26 August 2005

Yakima Valley Wine Trip

Historically, we haven't been "wine people." But now that we're living in the midst of wine country, it's hard to resist: the winery across the street; the monthly Husum wine social; the numerous local vineyards, vintners and appelations. So we've finally given in. :)

A group of about 10 Insitu folks made a trip east to the Benton City / Prosser area for a whirlwind tasting tour of some of the East Yakina valley wineries. Kestral, Kiona, Seth Ryan, Hedges - in all, I think we stopped at ~8-9 wineries, sampling a wide variety at each. We even stopped in to a brewery in Prosser which is operated by an old coworker of my mom.

We still tend to gravitate toward the milder or sweeter wines (Reislings and such), but I find I'm discovering an affinity for Merlots. By the end of the trip, my palate was so tired that I couldn't tell a merlot from a grape nehi, but it was quite a lot of fun.

- Mike (& Corinne)

20 August 2005

Fred in West Seattle

Our friend Fred Diprizito is moving back to the East Coast, so we wanted to spend one more weekend with him before he left. (Plus it gave us a good opportunity to get a tour of the company he worked for.) He's heading back to his family, fiance, and old job, and we wish him the best.

- Mike (& Corinne)

13 August 2005

Guys Weekend

In mid-August, Loren decided to take a trip from Tulsa to Seattle to spend some time with family. At the last minute, Loren and Reidar unexpectedly decided to drive down to visit us. ("Hey Mike, we're hopping in the truck now to head your way - can we stay at your place?") Unfortunately for Corinne, she was in San Francisco for an AIAA conference, so it ended up being a "guys only" weekend - me, Leif, Loren, Reidar. Joined by Jeremie and Casey, friends of Leif & Loren who just happened to be in town at the same time, we spent a beautiful, hot summer weekend playing ultimate frisbee, doing some trestle jumping into the Hood River, and relaxing at Leif's BBQ. A good time.

Loren doing his best Greg Louganis impression. Keep trying, Loren.

The weekend crew (minus Reidar, the photographer)

Corinne had her own great time in San Francisco, getting plenty of family time with Doris, George, Shani and George's family in between her AIAA commitments.

- Mike (& Corinne)

01 August 2005

A Week on the Gulf Coast

Since summer in the Gorge is so perfect, we thought we'd take a week of it and go someplace else. ;)

Every year, we have planned some sort of get together with a group of friends from our MIT days. And now that the entire group isn't as concentrated in the Northeast as we once were, we've starting planning a trip together. This year's just happened to end up on the gulf coast of Florida, in August. (Yes, we're crazy.)

The house was right on the beach in Destin, FL, and as it turned out, the weather the week we were there was much less oppressive that we had feared. And for a week (or part thereof), the 12 of us just did whatever we felt like: rented jet skis, walked on the beach, played lots of games, golfed, bowled, cooked, or just talked and relaxed in each others company. A perfect vacation.

Jet skis in the bay.

View of the beach at sunset.

Malinda and Jean, preparing a gourmet meal. Each day for the week, a different couple was responsible for breakfast and dinner. That way, you only had to 'work' on one day, and on the other days, food was just prepared for you. Worked great, and the food was wonderful!

Corinne, pool shark. There was a pool room in the house. Can't get much better than that.

Corinne and Judy, relaxing on the screen porch, now just a porch. Hurricane Dennis arrived several weeks before us, knocking out all of the screens and destroying the walkway to the beach.

Remnants of the walkway from the house to the beach. (Thank you very much Hurricane Dennis.) As a result, we had to walk a block down the street for beach access.

Brian, Judy and Corinne (and me taking the picture), wading in the surf. Brian got some saltwater in his eye, so he decided to cry. We had to watchout for jellyfish in the water. Several of us were stung, but Brian got stung on his back the worst.

Golf lessons from Brian at the driving range.

Becky & Gordon, enjoying the fruit of their dinner labors.

Looking forward to the next trip together!

- Mike (& Corinne)