The Sun Sets


SuperDad and I went camping at Glacier National Park in August. On day 2, we managed to head west on the Going-to-the-Sun road at the perfect time.

DSCN6401 websized

Today is my last day of work.  I will miss many things about the job but it is time to make more room in my life for family and other activities.  Two weeks from now my dh and I will be traveling to Arizona to visit my dad and his wife — both of whom have been hospitalized in the past month.  As full as our house is right now with 3 adult children living with us, their presence allows us to go on this trip without worries about things back at home.  SuperDad and I will [tent] camp a few nights on the way down to Tucson. If the perfect trailer presents itself while there, we may be camping all the way back home.

As September ends I’m letting go of a part of my life (I enjoyed the work, and paychecks are very satisfying!) and saying YES to more sunsets, more camping, more time with family.



News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

Little Foot at wedding

Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  



We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

PCT-ready, 9 July 2017 WEBSZED

This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…


Waiting for Warm-up


When you choose to not drive…


and leave your car at the side of the road,



the snowplow will eventually come by…


to ensure that you go nowhere.


Joining in with Carmi for this week’s Thematic Photographic: messy.
The driving around here is particularly messy now that we’ve started to thaw during the day and ice back up at night.

Glass in the Garden

My dad chose to retire far from family and is now in an Assisted Living home. I’m visiting him in Arizona this weekend, something I do twice a year. One of the things we do together is look at photos on my laptop computer. He gets to travel vicariously through my pictures and today you do, too.

The Seattle Space Needle reflected in a gazing ball outdoors in the Chihuly Glass Garden.

Back in August, SuperDad and I met up with son#3 in Seattle for a day of playing tourist. Visiting Chihuly Garden and Glass had been on my wishlist for a long time and I love the pictures I was able to take there.


reflections from Dale Chihuly’s basket phase

These beautiful glass sculptures are the artwork of Dale Chihuly. As such, I cannot use the photographs I have taken and sell them on cards at the farmers’ market.


This glass sculpture rests on a reflective surface and brings to mind a fountain from the sea.


Close-up of the “sea fountain” sculpture

I’ve got over 250 photographs from my time at Chihuly Garden and Glass. Not all of them are great, but I’ll attempt to do a better job of sharing the best of them with you. If I can’t sell them, at least I can share the beauty, right?

How do you decide what to share and what to keep to yourself? Are there any rules you wish you could break? 


It could be worse…

DSCN2529  Bruised toes, and this is my GOOD foot!Was it just 2 weeks ago I was nursing sore toes on my right foot? Apparently my left foot was jealous because in my sleep I somehow managed to jam or pull or otherwise bruise/sprain the littlest toe on my left foot (my FULF as Barb so succinctly puts it) prior to waking up on Wednesday morning. It’s too ugly to show you a picture, but I can assure you it’s really purple and coordinates nicely with my purple nail polish. (Maybe I do need to take a picture?)  And yes, it hurts.
It’s all adding insult to injury since I’ve also been having additional ankle pain — this time on my outer left ankle. The current suspicion is that the hardware on that side (one long plate, 6 screws) is somehow irritating the more natural parts of me.

I did manage to get out and about last weekend, putting at least 800 miles on the minivan (124,000 and counting) all by myself. My ankle truly hates me for all of that driving. (I’ve been hating my ankle lately, so the feeling is mutual)  On Friday I drove to Seattle for a quick visit with H-J. I got to see the lab where he is working this summer and I took him out to dinner at Ivar’s on Lake Union. It was one of those nights that makes a person love Seattle even if it is crowded: so many boats out on the lake full of happy people, beautiful weather, drawbridges allowing passage for the larger boats, evening glow on the buildings downtown.  After dropping my university student off at his place (college students, please don’t leave your dirty dishes in your room… science experiments belong in the laboratory!) I drove to my friend Annie’s house for 2 nights to celebrate her 50th birthday and recent home purchase.  This was the most relaxing part of the weekend, with little to do but a bit of cleaning, cutting up vegetables, drinking wine, and chatting with old friends while elevating my FULF. 

Is it wrong to high-five friends over mutually crummy injuries? We must be getting old. Next we’ll be talking about fiber supplements! Oh, wait…

Sleeping baby on my chest while mama gets allergy testing

Slightly feverish baby sleeping on my chest. I love him so much!

Sunday morning I slept in a bit, then packed up and drove back across the state, but not home — instead I drove to spend 2 nights with The Author and Little Foot. No new pictures because Mama was getting allergy testing done on Monday morning, baby was feverish and couldn’t go to daycare, and Daddy was out of town at a conference in another state. LF’s other grandma was able to come on Monday afternoon and stay for the week, so she’s still there now. It’s no fun to have a sick baby but the timing is great. The Author works for the university and it would be difficult to take time off right now as they are gearing up for fall courses.

cobalt blue lanyard

My blue lanyard: made it to sell, loved it too much and kept it

Tuesday morning I dropped my DIL off at work (hello, $15 per day parking? No, thank you!) and drove 90 minutes back home straight to work for me, too — only to discover I had left my lanyard with work keys at home. SuperDad to the rescue! He brought my work keys and my lunch to me. I was very grateful. He also went to the store and purchased several gallons of ice cream for the neighborhood block watch party held in our driveway that evening. I had enough time between the end of my work day and the start of the party to ice and elevate for 45 minutes on my bed. My ankle hates me and was badly swollen all day.

I’ve made an appointment (first one I could get, at the earliest time available) for August 18th. I’m hoping for some answers as to why I’m having “new” pain 8 months after surgery. By the time I see my PCM, it will be more than 9 months since injury. Did I mention that my ankle hates me?

Road weary

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been on the road a lot. At the beginning of the month, we put another 3,000 miles on the minivan to visit my dad in Arizona, and this past weekend I spent 730 miles (12 hours) road-tripping to and from a women’s retreat with members of the family on my husband’s side of the proverbial tree.

family at Menucha from JJK

All but two of the adult women on that side of the family. I’m the amazonian of the group.

Those were both good trips in regard to travel, natural beauty, and time spent with family. Tonight, however, I’m feeling a bit weary so it gladdens my heart to gaze at pictures of this beautiful boy whom I saw over a week ago.

This boy, these curls, webshare

I was a lucky grandma one week ago (Saturday) to spend a few precious hours babysitting him.

reading with K webshare


Ten on Tuesday: solo travel edition

DSCN1449 web-sized palm tree, Tucson, Arizona

  1. I’m back from a weekend visit with my dad in Arizona.
  2. As nice as 85 degrees feels in late October, especially when I’m looking up at palm leaves ruffling in the breeze, I’m glad to return to wearing sweaters.
  3. Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is not appropriately air-conditioned — especially for this middle-aged woman. The only time I felt cool enough was when I was standing in front of a giant fan while I was being patted down for security.
  4. Note to future self: do not wear cute tops with bling on them when flying, or you will have to be patted down/around/over/under in front… and in front of many people. (This happened flying both directions because those were the shirts I had brought for the trip.)
  5. Arizona drivers are capital C, capital R, capital A, capital Z, capital Y. That’s right: C-R-A-Z-Y. And I’m not talking about the old, retired folks!  Speeding from red light to red light, weaving around those [very few] of us who are obeying the laws, taking tailgating to a higher level… with all of that going on around me, I had no trouble staying awake while driving. Fear for my safety kept me alert and defensive.
  6. Kia Soul is a great car for a 5’10” woman. It also handles really well on Rollercoaster Road in Tucson. However, I never did figure out how to adjust the balance/fade for the speakers. (What’s with that? Those controls are obvious and intuitive on my Kia Sedona.) 
  7. When playing “Go Fish” with Dad, who has Parkinson’s, it’s best to look away while he rifles through his cards and to pretend that he has never played the game in his entire life. (He has, but he doesn’t remember it and it would be sad to remind him of this.)
  8. Happy hour at the hotel isn’t much fun when I’m alone, although I’m not sure if this is because I’m not there for fun or because I don’t have a friend/spouse with me — or is it because I am getting old? I only had one of my two free beverages each night.  Eating alone is best done with a book, but if it wasn’t for the need for nutrition, I would probably skip the entire event.
  9. Sometimes, it’s awfully nice to have a king-sized bed and ALL the pillows. I didn’t wake up with sore arms or sore shoulders or a sore back.
  10. While I need my alone-time on a daily basis, I also need to spend time interacting with other people. After 48 hours of being on my own — and with none of my hobbies available — I found myself becoming rather bored.

Now it’s your turn… 
Do you ever travel alone? Do you enjoy it? 

Ten on Tuesday: Spring Break edition

DSCN1421 Lonely Dell Ranch

1. It’s all about FAMILY. Family in the vehicle on a journey of 2,000 (or was it 3,000?) miles… family at the terminus… family visited along the way.

2.  Did I mention it’s a long drive? Our minivan now has over 107K on the odometer. A few hours of time were put in behind the wheel by the resident teenager driver-in-training (45 minutes of which was 75mph in a strong headwind between Flagstaff and Phoenix, poor kid). EB helped out for an hour or so but he preferred looking at the scenery. I drove a few hours each day but SuperDad put in the bulk of his time in the driver’s seat.

historic minivan

historic minivan

3. If you want to sleep along the way, I can recommend listening to the audiobook of Walden by Henry David Thoreau. The combination of prose and narrator’s voice conked me out multiple times. I had no idea that Thoreau had written a lullaby.

4. Strangely enough, Machiavelli’s The Prince was more engrossing although ultimately it also lulled me to sleep.

5.  If it is an audiobook, do I still underline the title or should I use quotation marks?

6.  For the safety of the passengers when I was driving, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, episodes of “Car Talk” and my Rush Permanent Waves CD were put into play.

7.  The desert in springtime is lovely.

DSCN5653  blooms opening UP at Zion Nat'l Park

8.  The desert is actually quite lovely any time of year.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

9.  My older brother, his lovely wife, and two of their three kids were also visiting in Tucson on spring break. The 8 of us might have been a little overwhelming all at once, but my father and his wife seemed to enjoy having us there.
It’s all about FAMILY.

Clockwise from top left: posing with my dad and the book I made for him, my almost-twin brother with Dad, 4 cousins, me with my sweet SIL, my niece with my stepmother (a.k.a., Grandma), 4 cousins with Grandpa

Clockwise from top left: posing with my dad and the book I made for him, my almost-twin brother with Dad, 4 cousins, me with my sweet SIL, my niece with Grandma, 4 cousins with Grandpa

10.  On the way home from Tucson, we had a brief visit with my sister and an overnight with SuperDad’s younger sister and her family. Our final stop matched our first stop: my dh’s parents live just a couple hours away from us and they kept the dog occupied and content for the week.