Saturday, December 31, 2005

That We May Awaken To A New Day

Heavenly Father, our eyes have, at all times, been bent upon the dayspring of Thy loving-kindness, and our faces set towards the fountainhead of Thine inspiration. Rain down, then, upon us from the clouds of Thy mercy what beseemeth the heaven of Thy bounteousness and grace, that we may awaken to a new day. (Painting by Maxfield Parrish)

Very Deep, Dark Forest - Hood Canal

We went for a two hour hike today in an old growth forest - just look at that cedar tree! I couldn't see the top of it, it was so high up. The air here is magnificent! It is so fresh...

Resting On The Trail - Hood Canal

When we left for our hike, I had on 4 layers, including mittens and a scarf. By the time we finished our climb, I'd stripped down to my t-shirt. It was misting here, but the tree cover took most of the moisture. Everything was dripping - the ferns, the moss, the evergreens. I was mighty glad for this little bench, as I was quite 'winded'.

The Two Medicine - Glacier, Montana

The Moods of Glacier Park

This is Bubbie Dear and Oldeupher climbing in Glacier. She says, "This day we were camped at Many Glacier. The next day the campsite was closed down until spring. "

This time of year the Park sees few visitors and a real sense of isolation could easily overwhelm one---unless the Park is your friend. "

I like to think that a mountain wants you to see it in all its moods, even the monochromatic ones! In winter's chill you can't be distracted by lots of're too busy feeling gusty wind, raw cold, ironic sunshine! And there's nothing like coming "inside" to have a warm cup of coffee! "

All The Little Lives

My sister says,"When I'm an old lady in a nursing home, looking at my photographs of Glacier Park, my mind's eye will not be searching out the grand panoramic shots. My favorite moments in nature have always been the revelations at my feet. Of course, there's a bit of a lesson here. One must watch where one is going!"

"The grand vista can take one's breath away. But such an expanse leaves me wondering where I fit in? When I observe the ordinary and mundane right at my own feet, I see its awesome appeal. I get to feel like one little leaf, one little rock must---and instantly I'm a part of it all."

Monday, December 26, 2005

Ruhiyyih In A Holiday Spirit

Ruhiyyih's role in the family this last 26 years has been "the party planner". She does everything - the calling, the decorations, baking, cooking ... you name it. Parties just don't happen unless she is in the mix.

Oh Yes, A Slinky and a Speak 'N' Spell

What ever they got, they shared. And, would I love to go back 20 years ago and give them more big squeezes? Most definitely so! Rahmat, the quiet one, on the left; Taraz, Mr. Hyper-Active, on the right. (Thanks to Bubbie for photos).

Doorways - Fort Flagler - Washington

We had every intention of canoeing during our Christmas weekend, but strong winds and rain prevented that. We went exploring, and drove up north to old Fort Flagler. It rests on a high bluff overlooking Puget Sound, with views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. Many historic old buildings still stand at this 19th century-established military fort. I walked around, photographing the old paint, latches and doors, as well as the old military gun-batteries built into the earth. Take a few moments, scroll down, and catch glimpses of Puget Sound.

Exploring the Past at Fort Flagler

This old building at Fort Flagler was completely abandoned. I walked around the porch. Even the pigeons, whose droppings were under the eves, had vanished. The wind was blowing, not a soul was in sight - not a welcoming place. George drove around, while I explored.

Ancient Hinges and Doorways

I love old paint, especially when it shows weather and is peeling. The buildings at Fort Flagler had many coats of old paint, and needed another.

Old Mortar Battery and Old Paint

Storms Pounding Puget Sound

We drove around the south end of Indian Island, to do a little hiking, then drove down to Mystery Bay. When the weather is better we'll come back here for a paddle.

We listened to Garrison Keillor on "Prairie Home Companion". His shows are always part of our trips; this was his Christmas lineup:

"This weekend we'll gather East and West in a joyful Christmas broadcast from the Town Hall in New York City. With special guests: the legendary Blues singer Odetta, three brilliant voices from the Metropolitan and New York City Operas—Janez Lotric and Jennifer Rivera. Also featuring Czech father and daughter duo, Stanislav and Kristina Kotyza. And from the Ukraine, the Paulishyn sisters—ages eleven and thirteen—accompanied by Alla Kutsevych on the amazing Bandura (the national instrument of Ukraine). All of this, plus the Royal Academy of Radio Acting, The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band with Andy Stein, and the News from Lake Wobegon. "

Saturday, December 24, 2005

She's Ready! And, She's Been Good!

We stopped to visit my daughter-in-law, Annie today, to drop off our gifts and some goodies. This is my grand-daughter, Daisy, and I can assure Santa that she has been good ..... (Can you tell I'm a proud grandma?)

Friday, December 23, 2005

All The Widdle Birds In Heaven Sing Sing Sing

"Every little swallow, every chickadee
Every little bird in the tall oak tree
The wise old owl, the big black crow
Flapping them wings sayin' go bird go....
" Rockin' Robin"
That's what I was humming when I helped Rahmat move all his stuff into his new apartment - into the Walker Building. He's flyin' the coop!

His is the only studio apartment that has ornate window boxes, and you can see him peeking out of his closet window - the other windows are the main room and kitchen nook. WE plan on putting geraniums in pots up there - he plans to take good care of them.

The top photo is of the parakeets in two cages in the loby; the other photo is the old, formal front entrance that leads into a foyer, then a lobby. He will spend his first night alone in his new home tonight. I'll be taking a tin of chocolate chip cookies and banana bread over to him tomorrow, as a home-warming gift.

Rahmat Looking Down From On High

But Wait, I Can Get It Cheaper At...

We had to take advantage of the holiday sales at Target, where Rahmat got a microwave, toaster, and blender. Then, we drove over to the Goodwill, where he got a nice easy chair, then a pole lamp at K-Mart, and groceries at Fred Meyer. I would have taken him to the dollar store to load up on a few plates and silverware...but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

He and I have very different shopping styles - I make lists, and prioritize so I get the important stuff first, before I give out. He is more impulsive and distracted. If I hadn't been there, he would have purchased most of the non-essentials before he even thought about what he was going to sleep on. Fortunately, he is open to suggestions, and took my advice most of the time - it's all a learning thing. For example, when we were in the grocery store, he went to buy a $1.50 avacado. I said, "Are you sure you want to spend $1.50 for one ounce of fiber? You've got to peel off the skin, then remove the huge seed...what's left?" He put it back!


Now, repeat after me: I will have a - CHEERFUL DISPOSITION. (thanks to Oldeupher for the photos)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Learning To Replace A Button

My son, Taraz, is 22, and learning how to! Not that he is good with needle and thread, but, he's got to replace 3 buttons on his coat if he wants to wear it this winter. We went over to Hancock Fabrics, and he found buttons to match the one that remained on his coat. Now, I will show him, only once, how to securely wrap the thread around a sewn button. While checking out the buttons, I checked out the embroidery yarn, pictured above.

Holiday Shopping With My Son

My son, Taraz, and I headed over to Ross's to check out holiday gifts - that place was packed with shoppers. We like the place because it always has nice bargans, reasonable prices. And, their glassware and china is great. We've bought several large ornate vases here that you'd think belonged in a museum. Just gorgeous. And, well, Taraz enjoys adding another teapot to his collection.

They Were Taught Well - Bargan Hunting

When we were raising our five children, it seemed like there was never enough money to go around - and there wasn't. They all were in the habit of borrowing each other's clothes, wearing each others shoes, and even trading coats and sweaters. In other words, I fostered the concept of Hand-Me-Downs.

George taught them all to shop at discount shops, like Ross, and I took them DOWN a step further, to look for bargans at the Goodwill. My oldest son, when he married at 18, was able to furnish his apartment using stuff from there. Which reminds me of a coat he was wearing at the time - the last coat I ever bought him. I sewed a heavy blanket lining inside it, when the old lining wore out.

Today, when Taraz and I were shopping, we dropped by the Goodwill, and I found a perfectly good toaster for $2.00...and that is good, as they last about two months here before someone takes a baseball bat to them. This one has a nice little "Betty Crocker" label - I hope she will survive. However, with my son Rahmat moving out in a couple days, and Taraz soon to follow, the toaster stands a fair chance of survival here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Going Away, Far Far Away at Christmas

Our daughter is going to spend time in Washington D.C. and in Virginia at Christmas, to visit a friend she taught with in China. They've been making plans to visit the museums and take in the history there, and he says everything is FREE - Ruhiyyih's favorite word! I'm eager to hear all about her trip when she gets back - we'll see her on New Years Day.

Ruhiyyih's New Back-Pack

We did a little shopping together at REI, a favorite place of ours. She bought this new backpack for her trip. It holds a sleeping bag, a few changes of clothing, and toiletries. (She wanted me to e-mail this photo, so she can use it on her blog, and I haven't a clue as to how to do it's gotta go here first, then she can copy it.) Oh boy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005

An Artist's Kitchen - Pottery Collections

Looking at the soft lavender pastels of this kitchen, one can only imagine the silence of early morning, winter snow in the yard, and the quiet hum of.....a potters wheel.

When she can take time away from her job and the care of her two daughters, Mel, my neice, stands here by the window, cup of coffee in hand. She is an artist, a potter, who throws clay on a potters wheel in her kitchen and bakes it in a kiln in her garage. Her collections are stored on a shelf over this archway, and I have filmed all of them.

When we visited Mel, I saw something very touching - she had saved all the old etchings and pastel drawings I had done 25 years ago. They were framed, and put up in her home. Had I kept them, they never would have survived all the relocations we had to make as I was raising my children. It took another artist to see their merit, hold onto them, and put them in a little gallery - Mel's livingroom. There they are in good company with her sculptures, pottery, her extensive art book collection, and the collections of her grandfather. I'd like to feature Mel today, and show the little details that reflect her love of art.

Mel's Pottery On My Windowsill

These little dishes are under 3 inches - just right to hold shells from the beach. The clay figurines are from Ireland.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Frosty Morning At Tolmie State Park

We headed out for an early morning hike at Tolmie State Park, where the temperature was below freezing, and frost was everywhere. American Widgeons and Buffleheads flocked up as we walked along this sand spit. There was a 3 mile trail in the forest, which meandered through old cedar groves and leatherleaf ferns. We hiked through it, eventually taking off mittens, scarves, down jackets and scarves. By the time we returned to Tolmie Spit, shadows covered the lagoon.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Lights in Our Neighborhood

When I went for a walk last night, I took my camera just to record a couple of the little houses on my block. Nothing spectacular here, but a dedicated effort to bring Christmas cheer to one's home.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Frost On The Leaves Today

(Click on photo for larger image)

Shut-In On A Winter's Day

My son Ruh came to visit his brothers today. Rahmat is reading "The Tenth Insight - Holding the Vision" by James Redfield, a book about personal destiny and purpose. It answers the questions "Why are we here? What are we to do? Where are we going?"...well, I know one thing, he will be moving later this month to a place of his own, finally, and I'm happy for him.

The Chicadees Haven't Come By

I'm as eager as our cat Mordred here, to see birds come to my new feeder. So far, it isn't happening... I wonder why?

Chihuly At Union Station

This photo is of the large chandalier created by Tacoma artist Dale Chihuly, which hangs in Union Station, the old railroad station in the historical district of downtown Tacoma. When I saw this for the first time, my foremost thought was, "how do they dust it?"

Check out all the exhibitions Dale Chihuly has offered at his site. You'll be amazed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Islands of Adventure's Seuss Landing

Everyone remembers the rhymes and illustrations of Dr. Seuss books - right? Remember the color, the curvey lines, the whimsy? Well, there is a theme park in Florida that brings it all to life - Islands of Adventure's Seuss Landing, which is based on the works of Dr. Seuss: Cat in the Hat; Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You; Green Eggs and Ham; There's a Wocket in My Pocket.

The entertainment value of Seuss Landing is obvious in the architecture - bold colors, playful curves and exaggerations that distort reality, and defy gravity - a friendly place, the perfect place for a family holiday at Christmas time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ruhiyyih's Cookie Extravaganza!

Ruhiyyih came bearing gifts last night - a platter of cookies she said she dare not keep in her little apartment, or she would eat them all! She had attended a "Cookie Extravaganza Party" with 12 of her friends from college. The purpose of the party was to provide an assortment of holiday confections, with a basket-full for each gal to take home for the holidays. Each friend brought a platter of her favorite recipe, which she then shared with everyone. Not a bad idea to simplify holiday baking!

Since she will be in Washington DC during the holidays, we opened our gifts early. She gave me a little coffee warmer to put by the computer...I was always forgetting about my coffee, and it would get cold. Now, if I can only remember to turn it on, then off. I bought Ruhiyyih a cute leather contact case, for her travels. It has a mirror inside, easy and efficient.

I made cappacino for her when she got up, as she had had a rough night on the sofa. Her brother, Taraz had too many midnight snacks, waking her each time. And the cats just missed her so much they would not leave her alone. So, Ruhiyyih got about four hours of good sleep. I eventually encouraged her to sleep in my bed, because I was going to be posting here, and did not want to disturb her. The photo above shows a "recovered Ruhiyyih". Amazing what a cappacino can do...

Earl Grey, Mordred, Barry and the Girls

A feature of our Ruhi Class Sunday evenings on "Reflections on the Life of the Spirit" is the predictable misconduct of our cat, Mordred. He is an old white cat who makes it his business to find someone wearing black clothing. Then, he climbs onto their lap, cirlces a few times and sits down. No consultation here, not even a glance upward. Barry wore black, so he was the hapless victim of Mordred's attention. It would appear that Barry is attempting an explanation, but Mordred, fist raised, is pressing for squatters rights.

This week, like last week, little boxes were offered at the end of the lesson. The top of each silver box was indented with a star, like a Christmas tree decoration. Inside was a little packet of Earl Grey Tea, and a crystal chunk of sugar that looked like a small stalagmite. This was supposed to illustrate the custom in Iran 100 years ago, when Russian sugar and a package of tea were intended as a gift of love to a visitor.

Also pictured above are Megan and Emmy, students in the class, who giggle about everything, always get the answers correct, and offer a lot of creativity to the evening.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Stir-fry Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce

We had some friends over for lunch - Dave is of Korean-Scotch background and Matta is Persian-American. (She is a long-term friend of my sons). George tried out a great new stirfry recipe: Shrimp Stirfry in Black Bean Sauce. He stir-fried onions, carrots, zuchinni and spinach, then added the cooked shrimp. Add the Black Bean sauce, and serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds. Just a nice winter lunch with old friends.