Sláinte. 

Today we celebrated my mom,  and said goodbye.  What an emotional day.   It was a beautiful ceremony.  Lots of family and friends shared the day with us. 

We sent her off with a graveside parting glass.   

I’m a little exhausted.  A little sad.  And very happy to have an angel of mom’s calibre in my corner.  

I’ll leave you with a picture from my sister’s garden, and the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem version of The Parting Glass

 

Sad on the inside, with beauty all around.

I flew back home, again, yesterday.  But this time, my Mom is not here.  God took her back.  It is the sad, but inevitable, end to a wonderful lifetime.  I am proud and oh so happy to be her daughter.   Today we say goodbye and celebrate her life.  ‘Til we meet again, Mom… I love you.

As we approached Seattle, I was treated to beautiful views of the Cascades.  Fires are again raging in Washington, both east and west of the mountains, so the view was a bit hazy.  In this one looking south, Mount Rainier is in the front, center.   Mount Saint Helens is slightly above and to the right of Rainier; the gray, hazy, low peak with no snowcap.  The leftmost peak is Mount Adams.  And between Adams and Rainier, in the distance, you can faintly see Mount Hood.

IMG_4541

A fanfare ending to a family reunion extravaganza.

For the last week and a half, Monte and I hosted his family’s bi-annual reunion.   We started out with a big 3-day weekend, enjoying reconnecting and having fun at the house and in the backyard with 21 of our relatives that came from pretty much every corner of the country.  Then, for the next week, ten of the family that could stay longer came to stay with us at the house.   We packed it with as much food and fun as we could.   It was really a special, wonderful time.   Sailing, floating, grilling, cornhole, homemade pasta, bimini ring game, barbeque, card games, homemade pizza, geocaching, karaoke, low-country boil, gardening, sno-cones, sightseeing, even taking part in our neighborhood’s 4th of July parade.  Over the last few days, our party dwindled until it was just four of us yesterday.   We set out for the lake and sailed to Starnes Island to anchor up and watch the fireworks show.  It didn’t disappoint.  We squeezed every bit of fun out of the time spent with everyone.

Today we said goodbye to the last two revellers.   It’s just our flock now.  The house is quiet.

I leave you with two shots from the fireworks last night — here’s to family!

IMG_4488

IMG_4501

Afternoon excursion.

We dashed out to Mayfield Park today to see the peacocks and the pretty grounds, found a geocache, and then climbed atop Mount Bonnell to enjoy the view.

IMG_8522 IMG_8532 IMG_8536 IMG_8540

A nice day, indeed.

Whoa, Nellie. 

I took a walk around the hood tonight to hit my step target. And I came across this little lady who was very wary of me.   I said hi, took a picture and kept moving on down the road.  I’d like to think that she has a similar snap of me. 

  

Girl power!

I’ve been closely following the around-the-world sailing race, the Volvo Ocean Race, since it started back in October of last year.   Seven boats/teams started in Alicante, Spain, and have been sailing individual legs from one port to the next over the course of these last 8 months.   They have circumnavigated the globe and are driving to the end, later this month.  Tonight they will finish leg 8 – which started in Lisbon, Portugal, ending in Lorient, France.  One of the teams is an all-female crew, on-board the magenta Team SCA boat.  They have competed well, but have not yet won a leg.  Tonight they are in the brink of winning leg 8, and I am so rooting for them.   Just a little over 40 nm to go, and they are still leading the pack by 10nm and holding steady on speed.  Go Team SCA!!!

What an amazing adventure.  Check it out!

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.43.02 PM

It’s always something. 

This morning a crew showed up to repair our failed sewer line.   By dinner time we were back in business.   The upside:  I am just very happy that this issue arose now and will be fixed before a big family gathering at the house in a few weeks.  

#ItsAlwaysSomething

Sugar bombs.

I was introduced to cake pops recently, when a friend brought a dozen to a party.  They are an excellent sweet treat.   This weekend I took a stab at making a batch myself.    Here’s how they turned out:

IMG_8377

I did a little research beforehand, googling a few recipes and how-tos.   This is the one I picked to guide me, and pretty much followed it exactly.   I made one modification – I detest frosting-in-a-can, as its main ingredient is partially hydrogenated fat.   I bought a powder mix instead – which was basically powdered sugar, really.   I just had to add butter and a bit of milk.  And it worked great for the frosting.  I mixed up half a box (i.e., about as much frosting to cover half a cake), on the advice of the how-to that I was following.   And it worked fine.

I bought pure white Wilton candy chips, and added food coloring.  I have to say that the “dipping” phase is still a mystery to me.  No matter what I tried, the candy coating was always the consistency of frosting.  I tried both the microwave method, as well as the double boiler method.   It was still very thick.    So I couldn’t really “dip” the pops.  I spun them through the coating and had to smooth with a knife most of the time.   No matter, though, they turned out fine.

Some people recommend buying floral arrangement foam to use as a stand to hold your cake pops.  I asked Monte to make me a few stands with wood scrap he had laying around in the shop.  They worked great.

Oh, Mercury, give it a rest!

I took this photo last weekend on the lake, right before the last bit of seemingly relentless rain storms passed.   It has an ominous look to it – fitting for how I’m feeling today.

IMG_8304Have you heard tales of bizarro things happening when the planet Mercury is in retrograde (which happens a couple times every year)?   If not, you can read about it here.  Well, Mercury has been in retrograde since May 18, and will be through June 11.

Here’s a short list of things I’m writing off as Mercury’s doing during this period of retrograde:

– historic flooding (since around the 18th……hmmm)
– the docks at our marina have broken in places due to the flooding and storms, so the dock our boat is on Is in limbo, unable to be brought back to shore for the time being
– our anchor rode snapped unexpectedly while pulling up the hook 2 weeks ago
– I found a bat in my office at work yesterday (the Mexican freetail kind, not the Louisville slugger kind)
– the sewer drain at the house up and died last night (freakiest – and grossest – of all)

And we still have almost another week of this.  Have you any bizarre happenings to share?

Take time. 

My aunt gave me this card a number of years ago.   I’ve held onto it because I like the message.  It turned up again recently when I was cleaning out a cupboard.  Lots of wisdom on a little piece of paper.  Maybe it will touch you as well.  

  
  I don’t know who wrote it, so I can’t give credit.