Monday, June 30, 2008

Starbucks and Street Musicians (P*S*C #3)

This was the first metal bass instrument I've ever seen.
No, unfortunately, Wes and I are NOT coffee drinkers! But, as we were exploring the Pike Place Market we had to go by the Original Starbucks location. Here, we heard our first street musicians giving a wonderful fiddle/folksy concert. We ARE music lovers, and we had so many entertaining (and pretty talented) performers giving mini concerts as we walked the Market. Later, when we were in Victoria, British Columbia CANADA, we also had a first: an accordion-playing mime. The downside of these concerts was to wonder where these folks would be sleeping at night. No doubt some were homeless, refugees or pretty poor. We donated coins or bills into their open instruments cases whenever we could. I wish them well, and thank them for their gift of music. In the area of the Space Needle, these were musicians from Peru.
I've heard plastic containers played as percussion before, but this guy had attached a long stick with a string and played it like a bass. The violinist in pink was my favorite. She played Irish tunes with so much passion...and used no sheet music. The note on her violin case said she was playing to get $$ for her education fund.
This duo was really good. The guy on the left had the raspiest voice ever...hard livin' man. The guy on the right made magic come out of his washboard with attachments. They drew quite a crowd with their cajun-style croonin'.

Oh, we also did make it to the Seattle Symphony one night. A talented young cello player, Joshua Roman, was the featured guest. Music certainly is a language we love - no matter who performs it or where it is performed, music is one of the delights in life!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Treetop Views of Seattle (P*S*C#3)

A confession: I have always dreamed of going on a sight-seeing double decker bus. Why? Who knows. But, this was on my LIFE LIST of things to do, so when the opportunity came, I persuaded Wes and we climbed aboard the Gray Line and headed out - though the day was cloudy, it was still wonderful.
Seeing the Space Needle from the bus was fun. I had been here in 1962 with my family.
(I remember thinking that the Monorail was the most exciting ride I had ever been on, but now it seems pretty ho-hum as far as how short of a ride it really is.)
We passed by the waterfront and saw many kinds of watercraft...sailboats, tug boats, small freighters, ferries. But this is the big one and she's bound for Alaska! (I do think it's pretty cool that watercraft are all referred to as feminine vessels.)
This is the Hammering Man sculpture right outside the Seattle Museum of Art made by Jonathan Borofsky. Our informative bus guide told us that he hammers away night and day. Due to Union workers, however, he is given a break on Labor Day when the hammer is stilled.
Above the crowds in our bus overlooking the Pike Place Market.
All over Seattle, beautiful hanging baskets of colorful flowers are to be found. This particular one was spotted in the Pioneer Square area. If you are ever in this area, you must take the underground tour! It is a hoot and a holler and extremely popular. (We did this on our previous trip.) Seriously, you learn all about the history of early in Seattle and how the inspiration of a certain Thomas Crapper changed the sewage course of this city! For real!

Taking the double-decker bus was truly one of the highlights of our trip - and now I can check that off my LIFE LIST of things to do in this lifetime. What's on your list?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Pink Suitcase Chronicles #3: Westward Bound

Wes and I discovered the Seattle area together several years ago (I had been to the World's Fair in 1962, but didn't remember all that much), so when we were invited to a wedding there we said, "Yes!" long before we knew we would be putting our house up for sale. Talk about crazy. But, we went as planned and had a wonderful 5+ days. Once again, my new pink suitcase did a great job of toting everything needed as my carry-on companion. I even had compliments on her color by complete strangers! We are becoming fast friends these days.
Come back for know you want to! There's love, adventure, exploration, beauty, weirdity, trauma/drama, and even sightings of the British royal family as well as U.S. presidents. This is but a sneak peak . (And see for yourself if Wes looks like Tony Blair as he has been told by others.)This is one blockbuster of a P*S*C to be continued...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mr. H.G.L.

Even when he was a newborn, we knew there was something quite unique about our son, John! He had quite a happy disposition. He was loud. He was an early talker. He was impish. He was curious (I nick-named him Curious George during those toddler/preschool years.) He loved being around people, nature and animals. Once he entered his formal education, he embraced learning new things and enjoyed his status as class clown. As time went by, he discovered he enjoyed being musical in the band. He loved working on projects around the house with his Dad, building a shed and a deck together. John and I shared a passion for thrift-shopping, and still do. Now, he still has many of those characteristics. He's a hoot to be around, and his most recent family nick-name is our H.G.L. guy. (H = happy, G = go, L = lucky) We are so glad he was born into our family twenty two years ago today!
Happy birthday, John! It's been such a delightful 22 years with you! Welcome home from your month-long European trek. Once again, your adventurous spirit comes shining through as you kept your cool even after having cell phone, wallet, credit cards and license stolen. You're unstoppable!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Monkey Business

You may recall that I dressed up as a Thrift Shop Bag Lady for Halloween this past year, but in real life I am a Bag who makes bags for babies when they are born in hopes that books and other necessities can be tucked inside. I personalize the bags with the recipient's name. The bag shown here was made recently for my Great Nephew, William. Knowing his parents have decorated his nursery in greens and browns with a jungle animal theme, this is how I chose the theme for baby Will's bag. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to snap a photograph of the bag (as I always do) before sending it off to Colorado in the mail. So, I emailed asking for a picture of the bag and soon these pictures arrived. Thank you, Timi!
And, here's the part I enjoyed most about receiving pictures of the bag...his Mom, Timi, put the sweet little guy inside the bag! An unexpected, humorous side of his Mom surfaced and I just loved this about her! I can just tell they are going to have fun times together, can't you?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Where's Giselle When You Need Her??

One's home is supposed to be one's castle, but this castle we live in presently needs to have a singing, sweeping, discarding Giselle living in it to help us out! (For those of you who have never seen the recent Disney movie Enchanted, Giselle is a spunky princess looking for her prince and instead ends up in New York City, arriving via manhole cover near Central Park.) Giselle simply loves cleaning chores with her little vermin helpers. And she's clever with singing about those chores, too. Really...who else could come up with a rhyme for toilet?

We'll keep singing without fail,

Otherwise, we'd spoil it

Hosing down the garbage pail

And scrubbing up the toilet.

How we all enjoy letting loose

With a little "la da dum dum dum"

While we're emptying the vacuum

It's such fun to hum

A happy working song

Mmm, mmm, a happy working song!

What I am trying to tell y'all with this blog post is that we are getting ready for a big change after living here in our little castle for 24 years. We have been busy painting, donating "treasures" and decluttering to make way for a new Happily Ever After!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Pink Suitcase Chronicles #2

This time I and my suitcase joined Wes
overnight in Delavan, Wisconsin as he was participating in a work-related retreat where spouses were also invited...lucky me! Having heard of this well-known resort for golfing, boating, swimming, as well as winter sporting, I was anxious to check it out.
Ah, the life of lodge dwelling! You bring the woods into the dwelling. Pine cones on towel racks and light fixtures. Canoe paddles as the base of a lamp. Felled trees as bedposts. Moose outlines on ceiling fans. Huge rock fireplaces. Nothing prissy or fussy...plaids and earth colors abound. Back to nature!
The view of the outdoor pool (below) and the indoor pool (left). We enjoyed our time there doing laps in warmer water than our hometown fitness center pool...this certainly felt less like exercising! A view of the lodge for dining with the retreat atendees. The food - I had a champagne-sauced chicken dish with penne pasta and creme brulee - was oh-so-delicious. By the time I arrived at the lodge, the rain had passed. Wes had a break from his retreat and we walked around the resort grounds. You could tell that this part of Wisconsin had been hit hard from the weekend storms. The sun was also trying to shine and we were grateful for that!
Don't you just want to be there? In a cozy, cute room with a view of a lake - sitting out on the balcony with comfy rocking chairs? The second day started out sunny and warmer. I think even my pink suitcase was smiling. Even less than a day there and I/we returned home so much more relaxed than before departure. Sigh.
What a change from the pink suitcase outing #1 in NYC...I think I very much love this traveling thing we have goin' on!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Unofficial Bring-Your-Mom-to-Work Day!

No, she didn't expect me to just show up, but that's just what I did this week. I found myself near the school where Anne has been teaching this past year, pulled my car into the parking lot, walked around the entire perimeter of the school trying to find an open door, asked for directions to find my daughter, signed myself in, placed a visitor badge on my shirt and voila! It was a surprise to the teacher in Room 211 to find her mother in the doorway.
Here's Anne's classroom, all readied for the final days of school.
As it was locker clean-out day, the hallways were maze-like with notebooks, papers and discarded school supplies. The excitement of a summer looming ahead was quite palpable! I especially loved this huge painting composed of kid-produced squares mounted together in a stairwell. There were three other masterpieces created in this fashion. I applaud the art teacher or artist-in-residence who inspired this project!
A view of the outdoor prarie garden seating area.
When I arrived in Anne's classsroom, the students were away in another class, so I got my very own personal tour of Anne's impressive school. Just 5th and 6th graders in this middle school of about 847 students. Three gyms! Colorful paintings on the walls throughout plus even a prairie garden outside for kids to use as an option for recess or special outdoor classes. I was pretty wowed!
The students came back to Room 211. Anne asked them who they thought this visitor might be, and they quickly guessed I was her mother. (They said it was in our eyes and hair color.) Just before it was time to go (the kids had a movie to watch, you know), I requested her class to gather for a group picture. How I wish I could post it for you here, but I can't. The kids were so full of youthful energy and peppy as all get out. But, certainly, they were not out of control under Mrs. B's care! Because I am still her Mother, I took the liberty to ask the class about their teacher...was she too tough? No. Was she a "marshmallow? Not really. I think they thought she was just right - just like I do. I'm so proud of you, Anne, for the dream you followed to become a teacher. All those backyard neighborhood "school" days with you in the role of teacher really paid off! You're a natural!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

For the Birds

Early morning wake-ups are not exactly my cup 'o tea BUT with the windows open now (yea!!), we are being chirped awake by the singing birds outside. How can one not be cheered by their Good Morning hello calls? As an inspiration, I think I need to craft something to remind me of their presence. Some recent pictures have caught my attention recently...
How sweet is this little "tweeter" on the recent Talbot's sale postcard?
The above bird-related cards were found in the March 2008 magazine PaperCrafts.
This adorable little felted wool project is found in the book Warm Fuzzies by Betz White.
Since my last blog about the felted wool backpack I made, there have been many old wool sweaters acquired and I am ready to get working on more projects...isn't this bird with nest too cute? Add it to the list!
Any others ideas out there with what to do/make with little cheery birds as a motif?