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Archive for September, 2010

the Inbetween

on the precipice, half dome

We’ve been busy lately – and very non-communicative.  Before we step onto a plane at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning (shouldn’t I be packing?!) we wanted to let anyone that cares to know, what we’ve been up to.

Our two weeks in Oregon were spent split between family and friends in Salem, and friends that are like family in Portland.  We spent a few solid days simply sleeping and eating in Salem, with an attempt at jogging on my part.  We got to catch up with dear friends (hay-bales anyone?) and spent some quality time together.  In Portland, we explored different neighborhoods, ate a lot of tacos, got to experience a Timbers game, finally had the maple bacon doughnut at Voodoo, and had one epic night out that included Powell’s,  poutine, pool, darts, and chicken ‘n’ waffles.  I got to see my lovely friend Hannah, newly arrived at Linfield college in McMinnville, twice, and we saw almost all of the waterfalls at Silver Creek State Park on a gorgeous 9.5 mile hike.  And, we went to a fantastic birthday party that will never be forgotten, and finally got to use our coupon for free cookie dough.

More recently, around September 15 we left for our epic road trip (from which we just returned late Sunday night).  First stop included Crater Lake, where I realized we forgot our tent, therefore we had to sleep in the car.  After one night there and a quick hike up Watchmen Tower for a nice view, we continued on to Sacramento, taking a back-route around Mt. Shasta.  In Sacramento, our gracious friends Moira and Sean arranged for almost all my best friends to come over for a game night, cooked dinner for everyone, lent us a tent, and gave us a bed to sleep on. We also got to see my Dad, and I almost, got to see my brother.

Then we were off to the central California coast: a deserted Santa Cruz on a sunny day, the beautiful Capitola where, of course, we went to Pizza my Heart; we had an amazing anniversary dinner on the Wharf in Monterrey, went to the aquarium, and went on a scenic drive to Big Sur.  Mishaps included every campground in the area being booked, and having to get a hotel room – but, at least we got to shower, there was a pool and a hot tub to play in, free cookies, free breakfast, and free internet.  Sidenote: since when are campgrounds so expensive?!  We  did get lucky and found a site right near the beach the second night, complete with a scraggle of wild kittens in the bushes!

Next we drove  to our now-reserved-in-advance-online campsite just outside Yosemite. Along the way we stopped at Moaning Caverns  – I wanted to do the rappel, but just couldn’t justify the money when I could rappel for free rock climbing, so we settled for a hike down the old spiral staircase to endure poor jokes from a jaded guide.  Still, the caverns are an amazing site to see at least once.  Finally, we headed for our next campsite, and this is where Garmin-wife, the GPS thingy we borrowed, led us astray by a few hours to the wrong campsite.  But, using the last of my cell phone battery to call the number on the reservation, we got the correct address.  That “campsite” was a riot – we camped where an RV normally parks, the ground once again too hard to stake in the tent, so we had to once again use my climbing gear to secure the tent.  But, once again, we had free showers, free internet, and I think there was even free mini-golf.

Finally, we arrived at the gem of the trip: Yosemite.  We reserved a campground right in the valley months in advance, and Tyler finally got to experience one of my favorite places in the world.  The first day we hiked Vernal and Nevada Falls for fun, then, we before dawn the second day to tackle Half Dome; a life-long goal of mine.  After 11 hours, 17.5 miles, and a 8842 foot summit, and a bear sighting, we made it there and back, having survived the slippery and unnerving cables and the hundreds of stairs, and rewarded ourselves with pizza and beer in Curry Village.  Day three in Yosemite we took it easy, wandering the Mariposa Grove of the Sequoias, stopped at the vistas along highway 41, soaking in the majesty of the place.   On the fourth day we finally left, talking about hiking Bridal Veil Falls but missing the turn-off.  I made my “next time” vows to myself: go when Yosemite Falls is still flowing and hike to the top, and for the love of God, climb a rock!

Our next stop was Lake Tahoe, via Tioga pass, Mono Lake, and Carson City Nevada.  Garmin-wife led us to an In ‘n’ Out in Carson City, the second visit of our trip.  We arrived at a beautiful campsite right on the lake, mostly empty.   Setting up the tent for the final time, we soaked up some sun on the beach, made our final S’mores and a grilled a great dinner to go with a bottle of wine we’d been saving for our anniversary but never had time to drink, and enjoyed the beauty. The next day bridesmaid-duty reality hit, and I was off trying to turn my blistered, torn up, hiking/backpacking/climbing abused feet into something decent for wedge flip-flops, and wandering my way to the rehearsal and dinner on-time.  Tyler camped alone the second night, apparently waking up in the buff in the car, with a bottle of whiskey and the new Esquire magazine. I spent the night with five other amazing ladies, talking until 3 a.m. about the things that matter and finally catching up.  Before we could realize it, our fantastic, cherished, beloved friend Michelle was getting married in a dazzling dress with a beautiful ceremony, to the perfect guy.  We partied the night away in the hip Tahoe casinos, dancing, doing more catching up with friends, staying out far too late, and making memories that won’t be forgotten.  After a final farewell brunch at Heidi’s, we were off to endure the 9-hour drive back to Salem.

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From Seattle to…?

Not surprisingly, I haven’t had the time to blog lately!  But, I’ve “written” several posts in my head, as well as “edited” existing posts (also, in my head) and I thought before we step on a plane tomorrow morning, I should at least try to get some of what’s been going on put into words.

"packing"

The first post we meant to write was about was moving. Moving is hard.  This move was excruciating.  To celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary, we decided to go backpacking…and get back 2 days before we had to be out of the apartment.  Maybe not the best planning, but at the time I thought we were well-enough prepared.  (For pictures of the trip, see here). However, the backpacking was spectacular: fantastic weather, lots of great fishing, crystal clear water, almost no other people around, a full moon so bright it seemed like a spotlight, and breathtaking views (both the views and the getting there).  It was a fantastic way to say goodbye to what I think is my favorite thing about Washington and to simply relax together in God’s glorious creation.

However, upon our return, instead of packing…I decided I also wanted to say goodbye to a few friends at Vertical World.  So, after a quick change I was off for a few final climbs in an attempt to finish off that punch-card.  It was a fantastic night of seeing friends…but an absolutely terrible night of climbing for me. (Note to self: don’t rock climb after an 18-mile backpacking hike).  But, at least I tried to push my endurance and got to see some great friends.

And then…after all our excuses had run out, we found ourselves alone with our demons: a half-packed, half-cleaned (if even half…) apartment, an adorable kitten I would soon have to give to a kitten au pair, and no one to help us. I tried to stay positive, repeatedly saying, as if to convince myself, “We have a lot done.  There’s not that much more to do…”.  Tyler became overwhelmed and dizzied by the task before us, and at points curled up in the fetal position on the floor.  There were numerous tears, sobs, and snappy arguments.  Two nights of less than five hours of sleep, with every minute of time and energy spent on packing, loading u-hauls, and cleaning, and still, no help (or even offers) from a soul.

Then, the dreaded moment came: when, even after all our talk of getting rid of so many possessions (apparently we  had more than we thought):  it wasn’t all going to fit.  Not in the u-haul, not in the car, not in the passenger’s seat.  And not only would it not all fit, there was no time to dig out the things we’d much rather give away. Some of the lesser-quality furniture we demolished in the alley; kicking apart shelves of faux wood, gathering nails and compacted, flat pieces discreetly in the building’s dumpsters.  I lined the alley with things we didn’t have the time or means to drop off at Goodwill: furniture, stilts, laundry organizers, bookshelves, chairs, and…the bike my Mom had given me, that I made my Dad drive all the way from California so I could use it.  I had almost got hit by a bus in that bike.  The epic Lake Washington ride with Haley to Red Mango…so many hopes and dreams…left on the curbside.  In a move to not anger our landlord by leaving the alley and dumpster full of our belongings, I typed up an ad on Craigslist hoping our goods would be picked up and loved by future owners, and continued on our moving rampage.  To my immense surprise, every single item was gone within an hour.  Not only that, the bike was taken by a very excited owner who I know will get plenty of use out of it, so I can have some peace about it all.

And then, the cleaning.  Oh, the cleaning!  Three years in an apartment 100 years old…we gathered enough dusty bunnies to make at least two spare kittens.  Cleaning brought more breakdowns, more hunger (and fume) headaches, and more tasks to do than time would allow.  Needing to be at the storage place in Portland by a certain time, I had to leave Tyler to finish cleaning while I raced the u-haul southward.  I left him with gifts of sodas and snacks, and off I went, alone again, with no CD player, no iPod…nothing but the good-old radio. Luckily, traffic was nearly non-existent, I discovered I have a hidden talent for driving u-hauls both in big cities and on the freeway, and, my uncontrollable tears didn’t cause an accident.  I had made it, just in time, and friends and in-laws were on the way!

This is where things started going well in the moving story.  Our dear friends showed up with impeccable timing, and the energy and attitude we weren’t capable of having.  Our storage unit looked bigger than expected, and was certainly in a nicer, more secure building than expected.  These friends are master-packers and Tetris champions, and helped me squirrel away all our goods with room to spare.  My mother-in-law drove up so we could load her mini-van with food to give away, toiletries, wedding dresses, suits, and all the other random things we thought we might use in the next few weeks.  Tyler even made it, saying he had successfully finished cleaning the entire apartment.  After an epic drive to a u-haul address that didn’t exist, we were finally, finally, done with the worst of it.  A few days later we were at our new “home,” settled in, things sorted and organized, laundry finished, sleep caught-up-on, well fed and hydrated, and utterly free.

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