Friday, September 26, 2008

Working Vacation

We like to joke that when Brent goes somewhere for work, it is a working vacation - he works and I vacation. It looks like this one will live up to that title.

So, as I said, I can't be this close to a world class zoo without getting a zoo pass. I love animals and I love to see ones that I have never seen before. I know this story may be kind of embarrassing for me, but oh well. When I was little, I didn't pretend to be a teacher or a astronaut. I pretended to be a scientist like Diane Fosse. I would climb a tree and watch our horses for hours and hours, making note of when they took a drink or what they were doing.
It was fun for me. So, now as an adult, I still love to just watch whatever animals I can and see what they do. Because of a childhood spent watching A LOT of Nature on PBS - accompanied by my mom saying, "Do they have to show them eating the babies?" - I know a lot about animals. Anyway, before I embarrass myself more, I think I'm going to be spending a lot of time at the zoo this trip.
This is an okapi. They are a relative of the giraffe and one of the coolest animals! They weren't discovered until around 1956. Before that scientists had said that there weren't any more big mammals left to find. Guess they were wrong.

One of the main attractions at the zoo is the pandas. I read in one of my books that the zoo has to pay $1 million a year to China for the pandas. Wowie!

That just does not look comfy!

Anteaters. When I was at camp, the girls tried to teach me this game called Zoo. You sit in a circle and everyone makes up a sign to represent an animal. You do some clapping and have to do your sign then someone else's sign. Then that person does their sign and someone else's sign, etc etc. My animal was an anteater, but I could never figure out how to get my arms to do what they were suppose to do. I'm kind of coordinated-challenged. So, I get home and am telling Brent about this stupid game that I couldn't do and he says, "Oh, that's Moose Moose, we would play it all the time on my mission." Man, even he can do it!

The camel on the left found a stick and was playing with it, so the two on the right came flying over to try to play with the stick too. It reminded me of a kids. The two wanted the other one to share and he just WOULDN'T!

This baby giraffe was born about a month ago. So cute! She was over six feet tall when she was born. Wowie!
This bear reminded me of how I felt. "Man, it's hot!"

There was this really nice guy from England who was just amazed by this meerkat laying on it's back. He was so friendly and funny. I am amazed how many people from other countries there are at the zoo.

Ok, I'm going to try to not constantly post stuff from the zoo. Only REALLY cool pictures? Have a good day!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We're Here!

I can hardly believe it. We're finally here in sunny San Diego! This last month has just been packed with packing and getting stuff ready to come down here. I will admit, it was really hard to leave my house and plants - I am the Plant Lady after all - but I got over that and am now totally immersed in our fun adventure!

We drove for 18 hours to get here. I really wanted to have a car this time, but there were a few times in the middle of the Californian desert when I thought I was being stupid and we just should have flown! But we're here now and I'm glad to have my little car.

First of all - thank you so much to Roy and Angel and their cute kids for putting up with us for a night. We weren't going to bother them for a place to stay, but they talked us into it - mostly because I just did NOT want to get back into the car. Thank you guys! It was so much fun!

Now we're here in our little apartment remembering that there are people who actually smoke in their apartments. I got a nice Glade plug in so now our place smells more like apples and cinnamon than cigarettes. Woho!

We've been getting situated for the past couple of days. And I was reading that stupid Breaking Dawn book. I say stupid because I get so involved in these darn books that all I do is read. I was at least sitting by the pool yesterday while doing nothing but reading. (I have the sun burn stripe on my leg to prove it. I was under the pergola - is that how you spell it? - and I thought I was covered enough, but my knee tells you differently.)

We live in a great part of Mission Valley. We're right in the middle of a lot of shopping and close to freeways to get every where else. It's pretty cool. I'm thinking about going to the zoo tomorrow to get a season pass. I can't be this close to one of the world's premier zoos and not go a couple of hundred times.

Last night we decided that we needed to get out of the we-drove-18-hours-and-I'm-still-not-over-it stupor and find the beach. It was cloudy and the water was cold, so it felt like home. :)

I'm sure we'll have a couple more excuses to get this way again.

Tonight - REI. I mean, could we possibly be anywhere and not go to the REI?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

On August 29th we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe it. That sounds like a long time! A little while back while I was getting my hair done, she was chatting with me and asked how long I had been married. When I told her it would be 11 years in August, she stopped, turned me around and said, "Wait, how old are you?" I hope she meant that I don't look like I could be married that long, but I'm pretty sure she meant that I was WAY too young when I got married. Whatever.

Anyway, with our anniversary on a Friday, Brent suggested that we spend the day together on Saturday. I asked him, "Are you planning Saturday?" To which he replied, "Is that a thinly veiled suggestion that I plan Saturday?" Of course it is! Duh!

So, we got up and headed to the ferry. I love riding ferries. It's such a northwesterny thing to do. It's fun! We drove up to Seattle where Brent parked in a pay parking lot. Please, get up off the floor and keep reading.

For those of you who are questioning what I'm talking about, let me tell you. Brent inherited MANY MANY MANY wonderful things from his dad! MANY! But, a couple of things he inherited are not quite as wonderful. The first thing is that he can NEVER figure out how long any sort of construction project is going to take. If he says it will take an hour, I know it will be at least 2 hours and that's if nothing goes wrong. This used to bother me, but I've gotten used to it and now I just smile when he says how long he'll be. The other thing he inherited from his father is a HATRED of paying for parking. Brent will park 8 miles from some place so he doesn't have to pay for parking. It can get tiring. The conversation will usually go like this:

Ash: Could you park a little farther away next time, I can't quite see where we're going.

Brent: Have you met my father - I don't pay for parking!

I have inherited many weird things from my family so I can't bother him too much, but back to my story.

I like to think of the paying for parking as part of my anniversary gift. So we go to the Seattle Aquarium. I love aquariums, zoos, basically anything with animals, so this was a great idea! They recently remodeled the aquarium and we hadn't been there since that so a lot of it was new to us.

Our two favorite parts of the aquarium were: the giant octopus was moving around. Normally it just says that there is an octopus in the tank and you can see an arm or something, but today it was moving around quite a bit! We found out why it is called a giant octopus! It was huge! Octopi are the coolest animals! In another aquarium they were even killing sharks that were in the tank with them. Go octopi! (I have an unhealthy fear of sharks.)

Our other favorite part were the river otters. One of them was sleeping and the other came bounding over and woke it up. After they played for a minute the waker curled up in a ball and fell asleep leaving the wakee to look at him and say, "Seriously?" I love animals.

Then off to Pike Place Market. I love the market, but I forgot how much I don't really like it on Saturdays. It is SOOO CROWDED! And I'm so short that all I see are people's chests. Not very fun! We did get some gorgeous dahlias though! Thanks Love for carting them all over Seattle again even though you swore you never would! He must really love me! :)

Notice that we are wearing jackets. It's a beautiful sunny Seattle day, but it was cold even for me. At this time it was probably only about 60 degrees. I love the Northwest!

After Pike Market, we went over to Bellevue Square. It's a HUGE shopping area that has a lot of stores our little town doesn't have. I have found my new favorite store. It's called The Container Store. Have you been in one of these? They are amazing! You can find organizing stuff for every room in your house. I have a lot of plans with the container store.

Dinner was at The Melting Pot. The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant. You have a four course meal that consists of a melted cheese choice, salad, a main dish choice and a choice of chocolate concoctions that you can dip things in. I loved the cheese fondue and the chocolate fondue, but the main dish....well....this place is really quite expensive. Not someplace you want to go every day, and you have to cook your own food. They have little stove tops on each table and they put a pot of - in our case - vegetable bouillon on it. It starts to boil and they bring out a plate of raw food, like shrimp, lobster, pork, chicken, filet milon, whatever, and tell you how long to leave it in the boiling bouillon to cook it. Hmm... I think I would go there again, but I have a few suggestions:

1) Pay CLOSE attention to what the things are cooked in. Alcohol is EVERYWHERE. You'd be reading along and it would say things like: cheddar cheese with blah and blah and blah cooked in logger. If you didn't know what logger was, you might think that sounded good. Logger is beer. They do have non-alcoholic choices and I'm sure if you said something they could help you out, but be prepared.

2) Be sure to bring something that you can use to time your meat cooking. I will admit - I'm afraid of food poisoning. I already have enough problems with my tummy, I don't need to add more. So the thought of eating under cooked chicken gives me the willies. I added about a minute to the time they told us for cooking and that made me happy.

3) Leave room for dessert. The chocolate fondue is GLORIOUS and well worth the wait. They have everything to dip into it too, including cheese cake (which was kind of weird), rice krispy treats (which was awesome!) and fruit. Definitely a must!

What a fun Anniversary Day we had. The rest of our Labor Day weekend was pretty low key. We did meet Ryan, Marcela, Reyes and Luz at the Blackberry Festival in Bremerton. It wasn't as good as it has been in the past, but still fun to walk around a festival. There are candied apples to DIE FOR THERE!

Have a great day!