Wednesday, June 1, 2022

We Finally Have Springtime


The grass has been green, and the flowers have been blooming for months, but the weather has been terrible.  Rain almost every day in May and the coldest Seattle-area May since 1948.  We don't even get the courtesy of having cool mornings and warming up as the day goes on.  It's just cool and rainy all day and night with periods of sunshine that don't really warm you up.  

This flower has been here in this spot for years.  I used to notice it when I would pass by and take this sidewalk.  Now it seems to be mine!  I guess it's a snapdragon.  

Since the back area by the garage is the only place to get sun, I'm going to see how many plants I can get away with putting back here.  It's technically not MY territory, but I doubt anyone will say anything after the neglect these apartments have undergone.  It probably will be a step up if we can keep things neat.  Wes and Linda upstairs plan to grow strawberries by their garage, so we'll just see.  I put out a zucchini last night that I took from Emily's collection and will get a tomato.  Except for some herbs and annuals, I might limit my garden to that.  It does get really hot there without trees, so I'll have to be diligent about watering.  I need to get some mulch on top today.  

Emily and Ryan took off for Belize last week, so my front porch is a work in progress.  It's so nice though. It doesn't get a bit of sunshine once the trees finish leafing out, so we're leaning towards ferns and hostas with a few impatiens. I wasn't here last year in the spring, so this is going to be great.  Noreen came over one day last week, and it was such a treat.  We get to see people passing by, especially babies and little kids during the school days, and they're so cute toddling along verrrry slowly.  Lots of dog walkers too and just friendly folks out enjoying the good days.

When Ryan has time, he'll hang the ferns and pressure wash the porch and rug.  I know I need a bigger wreath, and I'm working on my lavender one which got droopy last year.

There's a lot to do, but I can't do anything with the "flower bed" since it's too hard to dig, and the apartment people have promised landscaping soon.  We'll see.  A pretty hosta did come back and some primroses.  I guess I'll just do containers.  It's already looking cluttered.  The cats enjoy creeping out and hiding behind the ferns to watch for squirrels and birds, but they're spooked by dogs and people and cars, so they don't venture far off the porch.

This is the area between my apartment and Noreen's.  I like the nice gray color of hers as opposed to my dull brown, but that's not about to change!  She has a sunny side porch that we enjoyed last year and am sure we will this summer.  

Bowie got brave enough to go over and peek at the outside this afternoon.  I met a sweet new neighbor, Hannah, who lives in the apt above Noreen.  She came over to make sure I knew Bowie was outside.  He came right in after that!  Or maybe it was the little bulldog who saw past his cover and growled at him. 

While I'm fussing about the apartment complex, I do need to add a positive comment about the sweet maintenance guys.  I had a maintenance request for my old refrigerator since the ice maker has worked sporadically since moving in, and it roars and moans all the time.  After not hearing anything for a month, I re-sent the request and immediately got a phone call saying they would just bring me a new refrigerator.   No argument from me, and I'm thoroughly enjoying an ice maker again and a better interior.  It's skinny, but it's nice, and there's enough room for my stuff! This pic was taken before buying groceries!

I was relieved to know my little slide-in spice rack fit between the wall and refrigerator.  I'm not sure what I would do with all the stuff that's stored in there!  Ben and Dylan are the sweetest young guys and seem to be doing a good job.  

I just don't have time (or memory) to catch up, but I can remember yesterday.  I had not seen the girls in 10 days, and there were big hugs when they came out of school.  

It was hot, for a change.  We walked over to Swirl and got yogurts again.  They do love this little outing, and I like it too, seeing them making their decisions and watching them watching the older kids.  

Katherine can't bother to sit down to dig in.  She's got her new kitty purse I gave her for her birthday.  She had her birthday in Belize, so I don't know anything about her gifts or upcoming party or anything, but she's 7 now and pretty happy about finally reaching that age!

I love my easy-going 9-year-old, who says she's almost 10 - next February!  She has her PopPop's eyes and is always so sweet and agreeable.  Both of them are.  

The yogurt place and a very quick trip into Dollar Tree were all we had time for.  They had to leave for track at 5:00, protesting about how hot it was, but Emily said they loved it.  I'm going to try to go tomorrow and watch them.  

Graysen said she was the center of attention at school after being out a week.  She's made some sweet friends and missed them.  Katherine carried a pumpkin seedling that she had grown gently home in a stapled paper bag, but it got left here when they let.  I'm definitely getting that to the garden before it gets too big. 

So much to write about and so little time.  I'm going to have to write more often.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Sweet Baby

I received this picture last night, and it just made my heart feel so good.  This baby is going to be 7 years old in just 2 weeks.  How can that be?  

She is such a ball of energy that sometimes I forget to just sit and take in her sweetness and beauty.  Those soft cheeks and little hands. The little lisp she still has.  

I still can't believe how lucky I am to get to see them almost every day.  They're still so obedient and polite to me and haven't reached that age of being embarrassed to have me around.  At least they don't show it!

Mom and Dad are leaving today for a trip to Oregon for a wedding, and the three of us will be winging it.  They sleep over here Friday night and Sunday night and go to stay with friends Saturday night.  Monday morning getting them ready for school should be interesting.

Monday, May 9, 2022

May Needs to be Nicer

 It rained most of Mother's Day weekend, and I didn't get any of my nice plants situated.  Emily, however, labored for two days to repot and dig and trim and make new beds and arrangements.  She doesn't have to sit by the fire and watch movies like I do.

I didn't have to do a thing to get this from Elise.  She makes some good blueberry waffles and beautiful flower arrangements.

I really was looking forward to finding my Seattle Times delivered Sunday morning and was perturbed not to find it.  It wasn't here last week, but I gave them a pass since it's a new subscription, but I wasn't happy not to get it yesterday.  I found the customer service page on line and gave the box that said "missing paper" an emphatic check.  I hope they could see how unhappy I was! 

I'm such a tightwad, like Mike, who doesn't want to pay full price for a newspaper just to get the New York Times Crossword Puzzle out of it.  I would like just the section with the books and puzzles delivered neatly to my rocking chair on Sunday morning, but I guess that's too much to ask.  I found a "deal" where I get maybe 8 weeks for $1 and then $6 a month from then on, including digital access.  I read all the news I can stand on my phone and will rarely use the digital part, but I like to see book reviews and lists and, of course, all the puzzles in paper version.  There are other advantages too, so I'm not too upset with paying for it.  I just want to actually get it.  I was ready to call the customer service number this morning and fuss about it, but I looked on the front porch, and there were 3 newspapers.  There was one soggy and dirty one from May 1st.  I'm not sure where it came from, because I looked all around the apartment block.  Then there were 2 copies of the May 8th one.  I'll share that with Noreen if she wants it and stop dwelling on it.

After all that, I didn't have time to even open it today.  I need a warmer morning for sitting on the porch with my coffee and enjoying the birds.

Speaking of warm days, we did have one last week.  It happened to be on Wednesday when the Girls on the Run group had their practice 5K run.  Not a race, mind you, but just a practice run, to get all the girls across the finish line and support your friends.  But, of course, it did turn out to be a race for some.

The parents who weren't running buddies with their girls and anyone else was welcome to come and cheer them on, so Katherine and I were to find a spot to cheer.  The route started in front of the school and went all the way around the school - SIX times - plus a block.  I took a small quilt in my bag and went to pick up Katherine and leave Graysen there to meet her friends.  Emily was coming from work to be her running partner.  Katherine didn't understand the assignment, I guess, because while I was standing there talking to someone, she got caught up in all the neighborhood kids and was skipping merrily home.  She had already crossed the street with them, and I couldn't get her attention until she was halfway home.  I was worn out by then and ready to find my spot.  

A couple of Katherine's classmates were also left to watch - Keaton and Cora - and they were having fun playing until the group went by the first time.  Once Katherine saw everyone run by, she jumped up and ran with them - and kept on running and just didn't come back.

The next time I saw her, she had found a running buddy - Ms Kern, the guidance counselor - and I heard they were the first ones to finish.  The group is only for grades 3 through 5, but no one seemed to care if a first-grader joined in.  

It was pajama day that day, and Graysen had not taken any cooler clothes, so by the start of the second lap, she was so hot.  There were lots of red faces and the pace slowed down quite a bit, but everyone seemed to make it all the way.

Harper and Graysen starting the second lap.

Almost all the Hunt ladies.

My sweet girl.

Marie and her Mom.

Emily without her running buddy.

 Harper and Ali.

I didn't know the older girls or their mothers or dads, but they were a cheerful bunch.  As soon as the last person reached the end, I walked on home, but I could hear a lot of cheering going on for a good while.  I think they will join the other schools in town next time.  

We'll still have rain every day this week, but the temps will be higher.  Not quite up to 70 yet though.  It is an unusually cool May. 

Cheeto the Cat, guardian of the Pea Patch. Look at those neat little front paws. The Bindert patch is the first one you see going into this gate, conveniently close to the compost pile.  Each pair of plots has a hose connection, so it's a really nice place to garden.  Someone saw Cheeto catching voles in the compost pile.  I think I'd rather not think about what's in there.  


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Delinquent Poster

 Even though I think about writing down what is happening several times a day, I just don't do it.  I'm using my phone now more than my laptop, and I just don't love typing on that tiny keyboard.  

I guess I should just jump in and try to get down what I remember, which sometimes is just today!  Today was Saturday and just a day to do what I wanted to.  I communicated with Emily and Elise by text, broke up a couple of cat disagreements, and just did what sounded good to me.  I did today's Wordle - 77-game streak - played Scrabble, and listened to my audio book while I did some housework.  I'm listening to Turnout by Meg Abbott.  It's good, I guess, all about two sisters who run a ballet school.  It's nice to learn a little about the backstage goings-on behind the Nutcracker production, but there was a little too much dwelling on the physical toll ballet takes on the body - feet like claws, nails turning black and falling off, emotional breakdowns, jealousy and sabotage of the stars.  It's written nicely though and fun to listen to.  

I just finished listening to Robert Grisham's The Judge's List.  It was enjoyable reading, especially since it was set around the areas where I grew up.  It even mentions Andalusia and Gantt Lake as well as places in the Florida Panhandle that we were familiar with.  Good story too.

I don't watch many movies, but I did enjoy Inventing Anna, Anatomy of a Scandal, and one other I can't remember, but there are a few I might try to watch soon.  One is Staircase and only because of having Colin Firth in it.  I'll try anything he's in!  Grace and Frankie is another series that a lot of people my age have watched and enjoyed, and since this is being dropped by Netflix, I'll give it another try.  I watched a little bit and didn't like it much, but maybe I'll try again.

Yesterday was the second annual pilgrimage to Carnation, WA, to the Sno-Valley Senior Center Plant Sale.  

Emily and I enjoyed it so much last year, we made a special effort to go there again yesterday.  It was, again, a rainy day but pleasant, and with all the tents set up, we didn't get too wet.  We got our Starbucks and headed out with visions of all the plants in our heads.  It takes about 30 minutes and is a beautiful ride.  Ryan took the girls to school and followed us with the truck.  I think he was a little sorry he decided to come.  I'm not sure what he expected, but he was a big help, maneuvering the cart around and loading it all in the truck.  

I forgot to take many pictures.  Emily got a few, but she only sent one.  I was happier than I seemed, if a little bedraggled.

I hurried and took a few photos just as we were leaving.  Emily has a plant ID app on her phone, and that was invaluable in learning about what was available.  We always find such interesting plants we know nothing about.  I have the limitation of a small place to put things, but she doesn't, so she was wanting everything!

That's Ryan standing in the background doing a "Mike."  He thinks if he doesn't encourage us, maybe we will lose interest and soon be done!

Ryan and Emily have decided to give me a front porch for Mother's Day this year and may be overdoing it - as usual.  I moved to this apartment in July last year, and no one (maintenance people) would clean it for me.  Ryan is going to pressure wash the concrete and anything else that needs it Monday.  We're probably not supposed to, but I asked for six years in the other apartment to have the balcony pressure washed, or at least cleaned, and I ended up having to do what I could.

They all four went shopping today to try to find me pots of Boston ferns to hang.  You'd think Home Depot and nurseries would be full of them since they grow so well in the wild here, but they found none the right size.  Emily showed me this one.  Not quite what we had in mind!  Tiny house fern!

The girls don't look that excited about shopping for pots.  I don't blame them!

This is the spot I'm trying to fill, and we decided that pot may be a little big.  

I'll probably try to use the ones I already have.  I like all three of these.

This porch definitely needs upgrading.  The chairs were painted last year, so they should be okay.  I have a new blue flowered door mat and might make some back pillows.  Noreen and I have already tried out the chairs this year - one day is all we could manage to be warm long enough to sit awhile.  Both of us have so much going on, it's hard to find time right now.  Sometimes I'll prop the front door open, and the cats will sit on the porch and watch for birds and squirrels and passing dogs.  They're getting more comfortable out there, and I feel sure they're not going to go far.

The fire is making me sleepy.  I'll write about my Mother's Day tomorrow and about Graysen's 5K she and Emily ran Wednesday for Girls on the Run - and Katherine too.  I'm so proud of this big girl.

I saw this today and sent a picture of a rock dragonfly to the girls who are pretty sure they want to try to make one for their back yard.  Cute!

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Back to One Grandparent

 I really saw the girls very little over the course of the week.

On Tuesday, I dropped Katherine off at dance, and Graysen went home with Harper to play for that little bit of time - less than an hour.  All I had was just a little time in the car.

Wednesday was a day of manipulating school schedules with home with the addition of school pictures.  Emily and Ryan handled all that, so I just had another day off!

Thursday was a normal day for drop-off and pick-up.  There wasn't much time after we got home, and I don't even remember what we did.  They did a couple of reading and math worksheets without much complaint and then just played the rest of the time.

They enjoyed the simple joys of kicking a rock up and down the alley while waiting for Emily.

Katherine is not happy unless she's picking flowers all the way home from school.

Friday Emily worked at home.  It's always obvious because they have cute little braids and hairdos when I pick them up.  And Katherine has a hard time leaving her Mama to go to school.  

Morning observations.  

This was on the sidewalk outside my dining room window when I went to pick up the mail and the girls.

It was still there when we got home from school, but the Jones twins rescued it and were examining it pretty closely.  It was just about this time two years ago when the schools had just closed, and I was taking my lonely early-morning walk and found a banana on the sidewalk.

  I don't know what any of this means.  It was just interesting.  I can remember how much my heart hurt during that time and how scared we all were.  Closing schools and businesses and isolating was unheard of for any of us, and we didn't quite know what to think.  There was almost a year of not being able to touch or hug my babies and only have contact with them from a distance.

While Millie and Al were here, Ryan had some help with the front door and got it up before they left.  It's really nice.  Once he gets up the surrounding woodwork and freshen up the porch, it's going to be a beautiful porch.

Also hanging on the living room wall was a piece of art Katherine did in art class at school.  She refuses to give it to me.  I wonder how much she would take for it.

Mary came over for a visit Friday morning, and that was so nice.  Between both our families having Covid - and her! - we haven't had a chance to get together in weeks.  

Emily gave me an Auburn tote bag and some soft socks!  Already my favorites.

The early pick-up at 1:36 leaves us plenty of time for anything we want to do.  There was sunshine, but the wind was a little chilly, so they didn't want to stop at the park.  They had lots of things to talk about on the way home.  They hardly greeted me before they had their heads together - planning!

After their snack of grapes and strawberries and one chocolate cookie, they retired to their spot behind my bed and chattered for a long time.  They didn't ask for anything from me, so I didn't offer my help.  They know where the white paper is and the tape.  I'm not exactly sure what I found after they left, but I think it had something to do with selling their art.  Making a mental note to show them where dollar signs go in prices.

The day ended with cooking up a surprise April Fool's joke for their parents.  

I put them in a plastic bag and hid them in one of the book bags.  I called Saturday morning to check on how it went, and they said they remembered just in time to surprise them!

Gathering a few last rocks for kicking,

I can't watch basketball, especially if I care about the outcome, but the Win-Bins had an exciting evening watching the Tar Heels beat Duke.  She had already reconciled a loss, because how could they beat Duke twice in a matter of weeks?  Still there was hope, and as the game went on, I would check the score.  It was always close, and the lead kept changing.  The last three minutes were unbearable.

This is the message I got afterwards from Emily about the ram she bought when she was in school there.  I can't believe it's stuck around this long!

And then Graysen rescued poor Ramses and took him back upstairs.

The Final Four will be fun now instead of so tense.  Beating Duke seems to be enough for Tar Heel fans, but winning it all would not be frowned upon.