Saturday, August 22, 2009

La petite jeune fille

This little, young girl, "la petite jeune fille," reminded me of me when I was very much younger. She also reminded me of my daughters when they were about six and now of my grand-daughter who will be this age before long. This young lady seemed to be oblivious to everyone around her as she hopped from one particular rock on the wall to the next one.

Although I could have walked on the wall as well, I believe that the spectacle of a granny doing this would have cleared the park in a hurry. I was glad to simply sit in the sunshine and watch someone else enjoy herself and to catch that moment. We used to say, "catch it on film," only now it's mostly digital, so what do we use to catch it on now? Help me, dear readers, to answer this question....

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's not THAT hot here...

When we were driving through Granite Falls over the weekend, we saw this license plate "THNKSNW" and I wondered what does the driver do all summer long? Does he (it was a he driving) awaken each morning with a "snow" meditation? And then when the snow falls, eventually, if there is too much, do his neighbors get upset that he was "doing too much thinking?"

If we could all make things happen by just thinking 'harder' it might be beneficial for so many individuals in so many arenas... not just increasing the water table, but generating a more positive environment... assuming all thoughts were in that direction!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My dearest friend...

You are my dearest friend,
the one I turn to - until the end.
We sit and talk, or maybe not,
you seem to know my every thought.
A hurt, a pain, you never say,
"Oh, are you OK?"
You just hold me, and in that caring
remind me just how dear our sharing
makes each day.
I can only hope I am returning each favor.

At sunset tonight I found this couple and then wrote this short poem to memorialize the photo and the very special friendship I have with Jey-hu. (Copyright 2009)

Back to Big Four Mountain

Today Jey-hu was acting as tour guide, showing a new resident of Washington State some of the sights. We opted to make a quick trip up to Big Four Mountain and do the relatively easy, four mile (approximately) round-trip hike up to the ice caves. A perfect day for it, too, as the clouds lifted in the afternoon, giving us warmth but not too much.
I have a new camera lens, acquired from an Ebay photographer, which is a wonderful step up for me in my retirement. I use an EOS Rebel (Canon) and had been using a manual Tamron telephoto but it was frustrating when I wanted to do closeups or have more depth
of field. Now I have a lovely 28-105 mm range and here are some of my shots. This little fellow
patiently nibbled on some tidbit and let me fire off a couple of frames before he scampered away.
Then I was transfixed by the dew, or yesterday's rain, that was still on some of the leaves. It was exciting for me to have the lens auto focus in on them!

What was also fun was that Jey-hu and our guest were also camera buffs and we took turns using each other's equipment to see what results we could get - and even looking in the same direction, each one of us saw something different that was particularly appealing to our artistic eyes.

If you look closely at the purple flowers, foxglove, you can see at least one honey bee getting into the pollen. Did you know that if you have an allergy to a certain pollen you can lessen its impact on your sinuses by eating natural honey from the region where the offending pollen comes from?

It may be hard to see the ice caves in the photo, but they are openings which stretch approximately 30 feet across and are anywhere from 7-10 feet high at the opening. People are NOT supposed to enter them, but they do anyhow, as I think can be seen on closer inspection of the cave below.
I have been reading some releases of information which suggest that certain trees in South America have remarkable healing
qualities, including the ability to reverse damages from certain treatments. If this is so, there could be marvelous answers ahead in overcoming some dreaded diseases, without having to undergo obliteration of the immune system to achieve health. There is coming up in September a fund-raising event for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, part of a nation-wide effort but localized for regional focus.
If you are a swimmer, you might want to join or if you know someone, you can support their swim. I will support the event, partly to memorialize a former MM blogger who received part of his treatment with SCCA, and partly to fund a possible cure which SCCA has an interest in achieving.
Our guest on this walk took this interesting, deliberately out-of-focus shot of us walking together. I like the framing and focus he used with the path and the trees. It was a special day in so many ways - thanks for stopping by to take time to follow along.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More signs of the times

It appears that even the business of pleasure is at risk in this economy, judging from this sign near Olympia, Washington! We were driving by after going to the capital of this state to get some documents apostilled and since I've been carrying my camera with me and we were at a stop sign, I had time to capture it. Jey-hu and I briefly wondered about the discounted items, but our comments are probably not worth repeating.

Jey-hu told me that in the State of Washington, some businesses like furniture stores can have five (5?) "Going Out Of Business Sales" per year!!! His business of doing security installations is slower, but he's been working a lot on a couple of upscale restaurants doing entertainment systems including a very posh one in Bellevue. More on that later.

We've had some rain at last. This photo of the slough between Everett and Lake Stevens bears a marked resemblance to the English countryside as I remember it. The birds are very happy to have things a little damper, judging from their songs. I tried to get a picture of the chickadee in the cherry tree, but it was too elusive. The local robins are busy pulling worms from the recent watering, so I know they are benefitting from the ground being softened up.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Too many "closures"

Today we took a trip to Ballard, a district of Seattle which used to be, according to Jey-hu, very charming and prosperous. Our mission was to go to Ballard Camera to get our cameras cleaned for the trip to Florida. When we arrived, the store was plastered with signs, "Store for Lease," and "Building for Sale" and a small flyer on the front door that said, "You can find us on-line now. We closed out this store on June 30."
Darnitall... and across the street a "used" books store was featuring a "Going Out of Business" sale until the end of next week. And two doors down from that was another empty building with signs in its windows suggesting it could use new tenants. We had lunch at Lombardi's, a delicious resbite, as we waited for the cameras to be cleaned at CameraTechs just down the street from the former objective. The fellows in there were extraordinarily helpful, got the job done in the one-hour window they promised and - it was reasonable. Of course we will go back to them.

Not far from them is the old Carnegie Free Public Library building which has been converted into an upscale restaurant, but even they were selling office space to lease. To learn more about this historical building - finished in 1906 - go to this history site. Apparently the "Ballard Chain Gain" did the landscaping, "under the watchful eyes of the police." The current landscaping of the old building is appealing and we promised ourselves that if it's open when we get back from Florida, we'll go and see how their dinners are. As we headed back to our car, across the street, I saw "The Matador," which suggests from their signage that they might be a sort of "cow-house" or perhaps feature Spanish food... another possible adventure here.
Couldn't miss the bookstore's sale and found a
couple of treasures there... but I was struck by the shelf with business books on it... read through the titles and see if you saw the irony that I did in one of them.

So, it was off to find my favorite bread bakery in Sandpoint Village and after that Jey-hu drove me through Lake City to show me where his 'ancestral home' was - it used to be where a bank now is, and he grimly remarked that the actual foundation was probably under the garbage container. He grew up in a two-bedroom house where he noted, "I used to get hot and cold hot chocolate..." telling the story of one rather chilly morning when the spoon in his hot chocolate was solidly inserted and
he went to his mother and asked, holding the spoon and the "hot" chocolate on it in his hand, if he could get it warmed up... His father was a naturopathic and chiropractic doctor back then and had his practice in the old justice of the peace office.

This picture of someone stopping to "smell the flowers," sort of touched me on this greyish day... only in color because in all respects it was a pleasant time with Jey-hu who has been working very hard from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day this past week so it's been a challenge to share much time together.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday so soon?

It seems unsettling that Friday has appeared so soon - what happened to the other four days? In reviewing my week, I can lay claim to being too busy to even grab my camera - and no car travel except to run to the post office.

Here's a shot I took earlier in the month, driving around the little Lake Stevens that used to be a resort town and is now resorting to being a full-time village 45 minutes from Seattle. I noticed with the more moderate temperatures that we have suddenly shifted into pre-fall. The mornings are cooler, it seems to take longer for the sun to burn through the cloud layer, and the cherries have gone past their prime. However, the raccoons (nine of them!!!) all showed up for a fruit dessert last night. Couldn't get the camera in time to shoot them.

At the beginning of July (see first photo up on the left) I had just finished planting my "red-white-blue" theme in the entry garden, to cover up the soil that was just sitting there. This shot proves to me that it was worth it, because the garden has really thrived (see photo on right) and now I have such a lovely floral greeting every time I come and go through the front door! This was a treat for me because the gardening in the NW is quite different from what I was doing in Florida. The second photo, taken this morning, shows that there has been some growing going on after all!

Now the plans are for us to head back to Lake City, Florida (about an hour west of Jacksonville right off I-10) in a couple of weeks - so stay tuned, dear readers, for another road adventure as we drive back across the U.S. in my other vehicle. And I will take you on a tour of Florida while we are there as Jey-hu has missed that state in his previous jaunts.

I found a picture on another camera that I had missed entering into my SeaFair shots... this is not the ideal boating costume, in my humble opinion, but this young lady certainly carries it off with aplomb. I wish I'd had a chance to talk to her and especially after the event, to discover what she thought about it as I gathered from her comments prior to getting into a 'tender' to take her to her destination that this experience was all very new for her.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sea Fair!

Wall to wall boats of all sizes and shapes and utility, a sunny day with temperatures in the 80's, good friends to laugh and talk with, and capped off with the always intense, always loud and always thrilling performance of the Navy's Blue Angels jet air show and you have the ingredients for a memorable Sunday on the last day of SeaFair 2009.

We were fortunate to have an invitation to be on a 90-footer motor yacht and the owner knew exactly where to place the anchor for the best viewing, so we had front rows seats for all
the action. In the second picture you can see two of the six jets circling around for another set. The aircraft were flying, in some cases, quite low and after one pass, the shock waves from the jet engines were quite intense on my ears.

Here is a shot of what I determined was the "smallest" boat in the fleet and in the non-commercial category, I think our host's boat and one other may have competed for the largest.
Curiously, there were a number of jet skis, including the one shown here, but very few sailboats. It appeared to be mostly a power-boater's event. Notice that the jet ski operator is still attached to his cell phone - just like behind the wheel of his car, I expect.

I've included a shot of seagull who not only appeared to be trying to learn how to fly like the Blue Angels, but who was also witnessed
deliberately taking some item (water-soaked bread, we think), carefully carrying it over a boat, stalling out and dropping it on them!

There were some hydroplane races following the air show, but our host had to head back to Everett to complete some renovations before the boat is taken to Mexico for the winter.