Sunday, July 26, 2009

Granite Mt. Hike

Yesterday Valerie and Lindsey invited me to join them on an 8 mile round trip hike up Granite Mountain near North Bend, WA. I was excited to go on a hike with these two experienced hikers. Valerie is the most accomplished hiker/outdoors woman that I know. I told them I kind of felt like the character Mr. Sillypants from the children's series by MK Brown, ill prepared and certainly less competent at hiking than either of them.

Making the 3800 foot elevation gain was certainly easier going up than down. I was glad to have borrowed my husband's hiking poles. Valerie used one and I used one. Valerie and Lindsey patiently stopped every thirty yards or so to let me catch up. All in all, we did the entire hike in about five and a quarter hours and that includes eating lunch and taking photos at the top for about a half hour. During the hike what hurt most was the tips of my toes as they slammed into the toes of my athletic shoes. Granite Mt. and the other trailheads that are at this location are popular. The parking lot was filled to overflowing when we got down at about 1:30. We seriously doubted that anyone starting after noon would be making it to the lookout station at it was SO darn hot by then. We had a real chuckle at the young couple going up with the guy carrying all the gear and the perfumed girlfriend with her glossy long hair following behind. This morning I woke up with my thighs feeling very tired, so no, I did not run today besides it is even hotter than yesterday. Too hot to do anything more than stay downstairs on the computer or swing in the sky chair under the deck and read.

2009 Granite Mountain

In My Front Yard

...the blooming is abundant! We have excessive heat warnings in Seattle for the next four days. I wanted to capture a few blossom photos before everything wilted away. You are looking at an Orienpet lily with 7 blossoms/buds on one stem and 5 on the other. They smell so incredible, especially when getting an early morning spray of water. Also in the slide show are blooming Hen and Chicks, which love the heat of the rockery, Russian Sage which is a favorite with bees, and a Red Mullein (at least I think that is what it is) with blooms shaped a bit like exotic bird beaks.

2009 Garden

I have 4 different places where I put my photos: Kodakgallery, Photobucket, Flickr, and Webshots. Webshots is my absolute favorite if I ever want to get photos printed. 4x6 prints are only 15 cents each and I can either pick them up at a nearby drugstore or have them mailed to the door. The printing goes through Photoworks. Of course I also have my albums in iphoto on my Mac and about every three months I move them to my hard drive back up. Technology sure can create a lot of invisible clutter! If any of you have a better way to stay on top of managing photos, please share!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blue as a Blueberry

This post is probably best read from the bottom up if sequence matters to you.
Here is the fruit of my morning labors. Most of them I freeze but they are always best fresh with my breakfast yogurt or in a cobbler with ice cream for dessert.

See the bench at the end of this path? That is where I ate my lunch of a bagel and a plum; after nibbling on berries all morning I was amazed that I wanted any fruit at all! I saw an eagle flying high above the river. He was probably scoping out lunch for himself.

This morning I joined throngs of other avid blueberry pickers for opening day of picking at Bybee Nims Farm in North Bend. What a location! I marvel at the beauty of this farm every year I go picking. Yes there were LOTS of pickers but the berries were thicker and fatter than I have ever seen so there was no need to feel there was competition to fill your bucket. I picked a bit over 16 pounds in two and a half hours. My friend Valerie and her teenaged daughter picked twice that and then some. The sun didn't start to break the clouds till about noon which was perfect since we were leaving.

I took the back way home from the Thursday night concert in the Admiral District and went past the Dragonfly Pavilion which is looking so much more established now that the landscaping has grown.

It was incredible how many little kids under the age of 5 were at the concert in the park. Honestly, it was like a preschool convention. Even more than the music I enjoyed watching all the antics of the kids and the comfort of knowing no one and having no responsibility to discipline any of them. They were awfully darn cute, especially the ones dancing in front of the stage.
Last night I went to Hiawatha Park to hear a free concert. The venue was the Alma Villegas Quintet . I like Latin music plenty well enough but I was not overly impressed. I did like a Cuban piece that they did but most of the songs were just too over the top 'romantico' for me. It was a beautiful evening though and most families had picnic fare and they were spread out on their blankets having a great time letting the kids run more or less free and that's how summer should be; full of freedom.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My 'Pretties'

I have been a watering fool to keep all my 'pretties' happy in the heat wave we have been having. OK, if you live in Arizona or Hawaii, 85 does not qualify as a heat wave, but in Seattle it does! Today I did not garden but I did accomplish a whole lot! I ran in Lincoln Park and lifted weights at the Y. Then I went downtown to get the final crown on my tooth. I can't believe how great it feels now. I hope I NEVER need another root canal and getting the mold made for the crown is no picnic either. But now that is all behind me and the tooth feels great and even covered every last cent! How rare is that? I made a Costco run on my way home. I had 4 items on my list and somehow I ended up with about 15 and I spent $148. Needless to say I was not following the 'Nakata Rule': never take a cart into Costco if you want to stick to your list! Then I dashed in the house, tossed food in the freezer and went to get my hair cut. Really just an inch and a half trim. But leave it to the DH to say, "Nice cut, but too short!" which is what he says practically every time I get a cut. Then I read a little in my current 'read': Before You Know Kindness and ate a late lunch. Then at 3:00 off I went to Westwood for my annual visit to the eye Dr. The result is not much different than any other middle aged person on the planet, my reading vision is going 'kaput' albeit slowly. The good news is that this year insurance covers new frames. I'm ready for a switch back to plastic instead of wire. Once at home all bleary and goopy eyed, I made Marinated Chinese Noodles for dinner, tossing in leftover chicken from last night's roasted bird along with multicolored peppers and grilled onions and garlic, cilantro from the garden, sliced water chestnuts, and ground peanuts. Yum!


Queen of the Prairie

Native Spirea

Disporum ('Fairy Lanterns')

Sunday, July 19, 2009

July In the Garden

Everything is growing SO fast! We are having a extra hot summer in Seattle (like above 75). So you see lots of dry grass and TALL tomatoe and bean plants. Yes, your eyes are seeing right, my beans and tomatoe plants are only inches below my garden deck.

There are carrots to thin and and unusual Chinese Radishes to eat in salads.
They don't taste much like radishes; they are much more mild and they sure are colorful in a salad.

And yummy ripe raspberries to eat with our morning yogurt or to go in the afternoon Sangria!

Carnage In the Garden

Look at what I stepped over on my way down the rockery this morning! One less squirrel in neighborhood to eat our hazelnuts!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Seattle's Georgtown Garden Walk

I got plenty of creative ideas from the garden walk yesterday. I had no idea that 'working class' Georgetown in the shadow of Boeing Field, had so many lovely gardens. Most impressive was how some people made little nooks and crannies that were very inviting in yards that were really only a fifth of what I have. This is one very LONG slide show and I even left out a few photos. I was so inspired that I went home and made a trellis for my pumpkin vine. I am hoping that it will climb up to the deck! In addition to feeding my plant lust I found a new Mexican restaurant that has very tasty tamales and when you walk in the door you feel like you are in Mexico; Coliman Restaurant and Taqueria on Carleton Ave. S.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dog in Duds

Really now, it is MUCH too hot today to subject your doggies to making a fashion statement! But, this is what we saw strolling the booths at West Seattle's Street Fair today. Honestly there were nearly as many dogs as people; teeny tiny yapping Yorkies and Daschunds, big jowled slobbering Bull Dogs, dignified Standard Poodles, friendly Labs, and mutts of indiscernible mixtures. Dogs in strollers, dogs in handbags, dogs in pouches and dogs on leashes, like this 'dog in duds'.

Click on the photo to be directed to Photobucket and my other pictures from the Street Fair.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Some Seattle Sights

When I posted this slide show I was much too busy enjoying the company of my parents to explain anything in about this slide show. The photos are from Pike Place Market, Wing Luke Asian Art Museum and a few eclectic ones of the ID (International District) thrown in for flavor. I have SO many pictures of the market that I resorted to taking pictures of shop signs as shopping is what it is all about. The Wing Luke Museum had changed a lot since I was last there. For the uninformed, this museum is all about the history of Seattle's Asian community as well as home to some wonderful works of art by local Asian artists. I especially liked the art/historical presentation of letters between immigrants and their families and friends. The letters hang from the ceiling under a sky light in a stairwell and there is a recording of various people reading the letters. The one I listened to was from a woman writing to a man explaining that although she valued the friendship they shared, she was declining his offer of marriage and life in America because her parents were elderly and she was 'the apple of their eye' and could not bear to leave them as their health was in decline. It was very touching. I would like to go back and just sit in that stairwell and listen for a half hour. The fish photos from Liems are lovely but the place is kind of spooky and dingy in it's tucked away location on Maynard St. Alley. For me, the fact that it is only doors from the location of the Wah Mee massacre adds to the spooky, underground atmosphere. We ate Dim Sum at the Jade Garden Restaurant, a restaurant know for this entertaining style of a light and economical Chinese lunch. Waiters and waitresses buzz from the kitchen to the tables with carts loaded with small steamers and plates of food. They entice you to order the food for your table. A party of three is perfect because most of the plates hold three items. Mom and Dad looked a bit overwhelmed; I guess I didn't explain it well enough. But come to think of it, almost every Dim Sum experience I have is overwhelming because the carts are coming at you from the left and the right and the food is unfamiliar (but VERY tasty) and much of the language is unfamiliar too. I'm determined to go back there this summer with Chris and Anna Rae and I will read the descriptions of the food from Wikipedia before we go! I'm not sure what they REALLY thought of the food but I am sure it was a cultural experience they will remember...right down to the cash register which my father thought was disgustingly dirty looking. Good thing mom didn't see that before we ate!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Dinner in Des Moines

This morning we went to mass, got home, barely had time to get a cup of coffee and then went to the movie theater to see UP! I think this is the first time ever I saw a movie and ate popcorn before noon. The animation in Up! is fabulous but I much preferred the Pixar films Wall-E and Cars. Dad took advantage of the L-O-N-G chase scenes to snooze. He didn't snore too loud. The remainder of the afternoon we mostly relaxed around the house. Mom played LOTS of Solitaire till she finally beat 'Sol'. I did have a run in Lincoln Park while mom and dad sat on a park bench and read. There were dozens of families with picnics. I think every grill on the beach was in use. I saw two families from Sanislo and one YMCA friend. In the evening mom and dad treated us to dinner out at Anthony's in Des Moines, overlooking the marina. It was my 'birthday dinner'. (It is fun to stretch out a birthday.) I ordered steak and prawns along with an Ahi tuna appetizer and chocolate mousse with Baileys Cream for dessert. I did share dessert with Chris but just the same, I am stuffed!

Lovely sunset, don't you think?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4h of July!

Enjoy your 'firequackers' but do stay safe!

Snoqualmie Falls

Look who is visiting us from Green Bay, our favorite and most frequent guests; Mom and Dad! They arrived yesterday, on my birthday. What a perfect gift. We had a few friends join us for dinner and I made some fancy hamburgers with Portuguese linguica sausage and ground sirloin, garnished with an orange aioli and cilantro leaves and sliced pineapple. Cooking is so much fun in summer when I have the time and can experiment. Of course I had my favorite birthday cake, the Heath Bar cake mom has made me since I was about 8 years old. Yummy! The guests seem to have slept well, although mom was awake first (I'm sure that surprises non of my siblings). Today we ate breakfast and lounged on the deck and I had a run and then a walk with my mom. Then off we went to Snoqualmie Falls. I hadn't been there in about 14 years! Due to the record snow in the mountains last winter, it was really flowing fiercely. Don't worry, Lisa and Lynn, I took good care them; no one got too close to the edge.

What was I doing, catching flies? I think it is difficult to get a good picture of Chris and I together and usually I blame it on him but this time it is me looking somewhat of a goofball. Oh well, at least it shows that I was happy!