snowy seattle?

Might snow tonight?
Here's an artwork...very 80s that I did
in college.


Thanks for contributing

I think this is a great way to share
family photos, recipes, artwork, news, etc.

I am enjoying posting to the blog and though I still don't know exactly how to manipulate copy and photos it is really fun. I just discovered that you can post comments for all to read. Please do...Please continue to send in anything you would like from your branch of the family tree. You can email me photos or other attachments or send them regular mail.

I'll post a family "tree" once I get it figured out...in the meantime please share this blog site with spouse's (significant others) families and relatives that I may not have sent it to.

Thanks now to

Susan Wray (sister)
Alexis Irvin (Ray's daughter)
Ray Skjelbred (Alexis's dad)

for sending in the poems printed here below


Three Poems

Shed of their leaves by Susan Wray

Shed of their leaves, the trees now reveal
their gnarled black
branches and the dun-colored sedges,
cattails and bracken offer a
monotony of brown.
But in this drabness flies the blue-cloaked jay and
vivid cardinal;
the red willow livens the marsh,
and the sun parts
clouds to light halos around the blown cattails.
There is a house around the corner so fallen into neglect
that the
barn has collapsed, showing its black whale ribs against the sky.
Sumac has grown through the windows of the front porch,
cracking out
the glass.
Even the mailbox has no door on it
and the letters must
bear the vagaries of weather.
A man and woman live there.
One day out
walking I saw him come out of the house
and he was dressed neatly and
his wet hair was parted and combed.

Susan Wray ~ 2007

Two Streams

by Ray Skjelbred,

Alexis's father~2000

Two Streams

In Lassen Park, if I do it right,
I can stand in two streams at once;
they look almost the same,
but one is freezing, the other, boiling.

On ever path I just walk on mercy the earth gives.
If you see me fall through---that's all right;
maybe the crust was supposed to be thin.

And in that quiet meadow I love,
the sky might turn red any time---
even the end of the world
would be a blessing that wouldn't surprise me.

Wherever I stand there is something I trust---
an arrival, a confluence, a world revising,
the earth getting ready to begin.

I can see my breath

A poem by Alexis Irvin ~2007

(Ray's daughter)

I can see my breath

Sitting quietly, high upon my mountain
a throne of snow cushions me as I watch the hills.

The opaque skies of winter should be oppressive,
but are not.
the forest breathes
strangely silent.

Each animal in his place nestled down and too,
they listen to the forest quietly breathing.
One brave woodpecker, intrepid little soldier that he is,
still works. His insistent noise echoes throughout.

Softly I sit and I can see my breath collect like small elegant fingers on winter’s foliage.
A small crack...
Standing just over there is this mountain’s buck.
Steam emanating from his every slow breath.

He is after all not in a hurry, this is his mountain.
Even a photo would be a theft for this fellow, who protects his hill with a glance, like a dare.
Slowly, as I hike down the hill, I can hear the wind soughing in the trees.

The occasional slide of snow falling off limbs, as the trees shake off the unwanted weight.
I think about this as I smile quietly in to my collar, this mountain is not mine, it is theirs.

Alexis Irvin, 2007


Winter Landscape

Black and white photos
I took a few years ago on a
visit to niece Joan Giuliani
in Milwaukee...
...street scenes in her old neighborhood near Lake Michigan.

J and J

Johnny Skjelbred and Jarek Fredericksen
on this Thanksgiving weekend.

The ferry from Bainbridge brought Jarek to our home. He is the middle son of Camille and Kevin Fredericksen (sister and brother-in-law of Bernadette Celestin aka Kipong and Brother John's daughter-in-law) who live in Washington and feel like family already.

Another J and J...

...Joad and Jack

Baby Jack (Joad and Erin's nephew)
a year ago ...

...Erin's sister, Robin,
and her husband Cedric's offspring
in the capable hands of Joad Skjelbred.

Host with the Most

Darlin' brother John
presenting an entree
that he no doubt
wrestled into the boat himself...

...a couple of years ago.

Aaron Celestin

Brother John and Kipong's
#1 Grandson!

Comic relief...
...in truth he is an intelligent, sweet
and very dignified young man.

...here he reminds us of a Wild Western
version of Emmet Kelly.

Our Johnny will visit the Celestins
over the Winter holiday!
Thanking them in advance. Thanks!


Turkey day in Washington

We are fortunate to have been invited by new friends to their elaborate and yummy Thanksgiving.

Lynn and Dennis included us in their celebration this year.
They have two daughters, Erin and Kristen, who are Johnny's age. Lynn graduated from San Jose State (with sisters, Jane and Susan) and is a Graphic Designer and Dennis writes poetry as well as doing something really complicated with computers. They relocated to Washington about 10 years ago.

Jane and Bill in Thailand

Sister Jane and Brother-in-law Bill Heine
are hunkered down in Santa Cruz for awhile.

Here' a shot of them
in Chiang Mai.

Blue Shadow by Susan Wray

another lovely landscape in the continuing series of pastels by Susan Wray.

As I am able to find them and post them.

Joan Giuliani

Joan Giuliani (sister Susan's daughter)
...where did you catch this salmon Joan? Lake Michigan?
Joan recently received her master's degree in Environmental Science and bought a new condo in Milwaukee, Wi where she works at Miller brewing and exercises like a demon!
Go Joan!


Katrina relief

Alexis Irvin (Ray and Ann's daughter)...that's her in the tank top...and just to the right are.. Hannah & Emily (Alexis & Ronnie's daughters aka Ray's grand daughters)...and a youth group pictured all around. This year they went to New Orleans to help with the restoration of sadly damaged/destroyed homes. Thanks for sending this in Alexis...and thanks for all the charitable work you accomplished with your crew.

Art Gallery

We are proud of Susan Wray!

First place winner in an art contest
Bronson Park ~ pastel, 2007

more of Susan's
stunning pastels to follow...as soon
as I can upload the images that I
have managed to hide somewhere
on my computer.

Art Gallery

Here's a recent work from Johnny Skjelbred

sharpie on canvas, November 2007

Lake Forest Park views

I took this picture
on Friday, November 16 stopping my bike to enjoy the view...
...it is the Burke-Gilman trail which is a 35 mile hiking and biking trail that runs along the west shore of Lake Washington.

It is a mile from our house.

Life is good!


too many projects

and in order from finished to start are:
final canvases:

copies of pressed leaves glued onto canvases:

pressed leaves.

Fun easy project!

destined for landfill

loved and discarded...salvaged from a thrift store...crumbling semolina with a heart of styrofoam...reborn under the scientific restoration of Elsa Von frankenstein...just in time for the holidays!

and the winner is...


A conical tribute to the 60s...a glittering restoration with love in every piece...and what you can't see is a sparkling rhinestone in the center of every wagon wheel pasta!

and the tasteful headress of sprig-like fernery!


Foodie fun

from Jessica VandeWater
(daughter of Jane & Bill)

What's in your Pantry?

Jessica's top three pix are:

1) Mae Ploy sauce: Really good with omelettes, fish, chicken, rice & veggies!
Ingredients: Red Chili, Sugar, Garlic, Vinegar, Salt.

2) Salad Spritzers by Wishbone: 1 calorie per spray (10 sprays for 1
gram of fat)! Taste great! Many flavors: Balsamic Breeze, Italian Vinaigrette, Caesar Delight, French Flair, (my favorite...really good with a shredded mix of cabbage, green
apples, cranberries and carrots ) Raspberry Bliss & Asian Silk! I use this in wraps, and to marinate and cook with!

3) Chili Peppers! Add a kick to any and everything! Capisin makes the
body work harder and it actually consumes more calories than it contains!

post above this one will be from Jessica also ...sending some foodie visuals we'll all enjoy!

Thanks Jessica.

Keep those contributions coming...pictures of yourself? baby pictures? your pets? family members? your home? your projects? your photos? your poetry?your artwork...your dirty laundry? ...well maybe not your dirty laundry.

What's in your pantry?

Elsa's top three pix are:

1) Bitter orange marinade ~ Goya
This 100% Seville orange concentrate also includes grapefruit extract and orange oils. Tart and bright!.. I use it in marinades (pork & chicken) , salads, dressings, cakes and cookies...wonderful in Asian stir fry, splash some into mixed drinks...wash your face with it!

2) Extra light olive oil ~ any good brand
Just discovered this oil and the little gadget in front of it (see picture) which is an atomizer for oils...has a filter so you can even scent your oils and it won't clog. Pump the cap to pressurize and spray it onto your pans for lighter flavor and lower calories. Especially good for oiling baking dishes for cakes and cookies when evo would be too strong. I also use it by the cupful in cookie and cake recipes... spritz it onto slices of eggplant and other veggies for broiling.

3) Candied Ginger ~ any good brand
I use Trader Joe's uncrystallized as it has a nice strong flavor. I'm never without it...chop it into curries, add it to corn bread mix along with a handful of minced pecans, goes into chutneys, marinades, curries, cookies and gingerbread. It is the all time best remedy for upset stomach when you pair it with saltines and sip a little club soda ...perfect seasick cure...always have it when I go deep sea fishing. Then there's mulled wines, glogg and teas.

Well...that's all for now, have a great day, don't forget to bookmark this blog...and send me your contributions when you have a minute. We're all enjoying this...so family members tell me.


Our First Entry...Susan Wray

Sue's top three staples:
Jiffy corn muffin mix-- This 33-cent box produces a light, gritty,tasty muffin everytime. I use it to make cornbread (put bacon grease an 8 or 9" black cast-iron skillet, place in 400 degree oven until
hot, then add batter and bake), or corn pudding (sinfully Midwest,
this recipe calls for 2 eggs, 1 stick of melted butter, a few
spoonfuls of sour cream, a drained can of chopped green chilis, a can
of cream-style corn, and some cubes of jack cheese and a chopped
canned jalapeno if you like. I can't remember how long to bake it,
maybe 45 minutes to an hour)....or throw some frozen blueberries into the batter for quick delicious muffins.

Grey Poupon -- Delicious, tangy, sophisticated, this mustard lends
flavor to deviled eggs, meat sandwiches, and salad dressings.
Its pillow-soft, creamy texture is without an iota of fat.
Amazing. I'm using it to replace Hellman's mayonnaise when I can. (Hellman's is another kitchen standard for us.)

Anchovies-- By far and away the most popular appetizer I've ever
served is crostini da provatura, which I think of as grown-up grilled
cheese. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice a baguette thinly --1/4 "
slices. Slice fresh mozzarella cheese into 1/4" slices. Place a slice
of baguette on a cookie sheet and place a slice of cheese on it; put
the next slice of bread and cheese just barely overlapping (kind of
"hooked on the bumper") the preceding slice. Do this until the pan is
full, which would serve about four hungry people or eight at a
cocktail party with other hors d'oeuvres. Place pan in oven until the
cheese barely begins to melt, about seven minutes (I think). If you
let it go too long, the cheese begins to toughen. Meanwhile, melt a
stick of butter in a saucepan and add seven finely chopped or mashed
anchovies) and stir these into the butter to make a sauce which you
pour over the crostini, when it is hot out of the oven and just before
serving. This recipe really should be served with red wine. And don't
even ask your guests if they like anchovies, just serve this.



What's in your pantry?
Marshmallow creme?
Thai chili paste?

Currant wine?
Steel cut oats?

Introducing a new segment and call for entries...
yes, another call for entries!

Please submit any photos (old or new), recipes, poems, prose, artwork, etc.something to share with family...to
elsabouman@gmail.com or send regular mail ~ 19526 40th place, NE ~ Lake Forest Park ~ Wa ~ 98155...I'll scan and return.
and now introducing
What's in your pantry?
Send in a list of three staples you have in your pantry, fridge or kitchen, would not be without and how you use them...I'll post it and we can all enjoy.


Family Pictures?

Call for photos, recipes, artwork, poems, etc.

Please email to elsabouman@gmail.com
anything you would like posted to my blog.
Family members only have the address
Fun way to share pictures!



Who's that glam girl?

Keeping the chill off in sunny Santa Cruz...
...it's sister Jane.


Fall leaf prints on canvas

Leaf prints project
Rob D. Brodman
Leaf prints of oak, sycamore, and smoke tree (from top).
I'm pressing some local leaves to create these canvases. I'll post the results when there done. Looks cool to me. Elsa


Stylish prints from fall leaves
Turn your favorite autumn foliage into contemporary art for your wall. Get our simple step-by-step

A single leaf contains a world of beauty. Bring a bit of nature's magic indoors with this simple project: Just gather a few of your favorite leaves on your next walk, flatten them under a book, then copy them face down with a color photocopier.

The resulting print, once glued to a canvas-covered art board (about $2), highlights a leaf's startling details, from its watercolor hues and treelike form to its intricate veins and delicate stem.

Look for unblemished specimens with beautiful shapes or variegated colors; we love the foliage of oak, sycamore, and smoke tree (pictured above, from top), as well as Japanese maple, Chinese pistache, and ginkgo.

Leaf prints step 2
Rob D. Brodman
Step 2
Leaf prints step 3
Rob D. Brodman
Step 3
Leaf prints step 4
Rob D. Brodman
Step 4
Leaf prints step 5
Rob D. Brodman
Step 5
Hang one perfect print for solo drama, or display several in a row. Plan on spending about $15 for the first project and roughly $5 apiece after that.


Fall leaves
Heavy book
Color photocopier
Sheet of white paper
Canvas-covered art boards (often used for paintings); 8 by 10 in. or smaller usually works well
Soft, flat paintbrush
Cloths or paper towels
Mod Podge or other decoupage glue (available at most art-supply stores); choose a matte formula
Craft knife
White glue
Small unfinished-wood craft frames (to use as hangers)


Step 1: Flatten each leaf slightly under a heavy book. Copy with a color photocopier (cover leaf with white paper to minimize shadows). Enlarge image to desired size.

Step 2: Select a canvas board smaller than the leaf copy. Dampen board surface by brushing with water and blotting off excess with a cloth or paper towel. While board is still damp, brush on a light, even coat of Mod Podge. Be sure to cover corners.

Step 3: While glue is still wet, slowly and gently apply print, working from one side of the board to the other. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to rub down the print as you go. When the print covers the entire board, continue to press and rub to smooth the surface. (Tip: If you want to try again with another print, wash off the glue and paper from the board before the glue sets, and start with another color copy.)

Step 4: Allow to dry thoroughly (ideally overnight) before using a craft knife to trim excess paper flush with the face of the board.

Step 5: Using white glue, affix the small frame to the center of the back to serve as a hanger.