Archived Posts from this Category

Garden Update: Winds of time

Posted by on 29 Apr 2013 | Tagged as: books, cooking, copyrights, critters, food, friends, holidays, Local Artists' Websites, social justice, Uncategorized

Here are a few pictures from around the yard over the last couple of weeks, starting with the 18 or so raspberry plants a friend let us take from her garden!

2013-04-28 13.40.47
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The lovely green…

Posted by on 16 Mar 2013 | Tagged as: fun, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, parenting, seasons, Uncategorized

The middle of March, one of my favorite times of the year. Spring is about to begin, according to the sun. Most years, for us, it is several weeks in. Although a few years ago, spring was still months away!

Here are the latest updates from the garden.
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Seasonal Song

Posted by on 20 Dec 2012 | Tagged as: children, education, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, music, Uncategorized

Every December, Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia (SOGO) puts on a brass festival to showcase the talented young musicians in the organization. Brass instrument players from the Academy and Conservatory levels practice for several weeks, with a performance the next-to-last weekend before the winter break.

We enjoy their performances, of course, and eagerly await this pleasant two hours.

Here is a short montage of the music from last Saturday. It’s about 8 minutes long — three familiar tunes. Unfortunately, the audio quality is poor (and tinny) because we forgot the real video camera this year. This is taken from my ipad’s built-in video recorder.

Whole group first, then just the trombones (my kiddo had a nice solo in that piece), then just the trumpets (my other kiddo sat in with the group though he has “graduated” from this orchestra).

SOGO “HOHO” 2012 youtube link.

A piece I have loved for many years (that is not part of this montage) is Mark Thome’s arrangement of Little Drummer Boy. He wrote this a number of years ago, and we were there at the world premier, performed by SOGO kids. It makes use of a “bolero” rhythm, and was unlike anything else I had ever heard. It is magical. Mark is the official “composer in residence” for SOGO, and we are so grateful to have his talents!

If you have a young musician (there is a full orchestra with strings for each level as well as the brass sections) who would like to have a chance to play outside of school — in a caring, supportive atmosphere with professional musicians and teachers, then I highly recommend SOGO to you. The next concert will be in March, and they do occasionally have students begin mid-year.

A quick review of the last month…

Posted by on 27 Dec 2009 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, Family Matters, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, parenting, Uncategorized

I found the camera! Here are a few pics of the last month, beginning with supper in Portland with my grandfather and his partner, and a family friend. Oh yes, Tom and the boys were there too!

stidkid#2 and stidmama

stidkid#2 and stidmama

november 2009 get-together

november 2009 get-together

a couple videos of December concerts, (hope they came through okay):

the older stidkid enjoys a new book from the stidgrands:

gifts galore (one of many)

gifts galore (one of many)

and another video, as Tom snags stidkid#2’s gift from the stidgrands… metroid prime; and lounging pants for the boys. It starts out sideways, but I figured it out eventually!

Of course, more happened than supper, concerts and gifts… but these were definitely highlights. Missing are images of stidkid #1’s birthday, the amazing late autumn foliage and cute dog-turtle-bird pics.

Oh well, always room for improvement!

Celebrating the Green!

Posted by on 16 Mar 2009 | Tagged as: celebrations, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Uncategorized

My Irish heritage is a big part of my identity (So is the German, Dutch and then less and less French, Welsh, English, Scots…).

So Fáilte (which means Welcome) to you!

I will post a few pics as the actual day for wearin’ o’ th’ green (why do we clip the ends of the words like this?) goes on, and since it’s already St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, I wish you all a happy one. Though I have been told that really this huge celebration is an American thing…

And a special greeting to my friend who celebrates his “saint’s day” every year in style. May the skies be fair, the company fine and the food free. Sláinte!

And just because I needed to know where the accent went on that last word, here’s a website with many greetings and toasts.

inauguration — tradition

Posted by on 20 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: celebrations, citizenship, education, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, hope, musings, Peace Making, Politics and War, Uncategorized

Some families have long-standing get-togethers: summer reunions at the shore, grandmother’s birthday bash, even game night every Thursday with pizza and friends.

Some cultures are filled with holy days: Eid al Fitr, Yom Kippur, Easter, Dia de los Muertos.

Some countries are full of pomp and circumstance. The Changing of the Guard outside Buckingham Palace, or the Opening of Parliament. The Birthday of the Monarch or the Jubilee Celebrations. The remembrance of the war dead, or the founding of the nation.

The United States has its traditions, too: Fourth of July (the day we declared independence though it was 5 years and then some before the war was over, and two more to make it official), Thanksgiving, Memorial Day.

Every person resonates with traditions in their own way. Every person has their own stories of the most bizarre iteration, the best time ever, the time it just didn’t happen. Different communities celebrate or observe these events in their own ways, with great variation… but by and large, even those who are not “observant” take note and they become ties that cement society.

In the United States, in over 230 years, we have a tradition of a peaceful, orderly transition between administrations. We pride ourselves on the “ease” with which one government morphs into another. No bloodshed, no shaky weeks after one government is dissolved and another one is forming, no military coup and martial law. Like our annual national holidays, the quadrennial inauguration is as certain as the rise of the sun tomorrow.

But unlike the other holidays, which commemorate things in our past, this one heralds our future. Rather than looking backward shoring up our cultural myth through remembered heroics, inauguration day signals beginnings, possibilities, hopes and dreams. It points the way forward, encouraging and beckoning us to renewed and greater effort on the part of our country, our people.

Today is the day for the inauguration of the forty-fourth president. Today we look toward the future, with confidence, with hope. Today, regardless of personal philosophies or ideologies, we can take comfort in the traditions that tie us all together. Our government, our nation, continues with no interruption, no alteration in the basic structure of our lives.

That is a pretty nifty tradition.

Vacation in Victoria

Posted by on 01 Jan 2009 | Tagged as: Art Museums and Galleries, British Columbia, children, friends, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Politics and War, rain, travel, Uncategorized, Vacations, weather

Took the elder stidkid with me this past weekend to give him a chance to visit friends and see the sights of Victoria, British Columbia, in the winter.

Unfortunately, the same snow that hit us hit them also. So we were unable to meet up with some of our friends. We did however get to see our dear friends Hetty and Alan, and we met many lovely people over the four days of our trip.

Here’s the basics (with a few pictures to be added as I edit them in tomorrow — in the new year!):

We left home EARLY Friday morning to catch the 8 am sailing of the Victoria Clipper from Seattle (I had taken advantage of a package deal in November to be able to afford this — usually too expensive for us).

A quick trip across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and we were in Victoria and at our favorite hotel, the James Bay Inn, by 11 am. Lunch at the inn, followed by a bit of walking around downtown, we eventually found ourselves on the tour bus to Butchart Gardens for the Winter Lights display.

The gardens were lovely. We loved the singing and the brass quartet (two trumpets, a trombone and a bass trombone) that alternated sets while we were there. We started with supper at The Blue Poppy, the cafeteria-style restaurant so we could enjoy the walk. The gardens were truly magical in the snow, though I found myself slowed down by the crutches. Slowed down enough in fact, that by the time I got through the checkout line in the gift shop we had missed our bus by (imagine Maxwell Smart saying this…) “THIS MUCH.” Fortunately, another tour bus was still there and offered to take us back to town. This man even drove everyone to their hotel!

Saturday… we slept in.

A late lazy breakfast, followed by a short stroll to Miniature World. Well worth the admission if you go to Victoria, especially on a cold, windy or wet day. A couple of hours looking at very fine detail work, with some historical pieces and some whimsical. It was a good activity for us.

Lunch at “The Noodle Box” close by, each item can actually be two meals for most people! If you are noise (and loud music) averse, take out is a good choice. And it was close to the next tour bus — the one for the Victoria tour. A narrated run through the city’s commercial and historical districts, a good way to see where things are and get some background. Goes in a circuit from the Empress Hotel through the “posh” district to Oak Bay (brief stop for coffee/seal watching) and then back downtown.

Then we did a little bit of shopping before returning to the Inn for a nap and supper.

Sunday: all day at the Royal British Columbia Museum. The temporary exhibit called “Free Spirit” was lovely — if you read this in time, it was a great intro to the people who made British Columbia — from earliest times to the present. We also saw two IMAX movies, “Alps” and “Extreme” — very interesting. I am definitely in no danger of becoming a rock climber, skier, snowboarder, surfer…. but the scenery and cinematography were excellent. Spent nearly an hour in the gift shop as well — got some nice trinkets for a few people. The permanent exhibit on the First Nations people who have inhabited British Columbia is always a big deal for us — we nosed around that for nearly two hours! We didn’t go to the Natural History section this time (ran out of time) but I remember it from a couple years ago, and recommend it highly as well.

Monday: leisurely breakfast and packing, taxi to take the bags to the Victoria Clipper and then a short walk to the Parliament Building. Caught the tail end of a tour as well, so got a little more information about the government. Very pretty — not quite what I expected. Of course, we are from Washington state, which has a very large dome, open concept in the center of the capitol building, while the B.C. Parliament is housed in something that resembles the California capitol a bit more. I suppose I could complete the West Coast capitol experience by visiting the Oregon state capitol sometime. Then lunch at the Noodle Box again — keeping half for our supper later; and a taxi ride to our friends home.

After a couple hours’ great conversation and tea (and a shortbread Hetty made that I am told was stellar), we took the taxi back to the terminal to wait for the preboarding for the trip home.

Interesting people to talk to made the hour fly by. The Border/Customs officer was efficient, but not mean, and answered a question of the kid’s very well. Then, while we are sitting in the waiting area to get on the boat we are informed that there is a weather delay. We have the choice to go aboard and wait (can’t get off again because of immigration things), or leave the waiting area and get a hotel room until the next day.

Argh. We got on the boat. FOUR HOURS LATER… we leave the dock. I am glad I called my parents collect (before I got on the boat) to have them call Tom and let him know he needed to contact the Victoria Clipper terminal in Seattle — otherwise he and the younger stidkid might not have been able to ice skate and see an IMAX movie at the Seattle Center! They also saw our dear friend (riemann of babble fame) at supper — we missed him of course, but will catch him next time he is in town. Because we only pulled in about midnight, and being toward the front of the boat (with the exit in the rear) we got off nearly last.

At 2:30 when we pulled into the driveway, we were pretty exhausted. But happy to be home and pleased with our fine adventure.

It was a fine trip, but it is SO GOOD to be home!

Solstice Greetings!

Posted by on 20 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: celebrations, food, fun, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Uncategorized

Our family tries to do something special for the solstice, and most years we manage something fun.

Plans sometimes change, and this year due to the snow we won’t visit my parents. We’ll celebrate with them another day.

Here’s what we are planning:

Roast turkey, rice dressing and a fennel and potato side dish (inspired by the lovely Hetty). Pie for dessert — maybe a cheesecake, but we also still have some squash that would make a nice pie. And pecans…

Sing songs.

Play games — board games as well as Wii games (new pinball game for the stidkid’s bday last week).


Watch TV — the last Seahawks game coached by Holmgren is tomorrow.

Try to put a few more things away and locate my passport for the trip I am taking the elder stidkid on this next week. It’s “somewhere.”

More about the snow…

Posted by on 18 Dec 2008 | Tagged as: Gardens and Life, holidays, Uncategorized, Vacations, weather

The drive into town was fine.

The drive home…   well it was snowing.  Pretty steadily for about an hour while we were finished the shopping.  We figure it snowed 6 more inches from the time we left the house. A picture taken by the stidkid shows our estimate is pretty close.

almost 7 inches of snow on the ground at 3:30 pm

almost 7 inches of snow on the ground at 3:30 pm

By the time we had picked up the stidkid from the grandparents’ house the roads were very slippery.

Here is a picture of our road… no, the garbage trucks did not come today!

quiet street in the snow

quiet street in the snow

Coming home along the highway people were content to do about 30 miles an hour.  On the main road toward our house once we left the freeway, 20 was fast enough!  The only part that made me a little worried was the valley between our street and that road.  A piece of cake.  I joked with Tom that it would be funny to make it up that last hill and get stuck in the driveway.

as far as she got...

as far as she got...

No joke, apparently!

If you are curious about the weather patterns around Puget Sound, KOMO TV has a good summary of the current situation.

Update at 4:20 – there are multiple accidents all through the area, including a major intersection we came through just an hour ago…

And school is canceled for tomorrow. Vacation officially starts now!

I leave you for today with a couple shots the stidkid took of some especially pretty views — and one of the house, looking snug and warm in its blanket.

the plum tree branches holding up the snow

the plum tree branches holding up the snow

the wooded area at the back of the yard

the wooded area at the back of the yard

a favorite climbing tree, bigleaf maple

a favorite climbing tree, bigleaf maple

the back of the house, with snow still falling

the back of the house, with snow still falling


Posted by on 27 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: food, friends, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Uncategorized

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

I have not made so many goals in the last six months. I didn’t work in my garden much, I didn’t manage to get all the research done for my final project (that I had hoped for anyway), I am not walking comfortably the way I had hoped. And I won’t come even close to the 50,000 word novel I typed last November… actually won’t get 5,000 words written this year.

But that’s okay. I HAVE gone back to school full-time. I HAVE been volunteering in my local community. I HAVE been able to get through several weeks’ worth of pain and low mobility. And I HAVE started to seek medical attention to correct whatever is wrong with the hip.

I have a loving, wonderful family — a strong, supportive spouse and intelligent, generally well-behaved children. I have a dog who adores me (of course!). I have parents who are alive and healthy. I have a brother, friends, and extended family … our home is comfortable enough, we have reasonably reliable (if not fashionable) transportation, and enough to eat.

Life is good. Thanks to those who make it so!

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