Home Page

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Crowded Exit

"Mom!  Look!  That woman is crawling over the barrier on the overpass!"

It was a weekend in July and I was with my youngest daughter and her two children at the fast food drive-up window where we  had a clear view of the overpass on I-205.

 My daughter's agitated voice jerked my attention away from the baby in the back seat.   I scanned through the windshield in the direction her hand was waving.

"Awwwoooh!" was my response as my eye caught the movement of the  leg of a woman as she straddled the railing.

I began rifling through my purse seeking my cell phone while still keeping my eye on the scene.  Where was that cell phone?

Then a man drew our attention.  He was walking slowly toward the woman with one hand stretched in her direction.

I recognized him immediately.  He was one of several panhandlers we've seen guarding the end of the off ramp at that location.

Although we couldn't hear their voices, we could tell by their physical actions that the woman was yelling at the man and he was responding.

I found my cell phone just as the woman pulled her body back over the rail and moved into the street.  She was waving her arms angrily and I thought that I could hear her shriek something over the roar of the freeway traffic below them.

The man approached her and placed his hand on her elbow and began to gently lead her down to the stop light where the freeway exit directs the cars on to Stark Street.

The drive up window slid open and the cashier required my daughters attention.  The clerk seemed unaware of the commotion.

"I guess I won't call 911," I stated, "but maybe I should call the non-emergency number?"

My daughter thought that is what I should do, too.  She paid for our food and pulled over into the parking lot so that we could continue to observe the woman.

The police department non-emergency number was a recording with multiple choices. I listened to it twice while I watched the woman take up a position by the cross walk.  None of the options on the recording seemed appropriate.  Meanwhile the man who had given up his prime spot for hand-outs,  picked up his belongings and wandered out of sight.

"Well," my daughter said in relief and also with a bit of disgust, " it sure looks like she was only threatening to jump off the bridge because she wanted that corner."

Just then a city patrol car drove across the overpass and slowed to a stop by the woman.  There was only a brief conversation through the window before the blue and white pulled away.

My cell phone was tossed, unused, into my purse.  Someone else had apparently made the call.

When we returned later that evening and crossed the overpass bridge, there was a different person occupying the end of the exit ramp.

I wondered where the "suicide" woman went when her shift was over.  

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Conversations with Grands and Grand Old Dames

Dinkum Devo: Grandma ..... Grandma.... 

Grandma walks from the kitchen into the family room where Dinkum is on his knees by the coffee table, elbow on coffee table, head on hand.
Grandma: What sweetie?
Dinkum: Can I take my hand off my head yet?
Grandma: What? 
Dinkum: Can I take my hand off my head yet?
Grandma: Well of course... why do you have 
your hand on your head ... is this some kind of game?
Dinkum: Grandpa told me to hold my hand on my head.
Grandma: Oh. Well, sure take your hand off your head.

Later grandma asks grandpa if he told Dinkum to hold his hand on his head. Grandpa looked puzzled briefly, then he began to chuckle.

 "No, when I walked through the room and he was making all those star war noises I told him that grandma had a headache and he needed to keep those noises inside his head for awhile."

* * * * * * *

Grandma is reading "How Do Dinosaur's say Goodnight" to Z-bub, Dinkum, and Mizelle.

Dinkum Devo: Grandma, were there really dinosaur's?

Grandma: Yes there were.
Dinkum Devo: Did they all die?
Grandma: Yes, many years ago.
Zbub: Were they alive when you were a kid?

* * * * * * *

A recent sunny Sunday morning we walked down the street to a local church -  just for a visit.  It wasn't our usual place to fellowship.

I can't remember one thing the pastor preached that day, but I do remember a very short but touching sermon

we heard on the way home.

As the hubby and I walked down the street, hand in hand, a very large car pulled over and came to a stop by us.  We stopped walking.

The passenger window rolled downward and a delicate little old woman leaned towards us from her straight posture at the wheel.    

"I'm on my way to see my husband," she spoke in a quiet tone, yet firm.  She was dressed for church like ladies of the fifties.  She even had a little bow hat.   

"He has alzheimers," she continued when she knew she had our attention, "and he is in Pioneer House.  I saw you walking together and I needed to tell you to cherish these moments. Cherish each other. You never know when it will be taken away from you."

She then pushed the electric window back up and pulled away.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Not Esther Williams....

Last Saturday morning a fruit fly did a swan dive into my cooked oatmeal with raisins. 

I was able to scoop him out immediately.

Later, while chewing, I started worrying that it might have been a synchronized swimming event.

Monday, August 20, 2012

You have entered …The Headlight Zone

It was 1990, and my nephew Matt was in love. It’s a love story that needs to be told. But, not today.

No. This story is about a brisk October night in Arkansas. A short story that, 22 years later, still has enough chill to send shivers down your back. The kind of story that finds its way into conversations when family gets together and someone always asks, do you remember when…..

Matt took a year off of college to work as a park ranger at Camp Yorktown Bay. Angel, the love of his life, lived in Arkansas and that was where he wanted to be – close to her.

On a weekend off  Matt would drive three hours up Highway 7, a scenic byway that is flagged by the State's Tourism promotions. However, the often late night runs would emphasize the curves and the dark lonely miles through forests and mountains that were only illuminated by occasional habitations.

The aging ‘78 Toyota Corolla that took him on each journey had belonged to his parents, and it had a puzzling problem with the electrical system. When you least expected it, the headlights and the dashboard lights would begin to dim and then everything would go dark.

“I took it into the Toyota Dealership in Wichita, Kansas,” his dad had told him when he handed him the keys. “But, they couldn't figure out what was causing it.”

But, young men in love push the limits and he had fearlessly driven the route before with no problems. That  was not to be the case on this particular autumn journey.

The lights began to flutter and dim. Matt stayed the course. He willed the car to keep moving as the high beams grew fainter. Another curve. Was that diffused lights up ahead? Yes. Could that be a gas station? It was. The car was totally dead when it rolled to a stop in front of a filling station and repair shop. There were still lights around the gas pumps, but the garage was locked tight in the middle of the night. Matt vaguely noticed a man leaning into the opened door of another vehicle under the lights nearby,  but there was no other activity in the tiny hamlet.

Matt hopped out and felt goose bumps - and not entirely from the chilly air.   He popped the hood and began to poke around in the engine - not that he really had any idea of what to do under there. He was frustrated, but certainly fortunate to  have broken down in some civilization with  possibility of a mechanic in the morning. He thought of all the very dark and narrow places along his route which could have been… well, very… dark… and… narrow.

“Whatcha got goin’ on?” A man’s voice startled him from his thoughts. When he turned he realized it was the man from the other vehicle. He appeared to be middle aged, dressed in work clothes, and the old pick-up truck he was driving had a huge tool box on the bed.

“No lights, no electrical system.” Matt answered, and then told the man about the cars propensity to work fine for long periods, and then when you least expected it, to lose power and die. In previous episodes Matt had called a friend and they had restarted it with jumper cables. As it was close to midnight, Matt said he was nervous about jumping the car and heading out onto the dark highway.

“Hmmm,” the man leaned over and fiddled with something around the alternator for a few minutes. “Let me look in my truck.”

The man turned and began to walk towards his truck when he suddenly stopped and returned. He reached into his pocket and pulled out what looked like a fuse.

This might work.” He leaned over the fender, removed a small part, and replaced it with the part from his pocket.

“Try startin’ it.” He made the command with a wave of his hand.

Matt jumped in and turned the ignition and the engine fired up immediately.  Matt was ecstatic!

The man made a facial expression that could have been pleasure as the result of his successful tinkering and then gestured with a quick tilt of the head to indicate that Matt should hit the road.

After flipping the beam between bright and low several times for assurance, Matt shifted into gear and pulled out into the roadway. He yelled his thanks through the open window and waved goodbye to his rescuer.

A few miles away, the total absurdity of the encounter suddenly hit him. He felt shaken. He had just experienced something that was wild beyond his imagination, and he had driven away from the scene as though it was an every day occurrence.

In a ten-minute span Matt's car had broken down in the lights of the only service station in a village on a lesser traveled highway in the middle of Arkansas, where an old farmer or handyman had been standing by his truck at midnight, who diagnosed the electrical short that had stymied the paid mechanics and then retrieved the exact part from his overall pocket and fixed it.  For free.

Maybe Matt had two Angels in his life that day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Number 11 ... A New Grandson

Curlymop is so pleased to be a big sister.  Her baby brother, Squeak, was born on June 8, 2012 weighing 8 pounds 13 ounces.

He gave us a big scare when he entered the world -  breathing problems.  Fortunately, he was in a hospital that had a superb medical staff that figured out the problem. Within 16 hours he was back in his mother's arms.

Because of that early complication he has seen his pediatrician twice since birth.  On day four they noted that he weighed almost 9 pounds.  Then on day ten he had grown to 10 pounds 8 ounces.  Newborns rarely sustain their birth weight the first week, and often lose weight.    I've accused his "mama" (my daughter) of being  a Jersey Girl.  If you know anything about butter fat, you'll know I'm not referring to any of those reality shows.

 We are all very happy.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Water Them and Watch Them Grow

Last year I posted a photo at the first of each month of these three grandchildren that are growing up in our valley.  I'm sorry I haven't remained so faithful.

But, on this first day of June the hot summer sun came out to invite them to run and laugh and to beg grandpa and grandma to turn on the sprinkler.   The camera came out, too.

Murrieta 365 hosted the 1st of the Month Meme.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

To Be or Not To Be ....a moaner & groaner

The Saturday before Mother's Day we stayed busy so it wasn't until late in the afternoon that we walked to the front door.

"What's that?" pointed my husband.

We rushed over there to find a long rectangular box with a familiar trademark and the logo of Hermes, a Greek god.

"FLOWERS!" I cried.

After grabbing the box right out of my husband's hands I rushed into the house.  Of course I knew they were for me.

Together we opened it and then looked at each other with certain chagrin.  All the flowers were wilted and stressed. The rose buds hung loosely and their petals were brown edged with burns.

It was a hot day. We had been in the mountains for half of it.  Our front door faces west and gets a nice round of sun for part of the afternoon.  Certainly they had been delivered and left on the concrete for much of that time.

My husband prepared the flowers; clipped off the ends and arranged them in the enclosed beautiful glass vase.  I added the contents of the "fresh" pack, and placed them on our dining room table.

"So hon," I asked the man, "when I tell them thank you do I also tell them that they were in bad condition?"

"Good question," he responded.

In the end, we decided that our daughter, Karmyn, and her husband, Dave, had paid a company for their  promise of a specific service.  The company needed to know what happened to their promise.

In the meantime, the bouquet responded to the water and what must be a packet of miracle powder.  By the 2nd day the alstroemerias had perked up to be rather striking and the stems had lifted the roses.  I called Karmyn to relay that the colors were divine and it was an attractive bouquet after all.  Still brown edged petals, yet a very pleasing display.

She said she had E-mailed them but had not heard back.  I told her that was fine and I was happy and she should not  worry about it anymore.  The roses had not changed from their loose bud stage, but their colors were vibrant and their stance had improved and it was a very happy profusion of pink.

* * * * *

Then,  Thursday evening a new bouquet arrived.

I immediately called Karmyn to thank her again.

"What?  They sent a new bouquet?"  She was surprised.  "I figured my E-mail just was ignored as no one responded to it. I guess they read it!"

So, the question was to be or not to be a moaner and groaner?   The answer is Be.

These flowers were so pretty that I am moaning and groaning still.  In a delightful way.

****   ****   ****   ****
I also got a a beautiful hanging basket of purple petunias for my patio from my daughter Jennifer. My present from daughter Amanda  is due to arrive any day.  His name will be Zekiel -- and he is number eleven grandchild.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm Not The Terminator

But, I'm back. I think.

In fact today it is Mother's Day and I was thinking about my mom.  She would make gingerbread as a special treat and then take the thick cream from our old Guernsey cow and whip it into ambrosia.  Well, it was to me.  Whipped cream with lots of sugar and real vanilla that she purchased from a traveling salesman, The Raleigh Man.  (I admit for many years I thought he WAS The Rolly Man.  The Rolly Polly Man, because he was quite rotund!  Kids.)

Awww... memories. If you never had fresh hot gingerbread, and cold sweet whipped cream, then you've missed out.

I closed my blog for awhile and I'm just going to refer you to a post from my daughter Karmyn that will answer questions ... if you have any.

ps.  while I was "gone" Blogger changed EVERYTHING.  I'm not even sure I know how to post anymore.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sing in Spring

I've heard the voice of this little wren in the bushes around my patio  -- echoing through my back yard as if through a megaphone.  So much volume coming out of this little feathered bit of avian life.

Today it actually perched in the top of the pine that grows in our neighbors yard and hangs its branches over into the corner of our back yard.  As it declared its territory I dare not infringe -  instead I stayed on my side of the yard and used the digital zoom to captured its aria of spring.

I was hoping another Bewick would respond.  Perhaps now would be a good time to find a wren box and place it in a safe nesting spot.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Chasing a Storm

A quick trip to Portland, OR and then headed home.  We travel east on I-84 and pass through the Cascade Mountains via the Columbia River Gorge.  Our trip takes four hours or more depending on how often we stop.  Once we passed through the mountains and could see the weather to the east I was infatuated by the storm and snapped a few photos through the windshield.  For two hours we chased and occasionally crossed paths with small squalls that lagged behind.  We caught up with the main cloud formation at dusk in the valley we call home.  As always I wonder why I didn't take the time to pull over and make an artistic attempt to focus.  As beautiful as this storm presented, it reminded me that there are many who have been dealing with some very frightening weather in their own valleys.  My hearts go out to them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rainy Day

I love the way the rain drops catch
 on the net that protects our fish
 from the Heron and the Kingfisher.

 One day I saw the Heron
 standing on top of  the rocks
 peering hungrily at the goldfish
 in their winter “hover”
at the bottom.

  Such easy pickings when the pond is open.
IMG_6638a While the sun is shining the net
 is nearly invisible…
which explains why I’ve twice
 seen the Kingfisher diving
from the sky,
 only to be bounced back
up into the air.
  I was worried that it was hurt.
 But it flew up and scolded
loudly from a perch
high in the maple tree.
When the rain turned to mist
 I took the three grandchildren out
 to blow bubbles.

The moist air has a good influence
 on the stability of the bubble.

 It gives the kids opportunity to chase the rainbow balls ...
as the slight breeze carries them away.

Z-bub created some huge ones.
When one floated near,
I could see the tree
above, me, and
Z-bub in mirror image.
(Z-bub actually is in
there twice!)

So of course I took
an impromptu and
slightly  blurry picture. 

Saturday, February 04, 2012

One Sentence Saturday

Did  Punxsutawney Phil's prediction send old man winter back to your front door?

Robin @ Pensive is actually hosting a One Sentence Saturday.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

First of the Month–Watch Them Grow

Joining in with another First of The Month  with another photo of the three grand children that I have followed on here for the past year.  (Jan at Murrieta 365 still has the Meme going strong!)

We had nine grandchildren at our house the week before Christmas so we bought a one size fits all gift:  Wii.
It was a good choice.

This afternoon when Z-bub got off the bus, I allowed the boys to play some Mario Brothers.  It suits them to a T!

 And Mizelle?  Well, she watches, and then begs to play.  I will have to find an easier and more age appropriate game for her.  Any suggestions for a 2 1/2 year old?

(Archives - previous months posts)

Halloween_thumb1 IMG_5906ab
IMG_5649 IMG_4997a
IMG_4429a5 IMG_4356a62 IMG_4252a522
IMG_4773a622 IMG_3980622 IMG_3706522

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Conversations -- just in the last 30 days.

I've never worked harder for less money. But here are some of the paychecks I've received just in the last month.


6 1/2 year old Zbub: Grandma I want to go outside and build a snowman.
Grandma:  There really isn't enough snow, sweety.

But he convinced me -- grabbed his coat, boots, mittens, and shortly arrives back at the door with an I told you so smile.

Dinkum:  Gramma!  Mizelle said the "S" Word.
Gramma raises her eyebrows:   Hmmm.. she did, huh?  I guess you better tell me what she said.
Dinkum:  She said POO POO!

Grandma:  It's snack time ... how about some Tillamook rasberry yogurt.
Z-bub who just got off the bus from school:  Hey Dinkum, we're having Til-a monkey yogurt for a snack.  Yeaaaah!


My daughter Amanda to 7 year old Curlymop:   I love you muchos.
Curlymop:  I love you more than all the muchos.
Amanda:  Really?  How much is that?
Curlymop:  That means I love you more than confinity!


4 1/2 year old Dinkum:  Mizelle, you're just a baby.
2 1/2 year old Mizelle:  I not baby!
Dinkum:  Yes you are.
Mizelle:  No!  I princess! 


Dinkum:  Whats on the wamp?
Gradma: The wamp?
Dinkum:  What's a wamp?
Grandma:  What?  You asked me what was on the wamp.
Dinkum:  No.  I didn't say wamp.  I said WAMP!

(Then Grandma realizes he is looking at the Hawaiin Lei from our 30th wedding anniversary that I have sitting on the top of my wamp... I mean lamp.)


I read a bedtime story to Mizelle, Dinkum, Zbub, and Evaline who is 9.  We ended with a prayer:

Grandma praying:  Thank you for keeping Evalina and My Red-headed Girl safe as they fly to California tomorrow.
Dinkum's incredulous whisper can be heard as he leans in close to Evalina:  Can you willly fly?


Grandpa putting together a Christmas gift: This just isn't working.  It isn't fitting together right.
Curlymop:  Did you read the destructions?


Grandma dials Karmyn's number.

 8-year old Buttercup answers:  Hello
Grandma:  Oh!  Hi Buttercup!
Buttercup:  Hi Grandma.
Grandma:  I hear you went to a yummy Christmas Brunch today.
Buttercup:  Yep.
Grandma:  What did you have good to eat?
Buttercup: Chips

I heard Mizelle saying "Hello, Hello, Hello!" So I peaked around the corner and saw her with my miniature hair dryer from my watercolor supply case that I forgot to put away!

cell phone shot done discreetly as possible


There are priceless moments with Great Auntie Fern who will be 103 in April.  Unfortunately she is having her struggles.  Sometimes I can't help but giggle.

Yesterday I stopped by to fill her weekly medicine.  While I counted out for each day I noticed that she kept pushing the buttons on her chair control.  She went up. She went down. She went up. She went down.  She was still doing this when I finished.

"Auntie Fern," I asked, "would you like me to help you adjust your chair?"

"No thank you," she responded.  Then she pointed her chair controller at the television and pushed the up button with determination.

In a slightly irritated tone she complained, "I just can't get this darn TV to turn off!"

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Mini Post

Is there anyone who is satisfied with one packet of instant oatmeal?  

(I guess a one sentence post is better than nothing.  I got the idea from Peter --  a blogging friend for five years.)