Friday, January 19, 2018

Catching Up, Part 2

Last weekend we got a mix of rain and sunshine.  On rainy Saturday, Tina and I ventured up to the Aurora Antique Pavilion in Edmonds for some sketching.  This place is HUGE. 

It has 30,000sf and nearly 200 vendors and it takes hours to look through.

There was way more stuff I wanted to draw than I had time for, obviously.

Plus, I also wanted to do a bit of shopping.

Eventually, I got overloaded by the sheer volume of stuff.

So I just sat down randomly and drew whatever was in front of me at one particular booth.

We couldn't use paint inside the store, so I snapped a photo and added watercolor later at home.

We definitely need to return -- it was a great place for rainy-day drawing,

But here is what you really want:  more cute Pippin pics!

He and Truman are getting along just fine.

Chloe, however, is still not sure about him.

It was sunny on Sunday, so I popped down to the Montlake Fill, where I spotted this Red-tailed Hawk:

It heard Pippin squeaking (he squeaks/squeals when he's bored, which is whenever I stop to look at something), and did this:

Maybe the bird thought Pippin was an especially big rat.  We quickly moved on.

Later that day, Tina and Nicole and I went sketching at Gas Works Park, where the temperature broke 60 degrees!  Very pleasant to be able to draw outside.

It was also warm and pleasant on Monday.  I took the hounds to Green Lake Park, which is very popular with walkers and joggers and cyclists for its 3-mile loop trail. 

Pippin got lots of socializing practice in, and though I stuck him in the stroller for photos (otherwise he doesn't sit still), he did walk about 2/3 of the way around.

There was a big flock of American Wigeons on the lake, which decided to fly up just as we reached them.

A beautiful day for a 3-mile stroll.

I paused about halfway around to take a little rest and sketch break.  Of course, neither dog wanted to sit in the stroller while I sat there -- and it was a bit tricky to draw while they were on my lap.

But I managed!

Now I am all caught up, and will return to the regular once-weekly Monday posts.  Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Catching Up, Part 1

After an unexpected delay caused by a certain adorable puppy chewing up a laptop cord, I am finally able to blog again!  I have forgiven the adorable puppy.  I just hope we can get through his teething phase without further mishaps.

So these photos are from the first week of the year!  Next time I'll post stuff from the second week, and then we'll be close to caught up.  Whew.

On New Year's Day, I took the Hounds to the Montlake Fill -- it was Pippin's first visit there.

He loved the smells.

I introduced him to the concept of sitting still while I looked at birds.  We practiced on this lovely Wood Duck.

Pippin took his cue from Truman and waited patiently for me to finish.

Afterwards, I rewarded him with a visit to a pet supply store.

And then made him go to a bookstore.

Back home, he crashed on the armchair...I may need to get a bigger one.

He is now nearly four months old and has grown from 3lbs to 5lbs.  He's doing very well on training, and knows "sit", "stay", "come", and "roll over", and is making progress on "leave it."  As for housetraining, he's had one accident over the past 16 days.  Yay!

He has a gazillion toys to play with, such these:

Yet his favorite thing to play with is an old shirt that I tied knots in:

He also enjoys Thursdays, when Winston and Chloe spend the day here.

Winston likes Pippin, while Chloe kind of tolerates him for short periods.

They really love their back yard, either for running and chasing, or for digging.

Okay, so I didn't spend all of my time hanging out with the hounds -- I did manage to get out for one short sketch outing with Tina at the Woodland Park Zoo.

The next weekend, we sketched at an antique mall.  I'll post an update on that (and more adorable puppy pics) next time!

Monday, January 8, 2018


Pippin decided to gnaw on my laptop power cord. I have a new one on order. So no update until it arrives.

He's been so good up to now.  A whole month with NO destruction when I left home without him, up to three hours. I left on Saturday for four hours, which apparently was one hour too long.

It's a good thing he's so cute! Check back in a few days for an update.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Books Read

[For my regular weekly report, click here:]

2017 was the Year of Re-Reading.  Of the 101 total books I read, 36 were re-reads, partly because some books deserve re-reading, and partly because I had way too much trouble finding good new stuff, especially fiction.

I read 55 works of fiction, and 46 nonfiction.  In the list below, an R indicates a re-read.  On to 2018 books!


R  Black Hearts In Battersea  (Joan Aiken)
R  The Hotel Cat  (Esther Averill)
Naughty in Nice  (Rhys Bowen)
Beyond the Paw Paw Trees  (Palmer Brown)
August Heat  (Andrea Camilleri)
Cards on the Table  (Agatha Christie)
Dead Man's Folly  (Agatha Christie)
Three-Act Tragedy  (Agatha Christie)
Elementary, She Read  (Vicki Delany)
Gone West  (Carola Dunn)
Offshore  (Penelope Fitzgerald)
Rest In Peach  (Susan Furlong)
The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse  (Nicholas Gannon)
By Book or By Crook  (Eva Gates)
R  Comet In Moominland  (Tove Jansson)
R  Finn Family Moomintroll  (Tove Jansson)
R  Moominland Midwinter  (Tove Jansson)
R  Moominpappa at Sea  (Tove Jansson)
R  Moominpappa's Memoirs  (Tove Jansson)
The Moomins and the Great Flood  (Tove Jansson)
R  Moominsummer Madness  (Tove Jansson)
R  Moominvalley in November  (Tove Jansson)
The Summer Book  (Tove Jansson)
R  Tales from Moominvalley  (Tove Jansson)
A Clutch of Constables  (Ngaio Marsh)
R  Hand in Glove  (Ngaio Marsh)
R  Crocodile on the Sandbank  (Elizabeth Peters)
R  The Curse of the Pharaohs  (Elizabeth  Peters)
R  The Deeds of the Disturber  (Elizabeth Peters)
R  Lion in the Valley  (Elizabeth Peters)
R  The Mummy Case  (Elizabeth Peters)
R  Peter Duck  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Great Northern?  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Pigeon Post  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Secret Water  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Swallowdale  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Swallows and Amazons  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Winter Holiday  (Arthur Ransome)
R  Wild Strawberries  (Angela Thirkell)
The Choir  (Joanna Trollope)
R  The Chinese Gold Murders  (Robert Van Gulik)
R  The Chinese Lake Murders  (Robert Van Gulik)
The Feng Shui Detective  (Nury Vittachi)
A Damsel In Distress  (P.G. Wodehouse)
R  Aunts Aren't Gentlemen  (P.G. Wodehouse)
R  The Code of the Woosters  (P.G. Wodehouse)
R  How Right You Are, Jeeves (P.G. Wodehouse)
Leave It To Psmith (P.G. Wodehouse)
Service With a Smile  (P.G. Wodehouse)
Something Fresh  (P.G. Wodehouse)
R  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves  (P.G. Wodehouse)
Uncle Dynamite  (P.G. Wodehouse)


344 Questions  (Stefan Bucher)
Age of Enlightenment  (Peter Gay)
Age of Progress (S.C. Burchell)
Ancient America  (Jonathan Leonard)
The Ardent Birder  (Todd Newberry)
Birds Art Life  (Kya Maclear)
British Isles:  A Natural History  (Alan Titchmarsh)
By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life  (Pamela Paul, ed.)
The Card Catalog  (Library of Congress)
Catcher in the Wry  (Bob Uecker)
Chesapeake Spring  (John Taylor)
The Concord Quartet: Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau (Samuel Schreiner)
Dave Barry Is From Mars and Venus  (Dave Barry)
Dave Barry Talks Back  (Dave Barry)
Dave Barry's Bad Habits  (Dave Barry)
Diary of a Left-Handed Birdwatcher  (Leonard Nathan)
Early Islam  (Desmond Stewart)
Early Japan  (Jonathan Leonard)
Facto-O-Pedia  (Charlotte Lowe, ed.)
Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores (Bob Eckstein)
A Girl Called Vincent  (Krystyna Goddu)
Gods of the Morning: A Bird's-Eye View of a Changing World  (John Lister-Kaye)
Historic India  (Lucille Schulberg)
How We Eat With Our Eyes & Think With Our Stomach (Muhl,M. & Van Kopp, D.)
How We Got To Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World  (Steven Johnson)
I'm A Stranger Here Myself  (Bill Bryson)
The Inklings: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends (Humphrey Carpenter)
Landmarks  (Robert Macfarlane)
R  The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid  (Bill Bryson)
R  The Lost Continent  (Bill Bryson)
A Lust for Windowsills: A Lover's Guide to British Buildings  (Harry Mount)
Making Zen Your Own  (Janet Abels)
Mindfulness for Beginners  (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy  (Michael Perry)
R  Neither Here Nor There  (Bill Bryson)
R  Notes from a Small Island  (Bill Bryson)
A Philosophy of Walking  (Frederic Gros)
A Pictorial History of the Great Lakes  (Harlan Hatcher & Erich Walter)
Pure Drivel  (Steve Martin)
A Sideways Look at Clouds  (Maria Mudd Ruth)
Story of Civilization, Vol. 4:  The Age of Faith  (Will Durant)
Story of Civilization, Vol. 5:  The Renaissance  (Will Durant)
R  Tao Te Ching  (Lao Tzu)
Uncle John's Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader
Union Bay: The Life of a City Marsh  (Harry Higman & Earl Larrison)
Voyages of Discovery  (Tony Rice)
Walking the Way  (Robert Rosenbaum)
Winnowed Wisdom  (Stephen Leacock)
Zen To Go  (Jon Winokur, ed.)

Out with the Old, In with the Old

It's my hope that 2018 will be much like 2017, thus the post title.  That's on a personal level, not a national or global level, of course.  For me, 2017 was full of sketching, hanging with friends, birding, walking, reading, gardening, and hanging with dachshunds (with a new puppy arrival towards the end of the year that should make 2018 just a wee bit different).

And it was the end of my second year of early retirement, for which I have no regrets.   Who would trade away sunny garden lounging, random explorations full of serendipity, quality AND quantity time with dachshunds, and lots more time with good friends in favor of more money?  Not I.

Some days were slower than others (RAIN RAIN GO AWAY), and others were far too busy, but it balanced out on the whole.  I became an expert at doing nothing, and yet I also managed to fit in 40 hours of volunteer work for the Seattle Audubon Publications Committee, ten weeks of fostering two rescue dogs from Hearts4Doxies, and a few hours with ARC of Washington at their annual 5K run for people with disabilities (helping with set up and cheerleading, not actually running myself!).  I look forward to volunteering with the Special Olympics, being held here in Seattle this coming summer, and working with Seattle Audubon on a special exhibit at the Burke Museum.

Okay, that's it for my End of the Year Report.  This post will be followed by my annual Books Read list.  In the meantime, here are photos from the last week of 2017.

We got snow on Christmas!

Pippin had no trouble going out in it -- he hopped around like a bunny.

Since I couldn't get out and about, I did a very quick sketch of the my front gate.

I also did my first sketch of Pippin.

And another drawing of my living room.

The snow was all gone in a couple of days, so I got out for a bit of sketching from inside the car -- this is the view from a parking lot at  Hamlin Park, where there is a public art installation of concrete painted spheres:

Back home, the pups seemed to be getting along just fine.

In birding news, I got a new Life Bird!  A Rose-breasted Grosbeak had been appearing regularly at a private home's backyard feeder in the Greenlake neighborhood, and the homeowners welcomed birders to come and see this uncommon bird -- more typically it prefers higher altitudes.  I got over there on Saturday morning and after a 45-minute wait along with several other eager birders, the Grosbeak turned up.

I spent the wait time sketching the view I had over the back fence.

A lovely bird seen in good company on a sunny day. 

On Sunday I went out sketching with Tina and Nicole.  We parked at Golden Gardens and drew from inside the comfort of Tina's car.  It was a bit tricky for me, seated in the back, but I managed.

Quite a busy week, which ended with dinner out last night with friends, and a whole lot of noise from my neighbors who were hosting a party, and a beautiful sunrise this morning.