Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shop Hop 2013

The annual Western Washington Shop Hop began on Wednesday, June 19th, but with very little fanfare on my part.  I'm sure that hundreds--or maybe thousands--of quilters flocked to the stores across western Washington to collect patterns and fabric schnibbles to create the commemorative blocks, but I was unavailable that day and did not have plans to go anywhere, especially considering the pain level I was still experiencing.  I opted, instead, to visit the chiropractor, who used some staple-gun-like device to loosen the knots in my rib cage.

The fabric collection this year is really striking, the colors are vibrant, and I'm really looking forward to making these blocks!  This collection is the bunch I got for Tara who was unable to do much of the hop.  I realized later that I forgot to get some pink and yellow for myself.  I'll have to go back to one of the local places and pick up a couple yards.

On Thursday morning, however, Cammie & I met up with Sharon, Linda and Miss O for a little Shop Hopping fun.  We started in Mount Vernon at the quilt shop there, then traveled across Hwy 20 and down Whidbey Island to Oak Harbor and Freeland.  We then got on the Mukilteo ferry and wandered down to Bothell and then up to Everett for a quick stop there.  We wound up the trip with stops in Smokey Point, Arlington, and Stanwood.  Lucky #8!  After driving about 150 miles, and dropping them off at their car, we headed back home.  No shop-hopping on Friday, but we aren't going for the Full Monty--all 52 shops--so there wasn't any pressure to try to get all of them.

Linda drove down Saturday morning with her husband, who was on his way to check on his elderly father further South, and we packed up in the car with Cammie.  We started in Bellevue and worked our way down to Kent, where we found this very creatively installed toilet.  It wins the There-I-Fixed-It award for the year...because taking the toilet back and getting a narrower unit would be too much trouble.  We then swung South to Puyallup, where we got turned around more than once due to street fairs and one-way streets; then to Tacoma where two more shops are located.  Then over to Olympia and South down I-5 for several more shops on our way to our Southern-most point, Vancouver.

One shop in Longview had a lot of Civil War fabrics and had this quilt on display by the front door.  I love this simple arrangement of fabrics and it inspires me to get some squares cut and put together into a quilt like this.  I don't know if I have a big piece of pink like this, but I might have something that I can use.

We called Heide and made arrangements to meet for dinner, which was a delightful meal with just the four of us, although I missed the opportunity to see her two younger girls.  We also wandered through the local TJ Maxx where I discovered four Sounders hats that were in danger of Timber poisoning, so I felt obligated to purchase two of them.  To add to my joy, the hats are official gear and were being sold for 50% off the retail price.  Winter hats--just in time for summer!  But the soccer season runs from March to October, so we will get some use out of them in a few months.

We hit the road again and got slowed down by a multi-car accident in Tacoma.  The warning signs overhead said we should move to the left lane as the right three lanes were blocked.  We did as the sign suggested and as we got closer, we got stuck in that lane, not moving, about 12 blocks away from the accident.  Other cars were racing up the other three lanes, cutting ahead of us, which meant we weren't moving *anywhere*.  After not moving for more than 15 minutes, I left that lane and merged three lanes over to exit at 85th St. as so many other cars were doing.  We spent the next five minutes or so driving the city streets and merging back onto the freeway, rather than sitting for hours in the traffic jam. Little did we know that about a mile later, we would arrive at another multi-car accident moments after the fire truck arrived and pulled behind the crashed vehicles in the far-left lane.  We carefully maneuvered around the fire truck and continued on our way.  We finally arrived home at 12:30 a.m. and after a quick bath, fell asleep quickly.

The next morning, I told Cammie that she wasn't going to come with me today--not that I don't love her and enjoy her company--but it was a day for me and Linda to do a bit of hopping and get the last 9 shops on our passport stamped so we could turn them in.  She ended up going to a movie with her Dad and had a blast.

We were going to start in Ballard, but we missed the exit, so we decided to start at Pike Place Market's store, and were lucky enough to find a spot in a 30 minute loading zone.  We were there for about two minutes and arrived just as the shop opened.  We thought we were an hour late, but forgot that the hop started at 10 a.m. on Sunday, not 9.

We then zipped down to the ferry docks and got in line for the 10:30 ferry to Bainbridge Island, which was unloading as we pulled up, and we were able to board the half-full ferry.  I took this picture as we were pulling away from the docks, which includes the new tourist attraction...a ferris wheel.  "Ooooo....ahhhh...."

I took another picture of the skyline as we pulled further away.  Note how grey everything is.  The only splash of color is the paint on the cruise ship.  It drizzled on us most of the day, but not a steady rain.  Just a spitting now and again.

I found a line of fabric at a Tacoma store that originates from Denmark.  I thought this fabric was very pretty, and I got a giggle out of the name written on the side.  I took this picture for my friend, Johann, and sent it to him.  I think we can safely say that this fabric has his name written all over it.

The final pile of loot looked like this.  Not really impressive, but there are some fabrics to finish the blocks, a small collection of Japanese fabrics (about 7) for a charm swap next month and a big chunk of Japanese fabric to put onto the back of Emma's quilt.  Or maybe it'll be a "just can't cut it" quilt to be made later.  There are also a couple of finishing kits (in the bags) and all the patterns handed out (in the big zip lock).  Not pictured is a 2-pack of rotary blades that I need for my dull cutters.  I took photocopies of all the patterns, which I will send to Tara for her to complete later, and she went to the five shops in her area for me, which she will send down to me.

It's been a long weekend and I'm a bit behind on off I go!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Plans

Hm.  That's a good question.

It seems that every year I say, "This summer I don't want to do ANYTHING.  I don't want to schedule anything, I don't want to commit to anything, and I don't want to be needed anywhere.  I just want to sit and read or take the kids to the park (where I can read) or do fun activities around the read."

Well, that plan went out the window when DH decided that the eldest needed to be enrolled in driving lessons.  Four solid weeks, Monday thru Friday (except 4th of July) from 10 to noon.  She isn't even excited about taking driving lessons.  She doesn't care!  What *sane* teenage kid *doesn't* want a license?  I have weird kids.  Let me tell you how excited I am about this level of drudgery.  I'm gonna be saying, "Come on!  We gotta go!" and she's gonna say, "But Mooooooooommm!  I didn't even *want* to take these classes!"


Then DH says, "Hey, while she's there, you could take the other two for swim lessons!"  Now, if the swimming places *offered* lessons at the precise time that we will be available, that would be great, but these swimming pools don't have precise schedules published online, and when you register, you have to do so online when their registration begins, which is at MIDNIGHT in a few days.  May I repeat that *the schedule isn't published online* so I don't know what I'm registering for.  Apparently, the slots fill up very fast, so by 6 a.m., all the classes are full at almost all of these pools in the area.  Oh, and the lessons cost $88 per kid for 10 lessons if you don't have a membership at their facility.  I'm thinking maybe I'll go during a free swim time (at a mere $5 per person) and occupy one of the lap lanes with private lessons from me.  Bonus:  I don't charge $88 for a two-week course.

This whole week is jam-packed with activities:  Monday--chiropractor & picking up last-minute stuff from school; Tuesday--clinic appointments for the CF patients (wish I had a place to send Miss Cammie); Wednesday--Shop Hop begins; Thursday--guild meeting; Friday-Sunday--Shop Hop continues!

Shop Hop, the quilting kind--is my annual summer kick-off, where I spend hours in the car with a friend or two, driving up and down Western Washington from shop to shop getting my passport stamped, collecting patterns from all the shops, and eventually (perhaps many years later) building a quilt with the fabrics and patterns collected.  However, since I pulled that muscle in my back a week ago, I am not able to sit in a car for more than about 30 seconds without enduring agony.  Going to the store two miles away is torture.  I'm hoping that visits to the chiropractor, who goes by Dr. and his first name; he's not Dr. Jones, he's Dr. Chris (not his real name of course).  I think he does an OK job as a chiro, but it annoys me that he uses his first name, and I'm not sure why.  Maybe it just seems like he's trying to be friendly, but it comes off as pretentious, like we have to be reminded that he's a doctor.  Part of me doesn't even like that they're called "doctors" since they can't perform surgery or prescribe medications.  Heck, I read that in England, Obstetricians don't even call themselves "doctor", but prefer to be called Mr., Miss, or Mrs. (or Ms., I suppose).

So after four weeks of having to reluctantly shuttle the big kid to and from the driving school every day, I have plans to go to my class reunion.  Yep, it's been five years since the last one, so it's time to go again!  Nothing like trying to figure out how to travel 2000 miles to a reunion (and another 2000 miles back) with a husband and three kids in tow, how to keep everyone from whining the whole way, and how to afford such a venture.  Now there was the possibility that I would go alone to this thing, spend a week or so there, and save us a lot of hassle, but the kids have been wanting to see where Mommy grew up (this will include a several pit stops) and I thought it would be great fun to go see some of nature's glory in Yellowstone and such (the younger two would totally enjoy it), so we were looking into the options to get there.  Options included renting an RV, driving in the minivan and staying in hotels, or pitching tents at various KOA campgrounds.  I'm not sure I'd be up for the tent thing for two weeks, and RV rentals are EXPENSIVE, as are hotels for 14 days.  I wondered if we knew anyone with an RV we could borrow?  Since Mom & Dad sold theirs, we don't have that option anymore.  I can't think of anyone else, except for Greg & Erin, who have a large trailer type thing (or used to).  We haven't talked to them in a few years, so that might be awkward.  "Hey, we haven't seen you in six years, but now that we need to ask a favor..."

Yeah, that's not happening.

In fact, I'm not sure my minivan would be able to pull it, so we'd have to borrow their truck as well.

I even looked into the idea of *buying* a trailer, something used, and then selling it at the end of the year, but I'm not sure if we want to go through that kind of hassle.  It looks like you can get some pretty good deals on Craigslist--$4000 and up for a trailer that sleeps 5 or 6, but staying at hotels all along the way--even at $150 a night for 14 nights, which runs about $2100--will be cheaper than buying or renting an RV by about half.  I found one RV rental site that charges $200 a day PLUS 34 cents a mile over 50 miles.  So if you're only planning on going 50 miles a day, you're OK, but if you are traveling 4000 miles over 14 days, that's 286 miles a day--236 miles over the extra $80 a day on top of the $200.  Over $ might as well BUY the used RV!

And I haven't even factored gas into this scenario.

So we're left with the option of traveling in the minivan, crammed to the teeth with our suitcases, medical equipment, and entertainment (whether it be electronics, books, videos, or knitting), for 10-12 hours a day, stopping in various locales to be tourists, hauling all our stuff in and out of hotels every day, trying to keep the refrigerated medicine cold and stay on a schedule.  I'm trying to wrap my brain around how much *fun* that might be.  [Here would be an excellent opportunity to use a *sarcasm* font.]


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tourist Day

While Kelly took the boy off to Cub Scout camp, Cammie and I had an adventure downtown.

There was a Sounders game that day so rather than selling the ticket, Cammie wanted to take advantage of it and see a game.  This was the big derby match between the Sounders and their rivals, Vancouver Whitecaps.  Now when I say "rivals" it's really something that only stays on the field; once off the field, we all happily go out for a drink.

So the day started off going over to Omi's house to help move some stuff around.  I thought I'd catch Sharon who was coming down to move some stuff to storage with her son and a couple more heavy lifters.  She said she'd head out between 8 and 8:30 and get down there between 9:30 and 10.  Well, we got there at 9:30 and stayed for an hour moving things around and bagging up garbage, and when we left, she still wasn't there.  The last thing I did before we left was moving a turntable unit out of the office upstairs.  It was on a rolling cart about 12" deep and 24" wide and 3' tall, but the wheels were fixed in one direction, which weren't facing in the direction I needed to roll it out of the room.  I foolishly picked it up to carry it out the room, sideways, a little hunched over...and felt something spasm in my back.  Ouch!!!!  I rolled it out to the top of the stairs and decided to call it a day.

We headed back to the house to change into clean shirts and get change for the bus.  I called her after I got home and she was still quite a ways North and hadn't stopped at the storage unit yet.  I was going to be leaving for the game on the 11:00 bus, but I figured it was a 1:00 game, run two hours, ride home and get back by 4:00-4:30.  I could join her at the house after and see if she needed anything else or wanted to go to dinner.

We hopped on the bus and there weren't any other game-goers on the bus until we got to 45th St., and when we arrived downtown, there weren't hordes of people wandering around in Sounders gear.  There were a bunch in Mariners gear.  Odd.  We went down to the nearest Starbucks after getting off the bus to grab a quick lunch.  While we were standing in line, I talked to a woman who was on her way to the Mariners game and she mentioned that it was supposed to be a night game, but Root Sports wanted a prime time East Cost slot, so they moved it to a 1:00 time.  I wondered how that was going to affect traffic with two games starting at the same time.

Well, the answer came a few minutes later when I got an email reminding me of the 7:30 start time for the Sounders game.  Whaaaa?  Waitasecond... apparently they swapped the time slots and weren't quite as vigilant about letting all the season ticket holders of the changes.  I went online this morning and corrected about five other game times that have changed since I put the dates and times into the calendar.

Since we now had SEVEN HOURS to kill, and didn't want to take the bus all the way home only to turn around and come back, we decided to do a little Geocaching.  We walked up to the International District and looked for two there--came up empty on both.  Then wandered down to 2nd and Main to the Waterfall park and made that find.  It took a little while given some bad GPS coordinates and signals, but followed some of the hints and eventually made the find.

We wandered down to the waterfront where we discovered that the cache had been stolen, but Cammie happily posed with Mr. Iver to feed the giant metal seagulls.  We wandered down the waterfront a bit more and after passing Post Alley, I remembered that the World's Most Disgusting Landmark is on Post Alley.  I looked up the address and we headed that way.  We met up with a horse that was gearing up to pull a cart along the waterfront, said our hellos and then headed on our way.

We arrived at Post Alley and its cobblestone lined street, and a block up, found The Gum Wall.

Cammie made her contribution to the wall and all its gooey disgustingness.

We walked up to the Seattle Art Museum and watched the Hammering Man, whose arm moves up and down.

Wandered through Pioneer Park (aka Homeless Park) and was able to get a photo of the restored pergola (without homeless people in the background).
A semi truck driver accidentally knocked the original one down in 2001.  This was originally built in 1909 as a protective shelter for passengers riding on the cable cars and had public restrooms below.  The cable cars were torn up, the restrooms closed, but the shelter remained.  The trucking company's insurance paid for most of the restoration which cost a couple million bucks, and was re-opened in 2002.

We stopped to admire some of the local architecture, got sandwiches at a local place called Tat's, and ate half the sandwich, wrapping up the other half for the game.  We also got some water and sunscreen, and settled into our seats.

The game was excellent!  Of course, we won, which made it even better.  After the game, we went to the bathroom and I chatted with one of the fans from the Whitecaps.  Being Canadian, she was, of course, very polite and funny.  Cammie said, "Yey!  We won!" or some such, and not wanting to sound in-your-face about it to the women standing behind me, I said, "Yes, but they had really good defensive players that prevented us from getting a lot more goals."
Canadian fan: "They didn't do well enough, though.  We'll have to go into the locker room and give them a piece of our mind."
Me:  "Well, it was a close game.  You really only lost by *this much*" [gesturing with finger and thumb]
Fan:  "That much doesn't get you any points."
Me:  "True...but it was a great game.  Are you driving back to Vancouver tonight?"
Fan:  "Yes, it's not too far."
Me:  "And the border waits are nothing at this time of night.  You should be able to whip right through."
Fan: "It's just the bridge that's out...what a delay that is!"
Me:  "Yeah, but it was taken out by a"
Fan:  "But he was from Alberta!"

We all had a great laugh.  Good people.

We filed out of the stadium, across the street and caught the bus to head home.  It took almost 45 minutes for the bus to get out of town, which is ridiculous.  We finally got home a little after 11:30.

Three days of school left.  One full day, and two partial days.  I'm really looking forward to a summer break!