Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Momologue


Life happens and blogging doesn't.

We've had a flurry of medical appointments (all is well), plus a family October/November birthday bash celebrating FIVE birthdays (I took NO photos - must get some from my parents), plus it's hunting season, and... then I got sick.  And while I was feeling rotten, the weather deteriorated into lots of rain and wind and darkness and I thought I had missed fall's grand finale.  But Gunnar and I got out for another walk this morning after - you'll never guess - more rain.  And it was beautiful.

In fact (actually, I just wrote "In fart" but I changed it, because I'm mature and all that.  But I laughed first.). So, in fact, after Wyatt and Tate left in the dark for their early morning buses, Gunnar and I were glued to the window watching the sunrise amaze us and lamenting the one giant power pole that bisects our glorious view.  *sigh*

It changed so fast we were glad we caught it.

And then there was our walk...

Since we woke up to huge raindrops splattering on the windows, we were glad to get a break.  Gunnar specifically asked me to bring the camera because of this:

We walk down the alley, and then up another alley, and then around behind the local school to connect with some trails on public land, and as we duck into the woods this is the first sight we see.

We don't have as much of the deep reds and oranges as other parts of the country get, but green and yellow?  We've got it.  Most of the yellow you see are Big Leaf Maples.

And they're dropping their big leaves all over the ground, obscuring the path.  That and the rain made the little bridge very slick.

The big leaves get caught in other trees, too.

Gunnar, ever a LOTR fan, thought this looked like an elf trail...

 ... and this one (below) too.

He's learning to identify our "most commons"...

The three most common deciduous trees - maple, alder, cottonwood.

Our three most common ferns - sword fern, bracken fern, licorice fern.

And our three most common evergreens - Douglas Fir, western red cedar, and hemlock.
Loooove this doug fir.

And the fungus...  earlier in the week we collected fungus for a biology experiment Tate was doing.
Three kinds of fungus - mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungus.

Gunnar always wants a photo of "the portal".

And the pond, now quite full.

As I write, Tate is up deer hunting with Grandpa Grasshopper.  The season ends Friday, so they're coming down to the wire.  Gunnar is finishing a math test (we've had a very interrupted day).  And Wyatt has come home (on the bus) and then borrowed a car (his needs a new starter - grrrr) and gone back to campus to study with a friend.  He has a job interview tomorrow, so pray for him!

Kerry - hallelujah - seems to have a decent amount of work, though we're always praying for more.

And I am plugging away at some sewing projects (some I can share and some I can't) and about half-way through Messiah rehearsals.

And that is that.

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...