Thursday, March 31, 2016

Scavenging through my files

It's time for Scavenger Hunt again! Thanks to Made With Love for hosting.

I was not very clever this month and could never remember even one of the prompts on the few occasions when I was out and about with my camera. So I'm trawling through my old photos to find ones that might fit the prompts. I think that still qualifies as a Scavenger Hunt, don't you? Most of these have not been blogged before.


Taken just down the road at the corner of Happy Lane and Ecstatic Acres Drive, 2015


Seattle alleyway in 2013 with random tiny person


Ice on the river behind our motel on our recent trip.

Street Art

Seattle 2014 - the file name on the jpeg was Street Art, so there you go.


Tiles used on Local Street Art.

Rocks (This was a little confusing because the prompt said RocksStairs, but I think it means Rocks and Stairs. Or maybe it was meant to say RockStars, in which case I failed.)

 At the coast in December 2015

Seattle again, 2013

This was me about a year ago.
I still think of myself as a brunette - I guess that's a bit delusional now.

Stripes and Measure - same photo! Striped jacket, thermometer measuring the temperature (incorrectly).


 Large watering cans in Las Vegas, 2008

For One

Very blurry - sorry - but I thought it fit the prompt perfectly! Montacute House, UK, 2010


 Landscape, with lots of water - Crater Lake, Oregon, May 2009

That's all for March, ready to turn in to April. Don't believe anything you hear tomorrow!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

I've been this way ten years to the day

I've been meaning to write this post for a loooooooooooong time. I saw this exercise on Fur Earwig a few years ago and found it really interesting. And it's safe to try it at home, so you can do it, too!

You might want to write this down. Take stock of where you were ten years ago, what you were doing, what your life was like. After that, do the same for five years ago and one year ago. Next, think about where you'll be one year in the future, five years, and ten years.

Ten years ago

Me, I had just moved back to the USA after living in England for ten years. I was losing the slight accent I had acquired - you know, actually pronouncing the "t" in "water" and "fifty." I had a new job and a new-to-me house, but I didn't have a digital camera until that autumn so here's a picture I took at Christmastime 2006.

December 2006

This was in the first house we had here. I came down the stairs to see Mr. S playing his keyboards, Christmas lights glowing on the mantle and a fire in the hearth. I was back in America, cozy and content in an American house that was big enough to swing a cat! I could happily drive to American family and friends along straight roads using the familiar four points of the Pacific Northwest compass - Canada, Cascade Mountains, California and Pacific Ocean.

Five years ago

We had just moved to a new house, around the corner from our old one. We picked the lot, we picked the house plan, and we picked the exterior colors. Here I am swinging a cat before we moved in.

January 2011

I've only lived in one house longer than this one, and I was a small child then! I love this house and I love the neighborhood. So, as we're cleaning and packing and getting ready to move away, there are days when I just want to dig my heels in and find a way to stay here. We could if we really, really wanted to. But life moves on and it's time to ramble on.

One year ago

I took time off from my temp job last year at this time, and Mr. S and I went out on a treasure hunt! Yes, indeed - that was number three of seven total that Mr. S has been on, and my second one. Stunning country, rugged terrain for our invincible Subaru, but no treasure was found.

March 2015

We hadn't made a definite decision to move yet, but it was on our minds even then.

One year from now

We will be settled in Wales and furnishing our house with charity shop finds. I might have a cat, but won't have room to swing it indoors. There will be daffodils EVERYWHERE, and we'll go to heritage properties as they reopen after the winter, if only for the tea rooms. I'll have a smartphone with GPS so I can find my way around all the wiggly windy roads, and I will still suck in my breath as cars fly past me with centimeters to spare.

Five and ten years from now (OMG - that's 2021 and 2026!)

When I did this exercise before, I predicted who would be dead in five and ten years. Cheerful, huh? I'll try to be more upbeat this time.

Generally, I hope that in five and ten years I'm mostly doing creative things and not worrying about money (I can dream). I'll be involved in a historic society or craft cooperative - or both. I'll despair of the busy British roads and cramped shops, but will enjoy the old pubs and large glasses of Australian wine! Occasionally we'll go to hear music in a cathedral or see a play on the lawn of a stately home or go to the London museums. We'll bundle up for warmth - in July. We'll watch our granddaughters become young women and we'll worry about the world they'll live in.

But that's all in the future. For now, Happy Easter, Happy Spring!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I take it back

Okay, about my last post, I guess sometimes there's a blurred line between a leap of faith and bravery. Or maybe between a leap of faith and crazy. Or maybe it's just a matter of "What the hell."

In that spirit, Mr. S and I set out on another sojourn to see if he has found X that marks the spot. I've written before about his obsession with this treasure hunt. Now that our time in the USA is getting short, he wanted to try once more, and he's sure - again, absolutely sure, like he was the last six times - that he knows where the treasure is.

So we loaded the car with shovels, chains, blankets and food and drove hundreds of miles.

Went up a remote road in the snow.

And got stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Well and truly stuck. The tires went in deeper and deeper while the car ended up resting on the middle hump. We spent three hours trying to get ourselves out - three hours that included adding chains to the snow socks that were already on the tires, even though the tires weren't touching the ground.

Three hours that included cutting chunks of wood to try to fill the gap and get any traction at all.

Three hours that included me lying on the ground, using a garden trowel to try dislodging the 18 inches of snow the car rested on.

Three hours that culminated in, "Hey, look, there's a cell signal up here!"

The short story is that we got hold of a towing company, we walked down to meet them, and they were able to get the car out the next day. How? you may ask, because I certainly did. They jacked the car up, then spun it on the jack to turn it around, then made their way back using ATVs to assist when the car got stuck again.

It was not inexpensive. 

So, we didn't find the treasure - again. But we were lucky to be helped out by some really nice guys, and our car is none the worse for wear. Just dirty.

Mr. S has posted about our adventure on this website here, if you want more detail. The comments are quite flattering to yours truly!


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sight Unseen

I don't consider myself a very brave person. Where physical peril is involved I'm a bit of a wimp. But I have taken some leaps of faith in my life, and so far I'm still standing.

My latest leap of faith (with Mr. S) is buying a house in the UK - sight unseen.

No, that's not it, but ours is No. 4.

It's amazing what you can do on the internet. Mr. S spent a lot of time looking for houses within a certain radius of the town where his children live, and as he kept looking he noticed prices kept going up. We decided we had better get something before we couldn't afford anything. So we bought an ordinary (affordable) house in mid-Wales, sight unseen, in a location we've never been to! We'll be living in a tiny hamlet, just down the road from a small village, which is just down the road from a small town, which is just down the road from the English border.

No, that's not our house, either. I don't want to give the exact location because of the paparazzi and all that, you know.

Using the magic of the internet, we've driven down our road on Google Street View, we've "visited" the local pub (dating from 1310) and even met our neighbor! He's a painter/handyman and has his business listed at his address. That shows up on Google maps, so Mr. S gave him a call and talked to him before we bought the house. The neighbor (I'll start using British spelling once we've moved) had already been cutting the grass and looking after the house while it was empty, so after we bought it we made arrangements for him to continue. He's been so helpful, checking the mail for us and doing a few repairs. Since the house is sitting empty for several months, this has been an even greater asset than having two bathrooms!

Just down the road is Lake Vyrnwy (pronounced 'vern-wee), which you can see here in The Telegraph's article of Britain's Best Lakes. I tried to download some copyright-free photos, but my computer said no, so I hope you'll follow the link and see how stunning the lake is. More photos and history here from a local B&B.

It'll be so fun exploring the area. I'm already following some local businesses on Facebook, so I know what soup the nearest deli is making and what's on at the winery. Yes, an English winery!

Nope, that's not the place either. These photos were taken by me in 2012, and as I said, I've never been to my new home before!


Saturday, March 5, 2016


Have you noticed how time is, yes it is, going faster all the time? When you were 7 years old, one year was one-seventh of your life. When you're 59, a year is one-fiftyninth of your life. The years are scientifically shorter as you get older! Yikes!

As I'm on the cusp of a major life change and moving to another country - for the last time - I can't help but think about the passage of time and my passage through places on this earth. I'm thinking about how the years seem to have disappeared in ordinary days of work and watching TV. I'm wondering what my future life in Great Britain holds and how much the country has changed since I last lived there. And I'm still wondering why the British don't rinse the soap off their dishes.

pondering, 2010

When I started blogging a few years ago, I joined in with other 40+ and 50+ fashion bloggers, taking selfies and trying out new outfits. I had just bought some new clothes and cut my boring bob, I was ready to take the plunge, so I started blogging at Late Blooming Sparkle.

January 2013

People who knew me were surprised that I was suddenly taking an interest in fashion, and many of my friends and acquaintances still don't know I blog because I've felt self-conscious about it.

March 2013

I had fun trying new things, writing up silly posts and taking photos, but it wasn't really me.

September 2013

I'm impressed, though, by the camaraderie and wide network of lovely women worldwide who keep up with each other's blogs, offering encouragement and advice and humor. I don't want to give that up, but I have cut down on my blog-reading lately.

March 2014

I decided to blog as Muse Fondue to widen the scope of my blog. Now I'm more likely to post about crafts or my attempts at photography. I love to get lost in creating little things, mostly dioramas in tins. I know that's a pretty narrow-interest niche, but it's my narrow-interest niche.

my latest, sort of an experimental piece

tiny railroad model figures on a bench with a Parisian background

For the next few months, I'll also blog about the changes in my life. I don't want to bore you with stories of cleaning door jambs or sorting through old socks. I plan to write about some of the profound but universal stuff churned up in such a major change: looking at past and future, learning to change compass points in life, and saying meaningful goodbyes to people and places, maybe for the last time.

with my mom and cousins in Florence, Oregon, 2013

Whew, got myself choked up there.

Anyway, thank you for your lovely felicitations on my last post about my 20th wedding anniversary. I hope you'll keep reading about my wild ride!