Greetings from Seattle



Thursday, January 30, 2020

Pretty Pictures For An Unpleasant Experience

The rain stopped for a while this morning. Tom was able to get outside and work. I got my exercises done before going to the dentist. I needed help. My extractions from last week were still painful and I was certain I had dry socket, despite my intense efforts to prevent that. I was pretty sure I had infection in my "craters". 

The good news is that they are not infected. That is a relief. But they are now packed with the most nasty tasting gel, which I will spend another week trying to keep in place while I very carefully swish twice a day with my new prescription of antibiotic mouthwash.  The fun continues. It's lunch time, but I'm not sure how food is going to taste on top of that awful gel taste. 

And the fun is not over. I have an appointment for Valentine's Day for a root canal. After that there will be another appointment for a crown. I will have run out of insurance for this year already by then, so I will get to pay over a $1000 for the pleasure. 

I think it's time for more pretty pictures. 

 This white hellebore is a prolific bloomer, but needs help holding its heads up. 

Another hellebore just coming into bloom
 More cyclamen are opening their sweet little flowers.
 Snowdrops droop in the rain. 
 Persistent primroses and tete-a-tete daffodils sending up buds. 
I'm hungry. I guess I'll go try to eat lunch. I hear Tom talking to the furnace service man, so I guess he has arrived. More money.

I'll get back to more movie reviews soon. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Movies

It's raining, it's pouring. The old man is .... not snoring, but is ensconced in front of the desk top computer pouring over genealogy records. It's a hobby of his. I am experiencing cabin fever.
 It's not hospitable out there. So I thought I'd start on a few posts about some of the movies we have seem lately, since the Oscars are now just a week and a half away.

I'll start with one I really liked, Little Women.
Let me say, first off, that this movie is visually beautiful. The scenes, the sets, the costumes, the faces, are all wonderful.  We watched this movie in the theater on the big screen. It's a big movie. 

This is a different version of the classic story. It is told in a time line that bounces back and forth between a past and a present that are not always clear, as it also covers a period of years. It is told mostly from the perspective of Jo, who also clearly becomes Louisa May Alcott herself. There is more Feminism in this version, as we see Jo/Louisa struggle to become a published writer in a man's world. I liked this aspect. Jo shows grit. Saoirse Ronan is nominated for the Best Actress award, and she is very good in this role. 

While this movie will not win the Oscar - it isn't arty or angst filled enough - it is good entertainment, and one of my favorites. 

The second movie I'll post about today is Marriage Story. When I first looked over the list of movies, I couldn't even remember much about this movie. Maybe I had other things on my mind at the time, but it just wasn't very memorable. I Googled it to refresh my memory. We watched this  movie at home via Netflix. It is a small screen movie. 

The two stars, Scarlett Johanson and Adam Driver, are very good as a married couple who undergo the breakdown of their marriage and eventually a divorce, rife with child custody issues, bi-coastal distance separation, cut throat lawyers, and plenty of angst. Is it her fault, or his? Who is more sympathetic? You can decide, or not take sides, since both are hurting. That's pretty much where I was. 

This movie is very well done. It is realistic, the characters are well developed, and the acting is very good. It feels like you are watching real people and want to give them  some advice about the mistakes they are making. 

The third movie I'll post about today is not nominated for any big awards, but it is one of my favorites.
Rocketman is a biopic of Elton John. Told in flashbacks as he shares his story in a therapy session just after he has committed himself to an addiction rehabilitation center, it follows his early years as a child in a loveless family life, as a musical prodigy, and his discovery and rise to fame as a rock star.  Like so many of that era, he goes off the rails, but finally makes the move to save himself. 

I was not into his music at the time, it being after my own youth and not fitting into my own kids taste in music when they were teens, but I do love rock music, and the performances in this movie are wonderful, as is the acting. Taron Egerton, the actor who plays Elton John, is wonderful and also does his own singing. I don't see why he wasn't nominated for an Oscar. 

This movie is no longer in theaters and we watched it via Comcast On Demand, but it is definitely a BIG movie. 

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Moving Along

Tom and I just returned from our 2 mile walk. The rain has stopped and the winter sun was shining weakly through the light clouds.
 Now that we are back home the sun is streaming through the family room window, making the Amaryllis happy.
 Jill gave me the bulb and pot for Christmas. The bulb had sprouted and the emerging bud stem was pushing to get free. Now, just a month after it was planted in its pot, it is blooming beautifully. 
 A second bloom stock is rising to replace the first when it fades. I'll have lovely red blooms for Valentines Day.

We're moving along through January. The weather here is relatively mild and the days are noticeably longer. Yesterday we met with our garden club to make plans for another year. Then in the afternoon, Tom and I spent several hours in the yard doing some pruning and clean up. It felt good. 

I wrote in my last post about having a not so fun trip to the dentist, for two extractions. Well, the not much fun continued, as I couldn't get the bleeding to stop from one of the craters. Dealing with a mouth full of blood as I changed the gauze pads was nasty. Finally, hours later, I called the dental clinic to get help. I was instructed to use a thickly folded pad right over the crater, lay down with head elevated, and bite down has hard as I could for ten minutes. That worked. I moved on.

However I don't handle blood well, especially my own, and I made the mistake the next morning of thinking about it while in the shower. Just as I was ready to turn off the water, I got that feeling. Head starting to swim, eyes blurred, body weak, blood rushing to my midsection. I was going to faint. I tried to shake it off, but knew I had to get out of the shower before I went down. I eventually ended up on the bathroom floor in a cold sweat, where I had Tom just leave me until I could get my legs to work again. 

Recovering from those episodes is hard, but finally by about 11:30 I could proceed to doing my exercises, and eventually my ten miles on the stationary bike. Moving on. 

I'm  trying hard to do all of the right things to prevent dry socket, which happened with an extraction a year ago. I am keeping track of the political events and Tom and I have seen six of the Oscar nominated movies. Maybe I'll write about that next time. 

For now, I'll be moving along. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

"Some Days Are Stone"

As the song goes, "Some days are diamonds. some days are stone".

Today is dark and rainy. But at least as I look our the window I see things blooming and sprouting.

 I am back home from a morning dentist appointment, recovering from two tooth extractions. It was not a fun process, nor is dealing with the aftermath.

Charlie the Borrowed Cat came begging for attention. I toweled him off, gave him some attention and some food. He likes both the attention and the food. If he was my cat I could have him come in and I could get some lap therapy, but he is not my cat, I am not ready to have another house cat, and I suspect Charlie is not much of a lap cat anyway. He certainly isn't when we sit together outside in the summertime. 
I am ensconced in my recliner right now. I have the Impeachment Trial on, but I'm not paying too much attention. Having followed Rachel Maddow on television for years, as well as reading articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post, I know all the evidence that the Democrats are presenting. Thank god for a free press and investigative journalism. 

What will come of this trial is unknown. Truth will be presented, but probably limited by denied access. Denials will continue, as well as outright lying on the part of the President and his minions. Divisions will probably be dug deeper. 

Sigh. 

Some days are diamonds, some days are stone. 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Path Forward

I guess you could say this post is about a farewell to life as we know it for one person and his family, and also about new life to come.

My brother-in-law Arnie died two weeks ago. His death came shockingly swiftly after a cancer diagnosis. We were not prepared. 

I have been sad and worried for my sister Laurie. She and Arnie had a tightly knit partnership of a marriage and his loss is heartbreaking.  Laurie lives a hundred miles away from us and her three children have been with her these last two weeks, supporting her and helping to take care of arrangements and all of the paperwork that is necessary when there is a death in the family. I have been in contact with her by phone and texting, but I longed to be there in person.

Arnie's service was yesterday, Saturday. It was a deeply personal service. His seven grandchildren, one pre-teen and the rest in their teens, all participated in the service. One opened the service with a cello solo, one played the piano and sang, they all sang several numbers, and the youngest one played us out on his electric guitar with the song Wipe Out!"  Yes, there was laughter with the tears.  Arnie's two sons delivered the eulogies and shared stories. Arnie was himself famous for his story telling and the large crowd in attendance, full of family and friends from from all aspects of his life nodded and smiled or grinned at the stories they fondly remembered. 

At the lunch reception after the service I finally had a chance to see my sister. We hugged long and hard, and she assured me it would all be all right. As I talked to her and to her sons I could see they they were making a plan for the path forward. I felt the burden of worry lighten off my shoulders.
Yes, there was going to be a path forward. There might be bends and turns in the path so that it may not reveal itself all at once, and there might be some small obstacles and rough patches, but there will be a path moving forward. It will be hard, but she will be OK, and so will her family. 

This morning Tom and I walked in our park in light rain, but now, this afternoon most of the clouds have cleared and the sun is shining through. My heart is lighter, and I can only hope that Arnie's family is feeling some of that lightness too. 

It helps that all around me, in the middle of winter, new life is springing up. Here in the coastal Pacific Northwest there is no "dead of winter". Life is resting but always ready to burst worth. Here is what I mean as seen today in my own garden. 
 Early hellebore. 

 Primroses hardly ever quit. 
 Snowdrops
 Winter blooming hardy cyclamen.
 Witch hazel


 Intensely sweet fragrance from the tiny blooms of Sarcococca. 

 Winter jasmine
 Winter blooming mahonia, loved by the resident Anna's hummingbirds. 

 Candy tuft that likes to rush the season.
 And old rose, not giving up. 
 Shoots, like these of day lilies, emerging from the cold, wet winter soil. 



 Kaffir lily.


 Green buds on the red flowering currant. 

There is a path forward out of the dark of winter, and there are hopeful greetings along the way. 

Be at peace, dear ones. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Celebration, A Walk, And a Couple of Fizzles

On Sunday morning we met up with Jill and the grands at Shenagan's in Tacoma for Sunday brunch to celebrate Isaac's 17th birthday. 
Isaac's actual birthday was on Wednesday and he had other little celebratory events, but we grandparents got in on the good eating part.  There are no photos of us eating and Isaac does not like to have his photo taken. Let it be known, though, that Tom and I delayed our holiday weight loss plan until after that brunch.

By the time we had finished eating, the sky had cleared and Tom and I went for a walk there along Commencement Bay.  We got in our two miles.



 Once lined with lumber mills and fishing docks, the remnants now act as "sculpture" along the bay shore. 

 Chinese Reconciliation Park is a lovely spot dedicated to the memory of the Chinese who were the victims of  bigotry and cruelty during the 1885 expulsion of Chinese Americans. 
 When will we ever learn.





 Even in winter spring is never really far away here, as noted by the catkins of the hazel trees.
 And the blooms on this Edgeworthia.

Satisfied that we had walked off a few of our calories, we returned home, where we settled in to read newspapers and social media until it was time for the Seahawks playoff game against Green Bay.

We weren't favored and the first half looked bad for us, but our Seahawks overcame a 21-3 deficit at halftime to come charging back. Unfortunately our final drive for the win fizzled in the last minutes and we lost 23 to 28. It was an exciting season. 

Snow was in the weather forecast for overnight. How much would we get? People emptied grocery store shelves. Would it be "Snowmageddon" like last January? 

Well, we got none here overnight, and just a few snow showers off and on throughout the day so far. 

 So far the snow has fizzled. I guess in some nearby areas they got lots more, and there is more in the forecast, but I'll be just fine with more snow fizzle.