Sunday, August 15, 2010

Alki Beach

My mom came to town on Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, both Shawn and I had to work on Thursday and Friday, so we haven't been very exciting for my mom.  Having her here is definitely giving us lots of practice helping Satchel learn that he shouldn't jump on people! 

Our plan for today (Saturday) was to do some things in Seattle that Satchel could also do.  Unforunately, though, we couldn't leave in the morning since we had to take Satchel to the vet at 11:30.  (Poor guy has what I can only imagine is a rather unpleasant infection...I'll leave it at that.)  So while Shawn was at CrossFit, Mom and I chatted and played with Satchel.  At one point, he left us alone in the living room, and after a few minutes, I realized it was very quiet.  Too quiet.  This is what I found:


I'm pretty sure that Satchel was stuck under the futon.  He didn't come out when I sat next to him, and he didn't follow me when I left and called him.  I even got a treat and held it out, and he still didn't come (and I'm pretty sure I heard a whimper at one point).  Fortunately, we've taught Satchel the "ninja" command.  It's basically an "army crawl" on his belly when we say "Ninja!"  When I gave him the command, he ducked his head and crawled on out.  I think the issue before was that his collar was getting caught on the futon frame.

Anyways...after the brief vet visit, we headed out to West Seattle and Alki Beach.  We went to Spud for fish and chips (which is also where we ate on Valentine's Day this year), and we wandered along the beach for awhile.  This was definitely the nicest day we've ever been to Alki...normally it's been drizzly and/or cool when we've been there.  Today was sunny and in the upper 80s, so it was actually pretty crowded.  I only took a few pictures, but here you go!




And finally...for whatever reason, this sign on the road that runs next to Alki Beach always makes me laugh:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Quick Weekend Update

I know, I know....3 posts in less than a week!!  I figured I'd give a quick update of our weekend.  You know, now that it's almost Wednesday.  :-)

On Saturday, we had grand plans to be super productive.  My mom is coming to town on Thursday, and I have a long list of things I'd like to get done before she gets here.  We ended up doing pretty much nothing all day.  It was a gray, cool, drizzly day, and we spent lots of time watching TV, playing with the dog, surfing the internet, and playing video games (Shawn...not me).  It was pretty darn nice, if I'm being honest.

Saturday night, we headed downtown and went to our first baseball game of the season!  I'm a bit ashamed that it took us this long to get down there, but it's hard to get downtown during the week, and we often do have other plans on the weekend.  I knew that the Mariners were home this weekend, so we decided to just get the cheapest tickets available and enjoy a little baseball and a hot dog.  Our tickets were $10 each, and really, the seats weren't that bad!  We agreed that we'd be okay getting those seats again (bleachers in center field).  Since it was a rainy day, we even had our first experience watching baseball under the roof.  If you didn't know, Safeco Field has a roof that is normally kept open, but it can be slid across the stadium if/when it's raining.  The stadium isn't completely closed when the roof is closed, so the wind can still come in a bit...but all of the seating areas are covered by the roof, and it would have to be a pretty strong wind for the rain to blow in (which really doesn't happen all that often here).

The game was quite the battle of mediocrity...the Mariners lost to the Kansas City Royals, 2-1.  But we enjoyed ourselves anyways.

On Sunday, we did some cleaning, and I did some grocery shopping.  Our next door neighbor had organized a potluck/party for everyone on our street, so we headed to the other neighbor's driveway in the afternoon.  Not a whole lot of people came, but it was nice to have a chance to get to know some of our neighbors a little better (including the Sheriff who lives down the street...not a bad guy to make friends with!).

And that's about it for our weekend!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Summer Catch Up

Okay...I'm going to try to limit the details here, since I have no idea if anyone is actually going to read this.  :-)

In early June, Shawn and I went to Denver!  The main reason that we went was to watch a rugby tournament, so we spent most of Saturday and Sunday doing that.  There was a lot of good rugby, and there was the added bonus of getting to watch the matches with a bunch of good friends.  I still had to work while I was there, unfortunately, but that gave Shawn some time to hang out with Jarid in the mountains, and I did have the chance to meet up with a few good friends, too.  Our last day there, we spent a good chunk of time with Shawn's mom.  She volunteers at the Denver Botanic Gardens, so she took us there and basically gave us a private tour.



We found what I think may be our new "go to" hike not too far from here.  It's the Lake 22 Trail, and it's beautiful!  It actually reminds me a bit of Colorado once you get to the top, where there's a lake (hence the trail name).  There was even snow to play in on the 4th of July!  Satchel enjoyed the snow.



The downside of the summer happened in June.  I found out on June 15th that I was pregnant, but I confirmed the following week that it was another early miscarriage.  (The first was in January.)

But anyways...we had a fun party at our house in late June with a bunch of our friends, and we did another hike in July.  This hike was rainy and cool (of course), but it was still really pretty.


In late June, I learned that I had 5 vacation days that I had to use by July 31st, or I would lose them!  So we planned a couple things.  Shawn, Satchel, and I took a 4-day weekend and explored the Olympic Peninsula.  We spent the first two nights in a beachfront condo, and we did some "car camping" (in a campsite) the third night.  It was cool and foggy most of the time we were there, but we still had a great time!  Satchel was able to go off-leash on the beach, and he was ecstatic!  We're very fortunate that he doesn't seem to have any intention of running very far away from us.




For my other vacation days, I left Shawn at home.  :-)  I went to St. Louis to stay with my friend Jane...and all of the other Hydra members decided to come to St. Louis, too!  So I basically got 5 days to hang out with my best girlfriends from college.  It was awesome.  Since we were last together (for Shannon's wedding last summer), there have been two new additions...Rachel's Libby is on the left, and Shannon's Kateri is on the right.

Jane's daughter Theresa was my little buddy for the weekend.  I spent a large part of my time hanging out with her, carrying her on my hip, and flipping her upside down.

Unfortunately, Jane's youngest, Lucy, got sick over the weekend.  The last night all five of us girls were together, I didn't think to take a group picture, so the closest I got was four of us.  :-(  But we all had a great time, and I'm looking forward to our next reunion...probably in a couple years.


I think that's actually more or less gotten you all caught up!  Work was absolutely crazy for me for a couple months there, and Shawn was pretty busy, too.  But the summer session is winding down for me, and Shawn's big project was completed...so hopefully things will slow down for us now!

I know I've said this before...but I'll try to get back to posting more often.  :-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hey, guess what?!

I'm still alive!  :-)

I'm embarrassed that it's been more than two months since I last posted.  I'm technically "on the clock" for work right now, but I have every intention of doing a "catch up" post...at some point. Maybe this afternoon, once I get some grading done.  We've had a pretty busy summer!  We've even managed to wear out Satchel from time to time.  :-)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I've Been Reading

I think that one of the reasons I've been doing fewer posts is because I haven't been posting any reviews of book I've been reading.  And part of the reason for that is that I haven't been reading nearly as much this year!  (It's amazing how much less "free" time I have now that we have Satchel!)  By this time last year, I'd already read 24 books.  So far this year, I've read 9.  (In my defense...I wasn't working at all from January to mid-March last year.)  I figured I'd give a brief run-down of those nine books.

1.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout:  This collection of short stories won a Pulitzer in 2009.  I liked the fact that the stories were all tied together by the fact that the character of Olive Kitteridge was in each one, although in some stories, she was a very minor character (like she and her husband might have been eating at the same diner as the central characters in a story).  I gave it 3 stars.

2.  Cesar's Way: the Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan:  Have you heard of the "Dog Whisperer"?  This is Cesar.  He's a god among men, according to dog training types.  I got this book the day after we got Satchel.  Truthfully, I thought the book was interesting, but there were very few actual techniques listed in the book, which disappointed me.  I gave it 3 stars.

3.  Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead:  I don't remember why I chose this book, and I definitely didn't love it.  I gave it 2 stars.  It's the story of a boy who spends his summers on Sag Harbor (outside NYC).  The book jacket claimed that it was funny; I didn't think it was.

4.  Bel Canto by Ann Patchett:  This was an interesting concept.  Terrorists crash a birthday party, and the book tells the story of the "standoff"...which doesn't go the way you might imagine.  I gave it 3 stars.

5.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer:  I really liked this book.  It's written as a series of letters among a journalist from London and people from the Island of Guernsey who formed a "literary society" during the German occupation of their island during WWII.  I gave it 4 stars.

6.  The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs:  This is a funny little non-fiction book.  The author literally spent a year involved in all sorts of crazy experiments, and he explains them in this book.  For example, for a month, he outsourced his life to a team of people in India, and he spent a month practicing "Radical Honesty."  I gave the book 4 stars.

7.  Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami:  A friend sent this book to me (she had read it for a literature class), and it was odd.  But good!  There were basically two plot lines going on simultaneously, and they were both a little sci-fi and mystical (although one storyline also felt like it may have taken place in the past).  I wanted to give it 4 stars, but I stuck with 3 because I didn't like the ending.

8.  The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson:  This is a young adult book that definitely brings up questions of ethics and science.  It begs the question...just because science has figured out a way to do something, should we necessarily do it?  I gave it 3 stars.

9.  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah:  I think this was probably my favorite book so far this year.  It follows the stories of two best friends over 3 decades.  I thought it was fun that large portions of the book were set in Snohomish, Washington, which is only a few miles from here.  I gave the book 4 stars.

And there you have it!  All 9 books that I've read so far this year.  Looking over the list...I need to pick some better books!  I'm currently reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I'm enjoying it so far...it's good for what it is.  I have a few more books sitting here that I'm looking forward to, too.  I'll let you know what I think.  :-)

Exciting Night!

Satchel has the adorable habit of keeping an eye out for Shawn to come home in the evenings.  Once he sees the car (from looking out the living room window), he gets super excited and runs down to the front door.  Usually, I'll let him go outside to meet Shawn.

That's what we did tonight when Shawn came home from his CrossFit intro class.  Almost as soon as I got outside, though, I heard a weird buzzing sound.  I eventually figured out that it was coming from our neighbor's house...smoke detector.  I didn't think too much of it; Lord knows I've set off my share of smoke detectors while cooking!  (Actually, now that I think about it, I think I've only set off the smoke detector twice.)  But I mentioned it to Shawn, and I also mentioned that I could smell something odd.

Being the nosy good neighbor that he is, Shawn went next door.  He tried looking into our neighbor's living room windows (they also have a split-level, so those windows are upstairs), but couldn't see well, so he knocked on their door...but no one was home.  I went over, too, and we agreed that maybe it looked a bit cloudy inside...or maybe their windows were a bit dirty.  So then Shawn scaled their fence so that he could unlock the gate and let himself into their backyard.  From their back porch, he told me that it definitely looked smokey inside, so he called 911.

Literally as Shawn pushed the dial button on his phone, the smoke detector stopped going off.  But he went ahead and explained the situation to the 911 operator, who sent the fire department.  In less than five minutes, we had two fire trucks, an ambulance, and the Sheriff on the street outside.  The firemen broke the neighbor's window to get in, and they discovered that a pot had been left on the stove (with the burner on) and had been smoking.  Fortunately, that's all it was!  We felt a little silly for calling about that (especially since our neighbors now have to replace a window!), but we had no way of knowing that's all it was.  And who knows...eventually that pot/food could have ignited and caused a much bigger problem!

We were a bit worried about how our neighbors would react when they rounded the corner of our block to discover a fire truck parked in front of their house!  So Shawn went to chat with all of the neighbors (many of whom were outside their own homes, watching), hoping that someone had the neighbor's cell number.  (No one had it.)  During this process, though, Shawn learned that one of the houses on our street (just a few houses down) actually burned to the foundation 3 years ago...and that was started by a grease fire on the stove.  So apparently all the neighbors thought that Shawn was smart for calling the fire department!

When the neighbor came home, Shawn talked with him...and he was apparently in good spirits (considering he came home to firemen in his house).  He was glad that Shawn had made the call, and he admitted that he was the one who left the house in a hurry and apparently forgot to turn off the stove.  And he didn't seem too upset about the window (which was our big concern...we felt a bit bad for that).

So...that was our exciting night!  I was going to take pictures to post...but I felt a little strange taking pictures of the firetrucks from our living room window.  :-)

Friday, May 28, 2010

At the Beach

This past Sunday, Shawn and I decided to take advantage of the fact that I was lectoring at the 8:00am Mass.  We actually brought Satchel to Church with us, and we left him in the car.  (We came back to find him sleeping on the front passenger seat...so he didn't seem to mind hanging out in the car by himself for a little over an hour.)

We headed to Golden Gardens Park in Ballard, which has a good stretch of beach area.  This was only Satchel's second trip to a beach, and he loved it!  He's starting to go out into the water a bit.  Once the weather gets warmer, we'll have to actually get into the water ourselves and see if he follows us.  (I'll let Shawn do that...since water in the Puget Sound stays right around 52 degrees year-round!)

Here are a few pictures:


After walking on the beach for about an hour, we went to the Little Coney restaurant that's right next to the park.  It's just a tiny little place, but it's pretty good...and they have yummy corn dogs.  :)  After lunch, we headed over to Cupcake Royale (my favorite) to get a few cupcakes to take home for the afternoon.

It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning! It was also really nice to know that by the time we got home after all of this, it was still only 1:00!  So we still had all afternoon and evening to do whatever we wanted or needed to do.  For me, this meant reading, and for Shawn, this unfortunately meant working.  But at least he got some fun in on Sunday, too!

Friday, May 21, 2010

You Didn't Believe Me, Did You?

When I said that I was going to start blogging again at least once a week, you didn't actually believe me, did you?  Ah, well...you know what good 'ol Robbie Burns said about the "best laid plans of mice and men."

Things have been good around here. Nothing terribly exciting.  Satchel is growing like a weed!  Last time we weighed him, he was 43 pounds...but I think that was a couple weeks ago.  He's six months old now (as of last Friday)!  He still loves playing fetch, and he'll often bring us his ball to play with.  He's getting better about going on walks, and he's learning not to pull on his leash.  He's actually really good at this...as long as there are no other dogs around.  He loves playing with other dogs, so if he sees one, he doesn't seem to understand why we're not just rushing right up to play.

In non-dog news...well, there really isn't much.  We've been doing a bit of work in the yard, but nothing major.  Work for me has been very busy lately.  Gotta love it when kids wait until the very last day to try to submit all their assignments, and then I have to grade them really quickly so that they get the credit for it.  Fun times.  Especially when it's a situation where the student needs the credit from my class to graduate...like, tomorrow.  Shawn's been pretty busy at work lately, too, although it hasn't been quite as bad as we were afraid it might be.

The rugby season has ended for Shawn.  His club has both a Super League team and a Division 1 team (for all intents and purposes), and they both made their respective playoff tournaments.  Considering that his Super League team was one of the worst in the league last year, this was a big deal for them!  Unfortunately, they lost last weekend to NYAC (New York Athletic Club), who is undefeated this year.  But even then, it was actually a close match.  Certainly something to be proud of!

I think we're both looking forward to the summer.  We don't really have many plans yet (just a quick trip to Denver planned in June), so I think it's time we pull out the calendars and start setting some dates.  If we don't plan ahead, we end up wasting lots of weekends and not getting to do everything we want!

Okay...I'll do my best to blog again before another 3 or 4 weeks passes.  :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One More Appliance

When we bought this house, we went into it knowing that we'd have to buy all new appliances...except the dishwasher.  This was a foreclosure, and the previous owner took just about everything with them when they left. 

The first thing we bought was the stove, and we actually bought that and had it installed before the house was technically ours!  We needed to have a working stove in the house prior to the appraisal or we may have had an issue with our loan.  We choose a Whirlpool stove/oven, stainless "look" with a black glass cooktop. 

Once the house was ours, we bought the refrigerator.  For this, we went with a Frigidaire, stainless "look" with black handles.  Basically, we're going for the sleeker look without spending the absurd amounts of money.  :-)

At one point prior to taking possession of the house, we thought our dishwasher was also unusable.  I have to admit I was a little bummed to discover that the dishwasher door does, in fact, latch shut, and therefore I didn't have an excuse to buy a new one right away.  :-)  Since we've moved here, the machine has done a decent job, although I've been noticing lately that it isn't cleaning all that well, and I occasionally end up re-washing some items.  So I was thrilled when Shawn suggested a few days ago that we could use part of our tax refund to get a new dishwasher!!  Yay!

So...any suggestions?  I'd like to go the "stainless look" route if possible, just so that all our kitchen appliances match.  I'm willing to consider black, though.  The main things I'm looking for in a dishwasher are simply a machine that will clean well and a machine that is quiet.  I had heard good things about Bosch, but on the Lowe's website, I've noticed that those machines aren't receiving very good reviews.  Whatever we get, we're limiting ourselves to less than $700. 

So feel free to give me some input!

Oh, and in case you're dying to know, we did purchase a washer and dryer for the laundry room when we first moved in, too.  We just chose to go the Craiglist route for those, though.  :-)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

5 months old

Satchel is five months old now, and he weighs about 40 pounds (give or take a few...it's hard to weigh him at home).  He's getting so big!  He loves to play fetch and tug-of-war, and he still loves to snuggle.  He's been losing his baby teeth at a pretty rapid rate lately; I've found three teeth on the carpet in the last two days.  He's begun to love car rides.  I think he's figured out that getting in the car usually means he gets to do something fun once he gets out of the car.  Shawn was cleaning out the car the other day and took Satchel outside with him.  Satchel jumped into the car and happily hung out in the backseat while Shawn was cleaning.

Here are a few recent pictures of the little guy!
Here, he's checking out the camera, wondering what's going on in the front yard.
 Trying to look all innocent.  Really, he's hoping that I look away so that he can jump up into that chair.
 He's figured out that he's now tall enough to look out the window by himself.  He likes to keep an eye out for Shawn to come home.  He also sometimes likes to stand with his front paws on the window sill.
 Awwwwwww.......
 Getting ready to go on a hike on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
 It's hard to get a non-blurry picture of him, especially when we're playing fetch.

Why blog?

It's been a solid month since I last posted on this blog.  Wow.  That's pretty pathetic.

But here's the question....has anyone noticed?   Hm.

I guess the real question needs to be...why do I blog?  I certainly don't do it to make money (since I have no ads posted and I'm not doing anything special to up my readership or to get sponsors).  I don't really expect that strangers will be interested in following my blog for the sake of being entertained by my style of writing.  I initially started the blog as a place where friends and family could be updated quickly and easily about the things going on in our lives...but I'm not sure who actually reads this.

Part of the reason that I've enjoyed blogging is simply because I like writing things out.  If nothing else, this blog has been a diary of sorts for me over the last couple years.  And for that reason, I would like to continue to blog.  At least until I get back in the habit of blogging, I think I'll aim to post once a week.  If I post more than that...well, good for me.  :-)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Diggin'

I told Shawn once that I thought that perhaps Satchel is part cat.  Not only does he love snuggling with us, but he seems to dislike getting wet and dirty.  If we have to walk somewhere that's wet or muddy, he follows me...trying to tiptoe around the super muddy parts.  Unlike a lot of dogs, he doesn't seem to have any desire to roll around in the dirt, and he will walk around puddles instead of walking right through them.

In our side yard, we have a downspout that will need to be redirected this summer.  After a rainy day (which is a lot of days in this area!), we end up with standing water in part of our yard. 

Satchel has recently discovered this.  I've found him pawing gently at the water, trying to figure out what's going on.  I've also found him drinking from the water after he's been playing for awhile.  He has also pawed at the mud a bit, but I wouldn't call it digging.

Until today. 

I wasn't exactly sure where he was in the backyard, so I called him to come...and he obediently came running up the steps, onto the deck.  Where I saw this:
He had the sweetest little innocent look on his face...like there was absolutely nothing unusual about all the mud covering his paws.  And then he got to play with the towel while I got the mud off of him before letting him back inside.

Definitely not part cat.

Getting so big!

When we first got Satchel, he quickly discovered a suitcase that Shawn had left in our living room.  It's just a carry-on size...and Satchel loved sleeping on it.
Isn't he a cutie?  Such a sweet little puppy!

He's still a sweet little puppy...just not quite so little anymore!  I took this next picture this morning.  He's still trying to sleep on the suitcase, despite the fact that we bought him a bed this past weekend.  (He does sleep on the bed sometimes...but other times, he definitely seems to think that we bought him an awesome $60 chew toy!)
Isn't he just getting so big?!  And he's just over 4 months old now. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our Little Graduate

It's official...Satchel has graduated from puppy training class.  He can sit, lie down, stay, come, "leave it," "look"...and some other things that I'm currently forgetting.  :-)  (He also will fetch and crawl on his belly like a ninja...but we didn't learn those in the class.)  We're so proud!!

We didn't think to bring our own camera today, but our trainer took a "class photo" at the end of the class tonight.  This is the closest she could get to all four puppies looking at the camera at the same time.

That's Simba on the left, then Satchel (I think he may have been yawning...his tongue isn't normally sticking out that far), Burton, and Sandy.  I just realized that they all unintentionally lined up from tallest to shortest. :)

I'm glad we did the training class.  It was good for me to learn how to train him for some of these basic commands, and it was great for him to be around these other sweet puppies.  We're considering signing him up for this same trainer's intermediate level class that starts in two weeks.  Both Simba and Burton are probably going to be in that class, which would be fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Weekend

Shawn found out late Thursday night that he was going to get to go to Dallas with the rugby team on Friday.  So Friday morning, I drove him to the airport, then I came home to work.

My job has been going well.  We've hired a number of new English teachers, so I have begun to mentor some of the new teachers.  I have 4 "mentees," 3 of whom live in Washington state.  The 4th one used to live in Seattle...but has recently moved to Denver.  Ironic, don't you think?  From what she has told me, I think she lives about a mile away from where Shawn lived before we were married.

Anyways...after putting in a few hours of work on Friday, I took Satchel to the vet...to get his claws trimmed.  Shawn and I agree that we just don't feel comfortable doing it ourselves, and our vet is only about a mile and a half from our house.  I'm so glad I did it!  It's nice that Satchel no longer scratches me when he steps on my foot when I have no shoes on.  :)  Because of my various errands on Friday, I ended up having to work until about 11:00pm Friday night.

Since Shawn had gone to Dallas, poor Satchel was restless and confused Friday night.  If Shawn's gone at night, he's usually at rugby practice and comes home between 10:00 and 10:30.  By 10:00 on Friday night, Satchel was trying to sleep on my lap...but every time he heard a car door slam outside or any other noise, his head would pop up and he'd start looking around.  I really think he was looking for Shawn.

On Saturday, Satchel and I went hiking with a couple girlfriends of mine!  We went to Wallace Falls, which is a hike that Shawn and I have done a few times.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a hike (upper 60s and sunny), and the trail was packed.  The girls I went with had never really been hiking, so it was strange for me to actually be the experienced hiker of the group.  :-)  Satchel had an awesome time, and he did so good!  He gladly did the entire 4.75 miles with us (roundtrip), and he happily let lots of people pet him (I honestly would estimate that more than 100 people petted him on Saturday!).  He also played nice with every dog we encountered...which was a lot of dogs!  Unfortunately, none of us had a camera, so I have no pictures from our hike.

Poor Shawn...the weather was perfect here, but Dallas was about 35 degrees and rainy!  The weather for the game was pretty much miserable.  But his team won!  They've now started their season with 2 wins...which is more wins than they had all last season.  I took Satchel with me to the airport to pick him up Saturday night, and Satchel was definitely a happy pup.

Finally...today.  We started off early, since I was the lector for 8:00am Mass.  Then we brought home McDonald's breakfast.  We were thinking of going to Meadowdale Park with Satchel, but the beach access is closed until this summer so they can repair the tunnel.  We decided that it's not really worth it to do the full hike there if we couldn't access the beach, so we tried a new park not too far from here.  It was great!  It was a super easy trail, so not strenuous.  There was a pond area with some tall grasses and weeds...and Satchel's retriever instincts totally kicked in!  It was fun to see him get super excited and start bounding through the grasses, and this was the first time we've seen him happily walk into the water.  I think he would be thrilled to be a hunting dog if we trained him for that.

On our way home, we stopped at a local co-op feed store and bought Satchel some better dog food than what we've been feeding him.  We're hoping that he'll be healthier (read: less gassy).  :)  Truthfully, this stuff is more expensive, but our trainer pointed out that since this food is higher in protein, the adult dog will eat much less food and still be full (and have enough nutrition)...so ideally, the cost will end up being lower in the end.  As of today, our dog is eating better than we are!  (His new food contains things like roast duck, roast quail, blueberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes.)  We also got him his first bully stick, which he loved.  It also kept him busy for about 2.5 hours...so I'm very tempted to stockpile these things and give him one every time I have something important to do for work!  :-)  (And yes...I do know what bully sticks are.  I've also eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters...so it seems that Satchel and I are even.)

So...I think that's basically our weekend!  I would promise to update the blog more often...but, well, I've been making that promise a lot lately, and you can see how well that's gone.  :-)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snuggling

I fell asleep on the floor last night, watching TV.  Satchel decided to come join me and snuggle in.  Shawn decided to take a picture.  :-)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why I Don't Blog More Often

Who has time to blog when I have this adorable creature to spend time with in the evenings??

Yes, the jeans on the left of Satchel would be me, and the clothing on the right of Satchel would be Shawn.  And no...no part of the dog is touching the floor.  He fell asleep like this.

He's really getting too big to do this, but every once in awhile, he finds a way to get comfy on Shawn's lap and falls asleep.  I think he's comfortable around us.  :-)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day

We had a pretty darn good Valentine's Day this year!  We kept it very low-key, which was nice, actually.

We got up early enough to make it to the gym before going to church.  After church, we stopped by McDonald's for a V-day treat...chocolate dipped cones and french fries.  Yum!  Then we went home long enough to get Satchel before we headed out to West Seattle.

This is actually the same place we ended up last year on Valentine's Day...Alki Beach.  We were excited to see how Satchel would react to the sand and the water!  And all the people and all the other dogs we were sure to run into.  :-)  He wasn't super sure about it when we started walking, but once we got onto the sand, he was a happy puppy. 

We actually walked down the beach to get our late lunch first.  We went to a place called Spud, which my friend Annie introduced me to this summer, and I took my parents there, too.  The Alki location is the original store, which was opened in 1934.  They specialize in fish and chips, and it was really good!  We ate on picnic benches outside so that Satchel could also hang out with people and a couple other dogs.

After lunch, we walked back down the beach to the car.  Satchel got to play in the little waves a bit.  It was funny to watch him...he kept trying to eat the bubbles.  :-)  He got to meet lots of other dogs, and he was petted by lots of other people.  He enjoyed running around in the sand and digging through the rocks and driftwood for sticks and other fun things.  We actually would've spent more time hanging out on the beach, but it started raining (harder than normal for this area), so we all got pretty wet and cold.

After getting home, we all crashed in the living room and took a nap before dinner.  :-) 

Oh, and for my Valentine's Day gift...Shawn got new tires for my car today!  Yay!!!  :-)

(I was going to post pictures, but I seem to be having some issues with my xD card.  I'll try to get some posted from the weekend within the next couple days.)

Two Week Recap

Wow.  Why am I being such a bad blogger lately?  Sure...I've been busy with the puppy and other things going on.  But surely that should just mean that I have more to write about, right??  Hm.

Okay...so here's a brief, two week recap, as best as I can remember it.

1.  Social: 
  • I held a Super Bowl party!  Unfortunately, Shawn was out of town that day (I'll explain that in a minute...), and he took the camera with him, so the only pictures I have access to are what friends posted on Facebook.  We had a great time, though!  A couple friends came over early to help wear out the puppy before the game started.  But he actually stayed out for pretty much the entire first quarter, and he did really good with all the new people!  Those same couple friends stayed late and played MarioKart with me until Shawn came home.
  • The day before the Super Bowl, I helped our friends Emil and Kristin pack all their things because they moved to Detroit.  I was very sad to see them go, and I already miss them.  They were some of the first people we became friends with here!
2.  Puppy:
  • Satchel is growing like a weed!  We think he's gained about 4 more pounds since we had him at the vet a couple weeks ago for his shots...based on our super-accurate weighing method of holding him while we stand on the scale, we think he's about 20 pounds now.
  • He's doing a good job at his PetSmart puppy training class.  He is always super excited to play with the other puppies in the class...and he's learning some things, too.  :-)  We're still working on most of the commands, but he has "sit" pretty good.  I somehow managed to teach him "come" one night while Shawn was at rugby practice, and we're currently working on "lay down," "leave it," and "fetch." 
3.  Rugby:
  • Shawn is technically in pre-season right now, but he's been training hard, hoping for the opportunity to play Super League.
  • On Super Bowl Sunday, Shawn got to fly down to Santa Monica, California, to play with the Super League team!  And his team won, 28-8!  He had a great day, despite the fact that he missed out on my awesome Super Bowl party.  :-)
  • The season should be getting into full swing within the next few weeks, so hopefully we'll have some good weather on Saturdays coming up!
4.  Jobs:
  • Shawn has been super busy at work.  He's actually been working 6 days a week for the last few weeks, which stinks for both of us.  But I'm proud of him for working so hard!
  • My job is going pretty well.  My course load has lightened recently because I'm starting to mentor some new teachers.  I'm enjoying that aspect of the job!
That's us in a nutshell these days!  Once again, I promise to try to do a better job of updating the blog on a regular basis.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So Excited!!

Here's an example of an awesome reason to have a dog.  They get sooooo excited when you come home after being gone all day long!



Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We Should Call Him Stinker

Our little puppy is approximately seven and a half pounds.  He's just a little fella.  But oh my gosh!!  Sometimes, he really stinks!

We first discovered this on Sunday.  When we met the woman from the rescue, both this pup and his brother smelled a bit.  She explained that they had both pooped in the crate on her way to meet us, but she had cleaned them up as best she could.  After picking up the puppy, we started the drive home.  Going up I-5, I had him on my lap, but he was getting a bit restless.  Shawn was driving, but he said he didn't mind if the puppy came over to him for a bit.  After a couple minutes, I looked over to see the pup standing with his front paws on the door, his back paws on Shawn's arm....and poop landing on Shawn.  And it just kept coming!  Neither of us could really believe that a dog this small could possibly have that much poop!  We got off at the next exit and got a bunch of napkins from McDonald's to clean it up as best we could.....but the smell in the car for the rest of the day was nasty!

We've also discovered that this little pooch farts.  A lot.  Often in his sleep.  We've talked about the possibility of keeping candles nearby or getting heavy-duty air freshener.  If nothing else, I seriously may need to start keeping a book of matches around.  It's almost impressive how strong his bodily odors are.

We still haven't 100% decided on a name.  Maybe we should call him Stinker.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Our New Addition!

On Sunday, Shawn and I drove down to Tacoma.  Our final destination was actually a McDonald's parking lot...where we met a young woman who runs a dog rescue organization!

I'll back up a bit.  Two weekends ago, Shawn and I had thought about going to an "adoption event" in Seattle, but he ended up having to work so we couldn't go.  I knew that this organization was bringing a litter of black lab puppies to the event, but I figured that all the puppies would get snatched up at that event.  I checked PetFinder on Sunday night, and it turned out that they still had two puppies available!  After talking it over, Shawn and I decided to go ahead and fill out an application for one of them.  We found out on Tuesday that they liked our application!

So we drove to Tacoma on Sunday to meet the pups.  I have to admit that we were a bit tempted to take both of them (it was so sad to watch the other little guy go back in his crate without his brother!), but we ended up with this one!  We're guessing, based on the markings on his face/chest, he's probably a black lab/border collie mix, and he's currently 11 weeks old.

As I'm writing this....we still haven't decided on a name.  We're stuck between Satchel and Crash.  Satchel is the name of the dog in the Get Fuzzy comic strip (which we love), and it's also a nod to Satchel Paige (the first African-American pitcher in the majors, who just happened to start his MLB career with the Cleveland Indians).  Crash is just super fitting for this pup, who tends to lumber around, knocking into things.

I'm hoping that this will give me more to blog about.  :)  But truthfully, he's also taking up quite a bit of my time!  So I may have less time to actually do the blogging. 

He eats a LOT!!  Seriously, I'm amazed at how much food this tiny boy can put away in a given day.


This is his Kong chew toy.  A couple people told me about these, so we picked one up at PetSmart on our way home on Sunday.  I've since learned that they're actually made in Denver!

This has very quickly become his absolute favorite place to take a nap!  We may never be able to put Shawn's carry-on away.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Olive Kitteridge


Olive Kitteridge: A Novel in Stories, by Elizabeth Strout, 270 pages (2008).

I don't think that I've ever really read a book quite like this. I had heard that it was a collection of short stories, but I like the description given here on Goodreads..."A Novel in Stories." Basically, although each story could stand on its own, when they're put together in the book like this, it actually tells a much more complete story. The only character who is in every story is Olive Kitteridge. In some stories, she is the focus. In others, she's a very minor character, such as someone who happens to be eating in the restaurant where a particular story is taking place.

I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely something different, and I liked the fact that this style of the book kept the reader trying to fill in the gaps and discover the truth of the characters. Some of the individual stories were excellent, and others were just okay, but they all worked together in an intriguing way.

With this book, I seem to have broken my streak!  This book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2009, yet I actually rather liked it.  :-)
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Number of books read in 2010:  1
Number of pages read in 2010:  270

An Update

I realize that I haven't blogged most of the week, but part of the reason for that is that I've been having some technical issues. I've attempted twice now to blog about a book I finished reading last week, but apparently I can no longer copy and paste onto my blog from another site. Considering that I write my book reviews on Goodreads and then normally copy and paste them here, that's annoying.

Anyways...I'll take care of the book review later.

I have to say that this has been a strange week for me. After receiving our news on Monday, I was feeling okay on Tuesday (which I believe I mentioned in my last post). I definitely had a sense of peace about everything. On Wednesday, I found myself feeling pretty emotionally drained. I ended up taking a break from work and walking over to Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon, which was actually pretty nice.

Over this week, I've had a number of opportunities to talk with my family and some friends, some of whom have been in my shoes, and it's been comforting.

Today, I've had a strange set of emotions. If I'm being honest, I'm questioning how I've been handling the entire situation. Maybe I shouldn't have been so open about it all...maybe we should've kept it more to ourselves. It's not that I don't want people to know; I can't help but wonder if I've unintentionally made people feel uncomfortable about it. I also feel like perhaps I've made people feel more sorry for me than they should. Yes, I'm sad. Yes, I'll probably be terrified the next time I get pregnant, always wondering if this will happen again. But in the grand scheme of things, if this had to happen, I think I got the best case scenario. I was never really in any pain, other than some mild cramping and a bit of nausea. We'll confirm on Monday that it all happened naturally, and at this point, I have no reason to believe that I'll need any medical procedures in the near future. I know that many, many woman who suffer a miscarriage experience quite a bit of physical pain. I know that I'm very lucky that I've really only experienced emotional pain.

So...all that being said, I'm hoping to get some questions answered on Monday. I'm looking forward to some time with friends over the weekend...hiking tomorrow with a couple girlfriends (while poor Shawn is stuck at work...he's very jealous), and then a group of us are getting together for a girls' night while the boys have a poker night. We're also taking a drive down to Tacoma on Sunday, which should be interesting! (And yes...I'll blog about that on Sunday night or Monday.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy to Sad in 5 Days

I'm not really sure how to write about this, but I feel like I should put this out there. It's something that Shawn and I have experienced, and truthfully, I want people to know about it. I don't think that it's something we should hide, and so far, everyone who knows has been incredibly supportive. So here we go.
Last Thursday, I got a positive pregnancy test. We were pretty much shocked to see it. (TMI alert...if you don't want to know icky details, skip down past the picture.) It's not that we haven't been trying to get pregnant, it's just I thought I had gotten my period the week before. I won't explain what eventually led me to test, but once I did, I seriously couldn't believe it. But 3 tests later (with 3 different brands, no less), and it was pretty hard to deny it...I was pregnant!!
Once we finally realized that I was actually pregnant, we were thrilled! Shawn and I told our families and some of our closest friends, but given the fact that I mentioned in the above paragraph, I had a nagging feeling that something wasn't right. After making my first couple OB appointments, I spoke with the clinic nurse and explained my concerns. She told me that what I experienced was relatively normal, but to be on the safe side, she wanted me to have blood tests taken to check for hormone levels. I went in for one blood draw on Friday night and a second one on Monday morning.

To explain briefly, when a woman is pregnant, the hormone hcG appears. This is what a home pregnancy test looks for, and most tests register as positive when the levels are at 20 or 25. This number continues to grow throughout the pregnancy, and this is what my blood was being screened for. The hcG levels between my two tests should have basically doubled.

However, my hcG level on Friday was in the 200's (I think around 250). On Monday, it was only 92. In other words, this was no longer considered a viable pregnancy...I was having (or had already had) a miscarriage. We were very saddened to hear this.

I did a lot of crying on Monday after getting my test results. We've gotten a lot of support from our friends and family, which has been so comforting. Today, I feel pretty good physically. Emotionally, I'm pretty drained. But in general, I feel a sense of peace about the situation, which I attribute completely to the huge amount of prayer that has been going out for us over the last 36 hours. A wonderful friend reminded me that our baby, despite being only a few weeks old, has a soul (yes...we're pro-life, and I wholeheartedly believe that life begins at conception). So I like to think of our little guy up there in Heaven, running around and driving God and the angels nuts. I've also decided to believe that his Grandpa Rick is keeping an eye on him. :) These thoughts make me smile.

I think the main reason I wanted to post this is because I don't think a miscarriage is something that should necessarily be hidden. Sadly, I know that it's relatively common. That's why a lot of women choose not to tell anyone about their pregnancy until they hear the heartbeat or see the first ultrasound or make it past the first trimester. They don't want to have to deal with telling people about a miscarriage. In my mind, though, I prefer to let people know what's happening so that we get their prayers and their support instead of trying to pretend that everything's happy.

So...the last few days have pretty much been a whirlwind. Within five days, we had incredibly exciting, wonderful news, only to have it taken away by incredible sadness. But I know that God has a wonderful plan for our lives. And hopefully, we'll have wonderful news to share again before too long.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lights Out!

Yesterday afternoon, around 4:00, I was sitting on the couch with my laptop, working. Suddenly, the lights went out, the furnace turned off, and I lost my internet connection. It was actually pretty bad timing, considering I had lots of work I needed to get done...but who am I to argue with a power outage? There's only so much work I can do in my job without internet access. So I called my dad and had a lovely little conversation with him.

By 4:30, I was beginning to wonder why on earth we still had no power. I also noticed, as it was getting darker outside, that most of our neighbors seemed to have lights! However, the house across the street had no lights on, and the street light in front of our house was out. I finally called Shawn to get the number for the electric company (we don't have a phone book here...we just use google to get numbers we need...usually). Once I reported the outage, I figured it wouldn't take long for them to figure out what was happening.

The first truck showed up outside our house a little after 5:00, but he left relatively quickly. By the time Shawn got home from work around 6:20, we still had no power, so we decided to go to the gym right away. We got home from the gym around 8:00...and still no power! Since I couldn't cook (and I didn't feel like eating PB&J for dinner), we went out to eat. When we got home from Applebee's around 9:30...there were 3 electric company trucks parked outside our house, including one with a crane! They had bright "construction site" lights set up, and we soon noticed that there was a large hole in our front yard!

Once we found a place to park on the street, we got a closer look at the activity. Turns out, that hole was just where they took the cover off of the hole where the transformer is located (so there was absolutely no damage done to our yard). Shawn spoke with the crew, and they let us know that the transformer had blown and needed to be replaced!

We watched them work a bit, and took some pictures. :-) The lights came back on around 10:20! We were pretty impressed by the whole situation, actually. Once I reported the outage, they got right on it and did what they needed to do, despite the fact that it was after "business hours," and despite the fact that so few houses were even affected by it (two of the four houses affected are actually vacant at the moment). It was an interesting experience for us!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer, 2010!

Some of you may remember that last year, I went to Colorado for a weekend to participate in the Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer, which is a snowshoe event that raises money for Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Since its inception in 2003, this event series has raised nearly one million dollars! This year, the Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer is coming to Washington, and I've gotten together a team to participate!

I'm sure you know that cancer is something that affects nearly every one of us. A friend of mine lost her battle with a rare form of cancer in September of 2008; she was only 25. Shawn's father lost his battle against cancer in March of 2005. My grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer when my mom was only 27. Fortunately, I also know lots of people who have fought cancer and won. My father defeated cancer when I was a very young child, and he has dealt with skin cancer recently as well. I have friends, family, and family of friends who have faced breast cancer and beaten it. As pessimistic as this may sound, I believe that if you have not yet been personally touched in some way by cancer, it's not a matter of "if" this may happen...it's a matter of when.

Those of us who are healthy have two main things we can do in the fight against cancer: we can raise awareness, and we can raise funds that will go towards research and towards helping people who are battling the disease. This is what the Tubbs Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer accomplishes. On February 20, 2010, I will be participating in the event on Snoqualmie Peak, in Washington, along with a group of awesome friends. I'm excited to get out into the snow of the Cascade Mountains and to raise awareness for this great cause. I'm also excited to raise funds that will go to help women in Washington get the support they need to fight breast cancer, and I'm excited to raise funds that will help continue important breast cancer research.

And that's where you come in. If you would like to donate to this cause, please click the link to be taken to my fundraising page. Every little bit helps! If you are in the Seattle/Western Washington area and are interested in joining us, there's actually a link on my fundraising page to join our team.

Thank you very much in advance!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Summary and Goals

Now that I've caught up on all the reviews from the books I read in 2009, I thought I'd give a little summary.

I didn't really set any specific reading goals for myself in 2009, although I knew I wanted to do more reading. I did, however, want to keep track of the number of books that I read, so you probably saw that I kept track of my stats at the end of each blog post that reviewed a book. I finished the year having read 44 books (I'm counting that last one, even though I technically didn't finish it until January 1st). After reading The Stand as my third book in 2009, I decided I should also keep track of the number of pages I read, since there's a pretty big difference between reading a book that's 180 pages and one that's over 1200 pages! I finished the year having read 15,668 pages! That gives me an average of 356 pages per book. (Granted, every book has different sized pages and different font sizes...but I'm willing to ignore that for the sake of my sanity.)

I do keep track of all of my books on Goodreads, where I can give books up to 5 stars. I realized that I only gave 5 star ratings to four books this year: The Stand by Stephen King, and Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, and Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (the first three books in the Outlander series). Those were also by far the longest books I read this year. I wonder if that says something about the books I like...

My least favorite book this year was On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It's the only book I gave a one-star rating. I noticed that I gave out lots of 3 star ratings...which is a little disappointing. Of the books I gave 4 stars, my favorites were Moloka'i by Alan Brennert, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

I've been thinking about setting some reading goals for 2010. I want to set a goal of 48 books for the year (4 books a month sounds doable to me), but I do need to remember that I won't have nearly as much down-time this year (since I'll be working full-time all year...no more "stay at home wife" time for me!). So...we'll see what happens.

I've also been trying to come up with a list of books that I'd really like to read this year. I have my "to read" list on Goodreads, and I do already have 140 books on there! So within the next week or so, I think I'll go through and prioritize that list. Right now, a book goes to the top of the list whenever I add it. I know that I want to re-read Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I might try to do that closer to the end of the year (since The Hobbit movie will be coming out next year). I also definitely want to read more of the classics that I have somehow missed over the years...like Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

If you have any book recommendations for me, please feel free to leave a comment!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twenties Girl

Twenties Girl, by Sophie Kinsella, 2009 (435 pages)

I generally enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books. I really didn't know anything about this one before I got it from the library (other than the fact that it was her new book that came out this summer). I certainly wasn't expecting it to be a ghost story!

Towards the beginning of the book, Lara Lington goes with her family to the funeral of her great-aunt Sadie, who she had never met before. Sadie had lived to the age of 105, but she'd spent the last 20+ years of her life in a nursing home, where she almost never had visitors. However, at the funeral, Lara discovers that she can hear and see the ghost of Sadie (as a girl in her mid-20's). Sadie is frantic about her necklace, which she insists that someone has taken, and she begs Lara to stop the funeral and help her find it.

The book is quite entertaining, even though it certainly fits into the "chick lit/fluff" category. There were a few places in the book where the character of Lara irritated me, but if I'm being honest, that's probably because she reminded me of a younger, more immature version of myself. :-)
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Total number of books read in 2009: 44
Total number of pages read in 2009: 15668

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Recap of 2009

Thinking back over the last year, Shawn and I have realized that 2009 was a huge year for us!! We've been truly blessed in so many ways! I thought I'd do a quick month-by-month recap of some of the things that happened in our lives.

January: I read my first Stephen King book, The Stand. We wrecked Shawn's car and became a one-car family.

February: Pretty low-key month for us. Shawn played some rugby. I read 8 books. I crocheted a bit. We went to a yummy restaurant and Alki Beach for Valentine's Day.

March: I went to Colorado for the Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer. Some of our best friends, Jarid and Sarah, came to visit us for a week. I started my long-term sub job.

April: Our church's young adults' group got started and we met some people who have become very good friends. I went to Ohio for a long weekend with my family (and was finally able to meet my soon-to-be-sister-in-law). I kept reading and subbing.

May: I was still subbing! We watched our peas sprout. We spent Memorial Day weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

June: My sub job finally came to an end. We went to a fun auction where we spent way too much money (but at least it all went to a good charity, and we got awesome stuff out of it). We went to North Carolina for my brother's wedding on the beach. I drove up to Ohio with my parents to hang out for a few days. Then Shawn and I met up in St. Louis for my friend Shannon's wedding (and college girlfriends' reunion). Yep...June was busy!

July: We started the month in Denver! I got my online teaching job. We went to all 3 Cleveland Indians games at Safeco Field. We survived a heat-wave of 100+ temps with no air conditioning. We began the process of buying a home.

August: I began my new job. We had our offer on a house accepted. My parents came to visit us for a week.

September: We went to Maui for a week! (It took a couple blog posts to write about the trip.) We went snorkeling while in Hawaii. We closed on our house and became homeowners! We spent lots of time painting.

October: We moved into our house! We got settled in (with unpacking, doing yard work, more painting, steaming the carpets, etc.). My job became full-time. We joined a gym. I turned 31. We threw a housewarming/birthday(s) party.

November: Shawn turned 32. We locked ourselves out of the house. We bought a lawnmower. Shawn's family came to spend Thanksgiving with us, so we had seven people in the house for almost a week. We also had some friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, so the total for the meal was 12! We bought new chairs.

December: I did more reading. We decorated the house for Christmas. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary. We hosted a game night with some friends. We flew to Ohio to spend the last week of 2009 with my family.

All in all, we were pretty impressed with 2009!! New friends, a new house, a new job for me, fun travels, spending time with family....there's not much more we could've asked for! God has been very good to us. We're excited to see what 2010 will bring!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, 2000 (375 pages)

I think that maybe I should stop reading Pulitzer Prize winning books. I don't seem to have very good luck with them. Maybe I'm just not cool enough or intellectual enough to truly appreciate them.

I had heard some decent things about A Heartbreaking Work, and after seeing it on some list of the "Top 100 Books of the Decade," I bumped it up on my "to read" list. However...I had so much trouble getting into this book! It literally took me a month to read. I did consider putting it down and not finishing it, but by the time I'd thought about doing that, I was already more than 100 pages in, and I felt like I should just plow through.

This book is based on true stories from the author's life, and although he had some interesting stories to tell, the book as a whole pretty much drove me nuts. Much of the book has a stream-of-consciousness narrative style, which I don't tend to enjoy. Some of the stories in the book were okay, which is why I gave it two stars (out of five) on Goodreads.
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Total number of books read in 2009: 43
Total number of pages read in 2009: 15233

A Not-So-Silent Night

A Not-So-Silent Night: the Unheard Story of Christmas and Why It Matters
by Verlyn D. Verbrugge, 2009 (98 pages)

I won this book through Goodreads's "First Reads" program. As the title implies, the author goes through the Biblical telling of the Christmas story, but he goes into further detail. He uses cultural, Biblical, and linguistic research to explain elements of the story that most of us never think about.

Many of the things that the author points out are things that I had heard before (like the fact that the "Wise Men" came a few years after the birth; that "the manger" probably wasn't some sweet, sanitary place like all the nativity scenes make it out to be). However, he did bring up a few things that I had never heard before. For example, based on other stories in the Bible, the town of Bethlehem probably wasn't very sweet or "still" like the song implies, but rather had a pretty tough reputation.

I like the fact that the book was a very quick read, and even though it was research-based, it read more like a narrative. There were a few places where I'm not sure I agree with the point that the author made (as it seems to contradict some things I've heard before), but I thought that the majority of the author's points were interesting.
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Total number of books read in 2009: 42
Total number of pages read in 2009: 14858

New Year's Eve Recap

We were planning on flying back to Seattle on New Year's Eve. Although flying on Christmas Eve and NYE wasn't ideal for our plans...we were able to use reward tickets, so our flights were free! Can't beat that. :-)

I checked us in online on the evening of the 30th, and our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:00am on the 31st. My poor parents got up super early with us and dropped us off just before 5:00. When we eventually made it to the ticket counter to drop off our luggage, we were told that the flight was oversold. If we were willing to take a later flight, we'd get to two ticket vouchers for up to $400. Since we didn't really have any big plans for the 31st, we agreed we'd take the ticket vouchers and take the later flight.

We called my parents, and they came back to pick us up. (Did I mention it was snowing that morning, and that the roads hadn't been plowed yet?) We hung out at home until about 12:30, when we were taken back to the airport. We went through security...only to discover that our 1:23 flight was delayed until 3:36. We eventually flew to Atlanta, where we were able to make our connection. Turns out, that flight from Atlanta to Seattle wasn't direct...we stopped over in Milwaukee first. (We didn't have to deplane, though.)

We finally made it to Seattle at 10:45pm. Once we got our bags, we headed to the Shuttle pick-up area, since we had made reservations to be taken home. However, we learned that our reservation didn't mean that we'd get a ride at a certain time; it simply meant that we'd get a ride on some van at some point. So when the clock struck twelve and we entered a new decade, Shawn and I were hanging out in the parking garage at SeaTac airport, still waiting for a ride. Shawn took this picture with his cell phone:
We eventually got onto a van, which dropped off two other groups first (getting lost in the U-District on the way) before dropping us off at our car (which we had left at a friends' house). Then we got to drive the rest of the way home...and arrived a bit before 2:00am.

So...that was a our New Year's Eve. Thrilling, eh? I'm hoping to get caught up with some posts over the next few days...a 2009 recap, 3 book reviews, and probably a "goals/resolutions" post. I'm sure you'll be waiting on the edge of your seat, anticipating these updates from me. :)