Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorite Things: Light and Shadows

Find beauty not only in the thing itself

but in the pattern of the shadows,

the light and dark which that thing provides.

Junichiro Tanizaki (Japanese author, 1886 - 1965)

I love the interplay of light
and shadows,
how shadows bring a depth and richness
that delight the eye,
while pure bright light
sometimes overwhelms the details, 
making them seem insignificant.

Shadows too deep can, of course,
swallow the light for a time,
just like in life.

It's the interplay,
the sharing of the stage,
that brings a wholeness of vision.

For other Favorite Friday participants,
click on the FAVORITE FRIDAY icon.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another Self Portrait

Do you know about Bone Sigh Arts?
Are you on the mailing list for the daily quote?
A woman named Terri St. Cloud creates little meditations
and shares them with the folks on her mailing list.
Today's quote resonated with me
 so I thought I'd share.

"I went back and got her today,
the little girl that is me.

I coaxed her to stand,
to drop the blanket,

and to pick up her beauty.

She's walking with me now,
and leading me to wholeness."
- Terri St. Cloud

We can all stand to give ourselves --
 our past, present, and future selves --
some loving encouragement.

p.s. I wasn't talented enough to set up a tripod
and use a timer for the first three pics. 
I have to credit either my Mom or my Dad for those.
 Only the bottom photo is mine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Gamers Can Save the World

If you're the parent of a gamer or two
like I am

or even a gamer yourself,
I've got good news:

Gamers might be perfectly positioned
to change the world.

Here's how. 

The video's a little long (20 minutes)
but fascinating.

Makes me have hope. 
And that's a good thing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Giverny

Waterlilies floating lazily,
willow branches dancing
in the breeze
along the path
that skirts the pond.

A pink house with green shutters
keeping watch over
climbing roses.

Roses growing beside a picket fence.
Astilbes leaning, like Narcissus
trying to glimpse himself
in still water.

An old hotel
in the village
where artists came
to pay homage to Monet.

p.s. These "artful images" are based on photographs
that I took at Giverny and later digitally manipulated.

For more Mosaic Monday participants,
visit Mary's Dear Little Red House

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Feeding the Harvesters

In the days of yore, back when the wheat was harvested manually by dozens of men all working a field until it was nothing but stubble before they moved on to the next farm, the workers would get powerfully hungry. They were, after all, expending a lot of energy  harvesting grain and possibly fruit, as well.

Back in the 1890s and probably for a couple of decades after that, the Walla Walla Valley harvest crews were fed meals from cook wagons like this one. These wagons were mobile kitchens -- kind of like the taco wagons you see in some parking lots at lunch time. I suspect the one in the picture was a later model, because it's a "horseless" wagon.

But it was staffed by women, sometimes farmer's wives and sometimes widows or single women needing some income. They spent their days cooking hearty fare to feed the hungry men bringing in the crops.

My great-grandmother Wilhelmina "Minnie" Blomgren Nelson was one of those widows. Her first husband John Albert Nelson died of tuberculosis quite young, leaving her to support her two small surviving children. She was able to continue living on their farm and even managed to perfect the homestead claim after he died. But money was always an issue.

So Minnie used her skills as a cook during harvest time to help make ends meet. I imagine there were hearty stews, strong coffee, and Apple Brown Betty or tasty pies for lunch and dinners. She'd only been in the U.S. a few years at that point, so it must have been a challenge to adapt to cooking American dishes and conversing with other cooks in English instead of her native Swedish.

My great-grandfather Samuel was one of the hired men who helped harvest crops each season. He was in the process of proving up his own homestead claim in Eastern Oregon, but there was work in the Walla Walla Valley, so he'd ride his horse or bring a buggy down from the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon into the fertile valley in Washington to earn money to supplement his income.

Samuel, like Minnie, was a down-to-earth and practical Swede. No one ever told stories about their meeting or their courtship when I was a little girl. Samuel was long since dead. In fact, Samuel died before my mother was born. And Minnie was too matter-of-fact to dwell on her youth. 

So I imagine that he caught a glimpse of her serving food when he approached to cook wagon for his midday meal. I imagine he was taken by her small size, her rosy cheeks, and basic sweetness. I have no doubt that when he heard a hint of Swedish accent, he knew that this young widow was meant to be his bride. Did he brashly approach her? Or did he hang back, slowly letting her notice him? Did they speak their first words of love in Swedish? My mother and her sisters never heard their grandmother speak Swedish. She only spoke English, at least her version of it, because, she said, "I'm an American now."

They had about 25 years together before Samuel, who was several years older than Minnie, dropped dead from a heart attack as he walked his land with his step-son and eldest son. Minnie never married again. She lived to her mid-90s.

For other SEPIA SATURDAY posts,
click here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Bride and Groom

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. 

I love you straightforwardly, 

without complexities or pride;

 so I love you because I know no other way.

 – Pablo Neruda

There are so many beautiful photographs
I could post showing the bride and groom
from last weekend's wedding. 

But the scene that eradicated my mascara,
sending it streaming down my cheeks,
was this one.

When she finally reached the end
of the long center aisle
and he took her hand,
they both broke down.

There wasn't a dry eye
in the room.


To the bride and groom,
their family and friends.

And blessings to all of you
who remember the overwhelming emotion
of joining your life together with someone
you love without knowing how it happened,
without knowing why
you should love this particular person
beyond reason.
You just do.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Flower Girls & General Fanciness

Seeing the adorable Anna Banana
in her role as "best supporting actress"
as a flower girl in Jessica's wedding

I am transported back in time
to the night that my aunt married
and my cousin and I were flower girls
in taffeta gowns.

I felt so grown-up.
My cousin felt miserable and feverish.
She was about to bloom with a bad case
of chicken pox.

I'm happy to report that Anna Banana
was just fine.

As you can plainly see. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Things I Adore

The list of things I adore is long
but it includes:

taking pictures
spirals of light and color
folk art & crosses
statues with serene faces
art and artifacts with an Asian flair
feathery things
tea-stained fabrics & frilly pillows --
though I don't buy frilly pillows --
shades of blue with a hint of green
carved doors
(please send an arrow my way!)

Tell me some of your favorite things
and then go visit other Mosaic Monday
players at Mary's Dear Little Red House

Friday, April 16, 2010

Off to Play Tourist

. . . and see a sweet young thing
marry her handsome prince.

I'm going to play tourist
in my adolescent and young adult hometown,
scenic Seattle.

And no, the bride in the mosaic
isn't Miss Jessica.
It's still a little cool for an outdoor wedding.

p.s. And happy anniversary tomorrow
to Brendan (my oldest son) and Katie
(my adorable daughter-in-law).

Shrine Auction

Tomorrow's the big day.

The official opening of the shrine auction
to benefit Oaxacan Streetchildren Grassroots.

April 17 - 24, 2010.

This creative endeavor
is the brainchild of Rebecca Brooks,
whose soul is so luminous 
that the world is a brighter place
simply because she's in it.

Her post today -- beautiful and lyrical as usual --
will give you the introduction you deserve.

And then make sure you go to
and start poring through the entries
to decide which shrine(s)
you just can't live without. 

I've got my eye on a few.

My blog buddies 
Deb Taylor  and
all have wonderful entries.

There are many more pieces,
all in need of a loving home.

Just think,
you can buy original art
and touch the life of a child
with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Sometimes the waves slam into shore.
Sometimes the winds blow us sideways.

But even in the most ferocious storms,
or their blustery aftermath, 
there's always beauty around us.

A soothing salve for the soul.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

You Never Know What You'll Find

I love browsing
antique stores
simply because
I never know
what I'll find.

When you were little,
did your parents tell you
to eat what was on your plate
because there were 
starving kids
in China/India/Africa?

here's a weird twist on that. 

Finish your beer? Really!
Oh, did I mention that I didn't buy it?

For more Mosaic Monday fun,
click HERE.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Ellis and Eliza Zaring Ellis

Ellis Ebenezer Ellis
was born June 13, 1836 in Old Town
in Hampshire County, Virginia. 
Hampshire County was in the part of Virginia
that was later carved off to create West Virginia.

Ellis was the son of David Ellis (1782 - 1852),
a man of Welsh Quaker descent,
and his second wife Sarah Jane Farmer (1805 - 1873) Ellis.

When Ellis was quite young, perhaps two or three, 
the family moved across the river to Allegany County, Maryland
and David farmed there for several years.
Shortly after the 1850 Census, the family gathered belongings
 and moved to Mahaska County, Iowa.
Ellis would have been perhaps 15 or 16 when the family moved.

The distance from western Maryland to Mahaska County, Iowa
doesn't seem daunting now in the era of interstates.
But it was a major undertaking then
and likely took weeks and weeks of travel.

David died soon after arriving in Mahaska County
and Sarah Jane was awarded guardianship of the minor children.
While living in Iowa, Ellis met and married Elizabeth Jane Zaring,
known as Eliza, daughter of John and Martha "Patsy" Little Zaring.
They married in October 1859.

Their first child, John Rogers Ellis, was born in November 1860.
Eighteen months later, Eliza was pregnant again.

And for reasons that aren't clear,
Ellis and Eliza, their toddler son,
Ellis's widowed mother, his widowed sister Susan Ellis Zaring,
his brother Samuel Ellis (and wife Rhoda Kennedy Ellis),
unmarried brothers Thomas Townsend Ellis,
Hiram Lee Ellis -- so named because of David's mother's descent
from the Lee family of Virginia -- and Henry Clay Ellis,
and sister Sarah Caroline Ellis,
all joined forces and set out with a wagon train
led by John K. Kennedy.
Kennedy was Rhoda Kennedy Ellis's father. 

I'll tell the story of the Kennedy Wagon Train
some other time,
but it was somewhat unusual.

We do know that Eliza Zaring Ellis
gave birth to Charles Ellis on July 13, 1862
along the way in a place called South Pass (Wyoming)
and the wagon train
camped for a couple of days before moving on
specifically because of the birth.

At the end of the Oregon trail,
the family settled in Walla Walla County,
Washington Territory.

Ellis hastily built a sod house,
dug into the ground with a roof covered with
turf and supported by a heavy timber center support pole.
Here they lived for the first winter.

In 1863, Ellis built a proper log cabin,
probably with the assistance of his brothers and brothers-in-law.
During the construction, the family continued to live in the sod house.

Sadly, the center support pole gave way
when Eliza and the children were in the sod house
and it collapsed on them. Eliza and little Charles survived
the calamity, but young John Rogers Ellis was killed.

Eliza and Ellis went on to have seven more children.
She died in 1909 in Spokane County, Washington.
Ellis died in 1920 in Spokane County, Washington.

Their descendants (I'm not one -- he was a great-great-something uncle)
can still be found in the Pacific Northwest today.

For more Sepia Saturday participants,
click HERE


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reach Out

Only with the heart

"Half-Buried Heart" copyright 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.
 can you touch the sky.

- Jamal al-Din Rumi

Reach. From your center.
From your half-buried heart.
Listen to the voice you so often ignore,
the one that bids you stretch and grow.
The whisper that commands you to let your soul 
shine more brightly than the brightest star.
Take a chance. Against all odds,
without regard to the wounds of the past,
laughing in the face of fear,
reach out with trembling hands
to touch the face of love.

"Encircled Heart" copyright 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ruffled Feathers and Jumping for Joy

Sometimes there just isn't any way
 to avoid ruffled feathers.
We can't control the wind
when it blows, we can only choose
behaviors designed to keep us
from getting knocked off balance.

But then things calm down
and things go back to normal.
We're on top of things, full of confidence
and good cheer.


And if we're really lucky,
we'll have an abundance of moments when
we'll feel like jumping for joy.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Mosaic:Grids

I wanted to do something different today.
I hope you don't mind.

But this subject just seems to lend itself
to mosaic format.

And be sure to visit Mary's Little Red House
to find the list of other Monday Mosaic players. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Beach Scenes

There was a lot of activity
on the beach
on Easter Sunday.

Waves crashing.

Dogs fetching.

Families leaping.

Kite fliers.

Guitars strumming.

Vows exchanged.

a day of hope redeemed.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

At the Beach

I'm techno-challenged.
Putting web-sized photos into this post from Picasa
seems to be beyond my capability.
There's no way that I've figured out
to downsize the files from mega-size to net size.

"A View of Haystack Rock" (c) 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian.

That amounts to a big problem,
since I was going to take you along
on my beach walk.

I was going to show you
the silly seagulls
putting on a show

"Seagull Parade" (c) 2010 Meri Arnett-Kremian

and lots of other wonders
in a nice, tidy little size that would load efficiently.

Now why didn't I load Photoshop Elements
on my laptop?

Oh, and while I'm thinking of it,
just a reminder that Sepia Saturday
is taking an Easter break
and will return next Saturday.