The Great Backpack Project of 2010! Donate Here!

Remember how fun and wonderful it was on that first day of school to have your new sparkly backpack full of new school supplies that you could not wait to use? And then you get to school and you take each item out and very carefully arrange them in your desk in just the right way. And everyone around you is comparing the colored pencils they got and the erasers that you got and which things everyone have that are the same...

And remember as a parent, how excited your child was to get that new backpack and picking out all the fun school supplies for their new school year?

Now just for a second, imagine that you barely have enough money for food each month, that there is no such things as "school shopping", and that you have to send your child off on the school bus with no backpack, no school supplies. Is your heart-breaking? Yes, if you are human, it is a little bit.

I am coordinating a project with a nonprofit called Bienestar. Bienestar works with ten apartment complexes that house some of the poorest of the poor, the average yearly income is $20,000. For whatever reason that they are living in the situation they are - they still have children. And these children still care. They have feelings. And they are normal kids who just want what every other kid wants. And starting the school year off right means having a backpack with the basic school supplies on that first day.

About Bienestar:
The vision of Bienestar: Quality affordable housing is essential for individuals, families and communities to thrive. We envision and develop communities where residents find dignity, hope, confidence, skills, and courage to pursue their dreams.  We believe in the resilience and capacity of all human beings to help, change, adapt and lead in their own lives, their families, neighborhoods and communities. We work in the midst of the poorest neighborhoods to unleash the potential of people to improve the quality of life for themselves, their children, their families, and the community.
Bienestar has a variety of programs:
  • Promotores Program, an adult workforce training program to develop community leadership and educate low-income parents about health, school and job resources, housing/financial information, and prepare selected residents for future jobs in outreach.
  • Adult Programs: Programs for adult residents include computer classes, financial literacy, community gardens and more.
  • Youth Programs: Programs for young residents include Homework Club, AKA Science Club, Basketball Club and more.
Bienestar doesn't just give handouts. They reach out their hand and they lead you on the path to success. They are wonderful, and I am excited to be able to help them in any way.

The cheapest backpacks cost about $20 in the store. The average cost for basic school supplies is about $20. Simple math...$40 for one child to have what they need to start the school year off right.

When talking to the director of Bienestar, we talked about how great it would be to give a backpack and supplies to each child in their homework clubs. They have 4 clubs, with 24 kids in each club. (they have a waiting list-more kids want to join but they don't have the room.). More simple math: that's 96 children.

But is it fair that just those 96 kids get a backpack, when they have a waiting list and there are kids who actually WANT to spend more time and energy on schoolwork? No, not really. So my goal is 150 backpacks with supplies. A little more complex math: $40 each child, 150 is the goal...that equals out to $6000. I think I have about $550 so far. And already have 6 backpacks in my house and 10 notebooks. I'm on my way.....but it seems like I have a long way to go...

I have 3 weeks to get all the supplies. There will be a volunteer event planned for August 28th to actually stuff the backpacks with supplies. Bienestar staff will pass the bags out to the homework club kids (who actually do meet in the summer to study!).

So who is with me? Who is ready to donate $5 (or $25) to help my backpack project?
Or who has a great contact with a company who would be willing to donate? (Bienestar asked local stores and was denied)

If you're feeling generous, or want to go to heaven, or just have $20 burning a hole in your pocket - please click the button below and help out. I'll give you a shout out and if I have your address, a personalized thank you card (priceless for sure).

Thanks all!

Great Big Sea at the Oregon Zoo

You can come into the zoo at 4:00pm, but the concert area doesn't open until 6:00pm. However, I got there at 5:20pm and there was quite a fair amount of people in line already, so step one: get directly to your spot in line and wait until 6:00pm. Once the gates open, you can just set your stuff down and wander the zoo.

Where you can see this fabulous little birdy:

And this fun monkey who appeared to be eating a large slab of cheese, but monkeys don't eat cheese, right?

Or this young giraffe in a jail cell:
Our zoo actually makes me a little sad. I feel like the animals don't have big enough enclosures, aka "homes." Like the cheetahs for example-have this area the size of my house/land. Cheetahs need to run!!! They need to run like a fat man needs cheetos. They need to run like a model needs cocaine. They NEED TO RUN. And our cheetahs didn't have a lot of room to run...

Back to the concert area, with a couple drinks in hand:

It was really crowded! For this random Irish type band!! Who knew...

The show opener was the zoo's Birds in Flight show - where they have some well-trained birds fly really low over the crowd and to the stage. Here's the gorgeous bald eagle from the show:
I actually have 5 photos of just the sky and the trees - so this tail feathers picture is the best I can share. Bald eagles are so amazing looking. Very regal. I love them.

Here is my date for the concert:
Aw, another beautiful creature, right? She really isn't a fan of having her picture taken. I have this shot, two with her mouth in a Frankenstein pose, and three of her eating. She's one of the most beautiful friends I have, I swear...

One of the best parts about going to the zoo concert was the people. I sometimes forget that Portland, Oregon, is a land of free-spirited, tree-hugging, friendly and lovely people. Our city also tends to really let their kids dress themselves.
 This sweet little girl walked by in a blur of a 1960's lsd-flashback, but topped off her outfit with bright pink crocs. Adorable.

Another adorable girl was sitting directly in front of us. But apparently she was tired of sitting after a couple hours because my view suddenly changed from this:

To this:

Lovely, tall, Portland girl....with no self-awareness.

Anyway - it was a good concert! I enjoy Great Big Sea and I think they do a pretty good show.

The negatives: 
  • The lead singer talked a LOT about how much he loved Portland. All bands do this, right? But he went on and on about it. Like between every third song he would mention it. Overkill.
  • Security was really harsh about people in the walkway. These children were harassed:
  • They ask that you bring low beach chairs, out of courtesy of others, but nobody says anything when people bring in full-size lawn chairs and plops down in the front area. And yet a small child isn't allowed to sit on the sidewalk. Bleh.
  • You can smell the elephant pee. I'm not kidding. The concert field is right next to the elephants. And we could tell when one of the pachyderms emptied their bladder.

The positives:
  • It's so beautiful out and you're in this big open area.
  • You can come and go from the concert area, so if you have kids and they are bored, you can just set them free to go look at the animals!
  • The lead singer said the phrase: brothers and sisters a lot. We thought maybe it was a Canadian thing, eh?
  • All the band members sing - and a couple of them did some songs a capella that were AMAZING.
  • It was nice to just sit with a friend and chit-chat and people watch, with good food and good music.
My final opinion: If you have a chance to go to a zoo concert ---- DO. 

And if you have a chance to see Great Big Sea - check them out. And let me know if they talked a lot about how much they love your city the best!

Lawry's Marinade Pack Giveaway

Here's the latest giveaway! It's a good one for my foodie friends!

Lawry's newest marinades allow you to infuse your meals with exotic flavors without ever leaving your home. Inspired by the sun-drenched villages of Italy,the Tuscan Sun-Dried Tomato Marinade features extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet red bell peppers and the perfect blend of herbs. The Szechuan Sweet & Sour BBQ Marinade gives meat a delicious sweet and sour flavor with a touch of Szechuan heat.
I received this great gift pack from Lawry's, and you can too!!

It comes with a great pyrex baking dish (with lid!), marinades, spices AND skewers! I actually got this package a couple days before I had a bbq with friends, so it was great timing. I tried each marinade on half of our chicken and they were DELICIOUS. My favorite was the Sun-Dried Tomato, but I'm not typically a sweet & sour kinda girl. Lawry's is also making some other delicious flavors, such as these:

  • Chipotle & Maple - This culinary comingling deliver a fresh take on smoky, spicy and sweet.
  • Brown Sugar & Bourbon - This duo brings a delicious dose of Southern charm to the patio.
  • Cinnamon & Coffee - Bold and confident - with just the right edge of bitterness.
  • Red Chili Sauce & Mango - The flavor of mango takes hot or sweet red chili sauce far beyond mere "condiment status."

For recipes and Lawry´s marinades that complement the flavor pairings visit the Grilling Flavor ForecastTM website.

Visit to check-out the full line of Lawry´s products, additional grilling tips and to find delicious recipes for grilling season and beyond!

I had meant to take some pictures of my delicious chicken and my friends enjoying it....but was distracted (by the yummy food probably). Instead, here are some pictures of my well-fed friends enjoying the aftermath of a great bbq:
People aren't this happy after having bad food right? So check out Lawry's new delicious marinades.

To Enter:

Leave a comment about your favorite marinade flavor.

Extra entries:
Leave an extra comment if you follow/subscribe to my blog.

Leave an extra comment if you blog about this giveaway (and leave the link to the giveaway post).

Giveaway closes on August 12th at midnight.

Winner will have 72 hours to respond to my email. Please make sure you have a public profile or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't contact you-you can't win!! (this happened with my last giveaway!!)

Lawry's and MyBlogSpark were wonderful enough to sponsor this giveaway and provide me with the gift package to try.

Random Picture Tuesday

I could eat this 4x a week:

Grilled chicken breasts (lightly marinated in olive oil, chicken seasonings), grilled sweet potatoes, and broccoli. And two pieces of asparagus (which is all I can tolerate). LOVE this meal!!

A few weeks ago, I went outside to find about 50 paper hearts surrounding Andrews car. Apparently it's something young hoodlums do now - decorate your car with hearts and say you have been HEART ATTACKED. Ha - funny. And WAY better than the TP'ing that we've had to live with in the past. Note-I believe this was done by girls, so maybe we have gender specific ways to be a hoodlum now.

Sad, but true:

My friend is out of town this week and we are making the short trip to his house to check in on his feline friends. But not just to pour some kitty kibble in a bowl and water them. Nope...we are doing this:
Sweet little Millie has some kind of liver problem and has to take a kitty pill. But since sweet little Millie refuses to eat the pill, even tucked away in a kitty treat, we are mashing up the pill, mixing it with wet food and then squirting it down her sweet little throat. She responds to this treatment a million times better than I ever would. Or either of my cats. Or anyone or anything I know. She is a sweet little girl.

I have a super-busy week ahead - a volunteer event tomorrow night, my zoo concert on Wednesday, out with friends on Thursday and then some sweet little girls are coming to hang out with me for games night on Friday night.

I have Thursday & Friday off of work though, so that's great. I plan to do some scrapbooking, watch my son and handyman wash and stain my deck, catch up on the last month of blogs I usually read every week, try and walk about 15-20 miles so I can maybe make my goal for the month, print a ton of photos, read a book......LOTS of important stuff ya know.

$60 CSN Giveaway Winner

I am a wee bit surprised that we didn't double the comments from the $25 Walmart Gift Card giveaway for a giveaway for a $60 gift certificate at an online site with over 200+ stores that offers everything you could imagine...but whatever. That's fine. I'm not going to be bitter and resentful, just very confused.

Thanks to everyone who played along and left some great ideas on making small changes that would appear to be big ones. I would give you all a $60 gift certificate if I could. But since I'm not an overpaid basketball player whose team change got the most ridiculous amount of attention possible (I'm talking to you, CNN) - I had to have just one random winner.

Thanks to for offering this fabulous giveaway - which is going to go to....

Mommy 2 Bears

She's got two lovely little girls and a hunky-hunk of a husband.

This is part of her bio: My ultimate goal is to catalogue my girl’s development and use it to drive them nuts in the future.

Fun!! I currently drive my son nuts with my blog now so I feel a definite kinship. Plus, I love it when people give their kids animal names.

Congrats to Jennifer, wrangler of little girl bears, who is now tasked with the difficult choice of having to choose what to buy from and all its 200 stores!

Injury On The Field!!

I was all set to share with y'all that I have had some extreme heel pain (wimp) for the last few days and had to fight a strong battle with myself to stay off the treadmill for 2.5 days...but then Andrew had to show me up on the injury field.

I got a call at 3:00am on Saturday morning from my beloved baby boy, saying very calmly that he is okay, but they were in the hot tub and someone was shooting at them with a bb gun or something and he got shot in the head. just paused to make sure you read that correctly, right?

And as he told this to me on Saturday at 3:00am, I had to ask him to repeat himself because I wasn't really comprehending what he had just said.

Shot in the head? Wha....???

So he repeated the story, and ended with, we weren't sure if we should go to the emergency room or not but after I passed out...

WAIT...what???? Passed out??? So after being woken from my much loved REM sleep, I got the information that 1) he was shot, 2) he passed out, and 3) they weren't quite sure if they should go to the ER???

I promptly sprang to life and told him I would meet him at the ER in five minutes.

Sure enough, the poor boy had been shot in the head. With a bb or pellet gun.

When I got there, he hadn't fully been checked in, nobody had taken his vitals and nobody had called the police. And now I have learned that the local hospital is not one I will be going to again if I can avoid it.

Waiting...and waiting....for the doctor and the police. And wondering why it wasn't the "bad" kid in the group that got shot instead of my sweet little boy.

I went to the front desk after filling out all the paperwork for them to rob me blind and asked the girl- have the police been called yet? She looked at me surprised, oh, I don't think so. Did you want us to?

Um...someone has been SHOT!!! HELLO????

90 minutes later, the police showed up.
And commenced a very in-depth investigation, with great concern shown.
Nope, that didn't happen.
But they did take all the info and took some pictures of the hole in my baby's head.

I asked if they were going to canvass the area. Or call in a detective. Or block off the hot tub area and look for evidence.

The very nice sergeant (shown above) told me: well, we actually get off in 45 minutes, and it's going to be really hot tomorrow and lots of people will be at the pool, so it's a slim chance we will be able to find anything. Nice. So I asked if they were going to talk to the apartment manager and see if they can help provide any info and he said that their community office is in close contact with all the apartment managers, so he will touch base with them on Monday.

Meanwhile, little Andrew is going to be fine, but will most likely have to live with this little metal piece under his skin for the rest of his life. And I might be paying off emergency room bills (I hear ct scans are expensive) for the rest of mine.

Anyone have any experience with being shot with a bb/pellet gun?

Anyone have any experience with vigilantism?

Would love to hear your thoughts on either. I'll be calling the apartment complex in the morning with some questions for them for my own investigation.

And my heels are feeling better tonight after 2.5 days with lots of stretching, icing and no walking!

Locks of Love...Here We Come!!

I did it!!!

I know to some of you (especially the male kind), getting your hair cut might not seem like a big deal. To some of us, it is a HUGE deal. Especially to those of us who have had really bad experiences with hair cuts.

This is my second time donating my hair to Locks of Love. The first time, I grew it out starting my senior year of college. A good friend of mine had told me about her sister who had alopecia when she was young. Alopecia is a mystery illness where you lose your hair. There's no real definitive reason why it happens... And when you don't know why something is happening, it's awfully hard to find a cure.

So my friends sister had big bald patches on her head for unknown reasons in late elementary school and at some point, she lost nearly all of it in junior high. Remember junior high? And how compassionate kids were to those who are different? No, because there is no such thing. Kids are mean. So the logical thing to do is get a wig and never ever tell anyone. BUT most wigs are really quite expensive!! They really are. Enter Locks of Love:

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. We meet a unique need for children by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics. Most of the children helped by Locks of Love have lost their hair due to a medical condition called alopecia areata, which has no known cause or cure. The prostheses we provide help to restore their self-esteem and their confidence, enabling them to face the world and their peers.

My friends sister grew up and her hair grew in-no reason why it -and she grew up to have gorgeous hair---which she grew out to a nice 11 inches and then promptly cut it off and donated it to Locks of Love.

Sweet, right? Good story!! How can you not want to do the same?
So I did.

I think it was 1999 or early 2000. I was REALLY poor. Single mom, blahcrymeariverblah, so I called a few hair salons to see if someone would donate a hair cut for me to donate my beautiful flowing 10.5 inches of hair. It actually took me about 6 calls to find someone-ridiculous right? And I, of course, had no idea who this guy was who offered--I just knew that it was a free haircut and I could lose the hippy hair and mail it off to a good cause.

He turned out to be a fairly grumpy old guy and I was his last appointment at the end of what apparently was a long and miserable day. My haircut was HORRIBLE and I was slightly afraid to say anything so I walked away...and then cried in the car, holding my ponytail in my lap. Sad day. Very sad. can see why I would be a little nervous right?
However, this time around there were two very distinct differences in the story. 1) I have money for a haircut (hallelujah) and 2) I have a good hairstylist who knows what is what.

And I give to you....the new me:

First a few snips:
And then the detached pigtails...sad and lonely.
And the finished product:
It's a bit shorter than I wanted....but it's definitely tolerable. And some wonderful little child is going to have a great wig.
I look stoned. I am not. I am never actually stoned.

What do you think? New hairdo good?

Would you ever (assuming you are able to grow hair) donate your locks?

A Fond Farewell To You, My Beloved

Well, it has been about 18 months or so that I decided that I would volunteer in a different way...a way that is done with love, but is bittersweet at the end.

I have been growing my hair out for almost two years now, for the sole purpose of cutting it off and sending it away, to provide a wig for a child in need. I did it back in 2000 also and it's a great feeling, knowing that I helped someone in need in a way that was so easy for me. I mean really, what do you do when you cut your hair? Just throw it away?? How wasteful. may have been cheaper for me to save the money I spent on shampoo and conditioner just in the last 6 months and got myself a beautiful little girl through Save the Children and just shaved her head. Less painful for me...but whatever. I have great hair and it is for a great cause and now.....I must say goodbye....

Let's review some of our good times together before the end happens...tomorrow at 5pm.

My hair and I in Vegas (we were very lucky with the slots)

My hair and I volunteering.

My hair and I in Mexico.

My hair and I doing artsy stuff at a class north of Seattle.

My hair and I enjoying the sun in Seattle.

My hair and I getting all dolled up.

My hair and I...after quite a few drinks...

So many good times. I'll miss you beautiful hair. But perhaps I'll see you on a child someday and smile fondly.

Could You Just Hold This For Me?

You know how you grow a child inside of you, and help it grow from a seedling into a fetus into a full-term baby..and then after it is ripped from your body, you love it, cherish it, raise it, spend a million dollars on it and then you ask ONE favor of this beloved child of yours and they turn you down....

This is how the conversation went tonight:

Me: (on the treadmill, entering mile 2) My hamstring really hurts!! Do you think I'm doing permanent damage?

Andrew: Does it hurt when you walk?

Me: Not if I push right here (reach behind, push on mid-hamstring).

Andrew: Maybe just go slow.

Me: Could you just put your hand here a second?

Andrew: No.

Me: I'm just a little sweaty...

Andrew: NO!


Bring An Escort to Your Class Reunion!

I missed my ten-year high school class reunion without a thought. I was in South Korea at the time, so it wasn't really an option, but ten years wasn't very long...if I really meant to stay in touch with anyone, wouldn't I have stayed in touch after high school? At least for ten years?

I guess I understand the old 25 year reunion - it's so far from graduation and you might be interested to see where your old friends ended up. But now with Facebook as a method to stay in touch with everyone, a chance to see 200 photos from their summer vacation, a chance to hear from them every hour on whether they are having a good day, or if they have their coffee yet, or if they just watched a tv show, or if they ate something bad, etc....are class reunions really even necessary?

I actually left high school a semester early. I only needed a couple of credits to graduate so I just took a class at the community college. I had an older boyfriend for the last 8 months or so anyway, so I had been slowly losing track of my friends by the time that last semester rolled around. I went back to take part in the graduation ceremony, but by then, I was WAY older and WAY more mature than the rest of the people graduating (meaning I was married and slightly pregnant).
Me on the left.
The high school years were great for my hair. I remember feeling REALLY confident in this outfit- I'm sure you will agree that it was smoking hot. I only wish I still had these clothes...

I didn't grow up with any of them either - I moved to the area when I was in 9th grade, which is when our high school started, so everyone mostly knew each other, some grew up with each other from elementary school. Some were like sisters. And then there was me. I was part of a lot of different groups, and I had some close girl friends, but I never really felt like I was anyone's BFF. So it didn't really feel too horrible to lose track of 90% of the people after I left high school.

And now we are all on Facebook and everyone who may have had a class with you is adding you as a friend on Facebook, but do any of them really care? Are any of us really friends?

I might be feeling like I'm a bit of a one-woman-island tonight and maybe a little bit happily isolated. But as of now, I don't think I am that interested in exerting energy, time and money into attending my 20th high school reunion in two years.

However, I do think it's really cool for those people who were really connected to their schools and who had really great experiences together during that time. The ones with prom pictures with 15 people crammed in the photos and who proclaimed it was the best night of their lives - though I hope that didn't hold true all these years!

And I think it's really great for the people who actually coordinate the reunions. I know from planning get-togethers with friends locally and volunteer events with large groups of people that it can be really frustrating and time-consuming to plan such things. I would guess that people who plan the high school reunions are doing a thankless job. People might say thank you for doing the work, but I'm guessing those are the people who don't offer help and probably have no concept of all the work that is involved.

Here's a fun letter from the Alumni Association of Rolla High School Alumni in 1938, I'm pretty sure it was for my grandmother.

My favorite part is how they suggest you bring an escort. Or a lady friend.

And their slogan (near the bottom) is BIG FEED=BIG TIME. I'm not sure I even understand what that means...

Did any of you attend a high school reunion?

Was it worth it?

Was there a BIG FEED BIG TIME?

Winner Winner Walmart Winner can you tell when you're in a recession? 
In my head, I said: When George W. Bush is in office and then laughed like a little school girl but because I don't like to get political on my blog (much), I figured I better be sensitive and type this in italics so it comes across a little more light-hearted. And no-it's never ever just one persons fault so I'm not being fully serious... can you tell....

The real answer: When you see 278 entries for a drawing for a $25 Walmart Gift Card.
You guys like you some Wal-Mart don't you? Even with cheetah man and rappin granny stalking the aisles???

via (genius site)
(and not to mention the unfair work practices and sexist policies)

Regardless - you guys are great, thanks for playing along but there can only be one winner....


It's not YOU. Nope, not you either.
It is BARBARA!!!!
Yes the counter says 27...but only because it only goes to 200 and then starts over on the next page and I'm not that geeky that I can make it not start over and it doesn't matter at all to me cause I can do basic math.

Congrats to Barbara the cat lover - I have emailed you, please reply soon.

And in honor of a fellow cat lover winning, here are some gratuitous photos of my lovely babies from a few years ago (never pass up a chance to share your furball photos):

This is my dad's cat. I think her name is Kitty 3. It might be Kitty 4...I've lost track. It really is as big as it's a monster:

Congrats again Barbara!

Me and Great Big Sea - At The Zoo!!

Great Big Sea is a popular band from Newfoundland (Canada, eh? I thought they were Irish!)- and they are coming to the Portland Zoo and I will be there to sing along with them!! An old friend of mine, a crazy drunken Irish man, turned me on to this band a while back and I'm quite happy with them. They have a good sound to them, with a variety of songs. They have been around for 17 years now and if you haven't heard them, this is your chance. Here's two fun songs. Enjoy. And then think of me and the elephants and the zebras and the lions listening to them on a nice summer evening later this month!

I have them on my mp3 player and they are a great band to listen to while on the treadmill.

(a fan video featuring one of my favorite humans to look at - Mr. Johnny Depp, aka my future husband)

Rumor has it that they don't allow any cameras at their shows-even the outdoor ones (punks!), but ha, the dollhouse people said that to me as well, and we all know how that turned out don't we....

Anyone ever been to a zoo concert? This is my first one. I'm also going to see Prairie Home Companion at the zoo in August, which is going to be a lot of fun also!

Weekend Wrap Up - Another Trip to Seattle

Actually - the trip north started on Wednesday night. I worked from my parents house on Thursday, had Friday off. I wish I only had to work 4 days a week always.

Andrew headed off to a salmon fishing/camping trip with his father. I don't typically mention a father on this blog....because the man has chosen to not be part of Andrew's life. However, a couple times a year, they manage to make plans to see each other. Andrew was REALLY excited to go salmon fishing and so he is off in the woods with people he barely knows for a four-day camping trip. Let's all wish him luck. He sent me two pictures within 24 hours, here is one:

A 22-pound beautiful salmon! I haven't spoken to Andrew yet, so I don't have any real details, but how awesome does that fish look? And how handsome is my son?? Ugh, he's a grown man already!! Let's not think about that...

Andrews dad lives about 40 minutes from my folks, so I stayed at my parents house. My mom, aunt and I made the typical trip to a local casino, where I made $40 last three hours, playing the slots. And then came home with $42. Not bad for an entertaining night. At one point, I was on a machine where you can win free spins. I won 10 free spins. Then during those 10 - I won 42 more!! So I had 52 free spins. That's a lot of spinning going on, right? So you would expect I would have won a lot of money, right? No, I didn't. I won about $16.00. On FIFTY-TWO spins. I think we can all agree that this is just plain bullshit. Anyway--with that $16.00 I won, I was able to walk away from the casino with two extra bucks in my pocket, so I could honestly proclaim it a winning night. (but really...52 spins!!!!!)

Unfortunately, my aunt  got a call that her elderly mother was really sick and we rushed out of there. As we were getting closer to her house to drop her off, her anxiety level was increasing...and we stopped at a red light and an ambulance went flying by.....and she said: I hope that wasn't for my mom.....I bet that was for my mom..... So we called her mom's caretaker and sure enough--it was. A very traumatizing night. We rushed off to her mom's house, where her mom was refusing to go in the ambulance. Her vitals were okay so the ambulance left. My poor aunt was a mess. Her mom has been so sick. So very sad...

Friday morning, my mom and I headed off to Seattle via the ferry.

We saw this normal-sized fishing boat passing by this cruise ship, but it looked like a toy boat, it's so tiny in comparison. Look to the front, right side of that cruise ship. See the boat?

From the ferry, we drove a bit north to a doll museum. I would guess that most people have no idea that this museum exists-we certainly didn't until we found a coupon in a visitors book on the ferry. I'm not a doll collector, but the museum had some really interesting historical artifacts. Dolls from the 1800's aren't something you ever see, or hear about. Unfortunately, the doll museum has a no photography I can't share any photos. But if I happened to take a couple photos with my phone, this is what they would have looked like:

This was made in 1992 and is a Somali Man that looked so realistic, you would expect him to be trying to get out of the glass case. It was quite impressive!

It was actually really interesting to see the history of dolls - how they added bending knees, talking boxes, baby dolls that close their eyes when you lay them down, dolls that will move by themselves, faces that rotate so your doll can have a different face, etc. They have a pretty impressive collection of dolls through the last 300 years.

We left the doll museum and attempted to go to an arboretum, but after driving around the area where there should have been a big sign and a parking lot and some kind of indicator where to go - we decided to pass and head to the next option.

Which was the Log House Museum. After a struggle to find a parking spot, we walked in and were quite disappointed to find that the "museum" was one room with some artifacts about the history of the area. It really was not what we were expecting and this is one of the coolest things (I would love to have this!):

The history we read about was interesting. But not worth the drive. If you're ever in Seattle - skip this!

Next stop - the International District, where we were going to meet up with my friend from high school.
We had a hideous time trying to find parking and find each other-so we just parked on a street and got out and walked in the area where we were--which was not the international district. Driving failure #2 of the day. But it worked out fine-we were right next to Pioneer Square and we had a nice lunch outside and chatted and relaxed and bonded with her new little baby girl.

Our next stop was supposed to be the Underground Tour, but my mom had a sore knee, I have a monster blister and we weren't sure if it was practical to take the baby, so we decided to do this tour another visit.  And I would like to take Andrew on this too, so that works out fine.

I love this baby face! She was telling my mom a very serious story at this point. It might have had been something about this strange lady pointing a large camera at her face all afternoon....

On our Seattle downtown map, there was a garden in the international district so we headed there instead, but it really wasn't a park. It had this funky seating area and a tiny path through an unkempt area. It was a nice place to sit and visit, but calling it a park was a stretch. It was easy to find though, and had plenty of parking so that was a huge plus, considering our frustrations from earlier in the day.

Mom headed home on the freeway and my friend and I (plus baby) walked through the Pike Place Market. Love it there. Everyone is so happy, the colors are vibrant, the smells are good (minus the fish areas), and there's always something interesting to see.
Look for the flying fish!
Wonderful ceramics!
The only Starbucks sign where the mermaid flashes her boobs!
Bubblegum wall! - seriously, it's a wall of used bubblegum. Some people stick their id's in their gum-gross. Some leave important messages:

Saturday and Sunday - housework, cleaning closets, scrapbooking, a little work - very productive, though nothing exciting! Loving the peace and quiet in my clean house, but missing Andrew all the same (especially when I had to cut the grass! That's not my chore!).

How was your weekend? Anything exciting going on?


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