etc.

In an effort to ease my mind of having potential blog topics hanging around in my head (and in lists in my e-mail inbox) for months on end, I’m going to attempt a quick “photo and comments” post to encompass as many updates as possible into one entry. Know that I would love to be elaborating on each one of these topics as much as I did on the Alderbrook post recently, but I think I’ll feel better just getting them all out there. 🙂

So, starting way back in March…

Jan (my co-worker who invited us to Alderbrook) hosts an annual St. Patrick’s Day Party.  Jan has a lot of Irish blood and throws a fabulous celebration each year.  The goal is always to have everyone dress in green and I think the representation from our department at school did a really nice job dressing the part.  You may recognize Jan and Emily from the Alderbrook post.  The other faces are Elisabeth (my current co-department head and mentor from my first year of teaching)  and Courtney (a Para Educator).

Elisabeth, Jan, me, Emily, Courtney

Elisabeth, Jan, me, Emily, Courtney

At the beginning of May, 3 of my college friends (Oven – whose real name is Sarah, but I’ve never called her that in my life, Warmus – whose real name is Lisa which I use every so often, and Liz – whose real name is Sarah, but goes by Liz) and I had a mini-reunion when we traveled to South Dakota for our other college friend, Jasmine’s, wedding.  The 4 of us came from 4 different states (MI, OH, NY, and WA) but all managed to arrive at the same time in South Dakota.  In fact, 3 of the 4 of us met up in Minneapolis to take the same flight in to Sioux Falls.  I guess considering the size the airport, it’s not too surprising that we would all end up on the same flight.  🙂

The weekend was a fabulous time of reconnecting, reminiscing, and just generally having fun.  Altough I don’t have a picture of this, one of the highlights for me was going to the “Texas Roadhouse” which is a restaurant where they have barrels of peanuts in the shell all over the place.  The greatest part is that you get to throw your shells right on the floor!  🙂

Here’s a photo of us with the bride!

me, Liz, Jasmine, Warmus, Oven

me, Liz, Jasmine, Warmus, Oven

The Wednesday after I got back from the wedding, Warmus and her husband Mark arrived in Seattle for a visit.  Mark was attending a Medical Conference from Thursday-Saturday, but we fit in a whole slew of touristy stuff in Seattle.  We walked Greenlake, we went to Chinook’s for a seafood dinner, we did the Underground Tour, and we did a walking tour of the University of Washington.  Lisa and Mark also did a trip to the Olypmic National Park, and the Oregon Coast the week following Mark’s conference, and came back to Seattle to spend one night at our house before getting on the plane at Sea-Tac the next Saturday morning.  I don’t have any photos from their visit in Seattle.  It’s hard to remember to take the photos when you’re playing tourist in your own hometown!  Maybe Warmus will share some of hers and I’ll post them later.  In the meantime, here’s one of just the two of us that was taken at Jasmine’s wedding.  🙂

Friends :)

Friends 🙂

In other news, Kyle and I just recently purchased a new grill!  We had a small propane grill that was a hand-me-down from Kyle’s grandparents when they moved into an apartment, but this just feels so excited.  Bring on the summer and lots of occassions to grill!! 🙂

The grillmaster, Kyle, with his new toy!

The grillmaster, Kyle, with his new toy!

You’ll also notice Kyle’s brand-spankin’-new Chacos in this photo!  Doesn’t he look so stylish now?!

Also, several months ago we purchased a new couch.  That was our first official  “big” purchase together as a married couple.  Boy, does it feel good to have a REAL couch.  (The one we were using before is one I found for free through Craigslist.  It did the trick for awhile, but it was time to get a real couch that was worth actual money.)

IMGP0721You’re welcome to come over anytime and sit on it with us.  (That’s right, we’ll all have to sit together.  We’re still working on other furniture besides our one sitting chair.)

I think that’s it for now.  Kyle and I have had a super productive weekend of weeding, getting the new grill and putting it together, going to a Sounders game, and doing laundry.  And now, I’m finishing up my post while sipping some red-wine Sangria and fruit.  If you need an introduction to this lovely summer sensation, let me know and I’ll invite you over for a glass of Sangria.  It’s delightful!

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Alderbrook

I (Amy) feel like I’ve been hanging on to a lot of blog topics for awhile.   The longer I’ve held on to them, the more I’ve put off posting.  As events have gone by and ideas for posts have built up, it makes posting seem more and more overwhelming.  I’m hoping this is a common syndrome of those new to blogging and that there’s hope for being more frequent (and satisfied) with simple, short updates.  For now, I’m going to attempt a quick synopsis of a couple of the things I’ve done in the past month or so.

In the middle of April, Jan, a co-worker of mine, invited me and another co-worker, Emily, and our spouses (of course) down to her cabin near the Hood Canal.  If you’re familiar with Washington, it’s near the Alderbrook Resort.  Here’s a photo of the three of us, so you can start to get a visual of who I’m talking about.  Jan is a Para Educator in our department and Emily is one of the Speech and Language Pathologists at our school that provides services and support to a lot of the students (and adults!) in our program.

Emily, me, and Jan

Emily, me, and Jan

We lucked out with such a GORGEOUS weekend, which made it seem like a vacation even though it was only a weekend long excursion.  On Saturday, our big plan was to go to the Walter Dacon Winery, which Jan and her husband Jim belong to.  They were having a bottling event which included wine tasting and food as well as a chance to watch the bottling process.  The rather inconvenient part of the experience is that they ran out of food while we were doing our wine tasting, so we thought we may not stay for long.  But then the owner decided to order pizza for all the guests who hadn’t eaten yet.  So…we lounged around in the sun sipping on wine while waiting the the pizzas to arrive.  Here’s us soaking up the sun:

Left to right: Kyle, Jan, Jim, Andrew, Emily, me

Left to right: Kyle, Jan, Jim, Andrew, Emily, me

Eventually the pizza arrived and we ate our fair share.  The funny part was that by the time we finished lunch, it was nearly 4:00…which was just when we thought we should start getting things ready for dinner!  As you can imagine, none of us were really ready for dinner, but we did get back to the house and manage to prepare an appetizer of mussels and clams.  (And yes – I had my no thank you bite of both a mussel AND a clam.)  And then…since we had stuffed ourselves further, we managed to fit in 2 holes of golf to kill some time.

For those of you who know me well, you might know that I have never played golf before besides the miniature version.  Jan and Jim, though, are golf fanatics.  They live on a golf course at home, and their cabin is also located on a golf course so at both places their backyard steps right out on to the green.  (Did I use that golf term correctly?)

So…we kind of snuck onto the course and played the 2 holes.  It was a REALLY relaxed game.  We played with partners.  Jim was mine.  🙂  I say this with a smile for 2 reasons: 1) Jim is really good at golf and 2) Jim seems to have a spiritual gift of encouragement.  No matter how awkward you feel holding a club and no matter how short your drive is, Jim can find something positive about your experience tee-ing off.  So…overall I’d say my first exposure to “real” golf was a success.  Kyle may be able to convince me to play again sometime.  We’ll see. 🙂

So…once we finally came in from our game, we stuffed some dinner into our already full tummies and then enjoyed sitting around the campire.  And…if you know me well, you won’t be surprised to find out that I managed to consume 2 s’mores! (with peanut butter)

It was a full day, but so fun!

The next morning after Jan prepared and we all devoured some yummy Dutch Babies for breakfast (which resembled Swedish Pancakes to me), we headed out for a drive.  They took us to a high steel bridge with the most amazing view.

The View!

The View!

Looking over the edge was a little nerve wracking!

We didn't want to get too close to the edge!

We didn't want to get too close to the edge!

The ladies swung by a little gift shop (equipped with a winery as well!) while the men went off to have a look at the Alderbrook Resort.  I ended up finding a bottle of wine from the Morgan Winery in California!!!  So cool!!!  The label has a picture of the Morgan Family Crest on it.  I think Kyle and I are going to save it for our anniversary.  🙂

After a brief jaunt at the resort for the ladies, we had a bite to eat at a local restaurant along with 100 or so motorcyclists that were out on a ride together.  It was a fascinating lunch to say the least.  The restaurant staff were so busy they brought me my fish sandwich on a bottom bun, gave me the stack of lettuce, tomato, and onion, but totally forgot the top of my bun! 🙂

Anywho…we had a wonderful trip to Jan and Jim’s cabin.  Kyle and I ended up taking the ferry back and enjoyed being out on the water on such a beatiful sun-shiney day.  Thanks Jan and Jim for being such wonderful hosts, and Andrew and Emily for being such fun company.

Our lovely hosts for the weekend: Jan and Jim

Our lovely hosts for the weekend: Jan and Jim

You made us smile (and squint into the sunlight!)

:)

🙂

Okay – so much for the quick synopis of recent events.  Just the one brought up so many memories and things to share.  Stay tuned for more updates from me soon!

a new chapter….

i’m giving this whole “blog” thing a try. Amy has put me to shame. Hopefully i’ll be posting more frequently… and definitely not about work.

I’ve thrown a few photos into this post to help illustrate my ramblings. The first photo was the end of May 2007, the 2nd photo was from spring 2008, and the final photo taken on a few weeks ago…
 
I just finished up a construction project that kept me busy for the past 22 months. My main task was managing the structural rebar and post-tension cabling in a 4,600 car underground concrete parking garage. (if you’re curious and have a little time on you hands… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prestressed_concrete can fill you in on PT concrete)
Today, the whole garage sits buried underneath a sports field and Common buildings with food vendors and conference rooms (which I also worked on)

YouTube has a pretty cool video about the project, along with some techo music.… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb8cgDsAn9s

and the SeattleTime had a recent article about the Commons. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2009086103_microsoftcampus20.html 
 

So, I’ve started a new project, but I have been thinking a lot about what I just finished up.
A garage isn’t particularly glamorous, and it doesn’t really get more glamorous when it gets bigger. It is still just a parking garage and feels very much like an afterthought to everyone who will work on that campus. I have come to realize that most people never look up at the ceiling of the home, office, church, museums, and certainly not a parking garage. Most of those who do look up have worked in construction.

It is finished now, and it is with some strange emotions that I move on. I suspect that this will be true with all of the projects that I work on. I feel proud, and relieved, and decidedly ready to work on something (anything) else. It is strange to pass off ownership of a building to a client and walk away. I think all of us become a little possessive of the projects we work on. I feel a little jealous when I see employee’s parking in their own garage, and I don’t think I am the only one.

I reviewed, ordered, and checked every piece of rebar and cable that was placed in this garage. There are 13 million pounds of rebar and almost 400 miles of PT cable and I walked every foot of it, over and over and over again. When I walk through the garage today I see a structure of rebar and tendons instead of the white paint and parking stalls… I am cursed with a x-ray vision for what is below the surface.  I don’t walk through the garage and see a final product. I see a collection of problems, steps towards solutions, frustrations, arguments, daily grind, long hours, and massive human effort. I guess I feel like I’m missing the forest for the trees. I don’t know if I will ever see it as a finished product. I hope that my work isn’t always like that…

I’m off to a new project, helping to building Amazon.com’s corporate headquarters. I’m looking forward to something new…. I will check back in with everyone in 2011 and let you know how it went.