Last Friday we opened the third installment of Level_13, Ae's Biennial video game art show. It was... incredibly fun. Jobot played again, along with Caly McMorrow and Mike the 2600 King. Level 13 - Jamie, Liz, Kova and Toneski The curators for the show - Me, Liz, Kova and Toneski.

Level 13 - Jamie and Jim Me and my buddy Jim.

Level 13 - Steve and Nora My friend Nora (Jim's beautiful wife) and my friend Steve.

Pictures are courtesy of Digital Crush Photography - one of our veteran board member's (Kate Iverson's) photography business.

Too many pictures of me in this post but... blog posts w/out pictures aren't as much fun. :) Plus, my sweater is super sweet.

Trip to Washington

We arrived in Tacoma late Thursday night, and headed over to Peter and Carmen's.  It was too late to go out, so we sat out on the porch of "Plum Cottage" and caught up. It was nighttime when we arrived, but here's a view from Plum Cottage for your reference. View of Puget Sound=awesome.

Plum Cottage

The next morning, after an awesome breakfast of Pumpkin Pancakes (thanks Carmen!) we picked Peter up from PLU and headed to Olympia for the evening. (After a brief stop for coffee and food). After a failed attempt to investigate the old Olympia brewery, we headed into town for drinks and a show. We discovered my camera was broken but Carmen was kind enough to share her camera with me so I could be touristy and take lots of pics.

After wandering around Olympia for awhile, we headed to McMenamins. (mmm.) The leaves were turning and most of the streets looked like this: Colorful, beautiful, and kind of fuzzy. Maybe that was the beer. ;)

Olympia, Leaves

We had dinner at a yummy fish place and then we went to a place called Le Voyuer. The band we went to see failed to show up, but instead we were treated to an awesome performance by Quinn Deveaux.

The night was magical.

Quinn Deveaux


Olympia, Aww

The next morning we woke up relatively early, enjoyed a continental breakfast (with an awesome waffle maker), got some coffee and wandered down to the Farmer's Market and walked along the water.

Nick is really mastering the "hold the camera out and take a picture of us both" trick."

At the Water

I think this is the only picture we have of all four of us from the weekend. Aww... BFF.

All Four

Carmen thought these were interesting and took a pic. I'm not sure what kind of berries they are...

Olympia, Berries

Otters are cute. Even Denis Leary thinks so.

Olympia, Otters

After our day in Olympia we headed to Seattle. Mmmmm more coffee. We went to the EMP and checked out the art galleries and book stores in the area. Notice how it is hardly raining in any of the pics? The weather was incredible while we were there.


Sunday was all about me and my dorkdom;)

We drove up to Snoqualmie, where they filmed a good deal of the "Twin Peaks" series. Before our tour of Snoqualmie, we stopped for coffee. No kidding!

Our first stop was to Snoqualmie Falls.

I got nice shot of the falls before we hiked down to the bottom. breathtaking!

Snoqualmie Falls

here's a pic from the show for your reference:

Twin Peaks - The Great Northern

After viewing the falls from the platform we hiked down to the water.

As we hiked through the woods we encountered.. A FUZZY CATERPILLAR!!!

Snoqualmie Fuzzy Caterpillar


Fuzzy Tree

...and a Tree on a Tree! among other things.

Tree On A Tree

We hiked down to the water and I scrambled out on to the rocks. The scenery was awesome. "Ahhhhhh!"

Snoqualmie Falls

Don't ask me how I got back to the shore.

More scrambling to an awesome (but slippery) rock at the bottom of the falls.

J-me at the Falls

Nick did not join me on the slippery rock, but he captured the moment. Thanks!


Nick at the Falls

Perfecting that shot again. you can even see the lodge in this one!

Snoqualmie Njme

Much has changed about the town since the show was filmed, unfortunately some for the worse. Much of the woods were torn down to make way for condos. Ronette's bridge, however, was turned into a bike path. This change isn't as bad as some of the other changes (IMO.)

Ronette's Bridge

Bike path:

Ronette's Bike Path

The R&R Diner (Twede's Cafe) was damaged by arsonists a few years ago. When they rebuilt the diner unfortunately they decided to go for a "newer" theme... so instead of the awesome retro classic diner inside, you have a generic diner with walls covered in Tweety Birds. (I'm not kidding. COVERED.) The pie is still awesome, however the coffee is "damn fine," and the back area has lots of memorabilia and pictures.  They are definitely cashing in on the link to the series... as you can see from the sign.

Damn Fine Coffee!

On Monday we spent the day actually in Tacoma, where they are living now.

We checked out the Dale Chihuly works downtown - fantastic!

Dale Chihuly

We got some coffee and went to the bookstore. More coffee, seriously? Ya! Srsly!

We drove around Tacoma and drove through the national park. It was absolutely gorgeous - quite bog-like in fact and not a huge amount different than some of the areas in upstate Minnesota. While driving through the woods, we saw some racoons.  OH HOW CUTE! - so I rolled down the window to take a picture.  Two racoons quickly turned into four as more approached... 5... 6... 7...

We started rolling up the windows and by the time we drove quickly and carefully away, we counted over 15 raccoons following us. This is the only clearish picture I got, of the first two we saw.

Tacoma Racoons

We went to the Hub for dinner (and Peter's Birthday) after getting more coffee and stopped at the Harmon Pub after dinner. I guess that was kind of the running theme for the weekend: food, coffee, beer, coffee, pictures, more food, pictures, beer.

One, two, three - Aww.

Tacoma - The Harmon Pub

All in all it was an awesome vacation... productive (sights-wise) and relaxing all at the same time. I was able to turn my brain off for a little while, so to speak. We got to see lots of places and spend a lot of time with Peter and Carmen. We saw the new place they will be moving to and toured Peter's office at PLU as well. I was a little weepy on the way back to the airport and now I'm I've got a little bit of the post-vacation blues... fortunately I've got a lot to keep myself busy over the next few weeks. (surprise surprise.)

I'm keeping my chin up though.... we're already planning our next trip.

Ae Volunteer Recognition Event - Oktoberfest

Altered Esthetics held our first Volunteer Recognition Event - Oktoberfest Style! My mom, Noelle and I cooked over 30 lbs of mashed potatoes, 70 awesome bratwurst and played polka music throughout the night. It was a blast! Having my parents in town was awesome, our awesome volunteers were there, I got to wear my lederhosen, it really just doesn't get any better than that you know? Liz, Curatorial Superstar and Toneski, Board Secretary Extraordinaire.

Toneski and Liz

Tony and Mindy - having a "really good time!!!"

<br /> Noelle and Natalie

Noelle, our Board Treasurer and Natalie, one of our volunteers who is super awesome (and might I add - the ONLY OTHER PERSON besides myself that dressed for the event!)

Tony and Mindy

Nick and Jamie. Awwwww

Jamie and Nick

More Oktoberfest Pictures here