Kevin and the Tank

Kevin’s been working obscene hours recently (ie. since October), so he’s rarely shown up for blog-worthy photos. But, at only 9pm (!!), here he is, hanging out with the dudes.

He nearly looks healthy in this picture, which must be a trick of the light. I started complaining insistently when his face looked white and purple.

Our bottom tank is a refugium and the lights run about 3 hours earlier, so Kevin was looking at everything with a flashlight.

We moved the green star polyps down to the refugium when they just were not thriving, and for the last few months, they’ve been healthy-bodied and a deep florescent kelly green at the tips. They blow about in the current and just generally look wonderful.

Almost Crocuses

Late Feruary seems to be bulb time in Seattle. The weather still hasn’t evened out — one day it’s seventies and sunny, and they for the next two weeks it’s deep clouds and forties. This weekend has been the latter, which doesn’t lend itself to plant photos.

After giving up for two days, I finally decided to just take photos with a flash. The deeply exciting part is that these pictures were taken on a dark day at 5:15, and yet the sky is still light. We’re making progress!!

Here are the almost-crocuses. I check on them every morning, and while they get closer and closer, they haven’t quite bloomed yet. Soon!!

The front porch is doing better. My daffodils are sprouting more heads by the day. They do tend to reflect the flash, though, so sorry for the crummy lighting.

I’m ready for spring!!

Gardening roundup

Yesterday was in the lower sixties and gorgeous. It’s been the first weekend day that I’ve been tempted to head out to the deck and spend time on the planters. Venturing out the back door was highly rewarded. My strawberry planter has been filled with moss since October. A lot of the strawberry plant died back during the December snow storm and the subsequent January hoopla, but there’s still a strong little plant there. And, do you see the four surprises?

Namely, crocuses! I bought an almost-blooming crocus at the grocery store last year when Kevin admitting to not knowing what they were. In my New England world view, they’re the emblem of spring, spiking through the oak leaves (and sometimes through the snow) to be the first flowers. Neither oak leaves nor snow are in vogue here, and the arrival is a good month or two too soon, but I was delighted to see the replanted bulbs sprouting! They weren’t there yesterday, so in typical crocus fashion, they suddenly have an inch and a half on the world.

Also on the back deck, my irises bounced back from the storm (where they looked drowned and pathetic) and have sent up a zillion new shoots. These were a gift from Ava’s garden (my boss times three), and I haven’t seen them bloom yet. I thought they wouldn’t get enough sunlight to grow, let alone flower, but a season later, they look so healthy. Here’s to blooms! I can’t wait.

The mystery plant in this pot has come to life. I suspect that it’s mint. The stems look really strong, so I’m hoping it has a great season.

And, one of the first plants I bought in Washington was a little thing of chives. They just died convincingly in late December, but now there are a ton of spiky shoots. It lives! Can’t wait to cook with this one again!

More tulips

After a week, the tulips are ebullient, twisty-stemmed, and nearly 9 inches taller. We have a bonus room at the top of the stairs where I have all of my stuff: computer, books, files, yarn. Coming up the stairs after work, all you see is tulips.

The room has huge windows and gets tons of sun, so the cut tulips just thrive and grown and bend during the day.

Such great flowers.

One year = One batch of brownies

People at work tend to bring in n pounds of something for n years of being at the company. I think it’s a neat tradition. This week was my one year anniversary, and so I brought in one pound of M&Ms scattered across one batch of brownies. The Valentines M&Ms come in three colors of pink plus white and red, so they looked pretty on the brown background. The picture came out harshly, since our kitchen is dark on cloudy mornings, but I wanted to mark the occasion with a post anyway. 🙂

Speaking of work, I haven’t posted about my herbs recently. The holidays meant over a week with no water, and most of them didn’t make it. So, the first week of January, I planted new seeds. The basil (far right) is everywhere, and seems totally unphased when I pull leaves off for my sandwich. The lemon balm (next pot, clockwise) is going strong and the cotyldons are making way to real leaves. The chives actually made it through the break, and are also delicious. I finally have a good crop of lavendar in the next pot. I doubt my CF bulb is enough light for it, since it’s so leggy, but it’s actually growing, so that feels successful. The back pot has sweet peas, but they aren’t expected to pop up for another week or two, so for the moment, I’m just keeping it watered.

And then, they’ve been letting me manage a project, so I have a huge chart up on the board and a highlighter to fill green for the spots where we’re done. The little things…

But given that both of my previous year’s one-year-anniversaries have been the day I’ve quit, this is an exciting landmark. To many more!

My wedding planning spot

This has been my frequent after-work spot for several weeks. Feed the dudes, fix dinner, kick off my shoes, turn on my daylight compact florescent lamps, and pull up the foot rest. Then research things on the laptop and send out emails to Kevin, who’s been working late for ages. Note the huge pile of post it notes on one side, and full pages of notes and photocopies on the other. There’s even a ubiquitous Maui guidebook on the arm of the futon. They’re littered all over the apartment.

I just realized this week that we’re down to three and a half months before the wedding. How terrifying. Not from a joint-life-together standpoint (I’m *totally* ready for that), but from a planning standpoint. It’s really not that many workdays to make all of the calls to east coast businesses during work hours. Scary.

Speaking of planning, I know from my link tracker that there are a few Boston-area readers. Do any of you happen to know of any great DJs? We’re looking for someone who can play quiet, ambient music during dinner, and get people to dance after, but won’t be an emcee. Most of the cross-country planning has actually been going very well, especially given my Mom’s organization, but this has been a stalling point. Non-Boston crowd, if any of you have thoughts where to look, I’d be very open to suggestions. (We’re leery of Craigslist since we can’t meet or screen ahead of time, but everything else is on the table.)

Teeny knitting

When the project is this tiny, a little bit of knitting goes a long way. Here’s the knitting after day two:

Can you believe that the split for the armholes came after only 3 and a quarter inches?

Here’s a closeup of the shell edging at the hip — totally worth the effort. 🙂

The exciting part is that decreasing at the end of every row is conforming perfectly to my 45-degree graph paper slope. Very cool. I’ve divided for the upper body, and just have the back, two fronts, and very teeny sleeves to go.

Tulip season: post one of many

We’ve hit my favourite time of year. Starting in late January, the grocery stores around here have bunches of gorgeous tulips at three bunches of five for ten dollars. In a few weeks, they’ll be even cheaper. During my errands this weekend, I bought a new littler vase and pretty pebbles from Crate and Barrel in honour of the season.

The flowers are still wrapped tight, but the stems have grown several inches overnight. I love tulips.

Suddenly, a new project

Friends from my Brown dinner group just delivered a baby eight and a half weeks early. I’d been plannning a sweater, but when she arrived so early, the need became a bit more pressing. The baby seems to be doing incredibly well (even if all of my news is filtered through a pair of very proud parents), but at 2 lbs, 12.5 ounces, she’s tiny. The parents are also amazingly positive — I’ve been so impressed. I want Kathy and James to have some sort of girly, cute baby clothes to put on her (regardless of whether they’re really useful in NICU — I called the hospital to ensure that they’d at least be allowed), so I’ve been researching and designing. The internet resources are sparse — I’ve never encountered that before for knitting patterns. So many of the patterns and clothes available online for premies are burial gowns, which made most of the research phase sad and depressing.

Given how lively she is, and the lack of great patterns online, I decided to design Claire her own sweater. Lots of research on premie sizes and NICU recommendations for clothing, and I’m still not sure I have the perfect mix. She seems very tall for her height at almost 15 inches.

My plan is a wrap cardigan that will be fastened by a cute plastic button and have a fancy edge. I find it’s hard not to put a million details into everything when I make my own version, so I’m trying to exercise restraint. I designed it on graph paper (4 squares = 1 inch), and have been knitting off of that. I underestimated the complexity of the knitting. It’s the Lacy Shells pattern from Knitting on the Edge, modified to have only one row of eyelets. I was planning for it to take about 45 minutes, but it took nearly 3 hours. Oops. Here’s a picture of the progress before I head off to bed.