Greetings from Seattle



Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Morning

Soon I'll go out and collect the newspaper and have breakfast while I scan most of it. It's dry, 45 degrees, with clearing skies forecast for later in the day.
I want to put in a little time on my sewing projects, go for a walk, and watch the USA/Canada Gold Medal Hockey match, on here at noon. We went to a container gardening class yesterday at a nursery, and we bought plants. It's time to rework my patio pots. We also need to get back up to Whidbey to work on weed control when we have a dry day, which looks like tomorrow. The prediction is for sunny and 60.
We can't do it all. I'll have to pace myself.
It's the last day of the Olympics! Hurray! I've enjoyed watching much of the competition, but I"m ready to take my life back. And I have a bunch of shows that I recorded during the games that I need to catch up on.
Tomorrow we welcome another new month, the month when Spring officially begins. For those of you still buried under ice and snow, hang on, it's coming.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Rainbow Dress

The Rainbow/Easter/Birthday dress for Irene is finally finished! I'm happy with how it turned out, and I think Irene will love it. I just hope it fits! It's hard to do these things long distance. As you can probably tell, I don't spend hours a day on a project until it's done. There are so many other things to do. Now I'll get started on Isaac's vest, and a few other little surprise projects that involve learning new tricks on my serger and maybe doing some more embroidery. This morning, after Friday morning breakfast with our teacher friends, I drove downtown to see a cardiologist. This was on a referral to discuss the results of the earlier echocardiogram. The confirmed news is that I do have moderate stenosis (narrowing) of the aortic valve. The good news is that there are no other issues. My heart is in good shape. The uncertain news is that it isn't known if the condition is progressive, and if so, how fast. In fact, my after-visit summary says, "At this point there are no indications this is causing any problems and is not likely to for some years. You have no restrictions or need to do anything differently." So the result is that I just go on about my life, trying to live healthfully, and have a repeat test in two years. While the doctor did say that at a normal rate of progression, we could be looking at a valve replacement in eight to ten years, I told him that I didn't intend to even think about it until the next test in two years. Then we'll know if it's progressive. Until then I plan to continue to be my usual abnormal self. And one again, I'm thankful for good insurance and the care I'm getting through Group Health Cooperative. No bills, no paperwork, not even a copay!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Projects

I've got to get back to finishing Irene's dress. I just have handwork to do, so I'll work on it while I'm watching Olympic hockey this afternoon. And yes, there will be pictures. Isaac decided he wanted me to make something for him, too, and suggested "a vest for dress up occasions" as he put it in an email. But he made it clear he doesn't want a dress. When Irene had her measurements taken, he had his done, too. So this morning Tom and I went shopping. I was surprised Tom wanted to come along, but I guess, like Isaac, he doesn't want to be left out. We bought a pattern, and fabric for the vest, plus a hat and sweater that I plan to embellish for Irene's outfit. Besides Easter, we will be going to high tea at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver for Irene's birthday in April. So we'll all be having a "dressy occasion". I should make something for myself, but that just doesn't sound like much fun.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spring is Busting Out all Over Winter

Today the clouds have returned and rain is starting to fall, but what a week of spring we've had. Yesterday I picked material for this arrangement, to bring the sunny yellow indoors, as the clouds darken the days. Rabbit and Bird have their own golden bonsai of forsythia. The little Tete-a-tete daffodils popped out last week. Forsythia and native Indian plum in the side yard.
And a bit of borrowed pink from the neighbors flowering plums. I sure do miss out pink cherry trees on the driveway, but they were diseased and had to be removed last year.
Last Saturday we had dinner at sister-in-law Jan's house near Gig Harbor. The low sun cast a special kind of light on the plum tree near the deck, as the blue of sky and water provided just the right background.
If you're watching the Olympics, you'll see the same weather change we're experiencing. I hope the rain stays light and doesn't dampen the Olympic spirit.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Right to Arm Bears, and Other Stuff

I just love Rachel Maddow (MSNBC). I just learned from her that the new credit card protection bill takes affect today. You now have more protections from ruthless credit card companies. That's good, but it does still require you to be informed, you know, like actually reading your bill. But attached to that bill, signed last spring, was an amendment allowing visitors to our national parks to carry loaded firearms within park boundaries. Do park rangers get to be armed? I don't know, but I'm thinking we could literally have another shoot out at the OK Corral. Amazing. What a country! I have been missing Rachel during the Olympics, since we usually record her show to watch later, and instead watch the local and national NBC news. But I'm feeling much less informed, what with the lack of depth on those news shows. So today we just had dinner with Rachel, and watched her live. Am I allowed to say I'm growing a bit weary of the Olympics? Oh, I like most of the competition, but it's so hard to stay awake through all of the commercials and chats and a bit of this and a bit of that, all of which is really over anyway here on the left coast. Grrr. We've had a week of remarkably sunny, mild weather. I have been out for an exercise walk almost every day. Back in the house, I'm getting my physical therapy exercises done, I'm almost finished with Irene's Easter/birthday dress, and I'm halfway through Dan Brown's latest thriller. I manage to squeeze in some blogging time most days. The magazines are piling up unread. There aren't enough hours in the day!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Olympics Update - Cell Phone Version

Occasional updates are coming in from Jake's cell phone in Vancouver. He posts on Facebook, and I download the photos from there. I have to say that I think this technology is all amazing. I love it. I know it works, and I don't care how it does it. When I try to tell my mother about it, she glazes over and just says "I don't understand". Keeping up with technology is hard, but keeping up through technology is beautifully easy! Back to Vancouver, as seen through Jake's eyes. He has declared Mascot MukMuk his new god for this week. He is a cute little marmot. Jake has established a shrine, I guess in their rented house, where this tiki apparently lives. He is decked out with MukMuk, the Norwegian hat I recognize as the one we bought in Norway, a Swedish hockey scarf, and of course our own flag. Jake's maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both half Swede, half Norwegian, so we have loyalties. The Flame from the new viewing platform. The waterfront near the broadcast center and the flame - blue on blue. Our whole Pacific Northwest region is experiencing wonderful weather, with the bluest skies you've ever seen. Well, at least that's how the song goes.
They are also experiencing lines, but as Jake says, at least they are OLYMPIC lines.
Jake is hanging with his cousin Andy and Andy's wife Jody and their two little boys, Oliver, 6, and Lars, 3. Here Lars is getting into the spirit.
Can you imagine this experience through the eyes of a six-year-old?
Women's hockey on Thursday - the USA vs Finland.
Friday, men's hockey - the Swedes vs Belarus.
Jake's wearing his Swedish soccer jersey, another item we brought back from the motherland, adorned by his newly purchased scarf. And I'm sure that's a beer.
Andy and family watching the action.
And then, as I sat down to blog, these photos came in to my email, via a cell phone on the slopes of Green Acres Elementary School in Fort Morgan, Colorado, where a couple of young sliders are practicing their skills while breaking in the new snow pants I bought them for Christmas.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Look Mom, I'm At The Olympics!

Son Jake is in Vancouver! About now he is attending a women's hockey match between the USA and Finland, a match that I have on TV and that the US has well in hand.
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My nephew Andy couldn't let this opportunity of having the Olympics next door slip by, so he got into the ticket lottery system some time ago. Over the past months arrangements were made, a five bedroom house was booked, and now my sister, her husband, their three kids, spouses, and seven grandchildren, plus Jake, are having an Olympic experience. They drove north yesterday, got settled and were ready to hit the town.
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Besides hockey, I think the girls have tickets to women's figure skating practice. I'll hear all about it when they stop by on their way home Sunday evening. In the meantime, I'm keeping up via Facebook and Jake's postings. Smart phones are so amazing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whidbey ...And The Eagle Is Watching

One of the joys of being on Whidbey Island is watching the birds. Out on Useless Bay rafts of Brants were floating and eating as they visited. This merganser was one of a few doing their own thing. And from a flag pole, the eagle was watching.
Meanwhile, across the street and out in the lagoon there is always some kind of bird action.
This time of the year rafts of Northern Shovelers dabble and dip and scoop with their over sized bills.
Male and female - synchronized swimmers.
My favorite, the Kingfisher, watches while keeping an eye out for a catch.
This Great Blue Heron has just made a catch, one of many he'll make each day.
And perched on a log, an eagle watches
as a Green Winged Teal dabbles in the rich lagoon mud, eating not so fresh food.
Sandpipers also work the mud, then suddenly take of in an amazing flash of synchronized flying.
A favorite pastime of the human visitors is taking a stroll down the road, and even here, perched high in a tree right overhead, the eagle is watching.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back Home Again - Jobs Done

We had a good and productive stay at the Whidbey cabin, arriving Friday afternoon and returning home Monday evening.
The weather was unsettled, but not stormy or cold. The rainbow over the lagoon was accurate in predicting that yes, it's raining now, but it won't be for long.
We enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, loved the technology, but didn't love that even though we know the event began at 6:00 locally, just north of us, we had to wait until 9:00 to view it on TV. Yes, everything is delayed here to match east coast timing. We hate it. Oh, and I could have done without the opera diva too.
We cheered as our local boys made good as Apollo Ohno and JR Celski prevailed in their short track speed skating against the Korean team.
But we had work to do, too. We still had some old fir paneling that we had salvaged from the old cabin that was demolished five years ago. We had been storing it at home, and it was in the way when we had our new furnace installed, so it was time to get it used up.
Tom had tools everywhere downstairs.
He got to use his fancy new compressor and nailer.
He had milled and sanded and oiled the boards at home.
He set up his table saw at the next door family cabin, under cover.
The electrical panel cover was removed and painted to blend.
All was going well, so about this time I went out to work on the garden.
Almost done! But then there was a snag. that panel cover now needed longer screws. We went all over South Whidbey looking for the right screw, and finally returned to the local hardware store where it just happened that an electrical contractor was shopping. We consulted him and were able to find what we needed to make do, just as contractors to in this situation.
Tom got out his cordless drill and finished the job.
He even helped me with the last hour of weeding. I got everything cleaned up and trimmed and now the garden is ready to burst forth! This view is from our deck.
Last January fire destroyed the cabins across the street. Now new structures have risen from the ashes. They do block our view with their additional stories, but we'll live with it. We still have the best parts of our view.
We can still see out to Double Bluff, and of course, our lagoon.
This view is from the dike showing the back of the cabins across the lagoon.
Today we're catching up at home: cleaning house, laundry, groceries, and of course, blogging. I'll be checking in soon.