Scenes from South Dakota

On September 1, my Hubby and I got into our car, and drove to South Dakota, for a Ricochet meetup with members from all over the US.  Our drive took us through Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota finally.  It was an uneventful drive, and the scenery we saw was spectacular.  We had been that way before, and we didn’t stop much on the way.  We did stop at the first rest area in SD.

SD Rest area

And we saw some beautiful land.

SDBluffsSDVista

Thursday night, when we hit Rapid City, we had very little time to sightsee, just met the gang for a great dinner.

On Friday, we did a lot of driving new roads, and picture-taking.  We met some members at the Powder House restaurant just after breakfast, and got a chance to check out the cars our friends would drive in to the Sturgis Mustang Rally the next day.  There were two Mustangs and a Toyota MR2.

 

Next, we drove the roads to Custer State Park, along what is known as the “Needles Highway”. Needles, indeed!

There was a tunnel along the highway.

What a beautiful view through the end of that tunnel! Recognize it?

I remember being fascinated by the trees I saw, growing rough up out of the rocks. Those trees are helping to break down the granite of the Black Hills, eventually reducing the mountains to broken stone (in a few million years!).

Along the road, I held up my phone, and took some video of the turns we went through. You need a strong stomach to drive the Needles Highway.


Between the Needles was a very beautiful vista of the Black Hills.

On Saturday, we visited the Mammoth Site. It was spectacular, and deserves a post of its own, which I will publish later.

On Sunday, we drove the Spearfish Highway, which was supposed to be spectacular. It was nice, but we were basically not too impressed. We have scenery just as good on our North Cascades Highway in Washington. However, in the town of Lead, we visited Roughlock Falls, which turned out to be very beautiful. Most of the falls are at just below ground level, and the water is very clear. I found it relaxing.

And if you walk further down the path, you find the Lower Falls, different from the Upper Falls.

And, on the way back to Rapid City, we discovered something we were not expecting to find. We discovered a lake that we didn’t know was even there. It is a reservoir on Rapid Creek, known as the Pactola Reservoir. Rapid City gets its water from that reservoir. And if you follow the link, you can learn its secret.

We also did the obligatory tour of Mount Rushmore, with some other Rico friends. My readers will know that we went there before, and I posted many pictures then, so I didn’t take very many this year.

On Monday, we headed toward home, via North Dakota. But we saw some nice country on our way out of South Dakota. Now, the rest of the weekend had been sunny and warm, but Monday was rainy, and the forecast for the more mountainous areas was…wait for it…Snow! We didn’t see any.

Lens-Artists Challenge #111 Everyday Objects

When I saw the topic for this week’s challenge, the first thought I had was “Ooh, this one is going to be fun!”.  And I think it will be.  I hope my readers think my choice of said objects is fun.

My first two everyday objects are items that are precious to me.  The first one, I have had since October of 2003, when I got married.  My boyfriend and I had been looking around for suitable wedding rings (not matching, since our tastes are different).  We happened to be in one of our favorite places, Leavenworth, Washington, and walked into a little jewelry store on a side street, away from the tourist-trap main drag.  And there I found exactly what I had been looking for.  It was made by Margaret Ostling, and it’s called a “Mini Moebius”.  She made them in both white and yellow gold, with and without diamonds.

IMG_0713

Such a simple concept, beautifully made, it is a continual source of wonder, and feels so good on my finger.  And it’s unusual enough that I have never seen anyone else wearing one.

The other most precious object is my violin.  It’s a bit older than the ring, having been made in New York in 1987.  I bought it from its maker, who moved to Seattle just before I bought it.  I took my violin teacher along when I first went to play and see if I wanted it, and she was quite impressed by its sound, saying that it sounded almost as good as her 18th-Century Italian instrument.

Not only is it beautiful to look at, it sounds wondrous, and I love playing it.  When I bought it new from its maker, I had the idea that even Antonio Stradivari must have had to start somewhere, and was a young violin-maker just starting out, hoping people would like, buy, and play his instruments.  Well, we know how that turned out!  I just hope that David VanZandt of Seattle will become as famous.

Now, for something a bit more “everyday”.  I took this picture of a very every-day kind of object, for a post that was based on a pun.  But, now that I look at it, it’s quite a contrast between the object, and the pretty placemat that I used as a background for it.  How best to show off your “tuber”?

Tater

A friend at work is a quilter, and I bought a set of six placemats in this ornate pattern from her at our holiday bazaar a few years ago.

Last but not least is an item that is not everyday for me, but is everyday for my dentist, and I thought it was so beautiful a tool that I just had to get a picture.  Can you guess what it might be?

TeenyTorqueWrench

Actually, it’s a little precision dental instrument, a very tiny torque-wrench, used to tighten down a crown onto the dental implant underneath.  My dentist loves it because it feels so good in his hand.  In my opinion, it’s a piece of industrial art, too.

Well, thanks for accompanying me on this tour of Everyday Objects in my little world.

Here’s the Link to Patti’s Original Post.

 

Tubers

Tater

NO, not That Kind!

This kind!

Tubers-2

Tubers-1

On Saturday, Hubby and I took a drive from our home in Everett, over to the East Side of Lake Washington, and up to the town of Snoqualmie, via Fall City.  In July, the Snoqualmie River there is about three feet deep and pretty slow-moving.  The kids put their inner-tubes in the water upstream, and just leisurely float downstream.  It was a cool, gray day, but they were making the most of it.

It’s pretty hard to believe that, just a short distance upstream, you find this:

Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls.

 

 

Ten Years of Kikyo

We brought home our new black cat, Kikyo, in July of 2010.  It didn’t take her very long to settle in, with her new Staff to cater to her every whim.  We bought her a tall cat tree, so she could climb up and watch out the clerestory window in the family room.  We bought her a “toy box” to hold all her many cat toys.  It’s basically a square wooden box about a foot square and two inches deep, with round holes in the top and sides.  If she wants to play with a toy, she has to fish it out of the box first.  We also sometimes put treats in the box, so she has to fish those out too.  She does have fun with it.  Often when I get home from work, her toys are strewn across the family room floor where she left them.

We installed a window perch in our second-floor bedroom, so she can watch out the window into the back yard.  She spends hours there, sleeping or watching out the window.  Here, then, are ten years of pictures of our Owner, The Lady Kikyo (named after a priestess in Medieval Japan, a character in the anime series InuYasha).

This is the first picture I took of her when we brought her home.  Notice the collar and tag.  Being an indoor cat, we removed the collar after about a week.

Here she is in what I like to call her “legless position”.  Some people call it the “meatloaf” position.

We discovered that she could be quite the little acrobat. How about this balancing act?

Here she is on that tall cat-tree.  She can scamper up there in a split-second when there’s a bird in the maple tree outside the window.

How could you resist this face?

Kikyo discovered fairly early on that she could jump up on the banister of our stairs to the second floor, and jump across to the top of the front closet.  From there she saunters over to the plant shelf.  One day, I caught her sitting on the shelf, snuggled up to a vase in the shape of a cat.  Of course, she had no idea that she was next to another cat!

My favorite place to be is on my bed, with a good book or the Wall Street Journal to read.  Kikyo’s favorite place to be is on me.  When we brought her home from the shelter, she wasn’t much for sitting on people.  But I taught her well.

Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

Now, is that relaxed, or what?!

Anyone who is owned by a cat has seen their owner in this particularly hilarious pose.  I can’t believe she can actually do this-it’s embarrassing to me! Most undignified!

I brought home a little free bag from my oral surgeon, and for some reason Kikyo likes to sit on it.  If I leave it on the bed, she prefers to be on top of it.

She also has a low cat tree, that sits in the kitchen next to the table.  This particular pose made a great Christmas card in 2015, with the addition of a Santa hat.  This is also the picture on the lock screen of my phone.

 

Then, there’s her Aristo-Cat pose.  This picture is priceless.  She sat in this position for a good ten minutes, watching a bird out the window.

When she’s on her window perch, she just looks so relaxed and lazy.  Mistress of all she surveys.

Our cat, Kikyo, on her window perch

This one is more recent.  The look says: “You rang, underling?”.

There is Nothing like being owned by a cat.  We got an especially lovely one, with a coat like mink.

 

 

 

 

Proven right again-Hollywood

Proven right again-Hollywood

It has always seemed to me that Hollywood movies these days have been aimed primarily at an audience of 14-year-old boys.  I have noticed a steady stream of new releases that are based on popular comic books, young-adult novels, and other youth-oriented subjects.  This week, an article in the Wall Street Journal has proven me right.

The article is about famous director Martin Scorsese, and his efforts to peddle his new movie about murders of oil-rich Osage Indians in the 1920s.  It has proven very expensive, and the original movie studio is balking at the expense.  This is the money quote that proves me correct on Hollywood. [emphasis mine]

Traditional studios have been increasingly shying away from expensive adult dramas, as in recent years the box office has been dominated by family-friendly titles, superhero movies and sequels. 

Indeed, many Hollywood producers now look to make movies aimed at adult audiences as cheaply as possible, with streaming-distribution deals potentially representing the difference between a profit and a loss.

So, if you are an adult looking for a new Hollywood movie that appeals to you, you might have to look very hard to find one, if you even can.  Our house does not subscribe to Netflix, so we miss everything that appears there.  Personally, I don’t think we are missing much.  I can do without movies, since I read a lot for pleasure.  This week, while I have been out of work on furlough, we watched, again, two of the excellent BBC dramatizations of Dorothy L. Sayers’s Peter Wimsey mysteries (Strong Poison and Have His Carcase).  And last night, we watched, for the umpteenth time, Spirited Away, an excellent anime movie that we both love.

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

Looking for a refuge from the Wuhan Coronavirus?

…and all its attendant ills, both physical and psychological?  Are you looking for a place to go to relax, where the pesky virus will not intrude on your mellow?

Well, I have just the place for you.

Hie yourself on over to WizardingWorld.com, and dive right into the Harry Potter Universe!  The site is the former Pottermore, with all the features you have come to love. The elves behind Wizarding World will entertain you with quizzes, features, and news from the world of Harry Potter.  Eventually they intend to bring back the “explore the story” feature that those of us who really got into the old Pottermore came to love and lose ourselves in.  Personally, that’s the part I miss the most about the former site.

Now, though, the additional Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise adds new and fun areas to the site.  For anyone who has never checked out Wizarding World should go over there right now!  Even now, you can register, get sorted into your House at both Hogwarts, and Ilvermorny (the US school of magic); find out your Wand and your Patronus, and get ready to have fun!

You will not find ANY mention of that Muggle virus at Wizarding World, so you can just relax and explore.  You can also go to the Apple App Store and download the app, and do quizzes and read about features on your phone!

So, do it today!  You will not regret it for one minute.