rudolffamMy parents raised us three kids to be independent, expected us to fly the nest immediately upon high school graduation, so we did. I spent many weekends with my friend at her family’s cabin at Lake Wenatchee. Because of them, I learned to ski and windsurf. When I was 16, a Canon AT-1 camera caught my eye. I learned how it worked in a high school photography class and have been taking photos ever since. 

UW Civil EngineeringIn the fall of 1987, Mom dropped me off at the UW and I worked my way through college. I took up running in 1983 and befriended a fellow Pike Place Market worker/runner. We’d run along Greek Row, the Burke Gilman Trail, and Ravenna Blvd to and around Green Lake. Together we completed our first organized race, Sound to Narrows 12k, in 1986. 

In 1987, I landed a spot on the WSDOT payroll before I graduated that spring with a BSCE degree, tested concrete for six months on the First Hill Lid project in Seattle, bought my first car, attempted my first marathon (walked part of the last mile, decided I needed to try again). Disillusioned by the DOT, I left. HDR Engineering in Bellevue hired me as a transportation engineer. I loved designing roadways, using CAD. 

112798matsumotojoI completed my second and final marathon in 1990, met my time goal of under four hours and vowed to never, ever, EVER run another. In 1992, I completed my MSCE, married a Naval Officer, skipped the graduation ceremony, pulled up my Washington State roots and headed south to the driest, brownest place I’d ever lived: San Diego. Spent six months at the best job ever, as a bridge design engineer at McDaniel Engineering. Experienced my favorite day as an engineer when I joined fellow JWA employees in Northridge on the day of the earthquake. In the fall of 1997, joined my husband in Japan where he was stationed at Yokota AB. I passed the SE, realized I’d reached the end of my career as I’d known it, birthed two babies, missed my family, friends, and country, warts and all and tried to love the one I was in for 3.5 years until we could return to it.

Smiths Summer 08-001In 2001, we moved to southern Maryland. I learned that flying Confederate flags was normal, Mt Vernon was no mountain, and fell in love with John Adams. I met fellow stay-at-homes, visited nature centers, caught fireflies, watched 9/11 events from too close, looked over my shoulder for the DC snipers when filling my gas tank for a few months. Found and lost a friend all within a year’s time, Ana Maria Bachur Coombs, to breast cancer. 

jerryOn Friday the 13th of February, 2003, I learned that my father had died suddenly and unexpectedly of CHF. My mom WKS-afflicted mom arrived on my doorstep a week later on my 40th: worst birthday ever.

springsummer08 078-001May09-027In 2005, we returned to the PNW when my husband was stationed at NAS Whidbey. We settled in Dugualla Bay with a view and the Sound of Freedom. I began posting reviews at Amazon.com as book snob, volunteered at my kids’ schools, caught chicken pox. Five years later, we began transporting our kids to the ASD. In September of 2011, I ran in the ACFL for the first time. Trail running is now one of my favorite past times.

IMG_0580-002I started blogging a few years ago. In September of 2015, we moved to Anacortes near the ACFL. I now have a sophomore and senior…sigh. I continue to volunteer, photograph, read, write, hike, swim and run, spend as much time as possible with my sister and best friend JoDee. Reach me at: juleerudolf@gmail.com. Thanks to my friend and amazing artist Diana Vincent for suggesting the name Island Unseen for my blog.

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