Saturday, January 9, 2016

Watching the Mukilteo Ferry Arrive

One of the most charming small towns in America, the seaside city of Mukilteo is a gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. Come down, sit beside the water, and watch the wonderful sunset arrive over the Olympics.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Seattle Rains Remembered

My husband, Phil, brought home a memo from work, the Owner of the company he was employed with was asking for help in the home office during upcoming staff vacations. Was I interested?  "If I could work in downtown Seattle again for a couple of weeks, sure!"

Seattle would be a long bus ride from our home in Marysville, but I looked forward to helping out, however briefly, just to be in Seattle again. I used to work in downtown Seattle as a young woman, and memories from my childhood and youth, make this a happy return.

The Metro bus rolled past many old friends in the dark morning. Even in the rainy dawn, I spot favorite restaurants I visited with friends, many years past. Some of the older buildings are sporting “facelifts”, but I still know them.

There’s the Bank of America building. A huge oil painting, a quilt of colors I passed often as a young woman, is still on the foyer wall. The painting watched over our comings and goings, so many yesterdays ago.

My former SeaFirst co-worker's faces come to mind; John, Brigid, Barry, Wanda; we spent our days researching stock dividends, and processing bond trades, in the trust department. My favorite manager, “P.J.”, always cheerful with her quick smile.

We'd barely notice the large "quilt" painting as we passed; there was only a few minutes for lunch. We weren't paid a lot, but we were dedicated employees, and worked hard. Today, the painting winks at me through the glass, as the bus accelerates through the traffic.

There is the Seattle Library fountain, where my dad and mom would read to us when we were children. Sitting together on the sun warmed concrete bench nearby, they'd read the books chosen from the tall, downtown library stacks. Pigeons would flutter around us, and listen at our feet.

Later, when I worked at SeaFirst, I'd often cross the street to spend my lunch near the fountain, pigeons would land near my lunch bag, familiar, and nearly tame.

As I watch the fountain play through my bus windows' glare, I recall my father, reading to us. My sisters, Martha and Randi are laughing, as we watch our little brother, David, splashing in the fountain. It makes a musical backdrop to dad’s voice. Martha and David, Mom and Dad are gone these many years, victims of a boating accident while I was still in high school at Nathan Hale.

The new library building has moved the fountain to a place in the afternoon sun. As my bus passes by,  I feel relieved. The fountain still echoes my family's voices.

My feet are tired from tramping up and down the streets. It feels good to walk up the steep sidewalks of University and Pike. My heart is pounding, while a cool Seattle breeze from the waterfront blows my coat open. The seagull’s cry sends me back into decades past.

How could I ever leave Seattle? The horn blasts from the Bremerton ferry, and another memory stirs; pulling a blanket tightly around my siblings, we're on the upper deck, watching the green waters churn into silvery froth behind the stern. Our family would power away from the city, towards the Ozette wilderness, our annual summer destination.

The Pike Place Market fishmongers still sing and laugh back and forth.  They'd toss a huge salmon to dad, and he'd snatch it out of the air, glistening with freshness. He never missed.

My mom's high heels, clicking along the purple glass tiles in the sidewalk, my hand clasped tightly in hers, held above my head, as she'd hurry to catch a bus. Her black hair shining, my strawberry blond curls bouncing on my neck. I tried to make my legs longer.

I brought my daughters to view Seattle from the top of the Smith Tower. My oldest child, Shannon, held onto her little sister's stroller, we ride the same elevator I rode with my mother, when she showed me the "World’s Fair” city, when I was small.

Phil and I would spend a day going to Pioneer Square, grab a streetcar back up Alaskan Way, walk up the stairs to the Market, and catch the Monorail back to the Center. There's still a crowd in front of Pier 54. Childhood  visits to Ivar's, he'd personally sing us a song, then ask, “How was dinner tonight?”

My dad was the organist for the University Congregational Church, and after playing for the Choir’s Christmas Midnight Service, we’d drive downtown to see The Bon Marche's Christmas Star. The streets would be empty, as the Christmas windows played carols for our idling car, full of drowsy children. We’d fall asleep, just before Mom and Dad turned for home.
Today my calves ache as I reach for more files to put away. I haven't done this much speed-walking on Seattle’s forty-five degree hills for years. The phone rings only occasionally, most everyone in the office is on vacation this week and next.

I think of winter memories from the distant past; mom’s spare change spent on Frango chocolates for each of us. Once she fastened a live, small, bright green anole lizard, from Woolworth's, to my coat collar with a red ribbon.

Each droplet of Seattle rain spills another memory. I snug up my coat, and wrap my scarf around my neck, waiting for the bus. Seagulls circle above, calling after me.
My brief holiday season fill-in at the Dexter Avenue office is done. Childhood memories of sitting with my big sister, Una, on the steps of the Seattle Public Library, and later bike trips by ferry to Bainbridge, with college friends, briefly shine through the fog of passing years.

Seattle memories, held in cement, glass, and water.

My Seattle.
Stacey Mayer Webmaster,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our new Reese kitty, already hugging Mom
"Take me home now, Mom!"
Reese, orange tabby adopted in December, 2011
Reese loves milk.
After moping around for a few months after losing my dearest orange tabby cat, "Skimbles" to cancer, my daughters felt it was time to look for another special kitty. We found a likely prospect, "Reese", residing at the Camano Island Animal Shelter Association. I looked up his picture every day for almost two months. Finally, we drove to Camano, to meet the big seven year old, orange tabby, Reese.

At the shelter, we found him lounging beside the computer keyboard near the staff. Within minutes, he was in my arms, and I pressed my face against his cheek. He clung to me. I felt my smile come back. Reese had been in the shelter for a few months, and as a stray, there wasn't any history to share.

He was tentative at home at first. He watched the other kitties a lot, and played "circus" all night with Menzo. We'd try and "moosh" our faces into his soft tummy, only five or six times a day, although we wanted to kiss him much more. He would jump away, less and less, and we could see we were making progress.

Soon, we found him sitting on the couch beside my husband, Phil, every evening. Dad's grinning broadly at having his "own kitty". He's never had a cat that choose him as his special person before.

One day, he was on the end of our bed, "his spot", early Sunday morning. Phil returned from the kitchen with a bowl of milk and cereal. Quickly, Reese walked up on Phil's chest, begging for the milk within seconds. Well, there's a reaction! We'd tried to feed him treats before, but he'd even ignored salmon skin. The milk was what he wanted!

He's responding to words now, like "milk", and "Reese, big kitty", earns a turn of the ear. "Mooshing" his plush, apricot/white tummy, and telling him how beautiful he is, inspires great purring. We're delighted to discover his devotion for my husband, Phil.

Anyone sitting on the couch is now his cuddle target. He knows we all love paying attention to him, and sneaking "mooshes", often. It's been a wonderful experience adopting this great big companion cat, and watching him choose to become a true member of the family.

Thank you, Camano Animal Shelter, for helping us find our wonderful Reese.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adopted; Reese, the Camano Kitty

We have a new member of the family. We adopted a seven year-old orange tabby cat from the great folks at the Camano Island Shelter, in mid - December. We're glad to share Reese's story with everyone. He's an interesting, thoughtful cat. Very respectful, he doesn't take anything for granted. He gets along with our other cats well, even eating right beside them. It was as if they knew Reese was coming!

Reese was brought into the Camano Island Shelter in late summer, and since he was a stray, he has no known history or habits to share. He was tentative at first; loud noises or play would startle him. He watched us a lot. We gave him some space; meaning, we'd "moosh" our faces into his soft belly, only five or six times a day, although we wanted to kiss him much more.

We would pet him when he was comfortable, in a spot of his own choosing. Soon, we found him sitting on the couch right by my husband, Phil, every evening. When our adult daughters sat down, he'd sit beside them, and was glad to be petted, but when their Dad came home, he'd end up on his chest, face to face. Dad was grinning broadly at having his "own kitty".

As Reese expressed his preference for Dad more, we noticed he was now walking down the hall ahead of us at bed time, as soon as "his person" had turned off the computer, or TV. He was watching and learning. Smart cat.

One day, he was on the end of our bed, "his spot", early Sunday morning. Phil returned from the kitchen with a bowl of milk and cereal. Quickly, Reese walked up on Phil's chest, begging for the milk within seconds. Well, there's a reaction! We'd tried to feed him treats before, but he'd even ignored salmon skins. The milk in the cereal bowl! That was just what he wanted.

He's responding to words now, like "milk", and calling, "Reese, big kitty", earns a quick flick of the ear. "Mooshing" his plush, apricot/white tummy, and telling him how beautiful he is, inspires great purring. We're delighted to discover his devotion for my husband, Phil. Reese was ready to choose his forever person, and watching the trust grow between them is wonderful. He accepts our cuddling and "kissing" by pointing his nose high in the air, so we may scratch his chin, first. He is generously loved on by all of us, and gives it back easily.

Thank you, Camano Shelter, for helping us find our wonderful Reese. See the CASA website to find your forever friend, or call, 360.387.1902.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Everett, WA's fall weather has been so unseasonably warm, that this fuchsia tree is flourishing on the north side of a lawyer's office downtown. A few blocks south, at the 112th Park and Ride, we found purple irises blooming all over the parking lot. Several new blooms were still striving to unfold. It was amazing to find this on November 2, 2011, and the irises blooming away in mid October. That's how late our "summer" was in Western Washington.

Our weather has finally turned a bit cooler; we've had our first snow flurry earlier today. I guess it's time. The best thing about winter, is having family over for a wonderful Thanksgiving, and then preparing for Christmas day together. As colder air of Alaska moves down to cover the Pacific Northwest, hopefully, the winter storms will provide us with downed fir branches for Christmas wreaths. It's another traditional way we take advantage of Puget Sound's seasonal gifts.

My favorite dividend from fall's brilliant colors and windy weather, is locating and collecting horse chestnuts. We use them on Christmas wreaths, as a special family tradition. Gilded, or just in their natural mahogany bay coat, we love using them for crafts. I'll show you what our family creates with chestnuts in another blog post. I hope you're planning to have a wonderful holiday season. Keep in touch.