Monday, June 16, 2008

We know you have a choice when flying...

So, sit back, relax and enjoy our trip to Washington State. It all began 18+ years ago, when I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy (after much pain and suffering, but I won't get into that) and now, here it is, 18 years later and that same baby boy, whom I named Aaron, is graduating high school. I am so proud.

So, the actual trip began Thursday afternoon. We boarded an Alaskan Airlines flight to Seattle/Tacoma and after renting our car with GPS - thank heavens for Karen (that's the GPS's voice's name) she got us EVERYWHERE we needed to go. First, she took us to the hotel and on the way, we saw this mountain. It looks like it's floating out there in the distance. I'm pretty sure it's Mt. Rainer but I could be SO wrong about that. I don't think I ever got a definitive answer to that one. But, I'm not so sure I asked, either.
Our hotel was nice and large. I say large because we were at the farthest room from the front desk and after going to Aaron's house and playing dominoes until after 10 (midnight our time) my card key didn't work to get into the corridor where our room was. Mom was already asleep. So, I walked up to the front desk. They "fixed" my card key and back to the room I went. Same thing, still didn't work. Back up to the front desk. This time they sent a man with me to make sure it would work. He went as far as the first card key door and it worked there. Back to the room. Same thing, still didn't work. Back up to the front desk I went. Very unhappy. I told them "either send him all the way with me or I'm sleeping in here". So, back to the room we went and it did work and he made sure it worked in the room, too. Very nice man.

Just as an aside to that story...when I checked out, the girl at the front desk asked how our stay went and I told her "everything was fine except I had to walk from my room to the front desk 3 times on Thursday night because my card key wouldn't work". She said "really?" (not really caring at all). Then she handed me my receipt and said "was everything OK during your stay?" Disbelieving what I heard, I said "Yes, except I had to walk to the front desk 3 times on Thursday night because my card key wouldn't work". She looked at me (probably because I said it very emphatically) and said "oh, I already asked you that, didn't I?" OH. MY. GOODNESS. Listening skills, people!

OK, back to fun things.

On Friday, Mom, Aaron, Jon, Anne, Walt (Aaron's grandparents on his dad's side) and I went to Seattle and went to Pike Ave. market and the Space Needle. What a cool place that downtown Seattle is. On the way, we saw Safeco field (where the Seattle Mariners play) and the place where the Seattle Seahawks play (I don't know the name of that one).

A far off picture of Safeco Field.
One of the things I wanted to do while in Seattle was see the first Starbucks. See where this whole thing started. This is what we thought was the original Starbucks. More on that in a bit.
We ate lunch on the pier at Ivar's. I had shrimp and chips, Jon and Aaron had clam chowder in sourdough bowls and I don't remember what everyone else had. But, there were seagulls!
These are the seagulls that don't fly up, they just wait for the food to drop down to them.
Aaron, feeding a seagull. There is a sign on this pier that says "do not be afraid to overfeed the seagulls".
That seagull has in it's mouth one of the croutons that Aaron was feeding them. The seagull didn't care for it, he dropped it after I took this picture.

Here I am having a seagull eat out of my hand.
Outside the Pike Ave. marketplace. What a totally cool place.
My boys and I went to find the original Starbucks, the grandparents stayed back and rested on a bench.
Here it is - the original Starbucks. So, we went to the other Starbucks thinking that it was the original. I wanted to use my giftcard (thanks Guadagnolo family!) at the original so we ordered at the other Starbucks and when we were checking out, I said "this is the original one, right?" The guy said "no". I told him to cancel my order that I wanted a hot chocolate from the original Starbucks. He asked if I was serious and while part of me was, I said "no". But, he did give us directions to the original one and I'm glad we already had our Starbucks fix because the line out this door was long.
Then we went to the Space Needle. Mom and Aaron went up, Jon and I stayed down, figuring the cost would be wasted on us since neither of us would probably venture out from the center of the building to see the view.

We did send the camera up with them, however. Here is the view from the Needle.

This looks like it is a bunch of trash or something but, it's actually the EMP or Experience Music Project. It is a totally cool building and this is what it looks like from atop the Needle.
Then, Friday night, we went back to Aaron's and had tacos and then rode a 4-wheeler or quad as they called it. This picture is of me my first solo time on the quad. Christina is giving me instructions. Christina is one of Aaron's neighbors. Or should I say Aaron's coolest neighbor. She was not just a hoot but also a holler. She kept us in stitches and probably was a very good neutralizer in what could be a very acidic situation. I mean, Jon (my ex) did have his ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law plus his parents around alot this weekend. And eventually, both ex-wives and his parents and my mom so it could have gotten out of hand but laughter and good humors got us all through. Thanks, Christina, for helping out!

There I go! What fun that was!
Now to the reason why we were there...GRADUATION!!!
I wanted to get video of Aaron coming in to "Pomp and Circumstance" and this is what happened instead...
How funny is that? They told us his robe was short and it was.
A girl sang the National Anthem (found out later that was Aaron's prom date). Then after some speakers and the choir, this group performed. After thinking about it more, I thought that it takes some guts for senior guys to get up and sing in front of all their peers so I decided to put it on here. I thought they did a pretty good job.

Then they called Aaron's name and he went up on stage to receive his diploma. While this video depicts that, it also shows the girl who gets her diploma before him almost fall down the stairs. Just watch.
Then pictures after graduation. A ritual.
All us happy people. Mom, Jon, Aaron, and me.
Then, back to Aaron's for spaghetti lunch and cake. Oops, concentrating a little too hard on making sure the writing was legible. Lisa made sure Aaron had all his favorites: Spaghetti, not chocolate cake and Cyndi's pasta salad (yummy). She was a delightful hostess and a delightful person. I really enjoyed meeting her.
Aaron, with all the women in his life. From left to right: Cyndi (Aaron's ex-step-mom - I don't know how else to put it), me, Mom, Aaron, Anne (Aaron's grandmother on Jon's side), Lisa (Jon's girlfriend). Just for the record, ex-step mom shouldn't be put there, Cyndi is still in Aaron's life and always will be.

Aaron and the Grandmas.
Jon, Aaron and Lisa
Christina, Aaron, Kelsey (Lisa's daughter) and Cameron (Lisa's son).
Jon took me for a ride on his motorcycle (got the need for speed while I was up there, I guess) and Aaron had to fasten my helmet for me. I see what the future holds. He also had to zip my zipper on my jacket because I already had my gloves on.
My new friend, Christina and me.
It really was a fun trip. Ooops, I forgot to put the picture of Lake Tahoe from above on here. Oh well. I'll put it on here tomorrow.
We had alot of fun playing dominoes and card games, riding the quad and seeing the sights. What a great place Washington is. Nice weather (I don't think it ever got to 70 degrees while we were there and it didn't rain) and beautiful scenery. I love seeing mountains everywhere. If you want to get away from the heat of Texas, I can heartily suggest the Seattle area or anywhere in Washington for that matter.
Thank you, Jon and Lisa, for being a great host and hostess. You really went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and a part of the festivities. And, thank you for helping Aaron become the wonderful young man he is.

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