A Green Lake Day

Our morning outing at Green Lake in Seattle, the weather is once again warm and sunny, Seattle hasn’t had any rain in more than a month! I’ve ridden a bicycle around the park with the fam before, but never in the summer.

This is a cool historical fact about Green Lake’s formation:
Geologists say the Vashon Glacial Ice Sheet, which also formed Puget Sound and other area lakes, formed Green Lake 50,000 years ago. Dredgings of Green Lake have produced volcanic ash from an eruption of Glacier Peak that occurred about 6,700 years ago.

Such a brave boy to jump from the diving board!

Summer on Mt. Rainier

I didn’t actually take these pics. My son did on his solo hike, but they’re so beautiful. He had multiple bear sightings, too.

Lake Mowich

#Mt.Rainier #PNW #WashingtonState #Seattle

Famous (Almost)

So…sitting right behind me is a SEMI famous local personality who has a cooking show on community television. Somebody else recognized him and said hi or I wouldn’t have even noticed.

I really really want to tell him to include more vegan dishes, that there’s a huge demographic out there that would love him if he included cruelty-free recipes, but he’s totally self absorbed and constantly texting on his phone. Additionally, he’s not THAT famous or he wouldn’t be sitting in the cheap seats, right?

His style of cooking isn’t my cup of tea, but I support his “I’m just a regular guy” niche of encouraging everyone to cook with the ingredients already on hand in the pantry.

So far I haven’t annoyed him, but I’m not at all a shy, timid forest creature. I have zero problem approaching anyone. For any reason. No matter who they are.

On the other side of me is a young man wearing a Stanford Medical School sweatshirt. He’s starting med school in the fall. (I asked.) How awesome is that! I told him I was proud of him. I’m sure you might think…who am I to share unwanted praise, right? But I did. Bright children who follow their academic/life dreams need our support and encouragement. It takes a village, yes it does, and it only takes a minute to utter a few positive words.

I was trying to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm but for some reason I couldn’t get my phone to enlarge to full screen, so a kind stranger directly to my right (an obvious techie) took my phone and messed around with it until he figured out what the problem was.

As terrible as the stories are on the news, in spite of the violence and Covid variants and all the rest, there are still kind and helpful people in this world.

Not a bad way to spend 2 1/2 hours. Not bad at all, especially when I arrive to THIS:

And this:

Moose in Grand Tetons

What a beautiful boy! He was almost completely camouflaged, resting in the cool grass, enjoying a late afternoon snack. Those antlers are magnificent, aren’t they?

I could have stayed there for hours, watching him in silence, but I had to go. He didn’t seem too concerned and kept eating and eating.

Great Basin National Park

For #throwbackthursday, this is one of my most favorite places to camp and hike.

Great Basin National Park is in Nevada. At 10,000 ft., Wheeler Peak is one of the tallest peaks in the country. It’s full of bristlecone pines and turkeys and solitude and serenity.

Here’s a beautiful alpine lake:

In The Snow-Covered Hills

It has come to the attention of my brain that I seem to write a lot about weather.

Sun, heat, rain, hail, snow, clouds, fog…I wonder if that’s because there’s really so little weather here in SoCal. For a majority of the time, it’s sunny and warm. Or sunny and hot. Or sunny with drought-like conditions. This isn’t me being critical of our weather; I’ve simply reflected upon how much of a weather watcher I am.

From the monsoonal–like deluge

that transformed a dry river bed into a not-so-dry river bed

to a beautiful sunset.

I was driving on a favorite street — do you have a favorite street? Mine is one that offers a breath-taking view of San Gorgonio and San Jacinto, mountains to the north of me. They received several feet of new snow during the same winter storm.

This sight is so beyond magnificent, it literally took away my breath for several seconds.

Hand to heart, as I was snapping a few photos of the snow covered mountains, one of my most special songs came on the radio, Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, with the iconic lyrics, “And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills –‘Til the landslide brought me down.”

A mindful moment of perfection.

I love Stevie Nick’s live performances.

Hiking Mount San Jacinto

There are amazing all-season hikes to the top of Mount San Jacinto near Palm Springs high above Coachella Valley.

San Jacinto Peak is 10,834 ft. and was known to Cahuilla Indians as I a kitch (or Aya Kaich), meaning “smooth cliffs”.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway hike is the less strenuous option. My son and his friend climbed all the way up and it’s not easy, but taking the tram (which is SUPER SUPER scary) is a perfect way to enjoy what John Muir referred to as “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”

Spectacular view.

We see beauty all around.

Palm Springs

I especially love the contrast of these stark white branches against the blue sky.

Big Sur Magic

One of my favorite places on earth, and yes, the water really is that beautiful turquoise color.

Photo by Enchanted Seashells

McWay Falls is an 80-foot-tall waterfall on the coast of Big Sur in central California that flows year-round into the Pacific Ocean from McWay Creek in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, about thirty-seven miles south of Carmel.

During high tide, it’s a tidefall, a waterfall that empties directly into the ocean.

The waterfall poured directly into the ocean until a massive fire, landslide, and highway reconstruction project near the area in 1983-84 filled the cove with enough material to form a sandy beach several dozen feet out.

The falls, creek, and canyon are named after Christopher McWay, an early settler and farmer from New York state who arrived in the area with his son Christopher Jr. around 1874.

The park itself is named after Julia Pfeiffer Burns (1868-1928), a local and legendary early pioneer and resident who impressed Helen Brown and had run a ranch in McWay canyon with her husband, John B. Burns.

#WordlessWednesday

21 Months: Toddler Time

Lucky lucky me got to spend another week with Angel Boy 2.0.

AB 1.0 asked me to bring some of his favorite childhood Christmas tree ornaments that his grandma and I had collected over the years so they could continue the tradition.

We brought home a seven-foot Noble fir and spent my first night decorating the tree with Theo. It took a while, but he finally understood the concept of leaving the ornaments ON the tree and not pulling them off and throwing them like a major league pitcher.

Although it had been raining for a few days, while I was there, the weather was beautiful but FREEZING, at least for this SoCal girl. I was wearing about a dozen layers, perfectly suited for Pacific Northwest arctic temps.

The next morning Mr. T and I went on a walk to the marina. He was all bundled up and you can see the snow on the Olympic mountains in the background.

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On the way to Ballard Locks.64F334D4-FE48-441F-9658-D72E7951B705

After a power nap, Theo and I made a pizza, helping me roll out the dough and scattering sliced zucchini, green peppers, and broccoli over tomato sauce.  With lentil soup, it was a perfect winter lunch.

For some reason, I became his sole choice for ALL diaper changes…AmmahAmmah had to do them all, and there were NO complaints from mom or dad. Besotted as I am with this little human, even THAT melted my heart and I gladly complied with his request.

These moments are so fleeting – one minute you’re changing a diaper and the next you’re sending them off to college. I learned a long time ago with the original Angel Boy to appreciate each and every detail along the journey. Even diaper changes. Yes, even that.

When he was here for Thanksgiving and we walked to the park and he was kinda balky, I created the game of “Puppy” with each of us holding something (or a pretend something) as a leash to encourage him to keep moving, and he remembered (!) which meant there was lots of puppy play and kitty play. And tea parties.

Yes, I am the ULTIMATE playmate. Laser focused attention. HEAVEN. BLISSFUL. JOY.

EF00EA0F-55A4-43BB-9777-2D1BEB561D83As the sun set in the evening, he’d choose a few books and we’d snuggle on the sofa and wind down with Peppa the Pig or Postman Pat or his new Hannukah book or my favorite ones about animals.

He’s memorized so many stories that have already been read to him a billion times.

It’s an important interactive pre-reading experience.

To engage a bright young mind with a lifelong love of learning and reading is a goal we all share.

One of those priceless moments I’ll forever savor and never forget is the heavy weight of a perfectly relaxed little boy nestled in the curve of my protective arm, feeling his excitement as he points to the picture of a wolf when prompted and howls when asked, “what does a wolf say?”

The next day we went to his Gymboree class, which was so cool for me because I had taken his dad there when they first started franchising in the 1980s.

It was amazing to observe Theo’s interaction with the instructor and other children. He is so much like his daddy was at that age, it’s a great response to the debate of nature versus nurture. When my son was very little, a brilliant woman told me “he sees the world in his own way” and I saw those very same characteristics in Theo. He’s not shy, he’s exceptionally self confident, but like his dad, he’s reserved; a thinker and an observer, absorbing everything and filing it away in his mind to process in his own way, but he’s not much of an active participant, although he very much enjoyed himself and helped pick up and put away the musical instruments when it was over. This week was the culmination of Beatle’s music, so when we went back home, I played the same songs that we heard in class, Yellow Submarine, All You Need is Love, and Hello/Goodbye. Theo sung along and shook the maracas exactly the same way he had paid such close attention to. With all children, it’s a great idea to take their lead in situations like this and let them guide their level of participation.

His verbal skills are on fire now, parroting dozens of new words and learning sentence structure. I call it the Helen Keller moment. Two-word directives like “Theo down” …Choo choo loud” “Daddy home” is being expanded upon. DIL and I both heard him clearly say “I want Abby’s cake” when we had a little birthday party for a friend. OF COURSE he was rewarded with the cake that he wanted. OF COURSE. It’s all about positive reinforcement, right?

My brother came to visit from Portland for a couple of days and one of our excursions was the zoo. As you might imagine, I hate zoos. I hate caged and captive wild animals. I hate that their very existence is used to make money as entertainment. I HATE seeing them in their unnatural habitats. But I figured that if I went to the zoo, later on at the appropriate age, I could begin a discussion about all of that, so I did. Theo especially loves gorillas and flamingos, so that’s what we saw. I can’t tell you how sad it was to watch those magnificent gorillas who should have been SOMEWHERE ELSE and I actually thought they seemed depressed. I felt like I shouldn’t be looking at him. Tragic.

gorillazoo

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The very best part of the day was on the way out.

I noticed a woman crouched on one knee pointing a camera into a tree. I looked up and saw a magnificent OWL, also one of Theo’s fave animals. When he followed my gaze and saw the owl, he was transfixed. We stayed there for a bit and he called it Daddy Owl because it was so large. The sun was going down, so this isn’t the best pic, but it was a spectacular sighting.

owlzoo

Although he gifted me with a nasty sore throat and the beginnings of the flu or some type of upper respiratory infection, it was once again a magical time; although flying home to vicious Santa Ana winds and out of control fires, loss of homes, dozens of horses perishing, and emergency notifications from the city to prepare for possible evacuation brought me right back to reality. The winds have died down for now but are forecasted to be gust at 50+ mph on Sunday.