Preparing to Go Backpacking

My Dad and I are planning on taking Benji on his first-ever backpacking trip overnight Thursday to Friday. The plan is to go to a place called Heliotrope Ridge on Mt. Baker. We’ve been packing and preparing for a few days, gathering up all the backpacking gear and supplies we’ll need, and I keep oscillating between “wow, that’s a lot” and “we really don’t need that much.”

The big thing is backpacks. I’m the only one of us who owns a backpacking pack these days; Dad purged his long ago, figuring he’d never be backpacking again. REI no longer rents this type of gear, so that’s a challenge for Dad. And then there’s Benji: We definitely don’t have any kid-sized sleeping bags or backpacks. He won’t carry much, but he’ll have to carry at least his clothes, food, water, and sleeping bag… and probably at least one stuffed animal. I’m definitely not carrying stuffed animals for him! Fortunately, my parents have some neighbors who backpack with their kids, and they’ve very generously agreed to let Benji borrow a kid-sized pack and sleeping bag. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Bike Selfies 2

As the pandemic has continued, I’ve kept riding and taking pictures of my bike. I mentioned this behavior change in my first bike selfies post, and to an extent I do continue taking pictures of my bike while I’m out riding. Here’s a few places I’ve been in the last couple months.

Inspiration Point, Mt. Rainier
Inspiration Point, Mt. Rainier – July 3, 2020
End of Rainier Ride
Eatonville Visitor’s Center – July 3, 2020
Black Diamond Bakery
Black Diamond Bakery, August 1, 2020
Mt. Si, North Bend
Mt. Si, North Bend – August 9, 2020
Clean Bike
Clean bike: Washed my bike with actual soap and water – August 15, 2020
Matthews Beach Sunrise
Matthews Beach, Seattle – August 16, 2020

Public Accolades

Yesterday I had a conversation with my boss that’s still bothering me. In it, I mentioned that I had some pages I felt very proud of going out in today’s release. My enthusiasm for my pages made me realize I hadn’t connected with other team members about what they were working on for months. As I thought about it more, I realized that with the current work from home situation, I don’t have the everyday encounters that give a sense of what other people on my team are doing when it doesn’t directly impact my work. So I suggested to my boss that we offer an opportunity for our team to showcase projects they’ve worked on recently that they’re particularly proud of, possibly in our standing team meetings.  Continue Reading >>

The Past and the Future

Gosh, a lot has happened since I put up a substantial post — and yet, at the same time, very little has happened. I’m not going to try to catch us up, besides mentioning that at the end of July we thought Benji might have COVID. He spiked a fever four days after attending an outdoor birthday party for one of the kids in his “play pod,” or whatever you might call it. 

Happily, our doctor’s office got him tested promptly and we received results 36 hours later: Negative. Still, the doctor recommended we quarantine ourselves for the next 10 days just in case, since the test results aren’t real reliable. Which raises the question of why we bothered to get the test.  Continue Reading >>

It’s Official: No In-Person School in the Fall

In a characteristically epic message, yesterday evening our school district’s Superintendent has confirmed what we all suspected: Schools will open in the fall with only online learning. Students will not attend in-person classes for the foreseeable future.

A couple weeks ago, Dad asked, “What would you change if you knew you’d have to keep doing this for another year?” I’ve pondered this question ever since, because it makes a good point: We all kind of stumbled into this routine. There was no plan. We can all tolerate a lot of mild inconvenience for a while, but when “a while” turns from six months to nine months to a year, those mild inconveniences may become serious irritants that we need to deal with before they get worse. Continue Reading >>

COVID Music

Brain complexity fascinates me. I like how different senses trigger different memories. For example, whenever I eat cinnamon rolls, I think of my Grandpa Archie, the first person I ever saw make cinnamon rolls from scratch — and he was blind, so he did it all by feel and from memory. When I listen to Hampton String Quartet, I’m transported back to the table, strewn with flash cards, textbooks, and notebooks, where I spent hours studying for calculus finals in the basement apartment we lived in my sophomore year in college. Continue Reading >>