Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pictures of Fall

A rainstorm and wind have stripped many of the trees down to bare branches, but here are a few pictures I've snapped in the past few days.

A tree in Minute Man National Park
Shades of green in our backyard Vines over our garage
Flower Bed

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Skunk vs. Greta

Nothing too exciting happening lately. Chris and I have been working, doing schoolwork and playing some racquetball on the weekend. Since that's not very interesting, I'll tell you the story of how Greta got sprayed by our friendly neighborhood skunk:

The night before we left for Seattle, I was making dinner in the kitchen, and Greta was running around in the backyard. While I was at the stove, I heard Greta bark and then some loud scuffling. I ran outside and dragged Greta to the porch, and she had the strangest acidic aura about her. The skunk who I suspect has been sleeping under our porch gave Greta a good spray. The worst part is that we had to drop her at the dogsitters early the next morning. I didn't have any tomato juice but gave her a bath with regular shampoo. That helped a little - we're lucky the dogsitter still took Greta the next day. When we got back from Seattle, Chris poured tomato juice all over her, and that finally got rid of the rest of the smell.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Great Northwest

Life has been exciting so far this fall! The last weekend in September, Chris and I flew to Seattle and met Rob and Allison for an extended weekend. I was truly impressed by Seattle's natural beauty - blue mountains, blue water, blue sky. We drove our rental white PT Cruiser (as cool as you can get, huh?) to our hotel and then headed to Pike Street for the evening, with the first stop at the Fish Market. A lot of the ice tubs full of fish were being emptied, so we never saw the full force of the market. But I couldn't believe end-of-the day prices on incredible flower bouquets - ten dollars for what would sell at a florist for over fifty dollars.
Early Saturday morning, we headed north to Vancouver, British Columbia. The drive took a few hours. We checked into our hotel and walked the city. Some parts were meticulously maintained, but I was somewhat shocked by the number of homeless people on the streets, especially so close to the tourist districts. I read that the city is investigating how to manage the large homeless population in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but the city has to be careful not to tread on the rights of any of its citizens while they clean it up.
On Sunday, we drove to the base of Grouse Mountain (just a few miles outside the city) and did what the guidebook described as a "strenuous, monotonous hike." We hiked uphill for about a mile and a half to the "almost" peak - it made the view at the top seem earned. At the top is a sort of outdoors park with a grizzly bear enclosure, a small ski lift to the very peak. We could see all of Vancouver and out to the freightors in the water from where we stood. We took a gondola back down, visited the timberwolf preserve, stopped at a salmon hatchery and then headed back to our hotel. That night, we ended up watching some flamenco and tango dancers at a tucked-away cafe.
On Monday, we drove back past Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park, planning to do a 7 mile hike past waterfalls, over a suspension bridge to a glacier. It turns out the roads were washed out, so we did a different 7 mile hike through an old growth forest and along the river to a waterfall. The forest seemed like something out of a fairy tale--lots of moss and clingy green growth covered the trees and ground. I can tell you that we had several near sightings of sasquatch. The river running along the forest is fed by glacier water, lightening it the palest blue. One of the pictures below is of Chris and Rob standing in front of the roots of a fallen tree.

We had a low-key night in Seattle Monday night - we found a seafood/sushi restaurant on the water. Chris and I flew home early Tuesday morning, and Allison and Rob flew back later that afternoon.