Saturday, October 27, 2007


Do you remember reading Beowulf in high school? If so…you would have known the answer on Final Jeopardy last night. What literary character was the son of Ecgtheow, grandson of Hrethel? I still have memories of struggling through the Olde English words and trying to follow the narrative and figure out what it was all about. What I don’t remember is whose class I was in. Miss McClellan? Miss Schroer? Mrs. Flory? I had four years of English so one teacher is completely missing from the memory bank. ???

Do high school students still read Beowulf? I hear it is going to be a movie. I suppose there are Cliff Notes and a comic book. I guess we mispronounced it. Now it is no longer three syllables “Bay-o-wulf” but two syllables “Bay-wulf.” It’s hard to keep up.

On impulse I thought I might check out a copy of the poem and see if I could get through it lo these fifty plus years later. Imagine my surprise when page after page of various volumes of translations came up on the library website. Well…hard to choose. Too many options. Maybe next year.

On this brisk windy (but sunny) Saturday I’ll opt for a Dennis Lehane. Still in the throes of the Evil Cold, but the symptoms are subsiding. I think I will make it to the Vegetarian Thanksgiving celebration at Mt. Hood Community College this afternoon. A little early but we will come home with recipes to use for the real event.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Early On a Frosty Morn…

Much as I would love to stay under the covers on this…the coldest day so far…the dogs are insistent about going out so I shuffle out from the bedroom and open the back door. There…in all its splendor…is the full moon hanging over the Columbia River as it sets in the west. I have been so sick the past few days I lost track of the calendar where I usually mark these full moon days. What a wake-up surprise!

Not too long ago Buddy got me up earlier than usual. After I let him out the back, I decided to bring in the paper and ventured on to the front porch just in time to see one of the most vivid and spectacular dawns turning Mt. Hood a glowing pink.

My little space nestled here beneath towering pines between two incredible natural wonders…the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood…is a special place. What a privilege to be able to view… right from my front porch or back door…these places that tourists come from afar to see.

There is, however, a chance I would miss some of the best dawns and moonsets if it weren’t for my dogs’ bladders.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On a Cold October Morning

Fog and mist have enveloped The Hideaway and darkness lingers longer than usual. The thermostat was set on 50 degrees overnight but the furnace kicked on early this morning. A reason to stay abed and I am grateful that was possible.

Now I am ensconced on the couch, wrapped in afghans and comforters with my tea and a big box of Kleenex. I have a cold. I have it. I am not fighting it. I have let it engulf me. I have surrendered, succumbed, given in. I am snorting, snuffling, blowing, coughing. The full range of behaviors that are unacceptable in public.

Everything is on hold. I am not answering the door or the phone or reading my email. The bed is unmade and the dishes sit in the sink. The paper is waiting to be read and the bookmark in my novel is on page seven. My knitting is dormant. I have managed to drag myself up to feed the pets (that is non-negotiable) and I have put the kettle on for more tea. The TV is on thanks to the remote and I am watching California go up in flames.

Now as morning lightens outside the window I will snuggle down with the cats and doze off and on until I rally to make lunch. If this goes on much longer (this is day four) my daughter will come with veggie soup and, hopefully, chocolate ice cream for my sore throat.

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Is Burning

Watching on TV as the devastating fires engulf southern California, it makes one grateful for the rain in Portland. It is hard to imagine the “dryness” that is contributing to the fires when we are drenched and soggy here in Oregon. The wet weather does free up our firefighters to help out our neighboring state.

All morning the fire fighting planes have been taking off from their base airport near my house. Usually that is the staging area for wildfires in the National Forest in northwest and central Oregon. Fire season is over here and the planes are headed south.

Video scenes look eerily like the photos from the air of the rain forest burning in Brazil. It suggests the nightmare of “the world is burning,” a scenario that does not seem so far-fetched today. It is difficult to comprehend a quarter of a million people displaced from their homes. Where will all these people go? An unanticipated mass migration.

If any of my readers are being affected…my heart goes out to you.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blustery Morning

Nothing quite so cozy and reassuring as lying in bed all warm and snuggled down under the blankets while a storm rages outside, slamming the windows with pounding rain and blowing branches. All week the weather predictions have warned us this was coming. Here it is!

A perfect day for staying inside and being lazy. No place I have to be, nothing urgent to do. These are the times I treasure…the hours spent relaxing with my book (The Emperor’s Children) and my knitting (Edwardian Carrying Cape for Baby Louise). My little cat, Skye, is recovering from major dental surgery and needs special attention. Lenny is oblivious and unaffected. Even the Labs that normally don’t mind the rain, are content to snooze on their beds.

It’s a day for soup and I have a mushroom and barley concoction brewing in the crockpot. Later I’ll make blueberry muffins to go with it. One or more of the kids might drop by. They are more apt to brave the weather than I am. On a day like this I like to play the Old Lady Card and just not go out.

It does seem winter has come early this year. Two years ago on this date we were driving the U-Haul on the last leg of the journey from Missouri to Oregon and the start of my new life here. We made it “ahead of the snow.” This year there have already been several snow advisories and today the snow level is down to 3500’. Ten inches already at Timberline on Mt. Hood.

Other parts of the country, including Missouri, are having severe weather as well. Unseasonable tornadoes causing some devastation. Flooding, drought, and abnomal temperature fluctations. On this shivery cold blustery morning it is hard to relate to the “warming” part of Global Warming.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bean Soup and Baseball

Saturday night I put the beans on to soak so I could start the Fifteen Bean Soup early Sunday morning. It simmered in the crockpot while Andy and I watched the back-to-back baseball games in the play-offs. Our teams (Indians and Red Sox) won so it was a pretty good day. The skies opened up and poured rain and it was the perfect day to be inside with soup and cornbread, great TV and good companionship.

Two years ago at this time I was still in Missouri and Phil and I were packing up Terrapin Station and getting ready to move my worldly goods to Oregon. The TV was one of the last unpacked items, left out so we could watch the play-offs. After a day of shoving furniture and packing, taping, and stacking boxes, it was great to kick back and watch a little baseball. Of course, our beloved Cardinals were playing so that made it special.

Thursday night Andy and I will have a dilemma as we really don’t have ties to either team. I went to school in Boulder so I tend to lean toward Colorado. Andy’s wife, Laura, is from Arizona so he is more inclined to root for them.

We’ll all descend on Scott later this month to watch the World Series on his big screen high def TV. What fun to share these times with my sons. As a child, I shared listening to games on the radio with my mother, a devoted Dodgers fan. It is something to look forward to in the Fall. There is, after all, only one October!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Snow Advisory in the Cascades

Sixteen inches at Timberline and eight more expected. Roads are icy and chains are required. The first week of Fall is masquerading as winter. The mountain has drawn curtains of fog around herself as she changes into her all white winter clothing. Down at the bottom of the peak rain is pouring steadily and it’s time for the gore-tex to re-emerge. At home the furnace is on for the first time since summer and the extra blanket is back on the bed. The cat’s heated fleece bed is plugged in.

Perhaps Mother Nature is gearing up for a long winter. Or maybe November will bring some respite and a spate of warm sunny days. If this is the beginning of the long haul…it would seem time to stock up on provisions, yarn and books.

In that regard, the Library Used Book Sale is scheduled for this weekend. Scott and I always attend and take advantage of the opportunity to fill a bag for $1.00. This time we will be looking for books about and for babies. I always hit the craft book section, and am on the lookout for vegetarian cookbooks. Scott is over in Sci-Fi and old National Geographics.

As if I don’t have enough projects, two new knitting patterns are ordered and should arrive in the mail this weekend. And the Magic Sweater Class starts next week. The October calendar is filling up fast. It’s good to be busy and active and out and about doing fun stuff. The snow level is not down this far so driving is just wet. As I write this there is a hint of sunshine.