Friday, September 29, 2006

Wheels Part 2

She’s beautiful! So clean. So soft. So pure.

Yes, after an afternoon tip-toeing around the subject, I finally made moon-eyes at my sweetie over dinner and told her the car was the color of mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, and I really wanted it. I had already prepared for the down payment. She had already put her foot down on the monthly payment and been confirmed by the car dealership. All we had to do was go back to the dealership, fill out some forms, pay the down payment, and drive away.

Two hours later… My goodness, these guys wheel & deal! It took me an unusual amount of time to realize that the finance guy (a new one – although the slimy one was still there), was trying to “sell” us a long-term maintenance agreement and add the costs to our monthly payments. I think I listened intently for 45 minutes before realizing what was going on. And then I had the wherewithal to say “Look, we can only afford to pay what we negotiated on the floor.”

He finally gave up and we signed the forms, signed over the down payment, and were rewarded with waiting around for the car to be “detailed.” Um... it’s 2 days old…

By now it was pitch black outside. I fiddled with the headlights, adjusted the power seat (hee), and tried to figure out where to put the gearshift so we could drive. No lights on the gearshift. You’re supposed to read the dashboard lights to know which gear you’re in. As I’ve not had that feature before, it stumped me.

We pulled out slowly into traffic, my dad behind us in his Camry. “Let’s take the freeway,” I offer. We live less than 5 minutes away on the surface streets. The freeway gains me maybe 3 more minutes in the minivan.

“Ok,” JewelGeek grins.

My dad follows suit. JewelGeek and I don’t really say much. We play with the radio a bit. We squeeze each other’s hands, and suddenly realize we’re really far apart.

The minivan stinks. “New car smell” is stinky and no one will convince me otherwise. I begin formulating a plan to convert its stinkiness to Green Apple as soon as I can get my hands on a Yankee Candle car freshener. The blue dashboard light is bright and futuristic. It’s so cool.

We park in the gravel beside the house. Tomorrow (Sunday), my dad and I will clean out a side of the garage so we can park it inside. [We later figure out that I have to fold in the driver’s side mirror in order to fit inside the garage…]

I love it. Today (Friday), I took a nap in the back during lunch. The carpet was soft and warm against my face. My toes (freed from the slip-on sandals I’m wearing today) played gleefully with the fuzziness and cold metal pieces under the middle row of seats. I could hardly hear the roar of buses 8 floors below me, or the police siren. And although I can pretty much nap anywhere, the fact that I actually fell asleep hard in the back of my new minivan just further confirms for me that this was meant to be a part of my life.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wheels Part 1

Friday, I took my 1987 Mazda 323 to the garage for oil/lube change. I also asked them to check on the rough idle and the "hiccup" when accelerating from a stop. A new hose, new spark plug wires, new filter for something, and $350 later... I seriously began thinking "I've got to get a new car." My mechanic told me there was nothing seriously wrong with my Mazda, except that it was old. And I could look for a new car now, while I could still drive my Mazda. Or I could look for one later, when my Mazda finally gave up.

That was right before lunch. Lunch was a staff meeting, and I went in sulking and wondering aloud if I should start researching cars. I got all kinds of comments/help/advice from my coworkers. Some of it was actually helpful. After the meeting, I starting doing my homework.

Some time ago, I saw a Beetle and commented that a sparkly blue Beetle with black accents would be cool. And the license plate could be "Scarab". So of course, JewelGeek immediately wanted to know if I wanted a Beetle. Um... no, not really. It was a fantasy, not a serious musing.

I want a Toyota - reliable, good maintenance records, good gas mileage, comfortable, etc. I looked at the Prius a LOOOOOOOOOONG time, before finding out it costs 3 times as much to repair because of all the specialty hybrid parts. I looked at Camrys. They look exactly like JewelGeek's Camry. And my parents' Camry. Another stable, ho-hum sedan with nothing particularly interesting about it. And for the same amount of money, we could get a minivan.

Hmmm. A minivan. So, I looked at the Sienna. And I liked what I saw. Ok - mediocre in-town gas mileage. But this wouldn't be the primary commute car. This would be for road trips, and hauling stuff to the dump, and carrying our bikes to a flat park so we can ride for hours, and driving out to the Gorge on a Sunday afternoon to watch the windsurfers.

By Friday night, I was pretty sure I wanted a Sienna. We got pre-approved for a loan through our credit union. And we called my parents to see if they could come up on Saturday (a day early) so Mr. GoGoGo could go with us to look at cars.

Saturday morning, we did what we could around the house and tried not to stare out the window to watch for my parents to arrive. Had lunch. Looked online (again) at local dealerships for good inventory so we could test drive, and took off with Mr.GoGoGo.

We went to our local Toyota dealership. Met a nice young sales guy who had only been working at the lot for a week. He had to ask a coworker where the Siennas were. And then had to walk back across the lot for the key for the one we were to test drive.

We walked up to a beautiful mint-chocolate-chip-ice cream green, 2006 Sienna, with power windows, power mirrors, power side door, programmable garage door openers, multiple "lighter" plugs, separate air controls for the middle/back passengers, 7 seater, easy-fold-down back bench seats, more cup holders than you can possibly use, new-car-smell, grey stone cloth interior, tinted back windows, automatic, 2 wheel drive, and 12-miles on the odometer. We put 5 miles on it during the test drive.

We forgot to try the radio, but we played with everything else. I had a whispered conversation with JewelGeek while the salesguy chatted up Mr.GoGoGo. I could hear everything they said, everything JewelGeek whispered back to me, and hardly anything of the road. I wasn't even sure my turn signal was on at one point.

The finance guy (different from the sales guy and 4 times slimier), pushed hard for us to walk away with a finance plan and the Sienna. JewelGeek, bless her heart, is one harda** negotiator.

The finance guy made the fatal error - "What can I do to get you in this car today?"

And JewelGeek let him have it: "Lower the price to $20,000."

Long pause. "Um, seriously, what can I do?"

My reply -- "We cannot afford the finance plans you've offered."

FinanceGuy: What can you afford?

JewelGeek: $350 a month.

Me: And $2500 down, maximum.

FinanceGuy: Give me a moment...

Sure enough, a few moments later, he was back with another offer. Which JewelGeek folded up and buried in her hand. "I have to sleep on it." He started to protest, and she held firm. "You're not going to convince me to buy a car at this moment. I'm going home." And we left.

JewelGeek wasn't quite shaking with anger, but she was definitely giving off waves of annoyance and impatience. So, at home I was careful not to talk about "The Minivan" unless JewelGeek brought it up. And then I danced around lightly, asking broad, open-ended questions, and offering simple replies to her musings.

Buy it now. Buy it later. Do nothing. Those were the options. She just had to pick. I just hoped she would pick the option I wanted...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cash For Cash

Our Little Man is a big stinker. On purpose. He is notorious for letting us know when the kitty litter box is not clean enough, according to his high standards, by leaving us little presents. Sometimes in the downstairs hall, sometimes in the laundry room, but mostly in the little shower bathroom.

If only he were a little more curious about the toilet, we've often thought, we could maybe do away with the litter box once and for all.

And then I found the website for Citikitty. For about $30 you can train your cat to use the toilet. Sounds pretty good to us, if we can find the spare change.

Spare change...

I e-mailed CrafterKat and told her to have Critter start counting up the coins I set aside each day. When I came home there was a huge pile of quarters and pennies on the computer desk. We filled a zippie and drove to the nearest CoinStar machine that makes gift certificates payable to

Critter jiggled the zippie in her lap and sighed. "I wish we could get cash for cash."

I laughed. "What do you mean by that?"

"You know, like when you turn in cans and get money? I wish you could do that with coins. Turn in like twenty dollars and get a thousand dollars back. That'd be awesome!"

I whole heartedly agreed.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nitty Gritter, Grabbers, and Clinchers

Critter raced out of her room. "Come see! Quick! We've got peacocks!" CrafterKat and I glanced up from dinner preparations with what must have been an incredulous look. "Well, okay, pea hens!" she ammended.

Peacocks? Here? I tried to picture these large, proud birds strutting down our paved drive. "Are you sure they aren't pheasants?"

I wiped my hands and followed her back to the room. No sign of any large colored bird outside her window. "You're too late. They went up the street," she informed me.

"Well, take the camera and see if you can get a picture."

A nice diversion from the homework routine into which she is slowly settling. The last diversion was having a Sleepover with Annie May last weekend. I was greeted with a "It's very nice to meet thee," from Critter and a "Yo" from her friend. The fishing hat with LaLa's wedding gown is a nice touch, I admit.

Critter is learning that eighth grade is vastly different from seventh grade. I attended the Open House last week and discovered that she'll be getting lots of homework.

Her math teacher and her science teacher won a grant to have a Smart Board installed in their classrooms. It's a way for them to project websites or pre-written documents (done on their computer) up on a screen. The kids or the teacher can then write on the Smart Board with special pens or manipulate the website by just touching the screen with the fingers. The kids love it and try to be the first to finish in class so they can "write" on the board. Very impressive!

Her block teacher will be covering the beginnings of our government (the jury system, the Constitution, etc.) and the history of America through the Civil War and Industrial Revolution. He is also strengthening their writing skills--encouraging them to backup their position on a topic and pull the reader in.

Science class will be studying genetics this year as well as review of the scientific process. Critter informed us she'd be bringing home worms later this week. "Um, why?"

She grinned. "To see what they do. I'm gonna let them go in the Compost bin outside." I relaxed a bit when 'outside' was mentioned.

They have a new choir teacher this year, a young woman from the high school who will be here exactly one class period each day. Her hope is to build the choir program at the high school by strengthening their skills before they get there. She's playing different music each morning--country to opera to punk--and having the kids discuss it afterwards. Should be interesting...

Her math teacher is teaching pre-algebra plus reviewing basic math skills or The Nitty Gritty. Fortunately, her teacher has a good sense of humor and seems to be a patient man. I've already been informed that I'm the parent that deals with Language Arts stuff, not math... Sigh.

PE isn't too different than last year. The only new routine is that Critter is going to participate in intramural volleyball after school. A sports physical is required now for this type of activity, vastly different from my memories of team sports. Show up, run around the court and then, if you're still breathing, begin training.

I picked her up early, double-checking that she had everything for tonight's homework crusade. She rolled her pre-14 year old eyes. "Yes, I've got everything from my locker except for a pen and some pictures."

"What do you have for tonight?"

"Ten math problems and Grabbers and Clinchers."

My mind raced. Grabbers and Clinchers? What is this, some fly-fishing reference? "Um, what's that mean?"

"Clinchers are really good endings. And Grabbers are really good openings when you're writing. I gotta write a paragraph with a Grabber. You wanna hear it?" She proceeded to read me her Grabber story opening on the ride up the elevator. I agreed, it was pretty good.

And this story's Clincher? Her snapped photo.

"See? They're white pea hens!"

Well, maybe albino pea hens, I conceded mentally. Certainly not pheasants.

CrafterKat laughed. "They're egrets!"

We called LaLa (our bird officianado) and found out that they ARE, in fact, peacocks. White peacocks. Wandering around our neighborhood. How cool is that?!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cinnamon Autumn With a Pinch of Molasses Drama

Last weekend, in my mind, was the beginning of Autumn. Mostly because I was able to do this.

Well, maybe not gingerbread cookies, but it was the first opportunity to bake in the new kitchen. Notice how tiny the old kitchen looked... I can't believe that I ever survived nine years with so little counter space. And my head is extremely happy, too. I can't tell you how often I've bumped my noggin on those old cabinets above that penisula.

Now when we bake or cook, it resembles this:

Last weekend was action packed--and baking cookies was the perfect way to begin. Friday night I had decided what cookies to make (chocolate chip, peanut butter, and some sort of molasses cookie). I made sure that I had unsalted butter (the only ingredient I wasn't sure was in the freezer) and went to bed.

Saturday morning I retrieved said butter and pulled out the stand mixer [insert sounds of angels singing here] only to find that it needed to be thoroughly washed. It had been stored under the computer desk in the living room for three months and had accumulated several ickies inside the bowl. Sigh. I methodically washed the bowl, the stand, and any other little bit that connected to the mixer.

With the butter melting on the stove, I began pulling out all of the flours and sugars needed for Alton's recipe. And then went looking for the flour sifter... Not where it used to be, snuggled down with the measuring cups. Found it one drawer down from there. Sifted the flour and went to add baking soda. No measuring spoons with the measuring cups. Found them somewhere else. Are you beginning to see just how much bigger our kitchen is?

The first batch of cookie dough went into the fridge while I pondered which kind of molasses cookie I wanted to make. Time to get The Book. Which was not on the new bookshelf we purchased for the living room. Nor was it in the cookie cutter drawer (yes--we have a drawer for cookie cutters!). Nor was it nestled among the DVDs and computer games on the large oak shelf from Mr. GoGoGo's old law office.

I believe at this point I suffered a minor heart attack.

After several deep breaths I was able to locate a hand-written molasses cookie recipe. That called for shortening. Which we hardly ever buy. Sigh. I had just enough for the recipe and was able to store that in the fridge.

Then a quick shower, lunch of mac and fromage, and we were off to see Wicked at the Keller Auditorium. Wicked is the story of Oz happenings before Dorothy was blown in from Kansas, centering on two girls who become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. The women had incredible storylines, fantastic songs, snappy lines, and great costumes. I'd highly recommend seeing it if you have the chance. Critter enjoyed it, too, saying it was "almost better than Hairspray" which she attended with the Social Butterfly and myself.

After the show, we went to New Seasons Market and bought flavored brauts and garlic chicken for dinner. Once home, the baking began. If only I could find the parchment paper to line the cookie sheets.

I foraged up in the attic and found two rolls of it. Unfortunately, they were in two more boxes that were destined for the kitchen. Sigh. We thought we had unboxed everything when I brought the eight other boxes down in August.

And no sign of The Book, either.

At the end of the evening the whole house smelled of molasses. And a bit of peanut butter (which used up the last of the shortening!).

Sunday morning we baked the last of the cookies and headed off to the Scrap Maven's house for a day of scrap booking. I brought cookies and a borrowed laptop. CrafterKat had the remainder of our Disneyland photos to paste. Huggy Girl brought her daughter and many cute "nekked baby" photos. The day was spent in scrapbooking and cookie bliss. With a few dashes of garlic and rosemary brauts on the side.

And after a week I still have not found The Book...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Klamath Anniversary

Editor's Note: Part 4 of Wrapping Up Summer.

I asked Critter if she had any homework last week. She shook her head. "Not even a Summer Vacation story you had to write?"

"Well, I had to make a Vacation Web..." For those who don't have kids in school, this is the introduction kids have to making an outline. Think of a spiderweb, with the subject in the middle and everything else spiraling off of it.

"What did you include?"

"I just put me in the big circle and then Horse Camp 1, Horse Camp 2, Horse Camp 3..."

"You didn't include Seattle? Kahneeta? Klamath Falls?" She shook her head again. I guess a weekend with extended family doesn't compare with horses. It would have been in my Web.

In my mind, the best part of extended family gatherings are the stories that are told. Many stories we have heard time and again. Others are new and find their way into our daily vernacular. In July, over CrafterKat’s birthday weekend, the four of us (including Critter's friend) trekked down to Klamath Falls to celebrate the sixtieth wedding anniversary of her aunt and uncle. Their sons flew in from Arizona and Vermont; other relatives and friends drove in from Vancouver, Gold Beach, and Eugene.

Most family gatherings of this magnitude involve at least one game of Hearts around the dining room table. And food. Lots of food. And really good seafood from The Captain. Smoked salmon. Smoked tuna. Smoked cod…

And as you move between card games or the food or the outside croquet game, you hear stories. Lots of them.

Upon seeing cousin Desert Engineer for the first time, CrafterKat remarked: My goodness, you got old!
Desert Engineer’s brother walks up: You look…alive.

At the first game of Hearts played, I wrote down the names of each family member at the table on the score sheet: Chef Flip Flop, The Captain, Mr. GoGoGo…
Pig Dog: Write down ‘Pig Dog’ for me.
JewelGeek: What?
Pig Dog: Pig Dog. All men are pigs. All men are dogs. ‘Pig Dog.’
JewelGeek: Alriiiiight.

RenaissanceMan talking about his two boys: They’re always… “I’m bored (punch). I’m bored (punch). I’m bored (punch).”
Pig Dog: This is how I used to goad Desert Engineer. (gives a straight face and then grins). I used to be able to twitch just the bottom of my eyebrow which would send him into hysterics. I’m out of practice now.
RenaissanceMan: Jedi Racoon does this (raises both eyebrows up and down several times).

PigDog: The difference between New Yorkers and Vermontans is that New Yorkers have teeth.
CraftKat: You mean Vermontans have claws?
PigDog: No, I mean real teeth. Vermontans don’t have any. You’ll see them in the store or walking down the street, and their teeth will pop down, and they have to stop and put them back in…

Mama Doc: PigDog says Vermont is full of “Ag’in’ems.” That means they don’t know what’s happening with anything, but if you tell them about something you’re passionate about, they’re against it. Education? Too much money. Government? Corrupt.
PigDog: Dental care? Pass.
Mama Doc: That too!

Younger than DD (to DD): I may be old, but you’ll still be 10 years older than me!
The Captain: Yes, but there’s not a grey hair on her head. (pause) I make sure of that.
Younger Than DD : You?
DD: Oh yes, as soon as The Captain found out how expensive it was to have hair professionally colored…
The Captain: I decided that $8 box of color in the store didn’t look so bad anymore!
DD: And of course, I can’t reach it all, so he has to do it.
The Captain (nodding): Yup. Except, those gloves that they give you in the box are WAY too small…
Younger Than DD : I can’t believe you do DD’s hair…
Phoenix Photographer: Oh, yeah, Desert Engeineer was Chez Desert Engineer. He used to color my hair for years. (pause) He could wear those gloves, though.
Younger Than DD : Vancouver Railroader would never color my hair.
The Captain: So make an appointment at a hair salon, let him know how much it will cost, and let him decide.
Phoenix Photographer: Or we could go buy a box right now and Desert Engineer could do your hair.
Younger Than DD : I don’t know if I’m ready to part with the grey yet. My kids are still teenagers.

Chef Flip Flop: (sitting next to Mr. GoGoGo) Sigh.
Mr. GoGoGo: And what’s your story?
Chef Flip Flop: Oh, just taking a break from the Cousins.
Mr. GoGoGo: And what are they doing?
Chef Flip Flop: Talking. (pause) I don’t know what to say. They’re talking about the Mall and shopping. And I say, “Oh, uh, that sounds… fun…”
Mr. GoGoGo: You’re beginning to think you’re part of a different generation, aren’t you?
Chef Flip Flop: Yeah – certainly not with that younger crowd.
GoldenPoet: You’re not a city boy, either.
Chef Flip Flop: THAT’s for sure.

When we returned home even Critter's friend Annie May added her voice to our family storybook.

CrafterKat: PigDog was so funny with his Vermontisms.
JewelGeek: I loved it when he was talking about the dental care there.
CrafterKat: Yeah, counting teeth would have been like (pokes her tongue to one side of her mouth) ...One... (pokes her tongue to the other side)...Two... Wait, wait... (moves tongue back to the first spot)...One...
The girls spent the next five minutes counting their own teeth until conversation turned to our monthly cycles.
Critter: Can you imagine a guy having their period?
Annie May (in a small voice, imitating the poor opposite sex):...But what about my needs?

And so, we've adopted Counting Vermont Style and But what about my needs? into our family vernacular.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Postcards from Camp

Editors note: Part 3 of Wrapping Up Summer.

Last Spring CrafterKat researched several different overnight camps for Critter to attend. We had signed her up for a variety of day camps last year through the College of Arts and Crafts, the Zoo, and even a Harry Potter acting class. This year she told us she really wanted an overnight experience—it was easier to make friends if you were with them all day and all night. “So what kind of camp experience do you want to try?”

“Anything with horses,” she replied.

And so off she went to three different horse camps. Camp Westwind, located on Oregon’s coast, was a hit and rated a 4 out of 5 in one letter to Grandma. Camp Silver Creek—-which took place at Oregon’s 4H Center outside of Salem and not at all near Silver Creek Falls like we had originally thought—-was spent with horses. All day.

Admittedly I was a bit nervous dropping her off at this very secluded meadow with a dilapidated barn at one end. And the little cabins looked like they had seen more mosquitos than campers.

When we returned to pick up Critter, I handed her the camera so she could take photos of her last week. She snapped a memory of every horse but no campers. “We can go now.”

Critter rating: 3 out of 5

“But did you have fun?”

“Well, yeah, I guess. We went on lots of trail rides. And the last night we got to paint our horses.”

“Paint horses? Why?”

“Because it’s fun.”

Camp Collins was her last camp of the summer, more of a let’s-turn-you-into-a-young-leader-with-strong-moral-values camp than a strict horse camp. We drove past several farms in Clackamas County up to a tree-loving sanctuary where we were met by dozens of eager high school students, all determined to make this the most fabulous camp imaginable for metro city kids. They’d all ask Critter if she was enrolled in the Quester camp; Critter would shrug her shoulders and give an unenthusiastic “dunno” or “yeah” answer.

“You are going to have an Awesome Time,” each would answer with trademark enthusiasm.

After the, shall we say, rustic buildings appointed at Camp Not Silver Creek, we were amazed at the well-developed eating halls, first aid cottage, swimming pool, and camp housing.

Including Hobbit Houses.

Critter’s bunk was located in Treetop Village, part of three girl cabins that were built on stilts and surrounded by evergreens.

When we returned a week later (at our appointed pick up time for campers R through Z!--we said this place was incredible), she stood waiting for us wearing a t-shirt signed by every camper around her. If you squint you can see her standing there in the photo for the Treetop Village above.

With a bit of prompting, she led us away from the other campers and showed us her bunk and some of the sights of the campground. We made our way down a few dirt trails to a suspension bridge with a small fort on the far side. "On the first day we did a Challenge Course and we had to cross through the trees on these little boards on the other side of the bridge. It was so scary--I didn't do it. And there's a rock wall you can climb to reach the fort. I didn't do that either--I'm not stupid!"

We hugged her, gathered her luggage, and asked, “Did you have a good time?”

“I cried last night. I sooo have to come back here next year.”

At this point a blonde in similarly signatured t-shirt piped in, “Now remember, you have to come back next year to Week 8! Promise!” And hugged Critter hard.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cricket Cricket

We interupt the Wrapping Up Summer series with this funny exchange from Critter...

"So, yeah, at school today my friend comes up and says Ashton is looking all over for me. 'He says he wants to give you a hug. Should I tell him I found you?'" Critter pauses, hand on one hip, giving a bored, yet incredulous stare. "Cricket cricket. Cricket cricket."

CrafterKat and I burst into laughter at the universal sound of awkard silence suddenly voiced.

She continued, "Well, duh!"

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Favorite Summer Photo

Editor's Note: This is Part 2 of Wrapping Up Summer. To read Part 1, click here.

Early July we took a short vacation, past a glorious Mt. Hood, to Kahneeta in Eastern Oregon. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend--blue skies for miles and famous Indian fry bread to eat. If you ever want to tempt a gall bladder attack, just eat more than three-quarters of an Indian fry bread. And don't forget the huckleberry jam over the top. Sooooo gooood...

Most of Saturday was spent hanging out in the Warm Springs heated swimming pool--along with two thousand strangers. CrafterKat's scrapbooking friend brought her two kids that weekend so Critter had some playmates. I was even able to squeeze in a massage. Heaven.

Saturday night we signed up for the traditional Salmon Bake. So much good food and lots of dancing. Everyone in the family participates, especially the youngsters.

And then we were invited to participate and join the family dancers.

But this was my favorite dancer. And my favorite photo of the whole summer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sleepless In Seattle

Editor's Note: Part 1 of Wrapping Up Summer--May 2006

Critter's first day of school is September 6 and I wonder if her English teacher is going to assign the obligatory Here's What I Did On My Summer Vacation essay. If so, Critter should have lots to talk about.

Her summer (well, technically CrafterKat and my summer) began with a trip to Seattle in May. We took a leisurely Amtrak train up on Friday and took the time to finalize our kitchen cabinet selection (we had a train booth with a table!). I was a bit nostalgic through Tacoma; I've not seen the Sound in so long and finally had my first glimpse of the new glass museum which Chuhuly helped build.

In Seattle we enjoyed a fabulous time at Pike's Street, eating freshly baked pumpkin cookies and drinking hand-squeezed lemonade, poking through eccentric crafter boothes, and goggling over the fresh flowers and homemade olive oils. We even found the filming locations for a few scenes from Sleepless in Seattle.

Here I am with the Pike Street Market mascot. Notice the bearded man in the orange coveralls in the background. He's about to toss a fish...

We then spent a good chunk of Saturday at the Seattle Aquarium. There are parts of the exhibit where you feel like you are a part of the ocean.

CrafterKat took some excellent photos of the octopus as it floated through his play area.

We were able to be a part of the undersea menagerie. I want to be a jellyfish when I grow up.

Critter practiced her grouper fish face. It works with an amazing array of sea life.

We returned home from Seattle with a box of pumpkin cookies, a case of olive oil, and great memories.