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September Skies & Life Notes

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A Good Start

…began at the end of August when I broke with solitude for a wonderful visit with my cousin and his girlfriend. Jimmy, Darcie and I strolled around Westport, had a bite to eat and I gave them the 5-cent debut tour of my almost completed Turtle (homemade wooden mini-camper). It was a joy to share The Secret Garden and send them home with some raspberry plants.

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September kicked off with a little road trip to meet one of my Alaska sisters in the Seattle area for 3 days. There was a lot of laughter and cussing at the map app as Laura and I  navigated around Auburn for 2 days. We managed (without the damn app) to figure out how to take the Sounder train from our airport hotel into Seattle to check out Pike Place Market. It was so good to be with my sis, but we were both a little creeped out about being in such crowded places in the violent climate of our world today. Sad but true. (12 photos)

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Back To Solitude And Some Nature Nurture

The rainy season has begun here on the Washington coast, which means many thick foggy evenings and mornings, but also rainbows!

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The temperatures are between the high 60’s and mid 50’s, hovering only about ten degrees between day and night. (Was 74 on Sunday!) On some days the skies are a solid blanket of light grey from dawn to dusk, horizon to horizon. Other days are bright blue with cool cloud formations that develop into stunning sunrises and sunsets. (12 photos)

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In many of my sunrise and sunset photos there are black dots or clear silhouettes of birds. During spring and summer it was a mix of ducks, geese, pigeons, doves, starlings, sea gulls, eagles, crows and Northern flickers.

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Sunrise, crows & moon

The birds seem to travel on an mapped out skyway. In the morning they fly into Westport along the eastern skyway, and at night they fly out of Westport along the western skyway. So as I step out of my door and look to my right (over The Secret Garden) in the morning, the skyway of birds cross the sunrise. To my left in the evening, they cross in front of the sunset.

By now, in early fall, I’m seeing mostly crows and a few sea gulls. Early morning crow migration from their night time roosts, plays against the background of calm pastels or vibrant oranges, pinks and purples of the rising sun. As the sun begins to set, the crows make their way back to their slumber party among the inland trees.

I can’t help but wonder why they never stop to gaze at nature’s colorful background for their journey. Of course, I wonder the same thing of fellow commuters when I seem to be the only one to pull out of traffic to take in the wonders in the sky.

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Thanks for your patience. Peace out.

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Raging sunrise

 

 


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Alaska Travels: Revving Up and Winding Down

Sunset last night, from my parent's deck, Eagle River, Alaska.  Phall Photos 2014

Sunset last night, from my parent’s deck. Eagle River, Alaska.
Phall Photos 2014

A week from today I’ll be catching a ride home on another big metal bird. Yes, I’m 55 and still amazed that those things can carry us through the sky. Of course, the miracle of electricity still boggles my simple mind too. No, no, don’t try to explain them! I NEED every little miracle I can claim 🙂

Up and Down

So, I’m revving up to wind this visit down. It has been one of my best trips home (I always say this, because the present one IS always the best one!). The lists that mom and I make just grow longer, as my days here grow shorter. Sure, we got a lot done the last 2 months, but man, there’s still so much to do!

And Up and Down Once More

One way or another, I’m heading home on the 29th and am very excited to see my Centralia family; 2 adult children, 5 little grands, cousins, aunt and uncle. There are some special friends I’ve been missing too. And then there is my beach gypsy cave and secret garden awaiting my return to Westport. From social to solitary again. At last. The solitude lures me more every day, no matter the love and joy I receive in the presence of family and friends…

A Traveling Clan

Dad will be flying “home” to Kentucky to see his ailing sisters and brother for a few weeks, on October 1st. Four days after he returns to Alaska, mom will leave to spend the winter in Arizona with my youngest sister and her family. We should own Alaska Airlines by now. The sister that I have had the longest (not allowed to say “oldest sister”) and her husband spend the coldest winter months at their condo in Costa Rica. Some how, some way, I have plans on making it over there this year. A girl can dream 🙂

Swing over to http://phallphotos.wordpress.com/homer-alaska/ to see some slide shows from our trip to Homer, if you have a few minutes. No metal bird needed for this tour!

Traveling On,

Patti


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Alaska: Picture Snippets

Once in awhile the bug hits and I have more than a caption-worth of words for some of my photos. These were taken in the last day or so. Their more like snippets of stories, rather than full blown stories. Hence, the weird title

P1170078I am not a sun worshiper. This umbrella used to block the sun, in addition to the huge one over the table. The chickadees kept flitting past it, so I thought I’d try to snap a photo of their shadows going past. No such luck. However, I did capture a large moth’s shadow.

P1170082 Speaking of moth’s, this one came for a visit at my table. I took some photos, then it simply disappeared! I sat my camera down and as the lens closed the moth jumped off…he had hopped from the table to my camera lens.

P1170089Another visitor, a chickadee, I believe. They come each evening, between 7:30 and 8:00 to gather seeds from the feeder. My folks put all the feeders away when the bears wake up, so as not to attract them to their yard. I risk it all and have one clandestine feeder and one suet tray. Please don’t tell my dad…or the bears.

P1170084When mom and I took Sophie back to my brother’s house, I learned something new. I learned about Larch trees. My brother has a row of them at the front of his property and I went to explore what mushrooms might be growing beneath them (none).  The tree is a deciduous conifer, meaning that it sheds its leaves (needles) in the fall. It has hard, waterproof wood and is often used in building boats. It smells wonderful, but the best thing was the feel of the needles. They are very very soft!

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Here is Sophie…watching the birds, begging me to get off the deck, and trying out all the seats in mom’s car. She really really wanted to come back with us. It took all three of us to get her out and get Cee Cee in.

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On the way home from Michael’s house, I pulled in to take photos of these awesome weeds. That’s when mom told me that her and dad had rented the house we were parked behind, when they moved back to Alaska in the mid-80’s. Weird, I never knew that and we’ve driven by it a million times. Anyway, cool weeds, huh? Fireweed.

P1170109 My parents rented this house in the mid-80's P1170110Last, but not least, a fresh bouquet of mom’s sweet peas for my sister, Michaela (1964-2012). She gets store-bought flowers from dad in the winter and fresh flowers out of the garden from mom in the summer.

P1170092I hope you enjoyed these snippets.

Patti


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Birthdays; Cherished Memories Revisited

Paul swinging in the sunshine. PHALL PHOTO 2008

Paul swinging in the sunshine.
PHALL PHOTO 2008

I originally posted this just after I started my blog, and again in 2013, but I wanted re-post it in honor of Paul’s birth date this year. Paul loved celebration, surprises and family. I remember this last birthday before he was diagnosed with leukemia. We lined our merged five grand daughters up on the couch and took pictures. We so loved our little girlies :>)

Paul is/was a Leo and loved being in the lime light on his special day, okay, on any day. He was very quiet about his pride of place, but if you knew him well, loved him, you could see the glow of it in his bright blue eyes and that smile…

I gave him this 3-D NASCAR card that he kept next to his chair for months; he’d never seen anything like it and I think he loved it better than his actual gift. He loved getting gifts, but that was nothing compared to how he loved finding the perfect thing for someone special. He was very into the drama of giving gifts.

We went out to eat with friends 3 times a week and one of the places was at the local casino. While waiting in line, you pass the gift shop. We’d often have our friends hold our place in line, while we looked in the display cases. I’d oooh and ah over the pretty, shiny things, then we’d move back into the line waiting to get in for dinner.

That Christmas, I had a lot of gifts in all sorts of shapes and sizes. By the time all the gifts were opened, I saw what he had done. He used his casino points and bought me every piece of jewelry I had made noise about at the gift shop during the past year! Crazy guy. Thankfully, he also bought me a jewelry armoir to put it all in.

Enjoy…

A Piece of Our Story in Poetry

This is a piece of our story; the man I knew. This was written for his birthday, 11 months before cancer entered our lives.

20 Aug 2007

Paul teased me about writing a book for him, instead I wrote this poem for his 60th birthday.

Book of Paul…

He is everything wonderful that I ever needed,

handsomely wrapped up in one big tender man.

His rolling laughter leads to coughing fits;

spitting up water and vitamins,

and then falling off the bed!

A prankster to his core,

full of special surprises for all.

A memory-maker, his camera always within reach,

he records the Kodak moments of our lives.

His cards & gifts & little notes come from the heart,

and always meet their target.

He loves easily and deeply…

his children, grandchildren, his friends & me!

He would love to be a millionaire,

but he lives well, and is generous with what he has.

His tastes and beliefs are “traditional”,

yet he has an open mind and can embrace the non-traditional,

except food, of course!

He loves Taco Time, NASCAR, animal shows,

Funniest Videos, Cops and bad sci-fi movies.

Every day he says and does funny or special things for me,

he can calm me with only a look, or a touch.

He wants us together, no matter what,

and turns every errand into a “date”.

He acts crabby sometimes,

but just below the surface is a joke or a prank or a smile.

He notices the little things,

and always says “thank you”.

For a T-shirt and jeans guy,

he sure is a clothes horse!

He gives hugs and touches often,

he sings seriously and dances with a laugh.

Happy Birthday… With All My Love,

Patti

Sorry about the quality of this photo. I snapped it on my way out the door. This is Paul’s part of a little alter I have in my beach cave, for all those we’ve lost the last few years.

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Alaska: A Walk With Mom and The Dogs

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Sophie’s legs on the left, Cee Cee on the right, mom in the middle and gaboodles of mushrooms dot the ground.

We took a break from framing and painting. Our mission was to enjoy some time in the woods with Cee Cee, a Brussels Griffon (possibly part Ewok) and Sophie, a Rottweiler /Pit bull (mostly creampuff). Sophie lives with my brother most of the time, so we picked her up from there and went on our merry way.

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Peters Creek in August is a mushroom haven! I found one of my coolest specimens here. I am certainly no expert, but am learning fast! The info I found says this Coral Fungus, Hericium is very edible and tastes like crab, of all things. And no, I don’t eat wild mushrooms…yet!

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Will check in with more Alaska news soon,

Patti, the ‘shroom hunter

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn :)

Cee Cee asking for more peanut butter popcorn 🙂


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Over My Head Again?

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Alaska Visit: August 7-Sept 29, 2014

The days are slow and easy; no care-giving or worry about the physical or emotional pain of a loved one. Mom, dad and I have had a lot of practice living together in this tiny house over the last several years. We all have our own mini orbit and rotate around each other quite smoothly. That’s the slow and easy part of my story.

The crazy over-my-head part includes this art thing. Like her mother before her, my mother is a prolific visual artist. She dabbles in all sorts of painting media; oil, acrylic and water color. Grandma pushed her art even further and used charcoal and chalk also. She worked leather and embossed copper and had her own ceramics shop.

About 25 of Mom’s paintings will be hanging in a gallery/cafe in Eagle River during the month of September. She is a shy and humble artist and will not let me plan a meet and greet opening event. Meanwhile, guess who is framing these paintings? You got it, me.

I have never framed anything in my life, okay, besides a photo or two in a ready-made frame. I was over my head with the first painting. I’ve learned a lot as I moved on to the next and the next. I think I have about 16 finished. I’ll probably go back to the first few and re-do them.

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Mom continues to paint, so the tiny house is filled with framing materials, a large tote of finished work, mom’s easel and paints and brushes, and paintings leaning every which way, in various stages of completeness. Some are even drying out on the deck. Visitors and the three of us have a choice of one or two places to sit, if we are lucky.

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When will this madness end?! Ten more days, and we will take the whole lot to the gallery. I still have to write ads and make a template to label each painting.

The joy here is watching my mom work her talent. Grandma died in 1977, but she is all around; in the smells of paints, the materials all about, and in the similarity of their (mostly) Alaska painting scenes. I lived with my grandma for a month when I was about 14. Her home was filled with the same smells and art materials and inspiration. I’m as inspired and amazed by mom’s talent as I was of grandma’s.

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I’m still deciding whether I should thank or curse my sister who sent me the ticket to be part of this craziness. Maybe a little of both.

Over My Head In Alaska,

Patti

 


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Funny Things Happened On My Way To Alaska

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I traveled from home (my Maggie cave) in Westport, WA to Centralia, WA on August 6th (Happy Birthday, Gwen!). I had another wonderful sleepover with my 3 little grands and 2 step-grands.They ate dinner on the mini picnic table and splashed in the wading pool. I was a nail polish whiz; everyone got purple toe and fingernails with sparkles on top.

Daughter Sara made hand-picked blackberry pies, so we had pie and ice cream and whipped cream and popcorn…well you get the idea. I sent Sara and Caleb to the movies, while the 5 little ones and I cozied up on the couch and futon in front of the big screen T.V. to watch movies until nearly midnight!

The next afternoon, I picked son Jon (Happy 25th on the 8th!) up from his job and we stopped in the nursing home to see Uncle Smitty. He got a slice of Sara’s pie as a bonus 🙂 We took more pie to Uncle Jim and Pam and had a quick visit and a few hugs. I also had a quick visit with Aunt Judee at her antique shop.

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It was a busy day-and-a-half in Centralia, then I was off to Sea-Tac airport for my late flight to Anchorage on the 7th.

It was incredible watching the last bit of color of the sunset to the north and the moon glow off the tops of the clouds and the water below, to the south (from my window seat in the airplane). Aside from flying over the glaciers on my way to Homer a few years ago, this was the most beautiful flight I’ve been on.

My parents picked me up from the airport and we caught up on the latest news until about 3 in the morning! They are night owls too.

Hope all is well with you and yours. I’ll be back with more soon.

Take Care,

Patti

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