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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January Perfect Post Award

I've nominated Susan In Virginia for a January Perfect Post Award.

A Perfect Post – January 2007

If you have time for a tummy warming giggle, please click here for her January 10 episode of CSI: Virginia. This post made me laugh out loud, and then want to squeeze her and her three little imps in a big grandma hug. Then, I wanted to sneak under the table with Funny Girl and munch on Ghiradelli chocolates.

Any one of her daily posts is apt to make you smile. I can't go to work in the morning unless I've clicked on her blog, ARE WE THERE YET, to see what Inquisitor, Golden Boy or Funny Girl have done or said that day.


Visit Lindsay/Lucinda at www.suburbanturmoil.blogspot.com and MamaK at www.petroville.com on February 1st to see other Perfect Post awardees.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It 's A Conspiracy

My Internet Provider did a security update after I left for the weekend trip.

When I returned, my access to blogs and to my own E-mail has been limited and/or totally blocked.

Apparently something went terribly wrong.

The nice technical support person told me they were working hard to return us to normal service.

Even my own blog is sometimes blocked. (It took me 4 hours last night to post my melting sunset. )

Hope to be back 100% soon.


Willowtree. The sunset was about 5:20 p.m.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Sun Melts

Watching the sun set on the ocean made me wish
that I read the instructions on how to photograph
a sunset.







The zoom uncovered the changing shape.











I've been told it is the curvature of the earth
and the reflection on the ocean that
provides the distorted shape on the horizen.











I imagine a "real" photographer would have
a filter.









Or a much more expensive camera.










The waves kept rolling into the beach and I never
heard any sizzling.












Have you seen the sun wearing a hat.










Or is the sun really a sky submarine that dives
beneath the surface.











Or in the end, a puddle of wax, from the candle that lights
the day.







It rests and day is done.







The heat in our room woke all of us at 3:00 a.m. We would have been funny to watch, all of us looking for our glasses in order to see the thermostat. Or a little fly on the ceiling listening to us babble: Who turned the heat on so high, I didn't do it. Well you touched it last. No, I got up to use the restroom and it was hot so I turned it down to 60. Well, it was set on 90... were you standing on your head..... hmmmph.. Still acting like siblings after all these years. What can I tell you. (:

We opened the windows to cool us when we saw the moon. It was the color and shape of a slab of cheddar as it fell deliberately into the dark water. The moon disappearing into the ocean was something none of us had previously experienced. We decided that the thermostat was a blessing. Because of it, we shared the moon.

Do people who live near the ocean take this all for granted?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Two Cars Totaled

It is a horrific experience to see the movement of a car on your right, and then gaze into the rear view mirror at 55 MPH to watch it crash into your sisters car.

I knew that car was going to hit her - it was like a second sense.

I saw my sister's attempt to brake and the sudden fishtail before they plowed into each other. The other car would have been T-boned and it's driver seriously injured if not for that brief defensive move. The noise filled my ears and the glass and metal flew in all directions.

The memory of braking and pulling over has not returned to my head, but sitting on the shoulder of the road dialing 911 in a panic is clear. I don't know why I just didn't hop out and start running back there. Maybe I was too afraid.

Fortunately two handsome young men who were traveling right behind her were out of their car in an instant and rushing to both cars.

The emergency vehicles arrived on the scene in minutes. The other driver was cited for failure to yield right of way.

A trip by ambulance to ER reassured the medics and us that our older sister's injuries were not life threatening. There is a seat belt hematoma across her chest, sore neck and back, and contusions and swelling on her knees. The air bag malfunctioned and did not deploy.

Trish and I stayed with the car long enough to remove Sandra's belongings and leave a key for the tow truck. Then we headed to the hospital and waited for her X-rays.

Cool and calm I was not. I had to stop and think slowly when the State Policeman asked the questions about the accident.

My hands were shaking and my stomach was upset. I thought my sister looked her age for the very first time. She cried only once, - when she said she was sad to leave her late husbands automobile crushed on the side of the road. She's been through so much this year.

Later, while taking her home from the hospital, I realized I did not take my camera out of the back seat to photograph the metal carnage.

It seems a shame now that I don't have one to add to this post. It didn't even cross my mind.

More important is the fact that she is alive and in one blessed piece.


The ocean was wonderful. I'll post on that soon.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dream Girls

No. Not the Movie.

Me and my two sisters. A trip to the ocean.

We're going to meet at a lodge right on the beach where you can watch the waves roll in, the seals frolicking in the surf, and the the local kite enthusiasts digging in for the strong Pacific Ocean breezes.

This weekend is long over due.

I remember our very first sister weekend was scheduled when our fourth sister was still alive. Nelda called at the last moment and begged off because she had a sore throat. She never recovered. The diagnosis was an acute form of leukemia and she was gone before any of us could say goodbye.

My sister Sandra is someone that Swampwitch would call her SOS or Sister of Survival. She beat breast cancer. Because of her fight I signed up and was accepted into a breast cancer research study coined the Sisters Study. I have given my blood, my urine, my vital statistics, and of all things, the dust in my house to be monitored over a period of years. "The Sister Study is the only long-term study of women aged 35 to 74 whose sister had breast cancer."

So, in the morning I'm going to drive six hours in order to smell the ocean.

While there, Sandra, Trish and I will spend a few days just being sisters. We're going to walk on the sand and check out the tidal pools. We'll probably go out for dinner and then talk late into the night. The sounds of the tide coming in will finally lull us to sleep and then wake us early with the sea birds calling for their breakfast.

I'm taking my bird book, my camera, my binoculars, and my blanket.

See you next week!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I don't use bone china

Dirty Uncle Mark (who is barely old enough to be nephew age, much less Uncle) drinks Dagoba Hot Chocolate from his lovely bone china tea cup. When he grows up he is going to be an attorney.

You have to hand wash bone china, so I'll let him do the dishes.


I'm not nearly so fancy, with my cups or with my choice of chocolate. But I'll compare it to any brand, any day, any time. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Even the hubby enjoys it and he's not a chocolate fan.
update
OKAY! I ADMIT IT. I DON'T REALLY DRINK OUT THIS CUP.. grumble grumble grumble.



























(No, those aren't cocoa beans. Yes, I think they are real moose turds.)

How do you drink your hot cocoa?

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Locust Tree (Front Door continued)


There isn't much left of the old locust tree.

Once there was a tire swing that hung from the lower branches.

In the spring the blossoms would perfume the air and scatter like a wedding quilt over our front lawn. Our youngest daughter would wheeze and search for her inhaler.

The squirrels and birds made their homes high in its branches.

The afternoon shade fell across my kitchen window and the sunlight would filter lightly through, painting designs on the cupboards and kitchen table.

As summer was fulfilled and the sun moved to the north, the green mass would shade our cars and garage from the afternoon grilling. The breeze playing in the branches above brought to mind the sounds of pages turning and muffled giggles in the children's library.

Its leaves came down with the first fall rain and left images on the sidewalk and leaf dunes against the cedar fence that runs from our house to next door.

Winter found it a stalwart foe silhouetted by star light during the longest nights. Snow hid in the crook of the boughs and dropped on unsuspecting open collars.

One day the tree doctor diagnosed a terminal insect infestation and said it was too late for recovery.

I cried across the street.

Something about that old tree must be dear to our neighbor, Bill. The tree surgeon cut and cut. When he left, however, there stood the trunk of our old locust friend.

Every so often Bill tells me that he needs to get the rest of that old tree down.

I always respond that I don't mind watching it from my front door.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

MY VIEW FROM....


Other participants in THE VIEW FROM THE FRONT DOOR
.... please click and visit on 01/22/07. Thanks to Vicki and
Willowtree for this fun idea.

Vicki at Living Life & Catching Light
Susan in Va at Are We There Yet
Karmyn at Dreaming of What If's
Pretty Lady at Strawberries and Champagne
Carol at Small Town Rambling
Songbird at My Way
Devon at Loves Rain
Melissa at Waking Up
Kathy at Anecdotes, Antidotes, and Anodes
Beth at Ice Cream Mama
Marnie at I didn't say it was your fault
Shauna at S.O.S.
Amy at A Family Story
Mark at Dirty Uncle Mark
Jenny at Mama Drama
Mary at Almost Somewhat Positive
WillowTree at A Dingo's Got My Barbie
Julie at Another Chance Ranch
Kila at Mom To 3 Cubs
Robin at Pensieve
DoDo at Voodooesque
Tiff at Tiggerlane
Erik at The Electric Firefly
Rachel at Crazy Is As Crazy Does
Chilihead at Don't Try This At Home

Girl con Queso at Room Conqueso
Sue at This is Cyprus
Beccy at Peppermint Tea
Claudia at La vida Claudia
Mrs CPA at Mrs. CPA
Sharon at From Fattie to Hottie

Kurt at Kurt

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Nano

Technology described in one word: Smaller

I can't keep up.

The other night our 29 year old niece stopped by for a short visit. She pulled out her Mac lap top to show us a collections of her more recent photographs taken with her Canon Rebel. She uses Aperture, "the ultimate photographer's workstation," to work with them.

I commented on her jewelery which caused her to chortle.
It was a mini Ipod.

Am I the only one not aware that you
could put a hook in an Ipod
and dangle it from your ear?

I do not have an Ipod, nor do I have a Blackberry.

Nevertheless, I do have plenty of small things . For instance, the memory card on my Canon Power Shot reminds me of a communion wafer. If you don't do church then think in terms of a Wheat Thin.

The amount of photographs I can save on a skinny little CD is beyond anything we could comprehend when limited to photographic film.

I threaten to carry a magnifying glass so I can read the icons that light up on my cell phone. I am barely able to dial my new cell phone without taking a picture of my feet. Don't look for my toes showing up on the blog, however.

"Resistance is Futile." That is what crossed my mind the first time I saw the Blue Tooth Razr phone. Standing in line somewhere, I hear the fellow next to me talking - hands in pocket. I thought he was hearing voices. He turned towards me and he was a frickin' Borg from Star Trek. Now I see them everywhere. I would buy one if it would turn me into Seven of Nine.

The little Thumbnails (update: excuse me Willotree, Flash Drives or Thumb Drives ) are right out of a James Bond Movie. My friend Kim received her first thumbnail for Christmas. She wears it around her neck to school where she teaches special kids. A 6-year old was intrigued that she could plug it in and take all her school data home with her. He checked it out very closely and asked if it ever got full. She told him she could erase it anytime she wanted. He pondered this for awhile and then peered into the end of it and said, "but how do you get a pencil down there?"

A recent addition to the pack is that new Iphone. I read about all of its prowess the other day. It can do everything but wipe your nose. But, don't despair. I'm sure it can remind you to do so.

In spite of this trend, there do seem to be a few things that are becoming larger. Televisions. . . . Computer monitors . . . . Pick-up Trucks........ my Butt. . .ercup.


(fyi: Buttercup is my 3 year old grandaughter)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

sPiDeRs

One of the piano books that Mrs. Witzel required for her beginners included a two- fingered version of the Napolentana Tarantella. All my piano books had pictures at the top of each page. However, that particular page was my favorite. There was an enchanting lady and her mandolin, dancing with a spider across the top of the treble cleft.

It captivated my 6-year-old mind. I sat quietly for long periods of time, my imagination running rampant. I was her, innocent and beautiful, plucking on my golden mandolin. From out of nowhere, the wicked arachnid would jump. He would raise his front legs, glare at me with his five eyes and drip poison from his fangs.

My trance, however, would soon be rudely interrupted by my mom's voice from the kitchen telling me to "get practicing."

In retrospect, I wonder how much of my irrational fear of spiders can be attributed to some bored artist's concept of an old Italian folk song?

Just this week I turned my chair at work to see speed racer bearing down on me from my left. I screamed and the little dasher actually changed directions and headed towards one of my co-workers desk.

"Kill him!" I screached.

My hubby would have rushed in and stomped the intruder in an instance. This guy took the time to squish him gently so as not to grind him into the carpet. There it stayed with its legs crumbled with just a slight wiggle left.

Last Wednesday our church home group joined us in the family room where the fireplace was cozy and inviting. Apparently, another humongous creature thought it was inviting, too. It dropped from the ceiling and landed on the coffee table with such magnitude that we all heard it thunk.

"Kill it!" I screached.

The hubby jumped up in his usual Mighty Mouse Manner and cried, "Here I am to Save the Day." Truly, he really only asked, "Where did it go?

"Under the magazine," Glenda pointed nervously.

He took a swat at the magazine that acted like a pea shooter and sent that spider flying through the air straight for her. After more screaming, because I was seated to her right, the hubby and Mike were commanded to pick up the chair for a seek and destroy mission. (Accomplished.) I think valium was meant for times like these.

My Christmas present this year from the hubby was a spider catcher. The one time I used it I had much difficulty coaxing the little beast to enter the trap. Then when I tried to release it outside it flung the spider backwards and grazed my shoulder on the way by. Heart attack.

My worst spider moment ever was one night that I chose to stay up late at my computer. The hubby told me he was extremely tired so please do not make noise and wake him when I followed him to bed.

That promise was on my mind as I sat in the opposite end of the darkened house with only the light from my computer casting shadows.

Did a movement catch my eye? Was there something in the room with me?

My heart began beating the Napolentana Tarantella in my ear as I slowly turned my head. There, just inches from my nose, hung a spider silhouette from the arch above my computer desk.

My mouth opened for the S.C.R.E.A.M, but the head momentarily remembered the promise.

Instead, a great sucking gasp from my wide open mouth began vacuuming the dangler in. I could feel it tickling my lips as my mind fought to control the diaphragm that was pulling on my lungs.

Finally, the air flow reversed, and I could see him swinging away -- for a nano second.

From somewhere deep within me the power came. It must have been my memory of the mandolin, and the beautiful lady who outmaneuvered the ugly tarantula with her delicate strumming, and her mesmerizing music.

A streaming rush of air flowed out of me. The spider sailed far enough away that I had time to push my chair and roll away from its return path.

I do not know how long it danced there at the top of the open computer page, because I ran quietly down the hall, shut the bedroom door, and crawled into bed.

I didn't wake him.










Spider compliments of Lisa Conrad, ava
ilable at SPIDERS.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ice Cap - Knee Cap


When the weather dipped into the teens the first night we took a picture of our backyard pond with the underwater light on. It was just beginning to snow. There was not enough snow to protect our flower beds and flowering shrubs that responded to the 60 degree weather only days before.




This morning the ice is attempting to build up on the waterfall.






This is not ice!
This morning while that ice was forming, the hubby was undergoing arthroscopic surgery.

This is his torn meniscus, captured by the miniature video that the orthopedic surgeon uses to examine, scrutinize, and repair. Isn't that amazing?


Now the hubby is snuggled up in the recliner, next to the fireplace, sleeping off the effects of the anesthesia . . . . . with an ice-pack on his knee. Keeping him this way for the next few days will be about as successful as discouraging ice from forming on the pond.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blogging Chick Carnival



Please feel free to link here to visit the Carnival of The Blogging Chicks #25. This week there is no theme.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Owning a Miracle

When I was in sixth grade, a family moved into the house across from the school. The daughter was tall, blond, smart, and talented. The best part was she was my age and very very nice. We became good friends.

The first day I stopped at her house to visit, I was shocked to find her mother in bed.

"What is wrong with your mom?" I asked boldly, because I was a bold little girl.

"She is recovering from malaria." My new friend told me as if I knew what Malaria was and that it was obvious bed rest was required. They had been living in Ghana, Africa's Gold Coast, where her mother contracted the disease and her health forced their move back to the states.

"Who does the cooking?" My inquiring mind pushed the conversation deeper.

She stopped pouring the juice that we were going to drink with our cookies and looked at me oddly.

"Why? I do!"

"Oh." I'm sure my face showed some astonishment, but I changed the subject because I knew it was either a stupid question or an insult.

We would sometimes sit on her mother's bed and tell her about our day. Other times we played the piano, our violins, her flute, or did our homework. We had many of the same interests. However, in addition to all those things, she knew how to cook, clean, and fold laundry. I thought she was amazing.

As the years passed, I knew how truly amazing my friend was.

We completed high school and went on to the same college. I dropped out and moved across the country. She completed her 4-year Registered Nursing degree and married a young pilot who wanted to fly the bush in Africa.

We kept in touch after she moved to Zaire. E-mail was still a twinkle in some computers eye, so she would send a letter to a friend who would Xerox them and pass them on.

She gave birth to two boys who knew Africa as their home and learned to speak a dialect that only one other non-native person could.


One of her amazing projects was building her own clinic where she provided immunizations for the children in the equatorial mountain area where they lived. She asked her friends for monetary contributions and she solicited supplies from larger organizations like CARE and UNICEF. I remember her excitement when she wrote to a large University in Southern California and they gave her a solar powered refrigerator. People realize that she is a mover and a shaker once they have an opportunity to meet and talk with her.

In the summer of 1987, her small clinic was running efficiently. She was treating sick children and adults. Often she would make contact with doctors in the U.S. to help her diagnose and treat her patients. Her pilot husband was interested in the dental care. He became proficient in pulling rotten teeth and teaching children how to brush and floss.

Although I could not physically be a part of what she was doing, I had made small monthly monetary contributions to her work. So the story she told me that year was one I have cherised and owned in my heart. Recently I asked her to tell me once more in her own words so that I could put them in print. It is as follows:



Some mothers would walk for several hours in order to bring their children for the magic needle which would protect their children from measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and polio.
On this particular day, my supply of the measles vaccine was low. I don't remember how many children were vaccinated at the clinic that day but I know that I had one partially used vial of measles immunization left at the end of the clinic day. I took it home with me along with the plastic disposable syringes and needles which would be re-sterilized by boiling in a pot of water over my wood stove.
I was tired and ready to sit down to eat lunch when I saw a stream of women and babies coming down my driveway. I knew right away what they wanted and dreaded having to tell them that I didn't have enough measles vaccine for all of them. They had walked for two days from the lake which meant coming over the mountains, up and down the trail, knowing that they would receive the vaccines when they arrived. Their faith in me was great!
I had them all sit down on my large porch while I prepared the needed equipment and supplies. I estimated that I might get 6 or 7 doses from the vial but just said a prayer that God would supply the rest and went to work. Imagine my joy and amazement as I was able to draw up 32 doses of measles vaccines that day from this one small vial that shouldn't have given me more than 10 doses even when it was still sealed.
The mothers never knew that they were participants in a miracle that day but I did and wish now that I would have explained it to them. I think that they understood the miracle, however, because I had told them that I didn't think that there would be enough for everyone! Perhaps their prayers were answered too!


It was only a few years later that her family was forced to leave the country in haste because of the Hutu-Tutsi Conflict. She had to walk away from the clinic that she had not only raised the money to build, but also mixed mortar for and lay bricks. They left the people they had grown to love as family and her sons waved goodbye to forever-best friends.

She and her husband are still dedicated to improving the world they live in. Along with their teenage daughter, they are working yet again in another third world country.

Her sons are grown, both are pilots, and one is a registered nurse. They have followed in the footsteps of their parents. They, their wives, and children share their lives in the same wonderful way.





Thursday, January 11, 2007

Aerobic Blog Hopping

I started a quick blog hopping adventure by first visiting Tim Delaney in my next door neighbor State Idaho. He calls himself the Rambling Irishman and gives me the giggles with his cartoon choices of the moment. His moniker is What you See is What you Get.

From his comment section I wandered over to see Gwen of Gwen's Den. She lives in Yarrawonga (Australia), shares favorite tunes, plays Victorian Lady's Lawn Bowl and tells silly Irish Jokes. I just love to say Yarrawonga and dance around the room to the cadence.

I stepped from there into a worm hole that transported me to Sudbury, Ontario, Canada where I met Pea of Pea's Corner. I was so excited because she was posting genealogy pictures which included her late grandma and her sentimental jewelry. Previous posts had photo's of some fine antiques. She got married the same year that the Hubby and I did.

Her blog roll caught my eye and I clicked right in to Serious Mumbo Jumbo. Her Template is for the dogs. Cocker Spaniels to be exact. The blogger's name is Connie and she made my day with this little ditty: Dear God, if you can't make me young, give all my friends wrinkles. I've already got the required equipment to be a part of her inner circle.

One of her commenters was JudyPatoootie. Who could resist checking her out. She blogs at Memories are Made of This. I feel like I hit the jackpot tonight with all the blogs I'm choosing randomly having so much history and family heirlooms. Patoootie has some wonderful wedding portraits and you just gotta love those bridesmaid dresses!!!

Poetry Galore
was at the top spot on her sidebar so I followed that link. Peter posts "poetry that stirs me." He is another one from down under. I liked his original poem for Christmas that he wrote for his blogging friends.

After pointing blindly at one of his links I returned to the northwest to Wilsonville Oregon to Old Horsetail Snake. He calls his previous posts "Dead Horses" and his blogroll the "Geriatric Ward." One of his quotes was, "I've had amnesia as long as I can remember." He also posted a crooked picture. Good. I can't figure out how to use my photoshop, either.

I spotted a stuttering serpentine at the bottom of his blogroll and took a transcontinental click on my mouse. DDDragon in Pennsylvania had a procedure, Esophagogastorduodenoscopic (EGD), last Friday. Prior to that she'd endured the barium swallow test. Been there, done both, this summer. She POSTED the pictures of her insides that they send home with you and you never remember they even gave to you. Prior to the procedure my Doctor told me not to go near my computer or go back to work. I asked him if I could read a book and his response was a hearty laugh and the promise that I could read it today and read it again tomorrow. (Amnesia drugs.) Acid Reflux makes me feel like a dragon. And like DDDragon, I came home with no specific diagnosis other than maybe I need to chill out. "Is Anything Truly Random," is the name of her blog.

After my exercise here today, I think the answer is NO.


******
Blog Hopping Hat Tip to Ian

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MeMeMeMeMe...... again

Kathleen Marie at Stranded in the Mountains tagged me with a short meme. I almost didn’t get to it because I stopped to drool over her recipe for Berry French Toast.

When do bloggers find time to cook? (See my recipe for peanut butter and raisin sandwiches.)

Anyway – getting my mind out of the calorie gutter…and back to the five questions. They are very deep, but as usual, I stayed in the shallow end of the pool. And please - any of you, feel free to post on your blog and invite me over for the read.

** ** ** ** ** **

As a child, what did you always say you wanted to be when you grew up?

I knew I was going to be a Princess. I prepared to sleep on twenty mattresses and complain about the cherry pit beneath them. The wicked Queen Mother would have to admit that I was royal and I would marry the Prince. Lately, I have been thinking about that Princess Job again.

If you had to choose one thing that you've always dreamed of doing, what would it be? What is stopping you?

The Tornado Chase tours in Oklahoma and Texas have been something I have always wanted to do. No one could pay me to bungee jump, or rock climb, or even go sky diving. However, chasing a funnel cloud has captured my inner adrenalin junkie. It remains number one on my “To-Do” list. Unfortunately, I have a much longer “Doo-Doo” list that hampers my fantasies.


Who is your biggest fan? Who is always encouraging you to be all that you can be?


The hubby is my most ardent supporter. He keeps me grounded. He keeps my hopes in focus. When I need to be safe, I just slip into his arms.


What book has most impacted your life to date?

Here I am all grown old up, having sampled numerous genres of literature, and yet I still cherish the very first book I held in my chubby little hands.

“Marcus the Monkey.”

There are no earth shattering or life changing reasons. It was just the first of many reading adventures over the years that open up and swallow me whole. (You have to grab my shoulder and shake me back to reality to get me out of there.)


5. When are you the happiest?

When Friday is a payday just before a three-day weekend. Hey! That’s almost here!

(Oh… you guys know it’s really my family.)

If you get a chance go back and read Kathleen Marie’s list. I want to be her when I grow up.

4 Sale


My blog is worth $279,447.30.
How much is your blog worth?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder whats on the other side ?




Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Falls, The Follies

Saturday blew in after a blustery night and I covered my head with my pillow. Not for long, though, as the tempting scent of fresh coffee called my nose and I was compelled to pick up a cup and say hello.

"I've been thinking about Palouse Falls," I told the hubby as we shared home-cooked cold cereal.

"What about it?" he responded.

The "what" was that someone had said that the cold weather had sculpted some wonderful ice designs around the rocky waterfall and I wanted to drive the 60 some-odd miles to see if for myself. However, a Pacific front had moved in overnight and warmed the inland empire well above the freezing level.

We decided to go anyway.

My little car was on empty so our first stop was to buy gas . I stayed in the car and it seemed to take an eternity to complete the transaction. Finally, the hubby got back in and we drove off.

"My gas card was denied at the island and inside." the hubby explained. "I had to use cash. "

We raised our eyebrows and made "what the" faces but then hit the road. The back roads. That is the only way to get there.

The drive was enjoyable. Tumbleweeds rolled down the highway and clustered together on curves shielded from the wind. We saw deer in the stubble fields at midday and in the sky numerous Kestrel and Red-tailed hawks. I think I saw a Northern Harrier, too.

Our conversation rambled from one subject to another. I wondered how long it had been since I'd visited the falls. The hubby road his bicycle to the falls last year and he wanted to make sure I was aware of the steep climb he endured the last five miles. Muscle guy.

The gravel road to the park was muddy and so was the 198 foot falls. It reminded me of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I remembered why I refused to bring the kids there when they were small. There is a fenced area next to the park, but you can walk past it and right off the opposing cliff, which is even higher than the falls. A footpath along the rocky ledge is certainly a magnet for little feet.

This is probably another reason why. (see my hand puppet?)

No rainbow in the spray today. But, there were two sun dogs in the sky so I didn't feel cheated.

After falling, the Palouse River forms a narrow canyon for about six miles before joining the Snake River. (They later join the Columbia River and journey to the Pacific Ocean.)

On the opposite shore is the mouth of the Tucannon River that flows from the Blue Mountains. A fisherman said he made time today to stop at this spot on his way home from visiting his daughter. He was vague about his target.

There is a tiny town on the route that shares its name with a famous coffee. We decided to stop at the little cafe that used to be a bar. It really is a "mom and pop" affair. When you walk in the door, you can look through an opening behind the kitchen into their living quarters.

One couple was leaving as we arrived and for a while, we were the only guests. "Mom" was friendly, a little older than we are, and happy to talk about the 1880 nickel plated wood cooking stove that adorns one wall. She'd saved it from her mother's old house and had it refurbished. There were cow horns over the entrance. Around the square room was a painting on a circular saw, her grandmother's antique rug beater, kerosene lanterns, a barbed-wire stretcher and a Japanese green fishing ball hanging in a turquoise net. I asked about a weird item hanging over the men's room door. It was a cheater brand. That's what the cattle rustlers used.

I got a good look at many of the local ranch brands because they are burned into wood squares that hang from barbed wire where the wall meets the ceiling.

Three more groups of two walked in, "mom" got busy, and "pop" was called in to help. He served us our apple crisp for dessert. I asked him about the bottle collection that was in various spots around the room.

"I don't know what they are, " he laughed, "I just picked them up from the dirt when I was farming."

When we got ready to leave, she showed us some pictures of the stove before it was refinished. She was proud and I was impressed.

She told us that she and her husband bought the property sixteen years ago.

"Twenty-four hours a day together can be pretty trying." she admitted. "So, you have to like each other an awful lot to do something like this."

I thought about that and the clouds forming on the horizon as we headed home. The falls were nice, but the highlight had really been our stop at the little cafe.

The photographs were downloading to my computer when the hubby walked back through the house with the most recent Chevron statement.

"Look at this," he requested and handed me the paper. "Our bill has been paid and we have a huge credit line. I'm going to call and find out why the card was declined."

I started giggling.

"Hon," I replied, "we were at the Shell Station."

I like him an awful lot.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Hop Yard Hobo - Part 3 (written by my late father)

In Part 1 of my father's short journal my father talked about the depression and his experiences in California. Part 2 told of a satisfying 5 weeks living off the fat of the land on a self sufficient farm in Southern Oregon. In Part 3, he is on the move once more. He was a restless man. His journal began in 1933. I believe prohibition ended officially on December 5, 1933.

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I wanted to get on the outside and rustle myself a job in competition with the unemployed. I arranged for a ride out of Cow Creek with the mail carrier, who also carried express, groceries, etc., for the scattered ranchers in the valley. He hauled me as far as Azalea, where once more I was on Highway 99. Its ever-rushing stream of traffic rolled passed me, the tires making that curious, slithering, lonesome sound so familiar to every hitch-hiker. I hadn't heard a train whistle for five weeks, but I did see a mail plane every day.

Having decided to go back to California to look for a job, I headed for Grant's Pass, Oregon.

Presently a man came along and gave me a lift for twelve miles. I walked only ten or twelve miles farther when another man gave me the horn. He pulled up to me and said, "Get in." He looked me over as I got in and said, "You drive". He slid from under the steering wheel and pushed me under before I could say a world.

I was surprised. His car was a Ford V-8. I put it into gear and we were away, rapidly gaining speed in spite of the heavy mountain grade.

My benefactor proceeded to ask me several questions, which I answered in monosyllables. I was busy rounding horseshoe turns, since he had told me he was tired and in a hurry to reach Grant's Pass. Was I looking for work? How much education had I? Where had I come from? Why go to California for work when there was plenty of it in Oregon -- hop yard work resulting from the advent of beer on April the sixth.

I soon learned that he was a hop dealer and a promoter of a new brewery proposed for Portland, Oregon. He was also a grower of hops and offered me a job driving for a few days, and after that, working on his hop ranch.

I asked him why he so quickly trusted me to drive. He answered that he had noticed the driver's badge on my cap when he stopped to pick me up.

We soon arrived at Grant's Pass. This is one of the finest little cities in Oregon. It is on that river noted for its gold, fish, and rich agricultural land - The Rogue River.

My new friend, Mr. Dave Putman, proceeded to a good hotel and registered for both of us. He didn't ask if I was without money, but calmly handed me a dollar and said, "Go eat your lunch while I look up Chris Wiseman, another hop grower".

I ate my lunch and drifted along the street admiring the fine little city. A large sign across the street proclaims, "It's the climate" - and I believe it is correct.

After a short wait, Mr. Putman and Mr. Wiseman found me. Putman told me to drive his car around. They wanted to look over some land to be planted in hops, as well as some old hop yards. when we came back to the hotel there was a call for Mr. Putman, asking him to come to Portland.

He checked out of the hotel and he and Mr. Wiseman asked me to head for Portland. It was now 3:30 in the afternoon. We stopped at Roseburg for supper and again at Eugene for gas and some coffee. At 12:30 a.m we went to bed in the Hotel Clyde, in Portland, two-hundred seventy-five miles from Grant's Pass.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Golden Morning

The moon woke me. It was shining through the sky window and I heard it in my mind as the cooing of a homing pigeon. I knew she was out there flying behind the clouds and the foggy mists. Her southern journey sent her flight path across the room to light a feathery pattern on the floor. Welcome home.

The sun delighted my morning simply by rising over the mountains. His presence beckoned me through each window looking east. I desire his warm embrace. I am wary of his kisses that leave marks upon my once flawless complexion. But I can't help but raise my chin and close my eyes and hold him my arms and breathe a thank you. Please stay.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"We're okay down here"

In case you missed the news yesterday, please make sure you read this.

In a world that is full of selfish and brutal acts, it is so refreshing to hear about a man who offered his life for a stranger.

He saw a young man have a seizure and fall onto the subway track as two trains approached. There was no hesitation in his actions. He jumped down there with the helpless one.

After rolling him into a drainage trough, he lay on top of him as the trains rolled over.

Miraculously neither man was injured. (His cap was scuffed.)

His two daughters, still in the crowd above him, were the hero's first thought when the air cleared over them.

He yelled up to tell them "we're okay down here."

Another reminder there are Angels among us.

"Greater love hath no man than this......"

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

World War I Veteran

When the United States entered World War I the US Navy put out a call for help.The hubby's great grand Aunt responded to the call by sending them her binoculars.


When the grand old lady passed away the hubby's Aunt Pat became the guardian of this World War I Veteran. Now Aunt Pat, who is in her 80's,feels that the Veteran needs to be cared for by someone else.
We have accepted this duty and plan on getting the letters sealed and the binoculars shrink-wrapped to keep them in tip-top shape. The case is made of fine leather which has been shined by the handling of it's early years. I can't help wondering how many brave hands held them and where they traveled during their short tour of duty.

The first letter was written on April 12, 1918 to Mrs. David T. Oaks. It is interesting to note, however, that the greeting is "Dear Sir."

Your prompt and patriotic response to the Navy's call for binoculars,telescopes, and spy-glasses, is most appreciated. The glasses will be very useful in the prosecution of Naval Operations until victory is won. At the termination of the war, if possible, every effort will be made to return them to you. when it is hoped you will feel compensated for any evidence of wear, by the knowledge that you have supplied "Eyes for the Navy" during a very trying period. On behalf of the Navy, I wish to thank you most heartily.
F. D. Roosevelt
Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Envelope001Letter001


Of course her donation was not the sacrifice that many made.
I like to think that these were a precious possession and
she gave them to the Navy realizing that she would probably not get them back. Think how excited she must have been to see them again.  Perhaps she used them later to go bird watching.

Letter002Letter003Letter004

I am going to take them for a last walk and look at the world through them one more time before we retire them in a protective case.


Monday, January 01, 2007

test

As the host of today's Fun Monday I got to choose the topic. I said: I want to see what you see on any given morning this week; from somewhere very near where you live. Front porch, back porch, down the street, around the corner. Just makes sure it's your neighborhood. Post a photo that will send me to the travel agent to book a weekend at your local Bed & Breakfast.

As the host, I don't need to convince myself to come stay at a local B & B. That is why I'm going to just show you what I saw on any given day this week.

I pointed South, East, West, and North. I even pointed it Up- towards the sky. So. the hubby got up on the roof and pointed it down towards the ground (in the back yard.)


The Autumn colors and leaf falls are sure to come soon. We need some cold frosty nights to bring on the golds, reds, and oranges. P.S. I'm praying for snow for November.
* * * * * *

Thank you to all who made this Fun Monday such a delightful hosting duty. I can't wait to do it again.

Check out the post below for ALL THE WONDERFUL BLOGGERS participating in today show and tell.

Next week, Janet - The Planet of Janet ,a new face in the Fun Monday blogfest will be hosting. She won't have her Fun Monday post up until tomorrow - so go check her out on Tuesday and give her your support.

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January 1, 2007

The wild geese were flying once more this morning. I love to hear them calling to each other while watching them change formation.

Several miles from our house is a flood control lake and the cold mountain river that diverts to fill it. I thought that was where those geese headed.



However, the lake was covered only with ice.
An inversion keeps the fog in the valley
and the snowy mountains are a mystery in the distance.




The robins were thick in the trees. Perhaps the dried blackberries, choke cherries, and elderberries are providing them with sustenance. This one reminded me of a poem my mother would recite when I was very small.

The Old North Wind Blows
and we shall have snow
Oh! What will poor Robin Do then?

He'll sit in the barn
and keep himself warm
and hide his head
under his wing.



As we walked down the river path we saw this ICE DRAGON frozen in flight. So I made up my own short poem.

Freezing Reign
The sun will end
of the Ice Dragon










Help yourself to a couple of fine
popcicles without any
articifial colors or flavors.










It's nice to come home to a fire on the hearth and the RoseBowl on the Big Screen.