Today was my seventh time to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in twenty years, the first having been in 1999, but the first time ever going two years in a row. It's also the first time I've ever gone on my birthday; and the second time I've gone as part of my Birth Week, the first having been with Shobhit in 2015. Three of them have been part of big McQuilkin Family weekend visits (1999, 2001, 2006); the last five, starting with 2006, have been with Shobhit. Last year, Dad and Sherri were going on the same day by chance, so we spent a lot of the day with them -- thus making it the fourth time I've gone with them.
In all this time, I have also gone at all different times in the month of April, the full month being the official duration of the Tulip Festival: I've gone as early as April 7 or April 8 (2006 and 2017, respectively); and as late as April 28 or April 30 (2011 and 2018, respectively -- also the two years I've gone just with Shobhit alone). The one particularly different year was 2008, when Shobhit and I took his mother.
I was honestly not hugely interested in going again so soon after visit #6 just last year, but then when Shobhit suggested we make that our day trip where I spent one Birth Week day -- this year my actual birthday -- I decided it was perfect, as it certainly fits in with this year's inaugural theme of botanical gardens. I sometimes worry in situations like this, when I go to the same event so often, that I might run out of new things to take photos of. Well, this year's photo set, at 56 shots, is one more shot than last year's, and actually yielded a whole lot of photos I am very, very happy with.
That would include the photo you see above, at the top of this entry. I'm hoping to post a collage of all the photos I've taken with floral backgrounds with people I've gone to gardens with, and I took several with Shobhit today. The one that turns out the best -- that one above -- was the very last one I took, with no idea that it would look so great. Probably because it's a little more authentic and less staged than all the others I took. But of course, you can click through to the full photo set and judge for yourself.
We made surprisingly great time traveling the hour or so up to Mt Vernon and back, actually; we were done with both Tulip Town and Roosengaarde by about noon. We left Seattle by about 9:30, since we woke up well before 6:00 this morning after we were both tired and crashed very soon after 10:00 last night. So we were arriving at Tulip Town by about 10:30.
It was a relatively chilly, and slightly wet, morning -- about 49° when we arrived. I'm glad I still had my fingerless gloves in my jacket pocket, as they came in very handy. It only drizzled briefly a couple of times, but it did mean the tulip and daffodil fields were fairly muddy. We still managed to find places to walk along the dirt that were solid and not too muddy. We agreed to go to Tulip Town first because it had more to look at indoors while we hoped to kill a little time for the day to warm up a bit -- it was still forecast to get above 60°. But, that made only the very slightest of difference.
We did get a free lunch, though. This was because a couple of weeks ago at work, Scott had seven coupons for a "free sack lunch" at Grand Central Bakery, and he gave all of them to me. I knew Shobhit would be thrilled with that, even though we didn't find out until today exactly what it includes: one sandwich, a bag of chips, and a cookie. All for free! Sweet deal. They have only three store locations in the Seattle area and the closest to us is on Eastlake, and pretty soon they're going to get sick of us and wonder where the fuck we got all these coupons. (I'm going to use it again when I go to the Bellevue Botanical Garden with Auntie Rose on Wednesday, as we agreed to pack lunches and eat there.)
I had budgeted $100 for the Tulip Festival today, assuming both entree fees and lunch, and another $30 for dinner at Saffron Grill. Not only did I wind up spending only $28 at the Tulip Festival because we were able to bring free lunches and only had to pay to get into Tulip Town and Roosengaarde, but I've spent a total of just short of $88 today, and that only because we made a trip to Costco after leaving Skagit Valley, and then back in Seattle I finally went to get a new copy of Shobhit's car key made because for some reason months ago it stopped openin the trunk.
And! We bagged the Saffron Grill dinner idea, because it would just be too much food. After that massive amount of drinking (and super fattening and sugary drinks, no less) at Jennifer's on Saturday night, and all the pizza and cheese break I ate both that night and yesterday morning, that eight-mile bike ride with Dad did little to stave off the heaviest I have weighed in in years, this morning up to 152.6 lbs. "Yeesh!" I said, out loud.
Well, we're still going to go split a sundae at Old School Frozen Custard after a while this evening. Hey, it's free! They're giving it to me for my birthday.
But anyway, when we finally got back to the car after leaving Roosengarde, we just ate one of the sandwiches in the car, after already having had one of the bags of chips. I also ate my peanut butter cookie. We decided we would save the other sandwich to split later for dinner. We wound up doing that around 4:30, which means Shobhit will probably get hungry again and eat something else tonight. I will too, but hopefully it'll only be half a sundae. A free sundae! This is an important detail!
Shobhit got this hairbrained idea when we were at Roosengaarde, that he wanted to try growing several plants, and he bought eight different starts: mint, peppers, even bell pepper and beefsteak tomato. He's using all pots that are typically used for potting flowers or tiny trees, and he's never done any do-it-yourself gardening before, so I honestly have my doubts that he will much succeed at this. Who knows, though? Maybe he'll surprise me. In any case, once we got to Costco he bought a giant bag of Miracle-Gro potting soil (which he later accidentally referred to as "Miracle Whip," cracking me up), and right after we got my key made, we then drove down to City People's Garden Store -- the very store set to close within the next two years to make way for the development that is to include a PCC store all of one mile from home. (And was originally announced to be slated to open 2017, so, whatever!) Shobhit then proceeded to purchase three new planting pots and bases for them, spending a pretty good chunk of change. I do hope it's worth it.
We thus got back from the Costco near Skagit Valley by around 2:00, and I suppose we were done and back from City People's, I don't know, 3:30? It's now pushing 6:00 p.m. as I write this, and I have since been processing and editing and saving and tagging photos. I still have not tagged the majority of my 2018 Birth Week photos, now in four separate full sets -- but, Shobhit works tomorrow, and I have no plans to meet up with anyone tomorrow until Evan at Streissguth Garden at 4:30. So hopefully I can get a lot of captioning done, finally, tomorrow morning. I do often wind up with a lot of Birth Week photos uncaptioned, as I mentioned to Shobhit earlier today, just by virtue of the huge volume of photos my Birth Week typically yields, while I am also busy doing the most socializing I do all year.
And I know you are all on the edge of your seats about this! I mean, Shobhit did look at the photos last night and commented that they had not been captioned yet. (A few have.) So that's one person who cares!
Anyway. I guess I'll wrap this up and let you go look at the photos if you want. Or not! Whatever you want!
[posted 5:51 pm]