Each year as Christmas nears my husband and I are reminded of holidays past when our dogs were with us. There was a special decade in which our lives were graced with three wonderful dogs and a cat sharing our small house. All ladies, who brought us many, many bouts of laughter and lots of love. They are pictured above (L to R, Clancy, Mandy and Shannon) in full sniff as I opened a Christmas present filled with tasty mustard's. One minute they were out of sight and the next, I could barely see daylight and was running out of air from laughing so hard. Nary a lid was opened but, lids were no match for those skilled noses. With Shannon and Mandy both weighing in at well over a hundred pounds, and Clancy no piker, standing my ground was no small feat when they were all excited at the same time.
Clancy was the wise old crone. She arrived long before the other two and outlived them by a few months, passing away in her 16th year. Living lakeside likely gave her a better shot at that long life with all the swimming she was able to do through the years. No doubt my girl is still fetching somewhere. As the saying goes, she did not suffer fools well, so had little patience when her larger sisters were bent on rough housing or "trying" to out swim her. If she spoke, they listened.
Shannon, who had been mistreated, came to us in her second year. (No, we did not crop her ears.) She was the most gentle dog I have ever known and an incredible patient when she needed to be. Living for a time with her litter of 8 Great Dane pups was amazing. THEY GROW QUICKLY! Mandy was her daughter and we were so very glad she joined our clan. What a dear spirit she was.
We were a team, all of us. And when they all passed away, within the same year, we were hard pressed to step up again. We have been blessed with some other dear cats since then, but have never mustered the light hearts needed to bring another dog into our small circle. No need, I still hear their nails clicking on the floor and wake in the night thinking Shannon is once again trying to sneak onto the bed without being noticed. She could have taken up ballet, so poised in mid-air for a girl of her size.
This holiday we are reminded of them and that oh so healthy laughter they added to our days. Merry Christmas girls, where ever you are.
Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach -- waiting for a gift from the sea.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
There are many sentiments in Gifts from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that resonate with me. A treasured copy, passed to me by a dear friend three plus decades past, was a gifted treasure to her as well. The little book has been well loved. Each transfer of these words from 1955 were shared at a time when most needed. When things get too hectic and overwhelming, Lindbergh's words soothe and slow. Gifts. Someday I will pass this copy on to another, when most needed.
It seems right to me that the holiday season begin
Old memories. Our lives are full of them, yes? Some treasured, some less so. Many never settle long enough to fully form. Other moments in time, memories, are so poignant they remain in perfect form through decades. We remember the feel of the air, the placement of the sun in the sky, the scents and the sounds filling in the remaining blank spots on the canvas.
Such a gift, old memories. And if we are lucky, when those gifted memories do begin to fade, we have images to assist in re-painting our mental canvas.
I've been digging through old photos, taken long ago on a quiet street in Oaxaca. They surfaced along with other images I'm trying to transition from 35mm to digital. Others may find their way here, or not. The process of walking back in time, the remembering, is the journey of the moment. And I remain ever grateful for the lasting images made possible in part by good ole' Kodak film. You were a friend of mine.
One of my favorite annual environmental events has a side benefit. The building it is held in has a stage where tiny dancers, from the local dance class, perform midday. Each year a new group of brave little souls nervously find their way to center stage. As those first precious seconds pass, while waiting for the music to begin, their heads swivel right to the teacher behind the curtain, forward in search of family and then to the most likely dancer to remember all the steps.
This years class had stuffed bears and bunnies as partners to aid in conquering stage fright. As the music poured over the hundred or so audience members, each little dancer found their own personality driven dance path. Some charged ahead, others were a bit more contemplative and one found her inner giggle. Unity took two forms; pink tights and death grips on those stuffed animals. Each dancer was delightful and when the well earned applause began they shared a moment of shock driven suspended animation. They then scattered in the same manner they danced; some charged ahead, others lingered a bit and one buried her face in her bunny and giggled off, stage right.
Some days giggles and smiles are abundant. The day of our environmental event was one of 'em. It was a true treat to be there.
I lied about fall arriving. Well actually, the calendar and mother nature were not "quite" in sync this year and area colors have shown up late and are vanishing early. We have lingered over-long in summer temps with no-rain records from 1950 broken. The much needed rain has only begun to fall in the last three days and I swear you can hear the plants and trees saying thank you. Trees must be determined in order to outlast dry spells. Hopefully this big drink will help a bit.
Even as the strong rains fell today I could here the sound of our next door neighbor's chain saw carving away at the umpteenth tree to be dropped in their yard this year. In an effort to override the sound I turned on the TV, just in time for the news report about 200 plus trees that were cut down in Los Angeles so that the SHUTTLE could be pulled from point A to point B. Seriously? Right in the heart of some of the worst urban air quality in the country! Some days are real head shakers.
If I were a person of power, I would speak loudly of the need for rebuilding forest canopies in this time of deforestation. As our air quality degrades around this world, taking down trees with no regard for the bigger picture shocks me.
Hope you find time to spend with a bit of nature soon. Catch the color and take in some of the fresh air that lingers there. It's a gift.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Though we are waiting for the rains to return, their spring visits gifted us with leaves aplenty. The air is taking on the scent of summers final days and our favorite season of color is coming. Sending you wishes for an autumn of color and replenishment. Pumpkins too!
There has fallen a splendid tear From the passion-flower at the gate. She is coming, my dove, my dear; She is coming, my life, my fate; The red rose cries,'She is near, she is near;' And the white rose weeps,'She is late;' The larkspur listens,'I hear, I hear;' And the lily whispers,'I wait.' She is coming, my own, my sweet; Were it ever so airya tread, My heart would hear her and beat, Were it earth in an earthy bed; My dust would hear her and beat; Had I lain for a century dead; Would start and tremble under her feet, And blossom in purple and red.
Tennyson makes me swoon. Seems a good way to start the week. Hope it is a lovely one for each of you.
Pike Place Market in Seattle that is. We headed there a couple of Fridays ago. Weeks before we made arrangements to meet a friend there who would be up visiting from CA. Great excuse to get us to Seattle, the market, the Seattle Art Museum and to enjoy some tasty food. We tend to avoid crowds and Seattle in the summer. Like many of us, visitors become the encouragement to visit the popular areas around us.
Being a commuter M-F, my approach to using the Puget Sound highways, freeway and ferry system involves preplanning. Making numerous trips to Seattle for meetings throughout the year, up and down the crowed Interstate 5, I'm willing to go above and beyond to catch a ferry for the journey if possible. It rarely is.
I am a planner by trade and that tends to drift into our personal plans when traveling in this region. Get me out of the area and I'm happy to wander, no planning necessary. All this chatter is explanation for the photo above of the EMPTY ferry terminal. After factoring in the distance to the terminal, Friday morning / summer vacation traffic volumes, various ferry departure times, locations of road projects in Seattle (currently there are many, including the developing underground tunnel near the waterfront) limited parking options, our friends bus schedule, the rain and more, we were set. Ha.
You get the picture (above), we were over planned and way too early. I raced to get us there in time to hear the man at the ticket booth ask; "you realize the next ferry isn't until 7:20 AM right"? (it was 6:20 AM) "Yes, expected more cars on a summer Friday" says I. "Yeah, says he, the 6:15 was packed".
Ahem. In my defence, there was one person ahead of us.
After departing, the clouds began to slowly lift, just enough to see the Seattle skyline as we crept closer.
Then it was off to migrate with the expected Seattle morning mob, all vying for the well hidden all day parking areas. I would share my secret spot with you but...
From our breakfast window on the third floor at Elliot's, at the market, the new ferris wheel was in view. Apologies for the rain drops on the window. Our friend met us there and we had a great time catching up before heading out to explore the market with the building crowd.
Always a ton of beautiful flowers from the numerous flower vendors.
The fish vendors carry an amazing selection.
Starbucks first coffee house is at the market. We were headed there for hot chocolate, before realizing there was a line to get coffee a block long. Seriously! Clouds and rain = coffee in the NW.
There are numerous street musicians at the market but the guys playing in front of Starbucks were really good. No doubt brought in to keep the folks in line, in line. And they were happy, as were the line members that gathered throughout the day. The funny bit is knowing there is a bigger and faster Starbucks half a block uphill.
The well known fish booth with the fish tossers is always a crowd pleaser.
And the folks at this vegetable stand with their threatening sign never cease to make me laugh.
Make no mistake, they are serious. My first trip to the market, decades ago, I didn't see the sign. The resulting verbal lashing wasn't pretty. The displays are beautiful though I'm thinking back and don't remember purchasing from them since then. Not out of obstinacy, but fear.
The colors were bringing smiles at the Mexican market as well.
The day transformed into a beauty and the three of us had such a good time. We spent two to three hours in the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) alone. We never tire of it and the docents at the museum are just great. SAM is a treasure and now they allow folks to take photos of things in their private collection. My camera was hot by the time we left. Will need to check with them before posting any of the results here however.
Following a lovely dinner and goodbyes, our ferry timing had an odd element of the early morning version. Instead of being the second car on the ferry that morning, we were the second to the last car on that evening. It was a miracle I tell ya. The wait would have been an hour plus. The ferry goddess was watching over us. She must have known how absolutely FRIED we were. Couldn't even muster the energy to get out of the car for a parting shot of the city. Finally went for a bouncing shot from the rear view mirror. Pathetic, I know.
City shapes and textures remain some of my favorite bits to work with after catching them with the camera. This fragment and the first image of garlic spears will be fun reminders for us of a terrific day spent with a dear friend.
I hope this fourth of July finds you enjoying the holiday with family, friends, a good bite to eat and fond memories of celebrations past. By tradition, Rick and I will be home keeping company with the garden hose.
There are many towns/cities in the region who have, smartly to my way of thinking, established laws against private fireworks. Ultimately it means the unincorporated areas of the counties, where we live, have become fireworks destinations. We have always had a pretty large contingent of folks who enjoy setting them off around the lake, but things have stepped up this year and they have been blasting away for almost two weeks now, late into the night. Gratefully it has not been overly dry here, as in other states. However, bottle rockets, M80's and all manner of other flying debris has found it's way to our property and roof in the past, so we try to be patient and watchful. And trees like to burn. Ask Smokey.
What I do love are the large shows (read controlled and safe) that fill the skies with bursts of raining beauty. Both Seattle and Tacoma hold such events which are televised. I'll be watching.
In the mean time, we send you wishes for a lovely Fourth of July. And the hope for safe and sane practices, especially in those areas so very fire prone this year.
“All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” L.M. Montgomery
Sending you wishes for a wonderful never-to-be-forgotten summer!
In the little California town where I grew up, there is a small area referred to as "China Town". Not a unique title, especially throughout the towns of the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, where many Asian communities settled at the turn of the last century, while working hard to survive and adapt to a new land.
Many of the buildings they constructed; temples, businesses and homes remain, spanning a few blocks. In some areas, only bits of the buildings bear any outward resemblance to their origins. However, along "China Alley", much has been protected and strengthened where needed. California is, after all, the land of earthquakes.
"China Alley's" board and brick structures have interesting tales to tell. Especially just before sunrise. It is no longer a bustling place in the full light of day. But, in those cloaked predawn moments, it seems almost possible her doors will swing wide at day break and another work day will begin.
"China Alley" holds on, with the help and commitment of people who believe her history, and theirs, is worth saving. Even when the determined earth attempts to have it's way.
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