Monday, March 30, 2009


There is nothing like someone else's blood to get your day off to a rotten start. I was sitting on the bench at the bus stop this morning when I noticed a very bloody tissue several feet in front of me. Then I noticed another. And another. There was a trail of blood leading from the tissue to the bench, so I lifted my bag and noticed smears of reddish brown on the paint. I stood up and noticed the same smears of reddish brown under where I had been sitting. It was dry, but blood in general really freaks me out; AIDS dies once it's been outside the body for 12 minutes, but hepatitis is very resiliant. I knew that there wasn't any blood on me or my bag since it wasn't wet, but I couldn't bear the thought of having sat on someone's nosebleed so I went home and changed my pants and switched tote bags. I was a little late to work (took a new route) but it was worth it to feel cleaner.

The good thing about sitting on blood is that nothing else you do all day really can be any worse. In fact, my day was pretty good: we're 100 prizes over where we need to be for Taste Washington, and I feel proud of my contribution to this. I had an eye appointment after work (no change in my vision) and also wrote a new post on my beer blog.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I am now a full-time student: since my program let me matriculate early, I registered to take 2 courses at 5 credits each. One is on podcasting as a marketing tool, and the other is called "Social Production and Distribution of Digital Content." Classes start this week, Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10 PM. I'm nervous for many reasons: will I be able to pay attention to a single subject for 4 hours? Will I be alert in the evening, especially once I have a job and am working 8 hours a day? Will I be able to adjust to the rigor of graduate-level education? Fortunately, since my internship ends this week, I will have a lot of time to read and concentrate on my studies while looking for a job.

This week is going to be intense: Taste Washington is this coming weekend, and it's a big deal. At $85 a ticket, it attracts a high-end clientele and everything needs to be perfect. So, I work Monday through Thursday in the office (only 6 hours each day, not too bad), then Friday and Saturday setting up, then a scheduled 14 hours on Sunday to run the event. Plus my first week of classes on top of that! Fortunately, I am being paid extra for working at Taste WA. Sweet.

Ooh, in exciting news: we're hopefully going to be moving to a new apartment! It's just right across the street from our current one. We saw it yesterday afternoon and turned in the application this morning. It's bigger, cheaper, and actually has separate rooms with doors, so when I want to wake up early on a Saturday afternoon and make oatmeal, I won't wake David up. Other than that, we went to the Green Festival at the WA State Convention Center today, and I made some enchiladas for dinner. We also watched "Return of the Jedi".

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Craft Beer

There are a few simple pleasures in life, among them blogging and beer. And now I'm blogging about beer. I answered a posting on Craigslist looking for people in Seattle wanting to write about certain topics for a website, I have a lot of free time on my hands, so I applied to be their vegan/vegetarian examiner. However, the position was full, but they asked if there were any other openings I would consider. I wrote back with a list based on openings on the website (craft examiner, knitting examiner, beer examiner) and somehow they decided I was qualified to write 2-3 articles a week on microbrews as their Craft Beers examiner. Am I really qualified to write about beer? Well, I like a good beer. I don't drink a whole lot of beer, but when I do I enjoy drinking quality, locally-brewed craft beer, so I guess this makes me a good candidate. I have a lot to learn; I am almost ashamed by how much I don't really know about beer. However, I like writing, and feel that this is a good way to get some tangible experience in this area. So, you can check out my work here:

And please give me any suggestions, comments or beer recommendations.

Don't worry, I still enjoy Bud Light with Lime.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I stayed home today from my internship today; still not feeling so hot. On Wednesdays, I only work 4 hours, so I debated in the shower at 6:15 am about whether or not to go in: it's only 4 hours of work, which is not really that much. On the other hand, it's getting out of bed, getting dressed and riding the bus for 45 minutes while feeling like crap for only 4 hours of practically-unpaid work. So, I stayed home and am really glad I did. I slept until 10:30, grudgingly went to the bank to deposit a check for my parents, bought more kleenex, got a smoothie, and came back and watched a movie on the couch. Right now I am watching Oprah and contemplating a nap. I'm glad that I don't have any real responsibilities!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bubble Tea

I bought some tapioca balls and giant purple straws at Uwajimaya yesterday to make bubble tea, my favorite type of tea.

My cold just hit my sinuses about an hour ago. I'm drinking the Manoschevitz wine I bought yesterday for cooking to numb my throat, which doesn't hurt but just feels gross. David feels like he's coming down with something now, and I feel bad for giving it to him.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Veg-tastic weekend

I've been fighting some sort of illness for the past three days that has caused me to lose my voice and generally feel headache-y and tired, though hasn't hit my sinuses the way a head cold would. My dad said it's laryngitis, but I always thought that laryngitis was more serious, since this hasn't stopped me from having an excellent weekend.

This weekend is the biggest weekend of the year in the Seattle vegetarian community: Vegfest, an all-vegetarian trade show put on by Vegetarians of Washington. I signed up to volunteer a while ago (volunteers get free admission), and was assigned to hand out food from 4-8 PM. David asked a few days ago if there was still room for him to do the same, which there was, and so he handed out samples with me. We arrived about an hour early to tour the event and taste the samples. There were all sorts of tofu, drinks, desserts, snacks, entrees, and more, plus literature, cookbooks, etc. The food ranged from fake meat to crazy soy concoctions to weird raw stuff, all quite delicious (in my opinion- David didn't eat anything). We watched a video before our shift started to acquaint us as to what was required of us, then checked in and received our booth assignments. I handed out tortilla and pita chips, while David poured Almond Dream. Fortunately, the event closed at 6 so we were only doing this for a couple of hours instead of the 4 we had anticipated. From there, we began clean-up, and were out of the hall by 7:15. I renewed my membership and took home a bunch of stuff for doing so, including: a can of soda, a loaf of bread, some nutrition bars, and coupons to vegetarian restaurants. I've seen some weird things put in goodie bags, having worked now at two consumer golf shows and one upcoming wine show, but never a whole loaf of bread.

David went over to Chris' after we returned, but I stayed on the couch since I still wasn't feeling well. I read a manuscript ("novel") that a friend of mine from college wrote. It's all about the feelings of uncertaintly and depression that everyone experiences after graduating college, and is interesting only to people who have recently graduated college and are feeling depressed and uncertain. He's a good, creative writer and I think he will eventually have great success, but this is not it. The topic has been covered before, better, with an excellent Simon and Garfunkle soundtrack and Anne Bancroft's killer gams.

This morning, I woke up bright and early: 7 am. It's not too early, but because of my illness I didn't fall asleep until about 2, so I would have liked more sleep. I got a bagel and some coffee and hopped on the 49 (which turned into the 7) to the Red Cross for a pet first aid class. If I am going to be a pet sitter, seriously or just recreationally, being certified in feline first aid is critical for marketing, and a good skill set to have in case anything happens to The Cobra. We learned how to do CPR, mouth-to-mouth (mouth-to-nose), the kitty heimlich, first aid, and how to find normal indicators of health like heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature; we practiced on stuffed animals with breathing tubes instead of plastic dummies. The class was 4 hours but went by really quickly, which gives me hope for grad school: the classes will also be 4 hours, though they will be at night instead of in the morning. I've been worrying that my short attention span will be no match to marathon lectures, but as long as I am engaged in the material, I have a bit more confidence I will be able to survive.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Phone Rage

I hate automated systems. The Washington Unemployment Hotline has static-y 70's top 40 hits for their hold music; it's almost impossible to listen to, but they've got me stuck- I really need to talk to a representative! I just called Hartford Life with a question about my parent's trust and I could not speak with a representative; I tried pressing zero and no luck. It's funny, because the recorded message mentions their "extraordinary customer service." I know that machines are more convenient and save on overhead, and the real people aren't always all that helpful anyhow, but they're usually better than the automated ones.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I walked a lot today- well, not too much, maybe 6 miles. First, I walked to Madison Market and Trader Joe's for groceries. Then, I decided to walk to the UW campus to drop off my college transcript; I tried mailing it, but it was returned to me (I got the zip code wrong), so rather than waste another $1.00 I decided to drop it off in person, which would also give me a chance to get familiar with the campus and explore the neighborhood. The reason for walking was to skip the gym and save $2 on bus fare; it wasn't a particularly beautiful day and I wasn't feeling particularly energetic, so I made it about 2 miles before catching the 49. Then, I walked over to the hall where the graduate admissions office is located. At Bates, it would have take about 2 minutes to get from one end of the campus to the other, but since UW is huge, it took me a while. Then I walked back to University Way and stopped in Wells Fargo, Tully's, and several consignment shops before reaching my ultimate target, a vegan grocery store. It was closed. If I had checked its hours before leaving, I would have known that it is not open on Mondays. I took a peak through the window though and wasn't too impressed by the selection- nothing I can't get at Whole Foods or Madison Market, though I guess the point is to support small, local businesses. My transfer was still good and I made it back home without having to pay another fare.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Vacation's over, and
we have only pictures, memories, and several boxes of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts to remind us of our travels. David has a little bit of a tan too. Here's a day-to-day break-down of the trip:

Friday: met my brother at the Seattle airport and flew to Honolulu, where we met up with my parents. Flew on separate flights to Kauai. There was a woman waiting at the airport with lei's for my mom and me in honor of our birthdays; we finally figured out after a day or so that my aunt and uncle bought them for us. Got the rental car and made it to the resort
. Hit the bar almost immediately and went to the nearby Italian restaurant for dinner.

Saturday: Carl and David took a surfing lesson while my parents and I bought food for the week. I think we hit the pool or the hot tub when we came back. Dad lit up the grill and we had steak (or mushroom) and margaritas for dinner.

Sunday: Mom got me a massage for my birthday, which was really nice. It was in a tent on the beach, so I got to relax to the sound of waves and birds; probably the best massage I've ever had. My folks also gave me a watch and a cookbook, and my brother gave me a hand-held blender. The sun was out after my massage, so I got some tanning in while David hung out the the hotel room. We had dinner reservations at 7:30 at a vegetarian/seafood restaurant I found online in a town about 20 miles north, so we hopped in the car mid-afternoon to tour the island. We went to a waterfall an
d drove around for a bit, but still made it to the town about 2 hours early. We did some shopping and killed time in a bar; I got a snack at a nearby health-food store and the menfolk got some nachos. We all partook in their Happy Hour, me just in hopes that the waitress would card me and give me a free drink after noticing it was my birthday. She did not check my ID though. David and I walked to the beach while the rest of the family sat in the bar. When we got to the restaurant, it turns out they didn't have record of our reservation, but my mom had an email trail that straightened it all out. The food was really good- I'm going to try to replicate the coconut rice they served with my burrito.

Monday: Snorkeling! Mom stayed in the hotel, but the rest of us were picked up at 7:45 in the morning. Our guide was a twitchy Hawaiian guy who knew a lot about the area and had all of the gear we needed. I couldn't believe the variety of colorful ocean life that is just a few feet off of the shore. It was like stepping into an aquarium: we saw fish of all shapes, colors and sizes, an eel, urchins, sea cucumbers, and an octopus. The guide even picked up the octopus and let us touch it. My brother got to hold it, but I didn't really care to. We took pictures with a disposable underwater camera which I'll post once my dad sends them to me. Snorkeling was insanely fun but also insanely cold, so when we got out of the water to go to a different beach I decided to stay on the shore. I missed out on seeing sea turtles, but saw a whale out in the water. There was a monk seal on the beach, which is supposedly a really rare species. People kept bugging it though. After snorkeling (and warming up in the jacuzzi for a bit) David and I drove up to the west side of the island to see an old Russian fort and to watch the sun set. We picked up hotdogs for dinner and drank margarita's with my parents.

Tuesday: We drove to the next town over for coffee and breakfast (and I did a bit of shopping), then drove back. David and Carl rented boogie boards while I read my book in the sun and went on a quest for macadamia nuts that turned into browsing every store in the area for souvenirs (I was in a shopping mood- all I bought were the macadamias though). In the evening, we went to a luau at a local plantation. It was a really fun cultur
al adventure. It was also open bar, which might be why it was so fun; my mom was the DD and she wasn't too thrilled. They put on a hula show telling the story of how the Hawaiians came to Hawaii. I think. Like I said, it was open bar. One guy danced with fire. The food was amazing too: more coconuty stuff that I am going to try to make at home. I just really like coconut. Carl, David and I went to a local bar after that and played a round of pool before heading back.

Wednesday: David, Carl and I drove around looking for a place to mountain bike. We did not find one. We stopped at the town we went to on Sunday for lunch so that David and Carl could get nachos and I could get another muffin from the natural foods store (coconut papaya: best muffin of my life). We went to a beach way up at the top of the island, but it started to get chilly so we headed back to the car. It was a good call: it started to pour as soon as we got in. We drove south and over to the Western side of the island, where we saw Spouting Horn:
a place where the ocean pushes through a hole in the rock and looks like a geyser, but did not see any places to rent mountain bikes. We drove home, dejected, and made margaritas while watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. We went to the Mexican restaurant across the street for dinner.

Thursday: It was our last full day, so we decided to make it count by going kayaking on the Wailua river. We rented two kayaks: David and I in one, my dad and brother in the other. A couple of miles down the river is a place where you can hike to a waterfall, but with all the rain it's been really muddy (a woman slipped and died there a couple of days before) and all we had on were flip-flops. Dad and Carl decided to brave it, but David and I checked out a recreated Hawaiian village instead.

The native Hawaiians had a different house for everything: eating, sleeping, building boats, even menstruating (kinda gross, but true). It took us about an hour to canoe to the town, find a bathroom (the actual point of the visit), tour it, and canoe back, but Dad and Carl still weren't back from the waterfall yet. As it turns out, the trail was so muddy that even though it was only a mile in each direction it took them almost 2 hours. We waited patiently in the meantime. Finally, they showed up, grumpy and grubby, and we canoed back. We stopped at a burger shack for lunch. We then showered, napped, and got back into the car because Dad really wanted to see the Waimea Canyon before dinner. The canyon was cool, though it was so foggy that it was hard to really see anything. We did get a sense of how big it was though despite the haze. We had dinner at Roy's, a restaurant my aunt and uncle gave my mom a gift certificate to for her birthday. The food was really good there, which I guess is fitting since it's a really nice restaurant. We went home and finished off the rest of the Margarita mix.

Friday: I had breakfast with my mom and dad, then we finished up our packing and headed out. Our flights were both good; we said goodbye to my parents in Honolulu but Carl was on our flight to Seattle, though we didn't sit together. We finally got home around 12:30 in the morning.

I'm glad to be home, but overall it was really fun. I mean, there were some frustrating parts too, but there always are on family vacations. I think my brother said it best: "nothing tears this family apart like an automobile," meaning that we squabble the most when we are in the car. My dad left his driver's license at home and I don't have one, so my mom, David and Carl had to drive. My mom hates driving at night, and my brother just gets really stressed out behind the wheel, so it's never a fun experience. Plus, everyone is a backseat driver, and my mom has "Nuvi," her talking GPS device which usually causes more harm than good. And none of us likes to make decisions.
I felt bad for my mom because since she fractured her foot we pushed her around in a wheelchair we borrowed from the hotel most of the time, and she couldn't do a lot of things with us because she couldn't get around. She just likes to sit on the beach and read anyhow, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but I think she felt a little handicapped. She took it pretty well though.

Now we're back
and it's time to get back to the grind. I'm going to buckle down and look for a job, hardcore. I found out while on vacation that I might be able to start classes as early as the end of the month, which would be pretty sweet: I'm eager to start the program.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I cannot wait for Hawaii: sunshine, palm trees, and (now that my dad can drink again) mai-tai's. I really need this vacation. Wait a minute, you might say, you don't have kids or a real job, why do you deserve to "need" a vacation? Good question. For one, I am looking forward to seeing my family: we haven't all been together for a year and I miss them. Second, the golf shows of the past few weeks took a toll on me, so I need a bit of time to recouperate. Third, which Pacific Northwesterner couldn't use a bit of sun? Finally, I need to gear up for the intense job search that will commence upon my return. I'm really excited: my suitcase has been packed for days.

Melinda and I went down to Kent this morning to inventory some stuff for our next big event. She picked me up at the Bellevue Park and Ride and we drove down. As far as I can tell, Kent is pretty much just warehouses and fast-food chains. We went to two of these warehouses; the first was entirely filled with cases of wine. Imagine, a football field-sized area with boxes stacked 15 feet high with alcohol. Kinda made me want to indulge in some vino. The second warehouse was only half full. Both were freaking cold: I'm still warming up. Since most of the office was at one of the three events that are going on this weekend, the atmosphere was strangely quiet, so I am glad we were gone half of the day. Plus, my impending vacation made it difficult to concentrate.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It's good to be home

Long Beach was an interesting experience, but I am glad it's over. I can't say I had fun, but I worked hard and learned even more about putting together a large-scale event. It was different from Portland in a number of ways. For one, we had only 5 people going down; Melinda was the only person who was in Portland too. So, it was nice to interact with a different crew, and I got along well with all of them. Plus, I was exposed to more aspects of the event since I had to wear more hats.

I worked the interactive events all day instead of just half, which was really draining: standing up and engaging an audience for 8 hours is exhausting, particularly when you're tired and your blood sugar is low. Plus, there were a few bad apples (like the random guy who came up from behind and yanked me away from the green because my shadow was covering the contestant's ball) that made me overlook all the genuinely nice people I served. I have learned over the years that I am not a people person. I like people on an individual and personal level, but I am not the type of person who can just schmooze- I envy folks who can do that.

We pretty much worked the entire time. We went from the hotel to the convention center and back without really spending much time outdoors. The restaurants we ate at (except for the last night) we all chains. I wish that we could have got a better taste of the area, but we didn't have any time. I shouldn't complain, since the food was consistently delicious and we were down there to work anyhow. I am proud of the work I did, and I think that everyone was pleased by the show's outcome: attendance was up from last year.

I'm still not sold on golf. It seems pretty sexist- old men calling each other women's names (Alice?) and asking where their husbands are every time they make a weak shot. Women do play, but the majority of our attendees seemed to be men. As my mom said, golf is what old men do to get away from their wives, so I guess there is some sexism that develops on the course just from male interaction. Still, if I hear "put down your purse, Alice!" one more time I am going to slap someone.

I am really looking forward to next week: Hawaii! We went shopping after David got off from work this evening; he got some shorts and I got some sandals. Actually, I went shopping at Value Village earlier today too and bought a pair of jeans. I walked a lot today and am still recovering from SoCal, so I am exhausted even though it is not even 9.