Return to Port Townsend

For our third anniversary (how has it been so long already?!) we wanted to go back to Port Townsend for a weekend getaway. An Airbnb was selected, but no availability till October…so we booked a late anniversary weekend for the fall. It turned out to be exactly what we needed. August was busy enough with house painting and other weekend commitments, and the fall colors were great this time of year.

Last Friday we headed out. I still am in awe of how much closer to everything we feel living on Vashon Island. Well, close to everything except maybe the cascades. Surfing is 2.5 hours away, Port Townsend 1.5 hours. We are near to Seattle, and Tacoma, AND the Kitsap Peninsula (and therefore the lake property). It is pretty awesome. After the short ferry ride to Southworth we were on our way, and before we knew it, arrived in Port Townsend.

First order of business was dumping our stuff at the Airbnb. It was a cute little 1 room tiny house, 10×12 with a small bathroom, kitchenette bed and outdoor shower. Perfect!

Then we went out for long walk around Fort Worden. I was in a bit of a funk because my main camera was cardless (argh!) and my phone memory was full. No pictures was hard for me. We walked around and discovered a new part of the fort and reminisced at our wedding site.

We walked until sunset and then headed to town for dinner at Waterfront Pizza (they catered our rehearsal dinner). Service was slow, and then made slower by some issues with our order so our pizza was on the house. Turns out the slow dinner was a good thing so we spent less time at our Airbnb.

When we got back “home” for the night we were pooped and headed to bed. That is when the trouble began. We were both really bothered by an odor in the room. We are still not sure if it was mold or an air freshner or what, but it kept us up for hours. In the morning, we decided we could not handle another night there and reluctantly shortened our trip. The day was supposed to be rainy and we knew we did not want to spend time in that room.

So we loaded the car, and headed to town for breakfast. Pastries and coffee at Sweet Laurette’s, cruising the farmer’s market were a great way to start the day. We wandered all the standard shops along the waterfront and found a vintage 1940s or 50s art deco framed print for our house at an antique shop.

By 1:00 we were ready for another Port Townsend tradition: ice cream sundae at Don’s Pharmacy soda fountain!

We took a second lap around the fort (this time with a camera!) to work off the ice cream and then hit the road home.

All in all it was a great trip, and being home Sunday was really quite nice. The cats and chickens were happy to have us home and it make the weekend stretch just a bit longer. Most importantly, it reminded us how much we just love spending time together wherever we are.

Memory Marathon

For us, this 4th of July was a five day weekend. Camping at the lake, a day at home, dinner with neighbors and finally wrapped up with Grandpo’s funeral and a recovery day at home. It was a marathon of creating new memories and digging up old ones. So much reminiscing, tears, and laughter. It was exhausting. But sunshine and picnics always help the recovery process.

So let me start with the holiday portion. For the 4th we hopped a ferry and drove out to Matt’s parent’s lake property on Tiger Lake…a short 40 minutes away from our island home. We spent the first night just the two of us, eating pizza by the fire and paddle boating around the still water.

The next afternoon friends started to arrive and the day turned into swimming, water fights, more paddle boating, campfires, games, hot dogs and fireworks. And rain. Dang rain! It was not hard and not constant but also not the brilliant sunshine that of course came right after the 4th. Oh Pacific Northwest how you are so reliable to have iffy 4th of July weather.

It was still a wonderful time.

On Saturday afternoon we headed back home to see the cats, water the garden and relax in the hot tub. By Sunday, the brilliant blue sky and sunshine was back. Curses! But we enjoyed it. I painted more of the deck, watered the garden again, and we took a walk to Wingehaven Park with Mexican popsicles in tow. It was hot.

Monday was a marathon day. We woke up, showered and loaded the car to make one final trip to Grandpo’s house in Tacoma for the funeral. The service was very nice, very Catholic, very Grandpo. All his grandkids and great-grandkids and grand-daughters-in-law (me and Emily) said something. I may be biased but I liked Matt’s tribute the most. He and Grandpo were very close, and his passing has been really tough. We motorcaded to the cemetery and said our final farewells complete with a taps and a rifle salute. It was my first visit to Matt’s grandma’s grave and we plan to visit both of them again next time we are down there.

After the service all the family piled back to Grandpo’s house to sort through stuff. Matt and I had visited last week and already picked a few sentimental things to take home and packed them up in the car. It is hard to sort through so much stuff. At 6:30 we all went to dinner and by 9:05 we were back home ready to collapse from exhaustion. What a day.

We felt so lucky to have an additional day of bereavement (and we are taking next Monday off too) to just be at home and collect ourselves. We put away all the camping stuff, had the second live vole brought lovingly in to run around our home (thanks kitties…), found homes for all our things from Grandpo, worked on the deck (me), played video games (Matt) and finally packed up a romantic and relaxing picnic to take to the beach.

We took a long drive around Maury Island (connected to Vashon) and found two new parks!

Then we drove out to Lisabella Park for a beach picnic dinner. Bread, wine, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and fresh garden lettuce were on the menu. We also decided to bring out a jar of tuna stuffed peppers we brought back from Italy on our honeymoon. And a rum cake from Grand Cayman we had planned to give to Grandpo but was still in our pantry. Grandpo loved food, and this was a great way to reflect and honor him after a long weekend. We enjoyed the afternoon sunshine while sitting on warm, round stones and reminisced about Grandpo, the lake, our island and life. We are nearly at our 2 year anniversary, and only days away from four years of knowing each other. Life is good and precious, and nothing reminds you quite like slowing down to appreciate it.

One Year Ago

July 3, 2013 we spent our first night in our new home. Pizza picnic in the living room, mattress on the floor, and only a single car load of stuff in the house. And it felt GREAT!

A year has passed and the house is looking different. The living room drywall is cleaned up and painted, some of the rooms are unpacked and organized, and the garden is finally feeling somewhat under control. We are different too. We have friends on the island, are reliable “regulars” on the commute and really feel at home with the community. The people on the bus even call our corner “honeymoon corner”. Ha! Honeymoon Homestead may stick…

Just like last year we are also running around preparing for a camping weekend at the Lake. Matt’s parents have a lot on Tiger Lake on the Kitsap Peninsula and we are headed out there for hot dogs, fireworks, swimming and bonfires to celebrate the 4th. I was a maniac in the kitchen preparing yesterday. Muddy buddies, black bean corn salsa, pesto pasta salad and rhubarb bars are all ready to go. Now we just load up the mini cooper (that finally got washed this week!) and head to the ferry! Although we really need some rain, we are crossing our fingers that hot warm dry skies are here for the weekend.

A flurry of activity has been the norm around our house. This past weekend my parents visited with more family in tow. My grandpa even made it out for a visit! What a treat to show him our island and home! We explored the Point Robinson lighthouse and had a great family meal at home.

It meant a lot to see my Grandpa. Matt’s Grandpa passed away only a few weeks ago and appreciating grandparents is close to our hearts. We also learned that these two men were both born the same year, 1925. Also the same year our house was built.

So tonight we are getting pizza to celebrate our first year on Vashon, and officially being 1/20th of the way to being a local.

My 12 Days of Christmas: Ten

Part of my 12 days of Christmas series…

Ten

Ten is a good number. The first of the double digits. It makes math easy (good for me since I still suffer from mental math challenges…cribbage is good practice!). I also happen to think that it is just about the ideal length of a vacation. Travel has been a big part of my life, and now with Matt along for the ride, it is a big focus of ours. This past year we went on a handful of vacations: Todos Santos, Mexico in May, Grand Cayman in September, and random little trips here and there. None of these trips quite hit the sweet spot of 10 days, but they were all still great. So what is on the books for next year? At this point nothing but ideas. We are trying to combine all our vacation days into one big chunk in Fall to go to SE Asia for 3 weeks or so. Any suggestions? Neither of us have been there so we want to get the full experience. A big long vacation to celebrate graduation (more about that coming up!) and taking advantage of time before we start thinking about kids.

If this plan does not work out, I am sure we will still have a ball. 10 days back in Todos Santos sounds pretty inviting!

My 12 Days of Christmas: Eleven

Eleven

It was about the time that I was 11 that my favorite number became 22. It was on the back of my Red Lion’s soccor team jersey, and from then on, it was my sport number of choice. It may have had to do with the fact that 11 is 22/2, I am not sure.

Anyway, since today is my 11th day of Christmas, I am taking this as a starting point to reflect on my favorite number, which also turned out to be Matt’s favorite number as well. On our 3rd date we went to see a movie downtown seattle. Parking in large garages always leads to the potential of losing your car by forgetting which floor you parked on, so we made a mental note heading to the elevator. I said, “Oh, we are on the 2nd floor…that will be easy to remember since my lucky number is 22.”

Matt froze. And grinned. “That is MY favorite number too!”

It was meant to be. We wanted to get married on the 22nd of a month to commemorate this special day even more, but the dates were not working out for August. Instead we selected August 10th, since we had our first date on July 10. Pretty cool right?

Little did we realize that this date was not only cool by a nod from our meet date, but since 2012 was a leap year, it turned out that August 10 was, wait for it, the 222nd day of the year!

How cool is that?! 22, doubled 11, it’s a stretch, but a good story for this 11th day of Christmas. Come back tomorrow for a story about 10!

My 12 Days of Christmas

I came up with the idea to have my own Christmas 2013 blog countdown. As Christmas is getting nearer, I have a ton on my mind and wanted to capture some of it on here in a more organized way. So….welcome to my 12 days of Christmas countdown! I am going to be reflecting on favorite memories, important things in my life, holiday traditions, places and people in a format crammed into some pre-define numerical context. We will see how it goes. Come along for the ride!

 

Twelve

When I first think of 12, a dozen immediately comes to mind. There are lots of things that I could relate to a dozen: our weekly adventure to find local eggs on the island, buying doughnuts, the stacks of egg cartons in the basement waiting for our future eggs. I think that last night I found a perfect kickoff topic though: a review of the past 12 months. No, I will not rehash that here, but last night Matt and I sat down and went through thousands of photos from our past year of adventures. We were embarking on the annual task of putting together a Christmas card!

In previous years I have used Costco for their inexpensive holiday card options, but this year wanted something with a little more umph. I found a great website called PearTree Greetings (there are MANY card company options out there!) for making cards that are slightly more personal, and higher quality for just a smidge more cost. The one we picked also allows for two sides and a LOT more content! We looked through Facebook albums and file after file on the computer to select images. What we ended up with is pretty good. Not exactly what I wanted, but the Pinterest worthy couple photo shoot did not happen this year. 🙂  We had to make due with regular old life snapshots. (though next year I am scheming to have this photographer do a shoot for us!)

But what a fun year it was! Travel and school and buying a house. We had a lot happen these past 12 months. Christmas cards will go out soon and I cannot wait to see what people think of this year’s story.

If you want to try out PearTree Greetings here is a referral promo for $20 credit towards your first purchase! link http://www.peartreegreetings.com/Elvis/referred.jsp?share=945333

Come back tomorrow as the countdown continues to eleven!

May Day

Happy May Day

It is a stunningly perfect sunshine filled day here in Seattle on May 1, but the news is nothing but warnings reminiscent of last years public demonstrations turned violent. For me, May Day is about spring and neighbors, so that is what I will focus on.

May Day cones made from wallpaper are still one of my favorite childhood memories, and symbolize all that is still good and beautiful in the world.

DIY May Day Baskets (2)