Time Marches



And it’s getting on March already.  March madness in basketball. The march of the daffodils all over my neighborhood.  And always, the march of time.  I’ve been spending this past week in the time warp of my childhood home, helping my mom sort out some of my dad’s things.  There’s something especially poignant about seeing the rows of socks and neatly folded underwear.

We threw out, recycled, shredded and/or prepared for donation quite a bit of stuff.  But there were still a few things I couldn’t yet bear to trash. An empty bottle of Polo, a men’s cologne that my dad would always wear.  Some scraps of writing when he was still with it enough to write.  A few white undershirts for me and my sisters to wear in the summer when we spend the night.

Because I keep some clothes here for when I travel, I am often surprised (out of sight out of mind) with what I have available.  here, this fun striped sweater worked well with a blue skirt I had brought.  And then I found one of my mom’s hats.

Like many, many things I owned, the striped sweater came courtesy of my sisters who tend to shop vintage and resale.

It’s still cold here, and I’m ready to head back to the relative spring of the Pacific Northwest. I’m also heading over to a few of my favorite link ups: https://meadowtreestyle.com/  and  Visible Monday 



February zing!


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My talented friends bring the zing to February

We’ve been throwing this winter party for maybe ten years now, where we invite our friends to celebrate the winter, strut their own talents and applaud others’. I’ve written about this party before, here  https://travelindigo.wordpress.com//?s=chautauqua&search=Go, and you can read about the Chautauqua in more depth  here or  http://www.ciweb.org.

This year we had several poetry readings, nonfiction recitations, piano pieces, and singing.  It loses something in translation to try to write about performance, I am in awe of critics who can capture the nuance of a concert in a few paragraphs.  Suffice to say, it was fun and inspiring as always as our spirited performers and audience members took full hold of the evening and made it their own.

Following is a melange of pictures (and a poem) celebrating that night.

Chatauqua 2018

Winter has her chilly grip upon us
once again we look for signs of spring
against the greying sky frosted with snowflakes
we find the western sun still, a-waiting

a few more minutes to her credit every day.
The sun bequeaths her lengthening to shadows
from which we know the weather soon will change
then ripening the quickened root and branches.

Throw doors and windows open to the blowing
between the snowdrifts you can smell the earth
Together then, within this house we’ll gather
take vernal gifts from other’s handiwork

we’ll whisper, spring has come, in every subtle motion
til real leaf and flower burst in ripe commotion.




My outfit


Close up on the feather fascinator


Heading over to Hat Attack to see what’s on Judith’s head this month. And I’ll head over to Visible Monday when it’s up next week!


The February Slog


I don’t know if its because I spent all my energy traveling, or because it’s February but I have felt like I am slogging through fog this month. I usually tackle all kinds of house projects (lets clean the basement!) but no.  I am committing myself to writing at least a page a day of a novel I’m working on – committing sounds much better than ‘trying’ doesn’t it.

I am getting out. David and I have had several ‘date nights’ this month where I shrug myself out of lassitude and get dressed, like this:

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The vesty thing you may have remembered as one of the things I had made in Senegal. I am quite pleased with it.

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And, every Monday I head over to a workspace to repurpose flowers at the The Bloom Project.  I may have written about the project before which uses flowers leftover from wholesale dealers and grocery stores to put together bouquets for people in hospice.  The day my dad died last year I was not near him, unfortunately 2,000 miles away, but I was sending beauty to other hospice patients through my work that day at Bloom.

It is strange to have a vibrant loved one fade before your eyes.  It reminded me of child development, how kids first learn to babble, then sound words, then talk.  Or learning to walk when they start with scooting, then crawling, then standing and low and behold they are walking.  With people dying it is just the reverse, they are folding back in on themselves.

I’m not sure my dad would have appreciated the flowers, he was not that kind of nature/beauty lover. But my mom would have. So I imagine my bouquets bring joy to someone in the last phase of life or their families.


On this homebound day (it snowed!) I’m going to check out Visible Monday

Think outside the bouquet


In my work and creative time, I am a floral designer (well in some of my work time).  I tend to not let this spill over into the Travelindigo blog because  this is where I talk about all kinds of other things.   The difficulty comes in when I want to share the same topic in two different places.  So with this post, I point you to another post, this one on Valentine’s day and flowers.

I love flowers. I love foliage, greenery, gardening.  All of the things that take us back in touch with Mother Nature and with the importance of the earth. I love flowers because they also put us back in touch with the cycles of life and the sense of impermanence that really does exist, even if we chose to close our eyes to it.

Flowers (and plants) emerge, bud, come to fruition and flower, seed, and then fade.  No matter how much we try to extend the life of a flower, especially a cut flower, it will always come to an end. Just like our lives.  And if we are lucky, our span of existence will be as graceful as a flower as it slowly lowers itself back to earth.

Not everyone gives and receives flowers as gifts. I get that. Some people think its a waste of money because the flowers will die (Hey, what about food, we just eat that. Isn’t that a waste? Because we just die). Others because flowers take up land that could be used for growing food. Or because they have never thought about gifting flowers.  But flowers are the beauty in our lives and we sorely need a boost of beauty, sometimes quite often.  My flower blog has the tag line: When you have only two pennies buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.

I’ve seen this sentiment echoed in a number of cultures in a number of ways. It is not enough to have nutrition for our bodies, we also need food for our souls. Art, style, music… and flowers are that sustenance.

So here’s a little excerpt:

It’s fun to put together a bouquet using the language of flowers. For example, put together a bouquet of  red roses (passion,) red tulips (love). Alstromeria (devotion), stock (beauty) and ivy (let us bind together).  A card reinforcing the message is all that’s left to deliver your floral poem of love.

and check out my other blog, Rooms in Bloom if you are inclined for some thinking outside the bouquet for Valentine’s Day.


A poke to February

Because I am almost back to “normal”

Because there was a full moon

Because it’s already February

Because black and red go well together

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Because I love hats.

I was gifted with a box of hats at the holiday and am wearing one of these beauties.  More to come.

Heading over (after a hiatus) to Judith’s Hat Attack


What to wear, what to want to wear


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We were gone for a month and in three weather zones: Chicago, Dakar, Paris. In other words way below freezing, temperate and windy, and moderately cold and rainy.  I like to pack light.

To my advantage, I had access to my sisters’ wardrobes for Chicago and my daughter’s for Dakar. But I needed to have a solid background of items for myself.

Turns out I did pretty well. Although my traveling companions saw the same outfits day in and day out.

To be fair the middle outfit is my daughters.

I did all right in Dakar and Senegal where no matter what I was obviously a tourist.  But of course in Paris, what I really wanted to be wearing were these lovelies:

French clothes 3

French clothes 2

French clothes 1

Nonetheless I must have looked somewhat different than the usual traveler, having been mistaken for a French speaker at one of the museums. Of course I was wearing black.

I did have three articles of clothing made in Dakar, which is always fun. Two were based on an existing piece of clothing. And one from some African fabric my husband bought.





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Third piece

I am now curating what I brought to be better prepared for the next trip. There were a few things I ended up never wearing. And I few things I wish I had had (more underwear, low cut socks).

Jet lag is almost done and I’m back to my normal sleep schedule.  Time to figure out what’s blooming in the garden. And to plan the next trip.


In getting this post ready I stumbled on this website: http://dresslikeaparisian.com/blog/. I haven’t checked it out very thoroughly but I am intrigued.



Paris, in the winter

From the smoggy sun of Dakar to the soggy streets of Paris. A brief winter visit to the City of Light which was, surprise, still lit by Christmas.

The streets were still full, albeit less full than in summer. The Seine was full, much more than in the summer. And The Louvre, well we didn’t have to stand in line and got 20 minutes to ourselves in one of the galleries.

We put on our puffy coats, and promenaded as best as we could. (It’s darn hard to look chic in a puffy coat.)

Some selections from the streets and Musées.

Anna and Ashley
Puffy coat brigade overlooking the Seine


Monet and Dada together?  In a manner of speaking. Same museum.


Sometimes the Louvre itself is more interesting than the art.



Outside, trees are bare and the Seine is flooding.


The tip of Île de la Cité is under water

Sometimes you just see things differently. Either because they were put there deliberately,


Or because they found you out somehow.

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Animal figures
Anthropomorphic animal figures at the Musee Quai Branly
Notre Dame at night (2)
Notre Dame at night

And then there are the things you don’t notice until way after you’ve taken the photo– in this case how like palm trees these buttresses are. Taking me back to Dakar.

Palm trees in church


From the end of the trip, to the start.





On the artist trail



Besides the typical clothes/food markets and the artisanants where traditional craftspeople make and sell objects (often tourist souvenirs), Dakar contains an artist colony, the Village des Arts.

This artist colony was a self-initiated effort some years ago (1977!) by working artists who needed a place to do their work. I found this fascinating as a deeper look into its history shows it was also a self-governing space, “unofficial” in its status with the government.

It is now has some government support. Not every artist can work here so the quality is high.  In the ateliers we visited, there was a nice combination of large and small works, painting and sculpture.

Our adventurous cab ride took us through some interesting parts of Dakar. Witness the “tire factory”



M’sier greets you near the entrance –


He has had a fuller past apparently, in old photos I’ve found he is holding a drum.

My photos are primarily of the outside space.  I felt uncomfortable taking photographs of artists in their studios so concentrated on outside shots and few in the gallery.

Sculptural works of various kinds are found scattered in the garden.  A shout out to my welder friend Angie for a future project.






Possibly my favorite picture


I found an interesting in depth article on the Village and one of its artists done by an American professor here.

The need to create is everywhere.

Feeding Frenzy



Everywhere we went in Dakar there was evidence of building. From rubble piles to sand in the streets, to cranes dotting the city skyline.  I’m not sure who’s going to live in these places in the city but it was evident that a building frenzy is occurring.


Building was not limited to Dakar (and Saint Louis). Projects of all sizes were  seen whenever we did a countryside trip.  One of our acquaintances  told us that people often put their money into building a new house, even if they could not complete it. It also tied up available, liquid cash — so no money accessible for loans or gifts to family members. (This might seem harsh but in some countries and cultures, money is to be spread amongst close and extended family members if needed. This is a way to minimize that possibility.)

Interestingly enough, in 2012 houses built for less than $60,000 did not require a building permit (cuz I’m a geek and did some research) which could account for some of the building.  But probably more likely to be relevant to the building boom in Dakar is the investment of the global north (including China — the big elephant now in global real estate investment.)  Basically, urban areas in Africa are being viewed as good investment areas as governments make it easier (and lower the risk) for international investors. There’s a market in the growth of African cities and a strong push by organizations like the World Bank for local governments to make investment easy, appealing and risk-limited.

Having traveled a bit in the developing world, I’m more than a little sad to see that the rush to development seems to impose a “western” ideology in places where perhaps development could still happen with a more indigenous approach. Does it really do the local population that much good if it ends up selling its birthright (land for instance) for tax breaks and short term monies? I’m not economist or a development thinker, but I wonder if selling out just wraps a city (or country) in a (pollution-choked) shroud, lowering the life span and overall standards for most people in the service of the 1%.