5 1/2 Months- Week 22

Sunday July 8 is SashBash week!!!

July 7–all 24 of us are in route to Breckenridge, Colorado. Sunday, we have an 8-bedroom house waiting for the Shasserre family onslaught. Craig, Nicole, Olivia, Evan, Ella have flown into Denver Saturday night and they are spending the night with Johnny O. an old soccer buddy of Craig’s. Brian, Emily, Fisher and Amaya have flown in from Seattle. They are spending the night in Denver with friends. Mark, Kelly, Rumi and Teo flew in Thursday and they have been with friends everyday since. Todd, Jessica, and Scarlett arrive in Denver late Saturday night. Kris, Kerry, Sienna and Sebastian are traveling from Mount Vernon, Washington by vintage VW van. They blew a tire on the way. So, they are camping near Salt Lake City Saturday night. They will have a long drive on Sunday. Brent and Dani left from Saint Louis today and they are driving a Subaru all the way without an overnight stop. We drove from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction, Colorado today. It’s been a wonderful day of R&R. We are happy to be spending the night in a nice Clarion. We had a brief swim and a pizza dinner.

 

Olivia turned age 20 the day we all arrived at Breckenridge. Craig, Kris and Sienna  have birthdays in July. So, we had continuous days to celebrate. The home cooked dinners for 24 went along flawlessly thanks to great cooks and great planning by all.

The house was magnificent….8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, huge 12 person hot tub, downstairs rec room included pool table, video games, shuffle board, foos-ball, and a theater room (great for watching the World Cup games).

Each morning certain people left the house for hiking destinations, shopping, or whatever. Some groups went to Vail, Colorado and some did not. Some did the eight mile hikes and some (like me) did the three miles hike. We all stayed active in family groups but still had space for ourselves.

This was such a special SashBash. Special because this week in Colorado was the last week of our 22 week journey. Special because our time with family was the first time everyone could be together in one place in the past 10 years. It was special, of course, because Sandy and I were celebrating 50 years of marriage and all of the kids made a commitment to be together.

Remember the game called Roses and Thorns? One night as I was quietly observing all of the wonderful personalities that make up this large family of twenty-four I thought to myself, our “Roses” are those who have come into the family one by one, i.e., Nicole, Emily, Jessica, Mark, Kris, and Dani. They have joined our children and created grandchildren that make this very large family such a blessing.

Sandy and I are so grateful. To our children and their spouses and significant others. And to our grandchildren. Thanks for being special people. Thanks for loving each other. Thanks for making Sashbash 2018 the best one ever!

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5 1/2 Months – Week 19

It’s Fathers Day! I wish I could be with my father today. He just turned 93 this past Wednesday. My dad is a good honest man who struggled throughout life to support his family by pounding nails and lifting ladders–hard work. He owned a small General Contractors business and as I have come to learn over the years running a small successful business is no easy task. He worked as a carpenter for 40 years and ran the business for more than 20 years. Congratulations Dad! Best to you.

Sandy and I will enjoy Father’s Day on Guemes Island in her favorite cabin–the Baker House. We enjoyed a special breakfast prepared by Kerry and Kelly. Salmon berry (picked off the bush) pancakes, eggs, vegetarian sausage, potatoes and homemade bread. My health conscious kids splurged this morning! Brian and Amaya came across to Guemes in the afternoon so the kids could all play together. We enjoyed some homemade cobbler that Kerry had made with blueberries from last year’s crop. We put ice cream on top for a great desert. Then, everyone had to leave to make the Ferry ride back over to Anacortes where there is a more normal civilization.

Monday morning started, like many mornings lately, with a cup of coffee and a beautiful view from the porch of our cabin looking east across the water and small islands to the glorious snow capped Mount Baker. Jessica came by at 1:30pm for my afternoon massage ( a Fathers Day gift from Mark and Kelly). Then, I rushed to get on the 3:15 Ferry and barely made it.

At 6pm we had a nice Salmon dinner at Kelly’s with Mark’s parents Calvin and Patty Linnemann. Teo, the seven-year old, initiated a family favorite conversation starter at dinner called name your Roses, Thorns and Blossoms of the day. Roses are the good things that happened. Thorns are the bad things. Blossoms are things you are looking forward to.

We all took part in revealing the good, bad and things to look forward to….when all was said and done it was clear that family gatherings comes first. And, we are fortunate that the Roses far outweigh the thorns.

Tuesday morning we left the island and Anacortes for the three hour drive to Mazama. The drive, all on Highway 20, heads east through cities like Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Rock Port and Marblemount. We passed through Porcupine Lake, Blue Lake, Diablo Lake and Beaver Marsh to get here. I never get tired of this beautiful drive and the cabin in the woods destination.

Wednesday we spent the day with Emily and Amaya at Pearrygin Lake near Winthrop. This was our first day in Washington with temperatures near 90 degrees. The cool lake water felt chilled but perfect for such a day.

Thursday we returned to Mount Vernon to spend a few days with Kerry and the kids at Big Mama’s Farm. I hopped on the tractor to cut the grass again and Sandy and Kerry did the heavy labor moving dirt and mulch on a new garden.

 

Kerry and the family have blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon. They have new vegetable gardens of peas, broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, chard, cilantro, basil carrots,beets, and hot peppers. And, for good measure there are rose bushes in abundance. This place is looking good and the hard work is paying dividends.

Then, finally, Sienna wants you all to see her bearded dragon lizard. His name is Norman. Lovely creature. Sandy just loves hanging out with Norman.

And, Sebastian just loves getting his picture taken. So, he jumped into the picture frame just as I clicked.

5 1/2 Months — Week 18

Our friends, Gerry and Sue, arrived in Seattle Friday afternoon. We had planned to stay in Seattle two nights. When Sandy found the hotel room rates were $200-$300 per room per night she decided to search for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo via AirBnb. We found an awesome place in Kent, Washington,15 minutes from the airport at less than half the hotel rate. We saved more than $300 per couple on our weekend in Seattle. Thanks to thrifty Sandy.

All day Saturday we were Seattle tourist, first, visiting a new Starbucks Museum on Capital Hill. This massive open space was unlike an coffee house we have ever seen. They offered coffee tastings, coffee brewed from huge batches of beans, and pastries. They were delightful. We took the monorail to see the Space Needle but the wait to get in was too long. So, we wandered over to the Music Museum. It was an expensive dud. Don’t do it!

We visited Pikes Market. Then, we took an Uber ride to Pioneer Square– drove by SafeCo Field where the Mariners play, and CenturyLink Field, home of the SeaHawks and Saunders. We finished the morning with a nice lunch in some Irish Bar. Then, we started singing Army marching songs to motivate us as we hiked uphill for more than a mile to the car.  All in all, with Sandy’s encouragement, we hiked  4.6 miles up and down the Seattle streets until Gerry, Sue and I cried uncle. We were ready for a nap before dinner in Kent.

Sunday, after Mass we headed north. We dropped by to see Kerry, Sienna and Sebastian and to pick up a dozen fresh eggs that the hens laid that day. Then, we drove on to Anacortes to do some food shopping before loading on to another Ferry to get to Guemes Island. Brian and Amaya came over for a short visit Sunday night.

  • Monday, we spent all day exploring Guemes and just chilling until dinner at Anthony’s. That meal was another fun travel story. Kelly and Rumi came to join our table for six. We ordered our food and were having an enjoyable conversation over drinks and appetizers. We waited more than an hour for the main course before Sue asked Gerry to order a glass of wine. He misunderstood her request and got up to ask the waitress to check on our food order. A few minutes later the manager came by to inquire about our complaint. Dinner was served, followed by desert. Then a BIG surprise came next. All six dinners were on the house, FREE! So we had a great memorable evening and the debate was on as to who was most responsible for getting the meals comped…..was it Sue orwas it Gerry? Or, was it Kelly and Rumi? FREE dinner at Anthony’s WOW!

The next morning we drove up through Blaine to Surrey, Canada to catch a huge car Ferry out of Tswassen. An hour and half later we were in Victoria, CA. After a 30 minute cab ride we were in our new AirBnb on Princess Street, 1.7 miles from downtown Victoria. Tuesday night the four of us walked for a while to find a restaurant with a bay view. Gerry enjoyed watching sea planes lift off and land and he kept an eye on the bay throughout our meal. The evening ended with a game of cards, one of many.

Wednesday, we spent the morning and lunch a Butchart Gardens. These spectacular botanical gardens were started by Jeanie Butchart in 1904. The most magnificent thing you will see is how the gardeners have transformed a rock quarry into natures paradise. It can’t be captured by pictures, but I tried.

 

This morning Sandy decided to go purple. And, with Rumi and Sienna’s help she streaked her hair. She is now known on the Island as the “wild one.”

 

 

 

 

 

I completed the week with a once in a lifetime opportunity to become a member of the Guemes Island Country Club participating in the Annual Tide Goes Out Tournament.  What a hoot!

 

5 1/2 Months–Week 17

IMG_3930Last week was so busy that I haven’t been back to writing since last Thursday. So, I will begin week seventeen by wrapping up week sixteen. Friday night was Seba’s class play, “The Golden Goose.” Sebastian played an important part. He was the tree that was hiding the “golden goose” beneath it. So, Seba was a central character providing  comic relief when “the tree” was finally felled….what a crashing fall!

 

Saturday Teo and Rumi enjoyed the bunji swing and Fisher enjoyed checking out the Vets. He picked out the one he wants for his 16 birthday. He just turned 14. But, hey, might as well let Mom and Dad know what he wants ahead of time. Sandy and I wrapped up our weekend by working at Big Mama’s farm.

IMG_3963See Sandy and Kerry spreading a plant appetizer. I mowed an acre on the riding mower and weed-wacked the driveway and walkways. Friday night Rumi and Fisher had a sleep over with us. Saturday night Teo and Fisher had a sleep over. Sunday we moved from the West Shore property back to the Guemes Resort. This time we are in Cabin 2. And, Fisher is staying with us all week until he returns to Portland. We have been playing a card game every night where Fisher wins and we loose. Although I did come back to win last night before Fisher returned to Portland.

IMG_3965Monday, we ran an errand for Mark by driving to Arlington, Washington to drop off a broken video arcade game that was located for guests at the Guemes Resort. Sandy and I enjoy little trips like this because we choose the back roads and get to see the “roads less traveled.” Sandy thought she was really funny taking this photo of me and sending it to all of the kids. I’m just catching a few winks after a tough day of doing next to nothing.

Wednesday we drove Fisher to the Bellingham International Airport for his flight home. Then, we met Brian for lunch at the Aslan Brewery in Bellingham where, nearby, he was supervising a major landscape project.

Friday, our friends Gerry and Sue are coming in for a week visit. We will be in Seattle until we return to Guemes Resort Sunday afternoon. So, this may be the end of my writing until I can get back to it.

 

5 1/2 Months- Week 16

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Teo’s 7th Birthday


,What a great birthday party. There must have been a dozen kids running in and out of the house, the hot tub and throwing water balloons at each other.  Meanwhile, Mark was making homemade wood fired pizza in his outdoor pizza oven. Kelly and Sandy were entertaining the adults with far-fetched stories from yesteryear. Good time had by all.

Our friends, Scott and Emily brought their children, Colson and Teddy to the party to enjoy pizza, cake and ice cream. Then, they headed for the Guemes Ferry while we stayed on in Anacortes for the night to continue partying until late, late at night…. I think it was 8:30pm before I got to bed.

Saturday Teo, Rumi, Seba, Kelly, Mark and Kris drove to Seattle to continue the birthday celebration. They visited the Aviation Museum and enjoyed the Marriott pool.

FullSizeRenderSienna, Colson, and Teddy created a hoola-hoop art masterpiece while we waited for food at the Guemes store.  Sienna spent the day with us enjoying the day at the beach, flying kites, building forts, walking on logs and finding special rocks.

Sandy made an awesome pulled-pork diner for the Haight’s and ourselves before we headed back to Anacortes for the night.

Here I am working on my blog today with help from Rumi. She is so much fun to be with and she knows more about technology than I do for sure.

Tuesday was a memorable day fro two reasons. I shot a two over par 36 at the Overlook Golf course with seven pars and two bogeys for the nine holes played AND the Ravens game was awesome—Teo and Seba got back-to-back hits for the first time all season. There were BIG SMILES and cheers all over the field. FINALLY.

 

Wednesday Sandy and stayed on Guemes Island for only the third time since April 1st when we arrived. After watching the Cardinals loose to Milwaukee 3-2 we had to pick up my disappointment by traveling to parts of the Island we had never explored before. We found a deeply forested area called Square Harbor located 2200 feet above sea level with a spectacular view over the ocean of Mount Baker.

 

 

Thursday, Sandy and Kelly had a “spa” day while I enjoyed 18 holes at Swinomish. I played the course quickly, shot an 85, allowing for more than two mulligans. The Ravens wrapped up the season followed by ice cream cones for all players and family. Even though few of our players were as interested in baseball as their coaches it was a FUN season. I’m happy to have been able to do it. It was a family adventure. The picture is me, acting as a bear trap…..I had three little bears to catch that day.

5 1/2 Months–Week 15

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At 2:30pm, May 20, Miss Sienna Breckenridge, our granddaughter,
preformed before a crowd of friends and family two of her favorite
selections. Her piano performance was magnificent. Bravo, Sienna, Bravo!

Early that morning Sandy and I began preparations for the drive back to civilization. We were leaving Mazama by 9:30am to make certain we would be back to Mount Vernon in time for the piano concert. We drove highway 20 westward through the Cascade Mountains, witnessing, once again, the splendid beauty God created for mankind to enjoy. This winding drive took us out of the valley to snow covered heights at 7000 feet. The roads were cleared of snow but their was plenty of snow to see at driving elevations and mountain tops far above. Along the way I continued to think, we should stop to take some pictures. But, unfortunately, we didn’t stop at all of these higher elevations.

IMG_3862 We finally pulled over at the Diablo Lake overlook to take one quick picture before jumping back in the car to continue traveling on time.  It’s a beautiful place but I believe we passed far more beautiful picture opportunities at less staged places earlier in the trip.

Monday afternoon we picked up Rumi and Teo from school at 3:30pm to go shopping for Teo’s birthday present and to use the gift certificate that Rumi received from Aunt Judy. This is why Sandy wanted to come to the Northwest for a few months. This is what real grandma’s do. Buying present’s for Teo’s birthday and watching his enthusiasm is far better than ordering via Amazon and getting a Skype thank you call.

In fact, this whole week is filled with such opportunities. Sunday was Sienna’s piano concert. Monday was the Rumi and Teo shopping trip. Tuesday and Thursday were Ravens games with our favorite players, i.e.; Teo and Sebastian. Wednesday was a school play where Sienna had a major role. Friday night was Teo’s birthday party with Pizza, cake and ice cream. And, we have been with Amaya several days this week.

IMG_4302Sienna is the lead actor in a school play called the “The Golden Apple Thief.” She delivered her multiple lines loudly and distinctly. She showed poise and confidence and lots of animation in her performance. She was terrific! Awesome job Sienna, you deserved the standing “O.”

When we returned to Guemes Island tonight I had time to weed-wack around the house and yard at the cabin where we are staying. It looks much better if I do say so myself. Then we had dinner and still enough time for an outdoor hot-tub, The hot-tub sets on a deck facing west looking across the sound to Cypress Island. The view is spectacular. The sun is setting. Far to the south I can see a large car/passenger Ferry headed through the San Juan Islands presumably headed for Canada. Once again, this quiet time provides moments of reflection. We are counting are blessings and thinking about our friends who live in all parts of the country and our loved ones back home.  We miss you all. You are in our thoughts and prayers. I’m glad to report that while we miss you, we are still having FUN in La La Land.

Thursday was golf day at Avalon followed by another Ravens game. I joined three great guys–Tim, Jerry, and Michael for an enjoyable 18-hole round on a tough course. Despite hitting sand traps, two balls out of bounds with penalty strokes, lousy drives most of the day, shooting a nine on one hole and an eight on another, my over all score was 97. Which means I had some very good holes as well as the bad. The highlight of the day was my third shot on a par five from 160 yards out. It ended up 12 inches from the cup. I tapped in for a birdie. Best shot of my golf year! And, I won some money on that shot too.

The Ravens played one of our best games of the year. We had more hits and made more good plays in the field than our opponent. We scored three while they scored zero. But, who’s keeping score? This is a non-score training league.

Friday night is Teo’s birthday party and pizza party. Its also Fisher’s 14th birthday. He is celebrating with his mom in Portland, Oregon.

Our friends, Scott and Emily with their children, Colson and Teddy, are coming up from Seattle for the Memorial Day weekend. We are looking forward to spending time with them. So, I will save all of those pictures and stories from the birthday party’s and their visit for next week’s blog. Week #15 was full of great activities….that’s a rap for now.

 

 

 

 

5 1/2 Months– Week 14

FDD5A377-BC6A-4A8F-9D6E-9BF563140839Happy Mothers Day to all of the greatest Mothers I know….

If Anacortes is a small town what exactly is Guemes Island? After all, we will be spending two months here. Most mornings we depart for new destinations but always return by Ferry to our cabin and bed. The picture above sums it all up. This little shack sits next to the Guemes side Ferry entrance. All who come and go by bike, hike, or auto will gain valuable information by reading the chalk message boards. Notice there is no information about the Cardinals. There is no news here about the Mariners or anything sports related unless you think fishing is a sport. And, of course, there is no National news at all. By the way, is Trump still the President?

I’m making fun, tongue and cheek, because Guemes Island is a special place. Its a mixture of remote farm land, dense forests with deer running wild, private luxury homes on and off the water and then there are smaller homes, some are beautiful and some dilapidated. The Island has one General Store where you can buy most necessities like beer and bread, wine and cheese, ice cream in waffle cones, it”s where you buy gas at the two pump gas station, it’s a full service restuarant for lunch and dinner, and it”s the local pub as well. Then, there is the Guemes Island Resort (www.guemesislandresort.com). It’s a one of kind place that you have to experience to fully appreciate it. Mark and Kelly have invested a lot of themselves into the place. This labor of love is quite the success. From this time of year until November its sold-out or near so. We are fortunate to spend some nights at the Resort and some nights at the west shore cabin.

 

4EE608BB-9D5D-4AAA-AF06-74F0D1EFED76 (1)This has been a slow moving week since Mother’s Day. We have had time for walks to the Mad Hatter ice cream store, with Brian and Amaya. We’ve walked the streets of Anacortes to admire landscaped homes and the Azalea’s. They are everywhere!

I had time for nine holes at the Overlook course. Played the nine hole course in one and half hours. This unusual golf course is built in the middle of farm fields. It doesn’t get a lot of play. It’s the only course I have ever come across that offers no T-Times. You just show up and play. Today, I was lucky. No one was in front of me to slow me down and no one behind. So, it felt like I had the course all to myself. It was wonderful!

Thursday afternoon Emily, Amaya, Sandy and I drove up the Mazama where Kelly and Mark have 10-acres and a fantastic cedar cabin home nestled in the woods, located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. The USA Cross Country Ski teams have chosen this area for training because the trails are ideal for cross country skiing. We are here because Emily is running another 50K race.

The Sun Mountain race started in Winthrop, Washington at 8am Saturday morning. Emily started her 50K run with 300 other runners, about 1/2 were  women. Five hours and 47 minutes later she jogs across the finish line finishing in the top twenty among the tough competition of women. CONGRATULATIONS Emily!!!