Monday, June 27, 2005

Weekly Update - Summertime Harmony with the Animals

Summer is now officially here and I am officially thrilled! I really like the warm summer days and sunshine, and I don't mind the occasional rainy days at all! It is tradition at work to toast the beginning of summer with root beer floats. Tuesday started out to be a beautiful day, but about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled celebration the thunderstorms began to roll in. That didn't stop us. We made our root beer floats and ran outside to quickly toast the beginning of summer and just as the last person made it inside the building it started to pour. I don't consider the rain a bad thing at all. I love summer thunderstorms and we were lucky enough to experience an all-around summer weather day on the first day of summer complete with sun, wind, rain, thunder and lightning.

The animals (the birds and squirrels) are doing just fine, and we have seemed to fine a rhythm that we can all live with and not bother one another too much. I fill the bird feeder with fresh seed that the birds are able to consume in 24 - 36 hours, but like most birds they are slobs and drop quite a lot of seed an debris on the ground which the squirrels gladly eat saving me from having to sweep. Also they have not bothered my herbs and flowers, so everyone is happy. I hung a hummingbird feeder this week and am hoping that the hummingbirds will find it soon! My deck remains one of my favorite hangouts in the world! This week they launched the concerts at South Lake Union Park and you can see the lights and hear the occasional tune coming from the park. It just adds to the myriad of noise coming from the city and it's great to just sit out there and take it all in.

I have been busy this week working on "the list" and filling my days will summertime fun! I am currently 28% done with the completion of 4, 7, 13, 14 and 30 this week! Here are the highlights:

#13 - Hit Ivar's Lake Union Salmon House for happy hour including bargain drinks, clam strips and killer views of downtown's sparking skyscrapers. This is one of my favorite spots around town and the weather was PERFECT on Thursday evening for a some clam strips and bit of brew.

#30 - Take a tide walk along Discovery Park 's two miles of protected shoreline for some prime limpet, sea star and anemone-viewing. My friend Nikki was in town for the weekend and we went on a guided walk on Saturday to check out the beach during a record low-tide. We saw sea stars, moon snails, crabs, sea anemones, and even got squirted by clams.

#4 - Gather the girls and go searching for Seattle 's unofficial nude beaches (Hint: There might be one in Discovery Park , but you didn't hear that for us.) While Nikki and I were at Discovery Park we looked around for the nude beach, but no such luck. If there really is one, it may not have been warm enough.

#7 - Join in the fun at an outdoor movie in Fremont at 35th Street and Phinney NE, across from Redhook Brewery. Who knew that a parking lot and a white square on the side of a building could be a great movie theater! We took our fold-able chairs and sat with a few hundred others and watched Napoleon Dynamite. It was a little chilly at the end, but very fun!

#14 - Score some fun finds rip-off designer sunglasses and maybe 10-minute chair massage – at the European style flea market, the Fremont Sunday market. This was very different than I anticipated it being. I did score some cute new sunglasses and saw a whole lot of creative stuff and a whole lot of junk.

This week is shaping up to be a busy one even before it has begun. I really looking forward to the holiday weekend, which is already filling up with fun activities! I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekly Update - THE LIST is finally here!

Happy Summer!

It's almost here..... SUMMER!

I mentioned in my message a few weeks ago that I had picked up a copy of the June issue of Seattle magazine with 161 ways to seize the summer. For the last two weeks I have been transferring everything from the magazine to a word document and then once I transferred it over I played and played with it and I never did get it to add up to 161. And in process of transferring everything I realized that it would be nearly impossible to complete ALL of the activities. For example, I cannot see 6 firework displays at the same time on the 4th of July! So I narrowed it down, added a few of my own and created a list of 50 things that I am going to do to seize the summer. Here is the list!

My List for Seizing the Summer of 2005!

1. Spend a day soaking up the sun at Alki Beach in West Seattle then grab a broiled burger and thick shake from Pepperdock’s (2618 Alki Ave. SW) a true beachside burger shack.
2. Gather together a big group of friends and spend an evening around a campfire complete with smores.
3. Enjoy the sights and smells of the 3rd Annual Harvest Festival by the Vashon Lavender Growers Association.
4. Gather the girls and go searching for Seattle’s unofficial nude beaches (Hint: There might be one in Discovery Park, but you didn’t hear that for us.)
5. Chow on tacos and sip margaritas on Agua Verde’s outdoor deck, overlooking Portage Bay.
6. Walk down to the Seattle Center and see an outdoor movie at the Mural Amphitheater.
7. Join in the fun at an outdoor movie in Fremont at 35th Street and Phinney NE, across from Redhook Brewery.
8. Drink a Jones’ soda and watch the sunset from Kerry Park.
9. Grab a fleece blanket, a low back lawn chair and a few friends and head to the 7th annual Redhook Moonlight Cinema.
10. Watch a summer blockbuster at the Valley 6 Drive-In before it becomes yet another housing development.
11. Enjoy at concert South Lake Union Park.
12. Enjoy a concert at The Zoo.
13. Hit Ivar’s Lake Union Salmon House for happy hour including bargain drinks, clam strips and killer views of downtown’s sparking skyscrapers.
14. Score some fun finds rip-off designer sunglasses and maybe 10-minute chair massage – at the European style flea market, the Fremont Sunday market.
15. Enjoy the best of Seattle by having a Barbeque with friends. Buy fresh tuna at Fisherman’s Terminal and make kabobs with zucchini, onion and cherry tomatoes from one of the six Seattle neighborhood farmers markets.
16. Chill out at Sunset Hill Park (7531 34th Ave. NW) and watch the sails dance across the waves at a Wednesday-night regatta (around 6 p.m.) sponsored by Corinthian Yacht Club, in Shishole Then hit Ray’s Boathouse for some prime Northwest fare.
17. Hike through Seattle’s larges stand of old-growth forest at Seward Park and bird-watch for the city’s only flock of feral parrots.
18. Dine in your car on bacon cheeseburgers and delectable fresh blackberry milkshakes and Burgermaster’s retro Aurora location.
19. Spend an afternoon kickin’ around the antique shops on Greenwood Avenue around 85th Street.
20. On San Juan Island, go for a 3-hour Taste of the San Juan’s sea kayaking tour with Crystal Seas and then quench your thirst and appetite at the Front Street Ale House with a pint of chili-enhanced Diablo Ale and a mondo plate of Ale House Nachos.
21. On Lopez Island, camp at Spencer Spit State Park in mid-August for a perfect view of the Perseids meteor shower (we hear the 12th is the best night).
22. See The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas performed by Theatre Schmeater in Volunteer Park.
23. Watch Shakespeare under the starts with a production by GreenStage or the Wooden O Theatre. and/or
24. Stop by the roadside and sample the tasty fruits of our most-appreciated and reviled week, the Himalayan blackberry. Throughout August, this can be done anywhere gardener’s vigilance has waned. Berry abundance can especially be found along the Burke-Gilman Trail near Lake Union and at ferry stops.
25. Eat an ice cream cone at Waterfront Park on a hot summer day.
26. Attend a Mariner’s game at Safeco field.
27. Play hooky for a day in early August, and head to Mount Rainier National Park to see the wildflowers in bloom and tramp around the snow in nothing but shorts and a T-shirt.
28. Enjoy a pint of Bullfrog Ale from Rogue Issaquah Brewhouse.
29. Go berry pickin’ for sun-ripened strawberries and raspberries at Remlinger Farms and then make homemade jam.
30. Take a tide walk along Discovery Park’s two miles of protected shoreline for some prime limpet, sea star and anemone-viewing.
31. Pretend you’re in Cancun at Colman pool in Lincoln Park and enjoy a buoyant swim in the city’s only saltwater pool.
32. Eat a hot dog and drink a beer at Shorty’s.
33. Watch dogs of all sizes, from Rhodesian ridgebacks to pugs, joyously splashing at Warren G. Magnuson Park.
34. Embrace my inner child by splash around a city park wading pool. A favorite is Soundview on Crown Hill, known for – you guessed it – great Puget Sound views.
35. Walk on an afternoon ferry to Bainbridge Island and then meander into Winslow and have dinner at the Harbor Public House. Time your return trip to watch the sunset.
36. Shop for hidden artsy treasure at a local Arts Festival. and/or
37. Taste some new brew at the Summer Brewfest
38. Enjoy the entertainment and crafts at the West Seattle Junction Festival
39. Watch the crowing of the "Seed Spitting" King & Queen along with food, rides and fireworks on the Fjord in Poulsbo on the 3rd of July.
40. Enjoy the Family 4th at Lake Union Fireworks on my balcony following a barbeque with friends and family.
41. Enjoy some of the events for Seafair.
42. Instead of running though a sprinkler in the backyard, run through the fountain at Seattle Center on a REALLY hot summer day!
43. Pretend to pirate a tall ship at the Tacoma Tall Ship Festival.
44. Enjoy a potluck barbeque in the park with friends and family.
45. Enjoy a summer evening laughing and drinking beer on the patio at Hale’s Ale’s in Ballard.
46. Dance to fun music, eat great food and people watch at the Folklife Festival.
47. Perfect my plank grilled salmon recipe!
48. Paddle around Green Lake in one of their rental paddle boats.
49. Practice my home improvement skills by donating a day of my time to Barb’s house.
50. Grow herbs and flowers on my patio!

From my list of 50, 5 were completed in previous weeks! (33, 44, 45, 46, 47)! Woo hoo! This weekend saw the completion of a few more (28, 36, 37 and 50). Friday night I swung by Home Depot on my way home from work and picked up some flower and herb to plant on my patio. I planted sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil in a galvanized tub which will be completely growing out of control before too long. I also planted geraniums and daisies. The deck feels very summery now.

Saturday I attended the NW Source Summer Brewfest with some friends, which was great fun! I also accomplished #28 by sampling a little Bullfrog Ale and the festival. I still may make it out to the Rogue's Issaquah Brew house to have another this summer, but just in case I am counting it here. Then on Sunday I shopped for hidden artsy treasure at the Edmonds Art Festival in Edmonds, Washington with friends. It was a GREAT arts festival with wonderful and unique treasures. The weather this weekend was phenomenal and today I am showing off my sun-kissed face, shoulders and arms.

Hope the sun is shining on you wherever you are!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Weekly Update - The big joke at the local Squirrel hangouts....

Hello all!

It hasn't felt very summery here this past week. It's been cool during the day and really cool at night. However, today the sun is shining bright and I can't wait to get out in the sun and play!

I have gotten off my normal "weekly update" schedule of Mondays and for the past few weeks it has been creeping around to Wednesday when I realize that I have not sent it yet and I PANIC when I start getting messages about it. I apologize to those of you who count on it being delivered to your mailboxes every week like clockwork and I will make a more concerted effort to send it on Mondays from now on.

It's been a busy week complete with the following....

I had Thai food on Friday and it didn't make me sick! I avoided the entrees with coconut milk and it made ALL the difference. My fortune from my fortune cookie.... "Among the lucky, you are the chosen one." I don't know what that means but it's sitting here on my desk so I thought I would share.

The squirrels continue to visit my balcony and they are not at all scared of me anymore! When I walk out on the balcony instead of running away like they used to, now they freeze and stare at me. They know that I am more scared of them then they are of me so they just stand there..... I know that they are laughing hysterically at me on the inside and in the local squirrel hangouts in the neighborhood. Can't you just picture it, a couple of squirrels sitting around comparing their favorite local haunts over a pitcher of beer, all the while joking about how I am scared of them. I just know it is happening! :) All the locals continue to assure me that if I plant patio tomatoes and herbs that they won't bother them, we will see I am planning on doing some planting this weekend. I continue to really enjoy the birds and they continue to visit in abundance and they are beautiful. I am adding a hummingbird feeder to the mix soon, which should be interesting.

I was able to be with my little brother Dave as he celebrated his last 20-something birthday on Saturday. We figured out that we have not been together for his birthday since his graduation from Oregon State 5 years ago. Dave and Kristen's hosted a BBQ at Magnuson Park in Seattle on the banks of Lake Washington to celebrate their birthdays. It was a truly Seattle BBQ, complete with pouring down rain, but it didn't damper our spirits, we still had a great time!

Other weekend highlights included attending a concert in Tacoma on Saturday night. We saw the band Shimmer, one of our favorites! And spending several hours at Green Lake on Sunday.
It remains one of my favorite places, especially as it gets warmer outside.

This weeks celebration of one of my friends is all about my friend Karri Buresh! I met Karri in several different avenues including church and PEO in the fall of 2003 and we were instant friends or family depending on whom you ask. Early in our friendship people often asked if we were cousins. When continued to happen over and over again, we decided to embrace it rather than be annoyed by it, so we call each other "Cuz" now. Karri and her boyfriend Dale came to visit me in Seattle for Memorial Day weekend and we had a fabulous time! She always makes me laugh and holds a special place in my heart because I am able to be the wacky, funny, purse-carrying, creative and loud woman that I am with her!

Anyway.... Karri was featured on a story on Salt Lake City's Channel 5 promoting eye exams for infants. I have not seen the story but a link to the on line story is attached. From all the reports I have heard she was a bright and shining star, and I don't doubt it for a minute! Congrats Cuz!

Hope you are all well and I will catch up with you next week!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Weekly Update - Seizing the Summer and my new PEO Chapter!

Hello all!

I apologize for being a bit delayed in sending my weekly update this week, I have been working on in for a few days, but just haven't be able to get it finished. Every time I have sat down to work on it, I end up getting distracted. So better late than never, here it is.

It's hard to believe that less than 2 weeks ago it was extremely warm outside and I was ready to seize the summer. I was ready to trade in my sweaters for flip-flops, but no such luck. It's been a cool week here, which makes for great sleeping weather, but I am ready for sandals and Capri's and eating lunch outside! Maybe next week.

Speaking of seizing the summer, I picked up a copy of Seattle magazine a few weeks ago and it's their official summer issue which includes 161 Ways to Seize the Summer. After reading the article I made a decision, I am going to do all 161 Things! When sharing this hair-brained idea with the locals, many thought me completely nuts, oh well. As I have been transferring the list to my palm pilot it has become very clear that I cannot complete all 161 things because many are happening simultaneously and there are a few on the list which I have absolutely no interest in. In addition there are a few things that I think that should be on the list that are not..... So I decided to make my own list with many of the items from Seattle magazine and a few of my own. It's currently a work in progress, but I will share it with all of you once I complete it.

Work has been really busy! I wrote a record number of quotes last week (7), which was aided greatly by our recent appearance at the trade show in Cleveland. We finally worked out the travel schedule for the remainder of the trade shows this year and I am attending all of them, which should be a lot of fun!

I have visited a total of five PEO chapters for various activities and meetings since I arrived here in Seattle. I had decided that I really wanted to take my time and find a chapter that was the perfect fit for me. In the past I know I shared my experience visiting the "Anne" chapter which met in Queen Anne and everyone seemed to have Anne in their name somehow and no one had noticed it! After visiting the first three chapters I was sure that I would never find a good fit. I began to think that my chapter in Utah was even more exceptional that I previously thought because none of the chapters I was visiting even came close! But then I visited Chapter ID and after that first evening I knew that it was different than the rest and that feeling was just reconfirmed on every visit since. I really wanted to hold off making a decision until the fall, but when it's right, it's right. I received a call from the chapter president right before the Memorial Day holiday asking for my address and a few days later my invitation to dimit arrived. And although no chapter will take the place of AE in my heart, I am really excited to create some new friendships in Chapter ID. On Sunday morning I sat down and wrote letters to my chapter in Utah and the 4 other chapters I had visited in Seattle to let them know that I was accepting Chapter ID's invitation. It feels really good to have found a PEO home here in Seattle and if there were a doubt in my mind about this chapter it was eliminated last night. We prepared and served a meal to 40 PEO's including the State Officers and the State Convention Planning committee and we had a blast. We worked hard and pulled off a beautiful evening, all the while laughed, joking, talking and sharing some wine! Here is a excerpt from the "thank you" email from the chapter President today.....

"And our new member REALLY rallied - As whip cream flew and hands puckered in the dishwater, I knew Julie Anne was a great fit! Thank you for jumping in with both feet!

On Thursday night I was smacked in the face with one of those experiences when you realize that you are getting OLDER. My friend Barb wanted to see Marc Brossard at the Showbox in Seattle and I agree to go with her. I had burned a copy of the CD from Barb a few months ago and liked his Louisiana Pop style and thought it would be a fun evening. We ended up meeting some friends who weren't attending the concert for dinner before hand at the Alibi Room. The doors to the Showbox were supposed to open at 8 pm, but 30 minutes later we were still out on the sidewalk outside the building. When the doors finally opened and we got it, I realized that there were 2, not 1, but 2 opening acts prior to Marc Brossard. It was a "school-night" and I am a grown-up and he wasn't even going to be on stage until 11pm. Urgh! I decided to chalk it up to a great experience and have fun with it. Marc was great, although he looks like he is about 12 (he's actually 22!) and we met some fun people!

I have been on a bad picking streak as far as movies go lately. Everything I have rented has been "only okay" or "downright awful." So when I picked decided on Bend It Like Beckham on Friday evening I was really nervous, but it turned out great! Then when I talked to Jimmy over the weekend, he told me that he met David Beckham in NYC last week. He promised to send a picture that I could include in this update, but he is traveling and I am sure it slipped his mind, but it was a odd bit of coincidence.

I hope you all have a great week (what's left of it anyway)!