What time is it?

We went to see the newly refurbished Territorial Sundial in front of the Washington State Library, the Joel M. Pritchard Building, on the Capitol Grounds in Olympia. It was just reinstalled in early January and rededicated on January 30, 2018.

Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonThe sundial was originally dedicated in January 1959. Sculptor and metal artist John W. Elliott (1883-1971) created the sundial with bas-relief panels depicting Washington’s history.  (Elliott also redesigned the Washington State Seal that appears on the state flag.) Originally installed in the 1950s, the sundial was in need of a number of updates. University of Washington emeritus professor and sundial expert Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan was a consultant on the project.

A sundial is made up of a flat plate and a gnomon (pronounced something like nomen). The gnomon is the part of the sundial that casts the shadow.

Want to learn how to read a sundial? There are handy instructions near the Territorial Sundial on the Capitol Grounds. Or check out Just Energy’s page.

Reading the Territorial Sundial in Olympia WashingtonDid you know that you can make your own sundial out of paper? Check out http://hilaroad.com/camp/projects/sundial/sundial_calculator/sundial_calculator.htm. You can also buy a pretty cool pocket sundial on Etsy.

You can keep up with everything happening on the Washington Capitol Grounds by following  Enterprise Services on Twitter and by following the Washington State Capitol Campus Visitor Services on Facebook. You can also sign up for email updates.

The Washinton State Capitol Grounds are beautiful and even in February, several things were in bloom. It’s a fun walk with lots to see and mountain and water views.

Shine on!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: In the low 30s again this morning — warming up to the 40s — and cloudy but no rain. We did some yard work today and it wasn’t too bad.

More books? Yes, please!

I know I have written about the Timberland Regional Library before but I think their semi-annual book sales deserve special attention. This weekend is the book sale at the Olympia branch.

  • Sale Hours: February 10, 10 am–4 pm; February 11, 1–4 pm
  • Location: Olympia Library, 313 8th Ave SE, Olympia

You can get early access to the book sale as a Friend of the Library. See http://www.olympiafriends.com/join/ for more information on how to join or buy a membership at the door. Donations can be dropped off to the library’s circulation desk. Please place your donations in a box or a bag. If you have a large donation–10 boxes or more–please make an appointment. If you have a lot of books and cannot bring them downtown,  email the book sale coordinator Irene at [email protected]. Your donations are also tax-deductible.

Fun fact: Between 1,500 and 2,000 of book donations go directly into the library’s inventory and onto the library shelves every year! How cool is that?!

We went to the sale to stock our new Little Free Library AND support the Friends of the Library. And let’s be real: we both love books.

Some of our finds:

  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Lady and the Tramp (based on the Walt Disney movie)
  • Two Night World anthologies by L.J. Smith
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowlings
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Northwest Gardeners’ Resource Directory

Coming soon to a Little Free Library near you!

It’s just $10/year to become a Friend of the Library; $15 for families and just $150 to become a FRIEND FOR LIFE. Woo-hoo! 

Save the date! The next Friends of the Olympia Library book sale is May 12-13, 2018.

Keep reading!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Colder this morning–31°F at about 6 am. Brrrrr. But we had highs in the mid-40s. And sunshine with no rain. Everything is a trade-off. I wore my sunglasses more than once today! #winning

Treasure Hunt

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.100″ background_layout=”light”]

Olympia has an amazing array of antique stores. Who knew? The Antique Vintage Association of Olympia and the Greater South Sound Area have a handy map and a website to guide your shopping adventure. We visited Courtyard Antique Mall, home of Orange Fresh Vintage and many other sellers. You could probably spend a few days here and not see everything. It’s jam-packed with goodies of all kinds. If you are new to Washington and doing a full-on embrace of your new home, there are some fun Washington-themed items to be had.

Some of my favorite things:

  • Metalwork in the shape of Washington including this framed piece and some fun metal ornaments.
  • If you are a geographer or just like maps, this pillow with a map of Washington is for you.
  • Olympia breweries are a popular destination and this six-pack holder is super fun.
  • Several mid-century modern pieces including this dresser from Orange Fresh Vintage (they also have a matching side table)

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery _builder_version=”3.0.100″ show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”off” fullwidth=”off” orientation=”landscape” zoom_icon_color=”#0d680f” hover_overlay_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” background_layout=”light” pagination_font_size_tablet=”51″ pagination_line_height_tablet=”2″ posts_number=”6″ gallery_ids=”575,574,576,577,578,579″ /][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.100″ background_layout=”light”]

Orange Fresh Vintage also has a lovely floral sofa that would have found a way home with me in my younger days, pre-big dogs.

There are 17 shops on the map in Downtown Olympia alone! That’s a lot of antiquing fun. Be sure to check out the site and pick up a map. And keep up with your favorites on Instagram or Facebook.

Be sure to check out Courtyard Antiques! They are open 7 days a week, 10 am – 6 pm
Location: 705 4th Ave E, Olympia WA 98506, 360-352-3864

Everything old is new again!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Colder, low to mid-40s BUT–no rain. And I saw my first robin! Spring is coming!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Griffin Athletic Fields

Griffin Athletic Fields TrailWe checked out the Griffin Athletic Fields and trail on Steamboat. Imagine playing baseball, soccer or football in a clearing in the woods. That’s what it felt like. I had the “build it and they will come” feeling.

There are three fields and a small playground with playground equipment. The fields have a large paved lot and there is a portable toilet. Dogs are permitted on a leash and dog parents need to pick up after their dogs. There are several signs reminding people that dog access is a privilege, not a right. So please, keep your dogs leashed and pick up after them.

There’s a trail through the woods that is quite beautiful and we enjoyed a quick hike. We will go back and try to cover more ground next time. If it weren’t for the sound of traffic you would forget where you were.

Griffin Athletic Fields TrailLocation: 6924 41st Avenue NW, Olympia

Hours: Most Thurston County Parks are open 9 am to dusk

Go outside and play!

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: Warm-ish but a little rain, nothing terrible. Even pulled out my sunglasses for the midday dog walk!

I heart coffee

There are a number of coffee shops and stands around Olympia and I have resolved to try as many as possible on my 365-day discovery of Olympia. I decided to start my coffee stand exploration with the neighborhood coffee stand, Steamboat Island Coffee. I was not disappointed! In fact, I wish we had stopped there sooner It has two drive-up windows which honestly is an amazing design for a drive-up place. We walked up because we had Mr. Barky with us. The guys working were super nice. I got a very good American and my better half got a chai. They even gave us a dog cookie for Mr. Barky. (He liked it very much and he is picky about treats.) Something for everyone!!

Location: 3403 Steamboat Island Road Northwest, Olympia, WA 98502

Hours: 6 am – 6 pm, Monday-Friday, 7 am – 6 pm on Saturday and 7 am – 4 pm on Sunday.

Love,
Oly


Today’s weather: No rain! Highs in the 50s. It’s 56°F at about 4 pm. G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S!

Our state flag

One of the things that surprised me when I moved to Washington was that all of the road signs that had George Washington’s likeness on them. I guess I should not have been surprised since the state is named in honor of our popular first president, George Washington.

One of my regular readers asked me to do a post about the state flag and I learned a few interesting tidbits. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, but the flag was not adopted until 1923. The Washington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution designed the first flag and pushed for its adoption. It has changed a bit over the years to standardize the colors and there was an update of the seal in the late 1960s.

It’s the only green state flag in the United States (but, hey–we are the Evergreen State) and the only one to depict a U.S. president. This depiction is also Washington’s state seal.

 

Yummy food ahead

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.98″ background_layout=”light”]

I love Vietnamese food. When I was a student at ASU, there was a great little place near campus. I could have eaten there every day. So I was happy to try Da Nang Restaurant on 4th Avenue in downtown Olympia. They have an extensive vegetarian menu and can make things vegan. We had a hum bao appetizer, a steamed bun that was fluffy white and filled with vegetables and tofu. I have never had this type of dumpling before–it was very good.

We shared the Tofu Phở and the Mock Chicken Stir Fry with Ginger. Everything was very fresh and the stirfry was flavorful without being heavy. I love Phở and am always excited to find a vegetarian version. As leftovers the next day, everything was just as good.

The fortune cookies, sadly, are not vegetarian but we enjoyed the fortunes nonetheless.

Good service and fast, nice interior. About $16.00 per person + tip. We are definitely going to be repeat customers.

Address: 116 4th Ave E, Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 534-9200

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 am-11 pm, Sunday Noon-10pm (always a good idea to call to confirm hours)

Ăn ngon miệng nhé!

Love,
Oly

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery _builder_version=”3.0.98″ show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”off” fullwidth=”off” orientation=”landscape” zoom_icon_color=”#0d680f” hover_overlay_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” background_layout=”light” pagination_font_size_tablet=”51″ pagination_line_height_tablet=”2″ gallery_ids=”545,547,546,544,543″ posts_number=”5″ /][et_pb_divider _builder_version=”3.0.98″ show_divider=”on” color=”#9da9a0″ /][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.98″ background_layout=”light”]

Today’s weather: Might have been wishful thinking but it felt like spring today. Temps in the 50s again and no rain. It was great. 🙂

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

More on Habits and Rituals

I just finished the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. The book features the work habits of over 150 artists, writers, composers, musicians and poets. The common thread throughout the book is the ritual of going to work as an artist. Many of the people featured in the book had a very set schedule and many were absolutely dedicated to the schedule. There are always outliers of course but I was more fascinated by the people who held rather traditional 9-5 jobs and found time to do their art and writing.

Something that I learned from both my Learning How to Learn class and Productivity Hacks for Writers is that you really do need to rely on habit (AKA  your zombie brain). We have limited stores of willpower and will quickly run through it if that’s the only tool in the toolkit. Habit, on the other hand, becomes more automatic. After taking the productivity hacks class, my latest habit has been to get up every morning at 4:30 am and write. And amazingly, I have kept this up for weeks now. Even more amazing – I even look forward to it. I have blogged every day in 2018  for my Olympia blog. So now I am on the lookout for anything that helps harness the power of habit to get things done. (My other early morning habits are meditating, gratitude journaling and unloading the dishwasher and the drying rack. On even days, I add a workout to the routine.) Believe me when I tell you that it’s easier to do things every day or on a regular schedule.

Last week I read a post on cleaning your house in 20 minutes a day in the Apartment Therapy blog (which I love and recommend: no apartment required). And you guessed it: it relies on habit, making cleaning an everyday habit. But before you get the wrong idea, it’s not a clean your house in 30 days and never have to do it again recipe. Instead, it’s a habit-forming plan to make cleaning an everyday thing so that it doesn’t pile up or leave you with a full Saturday of housecleaning chores. The post includes a 30-day checklist of chores and we started it on February 1. (I know, I know, that’s funny.) So far, so good. It’s easy to do and it makes a difference.

A little nature therapy

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.98″ background_layout=”light”]

We visited the Yashiro Japanese Garden in Olympia this week. The garden was completed in 1990 as a joint project of the Olympia-Yashiro Sister City Association and the City of Olympia. It’s one of the many parks and trails maintained by the City of Olympia. It’s just under three-quarters of an acre tucked in beside the Olympia Municipal Court on Plum Street in downtown Olympia. We’ve driven past it several times and we finally arranged a time to stop and check it out.

Even in early February, the park was quite beautiful and the hellebores were in bloom! Actually, a number of plants had buds and I felt like we were standing at the edge of early spring. The park is a small but tranquil oasis.

The park was designed by Robert Murase, a landscape architect. Born in San Francisco in 1938, Murase was a third-generation American of Japanese descent. When he was just three years old, his family was imprisoned in an internment camp during World War II. After his family’s release at the end of the war, they returned to San Francisco. Murase later earned a landscape architecture degree from UC Berkeley. Murase furthered his study at Kyoto University in Japan.  When Murase passed away in 2005 his colleague John Nesholm called him a “poet of stone and water.”

Learn more about the sister city association. This website also lists volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping to maintain the park. (I thought the origins of the modern sister city concept was interesting.)

Location: 1010 Plum Street SE
Admission is free, hours are dawn to dusk. Download a park brochure and map.

Nature = joy. Get outside!

Love,
Oly

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_gallery _builder_version=”3.0.98″ show_title_and_caption=”off” show_pagination=”on” fullwidth=”off” orientation=”portrait” zoom_icon_color=”#0d680f” hover_overlay_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” background_layout=”light” pagination_font_size_tablet=”51″ pagination_line_height_tablet=”2″ gallery_ids=”528,526,525,529″ /][et_pb_divider _builder_version=”3.0.98″ show_divider=”on” color=”#9da9a0″ /][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.98″ background_layout=”light”]

Today’s Weather: What a difference 5-10 degrees makes! It’s drizzly today but not cold. Makes me happy. 50°F for the morning dogwalk! 52 at about noon.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

State Bird of Washington

Whenever I move to a new place, I always try to learn the local birds. One of the first birds we saw when we moved here was a bald eagle which feels to me like winning the bird watching lottery. A very large owl landed on a tree in my yard and took an uncomfortable interest in my dog. Since then, I am cautious even though my dogs weigh in at 50 lbs. or more. That owl looked like he wanted to earn his badass merit badge.

The state bird of Washington is the Willow Goldfinch also known as the American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis). The goldfinch was selected as the state bird by school children in 1951 (1). I recently bought a Nyjer thistle seed feeder and I am glad to know there is somebird that will enjoy. (I realize I should have done that the other way around. I got excited.)

I read an article that suggested feeding birds in the winter so they will help you would with pests in the spring and I thought that sounded like good advice. I love birds, my parent’s influence, I think. When I was younger they were part of the rare bird alert calling tree and would go out and look for rare birds. I thought that was pretty nerdy but now admit that I might do the same thing. Only now, we would just text the rare bird alerts. There is some controversy about bird feeders but I listen to my birder mother’s advice and feed birds in the winter. The rest of the year, I try to provide plants that offer food and protection to my bird friends. And it looks like the goldfinch population has benefitted from humans and their feeders.

Special thanks for the goldfinch photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash.

Be kind to our bird friends.

Love,
Oly

PS Please support free access to information by supporting the Wikimedia Foundation.


  1. McAuliffe, Emily (2003). Washington Facts and Symbols. Capstone Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7368-2277-0.