Saturday, March 29, 2008


Okay. I have Bee coming tomorrow. I have to clean. I have to clean the downstairs bathroom. I need to vacuum. I should be doing the grocery shopping, the laundry, paying bills, writing a thank you note, making the scheduling forms for the EAF sign-ups, but....I'm painting. I didn't have anything for the AF gallery and it began to bother me. I could have been making charms to trade. I could have been working on the Festival. I could have been doing something I actually need to get done. But I'm painting. Actually I'm working on a mixed media piece but it feels like painting....I love the process. Not too sure about the result, but the process is joyous. And tonight is Bruce Springsteen. Painting, not doing laundry and Bruce all on one day---it doesn't get much better than that!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour

In case you haven't heard, Dear Reader, tomorrow night between 8 and 9 PM, many of us around the world will turn off the electricity. Everything in your control that can (safely) be turned off. There is an interesting article on the MSNBC site that explains this much better than I can. You can also follow the link on the title of this blog to Earth Hour. Please consider taking part.

Eating 'ghetti

Oh, lucky day for me! I got to babysit for Emma. I had a lovely time and got hugs and kisses and told how to play princess and not to make the stuffed black cat be a magical cat and fly around the room because it wasn't time to play black magical cat that can fly around the room. We made paper dolly chains and "cooked" for the "princesses" at our "restaurant" and it was fun.

And then it was lunch time and the old camera came out at the same time as Emma sat down to eat her 'ghetti and watch her program on Nickelodeon Jr. I'd call it a Kodak moment, for sure, except I am a digital girl....


Monday, March 24, 2008


I've been trying to remember this poem by Mary Oliver since I first walked the beach in Florida. The other night I went searching for my Oliver poetry book so I could look it up, along with the Moccasin Flower poem I posted . This is one of my all time favorites. (Searching for whelks was great fun while I was in Florida and while I didn't have lots of luck finding whole ones, the search was the journey and a fine time was had by me!)


Here are the perfect
fans of the scallops, quahogs, and
weedy mussels
still holding their orange fruit---
and here are the
each the size of a fist,
but always cracked
and broken---
clearly they have been traveling
under the sky-blue waves
for a long time.
All my life
I have been restless---
I have felt
there is something
more wonderful than gloss---
than wholeness---
than staying at home.
I have not been sure what it is.
But every
morning on the wide shore
I pass what is perfect and shining
to look for
the whelks, whose edges
have rubbed so long against the world
they have
snapped and crumbled---
they have almost vanished,
with the last
of their unrepeatable energy,
back into everything else.
When I find one
I hold it in my hand,
I look out over that shanking fire,
I shut my eyes. Not often,
but now and again there's a moment
when the heart cries aloud:
yes, I am willing to be
that wild
that long, blue body of light.

Mary Oliver

Ah, Spring

Yesterday at the cabin rained, and it rained really hard in the morning. It was dark and gloomy and the fog descended until it looked like November except for the daffodils! There they were, bright spots of gold in the gloom, cheery with the promise of spring. I found a raincoat and headed out with my camera to snap some early spring, Easter photos. By 4 o'clock in the afternoon the sun was out and it had turned into a very nice day.
Today was lovely. The sun shone and the birds chirped. Everything is growing. The cherry out front is a little past perfect, but still is lovely and it smells wonderfully. The daffodils are in full bloom, the Camellia is starting to bloom and the bridal veil along side the house is perfect. I spend a happy hour at the local nursery today and found a few things for the yard and some starts for an empty pot out back. I even found an angelica plant. I had one when we lived in Shoreline but not since, and they are quite pretty in the summer and add some nice height to the back of the border. So, one of those is now planted out back in a sunny spot by the fountain. I love spring. I can't fill my lungs deep enough with air. I even love the smell of freshly turned soil. It has such promise.

I finally got my ArtFest ATC trades done. It's taken way too much time and they aren't very fancy this year, but they are hand stamped from hand carved blocks and that's all I've had time for. I rather like the look---peaceful and quiet, like a walk in the woods, which is the theme this year, after all. I don't think I'll have any time to do much more. Bee comes on Sunday, LK on Monday and on Tuesday next we all go over to Port Townsend. I can't wait for ArtFest!

And now, more spring from my garden.

Moccasin Flowers

All my life,
so far,
I have
more than one thing,

including the mossy hooves
dreams, including
the spongy litter
under the tall trees.

the moccasin flowers
reach for the crackling
lick of the

and burn down. Sometimes,
in the shadows,
I see
the hazy eyes,
the lamb-lips

of oblivion,
its deep
and I can imagine a new nothing
in the universe,

matted leaves splitting
open, revealing
the black planks
of the

but all my life---sofar---
I have loved best
how the
flowers rise
and open, how

the pink lungs of their
enter the fore of the world
and stand there shining
willing---the one

thing they can do before
they shuffle
into the floor of darkness, they
become the trees.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


So picture this....I am asleep in my freshly washed bedding, snugged down in my flannel sheets under my pretty blue-flowered French quilt, dreaming something pleasant. The time? A little before six AM. Just outside the window, which is at the head of my bed, barely six feet away from my slumbering self, an insidious, wicked bird had come pound upon the downspout to the garage. It's the red breasted sapsucker, the little 8 inch high noise maker of springs past, back to call for LOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEE by pounding on my downspouts. He favors the one that is on the gazebo in the front of the house, but this morning he decided to "warm up", I guess, by starting out in back, on the garage. Now, in your mind's eye picture the sweetly slumbering me who is STARTLED from sleep by the loud, nay, deafening pounding of this love lorn birdie. I shot up, maybe six feet or so, horizontally, every hair on my head standing straight out, heart in my throat from the surprise and hung there, over the bed, for several nano seconds while the only thought that ran through my brain was, "Oh, no, NOT AGAIN!" Well, yes. Again. And again. And again. All morning long he has pounded on the downspout. Ah-HA! Just a few minutes ago we both heard a reply, not too far away (but not pounding on metal, thank goodness!). Now, all is quiet.
I do so hope the courting is going well and that the lady has been met, wooed and that the two of them are now busy nest building. Wouldn't that be nice. (And quiet.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Working Weekend

I am ensconced here at Grant Creek for a working weekend. I had to start cleaning the minute I arrived because I've been infiltrated with mice. Again. "Mouse House" may sound charming and Beatrix Potter-ish, but in reality it just makes you crazy and forces you to clean----everything. I have cleaned darn near everything. I just remade my bed and will have to do a little ironing before my head can hit the clean pillow. Gak---mouse infestations are not what you want when you are (supposedly) off to the cabin for a working weekend.

I have to get the EAF database into shape and prepare my mailing label list for the spring mailing of the volunteer letters and the volunteer meeting postcards. I have the letters printed, the postcards are printed, the stamps are ordered and have been shipped by the USPS, all I need are the printed labels....and that means I have to wade into the dreaded database and sort it out. Somehow it has corrupted telephone numbers. I am fixing that. It's painstaking and slow and BOOOOOORRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGG. But, hey, I'm doing it and I made a good start today before I said, "Enough!"

Tomorrow I'll finish up with the database and get to the mailing list, I hope. Then tomorrow night I can work on my ATCs for ArtFest. I am running out of time. The few ATCs I have finished look nice and I'm happy with them. They are not quite so complicated as some in the past, but the theme this year is "A Walk in the Woods" and I think the carvings I have done of ferns capture a walk in our local woods at this time of year quite well. I am content. Or, I will be content when i get them done. I decided on an edition of 70 this year. Besides the ATCs I will have my new Moo cards to swap with like-minded individuals. Not my best year for trades but it's been a crazy year so far and this will have to do. I can live with it.

I haven't been up here alone for a long while. Now, don't get me wrong, I like my weekends with my sister-in-law, but it's rather nice to have some quiet time to myself. (Nonie is taking an art as business course this weekend. I'm sure it will teach her lots of things. She just found out she will be the featured artist for Third Thursday at Arista Wines! Nonie is on a roll and I'm so very proud of her!) I hope I find an hour or two this weekend when I can go for a stroll with my new camera and take some photos. I noticed on the drive in that the skunk cabbages are in full bloom......and the baby alpacas down the road are looking cute and fluffy and very photogenic.

Beautiful moonrise this evening. It was moody and eerie and very lovely.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I've Got the Punies

I had posted a whiny, self serving bunch of drivel, but who needs to read that? Let it suffice that tonight I am tired and cranky and feeling down. I've been reading John O'Donohue's To Bless the Space Between Us. The following helped me realize I didn't want to post feckless whining and bore Dear Reader senseless. So instead, I offer this:

For Equilibrium

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

And as the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that is frames,
may your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
To hear in the depths the laughter of God.

John O'Donohue

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

From Endless Summer to the Beginnings of Spring

After traveling for most of Saturday and getting back home about 2:30 AM on Sunday morning, it came as somewhat of a shock to get up and see that spring had been creeping into Edmonds while I was away in Florida, the land of endless summer (and bougainvillea). Right out my front window is an ornamental cherry tree in full, glorious bloom. The scent of all those blossoms is intoxicating. The daffodils are blooming, the hellebore in the front are in full bloom, the tulip leaves are well above ground and the crocus have already died back to sleep for another eleven months before exploding into riotous color again. Everywhere I look, something is leafing out or blooming. My bonsai larch is showing tiny little green needles. The flowering quince is in full bloom in the side yard. Primroses are all electric with bright colors. Even the euphorbia is almost ready to bloom. I love the promise of early spring, before the bugs and slugs and weeds. Right now, everything is perfect. Right now I can believe in the gardener's eternal spring dream----this year I'll stay ahead of the garden chores, this year I will fertilize when I should and prune when I should, this year I'll water efficiently and this year I will consistently deadhead, this year I'll take care of those pesky slugs, this year!
Well, a girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Last Day in Paradise

Last burger in Paradise....

Frozen Mango Daiquiri
Today, alas, we leave this little bit of tropical paradise for the return to cold and rain and real life. The two weeks flew by. What an amazing place this is and how much I have enjoyed, basically, doing nothing for fourteen days! I should be feeling like a sloth, but I'm not. I'm tanned, relaxed and happy---all good things I think all vacations should provide.

I can't speak highly enough of the rental house we have stayed in. The Flynn's have done a great job of making a very livable house both beach friendly and elegantly casual. There are little bits of Toni's shell art displayed, especially a gorgeous mirror that neither Nonie nor I could figure how to get into our suitcases.....darn. We were lucky enough to get to meet Toni & Mike while we were here and you couldn't ask for nicer people. Their house is just what you want for a vacation---big screen TV for the evenings and a good selection of movies, kitchen with anything you might need for making a quick snack to baking a birthday cake, screened porch with fans and good lighting for anyone who would rather enjoy the evening quietly reading or playing a game, a bookshelf with many good choices for whiling away any hours not spent tooling about in the golf cart or on the beach. But, really, North Captiva Island is all about the beaches. Whether or not you walk down to the State Land or just out the end of Escondido Drive to "our" path to the sands, it is all about the beach. And, for me, the birds!
We spent yesterday morning down on the State Lands, Nonie combing the beach for those last few shells to fill yet another box to mail home and me, well, I tried my best to get a good shot of the eagle flying into or out of the nest that is right along the beach. But, no, the eagle had landed and there it sat, for hours! I stayed right there long enough for Nonie to walk waaaaaaay down the beach and slooooooowly work her way back, long enough for me to get sunburned just standing there, staring at the nest, willing the eagle to fly away for a moment or two, so I could get the shot. The closest I came was when the baby got up on the edge of the nest and tried flapping its wings. I thought, for a moment, that I might be able to get a shot of the first flight, but eagles were going anywhere while I was standing there with my camera!

Nonie found a dead pelican on the beach, which she kindly dragged back towards my eagle watching location. We looked it over pretty carefully, as neither of us had ever been so close to a brown pelican, nor will we ever be again, I suspect! There is a wicked hook on the end of the beak and the pouch is amazing----elastic and very beautiful in its functionality. It looked like something had gotten the poor bird by the neck----what I have no idea. And no, it had not been dead very long and it did not smell! It was just a science lesson that presented itself on a beautiful beach on a beautiful day.

When we got back from the State Lands we decided to celebrate our last day by having lunch at Barnacle Phil's. That was a good choice! Frozen mango daiquiri, hamburgers and that special ambiance that is only available at Barnacle Phil's! Love the interior decor.....
The rest of the day was spent packing up (boxes of shells that need to be mailed will be given to Carin this morning....I have no idea how odd my postman is going to think I am when smelly boxes from Florida start arriving in Edmonds!). We cleaned up a little, mostly sweeping out two week's worth of sand, and fixed ourselves a big mess o'shrimp for dinner on the porch. It was wonderful.
Here are a few, last images of the island.