Posted by: Ryan | November 7, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Two days after the election, I finally got mine in the mail:

# 44

They were supposed to ship my magnet out to me after I made my campaign donation six weeks ago. Better late than never, I guess.

Posted by: Ryan | November 4, 2008

11/04

Two notes for tonight, November 4th, 2008:

1) It was cold and rained hard last night. On the way home on the bus, Kim and I looked up and saw snow on the top reaches of Mt. Si. The snowy season has officially begun.

2) I walked to the polling place in our neighborhood, and ran into State Senate candidate Phyllis Huster at the main intersection, waving a “Huster!” sign in front of traffic. I wished her luck. Came back home, had a great dinner (onion noodle soup), turned on the fireplace, and now we’re watching election returns on MSNBC. Looks to be a historic night.

Update: Like the other Democrats in our state legislative district, Huster lost, 59-41%. I guess I don’t have too much pull.

Posted by: Ryan | November 1, 2008

46

My Huskies are 0-7 on the season, Head Coach Willingham has officially been let go at the end of the season, injuries have shredded their starting lineup (thrusting backups in at quarterback, running back, and the secondary), their defensive line is anchored by freshmen, and their woeful recruiting class of ’08 so far ranks 10th in the Pac-10. And today, just days after the Willingham announcement, they travel to Los Angeles to play the 5th-ranked Trojans of Southern Cal.

The Huskies are listed as 46-point underdogs. Ouch. It’s believed to be the largest point spread between two league schools in Pac-10 history. The cross-state Cougars were 43-point underdogs to USC earlier this season, and were crushed 69-0.

The Dawgs could be embarrassed 55-10 and still cover the spread. Hopefully this is what rock-bottom looks like.

(Photo by Dean Rutz, Seattle Times)

Update: Final 56-0. Mercy was our best defensive strategy on the day.

Posted by: Ryan | September 17, 2008

A Hidden Lake

Kim and I had the weekend off and took off on what might be our last big hike of the summer. It’s tough to pick a spectacular hike that neither of us had done yet. I grabbed the hiking books and we eventually decided on the hike to Hidden Lake in North Cascades National Park: Eight miles round-trip, with a big elevation gain of 3500 feet.

Bear Country

The trail started climbing early on, first through forest, then through dense overgrown brush. Later in the day, several hikers told us they’d seen a bear just off the trail in this section, but we never saw him: Just wide swaths of trampled vegetation and a ton of missing berries. The trail switchbacked up the hillside and then crossed over the creek and over the treeline.

Kim in the High Country

Rocky Road

The upper section had fantastic wide views of Mt. Baker and the surrounding peaks that got better as we went along. The trail kept getting rockier and rockier, until eventually we lost the trail several times as it crossed large rock piles. We found a little meltwater pool below the pass and took some pictures.

Meltwater

We crossed the pass and were rewarded with a beautiful view of Hidden Lake. Could you get anything more beautiful than this? Usually encircled by ice throughout August, the lake hangs high in a rocky valley on the precipice of mountainous cliffs. We could see Boston Peak and Sahale Arm in the distance, where we had hiked last year.

Worth the Climb

Lookout

We climbed a steep and exposed trail up the boulder-strewn peak above the pass. At the top was a fire lookout anchored to the rocks. We sat on a large boulder and had lunch and took pictures 360 degrees around. We could see not only Mt. Baker, but also Mt. Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Dome Peak, Snowking Mountain, Eldorado, the Picketts, Boston Peak, Johannesburg Mountain, and more, and faintly in the distance the hazy image of Mt. Rainier. (Below is a telephoto of Dome Peak).

Dome Peak

Sittin' on Top

Kim and I agreed that this probably ranks as our favorite hike we’ve ever done. Meadows and forests and rocks, with a beautiful lake and an expansive view of the north cascades at the top. Can’t beat that. Even Slush had fun!

No Seatbelt

Posted by: Ryan | August 27, 2008

The TPC

The neighborhood we moved to this year has a gorgeous golf complex called the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. The “TPC” designates that it’s a Tournament Players Club course: A PGA-owned course specifically designed to hold large crowds, often with “amphitheather”-type seating around pivotal holes, and which are often sites of major PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour events.

This is the uphill 10th hole. Don’t fall in a bunker.
Bunker HIll

Last weekend, an event on the senior tour, the Boeing Classic, was held on our local course. We took a few hours on Saturday morning to walk around the course and see the players. Since the course is off-limits to even neighborhood residents (if they’re not club members), this was our chance to see this beautiful playground in our backyard.

This is the green of the 13th hole, “Mt Si-gh.”
Mt. Si-gh

This is the 14th hole, the “signature hole” of the course. Players have to tee off over a forested ravine to an undulating fairway. Yikes.
Bear's Canyon

We innocently took pictures of some of the prettiest holes, and made it all the way to the 18th hole before a marshal told us photography wasn’t allowed on the course. Oops!

The 18th, with a grand view of Mt. Si:
Craftsman

It was a rare sunny day in Seattle this year, and we both got a tad sunburned (Kim’s chin & shoulder; my forehead & nose). We were also almost late to work the evening shift that day. But we got some great views of the course!

Posted by: Ryan | August 26, 2008

Blue Sky Holiday

It’s been an awful summer here in Seattle: clouds, rain, and storms. Even patient Seattleites won’t accept that during our God-given summer months! So Kim and I took off for a mid-week weekend in Eastern Washington, where we can see some blue sky and see the Milky Way!

Look, No House!

We camped at 25-Mile Creek State Park, on the shore of Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is a 50-mile long natural lake, only accessible by car for roughly a third of its length (a passenger ferry travels the whole way). It’s supposedly the third-deepest lake in the U.S. at 1,486 feet (behind only Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe), and the 18th-deepest in the world. It greatly resembled the fjords we visited in Norway (except drier, of course!). Interesting note: According to Wikipedia, the retention time (mean amount of time water spends in the lake) for Lake Chelan is 10.6 years (due to its depth, and low out-flow rate).

Happy Kimmy

I really miss living under sunshine and blue skies!

Blue Sky Holiday

We ran into some trouble with the breezy wind on the docks, as water kept splashing up at us as we went by. Here’s a short video of Kim and I crossing the splash zone (humor involved).

We cooked hotdogs over the campfire for dinner, and after sunset we reclined on a picnic bench and watched the stars come out. Oh, stars, how we forget ye! We even saw a shooting star and a few satellites while staring up.

Embers

The next day, on the way back, we stopped at Lake Wenatchee State Park. It’s a very beautiful lake, and nice state park. We think we’ll have to come back!

Emerald Island

When we arrived back in Seattle, it was overcast and gray again. Duh.

Posted by: Ryan | August 21, 2008

Photons

Daisy

Thought experiment:

  1. Imagine a photon. Without mass, it travels constantly at the speed of light, does not age, and has wave-particle duality. Interesting little guys.
  2. All we see is made of photons. As you sit in a field of flowers, the lavender petals and green stems, all colors and shapes — composed entirely of photons; tons of them. Brightness is dictated by the amount of photons reaching your retina. Color is determined by their wavelength.
  3. Think of what incredible amount of these tiny wave-particles it must take to sculpt a typical human vision. Perhaps a mountain landscape on a sunny day, with green hills, billowing clouds, golden aspens by a rushing creek. Perhaps reading a good book on a park bench, the dark ink, the fine texture of the paper, the small hairs on the skin of your arms holding it. Or getting off the bus to work, the cracks in the sidewalk, neon signs, taxis, people passing in suits and summer dresses and faded blue jeans.
  4. Each of these sights can be captured on film. A digital camera will capture all those photons for eternity. Imagine how many pictures you can take of that lavender flower. From the left, from the right, from the middle? High-angle, mid-angle, or low? Photons from the sun bounce off in every direction, enough for us to take pictures of a flower in any fashion we please. In other words, a huge number of photons just hit that flower.
  5. Imagine many other flowers. A field. A wide meadow. A mountain ridge. A national forest. Your state. Nation. Continent. The Earth.
  6. All these photons (or, well, most of them) came from our sun, flying through space for about eight minutes before ricocheting through our blue atmosphere and eventually bouncing off the flower petal and into your eye/camera.
  7. Imagine what small percentage of the sun’s total radiance is intercepted by the Earth. The incredibly vast majority of its photons disperse into interstellar space. These are lost forever to our eyes, to my digital camera.
  8. How many photons does that make? In only one moment in time, for a star that has already been shining for over four billion years, and will continue for many more.

I find it refreshing to reflect sometimes on the enormity of our universe, and our small (yet important) existences on it.

No wonder that one of my favorite quotes is this: “The Sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” (Galileo).

Posted by: Kim | July 12, 2008

Curried Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Couscous

Curried Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Couscous

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon evoo
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/2 pound broccoli florets
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 14.5 ounce can reduced sodium chicken broth
12 ounces uncooked, peeled and deveined medium shrimp
10 ounces (1 2/3 cup) whole-wheat couscous

Instructions:
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add scallions and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the broccoli, zucchini and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the curry powder, salt and pepper. Add the chicken broth and increase heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir in the shrimp, then add the couscous and stir to combine.
Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Yum!

Curried Shrimp and Summer Vegetable Couscous

Posted by: Kim | July 5, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

For the 4th of July this year we celebrated by staying home and playing with our new barbecue and meeting many of our new neighbors. There was a block party on our street for which over fifty of our neighbors showed up to enjoy good food and set off fireworks! Ryan and I barbecued our burgers at home and then brought a big bowl of loaded baked potato salad (recipe to follow) along with us to contribute to the party. Having grown up in dry California with laws restricting how high fireworks can be shot, I was surprised and even a little frightened of the fireworks being shot off in front of our house this year, but we had a lot fun!

Our very first barbecue

Ryan manning our new grill for lunchtime hot dogs, and yes, he is wearing a raincoat on the 4th of July!

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

From the May 2008 issue of “Every Day with Rachael Ray”

Ingredients: (I halved this recipe because I don’t own a bowl large enough to hold 7 pounds of potatoes nor did I want to be eating leftover potato salad for the rest of the summer!)
7 pounds baking potatoes
extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
2 pounds bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 sticks butter, softened
2 pints sour cream
salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Pierce the potatoes with a fork; brush with oil. Bake until tender, 1 hour. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.
2. In a skillet, cook the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sour cream; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the potatoes, bacon, scallions and cheese. Serve at room temperature. (It’s good heated up, too.)

Posted by: Kim | June 22, 2008

First weekend of summer!

In order to celebrate the summer solstice (and also the one year anniversary of our engagement) Ryan and I decided to go for a picnic and a hike near Lake Cushman on the peninsula. Unfortunately, all did not go as planned. First of all, despite predictions for some sun, we never saw any. Then, the road to the trail we planned to hike was closed. And finally, we couldn’t find the park where we planned to picnic! So we ended up eating our picnic in the car (overlooking the lake) while looking at a map to decide where to go instead. We ended up at Westhaven State Park, which apparently is the place to surf in Washington State. I have to say I wasn’t too impressed with the surf, but I’ll assume it was just a bad day for it. I was impressed, though, with the number of people out there trying to make the best of a rather dreary day!

Today we decided to do some work around the house. We went to Lowe’s and bought ourselves our very own ladder and then removed the bird nest from our dryer vent (don’t worry, the birds were done for the season and had moved out), put a cover over the vent to keep them from coming back, and scrubbed the birdie poo-poo off the side of our house. Phew! Good work!

Yard Work 001

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