Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up

I have been sorry that I didn’t create a collage for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up ever since that July 2016 week came and went. I’ve decided that it’s never too late so am going to do it now!

(You can hover the cursor over the photos to see where they were taken. Click anywhere on the gallery to enlarge them.)

Stylish- That’s Not Me!


I couldn’t resist answering the WordPress Daily Prompt that just showed up in my email inbox. The directions were to write a post on the one-word prompt: Stylish.

Stylish I am not. At least 90% percent of the time, you will find me wearing jeans. I don’t even own a dress any more and I only have two or three skirts. I don’t know the exact number because I rarely wear them. And I almost never buy new clothes. My big purchase this year was two pairs of new jeans!

I don’t believe in saying never, but I’d say the chances of me ever becoming stylish is pretty close to never. And I’m okay with that. 🙂

Navaratri is Coming!

Navatratri is a nine day Hindu festival that celebrates three forms of the Goddess, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The tenth day is called Vijaya Dasham, the festival of victory. This year Navaratri will be October 1-10.

Friends of mine build a beautiful altar for Navaratri. Every item on it has meaning and many of the statues are handmade. I will never forget seeing this altar for the first time; it practically took my breath away. Oh how it sparkled. Continue reading “Navaratri is Coming!”

The Daily Prompt: Vice


I once heard a story about a monkey who decided to give up eating bananas. Even though the monkey was  committed to his goal, when he saw a banana in a tree far away, he decided to sit closer to it. That way he could at least enjoy looking at it. Nothing wrong with that!

Soon, he decided to move even closer to the banana. And then closer. And then closer yet. Before long he was sitting right next to it. At that point, the monkey reached over and grabbed, peeled and ate the banana, telling himself that he would give up bananas “tomorrow.”

I often use that story when talking to my psychotherapy clients about breaking their addictive patterns. If you have the addictive substance, such as drugs, alcohol, a particular type of food, porn, etc., in close proximity to you, it is unlikely you will be able to keep your commitment to abstain.

That is the way I am about chocolate. Dark chocolate to be specific. A little dark chocolate can be healthy, but if I have some, I usually want more. If it is in the house, and it comes to my mind, it won’t be long before I go looking for it. Once it is in plain sight, forget about abstaining, I will do that “tomorrow.”

I don’t intend to ever give up dark chocolate completely, but when I am serious about stopping my over-indulgence, I know to not have it in the house and before I leave the house to recommit to myself not seek it out.

(Note: At the moment, I’m congratulating myself for choosing to use a photo of a monkey eating a banana for this post rather than a photo of a piece of dark chocolate. That way, every time I see this post in the future, I won’t be tempted to go buy some!)


Written for The Daily Prompt: Vice

Photo Credit: By Mouli kundu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A Fascinating Pacific Madrone Tree

I was fascinated by the various surfaces on this Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) tree that is located in Lincoln Park in Seattle.



(Click any gallery for closer view of the photos.)

Daily Prompt: Surface

Portrait of a Visitor


A neighbor’s cat is spending more and more time in my yard. He seems to love to sleep on the play chips near my garden. (As I look at the garden picture below I’m aware how close it is to the end of the season. The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen but almost everything else is gone or ending. Must be time to put in some cover crops!)

Yesterday I was quite startled when I unexpectedly found him IN my garden.


When I took the portrait photo at the top of this post I tried to get him to open his eyes. I thought that would be easy because he usually takes off when he sees me coming near him. This time he stayed put, but would only open his eyes a sliver. He was probably thinking “Would you  just go away and let me sleep!”

Written for Discovery Challenge: Portraits

A New Beginning in Seattle

Leaving home for college!

In September of 1966, I left my family home in Florida to go to college in Seattle.  I was so excited.  My first night there, I stayed in a downtown hotel.  The next morning, I walked the Seattle streets marveling at the skyscrapers. Having grown up on army bases, I had never seen buildings so high. The other thing I remember doing that day was buying a small typewriter, one with a red case.  Since the suitcases I had brought from Florida were also red, I’m assuming that must have been my favorite color in those days. Or maybe it was the color of new beginnings. In September of this year, I will have lived in Seattle for 50 years, so that day was definitely a new beginning!

This post was originally meant to be a response to last Wednesday’s Daily Post prompt- City.  As I started thinking about this 1966 event though, I became curious  about changes I have witnessed since I moved here. I remember at that time the Smith Tower was the highest building in Seattle. No one was allowed to build a skyscraper that was taller. The only exception to that rule was the Space Needle which had been built for a World’s Fair in 1962.

The Smith Tower was built in 1914 and is 38 stories and 484 feet. The Space Needle which is 605 feet high and, as I already mentioned, was built in 1962. The height restriction was eventually changed and the Seafirst Building was built in 1969. It has 50 stories and is 638 feet high. Now, the tallest building in Seattle is the Columbia Center.  It is 76 stories and 943 feet high and was built in 1983.

Columbia Center

Next, I wondered how the population had changed during the 50 years I have lived here.

In 1970, the population of Seattle was 530, 831 and in 2015 it was 668, 831.  The current population was much smaller than I expected. When I looked into it, I discovered that the city’s population actually went down when the Boeing workforce was reduced from 80,400 to 37,200 in 1970/71. While the city itself did not have tremendous growth between 1970 and 2015, the suburbs and metropolitan area really grew. In 2015, the population of Seattle metropolitan area was 3,733,580 and we had the 15th largest metropolitan area in the U.S.


The last thing I will mention is that when I first Goggled “1966 Seattle” I was rather surprised to see that the first three listings were about the Beatles August 25, 1966 concert! I don’t remember being aware of their recent visit at the time, but I imagine it must have been a major topic of conversation for many Seattlites.

It has been interesting to think about my arrival in Seattle and learn more about the city I chose to be my home. Thank you WordPress for your “City” prompt.


Photo Credits : Wikimedia

Smith Tower

Space Needle

Seafirst Building

Columbia Center

The Beatles

All statistics come from Wikipedia.com

Challenging My Memory




I intentionally carry a small purse (7 ½ x 5 ½ x 2 ½ inches) and I keep very few things in it.  I believe that having a small purse increases the likelihood that I will be able to find items when I look for them.

Despite that precaution, I find myself constantly searching for things. I often say that if I could get back all of the time I have spent looking for my keys, it would add years to my life.

Sometimes I lose items due to not paying attention to where I put them. At other times though, the circumstances are more bizarre.

A few weeks ago, I bought a clock at my local Rite Aid store.  I was aware at the time that it might not work out, so I took care to keep the receipt.  The next day, I decided to return the clock.  I looked through my purse, the place where I was sure I had put it, and it wasn’t there.

I mentally retraced every move I made after having left Rite Aid.  I remembered that I had carried the unbagged clock  to the QFC next door. Had I kept the receipt in my hand instead of putting it in my purse?  Had I put the clock and the receipt in the grocery cart and accidentally left the receipt in the cart?  That didn’t seem right, but at least it was a reasonable explanation.

For two days, I searched everywhere for the receipt.  I looked through my purse over and over again.  I finally accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to find it.  A day or two after that, I looked across the table and saw this:

PurseIt was the receipt for the clock! There was NO way that receipt had been hanging out of my purse all that time.  And I live alone so it was not reasonable to think that someone else had placed it there.

Hinduism has a word called leela.  It means God’s play.  The whole thing sure felt like a leela to me.  God’s play would have a purpose though.  So if this was a leela what was the purpose?  Well it had given me the opportunity to practice being calm in all circumstances; trust the process of life; remember the importance of being mindful; be persistent in going after what I want, yet know when it is time to let go; and remember that everything happens for a reason.

Decades ago, I had many experiences of losing things and then finding them days, weeks, or months later… in plain sight.  So often the items were in places I had looked many times. I began to wonder if there was something physically wrong with me.  Did I have a dissociative disorder (i.e. in those days the extreme version was called Multiple Personality Disorder)?  Did I have Alzheimers? Did I have some other medical problem?  None of those explanations seemed right but I went to a psychologist anyway.  He reassured me that there was nothing wrong with me and said he believed that my unconscious mind had found a way to get my attention FAST.  There was no doubt about that; I hated having my memory challenged.


This morning, as I was contemplating writing this post, it happened again.  I have a brick wall in my garden that I build two years ago out of loose bricks.  My garden has gophers and their tunnels cause the wall to slump.  Therefore, I need to rebuild parts of it each spring.

I decided I would start that rebuilding process this morning.  I’ve been having back problems the last few months so I knew I would have to do it slowly, a small section at a time.  I finished what I considered to be a reasonable amount of the work…. and then decided I would do just a little more.  I reached for my trowel and the level, and they were nowhere to be found!


I hadn’t moved from where I was working.  I searched for the tools for a while and then gave up.  Clearly I shouldn’t be doing any more; I had done all my back could tolerate. I also decided there was no point in continuing to look for the tools.  I went back into the house to rest my back.

When I took the garbage outside, two hours later, I found the trowel and level in another part of the garden.  When I saw them, I remembered that earlier I had seen some bricks that were not straight in that part of the garden and had walked over there to straighten them.  I had set the tools down at that time.

I imagine there are rational explanations for everything I lose, although I often don’t have a clue what it is.  I do believe things happens for a reason and those reasons are for the good.  I appreciate any process that gives me opportunity to learn and/or protects me from me.

Written for The Daily Post Prompt: Misplaced

Advice to New Bloggers



Today’s prompt from The Daily Post is called “Key Takeaway” and the instructions are:

Give your newer sisters and brothers-in-WordPress one piece of advice based on your experiences blogging

This is a topic very close to my heart. First of all, I’d like to welcome all of you who are new to the blogging world. I have found blogging to be one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and I hope the same for you.

My advice is to celebrate when friends, relatives, colleagues and members of your personal community are interested in your blog, but don’t count on it being the case. See blogging as a way of building an additional community for yourself, as a way of sharing information with like-minded people, and as an opportunity to communicate with those for whom your thoughts and experiences are an exciting new world.

I have learned so much from reading other people’s blogs and I have developed new and treasured friendships within the Word Press community. Blogging has expanded my own world and I know that others have learned from reading mine. I will be forever grateful to my son Sreejit (The Seeker’s Dungeon and Where Love Meets War) for encouraging /pushing me to start my blog.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Alphabet

In the early to mid 90’s, I made a needlepoint piece to frame and put in Amma‘s room the next time she offered a retreat near Seattle.  It consisted of a note that said “Amma, may each day we become more like you” and then listed the names of many of the local satsang members. It was written in Amma’s language, Malayalam!

At the end of the next retreat, we discovered that Amma had blessed each of us by putting some sandlewood paste next to our names.

The handiwork is now hanging at the site of our future Center.