Thursday, December 8, 2022

Looking a lot like winter

    Always a good day to kayak

 This morning, Melanie and I headed over to Fairhaven to walk the Interurban trail, one of our winter favorites. We saw this kayaker out at Marine Park, just getting ready to take a nice tour around the bay. We almost always see at least one person out there, no matter the weather. It looks like a gull in the foreground is also taking note of this activity.

Dr. Seuss would have loved it

There was very little color as we walked more than six miles around the area, and I took very few shots, since nothing actually looked all that interesting. This moss-covered tree was fun to see, looking like something that might have been created by Dr. Seuss. You can see the there is very little (actually no) sunshine to brighten things up. The rain had lessened, however, and was not forecast to return until later in the afternoon.

Not much challenge here

This is pretty much what the entire Interurban trail looks like: straight, flat, and just a little on the ho-hum side, except for the company, conversation, and smiles we shared with each other. But Melanie had something else in mind for the remainder of the morning: how about a nice birthday lunch? After we had walked as much as we wanted, we headed over to Keenan's at the Pier, just a short distance away, where Melanie treated me to a very special birthday lunch.

Me considering the menu

We ended up ordering (both of us) the blackened tacos and a wonderful pinot noir for our luncheon. The only word I can think of that would sum it up is "divine." Just about the most perfect lunch I've enjoyed in ages, and the scenery was perfect, as well.

Melanie in her holiday sweater

I also enjoyed a lovely creme brûlée for dessert, while Mel had a chia-seed pudding. Both of them were outstandingly good and helped me metabolize the alcohol in the wine, which was really good, too. It was more than just divine, it was also wonderful to be taken care of so well by such a good friend. She also gave me a gift of rain pants and a back-scratcher that collapses so I can carry it in my pack. 

And now I am home, feeling great after such a nice walk and such a fabulous treat from my dear friend. She's a keeper! Oh, and the rain started up again just after I got home, so it was perfect timing as well.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Old memories

Taken more than a decade ago

I recently found a bunch of old photos on a thumb drive (actually, SG did), and I loved seeing this old memory again. It was taken, I'm pretty sure, by an old friend, Mike, who no longer hikes with the Trailblazers. Then again, neither do I. These days I go out with one or perhaps two others, mostly Melanie, because I have trouble going as fast these days as I once did. No matter, I am happy to still be able to go out in the wonderful wilderness that surrounds Bellingham. This was taken on a snowshoe trip, obviously in the middle of winter. The picture has a February 2011 date. Those camp robbers are everywhere and extremely bold, but it made for a nice picture, don't you think?

These last three nights I have gotten plenty of sleep, which makes everything look better. I have recovered from the time change, and although it was really cold when I first arrived home last Thursday, the temperature has moderated considerably. However, the trails and places not directly in sunlight are quite slippery. Every step is taken with the awareness that my footing might not be secure. Yep. Not worrying so much about the speed I'm walking as much as whether it's safe to venture forth. A fall at my age needs to be avoided at all costs. 

Today I have an appointment with my acupuncturist, and I'll be asking for more serenity, which usually means more needles in my scalp. They are actually my favorite ones: I get a wonderful rush of pleasure that goes right from the top of my head all the way down to my toes. Now who wouldn't enjoy that? He told me that some of his clients call them "the sparkles." I will also ask if he might be able to help my digestive system get back to normal. Other than those minor little problems, I'm feeling pretty darn good, considering. The holidays take it out of everyone to some degree. We've got another month of holiday gatherings, unhealthy foods, and dubious weather conditions. We'll make it, with a little help from our friends. 


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Home again jiggity jig

My hotel room last night

Norma Jean dropped me off in front of the Mariott Hotel at the Tampa Airport yesterday, and I went directly up to my room (see above) and collapsed after a very long week. You can see how close I am to the gates, which were literally a few short steps away, once I checked out this morning. I did sleep well, but not for long, since I was not sure about anything and once I woke up I couldn't get back to sleep. So I did my exercises and took a nice long shower, and then I went out to explore the details of the hotel. It turns out that everyone opens up there at 5:00am, so I had a not-so-good breakfast sandwich instead of a sit-down breakfast. 

Once I got onto the airport, my flight was fifteen minutes late (I worried it might be longer, but it was just fine). I was seated just behind the first class seats, which allowed me a fairly quick exit when we landed. I caught the first shuttle to Bellingham with ten minutes to spare.

As we lost altitude and we approached Seattle, I was amazed at the amount of snow I spied on the ground.

Unusual to see all that white stuff

My friend Melanie told me that it started to snow in Bellingham, but then it changed to rain and melted it away. Seattle got it instead. Although Bellingham doesn't have snow, it's really really cold. It was close to freezing when I left the airport, and the temperature has continued to fall as the day wore on. It's not even 5:00pm, but I am very tired, even though my day lost three hours. I'll try to stay awake so I won't wake in the middle of the night.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled for an afternoon massage, which I believe will be well received by my tired body. I think I managed to avoid catching anything during the trip, but I won't really know for sure for a few more days. But the stay in the hotel room got me off to a good start. I'll do that again. It's so nice to be home, to see my best friend SG once again, and enjoy another beginning!


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Loving the sun, but heading home soon

Hibiscus flower

I am so enjoying this incredible weather here in Florida, but even though it's snowing, blowing and overall yucky at home, I will be very glad to return to my own Pacific Northwest environment and my sweet partner, and my friends at the coffee shop. I've had a long enough vacation in the sunshine. 

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and allow my flight to take off on time at 7:15am. I see there is a big weather disturbance in the Midwest, but I don't see anything that we shouldn't be able to avoid. But who knows?

Because my flight is early in the morning on Thursday, which also is my birthday, I decided to give myself a treat and spend the night before my flight at the Tampa airport in a cushy hotel room. It will provide a more serene beginning to my long trip. Plus, Norma Jean won't need to drive me to the airport before dawn; instead we will head down to my sister Markee's home in Apollo Beach tomorrow, the day before, and enjoy her and her husband Bob's company. They want to take us out to dinner, which will be fine. Afterwards, we will get into Norma Jean's car and she will drive me directly to the airport, less than an hour away.

All the rest of my family members made it to their respective homes safe and sound, and once I look out the airplane window and see Seattle's Space Needle below (assuming we can see anything, that is), I'll be only one three-hour shuttle ride away from my own home in Bellingham. You know I will be very happy to pull into the end of that ride, looking around for SG's car. He's bringing me three overcoats, just in case!

My Thursday post will not be on time, probably. Nothing is ever guaranteed when one is traveling. So, who knows? Until then, I'll be happily getting accustomed once again to the Pacific time zone. And I look forward to my first visit back to the coffee shop!


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Holiday today, a good day in Florida

Youngest and the oldest

Yesterday, after a long red-eye plane trip (with unfortunately a screaming baby in a seat across the aisle), I arrived in Tampa. My sister Norma Jean greeted me and drove me to her home in Zephyrhills. Then we drove south for another almost-hour to Apollo Beach, where my youngest sister Fia and her husband Russ had already arrived days before. Fia's birthday was last week, and mine is next. But we got to get big hugs from all the family members who had already arrived. Fia just turned sixty, and I'll turn eighty.

It's so warm and filled with family, everywhere I look is another person I haven’t talked to, in a long, long time. I try to keep myself in a happy place, but I keep finding feelings and emotions spilling out, and I have to go find someplace where I can just relax. It’s been so long since I have been around others, that are not constant family and friends. I am beginning to feel what getting old it really means. I am having trouble with my eyes, and I realize that my hearing is not very good anymore, and it’s getting to be a bit of a hassle to try to make somebody understand what I’m trying to get across. I am not anxious to uncover emotions that have been dormant for so long, but I realize that this is the time and place to do so. 

I am hoping hoping that one of these days before I leave, I will have had a chance to have a heart to heart conversation with each of my siblings. But I am missing my Washington family every day. And I suppose that it won’t get better until I actually get back home.

So, on that ambivalent note, I’m going to try to get all this done, so I can post this and forget about the larger world, and concentrate on my beautiful family that I am a part of. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Ready as I can get

Carry-on, travel pillow, backpack purse

I took a picture of my stuff that I will take with me on my trip today. This one will not be over until tomorrow morning, when I arrive in Tampa, hopefully with my sister being able to find me standing in the correct pickup area after a long plane flight, made longer because of adding three extra hours. I'll go from PST to EST. I am scheduled to arrive at 6:00am Florida time, but 3:00am to my body clock.

Hubby and I both laughed when we noticed, in the above picture, the rug being taped down in the corner, but we are old and do this to eliminate or at least lessen falls. I tripped on that corner once, and it was enough to take that precaution. It doesn't look wonderful, but who cares?

Here in Bellingham, we went two weeks without a drop of rain, until now, and we will get probably an inch or even more before it goes away again. It's pouring out there right now. But what a difference it has made in our ambient temperature! We are more than twenty degrees warmer than the frigid temperatures we endured for a week or more.

And Florida, here I come! I am looking forward very much to seeing my family, especially Norma Jean, who until the pandemic I visited every winter since her husband died in 2011. It's been a long time, punctuated with FaceTime visits, but in a few short hours (hopefully) we'll be able to hug in person! And then there's my brother Buz and sister Fia, whom I haven't seen since our dear sister PJ died in 2014.

Lots of family, lots to catch up with, and lots of delicious food to consume. I'll be back on my own feed once I return home. Until then, I will enjoy! I wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. I am truly grateful for all my numerous blessings, of which you, dear reader, are one.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Sunny November day

Frosty lawn

 Today Melanie and I decided to head to one of our favorite places, Lake Padden, and hike into the back trails and, if necessary to get enough steps, take a loop around the lake. The baseball field (in the summer months) was completely covered with frost, so we thought we should take our trekking poles in case it was slippery. (It wasn't, surprisingly.)

Interesting moss on that tree

The area had changed a bit since we were last here a few weeks ago. We've had some rain, and then a long dry spell, and plenty of wind and cold temperatures to encourage the leaves to fall. But the sunny day made us quite happy to be out and about. There are so many trails behind the lake, and I've walked some of them but it's easy to get lost or turned around. Fortunately, at most of the junctures you've got a map to help you navigate.

Still some leaves on the trees

In the unprotected areas, the wind was quite strong and coming from Canada, so it wasn't exactly all that warm. But since we were moving at a good pace, we kept warm enough to take off our gloves, eventually. I did notice some valleys where it was much colder, and where the wind had not yet scoured out the frost. 

An animal's cave?

I don't remember ever seeing this tree before, with the enormous hole in its side. It's still alive and seems to be holding its own, even with this part missing. I wonder how old this tree is. I'm not sure I could find it again. However, in any event, we decided to head down to the lake and make one loop around it (2.6 miles).

Mel's brownies

Before we did that, we stopped for a quick snack, since Mel had made these brownies and was convinced that we should have some. She also brought some raspberry jam to spread on them, since she thought they weren't sweet enough. She had cut the sugar in the recipe in half, but I thought they were simply wonderful. Not that I minded having the jam on them. After our repast, we walked around the lake.

Heron taking in the sun

It was so bright and beautiful, and this heron on the buoy had found his place to enjoy the view (and possibly catch some lunch). You can see how much the leaves have fallen from the trees on the far side.

Serenity everywhere we looked

There were plenty of ducks and geese also enjoying the beautiful day, and we saw lots of people out walking their dogs, as well as a few squirrels here and there. Everyone and everything seemed to be enjoying the day, and we ended up covering 6.5 miles in total, with 1,100 feet of elevation gain and loss. Not too shabby for an almost eighty-year-old. I feel so blessed to live in such a wonderful place, and to have a hiking companion who also feeds me such good food!