Monday, May 28, 2012

New Experiences and New Dreams

It's baseball season, folks, and I'm living in a baseball town.  Let the good times roll!

Okay, well, maybe not really.  I mean, the Mariners aren't very good.  They sort of remind me of  my hapless Pirates:  a ball club with not enough money and not enough talent.  The baseball field, however, is amazing, and the very big benefit of having a not-so-great team is that tickets are cheap.  Lorelei and I went to a game through her school on May 4 (Happy Birthday, Jack!).  It was really fun and I foresee the Shraders hitting the baseball field more as summer arrives.

Our seats were toward the top, but it wasn't too bad, we could see pretty much everything.  If you enlarge this picture, you will be able to see the Space Needle out the other side of the stadium.

This display is made of baseball bats.  It's at the main entrance to the stadium.  Pretty cool.  I loved it.  I think that baseball might come alive for me again out here.  Oh, and did I mention that Mike McCready played the National Anthem at this game?!?  Mike McCready!  From Pearl Jam!  Just wandered into a more than half empty stadium on a cold night in May and played the Anthem.  Sure, why not?  I love that.  There are a few celebs here who are very much a part of the community.  Eddie Vedder, too.  (Um, he lives less than a mile from our house.)

Lorelei loved the game, too.  Though for different reasons:

Nothing like a bunch of elementary school kids hopped up on cotton candy.  Whew.

At the game we went to, the Mariners played the Twins.  The Mariners were up by 2 runs by the time Lorelei and I left in the 7th.  Of course by the time we got home they had lost the lead and the game.  <sigh>

Next up was Mother's Day.  We spent the morning at the West Seattle Farmer's Market.  The picture above is Megan and Dave - friends out here in West Seattle.  Dave is a friend of Shawn and Ed's from Toledo.  He and Shawn went to high school together and Dave and Ed were in a band together.  How funny - if Toledo's population goes down, it's because they all moved here.  Ha!

After the market, we went to the park.  It was a glorious day, complete with soaking feet in the Sound and swings and playing on the beach.

The above picture was taken from one of the trails we followed in the park.

A meadow on the same trail.

The beach!

The water!  (A bit chilly!!)

Big playing on the driftwood.  It was a lovely day!

After mother's day, it was crazy work until May 20 when I left for a conference in Palm Springs/La Quinta, California.  I was gone for about 4 days.  It was a jam-packed 4 days of seminars, receptions, networking, dinners, and becoming more educated about what goes on in my line of work.  I found it very educational (believe it or not) and enjoyed some of the seminars a lot.  I also liked meeting people that I had worked with but never met; it's always good to put a face with a name.

But that's really just a cover for the fact that I was in constant awe of being in southern California and in the desert.  It was nice to stay at this fabulous resort, but the overwhelming part of the whole thing was that I absolutely fell in love with the desert.

This is the resort.  Pretty much what it looked like outside my room.  Very nice.  They were having a May heat wave, though.  Temps were about 106 degrees each day that we were there.  They came down right after we left into the 80s and 90s, but yeah, well over a 100 each day we were there.  Telling yourself it's a "dry heat" only gets you so far.  At about 105, who cares.  It was damn hot.

I also got to see Pauline, whom I worked with at MDK.  I have missed her so much - it was fabulous seeing her.  For all who who know her - she looks amazing and is doing great!  I'll have pictures next time!

One night we went to a dinner in the desert.  We had the opportunity to go on jeep tours of the desert and they also had some amateur astronomer with his telescope (oh, how I hate to say it, but Shawn's is bigger and better), and we saw Saturn and its rings.  Very, very clear sky.  It's hot in the desert, but once the sun goes down, it's really different.  I fell in love with the formations and stark landscape.  It's just so different than anything I've ever seen.

The above formation is Elephants walking in the desert.  My angle isn't great but you can see the front "elephant" - see the trunk?

The sun is beginning to set here.  Just gorgeous.

You might have to click on this one to make it bigger to see it, but it's the desert wave.  Pretty amazing.

Perhaps the most striking part for me was that we were on the San Andreas Fault line.  There are these lines of vegetation that you can see kind of traveling through the desert - that's what our guide said was the actual fault line.  Everyone got a lesson in plate tectonics, which of course, I loved.  I can't wait to bring Shawn and Lorelei to the desert.

We are starting to make our plans.  The shock of moving has worn off and things are beginning to settle down.  We are planning to hit the Washington coast, Olympic National Park and of course, my beloved Hurricane Ridge in August.  I think...maybe if we can swing it...during Lorelei's mid-winter break in February, we'll go to Hawaii, or southern California.  I'm sure Yellowstone and Yosemite are next up.

It's perfect timing that today is Memorial Day, as I'm struck by how amazing and different this country is.  We are truly fortunate to be able to see as much of it as we are.  I wish everyone could experience this.  My eternal gratitude to those who sign up to protect it for us.

Love and blessings to all!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Now You Are Seven!

Lorelei is seven years old!

How on earth did this happen?  When did she get to be so big and grown-up??

In true form, and consistent with her previous birthdays, we celebrated at a nearby park.  These two are her classmates who came to celebrate with her.  Aren't the three of them lovely?

They had fun.  We played on the beach, ate some lunch, hit the playground, and played some more.  And yes, that's the Sound out there.  The rain was threatening but it held off so Miss Lorelei could have her birthday party.  Fabulous.

Lorelei is amazing.  Of course I think that, I'm her mom.  But she is truly a wonder and so much fun.  She's an only child of perhaps unconventional parents, so she regularly watches TV with me.  That means she watches "Bones" and reruns of "X Files".  Funny enough, I have seen all the X-Files episodes about a hundred times and still get freaked out.  Lorelei's first time through and she's telling me it's ridiculous that I have to hid my eyes in a pillow.  Really, Mom, grow up.  Goodness.  In a few years I think we'll have our hands full.

All those girls are amazing.  I remember 7.  I received a book for that birthday from my first friend, Kerrie.  It was called Now You Are Seven.  I loved that book and I gave it to Lorelei this year.  <sigh>

As well as Lorelei's Birthdaypalooza, we have also trekked out a bit in the last few weeks.  We went to Bainbridge Island a couple weeks ago with Ed and Amy, and of course, Miss Maya.  It was a gorgeous ferry ride:

That's looking west toward the mountains as we are heading that way. It was a beautiful day.  Here's a look back toward downtown:

I like that one because I like the seagull hanging out with us.  Here's a better picture of downtown:

Kind of a neat picture.

Bainbridge had some pretty good BBQ, which means it looked like a dive farmhouse with a little too much hayseed going on.  Sure, it looked wrong, but the beer was cold and the BBQ was sweet-sassy-molassy-amazing.  We sort of ate and drank our way through Bainbridge.  It was decent and it's clearly got the island-town thing going on.  I liked it, but I have to admit, I like the hustle and bustle of Seattle.  One thing is for sure, Shawn and I chose well in deciding to move here.

Here is Mount Rainier from the ferry.  Very nice.

When it's sunny and clear, this place is transformed.  I can't say enough about it.

In other news, Shawn has been crazy busy.  His spring semester and summer semester overlapped so he had double the amount of classes and work for a couple of weeks (what the hell).  Of course, he is very engaged in his work too - there was a lot going on for him for awhile.

Ed and Amy continue to adjust to life with Maya.  Oh, the joys of new parenthood.  I had the pleasure of babysitting recently and here she is, letting those animals talk to her and tell her how it is:

She's precious.

Finally, it's really starting to hit home that we live in wine country.  A coworker of mine has informed me that it's rose (as in rose-ay) season.

I'm going to like this season.