Finding the Perfect Christmas Tree.

Every year, I complain about finding the perfect tree. Every year, I go out and whine for hours about how cold it is and how dumb we are for being out there. This year was no different. We went out in stupidly cold temperatures and looked at hundreds of trees that all looked the same to me.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-18-37-pmI stopped to take a couple of pictures. I was pretty happy when we weren’t actively hunting for a tree. It is rather beautiful. I hate to admit it.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-19-33-pmThis is my favorite way to look at the trees. From the warmth of a car.

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We headed into Hope, Alaska, hoping (hahahahaha) for a warm meal or really just for something to be open. There was a kayak place that will microwave a sandwich for you. The cafe was closed.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-20-20-pm

It was rather beautiful, but I hate to admit it.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-20-37-pmWe found lots of snow. That is better than last year!

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Beautiful. It is all so damn beautiful.screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-9-21-04-pm

Camping and fishing on the Sol Duc.

I had never really been to the Olympic Peninsula. A couple of stops at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles doesn’t really count. I still have not been to the Olympic National Park. Until I am allowed to take my dog wherever I want in the park, I probably won’t be going there. I found out about the Klahowya Campground and had to visit it. It is on the Olympic National Forest land making it cheaper and dog friendly. The drive along US 101 wasn’t very impressive until I turned off the highway and into the campsite. Tall trees shaded the whole area. The beautiful, low, clear, and cold Sol Duc River was flowing near a bunch of the campsites. We arrived hot and ready to fish. Before unloading the car, Lando and I need to see the water and take a selfie.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.16.44 PMThe trees are as enormous as you would expect them to be. With so few inhabitants, there aren’t many (if any) trails beside the rivers. This is half of the reason I went. Even though there are places where it is easily accessible, most people aren’t willing to leave the campgrounds. Ferns, moss, and berries were everywhere. the smell of Christmas was everywhere. It felt 20 degrees cooler once you were in the forest.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.17.20 PMFollowing the river, I came to a very deep hole. It would have been a great place to swim if it weren’t full of fish. I was sight casting to some of the largest wild trout I have seen in Washington. It was a bit of sketchy hike to get to this area. I had to remind myself that if either one of us got injured, it is a long walk back to the car and there still wouldn’t be cell service for another 15 miles.

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It is always good when you can’t hold the camera far enough away to get a decent picture. Watching this fish eat my fly, swim upstream, jump, swim downstream, and force me to scramble over logs and rocks was a thrill I won’t soon forget.Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.18.08 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.18.21 PMThanks for reading and feel free to leave your comments!

I am not sending you a Christmas card.

Merry Christmas. I thought about sending out a card, but decided this would be better. Easier on the environment, better for my bank account, and easier for you to reply. I remember when people would send a letter updating our family about what has happened with their family. These days, we all know what is going on as soon as it happens. FacebookTwitterInstagram, and personal websites have made sure of that. If you missed any of those, click on them and you can be updated.

Here is a short recap of the year if you aren’t as addicted to the world wide web as I am. Last winter, I got a gyotaku kit and began the Japanese art of “fish rubbing”.

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The problem is I usually let my fish go after catching them, so I don’t get to practice much. I did fish quite a bit despite the cold temperatures and there being some decent snow on the ground.

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When the snow fell heavily, we went cross country skiing. Amanda got us skis for Christmas last year and we used them quite a bit.

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In the spring, we built a couple of fun things. One is an aquaponic set up inside a pallet. We found a used pallet, lined it with plastic pipes and ran a pump up the inside. The fish below poops and provides nutrients for the plants on the wall. I built the light to save money and energy.

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We also built a chicken coop. It looked great and would have been amazing if our landlord had not sold the house. This forced us to move and leave this amazing coop. Unfortunately, it was destroyed before the house was sold.

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We had an amazing summer this year. Months of warm temperatures and sunshine in then Northwest is apparently rare. We went to our first Seattle Sounders soccer match.

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We caught dungeness and red rock crab.

Black tipped claws!

Black tipped claws!

We caught salmon and smoked them. In fact we will probably eat them during the holidays!

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The highlight of my summer was twofold. The first thing that happened is that I was accepted to nursing school. Yay! That was big news. For one last hurrah, we headed east. First Walla Walla, Washington for some wine, then onto Idaho for cutthroat trout fishing. We had some big hungry fish come play with us that left smiles on our faces for days. We hit hot springs and then moved on to Missoula, Montana.

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For Amanda’s birthday we headed west. We hot the Washington coast and we razor clam digging. It was an absolutely gorgeous evening and we even got some clams.

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After half a decade, I caught up with my cousin Hunter for a too short of a time. I feel like most of us cousins can stay in touch via Facebook, Instagram, etc. and it somehow brings us closer without seeing each other.

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Amanda is still working at Woodland Park Zoo and growing a successful dog running business.

Now, I am in nursing school and have very little time to do anything fun. I spend two days a week in school, two days a week at the VA hospital, and two days a week at work. Every other minutes seems to be spent studying. I am loving it though. It seems to be flying by and creeping along at the same time.

So from up here in Seattle, have a Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate. Thank you very much to everyone that helped make life possible this year.

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Cutting down the holiday tree.


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After quasi celebrating Hanukkah we decided to cut down a tree, put lights on it, and call it a holiday tree. I am not religious. Kinda of like Thanksgiving, the actual day of Christmas doesn’t have a lot of significant meaning for me. I do enjoy the day off and if we don’t have any food in the house, you will find us at a Chinese restaurant with our chosen friends.

It was fun in the beginning.
Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 8.59.48 PMBut then Amanda had to find one in the middle of this forest.Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.00.05 PMWhat is a trail?Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.00.16 PMEventually, we got the perfect (for us) tree.Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.00.41 PMStrapped to the car and ready to go.Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.00.50 PMCut to size and set up.Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.00.56 PMLit.Screen shot 2013-12-06 at 9.01.08 PM

So whatever you celebrate, enjoy the holidays.

Christmas 2012

This was my kind of day. Despite the rumors of snow, sideways rain, and lots of wind, we rove up to Black Lake and had a banner day. It was a touch cold, but we survived. We loaded the canoe and headed East.Catch 'em on the fly.It was snowing on us, but we didn’t see anyone else and we caught lots of fish.Amanda fishWhen Lando couldn’t stop shivering, we headed in.IMG_2377Once we were home, we all celebrated.IMG_2382Lando thought it was well worth it.The dog!