In which we took a day trip to Mount Rainier

You know you’re going to miss a place when you can go on a random Thursday afternoon road trip with your awesome neighbors to say goodbye to your favorite mountain.

It started off cloudy

It started off cloudy

We stopped at the Box Canyon on the way - it was such a steep and narrow drop that a picture doesn't adequately encompass it.

We stopped at the Box Canyon on the way – it was such a steep and narrow drop that a picture doesn’t adequately encompass it.

We hiked the short Grove of the Patriarchs that we think should be renamed - or at least get us our own Matriarch Grove.

We hiked the short Grove of the Patriarchs that we think should be renamed – or at least get us our own Matriarch Grove.

The trail was short, but full of giants.

The trail was short, but full of giants.

And required crossing a cool bridge.

And required crossing a cool bridge.

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There were plenty of photos taken, but none do it complete justice.

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Anna's water bottle to commemorate her first time at Mount Rainier matches mine.

Anna’s water bottle to commemorate her first time at Mount Rainier matches mine.

The largest trees had a built walkway around them.

The largest trees had a built walkway around them.

You couldn't help but look UP.

You couldn’t help but look UP.

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Giants.

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So lucky.

Is this real life? Is this Thursday?

Is this real life? Is this Thursday?

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When we emerged from the forest we caught our first glimpse of the Mountain. She had been obscured by clouds all day.

When we emerged from the forest we caught our first glimpse of the Mountain. She had been obscured by clouds all day.

See?! She is SO BIG!

See?! She is SO BIG!

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I have amazing friends

I have amazing friends

After stopping at all the view points, we popped into the Paradise Visitor’s Center. Seattle may be getting ready to slide into the sea in the coming Big Earthquake, but we’re safe if Rainier erupts:

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The clouds obscured the summit before we were done - so we headed home.

The clouds obscured the summit before we were done – so we headed home.

I will miss this Mountain and all her beauty. I will miss my dear friends. I will miss all of this so much. But how lucky am I that I have so much good to miss?

I will miss this Mountain and all her beauty. I will miss my dear friends. I will miss all of this so much. But how lucky am I that I have so many amazing things to miss?

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In which there are a few more pictures from Sol Duc

Just a few more pictures:

Taken by a man we met at a viewpoint along Crescent Lake

Panoramic taken by a man we met at a viewpoint along Crescent Lake

This poem has been reminding me about our trip this past week:

Give me a land of boughs in leaf
A land of trees that stand;
Where trees are fallen there is grief;
I love no leafless land.

-A.E. Housman

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Seriously, I will take trees any day. I love no leafless land either Housman.

In which I glamp with the neighbors

Glamping is the portmanteau of glamorous camping. And my new favorite thing, or at least the RV version of it. Until now I’ve always experienced the outdoors under the thin cloth of a tent, but after tasting the civilization in the wilderness that is wine, cheese, Trader Joe’s appetizers, an actual mattress and a heated, dry place to sleep, glamping might be my new thing. This past weekend I went with my friend-neighbors Anna and Mary out to the Sol Duc area of Olympic National Park – an absolutely gorgeous corner of Washington state. Even the drive out was breathtaking:

Crescent Lake

Crescent Lake

Fog lifting briefly off the road

Fog lifting briefly off the road

Gary the Mann took our picture by the side of the road.

Gary the Mann took our picture by the side of the road.

The next morning after setting up camp we decided to make an easy hike up to the Sol Duc Falls. We started in a light mist that progressed to heavier rain.

Starting out

Starting out

And then, was that snow? And then, omg snow! So much of it!

Covering the trailhead in a winter wonderland.

Covering the trailhead in a winter wonderland.

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What do you get when you mix a rain forest with snow? A mossy, cold wonderland:

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The falls were fairly close to the trail head – good thing, because we were cold and wet at this point:

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Overlooking the water

Opposite side of the falls

Opposite side of the falls

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Close up of the falls

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So cold – let’s go to the hot springs!

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Bridge over the river

Lunch was sandwiches complemented by bacon jerky and prosecco eaten under a 1938 shelter built by the CCC - galloping at its finest.

Lunch was sandwiches complemented by bacon jerky and prosecco eaten under a 1938 shelter built by the CCC – glamping at its finest.

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I wish I could show you how large this forest feels. The greenery is overpowering and my neck was constantly looking too far up to grasp it all. It overwhelms you what tiny, tiny creatures we are in this forest; how small we are on this planet:

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Mary and Anna

Anna and I

Anna and I

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You can tell you're almost back to the springs by the sulfur smell in the air

You can tell you’re almost back to the springs by the sulfur smell in the air

After our hike we spent some time in the hot springs that Sol Duc is famous for. I never quite got a picture since I did not want to take my camera, but here is a picture from the website:

The large pool in the background was 53oF (cold!!!), the smaller ones closer were in the between 98oF and 103oF.

The large pool in the background was 53oF (cold!!!), the smaller ones closer were in the between 98oF and 103oF. It was fun to soak while it snowed and then jump in between to get the circulation going.

All too soon we had to get home.

Kingston-Edmonds ferry.

Kingston-Edmonds ferry.

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When you wave goodbye to the mountains off the back of the ferry – the fact that you’ve had to travel over land and sea to get there combined with their perpetual misty cloak, makes the Olympics seem like a forbidden land unlike any other.

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Here’s to many more adventures with these two!

In which we Burned the Man (again)

Wow – how long has it been since I’ve updated this thing? Between hunting for jobs, finishing up the last remaining residency requirements, conference season and successfully defending my thesis (yay!), I’ve been a bit busy. Here’s the beginning of an attempt to catch up!

Jeff and I were so fortunate to go to Burning Man again in 2014. I’m not sure what 2015 hold for us, so our plans to return to Black Rock City may have to take a small hiatus, but we’ll see. Our camp, Camp No Plan, named for the fact that we were taking only one virgin with us and none of us had adequate time or resources to plan something elaborate, was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for better companions. It was an amazing time, as I suspect it always is.

Our car - as clean as we'll be for the next week at some rest stop in Oregon

Our car – as clean as we’ll be for the next week at some rest stop in Oregon

To begin with – the drive down from Washington, through remote parts of Oregon and across the tip of Northern California into the Nevada desert is absolutely breathtaking. Jeff, Anna, Alyssa our virgin, and I left out Saturday mid-morning with the trailer and made it all the way to Klamath Falls, OR the first day.

We had spectacular views of Mount Hood outside Portland

We had spectacular views of Mount Hood outside Portland

We drove down through Bend in what I can only describe as desolate volcano country. It's eerily empty and beautiful.

We drove down through Bend in what I can only describe as desolate volcano country. It’s eerily empty and beautiful.

After a night in Klammath and the annual trip to the Fred Meyer to stock up on last minute supplies, we decided to try to a night approach to the line. That meant leaving Klammath in late afternoon so we hit the line entering Gerlach just perfectly at sunset. Our dear Jeep is running strong, but no one wants to sit in a hot, dusty line in the blazing heat without any air conditioning. This also mean we had fantastic “golden hour” shots of some of my favorite landscapes along the way:

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This is what the drive looks like from the backseat from Anna’s camera

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Always good to take a look back and make sure the trailer is still attached..

We hit the line around sunset and made it almost to the gate at around midnight. It ended up that we were three cars behind the gate when the fireworks began to celebrate the official opening of the event – so close! After we made it through, we found some of our friends camped in a great spot (9 o’clock and E) who offered us space. We had to decide at that point if we were going to set up camp in the dark or go out exploring – exploring won the day.

I got to hold this 30 seconds after our group making that decision:

A giant ballon string filled with tiny LED lights. Photo by David Hays from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dav1d/4979419103/

A giant ballon string filled with tiny LED lights. Photo by David Hays from here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dav1d/4979419103/

Slightly terrifying – it’s all your childhood nightmares of letting go of a balloon multiplied by 1000 – but it’s tethered to a harness, so the chances of that happening are slim.

The other half of our group had planned to come the following day, so we went in search of some of our other friends but couldn’t find their camp. We have a tradition of meeting at the far side of the Temple at sunrise in the mornings as as the sky began to lighten we gave up our search and headed there. The playa was unusually quiet, but we chalked that up to it being still early on the first day. Unknown to us the gate had been closed because of rain which turned the gigantic prehistoric lake bed into an oozing sticky clay. We hardly saw anyone as we approached the Temple, but as we rounded to the other side we saw a small group of people standing under a “Finish Line” art piece/sign. Our friends! Some of whom we hadn’t seen since last year!

Finish Line art installation at sunrise

Finish Line art installation at sunrise. Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Our friends! Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Our friends! I’m in the leopard coat and neon green backpack. 
Photo credit: Alex Cahn

Catching up with old friends and drinking champagne - just like how all mornings should start.

Catching up with old friends and drinking champagne – just like how all mornings should start.

We all went to Robot Heart afterwards and got to dance to the smallest gathering there all week - it was great! Like having the best party place all to yourself. I also got to drink bloody marys with the owner which was awesome.

We all went to Robot Heart afterwards and got to dance to the smallest gathering there all week – it was great! Like having the best party place all to yourself. I also got to drink bloody marys with the owner which was awesome.

For comparison, this is what Robot Heart normally looks like at sunrise:

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Crowded, fun, chaos with great beats

After being up for 36 hours Jeff and I somehow managed to make it back across the playa in a rain storm, put up our yurt and crawl inside to sleep. Typical Burning Man. The other half of our camp managed to get in early Tuesday morning after being hampered by closed gates and rain.

Random pictures of excursions into the playa:

Biking down the 9 o'clock street

Biking down the 9 o’clock street

Climbing brightly lit plexiglass sculptures.

Climbing brightly lit plexiglass sculptures.

Watching the sunrise in front of a laser-cut wooden gorgeous Temple

Watching the sunrise in front of a laser-cut wooden gorgeous Temple

Hanging out with friends in a huge net-hammock seat.

Hanging out with friends in a huge net-hammock seat.

Comparing beard lengths

Comparing beard lengths

Dressing as Jeff with a beard - he was only slightly amused. I didn't keep it on for long because it was too hot!

Dressing as Jeff with a beard – he was only slightly amused. I didn’t keep it on for long because it was too hot!

Beard reprisal.

Beard reprisal.

Beard buddies

Beard buddies

Night adventures

Night adventures

Giant crocodile art installation

Giant crocodile art installation

Biking down a path towards the temple

Biking down a path towards the temple

Open playa

The Man - the tallest one they've ever built

The Man – the tallest one they’ve ever built

It was hard to get him into my lens

It was hard to get him into my lens

Surrounded by souks in the spirit of the Caravansary theme.

Surrounded by souks in the spirit of the Caravansary theme.

The Canadians filled their souk with useful items for rent.

The Canadians filled their souk with useful items for rent.

Meeting in front of the temple to drink champagne and watch the sunrise

Meeting in front of the temple to drink champagne and watch the sunrise

The Embrace sculpture you could go up into!

The Embrace sculpture you could go up into!

Looking through paper books in the library

Looking through paper books in the library

Getting ready to go out - camp style

Getting ready to go out – camp style

Because Burning Man is the only place a bear hat, hot pink tutu, geometric tights, moccasin boots and a leopard fur coat don't look out of place together.

Because Burning Man is the only place a bear hat, hot pink tutu, geometric tights, moccasin boots and a leopard fur coat don’t look out of place together.

My camera broke early on, so most of these pictures are stolen from Anna, Mary, Hannah and Alex. I was sad at the time, but it allowed me to truly live in the moment of being there. All too soon the week came to the final close and it was time to burn the Man:

Burn night

Burn night

Dusty burn night

Dusty burn night

Goodbye Man!

Goodbye Man!

Dusty friends

Dusty friends

We took one last shot of the best No Plan Camp ever…

Ben, Amy, Yoni, Alyssa,

Ben, Amy, Yoni, Alyssa, Anna, Mary, Jeff and I

…and headed home:

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Writing this post now so many months removed and just trying to spill all the pictures into place I’m remiss on too many things from that time to put on here. Burning Man stretches you to all the limits you knew you had and exposes you to new ones – I always come back in a weird state of refreshment and exhaustion and with a renewed hope in humanity.

This year I felt like I knew what I was doing (to the best you ever can); was integral to our (no) plan camp in ways I could’ve have been last year; and immersed myself in the community more (one morning I was one-handed biking through a dust storm, eating an Uncrustable sandwich on three hours of sleep to get to a volunteer shift at the airport and kind of felt completely normal about that). I hope life has many more Burns in store for us in the future.

In which I go to San Francisco for 48 hours

The only person we knew we moved out here was Symon, our friend from Duke. He was in Jeff’s fraternity and I was actually in class with him eight years ago when he stepped out to take the call from Microsoft offering him a job. When I came out for the pedo interview I met him and his girlfriend Ashley for a lovely lunch at Wild Ginger downtown, fresh off the plane from the East Coast. She was immediately welcoming, so sweet and so kind; I couldn’t have imagined a better partner for Symon. In my jet lagged haze I remember telling them what a long shot it was for Jeff and I to match here. They were hopeful that it would happen, but I realistically wasn’t so sure. He was one of the first people we told besides our parents after the results came out, which made for a sweet reunion when they came for our wedding in March.

How often do you have a picture from the first day you met someone? Meeting Ashley after a lovely lunch with her and Symon in the Market just before my interview.

How often do you have a picture from the first day you met someone? Meeting Ashley after a lovely lunch with her and Symon in the Market just before my interview. Ugh, at the Original Starbucks like the tourist I was.. I didn’t know at the time if I’d ever be back!

Since we’ve been here Symon and Ashley have helped us settle in so well. I am forever indebted to them both for taking us in, giving us a sense of community, taking us to Burning Man and introducing us to some of the most lovable people on the planet. They have given us our first urban family and we could not be more thankful. So last January when they decided to get married, we could not have been happier for them. The wedding is in August here in Seattle. To celebrate, I was honored to go to Ashely’s bachelorette party in San Francisco, my first time to the city, but definitely not my last:

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Our group outside of a great row house we stayed in

I was fortunate to have the expertise of those who had visited San Fran before me – Ashley had gone to college there and many others had visited countless times. I was just along for the wild, fun ride. The first night we started with an awesome show and dinner at Asia SF:

Red Carpet action

Red Carpet action: Theme of the night – Pink and Black

Dinner with the girls

Dinner with the girls

Ashley with the performers - so much fun!

Ashley with the performers – so much fun!

Myself, Brea and Mel.

Myself, Brea and Mel.

Toasting the bride!

Toasting the bride!

From then on it was lots of dancing in the Castro and sleeping in the next morning.

The only SF touristy thing I did was visit the Haight and Ashbury street districts with a bunch of other girls

The only SF touristy thing I did was visit the Haight and Ashbury street districts with a bunch of other girls

Of course the clock there is always stuck at 4:20..

Of course the clock there is always stuck at 4:20..

We replenished ourselves with giant burgers and bowls of delicious punch

We replenished ourselves with giant burgers and bowls of delicious punch before heading out to another night of fun.

First time trying fake eyelashes - holy Batman they were long!

First time trying fake eyelashes – holy Batman they were long!

Sunday, we had plenty of time to walk around before our flights left that evening so we went to the farmer’s market for brunch:

Anna and I outside Urbana, an adorable, declines restaurant that opened out into the farmer's market. Great scenery all around.

Anna and I outside La Urbana, an adorable, delicious Mexican restaurant whose patio opened out into the farmer’s market. Great scenery all around. By the way, this totally looks like it could be an awesome album cover if I was in anyway musical.

We walked around the neighborhood, window shopping and eating delicious treats

We walked around the neighborhood, window shopping and eating delicious treats

Deep graffiti on the walls..

This city seems to have profound graffiti on all the walls..

And settled down to enjoy the sunshine and some champagne near the Painted Ladies (of Full House opening credits fame).

And ending up settled down to enjoy the sunshine, some Cards Against Humanity and champagne near the Painted Ladies (of Full House opening credits fame).

All too soon we were headed back to Seattle as the infamous San Francisco fog rolled in:

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So excited to celebrate Symon and Ashley in August!

In which it’s beginning to feel like Thanksgiving

How is it mostly through November already? When planning things I’ve felt like Thanksgiving has been a moving target and now all of a sudden its snuck up on me and will be here next.week. Bring on the sweet potatoes, cranberry apple casserole and heaping loads of ham and tryptophan! I can tell it’s close, my heart is constantly swelling with gratitude and happiness.

A brief update:

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I’ve been on my cardiology rotation at SCH. So thankful there are heart docs out there because every time they asked me if I could hear the murmur I just kind of had to nod, smile and trust their judgement that it was there. I’ll stick with things I can see (like teeth), thank you.

We had some sunshine! And it's projected to go through the weekend!

We had some sunshine! And it’s projected to go through the weekend! But seriously, this fall hasn’t been as bad as last year and I’m very thankful for that (but it still doesn’t stop me from wanting to snap a picture of it though).

I wandered over to the main section of UW's campus for a talk by the esteemed Amy Cuddy. Her TED talk is here and it's worth a listen: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

I wandered over to the main section of UW’s campus for a talk by the esteemed Amy Cuddy. Her TED talk is here and it’s worth a listen: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

Suzzallo library on main campus makes me homesick for a certain Gothic Wonderland

Suzzallo library on main campus makes me simultaneously homesick and warmed my heart for reminding me about a certain Gothic Wonderland. Also Duke football is AMAZING!

This season is one of my favorite. Good food. Gratefulness. Fall smells. It’s just delicious. My dear mother instilled a solid sense of civic mindedness in us and since I can remember I’ve loved having opportunities to volunteer. My schedule recently hasn’t allowed me the flexibility to go exotic places or take part in large scale projects, but that’s the nice thing about giving, it can be done very well in your own backyard in very small amounts. You could argue that that just may be the best kind of volunteering.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 12.08.23 AMI joined the Junior League of Seattle this year as a Provisional and so far the experience has an amazing outlet for me. My mom was in Junior League in Knoxville once upon a time and I have cousins in the Memphis league. Far from being the petty organization portrayed in The Help, for me, it’s the perfect combination of fellowship with wonderful women and easy packaged opportunities to do good. On Saturday I helped out with a work crew at Green Plate Special installing their new garden space in Rainier Valley Seattle. They’re an organization that specializes in curriculum based food growing and cooking skills for middle schoolers. My public health heart just swooned.

Freshly dug carrots

Freshly dug carrots

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They’ve just moved to a fantastic new facility. We helped disassemble parts of the old garden and set up the new (pictured here

Seeds ready for planting.

Seeds ready for planting.

They asked us to do a crazy picture.. and um, this is what we came up with.

They asked us to do a crazy picture.. and um, this is what we came up with.

Also, sadly without pictures because I’m a dunce and forgot; Jeff and I got to catch up with our friend Rebecca Fairchild while she was in Seattle for work. On Friday we took her to one of my favorite places in Belltown, Local 360, and got a chance to reminisce about the 10 or so odd years it’s been since we were all freshman together in Bassett. Thanks for a fun evening Rebecca! And it was nice to meet your sweet friend Jen too! So because I sucked and didn’t get pictures, here’s some throwbacks:

Rebecca, Kuppy and I senior year at Duke

Rebecca, Kuppy and I senior year at Duke

Rebecca and I top row left, freshman dorm powderpuff football

Rebecca and I top row left, freshman dorm powderpuff football

In which I took the month of August off

Whoops. I meant to update this thing. Summer is here is so wonderful and short that after work I want to go relish it instead of writing. Our days are so long – 18 hours of sunlight! and I know that the rains are acomin’, it’s been great. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y'all!

Enjoying time with my Aunt Teresa and Uncle Larry who came to visit once on their way to a fabulous Alaskan cruise and once on their way back to Nashville. Loved seeing y’all!

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

We took them to Golden Gardens for a picnic with Paseo sandwiches on the Sound.

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

And to all the touristy things downtown, like the gross Gum Wall in Post Ally. Yuck! Come back to Hotel Sarvas anytime!!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

Enjoying runs around Greenlake in the evenings (and not getting my phone stolen again)!

And beautiful sunsets on Tom's boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies' stadium from the water.

And beautiful sunsets on Tom’s boat on Lake Washington. This is the UW Huskies’ stadium from the water.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Pretending I have a boat and a dog, because I not so secretly want both.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Checking out cool Seattle landmarks like the Elliot Bay bookstore in Capitol Hill.

Eating Molly Moon's ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Eating Molly Moon’s ice cream. Strawberry balsamic is my new favorite flavor.

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Finally getting the hang of being Seattleites and bringing our reusable grocery bags to the store five times in a row!

Spending more time at Seattle Children's Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days.

Spending more time at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the OR for long and rewarding days

Celebrating co-resident's children's birthdays with cupcakes and sunshine.

Celebrating co-resident’s children’s birthdays with cupcakes, new books and sunshine.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Branching out of our usual neighborhood restaurants to indulge in duck burger sliders at Tilth.

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

Meeting up with old friends from North Carolina and showing them Gas Works Park. Thanks for visiting Melanie and Jeremy!

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Melanie and I worked on a dust mite study in North Carolina from 2007-2008. We probably logged over 5000 miles driving around the Triangle getting lost and collecting dust from people’s homes. At the time we both wanted to go on to dental and physician assistant school and shared in each other’s stress of applying and then triumphs of getting interviews and acceptances. Later we shared our engagements and then weddings. It’s been so great living this dream with you, even from afar! Come back to Seattle soon!

Jeff and I just returned from our camping trip in Nevada and as soon as I’m able to shake the dust off of everything and collect myself from that amazing experience, I’ll get some pictures of that up too.