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Archive for December, 2016

gdiaries

This is the last of the monthly publications of my mother’s diaries.  I feel sad to come to the end of them.

I make a big deal about her age, even though it is only ten years older than I am now.  My younger friends seem impressed at how much an old woman can accomplish!

You can read more of her story here (childhood), and here (in the 1940s).

I have revised my thinking; I believe only one of four journals in missing.

Three of four of my mother’s garden diaries from the 90s appeared in among some papers of Allan’s in mid February, 2016.   I am so deeply thrilled to have them.  The others got somehow lost when she moved from her home to Golden Sands Assisted Living in 2009.  She possibly did not think them worth saving.  I can guarantee she would like that they are being shared here.  When these diaries began, she and my dad, Bruce, lived in their retirement home, a manufactured double wide on a 10,500 lot in Nisqually Pines near Yelm, Washington.  Because he was 8 years older, she was able to retire at age 55 in 1979.  (Bruce died in June, 1995.)  A large clearing in the back of the lot held her vegetable garden, strawberry rows, and apple trees.  My comments are in brackets.

1995 (age 71):

Dec 1: I planned on cutting Rhody branches but it was cold.  Got rained in to porch where I divided the wild ??  I planted one large clump in PBB [Patio Bulb Bed] and then later (in house) I potted these plants and put a lot of stems in water to root.  Planted the 5 amaryllis in pots for house plants.

Dec 4: 11:45-4:45  I really got some work done today.  I brought 2 loads of wood up to porch, cut some kindling, planted the 4 Strawberry Shortcake in one of the tall terracotta pots, spread straw over most of the flower beds, especially the Tam area [formerly a bed of juniper tams, now a flower bed by the roadside], also tossed a lot of shredded leaves etc on top of the straw, cut more of Rhody leaves off the branches.

Dec 5:  Hard freeze overnight—too cold to work outside.  I spent money by ordering from 3 catalogs.

Dec 6: Another cold night and day but I need some firewood.  I used the electric chain saw on a few pieces.  It worked fairly easy except the pieces would bounce around on the chopping block.

Dec 7:  I finished trimming the leaves off the Rhody that we cut down [when we visited her in late November.  It had been badly pruned and was all distorted so we took it down low so it would resprout in a better shape].  I piled them up in the old compost heap.  I could have added the branches as extra mulch but it was too cold to stay out long enough to do it.

Dec 12:  Windstorm 95  Lots of branches flung around.  Large tree fell across the road just grazing the window of the cabin.  [Peak gust in nearby Olympia of 57 mph]

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Dec 13: Lots and lots of branches all over.  It was too rainy to do anything outside.

Dec 14: I started to straighten out the mess on the desk when the sun came out so I went out and raked branches from all over, even out on the road.  I piled them along the garage to wait until someone comes to help me.  Oh Robert, are you listening. [Robert was my spouse at the time.  We lived three hours away.  After she moved here, we did lots of firewood piling for her.]

Dec 15:  11:00-4:00 I dug all the wood out of the wood box and got it all chopped or sawed into sizes for stove.  Much of it was pretty wet.  My next job will be to take the rest of the wood from the pile and put it into the box.  Then order more wood from some other place.

The power went out just when I was ready to use the chain saw so while I waited, I planted all the rest of the mums into the garden.  Also I took the leaves and needles that Robert cleaned off the roof and I had him dump in raspberry row.  I moved it to the old compost box on top of the Rhody branches.  I hope it will help decompose those branches and leaves.  I have to find out what kind of oil the electric chainsaw needs before I burn it up.

Dec 18:  I checked the begonias and dahlias in shop—cleaned soil off them etc.  Now I’ll have to find out how to store them for the winter.

spuds.jpg

illustration by Marcie Hawthorne

Dec 20:  12:00-4:00  I got most of wood out of pile and using electric chainsaw to cut them in half.  Then the big axe to cut into pieces (the ones I couldn’t cut I left to burn as one piece).  Then small axe to cut what I could into kindling.  Then I threw the pieces into the wood box.

Dec 21:  The wood I got is too wet to keep a decent fire going.  I think I may order the McKenna wood—4 cords for $400!  On their answering machine they say their wood is two years dry and clean, ready to burn.

Rec’d a package from Skyler and Robert—a nice book, “Gardening from the Heart.”

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[one of my favourite gardening books of all time]

Dec 23: Spent most of the day looking through my stuff in various boxes looking for the order form for the Potters Barn.  Of course, I had to stop and read everything.

Dec 25: Spent several hours packing Bruce’s clothes into boxes—approx 75 shirts and 30+ slacks, suits, jackets, PJs, shoes.  I’ll call Senior Center to see if they will accept these clothes for the thrift shop.  This will be another step towards accepting my life without Bruce as hard as that is. [Her husband had died in June of 1995.]

Dec 27:  The power was out all day till about 6:00 PM.  It got cold in here.  It would help if my firewood was dry!  I had to disconnect alarm system as it was growling.

Dec 28:  Called Senior Center re someone to come after clothes for their thrift shop.  The boxes (2) are too heavy for me to get them into car.  15 boxes altogether.  They will call back.  (He never did.)

Dec 29:  Potelco came by to run a new telephone wire—but decided to wait till Tuesday.  I called Sears re the garage door opener.  Repairman will come next Tuesday.

Dec 30: Today I ordered from McKenna Wood Yard 4 cords of (supposed to be) dry wood.  I’ll have a job stacking it but it should last maybe for a year.  That will be good.

I’m still working on my inventory of flower seeds.  I don’t think I’ll need to order many.

Dec 31:  I managed to get all 15 boxes of Bruce’s clothes into the car.  On Tuesday, I’ll call the Senior Center to see if there is someone who can take them for their thrift store.

This is the end of a terrible year.  I still miss him so much. Maybe when winter is over it will be better.  I am getting along better than I ever thought I would.  Being able to drive has helped a lot.  Now I need a cat for companionship.

[She did get an adult cat named Tabby and had her till Tabby passed away from old age in about 2008.  I am proud of mom for how well she managed after dad died.  She told me that she had only lived alone for one two week period of her whole life before then.]

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illustration by Frank Fretz

1997 (age 73):

Dec 1:  12:30-4:00  The sun was out but by the time I went out it was dry but gray.  I emptied all the tubs, containers, etc.  I emptied each one in the wheelbarrow so I was able to check for lost spring bulbs, containers, etc.  I was really surprised at the number of good bulbs,  Now I have to plant them somewhere in front; they are all low plants.  I’ll plant new ones in the containers ASAP.  I washed all the pots w/hose and got really wet.  I rewrapped pipe with insulated foil covered by plastic.

Dec 2 (Tuesday): 2:30-4:00  On Monday, I went to bed at 12:00.  Got up at 1:30 and read til 3:00.  At 6 AM I figured out I had forgotten to take my Amitriptyline and Excedrin PM so I took them and went to sleep after daylight and slept soundly until 12:30 so I guess the pills do help.  I’ll have to started taking them at 10:00 PM.

Worked in Tam area pruning and raking leaves. [Tam area was former big entry bed of Juniper tams, dug up and replaced with perennials.]

Dec 3:  Dental appt—got the $750 crown glued in.

Dec 4: Hard freeze.  Started planting bulbs in various containers.  I used the soil from last year’s containers plus mushroom compost.  I have only about a dozen left to plant.

Dec 5: Too cold to work outside.  Hard freeze again so I left the water dripping in the shop, the lamp lit by the water pipe and turned the heater on in the shop [large two room outbuilding where my dad had had his tools and toy trains] although I am afraid of it.  The soil in all the containers is frozen hard.  I hope my bulbs aren’t frozen but all the containers came through last winter’s cold.

Dec 6: What a mess!  I went out to get a can of cranberry sauce and found that a dozen or so cans of pop had frozen in the shop refrigerator and the cans had exploded and sprayed coke etc all over the inside of the refrigerator!  I removed all cans from fridge—many frozen so I put them in sunk.

Dec 7:  I took everything out of refrig freezer, threw some stuff away and managed to put it all in the chest freezer and house freezer.  Moved all cans of pop into big shop room behind door so they’re not next to outer wall.  The refrig control is stuck and I don’t know where it’s plugged in so I can’t turn it off.

Dec 8: Sunny and cool  I only worked about 1 1/2 hours raking leaves in my lower driveway until I got rained in.  The dry leaves from Wilsons [neighbors across the road] sure were a lot easier to rake than my wet ones were today.  I emptied all the cans that sprayed all over the shop refrigerator and put them out to recycle.  I tried that blower thing to blow leaves but it wouldn’t work.

Dec 9: Read Readers Digest—nuff said.

Dec 10: Letter from Skyler—they plan on coming on the 18th.  So I better get some work done outside.  I raked the path in front of the house and finished the lower driveway.  I moved “Robert’s” boxes to the NW corner of the garage and moved my garden stuff boxes along front half east side—to be sorted “sometime”.  All bags of leaves are now by garage back door.  There must be at least 25!

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Dec 11:  Stayed in today to remove all the stuff out of “guest” bedroom.  Also removed stuff from my room that belongs in shop or greenhouse.  I ended up with boxes and boxes by the front door which I’ll do tomorrow.

Dec 12:  Cool—dry  Took all those boxes to shop.  I took all the begonia bulbs from baskets.  Also cleaned up the upright bulbs.  I took the trunks and boxes off the table and now have a dozen or so trays of bulbs—I covered them so they won’t freeze.  It’s been so cold at night I’ve turned wall heater on although I am afraid of it.  I dumped soil from baskets on the compost box.

bulbs

Dec 13: 12:00-3:00  I had several jobs scheduled for today but I brought up a huge amount of wood to the porch filling all wood boxes and the rack.  I’m going to have to start using the wood behind the shop to allow the small pieces (from the branches) to last longer.  I’m sure I’ll have to order more wood.  I picked up the big rocks out of Tam area and ditch.  Then I quit and went inside exhausted.  But I made up a grocery list and went to the store to get things for good meals with S&R are here.  It was dark when I got home.  I don’t like driving in the dark!

Dec 15:  Skyler and Robert arrived around 5:00—she to do “spring” housecleaning and he to do all sorts of things.  Tabby is staying in the bedroom.  We put the upright vacuum in doorway to keep Bertie out.  [That would be Bertie Woofter, our black labrador, who would not hurt a cat, as we had cats, but Tabby was scared.  Robert used to say later of visiting my mom’s double wide with its dark walls, dark vinyl floors and dark gold carpet, “It’s like living in a big hush puppy shoe.”]

Dec 17: We started shredding the dry leaves and there wasn’t much difference when they came out.  However, the huge pile of stuff was just too wet to shred.  We picked out branches etc but the leaves, weeds, etc just jammed the machine.  I bagged some and I think I’ll toss the rest over the garden to be tilled in next spring.

Dec 18:  S&R took me to the new Chinese Wok for dinner.  Delicious sweet and sour pork and prawns.

More cleaning and jobs done.

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illustration by Frank Fretz

Dec 19: S&R packed up the chipper/shredder, Mantis Tiller, and lots of other stuff in their 2 wheel trailer and left about 11:00.  I finally got them on phone at about 8:00 AM.  They had broken down between Tenino and Bucoda and ended up having to be towed to Ilwaco.  For $450.00!  [When our lemon of a used van died on the way home, we found that the Bucoda auto repair place was closing for Christmas and couldn’t help for a week.]  I’m glad I gave them an extra $1000 plus Xmas check.  So far their 10 year old Plymouth Voyager has cost them about $5000.

I found out there is an on-off switch on the phone which is why I’m not getting any incoming calls.  The switch was in the off position.

Dec 22:  New dishwasher installed—over $500.  I wouldn’t have bothered with it except if sell the house it should have one.  The man said I should use the powdered D/W soap, at least in the compartment for the second wash.  That is very surprising.

I brought a lot of larger pieces of wood from behind the shop so I wouldn’t be using the smaller pieces up.

Dec 23:  Spent afternoon working on houseplants.  I even threw out a few violets.  I put hanging baskets back up.  Moved 7 shelf thing over by drop leaf table so I could move new white plant tower back near Norfolk Pine so it wouldn’t be apt to tip over when I turn lights on in the Floralight.

meuble néon à plantes.JPG

Floralight

Dec 24: I trimmed back two large Wandering Jews (I think) so now I have 8 or 10 glasses of stems in water to root and make more plants.  The woman and daughter Lisa and Tunisa who are renting the shack across the street brought me a tin of cookies.  Lisa and Tunisa and Black and very nice.  MaryAnne and Walt brought me some candy, cookies, etc.

Dec 25:  The Huskies won the Aloha Bowl.  Skyler called.  She is frustrated because Robert has spent three days trying to fix their van and bought a carburetor which turned out not to be the problem.  She wants him to do to work on jobs he has to do and have a mechanic do the work on the car.  I feel for her because I can remember many times we had car trouble.  I’m tempted to give them more money to get a good truck but I’d better not—I need to save some for future health care. [Finally Robert agreed to take the van to an auto shop; two shops failed to fix it.  At last the Christmas holidays were over and Box K Auto Repair re-opened and had it fixed perfectly in one day; the problem has been a “pinhole in the distributor cap’ causing an electrical spark that was shorting things out (something like that).  I hope that we made it all up to mom with ten years of helping her out after she moved here.]

Dec 27:  The guy down the street had wood from a tree they cut down and he offered me half of it for $40.  They (including Bob and Allen Wilson) brought it over and filled wood box and piled some behind the house.  I paid him $20 cash and $20 check (I kept $10 cash).  Later at 9:30 he called to say he couldn’t get to a bank so I told him to come over and I gave him $10.00 bill and $10 in quarters so he can go buy some food.  He is nice but sort of ratty looking.  I didn’t have any way of judging the amount of wood so I don’t know if I got a good deal or not, but I guess I helped them out some.

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illustration by Frank Fretz

Dec 29:  Made dental appt for next week—the “patches” came off my two front teeth.  Went to QFC to get copy of one order so I can return it.  Pd electric bill.  Went to bank.  I called Penney’s Custom Decorating—things made to order.  I’m sure I don’t want to spend what they will be but made an appt for the woman to come on Monday.  At least I can get some ideas (and measurements) from her.

Dec 30:  Went to post office to mail package to Skyler plus two returns.  Did paperwork, some filing.  Ordered more crossword puzzles.  I need to sort some of the “stuff” sitting ar0und (or hide some of it) so the place won’t look so “junky” when the Penneys woman comes next Monday.  It was a beautiful day and I wish I had done out to do some yard work.

1998 (age 74):

Dec 1:  Store and errand day.  Telephone co, Tim’s, Rite Aid and QFC

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Dec 2:  Slept till 11:00.  The sun was out when I got up but it started raining so I stayed in.  I took care of the ripe tomatoes (froze 2 pkgs).  There is only one tray of tomatoes left.

Dec 3: The sun was out so out I went.  I cut back a lot of stuff in the flower beds.  Then I carried all the rest of the old wood from behind the shop.  It was hard to pile the wood as it’s in such odd pieces.  A lot of it is wet so I’ll bring it in 2 or 3 pieces to dry while I continue to burn the wood from the shed.

Dec 4:  11:30-7:00  6 qts of apple slices.  That takes care of the last two pails of apples.  Tomorrow I’ll sort through the tall bucket of scabby apples.  I’m sure some of them have spoiled.  I will use them as my “oatmeal apples w/raisins”.  I may make an apple cobbler with some.  But no more canning.

Dec 5:  Another busy day inside although the sun was shining part of the time.  I hung the Johnston plaque [reproduction of her surname coat of arms] left of the stove and moved the copper horse head picture in the dining room.  I cleaned up the utility sink area and finally got the begonias into individual pots—under the lights in the bathroom.  Washed about 30 pairs of gloves, washed my sheets.

Next week:

  • Finish planting container bulbs
  • Cut back stuff in UBW [Upper Bed West]
  • Move goat’s beard
  • Rake up fallen branches

Dec 7: RAINY DAY  I puttered in the house—not my usual busy Monday.  I actually folded the clothes from three washings.  Did some paper work.  Wrote a long letter to Skyler.  I even straightened out the kitchen junk drawer.

Dec 8:  I finally finished planting the Dutch Gardens bulbs. I ran out of containers so I planted some in various flower beds.  I shoveled a lot of compost soil onto the “new” box covering the huge pile of apple peelings etc then covered it with a tarp and put boards on the tarp.  I ran out of very early spring bulbs for the top layer in some of the containers.  I’ll try Gordon’s.

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Dec 9: I brought wood in from shed and the vinyl in from the garage so it won’t mildew.  I noticed some rotten apples in the basket.  I poured them out so I can see how they are.  I threw out about 15 or 20 rotten ones and peeled some half bad ones.  I also noticed the last 6 or 8 of the 20# of potatoes were beginning to sprout so I ended up with 2 trays of potatoes and 4 trays of apples to dry.  The rest of the apples will be for my oatmeal.

Next week:

  • Start seed inventory
  • Rake upper driveway and patio area
  • Clean up shop and put bulbs in peat moss

Dec 10:  Today marks the end of my food preparation—the last 2 trays of apples are almost dry.  I took my filled jars of apples and tomatoes out to the shop and also took out the clean jars.  I’ll keep them in the shop not the garage.  I put all the canning equipment away.  Then I got the Pinetree catalog and the Reader’s Digest and Organic Gardening.  Nuff said.

pinetree-seed-catalog-2012.jpg

Dec 11: Last evening I organized all my seeds—next will be to  inventory them before going through the new catalogs.

Dec 12: I started my inventory of veggie seeds and got about half of the flower seeds listed.

Dec 13: For the first time ever I finished the Sunday crossword puzzle, all correct, too.

Dec 14:  Not my usual busy Monday but I did finish the listing of flower seeds (10 pages).  Now I can go thr0ugh the Pinetree catalog to mark seeds I want but I’ll wait for the new Park Seed catalog before ordering any.  Also I picked up about 1/3 of a pail of pretty good apples.  Surprised.

Dec 15: Noon-5:00  I had a list of things to do in the house but it was a beautiful sunny day so I went outside and finished cutting back plants in front.  I moved the Goat’s Beard plant from UBW [Upper Bed West] to the UDFB [Upper Driveway Flower Bed]. I used the chain saw to cut down the Lavatera and was able to dig out most of the roots.  I cleaned up the patio and used the leaves to mulch the various pots.  Then I brought in some wood.

fire.jpg

illustration by Carol Inouye

 

Dec 16:  I got the Park Seed catalog so I started marking the catalog to show which ones are on my inventory list.  I’ll make up the Pinetree order first because they are the cheapest.

Dec 17:  I had to go to Tim’s for my other prescriptions.  Gordon’s had one ad for crocus so I went to get some for the top layer of several tubs but they had no crocus left so I guess I’ll plant seeds as the top layer.  I peeled the last of my tomatoes and took care of the squash I got at QFC.

Dec 18:  COLD  I started going through my violets, removing dead leaves and some to put in water to root.  I repotted several.  I separated the strawberry begona and ended up with 8 plants.  I turned on the light shining on the water pipes in the shop and left the water dripping.

Dec 19:  COLDER  More of the same.  I got through all of the violets but didn’t put all the potted plants back because I need to vacuum up the leaves etc on the rug in that corner.

Dec 21: MUCH COLDER  When I checked the shop I saw the water pipe and drain were frozen (again).  I got ahold of Mt Rainier Plumbing and their man (Ed) came over.  He thawed the pipes and I told him I don’t really need the water in the shop so he shut it off and opened the faucet.  I brought in all my canned food and 2 liter pop (some of the beans had ice crystals).  I tossed a lot more old beans and beets out.  [She canned like mad but could not keep up on eating the results.  Her canned beans were delicious and I ate many jars full over the years.]  I worked until 9:30 finding places to put the jars.

Dec 22:  It was cold today. I had a mess of stuff to clean up in the kitchen.  I tossed more jars of beets and 2 tomatoes that had spoiled (pint jars).  I emptied 2 pails into the compost.  The hot and cold handles in the shop were stuck again but since the water is shut off I didn’t do anything.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll pour some boiling water over them.  I’ll soon have to bring more wood in.

Dec 23: BRRRRRR 24 degrees high, 3 degrees low.  I spent all day preparing my seed orders to Park Seed and Pinetree Seeds, total of $395.28.  This year I concentrated on low annuals to plant in containers.  I didn’t order many perennials as this may be my last spring and summer here.  [Indeed, by June 1999 she had moved to Long Beach.]

Dec 28: Again I didn’t do my usual busy Monday chores.  I just puttered inside, paid some bills and ordered stuff from 2 or 3 catalogs.

dec

illustration by Carol Inouye

Dec 29: Ditto  I still haven’t finished going through my houseplants—maybe tomorrow.

Dec 30:  Finally did some work.  I brought wood into house.  Also started cleaning the area around the wood rack.  Allen came over and helped for awhile.  I brought some more wood to the porch.  Then I started on the houseplants—threw a couple away, repotted some and rearranged the plants.  Tried vacuuming until the vac conked out.  I ran out of space before I ran out of plants.




Coming to the end of these diaries is like saying goodbye to my mom (something I did not actually do because her death, in 2010, was sudden).  I hope you have enjoyed them.

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I wondered if I would regret by now that I did not decorate for Christmas.  No, I am just relieved that I have more reading time instead of a day spent un-decorating.  Putting this card, from 1977, out was my entire extent of decorating this year:

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Two pleasant intervals with friends provided some holiday feeling to the season.

I had indeed gotten sick by Tuesday morning with a bad cold, just as Allan was getting over his.  Even though the evening weather had been dry and not windy, we hadn’t had a solstice campfire on Wednesday the 21st as I had hoped.  The knee brace fitter had showed up unannounced at the door with the brace, and I had sent her away politely because I felt so terrible.  (She should have called first.  I just wasn’t up to it by surprise and didn’t want to pass on the illness.  If she’d called, I could have thought ahead and done the fitting out in the garage where the germs were not thick…but I couldn’t think fast enough when put on the spot. Next week, I hope we will connect.)

Thursday, 22 December 2016

While getting the mail on Thursday, Allan had a look at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum Christmas village.

in the museum window

looking in the museum window

frontier Christmas village

frontier Christmas village

the Christmas train goes round and round.

the Christmas train goes round and round.

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Skooter helped Allan wrap some presents.

Skooter helped Allan wrap some presents.

Even though I did not think I should take my contagious self to Dave and Melissa’s holiday dinner party, Melissa was strangely insistent that I should attend.  She, Dave, and Todd all expressed conviction that they would not get sick.

Sea Star holiday dinner

at Sea Star

at Sea Star

entry way

entry way

Unlike me, Melissa did not refrain from decorating this year.  (Dave says, “It’s all Melissa.”)

a table top tree with all fruit and veg ornaments

a table top tree with all fruit and veg ornaments

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I love the indoor window between dining room and great room.

I love the indoor window between dining room and great room.

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the big tree

the big tree

Dave, Melissa, Todd

Dave, Melissa, Todd

As always, a delicious feast by the Sea Star chefs

As always, a delicious feast by the Sea Star chefs

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flowers

flowers

 

North Beach Garden Gang

North Beach Garden Gang

When gift exchange time came, we learned why Melissa had been so determined for us all to come.  She presented the entire gang with matching garden club hoodies.

How about that?

How about that?

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home made cookie assortment including chocolate truffles

home made cookie assortment including chocolate truffles, and Allan brought pumpkin pies.

It was impossible to get a good photo of the ever active Coulee.  Here he is, though, as we were also celebrating his tenth birthday.

Coulee gets a scritching.

Coulee gets a scritching.

And a hug.

And a hug.

When we arrived back home at ten, look who we found in the unfenced part of the front garden:

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and a third one behind our neighbour's house

and a third one behind our neighbour’s house

Friday, 23 December 2016

The glass blocks arrived for the upcoming bathroom beautification project.

all the way from Seattle

all the way from Seattle

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

This is all being organized by master builder Bill Clearman.

I kept reading, alternating between Modernity Britain and online discussions of intersectional feminism. By the end of the day, I had finally finished the 758 page tome of Modernity Britain, and I am anxious because I can find nothing online regarding when historian David Kynaston will publish the next volume, Opportunity Britain.  I long for it.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

I spent the afternoon reading more discussions about intersectional feminism and trying to finish a book called Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There. I was too distracted to completely finish the rather short book.  My concentration is nil these days.

Allan took a DVD back to the library, a ten block walk.

Allan's photo: library garden

Allan’s photos: library garden

view from library entrance

view from library entrance

A walk back by the marina netted another gift certificate from Salt Pub.

at Salt Hotel

at Salt Hotel

The tide was low.

The tide was low.

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from the docks

from the docks

the steamer at OleBob's Café

at OleBob’s Café

a Christmas eve day walk

a Christmas eve day walk

Crabbing season will finally begin at the New Year.

Crabbing season will finally begin at the New Year.

It is hard on the crabbing families when the lucrative season does not begin till after Christmas.

The Depot Dickens Dinner

At 8 PM, we met J9 and Our Kathleen for the traditional Christmas Eve Dickens dinner at the Depot Restaurant.  I felt ever so much better than earlier in the week.

Depot Restaurant entry way

Depot Restaurant entry way

Depot tree with train and culinary ornaments

Depot tree with train and culinary ornaments

on the tree

on the tree

Dickens dinner: roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and brussel sprouts

Dickens dinner: roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and brussel sprouts

Allan had the crab stuffed petrale sole.

Allan had the crab stuffed petrale sole.

eggnog flan

eggnog flan

vanilla bean caramel cheese cake

vanilla bean caramel cheese cake

J9 and Allan tuck in to dessert after we opened our Christmas crackers and donned our crowns.

J9 and Allan tuck in to dessert after we four opened our Christmas crackers and donned our crowns.

in the pass

in the pass

a nice card from the Depot

a nice card from the Depot

Sunday, 25 December 2016

We had a quiet Christmas afternoon, with the opening of presents (not-morning-people don’t open presents in the morning) and the writing of this blog post.

Skooter enjoyed the unwrapping

Skooter enjoyed the unwrapping

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

presents from Our Kathleen, Montana Mary, Klipsan Beach Cottages, and to the right a Slow Drag mug by Don Nisbett (from Allan to me)

presents from Our Kathleen, Montana Mary, Klipsan Beach Cottages, and to the right a Slow Drag mug by Don Nisbett (from Allan to me)

a beautiful sculpture from Jenna

a beautiful sculpture from Jenna, made by Astoria artist Judith Niland

three from the pile of Christmas cards

three from the pile of Christmas cards

Allan found me a darling house.  It lights up and is not just for Christmas.

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Here, to you, our Christmas greetings; the photo is from a long ago trip.

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Our friend Bill Clearman, who is going to make a beautiful bathtub enclosure for us, had stopped by twice recently with ideas.  We have been charged with making a trip “overseas” (Warrenton) to look at tile colors.  Today was going to be that day….until the weather was just so good that we had to finish the work list instead.

(I must admit I have recently shortened the work list by just erasing a couple of items.)

This morning, here is all that is left (along with the size of tiles we are supposed to look at).

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Smokey would have preferred that I stay home. 

On the reading chair alone.

We parked at the Red Barn and did a brief tidy of the planters there, then walked over to Diane’s garden.

Red Barn: the frost did take down the last of the nasturtiums. (Allan's photo)

Red Barn: the frost did take down the last of the nasturtiums. (Allan’s photo)

Diane's roadside garden (Allan's photo)

Diane’s roadside garden (Allan’s photo)

We’re still waiting to see when the septic company comes and takes down Diane and Larry’s trees and drives through the long narrow garden strip.  We clipped all the dead annuals in the back yard container garden.  The next time we come here will be February and one of the first things we will do will be to prune the hydrangea:

Diane's hydrangea must have looked grand in the recent snow.

Diane’s hydrangea must have looked grand in the recent snow.

After a mere 15 minutes of work, we were off to The Anchorage Cottages, where Mitzu and Beth greeted us.

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Mitzu (Allan's photo)

Mitzu (Allan’s photo)

center courtyard on a sunny and not so cold day

center courtyard on a sunny and not so cold day

Beth and Allan standing up a trellis

Beth and Allan standing up a trellis of climbing hydrangea

Mitzu

Mitzu

Mitzu and Beth

Mitzu and Beth

We bid the Anchorage goodbye until early next February.

In Long Beach, we did a bit of clipping on planters by NIVA green.

outside NIVA green, our favourite shop

outside NIVA green, our favourite shop

NIVA green front window

NIVA green front window

Christmas ornament display idea

in NIVA green: Christmas ornament display idea

another idea: a mobile of ornaments

another idea: a mobile of ornaments

I hope I remember those ideas for next year, when perhaps I will be in the mood for decorating.  Part of the problem this year is not just the loss of hope…I also feel like it was JUST last month when I took down last year’s decorations.  And I promise you that I did so on December 31, 2015.  The years go disturbingly fast now.  Maybe Christmas 2017 will feel like a long enough to interval to make decorating a treat again.

We checked on Veterans Field gardens and decided to postpone clipping the plants until late January, 2017.  We watered the window boxes at the Depot Restaurant for the pleasure of the bulbs.

At the Depot: two darling dogs, Rowdy and Rosie. (Allan's photo)

behind the Depot: two darling dogs, Rowdy and Rosie. (Allan’s photo)

a nice end to the afternoon

a nice end to the afternoon

We had NO wind which made for a good work day.  Tonight, a 65 mph gale is supposed to go through and that may delay the trip to look at tiles.

And that brings the work year to an end (and the tile notes transferred to something more portable than the work board):

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With how fast time goes, it will seem like just days before I am filling the board with the first of 2017’s tasks.

Allan and I are both feeling a little bit poorly.  It is my desire to be well enough to attend three more planned holiday festivities (and not disappoint friends who are counting on our presence) and to make the tile-shopping excursion.  I managed to write three blog posts this evening (this being the last of the three) and will now return to my book, Modernity Britain…only 300 pages to go.

 

 

 

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14-18 December: holiday events

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This is how I want to spend my time: Reading the third volume of Tales of a New Jerusalem.

I am pleased that Nella Last is sometimes quoted in Modernity Britain (as she was in the preceding two volumes).  Because the published collections of her diaries ended in the early 50s, the passages chosen by Kynaston are new to me.

The weather remained freezing.

Skooter snoozing

Skooter snoozing


Smokey. Naughty Calvin is the one who scratched the arm of my chair.

Smokey. Naughty Calvin is the one who scratched the arm of my chair.


Frosty (Allan's photo)

Frosty (Allan’s photo)

Allan made a foray into Long Beach for errands.

Our icy driveway (Allan's photo)

Our icy driveway (Allan’s photo)


our friend Rudder, who lives next door (Allan's photo)

our friend Rudder, who lives next door (Allan’s photo)


the Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm shop

the Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm shop


beach approach garden

beach approach garden


narcissi in Fifth Street Park

narcissi in Fifth Street Park


Melianthus major and Phlomis in Fifth Street Park

Melianthus major and Phlomis in Fifth Street Park

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Although I still had 400 pages left in my book and found it hard to leave it, Saturday was mostly devoted to holiday activities.

We attended two holiday bazaars to finish our Christmas shopping.

At the Sou’wester:

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"The Potato Bug" has a wooden skirt.

“The Potato Bug” has a wooden skirt.


The African Queen double decker

The African Queen double decker


Two handsome Spartan trailers

Two handsome Spartan trailers


I lived in the rounded front Spartan for five months in 1993. The blue trailer is the Zelmar Cruiser.

I lived in the rounded front Spartan for five months in 1993. The blue trailer is the Zelmar Cruiser.


The Thrifty (thrift shop) trailer

The Thrifty (thrift shop) trailer


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Our friend Joe Chasse warming himself outside the holiday bazaar

Our friend Joe Chasse warming himself outside the holiday bazaar


into the bazaar

into the bazaar


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


Allan's photo

Allan’s photo


artist Joe Chasse

artist Joe Chasse


Joe Chasse (Allan's photo)

Joe Chasse (Allan’s photo)


Joe's creations (Allan's photo)

Joe’s creations (Allan’s photo)


a creation by Joe and (left) the Sou'wester baby, Celestine, getting her photo taken

a creation by Joe and (left) the Sou’wester baby, Celestine, getting her photo taken


a Joe ship

a Joe ship, with moving parts


by Joe Chasse

by Joe Chasse


one of Joe's canned ham trailers

one of Joe’s canned ham trailers

You can see some videos of Joe’s creations here.

Sweet old Sou’wester dog.

I got some lovely cards.

I got some lovely cards.

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At the Adrift Hotel:

Adrift Hotel Holiday Bazaar

Adrift Hotel Holiday Bazaar

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Adrift entrance

Adrift entrance


an admirable winter planter

an admirable winter planter

I thought, I really should make more an effort with winter planters.

Who should we find at the Pink Poppy Bakery booth but our J9:

J9 picking up Pink Poppy treats for some friends. (Allan's photo)

J9 picking up Pink Poppy treats for some friends. (Allan’s photo)


Pink Poppy Bakery, Madeline

Pink Poppy Bakery, Madeline


our neighbours, Starvation Alley cranberry products

our neighbours, Starvation Alley cranberry products

Some pottery and some soap rounded out our shopping list.

Karen Brownlee Pottery

Karen Brownlee Pottery


One comfort was that everywhere we went today and everyone I bought from was, I knew, on the same page…of horror…at what is going on in our country right now.  Harmony Soapworks has a new sideline:

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On the way home, Allan and I did some clipping back in the Long Beach welcome sign garden, where I was mildly annoyed at having to deal with broken glass.

Why do this, I ask you?

Why do this, I ask you?


tidying the welcome sign

tidying the welcome sign

I had time in the afternoon to read another 100 pages of my book. In the evening, we attended a party, albeit briefly.  I had told our friend Jan that I was not able to muster holiday enthusiasm, and she had offered that we could just come sit and enjoy the sparkling tree.  So that is exactly what I did, and beautiful it was.

the groaning board

the groaning board


in the main party room

in the main party room

Jan has a non-money raffle for the Christmas bags that you can see in the above photo.  She takes donations for our local humane society and this year she raised $250!

I mostly sat and looked at the tree in the quiet, high ceilinged living room.

Jan's tree

Jan’s tree

In the late evening, at home, I had some fun with the tree in two different photo apps.

in Waterlogue

in Waterlogue


and in Prizma

and in Prizma


Prizma can provide hours of amusement with one photo.

Prizma can provide hours of amusement with one photo.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

I made my way through another 125 pages of Modernity Britain.  I’m frequently distracted by reading snippets of news.  I need to keep my iPhone by me when reading to Google photos of various buildings mentioned in the book.  One running theme of the late 1950s in England is the tearing down of “slums” and building monstrous great tower blocks instead.  (I may have a blog posts of some favourite excerpts from all three books later this winter.)

In the evening, we went with Melissa and Dave to see the new Star Wars film, Rogue One, at our local Neptune Theater.  The film seemed to me (and others) like a parable for our times.

Loki, the Neptune Theater mascot

Loki, the Neptune Theater mascot

From an earlier Star Wars movie:

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Afterward, the four of us had a late dinner at the [pickled fish] restaurant at Adrift Hotel.

Melissa and Dave after consumption of a tasty pizza

Melissa and Dave after consumption of a tasty pizza


I had an interesting drink.

I had an interesting drink called The Beginning of Time.


part of the drinks menu

part of the drinks menu

Over dinner, Melissa shared with us some photos she had taken a week ago, in snow, at THE Oysterville garden, so let’s close with those soothing images:

Melissa's photo

The Oysterville garden, Melissa’s photo


The Oysterville garden allée, Melissa's photo

The Oysterville garden allée, Melissa’s photo

And, from us to you:

solstice

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

I had a little doctor’s appointment…X ray results to see if my wonky knee had caused lower back problems.  I am happy to report that my back is still perfectly aligned.

On our rounds of clinic and errands, we saw some holiday cheer.

at the Ilwaco post office

at the Ilwaco post office

at the Ocean Beach Medical Clinic

at the Ocean Beach Medical Clinic

at the Ocean Beach Medical Clinic

at the Ocean Beach Medical Clinic

I had a look in the lobby of the Ocean Beach Hospital (across the parking lot) at the Memory Tree.

Hospital Memory Tree

Hospital Memory Tree

If I had thought it through, I could have got an ornament from the gift shop to add my mother’s name.  That possibility did not occur to me till later.  I find the memory ornaments deeply touching.  Let us think about these people for a moment:

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On display were the wreaths to be auctioned for Friends of the Hospital.

a treat for the birds...what a great idea!

a treat for the birds…what a great idea!

At the Ilwaco Timberland Library, I picked up the 800+ page tome, Modernity Britain.  I expect it will be the center of my life for the next several days.

in the Ilwaco Timberland Library

in the Ilwaco Timberland Library

Allan suggested that we backtrack a few blocks to Black Lake to see the swans, who had recently arrived for their annual sojourn.  (Allan took the swan photos.)

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In the evening, Melissa and Dave joined us for a Salty Talk at Salt Pub.

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Salty Talks lecture: “There’s a buzz going around, let’s keep it that way!” with beekeeper Julie Tennis at the SALT Hotel and Pub. Learn the differences in bee species living in the Long Beach area and how human intervention can play an important role to help prosper the survival of these pollinators.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Young Flynn was innkeeping.  (Allan's photo)

Young Flynn was innkeeping. (Allan’s photo)

Salt Pub

Salt Pub

window seat

window seat

window reflection

window reflection

a delicious brussel sprouts dish

a delicious brussel sprouts dish

crab mac and cheese

crab mac and cheese

a crowded house

a crowded house

Introduction by a park ranger (Allan's photo)

Introduction by a park ranger (Allan’s photo)

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Julie Tennis interspersed bee facts between passages from this story:

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Julie Tennis at the podium

Julie Tennis at the podium

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Bee Mentor Julie Tennis (Allan's photo)

Bee Mentor Julie Tennis (Allan’s photo)

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After speaking eloquently of the pollinators, the flowers that are most helpful to them (0n the wild side, prunella (self heal), evening primrose, and salal), using alternatives to pesticides (because more insects lead to more birds!), her final slide had an important message…for more than just helping bees:

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We were offered free flower seeds:

We will sow these in the beach approach garden

We will sow these in the beach approach garden and the port gardens.

After the lecture, the four of us lingered till closing time for our weekly meeting of the North Beach Garden Gang.

For those of you who have enjoyed the excerpts from my mother’s diaries, please know that I will be publishing her December garden diary later this month.  I haven’t published daily excerpts because I am not writing here every day during our Winterval.

 

 

 

 

While the

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I managed to find the slow way out of town. Here I am watching a crew clearing the large tree that recently took out the city’s power. Down the road I was stopped again as traffic watched a crane working on a new culvert.

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Left is the tree top and right is the sizable trunk with fresh wires in between.

After arriving in Seattle and settling in and visiting with my brother, I attended a Christmas party with old friends Saturday night.

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A bunch of Moto Guzzi owners-but no motorcycles parked outside in the snow.

Next day started with some detective work.

A Wedgwood grade school classmate of mine had posted this picture on her Facebook page. The house in the background looked familiar but I couldn’t find it on google’s street view.

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The car may be a classic but it was just a couple of years old at the time.

Soon the case was solved.

Here it is almost sixty years later.

Next, I walked a little further to our grade school, past a ‘Little Free Library.’

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“Every book is a Tardis”

A small portion of the Wedgwood grade school’s playground has been made into learning gardens divided by grade level.

A greenhouse just like ours with an ambitious self-leveling water collection system already half full for the sixth graders.

The faucet by the fence is plumbed a long way from the school.

For the third graders

A friendly sign.


I went by my old house and noticed a more efficient heat pump had been installed by the new owners. Mom’s plants are maturing in the foreground and our Scottish Terrier’s play area was behind the fence.

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Across the street was a beauty berry bush.

Next, it was down to the water where Seattle likes to boat.

We are at the site marked number one.

In spite of a Seattle SeaHawks game and a forty degree day melting the snow from the day before, I saw a couple of boaters.

The Aqua Verde Cafe rents little boats and serves up Mexican food.

A tetrapanax highlights Aqua Verde’s small garden. The Interstate 5 bridge is in the background.

One of these tours might be convenient. They know where to go and will try to bring us all back right side up.

Birds of a feather flocking off the dock.

Next, I headed for Duck Bay in the university’s Arboretum, my favorite place to canoe as a kid.

Duck Bay residents.

When I was a kid, we used to drag our boat to the mud bank closest to the “You Are Here” arrow and muck our way in.

The Arboretum now has dedicated graveled landing sites, and they’re not very near the car at all. I was told at the visitor’s center that with the scarce parking, most boaters launch from the University crew house and paddle across the highway of motorboats going through the Montlake cut.

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The university rents canoes from the upper left.

When I was a kid, this seemed a lot bigger.

Here’s the water route that leads to the noisy freeway bridges.

Next place to check out was at the south end of Lake Union next to the original Boeing airplane plant .

The mouth of Cedar River has a small park and a boat club centered around its racing shells.

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When Boeing is done building the plane on the right it will be towed over the slender bridge to the field to the left.

Not the prettiest place to paddle, but lots to look at.

The couple on this bridge were waiting to see a plane take off.

A sign you don’t see very often.

I was behind the building when there was a loud roar overhead.

I missed the potentially fatal jet blast, dang.  The couple on the bridge was excited to see the plane take off,  whoa! How did the locals know the time of this thunderous event?

Later, back at my brother’s place:

A couch surfer’s view of my brother’s apartment on the last morning.

When a guest stays too long they look like prey.

On the way home, I stopped at Trader Joe’s for a few special groceries from the ‘big city.’ There I learned when not to get another free sample.

Sign at Trader Joe’s

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First, here a are a few preliminary photos by Allan.

4 December: Skooter watched Allan make dinner

4 December: Skooter watched Allan make dinner

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later that night, atop the refrigerator

later that night, atop the refrigerator

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

On a surprisingly nice day in the early afternoon, I suddenly decided that we should do some pre-frost clean up.  Frost and ice were predicted for Thursday.  With Allan planning to take a trip to Seattle on Friday, we would not be able to do a round of the Long Beach planters after the storm.

We checked all of the Ilwaco planters and removed the last batch of almost dead nasturtium from one.

At The Ilwaco Timberland Library, I had an exciting book to pick up.

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red twig dogwood at the library entrance garden

and heather in bloom

and heather in bloom

The new head librarian had found a bag of bulbs (narcissi and alliums) in a back room at the Ocean Park library.  Because they were over a year old, most of them were dried to almost powder.  I had sorted out a few narcissi that still felt slightly plump.  Allan planted them, and we will be interested to see if any of them grow.

Out of a large bag, maybe ten old bulbs were faintly viable.

Out of a large bag, maybe ten old bulbs were faintly viable.

Next: We clipped back the annuals in the Depot Restaurant window boxes.  I would hate to think of them all frozen and blackened over the weekend.  The window boxes do not get rain water so those plants looked pitiful and dry without our weekly visits.

window box clean up

window box clean up

The Depot garden, ready for winter

The Depot garden, ready for winter

With cold hands, we did some clipping in the Long Beach planters of assorted plants that I knew would be unattractive after the cold snap.  Perhaps the cold snap would not happen.  If it did, I did not want to think of sad looking planters over the weekend.

Fifth Street Park, before

Fifth Street Park, before

I clipped back some sad perennials in Fifth Street Park.

I clipped back some sad perennials in Fifth Street Park.

Allan's photos: before

Allan’s photos: before (with some flowers still on Geranium ‘Rozanne’!)

after

after

The temperature dropped rapidly while we worked.

The temperature dropped rapidly while we worked.

Fun rides are put away for the winter; the center pole of the carousel is capped.

Fun rides are put away for the winter; the center pole of the carousel is capped. (Allan’s photo)

When we finished cutting back the Geranium ‘Rozanne’ in the northernmost planter, we dropped by the Shoeboxes of Joy volunteer HQ at Coulter Park to make a monetary donation.  (We had dropped off some yummy energy bars and some cat food at a donation bin at the bank earlier in the day.  Yes, they do want pet food, not for the senior humans, but for their companion animals.)

shoebox

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old Long Beach train depot building in Coulter Park

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Shoeboxes ready to be filled.

Shoeboxes ready to be filled.

sorting has commenced

sorting has commenced

Shoebox HQ Christmas tree

Shoebox HQ Christmas tree

cotoneaster in Coulter Park

cotoneaster in Coulter Park

I tried and failed to reach Dave and Melissa to reschedule our weekly dinner for tonight, in case an icy storm prevented it tomorrow.  Therefore, we had time to fulfill one of our holiday traditions: a visit to the Hungry Harbor Grille holiday village in downtown Long Beach.

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Even though I have not been able to muster up any holiday spirit for decorating at home, I was able for half an hour to vicariously enter the life of this village (and we had an early dinner there.  Well, not IN the village, but at a table next to it).

approaching the village

approaching the village

Allan's photo: Hungry Harbor burger

Allan’s photo: Hungry Harbor burger

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

Taking pictures of the village. In my mind, I am living there.

Taking pictures of the village. In my mind, I am living there.

At that moment, I was photographing the top floor apartment in which I live, in the village.

I live on the top floor of that apartment building, and the roof garden is mine.

I live on the top floor of that apartment building, and the roof garden is mine.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

The only reason I can think of that out of all the lovely detached houses with gardens in the village I pick a top floor flat is that it reminds me of the happy year I spent living in the Gables on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

on the second floor, with many big windows running all the way down the center courtyard...

on the second floor, with many big windows running all the way down the center courtyard…

I left here only because I wanted a house with a garden.

I left here only because I wanted a house with a garden. This modern photo shows that someone did make a garden there sometime later.

I can only imagine that around my imaginary apartment building, I do have a garden in the village.

The harbor now has 15 lighthouses and more boats than it did last year.

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a new sign, acquired this year. Altered from "Las Vegas"

a new sign, acquired this year. Altered from “Las Vegas”

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The village carousel keeps going through the holidays.

The village carousel keeps going through the holidays.

These swans actually swim around the pond.

These swans actually swim around the pond.

There are several bridges that Mr Tootlepedal would enjoy photographing.

There are several bridges that Mr Tootlepedal would enjoy photographing.

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I would make a few tweaks to the village before I moved in.  I would make sure the folks who live there were ethnically and racially diverse and, if there were any churches at all, I’d add a synagogue, a mosque, and a Quaker meeting place.  I’d make sure to install an Indian and an Ethiopian restaurant, and a sushi bar.  And a skateboard park, which is something Long Beach youths sorely crave.

Outside again:

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

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Fifth Street Park

Fifth Street Park

Despite all this seasonal delight, I did not get inspired to decorate at home.  A few years back, I wrote about the dilemma of whether or not to “tree”.  We did buy an artificial tree the next year, and it would be fairly easy to set up.  Yet I think the decision this year’s decision is coming down on the side of not treeing.  I don’t feel like moving my heavy desk to make a space for it and, frankly, I am not in the mood and I would rather have the time to read.  I can always say that I am afraid Skooter would try to climb it; he is, after all, only three years old.  The other cats are a dignified twelve years.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

We did get some snow.

from the front porch

from the front porch

from the east window

from the east window

from the front window

from the front window

I put Skooter out to see if he would like the snow.  He made just a few footprints before hastily retreating.

That's as far as he got. (Allan's photo)

That’s as far as he got. (Allan’s photo)

Skooter snoozing

Skooter snoozing

Wind kept snow from accumulating in the back garden. (Allan's photo)

Wind kept snow from accumulating in the back garden. (Allan’s photo)

Meanwhile, at THE Oysterville garden, Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) worked until they could no longer see what to cut back.

Melissa's photo

Melissa’s photo

That was all we had, and it did melt, to be followed be evening ice that only affected the riverside towns. So our garden club meeting was cancelled this week…and it turned out that Salt Pub, where we had planned to dine, closed for the evening because of the weather.

Meanwhile, in Portland, friends like Danger Garden were suffering a horrible ice storm.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Allan departed for Seattle, and I did some holiday shopping at the port.

at the marina

at the marina

With nothing but silence and time, I began a 700 page book that would keep me busy for the next  three days.

sequel to last week's Austerity Britain

sequel to last week’s Austerity Britain

My very favourite passage of all, from a Mass Observation investigator:

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 I was especially thrilled that my most beloved diarist, Nella Last, was often quoted in this book. 

As I write this on 13 December, Allan is on his way home from Seattle and volume three of the Tales of a New Jerusalem, Modernity Britain, awaits at the library. At 880 pages, it will keep me busy for a few days.  I have some plans tomorrow so will wait to start it on Thursday so that I can completely immerse myself with few distractions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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