August 24, 2011

Summer 2011 and onward

Mr. EV and Buffy taking a driving break at the Columbia River Basin.

I've been distracted. From weeks of thinking my elderly dog was dying to multiple house problems in Madison, to SUN and extremely warm weather, to moving, I've been distracted, and just couldn't seem to focus the time and energy needed to write this blog. I'm still distracted, but missing the vegan blog community and my blog, so I'm giving the blog another shot.

Are we there yet? This trip is making me tired.

My dog survived the summer and the road trip to and from Madison, Wis., to Seattle, and though she's 19, she's doing well.

This is what a hail-damaged roof with defective shingles looks like.

The Madison house got a new roof, and eight feet of new pipe under the concrete basement floor (plus a new floor over the pipe). I never thought we'd see the end of the dirt and mud tracking up the basement steps, and I couldn't believe the mountain of rubble piled on the basement floor. We were pretty stressed out during the period while all this was occurring (no water in the kitchen, no clear end in sight, scheduling headaches, etc.) but no point in complaining now. At least the new tenants won't have to worry about the drain baking up and flooding the basement. Been there done that.

That's a pretty short description of three months worth of time, and it doesn't mention all the good times of enjoying summer in the Midwest — seeing friends being the most important — great meals, shopping at the Pink Poodle with my next door neighbor, etc. etc. Even though I wasn't blogging, I was still taking lots of pictures, and I'll share them from time to time in future posts.

Laloofa is in the middle.

I would like to mention one special event on our way back to Seattle. I had a blogger meetup with Laloofa (Mehitable Days) in Sheridan Wyo.

She's just as delightful in person as she is on her blog, and I wish we lived closer to each other so we could get together often. We shared a breakfast in the park with Mr. EasyVegan, Laloofa's friend Robin, and Buffy.

This pic of me and Mr. EV was taken by Laloofa. He's wearing his "stand with Wisconsin" t-shirt, because heaven knows, we do!

Here are two more images from our return trip to Seattle. They are from the Columbia River Basin in Eastern Washington.

We're in our new house in Seattle now (built in 1912, so not exactly new), and we're on our way to getting it furnished. The house is small — only two bedrooms and one bath plus an attic room, and we're doing a lot of craigslist and consignment shop shopping. (We rent out our Madison house to visiting academics, furnished, so we're pretty much starting from scratch here as far as furniture goes.) The mattress came from a store, the rugs are new, and the sofa has been ordered, but nearly everything else is recycled, 'cause that's the way we like it.

A slightly demented Miss E finds a new use for the built-in bookcase that will eventually house some playthings for her to use when she visits.

We're looking at a craigslist bookcase this evening, and I hope we like it — and, more importantly, can carry it! — because it would really be great to be able to unpack the cookbooks. :) Mostly we like the house, but although I consider myself pretty observant, I'm amazed on a daily basis to discover things I hadn't noticed when we were looking at the house to buy. And I'm not talking about good things. Sigh.


Recipe testing, again
This is a food blog so I should post something food-related, and as I'm testing recipes for a new slow-cooker cookbook by Robin Robertson, I'll share a few photos of some of the recipes I've tried so far:

Potatoes with tomatoes and butter beans

Creamy polenta with mushroom ragú

Braised Manchurian-style cauliflower


I recommend keeping this cookbook on your radar because based on what I've tasted, it's going to be a good one.



If I'd posted this back in July when I'd first read about it, it would be news. Now it's old news. Any Lost fans out there? Jorge Garcia ("Hugo") is now a vegan. Here's a link to his blog.

Meatless vs. local (from the Vegetarians of Washington newsletter)
It turns out that what's in your grocery bag may matter even more than how far it traveled to get there when it comes to climate change.

A new study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University has just concluded that going meatless has a much bigger impact on global warming than going local with your food choices. 83% of the average U.S. household's carbon footprint for food comes from growing and producing it, and this is where meat is particularly harmful. Transporting the food to the point of purchase only accounts for 11%. In fact, the researchers found that going meatless for just one day had a greater impact than going entirely local for a whole week. This is in line with the UN report that said that raising livestock caused more global warming than all the cars, buses, trucks, trains, planes, boats and ships in the world put together.

Spam I am
I know all bloggers get spammed, but every once in a while I get one so weird I just want to share (minus the spam link). This particular spammer wants to send you to a page about car roof racks, but with translation this remarkable, the message has become rather obscure. I'm glad Blogger does such a remarkable job of flagging and removing spam that my readers never see it, unless, of course, I choose to share. :) Here it is:

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Vida Vegan Con

In just two days I'm headed to Portland for Vida Vegan Con, and am pretty excited. Mr. EV is going too, and we're taking the train, so even getting there and back should be fun. Is anyone reading this going? I want to meet you!


  1. Yay! You made it back, and with Buffy all in one piece!!!!!

    It is so great to see you online. Now I'd better do the same.

  2. So glad to see you back on the blog! And soooo happy to hear that Buffy is doing all right. Sounds like you've been very busy--the meetup looks like so much fun. And all that amazing tester food!

    Have a great time at VVC. I'll be thinking of you all there having a blast! :)

  3. Claire,
    Yup, we're back in Seattle again, and it's hardly rained at all. It's not like summer in Wisconsin, but it's not bad. Miss you, though! I hope you'll post more pics from China.

    Thanks! I wish you were coming to the conference. Maybe next year, if we're still blogging — or even if we're not!

  4. Uff, sounds like you had a really tough summer! I am really, really glad to hear Buffy is feeling better.

  5. Looks so great! My aunt actually just drove from Chicago to go the the farmer's market in Madison! NOW she is talking about moving!

  6. Mihl,
    For a 19-year-old dog, Buffy is doing great, and I'm grateful for every days she's with us.

    Get Skinny,
    Madison is a wonderful place to live, though the weather can be a challenge for some, not to mention the mosquitoes. The farmers market is spectacular, though a bit too crowded for me so I go to our neighborhood farmers market — not as large and beautiful, but much more manageable. I'm glad your aunt enjoyed it!

  7. Welcome back! Wishing you all the best with the new home and sending good thoughts to your pooch :-)

  8. Welcome back Andrea!

    So glad that Buffy is doing well's so terrible to have health worries with our animal friends.

    Sounds like a summer of hard work around the house, but I know you loved being in Wisconsin. Congrats on your "new" house here too! We're living in a rental that was built in 1904, so have an idea what the challenges might be, but I'm sure you guys will have it dressed up and comfy in no time.

    So fun that you got to meet Laloofa...I have a suspicion that she would be a very fun person to live near...we'll have to talk her into moving up here.

    Of course, all the food looks great!

    Have fun in Portland! The train ride down is nice. I'm not going, but I'll be thinking of you sampling all the yummy vegan delights which will no doubt abound!

    That spam is too funny! I'm going to check my spam filter now and see if I have any funnies there. :)

    Of course, all the food looks great:

  9. Abby,
    Thanks. Buffy needs all the good thoughts she can get.

    The rental we lived it the last two years was around the same age as yours, and our house in Madison is from 1916. Sometimes I wonder if we should just live somewhere new for once. A new house with BIG closets would be nice. Or any closets.

    It was great meeting Laloofa. I wonder who I'll meet in Portland! Wish you were coming, too.

  10. Your pup and one of my kitties are the same age. I didn't think she would make it through the summer, either, and am so thankful that she's doing well. I'll be sending good thoughts to your sweetie!

    I saw Laurie's post about the meetup, but it didn't click that oen of the people was you! That's great that you got to meet. I love that Stand With Wisconsin shirt. :)

    Have fun at Vida Vegan Con!

  11. Molly,
    Sometimes I feel really sad when I look at Buffy's quiet life now, and remember when she used to run and play with so much enthusiasm.I just try to give her as much love as possible.

    Yup. That was me at the Sheridan meetup. Got to go pack for tomorrow — I hate packing to go somewhere.

  12. Wow, so much great stuff in this post, it'll be impossible to keep my comment brief. Your son would NOT be pleased with us. LOL

    I'm glad to hear that sweet Buffy continues to do well. I agree it's very hard to see anyone we love go from youthfully vigorous to elderly and frail, but I'm glad she's still with you to give and receive love. Give her a kiss for me!

    Seeing the photos of some of the home repairs you were up against was even more dramatic than hearing about them, and I am glad that ordeal is behind you! May you enjoy smooth sailing and only manageable and fun projects in your new old home. Sounds like it's coming together nicely, and I'll bet you've got it looking cozy and adorable! I'm not surprised to hear you're discovering things now that you're in it (do wish they were fun things, though!) There is just too much to take in and things you're bound to be unable to notice no matter how many times you may look at a house.

    Our meetup was SUCH fun, I'm really glad we were able to do that! And thank you (and Rose! Wish you could have joined us!) very much for your kind words! BW didn't even get to join in the festivities (to his sorrow), yet as we've looked at houses for sale he has, on a couple of occasions, said, "This would be a great place for another vegan meetup!" The two places he said that about are the two that made the final cut, too. :-)

    That is some arid country you photographed, hard to believe it's in the same state as wet Seattle!

    Slightly demented Miss D ~ lol! She looks pretty thrilled with her bookcase cubby!

    Oh my. The food! I gotta have me some of those first two dishes especially! You and Rose have conspired to make me crave polenta - haven't had any in quite a long time.

    I never watched "Lost," and had never heard of Jorge Garcia, but I'm always thrilled to learn that someone has joined our jolly vegan ranks. :-)

    How come my blog spams are always lame-o? If I'm going to get them, I wish they'd at least be entertaining. Plus, my heap could really use a scourge of an artless befitting roof rack. (This was hysterical, thanks for sharing it!)

    Have a blast in Portland, Andrea! Looking forward to your Vida Vegan posts, and am sure you'll be meeting lots of interesting and wonderful people there! I wish Rose and I could be there too (though I probably lack the proper "food blogger" credentials to get in!) :-)

  13. Laloofa,
    Just left Buffy with her caretaker for the weekend, and am feeling anxious about leaving her.

    Eastern Wash. looks remarkably like New Mexico, with its arid landscape. The mountains create very different climates for Eastern and Western Washington.

    I highly recommend polenta — it can be so creamy and comforting, or crisply fried or broiled for a different effect, and I love the taste.

    Glad you enjoyed the weird spam — must have gone directly through a not-so-accurate translator. Pretty funny, though. :)

    We're headed to the train station just about now so I guess I should turn off the computer and put my lunch in the backpack!

  14. Andrea ~ We love polenta, just haven't had any (except at a restaurant) in so long, I need to make some. And I've never made it from scratch, so maybe I need to try that!

    Tell Miss E I apologize for my typo, it was a goof made in haste. At least I promoted her a letter, but goodness knows what it did to her actual name! :-)

    Have fun! The train ride alone would be a thrill for me, I've made polenta even more recently than I've ridden a train! I'm sure Buffy will be fine, though you'll owe her some goodies from Portland when you get home. ;-)

  15. I am so glad to see you posting again! I was worried--I was going to send you an e-mail, actually ;-) I am glad you made it back to Seattle safely and that Buffy made it too. Have fun at the blogger conference!


  16. It was so great to meet you at VVC! I look forward to you posting more :)

  17. The pics of Eastern Washington almost made me homesick. Almost. I grew up there, but I'm not proud of it!

    Your home improvement (destruction?) photos made me cringe for you. And, believe me, I feel your pain, sister! New homes are overrated, actually. We moved from a brand new (when we bought it)house to our current groovy 1970s shack and I must say that I like the older "character-rich" house much better. Even though it's more work.

    I have RR's previous slowcooker cookbook and I didn't think I needed another one. Until I read this post. The food looks fantastic!

    I'm glad to see you back!

  18. Laloofa,
    You can bake it in the oven — no muss no fuss. I have a recipe somewhere.

    Buffy survived in good spirits!

    Thanks for thinking about me! I just got overwhelmed with life and needed some time away from the Internet. We'll see if it was enough time. :)

    Loved meeting you, too! I just wish I'd met you earlier in the weekend so I could have talked to you more. Next time!

    I love the Eastern Wash. scenery.

    I think we'll be sharing many house woe stories in the future. It's inevitable when you live in an antique. But let's assume the worst is over and all will be smooth sailing in the future. Enjoy your funky new house. The setting sounds gorgeous.

  19. Oh your sweet dog!... I can only imagine how worried you are.. what a beautiful Pup... RUFF RUFF... Lovely doggy!

  20. Melody,
    She's a sweetheart, but 19 is a hard age for a dog.


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