November 30, 2009

Slow to Go

The migration of fall color, from great heights to ground, has a wonderful slow to go aspect. Some plants shed their color early on while others, bit by bit, draw winter to them before succumbing. Refusing a harsh wind, they hold tight, greedily letting a leaf or ten escape now and then. And though the camera loves those colorful blankets dropped in haste, I favor them all. The early and the late. But those slow to go fliers, something about their refusal to let go until forced makes me want to applaud their efforts.

November 27, 2009

Wishing You Simple Pleasures

Let the Winter Celebrations begin!

I love simple primitive elements, reminiscent of days past. Tickling memories. Best moments relived. Homemade decorations. (And no I didn't make the one above, though I cherish it and the sweet needle work holding the old quilt pieces together)

I remember one year, not so long ago, taking brown paper grocery bags and cutting them into long strips. I roughly crunched and twisted the strips until I had worked my way down each one. Then I loosely encircled a small narrow tree, spiraling the rough brown paper garland top to bottom. A few dried white berry bunches and burlap shapes hanging from copper wire loops dressed the boughs. With the addition of few clear tiny lights those simple decorations came to life. It remains one of my favorite trees. Much can be made from little or nothing. A leafless tree branch and some dry moss can be magical.

What ever your winter seasons celebration entails, I send you wishes for simple pleasures.

November 26, 2009

Mother Nature's Abundant Gifts

A thankful offering to mother nature for her abundant gifts
and sending each of you
best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2009

In the Early Morning Light

In the early morning light, the nursery down the road always feels so peaceful. Places like this, the ones you can always count on for some soul resting as you pass, are priceless. If this special spot of mine were given a waking sound I think it would be this.

November 22, 2009

Room 424

“Send two dozen roses to Room 424 and put

`Emily, I love you' on the back of the bill.”

Groucho Marx

A little color for our gray Northwest Sunday.

Have a great Monday!

November 21, 2009


Unearthed evidence of a season passing, found on a leaf stroll in Gig Harbor. Me thinks I've watched too many NCIS shows. I don't watch much TV but for some reason (or reasons) I have a true NCIS addiction. There. It's out. I've confessed. Crime solving by funny characters, one of my weaknesses.

At this point, in this age of endless reruns, it is possible to overdue. And we (I say we because my husband and I share the addiction) do seem to be exhibiting some things I suspect are early signs of "overdue". I'm not naming them individually but...the leaves above were almost scooped up so they could be tested for soils of origin, possible poisons and DNA. Good thing I have a day job to force me to stay in the real world! Most of the time.

November 19, 2009

I Love Succulents

I love succulents. So many interesting varieties, colors, shapes and sizes. These were grown by someone with good watering skills. Over watering is their downfall. Hard to avoid here in the Northwest. Hope you have a terrific Friday!

November 17, 2009

Whether They Want to Or Not

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not."

Georgia O'Keeffe

November 16, 2009

A Matter of Choice

"Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin.

We can illuminate our paths or darken our way.

It is a matter of choice."

-Maya Angelou

November 14, 2009


Before the winds de-leafed us, one of my lunch searches for fall color took me down to Commencement Bay along Ruston Way. The sight of this train, perched on the trestle, caught my attention. So, it was back and under the trestle for a better look. Twin vivid orange engines, butted together were at the head of a shorter group of cars.

Trains pulling cars or second engines facing backwards have always disturbed me. Makes me kind of dizzy. Some would argue that's my natural state. Anyway, the combination of that and having this big one parked, by appearances, on a small strip of trestle was equally unsettling as I drove under it.

The unplanned stop with it's resulting photo touched me on a few levels.

Visually. The image is nothing fancy but I like it for a few reasons; that top heavy feeling with the train over water, the engine giving an odd sense of movement in one direction with the runner below moving in the other, the stenciled crow graffiti on both sides of the trestle base and the deep colors. It was interesting standing there with the underlying tension of the train possibly moving at any time. The engineer was sitting in the lead engine window looking ready to roll.

Memory. Coming from a small rural town, we had a small rural train station. It was privately built in the late 1800's, along with a handful of other stations in the area, to provide competitive transportation for agriculturally grown goods traveling to areas it had taken days to reach by other modes. The same goods, grown in areas close to main rail lines had a clear leg up prior to the development of these private stations. Of course the trains carried people as well, ultimately bringing my grandparents to town in 1913. Relative newlyweds in their twenties.

Both of their parents had arrived in Texas as kids on wagon trains around 1860-70. When my grandparents were children, travel across the country by rail had become possible, not necessarily affordable, but possible. Pretty significant travel option changes in a relatively short period of time. Ruts remain today on the most commonly traveled of the wagon train trails.

What's the point? It's this, when I was a child in the fifties, my grandfather (Pappy) would be gleeful when he heard a train engine's whistle. The drama of those big work horses, especially to those who had little access to other areas, still lived in him. Though he owned cars and traveled widely in them, he never lost his love and respect for trains.

When I was small, Pappy and I had a Sunday train station ritual. By the early fifties there were other trains running, but on Sunday morning a steam driven train would come through. Riding on my grandfathers shoulders, the two of us would eagerly wait for the whistling to begin. Once in full view and slowing, the sounds, sight, steam and rumbling ground vibrations made by that big black mechanical wonder were amazing. An experience that always made my grandfather grin and laugh. That laugh was infectious.

It wasn't long before age and design forced the old steam train out. In most places they were already a foreign sight. The switch didn't alter our Sunday ritual. When my younger cousin was big enough, off we would all go, he now riding Pappy's shoulders as I held his hand. Both happy, safe and experiencing something I doubt either of us will ever forget. That ritual of respect and celebration.

Time and age changed our Sundays and then in the late 1960's Pappy gave a final hat tip to the engineer. My grandfathers departed Irish spirit seemed to leave a mighty gap in our town and how I felt there. To this day, I don't see a train without thinking of him. Without feeling his childlike excitement build as we stood beside the tracks at the little train station. Without seeing him wave and smile at the engineer just as, I suspect, he did for his father who worked for the railroad.

My stop at the trestle in Tacoma resulted in a snapshot; an image, catching a moment in time and a reflection. Hope you didn't mind riding the rails with me for a bit?

Have a great week!

November 12, 2009



a general direction in which
something is developing or changing

Hmm, could this be a trend.
Keep looking down, see what you see and so will we.

Look Down

Remember to look down,
remnants of fall are still around.

November 11, 2009

Taking Time Today

Wanted to take time today to thank those
who have served our country when called.
I do dream of a time when peaceful resolution of conflict
is expected and common practice.

"The practice of peace and reconciliation is

one of the most vital and artistic of human actions."

Thich Nhat Hanh

November 8, 2009

Fair Winds and A Happy Week

As another weekend slips away and I head for bed, thought I would leave you with an image taken in Gig Harbor a few weeks ago. All sunny with Mt Rainier putting on a show. I never tire of this view from the head of the harbor. It's a good reminder to me of how many locals still make a living in the dangerous fishing industry. A job where keeping ones wits about them is key to survival with the ever changing weather conditions and more. Hats off to the fishermen, fair winds and a happy week to all! Sleep...

November 7, 2009

Swimming In It

We have been swimming in it the last few days. The wind, rain and hail have been ummm...let's say memorable. Night before last we woke from deep sleep gasping about the hardest Northwest rain we've experienced in 33 years. Not so. It was hail. Then as we were getting ready for work the next morning it started again, between downpours, heavy hail. Deafening. The size of a thumbnail. The kind that makes you want to yell, "duck, incoming."

Those events and a few others the last three or so days have run us through conversations about the strongest storms we have experienced. We agreed the most dramatic to date occurred a few years ago with dear friends in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. Living below the tropic of cancer means living with extremes. Extreme beauty heads the list and extreme storms are right up there. I don't know how our storm ranked on the scale, but I do know the four of us stood in speechless awe for a long time as we watched the deep speeding waters search for every possible way down hill. The loudest thunder, brightest lightening and most heavy rains raised hell. Filled the swimming pool down hill with feet of mud, it's waterfall oozing more of the same. And as dramatically as hell arrived, it departed with clean air and sparkling skies left in it's wake.

On the evening following our "little storm" we stood on the deck overlooking the beautiful calm bay as the sky flushed to deep pink. Such an odd and stunningly beautiful sunset, I thought. It almost seemed to be moving. Then the light shifted and the moving pink clouds turned into flamingos. Extremes.

Tomorrow we are to dry out for a day, then back to it for the week. These aren't rain complaints for I know how dry things have been in other places for far too long. None-the-less, we really have been swimming in it. Just ask the leafless trees.

November 6, 2009

Tacoma Art Museum

Tacoma Art Museum architecture is one of the allowable things to photograph. I love the building and what it does for the art. It's previous location was a turn of the century building down the street. It was fine but their collections and shows have been a good fit with this new design. The upstairs area (as seen in one of the photos from the previous post) has rooms off to the right. One is an open workspace for visitors to play a bit. Another is a large studio for classes and visiting resident artists. Wonderful spot for working with tons of light coming into the room from two walls of windows, floor to ceiling. "Rentable" she says with wiggling eyebrows.
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