Home Again

I’m back at work today after a beautiful week in the Pacific Northwest. I was there primarily for Katie’s wedding, but I was able to see D’s parents, spend some time at home with my mom and sisters and squeeze in a visit with Erin in Portland. I missed my dad and Christina–you’re both at the top of my visit-list for next time.

Thanks for sharing the photos Autumn!

It was a really great week–full of sunshine, old friends and family. The only thing I would have changed was the fact that Derek was back in Boston. Next time we’re coming together, vacationing separately is not so fun. Some of my favorite things (mostly in chronological order):

  • Watching Big Brother with Rebecca.
  • A nice meal and excellent conversation at the Nelson house.
  • Doing hair and makeup at the bridal suite before the wedding. I miss having a bunch of girl roomies.
  • Katie looking more beautiful than ever as she walked down the aisle.
  • Dancing the night away with the ladies.
  • Watching The Hunger Games with my mom and sister
  • Hugging and kissing Horton. Until he made my allergies worse–then we stayed away from each other.
  • Helping Jaime pick out her first day of school outfit.
  • Drinks, dinner and catching up with Erin.

Katie, you looked amazing and your wedding was perfect. Thank you for inviting me and congratulations on the start of your happy marriage.

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend. I’m back to work for 8 days and then I’m having my wisdom teeth removed. I’m kinda scared and kinda excited to spend four days watching tv instead of working. At least that how I hope it plays out…

Until next time,

A

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A Belated Birthday Recap

Year 26 really started off great for me. The celebration actually kicked off the weekend before my special day. We found ourselves in Connecticut for the weekend and my Aunt organized a birthday dinner with family. She even surprised me with a vegan cake from a local bakery. It was so delicious. Really, so good. I didn’t even want to share (but I did…reluctantly).

Fast forward a few days to my actual birthday. My company gives everyone their birthday off so that we can spend the day doing something other than work. I chose to spend the day at the beach with my favorite person. We packed a picnic, including with wine for a birthday toast, and headed out mid-morning. We went to Ogunquit beach in Maine (on the wise recommendation of some work friends). It was beautiful and the weather was perfect–80s with a breeze.

On the drive up, I got a picture message telling me about the gorgeous bouquet my mom, step-dad and sisters sent me. Mom didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be at work. But the flowers were still good the next day. In fact, they are still looking just as fresh almost a week later. These are probably the prettiest flowers I’ve ever received.

When we got to the beach it was pretty apparent that we weren’t adequately prepared. We had no beach gear–not even beach towels. I grabbed some older bath towels on the way out the door for us to sit on. But these beach people…they don’t mess around. They had serious stuff–tents, chairs with built-in umbrellas, super coolers, beach games. We did manage to remember a tiny bottle of sunscreen, at least. Thankfully, it turns out you don’t need fancy things to enjoy the beach. 🙂

After eating lunch on the sand, we packed up the leftovers and dropped them back off at the car to do some exploring. We stopped in a candy store and though I didn’t expect to find anything I could eat, Derek found the last box of vegan rice milk chocolate and promptly bought it for us to share. I’m a dark chocolate lover so it wasn’t my favorite, but it was nice to have some variety.

Next up we enjoyed some drinks and snacks at a Mexican restaurant named Banditos (a nod to my favorite college burrito bar) before venturing back south. We stopped at the outlet stores on the way home but I wasn’t feeling inspired so we left empty handed.

We ended the evening by sharing a meal with our friends Lisa and Jim. They met us in Allston and we walked to a new-to-us Thai restaurant (who am I kidding? Every restaurant in Allston in new-to-us at this point). The food was pretty good. But the vegan ice cream we had for dessert was even better. 🙂

And then, just to extend things a little longer, I had a little birthday/house-warming get-together last Saturday. A few friends came over to see the new place, eat pizza, drink wine, and indulge in more vegan baked goods. It was a perfect finish to a lovely birthday week.

No doubt, I have the best people in my life. Thank you for celebrating with me. You all are loved and appreciated.

-A

The Graduate

She’s a high school graduate now. And she nailed her salutatorian speech (like a boss). I couldn’t have been more proud of her. Love you Jess!

Aside from graduation festivities, I spent time with my other lovely sisters Rebecca and Jaime, baked with my mom, met my dad for breakfast and hung out with my best friend. A very short but successful trip, I’d say.

I’m looking forward to coming back at the end of August for Katie’s wedding and to have time to see the rest of my family. Fingers crossed that there is more sunshine next time.

Love,

A

A Quarter Century

Disclaimer: This is a crazy long post. But it’s the last one from my trip to Washington. And this time there are corresponding photos thanks to Katie K. Enjoy. Or don’t. I won’t tell you what to do.

I had no expectations for my 25th birthday celebration. In fact, I was so excited about planning my vacation home that I sort of forgot about my birthday. But I have great people in my life, so I should have known that 25 would bring great things.

The timing of my trip dictated that if I wanted to celebrate in Seattle, I’d have to do it Sunday night- the day before my birthday. Doug gave me a little slack about starting the party a day early, but it really worked out well.

Derek and I met Rebecca and Katie K. at Doug and Mego’s. We started with a little pre-funking and then I opened my gifts from Katie. She brought me a delicious carrot cupcake from my favorite Portland bakery and gifted a cookbook that I instantly fell in love with and a wire whisk that goes with an inside joke from grad school.

Then we walked to a sushi restaurant not far from the apartment. It ended up being the perfect dinner spot because even though they only had 2 beers on tap, one of them was Kilt Lifter—my favorite. We ordered way too much food and beer and ate family-style. Derek may have spilled a drink on me, but he’d be embarrassed if I told you, so I won’t.

p.s. That necklace was my present from D. And he picked it out all by himself. Isn't he great?

After the meal, the boys headed straight to the bar while the girls headed straight to gelato. Yum yum yum. When I got to the bar, Mike D. had already arrived and someone had already told the bartender that it was my birthday. So I accepted my free beer and then bear hugged Mike. A few minutes later, Mikey Van Fleet showed up and the crew was complete. Some people played pool, I played shuffleboard and we all played songs on the jukebox (which, for some reason, I kept calling a music maker). There were shots for the July birthdays (Doug, Mike D., Katie and I) and then a bar regular named Heavy insisted on buying me a birthday drink.

Rebecca, Mike D. and Mego had to leave earlier than the rest of us, but I think it was at least midnight when they left. Derek, Katie, Mikey, Doug and I stayed until the bar closed. Derek may have spilled another drink on me. But again, I won’t embarrass him by telling you. On the way home, we accidentally split up. Derek and Mikey walked to Chevron for beer and scratch tickets. Doug, Katie and I walked to QFC for beer, Gatorade and snacks. And then we all met up at the apartment.

My snack. I'm not really sad- that's just a pose for the photo.

The boys stayed up even later drinking and talking outside. Katie and I crashed on the air mattress and didn’t wake up again until Mikey woke us all with a night terror that caused him to scream and kick. And then something funny must have happened because he started laughing in his sleep.

Katie and I had a quick breakfast at a place around the corner before she had to return to Oregon for work. When I got back to the apartment, Derek and Doug were starting to wake up. After watching some youth track races, Derek and I headed to the Ave for a little shopping (where I bought myself my newest favorite skirt), Jimmy John’s and then headed south for my mom’s house.

In Rainier, we hung with the family for a little while before Rebecca, Doug and Megan joined us all for dinner. Apparently my mom had planned a surprise party but I had inadvertently ruined it by inviting everyone over myself. No matter. We ate tasty lasagna and then my mom pulled out the crème brulee I’d requested. It was so good. We ended the evening my watching Jaime’s soccer team kick butt in their last game of the season.

All in all, it was a perfect birthday: easy and full of good food and great friends.

Here’s to hoping that 25 is my best year yet!

Thursday in Seattle

*Disclaimer- I didn’t take any photos the whole time I was in Washington. So to keep things interesting, I borrowed some related photos to add to this post. I hope it works; if you make it to the end of this kinda-long post, you get a prize.

I started my trip home late on Wednesday, leaving Hartford at 6pm and arriving in Seattle around 12:30am. Derek picked me up from the airport and we stayed with Doug and Mego that night. I had slept some on the plane, so I wasn’t completely exhausted. But it was late and Derek and I had plans in the morning, so we all went to bed shortly after I arrived.

Thursday morning I woke up an hour before the alarm was set to go off (apparently my internal clock was still set to East Coast). That gave me plenty of time to shower, get ready and check my usual spots on the internet before waking Derek and leaving for a breakfast date with his mom. Our plan was to meet her in Kirkland at 10:30 but due to some navigational problems, we didn’t all meet up until after 11. The conversation was nice and the food was delicious (note to self: make banana pancakes at home). We were able to chat for about an hour and half before D and I had to leave.

I didn't take this photo but it's from the same cafe. Giant pecan banana pancake goodness.

We drove straight from that filling breakfast to lunch with Dad, Heather and Ryan. Derek was a coward and didn’t even try to eat another meal but I was actually excited about eating at Zoopa again—I hadn’t been since I was a little kid—and I didn’t want to be rude to my dad by asking him to meet for lunch and then not even eat. So, I had a delicious salad and the five of us caught up.

And then it was on to my Aunty Shelley’s house for a visit with Uncle Rick, Phillip, Tiffaney, Hailey and, later, Aunty.

Hailey is so frickin big and smart and gorgeous. I was worried that she wouldn’t feel comfortable around me since I’d only seen her a handful of times, but it didn’t take long before we were playing together. She must have known that I’m a Minnie Mouse fan too. Oh I love her so much and it was nice to see everyone else too, even though my visit was so short.

Finally, we ended the night in Rainier at my mom’s.

I just realized that I saw every immediate family member still in Washington all in one day—that might be a record. I know my mom fed us when we got home but I can’t remember what it was. I know there was wine. I was so good to hug my mom and my little sisters. Even though two of them are taller than me, they will always be little in my mind.

We turned in early that night (it was a busy day and I still wasn’t adjusted to the time difference yet). The next morning I helped Jessie plan her trip to East for college visits, sat outside and chatted with my mom and, eventually, met with Rebecca and Christina for dinner. But I’ll tell you more about that in the next post—this one is already a little long.

Back to Blogging

So… you may have noticed the lack of updates over the last month. The extended absence is part laziness and part lack of inspiration. And I also thought that nobody read what I wrote. But you’ve convinced me. During my trip home several friends and family members pointed out that I haven’t been writing and Doug even told me I was good writer (which is an extra nice compliment coming from a grammar critic and former journalism student). I will try to do better.

I’m back to work today after six days off. My way-too-short Seattle visit was wonderful and full of everything good. I’ll be writing up stories of things I want to remember over the next few days. Expect to see the trip fully documented by the end of the weekend. Thank you to everyone who made time to see me; I miss and love you all so much.

 

Happy Birthday x3!

Today is not just Cinco de Mayo. It’s the 22nd and 25th anniversary of the day two amazing people came into the world. I’m a lucky lucky girl to have great friends like Megan and Chris in my life. I wish I could be there in person to buy you each a drink. It’s not much, but here’s a little birthday love to let you know how important you are to me.

Mego,

I’m so happy to have you as my 6th sister. Your drive to make the world a better place is so inspiring and it’s such a joy to be a part of your life. I miss you dreadfully. Happy Birthday my dear; I hope it’s as beautiful as you are.

Chris,

Aren’t we fortunate that our big brothers friendship brought us together? You’ve been there for me through so many trials and triumphs and for that I’m so very thankful. I love how you live each day to the fullest and appreciate how you push me to explore and be adventurous. Happy Happy Birthday forever-friend; I hope it’s overflowing with love and happiness.

But that’s not all! The birthday celebrations continue into tomorrow. Again, I wish I lived on the proper coast to celebrate a special day with a very special lady- my mom.

Mom,

Your unfaltering love and support (even when I told you I wanted to move 3,000 miles away) mean so much more than I could ever express.  I’m so thankful for everything you do for me. I love you as my mother and my friend. I can’t wait to come home to visit and see your restaurant! Have the happiest of birthdays, Mom; I hope Ross and the girls spoil you all weekend long.

Love to you all,

Arikka

No Coat Friday

Last week, I had to brush eight inches of snow off my car. Today, it’s sunshiny and warm(er). I didn’t even wear a coat to work. And it’s forecasted to be in the 80s on Monday. I think I’m fairly adjusted to living on the East coast (I mean, I drove around in Manhattan, navigated the subway system in Boston and I own a snow brush, a snow shovel and rain boots) but this weather is just nutty. At least in Seattle, I knew what to expect: rain.

I don’t know what your weather is like today, but I hope you all have a great weekend planned. A few things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

  • Calling my mom. It’s been a little while since we talked last.
  • Cuddling with Derek- I’m driving to NH after work tonight. Woohoo!
  • Getting a real mattress/boxspring/frame bed of my own! Two and a half months of sleeping on an air mattress is plenty.

Much Love,

A

p.s. We just had a fire alarm go off at work. That was fun.

Belated Weekend Recap

Last weekend was wonderful and fabulous and perfect. I can’t believe I forgot to write about it. Hey- it’s not just my fault, you didn’t ask…

Saturday morning started with a trip to the post office. Mom sent me a Valentine’s care package complete with chocolate (!) and Tillamook cheese (!!). Then I drove to Boston to meet up with Katie and her friends Sarah and Kari. We took a train into the downtown area and had a delicious lunch at the first open restaurant we could find (ladies were hungry). After that we did a little walking, a little shopping and indulged in girl talk.

The best part of the little trip, though, was the dueling piano bar we went to for dinner, drinks and dancing. I ended up leaving fairly early in the night, but even the few hours I was there, I had a blast. Katie and I got there right as the place opened for the night so we had the best seat in the house. There were some good drink specials and the pianists were awesome. Seriously, so good. I definitely want to go back again soon.

Have I told you lately that I love Boston? Well I do. And this little trip only made me want to visit more often. It’s only 40 minutes from my house! That’s not far at all.

Anyways… the reason I left the piano bar early was because I was driving to NH to see Derek. I got in around 10pm and you know what Derek did? He baked cookies for my arrival! Sometimes he’s just so sweet. We cuddled on the couch until I fell asleep (which probably wasn’t long).

On Sunday, we spent the whole day together. We shopped; I was looking for a table to put in my entry way (no luck). We ate; He took me to Redhook for a little date. And we watched a movie; Salt- I fell asleep before it was over.

I was a happy happy girl as I went to bed, content with my perfect weekend. At least until my alarm went off at 5am Monday morning and I realized I would have to spend five days at work until I could have another amazing weekend. But that’s life.

Until next time,

A

All Moved In


Welcome to my new apartment! Let me give you a quick tour. (Remember: it’s not cute yet. I just moved in two days ago. The decor still has a long way to go.)

 

The living room/dining room. Yep, Derek is holding a Minnie doll. 🙂

The kitchen. Thanks Mom/Grandma & Grandpa/Aunty Sharon & Uncle B for all the great kitchen stuff you gave me.

El baño. Excuse the avocado green bathtub- I'm still looking for a stylish shower curtain to hide that.

My bedroom! The saddest room of all right now because I don't have my bed or dresser yet. But I'm making due with an air mattress and suitcase storage.

So… it’s coming along. My family unpacked my kitchen stuff and helped set-up my living room before they went home Saturday. That left me with the bedroom and bathroom to unpack and organize, which wasn’t a big deal. I still need a few bigger pieces of furniture (bookshelf, entry-way table, etc.) but the space is totally livable right now.

The worst thing about the apartment is that I don’t get any cell phone reception. Sometimes a text message can find it’s way through, but I definitely can’t make or receive calls. I’m brainstorming solutions, but until then don’t be offended if I miss your call and never return it. If you don’t leave a message (voice or text) I’ll never know you tried to call me. My internet should be working tomorrow so email/Facebook/blog comments are probably the best ways to reach me for the time being.

Love,

A

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