Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Our city awaits the weather report. Will the storm bring heavy enough winds that our Space Needle fireworks will have to be canceled? I hope not, but I won't be there anyway. By then we'll be back home in the comfort of our family room, watching the New Year come on television. 

We got up very late on this last morning of 2019. This has been a good year for us and we're enjoying this last day. We went for what turned out to be a rainy walk this morning, but the rain wasn't heavy and we were prepared for it. I got my PT exercises done. I always have to talk myself into doing these but I'm faithful in completing the drill at least six days a week. 

This afternoon I'll do the household accounting and get the bills paid. The economy did well by us in December. :-/

Yesterday I made turkey soup and we'll have some again tonight for an early supper before going to the early movie to see "Little Women". I'm really looking forward to it since it has received very good reviews. 

I can only be hopeful that 2020 will bring us a clearer vision of where we need to go as a nation and as a divided people. I'll work at being a peacemaker in whatever small ways I can.

Happy New Year to all my blog family and to all of you in person friends and family who find this post. You are loved and appreciated. 

Wishing you all the best in 2020!

Monday, December 30, 2019


Since my Christmas post there has been more love sharing, more eating, more walking, and more football.

On Saturday we traveled south to Winlock for a sibling gathering. We met at a small local restaurant, often the best kind, for lunch, and then regrouped at my sister Laurie's home nearby. 
Here we are, brother Hank, sister Laurie, sister Ilene, and me. Only our brother don, who lives near Boston, was missing. This was also our mother's birthday, and she would have been 98. She passed just short of her 90th birthday, but we all still miss her. 
 Hank and his wife Cindy.
Tom and Linda

Ilene was behind the camera here and I borrowed these photos from her. It is important for us to get together now and then, but especially now.  Laurie's husband is fighting cancer and is under treatment. He is showing the ravages of his battle, which we hope he is winning, and Laurie bears the stress and strain as his caregiver. 
 Laurie and Arnold.

Sunday turned out to be a lovely day. We had some shopping to do down in the valley so we decided to take our walk there along the Green River Trail.

 Wild clematis seed heads.

 Pioneer oak. 

 A peaceful, placid river under a calm winter sky.

Sunday was a big day in Seattle. The Sunday Night Football crew was in town. Throngs of people were enjoying the good weather under an afternoon clear blue sky, and excitement was in the air. A possible division championship was on the line.

Tom and I watched at home. 
It came down to the last seconds, but unfortunately Seattle lost by inches on the final  fourth down. San Francisco was the better team and the Seahawks' luck ran out. They'll now play an away game next Sunday in the Wild Card round.

So now I need to get up and get going. It's Monday morning and there is work to do. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

It Was A Good Family Christmas.

We were two of each generation, our immediate family, gathered together for Christmas Eve at "The Rents", as Jill and Jake call us, and Christmas Day at Jill's house. 

Christmas Eve:
The dining room was set for the feast to come. 
Jill and the kids were there early, but Jake had to work.  Tom wanted to make Tom and Jerrys for old time sake. Cheers!
 Tom and I had brandy in ours and we really like ours. The rest were not so sure. I think Tom and Jerrys will be left to "old times".

When the turkey was finally off the BBQ grill, we dined on smokey turkey and all the trimmings.

Clean up done, we gathered in front of the TV to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

 The cookies were ready for enjoying as we played games. 
We lit the Christmas pyramid and listened to some favorite music. 
Everyone left at 9:00, Jill and Irene to go to church, Jake and Isaac to go to their homes to chill. "The Rents" had some Elf errands to run to arrange for secret deliveries. 

Christmas morning began at 9:00, when Santa's sleigh arrived (actually our purple minivan) .  Highlights:
 Boy with Legos ( Stocking were well stuffed))
 Cat on nest of gift wrapping
 Good breakfast.
 Before and after gift giving, which was bountiful and fun. 
 Irene wearing my vintage Norwegian sweater. I have had it, mostly stored away, for 50 years when it was a Christmas gift from my parents, and was happy to give it a new life. Irene really likes it. 
I had packed up all of the left overs from the night before, and along with lefse and cheese and crackers we had food available "on demand".  No more cooking. And of course there were more cookies. 

It was a very good Christmas. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Is Here!

After weeks of preparations and anticipation, Christmas is here!

Today, Monday, we began food preparation for our Christmas Eve family dinner. We'll have turkey and all the trimmings. We'll have candlelight and crystal. We'll do fancy. I thank my family for letting me host Christmas Eve. For me it is the magic time. 

It will be the six of us: the two of us, our two kids, and our two grand kids. And it will be the same six who gather at Jill's house Christmas morning, for breakfast, gift opening, and a slower, more casual day. 

We are fortunate to have our loved ones near to us. We are grateful for our blessings. 

From our house to yours, we wish you the very best holiday season. May you experience love and joy. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays! 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Moving Toward the Light

It's the day after Solstice and it's already lighter!
And the rain stopped!  Tom and I went out for a walk today for the first time in a long while. It felt great to be outside with Christmas music on my iPod. With weeks of decorating and baking and gifting, we were too busy and too tired for more walking, and then when we did have time to rest, the rain was unrelenting. But now! Dry, and the sky is lightening.  In fact, over to the west, the Olympic Mountains are in sunlight! I think some of the blue sky might be heading this way. 

Yesterday the sun set at 4:20, and here was what that sunset looked like over Henderson Bay at Jan's house.  The already dark day just got darker, but at least the rain had stopped. 
Inside we had light and warmth and fun. I didn't take many photos, but we played games and ate and opened gifts and ate some more. We laughed and learned about the Solstice and just enjoyed being together. 
Jan had stockings for all of us, not just any stockings, but Blue Footed Booby stockings. Blue Footed Boobies are a family thing with us, sort of an inside joke, but there is also a real appreciation for the odd and different. As I said, we had fun. 

Now I'm settling in to watch the Seahawks football game. Jill and the kids are there in the stadium. I am happy to be in my recliner, and there are cookies left over from yesterday that I get to eat. 

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is today, December 21, 2019. The exact moment here in Washington State is 8:19 pm, when the North Pole is tilted the farthest away from the sun. Today our sunrise was at 7:56 and our sunset will be at 4:20, but not that you can tell.

Not only is it the shortest daylight of the year, but yesterday was scientifically measured as the darkest day on record. This morning is much the same. It was also one of the rainiest. Here's why.

We have been stranded in an atmospheric river, coming in from off the Pacific. Temperatures range for 40 to 50, with steady rain in the lowlands and snow in the high elevations of the mountains. 
 It's dark. It's wet. Supposedly at noon on the winter solstice you would have a very long shadow due to the low angle of the sun. But there is no shadow today, only your reflection in the puddles. 
 But there are bright spots: a leaf still clinging, Winter Jasmine in bloom.
 And roses!
This afternoon we'll gather at SIL Jan's home for an early Christmas before she departs to be with California family. It's a day for "bon fires" in the indoor fireplace, and feasting with family. Solstice will be celebrated. 

Happy Solstice, everyone. In our dark northern days, let your inner light shine! Those of you in the sun, appreciate it!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Slowing Down

It's December the 19th, two days before the winter solstice. At 2:30 in the afternoon it is very dark outside, partly because the sky is heavy with rain clouds. It is raining steadily and 43 degrees, the worst kind of weather. It's a good day to stay indoors. And that's what we're doing.

The baking is done, including the Swedish cardamom bread, which I baked yesterday and put into the freezer to await Christmas morning. The gift shopping is done, and except for one package to arrive from Amazon tomorrow, everything is wrapped.
We'll leave the wrapping station up for a while. No doubt Jake will have things to wrap on Christmas Eve, and Jill might have to do some secret work here too.

I have the rest of the afternoon to take it easy. I got out the old vinyl records and cranked up the turntable. I'll get out of my chair to turn the records over and load a new one, but that's about it.

At 5:00 I'll have to interrupt my reverie to watch the Democrat Debate, but at least we have enough left overs from yesterday that I don't have to cook much. 

This evening we'll pack up cookie tins to distribute to friends at breakfast tomorrow and to one friend who is house ridden now. 

Slowing down is nice. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Lights, But Not a Christmas Post

We have lived in our house for 41 years. We have replaced floor coverings and appliances and counter tops and the roof and the outside doors and the windows and the garage doors. We have redone the fireplace and added shelving. And yet many of the features of the house are original. We are not like the folks on HGTV who have to replace perfectly good stuff. But once in a while something wears out. 

One of the lights went out in the downstairs powder room.The light fixtures use exposed globe type bulbs. We may have replaced them once or twice in all those years. 

When I was out shopping with the kids last Saturday morning, I picked up new bulbs. Unfortunately that didn't fix the problem.
The fixture itself was shot. That meant Tom had some fixing to do. We went out Saturday afternoon to see what we could find. There were no options for using the new globes I bought. We had to decide on something different. 

I didn't want anything fancy and didn't want to  spend lots of money. That meant the $50 fixtures didn't make the cut.  Eventually we settled on these.
At $9 each, they were a bargain, and had the simplicity I wanted. 
Tom got them installed Saturday evening. We had some 60w LED bulbs on hand and put them in. We had light. But, wow, was that light bright and harsh.

 So today I picked up two new WARM light LED Bulbs. Much better. 

Now I'm happy, and I'm happy that I have a Mr. Fix-it who lives here in this house with me. 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Kid Cookie Baking Day

An even longer standing tradition that making lefse and fatigmand with the grand kids is making sugar cookies and gingerbread. We have photos of the kids making cookies when they were two and four year olds. 

Each December we appoint a day for cookie making. Today, after the Sunday morning Seahawks game (we won!), we gathered here to make cookies. 

Irene and I got started on the gingerbread. When she was three she just plopped a cutter in the middle of the rolled out dough. Now she carefully places the cutters to get maximum coverage and minimum scrap.
 I had left the next football game on because it mattered in our conference standings. It took a bit to get Isaac's attention in the kitchen.

 With the gingerbread baked and cooling, we started on the sugar cookies, which they decorate intricately with sprinkles before baking. 

 Then we return to the gingerbread to detail them with icing. 

And now I think the baking is done! Well, except for the Christmas bread for Christmas morning. :-)