Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

July 30, 2010

I Simply Must Make One of These!!!

This is Ramona Moon's "Turkey Toyota", a fixture at all Fairfax Festivals, Parades and Farmers Markets. Fairfax is a very funky, arsty, hippie, tree hugging town in West Marin County, at least it was when we lived for 6 years before moving to Washington. It was stuff like this that made us decide to live there. It's a 1967 Toyota Corona. I googled her name and the car and it looks like she lives in Ohio now, and had the car shipped there. I shot these photos about 15 years ago.

I really, really want to do one of my own. I have looked at this one up close on many occasions and the stuff she's stuck to the car is just soooo cool. Plastic jewelry, toys and dolls. Magic Markers form a rainbow on the doors. Action figures. Pez Dispensers. Stickers. It's awesome.
I figure the whole thing would be about a $2,000 investment for a beater car that runs OK, all the special adhesive and whatever I decided to stick onto the car. Oh the possibilities are ENDLESS! I could actually BEAD the car. I'd have a whole part devoted to a celestial theme too. Tie Dye of course. Bits of glass. Prisms. As the Grateful Dead song goes, "Too much of everything is just enough".

Too bad I don't have any disposable income. But someday, if and when I do have the disposable income.....Do I dare? >:P

July 28, 2010

Our Stonehenge

Our townhome in Fairfax, CA had a unique floor plan, with vaulted ceilings and skylights upstairs. We moved into the place in August of 1994, and that fall, we watched as a narrow ray of sun crept down the wall along the stairs, from the skylight at the top of the upstairs hall. In March, it happened again. That time, I grabbed a faceted crystal ball, stood on the bottom stair and held the ball up into the ray of sun and a thousand rainbows flashed across the whole room. Brian yelled, "COOL!!!!! We gotta hang that there!" So I beaded a suncatcher, that hung there above the bottom stair in the livingroom, year round. Friends were always so puzzled, "Why in the world would you have a window crystal hanging there?" Because twice a year, near the Equinoxes, for about 4 or 5 days, the sun would light that bad boy up. So we started calling it our "Stonehenge". Now here's the kicker: The one and only time I thought to shoot a photo of it, as seen here, I didn't realize I had black & white film in the damn camera.

July 26, 2010

All My Friends, They Died

"Thayer Graves died in May," my mom tells me. "WHAT?!" I roared into the phone. "How can that be? She is one of my Facebook friends! Adam is one of my Facebook friends!" Mom tells me that she saw the obituary and had cut it out, meaning to send it to me. I said, "No, that can't be right." While on the phone with mom, I went to Thayer's Facebook page, only to find it filled with "I will miss you" Wall posts. Incredulous, I went to Adam's page and kept scrolling to his older posts till I finally found his status from May 18, saying that his little sister had died. I shot off a quick email to fellow childhood friends Renee & Lisa, letting them know (we all rode the bus together with the Graves kids), and Renee located and sent me a copy of Thayer's obit. She died of breast cancer at the age of 42. My mom told me that she recalled that Mrs. Graves had died very young too.

Thayer was an adorable, freckle faced sprite of a tomboy. I guess being the youngest of 4, and the only girl, she had to be scrappy and tough. I found out that she served in the US Navy after she graduated from high school, and then attended UC Berkeley, in my old stomping grounds in the Bay Area. I snagged this photo of her off her Facebook page, but I can still see the little girl that I played with after school and in the summer.

How did I not see Adam's status that day? While I'm not on Facebook near as much as I was a year ago, I am on it every night. Last year when I finally located Adam and Thayer, I was so excited. They lived across the street from me from the summer of 1975 to early 1979. It was a novelty for me to have children my age right across the street, and I quickly made friends with them. Thayer had just finished 2nd grade, Adam finished 3rd and I had just finished 5th grade, the summer they moved in. They also had 2 other brothers, Phillip (4th grade) and Steven (7th grade), but I was definitely closer with Adam and Thayer. My memories of them are riding bikes on our street and at the cranberry bog, skateboarding, climbing trees, playing in the barn on their property - including jumping out of the loft onto stacked mattresses - and how their goat, Gretchen, and horse, Chips, used to wander out of the yard every afternoon, come up to my house and snack on my mom's flower beds. Here's Chips in my backyard in 1978.

We lost touch after they moved in 1979, but I located them on Facebook and it was great to catch up and see what they are doing now, and what they look like as adults. Thayer didn't log on that much, so it was not unusual for her not to post any statuses. What is killing me is how I didn't see Adam's status in May when she died.

And speaking of Facebook, I am back in touch with my bff from elementary school, Pam. We've been chatting regularly over the last couple of months with lengthy emails and we chatted on the phone last week. She broke the news to me that our old friend Terry Friedeborn died in June, 2009. I was devastated. I have been searching for Terry, and Pam, ever since we got the internet. I never got a hit on their names, and didn't know if they'd married or what those names are. Terry and Pam had reconnected on My Space a few years ago. I kept hoping that Terry, or at least one of her sisters, would show up on Facebook. I was able to friend Terry's daughter on Facebook, and was able to view the memorial slideshow that was made for Terry's funeral last year. Apparently, Terry had battled breast cancer a few years ago and was in remission, till it came back full force and riddled her entire body with the disease. Terry and I met in 2nd grade. I remember ice skating with her on Shawme Pond before the rink was built in Bourne. We played together at recess and sat together in the school cafeteria.

Our 2nd grade picture. Terry is in the front row, second from the left, in her Blue Birds uniform.

Terry is in the front row, 2nd from the right, in our 3rd grade pic.
Our 4th grade year was my fave with Terry, and our friends Kevin & Donald. The 4 of us sat together all year. One time, Terry brought her transistor radio and hid it in her desk, but had the top open a little so that we could hear WRKO. Our teacher, Mrs. Celata, busted her but we didn't get in too much trouble for it. Terry's in the front row, far right. Kevin is standing right behind her, and Donald is in the top row, 2nd from right w/ his head tilted.
But as with everything, once we got to Junior High, kids who were bffs at the Wing School were now thrown into classes w/ other kids, staggered lunch periods and no recess, so friendships evolved and changed. Terry ended up transferring to the vocational school in Sagamore in 9th grade, and she had a baby in the 10th grade. The last time I saw her, Terry brought her baby to Sandwich High sometime in 11th or 12th grade, to visit her old friends and teachers. It was awkward of course; she was a 17 year old mother, I was a 17 year old heading to college. Her days were filled with baby stuff, my days were filled with high school stuff. I hadn't talked to her in 3 years, and to a teenager, 3 years is a loooooong time. We were friendly, at least I thought I was but it always struck me that she had hardened somehow and she seemed standoffish, maybe expecting me to be judgmental or something. I just remember it as a very awkward and mercifully brief reunion. Of course now I see why she would have felt that way. Not many girls got pregnant in our high school back in those days (I can only think of 3, and all were in my class) and it there was still a lingering stigma to it, mostly perpetuated by townspeople my parents' age.

Finally, it seems that a third friend of mine and Brian's died, in 2006!!! Again, I cannot believe that I didn't know about it, but I googled his name & state today, "Russell Lane, Missouri" and found some posting on a health care reform website written by a guy who said that his best friend Russell Lane died at age 34, because he didn't have health insurance and couldn't get the necessary testing he needed to stave off the impending heart attack, which is how he died after throwing a clot that was in his lungs. The posting said he was a house painter and I am almost certain that's what our Russell was doing.

We used to write to Russ throughout the 90's. He was a Deadhead like us, and back then we used to correspond and trade tapes w/ Deadheads from all over the country. We developed a close friendship w/ Russ through our frequent and long letters. Unfortunately, when we moved up here and made the transition to email, Russ admitted that he had no use for computers, and so our correspondence grew few and far between before finally ending about 8 years ago. Doing the math, the Russ Lane mentioned on that website would have been in his early 20's in the early 1990's, and that sounds about right, b/c he was several years younger than me. I next checked the Social Security Death Index, and located a Russell Lane, born in 1972 and died in 2006, from Springfield, MO. That's where he was from. I am hoping upon hope that it's just someone else from the same area, with the same name, and the same age. But I have a sinking feeling that it's our Russ.

This again begs the question: Why am I the last person to keep finding out about this stuff? Would it make it easier to find out at the time? Probably not, but at least I could have passed along my condolences in a timely fashion. Plus it makes me feel like I'm so self absorbed that I don't even check my friends' Facebook statuses, but in my defense, with 540+ Facebook friends, only so much stuff ends up on my Newsfeed. OK, it's not really my fault that I didn't know that Terry and Russ passed away, but I do regret not trying harder to find Terry and not keeping up correspondence with Russ.

What is even more distressing to me is that Russ, Terry & Thayer were so very young. Russ was 34. Terry was 45. Thayer was 42. My classmate, Greg, who passed away in June, was 46. Is this what the future is going to bring for the next decade or so? All of my friends passing away long before their time?

If ever there was a lesson in 'Carpe Diem', this is it.

July 25, 2010

My Two Words

I'm sure all kids probably make up words for things. I have zero experience with children so I wouldn't know. Do the made up words stick with them through their lives like two words I made up have stayed with me? The memories of where I was when I made up the words are among my earliest. This would be pre-kindergarten, and I started when I was only 4.

We took many, many trips from the Cape to Yonkers, to see my family there, especially when my grandfather was dying from lung cancer in mid and late 1968. I remember laying in the back seat of the car (no car seat of course, this was the devil-may-care 60's, not the namby pamby present era), but always I'd always sit up whenever we approached a bridge. I remember one trip where I exclaimed, "COLUMBERY!" My mom turned around and was smiling and said, "What?" and I tried to tell her it was a Columbery but was unable to articulate what I was trying to describe. It's pronounced: ko-LUM-burr-ee. I used this word every single time I saw an arched green bridge, which bridges are everywhere in Massachusetts & on the way to Yonkers, and which are probably in every state.

I don't know where I came up with the word, however, in my childlike mind, I was trying to convey that I thought the green arched bridges looked like celery.
The Sagamore Bridge (and Bourne Bridge too), over the Cape Cod Canal, is also a columbery, but it's silver not green.

This is the Braga Bridge, in Fall River, Massachusetts and I consider this in the columbery category as well, since we had to cross it going to and from Yonkers.

I've only ever used that word in the presence of my parents and Brian.

The other word I can remember making up is 'mahlaylee'. I will spare you a visual because it's pretty gross, but it's ketchup mixed with tartar sauce. I remember being at the kitchen table, lost in my own thoughts, as my parents chatted over dinner. It would had to have been fish and french fries, for me to have had access to both of those condiments on one plate. I started stirring them together and was finally snapped out of it when my bemused mom finally said, 'Oh Joanne, stop doing that! Yuck!' I gleefully announced that I'd just invented mahlaylee. I went through a short phase of using that concoction every time I had fish & fries. I hate to admit it, but my mom was right: Yuck.

Where did these words come from? Why do I remember making them up so clearly at age 3 or 4, when I can't even remember something that happened last week? I've never asked any of my friends if they remember making up words and if so, what they were. Are we all harbouring this secret but are afraid to tell our friends for fear they'll think we're mad?

Can any of you, my dear readers, remember any words you made up when you were little, or am I a freak? A word that you still think of when you see the object for which the word was invented? I'd really like to know.

July 21, 2010

Comcast Bite of Seattle - July 16, 2010

Friday, July 16, dawned very cloudy and foggy. I was glad that we'd had such clear weather the day before. I met Joe at his hotel and we walked over to Westlake Center to get the monorail over to Seattle Center. We had planned on going up to the top of the Space Needle, but in that weather, there was no point in it. We were glad we went up Smith Tower on Thursday!

Seattle Center was where the 1962 World's Fair was held, so it's got a real 'Jetson/Space Age' look. Very retro. One new, and controversial, building in Seattle Center is Microsoft Co-Founder Paul Allen's Experience Music Project. I didn't take this picture, but this is what it looks like from above. It's supposed to look like smashed up guitars and instruments.

It's a crazy looking building, but it's a photographer's dream. Paul Allen has contributed a lot to Seattle, and because of his vast fortune, he is able to indulge in his teenage obsessions. EMP was built in homage to Jimi Hendrix, and I do want to check it out sometime. I hear it's a very interactive museum and there are lots of great exhibits. Paul Allen also houses his Science Fiction Museum at EMP. He owns the Seattle Seahawks & funded the building of Qwest Field.

We wandered around the Comcast Bite of Seattle. Everything smelled so good!!! Unfortunately I am not terribly skilled at walking while holding, and eating off of, a flimsy plate loaded with food. I did get some crispy chicken, which was so delicious but very rich and filling! My friend Debby was a finalist in the Beringer Bros. Winery Great Steak Challenge contest on the Food Network, so she cooked at The Bite on Saturday.

I had to leave a little earlier to get a jump on the Friday traffic, so we took the monorail back downtown and hung out for a little while before I left for home. I just want to say thanks again to Joe for coming up here to see me and playing tourist!! It was a blast!

And now that I know my way around a little bit better, I am more inclined to go up there and return to visit EMP, the Sci Fi Museum and do the top of the Space Needle!

July 19, 2010

Seattle - July 15, 2010 Part II: Underground Tour

While in Pioneer Square, we went on the famous Bill Speidel's Underground Tour. Seattle had a rough start in the mid and late 1800's, to say the least. For many reasons that are too extensive to go into without a complete dissertation of Seattle history, part of the city ended up below the new curbs that were built after the many tidal floods and a fire. What now remains of that area is full of rubble and abandoned bits of old Seattle. It was a very informative and interesting tour and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits. I learned more about the Seattle sewer system than I ever needed to know. Our tour guide, Shane, was absolutely hysterical and entertaining.

Part III will be Seattle Center.

July 17, 2010

Seattle - July 15, 2010 Part I: Oot and Aboot

Sorry if I haven't visited everyone's blogs in the last couple of days, but one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school was in town! He has to be in Portland next week for a conference and came up to Seattle so that we could hang out and explore the city.

I've been here for 11 years and had only been to Seattle a handful of times: Seattle Art Museum once, 1 Mariners game, twice to leave my car overnight to take the ferry to Canada, once to pick up and drop off Michelle at her hotel when she was in town briefly, and once to register with a temp agency. I'd been meaning to go up there and do the touristy stuff, but just never got motivated to do it, and it's only 37 miles away. I'm eternally grateful to Joe for not only coming out here to visit me, but for also letting me drag him around doing kitschy touristy stuff.

I got up there early on Thursday morning and we hit Pike Place Market and the surrounding area first:

Part II will be devoted to The Underground Tour!!!

July 14, 2010

Sunrise at Mt. Rainier

I got up bright and early today, and was out of the house by about 7:15 a.m., headed east towards Sunrise at Mt. Rainier National Park.

I had my road map, with route highlighted from Bonney Lake to the end of the road. Dig those crazy-ass switchbacks once you get into the park! It looks worse on the map than it was to drive.
I had my topo/trail map too.
And my guide book.
And of course my supplies: Sunblock, hat, frozen water, snack, whistle, knife, lip balm, inhaler, etc. You never ever EVER venture into remote parts of Washington without proper preparation. There is a first aid kit in my car, as well as an auto emergency kit. I also took a jacket with me just in case, didn't need it though.
It was a pleasant and uneventful early morning drive, once I got east of Enumclaw, which is the last major town before wilderness. I stopped at one view point area along the river on the way up there. I probably could have stopped at all of the view points, but I was anxious about the Sunrise Road and if it was going to be a white-knuckle drive or not. Not too far past the tiny community of Greenwater, was the entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park, and then shooting off to the right, Sunrise Road. I knew it was only 14 miles from the turn off to the parking lot at the top. However, I've lived on the west coast long enough to also know that 14 miles can mean an hour or more of 20 mph switchbacks. I was completely prepared to be hitting the brakes the entire way. I was so wrong. The only time I had to stop was due to road construction. There was a pilot car that had to escort traffic to and from a small stretch of road about halfway up. It was only about a 10 minute wait and I was lucky enough to be the first car in line both going up and coming down.

My first stop was at Sunrise Point, which scenery was actually far more dramatic than at the visitor center. I could see from Mt. Adams in the south all the way to Mt. Baker in the north, on the Canadian border. And oh my god there was so much snow!!

The final mile or so was a little hairy. I kept up an audible chant the entire way, "just don't look just don't look". I had my hand up blocking my peripheral vision because I could tell I was up high. Very, very high. With NO guardrails and a sheer drop off on the side.

Sunrise Visitor Center is at 6,400 feet, which is the highest point to which you can drive in Mt. Rainier National Park. To put this in perspective, the highest point in New England is the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, at 6,288 feet. The parking lot at Sunrise is at 6,400 and there is still a giant volcano towering above you. Rainier tops out at 14,410 feet.

It was so deliciously quiet at the top, except for the roar of the river way down below. I walked a couple of the trails and was surprised how winded I got and realized it was the altitude. I know we aren't supposed to approach the wildlife but this little guy hopped into my backpack and wouldn't come out, so I took him home.

Enjoy the slideshow!

July 13, 2010

Barbie At 50

The bitch finally gets her comeuppance.
I'm going to drive up to Mt. Rainier. I hear the road to Sunrise is....erm...."challenging". I'm a little nervous about going up there alone, so we'll see how far I get before I chicken out and turn around. I live like 45 miles from The Mountain and have never been. It's about time. And I really do want to go alone. I've driven on some pretty hairy mountain roads before, but usually with someone in the car with me. The worst one was Pike's Peak in Colorado, in thick fog with no guardrails on an unpaved road. Needless to say, I won't be doing any of my reckless famous "shooting-pics-while-driving" stunts. The goal is to drive all the way to the Sunrise Visitor Center, and then check out some easy trails from up there. Sunrise is the highest place in the park that you can drive to, at about 6,400 feet; Rainier's summit is 14,410 feet. Watch this space for photos!

July 12, 2010

Fun with Seed Beads

And I mean 'fun' in the most sarcastic sense of the word. It's not that I hate seed beads, but they are tiny and working with them is time consuming. My bff/kindred spirit/sister Michelle works absolute magic with the tiny bastards. Me, I'm lucky if I break them out twice a year. I started working with seed beads first, in the late 80's & early 90's and was very prolific at that time. Now, not so much. I like working with larger beads that string quickly. There's way more instant gratification.

But there were a couple of projects I'd been wanting to get to, involving seed beads, so I decided to get it over with create them.

I had some really pretty pastel coloured plastic leaf beads and another one of those metal rings with the loops all the way around the edges.
I may try to stablize the center strands a bit better to clean up the way it looks where all of the beaded strands intersect.
This pretty pale green & gold glitter lampwork heart bead came from that grab bag I blogged about earlier this year. It hangs down from the center, lower than leaves.

Little blue leaf below the hanging loop.

I also got silver metal filigree butterflies in the grab bag.
Here is that same butterfly with green seed beads and crystals sewn onto the holes.

Medium & Large butterflies with crystals and beads sewn onto the wings.

A trio of beaded filigree butterflies!

July 11, 2010

Jody Bergsma Designs Colouring Book

I just finished a Jody Bergsma Design colouring book, that I started last fall. There were about 18 designs in all. I did them with gel pens and coloured pencils. I really enjoyed doing this book and am kind of sad that I finished it. As always, click on the pics to see the detail of the shading and such. I coloured this one with Jaime and her nephew in mind.

I kept dragging my hand through the wet gel pens when I first started, hence the big smudge on the bottom right. It was a conscious effort on my part not to keep doing that.The gel pens really make the pictures shimmer, which is hard to see when the pages are scanned.

I had to rely on the internet in order for me to use the accurate colour scheme on the birds.

This was the final picture in the book and of all of them, this is my fave the way it came out.