Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A day in which we find the perfect dress & I almost break my arm....

But since Emily has already written about it, I'd suggest you'd just go and read about it on her blog :)

Love you all!
xo Tammy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Travelling.... good for your health?

Okay, so I've been having a fabulous time (we all know that), and have been eating lots of yummy food. I have been doing a fair bit of walking too.... and there were those hills and stairs in Seattle.... but there's also a fair bit of chocolate floating around at the moment too.... I was hoping the two were averaging out, but was a little concerned that maybe they weren't :) So I asked Emily if she had scales I could weigh myself on today.

She and C just use the Wii Fit to weigh in, so we decided to set me up a quick profile so that I could see if more walking or less chocolate were perhaps in order... The downside of weighing yourself on the Wii is that the Wii likes to pass judgement, and in an annoyingly sanctimonious and synthetic voice... "yooouuuu should lose weight"..... "yoooooooo're too heavy for someone sooooooo short".... etc. BUT even though the Wii did pass a little judgement, it did pronounce me 2kgs lighter than I was when I left! haha!

Pretty sure that's not actually the case - once you allow for differences in scales etc. - but still, I'll take it for now.... and I'll do a little extra walking today :)

xo Tammy

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Perfect Day (aka. day 1)

Yesterday (Saturday), was the first official day of my holiday - and it was a really wonderful day. After much discussion on Friday night, we'd decided that we'd all get up really early, and head out to a place called Sequim, which is a wildlife reserve where you can buy bread and then drive through the park, and lots of different types of animals will come up to the car and you can feed them. It's about 2 hours away from where Emily & C live, but a gorgeous drive there and back anyway, so we thought it would be beautiful. From there, we'd thought we'd head to a place called Hurricane Ridge, which is supposed to have a beautiful view and still has snow (yay!).

Unfortunately, I ruined the plan! Emily woke me up at 7:30am, as per the plan, I nodded at her, rolled over, and then suddenly it was 10:30am. Oh dear! By the time I finally stumbled downstairs, they'd already eaten breakfast (although there was a homemade breakfast sandwich waiting for me), and were getting on with stuff around the house. So we had to re-jig the plan. C really kindly volunteered to stay with P for the day so Emily and I could go out and spend some time together, and we decided to hit the city of Seattle :)

First we drove over to Bainbridge Island, about 30 minutes away. I know you're all getting a little sick of 'how beautiful Washington is', but really, it is - and the drive was lovely. We drove over a bridge to get to the island, and Emily tells me that they have a lot of really beautiful (and expensive) homes on Bainbridge Island. Apparently Jennifer Aniston has one out here? Anyway, here's a quick shot that I took of some of the nice homes on the island:

From there, we parked the car, and caught the Ferry over to Seattle. It was a really large ferry, and lots of people took their cars on, but we just 'walked on'. The weather was really 'brisk and fresh' as I like to say, but we were worried about being a little chilly later in the day, so Emily had lent me a really cute red jacket she has. The ferry ride took about 35 minutes, and was really fun. First, it was quaint and pretty with great views, then it was really windy, and then it was FREEZING! I had on a big jacket and a scarf and I was FREEZING! :) We lasted about 25 minutes, but we had to go and take shelter for the last 10 minutes or so :)

As we got closer to Seattle though, and the ferry was entering the harbour (where it's a little more sheltered from the wind), we went back out onto the deck, and took in the great views of Seattle from the water. It's a really pretty city. Lots of different colours and architecture - bricks, glass, steel, red, blue, brown, grey and green. The closer we got, the more I liked it :)

We had decided that first up, we'd go on the 'Seattle Underground Tour'. Emily had heard about it from friends who had done it, and we thought it sounded REALLY great. Seattle has a really interesting history. In a nutshell, there was a big fire in the late 1800s that wiped out 30 x 10 of the downtown blocks. When they rebuilt, the city planers raised the streets 12-30 feet to avoid future flooding problems they'd had in the past. But because it took them 2-3 years to raise all the streets, businesses rebuilt at the old ground level. This mean the sidewalks were down low with the businesses, and to access the streets, people climbed ladders from the sidewalks/business up to the streets and visa versa. Eventually, the city built sidewalks at the new level that covered the lower sidewalks, and businesses built second stories on top of their original buildings - so that the 'second stories' were now on ground level. Very interesting! You can read more about it on wikipedia, since it's probably a little more complicated than my very simple explanation! Anyway, these old sidewalks then became underground passages, and the tour discusses the history and takes us down into a bunch of the old tunnels/sidewalks.

The tour started in an old building that was done up like an old saloon. Emmy and I sat up on the balcony, and a really entertaining guide gave us a history overview about the founding of Seattle, and the early pioneers and city planners - Seattle's first movers and shakers. He took us right through the unfortunate fire (started by a 17 year boy who's mind wandered while he was making glue, and who subsequently moved to California and changed his name). Anyway, after this intro, we all filed outside into Pioneer Square and were separated into 4 separate groups (mine met over by the totem pole). Each group had their own tour guide, and we visited different sections of the tour in different orders (they push a lot of us through on that tour - they must make a killing!).

We really enjoyed the tour. Our tour-guide was a little crazy, and her voice seemed to drive almost everyone on our tour crazy, but once you got past that, we all had a great time. Really fascinating stuff to see and learn about. One of the things I enjoyed was seeing the 'skylights' that they built into the sidewalks that covered the old sidewalks. Because people still used the underground sidewalk to access the lower levels (until they were all condemned a couple of decades later), they built purple glass squares into a lot of the sidewalks above ground - which acted as skylights. They're all over the sidewalk in the city, and they just look like decorative tiles. It's not until you view them from underground that you realize their real purpose :)

Anyway, on the tour, we heard about a couple of other things in Seattle that we thought we'd like to check out. The first was the Smith Tower, which was the tallest building west of the Mississippi between 1914 and 1931 :) There's a viewing platform up the top and we were all set to go up and see it. Unfortunately, when we walked (up a very steep hill) to the front door of the building, we saw a sign telling us that it was closed for a private function *heavy sigh*. So we walked back down the hill, and went instead to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They sold so many yummy types of chocolate, and a huge variety of 'candied apples' - covered in chocolate, caramel, nuts, coconut - you name it. I'm not huge on apples, but they were still really fun to look at, and we ended up getting one to take home for Chris. We also ended up with a couple of chocolates for ourselves.... lol!

Once we'd finished up at the Chocolate Factory, we headed off in search of the Space Needle. After stopping back at the underground tours place to get directions from a guide, we caught the bus to the Space Needle. It was a little scary because neither of us really knew how to catch the bus here, but we managed okay. There was a slight panic when we realized that the 'free bus' we'd been riding has gone past the 'free zone' and we had to pay as we got off, but we managed to scrounge the required 'correct change' from our wallets while an ever growing line of not-so-patient people built behind us.

The Space Needle costs $17 per person to get up the top to the viewing platform. SEVENTEEN DOLLARS people! We were really surprised at the cost, but we'd come this far, and thought we'd better keep going. The lines were really long, and it took us a while to get into the elevator, but we eventually made it. We were the last of the group to get on the elevator, and were right by the doors. The doors closed, and the elevator started shooting up to the top of the tower. That's when we suddenly realized that the walls of the elevator were completely made of see through glass, so that the view opened up right before you as you shot up! I would NOT have stood sandwiched quite so close to the completely glass doors if I'd realized they were completely glass doors! I freaked out just a little and took as big a step as possible BACK from the door :) Emily got a good laugh at that! I was alright once I had a chance to take it in, but it certainly took my off guard!

Once we got to the top, we wondered around and quickly got bored. We've decided that for your $17, all you really get is the opportunity to say that you've been up the space needle, because it really wasn't all that exciting from the top - though it certainly is a long way up. The elevator ride down was a highlight - since we were expecting it the second time - and then it released us out into the very large gift shop :)

We had planned to walk back down to the docks, but seeing it from the top of the space needle, we'd realized it was actually quite a long way! So we sprung for a cab that took us back down to the water.

Our plan was to hit The Crab Pot for dinner - but we got sidetracked and ended up taking a bit of a wander. We walked about another massive hill and 5,000,000 stairs to the big warehouse and open area that houses PIke's Market. It was about 5:30pm at this point, the markets were closing down. A lot of the venders had already packed up for the day, but we had a bit of a wander through anyway, just in case we don't get the chance to go back again. Mum, I thought of you when we got to the flower section! Most had already packed down, but there were still huge areas of the most beautiful flowers, and they're all sold REALLY cheap! We got a beautiful boquet of flowers for $10, and they've been sitting on the kitchen table ever since.

After our wanderings, we went back down to the dock, and over to The Crab Pot. There was an hours wait for dinner, so we put our names on the list, and went out to sit on one of the piers and watch the sunset. It was just the most gorgeous weather, cold but crisp with lovely sunshine. Usually I much prefer rain, but it was so perfect that I didn't even mind the sunshine :) We just sat and chatted and ate chocolates from our chocolate factory visit.

Finally, our hour was up and we made it into The Crab Pot. The place was packed, but we were starving - we had never actually eaten lunch we'd been so busy :) The specialty at The Crab Pot (and the reason Emily dragged me there) is a huge tub of seafood that they come and dump on your table. They give you a fork, a hammer and lots and lots of paper towels, and you just go for it! The hammer is for the crabs legs. I'd never actually had crab legs before (I usually go for prawns or fish), but they were really yummy - though they're annoying to try and extract the flesh from (the bottom photo is an action shot of me doing just that!). Our table was full of Crab, Mussells, Clams, Prawns, Potato, Corn and Kabana. It was delicious! The crab was great, but my favourite was undoubtably the prawns :) A really really great dinner!

After dinner, we were able to catch the 9pm ferry back to Bainbridge Island. Now, I hadn't had any problem with the ferry on the way over. But it was dark now! As we got to the ferry, I started to freak out just a tiny bit! I don't like water and boats very much - and the night/dark combination was one I hadn't thought to consider. I know Emily knew I was nervous, but I don't think she realized just how terrified I was really feeling as the ferry chugged out of Seattle. As the city lights got further and further away I had to through myself into our conversation with increasing gusto in an attempt not to freak out! Seriously, who's idea was the MEXICAN CRUISE! I may have survived the Bainbridge Island ferry, but at least I could always see lights on a shore somewhere - even when they were small - so at least I would have known which direction I needed to swim! What am I supposed to do when the CRUISE SHIP sinks!


I've noticed it's a little better if I'm inside and can't actually SEE the water... mind you, even when I'm inside, I have to be sitting close to a door so I could get out and start swimming if I needed!

BUT - all in all, a FANTASTIC day. I really love Seattle - such a beautiful city. And I love all the water, and the greenery. I loved the tour and the cool underground history. And of course, I loved the company! So much fun just to chill and spend the whole day chin-wagging.

So I'm glad I slept in! Hurricane Ridge and Sequim would have been wonderful, but the city day was perfect :)
xo Tammy

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Hi everyone,

Had the most perfect day today. Just perfect :) But I'm really really really tired (it's just about to go on midnight here), so I'm going to tell you about it tomorrow. Otherwise I won't do it justice, and a perfect day should have a perfect blog post :)

In the meantime, here's a photo of Brodi and I at the Brisbane Airport that Brodi took on her iphone, and then emailed to me (see how cool iphones are?!).

Can't you just see how excited we both are to be getting ready to go on our holiday?! :)

Love you all,
xo Tammy

PS. Bethany, I understood the initials everyone else was talking about in their posts, but have NO idea what you were talking about! lol! You'll have to use actual words :) The point is to use a code the people reading will actually understand.... hahah!

PPS. Jess! Would LOVE to catch up with you of course! I just haven't been organized enough to track everyone's details down yet :) I will DEFINITELY be there for a weekend - next weekend in fact, so it would be the perfect time to see you. Although, actually, General Conference is on... well, either way - even if a day won't work, we'll be able to find a night, but just let me know what will suit you and I'm sure we can figure it out :) If you get a second, email me through your phone number and I'll give you a call as soon as I get there.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Seattle the beautiful

Okay, I LOVE Washington! (state, not DC... I can still remember finding out that they were different places - that was interesting! Very confusing, but good to know!). Anyway, this place combines my love of water (rain and sounds and bays and rivers) and my love mountains and all things green. No wonder they film so many beautiful movies here. The place is breathtaking. Lots of pretty bridges as well. I really enjoyed the 1 and a half hour drive from the airport back to Emily's place.

But I jump ahead of myself. The last time I wrote, I was standing at an internet kiosk in LAX airport, typing as fast as I could because my flight was leaving in 25 minutes. So if that post made any sense, I'll be impressed with myself :) The flight was long. Well, it felt long. I was sick of travelling, and really just wanted to 'get there'. And then the flight was delayed an hour because there was a problem with the refueling truck. Or something like that, I'm not actually sure because I got on the plane, sat down and immediately fell asleep - I was just exhausted! When I woke up 45 minutes later, we were still on the tarmac and the pilot was coming over the loud speaker to say that we were finally ready for take off. The delay, combined with a 'strong headwind' meant that we were an hour late!

Poor Emily! She was waiting at Seattle/Tacoma airport for me with her GORGEOUS little boy, baby P (who was really well behaved considering he had to spend that hour in the stroller). They didn't tell them the flight was delayed, so Emily was increasingly concerned that I was lost somewhere in the airport! By the time I finally arrived, I think she was on the verge of having my name read out over the loud speaker (sidenote: this is another disadvantage of people without cellphones... they can't call anyone when their plane gets delayed...)

It was SO SO SO wonderful to see Emily! On the one hand, it's been so long and our life as roommates seems so long ago. But on the other hand, it was as if we'd never been apart. She's such a wonderful friend, and I was just so excited the second I saw her. And I know I've already said it, but this son of hers is just gorgeous! And he knows it too :) He's only 1 year old, but boy can he turn on the charm for the ladies :)

The drive back to her place was wonderful. Just fun to talk and catch up, and the scenery really was beautiful - can't wait for the rest of the week now. More fun and talking and sight-seeing. When we got back to her house, C had already cooked dinner, and it was really yummy. We had salmon steaks grilled to perfection, with mashed potato, and then Emmy cooked some delicious carrots. I know, I said delicious. Even though carrots are vegetables :)

It's so fun to see Emily again, and to be seeing C and baby P in person - although they look just like they do on the blog pictures, so I feel like I already know them. And they've got such a lovely home. It's a cute little townhouse, and Emily's done a really, really, really lovely job doing it up. Beautiful pictures and decorations and homey touches. She's a budding interior designer I'd say. I feel a little bad that Baby P has been kicked out of his room for the next week, but I do love his room, and am a little excited to be staying in there :) Cutest pictures and animal trimmings everywhere. You'd love it Abby.

Okay, I'd better go. We're watching a movie at the moment, and we'll all head off to bed soon. The adventures will no doubt continue tomorrow. Am having such a good time, and am really happy to be here with such wonderful friends, even though I'm missing everyone at home.

xo Tammy

PS. For those of you wondering about B, Emily and I gave her a quick call before, and everyone is 'good' :) So glad and happy for her!

Greetings from LA! (Well, from the airport anyway)

Have to be quick-ish here, because my plane for Seattle leaves shortly (yay Emmy! can't wait to see you!). But the news is that I've arrived in LA and am safe and alive. LAX is the same as I remember it, and I still don't like it very much. The same old people trying to get money from you for 'the homeless', the same dirty floors and long lines. BUT, it means that I'm officially on my holiday, which is very exciting. The flight wasn't too bad at all - was really nice to be flying with B instead of on my own. I didn't get a very good sleep, but I at least got SOME sleep, which is more than B (who managed to fit several movies in, but would rather have slept). Have freshened up and had a quick bite to eat (chicken/shredded cabbage salad). Actually, my 'freshen up' and bathroom stop made me laugh at myself a little, I was going from cubicle to cubicles checking for a toilet that wasn't blocked, and got through about 8 stalls before I remembered that the water level in the toilets here is much higher than at home :) How quickly we forget things like that! At least it meant that there weren't several blocked toilets in a row, because that would have been really bad service! lol :)

Okay - better run and get that plane. Just wanted to let you know I landed safely. Will write again soon!

xo Tammy

Friday, March 26, 2010

Serious withdrawals!

I didn't realise just how attached to my iphone I have become! Did you know, that once you leave your iphone on your bedside table and head off to the airport without it, there are a whole bunch of things you can no longer do? It's true. You can't check your emails (hotmail, gmail and work), and you can't use the internet. That means no blogs, no facebook, now msnbc news page, basically no connection with the outside world AT ALL. I'm not sure how we all used to LIVE like this?! Oh, AND I can't call anyone! I realized I'd forgotten to phone the bank and tell them I was heading overseas. So you know what I did? I used a payphone! A payphone people! (I'm pretty sure there were heaps of germs on it too, so that was a little bit scary.... but I figure people used to use pay phones all the time and no one ever died.... that I heard of anyway...).

Anyway, I got a little excited to see this 'internet station' and gladly deposited my$2. Okay, so it was B's $2... I cleaned all of the Australian money out of my purse since 'I wouldn't need it anymore'. Thank goodness B doesn't think like me :)

Okay, so the Brisbane International Airport. It's been a few years since I was here, but it's looking good - some renovations have been completed and the place looks pretty great. In fact, the Brisbane International Airport was recently voted 18th in the world, and was the only Australian airport to make the top 25 list! So it's not a bad place to hang out for the extra half hour that our flight has been delayed :) Part shopping mall, part lounge area, part food court. All with a great view of the planes. We may even have some Subway for lunch... a wrap, not a breadroll ;)

But my $2 is about to run out, so I'd better leave it at that. Am looking forward to getting underway. Mainly so that I get some sleep I think - I'm exhausted! I've promised B I'll get excited when I wake up again - lol!

Thanks to those who have commented on my previous post - keep them coming :)

Love to all!
xo Tammy

Party in the USA!

Okay people! It's D-Day. 4:56am on Friday the 26th of March. Can you believe it's finally here?

(Do I sound sufficiently preppy above? I'm trying - but honestly, I'm so tired right now that I don't really care if I go on a holiday or not! lol!).

Turns out packing is really hard. It's funny that I've only just figured that out, considering how many times I've done it in the past, but seriously, it's hard. I've been 'packing' for a few hours now, and still only have one or two things in the suitcases! To be fair, I had to try on every item of clothing I own, so that took a while. And then I had to put a wash through and it's still in the dryer, so that's taking time. I've packed my shoes (only taking 4 pairs), but toiletries are totally getting the better of me. They just seem too difficult to gather, so I've been procrastinating (hence this blog entry). I've been kinda wondering what would happen if I just didn't finish packing! B would probably come over and finish it for me... hmmm.... perhaps not a terrible option...

Okay. I'd better go. Have to iron my clothes, have a shower, blow dry my hair (actually, I'd better hurry), and then get the other clothes out of the dryer and pack quickly! Ahhh! Where did the night go?!

Next time I jump on, I suspect I'll be somewhere in Washington State (depending of course on exactly where EMILY lives)! Yay! :)

xo Tammy

PS. A special shout out to my wonderful sister Jessima who obediently gave birth to my nephew before I left on holidays. Thanks Jessima - he's PERFECT :)