Monday, December 19, 2016

The things that cats do

Oh the innocence of a cat's face.

I needed to put the binding on a quilt and had it all set up by the sewing machine to start stitching.

At that moment Simba arrived and made himself comfortable amongst the folds of the quilt.

There was no moving him.  He settled down for a big sleep.

A couple of hours later I returned to do my job without a cat on the scene/quilt.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Second Time Around

A month later I returned to hospital and this time surgery happened and I was home again within three days.  All is well and I am required to be patient so that everything can heal up as best is possible.  Another 5 weeks and everything should be back to 'normal', we hope.

The cats are usually here to greet me when I have been away but not this time.  They were conspicuous by their absence, as if to say, 'You have left us one too many times.'

I settled in for the evening in the lounge with Linda and eventually Hershey came and collapsed into my lap as only he could.  I think I was forgiven for ever leaving home in the first place.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Simba's Turn

Hershey, Linda's chocolate cat, provides us with lots of photo opportunities but this time it was Simba's turn to cat scan my latest quilt.

At the moment it is hanging at our local quilt show:-

I am so pleased with the outcome.

The quilt design is from a pattern by Jenny Petigo called Urban Nine Patch.  With the colours I have used, this one is known as Tutti Fruiti.

Linda took great care to choose appropriate threads for the different coloured fabrics in the quilt and with her modern quilting style this quilt really has pizzazz.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Keeping the Vigil

Ever since he heard about my pending visit to hospital Foxie has been keeping a vigil for me.

Yesterday I found Hershey decided he needed company.

Still waiting for a definite date from the hospital - at this stage it may be mid October.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Trip to Hospital

Yesterday we had a visit from our friend, Andreena, from our Sweet Pea group.

She came with a collection of presents in hand from our Sweet Pea group.  They knew I was scheduled for hip surgery the next day and these were gifts of comfort for me. So lovely and practical too.

Included with the goodies a basket of chocolates to encourage the nurses to look after me.

This morning, I left Foxie and flowers on my bed to welcome me on my return.

Little did I know my return would be sooner than I knew. I had been given instructions to prepare for surgery in the afternoon meaning I could have an early breakfast. However, when I was being checked in at the hospital it soon became apparent that I was scheduled for morning surgery.  I had been given the wrong information, oh dear.

Home again, home again with Foxie waitIng for my return.

A totally frustrating incident, but followed up with an apology from the hospital and I am now being rescheduled for the end of the month so not too long to wait to do it all over again.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

From Summer to Winter Overnight

I left Seattle on Thursday afternoon.  It was a beautiful sunny clear blue sky Seattle day at a comfortable 25 degrees.

I arrived home to a decidedly cool (about 3 degrees) Saturday morning in Taupo.  Extremely cold and a mix of snow falling with the rain most of the day, but not enough to create snow on our lawn.

Mount Tauhara, pictured above, is quite close to our home and we have never seen snow on it like this before.

Our cats had not forgotten me (fortunately) and Hershey has been fussing as if he is worried I might disappear again. Before I went to bed Simba was there waiting for me.  Then he and Hershey had a tussle about who was sleeping where (at least I think that is what is was all about) and so Simba slept by my feet all night and Hershey hopped under the bed clothes so I think my long absence has been forgiven.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

A Day For Big

I guess all things are relative but Sunday seemed to be a day of 'big' for me.  First there was Washington Park which was over 166 hectares.

Then we went to a games store where we met up with a friend of David's.  I couldn't capture the size of the store as the lighting was not good, but the shelves of this store were lined with every board game imaginable.

The floor space was filled with tables and chairs ready for anyone who wanted to play any of the available games.  Judging by the number of seated participants this looked like a pretty popular Sunday afternoon activity.  To my mind this games store was 'big'.

Our last 'big' of the day was a visit to Powells new and second hand bookstore hosting over a million books and boasting to be the biggest bookstore in the world. In the days of decline in bookstores it was pleasing to see the many people who were enjoying browsing here.  Three storeys high and with its own car park, it is worth asking for a map at the information desk to find your way around.

I found my way to the dedicated quilting section and had a good browse before we said goodbye to my last 'big' of the day.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Washington Park, Portland

In the hills above Portland, Oregon, is Washington Park.  It covers over 166 hectares of hilly, forested terrain and provided us with an enjoyable morning's outing.

When we left the downtown area that morning there was very little sign of life but I think a a lot of the population had preceded us to the park.  Finding a parking place was not easy but we got there.  Just when we were not sure what to do next we spotted a shuttle bus and so opted for this to take us around the parkland area.  This is not just a wooded park but within a lot of points of interest have been developed.  A place for archery, a large adventure playground, several different garden areas, a zoo, some museums, adventure trails and lots more.  You could probably spend a whole weekend here and still not cover all the available activities.

The rose garden itself was a treat to visit.  Although many of the roses were past their best for the year there were still plenty of blooms to enjoy.  The garden hosts over 7500 different roses - hard to believe.

We ended the morning by spending some time at the adventure playground.  Jackson found the swings and had a great time there on his own. The last time I saw him on swings his Dad was having to push him, so I witnessed another stage of him growing up.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Time for contemplation

Overlooking the Columbia River at the end of a full day, David and Jackson take time out together.

They could be contemplating the importance of this river to the north west region of the United States or they could be discussing the next strategy to capture as many Pokemon as possible before we return to Seatlle on Monday.

We had set out from Seattle around 8am.  We stopped for breakfast along the way and arrived in Portland about 1pm.  We ventured to a couple of craft markets, had a light lunch in the Pearl District and had a Thai meal in the evening.

Our hotel is just across the road from the river and there is a popular park along the river bank so we stopped there to soak up the atmosphere before a return to our rooms and an early night after our big day out.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Walking the dog

An almost daily event in life in Bothell is taking the dogs for a walk.  David comes,home from work sometime after 6pm and so, before dinner, the dogs are taken for a walk.

It looks like one dog from the photo but I have Tessa in tow while I take a photo.

The housing development is well laid out with various nice walks in wooded areas and small parks.  The route we walk each day also incorporates a fenced sporting area where soccer, baseball, football and, I understand, cricket is played.

Of course,
a walk in the park these days would not be complete without a PokemonGo adventure.  Jackson is playing in the foreground, three teenage boys are playing in the background and, although the boy on the bike does not have a phone he is willing to tell anyone who will listen everything he knows about the game.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The smell of sea in the air

On Sunday we went to a Farmers Market in Everett, WA.

The market is located by the water so there was the smell of sea air, which I love, sea birds were calling, yachts were moored and Mt Rainier could be seen in the distance.

A very popular market, we had to park and walk to find the stalls.  The place was abuzz with people and there were more craft and fresh food stalls than you could imagine.

David and Lisa love coming here for the fresh produce.  Peaches are in season and the ones we came home with are super delicious.

Fresh meat was something else, as well as corn on the cob.  Our meal that night from what was bought at the market was something special.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chihuly Glass and Garden

If I have the opportunity to return to Seattle I would more than happy to have a repeat visit to this destination. Chihuly, to say the least, is a prolific glass artist and his work in this medium is stunning.

I had expected all of his work to be outdoors but it is shared between an indoor and outdoor exhibition.

Both components were fascinating but I did love the way the outdoor glass work blended so well with the splendor of nature.

In the area where they had purple glass they harmonized with purple, yellow and orange flowers - a quilters dream combination.

My daughter-in-law, Lisa, loves all things to do with glass work and I think she nearly fainted when she found out that the man himself, Chihuly, was going to be there for a book signing.  The wait was not going to be too long so she joined the queue for a special moment in her life.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Deconstructing a Burger

Yesterday Jackson and I went to the movies.

It was his outing so the movie was his choice, the latest Ghostbusters movie.

About half way through the movie, Jackson announced that the movie was too scary so we left the theatre.  He also added that he didn't think the movie had a very good story line.  A very discerning 10 year old.

It was nearly midday so we made our way to one of Jackson's favourite burger places, the Blazing Onion.

Jackson chose a triple bacon burger and I asked for a mushroom burger without the bun.

It eventuated that because I asked for no bun I did not get any salad.  Jackson does not like salad on his burgers so he took the salad from his and it ended up with mine, a fairly happy compromise.  The burger was delicious.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

In search of Pokemon

This morning Jackson and I went for a walk to a local park in search of the elusive Pokemon.

It was just after 8am and there was still dew on the grass. A very pleasant time of day to be out and about.

This park area supposedly has Pokemon attached to the statue in the image so Jackson did battle while I sipped on my flat white from Starbucks.

The park is landscaped and sits amidst a nature reserve.  For the first time since being here I was aware of birdsong so it was not hard to sit and listen while Jackson pursued his latest interest.

I have been to Virtual Reality and back

David's family own a Virual Reality headset and yesterday I got to experience what it was all about.

That said, I did not play any games but there were two 'experiences' available for me.

The first was an underwater experience. With the headset on you have the impression you are totally immersed in water, sitting on a ship wreck on the bottom of the ocean.  All manner of fish are swimming around and you can swivel the chair and have a total 360 degree visual.  Just to finish things on a dramatic note a huge whale comes swimming by just to say hello real close up.  It almost seems to have a smile on its face.

The second experience was all about man landing on the moon.  From sitting in a living room of the era listening to John F Kennedy's speech about space exploration to landing on the moon and returning to earth in the capsule, this is all pretty amazing technology.

I have no idea how it all works but it was all pretty awesome.  At one stage the impression is you are sitting/standing on a small platform surrounded by outer space as you approach the huge orb of the moon.  At this point I actually had the feeling I could fall off into outer darkness.  On the return to earth in the capsule, the vibrations were so realistic I had to close my eyes.

Apparently I was totally occupied for over an hour but it was so interesting I did not realise this was the case.

So glad that this 67 year old grandma had the opportunity to go to Virtual Reality world and back.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Back home again

Today we returned from the mountains to Bothell in a leisurely fashion. 

Lisa and David went to pick up the dogs from the kennels and they were extremely excited to return home. 

Lisa needed to go out again and so Tessa settled down beside me for a nap until 'Momma' came home. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Before returning to Bothell

we spent another day in Leavenworth. 

I think we managed to fit quite a few things into our day.

We had a lazy start to the day and after brunch we went to have a look at the Wenatchee River which runs through the town. 
We returned to town and visited the Kris Kringl store. Three floors of everything to do with Christmas. We managed to restrain ourselves to the ground floor. 
Then it was time for ride around the streets of Leavenworth in horse and carriage. 
Leavenworth is a great place for foodies. Three of many of this type of store, The Cheesemonger, the Oil and Vinegar shop and the Tea and Spice shop. 
Each of the stores are extremely well laid out and tasting samples are freely available. 
Jackson, at just ten, has learned to appreciate these shops and had a wonderful time with Mom and Dad taste testing in the Oul and Vinegar store. 
After a late lunch I had time to indulge in a visit to a quilt shop before we returned to our home on the lake front. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Going back to Leavenworth

Last year when Linda and I were travelling through the Cascade Mountains in Washingtn State we happened upon the delightful twin of Leavenworth.

Nestled in the Mountans and designed to look like you have been transported to Bavaria this place has a lot going for it.

This weekend is my son David's birthday and so to celebrate we have come away for a weekend in a log cabin overlooking Lake Wenatchee.  Fresh mountain air, lovely outlook (in spite of the power lines) and very quiet and peaceful.

Such a lovely place to stay and I am so happy to have the opportunity to spend an extended time in Leavenworth.

Friday, July 15, 2016


The quilt on my bed brings back memories of my first visit to Dallas when David and Lisa were in their first home.  Lisa's grandmother loved all things crafty and so Lisa inherited a number of quilts from her including this one.  Some of the seams are in need of repair but the hearts are holding together well and so I guess it will be here for a few more visits yet.

Tessa is still relatively new to the household.  The first time Lisa took her out in the car she really did not enjoy the experience. Lisa had to take her to the vet yesterday so she bought a special booster seat and suddenly car travel took on a whole new meaning.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nana needs to catch up

While I have been busy holidaying, out there in the 'real word' things have been happening that I have no idea about.

Firstly, when I arrived in Seattle, I found out that, this week, Jackson, is going to a day summer camp called 'Parkour' and apparently it is all about becoming fit and strong to become like Ninja Warriors.

This is the place that Jackson is going to every day until Friday where he learns all about different adventure type activities.  He has his friend, Robbie, to go with and they seem to enjoy the days of full on activities.

The other is a new game app Pokemon Go that has only been released this week and is so popular it is difficult to join up unless you have a Google account. It has only been released one week in the USA and Australia only. What makes it different to the many other games around is that it is linked to Google maps and to fulfill the game you not only play at home but you need to go out into the big world to parks and other locations to progress with the game.

All a total mystery to me but if it gets people out and about, and in this household, incorporates walking the dog then all can't be too bad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Finally made it to Seattle

After a bit of an epic journey I finally arrived in Seattle.

Great to see David, Lisa and Jackson again. It was after 10pm before I got to the airport so after the ride home I slept in this morning and am having a quiet restful day.

The family have a new dog, Tessa, since I was last here.  She was a bit uncertain about me when I arrived last night but today, when there was no one else sitting down she hopped up next to me for a cuddle.

Did she stay for long?  Well, as soon as Lisa sat down she was off to sit next to 'Momma'. She knows where to get the best of cuddles.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pampered Pooches

It was when we were visiting in Bruges that I first noticed people pushing their dogs around in what looked like converted push chairs.  It would seem that when Mum and Dad want a day out this is how to take their dogs in style. 

The owners seem to be mostly people in their senior years as were the owners of these two dogs spotted when we were out in Bakewell yesterday.

They said that one of their dogs had injured his leg and that it needed to be rested so they bought this carriage for their pampered pooches.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Quilts revisited

This weekend I am in Stafford renewing acquaintances with Linda's husband's relatives.  They are giving me the best of care.

For me it is quite delightful to visit this part of England again, considering I only came here for the first time in my life twelve months ago.

The train ride was very pleasant and with the abundance of the recent June rain the countryside was at its greenest best.

To backtrack, when I was in London, I mentioned a couple of quilts that Linda and I had sent over but there are still more worth remembering.

Rick and Hannah were with us in New Zealand in April and I gave Hannah a quilt and so when we visited them in London there was her quilt - 

Anna-Clara instantly recognized it as one of our quilts.

One evening Anna-Clara was looking at images on my iPad and she saw a quilt I had made for her.  The next morning she came downstairs with the same quilt in hand.

It was a tactile quilt with fabric pieces for a small child to fondle.  Aaron said he did not remember her being much interested in that but one thing for sure that she knew well was the words to the nursery rhyme panel, Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle.

When Anna-Clara was a baby Linda made her this eat, play, sleep, repeat quilt and here it is much loved, washed and still intact and being used.

We may have to look at adding to the family collection with something for little Caleb as well.