Saturday, December 31, 2022

Another New Year


They go fast, now, those new years. Does that have something to do with being old? 

I went out walking in the yard yesterday and today, looking for things in bloom. After those very cold nights a week or so ago, there isn't much. I'll scatter yard photos here and there among my texts. 

We are not planning to do much celebrating on New Year's Eve. We will stay up and watch the fireworks on tv on the Space Needle at midnight. 

Christmas is winding down. Tomorrow, New Years Day, we'll slowly begin the process of undecorating. What was left of the turkey went into the stock pot yesterday. There will be turkey soup for a couple of days.

Today I made banana cranberry muffins because I had some over ripe bananas. They have gone into the freezer. We have lots of candy and fruitcake and cookies still hanging around. 

I have been getting back on the stationary bike in the garage now that the work of Christmas is done. We'll take it slow on the undecorating. I have pounds to lose and mobility to maintain.

I have a date now for my hip replacement surgery, March 10. That's later than I wanted, but at least I am finally scheduled. I have dates for the pre-op and two post-op appointments also. 

I am beginning to fill in my new planning calendar.  We keep everything on our phone calendars, but I like to have a weekly planner right on the corner of my kitchen counter, where I can keep track of everything, including jobs to do that week. 

We have the dates for the Sounders Soccer games this season. I won't be going. I have had to give it up because it's just hard to do now, and with one and maybe two surgeries this season, I will be staying home and watching on TV. Jill and I both had two season tickets. We have reduced that to two and Jill and Tom will be going. It makes me sad, but change happens. 

As I look ahead to 2023, I don't see much changing for Tom and me. Tom will keep busy doing all of the yard chores. In fact he mowed the lawn today, Dec, 31st, not because it needed mowing, but to vacuum up all of the fir cones and small debris from the last wind storm. I used to rake that all up. It's looking tidy again. 

I send you best wishes for a Happy New Year, with enough good things to keep us in balance, to find our joy, keep our sense of humor, and cultivate kindness. 

On to 2023! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022



Candlelight breakfast. 

We lost power in a windstorm at 7:30 AM Monday morning. It was that damn tree, as we refer to the dead Cottonwood near the street in a neighbor's yard just down hill, that has taken out our power before. This time instead of branches coming down, it was the whole top of the tree. Our power was restored that afternoon. However, the communication cable lines were shattered in a half block area.

Comcast crews worked all day yesterday and into the night. We are back. I can use my computer and Blogger knows me. I am no longer anonymous. 

While those guys were working we had lunch in Ballard where my cousin Kris and her partner Charlie live. They had recently moved back into her childhood home and wanted us to see the changes they are making, and just have some holiday time together. Charlie cooked. They had been part of our Thanksgiving gathering here but it was good to see them in their home, a place I hadn't been to for many years. 

That morning we had been receiving email photos from Jill and Jake of the flood tides at the Whidbey Island cabin where they are staying this week. 

King Tides accompanied by high winds and low pressure caused the tide water to rise higher than anyone remembers it, causing flooding. 

The lagoon spilled right over the bulkheads and into the yard. Fortunately our cabin and our cousin's next door are new enough that they were built well above ground level. They stayed dry inside.
The dock was rescued.
This is the front yard. 
The street
From the beach access. The bay on one side of the spit came up to meet the lagoon on the other. I'm sure there is water damage in some of the properties. There will be lots of clean up to do. 

Finally, December 28th is an important day in our family. It was our mother's birthday. This would mark her 101th birthday, as she was born in 1921. This is her high school graduation photo. 

For many years my large immediate family would gather at the home of our oldest sibling, Ilene, to celebrate Mom's birthday and the Norquist Family Christmas.

That's Ilene on the left with sisters Laurie and me and Mom in a photo taken in 2011, at our cider bee, about a month before Mom died. Ilene is gone now too. 

Mom left a huge legacy, including our cabin at Rockaway Beach on the Oregon Coast, a place she dearly loved. 
There was flooding in Rockaway on the Oregon Coast too, but since we invested in protecting that old cabin from high water by raising it up on pillars, it will have survived. We are protecting Mom's legacy. 

Rockaway cabin in summer

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas 2022

 When Jill and the kids arrived, we put them to work helping with the Christmas Eve dinner. The dinner time had been to 3:00 to accommodate Isaac's work schedule and Jake's ferry reservations. Unfortunately Jake's ferry boat was shifted and his ride delayed. He would not  make it in time for dinner, but at least all of the snow and ice was melted, and driving was once again safe. We considered our selves fortunate compared to most of the country's travel plans. 

Irene carried in the turkey that Tom had roasted/smoked on the BBQ. Tom had Irene and Isaac help carve it. Jill helped get everything done and on the table by 3:00. We ate, and ate, and talked.

When we cleaned up we left all of the food on the kitchen counter to await Jake's arrival. By 5:30 Jake was here, and with his plate full, we regrouped in the dining room, the rest of us on our ice cream and cookie course. The conversation is much more lively when Jake is here. We lingered at the table.

For the rest of the evening cookies accompanied our video viewing. We have favorites: Charlie Brown's Christmas, The Grinch, and Christmas on Sesame Street. Oscar the Grouch is still a favorite. Cookies!

Isaac went to work, Jill and Irene went to church, Jake, Jan, Tom and I carried on conversations until Jan went to bed, and Jake went to Jill's house for his bed. 

Christmas Day at Jill's house began with stockings. Mr. Whiskers like the treats in his stocking. 

The elders were all on our phones while the youngers prepared brunch.
Irene frosted the cardamom bread. 

Then we all ate some more.
The aftermath of a bounteous gift sharing indicates the abundance. We knew it was more than  enough, but we were helping the economy.
Jake is 47 but he was thrilled with the classic Lego set Isaac bought him. 

We stayed all day, ate lots more, and had lots more interesting conversations. We shared some highlights of the year: some favorite places we went or experiences we had, good movies or books, favorite music of the year, all good stuff. No negatives allowed. 

It was a another great Christmas day for the Reeder/Gibson clan. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Preparation and Anticipation

 Rosemary and sage
Picked from the garden,
Sparkling with ice,
Nature's glitter. 

We dodged a bullet here today in Seatac.  The forecast freezing rain/ice storm was milder than expected. The precipitation ceased late in the morning. The thin coating of ice will slowly dissolve as the temperature rises. It's already up to 32 from 23 overnight. By 7:00 this Christmas Eve eve, it will be 40 degrees and raining. Christmas in the Northwest. 

By tomorrow, Christmas Eve, people here should be able to travel safely. The airport will be open. 
Jake will be coming by ferry boat and car to join us here for our Christmas Eve afternoon turkey dinner. We are fitting it in between his arrival and Isaac's work schedule. 

It seems like I have been cooking forever, but preparations are well in hand. All of the cookies and Nordic treats are stored away. On Thursday I made the traditional Cardamom bread. It's awaiting turkey dinner and Christmas morning brunch. 

The cranberry sauce is  made. Pop, pop, pop.

All of the stuffing ingredients are cooked and prepped. The brine for the turkey is chilling. The table is set. Tom and I have removed ourselves from the kitchen for now, for a well deserved rest. 

I need to state here what a tremendous help Tom is in making this all happen. We are a well organized team.

Christmas Day will be at Jill's house. The gifts are always under the kids' tree, even when those kids are growing up. 

This evening we will settle in and watch TV. The house is finally up to 70 degrees after a few cold days. We'll snuggle in and try to turn off all of the list checking off in our heads, grateful that we did not lose power, we are warm and safe, and so is the rest of our family. 

Merry Christmas to all of you dear friends and family out there. May you find joy and peace in this magical season. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


 Happy Solstice!

Yesterday was a very dark day, but today the sun is peaking out of the clouds.

There are two sets of footprints on the driveway today. Usually it is my job, and my pleasure, to walk out to the street to get the newspaper each morning, but today our slushy snow has turned to ice and I was afraid to cross the street. 

Tom did the fetching today while I just enjoyed the walk, the chill, and the light. It was plenty light because we had a good sleep and a very late start to our day.

We are having an easy day today, resting up between busy days.

Yesterday we acknowledged our Nordic heritage by making lefse and fattigmand with our grands. 

Fattigmand is a cardamom flavored fried dough cookie. Isaac does the frying. I have the dough made ahead of time, and roll it out.  
I cut the strips and the slits, and Irene ties the bows. 

After they are cooled the cookies are coated with powdered sugar. Of course we sample to make sure they are fit for consumption. Fattigmand are easy and fun. The name translates to "poor man's" cake. 

Lefse makes a mess of the kitchen. Flour everywhere. I make the mashed potatoes the day before so they are well chilled. The day of making, I add enough flour to make a soft dough. The less flour you have to add the yummier the lefsa, but the harder it is to roll out. 

My dough was very soft. Flour was flying. 
I rolled the dough, and Irene manned the lefse iron (griddle). 
It takes a delicate touch to keep the dough from sticking. Eventually I was happy to let Tom try. He was very good at it. I think I might have a replacement!

Isaac enjoyed some down time, watching and being absorbed on his phone. Then he took a sheet of lefsa hot off the griddle, buttered it, sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar, cut and rolled it, and we all sampled our product. Yum!

Tom has gone shopping. I told him if he found something he wanted he should buy it and I would give it to him for Christmas. We are not really giving gifts to each other this year, because we want for nothing you could buy in a store. I know he will come up with some little thing for me though. 

I have a lazy afternoon ahead of me. Tomorrow I bake cardamom bread, and then every day will be busy for while.

Happy Solstice. Let there be light!