A beautiful November week …. at least for the weather

Whether November turned out to be beautiful for you or not..  well, we won’t go there.  Instead, let us look to the skies at the beautiful weather we are having here in the Pacific Northwest. After a record breaking rainy October, we reached 70 degrees earlier this week, the highest temperature ever recorded this late in the year. And we have had several days in the sixties since.  I suppose that compensates for other disappointments. Or maybe not.

Yesterday we took a drive and visited Olympia, Washington’s state capital. I wandered down to the Capitol Lake and was cheered to see the Capitol Building still standing strong. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate.  But it is lovely.

And the bay nearby was serene and peaceful, just what I needed.

What to say? Perhaps we have to give one another the benefit of the doubt. Good people voted for the candidate of their choice for reasons known only to themselves. Obvious deal breakers for some were not for others. Let each be persuaded in their own mind.

We shall see.  Change is hard. But today, the sun is still shining.

~ Susanne

Still Tiger, with most favored feline status

This is Tiger and I thought it was time for an update lest you think I was a most unhappy cat after little you know who moved in not long ago.  Not to worry. Today I was out surveying my kingdom unhindered, while the skies were blue, the leaves were fragrant underfoot and the sun was shining through the clouds.  Sue sought me out and I knew she had something on her mind.  I pawsed. (Little cat humor there.)

She bid me come inside so we could talk awhile.  Sure, I said. I always have time for you….

Up to her office we went where I took some time to clean up while she settled into her chair.

“Don’t worry about Benji,” she said, “he’s still young and will soon grow out of his pestering ways. See how much better he is in only two months.”

I had to agree. I am now able to look upon the young cowboy with nary a hiss (well…. most of the time.) Things are looking up.

She also assured me that I, being the senior cat in residence and clearly the most handsome and charitable and reasonable one on the premises, would retain most favored feline status and all that included. Regardless of how it sometimes appeared.  I was being tested daily, she continued on, but it would only make me stronger.   This too I considered and had to agree.  I am strong. And most reasonable.

She has always been straight with me and trustworthy too.  And I the same with her.

She needed reassurance that I was still happy and on board with the newcomer.  Certainly I was, yes.  I pledged my continued cooperation while the youngster grew out of his worst traits. (Too many to mention here.)

And thus, I am still happy, with most favored feline status and with top billing,

~  the Tiger

Walking along the Cedar River

We finally have a reprieve from the rain and decide to walk the Cedar River Trail.  The air is clean and fresh, the pathway clear..

We come across this brilliant golden tree and pause to enjoy….

And pass this flock of big birds on the banks of the river..

Until we reach the southern shores of Lake Washington into which the river flows

We return refreshed.

The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle? or did you mean Saguaro?

The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle, or so sang Perry Como back in the sixties.  Which really begs the question;  have you ever been there?  First of all let me say that I am a native and as such reserve the right to talk about the touchy subject of weather. (Sorry you transplants are not allowed to.  After all, you made the conscious decision to move here, didn’t you?)

So I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but let me say it outright.  No, the bluest skies you’ve ever seen are actually not in Seattle.  Perhaps the grayest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.  Just look at our weather forecasts and you will see.  (Honest. I kid you not.)

Overcast. Cloudy. Partly cloudy. Mostly cloudy. Cloudy with a chance of rain.  Morning showers.  Scattered Showers.  Increasing showers. Afternoon showers.  Showers in the PM. Rain.  Rain likely. Rain and drizzle.  Heavy rain at times. Rainy and breezy.  Rain tapering off.  (Yay!)  Occasional sun breaks.  (One can only hope!)

I don’t mean to sound bitter but we just broke the record for rainiest October in Seattle with over 9 inches to date.  Of course it seems like we are always breaking those kinds of records.  It’s hard to keep up. And we are only half way through fall.


The fact is the days are growing shorter and darker and colder and grayer. Is it any wonder I find myself longing for the places where the sun always shines?

While the fortunate among us may flee to the desert when winter arrives (those lucky snowbirds) the rest of us poor locals must content ourselves with the occasional jaunt to sunny places, only to return and pore over the pictures when the going gets tough. Now is such a time.

Last winter we escaped the area’s cold and gray for a few days in Arizona and a visit to Saguaro National Park.   Now that’s what I call blue skies!  And how about those majestic Saguaro cactus, symbol of the American West!



And doesn’t this beautiful owl from the nearby Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum look great against that same blue sky?


Okay I am starting to feel better already.  Sometimes that’s all it takes.   A reminder that the sun is always shining somewhere!  And as I look out my window I see the promised sun breaks appearing.  Yay!  I think this should carry me through until our next escape to sunny locales.

~   Susanne


Observations from Benji the teenage cat

Hi.  This is Benji and here are my observations on life so far. I am not yet one year old in human years but in cat years I am a teenager and thus, very smart.


Do you think my chopped ear looks good?  It makes me feel different and self-conscious. This came from my 1st life when I was trapped from the crazy house where I was born.  I like my 2nd life and new home much better.  And I love Sue and Bob and Grandma. I also like my big brother Tiger and hope someday he likes me too.

I want to play all the time.  Sometimes this gets me in trouble with Sue.  Why, I do not know.  She used to play mouse on a string with me though she could never keep up with my speed.  I am very, very fast.  (Much faster than Tiger if I do say so myself.)  It turns out many, many things have strings attached to them, both thick and thin.  They are everywhere. Computers and cameras.  Shoes and purses. Window blinds and necklaces. When I play with these Sue yells NO! and sometimes squirts me with water from the bottle.  I don’t understand this at all.  She’s the one that taught me to play with things on strings. It seems not even the best humans can always be trusted or completely understood. Maybe Tiger will teach me about these things when he starts talking to me.

Anyway, now that I am a teenager I get to go outside and chase things that move on their own without strings.  Sometimes I catch them.  I am very, very fast.

I learned I can go in and out whenever I want just by standing at the door.  Tiger taught me this.

I always come in at night before it is dark because I am only a teenager. Tiger has outside dark privileges.  It’s okay because I don’t like the outside dark.

I also don’t like rain.  It reminds me of the squirt bottle.  In my life so far there was not much rain.  Now there is more and more and more.  I don’t know why.  I will ask Tiger if he ever decides to listen to me and answer my questions.  He still hisses at me when I try to talk to him.  If I jump on him to get his attention, he takes a swat at me but he is not a good aim and always misses.  Maybe because he is old.  Either way, I am always the one who gets in trouble not the Tiger.  I think they favor him though they may not admit it.

I still like Tiger even if he is old and doesn’t want to play with me.  I hope he will someday.  I can’t wait for us to become good friends.

~ Benji

Dance of the leaf

I stepped outside this morning and saw this lovely dance ..

~ Susanne

Six months and 50 posts ~ but who’s counting?

Well I guess I am.  Counting that is.  I was an accountant after all, a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away.  Now, enough of the numbers. The main reason I started this blog was to encourage myself to write and to have a fun place to do so. My goal was to publish one or two posts per week when I started last April.  I didn’t know if that was realistic or not but figured there was one way to find out. Say it. Jump in. Make it happen.  So I am happy to report that after six months in blog land (26 weeks if you want to know) I have met my humble goal and this will be post #51.

Now I must give credit to where credit is due, to my boys, the cats. You probably know them by now if you read this blog.  There’s Tiger the handsome 8 year old tabby, with all his charms, observations and cat life accounts.  He can be seen below. (Don’t you wish you could relax like that?)

And there’s the new cowboy Benji, still just a teenager and a bundle of soft and sweet gangly arms and legs.  Though quite active, he knows how to relax too. Doesn’t he make it look easy?

My cats were and still are a source of inspiration for this blog and I will continue to report their ramblings and goings on, as well as the progress of their slow but budding brotherhood.  I will also share stories and pictures from our travels and road trips, of forests and mountains and parks and gardens. Such a big and beautiful world to explore!  I will also occasionally venture out into musing on life and words and memories and whatever else strikes my fancy!  That is the fun of having a blog!   So come along with me as the journey continues on cats and trails and garden tales.

~  Susanne

North Cascades Timed Right

October means fall and time to celebrate our anniversary.  We decide to head up to the North Cascades for a couple days while we have good weather before the big storm hits. Timing is everything.

The first day we stop for lunch at a restaurant in the small town of Marblemount and enjoy the views of the nearby Skagit River. Hundreds of bald eagles will arrive here this winter as they do every year,  to feast upon spawning salmon. It is one of the largest such congregations in the United States.  I make a note to self to come back in January to see this feast.

Next up is the small town of Newhalem, owned and operated by Seattle City Light, whose employees run the generating plants that produce cheap hydroelectric power for Seattle. There are 3 dams on the Skagit River: Gorge, Diablo and Ross. Because of this the river seems to disappear from sight as it is diverted through the powerhouses. Further up the road we enjoy the views of Diablo Lake, the reservoir created by Diablo Dam.

Continuing east on the Cascade Loop Highway we enjoy many fall colors on display.

At  Washington Pass Overlook we stop to enjoy the views of Liberty Bell Mountain. While always beautiful in the summer the mountain is even more dramatic this time of year when the golden larch trees provide contrast to the dark evergreens. There is a fresh dusting of snow on the ground as we walk the short trail to the overlook. The brilliant views of the mountain and surrounding area reminds me of cold steel and burnished brass all set in October ice.

After a short walk my fingers are frozen from taking pictures and it’s time to move on. We cross over to the east side of the mountains where all is golden again.

We spend the night in Winthrop where we find these views of the Methow River from our hotel room.

The next day we pass through the small towns of Twisp and Chelan, then follow the Columbia River into Wenatchee, the apple capital of the world, to spend the night. We stop by Cashmere on the final day of our short trip to buy fresh apples and kettle corn from one of the many fruit stands in the area and to pick up souvenirs at the largest antique mall on the west coast. Time to head back home over Blewett Pass.

All in all a lovely trip to reflect upon as we are snug inside our home listening to the heavy rains and gusty winds. Timing is everything.

~ Susanne

All Dressed up for Fall

Awed by the beauty of the trees dressed in fall color at Gene Coulon Park….


Ten Random Words I Like

  1. Harmony – Different musical notes played or sung together at the same time with a pleasing sound or result.  Also used metaphorically to describe how different things or persons blend or go well together. Living peaceably, or in harmony I like harmony.  Both kinds.
  2. Timbre – No, not timber.  Timbre.  As in the characteristic quality of a musical sound or voice. Let me say it for you while you visualize the word spelled correctly. Timbre. Can you hear it’s richness?  Now picture the word timber and think of trees, stripped. Notice the difference.
  3. Luminescence – Light coming from a non heat source; like a glow worm which I have not seen or a firefly which I have.  Or the sparks that fly when chewing a wintergreen lifesaver in total darkness deep inside the Lewis and Clark Caverns. I recommend you try it if you are ever in Montana, although other caverns may be substituted. (Please note that firefly and glow worms not found here.)
  4. Effervescent –  Bubbly! Sparkly!  Like the champagne that is sipped slowly after a wedding toast. Unfortunately this wonderful word has been hijacked by advertisers and applied to the cleansing action that occurs on stubborn denture stains when white tablets are dropped into water. We can do better than that.  We must reclaim this word.
  5. Flora – A lovely word describing the plant life of a particular region or time. Much better than saying, ‘the plant life of a particular region or time.’  Almost always paired with fauna.  See # 6.
  6. Fauna  –  The animal life of a particular region or time.  I can never remember the meaning of fauna unless it’s  paired with flora, and even then it’s a slow recall. Flora and Fauna, that’s how it should be.  Not bad names for twins, either. (Tell them you got the idea here.)
  7. Ebb – To wane, or recede; a low condition, typically related to the tide. When paired with flow (see # 8) it becomes a far more hopeful and encouraging word.
  8. Flow – The opposite of ebb, the incoming phase of the tide. Waters rise and things are looking up!  Ebb and Flow.  But notice how ebb comes first.
  9. Flotsam –  Marine debris from a shipwreck. I just like the sound of this word though I’m pretty sure I never used it before.  Until now.  It’s another one of those words that has a mate. Flotsam and jetsam.  See #10 below for jetsam.
  10. Jetsam.  Also marine debris from a vessel but with intention to lighten the load in distress.  Turns out these have legal meaning in maritime law which I will not go into as I have no interest in salvaging any wreckage from the sea. Flotsam and Jetsam. They pair nicely but are probably not good names for twins, unless applied to a type of ‘fauna’ (e.g. bunny rabbits) similar to  ”Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter.”

What words do you like?

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