Whoops! Missed Some Things!

Well, we had a few events happen that I missed blogging so I'll revisit them briefly:

Heather's Baby Shower

When Rach, Shirley and I descended on Janet's house to get things rolling we found Janet and another friend, Christie, frosting cupcakes. We're a pretty good team, we all just silently jumped into our assignments and got to work, Shirley was cutting vegetables for a veggie tray, I made cucumber sandwiches and Rachyl started arranging furniture and decorating. 

The theme for the party was "Snow and Ice" since Taylor is to be born in the winter. It also worked well with Heather's choice of color for the baby's bedroom and layette - lavender. So the party was purple, lavender and white. Rach and I made the CUTEST snowman diaper cake -Heather has it still sitting in the baby's room right now!

There were 15 - 20 attendees, tons of food and plenty of gifts. Since Heather's family also had a shower for her I'm sure most of Taylor's immediate needs are covered!

Black Friday

I've done a couple Black Friday shopping excursions in the past. The first one was a learning event, I found out that the deals are definitely out there and it's worth the odd hours but that you MUST have a game plan. The next year I did just that and scored a cartful of electronic goodies at Staples, then went home and back to bed. This year I'd planned to grab a $50 Brother sewing machine at Walmart for one of my children needing one. It was to go on sale at 10 at the 24 hour store that never closed, even for Thanksgiving.

I was running a tad late and as I neared the parking lot I could tell it was futile to continue any further and turned around to look for parking elsewhere back down the road. I got a spot and braved the rain, cold and wind in my meeting clothes to get into Walmart a few minutes after 10. As I walked in I kept my eyes open for people buying up the sewing machines and was hopeful because I didn't see even ONE in anyone's cart or arms. But when I arrived at the area that they were to be available in I couldn't find any. Employees were hovering around piles of toys in all the aisles so I asked 2 or 3 of them if they knew where the machines were or maybe had been, if they were gone. No one knew for sure that there had been any, although one knew where they were supposed to be. I'm pretty sure they either had none or only, literally, a handful.

So I left the store empty-handed and walked back the - oh, let's say 1/3 mile - to my car. The wind and rain were still blowing, of course, and that's always a bad combination because umbrellas and wind don't mix. So I had to give up on trying to stay dry. There was another element involved in my walk, the Black-Friday-crazed drivers. One hispanic chick didn't even look my way as she entered the traffic circle that leads to WallyWorld!

Needless to say, after that fiasco I opted to stay home and not bother going back out to Kohl's at midnight as I'd planned - I was DONE!!

Family Turkey Day

So Friday afternoon the whole stinkin' family converged on Kev and Shirley's place in the evening. Rick made up some cheesey-melty tomato hors d'oeuvres and I added my crunchy romaine salad to the spread. All my kids and their families showed up except for Keith. Even Dane and his fiance, Chelsea made it. It was a wonderful event, noisy, chaotic and fun. I had a blast taking pictures of the event and came home with a lot of nice memories to share with the family.

Heather's Maternity Shoot

To go along with the theme of her baby shower Heather decided she wanted maternity pictures taken in the snow. So last Saturday Denny, Hunter, Heather and I took a drive out highway 410 looking for snow. We ended up turning on the road to Crystal mountain ski resort but turned off at a sno-park right away. It's just a parking area that's a jumping off point for cross-country skiers, snow-shoers and snowmobilers surrounded by forest. It was completely deserted when we arrived and snowing fairly heavily. I started by getting a few family shots so Hunter could go off and play without any worry of getting dirty. It was snowing so heavily, though, and I feared there would be too much moving snow in the pictures. During one warm-up and costume-change session I wandered around in the trees to find a spot without so much snow falling between the camera and the subject. It's amazing how when you're busy doing something in the snow like that you don't feel the cold - until you stop. Then it's time to warm up!

Well, that about catches things up for now. Today is moving day for Dane, he's coming home for the last couple months before he takes the plunge into marriage. After moving his things we plan to do some wedding invitation work, gotta get this ball rolling! I've been scheming a special picture session for the invitations. I'm going for a fairytale/Midsummer Night's Dream look. We did a dry run last night and it was interesting but leaned a little too much toward the "Blair Witch Project" look. That must be adjusted...

Another Saturday Drive

Saturday AM we were sitting here with our coffee, fire and internet when Rick suggested we go for a drive.  He's been eyeballing the southwestern tip of the state as a possible photography opportunity (hereafter known as "photo op").  It's the mouth of the Columbia River, the Pacific ocean, possible autumn colors and he found 2 lighthouses and a covered bridge out there!  Book!

So we headed out around 11, a little late for such a long drive, but it turned out OK.  We got down there and headed for the shore of the Columbia.  It was a beautiful sunny day but there was a haze over the river and it made shooting anything in the distance virtually impossible.  But it was a nice day for a drive nonetheless.

Eventually we hit a quaint, small, riverside town called Cathlamet (Cath•la•MAY or Cath•la•MET?).  As well-kept, quaint and waterfront a town as it was it was difficult to get any good photos, there was too much man-made stuff in the way of nature and too much natural stuff in the way of the man-made.  Comprende? And the haze was still ruining the distant views.

We meandered along the river then the highway took us inland and we were finally gonna get to see the covered bridge!  Woo-hoo!

Well, it was a covered bridge, but it looked more like a wooden storage container - not the picturesque covered bridge we'd imagined.
More hazy river.  Another town that just missed the target, Chinook.  There wasn't much in the way of fall colors either.  Hmm...

So we finally got to head for the lighthouse that I knew about, Cape Disappointment.  Uh oh, it's one of those parking areas that require a "Discovery Pass".  And the trail to the lighthouse looked, um, 1.5 miles?  Oh, no, there's another sign, it says it's only .5 miles.  OK, let's go buy that pass!

The British lady who helped us in the "Fort Canby" store did a good job of convincing us to go ahead and buy the annual pass for $30 instead of the one time only pass for $10.  Good thing, since the second lighthouse that we just found kinda accidentally also required that pass!

So we did our half mile hike and enjoyed finally having something worthy of shooting.  It was a neat old lighthouse, black and white striped.  On the way we passed "Dead Man's Cove".  When we were almost back to the parking lot we saw the sign pointing the way to the interpretive center (which requires a $5 admission fee but not when it's CLOSED!!) which we'd seen from the lighthouse so we headed out to it to get some more shots of the LH from a different point of view.  After that again we tried to head back to the car and I spotted this really cool, VERY rusted door and had to go investigate.  It turned out that the back half of the interpretive center was the historical site "Fort Canby" which was established back during the civil war!  It was a cool collection of tunnels, rooms, gunnery thingies and an ammo room with some artifacts still in it (disarmed, I'm sure), all concrete and unlocked, heck, they even left the lights on!  I'd seen pics of Fort Canby in the past and knew it was on my list of "must see" locations but knew not where it was.  And we stumbled onto it accidentally!

Daylight was burning and I wanted to be at the beach at sunset but we ran into that other lighthouse, North Head.  It was, I think, maybe even more interesting than the first one and the walk was much easier.  So we walked very quickly to the LH, got a bunch of shots of it and the woman that was sitting near it with her guitar and got back to the car with only minutes left before sunset.

We allowed the Garmin GPS that Rick got for free off Craigslist to lead us to the beach and as we drove onto the sand I could literally see the sun lowering into the water.  So I bullied Rick into just getting out there and stopping as I was opening the door while we were still moving.  But I got it - whew!  We sat and ate our last half of our Subway sandwiches for dinner and played with the seagulls.  A large crowd showed up ready for a night of clamming, they made nice silhouettes.  When we hit the road for home the orange glow was hard to ignore.  We were driving past some tide flats and had to keep stopping to get more shots.  Rick's came out way better than mine, go check his blog, he has his pictures posted there.

Overall I think Rick's whole day of pictures was better than mine.  But again it was fun to get out, see yet another part of the state that neither of us had ever seen before and continue to work on our photography skills.

Good thing too, Sunday it was back to typical Seattle weather, cold and rainy...

Saturday in the Park

Our weekends have pretty much been: play on Saturday, work on Sunday.  Recently we've kind of deviated from that plan but I think we'll get back to it.  So yesterday we found something to do, or rather, someplace to go to take pictures.  Then today we'll work.  Rick rented a power washer and we're gonna have fun washing the moss off the roof.  But this blog is about yesterday...

 I was looking for something on King 5's website that would give hints as to when the fall color would be the most plentiful in eastern Wa and instead found lists of peoples' favorites - places to watch a sunset, favorite gardens, haunted spots. B&Bs, etc.  I found a sunset spot in Steilacoom, where's that?  Oh, not too far, just south of Tacoma.  Then I started wandering around the map, looking at pictures on the Google map.  I found quite a few parks south of Tacoma on the water, places that would be good to watch the sunset.  Rick finally said we were headed out.  I asked "Where?".  He said "What you mean 'Where?', you've been looking at stuff all morning!  Were going THERE!"  OK, so we headed toward Steilacoom.

The weather was supposed to clear up.  It was cool and cloudy but not raining.  I think we finally actually got out about 1 PM.  Sometime on the way it did clear up and by the time we got out there it was sunny and warmer.

So we just kind of drove along "by feel" like Rick and I both have a habit of doing.  Then I pulled out his Garmin and looked to see where there were parks on the water.  We started at a small park called Titlow, very small.  Just a boardwalk and small beach.  There were some old pilings out in the water.  A bald eagle was inhabiting the most prominent one and seagulls and pelagic cormorants were parked on most of the others, one per customer.  Occasionally a cormorant would do it's batman imitation.  

We returned to our meandering and found ourselves at another big park I'd seen on the web called Chambers Creek.  It's a large park that includes a golf course.  There is also a large grass area good for kite flying, paths for bike, skateboard and scooter riding, a bridge that went safely over the very busy railroad tracks and took you to the little beach littered with driftwood.  Parking was plentiful and close and there was an off-leash dog park as well.  Oh yeah, there used to be a quarry there and the big concrete walls still stood, giant, crumbling monoliths.  All in all a very interesting, nicely maintained park, of course, it was in kind of a hoity-toity neighborhood.

One of the strangest sights we saw there was a fellow walking back to his car in a wetsuit and carrying a small surfboard.  He had all his scuba gear too, maybe he did something more like snuba.  All I know is it was odd to see him hauling all his gear across the park.  But the entire Puget Sound area is apparently very interesting for scuba divers, it includes the largest octopus in the world!

So we wandered around that park for a time then decided to eat so I suggested we go back to Titlow Park to eat at a little bar and grill I saw there that looked interesting.  It was late enough that we could possibly catch the sunset on the water during or after dinner.  The food was great, it wasn't too loud, prices were fair and we did indeed catch the sunset.  

We really enjoyed our day, we'll have to do that more often - like we used to!

Another Milestone...

OK, so Keith just turned 21, that's a milestone. Here's another one, another family member is about to be "grafted" into our family tree - Dane's engaged!

It doesn't seem that long ago that Dane just went through a gob of important life events (there are 2 links right there).  But as life goes on, those events just continue to accumulate.

Her name is Chelsea Tapia, she's about 3 years younger than Dane and an active JW.  We all got to meet her at our first "Family Day" in a few years, a day that we dress up, take pictures (if I feel like it) have a nice meal and share gifts. 

They've been spending every spare moment together for the last few months and have gotten to know each other pretty well.  When Dane told me of his intent to propose he said "my life is work, sleep, Chelsea".  He's spent a lot of time with her family as well, you know what they say about a girl becoming her mother - I hope he likes her mother!

So his plan was to propose by a waterfall, in dress clothes and with a song playing in the background - "Marry Me" by Train.  Friday he drove out there and checked out what to expect and where he wanted to do it.  

Saturday after Chelsea got off work he picked her up and their 2 chaperones (who were in on the plan as well), blindfolded her and drove her to Snoqualmie Falls.

I asked if it would be OK for me to come around and take some engagement shots since they'd already be in a nice place and nice clothes and he was very approving, so Rick and I drove out there and hid in the bushes, lurking, waiting for the right moment.  We were going to get the shots, sneak away and then return to take the photos so they wouldn't know that we were there for the actual event.  But when we got to the falls, being a beautiful, sunny day (yay!) we found it abuzz with people - hoards, crowds, everyone and their mother was there!  OK, so they're not gonna have the privacy that he was probably planning to have.

Rick hid out near the entrance to the park and I stayed near the spot that I thought they might head for.  When he finally spotted them Rick gave me a call to let me know they were on their way.  In the meantime he was still running through the bushes taking pictures!  It was quite an entourage - Chelsea was blindfolded, being led by Dane and followed by one friend with a video camera and another with a still camera.  When the crowds saw them coming they gave them room.

Dane went through everything he prepared, turning on the music, getting down on one knee, Chelsea stood there slightly pigeon-toed, holding her stomach, both of them shaking.  I couldn't hear but I'm sure he chose some very well-rehearsed words and she, of course, accepted his proposal.  Then the crowd applauded!  It was so special!  I think the crowds actually added to the memory!

So afterward we moved around and got a few nice shots, I took my reflector cause I planned on having backlit shots that would need to be lit from the front (NO FLASH!!) and that made us look like totally professional photographers, so we had all kinds of people trying to stay out of our way and just standing around and watching.  It was all worth the bits of embarrassment, the pictures came out very nice!

I invited them to come to our weekly burger night last night.  They attended both their meetings, back to back, to be able to share the news with all their friends at both halls.  It must have been an exhausting day for them.

So now I have to get as used to saying DaneandChelsea just as I've gotten used to KevinandShirley, DennyandHeather and RachandTony.  Congratulations guys and WELCOME Chelsea!

Keith's 21!

Wow - my last kid is now officially an "adult".  Well, by the calendar he is anyway.  

So Rach and Shirley had planned to go out last night and do something, Rach has been having some issues at home and Shirley just has a new baby - they both needed a stress-free escape.  The plans seemed to be leaning toward bowling.  I heard about it and kind of invited myself.  Then as the time got closer I started feeling like maybe I didn't want to go, I just got over a cold and wasn't feeling like putting on any makeup or messing with myself too much.

At the same time one of Rick's high school classmates had a gig at a local place and it was obvious that he wanted to go.  I had some objections to the place she was playing in so, since I might have wanted to go out I started urging him to go.  It wasn't too hard to convince him.  He went and had a nice time and got some nice pictures.

So Rick left and I was still undecided as to whether or not I was going.  Then these 2 thugs came to my door and forced me to go, that would be my daughter and daughter-in-law!

I guess they already had in mind the plan to kidnap Keith and take him too.  I'd started joking about doing that on facebook during the day and I guess they liked the idea, maybe they'd already plotted it earlier.

So we drove down to his dad's house.  I stayed in the car while they went to the door.  Try as I might I couldn't hear what was going on.  After a few minutes though, they returned to the car - with Keith!

Shirley called the bowling alley and found out that we had about an hour before open bowling so we hit Applebees to buy Keith his honorary "first drink".  The waitress also brought him 3 jello shots "on the house".  

We finally made it to the bowling alley and I became concerned as to whether or not I'd be able to bowl, given that my elbow has been in healing mode since over-working it at my parent's house last month.  I decided to give it a try.

So I found a light ball with finger holes that were barely big enough to allow my fingers free movement.  The very first time I tried to throw the ball I had an awful time, my elbow did NOT like it and I barely stepped over the foul line.  That wouldn't have been such a big deal except at this alley they lubricate the allies right up to that foul line with some scary-slippery silicone/oil stuff that doesn't allow any friction - and WHAM!  I fell!  Fortunately the only thing I hurt was my pride.

I must have been quite the sight.  I tried 2 more times to bowl with that damaged right arm before Shirley suggested I try using my left arm, pointing out that I couldn't possibly do any worse - well, she was right!  From that point on I used my left arm and it was a learning process.  I slipped on the alley a second time but by the time the game was over I was finally getting somewhat used to bowling with my left hand, I even made a spare!  In my first 7 frames I hit 23 pins total and in the last 3 I got 27 points!

We only got to bowl the one game, Shirley had to get home to rescue Kevin from an unhappy newborn.  But I think we accomplished everything we set out to do - have a fun, stress-free evening.  I think Keith would even have to admit that he had fun.

Will I ever bowl again?  Hmm, I'll have to think about that one...

Dustin' off the Harley

We here in the beautiful PNW finally began to have our summer on Labor day, September 1, while I was in Hawaii.  Since my return home we've continued to have decent weather for the most part.  But the upcoming week looks like autumn is sneaking in slowly.  Saturday, though, was to be absolutely, drop dead, GORGEOUS!!  

Rick hasn't been doing too well in giving his Harley the attention (using it, that is) it deserves so he suggested that we go for a ride on what looked to be our last beautiful summery day of the year.  I wanted to swing up to Chinook Pass to give the wildflowers another chance and he was already thinking of the same destination.  We tried to see the wildflowers at the normal time last year, late July - nada.  So this year we waited an extra month - zip.  How about now, another month later?


So about 11AM we hit the road and the weather was great for a motorcycle ride.  Except for the deep woods along highway 410 from Greenwater to Crystal mountain.  Brrr....

We got to the pass and wandered around Tipsoo Lakes finally getting the shots of the wildflowers.  I don't think I've ever seen them so dense, nearly every variety that blooms was blooming right now!  Some of the daisy types were drying out but the majority were in perfect bloom.  And there was a thick lenticular cloud over Mt Rainier.  Such a great day for photography.  

From the pass we headed down and pulled into a small trailhead parking area with a picnic table and outhouse and had a quick watery beer.  But we were hungry, so we hit the road again with a diner as a goal.  We checked out Whistlin' Jack's right down the road from our Bumping River Road (Lily Lake is down that road!) but Rick decided it looked like the kind of place that served chintzy thin hamburgers so we moved on (no, he had nothing visual to go on, just making another assumption).  We headed for the town of Naches another 30 miles or so further down the road.  When we got to the Nile area there was a detour, the highway was closed due to a huge landslide that took place nearly 2 years ago.  The detour took us through some pretty landscape and when we got back to the highway there was an interesting looking diner on the corner called the Wood Shed.  It was very unpretentious but the smell coming from the smoker was irresistible.  And they even had a patio to eat on.  Good 'nuff, we were staying!  It couldn't have been better, the food, the weather, the band softly tuning up and the local women with their short hair and too much makeup!

We continued on to the town of Naches, gassed up, took a quick side trip and then headed back toward the pass, daylight was burnin'!

When we stopped once again at the pass to use the restroom it was nearly dark enough to need a flashlight.  The previous 50 miles were not too comfortable for me but I'd thunk it over and knew I needed (1) another layer to be warmer (2) the restroom (3) earplugs and (4) to request Rick to not have so much fun and drive a little slower.  After accomplishing all that I enjoyed the last 55 miles much more. 
We got home in the dark and were slapped in the face by a smattering of raindrops but overall we had a great last day of summer!

A Day at the Fair

A while ago I got an invitation to buy discount fair tickets from BECU and the discussion began - to go or not to go? Rick didn't seem to want to go. But I wanted to go, especially with family, to get shots of kids on rides. I bought everyone's tickets and then left for Hawaii.

When I got back Rachyl mentioned that she and Shirley and all the grandkids would be going on Tuesday. Hey! I don't have anything going on - I'll invite myself to follow them around with my camera!

The weather was absolutely perfect, you couldn't have planned a better day to spend outside at the fair. Warm and sunny, we even managed to get sunburned!

There was nothing outstanding about the fair, especially when the focus was keeping a nearly 4-year-old, a 5 and a 6-year-old happy. But watching them enjoying themselves was very satisfying.

Especially Hunter. That boy could NOT keep his attention on our group and how to follow us. He walked slowly, lagging way behind because his head was turning constantly trying to take in everything around us, it was all so interesting. That'll be my greatest memory of Hunter's visit to the fair, that and how every time I tried to guide him back to the group he'd push my hand away, not wanting to be touched. I finally just began to tell him I'd touch him if he didn't catch up.

Shayne is in a stage where pouting is a regular thing if he doesn't get his way. He kept being reminded, though, that he WOULD get to do everything he wanted, we'd be there all day, we just couldn't follow his schedule, we had to space things out.

Joe - he's getting so big. I really can't recall him giving us any trouble. He seemed happy to just do things our way and was a real help with Hunter on some rides that needed a guide. I'm sure helping Hunter actually squelched his ability to just have fun some times, but he didn't seem to mind. What a great big brother and big cousin.

Shirley already knew what interactive things the boys should do so Rach printed up a schedule of those things and we fit them all in. There was a tractor pull and "Let's Pretend Farm Time", free face painting, the Planting Patch, and, just for Shayne, the "Wool Riders Only Mutton Bustin'".

All the boys participated in the tractor pull. Hunter was actually a little too young for it but he gave it a good try. Joe and Shayne both completed the first round but Shayne had to leave before the finals to go mutton bustin'. Joe did the finals and couldn't complete it, they double the weight the kids are required to pull and the weight is actually moving up an incline on top of a foot (or sled) that the kids have to drag.

Shayne has done the mutton bustin' a couple times but Shirley wasn't sure he'd do it this time because his confidence-builder, Dad, wasn't there. He actually was on the back of the sheep before he chickened out. What they do is just hang onto the sheep while the sheep bolts across a long pen, usually taking about 6 seconds. It's a real competition that the winner of each round is invited back to a final competition to crown the Puyallup Fair 2011 champion. Then the champs are all flown to the Nationals, this year in California, Fresno, I believe, for one last competition to crown the national champ.

But the winning interactive event was the "Let's Pretend Farm Time". They got to choose a character and get into costume and participate in basically a one-man show, they were more like props, but really cute props. Joe was a cowboy, Shayne was a cow and Hunter was a sheep. But Hunter stole the show. He was supposed to sit on the side during most of the play but, as he was when we were walking around, he was enthralled with everything around him. So he was up checking things out in the stage area. Then he discovered he had a tail and was playing with that. It was too cute! I think Rach, Shirl and I all had tears in our eyes, laughing so hard! Such a cute little boy up there in his own little world! And when it was time to introduce the players he told the MC his name was "Sheep" which started all the following kids in that direction (the pig ended up saying his name was "Oink").

We warned them when we were wrapping up the trip, letting them know that this would be the last ride. I think they were all pretty well worn out. Shay and Hunter both fell asleep in the car. 

An all-around fun day for kids and grown-ups alike!

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.