A roller coaster of a week

This has been a week of ups and downs.

The week started off in a downhill slide.  As many of you know, Microsoft laid off around 3,000 of my coworkers this week.  Fortunately, I wasn’t one of them, but I have a great deal of good friends who were affected by this second round of layoffs.  I won’t say too much about it here, but Tuesday really sucked.

On the brighter side, I got some new toys this week.  I took advantage of an REI sale on Shimano shoes and bought some clipless pedals for the bike.  Today, it’s beautiful out and Diann’s out volunteering, so I hit the road with the bike.  Definitely one of my best bike rides to date: went 20.6 miles, from home to the Red Hook brewery (no beer stop this time) and back home, in just over 1.5 hours.  That gives me a 12mph average, which is great considering the route home was mostly uphill.  Here’s an elevation graph of the ride from home to work, and you’ll see what I mean (click to embiggen):

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Now it’s off to get cleaned up, go get a haircut, and then drinks with a friend who’s in town for the first time in months.

Then, later on, the night looks promising for some stargazing.  That brings me to the other set of toys I got this week: a new mount for the telescope.  90 pounds of new mount.  It’s crazy.  Tonight’s not ideal for stargazing (pesky full moon), but I’m going anyway just so I can get familiar with the new gear.

Seattle Central Library Photostroll

image Today the Seattle area was greeted with good weather.  Of course, the local Flickr meetup group had pre-planned a photostroll that, of course, was inside. 🙂 We wandered about the downtown Seattle library for approximately 2 hours, taking pictures of the awesome architecture and colors of the building.  My photos are here.

Also, got the first bike ride of the season under the belt today.  One week until Tour de Lopez!

The Weekend on Lopez

As I posted about earlier, Diann & I spent a long weekend on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands the weekend before last.  Other than the absurd waits at ferry lines, it was a great trip.  Sadly, my plans to use Qik to stream a lot of the trip were foiled by spotty (at best) cell coverage.  I was able to snag a quick video on the ferry ride, an a couple on the island.  They’re all available at the Qik link above, but here’s the one from the ferry trip:

Tour de Lopez Elevation Profile Lopez Island is one of the larger islands in the San Juans, and is probably best known for biking (it’s relatively flat and has mostly patient residents) and local farming.  We made use of both.  We recently picked up a bike carrier for the Prius, and we hauled the bikes up with us.  We did one major day of riding, but it was our longest ride yet: 32.4 miles by my reckoning, with a total climb of 2,340 feet (elevation graph to the left).  We started out at about 9:30am, and did a few little pit stops throughout the island, checking out some of the parks/preserves with some periodic walks through the forest and to the beaches and a pit-stop for lunch.  Overall, I think we probably spent a good 4 hours in the saddle of the bike.

We also went on a ~4.5 mile sunset say kayaking trip, and I’ve got a monster blister to show for it. I should’ve worn my biking gloves.  Somewhat graphic-ish photo to the right. :)  Kayaking Blister I’d never been kayaking before, and it was really nice and relaxing.  Less of a work-out than I anticipated, but I guess we were going slow considering it took us about 2 hours to make the 4.5 mile trip around the harbor. 

Other than that, it was mostly R&R.  Ate some good food in town, and I’m pretty sure we either drove or biked on every road on the island.  More pictures to come soon once I copy them off the cameras we toted along – I think I got some cool pics at the museum on the island.

Oh – farming.  On the way out of town, we stopped at Horse Drawn Farms.  They mentioned they’re open all the time because they have a farmstand, and I had no idea what to expect.  When we got there, there was a open building that had three deep freezers (one each for beef, pork, and lamb), and several refrigerated areas for produce.  There was a weigh-scale, and everything was priced by the pound.  It was up to you to calculate everything, add it all up, and deposit your money in the cashbox (and make change).  Call my cynical, but I’m still shocked and amazed that an honor system like this still exists and seems to work!  There was probably thousands of dollars of meats and produce, not to mention the well-stocked cashbox.  Neat stuff.

The last two meals we’ve made at home have featured foods we picked up here: flat iron steak and potatoes on Sunday, and Chile Rellenos last night.  I’ve gotta say: farm fresh meats taste so much better than the same stuff from a grocery store.