Wednesday, February 26, 2014

After Snow -- Spring Is Coming

 We have small crocus' planted throughout the yard and their job is to signal spring each year. While a couple had shown up a week ago (and tended to stay closed) with today's warmer temperatures they have opened up and announced their presence again!

 The hellebore's are up and blooming (as they have been for the past month plus).  I love the colors -- dark purple, almost black and the yellow is terrific as well.  Actually, the dark purple didn't make into the photo -- off to the right.
A close up of the crocus' in the lawn. Spring!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snowy Day in Ferndale

Today was a bit of a driving adventure.  Usually I go to Ferndale to work in the CHI office on Mondays and Thursdays.  Well, Sunday night when all the schools in the area were showing up on line as CLOSED, I saw no reason to engage in driving heroics.  I opted to let everyone know that I was changing my commute almost to the border from Monday to Tuesday.  Good call, if I do say so -- the office did not open up on Monday at all.

The forecast for Tuesday was slightly better -  warming and no more snow.  So I thought I would make the attempt.  Besides, as I am sticking to the freeway - no back country roads at this time of the  year -  I figured the odds were in my favor. 

I left home just before 6 AM and the freeway was wide open and clear and basically dry.  I left the half hour later than normal so that I could have some daylight on my journey.   Traffic was flying along all the way from the King-Snohomish county line through Mt. Vernon.  Then Someone, it appeared,  had drawn a line just north of Hwy 20.  South of that "line" there was NO snow on the flat (some in the mountain foothills). Across that "line" there was snow blanketing the fields.  The difficulty wasn't the beautiful fields covered with snow and accented with small fogs here and there.  The difficulty was the ice on the freeway that accompanied the snow in the fields. 

I have no idea what happened, but there had been a major accident right past the Cook Rd exit.  The accident had happened quite a bit earlier (I had heard about it while driving through Everett) but there was still a major presence on the road.  A flatbed tow-truck had loaded a pickup.  And behind that, and parked on the shoulder, was a badly rear ended and mashed up Washington State Patrol car..  I didn't see the rest because traffic was moving again and I had to concentrate on what lay ahead.  Rather than my usual 70 mph (posted) journey up the grade to Bellingham, I opted for a nice sedate 50 -- and lived to tell.

I arrived at work and at 7:45 was not surprised to be there alone.  The surprise was that the snowplows had piled snow across the parking lot entrances.  I drove past the office and to the Rite-Aid next door and turned around in their nicely plowed parking lot.  Drove back and realized the only option was to park on the street.  There was room for parking and for a driving lane, so I parked, grabbed my lunch, and worked at not slipping and falling on the ice that was on top of the snow.  The first couple of steps were the deepest as I crossed the plowed area.
 There's my car hiding behind the bushes.  Ironically, mine was the 2nd set of footprints.  The other only seemed to go one way -- they must have snuck off to the side of the building as there was no sign of a set walking away. 
 There was,  however, a second set that just crossed the parking lot (not the same ones). 
 This is a case of so close, yet so far -- all this nice useable parking lot - stymied by a snow wall delivered by the city!  Looking to the right.
 . . .Looking to the left. . .
 The back entrance -- we can see that the snowfall was pretty significant!
It was nice as time went by to no longer be alone.  First Yadira showed up; then Mike, and finally nearly everyone else showed up as the time went by.  Mike put a nice large sign on the door that said "We are Open"  which gave us hope that FedEx and UPS and DHL and friends might actually deliver the important things we might need! 
 Out of my window. ..Interesting lighting that some of the shadow is blue and some is gray.
 As the sun shifted to the afternoon, the shadows lengthened and the snowfall became a little more picturesque.
 Nicole's car is giving a demonstration of why no one wanted to attempt the jump into the parking lot.  That is the driveway she is parked next to!  Wouldn't it be fun to get hung up and have your wheels somewhat off the ground -- no, walking was more appealing than that!
Then Mike took pity on all incoming and outgoing participants in the snow day and created a path.  Personally, I freely admit to sexism when it is to my advantage.  I firmly believe that God made men with their abilities so that we can let them shovel outside in the cold while we do whatever seems more reasonable at the time - inside! 
At the end of the day it was time to head southward on the commute -- leaving time to make it all the way past the snow belt and down to Mt. Vernon and again past the snow line before it actually got dark.  Beautiful late afternoon winter!
And now that it is going to be March is just a few days -- and now that we have had a final fling with winter so that we have participated with the rest of the country -- IT IS NOW TIME FOR SPRING!
On the road again -- almost to Mt. Vernon

Sunday, February 09, 2014


As usual, a bit of time has gone by since I had a chance to add to this blog.   Most of what ends up here in this blog is of general extended and historical family interests but sometimes it is simply miscellany such as this commemorating how our furry family members add to our lives in so many positive ways.

Christmas Day - wow, it has been a while -- Baxter was a part of our annual reading of The Littlest Angel - a wonderful story and our tradition since the girls were infants.  This year Baxter got into the act!  He started out a little bit happy to be on a lap, but by the time we got to the end, he was looking more resigned and less like he had scored. 
I generally start my days (when I don't have early appointments away from home) with my coffee and morning devotions. It's always a better day when I get God's perspective on life. If I can't read, I'll listen to Christian music on the radio while commuting, but my favorite time is in the mornings in my husband's chair.  In the photo above he was not in his chair either.  I was in his chair because I like it best.  He is very tolerant of me liking his chair best -- wonderful man.  Well, this one morning I sat down to read and got the dog to join me.  Not to be outdone the cats converged as well.  Usually whichever cat gets there first holds his territory.  And if the dog is around he often nips at the cats and chases them away.  But this one morning they called a truce and got along on the lap. 
My husbands perspective - if you can't see Baxter, he's the reflective green lights in a black background.
My perspective - and this is great -- all the little furry friends are WARM. 
 It's like having a lap full of little hand warmers. 
Last week we had a different experience with one of our furry family members.  One of the flaws of Caspian (the cat on the armrest in the top of the two photos and in the bottom right corner on the 2nd) will absolutely not use a litter box.  To my knowledge he has never used a litter box.  The problem with that is that he always has to be let outside.  Most of the time that works well and we just remember to put him out.  It used to be when we went to Portland for the weekend that his bowl of food and his furry body were left outside on the deck and Duncan (the cat by my feet in the first photo and on the top right of the second photo) was inside out of the weather.  We usually don't forget, but every now and then Caspian gets stuck inside.  In his defense, he contains his "accidents" to a spot in the laundry room downstairs or he does his business on the run in the main bathroom.  It is extraordinarily annoying, but he doesn't leave little presents around the house which is good. Otherwise he probably would never see the light of day.  Anyway, last week Kurt came home to discover that a little present had been left on the rug in the bathroom.  He took it out and shook it off the rug into the backyard  and left the rug out there to wait for a lone wash in the machine.  What he had not noticed but what I discovered when I came home was THIS!

Apparently from seeing people in action, he figured out that while he had no idea what people DID with this roll when they were done relieving themselves, he knew that he was supposed to be doing SOMETHING with it.  I took the  photo in the bathroom, but he had shredded this down the hall, probably chasing after it.  He had taken it out of a basket of replacement rolls which sits next to the toilet.  In the ten years that we have had cats in this house, we have NEVER had a cat tear apart a roll of toilet paper before.  Hopefully he will remember that this was not a successful attempt and not waste more.
The last of our winter animal events for this entry was today.   For the past few weeks while the rest of the country has been in the cold grip of an icy winter, we have had relatively mild temperatures.  But just to make sure that we knew it was still winter, we had a relapse of earlier snow this year and woke to a beautiful winter wonderland. 
 My husband had to go down and get the hummingbird food so we could warm it up for our little feathered friends.  The photo below is lousy, but shows the instant interest that the little hummers had in warm and tasty nectar.

Baxter surveys his kingdom, checking out and barking at songbirds, squirrels, crows, and cats (his own and others). It's always nice to have a white background for the little dog so everyone can actually see how cute he is!  A wonderful snow day to be a pampered pup!!