I hope you enjoy these fanciful jellyfish as much as I did today at the Pt. Defiance Pacific Seas Aquarium.  I thought they’d be a nice fit for the Sunday Challenge at ‘Travel with Intent,’ where this week’s word prompt is Blue.

~ Susanne

All Ablaze at Seattle Japanese Garden

I can’t remember the last time I visited Seattle Japanese Garden at the Arboretum – maybe never?   But what better time than during the annual Maple Festival when the Garden is ablaze with color.

~ Susanne

Green River Gorge and a Walk through Nolte State Park

After yesterday’s dreary rain I thought we might be trapped inside until next April when the rain should stop. Fortunately today was clear so we took advantage and headed out to the Green River Gorge. We stopped for breakfast in Black Diamond, and after a short drive were at the remote one lane bridge.  Built in 1914 150 feet above the Gorge, it provides spectacular views.

We parked the car and walked onto the bridge to see this view facing east.

Facing west you see a waterfall directly beneath you if you know where to look.

The view is even better in the winter when there’s ice in the Gorge and more water flowing.  And with the leaves gone you can see the platform above the falls.

Someday we might hike the trail to the bottom but not this time.  Okay, maybe never.  It’s still unclear to me exactly how you get there and just how safe it is.

Instead, we’d do our walking on more level ground at nearby Nolte State Park through native forest on the shores of Deep Lake.

We set out on the trail through woods,  ‘lovely, dark and deep.’  Yes I’m borrowing from Robert Frost as I can think of no better way to describe them.

The air was fresh and damp and the forest full of life, rich and mysterious.

I came across a lacy cedar and upright maple, intertwined as if dancing.

Can you see it?

And this giant Doug-fir stood watch, solid and alone as it had for perhaps hundreds of years.

We continued on toward the lake and noticed the leaves beginning to show their fall color.

Soon we were back where we started, refreshed and rejuvenated. And though the sun chose to remain hidden until we made it home, at least it didn’t rain.

~ Susanne


Let me say first that I mostly prefer the box – take comfort in the box, do not as a general rule,  ‘think outside the box,’ because well, who likes uncertainty?  I majored in accounting and liked very much how things fit nicely on both sides of the ledger, added up, balanced out and everything was governed by rules at the same time – perfect!

Once I was on a project which was run by a team of consultants and we had to participate in team building exercises, which were possibly my most unfavorite thing to do.  We were given two toothpicks and asked to make a triangle out of them.  And no, you couldn’t break them.  Huh?  Not possible I thought to myself.  It takes three lines to make a triangle, that much I remember from my most hated math class – Geometry. Once you got it, you were to indicate that you had, then we would discuss.  I pondered. I squirmed.  I watched others who seemed to get it.   At some point I must have mimicked something they were doing and they said, ‘ she got it” though I really DIDN’T.   I just wasn’t about to volunteer the information, ‘hey I’m stupid here,’  and so we proceeded to discuss what the exercise was all about and what it meant to ‘think outside the box.’

Okay, just for the record,  at some point,  I finally GOT IT – though not on my own.  The table was the base, you raised the toothpicks like a teepee and voila!  you had a triangle!

Apparently this not fun, team building exercise which I thought was to teach me to ‘think outside the box,’ taught me instead how we are all different from one another, think differently,  learn differently, and need one another to get through.  But it also taught me how much I like being in the box.  And how much I hate puzzles.

And so I slip this story in, just under the wire, in response to Lorna’s prompt over at Gin & Lemonade,  Puzzle.

~ Susanne

A Sunset Over Dinner

If you follow my blog you probably know by now how much I love sunsets.  So here’s one from last night taken after our anniversary dinner at Redondo Beach on Puget Sound.  It followed a few rainy days and so was a welcome sight even with all the clouds.

~ Susanne

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Of all the pictures I took of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,

this one’s my favorite.

~ Susanne

Benji Update

I’m happy to report that Benji is back to his feisty young self after a week of recovering from an infection and cellulitis.  (Here’s the story of his trip to the vet in case you missed it.)

All that remains is for him to grow back the bit of hair that was shaved  – though even without it he’s adorable. He’s been extra affectionate (as if that were possible) and sticking close to me as his way of saying thanks for helping him through the toughest times. This morning he kept vigil from the window ledge as I took my shower.

That’s my boy.

~ Susanne

More Wonders of Yellowstone

I hope I’m not boring you with my posts on Yellowstone National Park but this may be my most comprehensive tour yet!   First of all, did I tell you that Yellowstone sits in the caldera of an ancient supervolcano, and the same forces that caused it to blow 640,000 years ago are still active, giving rise to thousands of geysers, hot springs, mud pots and fumeroles?

Well maybe I did – but a picture’s worth a thousand words. So here’s a few more, starting with the most famous geyser of them all, Old Faithful.

Old Faithful is in the Upper Geyser Basin, which contains the majority of the world’s active geysers. During the summer you’ll find forecasted eruption times and it obliges every 90 minutes or so. Faithful, huh?

Our first day in the park we saw it erupt under cloudy skies.

Our last day in the Park we saw it again, rising straighter and higher while the crowds gawked.

Magnificent indeed. But there are many other geysers worth seeing including Riverside Geyser, which I happened upon just before it woke up – lucky for me since it only erupts every 6 hours.

It shot a plume of water high in the sky for the next twenty minutes (much longer than Old Faithful by the way) and without the crowds!

What a treat!  The thing about Yellowstone is, it never disappoints.  There’s always another stop, another basin, more boardwalks, and you think it can’t get any better, but it does, again and again. Just like this stop at colorful Artists’ Paint Pots,

where we saw Blood Geyser, surrounded by red stained rock from the high concentrations of iron oxide in the water,

and colorful hot springs dotting the landscape.

And at Biscuit Basin we found bubbling Fountain Paint Pot,

a few more wild geysers –

and perhaps the bluest hot spring in the Park – though there are many vying for that title –  Sapphire Pool.

And lest I forget the fumeroles (those vents in the earth spewing gas and steam) here’s Red Spouter, a fumerole during the dry summer months, a hot spring or mud pot during the rainy season.

Finally I’ll close with the largest hot spring in the Park, and third largest in the world,  Grand Prismatic Spring,  370 feet in diameter and 121 feet deep.

Across the Firehole River in the Midway Geyser Basin,

you take the boardwalk until you see color emanating from a vast,  mysterious steam covered area.

The sign says you’ve reached it,

but you are only on its outer edges, the pool itself seems far away and hidden from sight.

You wish you were a bird flying over that magnificent pool, so you could see its hidden blue depths, but must content yourself with the colors of life teeming around the edges.  And on that note, I will leave you pondering.

Thanks for coming along on this tour of Yellowstone. There may be yet another post waiting to emerge. We shall see.

~ Susanne

Annual Coulon Color

I couldn’t resist dropping by Gene Coulon Park today to see the trees transformed into their fall glory.

It never gets old.

~ Susanne

Watching and Waiting

I really didn’t want to be there with so many dogs coming and going. Dogs looking bewildered, people looking troubled. Mostly I saw big heads leaning on big paws – the dogs not the people.  The people sat still and glum and stuck to themselves.  Not Sue. She was talking to a lady with worn hands and blue jeans. She had a farm with lots of animals and she let run them around the place freely, except for the cattle which is only right.

“I never thought I’d have a pocket dog,” she told Sue. “I found him by the side of the road and he wouldn’t have made it if I hadn’t brought him home three years ago. Some things are meant to be.”

I knew exactly what she meant. I was rescued too.

She held a dog on her lap named Tom who was even smaller than me. Tom got bit but the lady didn’t blame the other dog.

“They usually get along, play together all the time. Something must have startled him. I’m not mad, that’s what I told the owner. Things happen. I took care of the wound already. Just came in for antibiotics.”

Sue thought that’s what I needed too, though she didn’t know why or what happened. I let her know I wasn’t feeling my best by hiding under the chair, but couldn’t tell her about the other cat. Maybe she wouldn’t blame him either.

“I feel bad telling people I let my cats go outside,” Sue was saying. “I’ve had cats my whole life and they’ve always been indoor-outdoor. They love it.  I don’t know how I could change that now.”

I hoped she wouldn’t. It’s paradise really.  Fresh grass.  Flowing fountain. Birds and  bees to chase not to mention those pesky moles.  I can hold my own.  Usually.

The lady said no, she understood. “It’s part of nature for animals to be free like mine on the farm. Animals in nature don’t live in houses do they?”

They laughed together.

“So many dogs here,” Sue continued. “I wonder why.”

The farm lady laughed.  “Cats are smarter than dogs,” she said and Sue agreed.  So did I.

They were quiet then and Sue knelt down and peered into my box.

“Benji, sweet boy, I love you boy. It’s going to be okay.”

I knew that.  I wish I could let her know.  The most I could do was be still while watching and waiting.

Tom finally got to go back to the farm and we said goodbye.   I finally got to see the doctor and I was brave while they poked and prodded. I don’t remember much after that until Sue came and got me.  It’s good to be home again.  And it’s a good thing it’s raining so I won’t miss going outside for a while. At least that’s what Sue says.

~ Benji

P.S.  This is Susanne and Benji is doing fine. This post was inspired by real events and Lorna’s prompt – People Watching – over at Gin & Lemonade

Tomato Family Portraits

~  🙂   Susanne

Walking into Fall at Coulon Park

September has been slow to relinquish summer and that’s fine with me.  I’m enjoying the lingering sun and slow transformation of the leaves even as the days grow shorter.

A slow walk into Fall at Coulon Park.

~ Susanne

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