Showing posts from July, 2009

Beautiful Spokane

Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane

This weekend Padawan and I are heading to beautiful Spokane, Washington, to attend SpoCon, a sci-fi fantasy convention. Yes, we are dressing as Jedi...yes, it will be a blast!

Last year I was pleasantly surprised with this lovely town and am thrilled to be going back to visit our Spokane friends in the 501st. It is Lisa's hometown, so I am excited for her to tour me around her old stomping grounds again!
Spokane is a city located in the Northwestern United States in the state of Washington. It is the largest city and county seat of Spokane County, as well as the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region. The city is located on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, 110 miles south of the Canadian border, approximately 20 miles from the Washington-Idaho border, and 271 miles east of Seattle.

Canadian David Thompson explored the Spokane area and began European settlement with the westward expansion and establishment of the North West Comp…

Lament, O Israel

The Kotel, Western Wall in Jerusalem
I took this photo on my first pilgrimage to Israel

Today is Tisha b'Av, the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day in Jewish history. It is on this date that both the first and second Temples were destroyed, as well as other horrific moments in history.

Another photo I took of The Kotel from the walkway
you see on the right side of the first photo
Five misfortunes befell our fathers ... on the ninth of Av. ...On the ninth of Av it was decreed that our fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land, the Temple was destroyed the first and second time, Bethar was captured and the city [Jerusalem] was ploughed up. -Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6

...Should I weep in the fifth month [Av], separating myself, as I have done these so many years? -Zechariah 7:3

In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month ...came Nebuzaradan ... and he burnt the house of the L-RD... -II Kings 25:8-9

In the f…

The Biggest Field Trip Ever, Part II

So, let's continue with the second half of the Biggest Field Trip Ever...last post I left you in Mobile, Alabama with X Marks the Spot at the Coast Guard facility. After hugging my mother-in-law in Mississippi goodbye, we traveled onto Georgia to attend the 5th Annual SE Letterboxing Gathering at Stone Mountain. After that, it all starts to get a bit hazy for me; all the driving must have been gettin' to me! lol!

*breaks out the map*

OK, so from Georgia, we trekked through Knoxville, Tennessee, then to Nashville, Paducah and onto St. Louis. The Arch was incredible and we rod the 'pods' to the top. Springfield, Illinois was next and we met up with Lisa's sister to tour the Lincoln Museum there (which was absolutely FAB, to be sure!).

Sioux Falls, the birthplace of my mother, was next on the itinerary, then a side trip to the Little House on the Prairie town of DeSmet. Onto Rapid City and Mount Rushmore and then the long road to Yellowstone Nat'l Park. W…

Only the Lonely

Out of all of our beautiful, albeit rather small, Magnolia trees, we only got one bloom this year. Here in the PNW the flowers take so long to finally open, but once they do, they only last a day or two.

Hopefully, we will get more next year.

Look what I just found!

Yeah...Padawan thought she was being pretty sneaky. Hmmm.

Hidden under one of my big stamp pads, it was. Rocky to use my stamp pad usually is not. *cocks eyebrow*

I love it!

Thank you, my Padawan!

The Biggest Field Trip Ever, Part I

As I have been looking through photos that I have taken recently, it occurred to me that I have never blogged on our road trip of 2008. We are now seriously considering taking another road trip in 2010. After we returned from the first trip across the country, I quickly determined that I had not only snapped too many photos to handle with any ease, but that I didn't have a way to create a slideshow to share. Consequently, I didn't share my favorites of the trip, save for some that I uploaded to MySpace. Well, now I am a member of Fotki (which I recommend for photo hosting, by the way) I would like to present the first of two slideshows of, what I think are, the best photos of our 8,311 mile journey across the country.

We headed out from Western Washington, and traveled through Boise, Idaho, then onto Utah, Salt Lake City, Arches Nat'l Park and Moab, then down through the southwest stopping in Colorado and New Mexico. We enjoyed the Aztec Ruins, Mesa Verde Nat'l P…

Photo of the Day: Letterboxing, can you believe it?

Well, I guess we really are letterboxers...hahaha! Triple T and I planted three traditional 'boxes today and actually found one as well - how 'bout that?

Here's my favorite shots of the day.

a mallard at Heritage Park

the marina at Percival Landing

and my favorite, the flowering Mimosa tree in bloom - lovely!

Shalom Aleichem

It is good to give thanks to Adonai
And to sing praises to Your Name
O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness
in the morning,
And Your faithfulness by night.
With the ten-stringed lute
and with the harp;
With resounding music upon the lyre.
For You, Adonai, have made me glad
by what You have done;
at the works of Your hands
I will sing for joy!


Isn't it always exciting to anticipate a journey? Make your lists, buy new clothes, pack your bags, check off all the travel necessities - exciting, yes. And everyone has heard the analogy of life being one big journey. Well, I'm not sure about life being a journey in the sense of having a destination. I think of it more like a long narrative of smaller, overlapping journeys.
“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping”
~Chinese ProverbSome journeys take the forefront in your mind and will not let you alone, requiring a walk of faith not knowing where the path will lead. Entrusted with information such that there is no choice but to act. To give, to listen, to reach out to someone hardly known, and to bring others along on the journey to help. It's a journey of giving.

Other journeys beckon you to come, begin, stretch, risk, learn. Step on the path, just one step at a time, and share your talent, your soul, in…

Starfish, Rocks and Sandy Feet

Scenic Beach was beautiful today at low tide, which was 10:30 this morning. We were there ready to see what there was to see. Starfish, hermit crabs and moonsnail artistry were to discovered, new sights and smells, too. And after a delightful lunch with friends, we enjoyed a meandering drive to Fort Flagler through the countryside.

In my attempt to be artsy and clever, I seem to be repeating the themes of rocks, hands and feet and/or shoes. Interesting.

Here's the best of the best shots out of the 250-ish I managed to snap, that's a lot!

Wisdom in the Everyday

“I'm not a diva. I'm a tadpole trying to be a frog.”
~Toni Braxton

“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Eden Phillpotts
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were? ~Satchel Paige

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior." ~Hippolyte Taine

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” ~anonymous

A Small Town Parade

I always enjoy watching a parade, but I like actually being in the parade better! Yesterday, Padawan and I were excited to march in the SnohomishKla-Ha-Ya Days Parade. It was a short parade, only 14 blocks, but there was much enthusiasm in the crowd sitting along the main street. Both the adults and kids were thrilled to see the "Star Wars people" in the parade. The little kids were wide-eyed and waving - it was the best!

The 501st was well represented with Darth Vader, of course, an assortment of StormTroopers, bounty hunter ZamWesell, fighter pilots, a miniature Boba Fett and Darth Revan (a character from Star Wars Unleashed). The Rebel Legion balanced them out with several lightsaberswingin' Jedi and Rebel Fleet Troopers.

I took some shots with my new little point-and-shoot camera. I'm glad I have it, but I sure appreciate my big camera a lot more after using the little one!

Here's some of the better shots from the day.

enlarge slideshow

This was such…


It is Shabbat morning. It is traditional, for this family anyway, to have an erev Shabbat meal Friday evening, to go to shul Shabbat morning, participate in liturgy, stay at shul all day and close with Havdalah at sundown. All good traditions I would say. But, those are all the traditions of man. Scripture simply states to "keep the Sabbath and make it holy". Do our traditions do that?

We have all kinds of traditions, don't we. Humankind seems to need these traditions to maintain sanity, keep order, give meaning and purpose to the day-in-day-out rhythm of life. Every day people live out these traditions, from things as simple as making a pot of coffee upon rising, to the most obvious three traditional meals a day. I often wonder how these things came into being - out of necessity? The natural order of things? Especially the three meals a day - was that just when folks get hungry? I ask because we are so trained, indoctrinated from birth that we eat at specific t…

Snaps, Thoughts & Stuff

Feeling rather random today. Here's a few snaps to go with my mood.

Jeddy is insisting on helping me draw out the pattern for my new Jedi pouch. At one point, all the kittens were laying on top of the spread out leather and all my was pretty funny!

Here's the finished pouch. I had to make a new one for my new little point-and-shoot camera I got for "trooping". I thought I measured it right, but I must have been a bit distracted; it could have been a smidge wider, but it works.

(actual size approx. 4" x 2.75")

My neighbors will be returning home from a week-long vacation today, and again we were charged with making sure their lovely garden doesn't die in the heat. Yesterday, we went and soaked everything well. Gosh, it looked so different from the last time we watered for them, just about a month ago.

It's almost blueberry pickin' time!

Lisa is a great hand model!

Tay has been taken quite an interest in photography, so I gave him a l…

An American Volcano

I want to share some of the best shots from our day exploring Mt. St. Helens yesterday. It was the usual crew; me and Lisa, Larry got to come with Jacob, my boys Alex and Tay and this time we got to bring Joelle and Elizabeth, some friends from shul. We had a wonderful day - the weather was perfect for viewing this incredible volcano.

Click HERE to view the slideshow larger

Just another grey day in Seattle

The Navigator in action!

Yesterday, Padawan and I took the afternoon and toured around Seattle. We were going to a letterboxing mini-gather at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and decided to letterbox a bit in Seattle. Mostly, we ended up driving through a lot of really, really cool Seattle neighborhoods!

We only got one letterbox out of a whole stack of clues, but that's cool - it was fun to get away for a bit. The one we got was in honor of the Aurora Bridge Troll, a sculpture that resides under the bridge. I never knew it existed until I read the clue - apparently it must be on some sort of tourist must-see list, because there was a ton of tourists there climbing and snapping photos. Gosh, I hope they actually get to see some nicer looking things on their time in the PNW!

see photos larger

Some fun facts to know about Seattle:

Seattle is ranked the most literate city by Central Conn. State Univ. Everybody reads here. The Seattle Public Library system has the highest percentage of li…

Photo of the Day: Shabbat-ing

I took the new camera to shul to try to get used to it a bit more. Here's the best shots of the day.

The candle shot is from our erev Shabbat table, and below Gary is following along with Josh as he reads from the Torah.

Morgan checks out the new camera, and promptly takes a pic of her shoes! Actually, she was trying out the zoom capabilities. Those are some kind of camp shoes, eh?

We decided to cool off a bit by taking a little drive; the 5-mile drive through Point Defiance Park is green and cool on a hot day like today. Below, Padawan snaps a pic of our Jedi Protector.

And this last one is of the view from one of the pull-outs along the drive. It was a beautiful summer day. Baruch HaShem!

One for the Utility Belt

Isn't it a beauty? Measuring about 3.5" x 2", and only three-quarters of an inch thick, I think it will slip nicely onto my Jedi utility belt. And, not a minute too soon - another parade looms next weekend!

I have been longingly looking at small, slim cameras since we marched in the Starlight Parade in Portland. I was not able to capture any of the wonderful moments because my beloved Sony camera is just too, well...fat. There, I said it. It is just too big to slip into a pouch or hide up inside my sleeve. I'm kinda protective of it, too, as it is a really great camera and I don't want anything to happen to it. I know, I know...attachment shouldn't be a part of a Jedi's life, but I really like my camera.

So in our travels today in search for just the right coffee maker (after mine died this morning...ack!), I let my son talk me into checking at the local pawn shop. Let me just say that I have never been in a pawn shop and was a little apprehensive, …


Frequently the conversation is heard as to whether someone who is crafty is actually an artist. My answer is a hearty "yes!". In my simple definition, art is an expression of your soul. It can't be just happens that way whether you try or not.

It would seem that there are two differing ways to look at the word artful. One, which I definitely prefer, is exhibiting art or skill, or skillful in accomplishing a purpose. I believe I am being artful when considering a project or design, using my imagination and searching for the most interesting way to display a certain subject-matter. I like to think outside the norms of what is expected or anticipated, to provide an element of pleasure or surprise in what I create. I want to think that I am artful in this pursuit.

The other definition is not so flattering, I'm afraid. It is simply to be artificial. To be honest, I never considered artful to mean artificial, and I certainly don't think that anyone t…


Every Shabbat I create a word search for Lisa and I to work while listening to the Torah teaching. I don't know about you, but I definitely listen better if my hands are busy with a mindless task - like a word search.

Anyway, last week I created this one entitled Character of a Jedi. I have been meditating upon these characteristics since - traits that I want to embody, embrace as my own. So, how does one do that? Can you simply 'be' these wonderful adjectives by just wanting to? How does one build character?

I'm afraid that the only way to do this is by prayer, meditation and practice. Choosing to take the high road when it is difficult goes a long way in personifying these traits. I am striving...ever striving.

Some of my favorites and most coveted include courageous, giving, helpful, and honest. And how noble to be long-suffering, loyal, self-sacrificing and valiant. Oh to be inspirational, knowledgeable and persevering, especially in the toughest of circumsta…


In a status posting yesterday on one of the numerous social utilities, I mentioned that I was tying tzitzit. (no, not tzadiki!) I actually was tying them for a friend, and they looked so pretty and new I just had to take a pic. After one wears them for a while, they start to look a little...well, let's just say tired.

Here's a little more information for the curious:

The two sets of stands are knotted together twice, and then the shamash (a longer blue strand) is wound around the remaining seven strands a number of times. The two sets are then knotted again twice. This procedure is repeated three times, such that there are a total of five knots, the four intervening spaces being taken up by windings numbering 7-8-11-13, respectively. Furthermore, the 39 windings is found to be significant in that it is the gematria (numerical equivalent) of the words: "The Lord is One" Deuteronomy 6:4). (There are other ways of tying, but this is the way we have adopted in our c…

Do you need a box?

That's what they always ask me when I go to Costco, that wonderful mecca of economy-sized items - the king of the big-box warehouse retailers.

So, I say "yes, please" cuz I really don't want my tub of laundry detergent to roll into the mega-pack of eggs that are next to the mondo bag of shredded cheese. All these items just need to be corralled. Hence, the boxes.

So then, the boxes get tossed to the floor after we unload them...isn't that what happens at your house, too? Thankfully, some in our household are thrilled with the prospect...

I have never had cats that loved boxes so much. Just put a box on the floor and one of them is instantly in it! They love paper grocery bags, too. Go figure.

There she is with that blasted camera again. *sigh*

Death of a Love Affair

Last night I dreamed a dream. Or was it a dream? It might have just been the ramblings of my mind in a state of complete freedom from boundaries.

I dreamed of a grand love affair. Of the players giving and receiving love, of laughter and acceptance. They were so happy...or was one of them just innocent or uninformed? Hopeful perhaps?

The players enjoyed music and worship, circles of chairs with thoughts and opinions, smiles and jokes. They danced and learned about each other and the Scripture that they held so dear. Oh, how they studied.

The players were close and took pride in that closeness. Perhaps that was their mistake. Did they start to take that privilege for granted?

Then, somehow, something began to happen. Little cracks, little lies. Secrets and differing ways of manipulation began to creep upon the players. Judgment laid hold of their hearts and they walked hand-in-hand with those thoughts of superiority. Sharing with just a few became more important than bein…