Friday, November 28, 2008


With Thanksgiving come and gone, it's officially time to decorate for Christmas, time to get those pumpkins off the porch and put up the wreath and greens. For a while we had both going on as we transitioned from one holiday to the next.
Tom worked on putting up the house lights while I worked in the porch.
The results: It's beginning to look a little like Christmas.
More lights to do tomorrow, and decorating indoors has also begun. I think this beats shopping on Black Friday. Let there be light!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Skywatch - Thanksgiving Sunrise Through The Tree Window

I don't have much of a view of the sky here at home because of all of the trees. But when I glanced outside this morning and saw the eastern sky glowing, I grabbed my camera and took this shot from the front porch - through my tree window. For more skywatch photos, go here.

Fat Newspaper Day

We'll be heading south down the freeway soon to my sister's house. Normally about a two hour drive, it may take longer today. We'll have lots of company on the road heading over the river and through the woods. I just skimmed through the ads in the very fat newspaper. With all the "deals" and all the merchandise, I couldn't find any compelling reason to go shopping tomorrow. I know there are lots of people who love Black Friday. Not me. How about you? Are you a competitive shopper?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

There is not a day that goes by that I don't acknowledge how fortunate I am. This is the time of year when we traditionally count our blessings and give thanks for what we have. I have so much to be grateful for. It isn't just stuff, although I certainly don't lack for anything. We have lived in our "dream house" for 30 years, a house that we had built when the kids were little and we lived on a single income, a teacher's salary. But we managed, and much more, raising our kids here and, over time, creating our garden paradise. It is our refuge. Our two children have grown into wonderful adults, and we have enjoyed sharing in that growing up process, learning along with them. We have two beautiful and loving grandchildren. While we don't see them as much as we'd like, technology keeps us close. We have large, extended families with which to share celebrations and passages. My mother is still able to participate in the lives of her ever-expanding family. In this time of financial crisis, we are relieved to be on a "fixed" income, enjoying the fruit of many years of labor in public education. We have shared our lives with many children and colleagues, many of whom remain friends. Most of all, Tom and I have each other. Now in our 40th year of marriage, we have shared home building, child rearing, our professions, and our love of gardening. Now we are travel partners, crossing oceans or just across town, sharing experiences great and small. Some of you have commented that I seem peaceful, content, that I have a great life. I do. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Busy Times

I'm here, but not stopping long. These are busy times. Yesterday I had lunch with the retired teacher bunch from my school. We found lots of unimportant things to talk about, and all agreed we were glad to not be back at school. Then I drove around, running errands, looking for a few specific things. I kept striking out. That doesn't bode well for my real shopping. Maybe that's why I like to do more and more on line. Besides, I can just have items shipped to Colorado, where we will be for Christmas. Today I will make pie crust, in preparation for pie baking tomorrow. As Martha says, make 'em cold, bake 'em hot. The process goes much better with dough that has chilled. Hey, don't we all! Then I will get back to my sewing project. I am working on a dress for my granddaughter, and I would like to strangle whoever it was that engineered the pattern. I'm struggling, but still have hope that it will turn out. I was never anywhere near an expert seamstress, so I suffer from self-imposed stress. But the last dress I made for her turned out so well, and she loves it so much, that I'm trying again. Blog friends, I'll drop by as I have time or need a friendly break. Take time to chill.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Sun Day

There is an up side to having all those beautiful leaves fall off the trees. Now the sun filters through the bare branches.
Maybe that sun will boost the beleaguered Seahawks (sigh) as they meet the visiting Redskins today at Quest field. They're playing the Cowboys in Dallas on national TV on Thanksgiving Day. We really need them to get their act together.
Now that was all I was going to say this morning, three hours ago, when I came in from getting the Sunday paper. But the Internet connection was down. That meant the phones were also down, as I discovered after checking them all to make sure they were not "off the hook". That frustration led to a hot flash, so I went outside to stand on the patio and chill.
There I was treated to something I would have otherwise missed. A hummingbird was sipping nectar from the early blooming winter jasmine and the hardy fuchsia.
Then I noticed how good the garden is looking in its cozy blanket of shredded leaves. I praised Tom for his good work so far.
So I read the paper, tried to call Comcast on my new cell phone but there was a 25 minute wait, so I knew it was not just my computer, hung up and went for a walk.
And now all is restored.
Pleasure in small things.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cell Phones

Today we got new cell phones and began service with a new provider. As with anything new, there is a lot of set up. I spent much of the afternoon activating my phone, getting to know how to use it and setting up my electronic phonebook, as well as doing some of the same for Tom's phone. We are not cell phone users, but we feel like we need one for emergencies. With our old provider, we had very little access here at home, almost never had it on, had just one phone, and paid a monthly fee for minutes we never used. Now we still have a monthly fee, but no contract, it's cheaper, and we have two phones, so we can at least call each other and walk around the mall shopping in different stores and still be in contact. We can now be as annoying as almost everyone else out there. I feel like we moved into the modern era. (Is that good?)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Skywatch - Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly Flow the [Days]

While the day light hours are far too short now, the good thing is that it's easy to catch both the sunrise and the sunset. Such was the case last Saturday on Whidbey Island. Sunrise is sort of behind the cabin now where it's harder to see from the deck, but I caught some of the color. The sunset over Useless Bay, behind Double Bluff, showed little promise earlier on, great but not spectacular. But the colors gradually became more dramatic. And then the sky lit up and turned the bay to a lake of fire. Then, just as dramatically, the colors faded as darkness set in. For more Skywatch Friday photos go here.

Golden Days Gone

It's a Gore-Tex day in Seattle. Stow the umbrella and just flip up the hood and go quickly, dodging the puddles. It's windy and rainy.
Several days ago, when I took this photo of our driveway, I lingered in the golden tunnel when I went out to get the paper, and later, the mail. This morning it was Gore-Tex and go. The leaves will soon be all down, and then we can do the final cleanup.
But yesterday was a great day, dry and warmish, a day to work outside. Tom finished hauling compost and got the last of the raised garden beds spaded and covered. When the wind settles down, he'll get the plastic on the portable hoop house, and then the bonsai trees will be sheltered there for the winter.
I finished the clipping, weeding, grooming and lawn edging, filling the compost bins with new material. There will still be some leaf raking and mowing one or two more times, and then the garden will be put to bed.
For that purpose there is a truck load of leaves waiting in the driveway. Tom will shred them and spread them as mulch over the borders and planted areas. The worms and ground birds will love it, the weeds will be suppressed, and the soil will be amended while being protected from the driving rain. Best of all, this mulch is free, and we're doing the lawn care company a favor by taking a load they would otherwise have to pay to dump.
Of course, that will be Tom's job. While I might be persuaded to help on a nice day, I will otherwise be much too busy in the house. It's time to start sewing some dresses for my granddaughter, and after Thanksgiving, there will be decorating to do, cookies to bake, parties to plan, and gift giving to make decisions about. My hiatus from gardening will begin.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Whidbey Weekend - A Walk On The Dike

No, Mare, not the little red cottage by the sea - the big brown house by the bay. Whidbey Island is just a 45 minute drive and a ferry boat ride away, and so it's a more frequent destination for a get away.
We had beautiful weather - for November in the northwest anyway. We enjoyed walks and sunsets and sunrises. I got lots of good Skywatch material!
Our family cabin sits on a sand spit with a road running down the middle of it . Beach houses line both sides of the road, with Useless Bay on one side and Deer Lagoon on the other. The lagoon is our back yard, and it is a wonderful habitat for birds. When the tide is in and the winds are calm it is a photographic delight, a mirror of the sky. Along the right side of the lagoon, a dike separates it from wetlands and farmland. On the dike is a walking path that is a favorite for walking dogs and kids, watching birds, picking blackberries, and just enjoying the subtle changes in nature from one season to the next.
I hope you enjoyed the walk.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Skywatch - Shadow?

Unlike the ground hog, I rejoiced in seeing my shadow this afternoon. It meant the rain had stopped! There was even some blue sky.

Look here for some real sky photos.

For my regular readers, I will be away from my computer for a few days. We're going to Whidbey Island for the weekend.

See ya' later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jury Duty

I get summoned for jury duty a lot. In the last four years it has been at least six times! And still I have yet to actually serve on one jury. Last year I got two summons (what is the plural, anyway?) for the week of and the week after Thanksgiving. I refused the first and accepted the second, only to have court closed during the horrendous storm that took out the power every where. I had one more day of obligation when court reopened, was called for a panel, and rejected. Then I was summoned for county court downtown and got my bus schedule all figured out, only to call in over the weekend and find out I was not needed. Last spring I was summoned to superior court, but we had travel plans so I delayed it until November. Sure enough, November neared and I got two more, one for the delayed service, one for a district court. I rejected the second one, and this morning I reported to the Kent Regional Justice Center for duty. That meant getting up much earlier than I usually do as a retired person, driving through wind and rain, waiting for a train, and finding parking. But I was there by 8 AM like a good girl. After checking in we sat for half an hour before anything happened. Then we got our general instructions. By 10:00 I was getting antsy. They had identified a panel of 50 for a trial, but those people were still waiting, too. I had to admire those around me, several hundred of them, who were waiting so patiently. I was not. I got up and started wandering around, staying in proximity, hoping I would hear any announcement. A break was called so I wandered a bit farther. I got quickly back to my seat when I heard another panel being called. I heard everything except #1. Well, guess who was #1. I got a special "where are you" invitation. Great. But at least I was on the move, headed for some action. We were to hear a criminal case, DUI and driving with a suspended license. As the voir dere questions were being asked, I knew I would be rejected again, and I was. You see, my lovely son-in-law is a law enforcement officer, and he gets me out of jury duty. I'm not sure if I like being rejected, but by 12:00 today I could tell I just did not have the patience for sitting around waiting for the snail's pace of the law to carry on. I thought of the phrase "They also serve who only stand (sit) and wait". Well, I served, I guess. When we who were rejected reported back to the jury room, we were released. We do not have to report back tomorrow. We're done. We rejoiced quietly in our freedom and headed out into the storm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

As I was doing housework this morning and listening to the radio, I was reminded by my favorite morning guy, who had memories of visiting Normandy, that I, too, had been there earlier this year. Through seeing the battle fields and cemeteries in Holland and France, I came to a deeper understanding of what our nation did for the rest of the free world. We often talk of how our troops fight and die for our freedom, and throughout history that has certainly been the case, but we have also sent men and women to fight and die for the freedom of others. And in Holland and France, they have not forgotten. This is sacred ground.
We are the world.
Thank a soldier today. They are thanking us in Europe.
American Cemetery at Omaha Beach
Please remember our wounded veterans. Consider a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America, or some other organization serving our wounded soldiers.