Today Is Tomorrow

And the next day, and the next, and the next…

It was 315 days ago we started what we termed “Extreme Social Distancing.” No shopping, grocery or otherwise, no church, no friends over for meals, no trips to see grandkids, avoiding like the plague anyplace where we might come within 6’ of another human being. Laughably, my blog post on March 12 – that fateful first day – wonders if this new life will last six to 12 weeks. Ten months later, with a strangled vaccination roll-out and new, easier to catch, maybe more deadly coronavirus variants popping up like mushrooms after a fall rain, we are being told it could be another ten months before we can feel somewhat safe in the company of anyone other than those living in our house; yep, just Terri and I.

Mount Baker at eventide from Cap Sante, Anacortes, WA

We do all our grocery shopping online, roll up to Fred Meyer, the back of our rig is opened, bags deposited, the door closed, and off we go. That will typically be the highlight of that day. If the weather isn’t horrible, we have a couple of choices; drive to Anacortes, where we walk in a ritzy neighborhood with views of the Salish Sea where we are the only walkers on the sidewalks. Head to Little Mountain Park, where one of the many trails has few, if any hikers, or out to LaConner. We drive to the very end of the marina area, walk the sidewalks along the shoreline until we get to the cute, touristy town with closed shops and empty sidewalks. 

Once in a while we will head to Whidbey Island during the week and find a deserted beach to walk, or sit with a meager lunch and ponder the timelessness of the wind and waves. Or we may try and find a backroad in our tri-county area we haven’t been on yet, running out of options there.

As we were nearly home driving back from one of our micro-excursions, we looked at each other, and I asked Terri “What do you want to do tomorrow?” And we both laughed. “Today IS Tomorrow” we said. Our yesterdays, todays and tomorrows are becoming indistinguishable from each other. There are no sharp calendar edges on our months, only the slow shape-shifting of seasons. 

Occasionally punctuation marks seem to appear out of nowhere. Friends moving away, a few very social-distance encounters with a couple friends and family. A short road trip to a condo where we will continue the extreme social distancing, but with a view other than our four walls for a few days. News of hard times for family members, reports of illnesses and death of friends family members. Astoundingly disturbing news from the other Washington. They all come in fast, hit hard, and dissipate like morning fog. 

Maybe like you, I want to live a life with meaning. The visceral knowledge that we are like the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire singes my days. Days like dry tinder, flashing into flame, but with no wood to make a meaningful fire. Incense carrying my prayers that I may play my part in the plan, to make at least a bit of a difference in a world crying for justice and mercy. 

So I scratch and peck, send a text here, make a call there, write a letter to the ethereous internet, jump on a Zoom with anyone willing to share time with us, or join a meeting where they have to let me in. A flash in the pan, a speck of gold dust, reminding me of the richness of relationships now reduced to electrons on a screen, and a yearning in the heart. 

The light of my life!

Hold on, we just have to hold on. Hold on to what we have, to the munificent blessings a mere glance reveals. Hold on to the investment of time spent in extreme social distancing that has kept us safe so far. Hold on to the lottery-like promise of a vaccine that could maybe possibly hopefully who knows begin an emergence into a new normal. If you have met me in person, you know I am a hugger. Know now that my hugs will be a bit tighter, a bit longer the next time we meet. Know that my tears will probably flow when I see you in person. Know that my heart aches and yearns for that time to come soon. I have hope. I am clinging to a hope for a better, brighter day for you and me on this glorious world. And, speaking for myself, one way or the other, I am confident and cling to the hope I have in the next world. 

May there be Peace, and let it begin with me.

Anti-anticipation or Antici-zen-tation

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I kinda rejected the “Faith of Our Fathers”, and went in search of a “better” way. Enlightenment, nirvana, achieving a “Zen” state all seemed to offer an interesting way, maybe a “backdoor” to heaven. That’s not really what this post is about. 

Starting week 7 of extreme isolation, with the world all around me being shut down as well, I’ve found myself not really down or depressed, but just kind of floating about in a detached way, with little or no enthusiasm, no exciting projects, no compelling reason to invest myself beyond the very superficial. As I was self-analyzing my feelings (or lack of them), I realized two things.

First, if I remember right, “Being Here Now” is the essence of Zen. And that is pretty much where I’ve been for the last six weeks. And I’m pretty bored with it, which is why I will never reach that state of Enlightenment, where you are 100% happy to live totally in the now.

Second, I realized how much I love anticipation! And therein lies the rub, as anticipation has been cancelled for some dark, murky future date. Someday, there may (or may not) be a cure for COVID-19. Someday, there may (or may not) be a vaccine for COVID-19. Someday, there may not (or still may) be a need to be compulsive about social distancing and isolation. Someday, there may (or may not) be a return to a simulacrum of the life and activities enjoyed pre-pandemic.

As I’m sure I’ve written before, planning a trip or visit provides me nearly as much enjoyment as the trip itself. I can spend hours and hours planning routes, lodging, sites to see, activities, and expenses. My imagination takes me on the trips several times before I go, and my anticipation grows as the time for the trip approaches.

Once on the trip, I try to milk every moment of being there then (heh heh), lapping it up, reveling in it, totally opening myself to the experience. Once it’s over, I like to compare my plans with how the trip actually turned out, and I generally get satisfaction from that. But now, planning feels more like buying a lottery ticket, knowing full well that the odds are stacked against you. The conspiracy of life removing the joy I get from anticipation is ANTI-anticipation. On the other hand, the extra joy I get when I’m living life to the fullest in the moment I planned for I call anti-ci-zen-tation

So for me, this is a battle between anti-anticipation and antici-zen-tation. Terri said I just needed to fight these feelings, so I guess that would be anti-anti-anticipation. I’m trying to fight it; although there is no way I could even think about planning a significant trip anytime in the next 12-24 months, I am looking at some more local possibilities in another six weeks or so. I may be looking at those reservations with the same skeptical hope I do at lottery tickets, it’s a small step.

PS: I know in the light of the profound suffering of many, this seems puny and very self-centered. It is – I freely admit it. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, who weren’t able to be with them at the end. My heart goes out to those who are losing the businesses they dreamed about their whole lives, and everyone who is really struggling to get by. 

I am blessed beyond belief! I was also blessed with a very introspective nature I have to deal with occasionally, helping me to learn more about who I am, even at this age. I share this because you or someone you know is trying in their own way to figure things out right now; this is me, trying to figure out deeper parts of me. I hope your journey, whatever it is, is leading you to light places.

Gary’s Near Retirement Experience

Life After Work – Gary’s story of an NRE (Near Retirement Experience)

Gary’s last appearance in a post was in The Three Amigos. After he moved out of the Boogie Corner, he married Linda, and started work as a Dispensing Optician in downtown Portland, later moving to Bellingham; long story short, which is why I moved there and also became a Dispensing Optician. He ended up moving to Olympia, where he and Linda have lived for the past 41 years. He is currently owner and manager of Capital Eyes Optical in Lacey. So, a couple of things to know about Gary. He is a bit … eclectic. He sees things in a way few others do, and has … unique … visions of artistic representations. For example, I’ve tried to encourage him to get an Instagram account so he can share his Post-edible Art with the world. The other thing about Gary is that he LOVES to garden. 

Gary and Linda’s home of 41 years sits on over half an acre.  He has slowly but surely transformed it into an amazing agronomic experimental foodscape. He is always trying new techniques and methods, many of which spring from his vivid imagination. Sometimes they work great; other times he learns something and moves on to the next idea. Take a tour with him through his creation, and you will walk away with a sense of wonder about his passion for gardening. With the temporary closure of his optical business, he has had a lot more time to spend in his garden, which became a sort of epiphany. He calls it an NRE – a Near Retirement Experience. Here is his story.

Gary is always happy in his garden!

In a bygone era, a high percentage of folks used to work until they croaked or close to it. I’d heard of retirement, seen pictures of people playing golf and fishing, sailing on cruise ships. I knew it, the elusive retirement existed. Many people plan for their retirement, work years and ease into this dreamy state of leisure. 

My work of commerce was now hit by a big bus. This was sudden, a bolt out of the blue. The order from mid-level on high came down. It was all dark as I turned the lights out from the back of the shop – I saw the light at the end of the shop and headed for it. A feeling of lightness and I was bathed in an eerie light much different than the halogens and LED’s. I became aware of familiar surroundings and found myself in a vast garden. It was not the Garden of Eden, more like the garden of Needweeden. … yet this was more satisfying than working. The music of nature surrounded me and enveloped me in pure joy. 

Then I heard a voice which told me I couldn’t stay here at this time, that I was to go back. My time was not up on my lease. Yet I could stay for now, bathing in the joy of leisure pursuits. I now do not have to live by faith alone. Retirement exists, I’ve seen it, and I have friends from the other side tell me what it’s like to experience. Work will never be the same after this Near Retirement Experience!

Not much color or plants, but it’s a start!

Hello again, world! Here we are, just trying to make our way through this crazy time, along with everyone else – at a social distance. Saturday felt good, a great combination of things. I called my Uncle Don and Aunt Martha in northern California (they were in the car, trying to see if they could safely buy an azalea bush or two from their favorite nursery). He will be 90 years old soon, still driving, living at home, and sharp as a tack. Then Terri headed outside to plant our flower starts we got the other day; I was going to help, but got distracted by all the moss growing between the pavers on our patio and backyard. Only about four hours later, I was done, it looks so much better.

Another virtual happy hour!

After we came inside and cleaned up, we did another FaceTime happy hour, this time with my cousin Deb and her husband Jim. We love hanging out with these guys, and they seem okay with us; lots of good memories from our trip to Italy, down to Sonoma and others. It was great to see them, and catch up on their lives. After dinner we got to practice using Zoom with my daughter, SIL and grandsons. 

Easter worship at home

Sunday was bittersweet. We were able to worship online with our church, and they did a fabulous job. The music was great, a very inspiring message, but we did miss the fellowship of physically worshiping together. Then we headed back out to the yard again, Terri to finish planting the flowers (at least until the weather warms and we get more), while I edged and mowed the lawn. Yep, yards in the neighborhood are going to be pretty awesome this year!

Family gathering, COVID-style

We decided to take the rest of the day off, and just sit outside and read. Very relaxing, and something we almost never do, although I bet we do it more in the coming days and weeks. We packed up and came in to get ready for a family Zoom Easter get-together my daughter Kalise had set up. She uses Zoom every day as she works from home, so it went very smoothly. It was awesome to see family members from around the country all get together and hang out for a while, checking in on each other. Definitely need to do that again to keep in touch! And, just for icing on the cake, Terri’s son Nate called to FaceTime us with his family! If there is one good thing coming out of this, it’s that we are communicating with our kids and grandkids and other family members more now than we have in a long time, and we love it!

We were going to ease our way in to Monday, but then got a notification that our groceries were ready to be picked up at Fred Meyer! Somehow we thought it was going to be in the afternoon, so we had to hustle around, then head out; picked them up on time! I actually sat down Sunday for awhile and made out a menu, and added the ingredients to the grocery list, so I’m back in my comfort zone again, cooking dinners with a recipe. 

Weeded flower beds, a spot of color and clean pavers! Very much a work in progress

Once we got home, Terri got to work sanitizing the dry goods and using her vinegar soak to cleanse the vegetables while I headed outside and started up the pressure washer. Although it’s electric, it started losing a bit of oil last year, so I wasn’t sure it would last very long before the motor burned out, but, yeah, still running after about five hours cleaning the moss off the surface of the pavers. It grows exceptionally well in our long, wet, gray winters, and would probably take over our whole yard in just a couple of years if it wasn’t cleaned regularly.

I realized a few days ago that keeping busy around the house was going to be key to keeping me relatively sane during this time of isolation, so Sunday after I finished in the yard I took a clipboard out, walked around the house, and made a list of projects that I’ve successfully put off until now. Looks like about two dozen of them, some of them requiring major time investments.  Tackling that list is going to be a mixed blessing …

So, that’s all the news today from Lake Wobegon. Chin up, nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, stiff upper lip and all that!

Can this paint job be saved? Days 26 – 30 of ESD

Nice countertops and backsplash, but cabinets CLASH!

To paraphrase Chief Joseph, “From this day forward, I will paint no more forever.” I have been well and truly humbled by my attempts to successfully paint the cupboard doors. Previously I had to contend with a horrible orange-peel finish, sanding and repainting the fronts of every door, then letting them cure. I flipped them over yesterday, fully intending to mount them back on the cabinets. I really can’t describe my feelings when I turned them back over and found that the paint had run and puddled all along the back edges of the doors. I had to take my putty knife and scrape it all off, then repaint – two coats – every edge. Today, no matter what, no matter how they look, they WILL be remounted! Afterword: we got them mounted! And they look great, from a distance! Need to touch up a couple of small spots, and then I can put “PAID” on this job. Whew-hew!

Kitchen after, pretty happy overall with how it turned out (don’t look too closely)

While my life has been consumed by painting, fixing, painting, painting again, fixing, and yes, even more painting, there has been a couple of bright spots in our lives – literally. The sun came back out, and brightened up our lives! It also highlighted how long the grass had gotten in our lawn, and how the weeds had taken over our flower bed over the last six months. It actually felt great to get out and fire up the trimmer/weedeater and plug in the lawnmower and make the yard look better. I put on a bit more fertilizer to keep it green, then went around back to check on Terri. Wow! After pulling a wheelbarrow’s worth of weeds, we could see the garden again! 

So, I need to back up a few weeks. Terri absolutely loves California Poppies and Sweet Peas, and we often can’t find them at local nurseries, so when we were at Lowes awhile back, I saw seed packets for these flowers, and then we found “peat pellets” and trays to start seeds, so we decided to give it a try. It was fun to watch them sprout and grow, but the challenges mounted, and we struggled to keep them healthy and alive. The survivors were planted yesterday, a bit earlier than weather would dictate, but it was now or never. Our big challenge now is figuring out how to get our plant starts when we dasn’t enter our plant purveyors. We are really going to miss grabbing a wagon and filling it up with plants that catch our eye, debating colors, sizes, and where they will go in the yard. 

Whole lot of yummy!

New normals: We continue to do our primary grocery shopping using Fred Meyer’s online app and delivery/pick-up options. There continues to be challenges, but so far so good. Just curious – anyone else spending 50% or more than normal on their groceries? On the  other hand, our larder has never been as well stocked as it is now. We are continuing trying to get out and walk on a regular basis; today, we had a “picnic” at our favorite viewpoint – staying in our car, and rolling the windows up when people thoughtlessly passed right by us. Afterwards we found a nice new place to walk, with fabulous homes and amazing views of the Salish Sea. I buy megamillions lotto tickets maybe twice a year; if we win, we will be house shopping there! And we continue to eat very well; check out this fabulous frittata we made for breakfast!

When we win MegaMillions…

We have been overjoyed at the return of the sun, and the burst of new growth we see whenever we venture outside. We miss our little outings where we could randomly decide to stop somewhere for lunch or happy hour, or shop and actually get the exact items we wanted. We miss being able to meet with our friends, and attend church. But we are very blessed to have every need met, and to continue to stay safe and healthy, and we hope for the same for you.

Shopping (Mis)Adventures on Days 15 & 16 ESD

Good morning, everyone! Not quite 7:00 AM on an overcast Thursday, and one of my big projects is this, since once again I’m combining two days for a post. With all the new closures, I’m wondering – and concerned a bit – about being able to leave the compound in a meaningful way, and being able to report anything but “We watched TV all day then went to bed”. I hope not!

Tuesday was mostly odds and ends day. We had gotten our taxes back a few days earlier from our tax preparer, and decided to get brave enough to open them. We were so happy to see that we owed about half as much as the year before, and we had done well in setting funds aside to cover them. Yay! Put them in the mail, checked that off the list. Then a little banking. Isn’t online banking great! The one serious drawback is you can’t deposit or get cash using the app or website … they need to work on that.

I had been thinking about our meal situation, and decided to once again make up a menu, then a  grocery list, then order the ingredients online, and try to get our routine back there. I got the first two done Tuesday. One drawback to getting our groceries online is that they don’t deliver any adult beverages. My Facebook feed has been inundated with companies selling wine and liquor, but I am pretty reluctant to go there. So, I remembered a small wine and cheese shop in Anacortes, got in touch with them, and he put together an order for us with lots of things to try. It was a nice drive there, he brought it out to the car, I fully extended my arm to hand him a check as he extended his arm to get it, so we maintained good social distance. Nice drive, helpful service from Salt and Vine in Anacortes, and helped a small local business!

Soon enough it was time to join Lauren and John, Terri’s sister and brother-in-law for Happy Hour. So great to see them, share a glass of wine and fun conversation. Of course, it would have been even better if we had been together instead of Facetiming, but still, it was a lot of fun! Just one more way we – and so many others – are adapting to the new normal.

Wednesday, March 25 did not look promising when I got up, so jumped on the trusty elliptical again, got all that over with. Since I had not actually placed the order for the meals I had planned out Tuesday, I figured I’d better get on that, since the last time the soonest delivery date was five days out. Got it done fairly quickly, submitted it; once again, no spots in the three day window to be able to pick them up at the store, so I changed it to Delivery ….. and it said “Your order will be delivered in the next 5 hours!” What??? A bit later I get a text, saying it will be delivered by about 10:30, only two hours after I ordered it. Soon enough they were on the porch; we put the bags  in some plastic bins to bring them in, then started unpacking with our safety protocols. It started out fine, but then item after item was something we never ordered. What the heck was going on? Then the doorbell rang; it was our delivery person. They had realized their mistake, and picked up the wrong items. 

All this prompted me to go online and check my orders and what a mess! First it looked like the order we had just gotten, but there were seven items there we would NEVER order, and two from the order that had been scheduled for this upcoming Friday. So I called customer service, waited on hold for over 20 minutes, then spent the next 20 minutes trying to sort things out. Trying being the operative word. The Customer Service Rep is actually getting permission to call ME today so it can be fixed. Not a perfect process!

Next! My garage had gotten pretty junked up recently, with painting supplies that need to be taken care of, finding a new, temporary home for some large 1970’s era speakers I was going to take to Goodwill, and organizing our pantry to make a bit more room for some staples. Nice little project, kept me busy, and looked so much better when I was done.

Deserted streets as we head to Burlington Hill

With all our projects, we decided to keep our walk local, so we headed to Burlington Hill. The clouds had all fled, it was bright and sunny, if only about 53 degrees. Always lifts the spirits to get outside and see the blue sky, see the new life in the world as Spring makes its return. The earth continues to spin on its axis, the sun continues to rise, and this, too, shall pass.

Soon enough it was time to make dinner with all the ingredients we had gotten from our grocery delivery – Sumac Chicken with Roasted Vegetables. So good! Another place where we find stability and comfort.

Well, we turned on the news last night. Overall, we try to limit our consumption of news, but it was time to check in with reality. We were a bit stunned to see that all state parks and all DNR (Department of Natural Resources) lands will be closed. Get out and walk, but not on any trails in Washington. I guess too many areas were experiencing crowding. I get it, but this is a huge blow to us as these are the places that have been our refuge. This will make getting out and finding places where we can relax, get our Nature fix, maintain social distancing and walk or hike very challenging. (Deep breath). We will figure it out, try and be creative. Please share YOUR ideas for getting out and about while staying safe!

Day 11 of ESD – Filled to the brim!

When we got up this morning, the weather mimicked my blog – I Am Gray. Nonetheless, we persisted. I made a spinach and tomato frittata with much assistance from Terri; she made smashed fried potatoes, sectioned an orange for us, and heated up some fabulous muffins she made a few days ago. Feast fit for a Queen, or a King. Played some Words with Friends. Still cloudy, or maybe even foggy. So what, the forecast said no rain today, but some precipitation every day next week, so let’s head out!

Lake Pondzilla

A short time later we threw the rucksack into the back, and headed out, Deception Pass area being our destination. Our first intimation of a disturbance in the force was all the traffic on Highway 20. Lines of cars. Where did all these people come from? And where were they going? Let’s go to Rosario Beach, I thought. Less well known, some fun little trails to great Salish Sea overlooks. We pulled in to what may have been the last parking spot available, sat there for a few moments looking at the crowds of people, and didn’t see a whole lot of opportunity for great social distancing. Backed up the car, and took it a bit further down the road.

Kelly’s Kettle Trail

When we came around the corner and saw the Deception Pass double-span bridge, we knew we had one less option. “Everyone” was here, filling every parking space, and hiking up to our favorite viewpoint.. We knew the main part of the park below was going to be just as busy, so we pushed on. Saw the sign for Fort Ebey just past Oak Harbor, and decided to give it a go. Instead of heading up to the old WWII battery, we took a side road going the other way, found a lot with several parking places open, stopped and reconnoitered. Most of the people were headed up and over to the beach access; I knew there was a little trail just to the right to Lake POndzilla (true name), so we headed there. Short hike, but we saw a spur I thought might take us on a loop around the lake, so we headed there. Close, but no cigar, BUT it kept going to a service road, which then connected to Kenny’s Kettle Trail. Nothing spectacular, but just a perfect hike through coastal woodlands. And, best of all, almost no one else on the trail! It took us all the way back to the park entrance, so we started off walking the road back, but then found another trail back to the lake, and back to the car. Got in about 60+ minutes of good, solid hiking.

Still smiling!
Ft Ebey View

Then we drove over the parking lot for the battery to check out lunch sites. The area was busy, but we were blessed to find a picnic table with a view away from everyone! Lots of gray water, and gray fog over Admiralty Inlet, but then the fog began to rise, slowly revealing the snow-capped peaks of the Olympics behind Port Angeles. What a glorious finish to that special time!

Old Rosario School

Well, we got side-tracked on the way home. Took a little country road that wends its way around Lake Erie and Mt. Erie, then found an even smaller road off that just begged to be explored, so we did! It wends its way up a small mountain, and is littered with beautiful estates. Once at the top, it inexplicably  flattens out – many acres worth – holding a cattle or dairy farm. We spotted what looked to be an old church, which on closer inspection turned out to be an old school, opened in 1891. Originally it had two stories, with the ground floor the school, the top floor was supposed to be used as a meeting place for a fraternal organization, but never was. Concerned parents had that second story removed, as they feared the frequent high winds there would blow the whole building over! This building taught grades 1 – 12 for years, and was actually used as a school until 1957. It is now a historic site, complete with His and Hers outhouses! We never know exactly WHAT we may find as we poke around these out-of-the-way places.

Once home, I had to jump back on the computer. I had placed an order for Fred Meyer the day before, which we couldn’t pick up due to their space/time limitations, but which they could deliver – five days later! I am very much a planner; I find recipes for a week’s worth of meals, plan the menu, then make up the grocery list for each item we will need. Now, I’m trying to figure things out almost a week further than that, and it’s making this OCD person crazy. I had thought of several items we’d probably run out of during the middle of the night, so I went to modify my list. It worked well (except they wouldn’t take my order to toilet paper), right up until I went to save all my changes. I kept getting error messages, with a note to call their 800 number, which I finally did. Truly, the recording said “We are too busy to take your call. Please try again later.” So I messed with the webpage, and my account, and other options, and – finally – got it to pull up my old order, add my changes back, and it saved! Woo-Hoo! Of course, I still have to wait three more days (delivery between 8 and 9 pm!), but I got it done! 

Then, best of all, I heard from my cousin Bruce. Truth be told, I was starting to wonder if all this daily blogging was too much, and if anyone but my sister Susan was reading it, but Bruce sent me a text letting me know how much he enjoyed it. Once again, little words of encouragement can mean more than most of us will know. So here I am, back at it. Hang in there, Bruce, you got this challenge you are facing! And you – yes, you – if you are reading this, I know you face your own challenges at this unprecedented time. Know that people care deeply for you, so stay safe, and take care of yourself.

Day 9 & 10 of ESD – picnic and more!

Years ago, Terri on iconic fallen tree at Washington Park
Picnic all set up at our favorite spot

Today again dawned bring and clear,pretty amazing for the PNW in the spring, so we HAD to get out. We initially thought about going to  Deception Pass, but I dillydallied about with another project for a bit, so Terri suggested going to Washington Park. Located on an incredibly scenic peninsula in Anacortes, WA, it has 200 acres of mixed forest lands, and tons of shoreline with the  Salish Sea. We have been going there to picnic and enjoy for years; one of our favorite spots in this land of beautiful places. 

Over the years, I guess we have made a bit of an art form of picnicking. We bring our own chairs and table. We have either a picnic basket, or a picnic backpack we bring, depending on how far we anticipate walking to the perfect spot. We bring a tablecloth, cloth napkins, dinnerware, a small cutting board on occasion, and often a chilled bottle of Rose’ with unbreakable wine glasses.

Okay, it was only 52 degrees today, but we dress for the weather, and also have a small blanket when needed for extra warmth. Our favorite place to picnic is on the north side, where we get to watch lots of marine traffic pass us by, including our iconic Washington State Ferries on their trips to and from the incomparable emerald jewels, the San Juan Islands. We often see seals, eagles, diving birds, and today, two Navy birds flew in formation over us. And (generally) everyone kept their distance.

Weathered madrona

Not content with the couple of hours we spent soaking up the views there, we headed around the tip of the peninsula to where it faces south. There are multiple trails on the headlands here – just pick one, and start walking! We took one we knew offered spectacular views of the sea, and southern islands, and headed out. The rocky headland has many areas of exposed bedrock, showing the many and deep scars of glacial carving as they slid down from their mountain heights to finally melt in the rising sea. This is hardscrabble land, with stunted, twisted, wind-blown trees and purple and yellow flowers no more than 5mm across or less. 

Tiny flower

We walked the trail until it petered off at a cliff still maybe 100’ above the churning passage below us, where we deemed it wise to stop. We backtracked, then found other trails wending through the woods, finally ending up at the Havecost Monument, a nice granite tribute to the pioneer couple who homesteaded here, then donated all the land to the city. Talk about an enduring legacy! We headed home, satiated with the wonder and beauty of Creation.

Day 10 started off with me getting up early for my exercise routine, and then a perfect lack of communication from me, which I’m blaming on the unique stresses of this moment. We decided to head out on some hitherto unexplored back roads, in hopes of finding homesteads being reclaimed by nature and/or ancient equipment being left to rust in peace. Instead, we found another hidden gem of a valley, filled with beautiful showcase homes on 5 – 50 acres. And so far from anything! While we were driving, we got a great call from John and Jeannie, who had travelled to Arizona for spring training, but who fled home as the realities of possible closed state borders became a bit too real. So great to hear from friends!!

Odd yard art

Not finding a suitable place to eat our lunch, we knew we were close to Arlington, so we headed there. The first park was great, but all the restrooms locked up tight, and well, you know. So we headed downtown, found a great pocket park in the city center, with picnic tables and open restrooms!  We enjoyed our minor repast, then headed back home, hoping to walk a local trail for a bit. Once there, though, we found we were both exhausted. I’m pretty sure it’s taking a lot of our energy to fight the daily stress and challenges we see, and guess that it may be affecting you, too. Practicing self-care, we took the time to rest our eyes for a bit.

So, on to the next project – seeing if I can place an online order with Costco! Then on to crafting another great dinner, watching Chopped or Beat Bobby Flay while we eat instead of a steady diet of non-nourishing news. Stay healthy, friends!


So much goodness and flavor!

I had to willfully ignore the beautiful sunshine as it streamed in our windows this morning. So gorgeous out for mid-March, albeit with frost. But we were on a mission today to complete the painting in our main living area. To help provide strength and stamina, Terri made an amazing breakfast, an Italian take on a breakfast burrito, and one of her fabulous muffins. Wow!

Well, we DID need that energy! Started prepping and painting by 11:00, and finished by about 6:30. Oh man, we will feel it in these senior bodies tomorrow, but all that is left is to paint is the small hallway. With five doors, it will present its own challenge, but will definitely complete the look.

Turned out even better than we hoped!

Finally sat down for dinner pretty late for us; wish I had taken a picture of it! Tuna steaks encrusted with wasabi peas, roasted green beans, and a baked potato. So darn good! It’s amazing I’m only about 7 lbs overweight with my sweet wifes great cooking!

Read this evening where some scientists are saying we may have to continue social distancing for 18 months! I don’t pretend to know how this turns out, but this is all pretty mind-boggling right now, and tough to comprehend. We are taking it one day at a time, and trying to not borrow trouble, but wowsa. At least we have a whole new look in our living room, in which it looks like we will be spending a lot of time.

Day 6 of ESD – Changed it up!

You may remember from my previous post that I neglected to get an ingredient at the store that we use constantly – chicken stock. And not just any chicken stock, mind you, but the only one we have found that doesn’t have tons of sodium. Luckily, I found even a little bit more in the freezer, but now we are totally out. Plus there were a few other items we could use, so I made out a list, and let it set a spell. 

Now that there are several confirmed cases of Covid19 in our county, and I hear one death, I am even more reluctant to venture out to the stores. I’ve been aware for some time that Fred Meyer offers shopping and even delivery services, but felt no need to avail myself of those services. I even downloaded the FM app quite a while ago to take advantage of their digital coupons, so I figured this was as good a time as any to see if this could work for us. 

First, I went online with my Chromebook, and searched all over the FM web page, but was a bit surprised to see that the Clicklist option is not available there. Bummer, because I’d sure prefer to use the larger keyboard! [Note: When finishing up, I found how to use my Chromebook to access the Clicklist option, and have the link here.] Oh well. Got my phone, opened the app, selected my store location, and started making out my list. It was quite a job. Obvious search terms came up zeros, and some items didn’t come up at all. When I finished, I tried to see how to submit it and get the process going. There was no option to do that!

So, the app has a “Your Location” section, and a “Home” location. Clicklist is not available in the “Your Location” part; I had to go to the “Home” location, select Clicklist, and THEN find my local store. The list I had spent so much time on was not available here – why do they even bother? So start all over, with the same hassles as before – except some of the items I eventually found earlier could no longer be found no matter what I tried. The chicken stock? Yeah, no. The Low Sodium Tuna? Yeah, no. The pump hand soap Terri likes – or even the alternative store brand? Not available for pickup, ship only.

So, I found alternatives for some things, and struck out on others, placed my order, paid for it, and then … and then, they asked me for my feedback on the app! Hahahahaha, yeah, baby, I’ll give you feedback. So anyway, the order should be available to pick up Wednesday at 1:00PM. They will bring the groceries to the car, and I drive away.

So, after that interesting experience, we headed to Mt. Vernon so I could pick up more paint and more painting supplies. I thought I had it figured out pretty well how much paint I would need, but it’s going to take an extra gallon. Glad Sherwin-Williams is having a 30% off sale! From there we headed to Terri’s side gig, which is performing inspections and visual audits of service stations. 90% is outside, with just a few minutes in the convenience store, and virtually zero contact with staff or customers. Takes her about 40 minutes, and puts a little extra jingle in her pockets. When I go with her, I generally take some reading material, but this time I called my middle sister, Cindy, to see how she is coping with this “new normal.” We had a great, far-ranging conversation, and shared some of the impacts we are feeling, and some we fear are to come.

On our way home we called our friends Don and Trish, who are suffering from upper respiratory congestion, to see how they are doing. They are living in their trailer for about a month here, and forgot to pack a thermometer, so they were pretty concerned, especially for Trish. Once home, we had a quick bite, and prepared to head out to walk Little Mountain, when Terri got a call from our shared son, Nate. He and his wife and their four kids live in the Seattle area, so we are quite concerned about them. Fortunately, they are now both working from home; their biggest issue is creating a new normal for their kids; a struggle for over 1 million kids in our state right now. It was great to hear from him, and touch bases.

Sunny, but a bit cool and windy!

Then, fun and games, we got to do a video/telephone conference with our financial advisor on the day the Dow suffered its worst loss in 30 years. Yay. Fortunately,  I had mentally prepared myself for just such a time as this when we committed our funds to an advisor, and we had picked one out who understood our situation; so far, our anchor has held during this storm, even though we (like everyone else) have taken a bit of a beating. Hang on, it’s gonna be a wild ride, people!

So, we did get out on this beautiful, sunny day, got in some exercise, and got to see some great views of our valley as well as trees budding out in the promise of spring to come. Then, later on in the evening, our friend Al called to check in and see how we are doing! 

We never tire of this view

We had started our day out with the news that Governor Inslee had used emergency powers to close every restaurant, bar, gym, meetings of more than 25 people, and more, and that San Francisco had ordered a “Shelter In Place” edict for 7 million people. Scary times. But then, we were able to reach out and connect with friends and family, and other friends and family reached out to connect with us. No question we will all be going through some times that will sorely test us, but I’m thinking what will get us through is Faith, Friends and Family! Hoping and praying that maybe this unprecedented situation will clear away some of the dross our country, and our world, has accumulated, and we can refocus on things that really matter. Stay safe, and reach out to someone today, okay?