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Together At Last

Seatac Airport, 9:40 p.m., July 1st:  my cell phone rang.  It was OC telling me that Hawaiian Airlines flight 22 was safely on the ground and he would be allowed to deplane soon.  (I suspect that he had really called to see if I’d arrived at the airport to pick him up. I had.)  Twenty minutes later my cell phone rang again.  It was OC telling he there was some delay at security, but he was on his way.  (I suspect he was checking to see if I hadn’t changed my mind and bolted. I hadn’t.)

Finally OC came into view.  He was looking right and left, searching for me.  I waited, wondering when he would look straight ahead – and finally he saw me.  I smiled.  He waved.  He kissed me, hugged me, kissed me again (fleeting pecks) and left me in charge of his carry-on while he stepped up to the carousel for his luggage.  I briefly wished for a warmer reception, but OC kept looking back over his shoulder at me.  I chose to interpret that as happy-to-see-me behavior rather then, has-she-let-anybody-walk-off-with-my-precious-trumpets-yet? behavior.

Leaving the airport, we went to get fuel — for the car and for us.  We successfully fueled the car, but didn’t do quite so well fueling our tummies.  We ate at a Denny’s.  Now, I’ve had many good meals at Denny’s Restaurants, but this wasn’t one.  After Denny’s we retired to Studio 6, checked our email and fell into bed — where we each pretended to sleep so our upset stomach and general discomfort wouldn’t bother the other.

July 2nd:  neither of us felt like starting the day with food.  Instead, we went to Big Five Sporting Goods Store and each bought a pair of new shoes.  After getting shoes we traveled to the charming city of Anacortes, Washington and ate a lovely lunch in a little cafe named Calico Cupboard.  We also walked up and down the street holding hands and looking in shop windows.  We wanted to catch the 3:10 ferry to Friday Harbor, so we had to drive down to the Ferry Terminal and get in line.

Once in line, we had plenty of time to explore, so OC took me down to the beach. He behaved with wonderful patience the whole time over my unsuitable beach shoes — flip flops — and patiently helped me over the rocks and driftwood.  He also steered me clear of the more muddy and marshy areas.  However, he is a scientist and he likes to study squishy things, so he happily plucked seaweeds from the ground and put them in my hands.  He seemed quite pleased when I had no trouble telling the different kinds apart.  Even so, I hope there is no test later because I will not remember their names.  He also found a rock with some barnacles and a kelp “holdfast” attached and explained to me how kelp anchors itself to the ocean floor.

Once aboard the ferry, we walked around a bit.  OC showed me a map display of the islands and explained what route we would take. We stood on deck for awhile and watched the shore passby – then we sat down and fell soundly asleep, waking only when the announcement came for drivers to return to their cars and prepare to exit the ferry.  I got barely a glimpse of downtown Friday Harbor as we exited the Ferry.  We were rushing to the grocery store before closing time.  The store was packed and crazy so we just grabbed the fixings for a quick meal, plus toast and juice for breakfast.

Friday Harbor Labs, Apartment A103.  Ours is the ground floor unit, you can see the door between the trees.

Same door, different view from the hillside.

View through the living room windows. 

View through the open bedroom window.

The path from the parkinglot to our apartment.

Same view, (picture magnified so you can see the car). 

I love these trees.  OC says they are called Madrone.  He also says they shed their bark on a regular basis, probably to rid themselves of parasites.  I say they are gorgeous.  This one is just off the patio on the uphill slope.

July 3rd:  the day started at OC’s favorite walking trail.  He said it was 8-tenths of a mile long, then he took off at a sprint and left me to walk.  I am not used to the humidity and was soon out of breath.  I kept walking — briskly, but nowhere near OC’s speed.  I walked.  And walked.  And walked.  The countryside is gorgeous.  I enjoyed the wildlife — even saw some deer.  And I walked and walked.  I couldn’t believe how hard it was, or how out of shape I was.  That was the longest 8-tenth of a mile I had ever walked. When I met OC on his return trip, he said the end was still five minutes away.  Five minutes at his pace was going to be way too flipping long at mine.  I turned around.  Later OC said he may have miscalculated the length.

After our walk, showers, and breakfast, OC took me to the main building and introduced me to some of his coworkers.  We needed to visit the tech guy and get cleared for internet access.  OC and the Apple loving techies made fun of my PC.  There was another guy in the room with a PC laptop.  I said, “Why are you giving me such a hard time?  That guy has a PC, too!”  That Guy waved his hands and exclaimed in horror, “No way.  This isn’t mine.  I’m just working on it!”

Despite the tech guys best efforts, I only get reliable internet connectivity when sitting on our patio.  That evening as I went in to use the bathroom I said to OC, “I guess it’s safe to leave my PC outside unguarded.  It isn’t like anyone here would steal it.”  OC agreed a bit too enthusiastically.

July 4th: I woke sore from the trail, yet consented to trek it again.  OC admitted that it is about a mile and a half long.  I made it a bit further, but still haven’t reached the end.  My muscles were a bit sore when I started out, but I didn’t think it was any big deal.  However, they didn’t loosen up as I walked.  In fact, my calves kept cramping.  I walked it anyway and I kept a good pace.  After showers and breakfast OC and I went to the staff/student volley ball game.  I managed to skin my knee, and I missed a few shots, but I made a couple, too.  I played three games and sat the rest out in favor of some younger folk.  OC played 6 or 7 games.  Here he is celebrating a good serve.

In the afternoon most of the folk from Friday Harbor Labs — ourselves included — went to 4th of July Beach for a barbecue.  OC is a master at skipping rocks.  Ask him to prove it some time.  He says it is all in the wrist.  We walked up and down the beach — once again with OC being perfectly patient about my flip-flops as he helped me over, through and around obstacles. 

Driftwood cemetary — 4th of July Beach.

And that evening we walked to a grassy rise just a few yards from our apartment and settled in anticipation of a fireworks show.  As we waited OC played his trumpet, and night settled in around us.  The show was spectacular, and from two different points on the horizon we could see other displays — one from Cortes Island, and another from the mainland.  It was a magical display of ohhhs and ahhhs — and that’s pretty much what this whole trip has been so far. 

The last ferry of the evening leaves Friday Harbor.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. This sounds just magical! Thanks for all the detail, it makes me feel like I’m there to. I wouldn’t finish a mile and a half walk either! lol

    I’m glad you two are having fun. 🙂

  2. I loved reading this, I am happy that you found a love to share things with. Reading this post I got thinking about a life living along the Ocean and how I miss not being able to see the Ocean. I wouldn’t fret too much about the MacIntosh Computer Techies ~ All computer techs (me included) are a weird bunch. Enjoy your PC, I enjoy mine.

    Thank you for sharing the pictures and the story.

  3. Sounds lovely… is hard to imagine this is the same person who only a month ago life consisted of fifth graders.

    I have a Mac, everyone else in the family has a pc but we still manage to get along.

  4. What a great week so far and a great way to transition from your old life. This couldn’t be more different, huh?

  5. Thanks for sharing such a large portion of your life. Where you are staying is beautiful. You seem so happy. It is really good tyhat there are those special times in life.

  6. What are you guys doing at our house!!! I swear, it looks just like our little house on Center Island! I will be up there on the 15th or 16th. Email me and I will give you my cell number. Yes, Madrone are lovely trees. They look like huge Manzanita.

  7. Is the Calico Cupboard on a southwest corner of a street right there on the main drag? Same big, main street as the Safeway, but on the other side? Did you go to the Safeway?

  8. YOU WENT TO KING’S MARKET?! WOW!!!! I am dying here, Quilly!!!! I have been at that ferry ramp SO MANY TIMES! Dang. I can’t wait to see you two!

  9. Okay. Here’s what ya do—–go to the Friday Harbor ferry ramp and get a copy of the schedule and find out when the free walk-on ferry leaves. It is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Free boat ride. You get back around 5:30 or 6.

    WRITE ME!!!


  10. Happy arrival! That driftwood looks a little eerie (says the girl who has lived inland her whole life).

    I come from a VERY long line of computer programmers. I think the only thing that would have made my dad disown me is if I told him I bought a Mac.

  11. Donna — the mile and a half in is okay. It’s coming back that’s the problem!

    Bill — thank you. I am extremely happy.

    Lori — fifth graders?

    Polona — it is wonderful and I am!

    Nessa — I always wanted to try life by the ocean.

    Dr. John — best of all, I know it’s special and I am savoring it.

    Gawpo — OC says that’s because early San Juan architecture was based on the same set of plans.

    Direct hit on Calico Cupboard. The meatloaf is yummy.

    OC gave you a check minus on the algeas comment. The word form you used doesn’t exist.

    Yep, I went to King’s Market in search of chicken wings. There are no chicken wings to be had on this island — except those already attached to chickens. King’s is cool, bu for affordable shopping I go to Friday HArbor Market.

    If I find myself in need of something to do, I’ll take that Ferry ride.

    Brig — the driftwood is awesome. It lines the beaches here from the days of logging rafts — when the logs were pulled to market by a tugboat, and often a log or two would escape the bunch.

    OC is a Mac devotee. He mocks my PC.

  12. A few thoughts I had while reading this great post…..firstly, I love trees! People are good and some bad. Animals are wild and dangerous or sweet and fluffy. People and animals? Some I can take and some I wouldn’t take even if they promised me the world, or promised never to shed a hair on my favourite black pants. But trees are in a class by themselves. To paraphrase Will Rogers, I’ve never seen a tree I didn’t like (love). Even driftwood (used-to-be-trees) in its many forms is beautiful. Thanks for the great pictures…..secondly, I cried when you had such an emotional departure from Las Vegas and I’ll be darned if I didn’t have a minor breakdown now that you’re on the island and looking forward to discovering each other and your lovely summer location…..thirdly, to O.C…..little pecks won’t do. Shock the world around you, wherever you are, whoever is watching and sweep that woman off of her feet. What you give will be returned to you ten-fold. (If my unsolicited advice is frowned upon, what can you do about it……….pull out my D-Link on my laptop? LOL) I wish you both the best parts of life… and laughter! Thinking of you fondly…..Judy

  13. Thank you for the pictures, I always like knowing where you are. It was over 100 here today and that ocean sure does look mighty fine!! All the excersie and fresh air will have you not missing that gym at all !!! and the results will be tenfold. Wish I were there. xooxo

  14. I’m glad you are posting lots of pics, Quilly! It’s such a beautiful place… Keep showing us the details!

    The flowers from a couple of posts back were awesome, too 🙂

  15. J.D. — he did better then little pecks once we weren’t in public. We do hold hands in public and that garners smiles from folk we encounter.

    Caryl — come visit.

    Rob — count on it. There’s much more worth taking pictures of here then there ever was in Vegas.

    Doug — pft.

  16. Okay on the algeas comment. Actually, The OC has made my day. Here’s why: We have this sort of know-it-all at work with whom I have had a recent falling out and I bought his nomenclature, hook, line and algea. I have scraped him from my glass. Thank you.

    The folks are here at my house this very instant. They will leave for Anacortes Tuesday and be on the island on Wednesday. I will join them on next Sunday. I will not have internet. No way to tell you anything. Ciao4niao, G

  17. Got my email sent back when I just now tried you at the address. Guess you disconnected that one, eh?

    Your turn. Mine is current……xo

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