Thursday, September 16, 2021

Day at Home

 I have so many things that need to be taken care of, but I only ventured as far as the school to pick up Gray this afternoon.  Katherine has had a runny nose for a few days that makes her miserable, but she doesn't feel bad or have a fever.  Because of the strangeness of the whole health situation, it was decided to keep her home, which was the best of happy days for her.  She was full of energy and excitement and snack-seeking.  I had a little housework to finish up, so she played by herself a while and asked a whole lot of questions and made even more comments.  

I decided to get out the fall decoration boxes and let her dig through those, and she got totally into it.  She wanted to find a place for everything, and I kept sneaking things back into the box.  We are pleased with the tables and some candles, and I let her do a few little spots herself.  I think Gray was disappointed not to have something when she got home, so I'll let her decide how to do the front porch.  

I don't normally do much "decorating," but it was fun to have pumpkin- and apple cider-flavored candles and put some fall colors in the house.  I like to read my favorite blogs and see all the new ways people are decorating their homes, but I can enjoy seeing them and just pull out my few things with lots of memories.  

Emily brought me these putka pods from South Dakota one fall.  I think she found them at an arts and crafts festival.  There once were a lot more, but they've gotten cracked and lost, and we need to find some more.

I always put them in a little bowl that Mike brought from Mexico that seems to be just the place, along with some glittery acorns from Greensboro and a few tiny wooden leaves I found last year (and don't know what else to do with).  The girls have never been able to keep their fingers from sifting through them and dropping them on the floor for the cats, and this year I caught Layla with her paw in the box on the floor, taking them out one by one and tossing them across the room.  

The friend who gave me this shelf has moved to Florida, but it's a fun little place to make the kitchen cheery.  

This was Katherine's favorite thing to display, and she wanted it in the living room window.  I told her I would buy some candy corn to fill the little glass pumpkin, and she was so excited.  I'm afraid the cats will knock it down when they jump up there to people watch, but we'll try it there.

Grayson got home from school and noticed that ALL those people coming by to view our handiwork couldn't see the little beads, so she propped it up with some of her books.  Perfect!  

We just filled my grandmother's bread bowl with odds and ends of things we found and put out the placemats and napkins.  

I made these last year for the girls, but it's not quite time for using them yet.  Or maybe it is.

I need flowers, pumpkins and some big branches of fall leaves on the porch and a few little fabric pumpkins to fill in the gaps inside, and we'll be done with that.  I'm not sure what we'll add as Halloween approaches.

They do want some ribbon ribbon streamers for their hair, and I have quite a few ribbons left over.

It looks like I need to stop at Hobby Lobby or Michaels after all.

Today is normally the end of my "work" week, but tomorrow we're meeting a friend of Graysen's after school along with her grandmother and having a playdate.  It will probably rain, so we'll be inside, but it will give Lil and me a chance to visit while the girls play.

And Noreen and I are hoping to find a spot of sunshine to drink a cup of coffee and catch up on our busy lives over the past two weeks.

Then I hope to go nowhere at all until Monday while the rain takes over.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Five Years

 Emily and I just shake our heads in wonderment at how five years have passed and how we've managed to carry on without our fearless leader.  It's hard to lose someone, but to lose the very one who held it all together and kept us going, like Mike did, is devastating.

Emily struggles so hard without her dad and now seeing me get older.  She panics at the thought of the times she wasn't there for him or the missed opportunities and doesn't want to make the same mistake with me.  Although it's not a mistake.  I can't imagine a life much busier than theirs, and she and Ryan are dedicated to making the girls' childhoods happy, so I'm the one feeling guilty that she's trying to fit me in.

I love spending time with them at their house but just not long periods.  We laugh about it, but the girls are so full of energy and excitement and voices and giggles and running that seem to be exacerbated with the excitement of having Mimi over to visit that I start feeling like I'm causing a scene.  Emily says it's always like that.

I love it that they can and usually do find their own entertainment upstairs finally, but yesterday they were obsessed with asking Google to set timers for them.

After the pizza timer, they tried many other combinations.  The funniest ones were when Google misunderstood, like hearing lunacorn for unicorn.  Fits of giggles!

Miss Luna herself was giving a little hint that being an outdoor cat is not as much fun in the cool weather as it has been this summer.

The first thing I noticed when I got to Steller was the smell of lovely candles and the sight of the September 12th memorial set up.  PopPop will certainly be remembered as long as Emily has anything to do with it.
This is a beautiful collage, even including boiled peanuts and the NYT crossword.

It breaks our hearts that Katherine doesn't have any real memory of him and Graysen very few.  They can see the love in these few pictures though.

There were boiled peanuts to eat (although the "spicy ones"), and Emily was freezing her extra supply of tomatoes from the garden.  She took time to feed me though.  Ryan was working in Issaquah, so she made me a tomato sandwich with her basil mayonnaise and vegan potato salad.  It's lovely being catered to.  

The girls had picked blackberries from various places Friday and made a delicious blackberry cobbler - also vegan.   I was lucky enough to get a serving to take home.  Yum.

One of my reasons for going over was to get some repairs done.  I could have done some of them, but Emily was really wanting to get her little machine out and see if she could still work it and try to learn a little bit more.

We had two successful projects and two we gave up on.  She had gotten a couple of swimsuit coverups for the Hawaii trip that had been way too big.  She was hoping to take out some of the fullness and wear them around the house without feeling like a parade float.

She pretty much did the first one herself after I showed her how to do a basting stitch, and we were pleased with that.  And then I sewed some straps back on a nightgown that is much older than the children.  The one she wanted to work just didn't.  The fabric puckered and wouldn't cooperate, so she decided to just send it back.  Ditto for a black knit dress that was too long.  I told her that I was past the point of thinking I was going to get any better at my sewing skills, and I just didn't have any luck with knits, especially a hem that would be so visible.  Once, I thought there was nothing that I couldn't conquer with a little time and practice, but I've learned better!

I got this picture later.

A little late-night journaling.

Just like Mimi.

We're going to go to Mike's Tree after school, like we always try to do around the 12th.  It will be cool, so we'll wear sweaters, and I'll take my quilt.  There won't be any wading in the Snoqualmie River today.  Probably.  You never know.

We did make it to the Tree yesterday, so I'll come back and post some pictures here.

We picked the girls up at school at 1:00 and drove to North Bend.

We thought it was going to be cool so packed a few sweaters and jackets, but it turned out to be the prettiest day.

Graysen was worried that there would be someone else at our tree, but on a Monday afternoon, there were only two other cars in the parking lot, probably hikers, because we never saw anyone.  Later on, we saw a couple of horseback riders, a girl walking a dog, and some people down by the river enjoying the sunshine.  We did see a bald eagle circling above us, but we didn't take pictures.

We got our chairs set up, and the girls went right to work making a nest on the ground to help the mama birds out with feeding their babies.  They take such care to include everything they might need.  I did a video, but the wind was so strong I'm not sure it's clear enough to understand.  They have various rooms, even a "beak room" with snowberries (because they smell minty like toothpaste, to take care of their beaks.

We're still not quite sure what kind of tree this is.  Maybe some type of apple, but Google never identified it well enough to satisfy us as to whether the fruit was poisonous or not.

It's amazing that the girls could entertain themselves for a couple of hours while we sat and talked and reminisced and soaked up that sunshine.  Twigs, berries, dried grass "parcels" and lots of imagination.  I could easily have fallen asleep, and I know Mike would absolutely love seeing that little scene.  Maybe he did.  I wish I knew.  

Sunday, September 12, 2021

September Morning in the Rain


This porch is in need of a good cleaning and decorating.  I'll open some of my autumn storage bins and see what I can find this week.

Rain is the only thing that will keep Bowie close by.  He has a sissy little face, but he sees himself as a fierce hunter and likes to stalk the squirrels and birds.  He's even spent the night outside twice now, when he disappears before I see where he's hiding.  Layla is like me, content with sitting on the porch and observing.

Our street is beginning to look nice and fallish.  The leaves are mainly yellow at this end, but the other end of the street will turn a beautiful red.

 These guys are regular morning passers-by, but I think this is the first time I've seen an umbrella.  I like it.  

A couple just passed by on their way back home from Starbucks with only jackets and bare heads and two babies in covered strollers.  They looked so happy.  I love these times for them before the kids get old enough to make these little outings crazy.

It's too cool to sit outside very long, but I'm giving it a few minutes.  I don't feel like writing much any more.  I'm not sure why.  I just don't.  Life is whirling past so fast now that I can hardly keep up with it, but then I do a lot of doing nothing - or doing exactly what I want - so I guess that's not nothing.

I've done a lot of reminiscing throughout August and September about Mike, as I always do, so today, the anniversary of his last day on earth, is not as painful as it has been in the past.  I have conversations with him every day too and ask advice and confess the stupid things I've done.  

A couple of hummingbirds came by to look into my face earlier.  That's my sign, or greeting.  It looks like there won't be a rainbow today.

I'm going to spend some time with Emily and the girls today and try to get a little sewing done at their house.  Maybe this visit will be what it takes to spur me on to writing again.  I have time, just not the inclination.

This was right after we went inside.  We're going to have so many fires this fall and winter.  He needs a rug of his own or a new bed.  Layla took his other one and likes it in the bedroom.