Friday, April 29, 2011

Moving On.....

Today I am feeling a bit sentimental. There is a lot to celebrate in our family right now.....birthdays and graduations......and I'm so proud. Of my boys. Of us.  

And I'm thankful. For the gift of watching three little boys grow into fine young men. For their confidence and positive outlooks. For others who have made it a point to participate with love and support, engaging with the boys and us along the way. 

Within the next couple of weeks we'll celebrate with the older ones as they graduate from college. As they finish what they started and move on to the next step. I am bursting as I remember them as college entire menu of potential life paths set out before them within a course catalog. My advice to them now is the same as it was then: Try out a few things. Find out what it is you hold a passion and an affinity for. Trust that you'll know when something is right for you,  for education is as much about figuring out ways that you don't want to spend your time, as it is about finding out with certainty, ways that you do. But once you figure it out, dive in, live it and you'll succeed.

And so I will watch them finish with ceremony. For one, it will be the last specific reason I have to visit my alma mater unless business or fun take me back. It is the place where all of my siblings attended college as well, so I've been visiting one family member or another there since I was eleven. I'll watch as he wears the colors I grew up with and carries the same diploma.  My other son went through graduation ceremonies at his school last spring, but returned to finish up a different degree. So we'll celebrate with him again before leaving him and his dog, Lew, in the place he's grown to love, and where he's decided to stay for awhile.

My youngest is in that same place the older guys were a few years ago. Finishing up his freshman year. Taking a look. Solidifying his choice. It's funny to have ones at both ends of the spectrum, and he's lucky in that he has the added bonus of being able to watch his older brothers.

So last night I made a good dinner and a cake.  I felt like celebrating. Cheers!

( always, I love to hear your stories as well!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I have to say that the first time someone told me I just had to make an unfinished church, La Sagrada Familia, be the one thing I saw above all other offerings in Barcelona, I was skeptical. Construction on it began in 1882 and is projected to wrap up in 2026. I couldn't imagine any modern day project that would take 144 years to complete and what it might look like at this point, so I'm embarrassed to admit that when I spent a day there a few years ago, I chose to go on a bike ride instead. Oh, I had heard about La Sagrada Familia and read about it in guide books, but at that point I knew that monasteries, shrines, churches, basilicas, cathedrals and the Vatican were in the plans for the next couple of weeks and I didn't want to tire of them, so I chose another way to spend the day. Besides, Barcelona appeared to be an easy and fun city to get around in on two wheels, so that's what we did......and it was. 

Before I went back again this fall, I asked a couple of friends if they could only do one thing in Barcelona what that would be, and both said without hesitation, 'a visit to La Sagrada Familia'. That one could visit several times and still not see enough; get as much out of it as it has to offer. So on my last birthday that is how I spent a memorable day. It is impossible to describe the enormity in scale, beauty and inspiration I found there. The sheer planning, thought and attention to detail, illumination, symbolism and story. It was an overwhelming and awe-filled experience and something that often crosses my mind still. And the one reason I was skeptical about spending time there became the one important thing that stuck with me: The fact that it is unfinished is an inspiration rather than a distraction. The realization that someone had enough confidence and belief to begin a project such as this. That he possessed the understanding, acceptance and trust necessary to work on something that surely would not be completed during his lifetime.

Recently I spent time going through photos from that day, hoping to find three or four to use for this post.  I remembered that I had an assortment that showed natural light streaming through windows or colored light resting on objects after traveling through stained glass. I considered that some of those might work well to illustrate spring or the Easter season......or the fact that I'm hoping for some really good long days of sunshine in the near future.  But as I sifted through, the ones that attracted me most were ones that showed building. Ones that included scaffolding and wires and protective draping as evidence of the construction that has gone on for 129 years and will continue for an estimated fifteen more. Ones that demonstrate and confirm growth. That illustrate that something can be breathtakingly wonderful......even whole......during its infant, adolescent and middle years. That sometimes, many times, in a project or in our lives we tend to worry and think too much about the finished piece and neglect to appreciate and pay attention to the beauty and the strength available during its building.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Candles for sale outside of St. Spyridon. Corfu.

Paleokastritsa Monastery.  Corfu.

A shrine to the Madonna. Monserrat.

Part of the Passion facade from La Sagrada Familia. Barcelona.

Peace to you this Good Friday,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I'm not a huge fan of surprises that startle, but I don't mind coming upon the unexpected. I guess I see them as a little different.

For some reason I've crossed paths with things unexpected a few times this past week:
Scenes where I didn't plan to find something interesting. Unanticipated joy. Found beauty beyond the busy and the mess.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that it's spring. It could be the rain/snow/hail/sunbreaks we've been having. Or the realization that my oldest will both graduate from college within the next couple of weeks.

For some reason I am bit more tuned in.  A little more appreciative and thankful.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Remember when I said I found a great little coffee shop that served the 'best' cup of coffee when I visited the opposite coast a few weeks ago? And that I thought it was funny to discover a small local (to my area) roaster all the way over there? Well...thank goodness I've found a similar place nearby that uses the same beans and makes the same good coffee! I met up with a friend there yesterday to catch up and here's what else I found: baked goods and gelato, wooden furnishings with character, a variety of seating options, a lot of windows (love that), friendly local owner. Great!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I'm a bit under the weather today so it's a good day to stay home and do a few things. Not much however! There is something nice about sticking around. Doing laundry and putting things in their place. Listening to the washer and dryer do their thing. Curling up in a blanket with a book. Baking a batch of my favorite cookies. Mmmmm..........I don't do that often when the boys are away.

Hope you have a great day!

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've had a chance to spend time with each of my boys lately. During the past couple of weeks they've all been home. Connecting with them is a bit different now than when they lived here full time. Face to face interactions are priority. It's a treat not to have to communicate by cell phone or the Internet. When they're around I clear my calendar to just hang out with them. When they want to talk, I stop what I'm doing to hear what they have to say.

Last night we took the two that are here this week out for dinner.  It started out as a typical spring evening, with sun drenching the pavement in between downpours. On the way home it began snowing so hard that it became difficult to see. Huge silver dollar flakes landed on the windshield and soon after we arrived an inch or more was built up on our patio. I have to say......I enjoy the unpredictability of it all.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Approaching Venice

The general area that I live in is threaded with bodies of water, large and small, all of which ultimately flow toward the Pacific. It is not unusual in the span of a day to either cross over water or to follow along it's shore.  Both dwelling place and industry are built to take maximum advantage of what a section of waterfront has to offer. Sailboats, fishing vessels, canoes, houseboats, ferries, cruise ships, cargo ships and seaplanes are common sights. Streams tumble down westward slopes, merge into rivers and flow toward large lakes and the Puget Sound. Beyond the mainland waterfront, the sound is dotted with islands that harbor life for different reasons and at a different pace than in the city. We are all interconnected and influenced by our proximity to this tangled flow of water.

Even though bodies of water are a daily norm for me, I was still surprised and unprepared for the short time that we spent in Venice this fall. Its 117 islands, 400 bridges and 177 canals. Its age and color and beauty. Its richly woven tapestry of history. Its waterways that serve the same purpose as the roadways I am used to: Moving people in taxis and buses. Moving groceries and goods.

We packed whatever we could  into the day and a half we were there, making our way to the island of Murano to look at glass via a water bus. Pasta and a glass of wine for lunch. An evening gondola ride. It was warm and bright and sunny during the day and glowed with reflected light in the evening. The most impressive part of our visit, I think, was our arrival. We stood on an upper deck to watch the city grow large during our ship's approach from the Adriatic to the Grand Canal. It was colorful and thrilling...... and as I sift through my photographs, I remember what I felt: This is new to me. I am in a place I have never been before. I will get as much as I can out of it while I'm here.

The photos below are a set (in order) taken as a tugboat lead our ship toward Venice .

Where ever your travels take you today......I hope you enjoy them.

Friday, April 1, 2011

March: In and Out

March came in like a bossy lion who decided it would be OK to stick around for the rest of the month. That overbearing dictator plied us with never-ending bouts of wind and rain.....I'm sure scaring whatever lamb that was supposed to show up somewhere far south of here. There are flood watches in the lowlands, avalanche warnings in the mountains and fallen branches scattered all over the place. 

Throughout the gusts and pounding downpours however, blossoms have managed to stay put at the end of skinny tree limbs and my daffodils still stand upright. I'm thinking that lamb is actually out there disguised in the pops of color and new growth showing up against the gray and the wet. The light isn't bad for taking pictures. The rhubarb is up in my garden (although the picture is of my friend's rhubarb). The boys are in and out for their spring breaks. I'm pretty sure the weather will eventually calm down, but for now it's fine for baking and catching up and spending time with them.'s out there.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Warmly, Margaret

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...