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Archive for Dec, 2019

21-23 December 2019

My Roots by Monty Don

I certainly don’t want to get in trouble with Montagu Don by sharing too many takeaways from this wonderful older book of his. This is to inspire you gardeners to find it; I got it from the public library in Aurora, Illinois via interlibrary loan. This is also a glimpse for my reading friends who do not have a great interlibrary loan resource like Timberland Regional Library and may not have the book budget to find a copy to buy.

The back cover has my favourite takeaway, about a method of getting a solitary staycation.

The book contains thoughts that go beyond gardening.

I wish I had said that last bit so I could use it in my blog description.

Monty’s wife, Sarah, appeared in the telly series Fork to Fork, and she co-wrote The Jewel Garden, but I have never seen her on Gardeners’ World, and so I love when she appears in his books, as in the preface.

And later, on page 115:

Takeaways:

“If you garden with gaiety, then you are immediately at the heart of a great mystery that will unfold revelations for the rest of your days. If you garden with solemnity you will rapidly become–if you are not already–a boring old fart.”

Spend! Spend! Spend! ….People begrudge a hundred pounds on a dozen plants that will last as many years whereas they will blow that much on a bad meal with friends they don’t really like.”

Which reminds me of one of my favourite gardening quotations…..

….although there have been years when my annual gardening budget, in order to pay the mortgage and bills, was $25 or less.

Monty describes winter gardening as “tooling around doing little things between gaps in the weather….like rearranging the plates in the cupboard, which, if I am honest, is one of the reasons I like doing it.”

In 2005, Monty resolved to “rely less on labour-saving kit. I am starting to feel profoundly irresponsible using endless noisy machines to do jobs that could be done as well by hand… There are few bits of mechanical baggage that improve the quality of the garden and equally few that improve the quality of life for the gardeners and their neighbours.”

I do love his self-deprecating humour. “[My list] of unwritten books grows longer every year–which may be a blessed relief to the book-buying public but is a source of real dissatisfaction to me.”

He writes of how important a wood is in the garden, making me happy for my Bogsy Wood, even if it is just alders. “….the way that the light constantly plays inside the trees, falling in beams and spangles or distant splashes.”

And later:

Monty also suffers from celandine in the garden. I should have been out in the past couple of not too rainy days digging it up.

Why I feel I was born in the wrong country:

I live on a street which has, in a ten block stretch, only about six good gardens, three of which, including ours, are cared for by Allan and me (and a fourth one, below, was created by us but then let go.)

I believe that in any town of 900 people in the U.K., there would be gardens all along the street, maybe not at every house but at least at every few houses.

Below, this also applies to the repetitive nature of garden blogging:

Monty is more politically outspoken in this older book, it seems to me.

He also has some choice words for Thatcher, Bush, and even the RHS’s show gardens and the National Trust open gardens.

Everything he wrote rang true, though, and I think he had some influence on improving National Trust gardens and garden centres. I love him for it.

This, about makeover shows and designed gardens…

…made me think about how his own makeover show, years later (Big Dreams, Small Spaces), relies on the garden owners to mostly create the design and implement it themselves.

It reminds me of another favourite gardening quotation.

You’ll have to get the book to read his scathing critique of Chelsea Flower Show gardens at the time, including recreations of The Lost Gardens of Heligan and of a London blitz garden “complete with bombed ‘house'”. I probably would have liked them. He wanted to see original ideas.

I was well chuffed to find out that Monty and I have the same favourite gardening book.

And in googling about the book his son gave him, I found out that there is a documentary about Jarman’s garden, called The Garden, that I can watch online for under $5.00.

I used to carry this book with me to show any prospective client who wanted a garden right by the sea.

I also learned that Monty has two telly shows I had not heard of, Don Roaming and Real Gardens. I searched and could only find brief excerpts online. Later in staycation, I will allow myself to start watching garden videos again. (If I did that now, I wouldn’t get my pile of library books read.)

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30 December 2019

The Pawnbroker’s Daughter by Maxine Kumin

It must have been in The Last Gift of Time that I learned about this book. It began as a memoir of growing up in the 1930s, becoming a poet, and then about halfway through segued, to my amazed delight, to a memoir of life on a farm with an old house, horses and dogs, a huge swimming pond and a big vegetable garden. The farm was called PoBiz Farm, financed as it was by poetry. (That link goes to a long essay that became part of the book. In this article are two more poems about the farm, one about how much work it was, in which her husband says “I hope on the other side, there’s a lot less work, but just in case, I’m bringing tools.”)

I will now read everything that I can find by Maxine Kumin. I am smitten. Other than her poetry books, I especially want to find her essays about country life and her memoir about recovering from a terrible carriage accident. I have two on order already. She also wrote many children’s books; our library has at least one of them.

One of the themes in the latter part of this memoir is moving into an old farmhouse. This passage…

…reminded me of something else: I want to reread, in order, all the memoirs of Gladys Taber’s country life. When I was a child, my grandmother bought the Family Circle magazine each month. She’d send me down to the corner store for “our magazines” (also Woman’s Day and Better Homes and Gardens). My favourite part was a column called Butternut Wisdom. In my 50s, I discovered Gladys Taber somehow, and soon realized she had written that column. In the early 2000s, I painstakingly typed out all my takeaways from her books and posted them in a Taber group in Yahoogroups, and then changed my email, lost my password, and could never get back in to retrieve them. After fifteen years, the books will seem new again and the takeaways be easier with a digital camera. Owning them all will make the re-reading easier than interlibrary loaning.

Back to Maxine Kumin. In her Pulitzer Prize winning poetry, the garden looms large.

….

She includes the stories of…and eulogies for…all of their many rescued dogs. “I have never been able to keep my animals, their births, eccentricities, and deaths, out of my poems.”

About one of the dogs, who loved to run with the horses.

That made me weep, as you can imagine.

As for porcupines…

…my dog Bertie Woofter was born for revenge and caused us three expensive trips to the vet with a snout full of quilly pig stickers.

I am ever so excited about discovering Maxine Kumin; I predict hours of good reading ahead.

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Bonus book

School of the Arts by Mark Doty

Coincidentally, I had a book of poems checked out by the author of three of my favourite memoirs (Still Life with Oranges and Lemons, Heaven’s Coast, and Dog Years), with poems about flowers, Cape Cod, gentrification, sex, dogs, time, death. Dog lover friends, I encourage you to find the long poem called Letter to God.

…..

Part of a poem about time and death…

….which is on my mind a lot because of the death of my old friend Bryan.

And then there are poems about flowers…

…including a two or three page poem about a pink poppy that I send to my friends from Pink Poppy Farm.

Suddenly, I find that I must read all of Mark Doty’s books of poetry, even though I haven’t read much poetry since my early 20s.

School of the Arts was book 125 of my reading year. Some say they envy my reading time. I doubt they would trade with me. I have the tiniest of families; any smaller and it would be just me and thus not a family at all (unless I counted the cats). I have really only two highly focused interests, gardening and reading. My friendships have dropped off to those few who are not offended by my craving for solitude. Thus–I have much time for reading during proper reading weather.

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Reading in December

Staycation so far has had too much emotion and worries to be the peaceful reading time I had hoped for. Maybe in January. For now, my concentration has been pretty much shot.

I am still longing for the month of January, after Allan’s birthday and going on till February 5th or so, to be non-peopling and not leaving the property.

Anyway. Did I even mention these two great books that I read early in December? I saved so many takeaways that I simply cannot deal with the effort of blogging about them. If you like non fiction tales of the social internet and related technology, give them a go.

We still had Frosty then.

I had a pretty good pile of books to read by mid month.

Having read Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir, I read one of her three actual memoirs and liked it very much. Cat lovers among you might like this cat description.

Via interlibrary loan, I got the second “Edward” novel, a trilogy (so far) about an aspergian man. I could so relate to his love for his new iPhone. I am thoroughly devoted to mine.

I have ordered book three of Edward via interlibrary loan and meanwhile read another aspergian novel which I recommend….the first in a series.

After the death on December 9th of my old friend Bryan, my former spouse the Leedsman reached out to me to make sure I had heard about it. We did a fair amount of messaging about it and during that conversation, he recommended a mystery series by a friend of his. (He is a renowned writer of mysteries himself. )

I enjoyed the first one, and a passage about photography reminded me of some thoughts that my favourite blogger, Mr. Tootlepedal, has written about taking up photography after retirement and how it has helped him notice things.

Frosty was sorely missed while I read this book.

Of course, any mention of Whitby brings back memories of a dreamy trip there with Chris. Most entrancing place I have ever been.

You can peruse the photos of Frank Meadows Sutcliffe here.

Skooter did not read a single book with me since Frosty’s passing. He spends his time with Allan while Allan has been moving loads of his old photos to a his computer.

Meanwhile, days were spent working on a garden project which I am waiting to write about when it is done. On one of those days, Tony, Scott, and their dog Rudy, brought us some delicious home made peppermint fudge.

Fudge and tea makes for delectable reading, as did this plate of cookies and poppyseed bread brought to us by Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages.

When we went to our Christmas Eve dinner at The Depot Restaurant, I observed that the window box annuals still refuse to die. I came home and erased dealing with them from the work board. None of the indoor jobs have gotten done.

After Christmas, it took me three days to read My Roots by Monty Don. I was also making memorial posts about Frosty, so focusing on even the best book was difficult. There are probably more takeaways than I can get away with sharing; My Roots will have a post of its own, next, I hope before the end of the year.

We watched two slow paced BritBox specials about Christmas lights on English estates and in London. Earlier in the month, our nerves had been soothed by a season of the Great British Bake-off and by an increasingly charming three part series called Mum. Not to mention a Coronation Street Christmas retrospective and a Gavin and Stacey Christmas special during which I just about wept when they sang Fairytale of New York down the pub. (The Pogues figured large in my past. If you know the song, I think certain lyrics could be replaced with, “You scumbag, you tosser, you cheap double crosser” instead of…you know.)

Also on BritBox, we watched Christopher and His Kind, a biographical film about Christopher Isherwood, because I have an enormous book of diaries by him which I must read by January 7th. Interlibrary loans don’t allow renewals. I learned about the diaries when I read The Last Gift of Time; Carolyn Heilbrun wrote a biography of him.

The latest book I have read is a semi-memoir by the great food writer Ruth Reichl.

It is half memoir and half recipes. Some amateur reviewers complained about the idea that food “saved her life” after Gourmet magazine shut down, because her life is one of such privilege. Even though I am acutely aware of class and though she could be from a different planet than me in terms of how different her life is, I don’t discount her sorrow at the loss of a beloved career.

I skipped over the recipes as soon as I would get to something beyond me as a non-cook…but saved some of the ones whose terminology I could understand. We couldn’t even get most of the ingredients here. Our two closest local grocery stores are renowned not only for a limited selection but also for foods (bacon!! yogurt, cottage cheese, salsa) that are past their expiration dates.

The book made me long for the wider choices of food that I had back in Seattle. If I went to Astoria more, we could find better ingredients and could sample the assorted food carts that have appeared over the past few years. I do love good food cooked by someone else. Allan is an able cook who provides meals for us, because he would tire of my bagged salads and microwaved quesadillas. I tell myself I might learn to cook great food after we semi retire….but it consumes so much time and a meal is gone so quickly. Gardening is an art form that lasts much longer.

I share Ruth Reichl’s feelings about friendships made through the social internet.

And I loved this bit about her cats, after a badly broken foot kept her in bed for weeks.

Her poetic twitter excerpts made me want to tweet. But I think WordPress, Facebook, and Instagram are enough addictions to have.

Jazmin did sit with me for awhile during that book. It’s so large that there was not much room for her to get comfy.

My next book was quite small in size so that Jazmin fit perfectly.

The first in a mystery series recommended by Carolyn Heilbrun, it taught me something I did not know about the US constitution.

The mystery abounded in droll British humour of the sort I like.

And

It imparted these wise words about intense relationships:

I hope to read Sarah Caudwell’s three other mysteries before work begins again. She is far more educated than I, and the reading takes much closer attention than I have during work season.

Before the massive Isherwood tome, I intend to fit in a couple of shorter and easier books. The garden project is on hold until a few days of good weather are predicted.

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Our Frosty, part three

2019

Out of eighty photos of Frosty in 2019, most if not all of which have appeared in these posts, I have tried to winnow part three of this memorial down to a mere fifty images….mainly because my original post attempt with all eighty failed to upload.

He remained my best reading cat of the current batch of three cats.

He also watched quantities of British gardening shows with me in January through March.

Work season has begun in February with books and shows fit in on rainy days.

i love this photo of him resting on a photo of Derek Jarman’s garden.

He and Skooter enjoyed the gardening season.

Frosty liked to ask for belly rubs wherever he might be. He never scratched or bit when indulged.

Skooter liked to chase. While Frosty did not mind running, he would stick up for himself if need be.

I would say that he and Skooter were sort of friends but not the sort who snuggle regularly. I did find them snoozing together sometimes, and on occasion they would even share the lap.

Frosty enjoyed sitting with me while I ate breakfast, just to be companionable. Unlike his brother, Smoky, he was not in it for cereal milk.

He helped me blog about it all.

As autumn weather came, we got back to more reading. Frosty was now somewhere around fifteen and a half years old and snoozed more than ever.

In October, he began to get attacks of the Wobblies and confusion, and started taking medicine twice a day. He enjoyed the new routine of getting canned food in the morning as well as at night. I very much hoped that we would have at least this last staycation together and perhaps one more summer.

We had adopted three and a half year old Jazmin in July. She started out by hating all other cats. Frosty’s reward for months of patient friendliness was some shared lap time in early December.

Frosty and I read together for two thirds of December….

This was our last book together (and an excellent book it is):

On December 19th, he has a bad seizure. He recovered and had a walk out into the garden…

..but on December 20th, his seizures were so terrible that we had to take him for that one last trip to the vet.

I mourn the last of the best cat family I could ever have adopted, Mary, Smoky, and Frosty, and I rejoice that we gave them years of comfort, affection, and glorious days in the garden.

Oceanside Animal Clinic excels at kind and tender care and at the most comforting of sympathy cards.

As always, I recommend this book to all who have lost a beloved animal companion.

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Our Frosty, part two

Memorial photos of Frosty, continued. As you will see, he dearly loved a belly rub and could be counted on to not bite or scratch.

2017:

Frosty fell in love with Royal, a little chi-pug who lived next door for just a couple of months.

If Frosty had been younger then, I would just have had to get him a little dog of his own…

Skooter had come to live with us. While he and Frosty never did get cuddly, they did become friends.

Smoky passed away in October 2017 and Calvin in the spring of 2018. With Skooter not being much of a lap cat (and also being more bonded with Allan), Frosty became my main reading companion.

2018:

Tomorrow: The conclusion of our Frosty memorial series.

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Our Frosty, part one

You know what this means. On Friday, December 20th, our fifteen and a half year old cat, Frosty, had his second day of serious seizures. There had been just one seizure on Thursday. I was still so much hoping to have him with me through one more staycation. But on Friday, he had two more shockingly violent seizures. I could not seem to make the decision to let him go…and reached out to the hive mind of Facebook friends, where I got exactly the help I needed, backed up with personal stories, of how it was better to make the big decision a bit too soon rather than too late. We got him to the Oceanside Animal Clinic an hour before closing, where the wonderful veterinarian assured me that we had indeed made the right decision. He had three more seizures just while we were waiting in the exam room for a short time. With a soothing shot to help him relax so that we could say goodbye before the Green Shot, his passing was peaceful and loving.

So now it is time to memorialize him. He is the last of the family of three that we adopted in 2012 when a friend died: Mary was the mother, and Smoky and Frosty her sons. All three had lived inside of a motor home in the Cove RV Park. How very much they loved our garden (which was on its second summer then) when they grew comfortable enough with their new home to venture outside. We already had shy black cat Calvin, whom we had adopted at age seven in 2011. (Calvin deserved but never got a proper memorial post, because he died during springtime busy work season. Someday….I will set up an anniversary post for him.)

2012

The family of three arrived early in the year and hid in the closet for a several days, and then found two cat doors and a garden awaiting them.

Frosty had grown up with two nice dogs and he very much liked dogs. Here he is with the wonderful Sophie, our friend J9’s dog.

2013

2014 and 2015:

Sometimes it did seem like Mary favored Smoky over Frosty. I was always happy for him when he was included.

2016:

Mother Mary had passed away. She had been quite the book cat. Frosty got more reading time when she was gone.

Frosty was a bit of a squirmer during book time, nudging his head under the book and turning around and around before getting comfortable. I’d gladly put up with that now to have one more reading winter with him….

More Frosty photos tomorrow.

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Saturday, 14 December 2019

Today I was grateful to leave my property for a day out with Our Kathleen. Far away on a remote Canadian Island, today was the memorial for my old friend Bryan. I needed to get out and about and not mope around at home.

Kathleen picked me up at one in the afternoon. Our first stop was the weekend Christmas market at the Salt Hotel.

Samples of local day boat tuna

Joe Nisbett manning the Don Nisbett art display

On the way north to Long Beach, we stopped at another Christmas bazaar, this time featuring all handmade gifts at the Sou’wester Lodge.

Part of the bazaar was in the pavilion…

….where I bought a lovely wooden vase, for dried flowers and twigs, for a friend.

The teahouse trailer nearby

The rest of the the handmade bazaar was set up in the lodge, and there we checked in on Allan’s kayak book table.

He did very well over the one day of the bazaar. And he got to listen to some good music from the table next to him.

As Kathleen and I returned to her car, we saw two good friends of mine.

Cotah and Bentley

In north Long Beach, Kathleen and I visited the one of the establishments that was open today for a Bed and Breakfast (and small lodgings) holiday open house. I was curious about the Mermaid Inn because, even though it is not on the ocean side of the highway, it gets consistently rave reviews on travel sites.

The mermaid statue, which used to be in a downtown Long Beach park, has a history of controversy and inspired irate letters to the editor to the local paper even after some extra locks of hair were carved to cover her bosom. She has also been described as ugly, to which I strongly object. Women come in all sorts of appearances and it is cruel to ridicule people for how they look.

Even without the many flowers and hanging baskets which adorn the inn in summertime, it’s a charming place.

Inn owner Karla Martin

Finally, we reached our main destination of our day, the holiday open house at the Boreas Inn, the most beautiful lodging on the Long Beach Peninsula, owned by our friends Susie and Bill.

Susie and Bill are famous for the inn’s lavish breakfasts and always put on a nice spread for the annual open house.

Their annual tradition, a weekend of decorating by regular guests of the inn in early December, had excellent results.

Their “Hanukkah Bush” got its name because they used to find a beach pine from their western property. It is quite tree-like this year.

Nearby is a cozy fireplace nook.

And on the north side of that comfy spot is my favourite guest room, the Garden Suite.

We joined Susie and Bill and some of their favourite inn guests in the west facing sun room.

To our delight, Lezlie Greco soon joined us.

Mist rolled in over the garden at dusk.

Allan joined us after his Sou’wester event and we stayed past the event’s closing time till well after dark. The overnight guests and those of us visiting for the open house all turned out to be politically aligned, making for absorbing and comforting conversation.

The open house was a benefit for the local food bank, with attendees asked to contribute a can of food. The Boreas had taken in a generous amount.

For anyone who dreams of owning a bed and breakfast and who has the dosh, the inn and the three bedroom owners’ quarters are for sale.

Upon returning home, I felt that the next day was the true beginning of my stay at home staycation. I had high hopes of not leaving my property for nine days, not till the Depot Restaurant’s Dickens dinner on Christmas Eve.

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Here, for a bit more holiday cheer, are the window displays in downtown Ilwaco, created by Wendi Peterson. (Photos taken by Allan a week later.)

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Tuesday, 24 December

Skipping ahead to Christmas Eve day…Allan and I went to see the new Star Wars film at the Neptune Theatre in Long Beach. They’d gone all out with lobby decorations….

Allan’s photos

…and a pun in the loo. (That is the plural of Han.)

I found the film completely satisfactory.

As soon as we got home, we turned around again for an early Christmas Eve dinner at the Depot Restaurant, picking up Marlene on the way.

Allan’s photos

Allan and Marlene had the salmon while I had the full traditional Dickens Dinner with Yorkshire pud. It is enormous; I saved some of the meat and the great big bone for my large canine friends, Cotah and Bentley.

Home again, after dropping Marlene off, I said to Allan, “Let’s do our presents now and then Christmas can be over and tomorrow can be a normal day at home.” He agreed with an excellent plan.

I had been intrigued to open a mystery gift that had appeared on the porch with a card saying “From your Secret Santa, glad you enjoyed the wind chime.” That message slightly narrows the field of mystery benefactors to someone who is either a Facebook friend or blog reader or both–someone who has read that I loved the Hello Kitty wind chimes that appeared in a gift bag on my porch earlier this year. The delightful theme repeated at Christmas.

I do like a big mug with a solid base, perfect for cats to not knock over. Plus a cutie orange for each of us. The mystery goes on. Will someone ever confess?

Not to be all “Look what I got for Christmas!” but I will mention a few things. Montana Mary, along with some culinary delights, sent a bead made by her landlady, designed in memory of my heart cat, Smoky. Don’t think I did not notice the thematic cleverness of including two mysteries about a bead maker who lives in my home town, Seattle.

I like the artist’s business card.

You can see more of her beads here.

A tea ball from Our Kathleen (accompanied by some Earl Grey and some Christmas tea and my favorite crispy rice chocolate), depicts the TARDIS.

I hope you can see, with my rather inferior phone camera, that it even says “Police Box.”

Along with the practical gift of a small food processor for making low salt hummus, something I did want (even though it may surprise some to hear that I’d want anything to do with cooking), Allan found a perfect book and a selection of real British chocolates.

And he found me quite the perfect t shirt design.

He did well in receiving, with a movie book from Kathleen and some boating books from me (and one fern for his garden, by the name of “Green Ribbons”).

Happy holidays to you of whatever sort you prefer and thank you for reading…and special blessings to our commenters, who warm the cockles of our hearts.

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Sunday, 8 December 2019

Here is a guest photo from our friend Donna of a hummingbird as bright and colorful as a Christmas tree ornament.

Allan made me cheerful by reinstalling the repaired broken lattice on the south wall of the house….

…and by getting me some leaves from the south patio of the Purly Shell Fiber Arts shop at the port.

Those may be the last of the leaves.

Jenna stopped by for a visit after borrowing our Christmas crab for a photo shoot.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

In the window of the Ilwaco post office:

They gave us such a pretty card with a peaceful nature message.

I had the great cheeriness of visiting the medical clinic and finding out that my ear is all better and that we won’t have to go on a long drive to see a specialist. Meanwhile, Allan took some photos of the memorial tree at the hospital, with its poignant and loving ornaments…

….and of a display of wreaths in a silent auction.

We picked up our last cheque of the year at Long Beach city hall and admired their tree.

Looks like all the staff and crew will get their stockings filled.

I had a bit of Christmas shopping to do at the pharmacy, outside of which are murals depicting seaside bounty.

Wednesday. 11 December 2019

I took my bricked MacBook to see an expert, whose opinion is that it is thoroughly unbootable. A friend is gifting me a slightly older MacBook which will work for blogging. I still have not entirely given up my faint hope about my old one….but I don’t want to spend staycation fussing over it. The new to me gifted one doesn’t have enough memory to take my Time Machine back up. I do not care one whit. I feel burdened by the idea of the 80,000 photos sitting on that back up device and am perfectly happy to start afresh for now and make my budget happy by not having to buy a new Mac for awhile. Thank you, friend! I swear that this time I will delete all before and after and quotidian gardening photos as soon as I have used them in the blog instead of letting them build and build for years.

We had a late lunch in Long Beach at the Hungry Harbor Grille while admiring their annual holiday village, a harbor town with signs painted to represent our local businesses.

I always imagine that I live on the top floor of this apartment building, with a balcony and a roof garden. Why don’t I pick one of the grander houses? I do not know…

….except that I think it reminds me of The Gables, where my apartment in 1976 ($75 a month including utilities) was all along the right side, second story, below.

My heart was sore about the loss of my old friend, Bryan, as we dined by the holiday village. Even though there was a muffling distance between me and its charm, I was able to appreciate that it was there.

I dropped a raincoat and a holiday sweater off at the free rack by the pharmacy.

I hope someone enjoys these pretty birds.

The rain blurred out the holiday lights as we left Long Beach for home.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

We rounded up two out of three cats to go to the vet for check ups and booster shots. A particularly festive tree sits in the vet clinic.

Skooter had his boosters and I decided to get a blood panel done for him. The results were “perfect across the board”. Poor old Frosty had come along for a look-over because he still gets the Wobblies about once a week. My best hope was to just get one more winter staycation with him.

Friday, 13 December 2019

After a day at home, we visited Marlene in her darling little house by Ilwaco Park for a fruit plate, wine, and cake and a good long talk. Her three quiet little Japanese Chin dogs sat nearby.

She gave us a present which we opened early, well before Christmas: the perfect tea towel.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a grand day out with Our Kathleen, and after that my stay-at-home-cation is scheduled to truly begin. I hope to not leave my property from the evening of December 15 until the eve of Christmas.

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