Artichokes and Pink Martini

If you like artichokes, Pink Martini, knitting, then read on. If you are interested in the woes of losing the last 20 lbs or working in education, then read on. If you want to know what it's like to be an empty nester or to share that nest with to two dogs, then read on. If you want to know what the theme is for Monday night dinner, when the kayaks are going out, or who was at the Y at 5am, then read on. If none of this interests you, just hit the button that says "next blog", & read on.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Shop til ya drop!

So Robert called & suggested a shopping day with the girls. Of course, Jenn, Jessica and Robert are professional shoppers, Katie and I were just along for the ride. Katie does not enjoy shopping for hours & hours, but she does rank as a professional spender, just ask my credit cards if you want the whole story. We came, we saw, and we conquered the Super Mall. And everyone walked away with a little sumthin sumthin. Even yours truly. I actually bought a dress (now I think I am up to 4 dresses), shocking! But it was green! Not so shocking. And if you think I handed my camera to a total stranger to take our picture, you'd be wrong. We ran into a friend of Robert's, Howard, and he was gracious enough to do the dirty deed for us.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Pink Martini in Seattle

Pink Martini came to the Paramount and we were there. It was fabulous (like I would say anything else!). And Thomas, piano player and spiritual leader of the band was very sweet to pose for a picture after the concert. He mentioned during the concert that they were recording album #3 (yeah!) and that it wouldn't take as long as album 2, Hang on Little Tomato (that only took them 7 years to release after album #1, Sympatique). So I asked, How soon? Thomas said next September, of course when I mentioned this fact to their manager, John, his response was more like, "Thomas said what???" So, I'm thinkin' probably 2007, most likely 2008, but it's fun to dream. And oh, by the way, Kathryn, if you are reading this, I asked about your song, Eugene. Yes, it will be on the 3rd album. I also asked about the song, the Little Radio. He's not so sure about that one, he thinks that it will probably make album 4 which they are planning as a symphonic album. Album 4!!! That is just too much to hope for.

So these are some of the instigators that came to the concert and suggested we head for the stage door afterwards. Thank you Jessica. They kept a safe distance and really aren't true stalkers yet. But give them time.

Jenn got the camera away from me & then asked Thomas for another picture by saying "This is a Mother/Daughter duo & they follow you everywhere!" Jenn, really, like he doesn't already know that.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Morning

Does Katie look surprised or what??? This was the moment that she realized the little gizmo in her hand belonged to a Toyota Prius.

I think she likes it.

She does look mighty cute behind the wheel.

And the car is pretty cool too. It gets 50 + miles to the gallon. It also has a keyless entry and ignition system. It will let you in and start up without ever taking the keys out of your pocket. Make sure that you get Katie to take you out for a spin!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was a full house with most of the usual suspects. Tom & Peter are sporting red, the definite color of the day.

Mac stopped by after the Seahawk game and did a little catching up with Jenn in the very festive red. We nibbled on appetizers, dove into dinner and moaned as the desserts came out. Lots of conversation and laughter kept the evening lively. We even played a little Mama Mia toward the end of the night, just for Rob's enjoyment.

And Katie even enjoyed herself while tolerating her old parents. She's a great person & I really love having her home. I'm very glad that she will be with us for the next couple of weeks. Hopefully Santa will be able to pull off her big Christmas surprise in the morning!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Maegen Day!

We went a visitin'. Today we stopped in to see Miss Maegen Flynn, she will be one next month. She has completely stolen Katie's heart and wrapped in around her little finger.

Here's a picture of Maegen last year at this time. She is hiding under that sheet. Her Mom, Stacee was such a good sport. I told her that this was her big chance to play Frosty the Snowman in the Fawcett Elementary Holiday show. And she went for it. Even wore the hat, which if you had any idea how she is about her hair you would be flabbergasted. Aren't Mother & Daughter adorable???

Maegen is quite the show girl when the camera comes out.

But you have to snap the photo quick because she will come right for the camera and snatch it out of your hands.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Franklin Holiday Bash

Back in October, the new school I began working at was looking for a place to have the annual Holiday party. So, of course, I volunteered. Since the list of volunteers was short, I was the winner & we had a full house for the second night in a row. It was very fun, I think I like these people. They sure know how to make fabulous food, yum!

Roann & Beth are guarding the gift table. Filled with White Elephants & Ornaments to be open and stolen. Its a fun game, pitting co workers and friends in a battle to the death for the gift they had to take home with them.

Shy girls? If you can't tell that's Katie & her new best friend, Kecia. Kecia is my partner in crime in the classroom. She is great to work with and lots of fun afterwork too.

Looks like Kecia's eggnog with a punch has loosened up our camera shy girls. Don't they look like they are having too much fun. I should be nervous that they are becoming fast friends. It may spell trouble for me down the road. Is that a Big Mouth Bass on the table next to Katie? Yep, that was what she scored in the white elephant battle. Poor thing, she couldn't get anyone to steal it from her.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Monday Night

Katie's home and looking very mature for 20, doncha think?

Fun and games. Can you tell that Peter is carefree and done with work for the year??? And I still have 1 1/2 days to go, grrrrrr! I'm not bitter, its just been a very long December at work.

While everyone else was playing, the elves were hard at work. Rob & Chris are assembling a bike for a 3 yr old girl, looks like a Christmas morning job if there ever was one. Robert bought it for a foster child that he adopted and gave it to the experts to put it together. A friend of mine at Franklin works with the Foster care network to make sure that all of the kids in foster care get presents for Christmas. I took a stack of forms home to Monday night & the gang came through making sure that all of the kids were taken care of. I love my friends, they are such a truly special group of people.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Rooster Update

The rooster from Friday is still living in our front yard. Yesterday morning he started crowing at 4 am which really made the dogs mad and they let the world know it. Today he started crowing at 6:30 and luckily I was up so I talked the dogs through it and they didn't voice a single bark. Not looking forward to Christmas break with this as a daily occurance, anybody have a recipe for stuffed rooster??? Katie wants turkey on Christmas Eve, but I figure if push comes to shove, rooster is close enough.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Happy Birthday Katie!!!

What do you do for a 20th Birthday? When in doubt, plan a surprise.

It didn't start out as a surprise party way back in August. You see our buddy Tracy wanted to go see Mama Mia! when he was in Las Vegas but couldn't get tickets. So I started looking on the internet to see if the touring company would be anywhere near Seattle. Low and behold, they would be hitting town in December. Tracy & Robert invited us to go with them, and it was a matter of figuring out when Katie would be out of school. I never told her in case it wasn't a go. Then in October I caught wind that Katie was plotting to get tickets with Jessica to surprise me. She's so sweet. So the plan was born. We'd all get tickets together on Katie's b-day & surprise her. We are so tricky & Katie so easy to surprise.

Next the emails started to fly about where to have dinner. The group vote was to go to the Cheesecake Factory. Now to get Katie to decide that she wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory in Seattle for her birthday. So I suggested that we spend her b day shopping in Seattle and she could pick out her own gifts and then we would go out for dinner. At first, she thought no. After driving home from Ashland the day before she thought that she wouldn't want to get in a car. (My thought was that I would make sure that there was no food in the house and to avoid starving she would have to get in the car with me & I could then drag her to Seattle for dinner by force) Luckily she changed her mind & thought it would be fun. She wasn't sure about the Cheesecake Factory, but I whined. Since birthday's are about dessert & I was going to actually have dessert, we should go to the best dessert place in town.

Then the really tricky part. Katie wants to go see Pride and Prejudice & it plays in Tacoma at 9:15pm. She called Jessica to see if she wanted to go with us. Of course she said yes & she would call Jenn & Sarah & invite them along. So this meant we had to head for dinner around 5:45 (our reservations were for 5:30, so everyone would be there and be seated by 5:45 when we arrived). This also gave me a good excuse to call Jessica around dinner time to check on the movie plans.

So as we are walking to the Cheescake Factory, I call Jessica & they haven't been seated, SO STALL. Ok, I started walking really slow. Let's enjoy the lights & Christmas decorations, Katie. Let's go into Niketown and look at shoes Katie... But alas by 6 Katie was starving & they weren't seated yet. So we went into a very crowded restaurant & Katie was very surprised and thrilled!

Dinner was very good, but no room for dessert so we made a plan to return after the show and eat some more. Which gave us an opportunity to embarass her twice! So our fabulous dinner waiter, Scott brought Katie a b day sundae after dinner & the whole staff sang to her. Then our wonderful dessert waiter, Willie brought her another sundae & the whole staff sang again! The show was GREAT. I think even non ABBA fans (Rob) would get a kick out of how they worked the songs into the story and it all worked. We bounced in our seats, sang to our neighbors and for the 3 song encore stood and danced and sang at the top of our lungs. Fun, Fun, Fun!

Now remember, mark your calendar for Dec. 17th next year. It falls on a Sunday & it's the BIG 21!!! And as I hear plans being tossed about it might be a smart thing to plan on taking Dec. 18th off as a vacation day. See you then!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Katie's Home!!!

Nope, this isn't Katie. This is a new neighbor who wandered into my yard early this morning. Doug called me at 7:45am as I was arriving at work after this rooster woke him up from my front yard. When I got home at 3:30, the rooster was still strolling around my lawn. Wonder if he can crow loud enough to wake up Katie, we will see.

Here's Katie. At least this is all of the stuff that she schlepped out of her car and dumped in our entry way. It's so fabulous to have her home, not sure if I am as excited to have her stuff. Oh well, if she leaves it there long enough, the dogs will just drag it out to the backyard and take care of it in their own special way. Welcome home Katie!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

You better watch out ...

Katie Farewell is comin' to town. Tomorrow. So I have one more day to look at pictures before I get to see the real thing. Here are a few of my all time favorites (Rob helped me figure out how to get blogger to show them). Classics from childhood. The kind of pictures you know the moment that you take them are destined to become 8x10 glossies, strategically positioned around the house when she finally braves bringing date home to meet the family.

Katie the cowgirl. Isn't she sweet in pink? This was taken when she was 5 and a kindergartener. Yee Haw girlfriend!

Crazy hair day in 6th Grade. I think we were up at 5:30 am that day to create this divine look. Boy, did she have second thoughts when she pulled up to school & didn't see one other crazy hair creation. She thought she had the wrong day. Luckily she was right about the day & had a few friends who joined in, but she was definitely the craziest! Dig the polo shirt! This was Katie's uniform for 3 years. She hated polo shirts so much when she finally left middle school that she swore she would never wear another one again.

Katie & the Hockey years, or should I say decade! This was taken when she was on the all boys Squirt Teal Team. This was the group that drove to Calgary for a weekend tournament. People who weren't in hockey used to tell us that we were crazy. Truth be told, they were right.

And my personal favorite. Katie Oh Natural! She was one at the time & not a self conscious bone in her body. She doesn't pose like this for the camera anymore, & as her Mom, I must say that I am quite glad of that. But remembering her days of innocence when she trusted me completely, even when I had a camera, is fun. Look at that face. She had no idea how I would post this picture on the world wide web for the whole planet to view. Love you Katie!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Katie, World Wanderer

My tribute to Katie (only a teenager for 3 more days) continues ...

When Katie joined me in blogland, she titled her page "World Wanderer". She loves to travel and will tour Europe with some friends next summer (that's how I got out of shopping and wrapping a birthday gift for her this year). Here are some of the fabulous places that she has already been.

Katie in London! Is that Hugh Grant walking right behind you??? Nahhhh ... It was me who almost bumped into Hugh while we were in London. Neener, neener.

Katie in Edinburgh! Now what did you buy in the women's room of our favorite Edinburgh Pub? Whoops, that was me again.

Katie in Dingle, Ireland! Hey Kate, can't you get that horse moving???

Katie in Galway, Ireland! Rubbing elbows with one of the colorful locals.

Katie in NYC! Our first Broadway show was Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick in the Producers! I here they are starring now in the Odd Couple on Broadway, wanna go??? Drat, too bad it's all sold out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good-bye Teenager

I just realized, on Saturday when Katie turns 20, she will no longer be a teenager (some days it takes me longer to get the incredibly obvious). So I thought that I would take this opportunity to share a few of my favorite pictures of those bygone teenage moments (and the fact this will drive Katie crazy, a mere bonus). My original evil plan was to do a whole retrospective on Katie's whole life, but blogger won't load the scanned pictures from childhood. So no naked bathtime pics, or middle school crazy hair day pic, or riding a llama in a pink cowboy hat (sad). If you want to see those cherished memories, just come on by, I'll whip out the "Katie DVD" and we'll watch her on the BIG screen!

So remember with me, the teen years ...

Our Katie the snow bunny

Retro Katie as a fabulous flapper for the senior prom

Katie & Trina for Katie's final performance at SOTA. I remember as a sophomore Katie begging me to write her a note so she didn't have to take dance as PE. 3 years later she chose dance as her medium as her senior project. PS, she was wonderful.

Katie, you're not in Kansas anymore


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Take a close look!

Here it is, Santa's wrapping room. Take a close look Katie, it's all right there. Well almost. Still have a few gifts being shipped from "Harold's House of Happiness and Liquidation". Kidding (you hope). So my plan was to finish all of my shopping on Saturday & wrap until my fingers bled on Sunday. Here is a quick before picture of Santa's workshop. I got it almost all done. I was a bit distracted by the Annual Holiday Open House at Mitch & Mary's. I think every resident of the Northend of Tacoma turns out to this extravaganza. The food is great & can sabatoge any sensible diet, but I resisted, mostly. It's great to catch up with old friends & get the nickel tour of Mitch & Mary's house. They have done some amazing things (check out the master bath the next time you get in their front door).

Anyway, I expect to have the wrapping, mailing all done by tomorrow night. Then I can relax and enjoy the rest of the holidays. Because Katie will be home on Friday, wooooo hoooooo!!!! Her 20th birthday is on Saturday & we have a fun Mom & daughter day planned. Can't wait to see my girl! So, Katie, if you are reading this, here is a message from your old, naggy Mom, drive safe and be home soon! Mule!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Our Christmas Photo Studio

Our house became a photo studio for the Lanz clan. Sarah and I are good buddies from my old school. She asked if she could bring the family over to take their annual Christmas pictures. Sure, no problem. It also pushed me to get the house all decorated, so glad that job is over.

Presenting Mark, Sarah, Zach, PJ & Adrianna Lanz aren't they cute. Don't they look great. Even Zach, he has that dreaded High School disease ... "that don't make me take a picture with my family". So don't tell him that this picture is on the worldwide web where even people in Lithuania can see him in a family picture.

Another person with a bad camera allergy is Rob. It is torture for him to behave and take a serious picture. But I made him (since it was holiday picture day at my house) stand still and take a picture with his friend Anne (not sure if it's spelled with an "e" or not, so forgive me if I got it wrong)who was visiting this weekend from Chicago. See Rob, it didn't kill you.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Hoodies

Welcome to the Neighborhood Jason, Railene & Natalie!

They are our brand new, movin' furniture today, across the street neighbors. We are very excited to have them, and right in time for Christmas. I wonder if they know that the newest neighbors always host the rest of the neighbors, their relatives and friends for Christmas dinner? Oh well, we'll just have to surprise them.

This is their house (doesn't it look great in the snow, doesn't everything!) and they are doing some major work on it. It took a little longer than they expected (imagine that!)(I have no idea what that's like) but the results are definetly worth it. Especially since they have 2 rooms that are green! What fabulous taste they have. They have a green kitchen, yum! And a entertaining room upstairs, also green. I love it when smart people move into the neighborhood. Now all they have to do is paint the outside of the house green so I can look at it all the time!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Snow Day!

Snow by the light of day. This was taken at 7:30 am, not quite sunrise, but close. Very pretty, but didn't last too long. Very fun to drive around in. Hopin' that this is not the end of our winter flurries, so keep your fingers crossed for one more real bonafide snow day!!!