Friday, September 22, 2017

#SummerFeels

Happy equinox! As summer comes to a close, I want to share my theme of the season: #SummerFeels. I made a point to relish any activity that felt quintessentially summery and to dive headlong into whatever would maximize #SummerFeels. Here are some of my faves:
Saw my bees thriving in their hive

Harvested backyard red currant and raspberries
and made a drinking shrub
Swam and paddleboarded in the Clackamas River
Swam with family in my parents' pool
Hung out with nieces eating popsicles
Drank beer after hiking, chilled in the 
ice of a semi-frozen alpine lake
Went climbing in the North Cascades
Descended snow fields in the smoky sunlight
Harvested backyard hops and helped brew fresh-hopped beer
   
Watched the sun rise over Mount Hood
Hiked at Mount Adams
Ate salsa Gabi made from her homegrown 
tomatoes, onions, and peppers
Grilled corn!

Climbed trees
BBQ!
Watched the total solar eclipse from the Path of Totality

   

Rode bikes around Vashon Island and
played in driftwood forts on the beach

Ate cabin breakfast of pancakes with wild-foraged huckleberries

Swam in little-visited Idaho rivers
Learned to fly fish

Caught fish to eat for dinner
Packed the car to the brim
Swam in mountain lakes

Harvested and ate forest blueberries
 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bike MS: Deception Pass Classic 2017

My quads are nicely sore and my heart is full from joining last weekend's Bike MS event. It was my first-ever organized bike ride, and first time doing a physical activity as part of a fundraiser. 

Bike MS happens all over the county throughout the year, to raise money for multiple sclerosis research and services for people living with the disease. The ride in western Washington starts in Mount Vernon, goes to Anacortes, over the Deception Pass bridge, and back for a pretty, semi-rural route.
Getting ready to ride
(All photos by Stacy R)
For more details, check out the Bike MS: Deception Pass Classic 2017 website. Here's more details from the site: 

Bike MS: Deception Pass Classic is an unforgettable, two-day journey through Skagit, Whatcom and Island Counties that will take you farther than you’ve ever gone before. What makes this ride so special? As many as 2,000 riders will cruise along scenic figure-eight courses with a start and finish at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. Full meals, generous amenities, stunning landscapes, fully stocked rest stops and spirited festivities are all included.

Your participation will drive MS research forward faster, and deliver services to those who face the challenges of MS every day so they can live their best lives.

I joined as part of a team that my work organized. We had around 20 riders, including current employees, partners, former employees, friends, and family members. Our office manager organized the team, and set up a great team tent for us. A designer from our Creative team had designed our awesome jerseys which we wore proudly, and ended up winning the Best Jersey award that evening!
The whole group before the ride

Lining up at the start line
The ride always takes place in the first half of September, so it's usually pretty warm. But this year, it felt like fall with cool temps, wind, and consistent rain. While riding, I wasn't too cold, but when I stopped at a rest area, I would get chilly. It was incentive to get back on the bike and keep going!

One of the great things about the ride is that you can pick your distance. On the first day, the options are 22, 59, 80, and 100 miles, so it really has something for every ability level. We had some team members ride the high end and low end, but the majority of us found the sweet spot at 59 miles. It was long enough to be challenging and push us, but short enough that a relatively fit person didn't have to do much (or any) training. We stuck together as a group, naturally spreading out and then waiting up at view points or rest stops. It was a fantastic feeling of camaraderie and a shared goal.
Pizza and champagne after the ride

Yeah... we were pretty tired
I already know that I want to do the ride next year. We had an amazing team and exceeded our fundraising goal of $12,000, and it will be exciting to see what 2018 will hold.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

San Juan 4th of July: Stuart Island

My family has a long tradition of holding a big family gathering on Stuart Island in the San Juans for the Fourth of July. I haven't been able to make it out there for the past five years due to general summer zaniness, and trying to get to the mountains as much as possible. For example, last year I was attempting to summit Glacier Peak

But this year was the right time to spent a long weekend out there with family and it was just what I needed. I got to hang with both my sisters, their husband and three kids, and a ton of extended family. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Two nieces: my oldest niece and her younger sister
Arrived at the island just as the sun was setting
New tradition for 4th of July weekend: outdoor family movie on the barn
Family picnic: Salmon BBQ/potluck and badminton tournament
Two nieces in their 4th of July dresses
Niece discovers I'm ticklish
Indoor activity after all the sun and playing outside:
Bingo tournament
Hanging on the bluffs and rocks of Turn Point.
We spotted humpback whales!
Monday evening: the kiddos soak the last of the sun
Bonfire and hot dog roast
My auntie with her great-nieces
Caught the sunrise over the bay, around 5 a.m.
I hope you had a fun, safe, and relaxing Fourth!

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Spring Roundup

This spring has been a whirlwind. A blur. A slog. I have been heads-down in front of the computer every weekend writing my first book, after being heads-down in front of the computer during the week writing for my day job. I feel like I have finally emerged from a word-cave, and it turns out there were some bright spots in the spring.

In March, I went to my first conference since high school, and the first one I've been to for editing. The ACES Society for Editing held its national conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, this year, and I got to spend two nonstop nerdy days learnings, talking, and breathing editing. There was some eating and drinking in there too.
Poolside editor happy hour
While I was in Florida, I got to visit my dad north of Tampa who I haven't seen in three years (!!!). We had a blast, dad style. That means letting me sleep in, drinking lots of coffee together, spending time with family, and going for motorcycle rides.
I took another special ride too---in a 1935 Boeing Stearman biplane over the Land o' Lakes area. It was a beautiful plane and a pretty awesome experience.
Another day, we went to the Rainbow River and went kayaking. We saw a ton of birds, ducklings, a swimming snake, and turtles and capped off the afternoon with a nice lunch.
My birthday was in early April, and I celebrated with my family and "birthday twin": my mom's best friend who I share a birthday with. She and my mom lived together when they were both pregnant at the same time, and she was there when I was born on her birthday in a little house in Wallingford. A month later, she gave birth to her son the day after my mom's birthday.
The following weekend I also had a birthday brunch, and amazingly, two of my dear friends happened to be in town from California and Texas, respectively. Seeing them was pretty much the best gift I could imagine.
Later in April on a rare weekend when I took a break from the book, I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula. I camped in the rain, hiked in the sun, tromped in the snow, watched the sun set over the Pacific, and dug razor clams.
I am so, so ready for summer, and for not sitting in front of the computer all the time. What are you excited for this summer?