Category Archives: home

Which way to the view?

The pups and I walk the same route most mornings, except when it is slicker weather. There is a spot along the way that we refer to as the “hump on 47th” where there are views out to the Olympic Mountains, when they are “out”. It is steep, a bit over grown and slippery on all but the driest days. Here is the path to our viewpoint from different directions (and different weather):

The view varies from mildly spectacular to non-existent:

For Cee’s Which Way Challenge

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Rain

For De Monte y Mar’s Tuesday of Texture here are some of the textures that come from rainstorms.

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Raindrops, wind ripples, misty swaths of rain in the air and dark clouds. 

Homeless, well not really

Today when I headed out for our regular morning walk something distracted me and I forgot my house keys.

We had a lovely morning walk, it is unseasonably warm and clear, in spite of the weather predictions calling for rain. The mountains were out, I think that may be a Seattle phrase. They are often hidden by clouds.

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The pups and I walk about two and a quarter miles, generally the same route with two moderate hills and, on days like today, nice views of the Olympic mountains. We don’t make very good time, the pups and I sniff stuff.  We humans sniff in funny ways. I mostly “sniff” by taking pictures.

On arriving home I couldn’t find my keys. My husband was out on a bike ride. We have a neighbor with an extra set but there were no signs of life at his house. So I pulled a few weeds and did a little yard clean up.

Then we re-walked our morning route backwards. No keys… But the views were still nice.

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I got up my courage and rang the neighbor’s doorbell. No one was home. Did a little more in the yard, but the sun had moved around and it was starting to cool down. I sat on our porch in the one chair that still has a cushion and wrapped myself up in the warm clothes I had peeled off during the middle of the day and tried to “study” Chinese by closing my eyes and remembering the lessons. Boy am I out of practice with that! I used to be okay at it, and it served me well when taking tests.

Eventually my husband rolled up on his bike, the dogs went crazy. As if it hadn’t been a splendid day for them: it was sunny and 65 degrees F (18 or so Celsius). They got two longish walks and laid in the sun. They had plenty of water and got lots of love and weren’t ever left alone.

I reflected on my day (actually only about 5 hours) of being “homeless”, but kept coming back to the things I had:

We had the sheltered porch with a cushioned Adirondack chair. I had running water (hose spigot) and geoduck shells (Pronounced: “goo-ey duck”, geoducks are super sized clams) I could use as a drinking vessel. I didn’t get into the emergency supplies out in the shed, but they are there. Worst case the dogs and I could stay pretty warm in the shed if the weather had been less temperate. I also had the confidence that Richard would be home before dark, and the neighbors would eventually come home.

It made me think about people who really don’t have a home. Even though I couldn’t get in I had a place to be…What would I have done without it?

This post started out as a response to the prompt Study. I’m not sure where it ended up, but I ended up grateful.

Twelve Months of 2017-September

September seems so long ago.

The first two pictures go together to tell a story. My Dad’s dog Sam is getting older. She is deaf for practical purposes and when she stays out in the water (the Puget Sound water is cold all year) she gets very stiff and sore. She likes to fish: going out after the little flounder and bullheads that get disturbed when you wade near them. She doesn’t swim but goes out as far as she can wade chasing them. Since she can’t hear you call her anymore, you have to go out with smelly treats and lure her back to shore before she overdoes it.

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I waded out to lure Sam back in and when I turned around I saw that Ginger followed me as far as she could and is looking imploringly at me to come back. In the distance you can see Asta, who has even shorter legs, running to catch up with us.

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Two other favorites from the beach:

On the 26th I flew to China to visit my son. Here is a favorite sculpture in the lobby of the hotel I always stay at near the Beijing Airport.

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This seems to have been an auspicious time of year for weddings. The fireworks start at about 4 am. I got a kick out of the blow-up mythical beast, qilin, being ridden by what looks to me like a martian or tele-tubby. I saw several of them this time. I’ve seen the beasts, lions, etc. before but never the martian. I never did get an answer to what it was supposed to be.

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Martian riding a qilin, wedding decoration.

I also got a kick out of the vegetable and fruit sculptures in Shouguang parks. These pumpkins were the first I saw.

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A highlight of this trip was that my son had a couple of days off for Mid-Autumn festival and we took an overnight trip to Penglai. Penglai is at the narrow point that defines the boundary between the Yellow sea and Bohai, the large bay that has the harbors for Tianjin and Beijing. The area has been important strategically for ever and has a very long history. In folklore it is where the eight immortals arrived from over the sea.

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Statue commemorating the arrival of the Eight Immortals.

Penglai is called a fairy land.

I’ll end with a favorite picture from our visit to the temple complex:

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2017 Favorites

Twelve Months of 2017-October

October for me had two distinct parts.

China-Shouguang

I worked on composition while I was in China. Not technical composition, like the rule of thirds or leading lines (although I use these); I was trying to create images that gave a sense of place: What makes Shouguang uniquely itself? what does it share? The question of sharing was with respect to other cities in China and to other places in the world.

I did manage to do a series of posts on Shouguang after I got home this fall (posting has been pretty haphazard for me this year). The pictures for the above gallery were chosen to attempt to show the magnitude of the “small” city and convey that it also feels like a place for people. It didn’t feel impersonal, just spread out. Plus one picture from a traditional Chinese garden in Weifang, and a rather blurry photo of the smallest hummingbird I have ever seen. I thought at first that it was one very large bumblebee, then my son pointed out its beak. It was a dark, grey day so there was no chance for clarity.

Home-Seattle

Arriving home the clear air and splendid fall colors hit me between the eyes. I believe that my perception was sharpened by the muted and hazy conditions in Shouguang during the first half of the month. It really was a “The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle” experience.
2017 Favorites

Sky Aglow

Some pictures of sunrises and sunsets from home and away in response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge:Glow.

Every thing is just beach-y, but where did the time go?

I started on Monday to answer the questions posed by Cee in Share Your World…before I knew it Tuesday had come along (Tuesdays of Texture by de Monte y Mar) so I thought I would take a few pictures of beach-y textures and do one post for two.

I corrupted my Lightroom program so I couldn’t load pictures and get that post done until I reloaded it… Somehow it is now late on Saturday and nothing is done…although I did get the living room vacuumed.

Summer is shooting by like a meteor.

My answers, at last:

List some of your favorites types of teas. I like tea, both black tea and green tea. For regular I tend to drink Red Rose, which is not bitter like Lipton’s, and reminds me of my Grandparents, who always drank it. A good Darjeeling is truly “the champagne of teas and I splurge on it when I want something really nice.

In China, twice now, I have been to a tea tasting in a shop and brought home what is probably the best black (they call it red tea: hong cha, which makes sense since the brewed tea is red) and green teas I have ever tasted, but I don’t know how to get them except to go to a tea shop in china with the packages. I tried white tea but it really didn’t do anything for me flavor-wise. I’m not mostly jazzed by herbals or ones with fancy flavors.

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be? I only saw this sign once: End of Hard Margins. I couldn’t have my husband pull over for a picture because the shoulders were soft. It was in Ireland 23 years ago. On our last trip, in 2013, I did not see that sign, even thought I looked for it. The reason I relate to that sign is that I was a stress analyst in aerospace at the time, and we used “margins of safety” to describe how robust a structural element is compared to its expected loading. We were always being asked whether this or that part, which wasn’t quite to specification, might still be used. (I mentioned something like this in my Delta Analysis post). I thought it would be fun to have that sign posted by my desk.

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you? Being nice. I still, 27 or so years later, remember stopping at the grocery store with my baby son in a carrier and wanting some oranges. The produce clerk not only pointed me in the right direction but he said “be careful, sometimes there are moldy ones” and proceeded to check every orange in the box to make sure I got a good one.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.

I like to swim and ice skate. I haven’t done either in a very long time. I have poor balance and never got beyond a waltz jump, but I like the feeling of gliding along and the feel of moving water.

Last week is a blur. Next week is supposed to be hot. This week has been lovely with two days on the beach.

My World

I haven’t been posting much of late. My world is changing right now. My husband retired two weeks ago and that means having someone around a lot of the time. He used to be at work a lot and when he was home he was often working so I was often alone even when he was in the house. Because of that I have a habit of trying to be always available when he is home and not working. That is going to have to change if anything is ever going to get done (not just blogging, if applies to things like vacuuming as well).

The other reason why I’ve been blogging less often is that I am taking a series of on-line courses in HTML and CSS. In order to try and really learn I created several sets of content to play with so that I use the techniques in each lesson several ways. This all takes time.

So, in the name of trying to get back on track, here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World questions for this week:

How do you like to spend a rainy day? I like to have a fire going and bake something that smells cinnamon-y.

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary). Homemade bread, apricot jam, French roast coffee, dark chocolate, and cherries are the first things that come to mind right now. Although what I like shifts about some all the things listed are always pretty high on it.

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests? I usually take them to my Dad’s on Vashon. It is probably pretty presumptuous for me to assume that people like to be wet, muddy and covered with dog hair…but it is a very northwest experience.

You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with? My husband. Even if it s hard to get used to him being around all the time there is still no one else I’d rather be with. And he is one of the more clever people around so he might be better at figuring out how to get un-trapped…and having the tools to do it with.

Gratitude: So many things:  Summer has arrived, but so far it has been moderate in temperature (I don’t take heat well) and the world is full of beautiful flowers. My Yellow Transparent apples are ripening so it is time for pie! Grandma is doing okay.

Looking ahead: We are getting ready to go and visit good friends at Mount Rainier tomorrow.