A Craftsman Bungalow

A Craftsman Bungalow

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Today I joined an on-line gardening community, Kitchen Gardeners International. After a 20-year sabbatical, I plan to resume gardening this year! But that topic is for another blog posting. In exploring the web site's members, I came across Valerie's blog and was transported back to my days as a stay at home mom in the early 1980s when my children were small. To all mothers of little children, stay with them for as long as you can. If you must work outside your home, spend as much time with them as you can doing ordinary things....time passes quickly!!

I made the following video in 2006 for my daughter's bridal shower. I hope you enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Okay, so I’ve been buried at work and haven’t been keeping up with the important topic of CLONED FOOD. It seems like forever ago that we first heard about Dolly the sheep, and the idea that cloned animals would actually become a food source was only a remote possibility. Now, as reported by NPR, the US Food and Drug Administration is set to approve cloned meat and milk this spring. Even more disturbing than this is the fact that “manufacturers” and distributors of cloned food products will not be required to label their meats and milk with information pertaining to the cloned or non-cloned status. (Do we call it cloned vs. real or cloned vs. non-cloned?).

Apparently all of the taste tests are in, and the cloned meat and milk are indistinguishable from non-cloned. Call me old fashioned, but there’s just something unsettling about the whole idea of cloning living creatures and then eating them. You can bet that some people are counting on getting rich from this whole process, despite anything they may say about how cloning can benefit mankind by improving the quality or quantity of the food supply. In the end it’s all about the money.

I read up a bit on cloning because I didn't really understand how it all works. The Encyclopedia Britannica sums is up this way:

"Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned in 1996 by fusing the nucleus from a mammary-gland cell of a Finn Dorset ewe into an enucleated egg cell taken from a Scottish Blackface ewe. Carried to term in the womb of another Scottish Blackface ewe, Dolly was a genetic copy of the Finn Dorset ewe."

I love meat.....I mean I really do. And I love milk, but I can't help but believe that messing around this way with the creation of living creatures will have unintended consequences in the generations to come that are frightening to imagine. Maybe I'll think about becoming a vegetarian!

A recent Washington Post article about the coming FDA approval can be found at:


Stories from the March 10, 1997 issue of Time Magazine shown above can be found at:


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

When I attended undergraduate school my first instructor told me that in order to be a good writer one needed to read good magazines. He cited Harper's and The Atlantic Monthly to name just two. I've been a faithful subscriber to those magazines over the years, and along the way I've added many others that mostly have to do with homemaking; Sunset, Better Homes & Gardens, Women's Day and Family Circle. Last year I decided to subscribe to The Economist because it's really the only way to get decent unbiased world news (in print) in the US. Add to that a new CondeNast magazine called Portfolio. As a charter member I got a 2-year subscription for just $24. Never mind that it weighs about three pounds, contains 90% advertising and has content only slightly above tabloid grade....it was CHEAP. Note that I haven't listed my husband's magazines, which have mostly to do with woodworking.
Well, the ongoing dilemma in my household is what to do with all of the issues that we "are going to read some day when we have time." The magazines stack up when there's no time to read them (or even look at the fun photos), but we still feel hesitant to recycle them. In past times we've saved up huge stacks, saying to each other "we'll take these to the local hospital, doctor's office, prison" , etc. etc. etc. But we never do. In the end we recycle them when they are too old to be relevant, and feel crummy and wasteful about it.
This year I've decided not to renew The Atlantic Monthly. I am SICK TO DEATH of seeing the following covers: George Bush's face and/or the Iraq War. Maybe after George is out of office for a few years and the new president brings our troops home the Atlantic Monthly editor will find something different to include in the magazine and I'll reconsider subscribing again.
We've also decided to let the other subscriptions go, and just buy individual copies at the newsstand if we see a cover that interests us and that we have time to read.
Here's one magazine that I will NEVER stop reading; The Sun. I've been a subscriber for over ten years. The Sun has no advertisements, and has content that is uplifting, interesting, relevant, and inspiring. My favorite section of the magazine is called Readers Write. The Sun selects monthly topics in advance for anyone to write about. Writers can submit their short articles and if theirs is selected for publication they receive a free one-year subscription. The magazine has a new website and I encourage anyone to check it out. Here's a link.....happy reading!!


Friday, January 4, 2008

My Corner of the World - The Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA, USA

Today's is a special post for my friend Sarah who lives in New Zealand. Because my work makes me especially aware of geography, I sometimes forget that others don't take the same keen interest in looking at maps as I do! In fact, some people find geography just plain boring. Though I haven't traveled much in my life, I've done a lot of armchair traveling through National Geographic maps and in more recent years, Google Earth.

The Pacific Northwest, as we call it here, is located in the northwesternmost corner of the continental United States. Washington State has two distinct climates. Seattle, located on Puget Sound (a salt water inland arm of the Pacific Ocean), is between two high mountain ranges located to the east and west, the Olympics (an accreted range) and the Cascades (a volcanic range). Seattle benefits from the warm breezes and jet stream current from the Pacific Ocean, and this keeps the snow at bay here in the lowlands between the mountain ranges most of the time. Eastern Washington's climate is similar to the midwest and the Great Plains....very cold winters with substantial snow. Spokane is Washington's major eastern city. Though it seldom snows here, I've included a photo of my neighborhood taken last winter, when we got about four major snowfalls right here in Seattle!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Happy New Year!!

It was a satisfying holiday. I watered my Christmas tree faithfully, and it's still alive. I know that many people don't buy cut trees any more because they belive it's wasteful and abusive toward nature, but I'm just not ready to get a fake tree yet. When Christmas is over we take our tree out to the back and cut it up for compost and chipping, so it does return to the earth.

I'm a new fan of YouTube. You can burn up a lot of time slogging through many rediculous or terrible videos, but then you find one that you really like, and that leads you to another. YouTube is a medium for ordinary people to express their talents, passions and interests, and impart their knowledge or seek information.


After learning that Dan Fogelberg had passed away on December 16th I was searching for some of his music on YouTube. I found a YouTube contributor who makes her own videos to music that she enjoys, and they are delightful and very artistic. Here's a link to her YouTube page:

I hope that you too find something interesting on YouTube!!