Sunday, August 30, 2009

It Is Time

to set a goal to be kinder to myself. I began this blog 5 years ago and then it was fun, no pressure. Now I always feel it lingering on my shoulders, getting heavier and heavier as the time lapses between posts. It has become a chore. I do not need chores. I want to live life more and write about it less. As part of the letting go process I did not even take my camera with me when we went to Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma today. I watched the enormous walruses (TRULY; thousands of pounds!) shoot like torpedoes in their tank and burst to the surface with an exhalation of air that sprinkled water on the window between us and glistened on their stiff whiskers. My grin stretched ear to ear as I watched the zoo keepers walk Milly the aardvark down the path on a leash. I asked questions of the naturalist with the Frog Mouthed Owl perched on her arm. Once home I was relieved to not have any photos for sorting and posting.

My goal for this year is one post a month, anything more is a bonus but I really want to stick to just one. I'm sure that September's will be all about school which is my major persona 10 1/2 months of the year. You can always check out my classroom blog for the 'fuzzy version' of teaching in a public school. I bought a public domain for the year so it will be an easy url for folks to remember: I have gone on 5 home visits and within those five there is evidence of huge variety; a single parent asking to be connected to the family support worker to get clothes and shoes for her child, a little girl who has a Dr. and a nurse for parents, a little boy who speaks Russian and English and his mom wanted to know if buying a desk as a 'special spot' for him to do homework was a good idea. And oh my, are they ever cute! One little girl put her fairy wings on for me and explained the technique for flying which involved lots of bouncing on your tippy toes. Do I love my job? You betcha! But I must say I was close to having a heart attach two weeks ago when our new principal called me at home and asked what I thought of possibly switching classrooms with first grades since they have an overload this year. I told him I would do it if everyone agreed it was for the common good but I think I would need a doctor's order to take time off afterward because I would be so totally spent and near collapse and believe me, Mr. New Principal, I have enough sick leave to do just that! I am willing to share my space but to actually physically trade spaces... 14 years in one spot is a LONG time and even though I am fairly organized it is not something I would do 3 weeks before the start of school especially since it would involve reciprocity of orderliness from the two first grade teachers. As to giving up my classroom bathrooms; never!

Wish me luck, it all starts tomorrow with an Everyday Math workshop followed with a general membership union meeting to vote on our contact ( I sure hope that the required 800 teachers show up to make a quorum for voting.)

Next post...late September, with tales of classroom woes and wows. On the garden front I will be harvesting Asian pears and picking the last of beans and tomatoes (I can hardly keep up with them this month).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

When the Whole...

works better than the two halves, that is a good marriage. This being said, I found it amusing that my parents and our daughter sent us these very cute cards:

Inside: "Don't look so puzzled - you know who's who."

Inside: (Even happy couples have SOME disagreements.) Happy Anniversary, You Two

We went on a mission to buy on microwave on Thursday. I'll bet you didn't know that the microwave is the required 27th Anniversary gift. Off we went to Sears to purchase the Sharp counter top microwave that was, after intensive reading of online reviews the answer to our need to replace the old one which starts up all of it's own accord with nothing inside of it, sometimes waking even ME out of a sound sleep. More recently it has started to rumble when we use it, sounding not unlike a wagon on a gravel road. I have visions of the microwave coming to life in the middle of the night and doing a rumba off the counter, similar to the kitchen characters in Disney's movie, Fantasia. To be on the safe side we unplug the unpredictable appliance whenever it is not in use. Dealing with Sears which is now Sears Holding is a nightmare unto itself. I like their online ordering site. Problem is; there is no follow through at the store level. The online confirmation said the store would have the microwave at pickup in 2 hours and they would call us at that time. It didn't happen. So two DAYS later we call and are told "Next week it will be in stock." So the 27th was the 'next week' and we went in and asked a clerk for directions to the microwaves. As we are heading to the aisle the DH hears one clerk ask another "Do you know anything about microwaves?" Then they both turned and busied their gazes on t.v.s and sound systems; items that were apparently more at their comfort level. The place was DEAD folks; I think that we were two of maybe a half dozen customers on the floor! We see the model we want on display and the DH hunts down one of the hapless clerks. He checks 'the back' for available stock and no luck. "Sorry, it is not in now. We will have it on the Sept. 11th." We probably should have considered the date a bad omen for a deal that is already a bit sour and headed for the escalator. But no, I paid, tucked the receipt in my wallet and that Sharp microwave better be at Sears on the eleventh.

Monday, August 24, 2009

On August 27th 1982...

we, after five years of living together, became Mr. and Mrs. in a Seattle courtroom. Only five friends were in attendance which makes it easy to remember everyone's name. The reception was at our friends' the Driggers' 4th Av. W., Queen Anne home. I just found out recently via Facebook that they are now living in sunny Sequim. The recepton was potluck style and a whole dozen friends joined us there. Sometimes I look back wistfully and wish I had gone back to Wisconsin and had a larger wedding but at the time this seemed right. Organizing and being part of big events make me hugely anxious. Also, it was not a church wedding (that came 4 years later) and I knew that a secular wedding was probably disappointing to my parents and that's SO like me too; never wanting to disappoint the people I love. Anyway there is certainly no disappointment today because here we are still together after 27 + years of wedded (not all bliss) reality.

The flowers in my bouquet are Stephanosis which I bought to match the border of the jacket to my dress. I bought them from a floral on University Ave.

Our friends Judy and Neil not only opened their home to host the reception, Judy also took the photographs.

The cake was white chocolate mousse from the Honey Bear Bakery in Wallingford. It was almost a disaster because it started to melt and slide down one side in transit from Wallingford to Queen Anne. The bakery had warned us that it was a delicate cake but it was the one I wanted. Fortunately, friends shored it up, refrigerated it, and absolutely refused to let me look at the back of the cake until after we had taken our 'first bite'. It was scrumptious!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Paint Pros

It was no small task. We prepped and painted our living room together. We were lucky that we did it last week when the weather was cooler and we even had a couple of rainy days. Chris is still doing touch ups. He's truly the Pro. Honey Girl and I stayed away from edging and trim painting. The color is called Tea Light (what in the heck kind of color is THAT?) The pictures do not do justice to our paint job but I think these are pretty great family portraits! The color is blue-green grayish. The sample looked a whole lot more gray than it does on the walls. It is certainly more subtle and calming than the bitter orange that we painted over. Chris painted the door frames and fireplace mantle black to match the baseboards and I think that gives the room a very sharp touch.


In this first shot we tried to have straight faces, kind of like Grant Wood's American Gothic. Apparently, daughter dearest didn't understand, she's just grinning away.


This is the silly shot and we like it best!

Great Sunflower Project

Great Sunflower Project
Originally uploaded by mtnester.

I am taking part in the Great Sunflower Project; counting bees that visit my Lemon Queen sunflowers. I observe for half an hour or 5 bee visits to a flower, whichever comes first. Go to for more info. They don't ask you to do a huge amount of observations. They are gathering bee observation data from all over the world. Did you know that bees are responsible for every third bite of food that you eat? They visit a lot more than sunflowers in my garden beds! Here is one on the Russian Sage that borders our driveway and always wants to flop. Someone, me, most likely, will probably get stung eventually because it is so easy to brush against the sage when getting in or out of the car.

And my Zinnias are absolutely stunning this year and the bees are taking notice.

But the absolute favorite spot for the honey bees in our yard is the oregano. they have been working this huge mound in the rockery for a good two months or more. From dawn to dusk there are literally dozens of bees buzzing away on blossoms that look spent to us but certainly are appealing to bees.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Our Weekend in Walla Walla

2009 Walla Walla Wine Country

Last weekend our family of three, along with our friend Valerie, went to Walla Walla to visit wineries and just 'kick back'. I wrote captions under many of the photos. If you click on the slide show I think it will take you to Webshots and then you can read more about what is in the pictures. I love wine tasting and yes, I do spit but not all the time. If you visit 5 or 6 tasting rooms in a day you better spit. I taste, I talk with the pourers and confer with other tasters and yet I still am in the dark as to really being able to definitively know at that first sniff and sip if I am tasting a good wine or a great wine. I know I like reds more than whites but I did sincerely try to branch out and we came home with 4 whites; a Riesling, a Chardonnay/Semillion blend from The Foundry (my favorite), an Orange Muscat (too sweet for the man of the family, but us girls will enjoy it for a desert), and a Viogner. I lusted after but did not buy The Boy from K Vintners. The reds we DID buy: Sangiovese, Malbec and a 2006 Syrah from the vintner with the best story, Otis Kenyon. Wine alone does not fill a weekend. We went to Rook Park and chose to skate, run or walk. We also went BOWLING! Certainly it was not part of any plan but there was this alley only two blocks from the condo where we stayed and they were celebrating their 50th anniversary with 50 CENT games and there was disco music playing! Not that I like disco, but it was fun bowling music. I don't think I have bowled in a dozen years or more. I didn't do half bad.First game I scored 96 and second game 136! I think I made the hubs sweat a bit. He had to really 'work it' to get 158 and beat me. Even today he whined about sore gluts from "THAT GAME". We ate out but the food was not as noteworthy as two years ago, so I will leave it at that. We went to the Farmers Market and I bought the most delicious watermelon called Yellow Doll. It is small and has vivid, yellow meat and yes, there are seeds to contend with, but not many. Wow! It is SO juicy and sweet and only cost meet $2.00. Who cares if the other two family members don't like melons. That means more for me! We also stopped and bought a box of yummy nectarines and some big red tomatoes. The dehydrator is humming away, drying fruit as I type. Since returning to Seattle we have been blessed with rain. More of a blessing than usual for me because we have been painting our living room and I sure would hate to be cooped up in the house with paint fumes on a HOT day! My plants are really happy with the return of wet weather too. The tomatoes are ripening and I have plenty of beans and lemon cucumbers to share. The carrots are my treasured crop, they are growing just fine but not as fast as I like to eat them. Next posting will be garden pictures because I can feel it already; alas, the season is winding down.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Look Who's Home!

It is SO nice to have our girl home! She arrived on Tuesday. She had her teeth cleaned at our dentist's then we went down to the market for lunch at an Italian sandwich shop. When I took this picture she protested "It makes me look like a tourist!" In fact she has a protest of one sort or another every time I take my camera out. We also went shopping for athletic shoes (hers) and new glass frames (mine). I am still working on finding the perfect frames that will fit my every mood. We have been to yoga class together and this evening we are going to the Art Walk in Pioneer Square. She has visited with old friends. Gee, it is even good to see them around our house. We have plans, plans, plans: a weekend in the wine country and then wall painting in the living room next week. She can't call it child labor anymore, she's 21!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Away From It All

Sometimes I just need to get away. On the hottest day of summer I packed the car and headed over to Hood Canal. The ferry ride was refreshing and the air conditioned car was very calming but no, I did not beat the heat. Once I arrived at Seal's Rock Campground I realized I had not avoided the record breaking heat. The 103 temp made no difference; a change of pace, a change of scenery, and the solitude of the woods were all there waiting for me. I felt like a stick of melting butter but I was out of the city and on my own. No Chris, he had a sweltering bus drive to do. Sometimes it is good to know I can 'go it on my own'. The cell phone connection was still there, it's the 'comfort blanket' that makes it easier for me to be an independent adventurer.

Do you realize how many times I set the camera's photo timer and then leaped into the hammock to get this picture. Really though I did relax a lot. I finished reading Exit Ghost by Phillip Roth and began Onions in the Stew by Betsy MacDonald (a book SO insightful to the character of the Seattle/Vashon area, plus, you will laugh a lot!).

I drove up to the viewpoint at Mt. Walker. No, I did not hike. I would've liked to, but common sense prevailed. Do NOT hike alone!

On Friday there was cool, misty fog in the morning. Oh joy! Such relief. I drove north and east to Port Townsend. This is the Hood Canal Bridge taken from Old Fort Townsend Park/Beach.

I drove on to Fort Worden. This is the old lighthouse at Wilson Point. There is nothing like a lighthouse in fog with the foghorns groaning and the mist kissing your face, to bring to mind romance novels, mystery and a bit of forlornness.

This tree is "How old?" I remember it from the first time I was a Fort Worden, oh, 25 years ago??
It looks the same. I did not wander into the old batteries. It always gives me a lonely, lost feeling to see these military buildings amongst the nature.

Then on to Port Townsend where I took lots of photos of the beautiful old Victorian homes. This just might be my favorite, overlooking the bay. I would be inspired to write novels if I lived in a house such as this.

Can you imagine living in a house with all this spread before you? Not to mention all the weather that would come blasting across the water. Port Townsend is a wonderful place but this weekend it will be too busy for me; they have a hugely popular Blues Festival happening.
To see more photos click here.