Road Trip Extraordinaire!

Well, Rick finally told Sarah where we're going for as her graduation gift so I'm free to talk about it - we're going to IRELAND!!

The way he told her was actually kind of cute. He got her an iPad (for xmas) and put this picture on the desktop (I added the date in photoshop):

Sarah had given us a list of places within our budget that she'd be interested in visiting so the hunt began. France was not on her list but I don't really think she'd mind if we chose to go there, it was actually right there in ticket prices, pretty equal to Ireland. Sweden was quite a bit less but when I looked to see what there was to see in Sweden I didn't find much, it almost seems like a better place to visit in winter. England and Scotland were a little more expensive and Rick was just not interested in the Czech Republic. So Ireland it is!

I bought the tickets 2 weeks ago and the research ensued. It turns out there are hundreds (if not thousands) of castles in various states from a hubble of rocks to grand, reconditioned and refurnished, probably even more splendid than originally! I chose a variety, some ruins that still have some structure, some even still have stairways and walkways and we'll also visit a few reconstructed ones. The refurbished ones involve an admission fee and often a guided tour so those have to be limited for both finances and time. Churches, cemeteries, abbeys, and "houses" that could have been "castellated" back in the day are all on the list as well.

I was unsure as to what we'd be able to fit in a day and if I was just trying to do/see too much. My plans are for between 150 and 200 miles a day with lots of stops along the way. I have many sights planned and mapped and we'll be sure to stop at anything interesting we discover as well. I finally got some input from Sarah so was able to add her findings to our "must see" list.

Our hope is to be able to peruse colorful villages and hopefully also find some open air markets where we can enjoy the local fare. Some pubs (which children may frequent), thrift stores and Bed & Breakfasts are in the workings. We'll also spend an occasional night at a hostel, to save some bucks, wash some clothes and be able to know what it's like to stay in a hostel. Many of them now have private rooms for 4, some even have their own bathrooms!

We also have a special tour planned that is a surprise for the time being. That one excites me too - you'll have to find out about it after the fact...

This will definitely be an adventure - talk about a road trip!

The Blog Void

Yeah, I haven't blogged in a while... What can I say?

I was working full time, as I mentioned in a previous blog. I didn't know just how badly I didn't want to work full time. It actually put me in a depression. When I was single and working full time I had weekends and evenings to do as I pleased in social and spiritual pursuits. Then I flip-flopped and had my weekdays for those same pursuits. But when I became employed full-time and married my weekends were spent with THAT GUY. You know, Rick? He's not causing the problem, it's just the whole "being married" thing.

So now the job is done and I have the time to get back to all these other things I spend my part-time employment free time doing. Working on photography things, family things, I can get back to spiritual things, etc.

While it wasn't what I wanted to do I'm glad I had that time working. I was able to earn some of the money we needed for what Rick wanted to give his daughter as a college graduation gift - a trip to Europe!

So since ending my job at the Auburn bus barn office I've done a little babysitting, gathered some materials for my next family photo session involving 2 little grand-daughters, put together a 2013 calendar and bought the tickets for our upcoming trip. Once the tickets were purchased and finding out that the country we're visiting is having a huge tourism year planned (no doubt to boost their economy) I've been busy looking up places to visit and sights to see so I can plan out a route (we'll be doing a ROAD TRIP!!!) so I can reserve rooms and special tours or dinners or whatnot. Our trip is planned for June and some of these things are already selling out, believe it or not!

As yet we've not told Sarah where we're going so I'm not free to share that in any vaguely public forum. But Rick will be spilling the beans soon so I'll be able to share. Stay tuned!

December 15 was a big day that deserves mention. There were 3 events. 2 were both of our parents' anniversaries. My parents celebrated their 50th and as much as I wanted to be there with some of my family I just couldn't handle the huge price tag on the December trip-to-Hawaii tickets! So we couldn't be there... Bummer. Well, we did help them get here for Dane's wedding in February so we shoulda just celebrated then!

For Rick's parents' anniversary we decided to buy them a new goof-proof computer that, as yet, hasn't become everything we've wished it to be. His mom would like to be able to use the computer and internet. But there were various factors in the way of that happening and we didn't know about all of them. We knew that his dad has a tendency to mess up the computer by accident, by doing simple things like not realizing he's holding the mouse button down and dragging things around. So the new computer fixed those issues. But it turns out that they also have a DSL modem that's about 45 years old. Try as we might we just can't get the internet to work properly. So today Rick ordered them a new modem as well. Hopefully all will be well ...

And last but certainly not least is that Shirley got baptized as a JW! I know that doesn't mean a lot to many of you but for Shirley that's a huge step! Those of us who are now her spiritual brothers and sisters are thrilled for her! Good going Shirley!

Cars That Say "Cheese"!

So there was a local guy who had a car collection that grew - and grew - and GREW! until it was so big, it filled many warehouses.  It numbered over 3000 cars and was the largest collection in the world.  They would open the collection to the public once a year, in August.   In 2000 Harold LeMay died but his collection continued.  Hundreds of his vehicles have been displayed in a new museum built in the parking area of the Tacoma Dome.  But the old warehouses are still full.

Rick and I visited a Tacoma Photo Society meeting years back and have been receiving emails regarding their meetings, etc ever since.  Well, they had a photo outing planned for the old warehouses this past Saturday and we decided to join them.  Fun!

We got to the museum early to stop at the Senior Center and have breakfast that was right there next to the warehouses.  It was $4 for a slab of ham, a couple scrambled eggs, coffee, orange juice and all the pancakes you can eat.  Yum!

The day turned rainy so it was great to be inside and dry.  But the warehouses were packed.  It was hard to get any good angles of thes cars.  There were even shelves packed with cars!  Old beaters all the way to perfect restorations.  Early 1900s all the way to fairly recent cars.  Foreign and domestic.  Fire trucks, school buses, a tank, motorcycles, tow trucks, limosines, cars that open on the front and those whose doors swing up.  You name it, they have it...

We spent an hour in each warehouse and got about 100 pictures in each.  So when we got home we had a lot of editing to do.  I ended up dumping all but 111 and only edited 13.  3 got emailed to the Tacoma Photo Society to share with the LeMay people to possibly be used in their brochure or on their website (everyone was encouraged to send in photos, to repay them for our special rates).  After receiving the 3 they asked me to send more of my stuff, they liked my "eye".

Here are the 3 that I initially sent in:

Maybe we should join the club!

Kids - Waddya Gonna Do...?

And I've got more than my fair share of them.  But I wouldn't give a one of them back!

I received this text from one of them this past Monday :

"I have a bump on my brain..."

Not exactly the kind of text you want to see coming from anyone - let alone one of your kids!

Denny has had migraines since he was 6.  Lately, though, they've increased to a point where the doctor finally decided it was time to look into a cause for them.  They've increased to 2 - 3 a week and he's also having blurred vision in connection with them.

So the first plan of action was a CAT scan.  Let's see if there's anything in that noggin.  Well, it looked like there was.  A MRI was done the very next day. 

It turned out to be a good news - bad news situation.  Good news - the "bump" turned out to be just an oddly located blood vessel, no mass, no tumor, no bulge, just a vessel.  Bad news?  They still don't know what's causing the headaches and blurred vision.

And now, on a totally different note - Keith started his first job!  It's not a super job, by any means, but since he's 22 and this is very first job ever it's a big deal!

I didn't get filled in on what all it entails but his comments to Rick were that is was stupidly easy and boring.  He's working at an auto auction and the only description I got was involving stickers.  I'll get more information tonight but - in the meantime:

Congratulations Keith!

Turning Around

6 weeks ago my household was in a pretty sad state. No one was employed and the money was flying out of Rick's savings account to pay the bills. Buying anything was strictly on hold. Food and gas were eating up some of our meager cash holdings. But we weren't too down about it, we knew it was only temporary.

A couple weeks after Rick was out of work and we found out that he would not be able to collect unemployment I decided to apply for food stamps. I hesitated because between us we had what I thought was too much money in savings. But what could they do? All they could do was deny us. So I gave it a shot and I was approved within a couple days and was immediately issued over $700 in a EBT food account!

The following weekend I found a cabinet on Craigslist for free that could be used to house Rick's camera collection that he wants to rebuild. It's in very good condition and other family members wish they'd seen the ad first!

Next, I had cut Tony's hair a couple times without any compensation so they finally brought us over a 12-pack of light beer.

Rick had rebuilt a gate for his parents and they loved it so much! They dropped by that same weekend to repay him with steak and more beer!

The following week Rick found out that his ex-brother-in-law had spoken to his boss at Boeing and Rick got a call for an interview. I also got brought in to work at the Transportation Department at the school district to fill the void for a woman who suddently loss the sight in one eye. I've been here since late September and will probably be here for another month. My income is gravy so this is all going into a fund for travelling, etc because...

Rick got the planner job at Boeing! He's making typical Boeing wages and all the benefits that come along with it. He started "working" last week, meaning that he's getting paid for his time but for now has nothing to do. Training starts soon and will be complete before the end of November.

Keith got a job! Job #1! It's a part time job at an auto auction putting "stickers" on cars, whatever that means... But it's a JOB!!!

I'm psyched, can you tell?

WOW! what a turn around from just a few weeks ago...

Here Are the Words...

I found this story linked to facebook today.  My loss of words are covered here.  I think this person summed up things pretty well:

“To the House of Jehovah Let Us Go”: 
Thousands Gather to Remember Whitney Heichel

“Blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become.”–Jeremiah 17:7.

On Friday, October 26, 2012, the Ritmiller and Heichel families hosted an open house event memorializing our dear sister, Whitney, who was tragically separated from her family by death just 10 days before. Some have asked what the event was like, so I thought I would share my observations and perspective (as one of Jehovah's Witnesses) for those who were unable to attend:

Thousands, not hundreds, gathered at the Salquist Kingdom Hall in Gresham, Oregon. Many of those in attendance were brothers and sisters from all over the Pacific Northwest, from California to the Canadian border. A line extends beyond the gates of the Hall, and down the sidewalk, out of view. Brothers and sisters with trays of refreshments, snacks, and hot coffee, walk up and down the lines of people, offering them to those waiting. There are very few handshakes exchanged, but this is because the brothers and sisters are busy embracing each other in warm, tender hugs. Although I know only a handful of the friends attending this heartwarming event, it seems like every face is somehow familiar, and every smile is a welcome home.

This is not a meet-and-greet or a funeral. This is a family reunion.

“Have love for the whole association of brothers.”–1 Peter 2:17.

Standing inside the Salquist Kingdom Hall, I try to keep an eye out for those who I know to be grieving family members. Suddenly, from nowhere, comes a big, tall, imposing man in a sharp suit. He gives me a bear hug, thanks me for being there, we chat for a couple minutes, and then he is gone.
We’ve never met, but this is Whitney’s father.

The same scene is replayed when speaking with Whitney’s mother, Lorilei, a tenderly compassionate woman who I am grateful to call my sister. Her hugs are the best: She brings you in close, hangs on tight, and lets the moment sink in without rush to let go. “We’re in this together,” she says. “All we have to do is hang on until this system ends. I think we can do that.” She presents a sincere, beaming smile that could only be found on the face of someone who’s God is Jehovah. When Jim Vaughn, an elder from Gresham who served as the family’s spokesman passes, I pull him aside and tell him how appreciative I am of his hard work in representing Jehovah and His people in the media, and in shepherding Jehovah’s wounded sheep. He thanks me and gives me a big hug. Truly, such “gifts in men” have proven to be like “like a hiding place from the wind and a place of concealment from the rainstorm…”—Eph. 4:8; Isa. 32:3.

Exiting the Kingdom Hall, we are directed into a large, heated tent that has been set up in the parking lot. Several businesses, including Wal-Mart and Starbucks, have graciously donated thousands of dollars’ worth of food and drink to the event.

I suppose in the final analysis, I could say with absolute confidence that this was the most profoundly impactful experience of my life – one that stands alone in the influence it has had on the minds and hearts of Jehovah’s people. I can think of no other time where the life of just one of our dear brothers or sisters has had such a galvanizing effect on the whole of Jehovah’s organization. One brother, who was with me, commented: “I’ve been in the truth for almost 30 years. I’ve served as a regular pioneer, ministerial servant, and an elder. Only now, after this, am I beginning to understand just what being one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is all about.” Standing amidst the “congregated throngs” of fellow worshippers, I quietly observe as my brothers and sisters talk, smile, and laugh. I watch as they embrace one another with joy and tenderness. I listen as they share encouraging experiences, and discuss what their dear sister, Whitney, meant to them. In all of this, I bathe myself in a single, solitary thought: This is the truth. I recall Jehovah’s heartening promise for tomorrow: “Just a little while longer…And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” Standing there with my brothers and sisters, it is as though we somehow skipped Armageddon and are already in the new world.—Ps. 26:12; 37:10, 11.

For a moment, just a moment, we were home.

What Do I Say?

There are so many directions to go to write about this memorial that 2 of my daughters-in-law and I attended last week, I just don't know how to approach it.

It was astounding.

To meet family members of a horrendous crime such as happened to our dear sister Whitney Heichel down in Oregon and have them actually consoling US was a shock, to say the least.  So many people would want to simply crawl into a hole and ask to be left alone and no one would blame them.

Chelsea had determined that she wasn't going to say anything because she didn't know what to say.  Does anyone?  What do you say to someone who's lost their daughter/wife/sister to a creep who kidnapped, raped and murdered her?  Someone who, no doubt, spent their last hours with their heart racing in terror?  We all hope that the agony ended quickly.  But that's not what you say.  We're grateful there was a quick answer to what happened to Whitney.  But you don't say that. 

I do wonder if there was a discussion of how the family should act or if their positive, downright happy appearance was genuine.  I just can't fathom being able to be so cheerful after such an awful event.

After driving 3+ hours, then waiting an hour in a line that snaked it's way through the one side of the double kingdom hall before meeting the family in the opposite end we were - - - surprised? to see the family greet us with hugs and smiles!  There were about 20 family members and not one of them had tears.  But there were lots of smiles.  When I thanked them for allowing the public (including my group) to participate they gave me wide eyes and told me how great it is for THEM to have such enormous support from so many people, at this open house there were as many as 3000 according to one source. 

It was like meeting celebrities.  But they're not, they're people just like the rest of us and they never thought anything like this would ever happen to them, the same like as we all think.

Seeing them in person and realizing that they were all normal people, living in normal places, working normal jobs definitely makes one realize how easily it could happen to any of us.  And, yes, we hear that all the time too.  But this made even that saying more real.  IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANY OF US...

One thing that Chelsea particularly was distraught about was seeing the area that Whitney was in when she was first abducted.  It was filled with businesses, cars and people.  And it would have been so at 7 in the morning, when she first "went missing".  She kept saying "Why didn't she do anything?"  There was so much she could have done.  So, to turn this tragedy into something more positive, we should all take note of what we can do if anything remotely like this happens to us:

If we're driving the car - wreck it, in town preferably.  Even if we have a gun on us.  Wreck it and jump out and run.  Screaming.

If we're not driving the car - jump out.  The minute there is any opportunity, a slow down for a turn or a light, open the door and fall or get out.  Then run.  Screaming.

If someone points a gun at us and we're on foot, run.  Screaming.  In a zig-zag path.

First and foremost - don't let the abductor get you to his/her destination.  Take control away from him/her.  Before they get to a remote place.

I got a wonderful email from a very deep-thinking sister and she made this interesting observation.  We should all be looking forward to being in the new system and welcoming back those deserving a resurrection. Imagine being able to tell Whitney that she helped you to resolve what to do in a bad situation...

Driving Home

OK, so Rick wants me to stop playing games on his iPad cuz it eats up the batteries. He suggested I write a blog. I guess that works. We're on I-5 driving home from another adventure, one I've been trying to get timed right and it finally happened.

I've been wanting to see the autumn colors in all their glory on the North Cascades Highway, specifically in the Winthrop area, in the Methow Valley (pronounced met-how).

We'll go back a bit first. Rick had been unemployed for about 6 weeks now and I've been wanting to do this trip but you gotta time it right. Well, for the last cuppla weeks I've been working at the Auburn School District transportation department, subbing in the office. So we couldn't go during the week. Then we had family functions on the weekends. This Friday was a non-school day so they told me I didn't have to work, unless I wanted to. Rick got his starting date for working at Boeing so I don't feel the pressure to work so I opted to stay home. When I got home Thursday I informed Rick that we were leaving on an overnight trip to eastern Washington the following morning. The weather was still pretty good, rain was moving in but it wasn't hitting the east until later on Saturday.

We threw our tenting stuff in the trunk (not camping, just sleeping stuff) grabbed some snacks and took off about 9:00 Friday AM.

I had done a little research to find side trips to enjoy out-of-the-way scenery and our first stop was at Lake Kachess just over Snoqualmie Pass. We were already finding lots of beautiful color there. We helped ourselves to the insecurely (kinda) gated campground on the lake and saw some gorgeous colors.

We made a quick stop at Safeway in Cle Elum, then continued on through Blewett Pass. I suggested we swing over to little gold mining town of Liberty but the road was being monitored by a fire volunteer, the wild fires are still burning. After turning around we noticed more closed roads, smoke rising from the woods and plenty of charred forest. It's obvious why they had to close the pass a while back due to the wildfires.

I tried to get some shots of the colorful foliage by a creek and ended up wading in the creek, barefooted!

When we got to the town of Cashmere we took a detour toward a vineyard, I was hoping they were changing colors also or had grapes left on them. Neither. In reality all the grapevines were encased in bird-proof netting, really ugly. But we did see the old town of Cashmere which is now on a back road. There was a house with a collection of antique farm and forest implements. There was an old rusty snowmobile (didn't know they made them that long ago!) and a BIG chainsaw that had a handle on the far end, it musta been about 4' long!

We got to the town of Twisp right around dinner time and was hoping to find fast food with a dollar menu - not in Twisp! So we looked around and ended up choosing a bar and grill - Mick and Miki's Red Cedar Bar for a burger. Prices were average, the food was good but the place needed some serious upgrades to remove the smell. I say it was old frying oil smell and Rick says old cigarettes, probably was a combination of the two.

After dinner we looked at the map to find a forest service road to set our tent up on. We found it and by the time we were setting things up it was twilight. It wasn't too late so once our accommodations were ready for us we sat in the car and occupied ourselves on the iPad. First we looked at the pictures we took that day, then we played monopoly until it was obvious that Rick was gonna win, then we retired to our tent and watched a movie - "It Happens Every Spring". An OLD 1949 black and white, cute movie.

When we were trying to get to sleep we heard cars driving by on the road not too far from our parking spot. One we eventually called the "Yee-hawers". They were tearing all over the place. Rick said it sounded like they were trying to climb hills in their truck, slipping tires and flying rocks. We were cracking jokes on the way out, where it looked like they may have gone.

Our drive out that road looked very different from when we drove in. It was a beautiful valley! Then the town of Twisp was also very friendly, a busy Saturday market was going on by the library and senior center. We needed coffee so headed to Hank's Market and found the deli had seating and some quick, cheap breakfast. Rick had ham scramble for $2.75 and I got biscuits and gravy for $3. The food and coffee was good, the restroom was clean, it was a great start to the day.

We found the "Old Twisp Highway" and the scenery was amazing. Beautiful trees, rivers and the homesteads were well manicured.

After stopping every half mile or so we finally made it to Winthrop. It's an old-west style tourist town but in a very pretty part of the state, the Methow Valley.

Proudly we drove right out of town (no getting sucked into the whole tourist thing) and headed out to the woods to look for more scenery. We found a beautiful, small but powerful waterfall, the Falls Creek Falls. Then we took a side trip to Perrygin Lake, then to the Silverlilne Resort on the lake. A very pretty resort with a campground, boat rentals, etc.

We opted to try out a side road rather than take the main highway to start our trip home. It started out a nice gravel road but eventually turned into a very rocky single lane goat trail! Not literally, of course, but we did wonder numerous times if we were on the right road. We did and were glad to finally get back on smooth road.

The rain started soon after we got back to the highway. Then Rick started sweating about gas, we were on E and weren't finding a gas station. We got to Newhalem and - NO GAS!!! The next town was 13 l o n g miles down the road but we made it.

We saw turkeys, quail, a great blue heron, a bald eagle and heard an owl and a pileated woodpecker.  Saw about 5 dead deer but never once did we see a live one.  Oh, and we saw lots of hunters!

We were invited to Rick's parents' place for dinner so we had to call and let them know that we'd be late. We were only about a half an hour late. It was another really fun adventure!

Caught-up Blog #6

I think this should be the last of the Catch-ups needed.  What should I call this one?  How 'bout...

Keeping Busy

Yes, this is the time period around Rick's unemployment.  I won't go into how he came to be that way but all of us who know will never forget how it happened, no need to document it and possibly embarrass the poor dope any further...

So, we had a crater in our back yard.  We had a bunch of wood that needed to be readied for winter use.  We have a monster-stump.  Most of that has all been attended to.  

The wood's all split , stacked and topped with plywood to keep the bulk of the rain off...

The crater has been filled and made back into the circular garden with an "Autumn Blaze" maple tree in its center...

The monster-stump is only a mini-monster.  It may be ready to pull, push, or heave out into the woods somewhere...

So we took a drive to a place that I wanted to try to get some interesting shots, Green River Gorge.  It's not easy to access and when we finally did find the trail the portion down to the river was steep enough that my fear of falling wouldn't allow me to get down it.  I even had a hard time getting back UP the section that we did attempt.  I'd like to try again with the help of ropes tied to trees and my camera in a backpack so my hands are free.

Saturday we wanted to go for a drive so we contacted Rick's cousin down in Chehalis.  She was gonna be at a equestrian event which we didn't really care to visit.  So I suggested that we head to Long Beach and the Westport Lighthouse.  

We headed out and began talking about the route and when I finally looked at the map I realized that Long Beach wasn't where I thought it was.  I wanted to go to Westport.  

Rick likes to explore and had a different road in mind that made a loop, according to the map.  It went west through the town of Brooklyn, then on to Arctic, then we're basically back in Aberdeen where we break off and go southward to Westport instead of northward to Ocean Shores like we do so often...

We found the road after stopping to ASK FOR DIRECTIONS and after about 7 miles the pavement ended and we drove the next 7 miles on gravel til we hit pavement again.  The gravel portion was well-traveled and lined with farms and forests, a pretty drive.  When we found pavement again it was just a couple miles til we hit TRAFFIC!  Cops, motorcycles, food stands, paid parking lots in the middle of nowhere.  Turns out it was Saginaw Days at the Brooklyn Tavern.  Too funny!

So we finished our adventure and just headed to Westport.  It was mostly a fishing town with the usual gifts shops, a marina, a long dock for fishing.  There were guided fishing boat tours and lots of people crabbing off the dock.  Of course there were plenty of sea birds.  The usual seagulls, grey gulls, cormorants and PELICANS!  I didn't know we had pelicans here!  They were brown pelicans and they flew in groups mostly.

After we enjoyed the sights in town we went to find the lighthouse.  On the way to the beach we noticed a park with a lighthouse, or at least a replica.  We went to the beach. looked around and couldn't find the lighthouse so we went back to the park where we saw one. 

Turns out it WAS the Westport lighthouse!  It used to be on the beach but the beach has grown and it's now the lighthouse is over 1/2 mile inland.

So, disappointed that the lighthouse was little more than a museum we looked for a road that would take us out onto the sand so we could just sit and have a beer before heading home.

I wonder what we'll do next weekend...

Catch-up Blog #5

OK, so I took a day off.  This blogging is exhausting!

So, what's up next?

Fair Day!

We girls (Rach, Shirley and I, maybe Heather will come next year) took the kids last year to the fair and it was a great day!  So we decided to try it again and guess what?  Another great day!  I remember we got burned last year and this year was again in the 80's!  In Seattle?  In September?  Wow!  I decided to buy myself a nice sunhat and after I showed it to the girls they decided to buy themselves one too!  Copycats!

So we got there and again headed for the little kids' rides, "Sillyville" they're called here at the good 'ole Puyallup Fair.  Hunter was much better at keeping up this year and could manage the rides without too much help.  So it was very much a repeat of last year.  We did the tractor pull.  We tried to get Shayne to ride a sheep ("Wool Riders Only") and he chickened out.  But since Shirley's 2 boys in particular are getting big enough for some of the big kids' rides we decided to wander that-a-way.  

The first one we tried out was the "Wild Cat" roller coaster.  Joe and Shayne were both big enough to ride alone so Shirley didn't even get to share that first ride with them.  I wanted to be sure to get pictures of this, their FIRST real roller coaster ride.  The track twists around so much it's hard to follow where they go.  Shirley came and told me when they boarded and fortunately, they were in the front seat of the 4-person car.

So I just put the camera on sports mode and chose where I would try to catch them.  It worked out perfectly, the camera snaps like 5 frames per second so I just pressed the button and stayed fixed on the boys.  I got the perfect shot that, cropped way in, shows their true emotions on that first harrowing roller coaster ride!

After that success we stayed in the big ride area and the 3 of them did the rest of the rides together.  They did the bumper cars, Hunter rode with Shayne as the driver and just LOVED it!  He had this wicked smile on his face the whole time!

There was also a rainforest exhibit and all 3 boys held this big, black scorpion - ew!

The "Let's Pretend" play that was so cute last year wasn't quite as good this year.  It was a pirate story and the costumes were great but the whole thing lacked structure.  

We stayed quite late and I ended up missing meeting because of it.  Oops.  When we left I was so ready to stay - that's when the FUN photography begins, at sundown!

Catch-up Blog #4

Next on the agenda? 


Saturday?  So what?  

Well, when one's spouse is unemployed, the weather is great and all the honey-do's are done then what?  Gotta find something to do!  That was last Saturday.  So we started the day with a stop at Rick's parents' place.  They were having a garage sale, a "toy sale" they called it.  It was mostly model cars and matchbox cars.  We just had to go check it out...

We went up to visit his brother, Denis, in Federal Way next.  He was involved in a building project with his father-in-law and wouldn't feed us (no matter how hard we begged) so we didn't stick around for long.

Friday night I'd actually looked for events that might offer some interesting photo opps.  We found an India-Indian event taking place at Saltwater Park in the afternoon that was supposed to include music and dancing.  It wasn't much to see but we did meander through the park and creek.

The next event wasn't til evening, 5 - 10 PM in Burien.  Something called Arts-a-Glow.  Well, Rick's baby sister lives in Burien so we planned a visit there as well.  It was a nice visit.  I think everyone wondered what was up - no holiday to bring us visiting!  What were we doing there?

After 1.5 - 2 hours at Denise and Mike's place we headed over to the park.  The map we'd eyeballed on the internet was all wrong and we got lost but it afforded us a great view of the screaming sunset!  We contacted Denise on the telly and she led us to the park.  

So when we got to the park the first thing we saw was umbrellas decorated and lit from behind, lining the side of the street.  There was a crowd, but not a HUGE one.  There was a percussion band and they were just getting revved up.  Then they all took off in a parade around the block.  Everyone was either wearing or carrying lights!  No religious significance, no holidays - just for FUN!!!  

We weren't prepared to participate so we just wandered on into the park.  There was soft music playing at a variety of light displays.  No vendors to speak of, just art, lights and music.

Next year we're definitely going, taking the kids this time and being part of the parade!

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.