Friday, September 27, 2013

Plans Unraveled

We had planned for The Enchantments.  We were meeting some friends Wednesday night to car camp and then we'd spend four days and three nights in an area of National Forest land that is so coveted, you have to win a permit in an annual lottery.  A friend, DR, had been planning it for us since May or so. I'd been the only one of the group to win a permit, for September 26-29. That would cover up to eight people.

But things started unraveling on Tuesday.  The forecast wasn't looking good, but it wasn't yet horrible either.  A bit of rain, cooler temps than we were hoping. We sent a flurry of emails around to confirm last minute details.

Wednesday morning DR pulled out sick.  He'd been fighting strep and it rebounded with a vengeance.  four days hiking in the wet and cold wouldn't help.  The forecast at the start of Wednesday was alright for Thursday and Friday - 20% chance of rain at night, highs of 47 or so and sun during the day, with Saturday and Sunday looking worse at 50% chance of rain during the day. We figured we could just cut the trip short.

The about 2pm on Wednesday the forecast updated.  It was 50% chance of rain all day Friday and 60-70% chance of rain/snow both Saturday and Sunday.  The high temperature for all four days was 42.


25 and I were skeptical Wednesday morning and our resolve gave out by those updated forecasts. We both like hiking and camping but four days of cold, wet mud didn't seem like fun. Cold you can plan for.  Wet is a whole other beast.

In what has become typical style, 25 and I made the most of it.  We decided to keep Thursday and Friday off work. We would drive over the pass and spend Wednesday night in Cashmere, a tiny town in fruit orchards. Then spend Thursday strolling around, going to a distillery I had a Groupon for tasting and tour, lunching in Leavenworth, the German themed town that will shortly be inundated for Oktoberfest, and then come home.

Or not.

Snoqualmie pass through the mountains was closed when we tried to drive over it on Wednesday. A detour would mean we wouldn't get in to Cashmere until ten. We took that as a sign that we should pack it in for the night.

Attempt number two at making the most of it!  Thursday morning we woke up, headed out and make it to Leavenworth.  Lunch of brats and beer at Gustav's was good.  I have an Oktoberfest beer that was mildly disappointing.  The brats for only $7.50 were a deal and it wasn't too packed. The town was busy but not overloaded.

We then made it to Cashmere where we went to It's 5 o'clock Somewhere Distillery where the owner gave us a tour and imparted knowledge. It was interesting to see the still and facility.  We also tried pear and cherry brandies, grappa, rhubarb liqueur, moonshine (corn whiskey) and gin.  A bottle of the rhubarb made it home with us as well as two cool glasses.  We also went to The Cider Mill for samples of three types of hard cider and several non-alcoholic ciders as well. We ended up, surprisingly, with a non alcoholic bottle or the original apple cider from there.

A stop at Milepost 111 Brewery was disappointing as it wasn't a brewery, but a brew pub.  That said, we each enjoyed a beer and nachos on happy hour, the whole lot setting us back a mere $9.81. The nachos were excellent.

A short drive back to Leavenworth to walk around and hit Icicle Brewing.  They have only a cold kitchen but the meat & cheese plate was stellar.  We had a six beer sampler with an additional taster of Apres Fresh, their fresh hopped beer. The tasting room is beautiful with a view into the brewing area and lot of lovely wood. I would definitely recommend a visit.  The only beer I found disappointing was their Priebe Porter, but was happily surprised by the IPA and Helles Lager.

It was a long drive back.  25 did all the driving.  I like riding with him because I always feel safe.  I even dozed a bit on the drive back.  It was cold and dark at 10:30 when we got home, our home.  It still feels neat to say since he's more or less officially living here.

Today we are cleaning house, moving him in, taking care of the To Do list. We'll pack more of his things up and move them here,  we have a Do Nothing day planned before the weekend is out.  25 was looking a bit burnt out as we've been going full tilt lately; work all week then completely full weekends. I'm grateful to have a day to give him as a reprieve.  It wasn't the weekend we'd planned but I think we're both enjoying it nonetheless. One more addition to the list of why 25 is wonderful: his ability to flex with the situation and make it into a fantastic opportunity, not a stressful issue.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Now, only partially so. I've ceded half the closet.

His two drawers won't be enough any more . . .

 . . . because he's moving in.

25 is a fixture. We all knew it was coming.  Now, with talk of coming work contracts being out of state, it pushed our talk up.  We probably would have waited until next year if not for my job situation, but I don't think a couple of months early will make a huge difference.

Neither of us liked the idea of Skeeter(dog) and BJ(cat) being left in the hands of a sitter who would come by for a few minutes twice a day.  It seemed like a big risk to leave the place mostly void of people for months. Then there's the fact that we're already paying two lots of rent and mostly just living here.  If I'm away, then I'm paying the mortgage on a house we're not even in. To that end, this will free up some cash flow for both of us as we trek down the road to being debt free.

We've both been happy leaning towards each other.  I wouldn't say I need him.  I could, and did, live without him.  I would say I want him in my life, it's fuller and happier with him in it.  I would rather want him than need him, but I'll admit it's probably a mix.

We had, what we affectionately deemed, The Debt Ceiling Conference last weekend. We brought all our numbers to the table. What we make, what we owe, what goals we have. It went a million times smoother than I thought possible. It's nice in the short and long term to be on the same page. We talked about upcoming trips, bigger goals, etc. It's indicative of the way we approach a lot of things: straight forward, proactive to avoid problems. It doesn't mean there aren't problems, but hopefully they are smaller.

I thought the prospect of him moving in would be much more stressful. Yet so far, it feels easy and natural.  He gained is own 40% the closet yesterday and a full half of the bathroom. That's in addition to the 60% of the bed he regularly claims for himself.  Such sacrifice!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Every feel like your brain might be working against you?  Every wish you could turn it off?

I have an internal debate that has raged, well, gimped and limped is more like it, for years.  My current line of work has given fuel to continue the conversation.

I often work long days.  Tuesday, for example, was a thirteen hour day, 7am to 8pm.  I prepped for and taught a class, I worked on some lesson plans and additional projects, we had a team meeting. It was a very long day.  I actually didn’t mind because I felt very productive.  I was complimented by two different people about my training abilities.  It was nice to have concrete projects to work on, instead of trying to look busy while not having anything of any importance to do. There was quite the debacle a couple weeks ago involving one of the contracting companies (not mine) and overtimes rates, so as a result, we’ve all be told NO overtime, period. That means watching hours closely.

A thirteen hour Tuesday, plus five hours Monday and seven hours Wednesday means I am already at 25 hours for the week. Friday I’ve got classes all day so ten hours there, leaves five hours for today. 

Here’s the internal conflict:  After a long Tuesday, a short Wednesday followed.  I was home and finished with tasks by 2pm. I wanted to be lazy and read or watch Hell on Wheels or be generally non-productive.  Then the RAV (responsible adult voice) in my head says “What? There is a dishwasher to be emptied and clean clothes that need to be moved to the dryer.  You haven’t walked the dog in two days.  What about those hobby projects you always want to work on. And the . . . .” This is all true.  Some of those tasks are need to’s, some are want to’s, but there are always to do’s. 

Invariably I give in and do some chores. By the end of the day, I’m tired and sometimes resentful of not having down time. On the semi-rare day I do lounge around a bit, I feel guilty for not having accomplished one of the ever present To Do tasks that come with living in a big house that needs cleaning and maintenance, with two animals that shed and eat and poo, an wearing clothes and using dishes and the like. 

I try to balance all this, tending towards the productive, accomplishing things more often than doing bupkis, but it ain’t easy. Maybe this is why people started drinking.  It turns the RAV into a tone only dog can hear and it’s hard to be productive with a hangover. Even harder to think or feel guilty with one.  

Possible solution to my dilemma? Drink more!

Monday, September 16, 2013

How Would I Know If It's Analog or Digital?

In addition to the baby shower last weekend, 25's step bro announced, via 25's sis, that he and his wife are pregnant.  I won't go in to the fact that it's bizarre that Zoo, 25's sis, was the one to tell us, not the step bro, even though he and 25 have lived together and been family for about 12 years. I also won't go in to what I think of step bro and wife because who knows who reads this thing.

Instead, I wonder why people have kids.  What possesses someone to decide to give over their body to a parasitic creature that will warp said body in ways that means it will never be the same?  To have a kid whom they will have to pay for from now until the end of time.  To have a baby that will cry incessantly and ruin any future good night's sleep or gourmet meal. To willingly decide to be chained to a place, a budget, another person (the other 'creator', not to mention said child) in some way or another for, in most cases, the rest of ones life.

I'm 31.  I've never heard it tick. You know, the biological clock all women are supposed to have and fear once they hit the time in their life when CHILD BEARING MUST TRUMP ALL, because time is running out.  Nnoooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! 

Maybe I've spent too many years taking care of and educating kids that other people have screwed up beyond belief. I'm surprised school teachers ever have kids of their own. The saving grace of dealing with other people's kids is that they are other people's kids.  If it's sick, crying, generally being unpleasant, I can hand it back.  I got to go from the loud helter-skelter of work with kids, to a home that is quiet and clean, not the reverse.  I can go out as late as I want any night of the week, I can. spend my salary on things I want, I . . .  I digress. 

Maybe I'm waiting until I'm 'ready', though I suspect most people who've had kids would be the first to say you never really are ready.  I am definitely not financially ready for kids. I can't imagine having to pay for diapers and food and doctor's visits, and . . . and . . .and. . .ad nauseum while I still have debts. That being said, if only the debt free had children, we wouldn't be dealing with over population on the planet

I don't want to give up three day Bumbershoot weekends, and spur the moment camp trips and about a million other things. Many call that selfish or spoiled behavior but isn't it smarter to think and say those things, than to have a kid and resent it for keeping you from having the life you want? I've seen it happen first hand and it isn't pretty.  Everyone connected to that parent-child relationship is miserable.

I wonder what percentage of people who have kids felt an urge or desire to be a parent/to have kids. Some deep-seated need to sire an offspring, to nurture it to adulthood. I haven't had that pang or twinge.  I don't know what it feels like. I can't imagine it either come to think of it. Or do most people become parents accidentally, without a pang or forethought. Does that more about why so many people are lousy parents and so many kids are dysfunctional than anything?

25 and I have talked about this and we're on the same page.  We're leaving the door open a crack.  We may want kids someday but at this point we are both happy we don't have kids and don't want them now. Knowing that I won't disappoint him because I don't want kids, that we don't have an awkward, potentially relationship ending conversation awaiting us in the abyss that is the future relieves a lot of anxiety and fear. We've talked about the societal convention and expectation, about the shortage or resources and overpopulation that breeding has created, about people we know who are parents.  We both agree that at this point, we don't need to copy our DNA forward to lead a fulfilling, happy lives.

I'd be very interested to see comments from people who have kids, who don't, those who want them, and those who don't. Why did you decide to procreate?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Forced Social Conventions

Today I realized why people get married and why they have babies.  It's primarily because A) it's a social convention and B) it means other people give them stuff.

Living overseas meant very few weddings, and even fewer baby showers . . .actually I attended none of either and was no worse for it.  In fact, I was better off.  Going to these events costs money, often quite a bit of it.  After buying something to wear, a gift, a card, wrapping paper and a bow, travel to the location, food before and/or after, you can easily end up hundreds of dollars in the hole, not to mention the bachelor/ette party and bridal shower. And for what?  It was an event you either didn't want to attend to begin with, or you'd have been happy with it being a third as long as it was.

I do realize that some people have fun at weddings.  The main difference is that they know many of the other people at that wedding, and there is an open bar. Weddings/showers, etc, in which the attendee (me) knows very few of the other attendees (the weirdos) are lots less fun, but lots more awkward to make up for it.

I patiently suffered through a baby shower.  My friend, the pregnant one, is great.  I like her very much, hence the reason she and I have kept in touch since high school, an unmatched feat.  The only folks there other than preggo, her mom, sis and hubby that I knew were people I'd met at her wedding last year. The vast majority of them are married and have kids.  It was a co-ed shower, about twenty adults, and about five infants/toddlers around.  I'm lucky to have escaped without the plague or vomit on me.

If you are unaware of the phenomena I'm about the explain it's either because you have kids that you had early, or you live outside the US.  When you've made it to your thirties and your aren't married and aren't dragging around any germ factories children, you are in a separate class from those of your age who are. I find I have little in common with people generally, and much less with the married mothers and fathers in the group.  How about 3 days at Bumbershoot? Oh, Jimmy is sick? Sorry about that.  I'll send you the photos.  I'm off to Spokane/Missoula/Nebraska/whoknowswhere for months for work. Oh, you can't move about because you have a mortgage and your kids are in school?  I'll send you a postcard.  See where I'm heading with this?

My mother asked me if my biological class was ticking loudly.  My reply, verbatim:  If you mean is it ticking down (the time) until I can leave, yes.  If you mean do I want one of those (babies), no.

I didn't know those people and being in the same room with them, some blue clothes pins, cupcakes and a pregnant woman was not going to change that.  I'd have loved to meet preggo, just the two of us, but schedules don't seems to be allowing for that.  I'd have much preferred to give her a gift then and actually have the opportunity to chat to her.  Instead, during the gift competition, I waved from across the room and had two minutes of talk as I said goodbye and peeled out after two and a half (long, dreadful, painful, excruciating) hours.

I treat myself to some beer on the way home at Powerhouse Brewery in Puyallup.  A growler full of their Scottish Ale is chilling in the fridge now.  Almost makes the whole thing worth it.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grown Up

I think today I feel like a grown up.  Not just for today, but like I actually made it. I have manage to drag, crawl, scrape and grumble my way into adulthood. It hasn't been easy, but it's rewarding to be here all the same.

Now today isn't my birthday.  I didn't get a new job, or a promotion or buy a house today.  All in all, it's a fairly unspectacular Thursday in the Great NorthLeft. It's slightly foggy with a high of 85 predicted this afternoon.  I'm working from home for now.  The dog is crashed out behind my desk chair. Nothing inherently noteworthy. Except in my head.

It's been noted that I'm far more introspective on this blog that in person, to which I acquiesce to. As I've mentioned previously, I do use this blog as an external meditation area and brain download facility.

I noted recently that I've been back in (near) Seattle for about eighteen months.  Somehow in that time I changed.  I have a career.  It's like a job, but with ongoing potential, fulfillment and growth opportunities that uses multiple skills and talents I have, plus requires that I continue to learn. It also pays a lot better than a job. It's soul sucking on a less often basis and much more self directed.

I have been paying all my bills plus cutting into my debt like a Canadian Lumberjack into a huge pine.  I remember the times, not so long ago, when I was first overseas and could barely manage my month to month living expenses, let alone work on any debt from before.  I was lucky it I didn't have to incur any new debt most months.  If it weren't for mom's understanding generosity, I think I'd have had to move back within months. I used to be ashamed to admit that there were times I needed help paying my bills.  Now I realise that most folks go through that time.  Aside from my car loan, I've reduced my other debts (school loan, credit cards, misc loan) by over half since my return to the US.  That's more impressive if you consider the amount of stuff there is to buy, do, see, in all senses pay for. I don't feel that I've deprived myself at all though.  25 and I have done heaps this year; baseball, football and soccer games, beerfests, music fests, camping, vacationing, etc.

Additionally, on the financial front, I started a Traditional and a Roth IRA (individual retirement account).  I found and rolled old 401Ks (similar accounts sponsored by previous employers) into one account, and have begun funding another account on my own, as my current company doesn't contribute to one on my behalf. I'm committed to making sure I have some options if I make it to retirement.

I'm in a relationship that feels like a relationship is supposed to (I think).  25 has the poise, intelligence and planning of someone old than those years.  He has been a true partner thus far. He helps around the house without my needing to nag him. He would rather talk about issues as they arise and avoid drama.  He is accepting and understanding of my shortcomings and encourages my desire to work on aspects of my personality and my life. He accommodates my need for planning and also spur the moment plans.  He makes me feel happy and at ease. From chaotic Seahawks games to backpack trips, he is never expects more than I can give and always seems to give what I need.

I have a new, very luxurious, grown up car.  I live in a house and pay the mortgage.  It's not my house, it's mom's, but she doesn't live here.  I take care of the day to day tending of the house, the maintenance, the garden we planted.

I have two charges that I care for.  Not children, but sometimes it feels like they are.  Doctors visits, cleaning up after then, etc. If you count 25, it's really three ;)

I read the Sunday paper, I drink coffee every morning, I take my clothes to the dry cleaner on occasion.  I think adulthood is official, and it feels allllriiiiiight.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Purchase

Not the biggest purchase of my life, it was under $200.
Not the most important purchase ever.
A meaningful purchase, no doubt.

25 and I have finally used them so now I can talk about it.

A couple months ago we made our first joint, couple purchase.  Now we'd gone to Arizona and dividy up those expenses.  I got the rental car, he got hotels, etc. This was a coordinated purchase.

We bought . . .

sleeping bags.

Lafuma lightweight 35, 600 down fill mummy sleeping bags that squish down in compression sacks to about 1lb 14oz and the size of a Nalgene bottle. They have been very toasty so far and easy to compress.  I'd highly recommend them. 

We coordinated the purchase because we wanted to get bags that had the option to zip together.  There are double bags, that is one big, two person bag.  Then the problem is who carries it? What if I want to go camping without him? I don't want to pack the weight of both.  This way, we don't have to zip together, and we didn't last weekend, but we can.

Some of you might be thinking "sleeping bags? that's a big purchase?" Yep, sure is.  These bags were roughly $170 a piece.  A chunk of change no matter how you look at it.  We knew we'd want to camp and backpack several times this year, and probably next.

It was an investment in our time outdoors and in the relationship.  We bought bags that wouuld allow us to go do the things we wanted to together, but it the relationship went belly up, we could walk away, taking our respective sleeping bags with us.

The bags are in the garage, living with our combined camping gear. It's all mixed up together, just the way joint possessions should be. Communal property. When we buy new gear, he buys some, I buy others and they all go in to the same box.  I know part of the reason I was able to select the Optima is because I knew we'd have his Subaru to use for hiking and camping. 

It seems a merging has begun.

Monday, September 09, 2013

We Survived!!

25 and I went backpacking over the weekend.  We've been camping together several times now, always car camping.  This was decidedly different.

I hadn't been backpacking since I did the Camino de Santiago de la Compostela in northern Spain.  Even then, it was like when I "backpacked" around in Asia, but always staying at hostels, not in a tent. In Asia, I could leave it in my room, throw it on the bus, boat, train, etc. For the Camino, I had carried my pack while I walked between 6km and 42km daily, from place to place.

For this trip we met the five people we'd spend the night camping with.  A couple of them are very good friends. We get along like family, for all the harassment that includes. I could spend lots of time with them and we don't rub on one another (too much). A couple of them were acquaintances that'd I'd not want to spend too many nights with. We made the hour and a half drive from the meeting point to Rachel Lake Trailhead. The next four hours were mostly spent staring at the ground as I tried not to trip and smash my face into any of the all too numerous rocks and roots that made up the trail. Roughly 4.5 miles to Rachel Lake with a 31.5 pound bag felt considerably longer.  There was a moment (ok, maybe several) where I asked myself why I thought this was a good idea.  I haven't been hiking in over a month. Heck, I haven't even made it to the gym.  Did I mention it rained/drizzled/misted on us all day Saturday? In hindsight, that was probably a lifesaver.  Our sunny descent on Sunday was fantastic but we would have baked going up in 70 degree temperatures.

We camped in view of the lake and were rewarded with some incredible views Sunday morning when the clouds finally blew away.

No snow when we were there!
One of the best and most important parts about this trip for me was knowing that my faith in 25 was/is well placed.  He never chided or chastised me for being slow. He always maintained visual contact and wasn't concerned when I wanted to stop along the way. We pulled together as things got tougher, not pushing each other about nonsense as we were tired and hungry. He told me I looked beautiful when I knew I could only look anything but. He was patient to the nth degree. He agreed for mutual benefit when I suggested that maybe we pass on the additional 3+ miles straight up and back to Rampart Lake. We really worked as a team to set up camp, make meals, clean up, etc. I don't think I can fully express here or even to him how far he's exceeded my expectations and burrowed even farther into my heart. I know that a good relationship is supposed to be a (relatively) equal partnership, but I suppose I've never had or really expected that.

We are planning a multi-night backpacking trip with a couple of the same people and a couple others. It will be one night of car camping and three nights backpack.  I couldn't feel better about my choice of team and tent mate. We have started preparing for that trip to the Enchantments by considering the choices we made last weekend and seeking to improve upon them.

If you don't hear from me in October, assume I either; A) didn't return from the mountain, B) maimed myself to the point I can't type or C) . . .

Friday, September 06, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

Life is what happens when you're busy making plans they say.

What if I was making the plans that rushing up to meet me?

My contract is set to end the last week of November.  I've know that since May.  That's not a shock.  I keep track of it so I know when I have to start the job (yes, it's like a second job) of finding a new contract.

I thought the new contract offer would come in October.  These things take time to put together don't ya know.  25 and I knew it would mean a talk.  We'd had a talk about having a talk.  I never say "talk" because that's not how we are.  We can converse openly about things in the relationship and don't let it build up in to a "We need to have a talk" moment.  Living arrangements, next job, etc would all be up for discussion.

I got my next offer yesterday. The parent company of the current hospital system I work for has other hospital systems around the nation.  Specifically, there is one in Omaha, Nebraska. It's in the middle of the country, in the flat, vague states of the midwest. Reminiscent of Missoula and Spokane, not exactly the place I'll want to be in January with the snow and the cold and all.

The details were few but important.  Start December second, break for Christmas/New Years, runs through the end of June. That's good news.  I already know folks on the team, the pay is good, my contracting company would be the same. I had lots of questions about the minutia of the new contract and then the brakes in my brain sqealed to a halt when I realized the talk had just been rescheduled.

A six and a half month contract away would mean big changes for things with 25. We had been talking about maybe living together when his lease is up in December. That's got to be considered NOW.  If I'm away, what is happening with the dog and cat? Who's taking care of the house? How much with custodians for those things cost?  What about the mental and emotional strain of being at a distance for so long? And those depend on the minutia of how often do I get to go home and for how long, is the pay enough to stay on, etc.

No wonder I didn't sleep well last night, I can't get my brain to stop long enough.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

What a Difference Eighteen Months Makes

It occurred to me, while driving, as all the most important and inane things occur to me then, that I've been home roughly eighteen months now.

I wasn't the first of our brave band of Jakarta sisters to go.  La Rus went first.  She make the jump back to California.  I've been down to visit and reminisce. She's one of the few I still talk and text with on a regular basis.  Last week she was awed that her daughter is starting eighth grade.  I just saw her last year and I swear she wasn't nearly that old then. Guess that means age is probably sneaking up on us too.

I was the next to go, last February, landing more permanently in Seattle in March. Since then I started a new career and worked very successfully in it.  I've traveled both for work and fun. I'm in a relationship (gasp!).

I'm not even close to the one with the most news. The kiwi got engaged several months ago. She is posting out save the dates for her wedding in Bali next year.  What a great excuse to go back and help her kick off married life right.

There is yet another member of the tribe with even more news.  UK, my former sushi companion and life line for many a night in JKT, has not only been engaged, and been married, but she's become an incubator.  I'm secretly hoping for baby chicks but I doubt I'll get my wish. She's flown the coop and headed back to England while her hubby sails the seven seas.

That's a year and a half for ya. Who'd have thunk we'd all come so far in such a sort time?  And yet, it feels as though my days in Jakarta were ages ago.

In a mere year and a half, I've settled in to coupledom.  We prefer to be home, cooking, relaxing.  Gone are the clubbing days of staying out until 7am in the most random places in Jakarta. Instead of going to the pubs and clubs, I host beer and cocktail "parties" at my house, party being best described as a simple gathering of people. We enjoy a beerfest on occasion, a backpacking trip, a recent pursuit of vegetable gardening and such. Though I'd hoped for this, even yearned for it, I'd also kibitzed friends who had become "boring" in the coupledom.  Who never came out any more. Now, the kidding has come full circle.  25 and I went to a birthday party for his friend.  It was in Seattle.  She is several years younger than me so the gathering was in Capitol Hill, in a series of bars and clubs. 25 has never been a wild partier and drinker in the time I've known him. After a couple hours of awkward small talk with people we didn't know, and some quality time with his friend and her bf, we hastily make our retreat.  We still didn't get home until 1am and we were both knackered. The friend's bf said he knew we'd be the first to go, that it wouldn't be our scene.

I'm happy to admit, both to him and here, that he was right.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Bumbershoot 2013

Some day I'll figure out how/why that is a synonym for umbrella . . .

but in the meantime I'll continue to enjoy it as the biggest, multi genre fest in the great Northleft (look at a map and think about it).

My friend D drove up from the land of hipsters to attend with 25 and I. We hung out at the house Friday night and created an attack plan for the next day.

Over the course of the weekend we saw:
ZZ Ward
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience
Tegan and Sara
Vintage Trouble
Ra Ra Riot
Death Cab for Cutie
The Maldives
The Sheepdogs

plus we heard part of:
Ayron Jones & the Way
Cascadia '10

It was a fantastic weekend. The weather cooperated.  We walked to and from Bumbershoot from 25's apartment. He's not there much these days so we got a lot of use in with the three of us staying there. It was very nice not to have to pay for parking or mess with looking for a lot. We probably put in a couple of miles per day walking.

Last year, D had gold status for Starbucks. They are a major sponsor and have an area to get freebies and free drinks.  As I recall, the lines weren't bad last year and we had a few coffees.  This year we almost always had to wait to get in, and the lines for coffee fluctuated from almost non-existent to stupid long. I have a gold card so we had use of that special area. In the gold area there was instant coffee, tea, bottles of coffee + milk (caramel, vanilla or low fat). In the general area there were espresso machines running.  Both sections had changing areas and I think the plugs were full every time we were in there. In the gold section on day one they would open a bottle of the cold coffee you preferred and pour a 12 oz cup full, then hand you the rest of the bottle.  There were also individual packets of their instant coffees to take.  By day two they would pour you a cup but wouldn't hand you the bottle. By day three, all the instant packets were behind the counter. We reckon between the free instant stuff and the drinks we had, we had about $50 in goods.

Sunday was absolutely packed.  I noticed last year that the crowd seemed young and this year younger.  Maybe that's more indicative of the fact that I'm getting old, but I stand by it. The crowds Saturday for Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience and Heart back to back was definitely a little older and mellower than the show with Tegan and Sara & fun.. The line for the main stage wrapped through the grounds form over a quarter mile.  It only took 20 minutes to get in to the Key Area but they've got to work on that for next year.  I don't remember the lines being as long when the main stage was in Memorial Stadium.

All in all, lots of great people watching, excellent company, fantastic music.  Tickets that would have been 182 dollar plus tax if I bought the at the door were only $75 when I bought them presale months in advance. Only one trip to and from Seattle, low gas use and no parking to pay for. We took snacks to reduce the amount we spent on food.  Free Starbucks helped too.

It'll be interesting to see if 25 and I are back there again next year.