Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lightning strikes twice!

When the music teacher told me about the music festival a couple of months ago her eyes were bright and excited.

“We’ll leave at 6AM and ride the bus to Tacoma for the music festival.  Then after the festival we’ll go to Wild Waves, an amusement park + water park.  We’ll spend the afternoon there, go to the awards ceremony at 6, take all of the kids (2 busses worth) to eat at a buffet, and get back on the busses.  We’ll get home about 11:30PM.”

She had NO IDEA in that moment how close she was to being without an accompanist for her 6th grade choir.  She had just described my basic nightmare day—nothing that I would sign on to do voluntarily.  After talking it over with Russ we decided that we would go up to Seattle that Friday night to spend the night at our friend’s house, the join the choir at the festival on Saturday and go from there with them.

Last week, however, when it was time to be getting ready to go I just felt so stressed.  In the middle of my stressed day she sent me a schedule for the day’s events.  Much to my surprise I saw that the 6th grade choir wasn’t scheduled to perform until noon.  Tacoma isn’t quite three hours away—we could stay home, sleep in our own beds, and get up at a reasonable time to drive up to Tacoma.  I ran that by Russ and he said it sounded really good to him.  Then I went even further, and asked him if he was really wanting to go to the amusement park.  He rolled his eyes and said that he was sure he would only be able to go on one ride before he was too sick to his stomach to do anything more.  I said great, because I didn’t want to go either—so I thought we should just come back home after the competition.   I was so relieved once that was all settled.  And yes, I know I’m a wimp.  I’m ok with that.

Russ got up at 6 on Saturday and took the girls to the bus, and then came back home to sleep for another hour on the couch.  Then he made delicious omelets (I know, I am totally spoiled!) while I was getting ready, we ate and left. 

The drive up to Tacoma was lovely.  We talked and talked and talked.  It was just wonderful.  We had a few tense moments when there was a detour right by the high school, but eventually we made it there.  And WOW—this high school is both beautiful, and beautifully situated.

Skanska- Stadium High School

It was built in 1910 as a luxury hotel, and the setting is just beautiful.  Here is the view of the Puget Sound from one of the stairwell windows.


After the singing was all over and the kids were getting ready to leave Russ and I walked back to the car, put the top down, and drove away, determined to see more of the waterfront. 

We drove in what seemed to be the right direction, ending up in a neighborhood of charming homes


with lovely views.


Some of the homes appeared to have a battle ship in their back yard.


I thought it would be cool, but the homeowner (who was hanging out in his front yard and threatened to charge me for taking the picture) said they have been there for years and years.  So perhaps the novelty has worn off…

He told us how to get down to the waterfront area, which was beautiful. 

puget sound

We were a little envious of all of the houses on the hills that had this beautiful view.


And especially those who had a view of both the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier!



At this point we decided that it was time for some lunch so we headed back up to the business area of Tacoma.  We ended up asking a policeman walking by for food recommendations and he suggested a Thai restaurant.  I’ve never eaten Thai but have wanted to so I was excited to go there.  The inside of the restaurant was beautiful.  There was a small pool with a fountain in the middle, with tables arranged all around it.


There was a gazebo in the corner with a big group eating in it.  This place definitely had atmosphere!


The food was delicious—I had pad thai, and Russ had a jungle curry which was also delicious but too spicy for me to do more than dip my finger in.


As we were driving in towards the high school where the festival was earlier I’d recognized that we were close to the Museum of Glass that we had visited with our friends last year so after we ate we walked across the street to walk on the museum bridge again.  It was fun to see all of the beautiful glass pieces that are displayed on the bridge.


We also thought the courthouse was beautiful—the old Union Station building.


I was thoroughly entertained by the pacific northwest appropriate addition to the windows…



On our way back to the car we stopped at a cupcake shop and got cupcakes for us and to take back to the kids.  The cupcakes themselves weren’t much to write home about, but wow was the frosting rich & delicious!



We decided that we were ready to head home, but after we’d been on the freeway I caught a glimpse of Mt. Rainier—the clouds had cleared a little more and I wanted to find a place where I could get a good picture.  First we got off at a military base but there were so many trees that we couldn’t see anything.  Finally we stopped at the information center and asked for a recommendation for where to go.  The guy at the desk sent us back north one exit for the best viewing.  The irony of the whole thing was that the truly best view of Mt. Rainier came right as we were getting off of the freeway—but I didn’t have my camera ready and so I missed that shot. 


(In case you’re wondering, I choose Paradise over Sunrise every time.)

We drove and drove and all we could see was trees for the longest time.  We finally stopped and asked someone holding a sign on a corner (the benefits of a convertible—makes it easy to talk to anyone!) and he told us where to go to be able to see the mountain.  It was a long detour, but we had fun and I appreciated Russ indulging me.

I took pictures at the parking lot we had been directed to, but was a little disappointed that there were lights in the picture.  (There was also a walgreens in the picture that I carefully hid behind the rhododendrons.)


Then as we were driving back to the freeway and stopped at a light we had a great view.  (Again…the benefits of a convertible!)


As I was taking my pictures the driver of a truck was hanging back in the next lane so he wouldn’t get into my picture.  They had obviously noticed our Oregon license plate, because when he pulled up even with us he called out the window, “It’s MUCH better than Mt. Hood, isn’t it!!”  I laughed and laughed…

We made our way back to the interstate and  started for home for real this time.  Within a few miles we were no longer able to see Mt. Rainier, but then a little while after that we could occasionally catch a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens.


We went back on our detour through the town of lumber yards,


past the new credit union that I want to join,


over the very high bridge, and back into Oregon.  Where sometime later we could see Mt. Hood, far in the distance.


It turned out to be a beautiful day.  The weather was beautiful, the piano playing was fine, the food was delicious, and it was one of those days where we just talked and talked the whole day.  The day that could have been miserable turned out to be just about perfect!

PS—the 5/6th grade choir got a Superior on their performance and got 1st place for the elementary choirs!


  1. That high school is amazing! And you've NEVER EATEN THAI!!?? Have you been living in North Carolina or something?!:) Such pretty views- I love that you chased them down. And I've always wanted to go to the glass museum....

  2. So many comments for this one:

    1) You've NEVER eaten Thai?? That is crazy! So glad you've finally experienced it. Thai is one of my and Clark's faves. Pad Thai is great and another one of my favorites is Pad See Ew.
    2) Way to get out of a crazy field trip and enjoy a lovely day out with your hubby.
    3) Cupcake, in my opinion, are generally overrated.
    4) Isn't there something breath-taking about volcanoes? I felt that way in Chile. Maybe it's their isolated/independent grandeur...

  3. Funny, I have several points, too!

    1) AMAZING high school. It would make a pretty awesome set for a movie, don't you think?

    2) The guy threatened to charge you to take a picture!?!? That seems a little 'unfriendly' to me. I would be delighted to live in a place that someone would WANT to take a picture of. :) (Or, that someone would want to buy... that would work, too.)

    3) But the truck driver that hung back so you could take a picture... that was super friendly! What a nice guy...

    4) Thai food is kind of hit or miss for me - usually 'hit', but sometimes it's just TOO flavorful for me. I really love it if it has anything to do with coconut milk... :) If you go again, my favorite desserts are the mango sticky rice, and cooked bananas in coconut milk.

    5) You're making me want to come visit you more and more with every post you put up. you really do live in a beautiful part of the country, don't you...