Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bob arrives in Portland!

Bobby should be in Portland by now! He and Sara did the final leg of their drive today, from Utah. I talked to them when I was on the bus coming home from work (stuck in baseball traffic - the Mariners/Red Sox crowd was spilling out of the stadium and held up traffic for 40 mins! I got home an hour late! This city's traffic management and bus routes are pathetic. And we think we're progressive! Don't get me started.)

Anyway. John is already down there for work, he left this morning. I'm going to take the train down tomorrow evening. So we'll have Fri, Sat and Sun to have fun, have some good dinners (thanks Mom and Dad!) and also a little outdoor adventure. We might go to Hood River, maybe do a hike. We'll see.

The main goal is to show Bob and Sara a good time since this is Bob's new home (and hopefully ours too, one of these days!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lake of the Angels

We had an incredible hike yesterday to Lake of the Angels in Olympic National Park (headwaters of the Hamma Hamma River on the east side of the peninsula). It was a long day but totally worth it. I think it's the steepest hike I've ever done (only 8 miles round trip, but straight up) and I'm feeling it today...

(scroll down for more pictures)

Actually, it was longer than 8 miles b/c the road to the trailhead was blocked by a huge landslide. So we parked and walked the rest of the way up the road to the trail. A good warmup, because once we got to the trail we started gaining elevation pretty quickly. Parts of the trail were a little hairy - climbing/pulling yourself up over roots/rocks. Fun!

Eventually we emerged from the forest up into the subalpine. Lots of great wildflowers (avalanche lily, glacier lily, paintbrush, lupine, shooting stars). Since we had such a long winter, a lot of the flowers are just starting to emerge and there's still lots of snow up there. The sound of water was constant -- the streams meandering over the soggy, spongey ground and also the thundering of the waterfalls pouring off the cliffs.

We thought we were close to the lake...but no. Quick re-fuel of almonds and chocolate and then, more climbing. Hiked up a snowfield, then up trail again, up, up and finally got to the higher basin. At the lake, we found a big rock by the water and broke out our lunch. Almost immediately we were greeted by a bunch of mountain goats. I've only seen them up close like that once before, on a hike with Bobby in Glacier Nat'l Park in MT.

The goats just seemed very curious. They weren't aggressive. The babies were the cutest. Now, for you conservation sticklers out there, I know MG's aren't native to the Olympics, they were imported from the Cascades. So technically they shouldn't be here. But...did I mention how cute the babies were?

One of the best parts of the day was my quick swim in the lake. It was so hot and we were covered with mud and dust and mosquito bites, so the water felt wonderful. It was so clear -- and cold (pure snowmelt), so I didn't stay in for long.

We hung out on the rock, watched the trout swimming around, watched marmots through the binocs, took more pics of the mountain goats when they came back (even more of them this time) and then started back down the trail.

All in all, a beautiful day. We stopped in Olympia for dinner, and got home at midnight. Looking forward to more sleep tonight!

Here are some pictures:

Michael at the landslide/road closure

Foxglove along the road (we were surprised by the big flower on top - have any of you wildflower experts ever seen a foxglove flower open up like that?)

Hiking up...

And up...

Jill, Michael and Elise

Rewarding view of Mt. Rainier as we continue up the trail to the lake (look closely and you can see it)

Waterfalls (that white blur you see in the distance)

Michael and Jill find frogs in the streams

Stream in meadow flowing under the snow

The lake!

Jill at the lake

Mountain goats (I think I took about 87 photos of them. Here are just a few)

Two babies

2 adults, one baby

Adult and baby (it was cute, sometimes the adults would give the kids a nudge when they were reluctant to cross the stream)

Contemplating their next move (MGs are very agile on rocks, but they don't seem to enjoy getting their feet wet)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

John's home!

John got back from Portland last night. It's good to have him home! When I told Queets we were going to pick up dad at the train station, he started howling and got really excited (he knows the word "dad"). John surprised me with a present - he bought me an adorable sun dress from Lizard Lounge. Totally on a whim! He's so sweet and thoughtful.

Today is going to be a mellow summer day with a couple errands. I've been desperately needing new glasses for several years now, but I've been putting it off b/c I only wear them when I'm getting ready for bed, or when I wake up in the morning. I pretty much always wear my contacts. But the glasses I have are lame and starting to fall apart (I literally think I got them in MD before I moved to Seattle!) So, today I'm going to hopefully to to the glasses store and pick out a new pair.

Next store to the glasses place is my favorite used bookstore, so I'm also going to hopefully find some good paperbacks. Here are some books I just finished, and recommend:

1) Something Borrowed, by Emily Giffin -- if you're looking for "chick lit" this is great! The perfect beach book. I couldn't put it down.
2) Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley -- great political spoof. Funny. By the same author who wrote "Thank you for Smoking"
3) The Road, by Cormac McCarthy -- grim, but also hopeful and pretty amazing.

This evening we're heading to a BBQ at our across-the-street friends Jay and JoAnn's house.

(I just had to get up from the computer and go outside because the crows were making a big commotion. We've been feeding Queets on the back porch because he makes a mess and gets food (wet + dry) all over the floor, which if you don't clean up every last speck, attracts ants. But now we need to remember to bring his bowl inside when he's done eating on the porch, because if you don't it attracts crows! They'll swoop down, squawking to all their friends, and try to eat the food he didn't finish.)

Anyway, I talked to Bobby last night. He and Sara are gearing up for their road trip! They'll be taking a cool route, driving through the Southwest, stopping, among other places, at Roswell, New Mexico! Should be interesting, I've never been there. They'll get to Portland mid/late next week, and John and I will meet them there and stay through the weekend. July 27 is Bob's 30th b-day so we'll have lots of festivities.

Can't believe my little brother is turning 30!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Our pool

The Seattle PI has a fun article today about our neighborhood pool. I love it b/c it's on the beach and filled with saltwater from Puget Sound. Great to swim in.

Every morning Queets and I run past the pool and we can see the swim team practicing. Just one whiff of chlorine takes me back to the old days of North Creek...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer panic

Summer is so wonderful here in the Pacific Northwest, there's a general sense that you have to cram a million fun things into the months of July and August, before the wintery dark arrives. The days are so long (it doesn't get dark in the evenings now until 10ish) so you feel like you need to hike/garden/boat/fish/etc 24-7 and you'll sleep when winter comes.

So today at work I had my first panic that we're not doing enough outdoor fun. But we've been so busy with work and travel (I recently got promoted to nat'l communications director, and John is busy as always, raising money and hiring new staff) we've been wanting quiet weekends at home.

Enough of that! Who cares about laundry, vacuuming, etc. Tonight after work we'll have a late dinner b/c I'm taking Queets to the beach. And this weekend we're going hiking. There. That settles it. My panic is already starting to subside.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great long weekend

Loved the 3-day weekend! Beautiful weather here in Seattle. This is the time to be in the Northwest! Here are some of our weekend highlights --

* Fresh, local strawberries from the farmer's market. Bought a bunch of those and picked the rhubarb in our garden. Made a strawberry-rhubarb crisp for our 4th of July dessert. Mmm.

* Watched "Dan in Real Life", nice feel-good movie

* Did major yard work. Got a bunch of bark/mulch to make everything look "done". And noticed the cherry trees we planted last year have fruit on them!

* Re-stocked our bird seed supply with a trip to "Wild Birds Unlimited" -- John is a great tender of our local wildlife. Today he witnessed a sharp-shinned hawk come right down to our bird feeders and snatch a house sparrow innocently munching on the new food. Yikes. Nature in all its glory...

* Neighborhood bike ride with Queets. Took him a little while to get used to trotting alongside the bike (I thought I was going to wipe out/run him over a couple times), but once he got over the excitement of it he was good to go.

* Had a couple good runs down along the beach

* Dinner with friends at our favorite neighborhood pizza place -- huge slices, reminds me of the east coast.

Other than that, we're still trying to figure out whether we can/should sell our house in this blah market. We had a not-so-inspiring meeting with our realtor today.

And, we're looking forward to seeing Bobby when he moves to Portland later this month. Trying to plan a fun excursion with him (windsurfing in the Columbia River gorge is the leading contender right now) Can't wait!