Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

A day to play

Posted by joeabbott on December 14, 2013

Yesterday was grand in many many small ways, but mostly because Suzy took the day off and we enjoyed one of my favorite sort of days: a day doing little things.

Sunbreak cafeWe started by deciding to have breakfast out. That’s usually a hard decision as we’ve found recipes for homemade buttermilk pancakes that we love, found bacon that’s so good we fly it in, and with eggs coming from the backyard, well, it doesn’t get any fresher! Just to be clear, the “fly in the bacon” comment simply means we mail order it from a place in Wisconsin and it comes frozen. <g>

But, we were feeling like we wanted an easy day, so we let someone else prep the meal and do the dishes: Suzy got a spinach, mushroom, and bacon omelet and I got the Eggs Benedict. Both served with shredded red potatoes and hot tea and we were sated. Delish!

From there we headed to Del’s to get a few items we needed for the chickens and backyard, and then to the grocery store for the makings for weekend meals. Looks like pulled pork sandwiches are back on the menu, boys! I’m looking forward to that!

A while back Suzy and I took a walking tour of our own creation around a place called Black Diamond, WA. One of the features we ran into was a cemetery that was so old we had a hard time reading many of the markers. But, we reverently strolled the plots, examining stones laid many dozens of years prior, and wondered at the stories behind those who have gone before us. Black Diamond was a coal-producing area in Washington and so many sites were reserved for miner’s and their families.

And so started a modest interest in old cemeteries. We don’t often seek them out but do find them quietly interesting when we come upon them. And so we decided to take a look at St. Patrick’s Cemetery located a couple miles from our home in the Kent valley.

imageimageWe don’t have pictures from that walk (we didn’t even get the walk!) as a service was going on and we didn’t get out of the car. It felt intrusive and gauche to gad about the stones playing the role of morbid tourists while a family bids farewell to a loved lost member. We’ll save that trip for another day; what we ended up doing was taking a small driving tour of some quiet back streets in the soggy and low roads of the Kent valley. We’ve lived here about 20 years and had never seen some of these places. It was a nice way to spend a short hour.

After that we got home, let the cats run around, and then headed out again; this time we drove to the Tukwila Heritage and Cultural Center. We’d seen this appear in a search for “local museums” and as neither of us knew there was such a place, we thought to visit. While we found the tidy old schoolhouse, the doors were locked and a sign indicated it was open only in the late morning. Alas, we won’t be touring this one together anytime soon, but we did walk the (very) small Macadam Hazelnut park where I snapped Suzy with a concrete cougar statue.

From there we again drove about, looking at various architecture and stopping when a view caught our eye. It was doodling about in this way that we happened upon the Macadam Winter Garden. And what a gorgeous little garden it was! It has a small looping stream, a bridge over a little pool, and many many plants. In addition, they’ve placed a wonderful map complete with description of all the trees, shrubs, and plants in the park.

Over the next 45 minutes or so, we found ourselves espying an interesting specimen, consulting the map, retracing our steps to give it a critical eye and nod knowingly. Admittedly I was doing it for show, Suzy was actually storing away plant-knowledge for later use and ruminating with intent and purpose. So goes most of our trips to parks and gardens.

After this we dropped by a furniture store to talk about reupholstering a couch we have that’s seeing a bit of wear. We bought the sofa from Foster’s Furniture some 15 years ago and they still had us on record … prices have changed but they still have excellent customer service and we left with a number of options and our heads full or numbers.

Upon returning home we took a nap. Yup, right then and there in the waning hours of a beautiful (rainy) day, we dozed off for a time. It was grand.

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imageOur timing was perfect, however: we arose at just the right time to get a bite to eat before heading to a local concert hall to see the Rainier Symphony’s Christmas concert. Led by our favorite conductor, David Waltman, we enjoyed an evening of fun music and wonderful entertainment. A special guest soprano, Carly Hebert, knocked our socks off!

While I cringed at a minor gaffe in Hebert’s telling of The Night Before Christmas, she came back with a Silent Night that was hauntingly gorgeous. Waltman will regularly talk about the different pieces being performed but he was a bit more reticent this time, saving up for playing the role of a Father Guido Sarducci-esque Santa Claus. His shtick was family-friendly and laugh-out-loud funny, and while timing played less a strength in his over-the-top monologue, his steady stream of one-liners kept us all entertained until he took up the baton again and played one last Christmas tune before sending us home for the night.

But did we go home? No indeed.

Suzy noted that The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug opened that day and there was a 10:20PM showing at the local cinema. Judging me to be game, she suggested we go … and I can’t imagine anyone gamlier! I was in, baby!

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I’ve been reservedly looking forward to Desolation since last year’s Hobbit concluded; reservedly because I know the story well and didn’t NEED MOAR!! I just enjoyed the first installment and could wait.

But I did read some of the reviews about this piece and thought I’d love it. Why would I love it? Well, because I didn’t read any reviews that were negative in ways I cared about.

A few griped that the movie was long, that is had “a lot of dwarves in it”, and that there was “insufficient moral justification for the quest”. None of those issues are matters I care about (insufficient moral justification?!?!) but I was more concerned that for our movie showing, not only were tickets readily available, but for the show of a new film starting in 40 minutes, there were only a dozen folks in front of us in line. Oooo … that might foreshadow a stinker.

But, upon getting out of what ended up being a reasonably full theater at 1:30AM, I can unreservedly say it was a blast. I think I’m getting a bit older as the action sequences (of which there were many) were so fast I wasn’t sure who was doing what to whom, but I did see a lot of spiders and orcs die at the speedy hands of elven weapons. As a younger man reading the books, I thought an orc raiding party might number in the 15-20 orc range; after seeing the carnage left by heroes in the Peter Jackson version of his Middle-earth spectaculars, I have since adjusted the orc raiding party numbers up by an order of magnitude … and I’m wondering if I’m still short.

Go ahead and read a few reviews online, pull out the parts that reviewers liked, and know that I wholeheartedly agree. The stuff they didn’t like are inconsequential to me and as we drove home last night to a well-needed sleep, I looked to Suzy and said, “you know I’ll need to see that again”; to which she answered, “of course”.

Yesterday was a grand day of little things spent with someone I like the most. A good way to spend any day.

And here my time with you ends and I thank you for dropping in. Hope to see you again soon.

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