Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmasakkuh

and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

you can go home again, and again

Looks like we're moving back to the NW within less than 2 years of leaving, for the second time! I've gotten a new job, which is great news. It happens to be back in Washington State, and is beyond amusing since we only left a mere 15 months ago! We really weren't planning on leaving DC for a few more years, but this opportunity just came along. We're sad to leave all our new friends, who we had hoped to get to know better. We'll just have to do that from afar!

I'll be working at the state legislative level, so that's exciting for me, since all things political make me happy. Dan and the mutts are going to stay in DC till Dan's done with his semester at MD in May. I'll be able to come back to DC for long weekends and stuff after the session is over mid-March.

And just to add more insanity to our lives, Dan and I just moved to a new house (twice) in the last two weeks. We found what we thought was a great old victorian to rent in Mt. Rainier, MD. After 2 days there, we realized it was a complete disaster, uninhabitable and a total nightmare. We wound up moving again down the street to another great house we had found earlier in November. It's a really nice bungalow, only now I don't get to live in it! But I'm going to unpack it for Danly, so he doesn't have to live among boxes while I'm gone!

Needless to say, this has been quite a ride the past few weeks, but we're looking forward to the next year and adventure.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

3 houses in 4 days

Well, we are in our new house, but it's not the one we thought we'd be in. We moved Sunday and Monday into this giant old victorian that was getting remodeled. The remodel didn't go so well, to put it mildly. Tons of things were wrong with the house; broken furnace, old rusty pipes, leaky pipes, leaky toilet, carbon monoxide leaking from furnace. windows installed wrong, fucked up kitchen cabinets, and polyurethane reeking smell from everywhere!

We stayed 2 nights, one without heat because the furnace repair men said the furnace wasn't safe. We spent 2 days dealing with 6 sets of repair men, and by that time we decided that we didn't want to live in someone else's money pit. We called another place that we had seen a month ago that we really wanted, and it was still available. So we moved into a cute bungalow on Wednesday and Thursday. We were able to get out of our lease no problem at the money pit, and are trying to figure out how to get all of our money back from the first house.

We're almost done dealing with the moving hell of 2007, thank goodness. But the new house is great, we love the neighborhood, and the dogs have a great big yard to run around in!

Monday, November 12, 2007

new art for the new house

Even though I'm in the midst of packing and thoroughly unmotivated to box up all our wares, I purchased some inspiration to get me through the next week. My sis turned me on to all these design blogs on the interwebs, and I found this great poster from WWII (I think) in England, for sale from one blogger/designer in SF. Not sure where it will live in the new digs, but it will most definitely make me smile every time I see it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

first freeze

It's supposed to freeze tonight, so I have to drag all the plants in after work so they don't croak. Good thing we have lots of surface area with all the boxes around the house from packing up for our new digs.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Approaching Halloween in Rock Creek Park

Hillary O'Lantern

O&G in the woods

Farmer's Market harvest

Fall bounty at Dupont Farmer's Market. Hopefully next year, we'll have our own backyard bounty again!

cheddar cauliflower and pumpkins

pretty colors in fruit and flower

uptight grocer!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Seeing Double

Dan's sister Anne had twins two weeks ago. Everyone is happy healthy and very cute. Jackson and Sarah for all to admire.

still martha after all these years

went to lowe's this morning to pick out paint for our new house. We couldn't go totally upscale this time, since it's not on our dime, but we were nevertheless determined to find some nice colors for the house. Oh, and most importantly, the contractors are painting, not us! Hurray. The colors we found at Home Depot last week were too bright and reminiscent of our old house in Seattle, and I just wasn't feeling it. I remembered when we were living in Minneapolis 10 years ago the Martha paints at KMart rocked, and were super cheap prices for good quality paint. Well Martha and KMart are no more, and I had long since upgraded to Benjamin Moore. But I discovered Martha's new paints at Lowe's, so off we went. We will now have a house covered in silly named colors like "Flying Jib," "Tin Pail" "Andiron" and "Birds Nest." Can't wait

Hopefully they look awesome, and the silly names will fade away into the night!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

on the move

We're moving to Mt. Rainier next month. No, not that Mt. Rainier, this one. We love our current neighborhood, but it's really hard to find what we want in Mt. Pleasant, so we're moving on.

We found a great, big, old east coast Victorian house, with a sunny yard for the dogs and the garden. Since we only got 2 or 3 tomatoes all summer long, it's definitely tine for a sunnier yard. Mt Rainier is a few blocks over the city line in MD, so we get to vote again and have federal representation, which makes us ecstatic. And we get to live in a town that was founded by Washingtonians, so that makes us feel a little bit closer to Seattle. Plus, you don't get to live in a town famous for the Exorcist every day!

We're packing up and moving next month, but now we're helping our new landlord decide where to put walls and what colors to paint the house. He's totally remodeling the place, so we get to move into a brand, spanking newly renovated place. We'll have lots more room, and a good yard for the mutts and garden. I get to grow seeds in the basement all winter, and can't wait!

pictures soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


it's october 18 and we have the air conditioner on! I'm outraged!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

islands in the stream

I've decided that fake celebrity sitings are just as much fun as seeing the real thing. It's especially fun after a few pints of beer in the middle of a Saturday in NYC. We saw fake Kenny Rogers in NY recently. Now it was hard to tell him from the real thing because Kenny Rogers has had so much fucking plastic surgery, I could barely recognize him on American Idol last season. That's right, he made the rounds of shameful Idol self promotion. I guess he's gotta pay the bills. Anyway, this guy really looked like the new and shiny Kenny Rogers, not the old sexy one from the 70's singing duets with Dolly and everyone else.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chelsea flea market finds

Danly and I went to NYC a few weekends ago to get out of town and see friends. Sunday morning we went to the Chelsea Flea Market, where the people watching was amazing, and the stuff for sale was pretty good too. Since I couldn't get sneaky pics of all the characters at the market, here's some shots of the cool stuff for sale.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

pretty pretty signs

cool signs I took shots of in San Pedro. As I was taking these photos, I realized that I have been taking pics of signs everywhere I go for years. Have to find them all and do a comparison. San Pedro still has an abundance of groovy 50's signs, which makes for lots of fun. Here's a sampling.

pretty garden in long beach. i love how this gardener combined bright plastic flowers throughout the real garden plants. so bright and cheery!

nice neon bar signs

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh My God...I Think I Just Blogged!

Now that Naomi's put a picture of gnomes on the blog...I guess it's time for me to chime in. Danno here, btw, coming to you straight from Chocolate City. I have to say that I have mixed emotions about blogging. Part of me thinks they're great, part of me thinks they can get self-indulgent...which is at odds with my protestant family history. So, if I ever start reading like an Andy Rooney piece on 60 minutes, have my permission to whack me.

Ok...that's out of the way. I'm sitting here in DC, in graduate school, I'm pushing 40, my dogs are just as neurotic as me, my sister's about to drop did that happen? Sometimes I look around and realize a lot has happened in the last year.

I'm in grad school. Me... When I graduated from college way back when, that was it, baby. I was done! Things change, I guess, cuz not only am I in grad school...I'm getting a Masters in Special Ed. Yes, you read correctly, Special Ed. Basically I thought general ed. would be to EASY...yeah...that's it. too EASY. I went to a grad school fair about a year ago, met a woman from the University Maryland Special Education department...talked with her, set up an appointment, met a couple professors...started applying and what do you know--they accepted me! I gotta give some props to my buddy Bruce at this point. He was the person who kept telling me to stop THINKING about all this and just do it. His help was invaluable to me, and I owe him big time. More on that later. So, now I'm in school, careening towards a teaching career...go figure. It's great and I love it, stress and all.

I know Naomi's already mentioned our feelings about DC, but let me just add a couple of things. First of all, it's a beautiful city. The neighborhoods, the architecture, all the monuments,'s a pretty place. Having said that, there is something weird about it. I know we'll probably go on and on about this as we post more, adding our latest theories as to the weirdness of DC. Here's tonight's installment. As I was walking the dogs tonight, it suddenly occurred to me that this city is full of people who's lives are somewhere else. They are here for their stint in DC, doing whatever work they're doing, but they don't bring their lives here. It's like they've put huge parts of lives on hold, or they're keeping them going in the city they came from, and probably will return to. It makes for an interesting community dynamic to say the least. You've got this huge part of the city that doesn't invest in the city they live in, and another huge part of the population here, who have built community and lives here, who don't have the resources or municipal infrastructure, or representation to invest in the city the ways they'd probably like to. We've all heard about the schools, the crime, the poverty, the racism, the plantation mentality of our capital city. The amazing thing to me is that all that's going on while money is simultaneously floating all around this town. Someone told me the other day that something like 3 of the 10 richest counties in the US are in the DC metro area. But in the actual city, there's more people living poverty than I've ever seen before. By far. It's interesting that I'm learning all the nuts and bolts of No Child Left Behind. It seems to me that the first child left behind was, and continues to be, Washington DC.

How's that for a first posting! Sheesh--I guess that Andy Rooney reference didn't take long to materialize! Didn't mean to get so damn serious there...quick---LOOK AT THE GNOMES!! happy happy gnomes.

I'll sign off on a lighter note, really. We going up to NYC this weekend to hang out with buddies and go to the San Gennaro Festival!! Woo hoo! Man I'm going to eat my way through Little Italy! I'll be sure to eat a cannoli for y'all! Maybe I'll get a tattoo! What?

Stay tuned!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Gnomes run wild in Long Beach

in Long Beach for work this week and was doing a little investigating on the internets, in case I have a free moment to explore. Holy cupcakes, Batman, look what's going on down here in SoCal!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ramen and chuhai make the world go 'round

I heart Vancouver. I'm here this week for work, but my mind is really only on one thing - my next meal! Vancouver has always been a place that I love, but since traveling to Japan this year, I can truly appreciate this city. They have Chuhai! my favorite beverage of choice in Japan.

Chuhai is barley or potato booze mixed with juice and it's the most heavenly concoction i've ever head, although they are a bit like wine coolers for grownups. Plus no hangovers, and you can get it in a 40 oz. can from the vending machine across from my friends' apartment in Himeji! Can't get much better than that.

Anyway, I digress. In between working and sleeping, I've managed to wander around town in the beautiful pacific nw summer weather, sit by the water at Stanley Park, and pig out! My sweet friends drove up from Seattle to meet me at Kintaro Ramen on Sunday for a hot steaming bowl of soup. The miso ramen tastes like Japan. I ordered a different kind on Sunday that didn't quite live up to Japan ramen, so of course I had to go back on my last night here and order some. It was delicious!

Also on my gorging spree was a stop at Gyoza King, a great place where I found the chu-hi. Sort of like a mellow izakaya, lots to choose from on the menu. I was all set to go back to the Gyoza King my last night here to have a final chuhai, but they were closed, no dishwasher. I was sad for a moment, then promptly walked around the corner to have more ramen. I immediately got over the chuhai.

I stumbled upon good coffee during the week, too, at a downtown cafe near my hotel. Even though I gave up coffee years ago, something beckoned me to try it here, and it was great. Had to go back the next day for more!

Lastly, I had read a bunch of reviews of Phnom Penh, a Vietnamese-Cambodian restaurant that both Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain have given high marks. I had to find this place. I walked through Chinatown, kind of like the Tenderloin on steroids, to find the place and it was great. I went early, so no line, thank goodness. I ordered the requisite fried chicken wings, as was instructed by the 1000's of reviewers. Salty, crunchy and great. And this amazing lemony dipping sauce. Every table in the place had a plate of wings on the table. I also got some dried nooodles w/meat, veggies and broth. Good, but not as great as everyone said, and the wings were soo much better. I thought I was being gluttonous ordering 2 dishes, but the teeny hip couple next to me had five different plates of food/soup on their table, so I didn't feel so piggy in comparison!

On my walk home I found this roosteria, a rooster store! how fantastic. it was really just a poultry butcher, but how great if all they sold were roosters!

Next to the roosteria I found a chinese herbal medicine shop.
I wonder what the kangaroo essence is for?

Another excellent trip to Vancouver, thanks to a work trip. And oh, I got a bunch of good work done too!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

hot jesus for my sister

I'm in Vancouver this week for work, and as I'm having breakfast at a cafe this morning, I pick up the Georgia Straight, the local weekly. I find a story about hot jesus, and almost spit my coffee out in hysterical laughter. My sister is obsessed with hot jesus. My poor jewish grandmother is probably rolling over in her grave. I don't know why, but my sis already had this fetish before we watched Jesus Christ Superstar for our short lived "musical nights." You can't tell from the movie poster, but Jesus has a lazy eye and is not really hot!

Anyway, maybe you need to go to Copenhagen, Michelle, to see the hot jesus statue that the ex-Mormon writer was lusting over on his recent trip!

homecoming 2007

Danly and I made our first trip back to Seattle a couple of weeks ago since we moved last August. We had a great time, saw lots of friends and family and pigged out! It was wonderful to see as many friends and family as possible, but inevitably we weren't able to see quite everyone. Till next time. Anyway, here's a few pics from the trip. Just note the blurry ones are all Loren's fault, as he plied us with god-awful grain alcohol cocktails. I of course managed to drink several of these. Unfortunately no pics from the second party of the night because we could barely function!

Clean Michelle House. Compliment her on how clean it looks as it may never happen again!

Mom admiring the fountain in the Belltown Pea Patch Garden

I took my mom here after we went to the new SAM Sculpture Garden. Go visit the sculpture garden if you haven't been yet. And the pea patch is great too! one of the nicest in town.

Kei and Ed's new-to-me sister. Such a sweet pic I had to share

Danly cracking up at something Uncle Giles said, as usual

I don't know what Carol's eating, but she's sure making it look tasty!

Here I am on my way to being a loud drunken mess at party #2, Rosemary's 40th. And I'm with Uncle Loren, the man who poured all that heinous liquor down my throat. Marisol, where are you when we need you?

Me and Bryn reuniting as Seattle ex-pats. Dan's hand is getting less steady with that camera as the night goes on!

Loren looking amazingly fuzzy - drunk camera taking at its finest!

Valerie and David's wedding. The Seattle gods smiled on your wedding day, stopping the rain with 2 hours to spare! It was a beautiful event.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

don't go chasing waterfalls

I got into the taxi at the Vancouver airport today and my cab driver changed the radio station right away. Waterfalls was playing and I couldn't get the image of drunk Danly doing a stellar impersonation of TLC out of my head. Next time you see Danly, maybe you too can ply him with liquor and get a glimpse of this beautiful rendition!

Thanks Mr. Cabbie for a great ride into Vancouver

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

pretty fleurs in the neighborhood

the gardens aren't as lush as what we're used to back in the NW, where's it's garden paradise, but there's lots of nice things to see in our neighborhood. of course, most of it's fried now, but it was pretty for months on end!
I walk by these sunflowers and hibiscus plants every day on my way to work. they look great together, and i've never seen hibiscus plants so huge. i ran out and bought 2 after weeks of staring at them.

the elephant in the garden is great too, i love the spikes. and there's lilies all around him.

these pink roses are everywhere in town. they're the most luminescent roses i've ever seen. they practically glow!

crapemyrtles are all over town and are bright pink in the park by our house. we walk by them on the way to the dog park.

black eyed susans everywhere are minis, so small and cute and they just float in the air!