Monday, May 31, 2010

Late April and May catch up

Will I EVER get caught up on this blog? Yes, yes, I will. I have everything uploaded (FINALLY) and have all of my year end work done (again, FINALLY after a crazy 5/31 deadline) so cross your fingers that this blog may actually be back to the current date this month? Just maybe?

In the meantime, I'll track here posts that are made relating to late April through May so everyone can see what updates are made and when they were backdated to:

April 27, 2010- Pre-birthday, April 27, 2010

April 28, 2010- California Day 1, April 28, 2010

April 29, 2010- California Day 2- Happy birthday to me!

April 30, 2010- California Day 3- April 30, 2010

May 2, 2010- California Day 4- May 1, 2010

May 7, 2010- Missouri/Oklahoma Adventures- May 6 & 7, 2010

May 8, 2010- Kristyn's graduation- May 8, 2010

May 15, 2010- Charity Saturday with eco-friendly towels.

May 17, 2010- What I never thought I'd wear...

May 22, 2010- The Saturday my desk threw up paper

May 23, 2010- Vices + work stress = not a good situation

May 24, 2010- Stupid achilles update.

May 25, 2010- A new hobby.

May 26, 2010- Bella May 2010

May 27, 2010- The obese twins.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The obese twins.

I do have two rather cute (but fairly disgusting, at times) cats that often get overshadowed by their puppy sister. The twins have been on a diet this past year because we were told last year by the vet that they were obese. So now they only eat twice a day and get allotted amounts. Here are some pictures of them towards what they believe to be dinner time. The wooden door is the door to the pantry where their food is kept. I guess they thought that by sitting in front of it, it would persuade us to open it for them.

Look how cute we are, feed us, feed us!

Maybe Tyson is whispering another ploy to Calvin to get us to open the door....

And here, Calvin is responding with what they can do or his thoughts on the matter.
This is now their nightly routine. Rough life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bella May 2010

Oh princess are driving me CRAZY!! Ok, can I just say, for two seconds, that sometimes it just BUGS me how much effort and money and time has gone and continues to go into this dog? I mean I KNOW that I love her, I KNOW that she is a dependent thing, I KNOW that she is high energy. But really? I need to vent.

She requires AT LEAST one hour of straight sprinting a day. A walk does not cut it. If you're walking, you better plan on walking for at least two hours otherwise she will make you pay later in the form of whining relentlessly or destroying things (AKA: the car, no kidding, this month she was left in the car while we were in Trader Joes for TEN MINUTES and jumped over the seat and chewed...and successfully destroyed... AFTER she had already exercised).

And when she does sprint, she goes straight to the stinky mud puddles so that then she is completely filthy so you have to spend another half hour washing her so you might as well have just gone on a walk in the first place to kill two birds with one stone (your exercise, her exercise). BUT, if you do walk, be prepared: the next day will be HELL. Her energy will be THROUGH THE ROOF and she will need to run for at least TWO HOURS. Oh and if her energy is through the roof given the fact that she runs 1-2 hours a day AT LEAST? (And trust me, she really does run EVERY.DAY)... Well, if her energy is through the roof, she plays the "I'll run off and you can't get me" game. Just when we think she'll listen and we trust her, she'll prove that oops, CAN'T TRUST ME, HAHA! No one is exempt from this game! And, as a sidenote, my friend who also has a boxer said that her boxer has NEVER had the type of energy level or health problems that Bella has. Well, you don't say.

AND. This month, you guys, she scared the SHIT out of my neighbor's 9 year old son. I won't go into details here because it's still freaking the hell out of me so much. But let me just say: the behavior was completely unacceptable. Completely.

Oh and the poop thing. She has to go somewhere every day because she STILL poops 7-8 times a day. I cannot even IMAGINE a dog that would only poop twice a day. The whole input/output thing, you know. Eat twice, poop twice. Not this dog. She eats twice and goes poop four times for each feeding. It is RIDICULOUS. She doesn't even eat that much! So she can't be left at home because a) her energy and b) she just can't NOT poop.

And. GAH! Another health issue. At her annual shot appointment the vet said that she has developed a heart murmur. Concerning because she didn't have one before and boxers are prone to heart problems. So OF COURSE this dog would fall into this new category of health problems. The vet was particularly concerned because not only was this a developed murmur it was a 3 out of 6 on whatever heart murmur scale. GREAT. So the solution? pay $1500 for an eco-cardiogram. Ha.


Am I just cruel and heartless because I am refusing at this point? I refused to do a GI scope for her tummy issues because at least now her poop is solid and GOOD, regardless that she is going 8 times a day. And I am refusing to do the eco-cardiogram.

We pay out $200-$250 a month, AT A MINIMUM, for her to go to daycare on the days that Tim and I both work. We pay out $150 a month for her VERY EXPENSIVE dog food that she doesn't even absorb much of and shits out.... at a rate of 8 times a day. I can't even imagine what it must be like to buy a $30 bag of dog food. Oh, and add in the meds we have to buy for her on a monthly basis due to her severe allergies...and her yearly exam at a cost of $200 a pop. Just that alone is almost $5K a year for her to be "healthy." Last year? Anyone want to guess how much she cost us last year in all of her health problems? Over $8K. Not kidding.

I mean, I KNEW that a dog would cost money. Totally fine with it. But to the tune of almost $15K over the course of 2 years? No, I was NOT expecting that... I mean, that's a good chunk of money that we could probably find a lot of good uses for... Maybe I am just cold-blooded but I am done. No more tests, no more GI tests, no more no more no more. She is stable right now and that's about all we can ask for. And, more so than that, she is happy and FULL of energy. I will continue to pay for food and daycare and allergy meds but beyond that, it's going to take a LOT of justification.

I know I'm totally bitching right now but I guess I just am frustrated. And it's not just the money. It's just that it's SO much of everything... SO much time and money and effort. While I'm obviously WILLING to do it, I also feel frustrated by it because I have lots of friends with dogs and it's just not like this for them. I love her and she's a great girl and she makes me laugh BUT. She is NOT healthy, she never has been healthy. And she honestly requires a lifestyle that is often hard for to give to her...both in terms of monetarily doing test upon test for her health (without resolution, I might add, as evidenced by our GINORMOUS expenditures and zero outcomes from last year) and in terms of what she requires energy-wise and what we can give based on what we need to do for our OWN lives and jobs and other responsibilities. She would be an ideal farm dog where she could have acres and acres to run all day.

So Bella is good. Relatively. She is healthy. Relatively. I love her, I really do, and feel like I've just been a whiny bitch in this post but you know, I don't want to pretend like "oh Bella is just GREAT, doing AWESOME" when in reality, it's not always so picture perfect. Perfect to us is dealing with her every day and taking every day that we do have with her... while she is here and healthy. Perfect to us is realizing that we have a far from healthy dog that requires a shit ton (literally) of work, money, and effort. And at the end of the day, we reach a compromise. We can't always give everything but if she's happy and we are able to balance that happiness while staying attuned to our own lives, it's ok, even if that means she doesn't always get exactly what she wants in terms of running and playing for two hours a day and we can't always fork out more money to run test after test only to be told repeatedly, "We don't really know what's wrong with this dog." (Sentence that pretty much sums up our experience with vets in terms of Bella). I think that's about where we are at.

On that note, pictures from the month of May:

Sleeping with her buddy Calvin.

The memorial day weather here in Seattle was AWFUL. Absolutely horrendous. Like 50 degrees and rainy. So Bella and I went to the park and played fetch for an hour or so... wherein I got soaked and she got some energy out running through mud puddles. And I went home, cleaned her up, took a hot shower, baked and seriously contemplated starting a fire. But then the fact that it was MAY persuaded me not to.

Playing more fetch.

In the morning of memorial day, bored and whining... PLEASE COME PLAY!

And more sad eyes... I WANT TO PLAAAAAY.

Happy as a clam coming home from her favorite place: Happy Hound. One of the places she goes to for daycare. They have TONS of acres and she gets to run her little heart out all day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new hobby.

One Sunday, May 23rd, to be exact, a phenomenon happened. I was antsy as HELL because at this point I was still trying to recover from my achilles injury so no walking or running for me. Boo. At this point I decided, "well, I want to get a bike today so I can workout that way!" Whaaaaat? Me, the runner, biking? My trainer Justin just fell over dead when I mentioned this to him. He's only been trying to get me to bike for, oh, forever. No one ever thought that I would trade in my running shoes for this biking nonesense.

I coerced Tim into going with me (not really hard as he had been wanting a bike too) and I can see this thought process going on in his head, like, "is she really serious? No way...." so he says, a little skeptically, "well, we can at least go get a bike rack for the car." Ok! So we pack up the dog and head to the rack store.

We find the rack he wanted and, score! They can install it right then. Sweet! And even better, we're getting the floor model so we don't have to do ANYTHING ourselves...just put the bikes on (that we don't have yet...) and go.

A picture of the rack in the store.

It was about a 45 minute-an hour install and we were right across the street from whole foods. So I ran to pick up a few things while Bella and Tim waited outside. Oh, and Bella decided to poop at a major cross street. This is only funny because at her annual vet appointment a few weeks later, the vet asks, "Were you guys at the corner of X and X a few weeks ago? I saw a couple that looked like you with a dog that looked like Bella picking up her poop and I thought her poop was looking really good if it was Bella!" Um, yep, that was us. With the dog that poos A MILLION times a day, regardless of the fact that it is much "better looking" poop than historically.

Anyway, after getting the rack we dropped off the groceries and headed to the bike store. I was convinced to get a specialized mountain bike because with a mountain bike, I can always switch out the tires to road tires. Plus, it's been YEARS since I've ridden (think Rainbow brite bike) so I was pretty sure I didn't want to start off on a road bike. Tim also decided to get a mountain bike as he has been wanting to ride in the mountain trails. Anyway, my bike? AWESOME. And of course all of the gear to go with them... bike shorts, helmets, computers to show how far a ride is, etc.

Putting the bikes on the new rack.

And another shot of strapping those babies in.

All in and ready to go ride!!!

Of course, when we got home, the PRINCESS BELLA was going insane so naturally she had to run first. Naturally. But, after that? First ride! Whoo! Um, let me just say. HOLY CRAP, what an awesome workout!!!! I have been missing out! There were lots of hills so that made it even tougher. But WOW at the end, I felt like I'd run a marathon and my quads were jelly. It was INCREDIBLE. And don't make fun of the running gear. It is AWESOME because it makes those silly bike seats not hurt my ass.

The princess and I in front of the bikes.

SO much fun. I'm so glad to have another great option for cardio if I ever do have my achilles injury act up again. And not to mention, riding is just so much fun, I think I'll do it anyway, regardless! Oooop, there go all of my running boys hitting the ground dead again from me, the runner, making that crazy statement... Justin and Tim... MAYBE, just MAYBE you were on to something with this whole riding thing. Maybe. We'll see.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stupid achilles update.

Oh this stupid, stupid injury. How I hate you.

I neglected to talk about it for the past few months, mostly because I have sucked at keeping this blog updated. BUT, I HAVE been treating the stupid thing. After my incident of getting frostbite at my physical therapy experience in January, you could say I was VERY reluctant to try any sort of physical therapy again. But, probably mid-February, my trainer Justin recommended me to a sports physical therapist that he knows and works with. After being able to run great for one week only to be back on the elliptical the next due to the return of the achilles pain, I emailed his contact (who my running girlfriend who also has an injury calls, affectionately, Dr. Death). I told Dr. Death that I wanted to get in ASAP because I was over this injury.

Next morning at 7am, I am in there. Justin said he would come along because he knows Dr. Death... and knew I would need moral support.

Uh? Could this be why my friend gave him that name? I laughed it off and then...

the treatment started.

CAN I JUST SAY, I have NEVER in my whole life, experienced such pain? I would do the superman stunt four MILLION TIMES versus this. And that HURT. Yes, yes, Renee, his name is INDEED Dr. Death.

I think I screamed "HOLY FUCKING SHIT" about 500 billion times. My clue should have been when he handed me a pillow first thing and said in his cute little south african accent: "you're going to need to hold on to this. Trust me." And patted me on the shoulder.

I mean, you guys, I was INVOLUNTARILY CRYING. It hurt THAT BAD.

Basically the treatment consisted of ultrasound which was ok but THEN after getting the calf muscle/achilles all loose, he took what looked like a freaking scalpel and JUST WENT FOR IT. Basically just DUG AND DUG AND DUG into my calf muscle and sore achilles. Hence the screaming and involuntarily crying into the pillow.

When that form of mad torture was over, I looked at Justin and he said, "Oh, those poor, sad, big blue eyes... told you you'd need moral support." At that point I was speechless and stunned by how freaking bad it hurt. That was followed by ice and stimulation (and I was assured 100 times that I wouldn't get frostbite this time).

Apparently, according to Dr. Death, the problem with my achilles stemmed from my calf muscle and it was a symptom of the calf muscle. He says he sees it all the time in runners and there's really no rhyme or reason why it happens and it could have been a problem for years but just decided to show up in my achilles for whatever reason when it did. Hmm. Good to know.

I was also given a "stick" in which I could work out the kinks/knots in my calf muscle tissue on a daily basis to help break it up and get better from the injury. Um, THAT HURT TOO.

Above: a picture of my bandaged leg after the first unbearable treatment... after the first time, the muscle and achilles got progressively better so the treatments didn't hurt as much.

So, anyway, I saw Dr. Death for a few months 2-3 times a week. I'd try to run and walk and the achilles WOULD STILL HURT. Eventually, around mid-April, he told me (and I actually really like and respect him, regardless of our pet name of Dr. Death), well, this isn't working. We need to get a new strategy because as much as I like you and like seeing you, I don't want to see you in my office with an injury forever.

Um, me either.

So he told me to sprint.

What? I don't think I heard that clearly.

Sprint. Run intervals. Sprinting. Go as fast as you can for minute intervals, then walk a minute, then sprint, up to a half an hour.

And I look at him like, you've got to be kidding me.

But at that point, I was getting desperate again (after NINE MONTHS of this stupid injury). So that night at the gym, I tried it.

I lasted for 2 minutes and got off the treadmill in tears. It was not good.

But the next day, I didn't even feel my achilles. Weird. So I thought, well, what the hell, I'll give it another go-around. I did the sprinting intervals for a half an hour and it FELT AWESOME. No pain, at all. WHAT?!?!?!

Following that, I ran everyday for the remainder of the month of April and got to the point that I was running 6 miles a day... still slow at a 10 minute mile pace but regardless, RUNNING, for 6 miles straight.

I told Dr. Death he was a genius.

BUT. All good things must end. I guess.

My "good" leg got a strain from all of that running in about mid-May. Apparently I hit it too hard, too fast. Bummer. And in the midst of that strain, the achilles started to flare up ever so slightly again. So, I was back to the elliptical walking it off and trying to heal. As I write this in June, I am running again (for the past 2 weeks), about 3-4 miles a day at a 10 minute mile pace... so far so good. We'll see what happens from here.... I'm hopeful that maybe, just maybe, this is the end of this injury for me, especially if I am patient and continue to start running again SLOWLY, without pushing it. The tissue all feels fine, it's just getting my body back acclimated to everything without injurying it. The goal is a half marathon in the next year and NO more injuries. I think it's do-able.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vices + Work Stress = not a good situation

Having a jar of your favorite peanut butter ready and available at your desk when you are stressed? This = mass amounts of peanut butter consumed. Pretty sure I ate my weight in peanut butter that last week of May. Oh, it was SO GOOD though.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The saturday my desk threw up paper

One Saturday in May, the 22nd, it felt like a Saturday in March. Not only was the weather rainy and disgusting, my staff and I were under SERIOUS pressure to meet a 5/31 deadline for our biggest client and the client hadn't gotten us the bulk of stuff we needed until 5/21 SO, welcome to Saturday. A 7 hour working Saturday that is. Barf. Upon which, it looks like my whole office got struck by a paper tornado:

(And, as an aside, since I'm writing this in June I can say that we successfully met the 5/31 deadline...and lived to tell about it...and were COMPLETELY relieved once it was over).

Monday, May 17, 2010

What I never thought I'd wear....

Moving to Washington has caused me to have to REALLY look at my wardrobe. It started in June 2007 the SECOND we drove into the state of Washington and my car hit 50,000 miles and it was 50 degrees outside and it was POURING. And I thought, uh-oh, what did I get myself into?? It was then that I realized that, oh, these million pairs of flip flops and strappy heels I wore in Arizona ALL YEAR were just not going to cut it given that it's, oh, 50 degrees out and RAINING. I thought for about 2.5 seconds that maybe that initial day in Washington was a fluke. NOPE, welcome to your life for NINE MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR. Prepare to be freezing for 90% of your life in Washington. Oh, and all of those sweaters I chucked from my Iowa days? I NEED THOSE BACK. Hi, Arizona goodwill, remember me? I donated about 10 bags of sweaters and coats in about June of 2005, anyway you still have those sitting around? It's not like anyone in Arizona needed them, right?

I was introduced to rain gear, hiking shoes (this was a serious testament to my devotion to being a true Washington resident), north face, REI everything. And re-introduced to massive layering. It was a FAR FAR cry away from my cute clothes that I had in Arizona when I hung out with the Scottsdale crowd and could just run out of the house at any given moment by wearing what I had on and throwing on flip flops. I quickly retired many of my "cute" clothes for comfort and warmth and LAYERS... fleece included. I also rapidly realized that living in Washington does not equal looking cute. It equals being WARM so who really gives a crap what you look like at that point? And if you were ever to visit, you'd see LOTS of north face, LOTS of hiking gear, LOTS of rain clothes. I fit in now, even though I will say, I still don't look like a total Washington person. I mean, come ON, for my sanity, I still have to wear SOME heels and cute clothes...even if it means that some days I freeze.


On the clothes note.

LET ME JUST SAY. This insanity just hit a new level last month. High or low, I'm not really too sure. Tim found these shoes. THESE SHOES. I saw a picture and I swear to god, I looked at him like, please, give me some of whatever you are smoking so that I can envision those shoes to look like cute Jimmy Choo's instead of whatever craziness you just showed me. But, alas, he wasn't smoking anything and these shoes are most definitely NOT Jimmy Choo. THE CONVERSATION ABOUT THESE SHOES WOULD.NOT.END.

It reminded me of my first camping trip (ever) that I took up here in Washington a few years ago when I was FORCED, DRAGGED AND BEATEN (ok, maybe not beaten but definitely forced) to buy Merrill's. Hiking shoes. GASP. I wouldn't even try them on. I mean, come on. They are such an ugly Khaki dirt color, why do they do this? Can't they at least make the color cute even if they don't make the shoe cute? Buying these Merril's was EPIC and it took someone a tremendous amount of energy to get me to even AGREE to buy them, much less look at them. Not mentioning names, TIM.

But these new shoes. HOLY HELL, you have GOT to be kidding me. After hearing about them incessantly for a while and how they are the new rage and they are so great for athletes ("especially runners") and there are all these blogs about how much people love them and they are so good for your leg muscles and BLAH BLAH BLAH (did I even listen after I saw the pictures? Uhhhh....yes....), I was DRAGGED into REI to TRY THEM ON. I thought I was going so a certain someone could try them on and next thing you know THERE IS A BOX OF LADIES' SHOES NEXT TO ME. I tried on these shoes, people. For 5 seconds. And promptly declared them as weird as I thought they would be and that there was no way in hell I would be caught dead with these shoes. EVER EVER EVER. Partly because I knew I would never live it down and partly because, I mean, come on, LOOK at them.


"Hey, guess what? I ordered those SHOES! And some for you too!" (And a word on the ordering: no store has them in stock because they are THAT popular. Really. I know, it shocks me too).

And, did I just hear "shoes" plural? As in more than one pair? Maybe I am mistaken. Please LET me be mistaken.

But NOPE. The unthinkable:

Vibram toe shoes, thanks to Tim. Or you can call them monkey feet, I don't really care. Let me just say:

I have TRIED to like them. I have. They weren't THAT bad once I actually had them on. I mean, after they were ordered at $100 a pop, I figured I might as well just give them a shot, especially after I realized that since I have them, I might as well try. And I did some of the research on "bare feet" running myself and found that there actually are quite a few benefits. So, after deciding this, one day I decided, "I'm going to go on a walk in my toe shoes. We'll just see about this and how awesome they are."

I have never been so glad for a walk to be over. OW OW OW.

I had MASSIVE blisters all over my feet. Granted, I wasn't wearing "toe socks" so that was part of the problem AND my "breaking in" period was an 8 mile walk, which in itself was probably dumb and set me up for failure. But after mile 6, all I could think of was "What is the fastest f-ing way home otherwise I am going to sit down and cry and then I'll be the crying girl on the side of the road in north face and fleece and monkey feet." It would have been a sad, sad story and I can just see all of my cute, stylish friends in Arizona shaking their heads upon seeing the picture and going, "Wow."

So, as of right now my verdict is this: a) I can't believe I have a pair of my own monkey feet (What has my style COME to in Washington??) and b) maybe, just maybe, I'll like exercising in them someday. I actually think they could be really awesome for hot yoga, or yoga of any kind really. And I do actually think there is a lot to say for the bare feet running/walking. If I can get past the feeling of walking on rocks (there's not much padding, ouch if you have wimpy, un-callused feet like me) and having blisters, maybe, just maybe, I'll add these to my Washington wardrobe. My, oh, my how this definition of wardrobe has changed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Charity saturday with eco-friendly towels.

I volunteer for the make-a-wish foundation (a GREAT organization, would highly recommend that anyone do the same) and on Saturday May 15 we had a training for 4 hours. JUST SO HAPPENS it was, oh, maybe the one and only sunny day we'd had in about 3 weeks. Go. figure. So, sitting in a classroom at UW was slightly brutal, but it was for a good cause and I met some really nice people so I can't really complain THAT much. And on the plus side, we got out about an hour early so I was able to enjoy some sun that day.

Aside from that excitement, that morning before I headed over the water to the university of Washington, I dropped Bella off at her daycare. And then swung by whole foods to pick up a couple of things and buy a tea for the road. While waiting for my tea, I figured I would be smart and go to the bathroom before sitting in my car for a little while. Can I just say I love the eco-friendliness of whole foods? Seriously?

In the bathroom were these "tork towels"... 100% recycled, totally eco-friendly. LOVE IT.

And another shot of the little tork towel dispenser. I'm totally weird but I love seeing this kind of stuff. It just makes me happy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kristyn's graduation- May 8, 2010

Our second day in Tulsa had us up bright and early for Kristyn's graduation. I got up extra early to head to the hotel gym. We had about a half an hour so I got in about a 3.5 mile run. It felt SO good. The hotel gym was SO HOT though. It was probably a great detox but made running go a little bit slower. After working out, getting clean and eating breakfast, we headed over to the university of Tulsa for the graduation ceremony.

A picture of my cute brother and I waiting for it all to start.

A shot of the stage before everyone important marched in.

The university of Tulsa! Did I mention how much I LOVE being on college campuses? It's just one of those things that just make me happy. They are usually so old and just have these awesome vibes. I absolutely love it.

And a shot of the commencement program. Pretty fancy.

Nice group shot of our row. More family was in the row in front of us.

My cousin is the middle girl in this shot. I can't believe she GRADUATED. She's like my baby sister and I couldn't believe that she was already done with college! I was getting all teary. I swear, weddings and graduations and big milestones turn me into such a baby.

After the graduation, open the first present!

A shot of the whole family with the graduate herself.

And a shot of all of the cousins. Too bad I don't have a comparable from when we were little. That would be funny.

After the graduation, we went to a nice Italian restaurant in Tulsa called the Garlic Rose to celebrate more.

Timmy and I at lunch... we had champagne and wine that my aunt and uncle brought from the winery they go to in Napa (they live in San Francisco), appetizers, and GREAT Italian food as part of the celebration. I had a spinach/tomato/mozzarella salad and Tim had some sort of a pasta dish (great description, I know). We also had the most amazing cheesecake for dessert. Why didn't I take pictures of these things?? SO good. After sharing the meal with my family, we loaded up and got ready for the 5 hour drive back to Kansas City. We got back around 7pm or 8pm, packed up and set our alarm for NICE and early in the morning- 5am, which is 3am Seattle time- for our return flight to Seattle. Whirlwind of a weekend but great, nonetheless.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Missouri/Oklahoma adventures- May 6 & 7, 2010

The second weekend in May we made the trip back to Missouri for my cousin's graduation (which happened to be in Oklahoma). The thought was that we'd fly in to Kansas City Thursday night, have a night with my family and then drive the 5 hours down with them to Tulsa for Friday/Saturday graduation festivities and then fly back to Seattle on Sunday morning.

Here's Tim on Thursday night after we flew in- hanging out at my parents' house.

AND... a couple of weeks prior when we were back my mom had german chocolate cake for me for my birthday. This time, she had made angel food cake for me AND had fresh strawberries. Angel food cake ALMOST beats out german chocolate as my favorite cake.

After spending the prior night eating angel food cake and playing cards, I went on a run the follow morning through the woods by my parents' house. I ended up running about 5-6 miles and walking about 3 miles. It was a nice workout and MUCH needed before spending all day in the car driving to Tulsa. And yes, HOLY CRAP, I was running. I'll update on the stupid foot in a later post one of these days. On the run, there was a deer! Cool!

And another shot of him (her?) It was moving fast so picture is a little blurry.

I did get a great shot of the nice white tail. So cute.

Later in the day, we made our way to Tulsa. Somebody was worn out.... This picture cracks me up. I think he probably caught a few flies.

Gorgeous plains on the way to Tulsa. It was only gorgeous for a little while though...until it became boring. The scenery did not change one bit through all of Missouri into Oklahoma. There were also no red rocks in eastern Oklahoma. I'd never been to Tulsa but have driven through Western Oklahoma so was pretty surprised to find how vastly different eastern Oklahoma is from Western Oklahoma.

Half way through the drive, we stopped in the po-dunk, er, quaint town of Joplin, Missouri. After driving around for about 25 minutes trying to find a place that we could all agree on given our VERY different eating styles (how did we ever eat for all 18 years I lived at home??), we finally settled on the Red Onion Cafe. I was VERY pleasantly surprised.

It was in the heart of old town Joplin and was very cute. And of course the people that worked there were your typical mid-westerners... SO nice and accommodating.

One of the things that my mom and brother got was fried asparagus. I did not try this. I like my asparagus fresh. I guess anything can be fried! I am told it was quite tasty... but I guess we'll all just have to take their word for it.
More pictures of the hills in Southern Missouri after we stopped for lunch. About an hour after we ate, we finally made it to Tulsa and headed straight to the hotel. Once there, we met up with my extended family and promptly went to share wine with them in the hotel lounge area. Was so nice to sit with them and catch up over some good wine.

Later that evening after my cousin Patrick flew in from Oregon, we went to my cousin Kristyn's favorite restaurant in Tulsa- a Japanese steakhouse. Her choice, because SHE is the graduate. Above- me, Kristyn and my aunt Layne.

Mmmmm sapporo. So good.

A picture of the Japanese chef preparing our food. It was a lot like Benihana but not. It was SO MUCH FOOD but very good. Since we didn't eat until around 8pm or so, we didn't get out of there until 9.30. After dinner, we decided to be old people and go back to the hotel to sleep since the graduation was scheduled to start early the next morning. Fun day with family!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

California Day 4- May 1, 2010

The fourth and last day in California was just as amazing as the other 3 days...and it was also VERY similar to Day 3 because we loved day 3 so much. And when you know what you love, why not just do it? So, our last day in sunny, warm California, we got up, went on our beach walk again and realized that we didn't really want to branch out for breakfast. So, Sugar Shack in downtown Huntington after a nice early morning beach stroll was the answer for breakfast that morning...again. There was an early morning surf competition going on at Huntington Beach that morning that was pretty cool to observe as we were walking by.

After breakfast, we wanted to head back to our hiking trails to hike more. And since we now knew what they held, we had enough time to do a pretty extensive hike. So, after a stop at Starbucks in Laguna, up into the hills we went. That day we ended up hiking probably 10-12 miles. And WOW some of the trails that we found were INTENSE. We were tired by the end...and sun burnt! Whoops, sort of forgot about the little thing called sun when it's been totally MIA in Washington.

After hiking, we had a few snacks with us that we noshed on while we rushed down to the beach. We had to get a few more hours of beach time in before heading back to cold Seattle.

A shot of the coastline from the beach we were at... hmm... how do I live here someday?? And why don't I live here now? Or at least in the vicinity of this gorgeous-ness?

Gorgeous sand and ocean. I seriously miss southern Cali so much. After our beach afternoon, we headed back to Rutabagorz for an early dinner before our 7:30pm flight out of town (seriously, I have an issue with just relentlessly over doing it on things I love). But once again, it was totally worth it and Tim shared my love for it also so we were both happy campers.

Once we returned home, we found that my birthday flowers were as gorgeous as ever! Like I mentioned in a previous post, however, the cake was not so great after a few days of sitting. Bummer. The next day, we lounged around, got caught up on laundry, groceries, you know, all of the real world stuff, and just enjoyed our last day of "vacation". We were without dog until Monday as the boarder we take her to is closed on Sundays. I am NOT complaining about this lack of insane dog, it was so nice. And as I write about this trip a month later, I am so nostalgic for sunny, warm weather. It has been rainy and cold in Seattle since literally April with only THREE, (THREE!!) sunny days, only one of which was above 70 degrees. I am still wearing sweaters in June. It is just wrong. But, alas, this post is not about's about the California birthday trip which was, hands down, the best way possible I could have spent my 28th birthday.