Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back On 2008

As the year draws to a close and I look back on how I spent the last 365 days, I thought this would be an appropriate time to re-examine my 2008 New Years Resolutions and do a brief status update.

Resolution #1: Exercise at least two or more times per week.Status: Failed.Explanation: Pure laziness. It would be ridiculous to put excuses here. I did great for the first few months, but then I got progressively lazier. The yellow circles on my calendar marking the days I worked out end in May, and I finally canceled my gym membership all together in November.

Resolution #2: Stop gossiping so much (especially at work).Status: Completed.Explanation: I worked very hard on this during the first six months of the year, but I think the real turning point was when I started a new job in July. A much more healthy environment, combined with a positive attitude and fresh start, has done wonders.

Resolution #3: Put $150 per paycheck into savings account.
Status: Failed.Explanation:
I was actually doing very well in this department for the first half of the year and had quite the little cushion saved up. Thank God, because when I quit my job in June without another one lined up I was really thankful for the safety net. Unfortunately, living off my savings for six weeks really dented the ol’ bank account, and I was back to square one. However, the second half of the year presented a new financial opportunity: I made the biggest investment of my life by purchasing a condominium with my boyfriend. So I figure that even though I haven’t been putting money into my savings account, putting a substantial amount toward a mortgage each month evens things out.

Resolution #4: Seriously pursue going back to school.Status: Completed!Explanation: Not only did I seriously pursue going back to school, I applied and was accepted to the Paralegal Certification Program at the University of Washington. I attended night classes for one quarter and successfully completed them. In addition, I am all signed up for next quarter and plan to graduate from the program in June. This is the accomplishment I feel most proud of. Ironically, it is the one I thought I was least likely to accomplish.

Resolution #5: LET IT GO.Status: Completed.Explanation: This is something that was really important to me, and I worked very hard on this one. I really needed to realize that harboring negative feelings toward people was hurting no one but me. I was able to get past those feelings and see the bigger picture, which eliminated negativity in my own life and thus made me a happier person to be around!

In summary, I’d say three out of five ain’t too shabby. And although I failed on #3 I completed a goal I had previously set for myself – to purchase a home before age 30 – so I think that one wasn’t totally failed. So let’s call it 3.5 out of five.

Here are some other important highlights from 2008 that I’d like to take a moment to remember:
Overall, I feel very, very happy with how 2008 turned out. Of course there were ups and downs, but I was able to achieve some major things, whether they were planned or unplanned. I'm definitely happy with my life and where it is headed. 2009 - BRING IT ON!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Ballard: The Good Life

I've been adjusting quite well to life in my new neighborhood, and a former classmate recently summed up my transition for me: "Queen Anne is the fast life. Ballard is the good life." I definitely agree, and apparently I'm not the only one.

This week, Ballard made it into the national spotlight, with a beautiful shot of the farmer's market on the front page of the New York Times web site.

The picture linked to an article on Ballard and Fremont, highlighting their "independent-minded kind" and "unique character that still resists complete assimilation." Nice. The Times says each neighborhood is undergoing a kind of "21st-centry renaissance, with shops and restaurants moving in, and a new, often young crowd arriving to live or just to play." (Hey, that's me!)

Love it. Ballard is definitely the good life.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Orange is the new black

In building construction, topping out is a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of a building, and a topping out ceremony is usually held to commemorate the event. Since I now work in commercial real estate development, one of my duties is to coordinate these types of events. So yesterday I went down to Olympia with a co-worker to set up a party at one of my company's building sites... quite different than all the party planning that I've done before! First, we fed the large construction crew lunch. They seemed very confused and intrigued by the 20-something girls in hard hats wandering around their construction site. Then, the ceremony began: Here's how it goes...

The last support beam to be hoisted is painted white and signed by all the workmen involved, as well as everyone else who attends the ceremony. I was very proud of my first building signature!

A tree or leafy branch is placed on the topmost beam, often with flags and streamers tied to it. Then it's hoisted up to the top of the building while everyone toasts and cheers.

I'm very pleased that I was able to pull off my first topping out event. And I've decided that I look fantastic in a construction site getup. Orange is definitely the new black.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday Night Rendezvous

Why someone would name a restaurant “BJ’s,” I have no idea, but in any case, my friend Crystal organized a Friday night rendezvous at the brand new BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Southcenter Mall last weekend.

When our large group sat down, of course the first thing the boys did was torment our poor waitress with comments like, “So… what’s the special… at BJ’s?” followed by inappropriate snickering. Oh Lord. It seemed we had quite a rowdy group, so it was probably good that they sat us in a back area separated from the main dining room.

Even though I’m not a fan of the name, I did have a great evening at BJ’s. They had a ton of different beers and a menu the size of a novel filled with loads of yummy comfort foods. So we ordered drinks… appetizers… more drinks… food… more drinks… dessert… more drinks. We ended up staying for about four hours, talking and laughing until we basically closed down the restaurant. Yum, yum, a simply scrumptious evening.

The only downfall? Since we had a large party they automatically added gratuity onto our bill. Therefore, I did not tip on top of it. However, I just looked at my bank statement and our lovely waitress took the liberty of adding on an additional tip of her own choice amount. Ooooooh, this type of thing really ticks me right off! It’s not the $10 that bugs me, it’s the feeling that I was taken advantage of. I just called the manager and am waiting for a call back. If this is not resolved, I will not be visiting BJ’s again…

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good intentions, bad results

I went grocery shopping last night with the goal of planning out some healthy meals for the week. Even though I'm not generally a fan, I decided to include some breakfast foods. And for some reason, while walking up and down the produce isles, I decided to pick up a couple grapefruits. They just looked yummy, fresh, bright and citrusy piled there between the oranges and pineapples. And besides, isn’t grapefruit supposed to be part of some miracle diet that causes you to lose 10 pounds in 10 days or something?

So this morning at work I was feeling quite productive and healthy as I sat down with my half grapefruit and cup of green tea. Yeah… I have no idea what I was thinking. I somehow failed to remember that I hate grapefruit. It tastes very yucky. In general, it is very sour and bitter at the same time, and the tiny bit of sweetness you get is not even close to a reward. No matter how much Splenda you sprinkle on top, the taste is just horrible, kind of like drinking orange juice right after brushing your teeth.

In addition, I somehow managed to cut it the wrong way (come on Sarah, how hard is cutting a grapefruit in half?) which meant I really had to dig for each foul little bite. As a result, I now have grapefruit juice splattered all over my desk and keyboard. One nasty little drop even made it directly into my eye. This was not the morning I had hoped for. I think I have a case of the Mondays.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home Sweet Home

For all you out-of-towners, and for those of you who haven't made it over yet, here are a few pics of our new home!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fried Chicken

When my class ended early last night I excitedly rushed to the bus stop, expecting to catch an earlier bus home. Unfortunately, the bus was running late and I had to sit at the stop for 25 minutes (it was very cold) until a route going to Ballard arrived.

As we neared Ballard, a woman dragging several suitcases, carts and bags of God-knows-what got on the bus (forcing the driver to use the lift, which is supposed to be reserved for disabled people). The woman then went on for two or three minutes about why she was unable to pay the fare. Exasperated, the driver told her to sit down and we were on our way. However, Bag Lady continued to ramble. She explained to the driver that since she had not eaten all day and was very tired, it was absolutely imperative that he stop the bus directly in front of KFC. She could not be forced to drag all her items a half block from the designated bus stop. And could he please hurry up? After all, KFC closes at 9:30 and if he hustled, she could just about make it.

Are you freaking kidding me? And the most ludicrous part is that the bus driver obliged this woman! She got a free ride and a customized stop off for a bucket of chicken! No wonder the bus was running late, if the driver was taking requests all evening. Grrrr. I mean, I know I’m helping to save the Earth and everything by using public transportation, but I’m beginning to reach my limit. And now I’m craving fried chicken.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Boyfriend v. Kitty

I have written about my attention whore of a cat before, but at the request of a reader I’d like to take a moment elaborate on yesterday’s “training my boyfriend and my cat to coexist is going to be an uphill battle” comment.

I’d like to first point out that Boyfriend loves animals. However, owning pets does not quite fit in with his obsessively clean, borderline OCD personality. So the following items have been constant issues since the three of us moved in together:
  • Kitty sometimes darts from one end of the condo to another – This causes Boyfriend to freak and examine the brand new hardwood floors for scratches.
  • Boyfriend then suggests getting Kitty declawed – This causes me to freak, because I think declawing cats is incredibly horrible and mean.
  • Kitty lounges peacefully on Boyfriend’s couch, contentedly kneading the leather – Boyfriend does not appreciate all the tiny scratches and holes in his couch this is causing.
  • Boyfriend hates the idea of a litter box, but this is obviously unavoidable with an indoor cat – I’m attempting to clean said litter box on a daily basis.
  • Even though the litter box is always clean, I can’t seem to stop Kitty from tracking litter all over the condo – Boyfriend (obviously) hates this.
  • Boyfriend will not allow Kitty to sleep on our bed, because she leaves fur all over the bedding – However, Kitty is used to sleeping on the bed with me.
  • Kitty has since been locked out of the bedroom at night – This causes her to cry, scratch at the door, and cause mischief all night… Boyfriend is not pleased (we’ve even found litter tracked up on top of our brand new dining room table… eek!)
  • Kitty has managed to completely tear up Boyfriend’s area rug, using it as a scratching post – I think she does this during her midnight mischief.
  • Boyfriend is constantly threatening to throw Kitty off the deck – This annoys me to no end and has caused me to start throwing back nasty comments at Boyfriend (who I generally adore).
However, apart from these general annoyances, I think Boyfriend generally likes having Kitty around. Kitty is very talkative and the two of them sometimes have quite animated conversations. Kitty also appears to like Boyfriend more than she likes me, often choosing his lap over mine when we’re lounging on the couch. It’s just all those bothersome “cat behaviors” that I’m going to have to figure out. So far, I’ve done the following:
  • Researched how to trim a cat’s claws (have not gotten around to actually doing it yet).
    Purchased a cat bed, which we now place at the foot of our own bed and have trained Kitty to sleep in it (thereby alleviating midnight mischief and meowing).
  • Set up a scratching box thing (not working at all, need to purchase an actual scratching post ASAP).
  • Bought a “litter box rug” that supposedly catches litter as Kitty exits the box (not absolutely sure this is working yet, but it seems to be at least helping).
  • Threatened to leave Boyfriend if he mentions throwing Kitty off deck one more time (I wish he thought I was serious).
Bottom line: Kitty needs to start cooperating. Frankly, she’s completely spoiled and has no idea how good she has it. I rescued her from the Humane Society for a life indoors eating all the food she wants. I even clean up after her when she shits… can you imagine a better life? I think a little appreciation is in order. Also, both Kitty and Boyfriend need to take a little lesson in, “Can’t we just all get along?”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Things I learned this weekend

  • Mill Creek is a much livelier place than I suspected
  • The food at the People’s Pub is absolutely amazing
  • Finding the perfect wine rack is proving to be much more difficult than originally anticipated
  • Training my boyfriend and my cat to coexist is going to be an uphill battle
  • English gravy is quite yummy
  • Donating two carloads of stuff to charity feels amazingly refreshing
  • Sometimes a person’s reputation can spread much further than they realize
  • A wash cycle takes longer than a dryer cycle in my new machines… strange
  • Taking a walk through downtown Ballard on a sunny afternoon is my new favorite weekend activity
  • Sunny Teriyaki is nowhere near as scrumptious as Yummy Teriyaki
  • Dealing with Comcast and their erroneous billing is super annoying
  • Being in school causes one’s social life to take a serious decline… sad
  • Our gorgeous view will not, as we feared, disappear in September 2009
  • Simply writing a weekend “to-do” list doesn’t mean that everything will get done
  • I heart Ballard even more than I adored Queen Anne, I think…

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's been a rough year...

After watching our poor pathetic Seahawks lose yet another game last night, I was sad and embarrassed to hear one of the commentators sum things up for our city:

"So, the Seahawks are one and five, the Huskies are zero and six, the Mariners have lost 101 games, and their basketball team moved to Oklahoma City. It's been a rough year for Seattle."

Why yes, yes it has. Thanks for pointing that out. Ugh, totally tragic.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My trip to the suburbs

To celebrate the birthday of my dear friend Tara, on Friday night I trekked up to La Palmera in Mill Creek for dinner and drinks. Now, I admit to being fairly snobby about leaving the general downtown Seattle vicinity for a weekend night out, but birthdays are definitely an exception. And WOW... this time, I was in for a treat.

I've been to Mill Creek a couple of times during the day before, but I had no idea it had any kind of night life. However, our directions led us to an adorable little town center area jam packed with shops, restaurants and bars. La Palmera was located smack dab in the center, and Tara had reserved enough tables for about 20 people to sit in the bar.

It seemed as though every resident of Mill Creek had decided to hit up the La Palmera bar that evening. It was, apparently, a "fight night" of some sort -- a boxing match followed by ultimate fighting was on every TV in eyesight. Yummy food, music, sports, chatting and lots of laughing filled the next couple of hours. Then things started to get interesting.

Apparently one guy had taken "fight night" a little too seriously and let testosterone get the better of him. We were suddenly alerted to two huge security guards dragging a kicking and screaming mid-20s male down the stairs and out the door of the restaurant.

From our prime viewpoint out the windows of the upstairs bar, we watched as Crazy Guy attempted to walk back into the restaurant several times. Innocent bystanders went in and out around him, and he tried to pick a fight with each one of them. After about the fourth time, one bouncer knocked him in the side of the head. This caused Crazy Guy to march through the doors once again. Bouncer had had enough by this time. He shoved hard with both hands, and Crazy Guy went flying backward, landing squarely on his ass. Of course this pissed him right off. He jumped up and lunged for the bouncer, who was easily twice his size. But before he had a chance to make contact, a bystander came out of nowhere and seemed to toss Crazy Guy in the air... who then went tumbling down a set of stone steps and landed, not moving, on the sidewalk. Talk about a sucker punch.

Wow. I felt like I had gotten lost and ended up in Pioneer Square. I had no idea shenanigans like this went on in the Mill Creek suburbs. Drama, drama, drama. I think next time I'll stay safely in downtown Seattle. In case you are concerned about Crazy Guy's fate, the police arrived shortly afterward and hauled him off. He was walking and seemed to be doing fine, although I bet next time he won't be taking "fight night" so literally.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Nerd Alert

Although I’ve done a fair amount of complaining since starting my Paralegal classes at the UW, I am really loving being in school again. I hate spending extra hours on the bus every day and I hate getting home late almost every weeknight, but for those nine hours a week that I’m in class, I’m really enjoying myself!

The only problem is that I’m supposed to be spending three hours outside of class for every hour that I spend in class, and let’s be honest… I just haven’t done that so far. So when I turned in my first assignment on Tuesday night I wasn’t feeling overly confident about it. It could have been right on, or alternately, completely off-base.

Last night, the assignment was returned to me. COVERED with red ink. My stomach dropped for a second before I looked closer and realized… I had received a perfect score! Apparently my instructor just loves to give feedback, whether it be negative or positive. Phew! I can’t tell you the sense of relief I felt as I read the “Impressive work – Nice job!” at the bottom of the paper. And to top everything off, there was a red “STAR STUDENT” stamp on top of the paper. How elementary school, but it still put a silly smile on my face. What a nerd.

Now I just have to keep it up until June…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something to Consider

I think I might buy myself some pepper spray.

Let me back up. I’ve always considered downtown Seattle to be a very safe place. I never think twice about walking home from a bar at 2am or parking my car and walking alone a few blocks in the dark to a restaurant to meet friends. And whenever I hear a creepy story about a girl getting abducted at Green Lake… I kind of just put it out of my mind, naively thinking it could never happen to me, because “that girl must have been doing something stupid and/or unsafe.”

But lately I’ve been thinking more about being a woman in Seattle. Maybe I’ve just been really, really lucky. My boyfriend and I rarely fight, but some of the biggest arguments we’ve gotten into have been because I’ve chosen to walk someplace in the dark, by myself. I’m of the opinion, “It’s fine, it was just a few blocks and I’m in my own neighborhood.” He is of the opinion, “Do you know how easy it would be for someone to pull you into a van, rape and kill you?!” But that would never happen. Right?

Ever since I moved to Ballard I have been feeling a little more cautious. Probably because my new schedule is keeping me out later, and as winter approaches it is getting darker so much earlier. And since I have class most nights after work and don’t get home until 10pm, I have to walk a few blocks from the bus stop in the dark to get home. And as I walk down the dark, cold street past several alleys and vacant buildings I feel slightly creeped out.

Last night I had to go to the UW law library and was there pretty late. Even though the area is well-lit, I still felt mildly uncomfortable walking across campus in the dark through the pouring rain. I clutched my bag, purse and cell phone and hustled as fast as I could to the safety of my car. It probably didn’t help that I had gotten together with a girlfriend earlier who had told me that she recently took shooting lessons and is getting her concealed weapons permit because she is so scared to be living alone.

So I wonder… am I being paranoid? Or has my naivety finally worn off and I’m seeing the world for the scary place it actually is? Either way, I don’t think purchasing some pepper spray would hurt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Dog's Breath

A few months ago I went to dinner with some girlfriends. At the end of the meal, I pulled out my brand new Clinique lip gloss for reapplication. One of the girls I was with immediately shrieked, “Ewww… I have that same lip gloss, it smells disgusting!!” She pulled out her own Clinique lip gloss to demonstrate. Of course we all took a sniff and yep… the distinct scent of dog’s breath – unmistakable and disgusting!! However, a comparison smell of my own lip gloss revealed that my brand new tube smelled like… nothing. Very strange.

My friend had purchased her lip gloss a few months ago, and after a few more sniffs, giggles and “ewwwws!” we wrote the whole thing off as what must have been a bogus batch of lip gloss. Way to go, Clinique. And I haven’t thought about it since.

Until this morning, when on my way out the door I casually grabbed some lip gloss out of a drawer, applied it to my lips… and immediately smelled DOG’S BREATH! Sick, sick, sick!! I couldn’t believe it! My very same tube of Clinique lip gloss had, over the past couple months, apparently gone bad just like my friend’s! What a bizarre thing to happen to a tube of lip gloss. And disappointing, too, because I really like Clinique’s lip gloss; it’s shiny and much less sticky than other brands.

The other day someone made fun of me for having a tube of watermelon flavored Lip Smackers in my bag. Well yeah, it might be made for 10-year-olds, but at least it doesn’t smell like dog’s breath. Gross.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Relaxing weekend ahead?

If only this weekend included just ONE more day… My list of scheduled activities is already ridiculously long:

  • Little Brother’s rugby game
  • Homework - reading
  • Pick up new furniture
  • Homework – case brief
  • Kelly & Amy’s birthday party
  • Shannon’s birthday party
  • Homework - reading
  • SATC style brunch and pedicures with Sister and Cousin
  • Homework – library research
  • Watch Seahawk’s game
  • Homework – project 1
  • Lily’s birthday party
  • Homework – Westlaw training
  • Unpacking and organizing

How I will get everything done, I have no idea. But I’m glad I have quite a few fun things to take care of… in between a crazy amount of homework! Yeesh.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Changing Seasons

One of the great things about moving is it generally forces you to go through things you've been putting off. In my case this meant my closet. And moving my wardrobe into my brand new walk-in allowed me to fully realize exactly how many sweaters and sweatshirts I own. And with all the newfound space, I was able to stack them all up neatly and easily pick out a cream colored turtleneck sweater to wear to work today. I figured it's been so cold and nasty out a comfy sweater was just what the doctor ordered.

So I got dressed, layered on a brown wool coat and went into the bedroom to tell Stewie goodbye. Sleepily, he opened one eye and looked at me. "Well don't you look professional," he mumbled. "You look like a fall catalog." Laughing, I made my way through the crisp air to the bus stop. On the way I had to admit to myself, a little sadly, that autumn has officially arrived. Brrr.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Digs!

I have no idea how we did it, but somehow, somehow, we made it through the past week. My to-do list filled an entire 8.5x11 sheet of paper. Single spaced, 10 point font. And I’ve finally got everything crossed off! Oh, except that pesky little “Homework for next week” line item. Oops.

I tried to have everything all packed up the weekend prior, since I currently have class from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. That means those days were officially out. But leaving the house at 7am, working all day, riding a bus for an hour to the U. District, sitting in class for three hours, getting home to Queen Anne and then proceeding to eat dinner and do homework until midnight has already started to take a toll on me (as one can imagine).

But I made it through the week and we headed down to IKEA on Friday night to pick up our new bed. Thus, we encountered our first problem. Although I had hoped for the best, there was no way in hell the boxes we had already paid for were going to fit in my car. Oh, and the store was closing in five minutes. Luckily, we managed to get the store to hold the bed overnight and have a friend pick it up with a truck in the morning. Phew. Tragedy averted.

Saturday morning started at 7am with a final run to Fred Meyer to pick up last-minute items including, of course, an ample supply of beer for the volunteer movers. U-Haul pickup was at 9am. Friends arrived promptly at 10am to first load up my apartment and then Stewart’s. We also managed to fill to bursting two cars with my clothes and miscellaneous items.

We had another little disaster in the parking garage, where Stewart’s friend managed to back Stew’s car out almost perfectly… leaving behind one mirror, shaved off by a cement pole. Oops. But finally, we were on our way to our new Ballard home, where everyone took a break for pizza, beer and tequila shots before unloading the truck. I think everything was in by about 6pm – not too shabby!

The evening then consisted of taking extra furniture items over to my sister’s house in Eastlake for storage, and returning the truck. Then we celebrated with more drinks and the boys made it down to The Old Peculiar. I couldn’t drag myself away from unpacking, but I did go pick them up later and we made our first stop at the neighborhood Dick’s Drive In.

So we are finally home! A little worse for wear I suppose (a couple co-workers have already commented on how tired I look), but it feels so great to be done! I’m a little anxious about how behind I now am in my schoolwork, but I am going to spend this evening at the UW Law Library catching up.

Many thanks to everyone who helped / stopped by / brought gifts to us this weekend, it really meant a lot to us! We can’t wait to have everyone over to show off our new home!

I heart Ballard.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Goodbye Queen Anne, Hello Ballard!

That’s right, you heard it here first… Stewart and I are moving in together! Considering the fact that neither one of us has ever lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend before, we figured, “What the hell?” and chose to take a serious plunge… we bought a condo!!

And after four amazing years, I am finally going to be leaving the mother ship of Queen Anne and moving to… Ballard! Yep that’s right. We bought a beautiful condo at a building called the Metropole, just off Ballard Avenue and Market Street. A perfect location, if my limited knowledge of Ballard counts for anything.

The building is less than two years old and our unit has barely been lived in, so to us it feels brand new. It’s a large home with hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, our own private patio along with a rooftop deck, and a gas fireplace that goes through the wall from our living room into our bedroom. And my favorite feature? That’s right, I will finally have a washer and dryer in my own home!

Such big changes going on in our lives! Let me take a moment to try and recap everything…
  • Stewart was finally hired as a firefighter! He will be working for Valley Regional Fire Authority in Auburn, and we are both thrilled that all his hard work finally paid off. He began Fire Academy this month. Unfortunately, just a couple weeks into the Academy Stewart injured his knee, badly. It will require surgery and this means he is out of the Academy for now, and unable to return until January when (we hope) he will be fully recovered. So poor Stew will have to spend some time on the couch followed by light duty at the fire station until January.

  • My new job as an Executive Assistant to the Senior Vice President for a downtown Seattle residential real estate development company (wow, there’s a mouthful) is going really great! I’ve been here for a little more than two months now and finally feel like I am getting the hang of things. I love my team and my boss and changing jobs has drastically improved my quality of life. Quitting my previous job was one of the best decisions I have ever made, as far as my mental health is concerned.

  • I’m finally going back to school! Tonight will be my first class at the University of Washington, in the Paralegal Certificate Program. I am taking two classes this quarter: Fundamentals of Legal Practice and Legal Research and Writing. If all goes as planned, I should be a Certified Paralegal by this spring! However, I will have class from 6pm to 9pm on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for the next nine months or so, and a huge amount of homework and reading, so if you don’t see me out and about don’t be surprised. I’ll see you all next summer!

  • Stewart and I are moving in together! Did I already mention that? I’m just so excited I can barely stand it. Considering we have basically been living together for the past six months in his tiny studio apartment, our new 725 square foot condo seems like a dream come true! We move in on October 4th.
So in summary, lots of changes going on in our lives right now. I am super sad about leaving Queen Anne, and not living with Jeanna anymore, but I suppose change is good, especially when it consists of a major financial investment!

We’d love to have all of you over once we’re settled!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Solstice Festival 2008

I’ve always thought that riding naked on a bicycle seems like just about the most uncomfortable idea ever, but of course I never miss a chance to see dozens of naked, painted hippies riding bikes in public all at once. Thus, I once again this year attended Fremont Summer Solstice Festival to gawk and drink beer. What a glorious way to spend a Saturday.

I think this year Fremont was more packed than ever. I only managed to catch a glimpse of the parade through the swarms of people, but a peek was really all I needed of the flabby, hairy, colorfully painted anatomy going up the street. We grabbed some lunch and then headed over to the real highlight of the festival... the Beer Garden!

Larisa, definitely enjoying herself.

The group, feeling just a little bit silly after a morning of mimosas.

Is this just way too cheesy for words?

Mike & Jeanna.
The ladies.
Larisa & Dave.

There's really nothing much more entertaining than people-watching at festivals while drinking beer. I swear, the characters who are willing to come out in public continue to amaze me. And thsi year was made even more entertaining by the fact that several homosexual males took it upon themselves to hit on my boyfriend. Is it bad that I simply looked on from the sidelines, laughing at his discomfort? Poor Stewart tried to explain to them that he is, in fact, straight. But the boys explained to him that he's actually just "confused." And with a few beers in me this was hysterically entertaining.

Poor Stew (although he does look darn cute!)

The view from our amazing rooftop patio.

A rendezvous with Crystal.

Of course later that evening there was no reason to stop the general shenanigans of the day, so we met some more friends at a local Fremont bar, followed by drinks on our glorious rooftop patio, followed by more drinks at a well-known Queen Anne establishment... complete with karaoke, Stewart-style. Hearing my boyfriend sing Oasis's "Wonderwall" drunkenly at the top of his lungs definitely brought the day to a fantastic close.

I can't wait until next year.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hasta La Vista!

Let's face it. Anyone who knows me at all is aware that I have been extremely unhappy with my professional life for a long time now. Lately, it's been so bad that I don't even want to go to bed at night... because I know that in the morning I have to wake up and go into work. I feel like I am constantly having full blown anxiety attacks. I end up in tears at my desk at least once a week. I’m not eating much and I’ve started smoking again. I've begun to wonder if all the glowing recommendations I received from previous employers throughout my life were false. Am I a completely incompetent employee?

Think about it. Things have to be pretty bad if I’ve been reduced to such a horrible mental state. There is nothing worse than waking up five mornings a week filled with dread over how you have to spend your day. And then spending your weekend filled with terror about what you will walk into Monday morning. Knowing that no matter what you do, it will always be wrong.

I’ve been trying for months and months (let’s face it, for over a year now) to do my job correctly. And somehow to matter what I do, it’s not right. One day I could choose decision A and be reprimanded for selecting incorrectly. So the next day I choose decision B. Nope, also incorrect. It’s a constant lose/lose situation, and try as I might to identify what I am doing wrong or how I might improve, it seems that my boss is perpetually telling me that I should have done things differently.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that the problem is not me. I receive glowing recommendations and praise from both my co-workers and my clients. However, I think there is an un-resolvable personality conflict between me and my boss. The two of use could sit in front of a red wall for hours, and as much as I could insist to her that the wall is red, she would continue to explain to me that I’m wrong: the wall is black Sarah, don’t you see? And finally I would have to admit that the red wall is, in fact, black. I was wrong – the only obvious conclusion in my supervisor's eyes.

So a couple weeks ago I made a decision. I decided that my mental health and quality of life is far more important than a job (especially one that I am not in the least bit passionate about). So I gave my two weeks notice. With no other employment opportunities lined up, yesterday I walked out of a company that has made my life a living hell for the past two years. And I’ve never felt better.

So see you later… I will miss all my fabulous co-workers and clients terribly, but am interested to see what will happen with this poorly-managed company. Karma’s a bitch.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little Brother Graduates

I absolutely cannot believe it. My baby brother has graduated from high school. For some reason I just haven't allowed him to age in my head. To me, he will always be an adorable little seven-year-old. But it's funny. Every time I go home to my parents house he's a little bit taller... his voice is a little bit deeper... and I get the funny feeling that if he wanted to, he could beat me up. I don't understand how this happened!

In any case, I went down to my hometown of Olympia yesterday to spend the day with my family and attend Capital High School's graduation ceremony, which took place in the gym at Saint Martin's University, the exact same location where I graduated from high school seven... or is it eight?! years ago. My my, how the time does fly. I think this effectively renders me "old."

It was so fun to see my brother all dressed up in his graduation garb, joking around with his friends. It seems he is quite the nerdy cool kid!

Oh my, what a cutie!

The quintessential family graduation photo, complete with three generations.

Sisters with Little Brother...

And of course, Mom and Dad. Oh they are so proud, how cute!

The whole family. Love it.

One thing I learned at AJ's graduation... these things never change. The speeches might be slightly altered, the haircuts a little different, and the teachers a little older, but these things are MIND NUMBINGLY BORING. Even Little Brother agreed. But hey, it's a necessary rite of passage I suppose, and not an event I was willing to miss, even though it required me to take the day off work. Totally worth it to see AJ walk across the stage in his cap and gown. Oh I was so proud! *Tear*

And off he goes... In September he will join the Freshman ranks at Central Washington University, and who knows what the future holds for him.

Good luck, Captain Jack McCool!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happy Birthday, Stinger!

Steve, as you experience life one year older, I hope it is not fear that grips you, but only a heightened sense of things. We need to go shoe shopping immediately.


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Relay For Life... Finally!

After months and months of planning, the American Cancer Society Relay For Life finally arrived! My team, Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure, spent 24 hours walking for all of our loved ones whose lives have been touched by cancer.

  • The entire Relay raised almost $90,000 to benefit cancer research.
  • Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure raised $6,633 to benefit cancer research.
  • This made us the #2 fund raising team!
  • And with unbelievable efforts, Stewart raised $3,575 to benefit cancer research.
  • This made him the #3 individual fund raiser!

The Relay itself was super fun. Stewart and I arrived in the early morning to gorgeous sunny skies and helped set up. However, by the time the Relay began at 10 a.m. the clouds had begun to roll in and we had to rush to get our tents and canopy up before it started pouring. However, we didn't let this discourage us. Throughout the day while some team members hit the track, the rest of us participated in events and contests to pass the time. It was a great time to just chill out and hang out with my family.
At 11 p.m. the Luminaria Ceremony took place. For many people who attend Relay For Life, this is one of the most moving parts of the event. As the light dims over campsites and team members complete laps, the night is brightened by the glow of lighted bags called luminaria, each of which has a special meaning. Some luminaria celebrate the survivorship of people who have battled cancer and lived to tell the tale. Many commemorate the lives of those who have been lost to this disease. All represent a person who has been profoundly affected by cancer and the family and friends who continue to be touched by that experience.
Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure lit many luminaria candles for our friends and family who have been affected by this horrible disease. It was a great way to remember those we have lost and those who continue to battle for their lives every day.

As you would expect, the night got REALLY long pretty fast. The point of the Relay is to have someone on the track at all times, so this means while some of us slept in the tents, other people took their 1/2 hour turns walking around the track. It was cold... and dark... but it was a great opportunity to chit chat and heck, sleep is really over-rated, I think!
The next morning at the final ceremony we were in for a surprise. Swift Walkers For A Swift Cure had earned the most points in contests that had taken place during the Relay, and we won a prize package full of gift certificates to local restaurants and stores. Sweet!
Overall, even though it was completely exhausting and stressful, I am so happy that I was a part of Relay For Life. The event allows participants to fight back against a disease that touches too many lives. It's something that we forget about in our day-to-day lives, and this event really brings it into perspective.

If you'd like to be a part of my team next year, please let me know!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Cailin!

It seems to be becoming a habit for me to dedicate a blog to each of my friends as their birthdays come and go each year. However, sadly, I do not have the luxury of celebrating in person with all of my friends. So I dedicate this blog as an ode to Cailin on this, her 26th birthday!

I've chosen to plagiarize the text of a card she once gave me for MY birthday, because I think it says just about everything about this fabulously amazing woman...

For a Special Friend

In our lives, if we're lucky,

we'll have all kinds of friends.

And although we appreciate them all

for different reasons,

there are some we come to cherish.

You, without a doubt,

fall into this last category.

You are the friend
who never, ever bores me,
the friend I'm always glad to see

and who never lets me down.

You are that special friend

who knows I'm far from perfect

and accepts me anyway.

We've shared a lot, good and bad,

and you've proven

you can be counted on.

All those things and so many more

come together to make you

more than just an everyday friend.

You're a lifetime friend.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend 2008

Even though it's pretty obvious that nothing can top last year's Memorial Day weekend shenanigans, we stuck with tradition and once again headed over to Evan's cabin in Sunland for the three-day weekend.
The crew is always the same, minus a few here and there. We always get drink, drank, drunk at the cabin. And of course, we ALWAYS go to the sand dunes, aka Disneyland according to Kelly. So this year was one in the same. We took the boat over to the dunes and parked the boat as usual. However, I think I made the mistake of not starting to drink early enough in the day, because the crazy party over there seemed to be a little too... clear or something.
I was completely appalled at the number of small children there, running in between 18-year-old girls wearing pasties and taking beer bongs. The water seemed dirtier and the people trashier. Oh, I'm sure nothing has changed... I think I'm usually in such a daze that I don't realize what I am a part of! How sad... am I getting too old for Disneyland? Has its magical powers over me worn off? Tragic.In any case, the rest of the weekend we spent basking in the sun on the boat and hanging with good friends at Evan's. Although the weather wasn't completely cooperative, and it even rained for a while, we entertained ourselves with games, food and booze. We also went over to Crescent Bar for pizza... something I hadn't done before. While we were there, a full blown drinking contest ensued.. one of my favorite parts of the trip. Besides, of course, Larisa krunking like crazy in the driveway.
Until next year... Cheers!