Return Visit to Seattle – Family & Friends!

Beijing was a spectacular place to top off my six month foray to Asia this year, but I was excited to get back to the Northwest to combine a bit of business and pleasure. Business, in my case, was meeting with my accountant to finalize 2015 taxes (getting a return…for a change!), having my teeth cleaned (my dentist praised the work I had done in Thailand) and seeing my doctor (best check-up in years!). Then it was on to the pleasure of meeting up with friends and family, including sister Pam, brother-in-law Rob, nieces Beth and Jessie and nephews Chris and Jon – along with various spouses, partners and children. Pam and Rob hosted a lovely dinner at their home in Enumclaw and the weather permitted some great shots of their beautiful garden:

Of course, the kids stole the show, as expected. Niece Beth and husband Kevin (who I missed seeing) have two, Jace and Hudson, both of whom are scene stealers and charmers! Jon and his friend Sarah have the newest addition to the family, baby Rom, who received a lot of love and attention from all.

Luckily I was able to schedule former staff member, busy professional and a still-new mommy Michelle Matheson for coffee one day at a local Starbucks. I especially wanted to see her beautiful baby Jordan, who was just an infant when I moved away last summer. Both were in fine spirits and Jordan is getting more photogenic and animated every time I see her. She’s going to be a looker, just like her mom!

One afternoon I visited the beaches in my old neighborhood, including Three Tree Point and The Cove at Normandy Park. Visiting both on a crisp winter day was really special to me and reinforced all the best memories of the Northwest from my childhood. Both Mr. Rainier and the Olympics were in all their seasonal, snow-capped glory. The beauty of the area is unparalleled. The beach, calm waters of Puget Sound and the mountains always calm and center me – and give me peace (as profound and sappy as that may sound…).

Of course, it was fun to have a celebratory dinner for my nephew Chris and his partner Doug, honoring their seven year partnership. We ate at 13 Coins which has been a Seattle institution for decades. It was fun, crowded and festive and the perfect spot for a drizzly, chilly evening. Wish I had gotten a photo of the “world’s greatest server” who has been on staff for over 21 years and ensured a great time was had by all. She was a kick!

Lastly was a small gathering of former neighbors, hosted by my dear friends Barbara and John Levich who lived next door. Some spouses and others (missed you Pat, Nich and Jess!) were unable to attend, but it was wonderful to see Dave, Jyl, Dax, Dennis, Jim and of course, the affable host and hostess. And let us not forget the two new pampered Levich puppies Ti-J and Wolfie – both adorable!

And special thanks to Mark Gaulding for flying up for a few days of gluttony, theater, Boeing and fun to wrap up my visit to the Seattle area. Also to June-Bug for buying us (in absentia) dinner at Sullivan’s downtown one evening.

All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better time back in the Great Northwest, spending some serious quality time with some of my very favorite people on earth!!

In San Diego now, with updates and photos to follow of visits with great buddies Maggie and Bonnie, both of whom I’ll be seeing while here!