Monthly Archives: September 2012

Culture and community involvement

This weekend has been a ton of fun, with activities and learning. As mentioned before, Saturday was National Public Lands Day. We participated by joining a city-organized park clean up within our neighborhood. It was great because it is literally behind our house, so we walked over ten minutes before it was to start and were basically the first people there. In all I would estimate there were 50 people that came out to help. There was a Girl Scout ground, a Boy Scout group, and a Cub Scout group. There was an assortment of high school kids and random unattached adults. Even the Mayor of Kent, Suzette Cook, came out to get the party started! Until she ran through a roll call of area high schools, we had no idea there were so many! That will be good to know if we decide to have a family.

Our three hour volunteer contribution consisted of hacking away at the invasive blackberry bramble and Eastern Laurel. Hubby-to-be and I took out almost an entire Laurel tree. We were determined and I enjoyed using the saw! We were grateful to be in the “adult only” group, although we were impressed by how hard the teenagers appeared to be working.

Here is Hubby-to-be next to one of many piles of bramble he tore out.

He was a maniac!

I was happy that we participated. There is another park clean up just down the road on the 13th of October but we might be out of town so I am hesitant to sign up. I would hate to renege on my responsibility if we don’t make it back in time. So we’ll see.

In addition to National Public Lands Day it was free admission day to some museums around the country, sponsored by the Smithsonian Magazine.

So after we had lunch and cleaned up we headed over to the Museum of Flight. That place is awesome! The main hall of the museum houses so many different kinds of planes, jets, and helicopters. There are two space exploration halls complete with lunar rover, Apollo pod, and a mock ISS room. There were two cockpits open for anyone to sit in. The lines were nuts so we skipped it. Because I’m awesome, (or just seriously lucky) I’ve already had the opportunity to sit in a real live SR-71 Blackbird. I can’t recall if that was at Edwards Air Force Base or the Skunk Works hangars, but it was awesome.

Next to the main exhibition hall is the original Boeing factory in a big red barn. In it are all kinds of old tools and machinery. Upstairs in a tribute to fancy flying in the early days of commercial flights.

Heading across the street, over the glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge, is the Air Park. There were were able to see inside a Concorde and LBJ’s Air Force One. I took pictures of everything silly of course, most importantly, the president’s lavatory.  Here it is:


Also in this lot were the first Boeing 747 and 737. We wished the 747 had been open for a quick peek but HTB said he had read that it is in serious need of restoration and is really dingy. Oh well. Then I remembered I have flown in a 747 to and from Europe twice so that’s something. I can’t, however, recall if those massive planes had an upstairs. Too bad we aren’t so fancy as to be invited into the upstairs of an airplane! Maybe someday. 🙂

Sunday has turned out to be gorgeous and sunny. After an awesome weekend breakfast of apple pancakes and veggie sausages, I headed outside to continue waging war on the bramble taking over our yard while HTB watched the footballs. (Go Seahawks!) Toward the end of my yard work adventure I took a breather and looked up to find two adorable raccoon teens watching me and lazing in the breeze high in an ivy-covered tree. So cute. After we acknowledged our mutual respect and disinclination to harm one another, we went on with our respective business. IE: they curled up, noses under tails, while I ran to get HTB to come see the INSANE CUTENESS!

Happy weekend y’all!

The path toward usefulness

Today I was a lazy bum. And I hated it. I just couldn’t find the motivation to get up and be useful. I struggle so much with this. I hate being lazy. As luck would have it the evening news featured a story about a local food bank and the immense need for volunteers, food, and funds. I googled ‘food bank’ and came up with a list of nearby food banks. One page lead me to which was just what I was looking for! allowed me to punch in my zip code and see an extensive list of volunteer opportunities near me. I knew I wanted to stay as close to home as possible so I refined the search by distance and found so many listings. It was really difficult narrowing that list down but finally decided on two areas that I knew I would be most helpful:

Volunteer Chore Services – Yes, this is through a Catholic Church but I’m hoping it is a separate entity. I love laundry and yard work so I think this is a good fit.


Meals on Wheels – This is through the senior center just down the hill from our house.

I am excited to get to work and make myself useful. Before we moved to Kent, I was volunteering at the Oregon Humane Society and loved it. I like to give what I can. I encourage everyone to get out in the community and help make a difference. Even if it is just an hour per month, that is a great contribution.

How to you help? Where do you volunteer?

Falafel and moussaka – restaurant review

Am I a failure if I didn’t feel like cooking yesterday – the same day I started a blog about self-accountability?


I am not a chef. I barely enjoy cooking. In fact, until three months ago hubby-to-be was the chef in our relationship. He cooked, I cleaned. Now I do it all! Not only because I’m home all day and feel like I really have nothing better to do (ie it is my responsibility) but I want to. I appreciate the opportunity to take a break from the rat race and take pride in making breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday.

Yesterday I just wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been hoarding coupons from the freebie mailers so we had a decision.

Greek vs. Mediterranean.

As it was a warm and lovely evening, we decided on Spiro’s Greek Island as they have outdoor seating in quaint downtown Kent. I even threw on some makeup for the occasion! We headed down the hill after hubby-to-be got home from work and made it just before the rush hit. Isn’t it always a good sign when the restaurant fills up shortly after you arrive? It always makes me feel like my decision was a great one. Score one for me!

We started off with dolmadakia and skordalia with pita (think really garlicky pureed mashed potatoes.) Let me just say these dolmas were probably the best I’ve ever had. So creamy and mild and pleasing. A cocktail is usually in order at dinner so I went with their Valentine Sparkler – I only remember that it was rum based and pink and had a cherry in it. Our server was the owner which was awesome and when he set the fancy glass in front of me he whispered, “It’s loaded!” So good. HTB opted for water. Boring!

For dinner I went with the falafel platter sans cheese. He went with the moussaka. Both dishes were, in one word, HUGE. We barely made a dent in either. Which means: this was an amazing deal! We got dinner, lunch, and probably another dinner out of it! Although we were completely stuffed, we still went for the Baklava – our coupon made it free! And really, there is always room for dessert, right? It was so sweet and flaky. Pretty dang good.

In all it was a pleasant experience. We were glad we went. They were vegan-accommodating but my only option was falafel. I packed half of the moussaka leftovers for HTB’s lunch today. He was excited!

National Public Lands Day – volunteer opportunity!

This Saturday is National Public Lands DayI try to volunteer at this type of event at least once per year. I have missed the last couple of Earth Day events but happened upon this project shortly after moving to Kent. This year the chosen spot is Park Orchard Park which is great because it is very close to our house! Convenient!

Come Saturday morning hubby-to-be and I will bust out our gloves and pruners and walk on over. I am excited to be giving back. I have read that the Mayor will be there as well!

Are you participating in National Public Lands Day event?


Here comes my life!

I have had a job since I was 18 years old and saving for my graduation trip to Europe. Thirteen years later I have found myself staying at home – by choice! Three months ago my then boyfriend (now fiance!) was offered a promotion that we just couldn’t pass up. The promotion required that we move to the Seattle area with only a few weeks notice. It was chaos but so much fun. In the process I had to give up my job. I had only been working at that office for a few months and felt bad abandoning ship but it had to be done.

Long story short we considered our options and with the pay increase he would be getting, we decided I wouldn’t rush to find a job, but rather take my time, get us settled, and then go from there.

It has been two months of full-time ‘domestic engineering’ and I am already bored. Oops. The real issue I have is not the occasional boredom but the feeling that I am not fully contributing to our family. Granted it is just the two of us, but I am used to working my tail off all day long and holding my own. It might sound crazy but I even feel weird spending money on groceries – because I didn’t earn that money!

This blog will be my chronicle of my efforts toward remaining useful. I hope to highlight how I spend my days for no other reason than to validate my time TO MYSELF so I can hopefully move past the feeling of inadequacy and enjoy this time off. I have many ideas and big events coming up in my life. I’m excited to share!

Happy Fall!Image

{This vignette brought to you by:

  • gourds/frame – $3 at the St Vincent de Paul store in downtown Kent, WA
  • pumpkin – $2 at Safeway
  • free printable