An Almost Wordless Wednesday post since the shot doesn't really need a caption. But I want to share my enthusiasm for this holiday tradition. It was a joy to view the dozen or more lighted vessels as they cruised past in front of the house and gathered in the cove.
The flotilla paused in front of the nearby park and treated our neighborhood to a 20-minute program of Christmas music. The truly hardy souls gathered along the park's shore, other neighbors viewed from their windows, and many of us hung out on docks to enjoy the annual event... and dash inside for a hot drink to warm our hands and our insides. Cool, windy, drizzly weather and any stress of the season was forgotten as the familiar carols filled the air. I LOVE Christmas happenings in Seattle.
Yellow umbrellas dot the landscape in Seattle's University Village, available to shoppers any time, 24/7, throughout this open air shopping center. We're a city of hardy souls who rarely grab an umbrella to dash from car to store, or shop to shop. On days like today, when the sky opened up to pour down a record 2 inches of rain in six hours (link), umbrellas were much appreciated...
... appreciated, that is until the winds gusted and swirled, turning umbrellas inside out...
... threatening lift-off, with or without human accompaniment.
The yellow umbrellas were far more decorative than useful today, like alien yellow blossoms opening to November's moisture and gray clouds.
They seem better suited to gentle showers, not serious storms, but it's a friendly gesture from the U.Village management team.
Lunch with a friend at Sonrisa was a treat, as usual, but later on I had more fun watching the umbrella-wielding shoppers than I did actually doing any shopping. (Mary Poppins would have been right at home in the Village today.)
The south deck has suddenly sprouted spots of color, in keeping with the vivid blooms of the rhododendrons in the background. I can only imagine the laughter and good times that will fill up this space as the weather warms up. Good choice, Laci.
Our local raccoons are usually active after dark, but this character ambled along the waterfront in full afternoon sunshine, casually ignoring any human activity. That could be confidence born of experience, or lucky-so-far overconfidence. I was so captivated by its actions that I almost forgot to grab the camera and record the moment.
It's official, today is the first day of Spring 2012, the Vernal Equinox. Throw off your winter coats and revel in the lengthening days... or at least look forward to it feeling less like Winter. The weatherman has forecast rain today with a high temperature of 46 F and a low of 39 F. I'll welcome Spring's arrival, but I'm ignoring March and looking forward to April when the Skagit Valley tulip fields are awash in color and our daytime temperatures might stay above 60.
For now I'll keep my coat handy and my umbrella too, for a stroll around the yard to exhort the spring flowers to ignore the rain and keep those blooms a'coming.
It's that time of year again, time to lose an hour of sleep as we set the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. Time to fool the body clock into thinking it's time to wake up an hour earlier. My brain will not be fooled by this clock adjustment.
Mother Nature is doing a number on us at the same time. It seems to happen every year. The cherry blossoms are out,
the daffodils are in full, glorious bloom,
the clematis is sending out shoots and climbing up its trellis,
even the Asian pear trees are setting buds,
while the TV weather folks keep talking about the possibility of more snow. Nature's idea of a joke, perhaps? Tantalizing us with promises of Spring and then dropping another dusting of Winter snow? I revel in this wild transitional weather, as long as there are a few days of sunshine thrown into the mix.
This little critter may look cute and harmless, but don't be taken in by his innocent appearance. He's a thief at heart, a bad guy twice over who shows no signs of remorse for his past misdeeds. Oh no, instead he's back casing the grounds daily looking for new opportunities.
I used to scare him with a toy squirt gun, chase him out of the nearby vine maple in the courtyard, away from that tempting suet feeder. It was a hopeless effort of course, but he did learn to scamper away when he saw me move toward the door. Then one day he boldly stole the whole suet block, metal cage and all. No, I didn't catch him in the act, but he was the most likely culprit. The flickers and downy woodpeckers were certainly not suspects.
Sigh. I walked to the Seward Park Audubon Center and invested way too much money in a large seed feeder that was advertised as "squirrel proof". Imagine that, just the thing to confound my pesky squirrel. I gleefully hung the new feeder on the same branch in the same tree as the missing suet feeder. Gotcha, Mr. Squirrel.
Sigh. Now that feeder is gone too. I'm left with a 10-pound bag of birdseed and no feeder to put it in. Damned cheeky rodent! I do have to admire his go-gettum attitude... just a little. Be on the lookout in your neighborhood, I'm encouraging him to move on.
January was memorable for an early snowstorm that lingered on... and on... and on. The fresh snow was exhilarating at first as it drifted down in fat, billowy flakes. The scene outside my window quickly shifted from the usual shades of green to a complex study in black and white. Initially a treat, that blanket of white overstayed its welcome by several days. The downside of Snowmageddon 2012 was snarled traffic, school closures, an airport shutdown and thousands of people living without power for too many days after an ice storm brought branches and whole trees down on power lines. We stayed home, safe and comfortable, with power the entire week. Bored? not really, but I did read a lot, surf online, and cook up a storm (link).
Feet up on the stairwell windowsill, I kept an eye on the hummingbird feeder and played with my iPhone as the snowstorm began.
I wasn't eager to drive on icy, rutted roads but cross-country skiing became a tempting possibility.
Three resident hummingbirds didn't stray far from the feeder.
The ivy reindeer needed rescuing before the ice storm hit.
Brrrrrr, this cormorant looks like he could use a parka.