Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Final Post ~ Picture Perfect

I can barely see as I post this ... I think it took until now, coming to post these last four photos, for me to really let the sadness of Multiply's end overtake me.

Each of you has had an impact on my life in some way. I can't even begin to describe how much I appreciate all the ways I've been touched by your words and your photos. I'm glad it isn't really ending for Picture Perfect, or I couldn't stand it.

My four photos chronicle my trajectory here, on Multiply and PP. The honey jars is the first photo I ever posted on PP, during competition time, and I won. I couldn't believe it. I didn't even know it wasn't always a competition, or how it all worked. From that to where I am now, as a person and as a photographer have so much to do with the group and with Heather's friendship. Now, as an admin, Gary and Cherie have taken me in warmly. Who knew where it would all go from that first post?

May we all meet again, online or in life. I thank you, every one, for what you've shown and taught me.
Blessings on the road ahead,

Honey Jars - Pike Place Market

A Frosty Sequoia ~ first trip to meet Heather

My first guest host shot for PP - Lady Washington in Fog

The way I feel about Mulitply, Picture Perfect and ... Life ...

Be Well...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

REGARDING: Ugliness Online

I write this after a day spent defending a dear friend against hostility online. Not that she can't very competently handle it herself, but when someone throws out a prejudiced, racist, vile and utterly misplaced insult to someone I love, I am going in, CLAWS OUT.
To be clear, this didn't occur on Blogspot, but on another, similar site. I have ZERO tolerance for this kind of Neanderthal thinking. It makes me almost physically ill to come into any contact with a person like him. One could ask what drives some people to unleash hatred and vitriol against someone they barely know. Or wonder at what twisted upbringing led to thinking that such behavior is acceptable on any level in any relationship. But, ultimately, only the reasonable and rational among us have the capacity to even ask those questions and the answers won't lead us to a solution.
For me, the only solution to it is to fight it at every turn. Speak out when you hear or see it. I don't befriend people of this sort either online or in my day to day life. If I find I've made a mistake and true colors come out which show someone to be ugly inside ... they're GONE. I do not expect everyone in my circles to believe what I do or think the same way I do. I demand decency, open-mindedness, manners, kindness and mature behavior.
And ... that dog above is a beautiful sweetheart, compared to the man I'm speaking about. In my eyes, every animal is beautiful.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Human~Animal Bond

Time and again, we are shown the special relationships which people and animals form with one another - often at the initiation of the animal. And scientists still act astonished at "proof" of things like animal intelligence, empathy, communication and humor. For those of us who work with, live with or are sensitive to the animal world, their 'epiphanies' seem ridiculously self-evident. The human-animal bond is profound and real.

I listened to an NPR story this morning about a Korean elephant, Koshik, who has learned to speak a few words of Korean in order to communicate with his keepers. The elephant has been deprived of the normal herd dynamic as he has matured, only having human keepers as company. The elephant has found a unique way to use his trunk, inserted into his mouth, to form the words it hears most often, with inflections. And still, the scientists interviewed were SO skeptical that this was possible until studying the animal at length. Really? Are they so removed from emotion and the evidence before them that they cannot conceive of such things without all kinds of tests? Elephants are incredibly emotional animals and we learn more about that aspect all the time. Dolphins are equally sensitive and communicative. For more information, here is a link about Koshik and the researchers:

I read 2 books early in life which affected me strongly because the authors wrote about animals in the way that I experienced them. It was reassuring to read of someone else feeling as I did about communicating with the natural world on a deep level that didn't fall in to "accepted" forms. The books are still in print (!) as I found out when I checked tonight:

My family had always been supportive of my sensitivity - we were taught about nature and respecting and nurturing it from an early age - but once I started school I found that friends, teachers and other adults definitely made me feel odd and tried to stop my "strange ideas". Even then, I knew they were wrong because not only the support of my family but the evidence of my own experience told me so. I became quiet about my beliefs on the subject, but I didn't ever change my mind.

Animals and the natural world stayed in my heart and goals. I've been a veterinary technician for 24 years now. I worked as a volunteer and then as a biology assistant at the Seattle Aquarium for 5 years; I've been a wildlife rehabilitator and serve as a volunteer for the Washington state Veterinary Emergency Corps. to respond to animal and agricultural crises in times of disaster. I am passionate about working for and helping those who cannot act for themselves.

Some links regarding the human - animal bond:

Friday, November 2, 2012

PP ~ M is for ...

Heather is our illustrious host this week and has chosen ...


as in Multiple ... and M words/pics/ideas ...
So, here are my multiple entries of M things.


One of my favorite olive oils ~ Merula means blackbird


You didn't think I could pass by M without posting a photo of MEAT, did you???

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Twitch, twitch ... Rock

Oh! Hello. Were you talking to me? Sorry, I was just rocking in the corner and noticing alllllll the pretty colors! Do you see them? No? Well, that's probably because you're not on your last frayed nerve and wishing you could swim away like a dolphin. Blink, blink.

Humor conquers stress, right? If so, then I should be hired immediately as the headlining comedienne. It's my coping mechanism, but I think even that is failing.

The house saga continues. The hurdles just keep coming on buying our house. Just when we think we're almost to the finish line, more hurdles get thrown into our path. On Thursday, we started all over with a NEW lender. Yep. No joke. The first one has been yanking us all over the place with not meeting deadlines, promising and not delivering, disappearing and not calling us for days on end. Our offer on the house was accepted on July 22nd for God's sake! A 203K rehab loan is more complicated, yes. It takes longer to close, yes. But this is ridiculous. We're lucky the sellers have been patient and keep signing on extensions, but they're losing patience. Well, yeah. So are we! I'll leave all the myriad details out which led us to this point, but we decided to jump to another (better known) lender. In doing so, we got a better interest rate, lower monthly payments and a *promise* that they can close on the house by mid November. I really don't believe anything anymore, and that's what's bringing me down.
~ I want this house so bad, it scares me. ~

It's much more than getting 'A' house, any house. There is so much more behind it. It represents so much to us, to our lives, to the process that got us to this place. I'm not going to go into that, but there it is. I've tried not to put too much weight on getting this house, but I've obviously failed on that count. There is no logical reason it shouldn't all turn out okay, but ... we all know things in life don't always turn out the way they should. Maybe I'm just worn down by all the delays, possible lies and funny-business on our lender's part, the whole arduous process of this kind of loan. I don't know. But I am worn the HELL out and feeling ground to a paste.

I really try to keep my personal stuff off of here because it's my refuge and escape. But, I've pulled away from most people in my daily and personal life because I just cannot even talk about "what's happening with the house?" anymore. I'm crying, nauseated, not sleeping, not breathing right. Poor Jim has had to deal with me alternating between crying, shouting and staring into space. At least I'm still eating and cooking. If that stops, we'll know we're really in trouble! With all this stress, I really should have lost at least ten pounds by now, but ... well, not so much. Wine has become a food group.

In OTHER news ...

~ The rains have finally returned and, in a weird way, it's comforting. Maybe the familiar sound of heavy October rains will set my little world back on its axis. But then, I've been accused of having magical thinking. It's been freakishly dry in the Pacific NW since August. I mean - dust clouds, huge fires on the west side of the Cascades, brown fields and 20 degree weather in September just do not happen around here. Yesterday was the first rain in 70 days here. I fell asleep to frogs croaking beneath the bedroom window. I'm sure they were grateful for the water. It made me wonder ... what do you call a dehydrated frog? A fraisin? What does a parched froggy do when it doesn't rain? Or the salamanders, for that matter? These are the things that keep me awake at night.

~ Tomorrow is the first meeting of the group I formed, on a whim, last month - Urban Farmers. I think 12 are attending the plant, seed and harvest swap. There are 32 members in the group in the first 3 weeks. Huh. Who'd have guessed?

~ If I had my way, I'd be in Europe right now. I'm usually there at this time of year and I'm really feeling the pull to flee, as you can imagine. I'm running out of ingredients, miss my friends, want to go to my favorite haunts, write more on my novel in the place where it happens and just ... be the ME I am when I'm there. It's hard feeling like you belong in two countries. Overall, it's a good thing, but ... it hurts, too. A constant ache for the other, but never totally immersed in either one. It's a difficult thing to explain. I guess the only thing I can do is ... finish writing my book, get it published and then buy a studio apartment in Germany or Italy and live in two worlds. Yeah, that'd work!

So, that's the story from here. After writing this, I think I need to spend some time in the kitchen, in my art room, outside. Try to leave aside the daily worries and be in the moment. WHY is that just about the hardest thing to do? It sounds so simple, but it's so not. The best way I can do that is to engage in mundane pleasures and focus on tactile things. Cooking ~ Colors ~ Textures ~ Nature ~ Pen on Paper.

I'm going to go slather butter on some turkey parts, turn on all the lights in my art room and see what I create and play some mellow music. Wish me luck ...

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Art by Andy Goldsworthy - nature artist

In the midst of waiting for our new house to close, all the craziness in getting the contractor bids for the rehab, changing and adding and adding social sites like here, a friend gone round the bend in hospital and pet sitting a paraplegic dachshund that needs to be expressed five times a day ... I decided to start a new group on! What the hell was I thinking?!

Before I had time to undo my well-meant but ill-timed plan, it hit the Meetup board and people started joining right off. Ohhhh, no, what've I done? Apparently, I hit on a popular subject which had no other groups in the area. I called it Urban Farmers of South Puget Sound and in a week, there are 31 members. As organizer, I have to come up with meetings, field trips or activities. Ummm ... right. I don't even have the house to host it in, yet.

As I kept up with greeting new members, loading photos and looking like a deer in headlights, Jim was teasing and chuckling. My mind was blank on what to do for a first meetup. I just have not been thinking straight with all the stress in getting our house. I've been a wreck. So, this little whim of a project wasn't helping. Jim helped me brainstorm and came up with a stellar idea. Our first meeting will be a Plant, Seed or Harvest swap. Bring a little or a lot to share and then we'll talk about what members are looking for in the group, put out ideas, etc. Thankfully, a person offered to host it at her house / farm since I hadn't put down a location yet. Okay, so ... here we go! I've even designed a tote bag ~

Today I harvested the lemon verbena leaves. It's been so uncharacteristically dry here that they dried on the plant. Then I came in and made some lemon verbena and lavender tea. Heavenly scent!

Jim and I inventoried all the lumber we have stashed in various places here, so we know what we have already when we get to FINALLY building the new chicken coop on the new property. Still have a lot to buy. It'll be great when it's done. Agriculturally architectural, of course. With an architect for a husband, nothing is ever "just" a planter or coop or rabbit hutch. There must be five pages of plans for the coop - elevations, specs, etc. So, that's what's up around here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

GTP - Dichotomy of the Soul

Gator, you gave us a triple play that goes straight to the heart. I knew I had to participate in this one...

I am forever between
here and there
Home in both places,
Belonging in neither.
Fire burns,
Smolder and flare,

gnb 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October-ish Pics ... and Malcolm!

Fall fell with a 'whump' last night. The temperature was 23 degrees! The Empress tree, with its huge, velvety leaves, gives up the ghost at the first hard freeze and drops them all in one day. I lay in bed this morning, watching them fall like green handkerchiefs. I suppose it's the last time I'll see this tree go to sleep for the winter.

I brought out the Halloween box today, looking for Malcolm. I love my little ghoul. I've had him for years and he told me right away that his name was Malcolm. I took him to the woods for a float and a hover to get the musty dust out of his shroud. Now he's content to hang on the front door. At least, during the day. Who knows what he gets up to at night. Sometimes, he's turned around in the morning ... I never ask him.

Lots of spider webs around ~ they looked sparkly after the frosty night, once the sun came out and made things dewy ...

On an autumn walk in the woods and down the road, I found a few more interesting things ...

And then Malcolm and I returned home ...

If you catch a wisp of white outside your windowin the deepest part of the night, it's probably just Malcolm ~ visiting his old haunts and searching for himself. He won't bother you. I'm pretty sure.

Friday, September 28, 2012

PPF ~ Peeping Toms

Every day he watches ... Every night he comes down to look in the windows ...

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Jim gave me a call ~ he'd decided it was his turn to cook dinner and said he wanted to make French toast. I grimaced at the thought, but said okay. Then he told me that a friend had given him a loaf of day-old jalapeño bread from a local bakery and he was going to make a savory version. Now he had me on board! 

He had some ideas, but said he wanted some technical help and we ended up creating it together. It was great for dinner but would be equally delicious for breakfast. Think huevos rancheros flavors. Many specialty bakeries and some supermarkets offer jalapeño bread. Great Harvest, which has many national locations, makes one and also makes "Popeye bread" with red pepper, spinach and Swiss cheese which would work very well, too. If you can't find anything like this, just add some minced jalapeño chiles to your egg mixture and you'll be there. 

The toast was particularly good with the chipotle based salsa on the left, but also good with a basic, store-bought salsa. Just depends what you like! 


One loaf jalapeño bread, sliced
3 large whole eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. minced onion
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. ground black pepper
1/4 c. milk
Butter for pan
Cilantro leaves
Salsas or chile sauces of your choice

Combine eggs, onion, salt and pepper in shallow bowl and whisk completely. Add milk and whisk until combined.  Heat a cast iron skillet (preferably) or a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Soak bread slices in egg mixture until saturated, about 20 seconds per side. Add a dollop of butter to the pan, swirl until sizzling, then place two to three slices of soaked bread in pan, depending upon how much room you have. Fry until browned on one side, flip and brown on the other. Serve with salsa and cilantro leaves on the side. Sour cream is nice, too. 

* * *

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIRTY DASH ~ A Few More Pics

Little did I know that there were Pro photographers along the course! I got an e-mail from the DD crew, telling me to go enter my bib number at a photo site to see if I had any photos there to find. Well, I did! I guess it says everything that I was smiling the whole time. Except for when I knew better and kept my mouth shut to avoid a smiling mud grill! The run was SOOOO much fun! 

Friday, June 1, 2012

~ Letting It Be ~

Why is it that allowing events to unfold, stepping back from the control panel, being present and breathing are so damn hard to do? On the one hand, it seems a natural state to just ... BE. But then Captain Brain steps in to muck it all up. 

'What ifs' turn into scenarios that keep me up at night. Planning elaborate dances around imagined problems, vacillating between positive and negative thinking, hopeful then fearful in turns ... it's exhausting and pointless. Fitful sleep and tortured dreams leave me far from refreshed in the morning. 

An entire year of warring, roller coaster emotions has left me without many reserves. And although the past months have been very much on the upswing, I'm still pulled way back from many of the people in my life. I've shared more here than I have with most people in my day to day existence this past while ~ perhaps because I don't feel the obligation to keep everyone up to date or the pressure to be engaged and ever supportive even when I'm crumbling to pieces. I can share here as much or as little as I please and I don't get a bloody guilt trip. Some of you have been incredibly supportive and loving to me and you know who you are. All of you have been kind, funny, helpful and interested and I appreciate that so much.

God, I'm getting maudlin. So, enough philosophizing. The good most certainly outweighs the bad and that keeps me smiling more often than not. Tonight, I'm playing the music LOUD, cooking things that make me feel yummy, creating some arty projects in my mind and hangin' with my purry and barky peeps. 

A friend asked my advice recently and I responded without really thinking. I said, "Life comes in hundreds of colors, not just black and white. That Crayola box lets us color our lives in a way that matches no one else's. But sometimes, pictures collide and create a whole new piece of art that can change the hues of who we are. No one but you can tell you what to paint." Once I said it, I thought, Now where did that come from???

Guess I'll get out my papers, paints, pencils, ribbons and findings and see what I create. Thanks for indulging me.