Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A day of rest

I took Monday off. Completely off!!! I slept in late, watched a movie, stayed in my pajamas all day, and just, relaxed! The only productive thing that I did all day was 8 loads of laundry.

Normally I feel guilty if I do nothing, even it's my day off. However, after a busy Christmas including 2 night shifts which meant 2 stretches of being up for 36 hours, I decided that it was ok to rest.

The best part about the day - I didn't guilty at all about doing nothing!

Monday, December 28, 2009

ADOBSO

ADOBSO - Attention Defic... ohh! Bright shiny object!

I have the attention span of a two year old.

Seriously, the longest that I've had a job since graduating university is 2 years.... and that was just one job. Most of the rest were a year.

Phil typically gives me six months in a job before I get bored. Thankfully in my new career, there are many things that I can do, and places I can go, so hopefully I won't get bored.

That being said, notions of grad school are already dancing in my head. And I'm not even finished my specialty certification. I'm sick in the head.

A perfect example of my lack of attention span is us getting home the other night.

I walk into the office. "Ooh, it's dark."

Walk to the hall closet where Phil turns on the light. "Ooh, its bright."

I walk two steps into the kitchen. "Ooh, we have to put our sheets back on the bed." (I saw the door to the laundry room which reminded me that our sheets were in the dryer.)

Half the time I can't keep up with how my mind got off on some new topic, so I really don't expect others to get it.

At least I'm able to entertain my hubby!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Groupon

I LOVE getting a good deal. Phil has teased me that I'm more excited about the deal than the actual item. Recently, I heard about Groupon.

Groupon uses the power of bulk buying, by joining consumers together online. Here's how it works: Groupon will post a deal each day that they have negotiated with a local vendor. Usually the deal is pretty sweet ranging from 50-75% off products or services.

If you like what you see, you click to join. If enough people join by the end of the day, your card is automatically charged and you get the sweet deal. If not enough people participate, then nothing is charged.

I haven't tried anything yet, but I'm definitely keeping an eye on it. Unfortunately, the closest city is Seattle, and I'm just not down there very often. Sorry to my Canuck readers - it's not in Canada.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Celebrating

Christmas is only a few days away and our month has been busy celebrating! We got back from Boston on December first, and a few days later attended my work Christmas party. I got to wear my fantastic red shoes, but unfortunately it was a sit down dinner, so no one really saw them. :( But I still loved wearing them!

This year I experimented with making a few gift baskets. I learned the key to these is the cellophane wrap - it completes the look.
Normally we go up to Mt. Baker and chop down our tree. However this year due to travel, work schedules and snow, we were not able to. So instead we supported our local boy scout troop and grabbed a tree here in town.
I'm not doing much holiday baking this year for two reasons. First, I'll end up eating a bunch, which I shouldn't. Second, haven't had much time! I did find some time for gingerbread cookies though!
By the time I finished wrapping on Friday evening, I had been up for 32 hours, with only two short attempts at naps, in which I didn't really sleep! I worked night shift Thursday, had a full day Friday, then hit wrapping in the evening.

I had several strategies in tackling this.

First - just get it all done in one sitting!

Second - have some good Christmas movies. I enjoyed White Christmas and Love Actually (my favorite Christmas movies!)

Third - sustenance is key. Keep the rum and eggnog flowing all evening.

This is the pile I wrapped - including several stockings worth of little things in the bags I'm holding. And yes, I know I look tired.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Souvenirs

What would a trip be without a few souvenirs? We typically go for two things in the souvenir department: Starbucks mugs and magnets.

Each city/state we go to we try to get a starbucks mug. I think we are up to about 25 of them. Unfortunately, we only found 2 Starbucks mugs, Boston and New York. But we did find cool mugs for MIT, and a cool coffee shop in Vermont.

Plus we got our cool Cheers souvenir glasses!

We started collecting magnets last year in our travels. Often there is no Starbucks mug, but we still want a little memento, and a magnet is perfect. They are cheap (usually less than $5) and you can always find them! This is our collection from this trip. The retro "We can do it" magnet is from the naval museum that employed 50,000 people during WWII, many of whom were women serving at home fulfilling men's positions in order to free up men to go and fight overseas.
However the best souvenir of all will be the memories of our fun times! Thanks for the wonderful trip Jenn and Tyler!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lobster!

Two things that I love: traveling, and good food! Combine them together and I am one happy lady!


We took a day trip up to Maine, with the express intent of going for lobster! Before lunch we walked around the beach in Portland for a bit. Truly breathtaking!

Then it was on the main event - lobster lunch! We found a deal online so decided to give the Lobster House a try. We were not disappointed! I polished off every last bite! Phil didn't order lobster but thought that I wouldn't be able to finish mine (as is often the case when we go out). Sorry honey, this time I was going for it all!
We finished the day by taking the coastal highway along the edge of New Hampshire! It was gorgeous and just made me want to go back and see it all again in the summer!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Freedom Trail

Boston is an amazing city FULL of history! To help visitors experience as much of that history as possible, there is the Boston Freedom Trail. This 2.5 mile trail winds through downtown showing tourists important landmarks from Boston's history. A handy yellow line on the sidewalk even leads you along the whole way!


We took a day with our friends to head downtown. Thankfully the Seattle weather that we had brought with us decided to let up for a day and it was beautifully sunny, although quite windy!
There is an AMAZING amount of brick in this city! And cobblestone streets!
I named this spot Brick Ally! Brick road, brick walls, brick buildings, everything brick!



A map of the freedom trail
Downtown!




We climbed to the top of this monument - 291 stairs! Honestly, coming down was almost harder because I was getting so dizzy!

We kept seeing all these short little doors! Maybe people were a lot shorter 300 years ago?
After a wonderful day of walking through the city, we set off for Plymouth Rock to see where the Pilgrims landed. We were told by our friend's family that we should perpetuate the myth that this is an incredible landmark! Sorry, just couldn't keep up the ruse.

This is it.
Apparently someone decided sometime in the 1800s, that this was the rock the pilgrims saw and landed by. Not sure how they decided this.

We capped the day off with a wonderful seafood meal, then headed home for a good night's rest!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Seeing the states

As you may have guessed, Phil and I love to travel! On our recent trip to Boston, we decided to see as many states as possible while we were there. Now, understand that when I say "see" a state, it often means just driving through. I just want to say that I have been to that state, even if it means driving to the state line, getting my picture by the sign, and driving back.

On this trip, we did manage to drive through a lot of states. We borrowed Tyler's car and set off on a 14 hour, 500 mile, 5 state adventure! Of course the weather was crappy that day, but I can still say that I've been to all those places!

We started with Rhode Island. We drove down to Newport and it was gorgeous! They had these HUGE mansions that I thought only existed in movies and novels.

Next we drove through Connecticut. This picture is supposed to be of the state line sign, but it didn't turn out that great. Oh well. In Connecticut we drove through the Yale campus, but Phil was on a mission, so we didn't stop to smell the roses. Had to move on and see more states!

After quickly dropping back into Massachusetts, we moved on to New York! No, we didn't get to see the cool city. We drove past Albany (literally, we passed it and kept moving for Vermont) and that's about it.

By the time we hit Vermont it was dark and a snow storm started. Our iPhone map lost signal and even the GPS wasn't cooperating. So we just hoped that we would make it through the storm. We did.

After Vermont, it was back to Massachusetts, and back to our friends house.
A few days later we set out to hit 2 more states. First, New Hampshire - which has the most amazing and beautiful coastline! And don't they have an awesome state motto? Live free or die! Goes back to the war of independence.
And finally Maine for a yummy lobster lunch!
Not bad for a one week trip! My goal is to one day visit all the states! I think I'm up to about 18.... just a few more to go!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

E brake?

We decided to drive to work together today since the roads were so crappy and the truck fares much better than my little car. I dropped Phil off at work, then headed to the hospital. At the end of the day I came back to pick him up, with a nice bag of take-out sushi I might add!

I pulled into the parking lot, put it in neutral, and called Phil to let him know I was there. A few minutes later he came down, and told me he would drive. Great! I started climbing out of the car, but he was giving me a weird look.

"Um, honey? Did you know that the truck is rolling backwards?"

I looked behind me. "No, actually I didn't!"

Hopped back in, pressed on the brake.

Phil just shook his head.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thank you Whistler

Last week I posted about Whistler not honoring our valid coupon. After I wrote that blog post, I emailed Whistler and posted on my twitter about it. Within several hours I had a twitter response saying that they were looking into it.

Two days later I got a call from the guest services manager apologizing for the situation. She offered to refund us one of the tickets, or to give us a complimentary ticket to use on another day. We took the complimentary ticket.

Thank you very much to Whistler for sorting this all out! Your customer service department gets two thumbs up!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Not working out today

Today is my "switch" day and I planned on getting in a quick workout. (by switch day I mean that i'm switching from day's to nights at work). I will admit, I REALLY didn't want to, but I felt that I should. Also, looking at my busy week, I probably should in order to get my 3 days in this week.

First I tried the treadmill. After 30 seconds, she slowed down and I realized that it's happened again - our garage is too cold and the treadmill just doesn't want to work. Fine. I'll go to the gym. Got dressed, out the door and down the driveway. Garage door won't close. I figured one of the cats ran under the door so I tried again. No luck. Again, no luck. Finally drove back to the top of the driveway. Checked to see if anything was in front of the sensors. Nope. No cats about. Tried several more times. No luck.

Finally I gave up and pulled my car in the garage. Tried again - it closed.

I'm going to interpret this as God/the universe/karma telling me that I'm just not supposed to workout today.

Instead I should stay in my cozy home.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On the plane

On our plane ride home from Boston, I was that person. That person that parents dread? loathe? fear? Maybe all three? I was the person that glared at the family with the screaming children.

Before you label me a horrid non-understanding person, let me explain the particulars. The family was seated directly in front of us. They had a toddler and a littler girl, probably around 4 years old. Surprisingly, the toddler was not a big problem. It was the 4 year old.

She screamed. She cried. She talked loudly. And she did not stop!

I understand during take off and landing that it can be scary, and their ears can pop and they don't know what's going on. I understand that it's a 5 hour flight, it's evening and the kids are getting tired. I sure was!

But here is what I don't understand - the parents did nothing! When she was crying and carrying on non-stop, they did not ask her to stop. They did not tell her to use her indoor voice. They did not try to see what was wrong. They just let her scream!

I didn't mean to glare at them. Mostly I was muttering under my breath to Phil that I wish they would just shut up! One time when my annoyance level was high, I looked in their direction with a glare. And of course, that is when the mom happened to look back.

So I felt kind of bad about that.

Here is what I don't get - what has happened to discipline? When I was four, there is NO WAY I would have gotten away with that. My mum would have told me to be quiet, and I would have listened!

I realize that I don't have children, and many of you are thinking "just wait!" Maybe in the years to come I will change my tune, and if so, I will be the first to admit I was wrong.

But for now, I am childless, and I want to sleep on the plane!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Whistler would not honor their coupon

On Sunday November 22, Phil and I went to Whistler eager to enjoy all the fresh powder. Whistler had opened early (as announced on their website), before it's planned November 26th opening. It was my first time going to Whistler and I was quite excited. We got up early, drove the lovely new Sea to Sky highway, and arrived at the ticket desk with our coupon from the Portland Ski and Snow Show.

The coupon is clearly a 2 for 1, as pictured below. It states that it's valid from Opening - Dec 18 then goes on to list the dates it's valid.
Whistler refused to honor the coupon! They stated that they were not officially open so they could not honor it.

Hmm... are people going up the lifts? Yes. Are they skiing and boarding down? Yes. Are you selling tickets to people? Yes. So, how are you not open?

We were told that they had not "officially" opened. "Official" opening would be as scheduled on Nov 26, when the whole mountain would open.

The service agent was very nice, but she explained that they did not have this promotion code in their system yet. We asked to speak with her supervisor. She told us the same thing. "I'm sorry. We don't have a code for this and we are not officially open yet."

Two problems with this.

First, the coupon does not state "official" opening day, or any specific date. It says opening. Had they meant Nov 26, they should have stated so!

Second, what happened to customer service???? I realize that your system may not be prepared for this specific promo code yet. However, as a supervisor, you have no ability to override or comp a ticket? Really? Sounds a bit ridiculous to me.

I plan to email Whistler. Will let you know if I hear anything back, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Boston so far

We arrived in Boston two days ago and have been having so much fun!!! We took the metro from the airport to downtown where we wandered Quincy Market and found a starbucks to settle into while we waited for Jenn.

She brought us back to their place which she refers to as being "on a pond". Umm... it's a lake. Pond is a stagnant little body of water. This is a lake. We are staying in the apartment above the garage and this is the view from the window right in front of our bed!
We get to cozy up on the most comfy bed, with gorgeous skylights and a huge window overlooking the lake. Yeah, it's really rough here :)
This is the little kitchen in the apartment.
Once we had settled in we set out to get some food, then start sightseeing! Since we wanted a low key day after flying all night, we decided to wander parts of the city. First stop - Harvard! This campus was AMAZING!! So many beautiful brick buildings with large pillars and wonderful walkways.

This is the beautiful library!
Which we weren't allowed into! :(

One of the many beautiful bridges
We searched everywhere for a large Harvard sign to get our picture by, but couldn't find one! So I settled for this picture to prove I was there.
Phil and Jenn playing on their iPhones... feeling quite left out that I don't have one.
Next we went to MIT. It's hard to see, but it actually says Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the top of the building.
We capped the evening off with dinner at Cheers..... where everyone knows your name.

A great start to a great vacation!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Overstock

I plan on doing a bunch of my Christmas shopping on this site - Overstock!! It's like a Winners/Ross/TJ Maxx, but online (therefore MUCH easier to find what you want) and with cheap shipping. I've bought from them before and have always been happy... but then again, I'm usually happy if I get a good deal! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

There is something so comforting about a nice hot bowl of soup on a cold and windy fall day. This fall, my favorite recipe is one of the simplest - Butternut squash soup.

Here is my most recent batch, all ready to go into the freezer.
Recipe:
Dice an onion and saute it in 1 Tbs of butter. In the meantime, peel (I find a paring knife works best) and chop the squash into 1 inch cubes.

Once the onions are translucent, add 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the squash and cook for approximately 20 minutes until cooked (should be about the consistency of cooked potatoes).

The next step has two options. The easiest is to use a hand mixer and blend the squash into the broth. If you don't have one, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the squash and blend it in a blender, then add it back to the broth.

Add salt and pepper and nutmeg. Don't got stingy with the nutmeg - it' the key part!!!

I usually divide it up into small ziplock containers and toss it in the freezer for easy lunches to bring to work.