Sunday, May 25, 2008

How Time Flies!

We now have a budding Little Leaguer, who's learned quite a lot about baseball, likes to play catcher, and is often in center field because he has a strong arm and accurate throw. He is so lucky in that he wound up with a coach who wants to TEACH the kids about the game and to ENJOY the experience regardless of the score. Anyway, from this series of pictures you'll see how time flies!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

We had a great time yesterday and thought we would share some of it with you – we hope that you had a very good day, too!

After church (for Clara and me) and a late breakfast followed by some baseball practice (for Lesley and Leo) we moved on to an early afternoon brunch – Glenn put together and fried some of his "crab-and-smoked-trout-cakes," Clara fixed some asparagus, Lesley made some cous cous, and Leo took the pictures (and also made cards for his Mom and Grandma.)

And, of course, there was champagne – what would Mother's Day be without it?

We finished up with a chocolate tasting – some single-source cacao chocolate that we picked up over in Issaquah a couple weeks ago, after going to a quilt show over there.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

More on Da Big 51

Olympic National Park has three lodges, each situated on a beautiful lake, so here's a series of lake shots – Lake Quinault, Lake Kalaloch, and Lake Crescent. We've done the tour, going to all three, with lunch Monday at Quinault, dinner Monday at Kalaloch, and a closed, locked door at Crescent on Wednesday – they close for the winter (?) until mid-May.

This fourth picture is somewhat quirky, taken off the balcony of our room, and just because I liked the looks of it. To me it shows what happens to you when you're subjected to the vicissitudes of life, especially if you happen to be a tree.

The weather was problematic, and somewhat curiously interesting, during our trip, with rain one minute, sunshine a few minutes later, and then snow – all within an hour! This fifth picture shows frozen snow on the treetops at Lake Quinault.

What makes this area a rain-forest is the blocking effect of the Olympic Mountains on the wind currents coming in off the ocean, causing them to drop all of their moisture here. A ranger told us that they measure their rainfall in feet, not inches, and that last year's was twelve feet! You can sorta see mountains along the side of Lake Crescent and in the clouds behind Lake Quinault, back in those lake pictures.

Finishing up with the theme of "what we drank" rather than "what we ate," here's our anniversary evening dessert – Washington state Port together with dark chocolate covered toffeed pistachios – a great end to a great day!

P.S. Clara wanted to share with you this picture of a Pacific Coast Trilium seen along the trail up to the big cedar on Monday, prized as a harbinger of spring here in the Northwest.

P.P.S. For the sharp-eyed or observant, "Lake Kalaloch" is also known as "Pacific Ocean."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Da Big 51

Greetings from Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific Ocean and somehow a part of Olympic National Park even though many miles from the main body of the Park and the Mountains.

When we arrived Sunday afternoon and went to our room, we found a card wishing us "Happy Anniversary" together with a bottle of champagne and two glasses! So we sat out on our balcony, gazed at the ocean and sipped our champagne – what a nice way to start an anniversary retreat!

Monday morning we drove over to (relatively) nearby Lake Quinault to look at this and that – a somewhat strenuous hike up to "The Largest Cedar Tree" – and further around to where some Roosevelt Elk were quietly grazing.

After a pleasant lunch at the Lake Quinault Lodge, with an unexpected but pleasant guest, followed by a brief visit to "The Largest Fir Tree" and a quick trip to an Internet Café in nearby Amanda Park, we headed "home" for a short nap before our anniversary dinner at Kalaloch Lodge.

Note that, due to the many protests over our emphasis on what we have eaten while traveling, we have changed the emphasis in this communication to what we are drinking! Our loving daughter had gifted us with a special bottle from the environs of our recent Columbia River trip and glasses to go with it, and the Lodge graciously allowed us to bring in our own. Dinner was excellent – Clara having a wild mushroom strudel with goat cheese fondue and I the crab cakes and strawberry spinach salad.

Tomorrow we'll explore to the north of Kalaloch, hoping (without much optimism) for a little less of the rain and clouds which normally grace the Olympic Rain Forest.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Martin Remembered

Yesterday Clara and I went to a concert where our own (Coffee 'n' Politics friend) Steve Ernst was a participant in the Seattle Peace Chorus' presentation of "Martin Remembered" in two ways -- he sings in the chorus and he was one of the group who recited a particularly moving poem.

This first picture shows (barely) Steve with the chorus in the first part of the program which was a compilation of musical pieces based on King's statements. The work "Martin Remembered" was commissioned by the Seattle Peace Chorus, and it was the principal accompanist to the group who selected the statements and transformed them into choral pieces.

Here the piece is "All It Takes Is One Candle," and Steve is hiding behind one of his fellow singers.

"All it takes is one candle, a single solitary candle
To light up the sky, just lift it high. Let it be yours."

The second and third pictures show Steve as part of the group reciting "Let America Be America Again," by Langston Hughes, a poem from the early part of last century extolling America's founding values and their virtues, while making the statement that (for Hughes, a black man) "It never was America to me!" The recitation was followed by a musical rendition of the text.

If you wish to read the full text of "Let America Be America Again," you might recall that, by lucky happenstance, I had previously printed that in this blog under that very title back in September '07. Just go back and look for that title in the index.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Da Big 71!

Last weekend, our friends Diane and Mary came down from Victoria to help me celebrate "Da Big Number 71" and what a fine time we had, with good food and wine to go around.

On Friday we went to what has become my traditional birthday spot in Seattle – the Ipanema Grill – a Brazilian churrascaria where they bring around skewers of various meats that have been on the grill and slice you off a portion.

Then we went over to Anthony's to sit, looking out over Puget Sound and enjoying a margarita (Mary) or a Melontini (me), etc.

The gifts that D & M brought along fit me to a "T" – wine and chocolate and exotic spices, and birthday dinner consisted, of course, of my favorites (since I cooked them myself) crab-and-smoked-trout-cakes and a scallop creation.

The HIGH-light ;0) of the evening was the video which my grandson created for me, using his Pinnacle software and scouring his mother's old videotapes and photos to create some remembrances for me.

The LOW-light ;0( of the evening was the birthday card my loving daughter got for me – enough to scare hell out of anybody -- the caption inside said "Every birthday party needs a clown!"

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Our Columbia Gorge Adventure

I know, "Da Big Trip" is over, but we can still have adventures . . .

Last weekend, our grandson had his friends over for a sleep-over (as part of his 10th birthday party) and we thought it the better part of wisdom to get out of town.

Heading east along the Columbia River on the Washington side, just above Portland, you cannot help but gaze in awe at the Gorge, then look back at Mt. Hood, here seen through a river-side vineyard. We spent the night at the Lyle Hotel, owned and operated by a former chef at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and his wife.

On the way back, we stopped by the Big River Grill in Stevenson, WA where we found two interesting things -- a line-up of local brews to delight any beer drinker around and perhaps the best picture of the trip -- in, of all places, the Men's Room!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Seattle Adventure

Well, you see, I've got this blog (and this long list of e-mail addresses) to post things about "Da Big Trip," but that's over with – so what am I to do with it now?

Anyway, this friend invited me to bring Leo and join him on the observation deck of Columbia Towers, the tallest building in Seattle at 937 feet, and . . . you know, one thing led to another . . . so now I've got a bunch of interesting pictures . . . and, nothing really to do with 'em . . . so why not?

As we approached the building, we could see that it was so tall that it took both of us to look at it, although once on top, things looked a whole lot smaller.

Here's the Space Needle (6th tallest at 605 ft.), and, as you can see, we're ever so slightly above the top of it – it must be built on a higher plot of ground.

Just over there, above where I-5 and I-90 meet, just right of center, is the headquarters of; also, doesn't it look intriguing the way those freeways swirl around?

Of course, that's Lake Washington in the background, and here's the scoop on the bridges (courtesy of Wikipedia):
The Lacey V. Murrow Memorial Bridge is a floating bridge that carries the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90 across Lake Washington from Seattle to Mercer Island, Washington. It is the second longest floating bridge in the world, at 6,620 feet (2,019 meters); the
longest, incidentally, is the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge [7,578 feet (2,310 meters)] just a few miles to the north on the same lake, built 23 years later.

Here's the area of Seattle known as "Pill Hill" because of all its medical facilities, and behind that is a part of the hip residential area known as Capitol Hill.

Right next to Columbia Tower is the Seattle Municipal Tower (722 ft), the 4th tallest building in Seattle. It looks imposing from the ground up, but rather diminutive when viewed from above.

You can form your own opinion on the siting of the new Sculpture Garden – here it is in the quarter just below the middle of this picture -- if you look closely, you can make out the "typewriter eraser," and, well above that, the red thingie is the eagle.

Monday, January 28, 2008

This is what I came home for??

This is what I came home for??

Or, perhaps it's this . . .