Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012: Mountains and Music

It's been a crazy busy time here in Seattle, so we have a lot to catch up on.  But first, a word about the weather.  Summer has arrived in Seattle, and with it warmer temperatures (70-80 degrees) and lots of sun and blue sky.  Our house does not have air conditioning, but with the purchase of a few fans we keep comfortable enough.  There is little humidity, so the air quality is much different than it is east of the Mississippi.  The days very often have started out overcast, and then the clouds all burn off in the afternoon, bringing heat and stunning views.  Then in the evening the cooler temperatures return.  The most striking thing is the sunsets.  The picture above was taken from our balcony one evening.  The building you can sort of make out in the distance is Lorelei's school.  And of course, that's the Sound further out.

This one is taken looking directly across the street.  Spectacular.

Lorelei and I had a lovely visit in Ohio - it was too short but it was fantastic.  We had so much fun seeing everyone, and Lorelei enjoyed her cousins on both sides of her family.  She couldn't wait to have a sleepover with Emma and Kayden and her Shrader Grandparents:

And her favorite:

Lorelei also had the opportunity to enjoy her Siefert cousins in a way she never had before.  The boys doted on her and took her places, and really made her feel a part of things.  Even with her diving board accident (which took several years off my life as I watched her fall off the board) she didn't even cry because her cousin and Aunt Janice kept telling her how tough she was.  Now she has her own war story from the summer and the memory of hanging out with her big, grown-up cousins.

 It was a lovely trip.  Too short, of course.  We missed Steve and Stephen, and also John and Meredith, but they were a bit busy welcoming James' little sister, Madeleine Sue!  Fantastic!  We also had a lovely July 4 with the Niemanns - that is a tradition that I find wonderful.  I'd fly back every July 4 for that!

Another word about the weather.  It was over 100 degrees in Ohio and high humidity.  Last summer I vowed to have no more summers in Ohio.  I miss my people so much, but this move has taught me one thing:  I'm not cut out for Midwestern summers.  The Detroit airport was so hot inside that I counted the minutes until we boarded.  When we landed to a clear, cool Seattle evening, I was happy to be home.

We arrived in Seattle and the busy summer events have begun.  Everyone waits in Seattle to schedule things until July and August, the high season.  We barely know anyone and we've been invited to two weddings in July.  We also have Capital Hill Block Party (music festival) going on now, which I hope to make it back to yet this afternoon.

Last weekend we drove to the foothills of Mount Rainier for Dave and Megan's party commemorating their wedding (which they had back east several weeks ago).  They rented a cabin and had a nice cookout.  Even though the cloud cover prevented us from seeing Mount Rainier in all her glory, the scenery was so amazing anyway.  We were about 2 miles outside of Mount Rainier National Park.

That sign identifies the White River Forest.  It's pretty much all protected land out there.  I admit, I caught a little bug to buy a cabin there.  There is no cell phone reception and nothing to do but hike around, which is fine with me.  Here are some scenes from the cabin's back yard:

Isn't it gorgeous??  We rode down there with Ed and Amy and Dave and Megan's friend Laura.  Here's Maya being a chip off the old block.

 Look at her fabulous party dress!

Lorelei and Ed have thumb wars when they get together.  The smack-talk is getting pretty obnoxious.

Maya and Uncle Shawn. 

We really loved it down there and will make a point to go back on our explorations, hopefully yet this summer.  I'd like to go when you can see Mount Rainier, but it's really such a crap-shoot as to whether she will be "out" or not.

As I mentioned, this weekend is Cap Hill Block Party.  It's a 3-day music festival.  We went yesterday and I may go back to see a few bands this afternoon, but it doesn't hold a candle to Bumbershoot Festival, which is Labor Day weekend.  It's good to go, though.  It's helped me learn my way around the city, doing things like this.

These pictures were taken last night at the Block Party.  It really was a lovely evening to be out and about.

Next weekend we have a wedding to go to in Grapeview for one of my coworkers.  Grapeview is on the Case Inlet, a little southwest of here.  We'll have to take the ferry over and then drive about halfway to Olympic National Forest.  I can't wait to go - it's at her family's house on the beach.  It should be fantastic.  I'll certainly have pictures of that.

Until then, everyone enjoy the summer!  Be safe, and start thinking about when you are coming to visit Seattle!