Winged Victory Monument

One of the many things to see on the Washington Capitol Grounds is Winged Victory. Created by artist Alonzo Victor Lewis (1886 – 1946), Winged Victory honors veterans of World War I. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1938.

The impressive Winged Victory Monument depicts the goddess Nike, also known as Victory, hovering protectively over four figures, a sailor, a soldier, a marine, and a Red Cross nurse. More than 21,000 U.S. Army nurses and nearly 1,500 U.S. Navy nurses served in military hospitals in the United States and overseas during the war. There were 116,516 U.S. deaths during World War I.

There are four inscriptions on the monument:

  • East facing side: “To the memory of the citizens of the State of Washington who lost their lives in the service of the United States during the World War 1917–1918”
  • North facing side: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend”
  • West facing side: “Their sacrifice was to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world”
  • South facing side: “They fought to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom, and democracy”

Winged Victory
Winged Victory in 1938 [Photo from the Washington State Digital Archives]
Public art has the remarkable ability to present a multilayered story adding historical and cultural dimensions to the public spaces that we use every day. You can read more about the importance of public art in this monograph.

Lewis was a painter before he became a sculptor and he created a fair bit of controversy by painting the prizefighter Jack Dempsey. You can read more about Lewis here and here.

If you have ever wondered how monuments are cared for over time, the Washington Department of Enterprise Services provides a fair amount of detail about the upkeep of this monument and other monuments and public art pieces on their website.


Today’s weather: cold again today. Woke up to temps in the high 20s today. Proof that you can’t be lulled by random 50 degree days in February. Winter is not done with us yet!

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 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!


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.

A little nature therapy

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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!


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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.


Eld Inlet and Mud Bay

Eld Inlet

We have started to pull over and read all of the historical markers and interpretive signs that we come across. We recently checked out the one at Eld Inlet and Mud Bay.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet

Eld Inlet is about 6 miles long and is located at the southern end of the Puget Sound, between Totten Inlet and Budd Inlet. (What’s an inlet?) The southern end of the inlet is Mud Bay. If you drive by at low tide, that’s exactly what it looks like.

Interpretive sign at Eld Inlet (detail)

Although originally called Friendly Inlet by Peter Puget (he probably deserves his own post), it was later named Eld Inlet after one of the midshipmen on the United States’ Exploring Expedition, Henry Eld.

Driving on Highway 101 in this area you can see the outrageously large and rather comical group of metal cattle sculptures created by area artist Gary Vig.

J.B. Jackson would have loved them.



Eld Inlet

Today’s weather: Rainy and cold and in the 40s. The temps were not really that different but it felt colder. It did clear up for a couple of dog walks.

I Heart the Library

Olympia Timberland Library

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

― Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie supported the building of more than 2500 libraries, 2509 to be exact. The Little Free Library movement had an initial goal to build 2510 libraries, one more than Andrew Carnegie (and they blew well past that goal).(1)

One of the first things that I did when I moved to Olympia was to get a library card. I love books and I love Amazon, but the older I get, the more I realize that I can’t own every book that I want to read. For me, public libraries are a critical part of the commons. They are a place where knowledge is freely shared and a haven in the storms, real and metaphorical.

The Timberland Regional Libraries (TRL) include 27 libraries, two cooperative library centers and four library kiosks in Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties.

What I love about the library:

  • It’s regional so the collection is much larger than the local branch.
  • You can browse the entire catalog online and place holds online. Holds are kept in a self-service area near the checkout. So you can place your hold online and be in and out of the library in 30 seconds.
  • You can borrow books for your e-reader. I have borrowed books using the familiar Amazon interface and downloaded them to my Kindle app.
  • In addition to the ubiquitous Dewey Decimal system, the library has easy to read category signs in the stacks that make browsing easy.
  • Free circulation books: there is a selection of books to borrow from that doesn’t require checkout so you can keep it as long as you want and return it when you are done.
  • The Friends of the Olympia Library have an ongoing book sale shelf in the Olympia library during library hours. There are several shelves of used books for sale, organized by topic. Most of these books are $1 to $2. I always browse the used books and I have picked up several good gardening books including regional gardening books. There’s a drop box for payments so bring your small bills! (Other branches sell used books, too.)
  • There are book return drop boxes at several locations. We use the one at Haggen’s grocery store.
  • Check out the homework help resources for kids and teens.
  • It’s free. All those books and resources are available to just for signing up for a library card. (The library has compiled this handy Saving You Money page.) What are you waiting for?!

I’m not the only one that loves the library–there were over five million checkouts and downloads in 2016! Plus the library is a great place to learn more about Olympia.

Libraries are familiar and comfortable places. They are different but somehow the same. I love this quote from author Germaine Greer in her book, Daddy, We Hardly Knew You: “Libraries are reservoirs of strength, grace and wit, reminders of order, calm and continuity, lakes of mental energy, neither warm nor cold, light nor dark … In any library in the world, I am at home, unselfconscious, still and absorbed.”

The TRL turns 50 this year. So young to have accomplished so much! Here’s to many more.


1. Aldrich, Margret, The Little Free Library Book, 2015, Coffee House Press, p. 4.

Today’s weather: Cloudy but no rain today and it was in the 40s on our morning walk today. Funny how 40°ish has become my new 70°F. And I wore sunglasses without feeling ridiculous.