Leavenworth: There and back again

Today, Alex and I met up with his friend Matt and his girlfriend Jenica to head east over the mountains for the day. Matt and Jenica had wine to pick up and Alex and I just wanted to get out of town for the day. Other than our desired hike location being closed unexpectedly, it was a lovely day full of driving, conversation, German food and beautiful fall/winter scenery.

Leavenworth day trip
This is where you go to see snow during the Pacific Northwest winter, the mountains.

Leavenworth day trip
Alex and I had a very mini-snowball fight, because, why not!

Leavenworth day trip
This is the state park we didn’t get to hike around in cause it closed Nov 1st. Maybe it heard NaBloPoMo was starting…

Leavenworth day trip
Leavenworth may be all about the tourists, but it sure is purty.

Leavenworth day trip
We ended up finding a nice walk down by the river in Leavenworth that Matt and Jenica remembered from a previous visit.

Leavenworth day trip
On our way back, we ran into a snowstorm over the pass and were reminded why you start hauling around tire chains if you plan on driving over the mountains during the winter.

Leavenworth day trip
But the day ended with a beautiful sunset and then a delicious dinner over at Alex’s parents house.

How To Survive an Atypical Rainy Seattle Day

Seattle has a lot of rainy days. This is probably a surprise to exactly no one. However an important footnote to this is that a typical rainy day in Seattle involves a few fitful drizzles, a brief misting and a light shower, all interspersed with luscious grey skies and a during certain months a brief glimpse of blue sky. So today when

  • I checked my weather app the hourly forecast called for 100% chance of rain for the next 10 hours.
  • At points it rained so hard that they grey skies were actually just a small part of why you couldn’t see anything.

I realized this called for the complete rain ensemble.
Rainy Day Survival Gear

  • Umbrella – While Seattleites pride themselves in their strong raincoats over umbrella preferences. Some days you you really do just need a tarp like device over your head.
  • Hat = Good, Brimmed Hat = Best
  • Scarf and Glove/Mittens – Don’t forget these, because they provide a nice extra layer between you and ALL THE WETNESS!
  • Coat – While this is sadly not actually waterproof, it is much warmer than my single layer raincoat and also makes up for its non-waterproof status by covering my bum!
  • Boots – These boots are perfect for a crazy rainy day in that they have good traction, solid rubber construction that makes them truly waterproof and comfortable enough design that when you forget your extra pair of shoes to change into at work – it isn’t the end of the world.
There you go, that’s how I survived today, which included a 30 minute wait for a delayed bus and all the other joys that come with public transit commuting.

 

Flashback to fall

Since it seems clear that Seattle has finally rounded that slight corner from fall into winter (essentially add some rain and subtract 10 to 15 degrees), I thought I would share some of my photos from this fall. One of my regrets from my first year in Washington was how I didn’t really get outside the city limits of Seattle very much. Other than a ferry ride to Bainbridge island, a trip to Orcas Islands with my parents, the beach house reunion and an occasional conference on the Eastside, I mainly stuck around home. Obviously much of that had to do with not owning a car, limited income and generally not having that key group of friends that helps make weekend trips happen.

However this fall I managed to move my number of visits to Eastern Washington from 0 to 3 all within a month. Here are a few photos of those adventures (one of which was already chronicles in my wine tasting post):

Washington scenery continues its stunningly successful "impress the heck out of Abby" campaign

A staff retreat took me to the foothills of the Cascades in North Bend, WA.

Autumn in Seattle #fromthebuswindow

I think this fall has had much better leaf colors this year, or maybe I just didn’t notice them as much last year.

Driving home through the pass #mennocountryauction #latergram

Driving through the mountain pass during sunset = pretty

Eastern Washington is a beautiful place #mennocountryauction

Eastern Washington doesn’t look like Western Washington

Headed into the mountains #mennocountryauction

The drive on 90 through the mountains heading east is a good one to take this time of year.

Slightly better than your average Seattle sunset! #nofilter

Seattle sunset, with a does of extra glowiness.

Soooo, this view is only 15 min away from the new office #winning

Seattle is a pretty city.

Day 4 – Weekend re-cap

While I didn’t intend to take my two days off this past weekend, that is what happened, so here’s to blogging every weeknight this week!

Saturday

Just a plain #nofilter picture of the sky in SEATTLE right now!

Other than being one of the bluest sky days I have seen in Seattle, Saturday wasn’t super memorable. Highlights included making IKEA meatballs with Alex, buying stamps from the post office and getting to play an indulgent 4 hours of Civilization 5.

Sunday

Anna and I chillin' during the Superbowl party

On the other hand Sunday was lovely, an a cappella service full of good hymns, making this overly complicated (and ultimately somewhat disappointing – it needed more cheese!) recipe for cheddar, beer and mustard pull-a-part bread, and of course the Superbowl hosted by the lovely Katie and Bryan.  Where I got to hang out with the cutie above and actually kind of paid attention to the game or at least the last quarter or so (butt-touchdown for the win!), spend a fun afternoon with friends and generally have a blast.

Monday

Early evening light on the Douglas-Truth branch library

Today I found myself overly tired and so the only highlight was realizing that it is now this light when I leave work!

Quick update from Seattle

So this week has been a truly wonderful one, full of good times with friends, long walks, coffee, cherry blossoms, spending lots of time with Alex, laughter and did I mention the cherry blossoms?

Teaser Trailer

I just wanted to pop on here to say a quick hello and that I will be heading back to the fair Midwest (which has hopefully become more Spring-like in my absence because this green that Seattle has going is pretty awesome) tomorrow and I will have a pretty full weekend and week ahead of me.  And one of the biggest reasons for this is that I have my first job interview (of which will hopefully be many) on Monday!  It is for a school in a suburb north of Seattle Evanston, grades 6-8, smallish in size and not too bad of a commute.  So if you have a second wish me luck, cause I am sure I am going to need lots of it.

UPDATE: Whooops, um perhaps that was a Freudian slip, but my interview is actually for a school in the Chicago area.

oh ‘ello there blog

Well that was a bit of a breather, wasn’t it!  Not really intentional, but anyways lots to catch up on, which I will do in my characteristic “giant post with lots of pictures” format.  In other words if you have already hopped over to that Flickr link on the right, you might as well skip this one. 🙂

My Seattle trip was awesome, but I didn't actually take that many pictures. I might write more about it later, but for now let me just say it was my favorite trip out there yet.

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of my beautiful night arrival into Seattle, but I also had some great views on my departure.

I had only been back from Seattle around 24 hours, when "The Storm of the Century" blew into town and this time the weather forecasters actually got it right. Crazy winds (and thunder), over 20 inches of snow and my first TWO snow days during my time in Evanston made for a pretty thrilled Abby.

 

Wednesday afternoon I got to flex my snow-shoveling muscles and discovered that I find a perverse pleasure in clearing 3 ft drifts of snow (of the powdery type) off the front porch, I am less ethusuased about the 2 plus hours it requried to dig out my poor car.

Of course the lake was also so beautiful after high winds had scraped the beach almost clear and added layers upon layers of ice.

It was a lovely surprise on Friday after my first day back at work to come home and find a new animal in the front yard.

What can I say, I have a very talented housemate!

Then after the blizzard had settled down a bit, I went over to a neighboring house to hear an evening of music provided by some talented local singer/songwriters. Once again my housemate Anne got to show us all how amazing she is. Unfortunately my camera battery died before I got to take pictures of Jess singing some very lovely songs with her mother.

So that should bring us roughly up to date, other highlights include a rocking Chinese New Year’s party, dinner with an old friend from junior high and her adorable family, another week back at work and the quickly approaching weekend.

As an added bonus to this already way too long post, here are three things I thought were cool today:

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan – I finally finished reading this article that the always amazing Katie recommended on her blog recently and while long it is really worth it, especially if you haven’t read much by Pollan already.  He every so succinctly presents why nutrition in its current form isn’t the healthiest for Americans, why we should eat more food (and less of the stuff that just resembles that concept) and the dangers of trying to fix your diet with the newest health craze.

Valentines by NPR for the public radio nerds among you – I don’t normally find valentines that entertaining unless of the snarky vein, but these were both hilarious and cute.  Plus they are free to send to any and all of your friends/lovers/arch-enemies/etc.

World Press Photo Contest 2011 – I tend to find the field of photojournalism a fascinating one and this link proves over and over again the incredible power of the perfect image to inspire/sadden/frighten/disgust/comfort/etc

Sometimes it gets pretty darn cold

This morning I experienced a new phenomena in the catalog of “Fun Things about Chicago Winters!” and that was having my eyelashes freeze.  Thanks to -3 degree weather, the scarf (the second of the two I was wearing) wrapped around my face, and the condensation of my breath, Jess pointed out to me in the carpool that my eyelashes appeared to have frozen.  Fortunately for me my eyes were open at the time, so no emergency warm water was required.

In other news, I have a busy week ahead of me before I leave on a Trip! To! Seattle!.  Yes, I may not have mentioned here, but I am combining a three-day weekend, one personal day and one sick day to carve out a time to go visit my friends in the cloudy (but warmer!) Pacific Northwest.  Of course standing between myself and that lovely occurence are the following things.

– Mail the long overdue certificate thing (a long lingering remnant of Grad School)

– Return rain boots purchased online that I didn’t like

– Write Thank You cards for Graduation presents

– Write rough draft of church’s Insurance Policy (or more accurately my church’s decision NOT to purchase building or liability insurance)

– Call approximately 5 people about Wilderness Wind planning committee

– Get my hair cut (Seeing as the last time this happened was April 2010, I am a little overdue)

– Pack

– Visit a kitten with my housemate who is thinking of adopting

– Drop my car off at the mechanic to finally get the power steering belt issue (i.e. whatever makes my car squeal when I go around corners) fixed

– Go with same housemate to Best Buy to look at laptops.  She is contemplating a purchase and I volunteered my nerdy services

– Write up agenda for Common Life meeting on Sunday morning and then lead said meeting.

There I think that mainly covers it, but hopefully come Wednesday evening at around 7pm, I will be safely on my flight and leaving all of this behind.

 

2010: Some Statistics and interesting facts

Books I read this year: 126 I think this number is somewhat inflated due to the large number of picture books/children’s books and graphic novels that I read, but still I am pretty proud of this.

Pictures I took this year (according to Flickr): 1431

Blog Posts I wrote: 81

2010 or the year I…

… started the last of the set of checks I ordered my first few months of living in Chicago

… took my final 5 classes, student taught and graduated from Library School

… traveled 46 hours by train from Chicago to Seattle

… first took on a major leadership role at my church and encountered the big ups and downs of that action

… joined my first Executive Board (What up, Wilderness Winds)

… quit my first real post-college job and was rehired to the same job 3 months later

And to finish it up, here are some other posts I have written to sum up a year or welcome a new one:

January 2010

January 2009

January 2008

Also I decided to make three New Year’s Resolutions this year:

1. Visit my cousin Emily

2. Bake Challah bread in a round for communion

3. Vacuum my room

and lo and behold I met them all today so I am scott free for the rest of the year! Go me! 🙂

Good moments from the holidays (so far)

– driving home to Goshen with Becca listening to loads of Christmas music and get a glimpse of blue sky right as we approached Goshen

– watching the candle dance at the Assembly bread & soup Christmas Eve service (I have been in this dance countless times and watched it even more, but I don’t get tired of the simple melody, the circle steps and the whole congregation lit by candlelight)

– trying to bake another batch of chocolate caramel cookies with sea salt that I had made earlier this week with Becca and ending up with a molten field of chocolate dough and rivers of caramel that despite their complete lack of cookie-ness are quite tasty

– seeing a Great Blue Heron from about 15 feet away on a pre-dawn walk  with my Mom

– completing one puzzle, two games of tichu with family and the various prep work (cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc) required for our Christmas dinner tomorrow

– indulging my great weakness for Christmas music by falling for Amazon’s 99 Christmas classics for 2 dollars deal (and then forcing my family to listen to it with me)

– working with my Mom to successfully sew a pair of mittens out of old wool sweaters.

– seeing all the assorted “kids” from Assembly who have since grown up and away and seem to be frighteningly adult now

– hand delivered Christmas packages

– the very traditional snowman the neighbors made in their lawn.

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays and I wish you the merriest of Christmases!