Thursday, May 29, 2008


Two weeks ago I threw open all the windows in the house and rejoiced in the balmy weather. Off came all the winter bedding and heavy blankets. I made up the bed with cool cotton sheets and a lightweight blanket. Plugged in the fans in all the rooms. Hung the dark sunscreen curtains. Summer lasted four days and now it is winter again. Cold, rainy, dreary and generally unpleasant.

So…this morning I reversed the process. Off came the cotton sheets and blanket. Back came the heated mattress pad, flannel sheets and wool blankets. I unplugged the fans, but I refuse to take down the dark curtains so there’s a feeling of being deep in a cave all through the house. It’s hard to drag myself out to do errands or even take the dogs.

I’m a summertime person and this weather is taking its toll on my spirit. I love sunshine and hot weather. I want to wear tank tops and shorts and sandals. I want to sit on my porch and drink my peach iced tea and read my Summer Project Book.

Last summer I read David McCullough’s John Adams. For 2008 I have chosen his biography of Truman. The first chapter starts out with a history of Jackson County, Missouri which is where I was born and spent most of my childhood. Also mentioned on page 28 is Osceola where I lived very recently. It all seems so familiar. The book is 1000 pages so I will work my way through it during the next few months. Which may or may not feel like summer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Ghost of Lenny

Several times since his leaving us four months ago, the ghost of our cat Lenny has returned to check on things. It happens suddenly…I turn around and catch the shadow of his spirit running down the hallway or turning a corner. Once I saw his image on top of the kitty condo where he loved to sit and survey the scene. He came again on Sunday when I was in what used to be “his” room and is now the Baby Room. I was checking things as both babies were coming for a visit. I think he was interested in the changes and letting me know he is still part of the family.

I miss my kitty so much. He was a great friend and a good companion and a presence that brought me comfort in times of sadness. As Windy said, he had many tears cried into his soft fur. These days of dreary rain and unending winter would be brightened if he was still here. But he shared in the sunny times as well, and he loved to sit in the window and listen to the birds. If there was a patch of sunshine on the floor, he would stretch out there for his nap.

Memorial Day is for more serious losses, but I always take a minute the day after to remember the furry friends that I’ve lost. Honeybunch, Boss, Ogday, Taffy, Ragz, Chopper, Babe The Dog Anderson, Squeaker, Rocky and Lenny. Rest in peace, my friends.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Annual Tribute

World War I Veterans
Clarence “Andy” Anderson
1896 – 1964
Philip Sheldon Barnes
1892 – 1946

Mother and mother-in-law
Mrs. W. G. Barnes
1866 – 1942
President, American War Mothers
1934 - 1935

Commemorative Bricks
were laid in the Walk of Honor
at the Liberty Memorial
Kansas City, Missouri

Recognition Ceremony
May 30, 2005
attended by
Patricia Anderson
Daughter, Niece, Granddaughter

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Stickin' Close to Home

One day into the three day weekend and already things are heatin’ up and meltin’ down. As evening approaches parents are calling their kids in. The sky is a strange color and thunder is crashing and lightning flashing. In the background you can hear the sirens. The Sheriff headed out for accidents on the Interstate or ambulances headed down for a drowning at the River.

My son Phil is camping up at Beacon Rock State Park and chances are he is going to get wet. I was up there earlier today to visit him. Took the dogs and had a nice afternoon sitting around and enjoying nature. For about an hour a beautiful eagle swooped in wide circles in the sky over our heads. The campground was full and it seems folks are staying closer to home because of the soaring gas prices.

I’m staying really close to home. In my very own living room. Although I may go out on the front porch and watch the sky show. Probably a good idea to get off the computer and the cell phone. Here comes the hail. Wow. Later…

Friday, May 23, 2008

Veggie Burger

Burgerville is a local restaurant here in the Northwest. It’s fast food but with a twist as it serves mostly local food products. It has a great employee benefit program. And it makes the best milkshakes on the planet. One of my favorite drive-thru meals has been composed of a Gardenburger, sweet potato fries, and a seasonal flavor milkshake (like egg nog).

Today Burgerville announced it will no longer be serving Gardenburger brand veggie burgers. Now you have to understand that Gardenburger was a local brand owned by Wholesome & Hearty Foods before it was bought out by Kellogg. Starting today the veggie burgers will be from Chez Gourmet from Marie, a local company owned and operated by a Lake Oswego entrepreneur. The new pattie is made from anasazi beans and will sell for $4.19 as compared to the former Gardenburger at $3.99.

I can’t wait to try it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

100% Chance of Rain

Years ago I made a resolution to not wish time away. I wanted to live in the moment, treasure each day as it came, make the best of whatever came along, and not accidentally drift into the future. I’ve kept that promise to myself for the most part; although like any resolution, this one has been harder to keep on some days than others. Right now, for example, I catch myself wishing for these rainy days to end and for Spring/Summer to arrive. We had four days of hot weather last weekend, but winter has returned. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain a positive outlook and actually enjoy this dreary rain.

It is a good excuse to stay in and knit and read a good book and take a nap and save on gas by not driving anywhere. Another benefit is to be able to wear my sweats, one of the few items of clothing that fits. I don’t have to worry about cutting the grass. Nor do I have to water the plants I put in the ground recently.

The long weekend looms. I have a good book but if the weather stays like this it will not last until Monday. Plans to go visit family members who are camping in nearby campgrounds may be altered if the rain continues. Most Oregonians just go on about their business regardless, but I find my energy damp and moldy. Forecast: cloudy and a chance of rain. 100%!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Sad Story

My son Scott is in Washington, D.C. for the Autism Trial in the US Court of Claims. He has a very important role in working with expert witnesses and managing the electronic exhibits for the law firm representing the families whose children developed autism as a result of vaccines containing thimerosal. His role is complex and difficult to explain, but crucial to the success of the lawsuit.

I can listen to the testimony over the phone on a national conference call. I have been following along as best I can, and feeling great sadness for these families who were burdened with this life changing diagnosis. When I mention this trial to friends or acquaintances, it seems everyone has a story of a family member or someone they know afflicted by autism.

In my opinion, this trial tells a story of real damage to individual children and families that has been perpetrated by drug companies who used preservatives to reduce production costs and maximize profits. To them the collateral damage is statistically insignificant. This is a health care issue the politicians should pay attention to.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Full Moon Rising

It’s May, and on the calendar we used to use, it should be Spring. But here in the Northwest we had four days of blistering Summer heat which ended today with a return to Winter. Back to temps in the 50s and rain, rain, rain. It is still snowing in the mountains. I guess this is the answer to my earlier question of why Oregon has mail-in ballots. Today is Oregon’s Primary.

The warmth and sunshine were very welcome for some like me. It was delightful to sit on my porch with a tall frosty glass of peach iced tea and a good book. Just as in 2005 when I wrote the first chapter of Down Home Musings, the current good book is by Alexander McCall Smith. The Miracle at Speedy Motors.

My son Phil was out this weekend and helped me finish getting my yard, deck and porch cleaned up and ready for summer. Only a few in-ground plantings so far. Two azalea bushes and some ground cover. A line up of clay pots await some bright color. I have my eye on a wooden rocking chair for the porch. I just want to sit out there and watch the world go by. And watch the full moon rising behind Mt. Hood. What a spectacular place I live in!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On the Ground

When I lived in Missouri “tornado on the ground” were words to chill my heart. My home, Terrapin Station, was right in Tornado Alley and May was the month when the twisters came through. I would leave the TV on all the time so I could hear the warning signal and rush in to watch the information on the storm’s path scroll across the screen.

When it was in LeCygne, Kansas, I put the leashes on the dogs and put the cats in their crates. When I heard Drexel, Archie or Butler, I would get out the Emergency Pack. Flashlight, water, transistor radio, cell phone, crossword puzzle, treats for the animals. I would crank the volume on the TV so I could hear it through the furnace grate while we huddled in the dugout basement.

Sometimes the storm would keep on a northern trajectory and Osceola would be spared. Once it touched down in Roscoe seven miles away, and I felt the force as it went over my house. Loud roaring noise, a deluge of rain, flying debris. Every year, some small town gets hit and the devastation for those residents is quite extensive. But…as is often the case…areas only a few miles away are untouched.

The animals and I are gone from there now. We live in a safer place where tornadoes are rare. Of course, if Mt. Hood erupts or the Columbia River floods, we might still need our Emergency Kit. Nevertheless, I still feel a shudder down my spine as I hear the national news coverage of tornadoes in the Midwest.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

From the Comfort of Your Own Home

Do you think it’s the rain? It must be. Oregonians just do not want to bestir themselves. Need a cup of coffee? Drive through Starbucks or stop at one of the kiosks to be found on every corner. Need gas? Stay in your car. Someone will pump it for you. What else can you do from your car? We have the usual drive through dry cleaners, banks, libraries, dairy stores, tobacco stores (yuck), etc. We get our groceries delivered by Safeway or our local CSA. And now…best of all…we have vote by mail.

You don’t have to get wet to vote in Oregon! No standing in the rain under an umbrella waiting to get in your neighbor’s garage or the school cafeteria. No exit polling here either. [What will the pundits do?] My ballot arrived yesterday and I have already marked it and put a stamp on the envelope. The actual date of the Primary is May 20th and that is when the votes will be counted. Since the Democratic Presidential race drags on (and on and on and on) Oregon’s votes may actually count despite being one of the last primaries.

But a Presidential candidate is not all we’re voting for. Some of us who care about the environment would like to unseat the incumbent Republican senator. And several state offices of import are up for grabs. Not to mention local offices. Despite the importance of this year’s election, many are not registered to vote even though they are affected by issues like the economy and the price of gas. Some don’t care much about Politics with a capital P. As in many rural areas, there is a lot of sympathy for the War and thus McCain has many supporters in my community.

What’s going on in your community? Is your voice being heard? These are critical times.