Monday, March 30, 2009

Matt's Birthday II & an Ammah Experience

I know it’s been awhile since the last morning cup—I’m sorry! Wow, it’s been over a month! Everytime I get a little bit of time to write I’m at work and then I have no pictures to send so I put it off until I get home and then I’m too busy to write…it’s a vicious cycle.

Well, spring is slowly arriving here in the Northwest. Crocuses came first, now daffodils are pushing their way through the mounds of fallen leaves and showing their brilliant colors. The trees, too, are beginning to bloom. Bright pink lines the street below our house now, and yesterday I saw a tree full of GIANT white buds! I'll send pics soon of those.

A bunch of you got to hear our Bainbridge Island story when I went home to OC for a day before heading to Arizona with my mom. Here’s the short version.Matt wanted to go to Bainbridge Island to celebrate his birthday, so we loaded up on a Saturday and drove down to the ferry. We parked our car in a long line of cars waiting to board the next ferry and decided to throw caution to the wind and go get lunch at McDonalds (a first for us since we've been together...over 4 years!). 

As we sat in our car watching the gulls swoop and listening to the radio and eating our perfectly done fries we were definitely enjoying ourselves. The ferry arrived and we were given the signal to start our engines.

Pffft pffft pffffffffffffft.


We'd killed the battery listening to the radio. I begin laughing and Matt does the part of the manly-fix-it-guy and goes and pops the hood. There's about 15 cars lined up behind us looking at us like we're idiots and I'm trying to get out "the battery's dead" through my now uncontrollable laughter as he scowls and looks at the engine as if he can figure out the solution by staring. He waves the cars to go around and we suffer 15 stares of "dumb people..." as they all drive by. 

I'm still in hysterics.

When they're all gone a short Chinese man pushing a dollycart with a portable jumper on it runs to our car with short little hops. "You got dead battery?" he says while a smile crinkles his face in two like a draped fabric. Matt grumbles "yes" and the guy jumps our car. "Ok, bye bye" he says and runs off again with short little hops. We drive onto the ferry but had to take turns sitting in the car while it ran to make sure we didn't have to see the Chinese man again.

When we got to Bainbridge we began driving around, trying to find a park or somewhere to go walking around. My GPS led us to Battle Ground Park—which turned out to feel more like a retirement center than a wilderness park so we loaded up again and ditched the GPS. We turned wherever it looked interesting, listening to the CD from our wedding and just enjoying the beautiful day. 

Hey, it’s an island so how lost could you get? 

We ended up at Fort Ward where we parked alongside the road, hopped the fence and went hiking down to the water. We had fun taking pictures of the sea anenomes and odd fungus-type-thingies until our stomachs told us it was time for dinner. Heading into town we found most of the stores closed, and the line for the waterfront pub we wanted to eat at out the door. It was Matt’s birthday so it was his call for dinner, so we got back in the car to find another place to eat. A half an hour later we ended up three doors down from the place we started at.

All in all it was a great day—and we finally rode the ferry!

The other major event in the past month was I got to go to Orange County and to Ammah’s in Arizona for 5 days. Matt dropped me off at 6:30 in the morning at the Seattle Airport where I grabbed a cup of coffee and hurried on the plane. My window seat had been taken by a 5 year old sitting next to his dad, and of course I wasn’t going to make him move. So I settled down in the aisle seat across from two rows full of six kids who were farting uncontrollably. The plane had to be de-iced so we sat there for an hour with no air whilst being fumigated by the children.

Good start.

Two hours later we landed at Long Beach where I got a breath of fresh ocean air. My dad picked me up and we headed to Huntington to eat lunch at Ruby’s on the pier. Man, it was good to see the ocean again! After my cheeseburger we got back in the car and headed to the Long Beach Aquarium. I’d never been, and I’ve gotta say it’s amazing! There were GIANT lobsters (I just wanted some garlic and butter…), beautiful jellies and friendly seals. We had a great time, although I think I busted my dad’s bubble a bit when I said that not all the brightly colored coral was real. “How do you know?” he asked. 

“Because its tilted on a rock and the bottom is flat…”

Around four I got a text from my best friend Charissa. She was going to San Diego to visit her boyfriend, so we thought we’d squeeze in a visit! Dad and I picked her up from the airport and headed home.

By this time I was fading fast. I’d gone to sleep around 3 (thanks to my husband who I still have more fun talking to than sleeping) and gotten up at 5 so I was desperately needing a nap. It was good to see my home again, though. Driving through Tustin Meadows and seeing the pine trees, hugging my mom, petting Simba our decrepit 14 (yes, 14) year-old dog who surprisingly remembered me. Charissa wanted a Starbuck so I drug my weary buns to go with her knowing I wouldn’t have much time with her. Turns out I was more of a pain tired so when we got back I was forced (gladly) to take a nap. As I slept my family (blood and otherwise) arrived for a night of food and games. I was a much happier person when I woke up (as Charissa can attest to) and we had a wonderful night of laughing and eating and yelling our guesses for Catch Phrase.

OH, and I brought down my sewn together quilt top from the wedding—the one where people signed squares? If you didn’t get to sign a square at our wedding and would like to, there are still blank ones left and I left it with my mom. We’d love to have everyone’s name on there!

The next morning we were up bright and early and I packed up my wedding dress, some photo albums and books and other knick knacks from my childhood to take back to Seattle with me. Mom and I loaded in the car, put on the roadtrip mix I had made and were off to Prescott Valley.

For those of you who know Ammah (which I’m pretty sure is everyone), you know she has always had dogs (and cats and the occasional bird) that add to the zoo of her home. Sadly, Milo and Zaccheus have both passed on (they lived good long lives), and Champ is the last of the zoo. Mom and I were planning to take Ammah to a shelter to find another little dog to keep her and Champ company…she’s not really ever been a one animal kind of lady. We pulled in the driveway and as Ammah opened the door I heard the familiar yap of Champ and then saw another figure appear through the screen door. A small, white figure adding his own yap. Enter Buddy, the one year old shitzu that her neighbors could keep. Buddy is missing most of his lower teeth which gives him a pouty expression all the time, and the top of his head is shaped like a Mongolian hat—so I started calling him “Mongol” which turned to “Mongo.” This irritated Ammah, of course, and even more so because he responded to it right away! Hahahaha. We dined on red beans, cornbread and fried okra and were just about to settle down in front of the TV after our 8 hour drive when the doorbell rang.

“Who could that be?” Mom and I asked as Ammah just smiled and answered the door. Two of her friends were there—a coworker and her mom. She’d invited them over for coconut cake. They hugged us like old friends and Mom and I—still without a proper introduction and having NO idea who these people were—hugged back and said how good it was to see them (exchanged wide eyed looks the whole while).

We settled down for coffee and cake at 8:30 or so. Nine came and went. We discussed the new botanical gardens in Phoenix…exciting. Then ten rolled around. I disappeared into the bedroom after thankfully hearing Matt call my phone. When I came back they were talking about “Oscar going in for surgery.” Oh how sad, I said. Then they said something about the vet. Oh, a dog I guess, poor thing. The mom was worried about him going under, and wanting to be there when he came to. Then they mentioned the tumor…awww I still hemmed and hawed along with Mom. Then they talked about the tumor being under its wing.


They’re doing surgery on a bird?

Yup, Oscar was a cockatoo.

 I gave up trying to be interested and went to the floor to play with Mongo. Mom joined me. Finally, close to eleven they took their leave. Mom and I were nearly passed out on the floor by this time, and Ammah’s excuse of not telling us she was expecting company was, “I knew if I told y’all you’d say nooo.” Darn right.

The next day we just relaxed, headed into town to see my favorite little shop "The Raven" and loaded up on ingredients I needed for a dinner I was going to make for them. This being a Japanese-style pot roast I needed sake. Ammah, wouldn't you know, loves sake. Mom thought wine would go best with pot roast and me? Well I felt like a nice cold beer. So there we were. Three women and our three different types of alcohol. Now don't you worry, we didn't get anywhere near drunk. But it was sure fun to be barely tipsy and act like the most raving lunatic at a bar. Where's the fun in being drunk if you can't remember it, right? So we acted drunk on one beer, one glass of wine and two sips of sake and had all the more fun for it! 

Monday came next and I had a hankering to get out in the wilderness of the southwest so we headed to Sedona. Ammah claimed she was up for a hike all decked out in cap, fanny pack and walking stick but within 50 feet she was panting and gasping and clutching her chest.

I looked over her shoulder at the car.

"Ammah, would you like to go in front?" Mom asked. That little devil took off for the next mile like a rocket! Turns out she just doesn't like to be dragged along...but then, who does? We took the "coffee pot trail" and saw some of the beautiful works of God. Ammah also decided to try carrying her "walking" stick in every which way possible. When we got back to the car we had one thought in our minds.


I haven't had Mexican food since I left SAN DIEGO! And there was one place in town that was tradition to go to. MAN, it was good! I flew out of Prescott the next morning as the sun rose, and was back in Seattle by noon.

So that's been the big events in the past month. That and we've (mostly Matt) discovered Roy doesn't mind wearing clothes. (I'll post pics later)

So that's it! We'd love to hear from you all as well! Much love and we miss you all!

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