Tag Archives: SYW

As the wind howls…

Catching up on reading blog posts after a stimulating day of packing up my grandmother’s apartment and responding to a letter from the VA “Debt Management Department” on her behalf (see my Scared Speechless post for background), I got home before the peak winds were due to hit.

So far the lights have only flickered, but Cee’s question: When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light? hit home: at the first flickers I lit candles in the living room, kitchen and bathroom. I also started up our gas fireplace (I’m not quite sure how to manage the electronic ignition by battery).  Before the flickers, based on the weather reports, I had already filled three thermoses with boiling water.

Here are answers to Cee’s other questions:

20150614-KSM-Puppy_FriendsDo you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes? Not very often. Most park benches aren’t terribly comfortable and, in Seattle, they are often wet and cold, also I tend to be walking when I am at parks (two dogs, need I say more?).

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers? Tough one. Right now I am trying to figure out how to deal with a safe, yet also pleasant, way for my grandmother to live. I think I would take the $10,000. That would cover the difference to give her a private room instead of a shared one at a nursing home for about eight months.

Another concern I have about distributing a large sum is that I feel very inadequate to know enough about various charities to do a good job of making decisions that will make real improvements. I’ve seen charities that have had unintended consequences.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? We have had a beautiful fall, this past week has had some lovely days and the colors are warm and cheerful, and inspiring.

At this very moment I am extremely appreciative that I have a safe place out of the weather. I wish everyone else had that as well. Maybe if I could figure out a way to help that along I would take the $100K.

Cee’s Share Your World

My World

If I had to choose one word to describe my world right now it would be…beautiful. Even though the chores piled up along with the newspapers that came while we were gone for a few days (stopping the paper runs about 75% successful, thank goodness for alert neighbors).

Quick smile from today’s paper: today’s Non-Sequitur cartoon.  It reminds me of my house, except that our cat believes in species segregation, and basks in a different part of the house than the dogs.

My responses to Cee’s Share Your World questions:

What is your favorite cheese? My very favorite is a cheese called “Huntsman”, which is extra sharp cheddar and Stilton in layers. Trader Joe’s used to carry Huntsman around the holidays, but I haven’t seen it for a while (as in several years), other places where I’ve seen it charge more than I’m willing to pay. Of the ones I can actually acquire (without taking out a mortgage), extra sharp cheddar is my favorite, I usually buy Tillamook brand.

Are you left or right handed? Right. I have no signs of dexterity in my left hand. I broke my right wrist when I was in college and tried and tried, but the left hand just isn’t connected properly to my brain to become dexterous. I actually think better holding a pencil in my right hand, even if I don’t use it.

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either? Both. I exercise both most days. Right now I am taking online classes in HTML and CSS, which I try to practice in some form or another every day (it gets harder and harder to get things to stick in my head as I get older) and I walk the dogs at least twice a day, use an exercise dvd about three times a week. I also read the newspaper (we do not have television and I don’t listen to the radio so this is my news source).

Complete this sentence: Hot days are …enervating. I used to be more bothered by the heat than I am now, I think it is because I go at things more slowly than I used to. A few years ago I gave myself permission to just not do anything if the thermometer is above 85 deg F. (That’s about  32 deg C). Fortunately in Seattle those higher temps are fairly rare.

We had a beautiful, possibly even perfect trip to Mount Rainier last week. It was about a month earlier than we have gone most years so there was still quite a bit of snow in the Paradise area, limiting hiking a bit, however we got to see a different set of flowers. The avalanche lilies and glacier lilies were abundant. Most years we are lucky to see one or two blooms, not whole fields of the lilies.


Looking ahead
Chores, weeds. The weather forecast predicts high 70’s so it’s time to get the yard cleaned up, in addition to tilting at cobwebs, and finishing my apricot jam.

My World

I haven’t been posting much of late. My world is changing right now. My husband retired two weeks ago and that means having someone around a lot of the time. He used to be at work a lot and when he was home he was often working so I was often alone even when he was in the house. Because of that I have a habit of trying to be always available when he is home and not working. That is going to have to change if anything is ever going to get done (not just blogging, if applies to things like vacuuming as well).

The other reason why I’ve been blogging less often is that I am taking a series of on-line courses in HTML and CSS. In order to try and really learn I created several sets of content to play with so that I use the techniques in each lesson several ways. This all takes time.

So, in the name of trying to get back on track, here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week:

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I like to have a fire going and bake something that smells cinnamon-y.

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary). Homemade bread, apricot jam, French roast coffee, dark chocolate, and cherries are the first things that come to mind right now. Although what I like shifts about some all the things listed are always pretty high on it.

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests? I usually take them to my Dad’s on Vashon. It is probably pretty presumptuous for me to assume that people like to be wet, muddy and covered with dog hair…but it is a very northwest experience.

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with? My husband. Even if it s hard to get used to him being around all the time there is still no one else I’d rather be with. And he is one of the more clever people around so he might be better at figuring out how to get un-trapped…and having the tools to do it with.

Gratitude: So many things:  Summer has arrived, but so far it has been moderate in temperature (I don’t take heat well) and the world is full of beautiful flowers. My Yellow Transparent apples are ripening so it is time for pie! Grandma is doing okay.

Looking ahead: We are getting ready to go and visit good friends at Mount Rainier tomorrow.


My World

It’s still raining, on and off, sometimes heavily, and the skies are pretty dark, but it is a lot warmer than it was a week ago. Many of the buds who were curled up tight against the cold  last week have started to cautiously unfurl. I feel kind of the same way right now: I switched to a lighter coat, but my heavy winter one is still by the door, along with wool scarf, hat and heavy gloves… just in case.

Cee’s Share Your World‘s Questions and Answers for this week:

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster? I only push more than once if the light doesn’t come on, or I notice that I hit down when I meant up or vice versa. It doesn’t make the elevator come faster.

There aren’t many elevators in my life right now: the one I use most is at the nursing home where grandma is right now: that elevator doesn’t have a call button; you have to swipe a special visitor badge. Inside it you have to swipe and push a button to choose the floor (this isn’t logical since there is only one level you can go to on that elevator. You have to take different elevators to go to the other floors, and you have to have the right badge for each elevator or it won’t come. It’s a security thing.

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?) It may sound strange but my answer is “yes”. I spend a good bit of time researching to know what I might want to see, when the hours of operation are for different places, putting together a list of possibilities. Once I have a pretty good handle on all my options, I wing it.

For example: I have one day to “kill” in Beijing on an up-coming trip, waiting for my son to join me so we can head out together. I’ve researched my options for how to get into the city from the airport and things to see near where the airport transportation takes me. I have a list of possibilities and will figure out what to do when the time comes. Planning is part of the fun…but so is taking advantage of the circumstances.

Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words. I find myself wondering what “uplifting” means in this context…I always have trouble with this sort of thing. Not because I have poor self esteem, but because putting words on things, especially me, has always been a challenge for me.

Once in a college transfer application I responded to a “describe yourself” question by quoting a poem by Shel Silverstien (apologies if my memory of the words isn’t perfect):

My skin is sort of brownish, pinkish, yellowish white.
My eyes are grayish, blueish green,
but I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish, blondish brown,
but it’s silver when it’s wet
And all the colors I am inside
have not been invented yet.

For what it’s worth: I got in…It was MIT.

If you had a choice which would be your preference: salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?  While the last three appeal to me less than the first, I’ve enjoyed all of them except the ski resort at some point (and I could enjoy that: although I haven’t skied for 40 years, I like mountain scenery, to ice skate, snow shoe and hike…and I’m very good at sitting in front of the fire!).

Gratitude: The weather has turned toward spring and a little spring cleaning happened. How often do those two go together?

Looking ahead: I’m hoping to get a period between showers long enough to prune my roses and dry enough to pull a few weeds. With travel coming up soon a quiet week to get things done around the house is appealing.

My World

It’s kind of cold and miserable. I say “kind of” because it isn’t really all that cold, or perhaps even all that miserable. The birds are coming in for spring, you can hear them singing, but the temperatures are still pretty close to those of a refrigerator. There are many buds, waiting for a little warm sunshine to burst forth.

My horoscope today was prescient “Settle somewhere cozy and quiet.” It rained, it hailed, it snow-mixed-with-rained, then it rained again. I have to go out to walk the dogs a few times so I can’t stay in all the time (my grandma’s dogs are staying with me and I don’t have a fenced yard so we go for walks four times a day, some longer and some shorter).


Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week:

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle? Yes, once about 33 years ago. I was so embarrassed. I had been driving my dad’s car for quite a while and gotten used to its gas gauge, where empty was nowhere near empty. I bought a new to me car, and it’s gauge meant empty when it said empty. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with it when it faded out on me.  Since then I never let the gauge hit empty, as soon as I see the quarter tank mark I start looking for gas.  But today I couldn’t face being out in the cold so I went home instead of looking for gas so I could finish my long list of errands…the rest of this story falls under being grateful.

Which are better: black or green olives? I don’t care about color or national origin, I like them all. When I was young I liked the black ones best because I could put them on all my fingers. Now it depends on the accompanying food. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Black olives are really nice on a spinach salad with red onion, sliced oranges and toasted almonds
  2. Green olives are really good on top of deviled eggs
  3. Green olives are really good sliced up in tuna salad
  4. Kalamata or Nicoise olives are really good in a new or red potato salad with a vinaigrette or lemon juice and olive oil dressing instead of mayonnaise
  5. Olive tapanade is wonderful on a baguette (I really like Trader Joe’s tapanade but there are other yummy ones out there)
  6. Olive tapanade mixed with cream cheese and a dollop of mayonnaise (to thin it) makes a tasty spread for a tea sandwich.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore? Right now somewhere sunny has appeal. Seriously: every place you go has something interesting about it, and  so do most subjects. One thing I find very interesting is to go to a place and learn about what shaped how it is. Geology, geography, biology (flora and fauna), human history all interact together in very different ways in different places.

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes? I got stuck on this one. It’s the kind of question I can sometimes answer quickly but today drew a blank.

Here are three I have long liked:

  1. “Three minutes thought would suffice to find this out, but thought is irksome and three minutes is a long time.” A.E. Housman
  2. “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” J.R.R. Tolkien

  3. “‘Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World,’ said the Rat. ‘And that’s something that doesn’t matter to you or me. I’ve never been there, and I’m never going, nor you either, if you’ve got any sense at all. Don’t ever refer to it again, please. Now then! Here’s our backwater at last, where we’re going to lunch.'” the Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. (Of course they do go out into both the Wild Wood and the Wide World…)

Right now, as I try to clean out my basement, “Hang spring cleaning!” (also from the Wind in the Willows) resonates.

Gratitude:  It was an okay week. But for real gratitude: Today I went out shopping, my gas tank was at about 1/8 tank and the light had just come on. After running two errands I decided I had had enough and didn’t want to get chilled pumping gas, so I went home. Less than a half hour later it began to hail, then it snowed. I was very grateful that I wasn’t out in it trying to get home (we live at the bottom of a steep hill).

Looking ahead: I don’t have much on the docket this week, so I am hoping to take things slow and get through some of the piles in the basement so we have some space to move around back there. If it gets a bit warmer I’d like to get my roses pruned.

My world

Today has been a bit drippy and out of focus.

My responses to Cee’s Share Your World questions:

When you cut something with scissors, do you move your jaw (as if you were about to chew)? No. I sew, and for many years now I have used special scissors with springs in them that do not aggravate my wrists. When I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s I had a serious bout of pain caused by repetitive motion which lead to chnging scissors and ceasing to hand quilt. I’m so thankful that we are living in times where there are so many nifty inventions that make sewing and other arts and crafts easier than they once were.

Do you chew your pens and pencils? No. My peculiar pencil/pen habit is that I have to hold one to think. I don’t do this as much as I used to (maybe I don’t think as much), but I have been known to type left handed so I can jot or sketch things down with my right hand.

Are you a collector of anything?  If so what? Good question. I have a few collections: rubber stamps, fabric, dolls, and lots and lots of books; however, I do not actively collect anything. The rubber stamps were originally gifts, since I do occasionally make cards and gift tags I added a few stamps and fancy accouterments like embossing powders and a heat gun. The dolls are from my childhood (when I did collect them) and live in a chest since I have no display space. The fabric is from when I sewed more than I do now. These days I try to do “challenge sewing” where I challenge myself to sew from my stash without extra purchases (extra points if I don’t buy thread or buttons). We do read, about anything and everything. The only thing the books have in common is that they are on paper. We’ve never made the move to electronic books. As a result of the books we also have an eclectic collection of book shelves.

What size is your bed? Full (a.k.a., double). We like space to walk around and we live in a small house. This is only possible at this point because Ginger has short legs. If both dogs and the cat could get up on the bed, we might have to rethink our strategy. For now only the cat is allowed on the bed.  (Technically we do not have any dogs, but my grandmother’s are staying with us indefinitely.)

Gratitude: Last week was a blur, but it ended well, after a grueling drive to and through Portland (5 hours versus the normal 3.5), we had a lovely visits with an old friend in Beaverton and my sisters in Oregon City. Finally got to go out on the sailboat they have had for over a year now. There wasn’t much wind but Stephanie took us to see some cool houseboats around Hayden Island.

We brought Grandma’s pups home with us. They’ve been hanging out in Oregon since the holidays while we took our trip to South America. It’s more work to have them around, but puppy love is a wonderful thing.

Looking ahead: This week’s goal is to catch up on the home front…and I am planning a trip to China this spring. Planning is always a lot of fun. Having an outing to look forward to helps me stay positive in the face of chilly, grey drippiness and stubborn, willfully misguided relatives.

Here’s hoping your world is as happy as mine!

My world

Sunny day sweepin’ the clouds away…

is the first thought on this lovely, much warmer than a few days ago, morning. I don’t think the ground hog thing works here in Seattle. Our spring tends to come and go.

Cee’s Share Your World Questions and my answers to them make me feel like I am Seriousness itself, not a whole lot of fun.

ksm-20170205-csyw-02Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? They start out tucked in, along with blankets but usually everything winds up in a tangle. My royal friend usually naps on the bed in the morning and glares if I try to bring it back to order before she moves to her late morning nap spot.


Have you stolen a street sign before? No. Don’t get the desire to do it either.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them? I used to do this until I realized that most coupons are for things I don’t use. Most coupons seem to be for processed and packaged foods and exotic beauty supplies. We tend to eat simple, real food and use the more basic types of shampoo, toothpaste, etc. My shopping list tends to contain things like a package of chicken and fresh vegetables instead of frozen dinners. In the past couple of years some stores send out customized sets based on what you buy and I keep them in my purse and occasionally remember to use them. They are perforated so I don’t have to clip, tear, or whip out my pocket knife to liberate them.

Do you have freckles? No, but I am starting to develop some age spots that look kind of like freckles…does that count?


Last week was rife with blessings: the safe, yet very early birth of a niece who is healthy in spite of entering the world 6 weeks early. Also, my grandmother “passed” the test of being able to do the things she needs to do to live in her old apartment (she fell and broke her hip on November 19th).

ksm-20170211-csyw-03Last but by no means least : while I wasn’t thrilled by the storm’s activities, Dad’s power was reinstated much more quickly and easily than I had anticipated when I saw the mess of downed pole and wires…as a bonus the fridge is cleaner than it has been in years!


Looking ahead:

This week is supposed to be “springy” and Grandma and I are going to visit the new baby tomorrow. Late winter flowers are starting to bloom.


My world

Today is a snow day. Rare for Seattle.

Cee’s Share Your World questions and answers:

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside? Both. I try to have places for things, but our fridge is small so when I have to prep a holiday meal or something similar things go where they fit. That leads to a LIFO (Last In First Out) organization system. That means that I usually have a few items toward the back that are ready in case I decide to get out a microscope and study microbes. Maybe my fridge is a metaphor for my life?

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together? It depends. I am sensitive to texture in food and won’t eat things like oatmeal or malt-o-meal so texture plays in how I combine things. Ironically I like pureed soups like potato-leek or potage des legumes (yes I know this means “vegetable soup”, however, the way I make it is based on a delightful bowl we had in Rocamadour, France in 2001 that was pureed, so I always connect the French with puree and the English with chunks). I do like to combine flavors (naturally I have excellent taste;) but not go overboard.

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational? It depends. I have very eclectic taste in literature. My life is being a bit dramatic right now so I am not reading anything intense. I have book marks in two books now: The Bear in the Attic, a collection of humorous short stories by Patrick McManus and Writing Down the Bones, a book about writing, by Natalie Goldberg. The McManus book was a Christmas gift, and I got the other book at Half-Price Books a while ago, not sure why it caught my eye.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you? My rib cage is reminding me that I fell about a month ago and did something to it, and my back is telling me that I carried an unbalanced load yesterday. Maybe the two together are telling me it is cold and I am getting old.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? We had a short visit from my son, took him to the airport yesterday, for the past two weeks. This coming week doesn’t hold anything that I am looking forward to, but it snowed! and I don’t have to go anywhere! so I can enjoy the beauty of it in comfort.


Sharing my world

I’ve never pulled together answers for Cee’s Share Your World before but the questions this week got me thinking.

What is the most incredible natural venue you have ever seen in person? I have been blessed to see so many that it is hard to choose. The Grand Canyon came to mind first, for its shear majesty and grandeur. But then I wonder if I short change Mount Rainier because of familiarity. The wildflower meadows with the glaciated mountain in the background are wonderful to behold and the season is so fleeting and unpredictable.

How many siblings do you have? Two. What is your birth order? Eldest, but we are spread out: my next sister down is 3 1/2 years younger and the youngest is eleven years younger than I am. So we’re not a standard sibling set: all of us have quite a bit of the only child in us. Also, divorces and remarriages combined with the spread of our ages caused us to have very different childhood experiences.

If you were a shoe what kind would you be and why? I’d be a low heeled Mary Jane with a supportive sole, some cut outs and a nice fastener for decoration, practical but pretty. The reason is to be comfy and ready for anything from a long walk to a nice dinner out at a moment’s notice without fussing.

What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten? A cicada. The things you do for love: my son’s girlfriends family had prepared a feast of delicacies from all over China for my father and I when we visited. They were so hospitable and welcoming that I felt like I had to try everything…especially since my dad wimped out and only ate the donkey meat. For the record it was crunchy and had been seasoned with a spicy coating so I don’t really know what the cicada tasted like.

Last week: I am grateful that my son arrived home for a visit and he is here until next Sunday.