A Lake in the Olympic National Forest

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You may have wondered where I have been. I have been on a road trip that began the end of June. This photo is my favorite photo of the entire trip. You see, my grandchildren are the silhouettes on the two piers. It was a lovely place and a calm beautiful evening. The crescent moon and the north star hung in the sky as the tiny lake waves lapped against the beach. I wish we had been able to stay there a couple of days. When you’re on a road trip, it’s hard to not plan ahead and give yourself the authority to stay an extended time, especially when you are caring for two little ones.IMG_1004With all that said, we drove through California, Idaho, Washington, cruised into Alaska, stopped in Victoria, drove through a different section of Washington, Oregon, and California to get back to Graeagle so the kids could go kayaking. I’ll be filling you in on the places we went in the coming weeks. What I want to leave you with today, is this photo of Lake Quinault in the Olympic National Forest in Washington. If you ever get the opportunity to go, do it. It is an amazing slow-paced place. It’s a bit like going back in time and there’s nothing wrong with taking a deep breath and slowing down a little now and then.

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Gardens of Flowers

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Last month I went to the 25th Annual Spring Garden Tour held by the Soroptimist International of the Sierra Foothills. I was going to rank the gardens as I had appreciated them. After thinking about that for a while, I came to realize that it’s not really fair to rank these six gardens, as each garden has its own personality, just like the people do, that tend them. I have, however, decided to share some photos of the garden that I liked most of all.

This garden sat up on a hill in Grass Valley, California. It was host to an aviary with happily singing finches and canaries. The butterflies appeared blissfully happy, and with every step that I took, I would find a lovely surprise in the form of some sort of flower that I had never seen in its particular color. You could tell that the people who grew this garden had spent many hours laboring in it. I would  have liked to have had the time to sit out in it with a glass of wine in my hand to just drink in all the sights and colors of this magical place. I can’t imagine daily living in that environment. Well, I can imagine it, but I think the best way to see the garden would be to fly through it. No tending, no trouble, just sheer availability to loads of wonderful flowers. Oh to be a butterfly, just for one glorious day. Imagine…  

 

 

Peace & Quiet

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A couple of weeks ago we walked the trail to Frasier Falls that was covered with snow. I didn’t realize at the time that this photo would take me to a very quiet and peaceful place during the holiday rush.

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Snowy Bridge

While we were there, we didn’t know that our car battery was dangerously low and about to give out completely. It would have been a very long, icy walk back to a spot where the cell phone could have found a signal to call for help. I guess someone was watching over us. 

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Frasier Falls

I try to reflect on the blessings from this year as I hurry to this year’s end. In the month before Christmas, it’s often hard to find a moment to be still and silent. I think it is important to carve out a little down time to help us all keep our sanity.

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Shattered Ice Pond

So, I think of you as I mail my cards, wrap the boxes, and stand in the long post office lines. I think of you and hope that you have a safe and sane holiday season. I hope that you will find time to spend with family and friends ringing in the year that is soon to pass and the year that is about to be. Happy Holidays   

 

 

First Sierra Snow

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We’ve been out on some beautiful walks over the last couple of weekends. We were fortunate enough to head up to Sardine Lake in the Lakes Basin area, up the mountain from Graeagle, California. This is the best reflection of the Sierra Buttes that I have ever captured. It was still and silent at the lake, except for the sound of the distant waterfall that echoed from across the deep blue water. 

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Reflection on Sardine Lake

We continued on to Sand Pond which is adjacent to Sardine Lake. We’ve never been there when you could walk through the first, fresh inches of snow. The road is usually closed all winter. The ice crystals were everywhere and I found that I couldn’t quite capture the diamond like effect that they were giving off.

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Snowy Crystals at Sand Pond

As we were walking, I was thinking about my friend, Robbi, who is recovering from a fall and some broken bones. I felt like I was walking for her. She would have loved the sights and sounds during the off-season there. We’ve continued walking to other places too but you’ll have to come back to see where we’ve been. I hope you had a very Blessed Thanksgiving.

Beauty Fully

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Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight. 

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Peaceful Sand Pond

This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.

Leaping Lavender

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When we visited France, we were a little early for the blooming of the lavender. I was excited to see this lavender in Avignon, but not so excited that I wanted to skip and leap through it. I am glad that this lady was excited to see it too. She even had purple on. It was an amazing sight to see.

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Leaping Lavender

I found myself settling for lavender doors and shutters and lets not forget the gorgeous red poppies that were blooming all about us. This world does come in such beautiful Technicolor’s.  

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Behind Lavender Doors

One of my favorite and most colorful times was when we took the electric boat up and down the Gorges de Verdon. Those blues of the water are some of my favorite colors and the day was so peaceful. Well, it was peaceful until the boat stopped and we had to paddle back to shore.

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Gorges de Verdon

All those pictures I take, every one of them tells its own story. That’s for sure! So now I’ll have Rod Stewart’s song running through my head for the rest of the day. I might have just planted that seed in you too. Hope your day comes in its own, very vivid, Technicolor.

Peacful Blue Sea

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I haven’t written in my blog for a couple of weeks.  I’ve been very busy with a kitchen remodel.  There is dust everywhere and it doesn’t even bother me, as I know that the end result should be amazing. I also know that it is my last kitchen remodel ever. That is a joyous thought. With that being said, we did find the time to drive down to Newport Beach, the weekend before last. We just happened to be there between storms.  We’d had it booked for quite a while so we did feel very lucky to catch such good weather.

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Four Caspian Terns & Four Marbled Godwits

Once we were there, we were so taken with the restaurants, the company, and the beautiful beaches.  This was taken from the beach where the movie Beaches was filmed.  It’s Crystal Cove and I can’t say enough good things about the vibe in this place.  They’re raising funds to restore all the little cottages.  Many are still in use but just as many are abandoned and in need of great amounts of repair. I understand that this was quite a happening place in the 1930’s to the 1960’s. I was wondering; what would be said if those old walls could talk?  I’m sure there were many good memories made here.   

We went to The Beachcomber, that sits adjacent to Crystal Cove Beach, one of the mornings because we were told that the beignets would remind us of Cafe De Monde in New Orleans. They were very good so we returned for a sunset and a delightful dinner that very same evening.

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Lone Seagull at Sunset

Here’s what I really want to convey, it only takes a little effort to find a place that fills your soul with joy. I’m finding that true for the remodel as well as taking small trips to beautiful places.

Go out and find the joy.