Inside The Amazon Spheres

Every first and third Saturday of the month Amazon lets the public tour inside the spheres and on this particular trip, the Corps flower was ready to bloom! I will admit, I am jealous of the employees of Amazon for having access to an amazing space to work and wish more companies would utilize more nature in their buildings. The Spheres exterior is made up of 2,636 panes of glass, making it a greenhouse/bio dome effect. For the plant nerd in me I was in heaven! This living wall in 60 feet tall and expands all the way up to the fourth floor of the middle sphere. The Spheres have over 40,000 plants from cloud forests around the world. The plants inside are native to mid-elevation cloud forest ecosystems at altitudes of 3,000 to 10,000 feet. The plants are a remarkable testament to biodiversity found in nature around the world with 3,000 of the plant species coming from tropical forests. All plants present in the Spheres are sourced through collections at universities, seed growers and are not taken from the wild. There are orchids, epiphytes, succulents, and carnivorous plants hidden among all the other tropical plants. The Spheres even houses ethnological species that cure disease and some are endangered in the wild. Now this rather large plant is the Corps flower which when it blooms it will give off a smell described at rotting flesh. If you are reading this live, the flower at the time of visit was just days from opening. The flowering plant is a rare sight to behold since it takes years for the flower to fully form to bloom. The canopy walk and the birds nest are crowed favorites! The wooden boards give the effect of an old tree house when taking across them! As a scientist and a nature nerd, I highly recommend going to see The Spheres and learn more about Amazon’s innovative thinking about the how workplace spaces in urban offices should have a direct link to nature. Also on weekends the public parking garages under the Amazon buildings close by are free.

Girls Day At The Ballpark| Mariners vs. LA Angles

What more could be perfect then spend a birthday at the ball park? After all I did spend two months hammering out a four part series about it. The birthday ballgame was the Seattle Mariners vs. LA Angles, and it was little league day. During game pauses, the camera caught many of the kids dancing to the music on the jumbo screen. This made for a very entertaining day.

Thirty two years never looked so good! And a great start to another year of anything possible when you looked at this view from the beginning of the game. Just by the view we had great seats! Even eating one ballpark brat, countless handfuls of white cheddar puffs, and a few peanuts, I just could not beat how good it felt to pig out for once (training for the 5k is hard at times). Next month I will be running around this field for 5k so I look forward to “running” the bases.

I’m so thankful for these wonderful friends who made the day fun and exciting! Even with the seats being in the sun, we all some how survive the heat and may have sunburns to prove it. Also the arrow pointing to me is in reference to the other girl on my left is my birthday twin.

The game was interesting with at least one home run by the Mariners, but alas, the Mariners lost to the Angles. Maybe at the next ball game I attend the Mainers will win! Keeping fingers crossed!

Spring Has Come Finally!

Spring has finally arrived here in Seattle! As the cherry trees blossoms awash the area in whitish-pinkish color, there are many signs of spring has finally here! The tulips are starting to come out of their slumber, and the yellow heads of daffodils are shining brightly through the gray days of spring. Finally after a roller coaster ride of a winter season, spring has come.

While large crowds crammed themselves into the University of Washington’s quad full of cherry trees, the Washington Park Arboretum and the Japanese Garden’s cherry trees where in bloom minus the large crowds. For four hours I walked the winding paths through the different gardens soaking in the spring sunshine with the cherry trees and dogwood trees in full bloom.

Unexpected find in the rhododendron garden! These beauties are Camellias. They are a broad leaf evergreen shrub with pink, white and red large showy flowers. I want to have these in my garden one day!

Photography done on a Samsung Galaxy S9 phone.

The Seattle Snow Apocalypse

The storm had a name. Like a hurricane, the snow storm was called Maya. Maya had come to this part of United States, just as Lucian did in the Midwest and the East Coast. Our polar vortex, and one which involved ice sheets on hills.

The first round of the snow came Sunday evening during the Superbowl game. At this point, people were already at home either watching the most boring Superbowl game in history or like myself taking a nap with the cat after a busy morning at church. I did not miss much, only the fact the only entertainment came during the half time show when Adam Levine took his shirt off. As the game slowly progressed to the end with the enviable of the Patriots winning again (insert eye roll), the snow was starting to stick to the ground and piling up. Even Maddie the Maine Coon did not even want to go out in the snow (Maine Coons are built for snow!).

Starting to snow!

Come Monday morning there was snow still falling on the roads and low viability for many trying to commute to work early in the morning. I decided to stay safe and worked from home. There was no way I was going to get out of the driveway on a hill with an ice sheet under without crashing into a neighbors car. Come Tuesday morning I braved the cold icy roads to get to work. Yet this snow storm was not going to let all of us in western Washington off the hook easy. Nope! Another snow storm was coming our way again Friday afternoon.

Birds enjoying the snow

For the rest of the week leading up to Friday, there was a lot of checking the weather reports, consulting The Weather Channel app, and checking Cliff Mass’s weather blog for updates on what was deemed “the snow apocalypse” of 2019. Thursday afternoon I was getting updates from Instagram and Facebook showing the crazy long lines at area grocery stores of people stocking up on supplies to ride out the storm heading our way. By the time Friday morning rolled around there were empty shelves and one Safeway completely trashed from people going crazy.

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Photo: The Seattle Times

Makes you think vintage/ homesteading skills need to be tough to children and adults after witnessing this chaos.

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Photo: My Ballard

Friday morning I did not have the luxury to stay home, so I went in to work at 6 am to get stuff done before the snow was to hit. The lab I work in has these large windows that see out into the parking lot and at roughly 12:30pm the large flurries of snow started in Bothell. The food truck schedule that day was only there for 45 minutes before it left in a hurry. By 1pm our building and lab had a few scattered people around trying to finish the days work before leaving. One co-worker snagged the last show shovel on her way to work that morning and was ready to conquer the snow at this point as she carried it around with her the whole time. When I finally left at 1:30pm the snow was starting to stick in the parking lot. By this time the roads in and around Bothell Canyon Park area were packed solid from everyone trying to leave all at once. It took roughly 30-40 minutes to get out of the area as the snow kept coming down. It became an hour and a half commute home in the end.

Traffic Jam In Canyon Park Bothell

Saturday I woke up to a little bit of snow coming down. In the afternoon it was time to clear the driveway and the vehicles of snow. The neighbors around started to shovel the drive ways and even their patch of the street out front to help with traction.

The block during shoveling fest

All the snow shoveling called for a nice cup of homemade hot chocolate and some nice homemade shepard’s pie.

Sunday church was cancelled, but our pastor was creative in recording a condense version of the sermon for the day. After digging out the driveway on Saturday, we managed to drive to the grocery store for some necessities. Eggs and potatoes were still out of stock, and people were still freaking out and buying a months worth of food (which will go to waste in a few days!!) after a third storm was coming through. We managed to get some milk and English muffins knowing we still had food at home.

Woke up Monday morning to an email from work saying they were open, but please use extream caution when coming in. With another round of snow heading into the afternoon, I decided to work from home.

A foot of snow!

The snow has been piling up over the last couple to days to the point that some of the snow drifts have a total of eleven inches to one foot of snow in some parts of the yard!

Even the gnome is over this weather!

After this week is over I will probably not want to see snow again for some time! Having semi cabin fever is taking a toll. There is only so much I can do at home when it comes to work (I work in the science industry-lab work) on a laptop. Hopefully storm Maya decides to head out of Western Washington for good.

Good thing out of all this snow, having a lot of water for summer months!

Christmas Of Years Past

This girl may have been watching too much Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and now it may have gone to her head… a little. Christmas time for some reason makes past eras (1800s anyone?) seem closer than any other time of year (except for baseball season).

Image result for Miss Bennet: Christmas at PemberleyLast year a friend told me about the Meeker Mansion being all dressed up for Christmas in a Victorian theme. Every year the Meeker Mansion opens its doors day after Thanksgiving through eighteenth of December to the public for a special holiday exhibit. This special Christmas showing raises funds for the Puyallup Historical Society’s upkeep and repairs of this old historical home.

It has been a very long time since I have been down in Puyallup (last remembered 2011). When you have all the Christmas shopping done early, and need to get out of the Seattle holiday madness, go further south.

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The Meeker Mansion sits in the old part of Puyallup as a relic from a time long gone, and every year the mansion is decorated for Christmas in the late Italianate Victorian style. Ezra Meeker the man the Victorian mansion is named for was a leading pioneer (physical parts of the Oregon Trail exists today because of him), first mayor of Puyallup and the “Hop King” of his day (Washington Hops).

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Photo Credit: bookwormhistory.com

During Christmas season the house is dressed up for a Victorian Christmas. Each of the seventeen rooms on the tour are decorated ready to receive guests for a Christmas house party at any moment.

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Even the kitchen is decorated for the holidays!

Today the mansion is still undergoing painstaking work to bring all the rooms back to original decoration during the time when the Meeker’s were in residence. At the time the first and second floors of the house are completely finished to include period era furniture with all the trappings of grand house at the turn of the century. The third floor, unfortunately, is not open for exploring.

20181123_133045.jpgThe house around the time of it being built had modern convenience of having electricity and running water. As you can see the tree is plugged into an outlet in the wall that is original to the house.

Cannot have a real Victorian Christmas without a piano. This one was waiting to for Silent Night to be played.

Scene out of many of those Christmas cards!

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A little crowed at the beginning to day, but my the time I got to the first floor most of the people were already gone. I would recommend coming a little later in the day as it is not so much crowed.

Avoid The Porch Pirates This Holiday Season

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

It’s the holidays and you know what that means? Presents go missing off the porch or even under the tree or whatever you put presents under! In the past you could have a package dropped off on the porch without a problem, but those days are long gone!

Porch Pirates or as you can call them……thieves have shown up in neighborhoods across the country!

Nothing can ruin the holiday cheer like a person walking up to your house and steal in broad daylight something from you. Here in the Seattle area there has been an increase of packages missing, outdoor objects disappearing, car and home break-ins, that have caused many neighbors to start installing security cameras and the Ring doorbell to deter or catch these people in the act.

Still, there are simple things to do to protect those packages during the holidays and year round.

1. Get a P.O. Box
It is a federal crime to steal someone else’s mail or packages. BUT, it has not stopped people! A few years ago I signed up for a P.O. Box at the local post office after mail started disappearing out of the street mailbox. Anything deemed to be important (bills, banking, birthday cards, etc.) is sent to the P.O.Box and anything not important (advertisements, catalogs, etc.) goes to the street mailbox. Any packages sent to the P.O. Box will be held securely in a locked box and the key along with the notification will be put in your P.O. Box for you. Anything that is too big would be held securely with a notification to pick it up put into the box as well.

2. Send It To Work
Some employers allow employees to send their packages to their work’s address. My current employer gives this option to all employees to send their personal packages (things consider valuable or health related) to the shipping receiving department. This option is only secure as the environment you work in. 

3. Amazon Lockers, Amazon Hub & BoxLock
Amazon Locker is a self-service parcel delivery service offered by online retailer Amazon. Amazon customers can select any Locker location as their delivery address, and retrieve their orders at that location by entering a unique pick-up code on the Locker touch screen. However, certain third-party sellers on Amazon may not be able to ship to an Amazon Locker, due to their use of other shipping services such as FedEx or UPS that require a signature. Amazon Hub is a delivery locker for apartment lobbies. The delivery locker accepts packages from all carriers (FedEx or UPS).

The BoxLock is a new app-based lock connects with delivery companies designed to prevent theft of delivery packages left by the front door. In addition to the anti-theft aspect, packages are protected from bad weather. When couriers get to your house, they scan the package for their system (they all use handheld mobile scanners) and then scan the label with the BoxLock. Once the label is approved by the lock, it opens and allows the driver to leave the package inside. After you get a notification of delivery.

4. UPS Stores
If you know the carrier is UPS, you can have it held at the UPS store location for pick up. Customers receive a notification telling them their package is ready for pickup at any of their 9,000 store locations.

5. Signature Required
By having a signature required, shippers cannot leave the package without a signature from you. UPSP recommends this for those who will not be able to receive the package at a certain location (home).

Or get a whole new security system

 Ring Doorbell System & Google’s Nest System
I have seen recent notifications on Facebook about neighbors sharing neighborhood watch videos from their Ring doorbell. If it was not for one said neighbor I may not have known there was a suspicious man walking up to people’s houses when no one was home on our block! The same goes for Google’s Nest system. I friend of mine recently installed on for her home and she has a peace of mind now after her house was broken into. I know there will be a security system in my stocking this year!

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Ring Doorbell

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Google Nest Doorbell

With these simple ways of protecting against package thievery from ruining the holiday cheer, you will have a merrier holiday season!

 

Disclosure: This post does not contain affiliate links or paid advertisement for the products mentioned above. I do not make a commission on any of the above products.  All opinion are my own!