Friday, September 21, 2012

September 21, 2012: One Year

Holy cow!  We've been here a year!  Well, wait.  I've been here a year.  In about a week, Lorelei will have been here a year.  About a week after that, Shawn will have been here a year.  And then a week after that, our furniture will have been here a year.  Heh.  Moving across the country is no small endeavor.

But WOW.  What a year.  I would not trade any part of it for anything.  We have lived and laughed and cried and discovered parts of ourselves that we didn't know existed.

Before we get too involved in the introspection, let's talk about the last month.  Up until the end of August, the only people who had come to visit were Shawn's mom Brenda, my brother Steve on his layovers with UPS, and Leigh Ann.  And then came the late summer and the boon of visitors!  Finally!

Jim came in early September for about a week and a half.  I think he got a pretty good experience of Seattle.

Those pictures above are at the Locks.  The Locks are the shipping canal between Lake Washington and the Sound.  It's an amazing place.  It was a glorious day.  We finished it at Elysian Fields Brewery in Capitol Hill.  It was lovely.

The weekend after Jim left, Mary and Bernie and Niki and Raj and the kids made it into town.  We went to the King Tut exhibit which was mind-blowing.  Truth to be told, though, I think Lorelei loved playing at the Seattle Center Fountain with Niki & Raj's kid more....  She loved the exhibit, but playing with Ciaran and Navine (I'm sure I screwed up the spelling there) was irresistible for her.

And they are lovely boys.  Their sister, Sitara, will be right behind them, too in no small amount of time.  What a lovely family they are.

It was wonderful to see Mary and Bernie here.  I've been wanting my family to see where we live this whole time because I think every one of them would just love it, but especially Mary.  The food, the colors, the smells and the backdrop are so...Mary.  I just knew she'd love it.  Also, for everything Mary and Bernie have told me of Ireland, I thought maybe they might see some similarities.  It's on us, now, to go see them in Ireland and make the comparison.  I think that's a great idea.  Yes.  Let's do it.

Some have already seen this picture, but I took it on my drive in to work on my one-year anniversary of being in Seattle (yesterday).  It was a lovely day and perfect.  I love the mists coming in from the west off the ocean, Olympics and finally over the Sound, and I love watching it burn off over downtown, and the water turn from gray-black to crazy crayola blue.  This place is nothing short of amazing.

The best part of this place, however, is how much we feel ourselves here.  I mean Shawn, Lorelei and I feel ourselves here.  We left everything that was our comfort zone behind us and hit the road, not sure what we were going to find in terms of making a home but knowing we had each other.  In the beginning, it was such a culture shock for us that we were just trying to get through day-to-day.  You know, find the best grocery store, figure out a pediatrician, dentist, etc., figure out the school thing with Lorelei, job for Shawn, sort out my job and hope it works out, and holy God, sort out the cats and the dog.  By February, we were all pretty damn sick of each other and had felt like crap because we missed the holidays with the family and you know, it's damn dark in Seattle in the winter.  But about that time, Steve started having layovers here, and then Brenda came in January, and Leigh visited in March, and we survived.

Now, we feel differently.  Summer gave us these amazing explorations, fabulous weather, and more visitors.  And we've found our place.  We have also been preparing for the dark days of winter with loads of board games and recipes....  A word to anyone who thinks they may want to visit in the winter:  Lorelei is cut-throat at board games.  She will lose just to screw you over.  I love that kid.

I would not trade this for anything.  I have grown as a person in my marriage, motherhood, my life and my career by moving.  I can't say enough what an amazing experience it's been to live somewhere else.  Most of my friends and family have done this at one time or another, but I never had.  Until now.  What a great test of wills and love this has been.  I wish this on all of you.  Never be afraid to go if you feel it.  It's good.  And  you know what?  It never has to be your last move.

Much love to all!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Oregon Coast: A Life-changing Experience

The same week that we visited Hurricane Ridge, we drove to the Oregon Coast.  We wanted to see the Big Water, and I was beyond excited.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  The first stop was in Astoria, Oregon.  You see, we were sort of going on a "Goonies" trip.  The movie "The Goonies", which came out in the '80s, was filmed at the Oregon Coast, and the house where the two main characters lived is in Astoria.  So, we crossed the bridge where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, and into Oregon.  It was a lovely drive.

That last picture is the actual bridge we went on.  It's pretty long, maybe 2 or 3 miles.  As you can see, it was a lovely day.

As I mentioned, the first stop was "The Goonies" house.  The current owners understand their home's cult popularity, and they have a sense of humor about it:

Lorelei is throwing this huge, unexplained fit in the picture above. She threw a tantrum the size of Utah.  I don't know what got into her, but I'm posting this so everyone can know what a monster she was at "the Goonies" house.  Here's the house:

After our diversion to the house, we left for Cannon Beach, also a film sight of "The Goonies".  I'm not sure I have words for Cannon Beach.

Yep, that's Haystack back there.  It was a perfect day, but just a little bit of rolling fog that we watched come in off the sea.  I can only imagine what it's like to watch a storm roll in.

Shawn and I feel most at home at the ocean.  Maybe it's our Piscean nature, maybe it's just one of those important things we share, but I can see in Shawn the same reaction I have to the ocean:  peace and joy.  This is where we are truly alive.  Similarly, Lorelei is enchanted and engaged at the ocean.  She did not have a single toy, beach gear, or even a warm enough jacket, but she was constantly entertained and busy.  She was far more excited and happy than I've ever seen her.  This is her place, too.

We spent the afternoon at Cannon Beach, and then followed the coast down about 60 miles to Cape Kiwanda (in Pacific City), where we stayed the night.  Cape Kiwanda has its own "Haystack":

The Pacific Ocean, at least in Oregon, is a wild animal.  It's crazy and dangerous.  It's not for the beach bunnies who are after the relaxing heat and a dip in the calm Atlantic for relief from the sun.  No, the Oregon Coast is for the thrill-seekers, the ones looking for a challenge, those who need to be reminded that they are nothing but a speck of sand in this great world.  That water is too cold to swim in, and the surf is so loud - you can hardly talk about the roar of the waves.  The wind is so strong coming off the water that a ponytail is useless and a sweatshirt is a must.  The Pacific is not your backdrop for a beautiful vacation; no, you can't make that the background.  The Pacific is the main attraction and will not be ignored.  The Pacific will not be trifled with.

Cape Kiwanda is a lot less busy and touristy than Cannon Beach, and we liked the isolation.  We wrapped up the day at the brewery across the street from our hotel where we watched the sunset from the patio:

The beer was pretty amazing.

Lorelei also challenged us to climb up this sand dune that was, I don't know, 100 feet high?  I'm not sure.  It was ridiculous though.  The view from the top was stunning.

These pictures are gorgeous, right?  They don't do it justice.  You can't smell the sea from these pictures and hear the ocean.  The sand is that perfect soft sand that warms your feet in the midst of the chilly breeze.

The next day, the skies were overcast and there was lots of fog.  We loved the beach just as much, if not more.

The above picture is our view from the hotel room balcony.  That is what we woke up to.

We decided to have breakfast in Cape Kiwanda and head back to Cannon Beach for the afternoon before heading home.  We walked to "Haystack" and got a good, up close look at it.

These formations are amazing.  I can't imagine getting used to seeing them.

Of course, Shawn talked to a realtor on the way out of Cannon Beach.  As it turns out, she is originally from Cleveland and a Kent State grad!  We have been discussing the idea of buying a house along the Oregon Coast.  We aren't sure yet - it's in the Tsunami zone, so, uh, you know, that's weird.  But we'll see.  We love it too much to at least not go back several times a year.  We have to give this to Lorelei, too.  It's her place as much as ours.

One thing I know:  we won't wait to go back.  As long as we can get there in the winter weather, we will be back.  The sooner the better.