liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
We just hopped into the Passat and did a little three-day trip out to ride the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad and see the Colorado Gator Farm. Though, admittedly, the latter was chosen between that and the Sand Dunes and Jet wanted to see Gators.

There real reason we went out was to ride the train. It's a coal and steam powered train that goes from the plains in Altonito, Colorado up into the mountains and across them, through the Toltec river gorge and through the Cumbres mountains to Chama, New Mexico.

I set up a flickr set of some of the photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liralenli/sets/72157601062732595/

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
We just hopped into the Passat and did a little three-day trip out to ride the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad and see the Colorado Gator Farm. Though, admittedly, the latter was chosen between that and the Sand Dunes and Jet wanted to see Gators.

There real reason we went out was to ride the train. It's a coal and steam powered train that goes from the plains in Altonito, Colorado up into the mountains and across them, through the Toltec river gorge and through the Cumbres mountains to Chama, New Mexico.

I set up a flickr set of some of the photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/liralenli/sets/72157601062732595/

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
That the hotel wireless provider automatically opens up the site for our hotel when starting up...

I'm not going to be able to catch up on all the nights we were on the Kalmath and out on the Lake in the Woods tonight, but we've made it from Elko, NV to Rawlins, WY today, pretty much along the route shown.

For most of the trip it looked like the whole West is on fire. There were fires around Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, and all the mountains were hidden behind a haze of smoke. Good thing we didn't go to Reno, as the prevailing winds had taken most of the smoke down there. Even as it was I was sneezing a lot.

I can now imagine someone coming West over the hardship of the Rockies and getting to the Salt Flats and going, "We're stopping just East of here, where we can still grow things. No *way* we're going to make it across that." What I can't imagine is the first person that looked at the Bonnevile Salt Flats and, first, said, "Oh, yeah, we'll get across that, no problem."

The mountains of bitter white salt were astonishing, next to the train car filling stations. As astonishing as coming across a white and peach beautiful ridge in the midst of the Utah landscape and suddenly realizing that it was manmade, mine tailings, not a natural ridge of stone.

Jet did a great job of entertaining himself. He's been making piles of "old" maps, he draws them and then crumples them up to make them look old. He's been giving the maps to anyone that will take one. He also watched Monster's Inc. and cheered Boo on as she beat Randell silly with her plastic baseball bat. A bat that Jet now owns. Hmmm...

He also sang a lot of songs. Just as he has the whole trip since we met up with Marina. He sang a little song of swimming in the rapids when he and John swam in Retake Rapids on the Kalmath. He sang while floating on his back and life jacket in the cool river out of the hot sun between rapids by the side of the raft or the little inflatable kayak he shared with John. He sang a little song swimming in the lake. He sang a little song to the little fishes while he was fishing and caught and released about half a dozen perch from the lake. He sang a little song while swimming, kayaking, sailing, and rowing across the lake a night under a sky bright with the Milky Way and more stars than we could count. He sang while swinging and while lying on Louie the dog and petting him and while we lay on the dock the last night and looked up at that incredible sky and saw satallites and shooting stars against that ageless backdrop.

Marina said, "Jet should make a living writing and singing songs. He makes them up *himself*."

That would be cool.

Hmm... maybe that would count as catching you up on Friday through Monday... *grin* Maybe not.

We're safe in Rawlings, just four hours from home. The rain is pouring, and I love the sound. We had a fun and good dinner at Sanford's Grub and Pub, a little local chain with a lot of choice and a few things with Cajun influences. But they serve their apple sauce with a cut up gummy worm in it, and Jet ate the whole cup and left the worm. He also left most of his ice cream for one of the after dinner mints. And he ate most of his buttered noodles and garlic bread and pink lemonaid.

We actually got to swim, too. John had to call five or six different hotels in Rawlings to get a room in a hotel with a pool. This one was last as the phone number in the AAA book had ht wrong prefix, and the guy at the Super 8 gave us the correct number, so we got one of the last rooms, no problem. The tiny, cool lap pool was perfect for cooling off and stretching locked muscles and then the hot tub was great on overused ones. Much happiness...
liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
That the hotel wireless provider automatically opens up the site for our hotel when starting up...

I'm not going to be able to catch up on all the nights we were on the Kalmath and out on the Lake in the Woods tonight, but we've made it from Elko, NV to Rawlins, WY today, pretty much along the route shown.

For most of the trip it looked like the whole West is on fire. There were fires around Salt Lake, Lake Tahoe, and Reno, and all the mountains were hidden behind a haze of smoke. Good thing we didn't go to Reno, as the prevailing winds had taken most of the smoke down there. Even as it was I was sneezing a lot.

I can now imagine someone coming West over the hardship of the Rockies and getting to the Salt Flats and going, "We're stopping just East of here, where we can still grow things. No *way* we're going to make it across that." What I can't imagine is the first person that looked at the Bonnevile Salt Flats and, first, said, "Oh, yeah, we'll get across that, no problem."

The mountains of bitter white salt were astonishing, next to the train car filling stations. As astonishing as coming across a white and peach beautiful ridge in the midst of the Utah landscape and suddenly realizing that it was manmade, mine tailings, not a natural ridge of stone.

Jet did a great job of entertaining himself. He's been making piles of "old" maps, he draws them and then crumples them up to make them look old. He's been giving the maps to anyone that will take one. He also watched Monster's Inc. and cheered Boo on as she beat Randell silly with her plastic baseball bat. A bat that Jet now owns. Hmmm...

He also sang a lot of songs. Just as he has the whole trip since we met up with Marina. He sang a little song of swimming in the rapids when he and John swam in Retake Rapids on the Kalmath. He sang while floating on his back and life jacket in the cool river out of the hot sun between rapids by the side of the raft or the little inflatable kayak he shared with John. He sang a little song swimming in the lake. He sang a little song to the little fishes while he was fishing and caught and released about half a dozen perch from the lake. He sang a little song while swimming, kayaking, sailing, and rowing across the lake a night under a sky bright with the Milky Way and more stars than we could count. He sang while swinging and while lying on Louie the dog and petting him and while we lay on the dock the last night and looked up at that incredible sky and saw satallites and shooting stars against that ageless backdrop.

Marina said, "Jet should make a living writing and singing songs. He makes them up *himself*."

That would be cool.

Hmm... maybe that would count as catching you up on Friday through Monday... *grin* Maybe not.

We're safe in Rawlings, just four hours from home. The rain is pouring, and I love the sound. We had a fun and good dinner at Sanford's Grub and Pub, a little local chain with a lot of choice and a few things with Cajun influences. But they serve their apple sauce with a cut up gummy worm in it, and Jet ate the whole cup and left the worm. He also left most of his ice cream for one of the after dinner mints. And he ate most of his buttered noodles and garlic bread and pink lemonaid.

We actually got to swim, too. John had to call five or six different hotels in Rawlings to get a room in a hotel with a pool. This one was last as the phone number in the AAA book had ht wrong prefix, and the guy at the Super 8 gave us the correct number, so we got one of the last rooms, no problem. The tiny, cool lap pool was perfect for cooling off and stretching locked muscles and then the hot tub was great on overused ones. Much happiness...
liralen: Finch Painting (merboy)
This is being written after we got home, so sorry if I missed stuff.

After having worked all night, Paul came home in the morning, and we all started getting ready go to rafting. Swimsuits, sunscreen, and loading up their minivan and the trailer. Two other carloads of folks came, one a mother with two kids. The other a dad and his teenage daughter who had their own raft. We loaded up the trailer with the rafts and then went to a farm with a barn that had two inflatable kayaks in it. We put them on the pile of Stuff, while Jet and Marina played with a tiny miniature horse and watched goats ducking in and out of their pasture through barbed wire covered with their fur. It was beautiful up there.

Then we drove to the lower Kalmath, and set in right over the border between California and Oregon.

We unloaded and filled all air pockets, I did a lot of work with the pumps to fill things. We tried on all the life jackets and the kids tried them in the river. Jet giggled a lot as when he went on his back, he couldn't get back on his feet as he wasn't heavy enough to tip the jacket enough. He said, "Mom! Mom! It's like a canoe!" He peacefully paddled along through the water, being gradually taken along by the current. I waded in and pulled him back up.

We had a great day on the river. Lots of little rapids in the 1s and 2s, one or two larger ones probably in the 3s, and good long stretches of calm water. The kids would jump into the cold river water at any chance. It was fun to watch Jet peacefully floating on his back in the river by the kayaks or the raft. He really enjoyed that a lot. Almost as much as he enjoyed doing the bumpy rapids sections with John in the inflatable. He would go "Wheeeeeeeee!!" down the bumps with John, using his padel as he was able. That was pretty cool.

Then there was Restart Rapids, where one could swim back up to the rapids from an eddy below it, and then there was a swimming lane that people could swim down. Jet and John went for it and John said, later, that Jet was singing, "We're swimming in the rapids. We're swimming in the rapids." gently to himself as they were rushing along in the fast water. John had a hard time getting Jet to the edge of the fast running water. Erin, the guy with the boat, came out to help, but John managed it, but lost his Sunday Afternoon hat into the water.

Jet didn't notice anything wrong, he said, "We only went through half the rapid." *laughter*

And there I was, scared to even do the relatively small amount of swimming it took to get to the head of the rapid. I never touched the rapid itself. The sliding rocks were enough for me. The funning thing was that when I saw them getting a bit past the point where it would be easy to get into the eddy, I was ready to jump in, but I saw Erin start in first. So I held back, but I now think I might have done it. I'm actually a pretty strong swimmer when I want to be, but I have no confidence.

I stayed mostly in the raft for the day. I didn't row, I didn't go in the kayaks, I mostly roasted in the sun and sometimes sprayed people with the water sprayers. It was good enough for me.

Lunch was on a sandbar. Whatever folks brought, and it was good enough. Tasty when one is hungry. Jet sang a little to his lunch, too. Hee.

At the very end, the clouds came in and thunder roared a bit overhead. The rain came for a very brief bit, as we unloaded things from the river. I helped pull the rafts and inflatables out, lift them onto the trailer and helped where folks could tell me what to do. It's hard to be so incompetent sometimes. But I was willing to do anything and just let people tell me what it was they needed, from bungee cords to letting air out of stuff. Then we all piled in and I got a few photos of the river as we drove alongside it back up to where we started.

A very good day. But it wasn't over, yet. *grin*

We got back to Paul's, got cleaned up, and then made dinner, ate dinner, and then packed everything back up into the van. They packed up their cabin stuff, and we headed out. We got more gas, as we needed it, and they shopped for groceries. I followed Paul and then Jan and then drove up to their cabin at the Lake of the Woods. We got there in the dark and there was this horrible switch back driveway to get there, so John did the driving backwards to get us down. Thank you, John.

It is a very simple cabin, with all non-potable running water. We drank and brushed our teeth from two big coolers. The rest of the water was piped directly from the lake. It smelled like the lake too, not bad, just... green. :-)

It was much cooler up there than down in Ashland, so once the cabin was aired out it was easy to get to sleep.

We unloaded and settled, and I took a ton of Tylenol before getting my jaw to settle enough to be able to get to sleep.
liralen: Finch Painting (merboy)
This is being written after we got home, so sorry if I missed stuff.

After having worked all night, Paul came home in the morning, and we all started getting ready go to rafting. Swimsuits, sunscreen, and loading up their minivan and the trailer. Two other carloads of folks came, one a mother with two kids. The other a dad and his teenage daughter who had their own raft. We loaded up the trailer with the rafts and then went to a farm with a barn that had two inflatable kayaks in it. We put them on the pile of Stuff, while Jet and Marina played with a tiny miniature horse and watched goats ducking in and out of their pasture through barbed wire covered with their fur. It was beautiful up there.

Then we drove to the lower Kalmath, and set in right over the border between California and Oregon.

We unloaded and filled all air pockets, I did a lot of work with the pumps to fill things. We tried on all the life jackets and the kids tried them in the river. Jet giggled a lot as when he went on his back, he couldn't get back on his feet as he wasn't heavy enough to tip the jacket enough. He said, "Mom! Mom! It's like a canoe!" He peacefully paddled along through the water, being gradually taken along by the current. I waded in and pulled him back up.

We had a great day on the river. Lots of little rapids in the 1s and 2s, one or two larger ones probably in the 3s, and good long stretches of calm water. The kids would jump into the cold river water at any chance. It was fun to watch Jet peacefully floating on his back in the river by the kayaks or the raft. He really enjoyed that a lot. Almost as much as he enjoyed doing the bumpy rapids sections with John in the inflatable. He would go "Wheeeeeeeee!!" down the bumps with John, using his padel as he was able. That was pretty cool.

Then there was Restart Rapids, where one could swim back up to the rapids from an eddy below it, and then there was a swimming lane that people could swim down. Jet and John went for it and John said, later, that Jet was singing, "We're swimming in the rapids. We're swimming in the rapids." gently to himself as they were rushing along in the fast water. John had a hard time getting Jet to the edge of the fast running water. Erin, the guy with the boat, came out to help, but John managed it, but lost his Sunday Afternoon hat into the water.

Jet didn't notice anything wrong, he said, "We only went through half the rapid." *laughter*

And there I was, scared to even do the relatively small amount of swimming it took to get to the head of the rapid. I never touched the rapid itself. The sliding rocks were enough for me. The funning thing was that when I saw them getting a bit past the point where it would be easy to get into the eddy, I was ready to jump in, but I saw Erin start in first. So I held back, but I now think I might have done it. I'm actually a pretty strong swimmer when I want to be, but I have no confidence.

I stayed mostly in the raft for the day. I didn't row, I didn't go in the kayaks, I mostly roasted in the sun and sometimes sprayed people with the water sprayers. It was good enough for me.

Lunch was on a sandbar. Whatever folks brought, and it was good enough. Tasty when one is hungry. Jet sang a little to his lunch, too. Hee.

At the very end, the clouds came in and thunder roared a bit overhead. The rain came for a very brief bit, as we unloaded things from the river. I helped pull the rafts and inflatables out, lift them onto the trailer and helped where folks could tell me what to do. It's hard to be so incompetent sometimes. But I was willing to do anything and just let people tell me what it was they needed, from bungee cords to letting air out of stuff. Then we all piled in and I got a few photos of the river as we drove alongside it back up to where we started.

A very good day. But it wasn't over, yet. *grin*

We got back to Paul's, got cleaned up, and then made dinner, ate dinner, and then packed everything back up into the van. They packed up their cabin stuff, and we headed out. We got more gas, as we needed it, and they shopped for groceries. I followed Paul and then Jan and then drove up to their cabin at the Lake of the Woods. We got there in the dark and there was this horrible switch back driveway to get there, so John did the driving backwards to get us down. Thank you, John.

It is a very simple cabin, with all non-potable running water. We drank and brushed our teeth from two big coolers. The rest of the water was piped directly from the lake. It smelled like the lake too, not bad, just... green. :-)

It was much cooler up there than down in Ashland, so once the cabin was aired out it was easy to get to sleep.

We unloaded and settled, and I took a ton of Tylenol before getting my jaw to settle enough to be able to get to sleep.

Hot Summer

Jul. 5th, 2007 05:26 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
Ashland's temperatures hit 100 yesterday. First time for their summer. They're a bit behind us, but I was happy for the reprieve of the 70's and even 60's in Seaside.

Here, they note that summer really begins on July 4th, and, this year, they were certainly right.

Ashland's Fourth of July parade reminded me of the Longmont Christmas parade, where half the town is in the parade and the other half lines the streets to see the first half because they know of someone who is in the parade. But Ashland is a big tourist town, too, and the streets were lined for much further. They even set things up the day before, blankets and chairs staking out Their Bit Of Ground. And everyone respected those markings, and the chairs and blankets marked the spot until the parade itself.

Read more... )

Hot Summer

Jul. 5th, 2007 05:26 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
Ashland's temperatures hit 100 yesterday. First time for their summer. They're a bit behind us, but I was happy for the reprieve of the 70's and even 60's in Seaside.

Here, they note that summer really begins on July 4th, and, this year, they were certainly right.

Ashland's Fourth of July parade reminded me of the Longmont Christmas parade, where half the town is in the parade and the other half lines the streets to see the first half because they know of someone who is in the parade. But Ashland is a big tourist town, too, and the streets were lined for much further. They even set things up the day before, blankets and chairs staking out Their Bit Of Ground. And everyone respected those markings, and the chairs and blankets marked the spot until the parade itself.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bridge)
We had fun in Beaverton and in wandering down I-5 to see what Oregon could offer us.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (bridge)
We had fun in Beaverton and in wandering down I-5 to see what Oregon could offer us.

Read more... )

Seaside

Jul. 1st, 2007 06:08 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (Gromit_Knit)
We arrived in Seaside, Oregon on Thursday evening, getting to two houses on Beach Street in Seaside that weren't side by side, but had two houses between them. The party started at about nineteen and ended up with 24 between the two houses. All the meals were in our house, which had not only the bigger kitchen, but a whole lot more table and diningroom space and on the last day, it was sunny enough for some folks to even eat outside on the upstairs deck.

It was one good, long beach party, all in all. On Thursday, on the way over it was raining so hard it was hard to drive. George and Isabel caravaned with us and we all stopped for a quick lunch of crackers and cheese and salami in the car at a lookout point above the Columbia river. We could see the wood mills there, with huge piles of logs that were so far away they looked like matchsticks. There were piles of wood chips and sawdust so large they filled entire barges probably going to paper mills elsewhere.

It was raining when we ate, but it was cool and beautiful and a slow enough rain that we didn't really get that wet.

When we got to the houses, we set up spaghetti with tomato sauce and sausage, salad, and garlic bread in huge batches. The spaghetti got all cooked at once, and by the time everyone was ready to eat it was nearly 8 pm. But we all fit and we all ate at once and it was like the biggest family you could imagine, all at once, but then the whole gathering turned into something like that.

Read more... )

Seaside

Jul. 1st, 2007 06:08 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (Gromit_Knit)
We arrived in Seaside, Oregon on Thursday evening, getting to two houses on Beach Street in Seaside that weren't side by side, but had two houses between them. The party started at about nineteen and ended up with 24 between the two houses. All the meals were in our house, which had not only the bigger kitchen, but a whole lot more table and diningroom space and on the last day, it was sunny enough for some folks to even eat outside on the upstairs deck.

It was one good, long beach party, all in all. On Thursday, on the way over it was raining so hard it was hard to drive. George and Isabel caravaned with us and we all stopped for a quick lunch of crackers and cheese and salami in the car at a lookout point above the Columbia river. We could see the wood mills there, with huge piles of logs that were so far away they looked like matchsticks. There were piles of wood chips and sawdust so large they filled entire barges probably going to paper mills elsewhere.

It was raining when we ate, but it was cool and beautiful and a slow enough rain that we didn't really get that wet.

When we got to the houses, we set up spaghetti with tomato sauce and sausage, salad, and garlic bread in huge batches. The spaghetti got all cooked at once, and by the time everyone was ready to eat it was nearly 8 pm. But we all fit and we all ate at once and it was like the biggest family you could imagine, all at once, but then the whole gathering turned into something like that.

Read more... )

Losing It

Jun. 27th, 2007 03:33 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (bullseye)
We've been having a rough time the last couple of days with schedules and other things, and my newly crowned tooth isn't showing any appreciation for it's new brand of royalty. At all. It's been hurting a lot the last couple of days. Not a lot more than when I first got it, but enough that I'm having to really use a lot of coping skills with it that I would rather not have.

Read more... )

Losing It

Jun. 27th, 2007 03:33 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (bullseye)
We've been having a rough time the last couple of days with schedules and other things, and my newly crowned tooth isn't showing any appreciation for it's new brand of royalty. At all. It's been hurting a lot the last couple of days. Not a lot more than when I first got it, but enough that I'm having to really use a lot of coping skills with it that I would rather not have.

Read more... )

Quiet Day

Jun. 26th, 2007 09:32 am
liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
The Germain contingent left after breakfast to go south to Mt. Rainier and other places. Jet spent every moment he could playing with the other boys, which he loved, and then they went...

Jet really missed them. The void of not having a bunch of playmates wasn't easily filled by two grandparents and two parents. He spent some time moping and whining about being bored. But we finally filled it with picking raspberries and sugar snap peas from the garden, and then going out to find lunch at the Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square and then going to see Evan Almighty in a beautifully appointed theater out there.

Afterwards, Jet was much more cheerful and we went home and played with his Lego Creator 9-in-1 motorcycle set, and it was good. Dinner was a beautiful Creole Shrimp recipe on brown rice, with a nice salad from the garden and then it was time for John to show his slides from Biloxi to his folks.

I got a lot further on my sweater, which was nice.

Amazing that with all that sitting around the house, I still got 10,331 steps in today. :-)

Quiet Day

Jun. 26th, 2007 09:32 am
liralen: Finch Painting (hatjet)
The Germain contingent left after breakfast to go south to Mt. Rainier and other places. Jet spent every moment he could playing with the other boys, which he loved, and then they went...

Jet really missed them. The void of not having a bunch of playmates wasn't easily filled by two grandparents and two parents. He spent some time moping and whining about being bored. But we finally filled it with picking raspberries and sugar snap peas from the garden, and then going out to find lunch at the Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square and then going to see Evan Almighty in a beautifully appointed theater out there.

Afterwards, Jet was much more cheerful and we went home and played with his Lego Creator 9-in-1 motorcycle set, and it was good. Dinner was a beautiful Creole Shrimp recipe on brown rice, with a nice salad from the garden and then it was time for John to show his slides from Biloxi to his folks.

I got a lot further on my sweater, which was nice.

Amazing that with all that sitting around the house, I still got 10,331 steps in today. :-)
liralen: Finch Painting (bat)
I did something unexpected today, and actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There's an African american Methodist Episcopalian Church, the first African American formed church in Seattle, near 14th and Madison. There were two very sharply dressed African men in the parking lot directing where to park and asking everyone that arrived if they were there for the 11 am service.

We'd gotten a late start. :-) George had done a beautiful job of making pancakes for everyone, and everyone had enjoyed them greatly with lots of yogurt and fruit. So we had an excuse, with five kids and seven adults.

I planned to just stay in the van. Read a little of Walking On Water and knit a little and maybe write a little while they did the service. There was the feeling that they were going to a performance, to see a bit of American craziness by watching a Gospel service in all it's emotional glory. And I hadn't wanted to just *watch*. If I was going to go into a church, I wanted to worship and to go with a sense of my relationship with God. And I wasn't sure I could in what, for me, was historically a Baptist type setting.

But these were Episcopalians?? I was trying to get it to make sense... so instead of sitting in the van, I decided to go in and try to open my heart to this type of Christianity that had so unsettled me for most of my life.

I'm glad I did. )
liralen: Finch Painting (bat)
I did something unexpected today, and actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. There's an African american Methodist Episcopalian Church, the first African American formed church in Seattle, near 14th and Madison. There were two very sharply dressed African men in the parking lot directing where to park and asking everyone that arrived if they were there for the 11 am service.

We'd gotten a late start. :-) George had done a beautiful job of making pancakes for everyone, and everyone had enjoyed them greatly with lots of yogurt and fruit. So we had an excuse, with five kids and seven adults.

I planned to just stay in the van. Read a little of Walking On Water and knit a little and maybe write a little while they did the service. There was the feeling that they were going to a performance, to see a bit of American craziness by watching a Gospel service in all it's emotional glory. And I hadn't wanted to just *watch*. If I was going to go into a church, I wanted to worship and to go with a sense of my relationship with God. And I wasn't sure I could in what, for me, was historically a Baptist type setting.

But these were Episcopalians?? I was trying to get it to make sense... so instead of sitting in the van, I decided to go in and try to open my heart to this type of Christianity that had so unsettled me for most of my life.

I'm glad I did. )
liralen: Finch Painting (monkey)
It is absolutely amazing the amount of chaos that can happen in a house with five children in it at once. And they're all perfectly well-behaved children, too, which is amazing in and of itself, but it doesn't really seem to make much of a difference in the level of running around and noise.

*grin* I'm actually getting a few moments to Just Myself.

It's been a really busy day. We all fended for ourselves for breakfast, and then we all left at the same time to get out the house. We took our van and their two rental cars, and headed out in a carivan that headed all over the place.

We started on Somerset, and went up the hill to see the view from the top, and then around to see the Rainier side, and then down to the High School that both John and Bernt went to together to have them get out and have their picture taken together.

From there we headed up to Bellevue and through Auto Row to the new, Big Whole Foods store, where everyone went ooooh and aaaaah and bought lots of different things.

From there we headed through Medina to peer at the wall in front of Bill's grounds. Then we went across 520, got a bit lost and then found the water front with all the house boats. We got out, peered at things, and then took some pictures and had snacks that weren't quite enough for lunch. From there we headed into the city and showed them the Troll under the Ballard Bridge. Since the parking there was relatively easy, we parked there and walked into town in order to look around.

We ended up caught for a while at Dusty Strings, a place that sells just about every stringed instrument there is along with a few percussion and wind instruments that were mostly for kids. I was particularly fascinated by the ukes sitting around, having just seen "Surf's Up", I was very interested in them. It seems such a small instrument, it must be easy to play? No? *grin* I wasn't quite sure if I should pay the $150 to just try, but wow it was very tempting. Hee.

After that, we all scattered to find food. There was a park by the channel, where everyone met up and we all sat in the sun and ate our food and watched the water and the bridge rise and fall for the various ships that go through. JOhn and I had found a PCC, and he and Jet chose pizza. I found a chicken pot pie that I thought might not be bad on my teeth, but I was wrong and they ached terribly afterwards. *sigh* It's going to be a while before it all heals up, I know, but I am still impatient about it.

After eating, we all headed back to the cars and headed into the city. On a Saturday, in the middle of the afternoon, after lunch, we headed to Pike Place Market. It was insane, I know, but they really wanted to see it. So we did.

What was even more insane was going to the very first Starbucks on Pike Place. The place was a complete zoo. Filled and packed with people in lines to make their orders and then to get what it was that they ordered. I met a co-worker from Longmont, CO in line. *laughter* It had to be there. She was there for a vacation, and it really amused me to see someone from Colorado while we were *there*.

There was an acapella group out on the sidewalk, and after listening for a bit, I bought the only thing I bought while we were there, a CD of their music. They had just recorded it while standing outside that Starbucks and singing for the crowds there, and it was familiar and comforting to listen to.

We then took one part of the group to watch the Flying Fish while Isabel got her Market Spice Tea. Then another group wanted to see it, too, and I said, "Hey, why don't we get a fish for our dinner?" So Isabel braved the fishmonger and got a whole Copper River Sockeye. We then headed home. The kids ran all over the place while Isabel got the salmon into the oven. John and I headed to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables and other things to go with the fish. I got green beans and had a mild reprieve and got the green beans all stringed, snapped, and cleaned before I put them into boiling water for just about seven minutes. When they were tender but still a little crisp, I got them out and then threw them into browned butter with a bit of dried thyme and the lemon pepper John and I brought from our kitchen. I wanted them very well seasoned.

It was a great dinner. The salmon was rich and moist and absolutely perfect. I loved the crisped skin.

Dessert was just raspberries and yogurt. Which folks loved well enough. Then everyone but me went off to the lake and I have a few blissful hours of quiet. I ate one of my rice puddings that I'd bought at Whole Foods with my raspberries, as I really have a much bigger sweet tooth than the Rostyki usually indulge. I also read Dead Beat, one of the Dresden books. I really enjoyed it for once, mostly because of Butters, the guy that starts out ruled by his fears, but Harry helps him face them head on. I guess it might be the Developer in me. Hee. But I loved it.

Kathy pegged it when she said that the Dresden Files were potato chip books, fun, crunchy, and you can't just stop at one. Not all that much substance to them, either, but they're fun for all that. So I'm enjoying them for what they are, not despising them for what they're not. *grin*

Steps Taken Today: 16,042
liralen: Finch Painting (monkey)
It is absolutely amazing the amount of chaos that can happen in a house with five children in it at once. And they're all perfectly well-behaved children, too, which is amazing in and of itself, but it doesn't really seem to make much of a difference in the level of running around and noise.

*grin* I'm actually getting a few moments to Just Myself.

It's been a really busy day. We all fended for ourselves for breakfast, and then we all left at the same time to get out the house. We took our van and their two rental cars, and headed out in a carivan that headed all over the place.

We started on Somerset, and went up the hill to see the view from the top, and then around to see the Rainier side, and then down to the High School that both John and Bernt went to together to have them get out and have their picture taken together.

From there we headed up to Bellevue and through Auto Row to the new, Big Whole Foods store, where everyone went ooooh and aaaaah and bought lots of different things.

From there we headed through Medina to peer at the wall in front of Bill's grounds. Then we went across 520, got a bit lost and then found the water front with all the house boats. We got out, peered at things, and then took some pictures and had snacks that weren't quite enough for lunch. From there we headed into the city and showed them the Troll under the Ballard Bridge. Since the parking there was relatively easy, we parked there and walked into town in order to look around.

We ended up caught for a while at Dusty Strings, a place that sells just about every stringed instrument there is along with a few percussion and wind instruments that were mostly for kids. I was particularly fascinated by the ukes sitting around, having just seen "Surf's Up", I was very interested in them. It seems such a small instrument, it must be easy to play? No? *grin* I wasn't quite sure if I should pay the $150 to just try, but wow it was very tempting. Hee.

After that, we all scattered to find food. There was a park by the channel, where everyone met up and we all sat in the sun and ate our food and watched the water and the bridge rise and fall for the various ships that go through. JOhn and I had found a PCC, and he and Jet chose pizza. I found a chicken pot pie that I thought might not be bad on my teeth, but I was wrong and they ached terribly afterwards. *sigh* It's going to be a while before it all heals up, I know, but I am still impatient about it.

After eating, we all headed back to the cars and headed into the city. On a Saturday, in the middle of the afternoon, after lunch, we headed to Pike Place Market. It was insane, I know, but they really wanted to see it. So we did.

What was even more insane was going to the very first Starbucks on Pike Place. The place was a complete zoo. Filled and packed with people in lines to make their orders and then to get what it was that they ordered. I met a co-worker from Longmont, CO in line. *laughter* It had to be there. She was there for a vacation, and it really amused me to see someone from Colorado while we were *there*.

There was an acapella group out on the sidewalk, and after listening for a bit, I bought the only thing I bought while we were there, a CD of their music. They had just recorded it while standing outside that Starbucks and singing for the crowds there, and it was familiar and comforting to listen to.

We then took one part of the group to watch the Flying Fish while Isabel got her Market Spice Tea. Then another group wanted to see it, too, and I said, "Hey, why don't we get a fish for our dinner?" So Isabel braved the fishmonger and got a whole Copper River Sockeye. We then headed home. The kids ran all over the place while Isabel got the salmon into the oven. John and I headed to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables and other things to go with the fish. I got green beans and had a mild reprieve and got the green beans all stringed, snapped, and cleaned before I put them into boiling water for just about seven minutes. When they were tender but still a little crisp, I got them out and then threw them into browned butter with a bit of dried thyme and the lemon pepper John and I brought from our kitchen. I wanted them very well seasoned.

It was a great dinner. The salmon was rich and moist and absolutely perfect. I loved the crisped skin.

Dessert was just raspberries and yogurt. Which folks loved well enough. Then everyone but me went off to the lake and I have a few blissful hours of quiet. I ate one of my rice puddings that I'd bought at Whole Foods with my raspberries, as I really have a much bigger sweet tooth than the Rostyki usually indulge. I also read Dead Beat, one of the Dresden books. I really enjoyed it for once, mostly because of Butters, the guy that starts out ruled by his fears, but Harry helps him face them head on. I guess it might be the Developer in me. Hee. But I loved it.

Kathy pegged it when she said that the Dresden Files were potato chip books, fun, crunchy, and you can't just stop at one. Not all that much substance to them, either, but they're fun for all that. So I'm enjoying them for what they are, not despising them for what they're not. *grin*

Steps Taken Today: 16,042

July 2017

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