Sunday, December 30, 2007

It was a Merry Christmas! Happy New Year to All!

Hard to believe that our Christmas vacation is almost over!

We began our vacation a week ago Saturday with an overnight trip to Seattle to see the Nutcracker Suite. It was a wonderful evening, we were all dressed up and I thoroughly enjoyed the show! The dancers were marvelous, especially the children. The sets and costumes were extraordinary, too!

Brent and I in the lobby of McCaw Hall, Seattle

Our tickets were a wonderful Christmas gift from our daughters. I would love to make this an annual event for us! The following day, we slept late, then spent the afternoon shopping our way northward, picking up a few odds and ends, last minute stocking stuffers. That evening, we stopped in Mt Vernon to enjoy the Bronn Journey concert.

Going to the Bronn Journey concert is an annual event for us. I look forward to it all year long. I waited too long to buy tickets and the Everett Concert sold out! I was so upset, then I saw they also have an annual concert scheduled in Mt Vernon, at the lovely McIntyre Hall Performing Arts Center at Skagit College. I think I like this venue better, it's closer to home and a little smaller and more intimate. His performances are light hearted and fun, his wife Kathryn is an outstanding soprano that really gives the Christmas carols a meaningful punch. They also do other music, this evening was music from the 70's. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fierce will to live!

Ever seen the cartoon movie Finding Nemo? Remember the scarred and battered Moorish Idol fish named Gill that presides over the aquarium in the dentist’s office?

Well, we now have our own Gill: a female black Molly. Our Gill has the strongest will to live I’ve ever known.

We are having a problem with the fish tank heaters, the temperature keeps creeping up. So when DearHusband noticed the temperature was at the top of the green (ideal temperature zone), he opened the glass tops to let some heat out. That seemed to be working well until SonMySon noticed our giant black molly laying on the floor of the dining room. He picks her up, lays her out on his palm, runs over to the couch and puts it into DaughterA’s face to tease her.

Yes, there was shrieking! A lot of shrieking, DaughterA because SonMySon is waving a dead fish in her face. And me, too, demanding custody of the small body. I sadly slipped her into the toilet, about to send her off with a “Bye ‘Ya, Mickey” when she suddenly started swimming around the toilet bowl!

This was a fish that was not moving, stiff as a board and dry to the touch!

More shrieking as I scoop her back up and run to the bathroom sink to rinse the toilet water off her. Yes, adding insult to injury, I, not thinking, subject her to a cold shower! Then yelling for a glass or something, I spy the cat’s water bowl on the counter. Into the water, splash! Then DearHusband, who is trying to warm the tap water to something more than freezing and less than boiling, says “Not in there! Let‘s just put her back in the aquarium!” .... I’m thinking, “Ewwww! Ich! Toilet Water! That won’t be good for the other fish…“ So when SonMySon crowds into the bathroom with the glass I’ve been calling for, we add fish to clean, warmer water and then run her down the hall to the tank that divides the living room from the dining room. In she goes!

I was sure she’d expire after all that! But no, tonight she’s swimming around the tank, eating and doing the usual fish-stuff just like before.

Well, now that I think about it, NOT just like before. As I sit her on the couch, looking at the aquarium, I'm noticing I’m not hearing the occasional splash I’ve grown accustomed to hearing. Guess she’s decided to stay IN the water for awhile!

How long does it take a fish to dry off completely while laying on a cold wood floor?
How long can fish go without breathing water?

This fish is amazing! Maybe we should call her Lazarus!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I love the internet, shop without leaving the couch!

After surfing the web for awhile, I took a break, set my laptop to the side and leaned back against the pillows in the corner. Brin moved right in, laying on my feet and watching the slide show screen saver! Even after reclaiming my laptop, she hasn't moved far. Now she's leaning against me while I try to type without bumping her. From the thumping of her tail, I'm can tell I'm moving too much for her comfort!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feast of Thanksgiving

Thank God for dirty dishes, they have a tale to tell.
While other folks go hungry,
we're eating pretty well.
With home, and health,and happiness,
We shouldn't want to fuss;
For by this stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.

Beautiful stained glass window by Michael Mattei. Found his site at while searching for a cornucopia picture to post.
Poem's author unknown.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Back to reality...Monday morning and back to work after 2 weeks in paradise!

It was a wonderful trip! Snorkeling in Molokini Crater off of Maui and at the Na Pali Coast of Kauai; deep sea fishing-the yellow fin tuna was delicious; kayaking up the Waimea River and sight-seeing both Maui and Kauai, including the infamous Highway to Hana! It was 78-85 degrees, mostly sunny and I wasn't cold for the entire 2 weeks!
Sealife in Molokini Crater

Scenic overlook on the Highway to Hana

Wai'Anapanapa State Park's Black Sand Beach

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All Hallow's Eve

Aren't these great?!? It was posted on our local newspaper's online photogallery.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Beautiful October Color

I took this on SisterA's street last Saturday, just before we left for the Pumpkin Patch. The neighborhood was ablaze with colorful trees. Seems each street had it's own type of tree, each one more beautiful than the last!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today, I wish to say, "Happy Birthday, Georgia"!

Thirty-six years ago today, I received a gift from my parents. This gift was a baby, a baby sister. A sister that finally arrived! Fortunately, in time to ensure Trick or Treating still happened! (Yes, I remember worrying about that.)

Being nine, I was old enough to care for her, she became my real life baby doll to dress up and play with!
You came to school with Mom on picture day, I think you are 4 years old. I remember when the pictures came back from the photographer and they were all posted on the bulletin board in the hall. Everyone, from my friends to the parents and teachers were all talking about how darling you were!

First my sister and real-life dolly, now blessed to call you friend!

DaughterA points out that our NephewG has that same smile! Isn’t it wonderful to see other family members in pictures of each other!

Have a Happy Birthday! I love you, Georgia!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

October 7th 1961 - 2007

I wish to give this post as a gift to my parents, celebrating their 46th wedding anniversay today.

When I think of wedding anniversaries, I think of the love that started it all and where that love has taken the people who gave their vow to each other to love 'till death us do part'.

I wanted to come up with something profound...but how do I put into a short blog all that I have been given, from the intertwining of their two individual lives into one, from their love? I went searching for some quotes, something to capture what I know and feel to be true.

The difference between the love of a valentine's day and the love that is lasting a lifetime?

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."-
Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Yes, that quote is a great one illustrating the growth of love from the first blush of new love into the love upon which a life is built.

From the love of a man and a woman, a foundation is built, upon which a family is given it's rock. From the security of the love they have for each other, their children grow, learn to reach out in the world around them and find their own way.

It is from their love, that I know the following quotes to be true. These quotes speak of a few of the gifts I received from their love.

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” -Robert A Heinlein

“The best security blanket a child can have is parents who respect each other.”- Jan Blaustone

“The most important thing a father can do for his children to love their mother.”- Unknown

Thank you, Mama and Daddy. Thank you for loving each other and for all that your love has given me. Today, may you celebrate your romantic love and also celebrate what your love for each other had meant to others around you, through out the years!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Change of the Seasons is upon us...Autumn

I know our summer has come to an end as the days dawn shrouded in fog, and if not fog, then a heavy covering of dew. I love looking off into the fields, driving towards the freeway as the sun comes up over the mountains and seeing dew-laden spiderwebs decorating the tall grass. I enjoy all the colors as the trees begin to turn, especially in the small pass just south of town where all the shades of evergreen are now patchworked with yellow, orange, red and brown .

Now as late afternoon approaches and darkness falls, the rising ground mist swirls around us as we drive through them. I read once those spooky patches of low fog are called 'haints' or 'haunts' and you are supposed to hold your breath while traveling through them to prevent your soul from being snatched away. Seems appropriate as we ease closer to All Hallow's Eve.

This is the best time of year for apples, so many choices. My hands down favorite is Jonagold, they don't store well, so I have to feast while they are fresh picked. Loving Husband has taken a liking to the new Honey Crisp. Of course, Granny Smiths dipped in caramel is always a favorite dessert!

Autumn is the time to hunt for the perfect giant pumpkin to decorate the front porch, time to plant frilly edged purple cabbage and fall pansies. Time to put the garden to bed and turn indoors for weekend activities. I had hoped for a long Indian Summer, time to enjoy the lingering late flowers , time to enjoy warm afternoons and crisp evenings. However after the storms we had all week, I don't think that wish will be granted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A cool spring but lots of sunshine!


Having spent the last 7 spring seasons on one fastpitch field or another huddled under an umbrella, I'm pretty sure this past month of Sundays are the first I can remember having consecutive sunny weekends! I am in gardening heaven!

This past Sunday afternoon found daughters, A and S battling the montrous weeds that now inhabit the flower bed that seperates our side yard from the neighbor's. As you can see from the picture above, it was quite a task. The next photo shows how gigantic the blackberry roots were!

We got about 1/3 of the length of this bed (that runs from the front of the garage to the back corner of our lot) weeded before they ran out of energy. My girls provided all the muscle that day. I just sifted through the loosened soil, pulling out the extensive roots of lemon balm after leaning over too far and having my low back slip out. Fortunately, I had a muscle relaxant handy and within an hour or so it had gone back into place. Phew! I had been so careful about not lifting too much or twisting with a load and then wham, all I did was lean forward. I am so thankful that it's not giving me any problems this week!!!!
About 2/3 of this raised bed will get sunshine most of the day. So this will be our Square Foot Gardening vegie garden. We bought Roly Poly and regualr zuchinni starts, cucumber starts, bush bean seeds all to be interspersed with giant zinnias, marigolds, 4 O'clocks, maybe even a couple of squares of wild flower mix. As soon as we get the soil enriched with compost, get the squares partitioned off with twine and the starts and seeds in, I'll post a picture so we will have a 'before' picture to compare at the end of the growing season. Happy planting!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Another beautiful weekend

They were predicting showers last Friday with rain moving in for the weekend. They got the Friday showers right, but Saturday dawned bright and sunny. Bonus day!

After daughter, A got home from work, she badgered us into weeding the front pond area. With help from her DaddyDearest, who manned “The Garden Claw” to break up the weed packed soil, A and I sifted thru the broken-up soil, removing all the roots of dandelions, creeping buttercup and horse tails. It was hard work! We were so proud of our efforts, getting about a good third of the way around the pond, that we headed to the nursery department at Freddie’s for their Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale on all blooming plants. Daughter, S joined us for the trip into town after she got off from work. We bought mostly perennials but decided to fill in the empty areas with annuals for instant color. I even put in 2 new peonies. Hah! Let Son,My Son try and reach those with the lawn mower!

For those of you who didn’t hear my shriek last summer, he got a wee bit ambitious..?..absent minded..?.. and mowed over my ready-to-bloom, beautiful, double bright burgandy peony!!!
I made sure that won’t happen again, as I took him by the hand and pointed it out as soon as it started growing again (luckily for him, it did) AND I put a staking ring around it!

After nearly closing down Freddie’s and filling the van up with plants, we staggered into our Friendly Neighborhood Grill and enjoyed appetizers and steaks! All three of us were moving rather slowly, A and I for bending and pulling on stubborn tap roots, S had cramping calf muscles from dancing all night Friday!

Bonus Day #2: Sunday also dawned sunny, if a bit breezy. We took the potting soil from last year's planters and hanging baskets and worked it into the harder clay soil around the pond, replaced the slate stones that edge the pond and had a blast decided where to plant everything!

So far this spring the starlings have been at their pesty best. They have been busy poking thru the wire on the bird blocks in the soffits around the house. Just moving from spot to spot as we blocked each entrance. Son,My Son earned his keep and our gratitude by cutting (what must have seemed like hundreds!) of rectangles out of galvanized ¼ inch heavy duty mesh, climbing the ladder and stapling them over the bird blocks, preserving our ventilation and preventing infestation! Our neighbor next door has let them nest in his attic for a couple of years now. What a mess that’s gonna be to clean up!

As you can see in the picture above, we still have the lawn side of the pond bed to weed, but we will probably wait until the wood hyacinths with their pretty little blue bells are done blooming. Amazing to think, I brought just a couple of self seeded bulbs from our apartment with us when we moved into our brand new home 14 years ago! The wood hyacinths welcome spring in just about every flower bed around the house and perimeter of the front and back yards!

What's even better than a sunny weekend to garden, is a rainy Monday morning that makes it so very much easier to go to work!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Pascha Blessings

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
What a glorious weekend, the predicted rain held off until this evening. I enjoyed every moment spent outdoors. I had Good Friday off, as the stock market was closed. I spent it in the yard. I completely cleaned out the flower bed that runs the length of the garage, leading into the back yard. It was severly overrun with lemon balm and the lilac tree, planted at the front corner of the garage had sent several roots into the bed that had to be dug out and trimmed. That is a determined lilac, every year I have to lop off about a hundred suckers out from under it. It's overtaking the narrow pathway between the planting beds and I'm going to have to prune several branches back, but not until I get to enjoy all the flowers!
Saturday, I planted the center run of the bed with Oregon Sugar Pod peas, as they are one of our favorite vegies, enjoyed most right out of the garden! To either side of the peas I planted it thickly with snap dragon and marigold starts. This will be my cutting garden, so I can enjoy flowers in the house and at the office!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

What's on my desktop?

These are the people I loved first in life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunday afternoon in the spring sunshine

What a glorious spring day was Sunday! The sun was bright enough for sunglasses and wonderfully warm on my back, the breeze a bit chilly when the sun went behind the occasional cloud and the yard was alive with bright green new growth!

I even heard a hummingbird buzzing around the yard!

Sunday marked the first day I was able to spend outdoors, puttering with my plants. Six years ago, before I returned to work fulltime, I would have said ‘my gardens', but my gardens have been so sadly neglected, I think I’ll just say plants.

This is to be The Year of My Return to Gardening. This is the first spring in 15 years, my Dear Hubby or I (or both of us) haven’t had at least one softball team to coach. With both daughters in college and done with fast pitch softball, we have hung up our mitts and padded bleacher seats. Now my evenings and weekends can be spent in the yard, not traveling to and from softball tourneys. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I did, tremendously. It is good to look forward.

About 4 winters ago, the Red Bud Forest Pansy tree that lived in the planter between the garage and the living room picture window died. It’s structure was so pretty I decided to use it as a trellis for something.

I thought about Jack Be Little pumpkins but was afraid they would be too heavy for the fine limbed tree. I decided on a beautiful blue clematis. Unfortunately, as the years passed and the limbs became brittle, more and more branches either broke off completely or just pointed downward under the weight of the vines. This winter during one of our wind storms, the entire tree snapped off at the soil line. I had meant to cut back the clematis before it started growing again and transplant it elsewhere but…you know the saying about good intentions. I just couldn’t bring myself to cut it back, as it already has about a dozen blossom buds.

So, yesterday I spent hours and hours cutting away the tendrils and untangling about 8 main vines. Some of them had to be at least 10-12 feet long! I installed a 2’x8’ square trellis into the planter and wove the vines in and out, round and back. It was fragile work and it took all afternoon. By the time I added a few runrunculous between the oriental lilies in the planter and swept up the walk, it was almost dark and getting cold! (The drawback to a clear day is the cold and (still) frosty nights! Had to scrape the ice off of the windshield this morning.)
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day! I ended it just sore enough to know I had done alot of stretching and bending. I felt justified in using up all the hot water for a looonnnggg shower before climbing into my bed with a hot pack and sleeping soundly.

Monday, March 5, 2007

First My Sister, Forever My Friend

Happy Birthday, 'Reen!!

I wasn't able to deliver your birthday cake to you in person last weekend, but I will enjoy it for you today! :-) I always think of you when I see daffodils, so I knew this cake was for you when I was learning how to make them from frosting. I hope your day is a great one! Happy Birthday, Reen. I love you!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Sixteen Years Ago...

Sunday, March 4th, 11:45pm
Sixteen years ago tonight I was laboring to bring our son into the world. I labored off and on for a week. Even so, he wasn't my hardest birth, nor my easiest, but he certainly took the most effort to get things a-going! I should have realized then that he would move at his own speed and do things in his own sweet time! When he finally decide to get with the program, he came so quickly the nurse had to catch him, doctor didn't even make in the door!

Happy 16th Birthday, Son, My Son!!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Modern Day Magic of Photographs

Have you ever thought about the magic of photographs? The magic, the power to capture a moment in time. Often, I enjoy the pictures taken during my life, to re-live those moments, is a very special thing. The power of a small piece of paper or an image to evoke such vivid memories. The power to start a cascade of memories: how that dress felt against my legs while twirling, how pretty I felt in the dress Mama made for my first day of school. The intoxicating giddiness of being in love on my wedding day. The sweet scent of the soft spot on top my babies head.
That is an amazing power.

Even more magical are pictures taken prior to the start of my life. How amazing it is to see my mother when she was a young beauty queen. To see pictures of my parents' life when they were first married.

The power of photographs is that they are wonderful prompts! Starting places to begin stories, to recall feelings we haven't experienced in a while.


I love the photos of my grandparents, how I wish they were still here to use these visual prompts to tell me more about themselves. Why was this formal portrait taken? What event was it to commemorate? Where did that brooch come from? Better yet, tell me how you felt when it was taken, what else was going on in your life?

These are the thoughts that occurred to me today as I was watching my screen saver. I recently changed my screensaver to show a slideshow of the pictures I have in my 'puter. After all, that was the justification for treating myself to a laptop. I am (sporadically) saving all my photos to the Creative Memories Memory Manager software that lets me organize my photos, date, rate and attach my memories to each of them. Eventually, I can even assign them to virtual albums. Great software! I have all the photo CDs I've bought over the years, both for film camera and my digital photos loaded, but still have a zillion shoe boxes full of old photos and negatives to scan!

Most recently, my sister, A and I spent about 8 hours on New Year's Eve using both of our scanners to scan my mother's old family photos. It was a labor of love, time just flew by with lots of reminiscing.

The point I wanted to make was how much joy I had from seeing these old photos mixed ramdonly with current ones.
Yes, joy.

That would be the joy I experienced today.