Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Playing Dress-Up At 50-Something

Gorgeous! From Peregrine UK. Flattering collar, a-symmetrical line is nice for larger women, yet it's not baggy. Big buttons are like jewelry.

I love fashion, but I've been feeling fashion-challenged for a while. It's been hard for me to get used to today's styles. The layered, lowered, non-matchy, thrown together look is simply not what I learned from mom. Back in the day you never let your underwear show, always wore solid color bottoms with printed tops (with the exception of plaid skirts), you wore dressy shoes with dresses and casual shoes with jeans. My 40 and 50-something coworkers seem to be able to pull off the dresses-over-leggings-with ballet slippers-look, but when I try I feel silly...like an older woman trying to look like a teenager. How revolting!  So I always revert to my old standard...taylored blouses over jeans with loafers. Boring!!!

But after reading this article http://afemmeduncertainage.blogspot.com/2011/08/dressing-up-working-chez-vous.html in A Femme d'Uncertain Age, I decided that it's high time I pull myself together and join this decade; fashionably speaking. I visited this site http://www.fashionafter50.com/ and took the fashion archetype quiz. (You know I can't do anything without turning it into a research project!) Having determined that my style is somewhere between classic and sporty, with a hint of bohemian, I went shopping in my own closet for some new outfits. There were more nice things in my wardrobe than I imagined...they were just crammed between stuff I hate (because it's too small, doesn't fit, or was a hasty, stupid purchase.) 

I spent a Saturday morning trying different combinations from what I already owned and came up with a very nice wardrobe, if I do say so myself!

Here's the process I followed:

1. Figure out what style you are. I found the quiz in the Fashion After 50 website very helpful in determining what I like and why.

2. Get rid of everything in your closet that you hate. Doesn't matter why. Face it. If you don't like it you're never going to wear it again; and if you do, you'll feel like a schmuck. Like that shiny gold blouse I bought for Christmas 3 years ago. After seeing a photo of myself in that shirt, I never wore it again. I looked like a big shiny mylar balloon in that blouse. Fly away, mylar-balloon shirt!!! If you like it but it doesn't fit, put it in a box marked 'too big', or 'too small'.  And NO! You can't wear a blouse or jacket that's too small opened with a t-shirt under it. It'll feel like a straight-jacket. Geez, would you make your kids wear stuff that's too small? I thought not.

3. Now look at what is left. Start trying on slacks and skirts with different tops. Look at yourself in a full length mirror. Note what looks good together. Add jackets or sweaters. Try camisoles under low cut tops. For myself, I soon discovered that I look best in solid colors with a printed scarf or interesting jewelry. If I wear a printed top, it usually needs to be layered under a nice solid-colored jacket or sweater. I found that my beloved calico shirts look great under jeans jackets. It's especially flattering (with my added girth) to have the shirt drop well below the jeans jacket waistline, covering the fullest part of my hips.  Be sure to try different shoes and boots with each outfit.

Classic Trucker Jacket - Blue Thunder - Levi's - levi.com
Jeans Jacket with calico blouse. Jacket from levi.com
4. Try your t-shirts under jackets or sweaters. I discovered that the most versatile piece of clothing in my closet is a $7 scoop-necked black t-shirt. It is dynamite under a classic white blouse with some silver jewelry!  It looks equally great under jackets and sweaters and is the perfect backdrop for almost any jewelry or scarf. While we're talking about t-shirts, remember that it's nice to have a snug camisole to wear beneath them. It helps to keep those muffin tops from spilling over the waistline of your jeans. (I know some gals wear 'body-shapers'. I refuse. A girdle by any other name is still a girdle in my book! I'd rather face the facts and shed some excess weight than to squeeze my torso into an 'ace bandage'. Had enough of that in the 1970's. But that's just me. To each her own.) The cami will also conceal cleavage in today's low cut t-shirts... if you're like me and prefer to keep 'the girls' covered up.
Do I need to mention that low-rider jeans on anybody past 30 are just wrong? Bad, bad, bad. I once arrived to a community college class late. Most of the seats were filled with young women.  Walking into that room from behind was very revealing...literally. I just have to say this: if you are the slightest bit heavy, that thong under your low rider jeans will make you look frumpy and sleazy. If you're slender, you won't look frumpy...just sleazy. Cracks are for sidewalks, not ladies.

4. Accessories are key if you are dressing simply. The right pair of earrings or scarf can jazz up the plainest outfit. Fortunately, I've always loved scarves, so I have a whole box of them to choose from. My all-time favorite is a beautiful paisley toned scarf in purples, reds, and golds. Its stunning with mossy greens.

5. This is key, girls! Make a list of all the outfits you've tried that you really feel good in. I can't tell you how often I've stumbled out of the shower not knowing or even caring what to wear. One these days its good to pick something off of the list. It's a no-brainer. Sometimes you need no-brainers before your first cup of coffee!

6. While you're making lists, note any additions you'd like to have in your wardrobe. Include anything that would give your outfits pizazz- jewelry, hosiery, shoes, even make-up. Keep the list in your purse. Next trip to the mall you'll be glad you have it. It'll save you from the impulsive urge to buy something that looks great on a mannequin-but doesn't go with a darn thing in your closet.

Chadwicks...these are definitely my colors! Simple jacket and top, printed scarf for interest.

Simple and easy to wear...Chadwicks again. Note the easy white t-shirt that sits lower than the jacket. Scarf rounds it all out.

I don't pretend to be a fashionista, but updating my look a bit has been fun! After all, you're never too old to play dress-up!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

Update-The Journey of a Thousand Miles

For those who haven't been following my blog...I'm training to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain...probably in 2016. The Camino de Santiago is a 400 mile pilgrimage from the French Pyranees to Santiago, Spain; following the footsteps of Saint James. I need to lose weight and get myself fit. To achieve this, I'm walking everywhere I can, as often as I can. Last weekend we went camping and of course, we hiked. Here are some photos from the trip.
We were above the rainbow on the North Cascade Highway above Diablo Dam. This is Diablo Lake, and yes, it really is that color! Look closely above the power lines to see a faint bit of the rainbow.

Forest primeval. We hiked outside of the town of Newhalem through this old forest. The trees remind me of the Ents in "Lord of the Rings." I wonder what they'd say if they could speak.

Hubby and Koda-having a little discussion on the suspension bridge in Newhalem.

 Kelly:  "Koda, you need to heel. You can't just try to pull me over this bridge." 
 Koda: "Sorry Dad,  I was just sooo excited. Did you see the squirrel on the other side?"

Since the end of summer and the beginning of the school year I have not been very punctual about my promised Sunday progress reports. This is partly because I pulled a hip muscle and had to lay off for a time, and partly because of my work schedule. Well, I'm happy to say that I am back on track! Here's how it looked last week.

Weight gain/loss: I've lost 4 pounds from my original weigh-in! Hooray! 31pounds to go!

Distance: Haven't measured my walking distance this week, but I've walked a ton. I'll start using the pedometer again this week. The great thing is, now I always consider walking before driving. If it's a trip to the library or downtown, I try to walk. And I'm absolutely addicted to our walks in the woods with Koda. I don't know who misses it more when we don't go; Koda or me!

Strategies: I am planning a breakfast-to-lunch walk in Bellingham. Probably next weekend. I'll start in Fairhaven and have a light breakfast. Then I'll walk to the north end of Bellingham for 4 hours, and have lunch somewhere at the end of the route. This is typical of people who walk the Camino de Santiago. They stay in hostels, rising at about 6 a.m. They have breakfast, then walk to the next small village and eat lunch. After this they walk again for several more hours to another village and have dinner at local inns. So I'm going to work on walking 4 hours chunks.

I'm also planning to start having Kelly drop me off in different locations when we are running errands. He can drive on to the destination, do the errand, then backtrack and pick me up on the way.

I've been doing some reading about the Camino de Santiago, and am becoming very excited about it...even though it'll be a few years before I walk it. The idea of spending nearly a month with only the thoughts of walking, eating, sleeping, and prayer is so intriguing!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Klipchuck Campground and Early Winters Creek

If you read my last post, you'll remember that we went camping last weekend in Eastern Washington. Technically it's the center of Washington, but to 'coasters' like us, anything east of the Cascade Mountain Range is 'eastern'. This is where we spent our second night. The campground is called 'Klipchuck' and is situated about 20 miles outside of Winthrop, Washington.(Klipchuck means 'deep water.') Early Winters Creek runs through a ravine below the campground. We fell asleep to the sound of the waters dashing against the rocks.

There were warning signs posted about rattlesnakes in the Campground. Since there are virtually no poisonous snakes in Western Washington, we were a little wary after reading the signs. However, a knowledgeable forest ranger assured us that it is much too late in the year for rattlers to be out and about. She said that they hibernate in dens below the earth and rocks. There can be hundreds of them in a den. She went on to say  that even if we did encounter a stray snake, it would be too lethargic to strike. Hmmm. Well, since we came to hike, we donned our boots and headed down to the creek, still a bit uneasy. This is also cougar and bear territory. We've decided to purchase some kind of a weapon to take when hiking in wilderness areas...but we haven't gotten one yet. Now I'm not fond of guns at all, but cougars are pretty mean, so I've relented on my 'no weapons policy' so that we can tramp about the woods safely. It is nice to have Koda dog along. We know she'd smell another animal long before we saw it. I half expected to see a cougar crossing the creek on those fallen timbers. But I didn't. The only wildlife we saw were squirrels, deer, eagles, and bluejays.
I wish you could smell these pine trees.

  Pine trees make me feel all cozy...like Christmas and log cabins and patchwork quilts.

When we got home I dug this half-finished needlework project out of the sewing bag. I'm gonna finish it... to remind me of our stay at Klipchuck and Early Winters Creek.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Question of Balance

We took our new campervan over the Cascade mountain range this weekend...in search of the sun. (Autumn has come to the Northwest and so has the rain.) Many folks aren't aware that the Eastern half of our state is quite dry and arid...not at all like  'Sleepless in Seattle', which is how most foreigners imagine Washington State. In fact, Winthrop, Washington, our destination, advertises 300 sunny days per year. (They omit the part about the sun shining on the snow!) Winthrop is a charming 'Western-style' town. The outlying areas remind me of 'The Ponderosa' from Bonanza.

We pulled into Goodell Creek Campground in Newhalem late the first night. Newhalem is still on the west side of the Cascades at only about 500 feet above sea level. Diablo Dam is situated on the Skagit River in Newhalem. On Saturday morning we explored the campground and the river. This is what we found on the river's gravel bar...

How appropriate! Here we were, looking for some balance in our lives, trying to carve out some rest and relaxation and what do we find; but a river bar littered with inukshuks!

Inukshuks as the Inuit call them or Cairns, as the Celts call them have been around for centuries. They are markers, whose significance is defined by their builders. They may be boundaries or geographical markers. They may be messages for those who follow. Or they may be holy places. Abraham built an altar of stones to God at Bethel, which means 'house of God'. His grandson Jacob visited the place years later and had an encounter there with angels who were descending on a heavenly ladder. So when you see an inukshuk, it would do you well to be reverent. Who knows what kind of prayers have been prayed in this place?


Inukshuks are not easy to build. Neither is a life of balance. You must find a solid base, one broad enough to support future stones. Diverse shapes, textures, and colors are important to create interest. The real challenge is to make them stand. Do you have a solid base in your life? Have you any color or texture to it? Is it standing strong, or are you trying to add things that will cause it to topple?

My inukshuk is the second picture from the top. The one with the leaf delicately balanced on top. I will leave you to try and interepret it's meaning if you wish.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too Pooped to Post

      School started last Wednesday. After staying up all summer until 1 a.m. and lounging in bed until 10 a.m., I'm back on a schedule. Up at 6:30 a.m. and back in bed by 10.
      Every year my work schedule changes. This year I'm a morning greeter, followed by doing literature and spelling with special needs 3rd and 4th graders, then lit with 5th and 6th graders. After that I'm off to kindergarten. Our poor kindergarten teachers each have 29 students this year. It's like herding cats! I have a 45 minute lunch/break, then its math time for the first and second graders...followed by 3rd and 4th graders, then 5th and 6th graders.
     Our school buses have not been arriving on time because the person who schedules them quit abruptly, and nobody seems to know what's going on. They completely eliminated service to one of the main roads on the Lummi Reservation where several of our students live. So the students have to catch a bus at our school, then go to another school and transfer to another bus which will take them to the end of their road...where they will walk home. This isn't easy for the little guys! So I've been staying after my scheduled shift and making sure that the older kids know exactly what/where they're supposed to be, and asking them to keep an eye on the younger children. Two days ago a bus driver was so annoyed with his rowdy passengers that he parked in the school lot and refused to take them home until they settled down. They sat there for a whole hour! I think (hope) he was dismissed after that. I know that driving a bus is trying job, but c'mon! 
     Our school computers aren't working right and we can't open our mail or use the internet, and as of today many classrooms still have no computers at all for their students. Notwithstanding, I found the usual form in my mailbox demanding that I pledge not to surf the web while working. No problem! I have neither the equipment nor the time to surf the web.
     I'm pooped! My feet ache from being on them all day and by 10 p.m. I'm asleep in the recliner. Hence, fewer posts and comments. I expect to be acclimated to my new schedule in a week or so.
     I love my job. I really mean that. Wouldn't want to do anything else!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gettin' On Down the Road In Style

Koda's not quite ready to stay in hotels. We're not ready to give up vacations. The solution...our new Kodahome. This way we can travel comfortably with our furry friend and pull our little boat. Next year it's Yellowstone or bust!

There was a vintage RV rally in Lynden this weekend. I love, love, love vintage trailers. Even though we're not ready to buy one, we stopped to have a look. What fun!
This one had a definite 'Jetson's theme.' It's circa 1961.
Folks take this seriously. It's not enough to have a vintage trailer. One must have the matching automobile, bicycle, and every other vintage accessory one can imagine. Love the old car.
Adorable. The striped awnings are so cute.
This is a 1954 tent trailer.
I really like these little pastel colored trailers.
Teardrops are cute, but Kelly and I agree, we couldn't sleep in one. Too confining.
The back of them opens up to become a full service kitchen. Very nifty. But you've gotta have good weather for these units...or a nice canopy and some great outdoor clothing.
Pile the kids into the old station wagon and off you go. Play the license plate game, I spy, Beetle safety, and if things get too rowdy threaten to pull the car over if they don't straighten up. Remember?
A slice of vintage Americana. Love it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Day Trip to Mount Baker

We drove up to Mount Baker yesterday and hiked through Heather Meadows. I named my daughter Heather after this place. She is much like this place...lovely and serene, yet possessing inner strength. 

Of course, Koda came along. There are hundreds of little trails one can follow through these alpine meadows. Heather plants and wild blueberries line the rocky trails and mountainside. We are on Wild Goose Trail.

The valleys are dotted with glacial lakes and ponds. Koda wants to take a dip.

Glorious reflection of the surrounding majesty.

C'mon Dad, toss a stick for me!

Kelly throws a stick, but it sinks to the bottom. Determined pup does some 'snorkeling' to find it.

What's that Koda? That's not your stick! You brought us a log from the bottom of the lake! LOL

No problem, guys....I'll just break a stick off of this bush for you to toss!

We got up there at about 4:30. Before long, the sun was setting behind the mountains and it was getting dark.

We left at dusk. A bright half-moon was shining over the peaks and valleys as we motored down the winding roads from the mountain. Glacier, the last town before Mt. Baker has some nice restaurants, so we stopped at Milanos Italian Restaurant for a wonderful meal. Kelly had the lasagna, I had fettucini primavera with sweet sausage. Koda slept in the car...she was tired from her adventure on the mountain. What a pleasant outing!

Memories of Mt. Baker from My Childhood

Mount Baker holds many pleasant memories for me. When I was a child, once each summer my parents would load the old car with a picnic basket and a shovel (Mom often dug wild ferns for our yard), and we'd head up to the mountain. Dad would tell stories of his days with the CCC Camp as a cook in a lumber camp, and Mom would  point out the cabin near Glacier where she and Dad moved early in their marriage. It was pretty primitive up there, but they somehow got along. Often we'd stop along the way and fill a cup with icy water from a mountain stream or small waterfall. Let me just say at this point...that water you buy at the 7-11 bears no resemblance to pure glacial fed mountain water, no matter what the price or label! If the vine maples had turned red, Dad would get out his jack-knife and cut some crimson branches for Mom to enjoy on our dining room table. (Please don't write scathing notes about 'not harvesting and leaving no footprint', these were different times and there were no such laws. We were not wasteful people, or insensitive to the environment-we were enjoying natures bounty-and with our limited means, we appreciated it very much.) I feel very sad sometime for children today. They are so removed from their 'protected' environment, that they may not even take a broken seashell from the beach, or a pretty rock as a remembrance of their visit! The know nothing of finding wild blackberries or blueberries and the joy of eating them fresh from the vine, with purple juices dripping from their chins and staining their fingers. They believe that food comes from supermarkets and water from a faucet...or worse, a plastic bottle. And they are horrified to think that a bug may have rested on the head of lettuce that has become their dinner salad. Heaven help us! Rant over.

File:Brooklyn Museum - Mt. Baker, Washington, From the Frazier River - Albert Bierstadt - overall.jpg

Mt. Baker from the Fraser River, circa 1880 by Albert Bierstadt

More of Mount Baker

 Mt. Baker is an active volcano, rising 11,000 feet. It 's base is about 40 miles from my home in Lynden, and it's snow-capped peak gazes down upon our county like a serene monarch. The native Americans call it Komo Kulshan. They tell a charming story of Kulshan and his two wives, one equally beautiful to him, and the other less attractive but more amicable. Kulshan eventually favored his less beautiful wife for her charming personality. The pretty wife left him, hoping he would seek her out...but he did not. She missed him terribly and rose up on her toes to look toward him every day. She rose so high that she became Mt. Rainer. The other wife became great with child. She wanted to go to her people of the sea to give birth. So Kulshan persuaded all of his animal friends with claws to dig a great channel for her to ride down the mountain in her canoe. This was how the Nooksack river was formed. The wife road down the river to the ocean and gave birth. Not wishing to be haughty as the first wife, she chose to lie down in the ocean so that people could walk on her shoulders and head. This, say the Lummi Natives, is how Spieden Island came to be.

How blessed it is to live under the shadow of the Mountain, and at the edge of the sea!


Thursday, September 1, 2011


Koda's spending the night at the veterinary hospital...she ate something disagreeable and they're keeping an eye on her tummy. They want to be sure it passes through her digestive tract OK. Words cannot express how much I miss her tonight. She became a part of our pack on Halloween 2010 and she's changed our lives forever. Kelly and I are both head over heels in love with this dog. She's my child, my friend, companion, commiserator, playmate, walking partner, and more. I hate it that she's spending the night alone. Just hate it! I'm sure she's gonna be just fine, and I'm mighty glad to have such a great doggy doctor (and the money it takes to pay him) but I want my sweet Koda dog here...tail a-waggin', goofy smile, and all!

More Prize Winning Quilts from the Fair

Here are more prize winning quilts from the N.W. Washington Fair. They are simply amazing!

A local scene. Mt. Baker and the Twin Sisters Mountains reflected in an alpine lake.

This quilt makes me think of an old game we played as children...Button, Button, Who's Got The Button?

Adorable feathered friends!

Fabulous applique!

Close ups of the applique

More close ups

Log cabins on a log cabin quilt

On-point design. Lovely!

Just look at the intricasies of this quilt!

I could look at quilts for hours! Which one do you like best?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...