Christmas · Michigan · New Year's Eve

Christmas in Chilly Michigan

I’m back at work today and feeling relaxed!!!  Our trip to Michigan was a good one and filled with a lot of long slumbers, seeing family, a little exercise, a bunch of good food, and a lot of football.  I wouldn’t expect really anything less.  We left late on the night of the 23rd and got home just before the ball dropped (on the Pacific) on New Year’s Eve.  Here’s a little recap of what fell in between.

Chelsea is reprioritizing time, price, and ease of travel in future flight itineraries based on this trip.  Bryan and I flew the redeye to Chicago, getting in on Christmas Eve with a two-hour flight delay and a 3.5-hour drive to East Lansing.  We both arrived red eyed and out of it but also glad to finally be there and ready for the holiday.  There were many presents to wrap but we got cleaned up and my grandparents came over to have the usual king crab legs and clam chowder for dinner.  It was an excellent meal and Bryan and I had just enough energy to make it to the 9 pm Christmas Eve service at People’s Church.  We didn’t walk there this year because the snow was still coming down and the temperatures were dropping!

Christmas Day was the same as it always is.  Open presents at home, clean up, be the last family to arrive at Grandma’s, take two hours to go around opening presents, and eat way too much good casual Christmas food; chicken wings, beef sandwiches, my aunts baked beans, cheesy potatoes, coleslaw, and of course lots of Christmas cookies.  Bryan and I braved the cold to stretch our legs with a walk just as the sun was going down.  This was when we realized we were in for a very cold week, something we haven’t had in Michigan yet.

The middle part of the week is where a lot of relaxing and conversation comes in.  Activities include two trips to Court One to break a sweat, getting out for cross country skiing once to Birchfield Park in Holt for some fresh air and serenity, getting the legendary topopo salad and margaritas at El Azteco, middleeastern food, pizza at home, Jersey Giant subs while watching the MSU bowl game at grandparents’ house, Louisiana food and excellent jazz in small town Owosso, a puzzle, and lots of football watching.

We said goodbye to Chad on Thursday so he could head back to Chicago to pick up a friend coming in for New Years.  The parents and us went to Detroit for the day on Saturday and had a good time.  We started with a great Spanish lunch of tapas in Midtown at the cute La Feria.  After filling up we stopped at the Detroit Institute of Arts and I was blown away by how good it was.  I haven’t been to a ton of museums in the U.S. but I must say of the ones I have been to, I think I enjoyed this one the most, even more so than MOMA in New York.  After several hours of exhibits, including the special exhibit of Monet which was wonderful, we drove downtown to park and ride the People Mover, Detroit’s elevated train from 1987, just for fun.  And we rode it around twice.  It was interesting to me and you could catch a lot of the sights around Detroit, the Renaissance Center, the Detroit River and Windsor across the water, Joe Louis Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field, Grand Park, Greektown, etc.  It was fun people watching too, mostly of those going to the Pistons game at the new Little Caesars Arena.

Getting off we had one last stop to get the famous Slow’s BarBBQ on Michigan Ave.  Without a reservation, we sat at the bar and ordered a wide variety of items.  Food was amazing!  Especially the brisket (even said so by the uber-particular Bryan and Dad), the ribs, the BBQ sauces and their baked mac and cheese.  We barely finished it all but of course we did.  The ride home was something with all of us so full.

We had to leave East Lansing Sunday midday but were able to get one more needed workout in before doing so.  With bags packed and turkey sandwiches packed for us we picked up our rental car to make the drive to Chicago.  We hit one pretty snowy band of lake effect snow in Michigan City that slowed us down and stressed us out but we still made it to O’Hare with plenty of time to get a great Mexican dinner at the famous Rick Bayless’ La Frontera Grill for a torta and taqueria salad that were both amazing and to watch the Seahawks lose.  Our flight got in early and we had an easy route back home to get in with an hour to spare before the ball dropped (on the Pacific) to ring in the new year.

2017 was a good year but I have a feeling that 2018 is going to be even better!


Christmas · Week Recap

Lead up to Christmas

What a week we have had leading up to Christmas.  We’ve had one thing after another each and every day this week but all/most festive and fun…just maybe not the best medicine for getting over a sickness.

Monday night I had a girls night scheduled and hosted by Deana in her super cozy apartment’s social room.  We had the fire going, Christmas music on the Amazon Echo, Pagliacci’s pizza ordered, my salad, Anne’s mocktail (because she is expecting) and got ready to make gobs and gobs of chocolate dipped everything; pretzel rods, pretzel twists, popcorn and oreos.  Deana had all sorts of supplies and I was impressed with her talent and know-how of the chocolate dipping process.  Everything looked great and certainly tasted great.  I didn’t get home until about 10:30 with an absolute sugar/chocolate high.

Tuesday night Bryan and I had plans to go to dinner at Harvest Vine to use one of our gift certificates for 2017.  We got seated in a cute corner table in the taverna area downstairs, selected a Rioja wine and four tapas and took in the cute holiday decor and relaxing music.  For dinner, we chose well, really well!  We started with the roasted cauliflower with salsa verde that was crispy, soft, salty and tangy all at the same time.  We also had the seared sea scallops with an almond and pepper romesco sauce which was as excellent with the scallops as it was with the side of warm and crusty baguette.  Our second round were the meats; the always available but always delicious Iberico pork with panadera potatoes and cider sauce and the seasonal venison with oyster mushrooms and root liquorish sauce.  Both were so amazing and cooked to perfection.  We got a slice of the musicians five-nut caramel tart with whipped cream for dessert and didn’t get home from there until after 10 pm.

Wednesday night was the oddly timed FareStart Guest Chef Night Volunteer Appreciation Night.  A good many were there despite being so close to the holidays and we were treated to wine and appetizers while we got to enjoy one another and provide any feedback we have on how GCNs are run.  We stayed in the restaurant well past the end time of 8 pm so about seven of us walked over to Le Caviste for more wine and conversation.  We didn’t leave on this night until nearly 11 pm.

Thursday was really a pretty quiet day for both of us at work with many people already beginning their travels.  I also had scheduled a cleaning service to give me some help and feel like I have piece of mind knowing that the house is clean before we leave for a week.  If only they would go through our clutter and stuff and do that for me too.  We had plans to dine at Bin on the Lake for views over Lake Washington to take in the holiday boat parade.  However, we didn’t realize until midway through dinner that the holiday boat parade was beginning from Kirkland Marina and not Carillon Point Marina in Kirkland, and was heading north not south.  Oh well, we say a few boats lit up making their way north and we had a delicious dinner with the lake in the distance.  We each got great salads to start and I had the Skuna Bay salmon dish and Bryan the seafood risotto and we both left quite stuffed and happy.

Last day at work for 2017 and that is exciting yet I’m also a bit reluctant for the work to come in 2018.  This year has been all design; calculations, drawings and I honestly love it all.  Next year is going to be a lot of reviewing submittals during construction and corralling other disciplines to get the building permit acquired for the Seattle Public Utilities ship canal project.  That also means that part time I am going to be moving up to SPUs building a few days a week.  Certainly a few mixed emotions for me on ending a good year of work and being a little apprehensive about the next years work but I am also ready to start 2018.

Home to pack all my cold weather gear and presents for the next week.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas · Weekend

Holiday Fever

As the holidays are approaching it seems like everyone is getting sick.  We are no exception, as we both came down with sore throats, achy bodies, and sniffles over the weekend and the entire office and city seems to be as well.  But the festivities go on as do we, sickness and all.  And we still had a good weekend and a good time drinking and eating more than we should given the circumstances and staying out late.

Friday night, Bryan and I headed over to Bellevue on the eastside for some laughs at the Parlor Comedy Club, seeing Harland Williams who was definitely one of those pick on the audience type comedians so thankfully we had a bottle of champagne to enjoy the antagonizing.  We also visit Bellevue leaving us with a funny feeling and grateful to make it back to Seattle.

Harland Williams at the Parlor

Saturday morning is when the true suffering began.  I woke up hardly able to swallow or talk.  Very worried about my ability to attend the Christmas Party that night, I downed several cups of Throat Coat tea before heading to my hair appointment to get my hair lightened again.  Once Saturday night came I had conned myself into thinking I was feeling better and we both got dressed up for the party and headed to Georgetown to the Museum of Flight.  Our company’s party was in the “shuttle room” so along with the usual dinner and drinks we got to tour the inside of the simulation shuttles used to train every single astronaut who has been in space.  That exhibit was pretty cool but overall the entertainment and space was a little odd.  The food must have been good because both Bryan and I left with a horribly full stomach.  Our sickness hit us just before 11 pm when we both became completely tired and headed home.

Sunday morning came and with it lots of rain and grayness.  We attended a great Christmas-catered service at church, then picked up some items for the gifts we were making, and headed home to settle in for an important Seahawks game.  After a good brunch, the bad game began and it was horrible and wasn’t getting any better.  We turned it off at the beginning of the 4th quarter because it was upsetting us both and began the task of making our gifts.  It was a team effort and we were happy with the outcome.  We made a good dinner to enjoy at home in front of our Christmas tree, lazily ending a good weekend.

Our tree, missing ornaments

Less than a week until Christmas!