Another day in paradise

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, our first time on the beach, I met an elderly gentleman with some sort of cattle dog. My dog, Abby The Labby Number Nine, was giving the rather plump herding dog a hard time. I mentioned to the stranger that if we stayed long enough, his dog may shed a few pounds. He laughed.

I never did find out his name, but I did learn that he had moved to Florence six months ago. He moved from Grants Pass, Oregon after his doctor informed him that his life expectancy wasn’t going to be very long , but now that he moved to where the air was cleaner, his health had improved dramatically. I hadn’t realized that Grants Pass was hazardous. Hazardous enough for someone who has pulminary Fibrosis. Don’t quote me on that. I’m wondering if I am remembering this correctly or whether it just popped into my head.

I know that Eugene wouldn’t be on the list of places to move to if one had any breathing issues. I was told that the Native Americans called the Willamette Valley, the Valley of Sickness. I’ve seen plenty of people who have to vacate the area come Spring and Summer when the allergy season comes sweeping in.

Right now the Valley is experiencing inversions when the air doesn’t circulate and just lays there stagnate. Rules about burning are enforced, though there’s not much that can be done about burning for heat, but that doesn’t help the air quality any.

Hopefully when I return back to Eugene, the fog will have lifted and we’ll be able to breathe a bit easier, but until then I’ll be appreciating the ocean air for a couple more days.Image

Shooting from the hip

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I love tangents. I’ll talk tangents. Write tangents. Just don’t expect me to stay on the same topic. While writing this, I’m watching Holidays & Happenings on the Dish. I’ve never heard of Tommy Emmanuel.ImageI haven’t listened to Christmas music that often. I think that Christmas music shouldn’t start before Thanksgiving. Today I saw a display for Valentine’s Day. Really? We’re not even done with Christmas. Guess if someone wants to kill two birds with one rock, you can give Valentine’s Candy for a stocking stuffer.

Today’s day two in Florence, Oregon. We took the dogs to the beach. Ricky and Abby had never seen the ocean before; they had never run on the beach before. Lucy is an old hand when it comes to chasing the surf and sea gulls.

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Ricky and Abby play in the Pacific

Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention to my camera settings. Instead of automatically focusing, the camera was expecting me to manually focus. Since I didn’t do that. All of the pictures are just a blur.Yesterday, I wrote about how I would be comparing Clam Chowders in Florence to see who had the best. Well, so far Surfside Restaurant has the best since I didn’t have any today. I did, however, have an amazing meal of Crab and steamed mussels. I started off with the mussels, about a pound and a half, though I’m not sure what the weight would have been without the shells. They were tasty all on their own, but the flavor was enhanced with garlicy butter.

I enjoyed taking apart the Crab while watching the Oregon State University Beavers dismantle the Boise State Smurf’s. Typically, I cheer for anyone who the Beavers are playing, but not this time.

Peggy Lee is not casting a Christmas Spell on me with her song…Last night we watched White Christmas with Bing Crosby. Why don’t I recognize female actors of this time. I know the name Rosemary Clooney, but there’s no way I could identify her as I do with someone like Danny Kaye.

I’m not looking forward to the New Walter Mitty movie. It’s not like the Thurber story. I liked the Danny Kaye version of my most favorite short story. Perhaps one of these days I’ll re-write my version of My Secret Life of Susan Honthumb that I wrote i

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

n 1972 for a class assignment. What I never could understand is that in the Thurber classic, Walter is nagged by his wife, but in the movie, he’s nagged by his mother.

I sure love James Taylor. He’s singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” I’d have to say that his rendition is one of my favorites, though the only other vocalist who could match him would be Kenny Loggins.

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A blurry Ricky

I don’t remember when I set upon the adventure of blogging every day, but I think this is my 18th, seventeen in a row. I love it. Even if I’m the only one reading it. I think it’s time to take the dogs out for their last nightly stroll. Goodnight all.

Florence

Monday, December 23, 2013
9:04 p.m.
We’ve escaped to Florence, Oregon. Image (photo by Travel By Desine)
This is the third time we’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Blk House. The last time we here, a few years ago, we celebrated with dogs Jules and Lucy; little did I know that that was going to be Jules’ last Christmas.

This year, the cast is different. Lucy now is accompanied by Ricky Rickster and Abby The Labby Number Nine. Those two newbies will be totally blown away tomorrow when they actually get to step foot on the beach and the chilly waters of the Pacific. I suspect Abby, who is a purebred, will take to the water. Ricky, on the other hand, may have a different reaction. I’ll keep my faithful followers posted as the days go by.

Even though, Florence is only an hour or so away from Eugene, we didn’t make it to the Coast until nightfall. The things that need to be done prior to leaving always seems to multiply the day of departure. Perhaps this is because I don’t leave home very often. This trip is probably only the fourth time I have been away from the threshold of my domicile. What can I say; I’m a homebody.

The best part about venturing away from home is the dining experiences. Dining in the vicinity of fresh seafood is like heaven to me. I love food. My running joke is that I’m on a Sea food Diet. I see food, and I eat it. But this goes double or triple for seafood.

Right around the corner from our little two-bedroom rental, is the Surfside Restaurant. I had heard of Driftwood Shores, the resort, but had never been to the restaurant. 0303_Bar_fs

One of my goals for the four-night-stay is to find out who has the best Clam Chowder in Florence. I don’t mind admitting that being a New Englander, I’m a Clam Chowder snob. Whatever you do, don’t ever tell me that Mo’s has the best Clam Chowder. I’d rather eat Wall-paper paste.

One of the things I look for on a menu is something that I’ve not had for a long time. I hadn’t had fried clams in a very long time, and even though the Razor Clams were coming from Alaska, and not local, fried clams sounded so delicious. I was a bit worried when I had to ask for knife to cut through the fried clam, but just because I couldn’t cut it with a fork, this didn’t mean it was tough. It was tender and juicy. The clams were

Razor clam
Razor clam

so big, I couldn’t finish. I probably ought to have let it go at that, but I was curious to see what was on the dessert menu. Good thing I hadn’t seen that particular menu earlier or I would have had some wild pomegranate smoothie alcohol-infused drink. Anyway, I had a hankering for a custard or a creme brulé, things I never cook for myself, but my eyes landed on bread pudding,

which also fit the criteria. I was intrigued because I had never seen a bread pudding with blueberries. Unfortunately, the blueberries were dried. I left those behind, but cleaned the rest of the plate.

Speaking of clean plate, I’m done for the day.

Some pumpkins turn into coaches

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today’s Sun drew me outside, lured me with promises of warmth. The sunshine and vivid blue skies looked so delicious. I had been feeling a bit down. Being reminded of not working as much as I would like sat heavy in my soul.

I had already caught up with my Words With Friends games; a task that gets priority. My smoothie of oatmeal, banana, blueberry, and peanut butter had satisfied my hunger with only a few bites, so I was ready to be doing something physical. I also knew that the Patriots weren’t playing until the afternoon. There was absolutely no reason to not go outside.

Typically I don’t spend much time in my vegetable garden after Summer has departed. I am a horrible gardener in terms of putting my garden to bed. I don’t do anything but walk away and let nature take its course.

When my garden is at its peak, it is typically jam-packed. The garden of 2013 was even more so, especially with squash. During the summer I had taken a few trips to Food For Lane County to donate surplus squash.

I don’t know how they do it, but squash can hide. There were so many times I would check a plant and find nothing, but the next day, a Zucchini would be impersonating a baseball bat. It isn’t until after the squash plants die that I realize how many squash I missed. 2013 was the year of the squash. I must have had at least three dozen volunteer squash plants come up. I also planted several, not knowing what variety the volunteer squash plants would be. I also planted pumpkin, though I think some of the volunteers were pumpkin.

Several weeks ago, I had been out in the garden and was totally amazed at how many squash and pumpkins were in my garden. Images of pumpkin pie danced in my head. I picked some squash and pumpkins and put them on my porch

But then it snowed, covering everything, including the ones on the porch. After the snow finally melted, I knew the veggies in the garden were going to be in trouble since the ones on the porch had become mush, though I was able to salvage a few, and I did manage a couple of pumpkin pies and baked pumpkin seeds.

I avoided my garden. When I took the compost out, I refused to look. I knew it was going to be painful.

 

But today’s Sun bolstered my courage and I finally took a tour. I was hard to see that my garden had transformed into a squash and pumpkin cemetery. Some pumpkins were the biggest I had ever grown. Some of the squash were done I hadn’t eaten in a long time, like hubbard and sweet meat. I felt regret for not getting around to picking them

 

The great thing about the sun is it is very hard for me to stay depressed or sad. In the center of my  garden, where an old plum tree had fallen a few years ago, the treec stump was covered wiblackberry vines. Armed with pick axe and clippers, I set out to clear the area. I wasn’t too surprised when I found some  solid squash and pumpkins hidden in the vines, protected from the elements. After filling up my yard debris bucket with these blackberry vines, I brought in one of the squash survivor, a sweet meat, for dinner which went a long way to alleviating my guilt for allowing this good food to spoil.

This guilt of letting food spoil nags me is constant. I love to  garden, and I always grow more than I need, especially since I don’t have the  heart to pull out volunteer starts, but I don’t like to can or preserve. I made pickles once, and they came out really good, but I also cracked the ceramic stovetop doing so.

The other day while ordering from Harry & David, the woman asked me if I wanted to buy some pears on sale. I live pears, but I immediately thought of all the pears that fell that I didn’t eat. I bought a food dryer and did dry some apples and pears, but the guilt of letting so many decompose kept me from buying any new ones.

Perhaps I need to start a 12-step program fire people who let food rot. Meanwhile, I am starting to spread the pumpkin and squash carcasses around my garden, imagining next year’s garden.Pumpkin

Why I write.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In previous blogs, I have written about why I write. I write because I like to write and have fun writing even if I am writing for my eyes only.

As I look at some of my very early writings, I am reminded that I write to vent, to put down on paper the raw emotions that other people don’t want to hear. I am not sure how old I was when I wrote this note. It’s possible I was revealing a dual personality of some sort as half of the writing is in cursive and the other half isn’t. I am guessing that I was about ten. I’m copying it verbatim, which also demonstrates my problems with writing, but that’s a different story.

“Do not come in the monsters room she is in the most unbearable situation hating herself for she is a loose temperd, a little beast. And so on I think these are true statements.” I signed this as an official document and then added a p.s in cursive:

“P.s. Mother I love you and I complain to much you wont havto slick (which is probably stick) with me because Iam leaving tomorrow after school so if you don’t mind will you write a note for me?

Thankyou

The beast, pest, (something that I can’t make out), monster, Susan”

I wish I had actually written a journal back then to figure out what set me off; it didn’t take me much. Not getting my way would send me into a furious temper trantrum. I sometimes scared myself when I seemed to not have any control over my outbursts.

I have lived a life of an emotional roller coaster, though I have had more lows than highs. I have never been one to get crazy excited about anything. I don’t remember screaming out when I bowled my first 300. I might have given a slight fist pump to accent my accomplishment, but I don’t know how to be demonstrative. I suppose I don’t like to draw attention to myself, and this would true for those lows as well.

Basically for the last forty years or so, I write to give my emotions a place to live and be accepted for who they are and not fear being shamed or being squelched. For the most part, my journal has been a place that I’ve been able to write things that I wanted to say to someone, like when I get angry and it’s a place where I can safely lose control and let it all out without causing harm to anything or anyone. I wish I could say that I have always had the control to say things just to myself. My mouth has gotten me into more trouble than I can count, especially when my sarcastic editor chooses to stay home.

Writing online has not been a friend to this loose cannon. I lost my last job because of saying something on Facebook that I shouldn’t have said. At least I shouldn’t have shared my anger on such a public forum. Some lessons in life are harder to learn than others.

Earlier today I was reading a blog, “what we lost with ned vizzini” by Stephanie Wardrop that inspired me to look at my darker side and embrace all of my emotions when I write and be willing to share, especially when I know that there are people out there that may think that depression and anger are unique only to them.

Trepidation creeps in as I think about future posts. What if I say the wrong thing? Well, taking Robin Roberts’ advice, for now I’ll trust in the present and just see what happens. Life is a journey and writing is my map.

Response to Barbara Walters top Ten of Most Fascinating People

Friday, December 20, 2013

I don’t think I have ever watched a Barbara Walters most fascinating people special before, but I Dvr’d it this week. I hadn’t realized this was her final show and that she was retiring. So in a way, watching her felt like I was participating in history in the making. I really enjoyed the looking back at the last twenty years; the amazing people who unexpectedly die such as John F. Kennedy Jr., but I’ve always had a soft-spot for the Kennedy’s. I wondered if any of the Kennedy women have ever made the most fascinating people according to Barbara Walters. Caroline Kennedy, after all, is the first female ambassador to Japan. I also think highly of Maria Shriver.

I also was intrigued in how many most fascinating people ended up with egg on their face, like Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods. I don’t think Alex Rodriguez ever made the list.

As Barbara Walters reminisced about the past twenty years of most fascinating people, I agreed with her about fifty percent of the time. I definitely don’t think that Sarah Palin deserved to be on the list three times. She’s definitely out there and draws attention.

The list of 2013 left me with a lot of questions. I haven’t been keeping up with Hollywood, so the name Jennifer Lawrence didn’t mean anything, but after Walters’ interview with her, I could agree that she could make the list. She seemed like a down-to-earth real person, and I commend that. So, why in the world would someone like Paris Hilton make the list. I loved it when Barbara asked her if she was dumb and ditzy and Paris said no, but then had this really ditzy laugh that followed.

I applauded Walters’ choice of “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts. To show the world her ordeal of cancer treatment is powerful and courageous.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against Miley Cyrus. I am not of the demographics that would have watched Hannah Montana, but everyone really loved her as that character, but it seemed liked the only reason Miley made the list the second time was because of the radical change in her personality as she grew up. Perhaps the good girl who never swore would have lasted if she didn’t grow up in Hollywood, but just because she can’t keep her clothes on and sticks her tongue out when people take her picture, doesn’t warrant an appearance on the most fascinating people.

When Walters announced that Pope Francis was on the list, I was a bit skeptical, but after listening to her description of all that he is doing to moderate the Catholic position on gays, I saw him in a different light. He even takes the city bus makes his own phone calls, and wants to be close to the people.

I had the same question when Edward Snowden’s name came up. I knew he was a fugitive of the United States for espionage, but I have never been very clear on why he fled to Russia. Now that I realize that his intention was to alert us to the fact that Big Brother is watching everything we’re saying and writing, like perhaps this blog, and he didn’t like that idea and wanted other people to know that this was going on. I didn’t get the hit that his intention was to sabotage the United States.

The last two on the list really left me wondering. I had never heard of Duck Dynasty, but that’s all I have been hearing about since Barbara broadcasted this special. Is the cast of Duck Dynasty fascinating because they sell duck calls or have a reality show and are ultra conservative? I just don’t get it, and I hope to never hear any more about them.

I’m somewhat torn about the last person on the list: Prince George. I do have a soft spot for royalty, though Prince Charles never has caused me to raise an eyebrow. I did shed tears when Lady Diana died, but she was an amazing woman doing amazing things with her position. And yes, the baby prince is cute, but how can someone be fascinating just because they happy by chance to be born into royalty?

And so I’ve been thinking about who I would name as the most fascinating people of 2013. I’m a bit biased, but I think the Boston Red Sox team of 2013 should have made the list. They were especially fascinating with all of those beards and the slogon of “fear the beard.” But, I am after all a die-hard Red Sox fan so am a bit biased.

Has Peyton Manning ever been on the list? I think he’s a very amazing person, especially after coming back from such a difficult injury. Have any football players made Walters’ list? Joe Montana?

I think it’s fascinating the Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, though a Nobel prize in anything would be fascinating, but Literature is the only thing I can say I understand.

The other day, and I say that figuratively since it could have been weeks, I was watching Dances With Wolves. The scene when the idiot calvary guys were shooting a horse has stuck with me, and even though I knew they really weren’t really killing the horse, it was just the way it was filmed. Every bullet, every angle, accented the tragedy. Other directors would have shot it differently and it would have had a different impression. The vision that directors have to flesh out the story is powerful. Has Ron Howard, though in my mind he’ll always be Opie, ever been on the most fascinating people list? Stanley Kubrick? Nora Ephron?

         I only have a list of about five who are currently following my blog, but I’m curious as to who you think should be on the list of the most fascinating people of 2013.

December 19th’s meanderings

December 19, 2013

6:09 p.m.

For years and years, I have been writing a journal with the purpose of documenting my life. The activity is very self-serving. I enjoy writing about almost everything that happens. Hey, it doesn’t take much to keep myself entertained, especially when I am writing for myself. Well, that’s changing since I have made the choice, made the promise to write everyday.

What stops a lot of people from writing, and this is the number one reason why people would not write letters to me: they have nothing to write about. I propose that it doesn’t really take much to find something to write about.

The greatest thing about writing for the public is that if someone finds my blog boring and meaningless just don’t have to read what I write.

         I got up this morning around 8:30. My main goal was to feed the dogs, mostly with the purpose of getting Abby to leave me alone; she can be very persistent when it comes to food. I also needed to check on the pump room floor as yesterday morning when I fed the dogs, I noticed there was a very large puddle that was trying to impersonate a very small lake. It wasn’t anything that towels couldn’t clean up, and we did finally find the three pipes that were leaking and were able to place a container under to catch the drips.

         After feeding Abby, Ricky, and Lucy, I looked at the calendar, though I know there wasn’t much on it, and said to myself, “Well, I don’t have to go to the doctor’s until eleven, I might as well go back to bed and read.” Reading in bed is one of my favorite activities, especially when it is cold and I can snuggle in my fleece Patriot’s blanket. In the Summer, I go out in the hot sun and read on the deck. Read and warmth seem to go hand in hand. Anyway, I just started a new book, The White Princess, and I’m hooked on this series.

         I got up around 10:15 after reading and napping, and jumped into the shower. The dogs tried to convince me that since I was just getting up, it must be their breakfast time. I didn’t fall for it. I have in the past, which is probably why Lucy the Loveable Yellow Labrador weighs a whopping 101 pounds. She’s a tank.

         Even though I was just going cross town, the dogs thought that this was a fantastic adventure. What did we do before automatic windows? I suppose once you roll the window down, it stayed down. But today, the windows went up and down so often, I was worried about burning up the motor. I’d open the windows and Ricky and Abby would stick their heads out. After a short bit, perhaps the chill was too much, they would come back into the cab of the car. (Is that what the inside of a car is called?) Sometimes, the sound of the window going up would motivate the dogs to want to put their heads back out.

         Got the doctor’s office with the hopes of getting a cup of coffee. I can’t travel with coffee in my Subaru because all of the cup holders are busted and I’m not willing to shell out a few hundred dollars for a replacement. After checking in with the front desk, I went immediately to the coffee. One press of the lever only got me a cup of air. I’m sure you’ve all heard that sound of an empty coffee carafe. I settled for decaf.

         I’m the kind of person that tends to talk to whoever is around. The woman that was sitting next to me had driven from Roseburg to Eugene, a seventy-mile one-way trip. Don’t you have doctor’s in Southern Oregon? She said that the good doctor’s don’t stay in Roseburg because of Medicare and Medicaid. I have to take her word on this statement as I have no clue. I asked her if she was ready for the holidays, and she said that by the time you get to be as old as she, and she didn’t seem to be that old, Christmas isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I told her that I often feel the same way. My Christmas Candle collection that is probably four or five paper-box full hasn’t seen the light of day in a few years or so. This year there’s not one sign that the holidays are coming except for the wonderful centerpiece that my sister sent to me for Christmas.

         The wait for the nurse wasn’t long, but the visit was much shorter than the wait in the first place, but that’s always the case, isn’t it? The purpose of this visit was to get my twice-yearly shot of Prolia. This was my third round of the drug that’s suppose to help my osteoporosis that nothing else seems to be helping. I tried to take the pills, like the ones that Sally Field’s promotes, but the allergic reaction gives me such severe bone pain that is so unbearable that I want to die. In March, I’ll find out if this denosumab injection is affecting my bones, especially my degenerative back.Image

         My dogs were so happy to see me. It’s too bad they can’t clean my glasses while they slobber all over me. Once I announced that we were ready to go for a drive, they resumed their rightful positions. Ricky always has the first seat, Abby rides the middle, front part of her body in the front and the hind part riding the edge of the back seat. Lucy hangs out with the bowling balls in the back of the Forester.

         While waiting for the plumber to arrive, I puttered around the house. Cleaning some of the kitchen, playing Words With Friends, dealing with the compost, and bringing in wood. Of course, all of these activities involved constant breaks of playing with the dogs, which mostly involved the throwing of a Frisbee.

         Now that dinner has been cooked and consumed, my reward is to sit in front of a toasty fire and read.

Christmas shopping idea

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/honthumb/Documents/December2013.doc

December 18, 2013

8:42 p.m.

Christmas shopping has always been a struggle for me. I put it off as long as possible because I really don’t know what to get. I want the perfect present, something that will cause the giftee to think about me for the entire year, though I know that that this isn’t a plausible goal. I do realize that gifts represent how much I care about someone. I take pride in finding a gift that suggests that I know the person well enough. My biggest obstacle is that I don’t know my sisters as well as I would like. We live in separate states and basically have separate lives.

It doesn’t help that shopping isn’t my favorite thing. You will never catch me in the mob that shops Black Friday. I did it once with my partner and vow to never do such an insane thing again. It’s those lines that drive me crazy.

For many years I dragged my feet mostly because I dreaded the postal lines that stretched from here to Tuesday.

Today, I am pleased to say, I got my shopping done. Thank God for the internet. I don’t know why it took me so long to get my shopping done this time because most of my shopping was done at a site that not only gets me gifts, but it also gives me warm fuzzy feelings because money is used to take care of rescued animals.splash

So, if you are struggling for gifts this year, check out The Animal Rescue Site Store. http://theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com

Dog Time

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ImageAbby the Labby Number Nine is staring at me intently. If eyes could be persuasive, she’s got a pretty good thing going. When those beautiful brown eyes begin to beg, my heart starts to melt. Her inner clock has always been off, but ever since we changed the clocks a few weeks ago, or so, she starts giving me that look that suggests it is dinner time about forty-five minutes to an hour before the earliest I feed them. I try to explain to get that she has to wait forty-five minutes. I know she doesn’t understand the concept, and I think if she did, she would contest that my clock is wrong, my human clock. If one human year equals roughly seven dog years, how many minutes would a dog minute be? You do the math. I’m an English Teacher, but do get back to me so I have some statistics to throw out. People love numbers.

I wonder if this mean planets orbit faster for dogs? Perhaps if they didn’t insist on turning around and around so many times before laying down, dogs would live longer. I wish it were that easy.

Little Blue Ball

Little blue ballDecember 16, 2013

2:31 p.m.

Earlier in the day, the dogs were barking, trying to tell me something. I figured they were barking at some noise from episode 11 of Sleepy Hollow. I ignored them. Ricky’s a barker and Abby will echo Ricky’s bark regardless of if there’s anything to actually bark at. I tend to ignore them more times than not.

A while later, after emerging from the depths of the basement where I have been busily cataloguing and alphabetizing my collection of books, the dogs were still very eager to go outside, and that’s when I noticed the package. The package, along with the mail, perched on the threshold. The dogs gave me a sideways glance, scolding me that they were right in alarming me that someone had broached the security. Good thing it was just the postal carrier and not some strange element that lurks in the fog. I’ve got to stop reading Patricia Brigg’s books about vampires and werewolves.

When I saw that the package was from my sister Deb, I dug in with delight. Chocolate. She always sends peanut butter chocolate balls. I also looked forward to the possibility of balls for the dog. It helps to have a tennis player in the family to keep my Labradors loaded with tennis balls, but this time there was a new addition. A little blue ball. I don’t know if someone in my family has taken up squash, though I’m sure this little blue rubber ball is used in other sports as well.

I really wanted to grab some really good sports action pictures with the dogs catching the little blue ball, but operator error prevented me from getting anything other than blurrs and pictures that reminded me of what it would be like to be car sick.Anticipation

The little blue ball provided a great anticipation shot. The picture of Ricky vaulting into the air snagging the little ball in mid-air would have been spectacular, if I could figure out how to throw the ball, point the camera, and click it in all one movement. I guess you’ll have to use your imagination.what ball?

The little blue ball inspired the pups to wrestle and carry on, and it didn’t take long for them to forget about the little blue ball and focus on just playing with each other.A bit of roughhousing

One day at a time

SourceURL:file://localhost/Users/honthumb/Documents/December2013.doc

Sunday, December 15, 2013

10:27 p.m.

Darn it. I missed a day of blogging. My intention was to blog every day. I know that it takes many days to create a habit, so I was paying attention to my brain, watching out for excuses, rational reasons for not doing something, especially if the task is difficult, like writing.

Yesterday, while writing emails and in my journal, I thought about the things that would be good for my blog. Things that people may be interested in reading about. It’s not like I wasn’t without ideas.

And then as I was writing this morning in my journal, I felt like something was missing. Did I write in my blog? I had thought about my blog so much, I didn’t realize that I didn’t write until today. What made matters more confusing is that this blogging page must be an East Coast entity since it time-stamped my writing as the day after I wrote it, and since I wrote around ten o’clock Pacific Time, credit was given for the next day. I hadn’t noticed that before because I prefer to put my own stamp on it. I’m already realizing that since I’m writing after ten o’clock on Sunday, the program will automatically put this on the next page.

Today’s been a strange day. Perhaps the lull after the storm has caught up with me. I had a extra tough time getting out of bed. Even though there was a good chance that the Patriots were going to be on TV, I still didn’t find the motivation to get out of bed until most of the game was over. Perhaps if they had won, my mood would have gotten better, but I doubt it.

I thought that by watching a funny movie, my mood would pick up. I am not a Steve Cerell fan and Crazy Stupid Love was more stupid than crazy. I tried to like the movie. I really did. I only walked away twice when I was so bored I had to get something to eat. It did have a happy ending and everyone did live happily ever after, but I expected a few chuckles that never game. Maybe it was my mood.

I’m not the only one in a strange funk. Quite a few of my Facebook friends, especially my younger Facebook friends have made note of this. So many things are going on. The count down to Christmas has begun. Vacation is around the corner. I think that the full moon isn’t too far off. Everything effects everything.

Writing to dis cover

 

writing down the bonesFriday, December 13, 2013

10:02 p.m.

Friday the 13th. Today I had the honor of being a guest teacher at Sheldon High School in Eugene where I taught three freshman English classes. Having an opportunity to explore writing caused my heart to sore and my soul to sing.

To follow up yesterday’s blog on why I write, today’s classes illuminated today’s answer: I write so I know what I am thinking. Kinda. Perhaps by writing, I’ll figure out an easier way to describe what I am trying to say.

After seeing Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones, I decided to introduce my students to stream of conscious writing.

In the past, I have attempted to explain to the students that I did want them to think as they wrote, but just let the words flow out onto the page.

But how do we not think?

So, today I first polled the class to see who were the athletes in the room. One student was a basketball player. I asked him if did much thinking when he was at the line shooting free-throws. Before answering me with a definite no, a smirk of some sort crept onto his face. Why wouldn’t you want to think about that shot? He explained that thinking would interfere with the fluidity of the shot.

I expounded on the notion of muscle memory, that if I work hard enough at shooting a free-throw or converting a ten-pin into a spare, the action becomes routine and automatic.

Writing is the same thing. With enough practice, writing can become automatic, fluid. As the cliché says, “Trust is a Must.” This combats the other cliché of “If you start to think, you will start to stink.”

I find that by employing the free-write stream of consciousness writing early in the school year, it helps students move past the roadblock of “I don’t know what to write about.”

Why do I write? I write to journey, to take an expedition to explore my thoughts to figure out what I know and what I don’t know. Writing allows me to be curious and ask questions. By allowing myself to write, I see life’s magic as endless possibilities where anything is possible, a life without boundaries. And this is why I write.

Why I write.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

4:34 p.m.

Why I write. Why do I write? I have asked myself this question many times. My mood dictates my answers.

Writing for entertainment. Perhaps if I had computer games, I may not have written anything, but being the youngest of four girls and from a neighborhood where I didn’t have that many friends to play with, I wrote to occupy my time. At ten, I started my memoirs, though the autobiography could have been a school assignment. I suspect that my eldest sister Barbara, who was twenty at the time of this writing, “helped” me write this story. I doubt that it was my idea to write, “When we were in South Carolina my sisters went fishing for crabs while I got in the way. During the whole trip I threw tempertantrums and I would pound my head against the floor if I didn’t get my way.”

I won’t deny that I threw temper tantrums when I did not get my way, but I started seeing writing as a way of helping my cause. I’ve got a couple of letters I wrote from Fleur de Lis Camp in New Hampshire. I have no idea how old I was at the time. In my letter to my sister Pam, I wrote: “I WANT TO COME HOME!!!! So much. lots of  kid’ hate me or always call me stupid or something. I like all the events. So By-By….I don’t have much to say But I don’t like it here.”

With the same pen, written on the same stationary, probably written on the same day, I wrote to my sister Deb, but instead of wanting to come home, I wrote, “Iam not so good. I miss you all too much. I want to come home too much. In fact I demand to come home.” I go on to tell her that I’m having fun in the events. Persuasive writing was not my strong suit as I did not get paroled early for good behavior and had to serve the sentence of what seemed to be an eternity.

These early pieces of my writing bring me to another reason why I write or why I continue to write every day: So I can remember. I was seven when my sister Pam ran away while we were in Edgertown. I don’t remember why. I don’t even remember where Edgertown is. I am hoping that when I eventually collect a reader or two, I may be told, or perhaps I’ll be motivated to do some research for some future writing.

This brings me to a third reason to write. I write to help me come up with more things to write. Since I have been journaling, rather steadily since the 1980s, I have plenty of things to write about. This blog will give me the opportunity to let those thirty-year-old ideas come to light. I am looking forward to this.

Third Day of my life of a blogger

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

10:02 p.m.

(I really want to learn how to control the spacing on this blog, but I find that messing with those kinds of things distracts me from the writing. So for now, just bear with the extra spaces between the paragraph.)

Maybe this is a metaphor that it’s okay for me to take up more space. I like the idea of having more space between my words. There’s definitely more room to read between the lines.

Even though I have been a journaler since the early 80s, and have recently returned to a five-page-a day average without much trouble, writing with a potential audience is particularly intimidating. This is not a news flash in that I have an easier time writing to myself than for another. What if what I write isn’t interesting or thought-provoking? Again, this is not a news flash either in stating that this simple question has paralyzed me, preventing me from moving and growing as a writer.

I almost talked myself out of writing this evening. The excuses were lining up as if I were creating a David Letterman Top-ten list of why I shouldn’t blog tonight. 1. I don’t feel good. 2. I have a headache. 3. It’s cold and my bed is so warm. 4. My batter on my cell-phone is dying, and I do most of my writing on it. 5. I’d rather play with the dogs. 6. I have to watch Criminal Minds. 7. Oh, after Criminal Minds, I have to watch CSI. 8. I may have professed that I was going to blog every day, but who will know. 9. I have to clean my house. And the number one excuse I was conjuring in my brain was: I’ve been snowed in for six days and have absolutely nothing to write about.

 

Fifth day home

20131210_181055_E 29th AveDecember 10, 2013

Ying, my tiger-striped cat, sits on my lap in front of a fire in the wood stove. To my recollection, which those of you who know me is immediately suspect, is the first time Ying has sat in front of a fire. Her slight purr and slight kneading of her claws into my jeans are the ingredients for happiness. Maybe the spices of happiness. The fire. The warmth. The human contact are the ingredients.

Last Thursday, the weather prognostications called for snow. They even bet the farm, some going out on a limb saying they were 100 percent right. Many pooh-poohed this idea. But nobody could have predicted that last Friday’s eight to ten inch snow storm would call for a five-day weekend. I have counted on my hands many a time: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and now tomorrow.

My cars have not left the drive way since last Thursday. I have ventured out side a few time, to take pictures, motivate my the Labradors to frolic, and just get out of the house.

I have been reading a lot. I read in bed, under a warm Patriot’s fleece blanket. I read in front of a fire. I read in the hot bath. I have finished a few books, though I have such a collection that I could never read them all in my life time. And then there are always the Library books and the books on my Kindle.

But what I am noticing is my attention span is losing traction. I have always wondered if I have ADHD, but today is a good indicator. I can focus on Words With Friends for only a game or two. I tried reading a new, at least new to me Patricia Briggs book, but I could not follow the plot or the character and gave up after one page.

But I have succeeded in holding my attention to blog, and my goal of writing everyday is two-days strong. Perhaps this is where my focus should be.

fond feelings for worms

Today was not a good day to be a worm. The Willamette Valley has been slammed with a lot of rain these past few days that the ground was finally saturated. Worms surfaced. On my way to school this morning I relocated a gigantic earthworm from the drive to avoid running it over. That one survived, but countless others perished. Some drowned. Some got stepped on.
I haven’t always been a worm advocate. I found dissecting worms interesting. I still see specimens pinned with guts, albeit tiny splayed. Do they have more than one heart? I wish I could remember the scientific name for earth worm.

If not now, when

December 9, 2013

While meandering on a blog by El, and that’s the only name I know, I felt desire to return to this blog, perhaps not at a level I could describe as urgency. I was tempted to begin my vow to write every day at the beginning of January. But I’ve re-shelved that idea so many times, the dust is several inches thick, so I decided to take the plunge. Thanks El for the inspiration.