Thursday, August 13, 2015

Weekend in WA

So, my brother had a baby a few weeks ago.  Well, his wife is the one who gave birth.  THEY had a baby.  Anyway, so I wanted to go visit.  I proposed a weekend, and my dad said that was a great time to visit because the airplane's annual inspection was expiring, and he hadn't been able to get an appointment for a few weeks, so we should head up Thursday so they could fly Friday before it expired at midnight.  Then my brother said that weekend wouldn't be good if we wanted to see him, because he was working a swing shift, then a day shift, then a midnight shift all in a row, with only enough hours off in between them to sleep.  But I was also planning to visit again a few weeks later, so the plane thing tipped the scales toward going.  I asked for Friday off work and asked to bring Nathan to work on Thursday.  My co-worker had to leave early for something, and my boss and I were just sitting there in the quiet, and he suggested I just go ahead and leave.  We got out of there about 25 minutes early.

And up on the mountain pass between Bend and Portland, where they're doing blasting (presumably to widen the road, or at least the shoulders, or something), they were going to have the road closed for an hour to do some blasting.  And we made it through there exactly 25 minutes before they closed it.  Woo!

We had a quick dinner at Chipotle in Gresham (still don't have one of those in Bend), and made it to my dad's house around 10 p.m.  We chatted a while, then went to bed.

Friday we got up and had a leisurely breakfast, then headed to my brother's house to meet the baby and set plans for the day/weekend.  I got to hold Mason a little bit.  He was sound asleep and didn't even stir.  The plan was for my dad and Nathan to head to the airport for a bit of flying.  My brother would meet them after their flight to take Nathan himself before heading for work, then they'd come back for me (I'd be hanging out at my dad's house) and we'd go to Eric's and Ying's for dinner, though Eric would be at work.  Her parents were there from Thailand, as well as Ying's brother and sister-in-law, who live with them, and they wanted to cook a big Thai dinner for us, even if Eric couldn't be there.


Gotta love little baby toes!

Part of what we talked about was possibly going swimming on Saturday, and both Nathan and I forgot to bring any swimsuits, so when they headed to the airport, I headed to Wal-Mart to look for some.  Of course, who buys swimsuits in August when it's actually hot?  They were well into back-to-school mode (and probably only days away from Halloween displays), with the selection of swimsuits having been picked over back when they were first displayed in probably March, so it took some searching, but I finally found a swimsuit bottom that would work for me, and I'd wear my exercise bra (thick, lots of coverage, and black) as a top, and I found a pair of shorts for Nathan, but they weren't swim trunks.  I headed home and knitted a while on a blanket I was working on for Mason.  I'd started it when I first heard the news that they were expecting, then in the heat of summer had kind of slacked off and needed to get it finished now that he was here.

Dad and Nathan got back about the time that they had agreed Eric would meet them at the airport--apparently Eric was feeling too sick to fly, and had begged off.  So now with quite a bit of time ahead of us before we were expected for dinner, we decided to go swimming now.  It was the weekend of SeaFair, a huge event in the Seattle area, with hydroplane races and Blue Angels flyovers, and it was HOT, so the first park we went to was full, as my dad expected, but we continued on and found another park along the shore of Lake Washington to swim.  The water was full of "seaweed," but it was cool and refreshing.  We swam for a while, then headed back home and changed into dry clothes for dinner.  

I got to see and hold Mason again, and he was AWAKE this time, which was awesome.  

He was actually much more interested in looking at my dad than looking at me.  We speculated it could be because grandpa looks a lot like daddy, but maybe it's more about the distance he can focus at right now.  Who knows...

There we go--a little eye contact!

We had a lovely dinner--they made fried tofu and left the chicken out of a mixed vegetable dish that usually has it so I'd have plenty to eat, plus made a shrimp dish that Dad said was delicious, and some yummy sauce.  I could've filled up on just rice and that sauce and been perfectly happy, but everything was good.  And bonus surprise, Eric was sick enough to get out of work way early, and was there to hang out with us, too.  We had a nice evening hanging out in their backyard.  Eric and Ying have done a lot of work to make a nice sanctuary back there--a large patio with a future brick pizza oven, large outdoor kitchen with a sink and BBQ and gas burners and a lot of counter space, a large roof area, etc.  It's wonderful, and very much reminiscent of Ying's parents' house (and many houses) in Thailand, with a huge focus on outdoor living, though of course that's not pratical nearly as many days of the year in Washington, though they're have an awesome summer for it now!  I got a few bug bites, but it was worth it.

Saturday, Eric had to work most of the day, so there were no plans to go over there.  So we decided to spend the day focused on swimming, and I asked if we could also bring Radar (my dad's dog) along.  Radar is an adorable mutt, probably the largest portion of his breeding is Chow--he's VERY fluffy.  My dad had gotten him shaved relatively recently, but he still seemed really hot, so I thought he might enjoy a day of hanging out near/in water.  My dad had taken him once before and he wasn't very interested in swimming, but I thought maybe with the heat it might be a little more incentive.  :-)

So the plan was to first head to a dog park with swimming access, then to a more people-focus (yet still with dogs allowed) swimming spot after that.  We went to Marymoor Off-Leash Dog Park.  Wow, they're not kidding about it being doggie Disneyland.  If you live or visit anywhere in the greater Puget Sound Area (okay, at least the greater Seattle area), and have a dog you like at least a little bit, you HAVE to take him or her to this park.  It is absolutely HUGE, and has water access for fetching/swimming in the water.  We pulled up and parked, and I was surprised that while it's an off-leash dog area, it doesn't have the usual double-gated entry point.  It was mostly fenced, but had just gaps in the fences instead of actual gates.  So if you have a dog likely to bolt, I guess you're on your own to keep it on leash until well into the park and leash up again before getting near the "gates."  Radar was fine, though, so he was off leash from the get-go and never strayed far.  He loved romping through the dry grass while we moseyed along the trails, and he especially loved meeting all the other dogs out there, from giant Great Danes to tiny Chihuauas and everything in between.  Radar is always a happy, expressive dog, but I swear he was grinning ear to ear.  

However, when we got to the water access point, he wasn't nearly so impressed.  Dad and I were wearing sandals, so we waded in to try to encourage him (he doesn't really fetch, so that wasn't going to entice him).  At first, he tried stepping anywhere BUT the water.  He'd get close, and step out onto a stepping-stone or two, but didn't want to touch the water.  Then eventually he put a toe in the water, but was not impressed and tried escaping up, out of the water under the fence (which luckily had a chicken wire fence behind it, so he couldn't go far).  He ended up slipping and falling into the water.  Oops!  But it did the trick on breaking the tension anyway, and he went in a LITTLE more willingly after that.  However, he was VERY tentative--always watching his step, sure that any change in the footing was his certain doom, and he clearly was not enjoying it.  He wandered around near Dad for a little bit, then told us he was done, as he wandered out of the water and off down the path sniffing dogs and such.

(Not my photo, snagged it from the internets)
We wandered off after him, and discovered that in addition to this entry point, there were THREE more, for a total of four.  Most of the others were wider, and they all had gravel and erosion protection, though most weren't as shaded as this one.  We tried again to get him to go in, and Dad and I were hot enough that we actually went swimming ourselves.  It turns out that even though the entry side of the "slough" (it's the Sammamish slough, but that word makes me think of grossly slow-flowing water, and this was too river-like to be called that, in my opinion) is shallow, and stays that way for a while, it gets pretty darn deep very quickly toward the middle.  We swam, but Radar was not interested in getting any more than his feet and legs wet.  Oh well.

We left the water area and wandered back through the trails through the dry grass again, then back to the car.  We stopped at a radio-controlled airport area, though no one was flying.  That park is HUGE and has a lot of different activities.  From there, we hit the highway and drove on non-freeway highways and backroads toward our next destination, stopping first in North Bend for lunch.  We had Radar with us, so looked for a place with outdoor seating.  We spotted one, and I hopped out to ask if they allowed dogs near the patio seating.  They allowed him not only NEAR the eating area, but right in there with us.  He sat under the table, greeting everyone who walked by (including the servers, who couldn't have been nicer about having him there--they even gave him some ice water in a stainless steel container).  The lunch was awesome, and then we hit the road for a few more minutes...

...ending up at Rattlesnake Lake.  There's a pretty arduous trail up onto a ridge there--we could see people up at the top on a little bitty rock outcropping.  Dad had hiked the trail a while back, and said it was a nice, if tough hike, and that Nathan and I were welcome to attempt it, but once was enough for him.  Well, it was a HOT day, so we were perfectly happy just to hang out at the lake.  The shore isn't very beachy--lots of large-ish rocks, plus the shore and water is full of stumps, but the water was great (a little colder than Sammamish Slough had been, but refreshing!) after getting hot on the walk from the car to the water.  Radar reiterated his lack of interest in the water.  He didn't HATE it, and wasn't exactly afraid of it, but he just didn't enjoy it.  He got in a little more readily than he had at the dog park, but not far and not for long.  Oh well, guess he's just not a water dog.

We played in the water for a while, then found a grassy spot to cool off (out of the hot sun) and warm up (from the cold water).  Nathan went and played in the water some more, and meanwhile what had started as just a couple high school or college-age kids turned into about 30 kids all waiting for their bus to un-park and come pick them up, swapping stories about the hike, and how hard-core they were for going off trail and straight down a cliff (to hear them tell it).  Kind of amusing, kind of annoying for those of us trying to relax/doze.  

Meanwhile, I'd been knitting away at all our stops and in the car, and I finally finished the knitting in the car on the way home, then just had to weave in the ends at home and wash it and lay it out in the sun to dry.

Eventually we left there and headed home, where Dad's girlfriend met up with us and Dad made us a delicious dinner of meat, corn, salad, and probably something else I no longer remember, which we ate outside again.  After dinner, we played some silly games and had fun first outside, then inside when it got too dark.  Meanwhile, I accumulated some more bug bites.  Ugh.

Eric was working a mid shift Saturday night to Sunday morning, and got off work at 8:00, so we checked with him about what time he wanted us to come, and he said 10-ish.  Dad and his girlfriend and I were up earlier than that, so we went on a bit of a walkabout and picked some blackberries, and Dad also pan-roasted some pecans.  We took those over to Eric's to add to the toppings he already had for Norwegian pancakes (aka Swedish pancakes or crepes).  And boy, between all the household members/guests from his house and us extra guests, we put away a TON of pancakes.

I got to give Eric and Ying the blanket for little Mason:









And of course I got to hold the little guy some more:

Apparently he wants to punch me!

Oh look, a picture actually OF me holding him.  :-)

Mason and his grandma (Ying's mom)

Ying with her neice - Ying's brother and sister and their daughter live with them.  She's shy around strangers, so was giving me the "you're a stranger to me!" stare.

Mason and his mam, with Dearna (the niece) in the background)

Ying and Mason, then Ying's SIL, neice, and Brother all in the photo, too.  Everyone is chowing down on the Norwegian pancakes ("weegies").



From there, Nathan and I headed back to Dad's to grab anything we'd forgotten and then headed home--a six-hour drive.  We stopped at Chipotle again.  :-)

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