Greetings from Seattle



Monday, November 30, 2009

Field Trip

We had a great field trip today. We showed the breakfast club ladies how to ride the light rail into downtown. We got off at Westlake Center and exited into Nordstroms. There we "shopped" for handbags, enjoying the hundreds and even thousands one can spend on a "purse". As we worked our way to the upper floors, we contemplated the fashions as they might look on "mature, full figured" women. Not so good. We crossed over the sky bridge to Pacific Place and explored several levels. I had a chance to do a little serious shopping and crossed several items off of my list. We reached the top level in time for lunch at a brew pub. Tom had beer. We ladies did not. But brew pubs always have good food. Later we retraced out steps and actually went outside to cross the street to Westlake Center. We found some fun shops where we bought stocking stuffers and just enjoyed the merchandise. About 3:00 we were back on the train headed south. It was a fun and relaxing day. I have no photos because I purposely left my camera home. It felt freer to just participate and not record everything. Tomorrow, back to work.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deck the Halls

We had a lovely Thanksgiving Day with my family. And on that day the decorating began. My sister Laurie had wreath makings gathered - greens, frames, bows and glittery things. Each household came away with a start on making the season merry and bright. - Then on Friday while many were out shopping, we got busy here at home. I cleaned off shelves and dusted off beams. Tom took advantage of dry weather to start the process of getting the lights done. He finished this morning and they look so bright and sparkly! - Those shelves I cleared off, the ones that were displaying my pottery collection, now are full of my Santa collection, of which this is just a very small part. This afternoon we worked together on the garlands on the beams. - The kitchen eating area garlands are decked with felt gingerbread men and patchwork ornaments I made many years ago. I haven't had them up for a few years, but this year we're going all out. The decorations in the dining room have a Scandinavian theme, with hearts and straw snowflakes.
We still have a bit more to do, and later in the week we'll put up the tree. That will take hours.
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While this was going on, I have been in communication with my daughter, my son-in-law and my son, through phone calls, secret emails, and texts, going over the wish lists we published just before Thanksgiving. We're claiming dibs, getting advice, checking on sizes, explaining the unclear. I've done quite a bit of shopping on line, and actually did go to one store Friday evening for one purchase.
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But the reason for going all out on the decorations? My grandchildren are coming to me here in Seattle for Christmas this year instead of us going to Colorado. Daughter Jill has informed me that we must put up every decoration we ever used in the years she was living here.
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We're doing it, and gladly, for good reason. Isaac and Irene have never seen them.
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But now we're tired, so we're taking a day off. Tomorrow we're taking a field trip. Some of the breakfast ladies are joining us to ride the new light rail downtown to have lunch at Nordstroms and check out Westlake Center and Pacific Place. While we might make a purchase of two, this is not a serious shopping trip. We're just going to have fun.
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Oh, and I got my fruit cake baked today, too.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

The pies are baked; blackberry, pumpkin and blueberry. Check.
The pumpkin cupcakes are cooling, awaiting a swirl of cream cheese frosting. Check.
The kitchen is cleaned up - again.
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Tomorrow I will be fortunate in sharing Thanksgiving with three of my four siblings, my mother, one of my children, a nephew and his young children, and assorted in-laws. We will go over the river and through the woods. The table will be well laden and we will be thankful for each other while missing those who are not with us.
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Wherever you are,
And with whomever you may be,
I hope you'll have blessings to count
On this Thanksgiving Day.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Check

I'm making progress on my lists.
The corduroy jumper for Irene is done. Check!
The pie dough is made and chilling in the refrigerator for baking day tomorrow. Check!
And I have time left for blogging!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Music

I discovered that radio station Warm 106.9 has started their 'all Christmas music, all of the time' early this year - today! They said we needed it this year to help with the hard times. It seemed early, but I listened as I sewed, and loved it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Holidaze

It's that time of the year again when I have to get busy. I have started making lists: wish lists for my kids, gift idea lists, lists of baking for Thanksgiving and then Christmas, sewing projects for Christmas, and to-do lists to get it all done. Holiday lunches, dinners and gatherings are being scheduled. I'm working on a dress for Granddaughter Irene this week, and then I'll be baking pies and cupcakes for Thanksgiving. We'll be going south about 100 miles to my sister's for our family gathering. By Friday it will be time to clean and put away stuff to make way for decorating the house. I'll also make fruitcake this coming weekend so it can age for Christmas. Postings may be infrequent and brief, but I'll try to keep in touch with all of you. I like to share in your fun too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Award

Last Week I received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Martha of Martha's Musings.
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First, let me say Thank You, Martha.
Martha lives in California and takes us on wonderful hikes in the High Sierras.
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In accepting this award I am asked to list seven things about myself people may not know. Since I have been blogging for a year and a half, you regular readers know pretty much what my life is like now. So I'm sharing some info from my earlier life.
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1. I was the second oldest of seven siblings.
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2. I grew up on a small farm in Oregon's Willamette Valley. My Dad was a logger who later became the high school custodian. When all the kids were well into school my Mom became a cook at the high school. We were poor by today's standards. We raised most of our own food, including milk, eggs, pork, beef, chickens, fruits and vegetables.
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3. From an early age I picked crops for wages during the summers. Right after school was out we were in the strawberry field, then the black caps (black raspberries) , and then beans. If we were lucky we had a week or two off before going back to school.
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4. I was extremely shy as a child and young person. I really didn't find my voice until I was 40.
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5. I was the first person in my father's large, extended family to go to college, and the second in my mother's family. I went away to the big city of Seattle and graduated from Seattle Pacific in 1966 with a BA in English and a teaching certificate in Elementary Ed.
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6. I met my husband Tom at Mt View Elementary School, where he came to teach across the hall from me my second year there. We were married during spring break of my third year, 1969. Our fourth and fifth grade students attended the wedding.
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7. I call my teaching a "Career Interrupted". I taught for six years, 1966-1972, quit to raise our daughter and son, and ten years later went back to work as a classified "aide". I worked my way into a full time position as the Learning Assistance Program provider in our local elementary school. In 1998 I resumed my certified status and became the Reading Specialist and finally the Literacy Coach. I retired in 2005.
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When I look back over my life like this I am always amazed by where I started and how different my life is now. Yes, I worked hard, but I was also fortunate to be a part of a loving, supportive family that set high standards of achievement. That shy little girl is still within me, but what a long way we've come, she and I.
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Since I am not inclined to tag others and pass on awards, I will leave it to you if you would like to take the challenge of revealing something about yourselves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Home Again

We're back home after a quiet weekend at the cabin on Whidbey Island. Stormy weather was in the forecast, but our crossing at midday Friday was calm. Late in the afternoon clouds produced some sky drama. Snow and sleet fell on the mainland, but not on us.
All was peaceful on the lagoon, but to the southeast, the clouds were menacing.
On Saturday we donned our Norwegian sweaters and attended a Nordic Fest at South Whidbey High school.
We watched tippy-assed ducks feeding in the lagoon. Sunday brought gale force winds and surf to Useless Bay.
We left Sunday afternoon before the Seahawks had finished losing their football game. When we collected the mail we found art from Isaac and Irene.
Now our refrigerator is decorated for Thanksgiving. And today I went grocery shopping and "decorated' the inside of it too. It's good to go away, and good to be back. There's nothing like your own bed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In The Garden

Tom and I have spent most of the last three days working in the garden, taking advantage of dry weather to make that final push to get the fall clean up done. This is dirty, heavy work, clipping and weeding and editing, much of it spent crawling on hands and knees on the cold wet ground. My cranky back and arthritic hands do not approve, but my spirit does. And the results are so satisfying. This morning I took time to notice some of the little wonders around me. They make better photo subjects than the gritty, down and dirty stuff. I noticed the color of the Korean dogwood reflected in the bird bath. The wisteria and magnolia created a golden bower. Purple beauty berry against golden magnolia.
After all the dirty work, the last thing I did was rake up leaves. All those pretty red maple leaves are falling. I hate to see them go.
A stone marking the entrance to the Secret Garden.
As I finished up this rose stuck it's head out and nodded at me.
The leaves are raked off the grass and into the planting beds. Those red leaves do make a colorful mulch. The leaves will protect the soil from the pounding winter rains, decay to feed the soil, and be worked by worms which will aerate it.
All neat and tidy again, and time to sit and take a breather.
There will be more to do. Leaves will have to be raked again, and the lawn mowed at least one more time.
Some beds don't have home grown leaves with which to be mulched, like this rose bed.
For that purpose a load of leaves was delivered yesterday. Tom contacts a yard service company, which is more than happy to dump a load free in our driveway.
So, yes, there is more work to do, but the big jobs are done. Tomorrow the rain returns. The clouds are moving in now after a beautiful sunny day.
We'll be off to Whidbey Island for a couple of days to rest up.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

American Cemetery, Normandy, France Another Veterans Day. The wars continue. I honor the Veterans who have served and are serving in our nation's armed forces. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. Thank you to your families, who have loosed the bonds of love and let you go to serve. I mourn the loss and suffering that are caused by war, violence, terrorism and hatred. I honor the soldier. I hate the war.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Health Care Debate

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United states of America. -Preamble, US Constitution I have been struggling with some of the debate I hear on the issue of health care reform. I am especially concerned with the voice I hear coming from those who tend toward Libertarianism. I take the preamble as a reminder that in order to have personal liberty we must also have general welfare, the societal conditions under which each individual has the opportunity to shape his own life. The founders felt that there was a need for a strong national government in order to promote the common good. We have a health care system based on the capitalistic system, not the socialistic system. That makes it more difficult to promote the common good over the making of a profit. So be it. But in order to secure the blessing of liberty for all, there must be government regulations to keep the profit motive in check. Our current health care reform move is more about insurance than medical treatment, coverage rather than care. Medical care is expensive, so we collectively attempt to reduce the risk of high cost by buying insurance. Some say "Why should I be forced to buy insurance? I lead a healthy life. Why should I have to pay higher taxes so that moochers, lazy fat people, illegal aliens can reap the benefits of those who are honest worker/tax payers?" I find an analogy in the fact that we pay taxes to fire districts for fire protection. Maybe you don't smoke or light candles and have smoke detectors. You don't think you should have to pay the tax. But your neighbor's house could still catch fire, and when the fire truck pulls up, they'll have to say "Sorry, you didn't pay for our protection. We can't put any water on your house." A nation is a society in which the condition of the few affects the many. A nation has an aspect of collectivity. The biggest block to health care reform is coming from people who are happy with their situation and are taking care of themselves. They don't want anything that can't guarantee that their premiums will go down. But satisfied as they are, they are still vulnerable, at the mercy of insurance companies. There is no guarantee that rates will go down. But left to their own devices, unregulated profit motivated, rates have steadily gone up. What we get from health reform is reliability, predictability, protection from being financially wiped out. And if we can also promote the common good by covering people less fortunate without raising our costs, why wouldn't we be happy to do it?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Days to Remember

Today in New York City a parade celebrated the Yankees 27th winning of the World Series. Today in Seattle a miles and hours long procession honored and mourned a police officer shot while sitting in his police car Halloween night. The shooter is unknown. Today in Orlando, Florida, a man laid off two years ago and out of work returned to his former place of employment and opened fire, killing one and injuring many. Today the community of Fort Hood, Texas is in shock and mourning after an Islamic soldier apparently fearing deployment to Iraq opened fire on fellow soldiers he was trained to help. Hate talk is radiating from right wing media. Twenty years ago the Berlin wall fell, allowing freedom to defeat tyranny. It would be flip to say we win some, lose some. But obviously we still have much to overcome.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Halloween Sky

As the sun was setting in the west, the almost full moon was rising in the east, as seen from the front porch of the Gibson house in Fort Morgan, Colorado.
The next morning I caught the sunrise out over the prairie, again from the front porch.
For more sky pics go to Skyley.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday

My driveway has been full of trucks all day, and the garage full of stuff. This is installation day for the new furnace and heat pump. Yesterday we moved stuff and cleaned in deep, dark corners of the garage. In order to make access for wiring, we had to clear some of the attic. We have a lot of stuff from the attic sitting in the middle of the garage. Some of it will go back. After sorting, some of it will disappear. We have already taken a load to Goodwill, and another to the dump. I spent a long time at the grocery store this morning, restocking the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Then I got outside and did some clean up. You can actually see the patio now that I've removed a thick layer of cedar droppings. After some raking, Tom is getting the lawn mowed. We still have some lovely color in some of the trees. We've enjoyed a dry, sunny day. But that will change tomorrow, as the rain returns. Good. I need a rest! Oh, the furnace vent over my head just came on. We may be nearing the completion of the big project!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Back Home Again

We got back home to Seattle and in the house at midnight last night. It took some doing to unwind from a busy day and a busy week. To answer some questions I didn't have time to deal with earlier. 1. The witch heads were made out of marshmallows. 2. No, I didn't make all of the costumes. I ordered Isaac's Pilot costume on line, and yes, he did get a lot of comments about lap tops. Tom's costume was a real prison suit courtesy of Officer Corey. The cape and hat were purchased, something Jill had there. Irene's Cinderella costume was a birthday present last April, is store bought, and was well worn. I did use the sewing machine I bought Jill last Christmas to mend it. I made her cape, and it was a big hit. I did make my cape, for Halloween last year. It's still fun to wear. I bought the hat at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, of all places, last year. 3. No, there will be no time for sitting with my feet up today. I have to do laundry, pay bills, shop for groceries, and help Tom move lots of stuff inside and out side and in the attic of the garage. Tomorrow is installation day for the new heating/cooling system! Gotta go. I do promise to get back to reading and commenting on your doings soon - maybe Thursday when it's raining again?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fun

There was still snow lingering Friday when we did Fort Morgan Main Street Trick-or-Treating. We put extra layers under our costumes and joined the throngs in a fun town costume parade.
Saturday, finally the real Halloween, we decided to make up for cancelled activities by going into Denver for "Boo At The Zoo". We were soon shedding our extra layers as the sun warmed us.
It was so much fun seeing all of the other costumes that we almost forgot to look at the animals. And of course there was more candy! Tom and I didn't really collect candy. We were some-time bag holders. But I got hungry and scored some peanut M&M's.
Corey was there too, but not in costume, so he took the groups shots.
Then back home, after a quick but nutritious dinner, thanks to Jill, who wasn't as wasted as the rest of us, we got our costumes back on for neighborhood tricks or treats.
I stayed home and hung out on the front porch to greet the trick-or-treaters who came by. Corey kept me company, and the neighbor cat adopted us for the evening.
When the kids returned it was time to examine and sort the goodies. Kinda' looks like a stomach ache to me.
It has been an excellent Halloween Pageant. Today we all went out to breakfast, went for walks in the sun with the kids, and watched football. Both of our teams lost, but it doesn't seem to matter much.
Monday evening we will be returning to Seattle, tired but happy for the time we've had together.