Saturday, June 30, 2012

Losing Dad

Dad lost his long, courageous battle with Alzheimer's yesterday.
He can now dance in eternity with my Dear Mother.
Both together now, watching over us.

Leaving behind a lasting legacy.

Forever in our hearts.

I hope that you understand, Dear Reader's, that I need to take some time.

I will be back soon.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Simple Living

We live a Simple Life.

Having a 'Simple Life' is really all about feeling content.

Creating the life that you want to live.

Eliminating the stress.

Putting some thought into what makes you happy.

What is most important in your life.

Making sure you plan life to include those things that give you joy.

Whether that means moving to the country and having a garden,

or moving to the city and going to the theater.

Or staying right where you are.

Whatever your idea of bliss might be.

For me a Simple Life means living in the mountains among wildflowers and singing birds.

Off the beaten path.

But with everything, there are compromises.

'Off the beaten path' means long commutes.

Going to the mall requires a long drive along steep roads.

So I find what I need close by.

Or I go without.

Thank goodness for internet shopping!

Living the Simple Life for me means using creativity rather than money.

Raising 4 children necessitated ingenuity.

Home cooking, home sewn, home made.

Home grown.

The Simple Life means knowing my limitations.

Understanding I can't accomplish everything.

Learning how to edit my life.

While still retaining the things I love to do.

Living the 'Simple Life' took years to plan.

But for me, the Simple Life is all about the journey and not the destination.

It is about noticing and appreciating the small blessings.

The little things in life.

Working hard to create a life filled with what I feel is important to me.

Sticking to long term goals.

But without expectations.

Going with the flow.

Finding time to give and receive the best things in life.

Love, Laughter, Family, Friendship

And for me, yes, a garden.

Do you live a Simple Life?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Golden Light

We have been having unsettled weather lately. In one day it is not unusual to wake up to sunshine, and then go to bed with torrential rain, with everything in between.

But every evening despite the weather, the hills turn gold when the sun sets below the clouds.

The golden light illuminates hills that you wouldn't ordinarily notice.

Bringing to light secret hideaways for wild things.

Despite the rain, my succulents have been sending out their flower stalks.

The hummingbirds have been visiting these every day.

As the sun sinks lower, the light moves higher and turns from golden to rose. 

The rosy hue lights up Mt. Rainier's many glaciers. Hundreds of feet thick, they balance on the rocky core. Precariously.

Rose colored spiral clouds spin around the mountain's atmosphere.

Foretelling future rain.

And one of my favorite things;
Raindrops on Roses.

What are your favorite things so far this Summer?


I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the family!

This is Champ.

We are adopting him through a wonderful organization called 'Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue'.


After we lost our beloved 'Little Bear', we thought we would wait a while before adopting another dog.

But Whitey has been so lethargic and disinterested in any of his usual activities since he lost his best friend.

So I thought I would just start looking around for a companion. Not to replace Little Bear. But we have this empty space and so much love for a dog in need of a loving home.

I had just started my search. Then I saw this face. There were warnings. He was deemed a 'project' and in need of certain circumstances for a successful adoption.

He can't be left alone or he becomes destructive and chews. (No problem, Whitey has separation anxiety- we work around it).

He needs lots of room to run and plenty of exercise. Again, not a problem.

He doesn't like strangers. My kind of fellow!

He is a 'Velcro' dog, won't leave your side. Well, when you are living on the edge of the wilderness and are alone all day, a Velcro dog is exactly what you need!

We met him for the first time last weekend. It was love at first sight. We were warned that he might not 'take' to us, that he was wary, and possibly agressive towards strangers.

But he must have known we weren't strangers.

We had an almost immediate connection.

The next step was a 'Home Visit' from a volunteer in our area.

We passed.

We bring him home this weekend.

We want everything to go as smoothly as possible. We will make sure everything is just right.

But we have a feeling that everything will be just fine.

A second chance.

Who could resist this face?

I want to give a big shout out to the wonderful volunteers who spend countless hours rehabilitating these amazing rescued dogs.

Not only do they have to deal with many, many behaviour issues, but they do so with gentle kindness, spending time and money of their own to give an unwanted dog a second chance.

These are Angels walking the Earth.

These dogs would surely end up in a bad place if not for the love and dedication of these wonderful people.

Thank you, thank you for all you do!

Happy Endings for All!

And a new beginning for Champ.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Every year at this time, our little town has a Carnival.

For as long as I have lived here, this little traveling Carnival has arrived like clockwork, to usher in the start of summer.

I can assure you, every piggy bank in town gets emptied out when the Carnival rolls into town.

We have many happy memories of excited children waving from the Ferris Wheel or Merry Go Round. Hubby always won at least one stuffed animal per child at the concession stand. This took quite a few quarters. Rolls, in fact.

Because if one child has a tiger, they all want a tiger. And they want 'different' tigers than their brothers and sisters.

The children would win their own as they got older. I wonder what ever happened to them all? Oh, now I remember, it was our dog, Heidi. She once chewed through a whole collection of stuffed animals in one night. But I am getting off track here. Heidi needs a post all to her own someday.

Mother's of little ones especially like these small town Carnivals. Gentle little whales go round and round. Climb inside a strawberry and twirl and dip. Take a colorful hot air balloon ride rising and falling in the lazy Summer air.

Not only is this little Carnival bright and colorful, but the air is scented with the most delicious things. Hot Buttered Popcorn, Cotton Candy, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Fries. Cheesy, Gooey Nachos, Lemonade and Ice Cream.

The Carnival is such a happy place, filled with children's laughter and shrieks of joy, delightful and delicious scents, and bright, cheerful colors.

I hope your Summer is as happy as a Carnival!

Meet you at the Ferris Wheel!


Thursday, June 21, 2012


Come along with me upstairs to my sewing room, I have some alterations to do.
Daughter J has some sweet little tops that don't quite fit. They need a little pin and tuck.

Please, have a seat while I sew a few seams.
This little room was once a bedroom for my two daughters. It is very pink and girlie. It has two large windows that bring in lots of light.

I love this room, not only because my precious girls grew up here, but also because it is my little get-away.

I love to come up here on rainy days and sew the day away.

Getting away to sew doesn't happen as often as I would like. I have to plan ahead. Life gets in the way. But when I do have the afternoon free, it is pure bliss.

I learned to use a sewing machine in school 'Home Economics' in 7th grade. But I had been hand sewing already for years. By the time I was using a sewing machine, I had already made pillows, stuffed animals, and repaired clothing.

But in 8th grade, I sewed myself something to wear. This was a revelation! I could actually sew something well enough to wear! I made the prettiest little ensemble. (I was convinced in my Junior High Mind) It had a cross over top with ties, and flowy pants. I have a picture of myself wearing it. It was pale green cotton and I was very tan and I wore it to the party where I met Hubby. (See 'Our Life Together' in the Archives) (It was the summer before 9th grade) It was my lucky outfit.

I was so proud of myself for sewing it, that I wore that pant suit all summer! O.k., it's a little ill fitted. Um, check out the beaded curtain. It was the Hippie generation, don't forget! (There's some damage to the photo, I don't really have on strange looking bracelets!)

This was me the summer I met Hubby. Little did I know that one day I would sit down at something called a computer and post this picture on my blog, over 30 years later. Still with the same guy. And many adventures and 4 grown children later.

With that green pant suit success behind me I was ready to take on the sewing world! Lol! So when I chose my courses in High School, naturally I chose a full credit course in Sewing! For two years I sewed daily for l hour, instructed by the most talented and creative sewing instructor. We sewed dresses, and slacks, blouses and housewares, pajamas and tailored jackets. I learned to match plaids, cut on the bias, and sew a French Seam. I was in heaven.

When that course ended, I took Cooking classes. Another two years of learning to bake bread, make a souffle', whip up a holiday dinner for 12, complete with home-made biscuits. Everything we cooked, we gave away to the teacher's lounge. Naturally, we were the most popular class in High School. The Principal regularly stopped in, not to make sure the class was behaving, but to sample the treats!

My life of domestic bliss in training.

And now after years of sewing at the kitchen table, I now have my very own sewing room. This room with it's echos of little girl giggles, sleep-overs, stuffed animals and Barbie Dolls. A few little keepsakes were left behind. The Victorian paintings of charming domestic life. The Frilly lamps and flowery boxes.

Saved for the next generation to inhabit these rooms. The future granddaughters and grandsons (across the hall) that come for sleepovers at Gram and Pap's.

I have sewn prom dresses, bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, tiny baby nightgowns and bonnets, curtains and slipcovers for neglected windows and furniture, quilts and wall hangings, dolls, teddy bears, duvet covers.

Many hours spent in solitary domesticity, with the humming of the sewing machine long into the wee hours.

Lately I haven't felt much like sewing. This recent past has been sad with losing my Mother and with my Father having Alzheimer's. My creativity has been slow to return. But I am doing a little at a time. My children may not need prom dresses or badges sewn on cub scout uniforms. But they still make me feel like they need me by bringing me their alterations.

And while I sit and sew,  I have time to daydream and appreciate all that I have. In the quiet, cheerful room with the brightly lit windows and the sweet memories, not only do I alter my daughter's clothing, but I give my outlook some alterations in the meantime. I have this precious time to reflect and plan, reminisce and dream.

Life flies by at the speed of light. It's wonderful to take this time to surround myself with the things I love, using my talent to come full circle, all these years later. Something I only dreamed about, back  when I dreamed all of this up. Back in sewing class when I daydreamed about wearing the green pant suit as I sewed.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mt. Rainier

Full Moon Rising over Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style

I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Here, the horizon is dominated by Mount Rainier, a 14,410 ft. active volcano.

Because we are at 1200 ft. elevation, our view of 'The Mountain', as it is known here, is partially blocked by higher hills. From down in the valley, as the Puget Sound Region is known, you can see the full height and breadth of Mount Rainier. It is quite majestic.

Sunrise on Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Every day brings a different view of this amazing peak. This photo was taken at sunrise in late fall. You can see the foothills have snow from an early dusting.
We face South East, so we have amazing sunrises. We can't see the Sunsets, but we can see 'The Mountain' turn pink from the setting sun.
Setting Sun Reflected on Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Mount Rainier is a relatively young volcano, only about 500,000 years old. By contrast the mountains of the Cascade Range that Mount Rainier looks down upon are at least 12 million years old!
Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano and the fifth highest peak in the contiguous United States. Geologists consider this mountain to be an 'episodically active' volcano, meaning one that will erupt again some time in the future, even though it may be quiet now.
The last estimated eruption was between 1820 and 1894.
Thunder Cloud over Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
There are over 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow cover on Mount Rainier. Of all the glaciers in the contiguous U.S., Mount Rainier's Emmons Glacier has the largest surface area (4.3 square miles), Carbon Glacier is the longest (5.7 miles), the thickest (700 feet) and has the lowest terminus elevation (3,500 feet) in the contiguous U.S.
Atmospheric Clouds Covering Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
This Volcano is considered a very dangerous volcano. Not only for a possible eruption, but because of the danger of catastrophic Lahar's. A Lahar is a large mud flow, with the consistency of concrete, generated by glacial failure and rock falls.
A new state report released recently finds that a catastrophic mud flow from Mount Rainier could cause $13 billion in property destruction, not to mention potential loss of life. Mount Rainier has 6 major drainages where this could occur. The most destructive Lahar would be in the Puyallup River Valley which is heavily populated. Major Lahar's occur on Mount Rainier every 500-1,000 years. The last one to reach the lowlands was the Electron Mudflow which happened 500 years ago. It was caused by a slope failure on the west flank of Mount Rainier and not by an eruption.
Cap of Swirling Clouds Captured by Mount Rainier
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
Pierce County Emergency Management operates 17 outdoor lahar sirens in the Puyallup River Valley that are tested monthly. There are nine other lahar sirens operated by the cities of Puyallup, Fife and Orting.
In the event of a lahar, acoustic flow monitors on Mount Rainier would trigger a warning system that includes the 17 sirens and Pierce County Alert, an automated phone notification system.
The estimated time for escape would be less than 40 minutes, depending on where you lived. There are signs along main arterials directing you to higher ground.
There are estimates that a lahar could leave 40 feet of mud (and trees and boulders) behind in the city of Orting.
Lucky for Hubby and I, we live on higher ground. That's not to say we could ever get out without a helicopter lift if the Mountain decides to erupt.
But at least I would have great pictures!
Mount Rainier forms it's own weather systems. Reticular clouds spin off from the swirling weather around the mountain.
Beatrice Euphemie Vintage Cottage Style
And so every day we live with the terrible knowledge that this is a sleeping volcano, capable of great destruction.
But with all things in life, there are trade-offs and risks.
Living in the shadow of this amazing Mountain is an adventure of ever changing vistas, uncertainty and incredible beauty.
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