Saturday, June 30, 2012

Date Night - Thai Food and Cell Phones

How has your weekend started? It's Saturday morning and I am writing while two of my kids are watching television and my DH is with our oldest son getting a physical for football. It feels like a good start to our day!

Last night we had our weekly date and tried a new Thai restaurant. Delicious! Thai food is one of my favorite flavors. I love pad Thai and satay chicken, so good! For dessert they serve sticky rice with sliced mango. Now, the sticky rice varies between restaurants. I've had it taste plain and creamy or sweet and creamy, but last night it was salty and creamy which went well with the sweet mango. Interesting combinations and absolutely yummy!

After our date we headed to the mall to upgrade my phone. This was a necessity since a short person who lives in this house, who shall remain nameless, dropped my phone while waving to a friend. The phone hit the asphalt really hard on its corner, this rendering the silent button and headphone jack completely useless. Also, the sleep button refused to work even intermittently as it had been. Ugh!

You don't realize how much you need certain features of your phone until they're gone! That sleep button is a necessity. For the last three weeks, I have had to carry my phone in my hand until it shut off, a good full minute, because if I put it in my purse apps would get activated or people would be called. Yikes! I looked like a phone addict with that thing in my hand all the time. It was frustrating.

Then the headphone jack, yes, also a necessity. We drive through a canyon and besides that our radio reception is choppy so we use the radio stations through the phone while we drive. You have to be able to plug the phone in to the car kit to do this, which was impossible since it was broken. So we've been driving in silence or listening to my iPod over and over. And over and over. And over and over. You see? Headphone jack is a necessity.

Think about how many situations you are in that require a silent phone. A lot, right? Well, I had to leave my phone in the car A LOT since the ringer somehow was damaged, even though it was in silent mode when dropped, and the ringer would not turn off. Not just that, though, it was full volume! I have no clue how that happened from the drop.

Here are a few places you can't take your phone when it's full volume:
Church (I don't want to be that person!)
Movie theater (I don't want to be that person either!)
Meetings (any kind, nobody want to be interrupted by a phone)
Library (this has happened to me a few times and those librarians can be vicious!)

So, you see, I HAD to get a new phone. I've been using an older iPhone that someone gave me, which was absolutely cool. Now I have a Samsung SkyRocket, super cool name, right? I love it! The screen is huge and it works so stinkin' fast I'm amazed.

Did I mention the phone guys managed to upgrade DH's phone, too? Yep. These guys were good. My DH had no intention whatsoever of upgrading his phone! None! He was adamant. But then he saw the iPhone, not the newest one, but one newer than his. It was love at first sight and he had to have it. I'm happy for him! He never treats himself to things like that and he deserves it.

After our phone fun, we headed home, put the kids to bed, and spent the rest of the evening cuddled up in our separate corners playing with our phones. Sigh. It was awesome.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Marvelous Pedicure Conundrum

The color matched my flip flops perfectly, love!

Don't my feet look so cute? I love the color!

I have had in my possession for the last three years, a SpaFinder gift card. The intention of the giver was for me to experience a massage since I mentioned I had never had one. Well, maybe I should have said that I have never had a desire to have a massage. I think I would like to be massaged in the privacy of my own home. I don't really want to go somewhere and remove my clothing and lay down and be rubbed with oils in a strange place. With my husband is one thing, with a stranger it's another. Right? I know, someone is going to tell me how crazy I am and that massages are wonderful. I know! A lot of my friends say that! But, it doesn't seem relaxing to me and isn't that the point of the massage, to relax? So, the short story is, I never used the gift card. Until today.

This week I have had a few hours to myself every morning while the kids were at VBS at church. I discovered the SpaFinder gift card floating around in an old purse and decided to use it for a mani-pedi. My feet were sorely in need of some TLC beyond what my foot brush in the shower could give. I found a spa in my area that accepts such gift cards and made an appointment for this morning.

This is the InStyle picture that inspired my color choice for my pedicure today.

I saw a picture in the June InStyle that had toenail polish matching the flip flop, love that! I wanted a design or flower on my toe, but the man working on my feet didn't offer one. I have always found that if it isn't offered, that probably means the person can't do it. I've had some weird-looking designs done by inexperienced hands, trust me.

The pedicure was a really good one. This man gave me the most amazing foot/leg massage, hoochie mama! I felt my arms go limp and my eyes close halfway through, bliss! He was gentle and thorough, doing all those little things that make a pedicure so wonderful. My feet are not the prettiest anymore, all that walking has taken a toll. But, this man scrubbed and buffed and massaged like my feet were precious jewels going on display. Best. Pedicure. Ever.

*** Check the comments. Thank you, Vera, for explaining how SpaFinder gift cards work. The full amount is taken by the spa you choose, not just the portion you use. The rest of the money is then rolled over into a gift card for that specific spa. Period. Even if you have $20 left like I did, you will be forced to return to that same spa to use the rest of your gift.

Thankfully, I had a great experience. I wonder, though, about people who would never return to that particular spa, who were unhappy with it. I guess they are stuck! I don't know why SpaFinder works like this, but there you go. ***

Monday, June 25, 2012

Me Time

This week I will have a few hours to myself every day while the kids are in VBS. What should I do with myself?

Today I am shopping and enjoying being out alone, with Starbucks, of course! I think I may get my nails done tomorrow. I've been wanting a set of acrylics for a while now.

The rest of the days are wide open. Knitting, reading, what else? Hmm. I am reminding myself to just breathe and stay in the moment today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I Gotta Have a Goal!

Well, friends, I have to be honest. I have lost my mojo.

I was doing great before we went on vacation. I was logging five miles almost every day! While we were on vacation, I managed to log at least three miles almost every day. And then (dun, dun, dun!) I caught a cold, which progressed into sinusitis. I never get sick. NEVER. So when I do succumb to some germ, it's usually a really nasty, stubborn one. Thus, I have just now lost that congested tone in my voice, after being home for over a week.

I tell you this, not as an excuse, but as part of the reason behind losing steam on my quest to walk 100 miles this month. It ain't gonna happen. I've come to terms with it, but the wind has been taken out of my sails. Actually, my DH is the one who lit the fire under me to get back to my daily walking routine. He reminded me of my 100 miles goal and thought I could still do it. Ah, he knows me so well. He challenged me to try, and that provoked my competitive side. So, I've been hitting the pavement again.

My goal right now is to walk, not run, five miles a day. I'm going to borrow my friend's P90X DVDs and then I may change my walking goal to three a day. I love the walking, and I am losing inches, but I need to tone. I am not dropping weight as consistently as I think I should be. I'm hoping the P90X will kick it up a notch, or several notches judging by the infomercial.

I have a party with my in-laws coming up in a month. My new long-term goal is to look fabulous, jaw-dropping fabulous, and buy a new dress for the party. I can do it. I've been a little lazy about counting calories, so I really need to get strict with myself. I'm hoping for a 10 pound drop, at least. Is that crazy? I have 26 days. I need to think of a good name for this goal...

Join me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wetlands Trip Pics

Finally, I updated my birding page and my knitting projects page.

I had so much fun working on my birding page. I found some photos of the wetlands that are just lovely. Sigh. It's good to be home, but I do miss Washington.

Hiking through the wetlands

The view from the one-mile trail

We take a group photo every time we visit. The kids have grown so much!

The bridge leading onto the marsh
I need to find a wetlands in my area. It's such a beautiful area.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birding, Life Lists, and The Big Year

When I was visiting my sister the first time, four years ago I think, I fell in love with birds. I live in an urban area and mostly see pigeons, chickadees, mourning doves, you know, common city birds. Occasionally I would see a hummingbird since we had a flowering tree on our street. I enjoyed seeing birds, but my first visit to Washington State enhanced that to become a passion. I am a birdwatcher, a birder, albeit a very amateur one.

My sister’s home near the coast and forests of WA is heaven for bird watching. On our first trip we visited a lot of attractions in her area, including two wetlands, one by a lighthouse which was lovely. I saw such color and variety of birds that I never knew existed so near people! I never made an effort to see birds, just enjoyed whichever ones flew into my field of vision, so having all these amazing birds in sight started a desire to see more. Many more. All of them!

Every visit to my sister following has involved bird watching of some degree, mostly just looking out the window and consulting the bird guide when we weren’t sure what we saw. We always visit the wetlands and see new birds. But, this last trip, we saw something that changed our amateur birding into a concerted effort to see as many birds as we can over our lifetime.

We didn’t see some grand bird or fabulous bird watching expert. We saw Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson racing to see as manybirds as they could in one year in a wonderful, inspiring movie, The Big Year. This movie shows the lives of three men, passionate birders, who are competing to see the most birds in one year. There is no prize, but the respect of the birding community. You see these men get so excited at viewing birds, hearing new calls, interpreting weather patterns to see new birds. It is mostly funny, a little sad, too. There is an underlying message to enjoy life, know what your priorities are or should be, and don’t let your passions dictate how you live. Know when to stop and when to keep going. Good life lessons!

I highly recommend seeing the movie, for entertainment purposes if nothing else. The cast was hilarious! I enjoy movies that are real and this one definitely had elements of heartbreaking realness to it. You should put this one on your must-see list.

But, be prepared! If you enjoy birds NOW, this movie will spark a fire in you to start a list, a daily list, yearly list, or even a lifetime list. You will be inspired to keep track of what birds you see, I guarantee.

My sister and I have decided to start life lists, a list of birds we have seen over the course of our lifetime. We began by daily spending time looking at the birds in the immediate vicinity and writing them down as we found them in the bird book or online. Then we went to the wetlands and purposed to find particular birds, such as a kingfisher (the first one I have ever seen!). We were always glancing around while driving and walking outside. A woodpecker landed on a tree outside her kitchen window and you would have thought there was an emergency by the way she was whisper-yelling my name to “Come quick! Hurry! Hurry!” I did catch a glimpse of this brilliant redheaded bird before he flew away. My sister and I looked at each other, grinning hugely, adding it to the mental list.

So all this is introduction to the newest page on my blog, my Birding Life List. I am back in an urban area now, sorely missing the great forest of the Northwest, and already have noticed a few new birds on my walks. The local cemetery has a bird watching group that meets monthly and I have plans to attend with Professor X. He’s caught the bird fever, too. I feel like something special has been added to my life, something to help me slow down and savor the moment. Something to help me listen more intently to the sounds around me, to catch that new bird call or whistle. Something to enrich my experience here in this world, on this crazy earth, living my small daily life. I encourage you to try it. What do you see out your window?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Condoms vs. Tampons, Who Blinks First?

There was a need recently to go shopping for some, ahem, feminine supplies. Not for me, mind you, for a friend! (yeah, right. no one ever believes that) I was with my sister, mother, and all the kids at Target. I went off with my sister for a few things we needed, tampons being one of them, leaving the kids with my mother. I try to avoid taking the kids down the feminine needs aisle. The products provoke too many questions I'm unwilling to answer for another 3 years, at least.

Now I don't know why, but Target shelves all the feminine supplies on the same aisle as the condoms. Why? I bet you it was a man. Some man looking at store layouts decided that since tampons and condoms all relate to "basically the same area" they should be on the same aisle. Right? No, the condoms should be on the man aisle! Right next to the shaving cream and razors and bodywash. The men are the ones using the things, mostly, you know? I would think that men would prefer to have them on their own aisle anyway. It would save us all a lot of embarrassment, but then it wouldn't be as entertaining I guess. Read on!

So, my sister and I walk past the feminine supplies aisle and lo and behold, there is a man there looking at the condoms. I mean, REALLY looking at them, like comparing and reading the boxes. Well, I can't shop for what I need with him there! No, I can't.

I'm the kind of person who puts my feminine supplies at the bottom of the cart, underneath everything, and mixes it in with a bunch of other things on the belt at the register, so it isn't obvious. Hey, what my body is doing is no one's business but mine! So, you see, this man's presence was hindering my shopping progress.

When he saw me looking at him, those few seconds where I mentally debated going up the aisle or not, he quickly, and I mean QUICKLY, put down the boxes he was holding, shoved his hands in his pockets, and stepped back from the shelves. He was embarrassed! But he didn't leave. No. He kept standing there, just staring at the boxes, so I passed by and caught up with my sister again.

ME: "Hey, there's a man on the tampon aisle. He's looking at CONDOMS!"
(We both started giggling, very mature, I know)
MY SISTER: (after she stops laughing) "So what? Just get what you need!"
She's a nurse so not as conscious about the personal aspect of these things as I am. She'll stick her pads in the child's seat right on top of everything else. She doesn't care!
ME: (still laughing) "Dang it! I hate that. Okay, well, let's see who blinks first."

I head back over to the feminine aisle and the guy is still there. I go all the way around and enter from the opposite side, farther away from him. As soon as I come around the corner, though, he and I lock eyes. And then, I couldn't help it, I swear, I smirked at him. I gave him a I-know-what-you-are-buying-and-what-you-are-planning-to-do look, then I snickered.

He blinked. He took off, just bolted from the aisle. Success! I could shop privately. Of course, he could have smirked back with a you-must-be-menstruating look, and a snicker of his own. Maybe all the condom boxes were distracting him. I got what I needed and headed back to my group.

My sister had to buy some other things, so we continued shopping. A few minutes later, we all happened to walk by the feminine aisle, I glanced over, and there he was! Again! Still! I mean, really, how long does it take to pick out a box of condoms? Our eyes locked and I swear I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing. He cringed. This poor guy probably hates me and has impotency problems now, hearing my laugh ring out when he's trying to focus on, ahem, romance. I couldn't help it! The whole situation was comical! Why didn't he just grab a box and get on with it?

I whispered to my sister about the guy still being there and we were laughing about it occasionally. It definitely kept us entertained. As we headed to the register, wouldn't you know, guess who was coming toward us? But even better, he was with a WOMAN! Yes!

I looked at him and he looked at me. I raised my eyebrows and just laughed and laughed. I can't be sure what his response was because I was laughing so hard my eyes were watering. The woman definitely gave me a nasty look and they kept walking. Do you think he told her about me? Was I the woman on the condom aisle who wouldn't leave? I had to hold onto the side of the cart so I wouldn't fall on the floor. OMG! Even now I can't help but laugh! I hope he isn't scarred for life. He probably told her, "See? That's why! Next time YOU buy them!"

That's why they should stock the condoms on the MEN'S aisle! So the poor souls buying them won't have to deal with immature women like me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Worldwide Knit in Public Day

On June 9th, we headed to the mall by my sister's house for some shopping. I knew it was Worldwide Knit in Public Day (according to my Twitter feed at least) so here I am, in the Barnes & Noble store cafe, knitting! I carried my project around in the new bag I got in Seattle, it looks like a Chinese food carton. I think it is intended as a purse since there is a mirror affixed to one of the flaps, but to me, it functions best as a carry-all for knitting. The sides are very sturdy and the curved bamboo handle hooks right over my arm. The material covering it looks like a traditional Chinese silk pattern. It was only $10! I love the effect of the knitting needles sticking out the top, too. They look like chopsticks!

Did you knit in public, too?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day Trip to Seattle - Starbucks and Turkish Delight

Of course, one highlight of our visit to WA is always the day trip into Seattle. I love the whole experience of taking the ferry into the city and walking up all those stairs to Pike's Market, purchasing a new mug for my collection from the original Starbucks, and eating at Turkish Delight. We've done this trip a few times now and it is one of my favorite memories every time.

The dock area as we waited to board the ferry to Seattle. I love seeing all the boats and birds and the kids always spot starfish and jellyfish in the water.

 The weather was cloudy and chilly, typical for the area and definitely added to the whole experience of going to Seattle.

Enjoying the ferry ride with my sister and my mother, good times!
We are patiently waiting for our chicken denare at the Turkish restaurant we always eat at. The owner is a very friendly Turkish woman who remembers us every time we come in. She always offers the kids some extra Turkish Delight and has a friend for life in Mr. M. All he talked about on the way there and home was Turkish Delight!
This is the chicken denare and trust me, it is amazing! The chicken is roasted all day and the sauce is made fresh, a blend of lemon and spice with creamy something, maybe yogurt. Absolutely the best!
Not my favorite picture of myself, but here I am at the original Starbucks with a tray of drinks and bag of goodies. I always get some Pike's Special Reserve, only available here, and a new mug. The line is out the door as you can see, but moved fast. The staff is super friendly and I love hearing them call out, "Summer!" when my drinks are ready. An unforgettable experience. I love Starbucks!
I was drinking ice tea since I was battling a cold and allergies the whole trip, not fun, but I didn't let it keep me down. Notice the cool manicure? Yep, we paint our nails and do pedis every visit. I thought these neon colors were really cute together.
Sisters at Starbucks. A great moment. Notice my huge, red frame sunglasses? I got those the day before for $1 at the thrift store. Love them!
Here is my mom living her Sleepless in Seattle moment. Remember the scene where Sam and Jonah are picking up that lady with the annoying laugh from Pike's Market? Well, Jonah is playing around with a crab and my mom really likes that scene. She picked up this crab, I snapped the pic, and then we got the heck out of there. The man working the counter looked like he was going to make us buy the crab!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Home Sweet Home

After an extremely long day of driving, day two of the road trip home, we arrived at our house this afternoon. Finally!

I miss my sister already. We asked ourselves, how did this happen that we live so far away from each other? Nothing replaces a sister, a really great sister, I mean. We spent a glorious two weeks together enjoying early morning coffee and afternoons of activities and letting the kids play. Our children are all very close in age, separated by months really, and they get along very well. Such a blessed time!

And it seems to be over too quickly. So here I am back home, a place I love to be, wishing that tomorrow morning would be spent at her kitchen table with a mug of hot coffee and sister chatting. Back to reality.

I have lots of plans and goals for this summer. Do you? My Etsy shop is still just bare bones, something I mean to remedy this month. My stack of knitting magazines is spilling over, full of my notes and ideas for projects. I found several paperbacks to get my Read to 100 list growing. While I did walk/run while on vacation, I made a significant exercise discovery. Roller skating burns way more calories than running! We spent two fun nights going around and around to groovy music and during each 90 minute session I burned almost 1,000 calories! This requires some investigation and perhaps a purchase of some skates. Also, I'm dedicating myself to at least three miles of walk/run every day and adding a cardio workout every other day. I am so sick of being overweight. It's time to kick it up a notch!

It's good to be home. I just miss my sister.

This is the tattoo I'm going to get, changing the word friend to sister.
We had this plate when we were growing up and it looks just like us.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Still on Vacation

We extended our stay for another week, just me and the kids since DH had to return to the real world and earn some money. I will be back to my regularly scheduled program next week.

Lots of knitting is being done and many miles are being logged. I am on a techno vacation, too, since none of my family is as media social as I am. I mentioned Twitter and they were shocked I tweet. Ha ha! That's not even the worst thing I could be doing! Wait until I explain Instagram!