2019 It was a (mostly) Very Good Year

2019   It was a (mostly) Very Good Year

As 2019 ends, and 2020 approaches, I have to say that it was a pretty fine year for our little family (Me, Hubby, and Kitty).  There were no disasters, no serious illnesses, only a few bumps in the road.  Our Country has been wracked and torn by the disgusting DemocRATS impeaching President Trump, but he has not let it stop him from governing well in the meantime.

Month by Month…

January

Not much going on in January.  Early in the month, we went to the Seattle Athletic Club, where Hubby plays squash, to watch exhibition matches with some professional players. Some of it was good fun, as world-renowned players played doubles on the big, glass court.  They were intentionally tripping over each other, missing shots, and getting in some good laughs.

Doubles

Singles…

SquashMatch

If you have never watched a real professional squash match, I urge you to go over to your favorite video site and search on pro squash.  They are very exciting and fast-paced.

February:

February was a busy month for us.  Early in the month, we got some snow up in our home of Everett, Washington (not that common an occurrence), and our backyard looked like a winter wonderland for awhile.  Our local birds were happy to take advantage of our seed and suet feeders.  Here’s one of our Varied Thrushes.

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Later in the month, we went down to Southern California for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, which has already been documented here on Calling-all-RushBabes.  It was a wonderful trip, and we were thrilled to be able to meet some well-known Conservatives.  We also confirmed that we will be endowing a Hillsdale scholarship.  From this year on, all of our donations will be credited to our scholarship (for a music student).  We are pleased as punch to be able to do this.

My Age started to affect things this year, as in October I turned 70-1/2, which means I have to start taking Required Minimum Distributions from my Traditional IRA account. My account is with Vanguard, and they do make it very simple to set them up.  I had decided a while ago to dedicate that money to Hillsdale donations, and I did that in May and November this year.  Of course, the College was happy to receive the donations, and they will fund our endowed scholarship.

March:

March was a pretty uneventful month, with no big trips or happenings.  We did drive up to the Skagit Valley to see the scenery.  It was too early for the tulips, but the daffodils were already blooming. It’s only about an hour drive from our house, so we make the trip often.

Mar-Daffodils

April:

April, on the other hand, was full of interesting happenings.  For a few months, we had been noticing that our water bills had been increasing, and we didn’t know why.  Well, we finally called a plumber, and they discovered that we had a broken water pipe in our front yard that was making a lake near the side of our house!  So, on a rainy day, they came out, dug up the yard, and discovered the broken pipe.

BrokenPipe-Apr

See the bend in the pipe (vertical)?  Here is what the yard looked like:

BigHole-Apr

However, when he was through, the plumber replaced the dirt and sod, and the yard looked almost untouched.  We were grateful.

I turned 70 years old this year!  I don’t feel that old, and I’m still working more than full-time and liking it.  And, as a 70th birthday present to myself, I purchased my very first smartphone, an iPhone 10R.  I am liking it a lot, especially the camera.  It takes wonderful video, and it’s now my primary video recorder.

April is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and we went back up there to see the flowers.

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May:

In May, I took my solo trip to the Olympic Peninsula, also already documented here.  It was a great time to get away and unwind from all the stress at work. [I just looked at my final paycheck for the year, and I worked 383 hours of overtime in 2019!]  I got some excellent photos, and enjoyed the relaxation.

June:

In June, as usual we went to Leavenworth for the Accordion Celebration.  Leavenworth never changes much, and the music was fun, and the kids cute, as usual.  We love the drive there, too.

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July:

In July, we again took a day trip up the North Cascades Highway, to the Diablo Overlook.  That is always a fun drive, and we still marvel at the blue-green water in the glacial-fed lake.

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At the end of the month, for the finale of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, I got to play with the Festival musicians at the Outdoor Concert.  It was a thrill to play with Amy Schwartz Moretti in the Second Violin section, playing the Elgar Serenade for Strings.

Violins-SCMFJul

August:

In August, we went to a party at my cousin’s house, to celebrate the birthday of his son’s daughter.  We had not seen the son in many years, and had never met his wife.  It was a nice party, attended by my sister, my nephew, and my great-niece too.  Later, we took another fun trip down to Tumwater Falls Park in Olympia.  That park never loses its fascination for us, and I understand why that was one of Hubby’s favorite places before we knew each other.

TumwaterFalls

September:

September was another busy month for me.  We took a trip to the Puyallup Fair, which I already documented here with numerous pictures.  Even at our advanced age, we love going to the fair!

Later, I had a very pleasant dinner with my sister, and our cousin from Portland.  When I thought about it, I had not seen her for over twenty years!  It was wonderful to get caught up on what we had all been doing for such a long time.  I sure hope it won’t be another 20 years until we see each other again.

At the end of the month, I went, with my violin, to the 30th Anniversary celebration for Music Center of the Northwest.  I was on the original Board of that community music school in Seattle, and it was fun to catch up with all the former board members, and hear about what had been going on at the center.  They also scheduled a reunion of Hildman Strings, the string orchestra whose leader was the driving force behind Music Center.  We played together again, and didn’t do too badly for a pickup group!

October:

October was a momentous month for us.  For the first week, we flew back to Michigan for the 175th Anniversary celebration at Hillsdale College (see my post).  They dedicated the new Christ Chapel, and we got to hear Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speak at the dedication ceremony.

We also celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in October, with a nice dinner at the Metropolitan Grill in Seattle.  I just had to take a picture of a page in the menu, describing the various varieties of Wagyu beef they serve there.  Having seen a picture of a slab of Wagyu, I certainly would not be interested in eating any, since it looks like it’s at least 50% fat!

Oct-Meat with your fat?

Just look at those prices!

November:

In November, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving since our marriage, alone.  I have been basically drummed out of the family, based on the content here on my blog that my sister objects to.  So we went to a nice dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Bellevue, and didn’t have to worry about saying anything that would offend anyone.

And we made our excursion to Snoqualmie Falls, that I have already documented here.

December:

I made a momentous decision in December, after I received a letter from my long-term-care insurance carrier.  The letter informed me that, if I did nothing, my insurance premium would be increasing in January by 40%, and would go up by an additional 150% in the next five years.  Well, that was the last straw.  I decided that this would be throwing good money after bad, so I basically canceled my policy.  The money that I have already paid in premiums (over $30,000) would still be there for me to draw on if necessary, but I will be paying no additional premiums.  I made the decision to take the money I would have paid in premiums, and invest that money in my own account, to earn dividends until needed.

Hubby and I had a very much Christmas dinner at home.  I made a boneless rib roast, and he made garlic mashed potatoes.  We had a nice salad, and apple pie for dessert.  I even got out the good china and Grandma’s silver plate.  Here’s our table:

ChristmasTable

The day after Christmas, we did the University Unitarian Church full-length sing-along, play-along Messiah.  I played first violin, and Hubby sang.  It was wonderful, as always.  This year was the fiftieth year the church has been doing this, so the conductor appeared as the Composer!  Cute, but she said the getup was really hot!

Karen-Handel

The remodeled sanctuary was beautiful, and we got nice padded chairs!  The choir sang very well, and we in the orchestra were proud to be playing for them. It was a great ending to a good year. Oh, one more thing…  This is a Unitarian Church, which is as far Left as you can possibly be and still be a religion.  Here is a sign outside the rest room.

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We are both in aerospace, and get the time between Christmas and New Years off.  This year, we saw three movies in our weeks off.  We saw the new Star Wars movie, Richard Jewell, and Ford Vs. Ferrari.  That’s more movies than we normally see in six months!  And we enjoyed them all.

Also this year, we followed the case of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which was grounded for much of the year, after two fatal crashes in Asia and Africa.  This incident brought opprobrium to Hubby’s employer, and my company’s biggest customer, and we winced every time new bad news was received.  This issue will carry into the new year of 2020, and promises to be uncomfortable for everyone.

Now, as the old year winds down, I would like to express gratitude for all the good things that have come our way this year.  I earned a very nice salary, was able to put away a rather large sum in my retirement accounts, and benefited from a rising stock market all year.  Hubby and I have been healthy, except for my cancer scare (also documented here) in the fall.  We are incredibly fortunate not to have had any major problems this year, and we thank God for our lives, and our friends, and our colleagues.   We are big supporters of our President Donald Trump, and wish him and his family a good new year.  I would also like to thank all of my loyal followers and commenters, here on my blog.

Onward to 2020!  Happy New Year to all!

A Trip to Hillsdale College, 175 years!

The first week of October, Hubby and I flew to Michigan, to attend the Hillsdale College 175th Anniversary Gala, and the dedication of the new Christ Chapel.  The weather was fine on the flight out, and we got to see Mount Rainier from above.

Mt. Rainier

We arrived in Detroit, picked up the rental car, and headed south toward the town of Hillsdale.  It was a beautiful day for a nice drive.  We stayed in the town of Coldwater, about 30 minutes south of Hillsdale, due to the fact that Gala attendees had taken up ALL of the available hotel rooms for miles around!  We learned that there were about 800 people there, and around 600 on a waiting list, which just blew our minds.  The Hillsdale Campus had never entertained that many people at once.

When we arrived in Coldwater, this retail store caught my eye immediately, and I told Hubby that I just had to get a picture.  What with Dick’s Sporting Goods publicizing their decision to stop selling guns, this was an interesting sign in the front windows.

GunsSoldHere

Our Second Amendment-supporting friends got a kick out of this.

The following morning we were rousted out early, since the first program started at 9:30AM. We grabbed a bite to eat before they finished up the breakfast buffet, and headed over to the Searle Auditorium to hear a presentation on the new Hillsdale Master’s Degree in Classical Education.  Hillsdale is doing their best to encourage real education, not the progressive indoctrination most kids get these days in government schools.  This new program will help train the right kind of teachers.  Next, we heard a great presentation on the School of Government.  Would that all politicians could be educated at Hillsdale!

Lunch that day was quite elaborate (like all the meals at the conference), with carefully-plated dishes that looked very artistic. Are we supposed to eat this?

175thDessert

We were fortunate to meet up with our Ricochet friends Susan and Jerry from Florida.  We got to sit with them at all the meals except the last one.  You can get an idea from this picture of how many people there were at this celebration.

LunchWithSusan-Jerry

And that’s only half the room!  There were almost as many tables behind us!  The lunch speaker was Victor Davis Hanson, whom we had met previously on two Hillsdale Cruises. His topic was Nationalism Good and Bad: Lessons from History, and as usual he spoke without notes.  Mr. Hanson is a veritable treasure, and every word he speaks is golden.

After lunch, we boarded a bus for the short ride over to the Performing Arts building to see a short selection from the college’s presentation of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.  The student actors were wonderful, and got a standing ovation from this audience.  I had never actually seen any of the play before, and I was impressed by how well it was done.

We learned that this production included the senior project of one of the students of stage design.  I was very impressed!

MerchantOfVenice-stage

The student cast was also pretty impressive.

MerchantOfVenice-cast

On the last night, we actually went to see the full production, with some other Ricochet friends, and at the end, the cast got standing ovations, cheers, and whistles from the mostly-student audience.  They sure deserved it.

We finished the play and chose to walk back to campus rather than ride the bus.  Smart, because it was only a two-block walk!  The bus had driven a lot farther than that to get there.

We then got back in the car and drove to our hotel to dress for dinner and the evening’s activities.  First there was a reception in a building described as a tent.  Well, it was bigger and more permanent-looking than most tents we’d seen before!

OutsideBigTent

Inside the tent, there was a nice bar setup, and tables of finger food.  The decorations were pretty elaborate, too.

InsideBigTent

And there was a student group providing entertainment.  They were very good!

StringQuartet

After the reception, we went in to dinner.  After the meal, there were two speakers.  First was Dr. Larry Arnn, the President of Hillsdale.  Dr. Arnn is quite a remarkable guy, and everyone loves to hear him speak, on whatever topic.  Tonight’s speech described the 175th Anniversary, and the History and Purpose of Hillsdale College.  Or the Reason for the Season.

Next was everyone’s favorite Rush Guest Host, Mark Steyn, speaking on American Academia.  He got lots of laughs, and some groans, as everyone in this audience is pretty familiar with the horrid state of most modern universities.  After dinner, it was back in the car to the hotel, to rest up for the Big Day.

At 9:30AM the following day, we proceeded to the new Christ Chapel for the formal Dedication Ceremony.  We had seen the outside of the Chapel the previous day, and it looked amazing.

ChristChapelFront

We proceeded inside for the dedication, and we were a bit late, so seated way on the side in the back.  But we did have a view.

ChapelGallery

The first speaker was Dr. Arnn.  But it was the second speaker who inspired everyone, and that was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

JusticeThomasSpeaks

After the Dedication Ceremony was over, everyone left the Chapel, and was standing outside waiting for the call to lunch.  That included Board President Pat Sajak, Dr. Arnn, and some Hillsdale students.

Pat,Larry,pals

With the Chapel empty, we walked back up the stairs, and got some time with the organ master, who described the features of the Fritts Organ, made by a company in Tacoma, Washington, and got to hear some samples of what it could do. Remarkable!

ChapelSanctuary

That’s Hubby in the foreground.  Now, the Organ:

FrittsOrgan

OrganPipes

And get a load of all those switches!  Even the pedals have extra switches.

Switches-organ

Then we all trooped back into lunch and more speakers.  The lunch speaker was Mollie Hemingway, whose talk was about the political divide in America.  We all had extensive experience with that.

After lunch, we went to a presentation on the Barney Charter School Initiative, with which we were already familiar.  See who was there:

Thomas,Steyn,Arnn

That was as close as we got to Justice Thomas.  His Security was everywhere, although this audience was about the most congenial and welcoming he could ever ask for.  After that, it was back in the car to the hotel to change for dinner.

The dinner speakers were Dr. Arnn, Mr. Sajak, and Stephen VanAndel, Vice Chairman of the Board, introducing the new Four Pillars Campaign, to raise zillions of dollars for Hillsdale.  There was an excellent video, of Hillsdale students and faculty describing the school.  I can think of no worthier place to donate than to Hillsdale College.  We are so proud of what they are doing, and we are endowing a scholarship for a music student.

After dinner, it was back to the Chapel, for a concert by the Hillsdale Symphony Orchestra.  They were magnificent!

HillsdaleOrchestra

But the best part of all was the end.  The conductor had promised us a big surprise, and that it was.  The Choir all trooped up to the front, and the orchestra and choir played and sang the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.  I tell you, there were few dry eyes in that audience, as the student musicians and singers praised the Lord in song.

After the concert, there was a reception in the Tent, and music by Hillsdale’s Jazz Band.

NightChapel

JazzBand

And that was the official finish of the 175th Anniversary Gala.  However, we stayed another day, so we could do some shopping and sightseeing.

We parked on the edge of Campus, and we saw an animal that we last saw there in 2010. I don’t think we have these in Washington.  Have you ever seen a black squirrel?  They were very pretty.

BlackSquirrel

We next went to the Grewcock Student Union to do some shopping in the bookstore. And guess who we met on the way?  I just had to get my picture taken with the guy.

RB-Churchill

When we were done with our shopping, we went over to the Music Building, so we could see where our money will be going, when we endow our scholarship. I guess you can tell that this must be the Music Building.

MusicBuilding

It was a school day, so we did hear various ensembles, and a student taking a private violin lesson.

Then we got back into the car and did some sightseeing before returning to our hotel to rest and pack to leave the next day.  We saw a fair amount of fields with already-harvested corn, with the stalks still standing.

MichiganField

This was an excellent trip.  We renewed our commitment to Hillsdale, and we look forward to visiting again soon, before another nine years go by!

 

Random thoughts on Saturday

School dreams.  We all have them.  There are numerous variations on the situation where you find yourself in class, and it’s test day and you haven’t reviewed any of the course material.  The textbook is a fat volume of stories and you haven’t opened it all semester.  And you’re naked.

I have been having an entirely new variation on the school dream.  I am playing in an orchestra, and it’s concert time.  I open my violin case, and my violin is just a pile of sticks.  Or my bow has broken in half.  This one actually has a small connection to something that happened to me in real life.  I opened my case, and one of my bows had lost half its hair!  Another time, I opened my case and discovered that I had bugs, and they had eaten away part of the tip of my bow (you could see the little bite-marks-gross!). I had to fumigate the case and get the bow repaired, which just happened a couple of weeks ago.

On an entirely different subject, I feel a brag coming on.  I have been keeping a running tally of my finances lately, to show progress toward my goal of financial independence when I retire.  My total of investments at my primary investment company, Vanguard, is now comfortably over a million dollars.  About $650,000 is in my retirement accounts.  I am now a “Flagship” investor at Vanguard, and am entitled to a free meeting with a financial advisor, which I intend to set up sometime in August.  And in keeping track, I discovered that I have run out of digits on my little calculator!  Frustrating, but in a good way.

Last weekend, we took our first drive of the season up to the Diablo Lake Overlook in the North Cascades.  I have zillions of pictures of that area, but I always take my camera and get more.  Here are a couple.

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This is the Skagit River around the town of Rockport.

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This is Lake Diablo.  People for scale over on the left.  The water is always that bright blue-green color, as it is glacier-fed.  However, the temperature that day was about 85 at the overlook, and 92 at Newhalem, the town just where the road goes into the mountains.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

It’s Leavenworth Time!

Once again, its mid-June, and time for the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.  Hubby and I took last Thursday and Friday off from work, and drove the 2 hours up US2 to the Bavarian Village of Leavenworth.  As usual, it was a beautiful drive, with nice scenery all the way up and over Stevens Pass to Leavenworth in Chelan County.  The pretty town was much the same as previous years, but we did notice some changes on Front Street, the main “tourist trap” (but we love it).  This building had been repainted in front, and there was a new business there.

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There has always been an outdoor store on the main street, but this year the facade had been re-imagined too.  Nice!

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And inside the Festhalle, we saw more changes to the decor.  There was some new wall art.

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And a new piece of equipment.

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Of course, Leavenworth is nothing without the accordions!  There was a special exhibit this year, of very old instruments.

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And, of course, the new ones, on sale at the booth of Tempo Trend Music of Victoria, BC.

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The competitions brought out many new players who we had not seen before, and a few familiar faces.  I especially love the kids, ranging in age from about seven to teenagers.  Here’s a group picture of all this year’s kids.  Those guys on the ends are this year’s judges!  On the left is Emmanuel Gasser of Canada, who has been competing since he was about eight years old.  On the right is everyone’s favorite pro, Gary Blair, from Scotland.

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I also took some video with my brand new iPhone.  This act was the best of the entire festival.  Every time I play it, I get all teary-eyed, since they are so cute!

Of course, I had to do my obligatory pilgrimage to the Taffy Shop on Front Street.  I found  a new product they are selling!

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The proprietor says they are selling like hotcakes.  But here is a fixture at the store that never fails to bring smiles.  How long has it been since you saw one of these?

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All in all, another great year at the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration.

A Trip to the Olympic Peninsula

The week after Memorial Day, I took a solo trip to the Olympic Peninsula, to use up some vacation hours, and get away from the constant stress of work.  I jumped in the trusty old RDX (old, from 2008), drove onto the Kingston Ferry (where the fare-taker asked if I was really a senior!), and headed over to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  It was a nice day, and I was going to familiar territory.  No maps or charts needed-just point the car in the right direction and go.  Down Highway 101, west toward Sequim first.  I spent two days in Sequim, and one day in Port Townsend.

I arrived in Sequim around 3:30PM, and checked into my motel.  Then, I took a drive up into the hills south of town, to visit property owned by a work acquaintance.  He is a sailor, and found a nice piece of land near the John Wayne Marina.  He gave me directions, and I found it fairly easily.  This is the view from that piece of hilltop property.

View from Shaun's property

He wasn’t joking when he said he had a view of the water!

I was impressed by the house of one of his to-be-neighbors.  Nice place!

Million-$ house

After that, I drove down to the John Wayne Marina.  I have to say that the name is more impressive than the place.  But it has a nice quiet beach.

Beach-John Wayne Marina

View-John Wayne Marina

I still had daylight left, so I drove back to Sequim, and out to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, where I had plans to spend the next day.  It was too late to go down to the Spit, but I drove along the approach road, and stopped at a couple of the overlooks there.  I actually got some very nice pictures.

There are lots of these bushes at the top of the bluff, with pretty flowers-they are wild roses and are everywhere.

Wild rose

This is the view north over the bluffs down to the Dungeness Spit.

Bluff Overlook

Here’s the view looking south.  All the way to the right (west) is Port Angeles.

Looking South

Straight down below.

Beach and dead trees

This is the Spit itself, to the north.  It is five miles long, with a lighthouse at the end.

Dungeness Spit

And look what I saw!  A Bald Eagle, flying below me.  When was the last time you saw a bald eagle flying below you?

spot the bald eagle

Actually, they are pretty common here in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s still a thrill to see one.

The next day, after a lazy morning doing nothing at all, I headed down to the Spit for a hike.  I actually got to use my National Park Senior Pass for the first time, as the refuge is part of the Olympic National Park.  It was foggy, and that fog did not lift all the time I was on the path and down to the Spit itself.  Well, I already have hundreds of Dungeness pictures from previous trips, so I took a lot of artsy pictures in the fog, and even captured some wildlife.

The path down to the Spit is through a stand of second-growth timber, and is actually very pleasant.

OrangeFlowers

I have no idea what these orange flowers are, but they are common around the Spit.  Followers?

Weird trees

I was taken with this apparently-live tree growing around a dead one.

Path to the Spit

Above is the path down to the Spit.

And, of course, what’s a National Park without some guilt?

Guilt

I found a nice “nurse log”, where a dead tree nourishes new, living plants.

NurseLog

As I rounded a bend in the path, I got my first view of the Spit below, in the fog.

First view of spit

Some of the trees beside the path looked positively eerie in the fog.

TreesInFog

Path in fog

As did the Spit itself.

FoggySpitFoggyBeach

I really loved all the beautiful driftwood on the beach.  Many of these must have been huge trees when they were alive.  And people have added their enhancements over the years-lots of little piles of rocks in the branches and crevices.

Huge driftwood log

big logs

Doesn’t this one look like a log-shark?  It sure did to me! Or maybe a wolf?

log shark

Beaches in Washington tend to be rocky, rather than sandy.  This is due to the fact that granite and basalt form much of the foundation around us, and what falls off ends up on our beaches.  Even the rocks are beautiful.

Rocks sand surf

Rocks

I took this one-minute video, to give you a sense of the beach that day.

Behind me, to the east, is a small bay, in the crook of the Spit as it winds its way north.  A little white-crowned sparrow was sitting on a piece of driftwood, seemingly posing for me.  I didn’t get too close, but he let me take his picture.

portrait of sparrow

And then he turned around.  What a pretty bird!

sparrow facing

More pictures of the bay, and the grasses along its beach.

quiet bay

beach grasses

I’ve always been fascinated by driftwood, with the bark still on it.

driftwood closeup

And a couple of more sights on the path back up the hill to the car.

tree grows funny

empty nest

The next day, I drove up to Port Townsend.  I first stopped at Chetzemoka Park, overlooking the harbor and downtown.  Here is what I saw there.

TallFir

Chetzmoka rhody

Chetzemoka arbor

flowers

Plants

After spending a while at the park, I went to check in to my bed-and-breakfast inn, the Ravenscroft.  It is a beautiful building, and I had a nice room on the second floor.

Ravenscroft

B-n-Bveranda

Here’s the view from there.

View from BnB

In the evening, I took a stroll downtown.  Port Townsend is a touristy place, with lots of nice gift shops and restaurants.  Its harbor is picturesque, and I found some features this time that were not there the last time I went!  It looked like someone had fun piling up the jagged rocks, making “rock people”.

RockPeople1rockpeople2

RockPeoplePier

The next day, I did some sightseeing around the area, where I had not been at all.  I first drove through town, and admired the many old houses around.  PT has a reputation for having many Victorian-era houses that are well-kept (and very expensive).  Many have been re-purposed as apartments or bed-and-breakfast inns like Ravenscroft.

House-1

House-2

House-3

House-4

House-5

Then, I drove south out of town, and headed east toward the water.  I discovered Indian Island Park, which consists of Lagoon Beach and Mystery Beach.  They were really beautiful.  I especially got a kick out of the river-pools running into the main body of water, because they were shallow enough to observe all the crabs-dozens of tiny guys under each rock and on top of the rocks too.

Lagoon Beach

LagoonBeach-river

How many crabs?

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This is Nordland, Washington, on Marrowstone Island.

NordlandHarbor

BlueBoat-Nordland

Pier-Nordland

All too soon, it was time for me to head back to Port Townsend to catch the ferry to Whidbey Island.  When I boarded the ferry, I took lots of pictures of the PT harbor, and the fleet of sailboats out that day.

Ferry-Salish

PT-Harbor

PT-Sailboats

Ferry-wake

Once we hit Whidbey Island, I exited the ferry and headed for the south end of the island, from which I was to board another ferry to Mukilteo, near home.  The last sight of my trip just totally made me laugh.  The car in front of me in the ferry line pushed every one of the standard Progressive buttons, and was not at all shy about advertising its persuasions.  Typical!

Lib-1

Lib-2

Resist Hate, except for President Trump!

All in all, a delightful getaway.  I had a great time, and came back refreshed.

Friday, on the Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

Yeah, it’s basically a cliche, isn’t it?  Who hasn’t seen pictures of a sunset off the famous Santa Monica Pier?  I first saw the attraction way back in 1999, on my first adult trip to the area.  I remembered how beautiful it was, and jumped at the chance to repeat the experience.  February can get cold, and it was about 54 degrees with a brisk wind.    Here’s what we saw.

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The view from the little park on the street above.

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This gentleman was playing an amplified Erhu, a Chinese stringed instrument.  Very nice!

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The pier has an amusement park, with some nicely-lit rides.  I was taken with the Ferris wheel, which looked like it was wrapped up in the roller-coaster.

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And later, after the sun sank below the horizon, the lights came into their own.

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Just good fun.

SoCal Interlude: Patterns

Over the weekend in California, my eye was caught by the many interesting patterns I saw in the hotel, and outside in nature.  Some were repeated, some not.  A guy at the hotel front desk told me that the carpet pattern in many places was the Golden Poppy, which is found in California.

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This pattern and variations was found in many places in the hotel.

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This one is on a high-back sofa in the lobby.

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Then, there was an interesting side table, with a marquetry top, and metal stand that worked very well together.  Pattern on pattern!

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Then, if you looked up, you could see the right-angled patterns of the windows and walls on higher floors.

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I was taken by the pattern on the elevator doors, too.  My readers will know that I am a fan of the Art Deco period, and this looked like a pattern from that period of design.

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Even the walls and ceilings carried eye-pleasing patterns.  The first one is the front of the front desk, and the second one was the ceiling in the restaurant.

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Nice lattice patterns-different execution of the same basic idea, and both very pleasing to the eye.

Speaking of eye-pleasing, this is what greeted guests stepping off the elevators behind the front desk.  I just loved the colors.

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And, finally, this very pretty mirror on the floor where the Hillsdale seminars were held.

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Patterns, patterns everywhere you looked.  Definitely not boring!