Archive for August, 2010

Farewell, Seattle!

It’s been a while since I’ve lived anywhere except Connecticut (or Vietnam). For the past month, I have lived in Bellevue, Washington with my family. I worked, they went about their “normal” business (just with a smaller homebase). How did it pan-out? Read-on!

I was excited for them to join me on a trip, for 2 reasons: a) I actually like my family, and b) I wanted them to see what “road Matt” was like – I embrace any chance to share life with them.

Well, I shared some of our exploits with y’all so far. We certainly took advantage of the time in another place and we explored the poop outta the immediate area. I am in the mood for a bullet-list, so here’s a random brain dump on my feelings about the Pacific NW (in no particular order):

  • How could their traffic be worse than in the Northeast? Well, it is…
  • The people are friendlier out here, and they live a slower pace of life (reminiscent of Vietnam, but without the scooters)
  • The nature out here astounds me every day (and I’ve now lived here for 6 weeks)
  • I don’t believe the “myth” about all the rain and clouds… it’s been cloudy all day for only 2 days during those 6 weeks… I guess I’ll see the gloom in October.
  • People bring their dogs everywhere
  • The cost of living is as high as CT, and their salestax is 9.5% (why the frak did I purchase an expensive electronic device out here?)
  • I don’t miss my house/things… I do miss the pets and people 🙂
  • I want to see more…

For our last weekend out here, we ventured towards Mt. Rainer… we had no idea what to expect. We picked a perfect day – sunny and clear. We snapped photos of the mountain as we approached, amazed at every turn. Then, we arrived at the gates of the National Park and they turned our money down – it was National Park Day and it was free (that only happens once a year – what are the odds? … oh yeah, 1 in 365). 

The ancient beauty of the forest and mountain took my breath away. Though I believe a picture is worth less than a thousand words, I leave everyone with a picture we snapped at Paradise rise – 5,400 feet in the air. As you can see, we still had a long ways to go to reach the summit (perhaps when the kids are older we’ll do some climbing). This was the tallest thing I’ve ever been in the presence of… “majestic” is the best word that comes to mind. The mountain possess a serene power unlike any I have ever felt.



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Family TV-time is something that’s never been a “thing” in our house. Even before I took to the air with my new career: the kids had their shows, my wife enjoyed her Discovery/Food channel addictions, and I never really watched TV (still don’t).  However, we were cooped-up together in a hotel room for the past month and we needed more ways to entertain the little-uns.


We obtained all 50-some-odd original episodes and we started watching them (1 or 2 a night) on the king-sized bed together. First of all, my kids love ‘em! My son roars and opens his hand like a lion mouth. My daughter loves the princess and the space mice. They “play Voltron” together with their stuffed animals or at the park. Sometimes, they wake up in the morning and ask if it’s time to watch Voltron.

For me, the dialog is atrocious (probably a combo of bad translation and poor writing), but that part is forgivable. The story is weak and full of holes/forehead-slappers. Despite these shortcomings, Voltron oozes cool.

Space Opera? You know I’m a sucker…

Character Development? The princess is actually quite developed for a cartoon character (and she changes as the story goes along – good stuff).

Space Mice = better than most Disney comic relief. Plus, they save the universe in several episodes.

Robotic Lions? Fuck, yeah!

I find myself looking forward to Voltron every day while I’m out here in Washington. Today’s cartoons (for the most part) just can’t measure-up – they either try to teach too much or they take themselves far too seriously. Lighten up! If I want heady entertainment, I’ll go read a book. If I want to learn something, well, I guess I’d go read a book for that too (or ask The Goog). Voltron brings me back to a simpler time, and I must admit – I like it there! I’m just ecstatic my children like it there too.

Go Voltron!

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Yeah, he’s crushing a real VW bug… and he lives under a bridge… need I say more?

If you don’t know the title reference, shame on you…

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Here is the first “Bonnie Edition” on my husband’s blog.  Every blue moon (or in this case…a Twilight full moon) I’ll pipe in with my two cents to give you a break from the norm.  So here we go!

One of the first mornings we were here in Seattle I was watching the weather and what do I discover but FORKS, PORT ANGELES and LA PUSH ARE REAL PLACES!  I had no idea!!!  Really!  I thought all the hype of the Twilight Saga was from made up locations! So when we decided to go see the Pacific Ocean for the first time the dork in me could not be silenced! We had to see the Pacific from La Push with all the other Jacob seeking, Edward loving, Twilight tour bussing fans.  Yes, there were really Twilight tour buses!

Our journey started at our temporary home in Bellevue.  We punched Port Angeles into our nav system and headed out.  About an hour and a half into our journey we realized Garmin was taking us for a ferry ride.  We realized this when she said “In .2 miles, turn left and board ferry.”  We just assumed that the long line of traffic waiting for the ferry wasn’t for us and there was a magical Plourde way across the water…I’m polish…what’s Matt’s excuse?!  We u-turned and got into line.  The kids thought the ferry was cool and so did we for that matter.  It wasn’t what we expected to do when we woke up and were pleasantly surprised and up for any adventure.

When we entered Port Angeles we were also pleasantly surprised.  The city was quite a bit larger than we expected and was pretty.  And not a Twilight fan in sight.  But we knew they must be hiding somewhere. 

hmmm – Maybe they only come out at night

From Port Angeles we drove down Rt 101 through the Olympic National Forest.  If you love the outdoors I REALLY recommend making a trek out here sometime.  Just the drive through was GORGEOUS!  I can’t imagine what the hiking trails are like! And don’t get me started on the campgrounds!

Then we hit the Holyland…I mean Mecca…I mean Forks.  There were literally a line of cars waiting to take pictures next to the “Welcome to Forks” sign.

I know, I know!  We stopped too.  For all of those who know me already, you shouldn’t be surprised!  For those of you who don’t know me, welcome to Bonnieland, population crazy!

We enter Forks and the only thing there are trees and, you guessed it, Twilight fans!  There were stores named “Dazzled by Twilight” and stores boasting “Bella shops here!”  Yes, I’m sure the fictitious storybook character drives to the middle of “forkin” nowhere often just to buy a mug that says “Team Edward”.  As much of a dork as I am we didn’t stop and go in any stores so I can’t comment on the craziness inside.  But if the outside is any indication I’m not nearly as Twilight crazy as other people.  Forks isn’t without a sense of humor tho:

I mean where else can you tour a town full of vampires and give blood all on the same street!

Ok – a quick drive through Holyland and we were off to La Push.  By this time we had been in the car 4 hours and the kids were thinking we lied to them when we said we were bringing them to the beach.  Thank God they’re good travelers.  We drive down the 14 mile barren road down to La Push and the Quilette Reservation.  Who knew – Quilette’s are real too!  About halfway down the road we see this sign:

Once we were safely into non-vampire territory, we caught our first glimpse of La Push. It was simply gorgeous. There are no other words and I’m going to let the picture try to do it justice. We were here on a very overcast day with clouds over the islands and it was still breathtaking. I can’t imagine what it would have been like on a clear day. Again, if you love the outdoors and can stand the crazies I’d highly recommend a visit!

After La Push I had my fill of Twilight and the kids had their fill of the car so we “lapushed” home. (…sorry…couldn’t help it) We took another route home, so no ferry, but all the beautiful mountains we could see. I really love WA.  I don’t think I’d live in the sticks, but I could certainly see myself in Bellevue.

Well, that’s it for Bonnie’s 1st Edition. Thanks for tuning into Matt’s blog!

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While my client is the most challenging/hostile I’ve ever had, I do like the area. There’s a pretty awesome mix of city life, culture/music, nature, gobs of kids activities, events, and plenty of ‘cool stuff’. Plus, the weather is Matt-approved. No snow? No need for air-conditioners? Sold! I must say – I’m smitten!

At first, when I took this new job in February, I thought the travelling would be the worst part. While being away from the family is tough, I am enjoying the adventures. I’m not sure I was designed to stay in one place my whole life (not that I fault those who do).  Maybe my wanderlust just took a third of my life to kick into gear. It’s been almost half a year of travel now, and I’m craving more, not less. The ability to take the family with me on some of these trips does make things easier.

For our anniversary, my wife and I took ourselves (and the kids) to a romantic dinner for four (complete with grilled-cheese sandwiches) to the top of the Space Needle. The views were spectacular and the food was pretty amazing. My son, fearless as he is, crouched next to the elevator window on the way down and just stared.

After dinner, we found a nearby fountain which splashed everyone to a musical score. Everyone got drenched.

Other cool things we’ve done on this trip: Tacoma Zoo (the baby tigers were fun to watch), hiking through some amazing forests, malls & parks of all kinds. We haven’t looked at property yet, but that is something we tend to do when we travel, so I assume it’s only a matter of time.

Tigers are cool (even if zoos make me sad):

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