Midweek Tidbits

Almost April already? It'll be Christmas before we know it!
  • I've never seen HBO's "The Wire", but I've heard great things. The show is now spawning college courses.
  • I've been reading a travel blog called Gadling where I learned about Kevin Shannon, a guy who has taken it upon himself to circumnavigate the globe via bicycle. He just began his journey a few days ago and you can read about it on his blog and follow him on Twitter.
  • QFC makes a Korean kalbi marinade that I salivate for but I don't know how authentic it is. Enter this recipe on Savory Sweet Life, whose author lives in Seattle. Now where can I find Korean short ribs?
  • Who's the gamer in your life? Is this your reaction? Best line from the article, and I speak completely from experience: "The hardest part of a new Call of Duty for a non-gamer is 'whoa! Why am I spinning around? How do I stop looking straight up? Square button? They're all round!'"
  • I'm making this curry dish tonight - update to follow!
I hope spring has sprung wherever you are!

Hey Internet

So... Mark and I finally got our own Internet at home. No more thieving from our neighbors! (Linksys - you were oh so generous when we could get your signal... too bad you had to get all finicky and non-committal with us.)

Now I can finally check our bank account and everything else financial from home instead of waiting to do it at work - I can check our balance during weekends! The luxury!

All the set-up stuff (Internet from a box!) was delivered on Friday and since I was actually off work due to Mark's sister's wedding that evening, I signed for it and saved it from the you-weren't-here-to-sign-for-this-so-you-must-visit-these-locations-during-ludicrous-business-hours-or-else-you'll-never-see-it-again bowels of FedEx or UPS or whoever actually made the delivery.

Now we're addicted - we can actually stream Netflix and Hulu again and watch as many movie trailers as we want. See what you've done, Comcast... the monsters have been reborn.

Go Team Havens!

Aren't weddings just so fun? Mark's sister's wedding was on Friday and getting the Seymour family together is always such a kick. The wedding was at the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville, WA, an adorable brick venue perfect for nuptials. I didn't get too many pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face and dancing (really) but I picked out a couple to post. The rest can be found here.

We found this carousel horse upstairs while we were waiting to make our grand entrance. It made for a great photo-op. :)

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Havens! Of course, the DJ had to play "Jesse's Girl" (Rick Springfield... still going strong). I love Jesse's Converse shoes and Kelly's hot pink flip-flops. You guys threw a great party!

Proof of God's love

It's one thing to know in your head that God loves you, but something quite different to feel that love. Today my mom called and told me that she was headed to the hospital with my aunt, whose blood pressure had spiked dramatically. My aunt is a quadriplegic and has been in a wheelchair for about 35 years, and is quite the inspiration to us all. Nevertheless, any health issue is cause for concern and my mom's call left me reflective of the time we've spent with my aunt but uncertain of the future. These times of uncertainty tend to leave me spiritually vulnerable and I immediately felt under attack by the evil in this world, telling me that I might never see my beloved aunt again and trying to overwhelm me with fear. I left work praying for my aunt's health and that God would see us through this. In the span of about 10 minutes, I felt like I received multiple "signs" from God that everything was going to be OK and to just trust Him.
  • I rarely listen to the Christian radio station anymore but I switched it on in the car and the first song I heard was "Blessed Be Your Name" by Tree63. The song was an instant reminder that we are to praise God in every situation, good or bad.
  • I saw a spare tire cover on the back of an SUV that said "Don't worry, be happy!" I couldn't help but smile and think that I couldn't argue with that simple directive.
  • The afternoon was absolutely gorgeous (70-degree weather) and a driver near me had his sunroof open and his hand out of the sunroof, coasting through the air. I know it sounds odd, but I felt like God was telling me that even though there were situations outside my control, God was holding me steady and taking me in a certain direction - like the driver was holding his hand against the flow of the wind.
  • As if "Blessed Be Your Name" wasn't enough, I switched the radio station again and heard the familiar lyrics of an old Jimmy Eat World song: It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride, everything (everything) will be all right, everything (everything) will be all right (all right!)
I was encouraged by these little incidents and even more heartened by the news that the doctors stabilized my aunt and she is home now. Hopefully they'll get to the bottom of why her blood pressure was so high, but for now we are just grateful that she is OK and with family.

Midweek Tidbits

Welcome to Wednesday - I am particularly excited because I am already halfway through my week as I have Friday off for Mark's sister's wedding! I'm all about four-day work weeks - I could totally work four 10-hour shifts if it produced a three-day weekend.

  • What's not to love about "Mad Men" lead Don Draper? Here's why you should be watching "Mad Men", which is one of the many shows that I would probably watch if we had cable. Meaning it's probably a great thing we don't have cable.
  • Speaking as someone who has lost a hard drive and all its contents, I completely agree with these five stages of data loss grief. When the Apple employee told me there was no way to recover the contents from my six-month-old dead Mac, I got in my car, laid my head on my steering wheel and cried. I really felt like someone close to me had died. Luckily for me, I had kept my old computer so I only lost any new data gained over the previous six months - I was able to get everything else back from my old one. Lesson learned: back up your files!
  • I hadn't heard about the Cheesecake Factory's new happy hour but it definitely sounds worth your money!
  • Food stamps are in. Oh actually, they are now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards.
  • Want to learn Na'vi like the rest of these Avatar fans? It's possible!

White House Black Market: A love story

When my sister-in-law told her bridesmaids back in December that we could pick any black dress as our bridesmaid dresses, I knew exactly where I would go. I’ve loved the store White House Black Market since I caught a glimpse of it in a mall years ago. Every piece is classy and simple, and is usually some combination of black and white (hence the name, although sometimes they will accent with pink or red). I have their Web site bookmarked so I can get my luxury fashion fix. Sometimes I’ll sit at my computer and start sighing – Mark will ask me what’s wrong and I start mumbling something about all the pretty clothes (cue the eye rolling).

Some samples:


So I’ve been haunting White House Black Market for the past three months. This was my plan: I’d get a feel for my size by trying on WHBM dresses in-store, then search eBay for a similar, or same if I was lucky, WHBM piece. In early February, my grand plan came to fruition. I found the perfect dress on eBay, brand new and with tags (and $100 less than the store price). I paid online and eagerly awaited my purchase, celebrating my cleverness – I beat the system! The dress arrived a few days later and I made a startling discovery – despite my careful sizing expeditions, the dress was too small for me! Outrage.

I returned to WHBM in February to find that all the black dresses that had previously been available were now gone – a casualty of post-Christmas sales. [In fairness though, I had been warned. My December/January trips had resulted in the same sales chorus: “You better buy now because these dresses go fast!” I just chalked it up to sales rhetoric.]

“When is the wedding?” asked the saleswoman.

“Oh it isn’t until the end of March,” I replied. “I still have plenty of time.”

“Oh good! You’d be surprised how many people frantically come in here a week or two before the wedding,” she said.

“No way! I could never wait that long,” I said.

Turns out I was wrong, I could wait that long – I just bought my dress at WHBM two days ago. When is the wedding? A week from today. But the point is that I’m now prepared and don’t have a black dress sitting in the back of my mind whispering, “Buy me… you really need to get that done!”

Midweek Tidbits

Welcome to Wednesday - the Interweb is active this week. Oh and happy St. Patrick's Day!
  • If you've seen the Oscar-winning movie "The Hurt Locker", you've probably wondered how any type of suit the military could engineer can save you from an exploding bomb. This article explains how these suits actually work.
  • Blue C Sushi is calling all sushi lovers to its sushi eating contest! This is your chance to prove just how many sushi rolls you can put down.
  • Let's all be inspired by this penguin that has embraced his individuality!
  • My friend Sara shared this video that pokes fun at the various ways soccer players (seem to) fake injuries and obtain penalty kicks.
  • I usually don't pay attention to cable news simply because we don't have cable, but the recent comments by Glenn Beck regarding social justice and the church have reached my ears via the Burnside Writers Collective, which I frequent. Social justice can never be separated from the gospel of Jesus. 
  • Those who follow Major League Soccer know there could be a possibility of a strike in the coming weeks. This interview with Seattle's own Kasey Keller helps explain the players' side and the issues that are at stake. Keller: "This is not the NFL, this is not the NBA, this isn't a case of every team full of multimillionaires trying to be a little bit bigger of a millionaire. This is truly some guys trying to get things done the right way." Conversely, Sounders FC co-owner shares his thoughts on a potential strike, calling it "destructive and misguided". Here's hoping for successful mediation and that the season really does start March 25.
  • And finally, I was sad to hear that actor Peter Graves passed away on Sunday. I grew up watching the original "Mission: Impossible" with my uncle, and Mr. Phelps was my favorite character. Goodbye Peter!

March Madness

I have said many times that nothing could drag me into March Madness because I could care less about college basketball. Honestly, I have cared more that leprechauns could very well exist than I have ever cared about the annual NCAA tournament. Today, that all changed.

My company announced their first annual bracket competition today and I must say that I was less than thrilled. Then I was informed of the prize: $300 to the winner! OK so I dropped $10 to enter the contest, but come on! $300! This must be how gamblers get their start. It's only the penny slots. Anywho. I was given a blank bracket and was told that guessing never hurt anybody, and that you didn't have to do any research if you didn't want to. It was simple, really: you make your predictions and if you predict correctly, you get points. I settled for a couple of upsets (nothing too major) but otherwise played it safe: most of the top seeds got top priority. I made a copy of my completed bracket, e-mailed it to myself, and then turned it into my boss.

But throughout the day, I couldn't stop thinking about my bracket choices. I started second-guessing and wondering if I should have done more research. After all, $300 was at stake here. I kept my bracket within viewing distance so I could start memorizing my picks. What have I turned into? The tournament hasn't even started! Most of my friends know that I'm a competitive person - I think my co-workers might regret discovering this side of me.

Time will tell if I'll actually watch one of the games, but I'll sure be haunting the sports scores until this thing is over.


Some thoughts from the weekend.

1. Mark and Melanie and I went to our friend’s rugby game this weekend. Everything I’ve learned about rugby has been gleaned from the movie “Invictus”, which means I had next to no clue what was going on during the game. I told my friend Maile that her new goal is to teach me about rugby! (She played in college).

2. I tend to be a solitary creature. I like to do things by myself and figure things out on my own. I normally include running in my “alone” time (I think I’ve only run twice with a partner) but took a chance and invited a friend to run with me this weekend. Turns out I really enjoyed it! I didn’t have to listen to my “Running” playlist of the same 26 songs and keep myself occupied because Claire did that for me. Plus it was a gorgeous day and it’s always better to share gorgeous days with others, right? Now if I can only get Mark to like running…

3. We watched “The Amazing Race” last night and I decided that my brother and I might have a decent shot at getting on the show. They like sibling teams, and the twin factor is appealing. Could I actually do the challenges? That’s a different story.

4. Speaking of TV, our guilty pleasure started a new season last night: "The Celebrity Apprentice". There’s just something about watching B-list celebrities running around and trying to complete business challenges that is very appealing to us. Sharon Osbourne is on this season and did not disappoint – very funny and extremely irreverent. Plus, Bret Michaels was surprisingly lucid. I guess I thought he’d be stoned the whole time.

Midweek Tidbits

Wednesday has arrived! Can you believe that it's already March? Time to start thinking about strappy sandals and summer skirts!
  • I want to try this recipe: shrimp pasta with herb cream sauce. Neither Mark and I are big fans of shrimp so I might swap them out with strips of grilled chicken, but I like the healthy tip the author gave on getting a creamy consistency with your sauce.
  • I didn't get to watch the Oscars this year but this article gave me the lowdown on all the pretty (and not-so-pretty) dresses! Plus it's organized by color like a crayon box... how great is that? But now I'm remembering that crayon boxes are organized more by families than by colors... right? I remember dumping out my 96-count box of crayons and organizing it completely by color. I was one of those children.
  • I would be remiss if I didn't share the Sounders FC blog I follow every day (the feed delivers directly to my work inbox). Seattle Times reporter Joshua Mayers gives us the scoop.
  • Scammers always leave clues, usually in the form of grammatical mistakes (although honestly, whoever led the team on this scam deserves some credit for effort). Copy edit the next scam e-mail you get from the prince of Sierra Leone or wherever who wants to send you all his father's money and see if I'm right.

Ramping up for the second season

Mark's favorite time of year is almost here! The Seattle Sounders FC will kick off their second season at the end of the month against the Philadelphia Union, the league's newest expansion team.

I'm ready for Thursday's pre-season game against the Portland Timbers - we just picked up my Sounders jersey on Saturday. I'm excited to have a "uniform" to wear to every game this year.

Do you like my newest dye job? :) Just kidding.

A very urban birthday

Friday was a day filled with birthday wishes and one very unfortunate surprise - our car was broken into during the previous night and the thieves stole Mark's work laptop and our iPod Touch, leaving behind a mess of broken glass. Mark parked in our house's garage behind the house, which he rarely does, which must have seemed more inviting to the car-prowling sort. Though we very much miss our iPod Touch, we're grateful it was only the car and not the apartment. The window has since been fixed but the invasion of privacy will take a little longer to get over.

Our car, sitting innocuously in the carport/garage behind our house.

They smashed in the passenger window.

So much glass!

The silver lining - Mark's jacket was in the back seat but they didn't take it, which means they didn't take our tickets to the 8 p.m. showing of "Chicago" at the Paramount. The show was absolutely incredible - of all the shows I've seen in Seattle, "Chicago" tops them in terms of talent. Every cast member was an outstanding dancer and the show was highly entertaining. It was a fun way to celebrate the day and take our minds off the car. Thanks Mark!

Happy birthday Richard! 25!

I have the most incredible twin brother ever! I am so blessed by his friendship - he's a great guy!

Richard and me at Pike Place Market

Us in Toronto at a Mariners/Blue Jays game

Christmastime in Greeley circa 2006

Half-marathon in Seattle last summer

Midweek Tidbits

Happy Wednesday everyone!
  • The 2010 Weblog Awards have been announced. I'm sure you all need more time-wasters so check out this year's winners. The Pioneer Woman, which I linked to a few weeks ago on Midweek Tidbits, won the top award!
  • I found a book called "F U, Penguin" at Barnes and Noble the other day and couldn't stop laughing. The book is based off a blog in which the author posts cute pictures of animals and pairs it with hilarious commentary that tries to convince readers that we shouldn't be so obsessed with cute kittens and adorable penguins. The blog can be found here and is pretty funny if you can get past all the profanity.
  • A few of my friends have taken the plunge into parenthood and are expecting their first children. It seems like everywhere I go, I hear about babies! Being the Internet junkie that I am, I found this popular baby blog. There's just something about following someone else's experience and comparing it to your friend's.
Speaking of the Internet, our home connection has disappeared so I haven't had the chance to explore online as much as usual. Sorry guys! This will have to tide you over until next week. Over and out.

Title: F U Penguin: Telling Cute Animals What's What

We've got mail?

The post office announced that they will continue efforts to drop Saturday delivery of mail. Is it sad that the first thing that came to mind was how this might affect our Netflix viewing habits? If the USPS discontinues Saturday delivery, I'll have to return Netflix DVDs by Wednesday in order to get new ones for the weekend. So much pressure! We do need to get better at watching our DVDs though - our Netflix record has been abysmal lately. I blame the Olympics.