Sunday, December 14, 2008

Why I love living in Washington

Bitter cold to grip NW for several days
10:59 AM PST on Sunday, December 14, 2008
By Staff and Associated Press


SEATTLE - A blanket of snow and ice covering much of Western Washington is making getting around a challenge - and it could last for several days before the region warms up again.

The National Weather Service says it will likely be the most prolonged streak of sub-freezing weather since December of 1990.

"Expect that when you walk outside it's going to be freezing," KING 5 Meteorologist Chris Warren said "What might end up making this unusual is that we don’t pull out of it very quickly."

The cold air mass is expected to sit over the region for the rest of the week with most all of Western Washington remaining near or below freezing even during the daytime.
The cold stretch could exceed a six-day span of cold that occurred at SeaTac in December of 1990.


Subfreezing temperatures for six whole days?! What will we do in the "bitter" cold?

If only I were back in the toasty Midwest.

Wait . . .

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

So, I've really gotten back into for-real cooking recently. Why? I guess realized that I have the time now that Liam is a bit older and napping more predictably, and I really do enjoy the process--and the product, of course. Still, it is nice not to have to be putting dinner together just when Liam is waking up from his nap. So I was stoked to come across this awesome blog:

A Year of CrockPotting

The woman who created the blog made a New Year's resolution at the start of 2008 to use her Crock-Pot every day of this year. And she has posted all of her recipes on the blog, along with her notes and witty side comments. I especially like that her recipes aren't all of the beef-stew variety. Sure, I love beef stew, but it's nice to see that you can get a lot of variety out of a slow cooker!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Well, I'm a convert: I now love Fall. I hated it in Illinois (please don't send death threats), but it's beautiful here in the Northwest! What got to me in Illinois was the knowledge that despite the beautiful colors, Fall meant all the trees would be bare for the next seven months. (Remember, I didn't grow up with deciduous trees, so this was a terrible shock to me.) But here in Washington, the October hillsides are an amazing tapestry of yellows, oranges, reds, and--get this--deep greens. The hearty helping of evergreens will help get me through the colder (and, in the case of Olympia, rainier) months to come. Huh. I just thought about how fitting the name Mount Rainier is for a place like this (if you discount the gorgeous summer months). Coincidental, though--the volcano was actually named for Admiral Something-or-Other Rainier.

This autumn I have discovered another interesting fact about Washington: apple trees are everywhere. I don't mean that this is the U.S. capital of apple production (which it is); I mean apple trees are common yard decoration. It seems like every third house has at the very least one tree heavily laden with fruit.

Speaking of fruit, we have a cherry tree in the backyard, but we didn't get to sample any cherries this summer--the raccoons got to them first. (They did the same with the grapevines on the deck.)

Summer also brought me a revelation about blackberry bushes: they're actually a nuisance plant here. They billow over everything, drowning all plants in their path. I think blackberry thorns were responsible for flattening one of the tires on Liam's stroller. But the berries were sure tasty! Our long walks may have yielded a flat tire, but they also yielded some yummy on-the-move snacks.

It seems like apple trees and blackberry bushes grow in Washington yards the way mango trees grow in Hawaii yards, or the way . . . uh . . . the way . . . um . . . never mind. I can't think of anything in Illinois that is a good comparison. Suburbs, maybe? I guess that's fairly accurate; suburbs grow in everyone's backyard there--in Chicagoland, at least.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Okay, either Spanish speakers are, in general, smarter and way more intuitive than English speakers, or Kidde has a callous--and racist--disregard for their well-being.

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, a long time ago we bought a one-hand squeezy pepper mill:

The great thing about it is that you can use it with one hand. But the terrible thing about it is that you can use it with one hand:

Friday, September 19, 2008

So, we drove out to the ocean last weekend. Being the anal people we are (each in our own way, of course), we looked at maps online the night before. And we noticed something interesting:

No, I'm not referring to New London, nor am I referring to what must be the 300th Ocean City in the nation. I'm not even referring to the town of Aloha. Let's take a closer look:

Yes, folks, it's Humptulips. In the words of Steve, "Humptulips--it's where tulips come to mate."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

So, I've discovered something I really hate about Washington state. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's pretty bad--the flag. It's so boring. Have a look:

I mean, honestly. George Washington never even came here. The very least they could do is add some evergreens along the sides. The Illinois flag is looking pretty good to me now:

Apart from that, I'm not really experiencing much of the negative culture shock that's typical when you move somewhere new. The only other bad thing I can think of is the coffee shops and huts in which all of the baristas wear bikinis. But that's really more ridiculous than annoying, and there aren't many of them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We saw this in a parade in Winlock, WA. Have they not seen Wayne's World?!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

almost home

These are the last few photos from our Illinois-to-Washington trip. Sorry it's taken me so long to post them.


Our bed and breakfast in the Olympia area. The moving truck wasn't going to arrive for another day, so we needed a bed to sleep in. Bummer that it was such a bad location. :)

Jackson is so patient with Liam (though you can tell he's not thrilled that Liam is sitting on him).

Welcome to Washington

I was waiting for this sign, but it almost slipped by before I could snap a photo.

Our hotel "room" (more like townhouse) in Spokane was amazing, and it was incredibly cheap.

I think the absolute hole we stayed in the previous night might have been more expensive than this place. What a nice pick-me-up after that disastrous night in Butte. Then again, we didn't know the disaster that awaited us later in the evening. . . .

We went out for a delicious dinner with my childhood friend (and bridesmaid) Kathleen. I think we hadn't seen her since 2000 or 2001! It was wonderful to spend time with her. I'm bummed that we didn't get any photos, but hopefully we'll see her more often now that we live a lot closer.

We left Jackson in the hotel room while we went out, because he hates being left in the car, and we'd had to do that every time we ate at a restaurant for the whole trip. (Most hotels don't allow you to leave your dog in the room unattended, but this one did. Little did they--and we--know . . .)

Apparently, Jackson was frantic when we left. He hates it when we leave him anywhere (except home--and he doesn't even really like it when we do that). He goes nuts and does whatever he can to follow us. I suppose we should've known this would happen. If only we had put up the blinds! I can't imagine all the howling that the other hotel guests had to deal with. Bottom line: $400 worth of damage. No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were. (Yes, I know it's ridiculous--two sets of blinds for $400?!)

a few more Yellowstone videos

Fountain Paint Pot

This is a bison calf on the walkway at Fountain Paint Pot. I did not zoom in; (s)he really was that close to us. Before you write a comment chastising us for putting Liam (and the bison) in danger, let me say that we had absolutely no choice. The bison were surrounding us, and they kept getting closer. There was nowhere to go. (That didn't stop a woman who saw this happen from giving us a good talking-to. I guess she thought we should've used our jet packs to blast up and away.)

This is Old Faithful right at the end of an eruption:

I couldn't help taking this video of the Firehole River. The scenery and the sounds were too beautiful.

yet more Yellowstone stuff

This coyote was munching on some sort of carcass:

Video of the coyote. You can hear Jackson whining in the background. I'm narrating the video, but you probably can't hear me, because I had about 1% of my voice left by this point.

I'm pretty sure this is the island in the Firehole River on which my family had lunch back in 1987 or so:

geothermal feature by Fountain Paint Pot:

While we were at Fountain Paint Pot, this herd of bison came strolling up. There was nowhere we could go; they were surrounding us (I'll also post a crazy video).

Saying goodbye to Yellowstone (north entrance):

These are a couple of awesome photos our friend Scott took in Billings.

Jackson enjoyed having his own bed at our hotel in West Yellowstone.

more Yellowstone photos

There were quite a few animal remains in this area. We think perhaps this is an area where predators (wolves?) hunt and/or eat.

A couple geothermal features we saw along the road

Friday, June 20, 2008

Okay, I have three minutes until the planned Blogger outage. Enough for a few words: We now have Web access in our home, which is excellent. Check for updates to this blog in the next few days, including a bunch more photos of Yellowstone.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I don't have a lot of time to write at this moment, as I'm swamped with cleaning, unpacking, calling utilities, etc. But I just wanted to say that we arrived safely on Wednesday, and we are sleeping in our house for the first time tonight! I will post more photos and comments from our journey--and some of our new home--soon. (Hopefully we'll have Internet access at the house soon, which would make that a lot easier. At this point, I have to go to a coffee shop to use my computer.)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Old Faithful

I love the way the steam melds with the clouds in this shot:

On Monday morning, we drove into the park for the second time. At the ranger station, there was a sign saying that Beartooth Highway was closed again. Apparently, there were a couple avalanches two hours or so after we drove by!

Butte. Perhaps the less said about Butte, the better. I don’t think we’ll be staying there again. Our hotel, our hotel room, our dinner options . . . Yeah, the less said, the better. :)


I've been trying to blog for the last few days, with little success. Our hotel in Butte said it had wireless, but it would take minutes--literally minutes--to load a page. And now, in Spokane, I keep getting a "Bad Request" message when I try to upload photos to my blog. Ugh. I've been working on this for hours now, and we need to get ready to leave. I'm going to have to try to post all this when we get to Olympia, I guess. It might be a few days. Sorry.

more Yellowstone

Firehole River

Mammoth Hot Spring

Jupiter Terrace:

Minerva Terrace, currently inactive:

Liberty Cap, a dormant hot spring cone:

Palette Spring:

detail of running water and mineral deposits at Palette Spring:


Pronghorn are the fastest land mammals in the New World.

Female pronghorn and young high up on the hillside:

Male pronghorn: