Posted on Jan 1st, 2012 by Allison (In the Garden, Living in the NW)

It’s 2012 and I love living in the Northwest.

Today, instead of being buried in snow on January 1st, I planted primrose in one of my garden pots.

And I enjoyed watching the dozens of birds at my feeders… including a sweet hummingbird who is so happy I have left out a small feeder for him (in the pot with the primrose).

I also discovered a few other blooms in the rock garden. And wondered if the little blob on my finger was a bug…

… or a tiny slug.

It was the latter.

He’s cute, but will grow into a garden menace so I flushed him down the toilet.

To ring in the new year, I also spent some time playing my new Tibetan bowl.

I have been a bit distressed to discover that my formerly perfect pitch is currently off by 1/2 step. When I first played the bowl, I was sure it was an E-flat or even an E. But it’s a D. AGH!

I downloaded an app to help test/retrain me and I am consistently 1/2 step too high. I know what the note is – it’s just a half step off from the rest of the world. It’s unsettling and I hope that I can come back into tonal alignment (or whatever it would be called).

By the way, I started a new blog awhile ago and have made a resolution to update it regularly. It’s called:

It is devoted entirely to my love of flowers, and it’s where I will post lots of my flower photos. I also have a facebook page where I post additional photos, and twitter feed for it. Follow me 🙂

So, how did you bring in the new year?

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Posted on Jun 28th, 2011 by Allison (Costa Rica, In the Garden, Photography, Travel)

Of the more than 800,000 species of insects on the earth, Costa Rica is home to over 34,000 of them. Let me introduce you to a few that I’ve met while here. You’ll want to click on the images to enlarge them for detail.

I spotted this gorgeous blue/purple beetle on the rug on Brandon’s deck. He was about the size of a small ladybug. Sadly he was dead… but on the bright side, he held still while I photographed him : )

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on Mar 11th, 2011 by Allison (Family/Friends, In the Garden)

Yes, I still have one more Costa Rica post for you. But not yet.

You may, or may not, be aware that I’ve had a rough week. Schizophrenia is such a cruel disease – one that has robbed me of my father – and dealing with its repercussions and impact is emotionally draining. And very frustrating when decisions need to be made and there are no good solutions to be had. My siblings and I just keep going around in circles trying to determine what action, if any, we should be taking for our father’s emotional, mental and physical well-being since he is refusing any treatment…

But through it all I’ve felt very supported by family and friends and appreciate the concerned calls and emails and messages. Thank you.

And, I’ve taken comfort in the simple joys of my spring garden. Like the tiny tête-à-tête daffodils blooming among the bright green moss.

And the sweet little bushtits that swarm my suet feeder several times a day. And the cute chickadees, juncos and and other birds at the seed feeder.

And the fat squirrel that won’t give up on trying to find a way to reach the suet feeder. I felt kind of bad moving it where he can’t reach it so tossed him some raw almonds… I think I’ve made a friend for life. (See video)

And discovering this cute garter snake warming himself in the sun. I’m so happy to see him – because it means I have a healthy ecosystem in my garden…. plus, he’ll eat the slugs!

Simple joys are simply the best.

So, how are you doing?

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Posted on Sep 15th, 2010 by Allison (In the Garden)

It’s been awhile since my last post. Much has happened since then, including a visit from Ashley & family, as well as a computer and software saga which has resulted in my purchasing a Mac – which I’m still trying to figure out.

In lieu of a real update, I’ll leave you with this brief video of the sweet young sparrows who enjoy the birdbath in the garden out my window. I promise a more thorough blog entry is coming soon.

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Posted on Jul 27th, 2010 by Allison (In the Garden, Living in the NW)

If you know me well, or frequent my blog, you are aware that there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons why I love living in the northwest.

Today I share with you reason #37 (which is a completely arbitrary number):


I love bamboo, and love that that it grows so well here.

Over the weekend I discovered Bamboo Gardens in Redmond – a nursery which not only sells bamboo, but has lush, beautiful groves of several varieties planted on their property.

I spent over an hour wandering about with my camera, feeling very ‘zen.’

I wish I had somewhere I could plant my own bamboo forest…

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Posted on May 21st, 2010 by Allison (Family/Friends, In the Garden, Living in the NW)

I’ve been such a slacker. I’ve taken tons of photos and have lots of things I could be writing about but I just haven’t. No excuses. Just haven’t done it.

No promises, but I will try to rectify that – starting with this entry about a wonderful visit from Ashley & Kennedy in April.

Since their flight arrived at 7pm, our first stop was dinner at Machiavelli’s, where Kennedy ate a huge plate of pasta..

The next day, Kristin joined us as we made the short trek to Mt. Vernon for the tulip festival.

The tulips were beautiful, as usual, but it the weather wasn’t. We faced what felt like freezing cold gale force winds.

Kennedy tried to be brave.

She managed a smile while cuddling with mom.

More soon. Or at least sometime…

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Posted on May 6th, 2010 by Allison (In the Garden)

Look what hopped through my garden today, pausing to nibble on the forget-me-nots.

Actually, it was more of a fur ball zooming through the flowers along the rock wall – faster than the squirrels usually are. Once he finally stopped I was able to see he was a very little (if I could catch him, I could easily hold him in one hand) and very, very cute bunny.

What shall I name him, while I still love him?

(I don’t mind a little nibble, but if he devours my flowers I will not like him so much. )

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Posted on Jan 28th, 2010 by Allison (In the Garden, Politics / Social Issues, Whatever)

January CalendarWell, January is nearing an end. It’s been an eventful month filled with dozens of things to blog about, and yet… no blogging has occurred.

So here is a summary of all the things I considered blogging about but didn’t.

1. My son, Brandon, and his family became “location independent” and moved to Costa Rica this month. It’s been fun reading about their adventures on Brandon’s blog. And my 6 1/2 year old granddaughter just started her own blog this week –

2. Crazy Sarah Palin’s *shocking* (sarcasm) announcement that she’ll be a political commentator on Fox News. I burst out laughing when I heard her say how proud she is to be with the network that is ‘fair and balanced.’ Actually, hearing anyone refer to Fox that way makes me laugh. The not funny thing about this is how many Americans will actually tune in an listen to this idiot. WHY????

3. The earthquake in Haiti. Make a donation to the humanitarian organization of your choice.

I gave to Save The Children.

4. Pat Roberston’s idiotic comments about Haiti – Kristin handled this one quite nicely.

Purple primrose5. I still love living in the northwest.

In the middle of January I was outside doing gardening. Primrose in bloom, daffodils and tulips several inches tall, and buds forming on many of my spring and summer plants.

6. Both Project Runway and Psych are back!

7. The Supreme Court’s radical decision to throw out 100 years of precedent and allow corporations to spend as much as they want on political ads really made me mad. Go ahead, hand America’s elections over to the drug companies, insurance companies, big banks and other wealthy corporations. Certainly they’ll have the public’s best interests at heart. Morons. Something else to thank GWBush for.

Words With Friends8. Ashley introduced me to my latest addiction – iPhone app Words With Friends. If you have an iPhone and like to play scrabble, look me up and let’s play. My game name is allihays.

9. My trusty old 1996 Camry had a melt down. Heater broke, then engine light came on… running very hot. Thought I’d have to replace her. But happily found a good mechanic who replaced her broken radiator and thermostat without trying to sell me on a single unneeded repair.

10. Obama’s State of the Union address. He inspired me again. You can watch it here.

So, how has your January been?

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Posted on Aug 19th, 2009 by Allison (In the Garden, Soapbox, Whatever)

Bad, evil lightEvery night I take a little stroll through my little garden, listening to the crickets, frogs and bubbling fountain. Keeping an eye out for slime trails so I can dispose of the giant slugs that invade my plants, and curse the obnoxiously bright “safety light” on the back of the building that illuminates the rock wall and my garden with an unnatural peach colored glow. Safety, schmafety. It’s nearly as bright as day in the areas where it shines. I hate light pollution – and it seems to follow me wherever I go. I like night to feel like night!

“Darkness is as essential to our biological welfare, to our internal clockwork, as light itself.” -Verlyn Klinkenborg, “Our Vanishing Night,” National Geographic magazine, November 2008

The horrible light was off for the first year and a half I lived here – and then, all of a sudden there it was. No amount of objecting or begging moved the property manager to turn it off.. Since then I’ve been plotting ways I could destroy it, but it’s simply been out of my reach. if I had access to a 15 foot ladder I’d have climbed up and pulled out the bulb long ago. I’ve also been petitioning the condo manager to turn it off…. going so far as to get signatures from other residents in my building that they wouldn’t object to it being dark out there.

I love a dark night!Well. as I opened the door to take my nightly stroll this evening I was greeting by the most wonderful sight. DARKNESS. It’s so dark that I can barely see anything but the stars! I’m so happy I could cry.

Next week I’m going to hang up my orange twinkle lights on my patio – which I haven’t used for almost two years (useless with that bright light shining). So drop by and sit out on my patio with me at night… it’s going to be great!

And keep your fingers crossed that the darkness is permanent!

How do you feel about the lighting in your area?

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Posted on Jul 28th, 2009 by Allison (In the Garden)

Frog in the grassWhile out watering my extremely thirsty plants in the 90° heat this evening, I happily saw this little guy – the first frog I’ve seen this year.

Isn’t he cute?

Yes, I giggled and chased him around til I caught him, and then watched as he hopped (more like leaped) put of my hand into the into the big fern.

Frogs make me happy.

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