Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘flowers’

In Search of New Borders

I’m a foreigner. That holds true in every country I go. Even the one I was born in. What is it about borders that make us want to cross them and explore? I’ve been doing just that my whole life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

Crossing large bodies of waters was a normal part of my life.

My children, adults that they are, have not used their passports. My son was very young when we went to Taiwan via the military and I don’t think we needed them at that time. He didn’t remember crossing any borders. My poor daughter has been landlocked her whole life. Until now.

Life on the water. Wouldn't it be lovely?

Life on the water. Wouldn’t it be lovely?

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

Ferry captains were impressive in their skill.

We were brave and reckless. Driving the five hours to Port Angeles, Washington. After a wonderful brunch and a trip through their quilt store (yes, I had to look) and their wonderful bookstore (one or maybe two came home with us), my son drove the car onto the ferry and we rode the 90 minutes to another country. This dizzy lady did just fine. It took my daughter a bit to get her sea legs. A lot of distraction and good humor kept her even keeled and we made it safe and sound to Victoria, BC Canada. Now to be truthful, I’ve been there before without a car. We used public transport and that worked quite well. It was a LONG time ago.

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

They had beautiful stuff but I was very strong. Love this store

So what do you do when you cross the border? You go see pretty flowers and look around the town. Just to warn you, I will have to break this very short visit into two posts. I took over 360 photos. This is a lady who rarely ever took photos. Since I don’t see well, I point, shoot and pray that they can be fixed. My kids took even more.

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First thing on our list was a real food breakfast. We found a lovely place across from our motel. They were so polite and kind that it made our first taste of Canada even better. Then we were off to find a post office. I decided to see if I could mail a package to a Canadian friend from Canada for a bit less than mailing it from the U.S. Cost cut, one third! Do you know they have post offices open Saturday’s and Sunday’s? I was delighted and surprised.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

The ABC restaurant was a nice start of our day. I wanted to take this stove home.

So is Butchart Gardens worth a second trip? I could use a third and fourth. My feet were protesting but my camera had its buzz on. I just couldn’t stop, until lunch that is. We (my daughter and I) had high tea in the conservatory. My son had a very nice looking hamburger. He’s a guy. The food tasted so beautiful in that room and the tea was something new for them. Lemon grass and ginger. Yum. I didn’t get a photo of the food. I was lost is a sea of bliss by then. The butterflies had nothing on me that day.

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After lunch we waddled over toward the Japanese gardens passing something so fragrant it took my breath away. I felt light headed and overcome with emotion. The tears started to flow and I just couldn’t contain them. I stood there a moment trying to get a grip when the dragonflies did a dance for me and landed softly right where I could get a clear shot. I have never really seen one before. They were always so far away I could not tell what they were. As we came back out of the Japanese Garden, the same thing happened again. The smell was like lilacs but they were not. The feeling, one of unmistakeable happiness.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

Who knew they were so beautiful. I was enthralled.

I don't know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

I don’t know yet what these are but the scent was wonderful.

We finally had to sit a few moments before shopping the gift stores and caving in to happiness and beauty overload. And our day was not done yet. That was one border I would gladly cross again and again.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

A great spot to sit a spell and reflect on the wonders of the morning.

How about you? Do you cross borders?

Stay tuned for part two.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of a Slower February

Another month gone! Where did it go? One moment I was looking at the beginning of it thinking of all the possibilities it had to offer, and the next breath I took left me stunned in wonderment. What the heck happened to all that time? I realize February is shorter than most but does it have to speed up? I won’t ask anyone who lives along the east coast or mid-west that question? They are probably ready to have February zip on out.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

February calendar courtesy of my friend at in cahoots with muddy boots.

The weather went from this:

Winter in my Portland back yard.

Winter in my Portland back yard.

to this:

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

Another view of winter in my Portland back yard. Any questions?

My son is fully ensconced in his tiny room where he works and sleeps. We squeezed real hard. I’ve had to compact my ample supply of stuff too. Fortunately, Tech support (my son) came with a bonus. Somehow, he ended up with the shelves that came out of my sewing room in Arizona. I didn’t much care for them in that small room but since they were available, may as well make use of them. So I sanded them and painted them white to disappear into the walls. I had plenty of leftover paint.

There is one valuable lesson I learned in this process. Even though I was outside, the dust from some of the sanding blew back at me and left me snizzeling, sneezing and coughing for several days. It hasn’t been pretty. But the two shelves that are already up are pretty…useful.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

I did 4 of these. 2 longer than the other.

There is less clutter on my workspace and I’ve found things I had misplaced to keep it from getting lost. Go figure. My organization is so much better and will continue to do so as we get the other two shelves up and then build shelves for the closet. It’s been fun except for the snizzeling part.

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Shelf on one side of sewing room ready to load up

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

Using wasted space and helps with insulation.

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

2 more ready to put up. Want to drop by for tea? This is my living/dining room floor!

We spent one day this week meeting with a fellow blogger from Portland. When I saw her photographs and all the places she had been, Tech Support and I had to meet and ask her as many questions about the hiking/riding trails and photography as possible over one meal. She has been blogging so much longer than I have and we had a delightful visit. Check out Conscious Engagement’s wonderful photographs here. She gifted me with a few in magnetic sleeves for the fridge.

These look wonderful on her blog.

These look wonderful on her blog.

Tech Support is eager to get on the trails as the scenery here draws one out the door. That’s as far as I want to go but he bought a bicycle to ride since Portland is such a bike friendly area with lots of trails. In the search for a bike, he made the acquaintance of this cute fellow that wandered into the bike shop and never left. The owners call him Shop Rag and he goes up to everyone and greets them hello. Checking for treats is my guess. I’ve never met such a friendly cat towards strangers.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

T.S and Shop Rag in the bicycle shop the cat runs.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

Shop Rag really runs the bike shop and certainly owns that sunny strip of floor.

That’s only part of the things that made this month fly by. I think we are all ready to say goodbye to winter. The wind is blowing cold today with a fooling sunny day. I’m certain in the months to come, I’ll wish for another taste of winter, but for now I’ll enjoy the new view.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.

I wish they were in my yard but they are a few houses up.


first flowers of spring in back yard. I don't even know what they are called,

first flowers of spring in back yard. I don’t even know what they are called,


New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

New buds on the Hydrangea. Hooray for spring

Did February fly for you or did it slog on at a snails pace?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of Spring

Is it really almost here? The calendar said it’s only eleven more days away. But we are being teased with signs of it everywhere. Hope of warm and green abound. Stepping out onto my finally dry deck, (it’s quite slick when wet) I was able to get a good look at the potted plants I put there when I moved in last October. The pansies have survived and the heather has thrived. New growth on the heather warms my heart.

New growth on the heather. Yay!

New growth on the heather. Yay!

My daughter sent a text while at work on Friday to see how I was feeling and if I was up for an adventure. Well, I’m always up for an adventure no matter how I feel. I met her at her apartment as she gets home at 12:30 on Fridays, then riding with her into downtown. We had a quick lunch at a Greek hole in the wall that was a block away from the Chinese Garden. The sun was shining but still a bit crisp. My toes didn’t warm up all day. I wasn’t expecting much since my sister said the Chinese Garden was low on her list of local attractions. What a pleasant surprise we had. Maybe it was our attitude of just enjoying what came our way that day.

Let's have a local adventure

Let’s have a local adventure

There were some very potent scents greeting us as we walked into the garden area. I asked about taking photos and the curator said it was a requirement and he would be checking for quality on our way out. Already a reason to giggle. There were plants I had never seen before and the fragrance of their flowers followed us every step of the way.

best smelling flowers ever

Yellow daphne. A new plant for me to experience

Yellow daphne. A new plant for me to experience

As we came to the end of a very small garden we found the tea house. The thought of tea makes my daughter’s essence vibrate. Her eyes light up and there is pleading in them. I said to her that we had already had lunch but maybe we could have tea and dessert here. What the heck would a few more calories hurt if it made her that happy to sip tea. There were so many to choose from, so we each had a different tea to share. I took my dessert home.
While sipping tea and looking over the garden, we were entertained by a mature Chinese gentleman playing traditional Chinese music on a violin like instrument. I did ask permission to take his picture. The fun part was when I heard “You are my sunshine” and “The Red River Valley” coming from that classic Chinese instrument I think was an Erhu. I looked over at him and smiled the “I hear what you are playing” smile. He shot a tiny one back at me. Most of the patrons weren’t really listening.

playing ehru

Back at home Friday evening, the neighborhood ducks were wandering all over. A lovely couple found a nice warm spot under the carport to take a break. The sun had left the asphalt quite warm as it made its descent. I don’t know about you, but spring and fall are my seasons. The extremes of winter and summer find me longing for more balance. I hear the birds chirping and saw the first robins here yesterday. Yes, I think spring is coming and I am ever so grateful. Are you seeing the signs?

does this look safe (2)ducks resting cropped

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself