August 30th, 2008


August Post 1: The Journey Home and Pre-Wedding Madness

So, where TF have I been for the last few weeks? Too busy to update, that's for sure.

Tyler and I flew out of Taylor Ranch for a two-week vacation on August 7th, along with the last of the students. Walt (the non-molesting pilot) buzzed us around Tyler's old lookout for a few minutes, which was great fun. We got to Cascade, drove UP to McCall (to drop off a package and visit the smokejumper base), and my car had some vapor lock problems. I managed to limp it to the main highway, turned at the red light, and just gunned it. We got to Boise with no further problems, and stayed a couple nights visiting the family, which was great fun.

Aunt Jan was kind enough to pick us up on Saturday and drive us to the airport, and Tyler and I landed in Seattle later that afternoon (after some short delays). Dad picked us up and drove us home. We went out for dinner at Macaroni Grill that night to celebrate Dad's latest weight-loss milestone (Dad liked the bathrooms), and I introduced everybody to Coldstone afterwards.

I spent the rest of that day doing some prep work (ordering balloons, making muffins, etc) to prepare for the next day, which was bluemoonshark's bridal shower. Ilana made fruit salad, Jason made chocolate eclairs, I made muffins and bought quiche, and shawnaduck brought mimosas and cookies. The only thing missing were actual guests, since nobody I invited actually came apart from shawnaduck and the bride herself. Still, we had a good time, and we invited Blue's sister, mom, and grandmother over, so nothing went to waste.

The next day was Monday, and we had plans. Tyler and I borrowed Mom's car and drove all the way over to Port Angeles so Tyler could see his knee surgeon for a checkup. Tyler had had a few scares with his knee earlier in the season, so the relief was unbelievable when Dr. Larson X-rayed his knee, moved stuff around, and said that it was healing beautifully. The graft heals from the outside in, so by this time, the bone plugs are probably healed and the ligament itself is getting replaced with new tissue. YAY.

After that, we just bummed around in PA for a while. We drove out on the jetty and watched the ocean. We drove by our old apartment, the Treehouse (lots of plants in the windows...a good sign). We went to our favorite independent pet store and bought more cat litter. We went to my favorite book store (Port Book and News) and loaded up on books (twice), including some independent stuff we couldn't find on Amazon. We went to my favorite glass shop and I oohed and ahhed at the jewelry I liked. We stopped at the natural foods store and got some groceries we can't get at Taylor Ranch (like seaweed). I tried a lavender mocha and did not like it. We stopped at Tendy's and got take-out Chinese food. It was good times.

The thing I realized that day is that our year in Port Angeles was a good one. Even though it didn't work out for us to live there long-term, we really enjoyed our time there and have good memories of the place. When I'm in Moscow, all I really want to do is leave. But when we were in Port Angeles, I was happy and we were content to dawdle around all day. For some reason, that was an important realization for me to have.

The rest of the week is a bit of a blur. We spent a lot of time hanging out at shrike30 and bluemoonshark's new digs near Greenlake (and with houseresident mattsp), and we had sushi with them one night. We spent a morning helping my parents clean out the attic (and I spent the rest of the day sorting through my old stuff). We both got a haircut, and I got my toenails painted turquoise. We went to REI and got some cold-weather clothes, including a jacket that I really like that I was squirmy about paying so much for. We had one largely unsuccessful trip to Third Place Books, and then a second trip in which I made out like a damn bandit.

We met my Aunt Jodi and Uncle Jeff for dinner one night (Tuesday?), which was fun. We usually go for Thai food, but they changed the routine this time and we walked to a Greek sidewalk cafe instead. It about killed me, since I'd been jonesing for Thai for months, and I don't really care about Greek food. But the good company, good conversation, and the gelato afterwards made it okay.

On Friday night (the night before the wedding) Tyler and I stopped at the Paper Zone and I picked up supplies to make a guest book for the wedding. Then we drove to Greenlake, connected with people, and went to the Ivar's Salmon House for the Rehearsal-Dinner-Without-An-Actual-Rehearsal. It was fun...I'd never eaten in the Salmon House before, and I didn't know how cool it was inside. I got to meet shrike30's old EMT partner, Doug, and admire his gross-looking-but-appropriately-named Lake Union cocktail, which tasted surprisingly great. We visited with all the friends and family and had a really nice time. I excused myself at dusk and went back to the house to make the guest book (covering an existing book with pretty blue paper and decorating it), and then we went to bed.

I need a chapter two.

August Post 2: Blue and Mike Get Married

Saturday, August 16th, was shrike30 and bluemoonshark's wedding day!

We all woke up early and grabbed some breakfast, then loaded up vehicles and headed out. Tyler and I rode together a few minutes behind shrike30 and bluemoonshark, and mattsp, his older sister, and girlscoutchick headed out after us.

We drove up just past Marysville to Arlington, then got off the freeway and headed east on some little windy back roads until we got to the park, a pretty out-of-the-way meadow next to a river, lined with trees. M&D had reserved some picnic shelters, but we mostly wanted the seating, so we moved picnic tables around while the numerous other campers watched us, and the rental place set up two tents. M and Doug also had to put out a campfire from the previous night, containing (apparently) a tent and someone's shoe.

The caterers came and started setting up their stuff. D's parents came with a carload of flowers and her grandmother started setting them up...purple irises in tall, clear tumblers (very graceful). M&D sat down to figure out their vows (M briefly planned the defense against the zombie attack), and Tyler sat out of the way and figured out the rest of the ceremony as the rest of the crowd bustled around him.

At some point, some other campers stole four of our lawn chairs (to be used as grandparent seating during the mostly-standing ceremony), and we didn't know what had happened to them until we found them abandoned at the river a few hours later.

Photographer spadoink arrived with the lovely uniqueunorque, and we had a great time visiting and catching up.

I eventually vanished into an aunt's RV to change into my dress, along with the other bridesmaids. My dress had a tight bodice and was not of a natural fiber, which was a little difficult on a day as (surprisingly) hot and humid as this one was. But it was sleeveless, short, and swishy, so I had lots of fun wearing it. Blue changed into her wedding dress that she had only just finished a day or two before (hemming was the last step). It was a (I think) silk charmuse, personally hand-dyed indigo, bias-cut and cowl-necked. Technical difficulty: EXTREMELY HIGH. The color was perfect, it draped beautifully, and it looked lovely on her.

The ceremony was short and sweet, as they wished. Tyler officiated with a brief speech and then the exchange of vows the couple had just written. Blue said yes, and Mike responded with an on-the-spot happy dance. They exchanged brushed titanium rings...very cool. Blue and I had just picked them up a few days before.

The wedding lunch was delicious, and I chatted with a few of the caterers. None of them had been the caterers for my wedding a year before, but they had heard good things about it, which made me feel good. Mike and Blue cut the cake and speeches were given with lots of smiles.

After a few hours, guests started to trickle out. Mike, to his credit, managed to stay in his suit the entire afternoon despite the heat. Most of the wedding party went down to the river later in the afternoon for wading and pictures, which was fun (and we found the missing lawn chairs). We found a diamond watch lying in the parking lot. Did we ever figure out who that belonged to?

We changed back into street clothes and loaded up the cars with flowers, gifts, and stuff. The plan was to reconvene at Mike and Blue's house, so Jessica rode with me (we cranked up the AC full blast) and Tyler rode with spadoink.

The rest of the evening was lying around Mike and Blue's living room, eating wedding leftovers, laughing, drinking things that Mike gave us, and just having fun. Mike knocked me down with a Long Island Iced Tea (potent, but not as delicious as the Mojito that followed) and I spent a happy few hours tispy and talking about sci-fi/fantasy literature with decuto, girlscoutchick, mattsp, and cathexis. It was a LOT more fun than it should have been.

Then around 10:00, Matt got up and very elegantly threw everyone out, and we went to bed.

August Post 3: Stuff I Already Forgot to Write About

A few nights before the wedding (I forget which night it was), some of Blue's other friends threw her a bachelorette party. They gave her her choice of a dueling piano bar, a cabaret, or a bar that may or may not have had a mechanical bull. Blue picked the cabaret.

Mike and Tyler drove us downtown and dropped us near Pike Place Market. We quickly connected with Tara (an old friend from high school) and went to the Alibi Room, a nice lounge underneath the market that you enter through an alleyway. Tara ordered appetizers and we all ordered a cocktail as other girls trickled in.

No bachelorette party is complete without some identification of who the victim is. Blue had repeatedly and violently emphasized "NO PENISES," and we complied. The friend that organized the party arrived with a shiny blue cardboard tiara with long blue veil and sparkly blue wire. I augmented this with a sparkly plastic tiara into which I'd woven blue glowsticks. The effect was resplendent. Blue actually liked it enough to wear it the rest of the night and the morning and evening of the wedding day, which was awesome. She also wore it when Mike sent us on a liquor store run when we got back to her house after the wedding, purchasing at least 6 or 7 bottles of various intoxicants. The cashier didn't even bat an eye, and she only carded me...which was good, because Blue forgot her wallet.

After everyone had arrived, we briefly admired an alleyway mural made entirely of chewed gum, then we moved to the Can Can, which was just under the corner of the Pike Place flower market. It looked like an old-style cabaret...dark, red lights, vintage decor. It was bloody hot, but it was a small space full of people, so I expected that. We all ordered drinks, I ordered a creme brulee by accident, and we all enjoyed the show. Scantily-clad people in cool costumes dancing to fun or campy music. I think my favorite piece was The Vladimir Show, where a bare-chested guy in wig and leggings hauled up two people on stage and danced around them to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing," while we all sang along at the tops of our lungs and waved candles around. I really enjoyed some of the new music, especially the Eartha Kitt. I waylaid the DJ after the show and wrote down some of the songs.

Good times.

The other thing I forgot was that Tyler and I went out for a belated anniversary dinner. Our first anniversary was in July, but it was at a time when a) Jim and Holly were gone, and b) we had guests, so we were extra-busy and didn't have much time for each other. So, we made up for it. Blue had decided she didn't want the gorgeous blue dress she made to wear to my wedding, so she gave it to me (I like it much better than my own wedding dress, even). It looks great on me and I love it, so I wore that to dinner and Tyler dressed up to. We went to Blue C sushi, because I could NOT get enough sushi on my trip home. I wasn't done being pretty after that, so we just walked around Alderwood Mall for a while, which is a little ghetto, but we had a lot of fun and we really, really needed the break for each other.

Other things I forgot: enjoying dinner from Little Thai with Mike and Blue, driving around town to find Sticky Boobs for the dress (dress does not work with conventional bras), picking up the rings at the jewelry store, helping clean their house and having SEVERE house envy. Mike and Blue's new place is on a very quiet street above Greenlake, and comes with pleasant Arts and Crafts architecture, Backyard With Treehouse, Majestic Walnut Tree, Pretty Sunroom, Fireplace, and Friends (Mike, Blue, and Matt). We didn't ever want to leave.

A word on alcohol: this is probably weird for some of my friends to read, knowing that I don't like alcohol and almost never drink it. I found that I really enjoy a lot of cocktails, because there's infinite flavor variations and because in a lot of them (or at least in the ones I like), you can't taste the alcohol, which is mostly the point for me. Plus, I have the luxury of being friends with someone that likes making cocktails and testing them on people (cheers, Mike). I don't mind changing my opinions when new information comes in.

So far, my favorites have been cocktails that are either light, clear, and fizzy, or cocktails that are sweet and creamy.

Things I drank during the vacation:
"Sex on the Beach" (Macaroni Grill). Strong, too sticky.
"Hmmm, I think it's a Fresca" (Alibi Room). Absolutely delicious, clear, and fizzy.
"Long Island Iced Tea" (Mike). Strong.
"Mojito" (Mike). Clear, flavorful, and delicious enough to ask for seconds.
"Elizabeth Taylor" (Mike). Fruity, beautiful, but strong.
"T-Shot" (Mike). Creamy and delicious.
"Kahlua and Cream" (Can Can). Creamy and delicious.

Songs I downloaded during the vacation:
Gogol Bordello: "Start Wearing Purple" (Can Can)
Eartha Kitt: "Mink Shmink" (Can Can)
The Bad Things: "Kill Yourself" (Can Can)
Edith Piaf: "La Vie en Rose" (Can Can)
Jonathan Coulton: "Code Monkey" (Matt)
Jonathan Coulton: "Re: Your Brains" (Matt)
SWV: "Right Here (Human Nature Remix)" (MOViN 92.5 FM)
The Roots: "What They Do" (YouTube)
James Darren: "It's Only a Paper Moon" (DS9)
Frank Sinatra: "I'll Be Seeing You" (DS9)

August Post 4: The Time Between the Wedding and When I Left Seattle

Am I done dominating your F-list yet? NO.

I was woken by angry screams the morning after the wedding, which turned out to have been a loud neighbor. Whew. Tyler and I loaded our stuff into the car and drove over to Mercer Island, where Mike's mom was throwing the newlyweds a post-wedding brunch. We found the house with no trouble and enjoyed a lovely meal...fruit, cookies, muffins, etc. I had a fun chat with the Mikes spadoink, shrike30, said goodbye to most of the wedding guests and friends I would not see again for a long time, had a nice visit with shrike30's mom, and accidentally spilled coffee on a friendly older gentleman.

Tyler stayed at the brunch, but I left early and booked it back to my parents' house because my parents were throwing a party for a few of Dad's friends from work. Dad officially retired just a few days ago after 35 years working at Boeing, but he had so much vacation time saved that his last day of work was effectively in June. His friends and coworkers threw him a HUGE retirement bash...slideshow, buffet, speeches, the works. Two hundred people came, including two of Boeing's vice presidents. I was sad to miss it. Our party was to be a thank-you for the planners of the first party.

The kitchen was a shambles when I arrived. Mom was warming quiches in the oven and trying to clean up Jason and Ilana's mess from the night before. Ilana was making fruit salad, Jason was filling cream puffs. I took over the dishes and made mom's sesame chicken salad, and we had almost all the food finished by the time the first guests arrived. I socialized a little bit, but I didn't know most of the people and kept a largely low profile. Dad toured people around the house, socialized, and played a round of croquet. It was a good time, and I got to see the slide show Dad's friends had made for him. It was fun. Then I got some overpriced take-out Thai food, went back to Mike and Blue's, and visited with everyone while they opened their wedding presents. Tyler spent the night again, but I went home.

As mundane as it sounds, I spent most of the next day cleaning my room. I hate it when I come home after being away and my room is an unusuable mess, which is often, because when I'm gone, my parents keep putting stuff in it. I cleaned it out that day and felt a lot better, and then went over to Mike and Diana's and picked up Tyler. We then drove over to Redmond, because Jeni and Taylor were briefly in town and we wanted to see them before heading out again. We had a nice visit in Devon and Stacey's glorious remodeled house (more House Envy), petted the dogs, played with Taylor and Riley, and did come catching up. It was too short, but still good. We headed home after dark.

Tyler got picked up by Shuttle Express on Tuesday morning and flew back to Boise. He met his parents there, and picked up the new propane stove for our cabin that's been on backorder and was supposed to have arrived months ago, then loaded it in my car and drove up to Cascade to catch the Wednesday mail plane.

I spent Tuesday hanging out with Mom. I went with her to a dermatology appointment, we got sushi for lunch, and we shopped around a little bit for clothes for her (no luck). It was a good time. When we got home, I packed my things and loaded her car. That was my last night home in Seattle.

August Post 5: Mom and I Go to Taylor Ranch

Mom and I drove out of Seattle early on August 20th, headed for Moscow, and made it in around 1:00 PM. We used the rest of the afternoon to run a few errands (Tri-State, mall, Co-Op) and to visit people (Pam, Todd, Cort). I stopped in the dean's office to talk to the accountants. I planned to spend all day Thursday doing some plant collecting for my project, so I talked to Todd and got some input from him on places to look, and also pressed some branches he'd been nice enough to collect for me.

Mom and I then drove over to Doc's house and dropped off our groceries and overnight bags. Doc and Carrie weren't there (student dinner), so we visited with Heidi and Josh a bit. Josh was disraught because he'd accidentally let the dogs out earlier and gotten in trouble, so I gave him the snickerdoodles I got at the Co-Op earlier. Mom and I then went back to town to try out the new Thai restaurant that apparently Moscow just couldn't have until IMMEDIATELY after I moved away. Bastards! The food was delicious.

The next day, Mom and I got in the car and headed south to Lewiston, then southwest towards Asotin. Todd had said there were some alders to be found near Cous Creek, but we spent the whole morning looking for them and found nothing but hawthorne. We did find Pintler Creek (a family name, which was exciting), and Mom enjoyed seeing a herd of a dozen elk. The steep grades down into Lewiston and up out of Asotin were also very pretty, as usual.

We got back to Clarkston in time to meet Pam for lunch at Rooster's Landing, which was fun. I ordered a Mojito and they both enjoyed drinking it. Then Pam headed back to Moscow, while Mom and I headed towards Orofino to try our luck collecting in a different place. We stopped in Lewiston and stopped in to see shaylith at work, but only for about 20 minutes, which was distressingly brief.

We did find the alders I was looking for in Orofino, but we had to go a lot further than I remembered to find them. A thunderstorm was brewing as I collected, so I finally called it good and we drove back out, then wound up the hill through Juliaetta, Kendrick, and Troy, and managed to make it back to Moscow in enough time for dinner with Doc and Carrie (polenta!). Then I hit Safeway, dropped off the plant press and Gazeteers at Pam's house, tried to see Harriet, and crashed for the night. It was a very, very busy day.

The next morning, we were supposed to have met Jim and Holly in Moscow (they had to fly up for a meeting), and then drive them back down to Cascade and fly in together. This meant we would have to be in Moscow on Friday morning, which canceled my original plans of staying only one night in Moscow, then sampling in Lewiston and visiting/possibly staying with naturamother. As it turned out, the plane had to turn back due to bad weather and they never got to Moscow, so I ended up missing seeing my friend for nothing, which bugged me. Anyway, we got up early, made a quick stop at the Co-Op for provisions (successful), at a drug store for my anti-canker sore toothpaste (unsuccessful), and at a latte stand for chai (successful).

Then we booked it down to Cascade as fast as we could, since we had a long drive and an hour to lose in the time change. We only stopped three times; once near Riggins for the fruit stand (so much goodness), once in Riggins for a drink for Mom, and once when we actually got to Cascade, so I could get our last-minute groceries: milk, eggs, cheese, and ice cream for Javan, who had been cat-sitting for us. And even though I have been SO VIGILANT, Molester!Pilot managed to sneak up on me in the checkout line and goose me in the side. HATES.

We met up with Tyler's parents at Arnold Aviation. They didn't think they'd be able to come, but the fact that J&H didn't make it to Moscow freed up two seats on our flight, so I called them the night before and told them the good news, and they came up from Boise that morning. I frantically unloaded the car and packed all our food into boxes, then we loaded up the plane...suitcases, food boxes, five people, and Diggory-Dog. It wasn't a very bumpy flight, but Mom got airsick and threw up most of the way to Taylor Ranch.

We landed in mid-afternoon on the 22nd. I took Mom to our cabin and had her rest and collect herself until dinner (I made lentils), while Tyler and I hauled all our stuff up from the airstrip and set about putting it away. I installed Mom in the Hornocker cabin, and the Morrisons enjoyed the splendour of the DeVlieg cabin.

We spend the next few days just visiting and enjoying each other's company. Bob mostly fly-fished. Tyler and Dee went for a few hikes and had fun, although the weather was still hot. I showed Mom all over Taylor Ranch so she could see the places I'd been writing about for years, and I think she enjoyed it. The beauty and the solitude here are hard to understand unless you've been here. We also got hooked on Sudoku against my better judgement. We all shared some wonderful meals and just mostly hung out.

The Morrisons flew out on Tuesday, the 26th, so they could continue their road trip. J&H flew out to Moscow the same day for their meeting. Mom and I spent a lot of the rest of her time pet-sitting Mica (who just turned 13) and the Beast (who just turned 12...weeks). It was distracting and a lot of work, but still fun. It felt weird to have Mom here, knowing how long a journey it is to get here from Seattle, and how she was fairly out of her element here. I'm really glad she came. Between a few of the students, Doc, and our parents, Tyler and I got really lucky with friends this whole summer.

Then Mom flew out on the Wednesday mail plane, and it was back to work as usual from then on. This is my first day off, and I am catching the hell up.