Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Blogging's been light, since the holidays have been so rushed.  But...


Hopefully some holiday updates in the next few weeks....


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my blog!  If Christmas isn't your holiday, then HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Progressive Dinner Update

Last week I mentioned that we had a Progressive dinner coming up.  Well, it was last Saturday, and it was a ton of fun.  We started out at R&E's house.  They have a new kitchen/sunroom combo.  They live in an older home, and their previous kitchen was slightly larger than a closet.  It was small.  They had kind of a closed in back porch as well.  They combined the porch and kitchen and created an awesome space.  So nice to see it all done, and to have appetizers there.  

M&M handled dinner, and it was nice because it was right next door to R&E.  There are two kittens that are just about a month old that have their own private room upstairs with their mommy, so we just had to head up there and visit.  Good food and good conversation ensued there...

K&L hosted dessert.  Awesome, because they are our NEXT DOOR NEIGHBORS.  So we got to park at home, walk over, and spend a worry-free evening.  Many yummy desserts to drool over, but the hit of the night was the Rock Band game.  Set up with a guitar, drums, and vocals, we set about playing this game on the playstation (or was it an XBOX, not sure).  Lots of laughs, plenty of groans, and some out of tune singing made for a fun night...

Can't wait until next year for this fun event.  We may even be hosting part of it again.  Who knows....


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Baking

I like to bake.  And I like to cook, although I'm not overly skilled at it.  I certainly can't do *fancy* dishes, but I can make a good dinner.  But I really like to bake, and make goodies during the holidays.  For about the last 10 years or so, I made home-made caramels at Christmas time.  Everyone really enjoyed these as they were "melt-in-your-mouth" good.  But I found over the last few years, that I really didn't enjoy making these, and it became more of a chore.  Mostly because they were expected.  Not that they weren't appreciated, because they were.  But folks liked them so much, that they just knew they were going to get some each year.  Yet each year, I wanted to do them less and less.  

I almost didn't do them last year, but was too worried about the fallout to not do them.  This year, I just decided not to do them.  I decided to try some new things instead.

One of the things I decided to try this year was Chocolate Covered Cherries.  The first test batch is done and they are very SWEET.  Yummy, but sweet.  I'm not sure if these will make the final cut or not.  We'll see.  On the list to try this year also, is home-made peanut butter cups.  

We were smart, and made batches of cookie dough that we can just pull out and bake cookies as we need them or want them.  I think that will help.  

Also on the list this year is:
Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Chocolate Covered Ritz Peanut-Butter Sandwiches
Vanilla Covered Pretzels (for DAD!)
Oatmeal Cinnamon Raison Cookies
Chocolate Chip M&M's Cookies
Rum Balls

Whew, that's a lot.  We'll see what we have to skip....  Especially since Christmas is only 2 WEEKS AWAY!  UGH!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Random updates

Been a while since I just updated about what's going on.  Probably because nothing major has been happening.  

We got a new sofa.  A dual reclining sofa from La-Z-Boy.  It's green microfiber, and is VERY comfortable.  

We went shopping on Black Friday.  Actually, we got up at 3:00 am on Friday and were at JCPenney at 4:00 am.  Yep, 4:00 am.  For what?  Waffle irons.  The best time spent in the morning was at Lowe's.  Lots of good deals there.  We hit five stores, a mall, and had breakfast, and were home by 11:00 am.  Good thing we had a new reclining sofa to take a nap in!

We got all 17 Christmas totes and the new fake tree out of the attic to start decorating the house.  It's not done, but it's all out.  I think we're gonna skip the outside lights this year, just because its such a short season.  So the Porch Blog won't get the light effects.  There's always next year.  

We've got a super fun Saturday night planned with some gals from the neighborhood.  Each year, one of them organizes a "Progressive Dinner".  Appetizers at one house, dinner at another, and dessert at yet another.  The appetizer and dessert location changes each year with people volunteering (or being asked by the organizer) to be a host location.  Last year, we hosted appetizers.  This year, we aren't hosting anything, but dessert ends up at our next door neighbor's, so that's a bonus for us!  Right next door to home...  Will try to remember to do an updated post next week about it.  

That's about it for now...



We were off last week from bowling due to Thanksgiving, so, no scores.  This week I'll just call it average...  (Speaking of, my average is now 109)

1st game - 82
2nd game - 109
3rd game - 141

For those of you keeping track, that's a nightly average of 111.  My league average when we started in September was 103.  It then jumped up to 113 for a bit, and now is back to 109.  So 111 for the night was just about average.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Gobble, Gobble Bowling

I can finally give a good bowling update after weeks of really bad scores...

1st - 137
2nd - 106
3rd - 146

Nightly average:  130
And I got a TURKEY!!!  (A Turkey is THREE STRIKES IN A ROW!)

Pretty darn good since last week I didn't break 100 on any of the three game, and my average (before this week) is 108.  So this week for me was VERY good.  Ironically, we are in last place.  We won 3 of 4 games, so we might bump up a bit, but we'll see.  We're off next week for Turkey day (gobble gobble), and the week after that is my building Holiday party, so I might miss part, if not all of that week.  Might have to go bowl a couple of games in between to try to figure out what I did right!

I must say....  It's quite fun when you bowl well...


Monday, November 17, 2008


Friday night, we met a friend of ours for dinner who loves sushi and has been wanting us to go with her to try it out.  We were quite skeptical, but figured it'd be good for us.  I'd had california rolls before, and wasn't overly impressed.

We tried an assortment of different things, and all in all, it wasn't bad.  I did fairly well with the chopsticks, mainly because I'm not going to let a little thing like the lack of a fork keep me from eating dinner!  The miso soup was a tad difficult with the chopsticks, but that another day....

We tried raw red tuna, snapper, salmon, and yellow tuna.  The flavor isn't bad, it's getting past the texture of eating raw fish.  we also had rolls that had shrimp with cream cheese, and a deep fried roll with spicy ahi tuna.  Of course, you can't go wrong if you deep fry anything!

I don't remember at all what anything was called, or what I would try again, but I'd definitely go back, and try some different things as well.

Oh, and the japanese beer was pretty good too!


Friday, November 14, 2008


Bowling this week was position round.  I'm still not 100% sure what that means, just that we were in 37th place (out of 39) and we bowled the 38th place team.  We won 1 of the 4 games.  Which will likely drop us down to 39th place.  I came no where near my average on any game.  92, 99, 90 were my three games.  UGH.  Luckily, in two weeks, we get a week off.  I can't for the life of me figure this stupid game out...  But I sure have fun seeing everyone each week.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

Today was Veteran's Day.  One of my dearest friends is a Veteran and is currently serving in Iraq.  He has been there since March, and is not expected home until at least March of next year.  So my Veteran's Day thoughts are mostly about him.  Especially since it is also his birthday.  

So today, I celebrate Glen's Birthday, as well as celebrate Glen as a Veteran.  Be safe, my friend.  Lots of love to you!!!  Here's to birthday's from the past...  


Monday, November 10, 2008

Saturday Surprise Party

Saturday night, we went to a surprise party for our friends B&B.  Their birthdays are just a couple of days apart, so a combined party was the way to go.  They thought they were meeting at another friend's house for drinks before heading out to the Hibachi place for a b-day dinner with another couple.  They were, in fact, coming to the house for the party.  And they were late for their own party!  Quite comical.

The group of folks there was very diverse, and a lot of the folks were people we already knew.  We did meet a few new people from as far away as Maine and Boston.  We also met 3 new dogs, Abby, Axle, and Major.  

All of the people that I bowl with were there, of course, 2 of them being the guests of honor.  I'd say all in all about 30 folks.  

At one point, someone we had just met, "A", decided to tell us their life story.  Their partner, "P", was with them, and A told us that they were going to break up with P in two weeks.  I have no idea how or why they felt comfortable telling us this, and we were certainly surprised.  Um, what are we supposed to do with that info???  Anyhow, P engaged us in darts.  D was a natural, and won the first game by a landslide.  P was very nice, and I hope they will find someone to make them happy, as it sounds like A is not the one.  

Another friend confided in us, that they had leftover Obama campaign signs that they put into the yard of the 2 guests of honor, who were big McCain supporters.  I have no doubt that was an additional surprise for them when they got home from the party.  I also find it quite funny that people will confide all sorts of things in us...

A dancer was brought in (who was actually there the whole time appearing as a friend of a friend), and performed for the b-day guests.  I think that's who it was originally for anyway.  It seemed that just about everyone there enjoyed the dancer for quite some time.  

Lots of alcohol was consumed, lots of laughs were had, lots of food was eaten, and some interesting conversation, to be sure.  And who knows what happened after we left.........


Thursday, November 6, 2008


Well, I sucked once again.  Certainly not improving, that's for sure.  Our team has now officially dropped into last place.  We are 39th out of 40 teams.  Not last place, you say?  Well, the 40th team is a "ghost" team used to fill an empty slot to make an even number of teams.  They don't have any members.  So yep, last place.  My scores definitely helped to get us there!

1st game - 95
2nd -        105
3rd -        104

But this week we have an excuse, right J???  It was (wait for it......)  THE TIME CHANGE!  We were so bloody tired by the start of the second game that we just pooped out.  

Yep, that's our story, and we're sticking to it...


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More election stuff...

Wow!  3 posts in one day on the same subject.  And the day isn't over yet...

I guess we can all agree that major elections like this bring out the worst in some people and the best in others.  Wouldn't you agree?  And some people are just downright rude...

Now, I'm not ashamed of who I voted for, but in my position, sometimes it's best to steer clear of political talk.  It's in my best interest to stay neutral for my business' sake.  So, I don't answer or engage in political discussions at work.  Period.  

Today at lunch, someone blatantly asked me who I voted for.  I responded by saying that I don't discuss politics at work.  They responded by saying that it doesn't matter, they'd already voted, but they wanted to know where I stood.  Again, I said that it was personal, and that I didn't really want to discuss it.  Their reply was, "Well that right there tells me who you voted for."  

Huh?  Really?

I simply responded that it shouldn't, and that my telling or not telling doesn't reveal a thing.  This is someone that I have to work with day in and day out.  Choosing not to tell them who I voted for was a personal choice, and something that they should have respected.  UGH!  

Somehow, I doubt that's the last of it.  Not just from this person, but from anyone...



So, I went to vote this morning.  My polling place is in a city golf course "club house".  City owned, so not much of a club house, really.  I pulled up about 7:15, to see a line backed out to the street, and then double-backed into the parking lot.  I knew it'd be a wait, but had to do it.  

It was cold and rainy and dreary, but there was a colorful line of umbrellas, from plain black, to rainbow, to university logo'd, to patterned, to clear.  All kinds.  Kind of representative of our nation, if you will.  People from all backgrounds, and all walks of life, turning out to vote in this historical election.  Doesn't matter who you're voting for, it's indeed historical.  There were few grumblings in line about the wait and the weather, but most were excited about being a part of it all.  My polling place is near a university, so I heard a lot of young people talking about this being their first election.  How exciting for them!

It took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get through the line, with at least 1 hour and 30 minutes of that being outside in the rain.  And then it was over.  I was number 210 in the P-Z line (last name), and my ballot was number 558 into the machine.  At 9:00 am.  

As I walked to my car, a gentleman sitting in his car, apparently waiting for someone else, said to me, "Feels good to have voted, doesn't it?", to which I answered, "Yes, yes it does."

Now we wait....


I voted...

Did you?


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Small Business Challenges

Owning a small business has LOTS of challenges...  But first, let's define small business.  It appears that the government defines you as a small business if you have less than 500 employees.  500!  My first thought was that I would then be considered a micro business, but have since been corrected, and determined that I am a NANO business.  I do have one part-time employee.

A major challenge of a small business, is equipment failure.  If any piece of equipment fails, like say, your computer, that has your entire business on it, then let's just say you are in deep doo doo.  But you call the IT department, right?  Oh wait...  you ARE the IT department.  And if you can't fix it, then you have to pay to have it fixed.  And when you are a NANO business, sometimes money for fixing stuff isn't what you planned on.

Another challenge is invoicing.  OK, so the invoicing part isn't hard, but apparently the collecting part is harder.  I have never had a problem until recently, but my largest client  changed recently due to a sale of the building where I am located.  They had an invoice due Oct. 1, and another due Nov. 1, and neither one have been paid to date.  Yes, I realize that it's not quite Nov. 1 yet, but with 2 days left to go, and no sign of anything from Oct yet either, it's quite frustrating.  Their invoice is essentially my paycheck, so that means I've not had a paycheck since Sept. 1.  And that makes it even tougher to pay for things like, say, having a computer fixed.  See the circle here?  And yet, I'm still expected to provide services, with a smile on my face, not knowing when I'll get paid for it.  I can honestly say it's getting tougher and tougher.  I've checked, and both checks were cut over a week ago, and they are being mailed from 3 blocks away.  3 blocks.  I could have walked over there and back 100 times in that amount of time, considering it's STILL NOT HERE!

Fortunately, I love what I do, and things will settle down once the system has ironed out the kinks...

And I think this new company will have some opportunites for me that will be positive.  So that gives me hope.  As long as we can keep the billing situation under control...



Only because you asked for it.  Here is the bowling update for the week...

1st - 91
2nd - 106
3rd - 120

Average for the night:  106

Definitely not great.  But the onion rings were good......


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Casey Dog and pets

I've been wanting to do a post on pets for a while, so decided it was time.  We do have a fish tank, a 55 gallon fresh water.  And have *kinda* named some of them.  There is "Little Sucker", and "Apha Tiger", and "Sharkie", and "Red Tail", and "Mean Shark".  There are some other fish in there as well as the one we adopted, Bubba.  Bubba is a sucker fish that is probably at least 10 times bigger than any of the other fish in the tank.  But he adapted just fine, and thinks he's in a palace compared to the 10 gallon tank he came to us from.

Then, of course, there is my Casey Dog.  Casey, really, but she answers to a lot of different things, depending on the mood.  She's a Lab mix that is 12 1/2 years old.  I got her when she was just several weeks old.  I was living in NC, and an instructor at the local community college lived on a farm.  A pregnant Lab momma wandered onto the farm, and gave birth to 9 puppies in the barn.  She adopted them out, and later found out that about half of them died within a few months of a liver disease.  Casey was one of the lucky ones.  I remember her sleeping in a laundry basket for the first few months.  I sure wish I could find those pics...  She was adorable.

She has certainly been with me through thick and thin...  And until I can find some of the old pictures of her, I'll post some from the last year or so...

Doing what she does best (and most of the time!)

Here she is begging for attention (and showing her cataracts...)

Here are just a few other random pics as well:

And to finish off, here is a small video of one of her favorite things to do in the yard.  Roll and scratch her back!

PS - this is my first attempt at uploading a video.  Wish me luck!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Bowling update

It was just that bad.....


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Email Questionnaire

Got this in my inbox today.  I enjoy these from time to time, and even more when things get changed up a bit.  Remember though, this was designed for email. If you decide to do this yourself, please link to it in the comments, so I can see too.  Enjoy...

Welcome to the 2008 edition of getting to know your Friends. FORWARD then
change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your
friends including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you
will learn a lot of little things about your friends that you might not
have known!

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:10 AM or so, I think...

2. Diamonds or pearls?  Diamonds

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?  Uh - can't remember.  Something earlier this year, I think...

4. What is your favorite TV show? Most reality shows.  Currently Survivor.  Although I am a sucker forDesperate Housewives

5. What do you usually have for breakfast? something bad for me.  Either at the cafe here at work or McD's.

6. What is your middle name? Let's go with M

7. What food do you dislike? I'm learning to like more and more, although I'm not a fan of peppers or really hot stuff.

8. What is your favorite CD at moment? I like the shuffle on my nano.  Quite the variety.

9. What kind of car do you drive? Subaru Outback

10. Favorite sandwich? Swiss Cheese and Salami with mustard

11. What characteristic do you despise?  procrastination (OH WAIT!  THAT'S ME!)  still dislike it...

12. Favorite item of clothing? Do flip-flops count???????

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Somewhere new I've never been before!  Europe, Australia, Canada, all would do fine...

14. Favorite brand of clothing? Comfy brand

15. Where would you retire to? Outer Banks of NC

16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? 38.  They're all memorable.  Some for good, and some not so much...

17. Favorite sport to watch? In person would have to be Baseball.  On TV - Football.

18. Farthermost place you are sending this? Greenville, NC

19. Person you expect to send it back first? Christine

20. When is your birthday?  February 20

21. Are you a morning person or a night person?  ummm...  both?

22. What is your shoe size? 8.5

23. Pets?  Casey dog.  Black lab mix.  Getting on up there at 13 years old...  And some fish...

24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? Wait until after bowling tonight

25. What did you want to be when you were little? Don't remember

26. How are you today? Chilly

27. What is your favorite candy?  Twix

28. What is your favorite flower? Gerbera Daisies, tulips, and daffodils

29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? October 25th, cause it's Saturday

30. What is your full name? Who cares

31. What are you listening to right now? The squeaky revolving door in my lobby

32. What was the last thing you ate? Wheat bagel with lowfat cream cheese for breakfast

33. Do you wish on stars? Sometimes

34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? lellow (yellow)

35. How is the weather right now? Chillier than I care for...

36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? A client

37. Favorite soft drink? Diet Mt. Dew

38. Favorite restaurant? Lot's of them for different reasons.   But Vancosta's especially for their Ranch Dressing!

39. Real hair color?  Brown with a few strands of grey

40. What was your favorite toy as a child? Stuffed monkey puppet that had arms and legs that wrapped all around.

41. Summer or winter? Summer

42. Hugs or kisses? Both

43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate Milk, Vanilla Ice Cream

44. Coffee or tea? Tea

45. Do you want your friends to email you back?  Sure.

46. When was the last time you cried? Who knows.  Probably recently, though

47. What is under your bed? Clothes in storage bags, and probably a missing shoe or sock

48. What did you do last night? Watched Biggest Loser

49. What are you afraid of? Snakes

50. Salty or sweet?  Both!

51. How many keys on your key ring? work - 6;   home - 6

52. How many years at your current job?    10ish, but 1.5 as the boss

53. Favorite day of the week?    Saturday

54. How many towns have you lived in?  In Hampton Roads, probably all of them!

55. Do you make friends easily? Sometimes.  Depends on the person.

56. How many people will you send this to? 6 or so

57. How many will respond? probably 3


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boss's Day

Today is Boss's Day.  How do you really spell that?  I've seen it three different ways today:  "Boss's Day", "Boss' Day" and "Bosses Day"...

Anyway - today I am a boss.  With one employee.  A great employee at that.  LOVE HER!  I wasn't expecting anything for boss's day, so I was surprised when she called to wish me a happy day.  I was even more surprised a few minutes later when she showed up (with all 4 of her great kids!) and brought me a plant and a card.  

See for yourself:

I cracked up.  I usually leave her a note with things that need to be done on it for the day, but for tomorrow, I just had to leave this:


Peanut Butter Sculptures

This past weekend was the Suffolk Peanut Festival.  I used to live out in Suffolk, and went to the Peanut Festival while there.  It's the city's equivalent to a county fair.  It wasn't really on the agenda to go, but then we got wind of the Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest.  D, being the HUGE peanut butter fan and one who could live on the stuff alone, really wanted to go.  I admit, I was intrigued, and had not seen this during any of the times I had been to this festival.  Here's the basic run down...  Each entrant gets a "block" of specially made peanut butter.  I think I heard one person say that it is made with a lot less oil.  

They are given and apron, gloves, steak knife, and 20 minutes to create the best sculpture as chosen by three judges.

It appeared that most of the entrants were high school girls, but there was a mix.  About 15 total.  It also appeared that the PB became more difficult to work with the longer they handled it.

Unfortunately, we forgot to bring in the regular camera, so all of the pics were from the camera phone.  Definitely not the best, but you are still able to see.  My favorite was the first and second place winners, hence the pictures.    First place went to a high shool girl who sculpted a mermaid out of peanut butter, and second place went to a high school girl who sculpted a jeep out of peanut butter.  Enjoy the yummy pics..


Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

Last night was a good bowling night.  For me anyway.  Our team still lost 3 of 4 games, but I did pretty good...  Scores:

1st - 129
2nd - 106
3rd - 134

Nightly average of 123.  13 pins over my current average.  WOOHOO!  And yet, we're still in 37th place out of 40....  

It was a pretty interesting night, in that the team we bowled are in second place.  And I see why.  Three members are family (husband, wife, and son and they EACH had TWO balls) and the husband "teaches" bowling.  He was pretty anal about his game.  How so?  He wrote down everything about every ball he threw.  Which board he was on, what pins he hit, and so on, and so on.  Each time his wife went up to bowl, he stood right behind her for each ball (provided she didn't get a strike) and coached her on her throw.  It was quite comical.  I think he was so focused, he forgot to have fun.  Which is the main reason I go each week, to have fun.  

The next set of lanes over (the team that we will be bowling next week) had a guy on the team that during one of the games had 7 strikes in the first 7 frames.  I thought I might witness someone actually having a 300 game.  But alas, he didn't make it.  He got a spare in the 8th with 8 pins on the first throw and picked up the other two.  The last two frames, I'm not sure what he got, but they weren't all strikes either.  But still impressive.

One day, I'll bowl 7 strikes.  In the same night.....


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Snake Update

Ok - did some digging and showed the picture to a few people. (Who all thought it was a baby copperhead, too...) and come to find out it's a DeKay's Snake. A common brown snake, non-poisonous! Here is a link with much more information:

That's a relief! I won't be quite as worried the next time I see one in the yard... And I'm pretty sure there will be a next time. Also glad we didn't kill it.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh Sh**

So there I was, getting ready to do some yard work, and having to move some items to get ready.  Like the grill cover that has not been on the grill in a few weeks, but laying in a crumpled mess on the ground.  Now, I expected  there to be some critters under it.  And there were.  Some crickets and bugs.  But what I wasn't prepared for was a snake!  Yep, you read that right.  A snake.  Now granted, it was a baby, but a snake none-the-less.  And where there's a baby, there's gotta be a momma, right?  I mean, how else is a baby gonna get there? 

I admit, I have a truly unhealthy fear of snakes.  6 inches or 6 feet, it doesn't really matter to me.  I don't like it either way.  

D came out, and we both didn't really know what to do with it.  I may not like them, but this was a baby, and I didn't really want her to kill it, even though she offered.  We stood there looking at it trying to figure out what to do, and I just had to get the camera, and snap a picture of it.  We then decided that maybe we could take a shovel, and move it.   D grabbed a shovel, and managed to coerce the baby snake onto it, but then what?  Where were we gonna move it.  Luckily, the back of the yard is very wooded and thick brush.  We decided that was the best place, so D *gently* flung it back there.  It was a baby after all.  I should have taken pictures of that, for posterity, but I had set the camera down so that I could help.  How I was going to help from a safe 20 feet away, I'm not sure, but I was ready.  I could have called 911, cause it could have been a poisonous baby snake.  Still not sure.  But here is a picture of it for you to take a gander at...


Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Pahked the Cah!

Well let's just get the silly scores out of the way to talk about way more important stuff...  

1st game - 98
2nd game - 118
3rd game - 116

There.  Done.

But the funniest event of the night was when I "pahked the cah" on a split.  At least I think it was a split, although I couldn't tell you what pins.  I'm pretty sure one of them was the 10 pin.  But I don't know what the other one was?  The 8 maybe?  Or the 9?  J or D if you read this, PLEASE leave a comment and tell me what pins they were!

Anyway - I'm so inconsistent, that it normally would have been a miracle for me to get one of those two pins, but somehow, I managed the ball directly in the middle of both of them, and got them both.  It was a fluke, and if I had aimed, I probably would have only hit one.  

Played poker again, and only one of the games did I even manage to get 5 cards, and they weren't anything to write home about, so I didn't win poker.  

On another note....  There are 39 teams on the league, with one "ghost" team, for a total of 40 teams.  Right now, we are in 38th place.  We MIGHT move up to 37th, since we one 1 of the games last night.  Hopefully, we'll win some games if/when we bowl the ghost team, and that will bump us up.....

Until next week America (or all 4 of you now that read this...)


Monday, October 6, 2008

State Fair

I love the State Fair of Virginia.  I've gone for many many years now, and I just really enjoy it.   What's to like?  Some examples:  The agricultural exhibits, the smell of all the foods, the sounds of the the rides,  the sounds of laughing kids on the kiddie rides, the variety of people the fair draws, and so on.

One of my absolute favorite things about the fair, though, is the Quilt Show.  Some amazing quilts are entered, and every year it just sparks me to want to do more, and even gives me some ideas.  This year, there was a Polka Dot quilt.  It was colorful, and random, and every fabric used was a polka dotted fabric.  It was really fun!  There were other beautiful quilts, some traditional, and some more contemporary.  What it sparked was that when we went grocery shopping on Sunday, we stopped into the fabric section, and bought a bunch of polka dot fabric on clearance.  Can't wait to see what it evolves into.  

Anyway - sidetracked from the fair...  We spent about 7 hours there, saw a bunch of cool vendors, saw some cool artistry, ate some good fair food, and even watched duck races.  A grand day to be sure.  This year was the last year that the fair was on the location that I've always known it to be.  Next year it moves.  I'm sure I'll go and check it out.  


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bowling, Bowling, Bowling

Tune out now....  It's not all that pretty.  Not ALL bad, but not pretty.  First game was a 98.  Second game was a 120.  Third game was a 114.   We still lost all 4 games, and are quickly approaching last place.   Still fun.    And no, I didn't win poker.  Didn't even get 5 cards.  (Not sure I got 5 cards all night, all 3 games combined!)  DOH!

PS - Hi D&J!  Hope you enjoyed the laugh!!!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Moving once again

No, not me.  But once again I helped someone move.  You'd think I'd have learned by now....  But NOPE.  Who was it this time?  My folks!

Now, my folks moved into the house I grew up in when I was 5 or so.  And they lived in it for over 30 years.  (Now you know I'm over 35.  That's good enough...)

In those 30+ years, my mom didn't throw a whole lot away.  My dad did.  Repeatedly.  When I was growing up, and didn't take my shoes up to my room, my dad would threaten to throw them away.  And he did.  More than once.  He was usually good about not putting them in the kitchen trash can, so they were salvageable.  But he'd also go on periodic cleaning sprees where he'd throw all kinds of things away, much to my moms horror.  

Fast forward to this move.  They had months and months to plan, and my mom did a pretty good job of throwing things away.  But they still had a LOT of stuff to move.  They were smart, and hired movers.  Even still, I spent all day Saturday at the new house.

I showed up at the old house, to pack up the fridge and freezer into coolers, to take straight to the new house.  I threw half of the old fridge away.  There were dressings from 2004, limes wrapped in cellophane that I'm pretty sure was from when I was in high school, and unidentifiable objects that I don't think I want to know what they started out as.  Freezer was slightly better, but not much.  Got it all put away in the new house, and it looked like I threw out 90% of what they had, only because the new fridge was BIGGER.

I thought I'd tackle the kitchen (since I already had experience with the fridge), and try to get it a bit settled.  When the truck got there, they started bringing boxes in.  I backed my self into a corner, and just told them to pile them up, I'd work my way out.  BIG MISTAKE!  After half-a-dozen LARGE boxes, I know that had to be it, but noooooo.  There were more.  I lost count.  I managed to get it ALL put away (9 hours later) with room leftover.  Of course, I had to go through the spices and the food, and throw some more stuff away.  BUT I made mom make a list of things that needed to be replaced.  

I also managed to hang the electric can opener (which meant emptying the bottom shelf of one of the cabinets  I had worked so hard on), and hanging a light over the built in desk.  

Having not moved in 30+ years, my mom was getting frustrated as to why it wasn't all coming together by Saturday night.  And why there were still so many boxes everywhere.  BUT she did get connected.  By Saturday night, she had all of the TV's in the house hooked up, and her internet up and working.  For her, that's heaven!

I'm hoping most of my friends and family are pretty settled for now, and that I don't have to do this again any time soon!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Survivor - Gabon

YEAH!  Survivor started last night!  Looks to be a good season, if just a bit predictable.  Hopefully they'll throw some twists in.  The location is awesome!  

But really, let's talk about the important stuff.  Do these people NOT know they are going into the jungle?  Do they NOT realize that a dress is probably NOT going to benefit them much.  Or a suit?  Come-on!  Not that I would try out or even make it on the show, but I'd probably wear a pair of long hiking pants that had zip off legs (to convert to shorts), a sports bra, a t-shirt underneath a sweatshirt, and of course HIKING SHOES WITH GOOD SOCKS!  A good hat would not be a bad idea too.

And an injury requiring stitches the first night...  brilliant.  I like how a couple of folks have lied about what they do (or just left out the important stuff!).   And early alliances are forming. We all know that they will crumble about half way through (although we've seen a few last through the whole game before).

OK, and what about the tribe that has lost all three challenges, but still managed to catch fish...  Good for them!

All for now...


Thursday, September 25, 2008


*****In booming announcer voice*****
Today, folks, we have another installment of "BORING BOWLING BLOG UPDATE".  

First, the scores:  
1st game - 138  {the crowd goes wild!!!}
2nd game - 98  {some signs of condolences}
3rd game - 129 {the crowd applauds}

But here's the fun part....

During bowling we play poker.  [What???  Poker during bowling????]  Let me explain.  With each new game, we take a deck of cards, shuffle them, and then everyone puts a dollar in.  Each time you mark (a spare or a strike), you get to draw a card.  You make the best 5 card hand, and that person wins the money.  BUT, you HAVE to have 5 cards, thus 5 marks to win.  Doesn't matter if you have 4 Aces.  If you don't have 5 cards total, you can't win.  Which is where I am most nights.  Or if I do have 5 cards, I don't have squat between them.  Two weeks ago, during my Consistently Inconsistent night I won poker for the first time!  I thought it was a fluke, but I WON AGAIN LAST NIGHT!  Not on the second game, to be sure, but on the 3rd game.  


*****Returning to booming announcer voice>
Tune in next week!  Same time, same place, same station for another "BORING BOWLING BLOG UPDATE!"*****


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Indigo Girls

Tuesday night, I got to see the Indigo Girls at the NorVa.  You've heard before that I enjoy live music, and like the venue of the NorVa.  This was the 3rd time I'd seen them there, and again they didn't disappoint.  They are such timeless musicians, and reach a broad array of audiences.  Young, older, married, single, gay, straight, black, white, all basis were covered.

The opening act, Missy Higgins from Australia, did a good job of setting the acoustic stage, and getting everyone in the mood.  She even came out on stage with Amy and Emily to sing probably one of their biggest hits "Closer to Fine".  

We ran into some friends there, which sparked running into more friends, and then meeting some new friends.  Being up on the second floor this time allowed us to look down over the crowd and really take it all in.  Surprisingly, it wasn't as crowded as I thought it would be.

Once again, the NorVa was an excellent choice for a small venue for the Indigo Girls, and a good time was had by all...


Friday, September 19, 2008

Random Quiz

Ok - here is another random quiz. I'll post it, then comment on it...

How Long Could You Survive Trapped In Your Own Home?

Now my question is: REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS? 90 days without leaving??? OMG, I would go insane. Maybe I could handle 30 IF it was extreme circumstances, and we had access to THE PORCH. After 60, I'd really be ready to KILL SOMEONE. And 90? Well, I'd be suicidal at that point...

How about you?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Boring Bowling Update

Might as well get used to it...  Seems like my randomness is (at least weekly) going to involve a bowling update.  On with the show......

First game - 88
Second game - 90
Third game - 116

An average for the night of 98.  Remind you that my league average is 103, so yes, I did NOT bowl my average last night, and in fact SUCKED a big dog.  

Let's see if I can find some excuses...

  • UM - 2 of my team mates were missing cause they are on vacation, so the flow was off.  
  • UH - I was tired from going to the Indigo Girls concert on Tuesday night and getting home so late.  (OOOPS, will try to do a review of the show with pics later...)
  • Well, they just oiled the lanes, and my throw was off.
  • See - the team we played were very intimidating, and I was scared (not really, they were cool).
  • It was the beer.
  • It was the pretzel for dinner.
  • My dog ate my bowling ball.
OK - really, I just suck, and can't get it together.  I was hoping this blog would show how I progressed throughout the year, but it certainly doesn't look like THAT'S going to happen.

At this point, you might be wondering why I even go???  Well, it's actually fun.  Even though I suck, and I'm sore as hell the next day, I have a good time!  (Guess I'm just a little on the sick side.........)

Until next week (for the bowling update....)


Sunday, September 14, 2008


This weekend, I was able to spend a day at some friends house for a "craft day".  I've wanted to try machine embroidery for a while, but didn't want to invest in a machine not trying it out.  This weekend provided that opportunity.  Here are some samples that I did:

This is the first one I did.  Not too bad, and it ended up on a shirt that was in the goodwill pile.  It turned out cute enough that I may actually keep this one.

Just a cute little sun, that was a default pattern on the machine I was using.  

For some reason, I really liked this pattern.  It turned out pretty good...

This disney pattern was on a disk, and I put it on another goodwill shirt.  The embroidery turned out great, but the placement was bad (my fault).  Instead of being on the left side above the breast, it was ON the breast.  So, now it's a sleep-shirt.

It was really fun to learn, and I can think of a ton of applications for this!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Consistently Inconsistent

Here I go again, boring all 2 of you with another bowling update....  But it just amazes me how consistently inconsistent I can be.  You already know that my "official" bowling average is 103.  And you saw how last week, there was a 33 point difference between two of my games.  But somehow, I maintained my average.

This week was no different.  I started off GREAT!  My first game was a 133.  Felt good, looked good, lots of high-fives.  Second game - 88.  (No that's not a typo, it was actually an 88).  45 pins difference.  Can you believe it???  The third game was a 131.  Nice finish to the night, and my average for the evening was 117.  Now HOW does that happen when one bowls an 88!?!  I'll never get it...

If I could just figure out what I was doing right in the 130 games, and how not to do whatever it is I'm doing in the 80 games, then we might just have something important to talk about here...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Surviving Hanna

Well, we survived the ravaging blows of Hanna.  Ok, all sarcasm aside, it wasn't that bad.  It was very windy, and a little rainy, but overall, not bad at all.  In fact, it was kinda cool watching it.  And, we managed to get a lot of things done around the house that we've been neglecting to do.  Isn't it funny that it takes a storm to make you slow down, and get things done.  I think I even commented at one point during the day that I needed a few more hurricanes to come through to get the house in presentable condition.  Yeah, if only...  Luckily, we didn't lose power or anything.  Just yucky enough to not want to go outside...


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bowling again

You may remember THIS POST back in April.  So last year was my first season bowling, and last night was the first night of this year.  A new league, new bowling alley, and new experience.  There are 40 teams.  40!  Last year, our league was 4.  Quite a difference.  My official average is 103.  My games last night were 85 (ugh!), 118, and 111.  Not too bad a start to the season.  Keep your fingers crossed that I do better this year than last.......


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random stuff

Yes - I'm in the Olympic withdrawal stage.  I absolutely enjoyed them, and spent too much time watching them, and am sad they're over.  I'm not quite as big a fan of the winter games, because I don't like the cold that much, but I'm looking forward to them too.

Now that Olympics are over, we can get on with the fall reality shows.  Biggest Loser starts soon, which is always fun, and Survivor promises to be a big hit as usual.  I may try to catch this season of Amazing Race.  I've not watched it in a while, but may see what this season holds.

Labor Day weekend is here, which means another huge event that we are planning and executing.  Always a ton of work, but always a ton of fun.  This year, looks like we might get some rain from Fay.  Figures.  Camping, picnic, rain...  It's never stopped us before!  Won't stop us now.

Haven't updated enough here.  Sorry...  

Visited the Maryland Zoo a couple of weekends ago, and also got to go to an Orioles game.  Zoo was fabulous, and had the best Penguins (oh, okay...  I'm a sucker for a cute penguin!), and also had a baby camel, and a baby elephant.  Got to feed a giraffe, which was a cool experience.  The O's game was great!  The seats are way too small for any human being, although the location was really good.  And they WON that night!  YEAH!

Lots of event planning...  More event planning, with a little event planning thrown in for good measure, and that will sum up my week.  Thank goodness for AWESOME volunteers and tons of folks sharing duties...


Thursday, August 21, 2008


Yes - I've gotten sucked into a "Social Networking" site.  I said it would never happen (but then again, I never thought I'd be blogging either, but here I am), but I'm having fun with it.  I'm keeping it to a minimum right now, while just adding those folks that I know well, or that I trust, or that I don't mind if they are poking around....  I've added the link to this blog onto my profile page, so we'll see if I actually get anyone to wander here from over there.

What's next?  MySpace?  LinkedIn?  One of the other hundreds that are out there????

Nah - this is good for now.  Maybe later...


Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Update

So, I’ve spent WAY too much time staying up late watching the Olympics.  And sadly, I usually fall asleep watching something I’m really trying to stay awake to see.  So far, though, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching:

  • Women’s Beach Volleyball – Misty and Kerry are dominating, and doing a wonderful job!
  • Men’s Swimming – Michael Phelps is unstoppable!  He amazes me every time I watch him.
  • Women’s Swimming – usually intermingled with the men’s challenges.  Always a thrill.
  • Men’s and Women’s Gymnastics – The things these kids do with their bodies…  WOW!
  • Men’s and Women’s Synchronized Diving – Diving is tough enough – but SYNCHRONIZED – very cool!

Sports that I’ve only got to see bits and pieces of, but have still enjoyed are:  Baseball, Tennis, and Water Polo.

I haven’t gotten to see Equestrian, Canoe/Kayak, Softball, Badminton (really???) and Table Tennis, but think it’d be fun to watch these.

I can’t believe the games are half over.  Maybe then I can get some sleep…..


Friday, August 8, 2008


WooHoo!  It's time for the summer Olympics!  I really enjoy watching them and rooting for Team USA!

Go get 'em guys and gals!


Thursday, August 7, 2008


Yep - Buckets.  

My friend K has been reading a book called "How Full is your Bucket?"  Over dinner one night, she explained the basic premise of the book, and that is we all have a bucket.  When you are nice to someone, or they are nice to you, they fill your bucket or you fill theirs.  When someone is negative to you, or you are negative to someone else, a dipper removes from the bucket and diminishes their(or your) positive outlook.

K is a very positive, energetic, and generally "festive" person.  She regularly fills peoples bucket around her (and even those of complete strangers), and it's always fun to hang out with her.  So, a few of us (later named the "bucket brigade") were able to join her on a "booze cruise" to help her celebrate her birthday.  One member of the party actually went so far as to get her an actual bucket for her birthday, that we all signed with birthday wishes and filled with trinkets from the night.  I enjoyed filling her bucket on her birthday, as I know everyone else did too.

Unfortunately for K - someone she cared for KICKED her bucket.  Yep - emptied it, so to speak!  And doesn't seem at all bothered that they did it.  

I hope that the coming weeks get better for her, and all her true friends start refilling her bucket.  I'm sure D and I will do our part too...

Go fill a bucket!


Monday, July 21, 2008

Kayak Update

I know everyone has been waiting with baited breath to find out about my kayak and what happened to it. Here goes...

This past weekend, I borrowed the neighbors saw horses and pulled the boat out. I took a garden hose, and filled the inside through the front hatch. After just a few minutes, water was pouring out of the back scupper hole. Not the drain plug, but the scupper hole (specially designed holes in the body of the kayaks to drain water out where your gear is). So that's not good.

I drained all of the water out, and flipped it over. That's when I saw that a piece of pvc was separated by at least 1/4 of an inch, which is allowing the water in. In comparison to the front, there was no gap.

So, we stopped by Appomattox River Company in Yorktown where I purchased the boat, and they said it likely could be sealed. They suggested contacting Hurricane Aqua Sports (the boat manufacturer) and see what they had to say.

I called and talked to Summer and she said that she would send me some epoxy sealant right away, and to try that. If it didn't work, to call her back, and see what else could be done. So, right now, I'll give that a shot, and update here with my findings....


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


One of the many things I like about summer is going to a local baseball game. We have the Tides Baseball team, a AAA farm team of the Baltimore Orioles. They used to be a farm team for the New York Mets, but that changed a couple of years ago. The Tides play in a beautiful park in downtown Norfolk, named Harbor Park. It overlooks the water, and is a top notch ballpark.

Closer to home, there is a collegiate summer league that plays during the summer, the Peninsula Pilots. I can't say much about them or their park, because I haven't been to one of their games. It's ironic, cause they are extremely close to home, but just haven't made it out there yet. (Ok, on the to-do list for THIS year!)

Looks like we'll be able to hit a Major League game this year, to see the Orioles. I've only been to Camden Yards once, and it was a while back, so I'm looking forward to going again to see a game. I really enjoy the inner harbor of Baltimore, so that's a plus, too...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I love summertime! I love the outdoors, the warm air, the long days, warm nights. Summer is definitely my favorite season... The smell of fresh cut grass (especially when someone else cuts it!), warm sand between your toes, daylight until 9:00pm, everything's in full bloom, baby animals everywhere. Summer is just the best and never lasts long enough in my book...

I also love the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the summertime! Most of the locals or even folks up our way would say I'm crazy, but there's just something about the hustle and bustle down there, all the touristy shops, the great restaurants, and yes, even the traffic. Then you go off the beaten path, just slightly, and you find some hidden gem. Or the long, secluded drive down Hwy 12 to Hatteras, or the ferry over to Ocracoke. All places of extreme interest, and culture! I'm pretty sure one day I'll have a vacation place down there somewhere. Just not sure where yet.

For now, I'll keep enjoying the summer and the things that are planned and the things that pop up unplanned...


Thursday, July 10, 2008


How many of the 4 or 5 readers of this blog like to camp? I certainly do. I've been camping since I was a kid, but not always on a real consistant basis.

Most of my life, my camping has been in a tent, at a campground where facilities are available. I'm not sure I'd really, truly enjoy the real roughing it kind of camping. I like being outdoors, sleeping outdoors, cooking outdoors, and all. But I really enjoy being able to take a shower in the middle of it all, too.

The last few years of camping in a tent have gotten a little rougher. Age, maybe? Lack of climate control? But probably the straw that broke the camel's back, were the last two times I camped in a tent.
  • 1st of the last two, was during Tropical Storm Ernesto, which didn't quite develop into a Hurricane, but was close enough in my book. Tent was set up. Left during the storm (smart enough to not try to ride it out in the tent), only to return later to make sure all was well. Nope! Tents aren't made to withstand tropical storms or hurricanes. The tent was still intact, but since the campground flooded, so did the tent. We had a 5 gallon bucket, and emptied the tent 5 times. 5x5=25 gallons of water. We slept in the car that night. Not fun.
  • The 2nd of the last two times, was Memorial Day weekend (2007). Same park, different storm. Not an actual tropical storm or hurricane this time, but a great Thunder/Lightning/Electrical storm. Again, a tent is not the place you want to be. Sat in the car for quite some time. Drove , and I think finally drove home to sleep at home. Went back the next day, all was well, and enjoyed a somewhat muddy weekend.

Now - some of our friends to this point have been camping in a pop-up camper for a couple of years because of the same situations that we were in. They were always dry and rested the next day.

And so the hunt began. Last year, a pop-up camper was found on Craigslist for a reasonable price for a great camper. Yep - it's been in the driveway for nearly a year now. Bought in August last year, it got 3 good uses before it was allowed to take a break for the winter. We took it out a couple of weeks ago for a test run of the season. And whaddya know - the AC breaks. During a hot spell. 98 degrees during the day, and not much better in the evenings. We muddles through , and limped it home. There were many suggestions around the campfire as to what the culprit may be, but we had to wait to see...

The culprit was the capacitor. (The only thing I could think about was the "Flux Capacitor" from "Back to the Future". We found a trailer guy that specializes in camper-trailers, and he had it switched out in no time. Now it's cooler than ever and will probably freeze me out of the camper on our next trip. Which will be Labor Day weekend.

I'll try to post an update to let you know if I still like camping. It was getting a little dicey there for a bit.....


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Billy Joel Concert

I should have blogged this a while back, but for some reason I'm just getting around to it...

A few of us met up at the Billy Joel concert on Saturday, June 21st at the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater. We had lawn seats, and were told to tighten up the spot, even though there were 8 of us in the little piece of property we were on. We were reminded that there would be 15,000 people on the lawn. 15,000!

As for the show - BJ was the only act. He started singing right around 8:00pm, didn't have an opening act, and sang for 2 1/2 hours. No intermission. He played one instrumental (Rootbeer Rag) to rest his voice, and brought a "roadie" out to sing a song ("Highway to Hell"), but other than that, it was all him.

We all knew all of the songs he sang, and the whole place was singing along with all of them. I couldn't think of any song that I wanted to hear that he didn't play. He was phenomenal! I can say it was probably one of the best concerts that I have ever been to.

He may be a bit older now, but he is still a great artist, and one that I will see again if he rolls back into town......


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Helping People Move

Do you remember a post I did a few months back about physical labor? I should have added that moving falls into that category as well. Some folks are cut out for it, and some folks aren't. I will admit, that I have this odd nack for packing a car or trailer or truck full of stuff to maximize space. I must get that from my dad. He can pack a space like there's no tomorrow. And so that was my Thursday last week.

Now, I don't mind helping someone move. Especially when (like this person) they would help me out in a second (and she has). I just don't particularly care for all the lifting and carrying and such. If there was a job for moving that just involved getting things packed into vehicles, that'd be all for me....

And it was a WARM day. 98 at it's hottest (which felt like all day). But we got an awful lot accomplished, and managed to get the majority of it done. I left a little lighter (from all the sweat) and with a few more marks that weren't there before... But I sure slept good!


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

East Coast vs. West Coast

There really is no comparison between the two, as it's like being in two separate worlds. The EC, as I know it, is VERY flat, and quite hot and humid, even in May. The WC, as I just saw it, is anything BUT flat, and very cool. They are both beautiful in their own rights, but vastly different from each other. There is something soothing about being able to park, and walk onto a sandy beach, and just walk for miles while staring out at the ocean on the EC. The WC has cliffs and mountains that go straight into the ocean, and has mesmerizing Sea Stacks. The scenes are spectacular.

I'm glad for my trip out west to see all the sites I got to see. But I'm glad to be back home, and see my very flat town.



What a great city. There is soooo much to see and do, that it would take MUCH more than the one day we had there. We had great guides with us that knew where everything was that made it much easier to get around. And we packed an awful lot into one little day. So here goes....

The Seattle Underground Tour - this started off our morning. Very interesting stuff. First 20 mintues were history and background. Then off to go underground. This is where it started getting REALLY cheesy. While still enjoyable, our guide was Mr. Cheese himself. After so much of it, and getting the jist of the tour and the underground, we left at the first sight of the main street.

Headed to the ORIGINAL STARBUCKS in Pike Place Public Market. I'm no coffee drinker, but this was cool to see. The coffee drinker went to town, and bought a TON of souvineers that can only be purchased at this location. I got to meet a really cool GoldenDoodle named Pepper that reaffirmed that I really do want one of these dogs!

Then it was off to Groundspeak Headquarters for a brief tour. To most of you, that doesn't mean a thing, but to us, it's the HQ for our hobby, and was very cool to see where the hub of it all is. No need to bore you all with the details here...

Off to the Space Needle! We took a monorail ride down directly into the center of the Space Needle stuff. We tried to get seats at the restaurant, but they had just stopped seating for lunch and wouldn't be seating for dinner for a few more hours. We went to the nearby food court to wolf down something to give us some energy to keep going. We got our tickets to go up, and waited about 20 minutes before we got an elevator. The view from the top was spectacular, and just barely clear enough to see Mt. Ranier. It was packed up there, but was still fun to see some pictures in all different directions. Imbedded in the floor, were compass points to let you know which way you were facing. That was a nice touch.

Pike Place Market was the last stop of the day. Unfortunately, we only had about 1 1/2 hours until they closed (you could spend a FULL day here!). I so wish we had something like this at home. But nothing compares. This is the place where there are several fish markets, and they throw the whole fish around. There are flower vendors set up with some of the prettiest bundles of fresh flowers for you just to pick up, purchase and take home. Fresh veggies line tables around every bend. Vendors selling everything you can imagine are there, just waiting to lure you up to their booth. We bought some fresh goat cheese, and some fresh salmon to bring home. If we had known then that we had extra room on the way back, we likely would have bought much more there. But it was a great way to end the day in Seattle.

I know there were a ton of things that we didn't get to see, and know that we didn't even scratch the surface on this fine city. But it was fun!

And no rain! It didn't rain a drop the whole time we were there.....


Eating on Vacation

Ooooh boy! Do I love to eat! Ok, so on vacation, you know you have to eat out fairly regularly. Not too many places to cook a home cooked meal. Now, in general, I prefer to eat at mom&pop type places, or local owned places as opposed to chain restaurants. I will eat at chains, I just prefer to support small local business.

This trip, we ate at our share of chains, simply because sometimes that was the only thing available. We did find some gems along the way...

In and Out Burger - ok, so this is a chain. But it's one we don't have on the east coast. We saw quite a few of these around the Sacramento area. Popped into one for lunch on a Friday. The menu - simple. Burgers, Cheeseburgers, Double Cheeseburgers. Limited options. They were packed, and were turning over burgers at a pretty good clip. The parking lot was PACKED, so the "In and Out" part were a little tough going.

Eel River Brewery - This place is a local brewery in Fortuna, Ca. It was a little bit of a wait on a Sunday night, partly because a lot of locals visit this establishment, and partly because it's walking distance to at least 3 chain hotels. They have a huge selection of Seafood on the menu, nightly specials, traditional fare, and a whole line of beers! YUM! We each had a "California Blonde" beer. A pale ale. The seafood was fresh, lightly breaded, and plentiful. We could hardly walk out of there, we were so full. Luckily, our hotel was across the street.

Beacon Burgers - This little bitty dive (said affectionately), was in Crescent City, Ca. We looked on the GPS for a burger joint and this came up. We almost didn't find it, as it was a small shack tucked away near other larger restaurants, and near a marina. We got the "special" and then were asked if we wanted: fries, onion rings, "jo-jo's" or "jims". HUH? Jo-jo's or Jim's? One was potato wedges, and one was tator tots. We each got one of those.... The burger was big and juicy and messy. Everything we were looking for. The Jo-jo's and Jim's were delicious. One of the favorites of that leg of the trip. Will head back there again, if we ever get back to Crescent City.

Mo's - In Newport, Oregon we stopped for lunch at a place called Mo's. Looked promising from the outside. Appeared to be your local dive. Inside was a little unorganized, but the atmosphere was pretty cool. The food was fair (although fresh and local) and the service was a bit slow. The place was pretty full at lunch time with what appeared to be locals and tourists mixed. A semi-chain as they have about 6 or 7 locations along the OR coast. The best part was dessert - peanut butter pie, and triple leches cake. Both were scrumptious!

JJ's Fish House - in Poulsbo, WA. YUM! Best seafood we had out west. Perfect little local owned place. In an awesome little Scandanavian town that was picturesque. It looked like we walked into a villiage in Norway somewhere. The architecture, the shops, the whole experience. But back to the food. They had the best Fish and Chips of any restaruant we had tried, and the Fishwich was superb as well. Some else with us had the grilled Halibut and said that is was excellent. BIG thumbs up for JJ's Fish House.

One last thing... At the friend's house that we stayed at outside of Seattle (Shelton, WA to be more precise), our friend cooked breakfast for us each morning. Eggs one day. French toast another. But the icing on the cake were the pancakes. So, this sounds gross... But it's good! These folks put peanut butter on thier pancakes. Yes, you read that right. Peanut butter. Not instead of syrup, but in addition to. I was not going to try this, as it sounded downright un-appealing to me. But curiosity got the better of me, and so here I sit, blogging about peanut butter on pancakes topped with syrup. Yep - it was good. Pancake on the plate, thin layer of peanut butter, top it with syrup. Really adds great flavor and creaminess to the pancakes...

Well - sadly, I think the longest post for this trip so far has been about food.......


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sea Lions

Somewhere along the Oregon coast, we turned a corner on Hwy 101 and there was a Huge building with huge signs for the "Sea Lion Caves". Decided to pop in and see what all the fuss was...

WOW! So glad we did... What we found here was simply amazing. Not nearly as cheesy as we first imagined it might be. Yes, it was a roadside attraction, but it was much more than that. This place had a stellar spot to view Sea Lions in their element. They've built a viewing platform with amazing views of the ocean, and back in the 60's, an elevator was put in to take you down to a cave where the Sea Lions spend most of thier time in the winter. It was a sunny day, so most of them were outside. We could see pods of them swimming and playing in the ocean, tons of them sunning on rocks below, and some jumping in and out of the water onto the rocks. They were very vocal, and could hear them almost from the parking lot. We managed to get a few good pictures, and some very limited video.

Once again, the pictures don't do this area justice. You have to see it to believe it...


The Oregon Coast

So vastly different from the Virginia Coast. Unfortunately, it was overcast most of the drive for us, but we did manage to get a few pictures... Enjoy.

Doesn't do justice at all, and these aren't even a 1/4 of the pictures that I took, just a sampling....