Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Dyson

You know you're old when ....

You get excited about getting this for your birthday: 

 I have been DYING for a Dyson vacuum but just couldn't bring myself to spend the money, even though I have two dogs and a house full of dog hair.  But money is not exactly growing around trees around here and these vacuums aren't exactly reasonably priced. 

But, I have to say, it was worth every single penny.  I got the cheapest model (and at Costco!) and it's amazingggg.  It vacuums hardwood floors (no more sweeping!), my rugs, my small area rugs and everything else you can think of.  It came with attachments that are easy to use on the stairs (finally!) and I even was able to vacuum out my car with it.  I know it's a big purchase, but it's definitely one that I highly recommend.  Especially if you have pets! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Mother Visits the Pacific Northwest 2011 - Visiting Victoria, Part II

So remember that one time that I went to Victoria?  

I guess it's about time that I finish blogging about it.  Especially since I have about one million other things to tell you about that have happened since then and we don't want to go out of order now, do we?  

So, in case you don't remember ... you can read about our first day in Victoria here

We started our second day in Victoria bright and early ... we had a lot to accomplish before catching the evening ferry out of Sidney, B.C.

We wandered a few blocks away to Chef Suzi in the Square for breakfast.  It was the cutest little cafe and nice on our pocketbook after our slightly expensive first day in Victoria.  

Photo from Chez Suzi website

After breakfast, we wandered around the square - there was some kind of Sunday market going on with lots of cute little jewelry vendors.  Then we headed back to the Fairmont and got the car so we could head out on our adventures for the day. 

First up on our list was Mile 0 ... I've been to Mile 0 in Key West and now Mile 0 in Victoria.  Probably couldn't get any more far apart huh?

Mile 0 - US 1 
Key West, FL

Mile 0 - Trans-Canada Highway (or Highway 1)
Victoria, B.C.

Coincidentally, they are both popular tourist photo ops :) 

Mile 0 is also conveniently located next to Beacon Hill Park which had great views of the Olympics across the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  At Beacon Hill, we were directly north of Port Angeles, WA on the Olympic Peninsula.

View from Beacon Hill Park:

We hopped back into the car and headed towards Mount Tolmie, which had great views of the city and also Mount Baker. 

Loved the compass pointing you in the right direction:

Can you see Mount Baker in the pictures below?

And then we headed out of Victoria, towards Buchart Gardens which were conveniently located between Victoria and Sidney (where we needed to catch the ferry!)

Butchart Gardens were amazing.  I didn't think it would be THAT cool, because how cool can a garden really be?  But they were amazing.  So amazing that I took a billion pictures and my camera battery died.  And then I seriously considered running out to the car to re-charge it so I could finish taking pictures.  Seriously.  CRAZY.  They were also so amazing that I'd like to go back because the gardens are different each season.  

Double headed Begonias.  Love.

The Sunken Garden


Ross Fountain

Take 2

Totem Poles

Dahlias.  I LOVE DAHLIAS.  Love them.

Dahlia Row.  LOVE.

Cherry Parfait Rose

More roses

Sturgeon Fountain

Japanese Lantern
Pacific Northwest Style = covered in moss.

Butchart Cove
Because no estate is complete without a cove, right?

AJ in the Japanese Garden

A little stone bridge

Lily pad!

Me in the Japanese Garden
Let's pretend that stripes don't make one wider :)

Italian Garden 

.... and then my camera died :( 

Map of the Gardens. 

After Butchart, we headed to Sidney.  We walked around the shops a bit and had an adult beverage and snack at Beacon's Landing Bar & Grill.  They had amazing bruschetta and fun cocktails.  Perfect for an afternoon pick me up :)

And then we hopped on the ferry (and I charged my camera battery so I could take MORE pictures). 

Mt. Baker

Good-bye Sidney!

Mt. Baker

The sun setting on Mount Baker ... love the colors in this one!

And that was our trip to Victoria ...

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Lucy had to have a minor procedure done yesterday and she is rocking her best sad face for us:

Watching her wear the cone around is absolutely hilarious.  She runs into everything and cries a lot while she is wearing it.  She is actually much better than Addy and doesn't bother her incisions much so I don't make her wear it too often :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Missoni for Target

Unless you're living under a rock, you probably know that the Missoni for Target collection hit stores today.  I browsed the collection online a few weeks ago and didn't see anything that I HAD to have so did not plan on hitting the Tar-jay today.  But, after I dropped Lucy off at the vet this morning, I decided to make good use of my morning and run a bunch of errands.  And one of them just happened to be a return at Target so I decided do a little browsing (since I was there and all).  

Now I know that Burlington, Washington probably did not get a huge shipment of Missoni items to begin with, but I was at Target at 9:45 (1 hour and 45 minutes after it opened) in Burlington (i.e. FARM COUNTRY) and the collection was almost completely sold out.  Well the clothes at least, I didn't spend too much time looking at the house wares.  

This sweater caught my eye: 

And I am happy to say it came home with me!  I think it will be great this fall with boots and leggings.  And it seems really well made.  I am pretty pleased with my purchase. 

But also still confused about how the collection was practically sold out at 9:45 a.m. in Burlington.  BURLINGTON.  If I had gone to Seattle I could understand.  

Ten on Tuesday #25 - Would You Rather?

Happy Tuesday Friends.  I'm writing this instead of tackling the next project on my massive to-do list which is to clean the entire house.  I know it won't actually take that long once I get started but I just cannot start.  I'm too tired.  Running this household by myself is a lot of work and today has just been one of THOSE DAYS.  I don't know how people with kids or full-time jobs do it.  Major props to them. 

Anyways, if you want to play along this week, head over to Roots and Rings to get the questions and link-up!  This week's questions are lots of fun!  

Would You Rather?

1.  Eat chocolate covered grasshoppers or this freaky squid thing?
Ummm neither!  But I would rather eat chocolate covered grasshoppers than a moving squid.  I don't think I could eat something that was moving.  GROSS.

2.  Never see another movie or never watch TV again?
Hmm, probably never see another movie.  Giving up TV would be REALLY hard.

3.  Be a superhero with a lame power or a supervillian with an awesome power?
Probably a superhero with a lame power, because if I was a supervillian with an awesome power I would probably be using it for evil and that's not good!

4.  Eat only salty snacks for the rest of your life or only sweet snacks?
This is easy ... SWEET SNACKS.  I could never give up my sweets :)

5.  Never read another book or never hear another song?
This is hard ... I love both.  But probably never read another book.  I could always listen to books on tape :)

6.  Be a whale carcass remover or a sewer inspector?
Ew.  Neither.  I can't imagine what would smell worse - a whale carcass or a sewer?  Whichever smelled better of the two is what I would rather do!

7.  Have no electricity or no running water?
No running water.  I don't think I could live with internet.

8.  Be a dog or a cat?
DOG!  I'm allergic to cats.  That would be awkward to be allergic to myself.

9.  Always be hot or always be cold?
Always be hot I think. I hate being cold.  Although when you are cold you can always add more layers.

10.  Be forced to watch all 3 High School Musicals on an endless loop or the Twilight movies?
Twilight movies!  I love Twilight :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday #24 - Back on the Bandwagon!

Happy "Monday" Friends!  

I have had quite the start to my week ... I had breakfast with a new friend, found out another friend will be joining us in Japan, tackled my massive to-do list and finally (for the first time since J. left) feel like I am on top of things.  It has been really hard to manage everything since J. left  - I guess you don't realize how much they actually do until they are gone?  There is ALWAYS something to do around here and I am not used to doing 100%, 100% of the time.  

There's the house which is always full of dog hair, the house projects that need to be completed, the yard (which is a HUGE project), the dogs, my work, working out, the blog, emails, the bills, etc. etc. etc.  Today, almost four weeks after J. left, I finally feel like I have it all under control.  

Of course, there are still things that need to be done ... the yard, my laundry, my car needs to be cleaned out desperately, there are still house projects to do and let's not even talk about the last time I worked out, but I finally quit over committing myself (go me!) and I think I'll be able to tackle all these things in the next  few days!  It's such a great feeling!  

I have a hard time saying no to people, so usually I end up committing to everything that I am asked to do and finally today, I said no.  And it felt good.  So, friends, even if your significant other is not on deployment and you don't have to manage everything by yourself right now, it's okay to still say no and give yourself a breather from time to time.  You'll be surprised by how much you can accomplish!

Anyways, enough rambling, I am jumping back on the Ten on Tuesday bandwagon.  If you want to play along this week, head over to Roots and Rings to get the questions and link up!

1.  What temperature do you keep your thermostat on during the day?
Well, I live in the PacNW and we don't have air conditioning, so my thermostat has been off since May? I am not sure.  I keep the windows open all the time and the temperature definitely varies but it stays fairly tolerable.

2.  What temperature do you keep your thermostat on at night? 
See the above.  I hope I won't have to turn my heat on anytime soon!

3.  In a canister of mixed nuts, do you pick out certain varieties and leave the others?
Not really ... I like most nuts!

4.  What is your favorite kind of M&M?
Well I really like them all.  Because I love chocolate.  And M&M's especially.  But peanut butter are delicious, peanut are good and dark chocolate peanut ... o.m.g.  Delicious.

5.  How do you buy books? 
I use Amazon for my Kindle and I LOVE Half Price Books, the used bookstore!  The closest one to me is about 40 miles away so I don't go too often anymore.

6.  How do you like your eggs cooked?
I like omelets and fried eggs, but only if the yolk is hard.  No runny yolks for me!

7.  Can you whistle? 
Not really.  I think I need to practice.

8.  What common word do you always misspell?
Well according to spell check, I just misspelled omelettes.  Apparently it is omelette if it is singular and omelets if it is plural.  Isn't that kind of strange?

9.  Are you afraid of flying? 
No, I fly a lot and I generally like it.  Although I have to say that I do hate flying home because it takes so darn long and Sea-Tac (the airport) has given my airport anxiety.  I feel like I need to be there a day early because security is always so darn long.

10.  How often do you go shopping? 
Well if you count grocery shopping and errands, then almost everyday!  But I go "fun" shopping once a week or once every two weeks.  Right now I feel like I am shopping a lot for J.'s care packages, but how can you feel bad about that?

I will hopefully be posting about the rest of my mom's visit, my new vacuum and our camping trip to Shi Shi Beach later this week! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Mother Visits the Pacific Northwest 2011 - Visiting Victoria, Part I

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and headed back to Anacortes to catch the ferry to Sidney, B.C.  It was a pretty long ride and then we had to drive south to Victoria, but once again, the views were gorgeous and we weren't disappointed with our room when we arrived.  We decided to splurge and stay at the Fairmont Empress, but we ended up getting a pretty good deal.  We got the tea and garden package, so for just a little bit more than we would have paid to stay at any of the other hotels in the area, we stayed at the Empress, went to tea in The Empress Room and got tickets to see Butchart Gardens.  I definitely recommend looking into this package if you are heading to Victoria! 

Our room:

After checking in, we had about 45 minutes before we had to be at tea.  We walked down along the Inner Harbour and out to Laurel Point Park.  

The Fairmont Empress from Laurel Point Park:

The seaplane airport:


After walking out to Laurel Point and back, we headed over to the Empress Tea Room for afternoon tea.  According to the Fairmont's website, they have served afternoon tea to famed royalty, celebrities and royal dignitaries since 1908.  The most recent royalty to attend were the Emperor and Empress of Japan.  It is also, apparently, Victoria's most beloved ritual.  Who could miss it?

The mother and I at afternoon tea:

Our tea tray - they served the famous Empress scones, tea sandwiches and mini desserts along with your choice of eight different teas.  We chose the signature Empress blend (duh).

The mother's favorite part of tea was the signature scone.  I enjoyed the the egg salad tea sandwich on a mini croissant.  The croissant was to die for ... I could have eaten 10!

After tea, we went on a little walking tour of Victoria.  

We came across this lovely mural:

and this gorgeous church, St. Andrew's:

The Dutch Bakery (which was on our "must-see" list):

Our goodies:

We also ventured over to Antique Row on Fort Street, which was not quite the bustling street of shops that I imagined.  And I didn't take any pictures, whoops!  After our little walk, we sat on the patio at Lido's on the Inner Harbour, had a drink and watched seaplanes take off and land:

Can you see all three planes?

As wewalked back towards the Fairmont along the Inner Harbour, they were having a little market:

Parliament Building from the pier:

After all that walking around, we decided we needed a little rest before dinner so we headed up to our room.  We were pretty tired from all of the week's adventures, so we decided to have dinner on the Fairmont's front veranda and then call it a night.  

Parliament Building at night:

The Empress all lit up:

We had dinner just to the left of the steps, in that big open window:

Come back tomorrow to read about our adventure to Butchart Gardens!