Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Funny Cat Video

Brian has been doing this for years. It's creepy yet funny. Finally I was able to catch it on video.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inn at Langley

We're sitting here enjoying Christmas Eve at the Inn at Langley on Widbey Island. We came up here last night and decided to spend two nights. What a great place! The room is amazing, the views are incredible, and the breakfast is wonderful. We're enjoying a little R&R before we head back to Seattle tomorrow (Christmas Day).
woke up to this view from our bed this morning!

Rob - opening some wine last night. August Cellars 2007 Rose

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday Funny

I haven't been in the mood for blogging lately, but I did see this funny today. I found it on an article from the "The Sporting Blog" titled: Unsurprisingly, Brian Kelly Scorned by Cincinnati, Welcomed by Golden Domers.
"On the bright side: He's already a student favorite in South Bend, mostly because he's not Charlie Weis."
I am going to leave my own commentary off of this since I don't have anything good to say about Notre Dame, the old coach, or the new coach.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Baby Gifts

It's been raining babies at my office lately, which means I have been able to do some fun knitting. Below is a picture of one of my work friend's little girl, Lauretta. She is wearing a sweater and headband that I made for her. The headband has a small pink flower on it.

The headband was just seed stitch band that I made up. The sweater was made with some leftover Cascade EcoWool I had. The pattern is an old standby that I use often because it's so easy. It's called the Eyelet Yoke Cardigan and it''s free from Lion Brand.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you have a great Thanksgiving? We did. The morning started off with a nice yoga and meditation sequence of gratitude. Then I brought my pumpkin and sour cream apple pie down to Matt and Akiko's for a dinner with friends and their family. Of course, no evening is complete without a game of Rock Band. I have finally graduated from singing to the guitar!

I hope you gave thanks to everything and everyone you are thankful for. I know I did!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Video camera

The other day I received this new Flip Camera Ultra HD in the mail. I didn't realize that I had completed a survey in which I was entered to win this camera. And I won! I already had a thirty minute one from a few years ago but this one is much nicer. It holds an hour and thirty minutes of video and it's in HD.

Since there isn't anything exciting going on. I just took a video of the Roomba.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers at Neumo's

Neumo's in Capital Hill. Not my favorite venue in Seattle by any stretch of the word. However, when your favorite band plays there I have to go, right? Right. Rob and I met up with friends at Oddfellows for dinner and drinks and walked over to see the show.

It was surprisingly good because SK was the middle band and both the opening and headlining act were great despite the fact that we had no idea who they were. Here is a list of who we saw.

Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Belated Halloween

I forgot to post about Halloween. This year we went to a Halloween party hosted by our friend's who live a few neighborhoods over. They turned their garage and walkway into a really spooky party house and they even had dead pig heads from the butcher shop. Gross! Anyway, we had a lot of fun and after the part was over.... we stayed up till 3am playing Rockband. This year I dressed as a taco and Rob was a Ghostbuster.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Steve Martin performing with the Steep Canyon Rangers:Evening of Blue Grass and Banjo At Benaroya Hall

A few months ago Rob noticed that these tickets were available and he picked them up right away because he knows how much I love Steve Martin and this was a concert we didn't want to miss. The show was on Tuesday night, so we decided to go to Happy Hour before the show. I heard that Sazerac has a great happy hour. I don't usually like restaurants that are attached to hotels because I always think that the food is mediocre because the restaurant will always be full regardless of the food. I was wrong on this one. Sazaerac had a great happy hour and great food to offer. My favorite item was the goat cheese filled dates wrapped in bacon. Taking two of my favorite foods and wrapping in bacon can't be a bad thing. We walked out spending about $31. What a steal!

On to the show. Not only was it Steve Martin, but it was also a band that he met in North Carolina called The Steep Canyon Rangers who were great! They play both with Steve and then about 4 songs without Steve. Alone, they were a great show as well. With Steve it was only that much better! Words don't do it justice. Check out the Seattle Times review and the clip on Youtube of "Orange Blossom Special" which was an encore the best rendition that I have heard of this song.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Who is in charge here?

Last week while watching my favorite episode of the old 90210 I noticed a spelling error on the Direct TV episode information. What I want to know is, if writing is your job... how can you screw this up?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roomba to the Rescue

Last week Rob came home with a little surprise. We had been watching "Flipping Out" the night before and the housekeeper, Zoila, hated the Roomba because she thought it was replacing her. Rob has always wanted a Roomba and I would just roll me eyes because it doesn't make sense to spend nearly $200 on something we should be doing frequently. Queue Criagslist, where Rob was able to find one for $80!

Now I've changed. I love it. We turn it on 2-3 times a week and it cleans up all the cat hair. You still need to vacuum too, but now the Roomba just gives you a hand during the week when you don't have time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bedroom Inspiration

I've been looking for some inspiration lately for the bedroom that we'll be building in the attic. This week we finally started to meet with some contractors and discuss options, ideas, and timelines with them. It's crazy to think that we'll finally be finishing a project that we meant to complete almost 3 years ago, but we never really got around to spending the time or the money. All in all, I hope that we make a decision soon and start to work on the construction in November! I've been tasked with compiling ideas and I'm posting a few now. Are there any that you like?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hockey Town

A few weeks back Rob got connected with a guy who was looking for a defensive man on his hockey team. Rob has been itching to play hockey again since we moved to Seattle, but teams to join are tough to find. He got lucky and he now plays on Sunday nights. Last night was big time because they played at the Everett Events Center where the SilverTips play!

I'm not going to lie, I don't get hockey. I am a sports fan, but I just don't understand the rules. Sounds crazy from someone who spent 5 seasons at Michigan Tech! I don't even know what the blue line is. But I will go cheer on my favorite hockey player any day. (Full disclosure: I brought a book to the arena to read too).

The Greasy Weasles lost 2-4. Humph.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vancouver, WA Tri

I've been horrible about updating the blog, but moving into the fall months it should be easy if I can get Rob's help too. Anyway, I wanted to post about a special Duathlon / Triathlon that Rob and I did together down in Vancouver Washington. It was the weekend after labor day.

Allison's Triathlon: There were only about 60 participants and it got off to a great start with the swim. However, the bike, which was supposed to be for beginners quickly turned sour. It was 14 miles of pure hell. Nothing but large rolling hills. By about 4 miles in, I was already walking my bike up hills. I am not too proud to walk up hills but I will die before I DNF (Do not finish). Finally when that part was over, moving in to the run was a breeze but my legs were already fried. I finished. I guess that' good.

Rob's Duathlon: Rob rocked the Duathlon, what else would I expect? He set the 5 K Race time at somewhere around 8 minutes. Then he rocked the bike. Only a small problem at the end during the last part of the run. It was hot as hell and he thought he might pass out so he stop for a few minutes. Either way. He did great. I cant wait to get him in more next year! Also 0 He won 2nd Place (out of 4). :)

Even though it was hard it was still fun. Probably the best way to shed 1500 calories before breakfast.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Salute the Jeep. Embrace the Nerd Mobile!

The time has come to put my beloved '01 Jeep Cherokee out to pasture.

Since downsizing to a 1-car family, our wheels are more for utility than image. For several reasons... We don't drive to work. We sold the "fun" MINI and kept the very "practical" Jeep. We despise traffic congestion, therefore city driving is my least preferred option. We love a great road trip - but we'd prefer it free of gridlock and freeway parking lots. The last thing we want to become is smug, but we just don't drive much anymore...

When the Jeep was stolen about a month ago, we had to consider a replacement car. It had been a spot-on reliable utility, and we had no intentions of replacing. We just wanted that Jeep back. Acknowledging it might never be found, we took the advice of our insurance agent and got a few 1-day rental cars to look at used cars on the weekends. We hoped to find something approximately the value of the Jeep, to avoid dipping substantially into savings. We were primarily interested in wagons or small SUVs, since we need a practical, economical, and utility vehicle that could measure up to our Jeep.

I previously owned a Subaru Outback wagon, and despite high repair costs, it was a pretty good car. The Jeep wasn't great on gas, but considering how little we drove it, that really didn't matter. So, we foraged for something similar to these. Had a hard time finding a decent wagon in our price range ($7-9K) because they are popular in the Pacific Northwest and tend to hold value pretty well. After a rather hilarious experience that reinforced everything behind the sleazy used car salesman stereotype, we quickly exited the market for dealer used Volvo XC70 wagons. There were plenty of other small SUVs, but almost all were simply above our price range or had too many miles.

After a couple of weeks, we had a lot of leads. But nothing really stood out. Frustrating.

Our last mid-size "default" rental car was a 2009 Chevy HHR 2LT, a car we had neither driven nor knew much about. I don't intentionally snub brands, but I never owned a GM car either. Maybe it finally felt like a nice handling rental car. Maybe it was the handy aux/in for iPod. Maybe it was the very comfortable leather seats, zippy 4-banger, ABS, traction control, and did I mention unexpectedly good handling? Maybe it was because it was a bright sunny day, and since selling the MINI we had been sunroof-deprived. Maybe it was all these things to really enjoy driving this car while looking at used cars. It might have had more interior hauling room than our Jeep, definitely had more spacious back seats, had as much roof storage, and had lots of extras mentioned above. The only downside seemed to be no 4-wheel-drive. But, since ice is a bigger problem than snow in Seattle (no ABS in the Jeep made that very exciting), maybe I'd actually get to use my tire chains next year. So, the next day we included used HHRs it in our online scouring. After looking at and driving several, we quickly concluded we were somewhat spoiled by our loaded rental car. The LS base model cloth interior is a bad choice (stains easily) and the smaller 4-cyl is, well, too small. The LT models are higher price (there is a top SS-model, but let's be honest - it is ridiculous). We were soon in the same boat as the small SUV and wagon searches, struggling with high prices and high miles.

About a day later Allison stumbled upon a Vancouver WA craigslist ad for a fully loaded '06 HHR LT with fairly low miles and a good price. We made plans in the next week to meet the seller, review & drive. Finally, a promising lead!

Two days later and after I was convinced it was gone for good, our Jeep was recovered by the Seattle police! Unfortunately it had extensive (mostly cosmetic) body damage. No observed mechanical damage, but the body repairs exceeded its value. Bummer. It was processed a total loss by my insurance company, and I was back shopping for a replacement.

We kept the plans and met the lady selling the HHR the next weekend, and it was perfect. I had already done the VIN checks and Carfax reports, and everything checked out clear. So, after a little negotiation we became the happy owner of a shiny "newsed" car!

We fully admit this is not a car for many would brag. We have already taken a lot of ribbing from friends, ranging from its high amount of "chrome per square inch," or simply "you bought what? on purpose?" I welcome this harassment! I simply was unaware there were higher end HHRs with such nice features. In the end, the numbers and search criteria met. We proudly brand it our "nerd mobile" and aim to enjoy for years and years.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

San Francisco Weekend

Last weekend Ang and I met down in San Francisco for a fun sisters weekend. We were able to stay with a friend who happened to be out of town, so we really lucked out for a place to stay. Not only was the apartment perfect for what we needed, but it was also in the super exclusive neighborhood of Pacific Heights and had 180 degree views of the city.

On Thursday morning we met at the airport and found our way to the apartment. Dropped off our bags and headed out. The weather was cold and rainy - I was worried it was going to be cold despite the weather reports. We ended up walking around, shopping, and then planning the remainder of the weekend at a coffee shop later that evening.

We decided to play tourist for the weekend and book a bunch of tours. First we did the Local Taste of the City Tour. Originally we signed up for the Chinatown dim sum tour but ended up doing the North Beach tour which is the Italian district of San Francisco. It was a great tour and well worth our time. Then we had booked the Alcatraz cell tour. During this tour, we took the ferry to Alcatraz and then had a guided audio tour through the prison cells. Again, this was a really cool tour and lucky for us Friday and Saturday turned out to be both beautiful and warm.

On Saturday we took a 5 hour long city tour that left from the ferry building which also happens to have a wonderful farmer's market on Saturday mornings. It was cool to walk around the Farmer's Market before our City Tour. During the city tour, we even got to go inside one of the painted ladies (queue Full house theme song now). The tour ended in Sausalito where we had lunch, watched football, then took the ferry back to S.F.

All in all it was a great weekend and sometimes it's fun to do a bunch of off beat tourist things to see the city in a different way. I can't wait for the next sisters weekend!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Trek Triathlon in Seattle

Trek Woman's Triathlon in Seattle. Last Triathlon of the season. The season that was supposed to consist of only one! The person who told me that sprint tris are addicting was totally right. What a summer!

The days are shorter, that was obvious this morning. We got up at 5:45 am and it was still dark. By the time I got to the transition area to rack my bike, the sun was just starting to come out. It was so cold, but at the end the sun was bright and it was a beautiful day. It was so much fun to cheer on all the friends that I trained with this summer. My bike and swim time were the best that I've had so I'm proud of the way I finished. There are also more pictures here on Flickr.
After the race Rob took me to Lottie's for stuffed French Toast and Mimosas!
Next Up: Pearl Jam tomorrow night!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Want a deal on wheels? 60th Anniversary Edition '01 Jeep Cherokee, only $2000!

Need a great deal on a dependable, reliable small SUV? Don't want to pay full price? Don't mind surface scratches and small dents?

(Looks un-damaged, doesn't it?)

How does $2000 sound?

Full disclosure: I bought this 60th Anniversary Edition Cherokee off-lease from a Jeep employee in 2002. It has been my baby and extremely well taken care of for the last 9 years. However, on 25 August, our house was burglarized. The Jeep is not driven daily, so it was in my locked garage. The jerks found my spare car keys and stole it, ramming it through my garage door, which left many surface scratches & small dents. It was recovered by the police after being missing ~3 weeks, found parked on a residential street. Aside from the exterior, the vehicle is as solid as the day before it was stolen. I had my shop go through it entirely, and all mechanical, engine, powertrain, chassis, frame, etc etc etc was verified intact. Just a lot of small body damage spots.

Multiple estimates confirm the body repairs are approximately $7200. Few parts need replacement, so most cost is in labor. Damaged front fiberglass grille shroud, rear liftgate, and rear bumper are probably the largest $$$ items. Additionally, there are small spots and scrapes all over the exterior. You don't even notice this unless you were standing next to the car.

The Kelly Blue Book value (prior to theft damage) is approximately equal to the cost to repair, so my insurance company plans to process it as a total loss claim next week. They give me the option to buy the car back from them (amount TBD, but I'm estimating $2000) since I know it's otherwise in solid shape and they know how much I loved this car. The only drawbacks are it would be issued a salvage title, and all repairs would be up to me (you) at that point. Either that, or my insurance company will sell it at their own salvage yard or auto auction.

I'm planning on buying another used utility vehicle, but I also thought about just buying this Jeep back and not repairing it. Since it is perfectly drivable and in great mechanical shape, I could use it guilt-free for some serious 4x4 off-road excursions, not worrying about those tree scratches and rocker-panel scrapes while crawling through the woods. But, since I only have a 1-car garage, it doesn't make practical sense for me to carry the insurance, registration, etc costs for a "toy" vehicle.

Official Vehicle Information:
VIN: 1J4FF48S81L624449
4.0L L6 MPI

Additional details:
60th Anniversary Edition (custom 17" alum alloy wheels, emblems, fancy floor mats)
Deep tint rear privacy glass
105k miles
All power options (windows, door locks, side mirrors, rear wiper)
Towing package (heavy duty transmission cooling, Mopar 2" receiver hitch & wiring)
Lots of tread remaining on Goodyear Wrangler GS-A all-terrain tires, full size spare
A/C recently serviced
3 free oil changes remaining (Lithia Jeep in Renton, WA)
CD/tape/AM-FM factory radio

The roof rack was slightly damaged (left rear cleat doesn't fully clamp down) but still seems usable.

Aside from theft, vehicle has a spotless Carfax Vehicle History Report. Email me and I'll send to you.

LET ME KNOW ASAP if you are interested. Otherwise I will hand the key and title over to my insurance company for salvage processing next week.

Below are a few more pictures. I have to zoom in very close to see the damage on camera!

Fall is Here

This Saturday was supposed to start off with a nice bike ride across I-90 in preparation of my last triathlon of the season. Instead... fall has begun and I'm sitting here watching College Game Day and watching it rain - Bummer.

It's been slow on our blog lately and that's simply because we've had a lot going on. Last weekend Rob and I competed in a Triathlon / Duathlon in Vancouver, WA. It was by far the hardest Triathlon I have ever competed in. The hills were crazy. Rob was amazing as always and set a record pace of 27 minutes for his first 5K. Luckily the rental car we had had satellite radio so we could listen to the Michigan Game. What a day!

Then we found our stolen Jeep about 2 miles from our house with some body damage. It doesn't look like a lot of damage, but the insurance company is going to total the car. Which means we have to buy a new/used car. That's not something that we had planned to do.Lastly, I finished some fun knitting projects. Our friends Dave & Tami just had a little Michigan fan named Drew. I knitted him a navy blue sweater and some Michigan Legwarmers. Then I had an extra skein of Malabrigo Chunky, so I made this cabled hat for myself.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Labor Day Fun

We visited my parents over labor day this year. We were really fancy and flew right into Escanaba airport. Easy pick up for mom and dad. The strange thing is that the plan had to stop in Iron Mountain first which made it only a 20 minute flight from IM to ESC. Weird!

My parents took us to one of their fav restaurants and one I hadn't been to since prom, The Stone House. Then on Friday, Ang drove to Gladstone and we went out for a fish fry (my all time favorite thing to do in the UP). On Saturday, my mom organized a really fun golf scramble and party afterward at the camp. Sunday, we had a corn hole competition and went four wheeling. That is... until I blew the engine up on dad's four-wheeler! Monday, we flew back home. Before we knew it the weekend was over and we had a ton of fun! Thanks Mom and Dad for hosting us. :) Below are some fun pictures from the weekend.