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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Can I go back to bed?

Toby in the morning

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Looking 3-oh straight in the eyes

Me and Joey

The big day is tomorrow. 30. I've never thought much about age... with the exception of your typical "milestone" birthdays. With thirty upon me tomorrow, I've taken some time for reflection on my life so far... and how some things really do come full circle.

August 20th is the day my parents brought me into this world. The attending doctor that day would go on to deliver all three of my sisters as well. At the time my parents were still considered newlyweds (6 months still leaves you in that category in my opinion), living in Kirkland. That house, it turns out, was in the same neighborhood that my current boss grew up in.. probably just around the corner from his family's house.



children who lunchI may not have had the perfect childhood, but I certainly didn't have a bad one by any one's measure. I've always had the luxury of a large family and, while we aren't the closest family out there, we've always supported one another. Christmases and summer gatherings were large and raucous affairs when the "California kids" came up, yet we all managed to return to closeness after a few wary hours of looking at one another to determine how everyone had changed... but our parents, I think, Tried very hard to get us together at least once a year.
Soon, there were a total of 13 cousins. I'll let you, dear readers, make your determination of what type of mob we were.. you're probably right too. Largely we were led by our grandfather. We were just that family.

Cousins


Cousins
 Eventually, as happens in life, we all started to grow into the people that we would become. No matter how closely related people are, they are still their own people. We've all grown up now... Most of the children pictured above have children of their own now, so our horde is still growing.
ChristmastimeI cannot say that I've done anything groundbreaking with my life so far. But I've not intentionally hurt anyone, I have a steady job with a great company that I've been with since just after high school. I have many of the same friends that I had in high school, as well as some fantastic "new" ones. So, while I may not have my doctorate, I'm happy with my life, my family, and my friends. I won't be around much this weekend as I'll be busy welcoming my 30s with open arms and celebrating with my wonderful friends and family. One of my bosses just dropped off my first birthday card advising me to do whatever makes me happiest.



I intend to. Thirty is going to be great... I'll see you all on the other side of it!


Baby me


summer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Back in Time

children who lunch
circa 1983ish... maybe

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A girly weekend

This last weekend I jetted off with a couple of my favorite people (and a couple that I don't know that well) to the beach for a girls weekend. One of the gal's family has a house out there and we try to take advantage of that annually. It was lady G's birthday this weekend AND it was supposed to be HOT in the Seattle area (usually it's about 10 degrees cooler at the shores)... so it really just shaped up to the perfect time to take the trip.

I learned a couple of things this weekend:

  1. I'm running out of friends who don't have children.. or have a child on the way
  2. You learn a TON more than you bargained for when you're the only one there who doesn't
  3. Ocean Shores absolutely shattered their heat record while we were there... by something like 11 degrees.
  4. An entire town can run out of ice.
  5. Filching ice from the Shiloh is a hell of a lot easier than anyone ever anticipated...
Friday night we all hit a little dive bar in town for some fun and karaoke. It was a good time, if a bit short due to lady M and I arriving quite late into town.

Saturday:
We were busy little bees on Saturday... after dragging our butts out of bed. We had breakfast at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino and then hit up the casino for some morning luck. Let's be honest here... our aim was drinking money that wouldn't impact any one's budget for that night.

From there we decided to hit the beach (it wasn't scorching hot yet). While I had not forgotten that you are allowed to drive onto this particular beach, the ramifications of that allowance had not hit me. I've hit the beach on a hot day in Cali and Jersey.. even Oregon.. I know what to expect: A ton of people. For some reason it didn't occur to me that a ton of people at a beach where you can drive out onto it and park roughly translates to chillin in a parking lot that happens to have waves.

Ocean Shores


But you deal with what you've got... right? Also? The fact that everyone was parked on the beach lent itself to some free entertainment!

Oops...
This is what happens when you leave your car parked below the tide line... then leave it.


By the time we were done at the beach for the day, we were hot... and hungry. You can see the picture from where we had lunch that afternoon in the previous post. It was beautiful. Hot.. but beautiful. Afterwards we went back to the house to have a drink or two before we started thinking about dinner... or what trouble we might want to cause that evening. You might note from the things I learned that there was some filching of ice due to the entire city of Ocean Shores being out. By entire, I mean that even the McDonald's ran out.

We had a great time this weekend, but were all happy to head home on Sunday morning. Happy summer folks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to reality

It's back to reality this week. I'll flesh out a full recap of the fabulous girls weekend later today or tomorrow... but I just thought I'd drop in and say hi in the mean time. Mr Anoki was pleased as peaches to see me when we rolled in yesterday morning. However, I can say I was hoping for less heat when I got back... I did not get it.

With record breaking temps knocking around the PNW summer is letting us know that it is certainly not gone yet. I love the excuse to break out the flip-flops, shorts and some snappy tanks... but I will also say that I would love for it to be just a smidgen cooler. Cool enough for me to sleep at night would be a start. It is coming, we'll be cooler tomorrow. Which means I'll feel more like turning on the computer. Until then I'll leave you with this a shot that I took from a little deli where we had lunch on Saturday.

Lunch with a view
View from the Shrimpboat Deli - the only true on the beach eatery in Ocean Shores

Friday, August 13, 2010

Away she goes

Pet Me?

I'm off to the beach for a girls weekend in a few hours. It will likely result in too much alcohol consumed and likely a roaring good time. In the mean time we'll all be leaving the boys (Husbands, Sons and dogs) home to beat the heat on their own ... it's supposed to get pretty warm here this weekend by Seattle standards. Pictures will, of course, be forth coming.

What are all of you up to this weekend?

Meringues - A little tasty treat from heaven

Anyone who knows me really well knows that my go to cookie of the past few years is the meringue. They're highly versatile and you can do just about anything with them both flavor-wise and decoratively. At Christmastime I pipe them out with little red or green stripes then dip them in minty chocolaty goodness. In the summer I sprinkle them with some of Jell-o's more creative flavors (margarita etc) to create light little summer treats. But, beyond anything else, I love that they're so diet friendly. There aren't a ton of calories, there's no fat, and they're gluten/soy/dairy free.

Yesterday we had a baby shower for one of the gals at work. She's one of my favorite people (a link to her little baby Ewan's blog is on the right) and happens to be gluten intolerant. So, I decided to whip up some meringue cookies to add to the festivities... but do them in the style of baby. I attempted these adorable "rubber duckies" courtesy of celiacfamily.com, however they came out looking less like ducks and more like... well... I'm not sure I want to mention what they looked like.

Regardless, I went back to the drawing board and decided that I wanted to make rattles. A very babyesque design choice. When you see the pictures you're going to think lollipop... and I would have to agree... but they're still stinkin cute! Below you'll find the recipe for the meringues themselves and a picture of the finished product.

Meringue Lollies



Meringue Cookies:
4 large egg whites
pinch of salt
2/3 cup of sugar (I prefer to use baking sugar as it is extremely fine and dissolves faster)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees F
  • Using either a double boiler or a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water (water level NOT touching the bowl, just below) beat the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and half of the sugar together using a whisk..
  • Continue mixing/beating until sugar is completely dissolved and the eggs are beginning to look frothy. (The mixture should be slightly warm to the touch)
  • Remove from heat and, using an electric mixer, continue beating the mixture until soft peaks form.
  • Add the remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure it dissolves before the next addition. (I always need to scrape the sides of my bowl after each addition... y'know so the sugar actually winds up in the cookies?)
  • Continue beating until thick and glossy.
  • Pipe, spoon... aw heck do whatever you want to get them cookies to the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Put into your warm oven for a total of two hours. If you're using two sheets, be sure to rotate them 2x during the baking process.
  • Store your little treats in an air tight container - otherwise they may become gooey... and not in a good way.
For the cookies posted above: I piped them onto the cookie sheet then gently added cookie sticks to them. Because we used different colors throughout, I simply grabbed some paint (cleaned/new) brushes that I use for food coloring and painted a small amount directly onto the cookies. For an even cooler look, use a star tip on your piping bag and paint a couple of lines of food coloring up the inside before you fill it with the meringue.

Your climate/oven etc will affect how your cookies bake. If they are still a bit soft at the end of baking time, I will sometimes simply turn the oven off and leave them overnight.

Also? I have never attempted this recipe in a convection oven.. so I have no words of advice there.

What do you think of them?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Deception Pass - Looking ahead
Looking ahead, looking up


Monday, August 9, 2010

Mia with... MIA!

Mia and Mari in Leavenworth

Mia was in town this past weekend. It had been just shy of three years since the last time I saw her. Being one of my favorite people, I was super excited. (Heck... I moved with her to New Jersey...I really hope I like her)  To celebrate her first visit to the Seattle area since she left 10 years ago we decided to hit up some of the places she missed last time she was here.

Thursday morning dawned beautifully and Hubs and I were really looking forward to cracking out the last couple of things we needed to get accomplished before Mia's arrival that night. Unfortunately, we started the day in the ER. . . discovering that the poor guy is a kidney stone production factory. Suffice to say, he was in pain. He's still working on passing... or not passing a rather large one, so you'll understand when I say he was a trooper this weekend. He hung in there for most of our escapades all weekend. And let me tell you... when we get together, we can sometimes be a handful.

At any rate, it was a jet setting weekend!

Friday morning we all got up early and headed up to Deception Pass. It's really quite beautiful up there, however Washington decided to roll out the fog and mist for the day.

Deception Pass


When we'd finally given up on seeing the bridge from the beach below, of course the fog started to lift and we were treated to a truly haunting sight! We moved up to the top of the bridge to walk across and enjoy the vistas. While we were there, we also discovered that you can walk under the bridge!

Under Deception Pass


We lunched at the La Conner Brewing Company with some fabulous pizza and amazing smoked cheddar dip. After which we finally decided to head home. For Dinner we hit the crab pot (one of the few things Mia requested was excellent crab... this place has it!)and finally called it a day.

Leavenworth


Saturday was dinner at Jak's with a mutual friend of Mia's and mine along with some much needed lazing about. Yesterday, we headed off to Leavenworth to show her our cute little Bavarian village. We had lunch at a small place right in the middle of town, where the staff looked like viable candidates for the cast of Waiting 3. We're all back now, Mia has jetted back off to California... we will miss her terribly, but hope she comes back to visit soon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Anticipation

Mia is coming up for a much needed visit... she arrives tomorrow and I can hardly wait. For those of you who don't know, Mia and I met while we were both working in an Accounts Payable department some... oh. I'm actually no longer sure how long ago it was. I think we're closing in on 10 years though. YIKES!

At any rate, I like to think we were kindred spirits. Regardless of what we were, we became friends. While she was in Seattle we had a blast. She moved to OK in 2001 just after 9/11, and we spent the eeriest couple of days driving there with zero air traffic. Unlike most cases where one friend moves to another part of the country and you lose touch, we managed to stay in contact and stay close. So, when she was getting ready to jet off to the east coast, she asked if I'd like to join her.

We lived out there for a while - I've lost track of the exact timing and really, it doesn't matter how long I was out there with her. What matters is that we managed that as well. I've since, obviously, made my way back to Seattle and Mia has settled in the great state of California with her absolutely wonderful husband. This is the first time she's been back to Seattle in a while... actually I think it may be the first since she's left. I'll be out and about with her while she's here... but look for an update about the trouble we caused while she was here!


California 2007 054

Watch out Seattle... we're coming for you!