Tuesday, January 19, 2016

55 Things

My all time favorite picture of Al. I am proud to be the photographer. It was taken on one of the sunset sailing trips on the Columbia River we would take while dating.
Today is Al's birthday. These days we don't buy each other many gifts, mainly because we don't need much, and if we DO need something, we are able to buy it when we need it and not wait for 'events'.  We do like to celebrate milestones, usually with food.  And as we get older, perhaps we should do that less, ha ha.

So, to celebrate today, I compiled a list of 55 Things that I love about Al.

1  He's cuddly.
2  He gives the best hugs.
3  He is smart.
4  He is curious.
5  He is Mr. Research. If he doesn't understand something, he will look for the answer.
6  He enjoys teaching others what he has learned. 
7  He is generally a happy person.
8  He likes books.
9  He attends church.
10  He likes cats.
11  Cats like him.
12  He is a loyal friend.
13  He treats my kids as his own.
14  He is 'Papa' to the grandkids.
15  He is very mechanically-minded.  (He can fix almost anything!)
16  He appreciates quality.
17  He is frugal....
18  ....but can be very generous with his money.
19  He is a safe driver.
20  He has a good vocabulary.
21  He can keep a secret.
22  He supported me through everything that happened in 2014 -- caring for, then losing my parents.
23  We can be quiet together.
24  He loves sunsets and sunrises.
25  He keeps me warm at night -- this is especially important on a boat in the winter.
26  He has indulged my desire to travel.
27  He's not afraid to talk to ANYbody.
28  He makes good coffee and delivers it with a kiss.
29  He can cook.
30  He looks good in blue, which brings out his eyes.
31  He remembers my birthday.
32  He remembers our anniversary.
33  He is fun to pick out jewelry with.
34  He is my designated reader.
35  He enjoyed Disneyland like a kid.
36  He enjoys MOST things like a kid.
37  He shares better than I do.
38  He loves my family.
39  He listens to my weird dreams.
40  He likes chocolate. (Which means we always have good chocolate, but I need to   guard it.)
41  Often it seems we read each others mind.
42  He's my personal IT guy.
43  He's quite humble.
44  We have a similar sense of humor (except for The Simpsons, The Family Guy, etc)
45  He likes to help people.
46  Little old ladies love him.
47  He picks up litter.
48  He works hard.
49  He will do really gross jobs, so I don't have to (clean the shower sump, etc)
50  He is concerned about safety.
51  He likes to hike.
52  He is my sunshine.
53  He is a generous lover.
54  When we've been apart for even a short time, I love to see him looking for me.
55  He looks good in hats.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

From a Mother's Eye

We didn't get to see Micah. We didn't get to talk to Micah.

But he knew we were watching.

Here is what I saw.

The sun was low in the sky when we checked into the inn.

It was only minutes before the lights came on!

The view to the west, overlooking downtown Port Orchard.

And to the north, to the shipyard.

I am glad the 74 is lit, so it only takes a peek to know exactly where they are. I especially appreciate this at 4:29 AM when I wake up and the first thing I do is look out the window. Oh good, they didn't sneak out in the night.

The fence is down, the rails are manned, and the tug begins to ....tug.

The bow has cleared the slip.

And two of the four tugs are giving a push to turn -- see the smoke? They are working hard.

Making headway on its own. And the rain falls heavy.

Moving fast now. This is the closest view we will have.

Straight out from the inn, and appropriately, a flag at the house below.

Last view from the inn. Now we quickly check out and drive 15 minutes to Manchester, where the carrier emerges from Rich Passage.

We have company. Note the ship at anchor, and that is Blake Island to the right.

Just emerged into sight, and I zoom to get the '12th Man' flag!

Into the sound! An aircraft carrier, a tug, a ferry, and a helicopter.

Seattle in the distance.

Making the turn.


Such a big ship is now looking quite small. We are the last of the crowd left, and I tell Al that we shouldn't watch it out of sight.  We turn to go, and he asks me, 'Are you misty?' It takes a while to answer, and I say 'If I talk about it, I will be.'
For the rest of the day, we have a pretty good idea where the ship may be. But by sunset the area of probability of where they are grows and grows.  All I know is 'the Pacific Ocean'.   

And as I now write, there IS a tear, from a mother's eye.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cedar Cove Inn

The time had come for an important event, and I wanted a front row seat. So I googled 'Bremerton WA hotels'. I had been thinking of the Hampton Inn, right on the waterfront of Bremerton, just above the marina. But their website said there were no waterfront view rooms available for the night/nights I needed.

So I enlarged the map, and a pointer indicated the Cedar Cove Inn in Port Orchard. Oh, that would be perfect! Not only could I have that waterfront view, after I thought about it I realized it would be an even better vantage point than the Hampton Inn. Now, would they have room?

I contacted the inn through their website asking for a room with a view of the water. I got a prompt reply stating that we could have our pick! There were as yet no other guests expected for the time we wanted.

I then phoned the innkeeper, telling her the reasons for our visit, and settled on the Sidney on the third floor, thinking that elevation generally improves a view. 

One huge reason for choosing this inn was to honor my mom's memory. Port Orchard is the home town of Mom's most favorite author, Debbie Macomber. Debbie had a series of books based around an inn in a fictional town of Cedar Cove, which also inspired a television series on the Hallmark Channel. (I have not seen the show -- we don't have cable) 

THIS is the inn.

Al enjoys the view as he waits for a response to his knock at the office in the carriage house.

The inn itself

The view from the veranda

When we check in, the innkeeper Kathy Michael says 'I know you reserved the Sidney, but since you are the only guests (and she knew our reasons for visiting), I am going to put you in the Nordby where you can see the world!' She gave us a tour, touching briefly on the history of the house, and told us we owned the place for the night!

We love B and B's! Often we travel in the 'off season', which may be the reason that this was the third time in a row that we were the only guests in such establishments. (Besides the Cedar Cove Inn, our other two solo experiences were at the Hoquiam Castle on an April 1, and the White House. on a January 19)

A view from our room,

and from the parlor,

and again from the veranda. The excellent view includes the Port Orchard Marina, the Olympic Mountains, and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard,

which includes the aircraft carrier  USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) with my son already on board. The ship and crew are set for deployment the next morning.

By the way, the Cedar Cove Inn is for sale. Read more here http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/local/port-orchards-historic-cedar-cove-inn-for-sale-ep-1400064805-361023401.html  If we win the lottery, Al and I might consider it. He kept saying 'This would do.'

Friday, January 15, 2016

Seal Play

I have a bunch of photos I want to share of the past 24 hours, but for the sake of order, I need to show you these first!

A couple of weeks ago, we were having very cold, frosty weather. I guess a seal wanted to check it out!

The seals like to 'fish off the hull' , as I say. They often work in pairs to 'herd' schools of fish up against the hulls of the boats at the dock, and pick off their lunch. This day a seal left evidence of a departure from the usual. You can tell that it came up on the left, headed across the dock, but made a sharp turn back to the water at the right.

A close-up of fin prints and belly flops.

An unusual selfie. You may at first believe that I want to show you the metridium (plumose anemone). Which I do. But mainly I wanted to show the wide space we often step over to get from Viking Star to the dock. The other day I stepped off as normal. But when Al followed, he gave a yelp of surprise! Just as he stepped, he saw a seal below -- probably fishing off OUR hull.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Conflict of Interest?

We are all settled in at the house we are 'sitting' to watch the football game today that will decide the NFL Wild Card pick.

We admit we are not huge football fans, but we are interested in this game since we began flying our 'insurance' flag and we have a Minnesota native on board.

But we didn't realize until this morning (!!!!) that we are flying a SEATTLE flag on VIKING Star!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas Presents

We made our annual pilgrimage to the Portland area where we spent our time attending grandchildren's school programs, shopping, attending parties, shopping, spending time with all our kids, shopping, eating, and shopping.

We thank our friends Rick and Christie for once again finding room in the inn, and for Rob and Becky also sheltering us on our way between Friday Harbor and Portland.

We are so blessed to have too many friends that we couldn't get to see them all!

I don't know if it's simply due to aging, or the slower pace of retirement living, but we notice each year a greater intolerance of chaos. Though it is such a happy time, the TRAFFIC, the noise, the activity, the schedule seems to bother us more all the time. This year we tried to limit only one planned meeting or activity each day.

But, getting to Christmas Presents....

Each year, the BEST presents are the hugs. We saw ALL the kids (not all at once though), and ALL the grandkids (yes, all at once).

This year, the 'Spangler' Christmas was hosted by my ex and his wife. I got to visit the house that used to be mine for the first time in years. They have done a fabulous job of a kitchen remodel and redecoration. With all the activity and limited time together, I kept my camera in my purse and just enjoyed! Sailor son Micah was able to be there as well -- we have been lucky to see him every Christmas since he joined the Navy!

The Thomason celebration was a lot more sedate. We all made a contribution to the Christmas dinner, and I took a rare photo of Al with BOTH of his kids, together! Christmas Blessings.

An unexpected gift was this artwork at the oil change shop, of all places! I wonder if the artist is related to the Currier of Currier and Ives. His website does not mention a connection.

We accepted the gift of a very beautiful day for our return to San Juan Island. Crispy clear cold weather makes for snow-capped mountains and bright photos.

Mt. Baker from the Anacortes ferry dock

We are sorry that we didn't take a photo of everything we brought back to the boat while it was still in the back of the borrowed pickup we drove. But Al schlepped everything to the boat in several trips with a large dock cart, and it piled up quickly.

The couch was full

The aisle to our cabin got awfully narrow

Al was excited to get new shoes! The one on the left was worn nearly daily for a year, only a year. I think the three weeks of farm work did the most damage. The one on the right is acceptable to wear to church in Friday Harbor!

And since we moved onto the boat over seven years ago, I have been saying that a larger refrigerator would be nice. When we lived nearer to grocery stores I thought I had to shop every 3-4 days. When we traveled the rivers, I thought I could make it once a week. Since we began cruising to more remote areas, I could even stretch it to two weeks with our little fridge.

This summer, we'll see how far I can stretch that with the new, larger refrigerator we stopped to pick up at Sure Marine in Seattle!