Sunday, September 20, 2009

Go West, Young Man! (the post otherwise known as "Touring and Learning")

We love to travel. We've kinda been doing it a lot lately, since we're pretty unattached (besides Bonnie the Barbarian). Why not head west to Oregon and Washington this fall? Okay!
Day 1 - We flew into Portland and made a pit-stop at Mount St. Helens on our way to Seattle. We were debating between Helens or Mount Rainier, but this was a little more accessible.

When the volcano erupted in 1980, the top pretty much blew right off on the northwest/west side. We watched a video about it in the visitors' center, so ask me anything.

Our first night in Seattle found us at The Crab Pot of Man vs. Food fame. We shared the Pacific Clambake seafood feast. It's basically a seafood boil with clams, mussels, oysters, crab legs, potatoes, and corn. So good!

Heavy on the mussels...Brent ate 15 of them before wanting to puke. We had to leave a few of these behind. This is his best attempt at a "waaaa-waaaaa" face. We're working on it.

This plaster couple enjoyed the mussels a whole lot more than we did.

Day 2 - Heavy Seattle touristy day. We of course went to the top of the Space Needle, visited Pike Place Market, and perused the shelves at Elliott Bay Book Company for a bit. We wanted to do a tour of Safeco Field where the Mariners play, but there was something going on in the stadium. At first we thought it might be a U2 concert, because we heard a U2 jam and people SCREAMING, and I got pretty excited. I've always wanted to see U2 in concert, so what were the odds??? I was all set to go grab tickets from a scalper and help myself to a lucky concert. However, when we realized that it was 3:00 in the afternoon, it wasn't really adding up. Come to find out Microsoft was having a convention. Pretty lucky employees, I'd say. I don't recall ever screaming with delight at one of my work conferences.

Artsy-fartsy stuff in the Olympic Sculpture Park (a Bill Gates' creation). We went because it was free and on the way to the Space Needle, but I wouldn't go again.

Obligatory shot of the Space Needle. Did you know that the Space Needle stands at 615 feet, which is almost identical in height to the Arch? Did you also know that the Arch was a monument for Thomas Jefferson? (Which made more sense to me as we moved along Lewis and Clark's route...) I think the theme of this vacation might be "Touring and Learning".

Mount Rainier

Pike Place Fish Market is a classic business school model of how to be successful - give your employees ownership, have a solid and known vision, make it fun, yada yada. I've watched so many videos and heard about this place so many times in the last two years that I was really looking forward to seeing it myself. When someone orders a fish, the guys who work the floor throw it back up to the counter. It's almost like they're putting on a little show. Very cool!

There was a string attached to this nasty fish, and when people would approach it a guy behind the counter would make it flop.

Coffee at the original Starbucks...the mothership. My non-fat, no whip Grande Peppermint Mocha never tasted so good.

That evening we boarded one of the Washington State Ferries and made our way across the Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island for dinner. Here is my waaaa-waaaa face after I dumped a huge glass of ice water in my lap.

Views from the ferry

Day 3 - The Columbia River Gorge. Otherwise known to me as The Most Beautiful Place on Earth. Seriously. We drove on historic highway 30 and got lots of great views of the Gorge from the Oregon side, and eventually crossed into Washington and stayed at a random place in Stevenson. As of 5 o'clock we still didn't know where we were sleeping that night, which is pretty out there for us. Why not stay in Stevenson? We visited a few wineries along the way. Fact - Oregon makes some great wine!

Gorgeous Gorge.

The View Top Inn near Corbett. We lunched there and found some Purdue friends who were exactly our age and who grew up in Columbia City. Our waiter there was a native of Elkhart.

Multnomah Falls

Cathedral Ridge Winery in Hood River

Day 4 - To Eugene for the Main Event - Purdue vs. Oregon. Their facilities - stunning. This isn't surprising based on Phil Knight and Nike's connection with the University. The game was great despite the outcome, and Oregon fans know how to create a raucous night-game environment. Great atmosphere!

On our way to Eugene, we stopped in Portland for breakfast and to go to the Saturday market along the river. We didn't quite find the market, but we did eat breakfast at Stepping Stone Cafe, which was also recently featured on Man vs. Food. Here's Brent with his Man Cakes.

That's about all she wrote, folks...

Westies on Parade

While we were eating breakfast, we kept seeing Westies walking by the shop. And on our way to the car, more Westies. Finally, at sighting #13, we thought something was strange. We asked someone if it was a popular dog in Portland and found out that there is an annual walk to raise money for fill_in_the_blank, and that 260 Westies were registered for it this year.

On our way out of town we stopped by Widmer Brothers brewery for a pre-noon beer and a tour. Hey, it was vacation and we were on Pacific time!

Kettle corn at the stadium??? Yes, please!

Touchdown! One more would have been perfect.

Phil Knight on the sidelines in the latest Nike prototype

Phew, that's enough blogging for me. I'm missing great football...not! All that's on TV here is the Bears/Steelers game. Not exactly an offensive explosion, but I would appreciate a few interceptions and sacks from the Steelers' defense since they're on my fantasy team.

Stay tuned for part deux later this week!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back in Action!

We're back from our vacation to Oregon and Washington - pictures and vacation antics coming soon!

In even better news, The Office is back from its summer hiatus!

"If I can't scuba, then what's it all about?" Creed

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend 2009

Pretty original title, huh? That's all I could think to write. Sad.

We had a pretty good weekend here - relaxation with a sprinkling of fun activities. On Saturday Brent and Chris ran the Morse Mini in Cicero. I picked Brent up right after the race, he changed quickly in the Hamilton Heights' high school bathroom, and we headed up to West Lafayette for Purdue's home opener against the University of Toledo. It was a good game and a fairly painless win, so on we roll to Eugene next week! Which, could turn out better than we anticipated against the Ducks, what with their star running back suspended for the season and all. Hey, I was with him that the Boise player may have deserved a quick pop to the face for taunting (it's not like he got hurt), but it's when you start running towards fans that it becomes apparent you have a real self-control problem.

I did laundry and made freezer meals on Sunday afternoon (Freezer Burritos and Chicken Green Bean Casserole) before our next fun activity - RibAmerica! We tried it out with the Sinders' for the first time (for all of us). We were kind of disappointed, but it was worth a try. The food was just so.darned.expensive. We didn't last very long before we high-tailed it to the patio at the new Scotty's downtown for Woodchuck and half-priced appetizers.

$40 worth of rib and fried potato carnage

I spent most of my day today making lunch for my team tomorrow. They met the goal I set for them so this will be their treat. It's a simple lunch - deli sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit, chips, and brownies - but I supposed I underestimated the time it takes to prepare even a simple lunch for 25 people. Okay, I have to laugh at myself here for thinking this, because as you'll see from the picture, a lot of this isn't too tough. I'll quit being a weenie now...

I think you've probably all seen this before, but just in case you haven't, this is a real gem. I promise it will make you feel all happy inside.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend! Yay for Fall!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Show Us Your Life Friday - School Pictures!

I don't have many school pictures past 1989 that I like and am willing to post on the internet, but here are a few that were acceptable...

Kindergarten - 1989

8th Grade Band Pictures - 1996

Senior Pictures - 2001

And although it's not a school picture...

Rob, Tess and I - 1993ish
Note the dickey under that tunic...hott. You can't tell, but there are stirrup pants involved in this picture as well.