Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nine or Ninety

It really makes a lot of sense to be knitting a wool sweater on a triple digit day. Maybe I will switch to a cooler yarn. I finished the baby blanket finally! The skein sleeve has a pattern for a cute little hat. Sounds like a better choice for a HOT afternoon. I have all TEN of my fans going full blast and I am staying quiet. This is nothing compared to summers in Missouri or up on The Ridge at my mountain place in California.

Triple degree days were commonplace in Tehama County, California. In my mountain home up on Wild Pig Ridge I had no electricity so no fans. I had to sweat it out. Babe and I found shelter in the shade under the trees, and I was able to catch a breeze up there on top of the hill. My rule up there was 90 degrees or nine o’clock. Whichever came first is when I would stop working and start my Quiet Activities. Most of you will recognize them as my Winter Activities as well. In fact, they are just what I do and are suitable for all climates and temperatures.

These are done while sitting on the couch or out on the front porch. Reading (a good book is essential!), knitting (preferably something besides a wool sweater), working the crossword (requires the daily newspaper), napping (no special requirements), and watching TV (requires electricity).

However, due to the Brain Fart, my kids think I should be in a cool place so Scott is coming to get me, and the dogs and I will spend the day in his air conditioned home. I will take my book and my knitting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer Morning

My favorite time. A soft gentle breeze is blowing in the windows. Birds are chirping and the mail has arrived early. A pitcher of iced tea is mixed and ready for the afternoon when it is predicted to be [gasp!] triple digits. While other parts of the country, and the world for that matter, shrug off the heat and go on about their business, the residents of Portland and environs go into full red alert. It is the top story on the newscasts and headlines in the newspaper. Stores have sold out of air conditioners.

For me, this is just another day. I am grateful for the health problem that requires me to sit on the couch and read and knit and work the crossword and nap. The heat doesn’t change that except for the fact that my meds may not work as efficiently. I did break down and take the flannel sheets off my bed, but I still pull the wool blankets up during the night. The cool breeze off the river makes the bedroom really chilly.

When I first got home from the hospital, it took me all day (and an assist from Google and Wikipedia) to finish the crossword. Yesterday I did it in my usual time (the same as to drink a cup of coffee). Some words just linger out there in the periphery and I have to come around from behind and grab them. For those who don’t know my quirks, I do NOT work the NY Times crossword. Those NYT snobs really irk me. I like the daily Oregonian puzzle that gets harder each day Monday through Saturday. Awhile back they ran a contest and readers got to vote for their favorite version. It is just about right for my skill level.

I have all week to get ready for the Family Camping Adventure. We leave Friday morning for Indian Henry campground in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I am taking a good book (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society), my knitting (a wool sweater from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Almanac) and some crosswords ( in a magazine that was a gift from my friend Brenda). It has been TWENTY-NINE days since it has rained in Portland. Some kind of record. Bestowed by the gods.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Portland’s Three Day Summer

If it wasn’t July, I’d say there was a “touch of Fall in the air.” It does seem like that as it is quite cool and nippy. Despite the dire predictions of the weathercasters that triple digit temps are expected, it is downright chilly. And last night when I was out watching the sky, I had to wear a coat. I’m still sleeping in flannel pajamas under two wool blankets. This sizzling spell is supposed to start tomorrow and be 100°for three (count them!) days in a row. This town does not know how to react.

When I lived on The Ridge, we had a whole summer of triple digit days in Tehama County. And back in west central Missouri, there were quite a few. And no surcease at night like here where it is often necessary to get up and close the window against the night air.

Of course…I LOVE IT. The warmth eases my aches and it is a joy not to have to wear a sweater or coat all the time. Of course…every place of business and almost every home has the air con cranked, so indoors is still miserable. But I can sit on my porch and drink my iced tea and bask in the sunshine. Of course…everybody bitches about the heat. I am keeping track and I am going to bitch about the 362 days of rain and gloom and cold to them. I am going to call or send an e-mail to EVERY single one of those people on every single one of those days. C’mon folks. It is only .008% *(not even ONE percent) of the year. Suck it up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Flying Football Field

On previous occasions I have recommended that you look up, and tonight would have been a good time to do so. The International Space Station flew over and it was quite a sight to see! At 9:26 PDT here in Portland, the ISS went across the sky from horizon to horizon and it was reported to be the size of a football field. It is pretty hard to wrap your mind around that, especially if you’ve just had a brain readjustment. I was trying to picture the people on board going about their business in such a huge place out in space. What, I wonder, did the earth look like to them?

The shuttle Endeavor is also visible between now and early August. Here is the link I used to find out the times for sightings. Put in your own city. Here’s your chance to see your tax dollars flying around the sky. And ponder man’s insignificance in the overall scheme of the universe.®ion=Oregon&city=Portland

It’s time to confess my secret dream of going into space. I just can’t think of anything more incredible than shooting off the earth in a cloud of smoke and flying off into the sky. If I were a millionaire, or if I won the lottery, I would sign up for sure. And even if it didn’t work out…what a way to go. I have always thought Krista McAuliffe had the most spectacular exit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


On June 20th, just when you thought it was safe to start reading the blog again, my brain blew up. It was a Saturday morning and I had gotten up early to watch the US Open. I wanted to sit and knit and watch golf. My idea of a perfect summer Saturday morning. However, I needed some blue yarn to make a baby blanket for my friend’s newborn great grandson. I put on a pot of coffee to perk while I ran to Walmart next door. I was still in my pajamas! (Sweats, actually.) As I crossed the parking lot I was struck by a massive headache. I got lost inside the store, my shoe fell off, I couldn’t find the yarn. After I did, I couldn’t remember how to use my debit card to pay for it. I finally made it home driving with my eyes shut against the pain.

I poured out a cup’s worth of coffee all over the counter, carried the empty cup into the living room, and answered my daughter’s question with some gibberish gobbledegook. As it turned out, my daughter had just seen a poster about the Five Signs of a Stroke that Tri Met Wellness put up in the break room at her work. She took one look at me, called her brother, and off we went to the Emergency Room. We skipped sign in and Triage, and suddenly there were doctors and nurses all around. To make a long story short…and because I don’t feel like writing more details right now…I was admitted and spent three days in the hospital before I came home to sit like a zombie on the couch.

Many functions and abilities have come back over the four intervening weeks although I still struggle with memories and words and my vocabulary has deserted me. I will have to run this writing through spellcheck and by a proofreader before I can post it. Sometimes I totally space on how to do something simple like send an e-mail. I keep mixing up the phone and the remote. Mostly I forget where I am and look around like I just dropped to earth from a distant planet.

Writing is therapeutic and therefore I will continue to attempt some blog entries. I am certain I am still in there somewhere and I will be back.

The Second Annual Family Trek to A Great Place to Celebrate Summer’s Events

Last year we rented a five bedroom, three bath house in Manzanita on the Oregon coast and we had an awesome time. The weather was perfect and we had a day on the beach in the sunshine and a rainy day at home by the fire reading and napping. It was so much fun, we vowed to have one of these major get-togethers every year. This year we are going camping. We all love camping, but we haven’t ever gone all together to the same place at the same time. And this will be the little ones first time sleeping outdoors in a tent and eating dirt and throwing rocks in a stream and eating s’mores. It will also be my first venture out after the Brain Fart.

We chose a campground fairly (60 miles) close to home down by Estacada along the Clackamas River. It has amenities like flush toilets and hot water and a host that supplies really expensive firewood. We reserved three campsites that will accommodate five tents. Six if you count the little play tent for the kiddies. We’ll be close to water and the restrooms and a safe distance from the river and the road.

There will be singing around the campfire and we'll have music with guitars and harmonicas. We’ll hike and swim and fish and nap and play games (Scrabble, Cribbage, and Dominoes are some of the favorites). We’ll watch the toddlers explore nature and have a chance to play with all the aunts and uncles. We’ll share community meals and take turns planning menus. For personal down time, we’ll have books and puzzles. And Laura and I will have our knitting.

Here’s a tip to remember: When you pack up your camping gear at the end of the season and put it away in the storage building where it will later be buried by craft supplies, snow removal tools, Christmas decorations, outgrown baby toys, unused appliances, and other detritus of our lives, try to remember what the boxes/bags look like. I just spent the morning moving just about everything in my storage space until I found my camping gear. I was looking for a milk crate with my camp stove, etc. It turned up in a dishpan inside a plastic bag.

We’ll be off on the last day of July. We’ll be celebrating my 72nd Birthday, Debbi’s 40th Birthday, and Andy & Laura’s 3rd Wedding Anniversary. If I can remember how to post this, it will be on the blog. Not sure anyone is still reading it.