Amidst the backdrop of the constraints of covid culture, we are so thankful to nonetheless have cobbled together a memorable Thanksgiving celebration for 2020. This is especially important because we are sharing American Thanksgiving with our German au pair and creating lasting impressions for Lake. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday growing up. This year there was no game of sardines with the cousins, but we did enjoy some new traditions in addition to Nana’s turkey, trimmings, and pumpkin pie—Madeline’s cake, a Greenlake run and a touch of hygge around the front yard campfire. Happy thanksgiving to you all! Love and connection brings the meaning to life.

Lake’s Dream and the Stowaway Cheetah

Lake was excited to share his dream from the night before this day with me. “Madeline already knows,” he said. “I was coming back from Africa on a cruise and a cheetah was so fast it snuck on board in Africa and came back with me all the way to Seattle.”

Dumbfounded, I said after a pause, “Was it a boy or a girl cheetah?“

Lake hastened to inform me, “That’s not the important part. The amazing part is that there was a cheetah with me on the cruise at all.”


We set out for “Brainbridge” on foot, and once we were underway, I vacillated between going and not going. We had been planning on driving downtown to the ferry terminal to get a jump start on our adventure. Just as we were all ready to get all buckled in, we discovered our car had vaporized —stolen in the night. In a mild state of shock and comical farce, we ended up taking the bus and the light rail. Perhaps exploring the trendy Capital Hill neighborhood would suffice, after all I was thinking, so we got off the link after one stop; it was predicted to rain beginning at 1pm. Once we were walking around Capital Hill, though, it felt too anticlimactic. Our goal was to have an adventure and show Madeline some of the beauty of our region, beyond the comfortable but familiar shelter of our home.

Our party of adventurers

Lake was the decision maker. He said, “there will be no more discussion, or Lady Kitty will have a time out when we get home. Let’s go to Brainbridge.” The Olympic Mountains shone like snowy beacons just beneath the overhead blanket of grey. That ferry ride was in order after all.

The trip over on the ferry was breathtaking. Not just the cold wind, but the ethereal beauty of Seattle surrounded by grey water below and grey sky above, with a rim of snow capped mountains encircling the city on the thin strand of horizon, like a diamond necklace. It was cold, but not too cold as to preclude Lake’s enthusiasm for getting ice cream (strawberry sorbet) at Mora. A light freezing rain began to rain on us while we were on the island and kept up the whole way home.

Coat, not spirits, dampened, we head home.
Once home, Lady Kitty enjoyed a bubble bath (not a time out).

We will all sleep well tonight! A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you.

Cat Nap

Cat Nappers

Lady Kitty is the queen of cat naps, of power naps, of catching a wink. She sleeps briefly and wakes refreshed. We are left feeling just a little wistful that she didn’t take a longer nap. She, however, has got to get to livin’!

Refreshed for livin’! Lady Kitty loves swinging… such joy!

Rainier Reprise

Our weekend adventure to show Madeline our version of Paradise (on Mt. Rainier) did not go to plan. Not only did we not reach Paradise, we also got saddled in the cloud ringing Mt. Rainier which prevented us from enjoying any stunning glimpses of the berg up close. I had envisioned marmots, fall colors, and zoomed-in views of the summit. What we got was locked gates and snow.

On Sunday, access of Mount Rainier National Park was blocked at Longmire. A search and rescue mission was underway. We all hoped and prayed for the recovery of the lost snowshoer which kept our frustrations in perspective. Meanwhile, the mountain closure diverted us and all other visitors to the lesser reknowned lower reaches near Longmire, the Nisqually River and Kautz Creek.

“It’s the journey, not the destination” acted as our motto for the day, as we hiked up all trails available to us. Who knew that Longmire holds mineral springs? Our very own Yellowstone-style bubbling earth.

Lady Kitty cared not a whit that our original sightseeing plans were foiled, and we carried on as well. As it turned out it was plenty exhilarating exploring locales we had previously whipped right past in our fervor to get to Paradise. Simply being on the mountain was enough. In a forest freshly dusted with snow, the air so cold it smelled of the cold: it was paradise after all.

We celebrated our successes. Namely, that we had made it inside a national park boundaries. In true German fashion, Madeline briskly checked “Mt. Rainier” off her bucket list.

Lake Break

Lake is a card. He’s a character. He’s larger than life. I was a Tired Mama trying to nurse Lady Kitty to sleep the other night when I said to Lake, “Honey, I need some alone time.”

Lake gave me a look and without skipping a beat, said, “You’re going to find out that I’m right there in your alone time. If you moved to Africa for your alone time, the whole house would be empty because I would move everything to Africa too.”

“Okay, some quiet time, then,” I conceded.

Lake told me he wants a tablet for Christmas.

“Goodness sakes!” I said.

Lake said, “I know it’s kind of a goodness sakes, but I want it. I want it badly… Then when I need some quiet time I could go to my room and watch a movie.”

There’s a pause; I kept feeding Lady Kitty.

“Maybe when I’m eight,” he said.

This son of mine: I love him so much! At the same time there’s a lot of other factors to juggle—including his Baby Sister! He deserves more. He deserves more, not just undivided attention; he deserves multiplied attention. He’s so special and so much fun to be with. He’s the most fun to be with when you have the requisite energy and attention available.

The other day Lake said, “if you want to cuddle with a shark, you have to wear a metal suit.”

This is the kind of fun that is Lake. So it’s a win-win then, when Baba wanted Lake to come visit for his 75th birthday present this week.

Win-win-win-win, if you include the Joe Biden Kamala Harris win for the White House! Upon congratulating Baba on having just turned younger than the president this week for his birthday, he said, “If Biden can start being president [at 77], I guess I can carry on with my life [at 75].”

Lake is spreading his joy it to NanaBaba’s life. Meanwhile, our household is on a Lake Break. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, if that’s possible. Our hearts are already overflowing with love for Lake.

We welcome you back with open hearts and arms tomorrow, Lake. And tonight we enjoy one more quiet, dull, much appreciated, evening of our Lake Break.

National Love Your Red Hair Day

No, I didn’t just invent this as a way to distract you from the national voting suspense. This year is the sixth annual! As you probably know we’re a family richly blessed with with red hair. We remain thrilled that both Lake and Lady Kitty sport red hair. As I was to my parents when I was born, Lake was a total surprise to us when he was born. Although Michael and I both have paternal grandfathers with red hair, we had no way of knowing that Michael carried the recessive gene mutation that produces red hair until we created some offspring. Lake’s having red hair confirmed Michael was a heterozygous “silent carrier”. Since I have red hair, that means I’m homozygous for the recessive gene. From there we could deduce that our subsequent offspring would each have a 50/50 chance of being homozygous recessives— yielding red hair. When Lady Kitty was in utero we knew she would have a 50/50 chance of being red head… or not. We held our breath hoping for red hair. It’s so unique; it’s the most rare hair color in the world.

With German red haired Vivien part of our family for her au pair year in Seattle, we reached critical mass when Lady Kitty also arrived bearing the gift of red hair. We really lucked out!

So, celebrate The luck and give your red head some love!

Now, hopefully we’ll get as lucky with the national election results!