Friday, May 30, 2008

Roadkill

The sight of a dead animal on the road is distressing. In the city it
is the occasional cat, dog or squirrel. In this rural setting the
body of a recently hit opossum, raccoon, deer or skunk is common and
I've even seen mangled bears, beavers, coyotes and owls on the
highway. Always, my heart lurches, my stomach grabs, and I feel a
surge of the panic and pain left with death under the tires. That
part of the experience will always remain, but years ago, when I was
having trouble moving past the aching echo of horror from what I'd
seen and felt, a friend gave me something that helped.

I now leave a blessing as I pass by, a simple "Blessed Be!" whispered
to acknowledge the loss of a life. Every creature, no matter how
humble or secret, deserves appreciation of its miracle, and notice of
its loss. Whether it is a orison of thanks for the meat on my table,
or a benediction for a spirit torn from life by a passing car, that
bit of prayer is a salve for my heart. The "Blessed Be" calls me back
to mortality and my place in creation with all of nature.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thesaurus

I like* my thesaurus!

Words are fascinating. I'm one of those people who will look up a
word in the dictionary and read through the entries above and below.
It isn't unusual to find me paging around at random whenever my
dictionary is consulted. Lately I've been using the dictionary/
theasuarus on my computer. It is not quite as conducive to browsing.
A different technique imparts itself. A word typed into the thesaurus
brings up a palette of choices from which I sample, type one into the
dictionary search, read the results which lead to more typing into
the thesaurus search. I wander betwixt dictionary and thesaurus in
the way an internet junkie links from page to page, site to site in
cyberspace.

I use my dictionary but the thesaurus is more fun. What a diversity
and richness we have in which to play! I've become a word gourmand, a
language junkie. I revel in the sounds, and delight in the nuances of
meaning. Is it the same to assassinate, massacre, snuff out, or
execute? There are enormous emotional differences in those words for
murder. I'm a mere hacker but I celebrate the skill with which some
authors assemble the music of words. What greater joy than to
assemble constructs of letters in a way that creates tears,
nostalgia, fear, or new understanding. Now if only I could
orchestrate instead of just banging on pot lids!


*Like my thesaurus, as in: enjoy, take pleasure in, am keen on,
appreciate, love, adore, relish, appreciate, am hooked on, and get a
kick out of.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Last Day of the Grand Opening

I didn't get over to the Wild Rivers Wool Factory yesterday. The hubbie had us assembled in front of the television for theIndy 500 and then the Mars Phoenix landing. I'll stop by this noon on the way home from Bandon, just to look in and say hello. Oh, and check out any new goodies that might have appeared on the shelves. Sandie and Cindy are always busy and that means new products and new colors will show themselves. Wooly Fibers Rule!

Moralizing

As I began writing a blog entry this morning I got slapped in the
face with the realization of what a moralist I am. On the surface
that doesn't seem so awful but moralize is a word that keeps company
with terms like: self-righteous and unfound-superiority. Oh dear.
Nailed, impaled, and thoroughly skewered! When I am at my worst,
humble is nowhere near; haughty and judgmental are clasped to my
prodigious bosom.

This moment of comprehension will surely pass, leaving me once again
clambering to my pedestal and into my pulpit. Old habits and well
exercized protective devices are not easy to abandon. Illumination is
so much easier to direct outward than to allow to glow inward. But
for this moment: Ouch, the laser points at me!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wild Rivers Wool Factory-Langlois

I'm having such a fun time watching Sandie & Cindy prepare for the
grand opening of their shop. They are letting me help in such little
ways as I ca. It is lovely to be in on the excitement without being
responsible for the work. The change in the place is phenomenal in
just a week. The carpet has been completed, an art project by any
standard, and much of the stock and store fittings were in place when
I left around 6:30PM last night. There are lovely hunks of felt in
various colors. It isn't that flat, characterless, papery stuff you
see at craft stores, but thick pads in bright colors as well as
naturals. There are sheepskins for rugs or comfy sleeping pads,
gorgeous hats (felted and un-), scarves, gauntlets, bags, and still
to come are batts for quilting and the hand-spun yarns. The best part
is that most or all is hand-made and locally done. It is so wonderful
to see the quality and variety!

The big day is tomorrow. My fingers are crossed for decent weather
though this doggone misty drizzle is likely to persist. Our friend
Donna Barker will be on hand at 10AM to play her bagpipes for the
ribbon cutting, a treat in itself... well, unless you have a bagpipe
aversion like my husband! There will be drawings for door-prizes.
There will be free coffee and cake. It should be a major event in our
miniscule town. Do I sound like a cheer leader? You betcha!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

OBsquared

The last episode in the history of Sunday night's insomnia is the
OBsquared , resulting from the GDS, SBT, and TDC: Overactive Bladder
and Overactive Brain. It may be unfair to refer to them as a result
since either or both can accompany a sixty-up night of attempted
sleep but since they were the culmination and continuation of the
events they get their due mention.

The senior female bladder (I can't speak for the male) is an
interesting organ in the pejorative sense. On a good night it will
wake me only once. Sunday night was NOT a good night. Once awake I
was making the every-two-hours hike to the bathroom. In between I was
aware of each gathering drop and the impinging pressure. Can I go
back to sleep without relieving myself? If I do will I wake up in
another hour needing to go? Oh, the decisions!

The overactive brain is closely allied to the ear worm, that bit of
music that plays over and over in your head. My last was a verse of
C'est Moi from Camelot which has been echoing for about 36 hours now.
The overactive brain on Sunday night kept busy with the series of
conscious-inducing happenings and how silly it was to let them keep
me awake. [Big sigh and slumped defeated shoulders should be imagined
here.]

So there you have it: GDS, SBT, TDC, plus OBsquared equal Sleepus
Interruptus Meus. (with apologies to Mr. McCrystle, my high school
Latin teacher)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TDC

The third in Sunday's complement of sleep-shrinking elements was TDC,
otherwise known as Flickie, or Little Yella Cat. That night there
were no loves names or pet-besotted references made. It was strictly
THAT (epithet deleted) CAT and a few other imprecations best not
repeated here.

I was awake, still listening to the sheepy location narrative,
itching, but attempting to find where sleep had hidden. FlickieCat
decides a late night outdoor stroll is imperative. Since she lacks
prehensile abilities going outside requires that a human be ordered
to open the door. Her usual slavey has just entered the shower and
can be heard splashing and humming to himself. She turns her feline
attention to the remaining object which can be made to do her
bidding: me.

"Me" is awake, irritable, listening to noisy sheep, and trying not to
scratch the half dozen flea bites she has discovered. "Me" is not
interested in rousing herself to open the door for HER. The rock has
met the hard place and the battle of wills has been joined. She uses
all her skills. She dashes from room to room. She mews, meows, and
otherwise begs and demands in various cattish voices. I hear what I
interpret as a variety of threats and maledictions. By now the night
has me in angry rebellion and I remain the immovable object. I can't
squelch the sheep nor squish the flea, but I can thwart TDC. Small
and puerile victory but mine own. At this hour I'm feeling churlish
enough to find it pleasing, though her continuing efforts get added
to the list of irritations. Husband at last emerges from the shower,
and towel-clad, attends to his ushering duties.

And my saga of sleeplessness continues.

SBT

With the return of warm weather I experience the attentions of the
SBTs. Sunday night was my first go-round with one. SBT stands for
Small Bitey Thing and can be one of several varieties of blood-
sucking insects, generally fleas or mosquitoes, but sometimes a
spider or no-see-um. I am the "prime rib plus baked potato and sour
cream followed by cheesecake" of the flea and mosquito universe. They
happily disdain other munchables to dine on my succulent flesh
whereupon I swell, fester, and itch for days.

Sunday night's chomper was likely to have been a flea. Despite
medicinal application to FlickieCat she makes dandy transportation
from outside to inside for the hungry, adventurous Siphonaptera. Why
am I guessing flea over mosquito? Because a mosquito will bite a
couple of times while a single flea will table hop its way across my
body leaving a trail of itchy welts in its wake. Besides, anyone as
appetite inducing as I am can hear a mosquito in the room. There
wasn't one. Anyway, the GDS woke me (remember them?) and as I try to
go back to sleep I realize I've been some SBT's banquet. The itching
(apparently my right side was especially tasty) went from a welt on
my right toe to one each on: calf, inner thigh, hip, elbow, and ring
finger. So I itch. I apply topical anti-itch cream to numb the
sensation and avoid the scratching that feels good only while it is
being done. Curse the little sucker. Stay awake.

Since then, by the way, the SBT has continued to munch. I have 5
bites just in the elbow region. Mosquitoes are more satisfactory.
They bite fewer times and one has the advantage of an occasional in-
the-act smashing blow. The flea is seldom seen and less often
smushed. We hates them, my precious!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

GDS

It was the GDS that woke me up Sunday night. GDS equals Gol-Darned
Sheep (not exactly but you know what I mean). We live on a small
farm, outnumbered by our ovine pals. If you live close to these
critters you begin to understand how they could be considered woolly-
headed. Theoretically they must be smart enough to have survived for
millennia but it seems incredible when they have such sheep-for-
brains. They can be stubborn, belligerent, and fractious.

Back to Sunday night. The components of the tale are: a divided
pasture with a wooded creek the sheep cross regularly, nine ewes and
assorted lambs, a nearly full moon, and a house with an open bedroom
window. These sheep generally sleep quietly at night but have decided
to move from a field on one side of the creek to a field on the
opposite side. One or two at a time. Not bothering to mention it to
each other. Thence cometh the loud Ping! Ack! routine that ended sleep.

Ewe#1 to Ewe#2:
Hey, where'd you go?
I'm over here.
Where?
Here?
Over there?
Yeah.
Okay, I'm coming over there.
Okay.

Lamb#1 to Ewe#1
Hey, where'd you go?
I'm over here.
Where?
Here?
Over there?
Yeah.
Okay, I'm coming over there.
Okay.

Lamb#2 to Ewe#2
Hey, where'd you go?
I'm over here.
Where?
Here?
Over there?
Yeah.
Okay, I'm coming over there.
Okay.

Lamb #3 to Ewe #2 (she had twins)
Hey, where'd you go?
I'm over here.
Where?
Here?
Over there?
Yeah.
Okay, I'm coming over there.
Okay.

You can see where this is going right? Nine ewes and half again as
many lambs where-are-ya-ing past the window. At some point I closed
it, but let me assure you that a sheep without her lamb, or a lamb
who has lost sight of mom, has a Baa that can bend glass. This
becomes quite apparent the week of weaning when they are pastured apart.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday night sleep(lessness)

I'm feeling particularly petulant this morning. (Ah, I cherish that
word, petulant - and its companions in the Thesaurus: peevish,
querulous, pettish, fretful, cross, irritable, sulky, snappish,
crotchety, tetchy, testy, fractious, grumpy, crabby, grouchy,
cranky...) I went to bed and had two hours of rest when circumstances
congealed, plotted, and pounced to wake me and keep me awake. I had
severe cases of GDS, SBTs, TDC, and OBsquared. This morning it is
going to take more than the usual cups of coffee to keep me
functioning. I can only hope the usual delightful company of the
Bandon Writers Group will crack the frown on my physiognomy.

Oh, the GDS, SBTs, TDC, and the OBsquared will be receiving my
written wrath. Well, okay not wrath. Wrath is an instantly achieved
but non-sustainable reaction for this old lady. Annoyance, though, I
may be able to perpetuate enough to deliver some mordant thoughts on
each of the above irritations. Each deserves special attention, so
stay tuned for further, albeit minor vitriol.

Yawn. (repeat indefinitely)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Too much of a good thing?

That WAS me wishing for an end to the cold weather? Praying for
summer? Craving a day when I wasn't cold? And the universe heard my
supplications, grinned that big sly universal grin, and "Poof!"
granted my wish. And more. Way more.

It was over 80 degrees at 1am last night with a toasty breeze
gusting. So of course, being human, I'm tempted to whine about the
heat. That scent of smoke in the air that is somewhat cozy and
countrified in winter is no pleasure when the source may be a pasture
fire or out-of-control slash burn. All that green grass urged to grow
by the rains of winter dries up and goes from scenic waving
loveliness to fuel. I'm not going to complain. I'm going to notice
how as soon as I get what I think I want, it turns out that wasn't it
after all and I want something else. Another lesson in just getting
used to What Is.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Actively engaged in doing nothing

Some thoughts and observations while experiencing a sublime Oregon
coast morning:

Tree swallows stitching the sky - random Jackson Pollack weaving -
convening at a moment then careening away in separate directions.

Conversation with a crow. I have no idea what I'm saying but he finds
it amusing. Am I repeating his caws, or is he repeating mine?

There is hardly a more beautiful outdoor smell than the scent of wild
azaleas on the warm east breeze, except maybe for steaks on the
barbecue.

The hill behind our house, barren and stump-covered when we came
here, is now flush with fir, madrone, alder. Nature renews herself
with vigor when she has opportunity.

Bumble bees are rolling drunkenly from flower to flower, a bit like a
bowling ball in flight.

There is music everywhere. Birdsong. Chirps, twitters, and complex
concoctions worthy of Chopin or Bach.

All the fussing and misery of a long cold winter can dissolve in a
few minutes of sunshine and warmth. It is sublime here. My friends in
warmer climes will be barricading themselves inside to stay cool
while we pale, pasty-skinned North-wetters dash out in seldom worn
shorts and halter tops to bask. We have to do it quick. The jet
stream is capricious. As it warms inland the fog at the coast
switches on.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Omigod! Sunshine!

A glorious morning of sunshine! I swear I can hear hoots of joy
echoing from Bandon to Port Orford. We had hopes for sun yesterday
and old Sol did battle with the clouds and high fog, but he went down
to defeat and the afternoon sky was white and featureless. But after
a good night's rest he rose to triumph today. It was warm enough to
leave my front door open from around 7:30am. Oh, I admit I sit here
at 8:30am with goosebumps the size of golfballs, but look Ma! No
sweatshirt! No flannel! Wheeeeee!

Between the chill air and a particularly nasty bout of knee pain I'm
not venturing outside a lot but I made a tour of the yard yesterday
during the sun's brief appearance. The flowers are making up for the
late spring. There are still a few purple tops on the wild hyacinths
and a couple of late daffodils are still flowering. The apple trees
and the cherry and pear and crabapple have all bloomed. The blueberry
bushes too. The lilac and the lupine are about to open, there are
several poppies challenging the sun, and the deciduous azaleas are
beginning to blaze. I have a hedge of the peachy colored wild azaleas
and individual hybrids in various shades from yellow, coral, and
brilliant orange. A few of my rhododendrons are also in flower.
Spring is so full of intense color! In another month we'll have a
field of iris and foxglove to admire. The thoroughness of spring here
makes up for the thoroughness and length of our wet and awful season.
Almost.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sex in the Morning

I just came back from the kitchen after fetching my second cup of
morning coffee. I'd noticed, as I glanced out the living room window
on the way to heat the water, that turkey sex was happening up on the
hillside. First I saw the three gathered Toms strutting all puffed
and fluffed with manly pride. Then I saw that The largest puffiest
was not so much showing off as engaged in spasmodic gyrations. One
look through my handy binoculars revealed the head of the hen where
she crouched under Mr. Magnificent's ministrations.

I kept watching mostly because this guy didn't (ahem!) get off.
Poultry sex of the chicken variety is a common sight here since our
chicken yard sits directly across the driveway in full view of the
windows. The rooster is very attentive to his duties and sees that
each hen shares in his devoted, albeit brief, ahhhhhh..... scrutiny.
For chickens it is on her, and off her. Can it be so different for
turkeys? Or did Thomas Lovebird up on the hill need Fowl Viagra?
Maybe he'd had an extra dose, because his sexual proceedings went on,
and on, and on. My coffee was done (2min. 34 sec. plus mixing in the
coffee and creamer) before the turkey was. As I walked back to my
computer Mr. Studly, his amour, and the two voyeurs went their
various ways.

See what you miss if you live in the city?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

With the celebration of Mother's Day every blog across the nation
will probably be laden with sentiments about maternal care and love.
How could I be an exception? By being honest maybe?

My relationship with my mother was a complicated affair. Love was
never an issue. She loved me and I loved her, no questions there. But
love and family are seldom smooth and wart-free. Mother was raised
during the depression, the youngest of seven and an "Ooops!" baby
that was unexpected. In her memory her mother was strict and cold,
and she was coddled and protected by her elder siblings. I was
accordingly raised with a smothering love and throughly supplied with
the clothes and material things Mama never had. She'd been
brainwashed into her career and bent over backwards not to provide
direction for me. She showered me with adoration and loudly
proclaimed my beauty and intelligence. You guessed it. I was self-
centered, spoiled, aimless, uninterested in school. and worst of all
- fat. My punishment for all these sins was a pervasive belief that I
was a huge disappointment.

Through my childhood Mother and I were buddies. My father was often
absent, my mother at work. I was a latch-key kid. It never occurred
to me to rebel or question. With no father at home my mother was my
security. She worked hard to help support the family but the
underlying sadness of her life was always present: her thwarted
desire to be a singer, the unhappiness of her marriage, her need for
love. She did her best to fill in the gaps in her life with a nose
job, dyed hair, sexy clothes and divorce. I was along for the ride.

Mama re-married and seemed content with life and then the universe
smacked her with an aneurism and her life crumbled around her. Brain
damage left her changed in personality, suddenly aged, and partially
paralyzed. And her daughter had settled down to teenage rebellion at
last. What resulted, and I'm not sure how the facts arranged
themselves, was a complete disconnection between us. It took a span
of several years, a couple of major disagreements, but communication
ended on both sides.

Love didn't though. I wasn't there for her final illness or when she
died. My own wounds had not healed enough for me to reach out and I
will always regret the hurt she may have had from that. So here, on
Mother's Day, I hope somehow she knows I always loved her. I miss her
and am grateful for what she was able to give me and for who she was.
If only I'd been able to say it sooner.

(I guess this wasn't an exception after all?)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Microwave problem (solved)

So my husband reads my blog of May 2nd and says to me, "Two minutes,
thirty-four seconds."

Oh, DUH!

I know he heats the coffee water for Two minutes, Thirty-four seconds
but I always figured he did that because he has THAT sort of brain.
Like 2-3-4 is logical for him when I tell him I set it for two and a
half minutes. He designed integrated circuits, for crying out loud!
He was the guy who always took his afternoon work break at "pi time"
- Three-fourteen PM. Now I realize as I was trying to solve the
microwave dilemma by choosing to move the handle of the mug he just
adjusted the cook time.

Maybe that is why we're still married after thirty-eight years. We
approach things from very different angles and, together, we can
muster up one very good brain between us. 'Tain't much, but its more
than a lot of couples can boast.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thought for the day

A good friend sent me one of those syrupy internet messages
yesterday. You know the kind. They are composed of cobbled together
aphorisms, saccharine sentiments and animated cartoon pictures, often
ending with a chain-letter admonishment to "send this along to seven
of your friends or else." I'm not much for cornball maxims and mushy
declarations of fellowship so I seldom send such things on, though I
do very much appreciate the thought that sends them to me. And I
always read them. Yesterday's contribution however brought me a pithy
statement that I'm going to copy and tack to the wall beside my desk:

Be kinder than necessary -
Everyone you meet is fighting
Some kind of battle.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Goodbye

Today my heart says goodbye to a dear and loving neighbor and friend.
SallyAnnie was a sweet-natured border collie who lived next door for
the 14 years we have been in Oregon. Though she was born of a herding
breed, sheep easily intimidated her. She was a cuddler and a bask in
the sun sort of dog, subject to fits of enthusiastic running
immediately after conning me out of a treat.

As a senior, Sally had become deaf, her eyesight was failing and she
slept a lot, but her nose was still active and on duty for meals and
dog cookies. This week her dog body finally slowed and just seemed to
run out of life. She stood, head low, as if waiting for it to stop.
Those who loved her felt that it was time to help her along to the
next stage of doggie existence, a hard decision but the last gift she
could get from us.

Goodbyes are something I'm not good at. I'm going to imagine that
Sally is nearby, waiting to catch a molecule of scent on the breeze
that tells her I'm outside in the yard. And I'll see in my mind, her
jaunty trot up the driveway, the happy grab for her treat, and the
crazy circles she would run afterwards.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Spring Fever

Wow, I guess spring HAS finally decided to arrive. I slept last night
without the heavy long-sleeved flannel shirt worn over my heavy
flannel nightgown. If the heat wave continues I'll have to substitute
a regular blanket for the double-layer poly-filled comforter. Without
twenty pounds of heat conserving bedclothes over me will my body feel
so free that I'll end up levitating?

That *was* me a while back begging, importuning, pleading for spring,
wasn't it? The very same me that gets a whiff of pollen that results
in sneezles and wheezles, swollen eyelids that feel sandpapered, with
dripping sinuses and... oh, hang on a second. Here comes the "sudden
involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth due to
irritation of one's nostrils." (Which happened 13 times as I tried to
type that definition!) I don't want spring to go away mind you. But
it would be nice for it to have a bit less effect on my nasal
cavities and associated bronchial passages.

Happy allergy season everybody! Let's all dash out for our preferred
OTC pharmaceutical.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Observation

Every morning I heat a mug of water for instant coffee in the
microwave oven.

(Digression: No Ughs of revulsion from you coffee purists. I LIKE my
instant coffee!)

The oven has a turntable and is always set to run on high for 2
minutes 30 seconds. No matter what position the mug is placed in the
microwave it always completes the heating cycle with the handle to
the back. I've put it in with handle to front, to left or right side,
to the rear. The turntable turns, the timer counts down. Bing! goes
the bell. The mug comes to a stop with the handle 180 degrees from
optimal. What is this, a kitchen edition of Murphy's Law? Martha's
Microwave Maxim: The handle will always terminate in the most
inconvenient position.

Is the question of where it ends up a scientific or a philosophical one?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Today's misc. thoughts

Heard some comments on the news from Chinese citizens incensed over
the recent criticism of their country. All I could think was - get
used to it. The US has suffered from that sort of international
opinion attack for a long time. For those of us "average guys" it
feels like anything our country does that is good and useful is
treated as our obligation. Anything else we do is labeled
imperialist, aggressive, or manipulative. There doesn't seem to be
much middle ground.

What is it with men and sex? Our human intelligence isn't enough to
keep some males from inhuman actions: incest in that Texas fundie
cult & the Austrian father, the daily stories of rape in war, or out.
I'll add the primetime TV ads for Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, and ED in
general. It is hard (ahem!) to get away from reminders that men have
a constant preoccupation with their penises.

And women. Can you imagine what the economy would suffer if all women
decided one day to accept their bodies and quit worrying over their
boobs, their age, and their weight? For starters, the advertising
industry would collapse.

And while I'm asking questions: What is with the US consumer and
automobiles? I sat in lines through the gas shortages of the 70's.
The lightbulb went on, and our family thereafter owned one high mpg
car. Many of the rest of my generation sat in those same gas lines
and then bought multiple larger, heavier, gas slurping vehicles. Duh!