ACFL Pulling Party

One of the big assets Anacortes and Fidalgo Island have going for it is the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. There are enough trails too keep even a long time resident exploring. These days, I find myself out on hikes in the forest lands at least 4 times a week. I'm so grateful for the commitment to preservation of these lands for everyone to enjoy.

Since I spend so much time out enjoying the forests, it is only fair that I pitch in a little. I've known about the monthly work parties for some time, but until now, I haven't been able to find time to go join in. Today's work party happened to coincide with the most beautiful winter day (although it almost feels like spring). About 8-10 people showed up at Little Cranberry lake to pull non-native invasive plants.

After a little lesson in which are keepers and which need to get the kibosh, it was off into the forest. I spent an hour pulling english ivy and an hour pulling daphne. While my own feeling regarding non-native plants are not strong, it was great to learn how to identify them and a little about their history around this area.

The next work party is on March 10th at Whistle Lake at 10:00am. I had so much fun this time, I hope to make it to the next one as well.
Saturday February 10 2007File under: events

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Sloppy Lennies

Ever since I ran across this recipe for sloppy lennies on the [amazing] Vegan Lunch Box blog, I've been dying to try it. When Andrew got me the Vegan Lunch Box cookbook for Christmas, it was all the more inspiration. Last night, I rolled up my sleeves, dragged tits over a hot stove, and prevailed.

Sloppy lennies are vegetarianized version of sloppy joes. Basically, you replace the meat with lentils, and tada!, you've got goodness. As it turns out, the VLB cookbook didn't have the recipe. I had to track back through the blog's archives to come up with this recipe. But in looking through the cookbook, I came across a great idea for a side dish: tater tots. Again, there was no recipe for those, just the suggestion to buy some from your grocer's organic frozen foods section. Since I am not one to contest authority, off I went.

Verdict (as Mrs. Shmoo would put it): The tater tots were a hit. The sloppy lennies were pretty good. I had to unveganize them with a slice of american cheese (and maybe some dried milk powder in the english muffins), but I still took down two of them (with plenty left for leftovers). 3.5 stars.
Friday February 9 2007File under: food, links

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Style Runs in the Family

Anyone who knows me know that I couldn't find style even if someone gave me its GPS coordinates. I'm pretty sure flannel shirts with torn shorts, if they ever were in style, will never be again. That's okay though, because I live in my own world where "functional-lazy" is all the craze. (If anyone is interested in functional-lazy, there will be a runway show in Milan showcasing the spring collection in early April.)

For those who live in the real world, check this out. My step-brother Sam has always been the sylish one in the family. At his website, you can admire this sense of style in his clothing line and even find out where to get it yourself (sorry non-Washingtonians, it is currently only available in Seattle.) While at the website, be sure to check out the amazing glass and artwork too.
Tuesday February 6 2007File under: links

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Puzzle for a Rainy Day

Jigsaw puzzles can be a great way to pass time on a rainy day (or rainy week as the case may be). With both time and rain in abundance, I figured there is no better time than the present so I biked down to the local thrift shop to snatch up a puzzle. One thousand pieces for $.50 (not bad), however the pieces kind of smell like smoke (not good). The scene is of a beach, with trees, people sunbathing, waves, and lots of sky. Anyone hankering for a challenge, I'll set aside all the sky pieces for you.

Speaking of puzzles, I ran across this one the other day in my internet meanderings. It is simple but challenging. I'm somewhat ashamed to say that it took me the better part of an hour to solve although I did solve it. Anyone familiar with tangrams (Mrs. Doran alums, I'm looking at you here) should have a hoot of a time with this one.

I say, let it rain!
Sunday February 4 2007File under: misc

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Let There Be Light!


For those of you who have ever been to my house, on your next visit, you might notice something. (For those of you who haven't, this post might not quite do it for you.) Notice anything funny about the angle of this picture taken? Yes, that is our kitchen. Yes, there used to be a wall there.

In an effort to get more natural light into the kitchen space, Ma decided to sacrafice my old bedroom. Step one: pour through accumulated crap stashed in closet. Step two: remove wall. Step three: clean up. (That pesky drywall dust gets everywhere.) Step four: enjoy the open space created and the light allowed in. Everyone that has seen the change has approved. Here it is from another angle.
Friday February 2 2007File under: pics

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February's Movie Marathon

I like watching movies. Whether they are mindless Hollywood action blockbusters or quirky independent films, I usually enjoy them. I've often been accused of poor taste in movies, but I like to think of it more as an indiscriminate palette. How's that for a euphemism?

Anyway, while I was on that other continent over there (you know, that big one with lots of people), I fell behind on the whole movie scene. Even before that, the commuter lifestyle I led didn't really lend itself to free evenings to rent a movie or two. Now that I have nothing to stop me and the weather is still on the "stay inside" side of warm, I hereby declare February to be a movie marathon here at Chez du Wren. I've been keeping a list of movies I want to watch (or re-watch) for some time. First features: Princess Mononoke and Little Miss Sunshine.

Anyone in the area looking for a night at the pseudo-cinema, drop me a line and join me. Anyone not in the area, leave a comment with any movies I simply mustn't miss. (Scary movies need not apply)
Thursday February 1 2007File under: movies

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Word Racer Wrap Up

Alert ESPN. Someone call Will Shortz. The results are in from BdWs first officially sponsored event, the Word Racer Meet Up. The results are: FUN!

Four states from 3 time zones were represented by the full house in social lounge 6, including the trifecta from Jamaica Plain, MA. It was fast paced action with great performances by all. Highlights included "quieter", "sunset", "molten", and "emoted" from the Great Finds category. For Comical Inclusion, "shat", "booty", and "hooty" all deserve a mention. "Veg", "hoy", "wen", and "cole" top the list of Words I Didn't Know Were Words. As for the I Could've Sworn Those Were Words category, we'll leave those for insiders only.

A big thanks to all those who participated! Keep an eye out for WRMU II soon!
Tuesday January 30 2007File under: events

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The Long Way Home

I've been on a bit of a carless kick recently. I'm essentially experimenting with what life would be like for me without a personal car. I consider it a goal to aspire to for environmental, consumeristic, financial, and simplicity reasons. But for now, I am just investigating.

This weekend, I undertook the ambitious goal of going from Anacortes to Seattle on all public transportation. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem as I have done the same thing on weekdays a number of times. (If you ever need to figure out a carfree way to go from Anacortes to Seattle, talk to me. I know them all.) But since the commuter buses I used to rely on for my north to south jaunt don't run on the weekends, I was forced to seek out a new route. And a new route I found, although it is not what you would call convenient. For those fellow public transportation geeks out there, here's what I did:
Island Transit 411W March Point to Mt. Vernon (free)
Island Transit 411C Mt. Vernon to Stanwood (free)
Community Transit 240 Stanwood to Smokey Point ($1.25)
Community Transit 201 Smokey Point to Lynnwood Park and Ride(free with transfer)
Sound Transit 511 Lynnwood Park and Ride to Seattle ($1.00 with CT transfer)

Total travel time was about 4 hours, plus 20 minute or so to bike out to the March Point park and ride. Total cost was $2.25. I'm glad I did it to prove it is possible, but my final conclusion is that it might be worth the extra $10.00 to take the greyound therefore saving 2.5 hours. Either way, I'm counting it a success for my experiments in carlessness!
Monday January 29 2007File under: transportation

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Word Racer Meet Up

Hey, I've got an idea: Let's play word racer! Come on. It'll be fun. You know you want to. It may sound nerdy, but it is a hoot.
Monday, Jan 29th, 7:00PM PST
Social Lounge 6

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it is very similar to boggle, but on the computer playing with people around the country/world. To get started, go here. You'll need a yahoo account, but they are free (and the best free, web-based e-mail around). Then click on Social Lounge 6. Then wait for me to invite you to our table. If you haven't played before, it might be good to get a few practice rounds in before Monday.

So, leave a comment on this post with your username if you are going to be joining us so I can know who to invite in. Yeehaw!
Saturday January 27 2007File under: meet-ups

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On Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

I've lived in Anacortes a long time now and I feel that I know it pretty well. I can tell you where the best pizza is (Village, of course), how many stop lights there are (13), and the best hike (depends on the weather). But it isn't often that I get to play tourist in my own town.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to do just that. A friend was visiting from the East Coast who had never properly seen Fidalgo Island. (Passing through to the ferry totally doesn't count.) We got to see Deception Pass, Cap Sante, Burrows Island lookout on the WaPa loop, the funny house down by Matt Kanarr's old house, Whistle Lake (with so many new downed trees!), Causland Park, and much more. Some of these I happen upon in my daily life. Others I rarely visit. All of them take on new dimensions when seen through non-resident's eyes.

Being exposed to the beauty that is Fidalgo Island on a daily basis can sometimes cause me to forget how spectacular it is here. Anne's frequent "This is so beautiful!" helped remind me to take a step back and appreciate this beautiful place in which we live.

Wednesday January 24 2007File under: Anacortes, pics

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