Monday, March 26, 2012

Springtime Miscellany

Ah, Spring - how I love thee! - almost as much as I love summertime. The colors, the breezy days, the puffy white clouds in the deep blue sky, the new growth & infinite shades of green...Springtime, your riches are a gift after the deep grays of winter in the Pacific Northwest.

Last week, I was felled by a one-day flu bug. I spent the entire day in bed, and slept for most of the 24 hours it held. The following day, I was up, but moving more slowly than usual. Then it was time do some work for the guild (deliver quilts to Tracie for the hospital; Lucile & Noble delivered quilts and picked up donated fabric; I gave an informal presentation to 3 ladies in the neighborhood) and attempt to work out some kinks in the publishing business. I signed books at Liberty Bay Books, picked up knitted blankets from their group for the hospital, and took care of some business at the post office.

On Friday, I went for a walk with Reba and Robin, two women who I would not know if our children hadn't died - but who I am glad to know in any case. We had a cup of coffee afterward and got caught up on more news. One item that came up was the fact that Robin does some volunteer work for Field's End, a local writer's community. I've looked at their offerings before, but felt much too shy to attend. Well, Robin mentioned their next workshop, and suggested that Reba and I might want to sign up. The result is that we are all going to be there, and I am alternating between nervousness and excitement. What a blessing, to have such a community right nearby!

After that, I drove north to Hansville, to the home of Heidi's mom & dad, Lila & Gary. We have relatives in the town of Hansville, and it is a place of great natural beauty. Lila & Gary's house sits atop a very high bluff, overlooking a stupendous panorama of Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and Whidbey Island. It is a great place to meet friends for lunch and a lesson in how to make real Norwegian lefse. (Don't know what lefse is? Follow the link and you will find out.)

As regular readers here will know, Poulsbo is known as "Little Norway" because this area was settled by Norwegian immigrants - and many of their descendants are still here. Gregg is descended from some of these hardy, stoic, loving people, and so is Heidi, so when our friend Suzanne purchased "A Lesson in Lefse with Lila" at a charity auction, it promised to be not only authentic but great fun. FUN is part of the deal when you do something with Heidi and her family!
Emily, Heidi, Heather, Della, Suzanne & Lila
We ate a delicious lunch, chatting and taking in the view, and then we gathered around Lila to watch and learn...and eat. We ate Lefse Friday afternoon until we had no room for anything else - not even for dinner. Thanks, Suzanne, for allowing us to tag along on your auction purchase!

Saturday was "date day." Gregg and I decided to take a long walk somewhere, but where? His choice was to take the ferry to Seattle and walk around the city. That's exactly what we did - for about 6.5 miles! It was like being tourists in our own back yard - the kind of thing we love to do on trips out of town, but applied to our own nearby city.

We walked up from the waterfront to Capitol Hill, where my parents both grew up. We stopped for a chai latte and sat in the WELCOME sunshine together. This was the first day that the temperature has broken 60 degrees since last autumn. Aaaaahhhh!
Then we hit the road again. We walked up to a busy street called Broadway, which is now a very colorful neighborhood hub, and we saw lots of local color there. We then took a side street through a residential area, known for its beautiful, traditional architecture. We ogled the houses and the view to the west, enjoying crocuses and other signs of spring in the neighborhood. We turned at historic St. Mark's Cathedral, crossed to the other side of the neighborhood, and found ourselves walking past Lowell Elementary, which my parents both attended, and the old Anhalt-designed apartment buildings, known in Seattle for their architectural flair (my dad and his family lived in one of these when he was a boy). Gregg surprised me by noting the many Dutch Colonial-style that houses we saw, identifying them by their roofs. I wouldn't have guessed that he knew about this - he is full of surprises!

We walked down Denny & Olive Way to the R.E.I. flagship store, where we browsed for a while. Then we walked to Tutta Bella (authentic Neapolitan pizzeria) right on time for happy hour, and enjoyed a small pizza & beer (for Gregg) and wine (for me). After happy hour, we walked to the new Nordstrom Rack (recently re-located) and shopped a bit (their new shopping bags say "score" on them, for good reason). After that, we took a saunter through the Pike Place Market as it was closing down for the day, down Western Avenue and back to the ferry terminal. We rode over to Bainbridge Island as the sun was setting behind the Olympic Mountains, and walked from the dock to our car.

To round out the day, we stopped at our favorite pub, the Harbour House, for a little snack. While Gregg was parking the car, I ran into our nephew, Joey, and his girlfriend, Shannon. They just happened to be down from the Mt. Baker area, staying on a friend's new sailboat for the night after a shake-down cruise. We invited them to join us for a nightcap and we had a blast getting caught up with them.

I love being a tourist in my own back yard! Do you ever do this in your home town?


ChiTown Girl said...

I'm sorry you were down for the count with the flu. So glad you're feeling better!

Isn't it spring ALL the time in the Seattle area? ;-) That's why I LOVE it there!!

I actually DID know what lefse was, thanks to the Norwegian cooking show I watch on PBS. It looks delicious. Especially when the host of the show slathered hers with fresh butter. :)

Since I live in the GREATEST city in the world, I sightsee in my backyard all the time. ;-)

Gabriele said...

We live in Rockport, a tourist town on the Texas coast near Corpus Christi. It's a birding, fishing, art and retirement community. My mother-in-law has had a condo on the water since 1977. She's a winter Texan so it's only used by her from November to March. She shares it with all the extended family the rest of the year. While we lived in Dallas we probably came to Rockport three times a year.

We moved to Rockport in 2001, when our boys were 2 and 8. Our house is in the interior of our narrow peninsula, surrounded by coastal oaks. It's easy to forget that we're only 15 minutes from the bay and the condo. Every summer the boys and I would spend many weekends at our "summer home". We'd fish, swim and have their friends over for the night.

A few summers ago we spent a weekend, then the next, then that week. By the time it was all said and done, we'd stayed 6 weeks. I was even closer to work. That was a great summer vacation!

Karen said...

I've been waiting for good, make that perfect, weather to take my stay-cation. We have so many wonderful historic sites here, and a jewel of an art museum, and 2 antique-y looking harbors. You've inspired me to get it going. I envy the way you walk so many places--it is my best therapy, but takes some arranging. You sound so happy and that makes me happy for you.

AnnDeO said...

My what a lovely spring, even with the flu set-back.

Kay said...

I'm sorry you went down with the flu, but it looks like you made up for it with some pretty busy days. Love the local sight seeing...we do that every now and then. It's great fun for us too. Happy spring! : )

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better Karen. Don't you think that sometimes those bugs get us and just make us appreciate our health a bit more? {I should not will be hitting me now for writing that!}
I think your backyard is the best ever...and one day I will get to tramp around it like you do. Hopefully you will be my guide!
We've lived in Naples for 15 years, it is a small town, but I am still learning things about it and loving it more and more.