Category: Photos

Swanson’s Nursery: pretty flowers, playing koi

Swanson’s Nursery, here in Seattle, is one of our favorite places to go – even just to hang out for a little while. Even if you think you don’t want any plants (hahaha, oh, you), you can enjoy the beautiful gift shop, the cafe, the delicious food, and the koi.

I named this one Bertrand. He’s my favorite.


Bertrand was so cool, he even got a little video:


Is it a nursery? Did you die and go to gardener heaven?


Hydrangeas are one of my favorites. My great-grandma had a whole bunch of these in her side yard.


In my last post I talked about learning to see color. I’ve read in drawing books that drawing is helpful for learning to see. I’ve been to Swanson’s a hundred times, and I’ve been looking at hydrangeas my whole life, but I don’t think I ever noticed that some have soft, rounded edges, while others have little shaped edges.


Bored of hydrangeas yet? TOO BAD.


Okay, okay.


The texture really popped in black and white. No idea what this is. Some yellow thing. I should really read the labels and try to learn something when I go here.


Look at all the fanciness this one has! Flowers often remind me of other things. This one reminds me of the hats that women wear to weddings in Britain. Look at that extension, at those little balls at the top. It’s like it’s trying to send a message to the mothership.


Dwarf apples! I was told I was not allowed to get one of these, because “they need so much work”. I dunno, everything in this place looks like it takes work. At least with this you get a snack.


The cutest bud that ever budded! Or, me while watching a scary movie. Peeking out from around the blanket. With my many small purple heads.


Edgar and Allan would like to welcome you to Swanson’s Nursery.


My friend C messaged me while I was walking around, so I started sending her photos. Boom! Flowers! BOOM BOOM! MORE FLOWERS! She loved them. Then I sent her a picture of myself – I like to send a photo of me wherever I am, saying hello. I started giggling, and Jason asked me what was so funny. I held up my phone and said, “I’m standing here, taking a photo I just took ten seconds ago, sending it via a few taps of my finger to my friend in Norway. Where, a couple seconds later, she’s able to see the photo, and reply back to me with her own photo. Isn’t technology amazing?”

Jason, as attentive as ever when he’s in a nursery, pointed to some red flower and began telling me its history.


TINY LITTLE TREES! Oh god, I nearly died. I love this display. I want them all.


As if the tiny trees weren’t cute enough, HAVE A TINY LAWN CHAIR.


Or a stag. I love the contrast of orange and blue in this photo. I was annoyed that I’d left my little Canon at home, and had to take iPhone photos. But they turned out pretty okay.


More texture. I love it.


Pretty little orange thing. Such delicate little veins.


My favorite flower today – covered in bees. 

Oh and in case you’re wondering what I bought – surprisingly, nothing! Well, not nothing. I bought a bag of dirt, and some fertilizer. But I didn’t buy any plants, which surprised everyone. My angel-winged begonia needs repotting, and I figured I ought to take care of the plants I have before I buy new ones. A rare moment of self-control inside Swanson’s.




I think the Brompton is improving my fibromyalgia stamina already


Greg and Miles hung out at home this Saturday, while Jason and Beth and I rode the bus to Pioneer Square to check out some galleries. Our favorite place was Glasshouse-Studio, where I took all the photos in this post. Spending the whole afternoon looking at art (and the toy store, and Uwajimaya…) was wonderful, but the really amazing part of the day was when I realized how long we’d been walking around.

I asked the time, and Jason said it was almost three o’clock. I asked when we’d left. He replied that we’d left at eleven. I stopped on the sidewalk, lifted up my hand, and counted out my fingers…one, two, three, four hours we’ve been walking around. Four hours. I stared at my fingers. Had I done the math right? Should I really be asking if math I can do with one hand is correct? But, how is this possible? This can’t be right. I counted again. Yep. Still four.

Fibromyalgia is different for everyone, so keep that in mind when I write about my experience. Fibro is a condition with a kaleidoscope of symptoms, and the particular set of challenges that it creates can appear very different in different bodies.

Going by the history of my body: I should not have been able to walk at the four hour mark. I was in a lot of pain, that was true. My hips were so stiff I was walking with my “fibro limp”, and my lower back felt like a cement block of pain. But I was doing this! I was still going! The only thing I could think of was that the bicycling is really helping. 

Twenty minutes later, I took my walking stick out of my backpack. I use a carbon fiber trekking pole, it’s very light and folds up easily to fit in a bag. I look a little dorky (I look even dorkier when I’m using both of them) I’m sure, but the difference in my comfort while walking is worth it. Hell, I’d accept a piggy-back if someone could carry me. When you’re in that much pain, you don’t really care how you look.

Just when I thought I’d reached the limit of my glorious, stamina-filled day, we hopped on the bus to go home. We ambled to the back, flopped into seats, and all three of us wearily leaned over, closed our eyes, and dozed. Usually the bus lurches enough that I have to stay alert to catch myself, but today I’d kept the walking pole unfolded. I pressed the tip into a ridge in the floor to keep it from skidding, put my hand on the top, then rested my head in my hand. I dozed in this position the whole way home, and when our stop arrived, I walked off the bus feeling, what was that? What do you call it? What do normal people feel after a rest? REFRESHED.

While fibro looks different on everyone, there are a few things we all share, and one of these is the lack of refreshing sleep. People with fibro can sleep for ten hours, and we still wake up feeling like a train hit us. For me this extends even to naps, or periods of resting quietly. It will maintain the current level of pain, but it doesn’t usually make the pain go down. The only thing that usually feels refreshed after a nap is my mental stamina for dealing with the fatigue and pain – and yes, this is very much worth the rest. Not so, yesterday. I spent thirty minutes leaning on a walking pole, and then I got off the bus and walked home. Yeah, it’s five blocks, but that’s five blocks that I rarely walk. I usually call Greg to come pick me up.

To be willing, able, and desiring of a 5-block walk home, is so bizarre, I don’t know how to explain it. It must be the bike! That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. More riding commences tomorrow. I have to be careful, after my last ride, my knees really hurt. This has never happened before, I’m sure it’s the fibro and my lack of fitness. I’m going to back off on the mileage for a couple weeks (Haha! I just wanted to say that – I usually ride less than a mile) and take it a little slower. I’ll also check my fit to the bike, and look up some leg exercises, and do some better stretching before and after.

I haven’t felt this inspired to exercise in years! Since the pain started in 2007 or so, exercise just means more pain. I never feel better afterward, and I never feel like I’m getting stronger. Bicycling seems to be changing that trend. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. Hug your Brompton.

More photos from our trip downtown, all from the Glasshouse-Studio:
ps_glasswall ps_glass_ribbons ps_fishlamp ps_blowing ps_beth ps_beth_watching

And I filtered a couple into black and white just because I thought they looked neat:

ps_glass_ribbons_BW ps_glasswallBW


I like to dehydrate things. Here are some onions.

I have a 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator, that is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I dehydrated a few pounds of yellow onions last night. I like to dehydrate veggies, they’re great as soup mixes and in dips and dressings. Apple chips are fantastic, too.

This batch of onions stunk up our entire house. I knew they’d be a little smelly, but it was much worse than I expected. We were opening windows and blinking back tears all evening. Our friend Michael was staying with us for a few days, and we were laughing about it this morning. Apparently the kids were telling him how their eyes burned!

But it was worth it, scarring the corneas of my loved ones with fumes! I woke up to delicious, crispy, pink (pink?) bits of onion, that will be perfect in soups and over popcorn. It was hard not to eat them right off the tray.

I used a different method this time. Instead of making rings, or using diced onion, I used almost a slurry that came from putting onion chunks into the food processor. I spread them out directly onto the mesh sheets, and they dried beautifully. I broke them in small chunks off the sheet when dried, dropped the chunks into the jar, and whenever the level got high, I used a wooden spoon and crushed it all up. Worked great. Simple and easy! And now if a recipe calls for diced onions, I’m all set.