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Friday, August 26, 2011

Which Came First?...

... The chicken?  Or the egg?

Today, I went to lunch off-base with some co-workers.  We were going to place called Central Market, and I figured it would be a good opportunity for me to look for bread and other goodies that do not have dairy.

Peggy and I approached the soup and salad bar.  I was really craving some chicken noodle soup, and knew it would be a safe, non-dairy option.  I saw the sign posted behind the soup container that said, "Chicken Noodle Soup" and below it, "Contains Eggs."

I immediately whined to Peggy, "I can't even eat this!  It has eggs!"

Her response was simple.

"Uh, Lou.  Eggs come from chickens.  Not cows."

My response was also simple.

"I know eggs come from chickens........ Oh,yeah."

Why in the world I was under the impression that eggs were considered dairy is literally beyond me.  I'm pretty sure it gave Peggy a little chuckle, and rightfully so.  A lady standing at the soup bar heard the whole conversation and was looking me like I was the most ignorant person she had ever seen.

Oh, lordy.


The good news is that I found some bagels that appear to be dairy free, and some vegan cream cheese to go along with it.

We'll see 'bout that.

Take Luck,
LP

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Open Letter

Dear Washington State University,

I was raised to loathe you.  And loathe you, I did.

Cougs are the enemy.

However, when a graduate school opportunity presented itself to me at your institution, I put my loathing aside, convinced my Dad that the world would not end if one of his children was associated with WSU, enrolled, and overall have been pretty happy with my experience.

Until today.

On August 11th, just 11 days before the start of the fall semester, the Engineering and Technology Management Department announced that they are hiking tuition from $509 per credit to $680 per credit.  As a result, I had to make a decision to fork over a large amount of money to continue my semester and program as planned or decide to withdraw from one of the two classes I was registered for.

After much deliberation, I decided that withdrawing from one class was my best option, and one that made the most sense for me.  Because of this decision, I have to tack on one more year in your program.

Can't wait for Fall 2012 when you jack up your tuition fees to $825 per credit.

Thanks a lot, a-holes.

Take Luck,
LP

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

100% Dairy Free

For six weeks.

Yup.

I have always had a sensitive stomach.  But recently, over the last few months, it seems as though the sensitivity has become heightened, and more frequent.  On Monday I went for a consult with a gastrointestinal doctor for a check-up and opinion.  Long story short, his instructions were for me to pursue a 100% dairy free diet for six weeks and keep a "food and symptom journal," among other things.

This direction to the girl who is a super picky eater, and who loves all things dairy.

Cottage cheese.  Cream cheese.  Cheese cheese.  And don't even get me started on sour cream. Tortilla chips and sour cream are a staple in my afternoon-snack-diet.

Hearing his instructions caused me to panic, and think to myself, "What in the he-ll am I going to eat for six weeks?"  My doubt was put aside when I called Ryan and my Mom to tell them the news.  They were both supportive and encouraging, saying that there were still plenty of things I could eat and that it would just take some experimenting and figuring what else is out there for me.

I did some research Monday, and was feeling better about this quest.  I know there are plenty of people in the world who are lactose intolerant and deal with this everyday, or vegans who choose these eating habits.  My worries were basically stemming from the fact that because I am already such a picky eater, my alternative options may be limited.  

My good feelings and hopefull-ness were soon squished when I stumbled upon a link entitled "Foods with Hidden Dairy."  Foods with hidden dairy include breads, deli meats, boxed cereal, and crackers and usually contain traces of butter or nonfat milk powder. 

Wtf.

Those are things I eat!

Needless to say I woke up Tuesday morning feeling a little overwhelmed and practically craving everything I know I can't have.  I opened the fridge to grab our lunches out and what is staring at me in the face, practically flashing in lights "YOU CANNOT EAT ME, SUCKA!!!"?

Ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese for lasagna.  Cottage cheese.  Sour cream.  Butter.  A block of Havarti cheese.  A fresh gallon of milk.

Totally awesome.

Thank you, GI tract for being such a pain in my hieny.

I want to eat my feelings, and I can't!

Wish me luck.


Take Luck,
But none of mine,
LP

Monday, August 22, 2011

Time with the Terry's

Well, I am sad to say that my best friend, Tiff, and her hubby, Ryan have come and gone.

Sad, sad, sad.

I am exhausted from the week/weekend of hosting and parading around Kitsap and King County, but it was totally worth it and I really, really enjoyed having them here and showing them around.

They arrived on Wednesday and we started out with a bang by going to Safeco Field and watching the Mariners take on the Toronto Blue Jays.  My Mom had made contact with the radio "Voice of the Mariners," Rick Rizzs, who is an SIU graduate like Tiff, Ryan and I, and the four of us were able to go up into the ESPN/710 Radio broadcasting booth to meet him, and watch an inning of the game.  We also had some laughs at the expense of a Japanese man who was carrying a purse.  

A legitimate black purse.

A little excited to be in the booth!

Girls with Rick Rizzs

Ryan and Ryan (with a Ichiro imposter in the background!)

Ladies

Lovebirds in the broadcasting booth

Right after Rick gave us a shout out - hence the red cheeks
Thursday, my Ryan had to work so I commenced the tour of fabulous Kitsap County.  We left our house and headed north, stopping at Keyport (where I work), downtown Poulsbo, Salsbury Park, Port Gamble, Point-No-Point and swooped back around to Silverdale.

Whew.
Fisheye view from boardwalk
Fisheye view from Marina
Fisheye view down Front St.
Friday, we headed out to Bainbridge Island to a hike that I found through the Washington Trails Association, called Gazzem Lake and Close Beach.  There was some debate on if Gazzem was pronounced Gazz-em or Gaz-ZAM.  I think we decide the latter was more fun.

The Gazzem Lake trail was more of a nature walk on flat ground, and we quickly found that Gazzem Lake itself wasn't what any of us had envisioned.  I did get to feed some hungry looking ducks, though!  We continued onto the Close Beach trail and were immediately met by hills and more hills.  I think the hike was worth what was waiting for us at the shore line.  While we were heading down, I wondered if I would know where we were once we hit the shore - And I certainly did.  Oddly enough, we were directly across the Sound from my parent's neighborhood. 
Long, flat Gazzem Lake trail
Pretty purple somethin-somethin
Gazzem Lake
My new friends
Totally having a blast...
Tiff on a rock at Close Beach
Those white buildings are Keyport
My hubby found a dead jellyfish
Lovebirds
Me and Tiffer looking hot (literally)
Saturday we spent the day roaming Seattle.  The weather was amazing and the city was crazy, as usual.  We took them to all the hot spots including Pike Place Market (where we got to see them throw the fish), the Gum Wall, the first Starbucks, Seattle Center, the Space Needle, EMP, and the International Fountain.  We also made two stops at Seattle attractions that I have never been to before - Gas Works Park and the Freemont Troll.  We met up with Rachel and Spencer at Gas Works and the six of us had lunch together at Ivar's on Lake Union.
Fish Throw: Engage
Bend the knees...
...And release!
International Fountain
Gas Works Park
More Gas Works
View of Downtown Seattle from Gas Works park with my pathetic 55mm lens
Weeping Willow across from Ivar's that looked like a heart :)
Troll Ave.
Freemont Troll
VW Bug in the clutches of the Troll
Finally, on Sunday while my Ryan was golfing away at a work golf tournament, the three of us set out on our own again.  They got to meet Josh and Haley, Jaiden (who was staying the night), Mia, Kennedy, and Riley and experience the craziness that is their home (craziness in a good way, of course!).  Then we went on and explored Seabeck and Scenic Beach State Park, so we could get a little closer to the Olympics. 

And that we did.

However, I am too lazy (and tired) to get off my hieny and fetch my memory card to put those photos on my computer.

We had a great time, and it was so good to see Tiff and Ryan again.  I just saw them in May at Clare's wedding, but that was a really short and quick visit.  Before that, I hadn't seen them since their wedding in July 2009!

Tiff definitely got me hooked on editing my photos in Picasa.  And now I can't stop.  She was kind enough to let me try out her 55-200mm camera lens several times throughout their trip.  And now I really want one. 

I told her, "This is great!  OK, this is bad."  

She also wow-ed me with her photography and photo editing skills.

I want to be like her when I grow up.

Take Luck,
LP

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Love Letter

Dear Mister,

There are many things I love about you.  One of those things being our car-ride-crooning.  Especially the car-right-crooning sessions that are followed by living-room-dance-parties.

I also love our shared love for quoting movies.  For instance, the other afternoon at lunch/dinner we were trying to think of the word insomnia to describe Mom's lack of sleep, but you thought it was narcolepsy.  You quickly rebounded and realized that narcolepsy is someone who cannot stay awake.


To demonstrate what narcolepsy is, you reenacted the scene from Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo when he figures out a way to let his narcoleptic date eat soup by tying her hair to the coat rack.  She falls asleep but her hair keeps her from drowning in the bowl.

Classic.

It is safe to say that I love how much you make me laugh.

Take Luck,
LP

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rotten Groton

I spent the last week in Groton, Connecticut.  They don't call it Rotten Groton for nothing.

This was my third work trip in six weeks.  Needless to say I am beyond happy to be home and have all this traveling behind me.  I was only gone for six days, but it felt like six months.  Unlike my first two trips, this trip was an actual working trip and critical to the Navy.  Also unlike the first two trips, I was traveling with a group of people that I actually work with.  Even though traveling alone is lonely, it is so much easier than traveling in a big group.  Trying to coordinate rental cars, transportation to meals, and who is driving where and who is in which vehicle is just a cluster-you-know-what. 

We headed east on Sunday, and it only took us 16 hours to get from here to Groton.  We had some weather delays at Dulles, but were finally able to fly into Providence and then made the hour drive south.  The transition from Pacific to Eastern time is never easy - especially when you don't get in until midnight.  The alarm going off on Monday morning was not a welcomed sound. 

The purpose of our trip was to go on-board one of our boats (submarines) for a validation of their equipment.  This year we validated the USS New Mexico.  Since we manage the configuration for one particular class of submarines, they are all the built same.  Last year we validated the North Carolina and the New Hampshire.  When we stepped on-board, in some ways I felt like last year was last week.


My teammate/partner, Jerry and I got to validate in the engine room, and that was more than fine by me.  It is quiet and the air temperature was cool and comfortable.  Some other areas of the boat are really crowded, really hot and really stuffy.  This whole validation is one big scavenger hunt, and as a group we were looking for 2,500+ different parts or pieces of equipment.  Normally scavenger hunts have some sort of prize, and this was no different.  The only difference was that the prize was finding the part, and hoping that the information on the part matched what was listed on your information sheet.

Since I am quite a bit younger than Jerry, with better/stronger eyes and a slimmer, more limber body, I did a majority of the crawling around the first few days.  I think it is safe to say that I could earn a Masters in identifying valves and a PhD in using a flashlight and mirror to read the label plate information off these valves backwards and upside down.  That is no easy task, folks.  Not to mention contorting my body into the strangest positions to get to the valves in order to read them.

After breathing in all the recycled air on the airplane, in the hotel, and on the boat... I was not too surprised when I started feeling funky.  The funk quickly progressed into a nasty sore throat and after Wednesday, it was Jerry who was doing most of the crawling and calling out of part numbers.  I lost count of how many times I was told, "You look terrible."

I didn't care.  Terrible was how I felt. 

I'm one of those people that doesn't really like to take any medicine for stuff unless I really have to.  But since I wasn't just sitting at my desk all day, and sure as hell wasn't going to use sick leave and sit at the hotel all day - I went to Target to get some supplies to try and help.  While at Target, I had two interesting experiences.

First, I saw a woman using her bra as a cell phone holder.  She literally pulled her shirt away from her body and stuck her iPhone in her bra.  

Weird.  And kinda gross.

The second happened while I was waiting in line to pay for my goods.  An older man in front of me was buying a frozen pizza.  He asked the cashier, "If the pizza is thawed by the time I get home - can I return it?" 

What?  What kind of question is that?

Our days on the boat were long, long, long.  I'm not used to being in my steel-toed boots all day.  I can't even begin to count or guess the number of times I got turned around on the boat and was trying to figure out which side was port, and which was starboard.  And I absolutely can't tell you how many times I whacked my head, knees or elbows, or scraped my back on something after being squatted down in my search.  My sore throat somehow gravitated north and before I knew it, I was (oh, still am!) all congested and felt like I needed to prick my noodle with a pin to relieve the pressure.

On Friday afternoon, our team lead started talking about the next validation.  I told him I didn't want to hear the words "the next one" for awhile.   

My co-worker, Peggy and I got to fly home on Friday evening.  We flew from Providence to Detroit.  When we got to Detroit we had to walk to a different terminal than we arrived in.  To get to this other terminal we walked through a tunnel.  The tunnel walls were changing colors, and music was playing in the background.  As we were walking through, Peggy said, "This is what I would imagine it is like being on LSD."  It was pretty psychedelic


We landed at SeaTac at midnight and it was nearly 2:00 AM by the time I got home.  The last thing I was thinking about before falling asleep was how happy I was to be home with my hubby and pups, and that I had been awake for 24 hours.

What a way to end the trip.

Take Luck,
LP

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love Letter

Dear Mister,

After another long day of work yesterday, you laid down soon after arriving home for a "nap."  At around 7:45 I heard you stirring and asked you if you wanted to get on up or continue sleeping.

Your response: "Glass of milk sounds good."

Oh, boy.  I sure love you even when you are delusional.

Take Luck,
LP 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Some Thoughts

This was an interesting week in many ways.  Some good, some bad, some weird.

Here are my thoughts. 

[Teddy]
As I mentioned, Miss Teddy Ruxbin has been staying with us this week.  It's a good thing she is so stinking adorable and sweet, because she is as crazy as she is adorable.  She has been following me everywhere I go and I have tripped over her little body about 29 times.  I know one little lady (Sonny, not me) who is probably ready to resume her throne as queen of the Peters castle.

[Ryan]
Poor hubby.  He started the week working 10s. The 10s turned into 12s.  The 12s turned into 14s.  I don't even know what to say when I pick him up from work.  "Hey honey.  So uhh, how was your day??"

[Alice in Wonderland] 
We watched Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton version) one night this week.  I love this movie.  Ryan and I were talking about all the "fun words" in the flick like Jabberwocky, Bandersnatch, Vorpal Sword, Futterwacken, and Frabjous Day

[Work]
Was good this week.  I was busy, productive, and felt as if I really contributed.  Let's just say I don't always feel that way.

[Travel]
I have one more trip.  For the last four weeks I have been home one and traveling the next (you can read about my experiences at Fort Huachuca here and here and also about Washington, D.C.).  It is really starting to wear on me.  On Sunday, the saga continues as I head to Groton, Connecticut for the week to validate one of our boats.  I can't wait to be on the boat for 10+ hours a day, in the East Coast heat and humidity, crawling through the tiny and awkward spaces in my coveralls.  Can you feel the sarcasm? 

[School]
The fall semester starts in 17 days.  I got my Engineering Statistics textbook in the mail on Tuesday and wanted to cry after looking at the first chapter.  Enough said.

[Tiffer & Ryan]
Tiffanie and her hubby, Ryan will be here in 11 days.  Yup, 11 days!!  I have an itinerary all planned out to maximize their stay and experience in Washington.  I cannot wait!  

[Books]
Since the Spring semester ended in May, I have been reading like a mad woman.  So far, I have read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Stieg Larsson series); House Rules (Jodi Picoult); The Other Daughter (Lisa Gardner); The Help (Kathryn Stockett); The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins); and just finished Ape House (Sara Gruen).

[Sneezing]
Yesterday while eating my lunch I felt some sneezles coming on.  I think I must be allergic to work.  Anyway, when I got to my bag-o-carrots, the sneezles came.  There is no way to avoid pain while sneezing and eating or swallowing carrots.  No way.

I think its good to reflect every now and again.

And lucky you.

You get to read about it.

Take Luck,
LP

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dead Duck

I saw this coming ten miles away.

It still gave me a little chuckle when I poked my head outside to find out why the pups were so quiet.




These two are quite the pair.

Brock going for the belly.

Teddy Ruxbin going for the jugular.

Take Luck,
LP

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Duck

Recently, Brock and Sonny discovered a stuffed, toy duck laying in the side yard of our next door neighbors.  They were completed enamored with it.  And by that I mean they would stand at the fence and stare at it, bark at it, lunge at it, and growl at it as it was lying there motionless.

Imagine that, a toy that lies tauntingly motionless.

They have had this same toy in the past, but they (mostly Brock) destroyed it within an hour - first by ripping out the squeaker that makes the duck noise and then slowly ripping out the stuffing and tearing the poor bird to shreds (mostly Sonny).

At $10 a duck... We found alternative toys.

Like empty waterbottles.

After seeing their reactions to this dead duck, we went out tonight and bought them their very own duck.  Well, their very own duck to share.  We had an idea to "surprise" them with the present and figured they would be super excited and run and jump all over the place.  We are puppy-sitting Teddy for my parents again while they are in San Fransisco for the week so we figured the three of them would go at it and wrestle each other for awhile, and then get tired.

They weren't surprised (shocking).  

They (mostly Brock) did run and jump around a little.

Sonny was actually afraid of the squeaking duck.

We had the idea of videotaping their reactions to the squeaking duck, but apparently they had other plans.  They pretty much made us feel like idiots.  After our failed attempt, I kept recording.

Since B-Boy is so much bigger than the little ladies, he pretty much dominated the duck hunting.  Teddy tried to get in on the action, but lost.  This whole thing turned into Brock playing with the duck alone, while Sonny and Teddy had wieny races around the yard.  After the wieny races, Brock and Teddy started a little friendly tug-of-war.

At least Ryan and I were entertained?

video

video

Enjoy the silly puppies.  And try to ignore my voice.

Take Luck,
LP

Monday, August 1, 2011

One Year

I'm sure the recent suspense has just been killing you, knowing that our one year wedding anniversary is 

TODAY!

We spent the weekend celebrating our love and wedding day in Troutdale, Oregon which is just East of Portland.  While there we went exploring and hiking along the Columbia River Gorge and spent the afternoon and evening at McMenimins.  McMenimins is a little historic town that has a small golf course, a winery, several pubs and restaurants and gardens. 

We started Saturday morning by hiking Multanomah Falls, which is a 629 foot waterfall that cascades over a cliff.  From the lookout point, there was a .2 mile hike to a bridge with a pretty great view.  A full mile from the lookout point was the top of the falls and was absolutely incredible.  It sure felt like more than a mile though.  They were kind enough to mark each switchback for us to keep reminding us just how far to go.  There were 11.  Thank ya much.

When we reached the top and went out to the Multanomah viewpoint, I took one step onto the platform to snap some pictures and I felt like we were going to tip over.  I immediately handed off the camera to my brave hubby, and said, "You do it. Gotta go."  After Multanomah we stopped at Wahkeena Falls.  The hike up to this falls' bridge was a mile and by this time, our legs were feeling quite jello-y so we decided to just take some pictures like wimps. 

We got cleaned up and headed to McMenimins for lunch, beers, wine (bad mix) and dinner.  We leisurely walked the grounds, people watched, drank some beers (including some delicious ruby raspberry beers!) and of course - I took lots of pictures. 


View from the parking lot

That's a big fall

View from the lookout spot

Lovebirding

Ryan "hiding" in the cave

View of Columbia River

Getting higher

Handsome Hubby

Christopher Columbus, eat your heart out

Channeling my inner Pocohantas

I'm queen of the wooorld!

Tippy top of Multanomah Falls

Up the staircase

View of the lodge with Multonomah in the back

View from the wimp area

More wimpiness

Map of McMenamins

Ry-boy with his lunch time beer sampler

Ry-boy after his lunch time beer sampler

Post at McMenamins

Sign in the glass blowing lady's shop

Cute bench in the garden

Edgefield Water Tower



Hammerhead and Ruby. Yum.

Lovey lovebirds

Fire-y sunflower
We had a fantastic weekend.  It was so nice just to get away, even for a few nights to enjoy each other and celebrate us.  This past year has gone by so fast.  It is hard to believe that it's been a whole year since we exchanged "I do's."  It has been a great year, full of love, laughter and learning how to be the best possible husband and wife to each other.  I can't wait to celebrate many, many more years together.

Take Luck,
LP 
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