Returning to Home: Images

The day was breathtakingly beautiful. The sky was a vivid blue. The snow bright, lakes thawing, clouds a billowy white. I have often shown photos of the scenic drive along Highway 395 as I drive north toward home.

 Loon Lake is thawing.
Following the sun along the Colville River.
Almost home.

Seeing Images Through New Lenses

Yesterday I got a new camera and have been very excited to try out my new Canon S95. Yesterday I did a whole series of photos in low light which I wasn't able to do as well with my last Canon. I also had fun moving to different settings and taking shots  outside today. Here is a sample of some photos with the new camera.

Sibling Assignment #144: The Land of Counterpane

 This photo was taken the same year while spending Christmas with relatives in Orofino. I had my own baby daughter (doll) and probably getting tips from my mom.

Silver Valley Girl assigned us another sibling assignment remembering something about Mom. I am reposting this from my blog archives. I first posted this in February of 2007. I will link my siblings' posts when they are done. This post falls under my top ten favorite posts I have written.

 Mom was there to comfort me numerous times during illness or injury. When I got a bloody nose rolling in the garbage can, she was there to help wipe up the blood. Before my surgery she sat there talking to me as if everything was normal and we did this once a week. When I cut my arm she used her “for guests only” white towels with the pink tulips to wrap my bleeding gash. When I had the bike wreck by the little park she put ice on my eye and put salve on my road rash.

I have a strong memory of being sick at 14 E. Portland in Kellogg. I was about five years old. Mom stayed home from teaching that day. For part of that year Dad was home babysitting me because Bunker Hill was on strike. I still remember feeling special having Mom all to myself for the day. I got to lie in Mom and Dad’s “big bed”. Mom arranged pillows behind my head to help me sit up. She had to give me a yellow liquid medicine that tasted awful, but was there with a glass of water. I spit some of the medicine back in the glass with the water. I think I was concerned about doing something wrong. Mom comforted me and went on as if nothing happened. I also have a memory of Mom reading A Child’s Garden of Verses . “The Land of Counterpane” and Stevenson’s words are still etched in my memory.

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.
Actually that day the toys were oranges, scotch tape and a box of Kleenex. I must have become restless as the afternoon wore on. Mom allowed me to wrap the oranges like little gifts with Kleenex and scotch tape. I thought it was a marvelous way to spend an afternoon in bed. I think I even gave Dad a gift of wrapped oranges when he got home from work.

Looking back on my sick day I remember the softness of the pillows and bedspread in that big bed. I also remember the warm light from a lamp glowing on my tissue paper gifts. The most important part of that day was the gift of time spent with my mom. Touching my forehead with her cool hand helped erase my fears. Listening to her voice recite the words of “The Swing” and “The Land of Counterpane” as she sat by the bed made me feel better. Holding the little blue book of poems and recited poems she seemed to help take me to another time, a sunnier day.

That was an early experience with comfort. Mom provided a safe haven in that Land of Counterpane. I didn’t understand it as a young child. My life continued to be peppered with numerous illnesses, heartbreaks, and injuries. In different ways Mom has always provided that comfort and safe haven for me. I understand its significance now.

Still Life in the Greenhouse

As I deadheaded geraniums and emptied pots yesterday I noticed simple colors and textures in the greenhouse. I decided to capture them with my camera.
 I love clay pots.
 I think I should have cleaned these in the fall!
 Cougar Gold cheese tins are the best plant saucers. Go Cougs!

Sibling Assignment #143: We Really Aren't Her Little Daughters Anymore

Silver Valley Girl's next sibling assignment of January was to write something about Mom's birthday. I have shared photos both here and on Facebook. My brother wrote his post here reflecting on the ghost of Dad that was in the background at her celebration.
Taking the theme from another blog post by RP, I think sometimes Mom doesn't realize her daughters are all grown up. As we were putting together plans for her 80th birthday party she wasn't in charge.
She wasn't in the know. She is so used to taking charge or at least being in the know or together with us planning what is going on. We didn't keep everything a secret, but there were many details of the celebration we didn't share with her. It was a different role for her to play.She always wants to help, contribute, bring stuff, or find stuff. This time we took over the responsibilites for the party. She really wanted to help.
We kept having these conversations: "Do you need tablecloths?", " Do you need any tables?", " Is there going to be room for everyone to park?", " What are the girls(her granddaughters) doing?", " Who is coming?"," Do people know it is a dinner?" " Do you need vases?" We would kindly answer no, no, yes, singing, serving, lots of people, yes,no. Of course she knew our big brother and our husbands were the rocks that would help if anything went wrong.
I think she knows we are competent hostesses. I think she realizes we have both organized parties, weddings, holiday dinners, reunions, and households. She is lovingly still trying to guide us. She wanted to make sure we didn't fail. She didn't want everything to go wrong. She didn't want me to have a meltdown. She didn't want crying. She was being a caring mother.
 We succeeded the best we could. There was ice under the water on the street, there was a mishap with a garage door, we had people show up unannounced, and the yellow tulips drooped. We handled it with grace. We had a plan.
We proudly showed up in ironed clothes and clean faces, with combed hair, brushed teeth, food for all, a place for coats, a parking plan, silverware in the right places, lemon in the ice water, hand towels in the bathroom, and good manners.
I hope Mom realizes now she raised us well!

Sibling Assignment #142: Favorite Birthday Cake

Silver Valley Girl again gave the sibling assignment about January. Everyone was to write a memory about one of my birthdays. You will find Raymond Pert's confessions about liking all those girls here, and SVG's will be posted sometime soon.

I celebrated my birthday earlier in January. Birthdays have always been a big deal in our family. When we were growing up after Mom used up all her energy to make Christmas wonderful at our house each year, then she had to muster up a bit more of that bottled energy for my brother's birthday two days after Christmas and mine January 9th. Even though the birthdays were close to the busy holiday season, they were always special. Traditions included presents waiting at the breakfast table, choosing your own birthday dinner, and picking out the kind of cake you wanted Mom to bake.

Mom always baked our birthday cakes from scratch. None of that cake mix stuff for our birthdays. No bakery cakes, no ice cream cakes... just homemade ones with recipes from the Betty Crocker PIcture Cook Book. I loved to turn to the illustrated cake page and gaze at all the beautiful cakes such as The Daffodil Cake and The Chocolate Joy. Even though I reviewed all the recipes in the Cake section each year, I almost always picked the same one. I loved  Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. I have Grandma's old Betty Crocker cookbook and this afternoon I made guesses as to which recipe Mom used. I think I am pretty close if you check at the collage at the top of the page.

Making a cake from scratch was a big production in our kitchen. The kitchen was small and the counters were quite full, so Mom was always flying around with canisters out on the counter, wax paper ripping to sift the flour, beaters whirring just the right amount to cream the first ingredients, and the Mirror layer cake pans were always on the table greased and floured waiting for the rich batter. We waited eagerly in the background to lick the beaters. As the house filled with the tantalizing aroma of baking cake Mom then worried the cake was going to fall , or it wouldn't come out of the pan right, or she wouldn't get the layers lined up when she frosted them, or the frosting wouldn't turn out. When I think of Mom 's birthday cakes I only remember perfection.
Last year I got to be home for my 55th birthday. It was a special evening watching my sister and brother-in-law on stage in a play first. Later in the evening we got home to have cake and ice cream. Waiting was my yellow cake with chocolate frosting. My sister carried in the cake with the candles lit while everyone sang happy birthday. When I took the first bite , it tasted like childhood. SImple, delicious, and made with love.

Variations on a Theme: Blue

 “If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if the simplest things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” Eleanora Duse

A new addition to my cobalt blue collection.... a birthday gift from Mom.

Blue and more blue.

Grayson wonders, "Is this real?" and....

a memory of a favorite summer bloom.

A Week-End to Remember

As I gathered with my siblings, husband,extended family and friends in my hometown of Kellogg this week-end we shared special moments as we honored my mother's 80th birthday. We created lifetime memories filled with laughter, good food, shopping, dinner out, breakfast out, inside jokes, photo sessions, coffee,a few mishaps, friends, photo albums, the January thaw of 2011, board games, Mom's special drink, late nights, early mornings, and so much more. Here are a few images....
a place of honor for Mom
the siblings RP and SVG as we rest a moment before the celebration
Mom arrives
old friends
family entertainment
 The dessert bar of angel food cake and toppings... Mom's favorite.
 Breakfast today with RP contemplating the menu...
good food...