Saturday, July 16, 2016

the 1%

A week ago, a friend I haven't seen for years invited me to a fundraiser hosted by her father-in-law, a prominent (and very successful) venture capitalist in Seattle. Her in-law's family are also affected by the same diagnosis we are. At the last minute, my friend's husband could not attend but they'd purchased tickets ($500 each) and had an extra.

I accepted immediately because I had not seen her for so long. After she sent me the description of the event, I realized how small it was. I started to get very nervous because I am not accustomed to hanging out with the 1%. So I called my sister (that's part of her job). She gave me some great tips then offered to send me some clothes as I had nothing that fit the dress code of "summer chic." I felt better knowing that at least I'd fit in superficially.

Turns out, I did not need the $10,000 dress. The party was small. But the guests were wearing Seattle summer chic which means "comfortable" What bonded me to them was not my clothes but the challenges our children face. Parenting a child with a disability must be humbling for everyone regardless of income. I am so grateful to the physicians and staff from Seattle Children's who are doing such amazing work, and equally grateful to these wildly wealthy people who are so committed to funding that work. Their children are grown so my child is the beneficiary. I promised my friend I wouldn't hug anyone but I expressed my sincere gratitude to many.

I was worried about spilling something on this dress.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A whale of a good time

This week, we visited Tofino, one of the few towns on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Unfortunately, I seem to have lost most of the pictures I took when we were there. Fortunately, I posted a few on Instagram (username sojama). Also, there is the internet which has many better pictures of the area than I could have taken.

We had a really great time. We stayed on Cox Bay at the Pacific Sands Resort
a lovely surfing beach in the back yard of our room. We all surfed. Sonia even managed to stand up.
Every day we ate at this taco truck (Tacofino) for lunch. It's famous.

Almost the exact view from our room

One day, we took a tour through Ocean Outfitters to hot springs about 20 miles north of Tofino. The springs are among islands that are inhabited by native americans who have been in the area for thousands of years. Tofino feels remote but these islands feel like the edge of the world.

imagine us with a lot more people. the kids did lots of rock climbing

We hiked 1.2 miles on this path to the hotsprings.
One of the many highlights of our day at the hot springs was our return journey. Our guide was very knowledgable about the area. We learned a lot about its history and how locals are trying to preserve the area. Tofino's road is only about 30 years old. It took us two days to get there from Seattle. However, it becomes more popular every year and locales want to make sure they preserve what makes the area great. So, back to our tour. We traveled along the pacific ocean side of the coast and our guide spotted a gray whale. This enormous animal surfaced many times very near our boat. It was phenomenal.

It rained our last day. Really rained. We headed to Ucluelet to see the small aquarium there. It's open only three months a year. It's the only aquarium in the world that releases all the sea life. It's the only picture I have from the trip:

On Friday, we returned to Victoria and took the black ball ferry to Port Angeles on Saturday morning. On the way to Port Angeles, we saw many whales and one of them did this:

Everyone on the boat was mesmerized. I have never seen anything like it in real life. I did not take any pictures though. I knew I'd miss it if I searched for my camera. 

We are very grateful for our trip. That was our big vacation for the summer. We stopped at my mom's house on Saturday to break up the trip.

My mom and stepfather took the kids out on the boat to take the crab out of their pots. The kids really enjoy this activity. 

We headed out this morning to return home. As we started to cross the Hood Canal bridge, it was closed. After about 45 minutes, we learned it was, in fact, broken. That was disappointing. We had to drive all the way to Olympia then up to Seattle... so it 2 hour journey became 5. The kids took it in stride and we made the best of it. It's not an adventure without challenge.

Here's a picture from local media.