My Mr. Cat

Lake loves his Mr. Cat. He loves to cuddle and play house and jump on him. He really does all this, and somehow Mr. Cat tolerates it all. Mr. Cat is a true friend to Lake, and in return, Lake is very devoted to Mr. Cat. He will cuddle up next to Mr. Cat at every opportunity. He plays “house” with Mr. Cat on the bed by burying Mr. Cat in stacks of pillows. And then he somehow manages to come flying through the air and jump on Mr. Cat (over and over again), without really landing on Mr. Cat, just coming down to completely cover him. Too Funny! Lake doesn’t get much more joyful that this.

Lake loves his Mr. Cat! Happy Boxing Day! A great day to cuddle up with your “Mr. Cat,” (or equivalent), and feel cozy, joyful and blessed. A perfect every-day, I’m glad I spent it with you!

Lake and Langley

Lake and Langley are quite a pair.

“There’s a Bear sleeping in our house” says Lake. Langley’s 150 pounds to Lake’s 30 pounds… they’re quite a pair. Lake likes to help walk him and likes to hold on to the leash. If you ask him, he will say yes that Langley is his dog. He’s all snuggles and smiles. They both are… unless… when Langley is wet from the rain or just from drinking water, Lake says “Stop it!” when Langley comes near.

We love to take Langley to the University District Farmer’s Market, and to walk around the neighborhood. Langley seems to make the day of everyone he meets. Langley, like Lake, is a harbinger of joy!

And for us, the joy is doubled on this Best Christmas Day Ever, when Mark and Karen Rupert offer us 75% of a Langley Time Share. They retain ownership and medical power of attorney, and we provide room, board, and walking. Langley will spend one week per month with his Family of Origin, the Ruperts, getting tuned up and basking in the comforts of home. We’re all new to this Langley Time Share, and are optimistic that it’s a great win win for everyone, especially for Langley. He gets to be the “only dog” contentedly living out his golden years in the VanLaanen Family Rest Home.

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

Snowflake Lane!

Bellevue turns out quite a celebratory Americana Christmas parade when Bellevue Way between NE 4th and NE 8th Streets turns into a snowing fantasy world complete with music, dancers, floats and festive lightning! This free showstopper features flurries of snowflakes falling all through the sky every night from 7:00pm-7:30pm through Christmas Eve! Come early (we arrived at 6:30pm) to stake a spot on the sidewalk, feel the anticipation and be greeted by parade members handing out candy and welcoming guests to Snowflake Lane!

Oh, we left Lake home with Nana and made it a date, but I have the feeling Lake would have been mind-blowingly amazed. Especially by the giant stuffed twing twings (penguins). Snowflake Lane, Bellevue, Bellevue Square, thank you!, I sense a new tradition coming on.

Nutcracker Ballet!

Lake’s first Nutcracker ballet! We took a calculated risk of inviting Lake to his first ever full length ballet or other theater event. We stacked the odds in our favor: fifth row, mid-day performance, and we invited Nana to join us. He was rapt and attentive for both halves. He did a stellar job at being a respectful and appreciative ballet patron. Clearly awed, he said succinctly,

I never seen that before.

as we were leaving the theater. How was it, I asked?

Pretty good.

It was quite an experience for him and met with the Lake’s stamp of approval.


We’ve been listening to Tara Brach’s meditations to go to sleep at night and remedy the bedtime blues. We relax into the present moment. We wake up to the present moment and therefore have sweet togetherness for falling asleep. Then I need to wake up to get to back to sleep in my own bed!

Lake says meditation, and Tar’Brach! Tar’Brach! Tar’Brach! Over and over again. He also says so many other cute things related to the meditations. Tara Brach is talking on the Buddha. The Buddha is laughing. Meditation. I touch it? Touch The Buddha?

And the best part is… we get to all fall asleep!

Well-rested and on the path to enlightenment. Sometimes I’m not sure which is more attractive. A perfect day… I’m glad I spent it with you.

‘Tis the Season for Tousins

In addition to the Ketchikan tousins Benjamin and “Oviler”, whom he adored playing with at Thanksgiving, Lake loves his tousin Hazel and tousin Maicy from Portland!

When my best friend “Auntie Jessica” and her girls were up visiting a few weeks ago, we all had the best time (as always!) And at the end of the month he’ll get to play with his Spokane tousins! Tis the season for Tousins!

Newfoundland Dog

In the course of going to bed last night we were talking about the day, as we often do. I said,

Langley is a nice dog.

And he replied,

No, Langley is not a nice dog, he is a Newfoundland dog.

Oh my, I cracked up and could not stop laughing! Of course Lake joined sofort in the hilarity.

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent my evening with you and Langley, Lake!

Lake VanLaanen, Again!

In a big booming low sports announcer voice Lake and Baba said,

La-ke Van Laan-en

And then

La-ke Van Laan-en, a-gain!

over and over as he jumped off the bench near Bowerman Field.

Lake VanLaanen! Lake said as he jumped off the bench.

And then

This all occurred one month ago, but we were joking around last night and he remembered. He’s a funny person.

A perfect day, I’m glad we we were able to spend it together with NanaBaba and then reminisce on a dark mid-winter night in Seattle!

What kind of Vegan are you?

Having a rare night out to ourselves in Seattle, (thank you Jamma Julie!) we, Lakes parents, went to check out a vegan bar on Capitol Hill that we hadn’t been to before. It was not exactly what I was expecting. I hadn’t questioned my assumption of what a vegan bar would be like, but I was thinking something in the Chaco Canyon, No Bones Beach Club, kind of vein. It occurred to me amidst the darkened metal-blaring Highline Bar that there are different reasons for vegan. I take it for granted that Seattle flavor of vegan is local-organic-PCC shopping-bicoastal elite-yoga vegan. There’s actually a whole world of vegans. Highline (vegan) Bar leans heavily towards… metal. We had a great time dancing for a few songs where the lyrics consisted mostly of actual roaring, and maximally enjoyed our kind-to-the-planet pub dinner which was none too kind to the eardrums.

So, now I can appreciate the entire scope of vegans. What kind of vegan are you?*

1. Planet loving (less water and energy required)

2. Health minded (you live longer the fewer animal products you consume)

3. Food allergy restricted (allergies to dairy, eggs, meat)

4. Anarchy to corporate hegemony that is modern American food industry. (This type includes hard rock metal bands.)

After our vegan immersion experience we went to the Egyptian to watch Jorgos Lanthimos’ The Favorite (2018). It may be a royal drama, however having also directed Dog Tooth (2009) and The Lobster (2015), it has the Greek director’s certain trademark dark twist to the humor. Fantastic! Highly recommend.

*when I showed the blog title to Michael he said “what kind of vegan are you?” with the exact inflection I was imagining from Moonrise Kingdom’s memorable line, “what kind of bird are you?” I said and that’s why we’re married together!

How to throw a Festive Dinner Party

1. Select the freshest local market foods

2. Don’t be in a hurry to get to the dessert

3. Throw in some group levity (we sang happy birthday to Jesus, in Swedish)

4. Have delightful friends,

5. And a husband that cooks.

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you! Thank you dear ones! And Lake, for coming together and making a lovely festive experience!