I like goats, and I especially like Jan Michael, so I really like this picture. It's from the fair a couple of years ago. I keep it on the kitchen counter.
Last night our friends Craig and Christina came over. We ordered dinner from a barbeque restaurant in town (which we will not be doing again, but I really hope they're successful) and then spent the evening eating ice cream and playing Taboo and Battle of the Sexes, which the boys won. Apparently Christina & I need to brush up on our college basketball trivia. We made lots of plans for mountain biking and hiking when the weather is nicer. It was great, great fun.
Today we had a lovely visit from John and Gayle. We ate an enormous lunch and then wandered around a bookstore. It is always wonderful to spend time with them. Fortunate me to have married into such a family. (As a side note, just before leaving for home, they gave us a bag of white chocolate-covered pretzels. They drove off, we opened the bag, and ate them all. Will we ever learn? I'm still holding out hope...)
Next weekend we're planning on heading south to help Brent and Danny with their house-building project. We haven't contributed to that yet, and it's high time. Also I'm hoping we might be able to see my parents for a little bit. I'm looking forward to it all :)
I've been quite inspired lately to get outside and spruce up our yard. I've been surprised at how much I've enjoyed the work; it's pretty gratifying to tidy up something that's a certifiable mess. I've started in front of the house and am slowing winding my way around, pruning like crazy and ripping out ground cover and weeds. The area above has been the most trying for two reasons. First, the wild rose bush was so completely out of control and overgrown that I had to cut a lot of it back just to be able to get to the flower bed, which (and this is reason #2) had been almost entirely over-taken by grass. And grass has very strong roots, I've learned. There are so many piles of weeds and old leaves, etc lying around the yard that I wish we had three or four more yard waste bins. Maybe the neighbors will take pity on us and lend us their's :) In other house news, on Monday we're having the kitchen window box and the sliding door in the downstairs replaced. Eventually we'd like to replace all the windows in the house, but that's a project that will have to taken in very small, spaced-out steps. Also, sometime in the next month or so, we're having the deck re-finished. One of these days we'll need to buy some deck furniture and then we'll actually be able to use it :)
Jan Michael took today off from work, and when we woke up we thought it would be fun to drive to Snoqualmie Falls and hike around. But then we looked out the window and saw rain, so we hopped in the car and drove to Monroe instead for a visit to the Reptile House. There are lots of lizards and snakes, as well as some turtles and tarantulas and a couple of alligators, so it's a very educational date. They'll let you hold some of the snakes, and I swaggered in thinking it would be no problem and I'd stand there with an anaconda wrapped around me, wooing everyone with my bravery. But no. We looked around and I swiftly changed my mind. I like turtles. They are cute and they don't strangle people. I was surprised to see how quickly they moved, though. I was crouched down looking at the snake below when Jan Michael said, "Hey look at this one," and I popped up to see him holding a very intimate conversation with this very active snake. I shrieked loudly enough to be embarrassed. It was so, so creepy because Jan put his face right up against the glass, and whatever direction he would move his face in, the snake would follow. Jan may have found his second calling as a snake charmer :) This my brave, having-a-fabulous-time face. It's one thing to see a big snake lying still in a big heap, but it's another thing entirely to watch it climb a wall, looking for weaknesses in it's environment which will allow it to escape and swallow me whole. Notice the snake making his way steadily to the top of the box. Sometime during this interaction, Jan Michael pointed out that actually, the snake would have easily been strong enough to pop the top (or sides) off his house if he'd really wanted to. Even while I type this the thought of that gives me the willies. Blechhhhhhhhhhhh. My lesson for today was this: Feeling a little more brave around garter snakes does not translate into being comfortable around 400-pound pythons, and I am still a big wimp.
The following are the rules my dear father-in-law (as shown above) used as a soccer coach many years ago to lead his teams to victory. We have them on our refrigerator because they're a happy reminder of the kind of person he is, and also good guidance for life in general, I think. And they're worth sharing:
1. Listening excellence 2. Team player-helper 3. Passing accuracy 4. Tight defense 5. Aggressive ball - goal attack 6. Goal setting excellence 7. Recover 8. Stable serious practice 9. Mental alertness 10. Practice practice practice 11. Commitment
I would like to take this opportunity to say "I love my husband and am glad to have him as my valentine." Around here we've been eating a lot of cake and candy hearts. Also, we have a special treat in that the workers are staying with us. They're helping us eat the cake, which is nice; otherwise, I'd eat most of it myself. I don't have a lot of self-control when it comes to cake.
Spring is coming and I can prove it. Today I opened the bathroom window and I could smell spring in the air. I didn't have to wear my parka, gloves, scarf & boots when I went to the store, AND I was able to muck around in the yard because the ground wasn't frozen. Besides that, there are two tulips popping up in one of the flowerbeds. Furthermore, I took a walk with my friends Jennifer & Tara and I did not come home blue and numb from the cold. It's all LOVELY and it makes me give a great, contented sigh.
I just heard a commerical on the radio and it's too funny not to share. It was for one of the natural, organic grocery stores around here, and it went something like this: Valentine's Day is coming up, and maybe there's someone special you'd like to buy a gift for, but you're not sure if you're ready to give roses or chocolates. How about giving one of our fabulous jars of marinated mushrooms with garlic instead?
Hahahahahahaha. Personally, I don't think you could actually give, as a serious gift, a jar of marinated mushrooms with garlic unless you were well-acquainted with that certain semi-special someone in the first place. What a random, weird thing to toss in someone's lap. It's sends a fairly ambiguous message, if you ask me. And I don't think the commercial was meant as a joke, either. At least, the guy didn't sound sarcastic. I do tend to be on the slow side sometimes, so I suppose it's possible that it's all a farce, but I'm choosing to believe it's validity because it's giving me a good laugh.