Thursday, January 26, 2023


January has been more positive than the fall, so the new year is off to a decent start. I got a fancy dress to wear to our first ever burlesque show to start the year off. It has pockets!! Seattle is so casual generally that I may never have an opportunity to wear this again, but it was fun to dress up for a night.

People who attend this artist's shows go all out in their dress, though there were a few people who kept to the typical Seattle dress code. It was an awesome experience, great energy from the audience and incredibly impressive line up of artists.

G completed the youth strength training series at our gym, so now he feels comfortable in the weight room and is allowed to use it on his own - much needed to build strength for pole vault which he is trying out in track this year.

I went on a closet purge, removing all the items I've been holding onto but am finally trying to accept will never fit me again. Some were hard to give away, but I had fun reminiscing over the shopping adventure to get this top for my Debussy performance my senior year of college. My sister went with me (I still need her help picking out my clothes). It was a fun but exhausting day because trying to find something to wear that evokes Debussy is not easy. Made even harder by ridiculous modesty rules. But this worked well in the end - and became a thing that I've never worn again because what else would I wear it for?? It was too fancy for anything else in my life back then. It's felt good to clear out some space.

This is a bittersweet, if somewhat silly, one - a patient is moving away and they handed me this crumpled up bit of sticker paper at our last visit - they were so excited about giving it to me. One of the great things about working outpatient is that you get to develop deep relationships with your patients, share in the ups and downs and celebrations of progress. But it's a double-edged sword because sometimes you have to say goodbye.

Ryan and I went to another play, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and it had this gorgeous set:

Also, that is a person in the casket on stage. They were in there before the doors opened, which means they had to lay there perfectly still for at least half an hour before the show started. I know my nose would start to itch as soon as the doors opened if it were me, so we were very impressed by this feat. Excellent play which is based on a novel. I haven't read the novel, but think I'll pick it up based on this performance.

I finished Still Life, which was recommended by my sister (who, in addition to advising me on clothes, also has stellar book recommendations - which makes sense given that is literally her job).

This is the second book I've finished this year (the other was one of the Heartstopper graphic novels), which means I'm already closing in on the number of books I finished in 2022, haha. Time for reading has not been plentiful in recent years, but I'm trying to change that. Anyway. I don't really know how to describe the book, but it was much-needed in my life. It contains passages such as:
They go together. It's what we've always done. Left a mark on a cave, or on a page. Showing who we are, sharing our view of the world, the life we're made to bear. Our turmoil is revealed in those painted faces -- sometimes tenderly, sometimes grotesquely, but art becomes a mirror. All the symbolism and the paradox, ours to interpret. That's how it becomes part of us. And as counterpoint to our suffering, we have beauty. We like beauty, don't we? Something good on the eye cheers us. Does something to us on a cellular level, makes us feel alive and enriched. Beautiful art opens our eyes to the beauty of the world, Ulysses. It repositions our sight and judgment. Captures forever that which is fleeting. A meager stain in the corridors of history, that's all we are. A little mark of scuff. One hundred and fifty years ago Napoleon breathed the same air as we do now. The battalion of time marches on. Art versus humanity is not the question, Ulysses. One doesn't exist without the other. Art is the antidote. Is that enough to make it important? Well yes, I think it is.

But also:
When I call it a day, I'm going to be in my Land Rover with Poppy by my side and I'm going to drive straight off a cliff.
Poppy know about this?
Not yet, said Des.
Best tell her.
Maybe you're right.
If I had to try to sum it up, I guess I'd say it's about chosen family and lives lived and the million tiny, beautiful moments in those lives.

Finally, I've discovered that puzzles are similar to quilting fabric for me. If I'm around them I can't help wanting to buy some. We went to the toy store while the cleaners were at the house and found these. This first one was so apt for Seattle and made us all laugh, but we opted not to get it.

Because we were more interested in these two as far as actual puzzling goes. I don't think we'll make these anytime soon, but I really just couldn't help myself.

And that brings January (almost) to a close!

Monday, January 2, 2023


We've been excited for the holiday season at the office since Halloween ended. We decorate our small area of the office year round, but the level of decor has been steadily increasing through the year. My coworkers also noticed I had yet to bring in family photos near my desk, so I walked in one morning to find some excellent photos of them up above my desk, titled "BC Gang Family Photos" - Ryan was so happy to hear I finally have a family, lol. (For the record, this did prompt me to bring in pictures of Ryan and the kids, but I'm definitely keeping the BC Gang photos as well.)

The genetic counselor pod was also highly decorated, with a cardboard fireplace, stocking, lights, etc. It's been delightfully festive.

We got our Christmas grapefruit a week or so before Christmas and have been enjoying it as usual.

Then we got more snow! We've now had two snowstorms and that's two too many. There eventually was enough that I actually had to shovel and then it was supposed to get really cold, so had to put salt down as well.

As things froze, we had our usual circus of folks getting stuck at our corner. This car actually ran into the neighbor's fence and required a tow truck to get unstuck. Minutes after the tow truck took this car away, another car came along and almost hit the fence as well. 

And none of that was the worst of it yet - the next morning we got freezing rain. You can find all the videos of cars, bowls, people, and pets sliding all over the roads and sidewalks on tiktok, youtube, or whatever your preferred platform is. I became the designated person to take out the trash/compost/recycling given I have yaktrax - they work really well, by the way! Thankfully fewer people attempted to drive on the roads after that, but there were still some, none of whom fared all that well.

Of course, all of that put a serious damper on holiday shopping and shipping. We still managed to get almost everything in time because on Christmas Eve we warmed up from the teens/twenties to the 50s and switched to regular rain, which cleaned up the roads and sidewalks beautifully. 

I got to baking. I actually did some prior to having days off because we had a cookie exchange at work. I always have to make Magic in the Middles as these have been designated the official BCG cookie, but also wanted to make cranberry macadamia bars. However, couldn't find the recipe anywhere - thankfully my sister had it and texted it to me. I had several recipe cards I was missing and realized I must've put them somewhere odd the previous Christmas. 

The next week, I discovered they'd all been used as bookmarks in our cocktail book the previous year! Glad they aren't permanently lost at least!

I do highly recommend the cranberry macadamia bars. We made those, magic in the middles, and gingersnaps - it's probably been a decade since we made gingersnaps and I'd forgotten how much I like them. Ryan made toffee. 

For Christmas Eve dinner Ryan made beef and broccoli stirfry and we had bok choy and Korean lettuce salad as sides. As usual, the George C. Scott version of Christmas Carol preceded bedtime.

Christmas was pretty simple and small this year. M got books and games and rock stuff - a rock tumbler, identification book, etc. G got a chess board, video games, and books. It was a lovely relaxing day. The next day I got started on one of our two new puzzles this year and completed it a few days later. 

New Year's Even I started on our second puzzle and got the frame done before it was time to focus on our evening prep. We also got to see the progress of M's first batch of rocks going through the rock tumbler as they'd completed their first stage.

Rinsing off the grit - you don't want to do this at the sink as it can damage plumbing

Rough edges smooth and ready for stage 2 of tumbling

I've struggled to find dried currants at our grocery store for the past year plus and finally remembered to check on Amazon, so was able to prep some - soaking with brown sugar, tea, and orange zest overnight - to make bara brith.

We watched the second Thin Man movie with my sister's family - the last good one since after that they try to go sober and the characters aren't nearly as funny when they're not drunk it turns out. So we'll have to come up with something else for next year's movie. Maybe Auntie Mame. Or How to Steal a Million ("Leland Davis. Or was it Davis Leland?"). We've got a whole long list of Golden Age movies to share with our kids and spouses, so I'm not worried.

New Year's Day included more work on puzzle 2. M helped with some of the mushroom caps.

And I made the bara brith! The first time I made this I followed a suggestion in one of the recipes to use raisins and currants - that batch really solidified that I just don't like raisins in baked goods or in anything generally. So now I use just currants. The fruit/orange/tea flavor can be a bit of an acquired taste, it's grown on me and now I love it.

We all had one last day off after New Year's. I got the ornaments off the tree and worked on the puzzle more. G joined in for the very last bits, where I was just working on the pieces with tiny hints of mushroom and the background with no mushroom at all - the hardest parts of the puzzle. All done - just in time to go back to work and school!