Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday Stills::The Boob Toob

We don't view thee ol' boob toob with great frequency around these parts. We do have shows we enjoy occasionally (i.e. Mad Men, I Love Lucy, news programs, sporting events, movies or the occasional cartoon.)

Last week afforded us a little more opportunity for toob-time with the arrival of this.

Many breaks were taken in between subjects, if not between pages of reading or computing, during Whit's Academy of Fyne Skoolin' last week. After all, as a homeschool, if you can't take a time out to play in the snow that almost never graces the Seattle-area, then you might as well be a kid in public school. :)

So while Cookie was out trapsing about in 4 inches of the white stuff and delivering a pep-talk to the Chicas...

i was sitting fireside, enjoying the blaze Moose left us with before he departed for work.

Which also afforded me the opportunity to watch one of my favourite newsmen of my generation:
Love this guy!

Especially because he knows the deal-ee-yo with our country's problems and is a virtual homeschool curriculum all on his own. Give Cookie Monster a couple more years, and Prof. Dylan Ratigan's School of Current Economic and Political Events will be on our roster. :)
Curious about what your favourite Sunday Stillers watch? Adjust your channel.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Stills :: Graveyard

I love cemetaries!! Who doesn't, eh? Thanks for the much beloved subject matter, Ed! This week's Sunday Stills is about graveyards. And while i could show you the teeniest postage stamped sized pioneer cemetaries around our city, the two Catholic cemetaries nearby, various internment centers for our nation's soldiers, or visit Jimi Hendrix's memorial, i decided to do something a little different.

A few blocks away from our house is a place called The Pet Haven cemetary.
The newly interned.

It's such a small area, but is set up just like a people cemetary. They have a mobile awning for incliment weather, a chapel (for visitation/open casket you think??) Right next to it is an apartment complex--it must be eerie to have a balcony overlooking the pet cemetary, eh?
For more photos of graveyards, visit Sunday Stills.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy St. Valentine's Day

Last week while walking along the shores of the Carbon River, my trigger finger (on my camera) was having fits. Snap beep beep here, snap beep beep there. No wonder my 16G camera card is half full! Ei yi ei!

Something caught my eye and i couldn't stop photographing was as if the universe was trying to tell me something.

Slow down and show the ones you love that you love them not just today, but every day.

To think that this one small rock tumbled down the mountains, travelled the riverbed of a glacier-sourced river, landed by one of the only areas of accessable shore, and didn't get buried by all it's neighbours.

Hoping you have a wonderful St. Valentine's Day celebrating the love of family, of spouses, of your intendeds, and for those who may not be engaged yet, of the hope of one day finding your one and only true love.

State of the Homeschool Address

Oh my goodness, i can't believe i haven't issued a SHA since October '10! Sheesh! No worries though, we've been movin' right along...footloose and fancy-free! 15 more weeks and schools out for us! Yeehaw!

We've just come from having a week off--not of commitments like dance and swimming, but of school. I think it's done wonders for Cookie and me. We planned fun (subversive learning) experiments this past week, including making homemade butternut squash ravioli. Cookie was enamoured with thee entire process and couldn't wait to show Moose what she had been making for dinner when he returned home from work. :) We also made valentines and Cookie learned to serve & hit a shuttlecock. She'll be a champion badminton player in no time.

One thing has caused us to change our schedules from last fall is the deletion of tap and jazz and the addition of swimming lessons. Like i told Cookie, if you don't learn the advance shuffle brush hop step, you won't drown. :) We found a pool, through many recommendations of our friends, that doesn't use a boat-load of chlorine, instead preferring saline water. Many wonderful things have come from this opportunity: most extraordinary is Cookie overcoming her fear of putting her face in the water! Hooray! She is now the master of the front & back float and doesn't mind putting her head underwater to "dive" for weighted rings in the kiddie pool. Also, we have two unadulterated 30 minute sessions of visiting with our close friends who we wish were our neighbours and we've met a new friend--the receptionist at the pool, who is an adorable German woman and is helping me practice my 2nd language and teaching Cookie a little to boot. The best thing about this program is that it's not just another "certificate of participation" program again...they test the kids on a regular basis and don't not graduate the child to the next level unless they can perform the specific skill. Imagine!?!? So, should she choose, Cookie has 12 levels to pass...and has passed the 1st. We were discussing the commitment to finish all the levels, and so far she hasn't the interest, however i think it would make her the strongest swimmer...especially with all this water here in the Pacific NW.

Another wonderful addition to our schedules has been homeschool bowling. It's a challenge to get to now, as it is on the same day as swim lessons, however a worthwhile endeavour as we get to see some wonderful friends we've met through dance classes.

Currently, she's readying for another feis after St. Patrick's Day--this time in Seattle; time and date TBA. She's coming along smashingly with hardshoe. Watching her is amazing--especially the way her face lights up when she perfects the really challenging new steps.

As far as school goes....

She's performing marvelously. I am working with her on the concept of motivating herself to attend to tasks that she can do alone. So far the only success i've had is with her cursive writing. She *loves* completing those lessons and is almost done with the book. One thing i've been slacking on is dictation, especially because i couldn't find an appropriate source. However, with the discovery of a really cool list of books assorted by grade level, i can find sources of dictation at her spelling and writing ability (which i've discovered doesn't completely match up with her reading capabilities.)

In Math, she is by far learning the most. She's through multiples of 7 now, learning about measurements of volume and distance in English and Metric, and is currently working on adding three digit numbers. Only 40 more lessons to go and she'll have completed grade 3.

Part of staying motivated this late in the year is compiling all the new resources to investigate for next year. In reading about her next math text, it's going to combine 4th and 5th grade level math and is reported to supposedly take 2 years to finish, however so was this year's text. It will be Cookie's first hard cover math text...just like i remember getting in 7th grade! :)

Language arts could be going a tad better. The material Cookie finds very boring. Memorising lists of prepositions and helping verbs. She hasn't completely rebelled yet, so i have to give her credit for her wealth of self-control. Today, i'll be introducing a text that is a daily review of grammatical concepts: correcting punctuation, capitalisation mistakes, identifying parts of speech, and combining sentences using commas instead of "and". I am starting to get a little worried that if we don't review this material now on a daily basis that she will have a hard time remembering it in the future and have a hard time with test questions on her evaluation coming up in 4 short months.

Reading is going well--we are staying on top of history texts, which neatly coincide with some English lit. We must get into Shakespeare soon, before the end of the year! I think we are partly behind in this because we are behind in History. One thing i wish i could put a stop to is the "junk food" chapter books for kids this reading level. These fairy stories are ridiculous and provide no substance. Another reason i am thankful to have found the reading lists. Cookie skipped a lot of wonderful books for 3 and 4th grade reading when we thought she was ready for Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Winnie the Pooh, and Mary Poppins. Turns out, those books are considered late 4th grade reading and may have done more harm than good. Whoops. We are jumping into late 2nd grade level books and reading ones that spark imagination--not the babyish books, but books like Frog and Toad, anything by Tomie De Paola, and such. Sticking with classical writers with a penchant for making inanimate objects or animals come alive like Virginia Lee Burton, The Rey's, and Margaret Wise Brown. With these, we are also working on our narration exercises, which Cookie has gotten extremely better at retelling stories in her own words.

Her handwriting is amazing. She has gone from Sloppy Sally to Neatnik Nelly in just 5 months. She's never liked the paper with the special kid ruled lines, so she's writing on regular ruled paper and we can read it! Woot! The cutest thing is that the "girly" gene has apparently kicked in. I's are starting to be dotted with hearts. Swirls have been appearing with regularity for some time now. But truly, when does this phase end? :)

Spelling is going really well for her too. It is amazing the words she can spell. She's completed 2nd grade level and we are just finishing our first third grade section. We've just been taking our time so she can start digesting the spelling rules of English and reiterating them in her own words, especially key now as next year we start in with the Latin curriculum. Yikes! I can't imagine trying to teach both and helping her keep both of them straight at the same time.

We've made a little headway on the second book of our history series, Story of the World. We're dealing with the Middle Ages here, and Cookie is as engaged as ever. She remarked the other day that history is becoming her favourite subject (just like her daddy.) So far we've seen the Roman Empire crumble and replaced by the Byzantine Empire. Now we are moving onto what is happening to countries like India and the Nordic countries during this time. So far, our projects have included illuminating manuscript and making a Monk's supper (which incidentally helped contribute to a stunning weight loss that week of 2.8lbs! We need to eat like monks more often around here!!) This week, since we are in India, i believe we may try our hand at weaving on a homemade weaving loom.

Science is going well too. She's moved from Earth Sci to Astronomy. She's been learning about the space shuttles, missions, and the ISS, and now we are moving onto the solar system and constellations. She's a hound for the stories of Greek and Roman gods, so i have no doubt she'll love the stories behind the constellations. We're planning a trip to an observatory in Central WA once the weather turns better.

Music and Art History is going smoothly too. Both are great subjects for our Tuesdays now that we have swim in the morning and dance in the afternoon. Both of these subjects provide her with just enough school for the day and are relaxing enough to allow her to conserve energy for such a long day. We've made it to Norman Rockwell on of our list and through 7 of our 10 classical music cd's , with Beethoven being Cookie's favourite.

So off we go looking toward May 31st. Please don't let us fall behind now! We are still a few lessons ahead in our core texts (grammar and math), so i am hoping the trend continues so we can get to the fun stuff--gardening and playing in the yard in the sunshine!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Getaway

For our anniversary, Moose booked a guesthouse in Buckley, WA. Now, Buckley is just as it sounds--country. But purdy country! We wanted to see what ordinary life was like out that way--investigating it for possible territory to move to. We travelled around the area a bit and found some pretty neat things, so i thought i'd share. The pictures are a little off, because it was a dark and rainy day last Saturday--nice weather if you're a duck.

The best part of the whole trip was that Cookie Monster communed with horses. She is such a horse girl. We pray that someday we are able to oblige her.

Cookie having a heart-to-heart with Prince, the Friesian

Cookie riding Buckey, the Mustang

The area we visited is nestled in the NW foothills of Mount Rainier.

The most interesting part of this area is that it was founded back in the territorial days before Washington was a state.

As you can imagine, it's not as gorgeous as an old European city, as we in America here tend not to value our history or previous accomplishments. However, some of these cities aren't completely lacking some of their old charms. And thankfully, enough tax money has flowed into places like Buckley and Enumclaw that they are able to use the historical not-for-profits to save their history and label it for the sightseers.

This is an old bank building in downtown Buckley. Sadly, it seems empty now, but let's hope some business springs up in it soon to make use of such an amazing building!

Just down the street from the bank is this beautiful house.

Buckley's one of those communities in transtition right now. We visited a couple years ago and there was nothing but a bar, a shabby thrift/dollar combo, and a dentist's office. Thankfully, city folk have been moving out there and the increase of services are required now. Not that the downtown is a "destination" yet, but if you lived here in Buckley town proper, you'd have within walking distant a coffee shop, druggist, quilt shop, investment manager, and a post office and a few restuarants. All while living in a quiet setting and not-so-busy neighbourhood. In most of these towns out here, kid are even playing in the streets like it was 1948!!

Next up on route 165 was the Town of Wilkeson, WA.
Believe it or not, they have a coffee roaster in town.

Wilkeson's better days were back when the timber was harvested. Now most of that kind of activity in our state is dead, and so go this way the towns too. Really, 50 miles is rather far for someone to live from Seattle, considering that it would easily take you 2 hours to get to work. They are also high enough out here to see snow often.

Their downtown, although not much, has some amazing old brick buildings. They're built on a slant, and sit across from one another on the highway.

I am very fond of the Carlson Block.

I think it's because of this green door.
Sure, the arched windows and the roofline are gorgeous, but the green door.
I just can't get past it. Maybe because it reminds me of the doors in Ireland.
My friend and i are dreaming of the day we have our own businesses. I'd love to have a food stand and she would love to make speciality desert items. For some reason i can't help but think that behind this door we could have an awesome shop, her and i. First off, it would totally be like Mr. Hooper's Store! Sadly, the area isn't as busy as a neighbourhood block in NYC. :)

What's your guess on these building here?
1900's era brothels?
The style is still better than anything we have today in our area.
(Unless you consider a concrete box an architectual beauty.)
Wilkeson Town Hall is located behind the old Northern Pacific line through town...
but it doesn't look old enough to be the old rail station or maybe a receiving building for timber logs to be shipped down the hills by rail.
Here is the Wilkeson Elementary School!
Isn't it a delight?
Thankfully it's in beautiful shape on the outside. We're hoping the inside is just as beautiful. What lucky children that get to attend this school!

We travelled through Wilkeson, on up Hwy 165 to Carbonado, WA.
The town consisted of cabins along the main drag, that may have been charming way back before the people started moving out there and sprucing them up. Bright yellow trim on a redwood stain cabin just doesn't look authentic, you know? There is tons of signage for the Carbonado Saloon, so when we drove past i was expecting to see something like i remember from Tombstone, AZ....or heck, even something like those brothel-looking buildings back in Wilkeson, four miles away. Alas, *thee* Carbonado Saloon looked like a school portable. Only saloonyish thing about it was that it was painted maroon. Such a let down, we didn't even stop for a picture. Which turned out to be a good thing, because we had enough light to get a photo when we saw this...
It's the second cemetary of its kind we saw on our adventure.
Wilkeson has one just like it outside of town.
Now, Carbonado is the last civilisation outside of ranger stations beyond here.
On our way up Hwy 165 to the Carbon Glacier trailhead, we crossed the Carbon River on this one-lane steel bridge. The bridge is 494 ft long across the gorge and is extremely high above the river. Now would be the time to visit and get out and look over the side (since it was dusk, we decided against it.) In the summer, i imagine this is pretty busy.
Especially because there is an old ghosttown to explore nearby.
Once you see this sign, the end is near.
At milepost 0.0 on 165 you'll see the Carbon River, a ranger station, and

a bridge that is amazingly perched over an entire raging river that is sourced by a glaicer! With the large bits of debris that travel down the river, i am amazed that this bridge is in tact--or for that matter allowed.

I am not sure, but this looks like this might be a pretty important piece to something with that perfect notch cut out of it. I wonder where the river carried it from? It was a beautiful trip...took about an hour and half with all the stopping.
Definitely an area to go back and explore on a sunny day.
Wilkeson has some beautiful late 19th century homes that are in need of a little love, but still fascinating enough to photograph.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Getting Ready For Hearts Day

We're getting into the Valentine spirit this week, retrieving the trimmings to decorate the mantle. I loathe decorating for Valentine's Day before our similar to the reaction that people with birthdays near Christmas must have.

I added one new decoration to our upcycled statue from Magpie Ethel.

Isn't it sweet? It's like the cake topper we never had.
And now, it will be the decoration i pull out for our anniversary each year.

On our little anniversary sabbatical, i got around to framing up my Valentine cards that i decorate with.

I thought these last three would look good in the kitchen.
How do you decorate for Valentine's Day??

Thursday, February 3, 2011


I am sorry, but we'll need to pause for a brief intermission.

Since the ILS (Impractical Love Story) is a true story with a pretty sweet ending, i can tell you that it resulted in this:

However i fear if i spent the entire day of our 10th anniversary on the internets concluding the story, i might not be celebrating my 11th anniversary next year. *grin*

We'll spend the weekend celebrating our first decade as man and wife.

And i'll be back again next week to finish the story.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Till We Meet Again

When i left Seattle, we weren't certain when we'd see each other again. Turns out, Moose would give up a trip with his family over Labour Day weekend to come visit me for a couple days when he heard my family from Germany was going to be in town. I was floored.

It is this occasion when we discovered the differences in perception between the sexes. I mentioned to him that i couldn't believe he was offering to come meet my family only after one date. "What?!? Are you crazy?" he replied. "We've had three dates: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." I reasoned that since we didn't have the luxury of just poppin' in to see one another and with the 300 mile drive required to go out on "date" together, that maybe the whole weekend was one date. We still don't agree on this issue. You know what they say, Men are on Martian time... :)

He picked a really great time to come over and visit. Coeur d'Alene in the late summer is beautiful. My family took everyone on a boat ride at the lake and we tootled around town. My families enjoyed meeting him and i think he got a real kick out of visiting with my German family. We spent a little time hiking around Tubbs Hill and headed back to Spokane. When it was time to get him to his hotel, we stayed up talking and watching Scooby Doo a little bit too far past bedtime. Around 11pm or so we heard his neighbour's, who obviously must have just started their honeymoon, if you get my drift, and that is when we decided it was time to call it a night. :) He headed back home to Seattle in the morning.

And again, after another whirlwind date, we didn't have any clue when we'd be getting together again. But this time, we parted with the keen observation that we really did like one another.

* * *

You can be sure the emails were flying back and forth in the mean time. He'd call me every few weeks. One day, upon arriving home, he surprised me with a bouquet of flowers, a teddy bear, and a sweet note delivered on my doorstep.

It was October before we were able to get together again. We had planned to meet up at Grand Coulee Dam for a little sightseeing. Have a picnic. All that romantic stuff you do when you're first getting to know each other. Well, i think his cat was jealous of me. He picked the day we were supposed to meet up to run away. Moose was a mess...he was hoping his cat wasn't dead and wanted to locate him before meeting up with me. Finally, in the afternoon, the feline was located, however it was too late to meet up for sightseeing. Instead, we decided to head out to a spot where I-90 intersects the Columbia River: Vantage, WA. Now, there is nothing really in Vantage except for a run down, drive thru burger joint and a gas station. And at 8 at night, surely they wouldn't be open. So i packed the picnic and a bottle of sparkling apple cider and hit the road. It was October, so it was too cold to go walking anywhere. Did i mention it was 8pm and pitch black? :)

We sat in the back of Moose's Rodeo and talked and talked. He was exhausted from looking for the stinkin' feline all day. We cuddled for a few minutes before we needed to call it a night and drive back to our respective homes. In that time, watching the moon light glistening on the river, he whispered in my ear "I love you."

Holy Cow! I didn't know whether to bolt or hitch my Sundance to the back of his truck. :) We talked a little more and then went our separate ways again. I bet you can guess by now...we had no idea when we'd see each other again. But i do remember stopping in Moses Lake (the next town up the road from Vantage), calling my parents--waking them up actually, to tell them that Moose said he loved me!! Yippee! :)

* * *

In November, i was talking with one of my pharmacists i worked with about wanting to move to Seattle. Now i had a real reason to want to be there: to date my boyfriend like a normal girl would. :) She offered to travel with me to Seattle for a couple of job interviews if i wanted. We checked the Seattle paper online and there was a help wanted ad for Harborview. After doing a little research, we discovered that Harborview was a teaching hospital linked with would be very interesting to work at, especially because it was a trauma center for the region.

I applied and was offered a job that month. Starting date: 12/20/99! Oh boy, what had i gotten myself into?!? I'd find out soon enough....

You've Got Mail

To: Moose
From: Whit
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 1999 3:02 PM
Subject: Happy 4th!!

Hiya Moose...

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday! It's started raining here...but the thunder and lightening is quite spectacular!! :o)

Have a good wk!
Whit (aka Frek)

And that is how it started. Of course, we didn't have the nicknames we use now, however apparently he did give me the nickname Frek after the first encounter we had. Hmmm.

So on it went over the next few weeks, exchanging emails, meeting up for online chats, and exchanging pictures of our travels. It took a full two weeks before he called me for the first time. After that lengthy phone call, i think my ear fell off. :)

And so it went, anxiously awaiting emails and phone calls from each other over the course of almost two months.

It was mid August of '99, my friend from Portland and i planned on meeting up in Seattle to check out the Impressionist exhibit there. I shared with her that i had met a gent from Seattle and we were interested in meeting up with each other and asked if he could accompany us to the museum. Thankfully she didn't object. Thanks, MacD!! Closer to leaving for the trip, Moose and i had decided that the best thing would be to meet up the day before for a dinner date. Get the nervous nelly's over with, you know?

Of course, this meant that after i had gotten off work at 6am the morning i was to leave, it was time to go home, pack, and hit the road for a 6 hour car ride. Sheesh...the things we do when we young and smitten, eh?

As soon as i pulled into Kent, i found the nearest payphone and called Moose. We were both a little nervous, but excited. I'd head over to the hotel, check-in and freshen up and he'd be over in a few minutes to pick me up.

We were both a little nervous. When i heard the knock on the door, i am certain i was in the middle of about the 101,000th stage of primping. :) I opened the door, there was this adorably red headed, big grin wearing, bright blue eyed man standing in front of me. He was old school: he showed up in a tie and dress attire. I liked that! He was 100x better than a picture! And he was holding a beautiful rose. So thoughty!! I was so overcome with nervousness and emotion that i grabbed him, hugged him, and picked him up off the floor. Later he shared with me that he thinks i bruised one or two of his ribs with that hug. Huh?

He had the sweetest first date planned; really low key. He drove us up to Seattle, we had dinner at Tir Na Nog, a now defunct Irish restaurant, and afterward we took a short walk down to the waterfront where he planned a trip on the Ferry to Bremerton.

You see, the beauty of the trip to Bremerton is that it is the longest ride from city of Seattle. In other words, if your blind date takes you on a trip to Vashon Island, you know the date isn't going so well, as it only takes 20 minutes to cross the water. Seattle to Bremerton takes 60 minutes per crossing!! And of course, Bremerton is a Navy town, so there isn't much to do over there...unless you are a barfly. So, we boarded the ferry and settled in for 2 hours of unadultered, face-to-face, old fashioned chit chat. We had such a great time sitting in those easy chairs and laughing our heads off.

On the return trip to Seattle, Moose wanted to take me up to the bow (or maybe it's called the fo'castle) of the ship to show me how it was the least windiest part of the trip. That sly ol' dog even stole a little first kiss while we were up there. He was so cute!!

We returned to Kent, where he dropped me off at my hotel. It was hard to get any sleep that night. MacD had arrived and we were excited to see the art exhibit. The next day, we all headed up to the SAM where i am quite surprised that MacD didn't bail on us. We were so couldn't separate us. And frankly, i don't remember much outside of that day expect for holding Moose's hand and being happy surrounded by two great friends.

Sunday came, and MacD returned to Portland and i was readying to depart for home too. I think i might have stayed to attend Mass with Moose.

There may have been a spur of the moment trip to Mount Rainier thrown in there. I remember saying something about how beautiful the mountain was and before i knew it, Moose was trying to find his way out there without a map. Needless to say, there were times we were lost, however, and Moose panicked that i think him crazy and unprepared and never see him again. I remember thinking how generous, spontaneous, and fun he was and hoping he wasn't thinking this was the last time he'd see me because it was too much trouble keeping up with my every whim. We eventually made it up to Paradise, Mt. Rainier just before sunset. And on our way down, it was late and we were starving. At that time of night, in the boonies, there weren't very many restaurants open. We stumbled upon a mexican restaurant that was about to close in 10 minutes. I think Moose floated them a $20 or maybe he pleaded for mercy with the owner, as he was trying to show this girl a good time, but they graciously let us in and fed us at such a late hour in the night.

There was no denying that we had a really great time together and a certain kind of chemistry. The only thing i can remember about the day that i left was that the entire drive home i was thinking to myself, "Did i just meet my future husband?!?"

Runnin' on Empty

After a few weeks running before work, i had become an exercise fiend, and joined the gym at work to lift weights on my lunch hour. By this time, i worked strictly nights at the hospital, thus practically zeroing out all possibilities of behaving like a normal person. *grin* It was a great schedule though, as it allowed me a rotating schedule set in stone and 3 days off in a row every three weeks. Woot! However, as i was never out during normal people hours, i found it even harder to find a date. Let's see, "Non-smoking SWF living with crazy old uncle, a cat with a tongue that hangs out of his face, and is pretty well sleep deprived most days seeks kind man to date." Yeah, that should get the offers pouring in, eh? So, it was about this time i turned to the internets to try to find some friends that i could get together with in Seattle on my three day weekend. If they were of the male persuasion, so be it. :) Sadly, it led to meeting a couple of really weird guys that travelled to Spokane to meet me. Let's just say that dinner couldn't end soon enough.

By this time, Moose had not only become exasperated with his dating prospects, but also disenchanted with design engineering. Work was physically causing him stress to the point of effecting his health. He was 29 years old and already sick of his work. He saw an opportunity to move into another department at the city. It seemed like interesting work: environmental engineering. He threw he hat in the ring and was accepted for the position. Quickly he proved himself indispensable. Now the only thing lacking in his life was a girlfriend.

Just when the pair quickly grew bored with the use of modern means to find a date...

It was July 3rd, 1999, when i logged onto a chatroom to visit with my mom over the computer, a common occurance so we could save a pile of money on long distance bills. While we were talking, i noticed a little conversation going on in the background about some Seattle happenings and people wanting to get together. I quickly typed whatever it was i had to add to the conversation, something sarcastic i have no doubt. I returned to Mom's conversation when a little window popped up with funny little blurb about my two cents in the Seattle conversation. We started trading jokes back and forth and all of the sudden started swapping vital statistics: names, ages, locales. He asked if i had visited Seattle much and i mentioned that i would be visiting with my friend from Portland in about a month's time to check out the Impressionists exhibit at the SAM. He mentioned he was just getting ready to go on a camping trip, and i was telling him how excited i was to work over the holiday--cha-ching!! However before he left, he mentioned he'd buy me a beer when i visited Seattle. We traded emails and he got back to packing for his trip.

After Mom and i finished talking, i went about my day: napped, worked, come home, slept, ate....i had this nagging feeling about this guy i'd met. He was funny, good funny, you know? Smart funny, not like a lot of those fraternity dudes i worked with. We had found a little bit in common too. I was hoping he had a good time camping and i was looking forward to talking with him again. So i thought, hey, why not write him an email to tell him so....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spokavegas or Bust

As you can imagine, being an assistant to the assistant isn't quite the exciting career that a college student dreams of. For the time being, it was okay though. I was at home, with Mom and Dad, during those summer days i could spend my lunch hour biking around town or down at the beach, and all was right with the world. Sorta. But i had the itch to get back to the books...

Moose was well on his way to becoming a lead engineer. He had several projects looming over his head, one being an intersection on an arterial road leading to the freeway. Certain his job was secure enough, he purchased his first home in Kent with a little help from his mom. He invited one of his friends from the young adult group to room with him--two Catholic engineers residing under the same roof. Oh, the wild parties that must have really annoyed the neighbours, eh? :) *grin*

About this time, i turned 21 and my parents wanted to help me celebrate. So begged and pleaded to forego the cliched trip to Las Vegas in exchange for a trip to Seattle. We booked a hotel in Kent, just a few blocks away from Moose's work, and we toured Seattle over a couple days. I was smitten with the big city!! With all there was to do and all the people around my age and looking so smart too!! When we returned to Idaho, i discovered there was a community college about 45 minutes away from my parents and somehow, by the skin of my teeth, i was able to finagle my way into it. I had half a clue that i wasn't going to pharmacy school anytime soon, so i figured going to school to become a pharmacy tech might give me a good look at what i was in for. I moved to Coeur d'Alene, and while taking about a year to finish up the program, i had a few different leads in pharmacies to act on. One was a local mom 'n' pop pharmacy in Sandpoint. Not certain i wanted to return to Sandpoint with it's lack of people my own age, i focused my efforts on two other experiences i had in pharmacy school: interning at a hospital in Spokane and with the Indian Health Service in Benewah, ID. I really liked my job in Benewah!! My mentor, a pharmacist with a very kind and gentle soul, was heavily into herbal rememdies, which i had an interest in too. He was the world's best boss. I just couldn't see myself commuting from Cd'A everyday, nor was i going to move to the rez out in the middle of nowhere, working at the mercy of the IHS--they could send me to Alaska or Oklahoma, or wherever their little pocketbooks pleased. Spokane it was, although according to papers i found during last week's decluttering effort, for a brief second i apparently thought about returning to Tucson. Praise God, He didn't have that plan in mind for me! :)

So there i was in Spokane, working evenings & nights at local Catholic hospital, ticking a few of those pre-pharmacy classes off my "to-do" list at community college, picking up extra shifts at the pharmacy in Benewah, and enjoying a few new friends i had made--one being a pharmacist i met at Benewah; she worked for Kmart and had her own relief pharamcist service for pharmacies in need of temporary employees. We made a great team: she is an excellent leader and communicator and she trusted my work. She and her boyfriend helped give me a place to stay for a while till i could get my own apartment. As you can imagine, she'd meet lots of different people, and since she was already off the market, she'd evaluate the single ones to be set up as blind dates for her various friends.

She only deemed one guy she met okay for a blind date with me. Thankfully she recognised my naivety. :) Plus, she befriended my parents, so she knew she'd have to answer to someone. :) I remember this blind date: he was a pharmacy intern from one of the Dakotas. My friend and i were thinking, well, if he's from the Dakotas, how wild could he be? Well, she warned him that she was setting him up with a really nice girl, and since she's Italian, that meant "Don't make me hafta kill ya." The whole time they were planning the date, he was telling her he was taking me to some jazz concert or something like it and we'd go out to dinner. I was kind stoked...being this was my first real adult date and all. Turns out, boys from the Dakotas are sly ones. Huh? Who knew? He picked me up dressed in a Hanes undershirt and wholey Levis. And we were going to a nice dinner and a jazz concert? Something didn't add up. Turns out, we were headed to a speed metal concert in a really gritty part of downtown. You know, one of those areas of town that is so nasty, that you have to circle around the block a few times to see if this is really where you're supposed to be going. After all, if you're going to put forth the effort to risk your life, you might as well double check and make sure you're in the right spot, eh? Sheesh! Did i mention i had no idea what the heck speed metal was?? And in my turtleneck, velvet green jumper, and Doc Martin maryjanes, you can bet your bottom dollar i certainly wasn't going to follow my date out into the mosh pit when he offered. You can guess how out of place i looked, but thankfully it was pretty dark. And apparently there was a girl in the crowd somewhere that had completely hoodwinked her date i spent most of the night standing next to a man in a tweed blazer with patches on the elbows. :) I hope our two dates found each other in the pit and bonded over a great belly laugh and a couple of chest butts!

I guess deep down, i was hoping to settle down somewhere where i could have half a chance of finding a good man and getting married. To me, that meant not having to go to a club to have guys pick you up--something that was very popular with most of the women i worked with. No, i was more of the romantic type...maybe you'd run into your true love at the grocery store. After all, my parents kinda met that way: my mom worked in a family friend's diner with her mom and my dad was a patron there, coming in after working out at the mines, all grubby and tired. After a few visits to the establishment, and giving a few lessons on how to make iced coffee, he asked his waitress on a date. Of course, she'd have to ask her folks first. :) After their first date, they lived happily ever after. That's how you're supposed to meet your true love, eh? In my book anyway.

Moose wasn't having much luck in the dating department back in South Seattle. Most of the gals in the young adult group were coupled with someone else already. He started branching out into computer dating. One "memorable" date he's told me about involved a trip to Portland to meet a girl down there. He took her to a fancy restaurant down there and while they were eating their salads, they paused for a little chit chat. When he looked down again to take another bite, there was a trail of slime coming from his plate and leading across the table...the slug never to be found. Needless to say, that was enough to ruin that date. Lucky me!

* * *

Or maybe he'd be a friend of a friend. Or maybe you'd meet someone at work--although, then you'd have to get a new job, because we all know the dangers of fishing from the company pier, eh? Not that i didn't do my fair share of flirting with the gents at work, however, it's kinda hard to get a date with guys that see you as an equal and love you more for your record collection than your wit. Not that wearing hospital scrubs everyday would helped me catch a man, either. Or maybe you'd meet them on a trip? I tried. I visited my old college friend down in Portland a few times by train--we were both young, fun, and single...and red heads. How could anyone pass us up? I'd take trips to Canada with friends. Once i lived on bread, cheese and water for a week so i could afford tickets and the trip to Bumbershoot in Seattle. I met some wild people, but truly, no heart stoppers. I figured one of my problems was that i didn't belong to anything: no clubs, no church, no athletics.

It was '98. Wearily, both of us trudge on in the dating neither of us seemingly could catch a break in. I haven't discussed this with Moose, but i wonder if he was ever ready to give up the whole sham and figure on being the bachelor the rest of his life? I was...during the short time i was in Spokane. My uncle moved up and we roomed together. I had this notion of maybe using the rest of my college fund to buy my own house...a cute little fixer and live the good life. Of course, i daydreamed, that maybe once i got a house fixed up and a little saved, i could possibly adopt a child or two. These are the daydreams i'd entertain once i suddenly developed an unexplainable interest in running on the trails down by the Spokane River.

And those of you that know me, you know i don't run.

Muggin' Monthly :: January 2011

It's time for the first ever Muggin' Monthly challenge.

If you have pictures of your babes or critters you've taken for posterity and would like to share them with us, please link below in the comments section!

Regardless, i encourage you to take pictures of the everyday moments of your life, no matter how busy or imperfect life is!

Here's the best of the month of January from our home:

Our little Irish dancer's feet....they were still, can you believe it??

Best Buddies

Chef Cookie Bella, she can really maka da gnocci, ah? (the finger in front of her mouth is her version of a handlebar mustache.) :)