Saturday, January 31, 2009

Procrastination

At this house we're masters of the art of procrastination. Example:
My oven. When we moved to this house, nearly 15 years ago, something
must have gotten jogged in the stove settings. The oven no longer
tracked correct temperatures and all baking recipes needed either
half as much extra time added or 25-50 degrees added, or both.

After more than a decade of dealing with it my husband casually
remarked that he could re-calibrate the thermostat. We bought an oven
thermometer. We dug into our files and located the stove manual and
instructions. We were ready for repairs.

My oven remains jogged. I think I finally put away the thermometer
from its perch next to the stove (ready for action). I may as well re-
file the manual... and wait until a new stove is required. Then I'll
have to unlearn the automatic feat of re-calibrating recipes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Twenty-Five Random Things (About Me?)

There is a version of the Random Things Meme going around on Facebook
and I got tagged. If it is good enough for Facebook it is good enough
for the blog, right? These things can be fun to fill out (and
revelatory) but the chain-letter aspect drives me nuts. This one is
supposed to be passed on to 25 "friends". Consider... sent to you by
a friend who probably knows several of your friends so they've
already gotten it. Who do YOU recruit? These are worse than Ponzi
schemes by far and I participate marginally at best.

1) I'm close to my animal nature, I
2) Want to hibernate in winter
3) Want to estivate in summer, and
4) Want to rise and slumber with the sunrise and sunset.
5) I do not like fools
6) And so I am frequently irritated at myself.
7) Language and the sound of words are a source of great joy so
8) Maybe that is why I talk so much?
9) And consult my thesaurus and dictionary daily?
10) The process of getting older intrigues me.
11) I'm getting plenty of experience with the downside of aging
12) I thought the upside would be wisdom but apparently I was mistaken.
13) Maybe the upside is just sticking around to experience getting old.
14) Being surrounded by wonderful people is one of my goals and
15) It is a goal I've managed to meet.
16) I don't have 25 Facebook friends to tag and
17) Most of my Facebook friends have already been tagged and
18) The remainder of my Facebook friends wouldn't want to be tagged and
19) I only participate in chainmail things like this half-heartedly
anyway.
20) My most cherished dream is to publish a book I've written.
21) Me and Ben - have something in common.
22) The things I write are only light extemporania.
23) My most cherished dream is unlikely to come true.
24) I fantasize every night to fall asleep and
25) Will not describe the fantasies but it isn't at all what you
might suspect.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a sign

Yesterday the husband and I decided to grab dinner on the run and
drive over to the beach to watch the sunset. As we munched and
watched the sky turn color the cold outside began to fog the car
windshield. I smiled and said to him, "Look Sweetie, we can still
steam up the car windows."

His reply: "Yeah, but now we do it with fast food."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Ever had one of those days where you set out to buy some specific
item and return home with a substitute? The thing you end up buying
is close, but not exactly what you wanted but you bought it because
what you wanted wasn't in the store. You had an idea of what it was
and it seemed like something that should exist but you looked and
nobody had it so you settled for something else rather than searching
further because even though that thing SHOULD exist, probably does
exist (surely YOU aren't the only person on the planet that wants
one!) but maybe after all, it doesn't.

That was yesterday. I won't name the item(s) since that isn't the
point. The lack of availability, the not knowing, and the settling
for seconds are the point(s). Irritation, frustration and resignation
accompany the point(s), along with laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tag! I'm it!

Bloggers have a game of tag? Who'da thunk it?

I've been tagged by: lakeviewer (http://sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com/)

1. I think I'm a bit isolated. Do I even KNOW 6 other bloggers that
I would tag?

2. Random works. My brain is wired for random. It is also wired for
weird.

3. The seven menopausal dwarf-ladies are: Frumpy, Frowzy, Dingy,
Dowdy, Dumpy, Grumpy, and Irritable. Today I am all seven.

4. Geblandhoot. That is our family response to a sneeze. Good word.
Feel free to use it but be sure to link your brain to mine when you do.

5. I like Cheetos - the crunchy kind, not the puffy ones. Licking
the orange stuff from fingertips is an art form.

6. And why do cats insist on drinking immediately after eating
kibble, and then barf on the carpet? They seem disinclined to do it
on the linoleum.

( bonus: Ripe Mango, Take Two)

Rules for this activity: write six random things, link to the person
that tagged you, post the rules, tag six more people.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beans 1/22/09

Not for the squeamish!

I'm suffering today from the results of
1) chili two nights ago
2) bean burrito for lunch yesterday
3) refried beans last night

The cumulative effect is not unlike a case of the flu, minus the
upwardly mobile action. The upward part was more immediate albeit
less musical. Even with the judicious application of digestive
enzymes, Tums, and Gas-X my tummy has staged a revolt whereupon it is
threatening imminent retreat from my body via an inconvenient portal.
The number of commode trips is staggering - and so am I.

I don't recall this sort of dramatic repercussion from my youth.
Surely I made similar ill-advised choices of consumables, not being
what could be considered a quick learner. Is it the memory that fails
me or was my intestinal system more stalwart? Probably memory since
despite my current state of discomfort I'm likely to do it again.
Some lessons don't adhere.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obamamania

The country is currently in the throes of Obamamania. It springs from
interest in the first African-American to be elected to the
presidency and the need for this country to feel both a renewal of
pride in our nation and a birth of hope for our economy. But I find
myself hesitating to join the Obama excitement caravan because of
where the enthusiasm seems to lead.

Mr. Obama is being hoisted to the top of a pedestal and putting
people on pedestals is a sure way of setting them up to be shoved
off. By placing him on this exalted column we cease to acknowledge
his humanity and our own responsibility. He becomes something akin to
a god/father figure, a savior who must rescue us from disaster while
we wait helplessly by. We have a nation of citizens who seem to
demand instant gratification. We have an economy that is not likely
to yield it. How long before the very folks who have been cheering
loudest begin their disappointment spiral? In his inaugural address
President Obama warned us that it was time to grow up. How many in
the crowd heard that part of his message?

Let's quit treating Mr. Obama as a media star and begin supporting
him as a strong savvy politician who understands that we need to
build and strengthen the middle.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Observation

I'm betting Michelle Obama won't wear a gown with a flowing train if
there is another series of inauguration balls to dance at in 2013.

Being a parent

Today I offer up a link to an issue of one of my favorite blogs:
http://www.dooce.com/2009/01/20/second-second-trimester

Though my experience, long ago now, with parenting was certainly more
benign than hers, it is the conclusions about that parenting that she
sums up so well. As I look at my grown daughter and at her children,
my grandchildren, there is a peek back into that slice of life. It is
full of joy, pain, and discovery that can not be had except through
being a parent.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Change in progress

I'm bleary-eyed from over-telefication but who could resist watching
as much of today's historic inauguration as possible? Nine hours into
it and taking a break, but I expect to watch further coverage this
evening if just to see the gowns on the ladies at the ball.

A couple of thoughts: Barack H. Obama could bottle that smile and
sell it as a champagne substitute. The opinion of us "common folk" is
highly over-rated. Too much political analysis is - TOO MUCH
POLITICAL ANALYSIS.

And I was stunned at how much trash the crowd left on the capitol
mall. Is this the way to show respect for a man who wants us all to
show responsibility? When will people learn to pick up after themselves?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Word: Googenplecky

There are a few words we use in our family that are extremely
strange. Words we've used for a long time but have no real idea of
their derivation though we may remember the person who first used
them around us. One of these words is: Googenplecky. My husband
acquired the word from his high school electronics teacher, Henry
Martin. It seems to refer to substances that are sticky and messy.
Where did Mr. Martin get it? Does it come from some foreign language,
perhaps misheard and/or mispronounced? Is it a made-up word?

We have no idea of the source etymologically but googenplecky (the
best spelling we could invent from our mutual pronunciation) is a
part of our vocabulary. It is a useful word for that something
unidentifiable that is discovered in a small lump on the kitchen
floor or that mysterious gobbet of whatever that attached itself to
your shoe. I wonder sometimes where it came from - both the word and
that googenplecky.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Road Trip (2)



Road Trip (2)

We are easily amused so just the drive south to Gold Beach and the equal but opposite return trip are interesting in themselves. It is a beautiful piece of coastline. The ocean was flat and intensely blue. Here and there wisps of overnight fog still muted the colors on hillsides. We stopped to admire Humbug Mtn. and to take pictures.

Gold Beach is the county seat for Curry County and very much the typical coast town whose economy relies on tourism. At least half the businesses seem to be gift shops or motels. We stopped at the north end of town to seek out raison d'ĂȘtre for our trip: baby skates. We'd seen a video from Fishermen Direct in Gold Beach - some local crabbers had brought them an egg case found in a crab pot. Nearly a year later the egg case produced four baby skates which now occupy a salt water aquarium in the shop. These four inchers can grow to over six feet long and weigh 200 pounds! If you are in the area - go see!

Besides an impromptu picnic lunch and general sight-seeing our only other stop was at the GoldRush Building. What a hidden treasure! Directly across 101 from Gold Beach Books, this reinvented elementary school building now hold offices, several small shops, and a trove of wonderful art. The Biscuit West Beverage Bar yielded a delicious banana/pineapple/mango smoothie and a photo art exhibit that was breathtaking plus a selection of photographic books on sale. The room next door held a wonderful selection of Curry County and local art, all for sale. This place is a feast for the eye and a Don't Miss when you visit Gold Beach.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Road Trip (1)

Having a limited retirement income encourages appreciation of the
simpler pleasure in life. Luckily for me and my husband we never had
terribly expensive hobbies, besides computers, of course! We weren't
globe-trotting travelers not did we collect fine art or restore
vintage cars. Moving to a rural setting helped me give up theatre
tickets and support less impulse shopping. We stay at home most of
the time, read, watch television, and view the world via the internet.

One of our choices for a fun day is the occasional Road Trip. We
don't go far. Staying at home makes a journey of 100 miles a major
event. Living on the west side of the continent limits our selection
of gallivanting directions. Living in our particular spot makes
eastward problematical as well. Somebody neglected to carve highways
that direction. So we tend to go north or south along the coast. It
is a spectacular piece of property if you love rugged landscapes,
always changing during the seasons, under different skies or times of
day. I take my camera but often return without taking a single
picture. These sights are something to write in my heart. We're off
on a road trip today... stay tuned for an update.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Friday Winter Morning

The sun just topped the eastern hills (8:55AM) and can now melt the
frost that covers everything in sight. The pale golden glow as the
frost is illuminated is ethereal. And oh, how we appreciate that sun!

My first winter in Oregon, almost 15 years ago, was a revelation. The
green fields and trees had attracted me from my first visit here as a
teenager. The region was lush and rich with a multitude of greens and
those were complemented by the intense blues of ocean and sky. It was
a vivid landscape that shimmered beneath a warm summer sun. How
little I anticipated the gray of winter, a gloom that could seem
unceasing. How could I, a child of California, know the effects of
Seasonal Affective Disorder? Learning came quickly.

That first year, winter brought a 30 day stretch when the sun never
broke through the clouds and fog. My mood soon matched the color of
the dismal sky. A kind friend suggested a full-spectrum light and
that helped a lot. I've since learned the Oregonian trick of watching
for the sunbreaks. The thirty day cloudy period was an anomaly,
probably a test of my devotion to naturalizing as a citizen up here.
The common pattern is a two to four day storm with an intervening two
to three day clearing. Those days of clearing find us Northwet
Coasters basking, arms and faces turned skyward like so many
sunflowers following the arc of (gasp) THE SUN! The less tough emerge
from their burrows like groundhogs and blink sleepily. We inspect the
surroundings, sniff the air, and laze about dreaming of tans, ready
to scoot back to safety as clouds gather again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reaching out

In mid-December I listened to my heart and made my first KIVA loan.
(If you don't know about KIVA and the concept of micro-finance you
can learn more here: www.kiva.org) The money went to a woman in
Senegal. Yesterday I made my second loan - to a man in Tajikistan. It
feels *SO* good. I think I'll try for four $25 loans (even I can
afford $100) and space them out. So another one around my birthday,
maybe? I'm also thinking to make each one in a different part of the
world. My very own web of out-reach.

Having a bit of my intention to make a difference planted in nations
around the globe helps me to remember that we are all one people. Our
politics and religions may differ, our cultures are foreign to each
other, but our basic needs and wants remain global. We want to love
and be loved, to join together and have a family. We want to raise
our children and improve our lives. We can touch each other and help
that to happen. We can all make change happen and pray that the
change is for the better.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Outdoors

It was warm enough to sit outside in my front yard for a while
yesterday. Warm enough to realize how much I miss my time out there
spring, summer, and fall. Hours spent sitting, accomplishing nothing
at all.

This day is nothing special but what a special nothing! Birds flying
to and from the feeder: juncoes, towhees, a nuthatch. Robins wading
among the holly bushes gobbling berries then gliding down to the dirt
driveway for a worm dessert. A duet, or is it a duel of frog song
from the pond? I note the red swell of buds on the azaleas and wonder
if it will be an early spring. Then I become conscious of how low the
sun is toward the southwest even though it is only half past the
second hour of afternoon. The slanting sun warms but where I am
shadowed the air is cool and eventually I retreat indoors.

I'm eager for the non-winter seasons to arrive. The days when I can
rely on time outside and can watch the flowers bloom and the insect
life change day by day. It is my job to notice and appreciate.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Brain on vacation

My brain is Sunday-afternoon lazy and despite my efforts to shake it
loose and stir it up it refuses to leap into anything resembling
usefulness. It is as if the interior part of my head got tired of
cold Oregon weather and retreated to some warm tropic climate, there
to snooze in a convenient hammock and sip iced fruit juice. Now if
only the rest of me could join it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Should Know Better

A couple of months ago I began using Facebook to keep in touch with
some friends. The social networking aspect drew me in and well, can
we say obsessed? Getting little snippets of people's thoughts is fun
when those people are far away and otherwise absorbed with their
lives. Like a typical addict I moved from simple one line messages to
playing a number of the myriad FB games and "thing" exchanges. I made
and sent Flair, became a fan of or joined a bunch of groups. All of
it amusing and time wasting nonsense.

This morning I had the mental punch to the cranium of getting caught
in one of the FB endless advertising loops. What a wake-up call! It
works like this: You think you are doing some good deed (helping the
environment for instance) and wish to advance in the associated game
or virtual thing giveaway; to earn extra points (or gold or bucks or
things) you agree to fill out a quiz or questionaire; you disappear
into a inexhaustible loop of advertising offers. One page leads to
another with opting out an impossibility. The carrot of those bucks/
golf/things looms in front and you keep checking boxes and getting
told "We're processing your request so just fill in this one
more...." Refuse to submit an answer and you are popped back over and
over to the request page. Try filling in bogus into to escape? Go
back to the request page. The only out beyond offering up your name/
address/phone number and soul, is to surrender and quit the process.

Okay, I should have been more savvy. From now on my participation on
FB will stick to those few items that seem straightforward and not
just gambits for siphoning info for advertisers. I can comfort myself
in knowing that at least my checkbook and credit card never moved
from my wallet and that the web address I use can easily filter out
spam. I'm left though with the impression that advertisers
(especially for phone service and ringtones) deserve a greater
reputation as blood-sucking leeches than lawyers, used-car salesmen
and politicians combined.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The air

The television meteorologist lined up little icons of sun on his
weather board last night and I hoped to wake to one of those glorious
mornings where everything sparkles. The air after a rain is so rich
with scent it is hard to believe it can be clear. Step outside and
breathe deep. The smell of the fir forest nearby and the wet soil is
a pungent perfume laced with hints of wood smoke from a fireplace and
traces of tangy organics. It is a winter aroma. In a couple of months
it will be redolent with a bouquet of apple blossom and azalea.

Alas, the sun is not shining. The rain still poureth from the
heavens. I've remained indoors and the fragrance here is closed-up
house, with a strong odor of wet cat, a teensy whiff of mold and a
soupçon of dust. It makes me long for spring days when I can have the
front door open.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wasted?

I'm having trouble figuring out how to have time for all the things I
should do, all the things I want to do, and still have time to waste.
The waste time is every bit as important to me as the time spent
accomplishing things. Times spent playing computer games, staring at
clouds, just percolating, seem to be creative times. My brain is
engaged in something besides worries, besides list-making, planning,
and the stuff of daily life. Maybe it is better to say my mind is
unengaged? It is free to spin its wheels and play bumper cars with
the ideas wandering the roads in my head. The waste time isn't wasted
time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Green Paradise

Yesterday I mentioned that Oregon, at least here on the coast, is a
green paradise. Let me explain.

Our greens are multitudinous in shade. We burst with the dark green
of the Douglas Fir and other evergreens that thrive here. And those
trees give us a brilliant light green when spring brings the new
growth. We have all the wonderous shades of green that alders and
other deciduous trees display in summer and the darker shades of the
rich undergrowth, the ferns, blackberries, and rhododendrons. Our
grassy places turn viridescent in spring and in summer the rivers,
ponds and even the ocean reflect the green of the hills that border
them.

Our favorite greens, the ones that most delight my husband and me,
are ones perhaps less noticed. The gray-green of the lichens that
paint the trunks of our apple tree. The equally pale bluish green of
the moss that dangles from leafless limbs in winter making them as
year round green as their needled kin. The luminous emerald of the
mosses that propagate on logs, on rocks, and even thrive on seldom
used back roads. Our greens cry out for a new vocabulary to describe
the million shades, tones and tints.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter Rain

Ah, the wonder of a coastal Oregon winter storm! Those of us who live
along the northern Pacific marvel at the strangeness of vertical
rain. We thoroughly understand rain - buckets and dump truck loads of
it - but our experience of the wet stuff s that it is a relatively
horizontal phenomenon. Rain is that wetness that begins in a cloud to
the south and slants down to land somewhere well north or where it
began. Umbrellas are a tourist tthing, totally useless unless one is
interested in sudden flight. Our rain lashes the face and soaks all
clothes. But it makes our state a green paradise.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

FrostyMe

I woke to a white, frosty landscape this morning and could have
matched it with my frosty stare. At my age cold seeps into the bones
and hangs on tightly, resisting attempts to dislodge it. Consider a
planet arranged so that younger and more energetic folks inhabit the
extremes of hot and cold, leaving the moderate climes for us older
souls. My inner thermostat has a difficult switch. It needs less
challenge to keep my digital bits from distress.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sticky Subject

Those awful gummy price tags attached to the things we buy are a
curse upon the world. I'm not the only person who has broken a
fingernail or searched the house recently for some way to remove them
- whether on things bought for a gift or as some tag on a received
present. Some will succumb to water or a cleaning fluid, some will
release their adhesive residue to another sticky label tactfully
dabbed, some will allow themselves to be carefully scraped from the
surface to which they've been adhered. which is which is anyone's guess.

The remaining portion, those that stick no matter what you do and
leave a gummy, dirty mess that could survive a nuclear attack, or
worst of all the ones who destroy the finish to which they've
cemented themselves, bring forth a muttered invective worthy of the
toughest soldier. That soldier who is not tough enough to overcome a
sticky label.

Ah, how I'd love a chance to decorate the home of the inventor of
these nasty little slips of paper and foil with a confetti of them!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Done with the whales?

Our last day of duty was shortened by the infamous Cape Blanco
weather. We arrived at the parking lot where we usually set up and
the wind gusts rocked the car enough to make this old lady quite
unhappy. I'm not enthusiastic about E-coupon rides! (remember those?)
After a few squeaks from me my partner decided to move the car across
the road to a somewhat more sheltered spot. Not sheltered, mind you,
just a tad more so than totally exposed on top of a bare point of
land jutting out toward an angry Pacific Ocean storm.

And we sat there. We stared into the foggy, misty, gray on gray
landscape waiting for... whales? Not likely we'd see any under those
conditions. Tourists? We love running our docent act but only one
other vehicle ventured close and they wisely made a single circuit of
the viewing area and vamoosed. We sat for an hour, rockin' and
reelin' in the gale, and decided conditions were not likely to
change, whereupon we scuttled home - not without some guilt at
quitting our post.

The whale migration continues whether we watch or not. Perhaps we
will catch a break between storms and do some unofficial cetacean
gazing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Whales - Day 2

Second day of whale watch yesterday and the weather was sublime - for
Cape Blanco. That means there was not enough wind to keep us from
opening the car doors or to blow us out of the parking area. No rain.
And not so cold that I froze off any body parts. Eight whales
revealed themselves. This is not a tremendous number but so much
nicer than days when we see none at all. Taken in total the day was
quite agreeable. One day remaining in our tour of duty.