February 4, 2010

Year End Wrap Up

Sure it's February, but it's not too late to blog about last year.  And it's not too late to fulfill long supressed good blog intentions.  Browsing through my cell phone photos the other day I was impressed with how many photos were taken with a brief post in mind, blog posts that never happened because I either decided the topic was kind of lame or because I didn't have time to sit down and write, or I just plain forgot and the moment was gone.  So I've decided to create the world's longest photo based blog post in history by cleaning up the entire album on my cell phone from the past year, in reverse order.

Looking through the photos, a few ideas crossed my mind.  First, I was struck by the amount of fun stuff we got to do this year.  I was lamenting to Vanessa the other night when our weekend plans changed about three times at the last minute, keeping me home doing little scut projects instead of being outside doing something "epic."  Turns out we do get out from time to time and I really have no ground to complain.  Second, while I always appreciate the photo documentation and quality of photos that Vanessa produces in our travels and adventures, there is something soulful and important about spontaneous cell phone photos.  I anticipate these pictures will be as fun to look at in twenty years as Vanessa's really good photos.

So because I see this as my online journal, centered exclusively around the author as blogs are wont to be, I will take no offense if you forgo this entry, because I'm certain you have better things to do.

Anyway, here goes.


This is last weekend during our family walk along a stretch of the centennial trail.  Ansel is taking after Emmy in wanting to climb, even if it is loose mud.


Here is the annual Christmas tree cleanup, also this past weekend.  Last year I had to dig through a foot of snow to get to the fire pit.  This year, unfortunately, I didn't.


A minor interest of mine is exploring different parts of town, discovering little things I've missed before.  I picked up some good ingredients here a few weeks ago and brewed up some mean Pad Thai this evening.  Did you know there are two Asian grocery stores in Spokane?  

I also visited this place recently for lunch.  I don't eat burgers too often these days since I'm trying to eat less fat, but thought I'd give this place a try.  It reminded me of Bob's Big Boy from when I was a kid, with extra relish in the sauce.  Not bad but I can live without it.  I also like the sign.

The other day, after snowshoeing up Mt. Spokane, Vanessa and I ate lunch at the Milk Bottle and hit up a few antique shops on North Monroe.  This was one of the antiques.  When I saw it I had a reflex to bust out some mean air guitar.  If only there was a vintage tennis racket nearby to use as a prop.

Kind of along the same line as the "Ron's Burger's" sign, I like finding unique stuff like this around town.  I get the impression this was sitting right where it is now during the '74 Expo.

The Milk Bottle.  At least that's what I call it.  An old dairy store that is now a small diner.


Vanessa on the way down from Mt. Spokane.  Crappy snow, but it was still a lot of fun.

More crappy snow.

Vanessa near the top, getting a camera.


Vanessa near the top.  It was a surprisingly quick and easy climb.

Ansel gets bored at church.  My cell phone keeps him busy.

You can tell which photos Ansel shot.  He can't hold still.







That's right, we're back row weirdos.


This was from a snowshoe up Sherman Peak.  Nice blue sky above the socked in valley.


Ah yes, this is the place.  Or so they say.


So Vanessa never really blogged about our trip to Utah over the holidays.  These alpenhorns were seen at Solitude playing "Tequila."  Which reminds me, our kids watched Pee Wee's Big Adventure the other night for the first time.  It was as good as I remember.  Paul Ruebens, ha.

Here is a snowbow that was in the sky above the alpenhorns at Solitude.

Here is the parking lot at Solitude on a chilly bluebird morning.  It was a good day.


This was a couple days earlier at Alta.  This is a repost from Facebook.  Behold the beard in all its frosty glory.  It served me well but alas it is now gone.

This deer track was from the hillside near our home around the time of the only snow fall we've gotten this winter.

One project I did this fall was having a wood burning stove installed in our basement so that we could utilize all the downed wood that is on our property to heat our home in an economically and environmentally responsible way.  The point of the photo is to ask the question:  "Why are there so many stores in Spokane that peddle the combination of wood burning stoves and hot tubs?"  I fail to see the connection.  We didn't get our stove from these guys, by the way, but from a store that only sells stoves.

I think this was a picture where I was trying to capture Ansel lip syncing to M. Ward.  Nice new 80's haircut.

There is a small dot in the sky over the mountain in the distance that represents a hot air balloon.  This was on my drive to work this fall.  It was more impressive in real life.


This was from a short hike last fall in Palisades Park.  I've been reading a bit of local history this past year and had wanted to find this spot for some time.

This is a bit off the trail behind the bigger sign.  Very cool.

Ansel came on the walk.  He enjoyed Indian Canyon Falls, and a cartoonishly large bottle of soda.

Early in the Fall I mapped out a loop south of town to see the monument on Kentuck Trail Rd where Qalchan and several Palouse Indians were hung.  This is a significant part of local history and is the event for which the Latah Valley was "unofficially" renamed Hangman Valley, hence our morbid sounding address.

Washington roadside apple tree.


The Qalchan memorial.

The inscription.

I saw this in the REI parking lot late last summer and asked myself,"why do I have a job?"


Cannon Beach.  The girls on our morning hike down the beach.  We waded through the water between the rocks and got stuck on the other side when the tide came in.  We ended up hiking barefoot through the woods and a mile or tow on the road back to the house we were staying in.  Luckily we found plenty of ripe wild blackberries on our way.

Ansel and Haystack rock.  Apparently the dominant geological theory is that Haystack rock came from Idaho about 15,000 years ago, being washed to the ocean during one of the floods when Lake Missoula burst its banks.  I don't know if it is really true but I like the idea.

This is my favorite picture from our Cannon Beach trip.  We had fires on the beach each night we were there complete with marshmallows and s'mores.


Last summer we had a nice garden and enjoyed a lot of vegetables.  This was one of a few front yards I have noticed on my commute up to Holy Family that have been turned into large vegetable gardens.  North central neighborhoods tend to have small yards.  This one was particularly impressive with tens of bushes of tomatoes, peppers, beans, and zucchini.

In August we had a couple cousins visit from Utah.  This is a mandatory photo for anyone who visits the Inland Empire.  I identify with Savanna in this picture, I'm not much of one to pose for the camera.

Last July we got this cat, and after a month and a half, finally named her Moky.  While she is much bigger than this now, she is still relatively skinny.  And like most cats, she's crazy.

Our first bit of harvest from our garden this past summer.

The Duncan Garden at Manito Park at the height of its Summer bloom.  One of the reasons I love Spokane.  For some reason I can't go there without snapping more than one picture.


Our back lawn taking root last July.  It took forever to come in because I mistakenly thought you weren't supposed to fertilize hydroseed.  Once I did it took off and I remembered why I get tired of mowing.

A pumpkin from our garden. Appropriately, there were three pumpkins about this size which ripened nicely.  One for each of the kids.  Unfortunately, there were still a little too small to carve really well.

We ate a lot of cucumbers from our garden last Summer.  I will plant fewer this year.

The garden.  You can see that some of the lettuce and spinach in the planters bolted while we were gone in Idaho for two weeks.  A veritable jungle.

This was on the trail at Brundage, just above McCall Idaho.  Werode the lift and bombed down with my bike while the rest of the family walked down.  However, to maintain my masculinity, I pedaled back up and rode down a second time. 

I posted this on Facebook before but I just can't help posting it again here.  Note the soft serve in the left hand.  In Vanessa's defense, she didn't actually buy this.


These next few pictures are obstacles from the trail and the then defunct Tamarack Resort, south of McCall Idaho.  My hard earned cycling masculinity was bruised when I chickened out of hitting anyone of these features.  In fairness, they hadn't been maintaining the trail since the lifts weren't running, and there were several logs and branches in awkward spots.  Regardless, I prefer to stay on land.

There is acutally a good sized gap at the end of this ramp and the rock beyond is higher so that speed is a necessity.

This was steeper than it looks, without much room to run out.

Payette Lake, McCall Idaho.  We stayed one night at the Shore Lodge.  Wow.  A really great place.

Shore Lodge, Payette Lake.


Sign on Highway 95 just north of New Meadows Idaho.  I love living closer to the North Pole.

One of many waterfalls I passed riding along the banks of the Little Salmon River, on Highway 95 south of Riggins Idaho.

Idaho is for anyone and everyone.

As long as they keep the shoulder clean.

This was a monument along the main Salmon River, on Highway 95 a little north of Lucile.

I haven't been able to find the story behind this monument yet.

White Bird Hill.  This was fun, scenic, early morning downhill.  There was an interesting display about the Nez Perce battle that took place here.

Climbing up to the top of White Bird Hill.

Bed and breakfast on Camas Prairie.

Lewiston Grade.

A poster for Josh Ritter on a bulletin board in downtown Moscow.  He played his hometown arts festival last summer.  I like to think he hung this up himself.  While smiling.

University of Idaho, Moscow.

The eastern edge of the Palouse, just north of Moscow.

Rosalia.  I stopped at this little cafe for some chocolate milk.

There was an old guy in a chair blasting oldies music across the street.  This is a little museum, in an old gas station.

The steed, ready to ride to Boise.


Ansel giving the pistachio thumbs up.

A ride somewhere south of town.  Can't remember.

Grey Heron on the Fish Lake Trail.

Ant carrying a big piece of chip at the arbor in the Rose Garden at Manito Park.

This was a panorama I did with my cell phone camera, Valley Chapel near Hope.

Two ants carrying an even bigger chip.  There is some sort of lesson here.

Colorado Springs.  Vanessa and I were here for a few days in April while I attended a conference.

This was near the Garden of the Gods. 

Awwww.  We drove up Cheyenne Canyon, found a trail, and hiked for a bit.

This was on the Tubbs Hill trail in Couer d'Alene last Spring.  I rode my bike and met everyone else.  We got the hike in before it started raining.

We saw this bird's nest (perhaps an eagle?) on the east side of the hill.

This was on a ride on the bluffs off High Drive with the Balsam Root in full bloom.

Another Valley Chapel picture.

This is from an early morning commute to the valley via the Hangman loop and Palouse Highway.

The Big Dummy owning the racks at Sacred Heart.

I think this was an early Spring ride on the Hangman loop, but can't remember for sure.

I posted this one before too.  Moose.

I have no idea why I took this picture.  Grand Ave.by the park.


Bike racks at Sacred Heart.  I don't know the story of why this front bumper was there but was curious.

More riding.  Riverside State Park.

Shrimp truck, North Shore Hawaii.  Don't go to Hawaii for the food, it just isn't very good.

Riding up our street, seeing the last of the snow melt from last winter.

Last winter on top of the hill by our house.

Hangman Creek last February.

Teton Valley, Idaho, from Grand Targhee.

And that's it.  If you're still reading I'm flattered, and a little worried.

We'll have to make 2010 even better.  In the works already are a repeat ski trip to Utah, backpacking in the Alpine Lakes here in Washington, and maybe an overseas trip later in the year.  Plus I've got a whole cache of nearby alpine hikes for the summer and dreams of a bike tour in Canada.  We'll see what happens.


  1. I made it to the end, but in two separate sittings, and the second time I was avoiding washing the dishes.
    I never ate at that shrimp truck, although I remember driving by it many a time. When I think about food and Hawaii, I think about eating a lot of PBJ sandwiches, apples, and Honey Bunches of Oats as those were the cheapest things to eat. Yeah, food was not my most pleasant memory of Hawaii.

  2. If you want good food in Hawaii you have to go to Roy's in Honolulu and spend some money. Crouching Lion on the way to Laie is also pretty good. Sijbrich celebrated several birthdays there. The Royal Hawaiian was also good. You get what you pay for!!!!