Every now and then the planets align and we end up doing lots of stuff over a weekend; this past weekend was one of those. We had dinner with some of my cousins on Friday night, did lots of stuff in the yard on Saturday, hung out with some friends on Sunday, and had dinner with another cousin of mine on Monday.
Friday's dinner was with the Tashimas (both from Ohio and local). When we arrived, Toshi (about 15 months) was getting close to going to bed. She spontaneously started saying "Night night!" to all of us, and blew kisses to everyone. Too cute! Afterwards, we settled in for dinner and conversation. We see the Tashimas several times a year, and it's always great to spend time with them; they're so comfortable to be with.
Saturday was our chance to get out into the yard. Late last fall I installed a couple raised beds, and this past weekend the third one went in (the far one). I managed to get some soil into it (including sod that's been breaking down for almost a couple years), but ran out of time to throw compost on the top. Hopefully this coming weekend we'll get to that, in addition to puting a bit more compost onto the other two beds so they'll all be ready for planting. We also need to put a few more wood chips around the new to hold back the grass and weeds. We'll eventually set up a couple more, but first we need to move the raspberries to a different area.
Sunday we went down to the Chittenden (Ballard) Locks with the Prossers. We headed to the fish ladder and even though there weren't any fish going past the viewing windows, and the Prossers' kids had a great time looking in the water. And for some reason, as many times as I've been to the ladder I've missed the salmon fry exhibit, showing the development from eggs through the first few months. We then went up by the gardens to have a snack, and only then did we see a sailboat and fishing boat move into the locks (they had been idle until then).
After the Locks we wandered over to the Ballard Market which was still going on. Melody and I go to the University District Market during summer and fall since we have a CSA subscription with a farmer (we prepay and then pick up a bag of produce every week), so we're pretty used to the vendors there. The Ballard Market had a lot of the same vendors (who make the rounds to the different markets in the area), but there were lots of crafts booths, which we don't normally see. Of course we picked up lots of food samples and on the way out we stopped to listen to some musicians performing near the entrance.
Even though we had snacked earlier, we couldn't resist stopping by Essential Bakery (in Wallingford) on the way back. They've got great soups and salads (each comes with a generous hunk of bread), as well as sandwiches and desserts.
That brings us to Monday night, where we ate dinner at Samurai Noodle in the International District with my cousin Robert who's from Denver. He's in Portland this week for bowling and drove up to Seattle for the afternoon/evening. We normally see him and his family at Mochitsuki (as well as other family gatherings), but it was nice to get a chance to talk with him without all the hubbub going on; the evening went pretty quickly and before we knew it, time had come for us to head home and Robert back to Portland.