Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some Good at Last

It seems these days that the world is going to the dogs. Bad news leaps from the pages of our newspapers, the screens of our TVs, the speakers of our radios. High gas prices, the failing dollar, the looming prospect of paying outrageous medical bills that a high-premium health insurance does little to off-set, and all on one family income. It's enough to make some of us want to head for the mountains and live off the land.

What seems to be even more distressing than rotten news, though, is the continued persistence of our fellow man to be, in general, just as rotten in his nature. The people of Myanmar may be suffering needlessly because of a militaristic government that is reluctant to accept international aid. An old man in Austria astounds the world with his despicable, torturous acts. And need I mention those who are filling their pockets as we pay higher gas prices and medical bills?

So, in the midst of it all on this gloomy May morning, I'm happy to run across this little tidbit of news. There is indeed hope for all of us.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Seeking the Sun

I'm discovering the joys of my first Pac NW spring. Trees have been flowering since early March with no signs of stopping. Our cherry blossoms are almost gone, but the apple tree is showing bright pink buds that are getting ready to burst at any moment. The tulip farm down the street is revealing a stunning show of colors (and I must say that it is a far more pleasant experience to jog over a few blocks to see tulips than it was in Iowa to drive 2 hours to Pella to see a marginally-better color display.) The rhodies everywhere are blooming, and I'm planning solo trip up to a nearby botanical garden to see them.

Despite the color show the sky remains gray more often than not, and so last weekend Z and I headed east of the Cascades to bask in the warm sun and try a little desert hiking. I recently returned from Los Angeles and had a wonderful day tromping around Joshua Tree--my first desert experience--and wanted to see how our Eastern Washington landscape compared. We (eventually, after hours of driving, taking wrong turns, and driving our poor car over some terrible gravel roads) found a lovely spot near a quiet bend in the Columbia River. It was warm, dusty, dry, but with enough of a cool breeze to remind us this still wasn't Southern California. The ground isn't red rocky but brown and sandy, and there weren't nearly as many blooming shrubs as I had hoped. But we both agreed it was a lovely afternoon, well-worth the drive over the still-snowy Cascades. We ended the day with a lingering drive towards the sunset and dinner at one of our favorite Washington restaurants, Santiago's in the "Old-Western" town of Yakima.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Three plus one

I was hoping to get in under the three month mark. Alas, I am hopelessly behind with little chance of catching up in one entry. And while my excuse is lame, life has been busy since January 14. In case you are still with me and are at all interested in a brief update:
  • I've written four thesis chapters and a paper, the latter which I am giving at a conference in LA this weekend.
  • I traveled to Ohio in late January for a one-week stay that involved plenty of resting, shopping, and wonderfully intense two-year-old niece time.
  • I've ridden the job-search roller coaster with little to show for it except a thicker skin and increased determination.
  • I've enjoyed every second of my time with the college choir, all in preparation for our final concert this Thursday night.
  • I've (nearly) survived my first Pacific Northwest rainy season.
  • And last, but not least, I'm pregnant. Thirteen weeks and counting!

In celebration of these many events great and small, I took a break from writing to spend last Saturday at one of my favorite spots, the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. I embarked on a 6-mile walk in the sunny, 75-degree air and saw (for the first time in the wild!) a pair of bald eagles. They were too far and fast for the camera, but I did snap a few other pics that reminded me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rainier in winter

I see this blog is getting a little dusty. Peter Philips and an ill husband (not necessarily in order of priority) have called me away this past week. In an effort to bring myself back into the world of blogging, this one will be short and sweet.

Rainier in winter is a beautiful thing, when one actually has a chance to see it. Yesterday the clouds parted and the sky rang a brilliant blue all day. After a sad little 3-mile run I headed down WA-162 towards Orting to grab this shot (please forgive the power lines):

I find this image striking for two reasons. 1) It is no wonder most random spaceship sitings happen out West with clouds like these hovering over our mountains, and 2) Clearly Orting, happily nestled in the Carbon River Valley, will be the first to go when Rainier blows.

On days when those of us near Puget Sound get a little rain, Rainier gets anywhere from 6 to 10 feet of snow. Back in November I grabbed some snowshoes and headed up to Paradise.