Friday, January 30, 2009


This morning there was apparently an earthquake in Seattle. See!

I am pretty bummed because I just slept through it, didn't even wake me up. Tim was working though so if I had woken up to an earthquake, I probably would have been slightly freaked out. Mainly because I have never been in an earthquake before. I would have no idea what to do.

I grew up in the midwest, where we had tornadoes. And when they come around you hide under stuff (unless you are my mom and you feel compelled to open the garage door and stand outside so you can see it-this, by the way, is not recommended). Hiding under stuff is probably not the best tactic for earthquakes. In Phoenix, the only real natural disasters were monsoons and dust storms. And these, I just kinda sat and watched from a distance.

But earthquakes? No experience.

On my first day of my job here in Seattle, I got handed an "earthquake survival kit" to put under my desk as well as a lecture about how I should keep walking shoes in my office so that if an earthquake happens while at work, I can walk home. Uh.... I was a little freaked to say the least.

Since then I have been anticipating my first earthquake. For two years I have waited. And I slept through it. Bummer.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ladies night!

I've delayed posting this for about a week... all for a picture of a cheese board. Sounds ridiculous, right?

Everyone knows how I am with pictures... last Thursday proved to be no exception. I had about 6 lovely ladies over to my house for a night of cheese/wine/bread/chocolate (basically all things good). Tim was working so it was the perfect time to do it.

I love entertaining and even though I had the perfect, brand new house to entertain at in Phoenix, I never really entertained there because as my friends liked to tell me, I lived in Eastern LA so it wasn't exactly convenient for people to get to my house... and then drive home after drinking wine.

In Seattle, I live in the perfect location. 10 minutes to get anywhere... makes for a great commute, a great place to go out, and a great place to have people over. So last Thursday I left work a few minutes early to come home and get things ready. Wine opened, cheese board made, bread cut, crackers/dips out, music on, etc. I was pretty proud of my cheese board (I don't know, it looked cool) so I took a picture of it figuring that would get me into the picture mood and I would take pictures.

Well, the only picture I have of that night is of my cheese board. Once everyone was over and we were talking/snacking/drinking, I neglected photography. And now it's a week later and I still haven't uploaded that one picture so I figured I would just make the post without it. It IS just a cheese board, anyway. The point is that it was a great time to have everyone over... to relax, to forget about work, to not have to get all fancy to go out, and to just have a little bit of girl time. I think everyone had fun and enjoyed it. It's just too bad we had to go to work the next day... I think next time we will do ladies night on a Friday or Saturday night.

Currently contemplating moving back to Arizona...

Ok, not really.

But it is January, almost February, in Seattle and I am tired of being cold and wet, wet and cold. And on Monday it snowed AGAIN. It is FREEZING. Not to mention dark, although on the plus side, it is now staying light out until about 5:30pm versus 4:30pm.

I'm off to Alaska in a few weeks... I'm sure that will at least make me appreciate the weather here more. But I sure am missing those 75 degree sunny January days in Arizona.

I do love Seattle... everyone knows that. I am just ready for summer.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poisoning the boys mind.

My poor husband.

I am poisoning him with pop culture.

Since we are now just a married couple, we have gotten into the "popular" shows on during prime time. I used to watch all of these shows, but I admit that I haven't really been real tuned in for a couple of years. Even though I haven't been very into prime time TV for the past year, I still always manage to pick up a people magazine every now and then to get the latest and greatest gossip in pop culture. Or, I would look online... or watch E or Extra. I don't know why, it's stupid, but I kept up with it.

But this year? I have introduced Tim to the Bachelor. Granted, I haven't watched the bachelor since Trista and Ryan's bachelorette wedding in college days. BUT this bachelor is from our hometown up here in Seattle. And pretty much all eyes in Seattle are on this guy. Us too.

I also introduced Tim to American Idol. He has never seen it before (seriously). I mean, I can't really blame him... he used to be solely involved in training on his bike 24-7 and then he was in school 24-7. This is the first year in a long time that he has actually had any time, even though his schedule is still quirky (comes with the healthcare territory, something most business and accounting people will never relate to).

Anyway, so a couple of nights ago we had a nice dinner together and were just hanging out for the night. We flipped on American Idol. At first Tim groaned about watching it until he started seeing the progression of the show (laughing at the horrible people, being amazed by good singers). There was a point in the show where a contestant was ooing and ahing over Paula Abdul (and how he used to be such a huge fan, his first concert was one of hers, blah, blah, blah). And Tim, goes, "oh, yeah, I remember her. Wasn't she the one that had the superbowl revealing?"

As someone who is slightly more in tune, my mouth hit the floor and the first thing that I said was, "seriously?" And laughed, thinking he was joking. It reminded me of a prior contestant on American Idol... the judges just thought she was singing bad on purpose, as a joke. Um, nope. Wasn't a joke.

I quickly realized that and said, "No, no, that was Janet Jackson, honey."

To which he responds, "Ooh... wait, now, she isn't related to Michael is she?"

And then I fall on the floor and clutch my stomach in laughter... I mean, first of all, the first songs I sang were probably Paula, Janet, and Mariah. From the time I was 4, I knew these gals and would never get them confused. And then I did the moon dance with Michael once I got older and knew everyone of his brothers and sisters' names. It was funny to me that someone grew up without this same experience. But who can blame him? He's a guy that was more into sports and bikes than music and pop culture. Probably pretty typical.

But I did do the only logical thing I knew how to do at the moment. I stopped laughing, gave him a hug, told him that it is probably better that he does not know so much about pop culture (I mean, really, who really needs to know that much?) and then I told him that I now had a blog post that I would be posting in the next couple of days.

It has been fun to have a bit of time at night... to do whatever we want. Eat a nice dinner, work out, spend time together whether it's watching TV or just hanging out... we both know that these days are getting more and more numbered as his schedule IS so sporadic and mine is just becoming consistent: work and work and work. Not my favorite time of year.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Currently torturing myself

By looking at puppies online.

There is an 8 week old black lab that needs to be adopted. I wish I could have him.

BUT, I am about to enter busy season and couldn't give him the attention that he would need. But I really want him. Sigh!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Back to four eyes!

Remember this post? About giant papillary conjunctivitis because of the asshole doctor that prescribed me contacts that I was allergic to?

Well apparently because of this said doctor, my eyes are now becoming intolerant to ALL contacts. After I began treatment for the condition last year (which, by the way, took two months of drops, no contacts and solely glasses), I switched back to the contacts that had always worked for me (which the stupid doctor told me were crap... even though they had always worked. Ugh, whatever). Lately, I have noticed that I cannot wear the contacts more than an hour at a time, my eyes get blurry/red/watery/itchy, there is some gross discharge, etc. All things lovely, yes.

So I go to the eye doctor yesterday to find out that because of that other doctor, my eyes are now more sensitive and intolerant. It's not as bad this time (and it took a few months to get to this point) but the end result is that my eyes are being increasingly sensitive and intolerant to contacts as a result of the contacts that they were incredibly intolerant to. This stupid doctor is at fault in several ways: a) he prescribed contacts that now put me in this predicament b) he would not listen to me when I told him I just wanted my normal contacts (I know, I should have fought harder but when a doctor tells you something is crap, what basis do I have at the time to argue back? I kinda took his word) and c) when I went back in with the later problem (giant papillary conjunctivitis) he completely discounted me and told me that I just had seasonal allergies, I shouldn't have wasted his time and then left me sitting in the patient room without telling me we were done with the appointment (with no resolution by the way...) So, stupid doctor, as my friend Steve likes to say:


Can that be my argument in a lawsuit? That the guy is a dick of a doctor who just made an absolute dick move to take away my eyes?

No, no, there is not going to be a lawsuit. Slashing tires, however... hmm... no, probably not that either. I just want my eyes back!

Apparently, I have to go through the whole treatment process AGAIN, try new contacts with different material AGAIN, and my new awesome doctor said that basically in a couple years this will all most likely end in lasik surgery because my eyes will become intolerant to all contact materials.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009: A historic day in our country (and also it's apparently no bush left behind day)

In honor of Barack Obama as our new President and to say farewell to George W. Bush's 8 years in office, some bloggers have declared this day, January 20, 2009, as national "shave the date" day. The purpose of this shave the date is to get rid of the bush... both literally and figuratively.

Check out this link if you want more information, if not, it's probably best left unvisited.... Did you get rid of your bush today?

In all seriousness, what a historic day. I cannot imagine how incredible it would be to be in the throngs of people in Washington, D.C. today. Instead, I watched the inaugural address with about 40 of my co-workers in our conference room. It is a historic day, no matter how it was witnessed, to everyone in this country. I am most certainly proud to be an American.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunny in Seattle!

This weekend it was sunny both. days. And completely, not a cloud in the sky sunny.

Tim had to work until Sunday and after he made up a few hours of sleep that he get at all the night before, we went out to the mountains to play in the sun. It was almost even 60 degrees. It made me feel like summer was right around the corner until I remembered that, oh yeah... it's January 18. And even though I have been on an audit since January 5th (SERIOUSLY, and yep, it was a disaster... I have never met any client that can close their books in 5 days and this experience pretty much verified that it isn't possible), busy season is really not fully underway yet. The sun and warm weather made me feel like busy season is almost over. Lame.

But I won't bore everyone with how daunting my schedule appears to be for the next few months... I will just say that this weekend here was glorious. It was absolutely beautiful.

Of course, this morning... new week, new client... up at 5am, cat pukes 3 times, don't have gas in my car, get stuck dealing with issues at the office before I go to the client, an interesting email in my inbox that left me feeling quite perplexed... Oh well, once this week is rolling, it will be great. Especially if the sunny trend continues!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Per request, here is what I have to say about my lifestyle.

So, I admit, I am totally a geek about certain things. Living healthy is right at the top of the list. I have a fascination with nutrition that you wouldn't believe, well, unless you really know me and then you can just attest to it. I haven't always been this way, it has just slowly developed over time and now living in Seattle, it is pretty much more extreme than it's ever been.

I have been asked lately how I stay so thin and how it's possible for me to be as healthy as I am. My pasttime is reading nutrition magazines, books, websites, watching nutrition/wellness shows, anything that I can get my hands on. In all honesty, I have even gone so far as to look at getting my master's in health/wellness and nutrition. But then I decided that it is a better hobby than a job so I just do it for fun.

But, for all those who have asked lately (whether it's new years resolutions or just plain curiosity), here are some thoughts that I have on the issue and some things that I do or have done in this respect:

1) I completely ban all trans fats. What does that mean? Look at the labels bitches! If it says partially hydrogenated oils (or anything hydrogenated)then throw it out.

2) I shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Mostly everything I buy is organic. I don't really buy anything that has no nutritional value. And I buy whole foods. Things that are not altered, do not have preservatives added, do not have added sugar or claim to have "reduced" fat.

3) I eat when I am hungry. Sometimes this is many times a day, sometimes it is just a few times a day. And I stop when I am full. Seems pretty basic, right?

4) I don't eat anything refined (aka enriched, processed, anything made solely from white flour, anything with added sugar). This is basically any of the commercial things out there. Processed foods are horrible for you. Stay away from them.

5) I don't drink any caffeine aside from 1-2 cups of tea a day (but even then, I try to make it green tea or a green tea blend). I don't drink any coffee (it is addictive, almost like a drug and doesn't have much of a positive impact on your body, if any, no matter what way you want to look at it or justify it). I also do not drink soda. I drank soda pretty regularly in college even though I was still pretty into nutrition at the time. I drank coffee when I entered the working world right out of college. Evenutally I realized how bad soda and coffee are so I dropped the soda habit at the end of college and dropped coffee quickly after I started. Diet soda is equally as bad, if not more so.

6) The majority of my diet is fruits/veggies.

7) I am a semi-vegetarian. I hate saying that because people have so many different ideas about what this really means and I don't really like to label. No, I am not hard core. No, it is not something I blatantly think about. No, it has nothing to do with some rigid belief in not eating animals. No, I don't care if people eat meat. Yes, I do have meat occasionally. Just not often. Mostly I eat fish if I do eat meat. Occasionally, I eat lean poultry (chicken/turkey). I do not remember the last time I ate red meat (beef, etc). It has been years. You do not have to eat protein in the form of animal meat at every meal to have sufficient protein in your diet. It is a proven fact. One word about chicken: be careful with it! Chickens nowadays are not raised very well and contain many hormones and often bacteria. If possible, buy organic/free range. We do not budge on this.

8) I eat breakfast. Every day. Religiously. Mostly it is whole grain cereal (lately I have loved mixing Kashi U and Kashi Heart to Heart with skim milk (organic) and 1/2 of a banana (also organic)). Sometimes on weekends we will make eggs (with only one whole egg, the rest whites) with a piece of toast and some sort of fruit. All the eggs we buy are organic/free range.

9) Aside from tea, I only drink water. And filtered water at that [a new habit I have picked up since my time in Seattle]. I don't buy bottled water. Some have been found to have chemicals and it's bad for the environment.

10) I rarely drink alcohol. [This was a huge one that has only really materialized in the past year.] Now, I still enjoy the occasional glass of wine. I just decided that I don't like what alcohol does to my body (both how I feel and what I know it does to me internally in my mind and body from what I have read about it). People who say that alcohol is good for your health are probably trying to justify it somehow. I do not believe that it is bad to drink, by any means, I just choose not to do so excessively. That is not to say that I don't still have fun with friends or that I don't go wine tasting. I do.

11) READ LABELS!! My general rule is that if there is something that you can't pronounce, it's probably not good for you. The best foods for you are the foods with the most simple ingredients. Anything with 50 ingredients is probably highly processed and any nutritional value is probably out the window at that point. Also, NO ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. I cannot emphasize this enough. I have researched and read about this thoroughly (and have even written on the topic) and all I can say without going into to much detail is just to stay away from them. I used to use splenda to sweeten tea but after all of the research I have done, my best advice is just not to use them. If you HAVE to use something as sweetener, use real sugar. Again, using the whole, natural foods concept. Anything is better than artificial, no justifying it! And, new studies have shown that artificial sweeteners actually have the reverse affect in some people, not to mention all of the other adverse health affects they have been proven to have.

13) Aim for low amounts of saturated fat. Fat in the diet is good... saturated fat is bad. I eat cheese rarely and if I do, it's light cheese. Dairy products I buy (like milk) are skim. I get my fat from natural fats (nuts- lots of walnuts, peanut butter-sometimes, and extra virgin olive oil- when I'm cooking).

14) Whole grains. The way to go. If I make pasta, it's 100% whole wheat (not just enriched whole wheat), no exceptions. Same goes for bread. I also like to experiment with whole grains that are fairly non-traditional (like quinoa).

15) Any extreme is not good... you should eat a variety. Eat many colors and many different cultural foods. And use spices! Lately we have LOVED spicy food. We have been using a lot of chili peppers to season things. Also, do NOT starve yourself or gorge yourself. Both extremes are not healthy. As someone who struggled with and overcame anorexia many years ago, I can attest to that. Any fad diets are not healthy (IE: the all protein diets, only cabbage diets, etc). But, don't forget to indulge yourself! I make sure that I have some chocolate on hand, or wine, or whatever makes you happy. Just don't over indulge. One of our favorite things is to eat brownies and ice cream occasionally. But we will put them in a mug and share just a little bit. Also, the brownies and ice cream we buy are from Whole Foods and have nothing bad in them. If we don't eat brownies and ice cream, we will have some whole fruit sorbet as a tasty treat. I have a sweet tooth so indulging myself in this is something that I do because I can and it's ok. I cannot emphasize enough that it is ok to indulge yourself... otherwise you will drive yourself nuts not letting yourself have something that you want.

16) Eating out. I avoid fast food. I do not actually have any recollection of the last time I was in a fast food restaurant for any reason, especially to eat. Again, it's been years. Fast food is just not healthy. Aside from that, restaurants up here are plentiful. We are just careful what we order... no one says that you can't eat out.

17) I always have snacks with me... I usually carry around Z Bars (which are cliff bars for kids). Funny, no? But, they are a perfect quick snack with lots of good nutrients if I need a boost during the middle of the day. Sometimes I will also carry around fruit leathers, whole grain crackers (I like Kashi's TLC originals or Whole Foods version of Triscuits), nuts (pistachios, walnuts, or almonds), yogurt (avoid added sugar), or real fruit.

18) DO NOT FORGET TO EXERCISE REGULARLY. This should also be fun... I hike, I run, I play tennis, I do yoga and pilates, and sometimes I just dance around my house (probably a hysterical sight). Anything to get moving is better than nothing and it should not feel like a chore. Cardio is extremely important and I won't go into it here but it is essential for overall body health and heart health. Yoga, I cannot emphasize enough, is extraordinary for mind/body health (and to just let your body learn to breathe).

19) I don't take any medicines. I believe more in natural treatments and the power of the body. I think that western medicine (and the processed food industry) can be blamed for many ailments in this country. I think that if people didn't eat certain foods and then mask the symptoms of the problems that these foods cause with a drug, we would have many less health issues. Drugs do not allow the body to heal itself, which is what the body was made to do. Of course, there are things that certainly require the hands of western medicine. I am not referring to those things. I am referring to high blood pressure, colds, obesity related issues, etc. All of these things can be helped with a) change in diet/lifestyle and b) natural supplements. There are natural remedies for everything (colds, flu, heart health, cancer prevention, etc). Literally. If you are more interested in this, I can tell you what natural supplements have been shown to work as antioxidants to protect the heart/lower cancer risk, what supplements help with cold/flu symptoms (that I hve tried), etc. As it is cold season right now the one thing I can mention is that if you are getting a cold or have a cold, eat 2-3 cloves of garlic twice a day. I know it sounds ridiculous (and is sometimes tough to taste that garlic-y) but trust me, it works! I didn't believe it either until I tried it. I have heard you can eat parsley after garlic to taste less like garlic but I haven't tried that. You can also take astralgus and echineachea along with 1000mg of vitamin C twice a day. If you do that combined with garlic, I kid you not, you won't get a cold. Well, I don't anyway.

20) I have never smoked.

21) I make sure to get a lot of sleep (7 hours is my sweet spot). If I'm working late or have a late night out, I'll go to bed early the next day.

22) I am green. I recycle, I don't use any commercial cleaners (only all natural stuff), I buy organic and all natural soaps/shampoos/toothpaste/makeup/everything, I sleep on organic sheets. [ok, this has developed during my time in Seattle and I know it is on the extreme end of things but I love it and how it makes me feel].

Eating and exercising should be fun but it should also be a way to treat your body well. I have the mindset that what I put in and how I work out is reflected by the face I put into the world. By eating the way I do and taking care of myself, I feel 110% all of the time. I rarely get sick and I always have energy. I do not count calories. I do not own a scale. I do not know how much I weigh, I don't care. If I feel good, then I know I'm doing all right and, let me tell you, this life that I lead? It feels GOOD. That is the most important thing I can emphasize. I rarely talk about how I live my life (in this respect) because I feel that people get defensive and think that I am just preaching to them. I'm not. They think that buying organic is too expensive. It's not. They think that eating the way that I choose to is not fun. Trust me, it really is. They think I don't eat any variety. I do. They think that I'm just naturally thin and that I'm just lucky. That could be true (I don't know my genetics) but I know that it doesn't matter because the way I choose my life make ME feel awesome.

The most important message that I can emphasize in all of this are these things: 1) I do not do everything right, there is always room for improvement. Just try to live the best life you can and deal with the choices you make. Find what works for you. The above things work for me, but you might find something else that works for you. 2) If you choose to even just make one small change, it will help 3) It should never be something you have to do. Do it because it makes you feel good. That is why I even wrote this post. People kept asking me about my lifestyle as it relates to my weight but I don't care about weight (As a side note, I used to... it's not the way to live). Change your life to FEEL GOOD. I know there are several people who I have told these things to before and they picked up one or two habits. They will tell you and I will tell you, that the weight will follow as an afterthought but the most amazing thing was how good they felt.

To read more about it... look at my links on the side of the page. Also good reads are Whole Living magazine, Nutrition Action magazine (this is more on the scientific end of things but still very informative), Rodney Yee is one of my favorite yoga gurus (he has DVDs and books out), and Dr Weil/Dr Oz are two wellness docs that I have a high respect for and find very informative. Also, find a local natural doctor in you area. I don't actually go to one but I did a fall wellness camp a year or so ago and met a natural doctor there who I talk to about all of this stuff and who I highly respect as well.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pretty accurate representation...

Today's Mental Checklist

1. Things I know for sure - quite a few

2. Things I don't know for sure - quite a few more

3. Things I'll discover I don't know as I go along (only a rough estimate) - about as much as things I currently don't know

4. Things I tell children that I don't believe myself - lots, but when they're older I tell them I'm making it up & they can believe it at their own risk

5. Things that make sense if you stop to think about it
a) in daylight - lot unless there's media or government involved
b) late at night - almost nothing, so it's better to just go back to sleep

6. Things I believe that people a thousand years ago believed, too - quite a few but I lived in L.A. when I was younger, so I have a good excuse

-Brian Andreas, Story people

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kauai day 6 and day 7, October 27 and 28, 2008


On our sixth day in Hawaii, we planned to hike the Napali coast (I've referenced this in several past Kauai posts). We got up at about 7 am so that we could drive two hours to the Napali coast which entails going ALL the way to the north of the island, through Princeville, through Hanalei, and to the end of the road. The hike is called the Kalalau trail and is 11 miles long... one way. Don't freak out, you have to have a parks permit to do the whole trail and you have to plan on camping. We only did the first little bit which is basically up down one Napali cliff... from one beach to the next. It's around 5-6 miles but the thing is pretty challenging. We have hiked harder trails but it was humid and there was a lot of rocks, mud, and stuff sticking out on the trail so it was a little trecherous. But, aside from that, it was absolutely gorgeous. We are so glad that we got to see these views of Napali. Simply breathtaking.

One of the first shots we got down the Napali coast from where we were on our hike.

And another shot where I was trying to be artistic with the tree.

Different artistic shot... The coast seriously is unbelievable.

And at the mid-point of our hike. We had hiked up a cliff from a beach, then down a cliff to this beach. Gorgeous.

We stayed here a bit to enjoy the ocean. It was on the northshore, so no swimming. Some people were in the water... however, most would just run in, get sucked by a wave, scream, then run out. Pretty entertaining, actually.

Getting ready to start the hike back.

A view of the ocean as we were walking away from it. Also, at this point, we started to notice some clouds moving in... looked like massive showers were on the way.

A shot of me getting ready to hike back up.

On the way down we passed all of the warning signs about the beach down below. We took pictures of these signs on the way back up.

Here are the clouds starting to roll in...

Hiking back up and out from the beach!

The locals put up a warning sign also that they also use to track how many visitors have been killed at the beach down below. Lovely!

A shot of a bunch of tree roots... this is what we were hiking around/over.

And, we made it back! I think we finished hiking around noon or one or so... It took about two hours after we stopped for a few minutes at the beach. Towards the end, it started to rain on us. We ended up driving to Hanalei Gourmet for lunch, the same restaurant we had eaten at a few days prior since we had liked it so much. Once we got out of there, we decided to shop at a few beach stores and bought a few items.

The other day that we had been in Hanalei, we had bought brownies and cookies at a local place across the street from the restaurant we ate at for lunch. They were so good, we wanted to get some more but by this time it was absolutely DUMPING. I kid you not, it is the hardest rainfall I have ever seen in my entire life. And living in Seattle (as well as the midwest and the Phoenix monsoons), I have seen a lot of hard rain. Tim and I were soaked within a tenth of a second of being outside. It was actually kind of nice since we had gotten a bit sweaty on the hike. It was just like being in shower with the most intense water pressure ever. The above picture is us after getting our chocolate treats... we are soaked. Of course, I look more soaked than Tim thanks to his hat and white shirt. Oh well.
We got back to the Hyatt that evening and decided to eat at Tidepools again (the restaurant at the Hyatt). It was amazing like it had been the other night we were there.
The next day ended up being our last day. We got up, ate breakfast, walked on the beach and then plopped ourselves down by the pool. Here's why I say that this day ended up being our last day: we were not supposed to leave Kauai until the 29th (a red eye back, the only flight on our airline back to Seattle from Kauai). We realized that we would have to check out of the hotel on the 28th at noon and then would be just hanging around until 11pm that night with our luggage, unable to do a whole lot besides sit at the beach. And then if we got salty, we really had no way to shower or anything. Not to mention, the 28th was cloudy and the 29th was expected to be cloudy too. No fun. So, we made a quick phone call and got the red eye flight out on the night of the 28th (we still had the entire day there) and we were able to get back to Seattle on the morning of the 29th as opposed to the 30th. Then we had a couple of days at home to relax and get organized before going back to work on the 31st. It really made more sense and after two weeks there, we were ready to go home.
All in all, I cannot adequately express in words what I feel about this trip... it was absolutely more than I ever thought it would be. Obviously, the wedding was the highlight but everything else was flawless and perfect in each and every way possible. I couldn't have asked for a better time or better company. It was amazing and perfect and I can't wait until our next journey together.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kauai Day 5, October 26, 2008: Lounge and luau

On the 5th day of Kauai, we woke up and decided that we would listen to our concierges' advice and go snorkeling. We heard that snorkeling on Kauai is nothing short of amazing and would by far exceed the snorkeling we did on Maui. We were skeptical after hearing the same about Maui snorkeling but then being sorely disappointed on Maui. But, we didn't have a whole lot else going on so we headed to Kimo's snorkel shop and rented some snorkel gear to use for the day. The guy running the place gave us all of the tips on where to snorkel that time of year (and told us 20 times to avoid the northshore...yep, we have heard that). We headed about a mile away from his shop to snorkel.

I don't have any pictures of the snorkeling we did but it was absolutely amazing. We were snorkeling in that one spot that morning for about 3 hours. (Of course, Tim snorkeled a little bit more than I did... I took frequent breaks to bask in the sun). We saw so many schools of fish, octopus, sea turtles, etc. And the fish there? Absolutely gorgeous. They were so many colors and just absolutely breathtaking. And you could see for a mile in the water. It was so clear and gorgeous.

After that, we drove around a little bit and then headed back to play on the beach all day. That night, we decided to go to the Hyatt luau. It was just at our resort so we decided to check it out. It was a great time.

After snorkeling, a shot of the Kauai mountains.

More greenness and mountains.

And MORE greenness and mountains.

SO, at the luau... we sat front and center. We met a very nice couple from California that we chatted and enjoyed mai tais with throughout most of the dinner. During the show, we BOTH got picked on. The guy running the show decided to have me repeat something after him in Hawaiian in front of the crowd. Of course, I totally butchered it. Tim thought this was absolutely hilarious. BUT, I got the last laugh. Towards the end of the show, the Hawaiian dancers pick people to dance on stage with them in front of the crowd. Guess who got picked??! I laughed for 20 minutes straight. Apparently this girl tried to teach Tim to dance the hula and finally just told him, "Just shake your ass as fast as you can." It was PRICELESS.

Tim being taught how to do the hula... keep in mind that there is probably 300 people in the crowd and he his shakin his fanny in front of every one of them.
Here's the head guy asking Tim various questions... his name, if he's ever danced the hula, where he's from, etc.

And then he's called out to dance with the Hawaiian dancer in front of everyone. It was so hilarious. (Sorry, babe, still makes me laugh!) He was a good sport about it and I think he had a great time. This luau was fun because that part at least was interactive. We still liked the luau better on Maui but we had a good time on this night as well.

And a picture of us after the luau ended... I wonder if Tim is sunburned or still red from his exhibition of hula dancing skills?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kauai Day 4: October 25, 2008

Back to Hawaii! I am going to finish the Hawaii recap in January otherwise, I am a bit worried it won't get done until, um, June.

Our fourth day on Kauai we decided to take a trip to the north shore of Kauai to explore around since we hadn't gotten very far when we started to do so before. We had read in our little Kauai guidebook about a place called Queen's bath on the northshore that is basically a little inlet of the ocean, kind of an ocean "bathtub." So, we decided to stop there first. The first thing we noticed was that it was HUMID. And on the hike down, we were wearing flip flops but it was definitely NOT a flip flop kind of a journey. There was mud, there were rocks, there were tree branches. Not to mention a dozen signs warning us about the dangers of the ocean... Messy.

We get down there and have to hike about a mile on lava rocks to the actual Queen's bath. There were gorgeous views, however, along the way.

We saw a couple walking back from the Queen's Bath who warned us not to go in due to how violent the ocean was that day. Apparently a local kid had just jumped in and got out approximately 10 seconds later. They were right. We were totally mesmerized by the ocean because it was so erratic and violent. To be honest, I have never seen anything like it. It was surreal, and kinda scary, actually. A couple of days later, we were telling the concierges at our hotel about it. They were two local girls who we just clicked with so even if we didn't have any questions for them, we would just chat with them. We found out THEN that just a week prior to our visit, FIVE tourists had been killed at this spot. YIIIIIKES. And they weren't even in the water apparently. They were standing right where I was in the above picture and a wave swept up and dragged them into the ocean. I guess that in the winter months (October-April) all of the locals know to just absolutely avoid the north shore ocean at all costs because it does get so violent in the winter. We were very lucky but now we most definitely know...

Tim running away from the water after the ocean appeared a little bit too violent for comfort...

Watching the fury of the water...

During a break from a set of waves... I imagine that this is what Queen's bath looks like when it is calm out. It probably would be a nice spot if that were the case.

And here comes another set of waves... Seriously, the pictures don't even do it justice. I have never seen anything like it.

And here is Queen's Bath a few seconds later... can't even tell where it was. Insane. And the suction that pulled the water out of here just a few seconds after this explains why this place is such a dangerous place to go during the winter months (of course, we didn't know at the time... we DID most definitely know not to get into the water!) And once the waves started coming a little too close for comfort, we definitely got the hell out of there!

Trying to photograph the suction as the ocean receded.

Here is the ocean before a wave breaks (just down the coast from Queen's Bath).

And, I didn't get a shot of the wave, but this was just after a series of three...

Walking away from the mad ocean... I don't think that that raft or beach towels would have done us much good that day!

Looking down at the ocean from the hike on the way back up.

Pretty waterfall on the hike.

And a distant shot of the waterfall. It was so green because it was so freaking humid!

After the Queen's Bath madness, we drove down the road a bit to Princeville. The big Princeville resort was closed... we had wanted to walk around there and check it out but we couldn't. So, we kept going down the road and got to Hanalei town. What a cute little town! We ate at a little hole in the wall restaurant called Hanalei Gourmet. It was really great! Of course, while we were sitting there, it absolutely starting POURING down rain. Then the sun came out about 30 minutes later. Good time to stop and eat, I guess. Of course, the rain made it that much more humid. I guess that's why the northshore is so amazingly lush. We continued down the road. It ends at the very northern most point of the Napali coast. The hike we wanted to do starts here but it was about 3pm and we were looking at a 5-6 mile, challenging hike so we decided to come back another day for that. Instead we stopped at a couple of caves on the way. Not such a big fan. Caves kinda creep me out.

All of the little sticks hanging off of the cave. I'm sure there is a technical name but I'm not a cave fanatic so I don't know it.

Me standing outside of the cave... a little bit leery about venturing into the dark...

Tim very FAR into the cave. Yikes!

And a view from the inside looking out.

Just outside of the caves was a beautiful beach. It's funny but the most vivid memory I have of this beach is debating with Tim whether some girls' boobs were fake or not. It was a beautiful beach but of course, we were still on the northshore so couldn't go into the water.

Beautiful hillside view just above the beach.

And there are chickens here too... imagine that!

After our beach stop, we decided we had enough sight seeing for the day and were ready to make the couple hour drive back to the more sunny south shore where we could go into the ocean if we wanted. We grabbed some dinner that night and then hung out at the resort. Kauai was definitely the island for ultimate relaxation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2008 year in review

Well, we are a week into 2009 and what better way to commemorate the wrap up of 2008 but a blog post dedicated solely to that. It's a great idea, but not original. I'm following my friend Megan's lead on this one. I will stipulate that this could be a long post. As I was going through pictures, I realized there were some things that I never blogged about. Oops. So, I will do that in this forum so that our journey in 2008 is fully remembered and documented.

At the end of January (the 30th, to be exact), we said goodbye to poor truck. He got into a fight with three semis on a snowy mountain pass and lost the battle. Luckily, Tim was not injured at all. Surprising, judging by the after pictures of the truck (I don't have any of those, but that's probably for the better. It was rough).

On the same day the above picture of the truck was taken, Tim gave Winston a wash as well. It just makes me laugh because he was a wearing a hard hat due to the pouring rain. Who washes cars in the rain?? Apparently people that live in the rain for months and months on end!
Also at the end of January, we kicked off busy season in style! It was our last free Saturday before we started to work Saturdays.

No idea why this picture is so small but I'm too lazy to change it right now... Valentines day of 2008 was girls night! What a great time!

At the end of February, we got Winston a new brother: Duncan the FJ.

Duncan and Winston posing.

The weekend after we got Duncan, we decided to take him on a drive to see how awesome he was going to be. We took him 2 hours north to Bellingham, Washington to explore around and hike. I had never been up there before so it was a great day trip.

By the way, did I mention that Bellingham is beautiful? Here I am standing by the ocean.

Shortly into March, we did the Edgewick hike. It is a short hike about 20 minutes away from where we live. It's low enough that we don't really get into the mountain snow so it is a perfect winter hike. And anything not related to work at this time of year is pretty much the best thing ever.

In April, we hiked Rattlesnake ridge on my birthday weekend. It is one of our favorite hikes in the area... short but challenging and with amazing views of the Cascade mountains. We take a lot of visitors on this hike.

Happy birthday to me! My favorite german chocolate cake with raspberries...yum! But geez, that's a lot of candles!

Also on my birthday weekend at the end of April, we drove to Ocean Shores (the pacific coast) for the day and rode horses on the beach. It was awesome!

And after riding horses, we walked along the ocean for a while. Being at the ocean is one of my favorite things ever. Even if it is the freezing cold pacific ocean!

And for my birthday, Tim got me samurai swords, er, kitchen knives. Actually they are the best kitchen knives ever... they are Shun's and what many of the professional cooks use. Although, I am very far away from being a professional cook... but they are still amazing!

During June, we hiked Mount Si for the first time. It is an 8 mile round trip day hike and it is very challenging. It was awesome though... we loved it. And seriously, look at the view. Amazing. Right around this time (well the end of May to be exact), Tim graduated from paramedic school with his bachelors in paramedicine (and also tested and got his certificate to be a nationally certified paramedic) and we moved into our new townhome.

Our next hike after Mount Si was mailbox peak. Keep in mind that this is JUNE. And we were hiking through snow and boulder fields. It was the most ridiculously hard hike I have ever been on. We were hiking for about 8 hours and not just hiking but scaling up the side of the mountain. We were so incredibly sore the next day. Apparently the majority of people that do this hike are training to hike Mt. Rainer. Which is why at the top, we were asked if we were training to hike Mt. Rainer and when we said no, the response was "oh, you're just trying to kick your own ass." Um, yeah, pretty much.

I can't get this picture to flip. Oh well, you get the idea. This is us at the top of mailbox... yep, there is really a mailbox on top of the peak!

Above all of the other peaks around at mailbox peak... beautiful. This is why this hike was worth it.

At our favorite beach ever: Madison beach. It's awesome because a) the people there are very fun, colorful... and liberal. Very exciting to people watch and to meet new friends. b) It has a diving board into the lake. We go here as much as possible during the summer.

Diving off the diving board at madison. July 2008. For some reason, I don't have any pictures of the fourth of July. I also don't have several other key event pictures: The Stacie and Rich house warming party at the beginning of July where we played flip cup for hours, many of Rhett's parties including the SeaFair kick off, BP golf day and beach volleyball, etc. Go figure! Someone has pictures, just not me. Also at the end of July 2008, we hiked Mount Si again and Tim severely sprained his ankle. He was out of commission for several weeks. It was sad.

August 9, 2008. Tim and I at our friends' Steve and Krystal's wedding. It was the perfect outdoor wedding... the ceremony was just overcast and as soon as we stepped into the covered reception area, it started dumping rain. Oh, and the ceremony was exciting because right as Krystal was walking down the isle, a bird shit on me. It was hard for everyone in our row to remain composed. I have a penchant for getting pooped on by birds. It's weird.

Dancing at Steve and Krystals reception.

In August, 2008 my parents and brother came out to Seattle to visit. This was towards the end of Tim's back drama (where he was lying flat on the floor for a week, completely unable to do anything). It was really scary! Following a visit to the ER, we took him to the chiropractor to find out he had dislocated his spine. He went to the chiro daily for over a week, and the chiro was a lifesaver. The first day of my parents' visit, Tim was still unable to do much... he was much better, however, and for the first time in over a week was able to get out of the house (aside from chiro visits) to go out to dinner with us, but he was not in any way able to explore Seattle. That day, we went to the space needle (above), to Pike place, the experience music project.

Oh yes! And that day we found my favorite place ever by pike place: the crumpet shop. Amazing tea and crumpets.
Outside of the monorail and experience music project with a bouquet of gorgeous flowers from pike. Also, I have my crumpet tea and my brother has his coffee from the original starbucks.

On the second day of my parents visit, Tim felt well enough to join us! It was his first day he was feeling this well in about two weeks. We went to capitol hill first, hit a couple of coffee shops that my brother wanted to see and then went to pioneer square where we were going to do the underground Seattle tour. Um, unfortunately, Tim had not been used to being up and moving around. That tends to happen when you are restricted to solely lying on your back not moving for a week. This picture was pre-passing out. Shortly after, I am in the bathroom and my mom comes in and says, "some poor man was just lying on the men's bathroom floor, passed out." And I thought, "uh, oh." I told my mom I hoped it wasn't Tim because he had gone to the bathroom too. I found out right after that when I walked out and saw him pale as a ghost sitting next to my dad that it definitely had been him. He woke up by the trash can in a bathroom at pioneer square in Seattle. Yikes. The tour was about to start but I drove Tim back to Kirkland to the chiropractor to make sure he was ok. We then got a snack and some fluids in him. He was probably just not used to moving around that much. We missed the underground tour but had all planned to go on a boat tour that night at 6pm. Tim wanted to make it to that so we turned around and fought rush hour traffic to get back to Seattle... 5 minutes before the boat took off. And by the way, it took us TWO hours to go 10 miles. Gotta love it.

And post passing out on the boat tour. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

The next day we all explored Kirkland... which is when we also found our reception spot. Heritage Hall in Kirkland... a cool little historic spot that had been renovated. There was a wedding that day and we were able to see the inside of the building that morning since it was open for the wedding later that day. My parents and Tim and I all thought it was perfect and my parents offered to have a wedding reception for us. Yay!

We then took a boat tour of Lake Washington. Beautiful day for this boat trip as well!

And later on, we played golf at the Mount Si golf course. Gorgeous!! Later that week we played golf again and got to about the 12th hole when it just absolutely started pouring on us.

Finally at the end of August/beginning of September, Tim was free from injuries and feeling better... so we got to hike! And this picture is why we live here. Beautiful. On September 20th, Tim's sister Emily got married out in North Bend by Mount Si. It would have been awesome except for the fact that September 20th was the only rainy day we had in the month of September. And by rainy, I mean torrential downpours. I felt really bad for her but it was still a great time. Not surprisingly, I don't have any pictures of the event! I was feeling weird at the time from having my neck adjusted by the chiro who convinced me during one of Tim's appointments to come in. So for the whole whole prior week I had been fighting trying not to pass out... lame! At Em's rehearsal, we had to leave early as a result. But I was fine on the night of the wedding, I just need to get pictures from someone of the event!

At the beginning of October, my friend Ashley visited us from Missouri. We took her to all of the hot spots in Seattle, including the space needle of course!

Here we are on top of the space needle. She couldn't have picked a better fall weekend to visit. It was sunny!

Beautiful view of Mt. Rainer from the top of the space needle. Another reason why we live here.

We rode the ducks (a seattle tour) with Miss Welch! It was FREEZING on the water.

And waiting in line with our duck quackers.

On October 15, we went to Maui, Hawaii! We were there for a week, and on Kauai for a week!

And on October, 20, 2008... we got married on the beach on Maui! Perfect!

It was the best day ever from beginning to far.

Gorgeous sunset on our wedding day.

Two weeks after we returned from Hawaii, we had a reception back in Seattle on November 15, 2008. Here we are before the reception started outside of our venue.

The day of our reception was absolutely gorgeous... which was good since we were running around all day... picking up the cake, flowers from pike place, speakers, rental stuff, etc. It was a busy day.

Another shot of the gorgeous sunset.

Can't get this one to flip either... oh well! Here is Tim buttoning me into my dress. My mom really wanted me to wear it for this... I wasn't complaining! I love that dress.

Our family (Mom, Dad, and Jon Baker) prior to the reception.

With Tim's sister's girls... our three neices.

Here I am reacting to my brothers toast... the part in which he was told by my mom as a kid to "spy" on my boyfriends' and I. I had no idea. (And then he ended his toast by saying that he has seen all the guys and that Tim is the best for me... he is so very right. I love my brother!)

My hilarious boss giving a toast to us... he is telling the story of how we met. I love how he tells it... I think everyone was laughing for 10 minutes straight.

Toasting to us... cheers!

Our guests look like they are having fun...Yay for good friends to celebrate with!

And after we showed the DVD of our wedding ceremony, I gave an impromtu toast as well. (Tim talked before the DVD).

And my mom and I after my toast.

Beautiful cake... and probably the best tasting cake ever from Metropolitan Market.

Kaylene, me, and Tiama.... all of the pictures of the reception were curtosy of these two friends. They showed up an hour early to help out and then became photographers for the night. They are awesome ladies.

Stacie and I... also known as our cats' god parent (she and her fiancee watched our cats over the holidays and the boys loved her!)
As a side note, I have not posted about the reception yet because, although it was an amazing and fun night for many reason, there is also a big chunk of it that was not so amazing. I do not feel compelled to go into much detail but I will say this in regards to that night: Some people did not agree with our decision to have a private wedding ceremony and although our reception was intended to be a celebration of us, they made it about themselves. It was humiliating, tactless, and utterly disrespectful... everyone there that night was asking us about these certain peoples' actions and even though we did celebrate with the people there that truly supported us, it is hard to feel 100% awesome about the night as a whole due to certain events that happened as a result of others' selfishness. At least I can say that I now know true colors of certain people... I only wish that we would have known before hand what the outcome of having these people there would be. We may have just changed our mind about extending the invitation to them. I guess through it all, I am just left baffled. I just don't understand people sometimes. It just seems as though there are many people in the world that just aren't happy with themselves and as a result, can't be happy with or for anyone else. I realize that the problem has never been with me or with us, it is a problem that the people have within themselves. And, knowing that, I just feel truly sorry for them.

Around Thanksgiving, we broke down and got a dyson. Everyone was right... it's pretty much amazing.

We had our own little Thanksgiving this year... and we made our first turkey! We got an organic free range turkey from whole foods, then we let it soak in some brine for about 20 hours. This picture was on thanksgiving morning, getting ready to put it in the oven.

Here I am making green bean casserole and boiling potatoes for garlic mashed potatoes. Yum!

The Thanksgiving spread... round 1. Once we started cutting into the turkey, we realized that it was still pink around the edges. My dear husband told me, "well, that just means that it's better, right? Because like steak, it just means that it's more rare." Ummm... sorry hon. It's poultry, doesn't work like that. So we had to pop the turkey back into the oven for about an hour longer. It was pretty funny! Oh well, it was our first turkey attempt ever!

And later that weekend, we got our Christmas tree!

After Tim's birthday, right before Christmas, we got hammered with 20 inches of snow. We didn't go to work for a week!

Merry Christmas to us!
And here's to 2009... I really have never gotten into resolutions. I just try to do and be the best person that I can be. Resolutions just seem overrated to me. I just try ever year to life my life to the fullest, to stay healthy, and to be the best partner, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, and kitty mom that I can be. If I do the best that I can and always follow my heart, then I can never fail, right?! 2008 was a year of great events and memories but I am so looking forward to what the future holds. Cheers to another great year and to the beginnings of a new year!