Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Good Book and a Cup of Hot Tea

It is supposed to be Spring here in Wood Village, and we had a few tantalizing spring-like days earlier in the week. But the question on everyone’s lips, “Will it rain this weekend?” has been answered. “Yes.” I don’t mind the rain myself as it lends itself to a lazy, cozy Saturday afternoon to sit on the couch and enjoy a good book and drink a bracing cup of tea.

My good book today is Alec Guinness” memoir, “My Name Escapes Me.” A truly charming glimpse into the day-to-day life of an extraordinary actor and very interesting human being. Since I am also one to keep a diary, I can identify with his entries and the wide range of topics he chooses to write about.

For warming the soul, Twining’s Herbal Peppermint Tea is one of the best. It has been unavailable for about a year, and then suddenly it showed up in a new package, but with the same delightful flavor. The cup steams and the aroma penetrates the room.

The dogs are snoozing on their beds drying off from an earlier walk in the rain. They do not have Gore-tex outfits like I do, but their Labrador Retriever coats shed water pretty well. There is, however, a pungent “wet dog” smell underlying the peppermint. The rain is pounding on the metal roof of the deck and cascading in rivulets down the window panes. Jazz is playing softly in the background. Soon I am likely to doze off for my afternoon “forty winks.”

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Gas Rationing

Back in the early 40s, while WWII was raging in other parts of the world, the folks on the home front were doing their part by complying with the rationing of food and gas. Even at four or five years of age, I felt the ramifications of this. I had my own rationing book in the name of Lou Anderson and I have it still among the mementos I keep of my early life. Even then, I did not eat all the meat allocated for my consumption!

We planned our trips in the car very carefully, as gas was scarce and there was no way to replace worn-out tires. Mother felt strongly, though, about traveling out to Wilder, Kansas to see Aunt Addie, her mother’s sister, and her Cousin Cora Lee who lived close by. I remember my father sitting at the dining room table, calculating mileage and money and seeing if a trip was feasible. Thanksgiving and Memorial Day were almost mandatory and we skimped elsewhere to be able to afford to make those all important trips. We walked to the stores in Waldo and took the streetcar for distances beyond walking range. The old 1937 Plymouth would sit for months unused and dusty.

Today my father would not be able to comprehend the price of gas. But old habits carry on and I have taken over the task of calculating. I’m on a restricted income and so my budget is not very accommodating of the skyrocketing cost of gas. I spend the same amount on gas each month, and as prices go up, the miles I drive go down. Roughly…at $3.00/gallon, I can buy 10 gallons on my $30 monthly budget. Rider gets about 15 miles to the gallon so I have to plan out where the 150 miles will take me. Round trip, it’s 15 miles to the golf course, 30 miles to my sons’ place, 8 miles to the branch library (with a stop at Wild Oats on the way, 14 miles to the Tri-Met’s Gateway Transportation Hub, only two miles to Safeway.

When I do drive I keep it at 55 to get the best mileage, although other drivers do not like the slowpoke very much. I take the shortest route, cluster errands, skip unnecessary activities, and keep the car in good condition with regular oil changes and tire rotation. I carpool when I can, although now most drivers ask for compensation that is probably more than I would spend to drive myself. I have a bike now but I lack the courage to ride it out on the street in traffic. It is primarily for exercise, but there again, I have to drive to the bike trails.

Oregon Department of Transportation is panicking as they fear that people will be less able to afford to buy gas and consequently the revenue from the gas tax will decline and put the road system in jeopardy. To counter the new movement toward better gas mileage with hybrids and late model cars, as well as the rising costs, ODOT is proposing a tax on MILES DRIVEN. That will be an incentive for me to stay home altogether.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Reel Deal

Are you a fan of What a great place to find stuff! Better than e-bay as it’s possible to zero it down to your own neighborhood. Windy found this house I am living in on that website, and yesterday Andy found a lawnmower for me. Just the kind I have been wanting. A reel push mower with sharp blades and easy grip handles and a grass catcher. Hard to find a cheap used one that is not dull and all beat up. New ones cost a lot as do many “green” items.

My little patch of grass is hardly big enough to call a yard. Eventually I would like to eliminate the grass and have only native plants and rocks and mulch. A big project even for a small space. In the meantime, the green grass grows all around. No grass police here as in Osceola, but still there’s a need to keep the place looking neat and cared for and avoid that white trash look.

At the Earth Day Festival we picked up brochures on both Native Plants and Invasive Plants for this local area. They will be a great help in making the green decisions. The previous owner did seem to favor invasives, and the next-door neighbor is a bit put off that I am ripping them out.

Today the sun is shining and the temp will climb into the 60s so I can get out and initiate the mower. No loud engine noise, no noisome gas fumes, no ripped shoulder joint from trying to pull start the gas engine, no arthritis cramps in the hands from holding the “safety” handle. A nice quiet, easy-on-the-body activity. Good exercise, too. This is the “reel” deal!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Paving Paradise

Amy Grant said it: "They paved Paradise and made it a parking lot."

Bad news about my beloved Sandy River Delta. Maya Lin (Vietnam Memorial architect) will be building one of her monstrosity monuments there and the park will be closed during construction and then no dogs allowed afterward. In my opinion, this is out of place and will ruin the natural beauty of the river that it is supposed to honor. It will no doubt bring tourists in flip flops discarding fast food wrappers and generally spoiling the pleasure of a secluded and peaceful place. It is so close to my home, so easy to access for long leisurely walks with the dogs. Birds and wildflowers abound. Most days I am the only one out there, although as the weather lightens up, the weekends bring more hikers.

Then the Indians want to build a glaring gambling casino up river a bit at Cascade Locks. That will damage the Gorge beyond repair. Very sad that so many want to ruin nature in pursuit of the tourist dollar. Beyond my understanding! I continue to search for quiet spaces. Have to drive farther to find and that is impacted by the rising cost of gas.

I do what I can. Lobbying, protesting, testifying, but one small voice amidst a chorus of hell-bent developers and money-hungry residents who mostly live elsewhere. Perhaps a lost cause, but I keep on keepin’ on.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Today is the day I flip the page(s) to see what is coming up in May. I have three calendars and keeping them all in sync is a full morning’s activity toward the end of each month. I have a wall calendar in the kitchen, a Day Timer Organizer with a tapestry cover and quite a bit of info besides calendar dates, and a small calendar I carry in my purse/bag. I sit down with all of them spread out on my desk and make sure all my activities have been recorded on each one.

May looks very busy with Gorge hikes, golf, crafts (knitting and quilting), Book Club, family doings, and finally the trip to Alaska on the 30th. Actually, the Alaska pre-trip to Seattle and the San Juan Islands starts the 27th. Then there is the Humane Society Fun Run/Walk with the dogs, the Audubon Society Bird-a-thon, the primary election, and trips to the garden nursery.

Every day the mail brings fliers and announcements of more things happening in this busy town. I am amazed at how my life has changed from “same ole, same ole” to “every day is a new day.” This last week in April is busy also, with a lecture on Grizzlies tonight (prep for Alaska), golf tomorrow, lunch with Andy on Thursday, Buddy’s therapy on Friday, a quilt show this weekend, and the American Sign Language Comedy Night on Saturday.

Quiet time is important to me so I try to keep my mornings for reading, knitting, playing with the dogs, and just being. Late evening is exercise time with yoga stretches and rolling around on my big blue ball. I watch the early news at 5:00 p.m. as the late night news was leaving a bad taste in my head (mixed metaphor, that!). Now I listen to nice music at bedtime. That works better for easing into the night and a restful sleep. My furry alarm clock (Lenny) goes off at 6:30 a.m. and it’s the start of a new day. Life at the Hideaway.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lifestyle Stories

The Oregonian has asked women to share their stories of lifesytle changes that led to feeling less anxious, sleeping better, taking things more in stride. Part of a series of healthy living articles the newspaper has been running now for serveral months. The question this month was "What specifically do you do to reduce the stress in your life? Here is my entry:

Nothing takes the stress out of a day like “sittin’ and knittin’.

You might think that knitting is an “old lady” thing to do. I am an old lady…but actually I have been knitting since I was a small child. My Aunt Clara used to come from her home in Chicago to visit us each summer and she always had her knitting with her. She gave me my first pair of needles and started me on a craft that has provided me hours of pleasure for sixty years.

I love the feeling of soft yarn sliding through my fingers, the joy of watching the stitches come off the needle and become a garment, the sense of accomplishment when I am finished. The rhythm of knitting soothes my soul and settles me down when I am over-whelmed by life and its responsibilities. There is always a project in the basket beside my chair and I can pick it up and knit for a few minutes or an hour or an afternoon. It’s portable and goes with me when I travel (although I can no longer take the needles on the airplane).

Knitting has brought me hours of entertainment and satisfaction, and I hope the things I have made have been useful to those who received them. I feel a sense of communion with other women elsewhere who enjoy this craft, and I am grateful for the peacefulness and serenity it has provided through all of life’s travails.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Living Later

Oregonians live later than Midwesterners. I’m still trying to get used to a later start in the morning and a later bedtime in the evening. Later dinner (supper) hour. Later breakfast and lunch as well. Later times for my favorite TV shows. It has thrown my rhythms off and even after six months, I am not adjusted.

There are other disconnects. My days are varied and often contain surprises which were not usually part of my life at Terrapin Station. In fact, when I lived in Missouri, people could glance at the clock when calling me on the phone and know what I would be doing. Here no one (including me!) has a clue what I might be doing at any given hour of the day. It makes life more interesting, but also harder to manage. Some days get by me without my noticing and some seem to last a good deal longer than 24 hours.

Yesterday, for example, lasted quite awhile. First the usual morning stuff, then a long list of errands about town including a stop at the Earth Day Festival, then grocery shopping, a stint in the yard, some cooking, dinner and music and darts at a family get together. That was about a month’s worth of activities in Osceola. Today will be a family lunch and golf and who knows what the evening will bring.

The upcoming week continues the busyness with a program on Grizzlies being one of the highlights. (Prep for my Alaska trip.) Golf, of course, and therapy for Buddy. Things that were daily and rather uneventful down home are big productions here such as going to the Post Office which involves some driving and a long wait in line. Or a car wash which costs a lot more. It is impossible to run in the market and grab a quart of milk as stores are huge and lines are long.

As the younger folks would say, I have not yet “found my groove.” Still searching. Maybe later.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Earth Day

Live simply so that others may simply live.

And a reminder…global warming is not a theory. It is happening.

Do what you can and enjoy the earth while it is still intact.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Life in Pajamas and Bunny Slippers

Three sunny days in a row came to a crashing halt this morning with misty rain soaking the newspaper and leaving puddles in the yard again. We got out yesterday and the day before and weed whacked the knee-high grass and now vines and flowers are popping up all over. The sun felt so good and it is hard to go back into winter hibernate mode again.

Craft projects all over the house keep me busy inside. A gift for Andy and Laura for their wedding. Little thumbless mittens for my golf clubs. And yet one more in an endless chain of dishcloths. A retro visit to the 60s and 70s with some hemp and beads. Also a revived interest in working on my quilting effort.

Then, too, I am working on plans for travel to Alaska and Colorado for my big upcoming trips. What a difference the Internet has made in arranging comings and goings. So easy.

Other things are easy too. The Library sends an e-mail that one of my “Holds” is now available for pick-up so there is some reading to do as well. I already have two books on Alaska waiting in the wings here at home, as well as a novel recommended by the Oregonian. The electronic Library is just like the old-fashioned bookmobile, and for a small surcharge, the Library delivers the books!

If you order groceries online from Albertson and your movies from Netflix, it is possible to stay in your pajamas and bunny slippers and never leave the comfort of your own home. And if you do get in the car, you never need to get out with drive-by coffee places and drive-throughs for banking, postal services, and prescription pick-up.

It is pretty easy to stay dry in Portland.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Grass Police

There are no Grass Police here and even though the growth in my yard is knee-high I do not tremble in fear that the mowers will come in the night and destroy my yard. In Osceola where I used to live, there was a City Ordinance about grass length (1/4 inch) and stiff penalties for not meeting the requirement.

When I moved, I sold the big mower I bought to cut the south forty at Terrapin Station. So I now have to choose between nail scissors and the weed eater to cut the little patch of grass that passes as my lawn here in Wood Village. I do have plans for flower beds and eventually I want to eliminate all the grass, but the previous owner had only the lawn and a tiny vegetable patch so that is what I inherited.

Windy went out last night and whacked a little bit and I will try to chop some more today if it doesn’t rain. Hah. That is an unrealistic expectation. Yesterday and the one before were the only glorious spring days so far. I managed to get to the golf course this morning, then a nice walk with the dogs, then work in the yard, then a trip to the park with the dogs to watch the dimming of the day. It was the first time in weeks we have been able to see Mt. Hood.

It felt so good to be out and getting my hands dirty cleaning up the winter’s detritus and getting ready for the next stage. So much I want to do here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Out in the Yard

There is, as you might expect, no burning allowed here in this environmentally conscious state. Residents may dispose of yard waste in big blue barrels provided by Waste Management, Inc. This is the day to fill it as pick up will be about 5:30 a.m. tomorrow. I have tried to keep to a plan to fill it each week, and through some providential act, the rain has seemed to subside on Tuesdays. Today I was out without a coat which is a first since I moved here.

Cutting back bushes and dead plants, pulling dead vines out of the chain link fence, pruning the trees. It felt good to be out getting my hands dirty. The yard here is small but there is plenty to do to clean up after the previous owners. When Andy was here, he sawed up a number of logs originally intended (by them) to border the flower beds, but which had been serving as chew toys for the dogs. Camping firewood now.

It does take me back, however, to brush burning in Osceola. A relaxing end-of-the-afternoon activity out in the back yard with the dogs. I’d take a chair and a cold beverage and maybe a book and tend the fire and watch the day wind down. That yard was huge and getting to be more than I could manage, but still…some happy memories of time spent there with the dogs watching beautiful sunsets and moonrises and smelling the lilacs and honeysuckle. Sometimes a wave of nostalgia washes over me.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Fillmore Northwest

Saturday night The Sons of Champlin played at the Roseland here in Portland and Scott and I went to hear some memories. Here I was, wearing my dancin’ shoes and out past my bedtime, having a great time listening to old people play music. And some of them ARE old. Older than I am. Four of them are original members from the 60s in The City at the Fillmore and the Avalon. Which makes it okay for me to be dancin’.

The Roseland has some awesome photos and one whole wall devoted to The Grateful Dead. Scott and I found photos of shows we had attended but it was hard to pinpoint just which heads belonged to us. A great way to spend a rainy night in Portland.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Culloden Moor 1746

Today is the anniversary of a bit o’ Scottish history and of the great battle fought on Culloden Moor in Scotland on this date in April 1746 when brave Highlanders died for the cause. A story in which the MacLeod clan (of which I am a proud member) figured prominently. The tragic rout of the Scottish Highlanders by English troops is one of the most famous battles in British military history. After the inglorious defeat, Charles put on a disguise as a woman and was transported by boat to the Isle of Skye, while other brave lads lay dead on the field.

A lullaby my father sang to me, the Skye Boat Song, tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s trip across the sea. Played on the bagpipe, the melody is haunting and makes me cry. My great grandmother who was born on the Isle of Skye told the story and sang the song to my father who told and sang it to me. This family lore has been passed down through the ages.

In memory of the souls that rest upon Culloden Moor:

Speed bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,

Onward, the sailors cry
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunder clouds rend the air;
Baffled our foe's stand on the shore
Follow they will not dare

Speed bonnie boat....

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep
Ocean's a royal bed
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head

Speed bonnie boat....

Many's the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden's field

Speed bonnie boat...
Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men
Yet, e'er the sword cool in the sheath,
Charlie will come again.

Speed bonnie boat...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

My Old Olivetti

This new computer is awesome, with a fast processor and mega storage (you know how I love storage for my stuff!) and programs that practically write my columns for me. I spend a lot of time here at my 86 year old oak desk where I write and think and correspond with friends. I can sort through all my digital photos, keep track of my money, make slide shows and do all manner of things. But do you think I will ever be sentimental about this h/p machine?

I tossed the old Dell without a backward glance. Pulled the hard drive and sent it off to CPU heaven. And I have jettisoned others before that one and someday this one will be on the junk heap as well. But folks, I still have my Old Olivetti. I could not possibly EVER get rid of that typewriter that accompanied me to college and through all the early years of my marriage and even up to graduate school. Twenty-five years it stood by me and I still have yellowing, brittle pages typed on that machine when I was a student and later a young housewife.

I don’t use it anymore. I ran out of ribbon some time back and they are hard to find today. But if the world cyber system ever collapses, I will figure out a way to get Olive up and running. I love that typewriter and its little faux leather zipper case. And remember carriages? Platens? Erase-o-tape? Typing was a “hands on” experience in those days. And noisy. There was a clatter and chatter that went along with creativity. I have a silent keyboard today. No clicks. No way to tell if any thoughts are exiting my brain through my fingers.

This new machine I have dubbed Rocket Man will be my friend for awhile, but no one will ever take Olive’s place in my heart.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Another Loss

William F. Woo

Born: Oct. 4, 1936, in Shanghai, China
Died: April 12, 2006, in Palo Alto

I knew Bill in Kansas City in the 1950s when he was one of the group that drank beer at Kelly’s and talked about life and love and what we wanted to be when we grew up. He went on to be Editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and, after he retired, professor at Stanford. A life well-lived. He will be missed.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Book I Should Write

Okay. Okay. I have been hearing for many years “You should write a book.” Last summer I got prodded into finally writing down some of The Stories that I have been telling for lo these many years. The first prod occurred at my 50th High School Reunion when my page in the Memory Book occasioned many positive comments. The second occurred in a phone call with my friend Keppy who laughed at tales of life in Osceola and told me to write down the description of buying an eggplant at the local market.

Thus was born the first Blog called Down Home Musings. Those daily observations are now being compiled into manuscript form for (hopefully) publication in the near future. The book will be dedicated to Keppy who died in August 2005 and for whom a memorial fund is being established. If any copies sell, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Katrina’s Liberty and Justice Fund.

Writing the daily entries into a Blog is easy and fun. Putting all of them into manuscript format is a whole ‘nother ball game and more work than I had anticipated. Also lots of legal stuff with Contracts and Agreements and Appendices and Addenda. Typing and merging documents and wading around in all the requirements occupies me on these cool wet spring days. The book will be titled…surprise…Down Home Musings.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blog Fever

Now I have three Blogs.
Down Home Musings: [Soon to be a book.]
Views From The Hideaway: [Current life.]
The Saga of Little Buddy: [Dog news.]

It seems to be a bit infectious as Windy has started one as well. Hers is primarily for photos and those of you who have been requesting pictures of us can go there to see the whole clan, people and animals.
Windy’s Way:

If you are under thirty I know you have one. Between ages thirty and sixty you might. After sixty not so many. Do you have one? Let me know.

This has become part of my daily routine with my second cup of coffee. I love writing online about what is going on in my head and in my life. A totally different experience than writing by hand in my journal. My way of “capturing the moment” since I am not a photographer. I hear from many readers with various comments about my postings. I am honored to be reaching so many people in so many ways.

This site is now fixed to accept comments online so feel free to respond if you want others to read what you say. If you have private comments, you can e-mail me at I enjoy hearing from each of you.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Phil!

Yesterday, during a lull in the wetness, we got out for a get-together at the Zoo for Phil’s birthday. Good to walk around and the first outing for my new hiking boots. We’ll all gather together again tomorrow night for another of the famous family dinner parties with cake and laughter and joy in all being together.

Today is actually Phil’s 38th birthday. He was born in the Bay Area in the tumultuous year of 1968 just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In June of that year, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The war in Vietnam raged on. In the fall, Richard Nixon defeated Hubert Humphrey in the presidential election. Eugene McCarthy had come on the scene when he ran against Humphrey for the Democratic nomination which triggered my first active involvement in politics. That was the year I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks at a health food store in the Haight. And the first year I heard the Grateful Dead play.

A few years ago I found an encyclopedia for 1968 at a used book sale in Osceola which made the perfect gift for Phil. What a year 1968 was! Now we are in a new century and another metro area. Phil lives just a few miles away and we are able to spend time being together. What a joy to see what an incredible person he has grown up to be.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Book Club

In February, I picked up a brochure at the library and noticed they had a Book Club that met on Thursday afternoons once a month. I decided to attend and have found it to be enjoyable and stimulating. Most of the women are retired and some are also would-be writers. Interesting discussions and fun conversation. Here is the reading list for Spring:

February – Hosseini, Khaled, The Kite Runner
You must have heard of it my now. It was The Oregonian’s “Everybody Reads” choice of the year. About two boys growing up in Afghanistan in the 1970s.

March - Kidder, Tracey, Mountains beyond Mountains, The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World
The difference one man (with plenty of money) can make in impoverished Haiti.

April - Niffenegger, Audrey, The Time Traveler’s Wife
Some liked this time travel book. I found it awkward, disjointed and implausible.

May – Guinness, Alec – My Name Escapes Me
Waiting in line to be read. Memoirs of an actor.

After May, we break for the summer. Of course, I read other things as well and here are some of the books I’ve enjoyed lately:

Daniel, John, Rogue River Journal
Memoir of a solitary winter sojourn in an isolated cabin in southern Oregon. Mentions a connection with Osceola!

Frey, James, A Million Little Pieces
Surely you heard of the brouhaha on Oprah. Free wheeling stream-of-consciousness writing re the trials of drug rehab. Some parts proved not to be 100% true. So…is it a memoir?

Wiesel, Elie, Night
A slim but very powerful memoir of the Holocaust. Originally published in the 1970s, it is reissued with a new translation from the German.

Grandin, Temple, Animals in Translation
Tales from an incredible autistic woman who makes a difference in the lives of animals.

Meuer, Karsten, being caribou
Getting in the mood for my trip to Alaska.

Rabin, Jonathan, Waxwings
Currently on my bedside table. Set in Seattle and Puget Sound. Eugene Register-Guard’s “Book of the Month.” Half mystery, half English Lit course, some suspense.

Lappe, Frances Moore, Hope’s Edge
This author changed my life back in the 1970s. This book recounts some endeavors in other countries to make the world a better place.

Chambers, Paul, A Sheltered Life, The Unexpected History of the Giant Tortoise
More about Darwin, the Galapagos Islands, and some captivating tales of survival.

Yesterday, while I was writing this piece, the mailman knocked on my door with a box from Powell’s. My latest order. Why? you ask, when I live in Portland, do I order by mail. The answer is…it is pouring down rain and parking at Powell’s is tight and I am home with Buddy and too lazy to drive downtown. So I am also reading Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitter’s Guide by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne (knitting bloggers and funny ladies).

I am on waiting lists at the library for the following:
Abu-Jaber, Diana, Crescent “Readin’ in the Rain” community reading program
Davis, Claire, Season of the Snake Oregonian’s Book of the Month
Dugoni, Robert, The Jury Master advertised in Time Magazine
Strayed, Cheryl, Torch good review in People Magazine

Let me know what you’ve been reading. Recommendations always welcome.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mail Call

From the window by my desk, I can look out on the bank of mailboxes lined up in one neat row for the residents of the park. There are 80 boxes although I do not think there are eighty houses. If I happen to be working at the computer around mid-day, I might see the white mail truck arrive and the postal worker filling each slot with handfuls of letters and magazines and ads for all manner of things.

But sometimes I miss the mailman, so I look out when I hear a car door slam as a neighbor stops and opens one of the boxes. If that person gets back in the car with a stack of mail, I stop for a moment and go to retrieve mine. I walk across the street although I seem to be the only one who does. Most everyone drives to the boxes or stops on their way coming or going.

It is just a few steps for me and a welcome change from the trip I made by car when I lived in Osceola. The post office there was one of several stops on my morning errands when I picked up the Kansas City Star, stopped at Carney’s Five Star Market, dropped by the library to check out some magazines or went to the bank. Princess would accompany me on those trips. We went every day, rain or shine, but on Sunday only the grocery and the newspaper box were on our route. On our last days there, we stopped each day to pick up empty boxes in which to pack our worldly goods for the trip here.

Now my daily Oregonian is delivered to my door and I bank online. I also go to the library online to check out the catalog, put a hold on a book (I’m 10th in line for The Jury Master by Robert Dugoni), and check for upcoming events. I shop for groceries once a week. I could get my groceries online as well, as Albertson’s has a delivery service. I would rather go myself as I am eating mostly fresh food these days and I want to pick out my own.

The fact that I don’t go out on errands every day has changed the rhythm of my life and I am more prone to lollygagging around the house in the mornings. Especially since the Pacific Northwest weather is conducive to curling up inside. This is when the creative muse visits me, and I feel most ideas for writing floating to the top. Afternoons I get out with the dogs, read my current book (today it is Waxwings by Jonathan Raban), watch a little TV (the Masters Golf Tournament is on this week), knit or nap.

Now as I write this I see that the mail is here. What will it bring today? Most of my correspondence with friends is by e-mail, but on rare occasions I receive a note or a card from a friend. There might be brochures from groups I belong to or the neighborhood weekly. Maybe a magazine or something I have ordered. No checks expected, although there could always be a surprise. As soon as I find my keys, I’ll find out.

Friday, April 07, 2006


I have almost forgotten what it meant to be thankful for the arrival of the last day of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. But there is still something special about Fridays. Tonight the little neighboring town of Troutdale is having an Art & Music Festival and we will go and mill around a bit. Nice to see the work of local artists and pick up the creative buzz that goes along with such an event.

One of the delights of living the Portland Metro Area is the proliferation of art, music, poetry, and writing. The creative spark is everywhere and the energy is palpable.

At the Book Club yesterday, I connected with some other women writers and we talked of forming a group to get together once or twice a month to do some gentle critiques, trade tips on submitting manuscripts for publication, and give each other moral support. Of course, people who read might also write and that was a good place to meet some like minded-folks.

Now that I have a new and functional computer, I can embark on getting some of my rambling writing into better shape and perhaps book form. It would be very gratifying to see some of my work in hard copy print. This Blog has been, and is, a great place to record my thoughts and it will figure largely in anything else I do. Thanks to all of you who read it and send me your comments.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Little Buddy's Blog

Just as I was about to set out for my walk with Princess, the sky opened up and it poured down rain. This is getting a bit tedious. I am still waiting for a day of sunshine. We came back in as we were not properly outfitted. Too tired anyway.

It’s a time for napping and the dogs have beat me to it. Lenny has been on his spot on the heating grate for the past hour. I’m headed for the couch. It’s Day Four of my Nine Day Fast and I am glad to have an excuse for not doing anything.

I spent most of this day setting up a new Blog, The Saga of Little Buddy. I have been sending e-mails about Buddy’s surgery and progress in recovery to my friend back in Missouri. George is the dog trainer that helped me turn Princess into a better behaved companion. He suggested that others might be interested in my journal about the hip dysplasia story. So I compiled the e-mails and some other notes into a blog. Check it out at

Short of a video cam, these Blogs are the best way to have a glimpse of my life, warts and all. Please continue to look for updates both places.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Moving In

Not into a house this time, but a new computer. I finally had to retire Old Teck and venture into the big box stores to search for just the right replacement. Scott went with me and helped me work out the best set of specs and then find the unit that met them.

I ended up with a Compaq (hp) with an AMD Athlon 3400 processor with 512 MB memory and 160 GB hard drive. It has a DVD+RW double layer 16x drive. Does that mean anything to you? Nerds will know what it is and others don’t need to.

To save on cost, I kept my old monitor (probably a mistake) and my Inkjet printer that I hate, but… This unit has Windows XP and transitioning from Windows ME is a bit of a jolt. Graphics are different and the whole look of my screen is very different.

Thanks to Chris I was able to transfer most of my documents from the old hard drive onto his Flash Voyager and then back into the new space. There are still some missing files and some garbage that could have been left behind.

Word is on order and when it arrives I will be able to resume writing my book and preparing a manuscript for publication. It takes awhile to get settled in a new home whether it is real or electronic. But I am very pleased with my purchase and many thanks to Scott for transporting and installing and answering all my stupid questions.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Three Weeks After Surgery

We have our dog back. Buddy is no longer an “invalid.” He is his sweet lively self and increasing his activity each day. Less sleeping, more running around. He is galloping in the yard and taking the front steps quite easily now. He’s up and down in the chair with no struggle.

The swelling around the scars has gone down and the hair is starting to grow back. The spot around the epidural site is still slow to grow. But he is no longer pink. I noticed him doing some stretching on his own this morning. I think he is realizing how good it feels.

Just now he is sorting his toys and moving each one to a different place. He likes to have them positioned around in all of “his spots” so they are handy if he needs them. I think I should move them back and encourage him to walk and get them.

He had a long walk in the rain yesterday and we’ll go again today. Still just in the neighborhood at least until Wednesday when he goes for therapy again. Then we will begin to venture out to the park.

Is it possible for a dog to say thank-you? He greeted me so warmly this morning and I think he is happier than he has ever been. Now that the surgery pain has subsided, he is experiencing the joy of pain-free living. The look in his eyes makes it all worthwhile.