Close to my heart

Tonight I came home from work to a new catalog on the kitchen counter. The scarf on the cover made me think of Jen on the Edge with its ROY G BIV colorblock design, so I opened it up and perused the contents (the catalog, not the scarf).

I like to look through catalogs that have current styles, not because I’m following fashion trends in clothing but because it gives me new jewelry-making ideas. (Not that I have time right now to be designing jewelry, but that’s another blog post.)

So… where was I? Oh, yes — perusing through a new catalog…

After making note of a necklace design I might want to attempt on my own, I came across this heart pendant:

Ash Holder Pendant
Sterling silver 1 1/4″ twist-top pendant holds a small quantity of cremated ashes (or dried flowers, or a lock of hair). The front is engraved with “Always in my heart.” Arrives with a funnel spoon and message card printed with inspirational verses from Scripture.

I’m curious… would you wear a pendant with a loved-one’s ashes?

The easy access of the Internet

A friend sent me the following in an e-mail today:

One of the most wonderful things about the digitization of almost anything and the Internet is the ability to share with the world incredible materials that were once confined to only the eyes of those who possessed them.

Testing football helmets in 1912.

historical photos

The Titanic in dry dock, 1912

historical photos

Carl Akeley posed with the leopard he killed with his bare hands after it attacked him, 1896.

historical photos

The smallest shop in London – a shoe salesman with a 1.2 square metre shoe store, 1900.

historical photos

A beggar running alongside King George V’s coach. England, circa 1920.

historical photos

Allied soldiers mock Hitler atop his balcony at the Reich Chancellery, by Fred Ramage, 1945.

historical photos

An aerial view of the WWI Loos-Hulluch trench system in France.  July 22, 1917.
British trenches are situated on the left of the photo, and German trenches on the right – in the middle of the two is no man’s land. 

historical photos

A man trying to sell his car after losing all in the Great Crash of 1929.

historical photos

Wedding rings from WW II concentration camps.
Each pair of rings represents a family, a marriage, a couple. 1945

historical photos

Leonard Siffleet, captured Australian commando who fought in WWII, moments prior to being beheaded by a member of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 1943

historical photos

Iranian woman in the era before the Islamic revolution by Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran , 1960.

historical photos

A shot from atop Pittsburgh ’s Cathedral of Learning during game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

The Pirates defeated the Yankees with a walk off home run by Bill Mazeroski.

Photo was taken moments after the home run.

historical photos

The Muffin man in 1910 London.

historical photos

Animal Tamer Captain Jack Bonavita sitting down with some of his cats, circa 1870.

historical photos

1865: Hanging hooded bodies of the four Lincoln assassination conspirators.

historical photos

The morning after a long night awaiting a Viet Cong ambush that never came

40 miles East of Saigon, Vietnam, 1965.

historical photos

A man having his nose measured during Aryan race determination tests, 1940.

historical photos

Loggers in California with the felled giant ‘Mark Twain redwood’, 1892.

historical photos

The last Jew in Vinnitsa, 1941.

historical photos

US Government mockups of how Hitler could have disguised himself.

historical photos

NASA before Powerpoint

historical photos

The end of WWII is celebrated in Moscow’s Red Square. May 9, 1945.

historical photos

What thoughts and feelings do the above photographs and descriptions evoke in you?

V is for…

Count your blessings, name them one by one…


I’m using Thursday posts to focus on thankfulness — and instead of counting blessings, I’m challenging myself to come up with them alphabetically.  (You can find the rest of the posts in this series here.)

I’m barely getting this one in “under the wire” — at the 11th hour and then some! — but here it is…

Welcome to week!


V is for Vacation.  Oh, yes, I am thankful for vacations. Aren’t you?

Montana vacation destination

Montana vacation destination

DSCN2335I hadn’t planned to be absent from blogging, but as cliché  as it seems, I’ve been really busy. Work comes to mind as the biggest consumer of the time I formerly referred to as “free time.”  I’m still wrapping my brain around the fact that I have a regular job after 22 years as a SAHM. Admittedly, some of my time has been spent doing fun things with different groups of ladies:  a scrapbooking day (10 hours of nearly non-stop work on my Europe album), a beading & card-making weekend, a women’s retreat with some ladies from church at a beautifully remote and scenic spot in Montana,  and a fabulous weekend of sewing and quilting.  That all represents 4 out of the past 5 weekends. I know I am blessed. This is a great season in my life!

Morning in Montana Oct. 20, 2013

Morning in Montana
Oct. 20, 2013

Then there was the weekend of  mysterious illness (possibly exhaustion) over the only two days I had nothing scheduled on the calendar. I had planned to catch up on blogging (reading & writing); instead, I napped for much of those two days and slept like a log at night. (Do logs sleep? Let’s just pretend that they do.)  

This weekend I am venturing off to yet another vacation spot: visiting my dad in Arizona.  It won’t be all fun-and-games — I’m going alone and he is in an assisted living facility. As I wrote in September, this trip is about seeing him again before his health declines even more.  I am thankful for the addition of my small income from work that allows me to go for a visit.

V is also for Veteran.  This coming Monday is Veterans’ Day here in the United States. My younger brother is a Marine veteran of the Gulf War. He has taught his sons great respect for other veterans and I’m sure they will be doing something of service on that day. I am thankful for the many sacrifices that our veterans have made. We owe them much more than we will ever know.

What are you thankful for this week? 

My Town Monday: Hail to the Chief

DSCN0269 Chief Spokane Garry monumentIt’s a blustery day here and the wind chill is hovering near the freezing point.  If not for the sunshine and fresh air, I would have stayed inside.

Today I walked over to the monument erected in honor of Chief Spokane Garry.  This is believed to be very near the site where he held the first school in 1830. The monument reads that the building itself was 50 feet by 20 feet, constructed of pine poles and covered with with a roof made from mats of dried grasses woven together by the native women.  But the chief’s story begins earlier than 1830. It is believed that he was born in 1813; in 1825 (at approximately the age of 12 years) he was taken* by Sir George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Red River Missionary School near Winnipeg, Canada, where he was educated. Chief Spokane Garry was teacher and missionary to his people for sixty years.

* I don’t know if he was taken by force or by request. Sometimes I wonder…

click on pic to "embiggen"

click on pic to “embiggen”

The land near this site is considered by some to be an historical site. Those 12-14 acres are held in conservation and have been marked by the city as an undeveloped park since 1950. Some of the tribes send a crew twice a year to clean up windfall and work on the trails.

There is loud construction a few blocks away. Heavy machinery is chewing through solid rock. A developer is following through with long-term plans to build housing on the edge of a hill and in what we had thought was part of “our” park.  The large boulders that I had thought were there to keep out motor vehicles were really there to mark the boundaries between privately owned land (developer) and the city-owned park.  Since this particular park is one that was such a draw to purchasing our house, I am feeling downhearted about the development of the private land. The neighborhood banded together years ago to stop the developer from putting in a larger number of condominiums, but it was always his land to develop. I’m sure the new tenants will enjoy the park, too, but it will feel smaller to the rest of us. I am sad to see the loss of what I had originally believed to be undeveloped park-land in conservation.

I love to walk in the wilderness right here in the city — now there is a little bit less to enjoy. The wetlands in springtime will still be there but houses and people will be that much closer, and something inside of me fears pesticide and fertilizer contamination. Call me a pessimist.

I wonder what Chief Spokane Garry would think and say?

You can read/see more about this little park here, here, and here.

TWT: Summer Wedding

I was going through a few more of the old photos that my mom had stashed away and came across this one. At first I thought it was my sister standing in my grandparents backyard in Montana in the early ’70s and not me at all, but the date on the back of the photo finally cleared up the confusion.

RSCN2260 TWT July 1974 CaliLA wedding

July 1974.  Ah, that would explain the bows on the trellis! This was taken at my uncle’s wedding in Southern California. My dress is a little cattywampus on the shoulders because we had spent quite a few hours in the motel pool the day before and my siblings and I each had pretty bad sunburns. (Pacific Northwest kids were unfamiliar with the SoCal sunshine.)  Mom had sprayed us all with Solarcaine and got us dressed for the wedding, which was held in my uncle’s backyard.


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: milestones

This week contains a few major milestones for our family.

Almost ready to walk and so proud of himself!

Almost ready to walk and so proud of himself!  EB took his first steps on his father’s 30th birthday.

On Wednesday, Encyclopedia Blue turns 21.

Scrapbook pics, Dad & EB in hospital

On Saturday, SuperDad hits the half-century mark.

EB and SuperDad play in the snow on Mt. Rainier, early 1994

EB and SuperDad play in the snow on Mt. Rainier, early April 1994

EB lets me know it's time to go for a run, long before he becomes a barefooter  [click on pic to embiggen]

EB lets me know it’s time to go for a run, long before he becomes a barefooter
[click on pic to embiggen]

Time marches on…


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: Family… and what’s in a name?

When my oldest son was born and joined the extended family, he was the first grandchild on my side of the extended family but the fifth grandchild — and fourth grandson — on my husband’s side of the family.

Cousins with baby MM and SuperDad

He was also the first grandchild who would carry on the family name.

4 generations

SuperDad holding baby MM, Great-Uncle,  Great-Grandma, and Grandpa — all with the same last name

That baby in the picture above is currently a senior in college, earning a degree in Chemical Engineering.  He has 3 younger brothers to help “carry on the family name.” (When I was 10 months pregnant with the last one, my sweet MIL suggested that we could stop now!! — which made me briefly consider having a fifth child. Very briefly. Because that 4th baby boy weighed nine-and-a-half pounds!)


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: More Cousins

MM with cousins

These cutie-patooties came to visit after MM was born. This picture is one of the few times he wasn’t wearing one of their hand-me-downs. The boy on the left was once the 2yo who stuck his finger in our wedding cake… he is now the responsible father of three. The boy on the right still smiles like that and has an adorable daughter. The girl holding MM now has two sweet girls of her own who look just like their mama.


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: Take me back to Texas

In blogging terms, I am incredible far behind this summer: there are currently 171 unread posts in my feed reader.  Those of you who are prolific posters, I haven’t forgotten about you; I’m merely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of posts I haven’t read.  And work. The last time I had a regular job was in 1990 — long before Al Gore invented the internet, and also before I had children.

Thankfully, my bff e-mailed me this picture over the weekend:


K2 in Texas, 1998

We left Germany in January of 1998 and spent the next 4 weeks visiting relatives, some of whom we hadn’t seen in 3 years.  By the time we arrived in Texas, our minivan was almost done crossing the Atlantic Ocean, but the Army doesn’t just deliver your car to you at your new duty station — we had to meet it in Dallas/Ft. Worth and drive it back to El Paso ourselves. (Hey, at least we didn’t have to go to Houston!) SuperDad’s younger sister and her husband were living in North Texas at the time and my bff, KCINNOTX, was also in the same vicinity, so we were met at the airport by two women who had briefly met 10 years before at our wedding. We divided up the kids, ourselves, and our luggage and piled our family of 5 (complete with 3 carseats) into two small vehicles.

In a way, it is appropriate to share this picture now, as my youngest son (not yet a gleam in anyone’s eye back in February or March of 1998) is spending 2 weeks with the aunt who met us at that airport in Dallas, and I’ve been busy convincing KCINNOTX (my kids’ honorary aunt) to move to Spokalulu ASAP. Our husbands, who have never met one another, are secret twins; we’re pretty sure they’d get along famously if only those two introverts would take the time to meet and talk.

Also, I loved that denim jumper. I can guarantee you I was wearing thick socks with my Birkenstock sandals, too.


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.

TWT: Cousins

These two pictures never fail to make me laugh…


MM’s slightly older and larger cousin didn’t like sharing his toys with MM when we came to visit.

No babies were harmed in the filming of this incident.


Time Warp Tuesday is brought to you by Jenn at Juggling Life. Visit here to see the other participants and their photos.