Monday, December 31, 2012

All Around Delhi

First of all, let me say that I absolutely love a country that knows how to make (and serve) a good cup of tea.  Ah.....I drank tea and more tea all over India and had not one bad cup.  To the entire subcontinent let me say, "Thank you."

One of the very first things we did in Delhi was to take a bicycle rickshaw ride to Chandni Chowk, the market in Old Delhi.  It is a labyrinth of alleys and streets, shops and people and smells, honking cars, motor bikes, bicycle rickshaws and crowds and the occasional wandering cow.  It was amazing!  I loved the ride and had a thoroughly wonderful time gawking. 

I must say, the wiring reminded me of China....

There were sari shops displaying their wedding finery.  We were there during the height of the wedding season and almost every night we heard (if we didn't see) weddings going on all around our hotels.  There were lights and loud music, lots of guests coming and going, the groom and his family and entourage would arrive in splendor and it was exciting to see.  Many of the grooms came by white stallion.  Some come in elaborate silver wedding carriages.  Others came in cars, the poor fellows, but at least the cars were all decorated and festive.  Everything to do with the weddings is bright, loud, glittery and fun!

This is my lunch one day, an onion uthapam---a sort of pizza-like dish.  It was delicious.  Many of the restaurants are vegetarian and I had a lot of great vegetarian food while in India.

Nonie at a museum
I hope this will give you a taste of what is to come.  I am still trying to figure out how to move some photos around so I can post them.  Please bear with me....I'm not particularly good at solving computer issues and I'm trying to figure this out as quickly as I can.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Camera for Christmas

 My DH gave me a new Nikon J1 camera kit for Christmas.  It came with two lenses and a camera case, too.  I am just beginning to figure out how it all works, but thought I would post a some of my first photos with the new set-up.  It's light weight (compared especially to my D80!) and compact.  I think this two lens camera set up will make a great travel system.

Thank you, sweetie.  I love my gift!  (And you.)

Nonie and I spent two nights in Las Vegas right after Christmas.  I tried taking photos I knew would test the new camera to the max, and it came through brilliantly with each and every try.  The above photo shows some of the conservatory floral decorations at the Bellagio, where we stayed.


We had some stunning sunsets while we were there.  I took these shots from the window of our room on the 29th floor.  We had a beautiful view over town toward the mountains.

These two shots are of the famous Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio.  It truly is beautiful.

These two photos were taken at sunrise, again from our room on the 29th floor, facing the Cosmopolitan.  I love the blue streaks!

And here is an early morning reflection.  It was a fun trip, and while only two nights, just enough time for me to spend in Vegas.  We saw O and ate at some great restaurants, did a tiny bit of shopping (really, we did only a tiny bit....not being into bling!) and walked and walked and walked.

Now I will get back to editing my India photos for the next posting.....

Now I will get back to editing my India photos for the next posting.....

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas to All!

Merriest Christmas wishes to you all, Dear Readers, or Joyous Blessings of the Season, or a most happy and healthy New Year, depending on the sentiment you might most prefer.  From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Home Again

early morning from Nargakot, Nepal
I'm home again, from India and Nepal.  I had THE BEST TIME and I have so many photos and stories to share with you.  But....

Please be patient.  I am suffering mightily from jet lag and I do want to spare you the whining and wailing of that particular journey.  I am working on my photos as time and energy allow, while trying to decorate the house for Christmas, unpack, do laundry and iron, cook and the usual run of chores that make up our daily lives.  It's a sort of a juggle right now.  I'm in a brain fog, too, which doesn't  help. and stories are coming.  I promise.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Rajasthan and the Pushkar Camel Fair

Photo from
I am off to India tomorrow.  This is a long dreamt of trip and I am very, very excited.  Nonie and I won't be home until mid-December.  While we are away we'll be visiting Delhi, the Pushkar Camel Fair,   the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park, among other places.

I have completed my Christmas gift buying, wrapping and posting.  I've made, addressed and stamped my Christmas cards so I can come home and just pop them in the mail.  I have finished and delivered my newest grandchild's Christmas stocking.  In other words, I have actually gotten all my big Christmas chores finished so I can go off to exotic India and not have to think about what I should be home doing because---I've done it!

That, Dear Readers, is a first.

I won't be posting while away, so please come back in December for some new photos and tales from our sojourn to India, and a very short visit to Nepal....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An Unexpected Visitor

 I spent last weekend at my cabin.  Saturday morning I was padding about inside, early, drinking tea and enjoying the peace and quiet when a movement outside caught my attention.  I just barely saw the back end of the beastie pictured and ran for my camera.  I finally spotted the lynx again out the dining room window. This is not the best photo, but considering I took it with a point-and-shoot through the dining room window and the lynx was about 50 feet from me, I think it's not too bad, either!  It wasn't afraid of me, just cautious.  We held the stare for a bit then it turned and sauntered off.  This is the second time I have seen a lynx right outside the cabin.  The first time was in November, also.  In fact, it was Thanksgiving morning and I was cooking a turkey.  I've always suspected that the aroma of roasting bird is what brought the cat to investigate.  But now, having seen another one, perhaps I just have a resident lynx.  It's a lovely thought.  I hope it's true.

We often call this critter a bob cat.

Big leaf maple -- Acer macrophyllum

We are full into autumn now.  Cold nights, lots of rain, some frosts (but not too many yet) and wind.  The leaves have turned and have mostly fallen.  It's the dark, gray days of November.  As I am leaving for a three week plus trip to India and Nepal next week and will be enjoying hot weather there, I am trying to enjoy the damp and the dark of autumn in the Pacific Northwest.  The old "bloom where you grow" thing, I guess.

It's a little easier to really enjoy it when the sun shines, but that doesn't happen much....

One good thing about losing all the leaves off the big leaf maples is that my view of the Stillaguamish River is more extensive.

Callicarpa Americana

It was a bumper year for my beauty berry shrub.  It's loaded with the most amazing purple berries.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Just a Beading Fool

I have made Christmas stockings for each of my children and have carried that tradition on to include the grandchildren.  As Reid was born at the end of July and his first Christmas is fast approaching, I have been working on his stocking.  Late (LATE) last night I finally finished it.

I made a very similar stocking last year for Reid's sister, Rawlings.  Hers sports a mouse in place of the squirrel on this new one, but both have the same lining and backing and over-all design.  I found Christmas stockings printed on fabric panels last year and thought what a great jumping off point they would be for something a little different than my usual stocking of felt and sequins.  The hand beading was lots of fun and something I hadn't done before until last year.

It is my opinion that a Christmas stocking requires a bell on the toe.

Reid's stocking has been boxed up and sent on its way to his mother.  I hope it is well received.  It was lots of work, but very much fun---except the part where I had to use the sewing machine to put it all together.  I have no great skill with a sewing machine and they all, apparently, hate me.  They fling bobbins at my eyes, trying to blind me.  The machine last night spewed miles of thread at me, rather like a python trying to strangle me where I sat.  The lights on the infernal contraption flickered, the tension was all overt the chart, the pressure foot seemed to have a mind of it's own and all in all, the machine sewing part was lengthy and fraught with difficulties.  I did, in the end, get it assembled.

Once I finished the beading on Reid's stockings I couldn't bear to stop.  I have had this turtle fabric hanging around for a while now as I wanted to use it to cover a travel journal for my next trip to Hawaii.  I decided to bead just one turtle for the front cover.  I got that little turtle beaded rather quickly and have now attached the fabric it to the journal, front and back.  

Then I put all the beads away.  Neatly.  (An unusual step for me, that neatly part....)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Woman We must sit down
                          and reason together.
We must sit down.
Men standing want to hold forth.
They rain down upon faces lifted.

Man We must sit down on the floor
on the earth
on stones and mats and blankets.
There must e no front to the speaking
no platform, no rostrum,
no stage or table.
We will not crane
            to see who is speaking.

Woman Perhaps we should sit in the dark,
In the dark we could utter our feelings.
In the dark we could propose
and describe and suggest.

Man In the dark we could not see who speaks
and only the words
would say what they say.

Woman Thus saying what we feel and what we want,
what we fear for ourselves and each other
into the dark, perhaps we could begin 
to begin to listen.

Man Perhaps we should talk in groups
small enough for everyone to speak.
Woman             Perhaps we should start by speaking softly.
The women must learn to dare to speak.

Man The men must bother to listen.

Woman             The women must learn to say, I think this is so.

Man The men must learn to stop dancing solos on the ceiling.
After each speaks, she or he,
will repeat a ritual phrase:

Woman It is not I who speaks but the wind.
and Wind blows through me.
Man Long after me, is the wind.

Marge Piercy

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Winter Wonder at Anthropologie

I took part in a design workshop today at the Anthropologie store in University Village.  I wasn't exactly sure what this workshop would be about, but it turned out that the design team was working on creating the Christmas decor for the store.  This year the theme is winter critters, as one of the young women put it.  There is a sort of arch, or cave entrance perhaps, made of pieces of wood and coming through this arrangement is a polar bear.  There will be two cubs, also, when it is all finished.

Besides the polar bears, there will be owls and squirrels and at least one snow bird.  These amazing winter white animals are made with either a chicken wire armature or crumpled paper and lots and lots of masking tape.  Various papers were used to create the fur or feathers----paper toweling, Tyvek, waxed paper and some other sort that I am not sure exactly what it was but it had a sort of felt-y feel.
The papers were torn into either fringes, or tear shaped petals, and the Tyvek was torn and encouraged to be shaggy and then hot glued to the armature.

Here you can see Mr. Squirrel.  He was so cute!

There was a group working on the back end of the polar bear, gluing and shaping the papers to form the fur.

This is the right foreleg of Mrs. P. Bear.  I worked on this and had a great time.  I will admit to getting a couple of blisters with the hot glue (I have never been very careful with hot glue and I should be---it's HOT!)  It was lots of fun to work the paper in and add some Tyvek fur and try to make it all look shaggy and properly tousled.

You can see the armature for the snow bird in the front on the edge of the table in the above photo.

I loved the screen of pine cones that hang in the windows of the store.  It's woodsy and winter-y and natural---and quite beautiful.

I realize that the Anthropologie staff has figured out a way to get lots and lots of free help in creating the decor for the shop, but we all had so much fun!  I don't think there was one of us who felt ill-used, just very pleased to be a part of creating some Christmas time magic for the store.

 Mrs. Bear was coming along nicely when I had to leave....

....and the snow bird was taking shape, too.  Amazing what you can do with masking tape, crumpled paper, Tyvek and some inspiration!

I had such a good time.  Everyone was so nice, both the staff of the University Village Anthropologie and all the attendees.  I will be sure to return in December to see the magic that the store decor is sure to be.