Thursday, November 27, 2008

Reasons to miss Seattle

When a move is imminent you begin to look around at all the things that you will give up, and you start to realize what you'll be missing. I guess I never really thought that I would care so much, since I assumed I would be so focused on the new adventure of a new place. But in taking stock, here are just a few of the things around Northwest that I am truly going to miss:

Whidbey Island

Ferry Boats

Yes, I will also miss crab races. I'll just miss crabs, period.

The Puget Sound

The Sunset over West Seattle and Harbor Island from my desk.

The amazing flowers at Pike Place Market.

Pike Place.

Backpacking with the Koots

Among many, I am certainly going to miss this group of hooligans.

Mount Rainier.

Fly fishing at Rocky Ford Creek

Beach combing and writing in the sand with large sticks

The Pacific Ocean - northwest style

Working at VertFest Randonee Races

The OR Marketing Girls.

Crystal Mountain Ski Area.

Whistler Brand Trip.

Mt. Baker.

Working at a place where fun is the top priority... and where there is a steady supply of Jack Daniels.

Long walks on fall mornings in the Lake Washington Aboretum

These were just a sampling. I am easily aware of how much I am going to miss my amazing family, both immediate and my add-on-through-marriage family. I am going to miss all of my amazing friends who have been around forever. I am going to miss the grey drizzly days between October and June. I am going to miss early season Mt. Baker, mid season Crystal and late season Snoqualmie. I am going to miss the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and all of our unfinished stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail. I am going to miss the quaint Bavarian village of Leavenworth. I am going to miss mom's lasagna on my birthday. I will miss the Fremont Solstice parade and farmers market. I will miss the cawing seaguls on the waterfront. I will even miss the fish and chips. I will miss all the amazing people/family at Outdoor Research. I will miss running in the Seattle 1/2 marathon with Shannon. I will miss the traffic.... wait, no, thats not right. I can't wait to get away from the traffic!! In short, I am pretty much going to miss everything that I take for granted now, and if per chance you are one of the four people who read this blog, I am certainly going to miss you too.

All my love to the PNW.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuna turns 30!!

November 25 marks a very special day this year. This is the day that our favorite Tuna, a.k.a. LaTune a.k.a. Panda a.k.a. Shanny turns 30. To celebrate, Shanny's sweet, sweet hubby Dave a.k.a. "Gorilla in the Mist" took us all to Leavenworth for a memorable weekend.

Jason a.k.a. "Man-Shannon" was able to step away from the black hole of writing his dissertation to join in the excitement. We missed the adventure of Friday night, but were on the road Saturday morning to join in the festivities.

After a snowy, YES SNOWY!! drive across Stevens Pass we made it to the cabin. Dave, er excuse me, "Gorilla in the Mist" picked out an amazing cabin. It was beautiful. It was right on the river, had a hot-tub, fire-pit and quite importantly, a horse-shoe field, course, arena... I don't know what you call it, but you get the idea.

Everyone was there already, and they were all finely lubricated on Bittburger and one person had already been in the river. As you can see in this photo, people are still standing up straight and not dancing, so you can tell it is still fairly early in the day.

As we got settled in Jason thought it would be a good idea to challenge a few of the boys to River-stakes horseshoes. The deal being that if your team lost, you had to get all the way into the river, head and all. Swimming in a river can be great, but considering that the air temperature was hovering right around 40, it didn't sound ideal.

Of course, Jasons ridiculous antics caught up with him, because he and B-Rock lost and had to get in the river. Here's a few photos.

B-Rock required a bit of coaxing to make good on the bet. His smooth-talking lady Heather had to liken him to a part of the female anatomy before he would consent. Frankly I don't blame in. I wouldn't want to get in.

Jason swears that the water temperature felt better than the air temperature, but I am not so sure I believe him, he did after all make a bee-line for the hot-tub.

While the boys were busy being well, boys, the girls had lots of time to be cute, as evidenced by these photos.

After a few hours and more drinks it was time to discuss the importance of a fashionable trot of a Show Pony, and since the one and only B-Falls was the evenings "ShowPony". He had a lot of practicing to do. Here is Shanny showing him the proper technique.

After some present opening and song singing, it was time to hop on the Party-Bus (wooo hooo!!) for the ride into Leavenworth. Dave very smartly organized the short- er, party-bus to get us into Leavenworth and back so that no drink would go undrunk.

Speedy McMark, our motion-sickness-inducing bus driver, allowed us to drink and scream along with Journey songs to our hearts delight. That was the coolest Short Bus ever!!

After a delicious, yet somehow ridiculous dinner and many shots of tequila, oh and lots and lots and lots of Sangria thanks to B-Rock, at South we made our way across town to some bar (can't remember the name). Getting from one end of town to the other was never easier. It is handy to have a fire-man in the group for the apparently orgasmic "fire-man carry".

Here is said Fireman, a.k.a J-Bird, a.k.a Josh, a.k.a. Kristie's Baby Dada. He is very proud of his new sticker.

See the fun that we are having? There's Ricky, Shanny, Rachie, Jason, and Dave. We are all plotting the next adventure of Kari OKE!!!!! Say it really fast with me.... Kari OKE!!!! ( I actually typed it fast, just to get it right!)

But before the adventure at the first bar was over, we had to have a great group photo taken. Thanks to our new found, green hat friend. From left to right. B-Rock, Heather, Rachie, Man-Shannon, Panther (yours truly), Crapper, J-Bird, Rickie, ShowPonie, Tuna, Gorilla-in-the-Mist, Kaja, Em, and Alex.

Our next adventure was several hours of Kari-OKE. Em, Heather and Kristie got it all started.

Jason and I, for the first time in our 10 year relationship, partnered up for the best rendition of "Love Shack" that you have ever heard.

Before the Kari-OKE was over, we all joined efforts to serenade Shanny with "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond. It was amazing. It blew my mind!

Eventually it was time to get back on the Party-Bus. Some of our troops didn't quite make it for the whole ride. The best part of this, is that these two, who didn't realize that they were about to miss a huge dance party on the bus, eventually woke-up, rallied and ended up being the last two to hit the hay at the end of the night.

I just don't think that I need to place a caption with the next photo, although you should know that this photo is in fact oriented correctly.

Once we were back at the cabin, Jason crashed on the couch, while the rest of us decided that it was time to dance. No one would dance with Dave, so he had to settle for the pole. How sad.

Here are a few classics of the dancer-extraordinaire Rickie. Check out these moves.

Shanny simply could not resist and had to get in for some of the action.

Rickie is still going strong.

That's about as far as the photos go. But there were a few amazing moments that followed including me butt-bumping Em across the room, Shanny teaching us a dance routine and Heather showing us the merits of her tribal dance.

All in all, it was a very memorable weekend. I hope you had a fantastic birthday weekend, Shanny. We love you a ton!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

R.I.P. Tuba Man

I woke up today full of excitement and hope! After all, it is election day and it is our chance to make the world a better place again. I felt great. I exercised my democratic rights, Obama is on his way to the Presidency, traffic was easy today... nothing could be better.

But here am I, just 5 hours into my day and I feel a great deal of sadness. I learned just a few moments ago that Seattle was robbed of one of its most iconic people. Tuba-Man, Edward McMichael, was beaten and robbed and tragically died of his injuries.

I am not sure how exactly to explain Tuba Man, or Seattle's relationship with him. I can only tell you that he was a fixture here. A memory of all things good of growing up in this area. Every Sonics game, every Nutcracker performance, every crisp night in winter with the tree's in Seattle Center illuminated by Christmas lights included the gentle tooting of his Tuba. He made such beautiful music, and no matter what kind of day you had, his music always made you smile.

Although he was part of the background of so many experiences of my childhood, I finally had the good fortune to actually make his acquaintance two years back. After a memorable Christmas time night at Seattle Center with close friends, I decided that I need to tell Tuba Man just how much I appreciated his music. He shook my hand, told us all a few tales, and then posed with me for a photo. I am so glad that I had that experience.

I saw him just a few weeks ago on my daily walk past Safeco Field. I remembered that photo and laughed. I am so sad to know that he will not continue to make memories for people in this area.

I think that this is just a note of finality for me and Seattle. In the emotional turmoil involved with leaving this great city for my impending move to Colorado, I think I finally realize that Seattle is no longer the city that I loved, and in could always find beauty. The murder of Tuba Man has closed the chapter of Seattle in my life. It can never be quite the same again.

You played your music beautifully tuba man. Thank you for 20 years of memories and for helping make Seattle what it was. You will not be forgotten.