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long time no see

Well I know it’s been a long time since I blogged here. The main reason is that while I intended to just let people know how I was doing and what was happening in our transition….. instead I had some emails from people either feeling guilty about what I’d written or upset by it. I decided to not write for a while and see what happened.
 Well in the last year a lot has happened and I am much more settled though I think I only realised it a few months ago. I started volunteering at the humane society in their adopt a pet centre, mainly caring for the cats and small animals that came in but also seeing them adopted. I love it.
 Over the last year we have had a huge number of visitors and while it has been wonderful to see everyone we discovered there is a limit to how many times you can see the same things and drive to the same places before you start to feel a bit weary.
 Sam and Matt have continued with their karate and are now green belts and both have had busy years with acting courses, a trip to China, church camps, digipen course…well I guess you get the idea!
 The saddest piece of news for the year has been the death of Baxter. We were all devastated when he was hit by a car outside our neighbours house in September, he died instantly it seems and we found him a little later. Baxter was such a wonderful cat and so full of life and character we all miss him a huge amount life is quieter and for me a bit more empty without him.
Well that’s the quick update on where we are for now, I don’t know when I’ll write again but it will be sooner than the last break
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As reputations go Seattle seems to have the same one in the US as Manchester does in England…. That is ‘it rains all the time’. Now while they have the same amount of rainfall it struck me today what the difference is. Back in Manchester the traffic is busy and fighting to get to the destination while the rain is chilled and kind of drifts down at you over a few days enjoying the journey. In Seattle it seems to be the opposite way round! The driving is so relaxed and laid back sometimes it seem people aren’t bothered about getting there at all….the rain however is another matter. Today it rained for only about two hours but what rain! We have a rain gauge in the garden and it has gone up by 2 inches in the last 24hrs with only 2hrs of rain, it was like driving as people threw buckets at you and the thunder was magnificent. The odd thing though was that right up until it rained it was bright outside and then just after even as the trees still dripped heavily the sun began to warm the ground and the roofs steamed gently. It was really beautiful watching the sun break through the weary trees and picking up the colours of the leaves that had managed somehow to cling on long enough to make it through the downpour.

 One thing that was the same as in Manchester though and seems to be a worldwide phenomenon is that if it rains at any time during the day it WILL rain as school begins or ends for maximum people soaking!!

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Last wednesday evening I shocked my parents by turning up for dinner!
It was a whistle stop visit of less than a week but it was more than wonderful. My parents have just celebrated their 40th anniversary and at the weekend there was a party, so with just enough time to get over the jet lag before coming back I flew over.  It was a busy time which is why only family knew about it, I got to see the blessing on Sunday and attend their party on the Saturday as well as spend some time with them, various members of the family and  some mad woman who let me crash in her flat! I did manage to get time to watch England play rugby at the pub with my dad which was great  though a win would have been REALLY nice…thanks guys!
Some of the time I spent back goes into my memory as perfect times, some was harder but it was worth the long security queues and cramped planes to come back for those few days.
 My body is now really confused though and so I’m having a quiet few days tidying and catching up with things while planning the next visitors over. It’s looking like a busy year next year so if you’d like to come see us…. which we’d love…..let us know soon!
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 I’ve met up with some people over the last week and realised something very odd.  I have become very disconnected and this blog is some of the reason why! I initially began to write this so that I could update people on what was going on with the move and that seems to have worked but as I have discovered over the last year it’s all very one way. Even when I’ve outright asked for feedback of comments few have come back… my thanks to those who have….. which means while people can read about what is going on in my life I know little or nothing about events for them. This is ok most of the time though a bit isolating but when we meet up it feels very odd. Imagine someone knowing about your grumpy days and day to day life and yet you have heard nothing from them for a year. It gives the bug in a jar feeling a huge boost I can tell you. Now none of this is to say I will stop writing or that I am unhappy about you reading it but if you could drop me an email at times to let me know what happens with you I would love that…or even post! I know it is ‘old fashioned’ and takes time but it is wonderful to get letters and just think you can write them anywhere not just near a pc!
So please let me know how you are and what is happening for you, I care about you and would like to know!  If you don’t then it’s almost as if I’m talking to myself which can’t be good…though not unusual
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Mt St Helens revisited

It’s amazing how 15 minutes can change a landscape and though I’d heard about volcanoes erupting before and visited two others the video footage of this one erupting and the devastation driving up to it after 20yrs was well…I guess the only word is awesome….in the sense that I have no words for it. I was shocked at how far the blast had stretched from the summit itself and that after so long so little vegetation had grown back. As Martin had said it looked like the surface of Mars or somewhere equally alien. We had a really clear day and from the observatory we could see the plumes of smoke and steam rising from the bulge in the crater, together with the seismographs showing activity it was like watching a sleeping giant. I used to read to the kids a story called ssshhh! where you creep through the castle trying not to wake him and then have to shut the book quickly to escape. Let’s just say I wouldn’t volunteer to work there!

It was heartening to see chipmonks and even a deer on the sparse ground in the blast zone. There were some very odd cricket like insects too …if anyone knows what they are please tell me. They were brown and looked like bark chippings on the ground but when they took off they flashed yellow and their wings clicked.


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Mt St Helens

 It’s been a good though long day today with us driving to Mount St Helens. It was amazing and the video of it erupting really brought home to me just how violent and aggressive it was…. I was actually holding my breath watching it. I’ll say more about it when I’m able to …probably tomorrow but it was really interesting!
    We have Vicki staying with us at the moment which has been nice, though I managed to get lost in downtown by talking and missing a turn then not being able to get on the freeway from there! I foudn our way out again but it was a bit stressful for a while.
   The boys are back at school next week so we are in the last stages of supplies and preparing for the restart.
I know most kids are back this week so I hope it goes well for all of you and will catch up with you soon!
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