Greetings from Seattle

Monday, September 24, 2018


Now that it is officially fall, I can decorate.

My sister Laurie made  a handkerchief wreath for me and gave it to me in August at our family picnic. I had never seen one like it before. With it's autumnal colors, I decided to wait to hang it by the front door. 

This is the back side.
We talked about maybe embellishing it with some sunflowers or whatever.

So I did. I bought a couple of bunches of artificial flowers and leaves at JoAnn's, cut them up, and stuck them in the wreath. 
 Today I hung it by the front door. 
 Those geraniums will fade and disappear before the frost, but my pretty wreath won't. 
Thank you, Laurie!

Oh, and here are the real items, plucked from the garden,  in a bouquet in the bathroom. 
They won't last either, but they sure are fun while they do last. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Autumnal Equinox

This is the day. 

The day we officially say goodbye to another summer. I took this photo some years ago, on another equinox, as the summer sun sank into the sea. 

I never like saying goodbye to summer. But there are blessings with everything. Coolness and moisture have returned. We look forward to some 70 degree days in the coming week, after the showers we are experiencing this morning have passed. The air is fresher, and the plants can breathe again. 

Fall colors are creeping into tree and shrub foliage. We are fortunate here to have a long, drawn out color season, lingering until Thanksgiving. I will enjoy it all, and probably share a few photos along the way.

I will count my blessings, and welcome another fall, with only a touch of melancholy for another summer gone. 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Borrowed The Cup

Last night the Sounders played again, this time at home in Seattle. It was a late start, 8:00 Wednesday night game, not great for a school night/work night, but still just under 40,000 fans were there. 

We were there too, of course. As we lined up for the March to the Match in Occidental Park, the Emerald City Supporter leaders brought the Cascadia Cup that the Sounders had won in Vancouver for the 2018 season.

I decided I needed to hold it. I gave Tom my phone and walked up, tapped the guy on the shoulder and held out my hands for the trophy. 
I think you can see that they thought it was pretty cool. I thought so too. 

The game itself was intense. We were playing Philadelphia, a strong team from the eastern conference. As we near the end of the season, every match matters for teams trying to make the playoffs. The Sounders have been on a run, winning the last nine matches in a row. 
Alas, Philadelphia scored in extra time at the very end of the match, to bring our hopes and our win streak crashing down.

I know many of you are not sports fans, but most of you are passionate about something, so you understand disappointment. But all good things must come to an end, and the playoffs are still a real possibility. 

We march on!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Off the Beaten Track

On Sunday, since we decided to head straight for the US Canada border, we had time take a few side trips off the freeway to prowl around in a couple of places we would otherwise never get to. 

The first stop was Fairhaven, the historic district of Bellingham. Of course DJan was on my mind when we prowled around her favorite bookstore, Village Books, and the Village Green. 

Mr. Twain and I shared a book. That bubble coming out of my head says ,"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read." -Mark Twain. 

Of course this plant and flower shop caught our eye. 

We browsed in this great glass gallery also. 
Then we stopped at the Starbucks just off the freeway for lunch. I was eating yogurt by now, trying to settle an overindulged digestive system. 

Since Chuckanut Drive is no longer a through highway. we drove south on I-5 to the Bow Hill Road exit, for a stop in a couple of tiny towns in farm country in the Samish Bay region, north of the Skagit Valley. 

I hadn't slept well Saturday night and I was wearing down, so I forgot to take any photos, just enjoying the here and now. These are "borrowed" photos from the Internet. 

It has been quite a few years since we happened upon the Samish Bay Cheese Company in Bow. I think this sign dates back to its origins. 
It used to be located in the old creamery shed of the old dairy barn, but it now has a great little store front with tables for enjoying the local product on site. 

 We sampled several cheeses, and made our selection.
Both are aged, expensive, and very good, and great with fruit, which is how we'll enjoy them. 

After leaving the creamery, we spent a while prowling around a "junk" shop in Bow, looking for treasures. We didn't find any, but looking is fun. 

Our next, and last stop, was in nearby Edison, where the bakery is the big attraction. Again, these are borrowed photos. 

 Tom bought one of those Kouign-Amann to eat at home later. He reports that it was very good. 
 I bought a pack of Hazelnut espresso shortbread cookies. 
 I've eaten one so far. They are very good too. 
We watched them making potato bread loaves when we were there, much like this photo. 

And by then we really wanted to go home. The traffic had other ideas though, and there was about an hour delay getting through what seemed like mostly open country between the Skagit Valley and Everett. 

But we made it home, got things unpacked, and then Tom took a two hour nap while I caught up on mail, email, putting stuff away, putting out the trash and recycle bins for Monday morning, eating a light supper, and the rest is a blur until I woke up Monday morning, not quite caught up on my sleep, but good enough. 

For a trip that we made up as we went along, it turned out pretty well. We were not disappointed. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

We Won!

Several weeks ago, when the topic of the Sounders playing an away game in Vancouver came up, Tom casually asked, "Wanna' go?"

I immediately sparked on the idea. We had gone to Vancouver last September for a Sounders game. It was a beautiful sunny, late summer weekend, and we had enough points then for a free hotel, so we went on line last minute and found resale tickets, which turned out to be in the Vancouver supporter section. That was last year.

This year we had a two week lead time, so we went to our Sounders supporter site, the Emerald City Supporters (ECS), found tickets still available, found a hotel, expensive, but moderate compared to other downtown Vancouver hotels, and so we clicked and clicked and had tickets and a room. 

Then it hit me. Going with ECS, we would have to do a lot of walking and standing. I began to worry. I so easily forget that I am not the person I was even a year ago, what with increasing mobility issues caused by arthritis and what else, I'm not sure. So I went into training, and worrying, too, of course.

We also made tentative plans for what else we might do on the weekend. Then as we watched the weather forecasts, we saw rain and decided we would just have to make it up as we went along, depending on weather and timing. We needed to be checked into our hotel by 3:00 so we could meet up with ECS by 4:00.

The border crossing on I-5 was bogged down, so we took a different route which ended up taking just as long with all the traffic. We thought since we were now running late that we would just drive to Granville Island for a late lunch, instead of crossing the bridge and waiting for a little passenger ferry. Bad idea. Heavy traffic and no parking. We escaped, got to our hotel about 2:30, and Hurray!, our room was ready and we could check in early. Then we walked a couple of blocks to a Subway shop and had sandwiches.

So much for a fun lunch somewhere, but at least it wasn't raining. From the hotel we got a taxi to take us to our meet up pub for the pre-func with ECS. It was 4:00 when we settled in, had a bite and a brew, and a nice visit with a couple from Atlanta.

The Pint Brew Pub was full of Sounders fans, and when the ECS buses arrived from Seattle, we all lined up out on the sidewalk for the March to the Match to the stadium.
 There was plenty of singing and chanting of our supporter songs.
 Because we are considered a rowdy bunch, stadium policy is that we all have to come in to the stadium early, in a group, with special security. We're not really rowdy at all, we just sound rowdy. 

There was plenty of waiting around, standing around, which I handled well, since I had been sitting in the car all day. I knew seating would be an issue, because ECS supporters stand through the whole match, and there are big flags to block your view. But we found perfect seats, way up high, at the top of the aisle, with an empty section in front of us. We could sit down when we wanted to and still see the game. 
 And it was an intense game. Both teams were playing for positioning in the playoffs, and the Cascadia Cup was on the line. Besides our supporter section, there were Sounders fans throughout the stadium. It's a covered stadium, BTW, so we were all warm and dry when the rains came outside. 

We won! We won the cup! We lingered to celebrate! Besides, we had to stay because we were the rowdy bunch and we weren't allowed out until the Vancouver fans had exited. :-)
Finally, Tom and I pushed our way out, explaining to the security guard that we needed to walk the mile and a half back to our hotel, and that we were old, so no one would bother us anyway. He smiled and let us go. 

Outside the stadium, as we paused to put on rain gear, a couple of different Vancouver fans actually thanked us for being there.  Canadians are very polite people. 

As we walked back, the rain let up. Along Robson Street, a couple of guys in a sidewalk pub booed us, since we were obviously Sounders fans. I turned, smiled, and quietly said, "Yeah, but we won," and then we walked on. 

We found a Starbucks for late night decaf lattes and goodies, and to post on our phones. We were happy and relaxed and,  Hey, We Won!

Sunday morning it was raining was we walked a couple of blocks to a place I found on line, Joe's Grill, where we had a yummy breakfast. 
 Then, since it was raining, we decided to just get out of town and head for the border. The wait was only about 20 minutes, and we were back in Washington. 
We made some stops along the way, but this post is already too long.

It's Monday morning now, we are moving slowly, the sun is shining, and WE WON!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fruits of Late Summer

We are eating tomatoes every day: sliced, in salads, with cottage cheese, with mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and olive oil. 

They are on the table for lunch and dinner. We don't get tired of home grown tomatoes.

Yesterday I picked a bunch of the Roma tomatoes. These are Italian paste tomatoes. 

 I don't can anything anymore. If it can't be eaten fresh, it will go into the freezer. These Romas will be rinsed off, dried, put whole into zip lock bags and put into the freezer. When I want to use them in soups or stews I just take some out, run hot water over them, slip the skins off, chunk them up and throw them in the pot. 

We also have home grown pears, which get picked green, and are now ripening, so we are eating pears every day too. 

At Costco the other day I saw these fresh figs. 

We love fresh figs but seldom find them in markets, so they are a real treat. As you can see in this photo, we have been eating them too. They are wonderful with a smear of fresh Chevre cheese and a dribble of honey.
While the beans and cucumbers and zucchini are shutting down in the raised beds, and there are still some carrots and beets yet to be dug, September is fruit time! We might even get a small apple crop from our espaliered trees, even though the bees didn't do their jobs very well in the cold and wet of last spring. 

And speaking of wet, we got some honest-to-goodness rain last night and this morning. 

We can almost hear the grass growing. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Leftover Garden Photos

Changes are subtle in the garden now, as we mark the time between summer and fall. 

The Sedum 'Autumn Joyis adding color where other blooms are shutting down. 

 This is Sedum 'Brilliant'. I don't remember what the white one is called. 

I cut the hardy geraniums in the rose bed back hard in August and they are re-blooming
 The fancy leaf pelargoniums are looking lush on the porch. Tom will soon be taking cuttings. 
 He was in the greenhouse getting ready for preparing his cutting starts. 

 Heucheras are happy on the porch too. 
Foliage tapestry with filigreed Acanthus, thanks to some chewing critter. 

 Fuchsias love late summer. 
 Good re-bloom on some of the roses. 

Maples still hold on to their green as seeds ripen. 

Hop Man is happy with his hop crop. 

And finally, the Brugmansia is blooming! 
 Tom cut it back hard as it was wintering over in the greenhouse, and I guess it was mad it him so it withheld its blooms all summer. 

 It's lovely now, though, although we are not outside in the evening  to enjoy its fragrance much. 
Rain is still holding off. It will arrive just in time to dampen our weekend. 

At least it's not a hurricane.