New Park

Lake and I recently went out exploring after school, just the two of us, and stumbled on “New Park.” This we happily added to our repertoire of the neighborhood playgrounds we visit on a daily basis: Tom Park and Spinning Chair Park. New Park is a tiny bit further and had therefore been thus far undiscovered by us. It has a great all-wooden play structure beckoning pirates and sailors and captains to try their hand at weathering the high seas and whirlpools. We look forward to returning to New Park again soon!

A perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you!

Nature Kid Nature Baby

Lake coined the kiddos “nature kid, nature baby” as we walked around the neighborhood parks this weekend playing in the leaves. Such gorgeous weather and a real treat after our record-breaking rainy storm. Lady Kitty models her new bespoke hand knit sweater, a gift from Auntie Denise. She thinks it’s funny when Lake throws leaves at her face. The first few times it’s hilarious, then, like any joke, the novelty wears off and it’s just getting hit in the face. Sibling joys!

Closing Up the Summer Cabin

Keeping toasty in the cabin with Baba’s neatly chopped and stacked wood at the ready. PC Spencer Brown during the 2021 Labor Day visit.

We’re deep into autumn now, and the air is full of leaves, sideways rain, and blustery winds. Nana and Baba are still living at the lake cabin, cozy as ducks. Winter and freezing temperatures will soon come calling though and it’s time to think of migrating back to the west side. With colder weather that suddenly dips below freezing at night, the pipes will freeze and burst if they’re not careful to drain them thoroughly for the winter and then make a quick exit –until next year.

It’s truly been a special summer season this year. Lake spent most of the summer there on his own with Nana and Baba. They have such a great time! So, Nana and Baba invited Lake out for one last weekend at Point Petite before winterizing. Lake went solo on the airplane for the first time, flying over as an unaccompanied minor. He was his typical stoic and nonchalant self, although he was getting plenty of accolades from all directions on his bravery and maturity. He’s his own person, and always up for an adventure. As Michael offered a hug and waved him onto the plane, it was reported there was no looking back.

It was a happy reunion on the other side. Nana and Baba gleefully swooped Lake our to Point Petite. They were snug as bugs in a rug in the cabin that evening.

Cozy evening by the fire

The evening before Lake left, he lost his fifth tooth. He left it under his pillow for the tooth fairy and in his excitement to go to school and leave for NanaBaba’s, he forgot to even check> is the tooth still there? Did the tooth fairy come in the night and leave him a treasure? He might be surprised when he finally takes a peek.

Lady Kitty loves to go outside—fondly remembering our Labor Day Point Petite visit—on a rainy afternoon in Seattle.

Meanwhile Lady Kitty enjoys autumn in Seattle and every morning she points up at Lakes bed and wants to talk about where Lake is.

“Well, Lake went on the airplane by himself to visit Nana and Baba at Newman Lake. Remember being there? They are having a good time. He is coming back.”

She is satisfied with that.

Lake and Nana and Baba made the most of their weekend. They had a busy social calendar packing in a Saturday matinee of the musical Cats and a Sunday performance of Disney on Ice. Thank you to Nana and Baba for hosting Lake for all these exciting events and precious moments in between that make the life sweet.

Preparing to see the musical CATS—getting in the mood

Hug Snug

As days grow shorter and the wind systemically fleeces the trees of their leaves, we resoundingly embrace autumn. Sweater Season, hot-chocolate by-the-fireplace, movies-and-popcorn, Yoga and jumping-into-the-pile-of-stuffies in the pajama lounge… it’s all officially here!

It’s timely with the changing of the season to coin a new term. This one may not win awards for being COVID friendly, but it definitely gains the Hygge Stamp of Approval. Lake defined a “hug snug” as a brief snuggle. As cozy as a “snug” yet short like a hug. It’s his way of getting to yes at bedtime, to limit the “it’s too late for a snug, Lake. Time to climb into your bed; you have school in the morning” brush off.

Do we have time for a Hug Snug? Absolutely!

Lake introduced the phenomenon a few days ago when he shouted with glee at bedtime: “Who wants a hug snug?” He was pleased with his invention. And then last night his request was a much more subdued and truly honey sweet, “Can I gave a hug snug please?”

Yes, please! How could I say no? There’s always time for a hug snug!

Good bye Summer, hello Autumn
Time to put on a sweater!

Lake said, “Lady Kitty enjoy your day, This one is called Lady Kitty and the Popcorn Day!”

Now, ‘tis the season! Let’s have a Hug Snug! A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Tolle at Monet at Étretat

Monet at Étretat leaves the Seattle Art Museum after today’s last showing (sold out). I’m delighted that I was able to visit this exhibit together with my friend Rebecca while it was in town (all photo credits Rebecca Moyle). We made it a lady’s only outing and rode the new sections of Link light rail downtown. I felt a little guilty in leaving Lake and Lady Kitty out of this cultural event, however this way we were truly able to deeply immerse ourselves in the off-season tourist seaside fishing village of France as Monet (and others) experienced it.

I was crying with emotion as I gazed upon the canvases thick with paint and life. The two paintings pictured above are from 1885 –several lifetimes ago, and yet still so contemporary, speaking loudly to me today. Indeed, Monet was intent upon capturing the very essence of the space and light that surrounds scenes, landscapes and everyday objects through innovative use of bright pigments combined with white, and substituting very dark bright colors for the traditional black. Together with vigorous brush strokes, and sheer genius of vision he was able to create images from his chosen motifs here that are brilliantly suffused with light and motion. Monet breathes life into paint on canvas and I am thrilled I was able to stand inches away and drink them in. Reproductions absolutely cannot do these masterpieces justice.

Anniversaries!

True Love, where you’re “home” when you’re together.

Michael and I are celebrating our sixth anniversary! Voilá, I’m sharing my current state of mind regarding our “State of the Union”. Anniversaries are always a nice opportunity to reflect not only on your relationship, but on the passage of time as well, and how the two relate.

Some friends getting married this month sent out with their invitation an open request for words of advice to bless their marriage. The profound and witty words of the dear late Ruth Bader Ginsburg (she was quoted as having been given this advice on her wedding day by her mother-in-law) ring true and give me a chuckle every time I recall them:

“In every good marriage it helps sometimes to be a little deaf!”

I adore this bit of counsel and while it may be a bit of a bleak take on marriage, rarely does a couple need advice when things are going well! It also speaks to Hon. Ruth Ginsburg’s strength and humor; to be able to confidently carry on proudly throughout the guaranteed trials of a time-tested relationship. And as I like to teach my son: the more effort you put into any project, the richer the rewards. Six years in, a house, and two children later, marriage is proving to be no exception.

During my recent trip to the Seattle Art Museum, written on a small placard nestled in the Empathy exhibit, I noted a mention of the Kongo concept: “coil of life”. This signage grabbed me since it validates a long held notion of mine that the “time line” of life seems to be more of a slinky. It’s as if time and events repeat themselves thematically but not quite exactly, the seasons of life have similarities, and we revisit them as we loop out and onwards, and touch back to something familiar but in a new iteration. Not only does life seem to spiral through time, but it is also a roller coaster and doubly so (at least!) when you’re winding your spiral together with a partner’s! Anniversaries are a perfect example to reflect on the unique double helix that is created by entwining two lives over time.

In case this idea is too esoteric for your taste, simply enjoy the photos of Michael and me, where I’m wearing my grandmother’s dress in 2010, 2015, and again in 2020.

Dating 2010. Photo Source FB, Reid Nakagawa’s holiday party.
Wedding Ceremony 2015. PC Jason Gerend, Woodland Park Rose Garden
Married with Kids – Anniversary 2020. PC Chamonix Browne, Tolt River

This dress I am wearing in the above photos is the dress my grandmother had tailored for herself- (from Belgian lace she’d picked up in Belgium) for the special occasion of my parents wedding in 1971. I’d love to unearth a photo of Ruth wearing this dress as mother-of-the bride*! Talk about the coil of life, and the rich fabric of community that is created through the familial lineage.

Special Congratulations to Lynn and Duane (Nana and Baba) who celebrated their Golden Anniversary (50 years) last month! PC Chamonix Browne, University of Washington

Here they are are on their wedding day looking just as gorgeous and in love. Such an inspiration! While we weren’t ultimately able to gather in-person as planned, we hold your union in our thoughts and wish you, Nana and Baba, many fulfilling and nurturing years to come.

A perfect day, a perfect lifeline. I’m glad I spent it learning and growing and twining with you!


*Lynn shared photos from 25 September 1971! Thank you Lynn!

Ruth Mary Thompson wearing the Belgian lace dress she had made for the occasion with son Neil
Proud parents, Ruth and Donald Hammond Thompson, and family of the bride

Daddy’s Girl

In Daddy’s arms, sunshine bursts onto the scene of the otherwise solemn expression of Lady Kitty’s picture face. PC Chamonix Browne

As a birthday gift to himself Michael took a month of accrued paid leave and has been on an extended stay-cation. He’s been able to visit his sister and family in Ketchikan for ten of those days and otherwise catching up on being himself and getting back into lap swimming. To my delight he has been spending ample time in the kitchen crafting up aromatic and delicious innovations to regale us with for dinner. In short, it’s lovely having him home.

Nowhere is he more appreciated than with the kiddos. Michael is a fun dad, always surprising the kids with the unexpected. They light up around him and he does the same, especially in the presence of Lady Kitty. With a swing through the air or a sudden galloping horse ride, he quickly brings out the joy for Lady Kitty. She thrives on his attention and laughs and reaches out for him. He, in turn, has many kisses and craziness for her.

Michael and Lady Kitty are a sweet pair and there’s even a hint she might be developing into a Daddy’s Girl. Or maybe he’s leaning into Daddy’s Girl. Either way, it’s mutual and it’s a perfect day. I’m so glad I spent it with you!

Magic Milkies 

It might make things better. 

It usually does 

Occasionally antibiotics are required.

Magic Milkies have been making life consistently better in our household for more than five years. I’ve enjoyed a long run of breastfeeding both my children.

Recently Lady Kitty suffered a long bout of illness with a fiercely stubborn upper respiratory infection that morphed into an ear infection. I took her to Children’s Hospital (channeling all my duchess strength*) after she spiked a 103 F fever several weeks into the fight. She’s in the middle of her 10 day course of antibiotics now, and finally her ear pain and ear infection is resolved, and she stands an excellent chance of completely clearing this nasty bug!

I’ve been literally nursing her back to health, as there have been nearly a month of sleepless nights where she insists to drink all night long. I know she’s finally feeling a bit better because some of her playfulness is returning. She takes a break from the Magic Milkies and gives me raspberries on my stomach and then smiles and laughs with a twinkle in her eye. Now hopefully our funny girl will make a full recovery and she can resume sleeping through the night – and then Mama can too!

Still sick, but working hard at recovery – almost there!

Keeping [the tooth fairy] Busy

PC Chamonix Browne, The Happy Film Company

Lake lost his second upper front tooth over the weekend, while eating a cucumber at dinner. Currently he has no upper front teeth. This was his fourth baby tooth to fall out. He’s going strong.

“Did you have any idea it would come out?”

“No,” he said.

“Was it wiggling at all today when you were playing with George?” That morning he had chosen to eat a big carrot for breakfast as we dashed off to his play date. Specifically he wanted to eat one of the big farmer’s market carrots (and nothing else).

“No,” he said.

He gave me his lunch order wish: turkey, cheese, “salad” sandwich with jam.

“What a lovely idea! That reminds me of one of my favorite sandwiches from the Frye Art Museum café.” To his great delight I said “yes” to the jam on the sandwich and made his gourmet creation on gluten free vegan bread using my friend Katie’s homemade raspberry jam which glows like rubies in it’s little glass jam pot.

“Jam is so good. Jam is like eating a lollipop!” Lake said.

He’s hilarious as ever, and crawled into my bed during his nap and hid there. When I got back in bed to take a power nap myself, he emerged from under the covers, and then propped up his chin in his hands. “I wanted to see your face. Your pillow is so tall, I had to use stilts for my head,” he said.

A perfect day. I’m glad I spent it with you!

Happy Birthday Michael!

Solar Eclipse, Gasworks Park 2017 📷Gam

We wish you the happiest birthday Michael!

Michael is a loyal friend, a defender of cats, a fun dad, and a thoughtful and romantic husband. Amidst the sometimes chaos of family photography, Michael is known to remain “cool as a cucumber,” per Chamonix. He treads lightly on the earth with his minimalist lifestyle and electric car, and is a quiet champion of vegetarianism and veganism. He is an accomplished chef, regularly turning out richly flavored and unique dinners for the family table. He likes to stay active and enjoys reminiscing about his teenage years as a track star. If Michael wasn’t an urban family man and inpatient hospital pharmacist, he would most probably retire early and develop a ranch for rescue cats.

Enjoy your birthday celebrations, Michael! We love you!