Monthly Archives: January 2007

I Did NOT Sign Up For This

“How are you going to deal with all that rain?” “Don’t you get depressed with all the rain?” “You know it rains there every day, right?” These are just a few of the dozens of interrogations I endured while planning my relocation to Seattle. My reply was usually, “It only rains in the winter, and it’s always 50 degrees.”
Nobody said ANYTHING about SNOW. I thought I was escaping bitter Boston for a temperate, easy winter. I guess I shouldn’t complain — I’ve gotten about six snow days so far this year, as in, “One inch of snow: work is closed”. And I’m salary so they pay me to stay home. Now living on Queen Anne, I can see why one inch of snow becomes such a big deal. Last night we got two inches and this morning I watched three cars in a row, including a 4 wheel drive Explorer and a Land Rover, attempt the hill by my house and promptly turn sideways and slide back down. The Explorer missed being clocked by a sedan by literal inches as they both slid out-of-control down the hill and into the middle of the intersection — a slow-motion catastrophe that nobody could prevent. And this was a brick street.
I watched this happening as the Golf slid backwards and I quickly guided it into its parking space and got out of the car.
There’s no plows here, no salt, sometimes somebody has sand if there’s an icy patch. The whole city is paralyzed. It usually only happens once every other year or so — an overnight inch of snow, the city in an uproar, and then we go on with our rainy lives. But this has just been one crazy storm after another here, the 50 mph winds, 20 degree temperatures, freezing streets, no electricity, hail, snowstorms — I’m beginning to miss the mild and cozy Northeast.


The Uberskoot, anxiously awaiting spring.


The street the Golf could not ascend. Beyond it, the street the Land Rover could not ascend.


So much for flowers.

I’m going to go make a snowman. Read the PI.

 

Post Punk Sushi

sushi1.jpg
I made sushi!

Saturday I went to Uwajimaya in the International District, to get supplies to make sushi. I love the Japanese. Uwajimaya is this sprawling market that has literally everything you could ever need to dine or entertain Japanese-style. My mind just flips over backwards being there — it is so so crowded, and colorful in that anime pigs and pandas style, and the air is filled with foreign conversations and all the packaging and most of the signage is in Japanese. There is a constant buzz of activity and a controlled consumer chaos. I love it, but I can usually last only about forty-five minutes before I start getting sensory overload. Plus it’s really weird to walk around a foot taller than every other person in the place.
The produce section is really like being in another country — there are fruits and roots and vegetables I have never seen before, and would not know what to do with — but I am so drawn to their colors and smells that I want to bring some home to experience.
I found everything I needed, including black sesame seeds, sticky rice, seaweed salad, nori, tamari, mochi and red bean paste, and headed home to try my hand at making vegan sushi.
The first batch of rice came out too wet because I followed the directions on the package. I rarely follow directions or recipes — I usually read them to get the general idea and then implement my own strategy. The second batch was perfect and so good and sticky that I tried an inside-out roll. I was feeling very Iron Chef. It came out reasonably well for a first attempt, but was not quite tight enough (photos below). Good rolls definitely take practice. Most things tasted so delicious — I’m looking forward to practicing a lot!
The recipes I based these on can be found at the Post Punk Kitchen. I don’t think I’ll do the spicy tempeh roll again. I’m not a fan of tempeh, and I thought maybe it would be different with all the goodies blended into it. But next time I’m just going to use tofu. The Yamroom roll was also a bit lacking — it needed a crunch, so maybe I’ll add some cucumber next time. The Cali roll was hands-down my favorite, especially the second roll I made with the rice on the outside. I highly recommend giving this a shot — it’s tons of fun and not as hard as you think!

sushi2.jpg
Goin’ back to Cali Roll and Yamroom Roll.

seaweed.jpg
Seaweed salad – my favorite part.

sushi3.jpg
My clumsy attempt at an inside-out roll. Not bad for a first shot, I guess.

sushi4.jpg
Elephant roll.

jaspersushi.jpg
“Where the hell is the fish?”

Afloat

I just came across this bit of writing from one of my first nights on the houseboat in the beginning of May 2005. It struck me; I wanted to share it.
~~~~
Julio is tapping at the window. He’s grinning, dark eyes shining. As I slide open the glass, he holds out an enormous bouquet of white flowers in his fist. Hands it to me like a little kid. White roses, carnations, magnolias. “Welcome aboard,” he says in his thick South American accent. His voice sounds like warm pavement, like tomatoes growing in the dirt.
Nevadelia stands on her hind legs watching the runoff from Julio’s house. His wife is washing dishes and the cat likes to watch the cascade of water fall into the basin between the houseboats.
The boat rocks gently side to side now. It’s like a cradle, it feels like I’m finally home. Last night in the shower the water pooled at one side and I had to tilt my hips one way to stay centered. It’s a lolling, soothing roll.
Shelly’s house is alive. She seems young but her roots are gray. She wears bright citrus colors, lime and tangerine and papaya and passionfruit. She tells us the door is always open.
Julio is hanging a string of patio lights that he made — from a few feet away it looks like a string of tiny brightly-colored birds, each one totally different. I move closer to see the details as he plugs it in and it lights up all different shades. He smiles broadly, “How do you say… recycling!” The tiny birds are made from strips of cans, bags, wrappers, bottles — twists and triangles and strips looped together. Critters on a string. He is proud. Shelly commends him, like he’s a third grader bringing home a school project. “That was a nice project idea you had, honey. It looks wonderful.”
But Julio is already on to something else, sitting awkwardly (yet perfectly balanced) in the rowboat that is half-filled with water. He’s trying to untie it from the dock, but he’s sitting in it and can’t reach over the side. There is all kinds of stray items in the boat, cast offs — I thought earlier how it was an eyesore and that it should be removed, but here he was untangling it and rowing over behind our boat. I ask him if he needs help.
“You can use this whenever you like,” he says. “It’s a group boat.” He’s unraveled from the lines now, pushing off the dock into the water, skirting our boat. “I lost the windmill,” he tells me with a smile. I picture it in my head. Windsock. He means windsock. The seven foot long yellow seahorse has blown off the bamboo pole on the second floor balcony and it floats halfway across the marina. He rows out and fishes it from the water with one oar.
Now it’s dark and Delia is done watching the water pour from the faucet. She’s curled up on my left leg, pushing her chew button into the side of the monitor. She hits me with her paw when I stop petting her. The smoky green tea incense floats in on the freshwater breeze. It smells very clean and airy here.
I am at peace. I’d forgotten what that feels like.

Freakin Zen, Ya Know?

I don’t have anything earth shattering to relate but I was getting sick of seeing December on this site so I figured it was time to update. Happy New Year! I hope everyone survived the holidays in good form. I had a splendid vacation in Tucson at my sister’s desert villa, where I spent endless hours on a chair in the sun reading. I finished Dharma Punx by Noah Levine in a day and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Zen or has gone through recovery, or knows someone who has.
I also read Full Catastrophe Living by John Kabat-Zinn, another “must read”. That book lead me to order Kabat-Zinn’s guided meditation CDs. It’s funny because I read this whole book written by him, and have read many articles as well, and it’s all about being present and living in the now and very Eastern and of course very Zen. So when I put on the CD, recorded in his voice, I started cracking up because he’s got a hard-core Brooklyn accent. I did one of the meditations last night called the Body Scan, but I think there was more to it because I proceeded to sleep for 12 hours straight. I’m calm, okay. I had to check my pulse.
I am quite certain I have African Sleeping Sickness or Mononucleosis or some exotic disease causing major fatigue. I can’t seem to get enough sleep. At this point, I’m oversleeping, which isn’t making me feel any better.
I went to the Seattle Animal Shelter foster care orientation on Saturday, and the PAWS foster care orientation on Sunday. Now that we have a big bathroom/laundry room and an extra room, we may foster some kittens. There’s all these kittens that are about 6 weeks old that aren’t big enough to be spayed or neutered, so they need a home to get loved and fattened up for a couple of weeks. The shelters are just insanely overflowing during the spring and summer months. Right now they are also overflowing with cats who have colds that need a home to recover in so they can be adopted. Upper respiratory infections runs rampant in the shelter and the poor kitkats don’t heal so well in a steel cage all alone.
When I see millionaires talking about how much their car cost, or celebrities blowing obscene dollars on stupid things like 12 million dollar earrings, my first thought is always, “You know how many animals I could save with that money?” One pair of Paris Hilton’s earrings and I could open a huge state-of-the-art shelter and save hundreds of thousands of critters. Maybe some day. Do you know that PAWS operates this huge national program and shelter and wildlife center, and they do it on about $350,000 a year? Including salaries?
Oh crap I have a meeting to go to. I hope you all are having a splendid start to 2007. I will post my photos from Arizona very soon. There are a few sparkly ones I’m quite proud of. More to follow.

A Rare Photo of the Secretive Nevacat

delia.jpg

Nevadelia Lotus Blossom never holds still for photos. She is impossible to take a picture of. While Jasper will provide you with hours of calendar-perfect photo ops, the Nevacat insists on head-butting the camera, rolling on her back and licking her paws, and in general making an affectionate nuisance of herself. I caught her mid-air in this shot, leaping up the scratching post to the Pagoda. I gotta frame it. Even if the little lynx-tufts of fur on her ears got cut off.