Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Shawn and I aren't really getting into Halloween this year, but we are celebrating it in a couple ways. After we went to the pumpkin patch this past Sunday, we carved our pumpkins Sunday night. I've just been waiting for today to post the pictures. :)

I do enjoy carving pumpkins, but really, I'm not that great at it. I just don't have a whole lot of creativity, and I'm not artistic. So when I carve pumpkins, I try to think of something relatively simple that will end up looking like a normal, carved pumpkin. I think I achieved that this year. I even added a couple pointy teeth to try to make it look a bit more like a vampire (in my nod to Twilight).
Shawn, however, really takes this seriously. He is an engineer, after all, but he's also very creative and actually kinda artistic. He's not exactly content with just making a plain and simple jack-o-lantern. He also doesn't cheat by looking for patterns online. Fortunately, he helped me first by scraping out both pumpkins. Then, he started in on his. How many other people pull out a power drill when "carving" pumpkins?
This is his final product. The red stuff is candle wax that he dripped on the pumpkin and gourd to look like blood. Like my dad pointed out, when we have kids, I know which parent will be helping out with school projects!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My New Hobby!

I've always hated answering the question, "What are your hobbies?" I don't know that I really have any hobbies. There are things that I enjoy watching TV and movies, watching baseball and other sporting events, going hiking and climbing with Shawn, snowshoeing, reading, traveling. Are any of these things really "hobbies," though? In my mind, a true "hobby" will leave a person with something when it's over...a collection, perhaps, or an end product of some sort.

So...I've taken up a new hobby. After being inspired by a few of my online friends, I decided to teach myself how to crochet! People like Melissa and Kellie assured me that it's not difficult, and if I mess up, all I have to do is rip out the stitches and redo that row. Once I decided to try, I thought I should wait until we were in our new apartment. So a couple of weeks ago, I bought myself some crochet hooks and a couple skeins of yarn, and I got this book from the library.So far, it seems relatively straight forward. I've been practicing the various stitches, and although my first few attempts didn't really look very good, I seem to have gotten the hang of it. I decided a day or two ago that it's time to attempt to actually make something (instead of just practicing stitches). I figure that I can't get much easier than a that's what I'm working on. I'm even going to make it two different colors (since I bought two different colors of yarn that first day)! I've actually gotten a little further than this, but here is the beginning of my scarf. You can probably tell from the picture that the stitches got tighter after the first few rows, so the bottom is a little wider than the top. But that's okay...this first project will be for me. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday, October 27th, was my birthday. Yes, it's true...I am thirty. Although it's safe to say that I don't really feel "old," I do feel a bit more grown up. I realize that I've legally been an adult for the last 12 years, but I often haven't felt like an adult. The last day or two, I've been feeling like an adult. It's kinda nice, actually.

Since we don't really know many people in this area yet, a party for me was not in the cards. But my day was very nice anyway. I actually got up earlier than normal because Shawn made me breakfast of pancakes and eggs before he went to work. Then I stayed at home in my pajamas until about 2:00 and didn't feel guilty about it. When Shawn came home from work, he gave me my present. Or actually, he gave me a promise about my present. :) Once they go on sale, he's going to buy us tickets to see all 3 games when the Indians are here to play the Mariners next July. But he's also promised to "sing the praises of baseball as the best sport ever," and he's also agreed to do some research ahead of time so that he'll know who the starting pitchers will be and "will be able to chat like a 'real fan'." I think that's a wonderful, thoughtful gift! :)
Shawn then took me out to dinner. I had asked him to choose a place, so he did. He didn't tell me ahead of time where we were going, but I could tell that he had done some research online to find something good. We ended up in Greenlake, which is a neighborhood north of Seattle. He planned on taking me to a place called The Stumbling Goat Bistro (which we realized later was funny in light of the "special" goat we saw on Sunday!). However, when we got there, we noticed that the restaurant was awfully dark. We walked up to the door and noticed that the place is closed on Mondays. Oops. The menu looked good, though, so we'll have to try it some other time.So as Plan B, we headed to Ballard, which is a fun part of town. We decided to try Lombardi's. It was really good! When they brought us our meals, both Shawn and I immediately were drawn to the other person's dish. :) But we ate what we ordered and then each took a few bites of the other person's meal. When we were finished, we walked a couple doors down to a coffee shop/cupcake bakery. We found ourselves at Cupcake Royale, which I have actually heard of. We each got a cupcake for my birthday. They were really good! This is the one that I had, but after perusing their website, I think we'll have to go back so I can try more flavors!All in all, it was a great way to celebrate my 30th birthday. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Today was a beautiful fall day in the Seattle area, so I suggested that we go to a nearby pumpkin patch! I felt slightly out of place since we had no children that we were chasing around, but we had a good time. This farm definitely has a good business going! As soon as we got there, we saw the pumpkin cannons. There are two of them, and guests can pay $1 for a small pumpkin or $2 for a bigger one. You put the pumpkin in this large metal tube, which then shoots the pumpkin up to 1000 feet! After watching this for awhile, we headed off to the field.

You can walk to the field pretty easily, but Shawn and I decided to take the wagon/hayride. It dropped us off in the middle of the field, and then we headed out. Given the fact that today is the last weekend day that the farm is open to the public, the field was pretty picked over. But we were able to find a couple of very large pumpkins pretty quickly! I wanted a smaller one, too, so we ended up with 3. We didn't grab a wheelbarrow on our way out into the field, so it's a good thing that Shawn is so strong! After paying for our pumpkins and washing them off in the water troughs, we put them in the car and went into the produce shop. We stocked up on apples, pears, and broccoli grown on the farm (or a nearby farm), and then got in line at the snack shop. Shawn had an ear of hot buttered corn, and I got a slice of zuccini bread and a cup of hot chocolate. Final stop before we left was the animals. You could pet the piglets, the lambs, and the goats. I felt a little bad, but I had to laugh at the "special" goat they had there. Is it just me, or was this poor thing probably kicked in the face at some point when it was very young? By the way, have you ever noticed a goat's pupils? It's not just this goat...all goats have rectangular pupils instead of circular ones. Just thought I'd share that little tidbit of information with you.
Shawn and I plan on carving our pumpkins tonight. Hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to post later this week! Of course, Shawn dropped mine when he was getting it out of the car, so we may only have one that can be carved very well. At least, I'll use that as my excuse if mine looks really bad when I'm done. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Trying to Cook

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a cook. A lot of my friends are very good cooks, and I'm always jealous at how easy cooking seems to be for them. I don't think it's necessarily that I'm bad at it (despite the evidence to the contrary in this blog post); I just haven't really tried very hard to learn. Part of the reason for this is probably that I hate cooking for just myself. It seems like a waste of effort to cook a full meal for just one person, especially when I have to store the leftovers and do all the clean up myself afterwards, too! Before Shawn and I were married, I had been living alone for over 7 years. And even after we were married, I was alone during the week, and we often went out for meals when Shawn was home on the weekends.

But now...things have changed! We've been in our apartment for about 2 weeks now, and I've actually been cooking quite a bit! So far, most of what I've made have been meals that I already knew how to make, but I've been searching for new recipes online and in a couple cookbooks that I have. On Wednesday night, I made my first "experimental" meal. I tried making the Cheddar Chicken and Rice Skillet that I found on Despite a minor issue I had with the rice, it turned out to be quite good! I substituted broccoli for the peppers, just because I had it on hand. Shawn and I both liked it, and the recipe makes a LOT. We've both had leftovers for meals since then, and it's still not gone. For the record, Shawn actually had his leftovers cold, and he said it was just as good that way. It's also actually pretty healthy.

I've also been baking a little bit. Last week, I made brownies (from a box, so don't be too impressed), and last night, I made my mom's chocolate chip cookies. I think I baked them a little too long, but otherwise, they're good. I really would love to bake more, but we're trying to eat healthier, so I made have to hold back on the baked goods.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Final Fish Update

I've had a few posts about our fish and the issues that we had trying to move them from Colorado to Washington. All along, the main concern was the black Ghost Knife. It's an Amazon River fish, and it costs about $20 to buy one. Fortunately, we've had good luck with this breed in the past, in that they tend to live quite awhile. This one was about 3" long when we bought him, and he grew to about 8".When it finally came time to move, Shawn and I decided to buy a 10-gallon tank and put all the fish in it. The movers were then nice enough to put the heavy tank into the backseat of my car. This tank was too small for the number of fish we have, but we figured it was their best chance of surviving the trip. So the entire way to Washington, I had a tank full of fish riding behind me! I had to be really careful every time I drove over a bump (especially getting into and out of parking lots) because I could hear them sloshing around back there. I was also worried about temperature. The Ghost Knife likes warm water, and we couldn't have a heater in the tank. I also realized that they'd have to stay in the car overnight while I slept in Boise...where the low temperature that night was 37! So I covered the tank in a fleece blanket to try to keep them warm.

Once we got here, the fish had to stay in the small tank until a guy came to "uncrate" our big tank. A day or two before we were able to move the fish into the big tank, I told Shawn that I hadn't seen the Ghost Knife in a couple days. I didn't think this was a huge deal...he likes to hide in the rocks and the castle in the tank. Shawn decided to look for him, and he removed the big rock where the fish normally liked to hide. No Ghost Knife. Shawn then turned the rock over...and found the fish. Dead. The Ghost Knife, for whatever reason, had managed to wedge himself into a hole in the rock that was much smaller than he was. We obviously don't know if the thing suffocated once he got stuck, or if he freaked out and gave himself a heart attack, but he was very definitely stuck in the rock, and very definitely dead.

So after all the trouble we went through to get him here, the dang Ghost Knife goes and kills himself in the tank. Stupid fish. At least this one didn't commit suicide by jumping out of the tank while no one was home (like another Ghost Knife did at Shawn's old house a couple years ago). And the rest of the fish are now happily swimming around in the big tank, with clean water, brand new gravel, and even a nice new filter and air pumps.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Used Cardboard

As Shawn and I were unpacking all of our boxes, we agreed that we didn't want to just throw away this huge mound of cardboard. We really aren't normally as "green" as we should be, but we're working on it. So as we unpacked, we started stacking all the boxes in the middle of the hallway leading to our bedrooms. Probably not the smartest idea, as we eventually ended up with quite the stack that we had to step up and over all the time! Our plan was simply to leave them there until I could locate a place in our new town that would accept cardboard recycling.

I mentioned our plan to my mom, and she suggested that I try to get in contact with this guy named Seth. Seth also grew up in Ohio (in fact, I'm thinking that he and I might have gone to the same high school...but he's younger than me, so I'd have to check on that). His mom and my mom work together at a Christian elementary school there. But apparently, Seth lives in the Seattle area now.

So why should this poor guy be interested in taking all of our used cardboard boxes? Because he and his friend make cool stuff out of used cardboard! My mom got me his email address, and although I was skeptical, I contacted him. I figured the fact that the boxes had writing and tape all over them would make them useless for his purposes, but when I had a chance to talk to him, he let me know that tape and writing were basically like a patina for the cardboard...gave the cardboard character.

This past Saturday, Shawn and I loaded all our boxes into the back of his car and made our way to the Capitol Hill area of Seattle (on our way to a rugby match, of course). We met Seth and Jon, who seemed genuinely pleased to be taking that load of cardboard off our hands! I'm glad that we were able to get rid of our cardboard in a manner that ensures it's not going to wind up in a landfill somewhere. And I especially love the thought that someday, our boxes might end up in someone's home as one of these cool chairs!
Or personally, I'd love to have one of these lights:As long as you're reading this blog, you should go ahead and check out Seth and Jonathon's business, Gray Pants. Just click that link to see it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finally a few photos

We've spent a lot of time over the last week getting ourselves settled into the apartment. Here are a few photos that I took last weekend when our things were first loaded into the apartment. This should give you an idea of what we were dealing with! This first picture is our living room.

This picture is our dining room and the kitchen.

And this is our 2nd bedroom. What you can't see from this picture is that there's another row of boxes behind this one, and the huge closet is also packed floor to ceiling with boxes.
At this point, we've gotten most of the boxes unpacked and most of the furniture arranged. Shawn set up the fish tank today, so we'll finally put the fish back into their permanent home tomorrow. Since the weather was actually really nice today, after church we went downtown and spent some time at the Pike Market. We bought some fruit at one of the produce stands, and we also got ourselves two mini cheesecakes. The one on the left is Quadruple Chocolate, and the one on the right is Peanut Butter Chocolate. These are sold at a place called The Confectional. So good!

And finally, Shawn bought me a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers to "spruce up" the apartment a little bit. Most things you buy at the Pike Market really aren't very cheap, because it is a bit of a tourist trap. But this gorgeous bunch of flowers was only $5!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Getting Settled

Last night, we spent our first night together in our new apartment! On Saturday morning, the movers were at the apartment by 9:00 to start unloading all of our things. Shawn and I headed over there, but Shawn left at 9:30 to go play rugby. I did my best to stay out of the way of the movers, and they had everything in the apartment by noon. Once they left, I took a few pictures of the full apartment, and then I started unpacking boxes.

Once Shawn got home, he helped me out. We managed to get all of the furniture more or less arranged the way we think it's going to stay. We also decided that we'd kind of like to get rid of the overstuffed loveseat (that matches the couch and that I bought 7 years ago). Our furniture is just too big to fit well in our living room. We think we'd like to replace the loveseat with two smaller chairs. We found a chair that we like at Cost Plus World Market, but we're going to keep our eyes open for something a bit less expensive.

Yesterday, after going to church, we officially checked out of the hotel, and then we went on a little shopping spree! We bought a new, sleeker desk for the computer (since it's going to sit in the dining room...and since we were using my childhood desk that I've had since I was in 3rd grade!). We also bought a new stainless steel trash can, some small things for the kitchen, a shower organizer, and a welcome mat. The best thing is that everything but the computer desk was paid for using gift cards we got for the wedding but never spent!

I'm currently at the public library, since our internet won't be installed at home until Wednesday morning. From here, I'm going to go grocery shopping, and then I'll head back home to do more unpacking and hopefully make our first dinner in the new place!

I have to admit...I feel a little like our honeymoon has just started. When we got married, Shawn just moved into my place. This is the first time that we have moved into an apartment together. It's been nice putting out our things and helping each other decide where things should go. And for the first time in close to 3 years...I'll get to see Shawn on a Wednesday, even though he'll be working that day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm here!

So the move is almost complete! On Monday, 2 women came up to our apartment and finished packing all of our things. Then Shawn flew back to Seattle, and I spent the night with my friend Kate. On Tuesday morning, the movers showed up and spent a few hours loading all of our stuff into the moving truck. It's actually a big semi that moved everything from Colorado to Washington, but the big truck couldn't fit into our building parking lot. So the movers actually brought a smaller moving truck to use as a shuttle. When they had finished loading everything into the truck, these guys were also nice enough to put our fish into the backseat of my car (since it was too heavy for me to move myself).

On Wednesday, I headed off! My car was fully loaded with all the random things that either we didn't want the movers to deal with or that the movers wouldn't take (like an empty propane tank, a couple plants, cleaning supplies, etc...). Kate was very sweet and made me breakfast before she went to work, so I left Evergreen around 10:00. Unfortunately, I ran into quite a bit of construction in western Colorado and Utah, so it took a bit longer than I had planned. By the way, I didn't take this picture (I found it online), but I took one just like it. This is westbound I-70. The brown and white sign says "Leaving Colorful Colorado." :( I got all the way to Boise, Idaho, on the first day. I stayed in a lovely hotel in Boise. Most of the lights didn't work (at least, I couldn't figure out how to get them on), and I actually decided not to bother showering before I left on Thursday morning. I trusted the cleanliness of the Hampton Inn in Washington a little more. :)

On Thursday, I headed out by 7:30 and enjoyed a scenic drive through Idaho, eastern Oregon, and Washington. I'd never been in any of those areas. I've decided that the original settlers of the American west were either really brave or really stupid. Or maybe a bit of both. I can't imagine getting across those lands, not even knowing what was on the other side of the mountains or the desert!

I made it to our town by 2:30 on Thursday afternoon. I stopped first at Shawn's office, and he came with me over to the new apartment. He took the fish up, and we discovered that most (or possibly all) of the fish survived!! We haven't found any dead ones yet, but we also think that one or two might be missing. Have I mentioned that we do have some carnivorous/cannibalistic fish?

So we're both here! As far as our things are concerned...Shawn's car was delivered early Thursday morning. And today, the driver of the moving truck called to let me know that he plans on delivering all of our stuff to the new apartment tomorrow morning!

I have been taking pictures all along, but the cords to get the pictures off the camera and onto the computer are packed away in some box on the truck. I'll have to wait until at least next week to actually post them. Also, we won't have internet access at our new apartment until next Wednesday (unless we can steal someone's wireless), so the blog updates may still be slow for another 5 or 6 days. I'll do my best, though!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Here's the Plan

As I'm writing this, it's late on Saturday night. Early tomorrow morning, I'm heading to the airport to pick up Shawn. We'll be spending Sunday doing lots of last minute moving preparation. We need to empty the storage unit (not much left...just the few things I couldn't manage by myself, like a baker's rack). Someone is coming to pick up the moving boxes we don't need. We need to pack the things that will be transported via my car. And we need to empty the fish tank entirely. Oh...our plan for moving the fish? I went to Walmart today and bought a 10-gallon tank. It's too small for the number of fish that we have, but we think it's our best chance at keeping the fish alive during the move, and it'll fit in my car. We also plan on hanging out with Jarid on Sunday night one last time.

On Monday morning, people from the moving company will be here between 8 and 10am. Their job on Monday is to finish packing all of our stuff! One of us needs to be in the apartment at all times, but all we really do is watch them do their job. (I have a feeling that's going to feel a bit odd.) Monday night, I'll take Shawn back to the airport for one last flight to Seattle, and then I'm spending the night with Kate and Matt.
On Tuesday, the movers will be here to put all of our things onto the truck! As soon as they're done, they're heading out. I, on the other hand, will stay one more night with Kate. On Wednesday morning, I'll finish loading up my car, and then I start the solo drive to Seattle! It's a 20-hour drive, so I plan on taking two days. On the first day, I'll go to either Salt Lake City or Boise and stay the night in a hotel (I haven't decided yet how far to go). I do have an old college friend in Salt Lake City, so hopefully I can take a little time to catch up with her on my way through! On the second day, I'll go the rest of the way to Seattle.
Although we can get into our new apartment as early as Tuesday (the 7th), the movers won't have our things there any earlier than the 13th (and possibly as late as the 15th). So Shawn and I (and the fish) will be spending a few more days in a hotel. But that's okay. I don't mind having maid service and free breakfast every morning!

I'll try to take pictures of the entire process, and I'll definitely report on the move, but since our computer will be packed on Monday, I'm not sure what kind of an opportunity I'll have to blog next week. I'll do my best, though. Wish us luck this week!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

And So It Begins

As of today, I think it's safe to say that our move has officially begun. A long time ago, Shawn and I decided that we would drive one car out to Seattle, but we'd ship the other car. There are just quite a few things that we need to bring with us but that we can't put on the moving truck (like cleaning supplies, plants, and fish). So this morning, Shawn's car was put onto a transport truck and began its journey to Washington!
It ended up being an interesting story. I was told a couple days ago that the transport truck couldn't make it very far into our town because our roads are too windy. Although I'm pretty sure the truck could've gotten pretty close to our condo, there's no way it would've made it up our road to our building. The original plan was for me to meet the transport truck at the exit from I-70 in one of the large parking lots there. I agreed to do that, although I was wondering how I'd manage to get myself home after I dropped off the car. I could have walked it, but it probably would've taken me at least a couple hours.

Yesterday, I get a call from a woman at the trucking company, saying that there was a problem. They just learned that there is now a state law in Colorado that says that a truck must have chains available (like, in the cab or something) after September 1st to go into the mountains on I-70. We live in the mountains off I-70. The truck was already almost to Denver and had no chains available.

So here's what we did. The truck driver (a nice guy named Nathan) called me when he got to a truck stop just off I-70 (down the hill). I drove Shawn's car down to said truck stop (about 25 minutes away). Nathan got in Shawn's car, and I drove us back up the hill to our apartment building. At that point, I gave Nathan the key, and Nathan drove Shawn's car back down to the truck stop where his truck was waiting. A little strange, but it all worked out. Once the Montero was put on the transport truck, Nathan was going to head back to I-25, where he could head north to Wyoming, and then take I-80 west, thereby avoiding the mountains in Colorado altogether.

I'm just bummed I didn't get any pictures this morning. I had my camera...I just felt embarrassed at the thought of asking the truck driver if I could take pictures of his truck. :) Oh well. Goodbye, Montero!! See you in Washington sometime late next week!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Phone Saga

Late last night, Shawn sent me a text message. As I was scrolling down to read it, the buttons on my phone suddenly stopped working. I took out the battery, shook the phone, tapped it against the palm of my hand...nothing worked. I figured it was just some glitch in the phone, and it would probably be fine in the morning. When my phone alarm went off, I discovered that I couldn't turn it off. I can only turn it off by pushing a button, and none of the buttons were working! I had to take out the battery to get the alarm to stop.
I'll admit...I was a bit panicked this morning. I normally feel naked without my cell phone anyways (it's my main link to Shawn during the week), but now is not a good time to be without my phone! For one thing, I'll be making a long road trip alone next week (more on that later). And for another thing, my phone is the contact number for all of the movers! I eventually discovered later this morning that I could answer my phone (just by flipping it open), but nothing else was working. This is the model phone that I have.
I drove down the hill to a T-Mobile store. The girl there told me that they couldn't fix it at their store. I could have the company send me a new phone and buy a replacement phone to have while I'm waiting. Or I could go to a store that fixes phones and see if they could help. I got directions to that store and headed over. When I got there, the guy told me that he couldn't fix it. He had taken my phone entirely apart and let me know that my entire keypad was basically fried somehow. To replace it would require replacing basically all the inner workings of the phone. He sent me to a different T-Mobile store that might be able to help me. Off to store #3. The girl there let me know that they couldn't fix it, but that T-Mobile would replace it for free. When I exlained my need to have a phone this weekend, she suggested that I buy a cheap phone at Walmart that's T-Mobile compatible. So I did that, put my SIM card in the cheap phone...and presto! I had a working phone! This same girl also let me know that for $20, I could have the replacement phone rushed to me so that it will arrive here before we leave for Seattle. This is the cheap, $20 phone I bought this afternoon.Unfortunately, I'm not great about saving phone numbers to the SIM card...I just save them to the phone itself. Because the keypad of my phone wasn't working, the girl at the T-Mobile store wasn't able to key in the security access code to get the phone book off my phone. I thought I'd lost a LOT of numbers! Then I realized something. I still have my old phone. You know, the one I'd used for years before Shawn and I got new phones in May. So I charged the battery for that phone, put in my SIM card...and it works just fine. Of course it does! Why wouldn't it? And the best part is that I had stored all those numbers on that old I only lost a few numbers! Of course, this means that I wasted $30 today ($20 for the new, cheap phone and the extra $10 to rush my new phone...I trust this one to last all the way to Seattle). Oh well.