Last Day At Long Beach

Today was another day of painting, music, and reading with a short walk at the end of the day when it wasn’t raining. The weather outside was frightful, then delightful, then dreary, and so forth.

Jean painted a great pastel of Mt. Shuksan. This is view we love and have even gone to a few times to paint. Today’s painting was inspired by a photo Jean took during one of our visits to Artist Point on the shoulders of Mt. Baker.

I didn’t take my camera or my phone on our walk. These are a few of Jean’s photos from this evening.

After a light dinner of omelets and salad we are packing up to head home tomorrow. It has been a very relaxing week with much accomplished on our respective arts.


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The Fourth Day of Jean’s Birthday Celebration

I spent a good part of today scoring new arrangements for Home Cookin’. These were songs I had been experimenting with and thinking about. I finally got to a point where I thought I could write them out. As a result I completed two new arrangements and got about halfway on a third.

Jean did some sketching and we both read. Then in the late afternoon we took a long walk on the beach before sunset. (Actually it’s not so late this time of year!)

And thus ends another day at the beach.


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Happy Birthday To My Sweetheart!

Jean’s birthday began with a scavenger hunt for the many cards I had scattered around the condo. Of course she didn’t know it was a scavenger hunt so these were found in the course of simply getting up and getting ready for the day!

This special day was spent indoors painting (Jean)

playing music (me)

and reading (both of us). No beach time today, but we did stop often to look out our windows at the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

At 4:30 we moved across the street to Pickled Fish, our new favorite restaurant in Long Beach. (Our old favorite, Nancy and Jamilla’s, is no longer in business.) We toasted Jean’s birthday with some prosecco and watched the sunset. After a delicious dinner of pasta with mushrooms and smoked sturgeon we had dessert. Jean’s birthday entitled her to a free dessert and a candle.

We only had to walk across the street to return to our condo. Back in our snug home away from home we are settled in for the night.


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Painting, Music, and Another Sunny Beach Day

Today was a day for Jean to paint. Here she is with her beautiful work today. Both paintings are inspired by photos taken yesterday during our beach walk.

I spent most of the day working on musical arrangements for Home Cookin’, my duo with Julie Jacobs. We have lots of new songs to prepare for upcoming gigs in January.

At the end of the afternoon we again took to the beach for the last hour of daylight and another sunset. This one was very different that yesterday’s. That’s one of the beauties of nature – it’s always changing.

Here’s a photo of Worldmark Long Beach with an arrow showing our unit.

Now I’m cooking dinner. After that a quiet evening of reading. A great day!


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Birthday Trip To Long Beach

Today we embarked on our annual trip to the ocean to celebrate Jean’s birthday hiking, painting, and playing some music. Western Washington has enjoyed a week of December sunshine which is most unusual. Furthermore, it is predicted to continue this week! How fortuitous for our adventure.

Last December we stayed in a condo in Victoria, BC and enjoyed that very much. However, this year we decided to return to the Washington beaches that have been our December favorite for 30 years. Leaving Seattle at 11:00, we arrived at our condo at 3:00, quickly unloaded, and headed out the door to the beach.

One hour on the beach was all we got before sunset. After that it got dark very quickly. I did manage to get some nice photos during our walk.

More to come this week!


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29th Wedding Anniversary Camping Trip

We just returned from a week camping along the Columbia River. Our 29th wedding anniversary was so auspicious that a solar eclipse occurred on the very day! We stayed at one of our favorite campgrounds – Wanapum Campground at Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. Although fires threatened the air quality before we left, we only had smoky air one day. The daytime temps ranged from 85-95.

Our first morning was the eclipse. I arose early for a sunrise shot.

We were in a path of about 95-98% totality. By the time I figured out the appropriate camera settings it was on the wane.

Then we explored the campground. It is a beautiful gorge that was filled by the building of Wanapum Dam in 1963. I first visited the area in 1962 while living with my aunt and uncle. We drove over to assist in the dig to preserve artifacts from an ancient native site that was soon to be buried beneath the waters of Wanapum Lake.  It is a beautiful campground with golden hills on the west side of the river and steep basalt bluffs on the east. Just downstream is a narrows, above which they built the dam.

We were unable to get a reservation at Cave B Winery for our anniversary (too many eclipse watchers) so our celebration dinner was the next day. We arrived early to walk the vineyards and treat ourselves to a wine tasting before dinner.

Another favorite place in the area is Frenchman Coulee. This is a series of small gorges gouged out of the basalt by thundering Ice Age floods. It is a hot spot for rock climbers, hosting up to 200 climbers on a summer weekend. However, we had it all to ourselves on a weekday.

We also returned to the Quincy Lakes where we have been visiting for 20 years. These ancient lakes are the remnants of the Columbia River before the Ice Age floods scoured a new gorge a mile to the west. Basalt canyons are filled with oases of green around scattered lakes. There is magic in the air.

And so we have returned home to Seattle where the weather is in the 70’s. It is about to become the hottest summer in history for our fair city with no high temp below 70 for July and August!



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Hiking In The Hood

Today I was up at dawn to catch the sunrise.

After breakfast we took a long walk in our neighborhood.

After the rains of the last couple of days the flowers were abundant.

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We certainly do not have to look far for interesting things to sketch or paint.




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Amphitheater Hike

Yesterday we visited the site of a natural amphitheater. Although a short hike it is quite beautiful. I also met a couple of friendly Blue Tailed Skinks.

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A Productive Day

I woke Jean at 6:00 AM to see the sunrise. It was spectacular before the sun came over the mountains. Unfortunately by the time we got up and got our cameras the sun was up. It is still beautiful, but tomorrow we need to try for 5:30 to get the full effect.

It was a cloudy day with a big rain storm in the afternoon. Therefore, we stayed home and drew, painted, and played some music.

Here are my two paintings from today. Canyon Ruins is a made up image of the ancient ruins that are everywhere around here. The Pedernal is the mountain to the southwest of us. It was made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe, who painted its dark looming presence hundreds of times. This is a view of it from our road.

I completed a couple of other experimental landscapes in the last couple of days. I’m trying out some more simplified and slightly abstract techniques. They are both called New Mexico Mesas.

In addition to that I finished composing a song I’ve been working on since we arrived. It’s called Having A Drink With Charlie and is dedicated to my friend Kathy Kimball, with whom I perform in Ukestra Seattle. However, due to limited bandwidth in our rented house I cannot post a recording of it. Kathy will have to wait to hear it in person.

Jean also has been busy. She did a painting of this morning’s sunrise.

Yesterday she painted a stair outside our bedroom window as the shadows changed during the day.

The weather is predicted to be a bit unstable for the next several days so we may be staying home and doing more painting.


Posted in Art, Friendship, Music, New Mexico, Retirement, Travel, Ukulele, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Today was shopping day. That means a 55 mile drive to Santa Fe to stock up at Whole Foods. It’s only another 55 or so to Albuquerque so we added that to the shopping trip. The reason? I had not seen Steven Hether since high school graduation 51 years ago from Oliver P. Morton High School! Steven and I have communicated on Facebook for several years and decided that since we were only 100+ miles apart it was time for a reunion.

We first met in 6th grade when Steven moved to Hammond, Indiana and entered Harding Elementary School. He was placed in Mrs. Zarth’s class and so was I! We moved on into 7th grade together, but Steven’s family moved to a different district for 8th grade. I spent 9th grade in Seattle and then we were reunited in 10th grade. That’s a brief history of our connections. Of course we talked about all the details. No I will not bore you with those here.

It was great fun to share memories of grade school, junior high, and high school. One of my vivid memories of Steven was his commitment to civil rights. He and his older sister joined the NAACP in Hammond when they were in high school! They were the only white members of that chapter. This memory stuck with me for many years, although I did not have the same commitment at that age. For me it was one of those ethical check points to which I often returned as I forged my own ideas about justice.

Neither of us has change a bit. Okay, I admit, I have less hair.


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