Gray and Red in Seattle

I always thought Petula Clark had it right, “when you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go.. downtown!” I liked the song back in the sixties and even then as a kid I’d hop on a bus downtown for 20 cents.  With another dollar or two I could shop and eat at Woolworths and have a full day of cheap entertainment.  Little did I know at the time  I would spend more than 30 years working in downtown Seattle, whether lonely or not.  It wasn’t always as great as the song, but it wasn’t bad either. The work was mostly interesting, my coworkers mostly pleasant, and the coffee always good and plentiful, especially as the years went by and a Starbucks appeared in every lobby.

This week I headed downtown to attend the retirement party of a former coworker.  It had been a while. My husband dropped me off at the light rail and I emerged from the tunnel in downtown Seattle 30 minutes later.  It was icy cold but I walked to the Sculpture Park soaking in the sights and sounds, both old and new, around town. Today the vibe was gray and red. 

The wheel was a nice addition to the waterfront and provides something new for the tourists to do. The ferries still run faithfully back and forth across the Sound while the red cranes add background color.

By the time I made it to the Olympic Sculpture Park tiny snowflakes were falling, my face was frozen and I wondered why I’d left my hat and gloves at home.  I hurried through the park but still caught the Space Needle through the Eagle.

Honestly, the Space Needle doesn’t look quite like itself these days. while being renovated with a glass floor underneath the revolving restaurant. Guess I won’t be eating there again – though truth be told I only dined there 3 times in as many decades.

I picked up the pace for the long walk back but still found a giant cherry popsicle –  my kind of sculpture.

I found more pops of color at Westlake where food trucks are now a thing.

Nearing my destination, I came across the Seattle Public Library and finally appreciated its peculiar shape.



I made it to the Seattle Municipal Tower where my own party had been on the 40th floor some six years earlier.  I stopped at the window just as I had many times before on the way to my office.  On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier;  early in the morning the sunrise is spectacular, as it was in this photo before  I retired.

I wished my friend well – the best computer programmer we ever had I told him.  It was a short party of cake and words (this is government after all) and soon the working folks were off to a meeting and invited me to come along.  No thanks, I said,  I have no interest in attending a configuration meeting.  Neither do we, they laughed!  And so we parted, I happy to be retired, they probably wishing they were. Okay, I admit I occasionally miss working; the camaraderie, lunches out, walks on the waterfront;  and the satisfaction of accomplishments that can be measured.  Still I wouldn’t go back.  Except for another lunch, which  I promised them I would do this spring.

~ Susanne

Snow Day with Benji

The snow came in on little cat feet  blanketing everything with its calming beauty.

The little cat footprints are still there.

~ Susanne and Benji

Sunny and Blue at Seward Park

After a snowy weekend we enjoyed the crisp and cold but sunny weather yesterday;  a perfect time to bundle up and walk through Seattle’s Seward Park on Lake Washington.   We started out under brilliant blue skies, with this view of Mt. Rainier partially hidden by cloud cover.

We walked the path through the center of the park’s old growth forest,

enjoying the blossoms heralding spring.

On the other side we found the Seattle skyline standing tall above the lake.

Sometimes the bluest skies you’ve ever seen really are in Seattle.  And the bluest lakes too.

~ Susanne

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sweet Benji

Time is running out for this week’s photo challenge and after mulling it over I can think of no better example of sweetness than Benji.

So why not?


A Week of Winter Gardening

Cold – wind – rain – snow – sunshine –  we saw everything this week.  But when the rain stopped I headed outside to tend to the garden. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a short amount of time;  time that is therapeutic to the garden and also to the gardener.

My first task was to prune and relocate the roses.  I’d planted them a few years ago in the front of the house and my husband (the weeder in chief) complained they reached out and grabbed him when he tried to do his work. I agreed they weren’t in the best location and would move them.  But where?  So this opened up the next set of chores: to find space in the garden beds in back. Gardening is like that – one thing leads to another. .

I’d start with the herb bed which was wild and overcrowded.  I’d remove the woody plants and send them to the recycle heap but save and transplant the best – the lavender, rosemary and mint. The vegetables would take their old spot and I’d plant the roses where the vegetables had been.  (Isn’t that what a real gardener does?  Just keep moving the same plants around and around year after year?)

Benji supervised the action and helped himself to some of the mint too.

Here is my new bed of roses with rosemary and lavender planted between – I hope they’re all happy together.

I finished up just in time. Today we got our first snow of the year as large, fluffy, wet, flakes blanketed the trees and garden.

Fortunately it didn’t last.  An hour later blue skies and sunshine returned and everything looked washed and manicured.

There’s still much more to do of course. We’ll add compost to the vegetable bed. Carrots, lettuce, squash and beans will be planted at the proper time.  Tomatoes and potatoes will be planted later in whisky barrels.  The strawberry bed in front needs care and thinning out.  But there’s plenty of time for all that.

Looking forward to spring!

~  Susanne

Office Cats

For many years I worked in an office. I had a desk. And a computer. And a window with a view.  But something was missing.

I’m home now and I still have an office. And a desk. And a computer. And a window with a view.  But now I have something more.

“I’m here to help Sue. Just say the word,” says Tiger.

“Anything he can do, I can do better,” says Benji.

They’re Tiger and Benji,  Office Cats.

~ Susanne

Road Trip to the Columbia River Gorge

We were promised two days of sunshine earlier this week, and so to celebrate we drove south for a night at the Columbia River Gorge. Our plan was to take in the waterfalls on the Oregon side; then spend the night at Skamania Lodge on the Washington side, a place we’d never been before.

Our first stop was at the Crown Point Vista House where skies were blue and the wind icy as we gazed on the mighty Columbia.

Next up we visited our first waterfall, the 249 ft. Latourell Falls.

Continuing east we learned the Historic Scenic Highway was closed due to damage from the wildfire in September.  So our tour of the waterfalls was cut short and it was time to cross the river to Skamania Lodge.  Wow!  How did we miss this place all these years?  Opened in 1993, the Lodge sits on 175 acres of forested land overlooking the Columbia and is complete with restaurants, spa,  golf course and hiking trails.  The building of the lodge was the result of the Act that created the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in 1986; which called for a conference center on the Washington side.  The winter rates made it very affordable and the views of the river and sunset were perfect.  We will be back.

The next day we continued the drive east, enjoying views of Mt. Hood along the way and watching as the landscape turned from forest to farmland and desert.

Near the Columbia Hills, we came across this sign and could indeed see all four of the famous mountains from that spot.

But it was Mt. Adams that was front and center, finally getting the attention – at least from me – that it deserves.

As we traveled north towards Yakima to complete our loop trip we noticed the clouds amassing in the sky,  and the sun beginning to set in Ellensburg.

Our two rain free days were almost over and shortly after we returned home so did the rain, just as promised.

~ Susanne

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