Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful holiday
I'm feeling like giving myself a blog break, so this will be the last one for a little while, other than my usual Sunday one on Eye on the Edge. It's been awhile since I've allowed myself to do this, so it sure feels like a treat!

I hope you and all my dear friends and family will have a wonderful time until I return, and that you will remember how fortunate we all are for the blessings we share, the food we enjoy, and the happy times ahead. Be well, dear ones!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Hoping for inspiration this holiday season

A favorite picture from a hike this summer
I just finished a yoga class, the last one for this semester, save a “restorative“ class. Then we have a break until January. We will have some holiday classes, and then we start up again, most of us in the class taking level one again.

Just back from my acupuncture treatment. I can still feel where he put the needles, and I know from experience that the benefits will continue to be noticeable for another few days. If I could afford to have acupuncture once a week, I would, just because of how much better I feel for days afterwards.

This Friday, Black Friday, I'll be getting a massage, my other feel-good treatment that I get as often as I can. In between time I'll be preparing our usual Thanksgiving fare: salmon, a squash casserole that I simply love (made with delicata squash), and a hefty salad. We're skipping the sweet stuff this year, unless I sneak something into the fridge without him noticing. Not likely. Pictures to come on Thursday.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Holidays are coming on fast

Lovely harp music
This morning I walked with the ladies at Lake Padden, twice around for 5.2 miles. The lovely sunshine of the past few days is gone, with rain expected this afternoon and evening. But for our walk, we had none, nice and dry and perfectly delightful.

Afterwards, some of the ladies went off for coffee, but I decided to do some grocery shopping at our local community food co-op. I walked in to the sounds of harp music, so beautiful to my ears. I went up to the mezzanine to find this volunteer giving us the first strains of holiday music. I can still hear the sounds of it, hours later. It's less than a week before our American Thanksgiving. We'll be doing our usual gifted salmon, squash, and a hefty green salad. I think I'll add cranberries to it this year, for the fun of it.
Randi Eckhoff photo
I found this magnificent picture on Facebook's "Love Bellingham" page and wanted to share it with you. It personifies the beauty of our town at the end of the day. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have moved here eleven years ago, with no idea at all how much I would love my newfound home.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

What a day!

Waterfall on the service road
Today was a very special day: Sixteen Senior Trailblazers decided to break into two groups, one which headed up the Mt Baker Highway in hopes of getting one more day in the High Country. The rest of us (nine) were thinking of going to Lost Lake, starting at the Lost Lake trailhead and heading up the service road for two miles before turning off on the Lost Lake trail. This waterfall is always different, but today it was looking especially beautiful.
Hmmm, what to do?
We got to the turnoff where we could either go up to a view, or down the trail to Lost Lake. As you can see here, Dianne is trying to figure it out. The sunny day made us unsure of what would be the best place to go.
This way would take us to a view
After some hemming and hawing, and being pulled towards the view, we decided to hike down the Lost Lake trail until we could see the lake, and then turn back around and head up this trail so we'd be able to enjoy the sunshine.
Heading back to the previous trail
That's just what we did. Here we are going back to get up to the Burnout viewpoint, realizing that we might get there a bit before lunchtime, but we could still enjoy an early lunch there.
Mt Baker from the viewpoint
Once we got there, it was a glorious view, with Mt Baker showing off, no clouds, and absolutely not a breath of wind. Although it was cold, it didn't feel like it at all, and we pulled out our lunches and enjoyed basking in the sun.
Melanie, Dianne, and me (taken by Angie)
I asked Angie to take this picture of the three of us, all in various shades of purple, in front of Mt. Baker. We lollygagged around after lunch, nobody wanting especially to leave, but we knew that just a short distance away from this view, we'd have a view of the San Juan islands, so off we went.
The San Juan islands in Samish Bay
It was another WOW moment. I've seen these views many times, but never so late in the year without a breath of wind or cold weather. We had already had lunch, but we had trouble tearing ourselves away from the view.
Just a couple more pictures
Then we finally decided to hike back down the trail and make a trip to Fragrance Lake. It was such a beautiful day that nobody wanted to hurry.
On our way to Fragrance Lake
Once we got to Fragrance Lake, we almost decided to skip taking a look at it and just head back to the parking lot, but I'm so glad we didn't. That full sunshine and no wind made for an amazing scene. It was almost like I was looking in a mirror.
Fragrance Lake reflections
It was almost surreal to look at. We only needed to descend to the trail for two more miles to get back to the parking lot, to complete a ten-mile day and 2,400 feet of elevation gain and loss. And here's a news flash: I just got some pictures from Chris, who went to the High Country with the others. They made it to the top of Yellow Aster Butte and had a wonderful day, too. Check out her picture:
Mt Baker from another view
It was a very special day in so many ways. The weather could not have been better, and the fact that it all happened this year on a Thursday, and that we took advantage of it, makes all of us smiling and happy that we are so fortunate to live here! My wine is almost gone, but what a day!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ten years ago

My birthday dinner 2009
Looking for something to write about today, I found this picture, taken by our server, when we went to Anthony's Restaurant to celebrate my birthday. Back in those days, a decade ago, we went out to eat much more often than we do today. The older I get, the less I want to have meals that deviate from my usual fare. We will have a Thanksgiving meal that we've had every year since we moved here, and we do occasionally go off to our favorite Thai restaurant when we have out-of-town guests.

But that's pretty much it these days. My friend Lily has introduced me to her favorite place, and we've gone there a couple of times, but pizza and chicken wings (with beer, of course) are not something I can indulge in very often. In fact, it was just a couple of weeks ago that I had my first wing with her. It was absolutely delicious, but for someone who doesn't eat much meat, it seemed rather exotic, highly spiced and salty. But nevertheless, finger-lickin' good. I can see why people can get hooked on that sort of food.

Now the beer, I could have that every day, but I don't. Instead, I stick to red wine, but lately thinking about the fizz and delight of an IPA comes into my consciousness more often than I wish it did. Just writing about it makes me want some, so I'd better get back to my novel and distract myself.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

A feast of color and a wedding

Fallen leaves
Walking back from the bus last week, I saw this lovely carpet of leaves after a brief rain shower, brightening the color, where before the rain they looked much less brilliant. A bit of wetness makes a huge difference. We are currently experiencing some rain, which is actually rather welcome after an unusual dry period in late October through early November. We are some six inches of rainfall short of average for the period.

This morning we ladies walked with the threat of rain, but other than a few drops, we were rain free. And then it started, after we quit, and has been raining ever since. How lucky is that? Some of our walkers think it's our leader who has a knack for holding back the elements.

All of my siblings are gathered today in Texas for the wedding of one of my nephews. I was invited, too, but since I've only met him a few times in my life, and because it's such a long distance to fly, I sent a gift and hope that everyone will take enough pictures that I can experience the event vicariously. Another reason I chose not to go is that the bride proclaimed a dress code for the women: semi-formal wear. I haven't had on a dress for so long I don't know if I still know how to wear one. But it's her special day, and she gets to make the rules for the event.

I am just a little sad not to be with them, but I hope they know that I am there in spirit. A grumpy old lady who doesn't travel well at all these days can send them many happy returns of the day from the comfort of her easy chair!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Goose Rock and more

Walking around Cranberry Lake
I decided this morning to go with the "relaxed" group of Senior Trailblazers, rather than do Oyster Dome again so soon after our last visit. My knee complained mightily then, and today's group had decided to drive to Anacortes to make a hike up Goose Rock, one of my favorites in the area. We started the trip with a short loop around the Cranberry Lake trail, with this wonderful moss hanging from the trees. In other years, I've seen eagles here, but not today.
Discussing alternate route plans
When we went through the gate into the park, we were informed that a rock slide has occurred near the Deception Pass bridge, closing part of the trail, and that meant we would not be able to make our usual excursion from West Beach to the Goose Rock trailhead. Instead, we had to make a detour in order to get to the other side of the bridge highway.
This detour took us under the highway
We walked through the many campsites in the park, on our way to the other side of the closed trail, so that we could start our hike up to Goose Rock.
Magnificent trees everywhere
I love the wonderful trees that grace this park, big cedars and firs that have been around a long, long time. This one appealed to me, so I added it to my collection of favorite tree photos.
Can you see Mt Rainier?
It is not often that we have a good view of Mt Rainier once we get to the top of Goose Rock, but today, you can see it on the horizon. You can also see one of those pesky Growler aircraft that we had to endure all day long.
More of the Goose Rock view
The Navy base where the aircraft take off and land is visible in this picture, in the topmost part of the bay. Another Growler is also visible in the air.
Our lunch break
We had a nice place to have lunch, once we reached the top. The weather was mild, but the noise from the aircraft was intolerable. I've been coming on this hike for years, but I have never before experienced such loud and constant noise, the kind that hurts your ears and vibrates through your body. On the way back, we did a little research and found that several dozens more of these aircraft were added earlier this year, and they are also definitely louder. The Whidbey Island residents have filed a lawsuit over the increased noise.
Our Trailblazer crew today
This picture was taken as we headed back down the trail. Andre is the photographer, since I managed to mess up the one I took of the group. Anyway, once we were on the portion of the trail that puts us with some terrain between us and the Navy base, it was much quieter. I cannot think how people manage to live here these days.
Pretty little mushrooms
On our way back, we saw many beautiful forest mushrooms of every size and shape. Not knowing what they are, I cannot name them, but I can tell you they make beautiful little forest scenes.
Mt Baker in the distance
On the return trail, we had a lovely view of another one of our favorite mountains. Although we didn't get to enjoy our usual walk along the beach on the way back to the cars, we did appreciate both the scenery and the company. Many of the people in this group are ones I have known for a long time, but others were new to me. We covered more than eight miles and about 1,200 feet up and down, less than half what the other group did, I'm sure. My knees were very happy with my decision, and we got a good workout. too. I'm ready to kick back and put my feet up. Another good day!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Snow has hit the High Country

Tom on the High Divide (Chris' picture)
Last week, when 12 Senior Trailblazers made a local hike, four others who just didn't want to give up the chance for another trip up to the High Country went up Excelsior Pass. They made it the whole way, and Chris sent me this picture of Tom, with Mt Shuksan in the background. It looks like it was a great day for them, although I was quite happy with our shorter and snow-free jaunt. But there is a part of me that wishes that I could have joined them.

I keep getting into a mindset that forgets how much I suffer when I push myself to my physical limits. One part of me looks at the "relaxed" group, which consistently goes on less challenging hikes, thinking that it's really time for me to consider going with them more often. This coming Thursday puts me in a quandary: go on the longer, harder hike up Oyster Dome, or take the easy hike on Whidbey Island that they have scheduled.

Frankly, it's hard for me to leave behind my long-time pals and go with new friends. I'm such a creature of habit. Although I don't have to make up my mind right now, I'm thinking about it. It's a background concern, but I have one more day to ponder the question.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our missing rain has returned

All smiles
We had a very long period without any rain, almost a record for this time of the year, but this morning as I headed out the door, I noticed a light patter of rain on the stairs on the way to my car. I was going to walk with the ladies, and I had decided to meet my friend Lily halfway between my place and where the walk would be. But alas, she didn't show up. I received a text that she had overslept.

I frankly was not unhappy, because walking in the woods in the rain might be occasionally fun, but I wasn't feeling up to it today. (The light rain never stopped and picked up enough to make it a bit soggy.) Instead, we went back to the coffee shop for another round of coffee. I ended up having twice my usual amount of espresso, and when I started dancing, the barista decided I shouldn't get any more. I was feeling really jazzed.

However, I ended up missing my usual Saturday walk and considered going to the Y for a date with the treadmill, but somehow I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for it. By the time I got there, the caffeine had begun to work its way out of my system, and I decided that it would be fine if I skipped a day. Maybe I'll make up for it tomorrow, and maybe I won't. It's nice to take a day off now and then.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Chanterelle trail again

Map of the new and old trails 
It was only a few weeks ago that we decided to check out the recently completed extension to the Chanterelle trail. It was a rainy day, but not today. Twelve Senior Trailblazers went on the entire ten miles of the trail, and it was perfect for hiking. Four others of our group went up the Mt Baker Highway to attempt yet another final hike in the High Country. The days are now very short and the drive long, but it was such a beautiful day, I can't blame them for trying. I hope their day was as good as ours was.
Lake Whatcom from the viewpoint
This viewpoint was the original end of the trail, a place to stop and take in the view and enjoy a quick snack.
Stopping for a bite to eat after 2.5 miles
This was also our eventual lunch spot, but first we went up the entire ten miles, enjoying the wonderful new trail, which seems to have been getting quite a bit of traffic. It no longer looks brand new.
Stopping for a picture before going onwards
When we got to the terminus, we walked out onto the service road, which used to be the only way we could go anywhere past the viewpoint. We had noticed a place where the new trail comes out onto the road, so we went down the service road for about a half mile before rejoining the Chanterelle trail once more.
View from the old service road
Being on the road gave us a bit of a different look at Lake Whatcom, along with lots of vegetation. Although the sun came and went, many moments of full sun felt so good out in the open.
Rejoining the Chanterelle trail
This is the spot on the road that took us back on the trail. From this point, it is 1.5 miles to the viewpoint, so we decided to just wait until then for lunch. All the work that went into this new trail is exceptional, and many of my hiking friends helped to work on it.
Dappled sunshine on our way down
The entire trail up and down is, as I said, right around ten miles, and 2,300 feet up and down. My knees certainly felt the descent, but my trekking poles once again made it possible for me to keep going.
Looking the other way at the viewpoint
Once we had our lunch and made our way back to the cars, I felt pretty good overall, but I'm glad I didn't attempt the even longer trek that the other Trailblazers did. This was just about the most I wanted to do for now, and I'll do some stretches today and really enjoy the massage I'm scheduled for tomorrow. Life is good, and I'm hoping the weather will continue to hold. But it doesn't really matter: we go rain or shine. Or even snow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Voting Day

I voted
Now that I live in Washington state, we vote by mail. In Colorado, hubby and I were at our polling place very early in the morning. Although we arrived maybe fifteen minutes before they opened, we were never the first ones in line, that I remember at least. It made us feel very good to be able to vote for the people and policies we believe in.

Now, we find some time around our kitchen table with all the available information and our ballots and work together to make our choices. It’s not quite the same feeling, with today being Voting Day, and we’re all done. But it’s something we never shirk. The only thing I can do, other than give money to candidates we believe in, is VOTE. I hope you dear friends here in the US won’t forget to vote.

It’s a privilege and a right not to be dismissed. That’s my belief, anyway. In any event, have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Dia de los Muertos

Walking in the graveyard
In Mexico, as well as many parts of Central America, the first two days of November as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) are celebrated to honor those who have died before us. Because of this, our leader, Cindy, took us this morning through the Bayview Graveyard. I got this picture and found it to be a bit blurry, but perhaps it only adds to the mystery of the season. In any event, these two walkers decided to cut across and actually walk among the graves, while the rest of us stayed on the road. We are still being blessed with Indian Summer, with mild temperatures and clear skies. The sun had not yet come high enough to reach us when I took this.
About half of the walkers
Then we went to Whole Foods for a quick bite and/or some coffee. A passerby took this picture, which is why I'm in it, too. We didn't walk very far today, under five miles, I suspect, but I didn't let that stop me from enjoying a very nice breakfast. We are all so lucky to have the chance to have fun with our cool group of ladies.