It's a mad scramble now, getting the house ready for Blog Fest West. While I want everything to look nice for the guests, mostly, it's things TOG and I needed to do anyway. It's all just crammed into the next few weeks!

While out in the back yard escaping from the paint fumes yesterday, I captured a jumble of images to share. Such as the shot above from my garden. TOG's favorite flower and my favorite flower...

K2 with 2/3 of the Brute Squad, Fiona and Cassie!

The size of this raspberry that's coming on on one of my first year plants!

And my favorite flower, captured with the macro lens!

And no, I haven't had to time to process any more Ireland shots. I'm pathetically overbooked!

AG out!


Here's a shot of Baby Alice I took right after we got back from Ireland. Because Baby Alice makes everything better!


A- Baby Alice! K3 K1 brought Ben and Alice over last night for a visit. Ben is very busy. So busy he is pretty much a blur! Alice is a little more laid back! We had a snack and nice burp and poopy diaper!

The photo is pretty much out of the camera as I have not installed Photoshop yet. I did get my computer back after it went wacko with the lan drivers and had difficulty staying online. I have all my files, etc but need to reinstall software to bring it up to speed. I finally installed my email last night so if I've missed something vital, let me know!

B- Blog Fest West! Please head over to the BFW tab to veiw the potential itinerary of BFW. Your feedback now will be important for final plans. Please respond quickly, as I am leaving for Ireland soon and iMom will be the one worrying about the details until I get back!

C- Carryons and other essentials... I've resolved a multitude of issues regarding what to take and how since we'll pretty much be on the move the entire time we're in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Stay tuned for product reviews and solutions for being a traveling asthmatic!

AG out!

Are you a Blister?

Blog Sisters! We're looking for you!

Imom and I are trying to establish a head count for Blog Fest West. To lay claim to your little corner of the Northwest (Seattle) head on over to the BFW tab on this blog and leave a comment.

Imom and I have some great ideas percolating and can't wait to welcome everyone to our beautful city! August is definitely a spectacular month to visit Seattle!

Each of us have some availability at our respective houses to park visiting bloggers. There are also a variety of hotels in the area for those wishing for a little privacy!

Head on over and claim your spot now!

AG out!

And so it begins

If you've arrived from iMom's blog about a summer blog festival, you've come to the right place!

Two out of three Brute squad members agree that summer in Seattle is the place to be. And August is beautiful here! I've decided to give Blog Fest West it's own page so that it doesn't get lost in between posts about dogs, lungs and other topics!

For all things Blog Fest West, please look up at the blog header and click on "BFW". Here, you can see the latest news, make your plans and ask questions.

iMom and I can't wait to see everyone!

AG out!

Laissez les bons temps rouler (la deuxième partie)

Or... Let the Good Times Roll (part two)

There was no 500 point winner yesterday on the band. Although I forgot the Cars did a song with exactly that name! Good catch everyone. The band I was thinking of was Little Feat. Their release of the album Let it Roll in 1987 inspired the theme for their tour when TOG and I saw them in the mid 1990's. With their Cajun origins, it was hardly a surprise that 'Laissez les bons temps rouler' were the words they called out when they took the stage. Still, I enjoyed the comments enough that I'm going to make a donation to my local food bank anyway. I was just looking for a excuse! K3 currently does volunteer work there so 3 days per week so I'll have her do it for me!

Now, there were a few 5000 point winners. So... it is with great pride that iMom, The Baroness and yours truly would like to announce:

Blog Fest West

After discussion with the charming and lovely CBW, our Blog Fest host for the last two years in the beautiful state of Virginia, it was determined that with her book commitment, Blog Fest is going to be impossible very difficult for her to pull off this year. Thus followed discussion with other bloggers and finally a bit of chatter among the "locals': me, iMom and the Baroness. We hatched a plan and we're very pleased and excited to invite you to Blog Fest West! We can't wait to show you our great Northwest!

Things you'll see include:

Dinner at the Pub! (wine, ales, great Canadian cider, fabulous sustainable food)

Pike Place Market with iMom as a guide! She used to work there!

Our beautiful local marina!

Time at my dad's out on the island...

And of course beautiful views of Mt. Rainier...

Puget Sound....

And the Brute Squad!

Both iMom and I can sleep at least 4 people if not more at each of our houses. We live about 10 minutes from each other. If you choose to, you can also stay at this hidden gem of a hotel very close to our houses. We can each do airport pick ups and drop offs as we are very close to SeaTac.

Who should come? Anyone who wants to see our part of the country, is willing to hang out with a fun bunch of bloggers, wants to meet iMom's and my family, enjoy great food and aches to go home with a fabulous souvenir blog fest cup and a ton of groovy memories!

The only detail we are still dithering on is a date. It will either be late July or early August! We thought we had it decided this morning, but we just had another wrinkle. Stay tuned to this blog for further details!

Who's on board????

AG (and friends) can't wait to welcome you!

Stop the Car!

This was one of the last shots I took at Blogfest, taken when Lauren, Shelley and I were leaving Bud's beach. 

I had been trying to get the "perfect" sunset picture because I knew Bud's bay had it to give. Last year's sky was amazing. So when I looked out the car window and saw this sky, I likely scared Shelley to death by yelling "stop the car!" as I fumbled for my camera! But I was totally focused on getting this shot!

I love the color. Flat out. Period.

Love. The. Color.

When I look at shots like this, I always think about what's to come. Even as a beautiful sky whispers about the peace that comes at the end of the day, to me... it also murmurs about the possibilities of tomorrow. Skies like this fill me with contentment and hope.

And in this case, wistfull memories of a lovely day at the beach with friends...

AG out!

Conversations in Virginia

This shot was taken on a very hot day when I was out on Noe Noe and Cdub's boat with ,MPM, Bayman and AM.

On a sizzling hot day out on the water, these chairs were a luscious bit of whimsy. Inviting, unique... I could just see them full of "blisters" (blog sisters) with ice cold beverages and the conversations and laughter flowing!

Now that I'm back in Washington (state), I have a slightly different view of The Chairs. I can still visualize a fun Blister afternoon on the water, but the conversations we would have while sitting in those beautiful chairs were conversations we did have; navigating Virginia in SUVs, sitting in the sand, perched on beach chairs with gritty, sandy butts, across a table with bloody marys, bouncing across the water in boats, lolling on a shanty porch during a storm, floating in Bud's Bay and walking on lawn covered in goose poop.

In other words, we didn't need a perfect setting to do some of our best work; talking and laughing. We did it wherever we were. Although, to be honest, the beautiful scenery didn't hurt my eyes.

Conversely, one of the loveliest conversations I had in Virginia was a silent one... other than the clinking of ice in our water glasses. Sitting with a new blister in a lovely bistro, cooling off from a sweltering walk, the quietness was serene, graceful and communication unto itself.

And that, more than chairs on a dock, is the beauty of BlogFest. No matter which Blister you sit next to, there is no awkwardness, no right thing to say, no forced conversation. Just another opportunity to chat, laugh, hug, mug for the camera or sit and enjoy each other.

But I do love those chairs!

AG out!

The White Dog Inn

One of the highlights of our time in Mathews was the White Dog Inn. Calling itself a bisto/b&b/coffee house is a little misleading... What it is, is fabulous!

The ambiance is impeccable!

 (ship chandelier in main dining room)

Perhaps a little frivilous...

Zebra carpet on stairs? To die for!

Let's continue up, shall we? These are the upstairs rooms!

 The sitting room, an open shared area which can be used by either the King or Queen room. I love the quail painting!

The beautiful King room!

 The charming and airy Queen room....

...complete with stairs to ascend to your comfortable bed!

And now a quick trip downstairs to the dining room...

 Possibly the best chicken salad EVAH! I heard wonderful things about the fried green tomatoes but did not partake. There are no pictures of the macaroni and cheese (with ham shreadies) although I have dreamed about it twice since I came home. It was gone so fast, there was no time to get a picture... There is also no photographic evidence of the bananas foster or the chocolate bread pudding. Again, these dishes were with us for mere moments before they ceased to be!

I sincerely hope I make it back to Mathews, Virginia. This would be one of my first stops! Everything about the White Dog is so well done. They had a group of 40 seated before us for lunch and the service continued to be smooth and effortless, the food was still perfectly done, and the waiter (Hi Eric!) was still graceful and humorous with our energetic group of bloggers!

Thanks White Dog Inn, for such a lovely experience!

AG out!


I did not edit any pictures last night or this morning. So I thought I would show you the very beginning and the very end of Blogfest, courtesy of United Airlines who, yes Binky, wanted an arm and a frickin leg to fly Madeline to Blogfest.

Anyway... the picture above is what woke me up as we flew east from Seattle to DC. After taking the pill that had me slipping into a coma, I neglected to close the blind on the window. Thus, in the AM, it wasn't just a sunrise, but seemingly a lake of molton lava outside the window that had my eyelids flying open in self defense so they didn't become welded to my corneas. I was not even awake 5 seconds before thinking "must grab camera". I belive my fumbling around was what woke Shelley up.

Now below... we have the sight flying home...

...which I have carefully labled for you. From left to right, Mt. Hood (in Oregon), Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. (I knew these would be hard to see when I shrunk this picture down small enough for my blog. I may put the original on flickr and post a link to it...)

(due to Asthmagirl's angst at leaving Blogfest, she has also carefully labled the wing, the engine and the lovely 65 degree sky)

Yes, St. Helens is missing it's top.

I blame Gustov.... or Jill...

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming which currently includes snoring chihuahuas, cold legs and three very important grants that are due in a week. (Unfortunately, they carpeted some of the offices while I was gone so I am working remotely from the Den of Madness Brute Squad Central until the dang carpet quits off-gassing and I can return to the mothership.

Yours in not enough time in the day to do "This" and edit pictures...

AG out!


I'm still processing images... still processing all the emotions that go with Blog Fest.

The amazing thing to me is that no matter why we decided/needed/wanted to start blogging, no one I spoke to had the intent of someday meeting the folks that commented on their blog and having a wonderful/hysterical/heartwarming getaway with them somewhere down the line.

And yet, that's exactly what we did.

And it was amazing...

 And heartfelt...


And stunningly beautiful...

But mostly...'s almost impossible to put into words.

AG out!


I'm awash with images and memories surrounding BlogFest 2010.

I'm also awash in "not much sleep and having to leave for work in a half hour not having eaten and my hair is still in a towel".

Life is good!

Here's a favorite... more to come...

I call it "Cloud Soup".

Blister hugs to all my girls.

AG out!

Yes Virginia!

Yes Virginia! There is a Blog Fest!

And we will all be there shortly!

And Sunday night, I realized how much I have left to do in order to be ready...

But it doesn't matter, because I'm practically giddy at the thought of seeing all my Blisters again!

Two more sleeps before The Baroness and I climb on the plane for our overnight flight!

Giddy doesn't even come close...


No no! I said "giddy", not Geddy!

Photo borrowed from the nice folks at

 Does anyone know if the coffee grinder is still there at the Sea Shanty?

AG out!

To-do list

It's official. In one week, the hilariously funny, articulate and gently sarcastic Baroness and I will board a plane at the stroke of midnight and depart for DC, and ultimately Blog Fest '10.

While the Baroness will nestle into her seat roughly 5 minutes after takeoff, throw her coat over her shoulders and immediately slip into a restful coma, yours truly will sit, upright, wide eyed, irretrievably alert and desperate for sleep.

Activities I plan on engaging in while the baroness dozes include:

  • smearing more self tanner on my legs in a futile attempt to combat the pasty whiteness
  • smearing some on the Baroness just for giggles
  • cataloging any topics I can speak knowlegably about at Blog fest so I don't sound like a dope (I know this won't matter, I may sound like a dope anyway but preparation is everything)
  • calculate the ratio of lift and air speed required to remain airborne with all the medications I've brought
  • ponder the increasing likelihood of network failure at work the more state lines I cross.
  • pick at the red patch on my forehead which has morphed into something so unspeakable, I've named it Bob to placate it.
  • throw glitter in the aisle... I'm feeling festive
  • learn norwegian
  • wonder whether the pilot ever dreamed of flying for NASA
  • estimate the lifespan of my pedicure (not that I'll actually get one) once the plane lands and I start walking around
  • wonder what kind of scones Meg is bringing to the airport
  • puzzle over why the fascinating book I bought the night before is now about as enteraining as a 1970's Harlequin novel
  • rummage through the Baroness' carryon to see if she has snacks
  • rummage through my carryon to see why it weighs 850 pounds
  • ruminate over the laws of physics and density that allow a carryon to weigh 850 pounds and still be the size of a grapefruit ("You're my density")
  • consider whether the clothes I brought are going to be too hot, too big, too small or too boring
  • wish that I had purchased a new camera lens to play with at blog fest
  • sigh in frustration that I put my bite guard in my luggage and not my carry on...
  • remind myself that everything will be utterly fine if only I would go to sleep and get some rest
  • collapse in exhaustion at having finally worn out my brain

It's going to be a wonderful flight!

And we're all going to have fun no matter what!

AG out!

PS~ Just kidding about rummaging through the Baroness' carryon. Dead serious about smearing tanner on her though!


I snapped this the other day on the way down to main street in my little town. It may have been when K3 and I were on our way to see Eclipse. I had the camera set up totally wrong, but I loved the image of the island across the sound and the Olympic Mountains in the background. Although the weather was spectacularly crappy this June, we have had the occasional nice day... followed by a couple days of cloudy and 65!

All of that is coming to an end this week as temps climb into the mid to upper 80's. We'll see if I can keep from whining about the warm weather I wished for!

In other news, I think I leave for Virginia (and Blogfest!) in 9 days! Which means I've entered the mental preparation phase. This consists of:

  • wishing I wasn't so "jiggly"
  • wishing I were mildly thinner (I know they'll love me anyway)
  • wishing the self tanner I've been smearing on my legs religously would kick in
  • wishing my hair wouldn't frizz in the humidity
  • wishing I were better with my camera in stead of (still) struggling along
  • wishing my leg hair would grow so I could wax before I leave
  • wishing this blotch on my forehead would develop into something I could treat instead of sitting there teasing me

Stay tuned for the next phase which consists of panic attacks about packing and wondering if my summer clothes still fit.

With the warm weather on the way, drop by the Asthmatic Kitchen to see what I'm scarfing down huge bowls of!

What are you eating?

AG out!  


Yesterday was an all day strategy meeting and I had prep work to do, so I didn't get a chance to post.

I have to say, as I head into this three day weekend, I'm feeling a little giddy.

Blog Fest is just around the corner...

TOG has the fourth off for the first time in 9 years...

My little K3 and I went to see Eclipse the other night and we rarely do a movie night...

This picture is from our trip to Seaworld. I love K3's exuberance. I love that it's sunny. I love all the color!

Yesterday my feet were so cold I wore shoes AND socks.

Today it is raining and 59 degrees.

 But that's okay... Blog Fest is right around the corner.

Yours in raincoats and frizzy hair...

AG out!


I'm setting up a new computer in my office. My old one was running low on "Ooomph" that I needed to get things done. It could do the everyday stuff, but it was really working hard in terms of the remote work for my agency and I decided that it needed to go to a home that wouldn't ask so much of it.

I have my new system up and running, but it's going to take a few days to get all the programs installed and since the laptop I'm test driving doesn't have photo editing software on it, I can't edit any new photos. Normally, this would be a relief, but I'm kind of at a loss knowing I CAN'T photoshop anything right now!

So above is a shot I took at Blogfest last year. I love seeing everyone's shoes! I have ordered a new pair of Blogfest sandals. Last year, my new sandals didn't arrive on time. This year, I'm thinking ahead!

Speaking of Blog Fest, I can't believe this year's edition is only 2 weeks away (more or less)! I'm excited to hop back on a plane with the Baroness and see all our blisters in Virginia! And frankly, I could use a bit of a getaway...

Thanks for all your lovely comments about Buddy Boy yesterday. I cringe at the thought of him being an indoor cat. Not that I don't love him, but his sister Bad Girl is the indoor cat. And he beats the crap out of her every time he sees her. And they're on different levels... She chases and kills bugs in the yard, he chases and kills varmints in the woods. She doesn't have a chance when he decides to whip up on her. It's the least attractive aspect to his charactor. He can be a stinker. And... 2/3 of the Brute Squad thinks he's the devil. If it was just Buddy Boy and Maddie, things would work out, but throw a mild mannered cat and two hysterical Chihuahuas into the mix, and it would be total mayhem.

Time to throw some clothes on and go to work... This is tech work slam week. Yawn!

AG out!

This and That Thursday

  • K2 is home from San Fran. I picked her up from the airport last night at 11
  • Which meant the Brute Squad took a meeting and decided to wake me up at 4:30 this morning
  • Why in the world would anyone name themselves "The Situation"?
  • Having a conversation with someone about why their disability makes them less able to tell when a guy is a jerk blows... period...
  • I hate going to dollar stores
  • The guy reading in his car in the disabled parking space in front of the dollar store while his wife shopped... tacky
  • The woman who got out of her car to kick his butt because she needed the space for her disability... wow, everyone in the store heard you yelling
  • Cancel the amber alert on the missing dust bunnies, they're in my kitchen
  • My shins define scaly
  • Hebrew National lowfat dogs are the bomb!
  • Hot in Cleveland? Cute!
  • Deadliest Catch? Bittersweet...
  • Only 4 weeks to Blog Fest!


The highlight of a fabulous (and busy) weekend...? A moment of time to sit and talk with a friend...

It was one of those rare weekends. Everything on my list got done or started. I had time with family, including the delightful (and heavy) Ben. I got to cook vast quantities of food. I had time to flirt with my husband and time to relax in the recliner with the Brute Squad!

But the best part...? Sitting at the pub chatting with "The Baroness". It's sweetness all the more special in that I don't see Shelley as often as I would like and that time with friends just hasn't been a part of my life in recent years. K3's needs, TOG's and my work schedules and other factors have played into that scenario... and I admit... I've become a bit of a hermit.

In many ways, this blog has played a pivitol role in enhancing my pathetic social life. Without it, I would not know many of women I know today. Many I've met in real life (thanks to Blog Fest) and some remain virtual... but all have enriched me and been the source of much unexpected joy.

I have to say though... Shelley is a special person. While she's the same awkward social geek that I am, she's also  the kind of person that embraces humor, writes beautifully, seeks wisdom, values honesty and makes time fly when you're with her.

As we hugged goodbye, I could not help but be thankful to this silly little blog for bringing me friends and opportunities and all the sweetness one could imagine. It's tough to put into words, but I managed to find one. Cherished!

Yes, if you're reading this... it applies to you!

Y'all have a beautiful Monday!

AG out!