Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sewing Project #2

I have just finished my second sewing project. I made this Christmas table runner for my mother-in-law Judy. She helped me pick out the pattern and the fabrics. It took my a while and this is no where near perfect, but I think it turned it out pretty good for being my second project.

This is the front of the runner.

I decided to quilt around the bigger squares and the little center square...that was a lot of work.

This is the back of the runner.

Quilting around the squares makes the back look pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Six Fantastic Things

I can't believe I haven't written anything since late August! Summer is way over now and we are well on our way into fall. I have been busy the last few days, even though my last day of work was September 17th. I spend the first week cleaning up the house, catching up my reading, hanging out with Jackie, and trying new dinner recipes. Well, in no particular order is what has happened since we dug the hole to China in our backyard.

1. The fence was built between our house and our neighbor's house. I wasn't home when the project was started, as I was in Bellingham for my mom's surprise birthday party, but Joel was home to help out and make sure things happened the correct way. The finished project is really nice, makes the backyard seem bigger, and gives us nice privacy from our neighbors.

2. Jack now has his own "couch". I was tired of having to vacuum up white hair out of my tan carpeting when Jack was going through his summer shedding. So I decided to see if Jack would like a cat bed, that way he could lay in his favorite spot and my carpet would be free from bunny hair. I found one on clearance at PetsMart that I thought Jack might like so I brought it home. It didn't take Jack long to get over his fear of the new and unknown. Now Jack likes to stretch out in his little bed and watch evening TV with Joel and I.

3. Chris came over to help Joel and I build a gate for our fence. This way we can hide the trash, recycling, and yard waste containers behind the gate and have a much better view from the street. We asked Chris to come over since he had recently become an expert in this area. I was copy-catting Chris's door handle idea and we wanted his help to make it come together. So Chris came over and we got to work building a massive gate. This thing was huge. Joel and Chris did most of the work, but I helped by holding things, finding things, bringing tools to them and make a run to Home Depot for forgotten items. In the end we have a beautiful gate with a door handle that works like a charm. I love it! 
Oh, it was dark when we put in the door handle, hence the headlamps.

3. One night I was making a big batch of Chicken Pot Pie and it was taking forever. Joel and I were so hungry. Dinner wasn't even in the oven yet, when Joel had a brilliant idea; Appetizer Chicken Pot Pie. We have these little creme brulle dishes, so we spooned in some of the veggies and gravy, added some crust and cooked up some appetizer sized pot pies to enjoy while we waited for the rest of the meal to cook. It was such a good idea, and they looked so cute that I had to share them.

4. Last Sunday Joel and I met up with friends to visit the Pullyup Fair. We got to walk around, look at all kinds of animals, eat some traditional fair food, and ride some rides. I have decided I am too old for rides. One circle in the Octopus was all it took to have me white knuckled and warning Joel, "I'm going to puke, I'm going to puke, make it all stop, stop the ride I'm going to puke...". But I was brave enough to get in line for the wooden roller coaster which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I still needed some 7-Up to calm down my tummy though. After that experience, I don't think I will ever seen on a ride again. I should have known better, even swing sets make me sick; which is incredibly depressing because I used to love to swing. Here are some highlights from the fair.
Joel made friends with this sheep.

 I think it is because Joel gives such wonderful sheep-massages!

I saw Fainting Goats! I was so disappointed they weren't standing up, I wanted to spook them so badly!

There was a camel at the fair...I have never seen a camel at the fair!

Here is Anna & Robert; As you can see they got through the ride much better than I did.

Joel and I took a break in the beer garden.

5. We haven't missed a Hawks game yet. Even Jack watches the games with Joel and I . Our friend Robert has season tickets, so whenever the Hawks are playing at home, I like to watch for Robert. I am not sure who looks more comfortable, Joel or Jack, but I just had to take a picture of the "boys" watching the football game.

6. I have learned to sew. I am actually pretty impressed with my first project. My mom gave me one of her old sewing machines (no that plural on machine isn't a mistake). Jackie, who also has a machine that used to belong to mom, says that mom keeps giving away her machines just so she can buy new ones. Regardless of her motive, it has been great for me. With all this time on my hands now, I have something productive to do (that is when I get tired of endlessly apply for jobs). My first project was a table covering. Like a runner, it hangs out on the table when not  in use, but is a square instead of a rectangle. Mom brought down her current machine (which is basically a sewing computer) and she helped get started. It only took me two days, but here is my autumn inspired table covering.  
I am so excited with how well my project turned out, that I can't stop thinking about what to do next. Joel even said he was impressed. This is a direct quote, "I didn't realise something this nice could be done without years of quilting experience." Awwwh, he is so kind. For a first timer, this pretty good. Joel wants a lap blanket for the couch, so I think that will be my next project. I am excited to get started. Even Jack enjoys my new hobby.
Jack liked to sit on my feet when I was trying to operate the sewing machines foot peddle. He also liked to hop around my ankles when I was trying to cut fabric and he loved trying to get in my lap when I was trying to sew a straight line. Silly bunny.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digging A Hole to China

Okay, this all started when our next door neighbors approached us about building a fence. Joel and I are not very happy about how things are turning out regarding the fence, but one thing is good: we finally fixed the irrigation problem in our back yard.

Our backyard consists of two large retaining walls. There is a six foot retaining wall about six feet from our sliding glass door off the kitchen, that gently sweeps away from the house as it comes closer to the next door neighbor. In that corner of the yard during the rainy season we have major water issues. We essentially have a water fall down the rock wall, a river across the grass, and another waterfall down the retaining wall between us and the neighbors. The fence mentioned earlier would run right through this water feature. Joel and I have always wanted to fix this problem but just hadn't gotten up the motivation or set aside the time. With this impending fence project we decided it was time.

So Friday night, after work, Joel drove up to Snohomish to borrow some tools from his parents. Then we got up early on Saturday and started to dig. It was awful. It was miserable. It was work in every sense of the word. If we were just digging up dirt, that would have been a whole different story. Instead the "soil" in our backyard is a equal mixture of clay and rocks. We would start by picking at the ground with an axe or with a heavy steal bar that would break up the soil and attempt to dislodge the rocks. Then we would try to shovel out the dirt into nice piles on plastic tarps in an attempt to keep the grass protect. This soon turned into throw the dirt anywhere you can, just get it out of the ground. After digging and digging for five hours we had one ten foot by eighteen inches-deep trench dug up. Surveying our progress I was feeling pretty good about what we accomplished. Joel and I were still in relatively good moods, neither one of us had taken off our wedding rings yet and we were finally accomplishing this monumental task.

But this feeling of pride quickly vanished when I saw the amount of digging left to do. We still had to dig a 20 foot by 20 inches-deep trench to connect the first trench to our existing drain pipe. I wanted to sit down in my freshly dug hole and cry. I wanted to lay on the ground, kick my legs, and pound my fists. I was just wanted to scream, "Uncle! Uncle! Uncle! I give!" Instead I went inside, made two sandwiches and sat down in the lawn chairs in the backyard. After playing with a little green frog Joel found in the grass I was feeling better. So we went back to work and started to dig the connecting trench. It wasn't long before I was again, "not feeling the digging". I told Joel I had to go to the bathroom and went inside to search for jackhammer rentals. I went back outside, armed my information and told Joel, "we could have a jack hammer for less than $100.00". Joel looked at me, looked at the amount of digging left and said, "Get in the car." So off we went to the rental shop to borrow a jackhammer with a spade to help us dig out the rest of the trench. Although it didn't necessarily make the work easier as attempting to control a 70 pound piece of machinery as it bores into the earth isn't a walk in the part, it did make the work go by faster. In two hours we had the trench finished and ready for the irrigation pipes.

Even after I got showered off and ate some dinner, I still had to bake a cake and prepare for Sunday dinner. My dad was driving down two hours from Lynden to help Joel and I lay the pipes for the backyard project. My sister Jackie's birthday was last week, so we decided with Dad in town that Jackie and her husband Chris better come over for dinner. So I scrambled to prep some of the food, bake a cake, mix up frosting, clean up the house, and get presents wrapped up. Finally I dragged myself into bed and let me tell you, bed has never felt so good. Ever feel so physically exhausted that the idea of sleeping is just too much, so tired you would be happy to just quietly lay in the dark, so tired that the idea of rolling over to turn off the light makes you cry? That is how I felt, and I am sure Joel felt the same way.

It wasn't long before that nightmarish calling of the alarm was pounding in my ear drums. It was time to get up again. Joel and I quickly ate our breakfast and got on our grubbies. Don't want to keep Dad waiting. When Dad showed up I think he was surprised to find that all the digging was completed. We put the pipes together, put them in the holes, connected them to the existing drain line and tah-dah, we were finished. All we had to do now, in the pouring down rain I might add, was collect rocks to cover the porous pipes so the water can filter down and collect in the irrigation pipes. Then after we found enough rocks, it was time to put all the dirt back. Oh excuse me, most of the dirt back. We still have a pile of it in our backyard, not to mention the lack of green grass in several patches.

But I am not complaining! We did it! We finally fixed this water problem. In three hours, we put the dirt back, cleaned up the tools, showered and changed our clothes. Dad, Joel and I sat down to drink a few beers and watch The Big Lebowski. Then Jackie and Chris came over to eat some steak, corn on the cob, garlic bread, and my famous spinach-pasta salad. I even had a white-on-white cake (Jackie loves white cake with white frosting). When Joel and I are out of town, Jack-Rabbit stays with Auntie Jackie, who just loves to have Jack over at her house. So I was trying to think of a way to draw a white rabbit on a white cake, when I decided to put chocolate chips in random spots on the cake instead. When Joel carried the cake into the dinning room, I said "oh-no Jack must have gotten to the cake - I can't believe he pooped on your birthday cake!" It was a big hit. Everyone loved poop cake and we almost ate the whole thing.

After we said good bye to everyone, Joel and I did the dishes and went to bed. There was no way I was doing anything but laying under the covers and soaking up the comfort of freshly laundered sheets and my pillow. Nothing ends a good weekend like fresh sheets, the arms of your husband wrapped tight around you, and the quiet feeling of accomplishment.  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Connor & Joel

Our nephew Connor came to stay the night with us. He and his sister, McKenzie, had come over for the night one time before, but this time Connor was coming alone. He wanted to play X-box with Uncle Joel and he didn't want to share it with his sister.

Here are some of the funny things I heard from Julia, Connor's mom, leading up to the weekend at our house.

1. "Mom, it just isn't fair that I don't have an X-box. I think I should have one."

2. On the way home from a week at Moses Lake, "Mom, Where are we?" "We are by Bellevue" "Doesn't Uncle Joel live near here" "Well, sort of" "Good, drop me off there, I'm not coming home, I'm going to Uncle Joel's house." "Umm, Uncle Joel is at work" "So, Aunt Jessica is home, so just take me to their house." "Aunt Jessica is at work, Connor, you can't go over there." "Yes, I can, I will just play X-box until they get home. Just take me there."

So we had Connor over so he could get his X-box fill. So yesterday afternoon, Connor arrived with his Car's suitcase and was all ready to start gaming. Ever since he opened the door it has been non-stop computer games, (that is until he, and this is a direct quote, "I'm breaking up with the computer, now I'm with X-box") X-boxing, water fights in the yard, chasing Jack around, eating corn dogs, and all sorts of other fun. It was just too hot last night, so we went to the movies and we watched Despicable Me. That movie was so, so funny. We watched it in 3-D down in Redmond. Connor was just cracking up. Then we came home for Cookie Dough Ice Cream and bed.

Last night when Joel was getting Connor ready for bed, Connor informed me was going to sleep in his clothes, that way he would not waste time getting dressed in the morning and he could go straight from bed to the x-box. When Joel came into the bedroom after tucking Connor in for the night, I asked if Connor put on his pj's or if he really did wear his clothes to bed. Joel said, "oh, I don't know" "What do you mean you don't know, what was Connor wearing? Did you tell him to put on his PJ's". "Well, I figured he brushed his teeth and went to the bathroom, those are the major ones, so he is set for bed. I didn't even think about pj's." That cracked me up. I guess when we have kids, I need to make Joel a check list. So in the morning, I discovered, Connor did sleep in his clothes and he told me that he didn't pack any other shirts. "One shirt is just as good as another, I don't need two." Well, whatever. It's not like we are going to the White House later today. I was lucky enough to get him to eat breakfast before he turned on the x-box.

I'm listening to Joel and Connor playing Lego Indiana Jones right now, and this is what I hear...
C: Come on, Come over here Joel.
J: Wait, how do I get over there.
C:It's easy, just do it. Come on.
J: I don't think I can jump that high
C: Just try unlocking it, no no no no come on help me kill these guys
J: I'm trying, I'm trying
C: You need the banana, aggghhh more bad guys! Help me!
J: I'm trying, I'm trying

It is cracking me up. I sit on the couch and drink my coffee and just watch the two of them. They are so alike in so many ways. It is just too cute!!

This is not helping with my baby fever!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Today at Work

Is boredom anything less than the sense of one's faculties slowly dying?

Arthur Helps

Sunday, August 8, 2010


As my birthday came and went this year, I was reflecting upon birthdays in general.

Once again, Jim Gaffigan has some wonderful things to say about birthdays.
Birthdays. Everyone acts a little bit differently around their birthday, don't they. Ever have that friend that gives you the birthday alert. 'Hey, just wanted to let you know that next Tuesday is my birthday.' 'Hey just wanted to let you I'm not getting you anything'. They give the alert, cause, you know, there is so much pressure in our society to have a good time on your birthday; 'I can't believe I'm going to work on my birthday, I can't believe I'm doing laundry on my birthday, I can't believe I'm paying for sex on my birthday, what a rip off'.

It is fun to getting those gifts though. It can be hard to give a gift, you know. It's a gamble, it's hard. I can't believe we are still giving clothes as a gift, because whenever you get clothing as a gift, you open it up and you think, 'not even close'. And the person who gave it is always like 'You can take it back if you don't like'. 'That's alright, I will just throw it out. Don't give me an errand.' 'Happy Birthday, why don't you head to the mall for me. If you can get my dry cleaning that would be awesome.'

Ever get a candle as a gift. Hey thanks, you know I have electricity right? Look if my place smells, just let me know. No this is perfect, now I know what I am getting you for your birthday. This... candle gifts"

It's a gamble with gifts. The Statue of Liberty was a gift; big beautiful statue, gift from the French. Good thing the statue is beautiful because if it was ugly that would have been awkward. The french would have come over, 'where is the statue of Liberty?' 'Ah-yah, that's in the desert in Arizona. Yah, we thought it really complemented the desert' It would have been even more awkward if we re-gifted the Statue. 'Where's that gigantic statue'   'Ah - Japan was having a birthday and we didn't know what to get them. We said it was from both of us. And they just love it, love it, love it, love it. love it, love it"

My favorite gift I have ever received is a flask. I think giving someone a flask is a nice way of saying 'Hey you seem like a drunk on the go. You strike me as needing hard liquor at all times. This would be good for you in your car.' hmm. hmm.

Cake can actually brings people together. 'It's Bill's birthday.' 'Agh - I hate that guy.' 'There's cake in the conference room.' Well, I should say hello, see how he's doing.' Hey, I mean, admit it. When you hear that song, all you are thinking is 'hey, I am getting some free cake'. During the song you're just wondering what kind it is. Hope it's chocolate for me. We are all bashful when we are offered a piece. We are all like, huh, what, well I guess I will try a piece. What is this called - cake? Yah, I have never had cake before. (and then proceeds to scarf it down).
~~Jim Gaffigan, Beyond the Pale

I am lucky enough that I have friends who know exactly what to get me, a husband who knows what I need, and family that knows what I love.  This year was a great birthday. I slept in until about 1:00 in the afternoon, but we didn't go to bed until about 1:00am. Then Joel made me Blueberry Pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast. Oh so good. Ooey-Gooey blueberry loaded pancakes. Then with a stuffed stomach, I headed straight to the couch to finish browsing the Ikea catalog, watch some TV, and to get ready for a nap. Not much later, we decided to take my car to get an oil change, transmission flush, coolant flush, and something else flush. While we waited we went grocery shopping because all that was left in the fridge was a couple beers and some celery. Then we picked up my car, dropped off the groceries at home and went straight to Costco to get some more groceries. We got there just in time to sneak under the door as they were closing the entrance. We ran around the store grabbing the essentials. By the time we got home, I was exhausted. I had to lay down on the couch and nap. When I woke up, I watched a movie, ate some chili-mac, and drank a few beers.

Yesterday my mother & father-in-law came over and we all went out to dinner. Judy was so sweet to remember that I love those wooden ducks in raincoats that I saw all over Leavenworth. She even got me the Christmas outfit for the duck. I was very excited. Then I opened the group gift from Jack, Judy, and Joel. I got a brand new super-computer from Joel. My laptop has been having some troubles and Joel is tired of having to kick me off the computer so he can log into work. So now we get to spend more quality time together. Actually it is more like sitting in the same small room (the smallest room in the house actually) with our backs to each other as we each dork around on our computers. When you get married, you turn into nerds.

Tomorrow I am going to meet up with Julie and Chris for dinner. That will be fun. Julie has to work all day Saturday and Sunday and she is still going to drive all the way down here to have dinner with me. I can't believe it. How wonderful it is to be loved.

Thursday I had happy hour with Anna, Saara, and Jackie (not sister Jackie) in Seattle and that was really fun. Anna surprised me with a gift and she had the best card ever. It was a picture of a rabbit with sunglasses on. I loved it. I had to leave it on the table during the entire happy hour, just so I could keep looking at it. Now I am trying to figure out how to put sunglasses on Jack Rabbit. Anna gave me a Seahawks sweater, cause I don't have any hawk gear to wear to football Sunday at Robert and Anna's house. Now I will be prepared.

Thank you to everyone for making the past year one of the best yet. Here's to the next 365 days!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just one of those days

Today was one of those days when you wonder why you even got out of bed. I start my work day at 8:00am and by 10:00am I had already...
  • Walked into the lunch room and started to take off my belt thinking I was in the bathroom. Luckily I was the only person in there and I was able to recover and make it to the correct location.
  • Walked into a cubical wall, which has been in the same location since I started, right in front of Allie, Heather, Beth, Karen and Scott. 
  • Almost missed sitting on my chair, sat right on the edge of the chair and nearly tipped the chair over as I tried to regain my balance.
  • Sneezed one of my ridiculous sneezes during the morning Order Entry Question & Answers meeting. During the sneeze my knee went flying up and smacked the underside of the table and knocked Gail's coffee over which spilled all over Beth's notebook and orders.
  • Asked if Don's wizard figurine was from the movie The Last Unicorn when actually it is just a McDonald's toy - so they made fun of me for being a closet fantasy nerd.
  • Went to make copies of a form and was confused when the copies came out with nothing on them. Oh wait, I am supposed to put the original in the copier first? Then I when I tried to make more copies, I made them of the mark up - the one with all the pencil scratches on it. So now I had thirty copies each of the wrong stuff.
  • Almost blew coffee out of my nose.
Lucky for me, the day got better. After all that I felt I deserved a treat so I ate a cookie at lunch.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Book List

Living just down the street from an amazing used bookstore I have been keeping my nose in as many books as I can get Joel to let me take home. I have come to organize my many books in stacks. One stack on the floor next to the bed of just finished reading, one stack on my nightstand of currently reading or to start reading soon, and a stack on the dresser of favorites to read again).

The Stack on the Floor:
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Dead Silence by Randy Wayne White
Tell Me Something True by Leila Gobo
Look Again by Lis Scottoline
Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Stack on the Nightstand:
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
Laughter in the Dar by Vladimir Nabokov
East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Stack on the Dresser:
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Despair by Vladimir Nabokov
The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I am also listening to an audio book of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. It helps to slow down my mind at night and get me relaxed so that I can fall asleep quickly and get the most out of my short evenings. Joel doesn't like it, because when he comes to bed, he gets to try to untangle my sleeping self from my iPod and ear bud cords. I try so hard to stop my iPod before I fall asleep, but I never seem to catch myself in time. Poor Joel, always having to take care of me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Drive-though Drive Way, Ants on a Log, and Under the Bed Adventures

Nothing too exciting has happened in the last few days, but I can think of some few random items to share.

There is a house near my home that cracks me up every time I drive past. It is located right next door to a fast food restaurant and the drive way for the house is connected to the drive through for the restaurant. I wonder if the people who live there have to go through the drive through every night to get home? Hello, may I take your order? Nope, just trying to get home. I wonder if they crave fast food all day, or if they themselves smell like french fries every day because they live next door to fast food. It would be so obnoxious to try to sleep while people are getting their late night food right outside their window. I bet they have dreams of happy meals and combo orders. I wonder if when they have parties, their guests part at the fast food restaurant? I always look for this house during my commute, it always cracks me up.

The other day in the lunch room at work, I saw something I didn't realize was still being sold in stores. Remember Pizza Bagels? I still know the jingle... Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at super time, when pizzas on a bagel you can have pizza any time. Yep. One of my co-workers was eating some pizza bagels. I was so shocked, I had to say something. She was laughing at me. She told me that they do still sell them and thanks to her husband, they are well stocked at home. It still cracks me up.

Lunch time is very interesting at the office. I like to look and see what everyone brings for their lunch. Some people go out and buy food to bring back for lunch every day. One person really likes Taco Bell, while another one really likes Subway. Another person, eats a pot pie every day. That usually makes the lunch room smell pretty good. Someone usually has some sort of microwaveable lunch or something left over from dinner. I was made fun of yesterday for bringing ants on a log in my lunch. I can't help it, ants on a log is so good. I made a whole bunch of them, I filled up a tupperware container to go along with my sandwich and string cheese. I always look forward to eating my string cheese. There are riddles on the packaging for the cheese, so I get to read a joke every day.

Joel just came downstairs from chasing Jack out from under our bed. I know that something funny must have happened, because they are both out of breath and I have been hearing thuds coming from upstairs for the last bit. Here is the story Joel told me: he saw Jack go upstairs and he figured he better go make sure the bedroom door was closed. (background info: Jack loves to go under our bed. I think he pretends he is a wild bunny, hiding out in his burrow, somewhere out in the wild, doing rabbity things. This is fine, except the electrical cord for our heating blanket is under the bed and Jack just loves to chew on cords. So for his safety and ours, we can't let him be under the bed.) So Joel went upstairs to make sure that Jack wasn't under the bed. Sure enough, that is exactly where the rabbit was. Joel decided he was going to catch Jack, so when he went into the bedroom he closed the door behind him. When Joel got down on the floor, Jack saw him coming and made a run for the door, trying to make his escape. When he saw that the door was shut, he made a dash back toward the bed. Poor Jack continued in this circle for awhile as Joel attempted to get a hold of him. When Jack had enough of this cat and mouse game, he made a dash into the bathroom and through to the closet. Joel thought he had Jack now. Joel positioned himself at the doorway between the bedroom and the bathroom, waiting for Jack to attempt his escape. It wasn't long, and Jack was ready to tempt fate. Joel saw Jack coming and was ready for him, hoping to catch Jack right in his arms. But it wasn't too be; Jack called on his wild roots and sprinted right through Joel's hands. Back under the bed, Jack waited to see what Joel would do next. Joel gave up; he opened up the bedroom door and let Jack calmly exit. The two boys came back downstairs, panting and breathless to tell me their story of adventure. Silly boys.

Well, I better get off the computer and start making my ants on a log for lunch tomorrow. I can't disappoint the lunch room crowds.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

As much as I hate to say it, I definitely have a case of the Monday's. I got up this morning, took my shower, picked out some clothes, and straightened my hair. With a hot coffee in my hand, I got in the car and started the commute to work. Living in the greater Seattle area, I am one of the lucky few that doesn't have to fight traffic on my way into the office. I was busy the moment I set my foot in the door. Between running reports, drafting processes, and whatever else I had on my plate I could barely find time to drink my coffee. I was able to keep up with everything until about half an hour before I was headed home. I just wanted to sit there and stare into space. I didn't want to even look like I was working. I didn't want to try to keep working, I didn't even want to sit in my chair for a minute longer. I wanted to lay down on the floor and eat cookies.

But I didn't. I stayed in my chair. I kept the keyboard clicking as I pushed my self to keep working. I made it through the last half an hour and could hardly keep from skipping out to the car. As soon as I could get into the door of the house, I was on the couch under the blanket, relaxing to some good, old television. Jack was bouncing around the room, happy to be out and about. I was in bliss until it dawned on me, that I was going to have to make dinner. Now I am no longer happy. I am grumpy and angry. I can't think of anything to make, don't want to make anything, don't want to lift a finger. I am only twenty-five but the idea of making one more dinner, let alone hundreds more, is enough to make me go crazy.

I am having a case of the Mondays.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Joel's New Car!

So, after hours of research on Consumer Reports, lots of talking and budgeting Joel and I headed out on Saturday morning to car shop. We headed down 405 and test drove so many cars I am not sure what all we drove. We tried the Prius, Camry, Corolla, Mazada6, Focus... so many that I was getting things mixed up. By three in the afternoon, we were so tired we headed to Starbucks to get some caffeine and to shift through all the options. One Dark Cherry Mocha and Carmel Macchiato later, we had made our decision.

We went back to the Kirkland Ford dealership and told Gordon we wanted to buy the 2010 Ford Fusion SEL. Yep, we bought a brand new car. In fact, we put mile 8 on the odometer. Six hours later, Joel drove his new baby off the lot. He was just full of smiles. I told him, he works hard enough, he deserves it all. The heated leather seats, in-dash six disc mp3-CD player, Microsoft Sync (it connects your blue tooth device with the car, you can answer a cell phone will a touch of button on the steering wheel, you can sync your ipod to play all your music, all sorts of stuff), heated side mirrors, ambient lighting in six colors, navigation system, satellite radio, 12 speaker Sony sound system, duel temperature control, blah blah blah... so many features we don't even know them all. Even in the midst of all his excitement, Joel was so kind to say to me, "You know, if I were to come outside one morning and find the Fusion gone, I wouldn't mind driving your car to work" (since I leave before him). I thought that was really sweet of him; to share his new found love with his wife.

Joel and the Fusion in front of the house.

Joel is really excited to have an automatic; no more clutch in traffic.

Just for the record, I asked Joel to stand out front by the car. He thought I was being silly, but I know deep down he didn't mind.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mushrooms, Cubicals, and Car Sales

What a crazy day! It is only 10:00pm, but I am already so tired that I don’t know if I have the energy to brush my teeth.

I started my job this morning. I spent the day learning their database, sprinting to the bathroom on the other end of the building, running queries, and formatting reports. I am enjoying the job so far. Everyone is really nice. I got to see where they assemble some of the product and it was pretty cool. When I was waiting for an 84 page report to print, I think I watched a guy test an LCD screen. In the lunch room today, people actually talked to me. Being the new person can be stressful, but so far I have enjoyed myself. I have my own office with a window! That is more than Joel can say as he shares his office with another team member and they do not have a window. I think this job will be challenge, but a good challenge; the kind that keeps you on your toes and asking for more.

I got home from work today around 5:00pm. Just as I was putting the car in park, Joel pulled into the driveway next to me. This is not a good sign. His car stopped working on Friday night; we even had to leave it at his sister’s house. Since Joel normally doesn’t leave his office until 6:30ish, I knew it was something to do with the car. Joel told me that the timing belt had broken and as it whipped around in the engine cavity, it bent some valve shafts. The best case scenario it would cost $1,500 but if it went like the last three Jettas with this problem that the mechanic fixed, it would end up being more like $3,500. Ouch. We had four options; fix the car, fix the car and sell it, not fix the car and sell it, or not fix the car and scrap it. We did the math and some Blue Book research and decided not to fix the car and sell it. Joel put it up on Craigslist and within an hour we had offers. One guy wanted to see the car and was going to bring cash. So we met up with him, sold him the car, and took his cash. We asked $2,000 and got $1,800; not so bad for the situation we were in. So now we are researching new and used cars so Joel will have a vehicle. Right now, he is using his parent’s pick up truck which we borrowed over the weekend for our garden project.

Once we got home, I went to work putting together the dinner I had started before I went to work. I made my Spicy Chicken in our “make-shift-oven-crock-pot” (somehow my crock pot didn’t make the move from Bellingham…). I quickly chopped up from fresh Pico de Gallo, heated up some tortilla shells, opened up two beers and called it dinner. It was so delicious! This is such an easy meal to cook up and it tastes so good. With the left over chicken, tomorrow we are having Chicken Enchiladas for dinner. Yum Yum

After dinner, Joel noticed that mushrooms had started growing in our vegetable starts. There are three of them! I couldn’t believe it! Where on earth did they come from? Right in the middle of our Roma tomatoes are these mushrooms. I thought mushrooms needed the dark to grow, but they are sitting in the brightest spot in the house. This is the craziest day.

Well, Jack Rabbit is begging me for attention. I’m sitting in my office chair, and he keeps standing up on his hind legs, and pawing at my leg. I have never seen him like this before. I don’t think he enjoys me being back at work. No one is home to play with him and he is confined to a much smaller space. I tried to buy his love back with some cilantro but I don’t think he is falling for it. So I better go give him some love before I turn in for the day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Cutest Babies Ever!

Last Sunday we had the baby shower for my cousin Tiffany. She gave birth to twins, Farrah Ann and Porter James, on February 12th at 8:15pm. These babies are just the sweetest little babies ever. Farrah is a doll. She is so content to lay in your arms, stretching her arms and legs in all directions while making those cute little baby coo’s. Porter is a bit fussier, but according to Aunt Pat, so was Tiffany. The old saying “What goes around, comes around”, is ringing true for Tiffany! Porter, we discovered, loves to be naked or at least to have his pants off. A kindred spirit, as I too hate to wear pants. Maybe it runs in the family as Jackie doesn’t like to wear pants either. We much prefer trackies, sweats, or mom’s homemade pj pants. All in all, it was wonderful to spend a beautiful Sunday adoring the new additions to the James family.

Here is baby Farrah and Porter

I Got A Job!

I am very happy to share with everyone that I am now no longer a happily unemployed person. I am now a delightfully employed career woman! I accepted an offer from Maple Systems to start working as the Administrative Assistant to the Managing Director. I interviewed with her this morning, and she wanted me to start right away. Maple Systems, located in South Everett, creates touch screen automated controls for a variety of industries and purposes. For example, like the computers used in restaurants to enter orders or you can have an entire building’s heating and cooling controlled to ensure the most economical heating and cooling possible; nearly everything from refineries to the medical industry. The Managing Director needs help narrowing down, creating, and documenting the standard procedures for the company. She also needs someone to help organize and streamline operations. She could also use a hand with the day to day activities of running a successful business. I feel this will be a great fit for me. We really seemed to click right away. She was a warm and inviting person with a good sense of humor. If I can’t work for dad, I think this will be a good second place. I start tomorrow at 9:00am and I can’t wait. It has been a long time since I have packed my own lunch, so I am going to ask Joel for some help; he knows what is good in a bag lunch. My schedule will be Monday through Thursday from 8:00am to 4:30pm. I am really excited for a four day week. It will give me a day to catch up on house work, laundry, and yard work; leaving plenty of time to hang out with Joel on our days off. I couldn’t be happier right now; I just hope it works out.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Veggie Garden

Oh man what a day! Joel and I put together the boxes for our vegetable garden. We started around 10:30am this morning by heading over to Home Depot for some lumbar, screws, sawhorses, a triangle, and some weed-preventer fabric. We had to recalculate our shopping list as they didn’t have untreated cedar in a 2x12, so that took some early morning brain work, but we eventually managed. Once we got home, it was straight to work. We measured, sawed, drilled, and hammered to our hearts content. Thanks to our weeks of researching, planning, discussing, and designing, our boxes came together smoothly.

Then it was off to get some top soil. Lucky us, there is a place just down the road that had organic, top quality top soil. We had Jack and Judy’s truck and trailer, so it was easy to load up one and a half yards of top soil. Back at the house, we shoveled the dirt into a wheelbarrow, pushed the wheelbarrow up the hill, and filled up boxes. According to our calculations, we were going to need three yards of top soil. Turns out, we were wrong. We needed exactly one and a half yards! See, even when I don’t try I am still perfect! Ha ha ha…

Joel and I are so happy with how our boxes turned out. The spot where they are located is on the third tier in our backyard, which has a slight downhill slant. We even measured out the slant, in order to ensure every plant had plenty of root space, and they would look nice. We were both surprised we finished the project today. We projected to have the boxes finished and one load of dirt picked up, not unloaded. So we were very happy to see it all work out so nicely. All that is left to do is plant our little sprouts!

Whenever I would go into the house to refill a water bottle or something, Jack made it known he was not happy. He was cooped up in his cage while we were out working, as it wasn’t nice enough to let him outside with us. He would stomp as hard as he could as much as he could for as long as I was in ear shot. Ever since he has been out, it has been binky after binky (binky = a rabbits way of expressing joy by jumping up as high as they can while kicking out their legs or twisting around; really cute to watch). He keeps getting up in my lap as I type this to remind me of how he has been neglected all day and now needs some attention. So I better go apologize to him for being so cruel.

Here is Joel making sure the first box is nice and level.

Finished! Here are all three of our finished box gardens.

A lovely side view of a box.

All three of our beautiful boxes in the backyard behind the house.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Typical Day

Here is my typical day as a happily unemployed person.

9:00am - Wake up. I usually get up when Joel gets up for work. Sometimes I lay in bed for a bit; sometimes I get right up...

10:00am - Breakfast. Time to fill up the hungry tummy, get my caffeine fix, let Jack out of his cage, and watch the morning news...

11:30am - Job Hunt. Time to find a job. I try to apply to three jobs every workday. Three jobs I wouldn’t mind actually having, not just any job. Sometimes this can take a while.

1:00pm - Lunch Time. Starting to get hungry again, time to eat. Jack is usually hungry too, or at least he eats the carrots I give him.

2:00pm - Exercise. Thanks to Jackie, I have been using the PX90 videos. Holy tough. I can hardly get through one video. Only been doing it for a week, but I already feel results.

3:00pm - Chores. There is always some house work to do. Laundry, dusting, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, tidying up, mopping, windex-ing, on and on...

5:00pm - What to have for dinner. I have to start thinking about dinner, just incase I have to run to the store.

6:00pm - Making Dinner. Joel doesn't get home until about 7, so I don't start dinner until now.

7:00pm - Eating Dinner. Joel’s home, time to eat!

8:00pm - Clean up. Time to clean up after dinner, get the kitchen back into shape, finish up any projects I was working on, watch some TV, or grab my book and hit the couch.

11:00pm - Bed Time. Time to shower, brush my teeth, put on my pjs, and read in bed.

12:00pm-ish Joel Come to Bed. I can't sleep until Joel is in bed too, so I usually read until he comes to bed.

And it starts all over again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sloppy Joes

Last night Joel wanted Sloppy Joes for dinner. I was never very fond of them growing up, so I was nervous. I found this recipe online, and since we had all the ingredients I gave it shot. Joel loved it and I actually found I enjoy Sloppy Joes now. So I thought I would share it with you all. Enjoy

Sloppy Joes (from
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper (I skipped this part, I hate peppers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard (I used Grey Pupon, it was in the fridge)
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground pepper to taste

1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.
2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup and brown sugar; mix throughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

A Dinning Table

Yesterday, around 5:00pm, Joel and I picked up our dinning table; another very satisfied purchase from Underhill's Furniture in Lynnwood. We purchased our king sized head board and foot board from Underhill's and we just love it. So I went back when our tax refund arrived in the mail to look for a dinning table. Our front room has been empty ever since we finished unpacking, and it desperately needed to be filled. Also our kitchen table only seats four, limiting the number of guests we can invite. We both enjoy having friends and family over, so we were both looking forward to have a space where we can enjoy the company of our friends and family.

When we got our table and chairs home, Jack was so excited to see what was going on. As we were taking the plastic protective covering off the chair pads, Jack was running all over the place. Smelling, climbing, jumping, hopping, and skipping; Jack was everywhere. Now he thinks he has a new hiding place. I am not sure he has figured out all the chairs move and I can still get a hold of him. Poor little guy, I just hate bursting his bubble.

So, now that the table is put together, the chairs are in place, Joel and I just can't wait to get busy inviting our friends over, serving up some good food, and enjoying our new dinning room.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Trading Spouses

One of the shows I like to watch in the afternoon is Trading Spouses. Just in case you haven't seen it, the basic premise of the show is they take a mom from one family and trade places with a mom from another family. They have to live with the new family for two weeks; the first week they have to follow the rules and routine of the new family and the second week the new mom gets to make new rules for the family to follow. To create television-worthy drama, the families selected for an episode are always stereotypical opposites. For example, a very clean and organized family trades with a messy and chaotic family, a farm family trades with a city family, a stay at home dad trades with a work-a-holic dad, etc. By the end of the show each family struggles to live with a person with different values and habits, but eventually everyone learns from each other. In a successful episode (in my opinion anyway) the families embrace something from the experience which betters their lives. Sometimes the switch is a disaster and nothing is achieved.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen today and watching an episode of Trading Spouses, I got to thinking "what if my family went on this show". What if when I was a kid, my mom traded spaces with someone else? Which stereotypical definition would be assigned to our family life? As sad as it is, I would have to say we would be the family where the mom does all the hard work, the kids basically do what they want, and the dad is the main disciplinarian. Don't get me wrong, we had Chore Saturday growing up, but my mom had to do a lot of nagging to get us to actually do our chores. I remember eating breakfast on Saturdays when dad would have a project in mind for the day. When we were finishing up our meal, with thoughts of barbies in our heads, dad would say, "go get your grubbies on and meet me outside". With those simple words, the attitude would come out so fast! Jackie would refuse to leave the table until she knew what we were in for. An argument would ensue between dad and Jackie; Jackie argued she couldn't put grubbies on until she knew what kind of work it was, and dad felt that the work didn't matter the grubbies were always the same. We would moan and groan, feeling that we were doomed for an entire day of boring, tedious work. We were sure our day was ruined. However, once we got over ourselves and put our attitudes away, we had a good time. Hanging out with dad and mom doing a project and working together outside turned into a great family bonding moment. With a family of six, everyone had to pitch in to make things work.

So if my family had to go on Trading Spouses, we would probably end up with a drill sergeant mom, or maybe a mom that never forced her kids to do anything they didn't want to. We may have had some elbow room with chores, but we did have to do them eventually. Maybe we would get a mom that forced us to act like little adults; making our own food, getting ourselves ready for school, etc. We were definitely allowed to be kids; running around outside, playing make-believe, just being carefree. I remember when we were little, in the summer time we would hate taking baths because it meant we would have to come inside earlier. So mom gave up the fight and told us if we ran through the sprinkler for a while we wouldn't have to take a bath. We thought it was great, while mom was probably tired of the fight and figured “oh well, at least they get rinsed”.

In the end, I'm glad we didn't go on Trading Spouses, my childhood was great. My family did the best they could, stuck together, and in the end we made it. No one is perfect; no one has all the answers. I would not change one thing about my family.

I love you all, just the way we are!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Veggie Starts

Joel and I planted seeds in little containers the other day to get a head start on our vegetable garden. I thought it would be a group project, since Joel specifically asked for my help. So I went out the garage with him and we got all our supplies together. Then we sorted through the seed packets to see what could be planted early. Turns out it is mostly tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, onions, and cucumbers. Joel said, (and this is nearly a direct quote) "I want to plant the tomatoes, the tomatillos, the peppers, and the onions; since those are my favorites." I realized that only left me the cucumbers. Don't get wrong, I love cucumbers. However, this only leaves me with about five minutes of work. Go figure.

So I got a glass of wine, my label maker, and some toothpicks. Why, you might ask. Well, the glass of wine is for me to enjoy while I sit and watch Joel plant our garden. The label maker and toothpicks are to make little signs so we know what is planted in each planter. So in the end, Joel got to plant his favorites and I got to do two of my favorite activities; drinking wine and organizing! A good day; a very good day.

They have to go in front of the deck door, because it the only place that gets tons of sunlight where I would allow a bunch of dirt to hang out. Jack loves it, he thinks it is his personal breakfast bowl.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Naughty Rabbit

So the other day, I was wondering where Jack had gotten off to. He had been really quiet and I hadn't seen him for a while which usually means trouble. So I went looking for him and this is what I found.

What a naughty rabbit! But who can get angry at that face??!