Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spider-Cracked Windshield

In the past two months our car has been hit TWICE, and both times when we weren't even in it. The first time was behind our neighborhood grocery store (someone backed into the car) - thankfully they left a note and had good insurance. The second time was on the street right in front of our house. A city worker climbed up a telephone pole and clipped a wire off it, then let the wire fall on our back windshield.


(The back windshield looks "wet" but actually it's been spider-cracked all over, my Studly Hubby said you could still hear it cracking for a while after it happened)

So we were a little miffed, and had to shuffle a few things around (I missed yoga! we had to cancel a trip to Portland!), and my Studly Hubby had to take the bus down to City Hall to fill out paperwork to get reimbursed. Then to challenge the very core of our patience, the company we called to fix the car DIDN'T FIX IT for TWO WEEKS - time during which they were "ordering a part" that we found out had never been ordered. Yesterday we called up a new company and today it finally got fixed.

I don't blow my top very often but on Saturday, when I found out that the part we had been waiting on for two weeks (the molding) had never been ordered, I totally lost it. Maybe it was because I hadn't been to yoga in way too long - yoga probably helps me keep my cool. Probably it was also because I had planned to use the car for a whole bunch of different things over the weekend and had to scramble to rearrange everything (again). Mostly it was because a string of other people's incompetence had totally inconvenienced me - sometimes I feel a little bit like a wide-open target. In that case it's helpful to stay in one's apartment and eat as much ice cream as possible.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Downhill Ski Adventure

One of the great things about Seattle is that you don't have to deal with snow during your every day life but when you have snow-withdrawel you need only drive a few hours and you can get some - loads and loads of it actually. On Friday my Studly Hubby and I went with some brave souls from my lab out to Stevens Pass ski resort to do some downhill skiing. We hadn't been downhill skiing since junior high so we were a little bit nervous, but I was also very excited to see what the snow scene is like around here.

The snow scene was just amazing! First off, let me tell you this: driving out there is no easy task. Here in Washinton State, they have never heard of salt and have only one snow plow. They REQUIRE chains through most of the mountain passes and we found out why on Friday morning. Thankfully we weren't driving. We made it in one piece, got suited up and headed out to take a ski lesson. It turns out that the ski resort itself is a mountain, with about ten feet of snow all over it (and it was snowing all day while we were there). It was BEAUTIFUL. And people around here really know how to ski. We had a fantastic lesson, then skied down the "bunny" hill about fifty times until we felt confident enough to take the express chair lift up the mountain to the next level "blue" ski run. We made it about halfway down before taking off the skis and walking. Maybe that will be for next time.

Now that I've seen the snow scene, I'm super excited about getting out there and doing some more. We need to find a good place to do some cross country skiing, because that's usually cheaper, and we've decided to definitely try the downhill ski thing one more time this season (which lasts through April I hear). First, however, we will be shopping for some chains to put on our Geo Prism, so that we can keep it on the road as we drive down those steep mountain passes.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring Has Sprung (ALREADY...!)

Spring has ALREADY sprung here in Seattle - it's so wild it's disorienting and I keep getting lost every time I go outside. There are blooming flowers, budding trees, green shoots poking out of the ground, and happy people outside in big hats weeding their flower gardens. When I was in Minneapolis, and before that in Iowa, February was normally the time that you would become severely depressed or clinically insane (I usually flipped back and forth, depending on how sunny it was). It's SO cold for SO dang long that I wonder how I ever got through it. Here, it is very different. The winter was incredibly mild - we kept running outside without any trouble through the "worst" of it and the only layers I had to add on to keep warm was a polar fleece vest (thanks D & C!). Plus it stays relatively green - although a few trees lose their leaves, the grass stays very happy and many trees and bushes are leafy all year.

And NOW there are actually flowers blooming out there! it's incredible. I've been trying to get off my butt and go out and take some pictures of it to show you but haven't yet, maybe I'll get out this weekend. This weather is enough to make me want to grow some green beans. Except I have no idea what the growing season is here.

Oddly enough, despite the beautiful spring we're having here in Seattle, there has been tons of good snow outside of the city and we're actually going skiing in it tomorrow at Steven's Pass, which is only 2 hrs driving away.
So it turns out I belong in Dublin... weird! I've never been there but I hear they have awesome beer.

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.


Here's an interesting finding: when I was taking the test to determine what European city I belong in, it asked what US city I would most like to live in and I responded Seattle, without even pausing! I guess I like it here. Honestly though, Minneapolis wasn't one of the choices but if that had been on there it would have been a more difficult decision... but in the end, I would probably still pick Seattle. It's pretty nice here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Sleep Talking

In the middle of the night last night, I yelled out, "Baby, you fell off the bed!" to which my Studly Hubby replied in a sleepy mumble, "no I didn't, I'm fine." It was at this point that I actually woke up, looked at my Studly Hubby lying peacefully beside me, and realized he had not fallen off the bed - I must have dreamt it. Then I started wondering if I had also dreamt the verbal exchange that had just gone on, or whether it had really happened, because if it had really happened it was pretty funny. And it would be the first time that I know of that I was actually sleep talking. So I laughed out loud a little thinking about that, probably escalating my middle-of-the-night crazy factor, and then eventually fell back asleep.

This morning, I confirmed it - I really had yelled outloud in the middle of the night, but my Studly Hubby couldn't remember what it was that I had said exactly, perhaps because he was asleep too or perhaps because I was incoherent. If I was incoherent, then that means his response was also part of the dream (or I turned his incoherent response into what I wanted to hear, which is a more likely scenario). Either way, what an exciting adventure! The middle of the night can be full of interesting happenings.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Whoa!


Britney Spears did it AGAIN! The Studly Hubby and I are pleased with the outcome. Way to step out Ms. Brit! If you're going to be crazy you may as well keep us entertained. Well I guess it's all been pretty entertaining.

The pictures are from perezhilton.com (my new favorite website) and show Britney's new hairstyle as of Friday night (top) compared with a similar image of herself created with make-up for a tour a few years ago (bottom).

Everyone is calling this "Britney's breakdown" but is it really? or is she just working it out?

I hate to defend her but honestly, if I married a dumb-ass that everyone knew was a dumb-ass except me I would feel a little overwhelmed when I realized he was a dumb-ass too, especially if everything I said or did was plastered on the front page of everything. From that perspective, shaving one's head seems like a perfectly logical thing to do.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Thanks to my Studly Hubby, I found and took the Muppet Personality Test. It turns out...

I Am Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.
You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.
You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.
Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Book Club Mania

I have a good excuse for not posting since Sunday (sorry!) - I have been reading a book. I had to read this book by yesterday, because I had book club yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't start reading the book until Sunday. I was having a little bit of a high school flashback as I was feeling the extreme deadline crunch that had been brought on by procrastination (or, as I like to call it, a mistestimation of my available time). I was reading the book in every spare second I had - during breakfast, my walk to school, late into the night - and I still didn't quite get it finished before book club. I was actually reading it as I walked into the room. They didn't mind though, which was nice.

My book club has been a lot of fun. It's a very small group that meets at our local branch of the public library. A 40-something couple leads the book club and shows up every week with awesome treats (this week they were heart-shaped fruit tarts from home-grown apples and home-made whip cream, oh my). Anywhere from 1-5 other people show up, with only a few (like me) that are consistent. The original plan was just to go when there was a good book on the list, but I have become addicted. I have found that reading one book every month keeps me going to the library and thinking about books so that I usually end up reading one or two more. Unfortunately, last month, I got a little backed up with books and so was behind on the actual book club book - a stressful side effect. The book club itself is pretty fun, although everyone else is at least ten years older than me (our differences create very different opinions of the book, which is fun however).

Now that book club is over, I am finally on to Live Bait, a book by the mother-daughter team PJ Tracy that takes place in Minneapolis. The first book in the series, Monkeewrench, was most excellent and I have been looking forward to reading this book. I'm now in the habit of staying up late to read, so last night (after book club) I made some progress on Live Bait and have really been enjoying all the references to good ole' Minneapolis. Next I should read some books that take place in Seattle. It's a lot of fun reading a book about something that is familiar.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taste the Rainbow

Today we went for a run around Green Lake, and a pretty rainbow came out that went all the way across the lake. It was a very nice day out (with a brief shower that spurred the rainbow) so a lot of people were at the lake and a crowd stopped to look at the rainbow some even took pictures. I wish we had a camera with us! The picture at right is just a random picture I found on Google that looks kind of like what we saw. The amazing thing was the rainbow was very big and clear and you could even see where the pot of gold should be at the bottom at both ends - I wonder what it looked like from over where we thought the pot of gold should be? Maybe they thought we should have the pot of gold. You can never trust those leprechauns - they really know how to hide their pot of gold.

Do you remember as a kid drawing a landscape with a sun, a rainbow, and sometimes a pot of gold at the bottom? Drawing rainbows was the best - you could use many different colors (way more than the sky, which was always just blue and maybe white for clouds).

I also stopped to exclaim at the pretty rainbow and reflect on all the pretty rainbows I've seen in my lifetime (this was definitely one of the best) and the Studly Hubby just about gagged from the girliness of it all (although he did agree it was a good rainbow).

The rainbow made us hungry so after our run we walked over to Chipotle and filled our tummies with yummy burritos. We may be losing our burrito stamina - it was actually a bit of a challenge taking down an entire burrito. Clearly I need more Chipotle.

Couples Yoga

On Friday night we tried out something new: couple's yoga. A co-worker does yoga at the Samadhi Yoga Studio in Capital Hill (very near downtown) and they just started offering a couple's yoga class every other Friday night. She was planning to go and thought we'd be interested. I was totally excited (so much so that I had trouble concentrating all afternoon - but it was Friday and I always have trouble concentrating on Fridays).

It turns out this studio is in the heart of Capital Hill - hard to get to and hard to park at - but we still managed to get there in the nick of time and get calmed down before the start of class. Our heart rate went back up however when the teacher came in, did a few back flips, then had everyone sit in a circle and say what their involvement in yoga is (there were about ten of us). It turns out that most everyone in the class did yoga more often than us. A lot more often. Then we did the warm-up: three or four salutation to the sun series, then some backbends (!) and handstands (!!). I'm proud to say I managed a headstand, and attempted a backbend but didn't quite get there. I tried a handstand with the teacher spotting but almost pulled a muscle.

Then we started doing the more complicated poses, involving two people: a "base" and a "flyer" - where the base would lift up the flyer. These actually turned out to be not that bad. There were various levels of each one, and we eventually paired off into groups so that we would also have spotters (sometimes you needed more than one spotter!). The only hard part was that we paired off into a group with two other bulky heavy dudes so I always ended up lifting the Studly Hubby, who is about 30 lbs heavier than me (but the lightest one in the group), and my Studly Hubby got conned into lifting the heavy dudes a few times (one was 230 lbs). But the heavy dudes made great spotters, so that was good. These poses really get your adrenaline pumping (especially when you're the flyer) - sometimes when I came down out of a pose I would turn into a babbling idiot for a few minutes, and for at least an hour after class I was experiencing some sort of weird high.

One really neat thing was that there was a Singing Satsang group (hosted by Gina Sala) that meets at the same time in the studio next door to us that does meditative singing and chanting - it was beautiful and at the end of our class we sat in a circle and joined in with them.

What an unusual Friday night! It was really fun.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Gettin' Down on the Harmonica

Every morning right at 8 am a guy walks past our apartment playing the harmonica. I noticed it at first because I can hear him playing. When I first heard him, I ran over to the window and looked out, wondering where the music was coming from. He has a backpack on and looks like he's just walking to school. He's about my age, so maybe he's in graduate school or works at UW. Either way, he plays his harmonica during his walk. Lately he has started belting out some blues, too. His voice isn't bad. And his harmonica playing kinda rocks. Although it's a really weird thing to hear coming from the street at 8 am.

It does kinda make me want to learn how to play the harmonica. It seems like that would be a really fun thing to do while you were walking to work. Until now I've never wanted to play the harmonica. It looks like the sort of thing you'd have to learn when you're young because it's so complicated-looking. How can you possibly make organized sound come out of one of those? I don't understand.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Love Perez Hilton

I have become addicted to www.perezhilton.com. It's like reading People only better because the author has an opinion about everybody.

Although I do feel sorry for the victims of his posts every once in a while.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Seattle Freeze

It seems there's a good reason why we haven't made any friends yet in Seattle - the city is notoriously unfriendly according to this article. Actually, they are very friendly on the surface (welcoming you to the neighborhood, stopping to let you go first on the freeway, chatting about the weather at the bus stop, etc) but when it comes to inviting you over for their super-bowl party or any other social engagement they will give you "the Seattle freeze" - when asked about their weekend plans, their smile freezes on their face and they quickly exit the room.

I think my Studly Hubby and I are pretty friendly people. And we knew we'd have to make an effort to make new friends when we moved, so we really put out the effort - we planned social engagements with every group we were connected to, we started going to church, I joined a book club, etc etc. And this was a big investment for us - with my Studly Hubby in school, we didn't have too much extra time on our hands. And for all our efforts, there were no apparent promising leads - people showed up, we had a good time, but there was no mention of future get-togethers. And church was getting really awful - I realized quickly that the only people talking to me (with a few exceptions) were other new people, most of which were kind of weird. I was a little offended, so even though I was enjoying the (non-)service itself, I didn't want to be shunned like that afterwards so decided to stop going (and spent my Sunday mornings instead going to a hot yoga class where I'm guaranteed to make no friends). I am having fun at the book club and will keep going to that, but for the most part it's 40-somethings with kids.

It was incredibly refreshing going to San Francisco for the Studly Hubby's graduation ceremony with Animation Mentor and meeting all of his classmates. They were friendly, interesting people that socialized as much as possible over the weekend. We immediately met at least three other couples that we could have become really great friends with. Why hasn't that happened here? I guess I have to be patient. After spending the last year feeling guilty for not hanging out with my friends enough, I am suddenly feeling very lonely. I am very grateful my Studly Hubby was able to move here with me, and I think it would be a huge challenge to move here by oneself.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

ALMONDS!

I have had incredibly dry skin since we moved to Seattle. It's weird because it's actually pretty humid here, I never expected my skin to be so dry. We had actually gotten rid of our humidifer before we left Minneapolis because we figured we'd never need it (we were wrong!).

I used to consider my skin "dry" when I had to use baby oil after my shower a couple times a week, and put lotion on about as often. Now I am putting baby oil on EVERY time I shower (if not, it is actually painful!) and I put lotion on whenever I have time, which is about 4 times a week. And after all that my skin is still red and itchy, but at least it's not cracking and painful.

Well after using all that baby oil I wasn't surprised when I finally used up the bottle I have had for the past five years or so - a bottle of Johnson & Johnson Vitamin E Baby Oil. Since it wasn't quite doing the job, I thought I'd try something else, so I planted myself in the lotion aisle at the co-op yesterday while my husband did the grocery shopping and read all the labels and tried all the testers and finally ended up buying the cheapest one to try it out (pictured at left - I read that almond is the most nurturing oil for dry skin, and this one also has peanut oil, olive oil, lanolin and NO unnatural fragrance). I noticed two things in the aisle at the co-op: 1) all the oils there had color to them, while the Johnson&Johnson oil I had been using was completely clear and 2) none of the oils had a suspicious "fragrance" listed on the label, like the Johnson&Johnson Baby Oil. So I'm hoping this stuff will work better, since it's colored and doesn't have anything weird in it.

Well I used it today and I'm not sure yet if it works better (although it is a LOT thicker), but I am having another problem - it's distractedly YUMMY smelling. It smells like almonds! It reminds me of everything almond that I have ever loved - swedish oatmeal cookies, almond jello, etc. So I'm definitely not going to try the coconut, because I like coconut even better than almonds and may find myself chewing on my arm if I try the coconut. I may switch over to something more innocuous like rose or jasmine. But I do like almond smell better than baby oil smell (at least for me, since I am an adult and not a baby), so for that reason alone I like it better already. Plus hopefully it'll be a little more helpful with the dry skin problem.

Krispy Kreme

(Sorry Mr. Mop, if you're still lurking out there - I had to make another donut post)

Yesterday my Studly Hubby and I made a special trip out to a Krispy Kreme donut store to buy a creme-filled donut. These creme-filled donuts are very hard to find, if you've ever looked for one. Every once in a while the bakery at the local grocery store will have them, but that seems to be less and less frequent. And the donut shop right up the street from us only has the custard-filled donuts (which I think are just as good, or even better, but my Studly Hubby really wants the creme-filled ones). After an exhaustive search on the internet, my Studly Hubby announced that Krispy Kreme should have the highly desired creme-filled donuts, so we made plans to go check it out. I had never been to a Krispy Kreme, so I thought it would be a fun adventure.

Oh my, what a fun adventure it was. First of all, they have a drive-through. Crazy! And it was full of cars - we opted to go inside because we didn't want to wait in line for the drive-through. When we went inside, they handed us FRESH, HOT donut samples (an entire donut!) and we just blacked out with taste pleasure. When we left there, somehow we had ended up with a whole box with a dozen donuts and as we got to our car in the parking lot we both looked at it in puzzled wonder and asked each other "how did THAT happen?"

The creme-filled donuts were very good too. Although we still have 9 more left to eat up before they go stale. We put them in an airtight container, hopefully that will help. And I don't doubt the donut-eating powers of my Studly Hubby. When it comes to sugary treats, he is fierce.

One thing I noticed is that Krispy Kreme spells donut "doughnut" on their box. What's that all about?