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.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Let It Snow!!!

Snow, finally! Don't get me wrong, any snow day is good. But it was kinda anti-climatic these today with no snow in our neighborhood. And then it happened, the snow started falling midway trough Monday night dinner. Were we excited??? Heck Yes!!!

Look at Petey. Isn't he cute??? Snowball in hand, this may lead to trouble.

Mitchy, our local Mid-western transplant showed up at my door, shovel in hand, offering to shovel my walk way for $5. I'm thinking this was a regular gig for him in childhood. Then we saw that Jason & Railene's TV was on. The Plan: Throw a snowball at their window and when Jason came down to open the front door, nail him with snowball #2. Unfortunately, Jason was at the Seahawk game so all we managed to do was scare Railene. Oopps, boy were we in trouble.

Next we strolled around the neighborhood, looking for other people who might appreciate our snowballs, when we ended up at the Parkway Tavern. The only reason we stopped in was to watch the weather report and check for possible school closures. Mitch bought me a beer, thanks Mitch, just so we could blend in with the other patrons and not look conspicuous.

When I finally got home, Duncan & Sydney graciously agreed to let me snap their pictures. Aren't they cute!?!

OK, it's 30 degrees outside, photo op over. Let it snow!!!



It's snow watch 2006! Peter and I are watching the news, the doppler radar, looking out the window ... watching, waiting for the flurries of magic. Nothing but green grass in front of my house. Then I get these great pictures from the Bellingham relatives. Poor Brandon & Lucas, they are not so much into the snow day yet. Just wait a few years boys and you will appreciate all the white stuff in your yard.

It's ok Lucas.

Awwww, Brandon.

This morning, on my way back from the Y, Peter calls me to tell me that Fife is 2 hours late! You've gotta be kidding me? Peter kids not. I had a message waiting for me & the district website said 2 hours late. Wooooo Hooooo! Short day & we don't have to make it up in June. I turn on the TV as I get ready for the day at my leisurely 2 hour late pace & then Channel 5 reports:

Pierce County
Schools Closed.
Submitted at: 7:54 AM PST on Monday, Nov 27

Snow day for ME! To be honest, I would rather have real actual snow in my yard, but I can't complain about a day off! Of course there may be a bit of whinning in June when we have to pay this day back. But for today, I'm just going to enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Hey Mitch & Mary

Having fun in Florida? It's still raining here. ALOT. Tuesday we beat the record for the most rain in one month ever. Remember when Pat & Tim were in Hawaii early this month. It was raining then too. Unfortunately, when they were gone a big sinkhole developed in their driveway. So, we your neighbors are keeping an eye on your house. Are you sitting down, there is some not so good news.

Here's a picture of where your garage used to be. It was so nice for chopper 7 to fly over and take this shot just for me so I could blog you.

As you can see, the neighbors are out surveying the damage. As always we have a lot of ideas and suggestions. So you better tell Eli to get his little plastic shovel ready, he has a lot of work to do when he gets home.

Enjoy the sun!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Little People

When Katie comes home to visit, the little people stop by to say hello.

The Seattle Farewells came by for a visit. I don't think anyone was ready for the return of the turkey, so we headed to E9 for lunch. E9 is what we refer to as the kids pub. Once an establishment for the over 21 crowd, it is now a kid friendly place. Dexter did not want to sit still. This was Dottie's turn keeping him busy, while Kevin took a break to enjoy his beer. Did I mention that we all got carded? Of course, I was thrilled, Katie not so much. Sorry hunny, you have 3 1/2 more weeks to wait.

This is a rare picture of Dexter's big sister Mary. Mary is very camera shy. As soon as she see's a camera her arm covers her face and you get a very good picture of her arm.

The next gentleman who came to call on Katie was Derek. And he arrived in style wearing both socks (last Monday night he arrived short one). He was babbling away, crawling up a storm and getting ready to walk. 7 more weeks and he will be one. 3 weeks & my baby will be 21. When they say that time flies, they aren't lying.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

T Day Workout

Today the Y opened at 7 am for all of the exercise faithful. They even scheduled a spin class from 8 - 10 am to help burn all of the T day calories ahead. Isn't that a cool spread? Gatorade, bananas, & animal crackers. Every thing that you need for a 2 hour ride!

Our fearless leaders! Hey Tracy, Beth and Cathy say hi! Beth, our favorite spin teacher looks ready to go. Cathy looks more like Tracy & I looked at spin class at 5:15 am. These are a few of the people I roll out of bed for at 4:30 every morning.

Look at Jewel! This is her very first spin class ever. Doesn't she look fierce? And this is after 1 hour & 55 minutes of hard riding. She's a Spin Monster!

The finish line. "Ta Da!!!!" If you know Jewel, please give her a call after you read this and congratulate her on a job well done!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fa La La La La!

I realized last week that next week is Thanksgiving. Whoa! How did it get here so quick. Now I really feel behind, today the neighbors are putting up the tree and decking their halls. How did I get so far behind? I haven't even ordered my turkey yet, yikes! Their excuse is that they going to spending Thanksgiving with Mitch's family and Christmas with Mary's family so they have to get a head start on the holidays. Well, at least they waited until after Halloween.

This is the right way to decorate a Christmas tree on November 19th. First you get a nice, fresh, healthy, artificial tree. Make sure its a little crooked so when you get it all done the neighbors will think its a real tree because who would get an crooked artificial tree.

Eve, hello! Your Mom is waiting for you to run laps around the tree with the lights.

While everyone else is busy with the lights, Eli demonstrates how to unwrap and each and every ornament in the box.

Yeah! Now its time to hang the ornaments on the tree. Dad supervises proper ornament placement.

After the tree is fully decorated from 4 feet down, Dad has to climb the ladder and do the branchers above the 4 foot line. Looks great! Congrats you have the first tree in the neighborhood. You've won the 2006 race to decorate! Who will be next????

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Partying by Candlelight!

I discovered why Tupperware parties were such a big hit in the 1940s. Housewives & single gals (no offense Peter & Jason) could have a fabulous night out and a few drinks with friends while shopping. Other companies followed suit and you can now buy toys, kitchen gagets, even skimpy undies in the home of a friend with a refreshement in hand. Last night was my turn and the excuse was Party Lite candles. My good friend and co-worker, Teresa came over with all of her wonderful candles and made my home smell wonderful. It seemed that a good time was had by all.

The bar is open! Or at least it was. Thanks to Ann in Chicago we had a wonderful recipe for the Witches Brew cocktail. And a lovely shade of green it was. Thanks to Oprah, also in Chicago, we enjoyed her recipe for Pomegranate Martinis. And finally, a Horny Goat, signature drink of the Billy Goat Tavern, Chicago (do you get the feeling that they like to drink in Chicago?). So here lies all that remains of a night of drunken debauchery and candle shopping.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Welcome Maura!

Maura Flynn has arrived. Isn't she as cute as a button? She arrived at 8:30 pm on November 16th. This beautiful little girl's stats are 21 inches long and 9 lbs. 6 oz. So if you gave her a newborn outfit, it fit her perfectly about 3 weeks ago. Mom Stacee, Dad Ryan and Big Sister Maegan are thrilled to have her join the family.

Stacee is much more relaxed this second time around. 8:30 pm is a much more sensible time to give birth than 2 am. And now she can brag (at least until Jan. 8th) that she is the proud Mother of two under two. Congratulations to all!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Katie's kind of town!

After I saw "Wicked", I really wanted to share it with Katie and I hoped she would love it. Her big favorite was "Rent". After she saw "Wicked", she had a new favorite. So we'll raise our glass to Wicked! This was a fabulous little cocktail called Witches Brew that I ordered in a great restaurant before the show. The picture doesn't do it justice because when it arrived at our table it was a bright, flourescent green. Yummy!

Katie was oh so excited to visit her bro Rob. And they immediately fell into their old sibling rivalry. She also gained a new appreciation for Ann. Ann is an amazing Chicago tour guide. Not only does she know the most fabulous Chicago restaurants fancy, neighbor, ethnic, and undiscovered but she will treat you to the town you can't find in a tourbook.

Rob & Ann teased Katie about going to a Tomato Festival on Saturday. She tried to hide behind a book, but they wouldn't hear of it. Then they transported her to India, Chicago style. Katie is a big Bollywood fan. Actually a BIG FAN. BIG! BIG! BIG! They took her to a street where you can buy sari's, curry by the pound and Bollywood DVDs. As soon as she realized where she was (and there were no tomatoes in sight) she spotted a DVD store and made a beeline for the door. At first she was both intimidated and overwhelmed. Then she mustered her courage and asked the store owner about this particular movie she had been looking for. A conversation started about her favorite movies and actors. Then Katie & Sujay bonded over a common love for Bollywood films. They passed movies back and forth. Sujay then sent out for chai tea for all four of us. We were blown away by his hospitality. Then through the front door came the dvd Katie had been looking for. We suspect he had an employee go down the street and bought it from a competitor so Katie could have it. I won't tell you how many dvds she walked out with but I can tell you that my Christmas shopping is done. And, for your enjoyment Katie will be showing a Bollywood film festival over winter break that will most likely last for 4 days.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wait, Wait, still in Chicago!

Wait, Wait don't tell me is taped on Thursday nights. So last night we went & it was a hoot. After the elections on Tuesday they had a lot of material to pull from. After the show we talked to the cast. I really enjoyed talking to Tom Bodett. When I told him that I was from Tacoma, he asked "Where in Tacoma?" I thought are you kidding me??? It seems that Tom & his family lived in Gig Harbor for 5 years while his son attended Charles Wright. His son just happened to graduate with a good friend of Katie's from the Hockey Years. Small planet.

Today, the sun left and we hit the Magnificant Mile. Katie discovered the true meaning of "Windy City". So we headed over to Navy Pier where we could shop & sight see in a warm environment.

Katie took a moment to visit the psychiartist couch get some free therapy from Dr. Bob Hartley. If you are under the age of 40 you might need to visit Bob Newhart on imdb.

This is the view of the city from Navy Pier. Notice that familiar Tacoma grey sky. We were greeted with rain as we headed back to more shopping on the Mag Mile. Within a few hours we got a treat of a real Midwest light show: Lightning!!!!! All we need is some snow & we will have experienced all the weather Chicago has to offer.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hello Chicago!!!!

It hit 71 degrees in Chicago today! Can you believe it??? It was so pretty that we dropped our bags at our downtown hotel and ran over to Millineum Park.

Katie was in Chicago for an afternoon when she was a high school freshman. She saw the navy pier and that was it. So I had to run her over to Millineum Park before the rain starts tomorrow. The first thing I did once we were in the park was to turn her around & viola, the famous building from one of her favorite movies, Adventures in Babysitting.

Then we visited the Bean. What a fabulous sculpture. Designed to attract both people and the Chicago skyline.

We are staying in the Burnham Hotel. It is fun and old and history. One of the reasons that I picked it was that they are around the block from the Ford Center Theater where Wicked has its home. Imagine my glee when I realized that the block between the hotel and theater has been leveled to make room for some new construction. So this would be the view from our hotel room. It's just way too exciting for words!

Off to see the Wizard!

Did you hear that Wicked is my very favoritist musical ever? Well, it is. And in the attempt to travel to the ends of the earth and share my passion with those I love, Katie and I are flying off the handle and to Chicago. Oh, and we are going to visit our buddy Rob too. But truth be told, visiting Rob is just a feeble attempt to add justification to go see Wicked. On the other hand, Chicago is a fun place to visit and an amazing place to eat. So all and all it will be a fabu weekend.

Who can say if I've been changed for the better, but I have been changed for good.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Katie's New Digs

Before jetting off to Chicago, I met up with Katie at her new Portland State U apartment. This is Katie and Bianca, the first buddy that made. Not only do they share a dorm floor but they are also classmates in European history.

Look, Katie cooks! Cute kitchen, and clean. So I wondered if she actually does cook or is this for show. She assures me that she is holding her mac & cheese/top ramen pot. So I am just trusting that this piece of kitchen equipment sees a lot of action.

Look, Katie studies! She really likes her classes this term & I think she is very happy at Portland State. It seems to be a great fit for her.

Look, Katie hangs clothes & keeps it neat and tidy. Who'dda thunk it. It looks better than my bedroom closet. Of course compared to her bedroom closet in Tacoma, no contest. Maybe I'll post a picture of that when I get home ... naaahhhhhh, I'll let her reap the kudos of a clean and tidy domicile.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pineapple Express hits the hood

Last night was wet, windy and stormy. By the light of day the neighborhood assessed the damage. Lets walk over to Pat & Tim's house.

Pat and Tim are having a lovely holiday in Hawaii. It was a balmy 83 degrees there today. I'm sure they are quite proud of their timing and how they avoided our stormy weather. It looks like the storm damage will be waiting for them when they get back. Here's their son & housesitter Patrick looking deeply into the sink hole that used to be their driveway. If you peek in the door you can see their car stuck in the garage. Poor Patrick, I bet they won't be asking him to housesit again after this.

Of course the neighbors rallied around to offer their opinions and assistance. As usual we are long on opnions and short on assistance.

Eli is ready to get to work. He has a plan to fill in the sink hole single handedly with his blue shovel.

Back across the street Eve and Eli are raking the leaves in front of their house. Can't play soccer until you clear the field first.

Kyle demonstrates that it is never to early to give your child chores. Addie has the job of raking leaves. When she's done it will be time to finish the laundry, take a quick nap and then make dinner for her folks. These new millineum parents have it all figured out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Table for 104!

I had no idea that I live in a "Substantial North End Home". That's what the copy read under this picture published in the Tacoma Daily Ledger on March 22, 1908. I had to do my research before the North Slope Progressive dinner, a fundraiser for the hood. Giving tours all night long to paying guests, I had to be on my toes.

Not only did these soggy souls (it was a very rainy, windy night) expect a tour, but they also had hopes for a gourmet dinner. We were the entree home, so I called in the troups. Kathryn was the Top Chef, making over 100 Chicken Breasts wrapped in Phyllo. Our guests licked their plates clean. The rest of the crew, Jewel, Audrey and Kim kept serving and dishwashing at a frantic pace. We had to turn the table over every 20 minutes to keep our 7 groups of diners on schedule. As you can see the crew is armed with merlot in hand and ready to rock and roll.

A good time was had by all. They arrived at our door after traveling from an appetizer house & salad house. The weather outside was frightful, but the dinner kept everyone warm and toasty.

The evening ended as a great success & the crew sat down for a relaxing dinner (no timer ticking for us). Judi, the organizer of the whole affair joined us for our post dinner celebration. Peter would have been in the picture since he stopped by and helped out with the dishes after he finished his duties as the greeter at the appetizer house. But Peter snuck out without a word in typical Peter fashion. I am very lucky to have such good friends who leap to my rescue when my volunteering nature gets me in too deep.