Friday, August 17, 2007

Why this has been the best summer ever

Seattle weather, my first beautiful summer
I have never lived the months of July, August and September without suffering from an oppressive, sticky, wet heat. Seattle has made me love, rather than dread, the summer months. I cannot describe the exhilaration of a bike ride on a midsummer’s day, or a game of tennis at 3 pm on a perfectly sunny, breezy day. It’s new to me, and it really does make the months of rain (the misery of which is exaggerated, in my opinion) totally worth wading through.

I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking. Having been in Africa and unable to cook for myself for three weeks, which means being unable to choose my food for three weeks, I really have a new found love for cooking. Rachel has breakfast duty, and I’ve been making our lunches and dinners, and really loving it. During school I’m usually too busy to cook, and when I was working as a nurse full time, my legs hurt too badly to stand in the kitchen after work. Now footloose and fancy free, I love trying out new recipes (creamy lentils with celery root = significant work, insignificant results) and learning to time everything so it’s all ready at the same time. Previously, timing has always weighed me down. Despite my degree in science, and my continued work in that field, I am really not a very precise person in some ways, and my dinner preparations have generally suffered for it. I hope my love for my tiny kitchen continues when school resumes.

Two buck Chuck
Normally I am the only person in any given crowd of people (okay, save those at a snobby vitner’s convention) that fails to appreciate Charles Schwab wines. However, this summer, I happened upon a sign at Trader Joe’s announcing that their Charles Schwab Chardonnay had taken a top prize at the California state wine fair. So I decided to give it a try, especially given the low price (2.99+tax). I was truly amazed. It’s a refreshing (and refreshingly cheap) summer beverage.

Biking, kayaking, and tennis (Oh, My!)
So I’ve never been a sporty person. I am downright clumsy and always afraid I’ll die a klutz’s death (tripping and falling on an icy sidewalk, running and stepping on a shoelace, falling from a ladder – that sort of thing) and then people will laugh at me and remember me for my utter lack of coordination. But I have discovered my inner athlete, which is not a great one, but an athlete none the less. I mean, I can serve a tennis ball correctly about 35% of the time, and I can correctly steer a kayak in Greenlake’s relatively calm waters. That is progress people. And I hiked an elevation of 1,000 feet in about 40 minutes and didn’t die. This is really an accomplishment for the girl who was always chosen second to last, back in the days when they let kids choose their teams for gym class.

If you’ve been reading this blog since May I don’t really need to expound upon this too much. Suffice it to say that I conquered some fears (some necessary, some superfluous), I did something useful, and I visited our (yes, all of us) ancestral homeland. It wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t even all I thought or hoped it would be. But it was still great, and still life changing, and for that I’m really grateful.

Chicken chasing
I’ve gotten a large chunk of my capstone finished, which will serve me well when school (and hopefully work) starts up in full force in September. I’ve learned quite a bit about poultry, farming, Islam, Enumclaw, and how to walk the line between pestering and persistence. I’ve also mostly gotten over my fear of cold calling people and asking them to donate their time to my pesky little questions.

Buffalo, New York
I finally met my friend Jill’s husband, Carlos. It was so nice to see them together, to be visually and undeniably assured of their happiness together. And I got to see my friend’s roots – meet her family and friends, see her hometown, go to the places she’s always loved. I also got to stand outside the hallowed studios of Righteous Babe Records, and get soaked at Niagra Falls.

Enjoying my new town
Summer brings many more opportunities to explore my new(ish) city and its surrounds. I’ve been going to Golden Gardens beach for picnics with Rachel or with friends, and to the beach at West Seattle. We’ve also been hiking on Mount Peak in Enumclaw, and biking through the arboretum. Throw in a little road or ferry trip here and there (to Bainbridge Island or to Bellingham, say), and I feel like I’m on permanent holiday.

I finally finished Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel Prize winning book, Snow, and after that tortuous ride I’m reading Moon Palace, by Paul Auster. Next up is Collapse, by Jared Diamond. I should also mention the 15 or so books that are sitting by my dining table, with such titles as The Global Threat: Preparing for Pandemic Flu, The Cockfight, Philippine Cockfighting Stories, A Field Guide to Qualitative Research, Avian Flu: Everything you need to know to prepare for the next pandemic, and the list goes on and on in a similar vein.

Planning more trips
I like planning my trips about half as much as I like going on them. Really. I love thinking about all the things I will see and experience, and while I am not really one to plan out every moment of every travel day, I do really like to get starry eyed thinking about all the prospects. We are currently planning trips to Yakima Valley WA for Rachel’s 30th, for a bike tour through Washington’s wine country, to DC for Thanksgiving and an early celebration of Adithya’s first birthday, to Louisville for Christmas, and maybe to France for my 30th birthday.

Seeing friends and family
Right now I am in Kentucky, where yesterday it was 105. EEK! But, I get to see my college roommates and their children, my family, and Ezra.


Dos Blessed said...

amy- loved seeing you...hated it was so short! i have a few more books to add to your growing list...i'll shoot you an email!

Vast Landscape of Them said...

considering how much you like planning trips, I'd say one to NYC is in order...

* said...

Update woman. it was nice seeing you both last week.