Westward From Des Moines

continued from yesterday

From Des Moines Jim and I journeyed uneventfully to Salt Lake City. It was all new to me and exciting to see so much of the MidWest and then the Rocky Mountains and beyond. Jim arranged for me to stay with his grandmother in Salt Lake City. Looking back we must have somehow planned this itinerary because after a few days in Salt Lake City with Jim’s family, Jim and I went on a camping trip to visit Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon and Bryce. Upon our return to Salt Lake City, I boarded a train to head East to Denver. But I got off the train in Grand Junction Colorado where I was met by Bob (another Platteville classmate) and his sister-in-law and 2 little nephews. This group took me to Denver and I stayed with that family for several days before flying home to Boston. I had had a whirlwind tour of the West.

French Open Tennis

Here we go, the tennis season is upon us. The French Open started yesterday and is now in full swing. Novac Djokovic is playing right now as I write this blog entry. It is .2 p.m. Monday afternoon in Seattle. Exciting times.

Spring – graduation time – Middlebury College 1958
Belmont High School Tennis Teams, circa 1950’s

Once Upon A Time……..

Once upon a time, years ago, I was a keen student in the Geography Department at Middlebury College in Vermont. My keenness for the subject was enhanced and/or re-enforced by 2 excellent professors. I applied to 3 graduate schools to further my knowledge. One of these was the University of Washington here in Seattle – my first choice. I am not sure how it happened but I never heard back from them. So I was left with the University of Wisconsin and Northwestern University. Both excellent schools, but if I recall correctly Northwestern offered a more attractive teaching assistantship to help finance my studies. So off I went to the Middle West – Chicago and Evanston Illinois. Part of the program at Northwestern was a 6 week field course in Platteville Wisconsin. All promised to be a big adventure – and it was!

The 6 weeks in Platteville were so different from my undergraduate studies at Middlebury. We were a small group in Platteville, about 20 of us and 1 or 2 professors. We were housed in a local college dormitory. 24/7 we were all together, an intensive immersion in an academic program. The highlight was to go out in the evening to The Black Cat bar!! Howard, Roy, Bob, John, Jim, Eunice, Margaret are a few of the fellow students I can recall. We explored the surrounding area which included a dip into Iowa or Nebraska. Professors Powers and Jones were our mentors.

When the 6 weeks concluded, I went NW to St. Paul Minnesota to visit my Middlebury friend Bonnie for a week. Next I went south to meet Jim (from the field course) in Des Moines Iowa. Jim had gone back to Evanston to collect his car and then drive west to his home in Salt Lake City. Amazingly we met as planned in Des Moines and then travelled West to Salt Lake City. This was long long before the days of internet instant and constant communication. I look back and wonder at how smooth and easy it seemed to be.

to be continued

It’s A Beautiful Day For ………

It’s a beautiful day for a track meet………..and I am so disappointed not to be going to cheer for my grandsons. There is an outbreak of COVID here at the Care Home so in an effort to contain it everyone here is in lockdown. Grr. No visitors allowed and no expeditions to the outside world. Those who have been identified as actually having COVID have to stay in their rooms. This morning a woman came to breakfast and I said to her “er aren’t you supposed to stay in your room…..oops she said and hastily beetled away (using her walking frame). Such is life in the Memory Care unit.

Plant Collection

My former plant collection

These are the plants I had on our shelf outside our apartment when we lived upstairs here at Ida Culver. Then we moved downstairs to a ground floor studio apartment and there isn’t an external shelf. I am still trying to work out where to put a plant collection now.

Searching For A Memory

There’s a memory that I have from time to time. Now I want to blog about it…….but it eludes me at present. Grr. Note to self – JOT IT DOWN.

I am nearing the conclusion of a delightful 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. A mass of flowers. Just the thing for this time of year.

It is a wild and windy day. We even lost power for a short time.

I just can’t seem to call up the memory I want so that I can write an interesting blog.

I guess my blogs have to be spontaneous.


The memory I am searching for is: the wish to do certain sea voyages: as follows: the Castle (?) line from Kenya to Southampton, the Geist Line banana boat from England to St. Lucia, any random cargo ship that took a few passengers, even just America to Europe. This was before I finally realized that such sea-going adventures would not even be on my boy friend/husband’s wish list. Any.one of these exciting adventures would be absolutely anathema to him. Interesting how one’s perceptions transition from the casual fun loving dating phase to the more formal/commitment stage, marriage, all starry eyed, gradually one realizes that there are differences, you evolve, one’s spouse evolves, hopefully in mutually acceptable ways. And in my case, with everything else that was happening I forgot about my sea going dreams. When I woke up and recalled those dreams, it was long past the time when my husband would have shared such an adventure. lLife had moved on. Such an adventure would then be on ” his I would never even consider this list.” Never mind, that’s o.k. We’ve had and are still having adventures enough., even in the “Old Folks” Home”. Long may they continue.

Photo from Judy Lystra-Brown


A great collection. Right at our fingertips.

Something Over Tea

It strikes me that if you look at anything close enough and for long enough, a pattern will emerge. Take this cauliflower for example:

I seldom get an opportunity to walk along the beach and when I do, apart from the waves, shells and seabirds, I am mesmerised by the patterns made by ripples in the shallow water:

I admire images of centuries old stone bridges as well as more modern concrete and steel bridges from abroad. Sometimes in this part of the world we have to make do with something more humble, like this flat wooden bridge:

For several years we had an angulate tortoise living in our garden – until he decided the time was right to seek a mate and he wandered off:

I also enjoy patterns seen in weathered rocks:

Lastly, this one may take you by surprise:

It was sent to me by a family…

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Marsquakes! For Science!

Fascinating subject.

Wickersham's Conscience

In principle, at least, the use of seismic – earthquake – waves to understand the interior of a planet is less complicated than it first seems. You’re probably familiar with bats’ use of echolocation to navigate the night skies: they emit high-pitched squeaks, and then use the reflections, the echoes, to navigate and find prey. Seismic reflection is much the same, except the equivalent of the bat “squeak” is a remote earthquake, and the reflections come for the differentiated layers of the planet’s structure.

Geologists and geophysicists have been using seismology to analyze the Earth’s structure for years. The same technique has been applied to Mars.

Stylized Model of Mars’ planetary structure

In February 2019, Mars Insight went on-line, a sophisticated seismometer placed on Elysium Planitia near the Martian equator. Since, Mars Insight has tracked Marsquakes and the pressure and shear waves those quakes generate as they reflect and refract…

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Intermittent Librarian

The City of Seattle is looking to hire an ” Intermittent Librarian” – I would qualify. Should I apply? I have a lot of “Intermittent” experience, and particularly as a Librarian. Tempting. I’ll have a think about it. Should I add that my experience has been far and wide, including in Fiji, Bangladesh, Ghana, and .Ireland.

Europe from Space