Three Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

three-things-thursday-participant

I usually find a theme for these Thursday posts, but nothing presented itself this week. So here are three random but awesome things about my life.

1. My Book Club

Back in St. Louis I participated in two book clubs for several years. When we moved to Tacoma, one of the first things I looked for (after the library, of course) was a book club. I asked at my local branch of the Tacoma Public Library and was shocked to find that the entire system had only one, which met at the downtown headquarters on a weekday night. Shortly thereafter I also applied for a Pierce County Library card and made the same inquiry. I attended one afternoon meeting at one of the branches and found that it wasn’t for me.

Finally, I found in the local newspaper an announcement about book clubs at King’s Books, a local independent store that sells new and used books. King’s offers a wide range of book clubs (as well as other book- and author-related events). I chose the Classics Book Club because I’ve reached a point in my life when I think I need to start filling in the gaps of my life-time reading.

Cover: Winesburg, Ohio
Winesburg, Ohio (1947 Modern Library edition)

I’ve been with this book club about a year now. I’ve enjoyed it and learned a lot. We’re small but strong. Last night six of us had an entertaining and informative discussion about Winesburg, Ohio (1919) by Sherwood Anderson.

We also got the list of upcoming books put together by our leader. Our definition of classic is something published 50 or more years ago. Over the next 12 months we’ll be reading these 13 works:

 

  • The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley (1919)
  • Cover Her Face by P.D. James (1962)
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1961)
  • The Mountains of California by John Muir (1894)
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney (1955)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin (1969)
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (1958)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (1955)
  • The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman (1934)
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1963)
  • The Group by Mary McCarthy (1963)

2. Spring

The unseasonably warm weather we had a few weeks back has hurried spring along. The pink earliest blooming trees are beginning to lose their blooms, yellow daffodils are prolific (although they, too, are past their peak), and now these trees are in bloom:

blooming trees

Don’t you wish you were here on the street where I live?

3. Eagles Soaring

On a walk around the neighborhood this morning we saw two bald eagles soaring overhead. It’s hard to miss their white heads.

Some Artwork of Tacoma, WA

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Here’s some of the artwork around our new hometown of Tacoma, WA, USA.

Thanks again to my husband for providing the photos. And this week he also did most of the research as well. What a guy!

1. Sarah Bernhardt Statue

Sarah Bernhardt Statue, Tacoma, WA
Sarah Bernhardt Statue, Tacoma, WA

The famed Sarah Bernhardt performed in Camille at The Savoy Theater on May 10, 1906. The building that housed the former Savoy Theater is now known as the historic Passages Building, located at 708 Broadway, Tacoma.

2. Salmon Sculpture at Puget Gardens

Puget Creek Salmon Art
Puget Creek Salmon Art

This 7-foot fiberglass sculpture of a spawning coho salmon resides in Puget Gulch, just below Tacoma’s Puget Park. The sculpture was made by students from the Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) as part of a public art effort called Soul Salmon 2001.

The sculpture, worth about $10,000, gained some notoriety in 2005 when it was stolen and then found a few days later in the laundry room of a house. The owner of the house said he had gotten the sculpture in exchange for some old bicycle wheels.

3. Goddess of Commerce

Goddess of Commerce
Goddess of Commerce Statue, Tacoma, WA

This statue, a modern interpretation of one from the 1880s that stood on top of Tacoma’s Chamber of Commerce Building, was dedicated on August 31, 2011. The creation of sculptor Marilyn Mahoney, this statue stands in the city’s theater district, at the intersection of 6th and St. Helens avenues. It was facilitated by the non-profit Tacoma Historical Society. The original Goddess of Commerce statue was hauled to a scrap yard and melted down when the Chamber of Commerce Building was demolished in 1950.

Here’s the dedication plaque affixed to the new statue (click on image to see a larger view):

Plaque: The Goddess of Commerce Story
Plaque: The Goddess of Commerce Story

Three Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

Spring in Tacoma, WA

The record-breaking warm temperatures we had a few days back induced an early spring. Early-blooming trees, shrubs, and flowers are on display all over.

Here are a few examples. Once again, thanks to my husband and his telephoto lens for these photos.

1. Rhododendron

rhododendron

 

This is the Washington State Flower. Soon these will be abloom in fantastic colors everywhere. This light-colored one seems to be one of the earliest.

2. Daffodil

Daffodil

I never get tired of these, probably because they’re one of the first truly colorful displays each spring.

3. Salmonberry ?

salmonberry

We think this might be salmonberry, but we’re not sure. Do you know what it is?

Bonus: Some Kind of Weed

weed

We’re also not sure what this is, but it’s just too interesting to leave out.

Since we’re new to the area, there’s a lot we don’t know about the local flora. If you have more information about any of these plants, please let us know in the comments.

Happy spring!

3 Things Thursday

Here’s my weekly installment for the blog challenge 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 awesomeness of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

1. Valentine’s Day

My wonderful husband of almost 44 years scored sime big hits this Valentine’s Day. First, he arranged for us to have lunch at the Cliff House, a fancy restaurant here in Tacoma that we hadn’t been to before. The food was delicious and the view spectacular. Second, from the restaurant it was just a short trip down the road to the historic Browns Point Lighthouse, somewhere I’d never been before (though he had). We had beautiful weather, a fine day for taking photos. Third, he got me a stunning bouquet of red roses and purple carnations (purple being my favorite color).

Yes, my life is truly awesome.

2. WordPress Course Writing 201: Poetry

The good folks at WordPress, the blogging platform, are offering a free, two-week course in poetry writing. The course consists of 10 assignments, one for each weekday. Each assignment includes three parameters for a poem: a prompt (a topic such as water, trust), a poetic form (such as haiku, limerick), and a poetic device (such as simile, alliteration). These three items are only suggestions, though. We are free to write whatever poem we feel inspired to create. We post our work on our own blogs, then post a link to our piece on the WordPress page for that day’s assignment.

Since I’m strictly a nonfiction writer, I saw this course as an opportunity to stretch my writing self. And although I’ve only completed three assignments so far, I’m enjoying it tremendously. Despite the freedom to write whatever we want, I’m planning to stick to each day’s three parameters. Writing to fit those parameters, especially form, requires me to focus on my material and to play with language—something I haven’t done in a long time.

3. The Weather

My husband and I both grew up in New England, and we still have many family members and friends in the Northeast. While they have been experiencing snow upon snow upon snow along with bitter cold temperatures, we out here in the great Pacific Northwest have had record-breaking high temperatures and atypically sunny days. My personal weather gauge is Mount Rainier: If I can see it from Tacoma, it’s a good weather day. The past week gave us several beautiful days. Here’s what my mountain looked like on Friday the 13th:

Cliff House mtn view

Not bad, huh?

3 Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

There’s some awesome art work on public display in our neighborhood. Here are three examples.

1. Antique Sandwich Co.

Antique Sandwich Co

One of the most interesting places nearby is the Antique Sandwich Co., founded as a family business in 1973.

5102 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 752–4069

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers a varied menu that includes granola, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, soups, lasagna, quiche, pies, cakes, and a big selection of teas and coffees. They also host frequent musical performances.

The mural pictured here graces the N. 51st Street side of the shop’s antique building.

2. Don’s Ruston Market

Don's

Just a few blocks down N. 51st Street from the Antique Sandwich Co. is Don’s Ruston Market and Deli.

5102 N Winnifred St, Ruston, WA 98407
(253) 759–8151

Don’s has graced its corner in the little city of Ruston for more than 30 years. It offers seasonal kayak rentals, but its main attraction is the antique soda fountain that features a lengthy list of milkshakes and sodas. For more information, check out this article from our local Tacoma newspaper, The News Tribune.

This photo shows the decorative mural on the N. 51st Street side of the store. The mural is actually much bigger (it extends further off the left side of the photo), but I couldn’t get the whole thing because a van was parked on the street.

3. Octopus on The Waterwalk at Point Ruston

octopus

About three steep blocks down N. 51st Street from Don’s Ruston Market is the new development of Point Ruston, currently under construction. When finished, the development will include apartments, condos, restaurants, retail shops, and a movie theater.

5005 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98407
(253) 759–6400

The Waterwalk is a park that stretches along the edge of Commencement Bay at Point Ruston and eventually connects to a walkway into nearby Point Defiance Park. This octopus graces an entrance into the park off Ruston Way. There are other art spots along the walkway featuring fish, jellyfish, and squids. I photographed the octopus because the Giant Pacific Octopus, prolific in this area, is one of my favorite animals.

3 Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Today is birds’ day Thursday in Tacoma, WA

Here are a few birds we’ve seen on recent walks around the neighborhood. Thanks to my husband for supplying these photos. (He’s the one with the huge telephoto lens.)

Information below comes from the following sources:

We are very amateur bird watchers, so if you find anything here that needs correcting, please post to the comments. (Of course, you’re also welcome to post even if everything is correct.)

1. Pileated Woodpecker

Woodpecker

These guys are big: 16.5–17 inches (42–44 cm) long.

If you’ve ever been walking in a wooded area and heard a sound like loud hammering, you may have been around these magnificent woodpeckers. Another indication of their presence is large holes in dead trees. Woodpeckers feed by pulling the bark off of dead trees to get at insects underneath. They also use large dead tree trunks as a way to announce their presence during courtship by hammering their bills against the tree’s resonating surface.

Woodpeckers are called “primary cavity nesters” because they excavate their own holes in dead trees for nesting. They do not reuse nesting holes but rather create a new hole each year. The physical motions of creating a new nesting hole stimulate reproduction. Their older holes then become homes for other birds, such as bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, and house wrens, which are known as “secondary cavity nesters.”

2. Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are tiny: 3–4 inches (10 cm) long. In Washington, both Rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds live west of the Cascade Mountains. This is probably an Anna’s hummingbird, since that’s the only species that stays here year round; other hummingbirds arrive in western Washington in May and depart in October.

3. Bald Eagle

Eagle

These magnificent birds are 31–37 inches (79–94 cm) long, with a wingspan of 7–8 feet (213–244 cm). This one was soaring over the water, looking for fish.

Bonus. Western Grebe

Western Grebe

At least we think this is a western grebe. In Washington western grebes occupy near-shore marine waters during the winter. We saw this one on the rocks next to the water of Commencement Bay. Fish, which grebes pursue under water, make up 80% of their diet

According to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, “Wintering western grebes have declined by almost 95% in Washington’s inner marine waters since the late 1970s (Puget Sound Action Team 2007). Recent data suggest that numbers may have stabilized since 1998 … Up to 20–25% of the world’s population of western grebes overwinters in Washington.”

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If you find anything here that’s incorrect, please let me know in the comments.

Three Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Since we’ve recently moved to Tacoma,WA, USA, after living in St. Louis, MO, for more than 40 years, I’m still discovering awesome aspects of my new life. Today’s offering is a 3-in–1: 3 things that we saw around the neighborhood on a walk last Sunday, January 25. It was a beautiful, sunny day that we felt we had to take advantage of, because we don’t get many days like that during a Pacific Northwest winter.

1. I used to think that moss growing in trees was a strictly Southern thing, but I discovered it isn’t. Here’s what one of the trees outside our house looks like when it has no leaves:

Tree Moss

Here’s a close-up of some of this green growth on a twig:

twig and moss

Maybe this isn’t really moss at all. Some time I’ll have to look it up.

2. I hope you won’t get tired of seeing photos of Mount Rainier. I won’t keep posting them during the summer, when we can see the mountain on most days. But in the winter views of the mountain are much rarer, and therefore photoworthy.

Mt Rainier Jan25_05

3. There’s a cargo slowdown at ports all up and down the Pacific coast, including here in Tacoma. I don’t understand the politics of this situation, nor do I have an opinion on it. But it does mean that we get to see lots of big cargo ships lined up in Commencement Bay awaiting their turn at the port.

cargo ship

Three Things Thursday

Once again it’s time for the blog challenge 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.”

three-things-thursday-participant

Since we’ve recently moved to Tacoma,WA, USA, after living in St. Louis, MO, for more than 40 years, I’m still discovering awesome aspects of my new life. Here are three of them I experienced over the past week.

1.  We had one clear day last week when we could see our glorious Mount Rainier. Thanks to my husband for sharing this photo.

Mt. Ranier Jan 13, 2015

 

2.  One thing I’m still getting used to since moving here to the Pacific Northwest is the fact that moss grows on EVERYTHING: on roads, on sidewalks, and, as here, on our driveway.

moss

3.  On Sunday afternoon our Seattle Seahawks had a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Green Bay Packers to earn the chance to defend last year’s Super Bowl title on February 1. Go Hawks!

Three Things Thursday

Although so far in my challenge to write a blog post a day this year I haven’t had a problem finding things to write about, last weekend I went looking for a couple of blog challenges to participate in. Participating in these challenges will not only give me something to fall back on when I’m short on either ideas or time, but should also add a bit of variety to the kinds of posts you’ll see here.

This week I’m digging into the blog challenge Three Things Thursday, courtesy of Nerd in the Brain. The purpose of this challenge is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

three-things-thursday-participant

So here goes!

1. Last weekend we finally made it to the movie theater to see the third (and final, thank goodness) installment of The Hobbit. I saw this bumper sticker in the parking lot:

Hillary

And I was reminded that, since we’ve now had our first Black U.S. President, it’s time to start thinking again about a female President.

2. No, this is not a full moon over Stonehenge. It’s the sun trying to pierce the fog of a January morning here in Tacoma, Washington, USA.

fog sun

3. While at the movies (see #1) we saw trailers for upcoming new additions to both the Terminator and Jurassic Park_ franchises. I’m not exactly sure what I think about this, but I find it interesting that movie studios apparently think it worthwhile to resurrect these concepts for a new generation. Will there truly be new takes on the underlying ideas of these films, or will the success of the new movies rest on the fact that special effects are so much more advanced now than they were when the original movies were made?