The upside of the grey, rainy season is that it brings with it lush vegetation. Rain was the dominant weather for us on our recent trip to Guilin in China.Continue reading Rainy season on the Li River
Up to the highest height.
These photos are all from the International Kite Festival in Weifang, Shandong Province, China in different years. Sadly we will miss it this year.
March Madness in the Family
I have had about a month rolled up into one week. I did manage to accomplish my one goal: we visited the daffodil bulb fields in Skagit County. Should be simple to accomplish just one goal in a whole week.Continue reading Daffodils and Anvil Clouds
An omen?!? or just a sucker hole?
I haven’t been posting much of late. Life stuff has been dragging me down of late. This tends to result in speechlessness.Continue reading Beam me up!
This afternoon I had a serendipitous experience. I was doing my coddiwomple thing after having coffee with my son and his girlfriend. They headed off to work and I just headed off. I tend to wander in a spiral, keeping a sense of where my ground zero is, but at the same time getting farther and farther afield. As I was headed back toward the center I spied a fascinating looking lion. Of the mythical type you often see on either side of an entrance in China. The thing that caught was the colors of the lion. It turned out that it was ceramic and the amazing coloration was from a brilliant job of glazing.
The shop appeared open but empty. I first peeked in through, then pressed my nose against the window to get a good view of the lions and other merchandise. From the shop next door a woman came out and said “Welcome to Shouguang” and invited me into her shop. She was happy to have me take pictures and she and her assistant served me tea. I believe, and I may learn more tomorrow when I visit another of her shops with my son, who will be able to understand her, it is a special collector’s type of ceramic. I am certain that it is gorgeous.
This is one of those times when I couldn’t have planned to do something I really enjoyed, because I didn’t know it existed.
Ah yesterday. Last night I tried to write a post about it and fell asleep. Jet lag plus busy day does not equal cogent prose.
Today’s RDP: Color brought a couple of things from yesterday to mind, so here goes again:
The day before yesterday there was rain and that resulted in a clear blue sky. These things don’t last: today is already hazy. Yesterday I rolled off the bed early, intending to enjoy the walk by the Mihe River in clear morning light. It was beautiful.
Walking back along a near-by road I saw this art studio painted in vibrant primary colors:
Later in the day I was walking back to my son’s apartment from his place of work, I had some time to kill so I decided to take a longer path, one that ran along a fun park/trail they had made from an abandoned railroad through town. It starts near where he works with a train station art installation:
As I started to wander up the line a man came over and introduced himself. After a bit of almost communication (I finally called my son and had him talk to the guy and translate back to me), I wound up going with him and another gentleman to a huge rose garden, 250 thousand square meters, along the Mihe, well to the south of the stretch I had wandered in the morning. They worked at this garden on the structures.
They wanted to let me take pictures of their garden. You could tell they were rose buffs and also very proud of the garden as a whole…and rightly so. I’ve been to a few rose gardens here and there in the world, and this one is wonderful by any standard.
Quite a few roses were blooming and the weather was perfect. Sadly my SD card filled up and my extra hadn’t made my backpack.
As we were leaving the man at the gate came out with clippers and went around, in conference with the two I had come with and sent me home with this colorful sampling from their garden.
One thing I always enjoy when traveling abroad is vehicle watching. Here in Shouguang city most of the trucks one sees are not what one sees in Seattle, in fact I don’t think I’ve seen a single American style pick up or semi since I arrived. But people still need to haul stuff. Here are some of the trucks I saw when I was out and about yesterday.
These vehicles are more practical in many ways: inexpensive to run, less resource intensive to make and nimble for getting around in narrow, often crowded places.
Interesting “truck” trivia: in Chinese they usually call trucks “ka che” which is “pi ka che” shortened. “pi ka” is from what Chinese think “pick up” sounds like.
Some pictures of birds common in the Puget Sound area.
Great new word from the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Coddiwomple. It means “to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.”
I coddiwomple through life, especially when I travel. I tend to be very business-like and organized, but I am often a little (or sometimes a lot) vague on exactly what I want to accomplish. I’ve become more comfortable with it as time goes on, might as well not stress on my own goals when I keep getting hit with sudden needs to spend hours collecting documents for Grandma’s VA and DSHS reviews or take Dad to the doctor, etc.
When traveling I like to get out and be where I am and that often means hustling myself ready and getting out, then deciding which direction to head. Usually I make a list of possibilities for each location so I can adjust for weather, transportation snafus or just feeling a bit lazy.
On our recent trip to England we took a couple of day trips to places chosen because they were the end of the line for train rides. One of these was to Whitby. We were staying in York to get to the Esk Valley line we had to change twice, in Darlington and Middlesbrough, which meant planning well since the Esk Valley line only has a couple of runs a day.
The Esk Valley line is a small, two car train, more like a tram. It runs from Middlesbrough through the North York Moors National Park to the coastal town of Whitby.
We didn’t know what to expect, but learned that Whitby is basically a tourist trap. Very picturesque and very crowded on one of Yorkshires hottest days. You have about 4 hours to explore if you aren’t going to ride the same train back that you came on.
We sat on the opposite side of the train going and saw a bit more of the river than we had on the trip out.
It was a nice coddiwomple in many ways. We both enjoy train travel and the scenery was lovely. Whitby is a charming town.
Even my careful planning couldn’t cover everything: the day we had for the trip was exceptionally hot for Yorkshire so a lot of people were headed out for a day at the coast, including a very large school group. The kids were well behaved, and the adults had the outing well organized, but the kids were, understandably, excited and chatty and the train was very crowded. They were also on the train coming back, again well behaved, but excited and even more chatty from a day of sun and sea and sugary treats. The silence when they got off was welcome.
Advice for if you ever get the chance to take this trip: on weekdays, even if there are no school groups, the train back is used by students of the local schools on their way home so it is normally more crowded than the one going out.
We are “dog people” at family gatherings there are often equal numbers of dogs and people. Our dogs are, mostly, friends with each other as well. I call them Muddy Paws United, Beach Walking Club. This post from last year talks about the friendship between our dogs: Puppy Friends. This year, sadly, my dear friend Sam, passed away in May. She was almost 13 years old and had lymphoma. This post is a bit about that sad time: No Pedigree, just a heart of gold. I had planned to talk more about my dear Sam, but my heart is still tender from her loss. I know that with time I will feel a surge of happiness when I see her picture, but for now it still brings tears. I think my two still half expect to see her when we go over to Dad’s.
Introducing the newest family member: Max, Dad’s new puppy:
She seems to be fitting in pretty well, although she wears the older dogs out pretty quickly. She is a good match color-wise for the older dogs. Here is the new Muddy Paws United:
Hopefully Ginger and Asta will become as good friends with Max as they were with Sam. I still miss Sam but hugging a puppy is good therapy. She has really helped my dad adjust. He got quite depressed during Sam’s illness and was extremely lonely after she was gone.