Saturday, July 21, 2018

Quick trip to Washington


We arrived in Tacoma late Monday afternoon. The plan was to walk a 1.3 mile trail downhill through an old growth forest and meet Allison after work at a seafood restaurant. The walk down was beautiful. The walk up was something else!

The cousins take a break and pose for the grandmas.

Tuesday morning after breakfast Rochelle drove us to downtown Tacoma for a visit to MOG (the Museum of Glass) and lunch at The Swiss, a historic eatery. The old railway station is in the background, now the courthouse, and is also filled with art glass.

My favorite part of MOG is the hot room where visiting artists and their crews work in a seemingly effortless choreography of glass making.

On display is an example of the work in progress, glass set into a ceramic base -

That is created on this ceramic 3-D printer.

They work,

They blow,

They heat,

And after 30 minutes it’s ready to insert into a ceramic mold that’s held firmly in a bucket of damp sand. This is one of the guest artists.

There’s a dramatic flare of fire, as if in protest.

And what comes out is glass in the shape of a giant quartz crystal. I could have stayed in their arena all day but lunch was beckoning.

I didn’t leave myself much time to zip through the gallery which was filled with the impressive work of Albert Paley, who also just happens to be a printmaker, and then it was time to go!


Our trip to Fort Nisqually had to be a quick one but Allison was in costume and we got to spend about 15 minutes with her before she had to lead a group on a “lock room” escape.

Alexia loves to “teach” Gus things and apparently he likes what she teaches.

We walked the two blocks from Rochelle’s charming bungalow to Jason and Ali’s charming bungalow for dinner. Tacoma is a sea of bungalows!  The kids played a card game.

Wednesday morning found us in a line for the Vashon Island ferry.

Alexia has been on the ferry to Ellis Island but this was her first time on a car ferry. We are still on the island until tomorrow morning.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Ending a trip and getting ready for the next one


We decided to drive home on Hwy 84 through the Columbia River gorge so we could stop at the Bonneville fish hatchery which is just below the Bonneville Dam.  It’s a huge facility and the most of ponds were filled with 4” baby fish.  Big fish happen in the fall.  We were surprised when a blue heron took flight from one of the cages near us and landed on another cage before taking flight.  I had no idea they were so huge!.  Alexia was entertained by feeding the trout, then told us that her hands smelled like fish!

The grounds are well manicured, absolutely beautiful and very unhatchery like.  This little house holds the viewing window so you can watch the sturgeon swim in their pond.

Reflections on the Sturgeon Pond.

We stopped at the Peter Skene Ogden rest stop so see if anyone was bungee jumping.  It’s a very steep and deep canyon.

There were jumpers and there’s someone at the bottom of the bungee in fact. This gorge was cut by the Crooked River.

Alexia plays Pokémon and wanted to go down to the Old Mill District Sunday afternoon for the Community Pokémon day and also their celebration of two years as a game.

There a lot of people walking around, staring at their phones, and also a lot of people sharing information and giving advice.  There were also a lot of people floating the river.  It was over at 2:00 and I was ready well before that to leave.  My dogs were barking!

She asked me if I would mind giving her a knitting lesson again to see if maybe she could get it this time.  I started trying to teach her four or five years ago and still had her yarn and needles.  I think it’s all the hours of flute practice, but she got it.  Her first try had a number of mistakes so she asked me to show her how to cast off and then we started again.  She has about 8” knitting since yesterday and last night when Ian said goodnight, she told him that she was going to bed to but first she needed to finish her row.  Spoken like a true knitter!!

Yesterday was my volunteer day at the High Desert Museum and she’s so skinny that the costume she wore last year still fit her.  We were on a lunch break with with non-period appropriate brown bags - oops.  It was 97 degrees, the hottest day of the year so far, and we ended up leaving an hour early.  After all, we’re volunteers!

She pointed our this sign to me.  It’s new and tickled my funny bone.

She asked if we could go back to the museum today since it’s been years since she’s gotten to see the exhibits.  Miss Emily was going to light the wood stove at the Miller Ranch House and bake cookies today which Lexi was anxious to see.  Emily is getting better with her wood stove cooking, and in spite of them being rich and very buttery, Lexi ate four of her them.  We both love that museum but after being on our feet for almost four hours, we decided to skip Summerfest, a craft festival in downtown Bend.  We had planned on that this morning but when she pulled the plug on that plan, I wasn’t sorry in the least.  It’s 93 degrees. My dogs are barking again!
She and I worked in the community garden of our church this morning and she wants to go to church with me tomorrow morning.  We’re going to Redmond after lunch so she can see Uncle Matt and Aunt Julia’s new house and pack our bags sometime in between since we need to leave Monday morning at 7:00 for Tacoma.  We didn’t get a housesitter until Tuesday so that’s a relief.  It’s been a busy week.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Portland Trip, Day 2


The Japanese Tea Gardens far exceeded my expectations.  Even with the many visitors I had a feeling of privacy, rest and peace.

I was inspired by the deliberate placement of color and shapes, something I hope to be able to apply here in our high desert yard.

We walked over the koi ponds on wooden walkways.  The fish were huge!

Reflections on a koi pond!

Alexia really wanted to have tea in their tea house which was absurdly expensive but the experience was absolutely worth it. I’ll forget what we paid for it but I’ll never forget that we did it.

When we left, the line for admission snaked around the ticket building and down the street.  Boy was our timing good.  We walked the 1.3 miles back downhill to the Goose Point Max stop - ouch my feet! - and stopped for a late lunch in downtown Portland at the Rock Bottom Brewery.  The Max ticket is for all day so you can get off and on at will.  Our ticket doesn’t say “Senior” it says “Honored Citizen” - so special.  We saw this guy from our table, doing his part “Keep Portland Weird.”

We got to MacKenzie Stadium a little before 6:00 for the 7:00 DCI show.  The first band was from the National Guard for the national anthem, and The Battalion from Salt Lake City were cued up to be the first performance band of the evening.  Parking is always the problem so people continued to pour in through the first couple of the nine competing bands.  Grandson Logan’s performance was our reason for the trip.  All the rest of frosting.

The percussion section includes xylophones and marimbas in addition to the drums on the field.  Only half of the performance is music; the other half is dancers, flag corps and “baton” twirlers who also use wooden rifles. It’s wonderful and exhausting to watch.  When the brass instuments turnEdit to the stands and unload their music full volume, my hair stands on end.  We watched the last band from the top of the stands and then bolted for the car, us and a whole lot of other people.  Last year it took us over an hour to get out of the parking lot.  As it was we got back to the hotel about 11:00.

We stayed at a Best Western by the airport and our suite had a separate room for Lexi, all paid for with credit card points.  It was an easy off and on the freeway, so with the total breakfast they served downstairs we were on the road home by 9:00.  And I can see that I’ll need to finish up with a third post.  This one is long enough.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quick trip to Portland


We picked up our 13-year-old granddaughter at the California/Oregon state line, halfway between Reno where she lives and Bend where we live, and she’ll be with us for the entire month.  It was July 4th and we quickly realized that few restaurants were opened.  We ended up eating lunch at the Indian casino on the Chiloquin reservation, a surprisingly good lunch.  Ian bought a pack of fireworks at Costco and we started setting them up after dinner.  This is called Poopy Puppy because when lit it produces, well, use your imagination.

Alexia and I walked down to the end of our driveway with camp chairs to watch the city’s firework show launched from Pilot Butte.  A couple of neighbors joined us and Ian stayed in the house with Sammie who was beyond frantic.  There were plenty of illegal fireworks set off in the neighborhood which made for a very entertaining evening but rough on pets.

Thursday morning we were on the road by 9:00 with plans to stop at Timberline Lodge for lunch.  This is the hotel used in The Shining and friends jokingly warned to watch out for the twins!

It is truly on top of the world.  Ian pulled into this space and I made him move the car to an interior space.  The drop-off here is at least a hundred feet with no guardrail.  This is the timberline, no trees grow above it, and many skiers were still enjoying the snow.

Timberline is a WPA lodge finished in 1937 after the six-mile road from the highway was completed.  It was built during the Depression by local craftsmen, many of them over 50.  The furnishings were created by local woodworkers, weavers and blacksmiths.  Many of the original work has worn out and the replacements are still made by local craftsmen.  The Portland Handweavers Guild continues to provide yardage for the curtains and bedspreads.

We got to our hotel by early afternoon and Ian wanted to chill in our room and take it easy.  The reason for the trip was grandson Logan’s DCI (Drum Corps International) performance the next evening.  And that’s when I realized I had forgotten my book, Kindle and iPad.  This was our first trip to Portland and the place I wanted to go was Powell’s book store.  Ian surprised me when he decided that we should go there right then, so we drove two miles down to the shopping center by the airport and IKEA where we parked for free and caught the Max, the light rail commuter train.  Looking at the freeway traffic from the window, I was so glad we didn’t drive in!

Powell’s City of Books is absolutely a destination.  Ian didn’t find any of the books he wanted, but Alexia found two and I found a used copy All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg which I’ve been wanting to read for a very long time.  The previous owner left a note in the front that I have left there:  “I thoroughly enjoyed Rick Bragg’s descriptive writing and his honesty in storytelling.  Hope you enjoy it too.”

Ian’s place to visit was Chinatown for some authentic Chinese food.  For the past 15 years he has talked longingly about a place we ate at in New York, where the meats hung in the window and were sliced fresh for meals.  I didn’t like it then and I didn’t like it this time, but I couldn’t complain since I just left Powell’s.

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel and caught the Max for a quick trip back to Portland.  Alexia’s choice of a Portland destination was the Japanese Tea Gardens so Ian asked if we thought we were up for a 1.3 mile walk from the rail to it.  She was in track and field this spring and thought it would be a breeze.  We didn’t know it up straight uphill!  And it was a warm humid day, holy cow!  We did it but boy were we dehydrated by the time we got to the top.  First we had to walk through the Rose Test Gardens which are flat, thank goodness.

Fortunately is was still morning so wasn’t too crowded yet.  What a magnificent display!

This was one of Alexia’s favorites.  She quipped that it was a whole sunset in a single flower!


To be continued.