Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Chicks and Ducks and Bunnies

April is here and Easter is on the way. I don't know if there will be a family Easter dinner or an egg hunt this year, and if there is it will be at Jill's house, but I decorated anyway.

I love Easter decorations, which to me are Spring decorations, full of pretty pastel colors and soft things and new life. 

I have collected decorations over the years and each year they have a place somewhere, like on the mantel and the hearth. 

Here and there on tables. 

and in cabinets.
 In the dining room

 The kitchen table, 
 and in the powder room.

 Of course the outside is decorated too.

The first tulips are showing color!

Happy April!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

An Anniversary and a Dream

It was a year ago today, March 29th, that we quietly celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, having decided after much thought, that we would delay our big bash until July to coincide with my 75th birthday. We sent out save-the-date notices and began planning, booking a caterer and party rentals and purchasing all of the supplies we would need.  It all paid off when we hosted our very successful 50/75 Celebration.

As our anniversary approached this year we were in a very different situation. We have been dealing with social isolation now for almost a month. Parties are out, and even going out to dinner is not possible. 

All of that was apparently on my mind one night last week when I dreamed that we had planned a party and sent out save-the-date notices, but then that all went by the wayside because of the "plague". In my dream Tom and I were sitting at home on the day of, thinking ,"What if someone shows up?"

No, they wouldn't. Surely they know not to. And then a car full of people arrived! Tom invited them into the house! There they were filling up all of the seating in my family room and I was desperately trying to figure out what to feed them. If I used up all of our food we would have to go back to the grocery store!

Then, in my dream, I got mad and I was trying to figure out how I could get these family members politely out of my house! What the hell were they thinking? They shouldn't be in my house!

As sleep turned to twilight sleep, I realized I needed to wake up, and I did, but I was still so overwrought about how to get them out of my house, that I just had to get up and distract myself. It took a long time to settle down. I had had my first Coronavirus nightmare.  

I am happy to report that we had a simple, pleasant anniversary day today. I exercised, I rode my stationary bike, I baked brownies, and we went for a short walk in sunshine! Tom worked in his greenhouse. 

This evening we had a yummy home cooked meal, pot roast. 

And brownies for dessert. 

We really wanted ice cream, but we are not letting ice cream in the house either. It's too hard keeping weight off when all we really want to do is sit around and eat. We are allowed whipped cream though. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Escape to the City

It was late Friday morning when finally got going. We drove into the city.
Our first stop was Jake's apartment in Ballard, where we chatted outside and delivered his pasta and rice, and a homemade face mask. He works M-Th and has three day weekends, but now there isn't much he can do with his free time. He misses sports to watch on TV, especially international soccer.

From there we drove north, hoping to visit Swanson's Nursery, but, alas, they were closed. Not wanting to go back home yet, we decided a new course of action.

We drove west to east across the city on 45th, through neighborhoods in Ballard and north Seattle and past the University campus and Greek Row, to the University District, where we eventually turned south across the Montlake Bridge and alongside the Arboretum. Everywhere we enjoyed things blooming in yards and gardens and parking strips: golden daffodils and forsythia, pink bergenia, pink and white cherry and plum and ornamental pear trees. The greening of trees is beginning. It's a beautiful time in our city. 

South of the Arboretum we turned east again, through two of the most stately old neighborhoods of Seattle, Broadmore and Madison Park, and south along  Lake Washington Boulevard. All along our route we encountered people in singles and pairs, walking, jogging, and dog walking, all getting their healthy, self distancing exercise. 

Eventually we arrived at our destination, the Stan Sayers Hydroplane Pits on the shore of Lake Washington. Here we would park and go for a walk. 

No crowds, so noisy high speed flying boats, just some waterfowl lazing about. 

We set off on the lake shore path, I with my walking stick, testing how far I could go with my newly acquired sciatica, activated by my aggravated bulging disc. I hate having my active lifestyle limited. 
The breeze was brisk but the promised rain didn't come and we enjoyed a pleasant, slow paced 1.5 mile walk, nodding and waving and greeting those we encountered along the way. 
English daisies sprinkle the lawn. 

It felt good to have been able to get out, get away, and even get a move on in my beautiful city. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Masked Shoppers

It's hard to know what the best practices are during this pandemic, but we keep adding to our armor. This week I made "surgical" masks for us to wear when we go out, which for us is the grocery store and that's about it.

I found instructions on Youtube, and dug through my scrap box to find supplies. I read online what the best materials were and although cotton was recommended, I did find a chart that showed the filter quality that was the very best, aside from the official N95 masks, was vacuum cleaner bags.  So I make my masks with a layer of vacuum cleaner bag between two layers of cotton fabric. 

I didn't have any quarter inch  elastic, but I had some wide elastic, so I cut lengthwise slices off of that. I think it will hold.  I didn't want to go out shopping and I also knew that JoAnn's was already completely out of quarter inch. Making masks is the new thing. 

I made mine first, and made mistakes and fumbled around, but I got it done. Then I made one for Tom, and then one for each of my family members.  Everybody gets their own color.

My machine did not like sewing through all the the folds on the side, so my stitching looks pretty pathetic, but they work. 

Jill picked hers up yesterday, and we'll deliver Jake's tomorrow. If they never wear them that's OK. But they have them. 

So today we went grocery shopping, armored with latex gloves and masks. We got up early to get to the store at 7:30 for the Seniors special hours. This week the store was not crowded at all and the check out lines were minimal and marked off. We found everything we needed, plus some things Jake needed but couldn't find in the city last weekend. 

We will be making a delivery to Jake tomorrow, a chance to take a drive. Yay!  Jake is still working.  This morning we communicated via texting, and I got this photo. 

He is surveying stream banks on the upper Skykomish River, self isolating out in the semi-wilderness. King County want his company to keep working, so I guess his job is "essential". It's a relief to know both of my adult kids still have an income, at least so far.  

But back to the masks. I didn't like wearing mine, and my glasses kept steaming up, but I managed. The pattern I followed doesn't have a wire to bend around the nose to prevent gaps. I thought that might help with the steaming up problem, so I engineered a solution. I used seam binding to make a pocket to feed thin wire through. 

And that's how I have been occupying myself lately.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mail, Meetings, and Me

The other day I got a fun surprise in the mail. Stephanie at Christianson's Nursery had said she would be sending me a Thank You gift for featuring their nursery display garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Fest on my blog. I had forgotten all about it, but then this shirt arrived in the mail. Fun!
I sent her this photo in a thank you email. She had said she wanted to meet me when we came for the Tulip Festival this year. Unfortunately there will be no tiptoeing through the tulips this year. The festival is cancelled, of course. This is a big blow to the economy of the Skagit Valley and a great disappointment to me. This was a highlight of my year. 

Yesterday Jill set us up with an electronic meeting app, Zoom. Teachers are using it to provide instructional material to students who are out of school and she thought we could use it to visually visit too. She taught us how to use it and we are set up on our computers and phones. Always fun to learn a new thing. 

The days here are pretty quiet. I exercise, ride my stationary bike, which is easier on my back and hip than walking, and I read. Each day I spend morning time at breakfast and at least an hour at lunch here, reading the newspaper and working the puzzles.
It's great to have daylight now for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Escaping, Safely

We miss our Friday morning breakfast get-togethers. The sun was shining Friday and I was ready for a little escape.

The Highline Botanical Garden is a short drive from our house, and offered strolling opportunities just right for my still limited walking ability.

Well, now comes a confession. When we got there the garden sign said CLOSED! I said NO WAY! I unlatched the gate and said, "Let's go". Tom was uncertain of my lawlessness but came along. 

We had the garden to ourselves, and although not much is blooming now, it was still a very pleasant stroll. 
Hellebore and trillium along the shade path. 

Someone had added a bit of joy in decorated rocks stuck here and there. We found a few. 

The Japanese garden doesn't need flowers. 

Magnolias are beginning to bloom here. 

Friday evening there was a wonderful sunset. I walked far enough up the street to see it. 
On Saturday we practiced social distancing while working in Jill's yard. Tom can't resist saving every seedling and division he gets from our garden, and it was time to clean out his home nursery. Jill's yard always needs more plants.

Tom placed all of the plants and the kids did the digging and planting.

Jill weeded.
I puttered and then sat and talked to her so we could catch up.  She has realized the importance of social isolation and now has the job of convincing her kids of its necessity. Seventeen year old, social Isaac is having a hard time of it, but Jill will persist.

Stay well. The worst is yet to come. Find joy in small things.