The Good Season

As time passes, we find ourselves moving through seasons. Season with weather, seasons with the garden, and with family and friends. When we decided to move from the mainland out to Vashon Island friends and family were one of the hardest aspects of the change. We knew that there would be some relationships that would continue to grow even with a ferry separating us, but others we knew would fade and disappear. It was hard to predict which would be which, but we knew that they would not all last.

It has been a challenge these nearly three years to not have a community on the island. Now, we do have a great community that we feel a part of, but we did not have OUR tribe. Our little collection of friends that would stop by for dinner or just call on a whim. It has been lonely. I get a good dose of my girlfriends because we make a point to meet for lunch or coffee in the city during our working lives, but home was just me and Matt. Thank goodness we like that! But something was still missing.

This spring has been the start of a new season though. All of a sudden we are in the middle of three couples, making plans, hanging out, cooking, sharing and inspiring each other. All of us are young, no kids, passionate about the island, growing things and being real. It is so refreshing. No competition, no negativity, just honest to goodness enjoyment of life. Best part? We are all only 10 minutes apart at the most. Perk of island life!

On Saturday evening Dennis and Ali came over for a BBQ and backyard fire. We gave them bean seeds and they brought us soil. Matt and Dennis made plans to play Magic. Ali and I talked about living out of boxes. Sunday morning Justin and Hannah stopped by just to see how our projects were going, and invited us to the beach. We spent an hour laying in the sun, chatting about plants and gardens and went for a quick swim.

It feels so good. SO GOOD. This feeling of finding our tribe has been a long time coming.

We are riding this wave. It gives us more energy to work on the house and garden, both of which are coming along well. Hardwood floors are wrapping up. Next is finishing the cove ceiling. Then building cabinets and a tile entry mat. The garden is growing. 50+ tomatoes starts from seed, cabbage, kale, chard, beans, potatoes, flowers and a collection of new fruit trees are all starting to show signs of life. I am selling seaglass mobiles like crazy leading up to Mother’s Day.

Lots and lots of abundance, we are feeling so thankful.

Madison: Mid-Winter

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, WI waiting for an email chain to close up for work. There is a fresh layer of snow and the sun is shining gloriously. Oh, yea, and it is 1 degree out there. Brr! Good thing I found a great latte.

This thin skinned Washington girl got quite the shock with the temperature drop when landing here last night. It was 55 or so when I left Seattle yesterday mid-morning, and things are blooming everywhere in an early Spring. Madison is still in the dead of winter. And it is a treat!

What prompted a mid-winter trip in freezing temps? My best girlfriend Jenny! We were LONG overdue for a reunion and decided to just make it happen. Today we are both working, but tomorrow starts a long weekend of catching up, cooking, eating out, adventuring and more catching up. Jenny and I lived together for two years in college and have already seamlessly fallen back into routine. We have the exact same bath towels, the same basket for our hair dryers, and keep comparing notes on how similar our husband’s quirks are. I sure have missed this girl!

Feeling Very French: Friends and Croissants

A few weeks back I met up with a dear friend for lunch. We selected delectable sandwiches from a local shop in Pioneer Square, and shared conversations about travel, adventures, husbands, jobs, future babies, and of course, food. Cassie and I are friends from college but we were not really friend then. Simply acquaintances as she was the roommate of my good friends’ cousin. However her fiery curls, feisty personality and zest for life told me that we needed to be friends. Luckily we both ended up in Seattle and now share lunch dates about once a month. We have a ball. I am also secretly (or not so secretly) recruiting them to move to Vashon.

Anyway, our lunchtime conversation turned to food and the topic was goodies at Trader Joes. “Have you tried the frozen bake-at-home croissants?” I was asked. Nope. Next time I went I picked up a box. Last Friday, before bed, I set them out on a silpat covered baking sheet to proof and dreamed of golden flakey goodness.

Saturday morning did not disappoint. The chocolate croissants had puffed up and baked to a crispy golden brown. With fresh ground lattes and warm-from-the-oven croissants Matt and I felt very French. I texted Cassie with the rave review. Go figure, she and her hubby had eaten them the day before. And kept their heat on at night just to make sure they would rise. They are that good.

Thank you, Cassie, for the epic suggestion for our weekend breakfast adventure. I do admit that I picked up another box, and forayed into a box of almond filled ones as well. The taste test comes tomorrow as we kick off another island weekend.

PDX: Channel Your Inner Hipster

Hipster I am not. I would venture to say that hippie is more my style, but even that does not quite fit. Vashonite does. Again, hipster: not so much…and this week it was obvious! I spent two day in Portland for work and boy did I feel like I stuck out! I spent a meal texting my best friend in Madison, WI, about the awkwardness and we at least decided that my bangs were an asset.

Oh Portland, what a wonderful city. Friendly people, amazing food, great cocktails, awesome public transportation and yep, a great close flight from Seattle.

On Tuesday I visited with good friends from my masters program at BGI, going out for good food and good drinks. I learned that house punch of the day is a major “thing” at least in the places we went. Served in course in vintage pressed glass cups. I am pleased to report that pickleback is also now part of my vocabulary.

Wednesday I was at work events all day, with a few hours in the afternoon to find my hotel, grab dinner and pop into a few neat shops downtown. I texted my friend Alana for a dinner suggestion and found myself at what felt like the ultimate “Portland” place: Clyde Common. Communal tables, an esoterically vague and intriguing menu (thanks for the description inspiration Jenny!) and a very ironically hipster wait staff. Thank goodness I felt cool with my new bright orange clutch and bangs. Only JUST cool enough to pull off a solo dinner though.

Dinner was amazing: a happy hour green salad with a super good dressing alongside a lemon/ginger/honey cocktail. Super summery…great for the 90+degree day. I was seduced by many things on the menu, but ultimately went with a plate of pickled beef lips with marrow cream and cucumbers and a plate of raw cow milk cheese with honey, rhubarb compote and beet bread. And why not apricot upsidown cake for dessert? It was such a good meal. I just wish I could have shared it with someone else!

After such a long, hot day I feel quickly asleep in my airconditioned hotel room. Sweet talking the desk clerk got me a great room on the 21st floor of the Hilton with a stunning view of the West Hills. But I did not sleep too well. I never do without Matt.

Two days was enough and it was time to go home. Thrusday was a MAX ride to the airport followed by the short flight back to Seattle.

It was 20 degrees cooler and much more comfortable when we landed! I worked for the afternoon and then met Matt in Georgetown for a great dinner date (thank you Travelzoo coupon deal!) at Via Tribunali. Then a quick zip in a car2go back to West Seattle in time to catch the ferry home. HOME! Ah, nothing beats it.

This weekend is the Strawberry Festival on Vashon and we are not leaving the island. Not that we would want to with all the fun stuff happening…but if we tried it is a nightmare ferry line. We plan to go the parade, eat street food, shop for some local art and prepare for our summer BBQ next weekend. Busy weekend ahead!

Weekend Adventures

Three days of adventures. Summer is in full Swing. It is hot. Our garden needs lots of water. 

Friday night: waterfront Vashon dinner with friends from work

Saturday: new tires, Costco date, housewarming BBQ with friends

Sunday: girls day with Lana hiking Rattlesnake Ledge, island Meat & Noodle supper club dinner

Monday: breakfast date to Sporty’s, deck painting, kitchen reorganization, hanging a salvaged porch swing, laundry, and leftover hot dogs for dinner on the deck

 Awesome

Texas Solstice

Once graduation passed (more on that in a coming post!) the only graduate school related thing I had left was a final trip to Houston. I took advantage of the ticket and extended my trip for a long weekend in Austin with my good friend Kelly!

Hot, humid and ugly were the only things I associated with Texas, so I also took advantage of my time by seeking out some prettier parts of Houston. I explored an old estate/museum called Bayou Bend in a beautiful old part of the city. I would have loved to wander more around the 14 acres of gardens but it was just too darn hot.

After a few nights in a super air-conditioned hotel (my throat hated it) and room service, I was ready to see some friends and be in a real house again. I stayed with some old family friends just outside of Houston for a night, and then trekked on to Austin. Mandatory rest stop: mint oreo blizzard at DQ.

Two days in Austin with Kelly was awesome! Austin was much more my style and speed, and we had a ball being friends outside of school! On Friday night we trekked down to San Antonio for another classmate’s graduation party (perfect timing!) and got to see a bit more of the state. If you have never been to a Buck-ee’s you are missing out on a Texas experience.

 MBA friends reunited in TEXAS!!

Buc-ee’s – epic truck stop

It was so fun to see a new place. Kelly and her husband recently bought a project house so we enjoyed talking about renovation ideas. And cruising cool little shops to find treasures. Trying on vintage dresses. Chasing her two cute kiddos. And eating well. And drinking way more than I usually do. I am not typically an afternoon drinker…like ever actually…but this trip stretched that experience. We spent Saturday exploring the Congress district and cooling off at a neat outdoor bar. Well, it caught up with me later when I had a middle-of-the-night hangover. Oh well, we had a ball!

Sunday we went out to breakfast, found the same orange van we saw the day before (and had to take another photo) and then prepared some salads for a World Cup party. I went to the party for 30 minutes and stared dreamily at their huge pool (it was still hot in case that was not obvious) but stayed dry and headed to the airport.

A speedy and sweet taxi driver got me to the ferry in record time and just made the ferry. Perfect timing! I was welcomed home with a stunning sunset and a husband who was very happy to see me. It is so good to be home!

Happy Things

It was another full weekend full of happy things.

  • Costco and pho date night on Friday
  • Lazy Saturday morning
  • Garage sale – with a great 1920s oak antique cabinet find for $100 (and he delivered it!) isn’t it beautiful?

  • Farmers market
  • Finding ground buffalo on sale
  • Making FBI approved red sauce with legit San Marzanos in Matt’s Grandma’s old Le Cruset
  • My high school prom date’s wedding…and catching up with great friends from those days
  • Seeing a sweet friend’s baby bump!
  • Dressing up and commuting by bus and ferry
  • Another sale: tile saw for $5! And some free silverware and an glass oil lamp
  • Getting two rooms prepped for drywall repair and new paint

  • First plantings in the garden: strawberries, spinach, chard, beets and carrots

  • Sleeping with the kitties
  • Visiting Grandpo for dinner…there are not many more of these left

It was a fabulous weekend. Crazy weather! We saw the brightest rainbow of my life on Sunday! Now here is to a great week full of drywall repair, a crazy messed up house, and sunshine!