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Where has Joe been? Summer!

Posted by joeabbott on July 7, 2013

The small circles of my life have brought me here and there, with the “here” for the most part being “Seattle” and the “there” being largely “Minnesota”. And still, I’ve seen Vermont in the fall, Houston in the summer, Yosemite in the winter, and small slices of time in many places in between. In those travelings I declare Minnesota to having the best autumn: the crisp, clear days, the evenings with the feel of winter coming on; the endless blue of the sky and blazing color of the forest preparing for a rest; and football being the talk and sport of all. I really like Minnesota autumns.

But summer belongs to the Pacific Northwest. The lazy mornings, gentle warmth of the afternoons, and mild sit-out-on-your-deck-and-enjoy-the moderate-temp evenings. Glorious. The horizons are toothed with mountains, there’s plenty of water nearby for those who like such things, and the bugs are (for the most part) mercifully few. Yes, even the rain takes a holiday during Seattle summers.

Here’s how I’ve been filling up those days and weekends for the past month or so.

Week of Suz

WP_20130609_004I have few pictures from WoS this year. It was a mild stretch of days where work schedules kept us from taking too much time off and the main focus was giving Suzy a break from the kitchen and spending a bit of quality time together.

Now, for those who are late to the party, so to speak, WoS is the week we spend celebrating her birthday. This is a tradition we’ve had for a while, I think we picked it up from one of her coworkers: taking an entire week out to celebrate one’s next year on the calendar. In the past we’ve enjoyed lavish events with big gifts and lots of adventure. I’m not sure if this approach has lost its novelty, if too many have tempered our excitement for them, or if we just have everything we need to be happy without adding a lot more to our lives. Regardless, this year Suzy enjoyed a card and small gift each day, we had a nice meal out each evening, and in the spaces in between we’d weed the yard, tend to small chores, or sit on the deck together.

We did make a sojourn down to Legendary Doughnuts, picked up a dozen treats, and promptly froze most of them for later treating. There’s no way we could comfortably eat that many doughnuts and we’ve been to Legendary enough to know what holds well (the Buttermilk Bars are a wonderful treat and freeze perfectly) and what makes a great snack midweek. Even if our current diet dictates only enjoying half a doughnut on any given day.

Oh, and the picture to the left … that’s from a home cotton candy maker that was loaned to us by Suzy’s brother for a later event that I’ll be talking about!

Conrhole Game

P1030629Every year my wife’s family gets together at the beginning of summer to celebrate the late spring, early summer birthdays, to welcome summer, and to spend a day together. Suzy almost always hosts this event and plans a theme around that gathering. I’ll write more about the party in a separate post but for this year I offered to build a “Cornhole Game” boards.

Now, I’d heard about the Cornhole game from back in the Midwest; my brother-in-law Fred explained it’s the one game a Wisconsinite could partake in while maintaining a grip on his beer. Fair enough. The instructions on how to make a game were easily findable on the web … I used this site … and building them was straight forward. Suzy picked up some corn bags from Amazon and we were all set.

The hardest part was painting them but they came out rather well and, in spite of what I thought were obvious flaws, no one said a word.


Mt. Rainier National Park

imageI taught MOFA (Mountain-Oriented First Aid) for the Mountaineers for many years and quite of few of those years with Syd P. She is an excellent instructor and I miss our yearly socializing time now that I’m no longer involved in teaching. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t get together “just because”. So last year sometime I dropped her a note and we planned to get out and hike. Then the winter rains set in and so we looked forward to spring. Then summer was on us. Fortunately, our schedules and the weather aligned so we took time to get a little hike in. I “let” Syd plan the hike and, either in retaliation for my lack of doing anything or simply because she’s in much better shape than I, she planned a 17 mile hike into Mt. Rainier National Park to the Carbon Glacier and back. In one day.


The map to the right shows our route: 8.5 there, and the same number back. Now, for the most part, the trail in was on an old forest service road. A few years back, flooding destroyed the roadbed and they’re only maintaining that first five miles for foot (and bike) traffic. So, pretty easy hiking.

Regardless, it was a long way.

Still, it was enjoyable and a right treat to sync up with Syd, talk about old times, new times, catch up on the happenings of our respective spouses and quiet lives. Good stuff all around.


imageThe one “bad” part was using my SPOT which, once again, recorded just a fraction of the points along the trail (SPOT map to the right). While I had it on the entire way, it only captured three “hits” from the entire 9-hour tracking session!

Not great.

And. yes, we were under tree cover most of the entire way, but it’s still hard to see my GPS tracking session with it’s roughly 850 breadcrumb tracks (the map above) and compare that to my paid-subscription-SPOT-tracking and see three tracks. Grrr.

I have many more photos up on my Flickr site … just look for the Carbon Glacier 2013 set and enjoy!


And that’s it! Sure there’ve been other things and the big party (which I’ll write about a bit later), but I’ve had easy going weekends … just the way a summer was intended to be!

Thanks for dropping in!


One Response to “Where has Joe been? Summer!”

  1. Momma said

    Just reading about your hike exhausted me, Joe… However, the Legendary Donuts item perked me up again! That will definitely be in my Must Do list next time I head West. AND, I did so enjoy seeing all the hearts cards and such that you gave Suzy, and I also loved that she got to pick out the dinner sites! You two just are fun to read about…. And its true, the simplest things are the things that bring deep happiness – sitting in the twilight by a beautiful garden, watching the kits play, collecting a few eggs to enjoy the following morning. Very nice. Oh, and I must say you did quite the superb paint job on the game boards. I’ve seen three of them at various places, but they all been just painted one color. I couldn’t believe how fancy you got! Momma

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