Thursday, March 31, 2011

Unexpected Treasure

I found a package from my dear little friend Tiff on my doorstep this afternoon.  When I opened it up I found a beautiful handmade card with a delightful note and a handcrafted necklace.

Tiffany, like me, loves to take classes in art making.  She has taken several classes from Sally Jean Alexander, and unlike me, Tiffany has really mastered soldering.

The chain is beautiful and has several kinds of different, all handcrafted, links.  The bottle is has been cut into two pieces, hinged together again and even a tiny little pin created so you can keep it closed while you wear it.

I am so blessed to have such clever, generous

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautiful Snail Mail

I received the most wonderful letter in the mail yesterday.  I knew immediately by the envelope who it was from....only Dee and her bother consistantly call me Gramma Gramma.....

The back of the envelope was beautifully decorated.  I love getting hearts on my mail.  Don't you?

Even the front of the card had added hearts and stars.

The message was short and to the point, but it, too, had lovely added artwork.  You must admit, it's not every day you get a thank you note for ....a rock.  And an enthusiastic thank you at that!

Little 5-year-old Dee is planning to grow up to be either a vulcanologist or one of Santa's elves, so you can imagine, Dear Reader, how getting a volcanic rock in the mail from your Gramma Gramma might be very exciting.

Or, quite possibly, our family science nerd-ism is seeping down to the next generation.....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Admitting to Having a Book "Problem"

I was looking for a particular book this afternoon.  I checked the pile on my dresser.  Not there.

I checked the pile on my night stand, the pile on the left, and, no.  The book wasn't there.

I went to the big pile o'books on the prayer chair in the living room....and it wasn't there either.  

So I went back to the bedroom, checked the pile on the right side of my night stand.  Still no book.

I finally located the book in the kitchen, on the counter.  

It was at this point that it began to dawn on me just how out-of-control my book "problem" has become.  I have piles and piles and yet more piles of books all over the house.  I have four large bookcases, you must understand, but they won't hold all the books.  That's why I have piles.  And more piles.  

I love books.  (Obviously!)  I think having a stack of unread books is like having money in the bank....just waiting for a rainy day.  But, perhaps.....just maybe.....this is getting out of hand?

So I went for a walk and was rather startled to see how much more "spring" there is to see in town, only a few days later than my last photos of the stirrings of the warmer season.  It is getting to be down right colorful!  Things are popping up and budding and blooming and it's lovely---just really very lovely.

There are lovely tulips and daffodils and heather blooming outside the Historical Museum (right next door to me).

Some gorgeous azaleas were blooming in pots down on Third Avenue North.....

This house on 2nd Avenue is sporting a gorgeous spring garden.  It is truly lovely.

The seagulls even seem to be looking jaunty, not hunched over dripping wet.

One of my favorite pieces of local public art was getting a sunbath....

                                                          Seeing Whales, Richard Beyer, 2003, cast aluminum, gift from the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation

I think, just maybe, warmer (dryer?) weather may be on its way!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Birthday Season Continues

My dear friend, known here to one and all as Auntie Pumpkin, took me to lunch today for my Birthday Season. She asked me to come to her house at a certain time and that we'd then go to the surprise restaurant for lunch. "No jeans," she said. So I bit the bullet and tried to dress up, a little. No jeans. Combed hair. Teeth brushed. Good thing, too, because she took me to the Bellevue Wild Ginger restaurant for a festive, celebratory lunch. Wild Ginger is one of my all-time favorite places. And today, as always, it did not fail to satisfy my every wish for a lovely time---food, service, ambiance. Auntie Pumpkin provided the grand good company.

Here we have Auntie Pumpkin and her luncheon entree, Duck with Steamed Buns.

And here is my luncheon entree----Laksa!

I first tried laksa when I was in Singapore and I took a cooking class at Raffles Hotel (for another birthday season, if memory serves....maybe 11 years ago?) and I've been a big, BIG fan of this wonderful seafood-spice-noodle-curry-amalgam ever since. If you have never tried laksa, you should seriously consider making a batch and see for yourself what a delight it is (and it really is worth hunting down the exotic ingredients).

Since turmeric is one of the ingredients of the spice mix, the bib was necessary to keep my "not jeans" wardrobe looking pristine. (Notice the practiced noodle slurping technique....)

I am always surprised when I venture into Bellevue that it has grown into a city with many high rise buildings. This one had a lovely reflection that caught my eye.

After lunch Auntie Pumpkin took me shopping at Rosa Mundi, a little shop that used to have a branch in my town (but sadly no more), where I found this treasure. And what, you ask, am I going to do with that???

Tie it to my Christmas wreath with a bright red ribbon next December, of course! It will be just the perfect thing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

JournalFest 2011

Today's mail brought me my registration booklet for JournalFest 2011. I am so excited! (I am always excited to go to JournalFest!) I got the teachers I wanted all three days, which feels rather like winning the lottery, and I got a room on the first floor on the view side of the dorm at Fort Worden. It was a win, win, WIN packet for me today.

The registration packets from Teesha and Co. are always so clever. This one has a beautiful fabric "bellyband" around the paper info. There is the little booklet with all the information you might need, including your classes and dorm assignment (if you are staying on the campus) plus goodies. This year there are three buttons with deer in different configurations, some sticker-like pictures that might be used in your journal spreads and all are beautifully and artistically packaged. It's always rather like Christmas morning when you get your packet in the mail. I always like to sit down with a cup of tea and open it sloooooooooowwwwllllllllyyyyyy and savor all the surprises.

Now I just have to be patient and wait for the end of October. (Easier typed than done.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Poetry Sunday

Another lazy Sunday. I spent a long, miserable day yesterday updating the database for the arts Festival. I didn't have much fun but I do have the satisfaction of knowing it is complete, correct and ready to go.

I cleaned out my cup and mug cupboard the other day in preparation for buying four new mugs. Starbucks has these black porcelain mugs that come with a white glaze pen. I am making a set of four with some of my favorite poems on them. I have completed the "decoration" and will now bake them for the required time in my oven. I'm really pleased with how they turned out and think they are sort of cool.

While I was looking for poems for my cups I reread the following poem, one of my very favorites.
(If you are not a poetry lover, you might want to skip the rest of this post. You'll be missing out on a great poem, but hey, your mileage may vary....)


Here are the perfect
fans of the scallops,
quahogs, and weedy mussels
still holding their orange fruit---
and here are the whelks---
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 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 relinquishing
of their unrepeatable energy,
back into everything else.
When I find one
I hold it in my hand,
I look out over the 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 darkness,
that long, blue body of light.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Signs of Spring

Outside my front window I can see a beautiful cherry tree, in full bloom. It gives me hope for warmer days, sunshine and blue skies. I think I remember what days like that feel like, but maybe's been a long winter.

My flowering quince is doing just that. I love quince. Beautiful deep pinky fuchsia petals against the stark brown branches is always startling and somehow thrilling.

My Lenten Rose (Hellebore) are blooming madly, beautifully. They are so reliable in my garden and brighten up the last wet, gray days of winter.

Everything is showing signs of waking up, budding out, turning green. It is a time fraught with hope and promise.

And the daffodils, of course, are showing their sunny faces everywhere in my little town.

Happy Spring!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Night with the Boys

Last night one of my favorite groups rolled into town and played a great two set concert at the Moore Theatre. Great Big Sea is just starting their 19th year together. Since it was my birthday earlier in the week I rather thought of this show as my birthday gift from them. It was a doozie!

Sean McCann sang Safe Upon the Shore, a haunting ballad that is so enhanced by his splendid voice.
Many of my favorite songs were sung. There was much bantering and bouncing and strumming and drumming. It was LOUD.

And Alan Doyle provided his usual silliness to make it all the more fun.

I had a grand time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Praying for Japan

I have no words about the horrific earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan today. My heart aches for them all. If you want to help you might go to Charity Navigator to pick a charity of your choice.