Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summertime, Summertime, Sum-sum-summertime!

Welcome to summer!! I know warm weather and sun is typical this time of year in the Midwest, but that is not the norm in the Pacific NW. In fact, June is usually COLD and WET. Yeah, I know, hard to believe that Seattle would be COLD and WET. But when I found out that's the typical weather in June, I was a little pissed off. I mean, it's JUNE. Ed calls it Junuary. Junuary is the reason native Pacific NWers say that summer does not begin until July 5.

This year, however, summer has arrived a month early. We have already had days that are downright hot - into the 80s!

That was the good news. The bad news is that Washington is in a drought. This is normal for July-August, but not right now. It was a warmer than usual winter, which provided less snow, which is providing less water for Seattle. Also - the entire state has not had its normal rainfall. This summer also is expected to be longer and hotter than the normal Pacific NW summer, and the experts say that it will be the Pacific NW's first real test to see how it will survive the effects of global warming going forward.

It's good to be informed and to understand the effects of things, but all that is harshing my buzz. I am in love with this weather. If you know me well, you know that my least favorite season in Ohio is summer. I hate Ohio in the summer. It's hot, sticky, hazy, white sky...and sweaty. It's too humid to be anywhere outside except in a swimming pool and you just go from a/c to a/c. In Seattle, however, summer is my favorite season! The low humidity and proximity to the ocean means clear blue skies, warm sun, cool shade, and amazing mountain/water views. Sometimes I just sit on the steps in front of our house and soak in the sun. When it's really hot, it gets warm in the house, which can be a little uncomfortable with no a/c, but I don't mind. It's a fair trade for these amazing sun-filled days. Plus, the open windows let in the ocean breeze!

I cannot wait until we start taking our day trips and going to the mountains and my beloved Pacific.

Speaking of trips....we just had one! Heck yeah, we had a whopper of a trip to Ohio! 10 fabulous fun-filled days of family time and graduations! Hmm. That sounded better in my head. It was a lovely trip back to the old farm, though. I'm consistently homesick for family time, and I was able to scratch that itch. But first and foremost - the MOST IMPORTANT REASON to go back to Ohio:


Yep, he's finished with school! Magna cum laude in Web Development from Franklin University. It was a lovely ceremony.

We were actually staying in Toledo at this point of the trip, but we trekked down to Cbus for the ceremony. We are all so proud of Shawn! What an amazing accomplishment. Truly, it is. And...two days before we left for Ohio, Shawn started his new job at Meredith Publishing. Big, big changes! Again, so, so proud of my husband. I'm still not sure how he managed it working, being a dad and dealing with his (mostly fabulous but sometimes high maintenance) wife.

As it was graduation season in Ohio, I also got to see my beloved godson, Will, graduate from St. Charles. Another reason for all of us to be so, so proud.

Those Siefert boys clean up pretty good! Ah Will, I know your mom is so proud.....

There were other bittersweet moments of the trip to Ohio. My friend Leigh's mom passed while we were there. Leigh and her daughter Paige moved to Seattle a couple of years ago. They were in Ohio sitting vigil, and it was some strange luck that we happened to be in Ohio also when Deanna passed. Deanna was one of my favorite people. She was a genuine southern woman complete with the drawl, the courtesies and that subtle southern wit. I loved her. She treated me like one of her own when I was in college and still finding my way after Mom and Bud had moved to Florida. She always had a room made up for me if I needed a weekend home from school, and the laundry was welcome too.

I'll never forget her. I'm so glad I got to help see her off.

Of course, we had some truly wonderful visits in Ohio. We had a party at the Shraders and Lorelei got some quality time with her Shrader cousins.

She also got some quality time with her Siefert family, and she was able to overcome her great fear of the underdog on the swings, thanks to Uncle Paul. And a shout out to Uncle Paul for giving her that fear in the first place.

Lorelei loved her time with the Sieferts. She especially loved little Ben. He's a sweetheart for sure. And I love these people in this next picture! So fun to see Shelley and Tracey! (And of course, Jan!!) We had such a fun time.

It was also the time to visit the old haunts. This was Shawn FIRST trip back to Ohio, so we drove by every place we had lived, and of course:

<sigh> I wish Seattle knew how to do pizza. There's some decent pies here, but nothing like Rotolo's.

Shawn's first impression of Ohio after being gone for almost 4 years? And I quote, "Wow. It's really flat here." Hahahahahahaha!!!! It is flat in Ohio (duh), but we have to navigate the (sometimes ridiculous) hills of Seattle daily. And any direction you look you have mountains, so yeah, I imagine it did look pretty flat to him. But I've always loved the farms and understated beauty of Ohio. It's just different than here, that's all.

I love the trains, too. This is right down the street from Shawn's parents' house. I love it. I don't know what it is about trains, but I love them.

I drove by our houses on Lakeview drive in Lancaster (and suffered the consequences of some of the back roads near Carroll - of course there was a bridge out and I had to backtrack 3 miles, when is that not the case??). I can't believe how different it all looks - the trees are amazing.

I love that house Mom and Bud built. It looks beautiful now, too. I also loved driving those back roads outside of Lancaster. I miss that - I rode my bike all over hell's half acre when I was growing up, trying to figure out the lay of the land. What fun I had!

I had some wonderful visits with my college girls, Debbie and Kelley, and also the lovely Sarah Hammer, who looks more gorgeous 7 months pregnant than most of us do on our best day ever. We saw Ma, Christie and Sydney also - people I think about and miss every day. I only wish we'd had more time to see all of you. For every one person we got to see, there are at least 5 that we didn't. Like I said, I miss my people. I'm afraid no matter how much I acclimate, that will always be the case.

But, I'll emphasize what I keep telling our family: Um, you could always come see me, dammit.

Before we knew it, it was time to go home to Seattle. We were ready. You know why? As much as I miss everyone so, so much, I was hot in Ohio. Damn hot. I had a layer of sheen on me at all times, and it's not even the really hot season yet. I'm not a true Seattleite yet: I don't run around in 45 degree weather wearing a down parka like the natives do, but as far as summer is concerned, I've acclimated.

And we got back to this crazy, fabulous, early summer in Seattle. I love what greeted us from the plane on the descent:

See it? Just over the wing? Yep, that's Mount Rainier. Such a pretty sight.

While our trip to Ohio came to an end, graduation season did not, and we had one more ceremony to attend this year. Paige graduated from 8th Grade! Hard to believe that little 3-year-old who hung out with me when I graduated law school is heading into high school!!! How is this possible?!

Her graduation was last night. She attended Denny International Middle School, here in West Seattle. It was an amazing ceremony. Lots of international aspects to it, and student speakers who were so articulate it's hard to believe they are only 14 years old. When I was 14, I think I might have still been playing with Barbies.

And Paige. She's a wonderful, beautiful person. I can't wait to see how high school plays out for her. I'm so glad we were able to watch her graduate and celebrate with her after.

Uh, Lorelei has not gotten a face tattoo. She's not THAT Seattle, yet. She had Field Day at school yesterday and they had face painting. She insisted on wearing it to Paige's graduation. Ah, 4th graders. But check out her hoodie. Yeah! CHAMPS! (Still not done smack-talking SEC and PAC-12 fans.)

I know we have lots and lots of catching up to do. I haven't even started on the March trip to FL and Lorelei's birthday, but this entry is getting lengthy. I'll wrap it up here and get another entry together soon. For now, I'll share one final picture, my personal favorite:

[wiping tear from eye] So proud. Of all my graduates.