into the woods, and back out again

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i would walk 500 miles

I got married yesterday.

But let me back up…

Liam and I went on our first date May 9th of last year.  We talked on the phone for the first time the night before our date, and talked for four hours.  I met him at 1 in the afternoon at Barnes and Noble, and got home a little after midnight that night, after riding the big wheel in Seattle, playing pinball in the International District, eating at two different Irish pubs (the second had live music), viewing a sculpture garden and walking all over town… or so it felt.  For our second date, we had intended to go to swing dancing lessons, but there was no class that night, so we sat and had dinner and drinks and talked.

On our third date, he came to my house for dinner, advised my landlord on the leak in my ceiling and did dishes.  I had company staying from out of town, and I told my friend that night (as Liam was up on a ladder outside my apartment, telling my landlord how to fix things) that I was going to marry this man.  There were a lot of dates after that, a lot of talking; there was the meeting of the parents and siblings and kids and late in November, we decided to get married, which is how we made it to yesterday.

The weather was beautiful, everything went according to schedule and thanks to some very kind friends who offered a living room to get married in, decorated, handled rentals, who set everything up and then cleaned it all back up again, who donated services… it was a good wedding.

I got our cake at a little Mexican bakery in the town where I live.  I had asked for the cake to be ready at ten, and I was a little early, so I waited while the cake was finished.  The man working at the front counter asked if we were having a party, and I said we were having a wedding.  He asked if I was the one getting married and, when I said yes, he hugged me and told me that this day, and every day after it, would be like a honeymoon.  I laughed, and said I hoped so.  The cake was loaded (in an open box to leave room for the plastic bride and groom on top) into my trunk, and I drove to the house like I had a baby in the trunk.

My friend Shannon came to do my make-up, and my sister Peggy roamed in and out, alternately photographing Shannon’s progress on my face with Maribeth and company’s progress on the decorations.

Gradually, the family came in, Liam showed up with the food, and we mingled and chatted until the judge came.  He was a friendly man, who had agreed to marry us just a week before–after teasing me for having set a date and sent invitations before securing an officiant.  He went over our paperwork with us briefly before putting on his robes.  Peggy started the music and everyone sat down, and then it was time.

The judge led us through a very simple reciting of our vows and exchanging of our rings, inviting Peggy up to take a picture of us putting our rings on each other, and then he paused.  We’d been clicking along pretty quickly, so I wondered at the pause, and I whispered, “Is this where you tell him he can kiss me?”  “No,” he replied with a grin, “First I have to pronounce you husband and wife.  But someone obviously took a lot of trouble to make this a beautiful formal wedding, so we’ll just let this moment sit a bit.”  So we waited a quiet moment, and then he pronounced us husband and wife, and told Liam he could kiss me.  Which he did.  We turned and faced our family and friends then, and Peggy started our recessional.  I gave Liam’s hand a tug and we headed into the kitchen.

After the ceremony, the family chatted and the kids hovered around the cake until we cut it, and then they frolicked in and out of the house the rest of the time.  We had a ‘first dance’ in the living room, and then Liam danced with my mom, and after eating and drinking and talking for a good long time, the wedding party gradually dispersed.  Liam’s parents took his kids home; Peggy took my kids home with her, and we packed up the car and left… almost, but not quite, the last ones to leave.


Howarth Park

I’ve been away a long time.

Hiking has been sporadic this last year, and I’m working at getting that part of my life back.  On that front, I took my kids out to Howarth Park yesterday to walk on the beach, only to find that the bridge was very definitely closed and there was no way down to the beach.  There’s a little trail through the woods right there, though, that goes from the landing up to the park, so we walked up that.  It’s really not a very nice trail, especially this time of year, but it was nice to get into some trees.  The kids played in the playground for a bit, ate their cookies and finished off the drinks we’d gotten at a coffee stand on our way in and then we took the road back down to the car.

I’m working my way up to taking the kids out on longer, real hikes, but this was a good start.


Shady grove, my little love…

Until I started working at Starbucks, I managed to hike about once a month… sometimes more.  That eighteen months at Starbucks deprived me of a lot of hiking time, since I worked weekends and hiking weekdays was frequently impossible or too problematic to consider.  While a regular work week produces its own issues, at least it means I’m free on weekends.

Today Ms. K and I found out that Duvall has TWO roads named Cherry Creek Road, although one has a crucial “NE” at the beginning.  Both roads happen to take a steep turn off the highway, but the main differences are that one is poorly signed and leads to nothing, while the other has several clearly marked crossroads and takes one directly to a very nice trail that heads out to a very pretty waterfall.  The correct Cherry Creek Road was also the route for some kind of bicycle marathon.  Lots of bicyclists out in Duvall today.

The salmonberries are getting ripe.

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I had hoped we would see more wildflowers, and we might have been at too low an altitude and too early in the season for a lot of variety, but we did see buttercups and vergissmeinnicht:

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Buttercups are a kind of ranunculus, but I’ve only met one person who found that information as interesting as I do, or rather, who even knew what I was talking about.

The theme of the day seemed to be misdirection, because after nearly getting lost when trying to find the trail, the trail itself was primarily an old logging road which forked off several times.  In fact, toward the end (and after paying not enough attention to our directions) we almost missed the turn-off to the falls.  If only we’d noticed this:

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Well, okay, maybe that was placed after we passed the spot.  We headed right, then left, then went back, and found ourselves in a loop before figuring out which direction would take us where we wanted to go, which was here:

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Well, I thought that picture wasn’t so blurry when I took it.  The waterfall spills into a small pool, and it was possible to get down to the banks of that pool by heading to the right, but we decided to head to the left and do a little balancing on fallen trees to make it to a flat rock at the top of the falls.  We considered having lunch there, but decided that other hikers might want pictures of the waterfall, and we shouldn’t spoil the view.

K and I are both of the opinion that there is no such thing as “hiking season”.  It’s all hiking, all the time.  The important thing is to have the right clothes.  Layers are important, as are a water-proof jacket and wool socks.  As much as I enjoy the challenge of winter hiking, it was awfully nice to be out in the sunshine.  I think I got a tan.  Or maybe I just got some more freckles.

The entire walk today was about 5 miles over relatively level ground, so it wasn’t too strenuous, which is also nice sometimes.

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 Okay… also thought that picture wasn’t so blurry.  I’m still leaving it.

On the way home, I was torn between finding coffee and finding bubble tea.  However, I was completely distracted from a quest for beverages when we saw a sign advertising raw milk.  I’ve been wanting to try raw milk for ages now, so we stopped, bought a lovely half gallon of whole milk and a quart of raw blackberry honey.  SCORE.


Hush, hush, darlin’

Oh.  Well, hello there, Blog.  I guess I’m serious about not sleeping tonight.   I went to bed late, after hanging out with work friends for my last night at Starbucks, and woke up at 3.  Usually, when I wake up like this, I lay in bed and try to rest but this morning I got up and painted my nails and read some in the books that Trever gave me as a going-away gift.  I went back to bed, but I’m still not sleeping, so forget it.  I’ll catch up later.

I’d forgotten how long ago it was that I left KCN church.  We started going there when the Boy was 18 months old, which was… wow.  A long time ago.  We attended there for two years before we bought our house in another town and at that time, I decided that a half hour drive was too far for church.  If I wanted my kids to really be friends with kids from church, we needed to be someplace close.  As I began the process of looking for a new church, I realized how many friendships I hadn’t made at KCN.  I decided then, that no matter how long I spent in a place, I would invest myself fully.

Growing up the way we did can teach a person to deal with transition in a few different ways.  Moving every year or two and constantly changing schools can either make it difficult to make friends, or it can make it really easy to make friends.  It can also make it difficult to keep friends, even if they’re easily made.  When I think back, my pattern was always to find one really good friend.  I didn’t learn to have a group of friends until I was in middle school, and even then, my “group” was two other girls.  Being an “all or nothing” kind of person, I’ve always found it difficult to maintain casual friendships, although I’m okay at friendly acquaintances.

Several years ago, I worked at an espresso stand where I made a really good friend.  At least, I had thought she was a really good friend, but when I left the stand, I never saw her again.  I’ve had a lot of jobs, and made a lot of friends that way, and lost most of those friendships when it was time to move on.  Moving schools, changing jobs, moving from place to place… I’ve left a lot of people behind.  I was thinking that leaving Starbucks is hard because I don’t deal with change as easily as I used to, but I’m wondering if maybe it’s really that I’m leaving still more people behind.

I’ve spent the last week not thinking too hard about that bit.

The internet and social media change things, of course.  Do we really leave anyone behind anymore?  I think yes: the frequent, 3-D connection is important.  So, when I’m losing this connection with some people who have become very dear to me… I ask myself, did I invest myself enough?  Did I love enough?  If I did, then it’s worth it to be sad now that I won’t see these people all the time anymore, because I made the most of the time I had with them, and any of the friendships that carry on will be an even greater blessing.

So, I start my new job on Monday, and I’ll begin investing again in a new group of people.  If my new co-workers are even half as funny and smart and hard-working as the ones I’ve left, I’ll consider myself amazingly lucky.


Dear Diary…

Oh, poor neglected blog!

The thing about leaving something like this for two whole months is that there’s always the urge to recap the time I’ve been gone.  I even used to do it in my paper journals, when I still kept them, even though no one but me ever read them (thank goodness!)  So let’s suffice it to say that I’ve been working, and doing laundry and tending to children.  There.  Recap done.

I read Bleak House by Charles Dickens a while back.  That’s a long book, people.  It hasn’t taken me so long to finish a book since I read Gone With the Wind, nearly 10 years ago.  I actually took a three day break from Bleak House at one point, and read three paperbacks before going back.  It is a marathon of a book, no doubt about it.

Still, I really enjoyed it.  I was kind of glad I’d seen the mini-series (with Gillian Anderson–SO good), so that I had a good idea about the plot.  My habit is to rush through a book to find out what happens, and then read it over to enjoy it… and I just didn’t have the endurance for that with this one.  At the same time, having seen the mini-series spoiled a bit of the suspense, since I already knew who the villains were, who would live and who would die.  The book is full of long, descriptive passages, which (it turns out) is typical of Dickens–I’ve read other books by him and never picked up on that, or maybe I’d forgotten, and I’m not usually a fan of long descriptive passages about the scenery, but this time… I liked it.  I love how the weather almost becomes a character itself–the fog in London, the rain at Chesney Wold, and the sunshine at Bleak House.

So that was good.

I finished a scarflet for a girl at work.  I kept putting it down, for some reason, and then one day I decided I was going to just push on through the rest of it (thinking I had quite a ways to go) and then it turned out I only had a couple of inches left to knit and the buttons to sew on and then it was done!

I haven’t gone hiking in some time, but I’m determined that the next time I go hiking in the cold, I will have all the right layers.  I typically get too hot from walking, so I’ll take off my sweater, but having just a t-shirt on leaves my arms bare and they get cold… so I’ll put the sweater back on and then I’m too hot.  The solution is clearly arm warmers.  So I dug through my stash–specifically the section of the stash I inherited from Jill (there’s some really yummy stuff in there!) and came out with some variegated blue and brown stuff that was pretty soft.  Made it partway through the cable pattern I picked out, and realized that it wasn’t showing up at all because of the variegation of the yarn.  Started again with some solid navy yarn… finished one chart entirely, then became convinced I was going to run out of that color before I had two arm warmers.  Started again with some Noro: striping together two colors to make sure I had enough–and was getting along quite swimmingly when I realized this was actually going to be MORE yarn than I needed and I was going to end up with odd bits of Noro left over, which would undoubtedly then not be enough to make something else.

SO.  I finally wound up using one ball of Noro for the first arm warmer, which is finished.  The one ball was exactly enough, which is handy, since I have one ball in the same colorway to make the second arm warmer.  I’ve nearly memorized the cable pattern, which is convenient, but have not yet gone through it so many times that I’m sick of it.

The changing colors do obscure the cable pattern a little bit… just enough to make it a little mysterious, I think, but it also makes it difficult to photograph.  Did okay here, but I couldn’t get a picture with the thing on my actual arm.  When they’re both done, I’ll have someone else get a picture, hopefully when I’m out hiking in them.


at Thornfield Manor…

I watched the newest “Jane Eyre” last night.  The girl who played Alice in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” plays the part of Jane in this rendition, and a very good Jane she made.

In a way, it’s surprising that people keep making movies out of books like this.  How many versions of all the Jane Austen novels do we have?  And Jane Eyre is right up there too… IMDb lists 21 titles for Jane Eyre.  I would think it must be hard to come up with new ways to tell these old stories, but I guess this is why new versions keep being made: everyone has the way they think the story should be told.

As far as this offering goes, I enjoyed it, although I don’t know if I could have followed it if I hadn’t read the book umpteen times.  It’s a full two hours, and still crops huge chunks of the story out, since you really can’t tell the story in two hours.  Certainly you can’t tell the story in two hours if you want to linger over any details, which this film does.  There is time spent just watching Jane… which I found intriguing.  Since the story is told from her point of view, that’s what we get in the book–she rarely observes herself, so neither do we.  The film has scenes where she’s teaching Adele, or examining a painting in the hallway, or watching people out her bedroom window.

This time spent simply observing the characters is what this film is good at: it’s like a series of snapshots from the book which help you picture the story better.  With any of the Bronte books, I could never get a sense of the business of the household–my mind’s eye always pictures people alone and never with servants bustling around them.  I always found it difficult to get a sense of Rochester’s manners, but the actor who plays him this time does a good job of being abrupt and sarcastic, but also kind and funny– very much the gentleman, but definitely a gentleman who doesn’t conform to the rest of his society.

The film captures the atmosphere of the book very well.  When Jane is teaching Adele, I got the sense that Jane is content here, at this time, but that her heart yearns for more.  When she is tending Mason while Rochester fetches the doctor, the feeling of tension and fear is palpable.  On their wedding day, Rochester hauls Jane down to the church with exactly the right attitude–he’s so close to getting what he wants that his fear almost overcomes his happiness.

This rendition of Jane Eyre was really good at staying true to the spirit of the book… I just wish there had been more.  The only real problem with the film (besides the Rivers sisters being too thin and not getting enough screen time) is that it isn’t long enough.  It really should have been done as a mini-series.  I kept missing details, like St. John being in love with a girl from town, or the time Jane spends trying to get food after running away from Rochester, or when Bertha tears her wedding veil.  OR the fact that the Rivers are related to Jane–a detail which could have made it into this film, but didn’t.  Much of the visit from the Ingrams is left out and most of Jane’s time at Lowood school is missing.

I mean, really, I just need to go read the book now.