Thursday, April 7, 2016

Making Memories in Bellingham

So much of my happiness comes from being able to record my life or that of my family through photos.  I have been up in Bellingham for work and spent a few weekends experiencing the simple joys of just experiencing life through my observations along with the frustration of not being able to capture all those joys as I would have liked.  This is a long post since I am recording all my "memories" from my two weeks in Bellingham.  I have a few more trips coming up and hope to explore this area even more while I am there in the future.

Memory #1
Bill and I started our weekend on Friday by taking the long way around to Bellingham.  Bill has been wanting to go winetasting in Zillah for awhile now.  I had Friday as a vacation day so we came to Bellingham together via the east side of the mountains.

We headed out to the Gorge and had breakfast in The Dalles before heading north to Zillah.  We stopped at three wineries that we had never been to before-Paradisos del Sol, Two Mountains and Van Arnam.  Each was very enjoyable.  Paradisos del Sol was interesting.  The winemaker there believes in food pairings to go with each wine so we tasted 11 wines there with a small bite of a type of food he recommends to eat with it.  At Van Arnam, we came across a woman who used to live in Bellingham so we got a few restaurant recommendations for me to go to will I am there over the next few months for work. 

After winetasting, we headed to Cle Elum for the night and had a lovely Italian dinner there.  We had never been there before so it was a new experience for us.

We had a great day but I didn't take any photos.  Nothing really struck me.

Memory #2
Saturday morning Bill and I headed over Snoqualmie Pass to get to the west side.  Not long after we got on the highway, I spotted a pair of elk along the road.  It has been a long time since I had seen any elk so I was thrilled to see them.  But disappointed that I wasn't able to capture any images to remember that moment.

Memory #3
Another joy was experiencing the awe inspiring magnificence of the Cascades going through the Pass.  It is so hard to imagine how pioneers traveled in that area.  How anyone can possibly climb to the tops of those mountains.  How engineers built a road though the mountains.  There wasn't any place to pull off to take photos but it was so fascinating to be able to look up while Bill was driving to try to see the tops of them. 

Memory #4
We arrived in Bellingham and took Chris to breakfast.  We hadn't seen him since New Years so it was good to see him again.  We ate at our favorite breakfast place in Fairhaven--Skylark.  Unfortunately Chris wasn't feeling well so we couldn't spend the day with him as we hoped.  So Bill and I punted and went to see "10 Cloverfield Lane".  Really good movie by the way.  Definitely not predictable.  Luckily Chris felt better by evening so we enjoyed his company and some really good burritos at Casa Que Pasa-a favorite place of his and was recommended by the gal we met at Van Arnam Vineyards as well.

Memory #5
Because I was on call one of the weekends, I wanted to do a photo shoot day my first Sunday there--my time to wander on my own in search of some awesome photo ops.  I let Bill off at the train station for his trip home and headed down the historic Chuckanut Drive which runs along Chuckanut Bay.  I found it interesting that the road was built in 1895 (at least part of it) and was the first road to Bellingham.  Previous to that, Bellingham could only be accessed by boat or canoe.

I was hoping for some awesome sunrise photos of the San Juan Islands.  At first, I was driving by a lot of houses and was having trouble finding spots to stop and take photos.  I eventually got to Larrabee State Park and found some scenic spots to take photos.  I didn't quite get the photos I was hoping for but it was pretty awesome view to enjoy.  And I was able to capture my first joyful memory of the day.

Memory #6
I drove a little further down the road and decided to take a detour off Chuckanut Drive toward Samish Island.  I didn't want to get too far off track but I was hoping to get a better view of the San Juans from there.  I came across a Black Angus cow and her calf.  The calf was being so playful jumping around its mother.  I couldn't help but smile and feel joy at the sight of that.  But no way to capture it on "film".

Memory #7
I drove a little further and came upon this quaint little town called Edison.  It has been there since 1869 so there were some historic buildings that were fun to see.  I was so tempted to stop for breakfast and enjoy the ambience there but the bakery wasn't open yet.  So I kept on driving.

Memory #8
I finished my drive to Sedro Wooley and then headed back to downtown Bellingham in the hope of getting a bite.  I headed to Mount Bakery but just as I got there, a nearby transformer blew and started a fire.  It brought down the electricity to a number of city blocks.  So Mount Bakery was out of the question but I found another little bakery on Railroad St. to get a blackberry scone so not all was lost.  Not a joyous moment but I did get a photo of the fire.

Memory #9
I never intended to go to Mount Baker National Forest.  I planned on doing that in May when Bill is here for my two days off during go-live and there is better weather.  But I thought I would drive to Everson to see if I could find the restaurant that our wine server told us about there.  I missed a turn not really knowing how to get there.  By the time I realized I was not going the right direction, I was only 11 miles from the entrance to the national forest so I decided I might as well keep driving. 

I found a trail along the North Fork of the Nooksack River near the highway that wasn't difficult so I took off walking for a little way on it to check it out.   I was thrilled to find such a great location to take photos of the river.  It was so beautiful there.  Such large boulders in the river and the water rushing through the rapids was so powerful.  I took a few photos but didn't stay as long as I would have liked.  I was a little paranoid with all my valuables in the car.  I didn't want to leave it for long.  So I didn't hike as far as I would have liked.  Who knows what I might have missed by not going further.  But was so pleased that I caught at least a little bit of this slice of heaven.

Memory #10
On the way out to Glacier, I was driving and caught sight of an eagle.  I am always thrilled when I spot an eagle.  I have never been able to capture a picture of one though.  I hope that some day I can.  No place to pull over and too hard to get a photo with an eagle flying so high above but I had to smile that I found one anyway. As I was driving by, I saw a hawk attacking it.  Always interesting to see nature against nature.

Memory #11
After I got back to Bellingham, I met up with Chris to go shopping and have dinner.  I picked him up and immediately regretted that I didn't have my camera with me.  He actually got dressed up for his date with me.  He looked great.  We enjoyed spending a little time together shopping and a wonderful Italian meal at D'Anna's--another one of the restaurants that our wine server recommended.  Wonderful vodka pasta dish. 

Memory #12
Jump ahead another week and I didn't want to spend my whole day in my room.  I am on call but we don't get called much on the weekend so I risked it and went for a walkabout.  I didn't want to get too far away from my computer and reliable WiFi so I just hung around town and went to WWU to get some photos.  Chris will be graduating in June so I wanted to capture some photos of the campus and of the sculptures in particular for his photo album.  I got to campus before too many people were out wandering so I was able to get some photos of the campus without anyone there.  I like Haskell Plaza that is a landscaping sculpture representing all the San Juan Islands and the ocean currents.  I especially like the little whimsical figures that are part of the sculpture.

Memory #13
While I was on the campus, I caught glimpse of one black squirrel and a few other critters.  Hard to get a good picture of it and it was a little mangy with hair missing on its back so not sure if it had gotten in a fight or had something wrong with it.  Chris loves squirrels--particularly the black ones on campus.  By the bookstore, I caught a crow, a squirrel and a seagull trying to scavenge the food in the trash can.  I had to laugh because the crow and squirrel were perched on the edge of the can and the seagull was looking up at them like a dog at a kitchen table hoping for scraps to fall.  It was pretty interesting how three different kinds of animals were hanging out at the same can trying to have lunch.

Memory #14
Easter Sunday-I wanted to celebrate Easter Sunday even though I am not at home.  Chris indicated that he didn't want to go so I searched for the Garden Street Methodist Church website to see when their services were being held.  I was happy to learn that they were having a sunrise service at Padden Lake.  I hadn't been to Padden Lake yet so I thought it would be a good opportunity to go and worship too.  So I set my alarm to get up early but almost didn't go.  It had been raining during the night.  Before I decided to ditch it, I went outside to see if it was still raining.  It had quit temporarily so I quickly got myself out the door so I could look for them.  I found a small group--10 others including the minister.  They welcomed me so warmly and offered me a homemade hot cross bun and lots of hugs.  We had a short service with most of us playing a part.  I was Mary.  There was an eagle (we think) flying high above us.  So high that we really couldn't tell for sure.  And had the geese, ducks and herons at the lake with us.  The rain held off just long enough for us to enjoy a lovely service together.

Two of my co-workers (Chris and Marni), Chris and I went to Boundary Bay for our Easter dinner.  Chris ended up going to the Presbyterian Church for Easter and dressed up in his suit and kept it on for dinner with us too.

Memory #15
Bellingham is an old community dating back to the early to mid-1800's.  Originally four separate communities--Whatcom, Bellingham, Fairhaven and Sehome.  I explored the York Neighborhood and Old Town Trail between rainstorms.

I went to the York neighborhood to take a few pictures one morning before it started raining.  I had been driving nearby and saw the top of an old wooden church on a hill and was intrigued so I went looking for it.  When I got there, I found four old wooden churches all within a block of each other.  Only one of them is still a church but is a non-denominational church now and is in a fair amount of disrepair so I didn't take a photo of that but I did take pictures of the other three.  Two of them look like they are homes now-the German Lutheran Church (Ev. Luth Kirche-1910 is inscribed on the building) and a church with a sign stating it was the Norwegian Lutheran Church-1904.  They are just about a half a block away from each other so it was still a time when the Germans and the Norwegians worshipped separately--probably in their own language.  Another church that is about a block away is now a yoga studio.  It was also a Norwegian Lutheran Church so hard to imagine what the politics of the Lutheran Church were at the time that there were two a block apart from each other.

In the afternoon after it stopped raining, I headed downtown to check out the Old Town Trail that I read about on the internet.  I had read about the oldest house in town being built by General Pickett in 1856 when he was stationed here before the Civil War as well as some other historic buildings so I decided to check it out.  I found another one of those wooden churches in that neighborhood.  It was the First Congregational Church built in 1902 and now houses the Theater Guild.

I loved walking through these historic neighborhoods.  Many of the homes are at least 100 and 125 years old.  Some are beautiful and well maintained and others are quite rundown.  Chris lived in an old home a few blocks from where I was in the York neighborhood last year that was very rundown.  The colors and color combinations that the homes are painted are quite creative.    I was a little uncomfortable walking by myself down by the water in the downtown area.  There are a lot of homeless people there. 

Memory #16
I had been seeing some pretty spectacular sunsets on a few of the evenings and there was an evening that I decided to get out of my hotel room and enjoy the evening.  Christopher recommended going to Boulevard Park if I wanted to get some sunset pictures.  I also decided to take some pictures in Fairhaven.  What a beautiful view of the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island and the mountains in British Columbia from the waterfront on Bellingham Bay.

Memory #17
I decided to stop in Puyallup to spend time with Suzi and Terry on the way home.  Glad I was able to break up the trip as I was pretty tired from my two weeks in Bellingham.  And always a good time catching up with them.

On one hand, I know that I should just enjoy life as it comes and not worry about capturing every single moment and memory in photos.  On the other hand, I would love to improve my photography skills and get better results and feel like taking lots of photos is the way that I can do that.  And I love, love, love the whole process of scrapbooking those photos and memories and regret that I had some missed opportunities.  I'll just keep trying to work on it.  Both trying to enjoy living in the moment and taking more photos to try to get more skilled.

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