Posts categorized “Vacation”

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Another “We’re Too Old For This” Moment Brought To You By Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount

Every once in a while Carrie & I look around us and realize, y’know, we’re just a little too old for this. Oftentimes those moments happen courtesy of Julia Massey & The Five Finger Discount.

An example: Hempfest. Yeah. We didn’t really feel like we fit in there so much.

Last weekend was our 7th wedding anniversary, but there was way too much going on to do anything about it then. So the weekend before that we decided to celebrate. We learned that JM+FFD was going to be doing a little outdoor festival along with The Jesus Rehab and Terrapin Productions. So that sounded like fun. Only thing: it would be a camping trip.

I don’t camp. I’ve never enjoyed it. I worked hard for my amenities and my comfortable mattress, and I’ve never understood the appeal of roughing it. But Carrie loves it, and we gathered enough comforts (like a tent and a cushy air mattress and a sleeping bag) from camping-oriented friends that I thought I would give it a try.

So we set out for the mountains (with a stop at Scott’s Dairy Freeze in North Bend for lunch—yes, the North Bend where they filmed a bunch of Twin Peaks).

When we got to Roslyn (yes, the Roslyn where they filmed lots of that Northern Exposure TV show), we thought we might walk around for a bit. But it was so frikkin’ hot that we decided just to get back in the air-conditioned car and try to find the venue.

The “festival” was very vaguely organized; we didn’t even learn where it was until the night before. There was a guy at a gate who said that the person running this “festival” was supposed to have provided him with a list of guests, but never did. He just let us in and directed us to drive to another point farther into the forest with basically a “good luck.”

So when the pavement turned to dirt we had to back up a bit until we got cell phone reception and were able to call Julia to get directions the rest of the way. This involved driving past a shirtless man named “Troy” who asked us for our email addresses before giving us directions the rest of the way to an uneven clearing with a wooden stage (still under construction) at one end and an outhouse at the other.

This was about when Carrie & I had that “we’re too old for this” moment.

Fortunately it actually turned out to be quite a bit of fun hanging out with JM+FFD and Jared and Neighbor Gary, even though Carrie & I were practically the only people in attendance who weren’t a member of one of the bands… and a lot of the bands were much more metal \m/ than the bands we usually see. And the camping was actually pretty comfortable. Who knows; I might try it again some time.

The next morning we couldn’t wait to get outta there, though. We had breakfast at the Roslyn Café then headed back home.

Here are some very blurry pictures taken from my phone:

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Life, Vacation.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

A 5-Year Vacation

Carrie & I have been married for five years. No joke! That’s, like, some kinda special anniversary, ain’t it? Well, to celebrate we took some time off and went off on a little vacation along Hood Canal.

We stayed at a cabin near Tahuya. You know where Tahuya is, dontcha? C’mon, everybody knows where Tahuya is!

We stayed at a cute little place called Maggie Lake Cabin, which is near Lake Maggie of all places. The cabin was really nice. Small, but it was just the two of us so it was just fine. It had a nice kitchen, and a futon and a super-comfy recliner, and an enormous deck that looked off down a hill towards a little pond (it was dry, but it’s been a dry summer). The most notable thing about the cabin was that it had a loft bedroom that had a ladder leading up to it instead of stairs. Well, we took Suki with us, and at first she wasn’t having any of that ladder. We had to put her on the ladder, then move her front paws up a rung, then move her bottom paws up a rung, etc., all the way up the ladder one rung at a time.

To get her back down we had to put her front paws on our shoulder and carry her down like a big baby.

Eventually she figured out how to climb up in, and then she decided to climb down it. Bad idea! She made it about halfway before getting all tumbly and twisty and is kinda lucky she didn’t hurt herself. We carried her down every time after that.

One of the days we drove all the way around to the other side of Hood Canal and went to Hoodsport Winery, where we loaded up on berry and fruit wines—blackberry, raspberry, rhubarb, apple, pear, & cranberry. Don’t know if you know this about me, but I loves me the candy wines.

Since we were in the neighborhood already, we continued up the Olympic Mountains to Lake Cushman, which is frikkin’ gorgeous. It was a Monday in September, so there were basically no other people anywhere to be seen. We walked along the shoreline and I took many photos:

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In one part there was a really nice tidepool type of pond, and there was a rock in it that for some reason fascinated Suki. She tried to bite it a couple of times:

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Suki had a great time at the lake. She did a couple of things that we’d never been able to get her to do before: fetch a stick (she’s only ever gone after tennis balls before) and swim on purpose (she’s had to swim a couple of times when she fell off logs, but she’d never done it willingly before). I got ’em both on video:

We (mostly Carrie) cooked a ton of great food during the vacation. We had enormous burgers stuffed with gorgonzola. We had fettuccini Alfredo with langostino. We had scallops wrapped with bacon accompanied by cheesy grits. We had li’l smokies wrapped in crescent rolls. We had cinnamon rolls with orange frosting. It was all good, but it was quite a lot of cholesterol.

We got home in time for Carrie to take Lawrence to his driver’s license test, which he passed (finally). And then that evening she played in her kickball league and they only lost by 1 point—and she scored a run!

I went back to work on Thursday, but Carrie had the rest of the week off. In fact, right now she’s at the Puyallup fair going to a James Taylor concert! Gotta love Sweet Baby James. I’m getting ready for Fools Play &Mdash; we’re doing Robot Repair Shop tonight, which is rather exciting because we haven’t done it in a couple of years. I should probably review it. Yeah, I’ll do that now.

Categories: Cooking, Fools Play, Life, Pictures, Vacation, Videos, Weddings.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Spring Vacation 2009 with an ANGRY Surprise

I’ve been on vacation for the past week! But I’m back now. It was a really busy vacation. Let’s see:

Carrie went shopping with a birthday girl, and we met up with another birthday girl (and a bunch of other Bead Babes & Boys) at Chalet Bowl. I did very poorly! The Chalet Bowl people were acting strangely, like they didn’t really want anybody to actually be in there, just to bowl and get out! I guess they had some big event later on? Randomly ran into @danaismyname there, but she (and her family) were also rushed out of there by the staff.

So instead of hanging out and spending our money there, after bowling we went over to the North End Tavern and spent money there by having beer and playing darts. I did very well!

We went to Northwest Trek! With two Mels, a Jen, and a Lila. I took photos with my phone, which I instantly tweeted!

The best part of the whole trip was the last hour when Lila decided she was both an explorer and our Teacher, and that we were her “group.” She would tell us what the signs said, and give us specific instructions. My favorite were, “Okay, now everybody has to stand on the other side of this tree. Okay, now hold hands in a circle. Now walk backwards this way…”

She got really into her teacher/explorer character, but started getting tired towards the end of it and got a little too much into character. At one point when Jen called her Lila she shouted, “I’m not Lila!”

Carrie turned to one of the Mels and said in a low, creepy voice, “Lila isn’t here anymore.”

That evening I went down and performed our new Fools Play Easter format: Fools Play Egg Hunt. I ate 19 marshmallow peeps during the annual Peep Show. This year it was a Kung-Fu Peep Show:

A Young Man and his Mother work hard in their small farm in ancient rural China. They work hard but they get to reap all the rewards. One day the Mother sends the Young Man into town to “buy a bucket,” but while he is away the farm is attacked by a group of six Bandits lead by the Bandit Leader, who kill the Mother and take the food, burning the farm. When the Young Man comes upon this scene he vows revenge against those vandals.

Meanwhile in a tavern in town, a Drunkard drunkenly decapitates the bartender. Just then the Young Man enters, scaring the Drunkard’s Coward friend into hiding under the table. The Young Man asks for help in defeating the Bandits. The Drunkard is so disgusted by the Cowards cowardice that he kicks the Coward out from under the table. The Coward goes flying across the bar and right up to the Young Man, who mistakes the Coward’s being thrown across the room with real Kung-Fu prowess and begs the Coward to train him. The Coward is too cowardly to refuse.

And so the Coward, in the span of two hours, “trains” the Young Man to be a Kung-Fu master, even though Coward knows absolutely no Kung-Fu. Emboldened by his training, the Young Man goes off and finds the Bandits and challenges them. They promptly and humiliatingly kick the Young Man’s sorry ass, and don’t even have the courtesy to kill him.

The Young Man goes sulking back to the bar to confront the Coward, who hides again under his table. After a wacky conversation, some wacky action, and some vomit, the Drunkard “trains” the Young Man by getting him piss-drunk. The Drunkard then promptly dies of psoriasis of the liver. The Young Man is despondent until the Drunkard’s ghost shows up to encourage him. The Drunkard’s ghost then promptly dies of ghost psoriasis. The ghost of the ghost appears and tells the Young Man he should just get going because this is likely going to go on for some time.

The Young Man rushes back to the Bandits, challenges them, gets pissed drunk and promptly beheads one of them. He then vomits on another one, who dies from being “allergic to vomit.” The remaining three Bandits pounce on him simultaneously, but the Young Man manages to leap high up into the air and dispatch the three of them all at once. Now all that are left are the Young Man and the Bandit Leader, who have a classic showdown wherein they face off and then run past each other. A couple of seconds later the Bandit Leader falls down dead. The Young Man walks off, saying something presumably inspirational (my mouth was so full of peeps at this point that I was incomprehensible).

Also during this episode of Fools Play, and very excitingly for me, a new addition to the cast was revealed:


That’s right! It’s ANGRY BEEF! We summoned him to fight off the Improv Spawn. But is this solution worse than the problem? We’ll find out in the weeks ahead!

I’m so very proud of this plush ANGRY BEEF, which I designed sewed all by myself. The bone actually runs all the way through a hole down the middle of the body, and if you pulled you could yank it right out! It might be nigh-impossible to put it back in if you did it, though. I would love to mass-produce and sell these, but this one took for-freakin’-ever to make, so unless I come up with a better system I’m not going to be able to make very many, and they’d have to be really expensive to make them worth it. We’ll see.

Sunday was Easter, in case you forgot. In the early afternoon we took Suki over to Carrie’s folks’ house, where we hung out and played cards for a while. Then we headed over to my folks’ house for din-dins. After that we drove up to the Skylark Café in West Seattle to see Julia Massey and the Five-Finger Discount (including @rabbiddogg) play a set. It was fun! We really like that venue a lot.

We cleaned the house hard-core in the morning, and then in the afternoon we drove all the way up to the Semiahmoo Resort just a stone’s throw away from Canada (you can see Canada out the windows). I like taking long drives with Carrie ’cause she always packs really good snacks. But the weather was weird during the drive, including a bout of hail and a section of the freeway that had snow all up ons it.

We hung out in the bar up at Semiahmoo once we got there and I had frou-frou girly drinks. One of the reasons we went to Semiahmoo is because they had a “Ginger Snap Martini” that Carrie knew I would love. It basically has Goldschläger, Jägermeister, and Bailey’s Irish Cream all mixed together, and there might be some ginger vodka in it, too. Not entirely sure. It was good, though.

We took a dip in the hot tub and then headed back to the bar for din-dins, and I had another frou-frou girly drink that had a sugared rim. I’m such a girl.

Tuesday we had Crab Benedict for breakfast in bed, then headed back down south, stopping in my old stomping grounds of Old Fairhaven on the way. It’s changed quite a bit; it’s a lot nicer and has a lot more stuff in it than when I went to Western ten years ago. I liked it. For lunch we ate home-made chicken salad in the car before completing the return trip.

In my brain this is the only day of my vacation that I didn’t actually do anything except sit around and relax. This is of course ridiculous because I went to work in the morning, meaning my vacation ended. However, I got off at 1:00 in the afternoon, so it was almost like having an entire day to relax, so it still counts in my brain.

And as of… NOW I’m back and all done with vacation. I have much of work to get done.

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Fools Play, Holiday, Life, Links, Music, Pictures, Restaurants, Round-up, Vacation, Weather.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Where They Filmed Bits of The Goonies


Last week was our 4-year wedding anniversarary! Hooray! To celebrate, we both took the whole week off and went on vacation.

The weekend before the vacation we had a big ol’ yard sale. I followed the advice of my own article about Garage Sale Etiquette, and the whole thing went swimmingly. Carrie actually did most of the work during the actual hours of operation due to the fact that I was working on the big Bead Factory Fashion Show handouts, as I had been doing the entire week leading up to that weekend.

I should say that Saturday went very well; Sunday was pretty much dead. We made enough moneys to buy lunch. Carrie did get to hang out in the front yard with Laura & Lawrence and play backgammon while drinking margaritas, so the day wasn’t a bust by any means (I once again spent much of the day working on handouts). After it was all over we loaded everything that was left into my car and I ran up to Goodwill and gave it all to them.

The next day we left for vacation. We rented a house in a tiny little town called Tierra Del Mar, Oregon. We found the house through We actually stayed at this house. Tierra Del Mar is sewiously small; it consists of about 12 streets branching off from the main thoroughfare. If you sneezed you would practically drive through it without noticing. It’s about halfway between Tillamook and Pacific City.

Wait, did I say Tillamook? If you know me, then you know that I loves me the cheese, and Tillamook happens to have a great big ol’ factory that just pumps out the stuff. So that was the second stop on our journey.

What was the first stop? A Burgerville in southern Washington. They (coincidentally?) have a fantastic bacon burger with Tillamook cheese all up on it. They also have sweet-potato fries and very delicious milkshakes. Y’know, I shouldn’t say that Burgerville was our first stop because we didn’t actually stop there; we just hit the drive-through. We stopped at a rest stop a ways down I-5 and ate our yummy foodstuffs at a picnic table OM NOM NOM. Burgervile is kind of a tradition whenever we drive to Oregon. There was also a dog area at the rest stop, so we let Suki run around in it for a bit.

Then we headed on down to the Tillamook Cheese Factory using this route. It wound up through the “mountains” between Portland and the coast. It was very pretty. But naught so pretty as the pretty cheese in that factory.

We, as is our custom, bought the packaged odds-and-ends. When they carve cheese into those brick shapes, what do you think happens to all the leftover bits? They shrink-wrap them and sell ’em at the factory for a reduced price! They only had one style that day, a garlic white cheddar. That was okay with us!

From there we got on 101 and headed on south to Tierra Del Mar. It was after 4:00 by the time we arrived, so we quickly hauled everything out of the car and then walked Suki down to the end of the road where there was a big, huge, northwest-coast-style beach. A few miles to the south was a big ol’ Haystack Rock, though not the Haystack rock—that was up north many miles out of view near Cannon Beach, where they filmed bits of The Goonies. This Haystack Rock was not in the movie The Goonies. Don’t know why they couldn’t give both rocks different names.

We played fetch with Suki. She seemed to like the beach quite a bit, and didn’t mind getting her entire mouth completely coated with sand. It woulda bothered me. Ah, well.

Suki at the Beach

I took a short video of the beach so you could see just how crowded it was there:

Yeah. After fun in the surf and sand we headed back to the house where I hosed Suki down (she didn’t like that). For din-dins that evening we made clam chowder from scratch (it just seemed right to make clam chowder while you’re staying at the beach).

Carrie made this really fascinating bread product. I’ll see if I can describe it:

For this recipe you will need: 

  • (2) cans of buttermilk biscuit dough
  • Bacon
  • Shredded cheese


  1. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy, then crumble it to bits.
  2. remove all of the biscuits from the cans. Cut them up into little 1″ – 2″ triangles.
  3. Arrange half the biscuit bits in a single layer (as best you can) in the bottom of a greased baking pan (it’s supposed to be a fluted bunt pan, but they didn’t have one there so we just used 2 regular 9″ square pans). The triangles don’t have to be tightly interlocked; it works better if they’re just loosely arranged.
  4. Sprinkle half the crumbled bacon and half the shredded cheese on top of the layer of biscuits.
  5. Make another layer of biscuit bits on top of the bacon/cheese layer.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon and cheese on top.
  7. Bake in an oven at an appropriate temperature (??) until the biscuits are cooked to a nice, golden brown.

The cheese seeps into all the cracks between the biscuit triangles as it melts, and then when it cools it creates this matrix-like glue holding the whole thing together. To it it, you just rip off a triangle or two and pop it in your mouth. You can dip it in your chowder first if you’d like!

After that first evening, the low clouds rolled in and stayed for the remainder of the vacation. When I say low, I mean like 50-100-feet-off-the-ground low. Fog unless you were at sea level. It was actually kinda nice because it kept the weather very, very moderate. It weren’t too hot and it weren’t too cold. It weren’t too windy, neither.

The rest of the days of the trip were spent exploring all the little towns along the Oregon coast. We went as far south as Newport, where we had some beer inside the “Brewers on the Bay” pub at the Rogue Brewery. That place was really cool; you had to actually walk through the distillery (guided by arrows on the floor and taped-off areas) to get to the pub. It almost felt like you were trespassing. We went as far north as Seaside, which we did not like very much; it had a strange, aggressive, “angry carnie” energy about it.

Our favorite town was Cannon Beach, which was clean, well-maintained, and tourist friendly. Lots and lots and lots of cute shops full of cute stuff. I didn’t buy anything.

An interesting thing to note about our trip: we didn’t ever eat out at a restaurant. We had beer at the Rogue brewpub, but not food. We cooked our own breakfasts and dinners, and we packed picnic-style lunches that we took with us. It was really tasty and a much less-expensive way to have a vacation than to eat out for every meal. We made horribly delicious things from scratch, such as beef fajitas, chicken salad, burgers stuffed with bleu cheese and covered with garlic cheese, etc. We made way too much; we brought home leftovers from pretty much every single meal we made (except for the breakfasts, which we usually scarfed right down).

Another interesting thing to note was that there was neither TV nor internet tubes at our vacation house. We brought my MacBook, though, and it has a nice media player. So we watched a lot of My Boys and Veronica Mars and some Anthony Bourdain while we ate our breakfasts and dinners and relaxed in the evening. We also brought some books but didn’t actually end up reading them!

Early on in our stay we were were heading south through the fog along a big, forested cliff over the ocean. I needed to find a restroom (a side effect of having no large intestines), so we pulled over at this one touristy landmark type place that had a gift shop. It didn’t have any restrooms, but there was a lookout outside where you could stand at the top of a 500′ cliff and look out over the ocean. It was so foggy that you could only see maybe halfway down the cliff. It was like Silent Hill. Still looking for the bathroom we continued up a ways to the Devil’s Punch Bowl area of the Oregon coast, where we just happened to stumble upon a winery at the edge of another (smaller) cliff: Flying Dutchman Winery.

After quickly ascertaining they did not have a public restroom and backtracking to some port-a-potties we’d spotted, we came back and did a tasting. They had really, really tasty berry wines. We bought half a case of blackberry and raspberry wines. We’d never have known about this place if I hadn’t had to go to the bathroom!

While driving through Pacific City we noticed something familiar about the place. We’d eaten at a restaurant there and stayed at a motel there many, many years ago on an overnight trip we’d taken with Geoff, Josh, and Melissa! It was the trip where Josh and Carrie both tried to learn how to drive stick with Melissa’s car. Ah, nostalgia.

There was also a cute little town to the north called Nehalem. It had like two blocks of cute little shops, all linked up with covered walkways. It also had a bead shop (we stopped at at least two bead shops during this trip) that had a going-out-of-business sale happening. Hey, I just learned that there’s a Google Street View of Nahalem, of all places! Go take a look.

Eventually it was time to head back home. But just because it was our last day didn’t mean we were done with our vacation! Not by a long shot! It was time for wine. Wine time!

Instead of going back the way we came, we jutted south and then headed east on Highway 18 towards McMinnville, towards the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.

Traveling generally northeast on 99, we hit the following wineries:

Yamhill Valley
Had a cool koi pond out front. We bought a couple of whites.
Anne Amie
Very classy place. We bought three bottles, including a shockingly tasty Müller Thurgau and an easy red blend they called Amrita. We ate a picnic lunch at a table on their patio
Archery Summit
Least-expensive bottle there was $48. We didn’t buy any but did the full tasting (generous amounts). Got to drink some $100 pinot noir. It was easily the best wine there, but honestly not $75 better than a good $25 bottle of pinot noir.
Our perennial favorite. We got a couple of interesting whites, including a dry Gewurztraminer (which was kinda fascinating). We tried to have a snack on their patio but were driven away by bees.
Interesting little place, had an unusual selection. We got a bottle of sparkling rose wine (the most expensive single bottle we got on our trip) and a very delicious ice wine.

Carrie did the driving so I did most of the drinking, and I was a little tipsy by the end, I tell you what. But still—still—we weren’t quite done!

Late afternoon, following phone directions, we wound ourselves into that strange hilly area directly south of downtown Portland to the apartment of Heather & Chris. They took us all up curvy roads towards the top of the hill.

The roads skirted around huge, forested chasms, along the sides of which were many terribly expensive houses built on stilts hanging over these chasms. It was kinda crazy. One house was only connected to the hillside by its driveway; the rest of it was supported by stilts. The road was actually level with the TOP floors of these houses. Often they extended three or four stories down into the chasms. Is Portland a more geologically stable area than Seattle? ‘Cause it’d be suicide to build like that up here, what with this being earthquake country ‘n’ all.

Anyway, we did not fall into any chasms on the way to Council Crest Park, which is basically at the summit of the hill. It’s a pretty cool park with a big watertower in it. There’s a steep hill on the southeast side of it that dogs can run around in, so Suki ran around in it with us all.

After that we got back on the freeway and headed north for home. About the only thing we missed on the whole trip was a jaunt to Voodoo Doughnut in downtown Portland, but we didn’t feel like stopping either time we drove through the area.

It was plenty dark by the time we got home. But get home we did.

As a P.S. of sorts, this post wins the record of having the most labels of any of my posts!

Categories: Cooking, Featured Posts, Life, Links, Pictures, Restaurants, Shopping, Vacation, Videos, Weather, Work.

Monday, 7 April 2008

I’m On Vacation…

… right NOW! I’ve gone with Carrie and her grandmother to a cute little house we’re renting out on the water near Purdy/Gig Harbor. We’re there RIGHT NOW. It’s super cute, and I’ll prolly be taking a tonne of photos.

Anyhoo, we’ll be here until Thursday, and there is no cell phone reception at all. There is free wi-fi, though, so if’n ye want to get ahold of me you’ll have to do it over teh intarweb tubes.

Time to relax. I’m making burgers for din-dins!

Categories: Vacation.