Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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To All The Dogs I’ve Loved Before… Maria Gianferrari’s Inspirations for “Hello Goodbye Dog” (plus a giveaway!)

Source: To All The Dogs I’ve Loved Before… Maria Gianferrari’s Inspirations for “Hello Goodbye Dog” (plus a giveaway!)

DOGS! This is such a fun post about favorite dogs and literary dogs. Who are your favorite dogs? Real life and imagined!

Maggie, Jessie, Jody…


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Sea to Ski: Anniversary Travel & Fun

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Pre-hike view of Mt. Rainier

While celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary last week, we experienced what I have tagged a Sea to Ski holiday. In our area, there is a Ski to Sea athletic event, and we certainly engaged in exercise during portions of our explorations, but nothing up to iron man/woman or triathlon levels. Not even close.

Fun, fast, feast, foray. That’s was our goal.

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Seattle from Alki (West Seattle)

Sea = Day 1 Trip to Seattle

We dined on extremely tasty blackened cod tacos and salad at Salty’s on Alki. We walked along the beach, rode the water taxi across the bay to the Seattle waterfront, hiked the Pike Street Hill Climb, enjoyed clam chowder at Ivar’s, and scoured an antique store for a tiny glass bottle. Parking was just fine at Salty’s and the water taxi was a treat.

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The Seattle skyline from the water taxi

Ski = Day 2 Trip to Mt. Rainier

Technically, we did not ski. But we hiked in the mountains. And saw plenty of snow. We parked at Ohanapecosh Campground and hit the trail leading through the hot springs, past Silver Falls, discovered a new trail (for us) to the Grove of the Patriarchs, and totalled over 6 up and down miles. About 60 floors in elevation gains, according to my Iphone. For hot days, this was perfect, as most of the trail was shade covered, gorgeous, and green.

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The hiking look

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See? A nice and shady path

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Waterfall and creek at Ohanapecosh 

Ride = Day 3 Motorcycle Loop

To make up for the hiking, we sat on the bike to see the sights. We traveled up Highway 410, gazed at the packed snow and ice gracing the top of Chinook Pass, followed Highway 123 to Highway 12, and returned through Naches to make a loop ride. We took the back road around Clear and Rimrock Lake. There was no lack for beauty, but it was getting pretty hot by the time we completed the ride.

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Mt. Rainier from Chinook Pass

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We left early to avoid the heat, so the morning hours required layers and layers! Which slowly came off as the mercury rose.

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Our shadows and us admiring the snow and Mt. Rainier

Watch = Day 4 Movie to Beat the Heat

As per suggested temps of 100, we hit the theater to take in the new Pirates movie. We both loved this episode as it tied in to the original three. AND we avoided the gagging heat.

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Ferns at Ohanapecosh 

All in all, we had a fantastic anniversary holiday, me and my honey. The northwest is full of gems, just ready for exploring.

Where do you love to go? All ideas are welcome…next trip is just around the corner.

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 Fish tacos at Salty’s


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Daddy and Me: Throwback Thursday

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1970 – and I was stylin’! Most weekends, the Hill family, a complete set of 6 by that year, hit the road touring the historic, interesting, or just plain hot sites and locations of Arizona.

Station wagon, two parents, dog, 4 kids, full gas tank, and off we would go. Funny, I don’t remember seeing any maps. We just seemed to find these fun places. In 1970 I was about 8 and in second grade, so perhaps maps didn’t hit my radar. As long as we made the mandatory stops for pop, chips, a loaf of white bread, and a package of hot dogs, we were happy campers.

I remember Colossal Cave. Not so much the interior, which I am sure was cool and interesting and quite a break from the heat. But the name is clearly imprinted in my memories.

It didn’t matter what we did as a family. The important thing was spending time together, whether we were chasing horned toads (they squirt blood you know!), scaring off rattlesnacks, stopping to pick tortoises off the road (good old Humperdink), or camping at Turkey Creek, we loved hitting the road as much as our parents did.

Or maybe they didn’t enjoy it. With 4 kids and a revolving zoo of pets in a single wide trailer, I bet they HAD to get out of the house on the weekends, for sanity purposes.

Just kidding. We loved exploring. I got that from my dad and my mom.

Excuse me while I grab a loaf of white bread and some hot dogs. Feeling a road trip coming on…


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One More Hug

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One more hug.

That’s what I wish for. Just 1, maybe 2 long hugs.

Before I say good-bye.

But it’s too late. I’ve missed the chance. You’re gone.

 

I’ll remember our last day together.

Talking, remembering, sharing, eating.

That one half hug when I arrived.

It wasn’t enough.

 

So I’ll grab all those memories,

Wrap them tight in my heart.

Keep them close to ease the pain.

An invisible hug for eternity.

 

Missing you.

 

For my Dad.

My Daddy passed away on Good Friday, April 14. I was blessed to spend the day with Daddy and Mama, talking and visiting and hanging out. He went on to Heaven later that evening. We had the gift of clear-minded conversation and enjoyment of recalling my growing-up years the entire day. I even learned a few things I hadn’t known. I miss him dreadfully and worry about Mama without her love of nearly 57 years of marriage. But I know he is fine and she’s not alone. She has her kids, a part of Daddy. We will share our heart hugs about Daddy and remember the good times.

But I would still love one more hug.

Don’t wait. Hug with abandon.


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Coffee Like Papa

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As I was recently pouring cream into my coffee, adding just enough until the creamy clouds billowed up to the top breaking the surface of enticing black, I remembered my Papa. He liked his coffee the same way, at least when I was serving. I realized that I had adopted the same habit and method of adding cream to my coffee.

“Just pour it in until it swirls back up,” he told me. For the coffee was always hot or brewing at Grandma and Papa’s, usually available with some choice of sweet dessert. And evaporated milk, punctured open and sitting beside the sugar bowl, was ever at the ready.

Now my personal choice is half and half. But back then, that little red and white can was perfectly fine. Because we were sipping our brew together and catching up on the news of the day.

Cone on over and we’ll have coffee. Just like Papa.

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Love and Chocolate

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All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.

~ Charles M. Schulz

 

Love comes from many places: a spouse, parents, siblings, children, grands, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Don’t stop there. Call it what you will, but I know my cats give me love, dogs give love, and pets of all sorts show attachment to owners. Living, breathing people and animals give love. Love is not easy to understand, is sometimes challenging to offer, and this side of Heaven is totally imperfect. It can’t be forced but it can be reciprocated. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to love, as difficult and trying as it sometimes is. Just trying counts. Hoping tomorrow I can do my part in spreading the love. And some chocolate.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

May your Valentine’s Day be filled with love and dark chocolate.

 


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Throwback Thursday: Sunday Markets, I Miss You!

Summer farmer markets, oh how I look forward to you! Enjoy this throwback post from August 2009.

The fountain at Place Monge on Sunday Market day

Place Monge (Paris) fountain on Sunday Market day

In France, one of the things we truly enjoyed was the Sunday market held in the Place Monge town square. One could buy ANYTHING needed for eating, drinking, or giving. One Sunday we encountered a simultaneous flea market, but I could never figure out when another was going to be staged. I so wanted another chance at finding treasures!

On any given Sunday, there was no lack of choices for purchase at the market. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers were squashed in among stalls of stinky cheese and fish, raw meat and poultry. Lucious homemade breads competed for the winning fragrance award with occasional ‘meals made for you right now.’ The entire experience was a delight for the senses. Taking home the goods – mouth-watering sustenance.

flowers on Sunday Market

Flowers at Sunday Market

Meat vendor at Place Monge

Meat vendor at Place Monge

vegetable vendor at Place Monge

Produce vendor at Place Monge

Market fare from Place Monge

A meal comprised of market fare from Place Monge

Many years ago, in the Yakima Valley, a Sunday farmer’s market was hatched. Of course, being at church  most of each Sunday, we did not frequent the market. In fact, we boycotted it simply because it should be held on Saturdays (our opinion) so market workers and go-ers could attend church on Sunday. Granted, I don’t believe our boycott gained any new members of a church anywhere…

With our recent life change of full Sunday church responsibilities to experiencing ‘house church’ at a local park on Sunday mornings, we decided we would check it out – to see what the rest of the valley does on Sunday mornings. It seems that many residents take pride and joy at what is locally available, fresh from the fields, and the hands of gardeners, farmers, and crafters.

Sunday Market in Yakima

Sunday Market in Yakima

Pleasantly surprised, we found a plethora of aromatic and tasty produce, fruit, home-produced crafts, and food items. Mixed in was a variety of ethnic food stalls (I love the panset and lumpia) and shoppers galore.

Checking out the goods

Checking out the goods

An added bonus was musical entertainment. Steel drum music was such a wonderful accompaniment to the outing.

My grandbaby hits the Sunday Market

My oldest grandbaby (now he is 7) hits the Sunday Market

We encountered people we knew, interacted with community members, and socialized under the hot sun. Purchasing fresh produce and showing off our grandson were top prizes for the day.

Hayden with Papa at the Yakima Sunday Market

Hayden with Papa at the Yakima Sunday Market

I guess the boycott was a misguided waste of time. The Master Gardener did not stick Himself in church and stay there all day on Sundays. He was out among the people, out in the community. Perhaps more productive to relationship building, making new friends, and reaching out is to be where the people are…not where we think they should be, but where they actually are.

A challenge to myself – where are the families in my community on any given Sunday morning? Maybe it’s time I found out…and made some new friends.


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Stocking Number 5 (Or 11) – Christmas Traditions

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I just completed stocking number 5. Or 11, depending on how far back you want to go.

Autumn, the youngest grand princess, wore her Christmas stocking just in the nick of time, since all other stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and mommy and daddy were patiently waiting for Nana to finish sewing for the fourth family member.

Christmas is a very short time away, right?

Making Christmas stockings became a tradition as soon and my honey and I were married. I strip-pieced matching stockings for both of us about 31 years ago. They have been used every year, except this one, when they are hiding in storage. And maybe next year, which will most likely be the same.

After each of our two children were born, I made them giant strip-pieced stockings. Somewhere (again, in the storage unit) are pictures of them wearing their stockings. As adults, Taylor and Chelsie both have their stockings in their own homes. Spouses (and child-of-our-hearts) received their own stocking. All that was missing were the baby pictures in stockings, but, well, they are just too big to wear them!

Jump forward to the next generation of grands.

First came Hayden, our 4-wheelin’ boy. Nana got busy right away to make him a stocking.

Next came Khloe, Princess of the Blue Eyes. Nana stitched and sewed to get her set for Christmas.

Donavyn, the brown-eyed ducky boy, came next. Here he is wearing his stocking beside his baby sister. He barely fits!

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Gage, little wild man, made his appearance over a year ago. Nana dusted off the sewing machine and created his stocking.

And finally, Autumn. Last winter, when I was making Gage’s stocking, I cut out the base for another stocking, since we knew grand number 5 was on the way. Good thing for me, as we didn’t know we would soon be shoving all of our belongings into a tiny storage unit. When my Christmas senses kicked in, all I had to do was pull out the trunk with my fabric, dig out the stocking base and Christmas fabric, and I was reading to sew.

Stocking number 5. Or 11, depending on where you want to start counting. For us, it all began 31 years ago.

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Coloring Books & Oranges

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Deal of the day: Coloring books!

This is a big deal. I know they’re all the rage right now, and are you not glad? We grew up with coloring books. Not the adult sort that is popular, but books featuring cartoon characters and now-iconic movie themes. Frosty, Rudolph, Tom and Jerry, Barbie…the list is quite long. And I’ve probably had at least one coloring book for each character.

Christmas and coloring books go hand in hand. Opening that freshly minted box of unbroken and pointy tipped crayons and deciding which picture to color in first – that was one of our growing up years Christmas traditions.

Our stockings always had an orange, an apple, and nuts. Add some assorted hard candies, never enough chocolate, small toys, coloring books, and crayons!  I’m not sure we had the coloring books and crayons every year, but often enough that I associate them with Christmas morning and full stockings!

I carried on the tradition for our two children when they were young. Coloring books, crayons, chocolate, and candies. For some reason, I dropped the fruit and nuts, though now at my mature age, I view them as synonymous with Christmas stockings.

During college (yes, waayyyy before adult coloring books hit the market), my college friends and residents of the dorm I lived in often sat in the hallways with coloring books and crayons, happily coloring, visiting, and enjoying much-needed stress relief.

As an adult, I still have coloring books. I recently found a lovely nature-themed adult coloring book. I also have a journaling Bible, complete with multiple illustrations ready for me to color.

And today, I purchased old-fashioned coloring books – Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa. I just need crayons,  apples, oranges, and nuts.

Because now I can pass along the coloring traditions to the grands.