Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River, Oregon

Today, we went hiking with 5 friends at Multnomah Falls which is about 40 miles away from us. If we could cross the river directly, it is even closer.

Mulnomah Falls plummets 620 ft. It is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States and it is the highest in lower 48 states.
The first picture is at the basin of the fall. The second and the third are on the over hanged deck on the top of the fall. The Columbia River can be seen in the background in the second one.
It is 1 1/2 miles up and 1 1/2 down. After coming down, I consumed a buffalo hamburger in a local restaurant with river review. The view is great but the food is okay.

Crazy week and stuck in a rut.


Today, another thunderstorm rolled through the neighborhood, and we lost power AGAIN for about 2 hours. Yet another branch fell across wires near the house, this time I saw the electrical fire which lasted for 5 seconds, a huge plume 4 stories in the air of bright blue/yellow flame. I couldn’t work (obviously), so the kids, Eliana and I played a board game called Flapdoodle. Everytime it’s your turn, you pick a card and it makes you do something silly, like sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in the voice of a dog or do 4 jumping jacks while chanting a silly phrase or pretend to take a nap on the floor while snoring loudly. It was really more fun than I thought it would be, we adapted a lot of the tasks for Edda and she had a grand time doing her part.


Vince is having a tough time learning to be a gracious loser. He wailed and cried in the middle of the game when he was in last place – we had to take a 15 minute break for him to work through it. Then we restarted and he was a good sport! In the end, he was the loser, but no tears, no complaints. Perhaps even a compliment to the eventual winner, Eliana.

I have been in a funk the past week or so. I can not place a finger on why. I’ve been in a rut – thinking, if only I had X, then I would be SO MUCH HAPPIER! I have been trying to reframe my attitude, to be happy to be alive and to be grateful for what I have, because I know in the grand scheme of things, I am a very lucky person.

Oregon Coast

Last week days, we went to the coast of Oregon. Here are several pictures to share.

1) Fort Clatsop (re-built) in which Lewis & Clark stayed for 4 months in Winter before heading back to the east next Spring. As part of demonstration, a volunteered lady actually fired an antique rifle in front of all visitors. Boy, it was tedious to prepare and really loud, not like modern guns.
2) A stream with built-in fish ladders. As engineers, we couldn’t quite figure out why? There is no dam, no obstacle along the stream in sight?
3) Mom in front of Tillamook Cheese factory, there were a lot of cheese in that factory. Their no sugar ice cream was delicious.
4) Mom in front of a Mig-17 in the Air Museum of Tillamook.
5) Mom inside the museum. It was built using wood entirely in World War II because steel was scarce and there were a lot of timbers in the Pacific Northwest. It still is the single largest wood structure in the world. It was a hanger to house 6-7 blimps which patrolled up and down the coast to spot Japanese submarines. The blimp could stay up for 48 hours at 50 miles/hr and, amazingly, this hanger was completed within 29 days. These days, a “green” report probably would take up 29 years or, maybe, longer.
6) Mom and the sand buggy she rode in.
7) The sand buggy on its way along the Oregon Coast line.
8) Mom, sand buggy and sand, more sand πŸ™‚
Well, the weather was very cool along the coast – see Mom’s jacket. May be, we will take another short trip to the mountains in WA this week. But, no during the weekend.
Mom is thinking that, if next year summer time, all the kids plus rubby can come here. It must have more fun and less heat πŸ™‚

Photo montage of blackout!

Heavy grill blown over:


Huge branch on neighbor’s deck:


First night, reading in the dark:


Next morning, where the hell is my TV?


53 hours after the power went out, there was the great fridge purge:


This is what caused it all, a little branch between two uninsulated lines. Pepco guy came in a bucket truck, grabbed the branch, made a phone call and we were back on the grid.


Power outage.

It’s been CRAZY around here. On Sunday afternoon, we lost power to the house via the incredibly intense storm system that blew through the DC area. We saw the huge blue flashes of light (I thought the house was exploding) as a branch crossed two above ground uninsulated lines right in front of our house and shorted them out.

We spent the first night at home hoping for the power to be restored quickly, but now it’s day 3 of power outage and we are trying to figure out what to do with Little the tadpole who is now living in murky unfiltered water and the puddle of sticky melted Popsicle on the kitchen floor. We’ve managed to move base camp to Gaithersburg – here’s Jeremy email that he sent to family:

So we filled up our coolers with everything from our fridge and freezer, packed up all our electronics and chargers, and headed west! Just like the settlers, we put a sign on our wagon train reading “Gaithersburg or bust!” 10 minutes later (they fixed all the traffic lights on Rte 28) we were there. What a nice campsite while we wait for them to restore our power. I am working in the dining room, and Eliana is taking care of the kids in the family room. The AC is working its way down from 85. It’s 84 now, but we’ll get there.

However, our Gaithersburg locale lost power last night which made me feel extra stupid because we spent a bunch of time moving stuff from our house to Gaithersburg. I don’t get off work because of power outages, I could either take leave or go into Alexandria, so I’ve been going into work for the past two days and showering at work. We are hoping that power will be up tonight.

It’s now 10:43 pm and we are back at the house! Home sweet home. Pictures tomorrow.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.


Vince has been attending musical theater camp for the past three weeks and today was the day of the performance. When I signed him up for this camp, I did not realize how much work is was really going to be for Vince. They performed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (which I have never seen before). It was a pretty intense experience, they put on a 45 minute show, full of choreography and memorized lines and songs. And the kids were so little, little! (There were 2 other shows with the bigger kids…)

Vince was Jacob, Joseph’s dad, and here he is, about to give the coat to Joseph. (Yes Joseph is played by a girl who is taller and probably older than Vince.)


Hiking, Hiking & More Hiking, But No Fish Yet …

Recently, we hiked a lot. Besides, after spending so much in fishing gears, there has been no fish in our net yet. I guess, we can postpone buying the freezer for a while πŸ™‚ Today, we went to a blueberry pick-yourself farm, Mom picked 11 lbs and I did 7 lbs for a absent friend. They are very fresh and taste good.
Here are several pictures for sharing:
1) After 2 flowers, here are three additional ones. I call this plant “the amazing plant”. It was dormant for 8 months without water. And, then, it suddenly comes to life.
2) Happy Mom! Why? Because I supposed to wash dishes after a nice dinner at home.
3) A hiking trail.
4) Hiking buddies at picnic. These folks are our buddies at Vancouver, WA. They are all away from their kids, but visiting them often. They like outdoor and enjoy small town living. They all travel quite often. Two of the families were my high school classmates – only one here though. Of course, no income tax in WA and no sales tax across the river in OR help too. In addition, nice dry, cool weather in summer is a plus.
I heard more people will settle here. That is good news for us.