A blog about my photos, my artwork, quotations, ideas, collections, passions, England, authors, handwork of all kinds, rusty bits, buffalo, and architectural detail...for starters. And the occasional rant.

Friday, March 25, 2011


We have had a week of spring weather...sunshine, clouds, sprinkles, then sunshine again.  Exactly what I wanted.  I knew how much I loved looking up into a tree in full bloom in the sunshine.  I knew how much I loved seeing raindrops on the daffodils.  I forgot that, for me, Spring means sinus headaches.  All that sunshine, clouds, sprinkles, then sunshine again gives me sinus headaches. 

These pictures were taken March 23rd.  This is what Spring is like in the Pacific Northwest.

Deep in the overgrown, blackberry tangled woods,
the sun shines on a wild cherry.
It's worth a sinus headache, any day!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Rant for Spring

I love living in the Pacific Northwest and I can’t imagine living anywhere else…except, of course, anywhere in England.  Everything I need to make me happy is within one hour from Seattle: ocean, mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, museums, concerts, major retailers, festivals, fresh seafood, farmers markets, gorgeous gardens…an endless list really.  And if I get the occasional yearning for plains or wheatland, it’s still only an hour away.  I love lichen and moss and I don’t need to tan.

Way up at the top of the list of things I love about the Pacific Northwest is Spring.  Coming from a childhood in Montana, I knew the joy of endless sunshiny summers and amazing white winters.  I had no idea what Spring could be.

I know that in most parts of the US March is not considered a Spring month, it starts properly in April (between the April Showers) and continues in May (with the May flowers).  In Seattle, we have early camellias and rhodys blooming at the end of February with the early spring bulbs at their feet.  We have forsythia – pure sunshine.  By March the plums have begun to blossom – clouds of pink and white since they bloom before the leaves come out. And from there it is a continuous riot of blossoms through to May.
The apple tree in my Mother's backyard...in bloom...in the sunshine.

And through all this amazing bloom, there is sunshine, soft showers, fluffy white clouds and then more showers.  Sure, there is the occasional week of grey skies, but in between are the weeks when you look out your kitchen window and see the sun reflecting off the raindrops on the six foot tall rhody in full bloom.  And you just smile, a really big, warm, happy smile.

But not this year.  There hasn’t been a combined three hours of sunshine in the last month, and there is nothing on the forecast but more of the same.  I swear, I rarely complain about the weather, but this year – I have had it!  Everything is late because of the bitterly cold February and early March, fine, I can deal with that.  But all the trees are starting to bloom, the bulbs are up and blooming – none of this is any good without sunshine.  What good will it do to have sunshine in April?  It will be too late!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Location, Location, Location

These are the magic words for real estate agents everywhere.  It appears they may be equally so for those in marketing and sales.  On our recent trip to Portland we stayed near Portland Meadows, the horse racing track.  Now I am not a gambler, but in my early twenties I spent a fair amount of time at Longacres (which preceeded Emerald Downs) and it never felt like a particularly masculine sports venue.  Certainly not compared to football stadiums or hockey rinks.  Good grief, even Queen Elizabeth goes to the races.

Portland meadows backs up to a mid-sized shopping area and I jotted down the names of the businesses located there:
            Baxter Auto Parts
            Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor
            Dick’s Sporting Goods
            Lowe’s Hardware
            West Marine
Exercise Equipment NW
La Z boy
Burrito House
Could you find a more masculine group of businesses?  All it was missing was a steak house.  What I am wondering, is whether the stores get their business as the men are on the way to the track (while they still have money in their pockets) or coming home from the track (if they have been successful). 

“Honey, I have to run to the hardware store and then pick up a new air filter for the car.  I’ll be gone a couple of hours.”  Right….

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Weekend Away

It says something very nice about the relationship I have with my daughter that we can take a week-end out of town in which pretty much everything went pear-shaped…and we still had a lovely time.

For my birthday, we were going to drive down to Portland for an antique paper show – postcards, stamps, and other ephemera.  We hadn’t gone down for one of the Portland shows for quite a few years, so when we planned it in early February it seemed like a good idea.  The entire lead-up became stressful because of the  unusual end-of-February cold snap which brought snow in fits and starts for three days from here down to Portland.  After haunting the weather and DOT sites during that period, we finally decided to just do it.

There were no disasters or accidents…but….there were slushy roads, an obnoxious refrigerator hums in our hotel room, bloody noses (more than one), two really bad meals, a toothache, and temperatures that stayed around 20 degrees day and night.  The paper show was in an old armory building with incredibly inadequate heating, filthy rest rooms, and seating that gave my daughter a back ache and really pained my poor old arthritic hips.  We even managed to get lost in South Tacoma on our way home.

I’ll admit we did have one nice meal of take-away Chinese, the hotel had enough pillows, and we lucked into a great craft shop in Centralia called Cindy’s Simple Stuff. It’s a delightful little shop with lots of variety for any of the paper arts and lots of ribbon at killer prices.  If you are in the area…do not miss it. http://cindyssimplestuff.blogspot.com/

One rather wonderful thing happened on the trip, one of those things that makes you realize your child has really, finally, become an adult.  After 35 plus years of  traveling together, for the very first time, she got out of bed before I did on Sunday morning and started packing things up.  I just laid there in bed watching in amazement.  It was wonderful!  And hopefully it wasn’t just because she was in a hurry to get home.