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Friday, December 30, 2005

36 years together

I got to talk to Dad today - he's back in the hospital again, but seems to be in good spirits. He joked about seeing if his wife would let him off the hook for going out to dinner tonight - which is when it dawned on me that today is their 36th wedding anniversary.

36 years - I think she'll let him get away with it this time...

This picture says - 'what have I gotten myself into?'

Friday, December 02, 2005

"War of the Worlds" & "Murderball"

We watched two movies tonight. The first was "War of the Worlds" with Tom Cruise. The movie was exactly what I expected it to be - but Spielberg is so skilled with tension and pacing, it kept me rivited throughout.

The second movie was really interesting. "Murderball" is a documentary about parapalegic rugby and the lives of the players on the American and Canadian teams. This is more than a warm fuzzy "people in wheelchairs are people too" movie. These guys are fascinating, and as you get to know more about the players and their life stories, you get so much more caught up in the rivalry between the teams which takes an interesting turn at the Olympics in Greece. Great film - I'm going to watch for these guys at the next Olympics.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

happy birthday to me

Today started out like too many birthdays where I put too much emphasis on making today special. Talk about setting yourself up. I was cranky this morning anyways. I don't know why. Must be hormonal.

Anyways. I really needed that first cup of coffee. We went through the drivethrough to get a latte on our way to go take care of some chores (check mail, oil change, etc.). She burned it. The coffee tasted horrible, it was scalded. Of course I didn't know this till about 8 miles down the road because that's when i took my first sip. Oh well, Mr. H bought me another one when we got to the mall. And I spilled all twenty ounces of that one all over the brand new shoes I had just bought. Mr. H bought me a third cup of coffee a little later on - was he being sweet or was that self-preservation? doesn't matter, that one did the trick.

The most amazing part of my birthday was the time I spent at the spa. Some people at work got me a gift certificate for Ummelina. I checked in at 4:30 and they took me back to a changing room to change into a robe and then they locked up my stuff. Then they took me to a room they call the tea spa. this room was full of comfy chairs and had bamboo shades over the windows through which you could see the fog and the leaves left on the trees in silhouette with the bright moon behind them. I sat down in one of the chairs and they brought me a cup of tea. Then they brought out a big bowl and a pitcher of warm water to soak my feet in. After soaking for a while, while sipping the tea and watching the fog roll, someone came out and washed my feet.

I rested a little while longer and then they took me back to the showers. These showers were worth the trip alone. It's amazing what a difference water pressure makes. There were, I think,, ten nozzles most of them spraying horizontally. So I took an amazing shower and then went back to the tea room to sip some more tea and rest. There were one or two picture books laying around that I thought about looking at, but the thought didn't last very long. It was so nice to just be still.

After a couple minutes the massage therapist came out and took me back to the room for the massage. The massage was amazing, the only drawback was that the therapist told me several times that 1/2 massage is just not long enough to really do any good. If its not long enough, they shouldn't sell gift certificates for it. Anyhoo, that was really the only drawback. and after the massage I went back to the tea room to sit a few minutes longer and drink another cup of tea. They would have let me stay in the tea room all day if i wanted, but I couldn't wait to see Mr. H so i got up and got dressed.

As it turns out, while I was at the spa, Mr. H went shopping. He bought me a shirt, a sweater and a hat. Oh, and by the way, yesterday he got me the most beautiful roses. there was a dozen of them and each one started out baby pink in the center and then faded to white on the outer petals. they'r starting to open and they are just stunning.

After the spa and presents we thought we'd go catch a movie and then dinner. The local theater had Harry Potter on five screens and the other three movies didn't look interesting either. so we went to the keg for prime rib and then came home. Not bad for turning half of seventy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I loved this movie.

After the death of his mother, Damian is obsessed with saints and martyrs, and visits with them, asking each if they know his mum, Saint Maureen.

Damian builds himself a castle/rocket ship out of boxes down by the train tracks and a bag of money falls from the sky. Damian's brother Anthony thinks they should invest the money in real estate and tries to get the brokers to take him seriously while Damian tries desperately to drum up some poor people to do good to.

All of this takes place during the countdown to the change over to the Euro, which would render cash in pounds worthless.

The photography was stunning and the music magical. The movie is best through the first 20 minutes, it loses some of it's grace but deftly manages tension during the climax, and the ending is a flight of fancy fitting only to Damian. Alix Etel in the lead turns in a great performance, he has heartbreaker written all over him.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Stuff Happens

So we lost the phone, left it on the bus... That's a great way to start of the week. Checked the account and the character that has it has been calling all over the place. Well we put a stop to that... but, it's not like we can afford another phone. Oh, well. Stuff happens.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One thing I've learned

It's really hard to stay angry and wiggle your toes at the same time.

Go ahead, try it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Good Morning and Stress Management

So I woke up this morning in a great mood. I have no idea where that came from...

I remember getting dressed in the living room (because where else would you get dressed?) and thinking how lucky I am to have found someone who is the perfect match for me. Then while walking the dog I noticed to the east the sunrise was amazing, and the clouds were moving fast so it was constantly changing. To the west the clouds were just a thick flannel gray blanket which actually made them the perfect backdrop for the half circle rainbow that was plastered against them. I don't know if I've ever seen a sunrise rainbow before - but then, I haven't seen all that many sunrises.

Things changed after I got in the truck. I think there was one or two intersections where I didn't get a red light - those intersections had stop signs. But I still managed to hit all the landmarks on my commute on time, except the last one where I sat a quarter mile away from the office without moving for twenty minutes.

I was scheduled to attend a stress management class today, which is probably a good idea because I do have a little stress in my life right now. Going to the stress management seminar was a little more stressful than I expected though, because it took me away from a surprise staff meeting on departmental layoffs. I missed this swing of the axe, but I don't think it's stopped moving yet. we'll see what happens. I guess there's no sense in stressing out on things I cant change.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dinner with Mom and Grandma

We had a great visit this weekend with Mom and Grandma. It's so good to see the two of them doing so well. On Saturday night we went to dinner at the Caspian Grill for Persian food. Bill's Judy joined us there as well so we had quite the little party. We had hummus, smoked eggplant and a yogurt dip to start and followed it with koobedeh, lamb kabob, tadeeg, gormeh sabzi, and fesenjoon (my favorite). Mom and Judy really loved all the food. I don't think Grandma liked the stews as much but she really enjoyed the koobedeh.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


We just got home this morning from our trip to Alaska. Neither one of us really wanted to come back. Before we left, Mr. H was a little nervous about spending a week with the in-laws, but he really had a great time. It's so nice to spend time around people that really like you. We so often feel like we are entirely on our own here in Seattle. We really don't have any kind of support network around here. In Alaska, we didn't even have enough time to see everyone we wanted to see. We'll definitely have to go back soon. In the meantime, we've got to get caught up with all the homework we didn't do while we were up there.

Dee's wedding was gorgeous. I'm so happy for her.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wild Wheat Bakery and Cafe, Downtown Kent

It's payday weekend so we splurged on breakfast this morning.

We went to Wild Wheat Bakery and Cafe in downtown Kent. I love the downtown part of Kent, it's so old school. The shops are all independently owned and it's a great pedestrian area where you can walk from the library to a wide selection of cafes while shopping.

Wild Wheat is a european style bakery with the really crusty breads. The decor inside the cafe is very simple, but punctuated with pieces from local artists that are available for sale.

Mr. H had the eggs florentine which was garnished with tomatoes and dill (the dill really added something special.) I had Stollen French Toast. The stollen bread is made with hazelnuts, raisins and currants and then stuffed with almond paste, and then battered and fried like regular french toast. The edges carmelized perfectly, and the meal was served with fresh fruit and real butter. Its a sad commentary in our world when butter is a pleasant surprise. We topped it off with 2 lattes and got out of there for less than $30.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Comfort Food

There is nothing quite like grilled cheese sandwiches and cream of tomato soup after spending all day slogging around in the drizzling rain.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


We just recently went through a reorg at work and I've been moved from a team I've been with since I started here to singularly supporting the the dept director.

My old team did something to make me feel better though. They went out and got me a gift certificate for Ummelina's - the best day spa in the Seattle area - Ohmmmmmmm

I feel better already.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


The old grainery and Del's Farm Supply (railroad tracks once ran between the two buildings)
The local dairy - Smith Brothers Farms

Abandoned church and parsonage

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Auburn Way

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Auburn Ave

Department of Health

This building (picture above and below) was the old town library. It now houses the School of Dance and Music.

Main Street, Auburn

The old J.C. Penney's Building

Nielson's Jewelry

Auburn Ave Theater

"Annie Get Your Gun"

The commuter

The transit center where commuters catch the train to Seattle.

This is the old Tourist Hotel - built in 1905 at 124 West Main

It was a first class hotel back in it's heyday


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Grandma Candy

Grandma McKinley with Mom and Aunt Judy, approximately 60 years ago.
My niece and nephew call her Grandma Candy.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Green River

The Green River winds through town and back behind our apartments. The footbridge Mr. H is standing on is a 10 minute walk from home. Along this stretch, the west side of the river is homes and the east side is a park. This stretch usually has 5 to 10 people fishing along the shores, look for the breaks in the briar patches. The day these pictures were taken, there were even people fishing from under the bridge.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


School starts tomorrow, so we're in the final phases of getting ready for that. We've been stressing quite a bit about the books, as we had about $200 total between us, and all of our books totalled over $450 at the school - and that included used where they were available. We spent a lot of time agonizing over which books to buy and which books to try to get through the semester without... But really, we need the books.

We went home without buying any of the books, and I hit the web, researching all the used books and used textbooks sites. I managed to find everything on for less than $200 - including shipping charges. They probably wont get here till late next week, but for that kind of savings, I think we can wait a week.

David Deployed

Mom called last night to say that David had just been deployed again. This is his third deployment, Afghanistan and Iraq before, I suspect Iraq again this time. :(

God bless, David.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


This morning I attended a seminar on labor issues and current cases before the National Labor Relations Board. Yada Yada Yada Yawn. It was interesting, but not worth reporting on in a journal like this.

Of note however, was the schwag. As with all seminars and conferences there was an abundance of schwag provided by the law firm - some of it quite nice.

I'll viciously protect my new pen, it's weighted and fits my hand perfectly.

The obligotory stress balls were there, this time you also had the option of getting a stress penguin which I though was a nice touch.

Then the breathmints - also a step up from some of the cheap schwag I've seen in the past.

But by far the most notable was the chapstick. Yes - chapstick. I guess those lawyers need lubrication for their lips. Mmmm, minty.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Persian Recipe: Saffron Brownie (halveh)


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted pistashios for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups ghee

make syrup: bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add the saffron water, rose water and cardamom. Mix well and set aside.

Make flour pase: in a large dep saute pan, toast the flour for about 10 minutes over medium head, stirring constantly. Add the melted butter and fry, mixing constantly with wooden spoon for 7 - 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add syrup: gradually blend the syrup into the hot flour and butter mixture, stirring constatly with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food procesor and process until smooth, about 5 minutes. The paste should set and become thick and smooth.

Chill: spoon onto a plate and pack firmly with a spoon. Garnish with pistachios. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into small pieces and serve as dessert.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Lamb Kababs

* 1 lb lean lamb, cut into 2" cubes
* 10 cherry tomatoes


  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron threads dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp salt


  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron threads dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup ghee or butter

Marinate: pound the lamb pieces lightly with a heavy knife to tenderize. Place the lamb in a ziplock bag. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, lime, and saffron water. Seal and marinate for at least 24 hours and up to 72 in the refridgerator. Turn at least twice.

Make baste: combine butter, lime juice, saffron water, salt and pepper in a small sauce pan. Keep warm over low heat.

Grill: start a bed of charcoal at least 30 minute before you want to grill the lamb. Meanwhile thread 5 - 6 pieces of meat onto each skewer, alternating with cherry tomatoes. Grill for 3 -4 minutes on each side, turning and basting frequently. The total cooking should be 6 - 10 minutes.

Serve: Spread a piece of lavash break on a serving platter. When the meat is done, remove from the skewer and place on the bed of lavash, surrounded by tomatoes. Baste once and cover with lavash to keep warm.

- in a hurry? there's an enzyme in the onion that helps to break down the meat. If your marinating for 24 hours or more, slice the onions. If you don't have that much time, liquify the onion with a grater and the enzymes with break down the meat twice as fast.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Dill & Fava Polow

  • 3 Cups basmati rice
  • 2 lbs fresh favas, shelled and skinned
  • 2 Tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 4 Tbsp hot water
  • 5 1/2 Cups coarsly chopped fresh dill
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 12 Tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 cup leeks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Toss the herbs together with the cinnamon and garlic in a bowl and reserve.

Cook rice and favas: In a large nonstick pot, bring 10 cups water, salt and turmeric to a boil. Add the rice and favas and boil hard for 6 - 10 minutes, gently stirring twice to loosen any grains on the bottom. Once the rice rises to the top of the pot, it is done. Drain the rice and rinse with warm water.

Take the tahdiq: In a bow, whisk together 4 tbsp ghee, 1/2 cup water, 2 big scoops of the rice mixture, the yogurt, and 1 Tbsp of the saffron water. Spread this mixture down on the bottom of the nonstick pot. (nonstick is VERY important)

Assemble: place 2 spatulas full of rice and beans in the pot. Add a spatula full of herbs and garlic. Repeat, alternating layers of rice and beans with the herbs and garlic, mounding ingredients into the shape of a pyramid.

First Cook: cover the pot and cook rice mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Second Cook: Mix 1 cup cold water with 4 tbsp ghee and pour over rice and beans. Sprinkle on the remaining saffron water. Place a dish towel over the pot to absorg condensation and cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Reduce the heat to low and cook 50 minutes longer (take care that the towel doesn't burn)

Cool: remove the pot from the heat and place it, still covered, on a damp surface for 5 minutes to cool slightly and to loosen the crust.

Serve: remove the lid, hold a serving platter tightly over the pot and invert the two together, unmolding the entire mound on the platter. It should come out as golden crusted cake. Garnish with flowers and herbs.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Basmati Rice

  • 3 cups basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 8 cups cold water

pick over the rice carefully to remove any grit

wash rice: wash the rice by placing it into a large bowl and covering in warm water. Gently agitate with your hand, then pour off the water. Repeat five times to get the rice clean.

Cook rice: in a large non-stick pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the rice to the pot and boil hard for 6-10 minutes. Gently stir to remove any rice sticking to the bottom. Once the rice rises to the top it is done. Drain the rice and rinse with warm water.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Pistachio Soup

  • I cup unsalted, blanched pistachios
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • Kosher sald and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup whole pistachios, blanched for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Grind the pistachios in a food processor until fine.

Saute aromatics: In a heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and leeks, saute for 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Saute until very fragrant.

Simmer: Add the rice flour, stirring constantly to make a paste. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a boil. Add the pistachios, salt and pepper and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lime and orange juices. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve garnished with pistachios.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Advieh Powder

Seasoning Mix

  • 2 Tbsp dried rose petals
  • 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp ground Cumin

Mix ingredients thoroughly and store airtight.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Stuffed Peppers

  • 8 small red peppers
  • 1/4 cup long grained rice
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp groun black pepper
  • 1/3 cup frsh lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/4 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp Advieh powder (see recipe above)
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 400

Prepare the peppers: Cut the tops off the peppers 1/2 " from the stems and set tops aside. Remove the seeds and ribs. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the peppers and tops for about 5 minutes. Drain and shock the peppers in ice water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Make stuffing: In a small pot, combine the rice, split pease, 2 Cups water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

In a large saute pan, heat 2 T of the ghee over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and beef and saute for 15 minutes until golden brown. Add the tomato paste and saute 1 more minute. Remove from head and add teh rice mixture, the herbs and 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp advieh powder and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Make sauce: In a small bowl combine the tomato juice, 2 T Ghee, lime, sugar, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, and the saffron water. Reserve.

Stuff and Bake: Fill the peppers with the stuffing and replace their tops. Place the stuffed peppers side by side in an oven proof dish, pour the reserved sauce over the top. Cover with foil and bak for 1 hour or until very tender. When done, taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, or lime.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Eggplant Khoresh

  • 5 Tblsp. Ghee
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb. Chicken Breast sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads - ground and disolved in 4 Tblsp. hot water
  • 3 Cups fresh or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 Cup unripe grapes or 4 Tblsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Tumeric
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 lbs. Eggplant, peeled
  • 2 eggwhites, beaten

Preheat oven to 350

Brown the chicken: In a medium pot, heat 3 T. of the ghee over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and chicken and saute 15 minutes longer until golden brown.

Simmer: Add the salt, pepper, saffron water, tomato puree, grapes or lime juice and tumeric. Bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Fry the eggplant: Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters. Brush eggplant with eggwhites to reduce teh amount of oil used. In a large saute pan, heat 2 T. of the ghee up over medium heat and fry the eggplant until golden on each side. Place on paper towels to drain.

Bake: transfer chicken and sauce to a deep oven-proof casserole dish and arrange eggplant on top. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake 15 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning with salt and lime and serve.

We like to top this dish off with yogurt and chopped mint.

recipes from Culinary Communion

Persian Recipe: Cheese & Walnut Spread

  • 1/4 lb. Feta cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Scallions
  • 1/4 Tarragon leaves
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher Salt
  • 2 Cups Walnuts
  • 1/4 Cup Basil leaves
  • 1/4 Cup mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. Lime juice
  • 1/4 Cup Olive oil

Puree: place all ingredients in a food procesor and process to a coarse textured spread. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with lavash or flat bread. Serves 4.

- Note: when we made this recipe, we found we had to add an additional lime (not an additional Tablespoon - an additional LIME) to pull the top notes. That may have something to do with the cheese we used which had a very deep full flavor (deeper than most feta).

recipes from Culinary Communion

Culinary Communion: Persian Cuisine

For our first anniversary, my gift to Aaron was to take him to a class on cooking Persian food last night. The class was offered by Culinary Communion, and took place in the home of Chef Gabriel Claycamp. There were 7 students and the chef so it was a very nice intimate group. The class was fun, and we both learned alot, not just about Persian food, but cooking in general.

What did we learn?
- Saffron is water soluble, not oil soluble. Thats why you really need to dissolve it in hot water before you add it to the dish. If you just toss it in with what ever you are sauteing, it will give it a beautiful color but it just wont give up the love. Also, if you think you don't like saffron because it tastes metalic, try Persion saffron rather than Spanish, its a whole lot cheaper and the flavor is much less tinny.
- Eggplant is like a sponge and soaks up a lot of oil. If you brush the eggplant with eggwhite before adding it to the pan the eggplant will soak up a significantly smaller amount of oil.

- Juicing citrus - roll or knead the lime to break it down inside and then zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds to increase viscosity before slicing and juicing the fruit - you'll get out a whole lot more juice with a whole lot less effort.

- When cooking basmati rice - the old saying about washing the rice 5 times is there for a reason. I was the one that washed the rice, and it was amazing by the time I got the the third or fouth washing the aroma was really starting to come out. The five washings really help to release the aroma and flavor of the rice.

On the menu we had:

  • pistachio soup
  • feta and walnut spread with lavash bread
  • stuffed peppers
  • Eggplant Koresh
  • Dill and Fava Polow
  • Lamb Kababs
  • Saffron Brownie (halveh)

The food was great, but maybe not to the level of Alborz or Caspian Sea. I loved the pistachio soup, the cheese/nut spread was good be we found we needed to add a whole extra lime and a lot of extra plack pepper and mint to hit the right note. Bell peppers are never my thing, so as a whole the dish meant nothing to me, but the filling was quite succulent before in went into the pepper (after of course it was completely infused with the pepper flavor which I just don't like). I may have to think of something else to stuff - because the filling was really quite tasty. The dill and fava palow was good, and we even made it with the tadiq which was especially cool as most restaurants don't even serve that. The lamb kebabs were amazing and I seriously recommend you try the recipe when I get it posted. The saffron brownies were a variation on halveh which is common throughout the middle east, I dodn't think much of this particular recipe but I'll post it anyways.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Romance on Rails

For our first wedding anniversary celebration, Mr. H took me out on the Spirit of Washington dinner train.

He thought of everything. Before we boarded the train, he helped me complete my look with a Holly Yashi necklace and earring set. Then there were roses waiting for me when we got to our table on the train.

The food was excellent. I had prime rib and he had the salmon. The wines were exquisite - I particularly enjoyed the whidbey port.

Mr. H, my dear husband, I don't have enough words to tell you how much I love you. You made me very, very happy tonight.

I love you more every day and I'm so thankful that I get to spend my life with you.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Wedding Ceremony: September 5, 2004


I, Aaron,

accept you, Judy,

to be my wife.
I promise to live with you,
to trust and to cherish you,
to be your constant friend,
and faithful partner in life.
I promise to love, honor,
and respect you always,
as long as we both shall live.

I, Judy,
accept you, Aaron,
to be my husband.
I promise to live with you,
to trust and to cherish you,
to be your constant friend,
and faithful partner in life.
I promise to love, honor,
and respect you always,
as long as we both shall live.


I, Aaron,
accept you Judy
to be my wife
and in doing so
I commit my life to you.
I embrace the sorrows and the joys
the hardships and the triumphs
in the experiences of our lives together.
As we grow in our roles
as life long partners,
so will we always remain best friends.
With this ring,
I make this commitment
in love forever.

I, Judy,
accept you Aaron
to be my husband
and in doing so
I commit my life to you.
I embrace the sorrows and the joys
the hardships and the triumphs
in the experiences of our lives together.
As we grow in our roles
as life long partners,
so will we always remain best friends.
With this ring,
I make this commitment
in love forever.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Better Off Dead

This past weekend I discovered that Mr. H had never seen the movie "Better off Dead." This cult classic that most people of my generation (sub generation - should probably narrow it down to an ~8 year time span) can quote along with each line.

Suddenly I'm questioning all those times he nodded along with me as I spouted off some quote from the movie that had relevance to our life - an education was in order if he was to really get what I was getting at.

I went to my film archives (what a geek) to dig out the VHS tape, but didn't find it until after we broke down and rented a copy.

How did he like it? Hmmm, he laughed at the appropriate places but I don't think it will ever hold the same significance for him as it did for me.

A couple of months before the wedding my youngest brother, Steve, and my Dad had to sit him down and introduce him to The Blues Brothers.

his education continues...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Alibi Room

Last night we had dinner at the Alibi Room. This is a hideaway bar and restaurant down Post Alley beneath Pike's Place Market.

I love this place, and used to eat here regularly when I worked in the area. Last night they did not dissappoint. While the service was a little slow, we showed up between shifts and they had plenty of customers already. The food was great, we ordered caesar salads, pita and hummus for two, along with Peroni and we got out of there for $30 including the tip.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Word of the Day

Word of the day

Cockalorum n.
1. a little man with an unduly high opinion of himself.
2. Boastful talk; braggadocio.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Max and Ilona: Pictures Uploaded

After 6 weeks, I finally got the pictures we took at the International Fountain scanned in and uploaded. Notice every picture of Mr. H has Ilona in it too. She was not to be without him. He answered to "you," "him," "that guy," and "Eric"(?!), but there was really no question for anyone who she was talking about. He was her favorite, the name was irrelevant.

I love how all the pictures with both the kids have them running in opposite directions. Max spent quite a bit of time in the water, then would come and dry off, make faces at the camera, and go run around in the water some more.


Monday, August 15, 2005

NorthWest Trek

On a lark yesterday, Mr. H and I decided to hit the road and check out Northwest Trek. It was kind of a long trip for a lark, because it's a wildlife park near the foot of Mt. Rainier, but then we've missed the house on our way home and ended up going to dinner in Port Townsend before too. We do odd things when we're feeling spontaneous.

NW Trek is kind of a cool concept in wildlife parks/zoos, the prey animals live in a 500 acre area that ranges from steep hills, forests, pastures and wetlands. The animals roam freely, the people are caged in trams that are driven about the park by naturalists.

We got some great viewing opportunities, and up quite close to everything from bison, to moose to black tail deer, elk and caribou.

The predators are kept in a much more zoo-like setting - smaller habitats surrounded by fencing and moats. We enjoyed the black bear bathing himself and rolling around in the water, the cats, however seemed to think it was much too hot to come out of their little dens.

We missed the snakes and bugs this time. I think I'll get over it.

We'll definitely be back soon.


Friday, August 05, 2005

We are one month away from our first wedding anniversary

Who knew marriage would be this much fun?


Blue Angels

I was driving back to the office on my lunch break and had completely forgotten that the Blue Angels were performing today until I saw one do a full loop that took up my entire field of vision. It was really quite an amazing sight. I didn't drive off the road, but now I understand why they have to close I-90 because of all the looky-loos.

They're also performing tomorrow and Sunday - We may have to veture out to go see them.

On a side note, when the jet buzzed me, Danger Zone (think Top Gun) was blaring through the radio. I haven't heard that song in ten years. Quite a moment.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tartans and Pipers and Swords Oh My...

This weeked was the Pacific Northwast Highland Games at the fairgrounds in Enumclaw, Washington. We try to get up there every year, and each time we go we have a blast and get sunburned. This year we were especially careful about using sunblock, staying in the shade and my husband even bought me a hat, but we're just not used to 95+ degrees and we both managed to get crispy again this year. No worries though, we had so much fun, it was definitely worth it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lament of the Piper's Wife

Shortly after our wedding, my husband decided he wanted to learn how to play the bagpipes. He had a set of pipes he had once bought on a whim at a swap meet and then allowed to collect dust for years.

These pipes were old, made in Pakistan - which by most everybody's account means they are of poor quality. But all that didn't matter to Mr. H, he wasn't about to let anyone tell him his pipes were crap, he was going to learn to play them no matter what.

Teacher? We don't need no stinking teacher. This is Mr. Do-It-Yourself we're talking about here.

So he set about learning to play the pipes. He spent quite a bit of time online, researching bagpipes, discussing them in bagpipe forums exploring how-to manuals, and practicing. He spent endless hours on the practice chanter (thank heavens for the practice chanter, much less noisy than the pipes), and after several months of trying to go it alone, he met another bagpipe player in one of his classes at school.

Owen is a 19 year old from Alaska who has been playing the bagpipes for years. He offered to teach Aaron for $10 a lesson. You just can't beat that. From that point, Mr. H's improvement has been phenomenal.

Well until about a month ago. You see, all this time he has been using these pipes that really are garbage. His bag is full of holes. He spends most of his time online researching seasoning and other options for plugging the holes in his sieve of a bag. The bag is so leaky the seasoning leaks out, so he has a garbage bag and duct tape wrapped around it to keep from staining his clothes. His handle online is ghettopipes. It's a pretty good name for him.

The pipes have gotten so bad that at this point they no longer hold air at all, they are unplayable. At some point we're going to have to break down and get him a really good set, but at this point even a replacement bag is out of our price range.

I never thought I would say this, but the one thing I want more than anything right now is to be able to buy my husband a new set of pipes.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I've been battling the same sinus infection for the past 4 years. Finally, one day in a conversation with my physician, I had to come to terms with the fact that I just have not outgrown my childhood pet allergies.

After 4 years with Rufus, through thick and thin, I was going to have to find him a new home. That was 6 months ago. We've been looking for a new home for him, but not willing to settle for just anyone. He's a sweet dog, and deserves to go to a home where he will be appreciated.

One of the individuals who expressed some interest in him had other dogs. I suggested we set up a meet & grreet for the dogs at a neutral place like a dog park. He saw no reason to do that and just wanted to come and pick him up. Just didn't sit right with me.

So here we are, six months later, with a dog I can't live with, but to whom I don't know how I will be able to say goodbye.

Enter Kristianne.

Kristianne has been looking for a dog since she moved into her new house. She works for the same company I do, knows many of the same people I know, and met Rufus at the dog park on Sunday and just seemed to love him.

The big question now is - how will he get along with her cats. We agreed to set up a time to meet the cats and see how that goes. Hopefully she wont lose interest in him in the meantime. She seems like a very nice lady and the house with a yard would be a big upgrade from the little apartment he's living in now.

I'm so torn. I'm delighted that Kristianne is interested in taking him, I think he will be happier there anyways, but he's been my companion for 4 years, and I'm just going to miss him so much.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Three Hour Tour

For Mr. H's 30th Birthday, I took him out whale watching... well that was the idea anyways, but apparently the whales didn't get that memo.

The tour went out of Friday Harbor, so we had an adventure just getting there. We drove to Anacortes, two hours north of home, and then took a ferry across to San Juan Island where Friday Harbor is located.

We tried to have dinner at Front Street Ale House, but the service was so slow - not so much the kitchen, but getting the attention of the waiter (the one with the flat brim baseball hat cocked askew) - so we asked for the food to go and ate in on the boat as it was pulling out of port. The food was a bit greasy, but not bad.

The tour company we used was San Juan Safaris, and I would definitely use this service again. Our Captian was an old sea dog that looked like he'd spent more of his life on water than land, and the naturalist was a young college student who had been born and raised on the islands. They were both very skilled at keeping their guest happy and engaged (there were 20 of us on board) especially after it became apparent that the whales were not going to make an appearance.

We saw lots of eagles and eagles' nests, rhinocerous oclets (horned diving birds), harbor porpoise, seals, sea otters, and beautiful scenery. The most fascinating sighting was also the most grotesque, we came across a tiny island, maybe 20 feet in diameter, with two young bald eagles on it. In the water below were a seal and her newborn pup. By newborn, I mean minutes old. We came up right after ther birth. The eagles on the rock were displaying their pecking order, the older eagle was eating the placenta, while the younger eagle stood by patiently waiting his turn.
We got back to Friday Harbor in time to catch the last ferry back to the mainland. The 9:55 is the milk run stopping at every island on the way, so we got back to Anacortes by midnight. That 2 hour drive back to Auburn was exhausting.

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