Connor's Counter


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blue is not just a river in Egypt....

I've been kind of down lately, so I haven't blogged. Mostly because of all these dr. appts I've been having lately, getting poked and prodded and diagnosis' like "severe obstructive apnea," "glucose intolerant," "PCOS," and various other female issues that I'd prefer not to rehash... Plus, I'm still fat! So, in an effort to cheer myself up, I'm going to list things that make me happy today:
  • Ron. He's always top of my list because he's so supportive of everything I go through.
  • the cats. You can't get much furrier than that!
  • our weekend away -- we went up to Brinnon last weekend to just relax. It was nice -- we have the windows in and the house wrap up. It almost looks like a real house
  • my new bike. I've been wanting to start riding again, but didn't think they had a bike that would support my weight. We went into REI, and what do you know? They had one! I was all gung-ho to start riding to work (only 6 miles away), and then it started raining. We had a dry spell for 3 months, and the day I get my bike it starts raining! (oh-wait, this is happy thoughts)
  • I actually started cleaning the corner in the basement where I need to paint the last wall downstairs. (Remember the project that I posted that needs to be done -- still working on it).
I'll post pictures of the bike once it stops raining and I can pull it out of the garage. Anyone want to go riding with me? I'm tempted to ride to Target tomorrow to buy a backpack, even if it's raining. I live in Oregon, for pete's sake....

"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not."
-Mark Twain

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Meet Mr. Beta. Aptly named after his own species!

OK, this is my first official tag! (thankyou, ashley!). Here goes,
list 5 Joys, 5 Fears, 5 obsessions/collections, and 5 surprising facts, and tag 5 people.

1. Ron. I LOVE to cuddle with him. He is the world's best cuddler! For the first 6 years of marriage, we would cuddle all night long, even in our sleep! If one of us turned over, the other followed and thus it went all night long like the sausages at 7-11. Why only the first 6 years? What happened you ask? Well, I got my mask! :( much-needed for my sleep apnea, but definitely a cuddle-killer.
2. My cats. and all their furriness.
3. Cooking. Ron and I have started to spend our Sundays learning how to cook new things. Not just throwing stuff in a pot, but actually making delectable dishes. Things like Chicken Marsala, Salmon with mushroom sauce, pear cobbler, etc etc. It's actually nice to eat when it's good!
4. my health. though it could be better, I'm definitely still able to do most things that I'd like to do...
5. sleeping. It's much more restful with the mask (despite the downfalls of #1).

1. That I'm missing out on life because I'm working too much. Ron and I see less and less of each other (part of the reason we instigated cooking day).
2. We'll reach the millenium and I won't be ready. (This has been a fear since I was 5 years old... I'm trying to sift through to see if it's irrational or not. :).
3. My cats will never know how good they have it.....
4. stepping in poo... I've done it before and it is gross!!!
5. bugs. I hate hate hate them. If I see a roach, I literally freeze solid in a semi-fetal position. Imagine standing up, bringing feet together, one on top of the other tucked inward, arms cringed together, all twisted up and shaking, and a really awful look of disgust on my face, with lip curled and everything. Literally, I freeze like that for a good five minutes. (I didn't fare too well in Brasil for a year and a half!! eeewww! I get grossed out just thinking about the buggers I saw over there).

1. Work. I hate that it's an obsession.... I'm trying to replace it with an actual life... :)
2. Organization. You might laugh, given the "projects" that are piling up, but really I have a hard time being productive if things aren't organized.... which is why I don't get much done at home....
3. taking pictures of people, places, things. I'm not very good. My last class was in high school, for pete's sake. and I don't remember what F-stop is. although I think it's about speed of the film or something... anyway, the trick is to buy a really nice camera!! that has an "auto" button! maybe someday I can learn how to really use it!
4. I have a collection of old photos that I stole from my parents because they weren't doing anything with them. My siblings have cleaned me out of some of them, but I'm still trying to archive them onto digital media.
5. Making sure my hands are clean all the time! (This was ashley's, too, I'm just building on it). When I cook, I found that I wash my hands everytime anything gets on them (so, like, 30 times during a typical preparation). I refuse to hold on to the hand rail at work because I KNOW what kind of germs are crawling there. (Ironically, I stopped getting sick all the time once I stopped holding that germy thing). I carry sanitizer in my purse, and use it often. and I always have to get them really dry after washing.... no drips!

Surprising Facts
1. Probably the most surprising thing about me is that I have a tattoo. few people know. fewer have seen it. I don't show anyone any more, so I guess you'll never know if you haven't seen it already... :)
2. I have been sky diving. I was so scared that I don't remember most of it.... silly.
3. I am certified for advanced/nitrox SCUBA diving. My wet suit currently doesn't fit (is that surprising?), so I don't go very often.
4. I hate politics. I hate discussing them. I even hate voting because the options are never very good.....
5. I've discovered that I don't really like ice cream. I still eat it. But I wonder why.....

Now, I tag Christi, Ronna, Wendel, Becky, and Tiffany! (I think I'll be lucky if I see two of those tagged actually write! I'm being ambitious. :)

"Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
Amy Bloom

Monday, September 8, 2008

No pics For You!

(Title is meant to be said in the "soup nazi" tone of voice...)

Well, I don't have any pictures of this weekend. It was mostly chores and catch up. Although,
Ron and I did continue our new hobby of cooking on Sunday. Ron made the yummy salmon with mushroom sauce, I made the baby red roasted potatoes, and we both made the zuchini/squash, and carrots. We've learned that we don't much like leftovers, but we haven't quite figured out how to cook "small" yet... so we try and have friends over to help consume. So far it has mostly been Ron's Brother, Aaron, and his wife (Megan), and their son (Ryan). The dinners have been turning out pretty good, so we're starting to branch out. Yesterday we invited Aaron and Megan, AND Wendel and Ashley. I was pleasantly surprised when they accepted our invitation. They travelled two hours one way! It was so nice. We had 7 people! Ryan didn't eat much, but definitely kept us entertained. It was a fun evening just sitting around, chatting, and eating. At the end, I decided to try and make york peppermint patty shakes, with no previous practice.... big mistake. I won't go into details, but let's just say that smoke-flavored shakes is not fun for anyone.... I'll just stick to smoothies (I've had LOTS of practice with those!). They're probably healthier, too.

For my QOTD, I'm going to borrow Ashley's:
"Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that's why I made works of art." - Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Fabulous Weekend, part II

Well, Saturday came all too fast. We woke up at 8am, which is really early for Saturday! I've been wearing "the mask" at night for a few weeks now, and it's starting to work! I can actually wake up coherently before noon these days. Ron took another day off work and we drove up to Washington to our property. No progress was made since the last picture I posted, so we decided to stay in a B&B called The Harbor House, which is just down the road from us.

This is the bedroom we booked:

And this is the view from the balcony:

It's located in a cove called Pleasant Harbor Marina that is just down the street from our property. (Like, literally a block away, if travelling by water). There is currently a permitting process underway for a new golf, spa, and shopping resort (see Statesman Group's Pleasant harbor developement website for details) that we are really excited about. Not just because it will increase the property values of the whole town, but also because it will bring something to do in Brinnon. Don't get me wrong, the serenity is nice. But too much serenity can drive a person crazy... :) I think they're going to start building in 2009. FUN!

On our way up, we stopped off in St. Helens to visit some friends of ours, Julie & Jared & their two boys Evan (3) and Mason (1). We spontaneously invited them with us, and I'm glad we did because we had such a good time. The whole town was booked (not like there's much choice to start with), so they shared our room.... A little bit of drama, but worth it.

The first night we got in pretty late, so we just went to bed. Then next morning, Ron and I took Evan down to the dock to find marine treasures at low tide on the pylons. Let's see, there was a whole bunch of sealife, including starfish, mussels, oysters, crab (in the water), seaweed, little fishies, birds, even a seal that was making his rounds, patrolling the marina. It was too far out to catch Evan's attention, but I think it was funny how it would swim underwater for a bit, pop its head out, check out the perimeter, then go underwater again. It went around 2-3 times while we were there. It stayed an extra long time at the newly-built boat launch (which is a reallly nice one), probably wondering where all the traffic came from.

For lunch we went to the Timber House in Quilcene. The food there is excellent!! If you're ever in the neighborhood, we should go! The clam chowder is the best I've ever had. It was made with ingredients that I couldn't quite put my finger on, but was sooo yummy. I always get the seafood platter. Even though it's breaded and fried, I still get to taste a little bit of everything.

Evan had his heart set on going for a hike over the weekend, so after lunch we went up to Fallsview Falls where there's a short trail to a waterfall. It was fun, although the falls weren't flowing very heavy. Probably the wrong season (after all, we've had a dry summer relatively speaking).

Julie & Jared, Evan & Mason Bradfield

When we went around the whole loop (probably 1/10th of a mile total), Evan decided he wanted more hiking. So, we drove up to Mt Walker view point where there was a nice lookout and another trail head (this time, a 2-mile trail, but we weren't planning on hiking the whole thing.

Actually, when we got to the top, we saw a bunch of birds hanging around. Jared had a granola bar, so he crumbled it up in his hand and helped Evan feed the birds. We have TONS of shots of birds flying in and out. They would take these huge pieces that were almost bigger than their heads, fly away and come right back. You know they weren't eating all of it. I bet they were stocking up for winter.

Here are some of my favorite bird shots:

(4 calling birds, 3 french hens, two turtle doves...... )

And a partridge in a pear tree! not really, but there were a lot of birds.

Are we feeding the boy or the birds??? :)

I like how I captured the bird mid-flight and it's not blurry! most of the flight shots I got were blurry!

The fabulous view

Token shot of me and Ron. Yes, it was chilly 2 miles up in the air....

After hiking came naps. Ron and I went over to the property to fix the other paddle boat while the kids took a nap. It took us 2 hours to saw that solid iron bar out of the boat. It was completely rusted through, and the boat wouldn't paddle anymore. At least, not without making a terrible clicking noise and leaking profusely through the pedals. We fixed it, then took it over to the boat launch (The first boat was already docked at the B&B). When the boys woke up, we all got in a pedal boat (two total) and pedaled over to our beach. From as far back as the B&B is in the marina, it took us a good 40 minutes to pedal over. Jared mentioned that as they were pedaling out, a man in a beautiful 90 ft yacht yelled over his balcony, "No Wake!!" and laughed smugly. hm... mean man! I'm sure Ron and I were getting plenty of stares ourselves as we lowered our 8 foot bright yellow and blue pedal boat into the water and the boat launch.... maybe someday when we win the lottery we can have a nice, big yacht and pay someone to maintain it! :)

I was sad we didn't have the camera to take shots in the boats or at the beach. We've never done a bonfire on the beach before, and it was actually quite fun!! there's always plenty of driftwood to use. I remember when we first bought the place, I had big plans for cleaning up the beach and getting rid of all of the driftwood. That is, until I saw how the tide brought in new loads every day.... not that much, really, but the tide will bring it in, and the tide will bring it out. I was very overwhelmed after the first big storm that we had when there were huge logs all up and down our beach. Until, after the next storm they were all gone. The tide bringeth, and the tide taketh away...

We got a good fire going, and we roasted hot dogs, sausages, and marshmallows. yummy! It got late (and dark) much too quickly. None of us wanted to leave, except Mason was up way past his bedtime. He definitely wasn't happy to still be there. So, since we all paddeled over there, we were trying to figure out how to get back. Luckily, the boys rescued us. Ron, Jared, and Evan all did a super-pedal back to the Harbor House, jumped in the car and raced back to pick us up. Julie and Jared took the kids back to get in bed, while Ron and I finished cleaning up the campsite. Then we pedaled the other boat back over. What a great night!

Jared was SO curious about the oysters. We told him he could take as many as he wants from our beach. We have TONS (360 feet of beachfront with a strip of oysters approximately 20 feet wide. that's alot of oysters. Jared got up really early because he didn't know when low tide was. (We were silly enough not to bring a tide table. oops!). He went over to start harvesting some oysters. When Ron woke up, he got a little nervous since those oysters can be sharp! He told me later that when he arrived at our beach, Jared was this lone man wading out in the water, plunging for oysters. If he had waited another 2 hours, the oysters would have been exposed and no swimming in the COLD water would have been necessary. However, I think he was kind of looking for an adventure anyway, so he was happy to swim. He took a chest full of carefully selected oysters home to enjoy. Ron and I haven't been brave enough to try them yet. Although we're told they're delectable. Jared agrees. He cooked them on the grill, then sprinkled them with lemon and garlic butter. They were very tender, not chewy, and not gritty at all. Jared shared them with all of his neighbors and now he's very popular. :) Who doesn't like fresh oysters? I guess you'll have to try them, too, if you come to visit.

We headed home after lunch and got back in time to relax before going back to work the next day. Well, not Ron. He doesn't work on Tuesdays.

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

A Fabulous Weekend, part I

My first "installment" blog, as it were... We just did so much, that I must break it down into parts....

Well, Friday night was awesome because Ron got off work early and we went out to dinner. He had asked his coworker where she liked to go with her husband so she gave him a couple of suggestions. We ended up going to the London Grill, which just happens to be in the same hotel (The Benson) where we spent the first two nights of our honeymoon! :)

Ron thought he was "safe" because the name of the restaurant had "Grill" in the title... Buhwah-ha-ha... :) I agreed whole-heartedly to go there because I knew it was a posh place, and that he usually didn't like posh places.... So, I took advantage of the situation. As soon as we got there, I could see his face squinch up in a "hmm." kind of fashion. But, he grinned and bore it. And we both had a great time and a good dinner.

The embiance was very formal, though I will admit that the piano player was a bit loud. He must have had a microphone or something. They sat us at a table in the "long" direction, so we were further apart than we were used to. Sometimes we had to speak up to be heard, but it was nice anyway.

We started our meal with the crab cakes appetizer. They brought it out and it looked so floofy! :) it had dancing shredded lettuce on the top with two types of drizzled glaze over it forming an artistic rendering of stained glass or something. Next came our main course. I ordered the Cedar Plank Salmon which was Aioli crusted Wild Salmon Filet with a yummy sauce and many types of mushrooms on it. The potatoes were circle-cut with an interesting seasoning. And, I had asparagus and carrots for my veggies. Ron ordered the Mixed Grill which had Lamb Chop, Pork Medallion, Beef Tenderloin, Scallop, and Prawn. When they brought it out, it was still on a sword-shaped skewer and they poured some flaming liquid all over it. (Flambe'e, I guess?). They also left a yummy Bernaise sauce with him to pour over everything. (he also had the same potatoe and he had green beans for a veggie). Little did they know that Ron loves pouring stuff on his meal. :) It was good. Finally, for dessert, we shared the cheesecake. Yummy.

I almost forgot about this secret room that was located just behind our table. I guess it was the wine room, because waitors would enter every once in a while and come out with a bottle of wine. I call it secret because the "door" is actually one of the wooden wall panels, with a sconce light on it and everything. You wouldn't know it was a door, unless you already knew! I actually found a picture of it online! You can see The big open door in the back? Our table was just to the right of it. I never saw the door open that far, though. (You can kind of make out the sconce light on the panel).

Anyway, we came home and yada-yada-yada, fell asleep. ;)

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside"
-Mark Twain