Saturday, August 30, 2008

First full day here

Today was my first full day in Seattle. I decided I would sleep in a bit (I got up at 9, which is fairly early for me), and then begin exploring. I had two things on the agenda today: I needed to find Target and a grocery store. Too bad there aren't SuperTargets in Washington!

I wanted to buy a few things to make the place seem more like home, and I also needed to get all of the basic necessities for living, like laundry detergent and food. I desperately needed hangers as well so that I could fully unpack.

I spent a fair amount of money today at Target and Safeway (I recommend the West Seattle Safeway), but I really feel like the apartment is all set now. It feels good! It's amazing what a few placemats, lamps and throw blankets can do. :)

After I came home (!) and unpacked my loot from my shopping trip, I decided to head over a block and hit up the Pike's Place Market to see if I could find some produce and flowers. I scored on both counts...the giant bouquet in the picture of my dining area was only $10. Seriously.

I am including a few pictures from my foray into the market - there were so many people there, and it made it difficult to even walk, much less take pictures, so sorry there aren't that many, Beth! I took one picture of a crepe sign to show Amanda that it looks like I can get good crepes here in Seattle. :)

By the way, I passed this store today - apparently I belong here and this sign is telling me (or my former self) to shop here!

Tomorrow's plan is to head up to St. James Cathedral, which is about three quarters of a mile away. The weather tomorrow morning is supposed to be clear, so I think I am going to walk. Check out my route. The cathedral is only about a block away from my office, so this will be a good way to see how long it would take me to walk to work if I wanted to. I'm going to find a place to eat brunch after Mass, and bring my Kindle so I don't feel weird eating alone!

In the afternoon, or maybe on Monday, I am thinking of taking a Seattle tour, and getting the lay of the land. We'll see - stay tuned!


Friday, August 29, 2008

New digs in Seattle

I'm too tired to do much more than post the few pictures I took today of my new (temporary) apartment. It's a "fully furnished" place in a complex called Harbor Steps. The traffic to get from the airport to Seattle was a breeze, but the traffic when I got to downtown was unbearable. It took me at least 35 minutes to get from the edge of downtown to 1st and Union. Yikes!

Anyways, I made it. I have a rental car (a Vibe, it's actually pretty cool), and because of the parking garage, I will apparently get good at parking it (maybe?) The garage is definitely a city lot...small spaces, lots of pillars. Bad for Samantha!

I bought a few groceries tonight, and I will be making a bigger trip tomorrow out to a Target store and a grocery store. Once that is done, I should be all set. I'm almost done unpacking and making it feel a little bit more like home...I do need a bunch of hangers in order to finish putting away my clothes.

So on to the pictures. I took pics of the apartment from a few different angles, and got a few shots of the view as well. It's an interesting layout, but kind of weird in my opinion. The only bad thing about the "fully furnished" is that there isn't a TV in the bedroom, which I am used to...I wouldn't mind falling asleep to that tonight.

So there you have it, day 0 in Seattle is done and over. Now onto learning the area!!


Leaving for the airport soon

My flight leaves at 2:25...I have three enormous bags packed, plus two carry ons...I've said goodbye to my husband and my parents...I guess I am ready to go.

Whoa! Scary!

Wish me luck!!!!!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Last time landing in MN when it is officially my residence...

Travis and I had a quick trip out to Seattle over the past few days. Why you ask? Because we put in an offer on a house neither of us had seen, and we needed to be there for the inspection!

I cannot believe the way the previous owners/residents TRASHED the place. The smell in the house was pretty much unbearable - I almost threw up because it was that bad. Seriously, they had a goat that lived with them. A GOAT. We will need to essentially gut the interior and start all over. We're working with the mortgage guys to see how we can make that happen for us.

The great news about the place is that it is a good investment, the work is almost entirely cosmetic, and the location is fabulous. The number one (and two and three) tenet in real estate is location, so that bodes well.

Now we are waiting on our mortgage company and the bank that owns the property to get back to us to let us know what our next steps are - keep your fingers crossed!

Anyways, when we landed back in Minneapolis, I realized that it was my last flight to Minnesota that has Minnesota as my official residence! I move out to Seattle this Friday afternoon, so at that point, I will have to say I live in Washington! Weird!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

This made me a little sad today

I was looking at my church's bulletin for this upcoming weekend (at and saw this little blurb in there:

This made me a little sad for a few different reasons. It was very sweet of them to put this in there (I'm pretty sure it was the music director's idea, thanks Teresa!). I am going to really miss this parish - I've been a member for the past 27 years, and cannot believe that I won't be involved there anymore. I am very concerned about finding a good parish out in the Seattle-Tacoma area that I really like and where I feel at home. Travis doesn't go to church, so Guardian Angels was pretty perfect for me...I knew so many people there and was so involved that I never really noticed that I was "alone" there.

Anybody have any suggestions for good Catholic churches in the southern Seattle/Kent/northern Tacoma areas?? Any advice would be welcomed!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ninja is flying!

She's flying to Seattle with me at the end of September...I bought her "ticket" last night.

Now I just need to get her a vet appointment, and figure out some sort of sedative situation so she doesn't go insane.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weirdness of buying plane tickets...

...when the departure city is not MSP!

Travis and I have been planning a week long vacation up in northern Minnesota for a long time. Since before we went to Europe back in February, really. So we've been looking forward to this. We've rented a cabin up on Travis' favorite lake ever, Lake Vermilion, and his best friend, Pete, and Pete's girlfriend, Rosa, are flying up from Phoenix to join us.

Except now I will be in Seattle! So I also have to fly in for this vacation. I am buying my plane ticket tonight, and it feels weird to be buying tickets with SEA as the departure airport. This is actually the second ticket I am buying with Seattle as my departure - I've already bought my ticket back to Minnesota for the November 1 Notre Dame-Pittsburgh game. I am flying into Minneapolis, spending the day with my Mom, and then Dad and I are flying to South Bend that night. I will fly back through Minnesota on my way back to Seattle at the end of the weekend.

This vacation we have up in Vermilion should be great - we've rented a really sweet cabin at Pehrson's Lodge Resort. We have rented a cabin called the Wren, which sleeps 6 people...if you're interested in coming up for a few days in mid-September, let me know - we might have a bed for you to crash on.

I'm also on a mission to find a spa in either Hibbing or Duluth. Does anyone know of one?


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sitting in the hospital

11:30 pm No surgery needed! The CAT scan shows enlarged lymph nodes, which is what is likely causing this issues. The doc thinks it is some sort of viral infection...we're going home for the night. If anything changes, we will have to come back in the morning. But for now, good news!!


Travis and I are over at St Francis Hospital right now (yay for wireless internet!) because Travis has been having stomach pain for the past 30 hours or so. Because the pain was mostly localized in the lower right part of his abdomen, we were concerned that it might be appendicitis.

We've been here for about 3 hours now and Travis has had a few tests done. They have definitely not been able to rule out appendicitis, and indeed, all signs point there.

If it is appendicitis, I will be here for the night, as they will do the surgery tonight.

Anyway, I will keep you posted...think good thoughts for Travis!!


Friday, August 15, 2008

Moving in two weeks

I changed my moving date to Friday, August 29 because Travis and I are going to be in Seattle for a few days at the beginning of that week in order to make sure everything is in line with the house on which we are making an offer.

Yes, we found a house that might work for us! It's an enormous (3700 sq ft) place in Kent, which is actually closer to downtown Seattle than Federal Way. We would need to do a lot of cosmetic work on the interior as the previous owners just trashed the place, but it's bank owned and looks to be priced right. We'll see how our offer goes; Travis likes this place a lot, and I think it would be a great place for us to build some value.

I'm working on finishing up our paperwork for the financing on the new house, and we need to pick a realtor to sell our existing house here very soon.

I cannot believe that I am moving in just two weeks. Nearly every day and night is packed full of stuff to do, people to see and going away parties to go to. It's insane, but good. We have so many people here that we are going to miss desparately, and it will be nice to hang out with the Minnesota peeps before I go.

Get ready for a crazy time - moving across country is scary!


Michael Phelps might as well be a god

So...Michael Phelps just won ANOTHER gold medal. Seriously, this man is unstoppable. That makes a perfect 7-for-7 record at the Beijing Games. One more relay race to go, and he should beat out the whiner Mark Spitz for a grand total of 8 Olympic golds in one Olympic.

Best Olympian of all time.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympic Fever!

I will start off by saying that I LOVE the Olympics. I will happily watch any sport. I love that there are literally hundreds of hours of coverage on over the two week period - God bless NBC. To demonstrate how much I enjoy everying Olympic, take this example: I am moving approximately 1500 miles away in just 16 days, and what am I doing? Sitting on the couch, watching Michael Phelps make history.

My favorite parts of the Summer Olympics are the swimming events, diving events and gymnastics. During the Winter Olympics, I like to watch a lot of events...skiing, skating, hockey, snowboarding - the list goes on and on.

MICHAEL PHELPS JUST WON HIS TENTH CAREER OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL! That was awesome. I am excited to see his next final tonight. Can he really continue his sweep? It's really incredible. Has anyone noticed his incredible abs, back and shoulder muscles? It is just insane. Wow.

Anyways, I think I will work on getting some clothes packed up for donation while watching some Olympics on this Tuesday evening. Who's getting excited for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics? :)


Monday, August 11, 2008

Chicago's delicious food weekend

Mmmm. So I spent the past 4 days in Chicago for Terminus with Hava, and we ate really well during our trip. :) We ended up having several kinds of Italian food during our stay. Chicago really is known for awesome Italian food.

On Thursday, we met up with some friends at Carmine's, which is a Rosebud restaurant. I had the square noodles with arriabiata sauce...yum. Of course, they gave me far too much food (the bowl of pasta they delivered to me could have fed my entire family) but let me tell you, it was wonderful. The company at dinner was also great. :)

On Friday, we ate lunch at a place called Mercat, a Catalan-inspired restaurant. I'll be honest with you: I didn't like it. I had this ham sandwich thing that had too much aioli on it, and then it came with paprika fries that we simply doused in paprika aioli. Gross. Anyways, that's where we went.

On Friday night, we actually decided to order pizza (Chicago-style deep dish, yum) and watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony. This was a very good plan by us! We ordered from a place called Giordano's that we had both had, and really enjoyed our pepperoni, mushroom and spinach pie. The opening ceremonies were incredible...China really put on a fabulous show for the world on 08.08.08.

On Saturday afternoon, we went to this cool deli sort of near the hotel called the Eleven City Diner. We decided to do salads as we were thinking that we might do pasta that night. They chop any salad for free, and I find that a chopped salad is way easier to eat. My chef's salad was good, and had a LOT of turkey chunks and ham slices. Yum. The place was crazy busy, and the owner was very abrasive to his staff, but all in all, plenty of fun. Hava got hit on by the cute diner at the table next to ours. I have a pic of the Deli and another of the two of us at the deli that I am posting.

On Saturday night, we went to a fun Italian place called Gioco - Hava wanted to carb up with some pasta prior to her race on Sunday morning. (Hava signed up for a half marathon on a whim once we got into town...impressive!) She was able to get them to make her spaghetti and meatballs, while I had their mushroom and pork risotto special. I couldn't believe how good the risotto was - I think I may need to learn how to make risotto someday because it is so dang good!

On Sunday, I headed to brunch at North Pond up in Lincoln Park with my best friend Stacy, her husband Cory, and her parents, Bob and Nancy. This was easily the best meal I had in Chicago. Wow. We picked our prix fixe items from this menu (well, a similar menu, they do their work based on what food is locally available). I had the citrus french toast as my first course (it was awesome, with sour cherries on top rather than strawberries...must be what they had fresh), the halibut dish as my second course (it came with a creamy polenta and cucumbers rather than beets), and a peach/blueberry tart for dessert. Heavenly. Top it off with a peach mimosa, and you have heaven in a restaurant.

Our drive home had no eventful food. We ate at a Taco John's (gross, there's a reason I hadn't eaten there in 10 years). I also had a McFlurry at one stop, which are generally tasty.

So there you have it, folks. I had a great food weekend. :)


Softball update

The playoffs for church league softball began tonight. We had an even .500 record in the regular season, and were seeded in the winners bracket. We played the team from Crown of Glory tonight, and I think our teams were pretty evenly matched.

Guardian Angels played an AWESOME game. I think we played the best we have all season! We were getting good bats and good gloves from everyone. Unfortunately, we were the away team, and COG was playing really well too.

In the top of the seventh (that's the last inning in our church league), we pulled ahead of the tie by getting two runs (I was one of them, I hit pretty well tonight). The score was 10-8, GA. COG gets up to bat, we get two good outs, and then BAM, one of their bruisers hits the ball out the park. That's the first time we had another team hit an out of the park homer. Dang. So the score is tied (they had a little guy on base) now, and they hit a huge fly ball with one person on base. It got lost in the lights, and they got another over.

Dang! We played so well tonight! It's a real bummer to lose such a close game, particularly when we had some questionable calls from the ump that did not go our way.

Oh well, we lost gracefully, and we had a ton of fun playing tonight. We play again next week, and if we win our 6:15 game, we go on to play a doubleheader at 7:30. I'm going to have some optimism and see if I can get my husband to bring the team some KFC between games so we can have some delicious protein power. :)

Being on this team has been just awesome for me this summer. I've had a great time, and I am glad that the season ends just before I leave for Seattle. I doubt that any of them read my blog (YET), but if someone is, I'd like to say thanks for a fun season to Bryan F, Brian B, Brian R, Dan, Ken, Julian, Mike, Alex, Joanne, Sean, Brendan, Greg, Jenna and Amanda (my recruit! :) )

I meant to take a picture tonight, but I forgot to take care of I hope to remember next week.


Top 5 reasons I hate Wisconsin

First of all, let me start off by apologizing to all Wisconsinites. I am sure you are nice (particularly if I know you well enough that you are reading my blog), but man, me and the state of Wisconsin are just not friends*. Below are a few reasons for this long-standing feud I have with the land of cheese, the Pack and I-94.

1. Weather. I think that I must have a bad weather beacon from the state of Wisconsin. Almost every time I drive through there, there is a tornado, blizzard or torrential rain. Or all three, if I am lucky. Take, for example, the trip that Dad and I took to Notre Dame during the spring of my senior year of high school. We left Chaska on a sunny Friday afternoon, hoping to make it to Chicago before full dark (which was fairly early, because it was spring). Things were going well until about two hours into Wisconsin…sky darkens ominously and then…downpour. Lightning, thunder, pouring rain – these all make for awesome driving.

2. Cheese. Cheese as a standalone food is one of the most disgusting things I can imagine. The smell, the feel and worst of all, the texture – gross! The entire state of Wisconsin is one giant cheese factory. Some people may like this…I do not.

3. The Green Bay Packers. I’ll admit it. As a high schooler, I cheered for the Packers. Was it because they were Super Bowl champions? Maybe. Was it because I thought Brett Favre was HOT? Probably. Was it because the Vikings were simply terrible then? Possible, though not much has changed. Anyways. Whenever the Packers play the Vikings, state pride really becomes an issue. Even if the Vikes get killed, it doesn’t matter. The Packers are no longer a team I can cheer for…they no longer have (old) Favre, and they aren’t Super Bowl champions. Sorry, Pack.

4. I-94. As mentioned above, my luck with driving in Wisconsin is not good. Not only does weather torment me in that state, so do other road hazards. Particularly, but not limited to, construction. This past weekend, we had two major delays in the big WI, and while neither was due to construction (this time), we literally waited for over two hours on the stupid interstate. There really aren’t many exits, and thus, we were lucky enough to just…sit there.

5. Oddly named highways. Highways should be numbers, not letters. In addition, if highways must be lettered, please do not use multiple letters. Highway A and Highway AA appear mighty similar in the dark in the middle of nowhere.

*The only friendliness Wisconsin and I share is due to their wonderful lakes and beautiful “up north” country. Someday I will likely own land in Wisconsin (CABIN!), and therefore, I hope to repair my relationship with the state. I hereby offer my hand in peace, Wisconsin. Your reaction to my offer the next time I cross into your borders is now up to you. I hope we can be friends.

Yes, it took me almost 10 hours to drive home from Chicago yesterday.

End rant.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Harry Potter and Chicago

So Hava and I finally made it into our room at the conference in Chicago! We had a time of it.

We left the office after a hectic half day yesterday at about 1pm. We decided to stop at Sonic in St Paul for lunch (who knew we had a Sonic in Minnesota?!) We had some delicious burgers, tots and limeades, and then got on the road in earnest. Things were going well, until we hit road construction and then horrible rain! The good news is that my car got 45 miles to a gallon for the first 5 hours of the trip. Regardless of the traffic and the rain, we pulled into the hotel lot at about 8pm, and made our first effort to check in.

Bad news. They didn't have us in the right room for last night, even though I had called two weeks prior to confirm. CRAP. The hotel was 100% booked, and so the only room they could give us had several was a parlor room, with a sofa bed and rollaway cot, and it wouldn't be ready until after midnight. Hava and I thought that this place sucks. Anyways, they did give us some vouchers for the bar, which was nice though we both got drunk on the strong drinks and no food.

Last night was also the opening of the Harry Potter conference we were at - they had a whole day of Wizard Rock. I'm definitely glad we didn't come for the whole day of Wrock, because it was (not surprisingly) sort of lame. It was a concert, in a ballroom, with every light on in the place, and chaperones sitting at tables in the back. Ha, awesome. However, we did actually like Draco and the Malfoys and Harry and the Potters, even picking up a t-shirt in the process.

Today, we started off with free breakfast (delicious) because my anger at the Hilton got us some free stuff. Then we wandered around Michigan Avenue for a few hours, waiting for our next (and final) room to be ready. We both bought some shoes. We came back to the hotel, checked in for Terminus (that's the conference name) and again tried to check in for our room. The people at the front desk sucked, so we decided to go up to the executive floor and try our luck there. Thank God for Isabel and Robert M - they are single handedly trying to make up for our bad experience thus far.

So now we are in the room (we got upgraded for free, thanks to Isabel) trying to relax for a bit before we meet some friends for dinner at Carmine's. (Yes, we are skipping the Opening Feast, I know, I know.) After dinner, we are coming back because I have to be in a trivia tournament...let's see how much HP I know.

So that's the news for now. More to come!!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

New layout!

What do you guys think of the new layout? I'm going to use this blog to document my life for my soon-to-be faraway family members and friends.

Yes, I realize the picture is from London. Well, I don't have one of me in Seattle yet, PLUS it shows how much I really love Harry. Potter, that is.

Comment and let me know what you think of the layout.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Golden birthday party tonight!!

So tonight I am having a little soiree for my golden birthday. In case you didn't know (for real, how can you not know at this point?), my birthday was last Sunday (July 27). Yes, that's right, I am 27 this year. I feel like that is finally a respectable age - people don't think you are too young anymore!

I'm having some people over tonight for cocktails (nothing fancy, just beer, Mike's, etc.) and delicious burgers, brats and hotdogs. I've been spending my afternoon getting ready - stuff like shopping, getting the drinks in coolers, cleaning (that's coming up), blogging. You know, the really important stuff.

Anyways, I will be a better blogger here soon...I promise. The reason I have been remiss is no longer in play, so we are all set.

More to come :)