So Did the Pumpkins Come Out Early This Year?

My lovely Golden Spoon pumpkin-flavored yogurt — from a previous year!

So is it just me, or did pumpkin-flavored-everything arrive a little early this year?

I imagine it’s sorta like Christmas decorations, getting earlier and earlier. Marketers probably thought, “Hey, we make a ton of money on this stuff! Why start in October? Let’s start in September, people!”

Still, it’s technically summer on Sept 1, and real-live pumpkins probably aren’t even ripe yet, but there we have it: Pumpkin Spice Lattes in Starbucks, Pumpkin-flavored yogurt at Golden Spoon, Pumpkin-Spice Eggo waffles in your local freezer section. … All available since Sept 1 this year.

Not that I’m complaining, exactly. …  Continue reading

Road Trip! Day 4 — Missoula!

The drive from Seattle to Missoula takes 8 hours along Highway 90, and is very pretty. Ricky had let us know ahead of time because he’d made the drive a few times already. You go through some cute little towns just west of Seattle. (Stopped in one to find a grocery store for fresh fruit, and encountered an engaging, no-nonsense grocery clerk who acted like the town sheriff, taking her town very seriously. Chris wants to retire there now.)

After that, Ricky warned us we’d hit some boring, dry patches, but then you cross into the Idaho panhandle and get the pretty pine trees again. He told us we’d enjoy the Fourth of July Pass and Coer d’Alene. He was right. You really think you’ve never seen so many pine trees in one place: 

Continue reading

Road Trip! Day 3 — Seattle

Day 3 began in Eugene, where we woke up to incredibly green surroundings outside the French-door windows of the hotel’s continental-breakfast dining room (where a creek ran behind the hotel, complete with uber-green shade trees and ducks, and even a duck called “007” who had learned to sneak in the French doors to steal waffles). Lovely place, Oregon is.

We ate, packed back up, and hit the road again for Seattle. …

But first: College campus driving tour for Rene!

We cruised around Eugene a bit to look at the University of Oregon — wow, pretty campus. Then we headed up the 5 to Corvalis, where we took a detour to Oregon State University — also nice campus (and great stadium!). Rene is only moderately interested in the Oregon schools because they’re out of our price range anyway — they don’t participate in the “Western Exchange” program, where western states cut the ridiculously inflated out-of-state tuition for each other. (At least Oregon doesn’t participate with California — probably because California is being stingy in some way.)

Anyway, after the Oregon-college tour, we headed through Portland, where we’d wanted to stop, but decided to keep going to spend more time in Seattle. My main thought about Portland: IT’S SO MUCH BIGGER THAN I THOUGHT! I wasn’t expecting a full-on city for some reason. Looked nice, but we only saw it from the freeway. Continue reading

Road Trip! Day 2 — Driving Up the Northern California Coast

Okay, back to the road trip:

Despite the fact I’ve lived in California all my life, I’ve never (as an adult) been north of San Francisco. And I’ve never (in all my years) been to Oregon or Washington.

So it was time to fix that.

I was so excited to see Northern California and higher: Napa! Redwoods! Oregon! Portland! Seattle! I couldn’t wait.

Unfortunately, Road Trip Day 2 began with some drama.

The drama: Nate had been feeling rather ill during the week leading up to the trip, and the first day we were on the road, he was feeling lightheaded. On the morning of Day 2, we drove through San Francisco to Café Roma, the café Superman and Rene loved most on our last trip there, and they began walking the steep San Fran hills to get their morning brew. But Nate and I stayed behind because he wasn’t feeling well. Continue reading

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