The Scent of a Lake in the Mountains

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. Diane Ackerman

My favorite childhood summer scents all conjure up memories of water.  Fresh, salty and earthy they all say summer to me. Lake water mixed with mountain air brings back hiking and camping trips and salty air places me immediately on an Orcas Island beach building driftwood forts while listening to gentle waves rolling across tiny pebbles.

A third water based scent memory is also one of my favorite new words, petrichor.

  Definition: “A pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Even though the Pacific Northwest is known for its wet weather the truth is we rarely see rain in the summer so I most associate petrichor with the scent of sprinkler water bouncing off hot earth under a bright summer sun.  To this day Petrichor still means fun, splashing, and if we are lucky, popsicles and ice cream.

Do you have any favorite summer scents?  If so please share below!

Mountain wildflowers in Washington State's Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park: Colorful Mountains and Meadows Filled with Wildflowers

Mountain wildflowers in Washington State's Olympic National Park

It’s August in the PNW and that means every day we have available is spent outside enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds us.  This year our summery blue skies have been filled with a toxic mix of wildfire smoke from around the world ( Siberia, Canada, Washington, Idaho and California) but with some careful planning and a lucky stretch of wind we had a clear day to visit one of my favorite places in the Olympic National Park.

If you’re in the park I heartily recommend the drive up to Hurricane Ridge.  Views from parking lot are amazing, the lodge is filled with great information and knowledgable rangers and there are a variety of trails for all levels of hikers.  We spent our 20th anniversary hiking to the peak you see at the top of this image, whew, and this year we returned to enjoy the lower section of the trail while gazing up at the peaks, relieved we’d already climbed it so we could stop awhile and literally smell the flowers.

I’ll post more photos from the day soon but today I hope you enjoy our moment of zen in the meadow of flowers along the trail to Klahhanie Ridge.

Moss On Stone

“There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents. This is what has been called the “dialect of moss on stone – an interface of immensity and minute ness, of past and present, softness and hardness, stillness and vibrancy, yin and yan.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

From our hike to Mason Lake via the Ira Spring Trail in the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest.  Preserving places like this is one more reason why we must protect our National Parks and Forests.

2015 in review

Here it is – my WP year in review. 🙂  It was sweet to see that my busiest day of 2015 was on my Grandma Emma’s 97th Birthday and her “round the world virtual birthday card” was the third most read post of the year.  My #1 was one of the first posts I wrote in 2013 about my favorite places in Washington State and #2 was Grandma’s 96th Birthday Card.  Family and travel resonate with all of you and I truly value your support and friendship.  Thank so much to all of you for a wonderful year here at Northwest Frame of Mind!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 23,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Wishing My Beautiful Grandma Emma a Happy 97th Birthday!

One year ago today I thought it would be fun to write my Grandma Emma a happy birthday post in honor of her 96th birthday. I hoped she would enjoy seeing her photo and name in my blog and smile at the thought of this unique birthday card created just for her.  One year later I’m pleased to report she thoroughly enjoyed being the center of attention here and a quick look at my 2014 stats reveals readers around the world agree her long life is something special and deserving of celebration.  Grandma’s 96th birthday card was my third most viewed post of 2014 and the photo below is of her reading through all of your kind messages.

 Grandma at 96

Two of my favorite things about Grandma are her adventuresome spirit and beautiful smile.  If there’s a costume around she’ll give it a try but she’s always been ready to make the most of any photo session.  Here she is playing with her sister, having fun with a hula costume, posing with my Grandpa on their wedding day and in the line up as a member of her high school’s state championship winning basket ball team.

Grandma lead an active life farming, raising three boys, working as a typesetter for the local newspaper and golfing weekly until her mid 90’s.  She even found time to drive a go-kart around the fields and Model T’s in the summer parade.

Grandma’s days are a little quieter now but I’m thrilled to once again have the opportunity to wish her a Happy Birthday.  I don’t think she’ll mind if I quote myself from her 96th card as the sentiment remains the same.

Her feisty spirit, good heart and caring personality have carried her through a life full of twists and turns with both beauty and grace.

Keep your chin up and keep smiling Grandma, we love you!

Last year Grandma was the talk of the retirement community when word got out about her online card and all of the wonderful messages from lovely readers around the world.  If any of you have a few words to share with her this year we will arrange for her to see them and I know she’ll spend an enjoyable day reading each and every one.

The Virtual Blog Tour and NW Frame of Mind

Virtual Blog Tour 1

Last week I received a lovely message from Sally at Lens and Pen by Sally extending an invitation to participate in this Virtual Blog Tour.   The purpose of the tour is to introduce bloggers to a wider audience by answering a series of four simple questions related to their current and future work.  New posts are added to the tour every Monday and to keep the series in motion we are asked to nominate a new blogger to take part the following week.

1. Why do I write/create what I do?

Really this is supposed to be question #3 but the photo above doesn’t make a lot of sense without the answer so I’m taking creative license and jumping ahead.  I’ve always felt lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and as you can see my exploring days started as soon as I could walk a trail with my own backpack.    I’ve made many return visits to Artist’s Point with Ryan and John but this is the view from my first trip up to the top of the Mt. Baker Highway.  Before publishing my first blog post I spent a lot of time thinking through my motivations to pin point if I really had anything unique to share and if so would anyone find it interesting?  After a few months of thought I decided to use NW Frame of Mind as a way to capture what I see during  my daily life here in the corner of the country.   Since these pages are full of my personal point of view they are by nature unique and I hope my enthusiasm for our surrounding beaches, mountains, forests and towns comes through in the images I choose to illustrate our adventures.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, since I’ve kept the focus of this blog on my personal views of the Pacific Northwest that should serve to keep it at least slightly different from others of its genre.  I’ve been thrilled to discover so many great people sharing their experiences in this area through blogs but only I see through my eyes and when Ryan and I sit on the beach or the three of us escape weekend chores to take a walk I’m the one snapping pictures and thinking about how I can compose a new post to share the moment with you.  Happily I think this approach works when we travel outside of the area too since I’m by default looking at new surroundings through the point of view of someone who spends most of their time by the water and evergreen trees.  My photos from the southwest part of the country may be quite different from photos taken by someone more accustomed to the geography and climate.

3. How does your writing/creating process work?

I take most of my photos with my iPhone and occasionally pull out my little point and shoot camera for a change of pace.  Since these two cameras are small and portable but limited in their abilities to capture big landscape vistas I’ve adapted my workflow and photo choices to make the most of what I have.  Typically photos are edited before I post them, usually because I have fun with the process but also because sometimes what I see in the moment doesn’t become visible in the finished product until after I’ve tweaked things a little.  I have some favorite Lens/Film combinations in Hipstamatic that I use a lot and my first step for editing is always Snapseed.  After this I try a few new variations with at least one additional editing app just to see what I can do and finally, I chose my favorite to post.

4. What am I working on?

People who know me in real life never ask this question, my list is always too long!  If I narrow things down a little and stay focused on mostly blog related things I can share that I spend part of every day working on my newest venture, the 1 Day 1 World Project.   Participation grows every week and I’m so happy to see the idea catching on and traveling around the world.  Tonight I’m also working on my latest Black and White iPhone Monday post and I’ll admit I don’t have a clue what I’m going to post for Wordless Wednesday.   Slightly off blog topic but exciting none the less I hope to have an Etsy shop open by the end of the year featuring something completely new… more details to come when I’m ready to share. 🙂

The final part of my Virtual Blog Tour post is to introduce you to a blogger I enjoy tremendously.  Meghan’s blog at is full of her fun, vibrant and creative spirit.  Meghan is an artist who loves color, design, motorcycle riding and living life to the fullest but really, her tagline says it better than I can:  All about Mirth, Art, The Art of Life… and Two Cats and a Cattle Dog.

Virtual Blog Tour 2

Since I opened with an old family photo, I’ll close this long post with another peek into my past.  Most of you probably don’t know I’m the oldest of four kids, some of you may know I learned to drive in a VW Bus and quite a few of you read my post wishing my Grandma Emma a Happy 96th Birthday.  All of these elements are here in this one image.  I’m the barefoot one in the front surrounded by my brothers, sister and our first dog, Sam.  Our grandparents are behind us by their camper and we are getting ready for a fun family get-away exploring my favorite part of the country.  Sharp eyes might notice the red VW Bus in the background and hidden in the corner is our VW Bug.  My childhood and my blogging inspirations together in a snapshot. 🙂

Happy Earth Day 2014

Earth Day 2014

Our April showers paused just long enough for me to take a walk this afternoon and snap some photos of our spring blooming trees in honor of Earth Day.

My fingers are crossed hoping these wet days really will bring more May flowers…

World Book Night 2014

WBN 2014

World Book Night is almost here and I really excited to announce that we will be joining the 25,000 volunteers across the United States giving away free books on April 23rd 2014!

 Below is some great information from their website,

What We Do

World Book Night U.S. promotes and celebrates reading, literacy, and community. Every year on April 23rd (Shakespeare’s birthday), 25,000 volunteers across the country distribute 500,000 specially-printed, free adult and teen-appropriate paperbacks to light and non-readers. Handing out the books person-to-person in their own cities and towns, the passionate volunteer “givers” are book lovers who find the experience empowering, enriching, and life-changing—and the recipients (re)discover the magic of reading with a book they can call their own. For many, it’s their first book ever.

How it Works

Each year, 30- 35 books are chosen by an independent panel of librarians and booksellers. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed World Book Night U.S. editions. Bookstores and libraries sign up to be community host locations for the volunteer book givers. 

After the book titles are announced, members of the public apply to personally hand out 20 copies of a particular title in their community. World Book Night U.S. vets the applications, and the givers are chosen based on their ability to reach light and non-readers. The selected givers choose a local participating bookstore or library from which to pick up the 20 copies of their book, and World Book Night U.S. delivers the books to these host locations.

Givers pick up their books in the week before World Book Night. On April 23rd, they give their books to those who don’t regularly read and/or people who don’t normally have access to printed books, for reasons of means or geography.

Not only is April 23rd Shakespeare’s Birthday and World Book Night it is also Ryan’s 13th Birthday!  Before we applied to be volunteer givers I asked him how he felt about spending part of his birthday giving away books and he said it would be the best present he could think of.  What a great kid. 🙂  Ryan helped me choose our location and our top three book choices and is happily telling everyone who will listen that will be giving away 20 copies of a great Young Adult novel,  The Raven’s Warrior by Vincent Pratchett.

I know I have a few readers from the Seattle/Edmonds area and if anyone has a chance to stop by Marina Beach Park it would be great to see you!  I’ll post specific times soon and if we need to change the location due to weather I will leave a note on my Facebook page.  A link is here and at the top of every post.


Wishing my beautiful Grandma Emma a happy 96th birthday.

Grandma Emma

Last year my entire family and several hundred good friends gathered in Eastern Washington to celebrate Grandma’s 95th birthday and today I am thrilled to say we can wish her a happy 96.  Her feisty spirit, good heart and caring personality have carried her through a life full of twists and turns with both beauty and grace.

Keep your chin up and keep smiling Grandma, we love you!

The Little Things

Ryan is an enthusiastic collector of little, quirky things and his hands are never far from tiny objects ready for a quick touch during the day. This habit and the inevitable pile of stuff on every flat surface in his room causes more than a few arguments when it comes time to clean but our compromise of a series of boxes and baskets usually gets us through at least a monthly dusting.

Ryan asks for a Christmas tree in his room every year and my typical reply is that we could get a small one but what would he put on it for decorations? This is usually the end of the conversation but last weekend John and Ryan walked in the door with a big box and huge grins on their faces. Together they bought a 4 foot tall, pre-lit aluminum tree and proceeded to decorate it with all the bits and pieces stashed in his drawers, boxes and baskets.

I have to agree it’s a fun way to show off some of his treasures and where else will you find a silver tree decorated with an assortment of zombies, monsters, aliens, dinosaurs, key chains, wind-up hopping lederhosen, plastic snakes and Speed Racer’s Mach 6. Does anyone else remember this show? We have the old TV series, the new movie and of course the hot wheels cars…

A Perfect Day for Paddle Boarding

Last Sunday we filled our backpacks with swim suits, towels and sunscreen and walked down the hill to the Edmonds – Kingston Ferry for a day of fun on the water.  I tried and failed many times to photograph a pod of Orca whales so you will just have to take my word for it that we saw them on our ride to Kingston.  It was such a treat to see the whales jumping through the water with Mt. Baker in the background.

Kingston is a cute little town built around the harbor and is full of restaurants and ice cream/coffee shops catering to the ferry travelers.  We had a great lunch at the Kingston Ale House before paddling and then cooled down with ice cream on the way back to the Ferry.

If anyone in the Puget Sound area is looking for a great way to spend the afternoon I encourage you to check out Kingston Adventures. They rent Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUP’S) by the hour as well as Kayak and Mountain Bikes plus they have awesome kids camps and guided trail adventures.  I have to plan my next trip around one of their sunset paddles!

Our return trip to Edmonds shared the water with two huge cruise ships on their way north to Alaska.  Another trip on my “some day” list…  All in all a perfect day in the Pacific Northwest.

*This post is my 100th here at Northwest Frame of Mind and I want to share a heartfelt thank you with all of my readers.  I continue to be surprised by how many of you around the world are interested in this corner of my life  and am so happy you are sharing a few minutes of your day with me.   My first seven months as a new blogger have been a blast and I am looking forward to my next 100 posts!

A Word A Week Challenge: Boat

In honor of our 4th of July holiday and in response to Sue’s A Word A Week Challenge: Boat I have four photos from a family boat trip celebrating the 4th of July, 2002. These images are scans from old film prints and I like the scratchy texture and vibrant colors from my days before digital cameras.

Ryan and I on Bellingham Bay.
Ryan and I on Bellingham Bay.
Ryan and my Dad.
Ryan and my Dad.
Ryan with my beautiful Grandma Emma who recently celebrated her 95th birthday!
Ryan with my beautiful Grandma Emma who recently celebrated her 95th birthday!
Happy 4th of July
Happy 4th of July