Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More Berry than Blast

Last week, D, J & L were all in Hawaii surfing and looking for Stich.  Mostly surfing though.  I got to see some cool pictures of their trip including the part where a whale showed up less than a 100 feet from Luke and Dawne.  He came, played around for a bit, all while the little surfer dudes watched nearby.

Lucas: We paid for a surfing lesson and got whale watching for free!

Came back to the office to this:

Zach's friend Derek was having a part last week, and Alexander asked if he could bring a friend, which Derek said would be just fine.  When Alexander arrived, he had a legitimate bum from the street.  Alexander didn't see the problem.  After hearing this story, we all agreed, "Sounds like something Becky would do."

I spent the week clearing off 36 book shelves.  I organized the books into sell, keep or self-help.  Then I put the nicer, coffee table books back on the shelves so that they looked pretty.  Then, when I was done with that, I did the disgusting task of cleaning out the fridge.  Everything now looks super pretty, and as long as just never eat in the kitchen again, it will stay that way. 

I also caught up on three seasons of "Parenthood," so yay me.  Had to get those in last week because the rest of the fam doesn't care for it at all. 

On Friday, we resurrected the Try New Things Club.

Me: I'm having a TNTC meeting at the house on Friday.
Zach: You see the irony, right?

The meeting agenda was to try all the new Oreo Flavors.  I thought there was just the two, Cookie Dough and Marshmallow Crispy.  That was until folks walked in with Mint, Berry Blast, Birthday Cake, Peanut Butter, Triple Decker and a couple different fudge creams. 

The day before I stopped at Trader Joe's to get some milk: Whole, 2%, Fat free and chocolate. 

Clerk: That's a lot of milk.
Me: I'm having an Oreo tasting party.
Clerk: Oreo's?
Me: Exclusively.
Clerk: So no Trader Joe's Jo-Jo's?
Me: Nope!
Clerk: Is this a party for kids?
Me: Nope! Just un-showered adults.  (Okay I just said adults, but it's funnier this way.)

I had also ordered Pizza, and the delivery guy got lost.  When I got off the phone...

Becky: You're directions are classic. "Okay, now count to 20. Now count to 4. Do you see the three Prius'?"

The Oreo's were delicious. The verdicts:
The Cookie Dough flavor could also be put on the market as "Starbuck's Mocha Chip" and sell twice as much.
Becky: I feel like the berry blast is more of a berry than a blast.
Kelly is still dreaming about the Birthday Cake Oreo's
We all ended up in a little bit of a sugar coma after, but it was worth every headache. 

Then we played some Cards Against Humanity.  I paused for half a second when I realized I was hanging out with co-workers, and maybe a full second when it came to Mexican themed cards, sitting next to a bona-fide Mexican.  Then I got over it, and I laughed so hard my face hurt.  Kelly, no tried testing out a new term that we learned in CAH, Auto-cannibalism & Swooping by putting a cheese goldfish in with the beta fish.  (Cookie seems to be doing fine, if you were wondering.) Then I sent folks home with bags of oreo's and milk.  (I assume they poured the milk into these bags and grabbed a spoon for breakfast.)

Saturday, I finished up some of my projects around the house, and saw Ocean's 5 (AKA: Monument Men).  I also bought pigs feet for the pups.  I gave them one that week, and they loved it.  And, b/c I love them, I thought I would get some more. Only, they are super gross, so I haven't been able to bring myself to open the package.  #firstworldproblems On Sunday, the fam was back and we checked out the progress in the Brown house.  D&J also did their weekend visit to Home Depot and Lowes. Later, Dawne's Aunt Elizabeth come back into town.  On their way back from the airport, we met everyone over at Red Robin.

Zach: The Wedge salad is the laziest of all the salads. 
Elizabeth: I never thought of it that way.
Zach: That's the first thing I thought of. Next, I thought, someone better bring this back and finish making my salad.

Zach: It must have been great to be a game designer back when Monopoly came out.  I mean, how hard is it to make a better game than Monopoly?
Luke: Here, this game does not take 5 hours.  Sold!

Then I took Elizabeth back to the airport to look for her glasses, and then by the time I got back, the weekend was over! :)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cheykjavic before you Reykjavik

Last week, I left Percy for the longest span of time since he was born.  Four whole days.

Dawne (to Nala): Are you ready to be motherly?
Nala (to Dawne, all with her eyes): Not really. 

Headed to the airport where I met two, equally stoked friends, bundled up for Iceland.  Kelly, Becky and I decided to grab some cash before we left, and then before we knew it we were in Iceland. 

Kelly: I forgot to bring a tri-pod.
Me: WHAT!? You had ONE job!

When we landed I asked them to wait so that I could use the restroom, and the WC was the coolest bathroom I have ever seen.  Then we grabbed a cab, and as we handed the man our money, he looked a little weird.

Becky: Did we just pay you [the equivalent of $150) in 1's?
Driver: Heh, basically.  (it was more like in 5's). 

After dropping off our luggage at Center Hotel Klopp, we headed to "The Laundromat" for breakfast.  I ordered the clean breakfast, and I think Becky got the dirty breakfast, but we both got something called chocolate butter, so we both win.  When Kelly got back from the bathroom, I asked her how it was.

Kelly: I didn't go to the bathroom in the airport but I did just walk straight into the mirror in this one.

After breakfast, we headed out to explore the town. I don't like to look at maps in public because I don't want anyone to think that that I'm a tourist.  Thus how the phrase, I trust your gut, came about. Luckily, the blind trust of Kelly and Becky worked out just fine. It also helped that we were in a very small city and we didn't try to go too far, AND we didn't care where we were going.  We walked around a lake, grabbed some coffee and then explored the National History Museum.  By the time we sucked up all the knowledge from that place, it was about time head back to the hotel.  We took a bunch of pictures of the mountains that decided to show up around Reykjavik and the crazy couple that were walking across the ice of the lake.  Oh, and then, as will happen when you don't have easy access to the internet, Kelly and I debated whether or not the flock of birds in the lake were swans or white geese. (Kelly won this round, as they were swans - apparently swans in Iceland aren't as territorial as the swans that I know.) Interesting fact: They warm up a corner of the pond for the birds to swim around in. 

Back at the hotel, we all took naps and showers and then bundled up for dinner.  We stopped to take a bunch of pictures of the water front at sunset, then ate, then went down to the pier for our Northern Lights Tour.  Turns out the water was too rough, so instead we took a bus out to a café and hoped for a sighting.  I accomplished two things: 1) I learned what settings I have to put my camera on take pictures of the sky at night.  2) I got two more naps in.  Things we didn't accomplish: Seeing the Northern Lights.  Kelly has been forgiven for forgetting the tri pod. 

Kelly: My favorite part of today was my nap. 

Bright and early the next morning with under 5 hours of sleep, we were up, having some breakfast and being picked up for our 9 hour tour of the Golden Circle. 

First stop was to feed some horses bagels because they don't like apples and carrots.   The tour guide insisted they were just shorter horses to which Kelly murmured, "Also known as a Pony."  Then we made a quick 5 minute stop to take a snapshot of a beautiful waterfall.  It wasn't until later that we realized it really was a tiny insignificant waterfall, which is why we only had 5 minutes there. At one point, there was this mountain that had a lot of falling rock issues, and at the bottom of the mountain was a tiny house, dangerously close to some huge fallen rocks.  The tour guide told us that she thought it was a terrible place for a summer home, but that someone assured her that it was actually built by a man for his mother in law.  We got out and saw the original Geysir (not active any more), along with an active one, which was pretty cool. 

Next we went to see Gulfoss, which was a slight bigger waterfall than we had seen before.

Kelly: That was coldest place I've ever been.  It's not the coldest I've ever been, but it was definitely the first place that I know I wouldn't survive the elements. 

Next we went to  Þingvellir National Park which is park which has something to do with their Parliament which was established in 930 AD, and also is where the North American and European tectonic plates meet.  They told us that the rate of separation is the same as how fast your finger nails grow.  The landscape that you'll see in the pictures, is a canyon that used to be flat, but has now dropped 40 meters.  We were dropped off at the top of the North American side.  We were told to walk down the path and meet over by the church.  Kelly paused on our way down to talk about how clear they keep the paths.  Naturally, I just followed Becky, which landed me on a path of ice.  She was already half way down so clearly we were all in.  Here are some of the commentary that was made on our journey.

Just follow the ice so you'll know you're on the path.
I'm terrified. (This was obviously me.)
What was that about keeping the path's clear?
If they wanted me to respect their nature, they should have done something about this path.
We are total trailblazers. 
I'm glad we took the wrong path
That detour was totally worth it.
Oh look! We get to go ice skating now!
Uh oh, I think we missed the drowning pool.  (At the end of the real path, there was a history drowning pool where they used to drown witches and the like.  They used burn then at the stake, but they stopped because they didn't want to waste the trees.)

 When we got back from the tour, we took a brief nap, and then headed out to dinner. 

Kelly: My skin feels as soft as the day I was born.
Me: Because you remember that?
Kelly: I've touch babies before.

After dinner we decided to check out the much talked about "Lights Festival" which turned out to be more just some lights rather than a festival.  We bottled out disappointment, and headed into a bar called, "The English Pub" where we met some English guys on vacation.  Some random quotes from the evening.

Oh man, look at my toilet soaked passport.
Nothing says sexy like two pairs of pants.
I don't know how to smoke a cigarette.
Look at this purple light, is this a part of the festival?
You can leave your baby on the street here and no one will kidnap it.
That's a Texan accent, Johnny, not an American accent.

I also tried to explain to William that the near fight that happened in the bar (Johnny diffused the situation by saying, " Wind your neck in! ") was actually a public service to middle aged couple.  William didn't appreciate my spin on the situation.  Then Becky was asked by the owner of the to come back into the closed bar for some additional beverages.  I'm still not sure I agree with her decision to decline, although I did appreciate all 4 hours of sleep that we did get that evening.  Becky woke up the next morning in excruciating neck pain, to which I gave her some pain killers and convinced her to suffer through it.  And oh how she suffered - but I hope the nature eye candy helped assuage the resulting pain.

We used a different tour group for the South Shore Tour.  As soon as we got on the bus, we knew it wasn't going to be as awesome. 

Kelly: I already miss the lady from yesterday.
Me: I'm going to ask her to turn the volume down, it's making me irritable. 

Basically, the tour guide was switching back and forth between English and German.  Only she wasn't being consistent, and she kept messing up a lot of the words, to a point that I wasn't always sure she was speaking in English. It was less talking and more screeching to be honest.  Later, when the tour was over...

Kelly: I didn't learn anything today.
Me: Except that the number their sheep.

Me: What exactly is a Glacier?
Becky: (Explained it better in scientific terms that I don't remember now) It's like snow that has been impacted a whole lot.
Kelly: Like the ice we walked on yesterday's "path."

When we arrived at the Glacier I was blown away by how cool and unique the landscape looked like. 

Kelly: It feels like we're on a different planet.
Me: Yea, look at that moon rock. 

Oh, I don't want you to think that Kelly, No didn't live up to her name on this trip.  Touching the hot spring near signs that said 100 degrees C, skating on ice, or inching across ice that clear was not sturdy or being told that we were going to a place that many people had died, and then getting yelled at for going too close to the water to get an awesome picture are just some of the moments that I remember. :)

So we saw cool rock formations, black sandy shores, two waterfalls, a little village... wait, let me get the real names of these places.

Vík was the name of the village, Seljalandsfoss waterfall (where you can walk behind it) was the first waterfall, Mýrdalsjökull was the name of the glacier, Reynisdrangar was what the rock formations, and Skógafoss waterfall, with its 60-meter drop, was the one that Kelly and Becky slept through.  To which I helpfully commented, "I can't believe you slept through the only thing you really wanted to see in Iceland." 

Not having much time after the tour, we stopped for some hotdogs for dinner.  Becky decided to call it a night at that point (such a trooper) and Kelly and I were off to the second attempt to see the Northern Lights, this time by boat.  While everyone else on the tour immediately geared up with the provided snow suits and then went up to the top deck to see the lights, Kelly and I had other ideas.  We instead, found some seats on the bottom deck, settled in for a nap, and waited for someone to tell us that the lights were out.   At one point, the tour guide read us beautiful poems in a sonorous voice that made snooze.  And then he came inside and played us lullaby's, which also made me snooze.  People would periodically come down, frozen and miserable, and tell us that the light still were not visible.  Kelly felt glorious about not getting a tri-pod, I just felt good that we at least tried to see the northern lights.  Towards the end, one of the guides thought they might have seen them, so I went upstairs.  There was 50 something mom talking to her son.

Mom: I think we're just slowing down to make us feel better.
Son: Is that them there?
Mom: It's a cloud. I'm 55 I know the difference between a cloud and the northern lights. Oh look.  We're speeding up now.  Maybe we're chasing them. 

Kelly and I were still in good spirits on our 1:30 am stroll back to the hotel.  After getting a couple hours of sleep, I met Becky in for breakfast, and we headed out for the Blue Lagoon tour.  The sunrise was gorgeous, and the landscape looked like frozen lava.  The Blue Lagoon was like stepping into something from a movie.  So pretty, and clean, and warm and sunny.  We got pedicures, adult beverages, and rubbed volcanic rock and algae on our faces.  It was glorious.  Before we knew it, our four day trip was over and we were on our way back to Seattle.  The only snag was that I ended up getting really sick towards the end of the flight, but otherwise everything was just awesome.  AND bonus! The customs agents totally accepted Becky's toilet soaked passport as a legal document. 

Here are around 300 of the 2000 pictures I took:

And if you can't see those, here's slightly less photo's here:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Peanut Head

Valentine’s Day this week, people! I know this because the number of messages I’ve received from men/dating sites is out of control.  I haven’t responded to any of them, b/c well, I didn’t want to.  But I like knowing that other people in the world are panicking about their Friday evening plans, and I’m not.  Don’t be confused, I don’t have a date or anything.  I just accidentally planned a trip to Reykjavik instead.  Maybe someone will call in love with my beautiful blue, sometimes, green, and sometimes grey, eyes while I’m there.  You know, because that’s the only part of me that will be visible during my trip. 

Unfortunately, this update is going to be a short one for two reasons, one because I can’t delay it’s delivery, and two because nothing really of note happened last week.  Some things happened that if you called me, I’d totally whine about, and at the time, they felt very important, but not update worthy, surely.  I also got whined to.  These are also very good stories, but are definitely not for public consumption.  Too bad, so sad.  I also spent a ridiculous amount of my time washing my hands and disinfecting things b/c I am a germaphobe surrounded my sick people.

That leaves me with, Tuesday, showing up to the dog park, and to my utter delight, found a surprise guest, Becky!  I guess she decided to wait until it hit 25 degrees and then put on her walking shoes.  She got to see my mothering/disciplinarian skills in full effect.  This consisted of me saying, “wrong way, Percy” every time he tried to bark at another dog, until he realized I was leaving him, and he decided it was a good time to stop.  We’re working on it.  The only way this whole walk in the morning this is possible, is that Dawne takes the pups back home after the walk, and I go directly to work.  I take Percy’s coat off, and put him in the back of the Jeep – and normally, I put my empty coffee cup next to the crate.  On Monday, I was feeling bad about Dawne carrying my empty cup, so I took it back in my car with me.  But then, Dawne told me she spent ten min looking for the cup – and I don’t want to do that to her ever again…

Dawne and I proceeded to opt out of walking for Wednesday – Friday because it was super super cold, and we don’t need to do that to ourselves (despite what my previous update said.  That was then, this is now.)

Percy also got pretty knotted up last week, and I tried to brush him myself, but I’m soooo bad at it.  Instead, we went to the groomer, and they got all the knots out and proceeded to give him a haircut that I hate.  Dawne loves it b/c she likes that he’s showing off what a peanut head he has, but I regret that they cut his long eyelashes, adorable paws and that he looks like a peanut head.

Oh! We had a little parade on Wednesday.  700,000 people showed up, or so I hear.  I went to work, and heard the parade news on the big screen behind me for hours on end (warmer, but not quite the same effect.) On Friday, we had did the Sabbath, and Zach’s friends joined us.  Saturday morning, I asked Kelly to meet me at REI for last minute shopping.  She proceeded to pick up a bunch of items she may or may not need, and I walked out empty handed.  I did pick up these at Bartells:

I text Becky and Kelly: I got these for all three of us, YW
No response
Me: I can’t believe no one responded to this.
Kelly: Thank you
Me: I thought you were going to make fun of me, but thank you works.
Kelly: I struggle with hygiene issues.
Me: I was going to say something but…

Then I walked around taking pictures of the remodel progress, and packed a bit.  Watched a couple of movies with Zach, very exciting.  On the recommendation of Matty, I watched “John Mulaney,  New in Town” and it was humorous, but also weirdly reminded me of Roy when I first met him.

And this describes a lot of my weekend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKaijlTs2Ns

Then it SNOWED! So I had a great excuse to do more of the nothing and it was SUPER.   Also, how cute are Casper and Percy (Yes that is Percy’s head in Casper’s mouth.):

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Great Puppy Bowl, Guys!

Update for 1/27 – 2/2

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying your chilly, cold or down-right freezing week.  Weird how you can be jealous of all of the snow when you’re so far away of it.  I find myself loving this year’s weather, more than I ever have in PNW.  The summer was warm and lovely for much longer than we have ever had it, and now, we’re having a particularly cold winter.  Cold days means we don’t get rain and we see bluer skies and the occasional sunshine – unheard of in these parts most years.  I’m so glad that this is the year we decided to jump full force into this walking thing, because as tough as we pretend to be, no one likes to be drizzled on in the morning.  Plus, when the ground is frozen, the dogs don’t get as dirty.  Win, win, and an extra win because that’s what the Bard would have liked. 

Maybe I’m appreciating life a little bit more than usual this week after losing a friend last Wednesday.  Annie was such a sound person.  Full of intelligence, wit, and good morals.  An original member of the Try New Things Club, I can’t fathom how one so young will never be able to try another new thing.  In weird twist of fate, Kelly, Becky and I will be in her homeland next week for her birthday.  I promise to have a drink for her (though not that putrid shark stuff), be diligent when editing press releases with triple spaces, and think of her every time I ask a waiter to remove the cilantro from my meal.  I’m sending you all a virtual hug (my favorite kind) to let you know that you are valued, and because you just never know what tomorrow will bring. 

On Monday, Luke was feeling a little down, so we took a mini-vacation down to South Center (20 min away) for dinner at the Rain Forest Café.  We braved a thunderstorm, and survived the presence of so many exotic animals while having some seriously okay food.   Though, it did make me want to double my efforts to find a good trip down to the Amazon & South America.  I felt bad that we didn’t actually know where anything was, so Zach had to crutch it down every hallway of the mall.  I’d say it was good for him, but I also know that any prolonged crutch activity makes your hands go a little numb. 


Then I think there were three nights of watching the Gilmore Girls including full length “discussions” about the merits of Jess vs Logan (no one in the house is a Dean fan.) 

Stacey sent me some recipes so that I could recreate what she made for Sean’s birthday, for Super Bowl Sunday.  I had to go to three different grocery stores, but I finally attained everything needed.  I managed to make pulled pork, chili, corn bread, the chicken for the taco rings, and chili cheese dip on Saturday, so it was ready to go for the party the next day.  We also did a bunch of cleaning because the process of cleaning out rooms to move is a very messy one.   I also ran down to the brown house to obtain my passport, throw what I thought I might need for Iceland, and quickly packed up my whole room.  Then we moved all the furniture out of the two bedrooms into the third so that that the floors could be finished.  Skipping ahead to Sunday night, I was kinda laying out clothes that I wanted to pack when I decided to look at my passport to make sure that it wasn’t expired.  That’s when I discovered that I didn’t have my passport.  I must have gone down to the brown house, picked up my passport and then… I don’t know.  Put it back?  Left it on my bed and then rolled up my bedding and packed it? Put it somewhere else?  Trying not to panic, I walked down to to the brown house to check out this situation. I walked in and confirmed that it was much worse than I remembered.  I couldn’t get to any of the bins, the closet was completely blocked by furniture; the outlook was bleak.  But then, I saw one single bin that was accessible.  And on top of that bin was think pink box that held my passport, and without having to move anything, I reached down and retrieved my passport.  Thus using up my luck for the rest of the year.  J Whoot!

Backing up a bit, we had some people over for a little Super Bowl action on Sunday.  Food was eaten, drinks were drunk, a little of the puppy bowl was watched, but mostly, we all enjoyed the perfectly boring procession to victory. 

We have two TV’s on either side of the fireplace, so during the half time show, when Jordan walked to the other side, he commented, “Huh.  I thought you’d see the back of them.” 

Shana: Can [Bruno Mars] and JT have a dance off and then a pants off?

Kelly: How old is that guy? (Anthony Kiedis)
Laina (?): Are you rethinking your position on older men?

Shana was also showing us pictures of wedding dresses that her cousin Jenna was trying on.
Rach: You’re trying on wedding dresses?
Shana: Yes, I’m taking pictures for my vision board.  Tiffany, what are you laughing about?

And, in case you didn’t see this gem, here’s how Seattle riots:

I think that’s about it from me.  I’ll try to do something interesting this weekend so I have something to talk about on Monday.