Saturday, July 4, 2020

A Big Welcome to July

Supposedly, July 5th is the day summer arrives in Snoqualmie!  I'm ready to put away the sweaters and jackets for a couple of months. I see high 70s temps for the week but not up to 80 - and very little rain.  So maybe it's happening.

It's such a different scene this year from all the other years I've lived here.  There's always been the parade which goes down our street, and I can either go out and wave or actually join the parade itself and head for the Community Park with all the bouncy houses and good food and crafts.

The Win-Bins always have celebrated with their friends that evening with more good food and fireworks and kids playing.  They have a perfect view of the community fireworks from their yard, and I can come home and enjoy them from my balcony.  Such a busy and festive day.

Today, I've heard a few anemic fireworks somewhere nearby and heard the sirens and music from the First Responders' Parade.  I saw a video of it, and it truly made me cry.  A police car, a fire truck, another van of some type and a school bus.  So sad.  But it's winding its way up and down most of the streets here.  There is happy music and sirens and people on sidewalks waving flags and yelling.  Hopefully, we'll be back to normal soon, and it is good that we get to reflect on and appreciate the things we always took for granted, but it still makes me so sad. 

My big day was yesterday when I got to be with the girls all afternoon.  Emily and I are still not happy with so much time together, but we miss each other, and we really don't know what to do.  It seems so innocent to spend time outside with them, but we didn't wear masks most of the time, and now we have that little worry that maybe we shouldn't have done it.

It was a lovely day and more precious because we haven't been together for so long.

Katherine and Graysen planned the day, and they really, really wanted McDonald's Happy Meals.  Since they usually eat really good meals at home, I felt like I could treat them to the joy of chicken nuggets and milkshakes. 

On the way to North Bend where the closest McDonald's is, I had a special treat.

The elk were out in their field.

I have to get used to driving all over again, but it was nice to be out enjoying the day.  I picked up the Happy Meals and headed to Steller Park and set it on on a thoroughly cleaned and covered picnic table.  Step One.  Not very festive, but it worked!  

I could see the girls when they came out the front door, Emily got them across the street, and they came running as fast as they could.  Graysen couldn't wait for Katherine and was telling me what she had in her backpack and all sorts of news, but she was glad to go back and run with Katherine.  

Emily decided to forego her freedom for a little bit and joined us for lunch.  It was so much fun to sit and talk in person for a change.  

Graysen had lost that front tooth that's been so loose for so long, and will probably lose the other one soon.  We practiced all the cute lisps that come with having a front tooth out.  Sis-ther!  Such cuteness!

These photos were taken back at the apartment where we went long enough for a bathroom break.  We try to avoid closed spaces, but it was a necessity in this case.

And they rediscovered those obnoxious Pomsies that drive everyone crazy and wanted to take them home.  I was not about to refuse them!

After Emily went home for a couple of hours of freedom, we started out on a walking adventure.  Graysen first had to run home and get coats for both of them.  Mimi was already "layered," and for once I wasn't made fun of.  It was chilly!

They wanted to see where I had seen the snake last week, so I showed them the spot, and then a chubby bunny was noticed sitting there watching us.

We passed by some nicely decorated houses on Douglas, and they stood in front of Chloe's and Everly's houses, hoping they would be spotted, but no one came out.

We stopped and talked with a nice guy and his kids who had just sold his house and was moving to Texas.  We talked SEC football since he had gone to school in Tuscaloosa and had a Georgia fan next door.  Very rare to see SEC flags around here.  

It was fun to walk downtown and look in all the windows.  We saw a daycare center and a martial arts center (empty).  The pottery place and the yogurt place were open, but I had forgotten to take any money, so we were just forced to look in.  We're reserving a yogurt visit for next week when we take the library books back.

We stopped at the apartment and played about 5 minutes and then went on with our walk.

We came upon the little park that Debby and I discovered on her visit up here - not really a park but just a pretty little clearing and a nice place to sit and rest.  The girls discovered a little built-in grill and decided this was our house, and they were going to clean and make it nice.  That occupied them for a long time until Katherine got a splinter under her fingernail from chopping up pine cones (pet food or meat loaf, I forget).  We headed home after that to let her soak her finger and rejoin Mama for splinter removal duties.

I loved every minute of this afternoon.  It couldn't have been sweeter.  I love how it doesn't take much besides imagination to make them happy.  They just chattered and found joy in such simple things - spotting a corgi, seeing the clouds on the mountains, finding sticks and rocks and making sounds banging them on things.  I'm so thankful for small pockets of time like this.

Thursday, I played Mah-Jong with an online group.  It took so much time trying to get my video connected.  The others had played together already, but they could never get me hooked up.  I didn't hate that!  We did have time for two games, and it was fun.  They could message me through the web site, which was about all that's necessary to me. 

It has otherwise been a lazy week.  I've cooked a few things for the family, video talked, and listened to another couple of audio books.  I'm still not out walking every day but hopefully will get more serious about that next week.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Better Days

I'm just going to have to start letting these unusual feelings slide off me and just realize it's a hard time for everyone. 

I got up this morning, plugged my latest audio book in, and headed out for a walk.  I had on a sweater, but it was perfect weather.  I didn't seem to have as much energy as I did last month, but a little walk is better than nothing.

I drank my coffee on the balcony, listened to more of my book while I did cross-stitch, and had a nice phone call from a friend.

One thing that does help is to share experiences, and that's really hard for me to do.  A sweet blogging friend emailed me because she couldn't make a comment here, and we find that we have some of the same feelings and same sadness that things aren't like they used to be.  It's easy for the younger generation to dwell on keeping us safe and not realize we need to be included a little more - which is almost impossible with their busy lives and worries of their own.  This will hopefully pass in time, and we'll be right back in the thick of it.

I did miss a visit with Noreen this afternoon because of a trip Elise and I had planned to Issaquah.  With N going back to work and the cooler weather and rain, we haven't been able to get together and get it all off our chests lately!  Maybe soon.

I enjoyed being driven.  Elise is a good driver, and we had a nice outing.  Since we were out, I went into Michael's, planning to get that embroidery thread I didn't get yesterday, but guess what?  They didn't have a couple of the colors either.  I found some Fourth of July cupcake liners and some glow-in-the dark hairbands - or antennae - or something like that - for the girls.  I'm sure they'll love them.

We then went into Target needing nothing and came out with a couple of bags full.  Nothing special, just odds and ends that we needed and kept forgetting. 

We then came back to Snoqualmie and went into Safeway and got mostly healthy food.  Maybe she dwelt a little too long in the deli and bakery sections, but it's all about comfort food nowadays.  I did well on my eating plan today and wasn't about to mess it up too badly. 

I had a long video visit with the girls yesterday afternoon, and that was lovely.  They were in high spirits, telling me about the camping trip and (in detail) how bees make honey.  Then I had a loooong puppet show featuring the owl and the two snakes we made last summer after our puppet show at the library.  Or maybe that was two years ago. 

I didn't get one picture of Katherine, but she was upstairs putting circles and triangles on her snake.  Graysen is just days away from losing those front two teeth.  Can't wait for that cute little face when that happens.  She was to meet two friends this afternoon for a distanced play date.  I hope it worked out, because she is really missing her friends.

I replaced those kitty eyes, and now the kitty can see.  Those buttons were perfect to replace the lost eyes.

I'll try to get a few camping pictures on here.  I have the hardest time with photo albums and finding my photos.  There has to be a secret.  I don't know a lot of the details of the trip, but here are some random pics of the fun.  Katherine said it was a HUGE ocean, and she went up to HERE - indicating her chest.  I see some swimsuit pictures and some jacket ones, so I don't know how the weather was.  I do believe they had some 80+ degree days.

Ryan and Emily are redoing their back yard, and if I get tired of paying rent, I could probably be right at home in a set-up like this.  Probably no heat though, and I don't think I would want to build a fire very much.


Kathrine looks like I would probably feel on a horse.

It's going to be another cool-ish week but wthout much rain.  I'm counting on summer to start this weekend.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Hobby Lobby Blues

It's so hard, this different life. 

I found myself getting emotional in Hobby Lobby this morning.  It sounds funny, and now I can laugh, but it was a real thing then.

I went to Issaquah by myself to get only embroidery floss and buttons.  I figured if it was a good drive, I would maybe go by Home Depot and anywhere else I wanted to go since I was out.

I was driving Elise's car since my tires are iffy - and no new car is falling in my lap - so I went the "back way" instead of the interstate, because it's familiar and seems safer to me.  I haven't been in a while and didn't realize there was a quite a detour because of road work, but it was easy, and I eventually got there.

There were very few people there, and I went very purposefully to the embroidery section - or as purposefully as I could since I've never bought any embroidery stuff at this store, and I had to find it.  I had my list on my Google Keep app of about eight different colors of floss, and I picked up the first three with no problem.  Then I found the next numbered bin empty.  And the next.  And the next.  I really came home with only black, white, and red.  So disappointing. 

I then went to the sewing section with a knit shirt of mine that had a missing button on the shoulder, a very distinct color of button, one that I can't just order.  It needs to match the other five buttons.  Naturally, there were no matching ones in Hobby Lobby's limited section.  I'll probably have to replace all six buttons.

 I did find 2 black buttons that will be suitable for replacing cat eyes on this little purse for the girls.

Then, since I was already out, I thought I would walk around and see if I wanted to bring anything home that would cheer me up.   And that's when I got a little sad.  I don't have a house any more to change the look of very much.  I don't want "things" to add to the apartment even if the spring section was pretty.

And all on sale.  I can see why.  We didn't actually have a spring.  It's now almost July, and I went out in a sweatshirt and jeans and really could have used a jacket.  There were plenty of Fourth of July decorations, but I don't have any need for those.  I'm sure there won't be a parade or fireworks.  Normally, this time of year, I'm making or buying something festive for the girls to wear in the parade or the little outdoor celebration.

I wandered past the kids' crafts and didn't even pause.  They've just had birthdays and Christmas and quarantine and I'm sure have all the crafty things they need.  I feel like I'm not really enough a part of their lives to know what they might like any more. 

I normally like to check out the planner and sticker items, but I'm not even using my planner now, so that seemed useless.

I was excited to see that they had outdoor pillows and checked to see if there were any I liked for my balcony rockers.  I liked one pattern enough to consider it, but I didn't like them enough to pay $60 for two.  Although they might have fallen into the spring sale category if I had looked closer. 

Then I thought of Mike because I knew he would be following along with me (or waiting in the car) hoping I wouldn't buy a whole bunch of useless things, and missing him made me sadder.
I did find Elise a pot for repotting one of her plants.  It was already on sale, so my 40% off coupon went against a 56-cent skein of embroidery floss.  Just wow. 

I considered driving to the next town to Joanne Fabrics, but that's not a familiar drive and I didn't want to do that in the rain and feeling sad, so I headed home.  Emily mentioned later that Michael's is just across the interstate and asked why I didn't go there.  No answer.  I just forgot about them. 

I could have stopped at Home Depot and looked for some herbs and plants for the garden, but I was already steeped in my gloomy mood, so I headed home.

The one bright spot I had was when I turned onto our side street, I spotted a familiar little pink coat and recognized Graysen riding her bike.  Emily and her friend were walking along pushing Katherine and her friend in strollers - Haha.  Those lazy 5-year-olds in strollers make me laugh.  I tried to get their attention, but there was a car behind me, so I couldn't stop, but they did see me.

This day will be forgotten, this gloomy feeling of not belonging, not having a base - something that made me sad.  The really overcast cool day didn't do anything to help, and neither did hearing a couple of bits of unhappy medical news from family members and friends. 

Tomorrow I will get up and take a walk even though there should be more rain, and then I'll take my ailing computer over and let Ryan look at it and maybe get some masked snuggling from the girls.  It's been too long since I've seen them. 

I have been enjoying Elizabeth Strout's books - Olive Kitteridge and  Olive, Again.  I just fell in love with Olive (although she's a hard person to like!).  Throughout both books, she goes into detail about many of the people in Crosby, Maine.  I've just found out that she had written books about those characters earlier, so I'm downloading every audio book written by her and just escaping to another place.  Right now, I'm reading Amy and Isabelle.  In Olive, Again, Isabelle appears as a new friend Olive made in the assisted-living facility she has ended up in - and hating - before she met Isabelle.  Now I get to read about Isabelle's life as a young person with her daughter Amy.  It all sounds confusing, but it's like coming up on old friends when you hear the names mentioned.  And Strout is such a good writer.  If she gets a chuckle or two from me in this mood I'm in, she must be good.

Emily has also reminded me that I can take these books with me as I walk so no excuse now.

I'm hearing about people in GA and SC who are already over summer and wishing for fall, but we need to hold on a little bit.  Next week, we're getting our summer (I think).

I can't get enough of these geraniums.   They're the happiest things on my balcony now, and they never fail to cheer me up.  If it weren't 56 and bitterly cold, I'd be out there now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Ugly Eggs

There's nothing hard or time-consuming about boiling eggs.   I'm not looking for new and improved ways of doing it, but when I read an article about baking eggs in their shells, I was dubious.  No way.  I watched the video from a cooking show or news show or something, and this girl just put eggs in a muffin tin, baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and they were perfectly shaped boiled eggs with a beautiful center.

Again, no way.  Of course, I had to try it. 

I have large and small muffin tins plus the silcone ones in 3 sizes, but this is the one I chose.  Don't ask why.  Probably my first mistake.  I got the oven preheated and popped them in.

I actually heard the timer beep and took them out immediately to immerse in cold water.  That was one of the rules, I guess to keep them from being overcooked.  It sure didn't do much for making them easy to peel.  At all.

I could already see that the shells had brown discoloration on them from the heat, but I let them cool and then peeled them.  Not good.  Not very appetizing.

I peeled away the brown layer, which left one egg almost down to the yolk.  But I have to admit the centers were nearly perfect.

If - big if - I ever do this again, I will follow the instructions and put them in a regular muffin tin.  Maybe the exposure on the shell was too much.  I'd also lower the temperature just a bit and take them out after 25 minutes.  The yolk was a little too firm for my taste.

  But they tasted just like eggs, and I chopped them up with a little mayo and mustard and had a little egg salad for lumch.  I can't imagine a time when I would pick baking over boiling, but at least I tried it and found out it works.  Sort of.  If I'm going to spend time in the kitchen, I should at least try to make something delicious.  I'm planning to make a chicken and rice dish this week for the family plus some muffins and quesadillas for the girls' lunches.

I went in circles this morning and got very little done but didn't really have anything to do.  I worked a little on cross stitch, read on the balcony, listened to my audio book, played with baking eggs, and texted with Emily.

She said they were having a babies picnic.

This looks like the Bitty Baby that I got Graysen her first Christmas.  She's not ever been a favorite, being a big baby doll, so I'm glad she got chosen for the picnic.  I made the dress last year for the American Girl dolls, but I think I like it on her.

They got back from their camping trip yesterday, and the girls wanted to send me pictures and videos and tell me things.  Hopefully, I'll get to pay them a visit in person this week.  They're growing so fast I hate missing even a few days seeing them.


She sure does love her dad's boots.  They look like they're a couple of sizes too big, but she will choose them over any others.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Lots of Gray Furry Creatures Today

Thank goodness.  I've about had enough of the legless variety.

The family will be back tomorrow, but I got to spend another half hour or so with Luna.  We've bonded now.

After scaring me Thursday afternoon, she acted like I was a wimp for being afraid.

She soon forgave me and spent a lot of time in my lap, on my shoulder, head-butting my face, and purring quite loudly.

It was impossible to get a good picture of her.

 She did a good bit of rug wrestling and finally agreed I could go.

When I went outside to water the plants Friday, I was watching VERY carefully for any sudden movements when I happened to raise my eyes to the porch to see this beauty watching me.

They seem to be Luna's friends and will come and sit with them in the back yard sometimes.

I felt a little bit better about the chance of encountering any critters since they were standing guard.

Today it was cloudy and 62 at 7:15, so it was a perfect evening for a walk.  These are just some things I passed that I thought were pretty.

I didn't have to water today since it rained last night.  Looking pretty good after just two days of sunshine.

This bunny is on the wrong side of the fence from a ton of fresh vegetables. 

This old guy was hopping down Queen Kitty Hill.  I don't think I've ever taken that path that I didn't see a rabbit of some type.

A cup of coffee from Starbucks would have been nice, but I would have had to cross the parkway, and I don't do that on foot.

My favorite Japanese maple in front of the office.

I came home and made myself a cup of coffee and watched the clouds roll in as the sun went down.  I love it here so much.

More camping photos.  They've had such a good time.