Spring is sprung…at last

It’s official: The Northwest saw its longest, most freezing-est, most wet-est, most grey-est winter in over 30 years. We might be Northwesterners, but even we have our limits.

By April 1st, I was desperate to get outside and in the sun, however limited its early spring reach (and damned the threat of April foolery. Some things are simply worth the risk).

This time of year, regardless the weather, Washingtonians think of fields of crocus, daffodils, tulips and iris. Jumping in the car and heading north to see sweeping fields of these flowers is an annual right of passage around my neck of the woods.

By the first of April in my usually temperate place on the map, the crocus would be long gone, the daffodils would be in the early stages of recession, the tulips would be in their first full blooms, and the iris would just be putting forth from the ground the tips of their green stalks. But the intensely freezing, wet winter this past year put all blooms into deep hibernation. Everything is set back at least a month.

Nevertheless, I snapped some photos of landscapes in the farming communities in and around western Skagit County. Flowers or no, it’s some spectacularly beautiful country.

It was July…

Picking through some journals, I came across this from last July:

The Ladies and Gents Who Lunch

Seated for lunch on the deck of a popular bistro in a popular “destination” town, over-looking the vast expanse of Puget Sound, I observe the following:

Middle aged man and his mother seated at the table across from me. Between them sits a mostly finished bottle of white wine and two empty glasses. They are quiet and still, staring past one another. The summer waterfront view is beyond stunning, but neither seems to be reveling in it. Every couple of minutes she says something, like, “This is good wine,” or, “Family is OK?” or, “My salad is very good. Do you like your sandwich?” To each question he gives clipped “yes, no, they’re fine,” replies. When the check arrives, which he says they should split, she thanks him for bringing her to this lovely place. He pours the rest of the wine from the bottle into his glass and gulps it down.

My salad arrives. I take the first bite and immediately choke. The Balsamic vinegar dressing is a bit too much. I shrink as curious eyes surreptitiously spy my spasm. Note to Self: Without a  decent balance of Olive Oil, and maybe a little bit of salt and pepper, Balsamic vinegar can be considered an effective instrument of excruciating torture.

A man and a woman take the table where the son and mother were just seated. They settle in and read the menu. She says she’s going to get a beer. He says he thinks he’ll do the same. They laugh. “What’s your favorite?” he asks. She laughs. He says, “My wife doesn’t like wine.” “Neither do I,” she says, “I only like beer.” He asks if she’s tried a local Micro Brew. She giggles, “I like Killian’s Red. It’s Irish. Like O’Douls.” He smiles and says, “They aren’t actually, like, Micros.” She shrugs, then says, “I taught myself last weekend how to make Mojitos.” This time, he shrugs. “Yeah? I don’t know those. What are those?” She laughs, “You don’t know what a Mojito is?” I think to myself, if they are trying to get it on in the Illicit Affair Department, they need to stop trying to justify their mutual attraction with something other than just simply wanting to get it on.


 

Lunch Break

Walk to the car. The bright, warm sun plays me for a fool, but the freezing breeze sternly reminds me it is still winter. Vibrant blue sky and giant white cumulus clouds surround the nearly pitch black low-rider rain clouds, skimming their way across the mountain’s foothill tops, depositing their cold, sloshy cargo of heavy rain and thick, wet snow. Forecast is for a dusting in the city overnight.

Hot soup and warm bread are what I crave, but Mexican-style chicken salad from the drive-thru will have to do. I’ve had worse. I’ve made worse. It actually isn’t all that bad. It’s just not hot soup. Something about hot soup on cold days.

As I walk back to the office from my car with my it’ll-have-to-do meal, I pass the facility manager taking a contractor on a tour around the building. He points out work that needs doing. It’s a lot, I’m sure. Hundred-year-old buildings are like that.

“And, we’re painting this year, too,” facility manager says to the contractor.

Good, I think. Anything but this color: not quite harvest gold, or sherbet orange, or adobe brown, but somewhere in between all of that. I hope they paint over the insane-asylum pale green with dark eggplant wainscoting interior as well. Maybe do something about the perpetual smell of dusty carpet while they’re at it. No matter how often the carpets are cleaned, the smell of dust lingers.

“Sorry, LRose,” the front desk woman says when she peaks her head around the office door, “I know you’re on lunch, but there’s a lady up front who asked for you, and, oh, my God…” rolling her eyes.

“What?”

“She’s very happy,” rolling her eyes again.

“HI!” the happy woman exclaims when she sees me. She is 30-ish, shortish, pleasantly plump, long jet-back hair, large round glasses with rhinestones in the corners, smooth alabaster skin, rosy cheeks, fffffrosty carnation pink lipstick and a sssssparkly pink scarf around her neck.

“I’M SO GLAD TO MEET YOU! I THOUGHT IT BEST IF I JUST POP BY AND SAY HI!”

She is, indeed, a very loud, very happy, bubbly person. I catch the front desk woman glancing my way and she rolls her eyes yet again. I promise loud-happy-bubbly-pink lady I will put up the poster and distribute the flyers she’s brought by and then quickly excuse myself. Not-so-great Mexican chicken salad awaits.

 

Zoo Time

It was a wet and cold November Sunday. What do two friends do who don’t feel like doing the typical rainy day thing, like going shopping or catching a movie? Go to the zoo, of course!

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring an extra camera battery, and file space on my phone was full, so nothing here of the lions and tigers, but I managed to get a few snaps of bears, etc.

[Want to see more photography? I moved all my photos to this blog.]