Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 31, 2011

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

I went to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, the same day I went to Stadium High School.  I had heard that this was a 'great zoo', as good as the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.  Naturally I had to check it out.  Boy was I disappointed!

It's a nice setting, but there weren't a lot of animals and I didn't get many photos at all.  It was like Noah's Ark with only one or two animals per exhibit.  And the aquarium in Golden Gate Park, SF is way better than this one. 

The peacock was pretty...I covet those blue feathers.

I found Nemo.

There were 2 elephants

2 Sumatran tigers

A tapir

4 penguins

Some otters

2 polar bears

An arctic fox

One red wolf that was desperate to shred this fence and dig under it.

In the gift shop

Left the Zoo and drove to Owens Beach, also in Point Defiance.  This is Commencement Bay.

And a shot of The Narrows & Bridge, from another view point at Point Defiance.

May 29, 2011

The Final Countdown

It's closing in on the end of May.....the month I thought would never end.  I knew this would be the hardest one to get through and now it's nearly over.  I'm very happy and very excited, but I'm starting to get scared to death.  There's still so much to do.  The soon-to-be-ex is weeping almost nonstop.  My squeeze is working as much as possible, and still dealing w/ his psycho ex who just won't stop texting him.  I have no interest in her 10th grade mentality and I'm not going to engage her in a juvenile cat fight over a guy and put my sweet baby in the middle of it.  Puh-LEASE!  I know he loves only me, I know it's over with them and moreover, I trust him.  If I am really going to commit to a "no more conflict/save the drama for your mama" attitude, I can't let her get to me.

My poor country is getting walloped with bad and/or extreme weather.  We've gone from having 2-3 major weather events per season to every storm being a major weather event.  It used to be that tornadoes took out mobile home parks, farms or a suburban neighborhood.  Now they are hitting  cities dead on.  It's crossed my mind that we may encounter one on the drive east.  The photographer in me hopes we do; the chicken-shit inside me prays we don't.  Apparently the weather in the Pacific Northwest, which has been cool and rainy for weeks, is sending the cold air down into the midwest and it's colliding with the oppressive heat in the south.  You guys know how much I love the rain but this winter really got to me.  I'm not sure if it's the weather or the circumstances/events of the past 5 months, but it's been a difficult winter and spring.

Been trying to take my camera with me and shoot photos of all the places I will, in all likelihood, never see again.  Although we will travel back to Washington someday, and while we may go to a Fred Meyer while in the state, it probably won't be the Bonney Lake Fred Meyer.  So I shot a picture of it and also of Sumner Vet.  I need to shoot the Safeway, Ben Franklin, Albertsons and other local stuff in and around Bonney Lake.

My bank across the parking lot.  Used to be Washington Mutual till the bank failed in 2008, now it's Chase.

I took Pepper for her final vet appointment for a check up & heartworm test, to make sure she doesn't have it before I give her the medicine in June.  It's a major problem on the east coast so I thought it'd be a good idea to get her cleared now and administer the first monthly dose, which is two weeks before we leave per the doctor's instructions.  He recommended Revolution b/c it also covers ticks, fleas, ear mites and mange.  It's very expensive, but, only the best for the Bean.  I have her medical records, refilled her prescription for anxiety medication and purchased a couple of cans of sensitive stomach food, in case she gets car sick.  She's had a bath and had her nails trimmed too.  Most of the stuff on my list of things to pack in the car are dog items!  I'm probably going to forget my toothbrush or something, b/c I'm so focused on making Pepper comfortable on this long trip and huge change in her life.  She's 10 now and a very sensitive dog.  She's been very, very clingy and I know she's picking up on the tension, Brian's sadness and the upheaval in the house w/ boxes stacked everywhere.

Sumner Vet is a fantastic hospital and agility training center.  I've been very pleased with them and hope to find a pet hospital on the east coast as good as this one is.

Still hoping to get some halfway decent weather for the next month so that I can try to get in some day trips.  I volunteered to bring some papers up to Gig Harbor for my boss one sunny day, because I have wanted to shoot the picture of the harbor with Rainier in the background.  It would have been better if I could have gone in the afternoon, when the sky finally turned blue rather than the bright mid-morning sun, but hey, at least The Mountain was out.

Driving west on Hwy. 16 while shooting the Olympic Mountains.

 Up in Gig Harbor

Mt. Rainier & Gig Harbor.  Not terribly clear or a very good shot, but it's about the best one can hope for up here.  At least I can check it off my list of Things I Wanted to Shoot in Washington.

 Driving east on Hwy 16 while shooting Mt. Rainier

Tacoma Narrows Bridges

Another shot of Rainier from the Pearl Street Exit off Hwy 16 east.

I still want to shoot Mount St. Helens, say my goodbyes to the Pacific Ocean in Westport, check out Port Townsend, and do the Seattle stuff.  I still have time and they are realistic day trips, but the gas prices make me think twice.  On the other hand, how can I show my face back east after living 12 years just 35 miles south of Seattle and say 'No, I never went up in the Space Needle'??  lol  I'll kick myself if I don't at least make the effort to see this stuff.  I desperately wanted to do Cascade Loop/North Cascades Highway but that's not possible.  They just opened North Cascades because of all the snow.  It's only open from June to about early to mid-September.  The rest of the year it's closed and buried.  Won't be able to get to Leavenworth either, the Bavarian-themed town in the Cascades off Highway 2.  No chance of making the long and arduous trek to Cape Flattery, the most Northwestern point in the USA. I am going to miss the mountains, rainforests and dramatic scenery.  Back to bucolic Cape Cod. It's pretty, but in a different way than the west coast.  The west coast is wild & unpredictable, and that appeals to my independent nature, but the east coast appeals to my current desire to have a quaint, quiet life surrounded with friends and people I love. So it's time to end my self-imposed exile to the wild west.

I decided to take off Wed. thru Memorial Day to get some stuff done and hopefully take photos.  I decided to get the car worked on:  Oil change, new wiperblades, etc.  Had the star cracks in the windshield filled too.  Then I went over to Fred Meyer and got some fluids and bungee cords to bring on the trip too.  I had 4 new tires put on a few weeks ago.  Can't set out on a journey like this w/o being prepared.

And this is definitely going to be quite a journey and an odyssey.  It doesn't seem real.  I am going to enjoy every minute of it.  Over and above getting to be with my man day and night for a week or so, it's gonna be great to be on the road, traveling & shooting photos.  There's nothing more American than crossing the country by car.  I bought like 3 more memory cards for my camera so I can shoot to my heart's content, but mostly from the car b/c we really don't have time to sightsee, even though we will be traveling near Yellowstone, Little Bighorn, Mt. Rushmore, and through cities like Spokane, WA, Coeur d'Alene, ID, Missoula, MT, Sturgis and Rapid City, SD.  I must, however, stop at Wall Drug, SD.  It's so incredibly kitschy and Americana. I have to shoot photos there and buy some postcards and a souvenir for my collection.  I believe it's right off I-90 too.  He wants to drive which is totally fine w/ me. I prefer riding shotgun.  We have to go through Chicago too.  Or around it.  Or go through it at midnight, which sounds like a better option than going miles out of our way to avoid it.  I'm stoked to add 4 new states to my 'total states visited' list  (33 at the end of this trip).

I think you'll be able to see my high-wattage smile from space. 

May 26, 2011

Stadium District, Tacoma

Kind of hard to see Mt. Rainier with all the clouds.

No idea what kind of flower this is but the entire bush was beautiful!

The Washington State flower, rhododendron

This was in the window of a funky and very retro drug store.

I've never eaten here, but Frisko Freeze  is a Tacoma landmark on Division Avenue.  It opened in 1950.

Tatanka Takeout isn't in the Stadium District, but on Pearl Street, in the small town of Ruston, on the way to Point Defiance.  Their bison burgers are fantastic and I always get a couple of bones for Pepper & Sagan.