Happiness Runs…

She’s baaaaack!  My Scottish-born friend Meg Philp

…who lives Down Under

…made a quick trip Up Over last week.

After presenting at a conference and performing in Victoria, Meg came to Seattle for a quick visit.  She’s always up for anything.  Meg has a storytelling blog, and was glad to see what she could learn during a photo walk in the Edmonds Marsh, with Diana Scheel of Cat in the Moon Photography.

At the waterfront we posed for a group portrait.

Diana left to collect first prize in a photo contest in Shoreline (Yay, Diana!) while Meg and I snapped shots…


…and far.


On previous trips, we’d been proper tourists.  This time we enjoyed simple pleasures near home.

We picked ripe raspberries for breakfast each morning, and the occasional blueberry.

We went out to play with our friends….

…and had a picnic of fish ‘n’ chips while watching the sunset from Brackett’s Landing.

We walked around Green Lake…

…where we saw flora…


…and some big water toys.

We hosted an evening of storytelling, with a potluck and a “crack,” as Meg says–good talk and fun between friends.

Meg treated us to a set of stories that had us all laughing and left us wanting more.

Good thing there was an open mic. Patty Zeitlin kicked off with the story of The Watts Towers in LA, and the song she wrote about it, Castle in My City.  I felt honored that she chose to celebrate her 80th birthday with us that night!

My brother Lewis had the audience in stitches with “The Twilight Phone.” Lenore Jackson told a funny and touching personal story, drawing a parallel between her Texas childhood and Sleeping Beauty’s briar patch.  When I told my story of childhood in Detroit, a guest recognized the street names and we discovered that she’d lived only blocks away.  She and I attended the same elementary school on the other side of the country!   What are the chances?

Meg and I also taught each other some new songs: it’s what we do.

We sang a camp song based on a Donovan song, a lovely round that goes like this:

Happiness runs in a circular motion…

Life is like a little boat upon the sea…

Everyone is a part of everything anyway…

You can be a part if you let yourself be.

We had a five day run of happiness, and before we knew it, it was time for Meg to pack for the trip home.

We had a parting glass…


…and went to the train station.

Instead of a caboose, the last car of the train was a locomotive, identical to the one in front that pulled the train forward, except that this one faced backwards, which makes return trips much easier.  I took it as a good sign.

Safe travels, Meg!

All words and images ©2016 Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Travel Theme: Harmony.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Opposites.


  1. How fun! I Especially like the idea of friends sharing stories, the “parting glass” photo, and the idea that the locomotive in the place of the caboose will make return trips easier!

    1. Hi Maureen! Thanks for the visit, and for sharing your very kind response to this post. The house is quiet, but it’s a perfect opportunity to dedicate the day to a final edit of my novel–a gift to myself.

    1. Hi Priscilla! I didn’t know it was a Donovan song until I looked it up a little while ago–I learned it when I was a counselor at Montecito-Sequoia High Sierra Camp for girls and assumed it was a folk song. I look forward to the day we can all sing out together, and I am certain you would fit right in! I love seeing your comments on Meg’s blog–it is really a good feeling to know that two friends from wholly different spheres have found each other and ‘clicked.’

  2. Such a joy filled post – and hearts to Meg -‘also -did u notice the suitcase looks like it has a smile – there is a happy face with the handle !!
    That just goes to show u how happy this post felt ! Ha!

      1. We’ve been so fortunate to have Meg here two years in a row, and this third visit was a perfect windfall, with her accepting an engagement to present at a conference just a few hours north in Victoria.

  3. Hey Naomi. I was there!
    Read this lovely post and thought … is this really me? You know that Burns quote ( which loses a bit being translated into formal English) “O’ would some power, the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us?”
    Thank you our time together, for this kind gift, for your great photos and for the flow of your writing – real treasures. M

    1. Oh, I love that Bobby Burns! We certainly managed to pack a lot into a short time, Meg–so much more than I could have include in one short post–you on the floor sorting out my pots and pans by size, a walk with our Kiwi friend, sunning on the deck, the Duck Pond, the Little Libraries, your wonderful stir fry, that first delicious carmel macchiato, telling stories to the neighborhood kids every time we stepped out the door, and many good book talks with Thom. The best gifts are two-way gifts, where everyone gives and everyone receives. Thank you for a lovely time! Thom is always both benefactor and beneficiary, as he enjoys the energy in the house. My only regret is that we never got to sharpen up our ping pong skills! Next time!

  4. Thank you, Naomi. Even though I am here near Munich, Germany, it feels as if I were actually a part of the storytelling event and Meg’s visit. Judith Alexander

    1. Hi Judith,
      Thanks for stopping by. Oh, I wish you could’ve been there, but we always feel your presence in spirit–I think I told you that your name came up–always with appreciation– at the annual meeting. It was a very good concert, and a fun evening. I think you will be here for Pat’s house concert–that will be a blast too.

    1. HI Jill,
      Yes, we had a lovely time–we always do, and I don’t feel too bad about saying goodbye because we are going to meet with another friend in Scotland next fall. Thanks so much for the visit. I hope you are well!

    1. Hi Judith!
      We wished you could’ve been there, too.
      It was a quick visit, but your name came up more than once! Meg wished you were here to go swimming with, and my bathing suit is waiting here in the drawer for you! Let me know when you are coming back to the NW, and also–can you please send me the link to your TED talk?

  5. I’m sure Meg will love this post Naomi. Well captured as always.

    Donovan’s still performing and selling out venues here in Europe.

    Hold on, camels in Australia? 🙂

    1. Yes! There are about 750,000 feral camels in the wilds of Australia. They were brought over from British India and Afghanistan in the 19th century for heavy work and hauling in the outback. I photographed these while hiking in the vicinity of Uluru. And, Roy, I had no idea that Donovan was still around! Thanks, as always, for your kind words.

  6. Ah, what a life you have! There’s nothing better than sitting around a table with old friends and loved ones, telling stories and laughing heads off, is there? Got to do a little of that m’self the last couple of weeks, but oh my your friend Meg seems a pistol–a good match for you, I gather!

    1. Hi Kathryn, Thanks so much for the visit. Yes, a kitchen table and a cup of coffee is a perfect setting for wonderful times. I loved hearing from you–and I can tell from your response that you absolutely get it. So glad you had more of the same. (And, yes, Meg is a pistol, a kick in the pants, a very good sport! )

  7. You know when you ‘see’ an old friend in comments and you just have to stop by? 🙂 🙂 Halloooo, Naomi! Great to find you still enjoying life.

    1. Hi Jo,
      Thanks for stopping by. Still having fun, although it’s different with the kids off on their own adventures. We still manage to intersect–had a great trip to Cuba last March with Bea and Eli, and will go up to Alaska to help my sister build an art studio this summer. But Eli is in Central America to teach and travel, Bea is in Scotland on a writing retreat, and by September they will both be in Mongolia for ten months. I guess it’s time for Thom and me to do a little traveling in Asia!
      How have you been? I hope you and your family are well!

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