The Surprise Beauties of Winter

There’s one thing about Northwest winters: beauty and hope in all the nooks and crannies when the days are long, dark, and often under a silver dome of mist. (Granted this year we’ve had a stunner of blue skies, sunset/rises and moon views.) But as we dive back into winter weather, here’s a look at some winter eye candy. I took these photos in mid January.

When the trees and bushes lose their foliage there are an amazing amount of twigs and limbs that turn into beautiful paint brushes — purples, golds, reds. Check out this humble leafless bouquet of brilliant redness:

red twigs

On one of our gorgeous afternoons I took a walk and caught a royal trinity: Mt Rainier; sun set; moon rise.

mt r


moon rise

Blooms aren’t just for Spring! There are winter blooming chamellias, as well as rhodies, and more so keep your eyes peeled.


And look at all this hope just bursting out of the hard cold ground!


There are also these mysterious sweet scents that come from god-knows-where walking down neighborhood streets. Keep your nose on alert.

Less than 2 months until Spring!

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Happy birthday Dyllan!

Oh,  Dyllan Bug Grace Newton, how can you already be four? Look how your limbs and hair — all that hair! — have grown. You are a gorgeous girl inside and out.

We miss you here on Mercer Island and can’t wait to see you this summer — we’ll do a belated celebration, OK?

Here’s a photo opp to show you off to everyone and plug some wedding pics.

First, since you’re growing and blooming so fast here’s a recent pic in your birthday dress (Poppy picked it out!):
dylls 6

And here’s a medley of your beautiful self from the wedding celebration — you were a great flower girl! (Reprise this summer?)

dylls 5 dylls 4 dylls 3 dyllan 2 dyllan 1

We love you Dyllan. May being 4 be the bestest year yet.

Piece of cake.

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Lights, Knives and Back to Normal Times

We had such a fun and festive holiday season this year. Steve really outdid himself with the decorative fluff. My favorite was the Christmas palm tree. (Note: Christmas tree decorated by Liz Rosen, the only person we let do our trees.)

North Pole inside, SoCal outside, that's how we roll.

North Pole inside, SoCal outside, that’s how we roll.

And about a week before Christmas we got our snow day and naturally the city just about shut down from the 2 inch dusting. Which we totally support.

Our Snowy Solstice.

Our Snowy Solstice.

Inside, Santa gave our kitchen utensils a dash of color with this rainbow knife set. I’m easily pleased by visual candy. Of course, the irony isn’t lost on the fact that *I* was given *knives*. So, there might have been an incident where someone dropped a kitchen knife on her foot while vacationing in Australia et al et al. Oh details.

Color therapy with an edge.

Color therapy with an edge.

It is, however, a wise idea to wear covered shoes in the kitchen. Or outside in 40 degrees.

Sort of a knife whiz. Although my foot was shaking.

Sort of a knife whiz. Although my foot was shaking.

Today we Steve finally get to dismantling our holiday lights on a clear beautiful day. It’s been cold, dry and the mountains are in need of some snow. Normally you’d see a white line of hills over thar.

Looks like July, feels like January.

Looks like July, feels like January.

I came home from doing some necessary weekend chores walking with a friend and buying expensive extra-curricular items at Whole Foods, and saw that Steve had gotten down to business. Sniffle sniffle

Bye bye Christmas balls.

Bye bye Christmas balls.

Oh, that’s okay. Now, we get cozy and wait for Spring.

Back to Normal Times.

Back to Normal Times.

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I said yes I will yes

…the sun shines for you he said

the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat

the day I got him to propose to me yes

first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago

my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath

kissingyes he said I was a flower of the mountain


and that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes

that was why I liked him

because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him

and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldn’t answer first

only looked out over the sea and the sky and I was thinking of so many things he didn’t know … of sailors and the Spanish girls and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire

and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain


and I thought, well as well him as another

and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes Wedding T and S Large-91

and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower

and first I put my arms around him and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes

I said yes

I will


Best "yes" ever.

Best “yes” ever.

This is the very end of James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of my favorite passages in literature. My friend Kirsten Kennedy read it so beautifully at our wedding. Go experience this gorgeous soliloquy from a movie version here.

Wedding T and S Large-340

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The Newtons are coming! The Newtons are coming!

It’s count-down time, on a number of fronts.

On Sunday eve, Mercerwood home gets a big fat family love injection as Erica, Dan, Dyllan and Ellie come to visit and stay with us for a few weeks. We can’t wait!

We’ve shared a roof a few times already and so far we’ve proven to be splendid housemates. I love hearing the sound of the younguns in the AM. It’s the happiest sound in the world.

It’s going to be a girly household — four girls, two boys. Watch out Steve, there will be LOTS of talking in the upcoming weeks. Oooh, I better do my vocal exercises.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come. Everyone, come on over for a visit!

Wouldn't you be excited to share a roof with these lovely beauties?

Wouldn’t you be excited to share a roof with these lovely beauties?

We're in for a good Newtonian injection of FUN!

We’re in for a good Newtonian injection of FUN!

Oh, the wedding you ask? 25 days to go and:

–Erica is going to give a reading. Yes, you CAN write an original poem as long as it’s under 15 minutes.
–Dan is our lively MC.
–Dyllan is a flowergirl.
–Ellie is going to offer up some kind of comedic moment where she ________ when Steve __________ and Tatyana __________s. As she should!

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The Rings, the Rings!

Another matrimony preparation surprise:

After picking up our wedding rings, I can’t stop thinking about how excited I am to start wearing it!

Here’s an excerpt from a short conversation we had after I got home from work last night:

S: How was your day?
T: Great!  [pause]  Shall we try on our wedding rings?!

[The sound of feet running down the hall to the hiding place.]

Here’s a peak of what Steve’s ring …

A bit of a hellion, my Steve.

A bit of a hellion, my Steve.

… probably doesn’t look like.

29 days to go!

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We Have “Just a Piece of Paper”!

Today we went to the Issaquah Community Service Center (with complimentary metal detectors and bag searches) to get the official documents for our marriage license.

We were one of three couples there — the other two a lesbian couple. I wanted to give ’em a whoop and high-five but didn’t have the nerve. I sorta love that I waited this long to get married just to be able to stand in an equal-rights marriage paperwork line!

We filled out a couple of docs that asked questions I’ve never answered, namely the birth names of my parents, and their birth countries. It looks like this:

Narelle Ryan                    Boris Bistritzky*
Australia                            China

I’d never seen this information written down on paper before.  When I slid the paperwork back to the admin person, I thought I was going to get an arched eyebrow and a “come with me” while they inspected this strange alchemy of my parentage. I guess I’m not the only American girl with parents born in foreign countries, dur.

To make sure we don’t forget the docs on the day-of, I stashed them in the same place where we’re “hiding” our wedding rings (and tried my ring on in the process — BEAUTY!).

In other garden-y news – a GIANT dahlia lady has sprung to life from our very own flower beds:


Size of my head — no kidding!

And here are two of the three lemons we grew on our Meyer lemon tree, no big deal took for frickin ever. We used them on salmon. Yummers!

Our jabberwockyMEYERLEMONbabies

Donated to salmon bbqs


*Hope I spelled that right, Dad.

Posted in Family, Look at that!, The personal stuff, Wedding! | 1 Comment