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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hoarfrost Morning

We took some grandchildren to see FROZEN and now we know who to blame for this.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sparkling Sunshine

This afternoon my husband transferred a couple of videos from his phone.  One of them was from a late summer walk along the creek.  The water flowing over the diversion was catching the golden rays from the setting sun.

Sunset Sparkling on the Diversion Dam from pamela on Vimeo.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Throne

Twelve years ago there was remodel work done to both bathrooms in our house.  Installed in one bathroom was a new low-flow toilet that was supposed to be environmentally friendly.

It never made friends in OUR environment for several reasons:

#1.We had to keep a bucket and a plunger handy.  It was always getting plugged.
#2. There was no such thing as a one flush.  It always required two flushes to get the job done, and sometimes three.
#3.  It wobbled when you sat on it.

So now we have a toilet installed that is GUARANTEED to never get plugged.  The plumbers even said they would pay us $25 if it did.  

They also did some shimmy work so that it won't make you dizzy if you're planning a long visit.

So, Merry Christmas to me.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Birthdays, Holidays, Weddings...OH MY!

Yes.  We have all three this season. 

In our close family we have birthdays on November 29, December 17, 24, and 30.  Our anniversary and Thanksgiving dance around each other every year.   Our Goddaughter has a birthday on December 23.  A grand niece on December 12.   Then Christmas, and New Years.
And stuck in the middle of all that our daughter's WEDDING.   It's fast approaching and I'm not ready.

Taking deep breaths.

Most of my shopping is done for Christmas.    I cheated and ordered most things on line.  Shopping for eleven grandchildren for Christmas is hard work!

The wonderful thing was the discovery of "points" on my credit card which were used for much of my shopping.  It was great to buy things and have them paid for by those points.

Counting down already for spring.  My fingers are always cold.   The silly cat, elGee, will go to the door and wait for me to open it.  Once I get that door open, she stops half in/half out.  My choice would be that she would be 100% indoor cat, and winter helps encourage that.  Yet, she still has to get a couple of good sniffs until I pull her back and shut the door.  The heat is a preciou$ commodity. 

The other day when 4 1/2-year old Mizelle was here we decided to go shopping.
 "Gwamma, Gwamma!"  Mizelle cried. "There is sumptin' wong with my foot!"  
 "Does it hurt, " the concerned gwamma replied.
"No.  It won't let me put my sock on.!"


Hope that is the biggest problem we have for a long time!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The First Snow Flurry

Last evening we saw our first snow.  Obviously someone was very happy about that and it wasn't me.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ending November

This morning I took 8-year old Z-bub, 6-year old Dinkum Devo, and 4-year old Mizelle up to the lake, which is really a flood diversion reservoir managed by the Corp of Engineers.  It is a great place to walk and to bird watch.

Unfortunately, it is currently being drained. Or as they call it, "the draw down."   I'm not sure if it s done for repairs on the earthen dam or if it is just an annual event.  Each time there is a "draw down" the beaver dam collapses and the ducks and other water fowl head for other wetlands.  But lots of walkers, bikers,  dogs, and horses take advantage of the trails.  And hunters, too.

I forgot my binoculars but was able to see Red-tailed Hawk, Kestrel, Northern harrier, and a Bald Eagle soar overhead.  Using my cheap cell phone, I snapped this photo of the kids being rock-climbers on the dam slope.   The camera was safe and warm at home, snuggled in the cupboard with the binoculars.

The inversion that is currently above the valley keeps us cold, foggy, and under an air advisement.

The above picture is facing south/southeast where you can see the canal carrying water away from the lake. The next picture was a simple turn around and snap in the opposite direction. The pumping station is usually partially submerged.   Eighteen years ago, when my eldest grandson was a baby, we had winter flooding which diverted an unusual amount of water to the lake. The water rose well above the pump and the trees along the shoreline.  Many of the trees died and toppled resulting in the loss of habitat for the summer-nesting tree swallow.

The local Audubon prepared tree swallow boxes and The Corp cooperated by putting some up on poles. By now, of course, trees have regrown and the swallows have reestablished their presence. (There are also five other species of swallow that can be seen around the valley in the springtime.)

Had the kids and I stayed up in the rocks we might have made it home clean and dry.  But we didn't.  After wet and muddy we climbed through bushes and brambles which loaded up our socks and mittens with cockle-burs.  All in all, a very successful day.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Foggy Mind - Pumpkin Face

After yesterday's feeding frenzy,  I woke this morning in a fog.  When I looked out the window I realized that I was in good company.  It was also freezing.  The calendar says it isn't winter yet.  Nobody told the weather.

I checked the heater in the bird feeder. I set it on the rock waterfall because the birds already flock to that spot.   That little device has been working overtime by several years.  I've wondered if it would wear thin and produce an electric shock.  It does look a bit worse for wear.

Jack Frost creates delicate filigree for such a cranky old fellow. The Yew is evergreen.  The berries are poisonous.

The Burning Bush.  Also warnings about Toxicity.

The Star Magnolia.  Harmless!

Mizelle's face has her own creative efforts from chowing down on leftover pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie - very edible.  Eating it at grandma's computer?  Dangerous!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

ABC’s of Thankfulness

Last year I did a daily thank you note on Facebook.   Many people did the same this year, but not me.  I accepted a challenge to post daily on my nearly abandoned blog.  Because today is Thanksgiving I also challenged myself to sit down at my computer and quickly compose an ABC list of thankfulness.  Without stopping and without making changes.  Here is is: 

A Audubon Bird Watching, of course.
B Brothers Four of them.
C Coffee My morning sustenance.
D Daughters Three lovely.
E Electricity Light up my life.
F Friends/Family Good Friends are Family.
G Grandchildren I would not be grand without them.
H Husband My earthly rock.
I Ice-cream Yeah baby.
J Jesus My Heavenly Rock.
K Keyboard Always connected to my hands.
L Love What the World Needs Now ♪♫
M Money More would be better.  Snort.
N Nature Amazing creation – all of it.
O Oats Hot with blueberries for breakfast.
P Pets Even those cold fish ><>
Q Quiescence We all need a time out.
R Reading B for Books was taken
S Sisters Two remain... and one remembered.
T Tires And what they roll under.
U Uniqueness Nicer than saying odd.
V Veterans Did all we could ask.
W Watercolors They wait patiently.
X Xi Gives me a word in scrabble.
Y you Yes, you.
Z Zinc Wards off colds and ends my list!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The last Thursday in November

Always Thanksgiving.  The last Thursday in November.

The ones I remember as a child included dinner ending with pie.  Lots of pie.  I can't think of any of my mama's pies that weren't spectacular.

Turkey was so so.  I'm sure my aversion to meat was already in motion.  My youngest granddaughter does not like meat either.  When she is at my house I prepare an extra helping of whatever I'm having instead of meat.  She is happy.

Neither did I partake of the turkey stuffing in my early years.  Mama cut the onions and celery up so that they were  recognizable.  I was picky about that. I still am not crazy about hunks of onions in food, so they get pulverized before I put them in my dishes. I like chunky celery now.  Thank goodness my childhood antipathy for some crunchy good things went away.

Mashed potatoes and gravy was never left on my plate.  Licked it clean.  I am still a 'tator' girl.  Fried, baked, boiled, hot, cold.  As long as it is cooked.

In the past 15 years I started a new holiday food tradition of jello with raspberries, pineapple, bananas, and sour cream. My 12-year old grandson was sad when he found out that we wouldn't be traveling to spend this holiday at their house.  His response was, "What?  No special grandma jello?"  I forget that anything I've done in the past 15 years is forever to all of my grandchildren. The eldest will be 18 on Friday.  How I remember as if it was yesterday, his little squirmy body in my arms right after his birth.  

Occasionally the holiday lands on our wedding anniversary.  Or does our anniversary land on the holiday.  Either way we get a nice dinner.

I had lots of things to be thankful for as a child.  I still do.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it here.. and blessings on all.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I claim Ignorance ...

I claim ignorance because I don't have the shopping gene.

My complaint about the sizing of women's slacks/jeans came back to bite me yesterday.  I took my granddaughter shopping.  She's almost 17, so we toiled through places I rarely see.

Look at this:

cell phone shot
I stand corrected.  But remain unfitted.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Through the Dining Room Window

Today is the last day the neighborhood robins and friends can drink at the rock waterfall.  Tomorrow it will be winterized.
 Note:  Cedar Waxwing down in front

  You can see the net over the pond and on the lower level of the fountain which deters Herons and Kingfishers from having our fish for their winter feasts.

The pesky magpie!

In case you might feel sorry for the thirsty bunch, please know that I will be putting up my heated bird bath to keep the feathered flock coming back!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Conversations with Grands (and other stuff)

I took Squeak (17 mos) for a walk with his 9-year old sissy, Curlymop, and their  4-year old cousin Mizelle. Although there were plentiful leaves on the ground, the air was still and nothing falling at the moment. Out of the corner of my eye I detected a movement ahead and high above us.  It was one huge elm leaf on a slow dance descent. It landed right on top and completely covered Curlymop's head. She stopped, turned around, and looked and me with a questionable tilt on her eyebrows.  I smiled and pointed at the top of my head.  She reached up and discovered her adornment. She laughed, "Oh Grandma!  I though you patted me on the head." Later, I shared the moment with her auntie Karmyn.  She laughed out loud and said,  "I think that old tree patted her on the head!"



Mizelle: Let's play SPY, gwamma.
Gwamma: Spy? How do we play that?
Mizelle (with an exasperated sigh): Like we did before~!
Gwamma, totally bewildered: You need to remind me.
Mizelle: When we put our feet in the soapy water, and then painted our toes pink.
Gwamma: Oh! SPA!


Mizelle tagged along while I packed and unpacked things for Auntie Fern, transitioning into extended care. The two of us walked from the far end of the facility through several halls and past lots of patient rooms to get to the front office.

Mizelle: Gwamma, there are lotsa wooms here.
Gwamma: Yes, Mizelle. When people grow very old they need help and this place takes care of them. When I grow old will you take care of me?
Mizelle: Yeth.
Gwamma: Will you feed me and push me around in a wheelchair?
Mizelle: Yeth.
Gwamma: Will you change my diapers?
Mizelle: What ~~~~?
Gwamma: When people grow very old sometimes they don't make it to the restroom and they need to wear pullups and diapers.

There was a moment of silence while she was considering this.  Mizelle: Gwamma?
Gwamma: Yes.
Mizelle: I think your gonna have to stay here.

(Still September)
Grandma: Has anyone seen my garden hat?

At church I sat behind a young couple with a baby about a month or two old. I've seen them before but never sat close. On this occasion the young father had one of those new fangled baby wraps and he was holding the fast asleep wee one. Mid sermon a baby on the opposite side of the church began to cry. The mama in front of me started rocking. Then another baby cried on the left side of the large church -- and little mama in front of me rocked harder. And then... I realized I was rocking too!

I was sitting out in the hammock looking at the stars with Dinkum, Z-bub, and Mizelle.  8-year old Zbub asked "Gramma... if I ate a carrot right now would I be able to see them better?"

We were on a shopping trip with the girls -- my going on 17 year old "red", 11 year old Evalina... and 4-year- old Mizelle.  We were back and forth from tweens to teen sizes . Between them was the intimate wear.  One of the kiosks has bras hanging clear to the floor.  
Mizelle stopped and pulled off one of the colorful formed padded variety: "Hey Gwamma.. I wanna try on one of these hats."

Overheard when Curlymop was talking with her friend Miss Sadie.  (There had been a naked bicycle event in Portland.)

Sadie (8):  I saw naked bike riders today.

 Curlymop : Like, completely naked bike riders?
Sadie: Yes!
 Curlymop: Well, I've only seen kinda naked bike riders before.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Too Long

I purchased two pair of sweats yesterday.  One for me and one for my husband.

When I shop for any kind of  pants, jeans, slacks, whatever... I never pay attention to the length.   That is because I am short and in the fashion industry long legs are the rule.  They are always toooooo long and I have to hem them.  If I can find a pair of jeans that are marked "S" for short (not to be confused with S for slim) it is the exception.   Women's pants usually come in one length.  But if you are lucky, you can find them in two other lengths:  short and long.

My husband tried on his sweats and mentioned they were a little long.  I responded "welcome to a woman's world."  He told me he wasn't complaining, he was just responding to my query about whether they fit him.

That brought me to the age old question:  Why don't women's pants/jeans come in waist width and length like men's?


Friday, November 22, 2013

An Old Cold Spot

My brother Mike emailed me this photo last night.  He said this was a goodbye salute that he snapped today in his garage where this old freezer has been chugging away since 1988.  That was the year our mama decided she was tired of bending over and digging through it.  Besides, she no longer needed the capacity and hadn't for several years.

Mike and my sister-in-law  spent the next 25 years "digging" through this old freezer.  My sis-in-law was very good at keeping it and the cupboards stocked.  The two of them kept promising each other that "It is going to die soon, so we will just keep it until that day."

Twenty-five years may seem like a very long life for a freezer.  It is MUCH older than that. Sears only sold Coldspot through 1976.  I thought that my parent's purchased this freezer in the sixties.  My brother said he put the serial number 'on-line' and it matched a 1953 manufacturing date.   Here is a close up of the make and model that Mike included in his email.  Just in case no one believes it is the same one.

The fact remains, give or take 10 years, that this old Coldspot was still doing its job.  Yes, the top was rusty and dented from having things stacked on it and dropped on it.  It has seen a lot of use.   (Note it was still balancing the cat litter in the photo.) But everything on the inside remained solid.

About a year ago WR and I retired an old Hotspot fridge that we kept in our garage.  We think it was a model from the forties as it had a little metal box in the corner for a freezer compartment. ( A photo of the inside of that antique can be seen on a post in 2007. It is the 2nd photo.)

Sad to see them go.  Nothing lasts like this anymore.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hummingbird in Winter

The thermometer said 18 degree on my patio when I woke up at 6:15.  I rushed out and grabbed the frozen hummingbird feeder and set it in hot water to thaw.

Then I found my art lamp and WR found some wire to extend the feeder over the 60 watt bulb.

Minutes after returning the feeder with its warming light,  the sun began breaking over the Blues and streaming through the neighbor's almost leafless maple trees.

And then ...

The hummingbird has survived the freezing night and is enjoying my thawed out feeder above my lamp.  Now, what to do to make this a more permanent solution.

Already I have had suggestions from mug warmers, hand warmers, aluminum pie plates with Christmas lights, and plumbers tape. Of course, I would have to find one of my glass feeders for some of those options.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Sunny Day on The Creek

A pair of Hooded Mergansers with the sun shining on the water.

A Great Blue Heron pretending to fish.  

An immature Horned Grebe:

A Typical Fall Day?

I didn't get a post in yesterday for my 30 days in November.

Yesterday's birding quest in the morning ended in the middle of nowhere in a downpour.  Yes!  I did look at the weather report -  it was off by several hours with the predictions.

Grand Auntie Fern's check up at the clinic went well.  She is 104 and now in a care home. This summer she fell and broke her hip.  Things have gone down hill.  She is unable to walk.   However, her wonderful sense of humor is intact along with lots of 100 year memories. But short term has been zapped and she now thinks she is a little girl and wants to go home to live with her dad.   Her heart rate and blood pressure are better than mine; she may outlive us all.  Next week it is the eye physician, and the week after that is the dentist.  Hopefully there won't be any snow and ice until after these are completed for the year.

Lunch with my "almost 17" year-old granddaughter yesterday was fun.  We ate Chinese food.  My "Red" is an extraordinary child.  Last year for her birthday we raided the savings and bought a "base guitar."  She has been teaching herself how to play.  She has the musical genes from grandpa and grandma.  (Did you know that is how WR and I met?  Singing?  Awww~~~ beautiful music the past 37 years.)   "Red" also loves to make movies and I think a Pinnacle Program for her computer is on order for Christmas.  She is a junior in high school, but does the Running Start program with the college and will most likely have an associates degree when she graduates in 2015.

Many of the intersections around town were turned into lakes because of the obstacles formed by the amount of leaves around the drains.  The city vehicles were on our street  last week picking up leaf piles raked by residents.  Not all had been gathered and many more have come down to replace the ones removed.    I was afraid my car would stall when I was in a turn lane and my granddaughter yelled  "WOOOO HOOO" as I slowly paddled through a deep one on our way to lunch.

Last weeks snow on the mountains was eliminated by the wind, rain, and warmer weather yesterday.  And this morning the sunshine is bright and beautiful through the naked branches of the maple trees.

AND!  BEST OF ALL.  I looked out on the patio and there was a hummingbird at the feeder that I have left up because of abnormal sightings of hummingbirds. We are not supposed to have hummingbirds in November.  April to September is hummer season.  However, a strange thing has happened over the past decade.  Annas hummingbirds have been seen in our valley during the fall season.  Annas hummingbirds are year-round inhabitants of the coastal areas of Oregon and California.  Now they are making appearances in my back yard and in the yards of other bird watchers.  As my granddaughter would say, WOOO HOOO!

Monday, November 18, 2013


The people at our bank have always been wonderful.  They are just local yocals as are we.

A few years back a larger bank bought them.  Yet we still had the same friendly atmosphere.

This fall the bank decided to upgrade the computer system.  They chose a three day weekend and we were advised that during those three days we could not access our accounts.

We didn't think that would cause us any problems.  Well, we were wrong.

The first thing that happened after the switch  was our inability to view all of our accounts on line.  It isn't as though we have lots of accounts.  We have three.  One of them is a business account that we use to keep our small business ( and I mean minuscule) items separate.

My husband, WR,  called in the following week and the customer service person at the call center was able to work the problem through which had something to do with passwords.  The customer service representative asked WR if he used the bill pay.  WR answered No.  The business account does not use the Bill Paying feature.

Several weeks later we got a late notice on one of our monthly payments.  My husband checked and it hadn't gone out.  He went into our accounts and there were no bills paid, there were none scheduled to pay. In fact, there was no Bill Paying account.  It was gone.

When the account rep had inquired about Bill Paying, my husband was talking about our business account.  The rep cancelled our Bill Paying access in our personal account!!  The account from which which we had Bill Paying set up automatically for EVERY monthly payment.

WR called the bank and a representative went back to the old computer system and looked at our Bill Paying set up and said that it could be restructured from the old information.  WR asked that this be done as soon as possible.

We thought all was well until we saw two mortgage payments go out for September.  Once more he called the bank and worked with a rep to fix that.  Then we got past due notices for other payments that should have gone out.

After some research it was discovered that the rep went back and picked up information that was too old and instead of electronic payments being triggered, the system generated bank checks that were mailed to outdated addresses.  This was very frustrating and time consuming to set up and make sure our creditors got their payments.

October rolled in and once more our mortgage was double paid.  WR called the toll free number and once more walked through the problem.  They had it fixed, so they said.

Meanwhile, we had a few more late payments and were starting to get concerned about how that would look on our credit rating.

November came.  I had been out running errands and came home to a message from the bank on our answering machine.  Duplicate mortgage payments again. One had gone out and the second was sitting in Queue.  WR was at work so I returned the call to the number provided on the phone message.  Do you know that they wouldn't talk to me about it because it is WR's auto pay and not mine?  My name is on the account and I can access it with the password on line.  And to add more insult, when I tried to get in via internet, my access was denied because of a password problem!   Then, of course they wouldn't discuss that with me either because it is WR's auto pay and not mine. I get so tired of the privacy #!*#.   Especially considering that pretty much nothing is really private anymore.

When WR arrived home from work  he called and went through the problem with a representative.  This time the rep did a more thorough investigation and determined that the mortgage payment was being made by the new system, and the second payment was generated by the old Bill Paying account associated with the old system and an old password.  I'm thinking this was from something the representative up the problem solving line did when attempting to retrieve our deleted Bill Paying account.  And the password problem on the internet was related to the new system and the temporary password issued, which we had already changed to our own.  It was regurgitating.

As for the duplicate payments and the Bill Paying problems.  "It won't happen in December,"  they say.

Taking deep breaths, and bets.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I took a walk above the diversion dam this afternoon.  I loved the sun reflecting off the stubble field, and the snow in the more distant foothills.

The wind was blowing and the birds were not active.  It didn't seem to bother the ducks, however.

This week my 4-year old, 6-year old, and 8-year old grandchildren made "shoeboxes" for Operation Christmas Child.  They found things that they really wanted to have for Christmas, too.  But I hope they learned something about sharing from the experience of picking things out for someone else.  The boxes were due at church today so I snuck around and took a quick cell phone shot right after the service ended.

Doesn't seem possible that the holiday is speeding towards us again. $igh.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cat and Muse

My desk top around my computer is a mess. This is one of the reasons.

She knocks everything off the shelves, rubs against my screen, sheds on my mouse pad, and walks on my keyboard.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Wide and Perfect

The search for a dress to wear for my daughter's wedding has been discouraging.

Nothing fits.  My body has changed.  I've gained weight.  The clothes are yucky.  You name it.
Today I was downright blue.

On a phone call, the grooms mother mentioned that she likes to go to a consignment store in her town that often has some very nice and gently used dresses.  She had been there the day before but hadn't found anything for her.  Still, she encouraged, that doesn't mean I wouldn't find something.

I told my husband I would drive over there today.  I kept putting it off with other tasks and errands that needed to be done.  When he got home from school I had still delayed the shopping trip.  He offered to go with me.  It is an hour drive so the company would be nice.

The store was very small and I almost felt claustrophobic when I walked in .  You could hardly walk through the aisles for the racks upon racks of items for sale.

The sweetest young woman showed up by my side immediately and bubbled out, "Can I help you find something?"

"Yes.  HELP ME."   Well, I really didn't say that.  Anyone who knows me and knows my  aversion to clothes shopping would believe it, however.

So I told this young lady  what I was looking for and why.  Her eyes widened and she sort of did a little dance and excitedly reported,   " I have it, I know I have a dress that is perfect for you.  I just have to find it.  I know it is in here somewhere.."

She pulled me around to the back of the store where there was a tiny little dressing room surrounded by more racks with dresses and skirts.  She rifled through one section and pulled out a beautiful long dress and matching jacket.

She was nearly jumping up and down when she showed it to me.  It was pretty.

I looked at the size and then I exhaled.  Too Small.

""No!  No!  No! "  She held it out towards me and  insisted that it would fit and again said that it was perfect for me.

I rolled my eyes and said, "Honey, I haven't worn a 14 in a long time.  This is to small."

"But it is a 14 Wide!" She was still so happy and pleased and I could tell by the look on her face and the excitement that she was exuding  that she was not concerned about the size.

I wanted to be happy and ecstatic like she was...but 14.  I haven't seen that in years.  But, WIDE?  Now that had my attention.

 "W stands for women's sizes."  I told her with a sigh, "but it still isn't big enough."

This is when the sweet face dropped just a titch and she asked, "Why would they have to put "Women" on a dress?  Men don't wear them."

Any other time I would have laughed out loud.  But, she was so young and so earnest, and the kind of kid any grandmother would cherish.  So I just told her very matter-of- fact like that "When a dress is marked W or Women's size it mean that it is designed for a more mature figure.  Rounder.  You know?"

"Eoooh, I didn't know that.  I learned something new today."   Then, she held the dress out to me once more and giggled,    " Try it on anyway. Won't you, please?"

So I tried it on.  And she was right.

It was wide!  And it was perfect.   So I giggled too.  And I bought it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today's Headlines

 Vice President Joe Biden called the wrong Martin Walsh.

"You son of a gun, Marty!"  (Huffington Post)
The VP not only called a number and congratulated a stranger for winning an election, but then he called a second wrong number and did it again!

The Veep keeps us in good humor with all his little mix ups, which leads us to another fellow who mixed up music with weapons....

Man Attacks Cab in San Diego with a Didgeridoo.

'A Southern California man has been arrested after police say he whacked a taxi with a didgeridoo in an argument over the fare.'  (NBC News)

While we are on the subject of down under....

Pet Kangaroo Gets Loose in Texas.

'Midland County Sheriff says deputies thought dispatchers were crazy." (ABC News)

Wild turkey in my yard make me 'hoppy', but then I get excited easily.
And speaking of things that make me excited NOT....

Reports of Domestic Incident turns out to be Couple Building IKEA Furniture.

'A concerned neighbour reported hearing banging and screaming.' (Metro)

Someone should write into the wedding vows that "we will never try to build furniture or kids toys together." Building wooden furniture with your wife, of course, is much better than from....

Man Marries tree in Argentina.

'Mad evnironmentalist has taken his 'tree hugger' moniker to another level.' (Metro)

One liners running through my head. Wood you marry me?  Tie the Knot. Do you have your trunk packed? Never leaf me......................

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where is My Cell Phone

Last month my four year old granddaughter asked me if she could look at the photos on my cell phone.  I answered, "sure" and then went on with whatever I was doing.

Later that day I picked up the cell phone and found the following new shots in my gallery.  She was busy.

The land line phone in my bedroom:

The pink Anemones blossoming next to the patio:

The Lobelia in the front yard.  She's not supposed to go out front alone!

This one had me going for a few minutes.  ????  Scratching head.
AWWW! The fish food container that Grandpa left on the patio table.

Grandma (me) at the computer through her own reflection.

There you have it.  The world as seen through the eyes of  Mizelle.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Loving Son

A family sat in front of us at church this weekend.  We know Buzz, the "old man."  My husband played softball with him years ago, and now I see him regularly where we both volunteer.  Of course we see him and his wife across the way at church, yet have never  been more than friendly acquaintances.

Still,  I was very interested when I saw Buzz sitting with his wife, and what appeared to be children, grand children, and great grand children.  

They filled the long pew  just in time for the music to start and for everyone to stand up again.  One of the adorable babies began to fuss and the young father picked her up and headed out to the foyer.  That left an open seat next to Buzz's daughter, right in front of me. 

There was no hesitation when the other young adult male scooted around another family member and claimed the seat next to his mother.  I was pretty sure about that.  They looked so much alike.  I figured he must be around 20.

He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to him, and even kissed her cheek.  There were several more songs during which people were invited to continue standing.  Through them, he never let go of her.  Several times I noticed he squeezed her closer and leaned his head against hers.

Scenarios went through my mind as I watched.  I knew I needed to get my mind back to the songs and not be sidetracked.  I can't help it when my mind starts wandering  into stories on its own.

After service, I asked my husband if he noticed the affectionate son.  We talked about it for a few minutes.   Then we went on with the rest of our day.

Fast forward to today.  Our town has a small but cherished Veterans day parade.  It is held at The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.  We stood on the side of the street along with many others. 

I saw him coming down the parade route.  I knew it was him before I even saw his face. The handsome young man from church... walking with his mom on one side and his father on the other.    

He was in full dress Marine uniform.


Home on leave.  Making sure that he was "loving" every moment.  God bless him and his family.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Topic is Food. What else is there?

I am not strictly a vegetarian.  I just prefer not to eat meat.

I will have a small amount of turkey at Thanksgiving Dinner, chicken is acceptable if I am truly hungry, and I won't turn down a fresh halibut or salmon dinner.  But, I sure do pay attention to their origin.  I prefer free-range poultry and wild fish or I say Pass the Tofu, please!

You can't be so picky when you go to a restaurant. Restaurant food is, of course, my favorite food because I don't have to prepare it.

It is getting easier to order non-meat dishes at restaurants.  Years ago a picky eater was pretty much confined to green salads and bread when dining out.  Now even my favorite Mexican restaurant here in town has vegetarian choices.  One of the local Chinese restaurants offers non meat eaters a soy or gluten based substitute in their chicken dishes that are delicious.  It is a rare menu that doesn't at least offer a "garden-burger" to the vegetarian diner.  It may be a bit more difficult for a vegan.

When we go visit my daughter in Portland we almost always go to Sivalai, a Thai restaurant. When they see me coming they know that they will be substituting "TOFU" in place of the meat in any choice I make on the menu.   How I love their TOFU Pad Thai and the Massaman Curry made with Tofu.   Add that to a side of spicy crisp green beans!  AND... we have tried everything on the menu.  There was only one thing that none of us liked. High praise, don't you think?

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ps.  Debbi is hosting this Fun Monday Tribute.

Veterans and Daughter's of The Revolution.

When I was a very small child my mama would  tell me about Titus Travis.  He was a soldier, she would say, and he fought in the revolutionary war.   "We are Daughters of the American Revolution," she always added proudly.  She never had the time, the energy, nor the resources available to pursue a membership in the woman's group, but it was always apparent to me that she would have under the right circumstances. 

About 10 years ago I decided to find out more about this man and his wife, Elizabeth, of whom I am an 8th generation descendant.  (My brother Mike also got the genealogy bug and he continues to follow leads on so many of our long gone relatives.)

This past year I brought my information to the Columbia River Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) which culminated in my membership being confirmed just a few weeks ago.

DAR is a non-profit women's service organization and "an inclusive geological society."  I don't know how much time I will have to devote, but I am excited to make some new friends and acquaintances.  I am also thankful for the opportunity to honor my mama,  and to honor this great grandfather's service to our country.

Titus Travis was born in 1739 and died in 1815.  His name appears on the "Muster Roll of New York Provincial Troops."  Two of his sons served in the same militia with him during the Revolutionary War. Tales that have come down through the family include a story that he was captured and escaped.  
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Many of my relatives are veterans.  Most of them came home from the wars during which they served.  I am aware of four who did not.

My maternal great grandfather did not come home from the Civil War.

My daddy's brother never saw battle in World War I.  He died from pneumonia;  complications of the flu.

My husband has a cousin  interned in The Arizona at Pearl Harbor,

and another cousin who was recalled for duty during the Korean Conflict.  At the Battle of Chosin Reservoir Bob was captured and executed.

Thank you isn't enough --  but it is given with reverence and honor on this day of remembrance.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Walk

We were able to get out this afternoon and walk my favorite place.   I took this shot with my cellphone (which has lots of problems so I was surprised my quick photo looks as clear as it does.

(My agreement to post every day didn't promise there would be words.)

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Technological Memories

Yesterday The Hubby tore my computer apart.  It had been running slow and crashing while I was working on a project.  It is amazing to me that he knows how to do this.  After all, he's old enough for medicare.

I can remember feeling the same way back in the 50's.  Yes, I can remember them.  My brother Nick made his own radios.  I can't remember if he had kits or just used household objects.  But I do remember the "crystal radio" and hearing the sounds of an AM radio station crackling through it.  There was also one he made that you could attach to metal objects that were grounded - like the telephone - and it would pick up any strong signals along with lots of static.

Television wasn't a 24-hour concern when it came to our house.  When the programming was done for the day, you heard the national anthem and then the test pattern appeared until the next day dawned.  I don't have any memories of day-time television until I was a bit older, although "Hop-a-long Cassidy" might have been an afternoon show.  Our family watched TV together after supper.  First the news, of course.  Then Ozzie & Harriet, The Bob Cummings Show,  Arthur Godfrey,  Leave it To Beaver......

Telephone?  Would any of us every believed that we would have a communicator that even Star Trek Captain Kirk would covet?  My earliest telephone memory is a a large black phone with a rotary dial that connected to a four-party line.  Before you dialed, you had to pick it up to see if anyone was talking on it.
Now my teeny pocket phone has computer ability.  It communicates with satellites!  My phone knows exactly where I am.

Last winter Auntie Fern turned 104.  At that time she was still able to converse, watch television, and talk on the phone.  She was amazed at my cell phone and was more than "tickled" when we shared texts and photos with her granddaughter who lives several hours away.   She has memories from the age of 3, about the news of Titanic Sinking.  I'm not sure how the news arrived.  I doubt that the little farming community had telephone service in 1912. That woman lived through the introduction of cars and planes, central heating and electric kitchen appliances, movie theaters, super markets, frozen foods ...  the list goes on and on.  The things people today just take for granted.

I am overwhelmed.   Google Glasses?  The Cloud?  Twitter went public?  My grandchildren mention new social media trends that scare the dickens out of me.  Sigh.  And some day this too will just be some young persons memory.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Talking to Hyacinths

Working in the flowers is mostly a pleasurable activity for me. The month of August, however,  required a lot more sweat and drudgery from me, and much of that time I was on my knees. That is because in late July we were invited to be a late submission to an annual pond and garden event that raises money for a worthy cause.

The September weekend event may be timed to allow for more people to take part and more money to be raised.  It isn't, however, timed to take advantage of the the more prolific garden colors.  In fact,the majority of our colorful bloomers were past their zenith, and many had no blossoms at all.

This made me spend more time with some of the fall blooming plants.  They were faithfully fertilized, dead-headed, and weeded daily.

The pond is entirely my husband's domain.  The water-lilies had been stunned by a algae bloom problem earlier in the summer and had been "iffy" for several months.  They would be a disappointment. But, the  water hyacinths had spread across the pond.  Although they weren't blooming, the waxy dark green plants were gorgeous.

One week before the event several hyacinths opened their translucent lavender blossoms.  I was both excited and sad.   Excited because they are so beautiful, and because  they only bloom once every summer.   Sad because the blossoms are short lived.  Usually two or three days.

An unusual change in the weather occurred.  The hot summery days became overcast and cooler for the next six days. We even had a windstorm two nights before the tour that downed trees in the neighborhood and had us scrambling the next day to clean up.

But the water hyacinths thrived. I stood by the pond every morning and told them how exquisite they were, and welcomed them with a lot of praise.  I thanked them for their perseverance and their beauty.

The morning of the fund-raiser they continued to bloom.  Everyone who toured the gardens fell in love with our hyacinths as no other pond that day was blessed with their magic.

Morning after morning, for over a month the hyacinths bloomed.  I never tired of their magnificence.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

It Was A Dark....

It was a dark and stormy night.  Well, that is what the weatherman predicted.  So far, he was right only about the dark.

In fact it got dark way too soon.  Booo to the time change.

There is snow on The Blues and the furnace is happily chugging away at the expense of our pocketbooks.

ElGee, the cat, has started draping herself all over us if we happen to sit down anywhere.  Her  favorite spot is on my computer desk...especially if I'm sitting there.  I get frustrated when she keeps rubbing back and forth on the screen in front of me.  Sometimes she even steps on the keyboard and clicks on something that causes me to pick her up and set her on the floor and shoo her away.

The trees have deposited their attire on top of roads and yards and rooftops.  The leaves fly into our garage when we raise the door and accumulate on our shoes for deposit on my floors and carpet.

The geese and ducks have chased the light of day from their far north breeding grounds and I often hear them calling as they fly overhead looking for their seasonal feeding spots.

It just seems like the winter has arrived much too soon.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Poor Deer

We've been driving the road out of the valley over 45 years.  The dusk and dawn trips have always  provided sightings of white-tailed deer, (and even once we saw a moose!)

Two weeks ago was the first time that we've had a very unfortunate sighting...and encounter.

It was getting dark that Sunday night as we turned east, away from the Columbia River, and towards the valley we call home.  The hubby was driving and I was chatting about nothing in particular.  There had been little traffic, so I noticed when a dark sedan came up quickly behind us on the two-lane road.  We were going 60 mph, the posted limit. He quickly passed us and disappeared around one of the many wide corners on this route.

"That guy must not know about the deer crossing at dusk," was my observation after he zoomed away.  "He would never be able to stop if one runs in front of him."

My hubby confirmed his agreement. We rode on for several miles in silence until we began the climb up the lofty hills that encase our valley home.

Halfway through the ascent I saw the sudden flash of eyes and then the form of the deer jumping into the highway.   My scream was interrupted by the seat belt's sudden grip on my shoulder and waist.  The moment seemed caught between fast action and slow motion.  The brakes were screeching and the back end began to slide around into the second lane.

My vision of the deer is etched in my brain - its last minute stretch as it leaped in fear.  The moment when I thought we had successfully evaded it. We caught the deer's hind legs on our bumper and I watched it tumble away into the dark.

When our vehicle came to a halt, we were sideways in the road. It was a vulnerable position.  I could see cars coming down the hill ahead of us and up from behind.  The hubby slowly straightened the vehicle out and drove about 100 yards up the hill to where there was shoulder width to pull over.

We couldn't see the deer from that position, but the initial review of the front of the car showed minimal impact damage.

I was terribly shaken and felt sick.  The hubby wanted to go back and check on the deer,  but I discouraged him because he doesn't carry a gun. An injured deer could be dangerous.

Instead, I called the State Patrol and asked for them to send someone to end the deer's misery.  We headed home.

A week later I had to go that same route to head to Spokane.  The deer lay dead on the grassy slope off the road.

Although I was thankful that it hadn't suffered long and I was thankful that we were not injured, I still felt very emotional.  Poor Deer.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Baby Huey . . . .

In early May of this year, a little mallard hen and her chicks spent several days in our backyard enjoying the security of our fence and the pleasure of our little pond.

A long story made short --  she and her 8 babies were chased by a dog.  My 3-year-old and 5-year-old grandchildren helped me gather the surviving six ducklings and carry them into our yard.  Mama Duck needed no more encouragement to follow us then her babies excited peeps.

She decided it was a good place to be.

Eventually, someone left a gate open, and the Mama Duck decided it was time for her family to head out. Immediately they  encountered another neighborhood dog which paid no attention to them whatsoever. Unfortunately, Mama Duck squawked with alarm and they all scattered... leaving one duckling behind.

We made some calls and another neighbor had a friend with domestic ducks who agreed to take the baby. But it had to be kept in its own container and not with the other ducks.  We were told that it was lonely.

A week later this same neighbor called excitedly to say that Mama  Duck was back on our street!  The neighbor had called the "foster parents" and was on her way from their farm with the duckling

Mama Duck and her babies were hiding under some shrubbery when the neighbor and I approached with the "lost" duckling.   Once it was removed from the carrying box, the duckling began to cry with alarm. Mama Duck came rushing from the bushes responding with loud quacks to claim the frightened baby.  The two raced back into the bushes.

The air was filled with neighbor's laughter when the family emerged and waddled single-file across the lawn. The "lost" duckling had grown.   It was twice the size of the babies in this recently hatched brood.

The good news?  Baby Huey was happy with its new family, and the new family didn't know the difference.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Favorite Flower for a Fun Day

I love all my flowers.  Each one is my favorite when it blooms.

But, sometimes I admit to bias towards the Ligularia that grows beneath the Smoke Tree.

When I bought it, the Ligularia was post bloom and nearly dead in its little container.  It was some kind of late season sale and I could buy everything for 90% off.   That was probably 15 years ago.

It grows a bit larger every year but doesn't seed.  The blooms last for a short time, but I leave the stalks to dry until I can't put it off any longer and then clip them off.  It appreciates the shade of the smoke tree and wilts if the sun reaches the greenery.

This photo was taken in 2007 --  but you can see how large the leaves are and how perfectly the yellow spikes display their confetti style blossoms.

This  was an early morning capture this summer -- a brave stalk sneaking a peak through the branches of the Smoke Tree.

I guess I admire the fragile beauty and its stubborn resolve.  It keeps coming back -- through cold winter's night and hot summer's glare.   So many of my perennials, that seem much hardier, have let me down.


Yeah for all my old blogging friends for their stubborn resolve, too!  Click to enjoy their favorite garden or house plant!

Sayre Smiles - Sarah

Lisa's Chaos - Lisa

Sayre Smiles - Sarah

Little Debbies Little stitches - Debbie

Ms Cellania - Christine

Another Chance Ranch - JulieBug

Dreaming What Ifs - Karmyn

Pensieve - Robin

Karisma's Place - Karisma

Myanderings - Sandy

Ice Cream Mama - Beth

Prytz Family - Jan

Anecdotes, Antidotes, and Anodes Swampy

 Summit Musings - Faye - Who's working on the alphabet !