Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The latest: leaf hunting and FAQ

Happy October!!!! My favorite month! 

Now that I'm in full fall decorating mode, I've been collecting pumpkins and gourds, candles, anything apple or pumpkin or pumpkin spice. I am thoroughly enjoying decorating our house! 

^^the house so far but truuuust me there are a few more pumpkins to come^^

A couple of days ago, I decided I needed some leaves to decorate and went leaf hunting through our neighborhood. Unfortunately about 1 tree every 5 blocks has kind of (but not really) changed colors so my search was mostly in vain, but I did find one tree that was bright red so I collected a lot of red leaves, 1 or 2 yellow ones, but no orange ones. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I hope some of the trees here turn orange too! (But I have a back up plan so we'll see how this goes, thank goodness for having family and friends in the Land of Fall Foliage). 

^^decorated mantel sans leaves as they are currently being pressed and dried^^

After I got back from my leaf hunting, I decided to do some exploring around our backyard and get some more ideas of what I want to do next spring. These are two of my favorite things about our back yard:
^^we have a rock wall!!^^

^^and little stone steps that lead to a little ledge (where flowers or something will be next year)^^

And now for the FAQ portion of my blog today. The two most common questions I have gotten since moving here are:

1. When do you start your job? (Or have you started? Or how is it? Or variations very similar to those)

No I have not started my job, yet. Yes it's annoying and a bit frustrating because being semi-employed but technically unemployed is a tad stressful. It's a government job so it TAKES FOREVER TO START. That's what Mark said, that's what one of his friends said, that's what my interviewers said, that's what everyone has said. Yes I have called and yes they are still doing background checks or whatever else they have left to do. No they didn't give me a time frame. I don't know. That's just how it goes. 


I am enjoying my time off. I have been going a million miles an hour since high school and to be honest, I am grateful for this break. And to be completely honest, a little part of me will be sad when I have to go back to work. So far now, I bask in my break. 

2. What do you do all day?

Interesting question and since being in my current situation, I now have a better understanding of why some people may find this question a bit annoying, and I feel bad for asking it once or twice before. I can assure you that while I do not have children, I keep myself quite busy and entertained. No I do not sleep in until 11 and then watch Netflix until Mark gets home. Actually, most days I don't watch TV or Netflix. Most days I wake up a little before 6:30 and go running with Tilly OR on the weekends Mark and I sleep in until...7:30. Occasionally I do sleep in until 8 and then stay in bed for a little while reading, checking social media, or Pinteresting. But I get restless easily so that doesn't last terribly long.

So, I wake up early and either run with Tilly, run solo, or do yoga. 

Then I get ready for the day and eat breakfast. Lately it's been (seasonal) a Pumpkin Spice bagel with whipped cream cheese. To. Die. For. I have leisurely mornings and it's grand. I read the paper or a book while I eat. I take my time doing my hair, sometimes I try new styles. I take my time picking out my outfits. In a society that sadly glorifies being brutally busy, it's nice not to be rushed. 

Then I usually run some errands. Fortunately, we live close to the library, post office, and grocery store so I either walk or ride my bike places. It's glorious! 

Often Tilly and I will do something before her girls nap or plan to do something while they nap. This is one of my favorite parts of my day!!! Earlier this week we went to Hobby Lobby. It was Tilly's first time!! 

^^Annie and I were in cart #2 playing with owls and dogs and yarn^^

^^She makes me giggle! No joke, she would not put that branch down^^

^^One WIDE awake and one out just in time for nap time^^

If my afternoons aren't spent hanging with Tilly and her girls, I find things to do and usually have a post-it note or mental list of things I need or want to do or places I want to see. That's how I discovered The Scoop, the awesome neighborhood ice cream shop, or the Rockwood Bakery down the street. Sometimes I go for walks to explore the neighborhoods. In fact that's how I discovered another cute little park a few blocks down and over with 2 stone bridges and a quaint pond with weeping willow trees. Sometimes I go to the bookstore, more often than not, the library. I have about 7 books out right now that I'm plugging through. One day I went to the bakery down the street, ordered a croissant, and read for an hour. It was wonderful! Last week I spent a couple of days learning new knitting patterns so I can finally graduate from the garter stitch and scarves to bigger and better things. I researched books and patterns for a couple of hours and then went to a couple of knitting shops, bought some supplies, and am preparing to knit a hat. And yes the idea of successfully knitting a hat on circular needles excites me since it'll be a first for both of those things! I've only been putting it off for 9 years. I can't wait! Then I'll move on to mittens, and socks, and cardigans, and sweaters, and big blankets, and bags; I'm thrilled!!! Mostly I like to stay in our neighborhood because driving down Division (one of the main streets) drives me nuts. Congested and way too many lights. 

Tilly and I have plans to watch all three of the Anne of Green Gables DVDs. We started the first one yesterday. Holy catscans I had forgotten how much I LOVE Anne, Gilbert, Marilla and Matthew, Diana, and the scenery of Price Edward Island! 

Plus, Tilly's never been to World Market so that is also on the list. As well as another trip (or two) to Greenbluff! 

I still like to keep up with the dietetics world, so I watch webinars or actually read the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (or skim it...). And since now I have the time, I plan weekly menus and actually cook so we aren't eating at 8 or 9 like we did living in Texas! And I bake. Not a ton or perhaps as much as I'd like because I'll eat it all, or Mark and I will eat it all, or I'll bring it to Tilly's house and she'll scold me for bringing more treats over (heehee!). Lately I've been into crisps because they are easy and tasty.  
^^apple crisp and strawberry crisp^^

I have time to do laundry, clean, cook, and have some Gabe time. It's so nice because then when Mark gets home, it's all Mark and Gabe time, instead of spending most of our time trying to get some chores done and then being too exhausted to do much else but go to bed. 

And now to fold that laundry before Mark gets home...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday Adventures

Today was great!

But this morning I thought I was going to die. 

Mark and I were lazily lying in bed when all of the sudden I saw Mark's expression change as we heard a weird noise on the roof. Mark whispered, "someone's on the roof!", jumped out of bed, grabbed a weapon and went downstairs to check it out. What a way to really wake up. I stayed in bed, paralyzed with fear, heart hammering in my chest, waiting to hear Mark shout or attack someone, while trying to convince myself no idiot would try to scale our house in broad daylight when I HEARD footsteps running on the roof and thinking I could at least glimpse at the culprit from my room (and slam and lock the windows so he or she wouldn't get in) I jumped out of bed and peered out to see this:

TURKEYS!!!! STUPID WILD TURKEYS!!!!!!!! A turkey was running on our roof and then flew down to meet his buddies just as I looked out our window. I had seen this rafter (yes we looked up what a group of turkeys is) of turkeys a few weeks ago in someone's yard while running and our neighbor had warned us about them but I didn't actually think they'd get on our roof!!! And we live on a busy street too! Mark offered to shoot one (joking, kind of) for a nice dinner tonight but I said no. But after I saw that one of those punks had broken one of my flower pots, I may have reconsidered. Fortunately for them by that time they have moved on to other yards. Jerks. 

I have been looking forward to this Saturday for weeks. When we moved (and even before) here, I scouted out and made a list of places to go and check out, plus people at church recommended a few places and one of them was Green Bluff Growers. It's incredible. If you've never been and you live in, near, or are visiting Spokane, definitely check it out. It's a huge association (~40-50) of local farmers that sell their produce year round or in season; that is a terrible description and doesn't do it justice. And I don't mean an on-the-corner-pop-up stand; I'm talking ACRES of  produce: apples (several different kinds I mean come on, we're in Washington here), pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, huckleberries, lavender fields, pumpkins, squash, Christmas trees, etc., etc., etc. Now through October is the big fall festival so every weekend some of the bigger farms have corn mazes, pumpkin, apple, and pear picking, apple cider, hay rides, petting zoos, live music, food; it's amazing! Now I'll admit, my motive was to find a grower that sells legit, delicious Macintosh apples because this New England girl is feeling a little left out and deprived in the Land of Apples. Well, I scouted out the website and a brochure I got at the library and I found a few that sell my beauties! Mark and I invited our new friends and neighbors to come and it was the best day ever. We had a blast! 

We temporarily adopt this kiddos as our own when we are with them.

First stop: Harvest House

So many cool pumpkins! Round, flat, white, orange, "warty"

Annie is a beast and an adorable one at that! She was picking up and pumping pumpkins like dumbbells. 

Pumpkin donuts made right in front of us and this one was still warm
Oh heaven.

Now we know how Tilly and Justin feel. 
Everyone kept looking at us and the girls so we pretended that Tilly was "Aunt Tilly"-ha! It was fun!

We love them!!!!

Next up: Forgot the name but they had a petting zoo, teepees, and I FOUND MACINTOSH APPLES!!!

Annie was not so sure about this ram.

The biggest sunflowers I do believe I have ever seen 

I adore this picture because I adore these three ladies, and, we are in a teepee.

Next: We were now on the hunt to find the cheapest cider and pumpkins. No go at this place BUT we found Tilly and Justin's future dog. 

Then we went back to Harvest House and bought our treats: apple cider, pumpkin donuts, and pumpkins!
And then a few of these guys rolled in:

Annie being a monkey. I just couldn't resist since the girls are still a little shy and won't do their tricks, as Tilly calls them, around us quite yet so when they do, I get very excited! 


Our goods from the day (ooooooh my lantus that kettle corn was so good! Well everything was!)

Opened the apple cider and we are pleased that it is tasty both cold and hot. 

Oh fall. How I love you.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Birthday weekend in Seattle

And now I am 27. 

My birthday was great! I woke up and walked downstairs to a surprise from Mark-he decorated! Sneaky, sneaky.

Perhaps one of my favorite messages was this one: even Heath, Emma, and Scotty got dressed up and Scotty ate a cupcake (and the paper...) in my honor!

AND!!! I got two gift certificates to order my very first dahlias and my very. first. David Austin rose!!!!! I've been dreaming of having my own David Austin rose for years friends, years. His roses are some of the best, in my humble opinion. I love a good fragrant rose and his are scrumptious! Yesterday Mark and I strolled through the rose and dahlia gardens at the park down the street and I got some ideas for which dahlias to order and a few rose ideas. Oh this is so exciting!!!

 And Mark got me a basket for my bike!!!!!!!!!!! Now I have a bell and a basket!!! I LOVE IT! It even comes off easily so I can carry it around. Perfect for the library, farmer's markets, etc. Mark, you're good.

Then we topped off the night with ice cream from a local ice cream shop (The Scoop) in the neighborhood. We hadn't been before and it was deeeelish! We discussed that next summer we will be making frequent visits here. Mmm mm!

The rest of my present was a weekend in Seattle. Mark and I had never been so this was a treat for us both! We left Friday and got in around 1:30, got settled in to our hotel (in Bellevue), and then decided we'd explore some of Bellevue. We went and saw a movie (Maze Runner--intense and kind of odd. I feel like I need to read the book to really get it because it's pretty action packed from start to end). Then, I requested a stop at Whole Foods and the mall. Silly right? Well, there isn't a Whole Foods in Spokane and the mall had a Nordstrom (hello Jo Malone perfume!!) and Anthropologie (because I have an obsession love their bowls!). So I marched in Nordstrom hoping they would have Jo Malone IN the store (Spokane's Nordstrom does not and I can't order a perfume without smelling it!) and they did!! Except there was some party or promotion or something going on and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get in to smell the perfumes. Well, Mark told me to weasel my way in so that I did! After having 4 different associates ask if they could help, and explaining that I am familiar with Jo and traveled 5 hours for this, they ooohed and aaahed and let me sample to my heart's content. After sniffing nearly 10 perfumes, I chose one: Wood Sage and Sea Salt...mmmmmm! I love Jo Malone. I also recommend (and want to get) Peony and Blush Suede, and, Amber & Patchouli. Patchouli is a special scent to me because it always reminds me of my grandmother. 

Ok funny story. I love stationary. So naturally I had to pop into Papyrus while roaming the mall. In the window was a cute "thank you" card with a scotty dog on the cover and it reminded me of Scotty (even though he is a miniature schnauzer), so I had to have it. Well, I walked around the store looking for it and finally asked one of the associates who told me they didn't have anymore and someone had purchased the last pack without the display card (anyone else think that's kind of weird?) but they should be getting a shipment in soon...yadda yadda. I replied that we were visiting only for the weekend and I'd just have to check Spokane. Well, a few minutes later he boisterously told me that Spokane didn't even have a Papyrus. I was so suprised that I was speechless for a second and then kindly explained we had just moved so I didn't realize Spokane, with three malls, didn't have a Papyrus. Unimpressed and deflated we walked out and I looked at the thank you card one more time only to see there was INDEED the very pack I wanted underneath the display card. So I marched back in and told the associate that I was sure there was a pack left and that I would like to buy it. He looked a little perturbed but went to the display and got the pack for me. 

If ever there were a time I wanted to fold my arms, cock my eyebrow and say, "told ya so!", that would have been the moment but instead I was too happy. He apologized, I thanked him and then walked out with my prize. Score one for the determined woman after Scotty dog thank you cards!

Then we went to dinner and got sushi!!! Mark and I have decided we will try sushi at each place we visit. It was good. Miyabi's in South Carolina still reigns as our favorite place though. 

Saturday we went to Seattle!!! Our only real plans were Pike Place Market, some wandering/exploring, and the Goodwill Outlet (because apparently here you can get some pretty sweet stuff for 99cents!!!!). 

Our first task was the gum wall down Post Alley. It took us a little bit to find it but we did and we contributed!

Gross...yet awesome.

Our task was to pretty much eat our way through the market. We ate sub par chicken teriyaki, a superb nutella crepe, tried samples of smoked salmon (yum), dipping oils, peaches, apples, and chocolate pasta (Mark wouldn't let me get some because he would not eat it, darn!).

The market is HUUUUUGE! It was crazy busy but so much fun. So many cool stalls and shops! The fruit looked incredible. And the flowers. THE FLOWERS. Gorgeous, big bouquets for sale by the stem or for $5-$10. I could not believe it. If we lived in Seattle, I would buy a bouquet weekly!!

Mark bought me a beautiful bouquet of dahlias. Right now they are in a vase in our living room, still beautiful. I love flowers. 

Mark's only request was to see Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners). It wasn't far from the market so we walked down there and ended up taking a REALLY cool tour of the field. Mark was very, very, very, very happy. Our tour guide was so nice and EXTREMELY knowledgeable about baseball. I never know how important the grass patterns in stadiums were until he gave us a 15 minute lecture on why the field's grass is mowed the way it is and why they chose the grass they did. Apparently it was genius because the Yankees adopted it the season after the Mariners changed their grass mowing/growing pattern. Wow. Who knew??

Visitors room 

Press room

Apparently this throne is for their mascot the moose but we got to sit in it too!

We also got to see the Diamond Club exclusive, fancy room which had huge pictures of Babe Ruth, including this one when he was still a Red Sox pitcher!

I don't know why this picture won't rotate but we had a delicious dinner at Ivar's. We tried the clam chowder and it was good, really it was, but, New England clam chowder is still better. Just my opinion. BUT the fish, shrimp, and chips were SO, SO good. Highly recommend this place (thank you Jean!!). 

 A nice view of Mt. Rainier on our way home

Superb weekend! We didn't have time to hit up the Goodwill Outlet (sorry Macklemore). It closed by the time we were walking back to our car, but we will surely be back because we still have so much to see!!! (Including a Mariners/Red Sox game and/or a Mariners/Rangers game)