Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A year in review

My New Year's resolution for this year is (among other things) to do a better job keeping my blog updated. In this spirit, I am going to recap 2009 as it was for the Amersons. No pictures, because my camera is still (hopefully) temporarily out of commission, but you can certainly search back through my blog and see if I documented any of this stuff...


Went to Disneyland with the Fieros and had a *fabulous* time, other than the hip issues on the roll-away cot, which I finally minimized by sleeping atop three pillows running lengthwise down the bed. I will definitely weasel my way into the next Disney trip taken by any of my neices/nephew. We also refinanced our mortgage (again....) into a 14-year mortgage with an amazing interest rate. This is our last refinance, because we will never be able to beat this deal. Ethan was on crutches all this month (from his right knee surgery in December 2008)


Got into finances and figuring out the future and eventual retirement for the Amersons. Started watching a lot of Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey and MSNBC and CNBC. I think we are a whole lot more savvy now. Ethan was also able to hire Brian, the boyfriend of one of Ethan's best friends, as a temporary worker in the lockshop at Harborview. All in all, Brian's 3-month job turned into almost exactly 1 year of work. Ethan came off his crutches this month, and started walking again on his super repaired knee. We love Dr. Wahl!!


I taught Mom how to make a blog post, in anticipation of her going to Michigan to get a guide dog, since she wanted to blog about it. Lots of vacation planning, as well.


Went to Mazatlan in the beginning of the month, with Justin and Kim. Stayed in a 2 bedroom condo on the beach and had a fabulous time. I switched back to being 100% UDF nurse at work, and stopped working as a floor nurse. Went to Las Vegas at the very end of the month, with Sabrina and Matt. LOVED the Beattles show, Love, and enjoyed the warm weather and hanging out with the Merritts.


I have no recollection of anything that happened this month. Probably not a whole lot. Debt repayment from the vacations, I am sure. Planning for a possible Australia trip for fall 2009 (which we did not end up taking). Watched Star Trek in the theater.


Celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary at Salty's on Alki. WONDERFUL dinner! Had a corner table by the window overlooking the water with a city view. Ethan's birthday was celebrated very low-key--I made him a photo collage of picturs of us on vacation from our years together, and put it on the wall by his desk at work. Watched Star Trek in the theater. Had a minor feud with the neighbor (renter) across the street who kept unscrewing the light bulbs in our porch and garage lights. Seattle nearly set a record with 29 straight days without rainfall. Start of a gorgeous, warm summer!


Had a ridiculous hot streak with over 100 degree days. Bathed the cats frequently. Took cold showers every day after work. Did LOTS of planning and researching for Mom's Europe trip. Watched several paddling regattas. Tried not to melt in all the heat. Watched Star Trek in the theater.


Continued to melt in the heat. Nearly divorced when our carbon monoxie sensor beeped for 36 hours, and we thought it was a smoke detector beeping. Even had Ethan up in the attic trying to figure things out... Hosted mom and a friend overnight, then drove them to the airport to start their European trip and IDBF World Championships of Paddling. Went camping and hiking up at Mt Baker with friends to end the month, and swore I broke a rib after falling off a log. My chest hurt for nearly 2 months....Seahawks preseason games


Booked tickets to go to Europe in April/May 2010. Hosted the Fieros for a long weekend, then off to Sequim for a BBQ/illicit bonfire with the Cooper side of the family. More Seahawks games. I think they were still winning a few, at this point...


Another quiet birthday celebration (mine, this time); LOTS more vacation planning (Europe)


Went to the scrapbook convention in Bellevue for two full days--had a blast, other than the fact that I also had a cold... Went to Puerto Vallarta for 5 days in the most unplanned-ahead trip the Amersons have ever taken. Had a blast, and flew home first-class.


Went to Long Beach, Washington with my siblings and Mom for our annual December/Christmas get-together. Got a snuggie as my White Elephant gift. Was not enthused....but now watch my cats fight over it every day (It is leopard print, and they refuse to share it). Went to Hood River with the Fieros and Merritts and Mom for the Polar Express train that turned out to be fairly lame....although the get-together itself was nice. Shadow peed on my camera 12/24...it was resurrected 12/27 (I think...) Went to a lovely Christmas eve party at Justin and Kim's house, and were very merry. Saw Avatar Christmas day.....then booked tickets to see it again in IMAX 3D on New Year's Eve. Finally gave up on the Seahawks' 2009 season, but plan to enjoy their last home game 1/3.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I may become a believer yet...

After three days and three nights of death, my camera has emerged from the darkness and may have been reborn...

One last replacement of the battery, one last flip of the "on" switch...and THIS time, the camera booted up, came to life, and took pictures. Albeit without the lens attached, but it *did* boot up, and the flash *did* go off....so it will be headed to Kits camera in the near future for some SERIOUS cleaning. Because there was urine pooled in the battery casing, the camera card slot--you name it....

Saturday, December 26, 2009

YOu may notice that there are no pictures along with this post. Get used to it...

My cat decided to give me a Christmas present, so I now have a $1200 paper weight, which used to be my Canon 10D camera. I am afraid it is beyond repair, so no pictures until I figure out a replacement......

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We had an awesome trip today. I cannot stress enough the amazingness of the Vallarta Adventures crew. They totally make each and every trip. We did the Yalapa tour, which was a bay cruise followed by snorkelling and a stop at a Mexican town only accessed by boat (Yalapa). The snorkelling was the best we have ever had on the Pacific Coast, and the crew was undescribably good. We have loaned out our water-soluble camera (the one with the underwater housing), so we have no pictures...but two different couples took our pictures and promise to send them...so we shall see. Awesomeness. We had seafood (Ethan) and Mexican steak for dinner, and are in our room for the night.....

Lots of ocean swimming on the docket for tomorrow...

couple 'o pics o tide you over...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back from our excursions, VERY full of a wonderful Mexican dinner on a patio steps from my building, and a stone's throw from the beach. Back to the room now for Sunday Night Football (yes, we are *those* people...), then to bed late tonight and up for a full day of sun and water.

We have arrived in Puerto Vallarta

As soon as they get our toilet fixed, we are off to purchase food/drinks for the week. We always bring Uncle Dan's Original Southern dip mix, and buy cheese/crackers/sliced meat to eat with it for snacks (to skip purchasing lunch), and eggs and cheese for scrambled eggs to eat for breakfast. And a variety of adult beverages.

Off to explore this gorgeous, HUGE resort after that!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

This is a mixed up album--all the pages are different sizes and shapes, only the covers match.

Okay, that last post was wrong. THESE three layouts are from the scrap strips class, using up your stash. Not sure about those other ones, now...

Pic #4 and 5 are also from the photos first class, and are meant for 9 pictures each..

Pic#3 and 2 are from a scraps class (I think...), and pic#1 is from the Basic Grey latest and greatest class (I think...)

Just for Davinie....

Some of the projects I have yet to finish....white areas are where pictures go.

Fifth picture (if I uploaded these right...is of a 6x6 mini album...

Fourth picture is another 6x6 album--this class was called Core-dinating elements, because we were going to use paper that had a different colored core, so it added dimension when you sanded it a bit. If you look VEEEERRY closely on the far left piece, there is a 2x4 inch piece of this paper. That is all we got. And there was NO mention whatsoever in the class about this paper, other than look for paper that has been already cut to this size, and glue it in place. I LOVE the blue papers they gave us (not the special core ones), but this class sucked, other than that.

Picture #3 and 2 are from a class about using shaped papers. Got some good ideas in this class, and bought some shaped papers to use later...

Pic#1 is from a photos first class--white areas are for 9 little pictures that I have not yet figured out...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Because I am such an avid blogger, I started a travel blog over at travelpod.com. So as not to clutter up THIS blog with travel info...

Monday, November 02, 2009

Slightly stale....

I totally forgot to post pictures of this lovely cake I made. Please excuse the messy countertop and the slightly obnoxious green color of the final cake. Let's just say I need a bit of practice...

I made the marshmallow fondant from scratch (my first attempt at that...but it was much tastier than regular fondant is), and I made a massive bowl of buttercream frosting from scratch. The cake is almond vanilla flavor, and I cut fresh strawberries to put between the layers on each cake level. It ended up being tasty, although it *does* bear some resemblence to those ghosts that always chase PacMan around...

I had a bit of an obession with some of those cake shows, and wanted to try my hand at it.

What I learned:
I have no patience for the little details. I am more of a 'meh, it is close enough' kind of person. This shows when rolling out fondant, fyi.
I REALLY need to remodel my kitchen for more counter space before I ever try this again.
Color mixing is not my strong point. That was supposed to be sage green.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

No, racism is not dead in America

Couple denied marriage license

The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, said it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell, who is white, said Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home; I marry them; they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed-race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

Bardwell said he has discussed the topic with blacks and whites, along with witnessing some interracial marriages. He came to the conclusion that most of black society does not readily accept offspring of such relationships, and neither does white society, he said.

"There is a problem with both groups accepting a child from such a marriage," Bardwell said. "I think those children suffer and I won't help put them through it."

If he did an interracial marriage for one couple, he must do the same for all, he said.

"I try to treat everyone equally," he said.

Bardwell estimated he had refused to marry about four couples during his career, all in the past 2 ½ years.

Beth Humphrey, 30, and Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond, said they will consult the U.S. Justice Department about filing a discrimination complaint.

Humphrey, an account manager for a marketing firm, said she and McKay, a welder, just returned to Louisiana. She is white and he is black. She plans to enroll in the University of New Orleans to pursue a master's degree in minority politics.

"That was one thing that made this so unbelievable," she said. "It's not something you expect in this day and age."

Humphrey said she called Bardwell on Oct. 6 to inquire about getting a marriage license signed. She said Bardwell's wife told her Bardwell will not sign marriage licenses for interracial couples. Bardwell suggested the couple go to another justice of the peace, who agreed to marry them.

"We are looking forward to having children," Humphrey said. "And all our friends and co-workers have been very supportive. Except for this, we're typical happy newlyweds."

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann said, "It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009." She added that the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 "that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

The ACLU sent a letter to the Louisiana Judiciary Committee, which oversees the state justices of the peace, asking them to investigate Bardwell and recommending "the most severe sanctions available, because such blatant bigotry poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice."

"He knew he was breaking the law, but continued to do it," Schwartzmann said.

"I've been a justice of the peace for 34 years and I don't think I've mistreated anybody," Bardwell said. "I've made some mistakes, but you have, too. I didn't tell this couple they couldn't get married. I just told them I wouldn't do it."

Monday, September 14, 2009

A whole lotta travel planning going on in the Amerson household (at least when *I* am home...)

We are hoping to go to Europe in late April/early May. I checked out our frequent flier miles.....and they have halved the amount of miles it takes to fly to Europe!! Which means we have enough for FOUR tickets (or two tickets to Europe, and enough for one of our tickets to Australia). So we must go.

Shopping around (and I *DO* shop around....), I found us flights where we fly into Frankfurt, Germany, then fly home from Rome. Here is our itinerary so far...

We fly into Frankfurt (leaving here ~11am on a Friday), arriving early Saturday morning. Either we hang out in Frankfurt and spend a night, or we catch a train directly to Bacharach, on the Rhein river.

We will stay in a B&B or small hotel here. From this base, we will take a train north and across the Rhein to a town called Moselkern on the Mosel river, where we will disembark, then hike for a bit to get to this:

This is Burg Eltz, a BEAUTIFUL castle that is over 800 years old and was never destroyed/bombed, etc. Rick Steves' favorite castle. After this, we catch another train back to Koblenz (also on the Rhein river), then take a KD river cruise back down to Bacharach (another Rick Steves recommendation). More relaxing and exploring the area until Tuesday with a local rail pass.

On Tuesday, we will take a train out of Germany and into Amsterdam. Ethan really wants to go back. Hopefully, our trip will coincide with Queen's day, which is a nationwide celebration of the Queen's (official) birthday--parties and festivals everywhere, and it is also the ONE day when ANYONE can sell things. No yard sales the rest of the year--just this day!! So they have tons of little second-hand markets set up, and performances of local dance groups and music and all sorts of excitement.

We stay in Amsterdam for four nights, exploring the canals and houseboats and doing at least one bike tour.

On Saturday, we will take a train to Paris. May or may not work in a stop in Brussels. Rick Steves recommends that we get off the train for a few hours here, explore the Grand Place and have a nice lunch, then reboard and head on to Paris. However, then just completed the upgrades for the super high speed Thalys trains, so we may just go straight through. Still deciding.....

We are in Paris for 3 nights, exploring the architecture and history; we will be there for the free day at the Louvre and many other museums (along with a few thousand of our closest friends...), but we will not stress out (WE-WILL-NOT-STRESS-OUT...repeat....), and just enjoy what we can, taking in the ambiance. Definitely going up the Eiffel tower at sunset, and climbing all the steps up Notre Dame and the Arc du Triumph for their views...

We leave Paris on Tuesday, taking a cheap flight to Rome, where we will spend our last three nights. Lots of ruins and architecture and great food and dodging cars and wonderfulness....then we fly back home.

I am sure I will tweak this a bunch as I go, but this is the basic plan so far.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Looks like Mom had one more update in her....

......although...I am not sure I can get past the OMG from *my* mother!! Who taught her that?!?

This email was titled "Croatia"--she went through Zagreb then on to Dubrovnik--I found her a 3 night sea kayaking tour, where you stay in local B&Bs and take guided kayak/snorkel exploration tours during the day. Sounds like it went well.


O. M. G!!!!


Absolutely Awesome!!


My Heart is FULL!!

Thank you thank. You THanK YOu. SO muCh for FinDing this place and putting it all together

We are on. Our way home

WILl talk soon

Love you


Thursday, September 03, 2009

A final update from Mom (now in Croatia)

Hi Alyca
CheckinG in

We made it To ZegreB. JuSt. Fine
I am. Sitting on the pLane awaiting také off

Rode. A river boat last night
What a Trip that was
I. felt like I was Living inside of a postcard. It was breathtaking view of lots oF castles
I am taking lots of pictures
I wont Remember whicH one was where
But beautiful any way

Let others know I am okay

Gotta hang up and FLY away




Monday, August 31, 2009

Pictures from our hike up to Baker Lake

Ethan and I went camping this weekend with Justin and Kim (Brian and Erin came up on Saturday). We headed out noonish Saturday to Baker Lake, and had a really nice hike up, with some beautiful views.

An update from Mom

I think she was having issues with the Czech keyboard.......

Hi Alyca,
Yep, got another one. Today.
It is not gold tho, but bronZe has a nice shine to it!

I am racing on the senior woman,s grand master,s.
Tomorrow, we are not racing, so we will check out the City It is so beautiFul here! The weather has been perfect!
Let eveRyone knoW I am Doing great!

Gotta hit the sack

Také care,

Final tally:

Silver with the Grandmasters women in the 2000m; Bronze with the Grandmaster women in the 1000m; Bronze with the Grandmasters women in the 200m; Silver with the Senior women in the 200m; Bronze with the Senior women in the 500m. So, you could really say she rocked it. A medal at every distance she competed in!

Today (Monday), they took a train into Budapest. They are staying there for 3 nights, doing all the Rick Steves recommended activities--their number one focus is to go to a public bath. Don't worry--they wear clothes in the public baths....

After Budapest, it is another train ride into Zagreb, Croatia; then a flight down to Dubrovnik where they meet up with another paddler and do a 3 day sea kayaking adventure. Mom got a housing for her camera that is waterproof, and promises to bring back lots of pictures!!


Friday, August 28, 2009

For those of you who are following along....

A few links to make things easier.

Here is a blog by Wasabi (Mom's club in Portland). They are blogging some of the races. Mom is not involved, but they do talk about the boats swamping the first day and how some of the races are going. Mom is on (I believe) the Grandmasters women (over age 50), and maybe the grandmasters mixed team. Pretty sure about the GM women, since we saw the picture of her in the medal lineup, and the Senior women did not get a medal.


Here is a link to a website where a photographer is taking pictures of the races.


He updates it daily (so far), and there are LOTS of pictures to look through. I have looked through them ALL so far, and there is just the one with Mom in it. I will let you know if I find more......To look through the pictures, just click on one to make it bigger. Once it is up, click on the top right of the picture ( on the > symbol) to go to the next picture

Here is the link to race results--they are posted live within a few minutes of the race completing.


The top of the page has some navy blue buttons to get results for day 1, day 2, etc.

Are we all caught up??? Keep sending good luck vibes to Mom--there are a lot more medals out there to win, and I know she is using her medals to make a curtain for her window. She needs a couple more to finish it!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mom wins a silver medal!!!

Mom is in Prague, and today was the first big day of racing.

I believe Mom is on the Grand Dragon women's team....because there is a picture on the link above of Mom at a medals ceremony, and reporting on the official site that the US Grand Dragons women won a silver medal in the 2000 meter race.

(It is Picture #43....you will recognize her by her cane.....)

In Australia in 2007, mom won a bronze medal in the 500meters with the Grand Dragons mixed team...so this is a GREAT start to her meet!!

Paddle hard, Mom!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

After 36 hours of swearing, taking things apart, consulting the internet, dragging out our behemoth of a ladder and sleeping in alternate locations, we have finally silenced the chirping of the fire alarm in our bedroom.

We were mystified when the beeping continued despite changing the battery, vacuuming out any dust or bugs inside, resetting the system and giving it dirty looks.

We drug the ladder out of the garage and got up into the attic above out bedroom--on the internet, there were stories of people having beeping fire alarms they didn't know existed in their attics. I figured we MUST have one up there.

We were even MORE mystified when the beeping continued after we removed the unit from the ceiling (ours are hard-wired into the house, and have a battery backup). The beeping continued out of the empty hole. How the hell is that possible?? The beeping would not stop even when we tripped the circuit breaker. I figured they were mislabelled.

We nearly divorced.

I went to the manufacturer's website for tips, and followed ALL of them.

Except the tip where they say that the beeping could be coming from another source. What idiot has a cell phone with a fire alarm beep and doesn't recognize it, I thought. How stupid ARE some people??

Apparently, we are those idiots. The beeping was from our carbon monoxide detector, whose battery was running low. It is plugged into a socket at the foot of our bed, and in our teeny master bedroom, the sound bounced off the walls and we only THOUGHT it was coming from the hole in the ceiling where the smoke detector goes.

The beeping began at 5:20am on Saturday. I know this, because Ethan was just closing the garage door to go into work for some overtime when it started. I figured I needed a new battery, but 5:20am is not the time for me to be coordinated and stand on a chair, so I went downstairs and slept on the couch.

The rest of Saturday was pretty busy--Ethan spend 5+ hours using our new powerwasher on the deck (which looks fabulous now, by the way...), and I was busy with some other cleaning projects around the house. We tried changing the battery, etc in the afternoon, to no avail. Then we headed out to Justin and Kim's for the Seahawks game, and got home around midnight. At this point, we were tired and tried turning off the power to the alarm system, planning to deal with it in the morning. WHen this failed, I slept on the couch upstairs, and Ethan slept on the couch downstairs ( I totally got the better deal--the upstairs couch is COMFY!). Then, around 4am, one of the actual smoke detectors got sick of the beeping coming from the bedroom, and IT started chirping. Every minute. Both of them. I moved into our spare bedroom, closed the door and slept a few hours on the air mattress in there. Not comfortable.
After a few hours of this, I moved to the newly vacated couch downstairs for some sleep. Eventually, I got up and used a hand carved cane we got on our honeymoon to push the reset button on the smoke detector while standing on a chair(it is up on the vaulted ceiling in our living room and VERY hard to reach), and shut it up. Several hours later, after much hair pulling, we got the other alarm silenced.

I am still hearing beeping in my head.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I have often felt a sort of kinship, a feeling of understanding and connection with lesbian and gay couples. The discrimination, the anger, the rudeness, the stares. I think I have a teeny bit of an understanding as to how that feels, and what it is like to be in a loving relationship that is not respected by the outside world.

In case you couldn't tell from our numerous pictures posted on my blog, Ethan and I are in an interracial relationship. Shocking, I know.

In the early days of our relationship, back when we first met in college, I thought nothing of the differences in skin color. Ethan was very sweet, oh-so-kind, intelligent and sensitive, and gorgeous to boot. What more was I looking for?? Having been raised in the boonies with almost no people with ethnicities other than my own, I had never formulated an opinion on who I would or wouldn't date.

After a few weeks, I remember talking on the phone to Davinie and mentioning his race. Not a big deal, just thought I should throw it out there. She was cool, didn't seem to think much of it, either.

Most of my family was pretty cool about things--they ALL are now. Some had concerns. Was I now becoming a part of the 'black community'? Would my kids be accepted in 'white society'?? I think it was mostly naivety and concern for me and my happiness. I am pretty confident now in the acceptance by my family of my relationship. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

Ethan and I have been together, somewhat off and on (bus mostly on) since 1995. That is fourteen years this fall. Now that my family has really gotten to know him, they love him and accept him and our relationship.

Okay, the back story. Got it???

Here in the Pacific NW, we are relatively sheltered. This area is known for tolerance and acceptance. I get funny looks sometimes when Ethan and I are out and about holding hands or presenting ourselves as a definite 'couple', but for the most part, people really don't care if we are interracially together.

Leaving this safety bubble is another thing. We have had obscenities screamed at us, rude gestures, serious anger directed our way. Why??? We were walking down a street, holding hands on vacation. This has happened in Las Vegas, it has happened in Reno, we had some issues in Miami.....

Anyway. I compare this to a homosexual couple. Screamed at for holding hands or kissing. Having people try to talk you out of your relationship. I could no more stop loving Ethan than I could cut my own leg off. He is my soulmate. We don't get to choose the skin color or eye color or shoe size or height of the one we fall in love with--you fall in love with someone's soul, and take the physical package that comes attached. I feel the same way about same-sex couples. Do you honestly think that this is a CHOICE?? That they CHOOSE to make their life more difficult by being in a same-sex relationship?? That they ENJOY being stared at and getting evil looks?? Really?? You think they do this for fun?? Doesn't sound like much fun to me. No one would choose the additional stressors that come with being gay/lesbian. This is who they are. This is how they are. Everyone is different. Everyone is born with their own uniqueness. Some differences are accepted, and some are not. I try my best to accept everyone as they are. I do not always succeed, but I do try. I think the world would be a much better place if we all at least TRIED.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Because I love travelling vicariously almost as much as I love actually travelling.

I feel compelled to share what an awesome trip Mom is about to take. I have been doing some European exploring, and helped Mom devise a wonderful trip that I am extremely jealous of.

On August 24th, I will drive Mom and a friend to the Seattle airport. She will be in Seattle for a dragonboat race, then leave from here to go to Prague for the 2009 World Championships of Dragon Boat Racing. Very exciting. She gets to Prague Tuesday morning, then has practices that afternoon, and the real racing starts Wednesday. Racing continues through Sunday. Paddle hard, Grammbon!!

Once she finishes racing on Sunday, the 30th of August, the real fun starts...
On Monday morning, she will board a train to Austria. Exact destination is not yet determined. The town of Graz is one option, as is Vienna. A ~5 hour train ride through the beautiful countryside, ending in the early afternoon. They will debark the train, head for a hotel for the night, then have the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday to explore the city.
Wednesday morning, they head to Zagreb, Croatia. Only a 2-3 hour train ride away. They spend the rest of Wednesday exploring Zagreb, spend a night in a hotel, then fly out of Zagreb Thursday afternoon, heading for the coastal town of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is where the real action is happening. Only a 50 minute flight away, this is where Mom and her friend will be met by a company called Adria Adventures (Dubrovnik is on the Adriatic Sea), who will whisk them away for a few days of adventure http://www.adriaadventure.hr/ Mom is doing the Elaphite islands kayaking weekend tour. Three days of sea kayaking, snorkelling, and seeing beautiful sights and amazing turquoise waters. Lots of fun.

On Sunday, their trip ends. They will take that short flight back to Zagreb and spend the night there. They have Monday morning to relax and see some sights, then it is off to Frankfurt, Germany on an early afternoon flight. They will head to a local hotel, then enjoy the evening in Germany. Their flight home to Portland leaves midmorning on Tuesday.

Sound like fun?? I know *I* want to go!!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

WARNING: Bring tissues

This is one of the things that is good about small town america--they look after their own.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The ABCs of Me (following Sabrina's lead)

A Agnostic. Strongly. If there is a god, I seriously doubt he/she will be deciding my fate based on what specific things I think happened thousands of years ago. If Jesus appeared on a Tuesday and I say Thursday....do I really go to hell?? All religions teach basically the same thing--be good, do good things, act kindly. I follow that. I don't need to be scared into acting a certain way by organized religion which inevitably becomes a place people use to justify being an ass 6 days a week because they are in church every Sunday. I will take my chances in the event that there IS an afterlife. Going to churche doesn't make you a good person. BEING a good person makes you a good person. Raised Mormon, but lost my soft spot for that religion when they funded Prop 8 in California.

B Babies. Maybe we will have them, maybe we won't.....but that is between Ethan and I and I really wish the rest of the world would butt out!! What we choose to do or not do is of no concern to anyone but the two of us. Unless you are offering to bear, pay for, and babysit our child, quit nosing in!!

C Cats. We have two of them--Shadow (aka the Shadow Man, aka the Shadowy Man of Shadows) and Boo (aka the Boo-Kitty, aka Boo Kitty Boo), who have somehow endeared themselves to me despite the fact that they spend their days vomiting on my carpet, eating my houseplants and dispersing fur evenly throughout the house.

D Driving. I always drive. I don't like being in the car when I am not the driver. I prefer to be in control.

E Ethan. Of course. My first, my last, my everything. The reason I strive to do well, the example I hold myself up to.

F Football. Ethan and I are season ticket holders for the Seattle Seahawks, and are fairly dedicated fans. We also do fantasy football, and will be resuming our own league this year (after a 1 year hiatus because of stress/work overload)

G Gigabytes. I need more of them to keep up with the (literally) tens of thousands of pictures I have taken with my Canon 10D since I got it in 2004.

H Harborview. Where both Ethan and I work. We will both retire from here in about 27-28 years. I believe in their mission, and I LOVE being involved with trauma (even though that is no longer the primary focus of my floor)

I Iceburgs. I literally started squealing and dragged Ethan out of the shower when we were on our Alaskan cruise in 2004 so he could see what ended up being the first of THOUSANDS of small iceburgs on our cruise up the Tracy Arm Fjord. I could not get over the sheer size of some of them, and the electric blue color and crazy shapes.

J July. As in the Fourth of July. Something I have not celebrated for quite some time. Now I feel like my country and I have something in common, that people out there feel the way I do. And I can listen to the patriotic music and the national anthem and be proud once again of this country and the way we conduct ourselves.

K Karma. What goes around, comes around. At least, I hope so!

L Lord of the Rings. The one book, growing up, that I was not able to read. You may know that I am a reader?? I read all kinds of books. My childhood shyness was coped with through books--who needs to learn social skills when you can hole up with a good book instead?? Anyway....this one has a section about 150 pages in, that lasts about 30 pages....that BORES me to the point where I tried twice to read it, and had to put it down. After seeing the first two movies by Peter Jackson, I was inspired and had to head back and try again. Now I have read it cover to cover 5 times (still slogging through that boring section....), and am obsessed with everything Lord of the Rings. I have seen the movies HUNDREDS of times. I play then in the background on my laptop while I scrapbook. And I listen to the special features, and I listen to the director and actor commentaries.....obsessed.

M Mountain. As in Rainier. I look for it every day. Sometimes it is visible, sometimes not....but I always look. And ooh and ahhh. And make Ethan look, because he takes it for granted, having lived here all his life. I want to hike there and camp there and I just LOVE that mountain!!

N Nicknames. None. Alyca. My name. No nicknames--never had them, never will. Just Alyca. And I extend this to my inability to call others by nicknames, as well. If you are introduced to me as Toby, then Toby you are...even if you do become a lawyer and all grown up and want to be called Tobias. Just like Ethan will always be Ethan and not 'E' or 'honey' or 'sweetie'. Too goofy. I cannot make myself do it.

O Outlet. As in creative outlet. Mine are photography and scrapbooking. I scrapbook as a way to showcase the bazillion photos I take (mostly while on vacation). I finally finished the album for our Hawai'ian trip in Sept. '08. I have a simple, photo-centric scrappy style.

P Plane. What I hope to be taking to Australia this February. Still working out the funding details, but we are hoping to do a 2 week trip. I went back in 2007 with Mom and was blown away by the beauty and vastness, and the REEF. I must take Ethan there to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef with me. An experience unlike any other I have had.

Q Quilt. I have been working on a quilt for Ethan for about 4 years now. I blame the terribly crappy sewing machine for making it take this long. I just inherited the sewing machine Mom had throughout my formative years, the one that made the garters and armbands for prom, the one that made countless clothes and costumes for us. Anyway....this one actually works and I am endeavoring to finish the quilt before it gets cold outside again this fall. I am about 75% done with the top, just need to finish it off, add a border and sew the whole shebang together.

R Room. My scrapbook room. It is 4.5 feet by 5.5 feet, with custom shelving (thanks, Mom!) floor to ceiling on one wall, a custom desk with custom shelves to the ceiling on a second wall, and more nooks and crannies to store things than you could believe. I can *just* fit inside, close the door, sit in my comfortable chair (thanks, Mom!) and enter my own private world. I put the Lord of the Rings movies on my laptop and scrap away.

S Seafood. Can't do it. I have a serious mental block that prevents me from eating seafood of any kind. If it is not dead when kept underwater, I don't eat it. No shrimp, no crap, no fish. Occasionally, on our wedding anniversary, I will eat a few bites of seafood as an anniversary gift to Ethan, who is still appalled that I have such a seafood aversion. I will cook it for him, but I am not eating it myself!! The very thought makes me want to gag.

T Travel agent. What I would be if there was any money in it. I love to browse and look and think about travel, even when it is not for me. I am currently working on a trip for Mom for when she goes to Prague at the end of August. Right now, I am looking at a 3-4 day kayaking adventure in Venice with a meet-up with the local dragonboat team. Or sea kayaking in Croatia or Turkey. Maybe a tandem bike tour through the Czech Republic and into Slovakia and Hungary.

U Umbrella. I have never purchased one. We do have two freebie giveaway Sonics umbrellas...but they were last used at the Rose Festival in Portland a few years ago. Seattleites don't use umbrellas. We just put our heads down and keep walking. Only a handful of times have I truly been dumped on while walking home.

V Volcano. I'd love to go back to Hawai'i and do a helicopter tour over Mauna Loa to see the lava flowing.

W Web. As in the internet. I like to browse. My current favorite website is www.everything-everywhere.com I have spent the past month or so going from the beginning of this guy's journey, trying to catch up to today. He is travelling the world solo. Going....well, everywhere. And seeing....everything. Very cool. Lots of pictures of amazing sights and sites. I am inspired. Right now, I want to go see the Twelve Apostles in Australia (too bad they are nowhere near where I will be when I go there....)

X xe.com Where I go to figure out how much foreign tours cost in USD

Y Year. Our yearly new years resolution remains the same: To watch every episode of star trek. We are waiting for blockbuster to send us more Deep Spacer Nine (they are on serious backorder right now), but we are halfway through Voyager, with only Enterprise (and DS9) remaining. Maybe we will finish this year??

Z Ziplining. Ethan and I have done this five times now, and each time is more fun than the last! We are now making it a point to go Ziplining on every vacation we take (if there is any available nearby). So much fun!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Alas, the record was tied but not broken

Twenty nine straight days without measurable rainfall. Only 11 minutes before midnight last night, it started to rain. Just short of the record!!

The longest Seatte stretch ever was 55 days, but 29 days is the longest not in July or August. I have to say........I kinda like the rain. Not every day, mind you...but it smells so nice when it has been dry and warm and it starts to rain in a summer evening!

Today is a very special day. My special someone turns twenty-thirteen today. We are celebrating by going to a Storm game tonight, and I have made a scrapbook mural that I am going to secretly put up over his desk today while he is in a meeting. It is a lovely scrappy photo collage with pictures of Ethan and I all over the place. We only have pictures of the two of us together on vacation. Almost none at all of us on a regular day or even in the city of Seattle. Anyway. That is his gift. I am sure he will like it. It is just a matter of getting into his locked office with him out....I am hoping one of his coworkers is there during Ethan's meeting to let me in. Worst case....I meet him for lunch as usual and bring it with me. No fun 'surprise' moment, but I know he will appreciate it anyway. His desk is a little boring at the moment. And I stuck with masculine colors/patterns and kept the flowers and bling to a minimum....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mr. and Mrs Ethan Amerson
June 14, 2003

Hanging out before the ceremony

Papa at the reception

Grandjack and the pastor who married us relaxing after the ceremony.