Thanks(Friends)giving Week Adventures

What?! No cookbooks this year?! This is what my dear mother said at Costco on Black Friday when she realized there were no cookbooks to be passed out this year. Honestly Costco you could have announced it to all your members before Thanksgiving. So another Thanksgiving tradition has come to an end after a few years. RIP Costco Holiday Cookbook, RIP. And that is just be beginning of the Thanksgiving week of disappointments. Yep after only having a laptop for three months before the dark screen of death happened,and the laptop gave out. Now into the final two weeks of classes, what a suck this is. Then again you get what you paid for, if it is a $200 Chrome book, then yes it is going to be a piece of crap! So I bought myself a proper laptop this Black Friday, and it is a Christmas gift to myself (also can write it off for taxes since it is a school expense). The third thing as the cherry on top of the above happenings, the FDA has stopped all shipments of English fruit cake from Australia. WHY?! It was the only fruit cake worth eating! Not the American disgusting, radio active cherries on top and what the heck filling type cake! Seriously why? No go on the only fruit cake worth eating during the holiday season. Such a disappointing realization.

But the weekend was not all gloomy and depressing…..

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Beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I blame it on Pinterest and reading a post off of Anderson Ever After. I decided to propose the idea of Friends-giving for our church’s young adult group get together. This meant rounding up people to bring stuff for the dinner and to make sure we had a feast at the end. It was. We ended up with sweet potato casserole, turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, mash potatoes, stuffing, and all the other fixings. By the end the night we all where stuffed and ready to go home happy-full. Next year there will be another Friends-giving, and it will be epic (do they still use this word?).

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the whole group

Thanksgiving was a small affair since my Nana came up from Oregon to visit. Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house which meant we all chipped in to help with the small feast. Ham, turkey breast, cheese scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and sparkling cranberry juice for a feast. But…. we celebrate Thanksgiving with English Christmas crackers! Yep during desert we open or more like pop, crackers full of paper crowns, cheesey jokes and some surprise gift inside. I love wackiness of wearing a brightly colored paper crown and eating chocolate! Not the typical American Thanksgiving at all.

I have posted before I do not do the Black Friday thing at all. After spending three Christmas seasons in retail, I no longer partake in this crazy tradition. Black Friday is spent going to Costco for their free cookbook (which as you can tell didn’t happen this year), hunting for the famous European fruit cake (another disappointment) and relaxing. I did shop for a new laptop in the comfort of home, and will be getting a Surface 4 Pro tablet for Christmas.

Saturday morning I rounded up the gang and went to decorate the Church for the Christmas season. Like the two years before, our group was assigned front lobby tree decorating duty. This time we out do ourselves again with the trees.

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Church Lobby Trees

After tree decorating, I decided to make a huge batch of Butter Shortbread Cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Oh my goodness the best homemade shortbread I have made and tasted! I will be using this recipe from now on.

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Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Later in the evening we all hopped into the car to stand in the cold to Edmonds Tree Lighting Ceremony to see the tree in the town square light up. I froze my butt off standing there waiting, and wishing I had stopped at the Starbucks on my way to the event. Oh well next time I will stop. Nice clear crisp day and evening made for a beautiful display for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone! Now on to Christmas and seeing what the end of the year brings. Two weeks until finals, and three and half weeks until Christmas!! Time has flown by!

Volcano + Roman City = Pompeii Exhibition

Just imagine what would happen if Mt. Rainier ever decided to wake up one day and take out Tacoma. Even to this day after Mt St. Helen’s erupted back in the 1980s, we in Seattle live within the shadow of a four deadly volcanoes in the in the Pacific. This past weekend I visited the Pompeii Exhibition at the Pacific Science Center and looked at all the traveling artifacts from the site.

IMG_1264[1]The morning started off with a Seattle monsoon downpour. By the time I arrived at will call at the Pacific Science Center I was soaked to the bone! Getting to the exhibit was a challenge since I forgot that the Seattle St. Paddy’s Day Dash/Run was going on early that morning ( now looking at how much fun the runners where having, I wished I had signed up for it. Oh well I can always run it next year!). There was not that many people starting at the 10:30am time slot for the exhibit which was great since large crowds make it more difficult to see the displays.

Majority of the exhibit was devoted to how the city of Pompeii and Herculaneum came to be a famous thriving city in the Roman Empire. Most of displays were done up to show how life was like leading up to the mass eruption from Mt. Vesuvius.The exhibit opens into a room with a large marble statue ( the statue I later found out, was naked just like Michelangelo’s David with out the leaf!) and walked you through the daily life of Pompeii.

After the eruption, artifacts were the plaster casts of the bodies they had found when the city was excavated. I was disappointing about this since I was expecting much more from what happen after the disaster, how the city was discovered, and what it took to raise the city from the ashes. The casts on displayed were found together in the same area with a very tragic story like most of the bodies found in Pompeii.

After walking through the gift shop to the other side, there was an exhibit about the volcanoes in the northwest and how their eruptions would impact the locals and the cities in the area. There were maps of where each of the volcanoes are located, and the evacuation routes that would need to be taken in case ever one of them blew. One of the maps was missing. The map where Seattle and the surrounding communities. One man said the possibility into why it was missing is the map was causing people to become very scared so they took it away. I can tell you, if Mt Rainer went, parts of Seattle would be effected, but majority of it would have the massive ash clouds rain down on it. Glacier Peak and Mt Baker are the ones I need to worry about more since those two are closer to home for me.

I guess I will have to travel to Italy to see the real Pompeii and all the real artifacts that come out of the excavation, and get a real sense of what it was like to walk the streets of Roman city. I should see it soon before Mt Vesuvius erupts again.

 

Did It For the Hot Chocolate- First 5K Run

Sweetest race on earth was in Seattle this past weekend, and I rocked it! Ok I rocked my first 5k run and that in itself is an accomplishment for me. Don’t judge. Having a huge mug of hot chocolate and all sorts of editable to dip in chocolate fondue was worth it. Instead of saying “I did it for a Klondike bar,” I more or less would say “I did it for the European hot chocolate.” To top it off, I did this all with two wonderful friends. After all the sore muscles and getting up early was all worth it in the end.

For the past six weeks I have been training for my first 5K race. Running around Eastlake/South Lake Union during lunch got me to where I needed to be able to run the whole thing without walking the whole course. Saturday afternoon before the race a friend and I picked up our racing packets and sampled what would be in our finisher’s mug. We did raided the Larabar stand of all the flavors. They are coming out with a new flavor, and it is a good one too.

Race day started with me getting up at 4:30am on a chilly 37 degrees clear Seattle morning to get ready to rock this race. At 5:30am hopped into the car and drove down to the Seattle Center. The 5K part of the race didn’t start until 6:45am and we all got there just in time to line up at corral E with all the other runners in high spirits.

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Chilly morning with the Space Needle. Photo Credit: Kristina

We started off, and down the street towards Elliot Ave towards Pikes Place Market. As I was traveling down the hill on Broad St, there was a aw inspiring scene of the Puget Sound below and the sun casting a beautiful sight on the Olympic Mountains in the background.Looking around while running the course made a wonderful experience.

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Running down the hill. Photo Credit: Kristina

In the Battery Street Tunnel was the hard part of the race for me. The claustrophobia feeling, the loud noise from all the people running through along with cars passing overhead and the heat from all the bodies in motion made it one part of the run I really wanted to turn on the after burners, but could not. I walked/jogged/run through the part trying to get out of the enclosed space in a short amount of time as possible. The only fuel stop had lemon flavored water and chocolate chips. I will be honest I stuffed majority of the chips in my pocket and kept on running. I think I wanted the lemon water more than chocolate at that point and trying breath and swallow at the same time just wasn’t happening. Having all the spectators, volunteers, and even the Seattle Police cheering you onward was crazy in its self. People you don’t even know are telling you how proud they are of you and you have just one more turn left until the finish line.

I never thought I would ever finish a 5K race, let alone run 3.1 miles. This has been a goal of mine for a while now, and when I crossed the finishing line there was this amazing feeling of OH MY GOODNESS I DID IT!  I finished a 5K, I finished 3.1 miles, and I accomplished this goal! Something three months ago I though was a crazy idea and not possible for me. Complete excitement and one massive runner’s high! I completed this with two amazing friends who also were their first 5Ks too. End result of the race, I ran the 5K in 37.12 minutes at a 12:00 minutes per mile pace. I am very happy with this result!

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We did it!

Since this was the 5K race instead of the 15K, I didn’t get a medal, but I received a finisher’s mug with an overload of chocolate after running 3.1 miles on a chilly day. A banana, hot chocolate, rice crispy treat, marshmallow, cheese crackers, pretzel and dark chocolate fondue to dip all the stuff in. OMGoodness it was the best thing to eat after all that training, and a great breakfast!

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Finisher’s Mug

Going back home we all three were in high spirits about accomplishing the race, and decided to rock out in the car in downtown Seattle traffic. To onlookers it must have been quit a show, but to us it was letting loose and celebrating to old school music (circa. late 90s early 2000s). I chalk it up to the runner’s high. For the rest of the day it was taking a nap, and just relaxing (pigging out on chips).

After this experience I am running more races. I have found another hobby, and the runner’s high is the best feeling ever!

Advent Merriment, And The White Elephant

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Photo Credit: Barbie Hull Photography http://christopherflowers.biz/tag/museum-of-history-and-industry/

One stormy night in early December M and I made our way down to South Lake Union to Museum of History and Industry for my company’s holiday party. The night started out with a storm that knocked out power in some area neighborhoods of Seattle and north. Getting there was a little bit of a challenge since we could not take I5 since it was all backed up. So down Aurora (SR99) we went, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The party was swinging by the time M and I walked through the door. There was signature drinks to be tasted and heavy hor d’oeurve to be sampled. I really like the lamb burger slider and the yummy lettuce wraps they had. I didn’t taste the signature drinks but I heard they were great. The three were Icicle Blue, Fireside and Holiday’rita. Around this time I realized how much of an introvert I really am. Large crowds of people bring this out not only in me, but in M as well. Having another introvert as a date becomes tricky since we both stand there like an island in the middle of the room unsure of ourselves.

After all the toasts were made, M and I made our way through the museum galleries to check out the history the building held. In the Klondike Exhibit M and I decided to see what our prospects were during the gold rush. Our results where night and day. Michael ended up with a person who mined $2,000 worth of gold, looses all of it in a night of gambling and then was jailed for jumping the man who won his gold. Not much of a luck strike! For me I got John Nordstrom and I went on to building a fortune off of the miners coming through and opening a shoes store that one day have a mark of fashion in the Pacific Northwest.

One gallery M really liked was the sports memorabilia on display. On display is the Seattle Super Sonics Basketball team’s NBA Champion trophy from 1979, along with the second base from the last Mariners game played in the Kingdome. The base on display has all the signatures from all the players on the team who played in the last game.  But it was the display with the Mariner game score book belong to Dave Niehaus that was the highlight of the evening. Niehaus would keep sore of every game the Mariners played in a spiral bound book while he was the announcer. Just seeing this made the night for the both of us.

Around 10:30pm we made our way to the door to go home and get ready for work the next day. As a small party favor, my company game each person a portable cellphone charger. The next day people who could not make it to the party the night before wanted one and the extra ones were gone by the end of the day.

A week later the research group I am a part of went out for our Holiday Group Lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. All sixteen of us had a privet room reserved for our little late lunch around a long oak table surrounded by wine bottle from every wine region around the world.

We started off with three appetizers, the Baked Brie, Bruschetta, and Spicy Prawns with Shoestring frites. The Baked Brie and the Bruschetta where fabulous and there was more than enough of it for all sixteen of us. the Spicy Prawns had a kick of spiciness that after two I really couldn’t take the heat. Plus prawns have never been a favorite seafood of mine, so I rarely eat them. I will admit the prawns were meaty, and not those skimpy ones you sometimes find in the grocery store.

For an entrée I had the famous Classic Steak and Frites. Nine of us in the group all had this same dish and after thinking about it, I could have gotten away with having the Lamb Burger instead. Oh well. The steak was cooked medium-done, and the fries were nothing like a big fat greasy steak fries you get at some restaurants. To wash it down, a tall glass of squeezed lemonade.

For dessert, a Chocolate Truffle! I’m all for anything chocolate, and I don’t share my chocolate truffle with anyone. One of my co-works like to joke about bread pudding and why I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the texture is all. On the menu under cheese section there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog. Either it was a wine or lemonade talking but I thought it said Humboldt “Frog” instead of Fog. I bet you get the picture why I needed a double take on that.

After waddling-yes I did waddle a bit out around 3.45pm to catch the bus back home, I felt like I had a food baby and in a food coma at the same time. The bus ride home was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the night I didn’t even what to look at food since I was still digesting all the goodness of lunch.

Advent started off with a breakfast high on the sugar scale mix with some caffeine Some church mornings need a little more boost then others. Our church decide instead of a Christmas Nativity play this year, why not have all of us come together as one big congregation (we have two Sunday services) and celebrate the coming of Jesus’s birth.  The service and the party was one of the best the church as put on in recent, and I will say even better than last year’s Advent party.

The White Elephant part of the story happened on the same night as the Advent party. Started out with me picking up a fruit plate since the deli forgot to make my pin wheel sandwiches! Oh well, fruit is better for you. The “white elephant” for those who do not know is where you bring a gift that you already have (ex: box of cereal) and exchange it for another gift someone else brought. There are many variations to how it is played, but the version played was anyone can steal your gift from you at anytime. The gift I brought was a commercial pot holder that has been hanging around the apartment since I have a whole bunch already. The gift I ended up with was a Starbucks thermos that no one took from me! I’m happy.

After all, this is only the beginning of what merriment waits come by the end of this month and year! By the time I’m done, I will be needing to go on a detox diet for a while in January.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Last Two Months of Summer

Wow! Where did the time go? It’s the end of August and I still haven’t posted all that has happened in the month of July. I better start…

 Decorating the new apartment

While decorating my new apartment, Mom and I went to the Goodwill in Shoreline looking for an old mirror to do up. We ended up with a mirror along with another find I never expected. There sitting in the middle of the store was a perfect conditioned microfiber love seat for only $45.00! I ended up snatching that couch up on the spot and called Dad to come with his pickup to haul it to my apartment. I guess it was a day the gods of couches was looking down on me, or I would still be looking for a couch.

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 Mini adventures during the week

One day I decided to take a little trip to Golden Gardens to take advantage of the sunshine. I have been so use to the beaches up in North Seattle area, and so I decide to need explore more of the parks around Seattle.

On the nice sunny days during the work week I would take a 30 minute lunch run around South Lake Union park. Mostly there are other runners, walkers, bicycles, and summer campers in the park. This makes a fantastic people watching moments and you could see all the tech workers hanging out on their lunch break.

Discovery Park adventure

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For a while I have been wanting to explore more of Discovery Park. M’s apartment is just walking distance to the park, so on the hottest day in Seattle we headed to the park for some lunch and to explore a new part of the park for me. I have seen the West Point Lighthouse before, so I wanted to see a part of the old Fort Lawson and see the old buildings that are left over from when the officially closed. Being the hottest day in Seattle, poor M started melt in the heat and sun. I feel sorry for dragging him out during the hottest part of the day with not much shade to be had. I ended up getting very good shots of the old falling apart buildings of the former base.

Lab Monkey Strikes!

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Funny thing to put “I love lab monkey” on my bio safety cabinet window, only to come in the next morning to someone drawing a picture of said monkey. Science is not all seriousness. When you have an awesome team of people we just are like family playing practical jokes on each other.

First Mariner’s game with M and his friends. See post: Play Ball Boys!

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 Adventures with Megan.

When Megan is in town things become more like a non stop fun fest. This girl is a kick in the pants to be around and you never have a dull moment with her. Case in point the Happy Meals On Crack. Why did Mc-D’s decide to put a very scary happy face on the side of a children’s food box? Was someone very-or should say a team of creatives/marketing high when they came up with the idea?

Megan:” is it my hangover making this box look creepy?”

Me: ” Nope, the box is creepy.”

Megan: “Looks like it is on crack.”

Me: (putting the psychedelic glasses it came with it on it)

Me: ” More like on acid!”

Just look at the pictures. One friend on Facebook wrote “Holy cow!”  Then you have to ask why two adults be buying Happy Meals? We were hung over and tired to care about what form our food came in.  Maybe creepy faces are our punishment for thinking we are kids when we are not.

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A few days we checked out my apartment’s pool and sauna. Conclusion, decent enough to swim in, and lay beside. After sunning ourselves, we decided to head to Roy’s in Edmonds for a Mac and Jacks and a burger before she left for Pullman for one last year of college.

BBQ Galore!

August was the month of BBQ! I guess with all the great hot weather Seattle has been getting lately it was time to get serious about BBQ-ing. At work we had a total of two BBQ done of the sun deck with everyone attending. A huge success since many of the social events fail terribly. M bought a Weber BBQ a year ago and never had used it until now! Our first BBQ adventure was making hamburgers and then moved on to hotdogs. Both times turned out well, and M’s BBQ-ing is up there with how my Dad does it, so M is a keeper.  At the end of August the church I attend puts on a community BBQ called Grill and Chill. This year there was BBQ hotdogs and a lot of entertainment. The bottle rocket station was one of M’s favorite things to watch, and I am guessing if he could, he would have been up there with the kids letting them off.  After the Grill and Chill BBQ, I have eaten my last BBQ hotdog for a while.

Summer Movie Nights

Saw a few new and old movies this summer. The church puts on a free movie night in the back parking lot of the church for a family movie night. This summer it was the movie Frozen, and all snacks had the Frozen theme. I’m a sucker for Disney movies (grew up on them) and was in heaven to just to be a kid again laughing at all childish jokes. Two weekends later I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard with M and M’s friend Al. The movie was good and would say more of a guys movie then a girls one. I love to watch the Marvel Comic movies, and at that point I feel like I’m a bro-girl when I go see them with M. I would recommend seeing the movie if you like misfit superheros, but it is not really for kids since there are adult jokes that will go over any kids heads.

Oh, and the Seahawks are back to defend the Super Bowl title.

On a group lunch date I had the 12th Man sushi roll at I Love Sushi in South Lake Union. Go Seahawks!

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