Saturday, April 29, 2006

Myrl's first Iris this year . . .

On Friday afternoons, I have been walking over to my friend's home to take care of her indoor plants while she is recovering from a stroke at the Nursing Home. I get to do this so that her family members (that stop by) don't kill them by watering when they think no one is doing it. Ü They know they can count on me and, more importantly, that Myrl can.

Yesterday, I went to an EXCEL class at the college to learn how to do things on a PC computer because I only own APPLE products and I have to use a PC at my library job unfortunately. The week before, I had taken a basic PC class in WORD. (Have I told you how much I appreciate my flat screen G5 iMac computer?) When it was over, I got my new bus pass for May and then headed home only to take 4 walking trips back and forth -- to the church I attend -- with things for their rummage sale Saturday. I was exhausted! Now, you say, what does this have to do with Myrl's plants? Well, I am trying to express why I was so tired and didn't really WANT to go water her plants on Friday after all. . . but I did anyway. . . because . . . it was for Myrl.

I rode the bus from 104th to 124th and then started my walking trek of a couple more miles. Of course I had my camera with me and I got a few new photos and I spotted a "T" for my alphabet photo collection also.

Ok, I got sidetracked again. . . That's the way life is. Myrl's stroke got her sidetracked and she is missing the beauties of spring right in her own yard. I arrived at Myrl's home and watered her houseplants like usual. Then I remembered she had this huge Christmas cactus; I searched for it and found it in the dark interior of the garage where she puts it to hibernate after it blooms in the winter. It needs a little water now and again too.

I looked out the window to the back yard and saw that her flowers were beginning to bloom so I thought to myself, "after 8 straight days of sunshine and wind, I better give them a drink also." Getting the hose hooked up, I watered trees and bushes and plants. Her grass is automatically watered in the early mornings so I knew I didn't have to do that. Filling the bird bath with some cool water, I knew those creatures who frequent her yard from the forest of trees beyond her wooden fence would soon be able to cool off.

Then I opened the side gate and proceeded to water flowers that I knew were there; to my amazement, I saw this:

I hadn't expected an Iris to be blooming yet, it was the first one I had seen anywhere this spring! I was so excited about seeing it I watered it before I thought of returning to the house and getting my camera. I can hardly wait for the back yard to become ablaze with Iris of all colors that I remember from past years living with Myrl! Maybe I will make some cards for Myrl with photos of the flowers in her yard. Then she can watch the beauty grow from the Nursing Home until she gets better and can see them in person once again.

The snowballs on her tree are a sight to see also! The flower petals are still light green so they don't look like snowballs yet but they will! (I guess you knew I would find a way to write about snow in this post, huh?)

This is a photo of some from the same tree from two years ago. . .

Of course, her flowers don't end with the back and side yards but extend to the front also. I had plenty of rose bushes and other blooming annuals to water too. Her Clematis vines had grown so tall and tangled that they just drooped and clung together like a beard on one of Santa's elves. I could remedy that! I patiently separated most of the twisted vines and threaded each into the lattice work she had for that purpose. When those purple blossoms arrive, they will deck out her front porch in a beauty that invites one into the yard of a wonderful lady who would give her right arm to help you.

My watering finished, I closed and locked her door, I knew why I had made the trip today. I wasn't there just to water the flowers for Myrl; God wanted me to see the new spring flowers in her yard so I could photograph them and share them with her so she wouldn't miss a thing! I would rather that Myrl could see them first-hand but doing this will be the next best thing. Thank you, God, for Myrl and HER flowers that bring us both joy!

Monday, April 24, 2006

More "alphabet" photos . . .

My Sunday walking excursion along the Columbia River did not fail me in my search for the "alphabet." Who would have thought I might find such a gallant "X?"

I was definitely surprised when my walk brought me to this perfect tree "W."

The peninsula that juts out into the Columbia River along Tidewater Cove provided me with my "H" standing there proudly.

An office building near the shore proudly boasts this beautiful brick "I."

Surprise came with this "F" in the shadow of a tree! Look carefully!

And to think this FLOWER "C" is what started it all. You can be sure I will be out there with my digital camera,taking a few more walks and chasing down the rest of the alphabet in the near future.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Alphabet in photos

Having enjoyed this photo for a few days now, I am wondering if I can find photos of other letters of the alphabet in nature/my environment. To me, the flowers form a "C."

I am going for a walk today after church. Deciding which walking path to take gets challenging for me nowadays since we have so many here. What a blessing they are!

Walking alongside the Columbia River is one of my favorite excursions because I love the ocean and I know that the Columbia River heads out to the Pacific. It only takes two hours to drive to the coast. . . sometimes I wish I had learned to drive so I could head out there every weekend.

Not only do I like to watch the things on the river but those around it on the shore. Wintler Park's sandy beach is at the eastern part of my walk and near the I-205 bridge. I remember when I first "discovered" it when I moved to Vancouver almost 21 years ago. It was my little escape to "the ocean and beach" right here in town! I can see snowy Mt. Hood in Oregon in the distance and across the river. . . well, most days I can. I hope there is a clear blue sky when I am there today!

Heading west on the walking trail, I come to the Water Resource Center and often see goslings in the wetlands,learning to swim with their parents. Of course there are many flowers along the way and I occasionally spot a wild rabbit or an eagle. All along the paved walkway/bicycle path there are varying degrees of sandy beaches or wetland areas that I can explore-- if not on foot, with my camera. Vancouver is a city that cares about the natural environment. I'm glad I came to live and learn here.

Marine Park is the next "marker" on my journey. It is a huge park that people come to for picnics or to just play and enjoy the warm sun near the river. It also has a boat launch and a marina for three touring yachts. It is also a good vantage point to take photos of Mt. Hood.

The DISCOVERY trail "ends" here but not really because regular sidewalks take you past the business center which has a variety of Port of Vancouver buildings now that the Kaiser shipyard, built during WWII, is no longer in operation. Waiting at the end of the business center is a continuum of our wonderful paved trail along the Columbia again and yet, another vantage point to see Mt. Hood.

Seeming to guard the Columbia River, is the statue of Ilachee; she was an important figure in the settlement of Fort Vancouver. Many condos line the shores of the Columbia here but the walking trail is open to the community. They have benches to sit and enjoy the river happenings. . . on a nice sunny day, the river is full of sailboats from both Washington and Oregon. The trail continues down to the old Apple Tree Park, famous for having the oldest apple tree in the Northwest, and then. . . on to the fishing pier near the I-5 bridge. This is a favorite spot to be at in December when the Christmas ships, decked with lights in different holiday designs, parade up and down the Columbia for our enjoyment.

Yes, I am looking forward to my little excursion today. . . one of my favorite walks to traverse the length between the two bridges along the Columbia and enjoy scenes from two states. Hoping I can find some photographic alphabets on my little jaunt this afternoon. I'll let you know . . .

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Random thoughts. . .

It has been a whole week since I wrote anything. It isn't that I didn't want to . . . I was just at a loss for words. I did post a photo to get me started but it didn't help. Today, I deleted that one.

Look at a beautiful flower such as these purple tulips and try to not take a photo!

It is an impossibility IF you have a camera with you. I was walking to Myrl's home to water her houseplants when I spotted these. Truly, there are blessings in "burdens."

The light, that was reflecting off them, drew my eyes towards their exquisiteness in an otherwise unkempt yard. Feeling that it would be a crime to not stop and capture the beauty permeating from them, I did just that. On a cold, winter's night in my future, I can look back and enjoy the memories revealed, once again, thru a simple photo. Thus, I did the only thing I could and captured the precious flower moment for "that day" in my future which would surely come as inevitably as tax day.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The rain is back in full force!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All week long, the weather has been teasing us. Mornings would start out overcast and the rain soon followed. Then, while I was at work, the sunshine appeared. It was great for a nice long walk. I didn't get to take advantage of it for a leisure walk tho. . . mostly had to run errands in another part of town and walking was faster than waiting for several bus transfers. Also spent two afternoons with Myrl and another cataloging books at the church library.

I am now signed up for taking the Red Cross course for First Aid for babies, children and adults. Also taking a Blood Pathogens class because I can't find my original paper from a class years ago and the school district that had it on file weeded it out after 7 years. . . sigh Oh well, the Senior Program that helped me find the library job is paying for both so they were the right price. They also paid for me to get my fingerprinting done since it had expired.

Today, when I got off work, I took the bus a couple miles down the street that the library is on and then stepped off the warm, dry bus into howling winds and rain so hard I wanted to cry. "I must be crazy to be out in weather like this," I said to myself, holding back the inevitable tears. Ordinarily, I would have just gone home and snuggled up or played on my computer for comfort. I couldn't do that today. . .

You see, Friday afternoon is my time commitment to go to Myrl's home and water her houseplants so they will be thriving WHEN she returns one day after suffering a stroke and breaking her foot. Myrl made many sacrifices for me and even shared her home when I was in need. Braving the 2 and half miles walking each way to do this little chore is nothing in comparison. I made it there and was rewarded with beautiful flowers blooming in her yard -- just ready for my camera! Ü

I didn't stay long. Just watered the flowers and wrote a note to place on refrigerator about the date the plants were watered. Her empty house was a reminder of her absence, an absence that wasn't planned. One that seems so unfair. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back next Friday to do this again. . . knowing Myrl isn't home. Then I had a little heart to heart talk with myself walking home, carelessly walking through puddles while lost in my thoughts. Myrl's spirit was in that home. . . all who enter know it's love.

I remember when I was living with Myrl and subbing. I came home one time after three bus transfers on a cold and wet afternoon. Myrl had cooked a special dinner to share with me and it was hot and on the table when I walked in the door. She didn't need to do that -- usually we cooked our own things and she ate much earlier than I did. This made me really feel at home. Yes, that is only one of the memories I hold in my heart from her sharing her home with me. I hope, next time I go to water her houseplants, it is a nice day outside because I want to take a little time to sit on her porch swing on the patio and remember some more good times that help me remember why Myrl's spirit is there on 131st Avenue even tho she may be recovering in a nursing home.

Thank you, God, for Myrl and memories!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Yes, Virginia. . .

Until last week, I believed that most info printed was "the truth." Like the story of Virginia O'Hanlon in "The Sun."


"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measure by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest man that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

(sidenote: I still believe in Santa.)

Oh sure, I know people can write articles with a slant. . .that's why there are editorials. . . but I trusted GOOGLE to be a great source of information. I found out last week that they can also be a great source of misinformation ----- unintentionally. Zheljko put me on to that. Thanks!

You see, I took a photo in front the library where I now work. . . and I asked online if it was a TULIP TREE? The blossoms certainly looked like it and there were no leaves (the leaves come on after the blossoms fall off) and the thick branches looked like photos I found on the internet of Tulip Trees.

Some people on the internet told me it was a Japanese Magnolia tree instead. I said I believed GOOGLE was a good source of information and would call my photo a "Tulip Tree." I talked to the reference librarians after work. They brought out about 6 books. We found out it is a Magnolia Tree after all -- not a Japanese one but a Chinese one. (The library also has a "grounds info book" and it was labeled as the Chinese Magnolia and its scientific name.)

What we decided is that anyone can mis-label something on their website on the internet and GOOGLE picks it up as a graphic and labels it what the mis-label already is. Thus the mystery is solved about why the exact same blossoms I had a photo of could be labeled wrong on the internet in a GOOGLE search.

I love learning new things! That's why I miss teaching. . . I always learned more when I was teaching.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My PINK tulips. . .

Just couldn't go to sleep until I found my pink tulips and shared them with my BLOG readers. Hope you like them as much as I do.

BTW, if anyone knows where I can re-locate these beauties, let me know. . .


I was trying to stay up for 01:02:03 04/05/06 but I don't think I will make it so happy dreams at 1-2-3 on 4-5-6.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A flower by any other name. . .

Discovering the name for a flower photo is such a thrill for me! Today, I found out this is a "Red Emperor Tulip!" Who would've thunk it? (That makes learning three flower names in the past 9 days!)

The long green leaves looked identical to the common tulips I have knows all my life but I had never seen the tulip petals spread out that way before. Nor had I seen such huge petals! While I feel this flower is impressive -- and rightly so since it has regal name connections -- I think I. myself, would prefer a regular common pink tulip.

Speaking of pink tulips . . . I wish I could remember where in Vancouver I found a bunch of them planted together for a photo two years ago. I will just have to make sure I walk past all my usual walking jaunts and hope I find it again. Now that's not a bad idea.

My internet friend, Chloe, gave me a link for a flower music video tonight. It was so precious. I tried to make a link to it here but it removed my flower and essay so I guess I can't share it until I learn how to place it correctly.

Will try just writing it out. . .

Sunday, April 02, 2006

White daffodils. . .

When I came home after church today, I decided to enter my duplex in a different way so the neighbor's dog wouldn't bark at me. It drives me crazy because I have never done a bad thing towards it (other than hate all dogs) and it's owner isn't very careful in taking care of it's dog business.

OK . . . so I walked clear around the other duplex and to the back of mine and what a surprise I had waiting for me. It was not there last year and I did not put any in this past year so who knows where it came from. . . but I had this beautiful patch of WHITE daffodils on the back side of my duplex. There were a couple yellow ones also.

I tried to take a couple photos but they were "hanging down." You couldn't really see the beauty of their shapes. . . Paulie to the rescue! I went in the house and got a pair of scissors. . . and now I have a beautiful bouquet on my TV after my photograph session.

It looked like a daffodil and I thought it was but wasn't positive. Other online teachers affirmed my suspicions and I shared some photos of it. Now, all in a matter of 7 days, I have learned about two flowers I had not known much about before today. First, I learned what a Camelia looks like and second, that there are white daffodils!

God is good!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fools

Today is April 1st. . . and usually a day for jokesters to play pranks.

No one took advantage of me today. In a way, I was hoping I could wake up this morning and people would tell me it was just a bad dream that my friend was in the hospital, not able to speak or do anything for herself. I had a meeting all morning but when I visited her around 2:00 this afternoon, she seemed worse to me. She kept falling back to sleep whereas two days ago, she would look towards the voices talking to her.

Two of her daughters were there when I was today. They said that by Tuesday she will be moved to a Convalescent Center about three blocks from the hospital until she recovers enough to have pins put in her broken foot.

If it weren't for the fact April 1st is also my Baptismal Birthday, today would just be another crappy day. My heart is so sad.