Archive for Family Matters

A Special Time

While Tom took M up skiing for three days — remember the broken arm our younger son had in February?  G and I had the time of our lives.

The first day, we slept in, had a leisurely morning and then went to his friend’s house for the afternoon.  I had intended to go back home and clean a bit, but got into conversation with the mother and so had just enough time to go home, let the critters out and feed them, change my clothes and go pick him up.  It was his night, so he chose to go to the Ranch House, a local restaurant that has wonderful barbeque.

When we got home it was time for a movie.  He chose to watch the second Matrix flick.  I had resisted letting him see any of them for a couple years, but after thinking about it, I realized that they are probably no more violent or disturbing than some of the books he has read… and by watching with him and discussing the sticky parts I could use them as teaching tools.  So we watched.

He had good questions and observations.  The philosophical ideas that the movie stimulated were priceless!  He is a good kid, and quickly grasped some of the subtler pieces of the plot.

The next morning we slept in again, watched a couple of “Ben Ten” cartoons; and after discussing our options, decided that the Tacoma Art Museum (we have a membership) was a good destination.  So I called Avis/Budget cars downtown (did you know the two are connected? — at least in our area)  and we rented a PT Cruiser for the day.  Good thing, too.  My little Sentra backfired as I was coming off the freeway, a couple of times.  I fear it’s not much longer for this existence.

Well, the PT Cruiser surprised me.  It had been years since I tried to drive an American-made car, usually the switches and controls are hidden or otherwise inscrutable.  This little car was about the same size and shape as my Sentra, the seats sit higher (a nice feature in heavy traffic) and everything was in reach (unusual for me) once I put the seat forward enough to reach the pedals.  Usually I feel dwarfed by cars, even my Honda minivan.  If it weren’t for the poor mileage, I think a PT Cruiser would be a fun car.

We zipped up to the museum and had a great time.  An hour of looking at Paul Strand photos in the first room and images of Frida Kahlo by both modern artists and people who knew her in life.  We had great discussions about framing, features, use of light and texture…  real artist talk.  Then to the coffee shop for coffee (me), and hot chocolate and a brownie.  Just in time — they close TWO hours before the museum does!

Back into the museum then, and a walk through the Northwest Biennial gallery.  A lot of new works by artists resident in our area.  Some of the pieces were predictably strange.  Others unexpectedly eloquent.  Many fun items; a few that made us laugh out loud, and a couple that really caught our attention.

My favorites:  a large painting in the style of ancient greek vases titled (I think) “The Greek and the Trojan.”  Red, black and deep orange.  Striking and beautiful.

“Peaches and Buffalo” (I am not good at the titles) caught my eye also.  Though I usually don’t see the point in perfect rendering these days — why not just photograph something, I think — in this case I was in love.  It starts out being really big of course, but it’s a still life in front with a background of a horse-back native — maybe Souix? — spearing a bison in a mountainous landscape any Victorian artist would have appreciated.  Things like this, the still, elegant, genteel glass dish of fruit in front of the wild, exuberant landscape…  this was art!

And some lovely pieces of jewelry, silver with white enamel — I chose this for my vote in the “People’s Choice” ballot.  The work resembles miniature chandeliers, with mirrors around and behind them.  Some of the pieces were jointed, others the chandelier passed between or through supports.  Though very small (I missed them my first pass through) I really appreciated the time and vision it took.  I wish I could remember the title — or even the artists’ names.

There were others: a sculpture of hemlock, a ceramic “story,” a gorgeous pencil drawing (we had seen this one before) of two enigmatic figures on a raft, a pile of bronzed blankets, a “peep” box with three different scenes inside.

And then time to go.  We got to Osaka, a Japanese restaurant in Lacey, at 5:30 and had a pleasant, leisurely dinner.  We discussed what we had seen, the music that was playing in the restaurant, the items on the menu.

On the way home we got him a new pair of sneakers (20% off) at a local store.  His feet are now officially bigger (longer anyway) than his father’s, and he is within a half inch of my height!

Home, we watched “The Twelve Chairs” by Mel Brooks and played a game of Monopoly (I did not win), ate a prodigious amount of ice cream and retired late but happy.

Wednesday morning yet another lazy start.  I returned the rental car a little early after consulting with the young man who usually works on our cars to be sure it was safe to drive the Sentra home…  And the rest of the day was just a long, lazy “at home” time.  We watched the final Matrix movie in the afternoon and basically just hung out until Tom and M returned for supper at 7:30.

A very good, very happy three days.

Surprised there are no pictures in this post?  We were having too much fun to take photos!


anniversary flowers

Tom remembered on Thursday!    He brought me a lovely bouquet with alstroemerias, carnations, mums…  some sort of heath, salal, palms and a few other assorted greens and fillers.

And here is is, as it sits in my office, brightening my time as I work.

the anniversary bouquet

For those who are curious, this is #16.


Where to find updates

As you probably know, I have several blogs I maintain, some more or less consistently. Lately, I have been updating the most reliably.

I am managing to post once a week on average at

I try to write two chapters a week of the story at

I drop in to occasionally — the last time I was there I wasn’t able to get to any pages to post, they were having some sort of server problems.

I have three lenses now at,,

I haven’t written anything for the hitchhiker’s guide lately.

So if you stop by here and don’t see anything current, I would suggest stopping by as the most likely recent posting will occur there.


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