Archive for June, 2012

An Easy Photo Project for a New Home

Two of my favorite things about living in my old apartment in Seattle were the view (Elliott Bay and the Pike Place Market sign) and runs along the waterfront (most often, north through the Olympic Sculpture Park, Myrtle Edwards Park, and Elliott Bay Park until I reached the grain elevator and turned around).

Those two things made me feel lucky all the time. I loved watching the ferries glide by outside our window, and I loved noting where the ship at the grain elevator was from each time I ran by–Peru, Greece, Russia–and trying to imagine life on board, full of sad men and foreign sounds.

So when we realized we might move, we started taking photos of the view and of the grain elevator from roughly the same position on different days, thinking we could come up with some kind of fun project for the photos.

What I ended up doing was simple: I chose seven photos from each series, ordered 4×6 prints, and put them into simple glass “clip” frames.

I hung them in two rows in the entry way to our apartment.

To hang them evenly, I taped two threads horizontally to the wall to use as guides, which worked pretty well. I used 3M Picture Hanging Strips to hang the pictures, which also helped, because I didn’t have to worry about positioning nails perfectly (or putting a bunch of holes in the wall).

Here’s the result:

And, in context:

Simple, but I think it looks nice. Even better, it’s a nice way to bring a favorite part of our old home into our new one, and I’ve been enjoying it every time I walk by.

I’m turning into a food hoarder.

One of the things I’m adjusting to, moving to the country, is buying groceries ahead of time.

Before we moved, I bought every dinner just before we ate it. I tried to keep breakfast and lunch on hand (at least when I was working at home) but I never bought groceries for making dinner before the day I needed them. Everything was within easy walking distance, and I’d decide what to cook for dinner according to my daily whim.

Now, there’s a grocery store across the street from our new place, but the selection is limited. I need to plan ahead if I’m going to be able to make whatever I want for dinner, or face a 40-minute round trip drive to reach other stores with a bigger selection. (Or a 2-hour bike ride, probably in the rain, since we only have one car.)

I’ve been out driving around and shopping a lot — doing a lot of moving-related errands which are thankfully almost done — and so I’ve been trying to stock our pantry and refrigerator by picking up food whenever I’m near a grocery store. Snacks, in case people stop by. Cookie-baking supplies. A chicken for roasting in the near future. Ingredients to go with the chorizo I picked up in Seattle the other day.

It feels unnatural. My default position on buying stuff is to not buy it. This is obviously a good habit in some ways: it probably saves money, and it keeps us from collecting too many things and creating clutter.

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revenge

It can also be bad, or at least inefficient, like when I refuse to buy more than four rolls of toilet paper at the same time. (When I lived by myself, I bought them one at a time, so the four-pack is a concession.) This drives my husband crazy, and he responds by buying ever-larger bulk packs of toilet paper and paper towels. He outdid himself when we moved; we now own a truly outlandish stock of paper goods.

My reluctance to acquire things is also a negative in the case of elastic hairbands, which I search for beneath beds and behind couches and treasure like family heirlooms, even when they’ve lost all elasticity and are coated in spidery tangles of hair that make my husband shy away in horror. I should clearly just buy new ones, but it rarely feels necessary enough to compel action on my part.

So haphazardly buying all this food we don’t technically need at the moment I’m buying it and aren’t going to immediately consume goes against years of habit. It raises a faint warning bell in my head that  I’m turning into a food hoarder and that it won’t stop until we’re sleeping on the floor amid piles of stale rice crackers, rotting feta cheese, and aging chorizo from DeLaurenti in Seattle. It probably won’t turn out that way, but for now, it is a genuine adjustment.

Hello, Skagit Valley

I took a break from blogging for a while, and for that I apologize to all of my readers (i.e., my mom). In December and January I was really busy working and fell out of the habit, but at the moment I’ve got plenty of free time. Not to mention, my husband and I just embarked a big new adventure: a job change (his) and a move from Seattle to the Skagit Valley.

We moved to La Conner. It’s a tiny town—about 900 people—but it’s a local tourist destination with an artistic bent and (it seems) a disproportionate amount of activity for a town of its size. We live in town, so we can walk to restaurants, the library, the grocery store, and the excellent yoga studio next door.

It’s just that now, instead of 100 restaurants to choose from, there are 6. And instead of the Pike Place Market next door, there are a handful of family farm stands within walking or biking distance. In one of my first lessons on country living and local food, I was momentarily surprised when we visited the local farm stand and realized there were no vegetables for sale because they had just been planted. Living in the city, it’s easy to forget that there are things like growing seasons.

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I pass more horses on my daily run now

Our new apartment is only 67 miles away from our old apartment, and we’ve already been back to Seattle three times since we moved two weeks ago. (I’ve got two more trips planned in the next week.) So in some ways, it’s not that big a change.

In other ways, we might as well have moved 1,000 miles away. We’re far enough from Seattle that we really don’t know anyone here and we’ll have to meet new friends in the area. And though I’ve explored a lot of Washington—mostly the mountains—my only experience with this part of the state is driving through on the way to Canada or the San Juans. I’m looking forward to spending the summer getting to know the area. I’m also looking forward to cooking—with fewer restaurant options than in Seattle but local, farm-fresh food in abundance, I’ve got no choice but to step up my cooking and expand beyond the six or seven (admittedly delicious) dishes I’ve gotten into the habit of making all the time. So here’s to a summer of delicious food, new friends, and new adventures!