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Monday, March 29, 2010

Signs of Spring

I get edgy at the first sign of spring.  It is a tradition for me. I start wondering if winter (or some underground pest) killed my favorite flower.  Then as the green tendrils emerge I worry that I may miss the blossoming moments.  Spring flora thrives in the cool weather, so a few extra warm sunny days can deteriorate them rapidly.    

As these thoughts assail me,  I begin to stress about life in general.   I count the season changes I’ve experienced and ponder how many more I will enjoy. This leads to an obsession and I look for every primrose, crocus, daffodil, tulip, and spring bulb unfolding wherever I walk or drive.

As I am restive in my pursuit, I wonder aloud to my husband, “Could I pinpoint the day spring begins in the northern hemisphere and follow it north with the sun.  How many miles would I drive before I ran out of daffodils?”  He only shakes his head. 

I begin to marvel about spring and the opposing seasons in the rest of the world.  There must be a flower that peaks through the snow in China …and is there creeping phlox in Turkey?  Do the swallows return to a certain valley in New Zealand and do Argentineans celebrate cherry blossom festivals?  When do the moist winds bring gentle rain to Botswana and make the desert bloom?

* * * * *
As for Signs of Spring in the valley:

The daffodils are enjoying a lengthy bloom in my back yard this year.  The weather has stayed moist and moderate.
Daffodil PI
Bloomin’ potholes!

Janis, at Life According to, is hosting “Spring” as a Fun Monday theme. 
Spring on over there and join in the fun!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Color My Asphalt

I pulled into the parking lot at the grocery store on a dreary day in mid-January and hopped out of the car with my list in hand.  Immediately my eyes were drawn to an oil spill in the parking stall next to my car.  There was just enough sunlight escaping through the clouds to extract brilliance from the rain and pollution mix.

My camera travels with me for just such occasions.  Snap!

Every week, Carmi at Written Inc hosts a thematic photo topic and invites one and all to participate.  This week he is asking for "colorful" wherever we find it.  As soon as I saw his post I knew exactly where my photo was waiting.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cars and Artists -- More Tailgating

I have seen many more strange writings and artwork on cars.   Unfortunately, these three are only the ones I actually captured digitally.  However, I promise to be more aggressive and resourceful in the future. 

Although the first two appear to be greetings written with temporary chalk, the last one is permanent  auto decoupage; front, back, and sides.

***updated.  these three are only the ones captured recently.  I didn't mean to disregard the ones I caught last year!  As reminded by my daughter.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tuna’d Out

It’s been more decades than I care to admit, but I can still remember carrying my little metal lunch bucket each day and hoping that mama gave me something besides TUNA in my sandwich. Sadly, there was no cafeteria or hot lunches at my tiny school.

The “cloak room” was like a large closet without a door that seemed to draw and store the heat from the clicking radiators in our classroom. Our home-made lunches were also stored there, along with any wet coats, hats, and boots that accompanied us to school. By the time the little hand and the big hand met on the big round clock, the co-mingled smells of lunch box contents and musty mittens overpowered the chalk board dust and assailed our noses. 

I was always starved by 12 o’clock – a condition that encouraged me to consider a peanut butter and homemade jelly sandwich a gastronomical delight.  Sometimes a sliced cheese or bologna sandwich (with too much mayo) was a change of pace.  But, in spite of my tummy in growl mode, I didn’t feel the same about Tuna.   Oh! How the fishy odor of tuna would disappoint my taste buds before I even loosened the latch. The trauma was so great that today, if I catch a whiff of overripe bananas and canned tuna, I am instantly returned to lunch time in that little four-classroom schoolhouse.

If you want to chew on some more school lunch memories  -  click here and tell Faye that I sent you!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Traveling moments

I enjoy driving.  I don’t even mind driving alone.  1700 miles in this last little trip.  No one could have guessed that the weather would be perfect and I should have retired my snow tires in favor of my radials.  The highways were mostly dry and the sky was mostly blue.  Other than losing a tire mid trip (and me worrying about the others all the way home), my little car just rolled merrily along. 

I don’t care, however, for those those wacko drivers.  My cruise control is faithfully attended.  That is why I know that I’m not the one with the inconsistent gas pedal.  Does anyone else ever get exasperated when passing or being passed by the same car for the nth time?  Or even worse, getting blocked in by a few cars that have drivers chit-chatting with passengers or someone at the other end of the cell phone.   My biggest pet peeve is to be passed by a car, only to have it swerve quickly over in front of me and slow down.   I told WR that I wished for magical powers on my way home.  There was heavy traffic on I-205N through the Portland, Oregon area.  A very small (and dirty) car changed lanes abruptly causing me to brake.  Then, the little man held up his middle finger.  He may have been holding it up towards the driver of the car in the other lane.  I didn’t care.  I just wanted to swish my Hermione wand and break it. (The finger.)  Or, maybe just freeze it in place.  I don’t know.  If I hadn’t already discarded it, I could have thrown my soggy egg salad sandwich at him. 

Lovely things about the road included a rest stop in Northern California where the trees and grounds were filled with red-winged black birds.  Their music was nearly deafening, but ever so beautiful.  I could sit and rest in their song had there not been so many miles and hours ahead.

One area on I-5 in northern California is being decorated with metal sculptures.  I was especially impressed by a huge bronze sunflower reaching for the sky.  For as long as I can remember, there has been a huge metal sculpture of a range cow.  It can be seen from several miles away.  Not too far up the road there is now a huge dragon.

The Oregon roads and rest areas are well maintained.  Unfortunately, I think there is a roving band of beggars that use the restrooms as their headquarters.   They stay within the time constraints and then rotate to the next rest stop.  The next group moves in and sets up in their place.   I truly think it is an organized venture.

I can’t help but feel like I’ve experienced a real life Brigadoon when dropping into the beautiful green valleys and farmlands in central Oregon.  Especially this time of year when the grassy pastures are emerald, accentuated by the whites and pastels of the early spring blossoming trees.  Even the Angus and Hereford cattle seem to have vibrant colors against the hills and the backdrop of the season.

I purposely pulled off the freeway to fill up with gas in a place called Cottage Grove.  My late mama reminisced with such yearning about meeting up with friends there,  that my childish vision of the place was magical.  Spring’s magic was certainly apparent.  I need to go back and spend more time.

The wind greeted me as an old foe when I entered the Columbia River Gorge.  I was driving into it. I call it a friend when I get a tail wind!  Either direction, it provides another exciting weekend for wind surfers and parasails – at the wind surfing capital of the world.

Not much snow in the Blues when I got home, but the weatherman predicted the weather would cool and it would arrive up in the higher elevations.  Rain predicted for the valley.  I’m glad to be home.  Now I just need to get back into the rhythm.

(short video of grands.  19 month old Caboose, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle."  Two and a half year-old Dinkum teaching 9-month old Smurfella how to pat-a-cake, Dinkum and 4 1/2 year-old  Zbub using their super powers to rescue the cul-de-sac, and Smurfella rocking it with a guitar.

Four Grands from pamela on Vimeo.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Bee Shampoo

Conversations with grandchildren -- you've got to write it down when words happens or they are lost forever.

I just finished bathing the two boys -- 4 1/2 year old Z-bub, and 2 1/2 year-old Dinkum.
While I was rinsing the shampoo friom Dinkum's hair I had to be very careful.

Grandma:  Hold very still Dinkum because this shampoo is not made for children.  It would sting your eyes.

Z-bub:  Yeah Dinkum.  Bees made it.