Saturday, August 29, 2015

Last Blasts of Summer

Summer is starting to wane. Today, it's about 65 degrees and windy with intermittent rain. Shawn is so relieved he can't stand it. He's not a sun/heat kind of guy to begin with, and summer has been long this year in Seattle, as you have likely gathered from previous posts. I'm not quite ready to let go of the heat, sun and clear blue skies, but I have had my fill of the smoke from the wildfires, so for that reason today's weather is a welcome change. I'm also ready to start using my oven again without turning the whole house into an inferno.

I mentioned wildfires. The Pacific NW's drought has led to large wildfires east of the Cascades and south of Seattle. Seattle is typically shielded from the effects of the fires, being situated between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. Also, the wind usually comes from the west, bringing lovely ocean air keeping things fresh. Last week the wind shifted to come from the east and brought the wildfire smoke with it. Here's what our mornings looked like:

The tell-tale sign - the orange sun. The air smelled like the fire was in our back yard. Seattle mornings this time of year should be crisp and colorful - blue sky, blue water, green everything else. Between the drought and the wildfires, we had a lot of white haze and brown grass on our palatte. I feel for those east of the Cascades. It must be unbearable in the places that haven't been evacuated, and frightening in the places that have. So yes, the rain is welcome.

I suspect Summer isn't quite done with us, yet. At least, I hope not. I'd like just a few more days, please.

Last week Shawn and I were off work. It was mostly a stay-cation, but we went to Orcas Island for a few days with the Castanedas. Orcas is the largest of the San Juan Islands.

You can see on the map below:

By way of reference, last September we went to San Juan Island. People refer to Orcas as being lung-shaped - with a right ventricle and a left ventricle. We stayed on the left ventricle.

It was lovely. We stayed in a house with a view of an inlet and a huge front yard for relaxing and what-not.

We also took a sailing trip around the islands and had a great view of Orcas. Orcas has a mountain on each ventricle. On the left, it's Turtleback Mountain (about 1500 feet or so in elevation), and on the right, Mount Constitution (about 2000 feet in elevation). Here are some photos of Turtleback we took while sailing - you can see how it got its name!

Also, our captain allowed Lorelei to steer the boat for a time. It took a year off my life. I am not looking forward to teaching her how to drive.

But she was a good sailor and loved being on the boat!

The Castanedas had fun, too! Ed steered most of the time, and got us docked safely!

Shawn liked the boat also. It was a tranquil, perfect evening. In addition to sailing, we visited the tide pools at low tide by the house, and generally relaxed in the peaceful surroundings. I could have stayed there all week.

I think Maya liked hanging out with Lorelei, too.

In other news, August was a bit of a wild ride. The weather, in addition to being dry and unusually dusty, also brought another rarity to downtown Seattle - a thunderstorm complete with thunder and lightning! Crazy. I miss storms.

Seattle also continues to build. This picture below is outside my office window. I have a giant crane for a neighbor at the moment, and soon will have a giant skyscraper, blocking my view of Mount Baker. 

Boo commercial development! I've heard it's going to be a hotel. Which means instead of looking out to the pristine Mount Baker on a clear day, I'll have views of tourists running around naked in their hotel rooms, thinking no one can see them. You'd be shocked at how often that happens. My coworker, Katie, had an office that had a hotel next door and she would see people doing all sorts of things in the hotel sans clothing. Odd. The crane is sort of cool, though.

Now as vacation winds down and the air grows cooler, we start thinking back-to-school thoughts. Lorelei's first day of 5th grade is September 9. 5th grade!! I can't believe it. I have such vivid memories of 5th grade. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Oh, before I forget, our adventures in ice cream making continue! We made mint chocolate chip and regular chocolate this month, and tonight I plan to make another batch of coffee. If you have a favorite ice cream recipe, let me know!

Until next time - Go Bucks, and Happy Fall!

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