Monday, February 17, 2014

Officially one year a Grandma

Well, it can't be ignored! I have been a real grandma for an entire year to the cutest granddaughter in the world. It is expected that grandmas will have a wallet full of photos to press upon anyone they meet. Although I don't have wallet photos, I will press birthday photos upon everyone who missed the celebration.
Okay everyone, drum roll...

Edie's birthday is January 30 but we all gathered to celebrate en mass on February 1, at her new Seattle home. There were family and friends to eat cake and toast with champagne. Lynne and Linda threatened to bring a pony to the party but brought a rocking horse instead, much to Kyrsa's relief. Interestingly, Eidie's great aunties both brought bikini swim wear to get her ready for summer lake fun with fashion.  There were lots and lots of other toys and books but the obvious favorites for the day were the balloons. The pink balloon was good but oh that Mylar balloon! Eidie made it bob and weave like a boxer.
Eidie and her balloons

Mom, Eidie and Granny Sullivan

Eidie's first birthday, with birthday cupcakes and candles, rocking horses and balloons
Birthday songs to prepare...

...for the real fun!

- the first celebration but so many more to come with such adventure and accomplishment ahead because she is supported by so much love.
Eidie know how lucky she is!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Last Walk in the Snow

Today was a surprisingly white snowy day on Tulin Road. It was one of those rare winter days when the snow falls at night, waking the morning in white. It was a perfect day for a walk and of course David and Duffy took full advantage. They made prints in the snow and discovered a  weird furry animal on the roadside.

It was a day for spinning by the fire and feeling warm and cozy. The kind of winter day we all love. Duffy jumped up ready for dinner but when he started to eat, simply fell over with a final collapse.
Duffy at his favorite spot

At almost 13 years old, Duffy had been slowing down this last year but he still enjoyed his daily walks down Tulin Road as one of the official road crew.
He and we were lucky to see him  happy for his 13 years at home and to know that his final hours were entirely what he wanted them to be- walking in the snow with David, sleeping in the sun room and knowing each day held 2 full meals and an after-dinner snack.

Duffy came to join us from the Kitsap Humane Society in April of 2001.

I rescued (?) him to give David a companion for running. It was an obvious success.

Duffy was not the best trained dog- he was rescued by poorly trained parents- but  he was the gentlest of dogs. He loved people of all ages, was tolerant of all other dogs and loved the lake. He loved to swim after frisbies and jump after skiers (and Anita if she tried to dive).

Duffy with a new dog lover
We will miss his quiet presence in our home on Tulin Road but are so very thankful he went gently on to a new home with lots of treats after dinner. He will be buried in his field where he protected the chickens and goats and let us all know if we where visiting without including him.

Good bye Duffy.
 With love from Mama Llama and David

Duffy Guarding the dock

Duffy and Ruby on a summer walk

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tower Heist or Why DO we really trust private enterprise ?

Okay, it is Saturday Night  and I have had the best night ever eating popcorn and drinking white wine for dinner. If you were not aware of the correct pairings, white wine is always paired with popcorn and a viogner is a good choice. To top it off, I checked out a movie from the library, Tower Heist.

Tower Heist is a action comedy with Mathew Broderick and Eddie Murphy (also Ben Stiller, etc.) Really Ferris Bueller meets Eddie Murphy, how can that miss!?! Oddly, it meshed completely with a bunch of thoughts that have filled my mind recently. Let me explain.

This is a story about the big business of banking and investment fraud practiced against Americans at every level- big time stock investment, retirement plans and mid-level dreamers. Of course, in the movie the "real Americans" have their revenge through equal parts trickery and hilarity. (Full disclosure- I also watch
  2 Broke Girls!)

We all know the stories of investment fraud, fraudulent military contracts, etc. etc. etc. Knowing this and being lately apprised of the statistics that the 85 richest families in the world own something like 45% of the global assets, it confuses me that the liberal American politico would rather have his/her individual personal information held by private industry than by the United States government.

Don't get me wrong. I am not in favor of gross national surveillance without reason or recourse but like the problems of right to life, technology is ahead of our morality. Who ever you are,  unless you live in an Airstream, on federal forest land, in northern Idaho and survive on deer meat marinated in huckleberries, someone holds all of your personal information. Many someones! If you are going to earn a living, communicate with friends and family, own real estate and occasionally buy material goods, then get use to the idea that you have no privacy.

You have already given your most valuable identity to industries that have proven to be thieves of the highest, most morally bankrupt order. Not only will they steal from you because they judge value by their ability to take from you, they will use your money to corrupt the very political system you feel should not have the right to your person statistics.

I don't know where the answers lay but I can not believe that private industry is the best short term or long term answer. The government can be held to transparency and accountability standards, eventually. Private industry, never! Is there something better about your private information- calls, buying patterns, facebook messaging-  being sold for a profit than having it held by the government? I don't want the government knowing my business but I really don't want Amazon mailing me items I haven't yet ordered, either. I can't really say one is worse than the other.

The future is always unfolding. Problems get resolved and solved in ways we don't anticipate. I, therefore, am not laying awake worrying about this issue. I just want personal-rights activists to consider the question: Is private industry more morally accountable that the United States government? and why?

With that, you have the meanduring mind of
Mama Llama with love

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Silence is Golden

Whew! It has been a year of changes and challenges. Much of that time I have felt the need to keep my own council though if someone acting as their own lawyer has a fool for a client, someone listening to their own advise is in even more trouble.

With the advent of 2014, I am resolved to share the pearls I learn through out the days of the year. Already I have learned too much to share tonight but I will start with a day soon after New Year's Day, volunteering at SAM.

Schools were still on break so I was surprised we had a school tour but it turned out to be two groups of teens from the downtown YWCA program. The girls viewed the exhibit from Ancient Peru then explored drawing a chosen Seattle hallmark site as it might appear one century from today. It was fun to hear and share their ideas. Several of the girls were from Evergreen Campus High School in the Burien/White Center area. I was intrigued by what they told me about their school It actually has 3 schools: Arts/ Literature, Science/Technology and Health Sciences. I have tried to investigate more about the school and have succeeded in finding out about several interesting programs in the Highline School District but very little about the Evergreen program which I suspect now has a new name in their hierarchy.

While clicking around ( I love that you can look into all kinds of ideas with this crazy new-fangle internet) I discovered a further step in White Center's challenge to offer their community a future: The White Center Promise at .The girls at the museum talked about their school as being connected to elementary and middle school programs in the neighborhood and I notice they are trying very hard to develop a whole-community learning approach. White Center is a multicultural area with the challenges of new immigrants from diverse backgrounds. They are impressively taking on the challenge and showing a great road to the future that we might all want to consider. They also have a darn good Thai Restaurant, as Colin, Susan, David and I discovered on the way to the airport after the holidays.
David and Duffy
Road Crew on Tulin Rd.

If you are not from Seattle, look around your old town to challenge your old prejudices and find some new ideas growing. If you are from Seattle, look around this wet and gray town for the interesting new ideas that are trying to move us into the future and share them with others.

Learning something all the time,
Mama Llama

Monday, July 29, 2013

Already the end of July

The summer is speeding by as it always does, with never as much time as it held when we were children. Where is all that time to sit in the sun, to read for hours on end and to wonder and play with no goal or end in sight.? Ah well...

Last night  I went for a walk and this is what I saw:
     A heron big flying onto the small top branches of a giant fir tree and sitting there in hopeful quiet.
     Three white geese following their owner noisily around their yard with a chicken closing the parade.
     A young man searching for ripe blackberries to feed his old golden retriever on their walk.
     A father pulling his 2 daughters in a wagon while the older girl (4 years) explained thunder clouds to her sister.
     A black and white wood duck with a bright red eye-patch splashing and playing in a pond.
     Oh summer evening walking!

Have a great day and take time to enjoy the summer moments. You will want to harvest them and store them for the winter.

Mama Llama

Monday, May 20, 2013

Is it already Memorial Day?

Wow! I can not believe I last wrote in March!! That can't be possible because I had a wonderful visit to California with Kyrsa, Dave and Edie and with Colin and Susan as well.As usual, time has gotten away with me and I am not even going to try to catch up.

Edie in the Magic Sleep Suit
A walk in the Plaza

Today I experienced re-entry that follows a great vacation- 10 days on the East Coast with wonderful weather and wonderful adventures. I usually have a long list of "to-sees" and this time was no different.The "extreme" adventure began with car rental for the first 6 days. After arriving on the red-eye from Seattle, I drove to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx in Friday morning traffic! It was a warm, sunny day so I knew it was finally time for this long awaited excursion. My inadequate photography try to recall the beauty but my words would not have a chance. As well as gardens and eco-systems, there was an incredible sculpture exhibit in the garden.

Water Garden
Fern Sculpture
Ferns in Conservatory
NYBG Garden Sculptures
Saturday was a day of errands, including a trip to the Bedford-Sty Home Depot and a drive to Redhook. To reward ourselves for our perseverance, Erin and I made time for manis-pedis, including eyebrow threading, We were preparing for a fabulous birthday meal with Wendy and Tom McCarthy and Wendy's mom, Leslie. I feel I have known Leslie since she started inviting Erin to Thanksgiving dinner, back in Santa Barbara Days, but this was our first real meeting. I hope there will be lots more.

Leslie Merry and C

Sunday, Erin and I ventured north towards the Hudson River Valley to visit the Storm King Sculpture Park. It is more than 30 acres of lawns, streams, trees and huge sculpture pieces, some moving pendulously in the wind. The day was sunny, windy and perfect for exploring this incredible space. If you find time for a visit, be sure and bring a picnic.

Monday was Fair Day- Frieze Art Fair- an international show of contemporary art held on Randall Island. We took the water taxi from mid-town, up the middle of the Hudson River beyond Harlem. Again the weather was our friend. We looked at so much art, had rejuvenating treats and wished we had tons more time to do all the projects in our heads! I hope I can remember one or two of the 2000 ideas I had while there.
Frieze Sculpture Piece
Balloon Dog

Randall Island Vista

Without giving a minute by minute replay, I will say we had dinners with fabulous friends and even cooked some ourselves with ingredients with the great new Italian grocery (Eatily) on 23rd and Broadway. If you are up that way, stop in for a noch. You can walk around the store with your glass of wine!!! They also have little eating spaces for pizza, desserts, gelato, cheese and salumi, etc. etc. etc. Just the wine is worth a rejuvenating stop.

Erin in her OFFICE
As always, I found time to visit my dear friend Carol and her husband Jim, in Avon. They are great friends. We enjoy our annual time to catch up and talk about the world as we fit into it.With a fast trip back to NYC to return the car first thing in the morning, I was once again on foot. I made it to the Met and the Museum of Art and Design. I walked the crazy streets of Manhattan, the Union Square Farmers Market  full of Spring with so much great food and flowers you can hardly believe it is NYC, the food trucks gathered on 25th and Broadway to tempt anyone who EVER eats! So much to see and so many great people to meet and revisit. The weather blessed me this visit and has held for the last day or so on my return.
Brunch at home
Kitchen workers on Ainslie

Now that I am back on Tulin Road, I know I will have to pay! Today I spent the afternoon securing the hen house for our departure to the lake on Thursday. The young hens need to get out of the basement.  If anything can get in there NOW, I give up! There are weeds everywhere but I know I have all summer to fight, so am trying not to panic. My best thoughts and hopes for sunshine and the beginning dreams of summer go out to all of you. Memorial Day is early this year and I hope summer dreams are too.

Love as always,
Mama Llama

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy Women's Day

Eiden Mae

Sister, sisters...

Friend Carol

Susan Ducky and Mama Llama


Old friends

Me and My Gals
Today is International Women's Day so in celebration of this auspicious day, I am sending along photos of  women who make a difference in my life every day of the year.

I also need to share AGAIN an homage to the words of an incredible, outspoken Texan who spoke her mind in a way we all wish we could- with humor and wisdom and just this right amount of sharp edge. So, without ado, my memories along with words remembering the voice of  Molly Ivins.

Now, celebrate your lives and keep laughing all of you-girls, women and even the boys.

Mama Llama

Molly Ivins's Joyful Outrage

Friday, February 2, 2007; Page A15
She explained her views on gun control this way: "I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives."
She said of a certain beloved former president while he was in office that "if you put his brains in a bee, it would fly backwards" and that "if he gets even more sedate, we will have to water him twice a week."
 And she said of her affection for her home state: "I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults."
Boy, will we miss Molly Ivins, the writer and happy agitator who succumbed Wednesday to cancer -- a disease, she said, not sparing herself from her own lashing wit, that "can kill you, but it doesn't make you a better person." Yes, we will remember her for being raucously funny, always at the expense of the wealthy, the powerful or the Texas legislature.
But because she made you laugh and broke all the rules of polite commentary ("I believe in practicing prudence at least once every two or three years"), Molly made you forget how deadly serious she was about politics, democracy and social justice.
More than just about any other columnist I can think of, Molly was a genuine populist, to make proper reference to a word she couldn't stand to see misused by charlatans. She believed in lifting up the underdog and hated it when the wealthy made excuses for injustice.
When the victims of layoffs and downsizing complained, Molly said some years ago, they were met with "a more sophisticated version of 'So what.' This is the gig where you make yourself look wise by tugging your chin and opining, 'Well, yes, there is a problem, but there's really nothing we can do about it. Blah, blah, economic globalization, blah, blah, technological change, blah, blah, only long-term solutions.' " To Molly, this was all self-interested nonsense.
Molly paid far more attention than most reporters to the details of budget bills and was always on the barricades when poor people were being shortchanged. During the great government shutdown of 1995, when most journalists were obsessing over the personal drama of Clinton vs. Gingrich, Molly was writing about cuts to the Supplemental Security Income program.
She could talk CBO and OMB with the best of the budget mavens. Nobody much noticed because she'd keep people reading with such phrases as "the lick log" -- I can't translate that one -- and "fruitcake tax giveaways."
She believed in democratic politics and hated it when people didn't exercise their rights to vote and protest. She believed in government and hated it when people ran it down.
"This is a column," she wrote in September 2005, "for everyone in the path of Hurricane Katrina who ever said, 'I'm sorry, I'm just not interested in politics,' or, 'There's nothing I can do about it,' or, 'Eh, they're all crooks anyway.' . . . Look around you this morning. I suppose the National Rifle Association would argue, 'Government policies don't kill people, hurricanes kill people.' Actually, hurricanes plus government policies kill people."
I became a Molly fan many years ago when we both worked at the New York Times, a place where she was as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a piece of angel food cake (to steal shamelessly from Raymond Chandler). I was blessed to have dinner with her last November. She was dying but had lost none of her capacity for joyful outrage.
And joy was the key. Another thing she hated was anybody who didn't think that fighting the good fight was a kick. She left us all with a charge a few years ago:
"Keep fighting for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce."
If I may say so without raising complex theological issues, at least the hereafter is now a better place. Molly Ivins is the only person I can think of who, upon entering heaven, would start making jokes at God's expense and get God to laugh with her.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Home again, home again jiggedy jig

After a lovely week visiting wee Eiden, I am home again in Kingston. Everything seems to have survived and thrived without me. All the chickens, goat and rabbits are well. We arrived to wet weather and are already missing the sunshine of California as well as everyone there.
I spend a lovely first week with baby Eiden, new mom and dad. Kyrsa and Dave are already doing a great job of parenting but are quickly learning the feelings of worry the accompanies the world of parenting. Edie is strong and is doing all the things a baby should- eating, popping and sleeping. It really isn't a bad life as far as she can see. Her dark little eyes look out into the world occasionally with an air of question and discerning. I think she is wondering if it is worth her while to wake or if things will be more entertaining late on. It should be noted that night seems the most interesting time to Edie so that gives her parents fair warning of the future.
After a nice time getting to know Eiden and enjoying Healdsburg with daily walks into town and some brush clipping, David and I drove to Oakland to hang out with Colin and Susan for the weekend. We had a great adventure into Golden Gate Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Oh- I guess the rest of the Bay area residents thought is was a great place to be too! But either Susan or Colin had great parking karma and we found a spot allowing us to pop into the DeYoung Art Museum and see some great exhibits including one on Rudolph Nureyev, his dance and his costumes with Margot Fontaine. Really Extraordinary! We got to know Oakland a little and had a very fun Brunch with Susan, Colin and friends in their cozy and wonderful home. You can try to duplicate the sumptuous fare with the recipe posted but I bet you wont be able to match the company and fun conversations.
So, here I am home again with lots of  projects in my mind and on my lists. That is what makes the days fun! I am back in school occasionally because we don't want to let those students feel comfortable and happy with their days and handing out as SAM for the same reasons.
Happy Valentines Day to everyone including lots of hugs and wished for an interesting and successful winter that will soon turn into Spring (okay, so you folks in California can hardly tell the difference- humor the rest of us!)
Love,  Mama Llama

Sunday, February 3, 2013

aunti & uncle's visit

fun fun fun to see our niece today - so strong and active and sweet already.
Dave on changing duty, Kyrsa supplying the pipeline, Grandma Clauds ready with wisdom and energy, Edie relaxing, keeping everything in control.
A beautiful day for edie to check out the backyard and even meet the neighbors.
Love from sunny northern california, c & s

More pictures!


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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New Year again

After a wonderful Christmas holiday with family at the lake, on Tulin Road and in Seattle, I guess it is time to face reality. New Year's Day was sunny here in Kingston so the rabbits and the chickens and the goats all got clean spaces and New Year's treats. It felt great to be outside in the sun for a little while enjoying crisp winter air.

Today was the real beginning of the year for me, with cleaning and a quiet house. This is the last of my "quiet moments" since David's last day of work is tomorrow so I made the best of today and finished a project I have been planning for the last month or more. I recovered the chair in the living room to match all the new furniture. Now I have a "unified" design without odd patterns and shapes. We'll see how long this lasts though I am pleased with the outcome.

Beyond the beginning years cleaning and redesigning, I don't have many words of wisdom to share. Barb and I concluded earlier today that realistically the only resolution we can even come close to meeting is to do less harm- this after recognizing that a 20 year old friend has started a non-profit to decrease child labor in India!  So, be well every one and do less harm while enjoying the moments of the coming year more than ever.

Mama Llama