I LIVED!!!! To celebrate, here is a GIGANTIC picture of me shortly before my rarely-discussed first wedding. It was the ’80s, so I was wearing a lot of eye makeup.

op11

I have turned the corner on my terrible case of consumption, though not before having a full on breakdown in the car and sobbing to Mark about how, and I quote myself directly here, “I’m just SO NICE!”. He was pretty good about it, but later that evening very gently said, “I really hope you get better soon”, and I know it wasn’t because he was worried about my cough.

Ahem. Anyway, things are looking up! It’s supposed to be 22 degrees here on Easter Sunday, and I am once again reminded of why I moved away from horrible snowy Calgary to this hippie paradise.

We did make it over to Vancouver. We had originally wanted to go to Vij’s (I’ve been wanting to for years because LAMB POPSICLES), but I refused to go when I couldn’t taste properly. Instead we did a lot of beer drinking, mostly at the fantastic Alibi Room, where we went two days in a row for their stellar beer selection and ridiculously good chicken wings. I also had a flight of whiskey at The Irish Heather, because we’re going to Ireland in June and, like any possible future librarian, I take research very seriously.

The highlight of the trip was seeing the amazing Josh Ritter. This is now the fifth time I’ve seen him live, and he just gets better and better. I love this dude so much that it’s slightly obscene. I once wrote him an absolutely wacko letter and sent him a really ugly green scarf, and he was nothing but gracious in return. Also, the second Christmas we were dating, I told Mark that what I really wanted was a pocket-sized Josh Ritter I could carry around in my pocket. I sent him this incredible picture to illustrate what I meant:

fantasy

When we exchanged gifts, he gave me a stainless steel flask engraved with the classic phrase, “I’ve made a huge mistake”, and this adorable 5-inch-tall figurine. I pretty much had to marry him after that.

smalljoshritter

Anyway, Mr. Ritter was his usual joyful self. If you’ve seen him perform, you’ll know what I mean when I say that his smile could power a train. He is so unabashedly grateful and happy about what he gets to do for a living, and it’s basically the most endearing thing to see. Aside from this, obviously:

lukascarf

We also made it to Finch’s, the most adorable little coffee shop. Its tweeness can be a bit suffocating at times, and it’s run by a bunch of hipsters, so it’s not the most efficient place (they forgot my second boiled egg not once but twice!), but the masala chai is amazing (and I’ve had my fair share of chai since I receive at least one or two packets of tea as gifts each year for some reason, and also I’ve had it on the roadside in India), and no one can more artfully arrange an avocado. NO ONE, I say.

finchs

finchbreakfast

After Vancouver, I took a very short road trip to Seattle with my best friend and a car full of bridesmaids, where we hit up bridal stores, ate a lot of serious pie, and I accidentally bought an $8 chocolate bar filled with crumbled potato chips. Totally worth it, obviously.

Back to reality now and that includes a bunch of recipes I want to share, and also a free embroidery pattern coming soon! Here are a couple more pictures of my buddy for you (no judgment on the bra picture, he was feeling self conscious about lack of exercise).

lukabra

lukawateringcan

 

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Guys, I’m pretty sure I have consumption. I know that’s super old-timey, but I’ve looked up a lot of the symptoms and I’m like 99% sure I have it. Been feeling sick for the last few weeks, and it sort of waxes and wanes, but Monday night I went to bed with a killer sore throat and since then, I’ve just been a disgusting mess. I went to the doctor yesterday and he was all, “No, no, it’s just a viral infection” but I think he was witholding the truth from me. I’ll try to be brave and saintly like Beth in Little Women, but given my admitted history of sick behaviour, I’ll probably act more like this.

I feel so much guilt about being sick, probably because I was once sent to school with pneumonia (sorry, mom, you know it’s true), and also because I hate missing out on things. I’ve missed two weeks of choir in a row and feel super stressed about that. We’re supposed to go to Vancouver tomorrow to see my boyfriend play, but I don’t know. I kind of just want to sleep for a week and see if that fixes stuff.

Given my terrible vintage disease, not much has happened in the past week, but I did put socks on Luka.

lukasocks1

lukasocks2

And I also baked a bourbon chocolate pecan pie for Mark’s cousin Lisa. She loooooves this pie so much that it makes me laugh. I use this recipe, add a couple squares of semi-sweet chocolate and also a healthy splash of spiced rum or bourbon, because why wouldn’t you? I also usually use a cheater crust since it’s all about the filling with this one.

pie

If I don’t succumb to my terrible disease, I’ll be back soon with more recipe stuff (including an amazing French lentil salad recipe from Mark) and new embroidery. If I DO succumb, please make sure James Brown is played at my funeral. I am not even a tiny bit kidding.

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seattleaquarium

Four years ago today, Mark proposed to me in this exact spot outside the Seattle Aquarium. It was a bit random, which I liked very much. It was Friday the 13th. I had lost a crown while biting into a piece of salmon that morning at Pike Place Market, so I was rather distracted. Also, I hadn’t wanted to leave the hotel room in the first place — I was busy soaking up an old episode of Full House (we didn’t have a TV then and I was always transfixed by them when we stayed at hotels). We had dinner reservations, but the restaurant was just down the street, so there was really no hurry. Mark kept trying to get me to turn the TV off so we could go for a walk before dinner; he was oddly insistent on it, which is super out-of-character for him, so really I should have known something was up, but I didn’t. We went for our walk, down by the pier, and I know now that he was trying to find a place that didn’t have people around, but this was fairly hard in downtown Seattle on a Friday night. Eventually we wandered over to the aquarium. I was leaning on a railing, gazing out at the water, absentmindedly probing at the newly-gaping hole in my mouth (thankfully it was a molar so you couldn’t really notice), thinking about seals. I turned around and there he was on one knee, proffering this beautiful ring that he designed himself. I was in such shock, all I could do was curse. Clouds of expletives flew out of my mouth and I just stared at him, repeating filthy words over and over again. He eventually asked me to throw a “yes” in there, and I did. We made it to Le Pichet, a restaurant I’d been longing to go to mainly to order their famous roast chicken, which takes an hour to make and serves two people. I’d been dreaming of this chicken — this was before I could handily roast one myself (humblebrag) and I’d read extensively about how good this particular piece of poultry was. We ordered it, as well as some champagne. I then proceeded to alternately cry and laugh throughout the entire meal. I ate about two bites of that chicken, and we couldn’t take it back to the hotel because we didn’t have a fridge in our room. We stopped at a corner store on the way back to pick up a calling card so we could phone our moms, as well as some wine. I fell off the curb and hurt my ankle. I woke up the next morning at 6 am and took a weepy shower, still trying to fully comprehend the whole thing. I was almost scared by how happy I was.

I know how nauseating all of that probably seems. Sometimes I’m even a little embarrassed at how much I love being married. I didn’t have the best examples of happy marriages, though Mark did, and I never in a million years thought it would happen for me, let alone at a relatively young age. Though I know it’s not effortless — we both work really hard at our marriage — it is easy for me in a way that no other relationships in my life have ever been. I could write a million more posts about him, and I probably will, but here’s one last thing: If we end up having a kid that’s even half as decent and kind (and unendingly patient) as he is, I’ll be overjoyed.

markpia

Spring is coming, and we have more light in the evening, and I cannot stress how much this has affected my mood. It’s amazing! I wish I could be taking advantage of this gorgeous weather by walking Luka, but he cut his paw pretty badly a couple of weeks ago and is currently waiting for five stitches to heal. He has a little doggie cast and we put a sock on him when he goes outside, and he has to wear the cone of shame when we leave him at home alone. Poor guy. On a related note, I signed up for pet insurance today, something I originally thought was a huge scam, but given the thousands we’ve spent at the vet since we adopted him five months ago, it seems like a no-brainer.

Been in the kitchen a lot lately, inspired by all the cookbooks I own and the hundreds of internet recipes I have bookmarked. I’ve been making this for lunch quite a a bit, though I usually top it with a fried or poached egg for some added protein. And also because I devoutly subscribe to the theory that a fried egg makes pretty much everything taste better (like leftover toasted, buttered cornbread OH MAN I WANT SOME CORNBREAD).

cauliflower

chocolate cake

oj

I also finally finished a quilt I’ve been working on for a while — I’m calling it my Februweary lap quilt, because I did most of the piecing during some especially soul-suckingly grey February days. I really like this one, and contemplated making it a full-size quilt, but ended up being too lazy and wanting it done quickly…even though it still took me about six weeks from start to finish. I used this quilt block and it came together pretty quickly.

quilting

quiltfront

quiltback

quiltcloseup

quiltbinding

signedquilt

Sneak peek of new embroidery pattern (inspired by Mr. Tom Haverford) and some vintage embroidery patterns my mother-in-law passed on to me. Some of them are from the early ’40s! I’m probably gonna embroider everything in our house. Luka had better watch out.

vintagetransfers

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fotc

Listen, I’m a happily married lady, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have other boyfriends, right? I hope not, ’cause I have at least 20 of them. Josh Ritter, Taye Diggs, Steve Buscemi (yes, you read that right), Benedict Cumberbatch (but only as Sherlock), Jet Li, Peter Dinklage, Jon Hamm, Michael Vartan (I watched a lot of Alias in university), Luka the dog, Willem Dafoe, Kyle Chandler (as Coach Taylor, obviously), John Krasinski, what’s-his-face who plays Ron Swanson, Idris Elba…

The list goes on. And on. High up on that list are the two super-fine specimens from Flight of the Conchords, Bret and Jemaine. I have literally rambled to Mark for minutes at a time about how I can’t decide which one is hotter. I might not be the best wife ever. Anyway, this cross-stitch pattern (which I designed in Berlin during a rather unhappy period) is a tribute to those beautiful singing New Zealanders.

Check it out here!

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…of things that, without fail, make me cry.

  1. The last three minutes of the Freaks and Geeks finale — that entire Grateful Dead song, Lindsay telling her mom, “I love you” at the bus depot, and then everything that follows (I won’t spoil it, because if you haven’t seen it you should drop everything and watch the entire series RIGHT NOW). Perfection.
  2. The last paragraph of this chapter of one of my favourite books, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. More poignant if you’ve read the book and know the context of the relationship, but still such beautiful writing on its own.
  3. The dedication from the seventh and final Harry Potter novel. I don’t know what it is about this, but I completely lose my shit every single time I read it. One time Heidi and I were sitting in a restaurant talking about it and we both started weeping. Coming-of-age stories always slay me; the series finale of The Wonder Years evokes the exact same hysterics.

…of recipes I could make and eat daily:

  1. This coconut lentil soup. We always, and I mean ALWAYS, have some in the freezer. We’re making it tonight! It is a culinary miracle. Although raisins are obviously the devil’s turds tears so we leave those out.
  2. Mushroom bourgignon from Smitten Kitchen. Deb (I like to imagine we’re on a first name basis) is my cooking guru and I have never once been led astray by her. She also has the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.
  3. Last but not least, this ridiculously dense, rich chocolate cake, something I love so much that I made 10 of them and served them at our wedding (totally copying Molly). We received so many compliments on it and I make one every year on our anniversary.

…of things that make me laugh like an idiot:

  1. Bizkit the Sleepwalking Dog. I just…I can’t even. It’s the best thing I’ve ever seen.
  2. Our friends Eve and Justin have a five-year-old son named Oliver who is basically the coolest, funniest kid ever. A couple of years ago, I was over at their house for a visit, and Oliver looked up from playing and asked me, “Umm…do you have legs?” I answered in the affirmative, and then he said, “Yeah, my grandma and grandpa have legs too. Legs are AWESOME.” I would like to give birth to a child exactly like this.
  3. This whole piece on the perils of drinking. Vintage Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert. Yum.

…of my top three favourite pictures of Luka with stuff on his head:

1.

lukajustinbieber

2.

lukawoodenspoon

3.

lukawoods

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