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.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Baby Invasion

Poor Katie. Not home for 24 hours, and Katie is invaded by a herd of cousins under the age of 5.

Mary's the oldest at the ripe old age of 3. As you can tell she doesn't like the looks of this.

We had the pleasure of Lucas and Brandon staying with us for 3 whole days. They would almost be 3, if you added their ages together, but separately, they are just 15 months. Wow, did they ever keep us busy.

And now meet Dexter. He'll is almost one. The youngest of the crew. But oh so advanced in so many other ways.

At the end of the day, Katie had a little help getting over her jet lag.

Katie Returns!

After a month galavanting around Europe Katie returns! Along with a ton of pictures of smiling faces. Think she had a good time??? Think again, she had a GREAT time!!!!

Katie & crew in Paris

Katie in Rome

Katie & Jenny in Venice (with cute Gondola Guy)

Katie over looking ... sigh ... Florence

It was tough for her to leave. Especially when you can buy Heinekin out of a vending machine.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Madrid calling!

When Katie called I asked her if she was tired. And funny thing, she's not, she even said that she was "perky". Spooky. But she did admit that her feet are hurting her. Poor baby.

Even though she liked the architecture better in Barcelona she did think that the Royal Palace in Madrid was quite spectacular.

I asked what else she liked in Madrid. And without hesitation she said, "The Post Office." The Post Office??? Yup the Post office. I guess it is supposed to be the most beautiful Post Office in all of Europe.

Then what else did she like? "The Train Station." The Train Station??? Clearly my daughter does not get out enough. But if she was referring to the picture of the train station below, I must admit that it looks more like Peter's backyard than any train station that I have been in.

Tonight she was on her way out to a Pub Crawl that started at 10:30pm. She was very excited because it only cost 10 Euros and they were getting a free shot and all the beer they could drink at every place that they visited. Oh to be young, single and in a country where you can't speak the language.

What happens in Pilates ...

... Stays in Pilates. At least that is Mrs. Johnson's new mantra.

So while Katie is partying galore in Europe, I am lying on a mat, in a pilates class, between Mrs. Johnson & Mrs. Sears. If you know them both, feel free to sympathize with me now. They are both brand new to pilates & it's all my fault (just ask Jewel, she just called me and told me that herself). Sigh. You try to be helpful and encouraging and what do you get? Grief.

Sorry, no pictures with this post. I would be killed. Can't even give you a lot of details (in writing), so please feel free to call me if you want the whole scoop!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


The new score for postcards from Europe is Katie - 16, Jenny - 6!

Postcard Quotables:

Amsterdam: "Everyone including Van Gogh was smoking in Amsterdam." & "Security will take you down if you take a picture of the red light district"
Luzern: "Swam in the lake, ate sandwiches and drank with the locals."
Florence: "We did a walking tour, a little shopping & back to the hotel for a 3 hour nap."
Rome: "Tell Chris I almost got him an apron with the lower part of David by Michaelangelo."

Tomorrow they travel to Madrid, the last stop on their worldwind tour. It looks like Madrid has some amazing parks too.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Last Stop Spain

Katie called from Barcelona. She loves Barcelona, though her #1 favorite place has been Florence (smart girl), Barcelona is a very close second.

Today they took a tour of the city. She says that they have some very wild and funky architecture. She also saw a public park that she said would make Peter cry it was soooooo amazing. I am guessing that she is refering to Park Guell. When she gets home we'll see if I'm right.

Last night they hit the town in search of Sangria and ended up in an Irish Pub. They got their sangria and heard some singing. Then they realized that it was in english. British in fact! It turned out to be a stag party in it's 5th and final day of revelry. You'll have to ask Katie for the details when she gets home, but she did admit that they joined in the song and closed the bar at 4 am.

Tomorrow is their free day before they head to Madrid on Wednesday. Katie claims that the temperature soared to a scorching 108 so the plan is to hit the beach.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nice calling

Katie called from the reception area of a nice Nice hotel. She spent a lot of time on the French Riviera swimming to escape the heat, poor baby. She sounded tired. I think the 3 days here/2 days there method of travel is wearing her down.

She met some kids from Colorado who are back packing around Europe. She really gets a kick out of being so far away and meeting people from "home". I think it's probably fun to meet new people her age who's first language is english.

She's enjoyed eating in the local restaurants and trying new foods. One of her favorites is French Onion Soup. But she says when you're in France, you can drop the "French" part and just order "onion soup". She reported that it was delicious.

She heads to Barcelona today. The weather will be in the upper 80s and low 90s but there are a lot of beaches to help cool them off.

And for those of you who are keeping score in the postcard contest, add 1 on your scorecard for Jenny.
That makes Katie - 5, Jenny - 4 (& closing in fast!)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

French Riviera, ooo la la

Katie arrived on the French Riviera on Thursday.

Since she hasn't called, I can only assume that she is too busy sunbathing topless with the girls to find a phone.

She's staying in Nice, where it is a refreshing 83 degrees at 3:30pm. Unlike our scorching high of 96 yesterday and who knows what today.

Even the streets look cool and shady.

Oh to take a small wooden boat out on the French Riviera. Now that's the way too live.

Or go from club to club in the cool of the evening. Next summer, Katie can stay home with the dogs while I head off to Europe!

Tomorrow she heads off to the coastal city of Barcelona, Spain.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Eve Knits!!!

It's 94 degrees outside, so what's the best way to stay cool??? Knit!

Eve is 6 years old and will be starting 1st grade in September. Today, she became a knitter. She did great. Her first project is going to be a purse. Too hot to make a scarf, so she is skipping the scarf phase and going straight to purse. Pink and purple are her colors.

If you look closely you can see that she has mastered the advance move of knitting with the support and encouragement of the tongue. This demonstrates superior concentration.

Is Eve proud or what? She should be! Knitting is not for cowards. She will have a purse in no time at all. You go girl!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Florence calling!

Katie called from Florence today. Ahhhhhh Florence.

She loves Florence (well of course she does, because I love Florence & I haven't even been there yet)! She's seen Michaelangelo's David and countless other art masterpieces. Lucky thing.

Katie and crew were headed out for some Florence night life. Hopefully to find some Italian boys to bring home.

They have all day tomorrow to wander around Florence. Soaking up the sun and the sights.

I hear that there are many postcards from Italy coming my way. Fantastico!!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Katie called ... Twice!

Never underestimate the power of the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican City. Katie went there today and called me right after.

She's having a great time, so much fun, no time to call. Yesterday they went to the Coliseum and then had a 14 course meal afterwards. She said that she tried EVERYTHING, even the calamari (not a seafood fan). She was surprised at all the things she liked, not the calamari though, she thought that was nasty. But she said that even the people who liked calamari thought it was nasty.

She like Rome, but doesn't have a strong desire to ever go back. She is really looking forward to Florence and thinks it will be her favorite place in Italy. She is having a great time everywhere and says that even when things go wrong, I guess the buses are always late, she has a really good attitude and just goes with the flow while others complain. Wow, she is growing up.

And for those who asked, when they were in Amsterdam they did go into an actual hash bar, twice. But as they say on the billboards, "What happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam."

On the postcard front the score is: Katie 5, Jenny 3.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ciao, Bella!

Katie is spending the week in Italy, sigh. On Friday she arrived in Milan. Would love to give you more details but she must be having too much fun, because she didn't call.

Today she arrived in Rome. Still ooooodles of fun, still no call.

On Tuesday she will travel to Florence. Did I mention that Florence is the place that I most want to visit in the whole world?

Katie and her crew will be checking out the hot guys.

Hopefully when she stares up at the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel she will get some divine inspiration: See Katie, even Adam phoned home!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Postcards from Katie

I have the best little girl in the whole wide world!

I got home from the airport, a little sad. No Katie to talk to or share with. She hasn't called since Sunday, sigh. I miss her. And what was waiting for me? 5 postcards from Katie (& 1 from my Hawaiian daughter, Jenny). She wrote me on the plane, during the layover in Frankfurt, in London & Paris. Can't wait to get the next postcard, phone call and can't wait to pick her up from the airport and bring her home!

$10 says she'll call me from Italy just to rub it in that she's there and I'm not. Sheesh!

BTW Katie, on the Frankfurt postcard it said, "Wirst du in Frankfurt empfangen!" which translates to "You are received in Frankfurt!"

My Favorite Chicago Souvenir

So the first thing I found in Chicago was a yarn store. I fell in love with a green yarn (surprise) and a pattern and I started knitting. The owner of this yarn store asked if I had been to the button store around the corner. Well, if yarn is your drug of choice, buttons are the over the counter pills you pop when your trusted dealer is out of your drug of choice.

I went into this little button store and WOW what a selection. I kept looking and looking but nothing jumped out at me. Then it happened. I saw them. They jumped out at me and I had to have them. Aren't they the cutest little things that you have ever seen.

And a sneak peek at my new little green knitting project.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ta Ta Toddlin' Town

All good things must come to an end & so I head back to Tacoma today.

Yesterday we wandered Wrigleyville, the neighborhood that surrounds Wrigley Field. It was a quiet day, since the only MLB game scheduled was the All Star Game. Also, after complaining about the oppressive heat from the weekend, it rained on and off all day. The temp was still in the upper 70s, but it was a wet one.

Wrigleyville is wall to wall bars. Hey, it's Cub's territory, and most years they need as much alcohol as they can swallow. Here Rob demonstrates the proper way to drink Guiness in a real Chicago Irish Tavern, Johnny O'Hagans.

Jenn, this one's for you. Meet Bart. Bart is bartender extrodinaire at the Twisted Spoke on Clark St. In real life he is a teacher. A substitute teacher still shopping around for the right district and opportunity. He thinks he wants to teach High School History and English. But he's so cute (this photo doesn't really do him justice) that high school girls won't be able to concentrate in classes. Solution: Elementary Special Ed BD class. Whaddya think Jenn? I think you should recruit him. And if you need company on this recruitment trip, just let me know and we'll hop a plane to Chicago. PS, they have good knitting stores in Chicago so we could score some yarn too!

Well ya know it's time to go when you see this sign hanging on the wall in a T shirt store. It's a tough town. You know that al Capone's ghost lurks around every corner.

Katie Update

No call from Katie since Sunday, so you know that she is having a great time. On Monday their tour took them to Heidelberg, Germany. Hope she had a nice dark local beverage for me ... but probably not.

Then Tuesday they arrived in Lucerne, Switerland.

And tomorrow they will head to Italy for a week, first stop Milan.

What a hard life she has with each location looking more scenic that the one before. It looks like the heat is following them with a high of 80 today in Lucerne and up to 88 in Milan tomorrow. Hope she's wearing her sunscreen!

Monday, July 10, 2006

My kinda town

Chicago is ... lots of culture & lots (& I mean lots) of food!

On Sunday, for brunch, Anne & Rob took me to the Twisted Spoke. It's a biker bar that serves great brunch & is famous for their Saturday night "Smut & Eggs". That's where you can order breakfast while watching porn. I know now you all want to move to Chicago. We sat on the deck (it was only 93 degrees, no exaggeration) and the food was great.

Of course, Rob made sure that he took me to the classiest of joints. So we walked down the stairs from Michigan Avenue, and under the street we found the Billy Goat Tavern. It's a Chicago institution, made famous by the "Cheezborger skit" on Saturday Night Live. Before that is it just the watering hole for the Chicago Tribune. Famous (and not so famous) writers and columnist cover the walls of the bar. Did you know that 5 US Presidents have had lunch there? Well, if you go there and see this dive, you won't believe it. I ordered their signature drink called the "Horny Goat". The best way I can describe it is that it is a Shirley Temple with alcohol. Some Monday I'll mix one up for you.

Doesn't Rob look great? Chicago sure has improved his fashion sense (or is he just drinking more in Chicago). Actually, this is the uniform you have to where when you take a Segaway Tour. Segway's are these 2 wheeled vehicles that go a whopping 12 miles per hour and make you look like an even bigger dork when you ride them. But they are fun. They cost about the same as a cool green Vespa (not trading my Vespa in for one of these dorkmobiles). But they are a great way to tour a flat city (San Franciso or Seattle, not a good idea), in a short amount of time without killing your feet. I looked like Rob too, and our guide offered to take our picture together, but do you really think I would let anyone take my picture looking like this???? No Way!

A final shot of the Chicago skyline overlooking Lake Michigan.