Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17 and Counting

With packages being mailed away, I feel like I am suddenly caught up and ready to enjoy the holiday season. That is always a false security but this weekend I sure made a good start at it.

In spite of storming winds and pelting rains, David and I set out to the Port Gamble Theater on Sunday afternoon to watch the local thespians play the Herdmans in the "Best Christmas Pageant Ever". It was a fun experience and a good holiday activity, matching well with the weekend of package wrapping and cookie baking.

There is nothing like spending the day baking, while the wind and rain swirl outside and visitors stop by to say hi. That last part was the real gift of the weekend. In the midst of baking in my old blue sweater and fleece pants, my great friends Lynnea and Linda stopped by to say hi. We don't often get to visit after Labor Day when Linnea moves back to Seattle. She brought with her a beautiful Swedish Yule Krantz which David dove into this morning for his breakfast. Leslie Nelson also stopped by with her wonderful homemade rolls and  stayed to share. Because of our divergent lives throughout the year, I recognize how important these old traditions with old friends have become. They serve to remind us all of the kindness and love that is out there in our lives, even when we aren't touching it.

So, my words of enlightenment for today are:  Follow old traditions and make new ones but always include the people you know and love even when you don't remember when you last saw them. Now I offer you the enlightened words of the Best Christmas Pagean Ever for the 17th of December:      
“That’s you, Leroy,” Ralph said, “and Claude and Ollie. So pay attention.”
“What does it mean, Wise Men?” Ollie wanted to know. “Were they like schoolteachers.”…
While we sang “What Child Is This?” the Wise Men were supposed to confer among themselves and then leave by a different door, so everyone would understand that they were going home another way. But the Herdmans forgot, or didn’t want to, or something, because they didn’t confer and they didn’t leave either. They just sat there, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do about it.
“They’re ruining the whole thing!” Alice whispered, but they weren’t at all. As a matter of fact, it made perfect sense for the Wise Men to sit down and rest, and I said so.

Now- sit down, smile, grab a cookie and rest!

Monday, December 10, 2012

On the tenth day of Christmas...

Wow, already ten days of the holiday gone by and it seems the elves have been busy on Tulin Road. Decorations abound and the tree is up with old decorations full of memories and smiles. There is the smell of cookies baking mixed with the scent of fir branches and I am a slave to the US Postal Service. I don't really think they have the right "Christmas elf" attitude.

Saturday I was the busy Christmas Santa with lots of helpful elves. I picked up my Christmas present in Tukwilla with a cargo van from U-haul! After more than 25 years of service the old, recovered loveseat was saved another attempt of recovering. I found a new brown leather loveseat to fill the living room. It weighs at least 5 tons but with the help of 3 young neighbors and one of their friends, it found it's way into our house and the old one was removed to the van and hauled to the dump. An easy project for me and a real adrenaline rush for the others!

So that is the scene set for those of you far away. Lots of busy activities and a very little bit of shopping, which is really only an excuse to look into the galleries and studios I normally don't pop into. The generosity of Christmas seems to fill the community every year and with the recent damage of Hurricane Sandy , it is all the more obvious. People want to help those in trouble. The question of how best to do that has recently been on my mind and of course I have a solution in mind, so all of you with energy and/or connections listen up: We need a national, non-profit organization committed to helping people restructure their lives after an emergency. We have the Red Cross committed to helping people survive the moments of a tragedy but for the hard work thereafter, there is no structure to funnel all the good will of people with generous hearts. I want a nonprofit, not governmental, structure that offers grants and micro-loans to people as they rebuild their live. A family needing $5000 for basic furniture in their apartment after their home is destroyed or a coffee shop needing to pay for clean-up and employee salaries until FIMA or insurance can kick in. This umbrella organization would also organize sponsorships, where a school in a safe part of the country might want to focus their fundraising for another damaged school or a neighborhood sponsor a family suffering. You get the idea- now run with it!

It is all in the spirit of Nancy and Plum:  " Why Plum," Nancy said, and there were tears in her eyes."Uncle John hasn't forgotten us and he did send us Christmas presents." Plum said," Yes, and where are they?"

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good week ahead.
Love, Mama Llama

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The count down begins

Advent calendar
Happy Advent one and all! Just like in days of old, we begin the count down to Christmas with anticipation and excitement. At my age, I also add anxiety, wondering if I can squish all my expectations into a few short weeks.

In any case, counting down gives me a perfect opportunity to share Christmas on Tulin Road with everyone who can't be here to have biscotti and wine on a cold wet afternoon and to see the chaos for yourself.

Counting down
The Advent season really starts at Thanksgiving in our family. This year we were together at Lynne's with Anita and Linda's aunt Inge. Dave and Kyrsa flew up and joined us from California which made it especially fun. We ate, drank and talked, enjoying being together to start the holiday season. On December first we celebrated the upcoming arrival of Kyrsa's baby girl with a very fun baby shower including all of Kyrsa's great girls. Being with great friends and a pregnant lady is the best way to start of the holiday.

But really, this is all about the "count down" and sharing the days as they evolve here in Kingston. SO - on the first day of Christmas the message is :" ...Joseph and Mary, his espoused wife, being great with child..." Pregnant!" yelled Ralph Herman. "I don't thing it's very nice to say Mary was pregnant," Alice whispered to me. "But she was," I pointed out. In a way, though, I agreed with her. It sounded too ordinary. Anybody could be pregnant. "I'm not suppose to talk about people being pregnant." Alice folded her hands in her lap and pinched her lips together. "I'd better tell my mother." "Tell her what?" from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Now, on with your day and remember it is the Christmas holiday to do something special for yourself and also include someone you love. This is a holiday to remember to share your love.

Love to you all,
Mama Llama

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fourth of July Fun

The Fourth of July is always the REAL beginning of summer at Twin Lakes. Ed has the boat in tip top shape, the dock is approachable without swimming and  the cocktail cruise begins. This Fourth was one of the best, with nice sunny hot weather added to the festivities.

Catapult boat
Mother ship of the fleet
The Geiger boys are growing like the proverbial weeds. Cam towers over me and Jacob is fast on his way. They have been lake rats now for 3 weeks and projects already abound.. Cam has built an "armada" inspired by a school project on the Nile River including boats, people, docks, trading and anything else he could possible add. His lake fleet includes several vessels: the mother ship with projectiles for safety, several munition barges with spoon-catapults, and a couple of smaller sailing vessels without weaponry.  Jacob, not to be outdone, discovered that the spoon catapult could be very successful in achieving 100%  firing rate used with "poppers" especially when flung onto a metal roof. Oh to play all day with no other thought in mind!
Welcoming the parade

Barb and Dave on the mountain-

Barb and Dave were able to join us in honoring the Boat parade but we were caught off guard and did not have our usual water-balloon assault prepared. Again the Geiger's filled in the void I feel we may have lured boats into a false security by our random absence.

Next year will afford us a great base for the water-balloon onslaught for we now have a bigger base at the puzzle dock- thanks to Anita.  The new piece arrive the day before the 4th and makes a great new space- much easier to party on the Party Dock.

You all know by now that the holiday did not end well for me. I followed a family tradition of stupid mistakes by falling while skiing and twisting my knee beyond where knees should go. The ski did not release- that is my excuse anyway!
The result is a torn ACL, a torn MCL and a depression fracture of my tibia. If it sounds bad, it doesn't really hurt. Unfortunately the doctor doesn't seem to care about that! He requires no weight bearing for 8 WEEKS so I am hobbling around on crutches for now with the reward  of not looking forward to surgery. That is a huge bonus point for me and keeps me trying harder to keep weight off the knee bone so it will hurry and heal.

In the meantime I am catching up on  blankets  and sewing projects. I recently invested in a long-desired electric carder. What are the chances that it would come in handy so soon? So, although it is not the summer I expected, it is a summer for other fun projects and a reprieve from the same old daily tasks that become uninteresting when they are part of our daily pattern. This summer weeding the garden will take on a wistful quality and my fall gardening will be infused with some scary psychotic energy!

For now, it is mid-July and I am happy to have the daylight linger into the evening hours. I love the energy of waking to sunlight and will try hard to make time for the beach when the warm sunshine visits. All of you in hotter climates, stay cool and have fun because summer is short. Even when personal and work demands keep tapping on your shoulder, you  have to sometimes turn away and enjoy your moments.

Love as always,
Mama Llama

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beginning with June

In a very few days it will be the first official day of summer. Some in California think summer began before Memorial Day with hot days and bright sun. Even the East Coast has enjoyed warm, sunny weather bringing out sundresses and sandals.

Porch Vista
Here in Kingston we are lucky to take off our sweaters by midday but recently we did see the sun for an entire day and felt a little warm as well. I took the opportunity to chronicle this experience and share is with you so that you can imagine being here with me on a warm, sunny day when everything is blooming and growing.

Mary Feasting
We start on the porch looking over at Tulin Road.We see the flower garden below and the goats feasting in the pasture that Bucky use to eat down.

MY fig tree

As we walk down the stairs, we pass the figs trees and the rose garden, both striving to survive to see warm weather.

Deers haven't  eaten these yet

Table by the pond
We take in the patio by the pond and the flowers in bloom, including the clematis that is covering the winter chicken pen is lovely pink blossoms.

Clematis bursting out all over
pond lilies and iris

Now we venture to where no one ever goes- the far side of the pond where we discover some rhododendrons mixing with clematis on the neighbors fence. That encourages us all the way around to the backside to say hello to Duffy and the chickens.

Neighbors gate
Chickens are always curious or hungry

Duffy guarding the fenceline

The final leg of our walk takes us through the vegetable garden and out the garden gate. Back in the house we enjoy the results of our walk by putting together a little bouquet of our gardens bounty. And there you have it, just as though you had paid a personal visit to Tulin Road.  You can imagine the walk anytime you want, without the rain, bugs, slugs or powdery mildew to diminish the perfections.

A little disjointed but you get the idea.
Wish you were here.
Early lilies and hopeful crops
Hoop garden still growing
Garden Gate
Bringing the garden home
Mama Llama

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Hot Summer Days

Okay, I know it seems I am hallucinating but it really WAS hot in New York -at least part of the time! And the rest of the time is was just warm, muggy and wonderful. I always enjoy getting away to the East coast. There are new sights and old friends to help me feel inspired with new ideas.

Carol at Hillstead
As always, I remember how blessed I am to have Carol Ehmann Genco as a life long friend and to have her connecting me to Connecticut. We  share thoughts and impressions of art, literature and life and have been doing this since we were in junior high school together. Fortunately her father's transfer to Michigan during high school did not stop our sharing. We did both enjoy writing our thoughts and feelings but my father's work phone once a month let us talk for an hour, long before cell phones and unlimited long distance. In any case, we both smile a lot and talk a lot, as though we are finishing a conversation started just the day before. I have to admit that I value her all the more because we don't always agree but continue to share and  we both feel the world around would be much better if it would only listen to us, especially as we walk and talk and watch life.

Erin in the MOMA garden
Met Roof Garden
After a short visit to Hartford, New York offered lots of life to watch and lots of nice warm weather to enjoy it all. There were several good reasons to visit the Met- some hot sunshine and some great new  exhibits. I saw some amazing Schiaparelli creations and some Prada creations, the new American wing with interior design in combination with traditional art forms and on and on. The  MOMA was a fun day for Erin and I with 2 great photography exhibits adding to the great standing collection. The High-line walk in Spring and all that is new and old in Manhattan and Brooklyn feels like opening a gift of old favorites and unimagined surprises. Tying it all together are the quiet moments in the morning with coffee on the white sofa and late dinners going longer that expected because of good food and good wine with lots of talking. Leaving is always sad but I always know I will be back before long. In the meantime, I just hope I can do half of the projects I have been inspired to imagine.
Local coffee server

Now I am home, having left any hope of warmth and sunshine behind me. It is 60 degrees and pouring so I have had time to finish up some spinning and start thinking about new fiber projects- that is good! Catching up with home stuff always takes longer that I expect but this coming week I will try out some new project ideas and start getting the garden in shape. I do tend to forget that this time of year the garden it always ahead of me so I might as well relax and enjoy it. I will try and appreciate the abundance of greens! Oh, and just in case you didn't know, Alex and Sofie are engaged. That really makes me smile.
Alex testing out the wedding scene

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On the Move in May

After months of hanging out in Kingston, it seems my mojo is on the move and May is a very busy month. To start the month out just right, David and I headed to Healdsburg to visit Kyrsa and Dave in their new home. What a wonderful vacation from the wet and damp of the northwest. California was beautiful in it's spring colors. We were able to enjoy it from the vineyards and botanical gardens of  Dry Creek to the whales at Point Reyes lighthouse and the sun-sprinkled waters of Tomales Bay.

This was our first visit to the house on Grove Street. Most of you have been there so know what a wonderful space it is. Kyrsa and Dave have worked hard to put their mark on it with a comfortable, clean and California-classic feel that perfectly suits the 1930's home. The "grounds" are amazing with wonderful plants and trees already established and new garden spaces beginning. I love that I can know think of them and know where they are sitting for dinner and where they are having drinking on the patio. I smile just thinking of it all right now.

We are so lucky that Susan and Colin are "kind of" in the area and they were able to join us for dinner and a slumber party. We played badminton in the back yard (I haven't done that for many years), drank Dave's famous Margaritas and ate some great food too- really the hallmarks of a family gathering. The best part is always relaxing, hanging out and talking about crazy stuff with my amazing children.

May really is Mother's Day month for me. It began with Kyrsa and Colin and ends with Erin. As I write this, I am almost finished packing for my trip to New York. This is the best month ever; time with all of my children! And in case I have not been clear, they ARE all pretty amazing, generous, strong, courageous and hard working people. I am a very lucky mom and I recognize that all the months of the year, not only May.

So, West Coast to East Coast and then in the middle. On Mother's Day I hung out at the lake with my mother, Anita Sarah Haspedis or ASH. We started the weekend right with a burn pile behind the cabin and a little clipping here and there. We ate clams and corn just like a summer day which it really was- 80 degrees and sunny was better than most of last summer! I even went into the water without cardiac arrest. It was under the guise of pulling in the dock from the middle of the lake but still, not bad at all.

The neighbor boys came over to catch up after the winter in town.Cam is getting to be a "cool" middle schooler and not as chatty as in past years. Good thing Jacob has taken up the slack! He conned Anita into playing Monopoly with him which was hysterical. Watching Anita play with Jacob made me realize how it was we girls learned to learn during all those years at the lake with no TV, phone or even a car much of the time. I still wonder how Anita survived but she always was a strong advocate of nap-time.

As I finish packing for the last of my May travels, I am thankful for the patterns and examples of living set for me by my mother and father. I see my children using many of those patterns, goals and values to take their own dreams farther yet and say : "We are one very lucky family."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Well, at least I hope so. In an hour David and I are speeding our way toward northern California to preview the May sunshine and avoid a few days of Kingston showers. Still, it is hard in many ways to realize that it is already May. March and April just slipped by under the rug.
Anita and sister Mary An
Robert Kent

I suspect it was the dull thudding of losses that encouraged me to ignore time moving along. My uncle, Herbert Kent died. He way 93 so it was not really a big surprise but it was still a surprise. Anita and I went down to Benge for the memorial service in March. It was great to see family that I hadn't seen for many many years. It was also interesting to realize how important Herb and Dorthy were to my sisters and I. They were the essence of our extended family- the kind with aunts, uncles and cousins. We had Father George and Betty in Spokane; San Dee and Gail as cousins. But Herb and Dorthy's family were are  first cousins and the people were stayed with when we drove into Benge. They were our home-base for Anita's family. Ellen spent a week at the lake with us, skiing and adventuring every summer. Dorthy  told us stories about the Grange and Herb instigated our now family obsession with homemade ice cream. I remember vividly the hand-crank ice cream maker on their front porch where kids "got" to help.Herb was Benge's version of Tom Sawyer with a white washing brush or ice cream crank or weeding bucket.
Nancy Hohn and partner
Cousins Ellen (Kent) and Deborah Bruhl
Hoop gardening in Kingsto
At home in Kingston, March and  April were wet and cool but that is such the norm that I decided to accept and live without summer. To that end I have constructed a garden under plastic. This may be the wave of the future here, until global warming finds Kingston. I have a large hoop garden in the vegetable space and a smaller one in the front yard. There are a  few starter spaces for experimentation but I am not sure they will be successful. They will go away in May in any case.

The gardener's eternal hope in Spring never fails to amaze and surprise me. Despite the limited summer successes, I still keep trying new approaches. But hope was marred a little this Spring with the loss of 2
of my lovely goat friends. I lost my old friend Bucky and a new friend,
Loretta,  both to old age. It happens but it was a slow couple of months while I tried to get them healthy. They were just too tired out. Now we have Mary, who might be too mean to get sick, and a young guy, Dewey. Hopefully, they will have an active and happy summer!

As I leave for a few days, I leave Kingston at its annual BEST. The flowers are always spectacular in the Spring and the cool weather means they hang around longer, overlapping colors and fragrances. Nothing to complain about unless it is that the beauty of dandelion yellow in not always the most appreciated color in the palette.

With this new ambling, I am ready to greet the rest of Spring and the upcoming summer with much enthusiasm for new projects in the garden and at the loom. I had better get to that fiber stash because the fiber fairy paid me a visit when I was at school and left at least "10 bags full" of wool, angora and mohair. I guess she thought those other 20 bags were empty! Gentle nudges to "GET GOING"!

Happy Spring breezes to you and a final glimpse at Angora Acres in Spring.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy February with love

Although January seemed to last forever, February is already here? The year is off to a gallop and in view of this hectic pace, I want to share a moment of poetry with you all.

          The Procession
   When the snow has gone away
    Maypinks blossom where it lay,
    And before the Maypink's gone
    Dancing windflowers hurry on:
    All the violet-buds are made
    Long before the windflowers fade.
    Then before the violets go
    Yellow dandelions grow:
    And before they ever die
    Buttercups are growing high,
    They the daisies hurry up
    Each beside a buttercup.
    Little pink wild roses follow,
    And in every sunny hollow
    Black-eyed Susans grow up tall
    Long before the roses fall.
    Clovers blossom pink and steady
    Till the goldenrod is ready:
    Purple asters last of all
    Wait until the late, late, fall.
    Till the snow comes flying down
   Once again on field and town.
               - Margarel Widdemer

Just a quick glance at the year ahead but breath everyone: one flower season as a time! In remembering the seasons past, we have had a passing here on Tulin Road. With some sadness I sent the Little Saturn off to a new life with a new family. It drove out like the champ it is, to make room for a new vehicle yet to prove it's long term commitment to the Tulin farm yard. Last week I found a nice Honda Fit- 2010 with only 7,000 miles for a very reasonable price so decided it was time! Within a short afternoon I picked up David at work, drove the car back to the dealer and then home we sped. I am not one for the prolonged vehicle debate though I did a good year and more of research. Oh the wonders of the internet!

So, now we have a new white car but no more white snow. February ushered in with spring like weather so I have been balancing between indoor fiber work and outdoor gardening cleanup. Our new neighbors have completed their new home and have moved in. I finished up a jean quilt as a welcoming gift and was VERY proud of it's gift bag. Having enjoyed much the chicken feed bag from Christmas, I of course am on the road to more and more feed bags. Look out everyone!! It is all the fault of Colin and Susan from here on. This first is uninspiring because there was no advert on the the front but still a worthy effort.!!

Beyond this, all is February normalcy in Kingston. The projects keep lining up- garden preparations , a new chicken tractor for summer... All is great when new ideas pop into the mind. So, I hope there are new dreams and new inspirations coming your way but that you are making time to play and enjoy the moments as they meet you.I am sending you smiles and hugs for a  great week ahead!

Mama Llama

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter in Kingston?

Just a little weather update to make you all feel better about where you are today. We are finally seeing the snow storm the weatherman as been forecasting for a week. Thank heavens it arrived so now all the hoopla has been validated.

REAL snow on Tulin Road
As you know, western Washington is not made for actual winter weather. David's work place closed for the day, as did all the schools and most other businesses. I thought I might have coffee and read in bed but suddenly remembered where I live and jumped up to prepare for electrical outages. I made muffins, minestrone soup and quiche, so we should be good for awhile.

preparing for the inevitable
The only foreseeable trauma involves the chicken coop. The snow accumulating on the tarp and wire covering is weighting it down so that it is almost laying on the ground. I was able to shake off the tarp but not the chicken wire covering so I just hope it survives until Friday afternoon, when is it suppose to start raining and warming up. Not much else to do so keep your fingers crossed.

For now I am planning on spinning and enjoying the warm fire inside. I hope you are all well and feeling good about the beginning of the year with all its newness still intact.


Friday, January 13, 2012

January Dreams

Janus- the Roman god with two faces presiding over the threshold of endeavors. As Janus looks forward and back, we use both foresight and hindsight to plan our year- or just embrace it's offerings.

Already the middle of January! The new year is off and running and I am already behind. Christmas decorations are still up, reminding me of the great holiday season now long gone. The air is crisp and clear, meaning the air quality police are forbidding all wood burning. Thankfully the heat pump is keeping us warm. We will soon see if the cost of installation is worth any saving on the energy bills?

But that is the mundane life of January. To keep up the spirits, sunrises have been glorious and inspire me to great use of colors in newly imagined blankets. Lots of resolutions for change come with January and I feel confident that they WILL be met.

       I joined the local gym in order to start regular yoga classes again. Having attended 2 so far, they seem      like a good fit, so there in one check mark.
       I am not watching news shows more that once a day and not when political marketing comes on, thus lowering my "crazy" level. I am actually turning OFF the TV and listening to books on tape to keep me entertained.
       In my quest to relearn French or just focus on any foreign language acquisition, I discovered This is a great site that offers beginning to premier level language learning. They say it is free to join but to continue after the first lesson, a fee is charged. At $9.99 a month  I thought is was worth a try to see if I would really use it. So far I am enjoying it immensely. Since I am using it as a refresher course, it seems quite good. For the same monthly fee I could also practice Spanish, German and learn Italian or Japanese but REALLY! Let's get real!
       After walking past the tool room for the past 2 years and thinking: "I really need to finish that room." I finally did it. One step at a time and a book on tape made it happen. Though not perfect, it is better. Still a tiny space, the tools are more organized and when I walk by I don't cringe. There is a perfect space for my Niki McClure "encourage" poster, right in front of the table for planting seedlings and starting them under a grow light. 

That ends the list of accomplishments but as usual the list "to be done" is much longer. Planting dreams are growing, springing from the eternal hope of new beginnings. Animals need care and harvesting to provide material for new projects accumulating in my head. A new felting book has really pushed me through the wall of fear surrounding felt and that may be the new exploration but not until the warm weather arrives; too much water for this cold weather. Until then, carding and spinning and some dyeing along with so many other creative opportunities. Oh, and maybe I'll build a 10X20 foot hoop house? I HAVE TO GO!! There is too much to do.

Good  wished and hopes to you all and remember to make time to dream before you set out running through the year. The moments that take us forward and really what count. They never return, so treasure them as you move through them.

Love you all,
Mama Llama