Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Sign

I just read a Christmas poem by Rachel Held Evans that I think I'll print out and carry with me each day of this next year.

Here's the first stanza:

You will find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes
Wrapped in flesh
Wrapped in blood
Wrapped in bone
Wrapped in the calloused hands of a carpenter’s son
Wrapped in scandal
Wrapped in genocide
Wrapped in poverty
You will find Him

Read the rest at Rachel's blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Things to Do in December

* Enjoy sparkly lights everywhere--on trees, houses, even boats (in Portland, there's an annual Christmas ship parade on the river)!

* Drink plenty of warm cider, peppermint mochas, hot buttered rum, and of course, Echinachea Plus if it's cold and flu season.

* Sing a few festive songs and carols -- we did that today with people from Crossway Church at our local Salmon Creek hospital.

* Hug someone who needs an extra hug or two.

* Take an action that's a little out of your comfort zone -- maybe throw an open house for neighbors or volunteer to watch a child for a single mom while she takes an evening to herself or anything else you might dream up. And then tell me in the comment section what you did! I'll let you know what I end up doing too.

* Write a poem about winter or God or candy canes or anything even remotely connected with December. Read your poem to at least one other person!

* These easy Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds make a tasty gift:
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cold water
4 cups whole almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Oven @ 250 degrees. Lightly grease 10 X 15 inch jellyroll pan. Beat egg white; add water & beat until frothy but not stiff. Add nuts and stir until coated. Mix sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over nuts. Toss to coat and spread evenly over pan. Bake for 1 hour in oven, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool & store nuts in airtight containers.

Those are my ideas. Feel free to add more.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Leaves, They Are A'Falling

Almost all the leaves are down and we've mulched the garden with several barrel-fulls of poplar leaves. However, these fiery fall colors come from a tree on the Seattle Pacific University campus. Anna and I visited last month, since she's not yet sure where she wants to attend college. Other options include California or Florida, but I'm not sure how many out of state visits are in the budget.

Murphy loves having a front lawn again! Every time we come back from a walk, he rubs his face in the grass and then rolls around in the soft green.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cinque Terre

Looking back at photos from March 2008, I realized didn't really post any from our Italian trip to Cinque Terre. Jeff and I hiked between the five cities--all built on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean and connected by walking trails. We stayed in the middle city, Vernazza, in a small B&B. I ate fresh calamari at least four times! Lots of fish, pesto, and good wine, as you might imagine.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frankfurt Book Fair 2009

I'm in Germany visiting our oldest daughter, who lives in downtown Heidelberg. Earlier this week, I drove to the Frankfurt Book Fair and spent the day. My favorite part of the visit: watching the exhibitions put on by China, the guest of honor for 2009.

This dancer changed masks about fifteen times, I kid you not!

Lion dancers -- One guy for the back section of the lion, another for the front section. Talk about coordination.

This man played beautifully. A simple stringed instrument, but quite a range of sounds.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The California Redwoods

On our trip up the California & Oregon coastline last month, we drove through the redwoods. I can't remember ever seeing them before. Although my father told me we saw the trees when I was younger. Must have been the aborted trip to San Francisco when all four of us children misbehaved so badly that our parents threatened to return home early if we didn't shape up. I didn't believe them (neither did Dan, Beth, or Susan) --but Mom and Dad kept their word! So I must have been sulking on our way through the big trees... Note to younger self: sulking never helps.

A gorgeous sight. Glad I got another chance!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Murphy Monday--A Little Swiss Flair

Murphy's showing extreme patience. But he realizes extra treats may come his way if he poses.
The red cap is from Switzerland. Don't you think it suits him?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eye Candy

Go to this link to see some gorgeous book covers.

Wish I could figure out a way to talk Powell's into giving me the leftover book promotion posters--that's what I'd use to wallpaper our house (not necessarily kidding)!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wrathful Bridesmaid

Clicked on "A Dress A Day" and found a wealth of silliness, especially today's post: Wrathful Bridesmaid.

If that's too insane for you, check out the vintage dresses and various accessories.

PS. Just found the zipper dress on the same site, made from a one hundred yard long zipper. And it's actually pretty!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Seattle With Emilia, Javier, & Jaime

David is here for a week with Emily, and I drove them up to Seattle yesterday for them to check out the U of Washington. On the way, we made sure Emily got up close to the Pacific Ocean (ok, Puget Sound, but that qualifies). Another high point: the Seattle Public Library! It's an architectural marvel.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Het Cadeau (The Gift)

This morning I found a brown package on my doorstep, containing the Dutch copy of my picture book! Anno Domini sold the rights to publishers in the Netherlands, and so I expect it will be out there this winter.

Now all I have to do is take a quick course in Dutch... Betsy, maybe I should call you up?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Triple Murphy Monday

Well, I know it's been forever since I posted, so here's a triple bonus.

Believe it or not, I'm still unpacking boxes. This morning, going through an old box of my children's dress-up clothes, I came across this pink feather boa and couldn't resist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Geek Within

OK, I realize I'm revealing the total geek within, but I love old letterpress machines and boxes of metal type! This photo is from the 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair. One entire building was devoted to photo and art books, with a display of old printing presses, handmade paper, engravings, and paintings on the top floor.

Do any of you know what kind of type this is? I wish I'd asked more questions at the Book Fair. Too late now.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Cake Wrecks

Cake Wrecks recently featured various cakes based on picture book characters. I'm partial to the Babar creation. Although this "Wild Things" cake is wonderful too.

Photo from Coco Cake Cupcakes

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Our son, David, graduated from Calvin College on May 23rd with his biology degree. He plans to stay in Michigan and work for the next year.

Here, David with Grandma and Grandpa Cutter, who've driven cross-country to each of their grandchildren's graduations. The Cutters still have one grandchild left to go (our youngest, who won't be out of college for six more years). At least they get a breather in between.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

War Horse

This play, WAR HORSE, uses intricate horse puppets, requiring 3 people to operate each one. Watch how they move--quite miraculous.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shades of Pink And Ivory

This is one of my favorite flowers. I've forgotten the name, but it reminds me of grandmothers and lace.

It's been fun discovering the varieties of greenery in our new yard. Ferns, hosta, rosebushes, rhododendrons, azaleas, day lilies, water plants, and more.

And there need to be herbs around, so I've already planted lavender and rosemary. Basil is next. Because pesto = food of the gods.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Making Connections

I'm trying to find other people who write poetry in the Vancouver area, so last Thursday, I attended a Poet's Workshop at Fort Vancouver public library. About 9 people showed up and the leader gave us 2 different prompts:

1. Write a six word poem.

2. Fill in the blanks in a poem where most of the words have been removed. This sounds simplistic, but it's actually a good method to add some surprise to the writing. I just forgot to ask which poem the leader cut up--it'd be interesting to compare.

Afterwards, many of us went out for a drink or dinner at a nearby restaurant. I enjoyed connecting with the varied bunch of folks. Quite an age and personality range, from a boisterous high school teacher to a retired pirate type guy who used to cruise around and look for gold in the Caribbean.

While I'm on the topic of poetry, did you know that President Obama is hosting a poetry party at the White House? Good for him!

Also, the Poetry Daily site posts lots of excellent poems.

Monday, May 04, 2009

What's Going On In Vancouver

Just a brief update:

* It's barely over a month since we moved into our north Vancouver neighborhood. The house now has a new roof and I'm still finding roofing nails in odd places like the shrubbery and slats between deck boards. No bare feet outdoors.

* A duo of frogs has taken up residence by the fish pond in our backyard. At first, their "ribbett riddee" sounded quite charming. Now we're getting a bit tired of the constant barrage from their froggy throats. But the funny part -- Murphy thinks a HUGE creature must be making all that HUGE noise -- so when the frogs start up their nightly chorus, he rushes outside to see if he can ambush monsters. If he only knew; these frogs are hardly an inch long!

* I saw my nephew Austin play in a rugby game yesterday. Rugby rules are still unclear to me. But how can the bottom person in the pile (I think it's called a scrum) survive all that squishing?

* People actually say "hi" to strangers here on the street. Almost fainted the first time that happened, after living in Germany for four years.

* There is no good English word to substitute for stau (traffic jam).

* I found some potential walking partners and take my first walk with them tomorrow morning. Yes! After several months of hotel stays and restaurant food, exercise is a priority. Unpacking boxes might fit into the category of aerobic exercise, but I need a little more intensity. Plus it's fun to talk and walk.

* That's all I can think of for the moment.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


The strange ways of engineers.

Jeff's work group has declared Monday to be a Jellopalooza day. This means they need to bring in all types of Jello dishes--the weirder, the better. One of the guys Jeff works with has a favorite recipe for Jello mixed with bits of Spam.

See what I mean?

He asked me if I had any ideas for Jello creations, but I have vowed to never eat Jello again--must have overdosed on it in my youth. I do remember pouring an entire box of the stuff over vanilla ice cream and eating it. Thought it a delicacy back then. Ugh!

Any thoughts are welcome. Jello jigglers are a possibility. But not Jello shots; they need to finish the work day in a sober frame of mind.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

This Speaks To Me

You need to click the little arrow in the bottom left corner for the video to run...
I guess what hits me so strongly is the thought of helping to "heal our world." And I love his accent!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hyperlexia Journal

For the past week, I've been unpacking boxes in our new house (circa 1972) and trying to become an official Washingtonian; ie, get my state driver's license, among other things--complicated because my passport is issued in my pre-marriage name, Laura, and our long-absent marriage license cannot be found to prove otherwise--so Vital Records, here I come.

Anyway, it's time to post! The Cutter family hasn't dropped off the side of the earth or morphed into some new dimension, regardless of what you might think.

I have another poem out in a brand new literary journal, Hyperlexia. They post "poetry and prose celebrating the autism spectrum." Take a look.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Happy 40th anniversary to "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle!

Many a bedtime was spent reading this picturebook to our children and waiting while they poked their fingers into each hole the caterpillar had nibbled. I think they used to know the text by heart.

Bright sunny colors, collage, and whimsy--Carle's artwork in a nutshell.

Here's a video of the illustrator and author talking about the making of his well-loved book.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I liked the animation on this video for Megan Washington's song, "Clementine." Lovely voice too.

Found it on Lenzi's blog:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Odd Warnings

In our instruction manual for a newly purchased hair straightener (one that heats up after it's plugged in):


I assume the company's afraid buyers will sleepwalk and then electrocute themselves in the midst of beautifying. All while still deep in sleep, of course.

Monday, March 09, 2009


"A kind heart he hath. A woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart."
--William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor

"Poetry is either something that lives like fire inside you -- like music to the musician or Marxism to the Communist -- or else it is nothing, an empty, formalized bore around which pedants can endlessly drone their notes and explanations."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald's letters to his daughter Scottie

"You are ice and fire the touch of you burns my hands like snow"
--Amy Lowell

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Strength In What Remains

You can bet I'm snatching this book up the day it comes out from the publisher.

Deo grew up in the mountains of Burundi, and survived a civil war and genocide before seeking a new life in America. In New York City he lived homeless in Central Park before finding his way to Columbia University. But Deo’s story really begins with his will to turn his life into something truly remarkable; he returns to his native country to help people there, as well as people in the United States.

Strength in What Remains is a testament to the power of will and friendship, and of the endurance of the soul.

Murphy Chicken-Legs

One of the family nicknames for our dog is "Murphy Chicken-Legs." If you look even briefly at his photo, you'll see why. Murphy has such cute drumsticks!

Don't know if he's double-jointed or what--but it makes me chuckle when Murphy spreads out on the floor like this. Our tabby cat, Seashell (God rest his soul), used to do it all the time, but I didn't know dogs were as flexible.

Maybe he should take up yoga.

And just because I think it's funny, a bonus link for you:
"A Cure For Chicken Legs" from Men's Fitness. Found it when I googled chicken legs.

Another website offers Gummy Chicken Legs Candy. I quote their ad: "Nothing hits the spot more than a hearty candy chicken leg!" Uh-huh.

OK. That's enough.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Overheard in a conversation about the school nurse at our daughter's high school:

"She's allergic to latex. Oh, and she hates needles and doesn't like blood."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Singer of Strasbourg

I have an essay online at The Banner -- The Singer of Strasbourg. My piece was accepted awhile ago and then sat in the files, so I was surprised when a friend emailed me today, "Congratulations on your article!"

Nice surprise.

* The stained glass window photo is from inside Strasbourg Cathedral.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


A few photos to prove that the sun does indeed shine in the Northwest in February. Although today, we're back to sheets of rain.

These sculptures stood in the courtyard between a hospital and the medical clinic I visited a few days ago. Vibrant red--a fittlng color for any health facility, eh?