1. Hi Patti,
      When I first came to Seattle with my sister Constance, we would make a day of riding the ferries–picking a new destination each weekend. It is just one unique aspect of living in the Seattle area, which I LOVE. And working with kids of all ages is also a treat, and sometimes a kick in the pants. They will always say what they’re thinking, and I scored really big at a library last Halloween, when a little Sleeping Beauty broke away from the pre-school costume parade to give me a hug and the ultimate compliment. “You’re a…a…a PINK PRINCESS!”

  1. You have a wonderful eye for detail, Naomi, and I thank you for sharing it with us. You and my wife would have much in common in that regard. Those early morning hours can be tough, but have much beauty to offer us.

    1. Thank you, Tom! Your eye for detail is one of the reasons I enjoy your letters from China. I think to be a good storyteller, you have to be an observer. It has served you well, and I’m so glad that you share that appreciation of all things, great and small, with your wife. Best wishes!

  2. I loved the patterns, especially the hallway curving to the left with the empty seats, row after row. I’m glad your battery held up as long as it did – you got quite a few nice shots!


    1. Thank you, Nancy! I love that shot too. The boat was rolling a little, (and so was I) when I snapped it. I could have corrected it with IPhoto, but I thought it captured the feeling of water beneath the boat. So good to hear from you!

  3. Felt I was right there too! Good to hear about your storytelling. Blue day synchronicity – what a feeling!

    1. Dear Meg,
      I’ve been thinking of you, wondering how you are. So good to hear from you! I know when it comes to storytelling, you have been there, and done that, and understand the feeling. Love to you, dear friend!

  4. It’s great that you had the foresight to take your camera. The shots on board the ferry were especially cool. How many times have I been on one, and not paid attention to the ferry itself? Thanks for the reminder to look around, because the best view is not always the one outside the window.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      So good to hear from you! Blogging has helped me think of my camera as something more than just a way to document family vacations. Even a routine ferry crossing turned out to be really visually compelling and thought-provoking. Thanks for taking the time to visit, and share your thoughts. You always have an interesting perspective.

    1. Hi Sue,
      I didn’t know if anyone would catch that, but the coincidence of those numbers made quite an impression upon me. Being an experienced cake artiste, you will understand when I say that it was the icing on the cake of a very delicious day!

    1. Hello! and thank you for your visit. I think one reason last Wednesday’s performance made such an impression upon me was because just the previous Monday I had put my son on a plane for Argentina. I was missing him, but determined to make the day a positive experience.

    1. I think you would be a very fun travel companion. I know from your wonderful blog, and your really unique photos that you have a great eye for the interesting and unusual! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

    1. We have a wonderful time. The Baltuck/Garrard Family Storytellers are whichever Baltuck and Garrards happen to be in town for the booking. Eli left on Monday, I had my solo shows in Sequim on Wednesday, and on Thursday, I presentedin tandem with my husband Thom at an Edmonds elementary school’s family reading night. My daughter Bea is also an excellent teller. When Eli was away at college, Bea and I often performed together. Even rehearsing is fun when we get to do it in good company.

      We tell some original stories, and when I perform alone, I sometimes tell personal stories. But when we tell in tandem, whether for children or an adult audience, it is usually our own adaptation of a folk tale.

  5. WOW. What a way to spend with your son. Glorious pictures to remember your long day. I love the boy who came up to tell you,” you’re a beautiful girl.” Makes your heart melt, doesn’t it.

    This is awesome as was the whole post, Naomi: “…stuck to me like little velcro teddy bears”. I had to hug myself. If my grandkids weren’t still in bed, I’d go hug them.

    1. Thank you, Tess. I knew you understood exactly what I felt when you felt the urge to hug your grandkids. There is something so sweet and pure about a child’s simple expression of gratitude and affection, and it does melt the heart to be the fortunate recipient of the same. I was missing my own grownup son, having just packed him off to Argentina for nine months, and somehow this was a reassuring message from the universe that my kid-hugging days were not over! Thank you so much for your wonderful comments!

  6. Dear Naomi,
    I had tears in my eyes when I read the reaction of K-5 kids to your performance. Even when I imagined a little guy telling that “You…you…you’re a beautiful girl!.” What a praise for, I am sure, a wonderful sharing of your wonderful stories. i guess some fifties cry instead of smiling! But you are the best.

    Naomi, when I can find all your stories including a big bunch of those I missed because of many “obviously” valid reasons!!! Are they on your facebook? Please respond!!! I will read in my “free” time. I love them because they reflect exactly my feelings but I can’t express them like you do.

    1. Dear Dorota,
      Thank you for your beautiful message! It is always sweet to hear from you. If you tiptoe up to Natalie’s room, on her shelf you will find a book of my stories called “Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers.” I love every story in that collection, and am proud to say that it earned four national awards. I am working on another anthology of stories to live by. You will know for sure when I’m done with that one. See you soon!

    1. Dear Cathryn,
      There is nothing quite like it, is there? It reminds me of a children’s picture book called Five O’Clock Charlie, about a retired draft horse in England that escaped through a broken fence every day at five o’clock, and trot by himself to the back of the busy pub where his farmer/ owner used to take him after a hard day’s work in the field. Charlie would stick his head in the back door and whinny to the cook, who would give him an apple tart and a kind word, just like always. That farmer never did get around to repairing that fence. I don’t think there is any such thing as a retired storyteller, either! Thank you so much for visiting, and sharing your thoughts.

  7. Fun read!

    I usually get jealous, reading your blog, since you’ve traveled to many places I haven’t, places I’ve longed to visit for many years, so it was nice to see all these great images and read the details about places right here in our Western Washington backyard!

    1. My adopted grandmother Vi Hilbert was an Upper Skagit Elder. She said the Creator made the whole world, but came to live here on Puget Sound, because it was the most beautiful place in the world. I believe her!

  8. Lovely photos, lovely day …. wonderful seeing Eli performing.
    Thanks for your wonderful blog!
    Looking forward to seeing you in person this Spring.

  9. that’s one of the nice things about a ferry, that it moves without your having to drive… more opportunities to study the sidelines. Too bad about the battery… you should know that when you don’t have a camera with you, or a battery… that’s always when you see the most incredible things. Loved the picture of you and your son. Can’t say the same about the portrait, though. I would have liked to see a better image of you… especially now, that I know you’re a beautiful girl (I thought so anyway).

  10. I loved this! Very well done, I didn’t realize that there was a special name for that time of day…but it’s beautiful! Thank you! It looks like a very tedious way to travel, but at least you found some fascinating moments in the day! Have a great week!

    1. Hi Becky,
      I love to be on the water. On nice days, there is time for a stroll on the deck, and all the water traffic to watch. Always boats and seagulls, sometimes seals, and once I saw a whale splashing thunder with his fluke. Inside there is usually people watching, which can be even more entertaining!

  11. Naomi, I quit my camera when three things happened. I realised I am not a great photographer and secondly my battery can not be re-charged and I lost quite a few rounds of photos but have not really missed them in a great way. I have my phone, but when I go somewhere new or even around my haunts I have a different outlook when I am only taking it in for myself and keeping it in my mind’s memory. I have found so many things just can not be experienced in a camera. Certainly I get it when you say you enjoyed the day without the lens between you and the views!

    oh and wonderful post, as usual!

  12. The the photos.. I’m sure i knew that you were in this area.. but the pics brought back so many fun memories of taking the ferry across the sound. The beginning also reminded me of when I used to participate in the writing fair at Whitworth Uni.. and then while in my Master’s program we had to host the same fair.. so much fun.

    1. That sounds lovely. The ferries were so marvelous to a native Detroiter. My sister and I used to ride them back and forth for fun, not even getting off. I would love to learn more about your writing!

      1. I can’t remember the exact name of the writing fair. I think it was just the Whitworth University Writing Rally. It focused on bringing K-6 +/- and parents into a writing festival. It often focused on a specific children’s author and there would be a presentation. After the presentation, the kids would break into age appropriate groups and would go write their own story based on a loose theme. We would supply all kinds of art materials, paper, a variety of methods to bind the books. It was an awesome experience. I think more areas should have annual or bi-annual book writing fairs. So fun for the adults as well.

  13. That’s awesome that you do that for kids. They don’t need a whole lot to feel enjoyment, but when you’ve made them laugh or smile it’s the best feeling in the world! In a lot of ways I believe they do more for me than I do for them. 🙂

  14. “You…you…you’re a beautiful girl!” kids are so uplifting. what a day maker!
    i remember my first young author’s conference like it was yesterday…yet it’s been nearly 30 years! priceless!
    i loved reading about your trip to the peninsula and would love to see the pix you “squeezed” out of your near-dead battery.
    i also love how you take small details and turn them into memorable delights!

  15. “You…you…you’re a beautiful girl!” kids are so uplifting. what a day maker! i remember my first young author’s conference like it was yesterday…yet it’s been nearly 30 years! priceless! i loved reading about your trip to the peninsula and would love to see the pix you “squeezed” out of your near-dead battery. i also love how you take small details and turn them into memorable delights! ~linda

  16. I felt every excitement, adventure, fun and discovery in your words and images my friend. I imagined that I was riding the ferry too, seeing, feeling , appreciating, reflecting on life and all. “Nothing is more fleeting than those precious moments between night and day, just at twilight and just before dawn.” Thanks for sharing your stories and that of your wonderful family.

    1. Thank you! I found that dress in a little shop in Ferndale, CA on the way down to drop my daughter off at college last September. It has been a year of goodbyes, but tomorrow she is coming home from spring break, and I am really looking forward to it.

  17. Still catching up with you 😉 Loved this, the kids, the photographs…6:04 and 4:06 are not coincidences…there’s a word for it I know but I can’t remember it now. I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful time and more hugs across the internet and miles for you…Pink Princess Beautiful Girl! Love, Mary

    1. Dear Mary,
      I hear you! I am SO far behind, with my sister visiting, but am sneaking an early morning to catch up too! Thanks for the visit. You know, I was struck by the numbers–don’t know what it means, but I love to think it is more than coincidence. Thanks so much for your uplifting message. Hugs to you and your little royal family!

  18. Hi Naomi!

    I hadn’t commented on any of your blogs until now, but I’ve been reading them for a couple of weeks now. Of those that I’ve read, this is one of my favorites.

    PS: I don’t like to use my name on the internet, but this should effectively tell you who I am: I participated in a reenactment of the Burr-Hamilton Duel with your daughter a little over two years ago. I was Hamilton.

  19. Hi Z!
    I remember it well, and it still makes me laugh. I hope you are doing okay. Maybe you can e-mail me privately and tell me about your summer plans. I hope we can get our families together, but first I need you explain to me the strategy behind competitive Mexican Train Dominoes!

  20. I LOVE riding the ferries and enjoyed your happy story. I’ve never been there but I understand Sequim is in a rain shadow and enjoys a lot more sunshine than other communities along West Washington.

    1. Yes, there is truth to the story of the Rain Shadow. Lots of people go there to retire, as it gets more sunshine and the cost of living is much less than in Seattle. Thanks so much for the visit, and for sharing your story here.

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