Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Natalie for hosting Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week.”

Three Things Thursday

Four years ago we retired to Tacoma, WA, after living our entire adult lives in St. Louis, MO. We love our life here at the tip of Puget Sound, with the beautiful Commencement Bay just a few blocks away. Here are three things we’ve seen recently in our travels out and about.

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

One: Parasailing


All summer long we see this red parachute out over the water as a boat pulls one or two people along for the ride. When I was much younger, I might have wanted to try this. But I am now well past the age when such an adventure appeals to me.

It does look like a lot of fun, however. I used to worry about how those people on the ‘chute got safely down, but one time we got to watch the landing process. The boat reeled the passengers in, and the landing looked easy as pie. Still, I’ll pass, although I’m sure the view from up there is spectacular.

Two: Canoe

The other day we went to one of the restaurants along the bay for an early dinner. As we were driving toward the restaurant, I noticed several small things on the water that looked like sculls. Once we were seated at the restaurant, the boats got close enough for us to see that they looked like canoes:


We’re guessing that these were Native American canoes, although I couldn’t find any references to a particular event in the local newspaper. How lucky we were to arrive for dinner at the same time the canoes were going by.

Three: Great Blue Heron

It’s not unusual to see a Great Blue Heron walking in shallow water in search of a meal. But it is unusual to see one of these magnificent birds in a tree:

heron standing in tree

When my husband was out riding his bike a couple of days ago, he heard a bird squawking and looked up to see a Great Blue Heron land in an evergreen tree. He told me about this sighting when he got home, and we looked for nesting information on the Great Blue Heron in our bird book. According to the book, herons often circle, “croaking raucously,” while coming in for a landing on their “messy nests of sticks arranged in large trees.”*

We drove back to the spot where he had seen the heron land, and it was still in the tree:

heron in tree

Although we tried looking through binoculars from several angles, we couldn’t see a nest, messy or otherwise. But since the heron stayed up there in the same place for quite a while, we assume we were looking at a female sitting on her nest.

You’d never be able to find a heron in a tree unless you heard it approaching and saw it land. Someday I hope to see a Great Blue Heron walking along the water followed by her chicks (or whatever heron hatchlings are called).

*Source: Birds of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Nancy Baron and John Acorn

Have a good week!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Natalie for hosting Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week.”

Three Things Thursday

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


We spent 40+ years in the midwest, where dramatic thunder and lightning storms are a way of life. When we moved to the Pacific Northwest four years ago, I was surprised to learn that thunder storms are so rare here that they draw discussion.

That’s why, at a recent dinner party at a neighbor’s house, everyone went into the kitchen to see this view:

Double Rainbow at Franke Tobey Jones

The double rainbow was an added benefit that well complemented the magnificent sky.

Thanks to my husband for sharing his photo.


Every summer our retirement community holds a dinner party in the resident gardens at which awards are presented for the best hats. Here are this year’s first- and second-place winners in the women’s category:

Second- (left) and first-place women's hats

That’s Sharon on the left, in her second-place hat featuring a gardening theme. I like to think she’s planting those seeds to feed the birds on Pat’s (right) impressive first-place aviary.

Well done, ladies!


Last week I mentioned that I was reading this book:

And what a dramatic roller coaster of an experience that reading was!

I don’t give out many five-star ratings, but this book certainly earned one. The first few pages aren’t exactly a suck-you-right-in opening, but as soon as the meat of the story began, I couldn’t put this book down.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but this novel does exactly what good science fiction should do: It uses science (in this case, a problem from quantum mechanics) to explore the deepest questions of human existence. And don’t be scared off by the phrase quantum physics. The novel gives an excellent visual explanation of the situation at its heart on page 113.

This would be a good book to read on a long airplane flight, but, like me, you can read it right in your own living room. But do read it. I’d love to hear if it mesmerized you as much as it did me.

I hope everyone has a good week!

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: I Read!

Thanks to Natalie for hosting Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week.”

Three Things Thursday

I didn’t plan things this way, but when I looked at the photos on my phone I found that the last three I took involve reading. So here we go!


An online book group that I participate in recently shared photos of their TBR (to be read) shelves. Here’s my photo, although I have other books scattered across multiple other shelves:

tbr shelves


My newest purple T-shirt arrived recently:

i read shirt


I don’t get sick very often, so when I do I tend to wallow in my misery. Yesterday I started getting a nasty cold, so I decided to be totally self-indulgent and allow myself to curl up under a light blanket with a good book. After a couple of people commented on my TBR shelf photo (above), I chose this one to curl up with:

dark matter

I hope everyone has a good week. I look forward to reading your Three Things Thursday posts.

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

Thanks to Natalie for hosting Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week.”

Three Things Thursday

The city of Tacoma, WA, originated as a port for the fishing and lumbering industries. Nowadays the Port of Tacoma continues to function as one of the largest ports on the West Coast. In addition to providing hundreds of jobs to the area, it also undertakes to clean up and reclaim land around the port that was contaminated by industry long before the formation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Last Friday a group of us went on a field trip to the Port’s Gog-le-hi-te Wetland area, 12 acres of land along the Puyallup River that used to be the Tacoma town dump. The project involved removing all the trash, then digging deep enough to remove all contaminated soil. The land was then left alone for natural growth of vegetation. Now the river allows for the growth of young salmon, and the surrounding land provides a home for many birds and animals.

The Port biologist, Jenn, accompanied us for a bird-watching session. Here are three of the birds we saw. Thanks to my husband and his telephoto lens for these photos. Most of them were taken from a great distance, so judge accordingly.

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

You can read more about Jenn’s interesting job at Diary of the Port Biologist.

and a fun fact

On a tour of the Port of Tacoma last winter we learned about how scientists are Mapping ocean currents with rubber ducks (scroll down the page a bit). The flotilla of yellow rubber duckies is visible on satellite photos and has helped scientists learn about ocean currents as they tracked the rubber ducky migration.

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: Festival of Sail

Thanks to Natalie for hosting Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week.”

Three Things Thursday

Last weekend the Festival of Sail, commonly known as the Tall Ships, brought quite a few seagoing sailing vessels to Tacoma, WA. Although we missed the parade of ships on Thursday afternoon, when the ships arrived with sails unfurled in all their glory, we did get a chance to tour some of the ships at anchor on Friday.

One of the most important elements on these ships is their ropes. Here are some illustrations.

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


Because ships played such a large role in the development of the city of Tacoma, our revitalized waterfront area features an educational museum that explains the naval importance of ropes:


A ship’s rigging contains a conglomeration of ropes that come together at the bottom of the mast:

ropes around mast


There are more ropes along the sides of the ships:

ropes on side of ship

The rounded thing that the ropes are wound around is called a belaying pin, from the verb belay:

to secure (as a rope) by turns around a clean, pin, or bitt

—from _Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed.

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: I’m Back

I have been away for two months now, mostly because of a good thing: travel. While I was gone, Three Things Thursday, which I’ve always enjoyed a lot, changed homes.

I’m happy to get reacquainted with Three Things Thursday, “three things big or small, that have made you happy this week,” at its new home.

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


After three Fitbits and two Jawbones, I am now the proud owner of an Apple Watch:

Apple Watch

If I had realized how easily those other devices would fail or break, I would have saved money by simply springing for the watch in the first place. Now I just have to get back in the habit of doing something serious about my exercise (or lack thereof).


It’s baby season here, where we entertain many of the deer who inhabit the neighboring park. Here’s this year’s fawn, still young enough to sport her fawn spots, with mother:

doe and fawn 2017

Thanks to my husband for getting this great photo.


On a recent Lunch Bunch outing to a nearby Mexican restaurant, I had fried ice cream for the first time:

fried ice cream

It was delicious, but then, I’m a fool for ice cream.

Thanks for checking in. I hope everyone has a good week. Until next Thursday… .

© 2017 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday: Travel Gear!

Once again it’s time for [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

My husband and I are preparing for a trip that will take us walking over slippery, uneven cobblestones throughout Europe. I need new hiking boots, so off we went to the REI store to look for some. And while we were there, we found a couple of other travel goodies as well.


These are my new hiking boots:

my new hiking boots

Since I have weak ankles, I wanted boots with a high top to provide extra support. The fact that they are also a pretty color is an added bonus.


Travel ponchos, which my husband is displaying in the feature photo at the top of this post. They fold into a small carrying pouch:

packable poncho

Here’s the pouch, with a regular small post card next to it to give you an idea of the size. These won’t take up much space in the suitcase but may come in handy.


This is my new sun/rain hat:

my rain hat

It has a wide brim in front to shade the eyes and an even wider brim in back to prevent sunburn on the neck. The hat will pack easily because the head covering will lie flat in the suitcase.

I hope everyone will have a good week!