Sunday, May 29, 2011

First hike of the season.

On a not so sunny Seattle memorial day weekend (shocker!), a group of friends, including Justin and I, decided to go hiking. It was the first hike of the season for Justin and I, in the case that you skipped over the title of this post. And since we just go balls out in most things we do, we opted for a rather challenging hike to hit it off. It isn't the MOST challenging, it's just probably not one I would recommend anyone to start off with if they have never hiked or haven't hiked in a while. But it also doesn't have snow right now and most others still do. So, Justin, Jen, Katie, Shawn and I all met up bright and early to head to the mountains for our 8 mile trek. I was stressed the whole night before thinking I was going to be so slow and my stupid stress fracture would act up and make it miserable. BUT, good news! We FLEW up. And it felt awesome. Justin, Jen, and I broke off from Katie and Shawn and made it up in 1.5 hours. Pretty good for the first time this season.

A shot of Jen as she's climbing up to the peak.

And Justin, actually right before we got to the peak. Whoops, pictures are not in order. Oh well.
Jen and our water boy friend we met in the last mile who joined our group for the last push up.

And, Jen and Justin at the top.

Us at the top! After sufficiently freezing our asses off for about 5 minutes up there (notice: the WINTER HAT and yucky weather...), we took off down the mountain. We FLEW down. Literally ran the whole way. This was not the best idea. Going up was awesome. Going down? BRUTAL. Literally, the next 2 days, the three of us were like three peas in 100 year old pods. Couldn't walk, couldn't work out, couldn't move. It HURT. And it was all the impact of running down a mountain for 4 miles (I know, I know, this sounds stupid and we SHOULD have known...take it easy on the first one. We aren't really take it easy kind of people though). It was so much fun though and I'm sure there will be many more hikes to come this summer.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An attempt at a green thumb.

Earlier this month, we got "spring ambitious." Or rather, I did. I started to clean up our back little yard (more like a courtyard, really) and casually mentioned to Justin's mom that I was going to plant some flowers back there. I really intended to but didn't have a clue what I was doing. Well, whether she meant to or not, she really made it happen! She brought up flowers, we went and bought some more and we got to work (after Justin, Oliver and I spent about 3 hours weeding and cleaning up the backyard). The finished product:

Wall flowers...

One shot of the backyard...

And the other side. Let me just say: after killing 2 basil plants in 2 months, having live plants and flowers out back and out front is a little scary. Almost as scary as the icky black and yellow salamander I picked up while weeding only to have it wiggle out of my grasp (YUCK!!) or the frog that lives in our little pond waterfall back there. Actually, he was sort of cute. But really, how is gardening something that women like? I did NOT enjoy all of the bugs and critters. And holy hell, it was hard work!! But I do love the yard now... it's much more colorful and clean and crisp. I just hope to god I don't kill everything... keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hitting (way) too close to home.

By now, everyone has seen the horror that was the E5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri. Most everyone up here in Washington knows that I'm from Missouri so I've been fielding questions left and right about where Joplin is, is it close to where I'm from, etc. Joplin is about 2 hours from where I grew up in a suburb of Kansas City, however, all of my mom's family is from southwestern Missouri and we do have some friends and family right outside of Joplin. Luckily all are ok. Just last year at this time, we stopped in Joplin for lunch on our way to my cousin's graduation in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the "main" drag in old town Joplin, which was hit by the tornado. There is something so terrifying about seeing the damage, remembering how it feels to be caught in a tornado warning (though I've never even been remotely close to anything of this scope), remembering the city as it was and feeling a bit helpless just watching the pictures of the devastation. I wish I COULD be there to help in some capacity to pick up the pieces for these people of my home state. And I wish that no one ever had to experience that kind of loss.

By now everyone has seen these photos of Joplin. Insantiy.

A few days after the Joplin tornado, my hometown, Kansas City, was struck by tornadoes (though certainly not of the size of Joplin). Above the "green" sky that is pretty indicative of tumultuous weather. I've seen it a couple of times in person and it's scary. Like wizard of Oz wicked witch sort of scary... but real. And when you see this? Um, HIDE.

And a picture of a funnel cloud in KC... also have seen this in person. Also pretty freaky. You're not sure if it's going to develop and come roaring towards you or revert back into the clouds (you HOPE for the latter!)

Another shot of the nasty KC weather.

And one more funnel starting to form. All of these shots of home make me miss home... and though I chose to move away from the midwest (tornadoes make the list as to reasons why), in some way, I feel strangely guilty that I'm not there with the people in my home state. I'm not really sure why I feel that way but I think it is partly because I just feel so disconnected out here in Washington, like I'm just watching from afar and while I'm GLAD I'm not there dealing with tornadoes, at the same time, I can relate to the horror that is severe weather in the midwest. That being said, I almost wish I was there to deal with it as well and live through it with them instead of just hearing about it and watching it remotely only to talk about it later. Perhaps it's some sort of helplessness? Or just feeling not-present? I don't know. I guess if nothing else, when things like this do hit so close to home, you just want to be near your loved ones. To give family and friends that have had a rough couple of weeks hugs and to let them know that it will all be ok and that I AM still here for them, even from a billion miles away where the extent of our severe weather lately has been death by drowning from excessive rain.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May flowers

I was a good girl this month, seemingly, and got a couple of huge flower bouquets, for no apparent reason.

Lillies from Justin's mom... they made our house smell SO good.

And another shot, just because I think lillies look so incredibly cool.

And 18 roses from Mr.Valente himself, just because. I'm a lucky girl.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

And it's not even July!

NO WAY. 71 degrees on May 20th. In Seattle. This has got to be a new record. Um, because last year? We didn't hit 70 until JULY and it had been some retarded amount of days since we'd last seen 70 degrees. Like 200 days or something ridiculous. So this? Is incredible.

I am a happy girl (and I am also crossing my fingers that this doesn't mean that July/August are going to suck! Pleasebenice, Seattle!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Several months ago when I went home to visit my parents, I was forced to go through the garage where my mom has kept our toys/papers/you name it ever since we were 2.5 days old. I was not entirely happy about this task as it meant that I would be stuck in boxes up to my elbows for DAYS! YEARS even! I mean, she saved EVERYTHING. I do appreciate this about her but how was I supposed to care what was kept or not? Well, it turned out to be an awesome experience. I found some things that just made me DIE of laughter (ahem, high school diaries- SERIOUSLY. Someone should publish these... one day I loved one boy, the next day I loved another and in the midst I was just an outright comic in what I was writing). And even (almost) better- diaries from grade school. OH MY GOODNESS. Just priceless. I will refrain from posting those here, mainly because there is just too much material to choose from, but I will leave you with these nostalgic pictures that I ran across today from when I was digging through memory lane:

Awww... my baby brother and I, probably in about 1988.

Games! Who remembers dream phone and mall madness? Those were CLASSIC. To get my mall madness game, I had to go on a treasure hunt all over our neighborhood at one of my birthday parties. It was buried in a garbage bag in my parents backyard. (Not kidding).

The REAL original rainbow brite.... loved her. Does anyone remember the show? Or wait, am I thinking of the punky brewster show? Wow, that probably dates me too....

And high school graduation memories... holy crap, the year 2000 seems so long ago now.... How did that happen??!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Baby Isla

A few days ago, May 10 to be exact, Justin's brother Jordan and his wife Stephanie welcomed a new baby into the family...Isla. We were lucky enough to be able to meet her on her birthday. I wish I had pictures but all of the pictures I took at the hospital were really dark or had Steph in them and I don't want to broadcast Steph on the internet in all of her post-babyness, even though she looked great, without her consent.

After we visited the new babe at the hospital, Justin, his mom, and I all went out to lunch at one of our favorite spots- Gilberts in old town Bellevue. So good. Would highly recommend if anyone ever visits and wants a good breakfast or lunch spot. The above- iced tea. Made me feel like I was somewhat tropical even though I most definitely was not.

Justin. He looks like he is in deep thought. Hmmm. Actually, I think he was tired. Oooh, but look! A belated birthday present for me from his mom.

A few days after Isla's birth, we had everyone over to our house for a belated mother's day brunch... It was a great day. Above- big brother Oliver and new baby sister.

And again- Isla stretching (and hitting Oliver in the head).
And... yours truly cuddling the babe. She was/is so sweet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Seriously (a brief rant).

What is wrong with people these days (holy crap, I must be getting old when saying "these days" like I'm ancient or something)... But REALLY.

On my way home from work today, I see a car that's all decked out with advertising. Fine. I get closer and see that it says "POOP 911. WE SCOOP YOUR DOG POOP." Really?! I mean, people are so lazy right now that they are PAYING someone to scoop their shit? COME ON.

I get that some people might not have time to take their dogs on walks or whatever but to pay someone to both walk their dogs and then to pay someone to scoop their poo? Why even HAVE a dog?? I mean, if you're paying someone to scoop the shit because you gag every time you do, maybe that's another indicator that you shouldn't have a dog. Dogs DO poop, crazy enough (welcome, behold, I had the EIGHT TIME A DAY pooping dog. For most NORMAL pups, picking up poop twice a day- if that- just really doesn't seem to scream "I NEED TO HIRE A POOPER SCOOPER.") It just seems ludicrous. And lazy. But maybe that's just me. I'm not really here to judge, we all have our vices, if you will. If anything else, it made me laugh. I mean, can you imagine? "Hi, what do you do for a living?" "Oh I scoop other people's dog shit."

Awesome. Hey, if it works, it works.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May is for walking...

The beginning of May started to yield somewhat (I said somewhat) nicer weather up here in the pacific northwest. We haven't quite hit 70 (come on Seattle, do it BEFORE July this year!) but we have had several very nice days in the 60 degree range. So much so that Justin and I have taken the opportunity to go on several long walks. Meaning: 2 + hour walks. Which, by the way? Are actually quite a workout. I know, we both laughed at the words walk and workout in the same sentence, too, until our quads hurt the next day and we looked at each other like, really?! We are both active people- me a runner, Justin a biker and walking just seemed like it would be the "off" day activity. Um, yeah. It actually made both of us sore... perhaps due to the length of time but STILL. It was perfect though and with Justin on these long walks in Bellevue (we've left from the building we work in), I've explored some pretty cool parts of Bellevue that I didn't even know existed  and that I subsequently tucked away for future run knowledge. A few pictures:

Down by the water... I think this was on a walk that we took one Saturday when we decided to walk from Kirkland to Bellevue (about 10 miles...and at the end this meant two people ready to be DONE walking).

And another shot- Kirkland marina.

A few days later- it was actually sunny (GASP) and we went on a walk around the water in Bellevue.

See, sun! There is really nothing better than sunny days in Seattle...especially when it means that summer is just around the corner.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Last year of the 20s...

April 29 was my 29th birthday and it was a good day. I took the day off of work and Justin had a free morning, too, so we went on a walk around Kirkland along the water (where we had both sun AND rain- hi, welcome to the erratic state of Washington weather), stopped and got muffins and coffee (mainly for the warmth), then he sent me off to a one and a half hour massage while he was at work. OH MY, it felt SO GOOD. I left the massage feeling rather out of it because I was so relaxed.

I mean, seriously. I have had massages before but I've never been quite that loopy afterwards. I went to whole foods to pick up a couple of things and as I was checking out, I told the checker that I'd just come from a massage and I was a little out of it. 5 seconds later as I was trying to pay, my debit card kept being declined. UM, I am looking at my card and it is my debit card. WTF? So he looks at it and says, "um, ma'am [sidenote, really? Am I old enough to elicit a ma'am? Ugh], this card expired in January 2011."

OH. Uh huh. Well, that would explain it.

In my delirious state, I somehow went to a place in my wallet where I NEVER keep my current debit card but pulled the old one. Why I haven't chucked it anyway, I do not know. But. There you have it: proof of the massage that made me resemble some form of being high. The legal kind of high. It felt so good. I swear, all of my muscles were turned into mush. Oh, and the best part of the whole story? My hair looked like I was trying some new fad. Sort of the electrical light socket sort of look. I sort of noticed it but really didn't care in the state I was in. When I got home and looked in to the mirror? Oh, that poor boy at whole foods. He must have thought that I was just your every day nut job. Once I got home, I took a shower, then went shopping, and then headed over to Seattle to pick up Oliver for the weekend.  

We got home, met Justin there and decided to open up the birthday wine Justin had gotten me- a syrah. Mmmm.
As we were drinking wine, we were making dinner... Salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, veggies. Probably one of my top 3 favorite meals, if not my most favorite. Perfect for my birthday.
And then, the next best part: dessert. And then I gained 400 pounds instantly and died. The end. Justin bought about 500 million different types of chocolate desserts so I got to experience my second high of the day: a chocolate sugar induced high. It was fabulous.
After all of that excitement, I opened some presents, including a sweet card from my boy. It was truly a great day. Birthdays are so much fun and I'm very blessed to have the life I do and to be surrounded by the people who are in my life.
Later that weekend after the second annual dog party Saturday night at Stacie and Rich's (see here), and hanging out more with Oliver, we took Oliver home and got these great views on the mountain pass. Still some snow but looking more and more like spring even in the mountains.
And one more... All in all, it was a great weekend with good friends, good food, good wine, two amazing boys. If this weekend was any indication, I'd say the last year of my twenties is going to be incredible. I can't wait.