A journal of sorts.

I am an avid photographer with a love for digital processing. The Bearded One and I have become "Townies" once again and are in the process of transforming our suburban nest into a peaceful refuge.
This blog is where I like to stash things. An assortment of random thoughts, a recipe or two, a few of my favorite photos, and the processing thereof.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Almost April

Out and About

My entry for the phototips.biz challenge "inside-outside"

The Bearded One once again helped me out of a jam. I had to come up with something that was inside-outside. The interpretation was up to each one. This is what I came up with… A little creepy, but a lot of fun.

Cottage Life

We are counting down till we move in full time. Each weekend it gets a little harder to go back to the apartment. Thanks to "Little Tattoo mama" and "Ms Corporate" we have a lot less stuff to move. Way to go girls!!!

This weekend The Bearded one fixed up the herb boxes on the porch and hung up the hanging baskets for me. It looks a little more like home each weekend.

The Happy Homemaker

The Inn keeper got us a new vacuum for the cottage. It's made esp. for bare floors and low nap carpets. It seems to work really well although it kind of resembles an earwig. It has a v-shape nozzle on the front that looks just like an earwigs pincers. A little creepy but it works…


I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific. 

Lily Tomlin 

Pasted from <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_funny3.html>

Till next post...Be well and take care of each other


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Weekend at the Cottage

Little Miss Madelynn trying her hand at embroidery a while back...

Out and about
We were a little more organized this time going out to the Cottage. I had gone grocery shopping the night before so there wasn't this big after work rush that happened last time.
The Bearded One had taken our Bistro set and ornamental grass pot out earlier in the afternoon so we were able to take lil' green, and have plenty of room for everything we needed.
We headed over to Shelton Sat. morning to pick up a few plants for the porch containers and also stopped by the local pet store to see a bout a home for our finches. We love them but there just isn't room at the cottage for two extra large cages and their inhabitants. We will be able to take them to Paws and Claws anytime so The Bearded One will probably do that this week. So sad. The babies have been a hoot to watch. Each one has their own little personality.

Cottage Life
We went to the Innkeepers last night for a glass of wine and ended up partaking in dinner. We had a wonderful combination of fresh steamer clams, kale, dandelion greens, and garlic chili sauce over bulgur. It was amazing. Then followed a course of baked squash and a mixed greens and avocado salad. The Coup de gras, was the caramelized apple cake. Yumm. Wine and stories flowed and a good time was had by all.

Happy Homemaker
Tonight for dinner we are going to have fresh steamers. By the time this is published it should be a done deal with pictures to document the event.
It began yesterday when we dug (actually sort of raked) our clams during the afternoon low tide. We did this using a small hand held garden fork. It's a very muddy job because you are on the edge of the rocky beach which quickly becomes mudflats. The abundance of clams is amazing. Of course I was a little distracted by all of the oysters lying around waiting for me to pluck them up. But that's another meal.
You only keep those clams that are and inch and a half or larger. These we put in a small plastic laundry basket which has about a fifty foot rope which is tied to a tree on shore. We put a couple of heavy rocks on the bottom to keep it from flipping over. The tide then comes in and out and washes most of the bay mud off the "captured" clams making them much easier to clean for cooking. I am at this moment waiting for the tide to go out so that I can retrieve my dinner. I plan to steam them with butter and garlic. And serve them with a nice salad. What a way to live.

 A happy ending to a great weekend.

Be Safe and watch out for each other...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Slow to Post

 Today's 365 Picture, "Frog on a Rock"
Out and About
Yesterday was Rock Star's Wife's Birthday.
Since it falls on St Patty's Day Green was the appropriate color of the day. Little Miss Madelynn was in charge of decorating the New York cheesecake with shiny green icing. She did an excellent job of adding a large green bellybutton somewhat in the middle of it where of course a belly button should reside. Lovely and delicious.
Tomorrow we get to go back Home to the Cottage. The Bearded One will be taking our wrought iron bistro set to put out on the patio. It will be good to have a place to sit outdoors and enjoy the view now that the weather is getting more Spring-like. I think we will also bring along our "Fish Pot" Hopefully the raccons won't discover the goldfish.

Our Patio adjacent to the Original Cottage and just outside our laundry room door.
Mom and Sis will be coming by tomorrow afternoon to check out our new digs. That will be fun. Of course food will be involved…

Cottage News
The innkeeper has left a couple of empty containers for me to plant. I am excited about the prospect. I love planting pots. I think for the larger on which is actually not real large, I will put in a clump of black Mondo grass, a Heuchura, a Hellobore, and a couple of pansies. That will make a planting that will last through the seasons. Our Cottage porch faces west but because we're in the trees I don't think we will get a lot of direct sun.
We have revised our list of things to take with us to include things like Kleenex, and paper towels. Oh, and maybe an afghan or two to keep cozy in the evening.

The Happy Homemaker
I think that we will be having artichoke dip with a thinly sliced and toasted baguette. I've remembered to replenish the coffee and will try to think of a few other things to have.
We picked up a mid size crockpot at the goodwill and are planning to use it to cook a nice little pork roast with potatoes and carrots, for dinner Saturday evening.
It will be nice to get the gas grill as soon as possible to help with the cooking situation. I have plenty of room to cook in my little kitchenette but keeping the "mess" outside seems like a great idea. No messy pans to clean up.


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.
Helen Keller

Pasted from <http://www.allgreatquotes.com/quotes_to_live_by.shtml>

Be well take care of each other,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Weekend Home

    Our view from the beach
 Out and About
Friday we spent our first Night at the cottage. We started off the evening at the Inn Keeper's with a glass of wine. We met the two "Boys" from next door and the Innkeepers friend. What a great time.I had brought salad fixings and a roast chicken so fixing dinner was pretty easy. I quickly Got to know my away around the tiny kitchen. I have a wonderful "Boat Galley"(as in small)gas stove top. It's amazing. I cooked breakfast on it this morning. It was very hard to come back to town to my electric range. My favorite amenity in the kitchen however turned out to be a plug in "Tea Kettle" It was amazingly fast, fashionably chrome and vintage looking and lifted on and off it's hotplate for easy pouring.

The stain glass window
 above the stairwell.

Cottage News
Had the best night's sleep at the cottage. Fresh feather top bed with down comforter and pillows freshly laundered and plumped. We could see the stars through the skylights and through the trees that surrounded the sleeping nook. It's really quaint with windows on all three sides. Another neat attraction is the set of built in track lights on dimmer switches at the head of the bed for reading.

Because of the kitchenette's limited counter space we picked up a butcher block cart that we happened to find discontinued at Lowes. It had originally sold for $199 and was marked down to $49. The Bearded One had to assemble it but it turned out perfectly. It has a leaf that pops up for more work surface and two shelves and a good size drawer. The bottom shelf will be perfect for the Kitchen Aide, and the drawer will hold things like knives and spatulas. It has heavy duty casters and rolls very easily. It has made all the difference in the world as far as food preparation goes.
The Happy Homemaker
I went for a walk on the beach this morning…

Breakfast Oyster…

Within minutes with butter, garlic, and a little lemon pepper He was history… Yummm


The universe is simmering down, like a giant stew left to cook for four billion years.  Sooner or later we won't be able to tell the carrots from the onions.  ~Arthur Bloch
Pasted from <http://www.quotegarden.com/hmmm.html>

Be safe, and watch out for one another,
Back on Wednesday…

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursday Mania

Max's eye
Part of a larger picture at

Out and About
Today started out really windy and wet. I worked about a half a day then had to call it quits. Of course by the time I got home it had let up a bit. That's the way it goes sometimes.
I went over to Rockstar wife's to visit the grandkids and help her with a new venture. She is planning on opening an Etsy shop where she will be selling a cute line of children's clothing she's made using vintage fabrics and hand embellishments. Such talent. I will post a link when she's up and running

Cottage News
Tomorrow's the day we get to go "home". Okay so it will only be for the weekend but it will be like a little mini retreat.

I'm still working on my menu. Any suggestions would be grand. I'm a little limited because of this "Induction" thing I'm on but it really is workable. We will probably have finger foods tomorrow night and some easy-peasy breakfast. The Bearded One will be back in town on Saturday so maybe he can pick up a roast chicken. We can cook at the cottage but we want to keep it pretty simple this round.

The Happy Homemaker
I need to start paring down. Hmmm. Where to begin. Oh... that's right. I was supposed to reduce my bathroom stuff to one fairly small basket. It sounds real good in theory. Haven't made that a reality yet. It's a good thing we don't move out of here until May.
Trying to figure out what to do with our finches. I don't think we will have the room in the cottage. Very sad, we've grown really attached to the little buggers. They add so much life and require so little in return.

 Yes…I am aware that these are not finches. They were just handy.


The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.

Pasted from <http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_attitude.html>

Be well and take care of one another


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

Out and About
Today started out cold and windy but slowly warmed up a bit with plenty of blue sky. My job took me out on Cooper point first thing this morning so my teeth were chattering but I had a divine view of the Sound.
Spring is definitely in the air. Weeping cherries, Forsythia, and Tinus Vibernum were in bloom and deer were out and about dining freely on everyone's expensive landscapes.

Cottage News
Looking forward to this weekend at the Cottage. Still haven't come up with a menu for our stay. Everything we need to cook with and bunk down for the night is already there. Bearded One has a job to do on Saturday so I will remain there solo for the early part of the afternoon giving me and the cottage a chance to bond.

I've been compiling a list of shady plants that will do well in the boxes that surround our patio. I'm thinking definitely some impatiens. They are so easy to care for and I can buy them by the flat at Classical Farms. They are a great choice because there is no deadheading involved. Just an occasional trim back to keep them full.

I'm thinking we can take the "Fish Pot" with us. It has a great papyrus plant and the sound of gurgling water is always nice. I might have to find a solar pump though depending on whether I can locate an outside plug. Hopefully the raccoons won't discover the fish. (wishful thinking, I'm sure)

Still looking at the Char Broil infra-red Small Grill. It has gotten some good reviews. Cleanup is supposed to be easy because it can get hot enough to turn the food bits into ash that you can just brush off.

The Happy Homemaker
Trying to come up with creative ideas for small space living and cooking. This week I will be unloading a lot of the "Bathroom Clutter" all those tubes and bottles of this and that that I've packed around for who knows how long. Keeping the best towels and washcloths, and only the current "face" Most of the stuff in the bathroom I haven't gone through or even looked at since we moved in last June. And then I had a lot of stuff that I'd brought with us that I hadn't dealt with earlier. So I should be able to reduce my bathroom footprint to one fairly small basket… Ha! We'll see I love a challenge.

It's been a good day all in all. I've resolved (once again) to climb back on the lowcarb wagon. Got the "new", new Atkins book with lots of ideas and the science to back it up so tomorrow I will again start the induction phase. I'm starting to sound like a broken record I know. I just feel so much clearer and focused when I'm eating right.

Okay, Until tomorrow
Stay well and watch out for each other

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Out and About
It was a pretty good day today. I was able to accomplish a lot at work and then went to Urgent care to get my release for work. I'm feeling so much better now that I can move again.
I'm trying really hard to be able to integrate my "One Note" with the blog so that I can create in one place and then just press a button and viola' It would show up where it needs to be. I can get the text there but can't figure out how to get my graphics and doodles to go along for the ride. I know that it's probably really simple. Oh well. I will keep plugging away.

Cottage News
The "Inn Keeper" as I shall refer to her, is amazing. She has had the windows cleaned, Duvet freshly fluffed and stuffed and she is even having the kitchen knives sharpened. Every detail to ensure our comfort is being taken care of. We even have a large supply of biodegradable Detergent and laundry soap.
We plan on spending this weekend there. We will head out Friday afternoon armed with a variety of tidbits, reading stuff, music, and wine. It will be lovely I'm sure. We will have to remember to check the tide book so that we can plan a walk on the beach. It's very secluded and forested right to the edge so we have to allow time to get back or swim for it.
It's a prime place to kayak so I'm sure we will add that to our list of things to do.

The Happy Homemaker
Thinking of ways to creatively make use of our "Kitchenette" and downsized fridge. Because I work in town I will be able to pick up produce and things on the way home so that food storage shouldn't be a problem. It will probably help if I would plan out a menu ahead of time. Having a gas grill will be helpful as we can have grilled meat and veggies for dinner, which is great for summer time. The kitchen is very tiny but the innkeeper has taken a lot of care and used a lot of "IKEA" stuff which makes for practical storage solutions. I look on this endeavor as a grand experiment which of course is right up my alley. I'm thinking I'm gonna love it...

I am grateful for all the blessings that have come our way this last couple of weeks. Synchronistic harmony. Strange events coming together in a marvelous way adding up to Miraculous outcomes.

Be well and look out for each other

Another Jeep in the Family

Out and About
Yesterday the Bearded One went out for a loaf of bread and came back with a Jeep. A little green '98 Wrangler that henceforth shall be called "little green". It all made perfect sense. After all, we will be moving out into the woods, and the Mazda Pickup truck lacked both the power and personality to cope with "our new" lifestyle. So now we are a two Jeep family. Me with the Grand Cherokee (old lady jeep) and Bearded One with the new (Hip Young Stud) Jeep.


Cottage News
Yesterday we were invited to the Cottage for wine and appetizers with our new landlady. We of course in all the excitement about the jeep and not being late, had forgotten to take the checkbook. The Bearded One volunteered to drop me off and made the trip back home to retrieve the check. I had an amazing time. LL had prepared a variety of toppings for thin sliced crusty bread. One was a combination of greens (cooked Kale), gorgonzola cheese, and tomatoes. Oh my!! And the red wine she served was terrific. It was one she had gotten at Trader Joe's. I need to remember to ask for the name, it went perfectly with the aperitifs.

We discussed the possibilities for the cottage. I had been thinking of getting a gas grill and I also wanted to clear the way for my wrought Iron Bistro set, potted plants and the installation of coat hooks in the entry way next to the bench.
It turns out that I get to plant the boxes that line the deck. I am really excited about that. They already have drip irrigation installed. I'm in heaven, what can I say.
I think I might have a solution to my "kitchen aide" problem. Sis and I discovered that Lowes had a butcher block cart on wheels with shelves below on clearance. Regularly $170 it was on sale for $49. that would enable me to have extra counter or cooking space when I needed it but it could be rolled out of the way at will.
We will be spending our first weekend out at the bay come this Friday. We will take books, computer, wine, and food. It will be amazing. We will be able to explore our new digs and surroundings.

The Happy Homemaker

Asian Cooking Pots


Asian cooking pots. A new fascination. Our landlady uses them and swears by them. When you season them properly they turn this amazing earthy brown color. She uses them both in the oven and on top of her gas range. They are really intriguing and I will be investigating.


This has been a good day. I was able to get back to work and that felt good. I'm really excited about the cottage and "going home" I've been reading "Simple Abundance" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It's a great read and full of encouragement. It reads like a sort of devotional with one new essay or thought for each day. At the end of each months readings there is a list of Monthly ideas… really liking it so far.

That's it for now…
Be safe and look out for each other

Inspiration, Fresh air, and a great glass of wine...

Out and About
I was able to go and visit sister at Sidehill Farm yesterday. It was amazing... The sky was blue, and spring was definitely in the air. They had fried up a mess of razor clams (my favorite) which I sniffed out immediately and I got to sip some of her latest vintage.

We walked about the farm envisioning what will be and seeing the bones and structure already in place. Of course I had my camera in hand and had to take a few shots of Prudence the llama ,the chickens, and sheep. What fun. It was good to encourage each other and trade stories and dreams.

We are both beginning again in a way… starting a new page. She is finishing up a long year of building for someone else and having to put her own nest on hold and The Bearded One and I are getting ready to move into our dream cottage and start a new way of life.

So here's to us… Let the Journey continue.


Cottage News


Our LandLady has invited us over for hors devours and wine this afternoon. We will pay her the rest of the deposit and get the keys to our kingdom. It's true. It is all really happening. I don't know whether to do the "happy dance" or to panic. We will need to do some serious downsizing.
A couple of issues that will have to be addressed are the parking situation or should I say lack of good parking and some of the shared storage space down in the laundry area.

I will be able take my beloved craftsman rocker and footstool since Melody out of the blue offered to remove a cute but quite Victorian chair and Tuffet combo. That was an unexpected little bonus.

I did talk to her about getting a gas grill. It will open up the cooking possibilities and help keep the miniscule yet efficient kitchen area a little less cluttered. There is a lot I will be able to do with a nice size grill all year round.

We will be staying just on the weekends until May when we will move full time, so that will give us some time to work out what we need to keep, have room for,
and what we don't.

Each time we go out to the Bay it gets a little more familiar and comfortable. To be honest the first time we drove down the 1700 foot dirt driveway we swore we heard banjos playing and we were both simultaneously humming the theme from deliverance. Once we got to the bottom though and saw the magical setting with the cottages all nestled together we were hooked. Didn't think it was doable at first but then the cottage just seemed to draw us and our landlady was warm, friendly and enthusiastic.

The happy Homemaker

I made the first batch of yogurt the day before yesterday and today am using one of the containers to make Yogurt Cheese. The yogurt itself turned out really creamy and fairly soft. The starter came from a whole milk yogurt I got at Trader Joe's.
My technique, (learned from Sis) is to put a coffee filter in my colander, add one container of yogurt, top with another filter, and weight it down with a plate and a can of beans. Already whey is dripping into the catch bowl… How about that!


The Bearded One is out shopping for new wheels. Well not actually new wheels. New to him wheels. He is looking into trading his Mazda PU for a sporty little Jeep Wrangler (soft top of course) He has been a little skeptical of taking his PU up and down the woodsy road that we will be moving to. I am waiting by the phone as we speak.

I don't really know how this fits into " reflections" other than I think we are all moving towards that new doorway, a different scenery and a new bend in the road. We are all moving forward with both expectation and a little in trepidation. As with anything new and unknown we can start with small little shuffling movements or we can jump in with wild abandon...
Cannon Ball anyone?



How We Arrived

$800 Waterfront Studio Cottage, Fully Furnished
Date: 2010-03-01, 4:10PM PST

Live on a quiet saltwater bay with a magical outlook. This is a close-in, beautiful location 15 minutes from downtown  and 8-10 minutes from I-5. Rent includes electricity, propane, water, and garbage. No smoking.
 Private, small (600-sq. ft), shingled studio cottage is nestled in a forested setting and looks out on Oyster Bay. Architect designed and very cozy, this almost new cottage has a steel roof, skylights, and warm radiant floor heat. Separate entry hall opens into the main living space and to a wide staircase leading down to lower level. Big covered porch with barbecue and herb planters. 
UPPER LEVEL: Main living area is one 400 sq. ft., airy, high-ceiling room with beautiful bamboo floors. Very large, old, Frank Lloyd Wright style stained-glass interior window between main living area and stairwell. Cozy double-bed nook extends out from the living area. It has dimmable reading lights and windows on all three sides looking at the water and the forest. Sleek kitchenette is equipped with a superb gas cooktop, small convection oven, microwave, Cuisinart, espresso maker, etc. Stainless steel sink and countertop, small refrigerator, artistic track lighting.
LOWER LEVEL: Reached from the lovely, bookcase-lined stairway in the entry hall. Smooth, heated, Italian terracotta tile floor. Bathroom has a tiled shower, custom cabinets and stained glass windows. Washer and dryer, laundry folding area, closet space. Fully furnished and completely equipped with DVD player, dishes, glassware, silverware, cookware, cooking tools, small appliances, kitchen linens, sheets and towels, iron. Available immediately for $800/month; includes all utilities. Fully refundable security deposit of $800; non-refundable cleaning deposit of $300 to move in. Background/credit check required. No smoking. Sorry, no pets.

This is where it all began… A Craigslist ad.
I was home with an injury confined to sitting in front of the computer perusing the rental ads hoping to find a little house somewhere that we could hang our hat. Of course it was very premature. This is the first of March and our lease isn't up until June.
I stumbled upon this magical listing of a little piece of paradise. I read it aloud to The Bearded One who said "Yeah right, like that really exists." I was captured so I sent off this e-mail in response…

Would this be suitable for a quiet, semi retired couple that like to spend their time reading a good book and watching the world go by? Are you looking for longtime renters? Sounds like a little piece of paradise...Rhondi

Then knowing that it would be cast aside for want of "Seattle people" that just wanted to use it as a retreat I let it go.
And Then lo and behold I received this:

Dear Rhondi, this IS the perfect place to read and write and contemplate. The cottage was built to be a writer's studio. AND, this is definitely a little paradise, you are right. I am looking for long term renters who are simpatico with the place, and with whom I would also feel in sync. 
Two people have lived together here for a week or two at a time, because my past renters have mostly been people "on assignment" in Olympia, thus had a permanent life elsewhere. Two people would have to like each other! because it is a small space.
 Here us the usual deal-breaker: There is no Comcast here because I am right at the water. Likewise no TV signal. I have an air card associated with my cellphone which works great. Write me again if you are still interested. I look forward to hearing from you.
And this:

Dear Rhondi, I just replied from my phone (I am in Portland today) but now I'm on my laptop and I can do a better job.
First of all, I can send you pix of the exterior, if you want. Just let me know.
As you suggested and I corroborated, this really is a special place. The beach used to be a summer cabin enclave, so there were cabins every 200 feet or so hidden in the woods -- little, old, rustic cabins. Some are still here. A few people have built bigger houses, but the area still looks very much the way it did 50 years ago. It remains wooded because this is a protected shellfish production area, and preserving the upland forest cover protects the water quality. The beach is absolutely beautiful and one can walk for miles and miles and feel as though time as stopped. So few houses are visible from the beach, it is amazing. It's also a perfect place to row or kayak. No big boats come down the inlet this far because it is relatively shallow.The original cabin is still here, preserved and stabilized. I built a very small shingled "house" (cabin) next door to it in 1999. It is 870 sq ft and echos the look of the old cabin, as does the cottage that is for rent. The cottage is on higher ground than the old cabin and my cabin and has a much better view. It was built in 2005, and as I said in my previous message, it was built to be a writer's studio and then upgraded to be a living space. People have loved living there.
There are five acres, almost all wooded. The county road is 1700 feet up from the water, so it is quiet and private. My vegetable garden (which is huge) is up by the road, as is my garden/weaving shed. There is a boat shop mid-way down the driveway.
Let me know if you want me to send you more pictures. PS My renters (and I) have all had good internet connections with their air cards, and they all seemed to have subscriptions to NetFlix and watch movies! Verizon and AT&T both have good coverage here.

And So it began… Our Journey. A Cottage in the woods, with the smell of salt air and tide flats tickling our senses. (Of course at this point in the tale this is all just imagined and longed for.)
She said yes, we said yes and now we are waiting for the credit and reference checks to go through. As it stands we will be paying 500 per month for the next two months and then moving there full time in May. That will be perfect because Bearded One leaves the end of May, first of June for his trip to Oregon.
This will mean financial juggling and niggling with the numbers but we think a perfect investment of our efforts to bring a longtime dream into fruition.
Oh did I mention it is very small? We, actually I will be paring things down to an nats eyebrow. It will be the long awaited, long slumbering new me that's been waiting to emerge, to be set free from this fluffy emotional cocoon.