Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

It’s 5:00 a.m. Do you know where your credit card is? This is the day all the citizens of the United States are supposed to set out at dawn to buy things and thus stimulate the economy and solve the country’s financial crisis. The stores have gone…to put it mildly…berserk. The ones that used to open at 5:00 a.m. are now opening at 4:00 a.m. Some are opening at midnight. Some have set up campgrounds outside the front doors with sandwich carts and umbrellas for rent. The TV station interviewed some people who have been camped outside Best Buy since last Wednesday.

Well…you can tell I belong to another generation. I thought “Black Friday” was the day in October 1929 that the stock market crashed. But some Google research tells me that was Black Tuesday. I also, for some reason, associate the name with Good Friday. But more research tells me the color of mourning is Purple. So I guess Black Friday is so named because it puts the retailer’s cash flow in the black.

Whatever…I am not sure how a Friday in November came to be the Mercantile Madness Shopping Day After Thanksgiving Extravaganza and Parking Lot Nightmare. Were you out and about? Not me. I have never considered shopping to be a recreational activity nor anything even approaching enjoyable.

The sense of the whole scene escapes me. I am offended by retailers (big box and local both) who entice folks into spending more than they can afford on gifts no one will remember by this time next year. I do enjoy the Holiday Bazaars with all the handmade items. This year I am making most of the gifts I am giving.

Now this morning I am waiting for my little granddaughter to arrive. She is going to spend the day with me and that will certainly be more fun than standing in line at Fred Meyer to buy some socks at half price. This time last year we were breathlessly waiting for her to arrive. How fast that time has gone.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I am thankful for…

My children: Scott, Phil, Andy and Windy
My children-in-law: Chris and Laura
My grandchildren: Ember and Oliver
My pets: Princess Dark Star, Little Buddy and Skye Louise
My friends: Too many to list…you know who you are!
My co-workers: All the Community Ed staff at MHCC
My co-volunteers at my community activities

My health
My home

My monthly check from the government
My part-time job

My car
My computer
My big screen HDTV
My camera
My cell phone
My hiking boots
My knitting needles

My sewing machine
My library card
And…last, but not least…hot water straight from the tap.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twenty Five Hundred Miles

Every day for seven years I have taken a walk with my dog Osage Princess Dark Star by my side. Of course, there were a few days along the way when I was in the hospital or out of town, but otherwise we have gone. Usually at the end of the afternoon, sometimes after dark if I was late getting home from work. We have gone in the blistering heat of summer in Missouri and hunched down to face the fierce East Winds of Oregon. Rain or shine, hot or cold, snow or mud or flood. We have gone.

I have full on Gore-tex and, except for my glasses, I am fully waterproof. Princess was born waterproof. We have walked on sidewalks, paths, trails, through fields, over rocks, and inside stores that welcome us. Thanks to Trainer George, Princess heels beautifully with her nose near my left knee, ignoring distractions, always aware of where I am going. The leash is “loose” and in fact, one time her collar came unfastened but she just kept going along. I didn’t notice until we got home that I was carrying an empty leash. Her loyal companionship is one of many things I am thankful for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stella Blue

Saturday errands are a chore only made endurable by some good music on the car radio. I try to time my trip to coincide with one of the programs on KBOO that I enjoy. Today…driving from the post office to the bank…a song from my past came on and suddenly tears were streaming down my face. Stella Blue. I was transported back to Cal Expo and the Coliseum and Shoreline and Autzen. And I cried. For all those good times gone forever now…for the wonderful experience of those shows shared with incredible friends. Some of the happiest moments of my life.

All the years combine, they melt into a dream,
A broken angel sings from a guitar.
In the end theres just a song comes cryin up the night
Thru all the broken dreams and vanished years.
Stella Blue. Stella Blue.

Be Grateful this Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Falling Leaves

There was a wild and crazy sunset last night lighting up the sky as the dogs and I went for our late afternoon walk. Now that the change from Daylight Saving has brought darkness earlier, we have to hustle to make it before the street lights come on. The East Wind was blowing hard and we had to push into it on the leg of the walk that goes toward Mt. Hood.

The trees were stripped almost bare in the Big Storm last week, and today the last lingering leaves are disappearing fast. Most of the leaves from the neighborhood are piled up against my fence on the south side of the house. It makes a nice berm to keep the dogs from trying to dig under the fence.

It’s chilly this morning although not as cold as it has been. I am ready for the temperature drop as we shrink wrapped all my windows last weekend. My sons came out for a Work Day and they cleaned the gutters, patched the deck roof, weather stripped the back door, fixed the toilet in the guest bathroom, and repaired the chain link fence in addition to fixing the windows. It is becoming a tradition twice a year for the troops to help Mom with the Honey-Do List, and I am blessed to have so much support.

Busy weekend ahead as there are many activities to choose from. I’ll go to a Craft Fair, a sale at Craft Warehouse, an art exhibit and possibly a movie. Portland is a busy place and this is the time of year for bazaars as well as meetings that groups want to get in before “The Holidays.” I work today and then I have a Citizen Advisory Commission meeting downtown tonight. So I will miss Survivor. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I will be able to watch it online later.

Here comes the rain.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

“The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” was a phrase I heard often as a small child. My family continued to call November 11th Armistice Day for many years even after it was officially changed to Veteran’s Day after World War II. Both my father and my Uncle Phil fought in World War I and a day commemorating their service was important to them.

To pay tribute to them, commemorative bricks were laid in the Walk of Honor at the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri at a Recognition Ceremony May 30, 2005. I was a guest of honor at the event. Among the memorabilia I collected for the occasion is a newspaper page with photos of a parade to observe “Armistice Day” down Main Street in Kansas City dated November 11, 1929.

Please observe a moment of silence at the 11th Hour today to honor the veterans in my family and others you know.

My father:
Clarence “Andy” Anderson
1896 – 1964
He was an “Observer” for the Army Air Force as it was believed that deaf people had exceptional eyesight. He was stationed in England.

My uncle:
Philip Sheldon Barnes
1892 – 1946
He was an aviator with the US Army and stationed in France. He was classified as a “pursuit pilot” after training in Riverside, California.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bring on the Grammar Police!

The new President-elect Barack Obama said, and I quote, “President Bush invited Michelle and I to the White House.” That is what he said. He invited I to the White House.


I am gnashing my teeth.

If Michelle was out of the picture, would he say President Bush invited I? Why does he change the pronoun when another person is involved? This is such a common mistake. But it is still a mistake. The proper objective form of the singular pronoun is ME. He should have said “He invited Michelle and ME.”

Should I let him know?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

What Was She Thinking?

Have you ever seen an uglier, more unflattering dress than the “dripping fire” garment Michelle Obama chose to wear for her husband’s big moment? Being a true Kansas City girl (where we were raised to always worry about what to wear!), I can’t keep myself from wishing First Lady Elect had called Sarah Palin for some fashion advice. Really…it looked like a bad Halloween costume. All she needed were some fake Dracula teeth. Lucky for her Mr. Blackwell died last week. She would have topped the list.

Actually…almost everyone (including the news commentators) looked like they got dressed in the dark and chose from the back of the closet. It would behoove them to have a preview on a High Def Wide Screen before appearing on live TV. Ditch the stripes!

Could I be more catty? Yes. I am deeply thankful that I was not exposed to the sight of Hillary claiming victory in a dreadful pink pantsuit.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Drive-By Voting

In 1960 I stood in the rain outside my polling place in Kansas City, Missouri waiting for my turn to cast my ballot for John F. Kennedy. Over the years since then I have waited in the rain to vote for President at polling places in Sausalito, Millbrae, Roseville, Crescent Lake, Bend, San Francisco, North Highlands, Sacramento, and Osceola.

No more. Alas…Oregon has no polling places. We have “mail-in” ballots which is a puzzle in a place where residents do everything else in the rain without batting an eye. But no standing in the rain here. If you didn’t get your ballot in the mail before the deadline, you can wait in line sitting warm and dry in your car for your turn to put your ballot in one of the outside drop boxes strategically placed around town. Somehow that just doesn’t cut it for me.

So later today, for old time’s sake, I will stand in the rain outside the library for a few minutes before going inside to drop my ballot in the big blue plastic bin. Then I’ll pick up a pizza and head home to wait on the couch for the results to come in. As is my custom, I voted for my old friend Ralph, and I am pretty sure he will not be declared the winner. Still…there is an element of suspense and the chance of either a blow-out or a squeaker. And either way…it will be an historical first.

If you haven’t already…VOTE! And in the Portland Metro area, please vote YES on 26-96

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Celtic New Year

The first of November is the Celtic Festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-en) and marks the beginning of the winter half of the year. In the Christian world, this coincides with the Feast of All Saints. And, as is the custom with the Gregorian calendar, the New Year is a time for assessment and resolutions. It is a time to bring ourselves into alignment with the blessings, work and opportunities of the darker half of the year.

Here at The Hideaway we have changed the clocks, checked the smoke alarms, cleaned up the yard, bungeed down the trash cans, drawn the shades earlier than usual, and settled down into winter mode.

This involves staying home knitting, quilting, reading, working jigsaw puzzles, and napping. And of course, watching sports on TV. (Blazer mania!) The dogs still want to go for their walks so we all wear flashing lights to be visible in the deepening late afternoon gloom. Work, craft activities and community involvement continue unabated so it's time to dust off the Gore-tex.

It's downhill now to The Holidays, and Christmas has already come to Walmart. It seems far away and a bit of a sin to start promoting it so soon. (Remember when it was a scandal to see a decoration before Thanksgiving?) But don't will be here soon.