A new view

For the past few days (and for a few more), we're getting away from our familiar routine, taking our lives to a completely new place.

It's been fun cooking in a brand new gourmet kitchen, with a restaurant-style gas range and a very cool Gaggenau steam oven. Four flights of stairs are more than I'm used to, but the exercise is great (and I can always hop into the elevator if I'm hauling something more than a couple of flights). The Crow's Nest, our fourth-floor retreat, has amazing views, especially from the big covered deck overlooking Puget Sound.

The view changes constantly. When we arrived, we were still socked in by the fifth day of fog in a row, and it was cold, down in the 20's at night and not much warmer during the day. When the weather began to change, a storm blew away the fog, but also brought clouds and wind and rough water. But we've also had two days of sun and peek-a-boo blue skies, warm enough to walk on the beach without a heavy coat, and warm enough to go barefoot on the deck.

And we've had one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, punctuated by a couple of brave stand-up paddleboarders. Every time I looked outside, the sky had changed, and I grabbed the camera and snapped more pictures. The water was nearly flat calm, and the reflections were endless.

The water views are what make this retreat so spectacular. Even when the skies are grey and unchanging, the water is always fascinating. The wind churns up the waves into breakers, then it all changes to flat calm. I'll hear pounding surf, and a while later, there's no sound at all. I love watching the container ships and tugboats moving between Tacoma and Seattle, but there's been no private boat traffic at all, even on the calm days.

The beach is a constant temptation, calling me to come out and walk along the water's edge. Every day we take Brodi out for a romp on the beach, and I collect beach glass and jasper. On Wednesday I found a big chunk of carnelian agate, brilliant red and orange. The beach glass is abundant, green and cobalt blue, root-beer brown and pale aqua, and I've even found a few pieces of red. The prize was a rare piece of orange glass. I've got a project in mind for the glass, and although I've collected almost two and a half pounds so far, every day there's more.

It's started to rain again, but low tide is coming up soon, and I'm anxious to get out on the beach.

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