Greetings from Seattle

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Night Football in Seattle

We Seahawks fans can all breathe a sigh of relief. Our team squeezed out a victory over the lowly Detroit Lions, even though it looked at times like we were trying to give the game away. 

Here at the Reeder homestead, we hosted Isaac and Irene for dinner and the game on TV while Jill and Jake attended live in the stadium. Jill became a Seahawks season ticket holder this year, and has selected some of the season home games to attend, while putting the rest up for sale on the ticket exchange. Those sales go for a much higher price, so Jill can end up paying for next season from the proceeds. 
This is the view from her seats, three of them.  She will be taking the kids to some of the afternoon games.  Today, she took her brother and a teacher she works with. They only have to pay the season ticket holder price when they go with her. 

Some of you readers have asked about Jake. It has been announced that his bones have healed, but the ligament damage will take longer. He still has pain when he walks.  It has been three  months since his soccer injury occurred, and rehabilitation will continue for some time yet.  He goes to physical therapy once a week and then works on his exercises on his own during the week. 

Now with the busy extended weekend behind us, Tom and I are leaving for the Oregon coast in the morning, where we hope to get in some down time while also completing some work projects on the cabin. 

You'll see me on Facebook, but not on this blog for a while. See you later. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

October: More Transitioning

Today we celebrated Tom and Jan's birthday with a family brunch at Claim Jumpers.  This is a BIG brunch buffet and we all ate too much, but we also had fun together before we all headed off in different directions to follow different pursuits. 

Jan and Ann were going to the symphony in Seattle.  Jake was going home to watch sports on TV and stay off his foot/ankle until it's time to go to the Sounders match this evening.  Jill and the kids were probably going to enjoy a few hours at home before the kids went to Isaac's soccer game with the coach and Jill headed to the stadium.  Tom and I came home.

I mowed the lawn.
I don't usually mow the lawn, just like I don't usually vacuum,  Because they are not back friendly activities. This weekend I did both, because yesterday Tom was at the Whidbey Island cabin helping to finish up the exterior staining of the cabin.  Today he has sore legs from standing on the rounded rungs of extension ladders. And besides, it's his birthday.  He's napping. 
 October rose

Tom worked hard at home this week too. The raspberry patch is gone, the plants and roots all stuffed in the yard waste bins.  The infestation of Asian fruit flies has ruined the crop for the last several years, and the 35 year old plants have weakened, so it is time to start over.  Tom planted a cover crop, and we'll leave the area fallow for two years, hoping to rid the area of the pests and problems. 
 He also has several garden boxes cleaned up and ready for winter. 

In the front yard, Tom has removed most of his fancy leaf geranium collection from the porch, and I have planted the permanent planters for winter interest. 

 Here is how the porch looks now.
This is how it looked last month. 
That big variegated boxwood on the left is gone now too.  It was getting too big and was reverting to all green, so it came out. That exposed the brown part of the nesting spruce that was behind it, so that came out too. 
Cutting that off and digging out the root was no small job. 
I had it much easier removing the dead Daphne odora, cleaning out the lower section and planting two new Daphne.

 We have replanted with an Abelia Kaleidoscope and two Japanese hollies that we can keep pruned. 

Some things will stay as they are.

Winter will do it's work here and the clean up will come later.
 New flowers appear as the cooler weather brings new growth to some parts of the garden. 
 The wind spinner makes flowers in any season. 
 Hydrangeas go purple and chartreuse, one of my favorite color combinations. 
 And even weeds look good again. This native mullein, or Verbascum, planted itself in a pot of geraniums.  The geraniums are long gone, but the weed persists.  

Well, I've played around with this post long enough.  It's time to gear up for a Sounders match.

Enjoy your October, and enjoy whatever changes to brings to you and your part of the world. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Thoughts on Being an Honorary Vashonista

Lavender Hill Farm

No, I didn't take that photo.  I "borrowed" it off the internet. But I was there!

In fact, I did not take any photos, if you can believe it. I did have my small Canon camera in the car, and I did have my iPhone handy, but I didn't use either camera.  I was too busy meeting six powerful women who call themselves the Vashonistas. 

How they got together is their story, but the short version is that they are all bloggers who met in "space" before they met face to face. This is the fourth year of their gathering at this lovely house on Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, just a ferry ride from Seattle.  

What you may not know if you follow any of these women is that I was to be Number 7.  When the invitation came from Linda Meyers  four years ago my introverted self registered fear. Then I looked at the calendar.  Stuff going on; Tom's birthday, Sounders match.  What to do?  So I did nothing, and that non-action was my answer as the group formed, found a six bedroom place to spend an October weekend, and the saga of the Vashonistas began. 

I have followed their adventures and their bonding through their blogs.  I have only met one of them, DJan, in person. but I felt I knew Linda and Sally and DJan quite well, Sandi and Deb and Jann not as much. Through their writing I could tell that they were all strong, intelligent, and thoughtful women, people with whom I seemed to share a kindred spirit. 

The invitation came via email early in September. Would I like to join them for dinner on Friday?  They wanted to meet me. Fear crept in again.  And thoughts like "Do I know how to get their? Tom does most of the driving these days." But I said yes. 

I am very glad that I accepted their invitation.  Once I got to Lavender Hill Farm, another story in itself, I was met by Linda and Sally and Jann.  I got a tour of the house - lovely- and we settled in to visit - easily. A while later DJan and Sandi and Deb arrived from an outing.  I found out later they had staged this so the I would not be overwhelmed by all of them at once.  That's how thoughtful they are. 

But that would not have been a problem.  Conversation flowed freely.  There was much laughter, a few almost tears, and I revealed more of myself over the course of a few hours than I hardly ever let people see of the real me over years of time. What a safe and trusting environment these women have created. 

We shared experiences and dinner and writing.  The six had decided to have a longer stay at their retreat, since all are now retired, and to focus on writing skills.  Deb has been leading the group through prompted writing workshops, where they all write to a given prompt for a given amount of time. After dinner I got to do a five minute prompt with them.  We wrote and then in turn shared our writing and received positive feedback from each other.  It was a very safe environment, and even in five minutes it's surprising how much a person reveals about themselves. I have a lot more in common with some of these women than anyone else will probably ever know about.  Childhood was a long time ago for all of us, but what is hidden in one's heart still manages to resurface, surprising with its intensity. 

There was also laughter, much laughter, and smiles and nods as our own little mind movies illustrated the readers words. It was brought home to me once again how we all envision another's writing through our own experiences, and when we can make connections with the writer the written word becomes so much more meaningful.  That's why I worked so hard to teach my students, and the teachers I worked with, to be aware of making connections.

I made a lot of connections yesterday. It was an enriching experience.  I am better for having it.

Thank you Linda, DJan, Sally, Deb, Jann, and Sandi. You are wonderful. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Photos taken on my morning walk this sunny October morning.

 And on Tom's Bonsai bench. 

Happy October!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Albers Vista Garden

Last Saturday eight members of our NPA neighborhood group traveled to Bremerton for our private tour of a spectacular garden that its creator describes as an "Oasis in the City". 
Dr. John Albers is a Professor of Medicine and a research director in the fields of metabolism, endocrinology and nutrition at the University of Washington. He and his wife, also a Professor of Medicine at the UW, bought this property about 15 years ago, as a retirement home.  They haven't retired yet, but John Albers has created this oasis as meticulously as he would a research project. Knowing all those medical terms must help him to be able to remember and pronounce those botanical names as they roll effortlessly off his tongue. 

We met John and started our tour in the driveway outside their lovely home. 

Not knowing quite what to expect, I see now that this description from the garden brochure is an apt one.

Upon entering the oasis in the city, you leave the world beyond and see the panorama of botanical delights. After passing through the gate, colorful, cascading ground covers lead you to a valley edged with evergreens, maples, rhododendrons and species from around the world. 
And so that's what we'll do.  Let's take a tour. 

 Moving higher up the east slope, patterns  of colors transform the hillside in time with the seasons. Looking closer at the foreground scenes, you will notice details that will make you smile. Glimpses of resting spots higher on the hill beckon you on, until you reach the top. 


 Turn around and you will see how far you have come. Let your eyes follow the slope down to Phinney Bay, then up to the sky, See the distant mountains of the Olympics.  Breathe.

 And then we are back to the starting point, wishing we could do it all over again.

I will want to return in the spring.  It will be a completely different experience.