Saturday, April 25, 2009

Three Weeks

Our time here has flown by. We have been here for three weeks now. The manic pace of sunshine drenched Phoenix, Arizona has been replaced by a mellow relaxed attitude. I don;t know if it's the clouds or the cooler weather but it seems we have found a community here with great aspirations and motivations and all the time in this universe to achieve these. My writing is suffering here due to the farce in the feeling we have so much time and the cloudy days bringing a slightly downward trend to an otherwise upward spirit. I often find I am tired and feel like just sitting and contemplating things.

Well this evening, inspired by sunshine, I accompanied my youngest children down to a park none of us had been to yet. The Edmond's City Park has some ball fields, pavilions, playground equipment, tall trees and open fields. We had initially started out for the park near the library and activity center, closer to our home. I enticed the children down to the Starbucks with promise of pastries. After I got some coffee and the children had some sugar to inspire a journey we headed off to the new park.

We walked five more blocks south turned two blocks west and there was the park. The kids were delighted to find the old equipment laid out in the west end of the park. We immediately set into a game of Princess, Harry Potter and the Evil Bad Guy. We ran around the equipment a bit but the kid's favorite piece of equipment was an old heavy equipment tire. The tire was large enough for Shane and Sophia to climb into it and hide inside. This gave a great place for Harry to protect the Princess from the Evil Bad Guy.

Sophia and I walked back up the hill while Shane rode his bicycle. I am impressed with their abilities to walk and ride up these hills. Sophia often will run ahead. Shane will ride until he gets tired then will walk for a while. He gets back on his bike and rides a little more. He's made more of mounting these hills as a mission of his. He said today he would be riding up these hills every hour of every day until he can do this easily. We'll keep up with his progress.

Traci and Savannah had some time together at the mall. They went to a movie after a little shopping. Savannah bought a Twilight t-shirt to advertise her persistent obsession with the latest tween fad. She and Traci have found common ground in their appreciation of Stephanie Meyer's characters and their adventures. It's a great opportunity for Traci and Savannah to come together and make some memories.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Squawking at the Seagulls

The kids spend every day they can on the beach, digging in the sand, playing soccer, collecting and examining seashells or just watching the waves roll in and out. The water in the sound is about 40 degrees and your feet burn with the cold turning your feet pink. They have to get into the water just a little. If the sun is out the kids demand a trip to the beach. They will finish their school work as efficiently as humanly possible then head down to Brackett's Landing. The arrival and departure of the ferry is an event in itself with cars loading and unloading every half hour.

We drove to Seattle on our first Tuesday together. We wandered down to Pioneer Square where Sophia entertained us by squawking at the seagulls when they landed. She chased them into flight, never slowing down until the birds committed to the air. The area is surrounded by old buildings with new stores, restaurants, bars and galleries. It was a bright sunny day so people were outside enjoying their lunches.

Sophia's run with the birds made several people in the square take notice and smile. It also inspired a set of races with the other siblings. They chased each other across the brick laughing and shouting to each other. The sunshine was wonderful.
Today it rained a cold misty rain. The clouds so thick the sound was gone from sight. Endless grey, cold clouds with relentless drizzling rain. Cold inside day. The kids made recycled crafts from our recyclables. Savannah had her creation displayed in the library.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Back Into the Surroundings

The rhythm of time is hugely different here and is taking some effort in acquiring. We seem to stay up later and still get up early. The cloudy days drive a desire to p;lay indoors. This weekend we saw the sun, warmth and spread our brand of idiocy across many parts of northwest Washington and Canada.

We left our home Friday with the tulip festival in mind. The area an hour north has many tulip and daffodil farms where you can amaze at the fields of solid color. The daffodils were blankets of gold while the tulips have slept in for the spring. Yellow fields stretched for acres and weak shades of pink, purple and red dotted the fields of tulips. Another week in the field and they would be ready. We were just a few days early for the tulips.

The tulip festival happens to boast a salmon bbq hosted by the local Kiwanis club. They were serving plates of cole slaw, baked potato, garlic bread and salmon. I drove there with little haste, almost wrecking one of several times on our trip over the week end. Illinois drivers are getting a bad rap from the performance I've given here in the northwest. Anyway we went to the bbq, delicious, Traci even gave up some of her salmon (she thinks she likes fish, I'm not so sure..) and the kids had the kid's meals, a plate of everything sans salmon. We finished with the included ice cream and headed out to the playground.

After a brief romp we climbed back into our seats heading north to Vancouver. I had a flash of a dream where I snuck into the Blues play off game and single handedly cheered the Blues to victory. My eyes focused to find myself behind the wheel at the Canadian border. The border patrol was pleasantly thorough and bid us good travels as we sped off to super, natural British Columbia.

I stopped to get gas at a busy gas station. The pumps were all occupied when all the cars pulled in. One car left but we were waiting with the nose of our vehicle pointing the wrong way. The small early 2000's model Honda to our right did some fancy maneuvering and backed into the only free pump to our left. A young man got out, hurried inside to prepay his gas and then rushed back to his car. He reached for the door handle to turn his car off and discovered the car was locked tight. I had done nearly the same stunt while we visited the Jones' in Idaho. Although we were safely in the driveway of the Jones' home and the car was not running. Like our young protagonist we too were able to open the car door with a coat hanger. He flipped his locks, I fished the keys out through a benevolent crack left in Savannah's passenger window. Serendipity!
We found a hotel in Richmond, BC after driving through Vancouver via the tenderloin/Chinatown district, where Traci worried enough for our safety for all of us to survive quite easily. We watched the Blues suffer a terrible loss in the hotel between channel changes to Disney courtesy of Savannah.

The next morning we went to Stanley Park in Vancouver. We drove into the park about a tenth of a mile and stopped at an interesting little playground situated in front of the ocean. The kids played on everything, the firetruck, the equipment, the beach. We burned through our hour of paid parking and decided to go to Lynn canyon and walk across the suspension bridge

A few near misses in my near perfect record of horrible driving and we found ourselves in the Lynn canyon park. We found the temperate rain forest an amazing contrast to the dry, sandy mountains of Phoenix. Sophia and Shane pointed out the differences, more water, no cacti, tall trees, green instead of brown. The rushing water 50 meters below the 48 meter swaying span heightened the excitement of crossing the bridge. We hiked the loop trail around the forest back to the car.
We drive around unintentionally due to our dependence on our GPS being thwarted by the absence of Canadian maps in the device. We navigated off of sight and tourist maps. This lent itself to a higher score in my poor driving effort. We drove over to the Granville Island Public Market and had some gelato. The area, surrounded by water, was a bustling hub of tourist and local activity. This happened to be the place of the now legendary (Traci spread the word quickly) sighting of Doris Roberts, the actress who carried the part of the loving, kind, slightly over-bearing mother of Raymond Barrone on Everybody Loves Raymond.

I only saw the back of her head but Traci and Savannah swear it was her. She walked mere inches past us in the market. She was accompanied by a woman with a very professional demeanor.
We left the market heading for home. We stopped in Bellingham at a cafe. We ate dinner, strolled the streets and then drove home.

The next day we took the ferry over to the Olympic peninsula. We drove to Port Townsend and had lunch. We then drove through a wild animal park throwing bread to the animals. Then we made our way to the sand spit, a long strip of sand stretching out into the ocean. We played on the sand for a while then turned around for home. The ferry ride was made new by the nightfall.
The weekend was busy. We felt like we had finally begun exploring the area. There was so much to do it was difficult to get started. If the weather cooperates we may make it to most of the area. Love to all.