Showing posts from February, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Gifts from the Sea

One of my favorite photographic subjects is the interplay of light and water, the amazing reflections  you can capture if your timing is right.

Voila. Paintings with light.
Normally, I'd say "For more Mosaic Monday, visit Mary's Dear Little Red House. She's got all the links posted."

But Mary's playing hooky until next Monday.

you can check out the entries from last week
if you haven't already seen them.

Sepia Saturday: A Clayton Family Portrait

The stern looking patriarch here is Daniel Curtis Clayton, seated next to his wife Cyrene Moore Clayton. They are my great-great-grandparents. The young woman beside Daniel is his youngest daughter, Sarah Emoline "Emmy" Clayton. She is one of my great-grandmothers.

Standing behind Sarah is her twin, Thomas Perry Clayton. Her sister Rosalia Clayton, wife of Charles Augustus Ruark,  is next to her mother. William Curtis (Billy) Clayton, the eldest surviving son, is standing behind Rosalia and Allen Sylvester Clayton is standing in the center, hand on his father's shoulder.
Don't the boys have impressive moustaches?

I'd guess this portrait was taken in the 1890s, since Emmy and her twin look like they're in their 20s and they were born in 1869. Daniel died in 1902
so that sets an outer limit for the photograph.
Billy Clayton was just a newborn when his parents
hitched the team to a wagon and set off for the West.
Daniel and Cyrene were party of a wagon train
that included he…

Connection to Source

Gerberadaisies always strike me  as such bubbly, enthusiastic flowers,  at least when they're young and fresh. 
But after they've been cut off from their root  for too long, they bow their heads  and droop as if they're shouldering the weight of the world. Isn't this true for all of us?

When we're connected to the source  of our power and fully present,  we have strength beyond our awareness  and emanate pure love and compassion.
 But when we're disconnected,  we lose our joy and zest for life.
 Take a moment to be still  and check the strength of your connection. If you've lost your ability to be present and commune with what energizes you, figure out what you need to do to find what you've lost.

There's Something About It

There's something about Venice, the bride of the sea, that draws me back, that pulls me as if it were my home in some time long forgotten, in another life.
"The Heart of Venice" © 2005 Meri Arnett-Kremian
Perhaps it's the gentle lapping of the water, the mist that makes things vanish and reappear
like magic.  Mist means spirit to me - spirit made visible,  dancing in light, muting the sounds of the everyday world.
Maybe it's the rich sense of history, the turning a corner into surprise,
the visual smörgåsbordbeckoning through every passageway and across every bridge.

It might be because I went to Venice with someone I loved truly, madly, deeply. I can't disregard the possibility that my dreams of Venice are tied up with him even though that romance, riveting as it was,
and that journey I was blessed to take
with someone so woven into my psyche,
are just memories from my past.

Perchance it was the sense I had
that each new place
was somehow familiar,
that the spirit of the place
was welcomin…

Tagged by that Curious Girl (Lisa)

Lisa of Curious Girl, that adorable cutie, got tagged for a meme and passed the tag along to me.
I'm supposed to pass it along to 5 people.

So here are the rules:
1. open your first photo file folder
2. scroll to the 10th photo in the file
3. post the picture and tell the story behind it
4. tag 5 more people.

Since I've tagged people before
who didn't want to play,
this time I'm inviting all of you
who can't figure out what to post today
 or tomorrow or the next day to play along.

Here's my picture with an explanation.
First of all, I didn't play by the rules (but close enough).

This is from the second folder, because I had deleted most
 of what was in File No. 1.
It's from September 2009.

That lovely September day,
I had to make a trip to a compounding pharmacy
 in Poulsbo, Washington to get some medicine
 for the dog. Poulsbo's a great place for a field trip,
so I called my friend Jen and asked her
 if she was up for an adventure.
She was, so we he…

Mosaic Monday: Viva Italia

I am obviously feeling the bite of the travel bug.

Italy beckons. Its siren song is nearly irresistible.
Left (top to bottom): Sirmione, Milan's Duomo, Murano Center: Murano, Cinque Terre, Venice - looking through  an arch toward the Doge's palace Right: Venice's Doge's Palace and San Marco, Venice,  Venetian Painter
To visit the other sites participating in Mosaic Monday, visit Mary at Little Red House.
And if that doesn't give you enough inspiration, check out my friend Cathleen Shattuck's  Flickr slideshow  celebrating the Year of the Tiger festivities in Seattle's International District and Chinatown.

February Picnic

I don't think I've ever been invited to a February picnic, at least until a few days ago.
Not in the Pacific Northwest.
My son and daughter-in-law and the little squirt have moved a bit closer (but still over 90 minutes away). They're living in an apartment built above a three-car garage on the property that Katie's cousin's family is living in.
It's right next to a lake. So they asked me to bring them the microwave oven that's been stored in my basement and to come for a picnic, since it was a sunny day.

Did I mention it was probably about 45 degrees F or 7.2 C? And that was before the sun went down!
But everyone had a good time. Logan wore a life jacket over his coat, and big boy shoes as a counterpoint to his omnipresent pacifier  and Brendan or Katie or Grandpa Jeff followed him every step he took.

Logan had lots of company, because Katie's cousins Sarah and Emily have kids.  Logan loves to follow the big boys around.

There was a hot dog roast and s'mores.
Greek salad f…

Sepia Saturday: Mom and Dad

It's Sepia Saturday again. So let me introduce you to my parents.

Before they were my parents. Since my father isn't wearing a wedding band, I'm going to guess this was taken while they were just dating or during their engagement.
Dad was too young to join the military  when World War Two broke out, but as it was winding down he joined the Navy and went to flight school. The whole shebang was over soon after and he was sent back to civilian life and went back to finish college.

They met in Eugene, Oregon  where he attended University of Oregon and a small church college called Northwest Christian College.   My mom was a music major at N.C.C. and my father was studying to become a minister.
They married before my mother graduated. My dad went on to graduate school at Butler University in Indiana and my mom worked "putting hubby through."
They were married for around twenty years  before parting company.  I'm not sure they were made for each other. But still, I'm sure the decisio…

I Love Skiing

A post by a fellow blogger about her children's skiing lessons triggered a great memory for me, one having to do with my youngest son's first day of skiing lessons.

At the close of the afternoon lesson, he snowplows to a stop right in front of me. I think his father was there too, but he announces, specifically to me, with great gusto,
"I love skiing, Mom!
It's falling down I don't like."
(Out of the mouths of babes........)

In Which Category Do You Fall?

I don't know if you've ever completed a  Myers-Briggs Type Indicator  to determine your personality type.
From your answers,  you are given scores on four scales:
 Extroversion - Introversion Sensate - Intuitive  Thinking - Feeling Judging - Perceiving
That brings me to apples. (I know, it's a leap. Bear with me.)

 So yesterday, I was in the grocery store and saw these delectable-looking apples all nicely arranged.
And it reminded me of a continuing legal education seminar  I once took that was an introduction for lawyers to Myers-Briggs Type Indicators and Neuro-linguistic Programming.
In the MBTI portion of the workshop, each lawyer was given
 an inventory and then some of us were called
 from the audience to participate in an exercise to show the difference between those who go through life as "sensates" and those who are "intuitives."
Here was the mission: each group was given an apple, a magic marker,  and a big display tablet.  We were, as members of our assigned group…

The Promise of Spring

This morning around seven Latté and I strolled outside so she could do what dogs need to do after dreaming all night.
The sky had a layer of wispy clouds sheer enough to suggest that the sky was going to be seriously blue soon.
The birds were chirping up a storm. Raindrops were still hanging onto the branches of the coral bark maple, just to remind me how much raindrops can look like diamond globes.
And it smelled earthy and fertile. Full of potential.
The day lilies are beginning announce their whereabouts with clumps of tender leaves that look like giant blades of grass. The jonquils are sending up sentinels of green-ness that will soon provide a backdrop for blossoms in whites and yellows and pinks and peaches and oranges, blossoms with such sweet faces that they always cheer me.

The camellias and azaleas aren't even close to popping and dazzling everyone with their colorful displays

but they've begun to tease us with swelling buds,  saying, "It's not quite time. Wait a little longer.&qu…

Mosaic Monday: Susan B. Anthony

Today is the 190th birthday of Susan Brownell Anthony, the 19th and early 20th Century women's rights activist who worked tirelessly to secure the vote for women. In 1872, she was tried for having attempted to vote. She died in 1906, fourteen years before the 19th Amendment was ratified.

So here's to you, Susan. Happy Birthday!
To see the mosaics of other participants,
visit Mary at the Little Red House.
Thanks for being a great hostess, Mary!

Sepia Saturday: A Valentine Love Story

Leota Biggs was the beloved only child of William A. Biggs and his wife Clara Davidson Biggs. Leota and my paternal grandfather were first cousins (her father and my grandfather's mother were siblings).
Leota Biggs and her dog Teddy

Leota was born December 17, 1906 in Missouri
(at least according to the 1910 Census)  and spent her later childhood and high school years
in a small eastern Oregon town called Baker. 
As you might discern from her elegant coat, her parents were fairly prosperous.  Both Willie and Clara attended a college of chiropractic medicine in Portland, Oregon in the early 1900s.
Leota graduated from Baker High School and obviously showed academic promise, as she went on to college  at Washburn University in the early 1920s
when not that many girls went to college. 
Washburn, as you might know,
is in Topeka, Kansas, quite a distance
 for a girl from a small town in eastern Oregon. The problem was that a young man named
Harold Trebbe went to Oregon State University
in Corvallis, Or…

Interview with Kathryn Magendie

Since you couldn't come to my book club, I thought I would share some of my interview with Kat Magendie about her writing process. 
(from Kat's website -- her fancy "author" photo)
So here are her answers to questions I posed.
Meri:  How did Virginia Kate and the other characters come to you?
Kat:  I knew I wanted to write about a girl or woman whose mother had given up her children, in which the girl and her siblings would have to leave their home and live elsewhere, but I wasn't sure of the details. As with all my characters, I just had a wavery image of a girl or woman who was entreating me with her dark sad eyes. As for the name Virginia Kate, it is a combination of both of my mothers' names (Ruth Virginia and Katherine Sue), not because they are like the characters Rebekha and Katie Ivene, but because I wanted to honor the sacrifices of both of my mothers.
As to the rest, one day I was staring at a print of Chambered Nautilus by Andrew Wyeth. The woman sits in …

Tender Graces

My book club met last night to discuss Kathryn Magendie's novel Tender Graces.

It's a novel about the events and people that shape our lives, that touch us for good or ill.
Virginia Kate, the book's central character, is born in the mountains of West Virginia to two parents who fell into an unlikely love and tumultuous relationship, neither having the capacity to adequately parent their daughter or her brothers.
Pushed and pulled between battling parents, forced to endure trauma children should be spared, Virginia Kate is a survivor who has to deal with the hurts of the past, the lure of connection, and the difficult task of forgiveness.
And for those of us who loved Virginia Kate, Kathryn has written a sequel. It's coming out soon and will be called Secret Graces.
Here's the trailer.

I would have posted a photo of my book club,
but I couldn't find one where everyone looked great.

If you have a book club,
Tender Graces makes a great read.
Everyone really liked the book
and it engender…

Monday, Monday

It's another gray Monday. My book club is coming tonight, so I'm busy cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors, destroying all the evidence that this is a lived-in house.
Today's also mosaic Monday

so I'll leave you with this little photo montage. As usual, Mary of Little Red House is hostess for the day and gives you links to all participants if you click HERE. She's thinking spring.
So go visit and while you do, I'll get right down to the real nitty gritty, though I have to say that since I hired Amber to help me organize the basement, I feel like all I ever do is sort, discard, recycle, free-cycle, go to Goodwill, clean and organize.
Perhaps I'm making room for something new in my life. Or maybe something wonderful is about to come round again. Just because I deserve it.

Sepia Saturday: Elmer and Lela (Lile) Miller

I introduced you to my maternal grandfather, Elmer Miller, the little boy on the right in the formal portrait of the three children from
the Sepia Saturday three weeks ago.
Now it's time for you to meet his bride, Lela Emoline Lile.

I'm not sure whether this was taken before or after their wedding, but it was around that time.

As you can see, they were married on October 6, 1920 in Enterprise, Oregon in the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The witnesses were Samuel P. Miller, Elmer's father,
and Sarah Emoline Clayton Lile, Lela's mother.
She'd been widowed only nine months
when her daughter married. I'm sure
everyone missed him that day.
Lela was twenty-one. Elmer had turned twenty just the day before. Initially, they lived on Elmer's parents' homestead. A couple of years after that, they moved to Echo, Oregon where my Aunt Mona was born.
By 1925, they moved to LaGrande, Oregon, where my mother was born and her father worked in the lumber mill.
By the time the Great Depressi…


The most powerful symptom of love

is a tenderness which becomes at time almost insupportable.
- Victor Hugo

Do you remember first meeting your first child and how it felt to fall in love?
I remember right after Brendan  (the new Dad in the photo above) was born, one of the first thoughts his father, a natural warrior, expressed was
War is so stupid. It's such a waste.
What are you doing to foster peace?

Poetry Slam: An Offering from Rumi

There is some kiss we want with our whole lives, the touch of Spirit on the body. Seawater begs the pearl to break its shell. And the lily, how passionately it needs some wild Darling!

At night, I open the window
and ask the moon to come
and press its face into mine. Breathe into me. Close the language-door,