Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oktoberfest 2012- Leavenworth (1 of 2)

This year, My Sailor and I headed up to a famous Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington.  (For those not 'in the know', Leavenworth is a small Bavarian village, similar to the Solvang vibe of California - only German culture is honored here more than Dutch culture.) The drive was a harrowing evening through the mountains. Between the construction (blasting they are doing to widen the 2 lane highway) the new light rain, and the darkness of night, the white knuckle 4 hour drive was an adventure in and of itself! My Sailor drove nearly all of the way up, and I drove nearly all of the way back.
 One the drive up, we learned the cabin we'd booked with friends for the weekend had been double booked. Oops. Leavenworth is incredibly busy during Oktoberfest weekends, so we were relieved when our hosts found us a comparable place to stay.

Instead of a luxury cabin, we expected to stay at, we ended up staying at a large house with an amazing view, huge kitchen and great living space. Sure, we didn't have a hot tub, the area was far too dry to enjoy a fire even in the fireplace, and - to be honest - it wasn't quite the romantic evening yours truly had in mind, but it was a stunning retreat. It immediately had me thinking that it would be a perfect writing retreat. A girl could get happily lost in 35 acres of forest and a 7000 square foot log mansion cabin with a mountain vista waiting to be whisper in my ears and fill my pages with their enchanting adventures. But I digress...
   We checked in around 9 pm pretty much exhausted from our drive in. After a quick trip to a nearby store, we opted to enjoy some wine and chocolate before crawling into bed.
  Later that night, our friends arrived (another married couple My Salior and I have befriended through his boat) and we helped them find the way and come in. Once we were all moved in and comfortable, we went to bed because we had a big day coming up.

View from/of the living room/reading area. Who needs a TV with a view like this?

  We woke up the next morning, made a relaxing breakfast (with eggs provided from the hosts' own hens) and we relaxed for a bit before heading out to explore downtown Leavenworth and enjoy the Oktoberfest festivities. We all took some time to soak in our beautiful surroundings. Thankfully, the weather cooperated all weekend!

Oktoberfest is free to military and their immediate dependents, so yours truly was a very cheap date, since I ensured everyone got back to our cabin safe and sound.

  The men relaxed with some steins of beer. I was the designated driver, but still had a great time. The music was fun. The people watching was very entertaining, and the booths were typical festival fare - only much of it had a beer or Bavarian twist.  I'll let our pictures tell that story.

The guys w/ their first beers of the day. Each Stein holds about 2 beers.

One of the bands

Gotta love Polka. The only type of music where a tuba can solo!

Finishing the beers...

While joining in to a few German Drinking Songs.

What happens when you give men w/ beers a camera.
He makes this look easy!

Shouting over the music
Seeing over the table. lol
Aw... Party's over...

Look what almost came home from the Christmas shop!
We headed out to dinner, explored a few shops (the Christmas Shop being my favorite) before heading back to the Cabin. I'll save our other adventures for my next blog.
Preview of Part 2 - Downtown Leavenworth and the long road home

Just outside of Oktoberfest - minus 1, the photographer and my fellow Navy sub wife.

What's a Designated Driver to do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Labra The Friendly Ghost!

October 7th we went to Java & Clay Cafe in Gig Harbor for a different kind of date. You see, I get tired of going to the movies VERY quickly... or maybe its just my natural frugality creeping in, but if it's not something that needs a 'big screen' to be enjoyed, I'm just as happy waiting and renting it. For me, that keeps 'the theater' special, rather than an everyday thing. Not to mention, with the price of movies, who can afford to blow money on a bad movie?

Anyway, I'd been really wanting to try one of these for a while, and as soon as I found out that they had some seasonal goodies coming out, I knew we HAD to make this happen. After all, we don't really have any fall decor for the house yet.

My Sailor opted to paint a mug to show off his Star Wars fandom. I opted to pain this ghostly little candle stick holder. We don't have a candle stick holder yet, and I thought this would be hauntingly perfect for a candle lit dinner (which might actually stand a chance at happening now that our roomie is out "Finding Nemo").  I opted to make him lightly silver, using a light blue for shading in the joints, black for eyes, a light purple for the tongue, and orange pumpkins (of course). The pumpkins have light brown streaks to give them a but more depth, and some green tendrils coming off of them (because yours truly is incapable of drawing a pumpkin leaf free hand).

One of the candles sits a little funny, so I'll have to get some puddy to fill the arms and make it settle a little, but it's a really fun, great memory. We were both very happy with our creations, and, honestly, it didn't cost much more than a trip to the movies w/ snacks would have cost.

Sometimes you have to think out of the box when it comes to date ideas. I'm sure we'll be back again to paint some Christmas goodies as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Odin - Our new couch! Er... Dog!

 If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know about my amazing Bootie Brindle Boxer Boy, Clydas. He's been a great companion over the last 8 years of his (and my) life. In fact, in so many ways, we've rescued each other. When I was at my lowest, having Clydas in my life helped me get up some mornings. When I got complacent, he begged me for a walk, and sometimes that's all I needed to pull out of my rut. When I couldn't laugh, he found it through his antics and always brought back my smile on a daily basis. When I needed a foot warmer, he was always more than happy to curl up on my feet and guard my dreams. During my swingin' single days, my friends often joked that Clydas was the most stable man in my life - which always made me laugh (even if ironically). I never anticipated, when Clydas came into my life, that he'd be capable of feedings the human spirit in such a unique way. Yes, I grew up with dogs, but Clydas is MY DOG. My first dog. And sometimes that means everything.
Now, Odin came into my life in a different way all together. Instead of a pet store or a breeder, Odin is a Humane Society rescue. A pure bred Great Pyrenese, it was very unusual to see one of these turn up in a shelter. He's about 1 1/2 years old with a very friendly disposition. The Humane Society worked with him to get him obedience trained (he's great with all the basic commands) and he's already been fixed and well vaccinated. So why was such an amazing boy surrendered? Well, according to his previous owners, he grew up on a farm and couldn't be trusted alone with the chickens. (Apparently he chased them until he was told to stop, which is probably a mild way of saying Odin likes his chicken raw.)

The Great Pyrenese has never been on my "must raise" list of dog breeds. (Oh yes, in case you were wondering, there IS a list!) But he fit the bill in that he is a large breed. At 75lbs, he'll probably fill out to a good 85-90lbs by the time he's done bulking up.  He actually doesn't eat much more than Clydas, due to their slow metabolism and he LOVES kids. I mean seriously... He nearly let a 3 year old poke him the eye TWICE! (He didn't snap or anything. We adults caught the culprit just in the nick of time.)

So now Clydas has a buddy! A buddy who is already pretty well behaved, is housebroken, obeys commands, doesn't chew on anything he isn't supposed to, and is already "fixed".

But Odin isn't perfect.

We woke up Sunday and bloody mucus all over the floor of the bedroom. Poor guy either had an allergy or a sinus infection so bad, he was sneezing so hard it was bloody! He's getting better by the day (after a visit to the vet and much pill cramming). So we have to clean the carpet.

Oh yeah - and he sheds - A LOT! This is the mild season as I'm vaccuming twice a day just so I can see the color of my dining room rug. I'm far from a neat freak, but I'm pretty "anti-dog-smell" when it comes to the house. I own dogs. I don't need to smell like 'em.

So there is your into to our new troublemaker - Odin!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wedding Week Recap - DCA Day And Sip N' Snack

Friday morning came around bright and early! I decided we should We opted to take advantage of Early Morning Magic Hours and we joined our fellow resorts guests in Disney California Adventure. My first few steps onto DCA's new Buena Vista Street were magical. I'd written about it before, but I couldn't believe just how well Disney have captured LA as it should appear in any Noir style film (only cleaner and safer). We couldn't spend much time there though. We were on a mission!

And our mission led us straight into Carsland.

The recreation of the (fictional) town of Radiator Springs was astounding. We headed straight toward their landmark attraction - Radiator Springs Racers. Even at the break of dawn, the wait was still about 45 minutes and growing longer with every second that ticked by. We ducked in line, determined to wait it out and ride the newest landmark attraction.

And it was well worth the wait. Radiator Springs Racers lived up all every bit of hype and then some. After we got off, the ride opened to the public. The mob that walked in was immediately greeted by the guiding hands of Disney Cast Members, and the waving mirrors of the Firetruck from Cars (who was parked near the entrance to the ride).

We avoided the crowd and opted for grabbing Breakfast at Flo's V8 Cafe - which was delicious! It was only about 8am and they were already giving away pre-made cups of ice water. Guests didn't even have to ask for them - Cast Members just walked up and offered. Everyone knew it was going to be a scorcher of a day already.

Can you guess who had what for breakfast?

Strawberry yogurt, seasonal fruit, blueberry muffin

French Toast Brioche, Carmel Sauce, and Banana

After breakfast, we capped off our morning in DCA with a stroll through to see all the updates and refurbs from the stages for the Mad T Party, soaking in the beautiful Buena Vista Street. We zipped into the other headliner attractions while most of the guests were riding (or waiting to ride) Radiator Springs Racers - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Ariel's UnderSea Adventure, and a bit of the friendliest form of competition on Toy Story Midways Mania.

Meow! I won!

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to get some rest. My Sailor took a nap while I spent some quality time catching some rays by the Disneyland Hotel pool. I've actually never been to the Disneyland Hotel Pool before, so it was really great to relax and spend some time there. (As you can imagine, it's pretty rare that I get to do something "new" in Disneyland, so this was a whole day of "new" that I absolutely adored.)

After a bit of down time in the heat of the day, we headed over to Trader Sam's for a Sip n' Snack and to join WTTM's Meet of the Month!  It was great to see Paul and Tairy again, and a couple of our friends joined us as well.

Sharing an Ah Ho Ah with friends at Trader Sam's

Afterwards, My Sailor headed off to his bachelor party (no pictures of that one) and I headed to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner (which turned out to be FREE because of our loyalty points we earned by dining there with friends and family - thanks all for bringing cash so we could sock away those points!).

After My Sailor left and all was quiet, I realized that I had an evening free. Now, I'll relay this experience as honestly, openly, and accurately as I can.

As you know, most of my bridesmaids aren't kids anymore. In fact, short of my 8 year old little sister, none of them were kids at all. To be more accurate, 4 out of the 5 of them over 21 have kids of their own. So expecting them to all travel to Anaheim, get sitters, and take me out for a night in the Parks or something was simply an unfair, unrealistic expectation I didn't have.  Our wedding didn't have a lot of exterior events. We didn't have an engagement party, bridal shower, or house warming. So having a Hen Night (also known as a Bachelorette party),

Hen Night
So when most of the men in the wedding party headed out for a night of drinking and card playing, I knew that odds are I'd have the evening to myself. Initially, part of me felt that rush of "Oh my god. Did I really fly to Disneyland to be ALONE?! I get this at home all the time!" But after taking a deep breath, I realized that, ya know, the world DOESN'T revolve around me. And I had a choice. I could tap into everything I love about Disneyland and show myself an amazing time, or I could have a pity party. Afterall, I spent many years flying solo at Disneyland. It had just been a while and I was a little out of practice.

So soon after My Sailor left, I headed into DCA. I'd never been to the Mad T Party, so I headed that direction. I was a fan of ElecTRONica and was sad to see it go. I had my doubts about how awesome the Mad T Party would be. My doubts were misplaced. It was a GREAT time. The bands and dancers were great! After that, I grabbed a couple goodies at a new bakery on Disneyland's Main Street.- The Jolly Holiday Bakery.(I wish I would have taken more photos or videos of my night. )  I capped off the evening in the parks with Fantasmic (from a prime viewing spot - which is so much easier to land when you're alone... and 5'9").  After that, I went back to the room. I turned on the TV and finished painting my nails.

I got a call around midnight that my Matron of Honor and her family just checked into their hotel, and another that our officiant and his wife made it safely to their hotel after lots of travel delays. I wasn't expecting My Sailor back until the next morning, so I tucked myself in and got some rest before the great Character Breakfast with the Matron of Honor's family in the morning.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wedding has been featured on a blog!

Hi all!
  I have about 4 posts in "draft" mode, nearly ready to post, but this one seemed the easiest to throw up and I know so many of you are aching for wedding photos.

We've been featured on Poptastic Bride!

To be included with these amazingly creative brides and grooms is quite an honor!

Click here to see the blog post (which is FULL of pictures!)

Part 2 will be featured on Monday on the same blog!