A walk

One of the trees at Lake Sacajawea Park that still has leaves

I have not been posting. December is a full month for me. Coincidentally, I’ve had an unusually high amount of traveling lately, and I’m far behind on all the tasks I want to do.

I’m the volunteer editor of two newsletters, one for the Mt. Hood Cherokees and one for the Great Spirit Church (I’m an atheist, so not a member of the church, just a supporter 🙂 ), which both were due for publishing the first week of December. I’m done with both – yay!!

In this view, one of the lake’s small islands is shown on the left, and a distant sign from behind that reads PEACE ON EARTH.

I have pretty much completed the gift collecting for all my people, because we celebrate Christmas, and that is coming up. I have wrapped about half of the gifts. I have an evergreen tree standing in my living room, but not one other bit of Christmas decoration. Not even lights, inside or out. *sigh* Decorations are low priority when I am scrambling to catch up.

We came across three women stringing this red ribbon. The woman above, her daughter, and her niece. The day happened to be the birthday of her deceased husband. In his memory, they told us, they always come out on this day and put red ribbon up on this tree, to remember him. They were married 57 years, she said.
On our way back, on the other side of the lake, we spotted the tree again. The women had left.

I am the new captain of my Belle Brigade team – yay! But now I’m responsible for the team – yeeks! We have a holiday party coming up this weekend and I’m SO stressed out about that. I really don’t like parties and good heavens I am not the right person to organize one, but here I am. Of course, my first terror is that no one will show up. Or worse, two people will show up when I’ve rented a place and asked for staffing for twenty. Also, we have all been recruiting, and some of the new members of the team will show up and I’m nervous about meeting them and have fingers crossed that we will all click and they will decide for real to join us and begin their speed walking training.

These days I am missing my Pedro. Coming up on our two-year anniversary of dating, we are past the emotion explosion of falling in love, and now the other priorities in our lives: family, work, errands, often win over just hanging out and staring into each other’s eyes. So we see each other on the weekends, and the whole time in my mind I am thinking “But while I’m with him, other things are not getting done!” He was a sweetheart last weekend and offered to help me with tasks. Thank goodness. On our way back home from one of the errands, we passed a park in the nearby town of Longview, Washington, and decided to take a quick walk before the rain started again.

All the scenes seem a bit similar, but that’s because every single view is of a long green strip with beautiful trees along a long narrow lake. The park is bound on both sides by streets and a residential area.

Longview has a very pretty park called Lake Sacajawea Park. It’s a long, narrow park on either side of a lake made out of an old timber shipping canal. In Longview’s early days, timber was floated in the canal between the seaport and the mills. Today it’s easily the most beautiful part of the mostly ugly and industrial town of Longview. We made the three-mile loop and finished just as the winter rains kicked in again. All the photos in this post are from my old iphone as we made the walk.

The rain had stopped for a little while, and the sky lightened up for us.
Longview, to my great amusement, is a squirrel-positive city. They have an annual Squirrel Festival! They also have lots of these squirrel bridges – which squirrels actually use! They connect these giant trees over the roads, and result in fewer squirrel deaths.
Each bridge is unique and interesting. You may be able to tell the squirrel at the top here is in the super hero pose.
Another bridge over the street bordering the park.

Stumped for a gift idea for a family member for a long time, I was delighted when I came up with the greatest idea, but now I’m out of time and it’s a craft and required lots of scouring online for things to use in the craft and I need to make four of them for all four of the family members. Anyway…they are turning out so great and I am having so much fun, but so far it’s been about three full days just working on these crafts. And they still must be mailed in time for Christmas. haha. To make sure I don’t spoil the surprise, I won’t post pics here, but Omigosh, so much fun.

I think my favourite thing about the park, other than the water, are the massive trees.

Oh! RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of all of this, my refrigerator DIED. Friday night I thought my ice maker in the refrigerator had stopped working, since water was dripping all over. No worries. I hate those dumb things anyway. Then Saturday I thought maybe all the freezing stuff had stopped working. Again, no worries. I barely use the freezer. I had one half-empty frothy melted tub of vanilla ice cream – at least six months old because I don’t really eat sweets. And one thawed package of sausage which I cooked up. But Sunday morning we realized the whole unit was getting progressively warmer. When I had so many other things to work on, instead I spent seven hours on Sunday searching for a refrigerator to buy. I live out in the country and had to find someone who could deliver, and deliver soon, and also haul away the old one, and also all that had to be done for a reasonable price, since I just spent all my extra cash on the holidays. Finally, at 7:00pm that night (Pedro had long ago gone back home), I was in a store an hour away from home and completed a purchase. I should have a new fridge sometime Thursday.

I spotted these teensy trees. The tree stands were glued to the stones. I couldn’t tell if the “trees” were real branches pinched off a tree or plastic. How funny that someone did this.

And finally, yes, my massive Christmas letter project is due (according to my self-assigned schedule). I have barely started it and I prefer to have it DONE by December 1st, because the part that really takes the most time is getting it printed out and adding personal notes, and addressing envelopes and getting the 80 letters into the mail. People often tell me to just send them out via email but so far I refuse. I have always loved writing and receiving actual mail in an actual mailbox, and this is for me, not for the people on the list. I am certain there are folks who don’t read the letters, but no matter.

There are lots and lots of birds, of course. We saw hundreds. I liked this pure white pigeon.

To take care of two things at once, today, while I wait for a couple more craft thingies to arrive from Etsy in the mail (god bless Etsy) to finish my half-finished gifts, I am at Pedro’s house. He has to work, and is working from home. It’s perfect because I have to work too, on my Christmas letter, and with my laptop I can work anywhere. So we had coffee together this morning and eventually we will take a break and eat together. Pedro suggested a walk in the neighborhood trails around his house after work – maybe with headlamps because it’s dark early these days. And I have big plans to try to make chicken cordon bleu tonight for the first time in at least 15 years. We will do that together, and all this will soothe my missing him. Then I’ll be home again tomorrow in time to receive the mail I am waiting for.

This very well might be another individual’s project, and not an official city plan to decorate the trees. They also had tiny LED lights strung on all the branches, for nighttime illumination.

My kiddo, Kellen, and their partner, Cameron, will only visit us for a couple hours on Christmas Eve, which is a loss compared to last year when I had them for days. Ahh, it was lovely. But either way it will be cherished time with them. And honestly, it gives me until the 22nd to put lights on the tree! ha ha ha!!

7 thoughts on “A walk

  1. Oh my, you are busy, Crystal! Just reading your blog made me want to take a nap. We are in a woodsy state park campground just outside of Mobile, Alabama now, on our last leg of our journey to Tony and Cammie’s home for Christmas. We just spent a couple of fun days in New Orleans. Not so much fun last night when we sat through a tornado warning. Two touched down in the city creating considerable damage. All we got was lots of thunder, lightning, and rain. The latter was a deluge. –Curt

    1. I am so glad to hear you will be able to be with them for Christmas. Say Hi to Tony for me, and my best wishes to the whole family. I love NOLA and I have never been to Alabama. I’m a little bit jealous, because I barely know anything about that part of the country. I have never sat through a tornado warning in my whole life, and I think that would be pretty scary. Glad you and Peggy and Iorek and Seraphina are ok. Yep, I’m busy right now, but after Christmas my hope is that it’ll drop off to nothing and I can catch my breath. 🙂

      1. Lots of luck with things ‘dropping off to nothing.’ I’ve been telling myself that for decades. 🙂
        For the most part, I’ve hung out in the west as well, Crystal. But between Peggy’s parents, my brother, Peggy’s brother, and both sets of our kids living or have lived in the South, we have found ourselves there often.
        New Orleans has always been a favorite.

        Will say hi to Tony for your. Hope your Christmas is going well! –Curt

  2. A Squirrel Festival! Who knew? Nice that you shared something lovely about Longview. I drive through several times a year but rarely see anything other than an industrial tangle of trucks and smokestacks. I’ll make a point of looking for the lake. Dying to hear how the Cordon Bleu turned out. One of my favorites!

    1. Lake Sacajawea Park is bordered by main roads. If you have left I-5 and then crossed the bridge to Oregon, then you went right past it and probably even saw it, but didn’t realize it’s a mile and a half long. Next time, on your way to the bridge, circle the lake! The Cordon Bleu is also a favourite of mine, but I overcooked it. Rather than heat up the big oven, we used the air fryer on “bake,” and it cooked the meat very fast. So, it was tasty, but too dry. It was still delicious and it ended up being SO easy and fast that I will certainly try it again. I forgot to mention that Longview even has a big wooden squirrel statue too, ha ha!! Oh, another thing that is disarmingly beautiful about Longview is the campus of Lower Columbia College. But yeah, mostly, it’s one of the ugliest cities I’ve ever lived around or in. And that’s not counting the fabulous Port of Longview, which I am in love with in the way that any proper 10-year-old boy would be, with its piles of logs and big trucks and giant ships and loading docks and cranes and ramps and towers and lights.

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