Thursday, June 28, 2007

Star Wars Stamps!!

The world has just gotten sweeter.

You can now buy Star Wars Stamps from the United States Postal Service.

Yay!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The only campsite in the Northwest

Yesterday at work I spent most of the afternoon trying to get a campsite (aren't I a hard worker?). It turns out that of 6 state park campsites north of Seattle there was only ONE campsite left, which we snatched up immediately. Unfortunately it's located quite a ways away - a two hour drive and one hour ferry ride to a remote island. Once we get there it's going to be awesome, but driving north on a Friday night is quite a challenge here in the Seattle area. Traffic is bad all the time, even on Saturday, and that is the peak time for the peak route out for a fourth of July weekend getaway. I guess we have to get in line for the ferry a few hours in advance (although once you're in line you can leave your car and go out to dinner). But I've heard the ferry ride is pretty cool and the campsite looks awesome so I think it'll be worth it in the end. Besides we'll have stuff for s'mores so of course it'll be worth it.

New Tent


We went to REI last night and bought a new tent. We used to always borrow tents from our family, back when we lived in the midwest, but we knew once we moved out here that we were going to have to buy one eventually. It was kinda tough deciding what kind to get though. Since everyone and their mom backpacks out here, we thought maybe we should get a tent we can take backpacking (i.e. spend extra money for something lightweight), just in case.

It turns out, REI was having their fourth of July tent sale last night and the best deal there happened to be a backpacking tent. It's an 8-lb, four-person tent (REI brand) and looked pretty tough and mean to us. The only thing was, the light-weight backpacking tents don't have a lotta extra room or headspace, but after mulling it over for a while (and popping in and out of the display tents, which was fun, and going around to look at the mini barbie-sized display tents, which was super fun), we decided in the end that we could deal with limited headspace. Who spends that much time in their tent anyway?

To go with the tent, REI sells "footprints" which are fitted tarps to go under the tent. Apparently there is a "lazy-man's method" for backpacking with a tent - just take the footprint and the rainfly and hope it doesn't rain too hard. I thought that sounded like an interesting idea.

So, we're pretty excited... our first tent! I'm going to set it up in our living room tonight.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Upcoming Camping

As a pleasant life distraction, we have decided to go camping with some friends this weekend at one of the many gorgeous campsites around here. We had trouble deciding where, but finally settled on the San Juan Islands - either we'll camp near the ferry terminal and spend the day on the Islands or if we can get a campsite on one of the Islands, we'll just spend the whole weekend there. From the Islands you can supposedly see Orca Whales. There is no way to the Islands by land (you have to take a 1 hr ferry), so this seems like a pretty exotic trip to me. Plus the area is more sunny than Seattle for some Ocean-effect reason, so the chances of good weather increase when you get up there.

We haven't camped since we moved to Seattle so don't really have our act together yet. We are going to go out and buy a tent tonight and may have to buy some other things. We are normally once-a-year campers, at best, so the whole routine may take some effort. Fortunately my hard-working Studly Hubby is bringing home piles of money again that we can toss around at REI and wherever else we need (the "throw money at the problem" approach, as a co-worker recently called it, is often the best and most effective).

Since the summer started I have not worked a single hour over the weekend. I can't bring myself to even think about it, it's so beautiful out and there are so many things to do. I've been trying to make up for it by putting in a few extra hours during the week, but then I end up taking a day off here and there for trips and various things. I am beginning to see that the two seasons here are: work (winter) and play (summer).

Well we're going to have a fun time playing this weekend.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dog Update

It turns out, the dog is probably a cockapoo.

But before we found that out, we had an awful weekend that ended in us giving him back.

First the good: he was housebroke, and pretty polite, and didn't react to the noises of our neighbors and such. He was also pretty loving and cuddly and very cute once we cleaned up all his matted fur.

But then there was the bad: he had an awful reaction to his neuter surgery and was licking and biting until we had to put a cone on his head. He hated the cone, and was very sore so could hardly walk, and was too anxious to eat all weekend. Then, understandably, he got very crabby and started growling and snapping (in a sort of unprovoked, random way). Saturday night he bit me when I was feeding him a treat, and we started wondering whether he was going to work out. Sunday morning we woke up and made some phone calls and decided after much advice getting and reading our dog books that we weren't the right owners for him. Even if he got better and didn't bite anymore after a few weeks, we wouldn't trust him for a good six months and we never wanted that. Plus we wouldn't have the experience to deal with it, and we wouldn't ever trust him with little kids (meaning we couldn't keep him if we had kids of our own). And who knew if he would even get better? We had no history on this dog other than the hour or so I spent with him at the dog shelter and what little they could tell me.

So we weren't sure whether he was even still an adoptable pet and we made some phone calls to find out. The Seattle Humane Society said he wasn't (since he had bitten) but the Seattle Animal Shelter, which is a separate agency, said they would take him and do some behavioral testing and decide whether he was. We thought that was as good a chance as we could get for him and took him right over. We breathed a sigh of relief when we dropped him off but cried the whole way there.

So that was our weekend - yech! Hopefully next weekend will be better.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh My!

My dear blog readers, I have not abandoned you.

You might think, My gosh! this is the longest time J-Funk has ever gone without posting!! Is she ill? Is she dead?

Well never fear, because I am back, and I am not ill nor dead.

I was finding a dog (and taking a little vacation in Iowa).

Read on...

The dog that got away


Wednesday night the Studly Hubby and I both took off from work early in the afternoon and went over to a dog shelter in Bellevue (on the other side of the lake from where we live) to look at a poodle/mix they had there. The poodle looked perfect (1 y/o medium size, friendly and loves his toys) so we seriously rearranged our schedules to get over there as soon as they opened from being closed over the weekend.

It turns out 'as soon as they open' needed to be sooner than we thought - they often have a line of people waiting when their doors open at noon if they have a good, small dog available (especially if he's been advertised on the news, which this one hadn't). This particular dog already had two holds on him by the time we got there (a few hours later), and was being adopted out as we stood by watching. It was incredibly frustrating (especially because it took a huge chunk out of our afternoons!). We left the shelter thinking we might not be able to buy a "used" dog after all, and may need to just get a "new" one.

But one more prospect remained, and we decided to just call and check on that one before giving up entirely... (read below)...

A new doggie!!


We found a doggie today!! I skipped the whole afternoon at work and drove two hours south to Nowhere, WA to beat off other prospective adopters and at least one innocent bystander before this one got away from us. It was listed as a 2 y/o Tibetan Terrier (a country stray), and after spending the weekend with my mom's Tibetan Terrier I was sure it would be a good fit. He was also totally cute on the website they had for him, and they said he was "a happy social butterfly".

When I got down to the shelter and met the dog ('Buster'), he was just what they described him as - totally happy, social, and cute (although I'm not sure if he's really a Tibetan Terrier - he looks more like a poodle/terrier mix or something). I can't say that I fell in love at first site, but I think that's because his coat was terribly matted and he smelled faintly of skunk. The shelter was really out in the middle of nowhere, so there was a lot of room to take him out to a private spot away from the other dogs and really get to know him. He bounced around me for a while and then eventually calmed down and sat down. I wasn't really sure how one gets to know a dog in under an hour, so I did some of the stuff they suggested on a website my Studly Hubby found. I trotted around with him on the leash (he did well), made some noises at him (he stayed calm), grabbed his scruff to see what he did (he didn't react), called him to me (he came with his tail wagging), and generally socialized with him. He seemed fine, but I still feel like we don't know much - they had just taken him in as a stray, so had no idea whether he's been potty trained or crate trained (or even lived inside), whether he's good with kids, or ok to leave alone all day. Hopefully he'll be ok. He told me he would be.

We take him home Saturday (he's getting neutered tomorrow). Before we go get him, we're going to have a shopping spree at PetCo and buy dog food, a leash, scissors and industrial strength lavendar scented dog shampoo, and dog bowls. We're also going to work on coming up with a new name for him.

Iowa!!!

I spent last weekend in Iowa, basking in memories while visiting old friends from high school, college and even graduate school. It was an all-encompassing trip and even involved several trips to the new and beautiful dog park in Iowa City.

It's funny, but I now have 3 friends with a daughter turning 3 years in the next 3 months (well, one is turning 3 in 6 months but I thought that didn't sound as good).

And now 3 of 4 original gal-pals from WAAAAAAY back are married (we got a nice picture of the 4th one looking at her barren ring finger while the rest of us showed her our sparkly rings). And my mom not only has a new house and a new car, but also a new puppy and five new partners at work. And my step-dad has a fancy new bike, shoes and shorts, and inspired us to go on a fun-packed family bike ride to Dairy Queen (oh DQ, how I have missed you!!). And two of my brothers have made it through their first year of college (yay! congratulations J and A!). And it turns out I still know how to drive, who knew?

Well it was a fun weekend and much more relaxing than the last time I was home, when I visited three states in the same amount of time, gave a talk at a conference and visited both my mom and my dad. This time it was hot though! Whooo-ee. 95 degrees, muggy, and relentless. My body can't take that kind of heat anymore. I could hardly move. Maybe it was good for slowing everybody down a little.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SHOPPING!!


On Saturday we went out and shopped like frenzied maniacs. We had been waiting over a year for this perfect combination of having time, money and need. We went to REI first and forked over a heapload at their shoe sale and on some new running clothes (and a membership!), all of which I totally adore. Then we kept on going (it was pouring outside anyways) and cruised up to the Alderwood Mall, which is always a commitment. We went to Gap and I bought some new jeans (not even on sale! I feel giddy) and some T-shirts, then we went to JC Penney and bought the new pillows I mentioned in an earlier post.

The Studly Hubby was very tolerant of this whole escapade (which is good because it was mostly me buying and him watching). I had been needing so many things for so long (from WAAAY before we even left Minneapolis) that I had to take a whole different approach: high volume and minimum festering. (normally I buy one thing at a time and put lots of festering into it). It worked out ok, although later on I couldn't help but do some post-shopping festering. I really hate buying new shoes the worst, because they never feel right until you've kicked around in them a few times, and I always buy the expensive shoes that you don't want to regret buying later. But it's so fun having new things! Especially when everything you had was ratty and holey and dated (I've already thrown away a pile of stuff - this stuff wasn't even worth Goodwill it was so bad).

This weekend I'm heading back to Iowa for a Big Wedding Weekend and a visit to some long-time friends there (both for the wedding and otherwise), then a Father's Day BBQ with some family and my mom's new puppy. We just got a new cell phone (with a camera!) so I'm going to take that with and all my new clothes and I'll feel like a queen the whole time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Geeks Run Too (and we have allergies!)

We have formed an official group, all of us science monkeys that claim to be runners. We like running around and around Green Lake, so we decided coordinate so we could do it at the same time tomorrow night. Then once the ball got rolling I went ahead and invited some other people that just want to walk around Green Lake. If there is a big enough crowd, I figure, we can all go our own pace and we'll still be able to find someone to run or walk with. So far we have a group of almost 10. It's amazing how many people jumped on board once I set a time and a meeting place.

We have been having an onslaught of allergies lately. A coworker went out for a midday walk today and came back with red eyes, and tonight I feel downright sick. I'm going to have to dig out my Zyrtec and take some. I guess that's the downside of living somewhere where everything grows all the time. I always thought I was just allergic to dust but I'm learning there might be more to it than that.

To fight the allergies, my Studly Hubby and I bought new pillows this weekend. My old pillow was getting *hem* old. Very old. It was a great pillow though, so I was careful choosing a new one. I think I made a good choice, I like it a lot. I also bought a hypo-allergenic cover for it and put that on. It seems ok, but it traps air so if you aren't careful you end up sleeping on air instead of down. I should probably get a hypo-allergenic mattress and duvet cover too, but haven't gotten organized yet. Our duvet is also down and probably has a world of allergens inside it. Sometimes I feel like the allergies are going to win either way and I should just try to make myself as comfortable as possible (i.e. peppermint tea, a nice comfy robe) as they take me down. But other times I clench up my fists and fight it with all I've got and do feel slightly better afterwards.

Watch out for that poo!

Yesterday we ran Seattle's Furry 5K, a race to benefit animal shelters. One of the perks is that anyone with a dog brings the dog, except for my co-worker who owns Pig-Dog - she doesn't trust him any more than one could trust an underpants-stealing gnome. We never thought we could go to a thing like that because we're not yet part of the "dog-owners" club, but nobody seemed to question us and we felt very welcome.

We went with a group from my work, some who brought dogs, and we had a very good time dog-watching (especially during the wait before the start of the race). The only trouble is, with a lot of dogs, there will be a lot of poo. Dog owners were for the most part good at cleaning up the dog poo but every once in a while a pile would be missed or not completely cleaned up, and you had to keep your eyes open for these little "landmines" as we called them. Our group was fortunate; only one among us was a victim. However a three-year-old daughter of a co-worker fell in some duck poo while playing by the lake and I think it was a pretty big pile because they actually ended up throwing away some of her clothes, so I suppose she was also a victim of a different kind of poo.

We had put a hold on the dog search for a few weeks while we acclimated to the Studly Hubby's new job situation and the horrendous commute that goes with it, but after yesterday our dog-sensors were stimulated once again and we were trying to figure out when the next good weekend would be to go find a doggie. The Studly Hubby has managed to parse his trip down to an hour each way by biking halfway there but it still might be some scheduling trouble - we may have to just take turns taking the dog to work with us (wouldn't that be fun?), or more reasonably, hire a mid-day dog-walker or take the dog to doggie daycare every once in a while. Yes these are the things city folks do with their dogs... I know it sounds silly but we live in a city so might as well try it right?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I pose a question:

Is it wrong to pick your neighbor's berries?


What if the berries are between the sidewalk and the road?

What if the berries are hanging out over the sidewalk?

What if nobody else is picking the berries?


I appreciate all input! I have been wondering this for a while now...


... ps I had some delicious rasberries tonight!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A few random things

1. I ate THREE (3) bananas yesterday
2. I also ran EIGHT (8) miles yesterday
3. The run went much better than I expected
4. I have to give joint lab meeting (a presentation of my research to multiple labs) tomorrow
5. I've had butterflies in my stomach all day
6. That didn't prevent me from buying a big cookie this afternoon with some of the gals
7. If you go down to the cafeteria right at 2:45, you get fresh, HOT cookies straight out of the oven
8. It was so yummy I almost died
9. But cookies make me kind of hyper
10. So when I met with someone after to go over some data I was talking super fast and jumping all over
11. I think she just thought I was excited about the data
12. But it was really the cookie
13. The lock on our garage door is just barely working
14. And the locks on both the back doors of our car are having problems
15. Pretty soon we're going to just have to leave everything wide open and hope for the best
16. I'm supposed to be working on my presentation for tomorrow
17. But I really wanted to tell you about those three bananas I ate yesterday, my long run, and the big cookie
18. Well I guess I just did so time to go!

have a happy Friday everyone!

Monday, June 04, 2007

A bedtime story

I'm on a roll (see the many posts from tonight, below), so I thought I would go ahead and throw one more up.

Last night, I woke from my slumber to the sound of something crashing into something else. It sounded a lot like my Studly Hubby crashing into some furniture as he came stumbling to bed, which he often does (not because he is drunk but because he is kind and doesn't want to turn on the lights and wake me up). When I heard the loud crash, I said "baby! do you want me to turn on the light?"

Well it turns out the crash was from one of our upstairs neighbors, not my Studly Hubby. My Studly Hubby was already in bed sound asleep beside me. So he woke up in the deep of the night to me asking whether he wanted me to turn on the light. To which he replied (of course) "what! why?"

Being only half awake, I really didn't understand his reply. Nor did I understand how he suddenly appeared in the bed beside me when only seconds before he had been in the hallway crashing around into furniture and such. I think I groaned in confusion, because then he said, "I've been asleep!"

Well I really didn't get that, so I naturally fell asleep too (clearly it doesn't concern me when things don't make sense in the middle of the night). In the morning, we each told our sides of the story and got it all figured out. Hooray!

Local Favorites

I posted below about a few of my favorite things in general, but I thought I'd also let everyone know that we are making an effort to buy local, and join the millions of people who have recognized that local foods are brought to you using less energy. Buying local also supports the local economy!

Out here in the Northwest, it is easy to buy local. Before we even got here we were big fans of Seattle's Cascade Fresh Yogurt, which is yummy-delicious, low in sugar, and has excellent flavors like Orange Cream.

Once we arrived, I became an instant fan of a local brewery, Pyramid, and their Hefeweizen. Oh, that is good stuff! I may have to be un-local once we leave here and have some sent to me.

Now we are also big fans of a local chocolate company, Theo chocolates, and I am exuberantly looking forward to an opportunity to tour their chocolate factory (do you think it will be like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? I want to swim in a chocolate river!!).

There are also lots of neighborhood Farmer's Markets here in Seattle (and the big one at Pike's Place!) but when we can't get to those we always buy local at the PCC co-op. We even have a membership!

And then there's always the local salmon. Mmmm, that's yummy.

A few of my favorite things


Here are a few of my favorite things:

1. Peppermint

I love it! I drink at least two cups of peppermint tea every day, in the summer I switch to peppermint iced tea. I eat peppermint candies and LOVE peppermint ice cream (old fave: peppermint ice cream from The Great Midwestern...!).

2. Girl Scout Cookies

Who doesn't love Girl Scout Cookies?

3. Lay's Ketchup Chips

My Studly Hubby got me hooked on these. They sound gross, but they're actually quite good. They're strictly Canadian (you can't even order them) along with Curry chips, Dill Pickle Chips, and Sour Cream and Bacon Chips (I have only tried the Ketchup Chips and none of the others).

4. Gummy Coke Bottles

My Studly Hubby also introduced me to the wonder of Gummy Coke Bottles. I've always loved anything gummy, ever since my first Gummy Worm at the age of twelve, and these are somehow even better than the rest. The best brand is Haribo.

Touristing over the weekend

We did some good old-fashioned touristing last weekend (I'm a little behind on my posts, but I wanted to get some pictures up so better late than never).

On Saturday, the day Aunt and Uncle C&M arrived, we took them out to Snoqualmie Falls. When we were in Minnesota, the Place to Take Visitors was Minnehaha Falls (especially because we lived within biking distance of there and they had a Dairy Queen). Now, it's Snoqualmie Falls. Let me tell you, Snoqualmie Falls is way better. It is such a huge waterfall (size reference in the picture: there is a building up at the top of the falls, if you squint you can see it) that we got wet from the spray when we got down to the bottom. Nice!

On Sunday we went hiking at Deception Pass State Park. This was the perfect place to go, because it was raining in Seattle on Sunday but the park is located about two hours away in a place where it wasn't raining (it was even sunny for a while there!). Deception Pass is a bridge connecting the mainland to Whidby Island, which is a very long island in the Puget Sound. Around the bridge there is a georgeous park with breathtaking views of the Sound and little islands and peninsulas you can explore on their many trails. They also have a campground and it is so far our #1 choice if we ever get a chance to go camping (although we have so many other places to explore, we'll see).

There were many spots we found where we could have just sat and stared out at the view all day long. It was just amazing.

On Monday we slept in a little and then headed downtown to see Pike's Place Market, the rest of downtown, and the Space Needle. They happened to be having a Folk Life festival at the Space Needle so it was a little over-run with hippies but we still managed to beat our way through the crowds and take a trip up to the top. It was very fun to see Seattle from way-up-high, and they even had tour guides that I fired a bunch of questions at so I could properly orient myself.

All three days were filled with good weather, lots of outdoor activity, and beautiful sites. It was a great weekend! It's really nice to have visitors over the holiday weekend so you have an excuse to get out every day and go do fun things.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Holy Cacao!

Tonight we tried 91% cacao chocolate by Theo chocolates (see earlier post).

FYI, there is such a thing as too much chocolate. It's bitter!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

A little Friday LEGO art


Here's a little something for a Friday... crazy LEGO sculptures made by this guy. He used to be a lawyer and quit to play with LEGOs!

To view a larger sampling of his work, click here.