Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pemco Insurance: The fly on our wall

I love these commercials – mostly because they are absolutely spot-on in pegging us Pacific Northwesterners.

I wish this radio ad had visuals for you, dear reader… but we Seattleites don’t even need visuals because we know exactly what this looks like:

Here are some more “a lot like you… a little different” Pemco ads. If you don’t get them, that’s OK. You kinda have to live in the Pacific Northwest to really understand.

And some more radio ads that are worth imagining… if you CAN!

And if you need some visual assistance, you can get it here.

If you’re shaking your head, insisting you just don’t get it… well, head-shaking-clueless-about-Pacific-Northwesterners guy, you’re definitely not one of us.

But because we’re from the Pacific Northwest, we love you anyway.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One woman’s nuttin’ is another woman’s sumpin’ (Huff-puff)

So I ran today for the first time in (gulp) years.

I didn’t run far and I certainly didn’t run fast, but I ran.

Considering that just over a year ago I took my first steps a full 13 weeks after breaking my ankle (remember this?)…

running today was kinda sorta an achievement for l’il ol’ me!

We can either blame or credit Elisabeth for my achievement, since she absolutely insisted that I run part of the way around Green Lake today – and she insisted that I do it twice! I whined and begged and cried, but she was ruthless and unrelenting, meanie daughter that she is!

So here’s where I ran:

Green Lake

According to, that’s .537 miles! On Thursday, Elisabeth will make me run three times! She seems to believe that by the time the Seattle Danskin Triathlon comes around in August, I’ll be able to easily run the whole 3 miles around Green Lake – and the whole 3-point-something miles in the triathlon. Today I can’t even imagine that, but perhaps by next week I’ll think (and feel) differently.

Tomorrow morning it’s back to yoga class, where I make a total fool of myself. Seriously, who can put their ankle into their groin and stand like that, still as a tree, for two frikkin’ minutes?! I can’t even stand on one foot (especially my injured foot) without just about falling over! And yet, I will subject myself to another hour of yoga tomorrow…

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Monday, April 26, 2010

My husband has a sheddish

Remember this gorgeous writer’s retreat


workshop/shed that Tom made for me himself?


The one that he doted on lovingly for a year, that finally looked like this:

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(If I knew where to submit it, I’d enter this gorgeous “man cave” into a contest of architecturally beautiful out-houses!  Got any suggestions?)

Well, lest you think he’s finished, look how he spent his weekend:



(The words that come to mind: “Hansel and Gretel” and “breadcrumbs”… don’t ask me why!)


Gorgeous is never good enough for this man!  Next, he’ll put a weather vane on top of it or sumpin’!

Lest you think I never got my writer’s retreat…


OK, so it’s more of a garden shed, but it’s been come to be known around here as “Carol’s shed” – probably so as to make the distinction between it and “Tom’s shed – which is his man cave and is not to be cleaned, tampered with, or project managed, so help you God.” 

We also call this pre-fabricated garden shed “the ugly shed,” though I have to say that, as sheds go, it’s not all that ugly… except in comparison to The Master’s Castle over there. 

My shed inspires me to throw on my IPod Shuffle and weed plots of land previously strangled by large, foreboding dandelions and tall, invasive grasses…


…and to clean patio furniture, sweep the deck, and welcome Spring to Seattle.


Oh wait – it’s not the pre-fabricated plastic shed that did that; it’s the warm, glowing orb that has occupied the sky as of late!  Happy Spring!

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Searching for Search

Last Thursday I became my own person (or blogger, anyway) by switching domains to (instead of a “blogspot” URL).  It’s been great, except for one thing: I can no longer find ANYTHING on my blog via search, which is a tool I use a lot when referencing previous posts.

Now I get this, every time I search for something I know is on my blog:


Can anyone help me?  Blogger help has been no help at all…

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

My 2.5 seconds of fame

I’m all a’twitter over Pioneer Woman’s mention of our little mishap that occurred last week at her Seattle book signing!  This little screenshot…

Pioneer woman signing

…is from her blog.  Swooooon!

I had to set her straight, though, on the details of the story, since she blamed herself for something that was totally my own fault.

So other than my appearance as a contestant on Press Your Luck way back in 1984 (my opponent was Dr. Bill Dorfman who won the windsurfer I was trying so desperately to win for Tom… and then went on to fame and fortune on ABC’s Extreme Makeover), this is as close as I’ve come to fame.

Well, maybe there were a few other times, as I blogged about here, but this one has special meaning because… well, because this is Pioneer Woman!

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Friday, April 23, 2010

A walk around Seattle’s Green Lake

This walk will (so help me) become part of my regimen as I prepare for the Danskin Triathlon this summer – especially because my personal training sessions are over and there’s no way I can pay another $75o for another 6 weeks. Elisabeth lives just a few blocks from Green Lake so at least twice a week we’ll meet at her house after work and do this 3 mile walk. Eventually (she says once I stop snapping pictures constantly), we should be pretty quick, especially if when we (gasp) start running, but right now it’s taking us just under an hour. It’s not a bad work-out because… well, because of this:

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(I know! How cute is he?!)



Dream house alert! This house is directly across the street from the lake. Swoooon!

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“C’mon, Mom! You’re supposed to be exercising your whole body, not just your shutter finger!”

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Fly fishing lessons!

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Have I mentioned lately how much I love Seattle and the Pacific Northwest?

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

All grown up!


No worries – everything should still be the same for you.  If anything’s wonky, just note that I went from to 

I feel so… grown up and independent!

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3 ingredient, 3 minute (but all day) German-style pork roast

Pork.  It’s what’s for dinner.

We’re not eating much red meat these days, but I found a nice cut of pork on sale and decided it was time for a good German-style pork roast for dinner.  Ironically, I had to avoid a day when Elisabeth or Kat might be home, as neither of them eat pork.  Peter, on the other hand, loves the stuff and especially loves sauerkraut (good German that he is), so Peter, if you’re reading this, feel free to hop in the car and drive five hours.  Dinner will be at around 7:00 and we’d love to see you!  And Aleks?  Well, shed no tears for Aleks (that was last week, when he was stuck in the Milan train station… he finally found a series of trains that got him home to Prague– though it took over 24 hours) because Aleks is in Budapest right now, eating deliciousness that I’m sure far exceeds his mama’s pork roast.

So here’s the simplest recipe on earth – except PB&J, that’s pretty dang simple.

Snip a few fresh herbs from the mini herb garden you planted last week and can’t believe is still alive…


Place a bunch of (that’s as specific as I’m gonna get here, folks!) small red or white potatoes in the bottom of a crock pot.  Place a pork roast on top of them and then top meat with the fresh herbs from your oh-my-god-they’re-still-alive kitchen widow sill garden.  Salt and pepper the roast.  Then take a jar of sauerkraut and pour it all – liquid included – around…


…and on top of the meat.


Sprinkle caraway seeds on top the the whole beautiful mess.  Cover.

Then go to work.  Work, work, work.  (Still adoring your new job…)

After work, walk around Green Lake with one of your daughters who doesn’t like pork, but who was home yesterday and with whom you cooked yummy vegetable lasagna. 

(The distance around Green Lake is almost exactly the same as the distance you’ll be walking/running in August when you participate in the Seattle Danskin Triathlon, so this is a must.  Do not decide that you are too tired to walk around Green Lake and you’d rather just get home to your beloved pot roast.)

Take pictures on your walk around Green Lake today when it’s forecasted to be sunny because the pictures you took on your Green Lake walk on Tuesday, when it was cloudy and yukky, are not blog-worthy.

(By the way, I lied about three ingredients… IF you consider herbs, salt, pepper and caraway seeds ingredients.  OK, fine! Change the title to 6-or-7 ingredient, 6-or-7 hour German Style Pork Roast.)

Call it what you want.  Just enjoy it.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

If you’re a mom, you’ll understand

(A recent IM with a friend:)

Carol says (4:57 PM):
Still no word from my guy, stranded somewhere in Italy (I think).
Ann says (4:57 PM):
oh no!
Carol says (4:57 PM):
He's fine, I'm sure.
Ann says (4:57 PM):
well, he's probably safe, at least.  Just not having things go according to plans.
And what a story he'll have!
Carol says (4:58 PM):
Exactly... he has no choice but to deal.
Ann says (4:58 PM):
yeah - character-building experience!
Carol says (4:58 PM):
Ann says (5:00 PM):
and he's with friends, right?
Carol says (5:00 PM):
Yes, one guy and a bunch of girls.  Poor guy!
Ann says (5:01 PM):
Let me get out my tiny violin....

Ann says (5:08 PM):
let's put it this way: when I look at this picture, I understand why airplanes are not flying in it! 


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Sunday, April 18, 2010

What is it about our family, Italy, and volcanoes?

Back in 1980, I was in (but not stuck in) Florence when Mt. St. Helens blew… and now Aleks is in (as in, stuck in) Milan because of the volcano-with-the-unpronounceable name!


He and a few friends decided a few weeks ago to head to Venice for the weekend.  They took a flight there last Thursday, then somehow got to Milan (hey, all I get are quick, cryptic Facebook messages, like “I am in Milan, we are f**ked, not sure how to get back to Prague without spending lots of money. I don’t really know what to do but we will figure something out…”), and now, like just about everyone else in Europe, they can’t seem to get any transportation to anywhere. 


So now we all just wait – like everyone else seems to be doing. 

Do I have any readers in Milan who happen to run a hotel or youth hostel which happens to have a few openings?

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Embarrassing moment #725: In which I meet Pioneer Woman. Twice.

When was the last time you had a day containing two blog-worthy embarrassing moments?

(Don’t answer that.)

As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough to mistake a total stranger (up close) for my husband this morning, I had to go and make a blunder of public-address-system proportions at the Pioneer Woman’s book signing in Seattle today. 

Yes, folks, I met Pioneer Woman today – twice.

I had picked up tickets a few days ago for Kat and I to attend Ree Drummond’s book signing, so we were in a relatively early group of fans and we only had to wait an hour or so to reach the front of the line.  When it came our turn, we giddily (OK, Kat was totally relaxed; I was giddy!) handed the book “Pioneer Woman Cooks” to one bookstore helper and my camera to another.  Ree greeted us and chatted US up for a few minutes, acting as if she had all the time in the world to spend with us. She was just as I’d imagined – funny, sweet, extraordinarily kind, and genuinely interested.  I mentioned that we had two things in common – being redheads (“But I pay for mine these day,” I admitted, and she quickly admitted, “Oh, me too!”) and that we started our blogs in the same month and year, to which I added that “I don’t have a bookstore of people waiting in line…"  (Why do I blurt out such things?!)

We then posed for a few pictures with our new best friend, Pioneer Woman, aka PDub, aka Ree Drummond:

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(Was I embarrassed?  Well, yes, I was.  But more than that I was mid-hot flash!  Seriously.)


(Kat with Pioneer Woman, from whom she learned so much about both photography and cooking.)

And then we left.

The end.

Only NOT.

After we walked away from the “staging area,” I put down the newly signed book so I could check the photos that had just been taken.  Not that I would have gone back, had they not turned out and asked poor Ree to do it all again.  I was just curious… and impatient.  We  gushed over the photos and left the store.  That was fun, we decided.

And then, in the parking lot, Kat asked if she could see the book Ree had just signed.


Oh, crap!

I had set the book down and walked away!

We hurried back into the bookstore and I headed back, against traffic (how embarrassing) to the staging area. 

I tried to get the store worker’s attention as unobtrusively as possible.  Really, I did.  But it was Ree who looked up first.

“I, um, think I left my book here.” (Because at that point, I hadn’t remembered where I left it.) 

An all-points bulletin for my missing book ensued with - I kid you not - an announcement on the PA system, to the hundreds, if not a thousand, people squeezed into the bookstore. (How embarrassing!)

“Pioneer Woman fans!  We seem to have a missing book.  If you could all check your books and if you have one with a dedication to ‘Carol and Kat’ please bring it to the information desk.  I repeat…”

(Oh god, must you…?)

Ree was so incredibly sweet, genuinely concerned, and even offered to buy and sign another book for me!  As you can imagine, my girl crush swelled ten-fold at that moment!

Upon the suggestion of the bookstore worker, I went back to the information desk, hoping someone would turn in the newly signed book.  And, it turned out, someone had!  (Seattle – the land of polite people.) 

I scooped it up and we began to head out the door, when I stopped and told Kat that I really need to go back and thank the people at the staging area, letting them know that I’d found the missing book.

I again made my way against traffic again (how embarrassing!) and as unobtrusively as possible (really!) showed my book to the bookstore worker, mouthing “thank you.”

Then Ree looked up and said, “Yay!  You found it!”  And then… she picked up her own camera…

…and took a picture of me with my lost-and-found book! 

And THEN!  She motioned to Kat, who was standing off to the side, to join me in another picture!

Ree didn’t have to be so incredibly concerned, so amazingly generous, and so very kind.  Really – she could have easily ignored the whole mini fiasco.  But she didn’t. She really IS as nice as she seems on her blog!

Thank you, Ree…. my friend! 

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Embarrassing moment #724

Tom and I went to the gym together this morning.  The plan was that I’d attend a Boot Camp class and Tom would do some weights followed by some laps in the pool.  I made it through Boot Camp (and was actually surprised that it didn’t totally kick my ass!) and went to the pool afterwards to look for Tom.

I immediately spotted Tom’s familiar stroke and stood at the end of the lane, waiting for him to touch the side so I could grab his attention.  He approached the end of the lane and I motioned to him to stop swimming, which he did, standing up in front of me.  As I began to speak to him, he lifted his goggles… and it was only at THAT moment that I realized that…

… this man was NOT my husband! 

Mortified, I opened my mouth, not sure what would come out.  I was afraid I’d say, “Oh, excuse me – I thought you were my husband of 27 years, who I have known for 34 years and can spot from a mile away, just by the way you move.”


Fortunately (if you can call it fortunate) I said, “Oh excuse me… I thought you were someone else.”  I then turned around and shuffled out of there so fast that I almost slipped on the wet tile and – broke my ankle.  Again.

I saw this guy again later as he left the locker room and again opened my mouth, thinking it was Tom… but, realizing (again) that it wasn’t, I um… feigned a yawn and kept walking.  Fast.

Tom’s brother looks a lot like him and I have come close to a few embarrassing moments before, mistaking Craig for Tom.  That’s legit and even expected.  But this?  This was just weird!  Who IS this guy?!

Later, when I introduced Tom to my trainer, I told them what had happened and Tom, not missing a beat, asked whether I now had a date with this strange man – to which I could only answer, “in fact, yes – we’re having lunch together next Wednesday!” 

(Which isn’t true, of course because really, it’s not a good idea to have an illicit affair with a man who’s a dead ringer for your husband!)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

April Flowers


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So five weeks into working out twice a week (hard!) with a personal trainer and eating really well, I am down a grand total of 2 (yes, only TWO) pounds and 1 (yes, only ONE) percentage in body fat.  Needless to say, I am hugely, massively, extremely disappointed and discouraged.

I’ve kept a food journal all along and it reflects healthy eating – unless you consider salmon and tzatziki sauce made with nonfat yogurt and cucumbers (30 calories for two tablespoons) or dinner at the Mongolian Grill with only fresh veggies and shrimp and cooked with very little oil unhealthy. 


I have one more week on my (phenomenally expensive) personal training contract and then… well, I don’t know!  I will continue to go to the gym at least three times a week because I know that’s a good, healthy choice no matter what I do there.  Maybe I’ll replace the Monday/Wednesday 7 AM personal training with a 7 AM yoga class (I’ve never done yoga!).  I’ll continue to eat well, continue to shun sweets and, yes, we’ll likely continue to eat out a time or two a week because – well, we’re empty nesters and that’s what we now do.   

And I WILL do the Danskin Triathlon in August, even if I have to crawl to the finish line!

But today, I am discouraged, baffled, frustrated, and sad. I know this is 100% up to me, but where do I even go from here?

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indulging my girl crush

As of this afternoon, I am the proud owner of:


Yes, along with millions of other American women I have a mad grrrrl crush on Ree Drummond, otherwise known as Pioneer Woman.  Ree and I both started our blogs in May, 2006.  We both go on an on about our four kids. 

We both

Well, that’s about all we have in common.  Basically, I just want to have Ree’s talent – for writing, for photography, and for cooking.  Ree never meant to become a celebrity; she simply did what she loves, did it amazingly well, and the celebrity status followed.  I think she’s still somewhat shocked and befuddled by it all.

So guess where Kat and I will be on Saturday evening? 



….oooohing and aaaaahing and indulging our grrrrl crushes, along with hundreds, if not thousands, of other Ree wanna-be’s. 

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