Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #4

Thirteen Restaurants I Love.

1. Millenium in San Francisco. Can someone please fly me to SF just so I can eat here? Luckily, I ate there a lot in 2005-2006 when I had several business trips to this city. My number one favorite restaurant. Organic, seasonal, vegan gourmet food. Oh, so good. Drool.

2. Blossoming Lotus in Portland (there is one in Kauai, Hawaii as well, but I haven't been to that one. Yet.). I'd eat here weekly if I could. Unfortunately, because it is SO good, I end up spending a lot of money and gorging on the food. Fortunately, it is very reasonably priced. I never leave without some Live Fudge and Flax Seed Crackers. Yum.

3. Sublime in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Okay, I've only had 2 meals there but they were incredible enough to leave a lasting impression on me. I'd love to go back.

4. Bay Leaf in Portland. A bit more on the spendy side but I always stuff myself with their amazing vegan food. I'd go more often if they got a liquor license!

5. Laughing Planet in Portland. They actually have several locations now. Good, relatively cheap wholesome food in an ecclectic setting.

6. Real Food Daily in West Hollywood and Santa Monica, California. I went to the one in West Hollywood many times while on business trips. I went with my cousin Barbara once and Teri Hatcher was eating there as well!

7. Hawthorne Fish and Chips in Portland. Once in a while I have a hankering for the grease, and this is the place to go. Mike declares that they have the best fish and chips he's ever had, and that's significant coming from a native Alaskan. You can choose from 8 different types of fish, and they use rice bran flour and rice oil to cook their fish and fries, so it's a nice break from all the wheat and gluten for those who need it.

8. Peanut Butter and Ellies in Portland. Honestly, the food here is okay. What is awesome is that it is very close to my house (about a mile away) and it is a place where we can eat and Jake can run around and play. Sometimes you just don't want to cook, yet going out to eat with a toddler can be challenging. This place solves both those problems.

9. Kalga Kafe in Portland. This is where I go when I am craving pizza. They make wonderful pizza with a delicious vegan cheese. So good.

10. Wildwood in Portland. They are famous for using local, seasonal, northwest oriented food. And their food is delicious. I have eaten fish there but I have also had them make me a vegan dish and the results are always wonderful.

11. Chez Jose Terwilliger in Portland. A local favorite of mine. It's close to our house, and they serve chips with 2 kinds of salsa (one mild enough for children, and my favorite) right away, so Jake is happy to start eating and doesn't get down from the high chair and run around. Good Mexican food.

12. Bear Tooth in Anchorage, Alaska. I recently got to eat there again, and yum, I forgot how good it is! They have lots of veggie and fish choices on the menu, and Mike and I had a hard time deciding what to get. We weren't disappointed.

13. Whole Foods Market. Okay, I know that this is not a restaurant, but they do have an amazing selection of ready-to-eat foods. Whole Foods has been my restaurant of choice during many business trips, a place for me to go get organic, vegan food when there is nowhere else to go that is close by or convienent. I have visited Whole Foods in Denver, Boulder, Princeton NJ, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, NYC, and Phoenix.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Green Travel

(That red spot on Jake's nose is a scratch from Kami, whom he had really been provoking... sigh.)

Musings on being green when you travel...

Prior to going to Anchorage, I read a post on the Enviromom website titled The not-so-green traveler. Traveling by air uses a great deal of fuel and resources, and our consumption of disposable materials increases. I decided to try and see how I could cut down on my waste while traveling.

We brought 2 stainless steel tall coffee cups. As soon as we went through airport security we headed for Starbucks (who doesn't?) to get coffee for Mike and hot chocolate for me. Unfortunately, the cashier refused to take our cups, and insisted that she had to use a paper cup to write down our order (a sticky note would work?). So they filled our orders in paper cups, handed them to us, and we dumped them into our own cups. At least we saved 2 lids and brown sleeves.

We brought our 20oz and sippy cup water bottles with us -- the stainless steel Klean Kanteens. They were empty as we went through security and we took the sippy up to Starbucks at the same time we were getting the hot drinks. Again, the cashier refused to take the sippy, and poured water into a plastic cup and handed it to us. Then we poured it into the sippy. What a stupid waste of a plastic cup. Next time we will use the drinking fountain or just ask the flight attendent on the plane to fill it, which is what we did on the return flight.

We definitely brought/used less plastic water bottles by having our own (3 bottles of water came complimentary with our hotel room). We also were able to have the local coffeeshop fill our own cups with coffee/hot chocolate. So some savings there.

Another thing I did was bring a few lightweight cloth bags and tuck them into my purse. Came in handy when I needed an extra bag for our hats, gloves, etc. We never ended up going to any stores, but if we had, then I would have used the bags for our purchases, instead of paper or plastic.

Any paper that was generated for our use (hotel room bill, reciepts, etc.) I packed and brought back with me to recycle at home.

If anyone has any other ideas for traveling more green, let me know!

And cute Jake happening: yesterday the two of us walked over to the window to look at the falling snow. Jake turned to me and signed "snow, beautiful". I was amazed and my heart melted.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Black is the new Green (from Aaron)

So you've noticed some changes around here, huh? My friend Aaron started a new blog, and then explained in this blog post why he chose an all-black background -- for eco reasons! I understand his computer jargon just enough to get why it saves more energy to have a black background, but not enough to explain it myself. That's why I included the link to his blog ;)

I'll work on tweaking it here and there, but for now, I hope it's not too hard to read!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snow, Castle, Dryer

When we woke up this morning the ground was covered in white. Were we back in Anchorage?? Nope, Portland, especially the West Hills, got snow. It was really pretty and was melted by about noon.
Before Jake woke up, Daddy built a castle for Jake and the anamalz.
He didn't even knock it down until about 6 hours later!!
We went and bought a new dryer today. Boring, I know, but a week without a dryer is a long time -- I have laundry piled up! My mom even let me use her dyer before I went to Alaska so the 3 of us had clothes to wear. Am looking forward to the new dryer being delivered tomorrow.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anchorage in January

The 3 of us were invited up to Anchorage to attend Mike's mother's birthday and baptism.

Jake is waiting at the Portland airport, watching planes come and go.
This plane just arrived at the gate.
Birthday dinner party. Jake is playing with his Uncle Mike's phone.
I took this picture looking out my hotel window at 9am. The moon is in the middle of the picture, to the lower left of the streetlight.
Aunt Etta, Mike, Jake, Grandma, Mama May, and family friend Doris.
View from Mike's sister's living room. Beautiful!!
Checking out a snowmachine.
Playing with Aunt Melissa. Melissa's dog, Eddy was around. Jake was fascinated by him but also very nervous as he is a very big dog, about 80 pounds!
Path out of the house and down the driveway. Mike shoveled this path after we arrived! It had snowed about 6 inches the night before.
Jake, all bundled up and walking in the snow wearing his snow boots.
We also visited with friends Aaron and Adrienne and their son Aiken, who is 2 months older than Jake.
Mike and Aiken are comfortable on the couch.
Both boys were watching the Signing Times DVD. I was fascinated, too!
Lee and Adrienne with the boys, who kept their eyes on the TV!
Mike and Aaron with the boys, again with their eyes on the TV, heh.
Mike and Aaron with their Alaskan Amber Ales.
Aiken and Jake with their bananas.
Playing and being cute.

Playing in the tunnel tube.

After Sharon's baptism.
So we arrived on a Thursday afternoon and left at 1:45am on Sunday!! Going to the airport at midnight and returning the rental car was COLD. It was about zero degrees and wow, that was cold. We practically ran from the rental car to the inside of the terminal, and our lungs ached from the cold. Jake had been asleep for just 5 minutes before we arrived, and cried all the way from the car to the terminal, either from the cold or waking up or both. The flight went well and we came home and went to bed at 7am. The trip was worth it as we had a great time! Jake particularly enjoyed playing with his Alaskan grandparents, and playtime at their house involved lots of oatmeal, pots, and brooms!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #3

Humm, not much time this time, so ...

13 things I can see on my desk

1. Small stuffed elephant. Belongs to Jake.
2. Calculator. Always comes in handy.
3. Small decorative mukluks from Alaska.
4. A screwdriver. ?
5. A bag of almonds. Good snack.
6. A wooden shaker rattle. Again, Jake's.
7. The TTY phone. Only phone in the house! (Not counting pagers).
8. My Avis Preferred Member card.
9. A postcard picture of the prince and princesses of the Swedish royal family.
10. A headlamp flashlight. Again, ?
11. Drug Guide for Nurses. Helps with my job sometimes.
12. An old cassette tape. Jake had been using it for his 'cell phone'.
13. Not one, but TWO containers of pens!

January Happenings

The past 5 days have been fun, here are a few highlights. We took (Aunt) Melissa and (Uncle) Mike to IKEA. Jake rode on Uncle Mike's shoulders into the store.

Pictures were taken. This one was especially cute.
Uncle Mike and Aunt Melissa said goodbye to Portland on Tuesday and went back to Anchorage/Girdwood.
Pots were played with.
We hung out with my mom.
Jake kissed his Grandma.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I've been Tagged!

The Rules: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours.

I got tagged by a MDC mama, Dani at her blog, ellie's madre.

So here are 7 random/weird facts about me...

1. When I was a little girl I LOVED carrots. They were my favorite food. I ate so many carrots, so often, that my nose actually turned a shade orange.

2. I collect tiny ceramic/glass /plastic ladybugs. They are love bugs. Like these.

3. My favorite type of art medium is glass and my favorite artist is Dale Chihuly. If I had millions of dollars, I could buy one of his works!!

4. When I was in my early teens I went to horse camp 4 summers in a row, for 2 weeks at a time. I learned to brush and saddle the horses, and to clean their hooves. I loved riding horses, and riding bareback was my favorite. Sadly, I have not been on a horse in years.

5. In college I was a nude model for an art class twice. It was such an interesting experience. However, I only felt comfortable doing it if my toenails were painted.

6. My parents gave me the unisex name "Lee" during the 70's when I was born. When I was in 8th grade I received a letter from the all-boys high school (Jesuit) asking me if I was interested in applying to the school. I ended up going to the all-girls high school (St. Mary's Academy) and Jesuit went co-ed my junior year!

7. Because of my cochlear implant, I cannot have an MRI. (I hope never need one.) I have an older type of cochlear implant, the Nucleus 22 (which I got in 1993!). In order to have an MRI, my entire implant would need to be surgically removed prior to the MRI. Otherwise the magnet in my head would want to exit my head and attach itself to the MRI machine. Not a pretty thought. Mike has it better -- his newer Nucleus 24 has a removable magnet, so just the magnet would be able to be removed and re-inserted before and after an MRI, and he'd be able to hear the same afterwards. I'd have to get the whole thing re-done. I'm sure I'll need an upgrade of my internal processor at some point, and I'll get one that is MRI-friendly.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

19 Months

Dear Jake,
Today you are 19 months old.
Jake: Yeah, I know that, but I'm playing a computer game right now...
Mama: You have gotten so big, you love computer games and you can even climb onto the chair and then onto the desk and then into the computer chair which has wheels on it which is why you don't climb that in the first place. (Sorry for the run-on sentence, Mom.) Today you even dragged the chair over to the gate at the top of the stairs, and nearly gave me a heart-attack, but you seemed to understand when I explained that that was not a good idea. Otherwise you are a sweetheart, and give me lots of hugs nowadays and love to cuddle and play with me.

Jake: Really? Tell me more.
Mama: One of your favorite things to do is to tell me to spin around, so I hold you and spin in circles and we both end up giggling. You always want more, immediately, but Mama gets dizzy so I only do 1 at a time. Another favorite game of yours is for me to hold the wooden "lawn mower" with the wood balls in it that make so much noise, and you have me go stand in the corner next to the garage door, and try to scare you when I come out at random times, or manage to hide somewhere else without you seeing me. You want to play this all the time. You read books every time you get into the car, and sometimes it is a struggle to buckle you up as you are reaching for books and starting to read them before I can finish. You love playing "This Little Piggy" on your toes, and Mama gets a kick out of saying "tofu" instead of "roast beef". You are ticklish on your spine, and on the sides of your lower abdomen, just like your daddy.
We love you so, so much, and still more every day. We are so glad you decided to join us and make us a family.

Jake: Do I have to give you a kiss right now?

This is Jake one year ago, January 2007. He's grown a lot of hair since then! At this time last year he was perfecting the art of sitting up, unassisted. Now he climbs onto the computer desk. :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Visit from Aunt and Uncle

On Thursday morning Mike's sister Melissa and brother-in-law Mike came to visit us. This was their first time meeting Jake! Jake immediately enjoyed their company, and has been playing with Uncle Mike since he arrived.
Aunt Melissa and Uncle Mike took Jake for a walk to the village while mama stayed home and worked. They had a great time, and even stopped by the park and went down the slide!
Sister and brother with jake.
Jake playing with Aunt Melissa.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #2

So last week I listed 13 of my green habits, and as I promised, this week's Thursday Thirteen is a list of 13 ungreen habits! Honestly, it wasn't easy to come up with this list as when I see where I can make changes, I start moving towards making those changes. Some changes, however, are much harder than others. Especially #1...

Lee Vee's 13 Un-Green Habits

#1 I LOVE long, hot showers. This is a horrible waste of our precious water resources, but I haven't been able to *want* to change this habit yet. Plus Jake LOVES to play in the shower (it helps that 2 of us are showering instead of 1!), and a 5 minute shower just wouldn't seem like a decent length of playtime for him. I find long hot showers so relaxing, indeed one of the few or only times during the day when I feel truly relaxed. Someday I'll be like Jennifer Aniston, who takes 3 minute showers AND brushes her teeth in the shower. Sheesh :)

#2 I really like facial tissues (aka Kleenex). I have reduced or eliminated my paper waste in so many other ways, but haven't gotten around to using hankys for blowing noses. I tend to buy a case of tissues from the store (10% discount!) and stock them up so we always have plenty around.

#3 I use my car more than I should. Portland has a GREAT public transportation system, and the bus stop is only a block from my house, but I use my car even when going to the bakery less than a mile away. I think if I was childless I would use it less, but seriously, using public transportation with a wiggly toddler, a diaper bag, purse, etc. is not my idea of fun.

#4 I don't compost. Not that I haven't tried, I really have! We have used 2 different types of composters, the most recent one being a barrel type that is easy to rotate, but Mike and I simply suck at remembering to mix the appropriate amounts of kitchen scraps with dried yard debris plus this weird looking green liquid. The scraps have a hard time making it from the kitchen to the composter, and the composter sits there, forgotten. I've given up and am really hoping that Portland can soon implement a city-wide composting system where kitchen and yard debris scraps are picked up curbside. Seattle has such a system and it is awesome. I think Portland has wanted to start this, but has been having trouble finding a plot of land in which to set this up, plus there is the issue of having like 60 different different garbage/recycling haulers in the city. But it will happen...Rome wasn't built in a day, either.

#5 My cats eat meat. Not just any meat, RAW meat that we buy at the store. I know, so weird for someone who doesn't eat meat herself, but this is a tough issue as it is really an environment versus healthiest diet issue. Humans can easily have healthy, life-long living vegan diets but cats? Cats are true carnivores. And it shows -- Theo and Kami are very healthy and have super-soft, silky fur to show for it.

#6 I own many shoes. Okay this may not seem like an environmental issue at first glance, but really, how many pairs of shoes does a human realistically need, fashion concerns aside? Each pair of shoes represents materials that came from somewhere. The fact that I have more pairs of shoes than I have fingers and toes is slightly embarrasing. I have more pairs of shoes than Mike and Jake combined. Okay, so I'm not as bad as Imelda Marcos!

#7 I have an automatic lawn sprinkler system. Which means I use water to keep my lawn green during the summertime. In the past, I would let the lawn turn brown and dormant, but with that would come lots of weeds and bees. Not my 2 favorite things, especially with a toddler. The good news is that since the system is automatic, the water is only on for a short time compared to when I used to turn it on and then literally forget it was on for hours... eek.

#8 Batteries are a tough one -- I need to use reuseable/rechargeable batteries more. I just did a cleaning spree of the battery drawer, so that should help. However, the batteries that Mike and I use for our cochlear implant simply are not recharageable, so we are stuck there unless we want to live in silence for the rest of our lives (which we don't).

#9 I need to improve regarding turning off electronics in the house. It's so easy to just leave the computer on. However, all the electronics that we have, even though they consume a small amount of energy, do add up. I'm good about turning off lights when not in use, now I need to do that for electronics.

#10 The themostat in my house could be set lower, but then I'd have to start wearing thicker sweaters, which are really difficult to wear while breastfeeding.

#11 I own a great clothes drying rack, but don't use it as much as I should, favoring my dryer. Living in a rainy climate doesn't help much, either. I'll try harder this summer.

#12 I buy lots of vegetables and I ... ahem... don't always use all of them in time before they become soggy, rotten messes at the bottom of my fridge. That needs to change.

#13 Plastics... this is a hard one. We use plastics for so many things in this life, and they stay on this earth for a long, long time. Some plastics are great, and I'm grateful for them. Others... we can learn to live without or use less of them. Sure, they can be recycled, but that isn't much easier on the environment than using less of them in the first place. My goal for 2008 is to really work on reducing the number of plastics I buy and to reuse what I have. That means taking bottles with me to the grocery store to fill up with bulk items such as olive oil, maple syrup, and shampoo. Mike is switching to a shampoo bar (looks like a bar of soap) so no bottles are required. I try to reuse the plastic produce bags at the store, but I can improve on that one. A work in progress here!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Jake has become a climber within the last week. He'd been practicing climbing onto the toilet seat (with the lid down) and chairs for awhile, but suddenly he's climbing other things. He climbed in and out of his wooden high chair, onto window sills, onto the computer desk, on top of the computer tower to reach higher up, etc. Oy!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunny Winter Day

Today was the first sunny day we've had in what feels like more than a week. So after a walk in the village, we hung out in the backyard and enjoyed the sun.

The cats were happy to be outside, too. Kami was around but eluded the camera.
Pretending to eat rocks! I like this picture because you can see his funky rain boots.