Sunday, June 29, 2008

Off to the Island

I will be away from my computer for a few days while we spend some time at the family cabin on Whidbey Island. I hope to return with some great sky pics. See you later.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Philosophy of Life

For Stef: This sign is near our new patio extension in the upper back yard, under the cedar tree. The metal wording came from the Chocolate Flower Farm shop in Langley, Whidbey Island.
Stef, we would love to have you come for a tour. What can we arrange?

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Rose..... any other name would surely smell as sweet,
but a whole tree full of roses simply can't be beat!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Skywatch Friday

It was supposed to be warm here in Seattle today, 75, but the sun has never quite been able to burn away the clouds and it is only 63. However, since it is really Thursday here, I still have hope for Friday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Somebody Didn't Eat the Raspberries

Every year about this time I defrost our old freezer, which lives in the garage, in preparation for the abundance of "crops" our garden will produce in the summer. It's a job I hate. When I was still teaching, I knew it was the first job I would need to do once I recovered from the school year. In actual fact, it's not really that bad - I just have to decide to do it. Today I did. Now about that garden abundance. Without kids at home, our production of vegetable crops has diminished dramatically. Flowers frequently take priority of place. But we still have the raspberry patch. We eat as many fresh as we can, sharing some with others, but we still have plenty for the freezer. Usually they are pretty well used up by the next spring, but, alas !, as I emptied the freezer to clean it, I discovered half of last year's crop still there! Somebody didn't eat the raspberries. Jake, you haven't been doing your share. Don't you need to make some more raspberry beer? Of course I should have made cobbler when the grandkids were here, but I was so busy that I forgot. Fortunately this year's crop will be delayed due to a cold spring, so I have a bit of time to remedy the situation. Otherwise I may have to break down and make jam and syrup this year. That sounds like more work!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Editing Myself

Well, that title conjures up a number of things that could stand fixing, but I was referring to my blog page. Now that I have been cyber communicating for about two months, I am more aware of patterns and practices. For example, most bloggers who use a photo as part of their profile use one of just themselves, not family. Since I don't really take pictures of myself, that was a problem. I tried cropping some but my software made that very difficult to do. I considered using a flower photo, as that would be much nicer to look at, but finally asked my husband to take a picture of me (well, several pics so I could select the least awful). So I have been edited. Then I noticed that most bloggers use a nick name or first name only when leaving comments, so I thought about dropping my last name. But there is a special reason for not doing that. In my last years of teaching, there were four Lindas in my building, so I was usually referred to by my full name. I often overheard conversations that went "Linda Reeder said..." or "Let's ask Linda Reeder". By then I was in a position of leadership as a reading specialist and literacy coach, but I had for a long time been someone who usually had an informed opinion on most things, and surprisingly to me, it was most often valued. That was why I often reminded myself that pride goeth before the fall, and if I got too full of myself, I could expect a humbling experience. Anyway, after I retired, I had some contact with those I had left behind, and through them I discovered that they had a new expression. Now perhaps you have heard of WWJD, but theirs was WWLRD - What would Linda Reeder do? It was nice to know that after all those years of pouring my efforts into doing the very best job I could, I had left a legacy, however brief it might be. So for now I will remain linda reeder. I have not begun to learn all the tricks of this blogging business, but I'm having fun with it. I have a question. How do I participate in Friday Sky Watch?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Fremont Solstice Parade

For those of you who are not familiar with Fremont, let me try to explain it. Fremont is a city within the city of Seattle. This self-proclaimed "center of the universe" is known for it's free spirits, free thinkers, and downright funky style. In the center of their city is a hulking statue of Lenin - yes that Russian guy- a statue from the former USSR, representing a tongue in cheek antithesis of the spirit of this urban hippie culture.
Twenty years ago the artsy folks of Fremont decided to have a parade. About 300 people watched it. This is it's 20th year, and tens of thousands, perhaps a hundred thousand, came to participate in the fun fest. The rules of the parade are also unconventional: no printed words or logos, no motorized vehicles, no live animals, and no weapons. Needless to say, there were no fire trucks or police cars, no motorcycles or military honor guards. There were people dressed in strange costumes, or no costumes at all. Paint sometimes replaced clothing; others let it all hang out. There were dancers of all sorts, as exemplified by the belly dancers, where some were dancers and some had notable bellies. The meaning of the costumes was sometimes known only to the creators, but they were always interesting. Not much candy was thrown, no balloons or other trinkets were for sale, but hugs were given freely. A band playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow gave the song special meaning. Puppets signifying What? were amusing and ingenious. The parade even had a tractor of sorts, for those of you rural folks used to having them in your parades.
There were a few political messages given by word of mouth (no signs, remember). A large, reclining replica of the Statue of Liberty born of the shoulders of many signified that liberty is a heavy burden that must be shouldered by us all. An accompanying "waitress" was taking orders for the "bill of rights". Of course the legalized cannabis supporters were there.
It was a crowded but fun experience, and a good reminder that having freedom and liberty for all also requires tolerance.
Happy Summer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Beginnings and Endings

Late this afternoon we said good bye to our daughter and grandchildren. They are now in the air on their way back home to Corey in Fort Morgan, CO. We had a wonderful three weeks with them. Now the house is feeling orderly again, but also somewhat empty. We will enjoy getting back to our regular daily life, but will miss them very much at the same time. Fortunately they will return in late July for another visit.
But as that visit came to an end today, summer was beginning! It actually reached 83 degrees here today! We enjoyed visiting with friends at breakfast, and with an old friend who stopped by later. We sat and played in the sun. After dinner Tom and I went for a neighborhood stroll, then sat outside reading until the mosquitoes found us. Ah, summer. Tomorrow we will meet up with son Jake and attend the Fremont Solstice Parade. This event, now marking it's 20th year, is know for celebrating free spirits. We hear it is funky, fun, and unpredictable. We'll let you know. This will be our first personal experience.
Happy Solstice!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not Sleepy in Seattle

Jill has taken the kids to a local playground. It seems they are still not tired after a big day in Seattle. Today was city day. We went first to the Pike Street Public Market, where among the fruit, vegetables, flowers and crafts we found great tie dye for the kids. We had no problem finding them in the crowd after they donned their rainbow colors. Of course we watched the famous flying fish, where the fish mongers throw fish as they are purchased. We visited a the market pig, a giant piggy bank that is well loved.
We stopped for lattes at the original Starbucks, pretty much a hole in the wall compared to the new mall versions. As we sat in the totem pole park drinking our coffee, we watched ferry boats and helicopters and float planes. We descended the Hill Climb steps to the waterfront for closer views of the boat action, fun shopping, a carousel ride, and fish and chips for lunch at Ivar's, where we sat on the pier and fed seagulls our extra french fries.
Back up at the market, we had ice cream and watched a crane lifting heavy containers of materials to build another glass sky scraper. When we got home about 2:30, naps were rejected in favor of other activities. Isaac and his mom watched the recorded first installment of "When We Left the Earth", a Discovery Channel history of the American Space Program. They are very interested in the space program and watch every shuttle take off and landing. Irene was ready for action in the playhouse.
Oh, they have returned. Three year old Irene has just called out "Oh, Grandmother!" She is a kick in the pants, that's for sure. Time for some market strawberries and ice cream.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Another Day

We had another good day with our grand kids, playing with our kids old toys, which have lived in the attic for many years, baking cookies, having a tea party on the patio, playing in the yard, and going out to dinner. They live in a small town in rural Eastern Colorado, so Jill, our daughter, will take any opportunity she can get to enjoy our many restaurants available within two miles of our house. I think today had something for everyone here at the homestead. Even Daddy, back in Fort Morgan, CO gets to participate through up to the minute reports via phone. During the tea party Isaac informed him that he was eating a chocolate for him. They'll be home soon, Corey. Thanks for sharing them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lush Life

Saturday we were pleased to open our garden to fellow members of the Northwest Perennial Alliance. We have done this for many years, often with few visitors. This year we had a steady stream of gardeners, all of whom had high praise for our efforts. And I must say, the garden has never looked better. It was an honor to be able to share it. Sunday I started the day in a spot of sun in the garden, listening to birdsong. Then we went to see some other gardens and spent much of the day prowling around the beautiful Snoqualmie Valley, between Seattle and the Cascade Mountains. We saw some lovely gardens, did a little antique shopping and garden nursery hopping, and loved the drive through the lush green valley, away from city and suburbia. Sunday evening we joined our son, daughter and grandchildren for dinner out to celebrate Father's Day. We had a very special weekend, but it only got better today. Jill and the kids were back with us after their weekend on Whidbey Island and we had the whole day here in the sunshine, playing, eating, napping and enjoying each other. The garden shed/playhouse saw lots of action and play dough cookery. The kids and I had a great time playing castles and dragons as we tramped through the secret pathways in the garden, using our imaginations to add drama, danger and adventure. Later we went to a nearby park and explored the trails through the green woods (like a forest, said Isaac) and played on the play structures. It was finally warm enough for lunch and a BBQ dinner outside on the patio. Yesterday my daughter and I were commenting on how much my life circumstances have changed from my early years in a two room house with no indoor plumbing to the lush life we lead now in comparison. We are truly fortunate, but once again I realize that it's in the sharing that we experience joy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Teacher Talk

This morning, like every Friday morning, we gathered for breakfast with retired teacher friends, some of whom you see in the photo above, taken in our garden. Our table is ready and waiting in a small restaurant in Des Moines, south of the airport.
What do teachers talk about when they get together? Kids, of course. Former students, parents of former students, children of former students. Some stories are sad, some are joyous, and many are just funny.
We also cover matters of health, but not too much, our travels and comings and goings, and a touch of politics, but not everyone participates in these conversations. What do we all have in common? Kids!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Let the Sun Shine In

With our daughter and grandchildren off to Whidbey Island for some time with other family members, Tom and I got out in the garden today. We are having an Open Garden on Saturday for our gardening organization, so it's time to primp, groom and fluff. For the first time in many days, the sun shone! The combination of doing good, earthy work and being warmed by the sun has restored my spirits. Tomorrow the clouds are forecast to return, but today will hold me over for a bit longer now. It's now official: this is the coldest spring on record here in the northwest.

Monday, June 9, 2008

That "Proud Democrat" Part

Sorry, Dear Reader(s), no pretty pictures today. For those of you not interested in politics, you may be excused, I guess, but please don't bury your head in the sand so far as to be uninformed when you go to vote. I have been struggling for months with the Democratic primary race. The Clintons are important to me. I was just a kid when JFK was elected, and a freshman in college when he was killed, so Camelot was short lived for me. My President was Bill Clinton, and my ideal of a First Lady was Hillary Clinton. I agreed with their politics and was thrilled to be out from under the Reagan years, a man who's mystique I never understood. I was then, and still am, impressed with Hillary's intelligence, knowledge and activism. I was appalled and angered by the constant attacks on them by the conservative right, the experts in divisive politics. I rejected the so-called Moral Majority, who's actions spoke louder than their words of hatred. Morality is so much more that one's sexual activity. I consider the Iraq war to be the height of immorality. So I dreaded the prospect that Hillary might run for president because it would bring all that evil and hatred out of the woodwork again. At the same time my admiration for her kept me in her camp and I went to our local caucus as her supporter. When the signs were obvious that she would not be the candidate, quite some time ago, I had such mixed emotions. I wanted her to be the first woman president! But I was also fearful that those very strengths that make her so admirable might also be her downfall in the male dominated world of politics, since Hillary often knows more than most of them and is not easily talked into compromise. I was also just barely hoping that Barack Obama might be able to pull off the change he was promising, that he might be able to usher in a new era of politics, where government provides stability and cooperation internationally and help to those who need it at home. You know, it has always amazed me that so many who call themselves Christians don't seem to remember the words of Jesus, words about love and brotherhood, when it comes to voting. Now the campaign is over. I listened to Hillary's speech Saturday, and when she finished, I had tears in my eyes. I still admire her greatly and believe in her goals for this country. She is a fighter and would not be talked into quitting until everyone had their chance to vote. All those male pundits who had called for so long for her to quit never understood what this race meant to her, and to many women like me. Of course I will support Barack Obama, but right now I want to honor Hillary Clinton for her inspirational run for the White House, and to rejoice in the fact that she will still be in Washington fighting for those causes in which I also believe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'm Still Here

I haven't posted for a while because I've been busy! Our daughter Jill and our grandchildren, Isaac and Irene, arrived in Seattle last Friday, May 30. Since then we have been to Oregon to visit my mother, their grandmother/great grandmother, and to Rockaway Beach on the Oregon coast for four days. We got back to Seattle Thursday evening, but Friday Tom and I had to turn around and return to Oregon for my aunt's funeral. Today we have been at home. This afternoon we had a tea party. Hats were required. Grandpa's hat is quite appropriate for the weather we've been having. I am longing for some warm, dry weather. But we're having fun anyway.