Thursday, December 27, 2007

Double Vision

My son and daughter-in-law had their first ultrasound appointment today after finding out that they were expecting and guess what???? TWINS! We are being blessed with twins in the family (although I am not sure that Emma will see this as a blessing---imagine now hard it will be to go from being The One, The Only to one of three....). We are all exceedingly happy for Don and Kellie. We are, to be honest, also exceedingly grateful it's only two and not three!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fa la la!

I am in the San Diego area at my daughter's for the Christmas holiday. I arrived yesterday and have now spent a happy day with Annie and Alex (Chris was at work) and got to see Jen for a little while this evening. DH is arriving late tonight, as he had to work today, too. Except for Don, Kellie and Emma, we will all be together and it's bliss. Having the family mostly together is what I want most for Christmas each year, and while a very important few are unable to be here, they are celebrating a special holiday, too, as they got their Christmas wish. My life is blessed.

Happy Christmas to all, and to each a good night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

An Evening December Walk Around Edmonds

"Fragile" (fra-JILL-ee)

Edmonds is a pretty little town, especially when all gussied up in her December finery. The town is decked from top to bottom in Christmas lights and I love to walk around after dinner and enjoy how pretty it all looks. I braved the cold tonight and took my camera and tripod and did a short little walk. (It's cold tonight, too cold to walk very far.) To those of you who are familiar with A Christmas Story, you will recognize the "major award" pictured above. For those of you who are not able to recite the dialog along with the actors in A Christmas Story, rush out and rent it immediately. Catch up! It's an American Christmas icon and not to be missed! (

The fountain at 5th and Main, the center of downtown Edmonds
Another view of the fountain, looking west.The Historical Museum. I live next door.
This is the Log Cabin. The Information Office is housed inside.
Someone at City Hall was burning the midnight oil.
Nama's Candy Store has the best Christmas windows in town. They have the best windows for any holiday! My granddaughter Emma thinks having Nama's at the end of the alley from Gramma's house is very cool. Whenever we walk by she says to me, "Gramma, candee in there!"Close up of Nama's window.
And when you continue north past Nama's and go up the alley, turn into the gate with the "Guard Cat" sign, you come to my back yard. Come on in and have something warm to drink. I told you it was cold out there tonight!

The Nutcracker

Yesterday was the "official" beginning of the Christmas season for me (although I have truly been in full tilt Christmas mode for more than three weeks now....). Rune and I went to see The Nutcracker at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, as performed by the Olympic Ballet Theatre. The principal dancers were So Young An and Jason Jordan and they were amazing! I would love to see Mr. Jordan dance on a larger stage as he strikes me as someone who can really leap and move. The young woman who danced the Arabian Coffee section, Natascha Greenwalt-Murphy was wonderful----agile, jointless and exotic. She was my favorite dancer of the evening. As always, all the dancers did a great job, especially the kids. The young dancers who did the Russian Trepak were especially great. It was a better performance than last year and both Rune and I had a grand time. I can hardly wait for next year now. It wouldn't be Christmas without The Nutcracker. I'm lucky to have a friend like Rune who feels the same way and is happy to accompany me each year. It's our annual Christmas outing together.

At the very beginning of the ballet as Herr Drosselmeryer is heading to the party with an armload of gifts (in front of the drawn curtain), he comes across a whole passel of children heading the other way. There is bumping and gift dropping and as the good Herr starts to leave he realizes he's missing one wrapped gift. Calling the children back, he scrutinizes each and every one until he comes across the little culprit who had his missing package. He claims the gift and swats the boy (gently) and sends them on their way while he continues on his. The stage area in front of the drawn curtain is once more empty and the overture ends. In that magic momentary lull before the curtain is drawn back to reveal the Burgermeister drawing room, a sad little female voice pipes up from the darkened theater, "Oh. Won't there be any more?" Everyone howled.
Three days until I leave for Annie's. I can't wait!
The hand-made ornament tree in my bedroom.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Secret Santa

A mysterious box appeared on the front porch this morning, delivered from Nonnie Waller's Traditional Southern ( Have you ever heard of this company? Until a few years ago, I hadn't either. Then in 2004, I think it was, a box from there appeared at Christmas. Inside is a hatbox sort of thingie...very lush, very fancy. You take off the lid, move aside all the tissue and foam padding, and a gorgeous little nosegay of fresh flowers comes into view. Remove it carefully because it is placed in the open center of a pound cake. And this, let me tell you, is some great pound cake! The cake is nestled into the bottom of the "hatbox"and the flowers set inside the opening (the cake is baked in a pan like an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan, with the open center). Now this is a luxe gift if ever there was one!
The only problem with it is----I have no idea who is sending this Yuletide offering each year! I wish they would come forward and admit that they are the exceedingly generous person who is gifting me so lavishly. I promise I would hug them and thank them and maybe even give them a kiss on the cheek! I would even write a proper thank you note as my mother taught me to do. WHO ARE YOU? Really, WHO ARE YOU? This is driving me crazy.....

Dear Secret Santa, whoever you are, delighted and sincere thanks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It's cookie baking time again and I have yet to really start. I made my annual batch of gingersnaps, full of candied ginger as well as a good bit of the powdered variety. You really have to love the taste of ginger to appreciate these cookies, and I do! I do! Gingersnaps are about my favorite cookie, although I rarely turn my nose up at any cookie (except hot chocolate chips----can't stand 'em). This years batch of gingies are pretty potent, just the way I like them. I have finally realized that I love them for not only the taste and the crunch but because my adored Grandma Jennie loved ginger in any and all forms. She was also a big fan of a crunchy gingersnap and liked to dunk hers in a cup of tea. Me, too!

I was standing at the kitchen counter yesterday afternoon, rolling little bits of dough into balls and then rolling them in sugar when the memory of baking gingersnaps with Grandma in the kitchen of the house on M Street came flooding back. There was a table in the kitchen and we would sit there with the cookie tray between us and the big bowl of dough where we could both get at it. I had to stand on my chair to be able to reach that far across the table....I must have been, oh, nine? And we each had a cup of tea....and it was warm and cozy and Grandma would be telling me about her friends Pearl and Ruby and what had happened at the garden club meeting on Wednesday. For a tiny bit of time I was nine again, in the kitchen with Grandma, and it was grand. I still miss her.

Last Sunday in the Joggles newsletter Barb had a tutorial on making ornaments with clear glass ornaments, pure pigments and powdered mica. They were stunning. I sat right there at the computer and put in an order to get what I needed to make some of my own. Well, yesterday the supplies arrived and I've been happily making ornaments (and a HUGE mess----those pigments fly all over!) of my own. I really enjoy the process and am amazed at how differently each one turns out. You never quite know what the end result will be and I think that's the part I enjoy the most. It reminds me of making marbled paper. I still have more clear glass waiting to be filled and transformed into something amazing and I hope to sit down tomorrow afternoon and finish them off. I need to clean up my mess before I get more pigments scattered all over the room. I wouldn't call making these beauties art, but it sure is fun! (And messy!)

I was reading Lesley Riley's blog, Art Heart, this evening and she had this You Tube video on her post. It's lovely and I think some of you might enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fun Weekend

Emma came to stay overnight last Saturday and we had fun. First we went to the local You-Paint-It ceramics shop and Granty Nonie treated Emma to her first time of painting ceramics. After much consideration, Emma decided to paint a little mouse. She had so much fun! She even had fun putting the glaze on the mouse, although it was just as fun to paint the tiles where the glaze is placed, too. She painted the tiles a lot. There also was much brush washing and we were treated to a lot of waving the brush in the air, deciding that it was the wrong brush, selecting another, getting it all wet in the glaze, waving it around in the air and then straight into the water, without ever putting glaze any on the piece to be painted. But all of it was fun! Lots and lots of fun. Granty and I explained the she couldn't take the mouse home right away as it had to "cook" first but that we would deliver it to her at her house when the cooking was done and it was all cooled off. Yesterday was delivery day and Emma's first comment was, "What happened to it? It looks different." It's hard to imagine how bright and shiney the piece will turn out once the over glaze is applied and the item fired. I've done a ton of ceramics and it still surprises me to see the metamorphosis that happens in the kiln! I think it was very nice of Granty to treat Emma to a mouse and Emma certainly enjoyed the whole experience. She loves her technicolor mousey! We will have to do this again.

After a nice nap, Emma and I picked up Granty at her condo and we all went to Susan's annual Tree Trimming party. Susan usually has a very large tree trimming party but this year she had radically down sized and it was all family---except for us. We are most honored to have been included. (It was the only way Auntie Pumpkin could get Emma to the party....we are sort of a package deal!) There were lots of ornaments to unwrap and place on the tree, lots of good conversations and great food. The very best part, for both Auntie Pumpkin and Emma, was when they carefully unwraped Auntie P's collection of Santas and angels. Many of the Santas are from the 40s and 50s and are salt and pepper shakers. Others are candles. There are some that are Mrs. Claus, looking pink and cuddly if a little round and the angels are part of an angel band and are all playing different musical instruments. It is quite a collection and Emma exclaims over each and every one. This year Auntie P sent her home with her very own vintage Santa, the start of Emma's own personal collection. (AND a card with TWO dollars in in!) It's always fun to watch those two unwrapping the Santas. It marks the official start to the holiday season for me.
Emma and Santa, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy 60th Birthday, Nonie!

December 7th.....a day that will live in, ah, the family records as Nonie's birth date. And some other thing....what was it? Oh, yes, Pearl Harbor. Well, Nonie's birthday is a much nicer memory, so we'll concentrate on that.

Nonie had a nice day, I hope. Her mother had a luncheon at Scott's for her and there were eight of us there to celebrate the birthday "girl." Even Emma was there, and she was the life of the party. Gwen hurried from the airport to make lunch, as she had just returned from a business trip. We all had a fine time. This evening I took Nonie out for her birthday dinner. She had picked Giraldi's here in Edmonds. We had a pretty good meal (the risotto was way too salty, but everything else was delicious) and several glasses of wine and champagne were consumed. I had a very good time!
I am wishing Nonie a most happy 6oth year, full of fun, new experiences and good friends.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting Ready

It's been a busy week of preparing for Christmas. Because we are heading to Southern California for the holiday this year, I had to get all our gifts that had to be shipped wrapped, boxed and posted this week. I managed to get it all done (well, mostly done!) and on Thursday I sent poor hubby off to work with about 10 boxes of various sizes. It made an impressive pile all stacked up in the back hall, I can tell you. Many of our gift recipients will be at Annie and Chris' this year---Betty, Mark, Doug and George on Chris' side, hubby, daughter Jen and me on Annie's. Then there are the 3 3/4 members of the hosting family and on Christmas Day, two other families will join us for dinner! It's going to be a zoo, and I can't wait!

I have never been out of state for Christmas in all my 57 years. I am quite looking forward to a "palm tree" Christmas this year. While I will miss Don and his family terribly, and I really can't imagine not being at my mother-in-law's on Christmas Eve, having a new experience should be great fun.

Since we are going to be away for Christmas, I had thought I probably wouldn't decorate this year....but I couldn't stand it and so the house is decked out, both inside and out. The tree is very pretty this year and I love how my collection of ornaments keeps growing. I wonder, will I ever find myself not drawn to adding to the ever-expanding ornament selection? I doubt it! I found some great little birds this year, some real quail eggs that had been emptied of the innards to which I added red thread loops for hanging and some mercury glass pine cones. I also brought ornaments in Ecuador and Alaska last summer, so I've added more new goodies from my travel to my collection. I have several bowls full of antique glass balls here and there. I didn't get them all out this year, but I put out several boxes worth.

As it has been for the last 53 years, my Christmas angel is my tree topper. When I was about four years old my mother, not the craftiest of women, made me my very own angel to top our Christmas tree. I know now that, most likely, that my parents couldn't afford to buy a fancy tree topper so Mom decided to make something for me. She used very heavy aluminum foil for a cone-shaped body, a wooden bead with a simple face painted on it and a bit of black paint swoops for hair, and silver wings cut from more heavy aluminum foil. I have to admit that by now she is more than a little worse for wear, but I could not have a Christmas tree without her! She is my special angel and I love her dearly. All the childhood magic of Christmas and family are bound up in my little angel. She is my symbol of Christmas. Alex and Santa, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My friend Bee sent me the link to this You Tube cartoon. It arrived on an especially perfect day as my most annoying kitty, Toes, woke me at 5 AM so I could scratch her head....I hope you ejoy this cartoon as much as I did! Thanks, Bee, for the belly laugh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Thanksgiving

I spent the long weekend at the cabin, and is my routine these days, woke up early every morning. I was delighted to witness the dawn pictured above! It just kept getting better and better----the sky turned the most beautiful colors. The peak outlined against the sky is Whitehorse in the dawn's rosy light.

I had told a friend that I would fire the ceramics that she'd glazed, many meant to be Christmas presents, while I was up at the cabin. I loaded the kiln and all was well, except that I had two pieces left over. No matter how I arranged the items, I could not get all of them into one load. I won't fire the kiln for two small pieces, I just won't! I decided that I had to sit down and start glazing some of my bisque, madly, as it takes five coats for each piece and that takes some time. (Three coats of color, two coats of clear over glaze.) I found I had a little tea set that I did up for my eldest granddaughter, Emma (of the butter and chocolate turkey fame from Thanksgiving). She is probably too young for a ceramic tea set, but oh, well.....she's getting one now! She does like to have tea parties for her dollies and stuffed animals. I know. I've poured many a cup of "tea" in her bedroom for various and sundry guests at her tea table! I was pleased with how it all turned out. I haven't done any ceramics painting in over a year but found that I can still shade pretty well. My brush technique is still there! I hope Emma likes her tea set. I had fun painting it for her. I also got a few ornaments done so I can add them to packages or send them off in a Christmas box to friends as a little extra. I must say that sitting in the living room, painting ceramics and watching movies while the weather is cold and damp is not a bad way to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend!

While I was doing all this back and forthing to and from the kiln room, I discovered a little long toed salamander (at least that's what I think it was after studying one of my books for a while) had come into the garage and died. It was all curled up in elegant curves and was quite beautiful. I'm sorry it died but glad I got a chance to view it up close and admire it. The little salamander had these tiny little toes and they were very long. It was lighter and more brownish underneath. If I have mislabeled it, and someone out there knows what it really is, please let me know. I had some other little newt-like critter on the porch about a month ago so I know that there are a variety of little reptiles about. I think they mostly live in the wetland across the road from the cabin.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


We had our Thanksgiving early this year. My daughter Jen came up from San Francisco for a weekend visit on November 15th. We celebrated my husband's birthday (he is now officially a whole year older than I---which will last until March and I plan to enjoy those few months of being the younger wife!), Jen's visit and an early Thanksgiving last Saturday. It was a fine day.

I did the traditional turkey with all the trimmings and my mother-in-law Eunice, sister-in-law Nonie, movie date night buddy Rune and Don and family all came to help us celebrate and eat. I think my very favorite moment was when everyone had a plate full and all conversation ceased and they all began to eat. For a cook, that total silence while the guest first start tasting your food is the highest of praise. I must say, the turkey was stunning! Brown, crisp, juicy and full of yummy stuffing. It was a fine meal and the company was divine.

Emma provided the comic relief. She had butter and a chocolate turkey for dinner. She claimed to be eating a roll, but mostly she was just shredding it into ever smaller crumbs while announcing to the table, "I need more butter." So, the doting gramma would put a bit more butter on her plate and Emma would deposit it on her knife (while holding onto a crumb of roll), then put the knife in her mouth, slurp off the butter and then announce to the table, "I need more butter." This was repeated often. She was also quite concerned with who was still eating as she had been firmly informed that no chocolate turkeys would be consumed by anyone until every single one of us was completely done eating....

Finally, the chocolate turkey consuming portion of the meal arrived and Emma was allowed to "open" her turkey. It was good, as you can see from the above photo, but she was a much neater eater this year, disappointing her family tremendously. Last year she was chocolate from forehead to toes. Ah, well, I guess we should count this as wonderful progress in civilizing the child, but I rather miss the messy little face with the huge blue eyes filled with the joy that only a mouthful of chocolate can elicit. They grow up so fast!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday in Port Townsend

Nola and I spent last Saturday in Port Townsend, one of my favorite places.

The reason we went was that Wynwoods Bead Gallery ( was having their once a year 30% off sale and neither of us has the will power to miss that! We rather mosied over at a gentle pace, not arriving until almost 11 AM. Our first stop was THE bead store, the best bead store I have ever found---anywhere. There were big bins and piles of beads in every color you can imagine. Some were sparkly, some were matte, some were big and there were some teeny tiny ones, too. I bought some (okay, many!) of each but I did have a very specific colorway in mind and, for once, I stuck to it. I spent a small fortune but not nearly as much as Nonie. She is the professional bead buyer of our duo and I would not even dream of trying to keep up with her bead purchasing prowess. I can't begin to mention all the beads Nonie bought, but a few of my favorite purchases are shown below.

After THE Bead Store, we headed to our other favorite spot in PT---Edge to Edge. Joan (on the left)and Eve (on the right) are shown above and you can see some of the fabulous wool felt they sell behind Eve. I always find wonderful things at Edge to Edge, and I don't even sew! But if you twisted my arm (Ouch! Okay, okay, UNCLE!!!) I'd admit that the best reason we so love to visit the shop is the conversations we always have. Joan is a kindred soul and I so enjoy chatting with her and Eve is warm and interesting and they both have wonderful senses of humor---my kind of women. I'm sure
Nonie and I bored the stuffing out of them both with a detailed rundown of our summer trip to South America. We even had pictures....I'm sorry, Joan. I apologize, Eve. You should just tell us to be quiet!

I found a beautiful old photo album at the little used book shop I tend to haunt while in Port
Townsend. It's a beauty and in very good condition, considering its age. Beautiful grey blue velvet cover with celluloid flowers, lovely brass clasp and most of the pages were perfect with only a very few tears. Even the gilt edging is in fine condition. Now I just have to wait for the perfect use for it. I'm sure it will come to me in time!

We had a nice lunch and then decided that we really should drive out to Fort Worden and check out the beach. We can't stay away. It's siren song calls to us and lures us out there. It was breezy and the tide was pretty high when we got there, so it wasn't a very long visit, but a fine time, none the less. Nonie got the sticks she wanted for her art project and I found enough little bits of this and that to drag home. There is a piece of kelp on the back of the Aga at the cabin drying even now.

I was reading the blogs of some of my friends and acquaintances earlier this evening and came across a new post by LK Ludwig on her blog ( LK got the advance copy of her book, Nature Journals, yesterday and there is a wonderful photo of her cradling the book in her arms. I can not begin to imagine how excited, thrilled, giddy and just plain ol' proud she must feel to be able to hold her dream made real. I congratulate her and wish her huge sales when the book becomes available in January. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon way back last summer! Maybe I will be able to get her to sign my copy when I see her next spring at ArtFest.