Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Thanksgiving Dinner

Today I cooked a post Thanksgiving Dinner for Rob and I. I love cooking and felt bad that I didn't get to cook for Thanksgiving. So tonight I made a big dinner for us. We'll eat leftovers for the reast of the week until we leave town this weekend.

I cooked...
Fresh Rolls
Green Beans
Oriental Cole Slaw
Cranberry Jelly (for rob)
Chocolate Cheesecake pie

Yum! I forgot to take a picture. Back to work tomorrow. Only a 4 day week for me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home Again. Home Again.

We had a great Thanksgiving with Dave and Tami and then we headed down to Oregon for 2 nights. Wine tasting was fun as always. We came home with 3 skeins of yarn and 2 cases of wine! Our new favorite winery was Lawton and my old favorite was Styring. For being valued customers they gave us complimentary tasting and a free wine dogs calendar. I think I tasted a little too much since I got really sick later that evening but it was so fun nonetheless. It's so good to be home.

We stopped to pick up a turkey to cook on Sunday and before we put it away it was on the kitchen counter. Then we heard a thump and this is what we saw.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Gratitude, appreciation, or thankfulness is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

Here is a small list of what we are Thankful for this year.

1. The happiness and health of all of our family and friends
2. Our own health, happiness, and home
3. Our cats and especially Stewie's health, she is now 100% cone less
4. For this year, our jobs. Let's hope that both Rob and I can keep ours through 2009.
5. Travel. We're so grateful that we get to travel as much as we do and see different parts of the world, especially now when it's just the two of us.
6. I'm thankful that I have a yoga studio within 5 blocks of my house. My physical and mental discipline and ease of mind since starting a regular yoga routine has really given me a stress free life.
7. Rob is thankful that I like to cook (see pic below)

8. And we are thankful that we get to see sunsets like this outside of our living room window

Have a great Thanksgiving - make sure you give a Thanksgiving shout out to everything you are grateful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Calling All Meat Lovers!

A few weeks ago we purchased 1/8th of a cow from Baron Farms. Yes, that's 1/8 of an entire cow. We eat alot of meat, especially in the winter. In terms of shopping, I loathe Safeway (unless it's frozen veggies) and QFC. Costco is not far behind either... so that really leaves us with little choice for meat unless I want to pay 1 million dollars for meat at Whole Foods, which by the way I have only ever purchased dates there, and don't plan to return.

Alas, we found Baron Farms offered which offered 3 important factors for meat buying
1. Supporting your local farm business in Washington
2. All meat is grass fed, yet you don't have to call for the organic label (scam/hype)
3. 3.99 a lb, where can you beat that price?!

We locked in our order while it was still in the pasture. It was delivered to use the day after it was cut up and flash frozen. Thank goodness we had room in the freezer for 90 lbs of beef. This is what we got with our order.

2 - 8oz Tenderloin/Filet Mignon
3 - 12oz
3 - 14oz Rib Eye
1 - 10oz Top Sirloin Steak
1 - 3oz Sirloin Tip Steak
1 - 4lb Chuck Roast
1 - 4lbs Bottom Round Roast
1 - 3lb Brisket/Tri-Tip/Flank Steak1
1 - 3lb London Broil
1 - 4lb Cross Rib Roast
24 bags - of 1 lbGround Beef
1 - 1lb - Fajita Meat
1 - 1 lb Stew/Kabob Meat
2 - 1lb Short Ribs
2 - 2lbs Soup Bones

We've had a few friends who are now interested in going in with us for another order. If you eat a lot of meat, I encourage you to stock your freezer and support your local farmer.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Local Blog Shout Out

As you may already know, we live in Beacon Hill. It's an area just south east of Seattle, but still very close to downtown. It takes me about 15 minutes by bus to get to work, I just can't justify driving even if I wanted to. We really like living here. It's great to live in a neighborhood that is up and coming yet you see the same faces at community events, we are all trying to make it a better place. We will have a light rail starting in summer 2009 as well as a fancy new park, so it's great to see the change here. I see the same people from the library, to yoga, to the veggie stand, to the coffee shop and lawn bowling that's a great feeling especially since I am so far from where I grew up and this feels like home. I read a few Beacon Hill, Georgetown, and Columbia City blogs because they are the most local news that I can find.

Here are a few that I like:
Mid Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill Blog
North Beacon Hill
Beacon Lights
Blogging Georgetown
Columbia City Blog

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vegas Pictures

What a beautiful weekend in Seattle. Today the weather was just perfect for a fall day. After sleeping in a little (we had a late night at a friend's party), we made breakfast and worked outside for the majority of the day. I spent some time composting and mulching the flower gardens and cleaning it up so we don't have a complete mess during the winter.

I'm so excited that this is a short Holiday week.
Below are a few pictures from Vegas.
Big winner at the penny slots!
Looking at the Paris Casino from the Bellagio

Saturday, November 22, 2008

That State Up North

Today was the 105th game between Michigan and Ohio State. I decided to watch the game at Rocksport for the first time all season. I've begun to realize that a lot of Michigan fans when faced with a hard season are mean. I can't stand watching football in a bar packed with people who shout, "you suck!" 'what are you doing?!", "why couldn't you catch that?!" so I've been just watching the games at home this year. Maybe I'm sensitive to it because when I played basketball in High School, a fan once threw trash at me while yelling "you suck!" on the court because they didn't like our team's 4 corner offense. No - Michigan hasn't played well most of the year and yes - it's tough to watch them have the worst season in history. But let's not forget... It's just a game. It's fun! These guys are 18, 19, 20, 21 years old. They are kids, they play football and go to school. Maybe next year will be better. Maybe it won't, but one thing is for sure - These two teams will meet for the 106th game and I'll be watching and cheering on Michigan no matter how bad they are.

In honor of another great football Saturday (Go Cougs!), here are some of my favorite college football team tshirts.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shout out to the nerds

It's Friday, and it's been a good week at work.

Call me cliche or campy, but I love my job. Much of this has to do with a high concentration of nerd/inch^2 of my footprint. But as an aero structures stress analyst at a non-disclosed aircraft company, I feel like I play for a living instead of toil. Every day draws me excited to work on something interesting. Well, most days - there's always those days in every job.

Anywho, I won't bore you with the gory details. But aside from the nominal grind, I'll recall my past Thursday and Friday for example. I tinkered around with analytical and numerical analysis methods to modify existing and design new airframe structure in section 41 to install a closed-loop compressed air actuation system for strength, vibration, and fatigue criteria. Not only is the system itself rather complicated, but it's a matter of fitting it all within a haystack of available real estate so that a mechanic can access everything. In my short seven year professional career, I've seen much more intimidating and exciting than that, but I still find it rewarding working on "stuff" like this. Considering how much of my live will be spent in an office, it sure is a blessing that I enjoy it as much as I do!

I remember back in high school, my classmates used to talk endlessly about how much fun college would be, and how much they can't wait to get out of high school. I speculated most did not think much beyond the college years as something that could live up to the fun of being in college. I remember saying once, almost without realizing it, that I was looking forward to busting my hump in college so I could have good career options after college. Don't get me wrong - I had a lot of fun in college, but I also worked myself to the bone along the way. Because of this, I'm thankful to appreciate what I've worked towards and how lucky I am to enjoy my days at the office every day!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Funny Video Thursday

Cat Stuck in a Box @ Yahoo! Video

Maybe this will be a new Thursday theme. I don't know. I think this is an extremely funny video and I like for many reasons.
1. Brian does this same thing and it's so funny
2. Brian doesn't get stuck in the box because he is not fat like this cat
3. I love how when the cat gets stuck in the box, he goes to the next box thinking he might somehow be saved.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lebowski Fest Seattle 2009

The question is, will there be a Lebowski Fest 2009 in Seattle?

A little off normal subjects here, for one night at least. I am generally a pretty big fan of the movie despite its crudeness and hilarious vulgarity... but until recently I did not know so many Lebowski fests existed. Strangely enough, I probably wouldn't fit in with 98% of the others attending... unless there are as many people who, like me, consider Walter Sobchak a slight edge above The Dude in this film. Don't get me wrong, there is much to find hilarious about The Dude, and I do. But I have to admire Walter for the genius portrayed by John Goodman.

Back to the point. Apparently there was a Lebowski Fest in Seattle a year and a half ago. No clue on when/if the next will occur. But, the good news is I am officially on the mailing list. Stay tuned as updates warrant!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hello from Vegas!

I've been in Vegas since Sunday night. I met my sister down here and took advantage of one of the travel deals that Rob just linked to on the previous post. I was able to snag a direct flight to Vegas for about $200. We're staying at the MGM Grand, which is one of my favorite casinos, I'm not sure why. While we've been here we have really taken advantage of Tix4Tonite. On Sunday night we got tickets to see V, the Ultimate Variety Show. That was good, it was light, funny, and entertaining. That's about all you could ask for. Last night we got front row seats to see LOVE, the Cirque du Soleil show around all the old Beatles music. To Ang and I, Beatles music is just a one of the great memories of being growing up and thinking back to when we were kids. Mom and Dad played Beatles music on all of our many road trips, so it was a a fitting decision to see this show. The show was awesome. We got the tickets for about $85 and regular price is $120. It was a great deal and the show was unbelievable, the music was great and the seats were almost too close!

I'm coming home tonight and I can't wait to see Rob!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Next year's vacation?

It's half way through November. What is typically on your mind this time of year?

Well, aside from Thanksgiving plans, of course. If you were a fly on the wall in our house, you would most likely be hearing us talking about and planning our next big trip for our usual spring vacation.

I'm not really sure when this tradition started. Generally speaking, Allison and I make one big trip a year. Usually it is international travels, anywhere from 1-2 weeks in duration. Since moving to Seattle, we set the time frame to be early spring. This is important, as it breaks up the rain and cold weather before our spectacular (seriously) and precious (very much so) summer months.

What is different about this November? We haven't set our vacation yet!

By this point, we would likely have flights booked and at most a small handful of accommodations left to finalize. There are a few discrete reasons explaining this. Recent years brought us to enjoy Italy and Thailand, both of which were huge on our lists and did not disappoint. I suppose next on my list is South America (Argentina, Chile, or Brazil) or Scotland, but I have to admit I'm not partial for any one particular location. Although all the rumblings are how bad the economy is right now, fortunately we're not finding ourselves in tough circumstances. Besides, have you looked at some of the incredible travel deals available right now? The incentives and price drops are fantastic. The US$ continues to strengthen (Italy sounds better now than it did 2 years ago!), and the more we take far flung travels, the more comfortable we feel for the next one.

So, why the lack of excitement?

Short answer is, I don't know. I think Allison is not as lethargic on the issue as I, although I can sense she is at least partially in my corner on this. On the bright side, by not committing early, if we see something pop out at us in our regular scouring of,, Valarie D'Elia, and, we can make that snap decision for a great time on a great deal. This is exactly how we nabbed one of our all-time favorite vacations to Ireland in the spring of 2004, after hearing the incredible deal mentioned on Valarie's old weekend radio show on 710 WOR.

So maybe that's just as well, and we'll simply keep our minds open at this point. Feel free to comment if you have any suggestions! We would love to hear of your great experiences and recommendations.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some more snowboarding this year?

I don't aim to get ahead of myself, but it's looking likely I'll make it through the next couple of weeks. Next couple of weeks in snowboard instructor training, that is. But, it's no guarantee I'll be hired even after the training. And that's not even including if I push myself to be AASI certified... One thing at a time.

Back when I was in high school, I did one season of training at Swiss Valley in Jones, MI. Although it was a good job experience, I didn't get much teaching experience there.... only had my chances with a couple of lessons. I'm not certain on the exact number, but let's just acknowledge the positives: I got plenty of use out of that complimentary season pass. And hot cider. Bonus!

I like to refer to it as the Alps of southwest Michigan, although most people who know the place (including me) would tend to disagree. But hey, when I was in grade/high school, that was a decent place to have some fun skiing/snowboarding unless you wanted to spend some serious hours in a car or hop on an airplane.

Right, back to this year. At this time, I don't want to jinx myself so I will not disclose where I aim to instruct this year. It's only about 40min from my house, and that should sufficiently tip off any local readers. For the rest of you, to be continued...


I forgot to post yesterday. I can't believe. Hopefully this will be my only miss all Novemember. Ang and I are knitting in the hotel room at MGM Grand getting ready to see a show tonight. More to come.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Favorites

Wine! In an effort to start to get excited for our Thanksgiving weekend trip down to McMinnville to partake in the holiday open house that they do every year. I thought I would make a list of my favorite wines right now.

Maryhill Winemaker's Blend. This is a GREAT low cost wine that is a blend of CabSav,Merlot and Syrah. We've actaully been to this winery before, it's right on the Columbia River in Washington and has a beautiful setting and summer concerts. It's available at QFC and our local Red Apple, which is a great treat.

Typically we are not fans of Rose wine, but on a nice hot day this is a great way to wind down an evening. Elk Cove does it right. Rob loves all of their wines, but I prefer this Rose. We really couldn't keep it in the house this summer in fear that we'd be drinking it every night.

Lazy River Wine at Carlton Winemakers Studio
This was a really nice surprise wine that Rob's parents brough home for us when they were visiting Willamette Valley. It was a beautiful pinot. It was light and had the best flavor!

Styring Vineyards“Whimsy” Willamette Valley Dry Riesling 2003
Not only is this one of my favorite wineries, with one of my favorite dogs, but they also hosted a great open house last year. It was a great setting. In the meantime Rob and I fell in love with the Dry and sweet Reisling - they will be a must visit on our list this year too.

Ok - Now I am excited! PS. I am leaving on Sunday to meet my sister in Vegas. In the meantime I think Rob will be posting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Let's keep that winning streak rolling!

Last week's win at the Metrodome (possibly the classiest active sports arena, since the Silverdome was put out to pasture a few years back) was a pleasant surprise! In an effort to over-sandbag, I expect nothing above another flogging this weekend. It's always nice to set your expectations nice and low, to prevent unnecessary disappointment.

Speaking of football, thankfully I never really cared enough about pro football when I lived in Michigan to pledge allegiance to the Lions. But, then again, the Seahawks aren't far ahead! Despite that, I was finally able to get an affordable ticket for this weekend, so I will finally get to experience a game at Quest Field. A skillful routing delivered by the Arizona Cardinals is on the Sunday forecast.

And finally, carrying on from yesterday's posting, all you Bond enthusiasts have a good flick to catch this weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Rob and I are going to a special sneak peak premier of Quantum of Solace, which is the new Bond Movie, tonight. I was able to scam some tickets through work and knew that Rob would be happy to accompany me to the movies for this occasion only. We typically cringe at the thought of going to a movie at the theatre, but for the 007 - we wouldn't miss it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mariner's Socks

A few days ago I started making Mariner's Socks. I guess I am getting ready a little early for spring training. My friend, becky, got this yarn for me at stitch and pitch this year and it's perfect for Spring Forward. Also here is a picture that I snapped of Stewie sitting on my knitting projects. She is so cute!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Next Project

I have 3 favorite patterns right now and once I finish the windowpane coat - which by the way looks awful on all of the models in the link above. AND all the posts say things like "I would never make this for myself" so now I wonder if I even should have made it for myself. Maybe it's going to look really bad on me? AUGH. I will be looking for the next sweater to make when I finish the windowpane. Which of these 3 do you think should be on my next project list?

Last Night on the ferry out of this Rowen pattern book. It has some amazing patterns!

And what about this sweater. It seems like the pattern doesn't come in English, but I really love it all the same. I think the pattern book is here.

This pattern was originally going to be my next project. The pattern is from SweaterBabe. I love this sweater, but I also love the above 2...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Knitting Update

Leaf Lace Scarf

Needles: US 8 Knit Picks Options, 32"
Started: Oct. 8th, 2008
Completed: Oct. 27th, 2008
Modifications: None
I made this scarf for my sister for her birthday using yummy malabrigo lace yarn. It's so soft. I have 4 skeins and I think I might make a scarf with each one since it's just so soft, they will make great gifts.
Today, since I was sick most of the day, I spent the day frogging old projects and re-winding my yarn to clean up my stash. It was really almost as good as going shopping for more yarn. It was as if I uncovered some treasures! I should have more knitting related posts this week. I have a lot of knitting going on right now.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Keeping It Real - Degrassi Style

If you've never seen or heard of Degrassi High... you are seriously missing out. If the names
Wheels, Snake, and Joey aren't familiar to you, the you didn't have a chance to connect with real kids with real high school problems.

Degrassi is an old Canadian teen drama that we used to watch when I was in school (grade school). When you grow up watching Canadian television, then you understand that this teen drama was far superior then anything seen in the US - 90210, Hey Dude, or even Fifteen. Rob and I would watch old episodes in college. In Houghton, there isn't much to do when it snows from October - May, so watching Degrassi was great way to keep it real.

don't think he realized that there were 3 seasons that he missed. So as a special treat we rented it on Netflix. Over the last 2 weeks, we've been watching a few episodes a night to catch up. It really covers on all the important teen drAma (to pronounce like a true Canadian).

Just to name a few (courtesy of
Date Rape
Teen Pregnancy
Eating Disorders

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday night lights

Friday, it is! Not much going on tonight, so I thought it was time for some laughs.

It's a little over 4 minutes, but also very amusing.

Rain barrels UPDATE: Still overflowing.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday pinch hitting

Yes, I am filling in again, tightly gripping the yoke in the first officer's seat.

Some local news - The rain season is in full force, with a "pineapple express" forecast for tonight. Can't say I've been through one of those before. Now that the gutters are all re-installed and the rain barrels are hooked up, I'm pretty sure they will be overflowing until March. I'd get some pictures, but it's dark and rainy outside, for the love of Pete! All this rain eventually means snow in the cascades, once it gets cold enough up there. It's already piling up in Whistler/Blackcomb, and it's time to get some mileage out of our new-used snowboarding gear this season. Thank you craigslist!

New Peak-2-Peak gondola this year!

It's tough to predict what's in store for this weekend, at this point. Al seems to be developing a cold, just after we both recovered from that nasty 3-week super-duper-extender-bender cold that it seems everybody has gotten this season. The good (and bad) news is that the Michigan-Minnesota battle for the Little Brown Jug is on ESPN, so if plans to meet up and watch with others at the bar falls through, at least we can catch the game from the command of my own remote control.

TGIF, 'round the corner!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

RIP Michael Crichton

I can't say I've read more than a few of his books, nor am I a fan of ER, but I have to pay tribute to the spectacular mind and author that was Michael Crichton.

Having written State of Fear, I always wanted to see him debate Al Gore from his opposing point of view on the human causes and solutions to the "climate crisis."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


So I joined a dodgeball league with some of my fellow co-workers. We play for 6-8 weeks on Monday nights. We've played for two weeks so far and we are bad. Even though we have lost most games, we've had a ton of fun. Last night Rob came too to cheer us on. Not that I want to brag, but this week I won the player of the week. This is the write up they had on the site.

"This weeks Player of the Week is awarded to Allison Gifford. Allison went completely Kenji Jojima style and caught every ball thrown her direction. Soft throws: caught. Screaming line drives: caught. It was confirmed afterwards that no illegal substance was applied to Allison's hands and all catches were clean. Even though team Last Kid Picked couldn't pull out the victory, miss Gifford easily took home this weeks Player of the Week award. Congrats Allison!!!"

Monday, November 03, 2008

Two favorite links

I want to share two of my favorite sites to visit right now.

If you are a fan of mad men - you might like to refer to What would don draper do
I also like to visit this site for a good laugh - Stuff that white people like.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Maris Farms for Halloween

Last Wednesday I had an outing at Maris Farms in Buckley, WA. Buckley is a good hour away from Seattle, but with a chartered bus and drinks along the way.. it wasnt bad at all. At the farms they have a huge corn maze and a haunted fores. The forest is only open on the weekends (unless you have a special corporate event I guess) and I HIGHLY recommend it. It was so well done, I screamed many times and it felt like I was in a movie set. So fun. Pictures below - I even had a pixie stick. It was great!

Saturday, November 01, 2008


Thanks to a great suggestion from Liz, I too will be joining NaBloPoMo which is the National Blog Posting Month. During this time (November) you post one posting every single day. That seems a bit much (especially for me) and I don't think I have enough to post (I'm really not that exciting) but I will sure try. In the meantime - This is my post for November 1st.

Happy Weekend!