One year later…

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A year ago, I wrote a lengthy blog post and detonated the remains of a really important relationship in my life. I’ve thought often about what might have been different if I’d known we’d be moving in six months. Could I have been patient? Would she have actually talked to me? Or was the feeling that she was ghosting out of our friendship correct? Who knows…

Healing is a funny thing. It has helped tremendously to be in a totally new environment. (Especially one in which I didn’t know her when I lived here before.) And for the most part, I’ve made my peace with the situation, but I find myself wishing I could text her about super random things. Like when the guy in front of me is buying a bag full of lemons. Or my mother-in-law goes to an impromptu Jazzercize class down the street. And those are the times that I miss her the most.

And while I am tremendously sorry that my blog post hurt her, and there are definitely things I would have phrased differently if I hadn’t been in such a messed up place myself, I can’t say that I’m sorry that I wrote it. I learned exactly how universal and strange losing a close female friend is and had some amazing conversations with people about it that I never would have otherwise. It definitely helped the healing process.

I still wish that she’d reach out, but I’m not counting on it. Whatever happens, I hope that life is treating her well and that she’s happy. I’m grateful for the parts of our friendship that were awesome and for the lessons learned from the less-awesome parts. I guess that’s all we can really hope for, isn’t it?

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Island style

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The rest of our trip was a delightful mixture of beach time, pool time, delicious food, adult beverages and random adventures. And, of course, plenty of entertainment from this little nugget:

BirdShow

We went to Lydgate Beach Park with Jenn, Bryan and The Bird while Erin & David were diving. It was a perfect chilling out beach, with a protected area for Amalie (and yours truly) to splash around in:

LydgateBeach

I know it looks like Jenn is getting ready to backhand her child, but I swear she’s just putting on sunscreen:

JennAndBird

T chilling on the beach near the “cluck clucks” as Amalie calls them. (Naturally that was their name for the rest of the trip.)

TwithBeachChickens

We left the beach just as dark clouds were rolling in and missed the sudden rainstorm. Instead, we hit up a ridiculously good fish market for poke and ate it on the collection of plastic lawn chairs that they call a bus stop, in between rain showers. It was glorious.

WaterfallsRiverView

There was a day spent checking out waterfalls and failing to find a place to hike nearby, so we opted to go for lunch in town, where we saw this super cute little gecko.

LunchGecko

Kind of hard to argue with this motto…

CuteShopSign

We rented snorkeling equipment and I attempted snorkeling in this lovely spot:

SnorkelingSite

But I chickened out and came out earlier than everyone else. We ended up going over to the baby beach near our condo afterward, which was much more successful. A big sea turtle swam right under T, so that was pretty cool. We celebrated with happy hour at a place that had little tiny pineapples in their window boxes:

TinyPineapple

Happy hour crew:

HappyHourGroup

Our last full day at the condo, we went for a morning beach walk and checked out tide pools.

TidePools

And said good-bye to our friend the monk seal…

MonkSeal

Then later went to look at Spouting Horn, a cool little blowhole that has a second hole that makes crazy cool sounds. (To go with the exclamations of excitement from the crowd of tourists. OOOOHHH! AAAAAHHHH! It was hilarious.)

Blowhole

And of course, a last Hawaiian ice. Delicious…

LastHawaiianIce

David took this fantastic shot of the sunset through his spyglass. It sums up our final night well. (And looks like an OP shirt from the 80’s… )

FinalSunset

There are no words for how much I’m going to miss these ladies. We need to put another trip on the books soon!

FarewellLadies

We went to an amazing Japanese restaurant before dropping Erin & David off for their red eye flight. (Which was the same flight as Jenn & Bryan, but they opted to keep Amalie’s routine as normal as possible, in the hopes that she’d sleep better on the plane.) It was this crazy big place with all these different sections in it. But it was great people watching and we gorged ourselves on good, reasonably priced sushi and a green tea mudpie for dessert. Then it was back to the strangely empty condo and off to bed before our early morning flight home.

So much has changed since that first trip two years ago, but the fun of these group trips has definitely remained the same. I hope they continue for many, many years. Aloha!

Adventures in Waimea Canyon

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After some nice lazy days, we were up for a little group adventure. So, we decided to check out Waimea Canyon – aka “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” There was a fair bit of driving on some very winding roads, but our first viewpoint was pretty spectacular:

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A nice lady offered to take our picture, so we have proof that we were there:

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There was a guy dressed in traditional native garb, talking about various local traditions and lore. But he was dramatically upstaged by the baby pig that he brought with him for some reason. I mean, I took this picture:

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But this is what made it onto Instagram:

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We stopped in at the visitor center to look up a good hike. The lady who worked there recommended a good route, but also that we should continue up the mountain to the other viewpoints, since it was still clear. She was right, it was glorious:

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Clouds were just starting to obscure the view at the next viewpoint up, so we headed back down to start our hike. We’d chosen a nice trail to a waterfall, described as a moderate 1.5–2 mile hike. It started innocently enough…

WC_StartOfHike

We walked through primordial forests and eventually came out next to the canyon. The textures and colors were mesmerizing:

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The trail turned to volcanic rock that was kind of steep and a little bit scary, given that you basically can just go sliding down into the canyon if you aren’t careful:

WC_View

But we all made it down safely and were rewarded with a very pretty waterfall view at the turnaround point:

WC_trailheadWaterfall

Not pictured, the legions of crazy people who thought it would be fun to swim in the freezing cold water. It turns out, that’s not super fun. But watching them learn that definitely is. We had some snacks and headed back.

As we approached the volcanic rock part of the trail, we encountered a fairly large man, with one side covered in red dirt and scrapes with his knee wrapped in a bandana, very clearly in pain. His name was Ron (which would quickly become Big Ron) and he was with two younger men who turned out to be his sons. It was clear that they needed help, and trail karma is a thing, so we stepped up. The menfolk worked with his sons to help get him up the steep trail, while Jenn, Erin and I tried to warn people to get out of their way. It was slow going and stressful, plus Jenn had The Bird on her back in a pack. So, we opted to move further up the trail and figure out a plan.

For context, here’s where we met up with Big Ron, approximately a mile away from the road, over some fairly challenging terrain:

WC_BigRonLocator

Erin had cell reception, so she called 911. We decided that the best plan was to get Amalie back to the car before she went into full-scale meltdown mode and then direct whatever paramedics/forest rangers were coming our way. Erin was still on the phone and not confident her signal would hold, so Jenn and I made our way back. Amalie was incredible, largely due to Jenn’s ability to keep a calm-voiced monologue going while hiking at a brisk pace up a hill with a fairly heavy weight on her back.

We made it back to the road. Amalie had fallen asleep on the way back, so we sat in some shade and waited for Erin. She showed up much faster than we were expecting and we discussed what to do next and whether we should drive one of the rental cars down the dirt road and get them closer to the trailhead. I was dubious that either car would make it down there, but thankfully, we heard sirens in the distance before we had to find out.

The sirens belonged to a giant red paramedics pick-up trip, loaded with rescue gear and four ridiculously hunky firefighters and their captain. (Seriously, it was like something out of central casting… ) The captain rolled the window down and asked “Which one of you is Erin?” At which point, Erin went over and gave them the lowdown on the situation. (Which might have included the quote “You guys look MUCH stronger than our middle-aged husbands… ” Amazing.) They headed down the dirt road to the trailhead and we loaded Amalie into her carseat and headed to the nearest town to get some lunch and wait for the boys to text us.

We found a surprisingly tasty taco spot (with glacially slow service) and had some lunch while we waited. Thankfully, it wasn’t too long before they texted and we were treated to a play-by-play of the rescue of Big Ron. It turned out that they were there for his other son’s wedding and (as we’d later learn when Jenn & Bryan ran into him at the airport while waiting for their flight home) he’d snapped his MCL and would need surgery.

He may not have been able to buy us drinks, as we’d often lament over the next few days, but he did give us a pretty fantastic story to tell, so god bless you Big Ron, wherever you are…

Return to paradise

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A while back, there was discussion of a repeat of our awesome trip to Hawaii. Originally, we were going to return to the awesome Lana’i house, but apparently the entire island is closed due the the Four Seasons undergoing some substantial renovations. So, we had to make due with Kauai. (I know, we suffer so… )

We got a better rate for flights if we left on Friday morning vs. Saturday, so we booked a single night at a cute little hotel in Kapa’a. Here’s the view from our lanai:

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The sign for the beach club pictured above:

LavaLavaSign

We headed into town to grab some lunch and explore a bit. We went to Mermaids cafe at Erik & Nerissa’s recommendation. Should you find yourself in Kapaa, definitely go. It’s insanely delicious. We got to see our first (of many) free-range chickens/roosters, courtesy of Hurricane Iniki.

FirstRoosterSighting

Afterward, we wandered around and looked at the shops. We also tried out a local delicacy we hadn’t had a chance to have during our previous trip, Hawaiian ice. I’m officially obsessed:

HawaiianIce

Plus, the fruit stand where we bought it was utterly charming:

FruitStandSignFruitStandBananas

While we were sitting out front and eating our ices, the lady delivering avocados asked us how long we were staying and offered us some. We, of course, said yes. Score! This vacation was already off to a fantastic start and we’d been there for about three hours.

We headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit. I mean, you have to take the “Mai Tais by the beach” picture to post on Instagram:

MaiTaiswithView

Followed by the obligatory “we’re on vacation selfie”. I know, we’re the worst…

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Mostly, we just enjoyed looking at this:

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Erin and David had arrived a few days prior and were staying on the north side of the island, so we drove up there to meet them for dinner. Naturally, there were some stops along the way to gawk at the beautiful scenery:

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We had a magnificent sushi dinner, at a place recommended by the friend they were staying with. Then it was off to bed, since we’d been up since 5 am PDT. (Stupid early morning flights and time zone changes… )

The next morning, we went to check out a breakfast place that had good enough Yelp reviews for me to overlook the fact that it was called Kountry Kitchen. (I hate “cutesy” misspelled words in restaurant names.) But it was great, quirky and charming inside:

KountryKitchenInterior

With really great food. We split orders of mahi-mahi & eggs and macadamia nut french toast & homemade coconut syrup. So. GOOD.

KKBreakfast

After breakfast I made T take my picture in front of the Lava Lava sign:

MeLavaLavaSign

Then it was time to pack up and meet Erin & David at the rental car place. They dropped their car off, we added her as a driver to our car, shoved all of the luggage in the back and headed off to lunch and then the condo for check-in. Jenn & Bryan were arriving about the same time, so we text-coordinated and arrived at the condo at roughly the same time.

As usual, we were really roughing it:

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The view from the lanai was especially ridiculous:

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The Bird taught a seminar is how to chillax:

TheBirdChillin

We took a little evening beach walk and met some local celebrities – the monk seals that hang out on the beach. I particularly liked that they are so lazy that this sign is needed:

SealSign

They are super cute though. Like big beach cats:

MonkSeals

And then we finished the evening with lots of wine, laughter and a beautiful sunset:

FirstSunset

Not bad, Kauai. Not bad…

The beginning of the end

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And just like that, T is heading to California to start his new job. Being the dutiful wife that I am, I opted to spend the weekend with Jenn & Bryan in the Methow rather than hanging around to send him off (and then spend the weekend by myself… ) Besides, it seemed like the perfect way to kick off my last “not-quite-a-month” in the Pacific Northwest.

I loaded up the Element and set up a ridiculously luxurious traveling set up for the world’s most spoiled dogs:

BoysLuxuryTransport

If you’re about to make a huge transition in your life, it really helps to spend it with good friends. Behold the wine Bryan chose for the occasion. He really gets me! (sniff… )

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The next morning, we all set out for a hike. It’s bear-hunting season, so we decked our resident black bear in safety orange:

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Jenn decided to do the extreme hiking: baby edition!

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It was a glorious day for hiking:

HikingTrailWe did pass some evidence of the awful wildfires from earlier in the summer:

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We took a little break to let the world’s cutest hiker walk around.

CutestHiker Someone was not happy with losing his title…

2ndCutestHiker

The rest of the weekend was filled with good food, wine and, of course, dog spoiling…

BryanAustin

We also went to a community cider pressing (I know, right?) and generally just enjoyed life in the Methow. So far, the Pacific Northwest Farewell Tour was off to a great start!

Holy cow!

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So, I was all set to write another rambling blog post about canning projects and races canceled by wildfires when a fairly exciting development occurred. A fantastic job opportunity with T’s current company popped up in Northern California. It has been our plan to move back there at some point, but apparently the universe has decided that time has come, because I’m pleased to announce that T got the job and we are moving to California! (!!!!!!!!)

T’s been traveling a ton lately, so I’d decided to work down at my parent’s house in Oregon for a few days, so I was there when he got the good news. I’d already taken the day off to go to the State Fair with my mom, which was good because lord knows, no work was going to happen! Susan was kind enough to watch the dogs for me, since the fair is in the same town she lives in, so we met her for lunch beforehand. Margaritas with the moms:

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I love the Oregon State Fair. It’s just a rad, old-fashioned state fair, that’s been around for quite some time:

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We always spend the bulk of our time looking at the animals. It’s fun to get a glimpse into a whole other world. Like this dude talking on a cell phone while walking his cow:

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(Shortly after I took this picture, a lady came up to him and asked to take a close-up picture of the cow. He sort of stopped and let her, while continuing his phone conversation. The combination of her delight at the cuteness of the cow and his total lack of interest or enthusiasm in the transaction was comedy gold. My mom and I could not stop laughing… )

Of course, we had to check out the horses. They were getting ready to show draft horse two-teams, so some of them were all dolled up, while others got to lounge in the stalls. It was fun to watch which horses were mad about that. Sometimes it was the ones in the stalls and sometimes the opposite:

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Goats are super hot right now:

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Our very favorite was this Boer’s goat who was a total love bug/ham:

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Here he is snuggling with one of his owners:

HC_SnugglyGoatWe were completely charmed by him.

One of the other highlights was walking through the quilts section with my mom. They used to have them high up on the walls of the exhibit hall, but they’ve changed to more of a quilt labyrinth with the quilts at eye-level. It was cool to be able to see the details and my mom would explain how they were done. It was really interesting.

The next day, I headed back up to Seattle, picking the boy up at the airport on my way. We met up with Jenn & Bryan for drinks/dinner at Essex/Delancey to celebrate the boy’s new job.

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I’m going to miss seeing them as often as we do now, but we’ve sworn that there will be visits and future adventures. Plus we know have the magic of social media, so I know we’ll be able to keep in touch. I’ve gotta say, 2015 has been one crazy year.

Women in the Woods Week

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As I previously mentioned, I was fortunate enough to get to spend a week in the Methow. Austin and I held down the fort on Sunday night and a fair amount of Monday. I worked for most of the day, except for a lunchtime walk. I think there would be world peace if everyone could spend part of their lunch hour looking at this:

LunchtimeWalk

Then I was joined by Kristine, Tyr, Jenn and Amalie. Except for poor Austin, the cabin was suddenly filled with girls. We quickly settled into a comfortable routine of work:

WorkCrewFood (with some evening wine for the grown-ups… )

AustinBabysittingThere would typically be an afternoon run or hike with the dogs, or sometimes just Austin and I. A tired dog is a happy dog:

TiredAustin

And of course, plenty of baby snuggles:

KristineBedtime GirlTalk

Kristine and I even got to go on a horseback riding adventure. They put the two gingers together:

GingersI got to ride Buttons, the Cadillac of horses:

ButtonsNeither of us were particularly skilled horsewomen, as evidenced by these pictures taken by Annie, the woman leading our trail ride. Buttons wanted no part of the paparazzi:

RidingFolliesBut eventually, she struck a pose:

ButtonsAndI

On Friday, I took a vacation day and Jenn and I went for a nice hike up Patterson Mountain with the pups. Jenn is such an overachiever – baby on the front, backpack and dog on a leash:

JennBaby

I let Austin be off leash for a bit. He had a grand time running to and fro:

Hiking

He found a pheasant to chase. (And came back to me when I called him, which was pretty surprising… ) Meanwhile, Try was a perfect lady:

TyrFlowersI couldn’t resist a shot of Jenn’s whole set-up:

JennPowerHikingThe view was still incredible:

Patterson

Then, we were joined by the boys on Friday night. We met up with them at the Mazama Store for packet pick-up and then split into our respective families – T and I to grab pizza for dinner, Jenn & Bryan to take care of Miss. Amalie. The rest of our evening was spent eating, drinking and not doing a very good job of being serious athletes. 😉

The next morning, the boys headed out for their first two legs. Then Jenn and I headed over to meet up with Bryan at the end of Leg Two for baby exchange and to start our part of the race. All of the week’s activity was quite evident in my legs as I started, so I urged Jenn to go on ahead (thankfully, she eventually did) and took it very leisurely. There were a ton of ladies in town from the group I run with in Seattle (the High Heel Running Group) and they cheered for me like I was a rockstar. So motivating. Leg Four also covered some of the trails we’d run on last weekend, so it was fun to remember those times.

Then T picked me up at the end of my leg and we reunited at the cabin. Amalie was still napping, so T and I headed to the race finish to watch Bryan bring it in strong:

BryanFinish

Afterward, we had some post-race food and beverages, then headed back to the cabin for some more recovery. At some point during the week, Jenn and I had decided to drink our wine out of mason jars. #classy

PostRaceRecoveryAustin was still tired from his exploits on Patterson, so he was happy to chill out with us after the race:

EveningWindDownEven though it affected my “race”, I wouldn’t have traded all of the fun I had this week for the world. It was such a treat to get to hang out with Jenn and Kristine, spend some restorative time in the woods and generally just take a break from my day-to-day routine. I am so lucky to have these opportunities in my life.