# Monday, 09 June 2008

When in Rome (well, Seattle)...

The past week and a half have been pretty rainy, so I have not been talking walks like I normally like to do. Living in Colorado and California spoiled me for have uninterrupted sunny spells, such that the few times it rains, you just don't do outdoor activities.  Today, however, I decided after a couple breaks in the rain, that I would just go out and embrace the weather. It was overcast, but not raining when I left the house, but by the time I was to the end of the court it was lightly misting.  By the time I was far enough away to not turn around, it was frankly pouring, so I just decided that when in Rome....and it was a beautiful walk!  I felt as if I was in a tropical rain forest with the birds singing and all the lush gorgeous greenery and it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon, even if I had to wring out my socks, ponytail and pants when I got home!

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# Monday, 02 June 2008

It just keeps getting better and better...

After now being in our house 3 months, we can't be more thrilled with where we are and our wonderful new house.  I know I have been gushing about it frequently, I am sorry to bore you even more, but I know I liked the house when we moved in, but I have to say I love the house now.  Our beautiful yard has blossomed with many a spring flower and the trees are full and lush.  We are also so happy with all the wonderful wildlife which continues to surprise us - just in the past few weeks we have a frequent visitor of the cutest little bunny and even a quail to our front and backyard!

  Some spring flower in the backyard

The Flowering Dogwood tree and our Hummingbird feeder

Our bird feeder & looking out from our top deck - it is even more filled out at this point

Another great thing about our house is our proximity to the Kesley Creek Park - at the end of our court, just a few houses down, is the trail head for several trails which wind through the park and make you feel like you are in a tropical rain forest with all the exotic sounding bird calls and dense vegetation. What an added bonus to where we decided to make home.

  View of downtown Seattle from our bedroom window - zoomed in that is..... 

Now that we are back in the states we are also having some friends visit us - just in the past couple weeks we have been able to spend time with Dick & Trina, Mike & Bunny, Kathy, Omar, as well as having our friends from Colorado, Tom & Danielle, come and stay with us.  We really missed all our friends and it is so great to be able to catch up.

As for the rest of life, Reeves has been working hard at becoming a new part of the SharePoint team at MS and I have been unpacking, organizing, starting some projects and looking for a job.  It may take a little while for me to find something as the Pacific Northwest is not exactly rife with archival positions, but I am always hopeful.  :)

We do, however, have a busy summer planned with more friends coming to stay, a trip to Ohio for Reeves's 20th High School reunion, a Little family reunion in California and a long over due trip to Colorado in September. 

Once again, so much fun stuff, so little time!

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# Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Over the past few years, I personally have become more and more conscious of how much waste we produce.  Over the years we have tried to do our fair share in recycling all glass, plastic, paper and aluminium, for over 10 years now (we rarely fill up our garbage wheely-bin but frequency fill up our recycle one) - this has been partly for economics, but I have really started to realize what impact each of us has on our environment.

Living in Ireland, however, really made me aware of how much waste is present in everyday life, beyond just what we can recycle.  A small fridge made me buy fresh, and only what we needed.  We really reduced the amount of things we used or threw away.   We also didn't have curb-side recycle, so we made the commitment to save all our recyclables and once a month take a half-day trip to the "bring center" - a small price to pay for being a consumer, in my opinion. 

Also, because no grocery store or DIY or many other stores provide bags in Ireland, I just got used to always having my reusable bags in the car as well as carrying at least one with me when I didn't take my car somewhere.  Now, it is just part of life.  I have to say I was really taken aback when a nice older gentleman stopped me in Safeway last week and thanked me for bringing my own bags!! 

I have also tried to keep using Ziploc bags to the bare minimum, use cloth napkins and use paper-towels rarely, and if I do, use the "half-sheets" they now have.  My groceries are also becoming more and more organic, which I have to say I really enjoyed going to the farmers markets on the weekends as they were so atmospheric, they were an "event". Whole Foods is very convenient, but not as much fun as a 250 year old square. :)   

Owning our own home again, I am becoming acutely aware of all the chemicals we use everyday.  While we have started using organic/biodegradable/environmentally friendly products, I have challenged us to try and reduce all chemicals to a very minimum.  It is not necessarily always easy, but is totally worth it I believe.

While the things we do may not be everything we can, we are trying to change our ways and do our part.

So, as the add campaign in Ireland says it is "the Power of One" .....so what are you doing to made a difference????

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# Friday, 18 April 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

Now that we have been in our new house about 6 weeks, we are finally getting to really enjoy some of the wonderful "luxuries" which, in many cases, we didn't remember we really missed or never had before to know what we were missing!!

Here is a quick list of a few of my favorite things about the house:

1) The kitchen!!!  I love it all...but I really missed a sink disposal, large sink, ice-maker and filtered water from the fridge. New things we are enjoying: the 6 burner gas cook top, the double drawer dishwasher, the open shelves - SO convenient I didn't realize how much I would like them, and the "instant-hot" water spigot - this is one of those things I didn't think I would use, but has really come in handy.

2) The backyard - it is so wonderful to look out and see all the beautiful plants and new flowers which keep popping up every day.  A couple weekends ago we bought a seed bird feeder and a hummingbird feeder and I have spent much time with the binoculars distinguishing all the birds which are new to me. It is also fun to watch the squirrels become so frustrated trying to figure out why, when they jump on the feeder they can't get the seed! (it is a special feeder which is pressure sensitive and closes off the seed holes when too much weight is placed on the perch ring - genius!)

3) Our bathroom, specifically the shower seat and drawers!! It has been a long time since I have had drawers in the bathroom - seems like a simple thing, but it is such a luxury!  Also, we have a seat in the shower!! I feel so decadent when I take a second to sit while luxuriating under TWO shower heads - pure heaven!!!  One smart thing, however, about the shower is you can control the water volume independent of temperature - great for saving water and not freezing while shaving your legs.

4) Room in our bedroom!! While we really enjoyed our precious little Dublin home, I do not miss shimmying by the side of the bed to get in - I had less than a foot between the wall and the bed, yikes! We now even have room for 2 sitting chairs and a dresser - what a treat!!

5) A Garage!!  After having only one car for 1 1/2 years and parking it outside, it is so wonderful to have two cars again and to be able to park them under-cover! Well, sort of, at least I have gotten to since we moved in - we have had two issues, one being too many empty boxes to fit in a second car and two, the second side of the garage doesn't have a garage door opener. This problem, however, will be remedied soon as we are having new garage doors (replacing the large, flat ones original to the 1976 home) and getting garage door openers for both. 

6) Not one, but two gas fireplaces!  I didn't know how much I would use these but they are wonderful.  We have had such crazy weather this spring - in fact, right now it is in the 30s and snow/hailing - basically, coming out of the sky are tiny little snowball-looking things!

Anyway, needless to say, we feel very fortunate to be here and looking forward to creating many happy memories in the years to come!

A few pictures from our move-in day...

  The moving van pulling up in front of our house

Reeves standing in our empty living room (well, with the new vacuum and the rug the other owners left for us at least)

A view of the dining/living room, back deck and hallway to the master bedroom from about where Reeves is standing in the above picture

Me in the kitchen after day one - the movers helped me unwrap all the kitchen stuff, now I just have to put it all away!!

   A frosty morning for moving in!! (our backyard)

Not a great pictures, but it is the view of downtown Seattle from our bedroom!

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# Saturday, 12 April 2008

In New York again

This trip, however, is not for a holiday, but a much more unfortunate occasion, the funeral of my friend Amy's Mother, Edith or "Dee Dee".  She had been battling breast cancer, and associated problems related to the disease, for the past several years, after being in remission for around 20 years previously.  On Tuesday, however, she passed away peacefully in her home with her husband and Amy by her side.

Yesterday we had the very beautiful funeral services and then a gathering at the Mendel's home in Great Neck, NY.  This is the home in which they have lived for the past 32 years and where Amy grew up.  Dee Dee was an artist and her work is such a beautiful addition to the home's warm and cozy charm.  We were there into the evening hours sharing stories and memories.  While it was a sad event which brought us all together, Amy's extended network of friends and family were so happy to finally meet each other and put the faces with the names we have all heard so much about.

Amy is an only child like myself and I know how important my friends are to me, so I am really glad there was such a nice gathering of her friends for support and encouragement. 

Today we will gather again at their house to visit and allow more people who were unable to attend yesterday's services to stop by and say hello. 

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# Monday, 07 April 2008

Avoiding

I have to say that I have been avoiding all things digital for the past few weeks as they represent a whole set of "to dos" that I just haven't had the energy to accomplish.  As much as I have wanted to return e-mails, post blogs, etc. it has just been that straw that would break this camels back.  Since I am now able to see my desk above the piles of stuff, I am trying to slowing return to the digital world.  So, please forgive me if I haven't been the best pen pal, I truly will return to the normally scheduled program very soon!

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# Monday, 31 March 2008

Crazy weather!!

It is about 6 pm and after a pretty lovely day of sunshine and 50-something temperatures, it started clouding over around 4pm and then started sprinkling just the littlest bit.  Well, the temperature has dropped and it is now snowing AND thundering outside - what a crazy mix, but I have to say I LOVE the thunder and am really excited about our new home's climate!

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# Friday, 21 March 2008

Vacation...and none too soon!

After moving into our house, spending many copious hours unpacking almost all our boxes, getting a sinus/lung infection and then a stomach bug on top of it all, we are finally in Mexico!  It is our annual Little family holiday and 14 of our clan are here at the El Cid resort, located just south of Cancun on the Riviera Maya.  This is the first time in 10 years we have stayed at a hotel vs. a private house and it has its up and downsides. 

We are on the "all-inclusive" plan so I am still getting used to the fact that every time a nice little wait-person comes by asking me for a drink, it is already paid for and I don't need to automatically say "no" to an overpriced cocktail. Also, there is a huge pool with a huge faux stone grotto that the kids love with a huge slide and 10 foot jumping pool.  There is more food than we can possibly eat at the various buffets and tonight we are having a sit-down dinner at one of the five restaurants. On the beach they have lovely palapas under which to lounge on the nice loungers and there are kayaks, boogie boards and paddle boats to use on the ocean.  All of these are lovely amenities.

On the other hand, there are lots of people here and although the hotel stipulates they don't take "spring breakers", there is still a bit of that mentality with the daily pool aerobics and various other activities all done to loud music.  Since none of us are into the group thing, and really like the privacy and intimacy of a private house, this atmosphere is a big change. 

However, it is really fun to catch up with the family in a warm and beautiful place and we are all having a wonerderful time in the sun, sand and surf!!

DSC_0529 DSC_0528 El Cid Resort - the view from our room

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