Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hello Again!

Took a little break there after St. Pat's. But I am back! After all those years spent in a quest for peace and serenity, I seem to have finally found it. The only problem is…it “ain’t much to write home about.” The Blog has dwindled to a trickle as days go by that are so uneventful I can’t tell them apart. There are, of course, topics in the news about which I have unpopular opinions. The War On Iraq, Cancer, Oil Prices to name a few. A safer one is the Pet Food Recall.

What a very scary thing! I was so relieved to find that the products I use were not on the Recall List. At least not at first. But now they are adding dry food and I do feed dry Hill’s Science Diet to both dogs and one cat. (Different varieties.) So the vigilance must continue. My heart aches for pet owners who have inadvertently poisoned their companions. What a devastating thing.

On the topic of dogs, Little Buddy just turned two and it has been one year since his operation to fix his hips. He is doing very well and is now a “normal” dog. Windy made a video of him romping in the park to take in and show the vet on our one year post-op visit. Dr. Ost was amazed. So much better than was expected.

Princess is only five but already getting gray in the muzzle and moving into matriarch status in the household. Lenny is almost 14 and gradually slowing down. We got him a heated cat bed and he spends a lot of time napping there and luxuriating in the comfort of the warm fleece. Little Skye Louise is almost full grown now and a beautiful gray cat with touches of tan and cream. She has captivated everyone with her sweet loving personality and I’m so glad I brought her home from the Shelter last fall.

My furry friends mean so much to me and bring me so much pleasure. Today…on a rainy, dreary Saturday morning, we are all cozy and gathered in the living room. The four of them are napping and I think I will join them. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"We Are Marching to Pretoria..."

A war protest song made popular by Pete Seeger and The Weavers in the 1950s. Why are we still singing war protest songs?

This weekend protests are going on across the country to demonstrate against the War On Iraq and here in Portland we will join the March for Peace on Sunday the 18th. I have been out there every year since this all began. I have to tell you…I am getting really, really tired of doing this.

March 18th will be Day #1459 of the War. The official Body Count is 3210. (That number changes hourly so it could be larger by the time you read this.) There are other numbers that count the Iraqui military, the US citizens working for contractors, and the innocent civilians living in the war zone.

It is almost impossible to calculate the total number of dead and injured and traumatized. It is time to speak out again and let the current administration know the mood of the country.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Sister's Birthday

When my parents named their children, they kept the “down home” tradition of two names. Thus were born Frances Jane and Patricia Louise who were to be called Fanny Jane and Patty Lou. The Anderson parents did not, however, take into account the real people these babies would turn out to be. My sister did not like the moniker attached to her and neither did I. We each spoke out in opposition early on. By the time Frances Jane started school she was known to most people outside the family as Fran. And I settled for Lou, partly because it was easier to spell than Patricia. By what is now known as middle school, I began to insist on Patricia. In high school I shortened it to Pat.

Inside the family, it was another story. Frances became Franfie and Patricia became Tricia. To this day, these are our real identities. All my children called their aunt “Franfie.” Windy thought it was a relationship name like “Grandma” and she would ask her friends about their “Franfie.” My beautiful big sister will always be Franfie to me. Mentor, friend, advisor, companion and someone who loved me no matter what.

She was born March 13, 1921 and died June 5, 1984. Her ashes were cast in San Francisco Bay near Angel Island. I miss her very much. Sometimes I talk to her in my head. Sometimes I tell my daughter about something she would have enjoyed or laughed at or wanted to do. Sometimes my daughter reminds me of her. Today I remember her with love and happy memories.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Back Into Winter Mode

This time change has plunged us back into winter. Or so it seemed as I had to turn on the lights when I got up this morning. Hard to go back to getting up before the day brightens.

On the plus side, it is warm and therefore no need to kick up the thermostat to take the chill off. It felt like Spring when I went out for the paper. The air smelled fresh and newly washed with rain (yes…it is raining in Oregon!) with a faint scent of blossoms in the air. Farther in town, trees are blooming with soft pinks and budding out with pale delicate greens. Out here by The Gorge, the pine trees look exactly the same. But my rhodie bush has buds and I have spotted a few stray jonquils in yards I pass on my walks.

I’m planning a porch “garden” of brightly painted wooden decorations on the wall with wind chimes and prayer flags and things made of metal or wrought iron. This is to minimize the vandalism/animal/wind damage that my plants sustained last year, but keep the porch a pleasant welcoming place to sit and watch the world go by.

Windy brought some rainbow-colored wind chimes from Florida and I have a few sets already that I have collected over the years. My friend Ann has given me some decorations made of iron that add to the décor. This seems like a more permanent investment than plants and certainly will require less maintenance.

Not to say I don’t enjoy other people’s yards and gardens and the profusion of flowers that grace the streets of Portland. This is an amazing town when it comes to horticultu

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Lost Hour

What would you have done with that hour you just lost? I’m going to write down those morning activities that just vaporized. Next fall, when I get this hour back, I will know what to do with it.

Well…for starters…sleep, of course. But beyond that…all the morning fun stuff. Drink an extra cup of coffee, read the Sunday paper, knit a few rows, play with the animals, or check my e-mail. Suddenly it’s mid-morning and I feel behind and out of sync.

It’s going to take awhile for my biorhythms to adjust. And Princess just doesn't get it. She is pretty good at Standard Time and she does know 4:20 p.m. (dinner time). She isn’t going to make the transition easily. Buddy pretty much follows her lead. The cats eat all the time and are, therefore, exempt from time constraints.

So were you late for church? Did your dinosaur computer make the change on its own or did you need a patch? Have you changed all the clocks manually? The oven, the microwave, the phone, the alarm, the car, the laptop, the Blackberry, the TV, the VCR, the decorative clock, the antique clock, and the wristwatch? What did I forget? Oh…the one on the back porch. And the sundial! Whew.

Don’t forget…this is Daylight Saving (an adverb and therefore no "s") Time and not everybody says it correctly.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Great Inventions of the Western World

Every once in a while, I feel a need to recognize those inventions that make my life easier, happier and healthier. I’ve thought of a few that are listed below. But my Favorite of the Day is the newspaper tube. I have one. It’s bright day-glo yellow, and installed on the post by the front porch stairs. I cannot tell you how much I love this piece of plastic.

Every morning the delivery person (who likes to remain anonymous) puts the daily Oregonian (ensconced in a plastic bag) into the tube where I can retrieve it without bending my knees or crawling on the ground or searching through the bushes in the rain. One of the luxuries that I looked forward to in living in a metropolitan area was the joy of home delivery. In Osceola, I had to drive downtown and purchase the paper out of a machine. Reading it in the comfort of my home while in my jammies sounded pretty appealing.

However, out here in the far reaches of the county, the delivery was not on the porch like it was supposed to be. Often the paper was under or on top of the car, or around the corner out of sight, or hidden behind the trash bins. After several increasingly confrontational phone calls, the folks at the Circulation Department decided to grant me the privilege of a newspaper tube. Along with the following, it is an invention that makes my life better.

Crossword puzzles
Cat litter
Knitting needles
Post It Notes
Thermos bottles

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tornadoes in Missouri

The news tonight of tornadoes in Missouri brings flashbacks of huddling in the damp, dark dugout basement under my house at Terrapin Station listening to the siren screaming and trying to comfort the frightened animals. I had a system when I lived there. It started with noticing the greenish air and the strange sky and the feeling that there was a “tornado comin’ on.”

Then the preparations. TV on, volume up. Cats in their carrying crates, dogs on leashes and ready to go. My “kit” in a handy-to-carry tool tote with water, phone, radio, snack, book, crossword. A trip outside to unlock the cellar door and open it up for the difficult descent into the pit. The siren was located right at the end of my street and at the very first beep, we were in action. One cat carrier in each hand on the first trip, back for one dog and the emergency kit. Finally the last dog. My 85 pound lab had to be wrestled down the steps.

Then we would wait it out. The voice of the TV announcer with the names of the towns as the storm advanced would come down through the furnace grate in the floor. Le Cygne, Archie, Butler, Appleton City. Sometimes I could hear the answering machine pick up the phone and the voice of my daughter asking if I was okay. It times of emergency, cell phones often didn’t work so sometimes I was disconnected from the world.

Still I was lucky to have a storm shelter at my own home. Many homes did not have basements and some of my neighbors had to drive to the Health Department to take shelter in the basement there. In my five years there, I was fortunate that no tornado touched down but I had several very scary moments down in that storm cellar.

Now I live out of the path of tornadoes but in the shadow of Mt. Hood, the 4th most potentially dangerous volcano in the country. I don’t have a basement anymore and there is no warning siren at the end of my street.