Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Gorgeous Gorges

So.  The trip to Seattle.

Tate's doctor and audiologist at Children's Hospital?

Tate's progress with his CI?

The actual trip to Seattle?

On Monday, apparently, a tanker truck spilled diesel all over the south-bound I-5 lanes
(just north of Seattle),
ruining everyone's day, and closing I-5 for about five hours.
But that was Monday, and we went on Tuesday, so what gives?

Tate's audiologist and I decided (and believe me, the two of us could solve the world's problems in an afternoon, I think ;D) that all of those people decided to leave for work a couple hours early on Tuesday, to make up for lost time on Monday, or something like that.  Which totally boogered us up.  Normally, leaving home at 5:45am (fun! not!) gets us through ahead of the mess, but not this time.  Arrrrrgh.

But the good news is that Tate is doing so well, he doesn't need to be seen again for six months :D

Yay, Tate!

So, to take my mind off yesterday's miserable drive,
I offer you some more photos :D

Heading east through the Cascade Mountains on Highway 20 will bring you through some breathtaking scenery.  Just "upstream" from the little town of Newhalem, we hit the jackpot.

But a jackpot you should definitely enjoy from above...

We looked down from the roadside into a beautiful valley, with amazingly clear water.

Yes, it's really that color.  Looks like a lovely place for a swim, doesn't it?

But here's the reason for the warning...  Gorge Dam.
Seattle City Light (the power company) will open the spillways to generate power when it's needed, so you don't want to be caught down in the valley.

Found the photo below online of the dam releasing water... stay clear!

No problem.  There was so much to see from above!
Even the lichen was glowing.

Just above the dam there's a place to pull off and park with an enticing trail to a lookout point.

But the sizzle was better than the steak - couldn't see much from the lookout, as the trees have grown.  Maybe after the leaves fall...

But the leaves were what I wanted to see anyway!

Just above the parking pull-out Gorge Creek comes down from the mountain in a torrent
and enters the river above the dam.

They've made the bridge pedestrian-friendly because it's such a photogenic spot.
The catch is, the bridge looks like this as you look across it.
No problem, right?

But it's actually a metal grate, and you can see right through, down to the bottom of the gorge!

 And it's a looooooong way down!

Looking up the steep hill at the series of waterfalls.

Look how narrow the gorge is - really!

And beautifully clear water.
Amazingly pure.

 For scale, that "smaller" rock in the center is probably easily eight feet in diameter.

Yah.  It's really far down there!
Deep breath... look across the bridge ;D

Look down...

I'm not particularly afraid of heights, but that did give me the willies a bit.
But so worth it to see this...

And off the other side of the bridge, the creek joins the upper Skagit River.

And, no, I'm not fudging.  The water really is that color.  Something to do with the fact that the glaciers above scour tiny particles of rock into "rock flour" and it's suspended in the water, and that affects the way the water absorbs different wavelengths of light.

Or we could just say that Washington is a magical place and you should plan a pilgrimage here :D

Just don't come through Seattle in rush-hour.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mountain Towns

Tate and I are off to Seattle for routine CI appointments.  We need to see two people and the only way to see them both the same day is to see the first one...

... at 8am.

Which means we leave home about 5:45am.

Fun times, said no one ever.

So to distract myself from the early wake-up,  here's the first small installment of trip photos.

We passed through several little mountain towns, some more picturesque than others.  Though we live near the mountains, that's not the same as living in the mountains.  You get a really different feeling when they're right there in front of you.

Newhalem is a little company town owned by Seattle City Light, populated by their employees - lots of hydroelectric, y'know?  (Did I ever tell you about "Our Dam Vacation"?)  Anyway... there's a nice place to stop and some interpretive displays.

The boys always loved the train.  And you can get up on it!

Kerry wanted a pic of him in the turbine.

But what gets me is the setting... in a tiny little bowl, between the foothills.

Looking toward the highway...

... and toward the play area, dwarfed by the surrounding hills.

And on the other end of our journey we passed through Darrington, another tiny town dominated by the Cascade Mountains.  We came through on a gorgeous, sunny day and I had a brief moment of thinking, "Wouldn't this be a beautiful place to live?" as I looked up over the gas station.

I mean, wouldn't you like to look across the valley at this?

Or have a farm here?

And then I came to my senses.

Because you know what happens in little mountain towns,
surrounded by steep slopes?


I bet it rains there twice as much as it does here.  And that's a lot.  I bet you can only see all those beautiful mountains about 2% of the time.

But drive through on a sunny, fall day?


And in the winter?  With Whitehorse Mountain covered with snow?

Yah.  Takes your breath away, doesn't it?

(I didn't take the photo below - you can thank Uncle Google.)

So there you go.

Think of me, driving down the *ahem* slightly less beautiful  I-5 and back.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, October 20, 2014.

Outside my window...  the dogwood is losing its beautiful leaves in the October breeze.

Hearing...  quiet, at the moment.  Thankfully, the boys are old enough that silence is no longer fear-inducing ;D

Pondering...  had a wonderful, relaxing time on our getaway last week.  I'll be sharing photos over the next few days.  I went a little crazy, so I'll dish them out bit by bit ;D

Praying...  Wyatt has a new job lead that could be much better than what he's been pursuing but whatever he gets, he needs to get working!  Praying for all the boys - they're turning into young men right before my eyes.

This  young man is not too old to enjoy his Geo-mags, and wanted to share his latest creation.  It's some sort of space craft.

Thankful...  for our anniversary vacation - everything went smoothly with us, and at home with the boys and my mom.  So thankful the boys are trustworthy and my mom was able to "hang out" here with them. No worries :D

Wearing...  sweats.  Whoopee.

Creating...  one of the highlights of the trip (KERRY said this!) was a stop at a quilt shop in Twisp.  Kerry has talked about a piece of art he saw back in college and wanted me to do a quilt of it.  Finally found some fabric that will make this a cake-walk, so guess what he's getting for Christmas?

Going...  to rehearsal tonight - missed last week.  Then to bed as soon as possible, as Tate and I have to be in Seattle for an 8am appointment tomorrow... fun.  (Just kidding.  About the fun.)

Looking forward to...  we have a secret surprise for the boys, December 12.  Can't tell yet!

In the kitchen...  why are there never any leftovers anymore?  Oh.  Yah.  Three teenage boys.

In the learning rooms...  the boys are doing great - faithfully getting their work done.  And I get to brag on Tate for a moment... he transitioned into p/t high school this year.  It's kind of a big deal, after being homeschooled for seven years AND being deaf.  Just got his mid-terms.  All A's.  I'm so proud of him :D

Around the house...  we finally turned the furnace on.  It's not like we've been here, shivering, trying to prove something, but we just haven't needed it.  Yesterday, mid-October, it was SIXTY-EIGHT DEGREES.  Yah.  But it's feeling quite fall-ish today.  Complete with interesting layers of clouds.

The Mother Load...  sometimes I wish I could have a secretary, you know?  So many little details to keep track of.  But the "big" thing on my mind is CHRISTMAS.  I'd love to save money by making gifts, but only if they're things people would actually appreciate.  Hmmmmmm.....

Noticing that...  Gunnar is getting taller!  He's grown three inches in the last year, and I suspect it's been fairly recent.  Wow!

Something to remember for later...  how many people go on a little getaway for their 20th anniversary, and buy a car?  Yah.  That would be us.  Kerry's best friends' dad doesn't drive anymore and let us have his 1979 Buick Regal for a mere five hundred bucks.  And it's not even a total land-yacht!  They put a new engine in it not too long ago, so in spite of the car's AWESOME appearance (/sarcasm) it runs great.  At this point, it's going to be stored until we decide whether we'll resell it, or keep it until Tate starts driving. (He wants to buy it from us.)

Ralph, the former owner, was a Navy submariner on a boat called the Sea Fox.  He kept the vanity plates.

Something fun to share...  what?  A 1979 Buick Regal isn't fun enough for you?  (Oh, I crack myself up.)

While Kerry was choosing fabric for his quilt, I picked up a few little fat quarters for other projects.  I love vintage material :D

And I saw a gorgeous fall quilt that had blue and turquoise in it, too...

 One of my favorite things...  finishing projects!  So I'd better get cracking ;D

A Bible verse...  A generous man will prosper.  He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.  Proverbs 11:25

A few plans for the rest of the week...  getting back into the school routine after a week off.
Monday - rehearsal for Messiah
Tuesday - down to Seattle with Tate
Wednesday - meeting with a Running Start advisor to map out Wyatt's time there
Thursday - consultation with a doctor (me)
Friday - sew sew sew!
Saturday - women's retreat

A peek into my world...  a teaser from my vacation pics -

Out for a walk in Winthrop...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birthday Gifts

Sometimes I'm reluctant to post photos of things I've made... like it's bragging.  

Um, I'm not that fabulous.

But I get lots of ideas from other people, so posting my projects is kind of passing it on ;D

I've made myself a couple of bags from a free pattern by Monica Solario Snow (pattern here).  For my mom, I adapted the pattern a little to fit the fabric I wanted to use and came up with this.  Just right for church or Bible study :D

Don't remember if I posted this before - sent it to my sweet friend Rebecca, at High Maintenance Aspirations.

My SIL Allyson seemed to like this Christmas table runner.  Got the idea from the fabulous Amanda, at Crazy Mom Quilts, but chose a different color scheme and added an asterisk/star in the center.  So simple, yet bold and graphic.

And for my sister, a wall-hanging.  The green and red could be Christmas, but would work with her colors any time of year.

 The appliqué is raw-edge.  Probably wouldn't be a great idea for a quilt that would get a ton of use and lots of washing, but fun for an art piece.


And I have one more I can't share yet ;D

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Brain Dump and More Fall Photos

Yes, I may be going overboard on the fall photos, but I'm thinking of you, Joanna Choate!  

1.  So glad I took my camera out yesterday, because today the weather is changing.  Rain.  But yesterday... gorgeous.  Even the leaves falling on the driveway were pretty.  And Gunnar and I went out for a walk.

2.  And speaking of changing weather...  blame any typos on the weather.  Because we're approaching the need for central heating.  So I got up this morning and cleaned the furnace filters.  And cut my finger.  My right, pointer finger.  Every dang time I clean the filters I cut my finger!  But the filters are in the bathtub, drying.   And this may be the latest we've gone without turning on the heat.

3.  The boys are not here.  They're out at Aunty Tami's having a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon. Yay for them, yay for Aunty Tami, and yay for a quiet house ;D  My sister isn't married and has no kids of her own, though she's a high school teacher, so she's around kids a lot!  She is a GREAT Aunty for the boys - does fun stuff with them in the summer or on her breaks, babysat for us occasionally when they were younger, and kind of spoils them occasionally (special treats at Tami's house).  And I'm so glad :D

Kousa Dogwood

4.  The portal.  Gunnar has noticed this access trail to the pond (swamp) where we walk, and thinks it looks like some kind of mysterious portal, the way the branches frame it.  Good eye, Gunnar.

5.  Did you see the lunar eclipse?  We didn't.  Coming, as it did, the night after the Bangor Tour when the boys had been up at three a.m., I wasn't inclined to wake them.  And when I woke up to check, it was foggy.  Nothing to see. But I love the fog in the morning...  Do you see Gunnar?

6.  We're lucky to have some great trails near us, for walking.  Gunnar and I got out early yesterday morning, while the sun was still low.  At our house, we were in the clear - sunny sky.  But up on the ridge... the fog was creeping up from the other side.  Beautiful!

And the ducks.  Who couldn't care less about the fog and the beauty.  But food?  Yah.

7.  And this is why I took my camera.  SPIDER WEBS.  Because they're so amazingly beautiful in the fog.

8.  Gunnar "caught" this one.  Take a picture RIGHT HERE, Mom!

So I did.  And we looked up... waaaay up... and saw more spider webs.  I wonder if they catch any bugs way up there?

9.  And here is where Gunnar began to lose patience with me...

... my favorite web of the morning... COOL!

10.  And here's where you don't see Gunnar, because he has gone on ahead.  Home.  To put the kettle on for hot cocoa.  But I couldn't just walk by this sumac tree, with the Virginia Creeper on the fence.

Or this crazy web in a dying pine tree.

Or our dogwood tree, back home in the yard.

Should I have the boys rake it up?  Nah... it's too pretty like that.

11.  And now?  I'm making final preparations for our getaway!  We leave on Monday, and Grandma Grasshopper will be staying here with the boys, keeping track of their comings and goings.  We could leave them home alone - we trust them - but I'll relax better knowing she's here :D

Happy Saturday :D