Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day

It was cloudy in Seattle last Monday, but as we approached the Skagit Valley, clear blue sky greeted us.
We stopped first at Christianson's Nursery, a favorite spot for plant shopping when we get to the valley. Of course, we found several plants to buy. We then stopped at La Conner Flats for a latte. Then we walked across the road to walk in the tulip fields. The dandelions were putting on quite a show of their own.
The Cascade Mountains make a wonderful backdrop for this spectacular show.
This barn has been photographed and painted by many. Add my name to the list. These fields are part of the Roozengaarde growing area. They also have an amazing display area.
This is where we first met the Princess Irene tulips we love so much.
The other big grower and tourist attraction is Tulip Town.
I can't leave a basket of flowers on your door, so please accept this tulip tour instead.
Happy May Day, and many more happy May days to come.

Case For No Prosecution

This may be what I was looking for to answer one of my big questions: Thomas Friedman - President Obama's unsatisfying but justified compromise on torture. I respect Thomas Friedman's knowledge and thinking. Maybe he's right.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm Ba-a-a-ck

We're back home after three wonderful days away. Monday we went to the Skagit Valley to see the tulip fields. I'll have pics of the tulips and also of the beautiful valley.
Tuesday we gardened at our Whidbey Island beach house and spent time in Langley and several nurseries. Pictures will follow later.
Today we spent hanging around the cabin. This afternoon we had a great walk out on the tide flats in Useless Bay.
As I've explained before, Useless Bay is so named because at low tide, it empties out, so it was useless to Captain Vancouver as a place for harboring his ship. But the residents of Sunlight Beach find it quite useful for having a wonderful beach experience.
Today the people were few and the birds were many. We knew we were in for a treat when we saw this immature eagle perched on a chimney. Where to go next? The noisy terns were letting us know they did not appreciate our intrusion.
We saw loons and hooded mergansers out in the bay.
The great blue herons were fishing, and this one scored a candle fish.
As we walked more and more eagles gathered. Some were mature, like this one...
and this one. This immature eagle has completely different coloring. They don't go "bald" until they are five years old.
As we approached their gathering place, we counted eleven eagles, enjoying a sunny day on the beach, just as we were.
And, yes, I did stop thinking about politics and our national troubles for a while. With no cable TV and no Internet hook up, and no newspaper, we just watched a bit of the NBC local and national news. How many times do you need to hear "Wash your hands and cover your cough" anyway?
For those of you wondering, my back feels better, but the troublesome nerve compression symptoms in my leg and foot persist. I have physical therapy Thursday. We'll see what's next.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just Thinking

I spent most of the day outside in the garden. It is a beautiful spring day, cool but sunny, and everything is erupting with growth and color. Most of all I love the glowing greens of spring, as trees and shrubs and perennials begin the leaf out, and the grass is lush. I want my spirit to soar with the beauty of the season, but I feel like there is a cloud over me much of the time. At my last visit to physical therapy, I was given an exercise that has aggravated my back problem. I had the nerve pressure under control, but now it is back. I'm having trouble sitting anywhere but my recliner without feeling symptoms in my foot and leg. It nags at me as I try to go about my normal activities. I am conflicted about the national debate over what to do about the wrong doings of the previous administration. We tortured people, probably to extract false evidence for justifying a disastrous war. Should the people responsible go free? I personally don't need severe punishment or revenge, but I do need to have the whole truth told, the facts revealed. These are crimes we do not want to have repeated. As bad as war and torture are, we have an even bigger problem. We live in a violent society, with more than a thousand deaths per year in the last ten years due to gun violence. And yet we dare not take on the gun lobby? We're going to let criminals and crazy people buy guns at gun shows without background checks? It's OK to let them have assault weapons? Even if our police are being out gunned? This is not OK with me. As a retired teacher, I shudder over the cuts that will have to be made in the schools in our state because of the downturn in the economy. We all know that free public education is the foundation of our democracy, and that we have more and more severe problems to deal with in public schools. Our schools are under-resourced now, let alone after more cuts. And yet we have people staging "tea parties", objecting to paying their taxes. They don't like this, they don't like that, they don't approve of the bail out. They don't know what they're talking about, and they revel in perpetuating their own ignorance. Well, the sun is still shining. I'll go for a walk after dinner. Then we'll pack up and be ready to head for Whidbey Island tomorrow for a few days. The problems won't be solved while I'm gone, but I'm going to work on ignoring them for a while. See you later.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Seattle - Sports City

Two weeks ago Tom and I used our son Jake's season tickets to attend our first Sounders FC soccer match. The games are played in Qwest Field, home of the Seahawks, our American style football team. This is a beautiful stadium, located in SoDo, (south downtown) with a great view of the city,

The band was rousing, and the fans were decked out in rave green with their scarves and fan regalia. It's a great atmosphere, with seating limited to the lower tiers, and the sell out crowds of about 30,000 are knowledgeable and rabid supporters. We lost that match, but it was lots of fun being there anyway.

The Sounders are 3 - 2 on the season, losing two after winning their first three matches with shut outs. The Sounders are the buzz in Seattle. They play again this evening, and we'll be watching on TV.

The Mariners, Seattle's baseball team, are 11-6 on the young season so far after a disastrous season last year. It's exciting to have the enthusiasm back in town.

Today is NFL draft day, and after a string of good football seasons, the Seahawks bombed last year, with injuries to critical players. But the reward is a 4th pick in the first round, so we have several opportunities to score with some great young players. That will also be the buzz today.

With the Sounders in town, the Mariners playing on the road today, but covered on TV and radio, and the Seahawks draft, who gives even a second thought to that once illustrious NBA team we used to have. The Supersonics, I think they were called? No longer Sonics, and no longer super. Good luck with that, Oklahoma City.

GO SOUNDERS! Scarves Up! Update: Sounders Win 2-0, Mariners Win 9-8 !!!!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Princess Irene

Last week we celebrated our princess Irene's birthday. Now my Princess Irene tulips are blooming in my garden.
Obviously, I am especially fond of them, but I love the mix of orange, purple and pink.
Ah, Spring.


I sure hope it was true. It was grand for me being with my GRANDchildren last week.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Looking Back

I realized I missed my blog anniversary. I posted my first bog last year on April 8th. We were getting ready to fly away to Amsterdam, and someone suggested I start a blog. My son had one, so I just used his and followed the directions to start my own. It worked, much to my amazement. - I posted my first political rant on April 9th, about the treatment of returning Iraqi veterans. I envisioned myself doing much more of this sort of thing, but after reading so much of it already posted by others, it now seemed somewhat redundant. I see that mine has become more of a photography blog, but you never know when a rant might pop out.
Shortly after, we left on our trip, going first to Amsterdam, where we hooked up with our first of two river boat tours. The first took us through the Netherlands and Belgium. It was called the Tulips and Windmills Tour, and it was wonderful. There are pictures on my side bar from this part of the trip.
After disembarking the boat, we stayed several more days in Amsterdam, and then took the train to Paris. That was one year ago yesterday.
April 23rd was our first full day in Paris, and as I look at my journal, I see the emphasis should be on the word FULL. Here are some highlights:
Le Jardin des Tulliers near the Louvre. where we started our days touring. The Royal Bridge over the Seine, near the Palais Royal, and our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.
The Church of the Golden Dome, the tomb of Napoleon, seen from the sculpture garden of the Rodin Museum. Everyone knows Rodin's "The Thinker". Shops on Rue Cler where we had a quiche lunch at a bakery stall.
The most famous landmark of Paris, the Eiffel Tower. I might add, it's HUGE. Monet's water lily panels in the Musee de l'Orangerie. This began my love affair with Monet, leading up to visiting his home and garden later in the trip. We met our prearranged English guide at 5:00 at the Louvre pyramid, for our evening tour.
Inside the pyramid. Venus de Milo
Winged Victory Detail of a Rubens in the Rubens Room.
The Mona Lisa is very small and heavily protected. I found many other masterpieces more interesting.
Early on in this first period of blogging, I found a comment from Kay of Musings. She said she had insomnia and was surfing the web and found me. I'm so glad she did. I know friends and family read my blog but they never leave comments. It was through Kay that I found my group of blog friends.
Today Kay is setting off on her own trip, to Seattle! Happy Travels, Kay, and Thank You.