Better Than Provence

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We traveled all the way to Provence last year with the hope that we would see lavender in bloom. We saw fields of poppies and lavender with ever so tiny purple tips. I could only imagine how beautiful the fields would be in about two or three more weeks.

I had no idea that lavender blooms in Washington and Oregon every spring. It’s a long drive or a short plane ride from California to see these wonderful sights. The people are friendly and most everyone you bump into is there to see the lavender too. Being a transplant from Santa Cruz, I’ve got begonias growing in my backyard. I was surprised that they would grow in such a warm climate but they seem to thrive here. I think there will be lavender in that same backyard next spring. It will be like a little piece of Provence, Oregon, and Washington for me to enjoy almost all of next years summer season. Some times one of the best places you can be is in your own backyard. You can make it into, anything you like.

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.

Take Me Away

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There are times when, as hard as you might try, you just can’t make things work perfectly. This week has been filled with a lot of stressful endings in my house project that did not go according to my plans.

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Monterey is filled with these delightful Pride of Madeira flowers.

It’s in those times that are anxiety ridden that I try to pull up images in my mind of places or things that have made me stop to take a closer look. These tiny flowers caught my eye as I walked along the coast in Monterey, not so long ago. They were so delicate and attractive. The bees were happy to see them too. I think that the little annoyances in life, as unsettling as they are, should not cloud my memories of wonderful experiences that have gone before and will surely come again in another amazing array of color that will capture my imagination and fill me with peace and an appreciation of the blessed life I lead. It’s crazy the way stress makes my mind work. This photo, as well as many others quite simply, makes me feel better.

Reflective Waters

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I have been waiting for this day for the entire Summer. Cool, slowing, lazy, Fall days. I thought they’d never get here. I couldn’t go towards the coast enough days last Summer. I kept thinking that we would get one more round of hot weather.

Then it snowed yesterday in the Sierra’s and I knew that Fall was finally upon us. I can’t remember a summer that was hotter than the one we just had. Maybe I’m getting older and less tolerant of the climate changes, season to season. There have been times, recently, that I have thought of the seasons, liking them to the seasons of our lives. If this were the case then I think that Spring would be our baby, toddler, elementary school years. Summer would be our teens and twenties or even our early thirties. Fall would last a very long time before Winter would creep in coldly somewhere around our late sixties and beyond. The changing seasons, you can’t ignore them, they’re upon us any way we may look at them.

I’m hoping that all of us have a very long and glorious Fall Season.

Winging It

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Last weekend we went to my aunt’s house for her 90th birthday. She is in fine health and has so many stories that she wants to reminisce about. We had a great time with her and I would erge anyone who has a friend or loved one who would love a chat or a visit from you to do so; today. Why put something off for tomorrow that you can accomplish today?  On the way home we stopped by New Clairvaux Winery in Vina, CA.

As we were leaving, a butterfly caught my eye. It’s upper wings were working, what seemed like, excessively hard and fast. I thought it was a hummingbird at first but it was a swallowtail butterfly. I never knew that the butterflies wings could work independently of one another. It was beautiful to see but very difficult to catch in a photo. As we pulled away from the winery, we saw the water iris and another swallowtail butterfly whose wings did not seem to be moving at such a rapid pace. As I drew closer I could see that the wings were quite tattered. I think this is why the movement was slower. What amazing creatures those butterflies are. They fly about the world seeking out the colorful flowers and continuing to fly, even when their wings are breaking down. This is what I think we can take away from the flight of the butterfly; stay true to your course and keep going even when the going gets tough.

Sunny Skagit Valley

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We took a little tour of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington State this last weekend. We were so lucky to find sunshine and acres upon acres of beautiful flowers. We began by crossing the Salish Sea on a twenty car ferry to Lummi Island for a short stay and a meal at The Willows Inn. The sun was setting and the evening was divine.

We took a couple of walks on Sunset Beach, where it occurred to me, that we had been on Sunset Beach in Hawaii just a couple of weeks prior. Both places are uniquely lovely and well worth spending extended time at. One has soft golden sand and tiny shells while the other has incredible stones from the San Juan Islands. We visited family at Lake Whatcom, ate at EATS in Bellingham, cruised down Chuckanut Dr. to view the oyster farms, walked to Whatcom Falls, and ate at Seeds while taking a short tour of La Conner. I shouldn’t forget the blueberry ice cream. I’m not a great lover of ice cream, it always makes me thirsty, but this was wonderful. Maybe because it’s made locally and is fresh. I always thought that I needed to go to The Netherlands to see the bulbs in bloom. I was wrong. This place is well worth seeing. I’m removing Holland from my list. 

Aloha

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Last week we got away to the island of Oahu and spent three days at Turtle Bay Resort before embarking back to Honolulu and the Hilton Hawaiian Village. They should really call it the Hilton Hawaiian Zoo. It was so much more relaxing at Turtle Bay. There aren’t turtles in Turtle Bay, it’s got good snorkeling, and the atmosphere is something that makes you want to return, time and time again.

The food on site was wonderful. We were even able to share a rather nice showing of a green flash with the other people who were staying there. It was a bit like the reaction people have to fireworks. You could tell that everyone had seen it. 

I just wanted to share a little of the aloha spirit today as you all started your week. I know you weren’t there to share it with me but these photos depict the feeling well. Open them to a larger size and remember your fondest memories of any one of the islands. Do you think that it’s time that you return to Hawaii?