Monday, September 30, 2019


The pumpkins are out at the Safeway store.
I reused some old fake flowers and an older grape vine wreath from the attic to create this year's wreath by the front door. 

Inside, dried hydrangeas are taking the place of most of the fresh flower arrangements.

There are still enough fresh flowers in the garden for a kitchen table bouquet, but the hail storm last Friday pretty much did most of them in.
The Autumn tub came out of the attic and the fireplace is decorated. 

 The two oldies here are from Tom's mother's childhood, glass candy jars c. 1910. Her father, Tom's grandfather, created that beaded figure in the gold frame.
Gourds by my great grandmother's clock.
Old paper cutouts salvaged from the storeroom of Tom's old kindergarten room are pinned here and there.

Spiders are decorating OUTSIDE.
We have had some very unsettled weather lately, so the wind has announced that the messy season is beginning under the cedar trees. 
When we have been able to get outside, we have begun the fall clean up. Perennials have been cut back and annuals pulled. Oil cloths and umbrellas have been removed from the patio. 

 This bed is ready for the tulip bulbs which should be arriving soon from the Skagit Valley. 
Tom has been moving tender plants into the greenhouse. More will follow. 

Today was one of the few sunny days in the forecast so I got out and "picked" all of the glass flowers and got them washed up. They will be stored in the attic. 

There are still a few things blooming in the garden.

 The autumn crocus were squashed flat by the rain and hail.

The very first hints of color are showing on the dogwood and the maple tree seeds. 

 When I get back from my daily walks, Charlie is happy to join me on the patio and soak up a bit of warmth from the weakening sun. 
We've been busy, but it's a good busy. We are transitioning into fall. October is here. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Opening a New School

On Thursday evening we attended the official opening of the new Des Moines Elementary School, even though students and staff have been busy there since the first day of the school year on September 4th. 
It is a big, beautiful, modern structure, built to replace the historic 1924 school building in the City of Des Moines, WA, located south of Seattle. It was hard for many to say goodbye to the old school, especially for some of these folks. 
 That's former Principal Charlie Brown and his wife Margaret, our breakfast friend, Dede Heberling, and Tom. Tom and Dede are both former Des Moines kindergarten teachers and Tom also taught PE there. Popping up in the back is our daughter Jill, who is now teaching PE at Des Moines. 
Public kindergarten began at Des Moines Elementary in 1966. Jan Anderson, on the left, was the first K teacher, DeDe was the second, and Tom was the fourth. Here they are with the current K teacher, Alison, who is a former student at Des Moines, and part of a large family that all of the former teachers know. Her mother still works there in the office. 
Everyone was intrigued with the new "smart board". For those of us who began with black slate chalk boards, this is quite a technological wonder, but we were all wondering if we could ever figure out how to use it. I guess it would take "perseverance". 

Jill and I checked out the new "outdoor classroom", as well as prowling all over the new school.  It was fun for me to see where she will be working. Des Moines Elementary, in it's several iterations, is a family affair. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Lots of Soccer, and a Medical Report.

Both grand kids are playing soccer now. We have been to a bunch of Irene's games already - soccer in the sunshine....

and soccer in the rain.
 Irene plays defender on her high school JV team. 

We missed Isaac's first game because we were at a Sounders match last Sunday, and again last Wednesday.  Watching the sunset from the stadium happens before the game now, instead of after. 
This Sunday the Sounders are away, and we will be at Isaac's match, while keeping up electronically with Seahawks football. We'll get back home in time to see the Sounders play on TV. Sports are fun.

Also this week I had my return visit to the cardiologist. First I had another echo cardiogram. It was quite uncomfortable, since as I age it gets harder to be comfortable in a somewhat awkward position without being able to move during the 40 minute procedure, and apparently it is necessary to push that flat topped probe really hard against my ribs, in the same spot, over and over again. Ouch. 

There was a several hour gap between appointments, and Tom came with me, so we had lunch at a great bakery across the street from the medical center, then got Starbucks lattes and sat outside to drink them before going for a walk around the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Meeting with the cardiologist, I learned that there had been almost no change in my aortic stenosis in the last six months. That was good news. While valve replacement is in my not too distant future, we are back to a six month wait and see before repeating the echo cardiogram. So I will keep on keeping on, exercising, walking, working in the yard, and going to lots of soccer matches.

We worked in the yard for a long time today. We are beginning the fall clean up process, cutting back perennials, pulling out annuals, cleaning up pots, and petting the borrowed cat, Charlie, who does love to come and get in our way as we garden. 

We still have dahlias and marigolds to pick and arrange for the kitchen table.
 Autumn begins officially on Monday, the autumnal equinox. I guess the rain will just get colder, and the sunny days more precious now. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Fun Flowers

Tom's Brugmansia finally bloomed last week.
Commonly known as Angel's Trumpets, they are highly fragrant, especially in the evening. 

Tom has had this plant for a number of years. It started out in a six inch nursery pot. A couple of years ago it moved into  very big pot, which is a chore to move, as it has to go into the garage or greenhouse over the winter.
Tom cuts it way back in the winter, to about one to two feet tall. It grew and grew this year, with nary a bloom until September. It was worth waiting for, but with all of the rain we've had lately, we have hardly been outside to enjoy it.

While the brugmansia is lovely, some flowers are just fun.
Like these guys.
The face pot holds a succulent of some kind that is covered with tiny flowers that sat as buds for a month or more, and now the flowers are lasting forever.
And then there is the "Lifesaver plant".
I bought this at Bayview Nursery on Whidbey Island because it made me laugh.
 The bloom really does look like a Lifesaver, cherry flavored!
It will have to go into the greenhouse, or a window sill, over winter too, but it will be fun to see if I can get it to grow and bloom again.