3 Points

December 3, 2021

Three things have been niggling me over the past few days.

  1. My mother would be rolling in her grave right about now. She spent years volunteering at Planned Parenthood. My dim and probably not completely correct memory was that she helped usher women visiting PP past folks that were not in favor of them visiting a health facility. Note that I myself visited PP for health checkups and information and advice.
    Of course, she is not actually in a grave as such. I wonder if Dad can feel a change in the force in his apartment.

2. There is a new tier 4 soccer team starting in Seattle. The Sounders are considered 1st tier. This team was announced to us through a Seattle Times article. There was an accompanying picture with the three primary leaders; Chris Kaimmer, Sam Zisette and Lamar Neagle. All three names were familiar. Lamar Neagle was a former Sounders player. Chris Kaimmer we first met when he was a baby in a Parent/Child co-op. We were together in that group until the kids went to Kindergarten. Then he and Rey played on soccer teams (non-school) for several years. They went to different high schools, but ran into each other again when they were both running cross-country. And Sam is the younger brother of one of Ashlan’s friends in elementary school, although they went to different middle/high schools. And finally – one of their primary sponsors is Rueben’s Brews. The owners of Rueben’s sit behind us at Mariner games. Small world – and we will definitely try to fit in a game or two next year.

3. I get monthly Civil Engineering magazines. I browse them and read articles here and there. There is an article I am going to share here for general interest. It is about building the Mackinaw Bridge. Since it is an engineering magazine it talks about some of the technical issues, and especially what was learned from a few previous, less successful bridges.

All for now. Good morning.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2021

With just two of us I would think the preparations would be less time consuming. And they are, but not as much as I expected. One of our traditions as an empty nest, is to not have too many traditions. Each year develops as the holiday approaches.

Past experiences have included long walks with turkey sandwiches in tow (and a finally successful search for an open coffee shop). Most have included a meal.

This year includes just 3 dishes. Food servings that is. There are lots of dishes.

1. Turkey breast. There are a gazillion ways to prepare a turkey breast. I know, I googled it. As it happens, last week there was a PCC coupon for a free bottle of pure maple syrup. So along with our puff pastry purchase we picked up a bottle of maple syrup. And, while browsing recipes I spotted on for Maple Roasted Turkey Breast. Serendipity! Maple syrup is not something we normally have around, so this was the year. And it was quite good.

2. Salad. Actually, Roasted Pumpkin and Chestnut Salad with Orange-Cranberry Vinaigrette. This is a WW recipe, 6-7 points … if we only ate one serving. The roasted pumpkin and chestnuts made this a filling accompaniment to the turkey.

3. Apple Puff Pastry tart/galette/pie. This was a mash-up of the Betty Crocker apple pie recipe, with a puff pastry instead of a traditional pie crust. And a bit smaller than the pie.

Thanksgiving Dinner for Two

One other thing about Thanksgiving dinner that changes every year is the time we actually dine. Nine out of ten times we eat later than planned. This was apparently the tenth year, and we ate early. Mid-afternoon. It actually surprised Carl. He was in the midst of a cleaning, flinging, reorganizing project. I had to ask him at least 3 times to help with the final preparations. He would do as requested and then grab another load of something to move about.

Dinner for two – done
Dishes – never really done

The rest of this evening will be spent hanging out until dessert. We’re watching a movie or two. The current movie is from 1944, Between Two Worlds.

And as for the rest of the weekend….

Check, check, check

November 13, 2021

We had a few things on our list today. As with most planned days, a few more things added themselves. And it’s only late afternoon.

First up for me was a 7:30 WW meeting. Last night I was thinking about skipping, but they just introduced a new program update and I wanted to hear what they had to say. And I woke up at my normal work time, so no excuses there. In fact I actually did a little work before I left.

Things at work seem to be accelerating. One task I perform is to look at new development proposals, from house additions to plats, and tell them what they need to do and pay for their water and sewer. Since the city in which we operate just lifted their development moratorium, there are lots of new proposals. I spent most of yesterday trying to get caught up. I think I finished 8, but there was still 1 left plus some other lingering service questions. This is where you should be thinking, TMI, get on with it.

Meeting and home, at which point the unplanned interruption arrived. While pulling into our driveway, which includes going over a hump, the car scraped bottom more than expected. This happens with a loaded car, really full tank of gas, or low tire pressure. In this situation I immediately suspected tire issues. The left front tire looked suspicious, so I backed out of our sloped driveway and parked on the street. The pressure seemed about 4 pounds low. So, off to the gas station to fill ‘er up. They have really improved the air filling stations. Of course I had to do it twice because I didn’t realize you had to enter your target pressure first. Hang the $2. It was relatively quick and painless. And the car is still parked on the street while we give it a day or two to see if it holds the air.

And there was some more work done. And chatting with the kids. (Not work.)

Finally the real day’s outing was at hand. The goal was to rendezvous with a friend for Covid boosters and lunch. We planned to take light rail, starting at 2 different stations. Our booster appointments were also 2 hours apart. We sort of rendevoued on the train. Except he was in the last car and we were in the first.

We did meet up when we de-trained, and proceeded up a Seattle hill to Kaiser Permanente. Jim was on time for his appointment, and we were allowed to slide right in too.

Next on the activity list was Dingfelder’s Deli for lunch. Pastrami sandwich for me. Yum. And we picked up chicken soup for tomorrow (in case the booster hangover hits). They don’t offer inside seating, but they do have an outdoor picnic table where we enjoyed our sandwiches. And had a chance to talk.

Next up was wending our way back to the light rail station. There have been times we may have opted to walk the 3 miles home from Capital Hill. But the University Bridge, a drawbridge on our route, is stuck in the up position. This happened yesterday when some motor burned out. After predicting a few hours to fix, I have now seen a post suggesting November 20th. And there is a UW Husky football game today. This bridge is one of the main surface routes to the University …

Back to the light rail trek. We passed through Cal Anderson Park. This is a lidded water reservoir, and until recently home of one of Seattle’s encampments, and before that part of the CHOP. It’s actually a nice looking park, at least during the day, and they’ve made some nice improvements. It’s also directly next to one of the light rail entrances.

The next station north of Capital Hill is at the UW stadium. Needless to say, with the game about 90 minutes off and one bridge out of service, the train was full of purple clad fans. Our stop was two more north, and we didn’t miss getting off this time.

Each of the walking legs on Capital Hill was about half a mile, with the extra between home and the Roosevelt station. An easy 2 to 3 miles. It was nice to get some walking without dodging raindrops or rivers of water.

Side Effects?

Dark is Here

November 10, 2021

I went in to work yesterday.

I left in the dark. Blustery winds buffeted the car, especially in areas without tree cover. Like crossing the lake. And when near trees, watching nervously for branches falling. Sunrise 7:04 AM.

I started for home in the dark. In an atmospheric river. Sunset 4:39 PM.


Carl undertook a project of his own making over the last several days. In the all things baseball part of his life he has acquired one or two or several autographed baseballs.

He decided to get them organized and archived.

After consulting with our professional archivist, what has been accomplished is storage, organization, identification for easier retrieval. But not archiving.

Still a worthy project. Worth the time and maybe setting a precedence for future projects.

2 Much

November 8, 2021

Hard to believe it’s been 2 years!

Many Days and Missed Stops

November 6, 2021

Starting with today. It’s easiest to remember. We ventured out between the raindrops to get some exercise and do some exploring. The new light rail extends north to Northgate, which has been in a perpetual state of destruction and construction for the last several years. The mall has a few remaining businesses around its periphery, but a large section has been rebuilt as the Kraken Community Iceplex. So we decided to explore the area a bit.

We saw two rinks, one in use for youth team practices, and the second for general public skating. These were rinks 2 and 3. We didn’t see Rink 1. Perhaps we didn’t explore enough or it is out of view for Kraken practice. There is also a Starbucks and the 32 Bar and Grill.

Northgate “Mall” is still very much a work in progress. In its current state, being a pedestrian trying to go from one area to another is challenging. Lots of parking, most of it now requiring payment, but it is difficult to see the entire picture at this time. Maybe in a few more years.

The Northgate light rail station is directly across the freeway from North Seattle (Community) College, and a new pedestrian bridge was built as part of the station.

North Seattle Community College is where Carl took his Early Childhood Education classes. It was also home to the Coop classes we did with each kid. And the parking lot is where I taught the kids to drive with a stick shift.

After this bit of exploring we decided to take the train back to our neighborhood.

All was good. Only one stop. Except we were both distracted, and used to travelling for multiple stops. As the doors were closing on the Roosevelt Station I realized our mistake. So we exited at the U District Station instead. It added about 3 or 4 blocks to our walk, but we got to stop at Trader Joe’s on the way home.

Back in the house, watching soccer and sorting baseballs for archiving.

That was today. During the last two weeks the baseball season ended. The World Series went 6 games. We gathered with our baseball friends for 4 of the 6 games. All 4 we were together were won by the Atlanta Braves. Coincidence? No, no superstition in baseball.

On one of the days without baseball, gathered or not, we got to go to our first Kraken (NHL) game at Climate Pledge Arena at the Seattle Center. As part of their efforts to encourage fans to get out of their cars, the transit passes were included with the ticket. On your phone. Also on your phone you were supposed to have your vaccination status, on the Clear app. Vaccination was required for entry.

Getting the tickets onto the phone was relatively painless, once you downloaded the Kraken app. The Clear vaccination bit was more complicated. First you took pictures of your ID. Then a selfie so you could be matched to your ID. There were several rules for the selfie; don’t smile, hold steady and no glasses. The no glasses really slowed me up because it would flash directions and suggestions, but I couldn’t read them because – no glasses. Then a facial scan and finally vaccination information. Whew. And then repeat for Carl. The issue with Carl was his phone was almost dead and couldn’t take a focused picture until we plugged it in. They do have a tent where you can show your card, but a friend said the line was long and the process slow enough that they completed the app process while in line.

Starting at the Roosevelt Station

So we walked to the light rail, and got off at Westlake. Climbing a few flights in the Westlake Mall to the Monorail. Who thought this one stop relic of the 1962 World’s Fair would be an integral part of the transit system 60 years later. Monorail to the Seattle Center, and a short walk through the rain to the Arena.

On the Monorail

The game was fun. Since we were masked, there wasn’t much temptation to snack, although we did share a beer. Mannys from a tap, served in an aluminum cup. More recyclable. The Kraken beat the Minnesota Wild 4-1.

To get home we did the transit thing in reverse. However, instead of the fans arriving over an hour or two, everybody left at one time.

Line for the Monorail extending through the Armory.

The wait really wasn’t all that long. Two Monorail cars running, and no pushing or shoving. Again just scanned the transit pass from the ticket on your phone. The interesting thing was there were different barcodes to scan for Monorail, light rail, bus and a few other transit options.

In other fun, there was Halloween. Our neighborhood blocked off the street for 3 hours and held a limited contact trick or treat event. Carl repeated his baseball player delivery of Origami “baseballs” with a piece of candy tucked inside. We had about 60 visitors, and the delivery method was given high marks. The best was a group of 8 young teen girls. They were enthusiastic and 7 of the 8 caught the pitch.

And don’t forget to fall back tomorrow morning.


October 24, 2021

Both of us are struggling a bit to adjust back to home life. Bits of energy and getting the list checked, interspersed with tired times.  I just suggested it was bedtime, only to realize it is barely past 7.

One of the tasks today was to pass a test. We did our home version and scored two negatives. Yeah!

This was a step I felt I should take before going back to the office. We tried to be careful and mask if we were around folks, especially inside. But there were a lot of places with people over the last few weeks.  The wedding was basically vaccinated. On the mass transit and plane who knows, but masks. I will never figure out why people can’t manage to keep their masks over their nose. For those that keep adjusting them up, over and over again, find one that fits, we are in this for the long haul. For those that are just putting on whatever show they want that includes their nose, why bother to pretend you care.

I will admit the test really messed with me. I was on the verge of sneezing while it was inserted, and it made my eyes water uncontrollably. I also sneeze when I look at the sun, so I wasn’t completely surprised.

Back to work tomorrow. I was going to check on a schedule issue and send out an email tonight, but could not log on. Carl correctly noted that it was probably a power outage issue. One of the predicted storms blew through this afternoon, literally. We did not lose power at our house, but think we heard a nearby transformer blow. Or maybe thunder. I imagine power has been restored at work, and we do have a generator, but somebody needs to turn the computer back on. It will be me, tomorrow morning.

It’s now 7:36. Too early for bed?

Travel Day

October 22, 2021

We are riding with Rajesh to JFK, terminal 4. I thought a ride would be easier, and more predictable than once again figuring out the subway and airtrain. As we poke along in a traffic jam I am rethinking my premise. The trains run, predictably, most of the time. They also cost less.

This morning we are fine for time, and the cost is a drop in the bucket for this trip. Perhaps if we had been riding subways every day, my confidence would have been higher. We have managed it before.

At the gate, Dunkin Donut coffee. Not as good as Starbucks, and a fairly long wait.

Sunrise over JFK

Once in Seattle we did choose the almost familiar Light Rail, the 1 Line. The walk from the station has decreased from 2 miles to about 1/3 mile.

Almost the entire length of the current light rail line. Airport to neighborhood

We thank all those that sheltered us and shared time, ideas and energy.

Suitcases have been emptied, mail sorted but not dealt with, and grocery ordering about to commence. It’s nice to be home, but I think it will be an early evening.

October 21, 2021

Spent a lazy morning with Ashlan.

Theo, helping us lounge

Lounging around, watching episodes of the Task Master, and trying to give lessons on how to deflate and fold the queen size air bed so it could be successfully be placed into the bag that came in the box with the air mattress.

Mind you, it was not in the bag, but in a box, so there is no proof it will actually ever fit in the bag. There are also no instructions at all, for inflation, deflation or tips on folding. We have successfully inflated the bed for 4 nights. The deflation and folding techniques are improving each day. Tomorrow will be the real test as we are hoping to be picked up by an Uber at 6 AM, so there is a deadline.

Ashlan was quite a bit tired so Carl and I set out on a walk by ourselves. First up was the post office. We have been there before and it is only a few blocks away. Next was Trader Joe’s for some travel snacks. We have been there before too, but it is a bit further away. Next Carl suggested we try to get back to the waterfront. We dithered a bit and paid close attention to streets where we turned.

I don’t know if this surfboard is ever used, but it makes a handy sign post for me.
I just liked this sign

Eventually we spotted the Empire State Building and knew that was on the other side of the water, so at least now had the direction of travel figured out. Success was in our grasp.

Waterfront View

Our attempts to recreate Ashlan and Allen’s professional pictures with the Long Island City sign on Pier 1

Jay is shaded, Carl is blocking the middle of the sign
More, or less, both in the sun, sign is cut off
Both in the picture and in the sun, but no idea what the sign says

After a short stay we turned about and headed home. We even located the restaurant we are planning to dine at tonight so we could get an estimate of the time to walk there.

In total our walk was just under 7500 steps on a warm afternoon (70s). We were really ready to get off of our feet. This was about the time we discovered Ashlan’s modern apartment building had been transformed into a walk-up. 6 floors later we were truly ready to get off of our feet.

Casa Enrique was our dinner destination. It is only 2 or 3 blocks from the waterfront we visited earlier, so back out we went. It was about an hours wait for an outside table for four. No reservations. And it was worth the wait.

Pollo enchiladas mole.

Tomorrow is an early rising, so time to inflate the bed.


October 20, 2021
Queensboro Bridge from Ashlan and Allen’s apartment
The Vessel
The Vessel, with perspective
On the Highline
Legal Graffiti Artist
Find the Kingdome
On the Highline, looking at the Little Island
Entrance to the Little Island
Little Island glade
Something that can be played, in the Playground, on the Little Island
Looking back at the Little Island tulip supports
Tulip Supports Close Up

We actually got on the subway today. I thought perhaps we might make it through our few days here just walking. I don’t have any reason to avoid the subway, it just seemed like we weren’t heading that direction. But the Little Island, a new park on the east side of Manhattan, beckoned.

After departing the 7 train, we headed past a new attraction, the Vessel, in the Hudson Yard area. The Vessel is not open to visitors at this time. Apparently too many folks were utilizing its height for a quick exit. But it is quite something to look at.

Next stop was the High Line. Unlike my first visit several years ago, we entered without climbing steps, near the north end. I think we traversed almost the entire length, finally descending to street level once again. We had overshot our target by a few blocks, and walked to the main entrance to the Little Island.

Little Island is a fairly new, privately funded, park. We started off with a lemonade, and then wandered the different areas of the park. It was a popular spot, but not overly crowded. On weekends you have to reserve a time.

All of the walking meant we were hungry, and we settled on tacos, tostado and quesadillas from Los Tacos No. 1 in the Chelsea Market.

Back on the subway and a few errands later we were back in the apartment. For dinner Ashlan prepared burgers and fries. I have not had homemade fries for many years. They were a treat.

To round out the evening we watched the movie Soul. It was quite good and a nice way to end the evening.