Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting out and about

Things have been a little crazy with my job.  I work for a public University in Idaho.  Idaho is not exactly well know for funding its educational institutions.  (That being said, since we were never very well funded to begin with they haven't been able to cut as much as other public universities are cutting.)  Unfortunately, we've had to the work with quite a few less people, and as the manager this makes my job pretty stressful.  So a we or so ago, I just had to get out.  Needed to get away from computers, desks, people, emails, etc.  We went for a few little hikes.

First we drove just a few miles away to Klemgard Park.  I've seen the signs for it on the highway, but didn't know anything about it.  Off we went.  The park sits partly in a little valley, with a play area, a large picnic area and a creek running through.  Then the back part of it goes up the side of the hill towards the wheat fields.  Its a nice little hike up the hill, kind of a wooded hillside, then when you get to the top you are greeted by a wheat field.  
This is me at the top of the hike in the wheat field.  

Not the best picture, but I like the contrast of the pine trees and the wheat field.  

Saturday morning I was still pretty restless, so we headed out again, but this time to Kamiak Butte. Between Pullman and Palouse, WA Kamiak Butte rises up off the rolling hills of the Palouse and offers AMAZING views.  After a nice 1/2 mile of switch backs we came to the top of the ridge, and then sat there for a good half hour taking it all in.  

 I think this is looking towards Moscow, ID (its kind of hard to tell)

 Looking Southwest out into the fields of the Palouse.

My brother, Ryan, and I with the Palouse in the background.

This is also Ryan and I but with the rest of Kamiak Butte in the back ground, and just off to the left of the picture you can see the fields of the Palouse to the south west of the butte. 

And a not so lovely picture of me sitting up on a rock taking it all in.  

I love the fact that both of these little hikes are less than 15 minutes from my house.  I sure miss the rivers back in the Auburn area, but there are things I love about living here!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chicago Trip

The week before my birthday I spent a few days in Chicago for work.  I actually really enjoyed the conference and small world, met a woman who works with my first employer in benefits in San Diego.  I started in the industry in 2001 making packets for a VERY small employee benefits brokerage.  The owner of the brokerage sold it to another company a few years back, and now is a principle there.  She works for him... small world!

Back to Chicago.  I was lucky to be able to attend a couple of nice diners, one at Gibson's Steakhouse which was really very good.  My steak was perfect and the split pea soup was almost as good as mine ;-) .  My second dinner was The Chicago Firehouse.  The atmosphere was much better than the food, but I still had a great time.

After the conference I stayed an extra day and explored Chicago.  I got to catch a Cubs vs. Giants game.  Unfortunately the Giants lost, but it was a great game.  And I just loved Wrigley Field, what an amazing ball park!


I also did a Riverboat Architecture tour which was a great way to spend 90 minutes.  We cruised up and down the river while a docent talked about all the different buildings.  Before we took off, I made sure to grab a beer for the trip.  My hair doesn't like the humidity to much... 

After the tour, I made my way to Navy Pier... which was pretty much a tourist trap a la Pier 39, but it was nice to walk that far out on the pier towards the lake.

I had taken a break and picked up an iced tea at a tea shop.  While there I was reading a magazine and there was an article about local restaurants and one of them referred to XOCO Restaurant, which is one of Rick Bayless' restaurants.  I love watching him on PBS and The Food Network.  He cooks amazing, authentic Mexican food.  -- not the, bland,  covered in gobs of Monterrey jack cheese, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes, food we are used to, but real Mexican food. XOCO is Mexican soup, salad, sandwich kinda place.  It was soooo good!

The final night of my trip, I was witness to quite the lightening storm!  From my hotel window I could see the Sears Tower, as I was watching the storm, I saw lightening hit it three times.  Truly amazing. I was unable to get a picture but this is pretty similar to what I saw:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bike Riding!

Since we moved to Pullman, I've been thinking about riding my bike home from work.  There is a beautiful trail that runs between Moscow and Pullman, an old rail line.

Its about 10 Miles or so, and most of the ride is relatively flat, until you get to Pullman (I live up on a hill).   I don't have a bike, but Mike bought one a few years ago.  So, we adjusted it for me, bought some road tires (it had some seriously knobby mountain bike tires on it) and about a month ago we finally had a nice day so I could try. 

Unfortunately, about 3 miles in I stopped because I dropped my water bottle, and then heard this noise - pssshhhhht - the tire popped!  

We finally have some nice days, so I tried again yesterday.  I completed the WHOLE RIDE!  For this out of shape person, it was a huge accomplishment! 

Well, it took me longer than 49 minutes, but I made it! 

Can't ride again today - I have a dentist appointment, but I plan on starting out by riding home three days a week, and then moving up from there.  It was so much fun, just being out on a bike, smelling the flowers, and seeing the creek up close.  Now... If my behind wasn't so sore!! 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Moving In

We are still getting used to the idea that we are home owners (or at least 3.5% since that's how much we put down).  For example, there is this sandstone/brick planter boxes that create a little barrier around the front patio.  They are old, and probably faced many winters here where the thaw/freeze cycle has caused it to fall apart.   --- I don't have to keep it!!  I can take a sledgehammer to it and tear it down!  In fact, that's just what I'm going to do this summer once I have a little more free time! I'll make sure to take some pictures and post them. 

Monday, April 18, 2011


We'd moved!!  Yeah!  I've had no time to take pictures, but just wanted to let you all know we've moved!  We bought our first home.  Seems funny to me that by the time Mike and I finally bought a home he is 36 and I am 35 but it just worked out that this is the best time for us to buy our home. 

New address:

740 NW Bryant St
Pullman, WA  99163

Pullman's only about 8 miles from Moscow, where I work.  Today was our first commute day and it took us just over 15 minutes - Nice!

CJ and Dexter are getting acclimated to the new place.  It's quite a bit larger than our apartment was.  They are still a little unsure, but they seem to be loving the windows. 

I'll post pictures soon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rural Washington

Mike and I had to be in Spokane on Monday and on the way home we took some back roads.   Got somegreat pictures:

Grain Elevators in Fairfield, WA using the 'retro camera' app on Mike's phone.  There are grain elevators dotted all over the Palouse. 

Cool old Public School building in Latah, WA.  I got out and started taking some pictures, then noticed that there were drapes in the windows and a piano in the window.  Then I saw a cat on the front stoop... I think its someone's home now!  Oops. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Keeping up with the Joneses' in Washington?

Wow, I didn't realize that I hadn't posted in such a long time.  Mike and I may be moving to Pullman, Washington.  Now, its really only about 8 miles away from where we currently live in Moscow.  We are right on the Idaho - Washington border.  Mike is going to be graduating in May, and he wasn't really sure where he was going next.  He realized he needed to take some programming classes still, not for his degrees, but to be successful and using his degrees.  So, since he won't be a full time student we are going to have to move - we live in married family housing on campus.  Its been way too long in this tiny apartment!  

I started looking at apartments/duplexes/houses to rent and realized, yikes - this is a college town.  They are all in terrible shape and are relatively expensive.  So, about 5 - 6 weeks ago, I started doing some online searches for inexpensive houses - still living on one income.  This is Idaho right, they can't be that much.  Well, funny thing about Moscow, the prices of homes, while still not sky high, are relatively expensive.  A newer 3 bedroom/2 bath 2000 sq foot home is at least 200k, go much bigger and its quite a jump beyond that... Just outside of Moscow, in Troy, ID or Potlatch, ID they are much less expensive, same size'ish home would be about 120k.  But then you have a bit of a drive - and you are living in SERIOUS small town Idaho. 

We found a real estate agent, really just by chance.  I think we lucked out because so far he's done a good job.  He showed a few houses, then Mike found a listing on Craigslist for a home in Pullman.  It was 3 bd, 2ba, living, dining, breakfast nook, fireplace, garage, basement... and we drove over to check it one day in the snow.  It had these amazing picture windows, a funky old kitchen, a huge living room, we really liked it! 

Flash forward... we are closing on the house (finger's crossed) on 4/15/2011 !!  It will be so amazing to have our own place.  A couple of pictures:

Pretty snow!  Look at the shaped and pruned tree - are we going to have keep that pruning up?

The garage is in the basement of the house.  There is also a laundry room and finished 'workshop' type room.  The workshop even has its own fireplace.  We don't know where the car came from, maybe the neighbors?  The house has been empty since last summer.

Close up view of the front entrance.  I love that the garage doesn't make up the majority of the front of the house. 

So, here we are jumping into the world of home ownership!  This whole buying a home process is another blog all on it's own!