A little busy...

Seriously bloggers, could I be more depressing. With all my spouting on and on about hibernating bad days, it should be safe to assume that all I'm doing with Christmas cheer is throwing it out the window and hating my life.

Not so.

I've been keeping busy, even in the darkness and I've got pictures to prove it. A few at least, most of which I've scammed off of Facebook (i.e. Russ). Just a few to tease your imagination (and prove I'm not a full time couch potato). A little bit of Whistler, a throw back to Halloween, Lisa in town, Turkey Bowl, my new boyfriend GSP, sight-seeing Seattle, out dancing, and looking like a rock star.

That said, I have been netflixing it up when occasion permits. Right now: The Way We Were (doesn't everyone know Barbara Streisand is cross-eyed and Robert Redford is the ultimate dreamboat? "couldn't we both win?")


It's the absolute worst...

I had an awful day today. Busy, hectic, rife with conflict. It's not the worst day I'll ever have, no doubt, but I'm certainly glad the day is over. I hate days like this because they remind me that I'm not immune to negativity and that nagging feeling of 'I can't wait til this is over so I can move on with my life'. To commemorate this most obnoxious feeling, and because it's been a long, tired, cranky week, I have compiled a list of ten other feelings I have felt at some point and just hate.

Don't you hate:
  • Impatience in situations or regarding decisions where you entirely lack any semblance of control or power (Don't want to talk about today, thank you)
  • Making eye contact with the person you accidentally cut off or in someway offended via traffic (whooops!)
  • Finding something on clearance that you bought yesterday at full price (waste of money fail!)
  • Realizing that he just isn't crazy about you anymore... and that's not going to change (again? really?)
  • Watching in the rearview mirror after zooming by a parked cop (worse: those lights in the rearview mirror)
  • 3pm after 3 hours of sleep (zzzzzzzzzz)
  • Losing something you borrowed, especially if it's important to the lender (being forgetful bites you in the butt sometimes)
  • Missing someone when all you can do to tell them is say 'I miss you' out loud and hope they hear you (sigh)
  • Waking up for something important 3 minutes before you're supposed to be there (usually when that event is 20 plus minutes and fa harried freshening up away)
  • Negative feelings towards someone you love (eventually passing doesn't make it any better)
I sure do. And others like them. But I've made cupcakes now and I'm on the up and up. Happy feelings and straight on til morning!


I have a crush

I have a crush on Marion Cotillard. In her family there's a mime, sculptor, ballerina, and fashion designer. How could she not grow up to be an amazing actress. She is the only French actress to ever receive an Academy Award (for a French film), she received a special 'Order or Arts and Letters' award from the French government for her contributions to French culture. She sings, she dances, she takes breaths away. She has sung with Franz Ferdinand and loves Radiohead. And to tie it all together, she is just adorable! Come, crush with me.

"I am totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks. everything which goes like 'bom! bom! bom!' i just ate all these things and it's happening right here right now."

Broken French is so cute. And so is the voluminous pouf, and 60's flipped out long hair. I want to be her best friend!

Just lovely. and haunting.

Somehow still so lovely. and wise.



It's dark now. And by now I mean 5pm. Okay, it's actually almost eleven now, but the sky looks just the same as it did five hours ago. I have officially entered winter hibernation patterns. I had forgotten about this whole nine or less hours of daylight thing since the last time I had a Seattle winter some eight years ago. Snow and inversion are a worse sort of enemy in my opinion and I'm glad to have left them in the hands of the skiers and snowbums who think it's a worthwhile price to pay for proximity to powder. But I have to admit, this darkness is more menacing than I remembered.

Every day about 3 pm, when the sun is bright and sometimes even has burned through the clouds for a nice bright blue sky, I make all sorts of plans for the night. A run [for my heart], errands [I'm out of contacts and the ones I have make my eyes burn], out with friends [they're probably not hibernating...right?], evening reading [my to-read pile is now 6 books high. I'm 18 pages into 'Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productvity.' It's good], and a little time on one of my projects of the moment [painting my new frames, finding photos for the frames, mastering the electric guitar, etc...].

What I forget every day is that by the time I get home, my run is doused in darkness and rain, and as are an motivation to do anything. Snacks for dinner means no cheap, healthy eftovers for tomorrow, which means another day at my new favorite restaurant, Deli Seoul, where I could get an egg salad sandwich, kimchee, and a donut all in one stop [if only I'd dare]. Every day, the sweet Korean man who runs the place sells me on the day's special, which is always bibimbap, while I hold up the line with my order. I swear I'm perpetually starving, but can't bring myself to fix a proper meal, instead opting for crap snacks and pretty much only the food I know my stomach hates. Maybe if I rounded out my diet, I wouldn't always feel like sleeping for 15 hours the second I walk in the door.

This week I started up a Netflix account. The $9.99 a month free streaming movies and mailed DVDs is actually a fulfillment of my New Year's Resolution to have a permanent enough address by the end of the year that I could justify signing up for something where I couldn't use my parent's address as a stand-in. I'm only in my apartment til March, but it's dark outside and I have apparently lost the will to move once the sun goes down. So movies it is.

I spent my first Netflix night and the following morning compulsively rating movies and being amazed that Netflix can usually guess my rating by within star. On a scale of 1-5 stars I guess that's not too impressive, but it's a fun game to play that doesn't require any movement or much thought. Good for winter. I now have a queue of 38 movies that I'm raring to watch. Most are in the Documentary or Drama categories because those are the movies I always feel compelled to watch but somehow are never in the mood for. Tonight I watched 'Love and Other Disasters' starring Brittany Murphy with an English accent so bad they had to write into the script that she grew up in America to explain it. 37 to go and I'm not even done rating yet. It's gonna be a good winter.

Maybe I'll go running in the morning when the sun is up?



If you have ever thought that you want to help change the world for the better but didn't know how best to do it, here's an opportunity. The Tipping Bucket helps teeny tiny non-profit organizations to raise money for a project. They have new projects regularly and since the fundraising target is usually just a few thousand dollars, every dollar counts.

I love their tagline, "Prove that NO ONE is too small to change the world." I'm not too small, you are not too small, these individuals with a passion for a cause and the will to change it are not too small. Right now, the Tipping Bucket is on the hotlist to win a $250,000 grant from Pepsi Refresh. Every day you can vote three ways:
  1. Online at www.refresheverything.com/tippingbucket

  2. Texting 104182 to 73774

  3. On Facebook!

Go vote. NOW!


Two to T..y..utah

I bought this round trip ticket to Utah the day after I arrived last time I was there, less than two weeks ago. I'll be honest, I grumbled about the inconvenient timing- just after a long weekend and smack dab in the middle of the work week- but how could I not come back? Napa and Dipu were coming to America and I HAD to be there. I met these all-stars back in '07 when, after months of learning with missionaries and fighting the law of chastity, the two finally moved out from their shared apartment and were baptized. Here's a pictures from Dipu's special day, specially decked out with Napa's feelings for the day, and ever since, as recorded on frequent Facebook posts. "We love Heavenly Father" was what empowered the two to finally move out even though they didn't know when they might ever be able to be married, as Dipu was an illegal refugee from Nepal and had no realistic way to get the correct paperwork.

(After busting through India, he rode stow-away style on a boat from Calcutta to Phuket, then bussed up to BKK. If that's not badass enough for you, once he was caught by immigration police and when asked his home country he reported Burma. Authorities rounded him and other Burmese refugees up and dumped them across the border, at which point he up and walked back, to meet his lovely Napa and subsequently the missionaries several years later. But I digress...)
After almost a year of baptism, Dipu somehow made it back to Nepal, shimmied out the paperwork he needed and hustled back to Bangkok to marry Napa. Since then, the two moved into Dipu's tailor shop (D & D Fashionway, if you're interested. High quality, low price!) to save money for a temple trip to Hong Kong. Here's meat dinner with them in April before I left Thailand, where they told me that since they found the gospel their "love only goes up and up".
Fast forward to October 5, 2010 and I'm with Napa again, this time in the Oquirrh Mountain temple, as her escort and quasi-translator (though her English is decent). After briefly explaining covenants we make with God in the temple, the temple matron asked if Napa had any questions. Napa's answer was simple: "I know. I know God. He know me. He love me." Yes, folks, it is that simple. The next day, I helped Napa into the wedding dress Dipu had made for her (in 24 hours!) and saw them sealed forever in the Salt Lake City temple.
Man alive, if that's not the most amazing experience a person can have, I don't know what is. First of all, Buddhism teaches that after death, the flame that lights the candle of our soul goes out (transferred to a new candle), never to be lit again. Although most Thais believe they will see their dead loved ones again, the Buddhist doctrine pretty clearly states that all these kinds of relationships are impermanent and will not carry on post-mortem. To see two people who, four years ago, had no idea that they could have their love go 'up and up' forever and ever, make a big fat step in that direction is positively mind-blowing. To know these people, the sacrifices they have made to get here, and the passion they have for this truth they have learned is a strength to me.

With the two sealings I have been to in the last couple weeks (the name-dropping sealer at Lauren's and the flighty sealer with Napa), I have been reminded of how important it is that we pay attention to the covenants we make. At baptism, we promise to obey God, He promises to be with us. As we increase in understanding of that most basic exchange of promises, we are ready to promise more. He is, in turn, ready and willing to give us more, give us everything if we're ready for it. The stakes are higher, the blessings more powerful. It is ultimately up to us how much heavenly goodness we want God to pour into our lives by how fully we choose to live up to our end of the bargain. A huge theme I heard in last week's conference was the importance of agency and that we choose our way to God's presence.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see Napa and Dipu make themselves available to all the best that heaven has to offer by stepping into God's temple and stepping up to His offer of all the blessings they could ever want. Now, I need to step back up as high as I can and choose to be one step closer to where I want to be.


Lazy Saturday

Saturday afternoon. It's the first day in weeks that I've had a sizable chunk of nowhere to be downtime. Plan was to get my life in order. Seize the day for all its bill-paying, errand-running potential and do some serious damage to my to do list. Instead, it's after 3 pm and I'm back in my bed, still in my nightgown, telling myself that I can't go shower until I go run and that I certainly can't go run just yet because it's raining outside. I slept in late but justified it by my recent jet set schedule and that I was up late dancing up a storm on the new (beta new) Kinect game Dance Central (nothing like this controller-free dance off to wear me out and make me feel great about my [lack of] coordination). The internet was down when I first woke up and by the time I had fixed it, I somehow made it through a Hallmark original movie, the latest episode of Grey's and several months worth of posts from this blog I Facebook post stumbled on- totally bizarre and so funny I was crying laughing, alone in my apartment, glad my roommate is gone for the weekend so I don't have to explain myself for the pathetic state I'm in at the moment. I did unpack from Utah Round Two (post on that once I get my act together), put away some laundry and managed at least a late breakfast.

oookkkaaaayyyy, rain won't stop me, it's time to get moving.....



The website invites you: Do the moo! Right now (and in the elevators) they are also inviting all to a Halloween Bash with a David Bowie tribute band. I'm thinking, David Bowie is weird enough on his own, he doesn't need a tribute band hamming it up on Halloween. All the same, I'm considering attending. Really, the Semiahmoo Resort is a lot classier than that. Plush couches, expensive oyster bar, and a happy Kami, strutting around in kitten heels and a silky brown pencil skirt. Talk about a power combo.

Semiahmoo is located on a little spit juuuust south of Canada. So just south, in fact, that I'm pretty sure a Major League pitcher could throw a ball and knock out one of the mounties patrolling the Peach Arch border crossing. In this map, A is Semiahmoo. B is Canada.


You can also see in the map that the spit upon which sits Semiahmoo resort is about the width of a road. And some rocky, better-than-California-golden-sand, Washington coast. This photo [link] barely captures the surprisingly glassy water against the faded background of mountains. I wasn't here at sunset, but rather the sky and water were that matching silvery white that people outside the Pacific Northwest don't really seem to get. Add in crisp fall air and you've got the reasons why this is my new favorite place.
I was here today at a conference for work. Attendees were mostly men, anxious to get the speaker's over with and the golf game started. I made some great headway on some work projects. And found the site for my future destination wedding/family reunion/weekend getaway. Why go to Canada, when you can do the moo?


You you you Utah

God bless Southwest Airlines and their free flight change policy. I rescheduled my original flight to the Rocky Mountains three times before settling on last weekend. Thursday night to Tuesday morning would surely be enough time to enjoy wedding festivities and the company of everyone else I love in Utah, right? Wrong.

I forget sometimes that I lived in Utah for some 6 odd years and that most of my friends from my time there are still there. The trip was much more of a whirlwind than I anticipated, so I'm summarizing here, mostly using my online banking as a reference.

**Dinner at the delicious Terra Mia with the always beautiful Katie (four cheese pizza and bruschetta were amazing and worth it, even with the stomach warfare they started). I'm lucky to have friends like Katie who I've known since forever and have such a history with. Someone who I can just pick up and be best friends no matter how long it has been since we have really talked last.

**Grey's Anatomy season premiere. Der is out of control. Mer is out of control. Christina should NOT marry Owen. Everyone is acting crazy but the dreamy therapist. Bring on Season 6!

**Many silly sleepovers with Brooke. Only one personal meltdown. I miss sharing a room with her for her bestie handling of both.

**I spent 30 minutes on campus. I'm proud of my BYU Alumni license plate frame, though I'm yet to fix it to my actual car but not so sure about the impulse Y Christmas ornament. I've been slowly accumulating Christmas ornament souvenirs from my trouncing around and thought this might be a good addition. I just wish it weren't so... blue.

**A whole day with Christie! Excessive boy talk. Laughing with her hilarious husband. Lemonade and a stroll down Provo Center street with her blonde and growing babies. And she made me a dress! From scratch! Made up the pattern and everything and I look like a total babe in it! I am constantly amazed at this woman's skiiillls as a wife, mother, homemaker and friend. When I grow up, I want to be just like Christie.

**Lauren's high-so wedding dinner at the Grand America. She's so lovely. Sadly, besides the friend of the groom who I may or may not have hooked up with a year or so ago, I didn't know a soul. The two married guys I sat between were friendly enough. I totally could have found my soul mate at the after party though! Sitting in the lounge, waiting for my ride because I'm a carless vagabond, in a dress made 4 hours earlier from DI sheets the lounge waitress came by to tell me that a stranger offered to buy me a drink. I declined, awkward and flustered, not knowing the proper etiquette in such a situation but soon regretted it. I was thirsty and could have used a free Shirley Temple from one of the 4 creeper males wandering around the lounge.

**I was saved by Melissa, who not only let me borrow her car for the deathly early sealing the next morning but let me sleep over and keep her up late with my tirades in her perfectly decorated room. I have the fondest memories of mission life with this girl. There is no one as thoughtful as her on earth.

**After Lauren's sealing (more on this later), I stalked down Sister Ang, my Cambodian companion's little sister who is serving on temple square. She is an almost twin with her sister (who I LOVE!) and her English is so good! Apparently, they recently changed sister missionary clothing rules- dark, mid-length skirts and collared shirts no longer required! Not that these rules affected my mission much, but I think the church is taking a step in the right direction. Next step: tank top G's!

**Raelle met me at temple square. We left for literally the best Khaw Phad (Thai fried rice) I have ever had (including in Thailand!) at Mai Thai on 300 W 1500 S in Salt Lake. The ginger dish was just okay. Raelle's baby is cute enough to be a Gerber baby and she's a cute little mom herself. We were going to head to the Relief Society broadcast after bopping around Gateway, but realized we left the tickets behind (oops!) so we hung out with Melanie instead. I walked out with some of her somehow stylish grandma clothes.

**Lauren's reception. Lovely. High strung lights, BBQ, live (perfect) music. The cake was not my favorite. But the peanut-butter balls were perfect. And the sparkler and lit lantern send-off was worth the wait.

**I pretty much made Jodi and Tyler make me waffles. They are so cute. Jodi was such a great roommate. The only one I ever had with my same shoe size.

**Sacrament meeting in a Belmont ward. People shouldn't knock these wards so much. It was a really good testimony meeting.

**I was going to try to escape home for a nap after sacrament meeting (sooooo tiiiirreeeed) but on my way out, ran into literally all of my favorite people from my last ward in Provo. People I had for the most part entirely forgotten about. Kristin who I blogstalk; Heather who I have no way to contact but love seeing; Dave who is just the best, my old home teacher just got engaged; the old EQP announced he's still not married (I haven't been gone that long); the old Exec. Secretary who I forgot I totally had a crush on; the guy who I would never date but has the most charming smile; people who I am not even Facebook friends with, but love! I ended up staying for more church. It was just what I needed.

**Stopped by the old house. No electricity or water but still felt like home. I loved that house.

**Drive up the canyon with Lisa on Monday. Utah is so beautiful this time of year. We took the lift up at Sundance (breathtaking, see photo above) and I made her take my to the Dodge's house. They were home (amazing luck) and we got to rehash our trip. That trip was so fun. I couldn't have picked a better travel partner. And my mission president and his wife are seriously such high quality people.

**Dinner with Lisa, Andy, Rachel and friends. Rach is just the best. If I were a guy, I would want to marry her. She and Krista even took me to the airport early early Tuesday morning.

**I caught the Link light rail from the airport straight to work. I will do this again. It's so easy.

Phew. This turned out way longer than I anticipated. Sadly, no pictures even to spice it up. It really was such a fabulous weekend.
Still, it's great to be home :)


Accidental Find

I went into TJ Maxx looking for gray boots (out), tried on 6 sweater dresses (none fit just right) and ended up seeing this jacket and trying it on en route to the cashier. Sometimes, you just know in an instant what will be your favorite pieces of clothing all winter. Warm and comfy, accessible pockets, double-breasted buttons from chin to (butt) cheeks, long enough arms, detachable hood, easy to match, easy to wash, easy to love!

The cashier asked me if I found what I was looking for. I told him no, but I'm much happier with my accidental find. Ready for winter!


New home

I know everyone thinks it's pretty cool to be 25 and living with your parents. Okay, that statement might be up for debate (though if you know my parents, it really isn't. My parents are cooler than I am), but apparently over half of 2010 grads (not that I am one of those yet) are living at home these days, thinking it's pretty cool. What is there to not love about little to no expenses and free nostalgia every day of the week? When I first got home, it was a serious party. With 10 of us crammed into literally every nook and cranny of the Knudson homestead, we were all wondering whatever happened to predictability and wishing we had Dave Coulier in the basement. I have had a thrill of a summer living at the base of Demery Hill in the room where I learned to read and not wet the bed but the time has come to reenter the world of paying for utilities and shopping for my own groceries.

I haven't been fo' real grocery shopping for something like 9 months now, what with the living at home, wandering around Asia and using up the last of my goods I have been doing since last November. I realized tonight that I'm not very good at it. A reminder for next time: Don't go on an empty stomach. If you're not sure if you are full enough for a grocery run, check your cart. If the to-buy items include Eggo's, Taquitos, or any kind of frozen burritos, go eat something and come back later. No, Kami, a donut from the bakery does not count, even if it has sprinkles. You always forget to pay for it at the register anyway. I swear it will be 15 empty stomach grocery-run sprinkled donuts that I accidentally stole that will keep me out of heaven.

After a good six laps around the Safeway with I'm sure the very worst selection of everything but butter, I finally made it out with a cart full of what I think will be useful food items. Lemon Zest Luna bars are disgusting, I have already learned. Hopefully how gross they are will not be indicative of the rest of my food choices.

I'm sure I'll miss morning crosswords with my dad and late night chats with my mom, and the occasional run-in I had with everyone else who lives at the house. But I'm sorry family, I got to work in 18 minutes this morning (during rush hour!) and there's no way you will ever compete with that. See you for Sunday dinner.... maybe.


At any time an invitation I can't decline

In the last month or so I have been feasting on the glories of Seattle summertime. Pictured here: My first NFL experience at a Seahawks pre-season game (I think I could really get into the whole live football thing); Pacific Science Center for Bite of Seattle, IMAX, and a Queen Laser Show (Yum, whoa, and ROCK ON!, respectively); Stanley Jordan Trio, an UNBELIEVABLY TALENTED touch-tap guitar player (it must be painful to have that much soul) at the oh so cool Dimitriou's Jazz Alley (I'm now on their email list); and a day flight and fresh seafood to Friday Harbor in a Cessna (seriously, what a dream. Seriously. A dream.).

Good food, good company, and in all these cases specifically, good weather! I can't be mad now that the gray skies are starting to settle. Perhaps gloomier days will persuade me to settle down a bit. I've got a lot to do!


Music videos that make me smile

I'm a sucker for a story. There are songs I didn't originally know/like but the music videos sold me and now I'm hooked!

I was the nerdy girl, I still sing and dance in my bedroom, and I like to think that the nice best friend neighbor wins sometimes. He was holding his I LOVE YOU sign the whole time!

Laughing talking on a park bench, hey isn't this easy. Whatcha doin with a girl like that? Why can't you see, you belong with meeeee

I talk myself out of everyone and love the idea of rushing back into giving it a try because who knows, maybe this time will be the exception. Loving Paramore's funky updo/jacket look.

Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream! You are the only exception

This song+video makes me cry.

I was counting on forever, now I'll never know. Everybody's saying he's not coming home now. This can't be happening to me. This is just a dream

Uncle Rob

It doesn't get much better than my Uncle Rob. He's handsome, charming, thoughtful, and a total hoot to be with. I grew up with Rob living at my house just a room or two over. I'll admit there were times in my teenage years when my handicapped uncle wasn't my favorite person. His seizure's scared me to bits and his nicknames drove me crazy. But as I have grown, it becomes more and more clear that people like Rob are what make this world beautiful. And really, Strawberry Jam Cakes is a great nickname. Rob's been living at my aunt's house down in NV for the last couple years so I don't see him much, but he's up this week for a visit. His birthday was a couple weeks ago so my family, as always, had an unspoken competition for who could get the best reaction out of Rob for birthday presents. I lose every year. Brent wins every year, this year with a Value Village big stuffed dog and Hawaiian shirt. Scottie's pop can to bottle converter was a close second. And my mom's bowling clock. I think I won once when I was in high school- a sweet lite-brite style desk lamp. The last birthday party we had for Rob was a Mexican Pirate Luau. Pretty tough to beat. But this week has been great. Today Rob and I had a date to the Sammamish Farmer's Market. Pulled pork sandwiches, toasted coconut ice cream and a walk through a lovely park in perfect weather, all with my favorite guy. He hates taking pictures; avoids them at all cost, but I got him to pose at least for a profile. How can you not love him!


Cheat List

The other day some friends were telling me about a website they created (nerd alert?), something along the lines of Marry, Kiss, Push off a cliff. I always played the game Date, Marry, One Night Stand. My version has its moral downsides, but it narrows things down quite a bit more. There are a lot of celebrities I'd happily push off a cliff, but very few I'd like to keep from on the cliff long enough to date, marry, or have a one night stand with. Without further ado, my list (subject to change)...

Date: Michael Vartan
While this looker seems to lack enough personality to keep around long term, he seems like the kind of guy who would pull out all the stops in the grand gesture, sweep you off your feet kind of way. I've got a thing for undercover agents. And apparently quasi-inappropriate teachers. And he speaks French!

Marry: Jesse Williams

I've only seen him in Grey's Anatomy and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants II, but what else do you need? Piercing eyes, hot bod, and what seems like a sense of humor. Yes please!

His face is shiny in literally every picture I can find of him online. I am willing to look past these minor imperfections to see him for what he truly is, a nude model/doctor who loves me.

Our children would be beyond beautiful. Plus, he used to be a teacher!

One Night Stand: Lenny Kravitz
Mmm hmmm
(And I Love this song)


Things I've learned from Carl and Ellie

0:07 Don't be afraid to kiss your man when you want to
0:18 Any girl can use tools, even in a dress
0:22 Cuffed jeans look great with flats, even if you're short
0:32 Life is better in color
0:37 I really do hate running up hill
0:39, 1:02, 3:54 Holding hands is great
1:02 I need to find me a good book, and maybe someone to talk about it with
1:16 Babies!
1:31 I hope I am fertile
1:37 Sometimes you just need to sit and feel the wind
1:56 A full life takes goals, and some of those goals should include adventure
2:08, 2:13, 2:17 Life happens.
2:26 I should learn how to tie a tie backwards, it can't be to hard
2:28 Gray hair is cute!
2:45 Oh, dancing by candlelight. If you want to do it when you're old, you should be doing it all along
3:10 There's not much worse than the realization of wasted time or a lost dream
3:24 Now I Really dislike hills
A life full of love is a life well-lived.


On the road again

As if the NW tour was not enough, a little party of 16 road tripped down to Seaside, OR this weekend to a quaint beach house. Bonfire, beach walking, hitting golf balls into the ocean, flying kites (my first time ever!), greasy food and fun.
You can tell I'm all sorts of excited about it


Olympic Peninsula (Days 3-5)

tAs three young, beautiful (weakling) ladies, we tried to take some basic precautions to keep safe and avoid creepers, psychos, and bears. Both Orcas Island and Deception Pass felt pretty safe and tame, but entering the Sol Duc Campground in the Olympic National Forest, we knew we had to be on guard. This was a Monday now, meaning the average (normal) weekend family campers were back home, leaving the true blue (read: a little odd) outdoorsmen in the wilderness. It didn't help that Sol Duc is the kind of forest where there is more moss on the trees than bark and the sky is anything but visible.

We ultimately nabbed a spot between families, not too far from the bathrooms but far enough from wilderness that bear threat was low to nothing. Just to be safe, though, we secured the cooler and any traces of crumbs in the back seat with the door locked. It was just after dark that this sweet beast of a van literally barreled down the lane and across the way from us. It doesn't get much more molester van than no windows, chipped edges and a 55 gallon water barrel bungee strapped to the roof.

It was only just before we turned in for the night that the horror realization came that the car keys were sitting inside the cooler lid. Locked. The marshmallow pokers were working great when we were disrupted by a chuckle coming in from the darkness. Mr. Creeper van himself, up close not so creepy (except for the chuckle and looming out of darkness). He was a poster boy for REI in a ginormous Patagonia puff coat (the puffiest), straight jaw, chin length hair under a beanie and those glasses that are really goggles, but you know, are glasses. He apologized for laughing and assured us that the ranger could help us out in the morning. Then off to the darkness. Really, a very nice guy. But I did still wake up in the middle of the night sure he was unzipping our tent to come murder us.

Come morning, we used our new friend's cracked-screen pay as you go Walmart cell phone to phone into the Ranger station for a Slim Jim. A good while later came this hunk, Ranger S. Bagocious to save the day. A quick Slim Jim later and we were in, but had to prove to the local authority that we weren't trying to steal the piece of crap car from the middle of the forest.

The officer first chided me for locking the keys in the car with no sympathy for our smart bear attack prevention. Then it came out that the registration is still in my dad's name. Does he even know you have this car? Uh, yes... I'm about to buy it and change the registration. Then, the dates came out and we realized that my tabs expired... 7 months ago (yes, we. I just noticed as well). And then that I didn't have my license (I lost it last week, I promise!). BUT I did have my passport!! (We were maybe going to jump up to Canada at some point)

Don't worry that Mr. Bag went through it page by page and asked me for details about the stamps in it. He made it to Laos once too, you know, and I think it's for that that he gave us the warning that policemen in the area would eat me alive if they found me, which they very well might because the locked car report went out over the radio. Lovely!

All the while, our friendly creepster neighbor sat squatting by his fire pit down the way watching the action. Every time the ranger went back to his oversize Suburban for paperwork he would amble over and mock us, usually postulating that women are biologically predisposed to lock keys in the car to attract strapping, young rangers. Men just aren't wired that way. He would wander away just as Ranger Bag returned for more (overly flirtatious at this point) chiding.

And finally we were on the road again! A long shower at the nearby Sol Duc hot springs gave us a new lease on life and we were on the road again.

Forks was totally creepy and 100% overrated (they have had a 600% increase in tourism due to Twilight. Crazy!)
but La Push was quite pretty.
Cape Flattery is the northwest corner of America and the ocean white with foam got me singing God Bless America all over again.
Then back to Sequim for a killer sunrise over the Dungeness spit and an idyllic day of picking lavender and berries. And lots of Indian sites!
We hit Poulsbo, a little Norwegian town, (where we saw an old man barely hit in a crosswalk and the entire police force show up to deal with the screaming wife and poor 16-year-old who just didn't look hard enough) and Bainbridge Island (where I unsuccessfully tried to do a drive-by of an old boyfriend's house) and finally Russ' house for a sunset over the East side before collapsing back at home.

I love my home!


Pacific Islanders (Days 1-2)

Brooke and Mary decided to come to Seattle, I don't remember why. Probably because I've realized that I'm going to be here for a while with no big hoopla traveling plans and that I've got to keep the spirit alive while I'm working on that whole career and responsibility thing, so I've been recruiting. Brooke owes me a visit from 7 years of friendship and Mary flies for free. Boom. We've got a party.

The party begins on Orcas Island. Well, really the party began in the Anacortes ferry line, which lasted at good 4 hours longer than promised and allowed for a rush tour of the 3 street city's finest antique shops, dingy diners and ocean-themed street decor. Then, the hour and half long ferry through the glorious San Juan Islands. Is it just me or are Friday evening ferry's always full of gruffly handsome island-mountain men? Well worth the $40 price tag for car and passenger if only for the scenery.

Last time I was on Orcas was 6th grade outdoor ed camp. 150+ pre-teens in a week of October rain is a good recipe for flushed cheeks and lungs full of fresh air adventure. This time there are 7 of us onboard and the sun is shining, and I expect nothing less.

Friday night we defied all laws of camping and satisfied my month-long craving of real deal beer battered fish and chips; salty and perfect, right from the ocean. In the morning we hiked up to the big viewpoint with a clear 360° of the San Juan Islands and Victoria, Canada over yonder. Seriously, what kind of world is this where there are people who have to stare at deserts or buildings for their whole lives. Pure deprivation.

And then we got on a little yacht and rode around the islands.

Totally normal. An awesome girl in my ward just happened to be at sea with her dad so we loaded up and cruised through the surprisingly chilly air, unsuccessfully whale-watching, but loving every minute. I had spent the morning talking up the beauty to two Arizonans who believed that AZ's natural beauty could hold a candle to this. SERVED!

The rest of the evening was spent just us three girls at Deception Pass. How this gem has been unknown to me my whole NW life is a mystery to me. The bridge at sunset is a kind of green-gold that merited our three simultaneous gasps of surprise from my little Escort as we wheeled around the corner. We weren't the only ones impressed, dreamer yogi (right) loved it too!

Sunday on Whidbey Island day meant one mission: Find the town where Practical Magic was filmed. Apparently, they painted Coupeville's whole "downtown" in different shades of white to give it that idyllic, small-town feel. The colors are back to normal now, but it's still got some pretty quaint magic going on. Plus, the young Dimitri from the Knead and Feed who made my day with Strawberry Rhubarb pie and stealing my heart. If only the floppy haircut and bumbling sweetness only an innocent 17-year-old can genuinely smile could find its way into my ward, perhaps a decade older.

Another ferry at Keystone (almost didn't make it on/off this one at least 3 times) and voila! We're on the Peninsula!!

To be continued...