Tea Party, Trumpet, and Chess

Neighbor Joyce had a lovely baby shower with a tea party theme for her daughter. There were four of us from the neighborhood, plus relatives and friends. I did not ask for permission to publish photos of people, so I’ll show you Joyce and the lovely spread of goodies.

The choir sang a spectacular piece at the beginning of the service featuring a professional trumpeter. I was in the next room when he began to warm up. Oh! What beautiful sounds he made just playing scales and arpeggios! You can see him on the left side of the photo, and grandson David is second from the left in the choir. I was looking only at the performers and didn’t notice until I saw the picture on a big screen that special friends from New York were in it, too, sitting ahead of me. Since their faces weren’t visible, I didn’t ask permission to use it.

Neighbor Logan came over to visit. He, David, and I did the Wordle for the day on two phones. The fellows both had fast times doing Set online. I didn’t work on that until they were playing chess. You can see they were concentrating on the game. Both are used to my camera and were probably aware it was aimed at them, but they were focused on the board.

Furniture Coverings

When grandson David spotted a sofa cover in the store, I said to put it in the cart. Our living room furniture has hardly ever been used, but Kacey has taken full advantage of it. Evidently she finds it much more comfortable than humans do. The sofa gives her a good view of the street, although she can put her nose right on the low windows. We moved all the pillows off to give her plenty of room.

A single fitted sheet that we don’t use on beds was good for the chaise lounge. That’s comfortable for me, too, when I use the laptop. Kacey was so anxious when she first came to us that I stayed with her instead of writing in my room. She is not allowed in there, because I don’t want her long hair floating everywhere.

After hours of rain, the sun came out. I knew from walking Kacey that it was much colder than previous days. Still, I’m going to run out of February days to trim bushes if I don’t do my quota of one a day. The dog dug holes near her stake, so I let her stay on the screened porch. It was discouraging to spend more time filling her holes than pruning shrubs. It was 40F (4.44C). I wore my New York coat and kept moving. I don’t think I’ll be pruning if it gets closer to freezing. Do any of you have personal limits for doing yard work?

Daffodils and Driveway Art

Neighbor Joyce pointed out the green shoots of her daffodils days ago. The buds must have been swelling, but I didn’t notice them again until they burst open. Perhaps I needed a drum roll for drama, but that is not the nature of early spring flowers.

Dampness brought out a design on a driveway I pass each morning. I can see a couple of fun things there. A goofy owl was the first I saw and then two roadrunners on a branch. I’ll bet you can see other fanciful things.

I thought it was quite unusual that I ate lunch on the porch twice before the middle of February. Today it was even warmer — 68F (20C)! No sweater needed!

Rain — Beating the Odds

I’m not a betting person, but weather apps force you to think about winning. This morning there was a 15% chance of rain during the time I would be walking to the creek. That sounded low enough to me. I noticed nothing unusual until I walked parallel to the mountains on the way home. There was a whiteness hanging on the ridges that seemed much thicker than mist. I was about a mile from home at that point, with the steep hill just ahead. I needed about 30 to 45 minutes to get home. My pace was quicker than normal, but would it be fast enough?

Half way up the steep hill I saw half the road was quite damp. The more level road at the top was suspiciously wet, with a puddle in the middle. That’s when I met a walker I’ve never seen before going the other way.

She said, “I admire you so much for getting out to walk on terribly cold mornings. I just can’t do that.”

She recognized me, and I hadn’t a clue who she was or where she lived. I changed the subject to imminent rain. I said, “I think it has rained here since I came this way earlier. I’m sure that puddle wasn’t here before. Did you notice rain?”

“Yes,” she replied, “I saw half the driveway was wet, so it has rained recently.”

“Will you stay dry?” I wanted to know.

She said, “Oh, yes. This coat protects me from rain.”

She laughed when I flapped the lapels of my heavy sweater and said, “I’m wearing a sponge.”

“You’d better keep walking, then,” she said, as we wished each other a good day.

Did I get home before it rained? Yes. I had breakfast with David, then took Kacey outside with me while I trimmed three Rose of Sharon bushes near the pasture. Although it has been very gray, the weather app predicts the chance of rain will remain 15% until it dips lower at 5 pm.

Valentine’s Day 2023

I had no expectations for the day, good or bad. It unfolded with lovely surprises at every turn. I enjoyed special Valentine greetings via text and email, and they can all be read and savored many times. For days we displayed and appreciated a hand-made card from former neighbor Connie.

Neighbor Cindy took me out to lunch, and what a lovely time it was! We talked non-stop about all kinds of things. I picked her brains about dog issues, since she has had much more experience than I have. After we left the restaurant, I realized I had not taken a photo. You’ll just have to imagine a beautiful friend wearing an elegant white blouse and a lovely smile.

Daughter Lise called from Denmark after working in Italy for three weeks. She just finished polishing a Power Point presentation that the head of the Italian division will present to the CEO in Paris. Heady stuff! We were just beginning our conversation when neighbor Shawn brought over Valentine balloons and a card. I asked her to hold the phone, showing that Lise was with us.

I had a lower key conversation with son John $, mostly about weather. He thinks the seasons vary more from year to year in Washington state than they do in New York or North Carolina. He has lived there a year now and heard natives talk about the weather. One season I’ve never experienced is Smoke Season, a time in autumn when wild fires fill the air with smoke that makes it hard to breathe.

Daughter Kate, with recurring bronchitis, talked to us the night before. She probably couldn’t be heard today.

This was one of the loveliest Valentine Days of my life, and I appreciate all who were part of it.

Kacey Steals a Valentine Snack

Before I went out for lunch, I walked Kacey and visually checked the kitchen for food that might be in the dog’s reach. She is taller than I thought. After taking photos of the crime scene, I scolded her, and she slunk down on the floor. She had eaten banana nut bread, which would have been David’s breakfast the next day. She dined in style. Along with the bread, she took a red cleaning cloth for her Valentine napkin.

Morning Stretches in the Closet?

It was an odd place to do stretches, but the dog made me do it. This door is in the bedroom, so I could put the stretching strap over the door and close it without going into the hallway. Why avoid the hall? I would wake Kacey up, and she would demand that grandson David take her outside.

I used the stretching strap over the door between John’s office and the bedroom until last week. Because I didn’t want long dog hairs in the bedroom, I kept the doors shut and stayed in the kitchen area with the dog. For two full weeks she was anxious when no human was with her. Then came the day that I needed to use the computer in the bedroom to do scanning. I built a barrier with a large office chair, an exercise ball, and a mirror. Kacey could see me, but she couldn’t figure out how to get through. I’m not going to dismantle that contraption often, so for the time being I shall stretch in the closet.

Strong Winds

High winds buffeted the house for several hours. I saw a heavy wooden rocking chair on the porch going back and forth without a rider. The roaring on the ridge was impressive, loud and menacing. How quickly one forgets! The next morning I wasn’t looking for damage, but I noticed trees had fallen over the first small stream, Park Branch. I’m glad it didn’t change the tune of the stream.

I smiled when a shiny object on a nearby lawn turned out to be a gazing ball. Normally I see it on its stand near the house, but the wind played with it before rolling it down the hill. It was still fulfilling its function of reflecting sky and objects around it. By then I was looking for wind damage and was slightly disappointed to find none. What was I thinking?? I had to change my attitude to one of thankfulness for very little damage.

Meanwhile, David was walking Kacey at our house. The brake inside the leash broke the day before, and with one strong tug, Kacey caused the whole handle to explode, cutting David’s hand. David is going to get a more expensive one today. Sometimes it doesn’t save money when this miser buys the cheapest item.

Exploded leash


One-a-Day sounds like a multi-vitamin pill. I’m talking gardening, not supplementing my diet, though gardening could be hard to swallow for a novice. When neighbor Joyce loaned me some of her home gardening books, I learned that there are a number of shrubs that need to be pruned in February. All these years, I’ve wasted the month dreaming of snow, certainly not going out in the garden to trim bushes. Today the thermometer outdid itself, showing 59 F (15C) well before noon. That kind of warmth could not be ignored.

I began my one-a-day plan of trimming a single plant. Knowing I had to use both hands, I took David’s suggestion of nudging Kacey toward her large bone on the porch. She accepted that I wasn’t going back to one-handed gardening and whined occasionally to remind me she would prefer to be getting in the way.

Beginning near the fence between me and the horses, I cut a crepe myrtle, leaving a foot of dry sticks for the plant to dream with. It has had eight years to dream of becoming a tree, but I have kept it from chasing the Wicked Wisteria. So far, so good. We’ll see if snow will get the forecaster’s memo this weekend.

Raking with one Hand

David didn’t have a chance to put the stake for Kacey near the garden, but I had the irresistible urge to get outside and do something useful on a very warm winter day. Using a child’s rake to clear the iris bed seemed reasonable. The bed could have used a heavier hand, but I did what I could while holding the leash. The dog seemed content to watch. It wasn’t until I finished that I found she had tangled the leash in an over-grown bush and couldn’t move. Kudos to her for waiting patiently.

Since raking went fairly well, I came inside for the coffee grounds. We’ve had a resident skunk digging in the front yard, looking for grubs. I read that coffee grounds were not to their liking. I don’t think coffee is much of a deterrent, but it saves us having to take the stuff to the dump. Kacey sniffed every spoonful, making sure there wasn’t a tidbit hidden in there for her.

The temperature continued to go up as the sun reached the middle of the sky. Despite the warmth being one degree below my usual cutoff point, I ate lunch on the porch. It wasn’t quite like summertime. I ate hot clam chowder and wore a heavy sweater. It was not a meal to linger over with good company.