Thursday, August 30, 2012

birthday week

Week 32 was the week of my 30th birthday. It started with some cooking projects on Sunday, some more impromptu than others. The one I requested was a strawberry buttermilk ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I think Steve actually did the main work for it the day before, though, only leaving the churning part for Sunday. In any case, I had planned to use the ice cream as my picture that day, but he randomly decided to try making pretzels that afternoon too. I figured the ice cream could wait, so I used the pretzels as my photo subject instead. They turned out pretty well for being homemade. The texture on the outside wasn't quite right, but this was probably the closest it was going to get without the use of lye.

218/366 the pretzel project

Monday was the day of my 28-week OB appointment—this time with the nurse practitioner—as well as my 1hr glucose test. I left home a little early, found a parking spot, and walked around the neighborhood again to kill time and find a picture to take. Instead of hydrangeas for this one, I spotted a house with a view of the bay behind it.

With that done, I headed back to the lab to start my glucose test. I had to drink a little bottle of chilled sickly sweet orange glucose liquid in the span of five minutes and then come back for a blood draw an hour later. After hearing all about how terrible it was, I was prepared for the worst, but it wasn't that bad at all. I certainly wouldn't choose to drink that stuff, but it didn't make me sick or anything. I went upstairs for my appointment after consuming my drink, and then I was back to the lab in plenty of time for the blood draw. No sweat. And then I found out the next day that I had failed the test... More on that later.

219/366 with a view

I went out for a walk down Valencia Street on Tuesday afternoon, since I needed to get a few more birthday cards to send to nieces and nephews. I had been thinking about going to Craftsman & Wolves for some sort of snack (and picture), but after hearing around lunch time that I had failed the glucose test, I decided against it. For my picture of the day, I ended up with a shot of some Barbies in a boutique window. The place was closed, but I managed to spot them and get the shot through the bars of the gate. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the shots on my laptop that I realized the dolls were actually Charlie's Angels Barbies. (I did a Google image search to be sure.)

220/366 portable angels

So... Since I had failed the 1hr glucose test, I had to take the 3hr one. I had been a little annoyed to find out when they called on Tuesday that I had fasted for four hours for no reason before the first test, after I had called the doctor's office a few days before to specifically ask if I needed to. Apparently I was told the wrong thing. This time, I did actually have to fast for four hours before the test, so I went to do it right after getting up in the morning on Wednesday. For the 3hr glucose test, they took some blood first, and then I had to drink the same amount of liquid—only this time, it was lemon lime and twice as sweet. It was less pleasant, but I still didn't have a problem getting it down in five minutes. After that, I had to sit in the waiting room and have blood taken after one, two, and three hours. Right around the one hour mark, I started to feel like I was going to pass out. That only last a few minutes, they took my blood, and it was back to the waiting room. Several minutes later, I felt like I was going to pass out again, but like the first time, it went away after a while. Then, I mostly just felt exhausted and icky. One of the lab people took pity on me and let me sit in a more comfortable chair in the back until my two hour blood draw. By the end of the third hour, I was feeling mostly fine and just ready to be done playing human pin cushion so I could go home and eat lunch.

Ironically, on the day that I was being overloaded with sugar to test for gestational diabetes, my picture ended up being of a bowl of ice cream. That was because it was still on my list of picture ideas, and I didn't feel like thinking of something else to shoot. I had Steve help me dish some out when he got home, and then I only ate a small spoonful when I was done shooting it. I covered the rest in plastic wrap and stuck it in the freezer. It was good, but I wasn't exactly in the mood for more sugar that day.

221/366 just splendid

On Thursday, I went to Flax to scout out some picture frames for the nursery. I took a few pictures with my phone of some of the options there, but I didn't take any with my camera.

When I got back home, I had a voicemail from the doctor's office about my test results from the previous day. I called them, and I found out that I had failed the 3hr glucose test as well. I was shocked, to say the least. Other than my grandfather developing type 2 diabetes in his late seventies, I have zero risk factors for gestational diabetes. I eat well, I never drink soda, and my weight gain has been great this whole time. Anyway, I had to call the place where I got my ultrasounds done, make an appointment with a nutritional counselor, and schedule another ultrasound and doctor consult to make sure the baby's growth is on track.

Fast forward to three weeks later... I finally saw the nutritional counselor this last Monday. She gave me some general guidelines for food, as well as a kit to test my blood sugar four times a day. For the most part, the dietary stuff goes along with the adjustments Steve and I made after reading up on it ourselves: eating every 2-3 hours, adding more protein to balance carbs, limiting the less ideal carbs, and cutting out unnecessary simple sugars. Pretty easy. It means fewer pasta dishes for us and a little more planning in general, but it's good to branch out a bit more. My blood glucose readings so far have been well under the limits, so I should be fine with just the diet and 30 minutes of walking each day.

As for the ultrasound, that was yesterday. Everything with the baby looks good. He's slightly on the big side at this point, but not enough that they could definitively say he's been affected by the condition. Chances are, it'll even out now that we're watching my blood sugar, but I'll have another ultrasound in a month to see. Meanwhile, the little guy is still moving around like crazy, so he must be in good shape!

But back to that Thursday three weeks ago. After getting the news, I went out for a walk, and I shot some cosmos that I passed.

222/366 curbside cosmos

On Friday afternoon, I had a haircut downtown. Since the salon is near the gate to Chinatown, there's a stereotypical Chinatown antique shop pretty much next door to the building. These types of places usually have sculptures/statues outside, and the one below was an easy choice for a picture.

223/366 no evil

Last, but not least, this post is titled "birthday week"—rather than glucose test week—because my birthday was that Saturday. Most of the day was a pretty low-key. I took my weekly picture after lunch as usual, and I got out for a walk to the paint store that afternoon to pick up some paint samples for the nursery. Meanwhile, Steve went to the Ferry Building to get my birthday cake, which I photographed when we were both home again.

That night, we went to Contigo with Dan, Carmen, Rob, and Traci for dinner. We got to see Elan, the co-owner and chef's wife, who was working that night. She even gave us a Contigo onesie for the baby! I think that was one of the gifts I was most excited to receive that night, and it wasn't even a birthday gift. Dinner itself was great, as usual. We had a nice assortment of tapas; I got some orxata (horchata) to drink, which made up for not getting around to trying it while we were in Spain; and I didn't worry too much about what I was eating. I think the dinner itself was pretty well balanced anyway, and I just had a small piece of cake after all that food. :)

224/366 30th birthday

While it wasn't exactly the week I might have pictured leading up to my 30th birthday, the birthday itself was a good one. And the whole gestational diabetes thing, while kind of obnoxious, isn't turning out to be a big deal. With any luck, it will only mean a couple months of inconvenience until the baby comes.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

plaster party (& baby clothes)

Yet more progress on the nursery occurred during week 31, leading me to take the easy route with pictures several days during the week. (Amazingly, this did not result in pictures that I completely hated, as it sometimes does.)

But first, we actually had something new for lunch that Sunday! Steve and I had kind of fallen out of the habit of cooking something new every weekend, since they've been increasingly devoted to more necessary baby-related pursuits. However, I had looked at my to-make list on Pinterest the week before, and I realized that we should get around to making this Nectarine Pizza while nectarines were still in season. Steve really used the recipe as more of an outline—it leaves some leeway in the toppings category anyway. He made the pizza dough from the Delancey (Seattle) recipe and topped it with spreadable goat cheese, dollops of ricotta, nectarine slices, basil, and balsamic reduction. It ended up being good enough that we decided to have it again the next night with our extra nectarine.

211/366 nectarine pizza

On Monday, I started work on the nursery wall. The one that's on the opposite side of the living room wall had several pretty bad cracks, which we probably didn't know enough to repair when we first painted the room six years ago. Having cleared the last of the stuff out of the nursery over the weekend, I was finally able to gouge out all the cracks—or at least the ones I decided were the worst. (I left a couple of the less obvious ones.) After that, I vacuumed out the excess dust, filled the cracks with spackling paste, and applied the fiberglass tape to reinforce my repairs. Unfortunately, I ran out of spackling paste (and energy) after doing about half of the cracks. I went back the next day and used plaster of paris for the rest. And I used up the last of that too. Luckily, the rest of the plastering just needed joint compound, and we had gotten a large enough tub of that the previous weekend to do the job.

But back to the pictures. My order from the big Carter's sale arrived on Monday, so that's what I photographed that evening, after Steve brought the box home from work. On the left are several sleepers (with feet) in 0-3 month size; in the middle are a few more sleepers, some long sleeved onesies, and pants in 3-6 month; and on the right are a few outfits in 6-9 month. I've been trying to order the cute stuff in a variety of sizes while there are sales so that I'll be stocked up on clothes, at least until the next big sale makes it worth buying stuff again. Between the things I've bought and various hand-me-downs, I think we're in pretty good shape for baby clothing, especially for 0-3 month.

212/366 carter's

Tuesday was more of the same with the plastering of the wall, so I went to my reserve list for photo ideas. I had gotten these sugar wafer cookies at Safeway on Sunday when we went to use the Coinstar machine. I haven't had a ton of specific cravings while pregnant, but I had been wanting some of these cookies for a while. I checked Whole Foods once, but all they had were fancy, good ones. I wanted the artificially flavored chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry wafers of my childhood. Safeway had them. When I actually went to try the cookies on Sunday afternoon, I got out a couple of each flavor to eat, like I probably did the last time I had them when I was in college or grad school. This time, I got through three of them before the sugar got to me. Not only are they suspiciously bright in color, they are also insanely sweet. A few weeks later, most of the bag still sits abandoned on the kitchen table, but at least I got a picture out of it.

213/366 technicolor cookies

Wednesday happened to be August 1, which meant it was time for another picture of a calendar page. I'm starting to run out of ideas for backgrounds, so this month, I used a onesie as my background. It's one of a few that arrived in an order from Baby Gap the day before, and I thought that the colors complemented the picture on the calendar.

214/366 august

Speaking of the Baby Gap clothes, I used those for my picture on Thursday too. I had come across this food-related collection on their website, and I thought it was pretty much the cutest thing ever. But I was good and waited until I got an email with a code for 30% off before I made my order. I also bought most of the things in larger sizes so that the baby would be able to wear them for longer. The onesie on top is 6-12 months, and the middle two long sleeved onesies are part of a set of three—including the one I used in the picture above—in 12-18 months. The striped sweater-knit romper on the bottom is the only thing I got in a smaller size: 0-3 month. It's not completely practical, with its buttons instead of snaps, but I figured it would be the little guy's outfit for Christmas pictures this year.

215/366 i eat my veggies

And yet more plastering on Friday! After Monday's initial gouging, filling, and taping, the daily routine went something like this: sand the previous day's plaster, vacuum floor, apply another coat of plaster, and feather it out a couple more inches on each side from the previous stuff. I was feeling lazy by Friday, so I took a shot of the wall as my picture of the day. Carmen had seen it and pointed out that it looked like clouds, which meant made it a bit more visually interesting to me. At this point, the side pictured was completely done. I was a day behind on the cracks to the right of this, so that stuff still needed its last sanding, which I did on Sunday afternoon. I must say, I was rather proud of myself. I'm much better at plastering than I was when I did the living room cracks five years ago. The wall ended up nice and smooth this time. I'm not sure whether the improvement was from watching Bruce do more plastering in the last few years or reading a quick tutorial before doing it this time, but I'm happy with it. The only visible imperfections in the completed wall now are the ones from someone else's inferior plaster repairs.

216/366 cloud cover

Saturday marked 28 weeks of pregnancy and the beginning of my third trimester. I decided that that warranted using my weekly shot as my picture of the day. I also decided that this was a good time to finally switch to my white maternity tank top for these pictures, rather than continuing to squeeze into the non-maternity one for any longer. The maternity top is probably just as tight, but it definitely has more stretch.

217/366 28 weeks

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

back to work

Week 30. With the Seattle trip behind us, it was time to make more progress on the nursery: clearing it out and fixing it up. We went through the last of the office stuff that Sunday and determined how many more plastic boxes from The Container Store—and which sizes—we would be needing. By this point, it was mostly office supplies and other things that had once been in Steve's desk. His task for the days before I got home from Seattle was to sort through it all and make piles. Of course, I didn't think that would make a particularly exciting picture for the day, so I ended up doing a reshoot of the previous Friday's contingency picture: a thank-you note for Chrissy, with the swaddling blanket and lamb pacifier/holder that she gave us. I hadn't needed to use the one I took on Friday, since I had shots of Elsa that I liked instead. But it was Sunday that I actually wrote in the card and got it ready to send, so the picture probably worked better for that day anyway.

204/366 thank-you note

Steve did our Container Store run after work on Monday, bringing home a large bundle of boxes and prompting me to suggest dinner out so he wouldn't have to worry about buying ingredients for dinner too. Sushi sounded good to me, so we walked to Hamano in Noe Valley. It's a little odd to be eating sushi while noticeably pregnant, but I am allowed to eat it as long as it's from a trusted source. (And as long as I'm avoiding those high mercury fish.) I took a few pictures of our dinner, but I thought the shot that I took of the toy store window on the walk back was more interesting.

205/366 dragon device

With boxes on hand again, I went to work filling them up and putting them in their assigned closets on Tuesday. While I was at it, I put a pile of waiting boxes in the nursery closet—things that would belong there eventually. I knew that we'd need to clear out the closet again when the shelving hardware came, but it was nice to get everything out of the way. By the end of the afternoon, the only things left in the nursery itself were the corner bookshelf, Steve's old desk, and the last pile of stuff to go to the Salvation Army. We managed to get rid of the furniture the next weekend, I moved the Salvation Army stuff to the dining room temporarily, and then Steve did the final Salvation Army run the following weekend. No more stuff in the nursery!

206/366 scenes from a future nursery

On Wednesday night, we had tickets to see Les Miserables at the Orpheum, and we decided to eat at Zero Zero again before the show. We got some gazpacho, the arancini that we've had on several occasions, the stonefruit salad below, and a pizza with cherry tomatoes. No room for dessert this time, but I was fine with that.

The show itself ended up being rather long. (I had forgotten just how long that musical is.) The production was pretty cool, with some interesting projections, but I did miss the iconic turntable.

207/366 stonefruit salad

It was dentist time again on Thursday, so I went downtown again. After my cleaning, I stopped for a quick picture of another painted heart at Union Square—this one featuring the Bay Bridge. I had passed it and taken note on my way to the dentist building, since I didn't have other ideas for the day's shot.

208/366 baby bridge heart

Friday's picture was inspired by this image, which I saw on Flickr that morning. I liked the idea of a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes in a row, so I tried to make my own version with the heirloom cherry tomatoes that Steve had brought home the day before. Not having as full a spectrum—no real green ones—I had to improvise with the colors and sizes to make a row that was aesthetically pleasing. For a background, I used my favorite neutral setup on the dining room table, by the window. It might look familiar from pictures of the owl ornament, macarons, eggs, and even the Devil Inside from the Craftsman and Wolves trunk show. The nice thing about having our closets organized is that now all the components for this setup are in the closet next to the dining room table. No more trips to and from the office for linens and poster board.

209/366 heirlooms

Speaking of closets, our elfa closet hardware from The Container Store arrived on Saturday while we were eating our lunch. I had been following the FedEx tracking info, but I had expected it to come later in the day. Since it came so early, we were able to get it all installed that day, rather than waiting until Sunday. But first we made a trip to Lowe's to get some anchor screws, a drill bit that could cut through the steel top bar, and some joint compound and spackling paste. Once we got back home, Steve was able to drill extra holes in the top support bar for the shelving so that he could screw them into the studs, rather than just the plaster. A few spots were still a little dicey with the plaster, but Steve gets a gold star for making it work. In the end, the nursery closet got a couple deep shelves all the way across to fill in the space, and the living room closet got a more elaborate setup, as you can see below.

210/366 in the closet

And the joint compound and spackling paste we bought? Those would get used the next week.

Monday, August 13, 2012

seattle continued

The second half of the Seattle trip actually started with Steve's last day there. He flew home Sunday so that he could work the next day, and I stayed until Wednesday for extra time to hang out with Chrissy and Elliott. Steve's flight was around noon on Sunday, so we were able to go out for brunch at Lola before dropping him off at the airport. I had the little doughnuts like two years ago, and Steve got Tom's Big Breakfast again: octopus, a poached egg, and various seasonal vegetables.

After brunch, we stopped at a bakery in Columbia City to pick up some pretzel rolls for future breakfasts, then dropped off Steve at the airport, and headed to Capitol Hill to walk around a bit. What we hadn't considered was that it was before noon on a Sunday, so not everything in Capitol Hill was open just yet. We were able to kill some time at Melrose Market, though. It's a collection of food vendors/restaurants and little stores that was still in the process of coming together two years ago. It's quite nice now! When it was finally noon, we stopped by the Cake Spy Shop, which was where I got my fake mushroom terrarium on the last visit. They still had really cute stuff, but I didn't get anything on this occasion.

Then it was about time for lunch at Oddfellows Cafe. Steve and I ate there for lunch on our first visit, and I had had a nice caprese sandwich. The sandwich choices turned out to be a bit more limited at Sunday brunch, but my bacon lettuce avocado tomato (B.L.A.T.) was really good. We got ice cream at Molly Moon's nearby afterward and then headed back home for a while.

Dinner was some salmon and corn on the cob, both cooked on the grill. Chrissy and I had picked up the ingredients at the grocery store while Kevin and Elliott were napping in the afternoon.

197/366 lola doughnuts again

On Monday, Chrissy and I went shopping (with Elliott) at University Village, where there was a Land of Nod store and a Pottery Barn Kids. I wanted to see if they had some of the items I was looking at online for the nursery, since there happen to be no Land of Nod locations in the Bay Area. (It's Crate & Barrel's kids branch.) I didn't end up finding the rug or the rocking chair I had wanted to see, but I did get to look at some of the curtains and the table lamp that I had in mind.
We had a quick lunch at an Italian deli/takeout before deciding to head home. But on the way back to the car, we passed a Trophy Cupcake shop and had to get some cupcakes to take back with us. Kevin was working from home that day, so we got one for him too.

In the afternoon, Chrissy and I took Elliott to Green Lake for a walk. There's a 2.8-mile path around the lake, and we did a full circuit. We also stopped to sit for a while in a shady spot about halfway around, since Elliott needed a break from the carrier and the stroller. Surprisingly, I didn't take any pictures of Green Lake while we were there, pretty as it was. Instead, I took pictures of Elliott while we were stopped.

198/366 afternoon with elliott

Tuesday morning began with a walk to storytime at the Ballard Library with Elliott. When that was over, we went back to downtown Ballard. I wanted to get some of the cute cards that I had seen at a shop there on Friday, and there was still a bit more of the area that we hadn't explored. I knew there was supposed to be a toy store called Clover in the general vicinity, and we ended up finding it. Since I didn't take many pictures the rest of the day, it was a good thing I shot some of the windows at Clover.

The rest of the afternoon was spent eating lunch at a taco truck on the way home, driving to Target for a few things, and watching the Downton Abbey season finale in Chrissy's basement. And for dinner, we went to Skillet Diner in Capitol Hill. There was a bit of a wait, but we got in eventually and had tasty food that I didn't photograph at all.   

199/366 toy boats

Wednesday was the day of my flight home, so I had to say goodbye to Chrissy and Elliott. I took a few pictures of them in the nursery that morning, before we left for the airport. On the way to the airport, we planned to stop at the Top Pot Doughnuts in nearby Renton. It took us a while to find the place, because we had somehow missed the fact that it wasn't a typical store location but a mobile Airstream unit parked in front of a hardware store. Not exactly what we were expecting, but they had delicious doughnuts anyway. It probably would have been more convenient to go to the new location in Ballard; however, they didn't finally open until the end of the next week. (So much for that planned June opening date...)

200/366 a farewell to seattle

Back home again on Thursday, I busied myself with editing Seattle pictures. I also edited my baby clothing inventory, adding the hand-me-downs from Elliott that I had brought home with me. Below is a picture of the bag that's holding newborn and 0-3 month stuff, along with some fleece swaddles. I'm sure the tiny newborn shoes from Elliott are completely impractical, but they're also completely adorable. Maybe we'll get a picture with our baby wearing them, assuming he doesn't grow out of them before we get the chance.

201/366 hand-me-downs

And from Elliott pictures back to Elsa pictures. Friday was pizza night, of course, and I went down a bit earlier than normal to hang out with Carmen and Elsa. Carmen was getting some stuff done in the nursery, and Elsa was using her crib as a playpen, having woken up from her nap not long before.

202/366 back to this kid

Finally, Saturday was my usual self-portrait day, so I took my 26-week shot after lunch. It was nice to get back to the setup I'm used to, after trying to kind of replicate it at Chrissy's house the week before and not completely succeeding. Once that was done, I knew I needed to go looking for a picture of the day. (Can't use the weekly self-portrait for every Saturday, unfortunately.) It was a warm day in SF, prompting me to suggest a trip to Humphry Slocombe for some ice cream. That got us outside for a nice walk, and we got some cold treats. I opted for the Eton Mess—strawberry with marshmallow fluff—and the rather less exciting, but very tasty Tahitian Vanilla. It was good that they went well together, because they were definitely melting into each other by the end.

203/366 a humphry slocombe kind of day

Monday, August 6, 2012

off to seattle

Moving on to week 28, we begin with some strawberry shortcake. Steve had gotten yet more strawberries at the farmers market that week, so I suggested he branch out from making tarts and try baking some buttermilk biscuits for strawberry shortcake on Sunday. Using the recipe from Ad Hoc at Home, he did just that. The biscuits came out a little flatter and denser than I would have hoped, but the flavor was good. And the strawberry shortcake was good too.

190/366 strawberry shortcake

I wasn't feeling very creative the next day, so I decided to take a picture of the biscuits by themselves. I figured Steve would appreciate having a shot of them alone for his recipe program anyway. Since then, he's managed to get subsequent batches to be fluffier. His biscuits from his third attempt, yesterday, are about right. Unfortunately, the official picture is still of the hockey puck version, at least until I take a new one.

191/366 buttermilk biscuits

On Tuesday, I had my 24-week appointment with my OB. I left myself plenty of time to find street parking this time, which of course meant that I found a spot right away near the medical center. To kill time, I walked around a couple blocks and found these white-tinged hydrangeas to photograph.

192/366 fancy hydrangeas

Wednesday was packing day, since we were leaving for Seattle on Thursday. Therefore, I took a picture of my mostly packed suitcase. (Very exciting.) I brought a gift for Elliott, Chrissy's 4 month-old, and ended up stuffing my suitcase completely full of hand-me-down clothing from Elliott on the way back. Good thing it was expandable. It's actually the same suitcase I used for the Spain and Italy vacation last year; I was just more careful to pack everything in ziploc bags with the air squeezed out for that trip.

193/366 packing up

We arrived in Seattle just after lunchtime on Thursday, and Chrissy picked us up at the airport. That afternoon, we took a walk through Chrissy's neighborhood to Sunset Hill Park, with a stop at a Swedish bakery on the way for some snacks to eat while we were there. The park itself was pretty, with a nice view of the water and the mountains in the background, but I didn't really take many exciting pictures. I opted for a sleeping Elliott shot for my picture of the day instead.

After Kevin got home from work that night, we headed to Delancey for dinner. It was one of the few must-visit places on my list and a repeat from the last trip. And it just so happens that Chrissy and Kevin live mere blocks away. When we got there, the dinner rush had already started, so we gave them a phone number and walked to a bar for some drinks while we waited. By 9pm, we had our table at Delancey, where we ordered 4 pizzas to share. They were all great, but the surprise favorite was actually Chrissy's choice of bacon and onion. It had a nice balance of salty and sweet. 

194/366 warning: extreme cuteness

Unlike most trips that Steve and I take, this one was not highly planned out. We were staying with Chrissy and co., so I knew we'd need to be flexible. Elliott would need to eat and take naps throughout the day, as babies do. We had also already been to Seattle two years before—for Chrissy and Kevin's wedding—and we were able to check off most of the key tourist destinations then anyway.

One of the places we didn't really get to explore fully in 2010 was the neighborhood of Ballard, so it worked out great that Chrissy and Kevin had moved there. On Friday morning, we walked with Chrissy and Elliott to Honore Artisan Bakery, next to Delancey, for breakfast. It had been closed by the time we got to Ballard for dinner two years ago, so we hadn't gotten to try it then. We remedied that on this trip, and the pastries were worth it. While we were eating inside, it started to storm. Kevin graciously dropped off a couple of umbrellas and Chrissy's rain jacket on his way to work, so we were able to walk back home without getting too wet. Incidentally, the weather reports for our time in Seattle were pretty useless.

After chilling at Chrissy's house for a while, playing with Elliott during the last of the morning's storm, we headed back out and over to downtown Ballard. We did some shopping, had BBQ for lunch at The Boar's Nest, and then walked to the Ballard Locks. The locks were another thing that had been dropped off my to-visit list for lack of time on the last trip, so I added it to my shortlist for this trip. At the locks, we watched some boats go through (see below) and looked at the fish ladder from the viewing windows underneath. It was probably the most touristy thing we did on this vacation, but it was fun.

For dinner that night, we attempted to eat at Staple & Fancy Mercantile in downtown Ballard, but we got there late enough that we wouldn't have been able to get a table until about 10pm. So instead, we got an early reservation for the next night, went back to Chrissy's house, ordered Chicago deep dish pizza, and played Cards Against Humanity. (It's like Apples to Apples, but much less appropriate/PC and much funnier.)

195/366 ballard locks

Saturday started with another trip to Honore Bakery for breakfast. Then it continued with some Cuban sandwiches from Paseo Caribbean Restaurant for lunch, followed by Chrissy helping me take my weekly self-portrait. (Of course, it wasn't a self-portrait this time, since I didn't bring my tripod.) In the afternoon, we drove back to downtown Ballard and walked around a bit. There was a small Bastille Day celebration, as well as the larger Ballard Seafood Fest, so there was a lot going on that day.

At the appropriate time, we headed over to Staple & Fancy for our dinner reservation. That was the other restaurant idea on my list for this trip, because Steve and I hadn't made it to an Ethan Stowell restaurant on the previous visit. We purchased Ethan Stowell's cookbook last year, so we had even more reason to try out his food this time. And being located in Ballard, Staple & Fancy was the logical choice. Chrissy and Kevin decided to share a first course and an entree, as did Steve and I. For that first pasta course, Steve and I chose the tagliarini with clams, pictured below. It just seemed like an Ethan Stowell dish to me with the fresh pasta and the seafood. It was spicy from the red chiles, but the housemade pasta was great. Meanwhile, Chrissy and Kevin shared the gnocchi. For our entrees, both couples ended up getting the strip loin with apricots and goat cheese. I thoroughly enjoyed it. What's not to like about stonefruit and goat cheese with steak? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

196/366 staple & fancy dinner

That wraps up the first half of the Seattle trip. More in the next post!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

another half

Week 27 began with both the beginning of July and day 183—the halfway point in Project 366. It seems that with each passing year of daily pictures, these milestone pictures get less and less creative. During my first two projects, I tried to do something symbolic of either the day number or the milestone, but I'm a lot less motivated these days. Sometimes, I'm just lucky if I can think of any picture to take for the day.

The Sunday of day 183, Steve and I went to check out Sunday Streets in the neighborhood. It's a program where they close a couple main streets going through a neighborhood on a Sunday so that people can walk or bike freely. Our neighborhood, the Mission, has been participating on the first Sunday of each month this summer, and this was the first time we had gotten around to going. 24th Street was closed to the east from Valencia, but we walked north up Valencia instead. There were various tables set up outside, and some people were doing dance lessons or yoga, but the most interesting to me were the displays from some of the stores. Viracocha, an antiques store, had my favorite. I still haven't worked up the nerve to take pictures inside the store, but I had no problem taking pictures of the display outside. Again, this isn't particularly symbolic for the halfway point, although I suppose there could be something about the typewriter and having half of the project done/written.

183/366 the halfway point

With the halfway picture on July 1st, I decided to take my calendar picture for the month on Monday, the 2nd. I usually find somewhere around the house to take it, but this time, I brought the page with me when I went to Noe Valley to run errands. I hoped to find somewhere to stash it and snap a picture, but that was a little challenging with the wind that day. I ended up using a park bench, which was curved enough to hold the page in place somewhat. It's not necessarily what I had in mind, but at least the green and the outside-ness of it was summer-ish.

184/366 july

That Tuesday, I met Steve downtown for lunch at the Del Popolo pizza truck. We had been thinking about trying it for a while, since the concept of a big wood pizza oven in a food truck was novel, and we finally made it happen. The truck was parked at Mint Plaza, not far from the Powell BART station, so it was certainly convenient. We braved the line and each got a pizza: me, the margherita and Steve, the meat pizza with salami and broccoli rabe. It was a good amount of food, and it was definitely a good pizza for food truck. My only complaint was that the sauce seemed a little overly salty. I'm not sure this beats Zero Zero's pizza, but the truck is probably way cooler.

185/366 margherita del popolo

Wednesday was the Fourth of July, and we all went down to Palo Alto for the usual grilling and chilling at Rob and Traci's house. Elsa spent part of the time napping and the rest of the time entertaining us with her newest tricks. She had just recently learned how to clap, and she was just figuring out how to stand up by herself. At this point, she still wasn't taking steps; she's just started doing that in the last couple weeks. It might be another week or two yet before she's really walking, especially walking like a sober person. We tend to see her a lot on Friday nights before her bedtime, when she's tired and clumsy.

186/366 freestanding elsa

For Thursday's picture, I got out a selection of the baby clothes I had gotten from Tea Collection. They had been having a sale, and when I saw a code for an extra 25% off those prices, I decided to buy some stuff for the baby in various sizes. After all, they're the kind of clothes that I end up drooling over in stores, but I can't really justify paying full price for them. Well, problem solved. Here we have a navy blue sleeper in 0-3 months—the only thing I bought in that size—and a couple sleepers in 3-6 months. The onesie in the back is part of a set in 6-9 months, so the little guy will have cute things to wear at various stages.

187/366 tea collection

Getting out for another walk on Friday afternoon, I went down to Craftsman and Wolves, a new pastry shop on Valencia. Steve and I had gone in briefly on Sunday during Sunday Streets, but I wasn't particularly hungry at the time and didn't feel like wading through the crowd to get something. By contrast, the place was much less crowded on Friday. I got a chocolate croissant stack, sipping chocolate with violet marshmallows, and a pain au cochon to bring home for Steve. I was tempted by the fancier cube cakes too, but the chocolate croissant stack seemed like it would be a better match for the sipping chocolate. And judging by my picture of the day, I was more drawn to that pastry case on this visit. I'll just have to go back for the cube cakes sometime.

188/366 dramatic pastries

Saturday's picture was slightly less exciting. Steve and I headed to the butcher shop that afternoon to get some meat for dinner, and I ended up just shooting the flowering tree that we often pass on the way there.

189/366 flower tree

In the next installment: the beginning of our recent trip to Seattle!