Saturday sight-seeing

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We finally had a day to do whatever we wanted. First, we slept in, made a nice breakfast at home and had a lazy morning. Then we figured out what we wanted to do with the day. We knew we wanted to take Nerissa to the Chihuly Glass museum (which was convenient, since that was the only thing on her itinerary for the visit. Huzzah!) Since T had done an event there, he strongly recommended that we go in the evening when it was dark. So, we added the Experience Music Project to our afternoon, since T and I hadn’t been and it seemed like a fun combo.

The EMP is basically a repository for Paul Allen’s crazy crap. They had a lot of different exhibits with various kinds of memorabilia. There was a Sci-Fi exhibit where I got a fun picture of T next to one of the “villains” from one of his favorite shows (Dr. Who, for those not fluent in nerd culture):

TDalekAnd there was this cool screen where some sort of data visualization software added various features to shadow puppet shapes. (For example, any closed shape turned into an eyeball.) It was awesome:

ShadowThing2 ShadowThingThe centerpiece of the main gallery was this guitar cyclone:

GuitarTreeThere was an awesome exhibit on horror/scary movies. As I was taking this picture, a man and his kids were walking by and one of the kids asked what this was from:

AlienAnd he replied “Terminator.” <facepalm>

We decided we could use a little snack between museums, but first everyone had to pose for a quick photo.

EMPgroupWe had a nice snack at the Armory and then it was off to the Chihuly museum. After the millions of pictures that I shared in this post, I’ll spare you a repeat of that. Nerissa loves colored glass and is a big fan of Chihuly’s work, so it was really fun to go to the museum with her:

NerissaGlassCeilingShe took this great shot of Erik, T and I:

GlassMuseumGroup And I got a nice shot of her and Erik admiring the ceiling:ErikNerissaGlassCeiling Which Erik then had to ruin with his face. 😉ErikGlassMuseumBut of course I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures of the sculptures:

BWChihuly ChihulyBowls2 ChihulyBowlsAnd then we headed outside to the garden part. My camera doesn’t do too well in the dark, but I liked this photo. I really wish I knew who this couple was, this is a great picture of them:

MysteryCoupleT was quite right, the best time to see the museum is at night. The sculpture is so beautiful all lit up and the Space Needle glowing up above is particularly magical. On a cloudy night, we learned that the Space Needle projects his own shadow onto the clouds. It’s super cool:

SpaceNeedleShadowsFinally, it was time to head off to dinner. We had given Erik & Nerissa a choice of restaurants that we had either tried and loved or wanted to try and they’d selected Agrodolce, a southern Italian restaurant that we’d heard was good and wanted to try. It’s always fun to go out with Erik & Nerissa. Starting with the cute couple photos:

ErikNerissa-Agrodolce TandI-AgrodolceWe went to town on that menu and ordered much delicious food. Somehow, I ended up with three adult beverages:

TresCocktailsPlus, there were creepy marionettes hanging from the ceiling. What’s not to like about that?
CreepyMarionette

Family portrait

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This year my sister and her husband were visiting my mom for Thanksgiving. Combined with my brother’s visit to me, all of her children were more or less in the same place and she really wanted a family portrait. (Especially since our last one has my sister’s ex-boyfriend in it, for some reason.) I understand that my mother values these family portraits, but I find it a bit strange. I LOVE pictures (obviously, given how many of them grace this blog.) I love looking back through mine and being instantly transported back to that moment in time. Each photo, no matter how mundane, is an instant memory. But my sister and I are still not speaking and I wasn’t super excited about memorializing this particular period in time.

Add to it that we’d be driving to and from Portland in one day (7 hours of driving, woo hoo!) and I can’t really say I was looking forward to it. Sigh. But like I said, I know it’s important to my mom, so I was willing to suck it up. Despite the fact that it meant an even earlier wake up call, we decided to start our morning off with a trip to the Capitol Hill location of Skillet.

SkilletCH I added a decadent brulĂ©ed grapefruit to my already fantastic breakfast:grapefruitThen it was time to drive. Thankfully, everyone was busy shopping and not on the freeway, so there was no traffic. The plan was to meet for lunch near the Clackamas Shopping Center and we made it there without incident. It was awkward to be seated across from my sister but not talk to her or even say hello. Then it was even more awkward to feel like everyone else at the table was watching me to see my reaction, etc. Since I’m not typically the “silent treatment” type, the whole thing sucked. My mom, Nerissa and I had opted for a nice cocktail, which helped ease the tension. Erik also makes an excellent distraction and chattered with Allissa and Paul about the house they’re planning to buy, which eased some of the awkwardness.

Then it was time to head to the photographer’s studio. There’d been some talk about doing the shoot outside, which seemed like a bad idea to us, but we left it to my mom to make the final call. I think the photographer was really sold on the idea, as he didn’t really give my mom much of an option. The downside, besides the fact that it was freezing, was getting my dad to where he wanted to shoot. It was really difficult to get his wheelchair over the rough terrain, but we got it done. The photographer went to get some equipment, so we got back there to see a dark, creepy shed filled with hay bales:

CreepyShedAnd a mossy gazebo:

CreepyGazeboAt this point, it was feeling really worthwhile to get my dad back there… We all milled around in the cold while we waited for the photographer:

FamilyCircleFinally, things got underway. We’ve had a lot of these family portraits taken, with a wide range of photographers, but far and away the worst kind: the “schticky” photographer. This guy was from the “Take my wife. Please.” school of “comedy.” It was the worst. Particularly, when his patter would range into the insulting territory. Teasing my socially awkward brother about his receding hairline? Super uncool. But in our usual fashion, we made our own fun:

NerissaHijinksErik has “livened up” many a photo shoot with his inappropriate humor. I’m going to guess from the expressions on my parent’s faces, that this would be one of those times:

ErikHijinksA rare shot of my two brothers getting their picture taken:

BrothersThe whole experience was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. We had to pretty much drive back home right after the picture, since Wally was in his crate for most of the day (save for a visit from the dog walker). We came home, had some leftovers and had a fun evening drinking wine and playing Cards Against Humanity. Very much looking forward to getting to sleep in tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving awesomeness

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This year, I was super excited that Erik & Nerissa would be up visiting. (Even though this would lead to a super terrible Black Friday activity, but that’s a blog post all it’s own.) They hadn’t been up to visit since 2009, so I was eager to show off our cute little house and spend time with them. We kicked off Thanksgiving morning with our traditional Turkey Trot, the SIXTH time in a row M and I have done this race. What’s funny is that while M and I have had this streak, our supporting cast seems to change every year. This year would be the Girls Rule, Boys Drool year with Nerissa and Rowan in her jogging stroller keeping us company, while the boys stayed home and in the kitchen like God intended.

We met up at M & J’s place, where Nerissa demonstrated her impressive cat-charming abilities by getting Mushroom to sit on her lap within 30 seconds of sitting down.

NerissaCatCharmerA few pre-race pictures:

pre-turkeyTrot Number6BabyIt was a super foggy morning, but that didn’t seem to keep anyone away. We timed our walk up to the start line perfectly, we only had to wait for a few minutes before the start. And we’re off!

FoggyTTstartIt was the usual congestion at the start, made more difficult with the jogging stroller. But none of us were going for a speed record, so we walked when we had to, jogged when we could and took a few walk breaks in the flat section (until Rowan squawked at us, she’s such a task master!) I really enjoy this little tradition of ours, it’s such a nice way to kick off a day of eating. We all squished into the car for the ride back to M & J’s house, where delicious bagels and coffee awaited us. Mmmm… bagels… We hung out for a little while and then headed home to get ready for the main event.

Erik offered to get our broken MythTV (basically an open-source DVR type thing) up and running, so he and T were happily tinkering with the computer for a while. Nerissa was kind enough to help me with some prep stuff (and snap this sneaky photo of the siblings in action):

SiblingPrepT eventually got called into the kitchen for his cooking duties, so Erik had to keep on coding on his own. (He didn’t seem to mind. Plus snacks!)

ErikCodingThis year, we did something different with the turkey. It’s a technique called “spatchcocking” where you remove the backbone and fold the turkey so it’s flat. It cooks way faster (our 16lb turkey cooked in 2 hours!), but does look kind of slutty:

SluttyTurkeyIt’s the first thanksgiving that we’ve hosted in our little house, so I wanted to set a pretty table. I love the “calm before the storm” before a big dinner or party. It looks so pretty and peaceful.

TableM & J arrived with a beautiful pie, an experimental oyster stuffing,:

oysterStuffingAnd, of course, this little munchkin:

RowanTableUsually, it gets too hectic for me to take pictures of the actual food. Luckily, this year M & Nerissa had my back. M took this picture of the spread, (I really hope everyone gets enough wine!):

FoodWhile Nerissa was so excited about the side dishes, she got a shot pre-turkey:

dinnerThere were a few experimental dishes, but everything came out really, really well. Food was great, good wine was drunk and lively conversation was enjoyed. It was pretty much perfect. Then afterward we retired to the living room to enjoy the floor show:

RowanFloorShowCombine one adorable baby and a bunch of adults and you get quite a lot of entertainment! Even Wally got in on the fun:

RowanWallyHe wasn’t too sure about it, but he liked all of the attention:

RowanWally2Watching Erik interact with Rowan is always pretty good:

LivingRoom1She seems to enjoy him as well:

ErikRowan2 ErikRowanAt one point, he went full hummingbird:

ErikHummingbirdEventually, the baby was way too hopped up, so we had to mellow things out a bit. There was delicious pie, a last glass of wine, and then M & J took their leave. I probably say this every year, but it was one of our best Thanksgiving dinners yet. The perfect mixture of great food and company. I am very thankful to have all of these wonderful folks in my life.

 

Playing catch up

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I’m sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger. I had a post lined up to write about our trip to the coast (and I may still) and then I don’t really know what happened. This time of year is always tough for me. I like fall in theory, but the actual onset of the gray weather and the early evening darkness always bums me out. This year has been particularly bad, combined with a series of other events has just thrown me for a loop. I came very close to getting a cool job opportunity (#2 out of 200 and something applicants) at the same time that my current job is turning into a Dilbert cartoon. (Actually, I think a Dilbert cartoon would be a huge improvement… ) Add to this some family stuff and it just hasn’t been a great time.

Basically, I’ve spent the last two months feeling like I’ve been jinxed. Which makes it very hard to write blog posts that anyone would want to read. But I’ve got some fun Thanksgiving stuff to write about and I’m just going to rally and start posting again. In the meantime, here are some random photos of the last two months:

WhaleWins FallFoliage CanWe

We watched Susan’s dog Blue for a little over a week back in October. He’s bigger than Wally at just under a year old. He’s very sweet and pretty shy. I think Wally liked having a buddy to play with and we all got to remember what young dogs are like (Much more energy than lazy Wally, but he could chill out sometimes.)

BlueSunbeam SleepyBlue FollowTheLeader Pretty SleepyBlue2And of course, so many pictures of sweet, sad-faced Wally:

SadWally2 SadWally3 PoorWally

SadWallyAnd here’s a bonus Godiva picture to balance out all of the dog pictures:

FatCatI think it really highlights her personality. And spawned a hilarious ballad from T called “Fat Ugly Cat”. Stay tuned for more hijinks.