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Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful

December 18, 2008 Leave a comment

Actually, the effects of the weather are quite beautiful. It’s been snowing several days this week her in Seattle which is a bit unusual. At this elevation with sea winds blowing over Puget Sound we don’t get a lot of snow here without a 30 minute drive or so up into the foothills of the Cascades. But this week we are getting an “arctic blast”, where the jet stream drops down and decides to pay us a visit. I just hope that next Thursday – Christmas – is this beautiful.

But what makes it frightful is all the drivers around here – many of whom have never driven before coming State-side or who have never seen snow. They’ll just abandon their cars on the roads – from interstate to arterial roads. They’ll spin their tires hoping for traction on ice. And on clear roads (because everyone else is staying home) they’ll drive the speed limit or faster on snow-covered ice or packed snow. Some argue “they just aren’t used to it”, but it’s common sense that ice is slick.

So I’m glad I had 12 days of vacation to use or lose. I’m safe from these “drivers” and warm in my house with my family. And soon Tracy and I are taking Sommer outside to play in the snow.

Categories: Holiday

Day at the Park

September 8, 2008 Leave a comment

We went to Marymoor Park in Redmond today with our friends and their dog. Suzie was listening so much better than when she was younger (back when we lived in Redmond and frequently went to Marymoor, which has the largest off-leash dog park in Washington).

Our friend’s dog, Rafe, did well his first day in the water. He was a bit nervous at first until our friend got in and coaxed him in. I tried the same thing – getting soaked in the process (should’ve worn shorts and sandals like I original planned) – but Suzie would just dip her toes. See, when she was only a few months old in the month of February, she spontaneously jumped into a frigid Lake Washington when Tracy and I were walking along shores with Suzie. She hasn’t really like the water much since. In fact, she doesn’t even seem to like wet grass if it’s even more than a couple of inches tall.

I didn’t want to force her out into the water by pulling her in, but after trying to coax her for about 5 minutes I picked up and slowly places her in the water, which was much warmer than the last time she jumped in. It was in a shallow area that let her walk but still mostly covered her with water. Eventually she did get into deeper waters and doggy paddled just fine. Rafe figured that out very quickly and that he could actually move faster anyway. Oh well, I guess Suzie will get there eventually.

That was also the first in a long time for me. I used to swim and, um, dip in plenty of lakes and rivers when I was younger but after having organized a spontaneous swim party / BBQ after a Tae kwon do meet in which most – including myself – got very sick of near-lethal doses of ecoli in the water (Iowa rivers and lakes are horribly polluted), I’ve been a bit of a "germaphobe". Going into the water – even while missing most of a toe nail (recently the old one fell off after an Ultimate frisbee incident) – was a bit first step for me.

Tracy and Sommer walked along watching Suzie play. Sommer seemed to notice all the other dogs barking and seemed very curious. I can’t wait till she’s old enough to walk and experience all that herself.

Categories: Holiday

Seafair 2008

August 4, 2008 Leave a comment
This year was Sommer’s first trip to Seafair. Of course she won’t remember it, but I know I will: this year the Air Force seems to have made an appearance with my favorite plane: the A10 Warthog, aka the tank buster. Unfortunately we decided to stay in a park near the entrance to I-90 instead of walking out on it like we did last year. The view was a bit obstructed, so next year we’ll arrive early at the park again and just relax at the park until it’s time to go out onto the I-90 floating bridge into Seattle.
 
‘ve uploaded a few of the new shots that turned out okay. It’s not easy tracking planes with manual focus (automatic focus wouldn’t keep up either).
 
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Categories: Holiday

Seafair 2007

August 6, 2007 Leave a comment

Tracy and I finally got to attend Seattle’s Seafair – a large event where the Navy comes to port bringing along their Blue Angels, and filled with additional activities such as the Unlimited hydroplane races.

On Saturday we toured a Navy vessel but, unfortunately I don’t remember its name and the Navy promptly locked the public out of the information page. Below are a few pictures of these ships.

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On Sunday we went to watch the Blue Angels on Mercer Island and actually found decent parking near the East-bound exit ramp. They close the I-90 bridge down for people to walk out and watch the Angels. I shot in burst mode so I had a lot of images to go through and apparently had some dust on the inner lens so I still have some touch-ups to do, but below are a few images for now.

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Categories: Holiday

Anniversary in Hawaii

February 19, 2007 Leave a comment
For some time I’ve wanted to do something special for our fifth anniversary, so for Valentine’s day I had purchased the trip and surprised Tracy. We will be spending our fifth anniversary on the island of Oahu.
 
We’ll spend a few days near Waikiki beach and head north for the rest of the week, stopping to see all the beautiful sites. I plan on taking lots of pictures – as this is a time for me to relax as well – and will post them when we get back. This will be a memorable anniversary for sure!
Categories: Holiday

Snow for the Holidays

November 28, 2006 Leave a comment

When we got to our gate in Chicago O’Hare, I saw that the temperature in Seattle was 33° F. I thought to myself, "If it were to rain today, we might end up with a little dusting of snow." Sure enough, once on the plane the pilot announced that it was snowing in Seattle. Here we spent nearly a week in northern Illinois without snow and relatively warm nights, and it was snowing in Seattle at near sea level.

As we flew over Seattle about to land, we could see there was a light dusting of snow but some dark clouds were looming. As we passed through Bellevue on I-5 the snow started really falling, but as large pebbles – more like hail, except consisting of slush. After we picked up Suzie in Woodinville and got home, I started to leave to head to the grocery store for milk and a few items for chicken parmesan I planned on making. The snow was now really coming down. There was actually ice on the road in less-traveled lanes. Good thing my Audi has full-time all-wheel drive, but what scares me is the idiots on the road who don’t know how to drive in such conditions. Granted, many people aren’t used to this weather that live here, but when it’s icy you don’t try to peel out in order to "break" free from the ice sheets. And you don’t take a corner fast, like those dumbasses that wouldn’t hit me hard had I been to the intersection coming out of the grocery store just a second or two later.

It took quite some time to get home, which isn’t far from the grocery store. Traffic didn’t come idiot drivers much change to show their stupidity, but traffic was going a little too slow (main lanes were merely wet). It’s supposed to snow through tomorrow morning and remain icy through the night, so I’m not sure if greater Seattle will be open for business.

At least the chicken parmesan turned out good. I made our own merlot marinara and threw together the breading on egg-washed chicken breasts. Tracy made good parmesan and olive oil noodles and Suzie – as always – chewed on her bone under the table, joining the family for dinner.

Categories: Holiday

How not to Run a Business

November 28, 2006 Leave a comment

For Thanksgiving Tracy and I travelled to her parent’s house in Illinois. Our flight left at 8:25 AM on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Because of holiday travel, Tracy and I left with plenty of time to make it through check-in and security. Just before arriving at the airport, I got a call from an unusual looking phone number and figured it was another one of those crank calls. Several minutes later I checked my new voicemail to find that our flight to Chicago had been canceled.

The problems began there.

With the short warning, there was no time to make a flight at 7:30 AM so we were confirmed for a 3:48 PM flight. That would put us back her parent’s house at 1:00 AM Thanksgiving day. The lady at the counter said that our flight wasn’t canceled but was delayed because of mechanical failure. Later at one of the four gates that we may leave from on standby, I learned that the mechanical failure was found the night before. I’m glad they found it, but if they had that much warning why couldn’t they had a plan ready on one of the busiest travel days of the year?

We were put on standby for a 10:30 AM flight but that flight was already overbooked by 8, and they screwed up our place on the standby list, so with just one first class seat left, Tracy and I weren’t about to split up. The lady at the gate then put us on the standby list for our original flight which we barely made because it was about to close the doors. We finally got out of SeaTac some time after 11:00 AM.

We’ve been placed on standby for flights that we were confirmed for, but I have learned that if you aren’t confirmed by the airlines’ sites themselves, you aren’t actually confirmed – at least, that’s what one airline told me once and it seems to hold true with our experience. We also have pieces of our luggage missing almost every time we fly, and on the first trip we took when our luggage was new the frame was broken on the largest piece. The airline wouldn’t fix it, claiming it was normal wear and tear. Again, the frame was broken and partly sticking out of the fabric. Currently, our luggage has missing logos, zippers, and a lock that wasn’t even on the zipper when we traveled (and it was a TSA-approved lock anyway).

If there was any better way of traveling in about as little as time, we would.

This is a perfect example of how not to run a business.

Categories: Holiday