Feeling Some Falling

Bicycling on Lopez Island

Bicycling on Lopez Island

It’s a blustery day here in the Northwest, a good day to park ourselves in front of the keyboards. Scary proposition going outside anyway, with our massive poplar tree flinging limbs down like leafy spears. One went all the way across the yard and landed on our plum tree. Luckily didn’t hurt it, but a few plums may have gone tumbling. I’ll have my work cut out for me tomorrow picking all the branches up. Rain coming and going as well – though not as much as I hoped for. Maybe it all went east of us, which would be ideal, slow down the fires burning the state up.

Doesn't get much more San Juan-y than this!

Doesn’t get much more San Juan-y than this!

Lots of summer goings-on during August. Spent a weekend on Lopez Island with our good pals Tess & Ed a few weeks back, then went camping last weekend. We have come to the conclusion that we are getting too old to sleep in a tent. Especially the kind that are super light and meant for backpacking. Aside from the usual discomfort of sleeping on the ground, we nearly froze to death the first night. We were at a higher elevation near Mt. Rainier than we realized, and it was really chilly. Doug is now on a mission to have us get some sort of teardrop trailer. Definitely sounds nice, but also gives me a twinge of sadness. I love being outside, but I guess you just have to adapt.

Tess & Doug enjoying the view from Shark Reef Park

Tess & Doug enjoying the view from Shark Reef Park

Lopez Island is wonderful – so unpopulated and flat – absolutely perfect for biking! Quite a trek to get there and back, so if we try to go again, gotta stay longer than a weekend. But we had time to just hang out, eat good food, read, and work on a puzzle.

We’ve now confirmed that Doug can paddle his kayak again! He still has a bit of trouble keeping his left hand in place, even with the “active hand” brace on, so he bought some stuff called Gorilla Snot (seriously) and hopefully that’ll help. We went out in a tandem Thursday with the Outdoors for All folks (they are so great) and had a really relaxing evening. There were about eight people out in all, so a nice size group. We don’t have a tandem, but hopefully we can try taking our boats out soon.

Dogs, cats and chickens are all good – new chicks have been laying eggs now for a few weeks, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of where the nest box is or its function. I keep finding eggs in random places, as though they just fell out while the chicken was doing something else. I don’t remember that issue with our first girls, but this bunch does seem a bit more…bird brained? Chickens aren’t exactly bright, but I guess like people, they can vary in their smarts. However, one of the new girls produced a HUGE egg last week that turned out to be a two-yolker, which is supposedly good luck. A-ha, I knew things were looking up!

And the true sign that fall is upon us  – football is back! I’ll wrap this up to go watch the Seahawks take on the Chargers in pre-season game 3. Let’s hope the o-line can up their game and I sure would love to see some Beast Mode, I miss that dude. Go Hawks!

Dancing in the Rain

Scan_20150628Shortly after Doug returned from in-patient rehab in Hawaii over a year ago, I gave him the card pictured. I knew I had to get him this card, both for the obvious reasons of trying to gain perspective on our suddenly changed lives, but also because we’ve had a long-running joke about Doug’s lack of innate dancing ability. He’ll be the first to admit it – he just doesn’t have great rhythm! We darkly joked that his stroke might actually improve things a bit. And then there’s the rain piece – as the boy absolutely hates rain, which I find mystifying since he chose to move here of his own volition 18 years ago from California. Maybe he had some sixth sense about what climate change was going to entail.

Speaking of which, remember when we used to have “Juneuary” a few years ago, freezing our tails off? And now it’s as hot as a cat on a hot tin roof – or:

20150620_034501512_iOS

What? I can’t perspire, you know!

In addition to dramatic felines (we call this particular pose “boudoir kitty”), the chickens have been panting all day while hunkered down in the coolest part of their yard. As for our geriatric dogs, their nights upstairs with us have been hell. I finally decided to leave them in the basement last night until one of them started howling at 3. Luckily, by then it had cooled down to 75 or so in our room and they could manage okay.

After reading Cliff Mass’s latest blog post “Heat and Thunder,” I was really hoping for some rain but wasn’t sure it would happen in Seattle or further east. When it started clouding up this morning, I thought, let’s do this! And it did rain – enough to give the thirsty plants a small drink and cool the air a bit. I was so giddy I ran outside and did a little dance in it! Doug said he used to do that growing up in Phoenix when the monsoons would come in August. This wasn’t a monsoon but I felt like that, a sense of relief and excitement. See what growing up in the Northwest will do to you? But as Cliff and all the weather forecasts show, it’s another super hot week and weekend on the way. Guess we’d better learn how to dance in the baking sun instead.

Taking PT to the Outdoors

shoreview-parkDoug and I were never avid hikers, we’d probably go for 3-4 hikes a year, plus a snowshoeing trip or two in the winter. Of course, we didn’t hike at all last summer, nor did we snowshoe this winter. Doug skied with Outdoors for All until he had his first seizures in February, which coincided with the unfortunate lack of snow here in the Pacific Northwest. Still, we have really missed getting out of the city and breathing in the pine-scented air.

So, we’ve been hoping to work back up to some short hikes again, but the uneven terrain is hard for Doug, who’s dealing with tone in his foot and is still working to get his gait more even. He has found it especially uncomfortable to go down any type of hill, mostly because of his toes curling up under him. As he posted last week, he just had botox in his foot for the first time (think of a giant thorn being jammed into your arch, if you need an idea of what that feels like) and he’s already noticed a huge difference with his foot relaxing.

Yesterday, we were running an errand up north that was going to overlap with the lunch hour, so I thought we should take advantage of the situation. Plus, we needed a change of scenery. We’re homebodies by nature, but when you have more limits on what you can do, it starts to become more like housebound.

I packed a picnic lunch (I got us a sweet picnic tote last year that has plates, utensils and ice pack holders and we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet) and off we went to Shoreview Park in Shoreline. We used to go there frequently when we lived in Ballard, taking the dogs  with us along wooded trails and creeks. It’s a lovely park, it really does feel like you’ve left the city. We felt twinges of nostalgia being there again, especially without the two old mutts.

We took a .5 mile loop to “Hidden Lake” and Doug did awesome, even on the trail part, some of which was fairly steep going down. The botox is doing its job! We sat and had our  picnic on a platform overlooking the lake and had a cherry pit spitting contest. I totally won. I told Doug the hiking was great PT for him, but nothing compared to practicing his “oooh” like he had to when he had speech therapy back in Hawaii. He always did hate doing those exercises, so if it takes eating cherries, so be it.

It was a great step forward and we’re hoping to get out and do more short hikes – Doug was definitely tired afterwards but it was so nice being outside in the quiet tranquil forest again.

 

Desert Escape

San Gorgonio mountain, also known as Old Greyback

San Jacinto mountain

Went to the land of sun, drought, wind (and accompanying wind turbines) and hot springs for a brief (2 days) getaway. Hubby had been pestering me for months – well, really about a year now – to get some down time at a spa and started doing a ton of research on it. He found a place called The Spring in Desert Hot Springs (right near Palm Springs) where they have three mineral spring pools of varying temps and mineral levels that purportedly can cure whatever ails you. Not sure two days cured anything but it sure as hell didn’t hurt, nor did the sun, two massages, view of the Transverse Range mountains and lovely nature walk at the Morongo Preserve (highly recommend if you like birdwatching, plus it’s crazily cool in the marsh section – yes, an actual marsh in the desert). Continue reading