Saturday, May 23, 2015

Beauty and the Beach

Wrapping up our trip to the Evergreen State today because who wants to sort, shred, file and pack up an office when they can look at pretty pictures instead? 

We got a taste of true Washington weather once the weekend ended. I think we had a little bit of rain each day, but we still squeezed in a lot of fun.  Hubs spent some time doing a few things in the yard for the newlyweds because yard work is his love language. I'm not kidding.

Monday morning our hosts both went to work so hubs and I drove in to Tacoma to meet some friends from our UK days. Few things make my heart happier. We met at Starbucks of course, because isn't the PNW it's mothership? We  had such a nice time catching up in person. 

On Tuesday afternoon we were all a little giddy as we drove to the base with Daughter1 to meet the dog breeder for the puppy handover. Oh my stars! There is nothing like a puppy is there? Hunley is a love and we had so much fun watching him explore his new home.  

Thursday morning we took advantage of a break in the weather to see 'the neighborhood'. The Puget Sound sits within walking distance of their home, and the vastness of it, the beauty and solitude you feel as you stand in front of this body of water is hard to put into words.  

The trail to the water begins in a forest my Daughter refers to as Jurassic Park. The trees reach to the sky and all around are ferns and moss and lush green gorgeousness. 

Hunley came too, and he was a trooper. We took turns carrying him, but nobody seemed to mind-ha!

As the forest breaks you enter an estuary, where wildflowers bloom and a gently rolling stream meanders through the landscape.

You walk through a tunnel that does not feel oddly out of place, more like something from Alice in Wonderland, and no the light at the end is not a train...'s the Puget Sound and it is absolutely breathtaking.

Such a contrast to the forest you left behind not a minute ago.

This stretch of rocky sand was made for deep thinking and big dreaming.
Just ask the heron.

You can take the boy out of Tennessee...

Rock skipper extraordinaire-

Knowing my daughter lives within a stone's throw of so much natural beauty makes the miles between us easier to bear. 

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and we had a plane to catch so it was back to the woods for the walk home.

It's easier to be far now that I've been close. I like to picture my daughter and son-in-law at their kitchen table, walking their sweet dog around the neighborhood, and shopping in the commissary.

To know they stand and marvel at God's amazing handiwork and the path that led them to a rocky beach beside the Puget Sound.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I know everyone is moving into Memorial Day Weekend mode, but I'm still over here talking about Mother's Day. Remember Mother's Day? It was sooo last week, but I'm gonna mention it here anyway. 

This is what I'm calling our Seattle selfie. My daughter took the picture which is why we're both in it. Had I taken the picture you might only see half of us. True story. 

Mother's Day is always more of a treat if I get to spend it with one or both my girls. Both would be my favorite but I take what I can get, and this year we were out west on Mother's Day visiting the newlyweds. By the way they are super cute. 

So much to see in this city, and we barely scratched the surface. I forgot the glass artist Dale Chihuly was from the PNW, and am definitely planning to see more next time round. His work is absolutely beautiful.

These 'flowers' are not his, but another artist's work. It's called Sonic Bloom, and is located outside the Science Center. The blooms are solar and light up at night, but they were interesting to see in the daytime too.  

My daughter booked us Mother's Day brunch in the Space Needle and it was lovely. The restaurant (SkyCity) at the top revolves ever so slowly giving you 360 degree views of Seattle and the surrounding area.  

The food was delish and the portions way too large, so we all felt the need for a walk afterwards. Plus after more than an hour spent revolving I needed my land legs. 

My son-in-law works very long hours, so it was a treat to have him with us for the day. I told him a Sunday nap was okay by me too, but he was a trooper and we spent most of the afternoon wandering around the Public Market. 

Pretty sure a trip to Pike Place Fish is mandatory when you're in Seattle, and we got to see the famous fish toss. Here's the pitch (below), look hard and you'll see the fish in mid-air...

...and now the catch-

It really was such an enjoyable day all the way around. Maybe I'll spend every Mother's Day here-ha! Hi Kids! The weekend weather was perfect, there was too much to see and do in a day, and then of course the best part...

...the company. People are my favorite. Especially my people.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Simply the Hodgepodge

Welcome to your weekly dose of Hodgepodge. Thanks for playing along...if you've answered the questions today, add your link at the end of my post then go say hi to your neighbors. Here we go-

1. Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

I think it's rare I purposely try to make someone laugh, unless that someone is an unhappy toddler or a fussy baby. In that case I might try. Normally though, if I make someone laugh it's spontaneous and unplanned. I was with my brother and sister yesterday and we laughed, but I don't think I was the one who made that happen.

2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

Where's home?

3. Rhododendrons or have to choose. Are any currently blooming in your yard?

Such a hard question because I love them both. When I wrote the question I was thinking of all the beautiful rhododendrons I saw blooming while visiting Washington, so it seemed like I'd have an easy answer for this one. 

Except on Monday we drove down to my mom's house in South Jersey (that would be my mom with the amazing green thumb!) and her azaleas were absolutely gorgeous so now I'm conflicted. Her rhododendrons were also pretty spectacular so how to choose? 

My favorite thing is to see a combination of rhodies and azaleas, but if I have to choose I'm going with rhododendrons. We do have some azaelas, but everything is late this year so not as pretty as in other parts of the country right now.  

4.  May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

I worked as a waitress my last year of uni. It was a nice restaurant and I enjoyed the experience for the most part. You can never get the smell of food off your uniform no matter how many times you wash it, and that scent also clings to your hair, which I didn't love.  The worst part of the job though would be rude people. I always try to give a waiter the benefit of the doubt. 

5.  What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

Men...sagging drawers. Come on! Who does that look good on? 

Women...where to begin? Belly shirts and leggings on ladies who should know better are two that spring to mind. 

6. Name a writer who inspires tell us why.

I think all the best writers make me want to write. My favorite modern day writer is Pat Conroy. His words are measured and thoughtful and a little bit like poetry. 

G.K. Chesterton died in 1936, but his writing continues to inspire. He was a man of great wisdom and I'd love to sit with him for a nice long chat over a cup of tea.   

There's also lots of wonderful writers out there in the blogosphere...Lisa Jo Baker is one of my absolute favorites in terms of the way she writes, Kelle Hampton is another. 

7.  What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

"Don't make change too complicated. Just begin." 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend I want to say a special thank you to the families who've lost someone they loved in service to our country. Husbands, fathers, sons and and women who gave their very lives in service to our country. 

If you've never been to Arlington I highly recommend a visit there. It's a place of quiet beauty, a place I always leave feeling a mixture of pride and sadness and deeper love of country. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 221

It's that time again! Here are this week's questions to the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to share answers with the universe. See you there! 

1.  Did you make someone laugh yesterday? Was it intentional?

2. What's a simple question with a complicated answer?

3. Rhododendrons or have to choose. Are either currently blooming in your yard?

4. May 21st is National Waitstaff Day. Have you ever worked as a waiter/waitress? How would you rate the experience? What was the best/worst part of the job?

5. What fashion trend for women should be outlawed? How about one for men?

6. Name a writer who inspires tell us why.

7. What well known quote or saying sums up your plans for today or this week?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Capital Idea

I'm back in the PNW today, not literally... just on my blog. Since sunny skies are apparently a rarity here we needed to take advantage of them when we could. Saturday was absolutely gorgeous so we started our day in a little place called Tumwater Falls.

The falls are located adjacent to the old Olympia Brewery, which is currently vacant. They're kind of in the middle of town, but as you follow the trail back you forget that.

There's a fish hatchery here too, and in the late summer to early fall you can watch the salmon run. There's a 'ladder' in the river to help them on their way, and I definitely want to come back one year while that's happening.

I should probably tell you now I'm slightly obsessed with the rhododendrons in this part of the country. They thrive here and grow to be the size of trees in a Honey I Shrunk the Kids kind of way.

They were in full bloom while we were visiting and I have a large number of plant pics to prove it.

We did finally peel ourselves away and drove on into Olympia to see what we could see.

There was a Farmer's Market happening and it was packed with all sorts of goodies and also people. I like to people watch and enjoy seeing the trends in different parts of the country.

Also I'm accidentally seeing as many state capitals as I can. Not something that was ever on my bucket list, but I've been to fourteen out of fifty now so I might as well add it. My list is only in my head, so adding to it is not a problem. 

We had a lovely lunch right beside the water at The Oyster House, the oldest seafood restaurant in Washington, then walked over to the capitol building...

... to take pictures of rhododendrons. Ha! Kidding!

But only sort of.

There's a very moving WW2 memorial on the grounds around the capitol. A bronze wheat field containing 4000 individual stalks representing the WA servicemen and women who lost their lives in the war.

We walked through the capitol and I thought it was interesting there was no metal detector at the door. It's also interesting to see the dates out here. We're East Coasters so WA feels young in terms of our nation's history. So fun to see another part of America. It's an amazing place, this country we call home.

Aaaand one more for good measure. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Movin' on Up

It feels like the right time for a move update.
Because we're moving. Soon.


Our last move was six years ago, and its funny how over time you forget about the bajillion things that need doing immediately and all that gut twisting stress and the long sad goodbyes and all the emotion that gets churned up when changing geography. It comes back to you pretty quickly.

So our house is sold. It's been under contract for several weeks now, but I've been reluctant to say anything here because real estate deals are notoriously precarious, particularly in the northeastern corner of the U.S.  So far, so good. Inspections have been completed and movers booked. Course we don't know where we're going to live in the interim, but that's just a pesky detail. One of a hundred pesky details.

Hi Mom! We're coming to you! Ha!

Only I'm not kidding. At 50-something hubs and I are becoming boomerang 'kids'. Our plan is to spend a few weeks at my mom's house wrapping up assorted business and appointments in NJ, before moving into a rental down south. Still gotta figure out the rental, but like I said-details...pssht.

So last week we did what anyone moving to a yet to be determined temporary home in less than a month would do. We took a vacation.

My daughter is so crafty. I loved this greeting on her kitchen chalkboard, and I enjoyed every minute of pretending there wasn't a list as long as my arm waiting for me at home too. The home I'm moving from in about three weeks, but I digress.

Here's the thing about moving...yes there is a lot to do, but it's important not to neglect the people when you're dealing with all the things. We'd planned months ago, to make our very first trip to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) over the Mother's Day weekend, and we stuck to that plan.

When your children live thousands of miles away it helps to see their actual space. To know when you're on the phone with them where they're sitting. To walk the neighborhood and visit the grocery store aka commissary and meet the new puppy before he's a full grown dog.

To see your daughter's office and the hospital where your son-in-law spends so very many hours learning and perfecting his chosen profession. Somehow when you've seen their spaces and places up close and personal the people you love don't feel so very far away.

In case you're wondering, the PNW is my new favorite place. The beauty y'all!  It is staggering. First of all, can we talk about this little bump in the landscape called Mt. Rainier?

I feel like that should be written MT. RAINIER.

We didn't get out to the actual mountain this trip, but it's all around you as you travel the highways of Tacoma and Seattle. Next time we're here we hope to make a trek that way. You can only do so much in six days, and this trip we wanted to become familiar with the area, and we also had to pick up a puppy and spend hours spoiling him, so a mountain road trip is on our list for next time.

Then there's the Puget Sound. This was our view from a rooftop restaurant the day after we got to town-

I think it's been well established here how I feel about the water. Is there anything better than a sunset on the sea?

As you might imagine I (ahem) have more than a few photos of our visit so I'm going to break them up into a couple of posts here. It might sound crazy to say I'm going to blog when I have a house to organize, a rental to locate, utilities to cancel, lunches and dinners with friends, etc., but that's how I roll.

When I have too much to do I blog. Don't tell hubs. He wakes me up in the morning with the to-do list he's tracking on the iPad.

Talking about my baby girl who grew up playing house in the basement, building houses out of sand at the beach, setting up houses under the trees in our side yard, and who is now grown up living in an honest to goodness warm and cozy brick and mortar home is way more fun. Also, it's not actually brick, but siding is good too.

Plus, did I tell you how tall the trees are and how green everything is and how beautiful the scenery is in the PNW? And there's a puppy in the house?

Don't worry...I will!