Showing posts from 2009

Goodbye 2009


A Christmas Decoration (Fun & Macro Monday)

Gattina, Writer Cramps , has asked to see our favorite Christmas decoration for the Fun Monday project this week. Mine happens to be alive and blooming - for well over 50 years. We always call it  "Mom's Christmas Cactus," because I retrieved it from her home when she passed away sixteen years ago. It did not bloom for several years and I was afraid that I didn't have the green thumb for zygo-cactus.   Fortunately, it grieved and I found a rhythm for feeding and watering. Now it is a faithful provider of lovely blossoms every winter.  Three years ago it bloomed from November until April. The plant is very large - and thus susceptible  to breakage from the people and pets who move about.  The pieces that break off are placed in water to root and then shared with other family members.  Each of my daughters has their plant growing from "Mom's Christmas Cactus."  But, now I think that "Mom's" refers to me. In November 2006, I posted

An Update and Greeting

Christmas Eve Morning we find ourselves once more in Portland, Oregon at our youngest daughter's house where I am using her strange little lap top.  The keyboard is made for miniature fingers and some of the buttons can do strange and improbable tasks.  If only one could make me 36 once more. I slept (not) to the stereo qualitity of two snoring men.  It is a small apartment and the things that happen in the apartment upstairs are no secret either.  Even Curlymop, the 5 year old granddaughter, was awake until 11 p.m. as the result of sipping someone's Thai Tea.  That could have been part of my wakeful problem, too.  I actually blamed it on the salad;  I crashed and burned on a whole chili that I misidentified as a dark peanut. When I did nod away, I dreamed that I didn't get any Christmas Cards.  That has been on my mind because I didn't send any this year, or for several years past.  It has to be very much like blogging.  If you don't leave your "comment c

Too Big To Wrap

Our Christmas present this year.  A new driveway and sidewalk. Merry Christmas!

Spell your Favorite Thai Food

There is a very small family owned Thai restaurant one block away from our daughter's apartment in Portland.  We love to eat there. Last week I noticed a couple of interesting things on the lunch menu.  I highlighted the "specials" with a little red stick pin. When Amanda passes her national court recorder test, we're obliged to host a celebratory dinner for friends and family at this yummy little place.  The people who work there are aware of our plans and can't wait to feed us some of our favorite dishes:  Crispy Basil, Pad Thai, and Green Mango Salad. There will be Stir-Fly and Pictures of Water for those who are a bit more adventuresome.

Eye Eye, Matey!

Jammin, my 8-year old grandson had  eye surgery on Monday. When I stayed with him and his siblings last August, we were putting drops in his eye several times a day.  The pediatrician thought he had growth caused by a bacteria. But, the antibiotics and steroids proved useless.  He was sent to the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Oregon, where the specialist recommended surgery and biopsy. After the surgery, his mother and father sat with him in recovery.  Once he became aware of his surroundings his mother remarked, "Hey Jammin'.  You look like a pirate." "AAAAAAAAAAARGH!." He replied. He is doing well.  He should be back in school tomorrow  and we are hoping for good news from the pathologist.


I've been in Portland, OR since Tuesday. My daughter Amanda is doing a 50 hour internship at the Federal Court for the last leg of her her Court Reporting certificate requirements.  Her fingers are very tired. I've been grandma drop off to and pick up from school for the kindergarten kid.  Today Curlymop missed school because her eyes were red and burning.  The medical clinic sqeezed us in this afternoon for a quick check up.  The Pediatrician hardly walked through the door before exclaiming, "Pink Eye! Poor kid has caught every bug that has come along in her classroom this fall. I still plan to get out to some of the great stores here in Portland and do some Christmas shopping.  You'll note that Amanda and I already went to Powell's.  (My eyes are sort of burning.  Uh oh.)

Christmas Songs that Induce Insanity

Cynagirl wants to know which Christmas songs drive me bonkers for this Fun Monday . The fact that I heard Christmas music playing in Sears before Halloween gave me reason to get that crazy feeling entirely too early this year. But...for a particular song, I allowed myself to go back to a childhood memory. My mom had an LP with all the Stars of her day singing the season favorites.  She would play that album quite often during the holiday season.  Oh How I hated to hear Silent Night moaned out with despair by Marlene Dietrich.  I couldn't find that particular recording available on the web.  But, lucky you!  I found her rendition of  Little Drummer Boy.  It's equally endearing. If you dare to hear it ... Oh.... SHUDDER!! There are several more that I love to hate - but I'll save those for another day. Share your hair pulling holiday songs and  link your post at C is for Cynical Girl .

Turkey Lurkey

Carmi has asked for a picture of something different for this week's Thematic Photograph. Their unprecedented appearance is why I chased these three wild turkeys down the street with my camera. I think they were considering their escape options when I cornered them in our neighbors yard. In the over thirty years I've lived on this street I  have never before been visited by a wild turkey . My neighbor Bill has lived here more than 50 years and claims it was his first sighting, too! Later that afternoon when they were enjoying the spilled sunflower seeds under my bird feeder,  the neighbor's dog surprised them.  All three flew high into the neighbors old maple tree and were still perched there when night fell. I wondered if they found refuge in town during hunting season and decided it was so nice that they would stick around. If you saw something odd this week, post it and link your blog at Written Inc .   Or, just go check out what other bloggers share

Under the Weather.

You know you've been sick when the grandchildren come for the holiday and you don't take one photo. Not one.

Fun Monday Thanks

Wendishness has asked us to share our thanks for this week's Fun Monday fare.   My contribution is a copy of my daily note of thankfulness to which I committed on Facebook.    11-23-09   So thankful for infrastructure! Every Monday morning our garbage and recyclables are removed from the street by some sanitation workers. And I'm thankful that my recycle grew this year while the garbage decreased. 11-22-09     found it easy to be thankful this morning. ----Yesterday we stood in line at the theater to attend "The Blind Side." I also just read the book "The Glass Castle." Both true stories of children surviving adversity. I'm thankful that I had a childhood. Mine wasn't perfect, but it was blessed. 11-21-09   needs to be thankful for more things. Julie  had a "favorite quote" contest on her blog and one of the winners was: What if God decided to take away the things you forgot to thank him for? I sit here and gaze a 360 around this room a


My fingers are freezing as I type this. I just ran outside and removed as many leaves as I could from the tiny man-made creek that runs into the pond. A few days ago WR stated that he hoped the wind would blow all the leaves off the neighbor’s maple trees - and he got his wish. He even got a better gift with it. Many of those leaves blew over our fence and beyond. However, we still get to keep the ones that hit the water. Every autumn we are surprised. I remember several years ago having our grandkids help us rake leaves when they visited over the Thanksgiving holiday. I remember having a few brave roses thumbing their petals even into December. We always know that eventually winter will arrive, but never how or when we expect it. So is it we are surprised with the insidious creeping of Alzheimer’s in my sister-in-law’s life. This morning I need to wolf down my coffee and cereal and rush out the door. I am supervising the movers who come to haul her furniture and belongings to a


Ari, from Beyond My Slab , is the hostess of this week's Fun Monday, and has chosen a topic that gives me immense pleasure:  Old Things. Other than dust, I have nothing in my house more weathered and aged than Augusta's photo album.  I wrote about my great grandmother   (Augusta, Grace, Evelyn, Me) this summer. She was born in 1855 and died in 1937.     I can only guess when she acquired it. I like to think that she was a young teen when she chose to include a photo of the late President Lincoln.  Some other printed photos may be of other famous people of that era. My glasses give you an idea of the album's dimensions. The leather binding is embossed.  It is in dire need of gentle repair.  I have no idea how much that will cost. Note the interesting clasp.  The other one is in worse condition. Do you want to see the inside? Below are tin types of Augusta, her first husband Chester, and her father - my g

Walking to Music

Today, I walk earlier than usual and experience a slight bit of unease. For the first 30 minutes I see only two other people . There have been rare reports of cougar and bear along the creek – the knowledge of which makes me very aware of my isolation. When I turn back, I begin to meet more people, the majority of whom are wearing MP3s and IPods. We smile in greeting and I say “good morning.” Of course they do not hear me. Nor did they hear any of the bears or cougars that snuck up on them from my earlier flight of imagination. Unaware of the obbligato springing forth from the heavy underbrush, they miss the evasive fluttering of a Bewick's Wren. I watch it pause from its busyness and I sigh as it tilts its head back to sing with enthusiasm. How can such a loud trill emanate from so tiny a creature? They do not discern the performance of the wind symphony. Sometimes it plays a legato breeze in the

Water Ouzel

No...This isn't the nature blog.  However, that being said, the bird watcher in me was so intrigued by my first sighting of an American Dipper, AKA Water Ouzel. Two days in a row I watched this little bird feed, play, and bathe in the creek that flows along the path that I walk.  With some marked felicity, I noted it in my bird diary. (My Canon Power Shot has the capacity for short video recording, albeit not the best quality. And my blogging hasn't been the best lately, either.  Quality or quantity.) Water Ouzel from pamela on Vimeo .

Wooly Wooly Worm

Saturday morning was perfect for a long brisk walk. As we were enjoying the path,  WR pointed out this fuzzy little Wooly Worm toodling across. You are supposed to be able to forecast the extremes of winter by this little fellows coat.  (Or is she a girl?) I was pleased to find these instructions at .  (I'm thinking I may not bother to dig into the storage area for my snow tires.) Step 1 Look for wooly worms under rocks and inside hollow logs. Step 2 Examine the wooly worm, paying attention to its bands of colors. The wooly worm will curl into a ball when touched or threatened. When they crawl, they can crawl very quickly! Step 3 Wooly worm forecasters say that the size of the brown band of color will tell you what kind of winter is coming. Legend says that the thinner the brownish red bands, the harsher the winter will be. If the wooly worm is mostly brownish red in the middle, winter will be mild. Step 4 Wool

Karoo, Karoo

A Lullaby that my mom sang to me when I was a baby. I sang to my daughters.  My daughters to my grandchildren. I hope my great grandchildren will hear it someday, too. Listen to it here --  accompanied by photos of my sleepy daughters, and my 10 sleepy grandchildren! Karoo Karoo from pamela on Vimeo .


Late last night I curled up on the love seat and watched the weather channel's tornado chasing marathon.  The closing credits ran every half hour; then, the next episode would begin.  Midnight arrived and yet I remained fixated.   I so want to be a storm chaser.     The next thing I knew it was 4:30 and the cat was waking me with a yowling complaint.  I got up, turned off the TV, and opened the patio door before grabbing the warm afghan and snuggling back down in my chair.  I slept there until 8:30.   In my turtle neck and jeans.   This odd confession is brought to you by Gattina - Writers Cramps , the host for today's Fun Monday.   She is curious about our usual Sunday morning attire.   Last night's lead in to this morning was just a fluke. I am the quintessential flannel pajama girl.    Most Sunday morning you'll find me searching for my glasses, the newspaper, and my coffee mug.  I do know, however,  where my PJ's are --because I'm wearing

Fall Synopsis

We went to grandparents day at Curlymop's School.  Our daughter mentioned that schools smell the same no matter where you go. Why is that?   This is what happens when Grandma buys special treats for breakfast Being a grandmother gives you license to forget that Halloween decorated do-nuts are not  good for you or on you. The frosting stained. A group of Annas hummingbirds visited the valley the last week of September.  They aren't supposed to be here.  Ever! This photo and my last sighting was October 1. Here is elGee, the cat.  (And Lucky, the mouse)  I swear that cat is color blind.  The mouse got away. In the last two days we've had  8 others, however,  that met their maker. They were in MY KITCHEN!   

I'm Hair for Fun Monday

Bad haircuts were a fact of life growing up. In fact, those home cut tresses gave my brother plenty of ammunition for teasing me and another sister.  Mama didn’t use her dishes when she gave haircuts, and for that fact we were most thankful. We were quite horrified by the bowl cuts worn by some school chums. I don’t know if it was a borrowed phrase, or if my brother just came up with the taunt of his own accord. T-Bangs.  Nanner, nanner, nanner! It seems quite innocuous by today’s standards - but it was enough to keep us whining to our mother. She was eventually overwhelmed by our complaints and locked herself in the bathroom to cry. In spite of those memories, the very worst haircut of my life occurred the day before WR’s 10 th high school class reunion. My male stylist had been doing a fairly consistent trim – except that he was leaving too much length on top. I wanted to have a little more bounce up there. I may have badgered him about it. Looking back, I really wis

Inspect Her Gadgets

Wendy of Wendishness wants to see our gadgets!   And...when you are the week's Fun Monday Host you get what you want. To satisfy her curiosity, I quickly grabbed six of the first eight gadgets that came to mind.  (Everyone knows that cameras and cellphones are the obvious choice.)     Can you guess what all of these are?    Clockwise from Left:  Blood Pressure Monitor, Electronic Meat Thermometer, Can opener, Coffee Grinder, Pencil Sharpener. Sure - I could live without them.  But the meat would be burned, the can lids would be sharp, the coffee would be stale, the pencils would be dull, and I'd have to find another excuse to make the hubby hold my hand. Join the fun!  Click your mousy gadget right HERE.

Grand Kid Briefs

Brief reflections of five days with five grand kids. Four-month old Granddaughters. Perfect toys.  Play with them - then give them back to their mommies. Two-year old Grandsons. There should be a Leash Law! Four-year old Grandsons. Aims to please.  (Except in front of the toilet.) Seven-year old granddaughters.   Elves !  Direct from middle earth; some of which is always visible  around cheeks and mouth. Almost 13-year old granddaughters. Static.  

Grandma Loves You More

Grandma Loves You More Than a Poo Poo Platter from pamela on Vimeo . She's four months old today  and made a long trip from central California to see Grandpa and Grandma. This is our youngest, Smurf Ellie. What is it about a sweet baby that turns me into a monkey.

Fun Monday - Still hot for Starman

Ari, the author of Beyond My Slab , has asked Fun Monday participants to click their heels three times and become a favorite character in a movie. This was an easy confession for me, as I coughed this up once before in a Fun Monday about childhood crushes. This movie was released in 1984  --  and I fell in love with Karen Allen's character.  Not because she inspired me in any form.  It was because she got to embrace a naked alien Starman, played by Jeff Bridges. Who, incidentally, was really hot at the time. Ari ...not only did I click my heels, but I did a little clicking with my mouse in photo shop.  Starman : Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst. Now, you're invited to beam over to Ari's and check out some other Star choices!

Just The Right Amount

It’s just another day in paradise . Her thoughts bemused her as the sun peaked over the hills and through her curtains. Once more she was awake early. 4:45 am. Is insomnia just my burden to bear? s he wondered. Or are there millions just like her, cracking the dawn hours before the alarm. Her movements woke her husband and he moaned through an exaggerated arm stretch. She rolled over and laid her face against his shoulder. “It’s early hon.” she whispered. “Please lie still and let me spoon you for a few minutes. I need to cuddle.” He agreed. Within moments of repositioning his pillow he relaxed and she counted the 27 seconds it took him to return to nod. Well, that was too easy , she mused. She slid out of bed and padded softly down the hall to the kitchen. Lulling him back to sleep also meant that she assumed the job of barista. He usually brewed the first pot and offered her a cup with just the right amount of cream. Now was a good time to check her E-mail and read he

Sharp Axes

Another weekend on the road.  The sign said Welcome to Orofino , Idaho. It was the 62nd Logging Show and the Clearwater County Fair. The time was well spent and the hours on the road were worth it. My favorite competition was the Springboard Chop.  The contenders chop an unusual angle into a pole and push a pointed flat board into the cut.  They then climb onto the board, which bounces precariously like a diving board, and proceed to chop another place for another board until they reach the top.  Once there, they balance and chop off a smaller attached and secured log . I also enjoyed watching the muscles flex and spasm as they were pushed to their maximum abilities throughout the day.  Some of these men participated in every contest. This fellow was last in his time trial. ( They called each group a "flight.")  I was compelled to capture the moment;  exhausted, he turned and sat on his finished product while his chest heaved.  None of these guys quit.  They fi

The Blue Fish

We have two new fish in the pond.  Their names are Lady Styx and Intense Guy . The two bloggers were participating in a "Random Act of Kindness" event when I stopped to admire the blue fish made especially by Lady Styx for Mr. Intense guy. Intense Guy's response was to pay it forward and send not only the blue, but also the little gold finned creation to me. I've been showing them the pond and allowing them to get the feel of the place. (I've also been wondering what kind of random act of kindness I will have the opportunity to perform. Here, there, or somewhere --- I'll be keeping an eye open.) Thank you!

I Started Kindergarten

I started kindergarten this year.  I loved it. I took a job as an on-call tutor this fall, but my first position fell into another category. For three weeks I was assigned in a classroom with 26 adorable little tykes beginning their first year of school.  I had the opportunity to watch an excellent teacher and assistant in concert.  Without raising their voices or showing any agitation, they directed those kids through the busy day.   They were always on stage and at peak performance.  I wondered where they got the energy. They were good. I had a job to do, too.  But at the end of the day I was exhausted.  Even my face muscles were sore because my smile was constantly twitching.    So, what are some of things I learned in kindergarten? * Chika Chika Boom Boom * I hold my crayon with the three magic fingers * Don't throw the sawdust * Sneeze into your elbow *Don't run in the cafeteria - especially with chocolate milk *Feet first on the slides *Monday, Tuesday, Wedne

Lost Buoy

Long Beach, WA September 5, 2009 Cannon Power Shot


Not a DUCK! from pamela on Vimeo . Just got back from a 4 day road trip that included the beautiful Washington State coastline. I'm POOPED.


The black and white television sat in a corner of our living room facing an old couch and two well-used parlor chairs.  I'm not quite sure which one of my parents advocated for its purchase or how they arranged for the financing. My first recollection of its existence was my infatuation with  Wunda Wunda ;  a lady clown puppeteer who made my mom grit her false teeth and blow air between them.  I don't think my mom approved of Wundas clingy tights and her silly skits; and moms teeth had been poorly designed. One of the puppets always left me unsettled. It invariable got into trouble. Then, whimpering in a sad nasal voice, it would ask Wunda Wunda for help. I outgrew the puppets when I became a big girl and attended school.  After which, my sister and I would rush home to watch The Mickey Mouse Club .  We each filled a widowed thermos top with dried oatmeal, powdered and brown sugar, and maybe some raisins. Then, while eating our own strange recipe for granola (before we ev

The Sting

  No -- I didn't get up on a ladder.  I tried to use an old canon zoom lens from our old film camera -- but I couldn't get a good focus. The colors are striking in the wasp paper. Little venomous artists.

Rufous Fuss.

My three grandchildren (Jammin, Buttercup, and Caboose) had a visitor during dinner on Friday night. This little female hummingbird invited herself into the sun porch and got trapped. Luckily, her frantic buzzing at the window caught my attention and I was able to walk out there and snatch her. I felt so sorry for her when my hands closed in - she chirped so fearfully. Jammin used my camera to snap this photo before we released her. My guess is that this is a juvenile Rufous. I need a more seasoned birder to confirm that. (My hands are very small -- so you can imagine how tiny she was.)

8 Daze a Week

Still watching my grandchildren while Karmyn is in Hawaii. Her computer (and my being busy) doesn't allow for any blog time. It should be salvaged by droids. Buttercup would act it out and make me be C3Po if I even suggested it aloud. Shhhh... She could be hooked up to a turbine and create electricity -- that almost six-year old girl is energy with a Capital E. The Caboose has been a great little almost 15 month old boy. He's been sleeping as well as one could expect in this hot weather. My morning starts about 5:30 when he rouses and I change his diaper and snuggle him in my bed. His hair is so fluffy and soft that it sucks up my nose when I breathe and tickles my face. Not a great sleep for me -- but somehow sweet enough to manage. Jammin (8) went to boy scout camp with his Uncle for three nights/four days. His first trip away from home without a parent. He toughed it out. Jammin: We were the closest bunk to the lake Grandma. If you got up at 6:00 and ran down t

Scar Face. Sort of.

Lil Mouse asked that we share our SCARS for entertainment on this Fun Monday. It is a true blessing that I'm away from home and am having computer problems. That makes it unlikely that I could take any photos and download them. I'm more than happy to tell you about my battle etchings, though. I have a scar in my eyebrow as a result of bending over and trying to scalp myself on a hose holder on the patio. It was late, I didn't flip the outdoor light. Fortunately I was able to find my way back in by the the shining of all the stars I was seeing. It bled a lot but I didn't get stitches. Now my eyebrow grows weird on that side. I have several scars on my face. One from chicken pox. I think it's sort of lost significance in the last few years, or been superseded by an age spot. My stomach has surgery scars. Twice I've gone under the knife there. Rather clever designs, really. (sing along now: She once swept an Admiral clear off his feet. The ships on

Grandma Laughs

Swinging with me in the hammock late Saturday evening, 5-year old Curlymop is suddenly entranced by my revealed tummy. Before I even have the opportunity to ask if there is a wasp or an earwig on me, she stabs her finger into my belly-button and just as quickly removes it and sniffs. Gwama: What..the. ... Curlymop: I smelled your belly-button Gwama. Gwama: Duh......... Last night with almost 6-year old Buttercup. Buttercup: Grandma can I sleep with you. Grandma (reading in bed): Okay, crawl in. I'm only going to read for a few minutes then go to sleep. After several minutes... Grandma: Buttercup, you need to lie still and go to sleep. Buttercup: Okay After several more minutes of Buttercup squirming under the covers and making little clicking sounds. Grandma: For heavens sake, Buttercup, what are you doing under there? Buttercup: Clipping my toenails . Then there is 14-month old Caboose. I've been smeared with oatmeal and bonked on the head. He screamed when I en

Apparitions in my Garden

Karmyn is the host of Fun Monday this week with a subject that is near and dear to her heart. Not to mention her knees and fingers. But I mentioned them anyway. The subject? --- What's Growing In Your Garden. As soon as I signed up I grabbed my camera and headed out the back door. Alyssum, lady's mantle, gaillardia, Jupiter beard, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember is blooming in this photo. We didn't put as many annuals in this year so I miss all the yellows and reds that we often enjoy. But, something else showed up in that surprised me. Can it be that my yard is haunted? Cheeky little ghost! A shot from the deck near the hammock shows off some ornamental grass, petunias, pond plants ... and that bold apparitio