Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New and Improved Blogroll

My blogroll is to the right and toward the bottom of this page. It is a short list of blogs that I read and enjoy on a regular basis. As with most things, it is time for an update.

The new blogs on my blogroll include the following:

Felipe and his “tell it like it really is” stories about Mexico and his observations about life at The Zapata Tales in Pátzcuaro, Mexico.

Linda Lou, (former Starbucks barista) from Carnation, Washington, a tile and jewelry artist, who is always busy with Señor and their many projects renovating their new old house Alamos, Mexico, at Good2go2Mexico.

Gloria, the painter and lover of all things Frida Kahlo, at Viva la Vida, somewhere in California.

Theresa shares pieces of her daily life (and cooking tidbits) with Husband and Mr. Dog in Mèrida, Mexico at ¿What do I do all day?

A blog that I just began reading is written by Maya, a writer and teacher from Oregon, who is now living with her husband in rural Uraguay. She is a champion of alternative thinking and lifestyles – I am hooked on Maya Frost’s Blog.

Dat’s it. Check ‘em out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Coals a Glowin’ & Wine a Flowin’

We had weekend visitors from Salem, Princess & family…Princess was the other Legal Secretary I worked with at the Oregon Employment Appeals Board. Part of our job entailed fielding phone inquiries and talking with people that were struggling with today’s economy. It was very helpful to have Princess to “debrief” with after a difficult phone call or after reading a tragic letter. Together we complied a list of resources to which we could refer our callers and that helped a lot. When not on the phone Princess and I laughed and sang and made our job so fun that I really enjoyed going to work each morning.

They got here Friday evening and Chef Mike grilled up some BBQ chicken! Princess, Brian, Devin and Mike.

We also finally got to taste that Portuguese wine I mentioned in July, Vinho Verde from Casal Garcia. It was so light and fresh, with just a hint of effervescence. We loved it (thank you, Jackie!) I also broke out the red Chilean wine I had received as a farewell gift when we left Salem. It is called Locomotora from Carmenere, Lontue Valley – Sagrada Familia. It was rich and full-bodied and very complementary to the chicken. (Thank you, Carol!)

Saturday we went to the Pike Place Market. Princess had promised a friend she’d pick up an ancho chile spice at Market Spice so off we went. This is also where you can buy the cinnamony Market Spice Tea. They had samples, we tried it and Princess just had to buy some.

There were many, many unusual teapots. I really liked this one.

The weather on Saturday was absolutely beautiful – great for walking through the Market. And I never get tired of taking pics of the produce.

Rainbow carrots.

Lobster mushrooms.

Colorful hanging chiles. Who would ever want to break them apart??

We stopped for lunch at the Pike Place Bar and Grill and did some people watching out the windows. Then we stopped at the world-famous Gum Wall. A Post Alley wall covered with gum. YUCK!

Before we ended our tour of the Market, we got the obligatory photograph of Devin on Rachel the Pig. And all too soon it was time to say our goodbyes. Thanks for coming to visit, Princess!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fog: Vapor condensed to fine particles of water suspended in the lower atmosphere that differs from cloud only in being near the ground

We got up early and got ready to go. I checked and the weather appeared to be in our favor.

And then we opened our front door. The fog was thick. And we headed to Kenmore Air – about a 2 mile drive – in the fog. We got there just after 7:00am for a 7:30 flight to Victoria. When we checked in, we were told that fog was only in Kenmore and that it was clear everywhere else. It should clear soon.

We sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. More people filled the waiting area for the next flights, but no one was going anywhere. We were surprised to hear people say that it was clear and sunny in other areas.

Around 11:00 we left. Maybe next summer...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Weather Forecast for Sept 22 – Kenmore, WA & Victoria, BC

8:00AM 48F, Sunny and 10% Precipitation for Kenmore
8:00AM 49F, Sunny and 0% Precipitation for Victoria

Let’s try it again!!!

See ya on the flipside...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mike's Bamboo Bar & Grill Birthday Dinner

My long-time, trusty camera, a Nikon Coolpix 4300 that helped me sell houses, our Acura, our Harley, our furniture and even our own house + documented our drive to and fro Mexico + our year in Salem, Oregon + our last few months back in Seattle…is on the blink. Or at least the transfer cable and maybe the cable slot are shot. Those darn little pins are so sensitive and I think I bent one or two so I am unable to download the pictures I took Saturday night, but I can still describe it!

After our wonderful day with Kenmore Air we came home and I (luckily) was able to download all the pics I had taken that day. I knew that flying to Victoria was tentative due to the weather so I had an alternative plan for going out to eat. And in the pouring rain I put the plan into action.

We got in the truck and drove to West Seattle and ate at Bamboo Bar and Grill. The restaurant has covered outside dining and we almost went for that option, but decided on a window table inside that was nice and warm. I love the ambiance of this place and it has a beachy, tiki décor, plus it looks out onto Elliot Bay where we watched ferries and tankers go sailing by.

We started with the Seafood Skewers (prawns, halibut and salmon) with mango and teriyaki sauces on the side and a nice portion of rice (get your visual imagination going and picture this tropical food on colorful Fiestaware.) For his entrée Mike had the University of Washington v. Nebraska Sooners special (the big game was in Seattle on Saturday), a good-sized slab of pretty, pink Prime Rib. I had the Roasted Crab Stuffed Prawns, baked with a huge stem of rosemary threaded through the seafood. We both really liked our choices and Mike even ate all of his veggies!

After all of that we took our time walking down Alki Avenue and stepped out of the rain into an art gallery that had its sliding doors open, inviting us to visit. Mike finished the night with a mocha and a piece of dark chocolate and back to Kenmore we went. It was a fun day all around and now Mike can finally say we are the same age – again – at least for the next couple of months.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kenmore Air ROCKS!

Mike's birthday, Saturday, the 18th. The plan: Fly out at 8:30am from Kenmore Air in Kenmore, Washington to Inner Harbor, Victoria, British Columbia, walk about the Inner Harbor area, have Mike’s birthday lunch, fly back to Kenmore and get home around 6:00pm.

But not all plans go as planned...

We got to Kenmore Air right after 8:00 and we were ready to fly. We’d been watching the weather on, saw blue in the sky and were hoping for no fog to derail our plans. But alas, there was lots of fog in Victoria. So at around 9:00 our pilot, Chris, advised we’d fly into Kenmore Air’s Lake Union (downtown Seattle) seaport, hang out and see if the fog lifted. No problem, we said.

We’re ready to board our Otter with just the 3 of us!

And so began the flight of a lifetime. I have seen Seattle from cars, motorcycles, boats, trains and jets. Yesterday I was treated to the view from a seaplane and it was incredible - my hometown passing below me. It’s almost too difficult to describe – and it was surprisingly very emotional for me. My smile went from ear-to-ear and my face hurt from smiling so hard. And Mike? He looked like a little kid, so full of excitement and happiness.

Birthday Boy Mike sat next to Chris in the co-pilot seat.


The plane has 8 seats + the pilot and co-pilot seats.

It’s a short flight to Lake Union and soon enough the Seattle skyline was in view.

There was no wind and the flight was calm and the landing smooth. This is the pontoon gliding onto the water.

Inside the small Lake Union airport we found other passengers waiting out the fog. By 9:15 we were told that it was still too foggy in Victoria to leave Seattle and that they were pushing the fight out to 11:30 – if we wanted to try to wait it out. Hell yeah. We’d wait. So we got a latte and mocha and walked around the lake’s waterfront.

We ended up at the Center for Wooden Boats and checked out all of the boats. Mike also found that there are volunteer opportunities there – something he might be interested in doing.

We were back at the airport by 11:00 and found that a decision had not yet been made about Victoria. We hung out with Chris (who was also waiting to find out if he was piloting any other flights) and had a great time learning more about his life as a pilot and a boat captain. Around 11:15 we were advised that it was still too foggy to go and that the next possible flight would be around 1:00. With that info, we cancelled our day trip to Victoria, and decided we would try it another day.

So now what? Well, we needed to get back to Kenmore Air where our truck was parked. And Kenmore Air had a plan...that’s when we met pilot #2, Michael. Michael was to fly us back to Kenmore. But since Mike’s birthday plans had been sabotaged, Michael took us on a tour of Puget Sound!

This time our ride was on a smaller plane, a Beaver.

And again, Mike got the co-pilot’s seat.


This plane has just 4 seats + the pilot and co-pilot’s seats.

By now the sun was out and we saw Puget Sound's many islands and land masses.

Here is Mt. Rainier at over 14,000 feet.

And Alki Point in West Seattle. I finally understand why it was named Alki Point.

Sailboats and cruise ships.

The Space Needle and Lake Union.

Elliott Bay, downtown and Lake Washington.

Floating bridges, Highway 520 and Interstate 90.

Looking back at the city and the Olympic Mountains to the west.

Home at Kenmore Air.

THANK YOU KENMORE AIR!!! We had a blast and someday soon we’ll make that longer trip to Victoria. More about the rest of his special day to come...


Friday, September 17, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away - Red Hook Brewery, Woodinville, WA

Yesterday it rained. And rained. And rained. But it didn’t spoil our girls’ lunch at Red Hook Brewery. (Although if you enlarge the pic you will see that my "friends" spoiled the picture by sticking out their tongues. Hmpff!)

Red Hook Brewery is in the heart of Woodinville’s wine country with over 70 wineries less than 30 minutes from downtown Seattle! Who would have thought? As I drove to Red Hook I passed sign after sign announcing, “Wine Tasting Room Open”, at well known wineries including Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Silver Lake Winery, Facielli Winery, Januik Winery...if only I had more time and a driver with me!

But today was for visiting with my girlfriends and eating good food. I had a Coho salmon sandwich with cous cous and I must say it was one nice, moist and flavorful filet. It was one of the best sandwiches I've had in a long time - good job, Red Hook!

And we had a surprise visitor, Cheryl’s little bro, Kevin! He was attending a meeting in one of the upstairs banquet rooms and he stopped by our table to say hello.

As usual we had a great lunch and spent a couple of hours catching up with each others’ lives. One of us (and I won’t say who) is caught up in Facebook’s Farmville. And another of us (again, can’t say who) pretends she doesn’t know anything about Facebook. Or the internet. Or even email. However, she sure had some pointed questions about Farmville that made it seem like she was quite familiar with Facebook! Personally I have limited experience with Facebook...I have a page, but I rarely post to it. Can anyone tell me what the heck Farmville is all about???

Regarding the weather – I just checked the outlook for Saturday in Kenmore – there’s a 50% chance of rain! Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Aye, yi, yi...Mike’s birthday may not go as planned.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mike’s Turning 54 on September 18th!

Mike and I like to celebrate our birthdays. We like a good party and we like to do it in style. In years past we have celebrated Mike’s birthday with VIP tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert in Vancouver, WA...we went to New York and saw the Yankees play the Red Sox in the original Yankee Stadium...we’ve taken a week-long trip on Lake Powell, UT on a houseboat with 8 other friends...we had a big surprise party in Guaymas...and last year in Salem, OR I surprised him with tickets to a Pearl Jam show.

Here he is on the houseboat and he turned the big 5-0 on that trip!

We also rode our Harley to the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, SD that August so Mike could say he made the trip before he turned 50 and here we are somewhere en route - I think that was Couer d'Alene, ID, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

So if you’ve been reading this blog regularly you might remember that I surprised Mike last month with a Sea Kayaking trip up in the San Juan Islands – for his birthday – and we did it a month early because we were hoping to see numerous orca whales feeding in August. Alas, we saw none.

And now that it’s almost Mike’s actual birthday I have been scratching my head, wondering what to do on Saturday. Well, I came up with a fantastic idea! But it will only happen if the weather is good in Kenmore on Saturday. So I need everyone to have a brief chat with Mother Nature and ask her to please provide us with clear skies on Saturday. Okay, start chatting...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Luau in the 'Hood

Aloha! Our upstairs neighbors hail from the great state of Hawaii and Saturday night we had a luau of sorts…We combined resources and had a fantastic assortment of food from which to choose. We also flew our US flag at half-mast and took time to remember those lost on 9/11. We are very thankful for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States of America.

Mike boiled eggs Friday afternoon and whipped up his famous deviled eggs for the luau.

Mike checking out the pumpkins.

Ruschelle, Riley, Troy and Taira.

Mike and I had recently seen something about using non-stick foil on the grill and then placing the food on the foil to prevent sticking so we decided to give it a try. Mike manned the foiled grill and cooked up BBQd teriyaki short ribs and chicken/veggie teriyaki k-bobs. The markings weren’t as distinct as we had hoped for and some of the bigger chicken chunks needed more time to cook, but overall we were pleased with the foil method. Try it out!

We all sat down at the dinner table and dug in. It was nice to spend time with people we have seen in passing and chatted with over the past four months that we have lived here. And the kids – oh man, they have so much energy…it reminded me of teaching English to the little ones in Guaymas. I should have created a lesson plan to keep them occupied!

Riley still on the go...if I could only harness that energy...

We yakked and yakked at the table long after dinner was finished and noshed on chocolate chip cookies and little mini lemon upside-down cupcakes. Mahalo for a nice evening, Troy and Ruschelle!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sitka, the Kong-Chasing Sky Dog

It’s been just over 2 months since we said good-bye to Sitka. And we think about her all the time. It’s weird how I can be walking through the apt and wonder where she is – is she outside sniffing something in the grass or in the office patiently waiting for me to sit down at my laptop? Is it time to feed her? Or take her for a walk? Does she want a head rub or can I lay my head down on her big belly and take a nap?

The good thing is that Mike and I can remember her together and laugh about all the crazy things she did. I got out 2 photo albums (yes, real hard copy pictures I had printed before I got a digital camera) recently and looked at the many pics we have of Sitka. I’ll have to scan all of them so I can have them on my laptop, but for today I just scanned one. Take a look.

At first glance it probably just looks like she’s jumping up, right?

But if you look closer you will see that I somehow managed to capture a shot of her in mid-air, as tall as Mike, leaping for her beloved Kong.

When we see this pic it brings back all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings. xoxo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Evergreen State Fair 2010

Each year the Evergreen State Fair is held in Monroe, Washington which is about 20 miles from our home in Kenmore. Yesterday was the final day of the Fair and the weather forecast was RAIN. But Mike and I already had tickets to the Fair so we put on our hoodies, grabbed 2 umbrellas and drove to Monroe.

We were hoping the afternoon would be dry, but no such luck. We parked, popped open our umbrellas and decided to have the best time we could – considering the mucky mud and wet rain. Very few carnival rides were running, but the lines at the food booths were short. The scones and corn on the cob were plentiful so we got some “fair food” and sat on covered picnic benches to eat. Then we headed over to see some of the 4H vegetable and craft exhibits. After that we went to the barns to visit with some of the animals – dogs, cats, pigs, sheep and goats and cows.

Mama and newborns.

Another mama with 40-day old babies.

Big Daddy.

“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb...”

This girl was very friendly. And notice how big her head is!


Close friends.

Isn’t her long neck beautiful? She is so soft.


Another mama and baby.

Whoa! She is BIG!

And after playing with the cows we went home. It was sorta disappointing. And very wet. But any day I get to spend with Mike is a good day in my book!