Saturday, May 29, 2010

Washington History Firsts & Facts

I read these facts the other day....thought I'd pass them on!

1.  Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant.  (I've been to this one!)

2.  Washington is number one in the country in the production of apples, hops, pears, red respberries, and sweet cherries

3.  Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined.

4.  Everett is the site of the world's largest building, Boeing's final assembly plant.

5.  Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world, was founded in Seattle.  (I almost applied for a job with them until I realized it's dumb to work for a company you would never shop at)

6.  The Gov. Albert D Rosellini Bridge at Evergreen Point on Lake Washington is the longest floatin bridge in the world.  (I've crossed this floored me that it was floating)

7.  The Grand Coulee Dam is the second largest electricity producer in the US.

8.  The world's first soft ice cream machine was in an Olympia Dairy Queen.

9.  Before it became a state, Washington was called Columbia, after the Columbia River.  When it was granted statehood in 1889, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn't confuse it with the District of Columbia.  (Ironic since we still get confused with Washington D.C. all the time....that accomplished nothing)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Self Employment

Since I have lived in Washington I have been looking for a job.  I've come pretty close to getting a job a couple of times, but have always lost the job to someone else because that person has a person connection to the company in some way.  It can be quite frustrating when I am the more qualified applicant, but I don't have the connections.  I've gotten to the point that I'm tired of applying and looking at jobs.  Recently I've started looking at other options.  Due to Tom's job, I don't need a job to totally support me.  I just want to be able to bring in a little extra money to help us a little.

I'm thinking of a few options.  I am looking into selling things on Ebay, beling a Mary Kay consultant, and possibly a Mystery Shopper.  All of these would be a slow progression type of business.  I would start slow and figure things out as I go.  I know that trying to make money quickly will only lead to failure, but if I take it slow and steady I should be able to do it. 

On Ebay, I'm going to start by selling some personal things around the house to get a feel for it.  Then my plan is to buy a few things through discount or used item stores and slowly start to figure out how much people would pay for them.  My plan is also to only try to get a little profit from each thing and have more items out for sale.  Like I said this will go slow, but I am doing a lot of research before I start so I can be smart about my decisions. 

Shortly after I moved to Washington I remember hearing a statistic that listed Utah on a list of the most vain cities in America.  Before Washington I lived in Utah for almost 10 years.  When I first heard this statistic, my first response was dis-belief.  I figured I was a pretty typical person in Utah and I did not consider myself vain at all.  I thought I just took care of myself and I liked to look my best.  I still think that to a certain extent, but I've come to kind of understand how Utah arrived on that list.  There is quite a difference in the amount of effort the average person in Utah puts into their looks (including hair maintenance, make-up, surgery, etc) the people I have met and interacted with here in Washington.

This is my main concern with trying to sell Mary Kay here.  I love the product and use it myself, but I'm not sure how the people here will react to it.  Will I be able to sell anything here?  Will it be worth it?  Like I said, I'm not looking to make it rich, I'm just looking for something I can do to bring in some extra money.  I would not consider myself a good sales person, but I do like to share things that I love with others and I love the Mary Kay product.  I like how it makes my skin feel and the superior quality of all the products. 

The mystery shopper angle makes me a little nervous.  I know experiences exist, but I'm unsure exactly how to go about it.  From what I understand I would get hired from a company and get jobs through them.  Kind of interesting, but I can't really find a lot of information about it.

One big benefit of being self employed would be making my own schedule. I could decide when I was going to work and be able to take time off when I needed to.  What do you all think?  For any of you Washington people, how do you think the Mary Kay thing would work?  Does anybody have any other ideas? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Crawlspace

So this winter we started being a little concerned about the drainage in our yard.  We had a few holes in the yard when we moved in mostly around the edges of our yard next to the fence (however Jake did add a couple himself).  As the winter progressed and we got the Washington winter rain, the holes became little puddles.  The puddles stuck around all winter.  Tom had a whole idea about developing dry wells throughout the yard to get rid of the standing water.  Honestly, it made me a little nervous.  Tom has a lot of experience with construction and engineering but the thought of digging big holes in my yard with something neither of us had any experience with and we weren't sure would work was a little nerve wracking.  We decided to get someone to come in and give us an estimate for the job.  The main reason I wanted this done was mostly to get a professional opinion on what the yard and house needed.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money and effort on something that either wasn't needed or wouldn't work.

It turned out that we were told we didn't have to worry about installing any dry wells.  He said all we needed to do was fill in the holes that we had in the yard and the water would drain naturally.  He said the main thing to be concerned about was that the crawlspace under the house drained properly.  Water itself under the house isn't the problem, it's having standing water under the house that creates the problem.  Standing water can bring a lot of germs and infection under the house.

Tom decided this was something he could do himself, that we didn't need to pay someone else to do it.  He would prefer to do all the work himself if he could.  So, he bought himself this jumpsuit type thing at Lowe's to wear over his clothes and has been spending lots of time down in our crawlspace.  When we first had our house looked at before we bought it, we asked the sellers to clean the garbage out of the crawlspace and lay some more plastic down.  When we had the crawlspace checked later it looked better with the new plastic and we thought they had fulfilled their side of the bargain.  Turns out we were wrong.  They just laid new plastic over the garbage that was there.  Tom has had the fun experience of cleaning out the garbage and plastic from the crawlspace.

Tom's still working hard on it.  It's been dirty and crazy, but we still have a long way to go!  I've attached a couple of pictures of Tom working hard & Jake trying to figure out what in the world was going on.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Fast Weekend to Utah

A little over a week ago Tom received a call that we knew was coming.  His grandma passed away.  Although everyone is going to miss Vena, we're glad that she doesn't have to worry about her physical limitations any more.  Her husband passed away around 41 years ago and she never remarried or to anybody's knowledge dated anybody.  Tom felt strongly that he wanted to be in Utah for the funeral.  Tom's Mom offered to fly him home with some miles she had available.  Tom however wanted me to come, so we piled into the gas guzzling Landcruiser with our dog Jake for the long 16 hour drive to Salt Lake City.

Then there was the issue of where to stay.  We love having Jake in our lives (he's like our child), but whenever we go anywhere there is always the issue of finding someone to either watch him or find somewhere we can stay with him.  That's never an option at Tom's parents because his Mom has a dog allergy problem.  Usually my girlfriend Shelli is understanding enough to let us crash at his townhouse, but she was already booked solid by her Mom and Grandma.  So, we had contacted Tom's brother Shaun and his wife Alicia to stay at their apartment.  Unfortunately we found out after we were already 4 or so hours after we were already on the road (with Jake) that their landlord said no.  This kind of put us in a tight spot with very little time to figure it out.  Luckily a good friend of ours, Travis, stepped up and let us stay at his house.  Luckily he loves dogs and was very excited to have Jakey there.

Although the reason we were there was very sad, it was fun to see everyone again.  Tom's Mom flew in his older brother Byron and his oldest son James for the funeral.  The three brothers were able to hang out and go to dinner together.  Tom really enjoyed his time with his brothers and the rest of his family.  I also got to see my girlfriends while I was there.  We hung out Sunday night and then met up to go to dinner Monday (without the boys).  It was so much fun to see them (as it always is).  Like usual I forgot to take any pictures of us together.  Maybe next time!

Early Tuesday morning we woke up and drove all the way back to Washington.  Fun trip, but we were all excited to get home (especially Jake).  Jake doesn't mind road trips, but thinks these 16 hour ones are stupid.  Can't say I blame him, but Tom and I are both thankful that he does such a good job on these long trips.  I'm so thankful that for our next trip to Utah in June we get to fly.  I hope we can find someone to watch Jake before we leave!  Wish me luck!  (I've attached a picture I took of Tom, his two brothers and our oldest nephew all playing legos.  Yes, he is an adult!  They all seemed to be having a great time.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Can be Crafty!

Last night we had an enrichment activity that was crafty.  Usually, I don't go to these.  I'm not a very crafty person and in general I'm not that fond of decorations like that.  However, these were really cute and I decided to give it a try.  I figured the worse I could do was really mess it up and not hang it in my house.

I have to admit, there were a few rocky parts.  But I had a great time visiting with the women in my ward and learning a new skill.  It was actually a lot of fun and I really enjoyed myself.  It was one of those situations where the people in charge had already done all the painting and word-making and all we had to do was assemble it.  The hardest part for me was rubbing the word onto the wood and metal.  I don't remember all the terms for the things, but I had a rub the words with a little stick and then peel away the tape and the word "Family" was then printed on my board.  Pretty snazzy.  I took my time and made sure I did it as good as possible (Like I said earlier, I thought it was cute and I wanted to hang it up in my house...that wouldn't happen if I didn't like how it turned out).  Thanks to a lot of help from everybody there, I actually finished it and it turned out pretty good.

The round things are decorative magnets we made that go with the board.  I also thought I'd attach a picture of our frozen pizzas.  As a fund raiser for the young women in our ward, they sold pizzas that they made to order for $10 a piece.  The money was for the girls camp they are going to attend in July.  I signed up for one pizza and unknown to me Tom signed up for another two.  Instead of canceling one of the orders, we decided to keep them all and freeze the pizzas for future use.  So far it's working amazingly.  Last week we tried cooking them after they were frozen and it worked great!  The pizzas are delicious, plus we got to help out the girls in our ward.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grave Sight

I've recently started reading a couple of new book blogs.  One of them blogged about this book.  I was already familiar with the author, but I had never read this book.  She is the author the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Some of you might have heard about the TV show on HBO called "True Blood".  This TV show is based on the books.  I tried watching them, but they were a bit graphic for me, but I've always liked the books.

This book had a more juvenile feel to it.  I really enjoyed it, but I found it more predictable than her other books.  One of the things I really enjoy about paranormal books, is they can really be off the wall.  Sometimes the authors come up with unique story lines that I never see coming.  Because I read a lot of books, I'm pretty good at  knowing where the author is going before they actually get there.  I had this book figured out before it actually happened, except for certain details.  So the destination was figured out, but the journey was still very enjoyable.  Very cute book, and a series I will continue to read.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Last Weekend With the Henrichsens

When we originally moved to Washington 1 1/2 years ago, we were very lucky to move into a wonderful ward where we made a lot of amazing friends.  One of the many wonderful things about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Mormons) is that no matter where you move, your ward has the potential of being an extended family.  This was definitely one of those situations (we are just as lucky with our current ward too).  One of the amazing families we met there were the Henrichsens (I will be using the alias first names they use on their blogs instead of their real names our of respect for them).  We've been over to their apartment multiple times for dinner and/or game nights.  We've also had them over to our house for the same reasons.  Wood is a member of the Navy and recently got transferred to a teaching position in Arizona.

Although this is a very exciting thing for their family because he will be able to stay with them all the time instead of being gone for months at a time, it is very sad for us.  We loved hanging out with Wood, Woodine, and their two children MaryP and Atom.  We got together for dinner at their house their last week in their apartment.  While we were there, they asked us if it was okay if they stayed at our house the night after they check out of their apartment.  Of course we were totally okay with this, we were actually happy to have a little more time to spend with them.

They showed up that evening and we had a wonderful evening.  We had dinner and had a great time playing a new board game.  Jake of course was unbelievably happy to have new friends in our house (because everybody is immediately his friend no matter who the person is).  He's particularly loving towards children, which can be a bit overwhelming for the poor children.  Their daughter MaryP was a little skittish of Jake, but their baby Atom absolutely loved him.  Jake would lick his fingers and he would just giggle and giggle.  One of the sounds I love best in the world is the sounds of a baby laughing.  Very contagious.

MaryP however did show us her dancing.  She has fallen in love with ballet dancing.  According to her parents, they showed her a video on the internet of a portion of a ballet (I forget which one).  Ever since she has been acting it out in detail.  She even found tissues to use as props and goes off-stage at the appropriate times.  She is very entertaining.  Her Dad will lift her in the air as part of a dance.  It was quite the show!

The next day they left around noon to go see family of theirs near Seattle for a couple of days.  Then they started the trek to Arizona.  Tom and I are both hoping they want to move back after his contract with the Navy ends.  We miss you guys already.  We wish the best for you in Arizona!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Joys of Blogging

I recently read a blog by a friend that talked about the joys and pitfalls of blogs.  I just want to put it out there right now.....I love blogs.  Now, I understand for those of you with children, there is sometimes the fear of privacy issues.  I have some friends that use pretend names for each child.  I have others however that just use the real names.  My feelings on the matter are whatever works for you!  I try not to give specific information in my blogs about addresses, phone numbers, or jobs.  Just for my OCD issues, even though we have no children to be afraid for.

Even with all these issues exposed, like I said before, I absolutely love blogs and what they can do.  Generally with most situations, I only read blogs that belong to people I know personally.  However I do have a few blogs I check regularly that belong to people I don't know, and probably will  never meet.  These are blogs that have to do with recipes or cooking, home remodeling, repairing old furniture, or any other topic that I find interesting.  I think the blogs available out there are full of interesting information that we can learn from other people.  I am the first person to admit, I am not the most creative person in the world.  That's one of the reason I love blogs, I can learn and grow from other people experiences.  It gives me ideas and helps me save money at the same time (one of my favorite things by the way).

However, the main reason I got into blogging was to stay in contact with the people I know and love!  I am lucky to be a member of a family that are very close and tight!  By close I mean emotionally, not physically.  I haven't lived in the same city as my parents or any of my siblings for about 10 years.  When my husband and I lived in Utah, we tried to make regular trips to see all the members of my family.  That's not so easy here in Washington state.  I've already missed several holidays and family events.  That's just the way our life is going to be when we live so far away and can't afford a lot of plane tickets back and forth.  Blogging enables me to stay in contact with with my family and my friends from all over the place.  I'm able to watch my nephew and nieces grow up without being able to be there.  I'm able to stay in contact with old friends and my cousins from all over the country!

I also love hearing comments from my blog posts.  I can't describe the little thrill I get when I see that someone commented on my blog.  I figure everyone feels the same way, so I try to reciprocate whenever I read someone else's blog that connects with me.  Thanks to everyone that always makes my day!  Let me know if you have a blog that I'm not aware of!  Keep them coming!