Saturday, December 31, 2011

Midway, Day 16

New Year's Eve. 2011 is about to be a thing of the past.  I think I need not reflect at this point.  Save that for another space.

Last night Dana and I had ourselves an Eve's Eve gathering over at the Fir.  Rick came by and gave us all the neighborhood gossip - who's opening what where and which landlords suck.  Gaia and I snuggled in Ballard - I think she's still in bed.  I just attempted a GF crepe order downstairs - I figured for all the internet mooching I'm doing, I could get a snack, even try to eat a real breakfast.  Nope, out of GF batter.  Which they didn't know until I went back down to pick it up.  Grrrr.

Tonight will probably be up in Skykomish with Sile.  Dana and I were kicking around ideas, and she's opting to stay in Seattle, and I haven't really decided yet.  I'm going to break down the shelves in the kitchen and try to get it all up to Sile's this afternoon.  Should be interesting with the dog in the car too.

Highlights from the last few days... Meat Sweats at the Brazilian steakhouse in Milwaukee.  Half a dozen dudes walking around with nine kinds of meat on sticks.  Andrew definitely won the Eat The Most Meat Contest, although Dad wasn't far behind....  Mostly just ran errands and cleaned up around the house the last few days.  Started Operation Kitchen Redeux, which is involving clearing out the afore mentioned Ikea shelves, and the table & chairs.  Then installing cabinets and shelves that DON'T block the baseboard heat.  Hoping Sile will take the current table and chairs too, but I just need to figure out how to get them to Sky...  Dinner with the Brown Turtles the other night, which is to say Sam & Silas started Bananagrams while Mary and I drank wine.  Scott retreated to the football game.  Mary and I drank more wine.  Sam & Silas ditched Bananagrams and Mary and I finished the game while we drank wine and had eggplant and almond enchiladas....

I met RMI Phil at the climbing gym last night.  The other day I watched the guys reset all the routes on the big overhang.  Now there are even a few that rookies like myself can do (or at least attempt).  I cranked out a V2 on my second try, with only a tiny bit of direction from Phil.  When I was about to throw in the my-forearms-are-toast towel, we went to try some "stemming" which I actually wasn't too bad at.  I had tried a few of those routes before but it hadn't clicked that I could push AND pull, which opened up a whole new world for me.  And my core is wonderfully sore today.

Time to pack up Gaia and relinquish my internet.  Otherwise I'll just sit here all day.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Midway, Day 11

Well here we are.  Survivors of Christmas Day.  And not as disastrous as I had anticipated.  Maybe we got all our irritations out Christmas Eve.  I felt like everyone was on edge - mostly driven by my Dad, I think.  Peg & Grandma stopped by on the Eve on their way to the hotel.  Didn't last long before Grandma had an asthma attack and needed bourbon.  Then she insisted on taking a small cup of it with her, and I swear she was just using this attack as an excuse to get some bourbon.  Between the time change and the already overload of sugar in my system, I had a helluva time falling asleep.  Luckily Adam called and entertained me for a while.  Apparently he got all certified to fall out of the kayak on Saturday.  Hopefully the sharks aren't waiting for him.

Christmas morning brought a much longer sleep in than it did 20 years ago.  After I had some coffee in hand, it was right to the lottery tickets, which are standard issue in our Ninja Turtle stockings.  In fact, as soon as I walked into the kitchen, Mom goes "rub my head."  So I did.  Then she said, "I won six dollars!"  Apparently the head-rub wasn't quite enough, because I only got a buck out of my strip of tickets.  Peg and Grandma came back around ten for breakfast casserole, cinnamon buns & fruit.  Then it was to the presents.  The living room felt much smaller with two more people, even without the dog.  The video camera was up and running, so that we can log one more tape in the Library of  Videos That No One Will Ever Watch.  Everyone made out pretty well, even if most clothing is way too big and will need to be exchanged.  And it all went quicker than anticipated.  Normally, this is where Drool Fest begins, where we all go our separate ways and read or watch TV or nap.  But Grandma wanted to play cards.  Peg indulged her, but the rest of us scattered.  I snuck a nap in.  Andrew started playing his new video game.  Dad retreated to the back of the house too.  By the time I was up, people were cooking again.  We had quite an unusual spread for these simple midwestern folk.  Andrew had a few things out on the grill, starting with some zucchini and moving on to bacon wrapped apricots with havarti & almonds.  According to Andrew, as soon as he put the bacon apricots on, flames shot up and charred the hell out of everything before he could a) turn the heat off and b) pull everything off.  So as tasty as they sounded (and as much work as Mom claimed they were), they were quite carcinogenic.  Bummer.  But the rest was delicious, including the blueberry martinis that all us girls got pretty buzzed from.

Everything wound down and I got to finish my book.  Packers chalked up another victory against the Bears, then it was bedtime for everyone - mostly due to the alcohol & sugar crash we were all suffering.

This morning Mom and I talked sewing and I snagged a few quilting kits.  Andrew cleaned the gutters, cuz he's a good kid.  Mom and I went up into town so I could try to get a new back for a pair of earrings I got in high school.  The girl at the diamond store gave me a hard time because I couldn't give her an account name that matched something in her computer.  I tried explaining that my high school boyfriend bought them through his uncle that worked in the store close to 15 years ago.  She also starting asking if I had someone else work on them, because they looked like they had been soldered and blah blah blah.  Eventually she gave me the back - and a lecture about how next time I needed the account name because she couldn't just go giving out 14k gold earring backs and someone else there would have asked more questions and I probably wouldn't have gotten what I wanted.  Well, shit, lady.  Quit sucking at PR and just tell me I have to pay for a set of earring backs.  Settle down.

Andrew and I went over to Adventure Rock, which is one of two climbing gyms in SE Wisconsin.  It was packed.  I didn't even bring my harness because I thought we'd have to go through the whole belay test, but they have these things they call "auto-belay" where you hook yourself onto a rope that tries to suck you up into the ceiling as you climb, and then lets you fall about 10 feet before catching you and semi-gently letting you down to the ground.  More nerve wracking than having me belay you (just ask Adam).  So we did some bouldering, then some auto-belaying, then some more bouldering.  I climbed until my forearms couldn't actually grip anything, then chilled for a bit, and actually did some decent bouldering.  I feel like the gym was really accessible to the masses, which is great for getting people out and moving, but not so great for those of us that don't like crowds.

Andrew has taken off to the Admirals game for the night, Dad is insisting I read some book about trending stocks & options in Excel and Mom is fully engrossed in Antiques Roadshow.  Standard evening here in the Potter household.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Midway, Day 9

Back in Menomonee Falls for a few days, and the annual Potter Family Christmas celebration.  The highlights will undoubtedly be Dad taking an hour to set up the vido camera tomorrow morning, and then the subsequent three hours it takes to open presents while we are video taped individually... the introduction of Aunt Peg and Grandma Wiese to what is normally a four human affair...  a liter of Jim Beam for Andrew and me... and of course, way too many cookies.

Chatted with Adam a bit last night, and held it together, even though I had a mild anxiety attack because... I-couldn't-get-a-hold-of-him-and-I-was-leaving-town-the-next-morning-and-didn't-we-agree-that-we-didn't-need-to-try-to-talk-while-I-was-at-home-and-was-he-trying-to-avoid-me-on-purpose-and-did-he-meet-the-woman-of-his-dreams-and-had-I-become-obsolete-and-what-if-Midway-had-been-consumed-by-a-tsunami-they-must-all-be-in-the-shelter-with-no-internet.  Anyway, all was fine on Midway and Adam was on his second night of filet mignon for dessert - although he assured me it wasn't the second night IN A ROW.

My phone alarm failed this morning, but thankfully I woke up five minutes after it was suppose to go off.  Richard brought me in to the airport, after we made a little side stop to feed Niki's cat, and then return to my place because I forgot my watch.  Uneventful flight, although the more I go out in public the more I'm convinced society as a whole is nuts.  I did get halfway through another Barry Eisler novel, which will likely not last until my plane ride home.  In fact, it might not last past this evening.  Dad & Andrew picked me up and brought me home to a Chuck-less house.  It certainly still feels empty without the big pooch running around.  I half expected a new puppy to be here, but I think my parents are quite ready for that yet.  Andrew and I made dinner - pork ribs & pears, mushrooms & spinach and roasted potato medley.  That's right, medley.

The dishes are already set out for breakfast tomorrow, even though none of us can even think about food again tonight.  I suspect Mom has something festering in the fridge that will turn into hot, steamy deliciousness come morning.  Now we just wait for Santa.  And hope there's some good coffee around this joint for the morning.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Midway, Day 8

Well.  Adam has a blog too now.  Looks like the next three months will be the battle of the blogs.  And dammit, he's an awfully good writer.  And he's got that whole "middle of nowhere" thing going for him.

Now I feel like there's nothing to report.  Nothing as exciting as being the medical support out on a former Navy base in the middle of the ocean anyway.  But, then again, that was kind of the point of this whole blog, wasn't it?  Yeah, that's right.  Here's to being mundane.

I furminated a cubic foot of hair out of Gaia this morning.  She's going to my boss's house for the next few days and best that all that hair doesn't end up on his carpet.  Somehow she's still shedding though.  Sorry, George.

PS, BTW:  If you're curious as to what I feel like I've learned in the last 365 days, go here.

Update!  I am officially spoiled. Jo sent over a box of Christmas goodies to Gaia and me, which just arrived. Gaia really hit the jackpot - treats, treats and more treats. (Bonus points for getting to bark at the mailman.) And GF pizza kits and GF brownies for humans! It's amazing. Thanks Jo, you're pretty much the best ever! (And hopefully ok with shameless semi-public announcements about it.)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Midway, Day 7

Begin Christmas vacation.  I've really been out of things to do all week, save the 20 hours in the TM room over the weekend.  Today, we took the boys out in public - first annual SDL end of year lunch.  Jason & Phil bailed, which probably un-sweetened the pot a bit, but the classic social inabilities were still there.  I had myself a GF beer and a salad; the boys all had pizza and real beer.  Hilarity ensued.  But I still haven't learned that drinking before the PM hours is a horrible idea and I'm toast for the rest of the day.  So I stuck around for another hour and came home for a snuggle nap with Gaia.  Eventually made it to the climbing gym, but I couldn't finish a damn route at all, so I quit and came home to a dinner of corn chips, guacamole and wine.  Awesome.

Last night was Snaknite.  I had to bake a cake for Curtis's birthday.  Niki had to make casserole for a party tonight.  I got a start on the cake - and when the recipe says "our Food Network chefs have been unable to confirm that this recipe is successful" you should probably heed that advice.  The batter was like chocolate mousse - I should have just put it in a bowl and taken it in like that.  In the oven for 30 min, and five minutes in it was bubbling over.  Twenty five minutes in, the blobs on the bottom of the oven were on fire.  Niki: "Um, I think there's a fire in your oven."  Well, shit.  We got that under control, but the cake was a disaster.  Niki put her casserole in to bake, which will probably taste a little smokey, and I started in on the frosting.  Apparently if you boil sugar and evaporated milk, you get frosting, give or take some coconut and pecans. It actually turned out, and covered up the disaster that was the cake.  Curtis loved it.  My baking reputation is in tact.

And for some reason I watched four episodes of Sex in the City tonight.  Not sure where that came from.  Adam has successfully connected his google phone, so I think that means we can text if he's on wi-fi.  I think.  I'm pretty sure he was just avoiding doing another inventory of his stash of body bags.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Midway, Day 5

Eventually I'll get a post of pictures that Adam has sent from Midway.  He's not earning any points right now.  Beach, sand, albatross, sun.  The exact opposite of Seattle, in fact.  I mailed his Christmas package out today - should arrive in time for the December 29th flight out of HNL.  So not quite a visit from Santa, but pretty close.  There is a gold mine of stuff in there, if I do say so myself.

Let's just hope he doesn't find this blog before December 29th.

I wrote cute little notes on each of the wrapped presents, like "XOXO, Gaia" and "I have a matching one.  We'll be so cute when you get back."  And then I had a total "Oh my god. I'm turning into my mother" moment.  So I texted my brother with that statement and he comes back with, "Did you get pregnant?"  WTF, Andrew.

The weekend was full of TM room duty.  I was still recovering from the gluentization Thursday evening and the champagne tasting Friday evening until at least Monday morning.  Even though I thought the plan was to detox while the boy was gone.  Maybe the habits aren't all his...

We chatted briefly last night, but the conversation started over a shitty skype connection.  There was a wicked delay and then random background noises that neither of us could make out.  So the conversation went a little like this:
Adam:  Would you stop talking, I'm trying to tell you something.
Jen:  Ok, ok.  I'm listening now.  Really.
Adam:  "...They found that simple exercises like the..."  STOP INTERRUPTING, I'M TRYING TO TALK.
And then repeat, give or take a few words.  Then I said I'd just call him at the clinic the next day so we could use a land line, and he said I could call the one in his room.  And I said, "YOU HAVE A LAND LINE IN YOUR ROOM?  THEN WHY THE HELL ARE WE ON SKYPE?"  He thought football season would be the end of us.  Nope.  It will be skype.

Ballard for the evening.  Figured I go to the gym, come to the Fir for some cider & internet, the see if I had a better cell signal in the apartment here, and then hit the gym again tomorrow before Snaknite.  I ran into Adam's climbing buddy Evan at the gym, and he's a Tuesday/Thursday kind of a guy, so I might hit the boathouse tomorrow instead.  I read some interesting articles about strength training for climbing (as recommended by Adam) today, and it looks like I'll probably be back with the Oly bar over the winter.  So I'm curious about what my base is on squats, dead lifts and bench press.  Tomorrow shall be a good day to find out.  Then I can go back to the gym Thursday and be all sorts of sore... wait a minute. 

Anyway, turns out Evan is an awesome teacher when it comes to climbing and I got through a lot of problems that I had been struggling with for the last week or so.  Really glad to have made that contact and will definitely be back for more.  I feel like that's what would have been missing in my gym experience.  With no guidance,  I likely would have hammered through the same V0, V1 and V2 routes all winter.  He was uber interested in how Adam and I met and how long we'd been dating, and whathaveyou.  Apparently Adam mentioned the DOG, but never mentioned that he had a GIRLFRIEND.  We then agreed that he was an ass.

Getting a little anxious about travel plans in the spring (already, yes - but not too anxious, as I do have a delicious cider at my side).  Tickets for Hawaii are at my price limit and tickets to France are creeping up.  I have a feeling Christmas or New Years will be the turning point and they'll really start climbing.  Hoping to get a commitment from Adam on France sometime soon, and hoping he'll ping RMI about when he'll know his exit flight from MDY.  Not holding my breath though.  Love the man, but he's got the planning capability of a squirrel.

And, I made Mom Potter's lasagna last night.  Delicious. I made a half size pan, but still used a full pound of mozzarella.  Guaranteed that my guts will hate me by the time I'm done with it.  But it reheats so well (and again - turning into my mother).

Bet they're not serving this on Midway Island.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Midway, Day 2

Well, Adam successfully made it to Midway Thursday night.  I got my "I have arrived" email about 2:30a Seattle time.  And then the next bit of communication I got was a stack of photos like this:

Are you shitting me?

Friday was mostly uneventful, aside from some solid funnies from the guys at the lab - even if none of them got my Tommy Boy reference.

Oh, and that maybe gluten free beer was not so much gluten free.  I woke up Friday morning with a bit of a stomach suck, which only got worse as the day went on.  By 3p, I was on my way home for a two hour snuggle with Danger Mutt.  I attempted to go to the gym, but as I ran from my parking spot to the door of Trader Joe's, I nearly passed out, so I went home for another nap.  Made it to Dana's for a blind champane (i.e. generic bubbles) tasting, which was wonderful, although I definitely stayed too late.  No surprise that I felt hungover all day today.

I talked to Adam for nearly an hour via Skype. Then we hung up until I could call at his land line in the clinic next week because the connection was getting spotty and we were repeating bad jokes that didn't need to be repeated.  So glad to talk to him - wish the video bit would have worked.

Now I'm trying to write this post, but Scrubs reruns are on and I keep getting distracted.  I need to be back to the TM room at 6:30a tomorrow, so I should just give up and go to bed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Midway, Day 0

Adam is en route to Midway.  We chatted last night before I went to bed, and then again this afternoon before he left the hotel (and couldn't find his sock!).  He got to the G2 that would take him to MDY around 4:30 local time and then my phone started going off.  First Adam texted a picture of the plane.  Then Jo forwarded the same picture.  Then the madness started.  For the next two hours my phone pinged with texts every few minutes.  And somehow I got in the middle of a conversation with Adam, Jo and Seth.  I was so confused.  But he went wheels up at 1743 HST and is on his way!  I did some sluething online and found the call sign of his airplane so Jo and I could track it (and I also just realized it was on of the pictures he sent - he's going to have to work harder to be anonymous).

Goodbye cell phone coverage.

Kevin brought over the potentially gluten free beer that we made last month and I sampled some (so far, so good), and made some dinner (as my phone continued to blow up).  Soon enough everything quieted down and I had my dinner - WITH BEER! - did some flight tracking and started cleaning up and making chocolate beet cake (and another mess). 

Food, beer, flight stalking.  Done.

Bed time soon.  I'd love to say only one more day this week, but I'm on the hook for TM duty Saturday & Sunday, so really I have 7 more days this week.  WTF.  Danger Mutt is still going to town on the moose antler.  She is so not allowed to bring that thing to bed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Honolulu Layover

This morning I put Adam on a plane to Midway.  Well, a plane to Honolulu where he'll spend more than a day, THEN fly to Midway.  The last few days have been a blur of packing and organizing and repacking and running errands and eating.  I think we hit all our favorite spots over the course of three days.  Saturday night was Adam's last shift at the hospital, and he had to come get me off the couch when he was done so Rhonda could buy him a drink down at King's.  We tried to play skeeball, but about halfway through our second quarter they shut us down and started kicking everyone out.  Sunday we met Kelly & John over at Oliver's Twist (one of the failed attempts to find food on our first date), then when we ran out of GF options we closed down Revel (a place we have been meaning to go), and that was also delicious.  Monday I snuck out of work a little early and we had a "snack" at Moshi before taking Gaia to acupunture.  Then we got the full tasting menu at Staple & Fancy, although I'm not sure how we made it through the whole thing.  Tuesday I took the day off, and hit the Walrus about the time they opened.  Jo wanted to buy us dinner there, so she called to let them know we were coming and they should charge her card.  How awesome is she?  Then I picked up thai from our new favorite place up the road to go with our midnight champagne - our New Year's celebration.  So I'm pretty sure I won't need to eat until Sunday.

Gaia was less than thrilled about acupuncture this time - I think Adam may have been giving off nervous energy.  But we stopped into the pet shop (are they still called that?) and she got a moose antler, which she literally didn't put down for 24 hours.  Took it to bed, whined when we took it away so she could pee and eat.  She's made some serious progress on it, glad we got the big one.  The miraculous part of this thing was that she loved it so much, she was actually QUIET IN THE CAR.  She'd look up every so often, but one of us would say, "Gaia!  Get your moose!" and she'd dive back down to the floor for it.  Super cute.

Anyway, after very little sleep, we loaded Adam's life for the next three months into the car and trekked to the airport.  Got there at 5:30 for a 6:40 flight.  His ticket was booked through American Airlines.  The first leg (SEA-SAC) was on Alaska.  The next leg (SAC-HNL) on Hawaiian.  Where do you check in?  We stood in the American line for 20 minutes only to be told we had to check in with Alaska.  So we ran the length of the terminal (of course) to the Alaska counters and tried for another 15 minutes to check in using the kiosk.  How many advanced degrees does it take to figure it out?  More than we have.  We eventually hit the jackpot, got boarding passes and went to check luggage.  The woman there informed us that since we only had 32 minutes until flight time, she couldn't check the bags, it was too late.  So off we went to the ticket agent, who ended up getting Adam on a direct flight from Seattle to Honolulu.  Not bad, although kind of stressful.  Defintely the most trouble I've ever had checking in at the airport.  But that also meant we had plenty of time to say goodbye.  Which meant I cried... a lot.  It's what I do.

And then I got a massive cup of coffee and went to work.  And then came back to Ballard and took a snuggle nap with Gaia.  Greenwood homeward bound now.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Countdown to Midway

T-Minus two days and 13 hours.  Adam's gear has exploded in the apartment.  Running errands and tying up Seattle loose ends for a while.  Gaia knows something up and isn't happy - although she is extra snuggly.  I did what any midwestern girl does under stress: bake.  Five dozen ginger molassess cookies were the result.  Productive and delicious!!

I don't know where all this stuff came from.

Friday, December 9, 2011

East Coast Tour

Finally, the much anticipated east coast tour trip report!

Let's rewind to the Friday before the east coast tour began.  Date night at The Triple Door.  Over the Rhine.  Amazing, per usual.  Karen told the story about the nursing home - the third time I've heard it - before doing Only God Can Save Us Now.  I still love it - both the story and the song.  Her voice is from the heavens.  I always go to the Triple Door with high expectations for the restaurant side, and I'm always disappointed.  The service is always unbelievably slow, and the food is average.  But it doesn't really matter when Karen & Linford are entertaining you.

Flew out Saturday morning to Boston.  Slept a good chunk of the way out there and got some good reading in too.  Peg picked me up at Logan and whisked me away to her church's murder mystery dinner & show.  The food was apparently the same catered stuff as every year - a five course spaghetti dinner.  The wine - Two Buck Chuck.  The show - totally hokey.  The highlight - when everyone had to guess who done it and I won.  What glorious prizes, you ask?  A book on Egypt, a travel guide to Rio and a kids' book entitled "The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid."  That's right.  Not even a bottle of that delicious wine.

I have determined that Adam is my olive-eating muse.

The rest of my Boston stay was a blur of shopping, baking, drinking and talking.  Lots of each.  I think Peg got me drunk every night I was there.  But she also let me sleep in, so it all worked out.  We went to dinner Monday night at the Colonial Inn in Concord.  The couple next to us was clearly on their first date - and probably were both in their late 60's.  She was a Valley Girl (like, really) and he wore white socks with his dark suit.  This sent Peg into her new mantra:  I'm never dating ever again.

Armed with a metric crap ton of toffee and a gluten free pumpkin roll, Peg and I made our way to Putnam, CT - the quiet corner of Connecticut.  Hugs and kisses and Peg drove back to Carlisle.  Jaami showed me all that Putnam's strip mall had to offer while we waited for Tony to be done with work.  Then a giant vat of carrot-squash soup, complete with leftover pizza for dipping.  Wednesday Jaami and I got in a workout - just in the living room while Ariaana napped, and all body weight.  So not quite like old times, but still pretty darn good.  Anytime your warmup includes 50 burpess, you're in for a doozey.  That's right, a doozey.  Then we ventured into the raging metropolis that is downtown Putnam - all three blocks of it - and I actually got a fair amount of Christmas shopping done.

Showing a little leg.

We also stopped at the local coffee shop and had oursevles some snacks and a diaper change.

Guess who had which one.

Tony joined us for Steak & MacGyver Night, although we ended up not having any MacGyver to watch, so we settled for the finale of Dancing with the Stars.  We did have steak though - delicious steak.  Suzanne came in from Vermont and told us all about her first date with "Poop Tooth."  I don't think it's going to work out.  Jaami and I made a batch of Maple Bourbon Bacon Cupcakes, and I think they might have all been eaten by the time we went to bed.

Best workout buddies ever.

At o'dark thirty on Thanksgiving morning Jaami and I drove to Hartford so I could hitch a train to New Haven.  Lots of tears as I boarded the train, from both of us.  Adam picked me up in New Haven and gave the full tour of Yale - that is, showed me the library, his old apartment, and the boathouse.  We took the very roundabout way to Fairfield, but we got there.  We walked in and Jo yells "Jeny Potter in the house!!"  Lots of hugs, then "Hooray! Mimosa time!"  Adam and I insisted on coffee time first, which was met with some resistance, but allowed (but I think only because we also had mimosas on deck).  Adam got some acupuncture after breakfast, compliments of Josh who happens to be going to school for it.  Josh came back downstairs where Jo and I were chatting while Adam was laying (in misery, according to Adam) with the needles in, talking about how he's such a baby about it (true) and how he's so wound up that it practically didn't matter where Josh stuck the needles, anything would help (also true).  Then I got major points for taking Gaia to doggie acupuncture (which is totally working).  The whole clan let me watch the Packer game, even though they're not football fans (10-0!), Seth chased Duncan around the yard (not Seth's choice), and Adam showed off his bottle of beer that Jo acquired through her wine distribution job.

Double bastard.

As evening (and dinner) approached, Adam got it in his head that we needed to start a fire.  He also insisted on NOT using modern comforts and methods like a lighter, or even matches.  Oh no, he set up his primitive wood-friction contraption and spent at least an hour trying to light the kindling.

At least he's persistent.

Eventually - about the time dinner was ready - he gave up, we had some (ok, a ton of) delicious food as prepared by Jo... turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, rolls, brussels sprouts, green beans... and probably something else.  Then "pre-dessert" of little brownies and Peg's toffee.  Then pie.  And wine.  Oh so very much wine.  Then after dinner Adam convinced the rest of the boys they should help him with his campfire operation:

The fire never actually got started.

A solid Thanksgiving, although the Absinthe never made its promised appearance.  Probably for the best.  Friday was a good long sleep in, frittata, basketball, and a long walk around Southport and all its money.  I saw the Long Island Sound and a peak at NYC.

A beautiful "Buy Nothing Day" in Southport.

We got back home and Jo's extended family started showing up... cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma:
Jen: Um, what's up?
Adam: Oh yeah, there will be about a dozen more that show up.
Jen: You didn't warn me of this.
Adam:  Hey, you're the one that wanted to come out for Thanksgiving.
Touche.  I met (and impressed, I do say) a crap ton of people, drank lots more wine, had a "conference" with Jo while Adam laughed his ass off, went digging through old family scrapbooks in the basement with Adam, and ate way too much pizza.  Sometime around 11p someone (probably Adam) suggested Monopoly, so the six of us sat down for a "quick" game.  More wine.  GF brownies.  Jo insisted that eight was the most common number to be rolled and got really excited every time someone got it.

Eight again!

Around 2a, Arthur and Jo had thrown in the towel, and I gave up too.  Adam, Seth and Josh duked it out, and I think Seth came out on top.  Adam (although not surprised) wasn't thrilled.  And he says he isn't competitive.  Saturday we slept in, I got on a last minute shuttle to JFK and came home.  Best.  Thanksgiving.  Ever.

Duncan wins.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kalispell, MT

Adam is off in Northwest Montana, interviewing for an ortho job.  This was one of the triggers that led to our DTR a few weeks ago.  I'm wicked stressing out about it all now - what if he GETS the job?  And then what if he GOES?  Will this emotional investment in the last some months be null and void?  We fell pretty easily back into our routine (or lack there of) for the 48 hours he was back in Seattle.  And having my non-dog snuggle buddy back was pretty sweet too.  The idea of starting over after this one is awfully daunting.

We have begun planning a post-Midway reunion in Maui.  That is, if he doesn't fall in love with the Jane Goodall of albatross and I don't meet the man of my dreams (according to him) in these three months.  And let me define "planning": I have been thinking about meeting him in Hawaii for a few weeks now, and then accidentally purchased a week stay on Maui, and seriously started looking.  I wasn't even going to bring it up yet, with all the stuff on our respective radars these days.  But last night, he suggested it and I pretty much said "Yes, I will let you believe this genius idea was yours."  He's done mid-March, which happens to be spring break, which means everything is uber-expensive (but that also corresponds to the time where I will actually have a week of vacation saved up).  Oy.  But when's the last time I actually went on a real vacation?  According to Dana, too f-ing long ago.  So might as well bite the bullet and put down the cash.

Got to spend all day locked inside a 737 for engine ground runs.  Same goes for tomorrow, and I will remember to bring more layers because those things are NOT heated.  And a book.  Becuase 30 minute conditions with no online data to look at are snooze central.  Hoping to get a run in before making the airport pick up.  I feel like I need to redeem myself after Saturday's debacle.  Thankfully, I'll have at least two chances between now and Midway.

Also freaking out about the fact that I leave for my week on the east coast in THREE DAYS.  Where did November GO?  I'm stoked about the trip, but I feel like there's way more than three evenings of  stuff to take care of between now and then.  Over the Rhine at the Triple Door Friday night will be AMAZING, but will take away my evening to pack.  Good thing I have a direct flight to Boston and can take a five hour nap.

Last fricken' volleyball game tonight.  Not excited.  But it's just one more hour of playing time.  Three more games to be lost.  Then we can be done with this silliness.  Unrelated, I stopped by John R's to drop off some knives for him to sharpen.  He told me I was looking especially skinny, in kind of a concerned father tone.  I told him it was probably stress.  So then I went to Trader Joe's and got some PB Cups and Crunchy Curls for dinner.  That should take care of things.  Also made some turkey meatballs, which were not only totally healthy, totally substantial and totally a legit dinner, but also totally DELICIOUS.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Seattle Interlude

Well, the auction was a wicked success last night.  I think they raised nearly $100k.  Chance, Clint and I had a blast, and looked fabulous doing so.  I got a couple of bottles of wine in the silent auction, and didn't even intend on bidding on anything in the live auction.  Well.... it gets going and they put up a week stay in Maui.  No one is bidding, so I figure someone just needs to break the ice.  I put my my paddle for the opening bid, assuming I'm going to get outbid.  Not so much.  Next thing I know the auctioneer is saying "going once... going twice... SOLD."  Shit.  Guess vacation is planned for next year.  And it's not like a beach vacation WOULDN'T do me good.  Plus the cycling on Maui is fabulous and I'm sure I'll have no problem finding someone to go with me.  I think the condo would sleep four with an air mattress, and I might not have any problems finding three people to go with me!


Then Chance and I hit the Duchess with the standard troublemakers and I snuck out to go get Adam.  The wine and gingerbread martini hit me about the time I got to the airport - BAM.  No real warning, which was kind of scary.  Actually, really scary.  Don't want to play that game again anytime soon... or ever.

Slept in a bit and then delivered the cupcakes to the CX race.  Ended up not staying very long because I am Hung. Over.  Back for a nap with the pooch, and now waiting for Sunday night football to start and entertain me until Adam gets out of the hospital at 9p.  Then I'll get the full report on Belize - because I assume I didn't get it last night, but I can't be sure.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Belize, Day 7

T-Minus 8 hours until Adam's back home.  Getting excited.  Probably not as excited as Gaia though.  And definitely not as excited as Jo.  (Sorry dear.)

Spent all afternoon making Maple Bourbon Bacon Cupcakes (v2.1).  I think the recipe is done.  They're pretty awesome, and I finally got the ratios on the frosting right.  A dozen go to the auction tonight, three dozen go to the cyclocross race tomorrow, and I'm not really sure what happened to the last dozen...  I swear there's still a few left!  John R came by to pick some up on his way to dinner with some non-auction attending folks - so MBB cupcakes are spread throughout the land tonight.

A sea of maple, bourbon and bacon.

Niki gave me some super cool jewelry to accessorize with tonight.  Skirt, heels, necklace... gonna be hot!  The plan is to attend the after party, but be totally ok with the fact that I will blow out before closing time and NOT be totally drunk because I have a hot date to get at the airport tonight.  :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Belize, Day 6

This post brought to you by Kevin & Tracy's wi-fi.  Hanging out, making beer, shooting the shit.  Trying to figure out what the HELL bit the inside of my upper and why the HELL it's swelling and tingly.  Something from the cat that's wandering about, I suspect.

Whatever is in that little vial will
make normal beer into Gluten Free beer!

Early arrival at work for a 7a flight physiology class.  This also meant an early departure, woot!  But I woke up at 2:00 (on the nose) this morning and didn't ever go back to sleep.  So as soon as Kevin finishes making this apple/butter/vanilla/brown sugar business to go on ice cream, I'm headed home for a solid nap tonight.  I woke up with heavy things on my mind, so it was undoubtedly stress and an overactive brain that kept me up all morning.

Physiology class wasn't so bad, even thought it was four hours long.  I got a good hit off the oxygen bottle ("to make sure I knew how it functioned") before i was allowed to "graduate" the class.  We watched lots of horrible FAA safety videos, evacuation videos from the 777 and A380, and a fantastic audio conversation between a pilot declaring emergency due to hypoxia and the ATC guy trying to figure out what was going on.   The rest of the work day was uneventful - Fridays seem to be slim pickin's around the lab lately.

I did have to make a Costco run to get the fixin's for the five dozen maple bourbon bacon cupcakes I'm making tomorrow.  Is it possible to get out of that place for under a hundred bucks?  I'm starting to think not.  Then it was off to my scheduled mani/pedi, compliments of Groupon (or some similar site).  It was awesome because they decided they needed to the manicure and pedicure at the same time.  So at one point, I had three different people waiting on me.  It was very Cleopatra-esque.  Or Queen of Sheba.  Or something.  Anyway, I'm watching the woman across the room get her manicure and the gal doing her nails starts massaging her head while her nails dry.  Sweet.  I get excited and I sense the manicure woman getting behind my chair to do this massage thing.  You know in the movies and on TV where they show someone getting a massage and the massuese is doing the kung-fu chop-chop on their backs?  That is what this woman starting doing on my forehead.  It was like thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap, then she'd slap my cheeks around for a bit, then kind of do my temples, then back to thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap on my forehead.  There had to be some kind of hidden camera.  Look for me on America's Funniest Home Videos.  Because I think that show is seriously still on the air.

On the way home, it started hailing.  Then lighting, and the associated thunder.  I'm sure all of Seattle freaked out.  Cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!  But then it was over and Gaia and I had a very short walk, because while I think the back leg is still improving, she's not quite ready for the doggie track team.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Belize, Day 5

I'm sitting in Adam's corner at the Fir.  I figured Rick and Ellen needed to see at least one of us at least once a week, so I'm here on official business.  Not too packed yet for a Thursday night, but give it time.  Chance is on his way to join me for a beer and then I will put the computer down and enjoy his fine company.

Work today was a total circus.  Which shouldn't be surprising.  The plastic bacon made an appearance, which is grounds for an epic day.  The FNG was back for a very brief cameo between a long work trip to California and his standard Friday off.  He is my sanity there these days.  Ironically, the voice of reason, even.  I keep being thrown into projects midway through, which makes it difficult to know what's been going on and where we're headed.  And I feel like there's a lot of reinventing the wheel and a lot of faking it at times to prevent myself from looking like a dumbass.  Today, in fact, I had the most vague request from some flight test folks and responded with an equally vague answer, also noting that I had not even SEEN the work order yet, but if someone would enlighten me, I'd be happy to go into specifics.  It's all been very frustrating lately.  But also highly entertaining.  I mean -- plastic bacon.

Snuck out early to drop off some auction related stuff at PRC for the big bash Saturday night.  And then volunteered to deliver a dozen maple bourbon bacon cupcakes for the "dessert frenzy."  Good to be back in touch with the guys over there and somewhat (but not engulfed) back in the community.  The challenge will be staying sober enough Saturday night to pick Adam up at midnight-thirty.  Chance and Clint will undoubtedly not be helpful in this endeavor - in fact my job at the auction is to get Clint drunk and bidding on stuff.  I have a feeling I am the sacrificial lamb in this situation.

PS, by the way: Rick just stopped by to say hi.  He's on kitchen duty, but came and sat down for a few minutes.  He's adorable.  And I love him.

And I leave you with this tonight - I don't know who gets the original credit, but I got it from Zana via Will.  And it made me laugh so hard I cried.

Like giving a grizzly your Subaru.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Belize, Day 4

You know what's possibly better than finding money in your pocket?  Finding drugs in your pocket.  Because admit it, that's probably what you were going to buy with that cash-money anyway.  Granted, asprin & tylenol don't have a lot of street value... but you get the idea.

I had dinner tonight with one of my newer friends from the rowing club.  We went to Blue Glass - a small plates place & cocktail bar near the Ballard Goodwill.  Great conversation, and a great reminder of how far into the rowing world my little tentacles stretch.  We talked a lot about tribes and the need for social interaction and that sense of community.  Strangely enough, we then bumped into Lisa and another COGnative cyclist, who repeated exactly that sentiment.

Today Pat & Fred both bailed out on me for the standard lunchtime run date.  Guess that's payback for all the times I bailed on them.  But today it was sunny & 60+ degrees - c'mon boys!  So I set off to do some interval work on my own.  But I ended up running with the only other woman in the building that runs, and really only 'cuz she happened to be heading out at the same time as me.  She went longer than I intended, but I figured since we were holding a steady pace, no big deal.  Mother Shitnuggets.  She ran me into the ground.  The woman is a machine.  By the time she was done with me, my legs hurt, my back hurt, my lungs hurt.  I limped around the rest of the day.  To top it off, she went another 20 minutes after she dropped me off at the gate and WASN'T EVEN BREATHING HARD.  I am rethinking my earlier statement about having any sort of badass embedded in me.

I have to say though that the highlight of the day was being butt-dialed by Zana.  Not just once, but TWICE.  Two big butt dials for this girl.  I thought maybe she had called because some sort of proverbial shit had hit the fan this morning, so I called back as I was making breakfast.  Nothing really, just some phone-in-pocket action.  But what a kick-ass way to start my day - a little bit of Zana.  THEN she left me a TWO MINUTE message of pure pocketness while I was out getting my ass kicked on the pavement at lunch.  And it was amazing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Belize, Day 3

Today I drove the 4Runner to work.  I figure if I have to move the thing every few days, I might as well do more than drive it a couple of feet and practice my parallel parking skills (which are already awesome, PS BTW).  Plus, this can be payment for babysitting it for the week.  Anyway, it's like driving a LazyBoy on wheels.  A LazyBoy with a built in remote control, kegerator and bidet.  Well, maybe not that far - the 4Runner doesn't actually make you a beer.  But compared to the Jeep - it's like riding on clouds.  Sexy, big ass, mow you down if you get in my way clouds.

We're doing some pre-test practice runs for an upcoming GVT at the lab.  Basically what happened today was a couple of guys pulling on a couple of strap wrenches in a manner than had them all giggling about masturbation.  And all the associated comments.  It's official: boys never grow up.

And since I discovered I was pretty much dead in the water until the help desk figured out how I could edit some Matlab files (that is, of course, after they figure out what Matlab is), I took the online health assessment, which is something Boeing mandates annually.  Good news is that they give you $50 gift card to some merchant of your choice (Hello, Amazon!), bad news is that then the "health coaches" call you every three days to see how you're doing on improving your life.  This year's assessment gave you an end score and things you can improve on.  Even with a score of 96 out of 100, they still told me to drink less, exercise more and lose weight.  Epic fail.

Fat & Lazy Alcoholics, unite!

Bernie then told me he wasn't even going to bother to take the assessment, because he didn't need his computer insulting him like that.  I don't blame him.

Last UnderDog volleyball game is tonight.  I've decided that I really don't like rec-league volleyball.  I've definitely gotten better in the last six weeks, but I'm not having any more fun than when I really sucked.  It might even be worse now, because my teammates make a big deal ("Awesome job, Jeny!  Great shot!  Good work!") when ever I get the ball over the net.  And they keep pressuring me into blocking spikes and spiking at the net myself.  Um, no.  I might have a little bit of badass in me, but I like my nose intact as is, thanks much.  And there's inevitably always someone on the other team that played seriously in college or high school and is jumping around "staying loose" and aiming to break my nose at the drop of a hat.  Jerks.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Belize, Day 2

Apparantly one of the shop managers was out pheasant hunting over the weekend and shot his calf off.  This was the main topic of discussion at work today.  All day.

Gaia tore a ligament about a month ago running up the stairs at Adam's place, and since he kept insisting that she didn't NEED to go to the vet, I used this week as the perfect opportunity to take her.  Gaia LOVES the vet.  Probably because they gave her treats and didn't stick a thermometer up her ass.  This vet happened to specialize in holistic healing and -- doggie acupuncture.  Gaia was a champ (ate lots of treats, fell asleep during treatment and didn't eat any cats) and is now passed out on the floor.

The needle is not photoshopped to look like a unicorn point.  It's real.

Dinner was halibut and sauteed carrots & parsnips with rosemary and honey.  But since I didn't have any rosemary I used curry powder instead.  Dinner was the epilogue to lunch of leftover carmelized carrot risotto.  I don't even LIKE cooked carrots, I don't know why I keep cooking them.  Probably because I got a free five pound bag of carrots with the Chinook book.  Why?  Because Adam is a closet coupon fiend.

Belize, Day 1

Yesterday morning Adam left for Belize.  WHAT. A. RELIEF.  I had been stressing over any and everything anticipating this week.  Well, maybe not this week in particular, and maybe more so everything that's been going on up to this point and the lack of a future plan.  Sleeep - real actual recouperative sleep - has escaped me for a while now.  Last night I crawled into bed at 9:30 and didn't move again until the dog's stomach made such loud, weird noises that she woke me up before the alarm this morning.  I finally feel like I can focus and function like a normal human being again.  Sleep, good.

Let's recap yesterday's adventures though:  Head of the Lake Regatta in the morning.  Perfect day to be sittingin a launch watching some rowing:

Doesn't suck.

Then a nap.  Not so epic, but the best 90 minutes of sleep I've had in a long time.  You'd think that even this little nugget of rest would rejuvinate my brain cells, but I still dropped more than my fair share on the Patagucci Pro Deal yesterday afternoon.  Dinner was perfectly grilled chicken coated in spices and a large squash of some sort roasted and pureed with maple syrup.

The real highlight of yesterday though was when I decided that the hairs on my upper lip were quite noticible and that I should use some Nair to remove them.  I've done this in the past - no big deal.  In fact, I know Adam even endorses this plan.  So off I go to the bathroom, slather some on, and immediately feel the burn of chemicals on my face.  I think maybe this is burning a little more than normal, but wait it out the instructed five minutes on the bottle.  As I begin to wash it off, I now know that something is terribly wrong.  The burning isn't stopping.  Every tiny muscle movement in my face reminds me that I just put harsh chemicals on my upper lip.  An emergency application of petroleum jelly settled the burn down, albeit temporarily.  I think I'm going to be nursing this until Adam returns next week.  Thankfully I was a bit sun & windburned from my launch sitting that it's not all THAT noticable today.  Otherwise I would most definitely have a chemical burn mustasche - appropriate for Movember - but not hot.  Not even a little bit.