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Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodies: Summer Bungalo

This print of original mixed media art really captured my attention. I can sit here and look and look and look while my imagination runs wild. Summer pinned to an 11" x 14" piece of paper

I just love what I can find on etsy.


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My Bookstore

My favorite place to write is at the local bookstore. Sure, I could write at home, but there are too many distractions. Writing in a cafe can be difficult due to the noise level and it carries the prerequisite of purchasing a coffee or other such item, a habit I've been trying to significantly restrict. The library does not sell nor allow snacks or beverages, and at times it can be downright intimidating.

At my bookstore (did I just say my bookstore? Why, yes I did. That's how I feel about it.), I can settle in to my table by the window, plug in the laptop or whip out a notebook and write away while noshing on my brought from home snacks and beverages.

At my bookstore I can focus. It's familiar enough to feel homey, yet there are no nagging obligations. I can turn off the phone, I don't have to look at the dirty dishes, if the bathroom needs to be cleaned, it will be done by someone other than me.

And my bookstore has air conditioning. It's been in the 90s lately, and this little girl from Alaska has no air conditioning in her apartment and is having some difficulty managing the heat gracefully.

I went to my bookstore to escape the heat and get some work done and discovered that my bookstore is being remodeled. Books piled up on carts rather than bookshelves. The shelves pushed around in strange configurations. A huge 3000 square foot area is cleared out and empty save a few piles of rubbish.

This huge cleared out area is the area in which my table used to sit next to my window, where I would occasionally look up from my writing to watch the toddlers play in the playground outside. The window had paper taped over it, completely blocking the view. Many of the tables were piled in a corner, others were pressed into service as book display. The chairs were lined up along the railing looking out into the walkway like the chairs lined up outside of the principles office.


That's the word of the day. I was discombobulated. I came to my bookstore for relief and found more frustration. I stood there looking around, wondering if I should sit in one of the chairs and wait for the principle to call me, or figure something else out.

I spent some time wandering around the bookstore and marveling at the way the books had been rearranged. I found Accounting and Bookkeeping books put away in the nature section (In my mind, accounting and bookkeeping both go against nature). In the Database/SQL Server section I found Breaking into Acting for Dummies, Three Theban Plays by Sophocles, and Pygmalion. In Regional Gardening, I was intrigued by The Boss of You: Everything a Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run and Maintain Her Own Business. I grabbed The Boss of You and retired to the store's cafe.

I usually avoid my bookstore's cafe because it is obscenely loud and it can be difficult to get a good seat. The baristas are curiously slow; so slow in fact that I find myself staring at them, not impatiently, I'm just completely mesmerized. There is no hesitation or confusion in the baristas, each movement is long and slow and languid and completely controlled. When she calls out my iced latte after setting it down in front of me, I'm startled back to this reality. I still need to find a table.

I sit at the one empty table, pull out my notebook and pen, and crack open The Boss of You to see what I think of the inside of this book. While perusing the table of contents I feel eyes on me. I notice over the top of the book that the elderly man with very long fingernails at the next table was staring at me while pit mining his nostrils. He stared intently and worked intently for a while, looking away only long enough to admire what he had produced so far, wipe it on the table, and then return to mining and staring. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Then he went back to reading his magazines. I immediately swore I would never read another magazine (we'll see how long that lasts) and from now on I will bring hand sanitizer to my bookstore with me.

Any hope of concentrating was gone. I left the book on the table and took my iced latte and notebook and went home. The Boss of You will have to be read and reviewed another day.


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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Google Search Terms

Every once in a while a visit to Google Analytics will provide some data that I'm not quite sure how to process

Here's a sample of search terms that turned up for CoffeeJitters:

  • how to get rid of coffee jitters (ahem, seriously people!)
  • shooting dad
  • did you lose something
  • its business night
  • happy hour
  • left over cake
  • what happened to la dolce vita
  • pictures of fat brides (ouch!)
  • seattle rutabaga
Some of these make sense. Some of these, I've decided I don't really want to figure them out.

Has Google Analytics (or Woopra or whatever other tool you use) turned up anything that blew your mind?


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Friday, June 27, 2008

On Alaska and Men

This is my husband when he visits Alaska.
my hillbilly husband

And this is my husband when he's not in Alaska.

I guess "When in Rome...."

The men outnumber the women in Alaska by something like 2:1, so you'd think the odds of finding a good man were pretty good. I had to move to Washington to find a good man. Women in Alaska have a saying about finding a man: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."

Am I biased against Alaskan men? No, some of my favorite men, including my 4 brothers, are from Alaska. But I will be the first to tell you that they are truly odd.

This post is my contribution to Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta

Previous CoffeeJitters contributions to Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2008



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Gas Works Park

Jutting 400 feet into Lake Union and offering a spectacular view of Downtown as well as the Queen Anne and Eastlake neighborhoods, Seattle's Gas Works Park is one of the city's most unique landmarks.


The Seattle Gas Light Company converted coal to gas from 1906 to 1937 and oil to gas from 1937 to 1956. Gas production ended in 1956; the City of Seattle bought the property for use as a park in 1962 and Gas Works Park opened to the public in 1975. The architect retained many of the old structures in the park; some are off limits, cordoned off behind chain link fences, others were painted bright colors and included in the children's play area.


You might recognize Gas Works Park from the movies Singles and 10 Things I Hate About You.


There were several concerted cleanup projects to remove benzene and other contaminants from the soil and groundwater. Tar still bubbles up every once in a while. The park is monitored closely for contamination but it is considered clean enough for public use.

Just don't eat the dirt.


The property is now a monstrous bird condominium and a favorite target of taggers. It has been the site of numerous weddings and a gathering place for rallys and watching fireworks.

Its also a favorite spot for Seattlites to picnic.


The man made hill is made from rubble and top soil and is topped with a sundial. It is by far the best place in the city to fly a kite.


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Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm a Winner!

I don't get to say that everyday. This morning I was advised that I am one of five winners of Discovering Dad's Celebrate Dads Fathers Day Contest.

Yay! I win a collection of books from Hachette Book Group USA.

Other winners included:

And my winning entry was: 5 Things I Learned From My Dad

Congratulations to my fellow winners and thanks to Hachette Book Group USA and Jeremy at Discovering Dad.


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Goodies: Bird Stack

I could fill my home with this look. I love the clean lines and neutral tone combined with a touch of whimsy.

I found this giclee print while browsing though Etsy.


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Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Wise Man

The other day, Mr. H pondered why a bearded man is used as a symbol for wisdom. They can be young men or old men, but they always have beards.

As I was contemplating his contemplation, he continued...

"It doesn't make sense. I mean, it just entirely excludes women."

Was he bucking for brownie points? I don't know,

but it worked.


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Whatchu Lookin At?


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Friday, June 20, 2008

How To Get Rid of Leftover Cake

What? You've never had that problem?

Come on, there has to be at least one instance in all your life when you wanted some dessert but couldn't bear the thought of another bite of that Alaskan-sized sheet-cake.

Ok, well that's the situation I found myself in this week.

We had another graduation party for Mr. H tonight and I was on deck to bring the dessert. We had plenty of sheet cake left from parties earlier in the week. I couldn't bear to eat another bite of cake, but it just seemed too wasteful to throw it all away.


I sliced up a couple pounds of strawberries that needed to be eaten up anyways. Instead of putting sugar on them, I doused them liberally with Godiva liqueur (mom calls this "medicine," we both make sure to have a bottle handy in case of emergencies).

While I let the strawberries soak in their chocolate hooch. I whipped up a pint of whipping cream with yet a little more Godiva Liqueur - again no sugar, it wasn't necessary.

Quantities? I have no idea. Just added till I felt like it might be enough.

Then I took a bowl and made a deep layer of leftover cake, topped it with a layer of drunk strawberries and then topped that with a layer of drunk whipped cream and repeated until everything was gone.

oh my goodness, I think I've got a buzz. Not sure if its a sugar buzz or from all the booze, but I think I'll wait a while before dribing home.

So next time I have leftover costco cake from any kind of event, I know what I'm going to do with it. But next time I think I'll remove a lot of the frosting, that just got in the way.


Other CoffeeJitters recipes:


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Don't piss me off


This is my dad with my four brothers.

Shortly after we got engaged, a friend of ours saw this picture, turned to Mr. H and said, "What ever you do, don't piss her off."

He's done a fine job of heeding that advice.

This post is my contribution to Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta


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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Another Beautiful Sunset






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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Party/Not to Party Debate


Most days, the fact that Mr. H and I go to different schools with different schedules is not an issue. This week has been a different story. As I mentioned earlier, Mr. H graduated from UW on Saturday which has had him in party mode since he turned in his final paper on Friday. I, on the other hand, still have finals and papers due this week.

The party/not to party debate has been raging for the past five days.

Aside from the fact that I still have a serious amount of studying and writing to do, there is also the fact that Mr. H is a good five years younger than me and much less of a lightweight when it comes to partying.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good party. It's just so much easier to enjoy when I'm not stressing out about whether or not I will be able get my #$%& together and finish this quarter with adequate grades.

Obviously I lost that battle, because this is just one quarter for me and its Graduation for him. The last, and coolest, party we attended this weekend was on Sunday night and it was thrown by one of the students in Mr. H's Persian program.

Those students in the Persian Studies program know how to throw a party.



I've been busy this week.

I have one final final and I'm done for the quarter. Then I can breath, sleep, party...


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Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm Almost Famous

Another CoffeeJitters photo featured on Seattlest.


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Sunday, June 15, 2008

5 Things I Learned From My Dad

It's Father's Day. I had been holding out hope that I'd be pregnant by now so I could shower Father's Day attention on Mr. H, the father-to-be. Well, that hasn't quite worked yet. Maybe next year.

My father passed away in October, so today, I'm facing my first fatherless Father's Day.

I've had a hard time figuring out what to write; there is so much that I'm just not quite ready to talk about yet. I decided to come up with a list of things that I learned from my Dad.

1. Be creative. Improvise. Dad could fix anything with duct tape, although that's not the only thing he used. He never let the lack of the proper tool slow him down; not having the proper tool is just an excuse. Sometimes he would invent a tool on the spot to do what he needed. And come Halloween, if he didn't have a good pumpkin, he might just go with a turnip from the garden.

Monster vegetables

2. Tell your stories. Family stories are a gift. They help you understand what made your parents the way they are, what made you the way you are. They are the structure that defines the culture of your family. The paragraph below was excerpted from a 30 page autobiography Dad left for us before he died. It paints a picture of family life in 1950s Los Angeles, it also paints a picture of my grandfather, whom I never really got to know but was so instrumental in shaping my father into the man he was to become.

"One of my favorite memories of this time was Wednesday nights. That was payday and Dad would bring home a big load of groceries. He was a deputy for the L.A. County Sheriff and drove a blue 1948 Buick. I remember French bread and celery and we usually had spaghetti because that was Dad's favorite dish. He would also like to have some red wine with his spaghetti. He would take his first glass and take a sip. He would screw up his face like it tasted worse than castor oil, vinegar, and turpentine all mixed together and as he unscrewed his face he'd say, "Man, that's good!" About this time he told me he wanted me to sit on his left. He explained (kidding, of course) that it was so he could "come across with this one" making a fist. Mom sat on his right so he could pat her on the shoulder so she would know he had just said something funny and (perhaps apologizing for being so corny) it was time to laugh. It was at this age, perhaps, that I began to appreciate how much my Dad loved my Mom."
3. Read bedtime stories to your children. In my earliest years, Dad was a full time college student working two part time jobs. Mom would adjust our bedtime to fit his work schedule and he would come home between shifts to read us a bedtime story and tuck us in. Bed time stories were a sacred tradition in our home. My parents had five kids and we would all pile up on someone's bed every night for the bedtime story. He didn't just read Dr. Seuss (although there was plenty of that, and Richard Scary, and "Where the Wild Things Are"). As we got older he moved on to the classics like Heidi, The Swiss Family Robinson, Kidnapped, Treasure Island... We learned to love reading and stories. I learned to read by watching him read and following his finger as it dragged across the page. And every night we had that bonding time.

4. Be Happy. Dad used that phrase a lot. He would often sign off on his letters saying "be happy." He taught us, and modeled for us, that happiness is a choice and not an accident of circumstance. Choose happiness. Have fun. Laugh. Joke. Be Silly.

Defrosting the freezer can be a chore (remember when we had to do that?) or it can be a blast. The choice is yours.


5. Send Letters. It didn't matter if it was Toledo, New Orleans, or another city in our state, whenever Dad went somewhere on a business trip he sent us postcards. Not one card for all of us; each of us got our own postcard. It wasn't a big expense, and it didn't take a lot of time, but the payoff for us kids feeling loved and appreciated and remembered and valued - well, you can't put a price on that. He wrote letters too. Whenever Mom would put together a care package for one of us, Dad would pack it up and include a note. It usually wasn't very long, a few paragraphs, but I always read the note before I looked to see what else was in the box. Don't underestimate the value of these letters. They meant enough to me that I still have a box in which I keep all the postcards and letters from Dad. And don't confuse letters with emails. There's something about the handwriting that makes it more personal and more meaningful.

This is the last and most precious letter I received from my Dad right after he died.
(click to enlarge)

I miss you Dad.

Happy Fathers' Day.

Find more great Fathers' Day Posts at Discovering Dad.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mr. H's Very Big Day

Today was a big day.

A very big day.

As with most very big days, it involved a lot of waiting.


And people herded like animals into areas where they can do some more waiting.


There were some important people, like Quincy Jones and Bill Gates.


There were speeches.

And more speeches.

And more speeches.

And then there was more waiting in line (Mr. H is in the beard and sunglasses)


There were hands raised in celebration


And there was a memento/documentation.


Today Mr. H graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Persian.

I am so blessed and proud to be this man's wife.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

This Post Has Been Brought to You by the Number Four

When my niece was nearly four I decided to put together a little book for her birthday. A book about the number 4. I went around taking pictures of things in groups of four: four bananas, four ducklings, four boats, four flowers... And then I contacted my family members and asked them to get in on the game and submit pictures of themselves posing with four of their favorite things or in some other way representing the number four.

My Dad decided to go with "Grandpa Has Four Hands."


And then it turned into "Dr. Evil Has Four Hands."


Spare hands provided by my baby brother Steve.

My niece just turned six, and I still haven't finished the book. Not that I would procrastinate or anything...

This post is my contribution to Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta.

© Judy Haley. All rights reserved.