Monday, October 29, 2007


Hi everyone in blog-land! Yes, I'm still alive and well... enjoying a few days up north, in fact! I'm at June and Joel's house, and have been having a great time. I have some good pictures to show you, but they're on my computer, and I'm not able to get online with it here, so I can use June and Joel's computer, but don't have my pictures on it, and forgot my flash drive.... Don't worry, you'll get to see them soon, I hope!

In these last few days "off", I've gotten to see my cousin Tim, Mount Rainier (up close and in person, on a clear day!), my friends Traci and Beth, June and Joel, other cousins Kent and Scott and their wives, Snohomish (cute shops!), Deception Pass, Mukilteo and Everett. Tomorrow's a full day as well, so by the time I get to Puyallup tomorrow night to work on Thursday, I should have a ton of pictures to post!

I'm still so thankful I've gotten to do as much as I have, but looking at that list, I think "no wonder I'm tired!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gig Harbor

Today I got to spend some time with red-headed little boys! My cousin Brent and his family live just outside of Gig Harbor, which is not too far away from Puyallup. Brent is actually my second-cousin, but in our family we're all just cousins. I got to know Brent and Sarah a little better at the family reunion in July, along with their boys J and T. What a great family!

Sarah and I have been looking forward to spending some time together while I'm in the area, and today was our first chance. On my way to their home, I got to see a pretty clear picture of the mountain, so of course I had to stop and take a picture:

I think it's so interesting to see just that one cloud hanging out at the top of the mountain. I bet it looked really amazing at the National Park today!

I got to spend some fun time chatting with Sarah and J, while T finished up his nap. Once he woke up, we all went into Gig Harbor for a little while. I hadn't ever been there before (only driven by) so it was fun to see this quaint little sea-side town! I definitely want to go back again and wander in and out of all the little shops. It looked like some great antique stores were around!
I also wish I knew someone with a sailboat! The sailboats were a little bigger here than the ones I've gotten to use on Pickeral Lake!

We also had some little boys along that had fun watching the boats, and the kayakers who were just coming in. I think they could've watched and watched and watched...

On our walk along the water, we got to see something pretty unusual. There was a family of four deer right in town! They were eating the flower beds of a house that was right along the main road, with lots of cars going by. We were pretty sure they'd end up getting hurt, but as far as we saw, they stayed off the road. You can see all four in this picture, the buck, doe, and two babies. Pretty cool!

Here are mom and boys on our walk:

Thanks to Brent and Sarah, J and T, for the fun day and for sharing your beautiful home with me!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pike Place Market

I finally got to Pike Place Market! This is one of my favorite places in Seattle, a place I always make sure to visit while I'm in town. It's hard to believe it took me 3 1/2 weeks to get there! I met up with June (my mom's cousin) and we walked around, saw the fish-throwers, looked at all the great little shops, and had Fish and Chips at the restaurant that's in "Sleepless in Seattle". It's the restaurant I usually try to eat in (if I'm not going to Ivar's on the waterfront) because it's good food, and I like Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan! It's the place where Tom Hanks and Rob Reiner sat and discussed Tom's love life. While walking around, I also decided to buy two watercolor prints that I REALLY enjoy, a slab of salmon to cook up at home, and a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers that only cost $5.00! I love farmer's markets, and especially all the great colors from the fruit/veggie stands, and the flower stands.

This is a picture that's often turned into a postcard, but usually when there's more flowers out at that particular stand.

On my way home, I got to see an ENTIRE rainbow, but in the short time it took to whip out my camera, a cloud covered part of it. I also realized that it became a double-rainbow, but couldn't get a good picture of that. Thanks, God, for keeping your promise to us all these years!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Q Cafe

Tonight I went to the Q Cafe in Seattle. It's a coffee shop sponsored by Quest Church in the north Seattle area.

I was there to see my cousin, Scott, as he painted for the audience while a concert was going on. You can learn more about his experiential art at the link on the side, Scott's Transpire Project. It was pretty amazing to see these two canvasses that started out basically blank, and ended up being some amazing pictures. I enjoy looking at art, but there's something really incredible about watching it unfold.

The evening started out with a FUN surprise! My friend, Dave, was there to start out the evening with a short concert of some great songs that he's written. He and I went to high school together (we were both in student council!) but then had the chance to hang out even more when he, Scott and Allen did a few things for Youth Ministries when I worked there. They're a great group of guys, and it was really fun to reconnect tonight. Dave's a high school history teacher in the area, and a very talented musician. I've had a link on the side to a website that he (admittedly) hasn't updated in a few years, but he said tonight that he's on myspace, so I'm going to look for that.

Thanks for your friendship, and the fun evening!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday, Mom!

It's my mom's birthday today. Let's all wish her a Happy Birthday!! Here are a few pictures I've found in my computer. She's usually the one behind the camera, so it can be hard to find a picture of her! I've gotten kicked offline 4 times while trying to post this, so I'm just going to go with what I have, instead of finding any different pictures. I wish I had my old photo albums here, along with a scanner, and then we could really have some fun!

I love you, Mom. Thanks for loving me and the rest of our family! Enjoy the photo montage!

Meeting her grandson for the first time:

With Julie at a Mother/Daughter Tea:

With a few of her cousins that were able to make it to Jamie and Krista's wedding:

With my cousin, Heather, on a trip to Oklahoma:

Proof that my mom danced the Chicken Dance at Jamie and Krista's wedding!:

My mom and I have attended the Inspiration Point Bible Camp quilt retreat together since 2001. It was really hard to know we'd miss it this year!

Walking around at IPBC during a break at the retreat:

Dad and Mom at my Fergus house for Christmas:

Her only "Bear Story" during all our time in Montana this summer:

With Penny and I at Flathead Lake this summer:

Have a great birthday, Mom!!

Beach Video

Here's a video I shot on my last morning at the ocean. I had tried a few others, but, well.... I need some work on my directing skills. My shoes had gotten pretty soaked the day before in the rain, so while they dried okay overnight, I didn't want to repeat walking around in wet feet! [This video shows when I'm previewing it, but not once I actually publish it. Any suggestions?]

Olympic National Park -Lake Quinault (Day 3)

Wednesday morning, the 10th, I awoke ready for a new day, but sad that it was my last at Olympic National Park. It had been such a great vacation, that it was hard to leave! One great thing is how close it is to Puyallup, so I'm hoping to get back there again.

I did a last little walk on the beach before I left Kalaloch. Then I drove to Lake Quinault and had a wonderful lunch overlooking the lake. It was beautiful, and very calm and serene. After hiking along the lake for a little while, I left for home. I knew people said it wasn't far, but I didn't really know what to expect. Well, it only took 2 1/2 hours to get home, and that was with some traffic by Olympia. Looks like I'm close enough to go back sometime!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Olympic National Park -The Ocean (Day 2)

I love the ocean! After leaving Lake Crescent on Tuesday morning, I headed straight for the coast. I had thought about stopping at Sol Duc, but the weather was iffy and I didn't want to miss getting to hike to some of the beaches. I started at the northern end and went to Rialto Beach first. There was one woman just leaving, so then I was the only one on the whole beach, and felt like I was the first person to ever walk there. I love that feeling, even though I know it's false!

Many of the beaches along the coast have "stacks", which are pretty self-explanatory. Big rocks all stacked up, sticking out of the ocean. Rialto Beach was first, then heading south are First, Second, and Third Beach. Those all require a hike and I had heard Second Beach was the best, so that's where I went. Beautiful! I got there as the tide was heading out, and could wander around a bit.

Next I had to get back to the main road, and this is when I went to the Hoh Rainforest. By this time it was really raining hard (not just the easy mist that I've experienced so far in WA) and I walked around a bit but kept getting more and more wet.

I went to Ruby Beach next, where I ended up getting completely drenched in the rain and wind, but the beach itself was beautiful... so it was worth being cold! Next time I need to wear something other than jeans! There were some neat rock formations here, so I'd love to explore again on a warmer or drier day... or wear waterproof wind pants!

Heading south from Ruby Beach is when I got to Kalaloch Lodge, which is a lodge right on the ocean where I had made reservations. Again, I was so thankful for good advice from ladies at the women's retreat! I had hoped to plan my day to watch the sunset at the beach, but with all the clouds, wind, and rain, I had given up on that idea. Well, just as I was pulling into the lodge, the clouds broke open a bit and I could see hints of yellow. By the time I finished checking in, I realized I was in for a real treat and headed straight for the beach. It was a beautiful evening! I got to chat with a family from Seattle who tried to walk out to some of the rocks, but couldn't make it when high tide started coming in. They were drenched too! Then, as the sun was going down I went into the gazebo for a picture and met a man in his late 60's who works for the National Park Service and has worked at 15 different parks. He's ended up staying here for a few years because he loves it so much, and he gave lots of great hints of things to see next time!

The lodge itself was great, right on the ocean. Because I had only made reservations that morning, the only thing left (besides the $250 cabins!) was a cabin that was back a little farther, had two bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and would be great for a family staying a few days who wanted a good home-base. I'd recommend it! Next time I'll call earlier and get a hotel-style room in the lodge with an ocean view. It was really nice to spread out in some space, though, and have a little kitchen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Olympic National Park -Lake Crescent (Day 1-2)

After leaving Elwha, I arrived at Lake Crescent Lodge. This is where some ladies at the retreat suggested I stay, and I'm SO glad I did! It was a beautiful spot. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Lake McDonald in Glacier, and it had a similar feel to Lake McDonald Lodge. I checked in and found that I actually had a little cabin for the night. It was GREAT! I even had my own little porch with chairs -one of them was a rocking chair -that looked right out onto the lake! I had made dinner reservations, so while I waited for that, I walked along the shoreline for a bit. I met a couple from Portland and ended up talking for quite a while to a guy that had just retired after 24 years in the Army. He took a little trip to the area as a sort of retirement celebration. He and his family have lived all over, and it was fun to compare stories of places we've each seen. He's the only other person I've met who's been to the top of the Seoul Tower in Korea, and it was fun to swap stories!

I'm SO glad I had made reservations for dinner, because it was FABULOUS! I have been waiting and waiting for a really good salmon dinner since I moved to WA, and decided this was the place. Well, I sure wasn't disappointed! Mmmmm..... my mouth is still watering! I highly recommend staying in this lodge sometime, but if you can't do that, at least eat a meal on your way through!

The next morning turned out to be pretty cloudy and rainy. I had been planning that during the day I would get to the rainforest, but I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't miss out on seeing stuff if a storm rolled in. You see, Olympic National Park is actually three parks in one. There's the mountains, the rainforest, and the ocean that are all distinct areas within the park. I talked to someone at the desk and found out that the trails right around Lake Crescent looked just like the trails I'd find in the more famous area, the Hoh Rainforest. So, I took some time to walk around in the rain, which turned out to be a good thing. I did get to the Hoh forest later on, but it was raining HARD, and was getting really windy. It turns out that only one of my pictures turned out because of all the raindrops in the way or the picture was blurry because I couldn't hold the camera straight! So, I'm glad I spent some time in the forest before I left Lake Crescent!

Olympic National Park -Elwha (Day 1)

After Hurricane Ridge, I drove to my next destination, Elwha. I was told it was a beautiful river canyon area, and that it has some incredible sights. That was true! There's a dam along the river that I found out is going to be torn down in a few years. The Glines Canyon Dam is 210 feet tall and HUGE! From where the water was being funneled out from the top, down to the river below, was a LONG way down! I guess there's been a long dream of getting the salmon back up into the canyon, which means the dam needs to go, and that's obviously a long process of diverting water, etc.... We'll have to watch for this in the news in the next few years.

One thing I love about National Parks is getting to meet people. This drive is where I kept running into Hal, a guy in his 60's from Port Angeles who comes to the park on his days off. We kept stopping at the same places (I would take pictures, he was bird-watching) and he was really nice to tell me more about what I was seeing. I also met a couple from Spokane who came to the area just to stay at a hotel he had heard about. It's an old train, and each room is a renovated box-car! He loves trains and had always wanted to stay there! How great!

The last thing I did before leaving the Elwha area, was hike to the waterfall near the entrance. WOW!!!! It was amazing! Very beautiful!

Olympic National Park -Hurricane Ridge (Day 1)

On Monday morning I left Port Townsend and headed towards Olympic National Park. I decided to just drive right through the towns of Sequim and Port Angeles, because I couldn't wait to get to the park. I love National Parks!

Olympic National Park is beautiful! I wasn't really sure what to expect when I went, but I got to learn a lot along the way. I first went to Port Angeles Visitor Center to pick up maps and ask questions. It turns out that was a good thing to do, because the other visitor centers were closed for the season, except for a few weekend dates. They recommended right away to head towards Hurricane Ridge, especially since it was a clear day. It's a 17-mile great drive right up the mountain. By the way, Dad and Uncle Jim, I'm glad I got the 6-cylinder Rav-4 because it handled the mountain very easily! At the top of Hurricane Ridge is a great spot to see the mountainous parts of the park. There are also a few trails that I explored. It was only 29 degrees out at the top, so it was good to hike and warm up a bit, but I didn't mind getting back into the warm car at the end!

In the pictures, you can see Mount Olympus on the left side of the main picture, with a wide glacier between it's top points, and then on the right side of the picture, at the other glacier, is Mount Carrie.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm back!

Hi everyone! I just got back into Puyallup. I came back today, since I have to work tomorrow. Yup, that's right. Contrary to popular belief, I do actually have to work while I'm in Washington! It turns out that 12-hour shifts are pretty great, though, because then I only need three a week. In some weeks, I might work my three shifts at the beginning of the week, then again the end of the next week, and have all those days off in between. I'm hoping for a few of those kinds of schedules!

I started sorting through my pictures, and it turns out that it might take a little while. I was blessed to be in such great places that I have way more pictures than what you might want to see... I go crazy when it comes to taking lots of shots! Keep checking back for updated posts, which I'm going to start working on right now.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Port Townsend

After the retreat, I drove to Port Townsend, WA. It's a quaint little seaside town with many Victorian homes, and great little shops along the waterfront. I spent the afternoon going in and out of all the little shops, which is easy to do when you know you won't buy anything (having such a packed car is coming in handy!). Then I took some time driving around to see all the great architecture of the houses. Many of them are pretty amazing!

I checked into The Tides Inn on the waterfront, and found this view from my balcony:

(You know my love of sepia tones!)

I felt like I made the right hotel choice! When I looked a little later, here's what I saw:

Sunsets are one of my favorite things! They always look prettier with clouds, and here in WA there is no lack of clouds! In this next picture, you'll see my hotel. I was taking the pictures from a balcony similar to what you see.

At the back side of the hotel I saw this lighthouse (another love of mine) and thought the lighting behind it was pretty amazing.

Well, I had no idea what was to come! This one is a little blurry because of how windy it got. My hand couldn't stay still!

I'm going to take off in the morning for Olympic National Park, so more pictures to follow! I'm hoping to stay at Lake Cresent Lodge tomorrow night and Kalaloch Lodge on Tuesday night. Most places are getting better with having wi-fi, so I hope to update each day, but maybe I'll just be so busy I'll crash into bed each night!

Pacific Northwest Women's Retreat

I was so blessed this weekend! I got to enjoy attending the CLB Pacific Northwest Women's Retreat, and had a wonderful time! God used this time to really speak to me where I'm at, and I feel like the speaker, Carly, was talking just to me. I heard a few other women say that as well, and I love it when God does that!

It was also really fun to see some friends who attended. I'm fortunate to know quite a few people in the WA/OR area, and many of them were able to be there, or had mom's who were at the retreat. It was really fun to talk with a few people who read this blog regularly (you know who you are!!) and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them during these next few months!

On Saturday evening, we were blessed to have a former missionary to Japan update us on some of our current missionaries in both Asia and Africa. She read some letters that the missionary wives had written, that were really from their heart -talking about struggles and praises, and keeping the faith in the midst of all that. I've gotten to hear many missionary talks over the years, and I have to say I was especially blessed on Saturday night. Well, just as she was finishing up, the bagpipe group that was also at the retreat center serenaded us with some incredible music! We knew that they were at the same place, but we really hadn't heard them at all yet. Well, they marched around and came to our meeting room at the EXACT right time and played "Amazing Grace" for us. It was so fitting! I quick grabbed my camera and took the following video. I didn't realize until after I started it, that I couldn't zoom in while I was recording. Sorry about that. The video is about two minutes long. It took a REALLY long time to upload, but I'm hoping that it's because of this hotel's internet access speed, and that you won't have any problems. If so, I might not be able to correct it for a few days, so bear with me!

When they finished playing, we all felt like it was a special gift from God, at just the right time. Thanks, God!

On Saturday afternoon there was some free time, so June and I went into Poulsbo for a few hours. Very fun! When I left MN, I wasn't sure if I'd find other Norwegians except family, but this is a cute little Scandanavian town, so I felt right at home. In fact, in a few different stores, I felt like I was wandering around the Nordic Galleri. Someone in Fergus please tell Arne that!

Thanks to those of you that suggested I attend the retreat this weekend, I'm SO glad I did!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mount Rainier National Park

From the moment I arrived in Puyallup, I've wanted to go to Mount Rainier National Park. Today I got that chance! It's only 43 miles from my door to the entrance to the park, and the drive is beautiful. I knew that Puyallup is on the edge of the Seattle metropolitan area, but it really is only 5-10 miles south of me that there's farmland. Well, at least hobby farms with big yards that have horses. The fall colors along the drive were wonderful.

I knew that it was supposed to rain today, but when I was getting ready this morning, there was a little sun peaking through, so I thought I might be lucky. Well, as I was driving, the sky got really gray and the rains started. I contemplated turning around, but quickly decided that I'd keep going, because there's always stuff to see and I'm not about to let a little rain stop me! The closer I got to the park, the more fog was around and I knew I wouldn't get to see any of the mountain.

At the Longmire Visitor's Center I heard it was snowing along the route to the bigger Visitor's Center at Paradise. A few people were turning around, but I'm from Minnesota and I wanted to test out my new 4-wheel drive! It turned out to be snowing quite a bit (some pictures didn't turn out because of all the snowflakes in the way!) but was warm enough to just have slush on the road, not ice.

Even with all the fog and snow, it really was an incredible day. Very beautiful all in its own right. I didn't get to see the stuff I imagined (like the mountain!) when I thought about going to the park, but I'm so glad I got to see what I did. Now I'm just waiting for a clear day to go back again! I purchased that National Park Pass so now I can get into any National Park without paying any more for one year, along with anyone else that's in a car with me. So, let me know when you want to tag along!

An update for this weekend is that I'm going to head to the Women's Retreat for the LB's Pacific Northwest district! I'll work Thursday night, then sleep for a little on Friday. Then, the retreat is Friday through Sunday at a camp on the western peninsula, so I'll just head out on my trip from there! This will be a GREAT way to spend some time with friends, and I'll still get to see what I wanted to! Thanks for all the fun tips on stuff to see. I'm still not exactly sure just what I'll do, but I'll be sure to post pictures and let you know what I decided!