Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Music?


I listen to light classical music quite a bit and often tune in to it through the offerings on satellite television. The various music channels from which you can choose provide information on what is currently being played. If your choice in music is vocal: pop, country R&B, rock, etc. the information is quite useful. You will find out the song title, the artist playing/singing, the album containing that music.

This system fails badly for classical music. Unlike those other types of music classical is defined by the composer and that particular piece of information is the one most often missing. How useful is: Suite #3 played by the New York Philharmonic from the album Famous Suites? I want to know who wrote it. A complete title would also be useful. There are lots of listeners out there who may be able to tell Haydn from Mozart or Brahms from Liszt and even one symphony from another but my novice ears aren’t among them.

Whoever types in the relevant information also to get either lost or bored on a regular basis. Whole lines are sometimes left out making the music a complete mystery. Quality control obviously isn’t a criteria for the music providers and they don’t know much, if anything, about classical. Neither do I but I won’t be getting educated by the folks on satellite television muzak, that is for sure!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sleep

NOT!

The sun is aggressively trying to muscle his way through my window and assault my eyes. With not quite enough sleep last night my eyes are resistant to the solar barrage. Here in coastal Oregon, gratitude for sunshine is what I should be feeling. I’m not.

Sleep has become an elusive commodity, one pursued often and sufficiently achieved seldom. It seems unfair. My sleep patterns in the past have been quite predictable. Nine PM my eyes drooped and my brain lost touch with consciousness. Six AM my eyes flew open and I emerged from bed rested and ready to go.

No longer. If I go to bed at nine my eyes refuse to close and my brain goes into overdrive. Bits of songs, to-do lists, anything worriable marches in hob-nailed boots around, and around, and around in my head. I stay up later hoping to see the sleeping car move past my station where I can hop on but the train doesn’t arrive for hours. In the morning my eyes still open at 6. And at 7. And at 8. Lack of rest keeps me hoping for more until reluctant acceptance sets in and I drag myself out unrested and ready for an early nap.

Naps? That sounds doable and delightful but ‘sounds’ is way different than ‘is’. Naps are as difficult to achieve as nighttime sleep. They seem best caught as I sit at my computer keyboard trying to……………

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Where are my marbles?


I’m sure I had a few left when I woke up this morning. There I was, in bed, contemplating the day and thinking about the upcoming holiday. Wait! The holiday! Christmas is coming!

And off went my mind, the remaining marbles scattering left and right.

Gift list?
I thought I had everything but maybe…
Card list?
I don’t send cards but perhaps I should…
Parties?
We don’t plan any but we’ve agreed to attend…
Travel?
We usually stay home but…
(And that one leads to cataloguing reservations, luggage needs, pills gathered to pack, etc.)

The marbles that had rolled off kept on rolling.

I shake my head and something in there rattles so perhaps there are a few laggers left between my ears? The chipped, no-longer-quite-round ones?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Here I go - again.

Where does it hurt?

My arthritis is subject numero uno today. Will somebody please explain the phenomenon of inflammation that settles into a specific joint, hunkers down for 3 to 10 days, and then disappears, only to settle into some other spot. It hurts like the dickens and makes life generally miserable.

The swollen painful finger joints can get pretty bad. I’ve given up embroidery and crocheting. Using a pen can be difficult and even keyboarding is jolting to a sore, inflamed digit. My fingers have knobs at the final joints and take sudden turns to left or right instead of ending in proper straight lines. When the arthritis catches fire those spots literally glow red and become agonizing.

The hands can hurt, yes, but when the inflamed joint is in the foot things get really nasty. All those bones in the foot. All those potential places to hurt. Whoop-de-doo! This morning I woke to an ache in my right foot that is rapidly progressing from ache, to pain. And onward we go. Or rather I don’t go - much.
Gritted teeth are necessary to keep from rousing the entire neighborhood. I’m not a jogger but it would be nice to be able to stagger from my chair to the loo without setting off the local hound chorus and sending neighbors diving for air-raid shelters.

Getting old is the pits and having arthritis to enhance the experience is beyond my jaunty way with expletives. Use your imagination.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hurrah

Thank goodness election day is over. I welcome the opportunity to cast my ballot and participate in the governmental process but we certainly don’t have a “free electoral system”, do we?

Free? Try imagining the amount of money spent by candidates and parties and PACs and self-interested millionaires in the attempt to influence (okay, buy) your vote. Truth certainly isn’t required and if you actually believe any of the hype and hyperbole spewed forth in print ads and television spots you are too simple to be allowed out of the asylum.

Free? What is your time worth? You are captive to all that media coverage and the garbage arriving via the post office and the ringing of your phone. There is little escape even for those who eschew commercial television and block phone calls from anyone but family. Leave your house and you will find endless billboards and signs littering the landscape - each and every one in look-how-patriotic-I-am Red, White, and Blue.

We are done with election nonsense for a while. The usual nothing will get done in Congress as the members of one party do everything they can to forestall anything proposed by the other party. Few of those politicians will show any regard at all for our country and its citizens. And those pitiful citizens will weep and wail and curse until the next election when they will emerge from the asylum and vote for the same, or a similar, bunch of congress folk.

Hurrah for free elections?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Spring forward - Fall back

I dislike intensely the twice yearly changing of the clock. I don’t know anyone who thinks it a good or useful idea. Any purpose for it has long been passed and it remains as an irritating anachronism. Prudent leaders should choose one place for the clock and then leave it well enough alone and quit playing silly games of forward and back that upset one’s internal rhythms and spoil sleep. 

So there!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sports observations - World Series Baseball

Never been a big sports fan, I’ve yet picked up enough knowledge about football, baseball and soccer to get by without totally embarrassing myself in company. But while the past few years I’ve begun to be a follower of soccer, especially of our “local” club, the Portland Timbers, I’ve, not seen much in the way of other professional sports.

Let’s talk baseball here. With the World Series on television, and our old home favs - the San Francisco Giants - playing, Himself and I tuned in to watch. Here’s what I saw:

The basic game remains the same since last I watched. Some guys stand around and some sit around and a couple of guys play toss, hit, and catch with the baseball.

There is a lot of spitting involved. I’m not sure what part this plays in the actual game play but it seems to be very important because everybody does it. They do it in the field, at the bases, when batting, and when sitting in the dugout - otherwise called the spittoon. Great gods of phlegm fly out of mouths and all of this action is highlighted in glorious color and extreme closeup. Beware! Don’t watch baseball during dinner of while consuming snacks UNLESS you have a very steady stomach! I’m thinking there needs to be a place where folks can bet on the number of televised spits per game.

The other major component of professional baseball seems to be the beard. Naked faces are few and facial hair has become nearly de rigueur. Some beards are neatly trimmed and rather attractive. Some are scraggly, shaggy, and unkempt. Some look like misplaced merkins. There are full face coverings, dainty goatees, and various combinations. Watching the players is rather like being an arborist at a topiary convention.

So baseball has become throat mucus and fur. The combination is awesome. Sort of.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wet thoughts


I know we’ve been in a drought here on the west coast. I know California continues to be dry. But it is hard to take it seriously when our particular area of the Northwest is living up to its nickname: The Great Northwet.

We’ve had almost 10” of rain so far this month with more in the forecast and 4” of that were in one day. Our gravel driveway resembled a shallow stream and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see spawning salmon working their way past the house.

Our cat, who adamantly refuses to use a litter box, goes outside to sit staring mournfully out into the yard. She comes back inside only to turn around asking to go out again, fully convinced that the weather will have changed for the better.  Try convincing a very stubborn cat that ‘right now’ is a momentary hiatus and it is a good idea to make the most of it. She holds herself until the bursting point and then goes out during a deluge.

The rain is welcome. Now if only it can also mean a good snowpack in the mountains!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I’m in!


I’m prone to fits of enthusiasm. I also have a weakness for anything that promotes a love of reading in children - or in anyone, for that matter. A few days ago I became aware of a project called Read for the Record.

These folks are out to set a record for the largest number of people reading a single book on the same day. I signed up. The book is a fun little kid’s book called Bunny Cakes and the day for reading it is Tuesday, October 21st. Take a moment out of your day next Tuesday and join us. You can read the book online that day at the organization site or perhaps find it locally at your library. You HAVE been to your neighborhood library recently, haven’t you?

Let me know if you read Bunny Cakes on Tuesday!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Decisions?

I'm having one of those days when I make a decision and a bit later the situation changes and I make a different decision. Then new information comes along and I reassess and reverse the decision I made earlier that reversed the initial decision. Then I rethink and change my mind about reversing the  decision that changed the decision to adjust that original plan. And then...

The only end to this comes when the event under consideration is in the past. At that point I can rethink, reassess, and possibly regret the decision I ended up making. Or not.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rain!!

We had the rain we were craving: 3.3" of it and (surprise) it was vertical! No major wind accompanied it to slam very noise drop against my bedroom window. The amount may seem large but in terms of what we would call "normal" 3" or so is just a good steady day of rain and it hardly makes a drop in the overall bucket.

And the forecast now shows not another drop headed in our direction for at least the next week. This would be early for repeated days of rain so the hope is for more as we move through fall into winter. Unfortunately the professional weather gurus are making pessimistic noises and foreseeing another winter of drought for the west.

Maybe they are wrong.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rain?!

Well, sorta rain. At least a little action on the wet side of things has made an appearance here. Only .03" so far but (fingers crossed) the precipitation is supposed to increase throughout today and last into tomorrow. I hope the folks in California are getting some of it as well. Light and gentle and steady is what we need. Downpours may be delightful but would be nasty in the burned out areas. Think NO MUDSLIDES!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hope it wasn't my fancy rain-calling gyrations that shook loose the hunk of glacier at Mt. Shasta. I'll try something a little less earth-shaking!

Thursday, September 18, 2014



I obviously didn't do yesterday's rain dance correctly. I'll try again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another try!


Please don’t drive past our house this morning. Should you ignore this warning you may be subject to seeing me in the front yard doing a rain dance. With all the wildfires burning in Northern California and in here in Oregon it seems time to encourage the weather spirits to begin the wet season early. For those folks in California, after last year’s lack of sky-borne wet stuff. perhaps it should be “begin the wet season” - not early, just at all. So I’m planning to boogie around the lawn and hoping to bring in the rain.

I just hope I don’t scare the clouds away.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It is nearly a month after that first scent of autumn in the air and there is no mistaking the onset of fall. Days are still mildly warm but the afternoons quickly cool toward the chill of night. The late light is golden. Mornings reveal a ground mist rising under clear skies. The weather guys predict a chance of a first day of rain.

This is still a busy time for our front yard. In the afternoons the swallows gather along the wires practicing and preparing for their migration south. Little birds still flock to the feeder and I glance out and smile at the chickadees. Soon I’ll see the Juncoes return in their winter numbers.

The apples are ripe on the tree across the driveway. The single deer who has been keeping watch on the fruit and grazing in the yard has been joined by a couple of pals and the lowest hanging fruit has been encouraged to drop. The turkeys, gone for the last month or more, have begun to return. They also hope to use the fallen fruit to bulk up for winter. I love the sight of the bright red apples still on the tree and the wild community beneath but it is time to watch a few human neighbors come to share the fruit. These are such very good apples!


Having four very distinct seasons is a treat after years of living where only two occurred: Wet and Dry. Each of the four has a character I now recognize. Each is a favorite. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Drek!

One of the television series I watch ended the season last night with the (yawn) “cliff-hanger”. Gad how I hate those. This is a ploy set up to ensure the viewer will return after the hiatus. It didn’t used to be such a cringeworthy event.

The “seasons” on TV are so variable and those breaks from the end of one until the start of the next no longer span the 2-1/3 or 3 months of summer. For this particular show it is 5 months. The writers want to to worry and wonder whether the hero, supposedly inside a house that has just exploded, will live. Of course he will live! He is the star of the show fer cryin’ out loud!

Of course they could get clever - and I use that word dripping with sarcasm. He could lose his memory. (Yawn) He could be severely injured. (Yawn) He could have miraculously exited the building just in time. (Yawn) I doubt they will use the old  Dallas trick and have it all be a dream, but with notable lack of imagination it isn’t beyond possibility.

I like this show and will most likely return next season though by then I may have forgotten entirely why I like it. Even harder is when in heaven’s name to look for it again. But the large span of time between seasons gives me plenty of time to find other shows to watch. By next February I may have enough on my nightly schedule, though with the multitude of cheap “reality-based” crud being offered (do people really watch that drek?) my evenings may be for reading only.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Autumn

I can hear autumn whispering in the yard. She isn’t loud yet. Not yet nagging at summer to move over and give way. Not yet carving a big swath. In the afternoon she is quick to chase across the lawn and push out the summer heat. She tip-toes around  in the evening crisping the air with a new chill and helping put an extra gleam into the night stars.

She will grow stronger then have a final fist-fight with summer sometime in late September. Summer will swell again with pride until she gets a quick sucker-punch from autumn and summer will depart for another year. Then autumn will rule for a while. The cobwebs on the fences will sparkle with dewy diamonds in the cool morning and the leaves will fly off the trees blown away by autumn’s heavy  breath.


And winter will lurk in the hilltops. Waiting her turn.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Politically Incorrect?

I fall woefully short among my many well informed, politically correct, organically fed and chronically exercised friends. It is a surprise that they tolerate me except for the slim chance of reforming me. Slim to none.

I read their Facebook and Google+ posts and I review the email they send me full of healthy suggestions and newsworthy world updates. My energy level and world view waver, wobble, and crash.

Face it folks: It is hopeless. It isn’t that I don’t care but I have neither the energy nor the spirit to fight any more. The days for that were when I was in mid-life. We marched for peace and integrated our neighborhoods. We switched from colored bathroom tissue to white. We served more whole grains and bought less ’stuff’. And we raised our children to be aware in ways we never were.


Now the pennant I held, such as it was, passes to somebody else. Thank you to those who keep striving. Have fun. I’ll be taking a nap and playing a silly game on my computer. I’ll eschew the latest book on government financial maneuvering and settle down with a romance or mystery novel. I’m tired of cooking and tonight it will be fast food and television. I’m tired - and retired.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No Comment!

What? No opinions? No disagreements? Nothing to say about my choice of topics?

I shall mosey off to watch the (final?) game of soccer for the US in Brazil today and wonder about that.

But not much.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

About Bears…

Are you old enough to remember this song?


Since I’m a teddy bear lover I’ve hosted a couple of Teddy Bear Picnic events for my friends. It is wonderful to see other adults show up with well-worn and well-loved bears of their own. Like these two:

That one on the right belongs to my daughter and has been around for over 40 years.

Here is a table full of visitors from our last picnic. The fellow in the leather hat is my pal Sebastian. And the fellow attempting to defy gravity belongs to Himself - always independent of convention.

As you can see had a few non-ursine friends show up as well. Teddy bears don’t mind. The job of friendship, comfort, and hugs can be done by other stuffed folk too.


Friday, June 27, 2014

I’d like to introduce you to a good friend of mine. His name is Humphrey. Humphrey Dunty.



You've probably noticed that Humphrey is a teddy bear. He fulfills all the personality requirements of a very superior member of his species. He is cuddly and soft. He is a sympathetic listener who never steals the conversation. He is always happy to give, and receive, a hug.

It is my belief that everyone needs a teddy bear. They aren’t just for little kids. Teens, parents, and old folks like me can all use a teddy for a pal. There are times when the human-folk in life are not around. They are at work or preoccupied with crises in their lives. There are times when what you need is an ear that is completely non-critical and is ready to listen when you need to talk. No questions asked. No judgement given. There are times when you need a hug… right now.

Humphrey is my embraceable bear. His eyes are a tad crooked and his nose is independent of tradition. He is delightfully understuffed which makes him very, very good to hug. His washable fur is well able to absorb tears. A wonderful friend gave him life and gave him to me. He sits patiently on my living room sofa waiting for any time I need him, happily accepting the pat on his head as I pass by him each morning. He is even willing to serve as an impromptu pillow for naps. A perfect teddy bear!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Here I go again:

Bread is my favorite food item, especially bagels, and sourdough. Oh, I love salad and crave meat. I could live without desserts, though I fancy pie - lemon meringue in particular and a good spicy apple would get my attention.

But bread? Bread is my food of choice. It is an addiction. And the two I mentioned previously are the two I miss most living here in the rural Pacific Northwet.

You can buy something called a bagel in a number of places but what you get is simply donut shaped bread. I want a New York bagel. Shaped by hand, raised, dropped in boiling water to create that “toothiness” a good bagel must have, and then baked. A fresh onion bagel generously spread with cream cheese? Pure heaven!

“Sourdough” bread can also be purchased here but it is pale and anemic compared to the firm chewy loaves I learned to love as a citizen of the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The loaves there gave off a delightful, heady, sour aroma that was a perfume.  Slather a slice with butter and it is a meal in itself.

Neither of these treats is available here in southern Oregon. There was a bakery in Port Orford that made fine sourdough but it closed years ago. And though I rush to try every bagel advertised they always disappoint. The round shape does not a bagel make!


In the place of my beloved twosome I now have Oregon Hazelnut bread - a whole grain wonder we can get locally. It makes my morning slice of toast a veritable feast. But I still will crave a chewy fresh NY-style bagel. Or a fresh slice of San Francisco Sourdough.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Step. Step.

I’m getting through the days by focussing* down. Looking ahead and trying to plan isn’t working when the frame of mind is somewhere subterranean, bleak and dark. So I stare at my shoe laces (okay I don’t have laces since bending to tie shoes is not an option anymore so substitute Birkenstock buckles!) and move a foot forward. Stare some more and move the other foot.

Repeat for as long as possible.

Getting through the night is harder. Sleep seldom comes easily and it arrives in two hour segments between trips to the bathroom. Too much time is spent thinking. Worrying. Feeling emotionally backed into a corner. My mind gallops around in uncomfortable circles. Worrying. Things I can’t do anything about. Things I don’t want to do anything about but should. Should and don’t. Around again. And again. Craving the silence of sleep. And worrying.



*especially the cussing part

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Getting old may be an adventure for some folks and I’ve had a few days here and there where it seemed to be an interesting occupation. This isn’t one of those. This is one of the ‘Life Sucks and Aging Sucks Worse’ times.

There is a Me stuck in among the wrinkles and pains that is still happy and excited and full of life but it is getting more and more buried in the reality of becoming old. My brain can no longer keep up with technology or economics or politics. Looking around at the world it doesn’t even want to try. My attitude is more frequently sour and my expectations more often grim.

I’ve lived a lifetime of depression but denied the possibility that I was depressed. Slather enough denial on it and it doesn’t exist, right? I can be bright and cheery, see? Watch me laugh. See my clever jokes. As long as there is company the sadness can be ignored and when I am alone I’ll just look elsewhere and think about something else. The depression doesn’t go away but it can be managed.

And year after year it is harder to laugh it off. The laugh gets thinner. The tears get closer to the surface.

The thick shell of my life has gotten a lot less sturdy. There are cracks. Things are leaking out. I’m crying more often. Laughing less. There are more days when I think about not getting out of bed.

I could handle depression without old age. I think I could handle old age without depression. Having both seems to be losing the battle with both. And it sucks.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Dangling from the Cliff

Why is it that television series feel the need to end every season with a cliffhanger? It is bad enough that it has become the convention to rope several episodes together with a continuing peril. Now the writers add an end of season wait-until-next-season-for-the-answer mega drama. It has become a mega-cliche.

Perhaps it is a bow to the short attention span generation. They glance up from the latest tweet and if nobody on the tube is in peril of dismemberment and death their brains go into lock-down. I can’t imagine this group watching a Jane Austen movie or following the machinations of Hercule Poirot. There has to be car chases and plenty of visible gore to hold them.

It is hard to remember that once upon a time the audience was loyal to the characters. We’d return the next season, after the three month summer hiatus, to spend time with people we liked. I have a hard time wanting to resume watching a series when the intervening time has been crammed with manufactured angst.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Social Greetings

There are days when responding to the friendly greeting “Hi, how are you today?” becomes somewhat of a challenge. This person-to-person nicety is a convention that is meant more as a hello than as a request for information. It is like a wave of the hand or a nod of the head - an I see you/You see me sort of thing. And on those aforementioned days I have to fight the urge to ignore the game and take the greeting and words seriously.

How am I? 

I’ve been a whole lot better. I didn’t sleep well. The neighbor’s dog was barking when I went to bed and that irritated me enough to make it hard to get to sleep. I tossed and turned. Sometimes it feels like the mattress is made of rocks. I woke with my neck muscles in a knot and my spine out of alignment. The arthritis in my knees is really bad and my sinuses are hating the spring pollens. There is a stack of bills on the table that need to be paid and a huge pile of laundry to do and I haven’t the energy for either one. I’m angry about littering. And fracking. And ODOT increasing the speed limit through my town. I’m worried about wildfires and the drought we’re headed into here. and…

What I actually say…

Okay, and you?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I think the cartoonist must have visited during winter. Or spring. Or summer. Or autumn if it he drove up the coast.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

“You’re Kidding!

An exclamation that has me grinding my teeth. You’re kidding! 

An exclamation I’ve used in the past and will probably use again. You’re kidding!

An exclamation that seems like surprise but also calls into question the veracity and reliability of the person who elicits it. You’re kidding!

Himself and I watch Antiques Roadshow on PBS. You’re kidding!

Several times in every show the expert gives an opinion on the price of some antique and the owner of said antique replies with: You’re kidding!

No, they’re not. It is their job to give an informed appraisal. You’re kidding!

May I suggest that “Thank you!” or “Wow, that’s great!” would be better responses? You’re kidding!


No. I’m not.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Horses

I read a study once that said that most little girls go through a stage where they love horses and little boys have a similar stage where they fixate on dinosaurs. That might have been just our generation. Later ones have seemed more Barbie dolls and Match-box cars and then My Little Pony and Transformers.

But this is about me and about horses. When I went through that stage as a kid my mother indulged me with annual trips to the Grand National. I saw rodeo. I saw performing horses. We would go horse-back riding on weekends at a ranch outside of town. My interest in being around horses faded as was replaced by rock music and movie stars. The overall interest in horses remained though it stayed mostly with film.

Horse movies: Conversation with an online pal made me aware of the number of them I’ve watched and enjoyed. The first one I recall was Florian with Robert Young. The Lippizaner stallions were amazingly trained and wonderfully graceful. The ‘airs above the ground’ were the beginning of my love of watching dressage.


Horse movies: The typed conversation led to a list of them. The Horse Whisperer. War Horse. Seabiscuit. And Secretariat. I’ve seen that one a dozen times - maybe more. National Velvet with Elizabeth Taylor and Micky Rooney and a more recent International Velvet. Dreamer.

Of course I read Black Beauty. I watched My Friend Flicka, Fury, and Mr. Ed on television. And even today I will turn to one of the channels on satellite TV that carries shows about horse training.

I don’t own a horse and actually feel intimidated close to such a large animal. Buddy, the horse next door comes for the occasional visit and a snack on our lawn - I keep my distance. But part of me remains that little girl, fascinated by and loving HORSES.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Today’s Theme Song(s)

Himself and I were reminiscing about old TV show theme songs this morning. It started with the theme from “77 Sunset Strip”. I could recall the melody easily enough but Himself went on to sing the words and we were off down Memory Lane.

At one point I countered with the theme from “Mr. Ed.”  Remember that one? It is one of the few where I still know the lyrics.

He had me totally beat with the tune and words to the theme from “My Mother the Car”. What kind of person even watched that show much less recalls the music? Himself does. The man’s memory flabbergasts me.

And I’ll be listening to him warbling lyrics the rest of the day. He just wandered through the room singing “Gilligan’s Island.” What will be next?

He’s threatening me with “F-Troop”!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Right Aid…(or wrong?)

A local pharmacy recently became part of a large conglomerate. One could expect that the prescription service would improve or at least not take a nosedive? One would be wrong.

I called in a renewal on 2 scripts for myself, and another 3 for Himself. Because of the corporate change I actually talked to a human being. Offered a choice of picking the meds up morning or afternoon I chose afternoon and was told they would be ready after 2pm.

Today, after 2 pm, Himself went to the pharmacy. He stood in line and waited. When his turn arrived he was told No, your prescriptions aren’t ready. Come back in half an hour.

Forty minutes later, shorter line this time, and One of the prescriptions can’t be fully filled since we are out of the drug. Come back next week. This, by the way, is a very common heart med - nothing exotic or hard to find.

And no, I don’t feel we got right aid at all.

Friday, May 2, 2014

How It Works - Or Doesn’t?

Our tiny community had a lesson in bureaucratic thinking yesterday. We came together to listen to a state highway representative explain why the speed limit through much our town had been raised. The limit had been set at 40mph from one end of town to the other - not that great a distance really.

The speed through larger towns north and south of us goes down to 30mph for much longer distances, A local who felt that a bit slower would be wise here had contacted the highway department with a request for a similar speed limit through our town.

The highway folks did a study. In less than a week, during a non-representative period of traffic, they came to a conclusion.

Based on previous studies that travelers will ignore signs anyway, the bureaucrats have shortened the length of the slower speed zone we had. Traffic now can travel at 55 mph past our library, a community church, and a pre-school. Essentially they did exactly the opposite of what was requested and what our entire community wants.

This is an example of “DUH!” thinking, all backed up by rules and scientific studies - but devoid of sense.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hot


This is the ear worm of the day… 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57qy7MCzLXA

...appropriate with the weather we are having. April in Oregon has been more commonly wet and chilly but I woke this morning to balmy breezes. Our thermometer read 78 deg. F at 6:30AM! Now, at 10AM it has reached 82 and is still headed up.

I’ve said it recently and surprised myself by saying it: I want the cold and rain to return!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shopping Bags

I promised to post my bags when I had them decorated and here they are. Obviously among things I am not is photographer!





Saturday, April 26, 2014

Use It Up!

Being responsible for the mess we make of our environment has become critically important. Most people are aware that the landscape is both tough and fragile. The planet will outlive us but earth's richness and beauty is struggling to escape human carelessness.

To this aim the overuse of plastic shopping bags is ending here in the US. Grocery stores will sell you a bag for your items if you don’t bring one but those tend to be flimsy and short-lived. I have a few canvas bags but decided we needed a couple more. I located some nice roomy unprinted ones and I'm now in the process of adding my own decorations, just for fun.

The first one got felt-penned cartoon critters. I’m not terribly original at designing but the internet provided ideas and my hand managed reasonable facsimiles. I wanted something a bit less whimsical for the second bag and during the night remembered an appropriate rhyme learned from a lady who’d managed through the economic depression of the 1930’s:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

This was a re-wording of an earlier New England maxim. This second version has re-gained popularity as we try to consume less and is the perfect message for my shopping bag.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post photos of my work?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Try a little art?


Doing that jump to a new blog thing this morning and I came across this one:

http://karinjurick.blogspot.com

I like the paintings. The colors are great, the style just loose enough. Take a look…

Monday, April 21, 2014

Next Blog?

Every now and then I check out other blogs by clicking the “Next Blog” button on the top of my page. It is amazing to me how many blogs are started and eventually abandoned. This one may join that number at some future date. It is also amazing how many are still out there, un-updated, languishing for years or forever in internet purgatory. 


Things you put out here in the electronic La-La-land stay around. This should be a lesson to us all. Kids, watch what you say as it may come back to haunt you. Parents, watch what you say because your kids may find it someday when they are paying your bills at the rest home.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wildlife Cam


Have you ever watched any of the many wildlife cams available on the web? Last summer Himself and I followed the hatching and growth of the Bald Eagles at Decorah, Iowa. I’ve just begun watching again this spring. Fascinating stuff.


Last season two eaglets were raised to adulthood. This year there are three(?) in the nest, and though the parents are very good providers having all three last to adulthood would be unusual. One chick is older and larger than the others and survival goes to bigger and stronger.

I will watch and see my heart-strings tugged by sibling rivalry and the death of those food critters eagles take. It is along-distance reminder of the wild world and my human reaction to it.


Take a look. It is better than any of the ‘reality’ TV shows proliferating on the tube.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Atchoo!



Yes, it is the Sneezin' Season. From a long-ago carefree-sinuses childhood my life has progressed to various respiratory sensitivities. They bother me year-round but reach a peak in spring.

All of my world is blooming. The trees and grasses are shedding pollen at alarmin' rates. My body reacts in classic fashion: eyes are red-rimmed, teary, and swollen; nose drips; sneezles and wheezles occur at random; headaches proliferate.

Once again I am aware that it is little things that count. The pollen count.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring


Spring is flowers. Sunshine. Rain - at least in a good year.

And cat fur.

Like all cats our beloved Flickie sheds her coat all year long, but in Spring her shedding goes into overdrive. Tufts of fur let loose and bail out. Kitty becomes a walking cloud of yellow fuzz looking for a surface upon which to adhere. Flickie sleeps with me and so I sleep in a fur-encrusted nest with blankets, pillows, and sheets all wafting their most recent applications of cat.

I’d like to hurry the process along by brushing or combing Flickie but she is not a cat who tolerates anything beyond one hand applying gentle calming pets. Two hands are a no-no. Anything wielded in the hand is considered an implement of destruction requiring immediate evasive maneuvers and self-protection.  Such an attempt on my part would be like embracing a flailing chainsaw. So…


In Spring I wear cat fur, breathe cat fur, live with cat fur. Flickie bestows this bounty and I receive it. It is The Way for those of us owned by a cat.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse?


Himself was rather excited at the prospect of seeing it. I’m more realistic. We live along a stretch of coast where fog likes to cuddle up and get cozy. Clear sky at night is possible - but demands a roll of the dice with snake eyes to win. Disappointment and night-time sky gazing go hand in hand here.

It was overcast yesterday and Himself prepared for the anticipated eclipse by researching alternate viewing options. We no longer get the NASA channel on TV so that wouldn’t work. Ah! An app! Everything has an app! He found and downloaded a NASA app for his iPad and settled down to view the exciting ‘Blood Moon”.

What a lunar disappointment. The app was total chaos, cutting from one eclipse broadcast to another in mid-sentence and freezing up at random on moon pictures backed by horrid punkish rock music with incomprehensible lyrics. Television coverage was accompanied by cackling inane chatter delivered by cackling inane ‘news anchors’. Trips outside yielded no sign of the moon beyond a somewhat lighter smudge in the dark clouds overhead. Late night anything is not my forte’ so I retreated to bed and left him to tough it out.

I woke later for the inevitable bathroom visit and found Lady Moon shining through the window above my head. A hole in the clouds allowed a peek as the last bit of shadow still lingered on her and I stumbled out to alert Hubbie to get a look before she was lost again in cloud.


I understand there are several more of these colorful lunar eclipses within the next year. Perhaps we’ll get a better view of the next one? Yeah. Right.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tidying Up

I’ve been doing  quite a bit of tidying up over the past few days, delving into nooks and crannies in what I called my sewing room. As I began the excavation the room earned itself a new name: The Clutter Room. It is the place where things gravitate to instead of being put away where they belong.

Most people have a place like that, don’t they? It might be just a drawer in the kitchen where various small cooking implements get tossed. Or maybe it is a shelf in the closet where those extra clothes, not quite right for THIS season, get stuck.

I’ve been somewhat of a controller in my life (okay friends, quit the hysterical mocking laughter!) and I prefer my chaos kept to a minimum. I have a number of those drawers, shelves, folders, files, boxes, and bags. They slowly fill with old, or planned but not started, projects. They are crammed with ideas, designs, memorabilia, and too-good-to-throw-out-but-where-do-I-keep-it stuff. When those places are full, or Good Heavens! forgotten, I find new boxes, new folders, new bags. Sometimes things merely accumulate on any horizontal surface.

Until. Until the controller starts to shudder. The lack of clear space, the disorder, hangs over like a heavy weight dragging me down. Inertia sets in. I want to hide. Finally rebellion takes hold. Time to fight back!

I’ve been doing  quite a bit of tidying up over the past few days.


The Clutter Room is now less cluttered. The job will never be done. I inevitably lose focus and enthusiasm before completion. But, Oh! the change.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Little Things

Today looks to be shaping itself into a day of Little Things. You know the sort of day to which I refer. You run around, busy, busy, busy but at the end of the day the feeling is that nothing was accomplished. No big changes have been made.

For me this is a “List It” day.

I chose a spotless piece of paper and begin writing down everything I do, or have done during the day. Write that birthday card and get it into the mail. Wash a load of laundry. Pay the insurance bill. Put away the bottle of Whatsis and shelve the pile of Whatevers and decide what to do with those scraps and the box that have been sitting on the table for… Eek! Has it been a month already?


The list grows. The work mounts up. It is all stuff that needed to be done but really wasn’t big enough to think of as chores completed. The list helps me realize that progress was made and not the day was not wasted. It was spent on Little Things. And Little Things can add up to Big Things.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Woody!


We had a dead apple tree in our yard. It had only a few branches left and those were recently broken in the wind. Himself cut off the remaining bits but decided to leave the upright trunk section because he thought it could be useful to the local wildlife. I thought he was nuts.

This morning I appreciated his - was it concern for the critters or just hesitation at the job of chopping down the remaining tree? I glanced outside to see a Pileated Woodpecker working the 6 foot stump.

A Pileated Woodpecker is amazing, over 16” long. If you haven’t seen one of these birds I’m including a photo. And although I think the cartoon was inspired by the extinct(?) Ivory-billed Woodpecker I’m still wandering around today singing Mel Blanc’s song:



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Local news

Himself and I watch the nightly “local news” on television. I use the term local lightly since the city from which our local is broadcast is well over a three hour drive away and we seldom travel there. However, that is beside the point.

My message today is about the video snippets that accompany the news as read by the talking head du jour. It seems these teensy bits of film are created and/or assembled by either a middle-school intern or an adult with a very short attention span. The individual fragments seldom last more than 2 seconds. They are randomly pasted together and then arbitrarily repeated until the spoken story is over. I’ve seen segments where the same little tittle of video is shown four different times during a story that lasted less than 30 seconds. The other smidgeons of picture were also repeated several times. It is bad filming, bad editing, and overall sloppy production.


To Local TV news producers: It isn’t that hard folks. Tell your film guy to hold down the button just a little longer. Tell the editor to cut just a little less. Tell the director that a few more seconds of seeing the news anchor will not bore viewers to tears and send us rushing for the channel selector, or at least not any faster than the lurching, pointless particles of whatsis currently showing. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Just Boasting!


Ruthanne

My birthday is this week. I’ll be *mumble-mumble* years old. My daughter and the grands are coming to help me celebrate and cushion the ‘sticker shock’.

And now I segue into pure Grandmother boasting, so Beware!

My pre-teen grand-daughter, Ruthanne, is baking me a birthday cake. Not a Betty Crocker cake - that is my usual formula - she makes hers from scratch. She will also be cooking dinner for all of us tomorrow night. We were on the phone just a little while ago discussing ingredients. It involves making a roux and cream sauce. Ruthanne amazes me. I think I was probably in my twenties before I even learned what a roux was.

Like Ruthie, I had a mother who worked and I learned young how to cook and put a meal on the table. But I was a teen and I never was the cook she is learning to be.


I’m ever so proud of her, and of my daughter for fostering Ruthanne’s capability and independence. This is the greatest gift a grandmother could receive.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.


Do people still acknowledge holidays like this one? My husband and I both made sure to pick out something green to wear. We’re from the days when grade school kids made a big deal out of every such day. If you didn’t wear green the other kids were obligated to pinch you. Now that would be considered bullying and the pinchee would wail and whine to Mom and the pincher would be reprimanded and possibly suspended. And in our day? We got over it and remembered without fail to wear green the next March 17th.

In school we cut out shamrocks to decorate the bulletin board. There were mimeos to color (remember those?) of rainbows and leprechauns. A room parent would bring cookies or cupcakes with green icing to class.

We celebrated everything. Valentine’s Day: we hoped for lots of Valentines in the paper bag “mailbox” we decorated and taped to the side of our desk. Of course we eyed each other to see who got the most and our parents made sure we had enough to give one to every classmate. We’d save the one we thought best for that ‘special friend’. Our mimeos had hearts and flowers. We had bunnies and eggs on the walls for Easter. We had both Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays. We colored Santa Claus and cut out snowflakes from colored paper for Christmas. We learned about Columbus for Columbus Day. And Halloween meant lots of orange and black construction paper and a costume parade at school.

I have to remember to ask my grand-daughter about St. Patrick’s Day and all these other special days. So many have become ‘politically incorrect’. Other have become inclusive enough to verge on meaningless. Yes, I’ve become one of those oldies who, reality aside, sigh over the good old days.


(Sigh)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Who Blog? Me Blog?

I haven’t blogged in a while. 

First there was the Olympics. Himself and I recorded just about every minutes of coverage and watched only a small percentage of that which was still far too much. It was amazing how many different permutations of kids playing in the snow there were. It was scary how little snow they had to do it in. I love ice dancing and watched all I could. I used to love pairs and singles skating but now have to hide my eyes for fear of splat-downs. One more whirl in the air just doesn’t add to the beauty and skill of a performance when 75% end in a butt-spin and half the skating time is spent preparing for the leap.

After the Olympics we watched a show on the world-wide retreat of glaciers. Depressing, but it went along with the lack of snow in Sochi and the lack in our mountains here on the west coast. But wait… we all know there is no such thing as global warming, right? Yeah, right.

The past couple of weeks have been spent catching up with our lives, post-Olympics. We are slaves to the television and Himself, Button-pusher Supreme and all around Geek, programs ours to save movies and… movies… and series… and, um… more movies. We also receive boxes of DVDs and books and Great Courses on a regular basis from a dear friend. There are hours and hours and still more hours to catch up on. The media own us.

I won’t mention how many hours a day I spend online gaming. It isn’t supposed to be that way at my creaky advanced age!

So, blogging? I think about it. I think really, really hard. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Book Review from Goodreads


                                      ****

I read this book on the recommendation of my daughter who is an avid knitter. She struggles with a busy life balancing a job teaching with raising two very active children and coping with her marriage and life in general. The Friday Night Knitting Club spoke loudly to her experience with women's issues.

The writing itself was only so-so. This isn't "great" literature although certainly not deserving of the scathing remarks made by some other reviewers here. But I've read far worse from books on the NY Times Bestsellers list. The story overall was perhaps a bit predictable and treacle filled. But this 66 year old grandmother found herself absorbed, sometimes surprised, and enjoying the notion of a group of women engaged in handwork and camaraderie.


And yes daughter, I DID cry at the end.