Monday, January 30, 2012

Dear Monday v.4

 Another episode of Dear Monday

Dear Monday, I would certainly have an easier time facing you if I were sleeping better at night. Maybe I should start taking naps, but that's not really in my nature. Can't we just get along?!?

Dear Sandra, Thanks for the gorgeous flowers to start my week! I love how thoughtful you are and am thankful you are in my life. It's always fun to have your little ones under foot, but have to admit I do appreciate the quiet when they go home.

Dear Washington State, I love the fact that you have become a strong player in the wine business and have visited many of the wineries across the state. One of my favorite wine tasting areas is the Rattlesnake Hills region of the Yakima Valley. My wine racks are looking a little bare, so I'm thinking we are due for another wine excursion this spring or summer.

Dear Kitsap Regional Library, I am having so much fun browsing and borrowing ebooks for my iPad. Even though your selection is not huge, I am discovering new authors and enjoying the ebook experience. Who knew?

Dear Sears, Come on, where is our new dishwasher? We've been waiting patiently since we placed the order, but never dreamed it would take this long.Then again, we got an excellent price, so I can wait a little longer before I toss our ancient unit in the trash. I am so ready for a new dishwasher!

How is your week shaping up?


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v.2

Linking up with Sarah for another edition of Thursday Thoughts. Here's what on my mind this week.

[1] My week started with a broken coffee pot. Who knew it would be so hard to find a replacement? No, I don't want a coffee maker that makes one expensive cup at a time. No, I don't want a coffee maker that grinds the beans first. And no, I don't want want a coffee maker that hooks right up to my water line for an automatic fill (or automatic spill). Our needs are simple: 12 cup capacity with a thermal carafe in a reputable brand. We shopped everywhere, and finally found one at an electronics store, of all places! So here's our brand new Cuisinart coffee maker courtesy of Fry's Electronics. Love it!

[2] I discovered The Container Store! Holy cow, I think my husband thought I got lost in there. How did I not know this store existed? I definitely need to go back sans hubby for more serious shopping. Must remember to do a little window shopping on-line and make a shopping list before I go back. 

[3] Still counting down the days to my new and improved hip...20 days until the big day! Just heard Obama is planning a visit in Seattle two days later. Wonder how he heard about my surgery?

 [4] When the weather turns dreary, there is nothing better than cuddling up with a little furry friend. We have two cats, but I really think Trooper was a dog in a previous life. He follows me everywhere I go, loves to chase after treats, and wants to lay next to or on top of me whenever I sit down. He is definitely our Alpha cat, and has a tendencity to be mean to his sister Dash if I pay too much attention to her. Regardless, he loves to be with his Mom, and it warms my heart.

 So much for my deep thoughts...what's on your mind this week?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dear Monday v.3

Linking up with Megan for another episode of Dear Monday

Little letters to start the week

Dear Monday, I had a hard time facing you today after my coffee maker broke this weekend. Hopefully we will find a new coffee maker tomorrow in Seattle.

Dear Sweet Aunt Heide, I was pleasantly surprised to get a letter from you, and even more surprised at the items you sent. One was a postcard I mailed from Hawaii on the day Wally and I were married. The other item I hadn't seen was a Western Union Storkgram that my Dad had sent on the day I was born!  You made my day...thanks!

Dear Wally, Thank you for making an early latte run this morning. You know my day needs caffeine to get off to a good start, and you are always willing to enable my "fix"! Love your thoughtfulness.

Dear Sister-In-Law Barb, We loved your visit today! We are so glad you often come to our town to visit your son, because then we get to see you, too. Always great to catch up with you.

Dear Group Health, Thanks for the speedy service today when I came in for lab tests. I don't think I've ever made it in and out quite so quickly. 

Dear Toyota Camry, We thought a major repair was imminent when you started making a horrendous noise. Fortunately, the noise was due to a loose engine splash shield. We bought two new fasteners, the fix was easy and you are now back to your quiet self.

Hope your Monday was full of fun and love! 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wedding Whoops Link Up Party

 Joining a Wedding Whoops link up party with Jena @ Recently Roached!

Just this morning I made myself a promise that I would quit tweeting, blogging & FB'ing about our recent anniversary, but I couldn't resist sharing our Wedding Whoops from a l-o-n-g time ago.

Wally and I married in Hawaii during the first part of January. Just the two of us on a ten-day vacation to paradise in the middle of winter. What could go wrong? As it turns out, plenty!

Our flight home landed in Seattle in the dark, just after a small snowstorm. That alone was relatively exciting. Then, our car had a flat tire, and Wally had to change the the the slushy long-term parking lot. The fun begins and we hadn't even gotten home yet! After the tire was changed, we still had a 90 min. drive home. Our honeymoon was officially over and we were both scheduled to return to work the following morning.

The minute we entered our home, at the end of that extremely long day, we knew we had been had. You might call it vandalized, or a practical joke, or merely being mischievous. Some person or persons unknown had taken advantage of our absence and performed a wide variety of nefarious acts on our belongings.  To wit, the criminals:

  • Moved Wally's motorcycle from the basement garage into our kitchen.
  • Short-sheeted our bed, then moved it into the living room.
  • Rearranged record albums so the album covers did not match the records inside.
  • Rearranged furniture from three rooms to three different rooms.
  • Placed a gazillion little static beads in our bathtub.
  • Removed every label from every piece of canned goods in the house.
  • Strung Cling-Wrap across the toilet bowl.
  • Filled (I mean filled) the bathroom with crumpled newspapers
  • Left stinky tuna fish in the garbage disposal. 
  • Hid confetti everywhere..I mean everywhere: every drawer, every shoe, in the pockets of old coats, between the pages of books. Everywhere.

The worst part was that Wally could not stop laughing hysterically as we discovered each new atrocity. My anger increased at an exponential rate, while he simply thought this situation was the funniest thing he had ever seen. Suffice it to say our first married night in our own home did not go well.

The next day we found we had been the victims of three of Wally's friends. When they couldn't figure out how to break into our house, the next-door neighbor brought over beer and offered to show them the way in. Apparently they had a very good time, and the rest is history. Needless to say, we did not go to work the following day. In fact, we spent many, many days trying to get our house back to normal. I continued to find telltale pieces of confetti in unexpected places right up until we moved from that house 16 years later.

This sad tale of woe is not really a Wedding Whoops, but pretty darn close. I wouldn't recommend starting a marriage the way we did, but it obviously worked for us as we just celebrated our 30th anniversary. 

Looking forward to reading more stories!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thursday Thoughts v1

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Sarah for Thursday Thoughts. Here's what on my mind this week.

[1] I am just a little tired of being house-bound. Today is Day 2 of what people are calling Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon. All the schools are closed for the second day in a row. We only received 2"-3" of snow at our house, but some areas of Western Washington have see a foot or more of snow. That's a lot of snow for an area that usually only gets a few inches in a bad year. Freezing temperatures after the snowfall have just made everything an icy mess. Weather report for tomorrow is warmer weather...hurrah!

[2] Countdown to my new hip is finally in days (27!) rather than in months. Can't wait! This cold weather has me wondering if my new implant will be affected by the cold? Maybe I'll be one of those old people who can predict the weather via my aching joints!

[3] Our lights just blinked (twice). Heard this morning that 70,000 people in the area are without power, mostly in places with much more snow we have. Historically, we've been most affected when the melting snow and ice causes trees to fall across power lines. So the only thing worse than being house-bound...being house-bound with no power. Fingers are crossed!

[4] I've read quite a few eBooks on my iPad, and actually enjoyed it despite my initial misgivings. Not quite ready to give up pleasure of the tactile sensation of actually reading a book, but it's not a bad alternative. Now if I can just remember to charge up my iPad every night.

[5] I've noticed that some of my Facebook friends are starting to either limit their FB usage or drop off entirely. On the contrary, I'm considering making a new FB group for my siblings and their families so we can better keep in touch. Not a fan of the FB games or quizzes, but enjoy being able to reach out, and be reached, by familiar faces both new and old. FB is just a tool, nothing more.

So those are my deep thoughts for Thursday. Not much, huh?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Songs In My Heart

I've always enjoyed listening to music, whether it's rock 'n' roll, country or what is now called classic rock. So I thought it would be fun to note some of the songs that hold a particular place in my heart, and why they are memorable to me. To prevent the list from getting too long, I limited it to songs from my youth, i.e. before I married Wally in 1982.  Here they are:

"El Paso" sung by Marty Robbins - Heard circa 1960 on the AM radio in our family car. Memorable because it was one of my Dad's favorite songs.

"Please, Please Me" sung by The Beatles - Heard circa 1964 on the second-hand juke box in the basement of my childhood home. Memorable because my best friend and I replayed it endlessly just to listen to (and swoon over) Paul's background vocals

"Tell Her No" sung by The Zombies - Heard circa 1965 on a record player with drop-down turntable and detachable speakers, in the bedroom I shared with my two sisters. Memorable because it was the first 45 RPM record I ever bought.

"Build Me Up Buttercup" sung by The Foundations - Heard circa 1968 on the hand-held transistor radio, with "real" leather case, I had received as a present. Memorable because I spent many hours during the summer sitting under a fruit tree in our back yard listening to that radio.

"Wedding Bell Blues" sung by The Fifth Dimension - Heard circa 1970 during high school girls' tennis practice. Memorable because the coach let us listen to the radio during practice!

"I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)" sung by Grand Funk Railroad - Heard circa 1972 on a state-of-the-art 8-track player in a friend's car. Memorable for the big clunk about 3/4 of the way through the song as the track changed.

"Stairway To Heaven" sung by Led Zeppelin - First heard circa 1973 on any radio or stereo as long as it could be played extremely loud. Memorable because it's one of the greatest rock songs of all time. Still love the song and have been known to crank it up.

"Runaway" sung by Bonnie Raitt - Heard in 1978 on an LP record. Memorable because it was played on the first component stereo I owned. Stereo consisted of a Pioneer tuner, Kenwood turntable and Infinity Qa speakers.  I still have all the components, but only the tuner is still used (in the garage).

"Sweet Emotion" sung by Aerosmith - Heard in 1981 on the radio of Wally's green Ford Granada that had a white landau roof. Memorable because my future husband had just picked me up on our first date.

"Video Killed the Radio Star" sung by The Buggles. Seen and heard circa 1981 on my huge Sears console TV. Memorable because of all the hype leading up to the debut of a brand new music channel on TV. This was the first video played on MTV.

Do you have any songs that hold a particular place in your heart? What songs and why?






Monday, January 16, 2012

Dear Monday v2

Linking up with Megan for another


Dear Monday, Thanks for the cool, crisp and icy morning. And since it's a holiday there are fewer people, and problems, on the roads. Bring on the snow!

Dear Golden Globes, Thanks for the opportunity to see all the glamorous stars in their beautiful gowns. The only star I really wanted to see...George Clooney. Delicious! He just looks better each year.

Dear Kitties, Thanks Trooper and Dash for not holding a grudge after bath day yesterday. Then, to add insult to injury, you both had to suffer the indignity of monthly topical flea control. Glad your brains are pea-sized so you can't stay mad for long!

Dear Zagg Keyboard, I love to use you with my iPad, but why in the heck does your "V" key keep coming loose? Good thing I use that letter infrequently, but it certainly is annoying. Now if I can just find the purchase invoice so I can send for a replacement.

Dear Boxes of "Junk", When I started this clean/sort/organize effort, I didn't realize how much stuff we had accumulated. Where did all these "treasures" come from? And do I donate the pile I've gathered so far, or find someplace to save it all and have a garage sale this spring? Decisions, decisions!

Dear Football, I have always enjoy watching my beloved Seahawks, as well as a couple of my favorite college teams (go Huskies!; sic 'em Bears!). The NFL playoffs are sometimes interesting and, let's face it, the Super Bowl commercials can be better than the game. But seriously, enough already! I'm ready for football to be over and done.

Dear Wally, Thanks for helping me rearrange furniture as part of my clean-up effort. I know you think I'm crazy, but thanks for not giving me too much grief about it. I promise not to move that heavy, awkward couch up or down any stairs ever again!

So, how it your Monday going? Any exciting adventures on tap for this week?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Big 3-0

Wally and I recently celebrated our 30th anniversary. Now, we consider that a pretty big deal, so we decided to take our kids and their significant others to a celebratory dinner in Seattle, where we had an absolutely wonderful meal at the Metropolitan Grill. As far as Wally knew, that was the extent of our celebration. Unbeknownst to him, the kids and I had been plotting a surprise!
Sarah and Nick were scheduled to fly back to Texas on our actual anniversary date. Wally and I planned to take them to the airport, and Scott came along under the pretense that he wanted us to help him shop for a new TV on the way home. Sarah helped me get our luggage hidden in the trunk, and we were off. At the airport, we all hopped out of the car to give the kids goodbye hugs. Wally says he wondered why the kids had so many suitcases, but he didn't really understand what was up until Scott gave hugs to Wally and me, told us goodbye, then got in the car and drove away. We were headed for Las Vegas!
We checked in for our flight and had time to have breakfast with Nick and Sarah before they took off. On Scott's recommendation, I had made reservations at Bellagio. We were not disappointed! Here is the view from our room.

Shortly after we arrived at the hotel, there was a knock at the door. Another surprise! Our best friends Larry and Cheryl sent a gift of champagne, balloons and chocolate-covered strawberries. Delicious, and a great start to a fun weekend. 

We (make that I) really wanted to try out FIX restaurant in Bellagio, so we headed there the first night. Scott highly recommended the fried macaroni & cheese. I'm thinking the only way to make mac & cheese more decadent is to fry or deep-fry it, but I was wrong. Try frying it AND adding an extra cheese sauce for dipping...heaven! The menu calls it "Very Adult Mac & Cheese, with Truffle Oil, Prosciutto and 4 cheeses".  You must try it if you go!

Scott and Sandra gave us a wonderful gift to enjoy in Vegas. With their help, we saw Cirque du Soleil The Beatles "LOVE" at the Mirage. We had fantastic seats in the seventh row, and enjoyed every minute of the show. My favorite was the "Octopus' Garden" segment. What talented, imaginative performers! Really the highlight of our trip.
The last day in Vegas we headed to the Fremont Street area downtown. We spent most of the day making our way from casino to casino and bar to bar. There are some great places to watch football and have some cheap drinks. We happend to come upon the Miss America contestants taping introductions for the upcoming pageant, which will also be aired on TV. The stage hands mentioned that anyone who wanted to be on TV should go back behind the contestants. They didn't have to say that twice. I got a couple of great pics of Wally checking out the scenery. The pageant will be aired on Saturday, January 14th on ABC. See if you can find Waldo in the background proudly wearing his green Baylor jacket!
 We had a wonderful long weekend in Las Vegas. But it's always good to come back home to the real world. I think we're done traveling for awhile!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Countdown to the New Year

2011 was a great year in more ways than one. Here's a little of what went on in my world.

10 - Airplane flights I took in 2011. (1) Seattle to Austin; (2) Austin to Seattle; (3) Seattle to Frankfurt; (4) Frankfurt to Budapest; (5) Nuremberg to Frankfurt; (6) Frankfurt to D.C.; (7) D.C. to Seattle; (8) Seattle to Orange County; (9) Seattle to Kauai; (10) Kauai to Seattle. Whew! That's a lot of air miles. Best carrier? Lufthansa - hands down. Best airport? Dallas DFW - best layout, short lines and great food options.

9 - Different paint colors I tried out for the new dining room/kitchen remodel. Spouse might insist the number was twice that, but only nine colors were seriously considered. In the end, I used none of them and chose instead to use the existing kitchen paint which I love (Valspar Eddie Bauer Moss) in the dining room above the chair rail to make the rooms flow. Gorgeous if I do say so myself!

8 - Days on the Danube this summer. Enjoyed a week-long vacation with sister Heide and cousin Anna aboard the Viking Legend cruising from Budapest to Nuremberg. Fantastic food, unlimited wine with dinner, and free lattes and mochas all day, not to mention the gorgeous sights and great traveling companions. Heaven!

7 - Days a week I don't need to use an alarm and can sleep in. OK, so I just needed to rub in my retirement just a little. Sorry (not really).

6 - Movies we saw on our motorhome road trip last summer. Can't remember what they were, but enjoyed most of them. We used the Redbox app on my iPhone to find Redbox locations along the road and would pick up a movie somewhere during the day. After we watched the movie in the evening, we'd return it to another Redbox many miles down the road, often in another state. And so on, and so on. Can't beat the convenience or the price.

5 - Blog posts in 2011. Pathetic, huh? But I do have a couple of good excuses. I had been sharing a netbook with my husband, and the keyboard and mouse are absolutely worthless. And I really didn't have much free time...well, that's a lie since I'm newly retired. Regardless, I hope to post more regularly this year, even if I'm the only one who reads it. Now if I can just figure how to post pics from my iPad.

4 - Important women in my life. (1) BFF Cheryl is someone I can always count on. She is there for the good times and the bad times, too. She even surprised us with a beautiful gift of balloons, champagne and chocolate strawberries in our hotel room in Las Vegas on our anniversary. (2) Sister Heide is becoming a better friend with each passing year. As a memento of our trip to Europe, she made a wonderful bound picture book that I'll treasure forever. (3) Daughter-in-love Sandra has a very special place in my life. She always makes me feel welcome in her life and her home, and I truly enjoy the time we spend together. (4) Daughter Sarah overwhelms me with her love, compassion, intelligence, and absolute joy for life. She somehow makes me a better person, too, and I don't know what I'd do without her in my life.

3 - Family reunions last year. (1) The Laurie family reunion (my Dad's family) was in August here in Bremerton. We call it a cousin's party since it's mostly attended by my first cousins and their families, but there are two remaining siblings (of seven) from my Dad's family. We treasure every moment with these two Aunts. (2) Wally's family had a sibling party this summer. It had been a few years since the seven siblings had gotten together, but they have resolved to meet on a more regular basis. They are a fun bunch! (3) The Sachse relatives (my Mom's family) rented a house on the Oregon coast for a week this fall. This is the first time my siblings and our California cousins along with their mother have all been in the same place at the same time. We had a long, wonderful visit filled with memories and much laughter.

2 - Cats that call me Meowm. (1) Dash is a quiet thinker who is afraid of just about everything. She hides under the couch to avoid guests, and has a knack for finding the warmest spot in the house. She is older than her brother, but lets him rule the roost. She is a lover, not a fighter. (2) Trooper is a feisty fellow who lives to kill anything that moves. He continually brings home "presents" and doesn't understand why we won't let them inside. He picks on his big sister when he's bored, but loves to cuddle when he sleepy.

1 - Time I thought about my old job. Before I retired, I thought I would miss my work, my work life and my work friends. I was only partially right; I miss some of my work friends. But the good part is that I now have the freedom to make the time to see the friends I really miss. My transition to retirement, and retirement income, has been smooth and painless. Hoo Rah!

Here's to 2012 - Hope the New Year finds you happy, prosperous and healthy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Only Fifty Weeks 'Til Christmas

I am so grateful my lovely daughter, Sarah, and her wonderful boyfriend, Nick, were able to stay so long at our home over the holidays. Now that I've had a chance to reflect on their visit, there were a few highlights to remember.

House guests offer a great excuse to stock up on items I might not normally buy...Lucky Charms, Oregon Chai, ingredients for Chocolate Martinis, etc.

It's fun to watch Sarah and her brother, Scott, regress to the kids I remember so well. Stupid dance moves, funny lines from movies and inside jokes that I don't understand contribute to the fun. Love them each so much, but love them together more than anything. And I have fun listening to the interaction between them. Where it was once childish and sometimes mean-spirited, it's now sophisticated, full of inference and innuendo, and often hilarious. Can't help but appreciate the adults they have become (despite their parental units).

Love the fact that I got to enjoy Sarah hugs every day. What a wonderful chance to reconnect with the most important woman in my life.

It was great to spend quantity time with Nicky Tony. Yes, we did have quality time, too, but I appreciated getting to know him a little better over the course of their twelve day visit. Just hope we didn't overwhelm him.

Absolutely loved hearing the sound of children (albeit big kids) laughing. Miss this more than I realized.

I never have to drive! Sarah enjoys driving the streets of her hometown, and it's a great chance for me to sit back and relax.

Particularly enjoy those early mornings when the guys slept in and the girls got cuddle time. Priceless.

Fun having a dance party with the whole family; Scott, Sandra, KK and Ava along with Sarah and Nick and Wally and I. The guys can bust a move, but the girls definitely held their own. Best dance move was a tie between Kayden's shoulder dance and Ava's bunny hop. Too fun!

When they go back home, I get to keep anything that is too heavy or too awkward for the suitcase, as well as anything they forget to pack. Score one for mom! I also get to eat whatever is left over from the visit...Lucky Charms, Oregon Chai, Chocolate Martinis. Score two for mom!

Absolutely can't wait for their next visit, which is too far away no matter how soon it is.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dear Monday

Would love to link this up, but my tutor (ahem) never showed me how! So I'll just start....

Dear Monday, Thanks for one last morning of sunshine in Las Vegas before we head home to the beautiful Pacific NW. You are much easier to live with since my retirement, but I do appreciate the wonderful start to the week.

Dear Wally, Thanks for being such a wonderful partner, both this weekend and in life! It is fun to surprise you, and you take it so well. I always have fun with you, even when you steal my iPad away from me!

Dear Scott & Sarah & Sandra & Nick, Thanks so much for helping me pull off the coup of the year by surprising Wally with the trip to Vegas for our anniversary. He had no clue! I think our wonderful children have played very large part in the ultimate success of our marriage, and can't thank you enough. Here's to 30 more years!

Dear Vegas, You are beautiful and showy, particularly at night, but just a little too artificial and shallow for me. I can take you only for a few days before I need to get back to the real world. I'll take blue jeans and honesty over glitz and stilettos any day.

Dear Left Hip, Thanks for hanging in there this past weekend. You let me know when I walked too much, but let me do plenty of walking, which I do appreciate. Regardless, it's time for you to go! Hope you don't mind that your replacement will be installed next month (one month, five days, and 17 hours...not that I'm counting).

Dear People Who Bring Small Children to Sin City, What in the heck are you thinking? 'Nuff said.

One of my goals this week is to relearn how to post a blog! What's on your plate this week?