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A wet hike and reluctant Walmart shoppers

So… I think we can all agree that I’ve been terrible about blog posting.  Life has been so crazy and hectic.  Not in a bad way… just in a “the merry go round keeps spinning and I don’t really have a chance to get off for a breather” kind of way.

I could try to go way back and talk about everything that Mike and I have been doing since the first of the year, but that’s too far back.  And who knows how good my memory actually is anyway… it probably doesn’t even go back that far.  January feels very far away.

So let’s just go back a month or so.  The one and only bestie Lia came to visit in mid June!  What a blast!  We had a very fun week together… a good mix of hiking, nice restaurants, and tourism (the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit at Seattle Center!).  And I still have to get you Mike’s and my pictures from your visit, Lia… oops!

I took the whole week off of work, had a job interview on Monday (more on that later), and then Lia flew in on Tuesday and stayed the rest of the week.  The job interview on Monday was a little surreal.  These all-day tech interviews always seem a little surreal to me.  I interview with five or six people over the course of the day, and then at the end of the day I find myself in the parking garage or at the bus stop thinking, How did that go?  Did they think I’d be a good fit?  Do I think they’d be a good fit for me?  Basically I walk out of there not knowing anything and having no feelings yet.  I typically need a good night’s sleep before I can actually process the interview and decide whether I think it went well, whether I think they’ll want to hire me, and whether I think I’ll want to take the job.  So it was especially perfect that on Tuesday, rather than continuing to think about the job interview, Lia flew in, and instead I got to hang out with her and take off my job-hunting hat for awhile.

Lia!  In Seattle!  :)

Lia! In Seattle! 🙂

Mike didn’t have Tuesday off and worked late (which is mostly what he’s been doing this spring and summer), so Lia and I Uber’d up to Capitol Hill and went to a great tiny hole-in-the-wall Indian restaurant and shared several dishes.

Yummy Indian!

Yummy Indian!

The spinach curry was especially amazing!  After that we headed back to Mike’s and my house, and lucky Piper got a catnip mouse present from her Aunt Lia.  What a lucky cat!  She definitely went crazy over the catnip mouse!

On Wednesday we went to a couple of different shopping areas and had lots of fun.  Well, Lia and I did.  Mike may or may not have enjoyed this part.  He did get two new pairs of shoes, though, so at least he benefited from the trip.

We had decided to go hiking on Thursday, which we did, although in retrospect maybe we should have tried to find a drier day!  It was drizzling rain in Seattle, but as we drove east towards the Cascades the rain increased, and by the time we got to Lake Serene where we were planning to hike, it was raining pretty atrociously.  However, we had all brought raincoats, so in theory there was no issue.  We decided to at least start hiking, and see how it went.  The first 15 minutes was fine.  Our rain coats still gave the impression of being water proof, and our feet were still dry (despite the fact that the trail in some places resembled a creek more closely than it resembled a trail).  Half an hour in, we were definitely wet.  Wet as in: our coats were definitely water resistant rather than water proof, and their resistance had given way to the endless rain.  By this point our feet were starting to feel a little damp as well.  It’s amazing how many other things can be endured as long as one’s feet are warm and dry.  Damp feet lead to damp spirits.  There are my words of wisdom for the day.

We continued hiking for another hour, and ended up at the most beautiful waterfall!  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I had literally no idea that there was anything so beautiful so close to the city!  Mike and I had seen Snoqualmie Falls several times, which is amazing, but this was amazing in a much more rugged, wild, kind of way, whereas Snoqualmie Falls has a hydroelectric plant surrounding it.  😉

You can google pictures of Bridal Veil Falls in Washington State.  It was raining too hard for us to take pictures (although it looked strangely mystical and ethereal through the rainy mist).  Once we had stopped for a few minutes at the falls and were no longer climbing up a mountain, we realized that we were actually freezing and a hasty trip back down would likely be in order.  Soaked honestly didn’t begin to describe us… drenched may be a better word.  We returned back down the mountain path pretty hastily, noting that the trail resembled a creek even more closely than it had done on our ascent.  We finally arrived back at the car and weren’t even sure how to proceed to get into the car.  We were all dripping water, and although I had thoughtfully remembered to pack about thirty protein bars and 2 gallons of water, somehow had neglected to pack so much as a hand towel.  We at least got out of the wettest of our clothing (i.e. those outer “water-proof” jackets) and decided we would stop at the first store we came to so that we could buy towels, a change of clothes, and warm up and dry off, so in the meantime we packed into the car and drove away shivering and still very wet as Mike kicked the car heater into high gear.  We drove for about twenty minutes without seeing any store that looked like it would have clothes and towels.  (There seems to be a problem with these wilderness hikes…. there are no hot showers or malls nearby.  This is my main problem with hiking.  Really it’s my only problem with hiking.  Can someone solve this?)

However, we eventually came across a store, and as my luck that day would have it, that store was Walmart.  I have ethical problems with Walmart and have basically sworn them off.  But now, freezing and drenched and forced to choose between my Walmart standards and my warmth, I am somewhat ashamed to say I chose my warmth.  (Only somewhat ashamed because… you all know you would have done EXACTLY THE SAME.)

We walked into the store as a confident, bedraggled, group of three, looking like we’d just emerged from living in the wilderness for the past year, and we left a dripping trail of muddy water as we headed directly to the clothes section.  The squeaking from our three collective pairs of water-logged shoes was loud enough that it drowned out the 90’s pop music playing on the Walmart sound system.  I was forced to admit to myself that Walmart may actually have been the only store in the history of the world where we didn’t even stand out despite our disheveled appearances.  An advantage of shopping at Walmart: You can literally show up wearing ANYTHING.  And people do.  All the time.

We immediately split up, Mike heading for the men’s section, and Lia and I heading for the women’s section.  Five minutes of frantic searching later uncovered a terrible discovery.  All of the clothes were SUMMER WEAR!  It’s fifty degrees outside, the air conditioning is blasting inside, we are all soaked to the bone, but it’s JUNE!  And the only thing we can find in the clothing aisles are tank tops and bikinis!!  I was beginning to think I was getting what I deserved for breaking my never-shop-at-Walmart standards when Lia located some hoodies.  They had no hoodies in our size, so Lia and I both had to get a couple sizes up and we both snagged a couple pairs of long workout pants as well.  Lia was slightly more selective in choosing workout pants, which proved to be a good choice later when we put them on and mine were so baggy they basically hung down to my knees and I had to inelegantly bunch the waistband up in front of me with one hand.  Underwear was next, and it was nearly impossible to find that in our size too.  We also found a couple of towels which were surprisingly fluffy given their $2.97 price tag.  (How can a full size bath towel be that cheap?  Isn’t that the price of a Nestle candy bar?  Or a pack of gum?  Or… I don’t know… the tax on a movie theater ticket?  Is this why people shop at Walmart??)

After hurriedly paying for our purchases and getting exactly no weird stares while in line at the checkout (again, it must be remembered that this is Walmart), we all headed for the restrooms to towel off and change into our new luxury clothing.  Fortunately the restroom was almost empty when we entered, and Lia and I took our bag of goodies into one of the big stalls and shut the door.  Stripping out of the wet clothes and drying off with the surprisingly fluffy towels did a lot to revive us.  Getting the hoodies and workout pants on did even more to revive us.  While we were in the midst of changing and talking and giggling through chattering teeth, a couple women came in to use the restroom and I honestly have no idea what they thought we were doing in there.  Especially when we both emerged from the same stall with soaking wet hair wearing clothes 4 sizes too big and then primly washed our hands thoroughly at the sinks as though having bathroom hands was the biggest issue we were facing at the moment.

Back outside we located Mike and drove home.  And for dinner, we out for steaming hot bowls of Vietnamese pho to recover from the experience and warm up from the inside out.  We also had spring rolls, because spring rolls are always amazing.

Mmm… I had planned to get a little more info in this blog post, but I think the hike took front and center.  Maybe that’s as it should be.  It was a hike worthy of remembering.  And for the record, after one time through the wash, the surprisingly fluffy Walmart towels were surprisingly un-fluffy.  They basically had no more fluff and resembled thin cloths.  Who knew that a towel could lose that much fluff and still remain physically in one piece?  That’s almost an art of design in and of itself.

Interestingly, although that was a very unusual day for me, I actually had a deja vu moment related to that hike a couple of weeks later that I’ll detail in the next blog post.  Which will hopefully not take a month to arrive.  🙂

Friends!

Friends who hike together get wet together!

 

And… I must include a picture of Piper because she is loving the sun these days!

Gorgeous sun-cat!

Gorgeous sun-cat!

 

I hope everyone is having a great week!  🙂

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Fun in Portland!

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks (hence the non-existent blog posts!).

Last weekend Mike and I drove down to Portland to see Lia who was in town visiting her aunt and uncle.  Her friend Rae took the train up from Eugene, as well, so the four of us hung out and bummed around downtown Portland together… so fun!  We had a fun afternoon of shopping, and Mike was so laid-back even though of course shopping in women’s clothing stores isn’t exactly his thing.  😉  While we looked at clothes at Anthropologie, he examined the furniture in the store.  🙂  After a relaxing early afternoon of shopping and a brunch at Whole Foods we headed to Pittock Mansion.  You can read all about its history on the site, but it is a beautiful mansion on a cliff-like hill overlooking Portland… so beautiful!  And surprisingly like Highclere Castle!  Apparently despite the U.S.’s separation from Britain, we took our ideas of fashion, decorating, and architecture from them!

Just a normal living room.  Nothing special.  ;)

Just a normal living room. Nothing special. 😉

 

And a harp!

And a harp!

 

The house was beautiful, and unlike Highclere Castle in England we were able to look through all the rooms!  That meant that we got insight into things like the way people from that era showered.

Mike's engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

Mike’s engineering brain instantly attracted to all the pipes!

 

Don't get wet, Lia!  :)

Don’t get wet, Lia! 🙂

 

We had a lot of fun!

Friends!

Friends!

Just like with Highclere Castle, the winding staircase was AMAZING!

Love, love

Love, love

 

And such a gorgeous view from the back of the house over downtown Portland!

Foggy Portland

Foggy Portland

 

So last weekend was lots of fun!  We left late-ish after being gifted with the most amazing home-made applesauce by Lia’s aunt.  (So fresh that it was still WARM!)  Yum!!  Our drive back to Seattle was great… driving in the darkness is always kind of relaxing.

I’ve been back to running!  Not quite as fast as I was yet, but my speed is definitely coming back!

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering.  :)

Piper stuck really close to me while I elevated my knee and focused on recovering. You can see the ace bandage on my knee in the background!

I LOVE running in Seattle this time of year… it’s just beyond gorgeous!

Lake Union

Lake Union

 

So gorgeous...

So gorgeous….

 

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment... so amazing....

All of these pictures are within a mile or two of our apartment… so amazing….

 

Mike and I finished season 4 of Game of Thrones…. so that’s that for the next, oh, eight months or so.  Bummer!

Mike has continued to play his guitar quite a bit in the evenings.  Oftentimes we’ll go the gym together and then take a short walk together afterwards.  The weather has cooled down a lot in Seattle and is down in the low 70’s during the  day now.  That makes for perfect walking weather in the evenings, particularly when there’s not much of a breeze.

I haven’t been quite as up on using up the CSA produce the past couple of weeks… I think the knee recovery slowed me down a little.  But I’ve still been using up most of it.  This week we got a beautiful little carving pumpkin in our CSA produce.  I’ve been badgering Mike to carve it, but he thinks it sounds messy.  Bummer!  Maybe I’ll just get a black sharpie and draw a face on it myself?  Should I go for a happy face, a scary face, or something else?  Any ideas??  For now I’ve set it outside our apartment door so that it lends a fall-like atmosphere to our floor.  Love it!

Halloween is also coming up!  I’m excited and determined to go somewhere and dress up!  (Since we bought costumes two years ago and have yet to use them… I think it’s time we did!)  So I’ve been looking at Seattle blogs for party ideas… there’s so much going on this time of year in Seattle!

Again, because of my knee, Mike drove me to pick up the CSA produce a couple weeks ago, although typically I walk.  When we arrived at the pickup site there were police and fire trucks everywhere as well as a good handful of vehicles bearing titles like “Emergency Cleanup Crew” on their sides.  Uh, oh!  That didn’t seem good!  As it turned out, there’d been a fire in one of the metal-working shops in the area, and apparently you need a whole host of weird chemicals to stop metal fires.  Who knew??

Last night we met up with a friend of Mike’s from work and his wife at Cichetti, a new favorite haunt of ours.  (So much of a favorite, actually, that we were also there last Friday.)  It’s an amazing place to go just to talk and hang out, and it has an amazing view of Queen Anne, Magnolia, Seattle, and Lake Union.  Mike proclaimed early in the evening that the purpose of the evening was pure relaxation.  We definitely just relaxed!  We looked down at the amazing view of Seattle and just chatted and shared small plates of food while Mike offered his expertise recommending drinks for everyone.  We actually didn’t notice the time until 11:45pm!  Wow!  Staying out until almost midnight!  What kind of a crazy, partier am I?  I also emailed Rae last week after 10pm and texted Lia sometime after 10pm the week before… am I turning into a night owl, or what??  😉

I took Piper in for her follow-up vet appointment yesterday, and so far everything’s looking good with her UTI.  Yay!  She still needs to be on antiobiotics for another couple months, though, because the vet wants to make sure all of the bacteria are completely eradicated.  Piper doesn’t like taking pills but by this point I’m a pro at giving her the pills.  I pretty much pull her mouth open and pop the pill down her throat while she glares at me.  I actually have to give her 3/4 of a pill, which is kind of a pain because it means giving her two pills: one 1/4 pill and one 1/2 pill.  I asked the vet if I could just give her a full pill, but he shook his head and said that she’s only 3/4 of a cat and only needs 3/4 of a pill.  🙂

Completely off-topic, one thing that I have been focusing on the past few months is thankfulness.  And so here’s my mini piece of advice: live and love every day.  Be thankful for everything, especially the small things.  This is one thing I definitely learned from my mom… be thankful for the color of an orange pumpkin or the way the wind moves through the trees, or the way the random stranger on the bus smiles at you.  Such an enriching way to live life!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful fall!

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