Winter Solstice

December 22, 2011


Eye to eye with an octopus...

Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”—Carl Sagan

UW campus color...

Neatly stacked container ship...

A hopeful sign the economy is picking up.




I-5 heading North...

Paper camera special effect.


On the way to Poppy...

see Poppy

The blue bottle garden...

"The only time I see the truth is when I cross my eyes."  — Louise Erdrich




Emmett has a good grip on Grampa Bob's huge finger.

A little off the top, please...

The goats were sheared. I saved some of the wool and rinsed it out. It's beautiful—white, wavy, soft and long. The wool of the Angora goat and the Lincoln sheep is similar and is especially lustrous and desirable for spinning and weaving.


Sunday on Alki...

Today was incredible...clear and sunny. We sat at Starbucks for an hour reading, writing and watching the action on the beach and water. We saw ferries coming and going and the Holland-America Amsterdam pull out heading for Alaska. We love life in West Seattle...


The last of the summer peaches...

This finishes up our last batch from the Metro Market Peach-O-Rama, they are the sweetest and juiciest ever.


“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cure.”

Running through the worry scale...


Definitely not edible...

We found these apples at a store that was closing. They're made of wood, but it looks as if you could bite into one.

Seabeck scouting...

We drove to Seabeck on Friday. I wanted to see it, since it is a big part of Bob's childhood. We whipped ourselves into a frenzy of nostalgia...the swimming hole, cabins and dining hall for Bob and the general store and memories of prying little green crabs from under rocks for me. My favorite part of the day was having burgers in the diner.


My desk—the Bermuda Rectangle

Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.
—Annie Dillard

Ray & Bob

Two old gents on the lawn...
We were young yesterday— how did this happen?
We took sandwiches to the lake. The tuna in mine dropped on the ground into the goosepoop. Otherwise, a lovely day lollygagging in the sun and shooting photos with our phun photo apps.


Better than reality...

Yesterday we had a meeting downtown in a standard generic office building with absolutely no character and a pretty austere lobby. We got there early and while we waited, I played with my iPhone and latest camera app, OldPhotoPro. This is the result. This lobby is in a parallel universe I wish we could visit.


Beach Drive is the Best...

I've been walking on Alki, trying to maintain speed and aerobic benefits, but there are so many awesome things to look at that I keep hauling out my cell phone to take pictures. There's a blue bottle garden, and a couple of doors down a cement wall with a graffiti painting of a graffiti painting. Who could ask for more.

Bob's office...

Bob should get a discount on his insurance for surfing safely. His helmet even has a rear-view mirror for seeing people sneak up behind him.


Burro babies...

On Saturday, Ry & Michelle had a big party at their place. The barn trim was freshly painted, the petunias planted and the lawn mowed. Rudy and Lightning made it seem like a movie set. Everyone had a turn feeding Lightning, so she was stuffed with apple treats. Her nose is so velvety when she snuffles at your palm. The kids and their guests floated around the pool on inflatable mattresses. The food was good and to cap it off the donkeys were in the pasture across the street with their babies. We could see their ears sticking out of the tall grass.


Past & future equestrianettes...

At Ry and Michelle's barbecue, we all gathered around the horse, fed her apple treats, reminisced about our past riding experiences, and wondered if we could get in shape to do it again. Gail said she'd seen women of 70 riding, so just maybe...


Rudy is the best...

Rudy is beautiful, has a great personality, doesn't jump on me, follows instructions, and is unlike Percy & Jack, who had to place their paws on my shoulders, ate pot holders and sofa cushions and the spine off Bob's leather bound copy of Democracy in America, by Alexis de Tocqueville.


Ready for the barbecue...all cleaned up, mowed, flower pots filled, greenhouse organized. Now we just need sun.


Five on the Fourth...

We had a wonderful six days with 3 dogs, four women and Bob. He was a champ. We ate well, slept well and enjoyed sun every day. Lake Quinault was beautiful, the dogs swam, the women kayaked and canoed, Bob fished, I read and we both shot a lot of pictures. This is our third year spending time at this cabin with Carol, Debbie and the pups. Carol's sister, Ruth, was a great addition this year. The cabin will be sold soon, so we'll be looking for another for next summer.

Testing, testing, one, two, three...

Fourth of July at the cabin with friends and dogs. Bob tested his waders, camp stove and new cot. They all worked..


Another milestone...

Jolie has overtaken her mother...at the age of 14. I expect she won't be the last of Shannon's posse to be taller than mom.


Coming and going...

Our first camping trip of the season...our first camping trip of the past 10 years, actually. It was also the first sunny weekend since last summer...well maybe I exaggerate...but it was wonderful to see the sunlight filter down through the maple leaves. I had forgotten how good breakfast tastes when cooked on a camp stove and how soundly we sleep in our tent. I did think (for just a moment) that I heard a bear's stomach growling in the shrubs, but didn't want to get up to look. I had forgotten what a challenge it is to wake up at midnight and grope around for my flashlight and shoes and what a comforting sight the lights of the restrooms are through the trees beyond the dumpsters. We even had guests. Jim & Jean came down from White Rock, Canada, just over the border—we shared tea and shortbread, and Bob & Juanita joined us for dinner (Juanita brought an incredibly delicious soup, a gourmet touch to our hamburgers and Costco salads).
We had two days of quiet before the weekend...when all the campers, trailers, tents, kids, bicycles, radios, generators, and dogs arrived...and all worries of bears (or even squirrels, raccoons or wildlife of any kind) departed.
On Sunday, it took an hour or so to pack the car and be ready to leave. Bob reminded me that the plains Indians could break camp in 20 minutes...maybe next time.


My heart knows what the wild goose knows...

“It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”  —Anne Sexton
He loved duck hunting and wore a Fedora with a curly Mallard tail feather tucked into the band. In Autumn, when the Canada geese flew south in their long V’s, we could hear them honking even when they were invisible through the cloud cover. Dad would disappear after dinner and If we looked hard enough, we would see his cigarette glowing in the shadows up at the edge of the woods. He used to tell us that some morning when the geese were flying, we'd wake up to find him gone...a feather on his pillow.


Flags waving...

I found this blue iris down the block. The iris is one of my favorite flowers...right up there with the tulip. Day before yesterday I was with Dennis and Liz driving through Woodburn, Oregon when we passed field after field of iris—blue, purple, yellow, gold and white—a lot like the tulip and daffodil fields of La Conner, Washington. Dennis told me that the iris are grown for their bulbs and not picked for their flowers. There are more than 260 varieties...their name is from the Greek for rainbow. It's easy to see why some are called "flags". Next summer I want to visit the iris farms. I don't necessarily want to learn all about habitats, rhizomes, inflorescences or perianths—I just want to see the variety and soak up the amazing colors.


I come in peace...

We spent a day at the Museum of Flight. It's  touching to see the children reading the signs on a model of the Wright brother's unimaginable machine that looks like it can do anything but get off the ground and gazing with open mouths at planes, rockets and lunar-landers. There were gray haired men reverently touching wings and engines, some even reminiscing about space flight...real or imagined. I couldn't take my eyes off the graceful shapes formed by the planes silhouetted against the glass walls and roof. We considered hiding so we could see it at night when everyone has gone home and the engines begin to rev.


Not the Delft

This reminds me of paintings in the Rockwell Kent book of famous paintings given to me by a long-forgotten aunt on the day I was born...yes, on the day I was born! There were paintings from all the famous "schools" and I liked the Dutch school with all the boats and harbors. There were often reflections like the ones in this photo that Bob took...plus I like the word "Delft". Of course, there weren't cranes, loaders and skyscrapers, but who's complaining. I still can't get over how lucky we are to have things like this to look at. It could be worse.



The one sunny day was just a fluke. It’s just not right...we’re starting to wonder how we can adapt our lives to cope with a permanent gray, wet, moldy climate: • special sunlight bulbs in all our rooms   • fans simulating warm ocean breezes   • CDs of bird calls and children playing   • seasonal foods flown in from wherever they have seasons   • white noise to drown out the sound of dripping
It’s a start.


Strait of Georgia

"Nature is not a place to visit, it is home."  —Gary Snyder

Looking across the Strait of Georgia as the sun sets. It changes with every passing second. We talk about how lucky we are to live in the Pacific Northwest.


Finally, a sunny day with no wind...

A day to bask in the warmth, like a lizard on a hot rock. I helped Michelle rake and move pots around the garden, fed treats to the horse, took a turn pushing the kids in the tire swing, worked on a mosaic, drank lemonade...then discovered that I'd lost my car keys. By that I mean I lost a 5 pound set of keys with 1 remote control car opener and 1 remote garage opener, car key, truck key, elevator key, gate key, mailbox key and key to the kid's house with a large carabiner to hold them all together.

Before I go back today to retrace my steps through the house, barn and 3 acres looking for them, you can bet I'll use some mojo...perhaps an incantation to St. Anthony—

Tony, Tony,
look around.
Something's lost
and must be found!

and maybe a sacrifice. Oh, never mind with the sacrifice.


End of the month nonsense...

Tomorrow is the last day of April and an old verse from childhood has flashed through my mind:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and no wonder,
All the rest eat peanut butter,
Except grandmother,
and she drives a Buick.

I Googled it to see if I had it right and found about 20 other versions.
Learning the months of the year, how to tell time & fractions were the most stressful aspects of primary school. Except for the day Robert Zimmerman threw up in our classroom and the janitor came in and threw sawdust on it while the rest of us hung our heads out of the second story window. OMG, now I can't stop thinking of the trials of third grade. The days Miss Thompson wouldn't let us leave until we could tell the time on our pie-plate clocks, or see Jesus in a picture of vegetation, or standing in front of the class reciting some of the more hideous verses of Proverbs. And the terrible day they were asphalting the playground and the men with the dripping, black-smoke belching, asphalt melting barrels told us that if we inhaled it it would make us smart.That held as much appeal as the witch's oven in Hansel & Gretel, but we did it anyway and staggered back to our classes after recess.


West Seattle Farmer's Market

Bob brought home these dazzling flowers and a mixed dozen fresh-this-morning brown & blue eggs. They were delicious. I ran to my computer and looked up chicken raising. Maybe I could pay the children to feed & clean...but there are cats...and coyotes...but what if I build a sturdy chicken coop...

I took the flower pic with my cell phone.
egg photo source

Grandkids R 2G2BT...

When Shannon told Macie not to bake cookies while wearing her Easter dress, this was the result. Our Macie is amazing, though it looks like she didn't appreciate the paparazzi.

Tulips from the Metro...

I had to take a picture of these tulips before their petals drop. They're beautiful, even in the dark...