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Friday, July 30, 2010

Catching up

I have some catching up to do. I apologize dear readers (what there are of you) for not getting some up sooner. But, better late than never... right? Here are some shots from our trip to Wisconsin, as well as the Father's Day trip to the zoo with my very own pops and sisters!

The capitol building in Madison, WI... obviously at night
Madison was an absolutely beautiful city. I fell in love with it for so many reasons that I cannot begin to list all of them. Yes, it is a college town, but it has such rich history and really neat people. I snapped this shot between down pours while Hubs, coz, and I were bar hopping. Hello? College town, did you expect us not to?

The great Thunder River
The Thunder River was a treat on our final day in the great north. I learned two things about it: 1? It does not thunder. 2? I was reminded of how much a river bottom impacts the color of the river itself. This one is clay and mud. The river? It's that brownish yellow color that is somewhat off-putting in water.

It's a Scamp... it's where we stayed at the cabin. Yes, it is as small as it looks.
The Jones' were very, very kind to us while in the great north. There were far more people than beds or square footage in the little cabin we visited, so Uncle Bob brought his trailer up for us. I was not anticipating its size, however it was very nice not to have to sleep on a floor or in a tent in the land of ticks.

Le Tiger at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Beautiful boy that one!

My sister and dad on a camel.. I know, it's fairly obvious. One thing off their bucket list!
Little known fact: Point Defiance Zoo offers rides on camels. My crazy sister and father took them up on the offer. Baby sister and I? We took the opportunity to capture the moment on film in between fits of laughter. The camel doesn't look impressed with the walk like an Egyptian move that dad has put on.

Adorable little arctic fox. He's between coats right now, so please excuse the mad scientist look.
Now that we're all caught up, we can continue with our regularly scheduled program. We have a wedding this weekend, you can bet there will be pictures from that. Mia is in town next weekend (watch out Seattle, we're taking seafair by storm this year!) then my big 3-0 is the weekend following that. I will not fall behind again! I hope.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My first foray into the gluten free world...

I'm one of those people who absolutely hates it when a friend or coworker's dietary restrictions are overlooked at an event. Friends who are lactose or gluten intolerant are frequently left to provide their own food, as though the food the can eat is somehow less tasty.

I began thinking about this as a girlfriend of mine is undergoing testing for a number of conditions that may be related to a brush with anaphylaxis shock last week. Her reaction to the news that she was being tested for celiac disease was immediate and virulent. It brought to harsh light the realities of how people can feel about something like this condition (for a better look at what celiac is exactly visit the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness).  Another girlfriend of mine, also a coworker, is having a baby and thus, logically, a shower is in the works for her. This is an emotionally trying time for her (prayers for her little, growing family are certainly needed. Visit to show your support for this beautiful family) and one of my concerns is always that her gluten intolerance is overlooked at functions that we as a department or team have. As such, I'm making forays into the gluten free world.. so that if/when a shower is planned for her I can ensure that she has goodies which she can also consume.

My first foray, such as it was, involved Betty Crocker's new gluten free cake mix. I figured that they're normal mixes were decent so it might be a good place to start. I will interject here with the fact that, while a baker, I know absolutely nothing about baking gluten free. After doing some quick research I established that, with Hubs not working at this time, going completely from scratch would not be cost effective.  So off we went to the store to see what our local grocer carried.... answer? Everything but the chocolate mix I wanted to try. My goal here is cupcakes. They're cute, easily decorate-able for a baby shower... and easy to transport. I flubbed the instructions on the back of the box a bit, I will admit.... it specifically called for gluten free vanilla. I used what I had on hand...but I'll fix that in the non trial run (if I establish that mine is actually gluten containing) My goal here? To see if I and others in the house liked these cupcakes. As a gluten consuming household I figured if we liked them... they'd probably be a good way to go! I'll say they weren't as sweet as I think of cake being... but it wasn't in an off-putting way. We're hoping to try the chocolate to determine if that one will be sweeter. Maybe I'll do a marble of both... who knows!

If I don't like the results of the next two tests I already have a back up in mind... we'll test that one this weekend. What? You want to know what that back up is? Oh all right here it is: Wheatless in Seattle! Every single thing at this wonderful establishment is gluten and wheat free. One other thing? They provide some of their tasties to places like Romio's. If it's the same cheese cake that I fell in love with years ago... then we're already BFFs!

Well friends, I'll leave you with this for now... I apologize for getting a little long winded... hopefully future posts on this particular subject (if there are any) will not be quite so long.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun in the Sun

Looking out on Puget Sound from the Seattle Aquarium - Taken with my Camera Phone

This past weekend hubs and I desperately needed out of the house, which is no easy feat when you're facing down the next month of bills with half of your income lost due to unemployment. Or rather it was no easy feat... until we remembered that we had free passes to the Seattle Aquarium! We quickly realized that, with the free passes and an already full tank of gas, we really wouldn't be spending more than the cost of parking!

So, off we went.

There are some places that automatically turn people into kids again. The aquarium... any aquarium... is one of them. Something about being someplace you can see and touch creatures you would normally never even really see does that to people. OH! And don't forget those folks who make their living diving in those tanks, much to the delight of the general public.

The Aquarium in Seattle has been recently remodeled and I must say, they have done a fabulous job. Gone are most of the standard square viewing windows in the wall to show you a tank. Gone are the poorly lit signs, telling you what fish you were looking at, that you can barely read in an aquarium setting. These have been replaced with tanks mimicking actual waves hitting tidal pools, caves to walk into, uniquely shaped tanks that you can actually walk all the way around. The signs have been replaced with monitors mostly.

We had a blast while we were there. We spent time watching the sea otters play and the puffins dive. We watched divers in two of the three big tanks. And when we were done? We wandered the waterfront area enjoying the colorful people that any touristy area attracts. One of the new waterfront features is a cruise ship dock, which was particularly busy this day loading people onto the Norwegian Pearl (part of Norwegian Cruise Line). We'll be getting out a lot in the coming weeks as August is typically one of our busiest times of the year... so more pictures will be forthcoming!

What did you do this weekend my dears?


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I don't have a whole lot to contribute today, so I thought I'd share a picture from last summer. Pictures from our current summer are still in the works. One of these days I'll actually get them uploaded!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lazy Crazy Hazy Days of Summer...

Summer has finally settled in around the pacific northwest. . . she took her sweet time about getting here, but get here she did! I know it's been a while since I've posted, dear friends and family, but I'll see if I can catch you up in relatively short order.

I warn you that this may be a long post... I just checked and realized that it's been since we purchased the bike that I've put anything up.. a lot has happened since then. Apparently I really need to get back on the blogging horse!

We have jetted off to Wisconsin and made it back with all of our luggage, selves and sanity intact! One of us has had a birthday (it's the big 30 for both of us this year), a dear friend has brought a beautiful baby girl into the world, several others are set to bring their own new additions into the world this year, a job has been lost (to add to the still growing numbers of unemployed in this country), and finally we're gearing up for the rest of the summer with friends and family galore.  Pull up a seat and we'll talk about it all after the break!