Monday, February 27, 2017

Enough Already

This snow!!

As I trudged to the car this morning after another snow fall last night (and still falling this morning), I thought about it being March in 2 days and surely this has to be the end of it.

It pretty much snowed all morning up until around noon when we left to take Graysen to school.
The roads were clear, so it was just a pretty drive.  I made sure she had on double everything plus her heaviest coat and mittens and boots and hat for playing on the playground.  Imagine our surprise when we got near the school and found out it had not even snowed there.  There were lots of over-bundled-up kids, but it was still cold.

As Kate and I headed home, the snow turned to rain, and it began to look like the end of things.

At 3:00 when I picked Graysen up, it was beginning to snow softly, but it didn't bother us.  We still stopped to talk to friends and greet the chickens.  The streets were clear, and it seemed done.  I did notice some ominous-looking clouds though.  It was good to finally be inside and shed all the wet clothing and get warm.  I didn't even look outside until about 4:30, and when I did, I was so amazed.  The street and driveway were completely covered, and the snow was coming down like a blizzard.

What used to be the driveway and street.

My poor Georgia car bravely withstanding yet another blanket.

 I think we ended up getting 4 inches in 2 hours.

The girls sort of wanted to go out and play in it, but they were just getting dry, so I talked them out of it.  They got to put one foot in it and made baby toe prints.

I texted Emily and asked how the interstate was from Issaquah, and they were just coming out of the grocery store and shocked at how much white there was in the 30 minutes they were inside.  This was just a complete surprise to everyone.

The next I heard from them, they were stranded under the overpass at our exit and unable to get up the hill to the Ridge.  Emily took this from her car.

I kept up by reading the Snoqualmie FB page and found out the Parkway had been closed - which is the only way of getting home for Emily and Ryan.  Scary.

I made the girls pancakes and was getting ready to get baths and prepare to spend the night when Emily came in first.  The snowblowers had gotten stuck behind back up traffic on the other end of town, so police cars kind of guided folks down the parkway - slowly.  I just saw pictures of so many abandoned cars along the parkway.  I guess people just decided to walk home.

This was I-90 about 9:30 p.m. - traffic at a standstill.  Poor people.  Even if they could get off at the exits, there are almost no hotels here.

Since the roads weren't that slippery, Ryan drove me home in my car and then walked back home.  By that time, I was really kind of enjoying walking in it.  If I had had on my boots and big coat, I think I would have taken a walk all by myself.  I love the quietness and the sound of the snow when you walk on it.  But I was also glad to see the warm house.  Maybe we'll have a snow day tomorrow, and I can get some extra sleep.

Not snow related, but Graysen is studying the letter P this week.  This is about the way I feel now.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Night Watch

Someone today on FB posted an article about growing up in the 50s and 60s.  I loved reading about it and how similar all our lives were back then.  Then there was the mention of the National Anthem playing when the TV stations closed down for the night, leaving nothing but static.

This made my thoughts go to a memory that I knew I needed to leave in the back of my mind or I would become a total mess.   But I had to do it, and I was right.  I just didn't know how much it would devastate me because Mike and I always treated it as a joke.

When the local radio station, WCTA in Andalusia, went off the air - I think at 10 p.m. - there was always a song that played that I've since found out was "Night Watch" and sung by Jo Stafford.  We thought it was lame and kind of mocked it at the time, if I recall.

This is an excerpt from an article by a classmate from Andalusia, Sue Wilson, in our local paper last year:  Well, it’s 10 p. m. and time to “sign off” for the night just like WCTA Radio Station did back then. I certainly remember the radio playing at our house at that hour when the lights were off with Jo Stafford’s recording of “The Night Watch,” Circa 1954. The lyrics went like this, “Bright stars are watching the world as it sleeps, Shepherds watch over the little white sheep. The lighthouse is shining for ships far at sea, As God keeps the night watch for you and for me. So sleep, sleep in peace and rest. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. All’s well far over the land and the sea, God’s keeping the night watch for you and for me.”

The whole article is good for local Andalusians, so here is the link:

Just the words brought immediate tears, but when I went to the recording of the song, I found I could only get through the first line or two.  Wow.  If I didn't know before, I now know what it is to truly grieve.

hat song was a part of our dating ritual in high school and in college when we were home.  I can't remember what my curfew was, probably 11:00, but if we were riding in the car or sitting there in front of my house or one of the places we went - Shamrock, root beer place, Dairy Queen -  we would hear that song.  I always thought it was kind of sad, but when you're young with your whole future stretching out in front of you, nothing is very sad.  Many, many times Mike would talk about who the singer was.  We didn't have Google back then, and I wasn't too interested, but the name Jo Stafford was what he settled on.  It was important to Mike to know things and know the right facts.

I'm finishing this several hours later, and the initial sadness has abated somewhat, but I know I can't hear it again - not this soon - maybe never.  The words are sweet and comforting and the thought crossed my mind to sing them to the girls as a lullaby (they don't care if you can carry a tune), but I can't do it.  

I was just mentioning to Emily and Elise yesterday that I'm a little bit stronger every day on handling the memories that just hit me all of a sudden.  I wasn't counting on this one.  

I was finishing this up and had tears in my eyes when Graysen walked over and asked why I was sad.  I tried to explain that there was a song that made me miss PopPop.  She said - with a lot of hand motions and facial expression, "I can make you happy, Mimi.  Someone died in our lives, and it makes us sad.  It hurts in our life and in our hearts (pointing to her heart).  We wish PopPop could come back and make us smile.  I think he might come back on a spaceship."  Precious girl.  What would I do without her? 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


We've had two days of sunshine - not all the time - but enough to make you have hope.  The girls and I walked to the park this morning, and they had a great time - swinging, bouncing, climbing, screaming - even a game of hide-and-seek.

Katherine is getting braver and braver and climbing faster than I can get beneath her.  She went down the slide today time after time with no one to hold onto her.  Sometimes her feet went first, and sometimes they were sideways in the air, but she was thrilled.  Graysen and a little boy played the whole time.  I don't think he spoke a word of English, and she certainly didn't speak Russian, but that didn't matter.  They were tumbling down the slide head over heels without too much conversation.  I heard her say once, "Hey, that's not funny," as she untangled herself from him.  He said beaming, "Funny!""  I don't ever have time to take pictures there but got a short video of them swinging.

We then walked over to the apartment in no hurry at all.  Graysen has been throwing rocks in the water for a long time, but Katherine is just discovering it.

The last three words "Okay, let's go" were said very optimistically and were totally unrealistic.  There was no way Katherine was going to leave that rock-throwing fun.  Graysen and I would walk away a little bit and call her, but she never even acknowledged us.  I finally went back and picked her up, and she had a fantastic little tantrum that I should have recorded.  It's impossible to get a stiff and screaming baby in a stroller if she doesn't want to bend her legs.  I finally got one leg and one arm strapped in enough to keep her from throwing herself out on the road and just travelled on with her accompanying yells.  It took the garbage truck to finally silence her, and then when we passed a couple of young guys working on a walkway, she sat up and waved and said "Hi!"  No mention of being unhappy after that.

We spent a nice day inside with one walk to the office to pick up a package and go to the mailbox.  It was too cold and windy to walk to the library, so we came home.

I think the rain should start tonight - but it will be warmer rain - and a welcome change from the past few weeks.

A few pictures from yesterday.  Graysen's 4th birthday and her school's Valentine party.  So much excitement.  There was so much going on I didn't get pictures of her gifts or her valentines, but I'll try to do that tomorrow.  On their birthdays, the teachers send home a cake with the student, and this was Graysen's.  Just looking through the box, I thought it was a big "Y", but when we opened it, I saw it was a rooster shape (for Rooster Valley Farm School).  The rocks were a big hit too.  I may have been overly excited over seeing them.  They just looked so real.  I knew they were edible, so I tasted one - and it was so good.  Rocks and roosters - there must be a connection.  Whatever - it was just a fun day.

Getting ready for school in the skirts Aunt Kathy and Uncle Alan sent them.  Graysen liked her pink one best so chose that instead of the red one.  She wore the red one with gold hearts today!

She really wanted to wear her new nightgown from Mom and Dad but was finally talked out of that!

I've found out if I let Graysen make mad/mean faces, she will crack up at herself and let me get a genuine smile.  Sometimes.  

Kate is thankfully not particular about what she wears and will let you put just about anything on her.
She will hardly ever be still though.

She loves this Mickey Mouse book from Grandma and Grandpa Bindert.

Ready to go!

Raggedy Ann legs.

Kate came home and got into bed and played and refused to nap once more.  This video is way too long, but I don't have time to edit (or really know how), so grandparents can enjoy it!

Two fun days this week and 3 more to go.  I need to pull out some new tricks for tomorrow if it's raining.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another Baby Step

And not the grandchildren.  Me!

I'm trying to overcome my fear of ice and falling.  I have a lot of anxiety about it, and Emily and Ryan are pretty understanding.

It's hard for me to trust that all that snow is soft and dry and not slippery.  I was standing on the balcony just now watching a guy across the way shovel out his parking place, so I yelled at him and asked his opinion on whether I could get to my car safely.  He walked over and said it looked fine and even volunteered to shovel me a path.  I told him I would try it without a path, and once I got down there, he stood and cheered me on.

I just wanted to make sure the car would crank because last month I had a dead battery one cold rainy night and didn't want to chance that again.  This old Georgia car cranked like a champion, so since I was so courageous, I went into the garage and found something to lift the snow off the windshield.  I found a pet place mat which was perfect - plastic and big.  It was really so much fun lifting big chunks of snow and throwing them off.  If I had only thought to wear gloves and a coat, I would have done the top too.  But it's enough to know the car cranks, the windshield wipers are working, and I probably won't fall down if I'm careful when we go to school this afternoon.

Emily reassured me that it was going to reach 46 degrees and would rain, so it would probably be melted by noon.  So I'm looking out the window, and it's once again snowing like crazy!

I guess my poor little chickadees couldn't find anything better, so they're sampling the peanut butter and flax seed.  I guess that's a chickadee - that's what I call them anyway.

Excuse the milk drip that I see now on the glass.  I guess that's what Kate was telling me uh-oh about yesterday when she had her face pressed up against the glass.

The next time I get a chance, I'm going to buy a bunch of seed and give them a treat.  It's so exciting to think about hummingbirds feeding on the balcony and little birds hopping around throwing seeds everywhere.  It makes me happy but also makes my heart hurt thinking about how much time Mike spent setting up our little bird sanctuary last year and taking just the right pictures.  Everything makes me cry lately though.  I think spring will help that a lot, or just being able to get out and walk around.

It also helps that I have one more thing that I've found out I can do by myself.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Snow - Enough Already

We moved here the middle of January last year and had not one threat of snow, actually not many days when the temperature got below freezing.

It's the complete opposite this year.  Starting right before Christmas, we've hardly gone a week without snow or the threat of it and, if not snow, howling winds and frigid temps. 

I kept repeating to myself and anyone else who would listen that if I could make it through January, I would be okay.  Imagine my surprise when the biggest snowfall in years arrived this weekend.  

In the South, snow never surprised us.  There would be days and days of over-excited meteorologists and much wishful thinking and prayers going up from us snow-deprived folks.  And usually disappointment.  

I got so used to seeing that little snowflake on the weather app that I was taken completely by surprise by this latest bout.  By the time I noticed it, it looked like this.

Also in the South, the snow comes during the night or early morning and is usually gone by the end of the day.  Not so this weekend.  It snowed and snowed and snowed - all day Sunday and all day Monday.  Once I knew I didn't have to get out in it, I kind of enjoyed watching it and seeing how beautiful it made my surroundings.

I was out of bird feed Friday when the first snow came, so the girls and I crumbled up some breadcrumbs for the little chickadees hopping around.  

They didn't touch it but did finish every last seed that was left on the balcony.  This closest I could come to something they would like was peanut butter and flax seed.  I think they gave up on me and haven't been back.

Molly took a peek but wasn't wanting to leave her warm spot by the fire.

Emily and Ryan and the girls ventured out and made some snowmen or ladies, Graysen said.  I've yet to get any pictures.  I really did enjoy my few days snuggled by the fire with my books.

And it kept on and on.  I watched this one little round bush between the two spiky ones, and it did end up completely covered before the day was over.

It was back to work this morning.  I was afraid to go down my stairs and to my car, so Ryan brought the girls to me while they went to work.  We had a good morning talking about the snow and birds and making oatmeal cookies - which neither girl particularly liked - past the licking the beater stage.  

We watched the snowblowers working below us.  I think I mentioned it was a good thing I didn't have an outdoor job, and that includes snow blowing.  Those are my stairs directly below, and they still look pretty covered.  

It still looks slippery, and my car is still surrounded by snow and ice.  Someone came a little too close for comfort parking or pulling out this morning.

Sometimes I temporarily take leave of my senses, and this morning was one of those occasions.  I did gain a good 45 minutes of alone time because the girls played very nicely in the shower area transferring rice from spoon to cup to bowl and burying little animals.  

I do realize it's going to be a big cleanup, but that's what vacuum cleaners are for.  I didn't make the mistake of giving them flour to play with like Emily did not too long ago.

It's "supposed" to warm up to the high 40s the rest of the week, although with rain, but I'm so looking forward to even walking to the mailbox.  I have books piling up in the hold section of the library just waiting for me.