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August 30, 2007


Vashon Island is, I think, the first place where I stood and actually thought, "Oooh, I'd like to buy a house here..." That was sometime over a year ago--not long, really. My friend Randy, another college friend, grew up on the island and bought a little place just down the beach from his parents' and his brother's places. The area is accessible only by foot path (there is parking nearby but no road to the houses), up against the forest with a narrow sandy beach out front. The island has decent access to both Seattle and Tacoma but Randy's place faces neither, so it feels a bit like being out in it while still having a metropolitan area just around the corner. I fell in love.

[Randy's place.]

[Randy's next-door neighbor's.]

We ran around the island in the morning (not literally, mind you), I cruised briefly in a sea kayak out in Randy's (and his neighbors') front yard, and when Randy went to a meeting in the afternoon I sat under the trees writing, taking pictures in the fading light, and contemplating life.

We ended the day with dinner and wine and conversation down facing the beach in front of a fire with Jean, Randy's next-door neighbor. Can't complain about that.

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August 27, 2007

Kitties Need Cleaning Too

Back in Redmond, it was nice to take part in some of the routine parts of my parents' lives. Although giving the cat a bath isn't exactly routine. I think they went years without bathing the boy, but he doesn't seem to do so well degreasing his back as he used to. So Mom got some warm water going in the bath and stuck him on in. He's one of those cats that is actually curious about water, so the ordeal wasn't so painful--except that he was done before we were.

Okay, not that you wanted an account of my parents' cat's bath, but I like this shot. So I wanted to post it. And say "so" a lot. So there.

[Clean and damp Tio.]

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August 25, 2007

Eugene for Rachel

My parents picked me up at Sue and Michael's on Friday on their way down from Seattle to Eugene. We'd all been invited to join in the festivities surrounding my dear college friend Rachel's wedding, and after my usual planning (or lack-thereof), I ended up crashing in my parents' hotel room in a fold-a-bed. Perfect.

My folks were particularly interested in checking out Eugene's farmers market on Saturday before the wedding. It's huge. I love Eugene.

[Vendor with his mobiles.]

Other college friends came down for the spectacle, and it was, as many weddings are, reunion as well as marriage celebration. I ditched my parents to sit with my buddies and their significant others.

[Heather, Jason, Karina, Emily, Reed, Conor, Jamie.]

[Rachel and her new hubby, Brian.]

After attending the farmers market and then the ceremony and then walking around the U. of Oregon campus, and ending the day at Rachel's parent's lush backyard for a bbq reception, I was sold on Eugene. And convinced that I may well move there.

[Whitties walking.]

Congratulations Rachel and Brian!

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August 24, 2007

Time with Sue

So of course two of my closest friends would end up having weddings on the exact same day. Sheesh. What were they thinking? Did anyone consult with me on this?

So, I had to compromise. I took the train to Portland on Thursday afternoon to meet up and stay the night with Sue, Michael, and my friend David who had just arrived from Bloomington.

Turns out, I made it just in time for Sue's 'girl party'.

[Sue toasts with her blue drink.]

On Friday, David and I volunteered to go pick dalias from a farm nearby.

[Future centerpieces.]

A great, but too-short, visit. I would have loved to been witness to Sue and Michael's ceremony and a participant in their party. Congratulations Michael and Sue!

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August 23, 2007

In the Land of Rain--When it was Sunny

After going part-time in August, I decided it was time for a trip home. Well, I knew it was time for a trip home--my good friend Rachel was getting married in Eugene, Oregon--but I decided it was time for a somewhat long trip home. So I hung out in the PNW for 2 1/2 weeks.

It was lovely.

I got in on Tuesday, and on Thursday Mom and I headed down to Seattle to take advantage of her two-for-one cupon at the Space Needle.

After lunch, we tooled around a garden in Seattle Center appreciating the flowers.

And then mosied back to Westlake, to hop on a bus back home.

[Detail of sculpture.]

At Westlake, for whatever reason, there was a sand sculpture event. Which is kind of funny because they had to, like, bring in the sand and stuff.

Ah, the city. It's good to be back.

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August 14, 2007

Not-so-soggy Boggy

That's right, I went back to the bog and it wasn't as bad. It has been pretty dry for the past month, so the bog was more like a damp sponge than a saturated sponge. This was nice. It also didn't rain on us in the field (just at night), which was fantastic. So we were able to get the remaining three sites in over the course of a day and a half, which is what I'd been hoping for.

[Flying over the bog.]

[Paul and Josh unloading the helicopter.]

[A finished site.]

[GPS antenna on a stick. Sort of.]

[Detail of the bog.]

[Bogwater streaming off the skids.]

[Helo pilot Chris and helo handyman Jeff, back at the hatcheries building.]

The mosquitos had, amazingly, subsided. In their place were a variety of flies.

[Some of the guys put up a screen over a screenless window the night of a windstorm, which then became a mass grave for flies...]

And spiders seem to have taken over the bog.

[A funnel-shaped web below dried-out pitcher plants. The pitcher plants are carnivorous, like venus flytraps.]

But the creepiest thing was the note I found on the enclosure box of the Lawn Site, which is in the middle of soggy nowhere...

[The Lawn Site behind the helicopter, middle of nowhere.]

[The note.]

????? A trick played by kids? An alien? Who would be out here, who *could* be out here? I thought of the places in the Ethiopian desert where the head scientist was sure no one ever went, but then the equipment was gone so he was obviously wrong... Were we wrong about this place, too?

Or could it be that Andy and Jay, two grad students from Rutgers we worked with last time, visited the Lawn Site after we'd finished with it, to do a survey of their own? Ah, sneaky. Gotta watch out for those Jersey boys.

Josh managed to calm down enough after I showed him the note to enjoy a beer at the hatch.

And I couldn't resist taking a few more evening shots of the hand-blown glass fishy receptacles.

Hooray to a job (mostly) finished.

Back in Minneapolis, Josh and his advisor Andy dropped me off at my friends Billy and Jess' house. I got to hang out with their two-and-a-half year old, Charlie, and meet none-month old Joey. They're both pretty darn cute. Here's Bill showing what gravity can do to his baby's cheeks.

It was fantastic to see them. We had dinner together last summer in Boulder when they came through, but this time seemed much more relaxed. We looked through Bill's pictures from our college study abroad in Costa Rica, which is how we know each other, and it's hard to believe we were ever that young. Were we ever that young? Time flies. And flies get stuck in the screen.

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August 3, 2007


I took some time off this past week, and where do you think I went? That's right! O-hi-o! Where else would I go?

Okay, seems strange, but there are some decent reasons for it.

First and foremost, I wanted to meet with a faculty member of The (I almost forgot the The) Ohio State University about some potential work/field work/project time. But then I also got to hang out with my friend Eric and head down to Cincinnati to see some extended family. All in all, quite a nice trip.

Eric and I started by stocking up his fridge with local-ish beer and not-so-local-ish margarita mix, christening his never-been-used blender, and trying out his porch swing. Then it was time for a trip down south.

We stopped just north of Yellow Springs (former home of Antioch, or I guess I should say home of former Antioch) on the way to Cincinnati to meet up with my Aunt Diana at a horse event. We missed seeing her ride, but got a tour of the cross-country course and of the history of the sport, and got to see a few of her students in the ring.

[Erin between jumps. Photo: Eric.]

Then, it was down south to my Aunt Beth and Uncle Ron's, where my Uncle Bill also met us for dinner. As usual, an entertaining event. Plus, we got to snack on (read: devour) some of my Uncle Ron's salsa and taste his homemade pickles, and then watch lightning bugs from their back deck overlooking a wooded valley. It's nice to be spoiled sometimes.

I was able to pass on the good vibe to Uncle Bill and Aunt Diana's pets, for which I took on the spoiled as a personal duty. Blackie, Gray, and their corgie Cali (not pictured).

[Blackie in the garden. Photo: Eric.]


The garden was the focus of Sunday morning's activities. Mostly, we just gazed at it from the front porch.

[Uncle's flowers.]

[Photo: Eric.]

And in the afternoon, we somehow motivated to head off to the other side of town to visit with the Berens family.

[Aunt Pat and I look up into the sun for a photo on the porch steps. Photo: Eric.]

[Cousin Scott's son, Simon, plays tag. Photo: Eric.]

[The gang. Photo: Eric.]

Oh yes, and I have red hair. Enough of that blonde thing. I was having too much fun.

We stayed yet another night at Aunt Diana and Uncle Bill's--this time we got to hang out with Aunt Diana, too, who was home from the horse competition.

[Photo: Eric.]

Then it was back up to Columbus and some work talk on Monday and Tuesday. It went fine, thanks, and I came back on Wednesday, and have been adjusting back to Colorado since then. I suppose I'll finish adjusting on Tuesday, when I head out to Minnesota.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY (today) to my mother!!!

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