Summer Travels Part 2: Whale of a Tale Edition

The end of summer is nigh…and there is so much to catch up on from just a few days of traveling!  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, probably the best way to tell you what Chris and I have been up to is to show you what we’ve been up to.  How’s that?  This post will be mostly about the trip we took at the end of July, which we split between Seattle and San Juan Island.  Ready for the recap?  Swell!

First up, Chris and I stayed at Tulalip for three nights so that we could [both get pedicures and] attend his high school class 20th year reunion in Seattle.  It was weird – even though I didn’t know anyone there, I could still see all the cliques and kind of tell who was who.  Everyone was trying to impress everyone else.  I can’t say that I’m terribly disappointed that I missed mine last year; between Chris and me, one 20 year reunion was enough!  But Chris was happy that he went because catching up with a couple of old close friends was worth it.

DSC00756The next day was Chris’ 38th birthday.  Now he’s only two years younger than me and can’t make fun of me for being super older than him.  I took him out to a really nice dinner, because I’m sweet like that ❤

We spent Sunday traveling over to the San Juan Islands.  We caught the ferry at Anacortes and took it to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island proper.  The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful!  We stayed at a nice little bed and breakfast right downtown, where we had our own little apartment complete with private hottub and magically-appearing fresh-baked cookies.  And the breakfasts were Ah. Maze. Ing.  Nom nom nom!

One of the highlights of our trip was taking a five hour sea-kayaking tour.  There were only six of us on the tour, plus our guide, Owen.  We left out of Roche Harbor and kayaked completely around Henry Island, which was about 11 miles in all.  The weather was completely fantastic – sunny, a slight breeze, and warm.  We saw a pair of bald eagles, and a little red fox joined us on our lunch break.  We also saw plenty of harbor seals, but whenever I got my camera out, they dunked underwater.  Why do they have to be such camera haters?  The most amazing part of the trip happened about halfway through our day when we saw approaching orcas – K-pod, to be exact.  I don’t know how many we saw, but they did come fairly close; one female swam under our kayaks to get to a younger orca that was headed toward us along the shoreline.  It was really cool being so low on the water, watching them surface and blow, and even breach.  It was Chris’ first time kayaking (my second) and I’d say it was a success!

But wait!  There’s more, yes, still more!  The final full day of our vacation was spent driving around the Island, stopping wherever we thought would be interesting.  We saw both English Camp (hip hip hooray!) and English Camp (sad) AND I got my NPS passport stamps at both places, we stopped for an unexpected visit to some tidepools, said hi to a few shy alpacas, were astounded (and slightly dismayed) by the gastrointestinal parasites of pinnipeds at The Whale Museum, and bought a few treats at a lavender farm (the lavender ice cream was nom-tastic).  Here’s a quick tour!

Thanks for joining me on my little vacation retrospective.  We had a great time, plus I got to meet this guy and his dog!

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Summer Travels Part 1: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Edition

Holy schnikies!  It’s August already, and here I am, having fallen behind on posting.  I have no idea where this summer has gone, although I know where I’ve gone, and those places have been many, far and wide.  It has been a great summer, aside from that whole having to work thing that I’ve got going on right now.  I love going on vacations, and traveling with my Fuzzy Huzby is always an adventure!  And since I’m a little behind, I think I’m going to do mostly a pictorial post today about some of our summer travels.

First up was the family reunion that we went to in Durango, Colorado.  Every couple of years or so, my dad’s side of the family (the Koski’s) get together for schmoozin’ and boozin’.  This summer, my Uncle Paul and Aunt Renee, who live in Nucla, Colorado, picked Durango for our clan’s gathering.  It was a short weekend, but Chris and I packed in a lot of action and adventure!

Everyone who made it to Koski-palooza 2013.

Everyone who made it to Koski-palooza 2013.

Saturday: Mesa Verde National Park

Chris and I grabbed our cousin Heidi and spent Saturday climbing all over the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, just outside of Durango.  First we took the Balcony House tour, where we had to climb up ladders and go through tight tunnels.  Then we toured Cliff Palace.  Both sites were amazing, but for me, a highlight was letting my big nerd self buy the “Explorer” edition of the National Park Passport and getting a couple of Mesa Verde stamp cancellations!!!  Woo hoooooo!!!  (Also, I might have purchased ALL yearly stamp collections from 1986 to the present.  Also, I might have the Passport App on my iPhone.  Also, I might have a problem with being too obsessive about this whole thing.)

Sunday: Narrow-Gauge Train to Silverton

The next day, the whole family took the historic narrow-gauge train from Durango to Silverton, which largely followed the Animas River between the two towns.  It’s about a 2.5 hour ride each way, so I occupied my time taking selfies with various people, drinking smuggled Fireball Whiskey with my cousins on the DL, and enjoying the fresh air (which was nicely flavored with freshly burned coal from the steam engine, cough cough cough).  Want to see some pictures?  Great!  I have some!

It was a really enjoyable trip, but I must say, it was way too short.  I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to talk with many people, other than the usual pleasantries and quick updates.  I did spend some time hanging out with my Aunt Tje, which was great because I think we’re both somewhat introverted and share some things in common.  And, it was really awesome hanging out with my cousin Heidi for the day – I love that she’s grown into such a smart, fun and laid-back young woman!  Colorado, and especially Durango, is a beautiful place and I realized that I do miss that landscape.  Another successful family reunion…check!

Writing 101: Dashing Under the Night Sky (Part 1 of 3)

What I remember, when I was maybe four years old, is staring up at the night sky through the back window of my father’s hatchback.  We were on the road and it was dark, except for the billions of stars above me.  I could feel the tires of the car, a flesh-colored Volkswagen Dasher, on the highway, and it was so late at night, or maybe so early in the morning.  I was tired, but being lulled back to sleep by the movement of the car, the smell of the car’s dry heat coming from the plastic vents, and the soft glow of the lights in the dashboard.  My brother, a year and a half younger, was asleep next to me.  It is a brief memory, but one that I have held onto for some reason.

The events surrounding the memory are a little less clear.  I seem to recall my dad waking me up in the middle of the night – or was it early morning and still dark? – and telling me and my brother to get up, that we were going.  I can’t remember if the car was packed with our belongings.  Previous to that night, I don’t remember my dad packing our things, or telling us we were moving, although I’m sure he did and I was just too young to really know what it meant.  I don’t remember arriving at our destination, or if a moving truck was involved.  I didn’t know at the time why we were moving.

It was the first time though, that I remember knowing, really understanding, that my mother was not with us, would not be joining us along the way, and would not meet us there.  I didn’t know when my brother and I would see her again.  I worried that she wouldn’t know how to find us.  I worried that we would not see her again, or that perhaps we would be too old and that she wouldn’t recognize us.

And as those stars slipped across the night sky, as we dashed along the highway moving from our home in Wisconsin to our new home in Oklahoma, the distance between me and my mother seemed to grow greater and greater, until we became no closer than the nearest stars in the sky.

 

Photo by Frank Delargy

Photo by Frank Delargy

Related post:  Silence is never louder than when you should be asleep

 


 

This is Day 4 of Writing 101.  Today’s assignment was to:  Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.  And the twist:  Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

I really struggled with this post in that I couldn’t think of what to write about, let alone how to incorporate it into a three-post trilogy.  I thought of all kinds of losses – people, pets, objects, games…but nothing really stood out, until I found this memory, lurking in the corner of my mind.  It wasn’t a permanent loss; today, my mother is very much a part of my life, I am happy to say.  I’m not quite sure how this will start my trilogy, but I’ll think of something, eventually!

Where has time gone?

Well, I guess December really got away from me.  Before I knew it, it was the 20th already!  I haven’t been up to a lot though, so you needn’t feel like you’ve missed out on anything.  We had a great  Thanksgiving – my mom came up from San Diego and we had a really excellent time seeing her.  Here’s a picture of us at Kennedy School:

That’s all for now – I’ll be back next year!  Toodles!  :o)

Hello, 2008 – Remember Me?

Wow – I’m FINALLY done with a scrapbook about the backpacking trip that Cecily and I took to Arizona’s Chiricahua wilderness area back in November 2008.  I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, obviously, so I’m happy that it is done!  If you’re so inclined, take a look and see what I was up to (ahem) four years ago this month!

Cecily and Marci in the Chiricahua Wilderness

Cecily and Marci in the Chiricahua Wilderness

Click HERE to view the Shutterfly Album!

Murder Mystery Dinner!

Oh my!  A wedding is interrupted by the death of the best man, and everyone present is a suspect!  Who did it?  You’ll just have to attend a Murder Mystery Co. dinner to find out!

Me, Chris, Johnny V and Jen dressed up in our fanciest duds for “Til Death Do Us Part”, a murder mystery dinner!  My outfit resembled something that Peggy Bundy would wear, although Chris looked dashing in his wedding suit.
The bride (Summer) and groom (Neil) during their wedding ceremony.  The hangers in the background give it a nice touch of class, don’t you think?
Oh no!  Bob, the best man, is dead!  Washed-up 80’s rocker Dick Johnson was on the scene to call Doctor Candy, who wasn’t really a doctor after all, but a stripper (get it?  Candy Stripper?)! Don’t worry, it was a wholesome show and there was no actual stripping involved (at that point, anyway).
Looks like Johnny V made a friend!
Incredible coincidence, but the “volunteer” actor at our table was a crazy cat lady.  I was asked to dress up as a cat to make her feel more comfortable.

It was a really fun evening with friends!  The cheesy reception hall, the over-the-top acting, and the humor of everything was fantastic – we all had a great time!