Sunday, August 30, 2009

Goodwill OUTLET.

Thought I forgot today, didn't ya?


So the Goodwill Outlet. 

Picture Nordstroms. 

Now picture Walmart. 

And that's the level of difference between Goodwill and Goodwill Outlet. 

It's a large, dimly lit warehouse where there are large crates (probably 12 feet long by 3 feet deep) on wheels full of the goods in three big rows. Nothing is sorted--there's quilts in with Men's jackets, women's bras and kids jumpers. Burnt potholders, stained pillows, used underwear, dirty sheets...this is the stuff no decent Goodwill accepts. 

BUT...hidden in the soiled mess can be some decent stuff. 

After I got over the initial shock of the place I dug in. 

I sneezed. 

A woman next to me sneezed. 

The dust and dirt from the clothes was making everyone sneeze. 

There were only about 30 people in the whole warehouse, but they gravitated towards one another, anxious not to miss out on what someone else may be finding. I would be sorting through a pile and a woman literally came over and reaching in front of me began sorting before I could touch the pile beneath my hands. Good grief! Some clothing had tags, some didn't. Though it was gray and cool outside inside was muggy and hot. I could feel my cheeks flushing red as I pushed mounds of clothing aside--determined to find a jewel in this treasure hunt.

I did found a nice gray wool coat (dbl breasted pea coat) that had a missing button and a torn lining--but the wool was completely intact and the cut was really nice. Hmmm...project in the making? When I got home I googled the brand and found that the coat was worth over $200! I also found a button down brown shirt and a plaid country girl style button down shirt. Both were large ( I got guns, what can I say?) but what better way to learn to tailor them than with really cheap shirts I don't care if I screw up?!

The kicker of this place was that they weighed what you the POUND. I got that coat and two shirts for $4! Score!

So here's my first attempt at tailoring shirts, and I think I did a decent job!

And I got some gorgeous magenta acrylic fabric fabric and fun magenta buttons to remake my jacket...wish me luck 'cause that's a much larger bull to ride!

Onto my walk with Roy this afternoon. You know how (those of you who walk your dogs) sometimes you just brush against shrubs and plants that are overgrown into the sidewalk? Well I was about to do that today and quickly sidestepped after seeing this:

Uh...GIANT Spider! A Wolf spider! AAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! For those of you who may be unaware of this fact, I hate spiders. Hate. So I nearly peed in my running pants almost running smack dab into this sucker! I stooped to watch it and it was wrapping its most recent victim around and around in its silk. Creepy. Want to know how big it was?

And your humor for the day? On a corner near where we live there's a run down house that's recently started to be renovated. The sign they've posted by their front door?

I was afraid to take the picture but it was worth the laugh!

And Laurie asked about our Roy Boy. Oh he's fine and dandy. This is his face when you ask him if he has dog breath. "who me?"

The little stinker managed to open the metal scroll we keep our marriage license in and chew off the right edge of it. Does that mean we're not married anymore? JUST kidding! I was pretty irate at first and was about to throw the torn up thing away and order a new one, when I decided to stick it in a book, flatten it all out and eventually I'll tape it back together and frame it. We'll laugh in a few months :-). Ok, we're already laughing. Having a dog has really taught us not to become too attached to material things because it could end up food tomorrow. Oh Life's little lessons...

till's a little quote

“Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I’m halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my God....I could be eating a slow learner.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mariners, Muppets and China Town

Yes. It's been awhile.


Sometimes when I don't write for awhile I forget how easily it comes. Then I keep telling myself I'll do it tomorrow...and that's about as true as starting a diet.

*Side note: I have a slice of pizza and as I was writing Roy stood about an inch away from my elbow and just panted heavily while staring at me. After a stern, "Go lie down" (which he knows) he cocked his head, sighed an irritated sigh, and collapsed literally on my feet with his head down. How could you not love this dramatic dog?*

Where was I? Oh, writing. Yes. I'm going to try to make it a point to email/blog something every day. Something funny...or at least something that I find funny. We all need to laugh more, don't you agree? So before I start an update on the past...oh gosh. When did I write last...August 13th? Oh I guess that's not too long...what are you complaining about? Sike. I haven't heard from any of you suckers! Are your fingers Ammah would say...

Well here is my funny moment of the day. Actually it's been my funny moment every time we've driven by it since we moved here, but today I finally hauled my camera on a walk and took a picture of it.

If you need this explained, please Google it.

On to the updates!

The heatwave is over, thank the Good Lord! We've been enjoying "normal" Seattle weather--high 70s, sometimes in the 80's, lots of sunshine and longer days. I do have to say I'm glad the sun is beginning to set earlier. It just felt odd to watch the sunset at nearly ten while you're trying to convince yourself to start getting ready for bed. Hooray for biological time clocks returning to a more normal day!

We had our cousin (OK, technically Matt's cousin but mine by default) Andrew and his fiance Amber visit us a couple of weeks ago. They're preparing for a wedding on the second of January and Matt is honored to be a groomsman. It was fun getting to know Amber better, show them some of the city, try out new things with them like Red Mill burgers and go to our first Mariner's game with them. Being a devout Angels fan you know I rooted for the visiting team. Andrew was the constant photographer and I bummed his picture off him and added my own touches to it--thanks Andrew!

These last two are pictures of the lawn of the church we've been going to--Bethany Presbyterian. They call it the "Walk of Faith," and gave 40 posts of pine to people to do what they want with it to create a visual expression of their faith.

There were scrapbook looking ones, ones with fabric sewn all over it, wood burnings, and all sorts of expressions from each individual. The picture I put last was my favorite. It's a quote from the Chronicles of Narnia. One of the children asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan the Lion is safe (Aslan represents God, in case you haven't read the books...which you should cause they're awesome). Mr. Beaver replies, "'Course He's not safe, but He's good. He's the King, I tell you."

The following Sunday was the last day this certain exhibition was in town and we really wanted to see it. What was it? The Jim Henson Muppet exhibit! Not wanting to pay for ridiculous downtown Seattle parking, we parked in lower Queen Anne and walked to the Seattle Center where the Experience the Music Project|Science Fiction Museum--also known as the EMP|SFM--is.

One thing intersting along the way. As we walked past the huge fountain where hundreds of people were lounging about on the warm afternoon and a few dozen kids played in the water fountain, Matt noticed something odd about a group of people clustered in one corner of the park. They were nude. Yes, completely and utterly naked. Except one man had a backpack on. A bunch of bicycles were leaning against a tree, and from the very quick glances I shot in their direction they seemed to be enjoying the attention. Apparently they're a group of people who rides around on their bikes, disrobes for a few minutes to let people gawk at them, then moves on. I'll tell you one thing, though, if you're a woman over 40 who decides to do this, at least have the decency to not slouch. Not attractive. That was worse than the near 60 year old man with...shall we just say he was hairless from head to toe? Got the image? Indecent exposure for sure.

When I googled it, I found a news article from a year ago stating, "Nudists relax. Seattle Parks and Recreation will drop its pursuit of a proposal that would make public nudity in parks subject to prosecution for criminal trespass. And, in a nod to tolerance, Seattle's parks commissioners asked parks officials to explore the possibility of a clothing-optional beach in the city."

That's life in the big city, Mama.

The outside is some pretty interesting architecture. Waves of metal and a myriad of colors glinting in the sun at the base of the Space Needle, its sure to attract some attention. This aerial isn't mine, obviously.

Inside is an amazing "cyclone" of guitars. There we got to view mementos from Seattle's musical past, see an amazing collection of guitars (my Dad and Uncle Chris would love this!), visit the jam session room where if it hadn't been so crowded we'd have gone to town (we'll be back), then we headed over to the Science Fiction side where the Muppets were.

The Science Fiction part was pretty cool too. In addition to the original Star Trek command chair and costumes, they had pretty much any and every sci fi memorabilia you could think of! When we got to the Muppet secion, there were full walls of muppet fur, muppets from the 1970s (I felt like I was meeting a celebrity seeing a real Kermit with ping pong eyeballs!), Sesame street characters, sketches from Jim Henson, videos of his early commercials and more.

I didn't take these (it was way too crowded and I didn't want to get thrown out) but here are other people' s pics of the Jim Henson exhibit.

Mahna Mahna--one of the first muppet videos Matt and I watched together laughing hysterically at the simple humor of it. Apparently it was Jim Henson doing Mahna Mahna and Frank Oz doing both the pink cowish creatures. If you have never seen this and don't mind the tune stuck in your head for the rest of your life, watch it here:

I felt like asking for an autograph...

It was really interesting getting to read about all the things he did and created, and they had a stage where kids could actually be the muppets in the band and perform to a song. I considered shoving a kid aside cause I really wanted to do it but I let the adult side of me get the better and just watched from the side.

Walking back, the nudists were gone and my attention could finally focus on the kids playing in the fountain. What a picture of summer! Thanks to the Pioneer Woman's photoshop action sets for these touches!

After our trek back to our car we met up with our friends Stephanie and Peter for our first Seattle Mexican food experience. Peter and Steph went to Point Loma too, so they know

Moving on!

Last Saturday I convinced Matt to make a treacherous journey with me into the International District for a Chinese outdoor market and a free showing of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon. We took the bus downtown and walked through the Chinese gates and into the International (ie Chinese) District. Not huge, but definitely a cultural experience. We ate some Mongolian beef, went in a tea shop, browsed some kung fu movies and settle down for the Bruce Lee movie. We were disappointed to just watch badly orchestrated relay races in front of the crowd where we couldn't really see them, and after finishing our fried rice we headed out. But I got some nifty pics along the way!

Mexican food and we could finally trust them. And Yes, it was good. Although I think eating an entire chimichange and a bowl of ice cream may have been overdoing it a bit. I regretted that the day after.

Walking back we went through Pioneer Square...let me just say none of you need to be going there really ever. But especially at twilight. Nonetheless we made it through safetly, went browsing in a few stores and finally caught our bus back to Queen Anne Ave. Overall a good, intercultural, risky Seattle experience!

Today I braved the Goodwill Outlet. Yes, Goodwill has an outlet. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that one...


Friday, August 14, 2009

The Challenge and The Heat Wave

Want to know how we did on the challenge?

I'm sure your on the edge of your seats, just like when you all read the beginning of my story.


Well, $250 for three weeks comes to about $80/week which is what we withdrew. Keep in mind the people who came up with this crazy idea work from home and spend a total of $18 on gas every week and a half! We, on the other hand, each put $20 in our tanks every week (and had to drive conservatively!). That left us with $40/week for food and anything else we may want.

And let me repeat--we're not broke and we didn't have to do was a challenge we imposed upon ourselves so please refrain from sending us food stamps...we're not starving!

Do a little more math and you'll see that comes to $5.80 per day. For both of us. Yikes! Well, a few unexpected things came up...remember our rambunctious carpet eating Roy? We had to go out and drop a few bucks on him for some natural "calming aides" (which are working ok, it seems) and with this INSANE heat wave (last night it was 91 degrees at 11:30 at night!!!) we've been putting Roy in doggie daycare. Luckily we got the trial day free at one place, took him there twice more and today are trying a new place which is free the first time too. So for four days of him not boiling alive in our apartment (with the bedroom door closed it got WELL over 100 degrees there during the day) it was worth $50. Plus he's exhausted when he gets home--I've never seem him that tired!

Anyways, I categorized that aside from our challenge because that was more of an emergency anyways! We're nearly bare in our pantry right now which this weekend will allow for a thorough fridge cleaning and then I'll restock! I think we both really learned how easy it is to spend money without thinking. $1.55 for a coffee...$4 for some ice cream (ok we did get that even during our challenge) but you get the idea. Using the cash and consciously spending really stretched everything we have further than I thought. I even ate an easy mac dinner that was in the pantry from who knows how long ago! And I still have a freezer full of twice baked potatoes and brown rice!

Admittedly this heat wave has made cooking more difficult. When you're down to bare bones food the "quick meals" aren't much of an option. Cooking chicken still takes awhile and heats up the kitchen. Two days ago I spent 40 minutes in the kitchen over a hot skillet making coconut curry shrimp with a fan blowing about a foot away from my face.

Last night I just couldn't do it again so we emptied out our change honey jar and went to Taco Bell--we paid with all change and the clerk was not happy but we didn't care! No stoves or dishes! Yippee!!!

The only other fudges were I had to refill on gas yesterday (we used my car all weekend) and we got a few more staples like cheese and tortillas at Fred Meyer that went over our challenge money. I have to say other than that we've done pretty good for ourselves! We're not starving either!

When I go to restock I'll definitely look at everything differently, and Matt (who gallantly has been making lunches and coffee at home and bringing it in a thermos rather than getting Starbucks) said when someone bought him coffee and lunch that it wasn't as good as what he had been making. I knew he couldn't love that burnt flavor forever...

And (drumroll please) we reached our goal of emergency savings! We now have a little cushion should say my transmission blow or Roy decides to break another leg! (knock LOUDLY on wood). That was the whole reason for this challenge, and I'm proud to say we made it!

Back to this heat wave which is Ri-DONKulous (name that TV show...Nadine are you reading?), there is no relief. Here at work the AC comes and goes, our apartment is on the 5th floor and doesn't get a crossbreeze, and last night we tried to escape to the movies to cool off and the AC was off in the theater! What gives!?!? This morning when we woke up we both said, almost at the same time, "It's so COOL!" I got up and looked at the thermometer.

It was 81 degrees.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot cooler--we're supposed to even get in the 60s tonight! I can't even wait!!! You know, I've been in hot weather before. Tucson, Romania, Joshua Tree...I'm talking HOT like over 117! For whatever reason, this heat wave feels worse than all that! Maybe because it doesn't cool down at night or indoors anywhere.

I tried the AC. I'm considering just taking a book to the grocery store and plopping down in the canned foods aisle to read.

Matt is averaging 4 showers a day.

Ok, enough of my complaining. I'm sure you don't want to hear that its so hot that when I painted my nails last night the polish blistered on my fingernails. Or using a fan feels like being in front of a blow dryer.

You have other important things to do like turn your thermostat down and don a sweater.

Have fun my friends, and drink a margarita for me.