Wednesday, November 24, 2010

snow-motion rules the day

I lifted this headline from this morning's edition of The Seattle Times...because it's so true!  Life slows down quite a bit here with any snow, as explained in this article.  Several inches fell Monday, and temperatures have been so cold (low 20's) that it hasn't melted yet, which is quite unusual for us.  My school had an early release on Monday, and then no school yesterday or today due to the slick, icy, snow-covered road conditions, since just about everyone lives on or near a hill around here.

Monday night I decided to stop my commute in Kirkland rather than drive to my apartment in Seattle, and it's a good thing I did, because it took some people 4-10 hours to get home Monday.  My dad left his office at 5:30pm and didn't get home til nearly 10:30.  His bus was stuck in the middle of 520, the floating bridge crossing Lake Washington, because another bus was blocking the upper part of the bridge with barely enough room to let cars pass.  So he got off his bus, walked to the next exit, and hung out in a gas station while I drove through Bellevue to pick him up.  The streets were empty of cars, but full of snow, and as long as I kept moving I was fine.

Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, although very cold.  Mike was out sledding with friends, so Mom and Dad and I walked down to our local Starbucks to use our "free birthday drink" certificates since our birthdays are all so close.  We could choose any drink, so my mom got a venti for the very first time.

Since it was so cold, I decided to break out my big blue down jacket from Chicago for our walk.

It has quite the hood.

When we walked by our local grocery store, Metropolitan Market, their outside display of "winter squash" was living up to its name.

And we felt sorry for these succulents that were a little out of their element.

This snow storm takes us right up to Thanksgiving break tomorrow and Friday!  We are having dinner just the 5 of us, and rather than cooking, my mom has ordered up our meal from Metropolitan Market.  She was originally thinking of us going to a restaurant, but getting it from this gourmet grocery store means we can have leftovers :)

A blessed Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

studio for rent

I am very excited to announce that I found a studio to rent in Seattle!  It's in an old brick apartment building on a tree-lined street, part of the north Capitol Hill neighborhood (just south of the University of Washington).  The building is on a quiet street next to a couple of parks and close to the 520 freeway, which is the one I use to commute to work.

The studio is definitely on the small side, since it doesn't have a separate bedroom area like a 1-bedroom apartment would.  But I don't mind because I'm just happy to have my own space!  The lease is for 9 months and I have the option of moving to another perhaps bigger apartment in the building if one opens up.

In my studio, there is a good-sized bathroom with a clawfoot tub and shower.  The kitchen has a big window, built-in shelving, and a gas stove, which is something I miss from Chicago.  There are three big windows that face north and a large closet.  It is full of character, with hardwood floors and molding.

I'm going back over to sign the lease this week, which I imagine will start Nov. 1--a great day for it since that's my birthday!  I don't know exactly when I'll be moving in, but I'll keep you posted and hopefully get some pictures of it up too.

Last weekend, I made a trip to Goodwill to look for my Halloween costume (which I did find...we get to dress up at school, and the kids have a theme this year of "who's your hero," so I picked Jane Goodall.  I settled on a pair of linen pants and a linen button-up shirt, both khaki colored, for a kind of jungle theme, along with a monkey stuffed animal or two from our collection.  I'd still like to find a safari-type hat to complete the outfit.)

But back to my Goodwill trip, which was wildly successful.  Every time I shop at Goodwill, I think "I should do this more often!"  I found a pair of pants for work, two blouses, a long coat, two nesting Pyrex casserole dishes, two other smaller dishes, a couple of glass bowls for the kittens' water dishes, a plastic Star Wars plate for Mike, and an old-fashioned school desk.  Plus I had a 20% off coupon, so I really got a steal of a deal on all that!

The desk is what I am really excited about.  It has metal legs, a pinewood top, and two cubbies underneath, like two students used to sit side-by-side.  When I first saw it, I thought, "well it just needs a little sanding and a new coat of varnish."  It has actually turned into a little bit more of a project than that!  I power-sanded the top, then realized some of the boards were loose.  So dad removed them (and in the process dismantled the rest of the desk) so that he could then use pegs and glue to put them back together more securely.  Today I put three coats of sealer on the top and washed and sanded the metal legs.  I still have to spray paint those, then my dad will put it all back together.  The finished product will be just the right size for my studio, so the labor of love is worth it!  This photo shows the table top getting clamped and the legs and cubby part over to the right.

In other news, the kittens continue to grow bigger.  They occasionally scratch us and constantly entertain us.  My dad built a "cat tree" from scrap wood and scrap carpet, complete with scratching areas and a rope dangling a toy.  They absolutely love it.  Both are lap cats (Silas is on mine right now) and like to curl up with us when we watch our shows or read or sit at the computer.

We have been having gorgeous fall weather, cool but clear and sunny.  Yesterday I met up with a friend from PLU who still lives in Tacoma but who I don't get to see that often.  We went shopping downtown, walked through Pike Place Market, and tried new flavors of piroshkies (delicious little Russian snacks, basically dough with different fillings--I had a potato, onion, and mushroom).  Then I went with my friend Alana to her parents' house on Camano Island for dinner.  Her parents just got back from a trip to Italy where her mom had taken a cooking class, so she homemade us the ravioli recipe she learned in Tuscany.

This upcoming week I am housesitting for a family from school who lives out in Duvall, which is a cute little town east of Redmond.  They have a sweet golden retriever hunting dog who is super well-behaved.  Then next weekend when Holly is home, I hope to do a little shopping for my new studio!

ps, my mom wants me to post a picture of Michael and his friend Jordan from their Homecoming dance last night.  Mike rented his tux, they ate at The Rainforest Cafe, and it sounds like they had a great time with their group:

Monday, September 6, 2010

a wedding and two kittens

First with the big news...we adopted two kittens over the weekend!  An article ran in our Kirkland Reporter newspaper on Friday on our local cat shelter having an over abundance of kittens brought in, complete with a front page photo of an adorable kitten.  So the next thing I know, we're walking down to the shelter (quite close to our house, just a few blocks) to "look" at the cats there.  Sure enough, the place is overflowing with cats, in cages and two "free-range" rooms (if they can get along with others).  Although I must say, the Meow Shelter is very well organized, very clean, all the cats have a bed and a litter box, and they have a good policy that when kittens are brought in, first they get fostered to get "socialized" before they are put up for adoption.  We briefly considered fostering, but then you know there's that giving-the-kittens-back part that sounded kind of hard.  If adopting kittens, they require you adopt two, so we settled on a brother and a sister who are full of personality:

Silas the brother is the gray one and Zoe the sister is the black one.  They love playing and wrestling together, and sleeping together too.  They're both lap cats...Silas was sitting on my lap while I was working on my computer, and then he decided to stretch out:

They are just so tiny and so stinkin' cute!  Easy to pick up with one hand too, and both of them don't mind being held.

Also this weekend, I went to the Mariners' game with my friend Alana.  They aren't doing too well this season, but we love going to games plus it was fleece-blanket giveaway night!  Here's us visiting the Moose (by the way, one of my co-workers is the Mariner Moose's girlfriend :)

On Sunday we took a hike near Mt. Rainier to Mowich Lake.  It started off well for all of us, but then I got stung by a bee on my leg.  That hasn't happened in forever!  I'm kind of sensitive to bug bites, so it swelled up and hurt pretty bad, so my mom and I turned back to go to the first aid kit in the car while Dad, Mike, Holly, and Dustin went on.  When we met up again later, both Holly and Mike had gotten stung too!  Not quite sure why bees were out since it was fairly cold and rainy, but what luck for all three of us.  Here's me crossing a creek with my bee sting:

So two weekends ago I went to the wedding of my friends Kara and Brandon.  I met them through Lutheran Volunteer Corps, and now they live in Seattle.  They got married on Kara's family farm in Carnation, a small town about a half hour east of us, out in the countryside by the Snoqualmie River.

They had the ceremony under a large oak tree (which provided shade!), with all the colorful flowers from a neighboring flower farm.  They put them in old-fashioned mason jars:

After the ceremony, we each carried our folding chair over to the tables under the big tent.  While the wedding party took pictures, we could walk around the farm, drink lavender lemonade and sun tea, or pick blackberries from the bushes growing along the perimeter.  My friend Juliana (whom I also met in Chicago from Lutheran Volunteer Corps) flew out from Washington, DC to stay with me.  Here we are with our bounty:

Putting on the wedding was a community affair, with many of the bride and groom's family and friends contributing everything from food to decorations to painting signs to giving a hay ride shuttle from the parking lot at a neighboring farm:

For my part, I made two pies and a watermelon-pineapple-mint salad.  They had barbecued chicken, rolls from a local bakery, and then six kinds of salads that folks made.  Holly created the signs for each salad with her graphic design skills, placed in frames found at Goodwill:

Instead of wedding cake, they had wedding pie!  I was the pie coordinator, and about a dozen people made two pies each.  The variety was amazing and hard to choose from:

The two kinds I made were Shoofly, which is a brown sugar-molasses combo (on right), and Apricot Amaretto, which is apricots with almond flavoring (on left):

After the food and toasts and such, a bluegrass band played while a caller led us all in square dancing.

That was my first time square dancing, and I loved it!  It was a lot of fun to switch up partners and learn new dance sequences.  And the band was a hoot.  Here's the bride and groom and others dancing...sorry it's a little blurry, but it's dusk and I didn't use my flash:

That night Juliana and I camped with a couple of other friends at a nearby campground.  The next morning a small group of us went back to the farm to help clean up.  We brought all the flowers to the front porch of the barn for a photo (the bride and groom are at the top of the stairs):

What a wonderful weekend, and I was so glad to be part of it all!  Summer feels like it has ended because this past week, the students came back to Bear Creek.  I went back to my regular school year schedule of 7:45am to 4:15pm, and man oh man was it a busy week!  There was a packet of forms due in early August (emergency releases, sports forms, etc), which a lot of parents decided to bring the first day of school instead.  The next day, a bouquet of flowers showed up at the front desk, and when I looked at the tag, they were for me!  What a fun surprise from my supervisor, and she even included my favorite flowers, hydrangeas.  The nurse gave me an orchid too, for helping her over the summer with many things, and I've always wanted one of those.

Here are two last photos, from when I took a day off work to hang out around Seattle with my visiting friend Juliana.  We rode a ferry to Bainbridge Island and walked around Pike Place Market:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

spring + summer

Hello!  Sorry it has been so long since I have written something.  I guess that having a full time job will do that to a person :)  I have also been continuing to create, edit, and publish our monthly church newsletter, so I always have a bit of crunch time around the end of the month.  In the spring I finished up teaching Sunday School, which I will probably be doing again this fall because I enjoy it so much.  The summer has found me traveling quite a bit and having various weekend adventures.  See photos below for more of what's been going on these last few months!

Mylee cat comes to visit her "other family" quite often.  She entertains us with all her antics, including this sink shot:

My friend Emily from Lutheran Volunteer Corps (she was my buddy at Holy Family Lutheran School) came to visit those of us in Seattle in June before she left for Mali, Africa and two years in the Peace Corps.  We had really nice weather for her visit and walked all around the city doing things:

My good friend Alana from PLU moved into an apartment in Wallingford, a fun neighborhood in Seattle.  She has bought nearly all of her furnishings off Craigslist, including this table and stools I helped her pick up and haul in our Jetta wagon:

Next came not one but TWO trips to California!  Photo 1: one of many bbq's/meals outside at Papa and Grannan's house; Photos 2 & 3: visiting Grammie & Uncle John at the beach; Photo 4: checking out model trains at Granal & Granden's house.

At the end of July, Mom and I rode the Amtrak from Seattle to Portland to pick up Dad from his Seattle to Portland bike ride.  Holly had the car down there already, so she picked us up at the train station, which is where this photo is taken:

My friends Brandon and Kara from Lutheran Volunteer Corps are getting married this weekend at Kara's parents' farm in Carnation, a town about a half hour east of us out in the countryside.  A couple weeks ago they invited people to come out to the farm to make signs and otherwise help get things ready for their wedding.  I painted three signs, one of which I'm holding.  Here's the group:

Two weekends ago, Alana and I took a road trip across the state to Spokane, where I went to a PLU friend's wedding.  Afterwards we walked around Coeur d'Alene, the first time I've ever been to Idaho:

This past weekend set a few heat records for the Seattle area.  Mike was camping in Eastern Washington with friends and Mom and Dad were in Vancouver, BC, so Holly and I were home alone braving the hot weather.  Our fancy thermometer shows the temperature outside on top, and the temp inside below that:

Well that's a visual version of what I've been up to :)  With the fresh start of a new school year right around the corner, I plan to update this blog more!  ~Heather

Sunday, March 21, 2010

week one

Yesterday I went for a ride with my dad in the Miata with the top down.  He pulled me away from doing taxes (both federal and state of Illinois) with the lure of the open road and sunshine.  We've been having some gorgeous spring weather, and with the clear day we could see the mountain ranges on both sides while driving north to Marysville on all the back roads. We came south along the Snoqualmie River and went over Redmond Ridge right by my new school, so I was able to take the picture you see above.  That's really only a very small piece of the school--it stretches farther to the right and makes an L shape, and it's two levels in some places.

The rest of my first week went very well.  My time was mainly spent shadowing the girl I'm replacing, absorbing her knowledge and taking many pages of notes on a yellow tablet.  We went through a binder full of information she'd compiled.  One cool thing I found out I get to do is to record a special voice message on the school phone system when there is a snow day.  There probably won't be one of those til next winter though.  I had a tour of the school, which is divided into Lower (K-6), Middle (7-8), and Upper (9-12) sections, which each have their own Head and assistant.  There is a gym, two libraries, a commons area which includes the cafeteria and theater.  The spring play is Pride and Prejudice, so I am excited to see that.  A couple ladies stopped by the front desk to discuss their plans for sewing costumes.  Another mother came by and said she's working on a cookbook of recipes from school families, so I offered to help edit/proofread it, which she took me up on.  I think I have met nearly every staff member and teacher and a lot of the parents and students, but remembering them all is another matter.  Tomorrow is my first day flying solo at the front desk!

I went babysitting Saturday evening and had to take a photo of the view from this family's deck overlooking Lake Washington across to Seattle:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Bear Creek School

Yesterday I started a new full time job (with benefits!) at a school out in Redmond called The Bear Creek School.  It is an independent (new term for "private" I guess), Christian, K-12 school with over 600 students.  My position is Office Assistant, and I am taking over for a girl who is starting full-time student teaching next week.  This week she is training me, introducing me to many people, and just generally encouraging me.  So far everyone I've met has been extremely friendly and welcoming--students, parents, teachers, and staff.  The pre-K teacher even brought me a latte yesterday!

Some of the things I've learned I will be doing: greeting people at the front desk, keeping track of events and the scheduling calendar, taking money and other odds & ends from students/parents, ordering supplies for the offices & teachers, and helping whoever with whatever.  A lot of it sounds quite similar to what I did in Chicago at Holy Family Lutheran School, which is why this job appealed to me!  It is wonderful to be back in a school.

The story of how I found this job is a good one; however I will have to save it for another day.  One thing I have to get used to is waking up in order to leave the house at 7:25am and get to school by 7:45am!  Definitely a different lifestyle than what I've been enjoying these last few months while working at church.  That reminds me, I will continue to produce the monthly newsletter at church, and I am quite happy to still be involved there as well as still have a hand in something writing/editing/creative.  I will also continue to babysit as that is something else I love to do!

ps, I will try to remember to take a photo at school tomorrow to post here later.


I am taking a page from my lovely sister and keeping a blog that I will update more frequently than my travelogue.  I will still keep that one (go here to visit) over at travelpod, but have decided that since I am no longer in perpetual "travel mode" that I would like to have a regular blog as well.  Traveling will always be a part of my life, but there are other parts of my life I would like to share as new job (more on that later), books I'm reading, places I'm going, etc.

In case you're wondering about calling the blog La Tarte Tatin...well, "C'est la Vie" was already taken! :)  La Tarte Tatin is a French dessert--an upside apple cake (think pineapple upside down cake, but with apples, and round).  I like "La Tarte Tatin" for a variety of's in French, it's one of my favorite recipes I learned while in Cannes, it's a dessert.  I mean, what's not to like?  Also apples are Washington's largest crop and one of my favorite fruits.  Sometime I will make a La Tarte Tatin and take a picture for this blog, but probably not til after I help Holly with all of her recipes for her design project.  The story behind the dessert La Tarte Tatin is an intriguing one, and you can read more about it here.  It's not exactly a looker of a dessert, but that's one of its appealing qualities to me.