Sunday, June 28, 2015

Relaxation - its a good thing!

We all kind of chilled out yesterday.  It was warm by Washington standards but they got nothing on Carolina.  Anyhow, it was nice.  This morning I admired the stones/pebbles/rocks by Robin's cellar door.

Michel apologized through the kitchen window for making noise with the blender - I told him he need not apologize to me for making noise to make me lunch!  He said, "Well I am just making the mint pesto to go with the lamb chops."

A French chef making me lamb chops for lunch, his daughter heading to the garden to pick the lettuce we will have with it, the sound of a cork being popped from the bottle of red wine, pebble discussions, Theo asleep by my side - stretched out relaxed sleep - and a cool breeze in the shade on the deck.  Yeah, I'd say life is pretty good right now.  ; )

Hard to tear myself away to go to Crescent Lake Sunday… but it sounds wonderful too!  Here's a description from their website:

"Lake Crescent, a cold, clear, glacially-carved lake, owes its existence to ice. Its azure depths, which plummet to 624feet, were gouged by huge ice sheets thousands of years ago. As the ice retreated, it left behind a steep valley that filled with the clear blue waters of Lake Crescent.  The lake's waters have very little nitrogen. This limits the growth of phytoplankton, tiny plants (like algae) that float in lake waters.   Without them, the water stays clear.  In some places you might see as far  down as 60 feet. Clarity and reflecting light give Lake Crescent its stunning blue-green color. Its protected waters are home to fish like the Beardslee and Crescenti trout, two  types of fish found nowhere else in the world."

From there we will go on to the Pacific coast for a few days… might not have Internet for a couple days, but will bring a full report upon my return!

Friday, June 26, 2015


…or are they stones?

We had a discussion about that today.

Anyhow, I'm enjoying them.  I remember collecting some along the beach when I was here before.  I remember especially liking the ones with the thin white lines through them, like this:

And when I arrived here I admired one of Robin's collection's on her windowsill.

And on the island in her kitchen.

And in her yard - this is just one of many little collections:

You who know me can probably see why I like it here.

When we were walking on the beach yesterday Robin mentioned that the last time I was here I found a stone that she really liked.  When she said she was jealous of it, I gave it to her…  that was nice.  So later when she found this beauty, the pick of the day, I told her I was jealous.   She immediately handed it over.  I told her I was joking, but she wouldn't take it back, even though I was (half) kidding.  Anyhow, now its MINE, all MINE!

Rock of the day, side 1

Rock of the day, side 2

Jealous, eh?  Yep, its a beauty.  I can see a whole a mountain range in side 2.  And the rock (stone?) is only 2 1/2 inches wide.

Today was a nice lazy day.  Old man Theo needed to rest up.  He snored most of the day, while I painted on the north deck in the shade and cool breeze.  Michel's daughter Isabelle joined me for awhile - she has a good artistic eye - so we enjoyed that.  I had left Robin with a sketch the last time I was here:

I decided it needed some more "juice" so I worked on it today.  Not sure I improved it any...

So he needs some more work, but at least he's a little more colorful cheerful, and that's a good thing.  

Tomorrow we run errands for our camping expedition and will head out Sunday, hopefully after the other campers go home.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another day in Sequim

Ok, I won't tell my friends and family in sweltering North Carolina that it's 76 degrees out.  It will be between you and me…and I certainly wouldn't let them know that its going to be 58 tonight.  Will just keep that to myself.

I woke up at dawn this morning and admired the light on Robin's house.

After a leisurely breakfast, I called an auto glass repair place to see about fixing a ding I got from a rock in Mac's window.  They said to come on by, so Robin, Theo and I headed on in to take care of that.  Insurance covers it because they'd much rather you stabilize a little ding than repair the entire window if you ignore it, so it was covered without consideration of my deductible.  "Brian" got right on it and got Mz. Mac fixed.  He basically affixes a suction cup to the windows and then injects a resin into the crack.  Robin asked him:  "How do you know how much pressure to apply?"  He responded:  "When a large crack extends out from the spot then you know that's too much."  har dee har har…  luckily no such cracks appeared.  Phew!

So that's done.  Then we came on back and Michel was preparing lunch for us - yum!

Perfectly roasted chicken, pesto angel hair pasta, salad fresh from the garden, fresh french bread…are you drooling yet?

We decided to brave lunch on the front porch - I put Theo's leash on and kept him away from the cats.  He went right to sleep by my chair.  The cats weren't quite so sure…they both kept a watchful eye on him.

After lunch we relaxed and chatted on the deck.  I got the watercolors out and just sort of doodled, but it got those creative juices going.  Here's a work in progress of the house at dawn...

… and a little abstract start, inspired by a tidal pool.

Later this afternoon, Michel and Isabelle went off on an adventure, and Theo, Robin and I went to the local Port Williams Beach (a couple miles from Robin's house).

Beautiful rocks on the beach.

We kept finding ones we liked.  I put them in the back pocket of my jeans.  Pretty soon I was weighed down.  Robin said we were at "Rock Bottom."  Think so…

By the way, did I mention Robin has cherry trees in her yard?  I think the cherries are delicious, but they keep telling me they will be perfect in a week…

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seattle to Sequim

Had a restful morning chatting with Marite yesterday before heading over to Sequim.  She brought out an old photo album.  Here she is with my older sister Sue and me back in 1972 when I was 9 years old.  

Then Theo and I loaded up in Mac and continued our journey.  We caught the ferry across Puget Sound.

And meandered our way over to Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula where my BFF Robin lives with her boyfriend Michel and his daughter who is visiting.  Their place is in a beautiful spot, and Robin had scoped out a spot for Mac in her back yard (she has a couple acres with horse fields behind).  So we are parked in a nice private spot with the breeze flowing through.  Here's the view from behind her property with her house in the shadows on the right and Mz Mac in the field on the bottom left, and the Olympic Mountains in the background.

Here's the view from her front porch:

…and their gardens:

Theo has the run of the yard and is learning to leave the cats alone and not to chase the chickens…He found his favorite spot in the shady corner of the deck just outside the kitchen window where he could smell the flavors wafting from French chef Michel's cooking.  Ahhhhhhh…..  Think we'll hang out here a few days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Seattle - Olympic Sculpture Garden

Theo and I have enjoyed another sunny cool day (sorry, friends and family in NC's heat wave) outdoors with Marite at the Olympic Sculpture Garden on the Puget Sound.  Gorgeous!  Here's one of the first ones we saw - its a wave and I'm sorry to say I didn't note the artist - shame on me!  I'll look it up later and come back and add it…  but it was way cool.

Then we came upon a black sculpture, and I really liked the description the artist gave.  Reminded me of my friend Lenore who loves the rich color black.

The park was in a beautiful spot on the Puget sound.

Marite and Theo quickly became pals, of course.  I like this shot I got of the two of them.

Then Theo got his moment of Zen in the Puget Sound…. ahhh…..

Sunday, June 21, 2015


My "fairy godmother" friend Marite - so-named because she babysat me from a few weeks old and then for many years, and is beloved - has been showing me and Theo the top of the "dog-friendly" side of Seattle.  

Yesterday I got in a little later than expected - lots of traffic! -but we caught the "tail end" of the Fremont Solstice parade - famous for its painted nude cyclists.  About ten years ago a few bicyclists showed up naked - with body paint.  When the police tried to arrest them everyone complained...the next year there were 800 naked painted cyclists and now its a yearly event and its allowed.  Fun!  Most are painted so well that you have to do a double-take to see they are nude…

Gotta love Marite - this is the first thing she shows me!
From there we went to a nice park by the Hiram Chittenden boat locks, and saw a salmon bridge, but alas the wrong time of year to see the Salmon making their way up.   We enjoyed the cool green park.

She has also researched all the dog friendly restaurants nearby, so we had a nice Thai dinner outside last night.

Today we went back to Fremont to see the art booths and the art car blowout.  WE parked on the other side of the river and walked across a bridge into Fremont.  Here's the sign that greets you on the bridge:
Its a little hard to see the last sentence - it says "Turn Your Watch Ahead 5 Minutes"

Some of the old VW vans were pretty elaborately decorated!  Gives me ideas about Mz. Mac.

From there we headed over to Pike's Place - the famous market.  Theo is starting to get the hang of this city sight-seeing - even put his nose out the window on the drive to Pike's.

It was crowded, of course, but insider Marite whisked us up some stairs to a restaurant with a balcony to have lunch and people watch in comfort, with a glass of chilled white wine of course!

Marite at lunch

Me at lunch - looks like I'm being healthy with water, but that's T's water - and my empty beer glass…

View from our table - far above the maddening crowd!

Now we are back home - Theo really likes her fenced back yard's shade.  He's found the spot where the breeze flows through and where he can keep on eye on everything.

More on Beacon Rock...

Ok, as promised, here's more info on the Columbia River Gorge.  I'm in Seattle now, and finally got the WiFi password figured out, so here's what I wanted to post yesterday…  Here's another view of the gorge from the top of Beacon Rock - looking in the other direction:

After climbing Beacon Rock, Theo needed his "moment of Zen" so we got down to the Columbia River to wade and see the Rock from below.  ahhhhh…

Then Carolyn and I checked out the campground there and found a cool overlook of Beacon Rock.  Nobody there!

Anyhow, after seeing the Beacon Rock area, I decided to move over to that area campground…  Here's the spot I got the second night - next to a BIG tree.

It was such a nice spot, that I decided to spend an extra day and paint a bit.  Did get about four or five hours of painting in. Here was the rock on the next morning.  Amazing to watch the light change on it from hour to hour.

 I got a short interruption from my painting by a group of Koreans who stopped by and asked if they could see the inside of Mac - Sure!  They ALL piled in.  Too funny… they oohed and ahhh'ed at at the bells and whistles…

Here's a shot of my "studio set up" there at the picnic table...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beacon Rock State Park, Washington

Yesterday Carolyn, Theo and I headed over to explore Beacon Rock in her car.  We hiked up the 53 switchbacks to the top of the 848' summit of this monolith.  Henry Biddle back in the early 1900s built a series of easy-grade switchbacks to the top.  A true labor of love…  It was worth it - here's one of the panoramic views on the way up - looking down on the gorge.

Here's a shot of the switchbacks:

I have lots more to report, but the internet connection is S L O W and I'm having to disrupt the lovely quiet with my generator to get this out… so stay tuned, I'll send the rest of the story from Seattle tomorrow...