Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Single Man

I saw A Single Man last night. The gorgeous set design alone was worth the ticket price. The glass-walled rambler belonging to Colin Firth's character is a mid-century moderner's dream. The movie was also not quite as depressing as I thought it would be. There were some funny bits and Colin Firth did an amazing job. I give it 4 out of 5 meows but less for the plot and more for the visuals.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to find a veterinarian

A new vet clinic opened near my house. With exam fees half what is reasonable and low low prices on surgeries I don't know how they will stay in business or how they practice responsibly. The only things listed on the website are their prices. This has gotten me thinking about how people chose a new veterinarian. I thought I would share some advice from the inside.
  • Choose a vet the same way you choose a physician. Ask friends whom they trust and recommend. Look into vets who have a good reputation in the community. Stay away from yelp or google reviews; usually those are filled with people who have some vendetta against a specific practice or person and often it is not warranted.
  • Look for AAHA accredited practices. AAHA is the American Animal Hospital Association. This is an association that not only uses research and education to further the practice of veterinary medicine but tries to assure that hospitals are committed to practicing quality medicine. Only about 14% of veterinary hospitals are AAHA accredited. Accreditation requires a rigorous inspection process and certain expectations of quality must be met.
  • Don't be fooled by places that advertise low prices or are quick to quote exact prices over the phone. "You get what you pay for" is true for veterinary medicine too. Ask what is included in the cost.
  • Be knowledgeable about surgery. All anesthetic procedures (spays, neuters, dental cleanings) should include an IV catheter, IV fluids, and pain medication. There should be someone designated to monitoring your pet under anesthesia at all times. Many practices rely on machines to spit out values and the person performing the procedure to monitor anesthesia. By the time the person notices something is wrong or the machine picks up an abnormal value it is sometimes too late to remedy. People are often nonchalant about spaying and neutering because these surgeries are done everyday, but problems can arise in even the most routine procedures with the most experienced vet.
  • Ask questions. A week before your appointment start thinking about questions you would like to ask your veterinarian. Your time with the doctor is important and they should be willing to do more than an exam and vaccines. With lower cost, higher volume practices there is often not enough time scheduled for discussion but this is important to foster your relationship with your veterinarian. If you do not feel your questions were addressed you may want to look elsewhere.
  • Look for a focus on preventative medicine. Regular exams and lab work are important, especially in senior and geriatric pets. This saves you money in the long run and can often extend the life of your pet by catching inconsistencies sooner. Ask what you can do to keep your pet healthy at home (ie. feeding, behavior, hygiene, dental care).
  • Lastly, be a conscientious consumer. We should all support businesses that we believe in. Is the hospital locally owned or a corporate hospital? Do the employees seem happy and friendly? Does the hospital employ licenced technicians or only assistants with no formal education in the field? Many hospitals do no supply their employees with benefits such as health insurance, continuing education, or retirement plans.

Good luck and happy vet hunting!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy Spring!

Finally some nice weather in Seattle!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Despite my reluctance to be romantic, I had a rather wonderful Valentine's weekend. Most of it was spent with my parents, sister, niece and nephew. My sleepy better-half landed back in Seattle after his London vacay on Sunday night. I am hoping he got the desire to sit outside in freezing weather watching soccer match after soccer match out of his system; at least until we have kids.

Most of my weekend was spent eating. As a fan of good design and food I cannot pass up a well designed food. Spherical pancakes? Yes please! My family on my father's side is Danish and my grandmother made Ebelskivers for breakfast when I was little. She made it look easy but they are slightly intimidating. My sister finally got up the courage to test out the recipe and in just 2 Ebelskiving sessions we have become quite good. Next up: ebelskivers filled with cream cheese. Wish us luck!

Monday was a holiday for both me and the hubby so we ventured down to Ballard for some crepes. We got to Anita's Crepes around 10 am when it opened. As soon as we sat down they informed us that the night before was very busy and they were out of crepe batter. Someone was at the store purchasing ingredients to make more. I understand that Valentine's Day is a busy night for a crepe restaurant but no one could get to the store to buy eggs and flour before 10 am on a Monday? While we waited we sipped coffee and nibbled on the fruit and cheese plate. It was a good 45 minutes before crepes were served. The crepes were pretty yummy despite the bad taste in our mouth. I recommend the savory crepes. It was worth the wait if you have the time.

Later that day we decided to try happy hour at Serious Pie downtown. I have heard such good things about the pizza. Apparently everyone else in Seattle had the same great idea because the wait was an hour and we could not find a parking space anywhere. Changing plans we drove to Belltown where parking and happy hour options are more plentiful. No long waits and no crowds. List is a bar on First that has one of the best happy hours in Seattle. All the food on the menu is half off and a glass of wine is $3.75. Options include gnocchi in black truffle cream sauce, bacon wrapped Florida prawns, and tomato salad with gorgonzola. And the red blown glass chandeliers were delicious!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As a mod girl I don't really believe in Valentine's Day. I try to find a way to celebrate love everyday and not buy into the expensive dinner/greeting card hoopla. My hubby and I take the money we would have spent on Valentine's Day festivities and choose another evening to paint the town red without all the crowds. February 14th is also my mother's birthday which, to me, is a much better reason to celebrate.

But (there is always a but), I do kinda secretly miss making a valentine mailbox in elementary school and giving everyone flimsy little notes with conversation hearts taped to the front. Valentine's Day is one of the most crafty of the year and I can't argue with craftiness.

So, this year I have taken this day as an excuse to gift my husband something I was dying to present him anyway. He is a sci-fi/fantasy nerd and this poster seemed like the perfect opportunity to indulge his geeky tendencies while adding a sleek mod piece of art to the walls. Visit: for information. While you are at it, look around. Velocity is one of my favorite Seattle stores.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pearls for Pet Lovers

Portland is lucky. Not only because my sister and her beautiful family now reside there, but it is also where Veterinary Behaviorist Jacqueline Neilson practices. Dr. Neilson recently lectured at a Veterinary Medicine Continuing Education seminar that I frequent. I have heard her speak before and she is quite dynamic but approachable and extremely knowledgeable. Her focus is solving behavior problems in pets so that fewer are relinquished to shelters. Her motto is "animate over inanimate", meaning living beings trump possessions (ie. couches, carpets, shoes) every time.
She had some great advice on solving problems with cats urinating/defecating outside of the litterbox. See your veterinarian, we do have ways to help!
The other topic she presented on was Updates on Clinical Research. There have been some great studies performed that can be useful for the typical dog owner.

For instance:
  • Dogs respond better to visual cues than vocal cues. When training your dog use both a word and a motion, but understand that they are following your actions more than your words. They also don't care what action or word you use as long as you are consistent with the meaning.
  • Puppies who attended puppy classes with their owners before they reached 6 months of age had lower behavioral problems than those starting training classes later in life and those who were trained solely at home. Make sure that the training center uses a positive reinforcement model and does not condone punishing dogs.
  • Dogs who were punished physically were more likely to show aggression towards their owners than those who were not. No matter how tempting it is and how amazing his results seem, Cesar Millan's methods are not recommended by most veterinary behaviorists.

Hope this helps!

Current Events

A few of my current discoveries/obsessions:

  • A nicely chilled glass of Lillet with a healthy twist of orange

  • Documentaries

  • Cash Cab on Discovery Channel

  • Old school science as art (insect collections, chemistry glassware, botanical prints)

  • Daily coupon shopping sprees from my email via or LivingSocialDeals

  • NPR

The Corson Building

Did I mention I love food? Well, good food and the occasional box of Kraft macaroni and cheese (let's be honest, more than occasional). My favorite are places that mix great food with perfect atmosphere/interior design. I had the pleasure of visiting one such location last Thursday.

The Corson Building is in Georgetown. I had read about it and drooled over the pictures but never got up the gumption to make plans until my fellow foodie friend did it for me. I knew I would forever be a fan as soon as I walked in and we were greeted warmly by 2 of the staff and handed a glass of sparkling rose. The meals are family style so everyone is seated cozily at just a few large tables. We were served 4 courses and 5 wines. Each course had several dishes so pacing yourself is a must. The dishes were varied but cohesive and included oysters with pickled watermelon, beef tongue in celery salad, calamari, whole quail with tahini and oranges, fingerling potatoes, beets and radicchio, and hazelnut macaroons; to name a few. Some were more delicious than others but everything tasted fresh and perfectly cooked. The wines complemented nicely and were not overbearing but held up on their own. We really enjoyed interacting with our table-mates and felt we bonded over such a great experience. I was really impressed with how sincerely friendly and helpful the staff was.

Very reasonably priced (especially if you go on a weekday) I give it 8.5 of 10 meows!