Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm a Winner!

I am now officially an award winning blogger, thanks to my good friend Sarah over at Life as Always who has nominated me for the Liebster Award!

Okay, I confess. Sarah actually nominated me for this prestigious award way back in June! I am so embarrassed to admit that it has taken me five months, five freaking months, to get my sh*t together and get this posted. It has been sitting in my drafts folder, haunting and jeering at me. But not anymore, this I'm posting this baby.

But seriously, a great big Thank You to Sarah for this nomination! I already get to spend at least forty hours a week with this wonderful lady. Yes, that is right, we are co-workers. Jealous much? 'cause you should be! I have really enjoyed getting to know her more through her blog. So be sure to check it out, you will be missing out if you don't!

The Ground Rules:

•Acknowledge the blog that nominated you in a post.
•Share 11 facts about yourself.
•Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger created.
•Nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you believe deserve some recognition.
•Post 11 questions for them to answer.
•Notify all the bloggers selected that they have been nominated.
•And finally, you can't nominate the blog who nominated you.

Me and my Mr. Wonderful Hubby, Joel

11 Facts About Me:

1. My hair changes color. In the summer time, it gets blonder the more time I spend in the sun. In the winter, it gets darker from the lack of sunshine. It has always done this.

2. I have one birth mark on the tip of my right ring finger that always gave me away when I put my hand in front of the camera to block photos my mom was trying to take. I couldn't deny it was me that was up to no good, when there is my birth mark, blocking her photos of my sisters.

3.  I have an older half sister, but she has decided she doesn't want to know her birth mom or her birth family. It hurts, but really, it is her loss. We are super cool. Her family did change her name from Carrie (my mom's name for her) to Jennifer, which fits with all the J names in my family (Janice, Jaisha, Jessica, Jacqueline, and Julie). Weird.

4. When I don't like something, when I don't agree with something, or when I just want to show my disgust, I grunt. It is a nice little grunt, like a hum or something, not anything cave-man like. I have been told this grunt sounds just like Marge Simpson when I do it. I swear I picked this habit up from Joel, since he does it all the freaking time, but I am the only one who gets called out on it. (insert Marge grunt here.)

5. I can't help it but I love to tickle Joel. When you tickle him really good, he laughs a special laugh that I just love to hear. Poor Joel gets tickled a lot. He hates it. I on the other hand, can turn off the ticklish feeling you get, so he can't tickle me back.

6. I have a lot of nicknames: Jess, Jessie, Bessie, Jessie-Bessie, Bessie-kins, Messie-Jessie, Jess-o Extrem-o, Odellson, Jodell, Amazon, Green Giant, Hot Pickle, etc. I like nicknames and plan to name my children names that have easy nicknames.

7. I am a major Baltimore Orioles fan (see picture above). They haven't won much since winning the World Series in 1983, but they are my number one favorite baseball team. Also, I genuinely enjoy baseball. Also the Seattle Mariners are my number two favorite baseball team.

8. I am a terrible speller. I rely way too much on spellcheck. My dad is the same way, so he says I come by it honestly. Once I misspelled my own last name on a high school final exam. Maybe it was nerves. Maybe I'm just that bad at spelling.

9. I usually fall asleep within ten minutes of getting into bed and I stay asleep the entire night. It drives Joel crazy, because it takes him a long time to fall asleep. And there I am, sleeping away the night like a real jerk. Poor Joel.

10. People always mistake me for my sister Julie and Julie gets mistaken for me. When they see us together, people assume we are twins. We are not twins; in fact we are three years apart. It is especially confusing to neighbors because Julie lived with Joel and I for nearly three years, so they always thought it is me they are talking to. Drives Julie crazy. Which makes me laugh.

11. I once had webbed fingers. I had burned my hand really badly when I was about ten years old. The nurse wrapped fingers together incorrectly and skin started to grow back between my fingers, so the doctor had to cut me fingers again.

I was a pretty awesome kid.

11 Questions for Me:

•If you were a super hero what powers would you have?  If I could have any super power, I would have the ability to fly, the power to stop people from talking (so when I was tired of listening, I could just silence them for a bit), and I would be able to eat anything I wanted, whenever I wanted and I would always have that superwoman-in-shape-rocking-it body! I think that would be really cool.

•If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create? I really couldn't decide what I would create, so I asked Joel what he thought I would mix and he said, "You'd probably mix a duck with a rabbit, because you go crazy when you see both those animals. So I guess you would make a dubbit or a bunck." Can you imagine, a rabbit that waddles - so cute!

•What historical figure would you love to see in 21st century life? I would love to see Susan B. Anthony in the 21st Century. She was a leader in women's rights and I am a strong believer in education for girls and women; empower women and you change the world.

•What phrase do you say the most?  Joel says that I say "okie dokie" and "no worries" at least five times a day.

•If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be? Is a trip-around-the-world a possible answer?

•What is your favorite thing about yourself (physical or otherwise?) I like my eyes. I receive a lot of compliments about my eyes and I like how they change color depending on what I'm wearing.

•If you could live anywhere, where would that be? It is not very creative, but right where I am. I love the Seattle area!

•If you were crowned ruler of the world, what's the first law you would make?  The first rule I would make would be no breaking the rules; I can't stand it when people don't follow the rules. That is why we have them, to create order and even the playing field.

•What's the most unusual conversation you've ever had?  Oh heavens, this one is just too hard to answer. I can have twenty strange questions pop into my head a day and if I am with Joel, I will bust it out and ask him. But oddly enough just the other day I was discussing how you can literally throw away a car in your regular trash can, as long as you cut it up into bits first. True story. Completely legal.

•What is the best present you've ever received?  Joel gave me an engagement ring on the day I graduated from college, that was a great graduation gift!

•Would you rather go back in time and meet your ancestors, or travel into the future and meet your great grandchildren?  Back in time! My middle name comes from my great-great Aunt Florence Sweetman who at the age of 13, sailed from Europe, around the bottom of South America, all the up to British Columbia to live with her dad, a British Navy solider who was stationed in BC for the British American Pig War. I would love hear her courageous story.

Drum Roll.... And the Nominations Are:

(in alphabetical particular order of course!)
10. Taylor @ The Daily Tay

(I know I broke the less than 200 followers rule, and you now know how much I need to follow rules, but hey, some of these blogs are so good, I had to break a rule or two to share them with you!)

11 Questions for You:

1. If you could chose your own name, which name would you pick?
2. If you had to live a day in another person's shoes, who's shoes would you pick?
3. Would you rather have more siblings or fewer siblings?
4. If you could be boss for a day at your current job, what would you do (guaranteed no consequences)?
5. What is a goal you have for the future (short term or long term future)?
6. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
7. What is a secret guilty pleasure of yours?
8. Which do you prefer - heels or flats?
9. Have you ever broken a bone?
10. What outdated fad do you wish would come back in style?
11. What is something you would love to be good at?

Well, now that you know way too much about me, be sure to visit the blogs of my nominations and check them out! Who knows, maybe you will make a new friend and as always, don't forget to share the bloggin-love!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday at the Ballet

Joel and I had to leave pretty early on Sunday after our weekend of bliss in the bavarian town of Leavenworth because I was attending the Pacific Northwest Ballet's premiers of the Forgotten Land and Emergence with Petite Mort, Sechs Tänze (Six Dances) that afternoon.


I have season tickets to the Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) with my sister Jackie, my mom and my aunt Karen. I had already missed the first show of the season due to schedule conflicts so I was trying really hard not to miss another show, even if it meant missing out on the Seahawks game against the Vikings.

I was able to keep up with the game using the ESPN app on my phone, even though Jackie was giving me hard time. You are a girl, at the ballet and you are checking on football scores? Are you kidding me! But I was only checking in on the game during intermissions and Aunt Karen was doing it too! Besides, I had to make sure the boys were doing okay while I wasn't watching!


Here is what the PNB website has to say about the performance I saw last night:

This month PNB cranks up the heat with red-hot premieres by Jiri Kylian and Crystal Pite. In Jiri Kylian’s haunting Forgotten Land, an eroding seascape evokes memories of things loved and lost. Sensational choreographer Crystal Pite marks her PNB debut with Emergence, a powerhouse ensemble piece kindled by provocative imagery. Sharing the program are Kylian’s Petite Mort, a sensual, gold-washed duel for six couples and six fencing foils, and Sechs Tänze (Six Dances), “an 18th-century court gone delightfully mad…a frothy joy that constantly charms” (Seattle Times). Featuring the PNB Orchestra.
I often struggle for the right words when I try to describe my reaction after seeing a show. Ballet is more of an all encompassing experience for me and sometimes that can be hard for me to express in words. I know that I enjoyed the show and was fascinated during the performance of Emergence (which includes the first picture in this post and the one above this paragraph). Here is a short clip featuring the end of Emergence.
I am really excited for the next performance, which will be Sleeping Beauty in February. Who knows, maybe I can talk Joel into going to see Nutcracker with me again. I love seeing the PNB perform the nutcracker - it just doesn't feel like Christmas without the story of the Nutcracker prince!
Oh - I almost forgot! After the show, as we walked over to Thai Heaven (where I Joel and I ate just a few weeks ago), I noticed these sweater wearing trees. I don't know why, but I like sweater wearing trees. I think they are kinda neat. So enjoy this little visual bit of fun and warmth.
I hope you all had wonderful weekends!

Bavarian Bliss

This weekend, Joel and I headed over the pass to Leavenworth to join up with friends for a weekend away. After my terrible week, I was really looking forward to a relaxing weekend of doing nothing but whatever I felt like doing with a really great group of friends.

We decided to start the night off right, with a few drinks down at the Tumwater Inn Restaurant & Lounge. We arrived about twenty minutes before last call and missed out on the live music, so we downed a beer or two before moving on to the Old Post Office Tavern. The night included darts, drinks, and impromptu karaoke singing. Who knew that Joel was a closet country music fan with a pair of pipes! That boy was belting out the tunes for us!

I tried to take a nice picture of the boys and this is what I get... nice boys!
I think they are enjoying themselves!

Amy, Andi and Me
Eventually even this bar closed down and we headed out into the night in search of food. This town is not where you want to find yourself at 2:00 in the morning feeling drunk and hungry. There is no place to get food of any kind. No grocery store, no fast food, no pizza joint, nothing. We decided to try our luck by walking down to the gas station.

Nope, not even the gas station is open. And they made it pretty clear that sneaking in and leaving cash in exchange for some munchies was not a good idea. Not that I have actually done this in the past, but I will admit to considering it that night. As we stood around in the parking lot, a couple of young guys who were at the gas station pumping gas, came over to try to get some smokes from us. Is it realty that hard to believe that we don't smoke? At some point Andi and I ended up trying to convince a third guy, who was trying to sleep in the back of the truck, not to get back together with his ex-girlfriend who I remember had a really dorky name. I did consider stealing their bag of Doritos, but decided I better not. Joel might get mad. I am pretty sure we are way too old to be doing stuff like this! Why do these things always happen when I hang with this group!

Eventually, we decided to head back to our hotel and raid the snack machine in the hotel lobby. I have no idea how much money we spent but it must have been a small fortune. I also remember sending Joel back down to the machine to replenish our supply of food in the room, several times. We drank too much, we stayed up too late, but it was a wonderfully good time.

I thought I was taking a picture of the boys, but really I took a selfie. Nice finger, Jess...
Then the boys took my phone and had some fun of their own.
It was an epic story I am sure!

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful, sunny day. Most of us were able to get up in time for the continental breakfast provided by the hotel. But one of us was seriously down for the count. Poor Mark Bailey was feeling so poorly that he actually stayed in bed for most of the day. We were able to get him to eat some food that morning, but eventually we left him to sleep it off.
Andi, Amy, Joel, Thayer and I walked into town to get some much needed coffee and to browse the shops. We visited the must-see shops like the Hat Shop and the Cheesemongers Shop, as well as just about every other shop on the main street. After about eight shops, Thayer and Joel said they were going to head back to the hotel to check on Bailey. It wasn't long before we discovered all three boys were napping. That's right, the girls were out having fun and enjoying the day while the old men slept off their night of fun.
After we tired of browsing store after store and buying coordinating ear warmers, we headed over to South for some food and, of course, more drinks!

They have a salsa bar! Knowing how much Joel loves salsa, I immediately texted him to let him know what he was missing out on.
You know it is something serious when not even a salsa bar can get Joel out of bed. Oh well, it just meant that Amy, Andi and I could hang out and get caught up. We shared appetizers, drinks, and lots of laughs. These two ladies are amazing and I so glad to call them my friends. The time passes way too quickly whenever we hang out and I am always left wishing we were able to hang out more!

Two of the boys eventually were able to get up and meet up with us for some food at South, but Bailey was still in bed trying to recover from the night before. As you can see, Joel and Mark were still feeling a bit green. These are the thrilled faces of two old men, who after a night of parting too hard spent an afternoon listening to their drunk significant others shop. Poor boys. Must have been a living hell.
Leavenworth was all decorated for the holiday season and it was getting me in the Christmas mood! I am typically a strict December 1 to December 31 holiday celebrator, but this year I might just break my own rules. I just feel like Thanksgiving gets cut short when Christmas starts too early. But after spending a weekend walking around a winter wonderland, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!
After another nap for the boys and some down time for the girls, we meet up again for dinner at Visconti's. We all love this place and were excited for a big feast. We started out with a few bottles of the Jones of Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is made over in Quincy, where Thayer is from. He even knows of the guy who owns the winery. We figured why not give it a try. I thought it was delicious and loved the cork so much I took it home. I suggest giving it a try when you have a chance.

Look at that cork - I loved it!
Joel with Mark and Amy Thayer

Andi, Mark Bailey and Me

We ordered so much food. I am pretty sure I am still full from this dinner! These were just the appetizers that we ordered. We shared orders of brushetta, wood-fire grilled mushrooms, calamari in pesto with bread and dipping oil. We were stuffed before the main course arrived.

I was feeling like Joel and I could use some vegetables, so in addition to our main courses, I ordered us a side of brussels sprouts with pancetta and homemade gnocchi with sage butter. I highly recommend the Visconti's Cannelloni and Joel said his Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine was very good. We ate until we couldn't eat another bite and then we ate some more.
When I am on vacation, I love to eat. It is a total experience for me. I love to sit around a table, sharing drinks and stories with friends as we all enjoy a delicious dinner. I love it. I really do. I had a great night and wish these nights happened more often. My waistline doesn't appreciate these nights, though.
After dinner, with boxed desserts to go, we headed back to our hotel for a quiet night in. And what better way to end a wonderful trip then Sharknado. Yes, we connected the surface to the TV in Mark and Andi's room, ate our desserts, drank some more and enjoyed a thrilling moving. Oh my goodness. Sharknado lived up to every terrible moment I had heard of. Seriously, it was a terrible movie. But it was so bad it was good.
This was probably the first time I have visited Leavenworth and did not go wine tasting. We didn't visit a single winery! Can you believe it?! I can't. It just never happened. I have to admit, I am a bit sad about this fact because Kristine over at Living Barefoot and Crazy gave me the insider scoop on all the best spots to check out. I was really excited to check these places out and get back to Kristine with my thoughts. Oh well, now I have a reason to go back sometime very soon!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Flag Football Playoffs

Last night, Joel and I dashed up to Glacier Peak High School after work (near Snohomish) to watch our nephew play in his flag football playoff game.

Oh my goodness, it was the most adorable thing I have seen in a long, long time. Those tiny little guys in their football jerseys, running around, making plays. I was totally into it! So much so, that Julia had to remind me there is no tackling in flag football.

They played their little hearts out. Making passes and rushing for yards, all while keeping an eye on their flags. I was really surprised at how good they all were. I will admit, I was kinda expecting a mess; kids running in all directions, not really understanding the strategy of the game.

Boy, was I wrong. I am not even sure I could throw the ball that far and I have like twenty years on these kids. Even though they didn't win the game and their season is now over, Connor's team played really well against a tough opponent. Some of those kids on the other team were so fast!

I think Joel and I need to make a bigger effort to see more of Mackenzie and Connor's games because shortly after we arrived, Connor's coach pulled him from the game and put another kid in for the next play. Connor was so upset and I figured it was because he benched for a bit. Nope, when his mom asked him what was wrong, he said, "Well, it isn't fair. They finally came and coach isn't playing me! Uncle Joel can't see me play!" Overhearing Connor's comments made us feel feel pretty special, knowing our nephew was so thrilled to have us there.

When we parted ways in the parking lot, Mackenzie reminded us that volleyball and basketball were starting up soon. I told her to send me her schedule. So you can expect to lots more posts about my adorable niece and nephew and their sporting events. So grateful to have such wonderful kids in my life.

I mean come on, look at these two kids - so cute right!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Week I'd Rather Just Forget...

So this last week... or two... have been terrible. Let me break it down for you. Reasons why I would rather forget the last two weeks:

I was sick for five days. I stayed home from work and felt terrible.

Joel was also home sick (and is actually still fighting it off). Since Joel doesn't have paid sick time, it meant he was working. Which equals no TV for me (too distracting he says). Unless I wanted to watch in our bedroom, but I tend to get restless and like to switch from couch to bed, couch to bed, back and forth, back and forth. I was really a bit disappointed to miss out on terrible daytime TV.

Has anyone else noticed that TLC (the freaking learning channel) has all the trashy TV?My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Extreme Cheapskates
Toddlers and Tiaras
I confess - I love them all!
Went back to work for two days, but never really felt right. Working while not feeling well always blows.

I ended up in the ER on Friday night/Saturday morning with a scratched cornea. Let me tell you, it was out of my mind painful.
This photo was taken at 3:03am. Also I'm not sure if I had received the magical eye numbing drops yet.
As a result of the scratched cornea, I watched the Husky football game with one eye closed and one eye open, looking like a hot mess.
I can't believe I am posting this picture online - I look ridiculous.
But seriously, my eye was killing me and the vicodin wasn't helping much.
As a result of the scratched cornea, I have been wearing my glasses all week. Hate wearing my glasses.
Here is the best, recent picture I could find of me and my glasses. Joel thinks they are cute, but I think they are obnoxious.
It was been a crazy busy week at work. Two major events and lots of prep work.

But it isn't all doom and gloom, because this weekend we are headed up to Leavenworth with friends. It is going to be a wonderful break from the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week I've been having.

So now you all know where I have been, since obviously I haven't been here. But it is hard blog when you are pouting over missing out on trash TV or when you can't see with both eyes. Hopefully everyone else has been having a much better week than me!

*Bonus points for anyone who caught my childhood, favorite story reference.