Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Grill!!

We decided we had too much fun at our July 4 BBQ so we went out and bought a grill on Sunday. Actually we had been looking at grills for a few weeks, and there was a sale. We bought one that came in a 75-lb box and a million pieces so my Studly Hubby grabbed his Studly Hammer and devoted a pretty large chunk of time on Sunday to putting it all together. He put it together in our kitchen so he wouldn't lose any screws and when it was finished we left it in our kitchen overnight while we hemmed and hawed about where to put it in our backyard.

You can see that our kitchen isn't really bg enough for a grill. Right behind the grill you can see a red bottle of carpet cleaner - Max the Pig-Dog ate an unsettling bone while he was visiting us and puked all over the carpet Saturday night. Poor Max! But more importantly, poor us!! We were so exhausted from our crazy weekend we could hardly get to work on Monday.

But Monday night we felt well enough to put the grill outside (and lock it to the deck with a bike lock), and I uncovered some more of the garden. I found a pretty rose bush back there! We still have to fill the propane tank and then buy some food to grill but we're almost there...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Max Potter

We baby-sat Max the Pig-Dog again this weekend. His definition of 'morning' is WAY different from ours, so we take turns getting up and entertaining him in the wee hours of the morning. Saturday it was my turn, and after a romp around the block and some breakfast (amazingly I saw TWO different neighbors out at the horrifying hour of 5 am), I settled in to read some Harry Potter on the couch. I think I may have started hallucinating because by the time the Studly Hubby woke up I had come up with an entire new slant on the Harry Potter series:

Max Potter, the Magic Pig Dog

In the first book, 'Hairy Max Potter and the Sorcerer's Bone', we meet an amazing and very hairy dog named Max Potter that looks like a pig and can make bones appear out of thin air. Hairy Max Potter is fighting an evil force led by the Dog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. On his way to the dog groomer's, Hairy Max Potter meets an ordinary boy named Harry and they decide to team up, since the boy has opposable thumbs and can carry a wand.

Six books later, after many adventures, Max Potter and his boy are against the Dog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in the fight of their life. Max Potter has developed a reputation for being a small but mighty force against all evil (and anything else that moves) and struts around on his leash when he goes out with his boy for his 'poop-walk'. One day while they were out walking, Max and his boy see Dog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named who is also out on a 'poop-walk.' As the two dogs approach each other they growl fiercely. Then Dog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named lunges at Max and his boy, and Max narrowly avoids death by conjuring up a big bone to distract Dog-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named so he runs in another direction. When Max gets back home he happily eats his dinner and boasts about how fierce he is to all the neighbor dogs, who keep a wary distance.

What flower am I?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

I guess I'm a Canna! I had no idea they stood up for what they believed in and were proud of their accomplishments - we are truly sisters!

Thanks to Newt for cluing me in on the webisite.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Harry Potter Madness

I had a dream last night I was trying to stupify two Death Eaters by pointing my finger at them and yelling "Stupify!" as they ran evasively around the room. One of them finally stopped running around long enough to tell me I would probably have better luck if I got the pH of the curse just right. I nodded knowingly and then went at it again. After I woke up I realized what I really needed was a wand. Silly me!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I have the POWER

Today just before lunch I mused outloud,

"Wouldn't it be great if we had a big bowl full of M&Ms to share?"

My rather uncreative co-workers were confused so I explained to them the idea of manifestation: go ahead and admit when you want something, and form a nice clear picture of it in your mind so that the powers that be see it and help you attain it.


I got some M&M's!

Some sales reps stopped by early this afternoon and delivered a bag full of candy and a tube of M&Ms was in there. My labmates were shocked that I had such power and let me have all of them.


The New 7-Eleven: Kwik-E-Mart

The new Simpsons movie is coming out this weekend and 7-Eleven took part in a mega-marketing campaign involving the conversion of all of their stores to Kwik-E-Marts. We walked past one on Sunday (I guess there are only 11 in the country, and we got one here in Seattle!).

It was packed. I think the marketing campaign will be good for both sides. I was surprised at how far they took it. There were Slurpee machines (which were so popular there was a line), cases of Buzz soda (being bought by collectors and soda drinkers alike), pink glazed donuts, Krusty-O's, and Simpsons slogans and paraphernielia everywhere. Many of the packaged items had been outfitted with Simpsons themes (a homer face and the text: 'Mmmmm.... sandwich!!'). There were also lots of Simpsons collectibles for sale. The outside of the building had even been repainted to look like the cartoon Kwik-E-Mart, and there were two East Indian guys running the cash register (but no 'thank you, come again!').

I bought a bottle of water.

I kind of want to go back.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Montana Revisited

For some reason I always have a hard time getting the posts up with pictures. We just bought a card reader so hopefully that will help. Anyways here's a much belated recap of our awesome trip to Montana last weekend.

We went to visit a friend who lives in Missoula. He lives just outside town and we rolled in late so didn't see the view out his window until the next day...It's very Montana, eh? I'm not sure if you can really see it in the picture but it was quite hazy due to forest fires going on all around us (my eyes were watering!). We took off straight away Saturday morning for Glacier National Park, which is only 100-some miles away but took hours because everyone and their mom is vacationing in Montana in July. Fortunately we took our friend's sweet new car and he drove.This was a lake we hiked to, which was in the middle of the park and at about 6,000 feet. Although the two boys I was with did not seem to mind the altitude and difficulty of the hike (of course it was cited as an "easy" hike in our hike book), I was dying and was tempted to drink all the water out of the lake once we got down there.

Glacier National Park is not only beautiful but it has two other features I really liked: 1) it has a 50-mile road snaking right through it so you can easily cruise through and check everything out and 2) there are abundant wild animals all over the park, some even hang out in the parking lots. We saw mostly mountain goats and rams, very close up. We even saw some babies!

After we drove through the park we went out for dinner at a local diner called the Park Cafe. You would think out there that everyplace would be a tourist trap but in fact it was excellent (although the building itself is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall). They had really unique, yummy meals, I had the Gypsy Burrito, and they have homemade pie to die for.

This is definitely a place to go. Hopefully we'll get another chance to go back. I feel like we barely scratched the surface and was really motivated to bring my tent next time so we can really wander around (with a map of course).

I am my own Grandpa!!

Do you think it's possible for a guy to be his own Grandpa?? Well it is! Here are lyrics to the famous old song that spells it all out for you.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Super Awesome PhD Advisor, Revisited

Do you all remember my victorious Google Bomb for my PhD advisor? Well I was innocently bragging about it last night at a work party and my new boss was particularly curious that I had a blog. You can find this blog pretty easily these days using crafty search terms on Google (unfortunately). So The Boss may be visiting here shortly - everybody straighten up! brush your teeth! wear a clean shirt! and smile!!

It was a fun party last night, The Boss has a cute little brindle chihuahua that he carries around on his shoulder. I asked The Boss if the chihuahua resembled him in personality and he told me, after thinking a moment, "yes! he's very smart!" If we get a dog we better find a smart one. I'd hate to get a spacey one that runs into parked cars and forgets where his food dish is and such. That wouldn't reflect well on me at all, no sirreee.

Harry Potter Mania

My Studly Hubby and I are both quite caught up in it: Harry Potter Mania. We bought the new book, we're re-reading the old books, we're talking about it constantly, people may even think we're obsessed.

The nice thing is, most everybody is obsessed.

My Studly Hubby got the book first and has read about half so far. He's very good about not spoiling it for me. Meanwhile I'm almost finished re-reading #6 (a LOT happens in #6, don't you think?).

Those of you who have not read up to #6, stop reading this post now.

I want to make some Official Predictions before it's all over:

(Note: I made an unofficial prediction way back at the beginning that Harry would hook up with Ginny and Ron would hook up with Hermione and I was right! So pay attention now...)

1. Snape will end up being good
2. (Dumbledore was sick anyway)
3. Harry may or may not die

Ok that's all I've got. My other ideas are still a little hazy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Rock Too!

I won an award! The highly esteemed Rockin' Girl Blogger award given to me by Susan over at Slice of Life (she lives in Seattle too!!). She said some very sweet things about me, especially considering she gave out something like 25 of them and said something sweet about everyone (this is impressive, since I can hardly even find time to post this one paragraph about myself).

More posts are coming: my flowers (which took a hit over the weekend), our big trip to Montana, the upcoming Hairy Pooper exponanza, and much more! So hang on to your shorts (or just come back to visit again soon).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Life Rolls On

We actually watched TV last night. It's been so long since I've sat on our couch I had forgotten how comfy it is. It was lovely. Then the Studly Hubby attempted an ice-cream sandwich shake concoction where he took all ten of our leftover ice cream sandwiches from July 4 and blended them into two cups of what was anticipated to be concentrated heaven, but we could only get down about a fourth of it because it was a little rich.

We've been working on figuring out how to spend my Studly Hubby's job earnings. We went on a shopping spree about a month ago for much-needed shoes and clothes, and now we're working through our list of bigger things we've been thinking about buying for the past four years, like a grill, a PlayStation 3, and a new duvet cover. The PlayStation 3 just went down in price and the Studly Hubby ordered one less than 48 hours later. The grill may be able to be partially financed by a credit card gift card, and I think I'll insist on some lawn furniture (the cheap stuff) to go with that. The duvet cover has proved elusive. According to my Studly Hubby, I like "girly" prints and he likes "bachelor" prints, so we have a hard time finding something that appeals to both of us. Plus they are unseemly expensive, which causes our standards to go up. IKEA has super cheap and pretty duvet covers but we keep getting stuck on whether their one-size-fits-all will fit our queen size duvet. Hrm.

Plant Report: All the flowers I planted last Sunday are still alive. Only one has dropped some pedals, the others are still blooming or even putting out new blooms. They all look pretty happy. I intend to try veggies next week - I guess the growing season here is long enough that I still have time.

Travel Report: We are off to Missoula Montana this weekend for a visit to a high school friend and a tourist stop in Glacier National Park. It's been HOT there so hopefully we'll survive. On the way back we're visiting some relatives in Eastern Washington. This is all new territory for us and we're excited.

Harry Potter Report: We're taking book 6 with us to re-read in the car in anticipation of the upcoming release of book 7 (I read the books so fast that I like to go back later and re-read them so I can remember some of the details). We've been thinking about attending a release party, but I'm not sure... are we too old for that?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The New Harry Potter Movie

Hairy Potty has had so many movies lately that I can't even remember the name of the latest one (#5) but still I jumped with delight when we got invited to a sneak preview hosted by Microsoft last night. yay!

It was very fun. First off, we got to be part of Gryffindor House (!) and wear VIP passes and get free popcorn and soda. Then, we skipped all the commercials and previews and got straight to the goods. And last, the movie was awesome.

My Studly Hubby thought it was the best one so far. I still think the first one was the best one, because they were all so cute and it was so perfect and wonderful, but I suppose one could say this one was very good too because it was well done and they are acting better now and the timing and story line and all that was very smooth. The thing I liked was that it was a dark film, and true to the book Harry was depressed the whole time, but they still managed to have a lot of upbeat and funny moments and appeal to the audience - I think that would be a daunting task given all the dark overtones. The thing I didn't like was that they didn't have a final 'wrap up' like they do in each book - where someone explains everything at the end. I was a little puzzled at the end of the movie, so I think they skipped something, but I'm not sure whether it was important.

So, overall: thumbs up! and to those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans... it's time to get with the program!! (except for Uncle KT who is planning to be a Harry Potter fan but is waiting until everything is released, and that is very noble and admirable and I might even forgive her for angrily smashing my plant because I am so impressed by that). And to those of you who are Harry Potter fans, go see the movie! and then read the last book at the end of July! but don't tell me about it until I read it because the Studly Hubby is going to get it first this time so I'll be a day or two behind the rest of you.

Isn't it fun to be part of such a big sweeping phenomenon?

More attempts at gardening

Sunday night I attempted some more gardening. I was inspired by Susan's comment that the gardening shop Molbak's over on the Dark Side (East of Lake Washington) is the biggest and the best so we went over there in the afternoon to shop around.
Unfortunately I learned that bigger is not always better - I was overwhelmed by their selection and didn't get much help from the staff (I think they would be more helpful if I had a specific question rather than "I need some pretty flowers"). I ended up buying some impatiens, which my Studly Hubby potted in a big pot to put in the backyard, and then I bought three things for the very sunny south-facing front yard:

Trailing Verbena hybrid (in Aztec pink)

Lantana hybrid (Patriot Firewagon)

and two kinds of Sedum: Sedum spathulifolium, which I'm pretty sure I had in my old lab (the one Uncle KT smashed all over the floor in a frothing mad rage one day), and Sedum ogori. I took pictures, but it was just before sunset (at 9:30 pm, sunset is getting earlier...!) so everything is getting dark.

The staff "helped" me by trying to get me to buy a $50 hardcover gardening book which they said didn't even have good pictures. Despite this hurdle, I managed to get some good stuff. Instead of buying the book I carried it around with me at the store and looked up everything that looked pretty until I found a few that were just right - hardy, likes sun, blooms all summer. Yay! I also bought a trowel and some gloves, and when I got home I planted them and watered them and three days later they are still alive. Yay!

At my book club tonight I was informed that it is not too late to plant veggies in Seattle, so that is my next plan. I'm going to buy some interesting seeds, clear out more of the garden, and throw the seeds in a hole and see what happens. My Studly Hubby also nabbed a free package of wildflowers from work and it is a mystery what that will grow so I'm going to put that somewhere too. This gardening thing is pretty fun, especially when things bloom and grow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Fireworks on the Fourth in Seattle

I'm getting behind on my posts, but even though we've been doing lots of crazy stuff lately I have to go back to last week and post about the fourth of July because the longer I wait the less likely you all are going to even remember it.

We are lucky to live right in the best neighborhood for viewing Seattle fireworks. In Seattle the big fireworks are set off from a boat in Lake Union and they are best viewed from the beautiful GasWorks Park, which we live less than a mile from.

Because we live so close I invited over a bunch of people for a BBQ Wed afternoon, and proposed we all walk down to the park afterwards to view the fireworks. It seems a lot of our neighbors had this idea, and by late afternoon it was getting hard to park even where we live. Lemonade and soda stands were popping up on the corners and our neighbors were selling off driveway parking spots.

When we got to GasWorks I was stunned at how many people there were. It must have been thousands. We couldn't even get across the park. While we were waiting for the show we could see fireworks going off in the nearby neighborhoods all around us (they are illegal in the city of Seattle but legal in several of the surrounding cities, or so I've heard). Also they were having a big party in GasWorks, which had been going on all day - music, beer for sale, corndogs, cotton candy, corn on the cob, and other venues. We had to go through security on our way there.

The fireworks were spectacular. They were choreographed to music that they played over speakers (I heard they used to be choreographed to an orchestra that was set up right in GasWorks Park), and that alone was brilliant. They lasted almost a half an hour and every set was like the grand finale of previous shows I've seen. They had all kinds of neat and pretty ones in creative combinations.

Afterwards we joined the thousands of people leaving the park, my friends raced for their cars to try to beat the traffic home, and we were very glad we went. The only trouble was, we were all exhausted (especially my friend that had carried his 1-yr old on his back the whole way there and the whole way back). Also more fireworks went off in our neighborhood afterwards, and people were having trouble finding their cars and some were standing in the middle of the street yelling about it (they may have had some beer to go with those fireworks).

It was very neat being in the neighborhood where all the action was but if I hadn't gone to the show it may have been good to go elsewhere for the evening because you're kind of sucked right into it whether or not you want to be in our neighborhood. I was also very impressed with the whole event and the excitement the city shared for it (it was a little like the State Fair in Minnesota, which everyone drops everything for).

Up next: we are going to a preview of the new Harry Potter movie!! It's tonight, and I can't wait.

Friday, July 06, 2007

There's a Secret Garden in our backyard!!

Remember that book, The Secret Garden?

I think I found one of those in our backyard.

On Wednesday we had a backyard BBQ for our friends (more on that later) so I wanted to get our yard cleaned up so there would be room for everybody.

We have a tiny yard, and most of it was at one time a garden. Nobody has weeded in years so it is now full of 10-feet high weeds and overgrown bushy and viney green things. Out here in Seattle everything grows like nothing I've ever seen so a few years of neglect equals a lot of growth.

Our new upstairs neighbors got me started on the yard cleanup idea by hacking down a huge thorny tree back there. The yard immediately looked so much better that I thought I'd work on it too. I had the foresight to take a before and after picture so I could post it on my blog and brag about it. The before picture is above. The after picture is below:Can you believe it's even the same yard? Well it is!

Not only did we have a great time at our BBQ, but I discovered all kinds of awesome things in our garden like strawberries(!), herbs and lavender. Our upstairs neighbors came out to gawk for a while and we discussed what our "yard vision" is going to be. We think it would be neat to clear out part of the garden so we can have a hammock, but now that I've discovered all this good stuff in our garden I'm kind of reluctant to get rid of it. Hrm...

Meanwhile I've been inspired and I spent some time tonight working on our front yard, which isn't quite as sorry looking but is also badly in need of attention. Now I might go explore a neighborhood nursery this weekend and see what little plants I might want to add to the empty spaces I'm creating. This yard thing is so much fun it may turn me into a gardener yet.

Watch Live Earth - Tonight and Tomorrow!

My Studly Hubby has been working hard on an awesome project put on by Al Gore's group called Live Earth. This is a group of concerts taking place all over the world this weekend (one concert on each of 8 continents) with awesome musicians playing in various countries such as (London) Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eyed Peas, Beastie Boys (and many more), (US) Alicia Keys, Melissa Etheridge, Kelly Clarkson, Dave Matthews Band (and many more), (Brazil) Macy Gray (and many more), etc. The first show starts tonight with Australia, at 9 pm Eastern, and continues through tomorrow, including a special broadcast from Washington DC by Al Gore.

You can watch the concerts live through MSN (the Studly Hubby recommends using Internet Explorer for the live show) at www.liveearth.msn.com, and the concert lineup is here (exact schedules of each show are still TBA).

So tune in and be good to our environment!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Anyone can read this!

Online Dating

Thanks to Peggy in Scotland, who got this link from Jay in Arkansas (Peggy's blog is safe but watch out for Jay's - it's rated NC-17!).

I try to keep the blog clean for all you kiddies out there. Like Peggy, I have more of a potty-mouth off-screen than you might know. Just the other day when I was in Iowa I SWORE in front of my friend's kids (sorry about that guys!). Then when we went camping I did it again!! You would think I would learn but NO.

But at least the blog is clean.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Big Camping Adventure

We had a blast camping this weekend. One of the really cool things about living in Seattle is that you can be out of the city in not much time to hang out in some really beautiful spot. We took advantage of that this weekend and enjoyed some of nature's best.

At first we were planning to drive north and take a ferry to a remote island that is part of the San Juan Islands - which you can't even get to by car. We had trouble finding good campsites out there and found out that San Juan is the destination of the masses on Friday nights, so decided in the end to take a different direction that is less far away and easier to get to. We went West instead of North, but didn't want to miss the ferry experience so took a shorter ferry trip out to Bainbridge Island (a bedroom community of Seattle) and across that to the Kitsap Peninsula (a map of our route, starting with the ferry trip from downtown across the water to Bainbridge, is shown to the right). We camped on the Kitsap Peninsula just south of the Hood Canal that connects the peninsula to the Olympic National Park. This ended up being a great location - the Hood Canal is beautiful, and on Saturday we drove out to Olympic National Park for the first time, but I'll get to that later.

The campsite was not so great. We had five people and two tents, and I think the site was really meant for a smaller crowd. Plus it was all gravelly, so thank goodness we had brought air mattresses. I tried to take a picture after we pitched the tent but there was no room so all you can see in the picture are the tents. But behind the tents we managed to create a nice space to sit around the campfire, and once we got everything set up we roasted hotdogs and made s'mores and had a great time.

Right next door to us was a whole herd of Girl Scouts, who were polite and helpful and even gave us food (including maple syrup for our pancakes Saturday morning!). We were afraid they would keep us up all night but it turns out they were quiet and instead it was our snoring friend that kept us up all night (word of the wise: earplugs!). The campground was packed with people and it was a big party all weekend there.

Saturday we met up with some non-camping friends of ours and we went to Dungeness Spit, which is a 6 mile stretch of narrow peninsula (a "spit") with a lighthouse at the wee end of it (you can't see the lighthouse in the picture because it's too far away). Even though the spit looks like it's all beach in the picture, it's actually full of old driftwood and tons of wildlife - part of it has been designated a wildlife refuge. So we walked out on the beach as far as we could manage (we guess about 2 of the 6 miles total), then plopped down on the beach and played in the water and skipped rocks and such. It was incredibly fun. I still can't get over how surreal it is just to hang out at the ocean all day - I guess it takes a while to grow out of my midwest perspective.

Sunday morning we drove into the very Norwegian town of Poulsbo near our campsite and had some fancy pastries, and romp in the ocean-side park, and then ate fish and chips for lunch before heading home. Poulsbo was a fantastic little town full of interesting little shops and we will definitely go there again.

We were very pumped about the whole camping scene. Now that we have a nice tent and most of the things one needs to camp, we feel like we should do it some more. Another group camp in September is already in the works, and who knows what other opportunities may arise - and now we are all set and ready to go.