Monday, December 31, 2007

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New!

I hope you all look back on 2007 with fond memories. I know I will. Here are some of the hightlights:
  • Spending President's weekend on the coast with great friends
  • Visiting Patrick's family in CA and going to his nephew's wedding
  • A Memorial Day road trip with the DH out to the Peninsula
  • Great friends over for a birthday BBQ on the 4th of July
  • Our anniversary in Friday Harbor (and super fun moped rides)
  • Starting a new job (and the DH did too)
  • Fun in Boise after Christmas

It really was a wonderful year. Now we ring in the new and look forward to creating more great memories. It's also a time to reflect on what needs to be improved. I think I'm still working on the same old things. I looked at my goals for last year and I really didn't do so well. Here's to a better 2008. My goals are pretty consistent:

  • Improve my health by excersizing and eating a healthy diet
  • Improve my spirituality by studying the scriptures and attending the temple
  • Improve my mind by doing smart stuff (or taking a class, or doing sudoku every day)

The DH and I have new gym memberships to a gym that opened today, so I'll let you all know if he goes to the gym with me. This should be interesting.

Welcome to the Word, Baby Girl!

Our dear friends Mark and DeeDee had their baby girl on Christmas day. It was pretty tough on Mom, but baby Melody fared very well.

She's healthy and happy and just about as beautiful as a little baby girl can be (and that's pretty darned beautiful).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Here's wishing every one of you a very merry Christmas day! The DH and I have opened presents and are on our way to brunch with friends before heading to the old Robertson homestead. We pray for safe travels for ourselves and everyone else making their way to and from festivities this week.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Seattle Christmas Tradition

Last year, the DH and I decided that we needed a Christmas tradition all our own. I gave him the task of thinking something up and he came across the idea of going on the Argosy Christmas Ship cruise on Lake Washington. I thought it was a great idea, too, so a tradition was born.

Last night we went on the Christmas ship cruise. It ended up being a lovely night (after much rain) and we ended up chatting with two delightful ladies while we were on the boat as well. The photo is of one of the boats that was along for the trip. I know it's a little hard to see in the picture, but it's the best we can get with the little camera we have. Maybe next year, we'll get some better pictures.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bah Humbug

I've worked on very few projects, and not blogged much, because work has been cramping my style. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great job. It's just been a lot of work and really hard since I started two months ago. The icing on the cake was having to let someone go on Tuesday. Yes, exactly one week before Christmas. It made me very grumpy and it's part of a long list of things at work that have made it difficult to focus on the good stuff, like having a lot of Christmas cheer and enjoying the season.

Well, as of 5:00 today, I'm off work for exactly nine days. Nine glorious days to enjoy the season, my friends and family, and work up some good, old-fashioned, Christmas cheer. I'm ready for it, I tell you. I think that tonight, the DH and I may need to deliver some Christmas gifts to get me in the cheery mood.

I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Dishwasher -- Or, Another Project Finished

Look at my lovely dishwasher! It's displaying another project that I finished tonight. I actually made two of these to give to friends. I've already passed one on and will give this away soon.

The pattern was from my mother, who made these for all of her grandkids (or rather, one per family with grandkids). I thought they were super cute and it would be a fairly easy project. I really enjoyed coloring. It's one of the things I can do that I find really relaxing. Even better than Spider Solitaire on the computer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby Blanket Success

I finally completed the baby blanket that I started ages ago. I was going to do some free-form machine quilting and it was a major fiasco. I can't even express how frustrating it was. The knots of thread on the under side of the blanket were no fun to pick out. And gone are the days of mom picking out the bad work for me. She really did pick out all my bad seams when I was sewing for 4-H. Isn't she a great mom?

Well, when I realized the free-form thing wasn't going to work, I had to figure something else out. I decided to simply take a washable marker and a big ruler and draw lines on one side. I did lines that were not parallel and a few of them even crossed near the edge of the blanket. Then I sewed along the lines to keep the two sides of fabric together. I sewed some binding on and the whole thing looked really good. I was so pleased! Seriously, I wasn't sure if I could do it, but in the end it turned out fine. I'm not sure if you can see the detail well, but this second picture shows the lines.

I'm going to give it to the couple accross the street who just had a baby. They're really nice and I would love to feel like I'm a good neighbor.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Rock and Roll

We started December in full Christmas spirit. First, it started snowing around 2:00 and blanketed the neighborhood with wet, white snow. It was really lovely.

In the evening, we went to our first Christmas concert, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's definitely not your Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Everything is electric with this group. The light and laser show was pretty astounding, at least for a girl who doesn't get out to that kind of rock concert very often--or ever.

They had amazing musicians and played great music to kick off the season in style. We had a great time, even if the snow did deter us from picking up a Christmas tree. We'll have to do that some time next week.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Please Join in a Christmas Tradition of Giving

This Christmas, I want to start a tridition that is bigger than myself. A few years ago, I heard about Heifer International, an amazing organization that helps families in third world countries start sustainable business endevors by giving them livestock and training.

Heifer International's mission is to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth and they do that by working with communities. Heifer provides families with training and a livestock gift. The family then has hope for a sustainable future and they in turn become donors by passing on the gift of the animal's offspring to another family in need. They are also rated by Forbes as one of the world's top 10 charities.

I also think this is right in line with the spirit of Christmas, since Christ was born among the livestock.

Would each of you who reads my blog think about what you could donate to this great cause. In the past, I've made donations in others' names as my Christmas gift to them. That's one idea. You could also talk together with your family about one thing you could forego this Christmas season and donate the monetary equivalent of that to Heifer International. My goal is for my friends, family, and I together to donate at least $1,000 -- enough for a “Milk Menagerie,” which includes several milk-bearing animals.

What can you do now?
Go to the Robertson Family Christmas Giving donation page and make as small or as large a donation as you are able. You can donate as little as $10, so any contribution helps. Also, spread the word and maybe together we can raise $5000 -- enough for an "Ark" instead of the "Milk Menagerie" for some deserving people.

My Fingers Hurt, or Why I Don't Sew Much

Thursday night, while the DH was out home teaching, I thought I would sew the blanket that I started a month ago. All intentions were good. I got out the machine and the fabric that I had already trimmed and taped together. That wash-away tape is brilliant -- seriously!

So, I started sewing the free-form sewing and it all went horribly wrong. The tension on the machine is a little finicky in the first place, and using the darning foot (or whatever it's called) wasn't helping at all. After sewing for about 15 minutes, I gave up. There were wads of thread on one side, angles that didn't work for a baby blanket, and one frustrated sewer.

It took me two hours and three DVR shows to pick out all the sewing. I'm now looking for a plan B.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Gratitude -- the Final Installment

Here's the final in my list of things to be grateful for each day of the month of November.

18. Amazing friends. I really could use the rest of the days to list the wonderful friends I have, but I’ll just put it as one item. I’m blessed to have friends in many places who support me in all different ways. I can’t imagine getting through life without them.

19. A wonderful home to call my own and share with the DH. It might not be fancy, but it’s our place. It also has a great back yard. It was a really good venue for our wedding reception and we’ve had some very nice parties there since. It was especially fun for my birthday party last summer.

20. My cute nieces and nephews rock! They’re all so cool in such very different ways. I just wish I could see all of them more often. I don’t even see Max, who is in the area, as often as I’d like. This is one of the many reasons I’m looking forward to Christmas with the whole family this year too.

21. Good insurance policies. I got to be reminded this week when I took the DH’s truck in to get fixed. I was driving it last Sunday after he had loaded two couches (one was a sofa-sleeper) with the tail gate down I drove over the bumpy part of 125th St. and the tail gate got knocked off and skidded on the ground until I could get pulled over to the side of the road. I don’t know if the DH will ever let me drive his truck again, but at least I got it fixed. And it only cost me $100.

22. Sunshine, especially in the winter, is such a great blessing. I love those cool, crisp, sunshiny days. They’re fairly few and far between in Seattle, but I love them just the same.

23. My computer is a wonderful blessing. It helps me keep in touch with my many friends and family and provides a creative outlet. It’s all kinds of fun, even if it is also really just a tool to do more work sometimes, too.

24. Amazing restaurants in Seattle. Just tonight, the DH and I went to Bick’s in Greenwood. The food was amazing. Last time we were there, we thought it was just too loud. This time, we got a booth in the back and it was wonderful. It’s not nearly as noisy back there, so we could carry on a conversation. That way, we could enjoy the fantastic food even more. And that’s just one of many great places.

25. I also grateful for the gift of travel. I have my grandparents to thank most of all. They covered the fees for study abroad when I went to Vienna while I was at BYU. That trip included touring most of western Europe, England, and Israel. I have to thank my parents as well. It still amazes me how much of the country we saw as I was growing up. I’m not sure I would have had the patience to drive six kids the two-day trip to San Francisco or even farther to L.A. so we could go to Disneyland. It was pretty nice to have grandparents in Arizona, so we got to go across the border to Mexico. I know it wasn’t a very broad Mexico experience, but still a foreign country. They took us to Canada too. I felt like a globetrotter before I ever flew across the ocean.

26. I’m not sure I would survive without books. I know I haven’t done too well with the book club, but I still read as I can. It’s just not nearly as much now as I’d like. I’ve read so many books that have had a great impact on my life. It’s always a wonderful thing to find a book that just speaks to you. It’s happened to me many times.

27. I love a good movie. One of my favorites is A River Runs through It. I think I could watch that another ten times without getting tired of it. It’s on the short list of movies I could watch over and over.

28. I’m grateful for a sewing machine. I sort of suck at sewing, but I’m still grateful that I have the machine and I can use it in a pinch. It’s a nice little appliance to have around.

29. I love my cell phone. I know it may also sound silly, but it is another thing that keeps me connected to the people I love. It’s so great to spend my evening commute on the phone with the DH or my sister or mom.

30. For my last entry, I’m going to say the DH. I know I’ve already listed him, but I just can’t say enough how grateful I am to have him in my life. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s so much more willing to serve others and give of himself than I am and I appreciate that about him. He is also ready to do almost anything I need him to do, even help with stake relief society functions when he’s not too enthusiastic about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mmm... Pie!

Well, I think Thanksgiving was a resounding success. The brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came over for some yummy food. They brought half and I made half, so it wasn't too much work and the food was great. The best thing the SIL made was the homemade cranberry sauce. YUM! The recipe is below. The best thing I made was pumpkin pie. I used my sister's mother-in-law's recipe and it turned out great. That recipe is below as well.

All in all, we had a really nice time. Patrick even got more birthday presents -- a leprechaun christmas tree ornament, and a new Mario game for the Wii. Patrick also got a really cool truck for Max that kept him entertained for quite a while so he wasn't too bored while we were cooking and chatting.

I'd say a good time was had by all. This is the before picture. We forgot to take an after picture, but it was sort of like this, only messier.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
2 large navel orangesa
12-ounce bag fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries, picked over (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup honey
several tablespoonse of pomegranate seeds

With a vegetable peeler remove three 3-inch-long strips zest from 1 orange. In a saucepan of boiling water blanch zest 1 minute and drain in a colander. Chop zest fine and transfer to a large bowl. Cut away peel and pith from oranges with a sharp knife and discard. Quarter oranges. In a food processor pulse oranges and cranberries until chopped coarse and add to zest. Stir in honey. Chill sauce, covered, at least 1 day and up to 3. Add pomegranate seeds before serving.

Pumpkin Pie
1 29-ounce can of pumpkin
3 eggs
3 cups sugar
1½ teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
3½ cups of milk

Mix and pour into 3 9-inch pie tins lined with pastry. Dot top with margarine. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, then at 350° for 45 minutes (or until knife comes our clean). Cool for 2-3 hours.

These actually took about an hour-and-a-half to finish baking at my house. It was totally worth it though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blog Readability

So, I found this quite interesting and funny. Over at How About Orange, I found The Blog Readability Test. To waste some time, I checked out all the blogs I read to see how they rated. Only two of them came out as Genius level; The DH and my dad. I came in at High School reading level. Not bad, especially since not that many geniuses read my blog -- except for you -- you're a total genius!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Shout Out to the DH!

Everyone be sure to go over to the DH's blog and give a shout out for his birthday. It's not quite as exciting as the big milestone birthday last year, but it's still a great day. He wore his new suit and shirt with cuff-links to church yesterday and looked as handsome as I've ever seen him. And thanks so much to the Craven's for a fantastice birthday dinner last night.

Why Are My Lips Orange?

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I was also putting away portions of the Clinique free gift I got a couple of weeks ago. I looked at the lipstick and thought it was a fabulous color. It was one I must wear today. I put it on and then went about my getting-ready business. After getting dressed, I went into the bathroom for one last look in the mirror to make sure everything looked just so. To my horror, my lips were orange. Again. It seems that all Clinique lipsticks turn orange on my lips. It's something to do with pH and chemistry and other things that I don't fully understand. What I do understand is that I have one more tube of lipstick that I can throw away. Bummer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gratitude -- Lots to Love

13. Leaving the gym this morning, I realized how grateful I am that my body works as well as it does so I can be physically active. It's a great blessing that not everyone has, and I realize that.

14. I also thought how grateful I am for the rain. It smelled so good when I was outside and it felt good (especially since I was overheated from being in the gym). I also know that it makes a lot of other things that I love grow.

15. I'm grateful for my husband's new job. He just got offered a position at his company in inside sales. Although he'll have to work harder to maintain the hard body he has, it will aslo mean that he doesn't have his body beat up every day by the nature of his work. It's a very good thing, even if does come with some trade-offs. He'll miss working all day with his friend Jason, but he'll be able to walk at the end of the day and will have little risk of getting another hernia.

16. I'm also very thankful for cars to take us places. It's so convenient and easy. I guess these days, I'm also thankful for a good job to pay for the gas. Even driving a hybrid, it's still a concern that we drive so much. We have to make an effort to consolidate trips and save fuel.

17. I'm thankful for clean entertainment. The DH and I saw Dan in Real Life yesterday and were very entertained by it. It was clean, funny, and entertaining -- the trifecta of what makes a movie good. We've also been enjoying Pushing Daisies, a new program on television this season that is also fairly clean, funny, and entertaining.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gratitude -- My Family Rocks

9. The DH is my true love. I'm grateful for my favorite part of every day just before we go to sleep. I lay my head on his chest and we talk for a few minutes before one or both of us need to actually go to sleep. It really is the best part of my day.

10. I'm grateful for my dad. I love that my dad is always taking classes. He's such a great role model. He's learning how to play the organ (even though he doesn't know how to play the piano) and he's taking a religion class. His love of learning has always inspired me.

11. I'm grateful for my mom. My mother has always been very involved in all her childrens' lives, but in a good way. I love that my mom remembers all of my friend's names. In fact, sometimes she remembers when I don't. I know I should be embarassed, but really it just makes me that much more impressed with my mom. She is always interested in what I'm doing and always has time for me. I can't count how many times she's had to listen to me cry on the phone.

12. I'm grateful for the sibs. They're all amazing in their own ways. I don't think I have room to tell you about all of them and how cool they are, but suffice it to say that they all rock. Plus, the married ones have all had good taste in spouses. I'm very blessed with my wonderful in-laws too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fremont, 5:06 p.m. -- Seen When Leaving Work Today

I kid you not. A man was vacuuming the sidewalks and gutter. It was some kind of industrial looking vacuuming contraption, but vacuuming none the less.

Gratitude -- Work is Good

6. I'm very grateful for a good job that helps me pay the bills, have a nice warm house, and pay to do some fun things once in a while. It's even nice to be able to help out someone in need every once in a while because I can. All because I have a good job.

7. I'm grateful to work with really outstanding people. It's all good to have a job, but it's even better to enjoy showing up for it because you get to hang out with people you like. I really miss the cool people from my old job, but at least I have cool people at my new job to take the sting out of that.

8. I'm also grateful for my short commute to work now that I'm only driving a few miles. It's generally taking about 15 minutes, regardless of when I leave my house. On my way, I hear about the traffic jams that I would have been in were I not driving to the new job. Plus, I'm not using as much gas to get there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm a Hero

At least I'm a Guitar Hero.

Last week, the Guitar Hero game for the Wii came in the mail. It's even more fun than the bowling or cow racing. I've played until my hands hurt and I had to stop. Looking at the photo, you can see how much concentration it takes.

The bad part -- the songs are all rock and roll from the 70s and 80s that I didn't really like all that much when they came out.

The good part -- I can beat the DH at this game. At least for now, I'm better than him at it. He's even played a guitar and been in a band.

When I finish a song, this is what I get...

In flashing lights.

New Projects

It's that time again. We're getting close to the holidays, so I think I need to do some projects. I have a few that I can't show on the blog right now. (Who knows, one of those might be for you!) This is the one I can show.

On Saturday, I went to the fabric store and bought some minky and some cotton fabric, then found matching seam binding and thread. I'm going to try my hand at making a minky baby blanket that's a bit different from what I've done before. This one will have the cotton on one side, the minky on the other, and then be machine quilted in a free form, so it should be super easy.

It would be super easy for my Mom. Or Annzy. Or the SIL. Or the other SIL. Not so much for me.

Last night I was on a roll. I used this great Wonder Tape to stick the fabric together so it's easier to sew and doesn't shift. Then I got out the sewing machine. I changed the presser foot to the darning foot. I made a bobbin on my first try. I was on a roll. I even had a scrap to practice the free form quilting on. That's where it all went wrong. Somehow I didn't insert the bobbin correctly. On the first stitch, the needle got stuck down in the works. I couldn't get it to move. It broke the needle. I have visions of completely ruining the machine. Oh, my! I was trying not to completely loose it as I couldn't get the needle to move up or down and it just kept getting more stuck.

Finally, I got it to move and got the broken needle parts out. Then I replaced the needle (score another for me on the sewing machine!) and the bobbin and tried sewing on the scrap again. This time, it worked just fine. I decided that I hadn't gotten the bobbin seated just so in its little cage and that caused the problem.

Of course, by the time I had it all set up and ready to go I just didn't have the energy to try to do it for real. Stay tuned. Hopefully I have a very quick story to tell about how it all worked so easy by the time I'm done.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gratitude -- or Two More Reasons to Love the DH

November is a great month to remember all the wonderful things we're grateful for. I have so much to be grateful for that I thought I should share something with you for every day this month. Of course, I can't be expected to blog on this every day, so you'll get groups throughout the month. Here's the start of the list:
  1. A husband who pumps gas for me. I'm a cleaning machine and will do almost all the chores around the house, but I hate to pump gas. I also have a nasty habit (or amazing talent if you choose to think of it that way) of running a tank almost to the end without ever running out of gas. My DH is happy to fill the gas tank any time it's low. He doesn't appreciate how low I let it go, but he is always willing to do the one chore I hate.
  2. Almost as important as pumping gas is killing spiders. We're having an especially wicked spider season this fall and I haven't had to look at many at all in the house. The DH makes sure they're gone before I even see them. Now that's true love.
  3. Autumn leaves are just an amazing exhibit of God's handiwork. I'm so grateful for the beautiful world we live in. It's been especially beautiful this year, too.
  4. Modern medicine makes me really happy. I love seeing how it blesses so many lives, mine included. The DH and I were especially happy to see how it helped our friends the Duke and Duchess as they brought their beautiful baby boy into this world. All I can say to that, is WOW!
  5. Traveling by airplane. I mean, I love a good road trip and all, but how great is it to spend only a couple hours traveling to see friends or family hundreds of miles away. It's especially beautiful after the passes are covered with snow. IYairplanes.
Stay tuned for more throughout the month of November. What are you thankful for? I really would like to know.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wearing a Skirt

So, today I ironed a skirt to put on before going to work. It's actually rather unusual for me to wear a skirt to work. I'm not sure why. I have several very cute skirts that I enjoy wearing. I have a meeting this evening at church and I'm not sure how much time I'll have between work and church for changing, so it seemed like a good idea. And I must say that it looks really cute. Yay for me!

While ironing my skirt, I remembered that my mother made me wear a skirt to school once a week when I was in elementary school. It was definitely not the rush-from-school-to-church, no-time-to-change skirt wearing. It was the you're-a-girl-so-you-should-look-like-one-by-wearing-a-dress skirt wearing. I hated it. I was one un-liberated woman in the early seventies, I tell you. I even had to wear a dress in the winter. I'd wear tights, and the requisite shorts underneath so I could still play on the equipment at recess without fearing that some boy might see my undies. I'm still a little amazed at the fights my mother was willing to fight. Of course, this one can't compare to the you-just-sit-there-and-practice-the-piano-for-15-minutes fight. Now, that's one I still look up to my mother for. She was champ at not giving in.

Now that I don't sleep with gum in my mouth, forcing the short haircut and my figure clearly indicates that I'm all woman, I guess I don't see the need to wear a skirt to show my feminity. These days it's all about what makes me feel comfortable and confident when I venture out in public. Usually it's pants, but today it's a a loden green fine-wale courdoroy skirt with eyelet cutouts at the hem. Lovely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Detoxing Seattle, One Cleanser at a Time

Last Friday, I joined forces with An Ordinary Mom and went to my first bloggers event, sponsored by Seattle Mom Blogs. It was hosted by Method and was held at an eco-friendly home in West Seattle. We met some wonderful blogging Mamas and learned how to make some organic cocktails and mocktails.

The best part was going home with some of the wonderful products, extra coupons for more, and the "cleans like a mother" t-shirt. I'm not one to advertise for free, but I love their stuff. Also, it's not just a Target brand, like I thought. Proof -- the DH and I went to the grocery store and bought some Method hand soap with one of the coupons.

And no, I don't know what that look on my face is in this picture.

First Days and Fresh Starts

I always loved the first day of school. I’d plan for days ahead of time what I was going to wear. We’d all gotten new school clothes, so I wanted to wear the best outfit to make the best impression. I loved meeting my new teachers and seeing which old friends I had classes with. Now that I’m out of school, I’ve struggled with the fact that it’s hard to really start new on much of anything and, even worse, not much that we do as adults has closure. There’s nothing like a final exam to tell you that something is over, really over.

Starting a new job yesterday felt a little like starting a new school year. There were a few familiar faces. Everyone was very kind. I was a little excited to see where I would be sitting and who I would be sitting near. I’m excited about the new work and it was kind of cool to really end some other things last week as I wrapped up the old job. I was happy to have someone to eat lunch with and there are many people that I will learn from.

And, just like the first day of school, I spent way too much time worrying about what I would wear the first day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

JH Makes His Royal Debut

Here's a shout out to the Duke and Duchess on their new son JH! He made his debut earlier today. Although he came 25 days early, you'd never know it by his 7 lbs. 2 oz. and healthy lungs.

We're so happy for our friends!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ready to Look Fear in the Face

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Tomorrow is my last day at Microsoft. I almost chickened out of it yesterday, but I really am leaving. I’m leaving the strong reviews, the excellent benefits, the caring team, and the supportive management team. Did I mention that I’m leaving behind the excellent benefits?

When I came to Seattle, I did it so I could eventually get a job at Microsoft. It’s a great place to work and I didn’t believe any of the rumors about how it could suck your soul dry. And I don’t think it sucked my soul dry. It did make me tired, and even occasionally cranky, but that’s just because I have a job with responsibility. It’s not specific to the company I work for. And yesterday, I was more or less given a great offer for a new and different job at Microsoft that would have been sort of easy. Not that I wouldn’t have to work for it, but it would have been right in my comfort zone. I guess I’m just not into comfort right now. I’m into fear.

Starting Monday, I’m doing the thing that scares me quite a bit. I’m leaving the security of Microsoft to work for a company called Aquent as Vice President of Studios. I’ll be covering the Microsoft account, which should come as no surprise. I’m actually very concerned about my ability to fulfill expectations in the new job. I have that lump in my stomach, scared that I won’t be able to provide the leadership and direction that they need from their vice president. Scared that they might just see me as one more in a string of leaders who couldn’t deliver. And then there’s the fear that some of the people who know me from previous work will be shocked and disappointed that I would be hired as their leader. All the insecurities that I don’t usually let anyone see are boiling, causing that lump in my stomach.

It would be much easier to stay, to continue doing the work that I’ve mastered, to work with people whose respect I’ve already earned, and to hate the commute. But right now, right here, I’ve decided to do the thing that is a big gamble. I’m doing the thing that scares me and has kept me awake more nights over the last few weeks than I’d like to count. I want to face the big challenges, if not without fear, then at least with the knowledge that I am doing the thing that I fear. I’m doing the thing that will help me gain strength, courage, and confidence.


I've enter this post in Scribbit's October Write-Away Contest.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fun with Photos

I had all kinds of fun with the Hockneyizer.
You can try it too if you go here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Just Join the Craze

I got a nice little bonus from work in September, so after putting a bunch of it on the home equity line, I decided to do something fun. I went out and bought a Wii. I got it a couple of weeks ago, but I have too many gadgets attached to the TV and just couldn't figure out how to get it to work.

After asking all my friends and neighbors, none of whom could help, I got the able assistance of my brother. He rocks. After about five minutes on the phone, the Wii was up and running. Brilliant!

The DH and I played tennis, bowling, and golf to break in the new system. Just for the record (not that we're counting), the DH kicked my behind in Tennis, but I won the golf match and had a lovely come-from-behind victory in bowling. (Let's hear it for a strike on the last frame!)

The Wii is great because it actually requires you to get up and move around, and I mean more than just your thumbs. Both of us were laughing so hard and hoping we wouldn't have soar shoulders or elbows today. I think I'm OK, but I didn't check in with the DH to see how he was doing. Of course, they make the same old video games that you just sit and play like the other game consoles, but we didn't get any of those.

Tonight we'll try out the Wii Play games. I'm looking forward to beating the DH at tank and fishing games.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fantasy Football? I'd Rather Not

You may know that my DH participates in a Fantasy Football league with his two sons. They play a fantasy game each week with their carefully selected teams. The DH has lost a few games, but it's all good clean fun (except for the smack talk from some of those filthy boys in the league).

I'm no real fan of football, fantasy or otherwise, but my sister Annzy has thought up the best Fantasy Team sport ever. Fantasy Family!

Check out her blog about her Fantasy Family League. It's great! If you're game, you can even set up your own Fantasy Family League. Because she's my sister, it seems like it would be just silly for me to re-invent the same family in fantasy, so you'll just have to bask in the glory of her rendition of our family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Autumn Baking

There are a many things I love about Autumn, and one of those things is baking with seasonal ingredients. I'm not the biggest fan of the zucchini unless it's in yummy Chocolate Zucchini Bread. YUM! It's also good in Zucchini cookies, but they take so much more work to bake.

The fabulous Catto's vandalized our kitchen by leaving freshly picked zucchini and corn and just dug potatoes from Uncle Dutch's garden. That man sure can make good stuff grow and the DH and I are very grateful for their willingness to share.

Here's the one big zucchini all grated up. It made enough for three batches of zucchini bread. One batch is made and the other two bags are ready for me as soon as I stock up on a few of the ingredients that I finished off this evening.

I highly recommend then wonderful recipe that I got from Virginia Nickel (the master baker of the universe).

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 Eggs
1 C. White Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Cooking Oil
3 Tlb Vanilla (that really is 3 Tablespoons!)
2 C. Flour
1 tsp Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tlb Cinnamon
1 Tlb Cocoa
2 C. Grated Zucchini
1 C. Chocolate Chips
sugar/cinnamon mixture

Mix together eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla. Beat thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and zucchini. Mix well. Add nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips if desired. Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured loaf tins. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips and super fine sugar/cinnamon mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reading... Or Not

So, I've been reading The Master Butcher's Singing Club and I really like it. However, I will not be done by the end of the month. I'm sorry to disappoint, but we'll have to postpone any discussion until I finish the book. Although, I'm not sure how many people are playing along anyway, so perhaps it will not matter so much when I come in late with my discussion.

Monday, September 24, 2007

By Popular Demand

There have been multiple requests to see the DH's new tattoo. I thought it might be OK to show you all what it looks like. I think it's really pretty, especially since I'm partial to the old school ink work.

Didn't he do a nice job picking that out? And it's covered by a short sleeved shirt, so it's mostly just for me (and him).

Orange for Autumn

I'm hooked on these silly quizzes. Penny Longstockings at Orange and Other Bright Colors took the Orange quiz and came out Pumpkin.

Here are my results for the Orange quiz:
Apricot -- Soft and sweet, over time you let your provocative nature shine through.You are definitely unconventional, but you don't broadcast it.You offer people a fresh perspective on life - so fresh that it can be shocking!

I also took the soda quiz. My results there were:

7-up -- Understated and subtle, people warm up to you slowly. But once they're hooked, they can't imagine going back to anyone else!

Your best soda match: Diet Coke (how did they know?!?)

Stay away from: Mountain Dew

The Cursed Working Class

A couple of years ago, I left my job with a small consulting company in Seattle. It was a good job, but I needed new challenges. I went to work at a large software company in Redmond and got challenged in ways I never expected. The first six months were the hardest I’ve ever endured.

Shortly after I started there, the company I previously worked for was purchased by a larger international company. It’s grown and that has created new opportunities. The Chief Operating Officer at the company contacted me a few weeks ago about an opportunity she wanted me to consider. She wants me to come back as a Vice President and run the consulting business in Seattle. They have some new accounts they’d like to grow and one major existing account that needs to be revitalized.

I received a formal offer for the job last weekend and spent an agonizing week deciding what I should do. I had no idea how difficult the decision would be, but my current company has perhaps the best benefits on the planet and I would be going to a company with good, but not spectacular benefits.

In the end, I made the decision based on the work that would get me excited to get up in the morning and go to work. I think it’s a really good decision for me. The DH is happy with the decision as well, so we’re happy as a clam.

In the past, when people have asked how I like my job, I always said the commute was the worst part. Now I’ll be working in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, so my commute will be much easier again. However, that’s not the best part of the new job. The best part will be working with some wonderful people again that I’ve missed over the last couple of years.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Catching Up

I've been the scattered blogger for a while now, so it seems like it might be time to catch up.
  1. I spent four days last week at Paradise Point Resort & Spa. It sounds fabulous, and it was quite nice. The only thing is that it was a work trip with 40 of my favorite collegues. I was away from my husband, sleeping in a strange bed, and working.
  2. I've been mulling over taking a new job. It's been weighing on my mind, but I think I may have made up my mind. More on that tomorrow.
  3. Today is the first day of Autumn. It was a beautiful day in Seattle and I've enjoyed it immensely.
  4. Yesterday, the DH and I went with a couple of friends to the Greek Festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox church. It was a great experience. We ate wonderful Greek food and enjoyed the company. I highly recommend it.
  5. The DH got a new tattoo. I didn't think I'd appreciate it, but when he got one with my name on it in the old school style, I couldn't resist. It really is beautiful. And don't worry Mom, once you have a bunch, one more really doesn't make a difference. You'll like it (or at least you won't like it any less than any of the others).
  6. Tonight, Kiri te Kanawa is singing in Vancouver at 8:00. I got tickets for the DH and me to go see her. The concert was going to be at 3:00. I have a friend that gave us keys to his apartment so we could stay there for free while he's gone. It was going to be fabulous, until there was a civil strike in Vancouver and the concert had to be changed to a late start and now I'm not going. I'm very disappointed, but I may get over it eventually.
  7. I really enjoyed church today. We got out early, which is always nice, but I really enjoyed sitting next to the DH and just being there with so many people that I love. I don't always have a good attitude about it, but today was really good.
  8. Last weekend, the DH and I went to a concert downtown at the Showbox. It was a group called the New Pornographers (but don't worry, they don't have anything to do with porn). I've decided that I need to go to fewer concerts and just buy the music I like and listen to it on my own. Even with earplugs, it was hard to enjoy the sound and the opening bands were horrible. The headlining act didn't come on until 11:00 and I just realized that I'm too old for this. That's a horrible thing to realize.
That's all for now. More tomorrow!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My DH: the Playlist God

I'm in San Diego this week for a management offsite for work. I don't especially relish being away from home for several days with co-workers, but I didn't really have a choice, so here I am. Before I left, the DH made a playlist for me to listen to on my iPod while I'm away.

All I can say is that it's brilliant. He put it together in less than half an hour with 65 songs strung together in a way that any DJ would be proud of. Seriously, amazing.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Can't See (Useless) by Oingo Boingo
  • Because by Dave Clark Five
  • I Like It by the Dixie Chicks
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis
  • Same Denomination by Exene Cervanka
  • I Love You by the Zombies

It's a great mix of old, new, and everything in between.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Burrito Cherry is My Hippy Name

Annzy did this great meme, so I had to join in too. She cheated a little, so I decided I could take some liberties as well.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: first pet & current car
Cinnamon Prius

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie
Praline Shortbread

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: favorite color, favorite animal
Blue Lion

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: middle name, city where you were born
Robertson LeGrande

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first

7. SUPERHERO NAME: ”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink
The Red Milkshake

8. NASCAR NAME: the first names of your grandfathers
Oz Ray (funny how this one turned out the same as my sista’s)

9. STRIPPER NAME: the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy
Vanilla Snickers

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: mother’s & father’s middle names
Karoline Joel (again, the same as Annzy’s – go figure)

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter
Brown Bozeman

12. SPY NAME: your favorite season/holiday, flower
Autumn Rose

13. CARTOON NAME: favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”
Peach Undies (hopefully that didn’t just cross a line)

14. HIPPY NAME: What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree
Burrito Cherry (I just laughed out loud at this one even though I’m sitting alone in a hotel room writing this)

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: ”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”
The Blogging Fog Tour

That was fun. I think you should join and post this one too!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Autumn Already?

This afternoon, when I got in my car after work, I noticed a red leaf had fallen on the windshield. I can't believe this is already happening. Autumn is my favorite season though, so I'm not too disappointed that summer is on it's way out.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

the DH and I had a great weekend last week, celebrating our anniversary.

The first thing we did was take a ferry over to the peninsula and drive to Port Townsend. We rented a little cottage on one end of town and spent the night there after having a lovely dinner at Fins and watching the DH complete his Fantasy Football draft.
The next day, we went to church with the Port Townsend ward in Chimicum and then roamed around Port Townsend. We enjoyed our short stay there, then headed to Quilcene for the Olympic Music Festival. We heard three classical music chamber pieces as we sat in a really old barn on a bale of hay. Good times.

After the concert, we headed to the ferry in Port Townsend to head North. Then we drove to Anecortes and got on another ferry. Of course, we had an hour and a half to wait, so we walked up the road to a restaurant called Charlie's and had some of the best clam chowder I've ever eaten. It reminded me of my mom's potato soup with some yummy clams thrown in. I think my dad might even like that clam chowder and he's no fan of the clams.

We hopped the ferry in Anacortes and landed in Friday Harbor on San Juan island. It was late, so we went straight to our bed and breakfast where we spent twenty minutes trying to figure out which room was ours. We'll chalk that one up to just being a bit tired. When we got to the room, we enjoyed the private deck and hot tub. It was a beautiful starry night and perfect for soaking a while.

The next day, we had a wonderful breakfast at the B&B and then went and rented mopeds at Susie's Mopeds. After my ten-minute lesson, we were off. I LOVED IT! It was such fun. The only down side was that we couldn't chat while we were traveling.
We stopped at a few sites and enjoyed the fresh air and wind in our hair. I even got a little sun, which surprised me. I never seem to look like I got sun since moving to Seattle.
Our last stop with the mopeds before turning back to Friday Harbor was a lavendar farm. It was
wonderful. We walked out into the lavendar fields and the scent wafted over us and all we could hear was the hum of the hundreds of bees in the lavendar. I could have enjoyed that for hours. We also stopped at the gift shop to buy a bit of sugar-free lavendar shortbread (YUM!) and for the DH to get a recommendation for a place to fish. He's always thinking about fishing and this trip was no exception.
The woman in the lavendar shop told us to check out Egg Lake. We went there and enjoyed an hour or so of fishing. The DH caught two fish, but they were so small you could barely see them. He had to throw both of them back. No delicious bass for me that trip. Oh, well.
The next morning, the DH tried his hand at the fishing again, but absolutely no bites on the second try. Those are some wiley fish and they just didn't want to get caught.
After the DH gave up on fishing, we drove out to Roche Harbor at the opposite end of the island from Friday Harbor. It's a quaint little tourist town and we enjoyed the few sights and shops they had to offer.
From there, we headed the rest of the way around the island and stopped for some whale watching. We saw a few whales and also walked out near the lighthouse. The views were lovely and we definitely felt like we saw everything there was to see on the island and a little ways off shore, too.
Then it was back to the ferry to Anecortes and a quick drive home and we were back to reality. We would highly recommend the island to anyone who wants to get away, but we think we would stay in a place outside of Friday Harbor next time. The town is really small and quite bustling in the mornings, so you definitely felt like you got a wake up call in the morning.

Monday, September 03, 2007

All in a Day's Work

This was our Labor Day labor. Patrick did a bunch of the prep work on Wednesday last week and we bought the sand and stepping stones on Saturday, but most of the work was done today.

We put in the flagstone, planted decorative grass along the fence, and then put some ground cover in between the stones. We're super pleased with how it turned out. In fact, it looks even better than I expected.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Lucy's Eclectic Literature Club for September

Well, since I'm in charge, I get to change my mind, right? I want to put off the King Arthur story until October and read something else for September.

For September, we'll read The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Erdrich.

Woven with intrigue, romance, death, sex and humor, it's an emotionally complex tale of European immigrants who have settled in the fictional town of Erdrich's previous novels, Argus, N.Dak. Bordering on magical realism, this marvelous yarn introduces a world of rich, expansive imagery and an abundance of memorably compelling characters. There's Delphine, who acts as a human table for her lover, Cyprian, an Ojibwa balancing artist. Delphine cares for her father, Roy, an alcoholic accused of neglectfully murdering an entire family. And then there's Fidelis, a former sniper for the German army who is now the singing butcher of the title. Although some breaks in cadence occur throughout the reading-it seems almost as if Erdrich is seeing the material for the first time-her soft style gradually blends with the story and, rather than seeming inappropriate, becomes invisible.
For October, we'll go back and read Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff.

For fourteen centuries the story of Arthur was a legend, misted over by the tradition of romantic hero-tales. But he was real--a man of towering strength, a dreamer and a warrior--who actually lived, and fought, and died for his impossible dream. The man whom legend calls Arthur of Britain combined the best of Roman civilization with the fierce dedication of his Celtic ancestors. Down through the generations his passionate determination to preserve the values of decency and freedom against the darkness of barbarism has been a clarion call that speaks to the best in humankind.
I got the idea for this one from the fabulous book Book Lust that my friend Kathleen game me. (Thanks, Kathleen! It's wonderful.) It's one of the author's favorite books and I've loved all the other books -- and I've read many -- on the legend of King Arthur. I figure that it's a pretty good bet we might enjoy it.

Shout out to the BIL and Bro!

Happy Birthday to my BIL Brent (the husband of my lovely sister Whitney)! His birthday was yesterday. And, Happy Birthday to my Bro! His birthday is tomorrow. There's a fairly large family gathering going on at the homestead this weekend, but the Seattle families didn't make it there.

We hope everyone has a great time and that the two birthday boys celebrate in style!

Friday, August 31, 2007

How Nancy Drew Saved My Life

Spoiler Alert!!! My discussion of this book will include the ending, so be warned.

This book was a great summer read! I enjoyed the references to Nancy Drew (my girlhood hero) and the Jayne Eyre-ish plot line. It didn’t take long to read and I finished it on our trip to the San Juan islands, just in time to write up something before month’s end.

I read some of the reviews on Amazon, and they were definitely mixed. This is not classical literature. It never will be. However, it was a fun, fast read for the summer and just what I was looking for. I especially enjoyed the ending of the book where Charlotte Bell actually ends up solving a mystery of sorts. I didn’t see it coming and that is one of the marks of a good read, in my opinion. When we find out that the daughter of the ambassador is not really his daughter and that she is in grave danger, it’s really great how Charlotte saves the day.

I would probably have preferred that she didn’t end up pregnant at the end, because this is something that really bugs me. I hated that part of Cold Mountain as well. Ugh! And having a child does not complete your life. I just spent one summer teaching alternative high school and spending time with the teenage girls that had babies so one person would love them. It was enough to break my heart for life thinking of those kids. Charlotte’s reaction to finding out she’s pregnant is just too close to that. It also means that she won’t be able to take the world by storm in the near future. I was really hoping for her to have more of a transformation into someone more like the girl detective. It was fun anyway though, so I’ll take it as it is.

Let me know what you thought of the book. I can’t wait to hear!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Do Something Nice -- Give Blood!

I just got this note from my friend Becky (written, incidently, only three days after having her fourth baby). She's referring to an accident involving her uncle that she wrote about on her blog last month.

Some of you know of my Uncle's accident. He is still in harborview but doing better. The first few weeks were so overwhelming for the family that they had to stop giving out any info. In fact, I had reporters calling me here in oregon because of a little blip I wrote on my blog, who new anyone read it, ha ha.

I just want to encourage everyone, not necessarily for his sake, just in general, to donate blood. Nathan has always been an avid blood donor, me I passed out once after giving blood so I haven't done it in a while, but an accident like this reminds us how important it is to donate blood if possible.

So-if you are able I encourage everyone to donate blood and help save a life. Nate worked at the Puget Sound Blood Center for a few years and really saw how short the supplies can get, they aren't joking when on the news they talk about being short of blood.

Becky !!

I've been irritated over the last few months by the Puget Sound Blood Center stalking me at home and at work with phone call after phone call to get me to go donate blood. I had a bad experience a couple of months ago where they couldn't get the needle into my arm after about a dozen painful tries. It soured me on giving blood. It was the first time I'd tried after years of not being able to (because of the risk of Mad Cow Disease from living in Switzerland in the late '80's). They finally lifted the ban and I thought I should go back to giving blood regularly.

I used to give blood all the time and never had a problem. I guess it's time for me to bite the bullet and do it again. Hopefully you'll join me in the small act of service. It takes less than an hour and you can do it 6 times a year. Easy peasy! Will you go if I go?

Two, Yes Two, Years!

The DH and I were married on August 27th, two years ago. It was a wonderful day! We celebrated our anniversary together and enjoyed time away from work and our every-day life.

I love you DH, even more today than I did two years ago.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shout Out to the SIL on her Birthday!

Let's hear it for SAM!!! Sam has a birthday today, so you should all be sure to wish her the best. She's my first SIL and she's also one of my very best friends. It also helps that she has great taste in clothes, movies, books, and friends. We aren't celebrating until Saturday, but today's the real deal.
Happy Birthday SAM!

Very Cool T-Shirts

How fun is this? I totally want this t-shirt! This great site Threadless has such fun and creative t-shirt designs that I fell in love at first site. Who wouldn't want a shirt showing the your refrigerator is running? Nobody I know, that's who.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Second Try at The Winery

My second try at seeing a concert at the winery was a much bigger success than the first try. The SIL and I got tickets to see Diana Krall and it was a wonderful evening for an outdoor concert. The temperature was mild and the sun was shining. We had nice friendly people sitting around us (though I did experience that on the first try as well) and a blanket to cover up when it started to get chilly as the sun went down.

I think my favorite part of the concert was when Diana said that she was going to play a song by Cole Porter. There was mild applause, so she said "that's about the same reaction I got in high school. Everyone else was playing songs by ... Elvis Costello." She paused for effect, then said, "I got the last laugh." I thought it was pretty clever. (For those of you who don't know, she's been married to Elvis Costello since 2003 and they had twin boys last year.)

Her music was wonderful, as usual, and Sam put together an amazing dinner. The best part was this really intense apricot jelly that we ate on crackers with cheese. YU-U-UM!

Do You Need a Snow Day?

Need a Snow Day?
It's finally feeling a little like summer in Seattle, but I know many of you have been sweltering for weeks now. If you need to feel cool, get a pack of Pep-O-mint lifesavers and make yourself a snowflake. Just go to Popular Front and make all the snowflakes you need to cool off your day. It's really fun! Just try it, and let me know if it was as fun for you as it was for me. You can also look at my snowflake by going to "find a flake" and searching on Lucy van Pelt in Seattle.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I Joined the Crock Club

So, last week I got Crocks. I didn't realize that it was like joining a club until I wore them to the Mariner's game. The parking attendant went on and on about all her pairs of crocks and the paint splat accessories that she added. It made me laugh. I just got them because they are amazingly comfortable and you can clean them off with the hose in the back yard. I also decided to get them when I found a pair with a flower pattern on it. I thought it was fun and kicky. The DH got some too. He thinks they're so ugly they're cool, so he got UW crocks in purple. Well, they really are ugly.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Hooray for Fun Mail!

Cricket at Sensational Six sent a wonderful package that came in the mail today. I won the contest to name her blog when the family of five turned into a family of six. Cricket is fabulous with the home made cards and she sent a big stack of them. They're SO wonderful! She also sent a great little gift wrapped and crafted package of Tic Tacs. So fun and fabulous. Thanks, Cricket!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

If We Were Cartoons

I just had to jump on the Simpsonizing bandwagon. I probably won't see the movie in the theater, but I couldn't help but check out what the DH and I would look like if we were in the Simpson's movie. Thanks to my bro for hippin' me to the URL. It's if you're itching to get a look at what you would look like in the Simpson's movie.
Aren't they just funny?

Fun Four Meme

I was tagged by my good friend at Sensational Six for this fun four meme. Here are my answers...

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. Training Development Manager at a large software company in Redmond, WA
2. Technical Communications Consultant in Seattle, WA
3. High-School English and German teacher in Meridian and Eagle, ID
4. Building computer circuit boards and testing RAM at two companies in Boise, ID

Four places I have lived:
1. Seattle, WA
2. Boise, ID
3. Provo, UT
4. Switzerland

Four favorite T.V. Shows:
1. Gray’s Anatomy
2. Gilmore Girls (Wah! It’s over now.)
3. CSI
4. My Name is Earl – This is my favorite show to watch with the DH. We both laugh so hard.

Four favorite foods:
1. Bread, especially good hearty, crusty bread
2. Chocolate
3. Ice cream
4. My favorite meal is my mom’s homemade fried chicken, new potatoes and gravy, and corn on the cob. It’s the best late summer meal ever. And I mean EVER!

Four websites I visit:
1. My three personal e-mail websites (I know! I should only have one, but I don’t)
2. My favorite blogs (and there is a list of about a dozen, so I won’t call them all out here)
3. My online banking site
4. The Seattle traffic web site

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In bed sleeping
2. In Friday Harbour with the DH celebrating our anniversary
3. Spending time with the extended family (with the DH included, of course)
4. On vacation just about anywhere

Four movies I love - I like a lot of movies, so here are some that we own:
1. A Room With a View
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. Sleepless in Seattle
4. Princess Bride

Four people I tag:
1. Annzy
2. Penny Longstockings
3. Sam
4. The DH

Monday, August 06, 2007

Quit yer Moanin'!

I got tagged for a meme by Lizzy at My Ice Cream Diary. Hers was pretty entertaining. Here's mine:

4 things that should be removed from off the face of the earth:
1. Prostitution and pornography. I hate anything that exploits women, especially since it's usually women with very few choices in life.
2. Domestic abuse, especially child abuse. Perhaps it's because it's just so horrible.
3. War in Darfur. It's just wiping out an otherwise pleasant enough country.
4. AIDS. It horrifies me to see what the virus is doing to communities in Africa.

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently:
1. Yell at or bellittle their children in public. I think there's a time to discipline your children, but it's rarely in a public place.
2. Gossip about people or situations that are speculative at best. I guess I don't like gossip even when it's spreading information that's true, but it's especially bad when it's speculative.
3. Act like jerks in traffic. I think traffic wouldn't be such a bad thing if everyone would play nice. I guess that applies to a lot of things in life though.

2 things you find yourself moaning about:
1. Work. And I have no place whining about it. I have a great job at a great company with great benefits and a great salary. I have NO EXCUSE. If you hear me complaining about work, tell me to knock it off.
2. Getting up in the morning. At least I have a good reason for this one. No one in their right mind should be getting up at 5:00 a.m.

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself:
There are so many people in the world in situations that are much worse than mine that I really shouldn't be caught moaning at all. My life is really great! This makes me think I need to add one more thing to the meme that wasn't there before...

5 things that are great about my life
1. I have a wonderful husband who loves me A LOT.
2. I have an amazing family that supports me and has come to my rescue in many ways.
3. I have a great job that gives me lots of temporal blessings, like good food, a gym membership, a nice house to live in, plenty of heat in the winter, and all the other good things I have.
4. I live in a beautiful place. The pacific northwest has so much to offer and I've taken advantage of only a fraction of it.
5. I have amazing friends that I love and that enrich my life in ways that would take much more than a meme to describe.

So, I challenge myself and everyone else to quit yer moanin' and focus on the really great things we have. It would also be a good idea to see what you can do locally and globally to help get rid of some of that ugly stuff. But don't just moan about it. Do something.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Lucy's Eclectic Literature Club for August

For August, we'll read How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.
In her fourth novel, Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line (2003), offers the charming tale of a literature-loving nanny. At 23, Charlotte Bell has just had her heart broken by the married man she unwisely fell in love with. She decides to take another position, as nanny for the American ambassador in Iceland. Once she takes up residence in the large, creaky house and meets her imperious, forbidding employer, Edgar Rawlings, she can't help but feel like literature's most famous governess, Jane Eyre. But Charlotte turns to Nancy Drew (channeling the girl detective) for help investigating the more puzzling aspects of her situation, such as the silence surrounding Edgar's mysteriously absent wife and the strange laughter she hears coming from behind a closed door. To make matters worse, Charlotte is starting to fall for Edgar, whose engagement to an Icelandic ice queen seems imminent. Readers who appreciate classic love stories will enjoy the old-fashioned dialogue and Charlotte's fanciful imagination.
I think this will be a really fun book for us to read. I just picked it up at the bookstore and it looks great so far.

For September, we'll read Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff.
For fourteen centuries the story of Arthur was a legend, misted over by the tradition of romantic hero-tales. But he was real--a man of towering strength, a dreamer and a warrior--who actually lived, and fought, and died for his impossible dream. The man whom legend calls Arthur of Britain combined the best of Roman civilization with the fierce dedication of his Celtic ancestors. Down through the generations his passionate determination to preserve the values of decency and freedom against the darkness of barbarism has been a clarion call that speaks to the best in humankind.
I got the idea for this one from the fabulous book Book Lust that my friend Kathleen game me. (Thanks, Kathleen! It's wonderful.) It's one of the author's favorite books and I've loved all the other books -- and I've read many -- on the legend of King Arthur. I figure that it's a pretty good bet we might enjoy it.

Your Money and Your Man

It's book club time again! I hope you read Your Money and Your Man so you can join the discussion. It was a pretty easy read, but no competition for Harry Potter.

So, I’m not the biggest fan of non-fiction, but this book came highly recommended, so I made an exception. I think it will need to be a while before I read non-fiction again. I liked the approach, but I didn’t feel like I had some great insights while reading the book. I also don’t think I’m any better prepared for retirement. I thought the advice for women before getting married was good, but it’s too late for me. I’m also not sure that I agree that multiple accounts correlate to a lack of trust.

I also had what I consider a funny experience with the advice. I was reading O magazine’s Suze Ormann column right after finishing the book. Suze recommends having three accounts: one joint and one each individual (with additional savings, investment, etc.). The book recommends only one account. Although I appreciate both points of view, I think that ultimately you have to figure out what works for you. I don’t think you have to read much into either decision. It’s just that different things work for different people.

I would highly recommend the book to someone just starting on their career as there is good basic advice about starting investments, but otherwise, I was underwhelmed. I guess I was looking for more depth. Though, I guess the book helped in that as well. I now know that I should talk to a financial planner and get serious about my investments.

What did you think?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

k.d., Lyle, Francine, the Big Band, and Rain

Yesterday, I flew home from Orlando. It was a pretty grueling trip. I got up at 4:30 a.m. to get to my 6:15 flight and got to Seattle at 11:30, which was actually eight hours after leaving Orlando. I decided it would be a good idea to go to the Super Mall in Auburn since we were so close anyway. Of course, it was another 20 minutes south of the airport.

By the time we got home around 2:30, I realized I had already been up over 12 hours. I was tired. I ended up getting a tiny bit of napping in, but not much before we left for the k.d. lang/Lyle Lovett concert at the Chateau Ste Michelle winery in Woodinville.

Did I mention the weather in Seattle this week? It's been raining a bunch. Last night, there was .3 inches of rain. It doesn't seem like much unless you're sitting outside in it. I was going on hardly any sleep and getting soaked while watching a really good concert. I was pruny by the time we decided to leave, which was only about half-way through Lyle Lovett's set. We really enjoyed k.d. lang's set, but I just couldn't sit in the rain any more once the temperature started to drop.

The good news is that I was with the DH and I really like his company. We also met Rick and Cathy there. Rick works with the DH and we have a nice time with them whenever we go anywhere.

Here's to being home again!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mmm... Tastes Like Chicken

I leave Orlando early tomorrow morning to head back to Seattle. Today, I helped in our booth at the big conference and talked to lots of really nice people and cheered for all of them that won Zune mp3 players. It was pretty fun.

For dinner tonight, we went to a restaurant called Bone Fish. It was really good. We had the apertizer platter that included aligator. It tasted pretty much like chicken, but had the texture more like calimari. It came with horseradish sauce and was really good. I'd eat it again. Although it's already late, I was planning to have an earlier evening than yesterday. It won't be hard though since I stayed up until 2:30. I just kept telling myself it was only 11:30 in Seattle. That was cold comfort at 7:00 a.m. when the alarm went off though. You just don't want to remind yourself that it's 4:00 a.m. in Seattle then.

I'm really looking forward to being home again tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


So, I'm in Orlando for the big convention. I guess there are only 15,000 employees here. I was exaggerating before. When I arrived on Wednesday, I was pretty tired. I'd been traveling for eight hours and didn't get lunch at all. My layover was supposed to be an hour, but ended up being 20 minutes with no time to get lunch. I flew NorthWest and they had NO food at all on the flight. I didn't have much fun at all.

When I got to Orlando, I got a cab to my hotel and watched a big thunderstorm start to brew on my way to the hotel. I checked in and got a room on the 26th (top) floor. it was perfect for watching the electrical storm that came through. The sky was black and the lightening looked so cool from that vantage point. It was probably the best part of my day. I had dinner with my co-workers at the convention welcome reception and went to bed too late.

Today, I spent the day watching demos of cool new software and listening to pep talks about selling the cool new software. It was pretty interesting, but 8-6:30 sitting in one spot pretty much the whole time. I could have used a few more breaks. For dinner, we went to Epcot center and ate at the Norway lounge. After dinner we watched the fireworks. They were the same as last year, but last year we got to stay and ride the rides. This year, we had to leave right after the fireworks. Bummer.

Now I've stayed up way too late, so I'm sure to be dragging tomorrow. Dang. I've had a really nice time with my co-workers though (which is why I've stayed up too late) and visiting with my old friend Blake. He seems to be doing well. It's really great to catch up. More later!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Stuff and Stuff

So, it's been too long since I blogged. Work has been crazy busy and so has life. There are a few things that must be blogged, however.

  1. If you're reading along on Your Money and Your Man and you're married, then just skip to chapter 13. If you're single, go ahead and read all those chapters, but the married folk won't learn anything that isn't too late to hear. We'll discuss on the 1st of August.

  2. The DH and I saw Carmina Burana (after a fabulous dinner with Sam and Maile at the Brooklyn -- YUM!) at Benaroya Hall on Saturday. It was one of the most fabulous evenings of music I've had in a long while. Simply splendid. If you're not familiar with the music, watch this YouTUBE video.

  3. The symphony came after a whirlwind trip to Portand. We left on Friday at 3:00 and it took us five hours to drive the 180 miles down. We ate at the wonderful Dan and Louis Oyster Bar. It's 100 years old and the food was great. On Saturday, we went to the DH's company picnic. He got his 10-year service award and lost the horseshoe tournament. We then tore back to Seattle in the afternoon to make our evening engagement.

  4. The previous weekend, we went to see Alyson Kraus at Marymoor Park. The venue was nice and the music was great. We are seeing a lot of really good live music this summer. I think I like it.

  5. My birthday really ended up being great. I had a wonderful time with all the friends that made it to my party. One of the best things was that people even helped clean up, so when everyone left, I just relaxed and then went to bed. Here's a shout out to all my cool friends!

  6. Last night I got an invitation to speak in church. I hate speaking in church. I really mean it. My dad will be getting a call to help me. He's really good at this kind of thing.

  7. I have a lot of good friends who are dealing with really hard things. It makes me sad and I've had a hard time blogging because I want to write about those things, but they're mostly too personal and also a bit of a downer. I really prefer blogging (and dwelling) on more positive things.

  8. I'm going to Orlando this week for a huge conference for work. The Company basically brings in all the people from the field worldwide for this broughaha (yes, that's the correct spelling) which gets about 35,000 people in one place. It will be exhausting. I will get to go to Epcot for the fireworks display one evening and see my good friend Blake who lives in Singapore now. I'm looking forward to those two things.

  9. I'm mostly looking forward to coming home on Saturday.

That's enough for now.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day!

I love Independence Day, and not just because it’s my birthday. I think this is a pretty great country, in spite of some of the really stupid things Americans do. I don’t like politics, but I love the premise of our political machine. We are so blessed to live in a country where we have so many of our freedoms protected. Let’s hear it for America!

It’s also a really great day today. It started with breakfast at Mae’s Phinney Ridge Café. That place is YUMMERS! I got the baby size smoked salmon omelet and couldn’t finish it. It’s not huge like Beth’s Café, but still big. I made my own birthday cake, because I like it the way I like it and I’m not trusting anyone else with it today.

More fun to come!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What Was Your Name?

Today is a red letter day. I finally updated my Alaska frequent flyer account to include my married name. It's been only twenty-two and a half months since I got married and changed my name, so it really didn't take long at all. Now, the only thing with my maiden name on it is my passport. It expires in November anyway, so I'll have to get it updated then.

Last time I flew to Boise, I got the lecture about having my legal name on my boarding pass. Fortunately, the agent wasn't in too bad a mood and let me keep the boarding pass. However, with air traffic as it is, I didn't want to press my luck any more.

Here's to getting that one last detail of the name change taken care of!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Lucy's Eclectic Literature Club for July

For the month of July, we'll be reading Your Money and Your Man, by Michelle Singletary.
Here at last is the lowdown on how to manage your finances with the man in your life. Money is the #1 problem couples fight about, says beloved Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary. Acknowledging that most fights about money are usually about something else-like feelings of fear or resentment-Singletary stresses the value of open dialogue. In her trademark no-holds-barred style, she shows us how to handle the entire range of financial issues couples face-from splitting the dinner bill when dating to planning for retirement together after years of marriage.
For August, we'll get into some easy Summer reading with How Nancy Drew Saved My Life, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

In her fourth novel, Baratz-Logsted, author of The Thin Pink Line (2003), offers the charming tale of a literature-loving nanny. At 23, Charlotte Bell has just had her heart broken by the married man she unwisely fell in love with. She decides to take another position, as nanny for the American ambassador in Iceland. Once she takes up residence in the large, creaky house and meets her imperious, forbidding employer, Edgar Rawlings, she can't help but feel like literature's most famous governess, Jane Eyre. But Charlotte turns to Nancy Drew (channeling the girl detective) for help investigating the more puzzling aspects of her situation, such as the silence surrounding Edgar's mysteriously absent wife and the strange laughter she hears coming from behind a closed door. To make matters worse, Charlotte is starting to fall for Edgar, whose engagement to an Icelandic ice queen seems imminent. Readers who appreciate classic love stories will enjoy the old-fashioned dialogue and Charlotte's fanciful imagination.
I think they'll both be interesting and fun, so I'm off to the back yard to get some reading in.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

June Book Club Discussion -- The Painted Veil

I finished reading The Painted Veil and felt a little let down. My main disappointment is that I never could feel any emotion for Kitty. She is shallow and lacking in morals. Her philosophical journey is about half a mile from not caring for anyone but herself to believing she can raise her own daughter differently. I found her quite unsympathetic and, although her husband should have been a more sympathetic character, I never found him any more compelling. I love Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge, but found his detachment from the characters in The Painted Veil to deter me from finding the connection I was hoping for.

I did find one passage that stood out to me as profound. After watching the nun’s work and trying to understand what brings meaning to their lives, Kitty discusses their lives with Waddington. She wonders what happens if they’re wrong about a reward in the next life. Waddington’s response is beautiful:

I wonder. I wonder if it matters that what they have aimed at is illusion. Their lives are in themselves beautiful. I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
Kitty is still young when the book ends, but hers will never be a beautiful life. She just can’t seem to figure it out. She is surrounded by people who can’t connect and really don’t even know what it is to truly love another person. I closed the book simply feeling sorry for the characters in the book.

I’m so blessed with relationships that bring so much beauty to my life that I can’t even imagine the empty life described in this book. It did leave me thinking how grateful I am to have loving parents that I enjoy returning to and who seem to enjoy me as well. I have a husband who loves me and I love him. That relationship brings more meaning to my live. And I have many more relationships with people I love and who love me.

What did you think about the book?