Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Home Sweet Home

We pulled in around midnight last night.  The dog acted like one of those military reunion dogs.  She was crying even when she was with us.

There have been several posts in the last week concerning the humor in less than perfect public interactions.  For this last vacation post I just want to share a few people who were awesome this week.

The first one is the agent at the hotel (both at the beginning and end of the trip).  She was friendly.  You wanted to do more than just say "hey" and "thanks" so I took to saying "hi honey, we're home" as we returned from outings.  When it was time to drop off the rental, we took the bus from rental place to airport.  The hotel told us to call when we had reached ground transportation.  4 phone calls and 15 minutes later we finally caught the bus and all was well but it was pretty funny and she was pretty patient.

That very first day we ate at a Jack in the Box.  Greathusbandbob shared that this was my first Jack in the Box experience.  The server was so enthusiastic and laughing and smiling that I had to order her favorite just so she would like me more.  What a treat.

Last night was the best.  We were first to get on the parking shuttle after getting home.  We gave him what I thought was our stop number. The bus filled up and another couple was trying to get on in spite of that.  The driver told them there was another bus five minutes behind him and asked them to wait.  They grumbled and pouted and he told them to stop it and he finally let them on, crowding everyone in the back.

He has already collected all of the stop numbers but these last two impatient passengers had to dig around and hold things up to find theirs, slamming their luggage around as they did and announcing it was number 9.

During the drive he sneezed and looked a little startled when I said "bless you."  I guess he's used to feeling invisible.

He dropped us off and I (maybe a little loudly) said "you're stopping at nine last, right?"  He laughed.  We wandered around aimlessly.  He drove away and then drove back, knowing the parking area we needed didn't match the stop where we got off.  He made us get back on the bus and drove us where we needed to go.

Of course returning to the bus was awkward and to ease the uncomfortableness, greathusbandbob said "It's a three hour tour."  The driver said "I'm not Gilligan."  I said "Dear God, I'm glad your not, you're the professor!"  Then I announced that I was Ginger.  Then without blinking an eye he said, "Who are the Howell's?"  It was hilarious.

As he dropped us off he said "If I see you wandering around any more, you're going to have to come home with me."

It was one of those "I'm so tired, that was so nice and hilarious" moments that makes you feel like crying because someone was that helpful.  It was human beings on the planet enjoying life together as equals with no distinctions between age, class, race or otherwise and it was a small piece of experience that will stick with me for some time and make me feel just a little bit more o.k. about the state of the planet.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dog in the Bed O.G.

This is Walter.  He is O.G. (Old Gangsta). He was the inspiration for my one hit wonder I Gotta Bury my Bone. I’m not surprised if you haven’t heard of it. It mostly ran in dog circles.  He also inspired the as yet incomplete Dog in the Bed and Small Dog in a Big Dog’s Body.
He’s a Great Dane-Lab mix (like Oona) and in his slimmer and younger ears would look like a Dane galloping after the ball in the Lab’s  body.  He is a dear.

Here he is in front of the portable air conditioner son in law brought out to save the day.  Today was the hottest day Seattle has ever seen. Naturally.  I tried to put his bed in front of the air for greater comfort but the pain in his hips makes it too difficult to quickly get to his feet if he has to protect us.

It was a relaxing day of knitting and pajamas until dinnertime. Highlights of dinner-rather than an eloquently written essay I’ll give bullet points.
  • A 20 minute wait that was 45 minutes
  • An additional hour before food was served (with a small basket of fries to “hold us over.”)
  • A burger that was charcoal
  • Refills (which this particular restaurant advertises as “their thing”) not forthcoming
  • Macaroni and cheese with broccoli served ten minutes after the meal because broccoli was forgotten
  • An adult size sprite in a glass for a child (with the waiter saying-I’m not going toahve to mop up later am I?)
  • Water pitcher refilling an order of seltzer

And really I’m not complaining.  These are little things, and they happen. But when they happen after the car rental and bakery experience you just have to sigh a little, be glad you’re well fed and think about the ice cream at the house for later.

Edited to add...last night Walter slept on the floor at my bedside.  This morning he asked to go out. He was very subtle but I knew what he wanted.  As he went out the door he looked back as if  inviting me to join him so I did. Before relieving himself he picked up his tennis ball, walked a few yards with it, looked back again and dropped it. Later as I was packing he put his front paws on the bed, unable to get the rear ones up, for a little goodbye.  It’s probably the last time I’ll see him and he just wanted to say thanks for rubbing my itchy eyes.

One More Thing

I thought maybe  it was the 2 1/2 hour car ride that made me a little more impatient. I was third in line at the bakery knowing exactly what I needed.  She was in her late 70’s with red dyed hair, a vibrantly colored flowered shirt and a walking stick.  She asked questions about Every Single Menu Item.  Then placed her order-she wanted the small one for 280 instead of 7.99.  When told there was only one size, the difference between the calories column and the cost column had to be explained in detail with some disagreement as to whether a dollar sign should be placed before the cost of every item.

As this was happening I leaned forward to the exasperated couple in front of me and said I just spent 3 hours in a minivan with intermittently bickering teenagers and may or may not completely lose it at any moment. They said they had just arrived to the west coast after a 5 hour plane trip from Indianapolis.  I said “You win.”

The counter encounter continued.  Order near completion, she leaned over the bakery counter and said “I just have one more question and may want to order a pastry.”  The line has became 4 deep and the manager appeared from the back.  He started counting loaves of bread.  

The cashier reached for the ordered loaf of bread and the customer asks,

“Has that been out all day?”


“You really should cover it.”

“Do you still want it?”


The manager is now counting bagels. 

Return to the conversation with the plane passengers.

“We just returned from Victoria B.C. Canada.”  Realizing that my husband was in the car and I was standing alone I joked “me and my imaginary friend” and gestured toward the empty space next to me.

“Hi Bob,” said the traveler.

“That’s His Name!” And laughs helped the time pass as the customer figured out her Panera card.

Money and merchandise finally exchanged, there is a collective sigh of relief in the line.

She begins to step away from the counter and in true Colombo fashion says “one more thing....” (we all breathe deeply in anticipation of summoning just a little more patience.)... “Can you open this bottle for me.  I have arthritis.”

The travelers step forward and now, 25 minutes since I walked into the store,  the manager finished counting baked goods and said “I can help whoever’s next.”

Saturday morning

The trip finished with baby goats at Beacon Hill Children’s Farm.  This really amounts to a pen full of people and baby goats. It is surrounded by a huge park with (wait for it) beautiful gardens.  The painter/author Emily Carr discovered on Friday once called the Park her backyard and raised old English sheep dogs on the property.  I’m glad to have a place to put her in my head.

It seems as though they may come from a long line of goat whisperers.  It was in the picture below that I caught a glimmer of their five and six year old selves.  It was lovely.

This introverted gated needed some time to decompress.  A goat after my own heart. Don’t mind that the sign says Time Out.  Every bad behavior has a cause.

The wait for the border crossing customs was tedious, made more so by one of our passengers flipping out about how and when to purchase our reserved tickets.  The Boy was sad to leave his goat behind. During the Ferry ride back we spotted some orcas spouting water and flipping their tails. And then there was the two hour return trip.  

We left the house of daughter where excitement over the recently acquired dog overshadowed any long goodbyes. We crossed the bridge to s Panera’s in Issaquah where I spent 25 minutes waiting for bagels.  It’s a long story maybe worth its own post later.

Finally arrived at son's  house where knowing how absolutely burning up we were while sleeping all week,  he immediately set up the portable air conditioner in our sleeping room.  He also made sure that fans were delivering cross breezes throughout the house.  It’s the little pieces of thoughtful that mean so much. At first I thought I wanted hotel the last three nights but the change in vibe, appreciation and lack of entitlement in our new digs makes staying here enjoyable.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Later Friday afternoon

The Lilster and I visited the Victoria B.C. Museum of art.  It was small and cute and had interesting pieces. 

There was a video installation of trees in the dark.  Bean bags to lay in.  It inspired the former youth poet laureate Lilster and I waited as she put thoughts to paper.  The artist at work.

There were also Japanese scrolls that caught my eye.  The look in the Master’s eye particularly.  

And finally, Emily Carr is a famous historical figure in Victoria.  I don’t yet know the details.  I purchases two books that she wrote and added illustrations to.  She loved dogs.  She loved trees. She was a painter.  These words were installed near a collection of her paintings.

All of the exhibits combined left me feeling trees and desolate nature. Sparse nature filled Japanese art.  Florid renditions of trees in the forest with acrylic lines that seemed familiar to my own hands and photographs.  One photo triptych showed a stump growing life across time.

Art inspiration of the day.  Instead of "I’m going to paint with water colors" I’m of a mind to say I’m going to try to paint this in watercolors.  I picture a window pane with photos from the government house gardens in each panel.  We'll see. We’ll just see.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday afternoon

The big guy and I skipped the concert in the park last night and went to the casino.  We needed a break.  There is a phenomena in dysfunction whereby the main perpetrator is angry all the time.  No one else knows why.  Everyone else takes responsibility trying to make it right.  It may just be alcohol overload.  It could be an unspoken affront. Maybe life didn’t turn out the way s/he thought it should.  Whatever the case, I’ve found it to be quite a trigger.  The good news is I am seeing it for exactly what it is and it is losing its power.  

So in answer to questions in the comments (sunshine), I am having a good time because I try to do that wherever I am.  Sometimes others around me join in, other times I visit the knit store or wander through the gardens to find people who will. Always there is greathusbandbob who rarely lets anyone get him down.

Last night an old man with Jimmy Durante eyes leaned in while I was at a slot machine.  He said “excuse me, is that machine broken?”  I replied "no, I don’t think so.”  He said “It’s just that you seem to be winning.”  Friendly Canadian humor at its finest.

Today was a walking tour through the gardens at the government house.  It was nothing short of spectacular.  Pictures never do these spaces justice.  You’ll just have to allow yourself to step into them.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Larissa Brown's shift shawl.  Tonight was to be concert in the park. Greathusbandbob and I may make it Canadian casino night. My susceptibility to bug bites and his susceptibility to allergens as well as a the fish and visitors syndrome means that time apart may be best.

There is as yet unspoken entitlement and resentment under the surface.  Probably worse than it needs to be were it all spoken but the last two big evening gatherings required the limited number of Xanax I have left.  Unspoken tension pretending all is well is the worst.  I hereby denounce it and will continue to do what I can to make sure it’s out of my hula hoop.  Sometimes you just can’t fix second generation dysfunctional.

And then it was Wednesday.

And the big guy can’t catch a break.  He is down for the count with allergies.  Hopefully the Claritin he just took will do the trick but it seems pretty miserable.

This morning I watched the first half of the England/Croatia match then walked to the knitting store.  There were 5 others there and they were delightful. I got to show one of them the easier way to do the provisional cast on with the crochet hook directly on to the knitting needle.

I limited today’s purchases to a ceramic mug and some stitch markers.

On the way home I was nearly attacked by some guard crows. 

By then it was naptime followed by dinner time and a movie. (The Incredibles 2) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tuesday adventures

This morning we watched the World Cup semifinals together.  It’s just fun hanging out and watching together.

The gaggle of girls planned and executed a 2:00 tea party with invitations and menus.  We were all scolded for not treating the tea party hostesses with the proper respect and our attitudes adjusted.   I provided the tea and the writing paper for the menus.

I spent much of the morning lounging in the pool. This was followed by a sun sleepy nap.

Th plan was a family outing to see The Incredibles 2 but tickets were sold out.  We made a visit to the inner harbor instead.  Highlights there was a steeet performer that I never saw do anything except ask for money and let us know that it was how she made her living.  After her third request I joined greathusbandbob and skipped the “grand finale” which trapeze artist Lilster said was as unsafe as it gets.  Some wanted dinner others wanted ice cream.  We  split up and went our ways.

The movie has been rescheduled for tomorrow evening.  Planned events now include knitting with others tomorrow at noon and a movie in the evening.  (Tickets  pre-purchased). There is an art museum around the corner and Lily and I will partake likely on Thursday. I also want to walk through the gardens at the government house a block away.

The gardens continue to impress.  I must emphasize that all of the photos are really “oh let’s plant some flowers” pictures and not exclusive.  They are gorgeous all over the place.

The inner harbour