Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Umtanum Ridge

Yesterday we travelled with our friends, Ron & Nicole, to Umtanum Ridge. The Ridge is located between Ellensburg and Yakima, about 2.5 hours east of Seattle. This hike provided us with some amazing views and a good dose of sun and heat.
We're glad we have today off for Memorial Day because we're pretty sore from the hike. We're not sure if this is always going to be the case, but the descent did most of the damage. The ascent was pretty tough, but the descent was nearly disastrous. This hike took approximately four hours with the descent alone taking up a quarter of that time but only about an eighth of the distance. Mike referred to it as being "technical." Everyone else was pretty sure it was just impassable.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Summer/Fall Quarters

We registered for summer and fall quarters this past week. Our summer classes are all at South Campus, in West Seattle, rather than Central. Mike is taking Sculpture on Mondays and Wednesdays and we're both taking Intro to Food and Wine Pairing on Thursdays.

We were able to register for fall quarter classes at the same time as summer quarter classes, and this time Mike got his drawing class (YAY!). He'll be in Drawing Mondays and Wednesdays and Painting Tuesdays and Thursdays. Desi is taking Spanish on Mondays and Wednesdays and we're both taking Intro to Digital Photography on Saturdays.

It's exciting to think that with every quarter that passes we're that much closer to our Scotland goal. By the time fall quarter starts Mike will have already applied to University of Edinburgh. We should know in October regarding his acceptance. It's all very exciting!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thou Art Gone But Not Forgotten

This past weekend we cancelled our DishNetwork service completely. We bought a $30 cable to run from the laptop to the flat panel, so now we stream shows directly to the big screen. After just two days of living with this set-up we are SO happy with the outcome.

No longer slaves to the programming schedules of the networks, we watch what we want when we want. Also, we're no longer wasting time "surfing," trying to find something to watch. Instead, we watch a program while eating or winding down at the end of the day but otherwise we're finding other things to occupy our time.

This was more of a change for Desi than it was for Mike, who was never one to sit in front of the TV for more than a few shows at a time. Unlike Desi, Mike never used the TV as a form of relaxation. Desi could waste an entire day in front of the TV, even if nothing was on. Well, this weekend Desi discovered other things to entertain her.

On Saturday we walked to the grocery store and to Radio Shack for the TV/Internet cable. We did yard work (something Desi rarely does) and just generally enjoyed each other's company.

On Sunday we rode our bikes to the U Village (16 miles round trip) to shop at the Mac Store and Barnes & Noble and check a few more errands off our to-do list. We then spontaneously joined a friend in Ballard for some drinks and dinner.

Getting rid of TV is definitely a life change for Desi. The saddest part about this, though, is that she didn't decide to terminate it because of the amount of time it was sucking from her life. She terminated it only because of our move to Scotland, now just 14 months away.

Since we're unsure of the TV situation in Scotland, Desi didn't want that to be part of the culture shock. So, she pre-emptively terminated it from her life in order to better acclimate to life in Edinburgh. However, now that she has identified it as a time sucker, she's sorry she didn't terminate it years ago. Now the question is, what other unidentified time suckers exist?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Burlington Spring Classic

Yesterday we rode our first metric century (62 miles), the Burlington Spring Classic. This was the longest either of us had ever ridden and it really showed when we both hit the wall, Desi at mile marker 40 and Mike at mile marker 50. The elevation gain on this ride was 2400 ft., which made it easier than the Camano Climb last weekend. The two big climbs on this ride were Chuckanut Drive and Bow Hill Road. The picture below shows us at the top of Chuckanut Drive, at the first pit stop. Bow Hill Road was rough! It came around mile marker 45 and was the toughest hill of the ride. They positioned somebody dressed as a devil on the side of the road to scream encouragement at us. It was that rough. We eventually made it to the finish line spaghetti feed. At 6 hours and 15 minutes, we had our best pace yet. Although it's a day later and we're both still pretty broken, we both agree that this was a fantastic ride and our favorite ride yet.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Camano Climb

Yesterday we participated in the Camano Climb, a ride that followed the perimeter of Camano Island. Ten years in Seattle and we've only made it to Camano Island once previously and that event didn't include a tour of the island.

The scenery was gorgeous though very hilly and, unfortunately, Desi didn't realize that "climb" in the title translated to hills on the ride so she was mentally unprepared for the difficulty we encountered. Additionally, though the ride was great, it was a bit too challenging for a couple still recuperating from last weekend's Rhody Tour.

We wound up having to cut a corner towards the end, skipping about 5 miles of hills, in order to reach the finish line alive.  We're not proud of our finish but we are proud of our attempt and glad we tried a ride so clearly beyond our skill level.  This experience definitely gives us something to work towards.

My Oh Maya

I was in Washington, DC this past week, traveling for business, when the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Maya Angelou was presented to me. A fundraiser for the DC public charter schools in her name, this event was a way to honor the "Heroes and Sheroes" involved at MAPCS, both students and staff.

It was AMAZING to be in Dr. Angelou's presence and it was a very inspiring experience. Dr. Angelou began the night with a rendition of "This Little Light Of Mine" interspersed with bits of her poetry and ended the night with a fantastic story about her youth and an inspirational speech about "her kids."

The night also introduced me to Patti Austin. Ms. Austin accepted an award on behalf of her Godfather, Quincy Jones. She sang a couple songs, too, and brought the house down. I'll be adding some Patti Austin to my collection in short order.
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