Greetings from Seattle



Monday, August 30, 2010

Pesto

The forecast is for rain tomorrow and Wednesday, so today was the day to harvest the basil crop and make pesto.
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It took a while for our basil to take off this year, but it did like the two hot spells we got and took off, producing a very good crop. Tom brought in a very big basket full.
He picked off the leaves while I assembled the other ingredients: walnuts (instead of pine nuts), Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Yes, we leave out the garlic. Sorry, all you garlic loving purists.
I stuff the food processor as full as I can with the basil, chop it up, add about a half cup of walnuts, chop, then 3/4 cup Parmesan, blend, then drizzle in the olive oil to make this slurry.
I reuse the cheese containers to store the finished pesto in the freezer.
Pesto is great on angel hair pasta with some stir fried chicken and zucchini.
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I love basil with garden tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and olive oil, but unfortunately, we will be lucky to get any ripe tomatoes this year.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What's New?

Nothing much. There is a reason they call these the dog days of summer. We spent some time working in the yard this morning. But my garden is beginning to look tired, just like I feel. This is not the time of year when I am inspired to work very hard. I did find some fresh spots in the yard, and used one for my new header. You can always count on impatiens to keep on performing here throughout the late summer and into fall. Tom did install a new shower door in our master bathroom this week. After 32 years of service, the sliders on the old one were corroded and threatening to derail. We ordered a new one through Home Depot, and Tom got the old one out and the new one in without much trouble. He's good about reading the directions. It looks good and works great.
After a couple of days, he's almost recovered from the hurting from the bending and stooping.
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It's back to school time for many of my friends and family. After five years of retirement, I don't miss it at all, and am overjoyed that my summer can continue into September.
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And now I'm returning to my murder mystery book until it is time to gear up for a Sounders match at Qwest Field tonight.
Sounders 2, Chicago 1

Friday, August 27, 2010

The BECKoning!

Are you ready? Tomorrow is the day! Glenn Beck will lead a non-political rally at the Lincoln Memorial to restore honor to our nation. What a guy. Here's a suggestion. Ignore Glenn, the fear and hate monger. It only seems like the honorable thing to do.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Persistent Problems

My heel still hurts. I have done everything the home health book says to do for plantar faciitis for the last two weeks, but it hasn't helped. So I did the next thing the book said. I called the doctor. The allergies I have developed over the last few years seem to want to persist into the summer now. The sneezing and coughing and runny nose and burning eyes have subsided, but the sinus burning and low grade headaches are ever present. So I called the doctor. I had an appointment this morning for both issues. Yep, I'm doing the right things for my heal. I need to continue. Give it seven weeks or so to clear up. SEVEN WEEKS! I want to get back out to do my aerobic walking now! I did get a referral to a podiatrist. We'll see what comes of that. As for the sinus condition, I got a nasal spray and an antihistamine. I'm hoping they work. I'm supposed to give that a week before I should notice any improvement. Another week! I want the fix NOW! I don't know about you, but I don't run to the doc for any little thing, so when I do go I have already been dealing with stuff for quite a while. Then I want quick fixes. But that is not to be. I guess I'll have to learn patience. As I age there will just be more persistent problems. We're off to a Sounders match at Quest Field this evening. My little problems will not keep me from my beloved sports teams!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back Home Again

Can you hear John Denver singing? In my head I'm hearing "Gee, it's good to be back home again." But we had a good weekend with my mother in Oregon. We arrived about 5:00 Friday evening, after a long drive with heavy traffic. Mom was waiting for us, so I could open a can for her, so she could get dinner started. That turned out to be a pretty interesting affair, with the casserole not getting done, which delayed everything, which gave us plenty of time to put out the grease fire that started when I turned on a burner to cook the vegetable. But we all survived, the meal worked out, and a friend of Mom's stopped by, and since we were having a late dinner and she hadn't eaten, we fed her too. Afterwards, we laughed about it all. What else can you do? Last time we were there she flooded the kitchen when the sink ran over. She wasn't sure if we should come more often, or maybe less often, since disasters seem to strike when we are there. Of course I could start to really worry about all the potential hazards she faces daily, since her hearing, eyesight, sense of touch and mobility are so impaired. But that would drive us all crazy. She's not about to let us put her in assisted living yet. So we laugh and TRY not to worry. On Saturday we took her for a very short walk down the street a block to show her a new coffee shop that had just been built where before there was a junky old "antique" shop. Just simple things like having someone do that with her make her so happy. Although she raised seven children, five still living, none of us lives closer than two hours away. Thank goodness she has many friends, a sister, and a senior center all near by. Saturday afternoon we took her to the Mohr/Hofstetter Family picnic. My sister Ilene and her husband were there too. Mom was so pleased to have some of her family with her. With her hearing so bad, it's hard for her to know what's going on in a large group, but many of her cousins and her brother and sister made a point of having one on one conversations with her. She was well taken care of. Everyone loves my mother Violet. Here she is with her cousin Julius. I had a good time visiting with my cousin Susan and my Aunts and Uncle. I didn't take many pictures, but Ilene has more on her blog. We shared family history stories and photos. Talking about the "old days" makes me glad I was born in the era of modern conveniences. I don't think I would have been sturdy enough stock to make it back then. Not that my early days were that easy. Even I didn't live in a house with indoor plumbing until I was about six. Now that I'm back home, in my quiet, peaceful, convenient house, I am catching up with everybody else via Facebook, email and blogs. What a life.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stuff and Things, Eggs-cetra

My house smells of chocolate. I just took a big pan of homemade brownies out of the oven. They are cooling on the counter and the oven door is open to add some heat to the house. After our heat wave, the sky is gray and the air is cool, not quite up to 58 degrees at almost noon. Frankly, I'm loving it! The brownies are for a family reunion picnic we will be traveling to tomorrow. The picnic is on Saturday in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where I grew up. We will be staying with my mom and taking her to the picnic, where she will visit with cousins she sees maybe once a year. I will have a chance to see Mom's sister and brother, my Aunt and Uncle, who I seldom see any more. There might be a first cousin of two of mine there too, and several once or twice removed. Before I made the brownies I called the local Safeway to see if my eggs were safe. I had the carton but I couldn't read the code. Whoever I spoke to assured me that our local store was not on the list. I knew I had to check, because later today I am going to boil up a bunch of these eggs, which will be made into a potato salad tomorrow, before we leave. I had to be able to assure anyone who asked me that the eggs were safe, and besides, the last thing I would want to do is give a bunch of old folks salmonella poisoning! Because we will be gone for a couple of days, we're taking care of a few domestic chores. Tom is out mowing the lawn, earlier than planned because it sort of looks like it might rain. I'm doing some laundry. Well, the washer and dryer are doing the laundry. We do have it so easy these days. And then I even resent having to fold the clean clothes! We've been enjoying a slow pace around here. Yesterday Tom wondered if he should worry that he was spending three days doing what he usually does in one. I assured him that, no, it was just fine. We've both been doing a lot of reading, when we can keep our eyes open. He gives in and takes an afternoon nap. I fight it because I would really like to sleep at NIGHT please. It's better now that the nights are cool again. This evening we will watch on TV as the Sounders play a soccer match in Honduras, as part of the first round of an international tournament for club teams, sort of like the World Cup for national teams. Next week they'll play in Seattle and we'll go see it live. Then tomorrow morning we'll go to our usual Friday morning breakfast club before packing up and heading south down I-5. I'll be sure to take my mother a bouquet of sweet peas from the garden. She loves them so, and I score so many "good daughter" points. See you later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back on the Summit

It has been a while since our son Jake has stood on top of a volcanic peak in the Cascade Mountains, but this is, in fact, his third time on the summit of Mt. Adams in Central Washington. It was eleven years ago this month Jake and his sister Jill summited Mt Rainier, after taking extensive training with The Mountaineers. It had been a dream goal of Jill's for a long time and having the two of them achieve it together was very special. They climbed several more peaks together, including a very cloudy and windy summit of Mt Adams, before Jill relocated to Colorado. Summit of Mt Rainier, August 1999. Jake went on to climb more mountains, but lately he has taken less involved hikes in his beloved mountains. Then this summer friends of his asked him to lead them on a climb up Mt Adams. So he started training when he could on weekends to be in shape. Last Friday, August 13th, he loaded up Gus The Bus. Gus has been handed down through family members for quite a while now and still likes to go on adventures with his current owner. Then he collected Greg and Laurie. Laurie was a classmate of Jake's in middle school through high school as well as being the daughter of a friend and brief teacher colleague of mine. Greg was a college and post college roommate of Jake's. Needless to say Jake was the catalyst in bringing this couple together. Laurie was not known as the athletic type until she attended Boot Camp for Brides prior to her wedding four years ago. Now there's no stopping her. She has climbed Mt Rainier, has run a marathon and is training for another, and she and Greg just returned from hiking to Machu Picchu in the Andes. For Greg this was a first time experience at mountain climbing. On Friday they set up camp at Taklakh Lake, at the foot of Mt Adams. They prepared for the climb with views of the mountain and some relaxing beverages. Saturday morning they drove Gus to the trail head, and loaded up with their packs for spending a night on the mountain, they set off up the trail.
Resting along the way.
The trail head is at 5600 feet elevation. It took them four hours to hike to Lunchcounter, at about 9000 feet, the overnight base camp.
It was still warm at this elevation.
They enjoyed the sunset on the mountain, and then prepared for a sunrise start to the summit.
They took a break at Piker's Point, the false summit, at 11,300 feet.
Ta-dah! Laurie and Greg at the summit.
And then Jake stands atop Mt Adams for his third time.
His altimeter watch shows 12,260 feet just below the summit, and the time is 9:49 AM.
The weather was so mild and the view so spectacular that they stayed on the mountain top for about half an hour.
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Then they descended. This way.
For 2000 feet they glissaded down the mountain through this glissade trough. To glissade is to slide on your butt, ice ax at the ready to make any necessary course corrections. Laurie said it was the best part!
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It took them the rest of the day to get back to the trail head and drive Gus out of the mountains and back to Seattle. Success all around!
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I want to thank Laurie for the photos which she took and so kindly allowed me to use. I don't usually have a trip of Jake's so well documented. And thanks to facebook, I even got some updates along the way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Seattle Heat Wave

When you see photos of my green, lush summer garden here in Seattle, I can assure you that is possible first because we have installed a watering system and we use it, and secondly, because while we have several months of summer draught, it isn't usually very hot here. So when we do get several days in a row of truly hot weather, over 90 degrees, we consider it a heat wave. Some of us love it and some of us don't. I'm one of those who doesn't. Saturday and Sunday the temperature rose to 95. Last November we had a new furnace and heat pump installed, which means we have central air conditioning. But we have a two story house with the living spaces down stairs and the bedrooms and office up stairs. The thermostat is in the cool downstairs, and set at about 74-75, has kept us very comfortable while we're up and awake. But at night, with the upstairs 10 degrees warmer, we still have to open windows after the sun goes down and rely on box fans in the windows to cool us for sleeping. I haven't been sleeping all that well. Today the high is 89-90. Today we decided was a good day to steam clean the living room carpet, the stairs and up stairs hallway. Tom did that this morning along with steam cleaning our recliners, which are now outside on the patio drying. We did not close up the house and turn on the air conditioning today so we could take advantage of the heat to dry the carpets. The house is warming up. I was fine most of the day, but now I'm HOT! And it's time to do my exercises, but it's too hot. I'm a wimp about heat, I know. Tomorrow will be cooler and then apparently we will get a sudden drop in temperature on Wednesday, so that by Friday the high may only be in the upper 60's. One extreme to the other. But at least I won't be hot.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ready For Some Football/Futbol!

The Seattle Seahawks kick off their season with a home preseason home game at Qwest Field against the Tennessee Titans at 7:00, carried by NBC affiliate KING 5 TV. Currently 93 here at 3:30, it will be just under 90 at game time.
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Entering the final third of their season, with 10 matches to go, the Seattle Sounders Soccer (Futbol) Club kicks off at 8:00 in an away match with Chivas USA near Long Beach, CA. The match will be carried by KONG 6 TV. At game time the temp will be about 65.
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I'm ready. I'll be in my recliner in front of the TV in my air conditioned house, set at 75. I'll follow the Seahawks for the first hour, and then pick up the Sounders to watch that match in its entirety. Fortunately the blue and green work for both teams. I may have to change shirts.
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It would be a dilemma as to which to watch except that the soccer game counts and the football game doesn't.
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Are you ready for some football?

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Won!!!

From DJan's blog I learned about Joan's monthly photo contest. I have entered twice so far. And my photo for the month of July is the WINNER! Follow the link, and then the link on Joan's blog to see them all. The Retirement Chronicles: We have a WINNER!!! (of the July's Free Photo Cont...: "The judges have spoken!!! Once again, it was an almost impossible task to choose just ONE winner. For those of you that need a reminder of a..." (I just remembered, it's Friday the 13th. Not unlucky for me!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reclaiming My Lifestyle

It was foggy this morning, perfect for getting outside to tackle the neglected garden. I love having my family visit, but when they are gone I also like to get my life back to normal. With the house work done it was time to move outside. We worked for four solid hours this morning, dead heading roses and perennials, edging the lawn, weeding and grooming. It's not all done, but we got most of it caught up. Then before going in for a late lunch, I picked fresh flowers for the house.
I love the luxuriant bouquets I can make with my dahlias.
The sweet peas took their time coming, but now a bouquet on the kitchen table brightens the area and perfumes the house.
A single lily along with the dahlias in the bathroom adds a lovely fragrance.
The lilies are blooming, so I should have a supply of single blossoms to pick plus a display in the garden.
The roses are sparse now that the first blush is over. By deadheading I hope to get repeat blooming.
The edges are trim again.
A clematis is adding color to the butterfly bush as its flowers fade. I do wish those beautiful, fragrant blooms lasted longer. So do the bees and butterflies.
Hardy fuchsias are blooming, shown here with Chinese astilbe.
And it's hydrangea time!
The heavy heads of Annabelle didn't like the rain, but they're springing back up.
Tom's petunia basket in the front window is doing well.
The orange and hot pink impatiens along the patio brighten the shade most of the day, getting sun only on late afternoon.
Today I went through my photos from June and the last two weeks and ordered prints of some online from Costco. I'll pick them up tomorrow. I have a retired teacher lunch next week, and I need my "bring and brag" photos.
I also ordered more mysteries from Amazon yesterday. They were shipped today. In the meantime I'm catching up on back issues of Time and Newsweek. I'm wearing my new walking shoes, which are really Nike running shoes, in the house to break them in. I'll switch to then for aerobic walking when I can get back to that. I have also re-established my exercise routine, those I learned through physical therapy. They include calf stretching which should help my heal pain. And I'm icing four or more times a day. Hopefully that, and time, will help.
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And I'm eating the ice cream, one sundae at a time. Tom is helping.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Pain Follows Pleasure

I had a great time with my kids and grand kids while they were here. We played games, went places, saw things, spent time together. I have had to restrict my activities with them more than ever before. It pains me that I can no longer chase them or lift them or play soccer with them. Isaac asks, "Why can't you run, Grandma?" A seven year old doesn't understand aging or arthritis. One pleasure I did not completely fore go was walking barefoot on the beach. How can you play in the creek or wade in the surf or dabble in tide pools with shoes on? And these are not firm and even surfaces. So now I am paying. I have all kinds of foot problems, so many I will not bother to go into them, but one I always battle and try to keep at bay is plantar fasciitis. To keep it under control I never go barefoot and always wear supportive shoes with arch supports. So of course, as a result of playing on the beach, I now have severe heel pain in my right foot. I got out my Group Health Healthwise Handbook to see what homecare I should be employing now that the kids are gone. I should reduce all weight-bearing activities to a pain-free level. That means not walking on it. Hmmm. Not possible when I'm cleaning house, repairing the garden and shopping for groceries. I can apply an ice pack to my heel when I'm sitting. I'm doing that and it feels good. I have ordered a new set of arch supports, since my current ones are several years old. I suppose it's time to break in a new pair of walking shoes, since the book recommends replacing athletic shoes every few months because the padding wears out. I do have a new pair in the closet. I am already taking naproxen every day. I guess I should get back to my stretching exercises, especially stretching calf muscles. The book recommends that you do not return to "high-impact activity" until you have been pain free for one week. Am I ever "pain free"? I would assume that means aerobic walking. Of course the best thing is to carry less weight around. Now that all of the company is gone, I was really going to work on that, and start building up those daily steps again along with watching my food intake. Now I can't do the walking. And I still have ice cream in the house. And the weather is turning hot again. What a pain.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Week II-Part 2: Fun In Seattle

After our week on the Oregon Coast and our three days on Whidbey Island, it was time to stay home and participate in the fun of Seafair in Seattle. So Friday morning found us heading out early for a spot on the shore of Lake Washington, where we would set up "camp" for a day of hydroplane time trials and air show practice. Saturday and Sunday the real races take place and there is an entry fee, but Friday is free and still there is plenty of action. We arrived before the crowds and had time to check out the vintage hydros.
LEGO had a big hands on display this year. We checked it out while they were setting up, and came back later to look, play, and build. Floaters, boaters and fliers abound on the lake.
Mini-hydro action takes place on the beach.
An air show takes place over the lake when the boats are out of the water. Oracle is an amazing stunt plane.
We went back to the display booths, and Irene did a little flying of her own,
while Isaac went with his mom and dad on a pit tour to get up close to the boats and drivers.
Later there was autograph signing by the boat drivers. Irene thought Hydro Lites driver Kayleigh Perkins was "beautiful in her driver suit".
There was time to just sit around, play, read, watch.
The rooster tail of the fastest boat on the water.
Action in the pits - a hydro is being lowered into the water.
By 1:00 the shore was filling up in anticipation of a performance by the Navy Blue Angels.
Mini-air shows were happening too.
And there they are, flying low over the pits.
I caught this osprey, which was fishing over the lake, taking off from a temporary perch. Just part of the show.
Seafair veterans like we are just love the roar of these powerful jets.
We headed home after the airshow, in mid-afternoon. Jill went out with an old high school friend and the rest of us had a simple meal with grilled brats and hot dogs.
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Saturday was rainy. The kids played indoors, I went once again to the grocery store, and and we all enjoyed an indoor picnic of spare ribs. Jake joined us, and stayed overnight for an early start the next morning, and Tom's sister Jan came too.
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Sunday Jill, Corey and Jake left very early, in drizzle, for the lake, to get "their spot" on the shore for race day.
They hammed it up a bit for Corey's pics.
The drizzle let up and it was a pleasant day.
Meanwhile Tom and I and the kids watched on TV from the comfort of home. We kept track of the races, played, read and rested up, because in the evening we were all heading for Qwest Field and a Seattle Sounders match. -
Jill, Corey and Jake went directly from the races. We caught the light rail about 6:00.
We all met up in Occidental Park for the March to the Match.
Irene finds Jake.
At the stadium we stopped to listen to the band, Sound Wave, play.
We were kind of spread out, what with Jake's old seats in the north end, Tom and my tickets and the extra tickets I bought also in various sections of the north end
and Jill joining Jake in the raucous Emerald City Supporter section in the south end. Jill rejoined us for the second half. Scarves Up!
We all had fun, although keeping Irene occupied can be a handful. Her dad and then her mom got the duty this time so I actually got the watch the match. And a great match it was, too, with a win over Huston 2-0.
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Monday we began to wind down. There was laundry to do, a few errands to run, and a tea party lunch to prepare and enjoy. Then we began the packing up and putting away. That done, Jake joined us and we all went out to dinner at Azteca.
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Jill, Corey and the kids were up at 4:00 this morning in order to make their 6:15 flight back to Denver and finally home to Fort Morgan. Tom drove them to the airport, and I got up to see them off. Then, of course, we couldn't get back to sleep.
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They are now back home. Corey reports that everything made it fine except Irene's suitcase, which went to Florida. Jill reports that she is happy to be back in 90 degree sunshine.
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Tom and I are tackling the job of reclaiming the house. The sheets and towels are almost done. The bathrooms are cleaned. We'll get to dusting and vacuuming tomorrow, along with another run to the grocery store. Tom is getting the lawn mowed and we have some repairs to make in our neglected garden. We will take it somewhat slowly, as we have an unscheduled week ahead of us and have plenty of time.
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And the work helps to overcome the sense of loss at suddenly having an empty house.