Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Was inspired by this post for dinner last night. This African Pineapple Peanut Stew was inexpensive, quick to prepare, and delicious to eat! It's definitely going into our regular dinner repertoire. We served it over jasmine rice although it would go with almost anything, or would taste great by itself. I think next time I'll add more kale and perhaps some other vegetables. I had to add a good amount of extra salt while cooking but depending on the type of peanut butter you use you might not have the same experience. Had the leftovers for lunch and want to make it again for dinner tonight. We'll see if Matt will go along with the plan.

African Pineapple Peanut Stew (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, large stems discarded, leaves chopped coarse
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
½ cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup peanuts, chopped
1 scallion, sliced

1. Heat the oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until just browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add pineapple to the pot and bring to a simmer; add the greens, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender. Stir in the peanut butter and hot sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Stir in the cilantro just before serving and add salt if necessary. Serve over rice or couscous, garnishing each serving with the peanuts and scallions.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday crafting and yellow kitchen in afternoon sun.

Matt was inspired by Julia Child and made omlettes at 9pm. BEST OMLETTES EVER! It's all in the wrist..... and butter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Letters to a Young Therapist

Spent the past couple of days reading Mary Pipher's "Letter's to a Young Therapist: Stories of Hope and Healing." This is the type of book and advice I have been searching for over the past year. As a new therapist I feel compelled to read and discover the wisdom veteran practitioners bring to their craft. I was struck over and over by the simplicty of her messages, meaning through hope, connection, and love. I feel compelled to incorporate the use of metaphor into my work more often as well. Just this week I used the metaphor, "elephant in the room" (or is it an idiom, I have no idea) with a client and it struck a cord with her.... she had never heard the phrase before but quickly identified with its meaning. Pipher's continual message of self-care and life development resonated loudly with me as well, specifically using the usual "homework" concept to encourage exercise, afternoon walk, reading a book, going to a potluck, or chatting with a friend. These homework tasks are not just for the client but for the therapist as well. I feel refreshed reading this book, a gentle reminder of the slow development of the self as therapist and the simplicity of approaches that can be truly healing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finally got my crafting mojo back. A couple of weeks ago we moved from our apartment to a larger unit upstairs. Love the new place and will post pics of it sometime soon. I finally felt settled enough to set-up my sewing machine. It makes sewing go so smoothly. I've tried my hand at two envelope-style pillows. I followed this really basic tutorial to be sure I got the backs right. One quilted and the other plain. I love how both of them came out! Can't wait to make a matching set and possibly a quilt.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today is the third day of 90-100+ degree temps here in Seattle. It was so hot that my sunglasses cracked. So, while purchasing a 6" fan from the neigborhood drug store I got a new pair of shades:
Life is good.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Beautiful poem, read after a beautiful weekend.... I can't believe I have never come across this before.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrman

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mom's Visit

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but was waiting to upload pics before I published it. Alas, still no pics!

My mom left earlier this week after being here for two weeks. It was so wonderful to see her after being apart for 11 months. We both suffered for a bit from a cold but once everyone was healthy it was a blast! I mentioned going to a bachelorette party but I never wrote about the appetizer I made. I made some baked brie and it was a hit! I definitely think I'll be making it for other gatherings. I omitted the raspberry jam and maple syrup. I really liked this recipe because there is a ton of flexibility for adding different flavors, types of brie, and things to dip etc!

Last week I took Friday off and my mom and I left for an island adventure. The night before we decided to go to the San Juan Islands. I did some quick research and ended up finding a cute place to stay the night. On Friday morning we drive up the Washington coast and took the Anacortes ferry to Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island. The views of the ocean, islands, and mountains along the route were stunning!

After an hour we were driving off the ferry onto the island. Our hotel was super cute and a great price for a summer weekend. It felt like a really upscale european hostle. We spent the next two days exploring the island and soaking up the intense beauty.

The highlight for both of us was watching an Orca whale pod swim just off shore. We had waited for a few hours at the normal viewing spot, reading our books, soaking in the sun etc. From our perch we could see Victoria, B.C. in the distance. The pod ended up heading south again before making it to our area so we decided to go searching. We hopped into our car and drove to the first south location on the island and parked. We were the only ones in the parking lot and started walking down a long path. My mom spotted a dorsal fin way off in the distance and we took off running. It was so hilarious and fun! We ran the .75mi to the coast and had about 15 minutes of watching the whales before they descended.

Back in Seattle on Sunday we wend downtown and took my mom to Dim Sum for her first time. The food was delicious. We tried to make it to a mass moon-walking celebration but lunch went a little too long. We did end up seeing people doing some tribute dancing and singing to Michael Jackson though.

My mom's back home and life is getting back to normal. Hosting a visitor is a blast but really exhausting. I miss my mom and we're already planning our visit back east for Nov. or Dec.
Not sure what this holiday weekend is going to bring but hopefully lots of relaxing and time spent outdoors in the beautiful weather!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A June Weekend.

Busy, busy, busy week and weekend. My mom arrived on Tues. and is visiting here for two weeks. It's great to have her here with us finally! I had a stressful week at work but a fab. weekend! Friday was Leigh's bachelorette party. Saturday was the Fremont Solstice Parade where a little paint went a long way! Awesome tradition!!! What a wacky city :-)

Later that day we went to Leigh and Max's wedding reception in snohomish. We had a blast dancing our tails off with everyone. Today we checked out the Fremont Troll and then went to the Ballard Farmer's Market. We bought some wonderful stuff like Firewood honey, fresh goat cheese, strawberries, rhubarb, rainier cherries, and a gorgeous dark blue and deep purple bouquet! So many treasures to be found there. My mom even discovered there is an entire world of cherries outside of the gross maraschino cherries that go on top of your sundae!
After walking around for a while we bought a brick fired pizza and brought it to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Right as we arrived a Scottish Bag Pipe concert began. We had a little picnic on the grass listening to the music. We then checked out the locks, watched some boats pass through, and then viewed the Steelhead salmon making their way through the ladders. It was a great day overall and so nice to show my mom around the city.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sasquatch '09 re-cap

A month since my last post. The weather has been amazing here in the PNW the past few weeks. Our most recent fun was a roadtrip through the Cascade mountain range to central Washington to Sasquatch music festival. The Gorge one of the most spectacular concert venues in the US or perhaps the world. The show was amazing. We spent the first half of the day lounging in the shade on the hill and enjoying the view. The second half of the day was spent in the crowd, inching our way closer and closer for NIN. We had such a blast and I even discovered a new band. The Avett Brothers are a mixture of bluegrass/southern rock/folk. I'm pretty much a sucker for anything that has a banjo and awesome harmonies. My favorite songs they played were If I Get Murdered in the City and Bella Donna. Matt loved the Nine Inch Nails concert. As always, Trent Reznor was intense and put on a great show. The main reason to go to this show was because it's rumored to be NIN's last tour. A sad day for many fans for sure. I'm so glad we went and were able to enjoy so many different bands. Have to say Murder City Devils was a crazy set. Spencer Moody, the lead singer, went on a crazy rant and was totally nutty! I was competely rivetted the entire time.... didn't know if I should laugh or cringe!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Maui Vacation

Back from a week in Maui, HI. It was paradise! The weather was sunny and in the high 70's-80's, and the water was warm too. Spent the week swimming in the ocean, snorkeling, laying by the beach/pool, and exploring the coast. We had a blast! Drove the road to Hana, it was gorgeous and boasts 600+ turns. Unfortunately, I got a little carsick. I was revived after plunging into a gorgeous and cold waterfall pool. It was one of the most memorable parts of the vacation because I've always wanted to swim in a lush paradise and sit under a waterfall. Snorkeling was amazing too. I had never snorkeled in the ocean before. There were tons of colorful fish all over the place. We even swam with a sea turtle for a bit before it took off. I was always a little bit scared snorkeling fearful of what scary fish (or shark!) we might come upon. Our hotel room was beautiful and even had a view of the beach. The pools were amazing, totally relaxing. Everyone kept assuming we were on a honeymoon and called me Mrs. Wallace over and over. Oh man! I can't wait to go back to Hawaii.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Tuesday's CSA Box:

Mizuna (greens)
Green Beans
Red Onions
Snow Peas
Red Bibb Lettuce
Garnet Yams x2
Hass Avocado
D'anjou Pears
Acorn Squash

The past few weeks we've been drowning in tons of apples, oranges, and grapefruit. We decided to take a break this week so that we can catch up, so we substituted for some extra yams and avocado. Any ideas for good yam recipes? For dinner we made curry and used all of the peas and green beans. I feel like every week is a marathon vegetable eating session! Our neighbor is a member of another CSA that delivers to the apartment so I'm going to compare boxes with him sometime soon too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

long day

Long day at work today. Started it off with a session with a parent who is deeply grieving her child's disability diagnosis. I've been able to be a strong support for her but as our time is drawing to a close I'm realizing how she is just beginning a lifelong journey. Making meaning of a life she never intended and one she still doesn't accept.
Later that day I ended up blowing off a new client's appointment. I had scheduled it over email and forgot to write it in my planner. So embarrassing and a tough way to start with a family. ugh! I'm still getting the hang of keeping all of the little details straight. On the other hand this is the first time since I began working in Nov. that this happened.
Then I ended up doing some coaching of a co-worker. The agency follows a parent coaching model where we utilize consultation with co-workers of different disciplines. I've had a few run-ins with this person who has very strong and often biased/judgmental approach to families. It feels like she's steamrolling all of the time. My skin often bristles when I talk to her! I spent 45 min preparing and getting into a frame of mind where I could enter into a coaching conversation with her. Overall it went well and I was able to stay in control and not react to her comments. Man, but was it ever draining!! It feels like a huge task to be one of two social workers in the entire early intervention agency. I miss the camaraderie of knowing that I had allies and people who shared similar orientations with me. In supervision yesterday I described feeling like I was functioning without a limb, as a result of not having co-workers to process and reflect with on a regular basis.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Ten years after first taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test, I ended up with the same personality type - INFJ.

Your Type is : INFJ
Strength of the preferences %
Qualitative analysis of your type formula
You are:
  • very expressed introvert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed feeling personality
  • slightly expressed judging personality
INFJs are future oriented, and direct their insight and inspiration toward the understanding of themselves and thereby human nature. Their work mirrors their integrity, and it needs to reflect their inner ideals. Solitude and an opportunity to concentrate thoroughly on what counts most is important to them. INFJs prefer to quietly exert their influence. They have deeply felt compassion, and they desire harmony with others. INFJs understand the complexities existing within people and among them. They are at their best concentrating on their ideas, ideals, and inspirations.

This is also the most rare of the 16 personality types with only 1.5% of the population sharing the type. I was curious to retake the test because I remember identifying pretty deeply with the results. Funny how much we feel like we change and grow but certain things remain a constant. You can take the test here. Love this stuff!

Monday, April 6, 2009


Started to get into the crafting routine and then suddenly the weather was too gorgeous to even think about staying inside. I even have the sunburn to prove it :-( !
My first project, and one that took the longest was to purchase a good sewing machine. I spent a long time trying out machines in different shops and scouring craigslist. It took awhile but I finally found an awesome machine. At first I was completely against getting a computerized sewing machine but after trying it out and at such a great price I went for it! There are a ton of embroidery stitches and other tricks still to be discovered. I think the best part of the machine is the needle threader. It also has a feature for quilting where the top and bottom layers of fabric are both pulled at the same speed. My first fun project was to make a potholder. I chose this so I could make something quickly, practice quilting, and we actually needed one! The crafting trifecta.
There are are a milion other things I want to make. My latest inspirations have been this and this. For the second quilt I checked out the book from the Seattle Public Library only to find that the pattern templates weren't inside! Big bummer! Still trying to decide if it's worth it to purchase the book. I'm thinking that making a mini-quilt will be a good starting off project. My biggest hurdle is building up my fabric stash. Such a hard job! ;-) I think I can handle it. Got most of my fabric from a yardsale a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Winter '09

Already been in Seattle for 6 months. Despite some freak snow, this winter has been much more like a New England spring. I'm not missing the bitter cold one bit! Can't wait for short/t-shirt weather to come around. Life has settled into a more comfortable routine which has led me to begin dreaming of what is to come. Got excited about planning to travel the world for a year in a few years. Funny how I'm always thinking about the next adventure! Matt and I will be spending a week in Maui at the end of April. I'm ecstatic and can't wait for a relaxing beach vacation! We've just started planning more specifics and figuring out what we want to do when we're not on the beach. All I really need is a chair, book, and my kite and I'll be all set. Well, maybe a beer/cocktail too!

Work has been going great, especially as everything is more familiar. I still can't believe that I was hired for this job right out of school. I'm getting lots of practice doing counseling with adults and also learning about attachment and social-emotional health and development of children. I still laugh about my declarations early on in my MSW training that I would never work with children. I feel such joy on a daily basis as a result of being with kids. It really is such a pleasure. Makes me excited about my own, although I'm learning more and more about the challenges of parenting.

Bought a really nice used sewing machine from a woman on craigslist a couple of weeks ago. It's a Pfaff 2030, and has a bunch of different embroidery stitches. I'm still getting used to the basics, never mind all of the bells and whistles. My first project was a potholder and it came out great. I'll post a pic of it soon. I've also repaired some clothing and hemmed a couple pairs of pants. My current project is a doll-sized quilt. Exercising my creative brain is energizing! I forget what an important outlet crafting is for me.

Pics to come later.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barak Obama!!!

Seattle is foggy and gray today. M and I are sitting on the couch together. We stayed home from work today to see the historic Inauguration of Barak Obama. I feel the tides changing. It was a long long long, painful eight years. Thank you Obama!

The trip!!

It has been several months from my last post. The cross-country trip was spectacular! We visited so many landmarks and beautiful landscapes of the USA.

Saying goodbye to everyone in VT and Melrose. Picking Matt up from the airport after missing him so much while he was in FL. Packing the car, trying to fit everything. So sad to leave everyone. Dinner at Brooksby with Anma and everyone else. Calvin's parting firework!;

Visiting and dinner with the Amherst gang. Warren's gin and tonics....;

Feeling the freedom of the road after leaving Amherst. Hooting and hollering with joy... knowing that our lives were changing!;

Double rainbows at Niagara Falls. Pitching the tent for the first time after ominous clouds, high winds, and a downpour; Crossing from Canada into Michigan.;

Camping at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; huge bugs hitting and swarming the car... then they chased Matt around the site..... Deciding that the Aerobed was way too tall to fit in the tent, as our heads were super close to the top;

The beautiful campground site at Myre-Big Island State Park. Long winding walk through fields by the lake. Deer eating and sleeping... gorgeous pink sunset.... Doe and fawns across the site... bunnies everywhere... first campfire of the trip.... Racoons in the tree above our tent freaking us out during the middle of the night, mistaking them for large deer!;

More to come......