Sunday, December 30, 2007

December 30 - Two Year Anniv.

We celebrated our 2 year anniversary this weekend. This second year has brought some pretty big changes: I finished my master's degree, we moved to Washington without knowing a thing about it, and we both got new jobs. I think that this may have been the hardest trial of our marriage. We came to a new place where we didn't know anyone and we couldn't get jobs for a long time. Money was very tight and we questioned a few times if we should have come here. We spent A LOT of time together, day in and day out. And we didn't kill each other. And we hardly ever fought. That's pretty incredible to me! Unfortunately, we got used to enjoying so much time together and now that we're both working (and kind of opposite shifts) we really miss each other. I guess there's worse things than loving to spend time with your husband.

So this weekend we both made sure to have the weekend off. On Saturday we went to Seattle. We started in Fremont and ate lunch at Costas Opa. It's a Greek restaurant that Robb went to before I got to WA and has been wanting me to try. It was a pretty solid Greek restaurant. Robb had gyros, I had lamb souvlaki. We then walked around Fremont for a little bit and visited our favorite independent stores in the area. Then we headed to the Queen Anne neighborhood. This neighborhood has the cutest houses and when you think of Seattle neighborhoods, this is what you picture. So I've been wanting to check out the main street in Queen Anne, which seemed to have a lot of cute shops. Unfortunately, it was raining pretty hard by the time we got there and the area didn't have as many cute places as I had hoped. Lots of spas/salons though. We did check out the Queen Anne Metropolitan Market. And I have to say Robb's store in Federal Way is much nicer and bigger. And then my shoes (which were made of corduroy) finally soaked through, so we decided to to head back to Federal Way. We ate dinner at our favorite restaurant in Federal Way, La Casa Bella. And as always, our food was superb. We ordered a bottle of Chianti. We started with prawns in a goat cheese sauce. Robb had a rack of lamb which was succulent and I had a seafood pasta which was pretty darn good too. They gave us a free appetizer and dessert again. It's amazing to have such a top notch restaurant in our town.

Today (Sunday, our actual anniversary), I woke up to find Robb gone. Which is pretty incredible. I ALWAYS wake up before Robb and he left the house at 8:30! He came home with Starbucks breakfast and we had breakfast in bed. We had a selection of cheese (from Met Market) for lunch. We're becoming quite the cheese connoisseurs. And then we headed to the movie theater to see Juno (I highly recommend it!) Tonight we're sitting at home and going to watch a movie and drink wine. A low key anniversary, but we are still poor and have work tomorrow. We try to give each other low cost, traditional presents each year. The first year was paper and the second year is cotton. So I got Robb a new blanket for our couch and a cotton smelling candle (b/c the blanket wasn't officially cotton, the good blankets are made of synthetic materials) and Robb got me new hiking socks and made a mixed cd with songs all about cotton!

This statute is in Fremont. People just come out and decorate them for their friends birthdays and special events. It's featured in the opening credits of Say Anything.

Statue of Lenin in Fremont, currently decorated for Christmas.

Driving past the Space Needle, with the Christmas tree on top for the season.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in the Northwest

Christmas in the Northwest means that we have a fireplace, cold weather, and even a tiny bit of snow on Christmas Day! Unfortunately, because we are both newly employed, we couldn't take time off work and be with my family in Florida for the holiday season. But, other than missing the family a whole bunch, our first Christmas just by ourselves was nice. We had a nice dinner Christmas Eve that included steak, twice-baked potatoes, and fried corn. Christmas Day we had a big brunch with pancakes, bacon, and fried potatoes. For dinner we had shrimp cocktail and brioche. (Brie cheese baked in bread). We watched Christmas movies, opened presents, called family, etc. I love Christmas time and all of my decorations, so now you're subjected to my pictures of our first Christmas in the Northwest.

The apples are from Metropolitan Market. They put sugar stencils on them. The flowers were sent to us by my Grandpa and Kim. They're sitting next to our "whirly-gig" that my parents got for me when we lived in Germany. I love our wreath (we got it at a Christmas Market in Tarpon Springs, FL last year) and our tree topper (on sale after Christmas from Winter Park, FL). I love that we get a fireplace here and we had a roaring fire on Christmas Eve. And it snowed for about an hour on Christmas Day! We had a slightly white Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

First Day of Work

It's official. I am now employed full-time in a career that I have been preparing for and educating myself for, for years. Of course, like most people's first days of work I'll be busy reading policies and procedures, setting up my voicemail, filling out paperwork, etc. in the coming week. But I already got to sit in on a meeting and I have assignments I'll start working on once my email is set up. I'm sure I'll have more insight into my job as time goes on, but now I'm just happy to be working. The people seem nice. The commute is 45 minutes, but there's no stop and go traffic, it's pretty smooth. I have my own cubicle which is pretty large; I need to figure out how to pimp it out. =) We took pictures of my first day of work. I don't know if you did this when you were a kid, but we always took first day of school pictures. So now I have my first day in the real world pictures too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Musings on Full Time Work

I'm counting down the days until I start my government job on Monday. Unfortunately I wasn't offered the nonprofit job. For my own self-preservation I'm telling myself that it was because I was over-qualified. They were concerned during the interview about this position being too clerical for me, and I actually had more education than even the executive director of the nonprofit. I threatened them with my vast knowledge of the nonprofit world. Right? Right? That's why I didn't get the job? Right? Nah, who knows. But I believe things happen for a reason, so I'm very excited to start my management analyst job on Monday.

It's going to be strange going to work full-time. I've never had a traditional full-time job. I've always been in school and have worked part-time and contract positions. My hours are going to be 8:00-5:00 and there's about a 45-60 minute commute. Robb's hours are about 12:30-9:30, so I won't be seeing him more than an hour or two a day before I have to go to sleep. We've been down that path before. In fact, as a restaurant manager he had much later hours. But because I was in school or had contracts where I would work on my own time, I could hang out with him in the afternoons before he would go to work. Now I won't be able to do that. It should be interesting to see how this works out with both of us working full time. I'll actually be working more than full-time. This past weekend I went to Panera intending to put in my two-weeks notice. Well apparently they really like me there, so my manager offered me a raise to keep on working there one day a week. (And I think it's hard to find people to work the 5:00 am to 1:30 pm shift). I figure that I'll work Saturdays at Panera to make a little extra money for awhile. It's not especially hard work and I actually think it's a little fun.

Robb has completed his training at Metropolitan Market and is now working in our local store. Overall he likes it, although he's a little concerned that he'll get bored. There's a lot less to do than running an entire restaurant. But it's pretty good money to not be stressed! It's a different experience for him because it's hourly rather than salary and he has fairly strict Union rules he has to follow. He is not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day; but coming from restaurants he was used to 10-14 hour days at times. He's always been big on getting projects done, but because of his time restrictions, he doesn't have all the time to implement new cleaning or organization projects for the rest of the staff. He is the Assistant Bistro Manager so he is in charge of the deli (meats, cheeses, olive bar), hot food (sandwiches, soups, pasta, chicken dinners), and a section of pre-packaged deli foods (desserts, quiches, more cheeses, etc.) I've mentioned before how unbelievable fancy this store is and I've posted pictures below. While their deli has fried chicken, mind you that's free-range chicken. They sell slices of butternut squash lasagna. They saute personalized pasta dishes. They have prime rib sandwiches. They have one of the finest gourmet cheese selections around. A moderately priced cheese there is $20.00 a pound. Selections include: gouda, goat cheese, bleu cheese, gorgonzola, brie, etc.

So that's about it. The next few days for me will be filled with getting those last-minute things done before work. I need a haircut. I should probably send out Christmas cards or something, I need to pull out my professional clothes and take the iron to them. Wow, not wearing sweats during the day, that will be a change of pace.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Federal Way is Safe From the Elements

No weather worries in Federal Way. The Northwest has been in the national news the past couple of days due to very bad weather: snow, hurricane-force winds, rain, flooding, etc. While we had a minuscule amount of snow that melted as it touched the ground, followed by a steady flow of rain, it wasn't really bad in our neck of the woods. Now apparently, going just an hour north to Lynnwood or Woodinville (this is the town where Chateau Ste. Michelle winery is) or an hour south to Olympia would be treacherous. I think some areas received a foot of snow and then when the rain came, all of this melting water caused flooding, mudslides, and roads being washed away. Yesterday several main roads and exits were closed, causing a commuting nightmare. In fact, sections of I-5 will possibly be closed for the next several days.

But luckily, this doesn't really effect us. Federal Way escaped unscathed. And neither of us are commuting right now, so we don't have to worry about the roads. We feel very lucky right now that we live in such a temperate climate.