Sunday, August 6, 2017

A lesson from the Garden

These are the green beans I planted in the early days of summer.  Aren't they just the saddest little things?  Something has been chewing on them, either deer or rabbits.  The long heat wave hasn't helped either.

And yet, if you look closely you can see some little beans are starting to appear.

 A lesson and reminder that even in adversity we can still bloom and  produce fruit in our lives, especially if we keep our eyes on the Lord.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to 
God a sacrifice of praise.
the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

Hebrews 13:15

Monday, July 31, 2017

Misadventures of a Pack Rat - Day 5 Surprises in the Attic

While digging through the attic this spring, my children decided it was time for them to go through their things and figure out what they wanted to keep.  So when we returned from our winter adventures we came home to a garage full of  so many boxes and trunks for us to all sort through, there was no room left for the cars (sigh).  Not exactly how I wanted to start my first week home after being gone for 3 months, but it did keep me from procrastinating for too long. 

As I was purging, I came across a box filled with what's left of my old doll collection.  I played with all my dolls (that's what they are for right?) so they are not exactly in "collectable" condition, but I sure remember having a lot of fun with them at the time.

When I was about 7 years old my grandmother signed me up for a "Dolls Around the World" club.  Every month or so I received a doll dressed to represent a different country.  I must have had thirty or so of them.  These are the ones that are left.  From left to right they represent Greece, Spain, Scotland, Sweden, China and Ireland.

I also had about twenty or so that were actually made in their country of origin.  These three came from Italy, Israel and Korea.  (Please excuse some of my photos.  It seems my lens needed cleaning)

 This little Japanese doll with different wigs was a gift my dad brought home to me from Okinawa in 1962.  She was much used and loved.

One of the most interesting dolls I had was this one, probably made in the 30's or 40's as it belonged to my mother.  It comes from the redwood country of Northern California. I saw one in a museum when we were visiting the area a few years ago but no one could tell me anything about it. With the exception of the plaster face, it is made completely from strips of redwood bark woven together. I couldn't really play with her but she hung on my bedroom wall until I was a teenager.

In addition to my dolls, I also discovered this pretty glass perfume bottle which belonged to my grandmother.   I remember it sitting on the dresser in her bedroom when I was a little girl.  My mother must have saved this plaster print of my hand, probably from kindergarten or first grade. Truthfully, I am not sure what I want to do with these things.  So for the time being, they have been carefully wrapped back up and packed away. 


However,  There has been one thing I found which I am keeping out...this little tea set.  I remember it, but I don't remember where or when I got it.

The lid to the teapot seems to be missing but that doesn't mean that my little granddaughter and I can't still enjoy some future tea parties together. I will look forward to that. That's my little trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bad Habits

After sharing my first attempts at purging and reorganizing my life it may seem as if all has gone silent.  Certainly things have slowed down a bit as my attention was taken with other activities, but I am still persevering, albeit a bit more slowly and less emotionally.

I find that I am having to deal with a couple of rather bad habits that have been hanging around for way too long.

1.  Procrastination:  the action of delaying or postponing something
An Example: This basket of magazines, some of which are several years old, had been getting fuller and fuller as I just tossed my partially read subscriptions into the basket to finish reading later.  Somehow later never seemed to come.  I knew it should only take a few minutes to sort through them and toss what I didn't want or need anymore.  The trouble is, as soon as I sit down with them I will start reading instead of sorting!  Does that ever happen to you?

I really am easily distracted, but I was determined to stay focused and get the job done no matter how many interesting articles caught my eye.  Only magazines that were less than a year old were allowed to stay.

You can see, that I took care of quite a few. The basket is almost empty.  I am also proud to say that I  immediately took all extra magazines to the library so I wouldn't be tempted to take another peek and canceled a couple of my subscriptions. Now, for those of you who are rolling your eyes at this point, you must understand that this is big for me.  Doesn't everything look nice?  Just a warning, don't let that desk fool you...which gets me to another bad habit.

2.  Avoidance:  an act or practice of avoiding or withdrawing from something

An Example:  Often times something important comes in that needs to be kept, but instead of dealing with it immediately, I just put it onto the desk so I would know where to "find" it.  Unfortunately, I had been avoiding things for a long time, and the desk can only hide so much.  I wanted to be able to start using my desk properly so I decided to go through every cubby and drawer.  Goodness!  It was definitely time to purge!

It took me three days to go through everything during which  I counted over 180 ink pens, nine pair of scissors, five boxes of paper clips, and eight rolls of scotch tape, not to mention colored pencils, markers, glue etc,etc.  I found all of last years Christmas Cards in a stack (I must have had a craft project in mind for them but I can't remember what it might have been.)   There were boxes of stationary rarely used, and old address books that need to be converted into one.  Trouble is, I don't want to erase the names of those who are no longer with us, another avoidance.  Then, of course, there were the actual papers that needed to be properly noted and filed.

In the end, everything either found a new home or a new place in the desk or elsewhere.  I also found the last letter from my husband's step-mother as well as a letter from an aunt with some knitting instructions for making slipper socks.  I remember getting a new pair from her for Christmas every year for many years.  I still have the last pair she ever knitted for me.  They are pretty ragged now but I keep them anyway.  Needless to say, those letters  are definitely keepers.

Now I have a working space which I am already using.  Did you notice that I found a use for some of those stacking boxes?  One is filled with colored markers and the other has bottles of glue for projects.  

My home is starting to feel more restful already.  By the way, the oil painting was painted in the 1940s by the Inspector's great-uncle who was actually better known for his portraits at the time.  

And speaking of paintings, we cleaned out the cupboard over my closet and found this little gem we had forgotten about which was painted by one of our great-uncle's students. We found the perfect spot for it.

Love that frame, and since it's a seascape it fits perfectly with the theme in my living room.

If I can continue to find fun forgotten little treasures like this, I am ready for the attic and the basement.  Bring it on!


Monday, September 12, 2016

A Neighborhood Walk

On Saturday afternoon we went to visit friends who had recently moved into a new home located in a lovely older neighborhood near a park, which made it a perfect place to enjoy another long walk.  Naturally, I had my little camera in my pocket and had to stop and snap a few photos here and there.  There were lots of pretty gardens along the way. 

The light wasn't the best here, as I was taking the picture into the sun, but I really like all the different colors of green accented by the red tree. 

Maybe I will come back and take another walk in a few weeks to see if these trees have changed color.

Don't these yellow coneflowers (rubeckia) look striking against the red leaves of the plum tree?

 I love the way this evergreen tree as been shaped by the winds off the bay, as well as by careful pruning.  See the long shadows cast on the ground by the late afternoon sun.

Soon we made it to the park which sits up on a bluff overlooking the bay.  There was a little arboretum where we stopped to take a stroll.

Palm trees have been popping up all over in local gardens for the past 15 years or so.  I'm still surprised by them.  When I think of palm trees I think of a tropical setting, not the chilly northwest.  However, this type seems to do very well here, even in the snow.

We came upon some stone steps that led up to a fountain at the top.  It was a little too modern for my taste but the sounds of the water were pretty, and the spot felt tranquil in the dappled sunlight.

Entering the main part of the park we crossed over to the bluff overlooking the bay below. 

 There wasn't time today to just sit and stay, as it was time to head out for dinner with our friends. One day soon we will have to return to watch the sunset from this spot.

 Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed our little walk.  Come back and visit again soon.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Nature Walk

As most of you already know, things have been pretty quiet around here the last couple of months.  But now that The Inspector is starting to have more energy we decided it was time to take a nice long walk with one of my favorite cousins who was up visiting for the holiday weekend.  So we hopped in the car and made our way to the lowlands under the local trestle.

This is where we began our rambles, along the Snohomish River which flows into the bay beyond.   Doesn't this tree look like a perfect place to sit and read a book?

I love rugosa rose bushes.  These were growing all along the riverbank.  They usually bloom all summer long but as fall begins to close in all that's left are the rose hips.  I was tempted to pick some and bring them home to dry for rose hip tea.

My cousin is admiring the pretty pink pods.


As we continued our walk along the river we notice various kinds of wild flowers and plants.

Wild Sweet Peas

Little Purple CanadianThistles


Gold Buttons (Tansy)

Tiny Yellow Daisies

  Wild Blackberry Brambles
Some plants were already dried and perfectly preserved, all ready for someone's floral arrangement.

Gradually we made our way into the actual estuary looking for birds along the waterways but none were to be found.  It must be the wrong time of year.

 We spied a large waterway in the distance and decided to make our way across the marsh to see what we might find there.

The trail led us through a huge field of cattails, some that were taller than we were.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered  that what we thought was water was a low tide mud flat!

My cousin and I
By now it was long past lunch and time to start heading home.  As we made our way out of the marsh and back to the car we passed this pear tree laden with beautiful rosy fruit.  The animals in the area are going to have a feast!

 As we left the quiet marshes behind and headed towards the parking lot we finally saw a large flock of mallard ducks.  And where did we spot them?.... in a large pond right next to the busy and, I might add, very noisy freeway!!  Go figure.

 With the long Labor Day weekend over, Summer is officially at an end and this was a perfect way to let it go.  Autumn, here we come!