Madison: Mid-Winter

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Madison, WI waiting for an email chain to close up for work. There is a fresh layer of snow and the sun is shining gloriously. Oh, yea, and it is 1 degree out there. Brr! Good thing I found a great latte.

This thin skinned Washington girl got quite the shock with the temperature drop when landing here last night. It was 55 or so when I left Seattle yesterday mid-morning, and things are blooming everywhere in an early Spring. Madison is still in the dead of winter. And it is a treat!

What prompted a mid-winter trip in freezing temps? My best girlfriend Jenny! We were LONG overdue for a reunion and decided to just make it happen. Today we are both working, but tomorrow starts a long weekend of catching up, cooking, eating out, adventuring and more catching up. Jenny and I lived together for two years in college and have already seamlessly fallen back into routine. We have the exact same bath towels, the same basket for our hair dryers, and keep comparing notes on how similar our husband’s quirks are. I sure have missed this girl!

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Sunset 4:27

Yep, you read that right – Wednesday as I waited for my bus “sunset: 4:27pm” wandered across my phone screen. 4:27 pm. Welcome to the wintertime downside of living in Seattle.

This week it got cold. The cold that we have been hearing rumors about. I knew that it would be pitch black by the time we got home, and it was freezing cold on the dock, so I hatched a plan to make this random Wednesday a little more special. I stopped by a coffee shop to pick up a latte and hot chocolate, and then met my sweet husband down at the water taxi dock with treats in tow.

This simple surprise made our sunset commute special. The sun was down before we even loaded the boat, but our hands were warm and hearts appreciating life and love.

Coffee Shop View

After a thunder and lightning storm studded water taxi ride and a soaking wet walk through the city, I made it with luggage to my pre-office meeting in Georgetown. Luggage in tow because we leave for vacation after work, pre-office meeting because I love any excuse to work outside my cube, rain because, well, the end of summer is upon us in Seattle.

It is a beautiful morning. Packing with the house still torn apart was less than efficient, the commute with luggage a little more difficult, but life is so good right now. Our deck paint seems to have stuck well (even with the downpour 12 hours after we painted) and the house is slowly coming together. And we have a whole 9 days of sunshine and sand to look forward to. A long awaited break before school starts again. School starting will mark a drastic reduction in house project progress, but hopefully a slower pace for Matt. This summer has been breakneck speed.

I savor these moments. Good coffee, time, and watching rain. I found a book to take on the plane. PB&Js are stocked in my bag. Anticipation of vacation; one last dose of salt and sand and then I am ready for fall.

A Wedding & A Birthday

BUSY does not even begin to describe this week. Schoolwork piled up (and was covering things that I did not understand), a big project hit at work, and we were going to be out of town for the weekend. My best friend, Jenny, was getting married! I flew across the state to Spokane early Thursday morning (and managed to catch a flight and hour earlier than scheduled so that was a bonus!), worked in the Spokane office for the day, and met up with a BGI classmate to work some homework problems. He introduced me to the best little coffee shop ever! I checked in to my hotel, drove through the snow to buy a scarf (that I am totally in love with) then went out with Jenny and her friends for a girls semi-bachelorette party out. It was so much fun to get to know other important women in her life!

Friday was catch up on work and schoolwork day. I was staying at the Davenport Tower (excellent hotel!) right in the middle of downtown, so in the morning I headed out to find breakfast and ended up at the safe café from the day before with a bowl of fresh granola and yogurt and a very excellent mocha.

I meant to only stay for breakfast, but was so cozy that I ended up camping out and working till lunch when I met up with my good friend Ellie! Ellie and I were math buddies in high school, then rekindled our friendship in college. She and her husband live in Idaho and commute to Coeur d’ Alene so we decided to meet up and grab lunch in Spokane. We had a great time talking about our plans for our future farms. We wish we lived closer to make bartering easier! They are getting cows this summer and I am dying to go out and learn with them! I cannot wait to see their farm again. It has grown a lot since their wedding there in 2010.

After lunch I worked from the hotel to avoid walking it he cold or driving in the snow until rehearsal. It was hard to convince myself to change from my cozy sweater and jeans into heels and a short sleeved dress (it was FREEZING cold!) but I did, and drove over to Gonzaga for rehearsal. Boy am I glad there was a rehearsal for this wedding! It was my first Catholic wedding with Mass, and it was nice to know all the cues to stand and sit ahead of time.

After rehearsal we had good food and wine at dinner, and at 8:00 I finally got to pick up Matt at the airport! It was so great to see that sweet husband of mine walk out with his goofy pompom hat on.

We were both exhausted, so went back to the hotel and crashed.

Next morning – WEDDING DAY!!! I had a hair appointment at 9 with the other girls, but we had an early morning mission first: birthday doughnut run for Matt. Sunday was Matt’s 30th, and doughnuts are his thing. Unfortunately, all the independent doughnut places in Spokane are closed on Sundays. Go figure. So Saturday it was. We drove out to the Valley to track down treats at Mike Old Fashioned Doughnuts. Of course, we were short on time, and then had to find an ATM since it was cash only, but we were finally successful and had some awesome good doughnuts. I highly recommend their cake crumb doughnut.

 We ate and ran so that I could get to my hair appointment on time. The gal doing my hair did a great job, and it was fun to see everyone get glammed up. I sampled some of their skin products while I was there and am still thinking about buying the amazing coconut moisturizer that they carried. From the salon we went to Glover Mansion to get dressed and do photos. I cannot wait to see them! The photographer was a great gal, and we had fun doing photos even through it was below freezing. Jenny looked stunning.

3:30 – wedding time! It was a nice ceremony, with a very happy looking bride and groom. Then we were all off to the reception at Glover. Time to break out the wine and dance floor! The wine to people ratio was really high (something like a bottle per person) and since we were not driving Matt and I took full advantage of that. We were both sitting with fun people and dinner was good…but the real highlight was dancing! Boy was there dancing! Brian had a great selection of music that kept everyone going for hours. I had blisters from my shoes, so took them off, and danced till I was getting blisters on the bottom of my feet!

 At 11 a towncar from the Davenport picked us up. We felt very fancy going back in such high style. We thought about going to the Peacock Lounge, but decided after wandering through the lobby that we really did not need anything else to drink (except maybe a whole lot of water!) and so we made our way back to our room…and crashed. Here are some of the blurry but awesome photos documenting the night.

What a great night. We woke up hung over but cured that with a great massive birthday breakfast at Molly’s before flying back to Seattle.

 It was a wonderful weekend getaway. Seeing Brian and Jenny so happy AND getting to celebrate by Moose’s birthday…it was perfect. Too bad I did not take more photos. I guess I will just have to wait for Jenny’s photographer to get finished with hers!

Sunny Date Day in Seattle

This early fall weather has been such a treat! Sunshine every day, no rain in sight! Of course, it means that our grass and garden are dry as a bone and looking pretty awful, but we Seattleites sure are loving the sunshine treat!

This weekend Matt and I took a date day to Seattle. Water taxi then shopping at Sur la Table, mini doughnuts and lattes in “our” park by Pike’s Place Market (where we got engaged), then an international grocery shopping adventure to Uwajimaya. We were successful in our quest for phin filters to make Vietnamese coffee! Woohoo! What a great, beautiful day to spend together.

Sunday Matt worked, and I filled my time with kickboxing, returning our last wedding gift return (yay!), and making a huge pot of chili. Oh yea, and reading for school.

Wedding Photo Bliss!

Warm. Content. Fillfilled. Loved.

That is how I am feeling. Last night we received the email we had long been waiting for…our wedding photos are done! Ben sent us a weblink, and also dropped our DVDs in the mail. I immediately clicked open the sight and, wow, I could not be happier with the photos. They are stunning. Not only are the photos themselves gorgeous, but they perfectly capture the emotion of our wedding day. Clicking through them with Matt nearly brought tears to my eyes, recalling all love and pure joy we experienced that day in August. There are just too many good ones to share! Here is a quick sample of a few favs…

After class, we went out for pho with Beth, as a final farewell dinner before she heads out to sea again on Monday. We laughed and talked over our brothy dinner, then talked and laughed some more while Matt enjoyed a cà phê sữa (Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk). Oh so good. I stole a sip, and I am hooked! This weekend we are going to find some phin filters at a market so we can make it at home. It will be the perfect fall treat to share in our cozy little home.

Fall is in the Air

Yep, fall is here. I studied all morning at C&P, listening to the regulars talk about their lives and the new baby being shown around. 5 days old and really cute, with an equally adorable and very proud 2 year old sister. The coffee and being plugged in to Pandora made it a relaxing study session. Took a LEED practice exam, learned what I have not covered well enough! I have tickets to fly to CA to visit my brother at Stanford at the end of October so my goal is to have this exam done by then.

After studying I went to the West Seattle farmers market to buy an African basket, local honey and corn. I also got some good grainy bread and have been plowing my way through bread and honey all afternoon! Good stuff, and it feels like a good treat on the first real fall-feeling day.