Friday, July 11, 2008


Well, the vacation was wonderful and photos and accounts shall appear in the next few days.

12 of 12 is tomorrow and I will be in Watsonville at a horse show. Will try and not bore the crowd with too many equines, but it will be change of pace from previous photos shoots.

Speaking of changes, and we were weren't we? I am embarking on a new and exciting direction and looking forward to the adventure. Will keep everyone updated, but many descriptions will be cryptic. Let's just say that this past week contained some of the most exhilarating information and encounters I have faced in a long, long time.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Prep

I now have a better understanding of why we never went on very many family vacations. Oh, I got to travel every summer, but with other people's families or with my girl scout troop. Getting ready to go on vacation is a B****. Maybe the prep is what makes vacations so wonderful.

On Tuesday, I am off, without my adorable spouse, to Santa Monica, CA to visit my brother, his wife and my stupendous nephew. Why without my spouse? Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks to choosing to care for so many critters is the inabilty to always find someone who has the same conviction and devotion that you do. And, although he is still doing well, Angus never really adjusts well to me being gone unless Brandt stays home. This uncertainty plays both ways. And his ability to climb the stairs is waning. So, hubby stays home this year.

So, what if anything does this have to do with preparing to depart? Well, I have spent the last two days finishing the laundry; packing; preparing "surprise" people food for Angus in case he doesn't eat for Brandt; catching up on this last week's checks that were written; writing the first of the month checks and mostly straigtening up. (THE CROWD ROARS). But yes, the kitchen counters are clean; the kitchen table is clean and free of papers; the horse equipment and tack are in their appropriate places; the dogs' beds are clean and the horses water trough is cleaner than it has been in weeks. Plus, I rode Luke for a bit this morning and am putting the finishing touches on the lease for our office building in Merced. Every time I think about the stuff I haven't done, I cry.

I know. It will all be here when I return, or it won't. Neither is optimal, nor avoidable. And, then school starts and then Watsonville and it will be the end of July before I get to begin it.

SO, Santa Monica beach life here I come for a few days anyway.

Later. (Yes, I won't forget the camera!!!!!)


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Vacation 2007

Wow. A two-week vacation. First time in many years. Looking forward to getting a couple of things done around the house and then it is off to the Seattle, Washington area. We are going to Whidbey Island to fish, relax, and visit family. My two brothers-in-law, Kelly and Kevin, sister-in-law, Teresa, and her husband, Rick, and son, Matthew, are joining us. We are taking our nephew, Adam. (Thanks, Kal and Janelle). We were going to drive, but since I hurt my back, we decided to fly.

We are flying into Portland, Oregon. It was less expensive than flying directly to Seattle. Go figure. In fact, between the rental car and airfare we are still money ahead than we would be if we flew to Seattle. And we now have a few more sightseeing options. We may go to Mt. Saint Helens on the way to (or from) Seattle.

Wednesday, July 25th: We leave for Portland. 6:30am. Arrive at the airport at 5:10. The line to get through security is twisted back and forth and into the parking garage landing area and back down the escalator to the baggage area. Never knew Sacramento Intergalactic was so busy so early in the morning. Believe it or not, the screening process took us only about 30 minutes. We are at the gate before 6am. Watching the planes take off and the sunrise.

Arrive in Portland at 7:55 am. Down the people mover and to baggage claim and the car rental counter. Off to the car. A Pontiac G6. 19,654 miles. Florida plates. Who would have guessed that a car we rented in Oregon, was registered in Florida.

Head north on Interstate 5. Stop in Woodland (Washington) for breakfast. Then a stop at the Mt. St. Helens’ Observatory outlook. Maybe we will drive to the mountain on the way home. Depends on our timing. Take a two-mile hike. Listen to the resident Osprey babies let ANYONE who will listen that they are not being fed fast enough. According to the sign, they can eat as much as 6 pounds of meat per day. And there are three of them. Can’t really see Mt. St. Helens clearly.

Continue north on Interstate 5. Through Olympia and a glimpse of the state capitol building. We then get on Highway 101 and head toward the Olympic peninsula. What beautiful mountains and scenery. But the lack of rain this spring is noticeable. Arrive in Port Townsend to ride the Keystone ferry to Whidbey Island. Missed the 4 o’clock ride by 5 minutes. Wait for 20 or so minutes. We are the first car on. Cool.

Proceed south on Highway 525 toward Clinton. Stop for a late lunch/early dinner in Langley. Village Pizzeria. VERY GOOD. Arrive at house on Deer Lake. Rest of the family have arrived and is getting groceries and having dinner. They arrive around 7:30.

Is there a plan for tomorrow? Nope. We are getting up early (by 8 for my relatives) and heading to Seattle. Yea.

Thursday, July 26th. We manage to get everyone together around 10:30 am. We head for the ferry. Over a two-hour wait. We decide to head back to the house. Feed the ducks and geese and attempt to catch some fish. The "guys" hanging in Langley: (from right to left) Brandt, Adam, Kelly, Kevin, Rick and Matthew.
Teresa looking for Uncle Joe's.

And read. I am nearly done with the seventh Harry Potter book. Receiving lots of flack from the family, since I announced that I always read the last chapter first (SPOILER ALERT) and I know that Harry, Hermonine, Ron and Ginny all survive. I also have figured out that since Harry’s second son’s name is Albus Serverus, that SNAPE IS NOT BAD!!!!! (My two nephews lost a quarter each on that one). Great dinner, prepared by the brothers-in-law.

Friday, July 27th. We manage to actually get going early. We head to the Space Needle and site of the 1962 World’s Fair. Great view day. That's Queen Anne Hill in the background. Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker can actually be seen. Nice lunch at Pike Place Bar and Grill. Watch the fish toss. Check out some of the Pigs throughout the City.
Ride the monorail and the carnival rides. (Well, Brandt and Adam ride the rides. I watch). Brandt and family went to dinner with Uncle Gene and Aunt Judy. I finish Harry Potter and start Son of a Witch.

Saturday, July 28th. Breakfast with Aunt Judy and Uncle Gene. Another day of feeding the ducks, canoeing and fishing. Adam even did some swimming and rock throwing. One of the visitors to the house. Right at the back door. Very kind of it to stick around for several shots.

Antique shopping in downtown Langley. Went to Uncle Joe and Aunt Florence’s for a fish feed and to visit. Cousin Lisa and family were there. Cousin Diane and family joined a bit later for a large barn fire on the shoreline. Adam and I went home a bit early. My back got “tweaked” sometime during the day and I need to lie down.

Sunday, July 29th. Rick and Kevin are returning home. So, Kelly, Teresa and Matthew head to Seattle taking the departing duo to the airport and then heading to the aquarium. They had a good time. Uncle Rick made it home without trouble. Kevin ending up spending the night in the Salt Lake City airport. (Long story and I am not sure I really know why or how you travel from Seattle to San Diego via SLC, but I wasn’t the travel agent for this trip).

Adam, Brandt and I head to Greenbank and the Loganberry Festival. It is cold. Even the locals are complaining about the temperature. What a good, some would consider, old-fashioned time. There is face-painting, hay-rides, pie-eating contests, food, coloring contests, dunk tanks, food, water balloon toss, toy fishing, food, tricycle races, crafts, food, fire trucks to climb on, bounce houses, bounce slides, bowling, food, clowns that folded balloons and, of course, loganberry fixed everyway you can conceive, including wine. And did I mention food?
Uncle Brandt gives Adam the Pirate a boost to watch the pie-eating contest.

Monday, July 30th. Teresa, Matt and I head to downtown Langley. We are souvenir shopping. Wonderful soap shop and country store. Finally find the wifi café, but of course, the computer is in Clinton, at the Deer Lake house. Ah, well. Will continue keeping this log and post later. We have another wonderful meal at the Village Pizzeria. We, then, head to Uncle Joe’s for more family time.

Tuesday, July 31st. Check out day from the Deer Lake House. Teresa, Kelly and Matt have an early flight so they leave around 9am. We stay and fish and pack and canoe some more and feed the ducks the remaining bread. What a nice place to stay. Not sure we will ever get anyone else to join us there. “Nothing to do”. We head across the ferry for the last time, this trip, and head south to Orting, Washington, to visit my dad’s sister, Kathleen. We last saw her in October 2005 at our family reunion. She had a 90th birthday party in early May, but I decided not to go, since it had only been a week since I fell off Luke and my back was tender. (Boy, did I make a mistake. More on that later). She sold her old house and moved to a new one. It is perfect for her. We took her to dinner at a local restaurant, The Café Around the Corner. The food was good, huge grandma-sized portions. Won’t need to eat for a week. We stay until 7 or so and head south toward Mt. Rainier National Park. We stay in Eatonville and watch the sun set on the 14,410-foot majestic tower. Can’t get the wifi to work. This photo is taken near "Iron Mike" a creek that is orange.

Wednesday, August 1st. We head east to Mt. Rainier National Park. We come across waterfalls, birds, creeks, rivers, mud, trees, and spectacular views of Mt. Rainier. After spending the entire day in the park, we head toward Portland. We stay the night in Kelso, Washington.

Thursday, August 2nd. We head to Portland, for we are returning home. We go east on Highway 14 and travel the Columbia River Gorge. We are on the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail. Beautiful. We cross the Columbia at Bonneyville and head west on Interstate 84. We turn off and take the old highway, catching several waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States. Again, just beautiful. We make it home very late. All is well here.

Friday, August 3rd. We have a relaxing day, grocery shopping and getting the house back in order. Then, we attend the Music Circus production of “Kiss me, Kate”. Adam really enjoyed it.