Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday to our Firstborn

Two dozen years ago this morning, we were blessed with our own Christmas miracle. A child born, a daughter joyfully received! The birth announcement said “Our love made flesh” and told the world our joy of starting our own family!

Although, you weren’t due until January 7th, I always knew in my heart you were going to be born on Christmas or Christmas Eve. Sure enough, at 12:58am on December 24th, attended by Gramma Sanna and your Daddy, you made your debut into this world, bright eyed and alert. We enjoyed Gramma’s help and company for a week, while the rest of the family in Lake Oswego postponed their Christmas celebration until she went home on New Year’s Eve.

Happy Birthday, Sirita! You’ve grown into a talented, caring and beautiful woman! I love spending time with you, whether we are sewing, crafting, cooking or just talking. You are a huge blessing in my life and I continue to thank God for you each and every day!
Sirita's Homecoming Dec 26th, 2 days old

Sirita's 1st Valentine's Day with Mama's roses and her Dolly

Her joyful laugh brightened the day for everyone. November 2008

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Glimpses of Christmas

Coming and going,
We see our children's smiling faces!
Smiling Snowman
Grumpy-looking Nutcracker

Glimpses of Christmas

Brindle wants you to know,
she helped with the curly ribbon and taking the pictures!

Glimpses of Christmas



An angel the kids gave Gramma Sanna

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Glimpse at our Christmas decor

Entry way mirror. Here's where to hang your Santa hat!

The Grinch and Max welcome you to sit on the couch!

Something festive in the kitchen

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Recent Texted Conversation

These are the snowmen and ribbon that used to adorn my desk at the office. I sent this picture to DaughterA to show her that despite the missing man who was broken while someone (who shall remain nameless) was dusting, they are still being enjoyed!

Our texted conversation:

Me:  Snowmen gaze out the front window, ready to welcome more snowy weather as we gear up for    Christmas

A:    All except the one that jumped

Me: Well, not much you can do when someone is bound and determined to go Humpty Dumpty

A:    Exactly. You're just lucky you didn't witness it...or hear the scream on the way down. Heatbreaking

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving for the past year full of blessings!

I share a grace from my pretty plate that decorates my harvest table:

We thank Thee Lord
For happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather.
We thank Thee Lord
for this food and that we are together.

I wish everyone a day of joyous reflection on all our blessings of abundant food and loving family!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught them. — Jonas Salk

I keep repeating that to myself alot these days.

You see, in September I had to hug my daughter, my Baby Girl, good-bye and leave her in New Mexico.

She is off on a new adventure! She accepted a position as Au-pair for a professional couple with a darling two year old daughter. I was so tickled that she wanted me to accompany her on the drive to New Mexico to meet her new charge. It was a fast trip, but we did take the time to make a small adjustment our route so we could visit Arches National Park in Utah. Boy, what a wonderous place!

We arrived at Arches National Park about half an hour before sunset, enjoying each new colorful sight as we rounded turn after turn of the road, winding our way through the canyons. The amazing colors of the canyon walls and the unique rock formations were spectacular. We took lots of pictures and enjoyed watching the sun set behind the canyon walls.

Can you see the depth of field in this photo~~these canyons seem to go on forever!

The colors were so vibrant in the light of the setting sun
We returned to the park before dawn the next morning so we could enjoy the sunrise and the play of light on the other walls of the canyons. We hiked up to one arch and watched as the sun rose above the canyon walls.

The Window, opening into the morning sun.
Can you see the kiss of light along the top of the arch?

Standing center of the window, I could see in the valley beyond,
bathed in the light of the rising sun.
The view from the center of the window looking west
And just as fascinating to me as the geographical wonders was the beauty of the stunted trees in this harsh landscape.

We returned to the hotel for a quick breakfast before making our way to Albuqueruqe by evening.

I savored the remaining hours of our journey. The time together in the car was a blessing to my eyes in the beauty of the landscape we passed through, to my ears as we talked and sang along to the radio as we drove, and to my heart as I savored the remaining hours with my Baby Girl.

Before leaving New Mexico, I was welcomed into the home of some wonderful friends of my Aunt's. Tom and PJ graciously took me in, feed me, entertained me, and gave me haven while I adjusted to the idea of being without the daily presence of my daughter.

The next day I was treated to a delicious deli lunch and had the chance to get to know a little about a loving and fun couple, who I hope to visit again. After returning home to get my luggage, Tom decided we should leave early for the airport so I could have a little tour of the area before my flight home.

Imagine my surprise when after, carefully stuffing my bags into the trunk of their little red Miata, Tom tossed me the keys! As I drove through Old Town and along the Rio Grande (which isn't so grand just here) Tom gave me a history of the area and a peek at the local mansions and  luxury compounds of the rich and famous.

Quickly approaching the time I wanted to be at the airport, we made a detour onto the Air Force base for a quick errand. While there, I talked Tom into playing photographer so I could picture text SonMySon and DearHusband the following teaser:

This is the view from the drivers seat of a little red Miata!

Followed next by the 'proof':

It is a fact that zipping around Albuquerque in Tom and PJ's lil' red sportscar provided me with an excellent distration to leaving my Baby Girl to begin her new adventure, in a new state, with a new job. So I am sure that it was all the very warm sun and the wind on my face that afternoon that was causing my eyes to tear upon take off.
As you might have guessed, this post was delayed. I made several starts on it, and just needed to let it be for awhile. I distracted myself being busy with harvest time activities and time got away from me. Of course, losing my laptop's screen and the ability to pull up my first versions of this post added to the delay. Fortunately, the pictures were still on the memory card and I could download them to DearHusband's desktop.

I will wrap up this post on our big adventure by giving you the countdown: 7 days until our girl is coming home for a quick weekend visit! It will be a whirlwind of activity as she tries to get all her visiting in (with family, friends, and old co-workers) and she will be the photographer for a close friend's wedding before she returns to New Mexico on Monday.  We are all eagerly awaiting her visit!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Hallow's Eve!

A traditional Scottish prayer for today:

From ghoulies and ghosties

And long-leggedy beasties

And things that go bump in the night,

Good Lord, deliver us!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween is almost here!

Front porch Welcome

Guardian of the mailbox

Watch where you put your hand!

This is a costume I made for our Time Share Chihuahua one year:
"...if only I could fly..."

If I were to make another costume for her, I'd have to go with:

Monday, October 25, 2010

October begonias

Just a quick post before I run out the door this morning. This is what I saw peeking out my kitchen window this morning to see what the weather is like.

What a nice surprise! Begonias in October! I gues when they say "Non Stop Begonias", they really mean it.
Oh, and the grass-let's just say it's ornamental and supposed to be there!

And if you peek into the bottom right hand corner, you'll see my tiny fairy sized fushia is still in bloom. I am planning on bringing it indoors as a houseplant, but not until I can do a thorough bug inspection!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How To Preserve A Husband

I have so much to share! I have been meaning to post more regularly but a trip to Albuquerque, the fall harvest, a trip to the Methow Valley (more specfically, the Big Red Barn in Carlton), more canning and a visit from my daughter have taken precedence.

Now, however, I found a gem I have to share from the back page of the New Revised Edition #29 Ball Blue Book: Easy Guide to Tasty, Thrifty Canning and Freezing, copyrighted 1972.

How To Preserve A Husband

Be careful in your selection.
Do not choose too young.
When selected, give your entire thoughts to preparation for domestic use.
Some wives insist upon keeping them in a pickle,
others are constantly getting them into hot water.
This may make them sour, hard, and sometimes bitter;
even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good,
by garnishing them with patience,
well sweetened with love and seasoned with kisses.
Wrap them in a mantel of charity.
Keep warm with a steady fire of domestic devotion
and serve with peaches and cream.
Thus prepared, they will keep for years.

I have to wonder if that was a nod to earlier versions of the Ball Blue Book, seeing as they've been publishing it since 1909! I would love to get my hands on one of the early, early editions to see what other advice is included along with the recipes for safe food preservation.

I love old cookbooks! But, just in case you are using an older version of the Ball Blue Book, the USDA published new standards for homecanning in 1988, so you should treat yourself to the 100th Anniversay Edition of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving published in 2009.

And, in case you are wondering, the back page of this issue has a recipe for Peach-Walnut Shortcake. No more pearls of domestic wisedom. That's too bad, because I really got a good smile from the poem above!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An unexpected harvest

While blackberry picking one evening last week, Brent noticed that among the brambles towering over our head, just out of our reach, were plums! Bonus! We got a few, but lamented those we couldn't quite reach.

We picked our nightly gallon of blackberries and heading home, I pointed out another plum tree, just around the corner.This is when my Dear Husband says "Stop!"

He jumped out  of the truck, over the ditch, braved the mosquitoes out hunting in the approaching dusk and quickly picked me 4.6 pounds of an unexpected harvest--all while wearing a full arm cast on his right arm!

The next day, while picking more blackberries after my morning drive to Lynden, I hatched my plot.

I brought my little household step ladder with me when I picked him up from work. We headed back to the first plum tree,  picked our way, carefully, through waist high grass full of thistles to the back side of the blackberry brambles and found not only one plum tree but a little grove of them. Unfortunately, most of the plums had already been found by other harvest-hands, as evidenced by the already trampled grass. We picked all we could reach, with our little ladder, and came home that time with 6.4 pounds of plump purple little plums!

Tiny but flavorful plums. (I added a washed quarter for size reference)
The next day I searched the internet for recipes using plums and came across several for Asian style plum sauce. Those recipes planted a seed, so I headed into the kitchen to get busy. Using the simularities between the different recipes I found as a base, I started cooking down the plums. With the taste-tester help of SonMySon, I kept adusting the spices and ingredients until we had it just perfect! The first three pounds of chopped plums netted me three pints of my new Aizian-style Plum Sauce. (At Aizia's request, the recipe will be titled using her spelling!)   The sauce was wonderful atop a bowl of jasmine rice and moist shredded pork! A big hit we will be enjoying regularly!

 All my begging for more plums on FreeCycle and Craigslist has let me empty handed so I am tickled that Jannie was able to find another source of plums for me!  At, of all places, a nursery in Eastern Washington that sells fruit tree stock to nurserymen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Autumn approaches

The beautiful colors of fall are beginning to appear, tucked into the greens of our local scenery.

This tree is always the first one I notice is changing colors. This picture was taken the last week of August, and it just keeps getting prettier and prettier as the days shorten and our nights are getting colder.

I see this tree everytime I drive into town, it sits on the edge of the woods right next to the prettiest little homestead. There I see a big beautiful house that sits back off the road aways, with a flower filled garden  peeking out from behind a short white picket fence with a welcoming gate in the center. Buffering house and flower garden from the highway is a lovely expanse of green lawn that is bordered to the west by a neatly ordered garden, and fruit trees that line the drive on the east.

I bet the industrious gardener who minds this little piece of heaven, has no idea that I also enjoy his garden!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wild Blackberries Season Is Here!

One of my most favorite things about late summer, next to the arrival of the beautiful new brown velvet cattails among the reeds in the wetlands, is the ripening of the wild blackberries!

I think I'll have a little bit of oatmeal with my bowl of blackberrries!
It is a great wonder that those thorny brambles, the bane of gardeners in the Pacific Northwest, produce such juicy, delicious fruit--all free for the effort of picking them!

Last week, Brent and I took an evening walk just before dinner and picked a half gallon meandering along our once around the block stroll. The next morning I stopped at a couple of spots along the road on my way back from taking Brent to work in Lynden and picked another half gallon in less than half an hour!

After I got them home, I gave them a quick rinse in the colander and put them into the freezer. This gallon ziploc baggie goes to the first sister to visit and claim them for jam! Someone from the Methow Valley, perhaps? :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

As I reminisce about a special day...

As my second born, my Baby Girl (even tho' she is already an adult) is getting ready to strike out for a new locale, a new job and a new adventure, I find myself looking back...

Twenty two years ago this week, I was 'great with child' as they say. At my weekly ob check up, my doctor announced that she would be out of town the following week but would be on-call all weekend, so Sunday would be a good day to deliver.

I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea. Sunday's child is happy and wise, so the nursery rhyme goes.

I summoned my parents from Oregon, along with my Japanese sister, Mika, who was visiting the US. Brent's parents came up from Everett and we all went out to Sunday brunch, including soon-to-be-Big Sister, Sirita. It was quite the party. I had decided that this was going to be someone's birthday, and I wanted to have my family around me.

After a leisurely brunch, we headed to the mall to walk. I was sure this was going to get the ball rolling, and sure enough, I did have a couple of contractions while we made three laps around Bellis Fair Mall, which had just opened and was still under construction on one of the wings. But at least it was air conditioned, an important consideration in late August! I got a lot of funny looks when I would stop occasionally to squat down to stretch out my lower back.

We tired of the scenery and the men folks tired of trailing behind us, so they headed back to our place and all of us girls went to the fabric stores. I had a hankering to start a cross stitch project. Back then we had three fabric stores in town, so this ate up considerable time while we walked and perused my options for needlework.

Finally, I decided on a counted cross stitch pattern of a choo-choo train, loaded with various zoo animals. Once I had the pattern chart, pre-made bib and floss in hand, we headed home ourselves. I was feeling rather blue, as I was so sure labor was going to start and was a bit disappointed to be going home.

After a while, I made myself comfortable to watch TV and start stitching my bib. It was a bit crowded in our apartment with seven adults and a toddler but everyone was game to humor me and stick around, just in case.

I remember it was about 6pm when I realized the tightening of my low back and belly was getting rather strong, and seemed to be happening about every 10 minutes. I got up and walked around to see if it would continue. It did, and it grew more intense, quickly, very quickly.

I announced "It's time!". Brent, Mama and I headed back to town and the hospital. As we headed out the door, I told Brent's folks not to go anywhere, 'this isn't going to take long and you'll get to see your new grandbaby before long!"

Just as I predicted, it didn't take long. This baby was in a hurry!

The doctor announced "it's a girl!" even before she was completely born, because as soon as her head was out, out popped her whole right arm 'reaching for Daddy's wallet!" When the wallet wasn't forthcoming, that little hand clamped onto the forcep the doctor was trying to clamp the cord with! Wow! was that little fist strong! Whatta grip she had!

Three and a half hours, from start to finish, and I was holding a beautiful baby girl! She seemed so tiny compared to her 20 month old sister! Only 8 lbs 6 oz! And so precious! We had a hard time wrestling her out of Daddy's arms to share with Gramma Zanna!

We called home to let Grampa Barry, Mika and the new Big Sister know the baby was a girl and found out Brent's folks had headed home to Everett. They hadn't even made it home before the baby was already here! Ha ha! I gave 'em a big 'I Told You So, shouldda stuck around!" ha ha  Gramma Diz and Grampa Iver came back up the next morning to see their second granddaughter.

Grampa Barry left Mika in charge of putting Big Sister down for the night and came to the hospital to welcome Aizia Roxanna into the world!

Have you ever seen a more beautifully shaped mouth!?!

Happy Birthday, Aizia!

May laughter dance along your path,
May joy and success walk with you, and
May love always light the way through
every step you take in your future!

As you strike out for new horizons and great adventures, remember Daddy and I love you with all our hearts and we will eagerly await to hear all about everything and everyone you find!

Happy Trails, Cowgirl!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This spoke to me today...

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
~Martin Luther King

What we do shows who we are. Our character is magnified, perhaps most visible when viewed during challenging times and situations.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer heat

It's going to be a great week for the Northwest Washington Fair this coming week, it's gonna be really warm, supposed to hit 90! I'm predicting lots of sunburns.

It's getting a little warm for me when the house doesn't cool off to less than 75 degrees overnight! I don't mind 80-90 degree days, as long as it cools off so I can sleep!

Best $20 spent this week? A box fan!

It was a wonderfully pleasant evening on the deck tonight. While trying to snap a couple of photos of the Gold Finch bathing in the fountain, I took a few of the flowers around the deck.

The top spout is the favored bathing spot for all the birds.

Acidanthera. Related to Gladiolus. Wonderfully fragrant!


The pink flower in the fuzzy foreground is a Lupine seedling transplanted out from under the giant yellow Lupine in the front yard

I'm so pleased the rhubarb has survived it's traumatic transplant.

See the string trellis beyond the arbor? It's often full of birds awaiting their turn in the fountain.
What you can't see in this picture is the pumpkins, zuchinni, and yellow crook-necked summer squash vines climbing the trellis.
I never did get a picture of the Gold Finches enjoying the fountain, maybe another time. Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

Just a random photo today....
It's not a good photo because of the relections through the car window but Mom and I had a giggle over the fact that the are sleeping in identical poses! And we weren't in the store but for a few short minutes!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, 'Manda, my sister, my friend!

My first memory of you? I remember playing on the swing set in the backyard of the brick house we lived in. I was holding a new baby doll, given to me by my godmother, Auntie Marion. She gave me the doll as a ‘don’t want you to feel forgotten’ gift while the new baby was getting all the attention. (I can still remember how the doll smelled, it evokes that memory everytime I hang a new vinyl shower curtain. Her skin was labeled 100% virgin vinyl). I remember swinging and looking down at the baby doll in my arms comparing her to the real baby in the house and saying, “I can’t wait till this baby grows up so I can play with her!” I remember being excited about you, not just as a baby to adore, to gaze at while holding, but being excited about the prospect of having a sister, a built in friend, to play with!

I still look forward to playing with you! Only now, we have to coordinate our schedules to carve out Creative Memory weekends or walks through plant nurseries whenever we can!

When I was seven years old, I thanked God for the baby sister, today I thank God for the wonderful friend she has become! You are one of the blessings of my life and one I hold deep in my heart.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In past, an anniversary of a life begun; Today, an entire life to celebrate.

To celebrate my Mama's birthday, I have posted to my website devoted to her rememberance.

I share this link with you today. Roxanna Remembered.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Magic of Clouds

There is something very magical about flying through clouds.

These photo were snapped during the second leg of my trip home from Huntsville, Alabama, aloft between Dallas Fortworth and SeaTac.

These photos don't do the real thing justice. As I looked out the window at the clouds, they were so multi-dimensional that it looked as if I could just step off the wing onto a fluffy bed and bounce my way from cloud to cloud!

What I found most interesting is how the different layers of clouds move independently of each other. While watching a slow moving, solid, very white curvaceous cloud formation, a wispy layer of clouds would zip by above or below it.

I found it quite entrancing and very peaceful. A nice escape from the reality of a cramped economy seat on a full flight.

This woud be a true joy of traveling by air.