Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Zuanich Point Park

 On Saturday, Melanie and I had a really nice walk down by the waterfront. Lots of flowers and lots of boats in the marina. Squalicum Harbor has numerous places to walk, and we covered around five miles before heading back into town.

I'm glad to see that Blogger has fixed its problem downloading images. I guess it lasted for several hours but there were enough people complaining that it got fixed relatively quickly. On Thursday, I did take this lovely picture and am sharing it now.


Fortunately for me, I am back in the swing of blogging, and although I contemplated going back and inserting the rest of the pictures in my last post, I figured nobody much cares, and this was the best of the lot. Hummingbirds love this flower.

This Memorial Day, I am remembering those who sacrificed everything to keep our country safe, as well as those dear loved ones I have lost over the years. A few weeks ago I visited the local cemetery, but I'll stay away today since it will probably be very busy.  Instead, I'll go for a solitary walk around the neighborhood, mostly to get my daily steps in, as well as to break in a new pair of boots I bought on sale yesterday. I thought about simply walking to the coffee shop from home (around three miles) to break them in, but then sanity returned. What if they hurt my feet? It's much better to go out nearby and be able to return home sooner if necessary. So that's what I'll do. So far I like them very much!

Keen Terradora II waterproof boot

I hope you will have a relaxing Memorial Day holiday if you celebrate it, and a relaxing day in any event, no matter where in the world you are. 


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Y Road trail up Stewart Mountain

 Well, this kind of sucks. I simply cannot put any pictures on my blog for the moment. I went on a nice hike with 13 other Senior Trailblazers and am now trying to write the post, with no luck at adding any pictures. When I try to download one, it tells me there has been "an unexpected error in processing my photo. Please try again later." I tried pulling up the post in another browser, but I got the same notice.

Then I tried a different photo, same problem. So, I guess, not knowing how long this error will continue, I'll try to paint some word pictures. Here goes.

The weather was expected to be atrocious, and it rained all night, so I figured I'd better be ready for anything. Rain pants, rain hat, and my most trusty rain jacket. I supposed I should have also added a rain poncho, just in case, but I took my chances and headed to my friend Melanie's house to carpool with her. I sure didn't expect many people to show up on a day like today, but I was mistaken: 14 of us met at 8:30 in the Y Road parking lot. We were ready!

(I just took a moment to try once again to load a photo. No luck.) We trudged up the service road until it takes off into the forest on some muddy but passable trails, climbing upward as we hiked. Although we were dressed for rain, it hadn't come yet, and I began to get quite warm, so I ditched my hat and opened my jacket, hoping that it wouldn't be seen by the Universe as me actually believing that the rain would stay away. The wind blew in some pretty strong gusts, and the heavy dark sky overhead warned of the rain to come.

After we reached a viewpoint, and saw that we could see downtown Bellingham, which was bathed in sunlight (while we still expected any moment to be drenched), we decided to stop for a quick snack and settled into a nice little spot out of the wind. We chatted for awhile, and four of our hikers decided to head back down, thinking I suppose that they might stay dry while the rest of us would deal with the rain.

After a bit, we also decided instead of going any farther, maybe we should head back down. It would mean a round trip of under six miles, although we'd climbed 1,400 feet and would have to deal with rather steep and muddy trails back to the cars. So that's what we did.

And now, after having been frustrated by Blogspot's inability to let me post any pictures (I'll try one more time: nope), I'll just stop here and let you know what a great day we had, even if it didn't actually begin to rain until we reached the parking lot, and those heavy clouds gave us a chance to thumb our noses at them before heading home. Here's a link to the trailhead and the hike.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Stump stories

Magnificent old stump in its dotage

On my walk around the neighborhood to accumulate steps to help keep myself from deteriorating too much during the pandemic, I often pass by this old stump on East Maplewood Avenue. It's really quite well maintained, and the people who keep it in good shape are either children, or adults, or both. Isn't it fun? If you look towards the middle of the scene, under the red-and-blue door, there is a train track going into the bowels of the stump. Not really, but a closeup does make me wonder.

Magic fairies might be the train conductors

There are many old stumps in my neighborhood, telling of another time in which these giant trees threw their shade far and wide, for so many animals and humans to enjoy. These days, they are magnets for those of us who believe in magic.

I wish there was some way to take a trip back in time and see what this street looked like fifty to a hundred years ago. There are dozens of old stumps like this one on this short little street with quaint homes (which are much sought after, considering how much they sell for today). It does make me really grateful that I am able to live in such a beautiful place in our country. I love it here!


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Lily, Lizard and North Butte

Happy birthday to Joy! (Melanie took the pic)

Sixteen Trailblazers met in the parking lot of the Upper Trailhead on Blanchard Mountain, and we immediately broke into two groups, one going farther and faster, while the other group (mine) gathered in front of this sign to wish Joy a very happy birthday. In two days she will reach her ninth decade of life and turn 80!

We are going farther these days, and I will just barely be able to finish this post before it's time for our Trailblazers Zoom meeting. Since we never saw the other group today, it will be fun to hear from them how it went. We saw Richard, who was with that group while his other half, Chris, joined us. He told us they went to Samish Oyster Dome, as well as Lily and Lizard Lakes for around nine miles. We, on the other hand, visited Lily and Lizard as well as North Butte, for around eight miles and took our time, going much more slowly. We spent some time at each place we visited.

Lily Lake

Lily Lake actually has some lily pads, which is the only way I can tell the difference between these two lakes. The sun came and went all day, but I had a peek of sun just in time to illuminate these lily pads.

The view from North Butte

We again had a bit of sun to capture the view from the North Butte lookout, which entails a bit of a hike from Lily Lake, and then afterwards back down to Lizard Lake.

Lizard Lake

We spent a good bit of time here, and stopped for a nice lunch. The breeze picked up and nobody was all that warm, but it was still quite a lovely day. 

Lovely trillium

We also saw quite a few trillium that are mostly done blooming for the season. We also saw lots of woodland violets and other flowers, but I didn't get any pictures of them, unfortunately. This was a rather long hike for me these days, and I'm finding myself feeling quite content to finish this post a bit early and get read for the Zoom call. We also went up and down around 1,600 feet, and my feet can tell you all about what that feels like! All in all, it was a really good day, and I'm happy I went. The Trailblazers are back!


Monday, May 17, 2021

A cloudy day for a change

Lilacs and golden shower tree

Walking back from the bus today, I saw these pretty blossoms, which were much easier to capture because of the overcast skies. We've had days and days of sunshine, but today it seemed a bit more familiar when I walked out to heavy clouds and the possibility of rain. Today I won't need to water the garden.

I'm feeling pretty good today after several uncomfortable days recovering from the tooth extraction. I don't know why I didn't realize that the recovery would be tough, but I really didn't. As I looked ahead at the surgery, I forgot to think about the aftermath. It hasn't been fun, but I am finally thinking I've managed to escape the dreaded "dry socket." I'm not completely out of the woods yet, but so far so good. The foods I have been eating are all soft, easy to swallow and digest. Especially the coffee ice cream. It's only been four days, and although the ice cream is almost gone, I am still losing weight every day. When you have to think about every single bite of food that goes into your mouth, and being careful to stay away from the wound, it makes a difference. My usual snack of raw almonds (no way!) and anything remotely chewy are not in my diet for now.

Front porch garden

I have been spending time sitting on the front porch enjoying my flowers and even talking to them about how much joy they are bringing to me. And now to you. I have decided that petunias and geraniums are my favorites, since they don't require much more than water and a bit of encouragement to flourish. I'm giving up on the fancy stuff.

After having read just about everything I could find online about how best to take care of my mouth after the extraction, I'm looking forward right now to getting through the next week without any setbacks. Then I can begin to think about my next adventure in growing older, where I seem to be losing bits of myself in the process.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

A medium molehill, my friends did a mountain

Dentist, me, technician

I felt very safe in the hands of my dentist office, with plenty of delightful ways to keep myself from paying too much attention to what was going on. I opted for nitrous oxide, which is giving me a big grey nose, sunglasses, and prior to coming here today, I took 2mg of Ativan for anxiety. I was feeling pretty woozy under the influence of Ativan and don't know if I'd take it again. I walk like a drunken sailor, wobbly and with no ability to walk in a straight line. Now, four hours later,  I am feeling it beginning to wear off, and I'm grateful.

The nitrous oxide was another thing entirely. I liked it from the first moment I sniffed in some oxygen-laced nitrous and felt it made the entire event much less traumatic. The plan was to remove a 40-year-old crown from a back molar and remove the entire tooth, which had developed some serious periodontal disease. Unfortunately, this old friend didn't go easily: the tooth had to be separated into two parts in order to remove it completely. It's now gone into the dustbin of history, or whatever else you do with old teeth.

I was given a picture of my mouth, sans tooth, as you can see here. The white part on the left is the crown that covered the tooth, and you can see its neighbor in both pictures. At the moment I am keeping a saturated cotton on the cavity, and I'm hoping that recovery will be straight forward. Little by little I'm regaining sensitivity in my lower lip and cheek, but it will be awhile before I'll know how much residual pain I'll have. It should be minimal.

Left picture, two teeth; right, only one

And all the while I'm sitting here in my lazy chair, feeling my mouth come back to normal, the Senior Trailblazers are all out on Raptor Ridge, enjoying magnificent weather and lots of mileage and elevation gain. If I feel better by mid-afternoon, I'll go for a walk myself, but right now I am just being lazy.

The crowd on Raptor Ridge

I think I'll go for at least a short walk, since the weather is really calling to me. I don't have to go far, just enough to wash all the drugs out of my system!


Monday, May 10, 2021

Had a great Mother's Day

Lily and me, plus flowers

Lily hosted me, John, and Gene for Mother's Day, and we had a super-wonderful meal, to which we all brought something to share. John brought the biggest part, with his incredibly well seasoned cod, which he cooked right before we sat down to eat. Plus Lily made scalloped potatoes, and we had John's fresh asparagus, and a big salad. Gene and I brought dessert.

Cod, potatoes, asparagus, salad

Once we had enjoyed this treat, we ended the feast with lemon scones with whipped cream and John's homemade rhubarb sauce, and Gene brought wine and bear claws. As you can imagine, after all this we were very full and went our separate ways happy and with a little bit more avoirdupois.

I just watched a really interesting video clip from a 2014 60 Minutes program, which John insisted I watch. I'm going to try to embed it here, but if it doesn't work, you should be able to click on the above link to get to it.

Well, that was a lot of work. Did I get it right? In any event, the video is entitled "Living Into Your Nineties." And John was right:  I did enjoy the interviews with these wonderful seniors. I can only hope...


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Fragrance Lake, Fiona, and fairy slippers

We were seventeen all together

Today seventeen Senior Trailblazers met at the Lost Lake trailhead, our first real gathering since the pandemic began. Since the Senior Center is still closed, we drove either alone or with friends, all of us now completely vaccinated and able to gather in larger groups outdoors without masks. Earlier in the week we had been led to expect rain today, but we learned it had decided to wait until later in the afternoon before moving in. So we had a lot of interest in getting out and about.

My group of nine (I took the picture)

We broke into two groups, one of 8 and the other of 9, and I joined the group that would go more slowly and not travel as far as the other one. We walked up the service road to Fragrance Lake, figuring we'd take the hiking trail back and make a loop out of it. 

A meagre waterfall today

Since we haven't had much rain lately, you can see that our waterfall is looking much less impressive than usual, but it's still very beautiful. Our group decided to make our way to Fragrance Lake and make a trip around in and head back to the parking lot. But that is not how it turned out.

At the lake

Once we got to the lake, Tom suggested that we explore a "gentle" trail that would take us up to Fiona Ridge, and then we could decide how to get back to the original trail after exploring the ridge. 

Trail up to Fiona Ridge

Tom led us up the trail, which was obviously not well used, and in no way would I call it "gentle." Apparently that is only in comparison to the steep and difficult Fiona trail that is more well known. I struggled my way up the trail, and fortunately I had the help of Richard, who held out his hand for me many times, as I made my way up steep and rather treacherous spots.

A calypso orchid

One bright spot on the trail was the discovery of some gorgeous and rather rare pink orchids, right by the seldom used trail. Melanie got this picture, since mine was out of focus. These are also called fairy slippers, but their actual name is Calypso bulbosa. That article tells us that they are a perennial member of the orchid family found in undisturbed northern and montane forests. 

Trail to Fragrance Lake 

Once we came off the ridge, we were on Cleator Road, which we had to walk for about a mile until we got to this trail that would take us either to the service road or the longer but more lovely trail back to the parking lot. Since by this time we were pretty tired, we chose to take the shorter and more direct route back.

In any event by the time we finished, we compared our devices and worked out that we had covered around eight miles up and down, which explains why I feel so tired right now! It was a good day, and a great way to begin our post-pandemic season. It was nice not to have to worry about masks or social distancing, since we are all fully vaccinated now and our options are opening up.

I'm glad I had the chance to do this "short" hike and to learn that I am still capable of making longer trips into the wilderness. It was a good day indeed. And even now, after 3:00pm, the rain has still not started!


Monday, May 3, 2021

Lilacs are in bloom

In our driveway

It's that time of the year again, when lilacs everywhere in town are in bloom. It only happens once a year, for a very short time, but I watch for the blooms with lots of enjoyment. I've learned that the white ones bloom first and are sometimes gone before the deep purple lilacs have shown their color. Yesterday I saw a very different looking lilac bush than I've seen before: purple blooms edged with white. They had only begun to come out, so I didn't get a picture. It's located on a walk I take only once in awhile, so I might or might not capture the blooms. My attention span is limited these days.

At the moment I'm dealing with a blockage of ear wax in my right ear. I went looking for the earwax removal kit in my bathroom and tried it, with no success. Then I noticed that it might be because the expiration date was way back in 2017. Off to the pharmacy for a new bottle, some of which is now in my tilted ear, with hopes that I'll be able to hear normally again in the near future. If it's not one thing, it's another. A minor annoyance but one I cannot ignore.

How about you? How is the weather in your part of the world? I keep seeing these awful tornadoes in the south and am reminded that spring tends to exacerbate these terrible storms. We are having cloudy but mild weather, nothing serious to report. We do keep having rainstorms, but that is perfectly normal for the Pacific Northwest during the majority of the year.