Folding Fun

Fold a newspaper hat. Or is it a boat to race in the local creek?

Folding napkins into fancy shapes never worked well for me. I could admire the talent of others — but mine — best to stay with basics.

Fold towels into animals? I’d get fired from that cruise ship task.

A current art exhibit puts my fingers to shame. I suspect even the person expert shaping towels would be awed.

Did the artist fold paper? Cloth?


Metal origami floats picture perfect at the Japanese garden.

These are the simple figures. Below is more complicated.

Enjoy a walk among the unusual.


Far West

Go West, young man!

Building on this well-worn phrase, this woman (when young) moved West — following the young men?

Actually, I was part of the third generation in my family to pack her (or his) suitcase and head toward the setting sun.

Those in my grandparent’s generation moved to work in the lumber industry. Nieces and nephews which followed also went for job opportunity — but these were as teachers and office workers. My generation? A little adventure mixed with using my education.

Drawn by employment, and weather, my relatives at various times have lived (or are living) from San Diego and Pasadena in California all the way up the coast to Bellingham in Washington and most of one decade in Alaska.

Pick your adventure. Do you want to try the high desert in Nevada? Perhaps you’re move inclined to agriculture or industry in California. Don’t forget Oregon — just because I didn’t buy a mug doesn’t erase the state — with ranches, mountains, and beautiful coast. The mountains in Washington include the trademark Rainer. As Mount St. Helens reminded us in 1980 — even a volcano can be snow-capped.

So come for adventure. Stay for work. The Far West beckons with opportunity my family could not ignore during the entire 1900’s.


Perfect Setting

This amateur photographer snaps a shot, she does not always pay attention to items (or people) near the edge. Yes, I line things up and sometimes wait a minute or move to one side or the other to avoid including certain things. Often other amateur photographers enjoying the same sight.

Once in a while — when reviewing photos later — I find a gem. The romance writer in me found this difficult to resist.

Put on your story telling hat and make up something about the couple captured when I focused on the sculpture.

I confess — I didn’t notice them until I was editing out a pair of the aforementioned amateur photographers.

A well-dressed couple in the rose garden.

Is he photographing her? Preparing to propose marriage? Will she accept?


New England Trio

Shall we take a journey to the Northeastern portion of the United States.

In school, we were taught New England consisted of six states. I’ve managed to set foot in all six, two of them twice, three visits for two others. Fond memories of the trips return the days I drink my coffee from any of these three mugs.

These three have much to offer the visitor. I’m not a snow skier, so my visits were at other times of the year. June — when children have been released from school was a popular time for vacation. When not required to consider the school year — September became a favorite travel time.

The rural portions of these states remind me of home — many of the same trees and bushes as the upper Midwest where I was raised. Ocean shoreline — power and beauty — weather the rugged portion of a National Park or the waterfront of a small city — became a place I could relax and recharge. My imagination filled with sailing ships and the stories (and goods) brought back from faraway lands.

Will I return? So many things to consider — but I’m sure I could find new sights and experiences in any of these three states or their New England companions.


Life Cycle

Every child learns about the life cycle undergone by most insects — the four stages of egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

You may have gone hunting for and found all four stages on a nature hike. Looking for butterflies at the various stages is especially popular.

Artists through the ages have used them as models and incorporated them into paintings and sculpture.

Have you ever…tried to compare this to humans? Think for a moment.

Egg — before birth yet very much alive.

Larva — children are always hungry and refuse to stay in one place

Pupa — teens (have you ever tried to wake one early in the morning?)

Adult — a magical moment, or short time span, where the previous stage gives way to rational thought and dependable actions (every parent’s wish)


Cowboy Country

Travelers often purchase something to help them remember the good time they had in a new place — or a favorite place. For this author, it turns out to be one of two things on recent trips — coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets.

My sons and I visited all three of these states during the same trip — but one of the mugs came later.

Cowboys, horses, and wide vistas are common to all three of these states. We did find buffalo in all three — sometimes living and other times portrayed in stone or metal or printed on fabric. (Also served in restaurants.)

The states are not all alike.

You won’t find snow capped mountains in Kansas. You will find historic forts from the mid-nineteenth century, one Presidental childhood home, and other interesting things.

Colorado is known for majestic scenery, a gold rush, and dinosaur digs.

Wyoming is home to variety — dry plains, high mountains, minerals, hot geysers, and wind. Lots and lots of wind. Hang onto your hat (cowboy, of course) when hunting the elusive Jackalope in Wyoming.


Child’s Play?

Who goes first?

Friends, classmates, neighbors all need a way to make a quick little decision. Because some times you just can’t break the cookie into two pieces or take turns. Through the decades, American (and other) children have used variations of a Chinese game and given it the name: rock, paper, scissors.

It works — like most games and ways to make a decision, both parties need to agree on the rules and to abide by the outcome.

Recently I saw the game symbolized in a new way.

Okay — let’s try this again. Who wants to go first?


Patriot Quartet

The first time I saw “The Faces”, I was a small child. We were on a family vacation and it was our first sightseeing destination. Was I impressed? I think so. I remember my parents gifting me (and a brother) with T-shirts displaying the sight.

My favorite thing in the Black Hills during that visit? Two things actually — the “pig tail” bridges and picking out the almost transparent mico from the gravel around our cabin.

My return as a young adult included the purchase of the mug below. Rather than go shopping within sight of the actual Mt. Rushmore — I spent my money at a different South Dakota institution — Wall Drug.

Did you realize the lives of these four US Presidents overlap?

Washington and Jefferson were contemporaries. Lincoln was born before Jefferson died, and T. Roosevelt arrived in his family two years before Lincoln was elected.

Planning a road trip? May I suggest…


Grandmother’s Pantry Z

In the childhood game of “Grandmother’s Trunk”, which I adapted for my blog this spring, you repeated all of the previous items before you added one for the next letter. So…

I opened Grandmother’s Pantry and found:

Apples, bananas, and corn. Dates, and eggs, and figs. Garlic and guacamole are a pair, followed by hotcakes and honey. Ice cream with jelly. Kiwi and lemon. Let’s have marshmallows, nutmeg, olives and peanuts and popcorn. Quiona, root beer, and sausage follow. Tuna with tomato comes before upside down cake and vanilla. Walnuts. Xylose for those of you with bio-chem degrees is paired with yams.

Finally — we get to the final item. Be prepared to Zip out to the garden for a firm, green Zucchini.

Do you like your Zucchini in a nut bread? Fried up as a side-dish? Or raw with dip while watching TV?