice ideas. Happy eating!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Isis in transit

This week's latest installment of Isis on the go. She rides really well in the car and is a perfect roadtrip companion, although she'd prefer a bench seat to bucket ones, so she could put her head in my lap while we ride.

Tomorrow we may attend a Meetup for pitbulls and their owners in Kent. There's also a French Bulldog Meetup in North Seattle we may check out. I've been looking for a low-energy/low exercise need dog for my rather sedentary parents and Frenchies are cute and compact, but still seem like a real dog. As opposed to those tiny doglets that fit in a purse and are just a step above an animatronic Beanie Baby. Properly raised/trained and socialized bully breeds rock! :-) But of course, I think all dogs rock.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Go Sonics!

We scored tix at the last minute to the Sonics game against Cleveland. It gives you some idea of how badly the Sonics are doing that I was more excited to see LeBron James play than any of the Sonics. Gotta go: I'm needed for a clichéd crowd cheer. De-fense! <clap, clap> De-fense! <clap, clap>

Bird's eye view of South Seattle

Here's a neat shot of Seattle's Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and a smidge of the SODO area to the right, looking south from the south end of downtown. Still prefer sunny day view.

The Iceman continue to cometh... and I've had about enough

And once more, with feeling. Just when we thought things would return to some semblance of normality following last week's snow, another storm system dropped 1"-3" of snow in and around Seattle. Here's a shot of the hill where we've been parking.

Note the jack-knifed articulated bus. It was sanded and down to bare pavement late last night. But by this morning, ice had reformed just under the snow, making the commute a slow go. That sounds like a radio/TV traffic report, doesn't it? Old habits resurfacing, I guess. :-) The side streets to our house are still covered in ice, so this shot was taken right next to where I left my car on the main drag. After moving to a house with a carport, it's been a while since we've had to scrape our windshields. But like riding a bike, the muscle memory (and shoulder strain) came right back. :-) It helped that J., ever the romantic, bought matching "gifts" last night: a couple cans of de-icer with built-in scrapers for the two of us. :-)

So heading into a second week of snow and ice, (take note, because you will not likely hear this heat/sun lover say/type this again): I can't wait for the rain to return. Pains me even to type it, but it's true. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go heat up a beverage, put on some more fleece and turn the heat up a skosh: I like it warm enough to grow orchids under my bed when the dog and I curl up with a good book.

Isis ready to roll

I need to test the ability of my Treo 650 to moblog (mobile blog). So here's a shot of my favorite (okay, only) dog sitting in the car looking very bored. She's just the best! (Insert sound of non-dog owners gagging)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Snow pix

We hiked out to retrieve our abandoned cars today and got some pictures of the area around our house and the side streets, which are awful.

We managed to reverse our walks home last night without eating it on the ice. Thanks to sunny skies today and sanded main streets, we were able to get both cars moved within a couple blocks of the house for easy access tomorrow for work.
You may be thinking (Or not. But play along.), "Why not just take the bus?" Well, we live in a relatively hilly area with an "express" route bus that runs up and down the hill a couple blocks from our house every 20-30 minutes and takes 40-45 minutes to get to downtown on a good day. Downtown is 10 miles away. The snow route calls for that bus to run on another, flatter main roadway about a 15-20 minute walk from our house. Supposedly there are chained shuttles plying the rest of the route, but I didn't hear or see a one today.

So could I bundle up and hoof it down there and hope I time it right so that I don't have to wait in the frigid air for very long, while becoming cold and clammy from the sweat I worked up getting there? Oh sure. But I think I'll try my luck driving on the quickly clearing main roads. But one near-face plant on the ice on the way to my car may change my mind. :-)
Looking at the shot of our patio carpeted in snow, I so long for the warmth of summer, or heck, even fall, which is when Isis and I hung out on the patio for the picture below. Just five and a half months until summer. Tick tock...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


So Seattle has had this bizarre, biblical-proportion-like string of extreme weather events. Not the TV news hype machine type of weather where things are slightly warmer/wetter/windier/colder than usual ("That's right, better bring in the cat and lay in some extra vittles: it will be a frosty 41 degrees tomorrow, 4 degrees off our average low for this time of year..."). I'm talking record setting or breaking floods, cold temperatures, windstorms, power outages, and now snow and ice.

What's unusual for Seattle is that we may get one or two of these weather occurrences every 3-4 years. But this year, we've been slammed back-to-back-to-back, and it's only January! We still have like two more months of winter.

So in the December 14, 2006 windstorm, three large trees around our house came down, including one that took out the power lines to our house and left us in the dark for six days. Yes, really.

We were fortunate to be able to stay with family members who were nearby and unaffected, but it's tough being out of your home unexpectedly for nearly a week. We would come back during the day to get clothes or make sure the pipes weren't freezing and it was colder inside our home than outside. We could see our breath in the air!

At least we had lodging options. We stayed with my brother-in-law and took my husband's nearly 90 y.o. great aunt who lives with us to my mother- and father-in-law's. Midway through the outage, my husband celebrated a birthday, so we had dinner at El Gaucho, one of his favorite restaurants, then stayed overnight in the boutique hotel the Inn at El Gaucho right upstairs. Let me just tell you how nice it was to have dinner and drinks, then finish the night, not by hiking to your car in frigid or wet weather, but by climbing the stairs to a room with a comfy, cozy bed across from a flat screen TV. J. enjoyed it so much I got him one of the Inn's plush, white, fluffy, fleecy robes for Christmas. He says it feels so good it makes him want to wear it out of the house with some pajamas and white shoes. He's totally kidding. I think.

But I digress. Before that, we were hit with this weird cold snap with snow and ice in areas that don't usually feel the impact. Then just tonight, we got socked with another snow storm.
Despite navigating the earlier storm with no problems, I managed to get my car stuck in the parking lot of some apartment complex, narrowly avoiding a collision caused by losing traction on the ice under the snow and sliding into parked cars. Fortunately, a good samaritan helped me push my car into a parking spot out of harm's way. I hope.

Since I'd managed to drive past my house and get stuck about 5 miles away, I had to again depend on the kindness of strangers, one of whom said they could drop me near a main intersection close to my house, which they did and I hoofed it home from there, arriving about 20 minutes later with cold fingers, a runny nose, and horrible hat hair, but no worse for wear.

At this point, since we've already had flooding, darkness, hail, and snow, I'm convinced locust infestations can't be far behind. We shall see. Where ever you are, I hope the temperature is above freezing, the heat and lights are on, there's food in the fridge, and you've got a safe, cozy place to sleep tonight. I know that's what I'll be giving thanks for in tonight's prayers.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Koots Green Tea rocks

This is a shot of my favorite beverage place of the moment. Koots Green Tea is all over Japan and this location in Lincoln Square mall in Bellevue, WA is its first North American store. Another location is set to open soon at the north end of downtown Seattle near South Lake Union. I can't wait!

Right now, I have to trek about 12 miles from my house to the Lincoln Square spot each weekend. Yes, it's that good. :-) The new one will be about 10 miles away, but only a mile from my job, so that will be super easy.I checked again this weekend and they say the opening of the new location has been delayed again.

So I finally had to bite the bullet and get four days worth of Koots' Hojicha latte (extra hot, no foam, with 2% milk). It's a low or no caffeine tea mixed with milk. That way I don't have to worry about a caffeine crash or withdrawal effeccts when I can't get there for a taste. I reheated one this morning and it was delish. I'll have another couple during the week and freeze one to see how it fares after being frozen, thawed and reheated. Results later!