Sunday, December 21, 2008

What happens when it snows in Seattle?

We go out and play!

Here's me, bundled up in front of our apt. We got about 8" of snow, right in the middle of Seattle (which means they got a heckuva lot more out in the mountains).


Here's our street, with all the cars covered in snow. You can't see it very well in the picture but the snow has been flattened by SLEDDERS and X-COUNTRY SKIERS, no cars. Only one car has dared to drive on our street all day, as far as we can tell.

For those of you who are wondering about our travel plans, here's the story:

We were scheduled to fly out for the midwest for the holidays at 6:15 am Sunday morning. At about 6 pm Saturday night, Thundersnow Storm No. 2 hit with full flurry and by 10 pm when we went to bed we had already gotten 4 inches of snow, Alaska Airlines had canceled most of their flights overnight and Sunday morning, and the towncar service that was taking us to the airport had canceled (their one bad-weather vehicle just went out of commission in a snow-related accident). We knew that 1) we were going to have a heckuva time getting to the airport in the morning and 2) our flight would most likely be canceled. We packed anyway, just in case, and I went to bed to read my new favorite vampire book, Twilight. My very Studly Hubby stayed up a little later to call all the taxi, shuttle, and towncar services in town and scour through the snow-emergency bus schedules, but came to bed without any promising leads.

We set the alarm for 2:30 am with the intention of getting up, checking the flight status, and if it hadn't been canceled trying to get to the airport (our alternative plan was to pay the penalty to rebook the flight). At 2 am, the phone rang with a message from the airline that our flight had been canceled. We whooped for joy and relief. They automatically rebooked us for an already-full flight on Monday, we got our return flight changed and our rental car changed, and we are now all set with a much better plan. Hopefully this time we can actually get to the airport and get on the plane and get out of Seattle. Stupid snow!

I hope to see some of you soon!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thundersnow!!

Thunder is SO rare here, and so is snow, so when we had the two together last night, the headlines all over the news in the morning read 'THUNDERSNOW'... oh my, what a story! Good thing I'm from the midwest so I know how to recognize these immediately.

The city has been shut down. Even in the midwest, this would have been one heckuva storm. We had something like 6 inches, and most of it stuck because it's FREEZING outside (in the 20s). People were sledding down neighborhood streets and snowboarding down closed freeway ramps. Because nobody here knows how to drive in snow, the city only has two snowplows, and it's REALLY HILLY, lots of streets simply get closed and everybody stays at home when it snows. That means... SNOW DAY!!! oh, what glory it is.

You can find some GREAT photos on the Seattle PI website:A jacknived bus downtown. The buses were on snow routes only (which means no hills) but still were slip-sliding all over the place. Those poor bus drivers! Plus nobody wanted to drive so the buses were very full.

A snowboarder goes down a city street in West Seattle. What fun! It would be hard to fall though.

I'm used to snow and cold but one thing I'm not used to is the concept of using chains on your tires. When it snows out here it's serious business and everyone goes for their chains (chains are required in the mountain passes). The busses all had chains and lots of cars did too. They make this awful grinding sound on the roads but they sure do help with traction!

Tomorrow I will be heading in to work, on foot, so I can get a few things done before I leave for the holiday. Microsoft is shut down, schools are already cancelled, and it will be a ghost town at work tomorrow. Time to party!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Workin' out in Cowboy Boots!

The other day my Studly Hubby picked me up from work and we drove to the gym, but when we got there we realized that my gym bag had been left at home. It takes 15 minutes to get to the gym, so it would take as long to go back and get my stuff as it would for the Studly Hubby to just work out for 30 minutes, so I decided to just wait for him. And then I realized it takes me about 25 minutes to do all my physical therapy exercises and if the Studly Hubby loaned me his Studly sweatpants (that he was wearing over his shorts) I could easily do that while I waited. The problem was, we are supposed to wear shoes out on the gym floor at all times and the only shoes I had were the ones I had on - my Ariat FatBaby cowboy boots (below):

As I have told you all before (more than once), these are totally rad boots. But they are definitely not gym appropriate. Especially when you are wearing them over too-big sweatpants and trying to work out at a gym.

But I am strong and I persevered. First, I stood in front of the full-length mirror in the locker room and psyched myself up. I looked like an idiot, but an idiot with some sort of purpose (because nobody goes out in public looking that dumb without a purpose). So I puffed out my chest and marched on out.

And... nobody noticed or cared. And the boots are quite comfortable! Now that I am safely through this experience, I can say that I'm glad I bravely put myself out there. But if you have been dying to wear cowboy boots to the gym, you may still want to proceed with caution... it might have just been a lucky night.

Taped Foot!

My physical therapist taped my foot on Monday!!

She wanted to test the theory that orthotics will alleviate my knee problems. She put tape across the arch so that when I'm bearing weight my arch can't collapse. It feels so weird!! I think it helped a little too, although it doesn't resolve the issue (that my ankle is stiff so I'm turning my foot in because I can't bend it as I normally should).

Having a taped up foot makes me feel really athletic. While I was at the gym, I strutted around barefoot for a few minutes to show off, but nobody noticed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bells toll for the Dahlia

We left a Christmas party Saturday night and found that while we were at the party, Seattle had turned into a winter wonderland. For those of you who are not aware, this is rare for Seattle. It rarely gets below 40F and hardly ever snows. Not only did it snow cats and dogs on Saturday night, but the snow stuck all the way through today and now it's supposed to snow some more! Even though it is only in the 20s, it feels like it is frigidly cold out there (it's all about your perspective) and it reminded me of my roots (the midwest) so I wore my big warm Minnesota sweatshirt on Monday. I hear it's even COLDER back in the midwest and I shiver to even think about it.

The cold brought two things worth telling you about:
1) our Dahlia, which bloomed very late (September) and had a very happy fall, was doing just fine until Saturday night when it got covered in snow and then died. I took a picture of it right before it died, when it was still blooming beautifully under a fresh dusting of snow.


2) our neighbor's dog, Zephyr, enjoyed the snow and posed dramatically for this great shot:

3) I got out my wonderful ELECTRIC BLANKET and had a fine time snuggling underneath it with the temperature cranked up to ELEVEN all night last night. Oh, what wonderfulness!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cauliflower!!!

We took a picture of these two different weird-o kinds of cauliflower at the co-op yesterday. The one on the right is clearly 'purple' cauliflower and I already forgot the name of the one on the left but we bought some because it was just too weird not too.

One good thing about getting a random assortment of veggies every other week is that you get used to and even start to enjoy having weird-o new veggies to eat all the time. Usually they are fun to look at AND good to eat!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Let's Talk About Facebook Status Updates

Two reasons:
1) it will get me more hits on my blog
2) it is an interesting topic, and needs some attention

So for those of you that are hopelessly out there (eg NOT ON FACEBOOK), there is this feature called 'status update.' This keeps people posted on your whereabouts and doings. I love it for a great many reasons, but mostly because it makes me feel more connected to friends that are far far away. If I know they are currently at the store or making out with the upstairs neighbor or feeding their diabetic cat then I feel like we are still communicating with each other in some small way even if we haven't really communicated in ages.

But status updates have a higher purpose: creative character building (in a very public forum). You want to update your friends, sure, but you also want to create something people will remember you by (in a good way). For example, why would you simply say that you're at the store when you could say that you just farted at the store?

The problem is, you gotta put some effort into it to give your status update that higher purpose. And I recommend everyone try because otherwise it's a Big Opportunity Wasted. But if you try too hard it all goes wrong and that's just a bad scene. So at the very least, update your status like a normal person and if you get a chance, throw something good in there every once in a while.

My advice: ....aw heck, I don't have any advice because I'm still working it out myself. But here's some other good advice: if you think you know how to write good status updates, you need to write a book about it! then give me a cut because you will make a fortune.

If you are interested in doing further reading, check out these links:

What kind of Facebook Status Update Loser Are You? (outlines the seven-plus types of status updater with some humor)
Collection of Great Status Updates (a blog with many very funny updates on different subjects - not sure if you'd want to use them though!)
Top 10 things NOT to say in a Status Update (from WIRED - read this before you post!)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ariana Huffington's take on Blogging

The Studly Hubby and I have gotten hooked on Internet TV. We don't get cable and typically get our cable show fix through Netflix. But things like The Daily Show, which is a daily news talk show, get missed... thus the need for Internet TV - almost instant access to almost anything!!

Well tonight we were watching a recent Daily Show with Ariana Huffington (of the Huffington Post website). She was talking up her new book about blogging. Apparently blogging is all about saying the things you normally don't say. And that it can be much more intimate than a conversation. And that you should voice your opinions and reveal your passions. What! I had no idea. I thought blogging was just for losers that have no social life. I guess really cool people can blog too! In fact, maybe if you are a regular blogger like me, that means you ARE a really cool person...

bloggers unite! we are standing strong and gaining respect, and we will come out on top (or at least at the top of the page with each new post).

The belated Thanksgiving Post

We had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. It was quite the opposite of the stereotypical American Thanksgiving dinner - quiet, relatively simple (only ONE kind of potatoes!), and the man (my Studly Hubby!) did all the cooking while I hung around with my mom and li'l bro.

This is why Thanksgiving was so great (the things I have to be Thankful for on Thanksgiving:

1). The food was DELICIOUS - the Studly Hubby mixed his love for cooking with skill and fresh organic ingredients (mostly from our veggie box!) - oh, he is such a great chef!
2). It did not stress me out (it was our THIRD turkey for invited guests, and it went very smoothly)
3). The table setting was GORGEOUS. My mom bought us a beautiful fall bouquet of flowers, and we finally buckled before the guests arrived and bought new dishes and a new tablecloth. Plus we scrounged up some nice serving dishes and wine glasses and even used matching silverware.
4). We had red AND white wine
5). I was in EXCELLENT company - all the way from Iowa!!

Some pictures:


The Studly Hubby has a pre-dinner toast to all the good food and good company!


We all sit down for dinner (my mom and brother were the guests). Doesn't the table look pretty?


The beautiful fall bouquet my mom bought for us, and a pumpkin pie pumpkin! It came in our "Thanksgiving" veggie box along with the potatoes, celery, zucchini, brussel sprouts, and carrots that were used for the meal. I actually prefer pumpkin from the can for my pumpkin pies (I am very picky) so after Thanksgiving I traded the pumpkin with a co-worker for two acorn squashes which we will enthusiastically use to make Carribean Squash Pork (in the crockpot) - delish!

Even though I really missed seeing the extended family and my dad and his family, this was an awesome-fantastic (supreme) Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Ever wonder about Kevin Smith?

Ever wonder how Kevin Smith funded his first movie, Clerks? (with his credit card!). Ever wonder what the story is behind his canceled Superman script? or why he protested his own movie, Dogma?

Well you should watch 'An Evening with Kevin Smith'!! This is a compilation of clips from Kevin Smith's Q&As at various colleges across the country. He is QUITE funny, and if you've enjoyed any of his movies (Clerks, Mall Rats, Dogma, Jersey Girl, are a few and Zach and Miri is the most recent) you will like this.

Some of his particularly funny clips can be seen on YouTube. I particularly enjoyed his story about protesting Dogma, and the clip of it on the evening news.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Amazing Thanksgiving Pies


My Studly Hubby slaved away for hours to make two awesome thanksgiving pies the day before Thanksgiving, because everyone knows that the key to a successful Thanksgiving is the pie. He made homemade crusts (and homemade whip cream, later) and used tried-and-true recipes from Libby's (pumpkin) and from America's test kitchen (apple).

The pies looked and smelled so good while they were baking that I could hardly keep myself away!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Clean up!

Generally we keep our place slightly on the tornado side of clean. Don't get me wrong, we take our garbage out, but the counters aren't always clean and the stuff we bought last weekend isn't always put away. In our old apartment we almost constantly had a "pile" near the radiator in the dining room - it's where we dumped stuff when we walked in the door (now it's our kitchen table). The real motivation to work your way through the pile is when you have guests coming. Unfortunately we haven't had guests in a while so last weekend we spent a lot of time putting stuff away.

Also, last time my mom visited she had a Big Bad allergic reaction to something... so I also washed all our blankets and bed linens, we bought new guest pillows, and we really cleaned all the dust out of everywhere we could think of. What a weekend! My Studly Hubby got worn out by it all, but I found it energizing and extremely satisfying. The only problem is, we still have to work a few days this week before the guests arrive, so we need to keep the place clean a few more days...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving... my favorite holiday!

I LOVE eating, so it is only natural that I really really love Thanksgiving. This year we are staying here in Seattle and my Studly Hubby will be cooking. He is a skilled cook and even enjoys making turkey and all the goods. I enjoy sitting around visiting with people so it is a perfect situation. We will be visiting with my mom and my brother who are coming from Iowa for a week.

Now that we are getting farm-fresh produce from Full Circle Farms, we are expecting a 'Thanksgiving' veggie box this week that will supply us with a lot of what we need: russet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, yams, apples, some green veggies (brussel sprouts) and herbs for stuffing. Yum! Now we just need to make some home-made whip cream and we are all set!

The only bad thing this year is that we ran out of time to have a full practice round. I feel that practicing for thanksgiving is just as important as the meal itself. All the foods should be prepared in advance to check the recipes and taste test the product. The pumpkin pie is particularly important. And the whip cream. I have faith that my Studly Hubby can make a very Studly Thanksgiving Feast without practicing first but I really would have preferred to taste test a trial run for him.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Forget colon cleanse... how about a poop enema?

One of the neat things about being a researcher is that I go to all kinds of interesting seminars (not all seminars are interesting, but every once in a while there is truly a gem). The other day, I went to a seminar on Clostridium difficile, which is a nasty bug that infects your colon, and I found out some things I didn't want to know... as sometimes happens when a bunch of curious scientists get into a long discussion about poop.

Clostridium difficile rears its ugly head when you've taken a bunch of antibiotics and killed all the good bacteria that are normally in your colon. When Clostridium difficile takes over, you start havinng all kinds of problems. It's tough to get rid of, and a nasty bug to have, so people have started getting creative to treat it. To date, one of the most effective treatments (still considered an alternative treatment but consistently effective nonetheless) is to get an enema with... someone else's poop.

That's right.

I'll give you a minute to think about that.

Then you can read about it here if you want to think about it some more.

See, a normal person's poop is full of really good stuff (bacteria) for your colon, and the theory is that if you put all that good stuff back in your colon the Clostridium difficile will get displaced by it and normalcy will resume.

But... you'd have to be pretty desperate to get a poop enema!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Christmas Lists



I am a firm believer of the Christmas List.

I like to make one, and I like to have one when I'm shopping for other people.

I've gotten a lot of nice presents over the years, many that I still have: a nice futon, a bike, barbie dolls and my little ponies, horse back riding boots, lots of good books and music. When I was younger and poorer, making a list was a really big deal because I wanted to make the most of my big opportunity - but it was tough because when I was in school (until the ripe old age of 27), I had a lot on my mind just before Christmas. Sometimes I would totally blow it and then I'd just have to pray that I got some good stuff without the list (and my parents, being devoted fans of mine, were pretty good about this).

The list became even more important when the Studly Hubby came into the picture. He and his family are big on Christmas.

My Studly Hubby introduced me to catalog lists (and online lists too). This is super fun. A lot of places actually let you make a registry for Christmas or your birthday (like a wedding registry) - although that's too complicated for me. Now that I'm not in school I could easily spend all weekend catalog shopping and dreaming about my Christmas list. And then my Studly Hubby introduced me to another important concept: if you make your list really long, then people can still pick what they want and you are still surprised.

Another thing I've discovered: after Christmas is over, if you want to bring back some holiday cheer, you can buy yourself a gift off your Christmas list.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

POPCORN!


I can't believe I've never posted before about popcorn. This needs to be given attention immediately.

I am so addicted to popcorn...!

I have it something like 3 times a week. I make it the old-fashioned way, on the stove with oil. That's the best way. Microwave popcorn is ok in a pinch (I used to keep some on hand just in case) but air-popped popcorn completely loses its valor. I have it with some butter (not much), a sprinkle of salt, and brewer's yeast (I have posted about this before, it's a nutritional supplement that hippies use for flavoring and I learned from my hippie parents that it goes well on popcorn). The Studly Hubby doesn't love popcorn like I do. He doesn't hate it either, so when I make it, he usually eats it willingly. Which is good because I really like to make double batches so that it fills up the whole quart pan I use and starts to lift the lid off when it's just finishing up. Watching popcorn pop is the perfect way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

GOBAMA!

I typically don't like to put politics up on my blog, but tonight I can't help it. Obama won! And boy, does he know how to deliver a speech. And he's so handsome too!

"We have never been a collection of red states and blue states: we are, and always will be, the UNITED STATES"

Oh, my! (swoon!)

And kudos goes out to one of my little brothers who made it out to Chicago tonight to watch it all go down. Li'l bro - I hope you didn't wet your pants tonight! What an amazing night.

The entire transcript can be can be found here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Studly Hubby's Not-So-Studly Mustache

The Studly Hubby did it... he spent six weeks growing a mustache. He and his brave co-worker W had to brave fierce looks and judgement from the general public as their mustaches grew in, and I congratulate them on their perseverence and loyalty to the Mustache. They never gave up! They never surrendered! (good job guys!)

Here it is in its full splendor:

For Halloween he incorporated the mustache into a complicated costume involving a mullet wig from Value Village and some jeans and a t-shirt.

He was a Hick.

Very well done my dear!

Hopefully next year there is no mustache as part of the costume. After Halloween we said good-bye to the mustache and it was shaved off.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Absentee ballots: the hip new way to vote


I read in the paper a few weeks ago that it is becoming increasingly popular to vote BEFORE the election, and something like 10% of the votes are going to be absentee votes this year. I had an aha! moment (that is an O! the Oprah Magazine reference) and realized I could win several ways with an absentee ballot. First, I can avoid going to the polls on Nov 4, which we all know can be a headache (especially if you are in a very enthusiastic neighborhood - we waited in line for over an hour last time around). Second, you can actually figure out what each of the things are you are voting for by looking them up and doing your research while you have the ballot in hand. And third - this is something I realized after I finished voting today - you can properly distance yourself from all the political mayhem that starts to drive you batty about one week before voting day.

so my vote is to do absentee voting! it's awesome!

If you want to know how, don't ask me. I requested the ballot on some website somewhere that would take me an hour to find again (I am already registered to vote, so after I finally found the right link it was easy).

Mustache!

The Studly Hubby has a great mustache for halloween but no good costume to put it with. He hemmed and hawed over what to do and finally went to the best place to get ideas, Value Village. It was there that the miracle happened: on a rack, right in front of him, was a mullet wig. And he knew that he would be a hick for halloween.


And while he was there, he thought, 'what about my pretty wife? what will she be?' and so he bought a set of angel wings (isn't he sweet!) and brought them home for me. When I laid my eyes on the package of angel wings the second miracle happened and I knew that I would dress in blue and be a blue angel for halloween.

(for those of you that do not live in Seattle, the Blue Angels show is a hallmark of summer and they actually close the freeway so the whole city can come out to party).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Dahlia story

Hello, my name is Yellow-orange Dahlia. I look like this:


Aren't I pretty?

I've had a tough life. I was sprouted from a bulb planted by my mommy in the early spring. As soon as I got big enough to see the sun these nasty slugs started eating my leaves and I couldn't grow any bigger! My mommy put out slug traps and weeded and watered and I tried and tried but just couldn't get any bigger than a half-eaten leaf sticking out of the ground. I stayed like that all summer but the slugs wouldn't go away until it started getting really cold at night. Then one day there were no more slugs so I could finally grow and grow and now I'm really big and have lots of pretty flowers!! Maybe next year I will be bigger and stronger and can beat those mean old slugs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday Hike

The Studly Hubby and I attempted to take it easy this weekend but I ruined it with many many plans as usual. The first thing I really wanted to do was go on a hike because we haven't gone on a hike at all this year!! We went out to Little Si, the smaller version of Mount Si, and hiked up and back down (3 hrs total). It was a bright beautiful day and a wonderful hike, and wasn't hard on any of my injuries.


Next we went down to the South Center Mall, pigged out at Famous Dave's, then went shopping and purchased our first Christmas present of the year...! I can't say what it is because it's a surprise for someone that reads my blog. We came back home at 8 pm, took a quick shower, then went out a partied! with one of my good co-worker friends that is leaving this week. Afterwards we watched Saturday Night Live then finally went to bed at 1 am. And that was just Saturday! Whew, sometimes it's easier to just work all day.

Bike Trip Memento

The bike trip pictures just came out and I scoured through them and found some good ones of the Studly Hubby and I. In this one, taken on the third day, we were taking a little break for some blackberries by the side of the road on Lopez Island. Yum!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

G-mail: Email Goggles

I guess drunk emailing has become a big enough problem that somebody needed to do something about it, and Google stepped up. They recently introduced 'Email Goggles', a sobriety test for emailers that must be passed before one can access email between 10 pm and 1 am (it takes about 60 seconds). But for those of you who only send good, productive emails when drunk, don't worry: email goggles is optional.

Pro Sports Club - the fancy-pants club for fancy-pants city folk

Thanks to my Studly Hubby's new employer, Microsoft, we just got deeply discounted memberships to the fanciest gym I've ever been to, Pro Sports Club. I never dreamed of such wonderful-ness: free towels (all the towels you could ever want!), no waits for equipment, a clean locker room with fancy pants free lockers, hot tub, sauna, and steam room (one set for each gender!), and views of the city while you work out. All the staff wear cute matching track outfits with the Pro Sports logo on them, and they breeze through every five minutes to make sure everything you're using is spanking fresh and clean. The gym is so nice and wonderful, but my heart will always belong to our old neighborhood YWCA (in Minneapolis), with the giant family pool and the 'kids' gym', and where I spent so many hours while I was in graduate school.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Am I a Mac Convert?


The new MacBook Pro came out today. It's very pretty.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sarah Vowell POWER

I went to go see Sarah Vowell do a reading of her new book tonight. She is the voice of Violet in The Incredibles (shown above), and has a pretty funny take on history. She's been on This American Life and the Daily Show and wrote a few books and whatnot. The reading itself was boring but when she answered questions she was very funny. The questions themselves were very funny. One was, 'why do you like plaques and statues?' (her answer: ever since her first personal relationship with a plaque in a coffee shop, she has appreciated what they bring to the culture of a neighborhood) and another was 'who do you consider the most unappreciated figure in history?' (her answer: the person who invented Caller ID).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WHOOSH!

That was my week: WHOOSH!

My open commitment a few weeks ago was to POST MORE in October, and I am not doing such a great job at it. Well at least an ENTIRE week didn't go by since my last post.

This week, in addition to my usual work schedule, I had book club (we read Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett), went to an Expanding Your Horizons science workshop (to get ideas for giving science workshops to middle school girls, we ate chocolate and then burned some table salt), went to a good-bye party for two co-worker/friends that will be gravely missed, and the two days I didn't have stuff planned after work I worked late.

Other things going on: we've switched our allegiance from biking back to running. I bought new running shoes a while back but have barely used them due to the knee and back injuries from last year. In my last physical therapy appointment, my PT suggested I put hard insoles into my shoes to help stabilize my foot (my right foot pronates in a little because I have a stiff ankle, she discovered, which is probably why I hurt my knee). I tried this and it helped, but I can tell I'm going to need more. I'm getting fitted for orthotics next week! Hopefully someday soon I can get back to my old running ways (i.e. going the distance, but not very quickly).

Also the Studly Hubby's mustache is coming along. He debuted it at my office party where people were noticing without him even having to point it out - he was so proud! He didn't even mind that after they noticed they laughed so hard they almost fell over.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mustache Party

My Studly Hubby is so excited, because he is growing a mustache.

He and several co-workers engaged in a 'mustache competition' until Halloween to see 1) who could last the longest and 2) who could grow the better mustache. One co-worker already dropped out, and speculations are that his wife stepped in. Now it's between my Studly Hubby and one other Studly Co-worker 'W' and the race is neck-and-neck at the moment.

The Studly Hubby, Week 1

The funny part is that both the Studly Hubby and 'W' have been at it an entire week and you can't really tell what they are up to. Thank goodness!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Headlines from the J&D Household

My dad went through a 'headlines' phase where he would update friends and family with headlines like in the paper. Here are some headlines from our household this week (I am J, my Studly Hubby is D):

J Vows to Deliver More Posts on her Blog
J Forgets about her Blog
NaBloPoMo is a Bust

D Plays at Blues Jam on Wednesday
J Goes to Blues Jam on Wednesday
J Swoons While D is Onstage
D Has Successfull Show

J&D both work all weekend
J ends the weekend by blowing up her biofilm in a grand spectacle event
D takes a break from work to go pick up J and console her
J decides biofilm was better off dead anyway

J&D take one week off after Big Bike Event
J hopes bike event trained her Quads like steel
J gets back on bike, heads for a hill, gets off bike and walks
J decides her quads are still recovering

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I already blew it!

One day in to NaBloPoMo and I already blew it... I forgot to post yesterday! It was October 1 already. Last year, I think I forgot to post on the first day too!

Well in case you haven't noticed I haven't really committed to this thing yet. And nobody else (on my blog) has either. My goal was to just get myself to post more often... I've sort of fallen off the wagon recently and am once a week (or even less sometimes!). But on the flip side, maybe I started only posting once a week way back when I did NaBloPoMo last year and I was so burned out afterwards from having to post every day... hrm.

Well I will commit to something here: I aim to post MORE OFTEN in October, but maybe not every day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

NaBloPoMo

It's that time of year again! Time for

NaBloPoMo... (National Blog Posting Month)

The lazy-man's version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

Who's in?

Back in the Saddle

The Studly Hubby and I took a whole week off from biking but finally dragged the bikes back out to get to work faster today.

Well, my butt survived it but just barely.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

San Juan Islands Bike Trip

We had quite an experience out in San Juans.

First, a big THANK-YOU to those who donated for this amazing event! You've helped the American Lung Association in their quest to help kids breathe better, and you helped our team have the craziest bike trip we ever thought we could have. Now I'll tell you the whole story.

Next, the team:


The Studly Hubby is in red and I'm in green with the bike helmet on. This was taken at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, where we camped at the fairgrounds on Sat and Sun night.


But let me start with Day 1.

DAY 1: The crazy departure

We arrived at the ferry departure site, in Anacortes, late Friday night (after dark), and set up tent in the soccer field of a middle school with about twenty other tents that were all lit up from the inside with flashlights. I'm sorry to say I didn't get a picture.

We awoke at 5 am because it had started raining. At first, the rain was kind of pleasant. But at 6 am, we had to take down the tent, and it started to suck - everything was wet, and it was dark, and we had to get on our bikes at 7 am and bike out to the ferry terminal and stand around in the freezing rain and cold for about an hour while we waited for the ferry to come in. That really sucked. Plus it was cold. I'm glad I didn't get any pictures of that. If we weren't so excited we probably all would have given up and headed back home before we even got out there.

DAY 2: The First Crazy Adventure (aka San Juan Island in the Freezing Rain)

San Juan Island was a mess of freezing cold and rain. We biked off the ferry and headed out on our 40-mile trek around the island with the rain beating down on us mercilessly. This was not good ole' Northwest drizzle (which I can handle), this was what one would call a Midwest Downpour. And it was relentless. And cold. None of us remember much from that day, except the rest stop where we stopped and huddled together for warmth and drank hot water and ate wet apples slices.

But I think I can find a positive spin. We had many new and unique experiences that day, such as: getting dirtier than I've been since I was five, getting windburn (on my face! it hurts!), biking in soaking wet underwear for four hours, slipping off the handlebars and falling on top of the bike (this was the Studly Hubby's great misadventure), and coming around a corner to see a beautiful view and five guys standing in the pouring rain in their bike gear enjoying it and somehow having a good time... they will be my new role models.

DAY 3: The crazy hills of horror (aka Walking Our Bikes Around Orcas Island)

Day 3 we headed out to Orcas Island, and it started out a lot better, because it wasn't raining.

The ferry right before we loaded:


It turns out that Orcas Island was sculpted by some vengeant God who was angry with all the bike riders and sought to put an end to their misery. The center of the island is a mountain (Mount Constitution). The rest of the island is a series of mini-mountains (what they told us were 'rolling hills') compounded by constantly rough pavement.

Our team suffered both a flat tire and a lost bike-rack bolt on this island, and several riders got bruises and blisters on their palms. After we made our way to the other end of the island (Doe Bay) we could hardly feel our legs (it took 3 hrs to get there). On the way back, we were walking our bikes up the hills and dreaming of a taxi ride. As we departed the last rest stop, we were worried we wouldn't even make the ferry. But the sun was out, the island was beautiful, and we successfully made it back - then went straight to the bar to celebrate.

After the ride on Orcas island, the team gathered to wait for the ferry.

Derek's expression says it all about Orcas Island's crazy hills.


DAY 4: The crazy last day (aka Recovery on Lopez Island)

Oh, Lopez Island was so beautiful! It was quiet, flat, very rural, and had astounding views of the water and the other islands. We stopped many times to take it all in (and rest our weary legs).

The Studly Hubby and I taking in the view - so pretty!

In all, it was an amazing experience. But alas, it will probably remain a one-time experience. Next time we go to the San Juan Islands, it will be from the comfort of our car!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The manly KILT

I guess some men prefer skirts over pants... but they call them kilts.

I discovered over the weekend that there is a growing population of kilt-wearing men out there. They even have a whole store dedicated to them, Utilikilts (there's one in downtown Seattle, but if you don't live here you can order your kilt online).

If you're curious about the underwear situation of these kilt-wearing men, check out some of the home-made commercials on the Utilikilts website (called Mockumercials, to see the whole list, go here). My favorite is Round 2, 3rd Place: "Pants don't stand a chance."

Happy Punctuation Day today, everyone! Also, Happy Birthday to my li'l bro JUSTIN, who is turning 21!!!

Coming soon: My memoir of our crazy bike ride... get ready!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Studly Hubby earned more nerd-points

My Studly Hubby just sent me a picture that he took with his iPhone of the INSIDE OF THE BUS!

And he was text messaging me the whole time!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Opal POWER

It was our FIFTH wedding anniversary last weekend and the Studly Hubby got me a beautiful opal ring.

It's not just any ring either. His Studly Parents, who own an amazing jewelry store in Iowa City, made the ring. Isn't it pretty?

As soon as I put it on I realized it gave me Super Powers, which I will use for good (not evil) once I learn to master them. I think some of my friends want me to use the ring's superpowers to make duplicated copies of it so they can have one too (but the duplicated rings probably wouldn't have SuperPowers, they would just be pretty).

I'm such a lucky girl!

What happened to the crunch cone? (part 2)

While we were in Iowa, I went to Dairy Queen to get a much longed-for crunch cone and interrogate the manager there about why our Dairy Queen in Washington state doesn't have crunches.


Well the manager of the Iowa Diary Queen assured me that all Dairy Queens can have crunches if they so choose but that some decline them because there is an untrue belief that crunches need to be applied with an expensive piece of equipment. He showed me how that piece of equipment is unnecessary (you just roll the cone in a tray of crunches) and recommended that I put in a suggestion to the manager of our Washington Dairy Queen that they get some crunches and apply them that way.

Then I asked if I could simply buy a bag of crunches to take home with me and he said no, not unless I have $250,000 to open my own Dairy Queen franchise. I was briefly tempted to do this, but then remembered that I can still have crunches whenever I return to Iowa.

I Love Physical Therapy

I started physical therapy about a month ago and found someone I really like (in constrast to a traumatizing former experience). If you're looking for a good physical therapist in Seattle, definitely go to Sarah Meeker (in Wallingford).

What she does that I like so much is 1) pay attention to me and all the problems I tell her about (and think carefully about them too) 2) look at body mechanics to determine what types of movements I'm doing in my everyday life to cause these problems and 3) help me change those movements so that my body can heal and won't get reinjured.

Also, she doesn't blame ME for my injuries (blaming instead my body mechanics, which she insists is all genetic and totally not my fault), which is a really nice thing to hear after a big injury.

So it turns out that I hurt my back because my hips are tight, and I hurt my knee because my ankle is stiff. She's working on getting more flexibility to these parts and teaching me not to bend my back and knee in ways that hurt them (they are TOO flexible). Also she's helping me strengthen my weak spots and lengthen all my tight spots. I'm doing squats and leg lifts and hip stretches and upper back stretches and all sorts of things that take up a lot of time, but my back is definitely feeling better.

Last night, the Studly Hubby snapped a picture of me doing one of my physical therapy exercises in my pajama pants.


It's still a slow process and physical therapy like anything isn't an all-encompassing solution. Another thing I like about my physical therapist is that she's not against chiropractic, message therapy, or anything else that might work, and she talks to me about what to try and when I need it. I've found some alternative anti-inflammatories (fish oil, and an herbal mix called Zyflamend) that I would recommend.

So, I'm finally getting better. And with the Big Bike Ride next weekend, it was just in time!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm BACK!

I apologize, my dear readers, for another loooong absence. Facebook is in part to blame. I am a woman obsessed! But I resolve to return to my blog where I can really vent without limit.

Also we were on vacation! We jetted out to Iowa for a wonderful week of visiting relatives. I spent my spare time relaxing in the luxury of my mom's newly redone backyard with red wine and good food. We had absolutely perfect weather. I apologize to those of you I didn't get a chance to visit! Unfortunately there is never time for everything.

Highlights of the trip:

- My studly hubby and Uncle John bravely removing a dead something from my mom's backyard
- Several awesome bike rides with my brother Alex and mom and step-dad. I never knew Iowa was such a good place for biking!
- Witnessing the potty-training adventures of my youngest brother, and seeing my stepsister's new house in Peoria, and the biggest grill ever to be grilled upon
- The nostalgia of campus in its first week back to school - oh, the memories! and now it's even better because they have a Chipotle!

Shoe Review

My Aunt L-Rock asked me recently what my recommendation is for a good pair of shoes. I have done a lot of in-depth Shoe Research through my lifetime and was excited to share my findings with her. Then I thought, well maybe that would make a good blog post.

So this is for those of you who are looking for a good pair of shoes. I'm very picky, so the shoes I am talking about here are only those that are AWESOME, no exceptions.

What I would rate as CONSISTENTLY AWESOME shoe brands (these are a little more pricey, about $150 a pair, but well worth it):
-Birkenstock (fit well if you have high arches and/or wide feet)
-Earth (fit well if you like your heel very low, and have lower arches)
-Dansko (fit well for more narrow feet, although wide is also available, may not fit well if you have particularly high arches, these wear very well I am told)
-Naot (made in Israel, this brand fits like Birkenstock only they are cushier and prettier)

My new Naot shoes, aren't they pretty? I LOVE THEM:

What I would rate as USUALLY AWESOME ($50-$100):
- Keen (these are waterproof! they fit like slippers, can satisfy diverse feet shapes and have neat models - however some wear out sooner than the above brands, and you really need to try on the various models before you buy them because they don't all have the same fit)
- Ahnu (spinoff shoe company from Keen, they are similar)
- Montrail (this is normally a hiking boot company but I highly recommend their Molokai flip-flops for you poor souls who have plantar fascitis but still want to bust out in the summer-time with flip-flops)
- Old running shoes (if you buy your running shoes for around $100 and have them fitted by a pro at a specialty shop, they will make fabulous walking shoes after their running life is over, and they will be all broken in!)
- Ariat (used to exclusively make horse-back riding shoes, but were so famous in the horse world for being awesome that they expanded to casual shoes and have really rocked my world)
- Fluevog (Canadian shoes that are supposedly 'Satan-proof', but I mainly put them here because they have such unique styles and few truly good shoes come in such diverse and awesome choices - watch out, they are really pricey, usually $100-$200 but sometimes $400!)

A pretty pair of Fluevogs:
Don't be fooled by the following brands - they claim to be good for your feet, but they're NOT!

- Born (these are CUTE, yes, but their soles are made of cotton puffs)
- Clarks (see above)
- Doc Martens (I am a long-time fan of Docs but apparently their soles are very unforgiving and now that I have tried other brands I have to agree with this)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pizza!

I think pizza is one of the best concoctions ever invented. My Studly Hubby agrees. Like many Americans, we have a long tradition of frequently eating and relishing pizza. Unlike many Americans, we prefer to make it ourselves, dough included. Actually, let me re-phrase that: we prefer when my Studly Hubby makes it himself (I have nothing to do with it except enjoying it once it's made). He uses our breadmaker to make the dough, then rolls it out, makes his own tomato sauce, adds some veggies and pepperoni and cheese, and bakes it up. He claims it's quite easy. And it's amazingly delicious. The secret is in the ingredients... frequent pizzas provides lots of opportunities to explore pepperoni and cheese and different ways to make tomato sauce. My Studly Hubby's pizza is pretty much... perfect!

Shown is the remaining half of an extra-green pepper and pepperoni pizza still sitting on the pizza stone that was used to bake it.

Delicious!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Ride Around Lake Washington

Today we rode ALL THE WAY AROUND LAKE WASHINGTON! This is a 55 mile ride and took us about 5 hrs.


Our route started from Seattle took us through Renton (home of Boeing), Bellevue, Medina (where Bill Gates lives), Kirkland, Bothell (near wine country), back around the north end and down into Seattle again. The East Side of the lake (Bellevue, Kirkland) is a mysterious place where techies go every day like my Studly Hubby who works at Microsoft in Redmond. Most people just cross a bridge by car to get there, but one can also go all the way around by bike!

Around the halfway point, we stopped at a beautiful park (in Kirkland) for some lawn-sprawling and some lunch:

This view of Lake Washington is pretty much what we were looking at for the whole ride, from various angles. It was an amazing ride!

As is typical for Seattle, we got some rain on the ride. Strangely, it was only raining in Seattle so for most of the ride it was sunny and beautiful but the last 15 miles or so, as we were coming back into Seattle, we had intermittant drizzle and rain. By the time we got home we were soaked and very dirty. We peeled off our clothes and put them straight into the washer. Then we showered, ate, napped, ate again, and now (at 8 pm) we're finally feeling recovered.

Some great quotes from the ride:

"Who put this hill here?"
"Ack! My bike is stuck! Oh, wait, it's my muscles."
"It's Burgermaster! Speed up or I might accidentally stop there, and that would be horrible!"

Our bike team is doing very well, and we should be all set for our charity ride at the end of September. This is most of the team:

I am in yellow and my Studly Hubby is next to me in black.

We are over halfway to our goal for fundraising! If you want to help out, go here to make a donation. Any amount helps! And a BIG THANK YOU to those who have already donated!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Honey-Do List

Have you heard of a honey-do list? It's the list you make for your spouse or partner ('honey, can you do this?') of housework etc that is inevitable in a long-term relationship.

These days, my poor Studly Hubby has a long honey-do list. Since I hurt my back, I haven't been able to do very much of the housework. Plus, it's the summer and there's a lot going on. Thus, there is a need for a list. So my Studly Hubby, a long-time fan of techie solutions to everyday problems, wanted to write a program to create a honey-do list that I can update from work or wherever. Then he discovered that iPhone has an application for this! It's called Zenbe, and you can create lists that you sync with other people so you can both see and update the lists.

We both installed Zenbe, and now we each have a list. It's great! And it's so much fun, my Studly Hubby barely notices how much housework he's doing.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Major Bike Surgery

I have a really priceless bike. It's a super-80s racing bike (Giant) that was rebuilt by a friend's bike-guru dad. I think he got it at a garage sale for something under $20. He put all new components and wheels on it and gave it to me complete with a speedometer (fun!). My Studly Hubby got a matching 'his' version. After we got the bike, we switched out the seat and put new tape on my Studly Hubby's handlebars and new pedals on mine (with SLP clips, which have been my nemesis). Then we started training for this crazy bike ride we're doing in September.

Well the bike needs more work. This week I raised the seat, bought another saddle, adjusted it a few times, then went to work on raising the handlebars (for my sore and achy back). I had to rip out the brake cable and speedometer (and retape the handlebars), put on a handlebar extendor, then put everything back together. I couldn't have done it without my Studly Hubby's help, and lots of advice from Recycled Cycles down the street. It was our first time messing with brakes so I stopped by Recycled Cycles on my way home from work today to get some more advice and do some final adjustments.

Well it was hot in there while we were standing around, and my bike got grumpy with me for taking so long and messing with it so much. After I left the store, I hopped on and the handlebars turned one way and the seat turned another and I fell right over. All the bolts had loosened while I was standing around in the bike store! It was pretty hot in there but I didn't think it was THAT hot. So I took it aside and told it to behave! and then I walked it back home and this time got some pliers and tightened everything with all my might (and some of my Studly Hubby's might too). I think we got it this time.

Now to get used to those clip-in pedals - maybe I should start wearing knee and elbow pads!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My induction into iPhone world

My Studly Hubby finally caved and got an iPhone. And while he was waiting in line (that's right, a month later there are still lines) he decided to get two so we can have matching his and hers phones. So now I have an iPhone. I didn't originally want it, but let me tell you, it is pretty cool. I can check facebook, email, take pictures (and email them), look up phone numbers (on the web), change settings, check the weather, and track myself all without breaking any fingers or toes. It's amazing.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Facebook

One of the things I like about Facebook is the Status Updates. Anytime you want you can change your status (the message by your profile picture) to tell everyone what you are up to. For example, mine says right now "josie is a speedwalking demon" because I just got back from a kick-butt speedwalk (that's right, speedwalking is the new running, and it kicks butt) and wanted to brag about it.

But I just noticed something funny that nobody will ever notice unless I point it out, thus it has to be pointed out. Earlier today, my Studly Hubby's Status said, "Derek says, "eating dandelions makes you pee" and at the same time, my Status said, "Josie just went potty." Is that a funny coincidence or what? It turns out, I HAD been eating dandelions... and they DO make you go pee! But that story is for another post.

A toast with a flight of champagne


My Studly Hubby is so Studly that he recently got a new job at Microsoft just because he's so good looking and super muscley. As before when he was contracting, he will be working for MSN Entertainment as a web developer (which requires both stunning good looks and bulging muscles). He contracted there for the past year and had a fantastic experience, and now he will be in a full-time position with all the sweet Microsoft perks like 'the blue badge' that gets you on any bus for free and makes you an instant comrade with any other 'blue-badge' Microsoftee around the city.

To celebrate this awesome new job, we took ourselves out to the Purple Cafe in Kirkland, which is a wine bar with really exceptional food. For those of you who are not familiar with the very metro wine bar, it is a place wine snobs go that is sort of like a bar but fancier. We are not wine snobs but we are wine snob wannabes, so we have been making the rounds to the wine bars (and the many wineries here in the state of Washington) to try to get hip to the wine snob world.

One of the great things about a wine bar is that they serve wine in little taste sizes (1/3 of a glass or so) and then bring it out with a full description as part of a taster set (called a 'flight', usually 3-4 types of wine). They carefully place each glass on a typed label and description (as shown above) so you don't get it mixed up with the others, and then you can delicately sip each one and comment on it to your friends and read the description and munch on little munchies and be as snobby as you like while you decide which one you like best.

Because we were celebrating, we got the champagne flight, which included two from France, one from Spain and one from Italy. Before the food came, we each tried each one and then ranked them (each of our ranks were completely different) and then after we got the food we had to totally re-rank them because our 'palate' was changed by the food (it really was! my #4 changed to #1).

Although both the food and the wine were both excellent, we couldn't resist the Dairy Queen temptation afterwards (don't worry, we skipped dessert at the bar). Since they have never heard of crunch cones in the Pacific Northwest, I was forced to get the Brownie Earthquake which turned out to be quite pleasant.

What a celebration!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Running....!


Tonight I updated my old ratty running shoes for a new pair (something that just needs to be done about once a year) and I was super excited about it this time because 1) my last pair didn't fit right and 2) since my double back-knee injury in the spring I had yet to get back to running and I was hoping this would kick-start me back to business.

I was indeed kick-started back to business - the second I got home with my hip awesome new shoes I tore open the box, threw them on, and went out for a run with my Zune cranked and a smile on my face. The smile didn't last long though. Man that was painful! And my back and knee both hurt a little so I'm not quite all better yet. I looked AWESOME in my shoes though.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The rise and fall of my potbelly

I've been fighting off a little potbelly. Between being injured, lots of traveling, and waaaay too much eating, my belly managed to expand a bit. I had to bring myself out of denial a few weeks ago when I tried on my favorite summer capri pants and they didn't fit. What a bummer! My potbelly hung out over the top of them, and no amount of sucking in fixed the problem.

I decided to go on a diet, but the unfortunate thing is that diets really don't work for me. As soon as I vow to 'go on a diet', all I can think about is food. So I gained a few more pounds after that. Then I had an even bigger problem (and potbelly).

I figured out two ways to solve my problem. First, I needed to start exercising again. The only two things I can seriously do right now (my back is still a little injured) is bike and walk. I could probably swim too but I really hate swimming. So I ramped up the walking and the biking by about 1000-fold and that comes to my second approach: I ran out of time for eating. Anticipating my diet wouldn't work, I started really getting back into shape about a month ago and by two weeks ago I was able to bike a full 25 miles in one stretch (and then go out for an hour walk afterwards). The next weekend I did 45 miles, and then another 45 yesterday. The thing about biking 45 miles is, it takes up half of your day (and 1/4 of your weekend). You eat a big recovery meal after the ride, then you are too busy trying to get all your other weekend stuff done and viola, you are out of time to eat again. And viola again, good-bye potbelly.

Now you are reading the blog of a potbelly-less champion.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The grandparents breeze through town


The grandparents breezed through town this weekend on their way from one place to another and fortunately our schedules all collided and we went out to dinner together. It's so much fun seeing the grandparents! They have such amazing stories to tell. We went to a super-yummy BBQ place by the airport called Famous Dave's, which is a chain that we fell in love with when we were in Minnesota. Good food, good times! As the Studly Hubby would say, Rock!