Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter Thoughts

Winter lingers under a dim crescent moon
but I can't sleep. 

I rise from the warm quilts and tip toe out to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. 

The cold and damp seeps into my soul while I stand at the window,

waiting for the sunrise and listening for the tea kettle, while the cat, Maggie, snakes around my legs. 

We heard a coyote cry the other night, very close. 
It reminded me that we are just visitors to this wild place we call Earth. 

And most times we are the ungrateful guests. 

With the sun up, it's time for our morning walk. 

No matter how sleepless the night, 
I can't let down these two faithful travelers on the road of life. 

So, I leave the tea-kettle simmering while I slip on my old raincoat with the pocket full of treats. 

And one slimy ball. 

We pass the bench that is a shady oasis in the summer sun - 

now patiently waiting in its moss covered glen.

(some of my gatherings sit on the bench while the slimy ball awaits...) 

We walk by the sleeping garden with its bounty of seed for winter birds. 

We stop by ancient trees with secret stories left untold. 

Kindred spirits with roots firmly planted in the ground, 

But always reaching for the sky. 

Frosty webs, a reminder that all is connected by the web of life. 

We can't begin to know how delicate the balance.

One thing depends upon the other.

 Through infinity. 

Each beam of light sent out eons ago.....

yet with faith that it would reach its final destination. 

A ray of light to warm a small creature, the mighty, ancient tree, 

or a woman's heart on a cold winter morning. 

A flock of crows (or the correct term - the unfortunately labeled - 'murder' of crows)

noisily steals me from my reverie, 

and I turn back towards home. 

I am reminded to be ever mindful of the light I send forth. 

Because I never know its final destination or effect.
But I can choose the quality and know that it always reflects back to me. 

I think of these things as I come back inside, light the warming fire, and pour my morning tea.

It is especially challenging to keep up spirits
 during these dreary, cold winter days and long, long nights. 

I treat myself to the simple pleasures of a few pots of primrose...

The hyacinth bulbs I planted after Thanksgiving are sweetly blooming and scenting the room. 

They help to keep my spirits up. I knew back then that I would need it now. 

There is nothing left to do but stay warm and cozy and keep busy with the necessary tasks of daily life, 

wishing for spring, but knowing we have a while to wait. 

So I bake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies to fill the cookie jar, 

and put on a pot of home-made Chicken Rice Soup.

Is there anything better on a cold, winter day? 

Maybe home-made Irish Brown Bread?

I have made this so often, I barely need to look at the recipe. 

But it is these simple rituals that keep me grounded when Cabin Fever sets in. 

I'll spend my day attending to what needs to be done, 

and then reward myself with a little needlework after dinner. 

I have a simple gift idea for Valentine's Day to show you next time. 


Thank you, Dear Friends for your sweet visits. 

Kindred Spirits on this Winding Road of Life.


"My coat and I live comfortably together. It has assumed all my wrinkles does not hurt me anywhere, has moulded itself on my deformities, and is complacent to all my movements, and I only feel its presence because it keeps me warm. Old coats and old friends are the same thing."

-Victor Hugo-

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Visiting Microsoft, continued...

After leaving 'The Commons' on the Microsoft Campus,

we explore the Microsoft Museum.
Here we enter the lobby under a large globe screen.

This globe screen would be wonderful for a large event or conference.

Images can be seen from all sides.

Screens have come a long way!

The founders of Microsoft.

Look at how young Bill Gates looks! (bottom left)
Microsoft was founded on April 4th, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen (lower right).

Can you see Gabe? - he thinks he is funny :)

I'll bet they never expected Microsoft would one day be
 one of the most valuable companies in the world.

This is one of the reminders of how far the world has come, thanks to Microsoft.

Do any of you remember these?
The first mobile phone!
I'm not too sure how 'mobile' it was, though!

Remember the Dewey Decimal System? No longer, thanks to Microsoft.
Although it makes me a little nostalgic...

The museum had examples of all the devices Microsoft has developed.

In June 2012, Microsoft entered the personal computer production market for the 1st time, with the launch of the Microsoft Surface, a line of tablet computers that Gabe helped develop.

Let's follow Gabe as we check out his office.

Here he is where he spends his days.
He just moved into this office and still has wires and boxes lying around.

Need a good book to read?

 A reminder hanging on the wall.

Products he helped develop.

Patents in his name used for development.

Patents Pending.....

All of this intensity requires plenty of diversion.

Ping Pong tables, gymnasiums,
and stretching out in the many lounges inside and out,
is encouraged for short breaks.

Or shop in the grocery store right in your building!

Creativity and intensive sessions at the computer require a zen-like atmosphere.

Convenience is conducive to keeping zen.

Like every building, this one has its own food court with several types of food offerings.

Of course the coffee machines in the break room are computerized, too! Latte' anyone?

Father and Son help themselves.

As we leave the Microsoft Campus
 and head into the city for a birthday celebration with the rest of the family,
 I reflect on this moment in time.

As a parent, you never know what the future holds.

So much goes into the process of raising a family,

and each child and circumstance is different.

The most we can ask is that our children are happy.

To see that light from within when they speak of their life -

now that is pure happiness for me.

That is the most important thing.

It's all we, as parents can ask for.

If you have a young person in your life who is interested in computers,
Microsoft is a wonderful place to work.

To plan a career at Microsoft, you will need a Computer Science degree or equivalent experience.


"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."

Forest E. Witcraft - American Scholar, Teacher, and Scout Leader - 1894-1967

Monday, January 27, 2014

Visiting Microsoft

Last Friday, we spent the afternoon with my eldest son, Gabe. 

We met at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA where he works as a computer engineer. 

We were greeted with a warm smile. 

It is a rare treat to spend an afternoon with this very busy young husband, 
dedicated employee, and new home owner. 

But he was very happy to set aside time to show us where he spends his days. 

As he took us on a quick drive around the campus he told us some interesting facts. 

Microsoft headquarters initially moved onto these grounds on Feb. 26, 1986, well before the company went public on Mar. 13th. Since then the headquarters has experienced multiple expansions. 

The campus is estimated to encompass over 8 million square feet of office space and 40,000 - 50,000 employees. Additional offices are located in Bellevue and Issaquah with nearly 100,000 employees worldwide. 

Each building is unique in a beautiful park-like setting. 

To see more photos of the most notable buildings on campus, View Here

Large stylized windows let in maximum light. 

The evening sun glows.

Shuttle buses transport employees from building to building. 

Smaller, personal shuttles operate for one or two people. 

Large greenbelts frame the campus.

This one is sporting soccer nets. 

Teams practice for the season after hours. 

Beautiful walkways lead the way to 'The Commons'. 

This is an area of shops, restaurants, hair salons, etc.

There is even a clinic.

We arrived a little after hours,
 when the majority of people had left for the weekend, 
so I had some great photo ops. 

Here one cafe has a retro-modern vibe.

This one is very futuristic.

This is an actual bicycle shop.

Bicycles are the best way to get around campus.

A miniature version of Pike Place Market.

Another retro-modern cafe. 

Each cafe serves a different menu.

On the menu.....

Tables outside overlook the Olympic Mountains off in the distance - 
 on the other side of Puget Sound. 

All drinks in the vending machines are free!

Father and Son share a laugh.

After a bite to eat, we step outside into the clear night air.

It is like stepping into the streets of a small city. 

People were casually walking by in two's and three's.

Or singly and studiously walking deep in thought. 

There was a hushed reverence in this place of world changing industry. 

Young, earnest faces walked by, shouldering lap-tops, dressed in sleek, casual clothes. 

Some of the world's brightest minds. 

A new generation of movers and shakers.


Next time:

We visit the museum and take a peek inside the office.. 


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