Friday, March 31, 2023

A Russian Tea Time

 One of my tea friends has a Russian samovar. Do you know what that is? Do you know how tea is enjoyed in Russia? When four of us gathered together recently at the beach to celebrate a couple birthdays we enjoyed celebrating with a Russian tea time. What an amazing treat.

As you can see it is rather colorful. It just feels full of JOY.

We didn't have scones and tiny sandwiches, but there was cheeses, cold cuts, pickles, salad, and Russian sweets.

I had brought my birthday bouquet, which decorated the kitchen table.

Another glimpse of the tea table.

And here is the samovar. The chain hanging from the handle was edible, crispy cookie from Russia. There was charcoal inside the main chamber and a really strong black tea in the pot at the top. You pour part of the black tea in your cup, then can pour hot water from the lower spigot to make it the strength you prefer.

Chocolates and candied fruit.

And finally, the tea! Most often it is a sweet tea, either sweetened by crystalized sugar, sugar cube, or jam. It is funny, but I don't really like sweet tea. Served this way, I quite enjoy it. Sometimes a splash of milk is added too. It is like a decadent dessert, which pairs quite nicely with the food.
A very special way to continue the celebration.
After all, don't they say to celebrate your birthday the full month?
Have a great weekend, dear friends!
Celebrate each day!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Word Magic

 The word this week is Expect or Expecting.

The definition of Expecting is:


present participle: expecting, regard (something) as likely to happen.
 "we expect the best",
anticipate, await, look for, hope for, watch for, look forward to, look ahead to, predict, plan for, be prepared for, envision, regard (someone) as likely to do or be something.
"they were not expecting him to continue"

Orchids are blooming in my home right now. If you look closely you can see more buds. I am "expecting" more flowers soon.

If you look above the mantle you will see an empty picture frame. For many years I had that antique frame in storage because I loved it, but never found the right picture to place in it. Finally I hung it without a picture. I don't expect I will ever put a picture in the frame, but for me I just enjoy the flowers outside the box (frame). When friends visit they expect to see something in the frame and I most often receive curious looks.

This is my witch hazel. It is just beginning to bud and I expect it to be quite beautiful soon.

In the fall my tea plants bloom. Very soon with spring popping in to say hello I expect new growth and thus I will once again process a very tiny batch of tea.
I am cleaning old journals today as I continue the process of downsizing. One journal I had forgotten I had started over 10 years ago was writing to my grandson that was due to be born. My family and myself didn't know at first if this child, which was much desired, would be a boy or a girl. We each had our own expectations, but it was my daughter and her partner that was actually "expecting" this baby. Did we have expectations for this child? Certainly! But we soon learned that this child was his own little person and we must let go of some expectations and just enjoy the adventure. To tell you the truth I still expect that hug each time I greet him or say goodbye. He is much loved.
Not the greatest picture, but he is sitting on my lawn expecting a picture to be taken and expecting the flowers to open for him.

 The word today was found in an old journal. What I wrote: "Expecting to me means anticipation, looking forward to the ordinary things of life that can excite and surprise me. I can expect great things in each moment and day when I pay attention and am open to each little thing."
This goes along with "notice what you notice".
Expect great things this week and notice each and every little thing.

Friday, March 24, 2023

My Birthday Luncheon with Family


A family adventure to Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge, for my birthday lunch.


We were not sure how the roads would be, but what I requested for my birthday was a family lunch at the lodge high up on the mountain. Shortly after this picture we came to a waiting line to get into the parking lot. Thankfully we had reservations and they waved us on to the lodge. The weather was perfect with a full blue sky all around us.

The lodge was built by the WPA and the details are just exquisite. There is a small museum in the lodge, which I also enjoyed.


It was so cozy sitting by one of the fireplaces. I loved the snow from the lodge windows.

Here you can see the top of the mountain. It looks like you could just walk up there, but it is not so easy as it appears. FYI, Mt. Hood is part of the Cascade Range called The Ring of Fire, as they are volcanoes.

When my children were young my "live-in gardener" and I would bring them here for dinner by the fire on Christmas Eve. At the appointed hour Santa would arrive by sleigh pulled by real reindeer and have a gift for each child. It was magical. One year Santa came out of the fireplace instead of the sleigh.

All the curtains were hand woven. The loom is part of the museum.


And then my family gathered together to enjoy the buffet lunch. We had to comment that we hadn't seen a buffet since before the pandemic. It was a treat.

Grandson, D, enjoying a S'more cookie.


Son and daughter smiling just for me.

My dear friend that is part of our family.

And me with my "live-in gardener".


Part of the museum that disappeared for a few years. Originally this carving was at the entrance to the lodge.

All the posts on the stairs have carved animals. This one is cracked now, but in my eyes still beautiful.

One more glimpse from a window of the surrounding mountain side.

It was a perfect birthday celebration, just what I asked for.
Do you sometime request something special for your birthday?
If so, I hope you get exactly what you ask for.
Yes, dreams can come true!

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Word Magic

 A day late, but celebrating Spring Equinox with the word BLOOM

The definition of BLOOM is "
a flower, especially one cultivated for its beauty."

                              I couldn't resist visiting the "BLOOM" in my garden.

William Wordsworth, ‘Lines Written in Early Spring‘.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure…

“I am in awe of flowers.
Not because of their colors,
but because even though they
have dirt in their roots,
they still grow.
They still bloom.”
D. Antoinette Foy

 I must admit this is my favorite time of year. Not only is it my birthday, but it is when the earth wakes and flowers begin to BLOOM. I cannot resist snapping their pictures as they pose so beautifully for me. The new shades of green with the touches of yellow, pinks, and reds just make my heart sing and I want to dance through the beds of flowers.

BLOOM was happy for me to visit and celebrate this day.

With cup of tea in hand, my nose leaned closely to smell, I celebrated this day with a smile, a bit of laughter, and a dance along the way. 

                             Happy Spring Equinox, dear friends!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Celebrating 80

This week I am celebrating turning 80.

One of my best friends, Annette, just turned 60. My daughter, Jill, will soon turn 50.

We had talked about how to celebrate each of us turning a new decade.

When I found a local photographer taking pictures of "gal" friends I decided this is what we should do.

What fun! I loved sharing this with these "gals".

And then D, my one and only grandchild, decided to join us. He recently turned 10.

It was so fun to share this play time with these special ladies.

The photographer knew my daughter and snapped a couple pictures of mother and son too.

I loved it!

 Do you take time to play with those you love?

I had not done anything like this before, but it was so worth it.

It was a fun way to celebrate my birthday and theirs.

There is more play this week yet to be had, but I highly recommend this as a way to mark the day.

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Word Magic

 Believe is the word for this week.

What do you think of when you use or hear the word Believe?

Description I found online:

    verb:   accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
    Yes, I accept/believe a lot of things, but still I question too. 
    When I think of the word believe I think:
    Do I believe in Santa Claus or in fairies?
    Do I believe in the power of the super-natural?
    Do I believe in magic?

    Certainly I want to believe in each of these things, but yet there are times of doubt and times when I say "wait, what?"

    In asking my son what he thought of the word believe he said "it comes from a vulnerable place", much like trust and hope.

    Still it is a word I like wrapping my mind around to the point where I hang the above ornaments on my Christmas tree and have large letters on my office wall that say Believe.
    So this week I am embracing Believe and paying attention to what I believe.
    If you are spiritual, believe shows up a lot in scripture.
    We are inspired to believe in miracles and answered prayers. 
    This year I started a journal where I write down things I am praying about.
    I think at the end of the year I will need to review those prayers and notice what my believing in prayer brought forth. 
    I am going to believe for this week that you have a totally terrific week.
    Sending love to each of you!

Friday, March 10, 2023

Birds of Winter

The Tundra Swans winter here in the northwest and we love seeing them.
I think they must go further north in the spring and summer.
They seem to often be in pairs.

Sometime during the winter we drive through the Ridgefield Nature Preserve in Ridgefield, Washington. It is about a 45 minute drive north of Portland, Oregon. We discovered it during the worst of the pandemic and love going there for an outing because everyone stays in their cars and watches with binoculars and cameras in hand. This is now our annual winter adventure with D and his mom. We all thoroughly enjoy seeing the birds and spotting deer and other critters.

A hawk ruffling it's feathers right above our car.

I could say swans a'swimming, but it looks more like swans a'standing.

Signs of a beaver visiting the area.

Beaver and muskrat love the small river and trees.

Not a bird! It's a beaver.

Tundra Swans in flight.

American Bittern

We had never seen this bird before; so we were all excited to see him so near the car.

Tundra Swan in flight.

Mr. Mallard and his partner.

They were swimming away from their nest; so we wouldn't see it. We did see the hole in the grass, but not little ones.

Yep, more Tundra Swans in flight


American Coots



Red Wing Black birds

These birds seem to be at the feeder year round. It was fun to see them flutter by. 

It was raining outdoors, but we didn't care. We were tucked in the car, sometimes with the window down. A little rain wasn't going to hurt us.

Do you have traditional adventures for different seasons?

I love creating them with our D.

I think he likes it too.

Have a terrific weekend, dear friends.