July 31, 2009

More Conservatory Inhabitants

This family of free spirits were enjoying a bit of the
screened sun at Wrights Park too.

July 30, 2009

Have a Cool One!

Things at Wright Park Conservatory are looking much more perky than the rest of us with the onset of 90-100 degree temps here in WA. The photo above was taken from inside looking out through the window which had a sun screen. The effects of that and the sprinkler below were fun to catch.

These Nicotiana (tobacco) plants were standing tall and proud all through the entry.

And the Begonias were getting an indoor bath.
Have a cool one!

July 26, 2009

What Does Free Mean to You?

There are as many perspectives on what Free means as there are people interested in thinking about it. For some folks it can simply be having enough time to get on a motorcycle and see places and things in this country they haven't seen before. To see the sites while also enjoying the sense of feel and smell that comes with riding. My husband Rick and his best bud from Kindergarten were able to take one of those rides earlier this month.

They covered enough miles to get them from the west coast to the east, but instead made a circle a bit closer to home. (WA, ID, MT, SD, WY) And along the way they saw mountains, valleys and wide open spaces through a range of temps. Add one kick butt hail storm and a bird committing suicide on the wind shield and you have excitement to boot.

When either of us is gone, we touch base most evenings by phone and get filled in on the days progress. Truth be told, when motorcycles are involved (his, I don't happen to be a rider) it also keeps my worrying to a minimum. He graciously indulges me. Bottom line, evening reports indicated they were seeing some beautiful places and happily he captured many of them with his little Canon 220. Perfect for a jacket pocket. It's the first time he has taken anything other than a throw away with him. He practiced a bit before leaving and I think he took some great shots.

Along with all the stunning countryside, the ride included seeing; where Custer, in a continuing effort to eradicate Native Americans, stupidly forced his men to their deaths, Mt Rushmore and the upper portion of Yellowstone.

This trip covered lands I have never seen so I'm doubly loving his photos. And isn't that one of the best parts of photography. The ability to travel to places you may never see, through someone else's camera lens and perspective? And this is the guy who has been telling me for 33 years that he can't take a good photo. Thanks Canon, I think you shifted his thinking.

The stopping places on their trip seem to me like observations of honor and another kind of free. At Little Big Horn the Natives of the Plains were taking a stand for honor and freedom. Mt Rushmore immortalizes some of our most honorable historical figures who worked tirelessly to establish and protect our freedoms. And Yellowstone?

Yellowstone is an example of freedoms that need more work through the protection and increase of our Park Lands and their wildlife inhabitants. In many cases it's a survival issue and we're down to the line. The wild horses above, who roam the Little Big Horn National Park, exemplify that idea. If you look at the top of the photo a little to the left, you can see specks that are the rest of this herd.

In some ways I am grateful that our damaged economy has created an increase of people getting on the road and experiencing more of the US this summer and less travel abroad. Being in touch with our history, land and wildlife raises our awareness and helps keep our priorities in perspective. I'd sleep better at night knowing horses, bison, deer, elk, bear, big cats and the lot still have room to roam. Spiders, not so much.

Thanks for sharing the journey and the photos Rick!

July 23, 2009

Gig Harbor Water

A touch of dancing Gig Harbor water reflection.

Make Overs and New Places

In the City of Tacoma there are a number of fun buildings, some new but many turn of the century examples with lots of character as well. For years change was "coming" to Tacoma with the promise of revitalization. Like so many towns and cities across the country, the downtown area had been slowly eroding. Mainstay businesses were moving or closing and things were looking pretty shabby. The possibilities and challenges were obvious. Well funded risk takers weren't to be found. Then the tide began to turn.

The downtown train station was completed revamped into the Federal building with court rooms, a legal library, offices and the impressive lobby available for large gatherings. The original brick building has a distinctive arched front entrance with a copper domed roof. Washington State's Tacoma branch of the History Museum in it's small building was crowded to the max and sorely in need of work. The fix was nothing short of magic; take over an area down town on property right beside the "train station" and build a state of the art museum that externally emulates aspects of the train station in it's design. Then came the Chilhuly Glass Museum project planned for the other side of the highway separating that section of downtown from the waterway. The Glass Museum plans included a walking bridge across the highway to the backside of the History Museum/Federal building area. Following those projects, Tacoma Art Museum, who had been dealing with problems similar to the history museum, built their new facility steps from the Federal building.

The exact time lines of each of these projects have run together in my memory but they all occurred in a remarkably short space of time, considering the decades spent waiting for the dream of change to become a reality. And while these projects were occurring, right across the street from the station and museum the University of WA began working their magic on existing historical buildings and some new, in order to create a Tacoma campus. New retail businesses and restaurants began to fill the long vacant nearby store fronts. A wonderful rail line was put in making quick access to different areas downtown. Hotels began make-overs and new places of lodging popped up as well. Many used the restoration model rather than tearing down history. And not last by any means, but another important piece of the refresher process, the Convention Center arrived. A brand new building with angles, interest and a fun character of its own. A view from its upper window is above.

Check out Tacoma!

July 19, 2009

Hydrangea Color

A little WA hydrangea color for you today.

July 18, 2009

Seattle Reflection

There are so many buildings in Seattle that try to reach out and grab my camera. This ones reflection danced as we walked by. Reminded me of folks dancing at concerts in the 60's. An interesting thing about living in WA all these years; there is VERY LITTLE movement at seated concerts. Not feet, heads, arms, shoulders...nothing. Drives me crazy since my body loves to keep time. And dancing, loved doing it and love watching it. When we went to Seattle to see River Dance years ago, the audience was stone still. How in the WORLD can you sit still through River Dance? Really! All that drumming, tapping, leaping and clapping. It was finally too much for me and my feet started working at hyper-speed down there in the dark. It requires skill to tap like mad in a seated position while not moving the upper half of your body by the way. Oh well, at least Seattle's buildings feel the beat.

July 16, 2009

Silverdale Slips

Silverdale Washington dock and moorage
caught on a Sunday morning as the mist made way for the day.

July 15, 2009

WA State Capitol Building

So I may be really biased BUT, I love the State of Washington's capitol building. Especially in the spring. There are a number of wonderful spots on the grounds to sit and calmly ponder the weighty questions. Of course once you step inside during session and encounter the hundreds of voices bouncing off three stories of marble, calm is out and frenzy is in. It requires a weighty building to keep all that decision making energy contained. If you are out and about in Olympia, WA this summer, stop up on the hill and tour the capitol and grounds. It's worth it.

July 14, 2009

Sea Mist Studio

A second blog was born, Sea Mist Studio. Being in it's infancy there isn't much there as yet. In fact what you see is what you'll get! Sea Mist and Sunsets seems to have taken on a certain personality of it's own which I'm good with so far. Sea Mist Studio will be more of interest to those wanting to follow my dabbling journey. I usually have my hands in something so I thought I would give those somethings a home of their own. Stop on by if you're so inclined, just keep in mind my goal is a fun process and as you can see above, my vision can be a little odd. Not trying for that, it just happens I'm afraid. Thankfully if I need something pretty, I can grab that camera and go find it.

July 12, 2009

Leave the Light On

I've been listening to "Leave a Light On" by Chris Smither 
this morning while puttering around. 
I do love his voice and guitar playing.
At one point I included a You Tube link of it but
it has been removed. If you have the time, 
access and interest in 
some good folk music, do search him out.

Photo taken at the old Wilkerson barn in Gig Harbor.

July 11, 2009

All Tuckered Out

All tuckered out from a full mornings educational beach walk, this bitty little girl sat on a log at events end patiently waiting to go home. She was so dear looking it was hard not to stare. She (and her mother) were so pooped they didn't even notice me.

July 10, 2009

Dining at Wright Park

My friend Sandy and I met for one of our lunch hour strolls through Wright Park Conservatory this week, followed by lunch from a table with a view. (See above) Not bad eh? Too make it even more special, Sandy turned our little picnic table into the most lovely surprise. As I brought out the contents of my lunch sack it took on a new level of fruity beauty. Sitting atop her prized rosy transfer ware and table cloth this seasons bounty looked right at home. I dabbed my mouth with the cloth napkin and munched on the dessert she thoughtfully included, while being reminded once more what a gift Sandy has for making each moment special. Thanks Sandy, it was perfect and you are a dear friend. Below are a few of the things we saw blooming this month.

July 9, 2009

Happy Sailing

Last week I spent Tuesday running around University of Washington medical center in Seattle. It is large place and like so many of it's kind, where wings are added on at later dates, it can get confusing getting from appt to appt. I promised myself once free of the place I would TRY to get to the Seattle to Bremerton Ferry to get back home, rather than dealing with more confusion on Interstate 5.

I was so caught up in getting across town to catch the ferry, I spaced on what an absolutely amazingly beautiful day it had become. A stunner in fact. My triple gift was a short ferry wait, parking by the rail once on the ferry with the best water view of Mount Rainier I can remember and then arriving all restored.

At 14,000 plus feet Mt. Rainier has the magical ability to vanish behind clouds and/or haze on many days. Not that day. The one hour ferry journey was too good. My camera battery coughed it's last cough just as the ferry pulled into Bremerton. Timing is everything. Above is one of the sights. I'll post a few more later. Happy Sailing!

PS...That is another WA State ferry way off in the distance to the left of the sail boat.

July 6, 2009

Sunrise Cypress

A little sunrise Cypress for you from the Monterey Peninsula in CA.

July 5, 2009

Summer Doors

Hoping summer is opening doors to
new places and ideas for each of you.

July 3, 2009

Happy Independence Day

There are so many magical times in nature when Red, White and Blue pop up and I started to celebrate those in this blog post. Then as I was looking through my photos I realized how often the United States flag has danced in front of my camera during the last year and a half, along with how frequently those photos were of ships, boats and the lot. Though the photo above, taken at the Monterey Wharf in CA, isn't flag bedecked, it was taken around the time the trend began. I will spare you all of the examples.

The images captured of flags are no coincidence. In hindsight, I see they reflect the point in time I began to feel more hopeful about the future of our country. It also felt right that some of those first photos were of the old sailing ships, many whose designs reflect those which sailed and defended our harbors before, during and after the Revolutionary War.

This fellow flies two contemporary US flags from his rigging
along with himself.

Some fly earlier designs.
This one marks 1776.

Whatever the flags vintage, there is just something heart gripping about the wind taking it up and giving it a good whipping. What a sound that is. What a sight.

For the last three hundred plus years, seven generations of my family have been proud to call North America home. They have fought and many have died in each of the wars we have undertaken. They were trappers, indentured servants, business owners and teachers, elected officials, farmers, writers and railroad workers, seamstresses, nurses and preachers, musicians, printers, shoe salesmen, cowboys and a hundred other things. And when the need arose, they were members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, National Guard, Merchant Marines and Coast Guard. They fought with every manor of weapon at home and abroad. And those that survived, lived with the outcomes. Some moved on and lived out long healthy lives, while others paid life long physical and mental prices for defending our country and her people.

It's all those folks I'll be remembering this July fourth. Those that helped us become an independent nation and those that have helped to maintain it. My job is to be sure folks aren't paying those ultimate or hardship prices unless ABSOLUTELY necessary; to be vigilant, educated about US and world activities and to vote wisely.

Hope you have a wonderful Independence Day
and a scoop of potato salad for me too!
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