The Cat DeTorns

We revisited The tableau from Halloween 2017 when Jo lived with us as our au pair. Jo was dressed up as a cat and Lake dressed as a pony last year. So sweet! Now Luisa is our wonderful au pair and Jo is back visiting for ten days. It’s lovely. Lake and Jo are very happy to be reunited together again. Also Luisa and Jo are having a good time together. And we have a revival of the Au Pair Halloween costume party! The cat returns* for Halloween 2018!

*The Cat Returns is also a reference to the Studio Gibli film which is Lake’s all time favorite film. (He’s seen two so far.) He does ask to watch it anytime it looks likely: Daddy is nearby and the laptop or projector is visible, or when he’s just simply feeling optimistic/hopeful. He would like to “push the Button and watch the Cat DeTorns. Eat PopTorn, eat Ap-ples.”

Three resident cats. Two German au pairs. One Halloween. A perfect day for Lake!

Taco Tuesday

Ranch Bravo’s $2 taco Tuesday on “the Ave” (4241 University Way)… one of Seattle’s best kept secrets? My colleague friend and I stumbled upon their (unadvertised?!) special a few weeks ago. It was already hands down my favorite street food for the past decade. Now I try to make it a revolving lunchtime tradition. Anyone interested in joining? Tuesdays, of course!

Newfie under our Roofie

Soon after we bought our current house we started dreaming of a dog and discussing which dog to look for. Michael immediately began researching on the American Kennel Club website and we both quickly agreed on the Newfoundland breed. Everything clicked for us. The heroism the massive presence, the heart of gold, the gentle nature. The biggest, the quietest, and uniquely attentive to children. Not a guard dog per sae, but a guardian dog, and certainly a protective entity by pure mass.

At that point we were confident we would be found by our new Newfoundland. We put ourselves on the Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue list and completed our interview for the Newfoundland breed, and we joined the Newfoundland Club of Seattle. We went to a few Club events and when no rescue was forthcoming in the first year, Michael researched Newfoundland puppies and initiated contact with a spreadsheet full of regional breeders. Still, no dog found our home.

Then, we got to know Karen Rupert at Nolte State Park at another Club event six weeks ago. She and her husband Mark are steeped in Newfoundland culture. They currently have three Newfoundlands (Langley the black male, Piper the two year old black female, and Brinkley the Landseer), one comparatively small St. Bernard Xusie, and a pony. She offered us to come visit to get a close up view of life with Newfs. We came and witnessed their grooming station and ADA (aka Newfoundland) accessible floorplan. We had a great time. They offered to loan us one of their Newfs. All their dogs are lovely; making choosing perhaps difficult, except not for us. We chose Langley, the seven year old 150 pound retired Grand Champion. He is some dog!

The weekend arrived. I was worried they were going to change their minds. Then, they arrived promptly at 9 am. Langley was in good spirits exceedingly well-mannered, and freshly washed and blow dried. I’ve never smelled a better smelling dog.

They entrusted him to us for the overnight. It was a dream come true. Yes, there was a lot of hair and slobber but not as much as I was braced for. And he was here with us in our home. I was happier than I could ever have imagined.

Langley, for his part, was affable fellow, up for the adventure. He and Lake got along swimmingly. It helped Lake to see how much other people loved meeting him and always were wanting to pet him. We went to the Farmers Market to Ravenna Park and walked our neighborhood. We simply enjoyed listening to Langley moving around the house from place to place between resting. We practiced doga (dog yoga) we fell asleep to the relaxing sound of him snoring at nighttime.

When Karen and Mark picked up Langley on Sunday afternoon and they said goodbye, the house felt empty. Lake felt it too. He said, “want big dog in our home. Want Langley in our home.” Well, sweetheart, it sounds like he will get to come visit again soon for longer even, a whole week! Hosting Langley was a special experience. Everything was better with Langley in the picture. A perfect 27.5 hours… I’m glad I spent it with you!

A huge note of appreciation towards Karen and Mark Rupert for the exquisite care they provide Langley and their other animals day-in and day-out since 12 weeks old.

Year Round Market

Bleak week? The University District Farmers Market is Saturday mornings 9am to 2pm on “the Ave” (University Way) just north of 50th. It is incredibly open year round and focused solely on what’s being grown by area farmers. This market creates a much appreciated dash of wholesomeness and community smack dab in our city. It’s the hub of our weekly routine and a bright spot for launching the weekend. The normally grimy street becomes sacred and purified and we eat our fallen goods right off the ground. It’s “hello” to everyone and different musicians up and down the block. We often meet a neighbor or two and might even brunch at Tandoozy the Tandoori oven Indian food stand. Now the weather has begun to turn and in light of current events, some spirits are tempted to go with it. And then, behold, even on the darkest rainiest coldest day, your favorite farmers are there with fresh bread, flowers, radishes, salamis, apples, and smiles. Lake knows how to make it a perfect day! After he charmed the pants off everyone there, he chose himself some flowers to buy, and carried them home by Lake self.

Loves singing!

Lake has songs for every occasion. The entertaining the kid-friendly late 20’s crowd at the table next to ours at Tsukushinbo Song (Wheels on the Bus), The getting ready for bed song, (Row Row Row your Boat), and the everything in between song, (ABCCCC Song). Last night his ABC song surprised me with how flushed in it had become seemingly overnight… ABCDEFGGGG,LMNOP,QRS,wxyz!

Lake even has his own composition of humming “Doot doot” song, a good catch all for all other song-worthy occasions: bus or car riding, dinner-prepping-kitchen-dancing, or waking up to greet the day. When was the last time you or I woke up singing? So it’s a perfect day, and it’s just starting! I’m glad I get to spend it with you… in full song!

Pearly Whites

Lake had an appointment with Tracy Wayman, DDS. Dr. Wayman is a lovely family dentist situated at 4814 Interlake Ave N who rides his bicycle to work , practices national and international philanthropic dentistry, and has the gentlest touch and the brightest demeanor. His philosophy is naturopathic with regard to preventive care, education and a collaborative approach. The idea is for Lake, (and others) to have a lifelong positive experience with dentistry. He did great and got the standard homework: Floss between those back teeth!

Lake has come a long way! Now, I reminisce about our last First Dentist Visit… at two months old! He accompanied me to my visit at that time mainly because we were inseparable but also because the dentist office has always encouraged early exposure to the dentist office and chair to normalize and create a positive memory.

When we asked Lake how his experience with the dentist was he answered his standard reply: “purty go-ood.” A perfect day, then! I’m glad I spent it with you, Dr. Tracy Wayman and team!

I Heart B’ham

We made it a family day for a Sunday Drive to Bellingham and environs. We spent a beautiful day soaking in the autumn sun and bucolic views of Marietta, Everson, and Sudden Valley. Visiting with dear friends (their chickens!) and some of the nicest farmers around. I try to go every year with Katie and her girls to the organic heirloom edible squash farm at 6992 Nooksak Road in Everson. It’s a hidden gem for sure! Lake had a blast this year petting the kitty and the dog, admiring the shaggy steer, choosing a complimentary pumpkin (“that’s Lake’s pumpkin) and getting little red wagon rides from the Farmer Compton.

Lake said, “so many trees” as we walked through the forest of Whatcom County…

After a lovely and contemplative walk around Geneva Lake of the Stimpton Family Nature Preserve, Lake investigates the flora with botanist Katie. As dusk was falling we said goodbye to our friends and a quick hello to our cousins who live nearby. As we were having tea and catching up on life we noticed the coaster on the coffee table: I Heart ❤️ B’ham. It’s true. As my undergrad alma mater and host to lovely people and scenery, I do “heart B’ham!” After today we may have a few additional devotees!

Aloha Friday

The second half of the week for Mami heralds commuting to Harborview Medical Center on First Hill by bicycle and the UW Health Sciences’ shuttle. On Fridays Lake and Luisa make the commute too by shuttle at midday. We celebrate Aloha Friday (“hello la Friday” per Lake) all together with my coworker and friend Clarence, aka “Uncle Clarence.”

It’s fun for Lake to walk to the shuttle and ride the bus to “going to see Mama” like a big person. Karla is one of the extremely nice shuttle bus drivers who is often picking Lake and Luisa up. This morning she complimented me on the progress of Lake’s language skills. He purportedly tells Karla he is “riding the bus with his seatbelt for safety” as Luisa dutifully buckles him in. She tells me he is talking in full sentences and it takes him a while to get it all out, as he deliberately enunciates each and every word.

A perfect Aloha Friday, I’m glad I spent it with you keeping up our traditions. Hello la! Aloha!

Little Dar

Lake, Luisa and I were walking home from dinner after dusk. Michael was working late at the hospital. Lake was riding up in my shoulders. Such beautiful clear evenings! Lake spotted a big bright celestial body in the night sky to the south. He got very excited and burst into song. He really exalted:

Twinkle twinkle little Dar

How I wonder what you are.

Up a up a world so far

Like a diamond in the sky…

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