Hidden talent...

...maybe not hidden talent, but certainly under-used, Ryan has taken some really marvelous photos during the past year. He even gets great shots out of a moving car window. We see him mostly in his work clothes managing construction jobs, or on his barn roof with a pressure washer, but there is a fine photographer lurking under the Carhartts and there's more to him than meets the eye...

On the road...

Everybody loves Bob W's stories.


Awake at night—
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.
 —Matsuo Basho


The egg

I wish I had a nickel for every egg I've ever eaten. I really wish I had a nickel for every egg that Bob has eaten. I wish I could send my servings to someone who really needs them. If I had a nickel for every egg I've ever loved, I could by a twinkie.
My pleasure in eggs is in direct relationship to the sauce, butter, herb, chutney, pesto or almost any other substance applied to them. But all the health articles recommend eating the whites only…THE WHITES ONLY. I can think of many uses for egg whites, but ingesting them isn't one of them.
Breakfast is Bob's favorite meal. He prefers his eggs poached and likes to fix his own because of what happens to them when I cook. He scrambles mine because he knows I like at least a molecule of yolk in every bite.
My hat is off to anyone who can eat a cold hard boiled egg.


Susan Wray made this...

pastel: Susan Wray, Lute player, Jerry Wray

I took this from Elsa's website...she posted this pastel drawing by her sister. I wish I could work with pastels like this. My son asked me to make a picture of a grain elevator—one of the old wood ones that are antiques now & more rare every year. I've started 3 times, but just can't do it. Maybe I should ask Susan...she captures the essence of things.

If I could teleport...

I would sit here for a while tomorrow.

Source: Weird Mind Wanders

Got tight last night on absinthe. Did knife tricks.

Actually, Ernest Hemingway said that, but I always wanted to. Carol & Debbie gave Bob & I each a knife from Uwajimaya. Mine is red, Bob's is blue, and they are wonderfully & exquisitely sharp. They can slice through a tomato just by gravity (as seen on TV). They have little scabbards to keep them from mingling with the dull implements in our knife drawer. Sometimes it's hard to learn about these things...because you can NEVER go back. We love them!


I'm sharing with you my secret vice...I spend far too much time reading Jennevieve Schlemmer's blog, House Inside Out. I knew her when we lived in Tacoma and visited her studio frequently and know that she actually DOES everything she describes. She's amazing. Take a look at HouseInsideOut... prowl around and check out the projects, recipes, travel tips, and art projects. Right now she's posting her observations & adventures from Dubai. I want to try everything she does... I get so excited that I nearly hyperventilate. (Then I have to lie down until the feeling goes away. She has a wonderful little series called "37 things to do before I'm 38". It's inspired me to list "15 things to do before I'm 80". I'm starting next week.) I especially enjoyed her Portland tour & love all the "how to's".

In response to Jennevieve's "give away-felted bird"...my favorite thing to do in Spring is to stalk the first crocus with my camera. Once I find it...all is well.


Real class...

The days are getting longer and we're preparing for some new projects. I keep hoping to inspire lofty and intellectually stimulating efforts, but the kids want to follow their own bliss. Jack is working on a mosaic of the Mighty Boosh logo, and Ryan is starting a 2' long paper maché slug (as a guardian figure for the garden?) One glitch in the slug construction is that newspapers are very scarce…we used to have stacks for recycle, but now we have to solicit them from the odd souls who still take them. No offense to odd souls (family, you know who you are)...


If I could teleport

This looks like a good place to spend the weekend...

(Source: maluna)

Anticipation is more than half the fun...

Three trees, a large wooden play set, assorted lawn furniture and the left side of the greenhouse were demolished in the windstorm that blew through the Veazie valley just before Christmas. Everything's been cleaned up & the greenhouse is under repair just in time to outfit it with flats, tools, hoses and all the provisions necessary for Spring planting. We'll be scrutinizing seed catalogs and hoping we actually have a growing season this year.

PS: To everyone who asked about our "early seedlings" shown above, these are actually from last spring...the miracle of digital photos.


The Rhododendron

Head-on, the Rhododendron comes into Point Defiance, Tacoma from Vashon Island. She has lots of nautical miles under her belt. One time we saw gray whales in Dalco Passage from the deck...a rare sight.

Worth the wait...

Walked on Alki this morning & saw crocus & daffodils...all is well.


If I could teleport

I would hang out here with coffee & croissants...

Desperately seeking Spring

Thinking of e.e.cumming's poem every morning as I look for crocus...here's a verse:
in Just-
spring       when the world is mud-
luscious the little lame baloonman

whistles       far       and wee

and eddyandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

I know why I love him…

 Source: evernewrecipes

Bob just announced that he was going to make bean soup. I got out onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, and Savoy cabbage thinking that would be a good combination. When I turned around, there he was behind me wearing his bicycle helmet with the rear-view mirror. After I closed my mouth, I said, "Why do you need a bicycle helmet to make soup?" I was relieved when he answered, "I'm riding over to the store for a ham hock…". Tomorrow is our anniversary. We've been together nearly 30 years & it's never been boring.

If I could teleport

I would spend the day here with a basket of books and a paint box. 

Beauty in the old tools...

Ryan brought food grinders, pickle crocks, old bottles, electrical fans, decoys, and radios back from the farm in Wisconsin. They look amazing all lined up together. The barn is turning into a museum.


Gathering the pieces

"The story comes around, pushing at our brains, and soon we are trying to ravel back to the beginning, trying to put families into order and make sense of things. But we start with one person, and soon another and another follows, and still another, until we are lost in the connections." — Louise Erdrich

I liked this quote so much I used it on my other blog, but wanted to put it here, too.

If I could teleport

I would stay here for awhile.



White tulips from Bob...my favorite flowers for Valentine's Day

"The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart."
—Helen Keller

Valentine's Day

This is a special week for us…Valentine's Day on Monday and our wedding anniversary on Thursday. I'm doing my best to resist baking sugar cookies with red frosting, but we are going to McCormack's for seafood...


"Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today." —Mark Twain

One, among many, adventures discovered in the backyard.

Looking forward to summer

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Remembering this awesome meal of alder planked salmon with friends last summer makes the cold gray days go by faster. Although I'd better start thinking of a nice salad with dressing on the side. So much for a merrier world...

Studio assistant...

If only we could teach her to sort the tiles by color & fetch tea.


Saturday organizing art supplies

"In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t squeak."— Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)

1 a.m. and the ironing isn't finished...

I think I must be the only person who irons anymore. What am I doing wrong? Even the wrinkle-free clothing comes out of the dryer looking like prunes. I was meant for bigger things...important things...



"Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get."
—Mark Twain

...and it's always amazing to watch it roll in and out across Puget Sound.

Egypt Rises!

peace to All of us. Today is a wonderful day. 
I am so proud of our Egyptian brothers and sisters. 
it is the very loud jubilant voice of new freedom and hope. 
the world is renewed. 
nothing is fixed. 
Everything is possible. 
Even peace.

source: americansatori



"There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."
—Sylvia Plath

Well, here's one...we have the most sensitive smoke detector in the galaxy. If even a single molecule of smoke passes near it, it lets out a piercing scream that can put you into cardiac arrest. We run to fling open doors & windows, tripping over chairs, shoes, waste baskets...god forbid, we should have a dog or cat. Bob was cooking dinner tonight, fish with fresh lemon zest. We were both deeply focused on our activities when a tiny bit of smoke approached the detector. In the resulting melee, I grabbed a fan (one of those that's so strong it can move the dining table) & we soon had silence. My hands are still shaking, but I felt I had to report this.


"Intervals of dreaming help us stand up under days of work.
 —Pablo Neruda

 I've had a really disgusting cold...you know the ones where you snort & hack & hew & make yourself obnoxious to everyone within range. You can see people, including friends & family, edge away muttering, "I have to go wash my socks" or "I'm late for my heart surgery". The hardest part of this ailment is that, the moment you become horizontal, every sinus you own is stuffed to the gunnels. Breathing is nearly impossible without appalling snorts and gargles that could loosen the bark on neighborhood trees. Anyway, I've been spending most nights at my computer looking at old You Tubes.
I've tried my best remedies & feel better today...optimistic about getting a little sleep tonight.

image source: Maria Blanchard (1881-1932)

Oh yes...

I made the most awesome minestrone soup last night...the best I've ever made. I wish I could put a sample on here.
Instructions: Saute chopped onion, carrots, celery in a little olive oil. Put a sprig of chopped rosemary into the pot, then add 1 can (14oz) of chopped tomatoes, 1 can pinto beans, 1 can black beans, coarse salt & ground pepper, 1 diced potato, 1/4 head savoy cabbage chopped or thinly sliced. Add about 7 cups of water...bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add 1 chopped garlic clove & a couple of tablespoons of basil pesto near the end. I also added 1 cup of browned Italian sausage for Bob who is carnivorous. We ate it with bread & some grated cheese (Pecorino Romano because it's cheap at Costco & really tasty). 
PS: This is a "seat of the pants" recipe...you can put in as much as you want of anything & add your own favorite stuff.

On the road again

Today is a sunny day after a long dreary spell. The open road is calling...maybe Portland (OR), I was born there & it's still one of my favorite places. I seem to have taken a lot of "open road" pictures lately, but it's the ultimate cure for cabin fever.


Another duck

We can't stop "shooting" ducks...they're so beautiful. This one is from Fort Collins, CO at one of our favorite picnic spots. Check out the Frye Museum in Seattle for some amazing duck paintings. It's free.


Red sky at night, sailor's delight

From spit at Semiahmoo, WA
This is not photoshopped...this is the real color of the real sunset. Bob took about 6 shots while the sun was going down...each one more amazing than the last.

Missing the dogs

It's been too long since we had a dog...tonight I'm missing Percy, Jack, Dudley, Luke...all gone to the big kennel in the sky. I always hope they're romping together chewing up all the lost socks, slippers, sofa pillows & pot holders.

Here's a great dog from Cannon Beach last summer.


Daring double fetch

Okay, well maybe it's not quite a double fetch. Debbie & Carol's dogs are our favorite quadrupeds. Zach is doing the fetch & Belle is keeping him company. They could do this all day, far outlasting puny humans who want to stop for lattes, or to assemble 1000 piece puzzles.

English Springer Rescue America (ESRA)

This is Belle. She was adopted by dear friends of ours and we've seen her turn from a nervous-nellie into a beautiful and enthusiastic companion. She's a real poster pup...
For information on ESRA, check out http://www.springerrescue.org/.
And here's a toast to her humans, who are such a patient, caring family for her.

Rough water at Semiahmoo

Out crabbing, looking across to White Rock, BC. What a dinner we had that night...our fill of Dungeness crabs, not something we get to do every night. Didn't mind the butter dripping down our vests.


Yes, it's still windy...

But we wouldn't trade it for anything. Puget Sound views change like a kaleidoscope, never the same twice. When we were kids, we had a telescope in the living room & watched the weather & water traffic change, from the huge tankers to sailboat races to the Washington State ferries trudging back & forth.

Yes, it's still raining...

This photo could be taken any season, any location in Western Washington. It's one of the few places on the planet where, when you wash your hair, it can mildew before it dries.