Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hiking to Poo Poo Point for Spring Break

It's between quarters at UW and the project I've been supporting went live last weekend - its time for a break!

Today, Heather and I went hiking to Poo Poo Point, a local launching point for paragliders. It was a great day in the Northwest, no rain, it was clear out. Since we're still having winter, it was cool, but not too cold.

We got the kids off to school and then set off for the trailhead. Its conveniently located not-too-far from our house (more information available here). We took the shorter Chirico trail from the paraglider landing zone and headed on our way.


The well-maintained trail first parallels the hillside, through mossy deciduous trees. Even though it is the end of winter and there weren't many leaves, it was still quite green because of the moss growing everywhere.

After about 1/2 a mile or so, the trail starts to head up, following a ridgeline and then up some switchbacks. The trails not super-steep, but it stays steady up hill almost the entire way to the top.

We knew we were getting to the top when there were no more trees above us and the split and split again, and re-joined and split again, in a criss-cross of trails all leading to the same launching point. We laughed a bit when we realized that the choice to go left or right at the Y didn't make a difference.

We made it to the top and were rewarded with panoramic views of Mount Rainier, the Olympics, Lake Sammamish and Bellevue. It was breezy (duh, they launch paragliders) but it was a great view.

CIMG7883 CIMG7880

On top of the great view, we were lucky enough to see a paraglider head into flight! We enjoyed some Cliff Bars, Zoe bars and some coffee and watched this guy get his gear ready.
It was a great hike, not too strenuous, close to home and had great views. All along the way, Mount Rainier would peek through the trees, giving glimpses of the views to come.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A letter to Gina

Dear Gina,

I tried today. I tried three times. I ended up with about a line for a new post. And it was worthless. I tried to write a blog entry and all I can come up with is this letter to you.

I worked a lot this weekend and got a lot of stuff done. The idea of just sitting in front of my computer, not getting any utility out of it, is almost offensive to me.

I've got an idea to write about collaboration and Google documents, but some people find that stuff boring. Heather had Stumbled a few of my older posts and by mid-day, the traffic was 5x normal. I figured I didn't want to bore all my new visitors with geekiness and productivity.

So, I figured, I'd write this letter to you instead. Letters don't have to be long, they just have to have the message.

Since you are looking for a new post, you got one! Special for you.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Conspiracy of Closed

Re-read the title, I'm not writing about when my wife goes shopping, but this about things being closed.

On Sunday, I took Kid 3 to swim practice. Since I was half-way to the University, I decided I would turn in my completed Macro-economics final exam. I drove the rest of the way there and as I got there, I realized that there was an exhibit at the Burke Museum that I would enjoy seeing. I used my iPhone to check the hours of the museum and found that I had 15 minutes before it closed. I had an hour and 15 minutes before the MBA office was supposed to close, so I decided to check out the museum.

As I walk up, one of the museum employees steps outside to dump out her coffee cup. I try the door and it is locked. She says to me, "We're closed."

"Is it 5pm," I ask, sounding surprised and verifying the hours posted on the door.

"We close early to count money," she said. And she had to knock on the door to get back inside, too.

Oh, well. I have a few more quarters before my MBA is complete, so I'll have many opportunities to go back. On to the MBA office...

...where I learn that on Sundays that the building closes at 5pm. I can't even get in.

So, I go back to Mercer Island where my son is swimming. I'll go to the library, because there is free wi-fi there (I write this post from there now).

I get to the library (can you guess where this is going) and it closes at 5pm on Sunday! So, I just park in the parking lot, hoping I can pick up their wi-fi signal, which I am not able to do. So, for about 40 minutes I play on my iPhone and download useless applications until it is time to go pick up my son.

After his swim practice, I call my wife to ask if she'd like me to pick up something for dinner. Kid 2 (a girl) answers the phone and says I should stop at Taco Bell. I know enough to ask whether or not she said that or it was really what her mom said. I hear Heather in the background say, "Get pizza."

The voice on the phone says, "Oh, yeah, get Sahara Pizza," and at this point, I ask to speak to her mom.

The voice changes, altogether too quick, "Yes?" Wait, I recognize that voice. Its not my wife's voice, its the Kid 2 impression of mom voice.

The disguise seen through, she dutifully passes the phone on to my wife. She confirms that I should get Papa Murphy's pizza, as there are always coupons in my messenger bag.

My son and I drive up and go through my bag and find the coupons. Its raining and we wonder if we should just call it in and not leave the car. But we know we'll have to wait anyway, so I propose that we go hang out at Safeway because there is free wi-fi there.

Kid1 proposes that we go to the REI right next door, and I won't pass that up. We go order our pizza and guess what - REI was closed!

Luckily, Papa Murphy's didn't run out of crusts (that has happened to me before) and so we were able to get our pizza and go home.

It was just a giant conspiracy!

And if you are wondering, I did get my exam turned in. I made a special trip to the University, but had to adjust my plans because on Monday, I got an email that said the MBA office was closing an hour early because it was finals week! The conspiracy continues!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Killing ones selft through healthy eating

I am making a concerted effort to eat a little better. My cholesterol is bad, my good cholesterol is low and the bad is high. So, I've started to eat oatmeal for breakfast on a daily basis. I'm not talking the microwavable instant oatmeal, but the Wilferd Brimley stovetop, milk and oats kind of oatmeal.

So, everyday for breakfast, I get a pot out, turn on the stove to 4, add one cup of milk and wait for it to come to a simmer. Some days, I stir it more than others so that the milk scalds less on some days than others. I add 1/2 cup of oats and let is burble away until its the right thickness. I scoop it out into a bowl, add some cinnamon and sugar, or dried blueberries or cranberries and have a nice breakfast.

And then a little while later, and usually not me, someone turns the stove off. Pretty consistently, I've been leaving the stove on. Some days I find it and some days because I walk by the stove and notice how nice, warm and cozy it is in front of the stove. My hands are usually ice cold and I enjoy any contribution of warmth (over stoves, underneath sweaters and whatnot). Then I realize that it because I didn't turn it off!

It happened tonight again. Heather and Kids 2 and 3 had mostly eaten (a large snack) before they came home from swim practice. I cooked dinner for Kid 1 and myself (and some to share with the other kids) and as I was cleaning up afterwards, I thought to myself, "Boy, the stove sure cools off slowly."

Wouldn't you know it, I left the stove on. Again. Second time today.

So, if you happen to feel the warmth coming off our stove, please, please just turn it off. If you hear that some guy in Sammamish lowered his cholesterol and will live a few more years, but died because he left the stove on, warn your children on my behalf.

Be Safe. Turn your Stove off.