Friday, November 18, 2011

Visiting Kristen in Seattle

Over a month ago now, I visited Kristen in Seattle. She has been completing her physical therapy rotation in Kent, WA this fall, and I thought it would be fun to visit her while she was there. We had a really great weekend.

Kristen had to work during the afternoon that I arrived, and so my first stop was to the original Starbucks. Or at least, what Starbucks is calling their original store. Kristen and I took a coffee tour of Seattle on the Saturday I was visiting, and we learned all kinds of secrets about that sneaky company. Secret 1 - the true original Starbucks store was a block down the street from the store pictured above, but that store burned down, so they rebuilt it at the location I visited. During the rebuild, another Starbucks had already opened up in downtown Seattle, making the place I visited the third Starbucks in existence and not the first. (Silly details ruin all good marketing schemes...) I happened to be in Seattle the first week of pumpkin spice latte season, so I shelled out the big bucks to get my latte from the flagship store. (It was delicious.)

Right down the street from the flagship Starbucks was Pike Place Market. I was very excited that they had bouquets of flowers for $5.

I also took a ferry boat ride to Bainbridge Island and back while I was waiting for Kristen. It was magical, even without McDreamy to keep me company! I could honestly ride that boat all day long.

Here is a view of Seattle at night from the ferry boat, taken with my limited camera.

We visited the EMP, which is a really cool museum (especially if you like Nirvana). They had a special exhibit on the music in horror films, which featured a scream booth. Naturally we had to take photos of us screaming. Above is the two of us together (which didn't turn out as well because we we did our individual photos first and were both laughing by this point).

Here is Kristen, who looks like a normal person screaming (or singing in the shower)...

...and here is the one of me. (I do not look so normal, but I love love LOVE this photo anyway.) Lesson learned - my "scream face" is more terrifying than anything that could possibly scare me...

On our coffee tour, this latte was on special at one of the cafes we visited...perfect for David!

Before I left on this trip, David told me that he "hoped I would see Mt. Rainer" while I was visiting WA. I did not understand what he meant; how could I miss a giant mountain?? It is the strangest thing how it can be completely hidden from view...and then...all of a sudden in plain sight. We saw the mountain as we were driving back from our coffee tour.

Kristen and I took Levi to a dog park and walked around there for quite some time. This was not your average dog park in the woods; the views were breathtaking.

Happy Levi, playing fetch.

Kristen and I went to a pumpkin beer festival the day I was leaving, and we wanted to make pumpkin t-shirts with puffy paint to wear for the occasion. (I am sure you can guess which shirt I made.) We had a lot of fun making these shirts, but neither of them dried in time for the event, so we did not get to wear them. We were forced to buy Halloween-themed clothing from Wal-Mart instead.

What a fantastic trip! I am looking forward to seeing Kristen back in Butler in December (in just a few weeks)!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The lull before the holiday rush...

The holidays are fast approaching, and this weekend is my last weekend in Ithaca before I begin a massive amount of traveling to see family and friends over the course of the 2011 holiday season! There is not much to report, but here are some random photos taken over the last month or so that do not require their own post, but are still fun.

My laboratory is in the middle of another CHESS cycle. We were given three weekend blocks of time throughout October and November to conduct our experiments, the last of which is a 24 hour time block this weekend from 12 noon on Saturday to 12 noon on Sunday. My CHESS data collection has been frustrating as of late (to put it mildly), and so I am hoping this weekend's trip will be more productive. On November 4, Karen and I worked a night shift at CHESS during one of the Crane weekends there, working from 10 pm until 9:30 am. To survive, we watched episodes of Gilmore Girls while we collected data (and during our 3 hour wait for broken equipment to be repaired), and to stay awake, she consumed a 5 Hour Energy drink and I drank this 2 L of Coke Cherry Zero out of a coffee mug. These were terrible choices - we may have been awake, but we made ourselves massively sick to our stomachs. While in undergraduate, I used to consume a 2L bottle of Coca Cola (not diet) EVERY DAY, 5 days a week...and I have no idea how I did this then, but I am not capable of it now! It will be awhile until I will want to consume cola-type beverages...

Our Sunday afternoons are spent watching NFL football. Here is a cute photo of David and Ipita while enjoying the Dolphins' first win last weekend (the Dolphins also won their game yesterday too).

I have been invited to give a talk at a conference in CA during January. I was excited about this opportunity for about an hour, and then I became completely stressed out about getting more work done between now and then. David and I saw this wine in the store a few weeks ago and thought the name was clever enough to justify purchasing a bottle (the label also suits me perfectly, because I take a bath almost every day to unwind). I am sad to report that the wine itself was nothing special, but I still like their concept of a Tough Day Chardonnay...

The coolest shoes I have ever owned!

I have a problem buying things for myself. I am very good picking out things I like, and I always have a strong desire to purchase them...but I lack follow-through. When it comes time to click "purchase" or to go through the check-out line, my guilt sets in and I save the item(s) to my cart for a later day (to be forgotten forever) or put the item(s) back on the shelf. (The only exception to this pattern is when I open iTunes, the store where all of my self-control vanishes...)

When I saw Adidas's new special edition Kermit shoes, I knew my obsession with the Muppets (and passion for Kermit, in particular) would and should win out. These shoes were made for me to wear them, and though I spent an hour putting them in the cart and then closing the webpage, I am so glad I was able to click "purchase." I only wish I had bought two pairs, because now they are sold out of my size and I have no option to extend their lifetime by having a back-up pair in my closet.

This is the box they came in. I have kept it, and I currently store the shoes in it when I am not wearing them so that they last longer. (David thinks this behavior is hilarious.)

THE SHOES! Go ahead, be a little jealous. Money may not be able to buy long-term happiness, but it certainly can buy shoes that put a big smile on my face!