Monday, September 17, 2018

Summer Memories

Hello, Dear Friends, I have missed you! 

I am back from my busy summer vacation! 
I have many lovely memories and I enjoyed 
every one, but time seems to be hurrying along
without me and I am perpetually lagging behind. 

I've decided that lagging behind is really not all that bad. 
It's actually a nice vantage point. You get to watch all 
the activity for a little while longer. 

I am not one to race ahead. I like to savor my time, 
enjoying it in the moment and then thinking 
about things later. 

That way, I get to enjoy it twice. 

Anyway, that's my excuse...... :)

So, while I ponder all those sweet summer moments, 
I'll share a few with you here. 

We all know that life is not always sweet, and we must
deal with many bitter challenges, but it is always 
worth seeking those special moments that lift us up, 
to hold highest in our thoughts, to help carry us 
through those difficult times. 


Summer, here in the foothills of western Washington State
was very dry and unusually hot. Forest fires raged above us 
in British Columbia, Canada, below us in northern California 
and Oregon, and beside us in the mountains to the east. 

We were shrouded in perpetual smoke at times, especially when 
the air was hot and still. We were, at one time, listed as having the worst 
air quality in the world. 

My goodness. 

I certainly cannot complain because there was loss of life, homes, 
livelihood, and many millions of acres of wild lands. 
My heart breaks for all who have lost so much 
and I am also in awe of all the brave men and woman 
who put their lives on the line during disasters and crises. 

They are the true heroes of this world. 

On clear and cooler days, we worked on repairing 
and painting the deck. 

My little grandson sits on the antique baby crib/bench
that I found at a flea-market, before painting and 
adding new cushions.

It was so heavy that it sat in the driveway for weeks 
before my son's helped carry it up onto the deck 
during a family visit. 

It clearly needed some love.....

Here are the results. 
I used outdoor fabric from Here to make the cushions 
and mattress cover. 

They even have zippers so that I can remove them for washing.
(I'm pretty proud of myself :) 
I've never sewn with outdoor fabric, but it went well, 
even with my very basic, 25 year old Kenmore sewing machine. 

Here is the finished deck. 

I was very glad to get that project done! 
Ever since, my knees have not been the same. 

Meanwhile, we celebrated the wedding of my daughter, Jennie
and her beloved, Steve. 
It was a beautiful day, and I will share more in a separate post. 

Ramblin' Man's brother, wife, their daughter, son-in-law, 
and precious little one, flew all the way 
out from New England to attend. 

It was the first time we met this little angel, 
who is my grand-niece. 
She was not feeling well here. 
Poor little thing had to visit the emergency room 
for a double ear infection while visiting. 
I am happy to report she recovered quickly 
with no lasting effects. 

The family keeps growing......

In between, we enjoyed all that summer had to offer. 

Including the grandchildren. 


And then we went to Italy.  

We have been home just a week, and I am still trying 
to process how amazing it all was. 

All of my dreams take place in Italy, now! 

The trip was in celebration of my son's 40th birthday. 
He and his sweet wife, Erica arranged the whole thing.....
I can't convey my gratitude. 
And the immense pride I feel towards my son. 
He has lived his life with integrity, honor, 
compassion, accomplishment, and generosity. 

But I will leave Italy for another time, as I have 
much to catch up on. 

I look forward to catching up with all of you! 


Friday, July 6, 2018

Taking a Break

Hello, Dear Friends, Life is catching up to me 
and I need to take a break. 

My summer will be full with grand-babies, 
a wedding, a trip to Italy, 
and ongoing home improvements in between. 

My blog has also had some problems with link-ups, 
updates and other issues that need to be addressed. 

So, I want to wish you a lovely summer, full of sweet 
and simple days that bring beautiful
 memories down the winding road of life. 
  I will see you in the Fall (my favorite season),
when life slows down a bit. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Patriotic Musings

Happy Independence Day, my dear family and friends! 

I have put a few patriotic touches in my 'kitschy kitchen'
in honor of the 4th. 

Just a few little flags..........

The kitchen is already proudly wearing her red, white and blue! 

I didn't really plan it that way, but it's working for me! :)

It has been a very cool and damp start to summer, 
 so I thought the bright colors would perk things up. 

I took down the 'Siesta Fiesta' theme, 
and now I am enjoying an 'Indoor Picnic' sort of vibe. 
The colors are so patriotic. 
I've had this painting for quite some time, 
but didn't have a place for it. 

It was very bright.......

I had almost forgotten that I had it! 

All of these things were 'orphans'; 
things I had brought home because I liked them, 
but didn't know how to use them. 

Now they are all happy together! 

The bright crochet doily belonged to my dear Mom-in-law
and created by a special friend of hers. 

You can see how bright the painting is. 

It was painted by this elegant hand.....

I found it at a flea-market
and almost passed it by. 

All the bright color makes everything so cheerful!


My Patriotic display. 

I like to find any excuse to use the 
wonderful photo holder :)

I have used it for recipes, vintage post-cards and 
it's great for family photos at birthday celebrations, too.

Scrapbook paper postcards. 

A sweet hand-made card from a dear friend. 

I haven't had a chance to do much patriotic decorating
this year, although I am very Patriotic.

My Father, Ramblin' Man's Father, 
and many, many family members have served 
in our Armed Forces, fighting for freedom.

The maternal side of my Father's family
 came to this country in the 16th century
from England during the time of the Pilgrims. 
There is a small section of Plymouth, Massachusetts, 
 named after these ancestors. 

The paternal side came from Scotland, also in the 16th 
century, and settled in Salem, Massachusetts. 
There might be a witch or two in my lineage! 

My Mother's and Ramblin' Man's Father's family 
came to this country during 
the Irish potato famine in the 1850's
and settled in South Boston. 
They were from the same county in Ireland. 
Sometimes we joke that we are distant cousins. 

Ramblin' Man's Grandmother was a Swiss orphan
who came to this country at 16 after WWI
 and had to work very hard 
for her living, as did all of our ancestor's.  

I would love to thank all of my ancestor's 
who fled chaos, poverty and tyranny 
to give themselves and their children's 
  children a chance at a better life. 

I'm sure life was not much better for them, in many ways, 
than what they left behind, 
but it is the divine spirit that moves 
our hearts and compels our souls to seek 
and defend liberty and freedom, if not 
for ourselves, but for those we leave behind. 

We usually stay home for the holiday 
because of our two dogs. 

They are big sissies. Oh, did I say that out loud?

Here comes Kai. 

I am having fun using all 
of my red, white and blue dishes, 

A light lunch. 

Fresh blueberries and cottage cheese. 

I found these sweet berry strainers last fall in the 
'end of season' sale at my local department store. 
I couldn't wait until berry season to use them. 

I have a strawberry dish, too. 

It's just me, myself and I, so I can sneak as many blueberries
as I want! :)

I found this wonderful book at Barnes and Nobles 
recently. It is full of patriotic quotes and interesting facts 
from our Founding Fathers. 

Here are a few gems......

"I would define Liberty to be a power
 to do as we would be done by" 
-John Adams- 
To J.H. Tiffany, March 31, 1819

"Liberty cannot be preserved without
 general knowledge among people"
-John Adams-
Dissertation on The Canon and Feudal Law, 1765

"Those who abuse Liberty
 when they possess it 
would abuse power 
could they obtain it"
-Thomas Paine-
To the Citizens of The United States, 1802

"Liberty is the power to do everything that does not interfere
 with the rights of others: Thus, the exercise
 of the natural rights of every individual 
has no limits save those that assure 
to other members of society 
the enjoyment of the same rights" 
-Thomas Paine-
Plan of Declaration of Rights, 1792

"Guard against the postures of pretended patriotism"
-George Washington-
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796


Happy Independence Day! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Days

The Grosbeak's are back and have been serenading 
us every evening. 

They have the most beautiful song.......
It is long and complicated with a lovely warble at the end. 
They answer each other with distant echoes,
all through the forest as the sun sets. 

On cloudy days, the sun sets golden on the hills;
sometimes the only sunshine we might see all day. 

A full moon prolongs the light show, 
that lasts well into the 10:00 hour 
here in the Pacific Northwest. 

It's only in summer that the sunset reaches 
beyond the hill that blocks the light 
for most of the year. 

Wildflowers are blooming and berries are ripening. 

Life is good for the wild things. 
A time of abundance and ease to store up 
for the winter. 

The roses and sweet William are having their day, 
causing us to linger to catch a scent, or admire a new bloom
 on our quiet evening strolls with the dogs.  

Even the succulents are blooming, 
creating their own fireworks 
for the upcoming Independence Day celebrations. 

I love these long summer days when I can linger 
over chores - taking my time in the bright early mornings
and late afternoons. 

I find time to notice little things, 
like the intricate lace and wonderful label 
as I hand-wash a new blouse. 

Or the amazing luminescence of a moth on the deck
as I work to prep the surface for painting. 

From this.......

To this. 

One board at a time. 

The weather has not been cooperative for painting, 
so I have focused on scraping and scrubbing
while I wait for the sun. 

An umbrella keeps me cool and dry. 

I've been trying to cook healthier 
and I've discovered a delicious and easy
way to make Spanish rice for summer meals. 

Oven Spanish Rice

Preheat oven 375 degrees

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups boiling water
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, Mexican style
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped green pepper

Mix all ingredients in an ungreased casserole. 
Cover and cook 45 minutes, 
stirring occasionally. 

So good with tacos! 

It reheats nicely, too. 

So while I wait for sunnier skies to complete my work, 

I'll just enjoy these long summer days, 
storing them up for winter. 


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