Monday, January 28, 2013

Strange Brewfest

Stewart had to work on Saturday and I was feeling much more like myself again, so I decided to take the ferry over to Port Townsend and meet up with my family. They were there for the ninth annual Strange Brewfest, a crazy local festival featuring tons of local brewers and musicians. Our family has property in Port Townsend and we've been going there since before I was born, but this was definitely a new experience for me!

Port Townsend is a teeny tiny, sleepy town, and most often when we visit we spend our time hanging out at our campsite, hiking, walking on the beach, or wandering around the eclectic downtown shops with a half dozen other tourists. But this time when I arrived I was shocked to see that the town was absolutely packed! I actually had to look for a parking spot and the sidewalks, bars, shops and restaurants were all crowded with festival-goers. Stew would have loved it, I was really sad he wasn't there.

I didn't actually spend much time in the actual Brewfest because it was super loud and crowded. Instead we created a little pub crawl for ourselves, walking around downtown and having a beer or a meal here and there at a bunch of different little pubs and restaurants.


It was a fun, short little trip and it only took me about two hours to get there from our house, including the ferry ride. I always love spending time with my family, no matter what we're doing.

On Sunday Stew and I did a bunch of boring chores. We went up and checked on the house (a guy was there laying tile in the master bath... so pretty!) and then headed to Best Buy to look at some TVs Stew has his eye on for the living room and media room. We also took a tour of Gold's Gym in Issaquah and were pleasantly surprised! It's huge, has all the equipment Stew is looking for, and has tons of group fitness classes for me. We're still going to check out a couple other places, but this could potentially be a great choice for our new gym.

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Paint and cabinets.

It seems unreal that we close on the new house in just a little more than five weeks. It seems like just yesterday that we started this process, and now here we are, almost at the end. Things are really moving fast now! Stew went up to the house this afternoon and I literally shrieked with excitement when he started sending me some photos. We'll let you see for yourself...

Kitchen cabinets going in and they are the exact color we wanted them to be.

All the main wall painting is done and we're really happy with the color. I guess these days many people choose to have the ceiling the same color as the walls, but I insisted on having white ceilings... I thought that seemed weird.

This is my absolute favorite picture of the day. I LOVE our fireplace!

Cabinets and lighting getting done in the master bathroom.

They are getting ready to tile the shower.
We picked out really light/mostly white finishes in here because I wanted it to feel like a spa.

Laundry room cabinets. We paid extra for the cupboards over the washer/dryer.
You can never have too much storage!

Tile going down in the laundry room.

Stew took this picture of the neighbor's backyard so we can get an idea of what our landscaping is going to be like. We hate all the bark and are going to see if we can have mostly grass, instead. No gardening for me, just lawn games!

Sorry for two house posts in a row, but this has been a pretty exciting week for us! We're a little annoyed about a few minor things like speakers being placed incorrectly and crooked fixtures, but I'm confident they'll get it right in the end.

We hope everyone has something wonderful planned this weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Construction update.

During one of my weird lapses of feeling okay again during my kidney stone nightmare (I guess that's pretty common), we decided to go up to the house to see how it was progressing.

The tape and mud on the drywall is complete, and the rounded wall corners we upgraded to are done. This means that the texturing and painting should be done this week, and next week the fun stuff starts: cabinets, counter tops, and floors! So from now on we should see significant progress every time we visit the house.

I love going up and just staring at it, imagining how it will be when everything is all done. You can see they are starting to work on what will be stone columns around the front porch. And I can't wait until they paint the exterior; I'm not a huge fan of yellow...

Downstairs living room.

Kitchen.

Stairway.

Upstairs living room / media room.

Master bedroom.

Guest bedrooms.

Guest bath.

Gorgeous views from the back yard...

...and the front!

And the garage all filled up with exciting things like flooring and cabinets.

We also heard from our agent that there's nothing left to do on the condo sale at this point except wait and enjoy our last few weeks there, so that's exactly what we're doing (now that I'm feeling better).

What were you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Diagnosis.

Well friends, it turned out to be a kidney stone, but it was quite an adventure arriving at that diagnosis.

My regular doctor ended up being unavailable for my E.R. follow up appointment, so I saw her standby doc on Monday afternoon. By that time I was starting to feel really crappy again, especially in my back and abdomen on the left side. But the doctor gave me a brief exam and told me that the pain was due to constipation caused by pain meds and possibly IBS... she prescribed Smooth Move Herbal Tea (ew, sorry) and sent me home with promises to follow up the next day with lab results and a referral to a GI specialist.

I spent that night crying in pain and taking Vicodin every three hours.

The next day I waited patiently to hear from the doctor, only to get an email in the afternoon that contained a link to some unreadable lab results and a note: "You are slightly anemic. Hope you're feeling better!"  WTF?! I was not feeling better; I was in agony and had only two pain pills left! I called the office and left a message. I called again two hours later and left another message. Finally an annoyed nurse called me back. She got me an appointment with a GI specialist for the next afternoon, and after a significant amount of arguing about the Vicodin prescription put me on the phone with the doctor. I explained that I thought I had all the signs of kidney stones and didn't think I could get through the night on only two pain pills, but she insisted that I was simply constipated and that "being uncomfortable" was normal. I should, "try a hot water bottle or some Milk of Magnesia." Again, WTF?!

Basically, she was treating me like a drug seeker and flat out refusing to refill my pain meds or consider any other possibilities about why I was in pain. I've never been so livid in my life, but there was nothing I could do. So Stew and I went to bed, terrified, at about 10:00 p.m.

At 1:00 a.m. I woke up in excruciating pain and took my second-to-last pain pill. It did nothing.

At 2:00 a.m. I took my very last pain pill as I continued to writhe and sob in pain. It did nothing.

At 3:00 a.m. we headed back to the E.R. where they pumped me full of drugs until I finally stopped screaming and puking.

Shortly after, they did a CT scan, which easily revealed the large kidney stone that had been plaguing me since Saturday morning. The E.R. doc said it had absolutely nothing to do with IBS and told me to cancel the appointment with the GI specialist. He was very irritated with the other doctor for blowing me off and planned to send her my chart so she would have it first thing in the morning (basically a "you idiot" note between doctors, he explained). I hope she got the message.

I eventually went home in a drug induced haze with prescriptions for the correct medications while I waited for the stone to pass (sorry, TMI). This luckily only took until that evening, and I immediately started to feel better.

Let me tell you... having a kidney stone is basically some of the worst pain you can experience. Many people say it's right up there with childbirth. I would definitely not wish it on even my worst enemy. Plus it is extremely scary to be in that much pain and have no one be able to tell you what's wrong. For all I knew, I was dying.

The main thing I learned from this experience is that doctor's don't know everything. In my case the doctors heard "IBS" in my medical history and immediately took that and ran with it. I knew that the pain I was having was much different than any of my typical problems, but I let the medical staff take things into their own hands because they're supposed to be the experts, right? But the bottom line is you know your body... be your own advocate! Speak up and say something when you can; it might save you a lot of pain and heartache in the end. Looking back, I should have just insisted on a CT scan at my very first E.R. visit, but  then hindsight is always 20/20. I'm just glad it's finally over!

And I do have to take a second to mention how amazing Stewart was throughout this whole experience. He calmly held my hand every step of the way and I don't know how I would have gotten through it without him. Husband of the Year Award. 

Have you ever had kidney stones?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another holiday weekend ruined.

Swedish Medical Center in Ballard - very nice facility,
although I wish I didn' t know it quite so well...
Thank you, Dr. King, for a lovely three-day weekend. We had planned to head up to Mt. Baker with some of our dearest friends for the weekend, but instead ended up in the Emergency Room. Not awesome.

Holidays have really been a bummer this year. I caught a horrible stomach bug over Thanksgiving, and Stew and I were both very sick with head colds and sore throats for Christmas. And now we can also write off MLK Day as a loss.

We were going to leave first thing Saturday morning with Tara, Andrew, Alissa and Matt for a weekend up at Mark's condo at Mt. Baker. I was super excited because I still haven't been on my snowboard this year! But I woke up that morning at 5:00 with a pretty bad stomachache. By the time Stew got home from work at 8:00 I was literally screaming, crying, and vomiting because the pain was so bad. I was very, very scared because I've never felt anything like that before.

We rushed down to Swedish Medical Center in Ballard and were brought back right away, I'm sure in large part due to my screaming and carrying on. Staying calm and rational was not a possibility at that point.

The next six hours consisted on my part of more puking, yelling, and crying with pain. I had my blood drawn and tested, internal and external ultrasounds, a pelvic exam, and lots and lots of pain medication administered through an IV. The meds didn't last too long though, and about every hour they would wear off and I would start writhing in pain again, so they just kept me pretty doped up the whole time.

All of the tests came back normal except the internal ultrasound revealed possible early appendicitis, but they were very reluctant to do a CT scan on me because of how dangerous the radiation can be for young women. So they sent us home with four different prescriptions and orders to come back in another 12 hours.

I had a pretty bad night, still in lots of pain in spite of the Vicodin, but by the time we got back to the ER the next morning my pain was mostly gone. So they sent us home with instructions to follow up with a GI doctor as soon as possible, basically chalking things up to severe IBS. The wait list for a GI doctor is approximately one month. In the meantime I was able to schedule an appointment with my regular doctor who wanted to re-run all the ER testing to see if anything had changed, and then refer me to a different GI doc who may be able to get me in more quickly. That was yesterday afternoon.

In the meantime my symptoms have only gotten worse and I spent most of last night crying in pain and taking Vicodin every three hours which kind of helped dull the pain. I left my doctor a message a few hours ago about the test results and her recommendations (and the fact that I'm running out of pain meds) but I haven't heard anything back yet.

So... not a stellar weekend for us, and I'm afraid I may be dying... or at the very least passing a kidney stone.

I asked Stew, "Do you remember when we promised to stick by each other, for better or for worse? This is worse."

Friday, January 18, 2013

First world problems with furniture.

Going from 724 square feet to 2,510 square feet is going to be a huge change for us, and we realized a while back that we have only a fraction of the furniture we'll need to furnish our new home. However, 20% down is obviously eating up a lot of our savings, so we don't really have the luxury of going out and spending thousands of dollars on new furniture right now. But we decided that it would be okay to go ahead and focus on a few basics, one of those being couches for the downstairs living room.

I had no idea what a huge process this would turn out to be...

When you're buying quality furniture that you expect to last for 10-15 years you really want to be sure you love what you buy. So a couple weeks ago my mom and I spent an entire day visiting furniture stores and we just didn't see anything at all that seemed right, until this:

Ignore the ugly ottoman, but we really liked the style of the sofa. I also loved the pattern of the pillow fabric,
and thought this little accent chair would go great with the set. Plus, everything was on sale... Fantastic! 

Having an accent chair in the same fabric as the sofa pillows seems to be super popular right now, and I quickly became obsessed with doing it. Here are some examples we saw (ignore some of the ugly fabrics and sofa styles, but you'll get the general idea...)

An assortment of displays with pillows that match the accent chairs. Love it!

Stew and I did some research on the manufacturer of the set that I liked and he agreed that it would be a good choice for our living room. But I wanted him to see it in person and help choose the main sofa fabric, so we stopped by the store at the next opportunity. Selecting the perfect color ended being more difficult than we thought, so we decided to check out some fabric samples and take them up to the model home to see how everything would look in our actual house. This is where we ran into some problems.


Current set up in the model home.

Once in the model, we realized that we really want light-colored sofas, but the pillow print that I had previously chosen only goes with a darker sofa fabric. And upon further thinking, we actually liked the cleaner, more modern look of the model furniture much better than our original choice. So... back to square one. We figured out the manufacturer of the model sofas, looked up some local dealers, and began to track them down. I mean hey, if a professional designer put the room together and it looks great, why re-invent the wheel, right?

Eventually we found the exact match, but of course to that set it will cost twice as much as the original set we picked out. So there's the conundrum... Do we drop the cash and get exactly what we want? Or do we live with another, less expensive sofa that we found that is very similar, but not an exact match? Plus, which accent chair do we choose? Does it come with a matching ottoman or would be have to find one? Is it the same brand so we can match the fabric to the sofa pillows? Does this store have free shipping? Is that one having a sale next month? How long can we wait to decide? Ugh, it's all very frustrating and overwhelming! [FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS]

In any case, besides the dilemma of choosing the set that we want, we also need to select a fabric for the sofa pillows and chairs (the original fabric with the branches is out), and there are so many to choose from!

This is just a tiny sample of what's available. There are literally hundreds
to choose from. I actually really liked the black and white bird pattern
in the center, but I don't know if it would be too much on a chair...

The entire process has be so overwhelming that we've decided to just take a step back and think things through. We don't want to purchase something in a hurry and then get it into the new house only to find out that we don't love it after all. We'd rather live in a basically empty house for a while instead of rush into a decision about something so permanent and expensive.

But when we do pull the trigger it will take 6-8 weeks for the pieces to be made and delivered, so early guests beware... bring your own chair!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Sophia!

We absolutely cannot believe that our darling niece, Sophia, is two years old! It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating her first birthday, and now suddenly another whole year has passed and she is growing into such a big girl! Unfortunately we committed to going to White Pass a few months ago before realizing that Sophia's birthday party would probably be the same weekend, so we were incredibly sad that we had to miss her birthday party.

We wanted to get her something special and fun for her birthday, so I did a lot of research and found the Fisher-Price Little People Zoo Talkers Animal Sounds Zoo, an interactive learning toy for kids from one-and-a-half to five years old. It was very highly rated and we adore the idea of passing on Stew's love of animals, so it seemed like the perfect gift. Nichole and Mom sent us some adorable pictures of Sophia opening and playing with it at the party, and she seems to really like it, so score for us! Now I desperately want to go down and play with her...



We also included four board books about hippos by Sandra Boynton, because we still love to give Sophia hippo stuff whenever possible... it helps give her something to relate to us since we can't see her nearly as often as we would like. And Nichole sent me a text later that day saying she told Sophia to read a book and she chose one of the new hippo books... double score!


Mom/Grandma with the Munchkins.

I just can't get over this adorable face!

Happy birthday Sophia, we love you so much!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Walls and Floors and Ceilings... oh my!

On our way home from White Pass we stopped in Snoqualmie to check out the house, and things are really moving quickly now! It looks like all the drywall is complete and hopefully soon they will be starting on the fun stuff like floors, doors and cabinets.

Here are just a couple new shots...

We have a garage door!

Master bedroom... what a mess.

Walls and ceiling in the upstairs media room!
Now, where to put the giant TV...

Watching the whole construction process literally from the ground up has been extremely fascinating, and it will be awesome to understand each and every detail of our new house (even what's hidden behind the walls).

The heat was on and it was nice and toasty inside, so I guess the HVAC is working. I was so excited about the walls being complete that I was literally running around upstairs through the hallways and different rooms, laughing. It's so cool how you can build something out of nothing! Remember when it was just a pile of dirt?

It was so fun to imagine us living within those walls... and it's coming up so fast!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Farewell Ballard, it's been real.

It seems like just yesterday that we were excitedly moving into our Ballard condo. But here we are, four years later, ready to move on again.

We've had our unit up for sale for about three months, and having it on the market has been an extremely exhausting and frustrating process. We got a low offer offer just a few days after our listing went live, but our agent managed to negotiate it up a bit to something we were comfortable with. We had a quick evening meeting to sign the paperwork and the next morning I started looking into temporary apartment rentals. This may have been what jinxed us. We got a call a few hours later saying that the buyer had backed out and was no longer interested unless we were willing to lower the price. Since we had been on the market for less than a week at that point, we declined.

For the next couple months we had a TON of showings every week, and a lot of interested parties, but no more offers. By December I was starting to get worried that the condo would never sell. But we were reluctant to panic and drop the price, because neighborhood comparables just didn't warrant it. So we decided to hang tight and even keep the listing live over the holidays, thinking someone may want to check it out.

We lucked out and the right buyer came along over Christmas, and after a couple weeks of price and inspection negotiations, our condo sale is officially "pending" and set to close on or before March 15! Barring an act of god (or the bad luck of writing this blog post), there's no legal way for the buyer to back out at this point. And we managed to just about break even, which in today's market I feel is pretty darn good. We originally bought the unit as an investment and planned to make money on it in the future, but the great recession really put a cramp in that plan. Boo.

As excited as I am about our new house, I'll still be sad to move out of the home where Stew and I first built a life together. I'll also miss Ballard (but not commuting in and out of it) and I'll miss some of our lovely neighbors (but not the aggressive street people).

Our sweet neighbor down the hall left us
this note when she heard the news.

So it's almost time for a new chapter. And it's definitely time to stop waking up 30 minutes earlier every morning to clean the entire house and put it in show condition before I leave for the day... I definitely won't miss that.

And the countdown begins... I guess I'll start packing!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Heartbroken at White Pass

We took a trip to White Pass last weekend with some friends, which meant we watched the Seahawks playoff game against the Falcons in the lodge. What a heart breaker. I'm still having a hard time discussing or processing the loss. And I'm still kind of on my mini blog break, so I didn't take many pictures while we were there, but here are a couple shots of the weekend (which was really fun except for the Sunday afternoon letdown).

Beautiful, snowy day for a Seahawks game.

12th Man representing at the White Pass Lodge.

Buddy, our little mascot, watched the game intently.

Poor Stewart couldn't move or speak for hours after the game ended.
He's still in a deep depression. We all are.

We all dealt with the loss in different ways...

...Shot Ski!

We always stay at the White Pass Village Inn in tiny, adorable little condos directly across from the ski lifts. One of my favorite parts of the trip is spending every evening with the whole group in a huge outdoor hot pool. We didn't get any new snow this year, but it was still a fun trip even though our beloved Hawks ended the season on such a disappointing note.

Next year baby, next year...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tulio Belated Birthday Lunch

For a belated combined birthday celebration my team and I went out to lunch last Friday at Tulio, just a few blocks up from the office. I was super duper excited because pasta/Italian food is like my kryptonite - I am powerless against it. And since it was in celebration of my birthday, I planned on guiltlessly ordering something super naughty and full of carbs.

That morning I was super slammed and never got around to having anything for breakfast other than a few cups of coffee, so by the time we arrived for our noon reservation I was absolutely starving. As I stepped through the antique revolving doors I could practically taste delicious homemade pasta on my tongue. If only I was allowed a glass of wine to go with it...


We were seated at an adorable table in the back and soon after the server brought out Italian bread and some of the yummiest olive oil I have ever tasted (I think it was infused with herbs or something). I only had one piece of bread, partly because I wanted to save myself for the main course, but mostly because I didn't want to look like a greedy cow in front of my co-workers.

I saw a few plates of food go by including the fish special of the day, and the portions looked fairly generous, so I figured my order would be similar in size. Oh, sad, sad day when it finally arrived, quite a while later when I was beginning to actually feel faint from hunger.

Wild Mushroom Tortelli with yellow foot chanterelles,
puntanella, currant, and Meyer lemon butter.
Yes, my friends, you're looking at five little pieces of ravioli nestled at the very bottom of an extremely large bowl... $16 for ten bites of food (if you pace yourself and take small bites). As they looked sadly up at me my co-worker shot me a look of absolute pity as she dug into her own tiny portion of risotto. Sigh... what a letdown. I really wish I would have put my fork in the bowl for scale, but I promise you, I've never been more shocked at a portion size, even at a "nice" restaurant.

The dish itself was pretty good, but nothing special and certainly not worth the price, especially since I had to buy a deli salad a couple hours later to get me through the afternoon. I suppose I should have said yes to the $7 soup or $12 salad the server offered when I placed my order, but that felt awkward (and expensive) since no one else ordered anything extra.

So to sum up, I left my birthday lunch feeling disappointed and hungry, and I definitely won't be going back to Tulio if I can help it. If I can't, I'll make sure I eat a snack first next time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We have drywall... but no place to exercise.

Sorry, loyal followers, if you're getting sick and tired of all our new house updates, but it's just such an exciting process for us, especially as we get closer and closer to the end.

We stopped by the house on New Year's Day, but were sad to find out that nothing had been done since the last time we were there. But so the trip wasn't a total wash, we headed up into town to check out Ridge Fitness. Blech. What a horrible gym. Small, dark, and empty, except for a few random souls plodding diligently along on the treadmills. A sad assortment of weight and cardio equipment, a lot of which faced nothing but blank walls. A tiny group fitness room that gave me immediate claustrophobia. And the whole thing is under renovation to make the space even smaller and cram everything together more. "Well," we thought, "at least it will be cheap." Not so much. Memberships are almost the same amount that we are paying at the L.A. Fitness Signature Club in Ballard! (Where we have a pool, basketball and racquetball courts, a huge group fitness room with tons of classes, and two floors of more equipment than you could ever use. All of which is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows letting in lots of light). Going to the gym is a constant struggle for me, and I know that if Ridge Fitness is my workout option I will never exercise again. So next we're off to check out Gold's Gym in Issaquah to see if it's a better situation. If so, the extra 10 minute drive will definitely be worth it.

In any case, besides being thoroughly discouraged by the gym in our new neighborhood, we didn't get much accomplished that day. But when Stew drove up this morning to check things out, we had some progress... drywall! Stewart couldn't believe how fast they were slapping it up, and I was so excited as photos started arriving on my phone. It's starting to look like a real house!!

Yucky day outside, but you can see we have siding now...
(the houses won't both be yellow, BTW - that's just primer)

Kitchen... looking pretty small right now but they said we would feel that way at this stage...

Laundry Room.

I guess those were the rooms that had the most finished, which is why Stew took pictures of them. But the guys were working lickity split and the rest of the walls were going up insanely fast, so I'm sure the next time we visit everything will be much more complete. We're still waiting for our confirmed closing date and expect to have that any day now.

And we've had some developments with the condo sale but I don't want to jinx anything by writing about it here, so you'll have to wait a little while longer for an update on that.

If anyone has opinions on gyms near our new house, please share them with us!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mini Blog Break

Sometimes I feel like I'm so busy taking photos and re-capping events in my head so that I can blog about them later that I forget to fully enjoy each and every moment. So last weekend I took a little break from that and decided to just enjoy a couple days without the added pressure of getting pictures and thinking of clever little lines to write into future blog posts. And it turned out to be a really great few days!

It was actually a pretty eventful weekend, for us. Friday night (which we usually spend on the couch after an inevitably exhausting week) we had dinner at one of my Ballard favorites, Bastille, with my dear friend Sheena and her husband, Nick. We got to hear all about their honeymoon, new puppy, plans for the future, and did a little college reminiscing. The hours just flew by and it was such a fun evening (with delicious food and drinks to boot!)

Saturday morning Stew and I went for a long walk down to Golden Gardens and then I met up with my mom for a little furniture shopping for the new house. I found an absolutely perfect arrangement for the downstairs living room at Pacific Furniture Gallery in Southcenter. It will include a sofa, love seat, chair, ottoman and throw pillows for a really great price that is available until the end of the month. I loved this store because the pieces are locally custom made exactly to your specifications (our set will come from Stanton Sofas in Oregon). Once we place our order it can be delivered to us in just about seven weeks. We still have a lot of furniture left to purchase but I think this is a great start!

Later that night Tony and Nikki had us over for dinner with a few other couples at Tony's house in West Seattle. Everything was homemade from scratch and absolutely delicious... we had to roll ourselves home.

Sunday started off bittersweet with a goodbye breakfast for Crystal at Palomino. Since she got married Crys has still been coming back to work in Bellevue for the first two weeks of every month and spending the rest of her time with the hubby in Roseburg, Oregon. But the time has come for her permanent move down south and of course I am tragically depressed. But at the same time I am so happy and excited for them to truly start their lives together, because I know going back and forth hasn't been easy. And we've got lots of trips planned together so hopefully the adjustment won't be too rough on me. But I miss her already!

The Seahawks playoff game that afternoon against the Redskins was quite a nail biter, and I couldn't get poor Stew to sit down for even a minute of it, he just paced up and down in front of the TV. But not to worry, Russell and the guys pulled out a 24-14 win and we move on this week to play the Falcons. Go Hawks! (PS, we felt so old when some of the players were saying they weren't even ALIVE the last time the Hawks won a road playoff game in 1983).

I managed to oversleep this morning had to frantically rush to Breakfast Club with Heather and Lindsee... never how you want to start a Monday morning. But luckily I had pre-packed my lunch and I have big plans this week to hit the gym again now that my sickness seems to be about 95% gone.

We hope everyone had a lovely weekend and has a great week! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Book Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four

I knew that reading all these old classics would eventually pay off!

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell was absolutely right up my alley. I am absolutely fascinated by books and movies about future dystopian societies or anything post-apocalyptic, so of course this novel sucked me in right away.

In case you're not familiar, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published in 1949 and is set in Oceania, where society is tyrannized by The Party and its totalitarian ideology. It is a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, and public mind control, dictated by a political system called Ingsoc, or English Socialism. The privileged Inner Party elite persecute all individualism and independent thinking as "thoughtcrimes," and their tyranny is headed by Big Brother, who may or may not actually exist.

The protagonist is named Winston Smith, an Outer Party member who works for Minitrue (the Ministry of Truth), which is responsible for propaganda and revising past historical records to conform with current party lines. But Winston secretly hates the Party and Big Brother, and dreams of rebelling against them. Soon enough he meets and begins a relationship with Julia, who shares his thoughts, and together them embark upon a journey that will inevitably end in disaster.

I thought Nineteen Eighty-Four was incredibly intriguing. Even though it was published in 1949 I could have believed it was written yesterday, and I think Orwell might have been able to see into the future. I found it so terrifying to think about how quickly and easily our society could sink to this level... and perhaps is already going down this path. This is a horror story without any monsters, and it becomes more haunting as it becomes more real...

Be careful... Big Brother is watching.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year - 2013

(Sorry for the terrible quality, but this is the best picture I got)

Wow, 2012 was quite a whirlwind in our little corner of the world. Obviously the main event was that we got married, but we also took some awesome trips, saw some amazing shows, went to lots of Seattle sporting events, read a ton of books, and in general tried to spend as much quality time with our friends and family as possible. Apart from being incredibly sick for the last month of the year, overall we'd say it was an overwhelming success, and we have so much to look forward to in 2013.

Thank you to everyone who helped contribute to our very happy lives this year... we can't wait to see what the next one has in store for us!
Cheers!