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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Busy Week

My husband has influenza. No, he did not get the immunization. He has developed bronchitis, sinus infection, and problems with his Eustachian tubes. Miserable is the best description for him right now. I can hear the high pitch wheeze with his every breath -- the sound of a distant ATV screamin' up a steep hill.

Early tomorrow morning I should be on my way to Spokane. My brother is scheduled for triple by-pass surgery. Nick lost his wife to breast cancer in late September. So, his support group would be his only daughter. With me there, at least she won't have to sit and wait alone. Sacred Heart Medical Center is a wonderful place of healing. He will be given the best of care.

Great Auntie-Fern will celebrate her 100th on Friday. I am the co-host of the 2 1/2 hour open house at her retirement center on Saturday. She was very sick for three weeks in February, but is much better and back to her old self. Pun intended. I took control of her daily medications, the results of which pleased her physician very much.

Some days my sister-in-law with Alzheimer's requires more attention. Her prescriptions and doctor appointments are also under my supervision. We recognize that she does much better with her own routine in a familiar setting.

My interview yesterday with the local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) went well - I am now an official volunteer. With that in mind, I want to remind you that April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. If any of you have the time and the desire to advocate for a child, please contact your local CASA . The national web site is HERE if you are not acquainted with the organization.

I still need to find a part time job ~~ which, with the economic gloom & doom news each day, appears to be a much more difficult task than any of my others. (Do I have volunteers to write letters of recommendation? Smiles.)

PS. I probably won't be posting until I get on the other side of my brother's hospital release and the big birthday bash.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Craving Fresh Strawberries

As the winter months drag on, the little display of fresh strawberries (and sometimes blueberries and raspberries) draws me away from the apples and bananas. 

I look, but I rarely buy...as the fruit has traveled from far away lands.  I wouldn't mind pawning my jewels to offset the purchase, but the texture and taste is usually disappointing. 

Today I caved.  (I'm blaming it on Sabrina - she posted photos of her little fellow chowin' down  in the middle of a sun splashed U-pick field down in the far away lands of Texas.)

After washing them, I grabbed a bowl and sliced into the first one.  Even though a bit too crisp, the scent was a faint but definite berry. Enough to trigger a saliva gland twitch in response.

Not every berry was as appealing, however.  I eventually sprinkled sugar over the contents of the small bowl and micro-waved them (slightly) into a softer snack.  There was just too much unripe flesh.

When our local fields come to fruition in June, the strawberries are red to the core.  They melt in your mouth after staining your fingers and lips.  And, whatever you are wearing - if you're careless and the sweetness dribbles down your chin.  (Which I am and it does.)  The juice soaks into your shortcake and turns the whipped cream pink. 

The fragrance wafting from a field of ripe berries on the hot afternoon breeze is on my mind.

But, the little plastic container posed between the other fruits and vegetables in the produce department is my reality.

Can you tell that I am craving fresh strawberries?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thematic Photographic 42 - Drab

Big Horn Sheep, Columbia River Gorge, March 24, 2009



Carmi's thematic quest this week is Drab. His first post on the subject was a photograph taken as he traveled into Toronto's downtown for a presentation.

My above photo was shot while traveling, too.

However, we were being blown east by a blustery storm towards home. Our 6 hour journey takes us up the Columbia River Gorge as it cuts through the Cascade Mountains.
We'd had a fun (but c-c-c-cold) spring break trip to the Oregon Coast. (So difficult to say goodbye to daughters and grand children!)

Green has just begun to appear beneath the drab winter browns and grays of the steep and jagged landscape. Enough so that it was easier to spot the drab and shedding coats of the Big Horned Sheep high up on the slope.

WR pulled the car into a wide space - I hopped out, toting my trusty little canon power shot with the digital zoom. I had no idea that the result would be the perfect photo for this week's theme over at Written Inc.

Post your own interpretation of Drab, and leave a message in his comment section.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Missing Something? (Yes! Kim.)

Kim is a special education teacher… and for us a special friend.

The former “special” equips her to deal with situations that confound the average person. The latter “special” equips her to deal with WR and me.

Recently she flew to Colorado where she and her husband plan to move. While she interviewed for jobs, she stayed with her very best friend who is a live-in manager at another “special” place; a home for people afflicted with dementia.

One of the residents became attached to Kim during her two week stay. Kim was attentive and made herself available to help Priscilla find her sweater – a task which needed to be done often. The forgetful lady left her sweater in the dining room, in the sitting room, in the chair in the hall, and everywhere else. Once she realized her sweater was not over her shoulders she would fret, and then accuse others of thievery.

One particular morning Kim arrived early in the dining room to prepare for her day, along with several other residents who were waiting for their breakfast.

When she heard Priscilla grumbling and tottering their way, Kim looked up. It was not a surprise to see her without the sweater. But Kim was astonished to see the thin, white haired little lady without any clothes from the waist down.

Kim jumped up to cut her off at the dining room archway, where she gently turned her around and away from the others.

“Are you missing something?” Kim asked while her arm firmly hugged and herded towards Priscilla’s bedroom.

“Yes.” Priscilla answered with her shaky voice, “My… my…sweater.”

“I’m sure we’ll find it in your house.” Kim encouraged her to keep moving.

Kim didn’t want to do or say anything that would upset Priscilla, or in any way be considered disrespectful. She waited until the bedroom door was closed before she asked the question once more.

“Are you missing anything else?” Kim inquired, and probably displayed that dimple that appears when she’s suppressing a giggle.

“Yes. My.. my.. sweater! I need to go look for it!” Priscilla was a little bit agitated.

“We are going to look for it,” Kim encouraged, “but first, Priscilla, you need to look down!”

Kim smiled and pointed towards the floor.

The confusion apparent in her face, Priscilla bent her head forward and studied the carpet around both her and Kim’s feet.

“Oh! My stars!” An astounded look crossed her face and she turned it towards Kim. “I forgot my slippers!”

(Kim is moving to Colorado next week. Now WR and I are going to be the ones missing something.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Duck Chuckles

I've had enough wise quacks out of you fellow... this style cost me a wing and a web.

So, how would you caption my little ducky friends encounter?
(added note: These ducks are Common Merganser)


Updates! !

Jan said...

I'm telling ya, that coyote was huge, just huge!

Kitten said...

The waves are like Kowabunga Dude!
foam said...

man!!! couldn't you wait until i was downwind from ya?


WT
said ...

There's nothing Common about me!

The Ramblin Irishman said...

We are going to have a WHAT???

C said...

It's all the rage with the Gothwing Ducks. I am so hip.

Jettied said...

I said this is MY ROCK so move it before I go Crazy on YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU"!

WT said...

You think my hair is a shocker, wait till you see the bill!

Heather said...

Haven't you heard? This is how Paris Hiltduck is doing her hair these days!

Masago said...

HA!

Deslily said...

you'd think no one else ever had a bad hair day!

Jill said...

Didn't I tell you we shouldnt build our nest here? Now we're in the WATER!!! Why don't you ever listen?

Desert Songbird said...

You told her WHAT?!?!?!

Karmyn
said...

...and then these aliens put this device on my head.....

David R said...

You can call me, Phyllis Biller

Far Side of Fifty said...
What do you mean..you have never seen a duck with a mohawk before?? :)

Lady Styx said...
Seriously, dude, it's more aerodynamic than it looks. It cut down my flight time from Mt Rainier to Mt Vernon by 10%!!!

Trish said...
Billcreme- a little dab will do ya, use more only if you dare!


lisaschaos
said...
I thought it said electrolytes!

Kathleen Marie said...
Twilight starring, Jacob the very impulsive "WereDuck" and Edward the very suave and debonair "VampDuck"

Wofbaby said...
The salon is one rock back

Susie Q said ...
Sometimes you just have to let your hair do the talkin'!


Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Recipe for Happiness

Pull it out of the ground.



Swallow it whole. Yum.


Then just perch in a tree and sing about it.


PS. I finished my Scavenger Hunt. Please take a quick look and go vote for me.
(After you wipe that silly grin off your face. Puuulllleeeeze, I need at least one vote.....! )

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Trillion ....

I've been busy doing a million things around here -instead of blogging this week - and figured if I ramped it up a little bit I could increase my busyness to a trillion. You know...get some stimulus going here!

Walker at Subtle Oak has c.h.a.n.g.e.d my mind.

She directed me to the Trillion Dollar tutorial over at PageTutor.com. You really need to click on the link and view the complete Google Sketchup they prepared. What a perspective!

Mr. Red $hirt down here has a million dollars at his feet.

Look very closely. Mr. Red $hirt is still there beside this Trillion Dollar Pile.


Look again. He's down down here in the

right left hand corner. (WT caught me being dyslexic again.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Transparent -- A Spider's View

Carmi, at Written Inc, chose "Transparent" as this weeks Thematic Photograph challenge.

He asks:
"Why transparent?" Because we often see more when we see through something. We often see something different than we initially expected. We're often surprised. Pleasantly, even. And we all need a little more pleasant, right?

Some months ago as WR and I ate lunch at a small vegan cafe in the valley, we sat next to an old 50's style block window. I could not take my eyes off the view that it multiplied for me.

I thought out loud to my husband, "This must be what a spider sees!"

Carmi's topic made me think of that day and the fact that I always carry my point and shoot camera in my purse.

Sure enough, a search of my files revealed this transparent Spider's View of the World!



There are others who explored the theme with Carmi this week. Make sure you get your "eyes" over there to look through them.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Advice from Buttercup

We went to the Portland Yard & Patio Show last weekend. It is always so much fun to see what you know you shouldn't spend any money on this year.

Karmyn
's family spent the afternoon there with us enjoying the lovely displays that the local nurseries and landscapers prepared.

Before we walked out into the rainy evening I took Buttercup into the ladies restroom. We needed to deal with that before catching the MAX back to where we'd parked,.

"You go into this stall and go potty," I told Buttercup, "and I am going into this one. "

"Stay there until I tell you to open the door." I added that bit of information for her so she wouldn't wander out without me.

"Okay, " she replied, and locked herself in.

I'd just settled in when I heard her yell out very loud.

"Grandma !!" she called me.

"Yes, I'm here." I replied without hesitation, worried that something had frightened her .

"You see that green handle? If you have to go Pee Pee, just push it up. If you have to go Poo Poo, just push it down."

"Okay, I've got it. Thanks," I answered with a shake of my head, wondering if that child had any other volume but loud.

***
Later that night I mentioned to Karmyn that I'd received an instructive lecture in the ladies room at the convention center.

"Oh yes," she nodded her head. "She questioned me about the green handle earlier in the day when we used it. After I told her about pushing the handle up or down, she asked, 'If I go both, do I push the handle sideways?' "

Oh, Buttercup! You do keep us smiling.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Miss You, Mama!

Mama had a hard life.

Her childhood was spent following the crops; the family joined other itinerants who set up camp along the river banks and made do with very little while they worked. They picked crops to survive. (The “dream” sparkled in her papa’s eyes like sunlight through a prism. Rainbow chasing.)

During her teens, Mama and her best friend worked the hop fields in central Oregon. They were renowned for their fast and efficient picking team, but even more for their unique method of summoning the lineman. They sang out the words “Line Down” in beautiful harmony…. to the delight of the other field crew and to the one who answered their call - my dad. He lowered the next row as he admired their work ethic and …Mama.

What I know of my parent’s courtship can be summed up in one sentence. Mama was engaged to another when dad approached and asked, “May I throw my hat in the ring?”

They married and spent their wedding night in the boss’s guest room. Over the years, Mama enjoyed narrating the story of how the bed was sabotaged with a Two x Four down the center under the sheet. In the morning they returned it, made the bed, and then feigned innocence.

Mama’s early photographs reveal a somber waif. Several of her childhood stories revolved around food, or the lack thereof. One year while she attended school, another child occasionally brought an orange in her lunch. Mama and her sister would wait patiently until the orange was peeled, and then eat the discarded rind.

She also told me about a little boy who came to school barefoot until it snowed and always carried a cold potato wrapped in a pancake for his lunch. It made her appreciate her mother’s homemade bread.

Lack of proper nutrition and dental care were evident in her smile. Dentures in her early 20s changed her face. (Perhaps that is why one of her sons became a dentist?)


Her life didn’t allow for much structured learning and I believe that is why she was adamant right down to the patches in her dresses and aprons that her kids would be educated. I was too young to remember, but my older sister told me how mama sacrificed her only coat one winter. She couldn’t afford to buy a warm coat for my brother, so she cut hers up and sewed one for him to wear to school.

Unfortunately, I do have vivid recall of how Mama once “sacrificed” her underwear when I was thirteen. The worn out elastic band caused her panties to pavement dive while we were walking in downtown Seattle. At the moment they hit her ankles she performed an odd kick step to toss and grab them. She stuffed them into her purse along with my mortified protest.

When my eldest brothers left for college, Mama wrote many beautiful letters to them in rhyme. Yes, you read that correctly. She would write a complete letter as a poem! Writing letters, reading, and completing crossword puzzles were her only holidays for many years. That is why she had a surfeit of words (and their definitions) in her head - more than most of my educated friends.

She raised eight children with garden fresh foods in the summer, and home canned in the winter. All prepared in an old house with a dilapidated kitchen. She didn’t even have an inside toilet until after I was born.

When a driver’s education class was offered to adults in the community, mama signed up at age 49 and learned to drive. She became a better driver than my dad.

As she grew older, she was able to enjoy some of the amenities of life -- a nicer home, a chance to travel for pleasure, afternoons to do nothing but read or watch a favorite television show.

There are so many things that I could tell you about my Mama -- but I think if she could she would tell you that the most important thing in her life was her family. She loved her kids.

She adored her grandchildren. So much that she would have thought every hardship worth it all had she eavesdropped on a conversation at our house two weekends ago between our youngest daughter Amanda and WR, my husband.

(Amanda) Dad. Do you remember when Grandma died I kept her overnight case with two of her blouses in it in my room for a long time. I used to open it and breathe deep – because it smelled just like her.

(WR) I think I remember it, yeah?

(Amanda) I thought about it the other day, and realized that it never came to Portland with me. Do you think it is in storage?

(WR) I can go look.

(Pamela:) I don’t recall seeing it in there.

(WR) I’ll just go take a look.

About 10 minutes later WR walks in the sliding glass door caring a small blue case.

(WR) Is this it?

(Amanda, a smile starting to spread to her eyes) Dad, that’s it! That’s it!

She opened it and began jumping around.

(Amanda) Look, it’s her two blouses!

She stops and sniffs it.

(Amanda) I can still smell her.

(Pamela) Wow, it’s been over 14 years.

(Amanda, with some tears in her eyes) Yeah, and I still miss her.


Fun Monday is all about Moms this week. Visit Jo at Chocolate and Other Things to sign up, or to take a little reading holiday, just like my Mama did.