Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 is a #1 year...

To celebrate the coming year, which carries the numerological weight of a "1," I decided I wanted to do something new and adventuresome to set the tone for "new beginnings," which is the energy for this new year.


(Numerology is an ancient science of evaluating birth dates, birth names, starting of a business, etc. and the link will take you to a place with lots of details about the coming year.)

The camel, "Eli," lives in Port Angeles and is available
for events where camel rides are an option.
The "new" thing I did was to ride a camel and to attend an Arabian Nights Murder Mystery dinner, neither of which I had ever done before.

A friend asked me "What did the camel ride feel like?" I told her that it was just as I had imagined it might be... like sitting on a rock while an enormous bowl of gelatin was being moved from side to side.

Because the temperatures were hovering in the 30's I was double-duck downed so that sausage on top of the camel is really me, not Omar's tent.

Other riders were younger or more gutsy or both and were dressed in the costume of the evening so they look as if they are supposed to be riding a camel.

"Samyiam," or "Deniz," a trader with the caravan.
The fellow in orange was also celebrating his birthday, so he was over the moon when everyone starting singing "Happy Birthday" as he went around, but the camel (named Eli) was less enthusiastic about the raw choral delivery.

My character was "Cantara," the fortuneteller (fitting, as some of my friends noted), and I tried to find costume elements to fit that role.

"Zahrah" is in the middle, discovering there's a plot afoot.
Jenna Rose, a former roommate and good pal, was "Zahrah," a young woman shopping in the marketplace. She had a friend with some belly-dancing costumery so she was quite colorful and it fit her, too, as she does personal shopping as her business, though not generally with bells and hip jewelry.

Moi, as "Cantara" with Kasuni, a caravan
guard, wondering what his future was.
At the bottom is a group shot of the folks who came to the event, and we all had a great time trying to solve the mystery of who killed the prince.

What was quite entertaining was that each person had a script and a few folks really took their roles very seriously (including Dr. Marschall, NP, as the character "Jinan" who claimed his herbs were miraculously healing stuff)!

Following the mystery event, everyone enjoyed a potluck dinner and some creative desserts. And there was a drumming circle which was pretty lively, but by then I was ready to head home for a quick refresher before going to a dance.

However, once I got home I received a message about the death of my son-in-law's sister and although it was expected, it did not feel to me like I wanted to go and dance and so I chose to be quiet, keeping my energy focused.

As 2016 came to an end, I realized that there had been many 'journeys' over some rough terrain at times, but I was not beset upon by thieves and charlatans, nor forced to beg for food in the marketplace and from time to time my palm was crossed with silver, so all in all, it was a pretty good year. But 2017 is going to be even better...

What can I say? People were tired of listening to the
fortuneteller giving them bad advice and putting them at
risk with the guards... could not get them to focus.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Hmmmmm's

Now that Christmas is over, I am preparing for a camel ride into the New Year (photos to follow soon) and plenty of exercise at the new Sequim YMCA.

Maple Valley, WA
To get this energy moving, I had the good fortune to spend some time with my dear friend, CJB, and her husband Joe, near the Nooksack River (Bellingham area of WA) and as part of my Christmas gift, she took me down to the North Fork of the Nooksack to watch the eagles having their Christmas dinner of spawning salmon.

The day before it had snowed a lot so we had the added attraction of driving in rutted paths down back roads listening to the crunch and slush of the snow, depending on whether or not it was in full sun or shaded by tall evergreens.

Such fun to turn around one corner after another and find a vista of snow-covered mountains framed by a cool blue (cerulean ?) sky.

Last year I was here in January and between all the photographers with their space-deep reaching lenses and the eagles flying about, it was kind of crazy.
North Fork of the Nooksak River, near Maple Valley, WA.

This year it was quieter; mostly eagles calling out to each other in their lovely scree-ing tones and the crisp sound of snow under my feet as I tried to find a clear shot through the trees.

We sat for a long time just listening, occasionally snapping a shot, and watching as the eagles triangulated for their chance to have some fresh seagull meat.

It was peaceful. Far from the pre-Christmas scramble to get one last present and farther still from any world news of disruption or upheaval.

How many eagles do you see? When I took
the shot, there were at least eight; I may have
cropped a few out.
Anyone who says the world is black and white after a snowstorm has not tried to paint a winter landscape. It is not just shades of grey, either... it is 50 or more of lavender, blue, green and even orange or brown.

This bird was down at river's edge,
feeding on its catch.
Just as a crow is not really 'black,' but a variety of dark colors which, when viewed in some light, comes across as black. One of my favorite crow photos makes the bird look almost purple.

But I digress from the swarm of eagles on the Nooksack, where hapless salmon have been arriving to spawn and once done, they expire to feed a variety of critters.
Mt. Baker, I think, partially obscured by clouds, taken on the Mt. Baker Road.
All these photos were taken with my Sony which has a digital 30x zoom, but the challenge is holding it steady because it is small, the air is cold and I am breathing a little heavier with the excitement of seeing these majestic birds so near by. I tried the mono-pod for stabilizing, but I really needed the tripod.

There is a side road called Mosquito Lake Road off the Mt. Baker Road which has probably the best photo opportunities for these eagle shots. One of the residents has this funny front yard decoration.
Looks like the guy in the sleigh has been waiting a long time
for the cow to take flight...
One day I will bring my tripod and my lunch and just plan to spend the day taking photos, but for now it was good to have an hour or so watching and listening. These are all, to the best of my knowledge, different birds in different trees. The all-brown one appeared to be a youngster learning to land... it made several attempts to get itself on the branch.

And so ended my day-before-Christmas... joy, joy, joy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas is creeping up on me...

I did manage to get most of my Christmas shopping done... thank goodness for ordering on line! But I also produced a significant number of hand-crafted gifts for special friends and relatives. And it was fun to make these 'scrappy' quilted potholders as the temperatures plummeted into the low 30's and either icy rainy or spitting snow discouraged me from driving to any malls.

It is also my first-ever experience in quilting, although I know I have been encouraged by various family members and friends to try it for some while now.

So, I joined up with the Mystery Quilt group headed up by Bonnie K. Hunter at where a new clue is delivered each Friday for about nine weeks.

This is another focus to keep me from feeling low during a time when there are a lot of reminders that these holidays are for couples - mostly.

My color choices for the Mystery Quilt at Quiltville.
Thus it's been a happier season with bright colors, a buzzing sewing machine and cheery expectations of new clues each weekend.

The Sequim "Y" (which was formerly SARC) has finally reopened and I gave myself the gift of membership for the new year.

Nothing like a fire on these very
cool December days or nights.
This gave me a chance to belong to a "Rejuvenation" group that meets three days a week, and I usually follow that up with an hour-long beginners yoga session.

There is a nice young fellow from contra dancing who comes over from Port Townsend for the yoga and we sometimes spend a little time in the hot whirlpool pool afterwards, chatting about his goals, so it makes for an energizing and rewarding, different experience from my artistic endeavors.

My Colombian friends have written on one tech avenue or another to remind me I am being missed. And I miss them also, but there does not seem to be a path back there right now.

There are so many ways I have been blessed during this past year that I could fill up this entire blog with all the good that flowed into my life from the mundane (car repairs were less than expected) to the sublime (spending time with my grandchildren) and having my art being appreciated by various folks.

My goal for 2017 is to finally feel confident and bold enough to have my own art show and then, secondarily, be able to release some of it for sale.

Over the next few days I will upload my newest works and for those of you who are my faithful readers, here is my Christmas card for you!

The greeting on the other side is
"Have a cool Yule!"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Post-Thanksgiving Ponderings

There are so many things I am grateful for, so much I am appreciating, that to begin to list them would probably be boring to anyone reading this.

But I have noticed that since I started making a nightly list of things that have happened during the day for which I am either grateful or appreciative, there are more and more events bringing me joy and delight.

Is it because I am more aware of the process of appreciating that I notice more to appreciate? I think I have always been a person who can easily thank another or express my appreciation, so I am surprised to hear from someone who said to me, "You never tell me you appreciate me."

Reflecting back on that remark, I realize that the Receiver is not in a mode to hear the number of times I have said, "I do appreciate all that you are doing." or "I am grateful you are ________(fill in the blank)."

Like tuning in to a radio station, we tune in to what we want to hear... sports, news, classical music and thus do not hear the messages coming from country, rock or talk shows. How do we tune ourselves so that we are receptive? For me it is this daily practice of appreciating as I go to sleep.

I was fortunate enough to be up at the Summit at Snoqualamie for a Thanksgiving feast with my daughter's and husband's family (granddaughter and the now-four-year old twins) and I had been wishing for snow so I could enjoy it briefly. Wish granted!!

We woke up on Thursday to about four inches of very wet snow which fell most of the day. Fortunately the roads were kept clear so that my son-in-law, who was cooking the turkey at home down off the mountain, could drive the half hour unimpeded.

It was so delicious to watch the falling snow with a gas fireplace burning brightly sipping a hot cup of tea and just knowing all was well. Sometimes these moments are what sustain us when the world shifts.

I hope you readers who celebrate this U.S. holiday have enjoyed your time of reflection, and for those who live elsewhere, may this begin a season of appreciation in your world.

It is a scientific fact that we are connected... hearts to hearts: listen to this 8-minute report by Gregg Braden. So if world events are distressing you, perhaps you want to refocus on how you want it to be, what your heart desires, and in this way, we can all create energy for greater happiness worldwide. May you have a joyful season where ever in this lovely world that you live!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Daughter's Birthday

You just ran out the door to play with Michele, now I've turned around and you are graduating from high school and is it really true that your first son is now in college and you are.... over 40?

It has gone by so quickly. All those moments of wondering if you would ever sleep through the night, get your homework done on time, make your bed, pick up your clothes, get through college safely (you were nearly on the bridge in California during the Loma Linda earthquake) and then one day you were struggling with your own babies not sleeping.

Sigh... I am so very proud of you. You have been climbing your own mountains for a long time and I think you are finally able to turn around and look at the view... you should be just as proud of your accomplishments as I am... a loving and devoted wife, a funny and responsible mother and stepmother, a woman of integrity who recently (and casually) told me she is a partner in a patent!

May this birthday mark the beginning of a new year of many joys leaving behind the "annus horribilus" and all its challenges -  you certainly deserve it!

And may I add how grateful I am for being a part of the whole adventure? So glad you came into my life and enriched it so measurably!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Not tame, and very bad... neotame

I was sent this information by a trusted friend who is paying attention to ingredients.....
" Just when we thought that buying “Organic” was safe, we run headlong into the deliberate poisoning of our organic food supply by the FDA in collusion with none other than the folks who brought us Aspartame. 
NutraSweet, a former Monsanto asset, has developed a new and improved version of this neurotoxin called Neotame.
Neotame has similar structure to aspartame — except that, from it’s structure, appears to be even more toxic than aspartame. This potential increase in toxicity will make up for the fact that less will be used in diet drinks. Like aspartame, some of the concerns include gradual neurotoxic and immunotoxic damage from the combination of the formaldehyde metabolite (which is toxic at extremely low doses) and the excitotoxic amino acid. 
But surely, this product would be labeled! NOT SO!!! For this little gem, no labeling required. And it is even included in USDA Certified Organic food.
The food labeling requirements required for aspartame have now been dropped for Neotame, and no one is clear why this was allowed to happen. Neotame has been ruled acceptable, and without being included on the list of ingredients, for:
USDA Certified Organic food items. 
Certified Kosher products with the official letter k inside the circle on labels. (Janet Hull)
Let me make this perfectly clear. Neotame does not have to be included in ANY list of ingredients! 

So, if you buy processed food, whether USDA Certified Organic or not, that food most likely will contain Neotame because it is cost-effective, and since no one knows it is there, there is no public backlash similar to what is happening with Aspartame. A win/win situation!
But that’s not all. Just love chowing down on that delicious steak? Well, that cow most likely will have been fed with feed containing… guessed it…..Neotame! A product called “Sweetos,” which is actually composed of Neotame, is being substituted for molasses in animal feed."

Do your own research. But you might want to be finding a farmer who is not feeding anything but grass to beef cattle if you are eating meat.

I am on a deliberate campaign to change my cellular structure so that I can eat anything at all and it has no deleterious effects on me... and that includes chocolate!!

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