Yesterday, my quilting friend Kathy came over the mountains and took me to Paradise on Mt. Rainier. We ate lunch (divine mac and cheese) at the National Park Inn at Longmire, then headed on up. It was absolutely beautiful, and here is the proof:
A couple of plant close-ups.
And some little critters.
A view headed down the Mountain.
And the absolutely lovely quilt I was given by my fellow members of the Washington State Internet Quilters (WASIQ). Thank you so much to all of you!
It was a long but glorious day. I darned near slept the clock around last night, I was so tired, but it was so, so, so worth it…
Tonight my friend Tina and I went to a program/exhibit at the Lacey library. It was put on by the Pacific Northwest Vintage Sewing machine organization. It was fascinating. All kinds of antique and vintage sewing machines, as well as a program where several people spoke about them. Some folks there own more than a hundred sewing machines!
There were also quilts up on the library’s walls from a couple of local guilds, which was nice.
And I got to try a sewing machine about the right age to have been Karin’s sewing machine from True Gold, which was truly cool.
Here are some of the photos I took.
Oh, and by the way, this is a photo of the Golden Staircase up to the top of Chilkoot Pass that Karin carried her sewing machine over, and the conditions in which she would have done it.
So. I’m still on schedule to hit the road on May 28th. We’ve had the inspection, the things they wanted done that I can do or have done are done, and the condo association handyman will be here on Thursday to take care of the things that he needs to do. The appraiser will be here on Friday. And after that, it’s less than two weeks before closing.
I’ve begun buying traveling gear I don’t have already (not much, actually — I needed to replace my sleeping bag, among other things), some online (all of which should arrive by next week) and some in the store.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Merlin:
Yes, that’s his name. If I ever have him painted green, then a Merlin is a small falcon. In the meantime he’s named after a wizard 🙂 He’s a Ford Transit Connect, the short wheel base cargo version, which means he has two bucket seats and a 4′ x4′ x6′ space behind them. He’s actually more fun to drive than you’d think he would be.
And my condo is filling up with boxes, which are gradually filling up with my belongings. I packed up a good chunk of my sewing room yesterday, and I’m going to finish that today if I can. My best friend’s daughter’s SO and another friend both work for grocery stores, so I am not hurting for packing boxes.
Nerves are starting to get to be a bit much. Seventeen more days till closing, eighteen more till the movers get here, and nineteen more till I have to be out of the house.
I have just returned from my annual trip to Tyler, Texas, to visit my almost 92-year-old mother, and, this time, to make a short (three-day) jaunt with my sister, who lives down there, too. We planned this several months ago, before all of the problems with my condo made me decide to sell it and take another Long Trip, and the plane tickets were already bought, so I didn’t try to cancel it.
Anyway, Mother is getting more and more fragile. I won’t get into her health issues here except to say how grateful I am that she’s still alive for me to go visit. I stayed with my sister Ann, and that’s only one reason I’m grateful she’s down there nearby for Mother.
Anyway, I’d been wanting to go to Austin and San Antonio and the Hill Country for a long time, and since this time I had to rent a car, anyway, I decided to go, and to invite Ann to go along with me. After a couple of days visiting with my mother, we headed south to San Antonio.
One of the nice things about Tyler is that to go any direction but due east or west, you pretty much have to get off the Interstate. The drive to San Antonio, aside from missing one turn, not realizing we had until we’d gone too far to turn back, and having to reroute ourselves, was fun. Wide open spaces, small towns, and wildflowers scattered all over the roadsides.
We arrived in San Antonio in the late afternoon, and found a hotel within walking distance of the River Walk and the Alamo, and went to eat supper along the River Walk. The River Walk reminded us both a bit of certain parts of Disneyland, but it was still fun (and about 10 degrees cooler than up on the street), and we ate fancy pizza right next to the water.
The next morning, it was raining just a bit. We strolled over to the Alamo under Ann’s umbrellas (she had two).
I liked the Alamo. It was very interesting historically (they did a terrific job with the museum exhibit part of the thing), and the gardens were lovely. The rain was a minor nuisance, but not a big deal. Yes, the Alamo is basically a shrine to Texas, but I knew that going in, and, well, I eat history up with a spoon, so I had no problem with it.
On our way back to the hotel to pack up and check out, we saw a whole bunch of carriages decorated as if for a wedding. Turns out we’d arrived the night before San Antonio’s annual Fiesta began. According to one of the carriage drivers, Fiesta attracts more people every year than New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, and was started when a bunch of ladies got drunk and flung flowers at each other 🙂
In the afternoon, we drove up to the Hill Country, which is sort of legendary for its spring wildflowers. It did not disappoint. After lunch in Fredericksburg, we took some back roads out through the rolling countryside (calling it hilly would have been stretching things, IMHO), and saw whole fields of flowers. Bluebonnets, of course, but also winecups and evening primroses and all sorts of things. Just gorgeous.
We wound up spending the night in the town of San Marcos, just south of Austin, and came in for a rude surprise when we turned on the Weather Channel. A huge storm was headed our way. You might have seen the recent news reports about flooding in Texas? Well, we weren’t in Houston, where it got really bad, but the rest of it? We were right where it was about to hit.
So we decided to cut our trip short by one day and go back to Tyler the next morning.
People think it rains a lot here in western Washington, and we do get a fair amount. But it’s a soft rain. Texas rain is like driving through a bleeding waterfall. I’m not overly fond of thunder and lightning, either. At least we didn’t have any tornado warnings. But we made it back, and my only disappointment was that I didn’t get to go to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Maybe next time, if there is a next time.
Once back in Tyler, the weather cleared up (bad weather seems to go around Tyler a lot of the time, which is really weird), and until I left several days later (having planned the trip with the jaunt in the middle so Mother could rest up while we were gone), I not only spent as much time as I could with my mother, but I got to stroll around a nature trail just down the street from my sister’s house, where there were also lots of wildflowers.
The last day before I left, Mother and I drove out to a place called Love’s Lookout, about fifteen miles south of Tyler, where there’s a nice little bench with a beautiful view, and we sat and talked for a while. It’s kind of our place, and I’m glad she was still able to go out there with me.
And that was my visit to Tyler this year. Every year now I wonder if this will be my last visit with my mother. I hope not.
I love my new camera. And the fact that we’re edging towards spring. This glory of the snow blossom is in my front flower bed, and I took the photo from a distance of about three inches, which is about two feet closer than I could have taken it with my old camera.
The maple key to the right of the flower is about two inches long.
This one’s called Many Trips Around the World, because that’s the name of the pattern. The fabric I started with is the one that looks light gray in the photo, but the bird fabric is the one that jumps out. Oh, well.
Otherwise known as Mahonia aquifolium. Playing with the zoom on my new camera this afternoon, out at the Dogwood Scenic Overlook out by Eatonville, where on a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier. Alas that this was not a clear day. But this shot pleased me very much, as I really like the sharpness of the flowers compared to the out-of-focussedness of the background.
I really can’t wait to actually take this camera somewhere, but it probably won’t happen until I go to the Monroe quilt show a week from Friday.