Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jive Turkeez

Ken and I braved the highways on Sunday (lots of cops out checking speeds) for a quick getaway to a sleepy town called La Conner. It is best known for the annual Tulip Festival that happens in April. The overnight was a welcome break for us and the Skagit Valley is an amazing visage to behold. The miles of rolling farmland create such an idyllic landscape which stretch out as far as the eye can see. It really helps clear the mind and calm the soul--if I may be so cliche.

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Rainbow Bridge in La Conner

And what getaway would be complete without some wildlife interaction? Did you know that LARGE wild turkeys roam the town of La Conner and can be found trolling around residents' yards? I couldn't get over their intimidating size. Ken kept wanting to get near them and make friends but I advised a healthy distance. Did not want either of us on the business end of those beaks or talons.

Ken tries to befriend a jive turkey.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another Open Letter to our cat, Oliver

Dear Oliver, This would be easier to take if you didn’t have (a) every toy on the planet or (b) an automated feeder that dispenses pricy organic cat food or (c) unsolicited showerings of love & attention from your parents. So imagine our surprise, when the neighbor casually mentioned that you have been going into her house through her cat door every day for three years and scarfing down all the food she puts out for her TWO cats. Upon learning this awful and embarrassing truth, I immediately rushed out and bought a 20-pound bag of her preferred cat food. But it was still unclear how to allow you outside access yet keep you from going next door. Your father, the creative genius and amateur thespian, decided to inflict a “scare” upon you with the help of the neighbor. He figured that if you associated going over there with something unpleasant, you would stop doing it. So he dressed up in some Halloween costume odds & ends, put a plastic bag over his head (I think he cut some holes for air) and put some plastic diving flippers on his hands. Little did you know that when I released you outside and you B-lined into her kitchen, he was waiting for you. The surprise of the ruckus and hollering should have convinced you never to step foot in that house again. But… you were relentless. Extreme measures therefore had to be enforced and for the first time since we’ve lived here, you became exclusively an “inside cat.” Oh, how you made us suffer. Did I mention how pathetic and inconsolable you sounded? It was like detoxing an addict. You paced by the door and meowed incessantly. You even brazenly jumped up on the kitchen counter one day while we were at work and ate half a loaf of bread—through the plastic. Another time, I set grocery bags in the house and went back to the car to get the others and within 30 seconds you had located the dinner rolls and taken a big bite of one through the plastic. We felt it was our duty to be strong where you could not be, so as a last resort, we started confining you to the basement when we were at work because of your propensity to consume anything that was not encased in hard plastic or metal. One typical March morning, I locked the door to the basement before leaving for work. Everything would have been fine except your father came home before I did and tripped the house alarm. Not a problem usually, since he’d just come up to the main level and disarm it. But as he started upstairs from the garage-basement, he realized the door to the main level was locked from the other side and he had forgotten his front door key. “Where are you???” he called my cell phone in a panic, the alarm blaring in the background. “I’m looking for curtains at JC Penney,” I said stunned and slightly annoyed. “What am I supposed to do?” he demanded. “The police will be coming any minute and I have to tell them I’m locked out of my own house. This is so embarrassing!” None of this, may I remind you, would have come about if it weren’t for your insatiable appetite. True, our neighbor didn’t do us any favors by allowing you to come over for so many years unchecked and, true, your father could make it habit to carry his house key. But what’s really going on here? We make sure that your daily meals and current weight are normal for a cat your size and age. You get loads of attention and stimulation. There should be no reason why you are so obsessed with food. So I ask you, what demons rumble in your kitty tummy and propel you to drive us insane? ~Mama

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekend Whirlwind

Ken told me to leave a little space in the weekend so we each could relax. But who can relax when there are so many lovely friends to see...

Sam & Suzanne over to dinner for Turkey Lasagna on Friday.

Mika & Sarah on Saturday afternoon for a spontaneous beach trip @ Discovery Park.




Richard and Liz on Saturday night out at Tango to take in the Mark Morris Dance Group.

Sean and Shannon on Sunday at the Cinerama for Ironman and then some BBQ back at the house.

Whew.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Lester & Ismail come visit

Lester & his precociously adorable son Ismail stopped by the other night since they were in the neighborhood and we had such a blast. Lester used to work at the company I'm still at now and over the years we've shared many-a-laugh. My favorite thing about Lester, besides having some of the most well-mannered and interesting children, is his penchant for making a dull or potentially negative situation absolutely hilarious. A few years ago Lester got pulled over for speeding. If I remember correctly he was going 50 in a 35 or something like that. The cop comes over to the window and asks him for license, registration and if he realized how fast he was going. Lester's response was, and I kid you not: "Officer, the important thing here is that I was safe and comfortable." I laughed my ass off when I heard that. What a perfect response for times when you have to interact with authority. Pics of their visit... Ismail is such a charmer and kept Ken hopping.

Big Bros with new Little Bros

Two fantastic families that we have the pleasure of knowing on opposite ends of the country, welcomed new little brothers recently. We are so happy for Anne & Matt and Karen & Court. Evan born 4/30 with big bro Daniel Conor born 5/14 with big bro Brendan

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dun, Dun, Duh...

Start humming the riff from Deep Purple's 'Smoke on the Water,' then yell at the top of your lungs:

"SNAIL...ON THE WINDOW!"



Because that's what happened at our house last night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Arid-zona

Friday, I flew to Arizona where I had the privilege to spend this past weekend with my grade school friend Heather for her first Mother’s Day. It was so much fun to be with her and her family. And it was a weekend full of firsts...
Little Ethan likes to get up each morning at 5:30am but I had to stay up on Friday night to watch Battlestar Galactica since they have extended cable in their house. I don't usually sleep well in strange places and when you combine that with an early wake up, well extreme measures are necessary. So for the first time, we visited Starbucks twice in the same day for caffinated beverages. I don't usually drink coffee or caffinated beverages so you can see why this is just crazy insane.
Also on Saturday, we went to the Arizona Science Center--a first for everyone involved--to fill our brains with knowledge and even learned about the Grand Canyon during the 3D Imax movie. (That was so killer, btw.) Daric performed a number of his original songs and Ethan showed us how he is full of "wisdom"--which in their house is another word for poop. I saw many cactuses blooming which is the first time I've ever seen that as well.



But it was 95-flipping-degrees when I left Phoenix on Sunday. While most people devine that warm sunny weather (including my husband), I am content with 50 degrees & overcast. I think you have more options to get warmer then to stay cooler. Plus I become pretty much worthless when the outside temp gets to 75 degrees or so.

But it was a lovely getaway with lovely people and I am so delighted to become acquainted with Ethan. What sweet little guy.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Specs on the Camera

For the broadcast techie reader(s), our new video camera is the Sony High Definition Handycam® Camcorder HDR-CX7.

Highlights:
  • Can record in High Definition but takes a lot of memory for that and YouTube just crushes the video down anyway so I've not yet had occasion to record with HD yet.
  • Records to a Memory Stick (Flash card) as opposed to a camera hard drive or video tape.
  • It's small and almost pocket-sized
  • Good lens with insane zoom capabilities: 10X Optical / 20X Digital Zoom
  • Has Super SteadyShot® optical image stabilization for those of us who have trouble holding still
  • 3.2 Megapixel (Gross) ClearVid™ CMOS Sensor
    1/2.9" ClearVid CMOS Sensor provides stunning detail and clarity with exceptional video (1080 lines of resolution - HD Mode or 530 lines of horizontal resolution - SD Mode) and still image performance (6.1 Megapixel). Unlike traditional CCD Imagers, CMOS Sensors require less power, providing better battery performance.
  • As Ken has demonstrated: Smooth Slow Record
  • Two words: Night Vision

More on CNET.com & SONY.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Baby brother turns 30 and that means you're old

Austin and the rest of us celebrated his 30th birthday last Saturday in Vancouver at a place called Big Al's, not be confused with this. Big Al's was big in every way. I honestly believe it is the Northwest headquarters for attention deficit disorder. But don't take my word for it, go there. It's a sight to behold.

One side of the building has a slew of bowling alleys & a video game arcade with a decibel level that is mind-numbing. I kept wondering what it would be like to work there with all of that going on around you 8+ hours a day. On the other side of the building, there are 3 giant projection screens split into smaller screens so that you can effectively watch 9 sporting events at once. This is where the bar is and it over looks 8 regulation size pool tables and an eating area. Basically, it's Chuck E Cheese for adults without the animatronic singing mannequins. With everything so loud and bright, my ears were ringing when we left, like after you leave a dance club. I needed some hot tea and a good night sleep to get over it.

Austin, welcome to the 30's: where it takes longer to recover from nights out and tolerance for youthful indulgence begins it's sharp, judgmental decline.

I have to admit though playing pool with the family, kicking it with Ken on Dance Dance Revolution, shooting some House of the Dead Zombies, seeing Dad play Foosball in his own "special" way and watching Austin shoot some zombies was pretty rad. Video below.

Officially a Fire Hazard



Happy Birthday, Dear Blah Blah...



Kicking it Dance Dance Revolution Style



Shooting bad guys