Tag Archives: canning

It was the best of times, and oh yes – the worst of times

The bathroom is coming right along. Unfortunately, we’ve hit a wee snag – the tile did not come in this weekend, which means that we might not have our toilet & sink hooked up by the time the inlaws arrive (which makes me very, very sad. not just for them, but for me).

The architect slaved away on the bathroom all weekend. The walls are 100% done! YAY!  AND, although I don’t have photographic evidence right now, the shower walls and the floor are a beautiful shade of red (from the waterproofing).

As soon as the tile arrives, the architect will take a day off to install the tile, and then, 36-ish hours later, we will grout. THEN, 24-ish hours later, we will sand & paint the walls this color(ish): (I think – I’m not great with color)

Anyways – the architect assures me that our vintage mauve will took fantastic in the black and white bathroom.  (Our color might be a bit lighter and slightly browner.)

After the painting, we will put in the wainscoting (which will be white), and one wall (minimum) of shower tiles. At that point, the plumber can come back & hook everything up.  If the tiles come this week, that means that the floor could be in by Friday, and then on Friday (my day off), I could start sanding (with clear instructions, I can do lots of stuff!), and then hopefully we could paint & wainscot on Saturday/Sunday, and maybe even do the one shower wall, and then could have the plumber come in on the 23rd (Friday) to hook up before the in-laws showed up. Of course, all of that is contingent on the tile arriving in a timely fashion this week.  *fingers crossed*


In other good news – I got to watch my friend Jen finish a 31 mile run on her 31st birthday. She ran the entirety of Wildwood Trail (30 miles) + an extra mile in honor of her birthday. She finished strong in 6:19ish, and looked great at the finish line.  (Also looking great at the finish line? Celebratory champagne and cupcakes! YAY!)


Yesterday, I went to pick tomatoes, and as I filled up my bowl, I emptied the bowl into my (normal sized) kitchen sink.  By the time I picked everything ripe (i.e. maybe 1/2 of the tomatoes out there), my kitchen looked like this:


Just in case you’re curious, after peeling, coring & seeding all those tomatoes, that is approximately 13 qts of chopped tomatoes.

Do you know how long it takes to can 17 pints of salsa & 8.5 qts of marinara?


Or, more accurately, about 7 hours. By 8 pm last night, my kitchen looked like a murder scene, and I looked like a serial killer who bathed in the blood of my victims. It was pretty awesome.

I can’t wait to do it all again in 2-3 weeks when I’m sure I’ll have another sink and a half of tomatoes! (I’m serious – I love canning, and when the next batch is ready, I’m guessing it won’t be 90 degrees.)

Next up – maybe another 6 pints of salsa (we go through about 2/month on average; another 3-4 qts of marinara (1/month here), and then FUN things! Like ketchup! And whole tomatoes! And maybe soup. YAY!


When I hit the trail, I hit it HARD!

And now, for the worst of times. I was on a trail run yesterday morning (before tomato-palooza), having a grand time. The best run I’d had since my 15.5 miler (also a trail run) at the end of July. Everything was going so well. I felt great. I was happy with my pace. I’d hit my turn around right on schedule, and was FLYING (relatively speaking) back to my car. About 1.25 miles from the trailhead, I bit it. Unlike last time, I didn’t transition directly from upright to faceplant. This was more of a slow motion fall.

I hit pretty hard on the left side of my body. So hard, in fact, that one of my water bottles, after digging into my side, flew off my fuel belt and landed several feet down the trail (behind me). My right hand is a little bruised and swollen, I have some cuts on my left hand, some pretty bruises in the vicinity of my right knee, and a little road rash on my left elbow. I can feel the deep bruising on the left side of my back, but the best part of my body is my left leg below the knee.

This picture doesn’t really do it justice, since I just took it now, sitting at my desk at work (those of you who followed my exciting foot photo series will recognize the carpet), but I’m thinking I’ll have some spectacular bruising in a day or so…..


(Please note that my calf isn’t that humungous, but it’s hard to take a picture of your own leg and not get a weird angle.)

That is beautiful, right?

I hurt all over my body. My left side especially. It hurts to move. And to sit. And to lay still, even. It especially hurts to be headbutted by affectionate cats. (On a completely unrelated note – does anyone want to buy a used cat?)

I’m hoping this heels up pretty quickly!

Happy week, everyone! Watch out for gravity!

Nothing to see! Move it along….

Ha! Just kidding. Please don’t go (girl).

There were no shoes yesterday, because I am in a shoe funk. Over the weekend, I packaged up two of the four pairs of shoes that I’d recently purchased. They are going back. *sob*

Yesterday morning, on my way to work, another pair broke! NEW SHOES BROKEN! So sad.



The left shoe heel strap stitching just ripped. Fortunately, I had backup shoes with me (the fourth and only surviving shoe of my four shoe ordering spree).

I am so sad! I need to go shoe shopping! (In person, apparently.) I also need to sell eleventy-million pairs of shoes on eBay.


Today, I have no new book reviews for you, because I have finished no new books since last week. I know, right????  Crazy. So – I am going to go read like a crazy person and hopefully I will have some new book reports for you next week. I have to be almost done with the 1st Game of Thrones book, right? (I bought it for my Nook, and it was cheaper to get the four-book boxed [relatively speaking] set. Unfortunately, they do not download in separate books, but rather as one big file. Which means that I know I’m on page 284. BUT, there are 3,483 pages total in the boxed set, so I’ve no idea what that means in terms of finishing book one. Does it mean that each book is 870 pages? That seems like a lot. My tiny boxed set picture doesn’t make them look that fat, and wouldn’t the camera add a few pages?

ANYWAYS…garden news! So many tomatoes and peppers and tomatillos! And green beans. Tomorrow we will eat our first broccoli. There are tons of potatoes. The corn is looking awesome & should start tasseling soon. The grape is super grapey! There is a zucchini and a few baby cukes. And beets – oh there are beets! And they will be pickled on Saturday afternoon. (LOVE beet pickles.)

ANYWAYS, I promise a return to content eventually. Shoes! Books! Corn!

Naturalizer Mystic - the only shoes left...


The Nook is getting quite a workout


Not actual corn from this year...just a representation.


I don’t even have any more clever titles

So – since last I updated you on this crazy life thing I’ve got going on here, so much has happened!

On Tuesday evening, I hit up the track w/ my good friend Alisa & her husband. I ran a mile warm up & then did 4×400 (with 400 recovery jogs) & closed with a half mile cool-down. I didn’t bring my garmin, so I don’t have any idea how long/how fast/etc. that drives me bonkers, by the way. My spreadsheets are incomplete.

Wednesday morning, I woke up & felt decidedly not right. So I stayed home. I did get some homework done, but overall, it wasn’t a super productive day. Which is okay when taking a sick day, right?

Wednesday evening, my left foot started to hurt. This is the non-surgery foot. I didn’t think too much of it, and just went to bed. I woke up 3-4 times in the night with some weird foot pain.

Thursday morning I woke up and my left foot (specifically the big toe joint area) hurt excruciatingly bad. I was pretty sure that something was broken. I went to work & called the orthopedic clinic.  They told me they could fit me in for an X-Ray in about a week. That seemed a bit long to wait to see if I’d broken a toe or a foot or something. I called my Primary Care & although she wasn’t in, another doc in her group was able to see me “as soon as I could get there.” Which was about 15 minutes or so (sometimes it’s handy working in a hospital). I saw the doc, had an X-Ray, and then saw the doc again.

He thought I had a stress fracture. The radiologist disagreed. So – the official diagnosis? No stress fracture. (Other things it isn’t include the plague, schizophrenia [probably], and cataracts. Things it is include who knows?!)

I was referred to PT (which I love – I will always go to PT) and told to ice, elevate, & ibuprofen it up. And so I did.

Friday was a pretty busy day for someone with a not-broken toe. I volunteered at Growing Gardens (I put starts in individual pots and counted tomatoes), finally took my kick-ass prints to get framed (do you have any idea how much framing costs? holy crap is all I can say), and then, stopped by Classic Pianos to scope out the wares.

I had a very specific budget in mind (read: CHEAP) but also had a specific quality in mind (read: not CHEAP sounding). They were so nice to me! I told the sales guy my budget, he took me to the area of the store with those pianos, left me alone to pound on the keys for awhile, and then when I picked out my favorite piano in the store, told me it was twice my price rang (of course) and helped me find one with comparable sound for half the price.

You all! I bought a piano. It is not the nicest piano in the world, but it is so much better than the one I have now! (I don’t have one now, and it is not working for me.) AND AND AND for as long as I own this piano, if I ever want to trade it in for a better, nicer, grander (in my dreams) piano, they will credit me the full price I paid for this piano towards the purchase of the new one! The piano does not depreciate!

This, even more than buying a house, makes me feel like a grown-up.

This is not my piano, but is a reasonable fascimile there of:


(I do not have ugly blue carpet.) As soon as my piano comes to live with me, I will post a picture of the real actual piano (I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it last Friday!) and you can all be jealous! It is having its hammers refelted, and will come live with me on 5/27/11. YAY!

After piano-ing, I headed out to Zenger Farms for a tour. So awesome. I was so jealous of the tour guide. Her job is to work on an urban farm! And hang out with wealthy donors like me! (I kid about the wealthy part; I am just a regular donor.)

Finally, after a long day of too much walking, I headed back home. The architect & I toured the estate and then headed out to dinner.

Saturday was another busy day. I finalized the gin tasting notes and cocktail menu, made the awesomest cake in the universe, and cleaned up a bit for the gin tasters.

I had such a great time Saturday night imparting my gin passion to others. We did a formal tasting (well, maybe semi-formal) with tasting notes and information and voting, and then had gin cocktails (or, in the case of some people, beer).

The big gin hit of the night was the Bardenay (from Idaho) in the more traditional London Dry category, although the cucumber & spruce Rogue gin was also quite popular.

I introduced a number of people to the awesome French 75 and am looking forward to a lot of warm summer afternoons sipping French 75s on the patio.

Sunday there was a wee bit of clean-up (not too much; must be getting old when the last straggler is gone before 11 pm and the clean-up takes less than 1/2 hour) and then Sarah came over for asparagus pickling! We each made 8 pints of pickled asparagus, and I can’t wait for them to get properly pickled so that I can crack open a jar and make some awesome bloody marys.

The rest of Sunday was devoted to school work and work work. (Boooo…..)

Today my foot is feeling pretty decent. I’m even considering going for a wee little run tomorrow. My first PT appointment is next Wednesday, and I’m positive they told me to run 3 times before the appointment, just to see how it’s holding up.

This is another 5-day work week, but the big pressure should be off after tomorrow, and then we can return to the regular stresses of my job and figuring out how to integrate all of my new responsibilities.

Happy Monday!


I am back, with 75% less fishy rage!

People! So many things happened since last I rapped at you!

Can you even believe that I haven’t blogged in almost a week? WTF?!? After all, what was I even doing last week that could tear me away from blogging?

Well, for starters, there was this:




And this:

This will soon be cheese!

Finished Chevre



And this:

Brine for the chicken

Fancy brine for my chicken.


And this:

Sage white wine mustard ingredients The Ginger Garlic Mustard ingredients ginger, garlic & peppercorns Mustard seeds Little jars of mustard

Mustard (two kinds – oooh, fancy!)


And then, there was this:

Seattle Sunset Seattle skyline Troll! Gasworks Park View from our hotel room

Trip to Seattle! Good food, good friends, good times.


And now? Back at the office. *sigh*

Oh – and back to school *double sigh*

But this week we’ll also be back to shoesday, and book review Wednesday, and DIY-day (do you want mustard, bacon, or cheese for your DIY-day this week?).

And this weekend, there will be sausage making!  And naturescaping! And likely lots of homework!

12/8/10 Reverb Writing Prompt #8: Beautifully Different

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Author: Karen Walrond
The Beauty of Different



Oooh – this one is hard! This one forces me to say nice things about myself in a public forum, which, as I’m sure we all know, is tantamount to bragging! And bragging is bad.

Interesting the reservations we have about saying nice things about ourselves, isn’t it? It’s only very recently that I can voice such things aloud (although generally not to very many people). I can say (to the architect, at least), “You know, I’m really rather fantastic in the kitchen.”And it still makes me uncomfortable to say it just to one person, much less write it here.

BUT – on with the actual question(s).

What makes me different? I have so many sarcastic answers. Maybe because I am afraid to write what I really think, in case no one else agrees. BUT – no on really is reading these, right? So I’m going for it.

I think that my desire to entertain and make happy everyone around makes me different. Not different in that I don’t know anyone else with the same desires, but different in that not everyone has the same desires. If you are in my house, or at an event I’ve planned, I want to make you happy. I want you to be entertained. (I also want you to be stuffed full of food, because I have a dread that someone, some day, will leave a party I’ve thrown and be hungry. And that would be awful.) I am not obsessed with perfection. I don’t care if my decorations aren’t awesome, or my house isn’t spotless (obviously), but I do care that the food & drink are good and plentiful, and that everyone has an awesome time. I like telling stories & putting a humorous bent on them, even if that makes me look a little foolish.

I don’t know if this lights people up, or just fattens them up, but it is something that I truly enjoy (except when I’m 3 weeks post surgery, but that’s another story). I like planning things. I like inviting people from different areas of my life to mix and mingle. I like flitting between conversations making sure everyone is getting enough to eat and drink. I like hearing after that it was a great event/happy hour/party/class. It lights me up, that’s for sure.

Does this make me beautiful? Seeing people happy in my home makes me feel beautiful. Watching people delight in making their first mozzarella, or canning a jar of salsa, or realizing that jam really is that easy makes me glow. Seeing people enjoy my homemade salsas and guacamoles and cakes (I love making cakes – and am going to make one this weekend, just for the fun of it – let me know if you want  some!) and other things gives me a very satisfied feeling at the end of the day. When it’s midnight, and I’m exhausted, and there are still people at my house not ready to leave the party because they’re having too much fun, I feel irritated satisfied.

I only wish I had more time for all of this. The teaching of kitchen skills. The gardening tips. The parties. Having people in my home, happy, makes me feel beautifully different.