Last week I spent the week in Kansas visiting my dad, stepmom, and two brothers. It was actually a great trip, very relaxing, and fun.

Pre-trip (Tuesday):

The day before I left was my mom’s birthday and we spent the day in Seattle. It was so much fun! On our way to Seattle we got pedicures in Olympia, which was much needed. Then we went to ikea to get some goodies for my dorm room. I pretty much have everything I need now and I am super stoked to move! Anyway, we met my sister and niece and nephew at ikea and we had a sweet time. We proceeded to go to Nordstrom where I got some awesome new threads. We spent a massive amount of time at both stores so by the time we were done it was like 8:00 and we decided we were hungry and ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Dinner was awesome, as it usually is at the Cheesecake Factory, but it was super busy so we had to sit really close to the people around us. Ignoring the negative of being so close to everyone, it was awesome because we could listen to other people’s conversations. The people to the right of us were very funny because they were high school kids on a date and it was ironic because the girl ordered some sort of pasta and the boy ordered a salad. It made me laugh. After dinner we went to our hotel and we got there pretty late so there wasn’t a lot of parking so we parked on the side and when we went in the receptionist person informed us that there was a thief in the parking lot and if we had any valuables we should bring them inside and we were like oh its cool we put all of our stuff in the trunk. She then informed us that these theives take out the locks on the trunks and that is where they get most of their loot. So we had to bring everything that we purchased up to our room, which took a while. On our last trip up to our room there was this guy a few doors down from us and we had seen him at the Cheesecake Factory. I said to him, “hey we saw you at the cheesecake factory.” He laughed and said, “oh are you stalking me? It’s ok, you can stalk me.” I was officially creeped out. So we went into our room and watched The L Word (my favorite show) and then went to bed. I fell asleep and around 1:00 and we had to wake up at 3:45.

Day One (Wednesday):

So after getting less than 3 hours of sleep I had to wake up and get myself ready and we headed to the airport. Our car was not broken into, as far as we know. My plane was supposed to leave at 6:15 but we didn’t leave until about 7:00 because there was some sort of latch on one of the compartments in the back that was broken. I only had a 45 minute layover when I got to Denver. I was so worried that I was going to miss my flight. It all turned out ok, I just had to run to my flight and then we left right away. I arrived in Kansas around 2:00 and was greeted by my two brothers and my stepmom. We went home and I took a 2 1/2 hour nap. It was amazing. That night we just hung out when my dad got home from work and it was a nice relaxing day.

Day Two (Thursday):

I woke up Thursday morning and we all went to the pool. It was about 95 degrees out and the pool felt so amazing. We stayed there for a couple of hours and when we got home I took my 7 year old brother to see GI Joe. It was actually a pretty good movie, not to mention that Channing Tatum is rather good looking and not to hard to look at for two hours. While we were waiting for the movie to start, these two guys came in and sat a couple of rows in front of us. I couldn’t help but laugh when they sat with a seat in between them…oh men. The rest of that day was relaxing yet again and I played a lot of sudoku.

Day Three (Friday):

My Aunt Dana came to visit. I was so happy because I have not seen my Aunt Dana in about 5 or 6 years. She is amazing and I used to spend a week with her every summer so it had been far too long. She wanted to go to a movie so just she and I went to see the Time Traveler’s Wife (which was amazing!) and then came home and chatted with my dad and stepmom before we went to bed.

Day Four (Saturday):

We woke up early and went out to breakfast and then we went to the city market. It was really fun to walk around but it was so hot and humid, it was almost unbearable. While at the marketplace, we went to the Steamboat Arabia Museum. If you are ever in Kansas City, I strongly recommend seeing it. The Steamboat Arabia is a Steamboat that sunk in the Missouri River in 1856. The boat had several passengers as well as a couple of tons of cargo making its way from Kansas City to St. Louis. It didn’t make it very far before it sunk. All of the passengers survived but most of their belongings and the cargo did not. Several years after the boat sunk, there were rumors of a lot of alcohol aboard. Many people tried to dig up the boat but with little luck and the alcohol was never found. I believe it was 20 years ago that a father, his two sons, and a family friend wanted to dig up this boat and try to find some treasure. To make a long story short, they found so many artifacts and opened this museum to show what they had found. It was pretty amazing. Here are some pictures.steamboat_painting

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After the museum my aunt went home and the rest of the day was more relaxing and sudoku.

Day Five (Sunday):

Sunday was by far the most relaxing day of the week. We all slept in and laid in our pajamas for most of the day. My stepmom recorded the last season of Hell’s Kitchen, it is one of the best shows ever. My dad and I watched the last 9 episodes of the show and I am now in love with it. That night, we went to dinner at Power Play, which is like a fancy chuckie cheese. The food is way better and it has more games for older people. After we got home, I was so tired from doing nothing all day that I went to bed.

Day Six (Monday):

This was my last full day in Kansas. Brady, my brother, wanted to see yet another movie, so we went to see Aliens in the Attic. It was not a bad movie. I think that most little kids would enjoy it. Other than that, I played a lot of sudoku and watched some lifetime movies with my stepmom.

Day Seven and Post-trip (Tuesday):

This was the day I was going home. I woke up early (6:30) and got ready to go. The day was boring, just flying and then I got home around 2:00. The lovely boyfriend picked me up from the airport, we went to lunch at Red Robin, and then he took me home.

The trip was fun. There were a couple of thunder storms with thunder so loud and so close to the house it felt like an earthquake sometimes. My brothers love the wiggles and after being home for a day now, I still have this stuck in my head.

Right now I am on vacation. According to my definition of vacation, it is:

Leaving home and not having to work or go to school.

It has been really nice.

This post will include a bit of what I have been doing this vacation, my sudoku background, and some issues that I have with the game, as well as the sudoku book I am in the process of completing.

First and foremost, this vacation has included a lot of sudoku. Hours of it.  I do it for a couple of reasons:

1. I enjoy it.

2. It is a good way to keep my brain going so that it does not rot away while I do nothing all day.

3. I love it. (I know this is similar to number 1 but I just wanted to emphasize this fact.)

The rules of sudoku are simple. The game is played on a 9X9 grid. Each row, column, and box within the grid must be filled with only one of each number from 1-9. This is not a good explanation of the game. Maybe it is not simple. Oh well, if you don’t know how to play and want to know, look it up.

My love for sudoku began a few years ago when it was introduced to me by my boyfriend. He was solving a baseball sudoku puzzle that used baseball positions instead of numbers. I assisted him in solving his puzzle and then I bought myself a couple of sudoku puzzle books as well as an electronic sudoku. I was sudokuing all of the time. I became a master, a sudoku black belt, if you will. Well when I got a life, I didn’t have much time or energy for sudoku anymore and I let the books collect dust on my bookshelf. Some of these books were filled, some were incomplete and some were completely empty. So before I left for this vacation of mine, I decide that I would get back into my sudoku mania way of living life. I brought a sudoku for dummies book that my step-mom bought for me and I was super excited to start it.  I was very disappointed to find that my black belt in sudoku had faded away. The puzzles are categorized as easy, tricky, tough, diabolical, treacherous, and bewildering, in that order. Some of these puzzles include letters and numbers with a much bigger grid and there is even a circular grid. 

All I have to say is that I have been doing sudoku a lot these past days and I am only on puzzle number 25. Still categorized as easy.

I also have a really big obsessive compulsive thing when it comes to sudoku. I have to do all of the puzzles in order. I cannot skip any. So I could possibly be working on one puzzle forever and I would never progress in my book. It has never happened but with this book it could. The easy puzzles are not so easy…I am afraid to go up a skill level.

Anyways, one thing that I do not like about this book is how hard the puzzles are. But I am totally confused. I do not know if there is an expert out there who can help me with this but it is forcing me to cheat, yes I have looked at the answers in the back on some puzzles. That is what this has come to.

When I first start a puzzle, I like to asses the numbers that I have been given, as any person who knows how to play sudoku would do. In several of the puzzles, the right and left boxes (made of nine little squares) are empty. These puzzles are impossible to solve without looking at the answer. I don’t fully cheat, I just fill in a couple of numbers so that I can do the rest on my own. It is really frustrating and I am ashamed of my behavior. But this is a vacation and I won’t stress about it.

For the most part, this has been a great vacation and I hope it only continues to get better.

More on my vacation some other day.

I still have no clue on how to solve these hard easy puzzles.  I hope I can figure it out.