Category Archives: Cookless Kitchen Chronicles

CKC #45: Counterintuitive countertops

window reflection on countertop

See how the dark reflective countertop captures the outdoors and brings it in? And the aliveness the scattered iridescent bits create?

The countertops went in yesterday and lived up to my inner hype! The name of the granite is Emerald Pearl, it’s deep black with scatterings of iridescent chips that have a hint of blue/green silver. It makes for a striking contrast with the other colors and the darkness actually pulls in light. A rather counterintuitive countertop.

As you can see above, the surface is very reflective. That was planned, because it marries all the room colors together. The marriage will not be fully consummated, however, until the backsplash tile is installed. That means there’s more wow to come!

countertops looking south

Please overlook the tools, random cardboard and funky piece of wood as you get a look at our counterintuitive countertops.

The countertop choice also brings the outdoors inside and means the kitchen is never twice the same, as outdoor light is ever changing. Do you realize that this countertop will even lasso the moon? When all the house lights are out, we can watch the moon move across the counters as across the sky. If we can stay up that late, I mean.

We did have a snafu (if you haven’t ever looked up what that stands for, you should do it now) with the countertop, however. Somehow the installers didn’t install the steel supports for the small table (more like a tablette) I planned to accommodate two barstools, so they left a funky piece of wood supporting it.

Didn’t exactly fit in with the overall look and feel. HOMEINSPECTORHULK NOT APPROVE. SMASH WITH FIST AND DO HULKSULK.

Corrections will be made. Not exactly sure what or how or when at this point, but as Paul said, it’s not our problem, except for the inconvenience and putting us behind our schedule that was still actually on track.

We are keeping the faith, staying mellow and going with the flow. If you look really closely at the photo below, you’ll see that Ric has already hung his purple guitar on the wall so we might actually be singing Cumbaya before long.

more countertops

Looking north at the granite tabletop, bookshelves and purple guitar.


CKC #44: One (make that two!) last look


Yesterday the cabinet installers finally finished everything necessary before the countertop goes in. Good thing, since the countertop is scheduled to arrive this morning between 8 and 10:00.

I thought you might like one, oops, better make that two lasts looks at the before.

Last look facing south before countertops. An upper cabinet will go in right corner.

You’ll note that the cabinets and drawers have handles and pulls now. There are still upper cabinets to come on the right, but they can’t be installed yet because they rest on the countertop (because of the appliance garage).

Here’s another view where the sink and dishwasher will go.

Openings are for the sink and dishwasher.

The next thing you see will be countertops. I am waiting for it to get here before I head to work. When I get home, the view will have changed dramatically.

CKC #42: A lull, then Lardo!


Today was nice, because we had no workers in our space. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a lull in the commotion.

Paul has been putting in a lot of work on weekends. Working at home has sometimes been a necessity because someone has to let the workers in, answer their questions, make executive decisions and so on. I am one of those people who likes to maintain a focus while working, I’m not so good with constant interruptions. So it’s been hard, but for the most part we’ve managed to keep our eyes on the prize.The ever present crowd at Lardo

We are working against the clock because on August 2nd, our granddaughters arrive for their annual summer stayover. Originally it was to be Aug. 4, but the date got moved up so we are really scrambling. That’s why I’m surprised that a day of quiet felt so peaceful and not “omg we only have 10 days left, someone should be here nail-gunning something!!”

For dinner we had Lardo, a new hip place just across the street from Cartopia food cart land. Lardo is slammed with people every time we go by even though it just opened this month. In fact, Lardo used to be a food cart so apparently its clientele has followed it to this location. Along with attracting others like us from the hood.

It calls itself a modern sandwich shop and beer garden. We went because a tweep I know to be well traveled and fooded recently tweeted that Lardo’s Bahn Mi was the best food he had ever eaten anywhere.

Here are some useful facts from Lardo’s website:  Lardo is a type of salume made by curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices. [Okay, so then I had to google salume, and learned that it’s “prepared cooked meat or sausage, especially in the Italian style.” Then I looked up fatback and learned it is “the layer of adipose tissue under the skin of the back of a domestic pig.” So I looked up adiopose tissue and well, read it for yourself, I’m getting tired: adipose tissue entry  in wikipedia. In short, eating adipose tissue of the pig likely ends up as adiopose tissue of the human.

Which brings us back to what we ate. Ric and I had the Pork Meatball Bahn Mi (with sriracha aoili, pickled vegetables, cilantro) and Blaine had the Double Burger (pork belly, cheddar, lardo sauce) and Lardo fries (with fried herbs and parmesan).

It was quite delicious, and we were as impressed with the bread as what the bread held. As Ric pointed out, “Anything would be good on this bread.”

I wouldn’t say it is the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life, but it is hella good. Highly recommend.

CKC #41: Windowgazing


Today the new kitchen window went in. This is a far more significant event than you would ever imagine.

But we need to start back at the beginning, when we were on the cusp of buying our first HDTV. Ric had been in the Seattle area visiting our daughters and families for a couple of days, I thought he had left and was on the road, when my phone rang. This was our actual conversation.

Me: Hello?

Ric: I’m about to have a heart attack.

Me: OMG, where are you?

Ric: Getting close to Tacoma.

Me: OMG, you are driving?!? Pull over and call 911 right now. I mean it. RIGHT NOW. (This was because when Ric actually had a heart attack in 2000, he drove himself to the emergency room!)

Ric: No, it’s not like that.

Me: What do you mean? What’s going on???

Ric: I’m so stressed out I’m about to have a heart attack.

Me: You should not be talking on the phone and driving. Hang up or pull over.

Ric: I can’t, I’m too stressed!

Me: What on earth are you so stressed about???

Ric: I’m worried you won’t let us get a big enough TV.

Me: OMF*G! You are talking on the phone while driving telling me you are about to have a heart attack over the size of a television?!?!?!?!

Ric: If you knew how much it meant to me, you would let me get a really big one because you wouldn’t want me to have a heart attack.

Me: OMG, I have married a crazy person.

Ric: I just wrote a song about it.

Me: While you’re driving??!??!

Ric: Yes, and now I’m about to have a heart attack.

Me: JF*C! I am hanging up now. We will get a tv that fits into the space. Now get off the damn phone. JF*C, what have I done to deserve this?

Ric: I’ll have a heart attack if it’s less than 50 inches.


Okay, there are two things I believe. Televisions are not decor items that should dominate the artful home and bigger is not always better. Many of the televisions I had before meeting Ric were castoffs from someone else. When I bought one, they were relatively small and until fairly recently, black and white. I had already agreed we would go by the formula that with HDTVs you can sit anywhere from 1.5 to 3 times the screen size (in inches) for the best viewing experience. Which, in my mind, was a rational way to determine the size we would purchase. But for some reason, Ric was totally fixated on size (not unusual for men, am I right?). In the end, when rationally applying the formula, it turned out that the size Ric had in mind actually worked in the space, so that’s the size we got.

No reason to get all worked up after all. Total waste of the heart attack card.

And lest you think I am exaggerating, or my narrative has strayed from just-the-facts-ma’am, please listen to Exhibit A: the song Big TV, featured on iTunes and/or Broadjam. No, I mean right now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

iTunes Store instructions: Search for Ric Seaberg, Click on the album One Thousand Songs, then click on Big TV to hear a free sample. Actually, here’s a great idea. To show your support for me in this narrative, please actually buy the song Big TV. It’s only 99 cents. If there is a surge of Big TV purchases, I can use it to show Ric just how silly playing the heart attack card is. You can also buy it on Broadjam at this link, just look for Big TV in a list of all the songs.

Okay, assuming you have finished downloading and listening to the song, now we can return to our present narrative.

It should have come as no surprise when, a few weeks ago, I got dealt the heart attack card again. This time it was over the kitchen window. In the course of demolition, it turned out we needed to replace the window. No worries. The world is full of windows for sale, we’ll go buy one.

That’s not how it happened. Ric was fixated on this window. It had to have certain features and be exactly a certain way. I don’t even remember what those features and way were. But he made it clear that if his notion of perfection was not attained, he would have a heart attack.

What’s a wife to do?

So I turned him loose, and he went out and found the perfect window. That cost $1,500!!!!!! Not in the budget, of course, but a helluva lot less than a heart attack. It was a custom job, naturally, so we had to wait until it was built, thus explaining the big piece of plywood where a window should have been in some of the earlier photos.

Yesterday, the window was installed. Drumroll please…………………………. here it is:

The most perfect window the world has ever seen

You will see that it is a very attractive window. Very double or tripled layered for energy efficiency. Very nice use of wood. But the most important feature, Ric points out, is the ability to open the window easily without leaning over using the handy turny thing and still have screens to keep the bugs out!!! See for yourselves:

See how the awesome turny thing allows you to open the window without bending over and it opens outward so you still have screen protection!

I daren’t let on that I my first thought was I kinda hoped it would have a little more glass and a little less wood for fear of the heart attack card coming in to play. I confess it is a very cool window, and as far as Ric is concerned, I think it is the world’s best window with the most astonishingly convenient features and it is my favorite part of the kitchen and he is my hero.

Lest I forget to cover the food portion of this post, yesterday was Blaine’s 33rd (!!?) birthday and we ate at California Pizza Kitchen to celebrate (we had a gift card). Blaine had the original BBQ chicken pizza, which he devoured (he had been playing chess with multiple simultaneous opponents for six solid hours and won every game and had only had one bite of brownie the whole time), and two raspberry lemondrops!

We got home so late we were too full and tired to have birthday cake so we are having it for breakfast!

I would write more but I must leave you now. I have some windowgazing to do. 🙂

CKC #40: We’re floored.


Today the floor went in. Masterful installer Dan had put the underboards (that may not be the accurate name for them) over the existing floor yesterday, and today he cut and laid the marmoleum.

To say we love it would be an understatement. It would be more fitting to say these floors have us…..well, floored. The color is so rich, so glowy and luxurious, so…. oh, I just thought of the perfect word for it: je ne sais quoi! Wouldn’t you agree?

The name of the color is azurro

Now that you see it next to the walls, do you kinda get where we’re going here?

Zut alors! Les couleurs! C’est delicieux, c’est marveilleux!

CKC #39: The week that was


This has been a whirlwind of a week at work. I have been so busy I have no earthly idea what I ate for dinner. Seriously. I’ve been lucky to find time to breathe. So there will be a Rosemary Woods-like gap for all time in the Cookless Kitchen Chronicles.

Just like America did with Watergate, you’ll have to speculate about the content of that which has gone missing. But you’ll know it was probably pretty darned incriminating.

Fortunately, however, people were also busy here on the home front and it’s really starting to look like a kitchen all up in there. See what I mean:

The present state of the kitchen, north side.

The present state of the kitchen, south side.

Floor goes in today, then the cabinet guys come back and finish. Countertop template made, installation next week.

Maybe reaching the home stretch? Hope so, we are all getting a little squirrelly in the rest of the house.

CKC #38: A lot of catch uppin’ to do


So it’s been a while since we looked in on the cookless kitchen. Here are my excuses, in order of appearance:

  1. It was my birthday and I felt so stoopid for not taking a photo of the amazing meal we had that evening that I couldn’t face you.
  2. It was hot and I was tired.
  3. We went out of town.
  4. Wifi access was iffy.
  5. I was lazy.

Okay, now let’s move on. I’m going to try to make up for all that lost time in one post. I think. In any case, as our old friend Patrick said when he was reunited with his family after 40+ years since he was institutionalized as a very young boy, “We have a lot of catch uppin’ to do!”

Can someone please explain the connection between the disappearance of urban goats and raspberries? Anyone? Fred? Carrie?

Let’s start with the Birthday Meal. Well, actually, it was more like three meals that day. My dear friend Phoebe took me to lunch at Cafe Allora near our office and I had a delicious caprese salad. And ate the whole thing. Then at a regular late afternoon weekly meeting at Context Partners – where three of us had birthdays within four days of one another! – those sweet folks brought in a huge cake made of ice cream and I ate a whole piece.

Then we went to dinner at one of my very very most favorite neighborhood places – Iorio. Ric and I had the fresh razor clam special (me with a crispy greens and candied walnut salad, Ric with the Caesar salad) and Blaine had fresh mozzarella pizza. I guess we were so overcome with the deliciousness that none of the three of us managed to take a photo though two of us took our phones out during the meal (and one of them was not me!)

This time I did not eat the whole thing, but took the rest with me to eat at my mom’s the next day. We did take a photo on the way home. Can someone please explain what this sign means? We are worried we are failing the #Portlandia test… please clue us in!

I had my Iorio leftovers for lunch after I got to my mom’s house, then my brother Denny barbecued chicken for a birthday dinner (my sister-in-law Tammie and I are one day apart). Very tasty grub, but the “performance” my brother promised (threatened?) me with did not materialize. For which I am probably grateful.

Blaine's "best I ever tasted" lamb

Blaine’s “best I ever tasted” lamb

The next night I had Special K with red berries for dinner and Ric and Blaine tortured me with photos of their meals at Seven Feathers Casino. Blaine said it was the best lamb he had ever eaten and Ric said his New York steak Oscar with crab and bernaise sauce was too salty. Poor papa bear.

Papa Bear’s steak oscar was too salty.


100 of these balloons went up for Cindy

On Saturday we went to a picnic in honor of Cindy Coop, one of the best people we’ve ever known. Her tragic death when her car was hit by a flatbed truck last winter left a big hole in our family. My brother Curt is one of the bravest people we know, as he has done so much to honor her life despite his own devastating grief. At the memorial/reunion picnic, the crowd released 100 balloons Curt had made and watched them drift upward, soaring until out of sight. But never out of mind. Or hearts.

Hearts to heaven for Cindy. Photo by Curt Deatherage. Click on photo to see on his site.


Life goes on, as it must. Kitchen makeovers continue. Even when bad things happen to great people.

When we last checked, a bit of paint was going up on the walls. As you might imagine, a lot has happened since then.

Painting was finished (Ric did a terrific job working with nice but not so easy paint).

Will the cookless kitchen become a purple people eater? OMG did I just say that???

Electrical was finished, and cabinets were delivered. Do you think all these are going to actually fit in the space?

These are going to fit into this space???