Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Sloppy mess

Snow on the pussy willows

I woke this morning to a rather intense snowstorm, lots of flakes coming down, and the temperature just above freezing. It's many hours later, but the temperature has only come up a few degrees. I walked to the bus on pristine snow, and it was quite lovely. But coming  home was another matter altogether. Although the streets weren't clear, only a few places seemed slippery, but the melting snow made the necessity to wade through icy water not a fun activity. It will be another sloppy mess tomorrow, too, probably.

I went to the coffee shop and enjoyed a good Americano, as usual, and then I decided to ask John to drive me to the Senior Center to attend the Zumba class. Because of the weather, the usual 25 attendees had shrunk to 6. It was actually more fun, because I could see the instructor so much better. Anyway, I had a good time, until I had to walk home in the slush. I entertained myself by thinking of expletives to keep my mind occupied.

I got a call from the hearing office that my hearing aids have arrived. They will be fitted for me on Friday, and then I'll have two months to decide if I like them or not. You'll be finding out about my purchase and how I feel about it in the future, I'm sure.


Thursday, February 23, 2023

Frigid but sunny

Lake Whatcom

If I didn't know any better, this picture could have been taken at any time of the year, especially if one didn't realize that is SNOW in the foreground. Melanie and I decided to visit one of our favorite places, the Hertz trail, which would give us a fairly sheltered walk. The temperature has been miserable, with the above scene showing plenty of sun, but the ambient air not even up to the freezing level. All that with a high wind makes for an uncomfortable hike.

Unusual scene for this area

We were really surprised at how comfortable we were in this situation, and we saw plenty of icicles as we made the three-plus miles to the end. This was the most spectacular view, but there were plenty more. There was a little mud, but as you might expect, it was easy to cross, since the mud was also frozen solid.

A beautiful winter's day

There wasn't much new to photograph, other than the usual view with some frosty ornaments. I imagine the weather kept most people away from a morning walk, since we saw fewer people on the trail than we normally do. Maybe they were hoping for some warmer temperatures, but they aren't expected today or tomorrow.

Ice on the right, dry trail on the left

Because we were protected from the worst of the wind, we actually warmed up quite nicely as we walked along. I even took off my mittens and just wore gloves, and eventually had to remove one of my three layers to stay comfortable.

Dappled sunlight belies the cold

We went all the way to the end, then turned around and came back to the trailhead. This gave us more than six miles but little elevation gain, since it's almost flat, having been a railroad bed many decades ago. We finished right around noon, not taking much time to sit anywhere in the cold. Now I am home, having just finished lunch and writing this post, so that I can enjoy reading my book and feeling quite virtuous for the rest of the day.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Beginning or end of week

Richard Marcus photo

I tried to take some pictures of the just-emerging pussy willows, but nothing I took came anywhere close to this snap by Richard Marcus, which I snagged off the Seeing Bellingham Facebook page. I can be shameless that way, but I always try to give the photographer credit. These are graced by the recent rain, and once they dry out, I'll bet they are even bigger and fatter than before.

By the way, speaking of "fat," did you know it's Fat Tuesday? The day before Lent in the Christian calendar, and the day when people would use up all their culinary fat before the (supposed) forty days of austere eating before Easter. One year (or maybe it was more, I'm not sure), I gave up all sweets for Lent. I don't remember whether I made it all the way to Easter without some, but I do remember it was hard to change my dietary habits.

About the title of my post, I'm curious: do you see Sunday as the last day of the week, or the first day? I go back and forth about it, but I tend to think of it as the first. How about you?

Oh, and before I forget: I had a nightly visitation from a friendly ghost just before I woke up this morning. I was standing in a crowded room when I noticed someone smiling at me, a huge welcoming smile, and I realized it was my recently deceased friend Maria! It was such a treat to see her, and I approached and the two of us shared the most delightful hug, until I woke up, a smile on my own face. I can still remember the feeling of her beloved arms around me. It's been awhile since I've had such a wonderful visit.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

Lizard Lake

Interesting root system

Today Melanie and I went to Blanchard Mountain, one of our favorite places when the weather is conducive to a hike, meaning when it's not raining or too awfully muddy. Today, although it was cold, it was just right for a trip to Lizard Lake from the Upper Trailhead parking lot. There was not really a lot to capture for pictures, cloudy and overcast, casting everything once again in winter monochromes.

Trail to Lizard Lake

As we ascended higher on the way to the lake, we ran into a bit of snow. It was never hard to navigate and made for some pretty scenery. We covered six miles on today's adventure, and went up and down around 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss.

Lizard Lake with ice

You can see that it was still rather cold at the lake, with a very shallow ice covering most of it. We took the time to have a quick snack, too. Of course Melanie brought a treat, these being her latest culinary exploit: linzer cookies. They were a lot of work, she told me, but she made enough to take to her dance class, and if they enjoyed them as much as I did my very own today, I'm sure everyone was very happy to be around, as I was, to taste them.

Melanie's linzer cookies

 Oh, they were good! I have two more, which she gave me to share at the coffee shop tomorrow. She made them for Valentine's Day and said they were not all that fresh, but I beg to differ: they were amazingly good and such a wonderful treat. They are pictured here sitting on a frozen, icy log at Lizard Lake. 

I am so lucky to have not only an excellent hiking buddy, but one that likes to bake really wonderful goodies!


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Valentine from the Universe

Can spring be far behind?

I saw this new display outside of the local community food coop, where we do a lot of our shopping. They had just finished putting out these gorgeous flowers, just enough for me to spend some time smiling and enjoying the bright colors. It's the beginning of the changeover from winter's drab monochrome.
The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh. —Rumi

That quote seemed appropriate for today, when we celebrate love in its many forms. I am home after having walked to the bus early, enjoying the cold as I had dressed just right for the weather. After watching the sun come up in a cloudless sky, it made me realize it will stay cold like this for awhile, and that is just fine. However, the wind made me happy to be warmly dressed.

Yesterday I attended my first yoga class at the Senior Center. It was not a hard class, so I didn't expect to be as sore as I am today. It made me aware once again that you cannot store fitness. I also went today to my second Zumba class, and I once again realized that jumping around like that takes energy, and I might not feel it's necessary to worry about completing every move; I found myself tiring and brought down my activity level until I felt a little more in control. Whew! I can now feel just fine sitting in my easy chair and enjoying more quiet pursuits. 

Pussy willows just starting

I was so pleased to see, on my walk home, that there are the beginnings of pussy willows appearing on a favorite bush. It's early, but they are definitely there, no longer dormant. And the warm sun will continue to help them spring forth. 


These are the first blossoms I've seen actually coming up out of the ground this spring, and they sure do look beautiful to my eyes. Once I finish this Tuesday post, I think I'll spend the rest of the day enjoying myself and hanging out with my Valentine. I hope you have a wonderful day, too.


Thursday, February 9, 2023

Change of plans

Lake Whatcom 

 Melanie and I had tentatively decided to hike to Lizard Lake on Blanchard Mountain today, but we woke to a light rain, expected to continue on and off all morning. So, we changed our plans and instead headed to the Hertz trail, and we went out and back for 6.2 miles, mostly flat. I'm glad we did, because the rain didn't quit until close to the end of our excursion. Not that I mind a bit of rain, but it would have been quite muddy as well. Two things I can do without.

Bench where you can rest a bit

We didn't have much to photograph, nothing new at any rate, but I remember passing by this bench many times over the years. It was wet and uninviting today. It was much nicer just to keep moving to stay warm and enjoy each other's company.

Fog, fir trees, and calm waters

We never had even a glimpse of sun, or even a shadow, but towards the end of our walk, we did see the clouds lighten a little, and I always enjoy seeing the trees looking so beautiful through the low-lying fog. It was, as always, nice to be outdoors and getting in our daily exercise. Mel's car has heated seats, so it wasn't easy to pry myself out for our Thursday hike, but I'm glad I did. We are in much better moods than before we started. Hopefully, next week we can do Blanchard Mountain.

I am struggling to maintain my positivity when I read the news. As of today, the death toll from the earthquake in Turkey/Syria has surpassed 20,000. It's an unbelievable tragedy. If you are looking for a good place to donate money, I recommend Doctors Without Borders, which performs incredible assistance all over the world. They have been helping with this awful disaster since right after it struck three days ago. It's my favorite go-to humanitarian assistance website. 

And prayers can only help. Stay positive, my friends.


Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Tuesday's musings

Whatcom Falls last Saturday

After a pretty miserable wet morning, with lots of time spent going from place to place on the bus, I was happy to get home, with a chance to dry off and settle in for the rest of the day. One of the things I did today, for the first time, was to attend a Zumba class at the Senior Center. This was billed as "Zumba Gold," which is especially tailored for seniors. It's a very popular class, and one of my good friends attends regularly.

There were at least twenty women in the class, and the instructor was quite good. She also teaches a regular Zumba class, and this was hard enough that I wondered what is different about the traditional class. It was fun, and I got a good workout, so you know I'll be going back to attend again. They also offer a yoga class twice a week so I signed up for one next Monday and will see how that goes. Little by little, I'm getting my exercise routine back on track. But I still want to join a regular yoga studio and will make my way there eventually.

After such an awful start to the day, I was completely taken by surprise when it not only stopped raining, but the sun is shining gloriously. It seems like it's been quite awhile since I've seen so much sunshine. The days are beginning to lengthen, and we have passed the halfway point between winter and spring on the calendar. I see fat buds on the trees, too.

I am staying away from the news, since that terrible earthquake in Turkey and Syria is taking up all the oxygen, and I can barely stand to see it happening. Often when I think my world is dire, all I have to do is think about the people suffering in such conditions. My heart goes out to them. 


Thursday, February 2, 2023

Huckleberry and Lower Salal trails

Lower Salal, with roots

 Today, Melanie and I went out to the N. Chuckanut Mountain trailhead to hike up to one of my favorite places, the Lower Salal trail. It's about a mile and a half from the trailhead to the beginning of this lovely trail, which is fun to hike on year round. We see lots of trillium here during the springtime months, but for now, it's just fallen leaves and lots of ferns, which thrive in this environment.

I'm there for size perspective

Mel asked me to stand next to this fine old tree, which I've pointed out many times before, but even I was amazed at what a difference it makes to see something that can give you an idea of the size of it. That tiny dot of white is my hair!

Closeup shot

We hiked from the Lower Salal trail back down to the Hemlock trail, and then took a side trail up to the Huckleberry viewpoint. There was really nothing to see, except for the two of us, since the low clouds gave us little viewing pleasure.

Mel at Huckleberry bench

We stopped here to have some lunch, and Mel brought out her latest cookie creation, my very favorite buckwheat chocolate chip cardamom delights. I ate two, which was quite filling and some of the best of her many different creations. This bench brings back memories of many previous visits, but today it was so nice to share my day with Melanie!

Me at the Huckleberry bench

Mel took this picture of me before we began our descent back down to the Hemlock trail, which took us back to the trailhead. We covered 5.91 miles, according to her tracker, and more than 1,500 feet of elevation gain and loss. Now that I am home, warm and cozy, I can also say that it was never all that warm, and if it hadn't been for the fine company, it would have been a lot shorter excursion for me. But she kept me entertained and well fed, so it was a very, very good day.