Welcome to My Journal

Welcome to my journal. I'm putting this at the top so folks can find things easily. There are so many years' worth of stuff on this journal that it's not that easy to find things. I started out just journaling, but then got into writing fiction as well.

First, trip journals. They're all family friendly. You can also just click the travel tag as well to see everything related to it.

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Taos and Albuquerque

I'm going to take a page out of Jet's book of plays and just go through time as I'm able.  I came home from the last trip with a cold, a severe lack of sleep, a rather messed up upper body, and a number of issues with the way my vision was working. I also had a teeth cleaning yesterday, which I'm happy to report found nothing that needed to be worked on this time.  That a first for a while, and I'm really grateful, but I've been mostly recovering instead of being able to write and juggle pictures.

After the West Coast trip, John and I had a good few days at home that included going to the amazing wedding of Andrew, the son of Bob, a co-worker of ours who had been with us in Redmond and had done the move to Boulder in 2000. Actually, Bob hadn't done the move then, he'd waited for his daughter to finish high school and then came with Andrew and his wife Mei. Andrew was a part of Jet's growing up, and we've been close friends with them for a very long time before the move and after.  So it was a really special wedding, and it was a real joy to see Andrew married.  Better yet, two nights before the wedding, our neighborhood had a party at our house and invited them all to the party as well.  That was a lot of fun.

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The Lucky Way Home Through Yellowstone

A few days before we had to leave Seattle to get home in time for appointments and a showing of My Hero Academia: Two Heroes, John and I sat down to figure out which way we wanted to go home.  There was the quick way, which was via I-80 through the mountains, but it was fast, freeway, and kind of boring without too much to stop and do along the way. The other way was up north, through Vancouver into Banff National Park and then down south through the way we'd gone a few years ago when Jet was off on his European trip. The third way (and probably not the last) was through Yellowstone National Park, just taking I-90 east and then heading south into the park.
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Sunshine in the Emerald City

"I thought we were in Seattle.  What is that huge bright thing up in the sky?"

It's been cool here, but sunny.  Ordinarily, it is sunny here through September and into October, the long Indian summer is almost always a part of Seattle weather, but it's fun to talk about, especially since all the weather reports had been predicting rain for most of the days we were to be here.  60's as a high and clouds all the way down the ten day forecast.  But it's been remarkably clear and sunny here while we've been here, and I've been enjoying it a great deal.

I really enjoyed sitting on Isabel's back porch.  I read, I sketched the geraniums, and I waited for these guys to come to the hummingbird feeder.  There were hummingbirds who had staked out the feeder and it was always something of a thrill to hear the thrumming of their wings.

Our time with Isabel is something I think I'll just hold private.  It was good and helped me heal from some things I'd been holding. She's an amazing person, and I do love her a lot.

We also did some of our usual things, going to the Pike Place Market, hitting Uwajamaya and the bookstore there.  We found all kinds of small treasures, including a pen case for me, a Porco Rosso puzzle, origami paper that had old fashioned Japanese paper on one side and a different color backing it.

There was also this.  A Taiyaki.  *laughs*  I've been looking for them ever since I saw them in My Hero Academia.  All Might's mentor had them in his freezer and he nuked them to warm them up before he ate them, and I have been looking for them ever since.

Best of all Isabel has a two-slot toaster, so I was able to drop them into the single slot and toast them until they were crisp on the outside, and the adzuki bean filling was warm in the middle.  They were amazing, and Uwajamaya's supplier (or they might make them on site?  I don't know) was really good about getting the filling to conform to the outline, so that these fish were beautifully filled from edge to edge. The interesting thing was that the paste was lighter in color than the canned red bean paste I get from the store, so they might make that as well.

Another find was an ice cream place in Redmond called Molly Moon's Handmade Ice Cream, which had many of the usual flavors, but surprised me by having a Lavender Honey ice cream and a huckleberry topping.  The ice cream itself was redolent with lavender and the honey only added to the floral bouquet so that it felt like I was eating the essence of flowers. The huckleberry topping was fruity and almost citrusy with acidity.  I loved it.

Redmond has also gotten two interesting Northern Chinese restaurants. One of which we were able to visit.  Tian Tian noodles had the very intriguing dish of "Stir fried shredded pancake" in their noodle menu, which really reminded me of a dish my mother used to make that took day old scallion pancakes and fried them with various leftovers that turned out a bit like soft chow mein, but so much tastier.  But the other place, the Dough Zone, had the Shanghai style soupy bao (xiao long bao), so we had to go there.  *laughs*  And it was well worth it.

As you can see, we kind of dove in before I even got to snap a picture or three.  The sweet and sour cucumbers were crisp and exactly as advertised.  They were Japanese style cucumbers cut in a spiral and harder to pull apart then they looked like they might be.  The shredded ginger in the dish to the right was what really sold me on the place.  They got that right. It's what the xiao long bao shops in Shanghai gave you, and you were supposed to pour black vinegar in them to season the vinegar before you dipped the bao into them (or drizzled the vinegar into the soup spoon with the dumpling). That's a touch not a lot of places get right.

The xiao long bao, themselves, were amazing.  The skin had that perfect give, and none of the bao had holes in them so they were all filled with soup and the meat of the dumpling.  They were savory, so hot we could barely taste them to start, and then mellowed to a tender perfect example of what these are supposed to be.  The picture on the left is that of their "spicy beef roll", something we'd only ever gotten at the Taiwanese barracks food restaurant in San Diego... and it's slow-cooked spicy thinly sliced beef in a roll of scallion pancake.  And they'd done their scallion pancakes super crispy on the edges and the beef was good and spicy and beautifully tender.

I highly recommend them.  A review said that they had no ambiance, but that also meant that I could talk to John across the table without having to shout the way we'd had to at the more famous dumpling outlet in Bellevue.  It was a very successful visit.

Fall was in the air, and these maple leaves were the size of dinner plates.  We had one morning when it just rained for an hour or two before the sun came back out, and one night I could hear the rain and I went to sleep more peacefully than I have for quite some time.  I still miss the rain.  And it was so good to just walk in the trees.  We visited Marymoore and the dog park and were very happy about the one dollar parking fee that maintained the trails, and did a lot of improvements there that were good to see.

It was a good time, and we had to go on Friday to get home before Tuesday, as I had things scheduled.

Moms' Weekend Out

So John left on the 12th, in order to meet up with me when I reached San Jose.  I left that evening. I finished packing up and walked myself and my suitcase over to Tonya's house, where she made me a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, which I stuffed into my bag. When Lisa showed up, we packed ourselves into Tonya's little car and headed to the airport.

Both Tonya and Lisa had sons who had just gone off to college, and their homes were also a little more empty the way I had.  So we were all talking some about the changes in our lives, which helped me a lot.

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September Blues and One Bit of Glee

I was feeling so sad yesterday and I didn't really figure out why until the evening and seeing all the memorials and pictures people were posting about remembering on all the social media things.

Gradually coming to the realization that emotions don't always have to reasons, and it's just something that happens.  Feelings just come and go, and they aren't any particular kind of truth and they don't define me.  I feel sad, it's not that I am sad, which is a newish distinction for me to make and was made all the more obvious by the language used to deride each other in first person shooters.

It's interesting realizing that I learn more from the contrast.

John's now off on the road, having to leave early in order to actually meet up with us in California. With the extra day he'll have plenty of time to stop and hike and enjoy himself along the way, while we're touring a studio he'll probably be hiking in Reno. *laughs*  Jet, John and I are on a Whatsapp Chat and with all three of us separated it'll be interesting to see what pops up from all three perspectives.  It's an interesting way to stay current with each other.
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Finding My Feet

Honestly, it wasn't 'cause the bees found them under the elastic of my beekeeper's outfit.  *laughs*

Though, perhaps, it helped.

I'm finally kind of settling into the fact that Jet is out of the house, and that doesn't mean that I'm not his Mom, still.  My fitbit still says, "Hi Jetsmom!!" every time I look at it...  But I am finding that I'm settling into this new way of living.

Just in time for me to uproot everything and go to LA with Tonya and Lisa and putz about there before heading up on a train to San Francisco, where John will meet Tonya and I and we'll all drive north together, wander about the redwoods, and then head further north to drop Tonya off at her friend's and the two of us will go visit Isabel in Redmond.

Which should be good, too.

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Sometimes I think he's at school... or at work... or off to band practice... or at a game.  And it feels all right that he's gone, and then I remember, and it still feels all right.

He's happy, he's safe, he's with a family he finds fantastic in a situation and culture he's learning about at a massive rate, and it was like he was just in the room with us, showing us around his new house and showing us the compact city just outside his window in a video call with us.  And then he's gone again when the call is done, but we know he's doing well and learning hand over fist and loving the situation he's landed in and it's all good.

And, just like when he's away at school, at work, or even when he went off to Europe, Chicago, or other places on his down, I get back to doing all the things that I want to do with my life.  There will be more of that.  He will be back in four months, but then he'll be off to college and the rest of his life, so I get on with mine.
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