Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Coming home from work this evening I cut across the Res as usual. A big wind was whipping dust from the plowed fields and some vicious-looking tumbleweeds across the road, reminding me of the dust wall that caused those pile-ups last Thursday on I-10. It must've given pause to the other drivers, too; most of the cars on the stretch of McKellips between the 101 and the 202 stayed at or below the speed limit, except for a few yahoos weaving through traffic. Here at the house we got wind and some thunder, nothing you could call rain.

Last weekend I flew up to visit Mom in Tacoma. I arrived late Friday afternoon, time enough to admire with envy Mom's luxurious tomatoes plants and hubbard squash, and have dinner on the patio. Friday evening we watched the Olympics on tv. Fortunately Mom's cable has CBUT, a Canadian channel, which showed the opening ceremonies uncut. In their entirety they were very spectacular and moving, especially the tableux.

On Saturday we picked up Lila at Mel & Kathy's place, and went out to McDonald's for lunch. This McD's had a veggie burger that was pretty good. It must be a regional thing; their kids meal offered apple slices instead of mandarin oranges. Lila was looking well, more alert than the last time I saw her, about a year ago. (I wonder if this is because she's moved from her basement apartment up to the second floor.) She's not in the great health that Mom is, but gets out for a walk every morning. After lunch Mom & I went to Tacoma Boys to pick up some fresh corn on the cob for dinner, then we went over to Snake Lake. Snake Lake is a little nature preserve across the street from Henry Foss, where I went to high school. It was first set aside around the time I graduated I think, and kind of languished for awhile. Now in addition to the walking trails it has a visitor's center with a gift shop and exhibits, and a classroom for field trips. The lake, more a pond really, was rather shrunken due to the heat, but we saw two turtles and numerous wood ducks.

When we got back to the house I sat down and tried to figure out Mom's iMac so I could write down clear, non-technical instructions on how to start up the word processor. Mom's been intending to gather up her notes and try to finish the memoir Dad started before he died. Trouble is, Dad was always the one who set up the computer for her, as well as doing all the maintenance stuff around the house. (Dad built, plumbed, and wired the house, and was definitely the techie of the marriage.) Since Cliff lives up in Seattle now, she relies a lot on my cousins Craig and Mel to help her out when something goes wrong with the plumbing etc.

Sunday morning Cliff came down and the three of us went down to The Lobster Shop for their wonderful brunch overlooking the Bay. We decided that next time we'll wait and make our reservation for 10:30, since that's when they start serving outside on the deck. Afterwards we took a short walk along the waterfront, with all the dogwalkers, bicycles, and scuba divers - wonder what there was to see down there? Tacoma as a whole has become a little more upscale since I grew up there, due to Seattle becoming a trendy place, and the waterfront area in particular has been gentrified. Hanging baskets of flowers? In my day, we decorated with driftwood and seaweed!

We drove out to the cemetary and cleared out the dead leaves and petals around Dad's rose. It's doing better, Mom says, since they sprayed. She poured some fertilizer around it and installed a little windchime on a stake next to it. The rose garden is a beautiful place, very quiet, with a little stream and pond in its middle.

Sunday evening I arrived home to a huge rainstorm - over far too soon.


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