December 23, 2009

Your seat cushion is not a floatation device

Emailing from cruising altitude at 6:36 am. Virgin America and Google are offering free in-flight WiFi for the holidays. Should be an uneventful trip. We've been up since 2 am and we're in a daze. But I can see the first signs of light out the window.
Current details and conditions.

December 19, 2009

Adventures a la Turk

We ran off to Turkey for two weeks on a Rick Steves tour - Turkey in 13 Days. I've been planning a trip to Turkey since I met Edna while on the Rick Steves Barcelona tour in 2004. Edna told all of these great stories of her lifetime of traveling with her husband. She told stories of when she and her family did the Turkey tour. She had me at merhaba (that’s hello).

Please visit our Turkey vacation blog, Adventures a la Turk. There are two weeks worth of photos, videos, stories, and links on the blog I’ve created dedicated to our Turkey trip.

If you don’t visit Adventures a la Turk you will never get to read my essay on using the squatty potty. You won’t learn how to make g√∂zleme at home. You won’t see the Rose Valley from a hot air balloon or a ninth century church carved out of volcanic rock and covered in frescoes. You will miss plenty.

Enjoy!

December 09, 2009

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I know we aren't getting tons of snow like what is hammering folks in the Mid-West, but this is cold and we don't like it. It's colder still in other parts of th greater Puget Sound area. Put on the kettle and pull on a sweater.

Live from my G1!

December 07, 2009

Foam On The Range

It's really cold here. Dipping into the 20's at night. Today we reached a high of 30, I think. Lows will be in the teens around us. Same for tomorrow. Granted, it's bright and sunny. But we're cold!

The foam on my latte reminded me of the pile of snow on our porch table last December. Oh, if only latte foam fell from the sky when it snowed.

November 12, 2009

Don't Sit So Close - It'll Ruin Your Eyes

Misu is a smart cat. I think it's because I only allow her to watch educational programming on the computer and no TV.
She really enjoyed this episode of The Rest of Everest.

November 07, 2009

Rainy Day Nap (cats only)

Hey, might be moving over to WordPress. Still learning the ropes. No decision has been made yet. In the meantime, check out my first official post at the WordPress bodanzarama.

What do you think?

November 02, 2009

Who will die first...

Before I post again? Hard to say. Summer was gone in a flash. And we are recently back from two weeks in Turkey. I'm working feverishly to edit, sort, arrange about 3,ooo shots into a manageable 300 or so for a blog dedicated to the trip. I'm also gathering info and facts and memories. Labor intensive but a labor of love. In the meantime, I will post a few entertaining shots like this one from my last trip to the grocery store.

Live from my G1!

September 27, 2009

Change of Seasons

This morning, around 7 am, from the balcony of our hotel room.

Orcas Island Jaunt

We just got home earlier today from an overnight trip to Orcas Island. The weather was and is great. Today is sunny and in the 60s. A very nice way to begin Autumn. Yesterday we hit the road relatively early to drive to Anacortes to catch the 10:05 am ferry. The ferry stops at Lopez Island and Shaw Island before it drops us at Orcas Island.



Here is the view from the Orcas Hotel, our home for the evening. And this was also our view from our room, just one flight higher. Our room had a balcony. We sat out for a while, watching the ferries come and go and listening to the seagulls argue.

We've stayed in this hotel before. It's old and charming. The pics on the website are quite flattering. Not that it isn't nice, but it's old and creaky, and doesn't look quite as fresh and new as the website. The walls are cardboard thin. Last night was proof. Think of the Paul Simon song, Duncan -

"
Couple in the next room
Bound to win a prize..."

I had to leave on the bathroom fan in order to get any sleep at all.
We cruised around the Eastsound Farmer's Market. I picked up two varieties of hand-made soap. S grabbed a fresh raw oyster for an on-the-go snack. For the rest of lunch we headed to Olga to eat at Cafe Olga.

Here we are on top of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park. What a view. You can see Mt. Baker clearly. So many islands are visible from this point Lummi Island, Sinclair Island, Cypress Island, Blakely Island, to name a few.
On the ferry back to Anacortes, we had a primo spot in the very front, one of the three front row cars. Of course, for 2/3 of the trip we rode backwards. But we still had excellent views. Here is Mt. Baker again, as seen from our spot on board the Yakima.

July 26, 2009

Not Too Far Get-A-Way

We wanted to get away but not too away. We wanted to see some water but didn't want to deal with the long ferry lines. We didn't want to be gone all day. We headed to Camano Island State Park located on, well, Camano Island. This is the very first place I ever went camping. J. K. and A. C. and I camped overnight and I spent a very uncomfortable night in the back of a pick-up truck. But we had fun.
S and I left around 8:30 in the morning, stopped in the U-District for coffee, stopped again for a snack and a potty break. We hit the beach by 10:45. We snagged a picnic table at the very end of the beach. We had the place to ourselves. I was looking for pictures and critters and interesting things. I found lots of color and texture. For example, this poor starfish. Looks like he got caught up in the tide and couldn't find a hiding spot. He's upside down, by the way. But this is how I found him.
We had a picnic lunch of yummy things like olives, roasted peppers, hummus, dolmas, blueberries, and some dark chocolate for dessert.



Before we left we spotted a couple bald eagles. This is as close as I could get but you get the idea.

July 17, 2009

Time Stands Still

This day is crawling. Just not moving. Sutck in time.

July 06, 2009

Far Out

Low tides reveal the best of Puget Sound. At Discovery Park on Sunday we were able to walk far out onto the mud flats. Above is Z, H, M, and S strolling to the next cluster of rocks to explore.

We found wonderful critters along the way but the lure of seaweed was too strong for M. She was completely captivated by it.

June 28, 2009

Garden Color

This garden spider was sun bathing before I began watering the nearby tomatoes. As soon as the sprinkles of water began to fall, he ran for cover.

There is always something blooming in the yard. The poppies are gone but we have daisies and dahlias and Cupid's Dart.

June 09, 2009

Icicle River Gorge - Go Cougs!

Over Memorial Day weekend we headed to Leavenworth in order to be close to some great hikes. We're not necessarily fans of Leavenworth, but it's the jumping off point for so many great outdoor adventures that you have to suck it up and stay there.

We're not interested in souveneir shops or grilled brauts and beer so we went walking along the river the first evening in town. Here is a shot of the Wenatchee River from some rocks along its bank.
On the drive to the trailhead at the Chatter Creek Ranger Station the scenery is stunning. We would soon discover the road was washed-out about two miles from our destination. A bad storm last winter had resulted in the river changing course - right over the road. We would park not too far from the Ida Creek Campground and walk and extra hour along a make-shift trail to meet up with the road again and eventually the trailhead.
Here is the Icicle River raging along. It was disdurbing once we reached the "end of the road" to see this raging river running across the road. And it was a bit eerie to see water up in what was last winter the woods that run along the road.

But the most disturbing, but very exciting, part of the whole extra hour trek to the trailhead was the spotting of A REAL, LIVE COUGAR!!!!! Yep, only about 15 minutes into the hike, S declares, "Oh, my god look!" I look at her then look in the direction of where she is looking and caught the second half of the cougar as it walked into the woods, in the opposite direction of the road about 20 yards ahead of us. S indicated that the animal never looked our way, just sauntered from the roadside of the trail to the woods side. The long thick tail was unmistakable and the large paws are better viewed form a distance as far as I'm concered. A once in a lifetime sighting we have been told by many who hear this story.

I have to admit, I was especially uneasy for a while after the cougar crossed our path. As we crossed the section of trail where it crossed, I was particularly uneasy and was sure to make plenty of noise. Most distressing was the fact that this particular section of trail was very muddy so I was obliged to watch my feet and where I placed them rather than watch the woods where the cougar was probably sitting and smirking at us, hoping one of us might slip in the mire and become bogged down, unable to escape. As we continued to hike I became more excited about the sighting and less afraid.
Finally at the trailhead! From the road you quickly descend to this bridge to cross the river and begin the loop.
Some Indian Paintbrush.

The raging Icicle River.
Beautiful trillium.
The second amazing sighting of the day was the calypso orchid. You might easily step on it or overlook it. The first one we saw was just that, a single flower. We felt really lucky to have spotted it at all.
As we continued to hike, we noticed a few more, growing in small clusters. I wouldn't say we saw lots but we saw a handful of clusters. Considering how much ground we covered on this hike, we didn't see many. They really like very specific conditions and a particular soil fungus.
They stand only a few inches tall. A co-worker had tipped me off to look for these and I had forgot about them completely until I spotted one. My co-worker also told me to get down on the ground in order to appreciate the flowers subtle smell. Although I was near enough to photograph the flower up close, I completely forgot to test if it carries a scent.
Part of my head, some pines and some mountain as seen by S's sunglasses.
This is one of the best hikes we've done. Really spectacular. Very beautiful. Ponderosa pines, trillium, calypso orchids, some really odd fungi, blue skies, raging river, a great meadow, little elevation change, and countless opportunities to sit and watch the world go by. We would do this hike again even with the extra mileage to get to and from the trailhead to our car.
You can spot S hiking across the bridge. That fallen tree is leading the way.
This ponderosa pine, S's favorite tree, looks like it's leaning over to tell her a secret. Next time you are around ponderosas and the sun has warmed their bark, get up close and smell the woody vanilla scent that comes off the tree.

May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Cat


TJ technically belongs to K & R across the street. The house next door to them used to belong to TJ's original owners. When they moved, for whatever reason, they didn't take TJ. K & R adopted him bringing their total to three boy cats. TJ roams the 'hood, aided by a cat door and a keen sense of where the cat treats (the the humans who dispense them) are to be found. He visits daily, usually once in the morning and once after we are home form work. He has the run of our place, of course. He gets treats, affection, a cat scratcher, catnip, a place to crash, etc. Today he decided to keep S company while she worked in the yard. He was here for hours and will probably return later in the day after his cat-napping is complete.

May 22, 2009

Discovery Park

A recent shot of a walk down to the beach at Discovery Park. As we walked along the beach (away from the lighthouse and the crowds), the tide rolled out. We were able to wade out into the very cold water and explore the various critters and rocks and shells. Managed to get a bit of a sun burn on my arms. What a great day.