Friday, January 26, 2007

Marching To Send a Message

In March 2003, I was all alone on the lawn of Courthouse Square in Osceola protesting the decision to go to war in Iraq. On that day there were protests across the country, most attracting more folks that turned out in that little Ozarks town. It was about 20 degrees that Sunday, and I had the fur hood of my Cabela coat pulled tight around my face. People driving home from church or heading to Colby’s for Sunday dinner had varying reactions. Some ignored me, some flipped me off, an occasional driver or passenger gave a half-hearted little wave. One car honked as it went by. I stood out there till I couldn’t feel my toes. Later that week, the local newspaper, the St. Clair County Courier ran my photo and a short story about my vigil. A lone voice.

I was back in the same spot the next year for the nationwide protest demonstration. One other person joined me on that day but the scene was much the same. Listless waves or looks that went right through us. Deb brought a ghetto blaster and we danced a little in the pagoda to relieve the tedium. I felt better when I went home having made my personal statement about the war in Iraq and war in general.

Here in Portland, hundreds of people will pour into the streets, and their voices will be heard. What’s going on in your town? Will you be out there? “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Sometimes it takes me awhile to decide on my New Year’s Resolutions, and, as you can see, I am a little slower than usual this year. I have made them now. Two. Yes…that’s all. I used to make long lists that were a cross between To Do and Dear Santa. But this year, my resolutions are more ways of being than they are things to do or places to go or things to acquire.

Number One: Stay in the moment. Easier said than done. Especially for me who loves to delve into the past, wrap myself in nostalgia, play the “what if” and “if only” game, regret my mistakes (that alone can take up a chunk of time), and canonize my rare achievements. I also tend to fall victim to waiting for the next thing to happen (as in “after the holidays” and “after winter is over”) and miss what is going on right now. So…I plan to focus on NOW.

Number Two: Save Energy. It’s a big temptation to resolve to do what I am already doing which is to continue my program of saving the earth by using less fossil fuel and recycling, etc. But I am going to carry this to the next level that I call Inner Green. I want to be green inside my head and heart and soul. I plan to Conserve Emotional Energy. No more wasting my time railing against the evening news or crazy drivers or cell phone users or people who cut in front of me in line. I want to clean up the Emotion Center of my brain like I clean up my house with intermittent purges followed by weekly dusting and daily tidying. What I save from not being pissed off all the time I plan to spend on enjoying my wonderful life in this beautiful place.

I did pretty well on last year’s resolutions. Go to Alaska was pretty easy. Attend my son Andy’s wedding was not too difficult either. Work on my new book. Check. Make a quilt for Brayden. Check. Get surgery for Little Buddy. Done. Hike in the Columbia River Gorge. Did that. Spend time with family. Oh yes that was the best. 2006 was great.

Now 2007 is under way and it is one month past Christmas. (That seems like forever ago!) The rest of the year stretches ahead with great promise.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Great bumper sticker! The date speaks for itself. Something to look forward to.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Knit Happens

January 2007 has brought some severe weather to Portland, and that means I am home more than usual and watching Law and Order reruns and knitting away. I don’t need an excuse to knit, but I am glad the weather is providing one nonetheless.

Knitting has taken over much of my "free" time lately and, as with the rest of what goes on in my life, I feel compelled to write about it. Consequently, a new blog has sprung into being with photos and commentary. For those of you who might be interested in crafts...take a look at

Some of my fiber adventures are humorous and you might enjoy them even if you don't knit. Or not. Either are welcome to visit my online craft corner and decide for yourself.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What A Mess!

That’s the headline in The Oregonian today describing yesterday’s big snow storm that slipped in unannounced and paralyzed urban Portland. One TV station had full day coverage, with every slippery slope described in detail, complete with video of crashing cars and stalled semis. Mayor Potter recommended that everyone stay home. The freeways were a snarl, public transportation was jammed and running off schedule, stores and businesses were closed.

It was indeed, a day for me to curl up on the couch with my usual activities. Not so different from many of my days of lovely, lazy retirement when I just stay home and enjoy being in my own space doing my own thing. But I had forgotten how quiet things are in the snow. No traffic sounds drifting over from the freeway. No neighbors taking off for work. Even the kids slept in as there was no school. Windy left for work on the bus, leaving Gypsy in the driveway next to Rider. Two big lumps of snow. She never made it home, staying in town at Chris’ instead.

Now today it is more of the same and I missed my morning staff meeting downtown. I will also miss a community meeting scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and my Knit Night at the Library tonight. Who cares? I could struggle out and then find the events cancelled. So I am home where I belong, playing the Old Lady Card.

People are struggling with wild weather elsewhere and my friends back in Missouri are affected by this arctic blast as well, many without power. And all staying close to home and avoiding icy roadways. Back in Osceola, I kept a Storm Cupboard for just this type of event. Here, with a store practically next door and an easy walk, I have given up the practice. So...wouldn't you know it...I ended up being out of milk and coffee yesterday.

Now the dog food is running low and the Feed Store is a longer walk. Hopefully, the temperature will rise, the ice will melt, and I will be able to get out tomorrow or the next day. Five essential items you should never run out of in a blizzard: pet food, coffee, milk, toilet paper, yarn.

I’m still finishing up the crock pot soup I made last weekend. Plenty more makin’s on hand, so I won’t starve. It is very cold outside, but warm and toasty inside. Four of us are already napping (that would be Princess, Buddy, Lenny and Skye) and I am ready for a few zzzzzzz’s myself. This “mess” isn’t so bad after all!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fifty Years of Protest

Kansas City in the late 1950s was a completely segregated town, and Negroes (as they were called then) were not welcome in most stores, restaurants, bars, etc. They truly did ride on the back of the bus. Children went to separate schools. They had their own hot spots, some which are famous now as the Kansas City Historic Jazz District. But back then…the only interactions whites had with blacks was as their servants or when they were “slumming” in the jazz bars.

My family was no different. We employed three generations of black women as maids starting with Anna who worked for my grandmother. Later her daughter, Beulah, worked for my parents, and Anna’s grand-daughter, Doris, cared for my father after my mother died. To their credit, my parents did insist on respect and courtesy toward these women. But my sister and I were stunned in later years to discover that neither of us remembered that family’s last name.

I drifted from the family pattern when I went to work for the YWCA in 1957 and met my co-worker and counterpart at the Negro Y whose name was Vi Fuller. She opened my eyes to how the other half lived, and suddenly I became aware of the insidious prejudice that existed in my home town. Vi introduced me to activists, both white and black, and we formed a group called Friendship Circle. We staged what may have been some of the first sit-ins at restaurants and hotels in Kansas City.

After a radio interview, I received many threats. Rotten eggs and tomatoes were thrown at my house. When we demonstrated, insults were hurled at us from many white professionals who worked nearby or patronized the targeted establishments. One really ugly confrontation took place in front of the Muelebach Hotel when several protestors were knocked to the ground by police officers.

When Vi and I traveled to Omaha for a conference, the hotel where the event was being held would not admit her. We skipped the conference and stayed with some of her relatives. It was the first time they had ever had a white person in their home. And the first time I had had a purely social interaction with a group of blacks. It was a learning experience for all of us! This was the beginning of a lifetime of civil rights advocacy for me.

Wherever she is…I send my good wishes to Vi Fuller to whom I am grateful for opening my eyes fifty years ago.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Flight of the Geraniums

These little plants were pushed to the back of the wire rack outside Coastal Hardware, a bit bent and rather scraggly looking. I bought them at a bargain price, and brought them home, and planted them in the yard where they began to grow and bloom. However, kids and dogs laid waste to the garden strip outside the fence so the geraniums migrated to pots and moved to the porch railing where they made a welcoming bright spot.

One Sunday I came out to find all the pots shattered and broken on the driveway and the poor plants tossed hither and yon. Off to the Garden Store and home with new pots. Back on the porch, this time on the corner table and the long bench where falling was no longer a threat. Then several weeks ago, a freeze was forecast and the plants moved into macramé hangers (purchased at the Dollar Store) and onto the enclosed deck where they were out of the wind and somewhat sheltered from the storm. And out of reach of the dogs

Then the Arctic Freeze came to Portland and night before last, I brought the plants inside to the mud/laundry room where they are crowded onto the counter there. It took two days for the clay pots to warm up. It’s 13 degrees here at The Hideaway this morning which is the coldest it has been since I moved here. The geraniums are hardy but I’m not sure they could withstand this. So they are blooming indoors and hopefully will make it through the cold spell.

One of the geraniums, however, is a bit different. The little red one was brought from Missouri. Another rescue plant. It turned up in a pot of something else purchased at a plant sale. It looked dead and I tossed it on the mulch pile. One day I noticed a bright red spot in the pile of grass cuttings and leaves and there was this brave little plant blooming away. I put it in a pot, named it the Keppy Geranium, and brought it along. It has bloomed continuously ever since.

These are not exotic flowers or fancy pricey plants, just little bright spots for an old lady who does not have a green thumb but can somehow keep these living things alive. If they don’t like it on the laundry porch, I will bring them in the house. I am in for the long haul now.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Early On a Frosty Morn

During these deep dark days of winter, it is still dark when I get up and start my day. After I get the coffee on, I venture to the front porch for the paper. My surprise this morning to see a huge white lump in the driveway and snow coming down fast and furious. This is the first time since leaving Missouri that Rider has been covered with the white stuff. And the first time that I have been able to sit on the couch with my coffee and paper and knitting and look out the window at big fat flakes drifting by. We are only 100 feet above sea level here so this is a very rare event.

Schools are closed, events cancelled, and the busses are running on Snow Routes. ODOT puts de-icer on the main roads, but the residential areas are slick and slippery. A good day to stay home although I usually go out on Thursday to my Craft Group. Yesterday I made Veggie Soup in the crockpot so I am set for meals.

Buddy has never seen snow until today and he does not care for it. He went down the steps, stopped dead at the bottom, tasted it, and then tip-toed to the fence trying not to get any on him. He peed and scurried back in. Princess, on the other hand, loves the snow and rolled gleefully in it and raced around making tracks like she used to do in Missouri.

Now the sun is out and everything is sparkling and so bright I need my sunglasses here in the house. I will wait until afternoon to go out and hope the ice melts off the streets by then. I’ll go on foot to the nearby store for cat food and, of course, take the dogs for their daily walk. The new fur lined waterproof boots I ordered for just this kind of day have not yet arrived so I’ll pull on the old ones purchased five years ago and just about worn out.

It’s definitely a mostly indoor day and I’m okay with that. Maybe I’ll get something done. Maybe not. I’m okay with that too.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Honoring An Advocate for Peace

Clara Belle Sheldon Barnes
February 28, 1866 – January 7, 1942

When my grandmother was born, Andrew Johnson was President. The Civil War had ended in April 1865, a few months before her birth. President Johnson instituted the “Reconstruction” period to bring the country back from the divide the war had created.

Her father, my great grandfather “Papa Sheldon” fought valiantly for the Confederacy. When he returned, he became an advocate for peace. My great grandmother, Millicent Diver Sheldon, raised Clara Belle accordingly. This heritage was passed on to my mother and from her to me.

Today we have a country divided about the war in Iraq. I have no doubt that, were she here today, Gramma would be out there holding a candle for the peace vigil.

It amazes me that in this 21st century I have such close links back to the middle of the 19th century. And a 141 year history of advocacy for peace.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Twelfth Night

That would have been last night, the night before the Twelfth Day of Christmas, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. We celebrated here at The Hideaway by going to bed early with a good book and a cup of Sleepytime tea. New flannel sheets and a new woolen blanket make bedtime very appealing on a deep dark stormy winter night.

Today is the Holiday Purge when all decorations, lights, wreaths, candles, baubles, bows, and various other decorations are boxed up and taken to the storage shed. Gifts are put away or put to use and cluttered surfaces reappear waiting to be dusted.

Tomorrow the family with gather for lunch and an afternoon of poker and puzzle (we STILL haven’t finished the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Feast one we started some time back). Hopefully we will polish off all the snacks, crackers, dip, cookies, etc still lurking about and prepare for the Healthy Eating Program we all are anxious to return to.

This marks the official end of the 2006 HOLIDAY SEASON. A wonderful one with many joyous moments and lots of family time. Now we venture into 2007 hoping the year will bring happiness, prosperity and good luck.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Moon Calendar

One of the popular sections in the now almost (but not quite) defunct Vibes was the Moon Calendar. It used to be a quarterly list from equinox to solstice or vice versa. Now, however, it seems appropriate to send the whole year’s dates for the full moons so you can mark the calendars you are just now putting up. Other holidays and observations will make their way onto the Blog on their own. Schedule your crazyness now!

Date - - - Celtic Name - - - Time (EST adjust for time zone and add one hour for DST*)

January 3 - Quiet Moon - 08:57
February 2 - Moon of Ice - 12:45
March 3 - Moon of Winds - 18:17
April 2 - Growing Moon - 13:15*
May 2 - Bright Moon - 06:09*
May 31 - Full Blue Moon - 21:04*
June 30 - Moon of Horses - 09:49*
July 29 - Moon of Claiming - 20:48*
August 28 - Dispute Moon - 06:35*
September 26 - Singing Moon - 15:45*
October 26 - Harvest Moon - 12:52*
November 24 - Dark Moon - 09:30
December 23 - Cold Moon - 20:16

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Vegetable Soup

Dear Friends out there…

Sure wish you could come put your feet under my table. (An old “down home” saying.) Vegetable soup is simmering in the crock pot and supper will be served around six. Come on over! It’s a typical winter day here in the Northwest with downpours this morning, gloom at noon, and now the sun is out for the afternoon walk with the dogs. The place is warm and cozy and still decorated with Christmas cards. Gifts are strewn about and the lights are still glimmering. We leave everything up until Epiphany which hardly anyone does anymore. But this is still Christmas Break for Windy and I am glad to take it easy myself. Relax and enjoy the tail end of the Holiday Season. We’ll get back to normal soon enough.

January looks to be a busy month. All my usual activities plus the added bonus of my new adventures: snowshoeing and tatting. Not, of course, at the same time. Two entirely different skills I am looking forward to learning. Also some great winter hikes are planned. And there is a Theta sorority brunch I will attend to mark my 50th year in that group. Hard to believe it has been that long since I made the big splash during Rush Week by falling in a drainage ditch on the way to the final party. I arrived covered with mud splatters. Not too cool, but they all did remember who I was!

The upcoming year promises to be a good one. Not so full of major events as 2006, but still I will be involved in many fun things. So Happy New Year dear readers. Live it to the fullest and stay in the moment

Monday, January 01, 2007

Rest In Peace

We lost some great folks in 2006. Let’s take a minute to remember the famous ones: President Gerald Ford, Lloyd Bentsen, Caspar Weinberger, Coretta Scott King, Ann Richards, Patricia Kennedy Lawford, James Brown, Lou Rawls, Betty Friedan, Peter Benchley, William Styron, Mickey Spillane, Maureen Stapleton, Red Buttons, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Don Knotts, Ed Bradley, Steve Irwin, Byron Nelson, Buck O’Neil, Red Auerbach, Floyd Patterson and others.

And then there were our personal losses: family members and friends gone too soon. May they rest in peace.

And gone are tyrants and villains: General Augusto Pinochet, Slobadan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Kenneth Lay.

Let us grieve for their victims and for the 3002 American soldiers who died in Iraq and the innocent civilians who lost their lives in Iraq and the countless victims of genocide in Darfur.