Just a walk in the park….

The morning started out a bit overcast but held the promise of sun and so I ventured out to Gene Coulon Park to walk along the southern shores of Lake Washington.  A paved pedestrian trail where bikes and dogs are not allowed make it an easy walk for people of all ages, including me. No need to hurry as there is something wonderful to see around every bend and in every color, in shades of green and blue and purple and gray…

The hydrangeas were in glorious dress….

and this silent stream was a study in green..

There was the lone turtle soaking up the sun’s rays….

and the blue heron standing tall against the skyscrapers of Seattle..

the lonerAnd if you could only see through the clouds you would find the Olympics to the west standing guard, as I did one crisp, clear day last winter…


Along with this shy, local beauty.

Coulon_Rainier (2)

Tiger ~ a day in the life

Hello everyone.  Tiger here.  I realize I may have sounded a bit grumpy in my last post  Not the Same Species where it was clear that Sue and I do not agree on hunting. But I don’t want to seem ungrateful, especially after all I have been through in my past lives.  I really do love it here and consider life number three (my favorite number by the way) the best so far. So let me take you through some highlights of a typical day here in Paradise.

You probably know I am anxious to get an early start in the morning and I let my requests be known to Bob and Sue accordingly.  They are pretty responsive to my demands.  Though Sue is hard to wake, Bob is usually up and willing to let me out before dawn.  Nothing like that fresh morning air and the stirring in the bush.

The first order of business involves the hunt.  I won’t go into detail here as any discussion of this seems to get me in the doghouse with Sue (little cat joke there.) Let’s just say I get adequate “exercise” with quick bursts of acceleration and rapid speed while pursuing small moving objects.

After this exercise I go on my morning rounds to check on the neighborhood.  This involves visiting friends and alliances, warning strangers of all species and putting enemies on notice.  I have my route.  It must remain secret.

After these visitations I come home hungry and ready for breakfast.  By now Sue is up and dispenses fresh canned morsels to go with the dry kibble that is always there. We visit and talk for awhile.  I bat some toys around. I visit grandma if she is up.  I get all the petting and scratching and love I need and then I am ready to go outside again to play or just to stop and smell the roses.  Well, the lavender, actually.  And the catmint. That aroma drives me crazy (in a good way) and is practically sacred to our species.

I also take time to study the bees and the butterflies and occasionally give chase.  While not good for eating they are good for sport and for keeping my “exercising” skills up to date.

Of course I visit the many and varied watering holes throughout the day.  They are much better than what is served indoors. (Sue, did you hear that?)  I like bird flavored water the best for taste. And the stream is most refreshing.

Also throughout the day are the many naps and grooming sessions. These can be inside or out, anytime, anyplace.  “You can’t be too clean or rested” is my motto.

So there you have it.  A typical day in the life of the Tiger.  Typical I say, because I left out  the special events like unannounced appearances of deer, or the stray cat snooping around, or the mysterious disappearance of Bob and Sue for days on end (vacation I think they call it, though certainly not to me.)  But you get the general routine. All in all I have a great time of it here.  Everyday. But now I am tired, and feel a nap coming on.  More later.  ~ Tiger

Not the same species..

Okay, everyone this is Tiger and I have something to say.

As you know, I have it pretty good here, indoors and out.  The food, the sleeping arrangements, the toys …  all very good.  The humans that live here are great too and I guess you could say that Sue is my favorite.

Even so, sometimes it is not easy. Take today for example. I’m outside, on a great hunting expedition to bring her some catch of the day.  I am coiled and ready to spring, when suddenly she’s on the scene making the most amount of noise you can imagine.  Running and clapping her hands and totally blowing my cover. This is more than a bit annoying.  Seriously, what kind of hunter is she?  And occasionally if she’s not around and I do catch something, she’s rather half-hearted in her appreciation (maybe even disgusted?) when I deliver it to her.

But then I realize she can’t help it. She is only human after all. Not the same species.

~  Tiger

Northwest Garden Whimsy

I love the many unique gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Here is a just a small sampling of those I have visited recently.

The centerpiece of Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC is the beautiful Sunken Garden, built in an abandoned limestone quarry a hundred years ago…..

RoozenGaarde in Mount Vernon has a glorious array of tulips and Mt Baker in the background.

In Sequim there are the lavender farms with fragrant fields of blooming lavender..

For roses, there is the International Test Garden in Portland where you can vote for your favorites during the Rose Festival…

And then there are the more humble gardens we call our own.  Ours is a backyard forest garden, rustic and full of whimsy and surprise, where you never know what you may find…..

Recently while walking in my garden, quietly so as not to awaken the tree, I thought I saw something new…

Beyond, past the stream…

Around the corner, a bicycle stood in the ivy where none had been the day before..

Had it been there long?  Had I missed it somehow? I sought out the garden curator and asked where the bike might have come from and what it might mean.

“I saw it standing just like that in a neighbor’s yard when I was out on my morning walk. It’s from the nineteen fifties. I asked to buy it. Do you like it?” he asked smiling and hopeful.

“Indeed I do,” I replied.

And so another story and another artifact added to the garden.  Who knows what I will find tomorrow in my Northwest Garden of Whimsy?

~ Susanne

Testing 1,2,3…..

If you read the ‘About’ section on this blog you will already know that I spent some time working in technology. I liked it.  Maybe a lot.  I was not a heavy-duty computer programmer.  I didn’t do Cobol. (Do they still use that?)  Or Unix, much. (Is that still around?)   That was for the big guns not for me, a crossover from the accounting world. But I was a developer and a tester using software to modify and build new applications and programs in business technology. And so I got used to doing things in a ‘test environment’ which was a copy of “production” or the real world.

Design, build, test, modify,  retest,  deploy to production for the users to see, enjoy and experience.  Hopefully the testing was robust enough to catch any bugs or problems the new software might introduce.  Fortunately, that was usually the case. (Not always. Then the newly deployed program got yanked out of production in a hurry.  Or worse yet, those problems remained undetected for a period of time and had to be fixed later. Ah, those were the days.)

This left me spoiled in some ways.  Take this blog for instance.  I have recently begun to use software that allows me to write and publish posts for free (thank you wordpress). For the most part it is straightforward and user friendly and I am very pleased with it.  However, I miss having a  true test environment.  Oh I know there is the ‘Preview’ function which is very, very nice.  But it does not allow me to do the kind of robust testing I am used to. And when you are not a risk taker, that is a bit uncomfortable.  I have found for example,  in ‘Preview’ mode everything might look exactly as I want but once I  hit ‘Publish’ I realize I have overlooked something or my post doesn’t look as expected in every place. Still, these are minor things and  I am learning the nuances of this software and am very happy with it.

But deeper than that.  I have often thought how nice it would be to have a ‘test environment’ for Life.  To be able to try out careers for a few weeks.  Or find out how retirement might work out on a daily basis from all angles.  Or how about being able to test those words and actions and how they might be received by a friend or stranger or loved one.  (Oh!  I will not deploy THAT to production!)

But we must live our lives speaking words and making choices in the real world without a test environment or even a preview mode, by faith if you will.  I suppose that makes it all the more interesting. But it might also cause us to sometimes pause and weigh what we are about to do or say and the effect it may have on our future selves and others.

Maybe the real world is a test environment?

Garden Cheer

Sometimes when I am weary I go to my garden and just by being in the presence of green and color and life and fragrance I am cheered.

I especially love the lavender.

The bees love it too.

And then there are the strawberries.  Tiger likes to drink from their leaves after the rain is over…

I like the glorious red of the sweet berries ..

~ Susanne

Forty Years Ago…….

I once had a conversation with my grandpa who told me he’d recently found himself saying “forty years ago… ” and he remembered back when he was younger how some older folks would also say “forty years ago” and wasn’t it curious that he now found himself saying the same thing and I remember him telling me this little tale in his slow grandpa voice about forty years ago…..

~ Susanne

Two birds and a bridge

You keep to your space and I’ll keep to mine….

Fort Bragg, CA

Coast Redwoods

Off we go on another road trip down the beautiful West Coast (and best coast) of the USA, headed toward the majestic Coast Redwoods!   We leave Seattle and after three days cross the border into California on Highway 101 enjoying the same awesome ocean views we had grown accustomed to in Oregon.

But now we move inland to take the scenic parkway through old growth forest gazing upward while we look for the tops of the giant beauties before us, the Coast Redwoods, the tallest living things on earth.

We hike deep into the woods through giant trees and ferns and moss-covered maples, then move on to the next roadside attraction, The Big Tree.

This beauty, estimated to be 1500 years old towers 304 feet over us.   Some friendly travelers take our picture with the Tree and we return the favor.

Coast Redwoods grow in a narrow strip along the Pacific Coast of California and southwestern Oregon. Its cousin, the Giant Sequoia, grows only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas. The Coast Redwood is the taller of the two growing up to 380 ft high while the Sequoia is greater in total size growing up to 32 feet in diameter.

We continue to the Avenue of the Giants driving slowly through the majestic trees that dwarf the road below…

Stopping for an easy loop trail through Founders Grove where we see this beauty….(the tree I mean)

And continue around fallen ones leading us to ask the question, ‘if this tree fell in the forest and nobody was there to hear it would it make a sound?’  And the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’

After two days in the land of the giants we say goodbye and head back to the coast on highway 1 where we are rewarded with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. We are still impressed.

~ Susanne

Snoqualmie Dreaming

I love living in the Pacific Northwest where we are surrounded by an incredible landscape of mountains, rivers, forests and seas.  Within a couple of hours you can be at Mt Rainier

or Olympic National Park

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

or Columbia River Gorge.

Columbia River

Or you can opt for closer to home and still see some killer scenery in less than an hour.

One favorite local drive is to Tolt-MacDonald Park in the Snoqualmie Valley.  Snoqualmie.  Even the name is beautiful, don’t you think?  The park showcases the river and a 500 ft suspension foot bridge that frames the surrounding views of rolling farmland and the Cascade foothills.

We visited the park on New Year’s day when it was crisp, cold and clear and perfect for a short drive.  Even the grass was beautiful that day.

And on up the road is famous Snoqualmie Falls which is always worth a stop to view the falls from above

and to make the short trek to see them from the river below.

Of course today I am only dreaming of these places, as I look out the window at gray skies, light winds and intermittent rain.  A typical Seattle Memorial Day weekend.  ~ Susanne

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