Monday, November 30, 2009

Sleepless in Seattle

We started off this morning going to the big REI flagship store where I spent my annual dividend towards a replacement backpack for the one I had to toss in the trash at the Boise State football game. Love love love REI - almost as much as LL Bean (I'm an East coast boy at heart). I have to say, in some ways the big REI store is more impressive than the LL Bean store in Freeport, Maine. I'll be visiting that as well in a few weeks!

Goldfish took a picture of this Orthodox Church on our drive over to the company Seattle office.

We dropped by the company Seattle Office to say hello to coworkers we interact with daily but hardly ever see - great to see Karen, Kevin, Josh and Cindy! I had visited before but this was Goldfish's first visit to the mothership . . . . .
Goldfish standing by the rental - we learned a long time ago that when you don't need a rear seat, the little cars are always more fun. This little red rocket had a sport mode and red-lined at 7K. I think the 140 mph speedometer was a tad optimistic however . . . . . perfect for tooling around Seattle.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Pike Place Market. To islanders like us, the most amazing sights were not the seafood - it was the produce!! So fresh and cheap . . . Sis, I found the special almonds for you, I'll get them in the mail!

We spent the evening walking around, enjoying the sights and winding up at the Space Needle where we rode to the top and had a bite at the cafe.

Stained glass walrus at the Seattle Center.

Goldfish having a chai tea at the Space Needle observation deck. The balls that look like fireworks over the city are Christmas lights hung around the observation deck.

I love this view of the underside of the Needle - the tree branches make it look like a full moon - Goldfish's idea for the photo, she both smart and pretty . . . . .

Anyways, we've got to get up early in the morning for a flight to Washington DC. Goldfish is already sleeping like a good girl, trying to kick a really bad chest cold. Most of tomorrow we'll be in the air and getting settled into the DC apartment - cheers!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Arrival in Seattle

We're settled in to a pimped out room in the Marriott in Seattle for a couple nights - granite countertops, stainless appliances, a fireplace and still pretty reasonable - Goldfish is a good shopper. After a relaxing morning with Sis in Idaho, the flight and rental car pickup went off without a hitch and after checking out the room we headed to Bahama Breeze for dinner where I had an excellent seafood paella and Goldfish had an equally stellar chicken santiago. After that we hit the South Center Mall then took in yet another movie - this one shall remain nameless and unremarked upon as it was one I had been bugging Goldfish to go to and it turned out to be no so great - okay, it borderline sucked - I think she knew that going in but owed me one after I sat through Julia & Julia in Boise . . . . and no, Sis, it was not Ninja Assassins - that is still on my list!

Looks like back home the island is stormy - here it is 61 degrees, warmer than I expected but I'm not complaining. Tomorrow we have a pretty full day so it's off to soak in the tub and hit the hay, cheers!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day of Rest

Trevor, Megan and the grandkids were up early, heading back to North Dakota while the morning was still frosty. Trevor had to be back at work and Megan back in college on Monday; it was SO GREAT to see them - and we all really appreciate them driving 2400 miles to spend a couple days with family - crazy kids!

After seeing the kids off, we all went back to bed for awhile - hey, it's vacation! We had a very leisurely day, going to see two movies - The Surrogate with Bruce Willis (pretty good) and Blind Side with Sandra Bullock (fantastic). I'm sure we're not the only ones that hit the movie theater when off the island - we do enjoy snuggling and watching Netflixed movies when home on Unalaska, listening to the storm raging outside, but there is something about a movie theater that is still special. Four movies on the Idaho leg of vacation and still quite a few good ones opening over the next month while we're on the road - good times!

After the movies we had family time around the kitchen table, trading stories and lots of laughter. We have a lot of fun activities scheduled for our trip - a tour of the White House, Wicked on Broadway, Blue Man Group, Sting in concert, Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show, The Messiah, the Smithsonian, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, lots and lots of museums and monuments, things I'm forgetting and things we'll do on the spur of the moment - but nothing will be more special to us than time with family, laughing and love around the table while Brandon whips up us a batch of awesome guacamole, spending time with the kids and granddaughters. Christmas in Maine, and more family back in Anchorage . . . . . . we're sitting in the Boise airport, heading to Seattle for a couple days, and we miss you guys already! Lots of love - steve & goldfish

Friday, November 27, 2009

Very Full Day!

Great day of vacation today, we were on the run from morning until after midnight! First thing we headed out to Map Rock, a volcanic rock with some high quality petroglyphs that show all the hunting areas and clan demarkations in the Snake River valley. Discovered in 1870, they have somehow escaped any vandalism; there was a light rain falling at the time we visited so the glyphs really didn't show up well except on the dry side.

After that we went to see The Christmas Carol in 3D - definitely not an experience that will be available on the island any time soon. Then we went to Boise to The Discovery Center of Idaho where we all had a great time - the airstream floating the ball above was my favorite - I couldn't believe how far you could bend the air and the ball would still float.

Trevor and the granddaughter learning about the magic of green screen.

Building an arch - the girls loved knocking the arch down afterwards!

Static electricity deflecting a water stream.

Granddaughter #2 wasn't feeling well but did love this one, demonstrating I believe the Archimedes Screw principle. There were so many interactive displays we didn't even see a quarter of them. If we lived in the Boise area we would get the annual family membership for sure.

One granddaughter loved the bed of nails, the other one not so much . . . . .

This was a scaled down grocery store with working scanners, play money, and a full selection of fake groceries. I think the girls would still be there if we let them, and it was hilarious how serious they were about their shopping!

In the evening, Trevor and I went to see the Nevada Wolfpack play the Boise State Broncos in a sold out stadium of 33,000 crazed fans. Boise takes their undefeated football team VERY seriously, with NFL-level franchise devotion and tailgating going on. We went across the street to where Chili's had a beer garden set up, then attended the 44 - 33 trounching in 39 degree rain, a true football experience with ESPN broadcasting live. On the way home we were singing the praises of the very same heated seats in my sister's car that I had been mocking. It took awhile for our feet to thaw out and I'm sure we were border-line hypothermic but we had a great time.

And yes, that is snot running out of my nose . . . . . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Trevor and the girls made it here safe on their road trip from North Dakota and we had a great Thanksgiving! Above, my blind niece is working leather conditioner into her guide dog harness - she can't stand sitting and relaxing, so she's always keeping busy - she is a junior in college and I am so proud of her!
Here Trevor is working on putting together a cardboard punch out and assemble toy they got with a child's meal at Arby's. I don't know what fiendish marketing genius came up with the idea of turning a penny's worth of paper into 30 minutes of torture for lucky parents all over the world . . . . my granddaughter's interest in the Superman gave out WAY before Trevor and I got it put together . . . .

More fun with Daddy . . . .
And in the foreground is the new granddaughter I was meeting for the first time!
My nephew, long-suffering with the patience of a saint, coming out to play with the girls.
Goldfish with a lap full of granddaughters !
Brandon getting ready to deep fry the turkey - he is my niece's husband and is a genius cook, we were in good hands.

Here he is making up the stuffing . . . .

Inside the house the girls were cooking also, essentially two full kitchens at work. Looks like a visitor from Unalaska dropped by, a turkey sized king crab just about fitting in the oven.

Rule #37 of photography - you can't have two many pictures of sons or granddaughters!

In the pink is my son's wife, a true gem. I owe many thanks to her family back in the midwest for letting them drive to Idaho to meet us for Thanksgiving.

The crab is warm, time to eat!

We ended up with a ham, a deep fried turkey and a nine pound king crab on the table. Cheesy garlic potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, cranberry mold, stuffing, rolls and a few things I'm forgetting because my brain is shutting down from the second piece of pie. The one missing niece (she works in retail and has to be at work at 3:30 am tomorrow to kick off Black Friday and lives in Washington - miss you sweetie) sent these killer homemade pickles. We had a veggie platter and our usual dates w/ peanut butter rolled in powdered sugar (it's a transplanted East coast thing). Everything was amazing and I truly had so much to be thankful for as we held hands and I said grace. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, family and friends across the land!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Safe in Idaho

As soon as we got to my sisters we crashed hard and slept the sleep of the dead for four hours. I did get 45 minutes of sleep on the Seattle to Boise leg and a nap or two from Anchorage to Seattle but all the stress and excitement of getting ready for vacation had us both needing some rest.

This afternoon my niece and I played with the dogs in the backyard and now we baking pies and getting ready for tomorrow - Trevor and the girls have checked in from the road and are on schedule to arrive just in time for the feasting!

Cheers everyone, I'm going to make myself useful.