My 12 Days of Christmas: Five

Today will be a reflection on just exactly this title: our five days of Christmas. Matt and I coordinated our final few days off this year so that we could have a whole FIVE DAY BREAK to surround our first holiday on the island. We kick it off tonight with dinner and a show…a fun night starting at Radiator Whiskey (a new whiskey bar in Pike’s Market) and then a holiday treat: the Land of the Sweets – a burlesque Nutcracker at the Triple Door! The rest of our weekend plan involves lots of down time, cookie baking, and most importantly…not leaving the island! We want to take full advantage of the built in quiet that comes with Vashon.

On this 5th day of Christmas we awoke to a wonderful (anticipated) surprise: SNOW! We had about ¾” as we headed down to the ferry for our commute in to work. It was peaceful and cold…but that new coat was perfect! (I went with the teal for those who were wondering). Snug and warm and commuting with my love before five days off…things are pretty dang good!


Twenty Seven

I have this thing about dates. I call our dinners “in” dates, trips to the grocery store are dates, any little adventure really. I love to go on dates because just calling them something special makes everyday happenings that much more meaningful. So what did we do for my birthday? Go on dates!

We started the day much like every other workday. Alarm went off at 5 am, showered, and headed for the bus and water taxi. The difference: we stopped for cinnamon rolls and coffee before we made it to work. A 20 minute pause to sit and enjoy the morning was such a treat! So were the cinnamon rolls! These were probably the best I ever had, and were still warm from the oven.

Matt had 3 hours of time off to burn through this week, so we met up early for a pho lunch downtown, (date #2) then had ANOTHER date poking around Pike’s Place Market! We picked up halibut cheeks and bay scallops for birthday dinner cioppino, then wandered through an antique store on the way to the water taxi. I found a really cool cabinet that I need to measure for a bedside table…

The water taxi was totally full on the way home (an hour later we finally figured out why EVERYONE was anxious to get back to the island on Halloween!) and we arrived back on our doorstep to find a note that our hot tub was fixed! Woohoo! We still needed a few ingredients for dinner so I volunteered to go to town. Wow was that an interesting choice! Turns out that Vashon is TOTALLY shut down on Halloween for trick or treaters! The roads were blocked off, music playing and everyone was in costume. Even the sheriff and his prisoner!

I had to park a half mile from the store but had a ball wandering through the happy chaos of Halloween on our island. As we spend more time here and learn more about the community, we just fall more and more in love with this place. We are already planning our costumes for next year so we don’t miss out!

Matt made amazing cioppino and we ate it on the couch while watching a movie. Low key, relaxing end to a birthday.

There was no cake since we are saving that for a dinner party on Saturday. But there was a gift! Matt really scored on this one. Ever flipped through skymall magazine on a plane and seen this?:

I am going to be so cool!

27 is off to a great start.

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.

New Weekends

This past weekend we had a reality check with how Matt’s new work schedule will impact us. It is not going to be as easy as we first thought. His weekends are now Friday/Saturday and then working really, really early on Sunday. Blah. Not ideal, but we will figure it out. We know that it will not be forever, so we can deal with it for now. 

Even though our weekend was scattered across 3 days, we had a great, full few days. Friday we had Matt’s parents and our friend and wedding officiant, Marty, over for dinner. Matt made some stellar pot pies: spinach/onion/potato and a split pea/ham. Yum! The crust was unbelievable. We used our home rendered leaf lard and it was so perfectly flaky…so so good. To finish off an evening of pies for dinner we had, you guessed it, apple pie supplied by Matt’s mama! Yum!

Saturday was a full day, starting with breakfast with my parents at our house at 8:30. From there the guys went to the Puyallup Fair grounds for a Mother Earth News fair while mom and I had a full afternoon of Craigslisting and a bridal shower. Last week I had spotted an antique cabinet on craigslist that we went to pick up on Saturday (utilizing mom’s car while in town…mine cannot carry much at all!). We brought the cabinet home and cleaned it on the deck, then headed to my bridal shower.

My friend and bridesmaid, Lana, hosted the shower at her house in Bellevue. It was a ton of fun, and it was so wonderful to see so many family and friends.

After the shower we regrouped with the boys and went down to White Center for some amazing pizza at my new favorite place: Proletariat Pizza. Seriously the best pizza I have had in Seattle yet. It was fresh, reasonably priced, and in a funky little place that just felt good to be in. Since we were in White Center, we wandered through our favorite Asian market too, picking up some limes, frog legs, goat meat and bananas. Great day!

Matt worked on Sunday, so I worked on the house. The new cabinet needed a home so we moved 3 bookcases around to adjust. My goal was to have it all back in place before going back to work, and I have to say that I think it worked out! I picked Matt up at 4:00 and we went to Sur la Table in Pike’s market just for fun. We revisited some of our registry items just to make sure they were the right ones. Such a fun store. When we got home we ate leftover pie and chopped up rhubarb for our first batch of liquor. We have 1 ½ glass gallon jugs marinating in the basement now! Now it just takes patience…

Seattle International Beer Festival

4th of July means fireworks and hotdogs, but to me, the 4th of July also means BEER! The International Beer Festival in Seattle to be more specific. For the past 4 years, my dad and some other friends have enjoyed this local event, and this year was no different. Actually, it was rather different this year since it was sunny and not raining J

We got in line around 11:30 (which is totally the way to go…get there early before the beer sample lines are too long). That way by the time the rest of Seattle is lined up in the sun (and you have had too much sun) you are almost out of beer tickets and ready to get home anyway. We have a very specific goal at the beer festival: try as many as we can and pick a winner. How do you do this with only 10 tickets? Divide and conquer.

Our group was 5 strong this year: me, my dad, Corey, his son Andrew, and Corey’s dad. We each would get a 4 oz sample, bring it back to the group and divide it up between the 5 of us. Luckily we are all hoppy IPA drinkers so there is not too much disagreement over which ones to try. This year we had a few favorites. One of my top picks was Sour Willy.

Mom and dad headed straight home after the beer festival leaving me to mass-transit it across Seattle. I took the monorail from Seattle Center to Westlake, then walked to Pike’s Place, then took the water taxi to West Seattle, then the free shuttle near to my house, and walked the rest of the way (yes, I was exhausted and dehydrated and sunburt when I got home but it was fun!). It was a stunning day to be trekking across the city.

I love 4th of July weekend traditions! Looking forward to next year already!

He asked, I said YES!

We are ENGAGED!!!!

On Saturday, June 11 my amazing boyfriend and best friend Matt asked me to spend my life with him as his wife. According to him it took me about 1.5 seconds to say “YES!” I am still floating and grinning from ear to ear. Yesterday was spent making phone call after phone call to share the news with friends and family, and I am now ready to write this all down so I can share it again.

With our work schedules, it has been very rare that Matt and I share a weekend-day off, and when the schedule at the Fish Co. aligned itself so that this Saturday was off, Matt made plans. He proposed (no pun intended) that we spend the day in Seattle, just ride the water taxi, go to Pikes Place, go to the aquarium: just enjoy our city and time together. I loved the idea…well, any plans would have been great I was just thrilled to have a whole day together!

So on Saturday morning we woke up and got doughnuts at the Original Bakery (one of our new favorite spots in West Seattle). I had what was probably the BEST glazed twist doughnut ever to be made. It was amazing. We ate them on “our” bench in the Junction park. The same place we ate lunch on our first date. From there we went home to change into “city” clothes, then took the water taxi across Elliott Bay. It was wonderfully grey out…the city almost looked black and white against the water. A plane flew by with the message “Debra, will you marry me?” and Matt said “So is that what I should do?” I laughed. “No silly, that is so not our style!” “Dang, guess I had better cancel that…” Little did I know that he was sitting there with a ring in his pocket at that very moment.

We wandered up to the market, stopping for some yummy pepper at World of Spice, then visiting the Letterpress shop down by the water. The market was hustle and bustle as always, so we decided to go to the camera shop (my request) before grabbing lunch. Of course the camera shop took WAY longer than we planned. I was trying to find the right bag to take on vacation that could hold 3 lenses and still fit inside my backpack. To my perspective, my patient boy just waited for me to make up my mind. He later told me that he was sweating bullets that he would not have time for his whole plan! We finally found the perfect bag, and headed back to the market.

Tummies were grumbling and we had planned on piroshky for lunch, so we went to stand in line. The line snaked around the shop, and Matt was so relieved that I was willing to stand and wait…this was a critical element of his ideal proposal. We got our piroshky and walked across the street to the park next to Pikes that looks out over Elliott Bay, the Viaduct and over to West Seattle.

Ok, now before I get to the actual proposal I need to give a little history on what makes this seemingly normal spot so significant. Back when we were first dating last summer Matt and I ate piroshky in this same park on a picnic table before going to dance in the park. For me, just sitting there eating snuggled up next to him was one of those romantic “click” moments where I could see myself spending the rest of my life with him. It was actually later that night that he first told me that he loved me. It was perfect.

Well, Matt had remembered that this “perfect” place was meaningful to me, and decided that it would be the ideal proposal backdrop. After we climbed up on the picnic table he leaned over and asked me (quoting “Rockie” which he knows I have yet to see) “So uh, I was wondering what your plans are for the next 60 or 70 years” at this point I started catching on and started getting excited but wanted him to continue so I asked “not sure, why?” he responded with, “well, if you don’t have any plans, would you mind spending them with me?” (or something like that…my mind really kinda went fuzzy at this point!). Then he climbed off the table and got down on one knee, told me that he loved me, I was his best friend and that he could ask for nothing more than to spend the rest of his life with me as his wife. He told me that he had called my parents yesterday and asked their permission. Wow. He knew how important that was to me. If any doubt had been in my mind about my answer that statement made it all go away. This man knows me. He listens to me. And he loves me. And wants to MARRY ME! At this point I was crying and managed to say YES! He slid the ring we had made onto my finger and gathered me up in a huge hug. He kept talking and I kept saying “yes, I want to marry you!” Eventually we got around to pulling out the camera and asking some people nearby to take a picture. When they found out we had just gotten engaged the whole group clapped. It was awesome!

We sat on the table and ate our piroshky and looked out at the water as the sun just started to break out of the clouds. Matt made some funny comment about dang, he should have just waited another 20 minutes and the sun would have been out! I lauhged. Oh how he makes me laugh! We finished our piroshky and went to the aquarium. On the walk down he asked me how the ring felt. “Good…but it will take some getting used to. I have never worn a ring on that finger before!”

The aquarium was awesome. Matt played like a little kid in the touch tanks. We talked to the seals. He told me about how he could fillet any fish in these tanks. Yep, that is my goofball.

He had made reservations at Tulio, a good Italian restaurant in Seattle. When we arrived there were roses on the table and we got great service from our waiter. We shared 4 courses of amazing food, laughing and talking and getting more exited as the magnitude of the day settled on us. I was eating dinner with my fiancé!



After dinner we had a half hour to kill before the water taxi ride home, so we took the opportunity to start calling people to share the news. He called Grandpo while I called my Tia Kim…the sound of her plus my 3 little girl cousins all squealing on the other end of the phone brought the hugest smile to my face! It was incredible!

The sun was setting as the water taxi departed Seattle, and by the time we made it back across the Bay it was dark. The perfect end to a perfect day. And I got to go home with my best friend, now as his fiancé.

Sunshiny Cold Weekend

It was a stunning weekend, full of fun and good food and sunshine.

Matt and I made steak salads and blackberry cobbler for dinner on Friday night, and then curled up on the couch to watch Swiss Family Robinson. It was a great cozy evening, and went pretty late since we knew we got to sleep in the next morning.

Or so I thought. Actually, Matt woke me up at 7 saying “you’ve got to see this moon!” I went to the window and was greeted by an epically full moon setting over the Olympics basked in early morning sunrise light. It was stunning. The mountains are all snow covered and the water was white capped and steel blue. I ran to grab my camera, popped on my 75-300mm lens and ran outside in the freezing cold to take some photos. It was so beautiful.

I went back to sleep, and then we got up at 10 to make “Port Hadlock Bacon” (or millionaire’s bacon as the chef there called it) with scrambled eggs and fruit salad. You need to try this…soooo good:

Port Hadlock Bacon

(it is really addicting. Plan on eating more than you probably should…)

  • Thick cut bacon
  • Brown sugar
  • Fresh cracked pepper (coarse)

Lay bacon on a sheet pan, and bake in 400 degree oven (or toaster oven for more energy efficient cooking!) for roughly 15-20 minutes until bacon starts to brown slightly. Remove from oven, drain bacon. Place back on the pan with the more “raw” side up. Sprinkle with fresh pepper and brown sugar. Return to oven for 8 to 12 more minutes until sugar is melted and bacon is done to your liking. Enjoy!

The rest of Saturday was rather odd…good, but wasn’t always fun. We had to wait 45 minutes to get AAA to come diagnose Matt’s battery (fixed for free, phew!) and then went to Pike’s Place Market. It was so crowded we could not even get the treats we wanted. It was sunny and cold, so we bought some cheese and went home. For dinner Saturday night we snacked on cheese and bread and grapes, then had salmon risotto and green beans. We sat on the couch watching our Redbox movie RED and snuggled with Lola. Good evening with my best friend.

Sunday Matt had to work at 7 so I slept in then did dishes and cleaned. I met Matt at the Junction for lunch, then hung out with Crystal for coffee and a walk along Alki. It was another spectacularly sunny and cold day, perfect to get out of the house with a friend. Sunday night I made roasted pork tenderloin with leftover risotto, sautéed sweet potatoes and salad.


House update: We found a house to rent (hopefully!) We get to go see the little brick house in West Seattle tomorrow at lunch. There were apparently 50 people who emailed interested in the house after it’s Craigslist posting. Fingers crossed we make a good impression and are at the top of the pile! Fingers crossed.