Tag Archives: retirement

Sierra–Part 2–Chapter 2

“The shelter I guess,” Mrs. Browne couldn’t hide her tears.  It was difficult enough to admit she needed help, but to give Barnaby to a shelter was more than she could handle.  “What if no one adopts him? Will they put him to sleep?” 

Barnaby strolled across the room and tugged at Sierra’s shirt.  His sad dark eyes seemed to be pleading with Sierra not to send him to such an uncertain fate.  Sierra bent down and gently wrapped her arms around Barnaby’s neck and said,   “Okay, okay, I’ll take you.” 

“Sierra, do you know how he got his name?”

“No.  I don’t think you’ve ever told me.”

Mrs. Browne pointed to a picture on the, now, almost empty bookcase.  “Get the picture over there.  The one I wouldn’t let you pack.”

Sierra picked up the picture, a very young sailor smiled back at her.  Sierra knew this was Anthony, Mrs. B’s grandson.  And she knew it had been taken just before he shipped out aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.  She also knew that after the Navy he had returned to Florida very briefly before he disappeared completely.

Mrs. B held the picture and smiled.  Instead of an 18-year-old sailor she saw a three-year-old  toddler.  “When Tony was little,” she started, “his grandfather thought that Anthony was not only too big of a name for such a little tot, but also a ridiculous name for a blonde, blue-eyed child of Irish decent.”  For just a moment Mrs. Browne was quiet as she remembered her husband, Aidan.  She could see his blues eyes smiling mischievously as they had the day he proposed.  Quickly, however she pulled herself back to the present.  “Well, anyway, Aidan decided to call Tony, Barnaby.  His Mother hated the nickname, but our son just laughed.  So as long as Aidan was alive, Anthony was called Barnaby any time he was here at the cottage.  After our son was killed, Tony’s mother didn’t adapt well.   She started drinking and hung around with a lot of undesirable characters.  So Tony spent a lot of his childhood here with us.”

“Okay, but how does that explain why you called a dog Barnaby?”

“I got Barnaby right after Tony’s ship left to provide military support off the coast of Iraq, and Sierra, as silly as this sounds, calling a stupid dog Barnaby gave me some comfort during that time.”

“What did Tony think about that?”

“Well, Sierra, he was here for such a short time after he got out of the Navy, that we didn’t really discuss it.  He did roll his eyes the first time he heard me call the dog.  I wish I knew what happened to him.  I am afraid his mother might have had something to do with his disappearance.”


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Harbor’s Edge

The fog crowded the shoreline as I walked along the harbor edge of the Port Angeles Trail today.  It has been a year since I walked this section.  It starts downtown at the Port Angeles waterfront.  I had planned to climb the tower at City Pier when I first arrived, but the fog was so dense that it hid the view. So I didn’t bother.

The first person I passed on the trail was an older man who was busy cleaning up what someone’s dog had left behind..  I am certain he was wondering why people don’t use the doggie bags that are posted at each end of the trail.  I guess I was wondering the same thing. 

Large rose bushes grow along one section of the trail providing a pleasant distraction.  The plant blooms are receding but the rose hips provide their own display this time of year.   I watched as several people stopped to get a close-up view, as did I.

 As I continued to walk, the fog moved farther out exposing the shoreline.  Past Ennis Creek a couple of older men were slowly walking along, one with a cane and the other man carefully gauging his speed to stay beside his friend.    We chatted a few minutes about the weather and one of them told me we could bottle this perfect weather.   We just needed some quart jars and then we should boil it for 30 minutes.  If only it was that easy to preserve a day like this.  I really would love to have a jar to open on a gray winter day. 

I continued on until I was a bit beyond the temporary detour that takes us around an environmental clean-up site.  Then I knew that if I didn’t head back, I might be beyond the parking limit, and a parking ticket would destroy the joy of my walk. 

As I neared Francis Street Park, I noted a work of art in the park.  I decided to walk the stairs to street level and check it out.  It wasn’t visible when I walked east, but from the west it is hard to miss.

 The sun was out when I returned to the City Pier and I was grateful that I had decided to walk this morning.

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Disc Golf or What I Discovered on My Walk Today

I’ve decided that retirement can be either a time of mind numbing inactivity or a time of observation and exploration.  I’ve tried both.  The latter makes life much more pleasant.  I resumed walking today.  I decided to reverse my course.  This time I went past the park on my westbound trek, intending to walk around the fairground coming from the east.  I got side tracked along the way. 

As I passed the park I noticed a disc golf basket.  I knew there was a disc golf course at Lincoln Park.  It was put in about a year ago, however I had not noticed that one of the baskets is visible from the road.  Then I saw the sign pointing to the Disc Golf Course.  Since I normally walk this stretch of the road heading west I had never noticed the sign.  It is visible only from the east.

 I continued my walk, but instead of circling the fairgrounds I walked out Airport Road and then retraced my steps back by the park.    This time I decided to walk into the park and see where the baskets were placed.  Upon entering the course I came across two guys playing.   They stopped to let me through and explained to me that the course is played with a weighted disc similar to a Frisbee.  I asked them exactly what the baskets were called and one of them told me they were referred to as a tee or basket.   (He followed that explanation with the comment that when his girl friend calls him a “basket case” he knows it is time to go play disc golf.)    The goal is to get your disc to the basket in the least amount of tosses.  Apparently disc golf is very similar to golf, which of course I really no nothing about either.  They handed a disc to me so that I could see what it looked like.  Apparently there is a well-marked course of 9 baskets in the park, plus several more that these guys did not know how to find.  Since they were so pleasant I decided not to interrupt their game any longer and left the area so they could continue.  Next time I am by the park I intend to walk the course.

On the rest of my journey I thought about the first time we had ever seen a disc golf basket.   We were in Crescent City, California.  We had stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites on the waterfront, just a short walk from the Battery Point Lighthouse.   As we walked around the park we noticed these baskets.  My traveling partner, quite a history buff, suggested that maybe they were something left from a Spanish ship wreck, or perhaps they were intended to be a replica from a Spanish ship.  When we returned to the Inn, we asked the young man at the desk about the baskets.  Much to our surprise, he didn’t have a clue. 

The next morning we asked the woman on the desk and she told us they were for disc golf.  She offered no more information than that.  So until today, I knew that disc golf existed, but was pretty much ignorant as to how it was played.

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Still Walking —

It was mild but cloudy when I left the house for my daily walk.  I guess mild is relative.   In the Pacific Northwest, 63 degrees is mild.  I consider it perfect walking weather, no coat required, no sun glasses required, just get out there and put one foot in front of the other. 

As I headed in the direction of town, I walked through several residential alleys.  Alley walking is an interesting adventure.  I have walked by these same houses on the street side.   From the front several of them are lovely well maintained homes, but the alley sides, my oh my, what a difference.  Behind some of those lovely homes the grass is so tall that it would hide a small deer.  Others have so much junk scattered around that you couldn’t find your way to their back door, heaven forbid if they ever had an emergency.  I have to admit my yard isn’t perfect.  This year my front yard looks pretty good.  I have made it my priority.  My back yard isn’t quite as neat and tidy, but I do keep my grass cut and I don’t pile debris all over the yard.  To each his own I guess.

I discovered that the neighborhood dogs don’t like it when you walk through the alley.   They run back and forth along the fence barking menacingly.  I always check to see how big they are and how well they are restrained as I go past them.  The big dogs can be scary and some of the little ones can be even scarier.  Most of them probably just want someone to play with them, but I usually talk to them from a distance and hurry past.

My favorite site today was the little purple backhoe sitting in the front yard of one of the homes I passed.  I could just picture a petite little gal, hair tied in a pony tail, confidently pulling the levers, lifting the bucket and digging a trench.  Someday, I hope I can figure out how to get that purple backhoe into one of my stories.  Doesn’t it just make your mind go wild with ideas?

Tomorrow we hope to make our walk out Hurricane Hill Trail again.  If we make it I will let you know what is happening with the wildflowers.

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Frustation–Memory gone amok

There are days when it seems everything is against you.  My practically new embroidery machine keeps losing it’s memory.   My machine starts the embroidering just fine.   Then somewhere along the way it decides to do a little dance and takes a detour off the planned route.   It runs across the fabric willy-nilly  untill it finds a place it likes better than where it is supposed to go.  Then it resumes the pattern  several inches from where it started.  I love having machines that can do wonderful things, practically on their own, but I want them to do what I want them to do.  I want the results to be my creativity, not theirs.

I’ve taken the machine to the sewing machine hospital and left it in the mental ward.  Unfortunately it is County Fair week and the owner/repairman/physician/psychiatrist  is on his way to set up for the Fair this afternoon.  It may be a week or more before I know how sick my poor machine really is.  I hope its memory isn’t completely gone.

My plan yesterday was to do some embroidery on some cushions I am making for a granddaughter.   If the day had gone as planned I would be displaying them on the blog today, but life does not always go as planned.  Perhaps another day…. 


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Hurricane Ridge–the rewards of patience

The clouds hung heavy over the hills as we started up the road to Hurricane Ridge.  A small fawn wandered back and forth across street just beyond the entrance station.  About eight miles up the road the sun started to slide in and out from behind the clouds and blue sky spread out.  One of the mysteries of Hurricane Ridge is waiting to see what the weather will be like when you reach the top.   On days like today, the waiting is worth it.  When we reached the top the clouds were beneath us and clear skies above us.

We slowed to a crawl as we reached the lodge.  On this stretch of the road people forget that cars pass through the road and pedestrians walk about with total disregard for passing vehicles.   We continued on up the road, driving slowly past the first and second picnic areas until we reached the parking area for the Hurricane Hill Trail.  

Slowly we circled the lot.  It was full. 

 We drove back down to the second picnic area and parked.  Finding a table, nestled in the trees but partially warmed by the sun, we ate our sandwiches while listening to a raven call out above.  Then we saw it as it sailed over the trees.  Someone in the parking lot was able to capture a picture as it flew away, but alas, we weren’t prepared. 

Once again we headed up to the Hurricane Trail Parking lot, still no empty spaces, but we circled the lot.  And then as we started to circle it a third time a couple came up and indicated that they would be pulling out.  

As we started out the trail, we were rewarded for our patience.  Brilliant blues of lupine grow close to the trail.  Looking closely, we discovered tiger lilies amidst beds of Indian paintbrush and all along the trail wildflowers of whites and pinks and yellows greeted us as we walked along. 

The wildflowers are late this year.   Winter stayed beyond its welcome up on the ridge.  But since this was my first trip up there this year, I’ll forgive the winter for its persistence.  Perhaps we’ll get out the trail again before the winds and rain come and remind us why it is called Hurricane Ridge.


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It’s Just a Walk

“Will you walk a little faster” said a whting to a snail, there’s a porpoise close behind us and he’s treading on my tail.”—Lewis Carroll

Sometimes a daily walk can do more than improve your health.  It can brighten your day and give you hope for the next generation.   During this time in history we hear reports every day about childhood obesity.   We see the evidence of unhealthy lifestyles every where.  My experiences this week gave me hope.

I walked the same route twice in a row this week, once in the afternoon and the next day in the morning.  On the first day I encountered a male and a small child taking a break along the other side of the road.  The child, a little girl of four or five-years-old, called out “Hi.” 

 I responded and then I exchanged some unimportant pleasantry with her Dad.  He then asked her if she was ready to continue.  I watched as she feverishly pedaled away with Dad jogging to keep up.  I had not walked very far when I heard this little voice yell, “I used to fall off but I can go really fast now.”

At a time when it is common to find both adults and children glued to their computers or video games it warmed my heart to see this Father and daughter both outside, both getting some exercise.  It was my privilege to hear a little girl, who had obviously gained a sense of achievement because she no longer fell off of her bike and could now go “really fast,” express her confidence so clearly.

The next morning as I walked along that same street I heard a little voice call out, “Hi,” followed by, “I remember you.”  I recognized the voice immediately.  I looked back to see her playing in a yard filled with outdoor play equipment.

I waved.  Then I heard another voice, “Hi.”   So I waved again.  And then a third voice called out to me.  And once again I waved back.    Three little girls played in the yard.   I wish this was an experience, seeing children play outdoors, that I would have more often.  It gave me hope.

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country and even when we are having a perfect Pacific Northwest day, I seldom see anyone outside.  I commend the Mom’s and Dads, the caretakers, the big brothers and sisters that take time away from their treasured technology to go for a walk or accompany a little child as she learns to ride her bicycle “really fast.”

I hope that I see more of this as I continue to walk around our community.

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