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 · 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!



Enter Winter

It’s a rude awakening to be hiking through snow shear days since walking barefoot in the sand in the ocean.  But that’s what happened our first weekend back from Hawaii.  I’m not complaining or anything, it was almost as beautiful as the Kauai vistas, this winter wonderland.

We didn’t go straight to snow though…we were able to thoroughly enjoy three very soggy days in Seattle first.  No break in rain for us here.  We also jumped back into work, although two day weeks are better than five, and into FareStart our first full day back.  And we stayed super late at FareStart talking and eating gobs of seafood from Duke’s Chowder House with the gang.  So yeah, Thursday and Friday were rough to say the least.

Friday night was enjoyed at home with the intense movie Wind River and a Home Chef box meal and then Saturday we were up and at em early to get a jump on the day because we had many things to get done.  I spent the day at the Seattle Center to meet up with the girls for some holiday shopping.  We went to the unique and awesome Giving Marketplace at the Gates Foundation, buying items that all send proceeds back to organizations in need.  We then walked in the rain to Exhibition Hall for the packed Urban Craft Uprising market that I had been to before (even with Allie and Chad one year).  I bought many things, for gifts and for myself, but pretty pleased with all of my purchases.  I said goodbye to the girls and bussed to Capitol Hill for a facial appointment while Bryan passed me on the way to meet the boys for some bowling/pool at The Garage.

Sunday morning we woke up earlier than normal to put on our winter gear, get some fueling Starbucks and hit the road east to Snoqualmie Pass for a snowshoe hike for Philipp’s birthday.  Nine of us made it out for the snowshoe hike and it was snowing on us most of the hike, that Bryan and I dubbed “road walk”, because we essentially walked on a snow-covered road for 3+ miles and not really a trail.  Oh well, we got to catch up with some friends and enjoy the white stuff.  We all reconvened at Dru’s Brus at the bottom of Snoqualmie Ski Resort for birthday beers, root beers and ginormous pizzas from the next door pizza place.  We headed back to Seattle shortly after 1 pm.  Bryan and I stopped at City People’s Garden Store to quickly pick out our noble fir Christmas tree (no u-pick for us this year).  Once home we got it in the stand, watered and with lights and ribbon on it.  That’s about the extent of decorating of the tree we have actually done.

Bryan got in another snowshoe the week after up at Mt. Baker with just Philipp before we went to listen to some jazz by Eugenie Jones at the Sorrento Hotel fireside lounge.  Sun has been in the forecast all this week and the last and I couldn’t be happier about the weather.  We are in full holiday season now which essentially means there is a lot going on between now and the 25th.  Work Christmas Party this Saturday, I’m Dreaming of a White Russian Party tomorrow, a few FareStart Christmas celebrations and the company is currently running a donation drive for FareStart.