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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Goodbye Glenn Ford

A short note as I am posting away from home.

I heard that Glenn Ford passed away today at the age of 90. He starred in some wonderful movies: Cimmaron, The Teahouse of The August Moon, The Man From Colorado, The Desperadoes, Cowboy - and the list goes on and on.

He never won an Oscar. In my humble opinion that is probably a compliment.

A great one. Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blog Day August 31, 2006

Blog Day August 31, 2006
Oh how I love to read blogs. I have around 10 that I pop into every morning before I head to work and nearly always spin some kind of comment, just to let them know I've been by. Sometimes (always) I'm late for work and just breeze in and out without a word.

I do have some other blogs I read. They run the gamut - anything and everything.

Here are five that I think you will enjoy visiting.... at least once!!!

One of my favorite is Middle East Journal by Michael Totten. He is a professional journalist who has been traveling and writing an independent view of the happenings in that part of the world. One of my favorite posts was his strange trip to Libya, also pubished in the LA Weekly. If you don't get a chance to read any of his other works, do take the time to read that one. Another fascinating tale is his BACK TO IRAQ series, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and the finale. Let me know if you think he is crazy or a 21st century explorer.

When I want to see some great photography and wish that I snapped that shot, I check out Breath of Life Photography.

Then when I want to beat myself up with a stick I check out a few watercolor sites including The Creative Journey. It just makes me want to quit my day job and roll my naked body in paint on a wet canvas. HA HA. Well, at least it makes me want to quit my day job.

Probably the very first blog I ever read was Mountaineer Musings. I didn't know what blogging was, so it was the eye opener for me. I still don't know what she is about. For awhile she was doing play by play of the American Idol performances. And one day she was ranting on how that great show Alias turned so crappy. I think she's the one that made me start thinking that if she could do it, so I could I.

Last, I want you to visit a sweet and sassy lady, (an older one), who has tackled blogging in an effort to breathe some life into her family history. You may have seen her on my side bar. Take a journey back in time to Rosemary's Pentecostal Songs and encourage her to stay on task. Isn't it great to see the greatest generation take on technology with such determination!

I'll be coming home from work tomorrow and hoping to see what everyone else has linked to on their blogs. Have a wonderful blog journey.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

When our cat said "Woof"

The first two weeks of The Contessa‘s sojourn in our house she spent under our bed.

She was probably traumatized by the four weeks she lived at the animal shelter and needed some time to be by herself.

The hubby and I put her food, water, and kitty litter in our bathroom. It was apparent that she was venturing out that far while we were at work.

Then one evening she made an appearance in the family room where we were both reading. She spent a lot of time inspecting the furniture, bookcases and the warmth of the fireplace. She jumped up and walked across our laps but didn’t linger. Once she spotted the kitty door to the garage, she made a beeline to it and through it. We figured she’d seen one of those before. (The litter box followed her out there that day. Yes!). We were happy that the season under the bed had ended.

The days passed and changes in her demeanor were barely apparent. She would jump if we moved too quickly, she would only let us pet her for short moments, she would hide behind or under things when we came home from work. She even hissed at me when I sat beside her on the couch. (Read why she “was mad” to explain some of that.)

She’d been living with us for two months when she at last began to fit into our routine.

Soon she figured out when breakfast would be served. Dinner was another milestone, and she would greet us with a certain amount of aloof recognition when we came home from work. Her favorite time was when the telephone rang, and she would actually jump up on my lap or the hubby’s and rub her nose against our chins as we tried to carry on our conversations. Now that tickled us, in several ways.

This particular evening, I was lighting some scented candles when the phone began ringing. I found out the call was for me and decided to slip back into the bedroom for some privacy and to have my chin to myself. The hubby was alone with The Contessa.

He was alarmed when he saw her leap up on the coffee table and edge closer to the burning candles. Because she still was so unpredictable when we moved fast, he determined the best approach would be to lean in cautiously and stop her progress toward the flame. He was too slow.

It happened in a flash. The Contessa’s long silver hairs breached the candle’s flame and the hubby saw the first sparks.

That is when our kitty cat went “W O O O O F.” There was a puff of smoke and a nano-second look of horror in The Contessa’s eye matched equally by a look of horror in the hubby’s. She took off like a rocket.

Meanwhile, I was back in the bedroom and I heard the hubby stampeding through the house. The door was open and I saw The Contessa sliding sideways on the wood floor as she turned the corner on the hallway in record setting speed and disappeared beneath my bed. In the time it took me to turn back, there was the hubby sliding around the same corner with a look of a wild man on his face. He landed belly on the floor frantically searching for what he feared would be a feline torch and a house on fire. (He is a retired firefighter, so I’m sure he was following protocol.)

Fortunately for all of us, the flash of fire and smoke just singed the longest and fluffiest ends of her lovely fur coat, and made her stink like a scorched mitten. I guess you could say it was mostly smoke damage.

Since that day, The Contessa has never sought solitude under our bed. Nor have I have I burned any candles.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dinner, gastropods and backing up.

Amanda is here for a visit (with little Curly Mop), so the hubby fixed her favorite dish for dinner. She said, "mom, post a picture of pop's stew on your blog."

So here's dinner. Yes, those are green olives in the stew!

Later, when Curly Mop was fast asleep, Amanda headed out the front door to meet up with a friend just back from Iraq. She poked her head back in and said "Mom, there is a slug on the sidewalk."

She placed her key beside it just to prove we weren't photoshopping. We could rope and saddle him up and attempt eight seconds without sliding off. You first.

It was officially 97 degrees here today in spite of the heavy layer of blue smoke in the valley. Slugs are the wet and rainy lovers so I was perplexed.

Hey.... maybe he's a Blogger Tech? (I've been hoping for some help on step number four on the back up your blog instructions.)

Perhaps word is out about the new pond in the back yard.

The pink lily bloomed today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The first stroke

I pulled out my watercolors this afternoon. I wanted to begin a portrait of my Benjammin kid.

I have a camping photograph with a real smile on the kids face, so I knew that it was one I could use. I chose the colors that I thought would match his blond hair and pink cheeks. Hair color is the more difficult of the two. I tested on scratch paper that I save for just that. The water was prepared and the brushes were chosen; I laid out a clean towel for my little brush rituals and for spills.

Then it hit me, just like it always does. The fear of the first stroke. I just sit there...frozen, scared, wondering what the heck I'm doing thinking I can paint a picture. (In this case a portrait of a grandson.)

The feeling does not pass. I just have to force myself to pick up the brush and find a spot to begin.

I hope to start another watercolor class this September so that I can learn more skills and become more confident. My teacher is amazing. I watch her in fascination and envy. I want to be just like her!

I've discovered, in watching the teacher, that she and I do share one thing in common. She also suffers the fear of the first stroke. I'm in good company.

Just to be entertaining I am posting the very first one of my paintings that made it to a frame. It was done three years ago when I first started classes. Haystack Rock on the Oregon Coast. It hangs and looks better in one of our bathrooms than it does on my blog.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

And They were Living in My fridge

In case you don't know what you are seeing, the term is


I put it off as long as possible.

Why do we put leftovers in there? We know their ultimate destination is the garbage can. Is it guilt? Waste not, want not?

Full to the maximum capacity and nothing for dinner. I'd like to see a show of hands for all who have experienced this phenomenon.

How about, looked once, looked twice, and still went back a third time to see if anything has appeared in there since the last time you looked.

Deed is done. I cleaned it. I thought I spotted Elvis's blue suede shoes in the cream cheese. Does that count as a sighting?

They are here

Ran across this at another blog I visit daily, and I had to share it.
Just needed to prove that there are aliens among us.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Smoke gets in my eyes

This has been a miserable week of coughing, burning eyes, sneezing and generally feeling like an old smoker.

There is a wild fire about 30 miles to our southeast that has burned over 65,000 acres.

Some of our friends who live close to the mountains could see the reflection at night.

(Picture from newspaper)

I've been a little bit self-centered, and I'm feeling quite guilty. So much is being destroyed, and here I am complaining.... cough, choke, sneeze , spittum and all that stuff that grosses the other ladies out.

I hope it rains soon.

For my Brother , and for Swampwitch

Something that Swampwitch said on one of my posts intrigued my brother, and he has asked that I share this with her and the rest of you. I have plans to write about all of these people in more detail as I learn more about blogging and as time permits. It is for my siblings and their children and my children. However, I hope you still will enjoy this brief history and story.

My Great Grandfather, Franklin Castle, married my Great Grandmother, Augusta Travis, in 1877 in Battle Creek, Michigan. He already had four sons (possibly only 3 living) and a daughter named Hattie from his first marriage. My grandmother, Grace, was born to Franklin and Augusta in 1879, and five more children followed.

My Grand Aunt Hattie wrote some journals before she died in 1965. A portion of one of her journals can be read below these old photos. In it she tells of their journey from Michigan to Delta Colorado.

My great grandparents at their cabin in Delta, Colorado. I believe that is my grandma Grace between her papa and mama.

My grandmother Grace and my grandfather William, who was 21 years her senior. They were married June 22, 1895.

A picture of Delta looking at Grand Mesa, probably taken by my Grand Aunt Hattie's husband who was a traveling photogrpaher.

My grand Aunt Hattie.

From Aunt Hattie's Journal - (her handwriting was poor and we did the best we could transcribing them)

Well, the summer before I was fifteen, my brother wrote, urging my Father to come to Colorado as up the Ute Indian Reservation to be settled and they were each taking a 160 acres joining each other and he could get one joining theirs if he came right away, so as he then had three boys growing, he thought he better get a place. So he sold out. We packed things to ship when we got settled, and we boarded the train bag and baggage, which meant quite a bit, with 4 little kids. So that was the way we left Michigan.

Our Trip To Colorado

The first place of interest to me was seeing Lake Michigan as we went around the south end into the Grand Central Depot where we went right into the depot and there a number of trains standing there for various places; a number of tracks side by side, we had to wait a while there. The next day we went in sight of the Missis-
sippi River and saw the boats going up and down it. The water in the Mississippi was so clear and pretty, but when we crossed it just below where the Missouri ran into it, the water was red and dirty, and it showed plainly where it ran in.
We then went into Kansas City just at dark. Had to wait a while there and then went across Kansas in the night. In the morn-
ing (we) saw our first antelope (also coyetes) and then came in sight of the Rocky Mountains with the sun shining on them. They sure looked grand to us - first mountains I had ever seen. Then came into Denver - from there through mountains to Canyon City,
on the Red or Arkansas River. From there we went zigzagging back and forth on such short curves, you could sometimes see the back car, and could look down to where the river looked like it was very small. We climbed the mountains above the timberline over Monarch Pass (they said it was the highest pass over the Rockies),
then down the western slope above the Black Canyon of the Gun-
nison River, pass Gunnison City, on to Montrose, then Delta, where Herbert and Newton met us with the family convayence,
a lumber wagon.
Delta was a very small place - had to cross the Gunnison River on a ferry boat. On through the dobys to Uncle Herbert's place, where Eliza met us with a hearty welcome and a good pioneer dinner. I well remember, she had fresh parsnips from the garden, and we had always been told they were poison to eat until after they had been in the ground all winter. But she only laughed and said they ate them anyway and they never hurt them.
Well, on Sunday morning, my brothers came with horses all ready for my Father and I (also Eva), to go with them up on Grand Masa hunting. You see, at that time venison was a staple article of food, as everything was high and as yet, very little had been raised in that valley, as the valley had only open to settlement two or three years - taken from the Ute Indians. My brother was well acquainted with the old Chief Quray and his tribe.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Roses, no Dahlias

Roses love sunshine, so they grieve not for the Globe Willow.

The Matador

The Anenomes are reaching for the open sky.

Water hyacinths, lillies, and various other pond plants seem to be thriving in their new home.

But, we miss our Dahlia's. We didn't get them out of storage in time because of the delay in our yard work. We think it was fungus. Here is a link to Confessions of a Pioneer Woman original poem dedicated to her dying dahlias.

These are last years pictures. They were so pretty.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bird Shot

Wolf Fork is a mountain stream that plummets down a narrow rocky canyon in the Blue Mountains just southeast of the small town of Dayton, Washington.

The year was 1951, and Dan was once more on the trail of the deer that he could “never” shoot. His dad had pulled him early from his warm bed and together they had revved up the old International pickup and headed into the foothills. They parked the truck close to the tumbling water, then proceeded on foot into the rocky terrain and brush with the stealth of two skilled hunters and trackers.

The October morning was hovering in the 30’s, but the biting wind had exaggerated the cold, causing both to shiver and grow stiff from the chill.

Around 10 o’clock, the two hunters discovered a slight swale in the rocks that dipped below the canyon ridge. It was the perfect spot to take refuge from the wind and still afford them a panoramic view of the canyon. Within the shelter of the rocks, they maintained their hunting mode.

Dan was sitting close to his father, rubbing his hands together to increase the blood circulation, when, in a split second he was hit. His head was snapped by a speeding projectile that also propelled his seated body off balance. In his slightly disoriented state, he knew he had been shot by a hunter’s errant bullet.

As his head cleared and his senses began to return, he realized that the roaring in his ears was the unmistakable laughter bellowing from his father. He was, in fact, doubled over with mirth.

That is when Dan saw his bullet, a Quail, on the ground nearby in an equally drunken stupor.

The bird must have been startled into sudden flight and escaped over the edge of the canyon. Instead of the hiding place it was prepared to enter, it collided with Dan’s camaflauged head.

The story ended well. The Quail recovered after a short rest and flew away. Dan went home “deerless,” once more.

(Dan, my co-worker who refuses to retire, shared this 1950 something picture of Elk hunting in the Blue Mountains to prove that some of their hunts ended successfully. An unfortunate incident resulted in the destruction of most of Dan's childhood photographs. )

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Blow, Prairie Wind.

No breeze tonight.

The turbines in one of the largest wind farms in the United States were not creating wind energy tonight, but were standing silent in the distant skyline. A mauve smoke has settled into the hills and valleys with an erie calm.

In the foreground the flag was in repose above the rainbirds soaking a vineyard.

Where's There's Smoke............

Friday evening we headed to the west side for some complicated business. Smoke from the Mount Hood forest fire was apparent in the horizon and the reflection in the Columbia River.

Coming home tonight, just a few miles from home and the sun was on fire in golds and crimsons.

The Message:

Psalm 50 1-3 The God of gods—it's God!—speaks out, shouts, "Earth!" welcomes the sun in the east, farewells the disappearing sun in the west.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Word Verification

Anyone having as much fun as I am with word verification? Or am I just to easily amused.

The very first WV that caught my eye was FODWOX. It can be used for any special occasion. If your grandchild shows you his bruised knee, you just say... 'Fodwox! That must have hurt" If your good friend gives you a pair of earrings that you've been waiting to buy... you say "Thank you.... you are just fodwox!" If you see your hubby's nice looking bottom in his tight jeans walking around the corner of the house, you say.... " hubba hubba Fodwox. " (Stealing a little hubba hubba limelight from Julie over at Another Chance Ranch.)

I'm sure not all the WV's are as versatile as that one. Hope you might share in the fun and
get your creative juices flowing - let me hear what you come up with in your blogger language.

I'll start:

Kugsx The sound made when people suck food from between their teeth.
Oubsru OH! You BS'er YOU!
Mkador Make a Door (then run) from Susy in VA

Now it's your turn..........................


Going to be busy this weekend.... so I won't be seeing my blog again until sunday.
Hope to come back to some fun interpretations.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thirty years ---- it can't be true

When you are young and in love, everything is wonderful. You even get forgiven for giving your groom a frizzy permanent before the wedding.

(He's reconsidering, though!)
That angle of a picture was a poor choice with a low back dress. I look like a giraffe. Believe me, my neck really stopped close to the hair line.

I just found the very few wedding pictures we had taken. Most of them were poloroid. Two professional ones. Our daughters wanted to have them out for the party on Saturday and we couldn't find them. Of course HAD I KNOWN ABOUT THE PARTY I could have looked ahead of time. (:

Just thinking now that we should have put the family albums on a table and let people look at the passing of the years. The newborn babies, the 1st birthday cake, the spagetti covered 2 year old, the first steps, the swingset, the birthday parties, the first tootheless grin, the softball games, the kites at the beach, the chickenpox, the camping trips, the first trout, the pajama parties, the dogs, the cats, the in laws, the great grandparents, the graduations, the marching in parades, weddings, becoming grandparents, hanging spoons from noses........................... I put that last one in to see if I still had your attention.

He completes me.

Hummer - the winged variety

This morning I ate my breakfast on the patio by the new "water feature." There were probably six hummingbirds chasing each other around the yard and over the fence into the neighbors. I grabbed my trusty little digital and got my 2nd wonderful picture in two weeks. Isn't he gorgeous?

The honeysuckle seems to be their favorite attraction.

The sparrows and finch were not safe from these little buzzing menaces. It is amusing for me to watch the house sparrows attempt to escape the rufous and his acrobatics.

It is so beautiful I don't wan't to go to work. Well, I wouldn't want to go to work irregardless of what the day is like. I'd rather sit out there all day with my camera and my binoculars. I think my next purchase will be a tiny laptop so I don't have to blog indoors.

I would like to set up my water color table out there as well. The Contessa, our cat shares my love for watercolors. Several times I have discovered her sprawled across my wet paints, or the wet surface of a new work of "art." (ô¿ô)

I should set up spot on my table just for her. With my luck, she would become a world famous artist and leave me to tour her world of admirers.

(Rufous hummingbird)


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another rare scene

This morning I noticed that Karmyn had posted a photograph taken on her way home on Sunday. It was taken at Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge. So, I'm posting another rare scene, further east in the same Gorge. My cousin and I were traveling home in early June when we spottted a herd of Mountain Sheep close to Interstate 84. Fortunately SHE had her digital camera as I only had my mouth open. There was one breathtaking moment when what was probably the alpha male came charging along the trail towards us. Once he realized we were just a couple of old women he stopped and headed up the hill. I hope you can see them, it's such a small picture.... but then it's a big Gorge!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Everyone has a Fart story

Everyone has at least one fart story. Some of you may know that I have a tendency to name things. The following incident is known in our family as The Mother’s Day Fart. (update: aka The Wal-Mart Fart -- ***Amanda)

I was my eldest daughter’s guest of honor at Washington State University (Wazzu) on a mother’s day weekend some years back. Her roommate’s mother enjoyed the same privilege.

Most of the weekend is a faint memory with the exception of two things. The first was a late evening rainstorm that lured thousands of earthworms to the surface. They were anterior to posterior (I'd say end to end, but don't they have heads?) on the sidewalk when we were returning from a special musical affair. By the time we arrived at the dormitory I swear I was two inches taller from all the goo stuck on my shoes.

Then, of course, there was the fart.

We woke up late Sunday, which made our plans for a nice brunch morph into a lunch across the border in Moscow, Idaho. The Chinese restaurant we chose served a lovely meal, which we followed up with a trip to Wal-Mart. Neither mother had shopped in a Wal-Mart store so we looked upon it as an adventure.

As we drove into the parking lot, I felt lunch gurgling in my belly. I knew that could cause some grimacing in the near future. Being an honest person, I warned the other three that I was feeling some discomfort. Once I broached the subject, a few stories followed. I, of course, disclosed that I had been the unfortunate target of several indiscreet “fluffers” over the previous week. Two elderly women had been standing close to me at the theater when one of them tooted. Adding insult, they looked at each other, than at me, as though I was the perpetrator. At the supermarket there was a male senior citizen sharing the aisle who popped when he put his left foot in, then again when he put his left foot out. Either he was doing the hokey pokey or he was deaf.

The girls “giggled” while we exited the car. We then entered the store, passed the greeter (hmm fancy!), and found ourselves at the shoe department. The first encounter was a Kiosk of sandals in all colors and sizes that we circled like a wagon train. The inspection of the treasure had just begun when an obese woman in polyester pants waddled in between the daughters. That is when it happened. She lost control. The ensuing escape of methane discharged --- and applauded itself, ta-boot.

The eyes of two mothers and two daughters met in a silent stare across the faux leather. There were no expressions. There were no movements. We were four statues held in some sort of a now what? trance.

The suspended animation might have held had it not been for the woman’s husband. He turned his head away, covered his mouth, and with a feigned and exaggerated coughing fit made a feeble and inane attempt to mimic his wife’s blast.

The tension was broken. In what could best be described as a synchronized escape, each of us executed a perfect pirouette and streaked in opposite directions. In some “unsolved mystery”, we managed to assemble in an aisle in the back of the huge super store and scurry out the nearest exit.

We laughed all the way back to Wazzu.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What does a Grandpa do?

He cut down a tree . He ripped up a yard. He lived through about as much mud and dust as if he lived in a tent. Sometimes he got a little help from grandma, who really rocks. He put up with the razzing about his perfectionist ways. He dug a hole and turned it into a lovely pool and waterfall. Finally, when his 9 year old granddaughter, the red headed girl, said "it isn't a pond, grandpa, until you have fish," he stopped partying and released some goldfish. He made his grandchildren happy. He makes me happy. If you look very close, you might even see the fish smilin'.


ô ô

THE BACK YARD (...there once was a hole) UPDATED

REMINDER: First picture taken in March, others in August.

Here is an update - mostly so Willowtree will know we didn't photoshop. If you look just to my left you will see the bamboo entry (or whats left of it) from the yard party on Saturday. Kailani, you would have thought the bamboo was a hoot. You want a pond ?? but you have the whole Pacific Ocean. The hubby started to take them down and I said STOP. Leave it. Let me love seeing it for just a little while longer. Darn... I'm crying again. Robin, you would have had so much fun seeing everyone dressed up. My grandaughters with coconut bra's....my brother wearing a grass skirt. Those girls........... .......................God blessed us. We sure think of all the times we coulda, shudda, woulda been better parents - looking back. And 7 grandkids and all those new rocks around the pond.... and no one fell in!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

It's a Carnival

It was truly a carnival at our house today. Our three lovely daughters surprised us with a Hawaiian luau 30th anniversary celebration. I'm sure you will hear about it from Karmyn when they get home. I'll let her tell the story. I only know what happened since this morning.

What a party! Friends, family, food, fun!

In the meantime.... please don't forget the bloggin chicks 10th carnival and head on over there for the cotton candy and the ferris wheel. Well..................... it could happen!

I've entered a post from June. (I've been bloggin for two months yesterday.) PS. when you hit this june link you have to scroll down quite a way. When I changed templates, something happened and my archives has a long scroll before the first post. ???? I'm sure it is something that Michele or Lindsey can figure out. (Lindsey at Suspension of Disbelief must be having some tech problems, because when I posted this her blog lwas not coming up as usual)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

My Sky

We are so close to finishing up THE BACK YARD. Well, we never ever truly finish landscaping. Things are always changing. But, for the past few evenings as we have worked, the sky has been changing and looking so awesome that I have snapped pictures upwards instead of pictures of the yard. Perhaps tomorrow you will get to see what has finally become of the horrid mess we had in March. The hubby has worked his fingers to the bone. I've helped as I have been able. Our friends Mike and Kim have spent hours the past three days helping with the water feature. That has included accompanying us to the mountains to haul rocks in for landscaping. (Yes we have a permit.) You can't ask for better friends. Mike said he recalls the saying that "Love is a behavior not just a feeling."
PS. It's raining

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

She could have had a V-8

I don't like tomato juice. Nor do I like V-8 juice. This post has nothing to do with either. I hope that you will understand my choice of title when you reach the end of this very short story.

About one month ago I spent an evening pointing my mouse at the "next blog" icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. It was a revealing evening; there is alot of junk out there.

One of the blogs that opened was a young man in an argument with his father. Dad wanted him to go on the family vacation to Hawaii. He was balking because he had just met this girl and he thought she might be 'the one.' He didn't want to miss the chance of having her in his life by taking off for ten days of fun in the sun with family.

The comment queen (me) had to give him advice. I said, "GO!" If she's the one, she'll still be the one when you get home. No sooner had I commented when another post appeared with the same counsel. He said he appreciated our input. I wonder what he chose to do.

The next day at work, a woman stopped by my desk with a very similiar situation. Because her husband wasn't able to get away from his job for their planned tour of Europe, she had arranged for her two twenty-something children to go. She was disappointed when her older daughter copped out and asked for the money instead. She said she would rather use it for her upcoming honeymoon.

Fast forward to today. The woman came into my workplace and stopped to share a few highlights of their adventure. I flippantly asked, "Well, is your daughter wishing she had gone with you now?"

I can't describe the look that wrote on her face and began articulating an "I told her so" in body language.

"Yes, " she drawled with one eybrow cocked. "They broke off their engagement."

Thats when I thought of that old annoying commercial - when someone comes to the realization that they ended up with just a cold glass of tomato juice.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tag along

When I was little we played many variations on the game "Tag." Frozen Tag, Poison Tag, 123 Tag, and Tag, You're IT are a few that come to mind.

There's a new game in town now that I have been blogging - two months this week! During this introduction period I have been ?tagged four times. I skipped number three because I felt I was to new to blogging to make sense with my answers.

Todays ?tag is a double tag team. I tagged White Trash with a hoaky questionaire a long time ago and she finally answered my tag and upped the ante with a return ?tag about books.

Wintertime is when I do most of my reading, snuggled up in my big easy chair with my quilt and a fire crackling. THE BACK YARD project that we started in March, (no choice) and then the continuing saga of THE BACK YARD has kept me out of my easy chair. Also, I started blogging, and have been spending waaaaaaaaay to much time on this new addiction. (Do we all have to go to some blogger treatment center to kick the habit? Let me know when you will be there, so I can get committed at the same time.)

I tend to have an addictive personality. After a compulsion of choice I usually go "cold turkey." This is in reference to my art/painting, playing the piano, cooking, reading books, etc. I have seasons that I will devour several books per week. Right now I am not in one of those seasons. The problems with the answers I give tonight are that they may be different once I get some sleep and wake up refreshed. (I'm still hoping for that morning.)

Well here goes my response! I'm going to try and wrestle this subject and then hit the hay.

One book that changed your life: I don't think I've changed yet. Many people mentioned the Bible. And I agree that would be the one to do it. My problem is, I haven't allowed it to do so. There is still hope.

One book that you have read more than once: I'm a Nora Roberts fan. I have read the Cheasapeak Bay series (there are 4 books) more than once. Probably several others of her trilogies as well. She has a new trilogy called The Circle, the first book is due out at the end of this month. So I will probably be reading again in September. I know, I know..... cotton candy.

One book you'd want on a desert island: The US ARMY SURVIVAL MANUAL I left this out on my first publish. The alternative would be Boat Building: A complete handbook.

One book that made you laugh: Standing in the Rainbow, by Fannie Flagg was the most recent book that I've read that made me chuckle audibly. "Walter the Farting Dog" made me laugh. But what does that signify? Yes, Willowtree, I read your fart story and I was entertained. It also gave me an idea for another post. (There are never to many fart stories.)

One book that made you cry: I have to go back to the very first book that I remember that made me cry. If I told you every book that made me cry we'd be here all night. I am such a sop. It was "Where the Red Fern Grows."

One book you wish had been written: Can I be selfish, and say I wish I'd written the one in my head? Then I'd have a multi-million dollar contract with Putnam & Jove and be collaborating with Nora on her next bestseller.

One book you wish had never been written: My daughter blogged today that she had just about had enough of Dr. Suess and the "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." There's a safe answer. Truthfully, there is one book that I would like to say. Unfortunately I must treat the book in very much the same way as Harry's friends did Voldemort. "The Book-That-Must-Not-Be-Named."

One book you are currently reading: Disinformation by Richard Miniter. At least it's on my desk, and I have a book mark and my reading glasses sitting beside it. I need to kick my heels three times and repeat, "I will get it read, I will get it read, I will get it read!"

One book you have been meaning to read: Anyone out there read that book about a guy and his Golden Retreiver.... Marley & Me . Will it make me smile inside? I miss my dog.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mommy, where did I come from?

Twenty years ago my youngest daughter Mandy asked the question that every mother knows is coming, but just doesn’t know when.

” Mommy, where did I come from?" she queried one afternoon. I remember sitting down with some serious spinning inside my head but I attempted to keep it 'light'.

"Oh," I replied, "you came from the love that daddy and I have for each other." From that beginning, I attempted to explain, using the least explicit details, how our intimate relationship brought her, a beautiful little surprise, into our lives.

Her eyes rolled and her mouth twisted in that "mom you are crazy" look that she can still direct at me today.

"No, mom.... not that! Megan came from California, and I want to know where I came from!" she exclaimed with both hands on her waist and a foot already tapping the floor.

No matter how much we try to be, parents are never prepared.

During the past 10 years, my brother and I seriously began questioning where we came from. We had no idea how much energy we would be putting into the project.

Most of my effort and time was spent using what search vehicles were already available on the World Wide Web. At that time, the Mormon Church had just started a genealogy page that anyone could access. There were some census records available, but even more fun to search were the manifests of immigrants’ ships. My brother focused on known living relatives. He traveled around the country interviewing them, copying their pictures and letters, and whatever family history he could get his hands on.

One day I had to stop. I was overwhelmed with the exponentials. I start with me, (1) Then my parents (2). Then my grandparents (4). Then great grandparents (8). Then great great (16). Then great great great (32). As you can see, by the time you have touched six generations, there are already 32 family lines to follow. Besides being a full time hobby, it can become an overwhelming obsession. We have gathered a mountain of pictures and other information that are a family treasure chest.

Along the way, the hubby and I began picking up some things about his family tree, too.

Therefore, the remainder of today's post is for my daughter, Mandy. She has a little girl (Curly Mop) of her own who is going to ask someday, "where did I come from mommy?"

Dear Mandy,
In the early 1800's in Scotland there was a man named Alexander Laing who fell in love with Ann Watt. Their love for each other produced a daughter in 1812. Elizabeth.

I wonder what her world was like and if she would have been traumatized to know her picture was posted for anyone to see. The little glasses in her right hand intrigue me. I have a pair just like them. The book posed in her lap has pictures, so I do not think it is her bible.

Elizabeth became the wife of James Ainslie and they begat a son named Joseph. Our family records indicate he married Helen Martin. But I found out with a little research that her name was really Ellen.

Daughter Christine was born to Joseph and Ellen on December 1, 1856 in Point Arena California. That means the family had arrived in the western hemisphere.

Christine married Sumner Collins. I have the feeling that she married well. She is the one standing to the left with her daughter Estella. Dig the hats! We have a huge Bible with a carved wooden cover that was gifted by Sumner to his wife on Christmas Day, 1894. He didn't sign it in his own hand. In what looks like gold leaf, it is imprinted, "To Mrs. S.M. Collins, by her husband." He was in the lumber industry and moved his family to Castle Rock, Washington.

John Collins, offspring of this union, was born on January 23, 1875. What a handsome fellow he turned out to be. I think this picture, showing that he also had a sense of humor, was taken in Tacoma.

He married a very lovely woman named Vesta Lord, also born in 1875. Vesta is the one on the far right.

Vesta and John's daughter Esther was born December 17, 1901. Recognize the other two ladies? No? Pretend they are wearing hats.

John drowned in a most bizarre accident when he was 34 years old. According to the newspaper article, he was in a small boat with two other men out on Puget Sound that was run down by a steamer. "All statement bear out the assertions that the drowning occured after dark, even to the stopping of John H. Collins watch at 9:40."

Vesta remarried a horrid man that mistreated her, which resulted in a quick divorce. She then remained single and didn't have any other children.

Here is another picture of John and Vesta's daughter Esther. She began dating Oscar Hoover and soon they had a family of their own: Pat, Joan, and John. Oscar and John both died of heart attacks in their early 50's. (Pat is still going strong at the age of 83.) Esther, who was affectionally called Nana, developed Alzheimer's disease and lived in that forgotton "place" for more than 12 years and died in 1984.

Joan, Mandy's grandmother, died in 2003. She was a beautiful woman on the outside, but very unhappy on the inside. So sad and frustrating for those who wanted to love her. I was quite surprised when I looked at this picture at how much of Joan's lovely features are apparent in the face of my daughter Mandy.

Joan married Wallace. My hubby and his sister are the wonderful contributions from that short union.

One evening their son eyed my legs leaning over a billiard table while I was stretching to sight my cue stick. I think thats when I made the "kill shot."

This handsome young man was and still is a very indusrious fellow. He was a star pitcher on his little league team, played the bass and sang in a folk trio, and swam on his high school swim team. He joined the navy to see the world. He saw it from beneath the ocean as a submariner.

Of course, we must not forget that fateful game of pool.

That brings us back to that day when Mandy wondered where she came from. She was a little water sprite, like her dad. She is currently finishing her education and raising her little Curly Mop and doing a fine job at both.

Mandy can now tell "Curly Mop" that these are some of the many places “where” she came from.

I think they all would have been very pleased that she will know. Love, Mom

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What is wrong with this picture?

Last winter I took a Thursday night watercolor class after work. One evening the class had finished a 6-week project, so our instructor suggested we all relax and do a fun one niter. She told us to pull out our masking tape and design some trees on our cold press paper. We made our personal color choice for the background, blow dried our work, removed the tape, and finished by painting in the birch trees.

It didn't take very long, and we all had a fun time. The most entertainment arrived, however, when the quickies were placed on the white board for all to scrutinize and share. Someone noticed that there was something VERY wrong with my picture. I had hoped it would be overlooked. Never! A group of aspiring artists don't miss a lick!

We all laughed; I was embarassed. But as you can see I never threw the picture away.

Several of you have asked me to display one of my paintings. I hope you enjoy looking for the mystery. I apologize that my scanner is not large enough to photo the entire water color.

I am my worst critic. I also know that I am a beginner water color artist and need to be nicer to myself. Somedays I love to paint and some days I hate to paint. Heck! Somedays I just don't want to get out of bed.

Today my fear is that all of you will find all the other mistakes, too. I guess I'll take it like a man. (A man would say, I meant it to look like that.)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Baby Quail

My friend Venus prepared to water a large potted plant on her deck a few weeks back only to discover that it held six little eggs. She quietly backed away from the nest and then kept her eye on the planter from inside the family room glass sliding doors. A Quail hen soon scurried in from the garden to sit on her future bevy.

Venus, her husband, and 6-year old daughter gave the hen her privacy and protection while waiting patiently to see if the eggs would hatch.

Then, on the very day they were preparing to leave for a weekend of camping, the first Quail popped out. Can you see its beak and little brown fuzzy head?

The planter was empty when they returned home. We hope they all scampered safely away!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Flowerbeds, Finches and Hummingbirds

Tonight this little hatch-year sub adult male Rufous posed long enough for me to snap him with my digital camera. He had just finished fighting an aerial battle with another young hummer. As he lies in wait for the return of his arch enemy he appears to be saying "I dare you to just try and get to my honeysuckle."

Then on the oppposite fence line the goldfinch were chattering as only finch can do. They were shy and flew away when I approached their communal bird bath. After they flitted off to the hanging sunflower seeder they didn't seem to care about my camera any more. In fact, notice that the one on right center was looking right at the lens saying "chee chee cheeze."

As for me, my destination tonight was the flower bed that runs between the fences. I was supposed to dead-head and weed.

Oh well..................... a wise woman named Scarlet once said, "After all, tomorrow is another day." (oh yeah.. and it's Friday, too)