Monthly Archives: December 2010

Christmas Eve Dive

It’s been days since I last opened my computer – I guess that’s a sign of a good vacation! I am generating a backlog of posts – certainly not how I wanted to end the year.  I am slowly working my way through my holiday vacation.  First was the cookie extravaganza with the cousins.

Next was Dad’s and my semi-annual Christmas Eve dive.

We went to Sund Rock in Hoodsport (deep in the rain forest – it’s no wonder that the Twilight vampires live here).

It rained that day (as it did most every day I was visiting).  Good thing we were already planning on getting wet!

It was Dad’s job to get all the gear together.  Fortunately, there was a very convenient bench for us to set up all of our stuff.

It was my job to look cute.  Pretty hard to do when you are wearing a snow suit underneath a dry suit.  (The dry suit is a must for any diver in the Pacific Northwest – the average water temp is about 40 degrees!)

And down we went.  I always get a little nervous going descending into the cold, watery darkness if I haven’t dove in a while – but then you start to see the unbelievable sea-life and you forget that you are underneath 70 feet of water and breathing air out of a tank.

We immediately encountered these two.

Wolf eels.  Pretty cool, eh?

And lots of fish (some even hanging with the sea stars).

And the odd-looking sea anemones.  I find it hard to believe that these are animals.  It really is a completely other world down there.

And yes, that’s me looking like an alien-intruder.

Aside from one panic-stricken moment when I started to ascend feet-first, it was a pretty great dive.  Nothing flashy like warmer waters – but nevertheless pretty cool and full of diversity.  Definitely worth being in the cold, dark water.

Thanks Dad for yet another fantastic dive.

And thanks Pacific Northwest, for never ceasing to amaze me.

Holiday Travels Part I

I’ve had a marvelous time back home – just what I needed.  It has been simultaneously jam-packed and filled with laziness.  While I am sitting here in the Seattle airport, enjoying the free wi-fi, I’ll start sharing some of the highlights.

It all started with the 3rd annual cookie-fest with the cousins (and maybe some aunts and uncles too).

There were cookies.  LOTS of cookies.

And frosting of every color.

And candy decorations.

We made a GIANT mess.

Needless to say, there was cookie-decorating domination.

No place like home

I’ve escaped the the snowy Midwest.

Thank God.

I am not going to lie – it’s been crushing my soul a little bit.

But now I am home.  My heart was needing to be surrounded by family, food and love.

Plus there’s the scenery (and added bonus of enjoying this view while drinking my coffee from my parents’ deck).



And a little bit magical.

There will always be a wonderfully special place in my heart for the Pacific Northwest.

I repeat: It’s good to be home.

Cure for crankiness

I am sorry to rant at you Minneapolis, but let’s face it – you have not been nice to me.  Luckily I found something that will cheer me up. And yes, it involves chocolate – hot chocolate (spiked)!

Rum-spiked Hot Chocolate

I didn’t really follow a recipe or make any measurements.  But you can’t go wrong with any combo of milk, chocolate, coffee, vanilla and whipped cream and of course, rum.

Add some coffee (leftover from this morning) and white chocolate chips to a small saucepan.

Add some sugar.

Add cocoa powder (I splurged and used the good stuff from Penzeys Spices).

Whisk in some milk.

Heat until chocolate chips melt and milk is warmed through.  I kept it on low heat because I was scared of scorching the milk.

While chocolate is heating, whip up some vanilla cream.

By hand. I was actually surprised at how quick and easy it was.  Not to mention satisfying!

Fold in some powdered sugar and vanilla.

Add some spiced rum to the bottom of your mug (I won’t show you how much I added to mind) and fill with hot chocolate.

Top with some vanilla whipped cream.

Crankiness cured.

Now if only it would stop snowing…

Dear Minneapolis

To those of you who claimed that “Minneapolis is a fantastic place, and yes, while it snows a lot, at least they are well equipped to deal with winter,”

Why would you lie to me?

This place sucks.

I am tired of the snow emergencies and the hour+ bus rides.

The snow is not magical, nor does it make me feel like a kid again.

I hate not wearing my cute skirts and dresses and how flat my hair gets from wearing hats.

I want nothing more than to move to Florida, be with my beloved and never deal with snow again.

Meleah (and Puck and Kudzu)

Written during the most convoluted 114 bus route known to man as an outlet for extreme frustration. Decided this was a better than killing our bus driver.