The Rain, the Park and Other Things

I’m borrowing the title for this post because it fits and if you don’t know it’s a song that’s okay too –  I guess I’m showing my age.

It’s been a rainy week in the Great Northwest but what else can you expect in January?

Well, snow for one – see how pretty it was last year? – but none in the forecast so far.

Despite the rain Bob suggested we go for  a walk earlier this week – “we can’t let the rain stop us dear” – and off we went to Coulon Park in rain coats with umbrellas in hand.  Lucky for us it slowed down to a drizzle and umbrellas weren’t needed after all. And despite the odds we enjoyed bursts of color on our rainy day walk.

Such as the red twig dogwood, my favorite winter shrub.

And the stony walkers, who were still dressed up in their (wet) Christmas clothes.

And of course the sailboats, one willing to shed its covering to show us a pretty shade of green.

To top it off,  a bald eagle soared over the lake though I didn’t get a picture that day.

But on the next day’s walk in the park (still raining), the eagle landed on a piling long enough for me to get a picture.

‘Look over here,’ I said, ‘I can’t see your face.’

And he did.

A bit blurry I know. He was too far away and I don’t have enough ‘zoom’ to get a clear shot for you – though it could be my photography skills  – still working on that.

Still I can’t complain.

~ Susanne

The Distress Call

Cats talk.  Really, they do. With their eyes. With their tail. And with their voice. This morning Benji used his voice to issue the distress call, not urgently but definitely.

I wandered around the house looking for him but he was not in the usual places.  Not by the door wanting out (different voice.)  Not on the landing, where he was singing, earlier in the day.

The doors inside the house were open so I hadn’t accidentally shut him into a room. It was quiet now but I’d heard the call and continued looking.  Hadn’t I cat-proofed the house enough by now?

I went downstairs to the laundry room/bathroom/cat box room and there he was.  Near the ceiling.  On top of the stacked washer and dryer.  The gap behind was deep and wide enough for him to fall into.

He must have jumped to the top of the dryer from the sink and should have been able to jump back down the same way.  He likely knew he wasn’t supposed to be there and called for help just in case.  I climbed onto the toilet seat, reached up and brought him down, grateful he hadn’t taken an inquisitive or accidental plunge behind. I can’t imagine the hassle of trying to get him out of there if he’d fallen. Makes me shudder.

My husband assured me our smart Benji was quite able to get down without my assistance (probably true) but has since sealed off the area to prevent any possible mishaps.  All is well.

~ Susanne

A Rainy Day at Historic Balboa Park

It never rains in San Diego except when it does. Fortunately we’d already planned to spend the day at Balboa Park where we could hide in museums when necessary. So I left Bob at the Air and Space Museum and roamed among the gardens and grounds taking pictures of the historic buildings under gray and cloudy skies.

A Bit of History

The land on which Balboa Park sits was first set aside for public use in 1835 when it was Mexican territory.  After the Mexican-American War the land was ceded to the United States, and shortly thereafter California became a state in 1850.   San Diego’s  ‘City Park’ remained largely undeveloped until plans were laid in 1909 to hold the Panama-California Exposition to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. City Park was renamed Balboa Park and the Exposition opened in 1915 and ran through the end of 1916.

The Architecture

Many of the Spanish-Renaissance style buildings built for the Exposition still exist along Balboa Park’s famous El Prado walkway and this is where I spent most of my time camera in hand. The day was rainy and gray and I admit to enhancing the photos to bring them into a better world of light and color.

Below is the Plaza de Panama Fountain, which I got carried away with in the second photo (still, nobody got hurt.)

The California Building with its 200 foot Tower and Dome, is one of the most iconic landmarks in San Diego. The building houses the San Diego Museum of Man but I didn’t go in, preferring to continue walking the lovely grounds, rain or not.

I did however enter the Botanic Building which houses ferns, palms and other tropical plants and is one of the largest lath structures in the world.

This Pitcher Plant hanging inside was both beautiful and beguiling and ready to catch any tasty insects that might happen by.

Back outside I came across the Park’s landmark Moreton Bay Fig tree, over 60 feet tall with a spread of 120 feet.

Planted before the 1915 Exposition, It looks more like it belongs in Jurassic Park.

After lunch I continued my walk (16,000 steps according to Fitbit!) until the rain picked up and I ducked into the Natural History Museum where I saw the usual fossils, dinosaur bones and pretty rocks. Soon afterwards I met up with Bob who’d spent all his time in just two museums, Air and Space, and Automotive. (His attention span is longer than mine.)

There was still much more to see and do but by then we were tired and ready to move on.  Kind of like me, right now.  But before I close I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the world-famous San Diego Zoo which also makes its home in Balboa Park.  We opted to pass on it this time (I know, I know) but we did visit the zoo a few years earlier where I took this picture of a happy Panda.

Maybe next time.

~ Susanne

Home is Where the Catnip Is

It’s good to be back in the Great Northwest and to celebrate I opened the box where the catnip is stored. Benji dove in and found it a suitable resting place.

~ Susanne and Benji

Postcards from San Diego

We finally got the blue skies and sunshine one expects in San Diego (it rained yesterday while we hid in the museums at Balboa Park) so on this first day of 2019 we headed over to Coronado Island, home to Coronado Beach and the Hotel del Coronado, made famous in the classic film, “Some Like it Hot” – remember that one?

Temperatures were only in the low sixties but it was perfect for a walk on the beach and toes in the water.

We also swung by the hotel just to say we had.

It’s been a wonderful time in Southern California but I won’t be sorry to go home in a few days where I hope these two boys will be waiting and happy and forgiving.

Until then, Happy New Year!

– Susanne

The Mountain

On our recent flight to southern California I made sure to book seats on the left side of the plane in hopes of getting close up views of that most beautiful mountain. My husband graciously forfeited the window seat and shortly after takeoff Mt Rainier came into view.

Mission accomplished.

– Susanne

Still on break

And in repose.

Just like Benji.

– Susanne

Still the Handsome Tiger

I’ll be off the grid this week but here’s a little story from the early days of Tiger and Benji to tide you over! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!

Cats and Trails and Garden Tales

This is Tiger and I gotta tell you it’s not easy being the oldest cat in the family.  They let that boy run wild and do things I would never have gotten away with.  Times change I guess.

Flying around the house.  Howling at the top of the stairs. Climbing on the roof for Pete’s sake!

‘O isn’t he cute?’  Sue gushes to Bob as she runs to fetch her camera.

Benji on the printer.  Benji watching TV.  Benji  this and Benji that.

Benji. Benji. Benji.

Spoiled.  Completely spoiled.

Now do not think I am jealous.  No, no, I would never go back if I could.  I continue to maintain my dignity. So what if I put on a few pounds. They will sustain me in the lean years to come.  Maybe I can’t move as fast as I used to, but what’s the big hurry after all?  Speed must be tempered by wisdom.  It is wisdom to contemplate…

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All Ready for the Day

Somebody’s ready to start the day.

But it’s not me.

Happy Shortest Day of the Year from Benji!  🙂

~ Susanne

Lincoln Park on a Blustery Winter Day

It’s been raining like crazy the past few days and windy too, but when it slowed down a bit we took a chance and headed to Lincoln Park in West Seattle. This park has everything you’d want for an urban hike: old growth forest, nice trails and Puget Sound beachfront where if you’re lucky you may see orcas frolicking in the water!

We carried umbrellas though we didn’t need them as we started our walk through this grove of fragrant Douglas Firs.

The trees are giant and to prove it Bob agreed to pose next to the largest of them.

Next we took a trail to the bluff overlooking Puget Sound before heading down to the beach. Colorful fallen leaves littered the trails looking lovely against the water far below.

The tide was in and the waves slapped furiously against the shore tossing drift logs about in the surf.

I kept my eyes glued to the water in hopes of seeing the orcas that made a show here recently.

Alas, not today. Though I’ve lived here my whole life I have yet to see these beautiful creatures in the wild. I hope I do before it’s too late as efforts are underway to save these critically endangered orcas of Puget Sound.

After our walk on the beach we headed up the hill and back to our car for nearby Spud’s Fish and Chips at Alki.  By that time the wind and rain returned with a vengeance and waves crashed over the seawall.

We learned later a tornado touched down about the same time in Port Orchard, a small town across the Sound. Tornadoes are very unusual for this area though windstorms are not. There was catastrophic damage to homes but thankfully no serious injuries reported.

We were lucky to enjoy such a beautiful walk in the middle of a miserable week of weather. Such is life in the Great Northwest.

~ Susanne

Benji’s Fishy

I found his little Fishy in the closet the other day where it had disappeared for months.  It’s small and flat so it slips (too) easily under doors, couches, stoves or what have you.

Benji fell in love with it all over again like a long-lost friend.  Chasing it. Batting it around.  Flinging it into the air.

Carrying it here and there like a prized trophy and always on the move making picture-taking hard – though you can see I tried.

I found him in my closet wrestling with the shoes where he had deposited it. Then with my purse where he fished it out again.

He seemed to like to put Fishy into precarious situations so he could rescue it again. Near the sofa for instance where he would occasionally bat it underneath.

When he couldn’t get it out I came to the rescue though it wasn’t easy being a big couch and all.  So I moved Fishy into the kitchen where it slid around the floor nicely.

until it needed another rescuing – easier this time.

As I write this Fishy has gone into hiding again.

I’m sure it will turn up someday when I need – I mean Benji needs – more entertainment.  Honestly, I don’t know who had more fun, him or me.

~  Susanne

Winter Bouquet

For this week’s photo prompt from Travel with Intent, ‘White,’ I looked no further than this bouquet.

I picked it up at the grocery store for $5 and am still wowed by the star chrysanthemum.  It was money well spent.

~ Susanne

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