Friday, May 19, 2017

Washington Park #Arboretum - #Seattle - #SaturdaySnapshots

Although I've lived in the Seattle area for thirteen years, I had only visited the Arboretum once and that visit was brief. Last week, however, the senior group hiked all over the garden's paths. [Click on photos for a closer look.] 

The garden's entrance gave a taste of what we'd see inside.
The pink flowers are a type of primrose; the blue ones are ajuga.
Blooming trees put on quite a show.
This dogwood is from Mexico. Strange blooms.
I should have written down the botanical name.
Tulip tree.
Magnolia blossom reminds me of Georgia O'Keeffe.
Spectacular evergreen.

Rhododendrons and azaleas bloomed everywhere in a wide range of colors. Many of the rhodies were tree-size.

I could have parked myself on a bench and spent the whole afternoon just breathing in the beauty of the Japanese garden.
Because of excavation work (new plantings!) we had to detour off our intended route, but then we came across this totem pole - "Origin of the Eagle Clan!"

Beautiful spot for our lunch break.

I'd like to go back again this summer to see what's blooming then. I'm sure it's lovely in autumn too, when the leaves turn.



More info about the University of Washington Botanic Gardens HERE.




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Monday, May 15, 2017

A Memory of Violets - First Paragraph / First Chapter / Tuesday Intros and #TeaserTuesday

I enjoyed this novel about orphaned flower sellers in 1870s London (remember Eliza Doolittle?) with a second plot that takes place in 1912. The author's descriptions were beautiful, the plots held my attention, and I cared about the characters. Her depiction of the grim life of impoverished children in London during that time was vivid and must have been the result of extensive research. The only slight complaint I have is that some aspects of the story were a little too coincidental to be believable to me. Are you bothered by coincidences?

Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Length: 386 Pages
Amazon Link: A Memory of Violets
Author Website: Hazel Gaynor

First Paragraph:
     Mammy once told me that all flowers are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. "Same with babies," she said, 'cause I was after saying that little baby Rosie looked like a rotten old turnip, what with her face all purple and scrunched up. "All babies look like rotten old turnips at first," Mammy said. "She'll be all smoothed out by Lady Day. You wait and see."
     She was, too. All smoothed out. After turning into a real pretty little thing she was then, 'specially with that hair. Red as the flames in the costers' smudge-pot fires.

Teaser (from Page 162 in the paperback):
In the north, nobody would know anything about them. In the north, they could be whoever they wanted to be and, perhaps, if they were farther away from London, farther away from the memories, Violette might forget about her sister.

Synopsis from Amazon:
Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.
In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.
Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by The PurpleBooker. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please! List the author and book title too.
Link up HERE

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.



Twitter: @SandyNachlinger

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop #Hike - #SaturdaySnapshots

Hikes don't always have to be in the woods! Although the senior center group often treks under trees, plods past mud puddles, and strides alongside streams, other times our adventures are more urban. Our April 28 seven-mile hike took us in a loop on sidewalks, paved paths, and bridges around Lake Union near Seattle. 
[Click on photos for a closer look.]



We followed the route marked in red on the map, starting and ending at Gas Works Park. I like the idea that this abandoned facility has been turned into a popular park and its old equipment left as industrial art.

I've always been fascinated by Lake Union's houseboats - like the one featured in Sleepless in Seattle. We saw quite a few houseboat neighborhoods on this hike. Can you imagine boating right up to your doorstep? There's a limited number of these floating homes and they aren't cheap. A realtor's sign advertised a 1,100 s.f. houseboat for sale for $1 million.

We came across public art ...

...and beautiful blooming flowers. 

"Pocket parks" graced neighborhoods.

We watched seaplanes take off and land.

Our route took us over, under, and around bridges.

And we stopped to enjoy a delicious lunch.

Cool weather. Bright sunshine. Good friends. All in all, a perfect day.

For more info about the Lake Union Loop Hike, click HERE.



Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Secret Wife - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

Love this book! Two separate plots - one beginning in 1914, one in 2016. They come together to create an enchanting book. I learned more about Russian history from this story than I expected and in an entertaining way. The author did a great job of tying everything together. It is definitely worth reading.

Book Beginning:
Lake Akanabee, New York State,
19th July 2016
     It was twenty-nine hours since Kitty Fisher had left her husband and in that time she had travelled 3,713 miles. The in-flight magazine had said there were 3,461 miles between London and New York, and the hire car's Sat Nav told her she had driven 252 miles since leaving the airport. A whole ocean and half a state lay between her and Tom. She should have been upset but instead she felt numb.

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
She grasped the letter and hugged it tightly to her chest as she wept like a child, with complete abandon. There was a painful spot deep inside and she hoped the crying jag might shift it but when she clambered up to the cabin and pulled herself into bed fully clothed, it was still there.

Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Book Length: 417 Pages
Amazon Link: The Secret Wife
Author Website: Gill Paul

Synopsis (from Amazon):


A Russian grand duchess and an English journalist. Linked by one of the world’s greatest mysteries . . .
Love. Guilt. Heartbreak.
1914
Russia is on the brink of collapse, and the Romanov family faces a terrifyingly uncertain future. Grand Duchess Tatiana has fallen in love with cavalry officer Dmitri, but events take a catastrophic turn, placing their romance – and their lives – in danger . . .
2016
Kitty Fisher escapes to her great-grandfather’s remote cabin in America, after a devastating revelation makes her flee London. There, on the shores of Lake Akanabee, she discovers the spectacular jewelled pendant that will lead her to a long-buried family secret . . .
Haunting, moving and beautifully written, The Secret Wife effortlessly crosses centuries, as past merges with present in an unforgettable story of love, loss and resilience.
Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies.


               



Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
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Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
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Friday, May 5, 2017

Tea for Three - #SaturdaySnapshots

In anticipation of my granddaughter Corrina's sixth birthday, I asked her mom for gift ideas. Marina suggested an "experience" rather than toys. Since Corrina and I almost always have tea parties when she comes to my house, I thought an extra-fancy, real-life tea party would be fun. So I made a reservation for the three of us for afternoon tea at the Secret Garden Tea Room in Sumner, Washington. 

In preparation for the occasion, Corrina donned her fanciest dress and hand-colored a bow for her hair. Here she's sipping sparkling apple cider with a cup of herbal tea nearby, ready for tasting.

The menu for our special occasion Rose Celebration Afternoon Tea:

Commemorative Photograph
Pot of Tea (or other beverage)
Royal Sparkling Wine or Apple Cider
Cheese & Fruit Plate
Sorbet
*Endless Scones with Devonshire Cream, Jam & Lemon Curd
Tiered rack with Tea Sandwiches,
Savories, Fresh Fruit
Petite Pastries and Sweets
Individual Chocolate Rose Cake
in Raspberry Coulis

Corrina was delighted when our goodies were served on fancy tiered racks. (Two tiers all for Corrina; three tiers for Marina and I to share.) 

We used fancy serving tools - a filigreed pie server and tiny tongs for our sugar cubes - and sipped our tea from china cups. Elegant!

We all agreed that the scones, served with Devonshire cream, jam, and lemon curd, were our favorites.

Every birthday celebration must have cake with a candle.

The server took our official photo to commemorate the special day. (I think she must have used a wide-angle lens... or else we ate more than I realized!)
We'll remember this special birthday celebration for a long time.




PS: Here's a link to the tea room's website: Secret Garden Tea Room & Gift Shop

FYI: The Secret Garden  is located in a beautiful Victorian Mansion in Sumner, WA. The charm of the original Queen  Anne and Italianate architecture provides an elegant, yet warm ambiance in which to enjoy a scrumptious lunch or a traditional English-style Tea Set served on a 3-tier stand.  Our gift shop is stocked with tea-time treasures and a variety of delightful gifts, fanciful jewelry and clothing, and charming accents for your home. 

Saturday Snapshots is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.
To enjoy a variety of beautiful pictures from around the world, 
click HERE or on the box below.  

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To participate in Saturday Snapshots: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) 
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