Thursday, September 6, 2018


Labor Day is behind us but it still seems like summer here.  We have had rainy days, but the sunshine seems to peek through in the mornings, as I take my daily walk.  It is still quite hot, but since I have put my genealogy away for the winter, I am on to other adventures.

We celebrated another Anniversary - sweet Hubby and me!  We are moving into the big numbers now, so each year that we can enjoy together is a good excuse to celebrate.  We decided to cool off in a big way, and headed to Alaska for a few weeks.

Double Wow....Triple Wow!  I loved the experience on a smaller boat.  There were only 39 of us on the small ship, and we had guides galore to give us Alaskan History, Geology, Anthropology, and Cultural information.  We had indigenous guides, who shared with us the cultural clans and make up of Alaska.  Since we were only on the inside passage, we had Tinglit & Haida guides.

The Beauty of Alaska can better be described in photos.  So, here are mine.  Hope you enjoy them.  I promise to be back next month, with some finished art work.

As we flew into Seattle,
we were met with a red ball of sunlight.
The fires on the west coast, had turned the sky orange.

Sadly, I am unable to show you some wonderful photos of Sitka, as this old computer cannot read the images from a new iPhone.  Oh joy, technology always seems to be just a step ahead of me.  Trust me, Sitka, was a beautiful spot with a major Russian influence.  We were able to visit the Russian Orthodox Church and hear about it's history in Alaska, along with amazing Russian icons on every wall.

This was a charming totem.
We made a point of finding as many totem carvings as we could, because they are such an important part of the culture of Alaska and it's people.

Tlingit robe

I have made this photo quite large, so that you can see the intricacy of the weaving.
This is Chilkat weaving.  It was worn by high ranking tribal members
of the Tlingit, Haida clans and other NW coast peoples.

We spent some time on Kake (pronounced like "Cake"),
learning about the culture of the Tlingit.
Our days were mostly sunny and warm for Alaska.

We had opportunities to hike.
Red Alder

We were able to tuck into small inlets where the BIG SHIPS  could not
enter....We would be the only ones in these primal spaces, uncluttered and pristine.
This morning, we awoke to ice flows and a reflective rainbow.


Sunsets in a cove with our cozy small ship

Old cabins became artwork after the moss and lichens took over!

Even old piers - long gone - became art pieces!

The color in the grasses filled my heart.

Still waters run deep

We saw a lot of wildlife.
There were eagles flying all about us, though this one was injured
and at a Raptor Center that we visited in Sitka.

Heading to Glacier Bay

These are the size of trucks - bigger than you think
and stunning in their beauty.

You could take a kayak and go into the bottom of the glacier
You would NOT want to do that, just in case it decided to calve (break off - KABOOM!!)

yes, the noise is loud and the waves roll at you - so we stayed a safe distance.

You can see two large cracks starting, just to the right of center.
The warmth was causing a lot of small calving, though we were told that the chunk that
just fell, was about the size of a car.
The very large black chunk to the left is actually a massive piece that broke off.
It looked like an island.

The seals were fun and funny and a bit lazy.

Majestic Mountains pop right up from the water.
This is another massive glacier.

On the last night of our cruise, we were awakened at 2:00 a.m.  to see the Northern lights.  This has always been on my bucket list, so I whipped on a jacket over my 'jammies' and raced to the bow of the ship, along with Sweet Hubby.  Yes, they were everything that I expected and more.  The light danced across the horizon and for 45 minutes we stood in amazement.  

To be able to get away from the hubbub of life...with no phone, internet or news of the day, we were able to completely calm our souls down and drink in nature at it's very best.  Alaskans are lucky that way, and from everyone that we were able to interact with, I think they know just how lucky they are.
I am sure the winters are long and dark, but the beauty cannot be touched any where. 

Carved wooden door

Back on land, in Juneau, we were able to visit the Alaska State Archives & Museum.  If you have read James Michener's, "Alaska", you would love this museum.  Even if you haven't read his book, you would be amazed at the wonderful art, artifacts and history at this museum.

exquisite beading

One last photo of this beautiful land.
I am most grateful that I could enjoy this experience in my lifetime.

Back to our beauty and sunshine

So, there you have it.  As I write this, we are having yet another monsoon rain.  We have had about 14 inches in the past few weeks and it continues.  We have had such a terrible time with the "Red Tide" on our beaches, that we are hoping that these rains help to clear it up.  It has definitely improved in the last week.  We will walk our favorite beach tomorrow morning, with hope that our little place of beauty is on the mend.

Take a moment to think about the beauty where you live.  This world is a lovely place and most people are lovely people.  It is often the noisy ones that capture our attention or the catastrophes around the world.  Turn off your phone and after you read this, take a break from the computer.
You won't regret it.

Until next month:  


Monday, August 6, 2018

Family History fills my days

It has been hot and rainy here for the past month.  I mean HOT and lots of showers in the afternoon.

So, given that the steamy weather continues, I have taken on a project of Epic proportions.  It's been quietly waiting for me....loads of photos, a dear Sister-in-law that has been doing research along with me, and pile of genealogy left to me by my Aunt, who recently died at 104.5!  It is such a gift to have all of the family history, and it is a pleasure to bring it up to date.  This has filled my days.

all these albums are now filled with the family history,

Albums waiting to be filled

A snug corner to work in, with all that I need for creating albums

Discovering identities from photos long forgotten is a challenge.
But...the opportunity to know who these people were and their interesting journey
of Immigration is a joy.    None were rich, nor educated.  Many spoke another language, or
had such a brogue, that they could not be understood easily.
Some were prisoners of war, who became indentured servants in America in the mid1600's.
Their skills were lacking, but their determination to 'make it' in this country, to survive,
is a solid reminder of how we all need to turn around and
lend a hand to the next generation of immigrants.
Everyone in America came from somewhere else.
This has been an emotional experience for me to discover that
all of my relatives were fleeing religious persecution, or were prisoners of war,
or starving in their own countries.  America was their salvation.
Something for all of us to think about!

I had to use a few extra surfaces (like Beds!) because I ran out of room.
Good thing we don't get a lot of guests in the summertime.

Piles of photos of our immediate family
await future albums.
I laugh at how many photos we have compared to
generations past.  I tried to cover every moment of
my life with Sweet Hubby & Kiddos.

I look over at the drawing board, and my work still sits there, waiting for me to get back to it.  So far, I have filled six albums of information, some being sent off to siblings. I have worked on a self published photo book with the "Who's Who" in our family, to be printed professionally.

It's not that I haven't been outside each day...I do!  I walk every day and find beautiful plants as I make my way around my neighborhood.  My neighbor invites me over to see her lemon tree, which is hanging so low, it can hardly NOT fall over.  But the fruit is still too green, so we wait in anticipation for lemonade!  But, she has other beauties growing.....

Nope - not lemons....but beautiful in this deep shade.

White Bird of Paradise
A stunning beauty, for sure!

And lastly, this summer, I have lost dear friends, family, and children of friends.  My heart aches, on many days, and I light candles and remember them.  Some were shot down, some were too young, some were just such great individuals (actually, each and every one was G-d's perfection).  Life is hard and I am reminded of that daily.  So, I close with a candle and a Kaddish - a prayer of remembrance for all those who have lost someone near and dear, recently.  Please be you never know if it is your last day on this earth...or someone else.


At the rising of the sun and the going down
We remember them
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them
At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring
We remember them
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer
We remember them
At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of the autumn
We remember them
At the beginning of the year and when it ends
We remember them
As long as we live, they too will live 
For they are now a part of us as 
We remember them.

written by:
Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer

Peace * Harmony * Laughter *Love

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A Cool Break!

Hello again!  I took a break from drawing and headed north to New Hampshire and Maine, to celebrate another great year of life.  We stayed with friends in New Hampshire and ventured to the top of Mt. Washington.  What an interesting place!!  It has quite a range of temperatures, and has recorded the coldest American temperature, on record.  The winds can be tricky, as well.  It has a major weather station, too.   We just happened to catch it on a beautiful day with hikers climbing up from every direction.  It was a bit cool at the top, but what an exciting experience for us.

Here is the top with views as far as the eye can see.
I think this is also part of the Appalachian Trail.
(you can correct me on that one)

We took a break inside the Tip-Top House.
There are informative exhibits and snacks to be had...
We heard every language spoken!

We loved it up on the mountain, but, of course, hunger called us down to the Mt. Washington Inn; a beautiful, old, but very updated Hotel.  We sat on the veranda with our friends, and had a lovely, late, lunch, while Mr. Bear entertained us (and the pan banging staff) with his antics.  He was not the least bit intimidated by the presence of all of us, and just wanted to sit in the warm sun for a bit.  He was chased away, but meandered up the trail, where many hikers walked the trails.  I was happy to be on the veranda, this time. 

A very tame bear, came calling!

After a lovely visit in New Hampshire, we headed to Boothbay Harbor, Maine.  It's a favorite spot of ours, to cool off, chill out and take a break from an otherwise crazy world.  The past month had been especially stressful for us, as friends lost beloved children & grandchildren.  I tend to carry the pain of others, close to my heart.  It hurts so much to see others lose loved ones.  A break from the news and timeout to reflect, is what I found in a sweet cottage in Maine.  It's actually in Southport, which is just south of the Harbor.  

What a view we have from the cottage.

The owner keeps a lovely garden.

An afternoon of rain allowed for some play!
This is the center of the Japanese Peony (above)
after the bloom is over.

We ate out quite a bit, and had our fair share of Lobster & Crab, which are abundant in the summer.
However, we always find a small space to savor a sweet treat.  

This was a Guinness cupcake with Bailey's Irish Creme frosting!
Oh my!!  Sweet Hubby took this home for us to celebrate
(I ate the frosting!!)

A celebration of Windjammers filled the Bay.
There was even a parade in town.  We sat on the curb and watched all the first responders,
politicians, local business people, and the shriners in their mini-cars.
All the cars and floats went by with buckets of candy thrown to the kids.
It was a treasure of a moment.
Small town America at it's best!

Windjammer in the harbor

Taking a walk near our cottage.

I am now working on a memory of Maine.
I love the rocky beaches and rugged shores.
If I get it finished, I shall share again next month.

Lastly, I just want every one to BE KIND.... to their neighbors; to their fellow drivers; to their family and friends.  Think before you act.... count to ten....and ten again, when you are angry.   Put the twitter down and talk to each other.  Listen.  "Mitzvahs are quiet acts of kindness....without shouting about them, from the roof tops"  We need more mitzvahs and less shouting from the rooftops.  Walk in another's shoes, for a moment.

We really do not know what others might be going through.  I have had enough of the bullying, preaching, blaming, teasing to last a life time.  I hope to just focus on quiet, kind acts towards others.  Maybe, we can start a movement of caring about each other, regardless of faith, color, preferences, mates.  Give everyone you meet this month, a hug & a smile.  It just may make their day...and yours! 

Peace *  Harmony  *  Laughter  * Love