I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday!

Time for Shadow Shot Sunday! This meme is hosted by Harriet at Hey Harriet, click to sign up and play with the rest of us! It's fun and challenging to see how many and what kinds of shadows you can find.

These next two were taken on Mother's Day when we went to the Woodland Park Zoo. It was feeding time for the Penguins and I caught their reflections in the pool.

And more Flamingos along with their Mallard friend who still can't figure out why they're pink and he isn't.

This is just a lovely summer shadow of trees and flowers. Love this time of year!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Looking Back - Part 2

Earlier this week I posted a piece about my life simply because I had stumbled across something I had written several years ago and viewing it from where I am now, I found it rather interesting and decided to share it. The response to that post has greatly surprised me and what surprised me even more were the number of people who urged me to write more. Well, I’ll never write another book. To begin with I mostly wrote mysteries that I used as my escape when things got bad – well, look at it this way – you can kill off the “bad guys” in a book and never have to worry about going to jail! Be that as it may, I wrote eight of them, never made much of an effort at getting them published, past a few inquiries. I didn’t write to get published, but just because I loved to write, it was a fun way to have an adventure etc. etc. etc. But over the past ten years I’ve had good reasons to reflect on my life – then and now. And now I have a place to share those thoughts, reflections, memories, lessons learned with people that I’ve come to care for so very much. Again, I would like to thank you all for your warm and generous comments.

So, that being said I will post a “Looking Back” piece once or twice a week and I hope that all of you who have responded so warmly, so generously, will enjoy what I have to say/write and that perhaps you will find an answer or two for yourself or just something worth reflecting on. I'm not posting in any particular order, you can read one here and there or follow along week to week.


How softly the days come and go now, so much easier to see the possibilities as light filters softly through the lace curtains I once felt were too prosaic, too frilly, too soft for me, that busy working woman, with responsibilities and always on the go -- or so it seemed at the time. Now lace suits me quite well and through them I can view my life as a mosaic, filled with light and shadows, like the patterns the late afternoon sun sketches on the walls. I wonder, not for the first time, why youth is wasted on the young? Worrying about a date for Saturday night, a new zit, trips to the mall. Bits and pieces scattered, lost like scattered beads from a broken necklace. Then one day there is the need, the urge to gather them, restring them. The result is not what I thought it would be so many years ago, but a new collage, a new, sparkling, different gem, or maybe I was just determined to recapture the glow -- the joy, the beauty that somehow had evaded me since I had retired. Well, whatever, it’s mine now.

The Journey Begins

Several years ago when I was living in Portland, OR I heard about a poetry writing class that was being held near where I lived. Poetry wasn't anything I had tried to write before and I wasn't sure I had any talent whatsoever for writing it, but I decided it sounded interesting and signed up to attend. It was a six week class, we had an excellent teacher and I really enjoyed it -- don't know that I'm particularly talented as a poet, but it was fun. I hoped perhaps there would be a follow-up course.

Several weeks after the course was over I received a notice that there would be a life writing class and my former teacher urged me to give it a try. I did and made a good friend there. It was she who urged me to start a blog. I wasn't too keen on the idea at first, but after I returned to Seattle, I was cleaning some stuff off my computer and ran across the lessons from both the poetry and the life writing classes. After reading them again a few days later, I decided they might be a good place to start with a blog. I realize now that I was looking for the person, the "me" that I thought I had lost somewhere along the way.

Re-reading both the poetry and the life writing lessons made me take another look at not only the hurtful things that I had tried to forget over the years -- those things that have a way of haunting you no matter how hard you try to put them away, but a look at the fun things as well. They brought some tears, some laughter, but above all, the realization of what a truly wonderful life I've had. Hurts? yes, of course, but successes as well and certainly not the least of those are my four children.

So, who knows where all this "stuff" comes from or why we hang on to it, try to bury it or sometimes even try to re-live it. The good and the bad all are part of who we are, so maybe at this stage of the game it's time to make peace with it, celebrate it, make the most of it, because that "stuff" is what has made us who we are, not only older, wiser but in a lot of cases, more fun, more free, more loving, more forgiving, more understanding. In other words all of it can or has made us the person we are today. So celebrate her/him and I lift my glass of wine to all of you this evening.

You Named it What??

Does make you wonder, doesn't it?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Evening Wisdom, Thoughts and Beauty

You've got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.
~Steven D. Woodhull

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!
~Allison Gappa Bottke

If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree.
~Jim Rohn

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sky Watch Friday!

To whomever signed me on today when I couldn't, thank you! What wonderful friends! You do make my day! Enjoy a terrific Sky Watch!

Time once again to share our beautiful skies! My! time does fly when you're having fun and sometimes even when you're not! But I am having fun, thanks to Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise who host Sky Watch every Friday! Click here to sign in and share your lovely skies with us!

We had a glorious sunset this evening! I do have my new camera, but I've been spending a lot of time with the manual, learning more than I ever wanted to know. But I hope to be able to take some shots with it this weekend at the beach. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Evening Words, Wisdom and Beauty

The first recipe of happiness - avoid too lengthy meditations on the past.
Andre Maurois

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
E E. Cummings

Don't waste a minute being unhappy. If one window closes - run to the next window - or break down a door.

To love others makes us happy.

Happiness is a grateful spirit, an optimistic attitude, and a heart full of love.

Becoming You Contest

Timing is everything! Chris left a comment on my post from last night about a "becoming you" contest on Brandi's blog, so I've entered, just for the hell of it! She's got a great blog! Check it out! Click here!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Look Back

For reasons that are unimportant, I found myself looking back to a difficult time in my life as I was attempting to adjust to growing older, not working and wondering just what in the hell I was doing or even trying to do. Several years ago I had taken the train to California to spend Christmas with my daughter. It was a good visit and I was in a good mood when I took the bus from Santa Rosa to Martinez where I would catch the train back to Portland -- where I was living at the time.

Well, as luck would have it, a train had been derailed near Los Angeles and the train that I was waiting for was going to be delayed a number of hours -- as in six to eight! But that night I happened to meet another passenger whose name was Esther and we began to talk as we looked for some way to make the hours pass a little more quickly.

We ended up talking a lot about our lives, what we had done, what we hadn't done etc. and at one point, just before we finally boarded our train to Oregon, she looked at me almost wistfully and said, "you should write the story of your life." I just shook my head and smiled -- who would want to read it, I thought.

I never saw Esther again although we did correspond for a while. But later as I continued to struggle to find that place, that comfort zone, I thought again about what she had said.

This is a piece that I wrote about that time for my first blog that I lost in cyber world and wasn't able to regain.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I have enjoyed my life, but for a few years I think I lost the ability to really appreciate it. After my encounter with Esther I began to take stock and do some re-evaluating. I have done a lot of things over the years and most of them were interesting, some exciting, a few scary, some costly and some just plain desperate. At the time it was hard for me to be objective, and looking back it seemed that being ready and willing to reach for the proverbial stars may have created an interesting life, but more often than not it had spawned concern, criticism, exasperation and condemnation – first from my parents, then friends – not to mention my ex-husband and four children. But perhaps that’s the cost of living an “interesting life”.

Over the past several years I have met a number of people who have said much the same things that Esther did six years ago and I have found myself looking in the mirror, trying almost desperately to see the person these people believed me to be.

And now in the summer of 2008 I find I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on some of these conversations, my life in general and why I so often see that wistful look in a lot of older women’s eyes. What I have discovered is that too many women from my generation were taught more about caution than taking chances, about being safe rather than seeking to explore or try new things, and for the most part, they were certainly no encouraged to find new ways of looking at themselves or the world.

As a result of all this I’m rediscovering a feeling of gratitude for the things I have done and as a reminder for future dark times, I began making a list. For starters, in my twenties I worked for an airline and took advantage of cheap travel opportunities to spend a lot of time exploring the East coast, particularly New York City and Boston. I enjoyed a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, a romantic weekend in Boston watching Harvard and Yale play football with a handsome Navy lieutenant that I had met in New Orleans during that same Mardi Gras. I returned to college when I was twenty-eight and became a teacher. I married an Olympic Silver Medalist and later when he returned from Vietnam, we lived in Germany and Spain for three years. At a formal ball following a fencing tournament in Heidelberg, which my husband’s team won, I was toasted by and invited to dance by the Commander of the French armed forces in Germany at the time. A “Cinderella moment” to be sure. We sailed among the Greek islands and visited temples in Delphi and saw the site of the original Olympics. I gave birth to four healthy, incredible children and adored being a full time mom in Montana. Of having the adventure of traveling with my family in our Winnebago up and down the entire west coast and Canada. Much later I cruised the Western Caribbean, marveled at Chichen Itza and learned how to snorkel off the coast of Cozumel. I lived for a year in San Miguel de Allende, a 450 year old Colonial City in the mountains of Central Mexico where I had the opportunity of watching their version of the running of the bulls, exploring the other colonial cities with a wonderful guide, enjoying fabulous food, meeting many delightful people and learning to speak Spanish with relative fluency. I took up ballroom dancing in my sixties and learned to dance a wicked tango. Over the years I have worked at a number of interesting jobs in addition to teaching. I helped to set up one of the first Independent Living Centers in Montana and was able to be on the ground floor of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company that was building it’s first plant in the states and learning to speak Japanese while I was at it.

I was always willing to take chances, try new things, and even pursue the dream of maybe some day being a writer – in spite of the odds against success. None of these things are out of reach to anyone, but unfortunately the emphasis was always put on the dangers of falling on your face rather than the excitement of discovery. And the consequences of failure were painted pretty graphically. Granted, you do run the risk of stumbling and/or falling on your face – I can testify to that, but you just pick yourself up and try a different strategy and do it again. Failure isn’t the end of the world, just the possible beginning of a new one. I think many of us were more or less victims of our parent’s “Depression mentality”. Caution, being sensible, that was the advice – well, a little of that is good, but a little goes a long way.

But that same spring there was something else that crept into my mind as I sat around watching Oregon’s eternal rain and reflecting – I was on my own, had been for over twenty years and sometimes I would find myself looking at other women with their husbands and homes and security and for a moment I’d feel just a little wistful myself. But then when I talked to many of these women -- not all -- or overhear their conversations, I’d discover that many of them only remained married to their husbands out of fear of being alone, not because they loved and were loved with joy and passion (yes, passion at our age is possible), and not because they actually shared their life with their best friend, but more often than not it is just to keep from being alone. I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty sad. I don’t object to my own company that much and I don’t feel that alone. I guess for me the worst thing would be feeling that I’d settled for second best and I’m willing to bet it’s less than what most people, men or women really want.

There are times, however, when in spite of filling your life with wonderful and exciting things, you can find yourself floundering in a quagmire of some kind and you’re not exactly sure just why or how you got there. That’s where I’ve found myself when I first met Esther and the question I wanted to throw at her was: “Yeah, a great life, but look at where I am now.” Some days it’s hard to see these situations as just another challenge, but I’m beginning to realize that’s all they are and I’m climbing out of this hole just like I’ve climbed out of the others in the past. The rocky cliffs to scale and the cavernous caves to crawl out of are just put there to make the journey interesting. I’ve always wanted it all – I haven’t changed in spite of skinned dreams and bruised hopes.

Looking back to September 11, I remember thinking that it was a wake up call to all of us who are wasting time with things, jobs, or partners that don’t fill the empty spaces inside. But maybe the worst of all is fretting over the past – it’s dead, folks, hang a wreath on it and move on. We’re each given one life, one opportunity to make it the best it can be and that’s going to mean something different to everyone, but the important thing is to not waste anymore time in finding just what it is that lights your fire. It’s reassuring to realize that the joy of discovery and self-realization is possible at any age and it has helped me reaffirm my belief that it doesn’t matter if I’m late getting to the station or that this may be the last train, it’s not leaving without me.

Evening Words, Wisdom and Beauty

Life is not a final. It's daily pop quizzes.
~Author Unknown

In life we all have an unspeakable secret, an irreversible regret, an unreachable dream and an unforgettable love.
~Diego Marchi

Life is not so bad if you have plenty of luck, a good physique, and not too much imagination.
~Christopher Isherwood

If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it.
~Toni Morrison

Women Who Know Their Place ........ A point of view.

Barbara Walters, formerly of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul,
Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that
women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind
their husbands. Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime,
the women are happy to maintain the old custom.

Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, 'Why do you
now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to

The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without
hesitation said, 'Land Mines.'

Moral of the story is (no matter what language you speak or where you go):


Monday, June 1, 2009

Little Humor for the Evening

I've been pretty nice lately -- well, for me -- but had to share this one.

Men's Restroom Mural--------Read before looking at picture

Edge Designs is an all-women run company
That designs interior office space They had a
Recent opportunity to do an office project in

The client allowed the women of this
Company a free hand in all design aspects.
The client was a company that was also
Run by all women execs.............

The result.........well.....We all know that!
Men never talk, never look at each other....
(I personally wouldn't know this you understand)
And never laugh much in the restroom....
The men's room is a serious and quiet place...
But now...with the addition of one mural
On the wall......lets just say the men's
Restroom is a place of laughter and smiles.

That's My World -- Seattle the City

Time to share your world again! That's My World is hosted each week by Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise! Click here to sign up, join us and share your world! It's a great way to travel and never have to leave the comfort of your own home.

I've shared different aspects of Seattle, where I have lived for the past several years, such as Pike's Market, the Seattle Public Library, and the Space Needle, but today I will share Seattle itself, some of it's history and some of the magnificent sights in this lovely city.

The City at Night

Seattle, the great capital of the Pacific Northwest, has had a tumultuous past, often by placing itself on the road to ruin by relying on a single industry and then rebounding gracefully with a typical Seattle resilience.

TIMBER! The Logging Industry and the Origins of Seattle
In the fall of 1851, two intrepid brothers, Arthur and David Denny, (and a handful of others who had migrated west during the Gold Rush), landed at Alki Point on the western edge of Elliot Bay. After spending a miserable winter they migrated to the eastern shores where they established the small settlement that would become Seattle—a name derived from the joint Chief of the two native tribes that inhabited the region.

The Seattle Water Front

The first major industry to grace the emerald shores of Elliot Bay was logging. From the time of the first colonial activities in 1851, the timber trade proved to be the primary source of growth in this small northwestern town. The combination of the safe bay and the proximity of lush and dense millennia-old coniferous forests made Seattle the perfect location and in 1852 Henry Yesler began construction on the first steam-powered mill in the Pacific Northwest.

The Library

Seattle quickly boomed, driven by the timber demands of an emerging shipbuilding industry in the area and massive San Francisco building projects kept money flowing into the town. Traditionally it was believed that the strip of land that Yesler was given by the settlers (and which is now occupied by Yesler Way) was the first "Skid Row" in America, named for the logs that were dragged down the hill to Yesler's mill. The abundance of alcohol, gambling and prostitution located around this center of the logging industry gave "Skid Row" its modern connotation. True or not, the tale as been part of Seattle myth for nearly a century.

Safeco Field

FIRE! The Great 1889 Seattle Fire
The abundance of timber, however, would prove disastrous for the fledgling town. On June 6th, 1889 a Seattle fire broke out. Since nearly every building was constructed of affordable, but flammable timber, the fire quickly spread, engulfing nearly the entire downtown including most of the wharves and crippling the port.

The Seattle Art Museum

While the fire was catastrophic, Seattle weathered the disaster and emerged stronger than before. The city was rebuilt in brick and stone and the massive rebuilding effort stimulated the economy providing thousands of new jobs and ensuring that the economic downturn which had affected much of the country in the last decade of the 19th century would not be felt as strongly in the Emerald City.

Seattle, the underground city.

The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle, Washington, United States that was ground level at the city's origin in the mid-1800s. After the streets were elevated, these spaces eventually fell into disuse, but have become a tourist attraction in recent decades.

My son took me and my daughter on this tour and it was fascinating -- and a little spooky, but fun!

Sunset on Puget Sound

The Klondike Gold Rush
In August of 1896, gold was discovered in the Klondike region of Canada and the following year the steamship Portland docked in Seattle's reconstructed harbor with a famed "ton of gold" in its cargo hold. Seattle's temperate climate and location made it the obvious transportation and supply center for those heading to the frozen north in search of fortune.

While the cold climate and harsh conditions of the Klondike and Alaska ensured migrations were not nearly as extensive as they were to Oregon and California during its 1849 counterpart, the Klondike Gold Rush brought thousands of people to Seattle and flooded Seattle with reconstruction money.

Morning Giggle

I confess that I was not aware of this important fact which, as you might suspect was sent to me by a woman:

The first testicular guard "Cup" was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.

It took 100 years for men to realize that the brain is also important.

This has nothing to do with brains as far as I know but is anyone else having problems with Internet Explorer? I'm having trouble acccessing other blogs or leaving a comment, just curious.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Evening Words, Wisdom and Beauty

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
~Robert Byrne

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
~Chinese Proverb

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
~Elwyn Brooks White

Life is simple, its just not easy.
~Author Unknown

A life without cause is a life without effect.

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't.
~Richard Bach

The Indifference to Suffering

Bob Herbert, Op-Ed Columnist for the NYT had another gut wrenching, heartbreaking column yesterday. Both he and Nicholas Kristof continue to write about the horror in Dafur, but as Herbert says, the real problem these days is overload. There is a danger that even the most decent of people can grow numb to the unending reports of atrocities occurring all around the globe. Mass rape, mass murder, torture and the institutionalized oppression of women – no one wants to hear about it or read about it.

It’s all too easy to focus on the other things in the world – a ballgame, a graduation, the ballet, a trip to a fun place, happy visits with friends and relatives and the tendency to draw an impenetrable psychic curtain across the worst that the world has to offer is surely understandable. But as Elie Wiesel has cautioned, it’s a tendency that must be fought.

The stories that are told by women in Dafur are so horrendous, the atrocities so unthinkable no one wants to hear them. But Mr. Wiesel has warned us so eloquently about the dangers inherent in indifference to the suffering of others. Stories of atrocities on the scale of those coming out of Darfur cannot be told too often. As he said in a speech at the White House in 1999, “It is so much easier to look away from victims. It is so much easier to avoid such rude interruptions to our work, our dreams, our hopes.”

But indifference to the suffering of others “is what makes the human being, inhuman”, he said, adding: “The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees – not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by offering them a spark of hope is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own.”

Go to Darfuriwomen.org. The header says it all -- They Spoke. We Listened. You Respond. Their Voices Must Be Heard.

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time