Photo Challenge, Collage. One Natural, One Man-Made

I love living in the Pacific Northwest, where the abundant rain contributes to a profusion of plant life.  Here in the temperate rain forest ecosystem, life grows in many layers.  Green growing things have other growing things on top of them.  Take this tree, for instance, at Rockport State Park, in the foothills of the North Cascades.

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It’s a tall Douglas Fir, with moss growing on its bark, and other broadleaf plants growing up through the moss.  And if you look really closely, you can see insects which live in the moss, and in the bark of the tree.  Layers upon layers of life!

On the other hand, here’s a collage I made of the holiday cards we received from our many Ricochet friends last Christmas (and a Chanukah card from my family).  It definitely brightens up the decor, and I intend to keep it up until this Christmas as a reminder of how lucky we are to have so many Ricochet Friends.

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Photo Challenge..Is it a Table…Or a Bridge?

This particular dinner table is….wait for it…Both!  The people at this table journeyed from miles away to meet with the Honored Guest, a remarkable young man from Romania.  This Gentleman (capitalized because he is the epitome of Gentleman) is known to all of us online, and the friends at this table, along with dozens of other American friends, paid for his airfare to come to America, and see the country which we love so much.  All last summer, he flew, and bused, and was driven, from the East to the West Coast, staying with friends, and seeing America.

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The guest of honor is at the end of the table, with the goatee and red cravat.  He regaled us with stories of his voyage across America, and bridged the gap for us all.  At the end of the evening, when no one really wanted to leave, we had all gained knowledge, and the immense pleasure of his company.  This table is a bridge, across oceans, mountains, prairies, lakes, rivers, and people.

Oh, and I just couldn’t resist this, for Cherie Lucas Rowlands:

Bridges in Cambridge, England, the opposite number of Oxford.

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A peaceful River Cam bridge, behind Trinity Hall.
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Two bridges over the River Cam, Cambridge (seen from a punt)

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Independence Day! Celebrate the Miracle that is America!

Independence Day!  Celebrate the Miracle that is America!

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Cherish your Liberty, today most importantly, but do so all year round.  The country that you live in is the greatest miracle that has ever taken place in the history of Humanity.  A group of intrepid, well-educated men and women journeyed across a forbidding, mostly unknown Ocean to a new land, where they could live in Freedom and make their own way without an all-powerful King to dictate to them what they could and  could not do, make, and own.  And they went to this new Land so they would be able to worship in their own way, and not be bound to the State Religion.

And what a country they made!  Today, even in spite of all the internal and external forces aligned to try to take down America, you live in the most-hospitable, most prosperous, most welcoming country that has ever existed on Earth.  Why do you think that the earth’s “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” try so hard to get here?  Millions of people have braved rough seas, searing deserts, and other hardships to come to America, because they know that America is the best place to live in the world, and they know that, through their own hard work, they can support their families and become whatever they want to be.

Celebrate America, From Sea to Shining Sea!

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Atlantic Ocean, at Cape May, New Jersey

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Pacific Ocean, Newport Beach, CA

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Liberty Bell Mountain, North Cascades National Park

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE GREATEST NATION ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH!

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Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Accordions…As Far as the Eye Can See

Last week was the Leavenworth (WA) International Accordion Celebration.  Leavenworth is known as “Washington’s Bavarian Village”, and most of its buildings are dressed up in Bavarian Village style.  LIAC consists of four days of accordion competition, performances by local and international groups and individuals, an accordion parade through town, and all sorts of impromptu and organized jam sessions for accordion players and other musicians. In the vestibule of the main concert venue, the “Festhalle:”, accordion dealers set up their tables full of various accordions for sale.  The entire weekend is full of accordions, as far as the eye can see.  Check it out.

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This is a new fountain, in front of the Festhalle.  The shepherd has been given an accordion, so he won’t feel out of place during the Celebration.

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Here are some of the instruments (can you spot the “ringer”?) on offer in the Festhalle lobby.

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Friday night’s entertainment was the Northwest Accordionaires.  Hubby is the farthest player on the right, with his beautiful wood-faced Victoria accordion. (sorry about the bad lighting-they had a bunch of bright LED lights on either side of the stage)

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Here are the accordionists lining up for the parade through town.

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And, THE PARADE!  Yes, they are marching and playing at the same time.

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Destination for the parade is the Gazebo in the middle of downtown.  They all march there, and play a few songs for the cheering crowds of spectators.  You can see that they range in age from little kids to mature adults.

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Saturday night’s entertainment was the husband/wife team of Kim and Dan Christian.  They were very good, and Dan was a fine comedian.

A wonderful time was had by all.

It’s weird the things you remember from days gone by…Tricks of Memory

Today is June 6.  6/6.  It is the 73rd Anniversary of D-Day, that momentous day in 1944 when the Allies invaded France to re-take Europe from Hitler’s evil forces.  But that’s not what I remember.

In June of 1966, I was a junior in high school in Seattle.  I was taking a ceramics class, with a bunch of really “artsy” students.  I have a very vivid memory of writing on the blackboard, “Today is 6/6/66”.  It got a laugh from the class, but it was a distraction for the teacher, so it only lasted a few minutes.  But I remember that day, even 50 years later.  And I also remember another student, a boy, who wore a pink shirt to school that day.  I remember thinking “pink is for girls”!  But I did like that shirt, and today most guys have at least one pink shirt in their closet.  I don’t, since I hate pink!

I have received the notice of my class’s 50-year high school reunion.  I went to the fortieth, and it was fun.  I got re-acquainted with a girl who I was friends with back then, and we discovered that now we have even more in common now than we did then (I became a Conservative), and we have seen each other fairly often, and plan to go to the reunion together, with our husbands.

Memory…  It ties you to the past, and to old friends.

Friend..ly Photo Challenge

My friend likes to sit on my lap, whenever I’m sitting down.  She leaps very quietly onto the chair or bed I happen to be using, and purrs loudly to get my attention.  My lap is always warm when Kikyo the Aristo-Cat is on my lap.

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Kikyo, keeping me warm while I read

She also likes to snuggle up to her glass “friend”, which is on our high plant shelf.  It takes a long leap across the gap from the banister on the stairs, to the top of the coat closet, for her to get there in the first place, which is quite remarkable.  I’ll bet she doesn’t even know that the glass vase is supposed to be a cat!

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And then, she sprawls out in the most undignified posture I’ve ever seen!

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Fun with Swag…Fuji(i) Memorial Airport

The company where I work is in the Aerospace industry.  A couple of years ago, corporate gave each employee a little rubber airplane with the company logo on it.  One of our test engineering employees came up with a delightful way to deploy those cute little airplanes, on the cabinet next to his desk, often using his desk as overflow.  He obviously got a whole bunch more of those little airplanes, and he labeled his space the “Fuji(i) Memorial Airport”.  He has arranged his planes in dozens of interesting configurations.  Herewith, the Airport.

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Airport Solidarity

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The sign may be hard to read: When Planes Attack 3. Notice that our planes attack with a smile!

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The two below are part of a setDSCN0223DSCN0224

Saint Patrick’s Day, Planes pay their respects to the LeprechaunDSCN0215DSCN0216

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This one was arranged on a day when it snowed and was 28 degrees outsideDSCN0206DSCN0209DSCN0210DSCN0203DSCN0204DSCN0205DSCN0099

Lining up for Takeoff.  See the runway markers?DSCN0100DSCN0202DSCN0085DSCN0086DSCN0098

With a very large Hat Tip to Test Engineer Wes Fuji.  Keep the Airport Coming!