All dressed in green for the 4th of July

It wasn’t exactly red, white and blue…  more like, green, green and more green..   It was a drizzly day on the 4th of July this side of the mountains so we opted to go east where the sun is always shining..   On the way we stop by the Skykomish River, a flowing turquoise in the midst of mossy green…

Crossing Stevens Pass we descend into Tumwater Canyon where the sunshine appears over the Wenatchee River….

After stopping by Leavenworth for lunch where families are celebrating the 4th in typical fashion…

we head back home over Blewett Pass taking in the expansive views…

and home again to the rainy west side ..  all in all a lovely day….

~ Susanne

Tales from Longfellow Creek

When I was growing up we lived in a house near the woods and in front of the house flowed a creek that provided me and my friends with hours and hours of entertainment. Whenever we had nothing else to do, one of us would say to the other, ‘want to go play in the creek?’ and off we went.  That meant wandering up the path along the wooded banks daring one other to jump across at various points on the way.  And during hot summer months we would sometimes swim in the larger pools though we were warned against it.

We walked through the culverts with our hands pressed against the walls, our feet straddling the water that flowed beneath. Sometimes we sat inside those concrete pipes propped up cross ways, discussing important matters of youth such as how to reconcile with whoever was currently on the outs.  (It seemed we were always mad at someone and wanted to make up while saving face.)

During that era the creek was not in the best condition though we didn’t know it or care. It was never ‘Longfellow Creek’ to us,  just ‘the creek’, always there and always good for hanging around. There were no fish but I remember the occasional crawdad and frogs nearby.  And I remember the excitement the year heavy rain caused the creek to overflow its banks and we rowed down our street in a blue plastic boat. The best!

I wanted to go back and visit the old house near the woods and the creek that flowed in  front.  After a bit of research I learned there had been extensive cleanup and restoration of the area and a new Legacy Trail added.  Longfellow, it turns out, is one of four free flowing creeks in Seattle, this one flowing year round into the Duwamish River.  It is now home to trout, coho salmon and salamander. Evidence of beaver activity can also be found.  At the headwaters of the Longfellow is the Roxhill Bog, a peat bog 10,000 years old, which is currently undergoing restoration so it can continue to naturally filter the water.

The Legacy Trail begins at Roxhill Park and wanders the next four miles through mostly residential areas, sometimes through woods and sometimes following the creek.  That’s where I begin my visit.

The trail is inviting but the creek is not visible here this time of year so I move on to where I know it will be….  the dead end street where I grew up. I drive the road that seems so familiar but somehow unfamiliar at the same time.

I pull over and an old man with long hair and beard, big dog by his side, looks down at me from his driveway with suspicion.  I get out of my car with my camera.

“I grew up here,”  I call out to him.  “I came to take a picture of the creek. Okay with the dog?”

He smiled.  Yes.  But I didn’t stay long.

The road is surprisingly unchanged and still feels off the grid.  At the end of the road I find the old house and the creek nearby.  The house has been well maintained but is a different color and seems much smaller than I remember. The creek seems wild and overgrown, narrower, and not very accessible..

I continue on to the next access point of the Legacy Trail and find this outdoor work of art…..but no easy view of the creek…

At my next and final stop off a quiet narrow road, I find this section of the trail and creek in the woods..


I don’t mean to sound disappointed, but I guess I am.

I much prefer the creek that flowed in my memory.  When we dared one another to jump across at impossibly wide spots.  Where we walked through concrete pipes and paused to tell secrets.  Where we played in the woods and the salmon berries were sweet and flaming orange and red and thimble berries became caps placed on your fingers eaten off one by one.  

I like knowing the creek is there and still flowing, perhaps more pristine than before with native plants and flowers and beaver if you know where to look, and salmon running though not in great numbers.  I like to know I can still visit whenever I like.  But if I am honest, I guess I like visiting the one in my memory even more.

Cat Memories

I saw this little plaque in a shop recently and was reminded of all the wonderful kitties who have shared their lives with me.


There have been many so I will only mention a few.  There was Benjamin the long haired Himalayan (originally named Elsa until we learned she was a he) who lived with us for seventeen years.  There was Henry who we faithfully administered insulin to when he was diagnosed with diabetes. (Yes, I did it!  Me!  the one who has never even looked at a needle when getting a shot of my own!)  And who can ever forget Joey, the beautiful boy we got for my mother in law and who we inherited back again after she passed away. Soft and affectionate.  Sweet lap cat (and ‘printer’ cat, too.)


And then there was ‘Little Ann’ (aka ‘Annie’) who will always have a special place in my heart.  Annie was the only Siamese cat I ever had and she was a chocolate point beauty with deep blue eyes.  Eyes that could read your mood and comfort you.  We got her as a kitten and she lived with us for the next twenty years.


And now there is Tiger, the sweet tabby boy with the piercing green eyes.  Eyes that talk.  Eyes that ask ‘will you please come and pet me?’


I am thankful for each one of these dear feline companions. ~  Susanne

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

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