Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is that all there is?

In the Peggy Lee song, "Is That All There Is?" the question is asked at the end of an observation about various aspects of life, followed by this reprise:
Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is...
And today when I learned of a favorite blogger's demise, my selfish cry was "Is that all there is - no more blogs? No more critical observations of her city in Arizona? No more interactions on things I've seen that she questioned me about?"
Blogging has become the new social connection in a world that wants to disallow personal observations, thoughts, feelings on a day-to-day basis. When is the last time you had time at work to talk about flowers? When you order up your lunch, do you ask the waiter or waitress anything about their life?
GrannyJ in her blog "Walking Prescott" (you can find the link on my site) took time to
point out various things that we might not have noticed otherwise. Teaching history, critical thinking, and valuing what others had cast aside, we discovered a new way to really see. (Like this little fern growing out of the moss on a tree on a woodland spring walk.)
But GrannyJ (Julie) has gone to walk a higher plane, and how I wish she could blog back about what she is seeing where she is... of this I am certain, there are loads of flowers, and if there's no limit to the enjoyments there, she probably will take full advantage of it, just as she did here. And I will miss her insightful commentary on her world that helped me to do a better job of sharing mine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

An invention needed...

I was reading the blog of an MM'er who announced forgetting to take a medication and it got me to thinking that an invention is needed for those who are trying to manage their own medications. It wouldn't need to be that complicated. A simple little digital clock surrounded by small drawers that could be filled up for a week. The individual would have to be alert enough to know not to take all seven in the drawer, however! Each time the pill needed to be taken, the clock - with sound choices - would beep, chirp, buzz or ring to report the time and the drawer would pop open. It would also need to be kept someplace that small and curious children could not gain access. I'm NOT capable of creating such a device, but I know another MM'er who probably could with all his electronic skills. Perhaps I will direct him to read this blog.

It's been raining much of the weekend, so it's been hard to get out and do anything for very long. And it's been unusually cold, so there hasn't been much motivation to stay out, either. I spent some time clearing out photos from my computer's storage to gain more space for the next adventure, and found myself yearning for a warmer place - tho not one from which I cannot return, either! So in line with those thoughts, I am posting some pictures of our last year's September sojourn to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.

The fellow in the gold paint, dressed as a fireman, was taking a break at a local bar from being a statue... that particular day in September of '09, it was a blistering 90 degrees, so he can be excused. How he could choose that line of work in such a hot climate completely escapes me.

The photo of the open arch is world
-renowned and is often used for fashion shoots on the decks of heaving boats promoting "cruise wear" for the next season. the sea is seldom calm around these rocks at the "end" of land in Mexico's Baja. But the seals love it.

The sunset shown below really did generate all those magnificent colors and more - we were so lucky to have had that time together there!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Felt like a dog with head out the window....

I've been cooped up for so long, it was nice of my master (Jey-hu is not really, but on this day it felt like it.) to take me for a drive in the country. On this particular day, it was sunny - a good start! And it was warm, another good point! And the drive was going to be up around the Loop Road so it would take at least three hours to complete - yippee!! Just like a dog, I had my window down and was sniffing the air for the smells of spring... some were not my kind of smell, but if I'd been a dog, they certainly would have been appealing.
We did this same trip last year about this time, and it was a whole lot warmer then. Curiously enough, in spite of it being warmer, there was more snow still on the ground. However, this year it was clear there has been significantly more snowfall for the month of April at the higher elevations and the mountains looked like an ice cream sundae with whipped cream and sprinkles on top. Big Four Mountain, previously mentioned in this blog (see May of 2009) is shown above.

These little pink flowers were just budding out in the area where the mountain paths begin. We
opted not to make the climb, and just as were concluding that decision and looking around, someone said, "Look, they are now charging a $5 usage fee PER PERSON in order to spend time here!" I am sure the government can justify the demand for funds, but when people are out of work, and want to drive a short distance to enjoy Mother Nature, it seems criminal to charge them something to get some relief from the pressures of the commercial world. This means that a family of four will spend $20 to park there for the afternoon plus gas and food... and there are no provisions for families with small children. Did you know the definition of PERSON is "1. A human being. 2. An entity (such as a corporation) that is recognized by law having the rights and duties of a human being." [Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Ed.] But the definition of 'human being' is not even found in that edition of Black's! One has to go to Ballentine's Law (not sure of date but think it is about 1895) to read that a 'human' is one having the "characteristics of man," and no where in there is it defined as to what a 'human being' is. So I would return any ticket issued to me with the pleasant request that they submit it to the corporation as it is not my responsibility as I am NOT a person. Well. We didn't stop in any event.
We drove on - and I am sure you are glad of that - and found a perfectly serene little spot with a rushing river, lots of rocks and moss and wonderful photo ops. It was kind of dark in the woods, so I tried to use my photo software to lighten this one up... it has a sort of artistic sense to it, it seems to me. I might publish a few more in the next installment.

This stop was also where I found some flowers called "skunk cabbage" in bloom, but I don't believe this is the latin term for these bright yellow and green plants.
They are most generally found where it is damp or literally "swampy" and they supposedly have a "stinky" smell, but I must have been too entranced by their design and color to notice.

When Jey-hu and I are out "shooting" together, we challenge one another to get a "money shot." This kind of shot is the one we both agree could be a postcard or poster or used in some advertising, not shots we actually put into commercial use. So
this last one is my money shot of the day. You are seeing the mountain range called the Cascades, north of Mt. Pilchuck and Mt. White Chuck. It was taken around 3 p.m. PDT, just before leaving the river behind and riding higher in the canyon on the end of the loop road, we were headed into a small town near Arlington, Washington.

And this was a good thing, too, because like most creatures kept in a car for too long, I was longing for relief...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hearts and Flowers on Mum's Day

Two years ago I came out to the Northwest on a mercy mission, to help out my family with a relative who has Multiple Myeloma (MM). I was actually here for Mother's Day, but I don't remember much cause for celebrating it.

At that time I didn’t have the faintest idea what this disease was, and how variable it can be with each individual. I was on the fastest learning curve imaginable and part of the discovery was finding out about me as the stress and crisis escalated.

What strange paths I was led down as I stumbled along, gradually gaining information and confidence in my own strengths as part of a support team. But anguish crept in as well as I realized there were limitations and this is a disease that teaches you how little control you have over even the smallest aspects.

I returned to Florida, supposedly to pick up my life again after two intense visits in Washington state. I ended up taking an impulsive trip to Phoenix, Arizona, for a seminar and met the love of my life. Why did I do that then? Because MM taught me another lesson - don’t wait.

And who was this Mystery Man (another kind of MM)? He has lived in the NW almost all of his life, half of it in the food business and the last half in electronics. He has wired at least 40% of downtown Seattle for sound, including doing several special events. The son of a naturopathic and chiropractic doctor, Jey-hu's real interest is finding out how to make water better and electricity more productive. (I guess I need to interject here that "Jey-hu" is a Blog name, as is mine, to maintain the privacy of the MM relative.)

We also, as those of you have found out by reading this blog, share a love of photography and travel and both of us have done more of that together in the last year than either of us did singly in the two years previously.

My MM (Mystery Man) and I met up with the family MM recently and I was happy to see so many positive changes - brighter smiles - happier energy - and healthier color, not to mention hair on top; the best look in two years! And the family, like a budding spring plant, seems to be bursting forth with new hope as well.


Isn’t this what all of us who are in or around MM dream of having? It is what has driven me as a blog supporter to bring to those I connect with. Just this past week many of the MM Planet “family” have been sharing their connection with “Nancy” who was, like “Andre” of this particular group, a very special soul. It is inevitable that each of us will go through to the ‘Other Side,’ but the goodbyes are harder sometimes, even when one gracefully bows out, taking the last curtain call like the Trapp Family in the “Sound of Music,” and we know when the house lights come up, the stage will be empty.

Yet I have so much to be thankful for - because I never would have known and blogged with Andre and Nancy if it hadn’t been for MM, and my life is richer for that connection with each of them; for the laughter and the tears. And the decisions I have made, from this “MM education,” have put me on a life path that, like the promise of new growth with an SCT, gives me a renewed sense of purpose.


My prayer for all the MM caregivers is that you are finding new sources of information and strength to encourage you as you begin a new day, even if the night before was short. An aside for Cassie: I know your nights are shorter with that new little "gem" in your life and everyone else you have to care for - hats off and many hearts to you!!

My prayer for all the MM bloggers, with your special needs, is that you are being guided to the right sources for the best support always and that you know, even in the dark when you wonder, that you are valued and loved.

And I send out my heart-felt gratitude to both caregivers and bloggers for the information and sharing that has helped me to better understand and appreciate the challenges you each face every day so that I am able to be more of whatever it is I need to be, whenever I may need to be it. Is “Thank you” really enough?

Friday, May 7, 2010


I'd never heard of it. They don't advertise on the airwaves, but through the "hair" waves - ear to ear, mouth to mouth - and along with providing "to-go" packaging that is 100% biodegradable, what they put in it is 100% edible, too!

Jey-hu said he had "heard about it, and it's supposed to be good," so being irritable and hungry I was ready to go almost anywhere. And because he's the son of a naturopathic /chiropractic doctor, he eats the best he can when he's away from the healthy stuff I feed him... not counting his weakness for chocolate.

Hidden in a small strip-mall, behind a gas station, on Route 9 between the Snohomish River and the hill known by locals as "Seattle Hill," is this charming, upbeat, "take-out" or eat-in or even (yippee!) catering food service place called MONGO'S . Just click on the link and take a look at some of dishes Chris can whip up - yum! His wife, Shannon, said they used to own The Paragon up on Queen Anne's Hill in Seattle, but sold out in 2007 and started up here in 2008, "all by ourselves."

One of their signs in the window said, "Life's too short to eat boring food." And that theme was carried out in the specials for the day and the regular options.

MONGOS offers such a diverse menu it was hard to choose, but I went with the Filet Mignon Sliders (mini burgers to the out-of-towners) and french fries. Jey-hu chose the Philly Cheese Steak and fries (Hah - we're like that couple who have matching Hawaiian shirts: Filet and Philly). We never had to eat dinner that night. I was still in some kind of food hypno state due to the abso-fan-tastic fries - obviously done in fresh
oil and just the right amount of crunch and color - next time I come here I will take more pictures of the food!

For those of you who are unfortunate enough to live too far away to sample MONGOS now, when you make plans to visit the great Northwest, you can get off SR 522 (going N) at the Route 9/ Woodinville exit and it's about 20 minutes up and over Seattle Hill, just before the new stop lights at the flats. For my Everett and Lake Stevens readers, it's a quick trip south on 9, across the river and the flats, up on the right just after the lights - on your way to Costco...

Did I mention that Chris has over 30 years "in the business" and that creme brulee was on the dessert menu? Did I also mention that their prices are very fair and if you tell them what you want or need ahead of time, they will prepare it for you? Ever heard of fish tacos? Sigh - love da MONGOS!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Don't call geese silly...

Here you can see a paired Canadian Goose couple pecking away in a lot which is being considered for development. They were right next door to the Goodwill store and adjacent to where I get mail.
As they are probably on their way back to Canada, I saw nothing "silly" about their stopover point. In fact, I was impressed that they stopped together. Did you know they can reach up to 60 mph during their flights, and can reach an altitude of 8,000 feet? They can fly at night, and can fly for up to 16 hours in a stretch. I can't go that long without stopping.
And here is the latest update in the garden department. The lilacs are blooming, but I cannot get a decent picture of them because of the recent, and daily, cloudy and rainy days. But I did get this awesome shot of the rhodedendron next door with the bees doing their thing inside - can you see it?

I dedicate this flower to a friend who lives far away in Florida, because I moved west from her to be with my other best friend, Jey-hu.

So the "theme" for today seems to be about being 'connected' like the geese are, and my father used to say, "Friends of a feather flock together..." so to all my readers who are either are, or are becoming my friends, welcome to the flock - and remember to stay in touch!