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Autumn arrives

It’s a couple of days early to announce the arrival of Autumn, but I have photos that prove it is definitely here. For the last few days, it has been raining (really more like hailing) acorns! We live with 4 giant Oak trees on our east property line. They’re over 100 years old, and very tall. Each year, the acorns fall, but this year is the first we’ve experienced such a massive amount falling! I don’t know what it means, or if it’s just normal to have a year with a million acorns falling almost all at once, but it’s interesting! We hear one hit the roof, or the patio. They bounce and hit again. And then we hear another, and another. I refuse to go into the east side of our yard because one year I was hit by one of those falling acorns, right on the muscle between shoulder and neck, and it hurt like crazy and left a deep bruise that took a long time to heal. Hailing acorns…Autumn has most definitely arrived.


What is Orange?


What is Orange?

Orange is a tiger lily,

A carrot, 

A feather from 

A parrot, 

A flame, 

The wildest color you can name. 

Saying good-bye 

In a sunset that 

Shocks the sky. 

Orange is brave 

Orange is bold 

It’s bittersweet 

And marigold. 

Orange is zip 

Orange is dash 

The brightest stripe 

In a Roman sash. 

Orange is an orange 

Also a mango. 

Orange is the music 

Of the tango. 

Orange is the fur 

Of the fiery fox, 

The brightest crayon 

In the box.

And in the fall 

When the leaves are turning 

Orange is the smell 

Of a bonfire burning.

 by: Mary O’Neil, from Hailstones and Halibut Bones



Springtree Spring

spring_tree1We live in a condominium complex called “Springtree.”  It’s a small complex with a variety of units — some townhouses, some ramblers — and the grounds are just beautiful.  I took a walk this week and took photos so I could share with you some of the spring blossoms and flowers that are out.  




One of Those Crazy Weeks!

This week truly has been one of those crazy weeks. It started badly but ended well, and I’m just happy the weekend is finally here. Bright and early on Monday morning I dropped my husband off at the bus stop, came home and put a load of clothes in the washing machine downstairs. A very short time later, I heard the smoke alarm go off in the wash room!

I grabbed my cell phone, then hurried downstairs to investigate and found wispy smoke in the family room, which is right next to the wash room. I figured the problem must be the washing machine, so I yanked out the plug, checked for flames or the source of the smoke, and called 911 all at the same time.

The Kirkland firefighters arrived in less that 5 minutes, checked everything out very thoroughly, and reported that the motor on the washing machine must have burned out. They were so kind and reassuring, and told me I did everything RIGHT: had a working smoke alarm, pulled the plug on the washing machine which stopped the problem from getting any worse, and called for help. They set up their big fans and blew the smoke out of the downstairs, and then told me I’d need to take that load of clothes to the laundromat so all our underwear (of course it was a load of underwear) wouldn’t smell like smoke! We were so lucky! No fire, no smoke damage, just a scary way to start the week!!

The rest of the week has been filled with shopping for a new washer (and dryer), and with being at home for the delivery and installation, and with trying to catch up with what seems like massive amounts of laundry that had to wait for the new machine! All this around my husband’s deadline at work, and trying to teach and meet my own report card deadline at school. But that’s okay because all ended well. I have nothing to complain about.

Here’s the little gem that arrived at our house on Thursday afternoon, and that we already love and appreciate. And I am so looking forward to a quiet weekend with time to read and visit your blogs, and perhaps get caught up on the laundry.

You Were Right, Bookfool!

You were right, Bookfool! Can’t trust those birdies! Your comment on my Monday morning “Bird Song” post was so prophetic!

“I’m thinking one shouldn’t trust the birdies because we keep creeping up to the 70’s and then it drops right back down to the 30’s.”

Here we are this morning, with a late-start for school due to snow and slippery roads! Spring ain’t here yet! Darn it.

Bird Song, 2

Photo by Lee Karney, from the Washington DC Library,
courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System

I never listen to the Groundhog’s predictions of when Spring will come. For me, the sign of hope is always when I hear the first morning bird song of the season. I heard it this morning after months and months of dark, cold winter and morning silence in the woods outside my house! And it triggered a memory of a little song from my very early childhood: “Spring is coming! How do I know? A little Robin told me so!”


MAIN ROADS: Wet, but clear of ice and snow.
SIDE ROADS: Terrible, but the ice is starting to melt!
CABIN FEVER? — Subsiding!

Thanks to all of you for your calls and comments on being snowbound in the Seattle area. For those of you that live far away, an explanation: the Seattle area is very hilly and doesn’t usually get much snow or ice, so we don’t have a lot of snow-removing equipment, and we don’t use salt on our roads because it is considered to be very bad for our sensitive wetlands and marine life. So when we get a major storm like this one, we usually just wait a day or two and it all melts and the beautiful winter green returns. However, every once in a while (like in 1990, again in 1996, and like this year), we get hit by a really mean storm, with either deep snow or terrible winds, or both. And then we’re in trouble with terrible road conditions and/or no power due to toppled trees. No fun!

B and I live at the top of a hill, and the main road down the hill has been closed for days. It’s open and clear now. However, the ice on our street will take a couple of days of serious melting to clear, and has been treacherous for walking as well as for driving. A few of our neighbors with 4-wheel drive SUVs have braved the roads in the last week, and we watched them from the window and decided not to even try it. We’ve enjoyed our snowbound activities, and our wintery walks, but it was awfully good to get out this morning and go to the grocery store. And, of course, we stopped at Starbucks (which had the longest line we’ve ever seen there) on the way home.

And I promise to get back to book reviewing soon!

Cabin Fever

Our car has been parked in the garage for a week — a week of snow and ice in an area that seldom sees that sort of thing. Last Friday, my husband’s bus commute to downtown Seattle took a total of 5 hours (for 8 hours of work), rather than the more usual 1-½ hours total. So we’ve stayed home in the warmth since then, leaving the house only for walks around our neighborhood. We had planned ahead for bad weather…so have had enough food, although we ran out of chips for nachos, darn it, and we’ve watched all the episodes on our current Netflix obsessions. And Christmas was quiet without family members able to join us … their presents still sit under the tree unopened, waiting for the roads to clear enough for travel. Our daughter only lives 4 miles away, but is also snowbound at her place. And our Portland family has had even worse winter conditions than we’ve had, so nobody is going anywhere at the moment and Christmas is on hold until the melt!

So here are a few things that are helping us fend off Cabin Fever…

Playing with our Grandboy on Skype

Watching the extended version of The Lord of the Rings, again for the second time this year.

Going for walks has kept us from going stir crazy, but was difficult until we opened the Christmas presents B had the foresight to order for us:
Have you heard of Stabilicers? And Trekking Poles?
And, of course, we’ve been reading, reading, reading! I’ve finished 3 books this week, and will post reviews before too long. That’s the nice part of being snowbound when there’s no end to the pile of books to draw from!

So we are surviving this extended winter storm. It’s funny how something you read a long time ago can come back to you suddenly with crystal clarity. Watching out the window this morning, I had a sudden “book memory” — descriptions from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, The Long Winter, came flooding back to me. She described so well this feeling of Cabin Fever that keeps trying to creep in and take over. But we’re fighting it off!

Windstorm Update

The predicted high winds with gusts up to 75-90 mph didn’t materialize here last night, thank goodness! We did have enough wind to make the icicles that formed on the street light outside our window stick out at a funny angle. But it wasn’t the fearful night we’d anticipated. Much relief here! Thank you so much for all your kind wishes! We’ll be checking on our family in Portland later this morning … they’re having a major cold, icy-snow, wind event there, too!