Happy birthday, Zatchmo

I love days like today. Our niece and her husband of four months came over for a leisurely brunch, and I baked scones and Swedish toast. This promising young couple lives in Pasadena, so it took a little imagination to combine “sunny and clear” with “high of 46 degrees” and come up with “beautiful day.” But that’s exactly what it was, and we enjoyed talking as we walked along the beach and atop the bluffs in Lincoln Park. The sparkle of reflected sunlight on the water was too bright to look at, the Olympic Mountains showed off their recent dusting of snow, and a gentleman in waders demonstrated the graceful art of fly fishing. We did not see Dahl’s porpoises as Susan and a friend saw just offshore when they walked here a few days ago, but everything we did see was magnificent.

It was also Zack’s 12th birthday, giving us another opportunity to celebrate the arrival of one of the world’s Truly Great Kids. Today he was subdued by a cold, but that didn’t keep us from throwing a football back and forth across the street. It did, however, lead him to suggest that we wait to go out for a birthday dinner until he felt better and could pay more attention to tasting his food than to blowing his nose. What a good sport.

Our neighbor Margie put a card and some birthday money for Zack on our front door before she left this morning to help her ailing sister and brother-in-law. She has an injured shoulder herself but has had to postpone needed surgery until they are better situated. We’ve been taking meals over to her so she doesn’t have to think about cooking for herself after long days of caregiving.

Our neighbor Roger came over to see if our phone was working.

Our neighbor Cass called to check in on the cats we are watching and feeding while she is away.

Our neighbor Chris came over with a pair of tickets to this evening’s Sonics game. Could we use them? Lauren started playing basketball last year; maybe she’d like to go. Third row center court seats were too good to pass up – even if it is the Sonics. I drove Lauren and one of her basketball buddies to the game, watched “Transformers” back at home with Susan and the birthday boy over Thanksgiving leftovers, then brought the girls back from the game. (Yes, the Sonics lost.)

* * * * *

Today was the big “Buy Nothing Day” to protest the uber-commercialization of the holidays. I like the idea, but find it more helpful to think in terms of moving for/toward something and not just against/away. In this instance, we ended up Buying Nothing not because we were making a one-day protest, but because our day was filled with family and friends and neighbors. In the long term, this seems like a better all-around solution to the compulsion to fill up the holes in our lives with more stuff.

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