In which there was a bonfire

This will be a quick post, mostly because I want the pictures up because I love them so. A few weeks ago, Jeff and I went camping and it was horrible and rained, so we didn’t use the firewood we brought along. Since then it’s been rolling around the back of the Jeep and tonight we were able to finally burn it.

We headed out to Golden Gardens in Ballard to snag a fire ring right after work so we could get together with the Junior League girls in my small group and their menfolk. Can I just say how much I love these women? They are one of my favorite things about Seattle, hands down. I’m so fortunate we were brought together and given our little group name, The Bumblebees:

The Bumblebees #buzzbuzz

Six out of the nine Bumblebees #buzzbuzz

It was a good thing Jeff and I got there when we did because there were only two fire spots left, and we were able to get the one closer to the water. Someone even tried to come and latch on to ours before they knew we had a group coming (sorry Gus!). Since we were close by to the restaurant when we drove in, we had Paseo sandwiches for dinner before setting completely up. There would be pictures of those, but I ate mine too fast.

The weather started out cloudy, but started to clear around sunset.

The weather started out cloudy, but started to clear around sunset.

I love this beach

Kayaks and Sailboats. I love this beach.

We made s'mores and hotdogs and drank wine and beer.

We made s’mores and hotdogs and drank wine and beer…

Laughed

…laughed,

Talked and watched the sunset over the Sound

and talked and watched the sunset beyond the Sound and far distant Olympics: 

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Going…

...going...

…going…

..going...

..going…

..gone.

..gone.

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So thankful of the friendship of these wonderful women.

So thankful of the friendship and kindness of these wonderful women.

And sunsets and bonfires.

And sunsets and beaches and bonfires.

And good company.

And good love.

We lasted until 10:00pm, even though there was still some faint light peaking from behind the Olympics. Love Seattle summers.

We lasted until 10:00pm, even though there was still some faint light peaking from behind the Olympics. It’s only Tuesday after all.

Fun note: Jeff went to the car to get a lighter after I had forgotten it. Before he got back I actually had the fire going pretty well after finding an old ember in the coals of our pit, much to his surprise. To his credit, he adamantly acknowledges that I am the Boy Scout in our relationship.

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In which I catch up on random things I took pictures of

When finally getting back to posting on the blog I realized that I had taken a lot of random photos of how crazy life has been over the past few months. In between going to Boston, my brother visiting, a quick trip to San Francisco and finishing up the academic year, I managed to sneak a lot of other things in! Here is an update, mostly in pictures:

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I did some mentoring for the women of the Beta chapter of Delta Gamma at UW one evening. Basically I spoke about being a dentist and a scientist and the steps that got me to where I am.

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I don’t think of myself as old enough or experienced enough to be a mentor.. so I felt a little weird when they asked me to come speak. Turns out that 29 is a good enough age for someone who is trying to figure things out at 21; it’s a long 8 years of difference. I have felt kind of bad not being as an involved alumna as I could be. DG was an amazing part of my college experience and I still keep in touch with a lot of the Beta Thetas from Duke. One of whom I was chatting with the other day about feeling guilty for not helping out with the local chapter a lot because between two masters degree programs, a residency, Junior League, and trying to maintain some sanity there just wasn’t room. She graciously reminded me that DG would always be there, when I was ready. And that’s a really comforting thing to know. I hope that this is the beginning of my re-involvement with these dear sisters.

Peace Park - I saw this statue while walking to a rotation with Pediatrics the other day. It is a sculpture of Sadako Sasaki who was 2 years old when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. She later died of leukemia caused by the radiation and is a symbol of the innocent victims of war.

Peace Park – I saw this statue while walking to a rotation with Pediatrics the other day. It is a sculpture of Sadako Sasaki who was 2 years old when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. She later died of leukemia caused by the radiation and is a symbol of the innocent victims of war.

My lab experiments are going well! After taken a hiatus in June in collecting data, I'm back and hoping to make a large dent in the number of patients I enroll by the end of summer.

My lab experiments are going well! After taken a hiatus in June in collecting data, I’m back and hoping to make a large dent in the number of patients I enroll by the end of summer.

Getting ready to collect some data.

Getting ready to collect some data. Please note the camping head lamp I use in place of an actual dental lamp to see inside the mouth. We’re not fancy here.

I even presented my thesis data at the Society for Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research conference in Seattle in June.

I even presented my thesis data at the Society for Perinatal and Pediatric Epidemiology Research conference in Seattle in June.

The Junior League girls and I went on the Cycle Saloon - a large group bicycle you peddle as a group to visit different breweries in the Ballard area. http://thecyclesaloon.com

The Junior League girls and I went on the Cycle Saloon – a large group bicycle you peddle as a group to visit different breweries in the Ballard area. http://thecyclesaloon.com

One of my favorites was Stoup

One of my favorites was Stoup

It has a great indoor/outdoor space to taste their different brews

It has a great indoor/outdoor space to taste their different brews

Also, their glasses looked like small graduated cylinders which the nerd in me loved.

Also, their glasses looked like small graduated cylinders which the nerd in me loved.

Annie and I finished up the third and final class of biostats and with that our first year of the MPH program! Whoo! Here we are studying at Forza in Greenlake with the setting sun.

Annie and I finished up the third and final class of biostats and with that our first year of the MPH program! Whoo! Here we are studying at Forza in Greenlake with the setting sun.

I took a quiz the other day that was "How Seattle are you?" Answer: Very much. One of the questions was "Do you love your neighborhood and think it's better than all the other neighborhoods and defend it as such?" Yep, I love the Greenlake/Wallingford area a lot. How can you not with little cool libraries like this in neighbor's yards?

I took a quiz the other day that was “How Seattle are you?” Answer: Very much. One of the questions was “Do you love your neighborhood and think it’s better than all the other neighborhoods and defend it as such?” Yep, I love the Greenlake/Wallingford area a lot. How can you not with little cool libraries like this in neighbor’s yards?

And clever graffiti in the roundabouts?

And clever graffiti in the roundabouts?

And bars who take your picture for the wall because your little brother really wants to be a part of it? The Moon Temple even printed out an extra photo for me to send to Graham.

And bars who take your picture for the wall because your little brother really wants to be a part of it? The Moon Temple even printed out an extra photo for me to send to Graham.

We've been enjoying long sunsets. This was taken at 9:30pm. No filter.

We’ve been enjoying long sunsets. This was taken at 10:07pm. No filter.

I've also been enjoying great rotations down at Odessa Brown Children's Clinic near the International District. Not only is it great feeling like a pediatric dentist, but it's close to Saigon Deli, who has what the New York Times calls one of the best Bahn Mi (Vietnamese) sandwiches in the country.

I’ve also been enjoying great rotations down at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic near the International District. Not only is it great feeling like a pediatric dentist, but it’s close to Saigon Deli, who has what the New York Times calls one of the best Bahn Mi (Vietnamese) sandwiches in the country.

I'm no expert, but the flaky baguette and delicious fillings make me want to concur.

I’m no expert, but the flaky baguette and delicious fillings make me want to concur.

We've also been cook more: especially delicious lamb

We’ve also been cooking more:  delicious lamb form the farmer’s market

And making our own charcuterie plates (or "Adult Lunchables" as we refer to them as)

And making our own charcuterie plates (or “Adult Lunchables” as we refer to them as)

That about wraps up all the things I’ve been holding on to on the iPhone. Maybe this is a lesson to just publish small things instead of picture-vomitting them all up at once.

In which these are the last of the pictures from our trip

I know these are horribly out of order, but at least this completes the last of our pictures from our trip across the US last summer. After leaving Yellowstone we made our way north through Montana, stopping for the night in Helena (pronounced Hel-eh-na, not Hel-lee-na like I’d been saying my entire life in those name the capitol quizzes).

Official border crossing while leaving Yellowstone

More impressive state sign in Gardner, MT

We decided to check out the Lewis and Clark Brewing Company for dinner since 1) it was just down the road from our hotel and 2) like the yuppies we are, we’re fond of local breweries. The reviews online praised their beer and burgers, but when we got there they only had beer – no food except some popcorn and bar nuts. Also as a brewery they had some interesting rules:

Fortunately Helena had a great little pizza place just a block away and we filled up our bellies there instead.

Montana bills itself as one of the last great wildernesses in the contiguous United States and after spending much of the next day driving through it, the claim is pretty accurate. Despite being June it was cold and we spent hours driving without passing another car or building. I can only imagine the solitude here in the depths of winter.

Montana landscape

Our goal was to see Glacier National Park and drive its famous Going-To-The-Sun road as one of our final destinations before Seattle. We should’ve known that wasn’t going to happen when we stopped at a diner in West Glacier for some huckleberry pie and the only people there happened to be us and a park worker that said he started next week “at the beginning of the season”. My entire life I was somehow incorrect in counting June as a summer month – in Montana at least it is more of a late winter/early spring season.

We were some of the only tourists going into the park and one of the only rooms occupied in the Village Inn at Apgar. The Going-To-The-Sun road was closed due to snow and they hadn’t yet finished plowing it. I was pretty disappointed because I was looking forward to driving what has been called one of the most scenic roads in America, but we made the best of the evening and treated ourselves to a delicious meal at the nearby and nearly empty Lake McDonald lodge before retiring to our hotel room to hunker down under several blankets with the heater cranked on high.

View from our hotel window when we first checked into the the Inn

Lake McDonald – getting a glimpse of the peaks as the clouds moved out

 

Our first sighting that Glacier National Park has glaciers..

The next morning brought sunnier, clearer skies

The next morning we decided to drive the 10 miles of the Going-To-The-Sun road that were open to at least see a little of the park that we’d budgeted two days to explore.

Attempt as a self portrait from our hotel patio

The loyal Jeep

Lake McDonald

Since our ability to see more of Glacier was hampered by the snow fall we decided just to go ahead and drive to Seattle that day and end up there two days early.

To round out our road signs:

The day we drove in Washington was characteristically rainy – appropriate I think for our first time together in the Northwest.

Eastern Washington reminds me a lot of Kansas – flat and agricultural.

And that rounds out our trip across the US. If you ever have a chance to do it, go. We have a vast and diverse country. Travel on back roads as often as you can. Eat huckleberry pie from the dingiest diner you can find. Play all your favorite songs and listen to some new books. Pick a good co-pilot. Know that BLTs are best enjoyed at the local gas station/restaurant. Experience the areas you’ve only ever seen in books and on postcards. Do everything you’ve ever wanted – who knows when you’ll make your way there again.

And always keep in mind that the best part of the trip is the journey itself.

In which we watch the debate

I don’t care which side of the aisle you’re on, you know you’re old when you look forward to watching the presidential debate (and plan your week around it…).

Tonight we made stir fry  and followed along Obama and Romney with a few beers.

Also, you’ve got my support Big Bird and Mr. A. Snuffleupagus.

Mitt Romney mentioning “small business” basically accounted for 3/4 of our beer consumption.

In which there was no rain and there were no vampires.

After our gigantic kayak fail last weekend we decided to take a trip that left navigating water to the professionals. From our balcony we can see the glaciated tops of the Olympic Mountains and so today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and took a trip out to the Peninsula. Nothing like sunny day to inspire a trip to one of the rainiest spots on earth!

We left early and caught the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston – the first time I’ve ever driven my car on a boat!

As you can see, it was a little foggy. Looking through the windows of the boat you could see little more than a thin line dividing similarly colored heavens and water. This blank background made it easy to pick out orangey pink jellyfish floating in the sound and we briefly giggled at a passing otter that Jeff spotted.

Once on the Peninsula we drove west, a direction that after the past month or so we thought we had run out of. This took us through the town of Forks of Twilight fame. Lots of kitsch, but no vampires – maybe because by this time the sun had come out.

(and no we didn’t go on the tour – I like being married and I’m pretty sure forcing Jeff on the Twilight tour would have ruined this good thing we have going)

 There isn’t a whole lot on the Olympic Peninsula; it boils down to mostly a big chunk of inhabitable rugged mountains making up the Olympic National Park in the middle circumnavigated by the 101, a highway that starts up here and goes all the way down to the East Los Angeles Interchange (the world’s busiest highway interchange, btw). The 101 took us past Lake Crescent on our way to the Western entrance to the Hoh Rainforest.

It was really pretty, really blue and really clear

 We finally made it to the Hoh Rainforest in the Olympic National Park around lunchtime. Yay for our America The Beautiful pass for getting us in for free (we’d broken even on buying it at Glacier National Park but now we’re saving money on it!). This is the rainiest spot in the continental US, averaging 150 inches of rain a year – that’s 12.5 feet! From our visit you’d never know it though because it was gorgeous and sunny.

Phone booth!

We walked the brief Hall of Mosses trail which looked like it was straight out of the Dagobah system.

Many massive trees!

In a temperate rainforest there is a lot of moss

This was a skinny tree

Trees growing out of trees!

Massive trees and moss!

Little blurry, but that’s what you get with the auto timer

After lots of green and sunshine to recharge my soul, we headed back to Seattle on a much clearer ferry ride with great views of Puget Sound.

My car – ON A BOAT!
(i was wearing flippie floppies)

Good day trip 😀

After a long day of driving all over creation we settled into a nice chicken dinner at home and past episodes of The Office.

So today’s lesson: sometimes there is no rain in the alleged rainforest and when it’s sunny there are no vampires in Forks.

Also we found Twilight beer at our corner market and thought it was an appropriate end to a day spent visiting Forks.

Jeff saw this picture on my phone right after I took it and immediately said

“Well you won”.
“Won what?”
“Won Instagram.”
“What?”
“You took a picture of an ironic picture of an ironic Twilight beer (which was probably already ironically named) with Instagram while in Seattle. If that doesn’t win I don’t know what does.”

So I drank one for winning. And it was delicious. The End.