Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday in Seattle

Amazingly enough, we woke up to blue skies and some sunshine peeking through white, fluffy clouds this morning. Remember, we are in Seattle, one of the rainiest cities on the planet. Tom & I walked around the neighborhood a bit this morning in search of a Starbuck's. One is NEVER far away from a Starbuck's when in Seattle, because this is the birthplace of the mega-chain of coffee stores. We found one about a block and a half away. While standing in line, I happened to look down at the floor and found a $10 bill. After asking the folks around us if it was theirs and all saying it wasn't, after placing our coffee order, I put it in the tip jar. The guy who took our order thought that was so cool, that he gave us our most expensive drink (Tom's Mocha Frappucino) free of charge. Tom and I have both noticed just how quickly a blessing given away comes back to revisit you in another blessing. It's the kind of cycle we both want to perpetuate.

Back to the rooms, gather the kids, then we were off to the monorail station (about 4-5 blocks away) for the ride to downtown....Westlake Center, to be exact. Not many people on the monorail, in fact, Tom and Tucker rode in the very front, next to the driver, but once downtown, there were hoards of people. There was a big parade going on which we caught bits and pieces of from the monorail and from the windows in the food court at the mall. Then into the fray to do a bit of shopping ourselves. We split up into two teams, Tom and Tucker going off to look at "guy" stuff, while Megan and I took off to check at the "girl" stuff. We popped into a store called "Bad Reputation" because they carry Ed Hardy clothing..........a line of clothing that Joe kind of likes. He has a few Ed Hardy t-shirts, but we found none here that looked like something that Joe would like. Megan was disappointed because there was no Aeropostale store in this mall so we headed outside to see what else we could find. We decided against going into Nordstrom because, while this is the Nordstrom flagship store here in Seattle, neither Megan or I really consider ourselves "Nordstrom girls".........just not our taste. We did take a quick look around in The Gap, then spied a Barnes and Noble sign. Now THIS is our kind of shopping. Books and lots of them! Megan has been seeking a book called Beautiful Creatures for a while now and our local Borders store does not have it in stock, so she wanted to look for it here and sure enough, they had it!!! So she got that and the second of a series of books that are written solely in instant message language, this one being titled TTFN (Ta Ta For Now). I fear that the next generation will not be able to spell and will speak in acronyms.

We received a call from Tom saying the Elizabet and her husband Ryan and their baby Alexander were meeting us at the pig statue at Pike's market at noon, so we headed that way so that we could spend some time with them and meet their baby for the first time. Very cute little guy and didn't fuss once!! We ate at a Mediterranean place where there seemed to be a bit of a communication break down when I placed my order. We finally got some food and visited for a bit then parted ways once again. Megan was cold (she didn't dress quite warm enough for outside walking) and wanted to head back to the room while Tom and Tucker wanted to return to the Nordstrom Rack, because their time there had been cut short due to the lunchtime meet with Elizabet and Ryan. Meg and I rode the monorail back to Seattle Center, made the short walk back to our room, where she watched some TV and I took about a two hour nap. I LOVE naps and very seldomly get or take the opportunity to take one, so this was quite a lovely treat!

Megan woke me around 5'ish so that we could all head downtown again to go to Gameworks. This is a GIANT arcade with tons of video games, old and new (I'm talking Frogger and Ms. Pacman to all the shoot up the zombie type games here). We had some old GameWorks cards that we had bought and loaded up with credits the last time we had been here (probably 5 years ago) that Megan had recently found at home somewhere so we presented these to the guy you buy credits from to see what was on them so we could decide how many more credits to buy and (here comes that blessing thing returned again), each card had about $75 worth of credits (there was a card for EACH of us, mind you) so we played games for about 2 hours and never spent an actual penny in the place!!!

We all got hungry and, rather than trying to find a restaurant, we all decided that we would be perfectly content to head back to the Metropolitan Market in our little neighborhood and grab something there to have in our rooms. Megan and I both got this yummy cold noodle with carrots, cashews, green onions and some kind of Asian type dressing, while the boys decided on a chips and salsa and guacamole feed. We settled into our respective rooms for the night, the guys watching ball games, Megan watching some Disney channel and doing some reading and I watched a couple of episodes of Numb3rs on-line. Then lights out. Another good day. Thank you, God.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inn at Queen Anne

I promised to get back to "our quaint hotel", so here it is. When I booked this trip on line, Tom and I had discussed staying in downtown Seattle rather than staying at his brother's house so that we could be in the midst of the downtown action. Well, to stay in the "heart" of downtown Seattle was a bit more expensive than I was willing to go, so I booked us into what appeared on-line to be a charming, older place in one of the neighborhoods close to the Space Needle. While this area IS still considered downtown Seattle, it is NOT just a few blocks away from Pike's Market.....more like 15 blocks away and a 15 block walk in notorious, rainy Seattle weather doesn't really sound like a very attractive way to get around. So, Tom was kind of grumpy when he realized that we were a bit further out from downtown's heart that he had envisioned. And, initially, I was a bit wary of my choice as well. While quite charming looking from the outside, (there is a cute little courtyard right by the entrance), there definitely is a very "vintage" feel (and smell) when one walks inside. Check in time is not until 3pm and we arrived at 1, so we were first told that we may have to wait a while for our rooms. It being Thanksgiving Day and us being on foot, this didn't sound so great to us. Apparently the desk staff saw this on our faces and told us that if we didn't mind being on the third floor, we could go ahead and get into rooms then and there. Why would we mind being on the third floor, you might ask?? Well, because this being the quaint, charming, vintage building that it is, there are no elevators. Since we were only packed for two days, our luggage was not that heavy so we decided we were OK with climbing up a couple of flights of stairs to the rooms. We were then handed our room keys and directed to the stairs. Yes, we were handed our room KEYS, not key cards. When was the last time you stayed in a place that still uses KEYS to unlock the doors??? Upon opening our doors we found nice-sized rooms with small kitchens, a large walk-in closet, radiators for heat, a musty odor and an open window, with no screen, to help air out the room. I actually really and truly do find these kind of places quite charming as long as they are clean and provide free wi-fi internet and this place fills the bill. I would bet that these were, once upon a time, studio apartments.

Because we had been up with the sunrise and had eaten very little, we decided that we would like to find something to snack on before Thanksgiving dinner. I called down to the front desk and was told that there was a market about a block away that was open until 2 where we would be sure to find something to tide us over. So we all headed out for the short walk to the Metropolitan Market and, much to our pleasant surprise, found that we are in the middle of a quite charming little neighborhood with lots of shops and restaurants. Megan and I spotted two bookstores on the 1 block walk to the market, along with several very interesting looking ethnic restaurants (Thai, Vietnamese, Indian) and two record stores. We also found out that the hotel provides a free shuttle service that runs to the downtown area throughout the day, so if the weather is unpleasant and we don't feel like walking, we can catch a ride. Now, even Tom has warmed up a bit to our accommodations, which will make our stay here more pleasant than having him grumpy. And that market we went to?? The Metropolitan? Very hip, with a soup and salad bar, an olive bar, a nice deli where they make sandwiches and just an overall cool vibe. I believe this little home away from home will serve us well for the couple of days that we are here!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Last night we had the privilege of participating in an event with our church where we served Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless people of Salem. We did this last year, too, and I have to say that it truly is a great experience to serve these folks a good, hot meal and see how much they appreciate it. I plan on our family participating in this event, and hopefully others like it, many times in the years to come.

This morning, we all got up WAYYYY early (Tom at 4:30 am, so he could go pick his Mom up from Dallas) and the rest of us at 5 am, so that we could all get ready to head to the train station for our train ride up to Seattle so that we could share Thanksgiving dinner with Tom's brother's family. We haven't ridden the train in several years, but every time we do, we always remember how much we like it. There is so much more room on the train than on a plane and it's much more relaxing than going in a car and having to worry about traffic and bathroom breaks. There is even a dining car where you can go get a snack if you are hungry! It takes longer by train than by car, because of all the stops the train makes along the way, but that's ok. The kids played games on their lap tops, Tom did some Sodoku puzzles and I read some and worked on my art journal some. Time went by fairly quickly and before we knew it we were in Seattle. Tom's Mom got off at the Tukwila stop where Norm picked her up, since she is staying with them rather than with us at our motel, and that stop is closer to Norm and Elaine's home. We caught a cab from the train station to our motel, the Inn at Queen Anne, and hung out there for a couple of hours since Thanksgiving dinner wasn't being served up until around 4 pm. Norm came and picked us up around 2:30 and Tom and the kids hung out with the cousins while I helped Elaine out in the kitchen. This woman is an amazing cook and hostess. There were like, 12 pies, 2 kinds of stuffing, a beautiful turkey, mashed potatoes, baked yams, green beans, cooked purple cabbage, mushroom gravy and homemade rolls. There were not only our family and their family there, but also Mika's Finnish teacher and her family, who have only been in the U.S. since August, a friend of the family's from their church and Anja's boyfriend (or recent ex-boyfriend....I'm not sure!) We ate ourselves full, then played a fun game with Scrabble tiles called "Take Two", before realizing that we were all VERY tired and about ready to fall over asleep, so one of the other guests gave us a ride back to our quaint hotel room (more about that later) so that we could rest up for tomorrow (lots of shopping opportunities available in downtown Seattle on Black Friday!!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunrise in Oregon

Ok this photo is just too beautiful to not share. This is a panoramic shot of the sunrise I saw this morning out my bedroom window. WOW!!! God is truly a great artist!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Megan's grades

Ok, I got to thinking about making a big deal of Tucker's grades and thought that maybe I should make mention of Megan's STRAIGHT A's!! Just because this has become a commonplace thing does not mean that it should go unmentioned or unnoticed. So a round of applause, please for Megan's straight A's.

Tucker's grades

Tucker's Turn!!!!! After a somewhat dismal academic year last year, Tucker started out this year with a "C" in Physics, but "A's" is everything else!!!! Way to go, I KNEW you could do it!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Final Days of Summer Vacation 2009

So we headed down the coast on Highway 101 for Depoe Bay, the whale-watching capital of the world. A couple of years ago, we decided last minute that we wanted to be out at the coast for the 4th of July. The only place where I could find a room available was this place called Inn at Arch Rock in Depoe Bay. While not real fancy….it’s actually kind of old….and it is lacking a pool, we all decided that we really kind of liked it, so we decided to come back again this year for the 4th.

The town of Depoe Bay, rather than having their fireworks on the 4th have them on the 3rd, which is kind of a bonus, since that happens to be my birthday! Sooooo…after a much longer drive than we thought it would be, we finally arrived at Depoe Bay and checked into our room. Our room was on the second floor with a corner that had a window seat and windows facing the ocean and the little cove that the Inn sits on.

Every room in this place is provided with a pair of binoculars so that the occupants can watch the pod of gray whales that live off the coast at Depoe Bay year round. I love this! We hadn’t been there fifteen minutes before I spotted a whale spouting. I don’t exactly what it is, but I, personally, find watching whales out in the ocean to be fascinating and exciting. It’s like finding unexpected treasure. They look like they are having such fun!!

We watched what appeared to be two whales for an hour or so, both from the room and outside before settling in for an evening of reading and TV.

Friday, July 3

Ok, it’s official. Today I am 50 years old. I know some people who seem traumatized by this. While not traumatized, I can hardly believe that I am really 50 years old!! In my head, I still feel in my mid-twenties somewhere, but my body tells me otherwise……..Enough about that!! After a lazy morning of browsing the internet, working on this journal and grabbing a cup of coffee at the nearby coffee store (actually within walking distance), I spent more time today just gazing out the window and watching whales. Today they came deep into the cove. I didn’t realize that the water in there was deep enough for the whales to come in that far, but apparently it is, because they played around in there for most of the day. It was great fun watching them.

When I returned upstairs after my internet browsing in the lobby, everyone sang Happy Birthday to me and gave me gifts. Tom and Tucker had each picked out some beautiful earrings and Megan a beautiful necklace from the gift shop at Lake Quinault Lodge. What a nice way to start my day!!

The weather here is the worst that we have had for the entire trip and it still isn’t awful. But it is cool and overcast and a bit windy and looks like it might rain. We talked about going to the tide pools at Yaquina Head (my favorite tide pools on the Oregon Coast), but decided against it, in hopes of having better weather tomorrow. We DID, however, go to the Lincoln City Factory Outlet stores for some family shopping. We ALL came away with some new shoes and some of us with new clothes. We then went to one of my new favorite places for dinner on the coast, a place called Tidal Raves. It is within walking distance of our hotel. In fact it sits just on the other side of the cove from our hotel, so , it, too has big sweeping views of the ocean from it’s dining room windows. Tom had what he said were some of the best fish (halibut) tacos ever, while I had their very yummy “rubbed” chicken. Megan had her usual chicken strips and fries, though upon tasting my chicken announced that she would like to return here for dinner the following evening so that she could have the “rubbed” chicken, too. Tucker wasn’t quite as impressed with his fare as the rest of us, unfortunately, even though they were kind enough to create a vegetable dish just for him.

After dinner, we had a bit of a break then it was time to set off for the fireworks show. When we were here a couple of years ago, we walked a path through a small neighborhood from the Inn to another cover where, we, along with several other folks sat and watched the fireworks away from the BIG crowd at the bay where the fireworks actually took place. This year, we walked to the same spot and we were the only ones there!! This kind of freaked us out. Made us think that maybe we had the wrong date or that the place where they shot the fireworks from was different. So we walked down the road to the actual spot where the fireworks were happening and joined hundreds of other people. Turns out we had just arrived and the other spot about an hour early. Next time we’ll know!! It was quite chilly out (I know, seems weird to put the words “chilly” and “4th of July” in the same sentence!), so we had blankets with us to wrap up in to stay warm. We actually got lucky enough to sit inside the shuttle bus that we would eventually be riding back to the hotel in, and stay warm while watching the fireworks. It was a great show and a nice finale to my birthday.

Saturday, July 4

Another morning where Tom & I got up first and walked over to the coffee store for a cup of coffee. Once the kids got up and had breakfast, we hung out for a while, then headed into Newport. The weather, once again, was not really very cooperative. Cool and foggy. Joe and Miranda were going to come over and join us today, but at 6:30 a.m., Joe called Tom to let him know that he was going to have to work at Illahe after all, (He had originally been told by someone that he was NOT on the schedule for this day) so he and Miranda would not be coming over. Total bummer. Once in Newport, we went to the local Saturday Farmer’s Market, where in the past, we had found some awesome (so I’m told, because I don’t like mushrooms!) locally grown mushrooms……shiitakes, maitakes, oyster and buttertop mushrooms, to be exact. We were in luck…….we found the folks who sell those and bought some to cook up for Tom and Tucker later. Not much else of interest at the Farmer’s market, so we decided to get lunch. I really wanted to go to the Canyon Way Bookstore and Restaurant, while Tucker was more interested in going to the Mongolian grill. So we browsed the bookstore for a bit, then Tom & Tucker headed up the street to the Mongolian grill place. Megan and I were seated and had just ordered when the guys showed up at our table. Apparently the Mongolian grill place was no longer there (even though their sign still was), so they joined us for lunch. This was, at one time, one of my favorite places to eat while at the coast. I have to say that this time around, I was not impressed. Tidal Raves has taken the spot as my favorite place to eat on the coast. After lunch, we were planning on going to the tide pools but we were still about two hours ahead of low tide. We decided to go on out to Yaquina Head anyway, because Megan wanted to go into the lighthouse there. Once we got out onto the point where the lighthouse is, it was REALLY quite chilly and very windy. We went up the one hundred and some stairs to the top of the light house, then headed back downstairs.

The water was still too high for us to check out the tide pools and we all were pretty cold, so we decided to head on back to the room and do the tide pools at a future date.

Upon returning to the room, we played some family games………..some game similar to score four (tic, tac, toe) and some Yahtzee. Then off to dinner; Megan & I back to Tidal Raves, while Tom & Tucker ate Chinese at a place across the street called “Wing Wa”. Everybody seemed quite happy with their meals. We watched a Star Wars episode and all talked about how good a trip it had been but that we were all feeling ready to go home. So, off to bed we all went and after coffee in the morning we hit the road for home. Another memory made.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Once everyone was up and showered, we packed up, loaded up the van and headed out for the next leg of our trip…………..destination, Long Beach, Washington. This is a beach resort town that Tom & I took Tucker and Megan to several years ago for a long weekend and that we had fond memories of. WorldMark, the time share company that we have points with, has a big resort there and we were able to book one night there this week, so we did, in an effort to keep our driving to no more than 3 hours on each leg of the trip.

As much as we all loved Lake Quinault Lodge, it was interesting that when we opened the door to the condo at Long Beach, we all were appreciative of the amount of SPACE there was!! ROOMS that were actually separated from each other, that allowed for some privacy………what a concept!! I came to the realization how spoiled I have become by our time share and the ability to stay in condos versus hotel rooms. Now that the kids are small adults and no longer little children, more space is REALLY NICE when on vacation. The rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge and at Lake Quinault were just that…..big rooms with two beds, a television a desk and chair and one other chair crammed in. Just not enough space for 4 people to spend much time in together, particularly when two of those people are teenagers!!

Anyway, we checked into the condo and the kids went and headed down to the pool. It was much cooler here than at Lake Quinault and the pool here was outdoors, but the kids reported that the water was quite warm, thus making swimming enjoyable despite the chill in the outside air. Tom & I watched some TV, I read some and, of course, got on the computer. One thing that I have to say I find a bit irritating about many of the WorldMark condos is the fact that one has to PAY for internet service in the room. Most of them have a “business center” where one can get on WorldMark’s computer, but usually there is only one or two computers in the business center and, if there are many teenagers around, it can be difficult to find one of these available. So, I bit the bullet and paid for the privilege of getting on the internet.

Once the kids were done swimming, Tom, Megan & I decided to go for a walk on the boardwalk down at the beach। It was REALLY quite chilly by the time we did this because the sun was setting. We took a few pictures, then headed back to the room because I just wasn’t dressed for the cooler weather.

We had arrived a bit before check in time, so we had eaten Thai food while waiting for the call that the condo was ready, so none of us was really hungry, so we settled in for the evening, reading and watching television. The kids headed to the game room area (pool, ping pong, video games) and hung out there for a good part of the evening. Megan came back to the room around 10 or so, while I had to go and order Tucker back to the room at midnight, which he was not very happy about, because he was hanging out with a group of kids who were NOT being ordered back to their room and he wanted to stay, too. I can be SUCH a drag sometimes!!!

Thursday, July 2

Thursday was another travel day, but first we decided to have a little fun in Long Beach. We started the day off playing a little miniature golf on a goofy little mini golf course, whose characters & obstacles appear to have inhabited this place for quite some time and some have not fared well!!

After golf (Tom whooped all of our butts!!), we divided up and went our separate ways to do a bit of shopping. Megan & I headed to the scrapbook/coffeshop/chocolate shop (all of my favorite things together in one store!!), while Tom went off to check out some of the antique stores in town and Tucker went in search of food (he’s nearly always in search of food!!) Megan & I browsed the scrapbook store, but didn’t really find anything that we couldn’t live without. We did, however, decide that we should each have a piece of fudge. From there we moved on to the elephant ear place and indulged ourselves there (HEY, WE’RE ON VACATION!!!!)
We then all met up again at Marsh’s FREE Museum. Now this is a very strange place. It’s mostly a cheap souvenir store; you know, seashells, magnets, rocks, tiny sand dollars in bottles, that kind of stuff, but scattered throughout are stuffed bears, vintage music machines, those old machines that one dropped a penny into then watched some sort of “show” through things that look like ViewMasters, stuffed animal heads on every wall and the weirdest thing of all, Jake, the mummified skeleton of a half alligator/half human creature. No!! I am not kidding………..I have a picture that proves it!

What the ****….??????? Got me! But this is what makes this place “famous”. Totally weird. The kids didn’t seem too impressed with Jake, but DID think it was necessary to sit in the Emotion Factor Chair, where Tucker came up “Lovable”, while Megan tested “Frigid”. Oh, Megan!! I don’t think you’re frigid, honey!!

We wrapped it up at Marsh’s Free Museum and hopped into the van to head south down the coast to Depoe Bay, our final destination of the vacation before heading home.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Add Image

Tuesday, June 30

I, again, woke up first, with Tom not far behind me. We were planning on another hike today, but, alas, upon waking, Tom had a painful foot that had him hobbling around and a hike did not appear to be in the cards. He gets these bouts of painful tendonitis in the left foot/ankle area occasionally and it really slows him down. This one was not quite as bad as some in the past, which have had him on crutches. I walked over to the mercantile for my morning cup of coffee and told Michael about Tom not really being able to walk due to his painful foot, he suggested that we might want to take the drive around the lake. He got out a map for me and circled a couple of interesting spots. One was just about a ½ mile up the road where the “World’s Largest Sitka Spruce Tree” was. It was a short walk off of the road but he said, along with some other folks that were buying coffee while we were talking, that it was something worth seeing. He also circled a couple of waterfalls and pointed out an area where a couple of black bear have been spotted hanging around as well as some potential elk-spotting areas. So we canned the hiking idea and all piled into the car for the drive around the lake. Unfortunately, we did not see any wildlife, but we did visit the Sitka Spruce tree and took some photos at one of the waterfalls.

Once back at the lodge we decided to have a rematch of horseshoes (you know those boys, they cannot stand to lose!), so we played another couple of rounds of horseshoes and the boys did end up winning two out of three, although I must say that Megan & I made a much better show than I ever dreamed. We even had a few ringers, each, throughout the games!

We ended the evening with dinner in the Roosevelt Room again, then some serious lodge time…….reading, etc…and relaxing. We all agreed that we really like this place and would be willing to come back again. The next day was a road day for a one night stay at the WorldMark condo in Long Beach, Washington.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I was the first one up on Sunday morning at 7:00 am with visions of Starbuck’s (they have one in the lobby of the building) and waterslides in my head. The waterpark didn’t open until 9 and I wanted to let everyone else sleep in (it IS vacation, after all) so I grabbed the laptop and the card from the digital camera and headed down to the lobby so I could start journaling about the trip while indulging myself with my morning mocha. While I was typing away, a little show started up in the middle of the lobby where they have a “cabin” with animated talking/singing creatures for the younger generation to enjoy. Looked and sounded very Disney’esque…..thought I was in Disney World for a moment. Around 8:30, I went back to the room, where Tom was in the shower, but the kids were still in bed. I woke them up so we could all go to the waterpark again before checking out (I know, I know….it IS vacation, but this place was WAY expensive and I wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth out of it!), only to find out that no one else was really that interested in getting wet. So we discussed our options and decided on breakfast and then hitting the arcade.

We did just that, had some fun, Megan came away with a small wolf purse that she traded all of our collective tickets in for, then we hit the road for the second leg of our trip.
Tucker wanted to get some driving time in so he drove the first hour on our way to Lake Quinault Lodge with a stop in Aberdeen, Washington for a change in driver. Tom handled the second and final hour of driving to get us to our destination for the next 3 days.

Lake Quinault Lodge, I must say, is a TOTALLY different experience from Great Wolf Lodge. Lake Quinault Lodge was built in 1926, while Great Wolf Lodge was built within the past year, I believe. Lake Quinault Lodge has a definite throwback to the 50’s, 60’s kind of feel, while Great Wolf Lodge has a very modern feel. Great Wolf Lodge is about action and adventure, while Lake Quinault Lodge is more about nature and rest and relaxation. It is a beautiful, old lodge that sits right on the gorgeous, glacial Lake Quinault. There is a big, beautiful lawn that stretches out to the lake with a gazebo and lawn chairs and a horseshoe pit. They have canoes, kayaks and paddle boats for rent to take out onto the lake. The Quinault Indians own the lake and set the rules. Only small motor boats are allowed on the lake and cannot go over 24 miles per hour. No water skiers or SkiDos on the lake. It is very placid and peaceful. Our first day here was pretty laid back. Tom and I hung out at the lodge, reading, doing Sodoku puzzles, typing up this very journal and generally just hanging out. Tuck and Meg went and hit the pool for some water, nerf football while Tom & I were relaxing. I must say that it is very nice to have children who are grown enough that we can let them wander off on their own at these types of places rather than having to shepherd them around everywhere. Makes for a MUCH more relaxing vacation.
The kids went back to the room and got into warm, dry clothes, then we had dinner in the restaurant at the lodge, the Roosevelt Room. It is called the Roosevelt Room because FDR (Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt) visited this lodge back in the 1930’s and shortly thereafter declared this area a national park, Olympic National Park to be exact. Dinner was tasty and the chef was kind enough to cook up some of Tucker’s pasta for him with a primavera/marinara sauce. After dinner we hung out in the lodge again for a bit then headed back to the room and called it a night.

Monday, June 29

Monday morning, Tom & I got up before the kids and headed over to the mercantile across the street from the lodge for a cup of coffee, then back to the lodge to read and do sodoku puzzles while waiting for the kids to get up. The mercantile is a little store across the street from the lodge that has a few grocery type items, some fishing gear, books, locally made jewelery and a café. It is quite charming and is owned & run by a family that lives above the store. Michael, the owner, is very knowledgeable about the area and his love of the area just oozes out of him. He is very quick to share his knowledge of the area with you when asked questions; about the trails, the lake and the local sites. In fact, he runs the store until 2 pm daily, then heads across the street to the lodge where he puts on his other hat and does the lake tours for the lodge. I found him to be very helpful and his attitude definitely added to the charm of the place.
Once the kids were up, we decided to go for a short hike (about 1 ½ miles), right from the lodge, through the old growth forest. Lots of photo opportunities with waterfalls and big, mossy trees.

It was a very nice hike that worked up our appetites. We had breakfast/lunch at the café in the mercantile, where Tom & Tucker decided to go into Aberdeen, an hour away, to do a bit of grocery shopping and antiquing. While the guys were gone, Megan & I did some reading, then decided to get some horseshoe practice in, since we were planning on playing a game upon their return. When the guys got back, we did, indeed, get in that game of horseshoes and WE WON!!!! ( I think even we were surprised). Then back to the lodge where we played a game of SET. The lodge is such a wonderful place to hang out. It has a great big rock fireplace, in which a big fire burned, lots of cushy couches and chairs scattered around, along with some tables and chairs, too, where a family could sit and play a game or do a puzzle.

There are always a number of people hanging out in there, reading, playing games or doing stuff on their laptaps. Unfortunately, the wireless internet was not working, which precluded checking e-mails, E-bay, MySpace and Facebook pages but we managed to survive it quite well. After a couple of games of SET, all of us but Tucker, headed back to room for the night. I went out looking for Tucker at 10:45 pm when he hadn’t returned to the room yet to find him sitting out on the lawn talking with someone on his cell phone. Needed to have him back in the room so that I could go to sleep knowing that all my chicks were safe and sound.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2009

Soooo…we had our combined 50th birthday party on Friday night (June 26, 2009) at The Blue Pepper Art Gallery and Internet Café in downtown Salem. We were both a bit nervous, afraid that no one would show up. Instead we had a GREAT turn out and there were a few people who showed up to celebrate with us that we had not seen for a number of years, so it was a great opportunity to catch up. Scott & Heidi Grew, a young couple who went to the Vineyard for a short time after moving to Salem from Chicago came and we remembered why we enjoyed them so much. Heidi is an artist and an art professor at Willamette University who is a very intense person who is very curious and interested in people, while Scott is a total character….very eclectic for someone so young. April & Ernie Felguth also showed up. Ernie is nearly housebound due to some serious and chronic back problems, but they rallied and came out and joined us in spite of that. I used to work with April many years ago at the Oregon State Pharmacists Association. We
hung out with these guys quite a bit years ago because we shared a mutual interest in music. Both April & Ernie had filled in working shifts at Tom’s Guitar Store a number of times and April came over and was a great help to Tom many years ago when I was in the hospital with a ruptured spleen. It was really wonderful to catch up with both of these couples and promises were made to not let so much time go by before connecting with them again. Promises I will do my best to keep.

Tom and I put together a “photo board” with old photos from our pasts (like high school ID cards, photos from Tom’s Navy years and some photos from my theater years). We also brought the scrapbooks and spread them around for people to enjoy.

It turned out to be a truly delightful evening shared with many friends, old and new and made us both realize how fortunate we are to have such people in our lives.

Saturday, JUNE 27th

Saturday morning saw us getting ready for our Olympic Peninsula vacation. We ran a bunch of errands, had Joe’s girlfriend, Miranda, come over for her tour of the house and list of things that we would like for her to take care of while she is housesitting for us in our absence, packed up and left the house at about 11:30 to start our adventure. Our first stop was the Great Wolf Lodge. OH MY GOSH!! WHAT A GREAT PLACE!

This has to be the closest thing to a Disney experience that one can get in the great Northwest. It is a giant resort hotel with a HUGE waterpark with some of the best waterslides that I have ever had the pleasure of sliding on. My favorite was one called the Howling Tornado. We were all able to get onto a four person intertube and take the wild ride together. We all climbed into the innertube, grabbed onto the handles and were shoved off by the friendly water park attendant. The hole we were shoved into was a bit dark and after swirling around a couple of curves we were facing what appeared to be a big drop off into the great unknown. We dropped over the edge into a big bowl like area where we were tossed back and forth, from side to side while dropping toward another dark tube. More curves in the dark tube, banking high on the sides and getting splashed with water until the splash landing at the bottom. VERY COOL and LOTS OF FUN!!! Smiles all around…….although Megan said she was scared and was not at all interested in doing it again. Tom, saying he felt a little tossed around, opted for the hot tub and we all decided to join him there. After some hot tubbin’ we decided that we were ready to wrap it up at the water park and head to the room for some R & R and computer time, TV time, etc….. We ending up watching the movie “Inkheart”, based on a book that I had read to Megan a few years ago. It was pretty good. After that it was lights out for Dad, Tucker wandered off to the room with computers and stuff while Megan went and took a few photos of the water slides from outside the building and checked out the gift shop. I “computered” for a while on my laptop in the room, Megan read, then we all got some shut eye to rest up for the next day’s activities.
Sunday, June 28, 2009

I was the first one up on Sunday morning at 7:00 am with visions of Starbuck’s (they have one in the lobby of the building) and waterslides in my head. The waterpark didn’t open until 9 and I wanted to let everyone else sleep in (it IS vacation, after all) so I grabbed the laptop and the card from the digital camera and headed down to the lobby so I could start journaling about the trip while indulging myself with my morning mocha. While I was typing away, a little show started up in the middle of the lobby where they have a “cabin” with animated talking/singing creatures for the younger generation to enjoy. Looked and sounded very Disney’esque…..thought I was in Disney World for a moment. Around 8:30, I went back to the room, where Tom was in the shower, but the kids were still in bed. I woke them up so we could all go to the waterpark again before checking out (I know, I know….it IS vacation, but this place was WAY expensive and I wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth out of it!), only to find out that no one else was really that interested in getting wet. So we discussed our options and decided on breakfast and then hitting the arcade. We did just that, had some fun, Megan came away with a small wolf purse that she traded all of our collective tickets in for, then we hit the road for the second leg of our trip.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


So I got up early this morning, before anyone else thinking that I would have a cup of coffee and check out the morning paper and my e-mail before getting ready for church. However, when I peeked outside the front window on my way past, I saw what looked like toilet paper in one of the bushes right under the window. Opened the front door and saw toilet paper EVERYWHERE!!! On the front porch, I found not only the Sunday morning paper, but an empty bottle of body wash..........which led me to believe that it had been emptied out onto something........the most likely target being Joe's car parked out at the curb, which Tucker has been using since he got his drivers' license. Sure enough, this proved to be the case. So, instead of my quiet morning cup of coffee, I spent the better part of an hour picking up toilet paper and hosing the soap off of the car. Made me kind of grumpy. I was able to get ALL of the toilet paper except for that bit that you can see on the roof above the garage. I tried to have a fairly good attitude about this whole thing, but I have to say that it really is a giant pain in the a** cleaning up this kind of vandalism and if I ever find out that my own kids have been party to something like this, they will be grounded for an extended period of time.

Hope all of you reading this got to have a cup of coffee with your morning newspaper :-).
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Finally got to see WICKED!!! Last time it was through Portland, I dilly-dallied around too long making a decision about going, only to have it sold out by the time I made my decision. This time around, I bought the tickets through an on-line pre-sale event to be sure that I wouldn't miss it. Somehow, though, the date on my calendar was one AFTER the date on the tickets, and when Jill, Megan & I showed up to go to the show we found out that our tickets were for the previous date!! I haven't done anything that ridiculously stupid in a VERY long time.......I truly hope that this is not the beginning of a trend! :-). I was so determined to see the show, that I went ahead and bought tickets for the next week (even though the seats were not NEARLY as good) and we went to Powell's bookstore for the afternoon instead!! The show, once we finally got to see it, was wonderful! Megan liked it so much that she downloaded a couple of songs onto her iTunes. This is one I will see again, should it come back through Portland.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun with Digital Art!

Just messin' around with Paint Shop Pro and wanting to create something to put on a stretched canvas for a birthday present for my Mom. This is what I came up with!!
Posted by Picasa