Saturday, March 31, 2007

New Furniture!

We got our new furniture and arranged it thusly (don't you like that word?) in our living room:

We love it! It's so comfortable I keep falling asleep on it. Next up: pillows that 'bring the whole room together' (anybody know what movie that's from?). For this we may pull out the sewing machine and go to some fabric stores. I'm thinking about making FOUR pillows, so that we can have them all over the place. The two you see on the couch are from our previous apartment - they matched our old curtains. When I bought the fabric and the pillow inserts I thought for some reason that they would be much bigger. Now I know better.

We also acquired a rowing machine this weekend:

Our neighbors are moving out and put a bunch of junk out in the yard, including this fine-looking rowing machine. We then added some things of our own to the junk pile - there's nothing like a big neighborhood junk pile. Today the only things left are a pillow and two brooms, so clearly the neighborhood made use of the junk in the pile. The Studly Hubby has already used the rowing machine twice. I'm kind of afraid of it. In the background you can see our fireplace, which I am also afraid of. I prefer sitting on the new couch to trying to figure out complicated things like rowing machines and fireplaces.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mad Max the Pig-Dog

We're dogsitting for Max the Pig-Dog again, this time for the whole week. It's nice to have him for a longer time, so we can really see what it's like. The first day he was totally excited and ran all around our apartment like the energizer bunny all day. Now he's calming down a lot more and settling into a nice pattern. He's a very well-behaved dog, but still has an unbelievable amount of energy (especially for a 13 yr-old!). Yesterday morning while we ate breakfast and watched, he streaked continuously around our dining room table, and every morning he and the Studly Hubby hold a fantastic tug-of-war tournament. We've learned that a good couple of blocks at a hard run while we're out on each of his walks really helps to wear him out (good thing he's so little, or we could never wear him out).

I really like having a dog, and it hasn't been too hard letting him out or feeding him (as long as we share the work). The only thing I don't think I could take long-term is getting up so early - this dog wakes us up at 5:30 on the dot, every morning. Blah!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Things to do at Green Lake

We are starting to train for the Vancouver half-marathon (13 miles), so we ran 7 yesterday at Green Lake. It was quite a challenge - I'm trying to speed up to a decent pace (12 min/mile is fast for me) and that was a two-mile increase from last week (plus we skipped a short run last week because my dad was visiting). I was sore enough last night that it actually interfered with my sleep - or maybe it was the Pig-Dog we're dogsitting right now.

While we were diligently trotting around Green Lake I made a mental note of all the interesting stuff going on there (most of which goes on every weekend):

1. A Poet - at a little table with a sign "POET" - that I presume will write poems for anybody who asks. We've never asked so I don't know what the cost is. Every Sat and Sun the table is there and someone is sitting down at it looking busy.

2. A Spanish teacher - an old guy that wanders around the lake with a vest on that says "SPANISH LESSONS" - he is often walking beside someone speaking Spanish with him, so he seems to get some business. It occurred to me that he must burn a lot of calories walking around the lake all weekend, too.

3. Weird-looking ducks. They look like ducks (and they hang with the ducks) but have a shorter body length and are darker in color. I can't find a picture of them and we only started seeing them recently so I haven't had a chance to take a picture yet. I'll try to get a picture and post it and see if anybody knows what they are.

4. LOTS of different kinds of dogs, most of them trying to visit each other and all of them looking totally thrilled. Since we've been dog shopping a little bit, I've been familiarizing more with the dog breeds so I try to guess them as we pass. Unfortunately I never know whether I'm right but it's still fun.

After our 7-mile run yesterday we took Pig-Dog on a 3 mile walk to wear him out - he was pretty excited to be hanging out with us, as anybody would be. I think we wore ourselves out pretty good too - but the Studly Hubby kept on going last night and rearranged some furniture to get ready for our new couch, which will be arriving on Tuesday.

Have a good week everyone!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

High-maintenance WHAT?

A new store has opened in our neighborhood, called "High Maintenance Bitch" which has caused quite a stir. I was stirred to go inside, but have decided to wait until next week when we are dogsitting so that I can look for something to buy for our guest. A few people were stirred to call up the news and have a fit about the use of foul language on a public sign, and my Dad was stirred to take one of their business cards and a few photographs in front of the store.

Visit from the Daddio

We just got done hosting my Daddio for a few days while he was in town for a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Conference here in Seattle. We had such a fantastic time! We ate and joked and bonded and toured all around the city together. Thursday we all took most of the day off and went to Pike's Place, where we bought some coffee at the original Starbucks and went shopping for some souvenirs for my Dad's herd of boys back home.

Dad and I posing in front of a huge fish at the market, which would cost about $200 whole - my dad settled for a $10 hunk of dried salmon

Then we took the FERRY out to Bainbridge Island, which was so much fun I couldn't hardly stop wiggling. Then we came back to town, met some of his colleagues for some appetizers at a sushi place, and he came into the lab with me for a tour. By then it was getting late so we wandered up the Ave (University Ave, which goes by campus and is packed with cheap and yummy restaurants) for a more hearty dinner. The whole day was wonderful.

On the ferry to Bainbridge Island. For $13 round-trip you can take your car with you - and they pack about 50 cars (including some semi-trucks) on each ferry. During the ride to the island (about 35 min) you can get out of your car and run around the ship, buy coffee or lunch, go potty, or stand on the top deck and get your hair blown around.


The view from the ferry looking back at the Port of Seattle (downtown) - you can see the coast guard accompanying the ferry in the foreground and the large cranes for moving shipped goods (the inspiration for Star Wars' AT-ATs, you can probably see why from the picture).


When we got to the island, we inspected both the shoreline (with starfish clinging to the posts at the dock) and the forest. The starfish appeared to be alive (my dad checked on this) and were all very brightly colored.

On Friday, we split ways for a while and then met back up for some home-cooked salmon (thanks Studly Hubby!) and then wandered around our neighborhood until the rain drove us back inside for a game of Chinese checkers and some boggle. Saturday the Studly Hubby and I got to go to my Daddio's fantastic talk on using blogs in teaching, and I even asked a question!, and then we had to say good-bye at the airport.

What a great time! Thanks for visiting us Dad!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Visit from the Daddio!

My dad is visiting tomorrow for a conference that's here in town. We are having full-blown spring here and have even had a few sunny days in the past week so hopefully he'll see some of the best of Seattle (including the amazing flowering trees that are in bloom right now, the picture to the left shows some of the trees on campus here at UW). We might take him on a ferry to one of the islands - a first for us. Plus we'll feed him some yummy Seattle sushi, and do whatever else we can that sounds like fun.

To get ready for some visitors, my Studly Hubby spent the day yesterday cleaning up the apartment and getting us caught up on laundry etc. What a treat for me! I was so thrilled to come home to a clean house with nothing to stress about. Aaaahhh, what luxury...

Have a happy Wednesday everybody!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Day in Seattle with OUR NEW FRIENDS!

After lots of hard work and many false starts, I think we finally found some new friends in Seattle. The chick works in the lab next door and went to the downhill ski adventure we went on a few weeks ago. Her husband is an engineer and they have a 2 1/2 year old kid. They live near us and like to cross-country ski, so it started with a plan to go skiing. The plan backfired when we found out how expensive it was going to be out here, and we decided instead to go to the "mothership" REI downtown to check out their ski sale and their season ski pass deals. Once we were all the way downtown, we figured we should go check out the new Olympic Sculpture Garden, which is right up against the water and has a beautiful trail going past it. Some of the sculptures were a little too abstract for me, but others (like the one pictured) got better once I got underneath them or right-up-close to them. I think I'm kind of tactile that way. We also included a fancy downtown lunch, a brief stop to watch the irish dance troup at the St. Patrick's Day affair at CityCenter, and a much lighter dinner at Whole Foods afterwards. We were POOPED at the end of the day but very happy to have some new friends.

Peeps!

I have always been a big fan of Peeps. It is my observation that few adults like Peeps - either they overdose as kids and forever after have a 'bad association', or they never really liked them that much to begin with. I still like them (despite a few near-overdoses) but I've found I can only take a few at a time these days (they're still good with whip cream though!).

My step-dad found a couple of interesting Peeps websites. The first, www.peepresearch.org, harbors extensive analysis on Peeps themselves involving their reaction to heat, cold, etc. with many pictures. Their conclusions are profound (e.g. Peeps don't respond well to cold, which would be why they are not commonly found in extremely cold environments, like Antarctica).

The second website, which is part of a faculty arts exhibit at Millikan University (and hosted on a website through there), involves a twist of the research on Peeps - it is research on Peeps doing research. This project involves a series of pictures of the Peeps arriving at the library, working on the computers and with the microfilm, checking out some books (pictured at left) and having a few mishaps with the papercutter and some heavy books and a wild-crazy librarian.

Nice find K! Thanks for cluing me in.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spring!

It smells good here. When we go running at night georgeous flower smells waft past us and they somehow make me hungry. Maybe anything would make me hungry when I'm already hungry. I think it's mostly the flowering trees that smell so good.

A friend at work is trying to convince us to go to Vancouver to run a half-marathon in May. It's only 7 weeks away! that's 13 miles! We're still deciding whether to go. We were going to try some cross-country skiing this weekend but found out that you have to buy some bogus "trail pass" here that costs $16/person/day, or if you wait until the beginning of the season you can buy a year pass for much cheaper. So we are going to go to REI instead and hit their end-of-season ski sale and then do some skiing next year instead. But I conned another co-worker into going to REI with us and then going out for some green beer afterwards so I'm feeling very social this week. We also went out for a happy hour last night although had to leave early because I had to get to book club. For book club this month we read the 2007 Seattle Reads book, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I wasn't particularly fond of it but liked it more after discussing it at book club. This was the second month in a row that I was still reading the book on the way to book club, but they are very forgiving at the book club and still let me eat their cookies.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Celedon Green

With the upcoming season of visitors planning a stay at the Hotel J&D Rock, the Studly Hubby and I decided to finally put new furniture at the top of our priority list. For the past six or so years we've been putting up with a futon for a couch (it is a nice futon, and did get a new mattress a few years ago, but it's a futon nonetheless and is therefore not so comfortable).

We've never been in the market for furniture, so didn't really know where to start. We went to a few used furniture stores, but the selection was pretty limited. We next ventured on to a new mega-furniture place, and discovered that the prices were not too much higher and the selection much better. We found a couch we both liked, went home to think about it, and discovered on the internet that the place had gotten all bad reviews so decided to keep looking. Some friends of ours who had recently bought furniture went to a place called Dania, so we found one of those and spent Sunday afternoon there. My Studly Hubby, a longtime fan of seafoam green, fell in love with the "celedon" (seafoam) green version of the leather couch pictured at right (the 'Rocco'). It's under $1000 and really comfortable. I had told him from the very beginning that I hate seafoam green and won't get a couch that color (I prefer blue) but the only other color is taupe which I think is worse (especially in a white-walled, cream-carpeted apt). By the end of the afternoon I was becoming swayed towards the celedon green couch. But we are very slow deciders, so again we went home to think about it. I am also a worrier so I worry about things like quality (can a leather couch under $1000 really be any good?) and other stuff (with the leather freeze my tushy off in the winter?) and the Studly Hubby is a nice understanding guy so suggested we look at a few more places, and maybe go visit the celedon green couch again, before we decide for sure. I am kind of disappointed to find myself wasting so much energy on a couch, I never thought I was that type of gal. Hopefully it'll be worth it in the end.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Netflix and Me

Are any of you wondering why I haven't been posting much lately? Well, I blame it on Netflix. We have become addicted. There's something surreal about watching a whole television series without any commercials, two or three episodes a night. It makes many shows tolerable which I could never watch before and it sucks you right in. I have been known to almost cry when we get to the end of of a show.

Here's what we have been watching these days:

1. Entourage. This is an HBO show about a big movie star (in the center of the picture) and his three buddies. He also has an interesting agent, an adorably bitchy press agent, and various hot women that pop in and out. Because it's a show about a big movie star in modern times, other stars sometimes show up playing themselves, like James Cameron, Mandy Moore, etc. The thing we really like though is the awesome cast of characters. They are all very well done and make for a highly entertaining bit of television. Also the shows are each only about 20 minutes which make them great for low-commitment Netflixing.

2. Grey's Anatomy. I'm not totally in love with this show - e.g. I would never tolerate it with commercials - but now that we've watched a few, I'm getting into it. I find the main character hopelessly annoying though.

3. Big Love. This is another HBO show about a polygamist (Bill Paxton) and his three crazy wives. We really liked it at first, but then about midway through the first season we had to stop watching it because it was stressing us out too much. His wives are crazy! And his family is crazy too! I guess it really speaks to the quality of the show that we got so wrapped up in it.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

COMPUTER DOWN...

We finally got the car fixed, and now the computer is off to the shop. My motherboard is on the fritz, they say. My Studly Hubby sacrificed an entire morning to find out for sure and ship it off to Dell where they will fix it for free and ship it back. Fortunately it died a slow death so I was able to get everything backed up (except my EndNote libraries, which I forgot about - argh). Also in my lab we have 3 (THREE!) backup laptop computers available. One of them is sort of a floating computer with extra graphics software on it so it gets used pretty frequently, but the other two are useless macs that nobody wants to use so I grabbed one and set it up at my desk. It's actually kinda nice not to have to haul my laptop back and forth to school. I really miss my computer though. The macintosh argues with me about everything, the mouse is weird and different, and I miss some of my old programs, like EndNote and Photoshop.

So for this week when I want to post blogs I have to either use the pain-in-the-butt mac at work or come home and vie for my Studly Hubby's computer. But I consider myself very lucky - at least I have other computers to use and mine will be fixed soon.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Portland!

We're back from a weekend visit to Portland OR this weekend, where it was actually sunny and our friends managed to have a well-kept house and yard despite total chaos (mainly stemming from having a 6-month-old baby). I was impressed with the whole trip and really enjoyed the good weather and clear views of Mount Hood. I even made an omelette for everybody but grew weary of the heinous amount of time it cooked. I think I'm becoming more impatient as I get older - maybe I'm growing fearful that I'm running out of time. Portland is a nice city and they live in an especially nice neighborhood although housing prices there are skyrocketing about like they are here in Seattle. Their kid is incredibly cute and is now one of the growing list of babies that very weakly stir the "mom" call that I've buried deep down inside somewhere. Our friends in Portland have "gone green" about as much as one can handle in a modern city; they sold their car and bought a scooter that they use for most things, then when they need something more they rent a car through a neat program called FlexCar that is mostly free through their work. I was intrigued but not tempted. I don't think I'd survive long on a scooter. Walking is the safest thing for me.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Playing with my friend's Wii

On Saturday night we went out to party with some of my Studly Hubby's friends from school and from his internship. Two of them have a Wii, so at the end of the night, after trying to figure out where we could go bowling, we ended up going over to one of their houses to go bowling on their Nintendo Wii.

First of all, let me tell you, there are about a thousand ways to incorporate "Wii" into dirty sentences, both accidentally and otherwise. For example, "I like playing with your Wii" or "It's hard to control your Wii" or "Can your Wii really talk to other people's Wiis?" are all things that were said on Saturday night without at first realizing how dirty it sounded. I think our friend's roommate laughed so hard he peed his pants by the end of the night.

The Wii was pretty fun. Bowling was surprisingly realistic, and really good for me because I have weak wrists so normally it's hard to steer those heavy bowling balls - but with the light Wii controller I could actually make some things happen. Tennis was less realistic and I felt like boxing was just a matter of swinging my arms faster than the other guy - although the two Wii players in the room that were experienced actually looked like they were doing something when they boxed so maybe you get used to it.

By the end of the night I was having junior high school flashbacks - imagining I would be the most popular girl if I could get a Wii and invite everyone over to play with it (this is NOT penis envy, it is video game envy - they are very different). Except that it might take away from my precious blog-posting time. I can't have that, so maybe we should hold off on the Wii.

University of Minnesota CANCELED CLASS!!

On Thursday, the University of Minnesota CANCELED CLASS for the afternoon. This is MAJOR news. When a Big 10 University cancels class, you know it must be bad. And when that Big 10 university is in Minneapolis, where they know how to handle a crapload of snow, you REALLY know it must be bad.

It was so bad that some students made some very beautiful snow-art in front of the Memorial Union Thursday morning:


(normally I wouldn't show a pic like this because I wouldn't want to traumatize all my innocent readers, but this is in the name of art so I think it's ok)

I wish I was there (in Minnesota)! I haven't had a real "snow day" since high school and I miss it. Here in Seattle, people stay home whenever it snows at all. I wouldn't consider that a real snow day (although it is definitely cause to stay home - with the hills and lack of salt and absence of snow plows, any snow is dangerous snow).