Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy

Three Things Thursday

A Day at the Fair

Recently a group of us from Franke Tobey Jones spent the day at the Washington State Fair. There’s so much to see there that it’s hard to decide what to feature, but here are three things that amused me (click on any photo to see a larger version):

Where do brown eggs come from?
Where do brown eggs come from?


magic hands
magic hands


bovine wisdom
bovine wisdom


© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy


Lavender Festival

Last week several of us from Franke Tobey Jones visited the lavender festival held by:

Blue Willow Lavender Farm
10615 Wright Bliss Rd KPN, Gig Harbor, WA 98329

I’ve been wanting to attend a lavender festival ever since moving out here, so I eagerly signed up for this trip. Here are three things I learned.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) So Many Varieties!

I had no idea that there are so many varieties of lavender. The farm featured several rows of different varieties, all labled:

varieties of lavender

(2) Not all Lavender is Lavender

Some lavender is white:

(3) Lavender is Used in Many Ways

The gift shop contained so many items that use lavender: soap, body lotion, essential oil, flavoring for food and drinks. I bought some tea:

lavender tea


Lavender fields

lavender fields

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: Mount St. Helens

Thanks to Nerd in the Brain for the weekly challenge Three Things Thursday:

three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy


Trip to Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument

Related Posts:

You know how we often say “We should do XXX sometime” but then never getting around to actually doing it?

A trip out to Mount St. Helens has been one of those things for us ever since we moved to the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, our activities director here at Franke Tobey Jones arranged a bus trip, and we eagerly signed up.

Mount St. Helens, which erupted on Sunday, May 18, 1980, is easily recognizable by the giant crater caused by a landslide on the mountain’s north face. I have written in detail about that eruption (see the two related posts), so I’ll just include some observations here.

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

(1) The mountain’s crater and the devastation as well as regrowth around it are evident in this photo:

Mt St Helens 02

(2) You can still see evidence of the downed logs that covered the area around the volcano like matchsticks as a result of the eruption:

fallen logs

You can also see the new evergreen trees that have grown up to begin the natural process of reforestation.

(3) Wild flowers proliferate, evidence of nature restoring itself:

For More Information

In quite a case of synchronicity, today I find this news article: Crystal movement under Mount St. Helens may have predicted 1980 eruption

Mount St. Helens Visitor Information

Eruption Geology and Monitoring

Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater


© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

I missed the first week, but now it’s time to start another year of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”


Impressionism at the Seattle Art Museum

Last week a few of us from Franke Tobey Jones traveled to the [Seattle Art Museum](Wednesday’s Word) to see the exhibit INTIMATE IMPRESSIONISM FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART:

The Seattle Art Museum is proud to present Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art (in Washington, DC). The collection is comprised of extraordinary paintings, considered to be the jewels of one of the finest collections of French Impressionism in the world.

This exhibition features 68 intimately scaled paintings by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters, including Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Eugène Boudin, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh, among others.

Art history is one area in which my education is sorely lacking, so I welcomed this opportunity to learn more about this school of painting.

We had never been inside the Seattle Art Museum before. I was surprised to discover that visitors to the museum are allowed to photograph many of the works on display, including those in this exhibit.

Here, then, are three Impressionist paintings from the exhibit.

(Click on any image to see a larger version.)

3 Things Thursday: Christmas Tree Edition

In honor of Christmas Eve, here’s a Christmas Tree Edition of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

(Click on any image to see a larger version.)

(1) Teacup Tree

Teacup Tree

One of the dining rooms here at Franke Tobey Jones features this Teacup Tree, adorned with old-fashioned teacups glued to their saucers.

Here’s a close-up of a cup:

Close-up: Teacup

(2) Seahawks Tree

This one is from the Festival of Trees:

Seahawks Tree

We take our Seahawks football very seriously here. The 12 flag is in honor of … Well, it used to be in honor of the 12th man, but apparently some university has that phrase trademarked and the loudest fans in the NFL can no longer be called that. So now we are just The 12. But we’re still the loudest and proudest.

(3) Gingerbread Tree

I love gingerbread men:

Gingerbread Tree

This one is also from the Festival of Trees.

There were so many beautiful and clever trees at the Festival of Trees that I wish I could include all of them here. But I’m limited to three, and I always follow directions.

For all who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very cheery Christmas Eve.

Lunch Bunch: Chambers Bay Grill

We’ve never been to nearby Chambers Bay Golf Course, though we have seen in on television. When a trip to the Chambers Bay Grill came up on our monthly Lunch Bunch schedule, we welcomed the chance to go see the place for ourselves. A lot of other people had the same idea, as we had a group of 28—enough that we had to use both of Franke Tobey Jones’s busses.

Chambers Bay Grill
6320 Grandview Dr W, University Place, WA 98467
Phone:(253) 460–4653

When our activities director called to ask if the Grill could handle that many, they told her something like “That’s nothing after the U.S. Open.”

My experience, though, was that our large group was a bit too much for them to handle all at once. We took up about two-thirds of the small dining room. My husband and I were at the table whose order was put in last. People at one of our group’s other tables were having their dishes cleared away just as we began receiving our food.

Another woman at my table and I ordered the salmon. It was a nice piece of fish but was overcooked and therefore dry. My husband had the marinated skirt steak, which he said had a good flavor.

I see that others’ experiences also vary widely. Chambers Bay Grill gets the following ratings on major social media sites:

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp
  • 4 out of 5 stars on Trip Advisor
  • 2.9 out of 5 stars on Zomato (previously Urban Spoon)
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars on Facebook
  • 6.9 out of 10 stars on Foursquare

Many people will tell you that you go to Chambers Bay Grill not primarily for the food but for the view. The place is beautiful, as we had seen on the TV broadcast of last summer’s U.S. Open golf tournament. I was hoping to get a few more scenic photos after lunch, but since we were among the last people to finish eating, I didn’t get a chance. The only photo I got was the one at the top of this post, which I took as we arrived. But if you do an internet search for Chambers Bay, you’ll find lots and lots of beautiful photos.

I think my husband and I should return to Chambers Bay Grill on our own sometime to check out both the beautiful view and food that isn’t prepared under such rushed circumstances.

Three Things Thursday

Once again, it’s time for Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”


It’s Pumpkin Thursday!

It’s fall, or the Season of the Pumpkin.

(Click on any photo for a larger version.)

Awesome Pumpkin #1

Pumpkin Centerpiece

This is the centerpiece from our table at last night’s quarterly dinner for independent-living residents here at Franke Tobey Jones. These dinners are always awesome for two reasons:

(1) They are about the only time when all of us from the three independent-living sections get together. It’s good to see a lot of people I don’t often cross paths with in other activities.

(2) The food is always very good. This time Chef Tim presented us with the following menu:

mixed green salad with berries and raspberry vinegarette dressing

salmon Louie (salmon smothered in crab)

roasted pork loin in mustard sauce


couscous with carrot chunks

apple turnovers with optional toppings: caramel, cinnamon whipped cream, and walnuts

Awesome Pumpkin #2

Pumpkin Blackberry Ice Cream

On our trip to Winthrop, WA, we stopped at Sherry’s Sweets downtown for some ice cream. There were so many tempting flavors that I couldn’t pick just one. After much deliberation, I went with two seasonal favorites, pumpkin and wild blackberry. They were so good that I still can’t stop thinking about them.

Awesome Pumpkin #3

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Yes, it’s time for pumpkin spice coffee once again. I’ll change things up occasionally with a cup of Trader Joe’s pumpkin chai tea.

scroll divider

Until next week, I wish all of you a big dose of awesomeness!

Trip to Olympia Farmers Market

Today a few of us from Franke Tobey Jones took our annual trip down to Washington’s capital city, Olympia, to visit the Olympia Farmers Market and have lunch. Our new activities director didn’t know that we usually go in August, but today worked just as well. It was overcast and cloudy, but we need rain so badly that nobody complained about the weather.

This September visit worked out well for my husband and me. We usually visit the Puyallup Farmers Market with our daughter most Saturdays during the summer, but it ended earlier this month. We were therefore happy for the opportunity to get some locally grown produce:


The photo below came from a stand of peppers that featured “sweet” varieties on one side and “hot” ones on the other:


The Olympia Farmers Market features local small businesses. In addition to produce, vendors offer cheese and dairy products, jams and jellies made from local fruit, honey and wax items like candles, baked goods, herbs, and plants.

And flowers. There were some truly spectacular dahlia bouquets on display today. I’m kicking myself because I meant to take a photo but got distracted talking to one of my companions. You’ll have to take my word for it. The colors were gorgeous: various shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple (my favorite).

There are always several craft vendors at the Olympia farmers market as well. Like the fruit, vegetable, and flower vendors, these are all local small businesses. Sometimes at fairs you’ll find a heavy dose of mediocre craft things, but not here. These items are top quality, made by professionals. Today we saw ceramics, wood items, paper goods, soaps, candles, metal art, and photography.

After our shopping spree, we went across the parking lot for lunch at Anthony’s Homeport for lunch. This restaurant is always popular with our group because of both the food and the view of the adjacent marina and, a bit farther off, the state capital building. The clam chowder, which all five at our table ordered, was especially good today.

Going to the Fair!

For more than 100 years the fair held annually in Puyallup (pew-Al-up), Washington, was known as the Puyallup Fair. I know this because I used to have a pencil (unfortunately lost in our recent move) emblazoned with “Puyallup Fair 100 Years” that my daughter sent me in 2000. The fair’s tagline was “Do the Puyallup!” But in 2013 somebody (I’d keep my name out of it, too, if I had been responsible) came up with the brilliant idea to rename the fair the Washington State Fair. Whoever did this agreed to retain the “Do the Puyallup!” tagline, but it’s just not the same. According to the Washington State Fair Facebook page:

It’s a fact that since our beginning in 1900, our name has changed four times; the Valley Fair, to the Western Washington Fair, to the Puyallup Fair and most recently to the Washington State Fair. For over 60 years the fair was known as the Western Washington Fair. Our previous name, The Puyallup Fair, is a name that will always mean a lot to us, as well as the people that helped make this the great Fair it is today. We still love to hear the old “Do the Puyallup” jingle and we are proud to host the Fair in Puyallup every year. Puyallup will always be an important aspect of our identity, but the name change allows the rest of Washington to feel connected to the Fair as well.

But I digress. Today our activities director drove about 10 of us down for a visit to the Washington State Fair. On a weekday after the start of school, the grounds were not at all crowded, and we had gorgeous weather.

The fall fair began in 1900 as a way to showcase the crops that flourished in the rich soil of the Puyallup River valley. (See related post for more background.) Since then it has grown to include farm animals and produce from all over the state, as well as carnival games, rides, vendor booths, and LOTS of food.

But my husband F. and I headed straight for this year’s featured exhibit, Star Trek: The Exhibition, which traces the history of the Star Trek franchise from the original 1960s television series up through the latest motion picture. We got to see lots of photos, costumes, and props from the various television shows, as well as a 7/8 scale mock-up of the bridge from the original series. (It had to be downsized a bit so that it could be moved.)

Star Trek: The Exhibition
Star Trek: The Exhibition

(Click on any photo to see a larger version.)

We were not allowed to take photos inside the exhibit, but the link above will take you to the exhibit’s official web site featuring lots of photos and video clips.

After that we headed for the animal barns. There were lots of traditional farm animals on display. My grandfather was a dairy farmer, and I have a soft spot in my heart for cows. But I’ll restrict myself to just one photo:


Most of the sheep had been shorn within a few days of the fair:

Sheep (shorn)
Sheep (shorn)

I was expecting them all to look like this:

Sheep (unshorn)
Sheep (unshorn)

But one of the youngsters displaying sheep explained that they have to be shorn for competition because the judges want to be able to see their bodies, not just their wool.

There were also lots of goats, pigs, and rabbits. Another animal that I did not realize is so popular with 4-H kids is the llama:


Next we took a look at the fruits, vegetables, and flowers. A lot of people won ribbons for their flowers:


I am always fascinated by the artworks created by Grange chapters across the state out of their local products. One that particularly caught my eye was this one featuring a replica of the Washington State flag:

Vegetable Art
Vegetable Art


Vegetable Art: Close-Up
Vegetable Art: Close-Up

And of course there were awards for the state’s largest pumpkins and squashes:

Huge Pumpkins & Squashes
Huge Pumpkins & Squashes

For lunch we chose The Mad Greek because I arrived at the fair hoping I could find a gyro. I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a photo. But these are a few of the MANY other eateries available:

Killer Kielbasa
Killer Kielbasa


Deep Fried Butter Stand
Deep Fried Butter


Bacon!!! Stand

I’ll end with a photo of an iconic fair ride that also shows what a beautiful day it was.

Ferris Wheel
Ferris Wheel

Until next year!

Three Things Thursday

Another week, another Thursday: Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

Rain, Much-Needed Rain

It hasn’t rained significantly here in our patch of the Pacific Northwest for something like five months. But of course the one day rain chose to come along was last Friday, the long-scheduled date for our annual picnic here at Franke Tobey Jones. The event was to have been held outdoors, under the big tent pictured above, but the rain and lightning, unusual here, forced its relocation to three separate indoor venues. Nonetheless, a good time was had by all, at least all of those where we partied.

I’m sure the staff had to scramble to relocate the festivities, and we appreciated their efforts. The chef had to set up the barbecue grill under a small tent right outside the building, so we had hamburgers and hotdogs authentically cooked outdoors, a necessary item for a picnic.

1. Hawaiian Table Decorations

The picnic has a Hawaiian theme. When we arrived we received paper leis and were seated at tables with theme-appropriate decorations.

Hawaiian table decorations
Hawaiian table decorations

The menu featured Hawaiian foods: pork, sweet and sour chicken, baked beans, hotdogs and hamburgers—those necessary staples of American picnic fare—ambrosia, pineapple upside down cake, mango ice cream.

2. Hawaiian Dancers

In keeping with the Hawaiian theme, a local group of Hawaiian dancers entertained us.

Hawaiian Dancers
Hawaiian Dancers

Had the picnic been held outdoors, as scheduled, they would have provided one long performance. Instead, they had to adapt by giving three shortened performances at the three indoor locations. Between numbers they conferred about which song/dance to perform next. We appreciated their willingness to cope with the changed circumstances.

3. Water-Conserving Efforts

It rained most of Friday afternoon and overnight Friday/Saturday. It was a gentle rain, not a deluge, and the grass gratefully drank it in. Our lawns are still amazingly green, even almost a week later.

But the lawns may not remain nicely green for much longer. Because our area is experiencing one of the driest, hottest summers on record, the City of Tacoma has moved to Stage 2 (voluntary reduction) of their Water Shortage Response Plan.

Our retirement community, Franke Tobey Jones, has agreed to cooperate in this effort, euphemistically known as “going golden.” That means we will not be watering lawns and will have reduced watering of plants and shrubs. Our two outdoor fountains have also been drained and shut off.

The aim is to reduce our water consumption by at least 10%. This voluntary water reduction is a joint effort of the Washington cities of Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett. A 10% reduction in water usage across the area could save 1 billion gallons of water by the end of the year.

One of the features that makes Franke Tobey Jones so visually appealing is its large swatches of beautiful green lawn. But no one is complaining about the lawns in light of the drought conditions. We are proud to pitch in.

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