Men aren’t the only ones

that are messing around with Facebook. Men aren’t the only ones who are ruining the integrity of Facebook. Yes, I am an idealist. I want to believe that every face I see on the internet is really the person that I’m having the conversation with. No, I don’t still believe in Santa, but I sure wish I did.

How could I not want a friend who wears a cool cat shirt?

MaryKeatingWhen Mary Keating asked me for a Facebook friendship, I judged her picture and said yes. It’s always the new friends that message you almost immediately after being accepted that sends red flags up. Maybe I ought to pick different colors so red isn’t always seen as bad.

OnlineMary Keating

Chat Conversation Start
You’re friends on Facebook

Hello how are you doing there?
Excellent. You?
Good to hear from you.Am doing wonderfully great.I hope you have also been contacted by the CFA ?
Its the (COMMUNITY FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE) It’s a Give back money grant offer from the Financial domestic assistance agency to help people maintain the standard of living, Oh I thought you have heard it already!
What makes you think I am interested? 
I even thought you have been contacted already because I saw your name among the winner list when the CFA agent brought cash to me and I wonder if you have got yours ?
Damn. Another bogus Facebook friendship. I will tell authorities that Mary Keating has been hacked. Do something productive with your intelligence.

I didn’t get a chance to complain to authorities. When I clicked on Mary’s link I  got this with a cute little hazardous sign.

Sorry, this content isn’t available right now

The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.
Maybe the hacker blocked me. I don’t know. I suppose I don’t care.
I did send Mary a message to her. There’s nothing from 2016 on her page, so chances are she won’t get the message.
Some of the Facebook entries for CFA look legit, but there’s more bad than good. Better Business was contacted and they put this Public Announcement out:

We’ve received reports of “agents” contacting consumers about grants from “Empowerment Financial Domestic Assistance“, “Community for Federal Domestic Assistance”, and other similarly named programs.

This is a scam playing off the federal “Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)” which “does not use social media or direct phone contact to solicit, review, or make awards.”

Reports of similar scams began to surface last spring and continue to pop up across the country.

If anyone contacts you about free federal money, be instantly skeptical, never give out personal information, and report everything to the BBB at, the FBI at, and the GSA Inspector General Fraud Line at (800) 424-5210 or

One woman wrote about how someone was using her mother’s picture for the scam and said she was feeling pissed off at specific people as if she knew the hackers. I have no clue if Winston Blair is related to Esther. Guyana. The CFA gets around. Readers beware.

Esther Spontaneous Blair feeling pissed off with Winston Blair and 9 others.

Hoping for an unpredictable Facebook

conversation. I am hoping for an unpredictable Facebook Friend request from a guy. A while back, I wrote about various conversations I was having on Facebook. I had to stop accepting requests from guys who have only a few friends in common. Boring. The names would change, and some were doozies. But the conversation was the same as if there’s a book out there that guys can buy to do some fishing on Facebook or maybe they are just playing around. I don’t know. I don’t care. It gets old.

But it had been a while, so why not. I can’t garden. It’s too cold. The Red Sox game doesn’t start for another half an hour. A little time on my hand. I also have that lingering hope, a hope that there are some interesting friendships to be made, but this is not one of them:

Shehata Abdelzaber is the guy’s name. The names Richard Mike are in parenthesis, but I don’t know what that means. I’ve met people with two first names, but never my dad and my brother-in-law. We have three friends in common. Friends I don’t know. Most of my Facebook friends fall in that category, and some grow into friends. Guys like Richard Mike or Shehata Abdelzaber fall off the tree fairly early and do not come to fruition. Would this mean that there’s no pollen or nectar? He’s today’s whopper of a conversation.

Within minutes or less of accepting a Facebook friend request, I get a chat. I don’t chat very often. My response is bolded, and the ratio of his words to mine is large. I looked at his Facebook page. Real or Fake? I can’t tell the difference, but I liked the picture of him and a horse even though I know nothing about the guy. I don’t know where he’s from. Nothing. He tells me that his horse’s name is smart. I can only think of Smart Ass.

He tells me he has a dog, but can’t spell also, which isn’t criteria for discarding someone by itself, but it hits a little alarm. His dog is Smokey. What’s that song about meatballs and smoky?

The conversation looks rather like poetry. His short incomplete sentences to my treatises of who knows what.

I stop responding, but he hasn’t gotten the hint.

Chat Conversation Start
You’re friends on Facebook 4:21PM
Hello Susan
How are you doing
Thanks for accepting my request
Great. What is your horse’s name? That was the deciding factor. I accepted two out of three request. Quick screen of your page, you seemed like a nice guy. I hope I don’t change my mind.
Oh okay thanks
My horse name is smart
i aslo have a dog too
His name smoky
No problem. My goal is to have so many friends that Facebook will tell me I can’t have anymore. That’s the basic intention. Not much beyond that.
Where are you from?
It’s going to be easy to cut this guy off. Richard Mike or whoever you are. We are Facebook friends. My life story is practically on Facebook. Where I’m from isn’t hidden, though maybe it should. My relationship status of not available is a big suggestion. The problem is that guys or whoever are trying to take the short cut.  Life’s too short to waste. I’ve got Sunday Night Baseball to watch when the Red Sox take on the Houston Astros. The Sox helped to break the Astro’s four game losing streak and the Astros sunk the BoSox to under .500. Time to give them my undivided attention.
I could not resist. My intention was to slip over to Facebook’s tab and unfriend the guy, but  I had to have perhaps the final word.
Thank you for giving me something to blog about. I knew there was a good reason for accepting your Facebook friend request.
The conversation continues. Maybe since I didn’t read what I wrote, I don’t recall changing my tone or suggesting that he’s said something wrong:
Why are you sounding this way
What have i done wrong
My response:
Did I say you did something wrong. Every so often I’ll copy and past a conversation into my blog. I should give you the link so you can read it for yourself, but you already know what you said, now four thousand other people know what you said. Nothing of a harmful nature. I’m not saying that. Just predictable.
If he hadn’t bothered to read my Facebook page, I’m sure he’ll not be inclined to read my blog.
My main man Dustin Pedroia squirts a single down the third base line to move Mookie Betts to third. Dustin must have had a double, though the left fielder for Houston did bobble the ball, allowing P.D or Pedie to scamper to second. Bogaerts tries to get a run in with a slice up first base line. Just not far enough out of the infield to allow the Red Sox to score.
Can you tell that I’m bored of my conversation with Richard Mike…
Should I send you my blog address?
Hoping for an unpredictable Facebook
Friend request from a guy. A while back, I wrote about various conversations I was having on Facebook. I had to stop accepting requests from guys who have only a few friends in common. Boring. The …
What is this
That’s my blog about you.
No i dont want
You said you did. I figured if you aren’t interested in reading my Facebook page you wouldn’t want to read my blog even though you are the main topic.

Not a B Day.

I am limited in a reduced alphabet today. Basically, the bottom row. I have to work hard to get to the letter B. Maybe the title ought to be Today’s a B Day since the B is the letter that stands out since it might have to be left out.

Cat. Laptop. The configuration of Yang’s sleeping on my lap, another factor, effects word choice. Sometimes she puts some letters out of bounds and that I have to concentrate extra hard to be able to hit my target. She just moved and I have been avoiding the b’s, but I have been able to dance over the letters.

It helps that Yang has my right arm pinned. She’s allowed my hand almost full function with hitting keys, but to reach the remote right next to me is an impossible task. If I want to pay attention to the Houston Rockets shooting a buzzer beater of a three against the beloved Golden State Warriors. I haven’t watched much basketball this year. On Friday’s while bowling, I watched on the screens. I think some of the bowlers were there to watch the game rather than bowl. That league has taught me, reminded me how fun bowling used to be.

Yang has adjusted, giving me not only the reachability to keyboard, but I have the ability to see the keys. I don’t tend to look very often, but sometimes it’s neat to see my fingers dance all over the keyboard. I prefer looking at the words popping up on the screen, so I can figure out what has to change and what can stay the same. Typically a blog doesn’t get much editing. I can’t re-read what I write without doing major renovation, and then I get lost in trying to transform my words into breathe-taking sentences that will stay in the mind of the reader for at least a minute or two. Possibly longer. The ideal would be writing something in the way that I will remember it and not have to resort to re-reading my life so I get a rough idea.

When did the letter B fall from people’s Graces? B used to mean above average. C was average. Used to be that C’s were the good guys, a positive target. B-rated movies only get the attention of a small group of out of control fans. Zealots that grab onto a movie and make a cult out of it, though the movies that come to mind are not ones with small fan bases. I could be wrong, but I am absolutely positive that the Rocky Horror Picture Show is far from a B movie, and that the zealous fans is not a small number. Harold and Maude is up there. The other day I was describing the movie, a movie I have seen a dozen times. I own the VHS and DVD versions. I had to stop talking about it to K & A or A & K because they haven’t seen the movie. Aaron Arthur Lange, have you seen the movie yet? No, I have not seen the Big Lebowskii.

Side note. Houston is leading Golden State by five, I mean two points. I have to type faster sentences if I am going to type about Steph Curry who drained a long three just as I wrote the five. Speaking of five, is the first round of basketball the best of five and with GS holding a 2-1 lead going into this fourth game. Golden  State set the record for most wins in a season and most importantly fewest losses. Unstoppable. And they have been this way since last year. So, for the Rockets to make a stand and tie the series up is humongous. All of my fibers are saying it’s only out of seven games later into the tournament. I could be wrong. Certainly not the first time.

Not having a B Day or better yet, Being proud that today is a B Day.Above average day is right in the books for me. Right as rain? Today’s supposed to’s or wanna do’s have been suspended due to rain. I  thought that I was going to get some gardening in. As I looked out at the sky, tried to gauge the temperature, i pronounced it to be gardening time. Only the Yankees were on. Bowling was over. Basketball hasn’t caught much of my attention this year. I have some peas that would like to go into the garden. It’s like they get called up to the Bigs by moved from my greenhouse farm team, to the garden that soon will be over planted.

I move slow. By the time I did this and that; weaving in distractions, some that needed attention and others just got it. By the time I had my jeans and hooded sweatshirt on, and wool socks as I was expecting not so warm weather to greet me, it started to rain. Wind intermingled with the rain that quickly became constant. Loud rain. Large rain drops.

I don’t mind gardening in the rain. Did it the other day, but I was already invested into gardening when the shower started. Shorts and A T didn’t mind the fine mist, and it was over before it completely registered that it was raining. Yes, I am slow from head to toe.

Dejection. As I stood on the entryway from housebound to singing with the birds, I felt disappointed. I wanted to dig in the dirt and check on my babies out there. The cabbage and other broccoli type veggies. I tried to spell their Brass category, but the acus or accaus ending baffled my poor little brain.. I didn’t realize I was too quick to put squash in, which probably includes pickles as well. I tend to jump the gun when I get bit by the gardening bug. The year off has made the itch worse. I have perhaps six different types of tomatoes. At first I’ll talk my way out of buying the Roma sauce tomatoes, but then I think of the sauces I make, and I start collecting those. I don’t even care if the tomato isn’t red, but black or purple or yellow. Small. Great. Big. Gender doesn’t mean much when I gather as many tomato I can find. Early Girl and Big Boy are my favorites. Oregon has some of the most amazing organic tomatoes.

By letting my garden do it’s own thing last year, I won’t have volunteer tomato and squash come up, but I do have lots of onions to garden around or transplant.

When I was at Down to Earth Friday just because my path happened to cross with just two detours, I did my best to stop the itch. Buying starts, regardless how many starts I have nurtured from seed. There’s always room for more starts. The itch worsened when I discovered the discounted and close to desperate starts. I would have bought more strawberries, but my rule is I can only buy what I can carry. I’ve never been able to carry two boxes. I settle for the box, knowing that it won’t be but a few days before another gardening store and I cross paths. I’m working five days this week, so I’ll have five opportunities.

I thought today was going to be one of those opportunities, but the rain came. Softball off the schedule. Planting off the schedule. This also means the only opportunity I’ll have tomorrow is to plant. I’ve got this other self-imposed rule. I can’t buy any more plants until all has been planted. I have to have strict guidelines for myself or I’ll end up with even more plants than my large garden can hold.

Every so often, I peak out the corner of the basement window. I look to see if the evergreen branches are moving. The weeds that I try to ignore. Cow Parsley has run smoke in the side figs042116yard. This year’s crop is going to be taller than me, which might mean it’s time to do something. I’m trying to not think of all of the somethings that calls for my attention. Do the fig trees care that their enclosed area is vying for the area’s nutrients.

I don’t even like figs, but these little babies are so cute. Not cute enough to motivate me to weed the grass from the pen. Deer would destroy this young tree. Just like the Kiwi trees, though negligence was the primary reason for their deaths. Another gender situation, needing a male and a female tree. I don’t remember which one succumbed first and which one more hearty to neglect.

Sylvia bought me starts from Bi-Mart. Maybe more corn. I don’t go as crazy on getting all the varieties, but I tend to take up maybe a quarter or more of the space to corn. Letting beans and squash be close neighbors help. The beans love running up the corn, but it’s got to be able to keep with the climbers. The hummingbirds will be happy with the beans. Scarlett Runners are their favorite. I mostly grow them for the hummingbirds.

But since she brought starts and Yang has deserted my lap, I have no reason to watch any more basketball even though history is in the making; anything GS is playing these days, history is always in the making.

Gotta go.


Scapes. Hand-scapes is the assignment at hand for the A3 students in Drawing Basics. Draw 3-5 hands. I don’t remember if they were supposed to be drawing their hands or other hands or even inhuman hands. Chimp. Gorilla. Possum. Raccoon, sort of. Opposable thumbs. I have always been rather  biased towards the thumb. It’s not a finger, right? I’ve got this fact of no use stuck in my head that the thumb is classified differently than the finger. Please tell me this is so.

The ability to just go to Oxford in a blink of an eye and get the authoritarian view of the thumb versus finger controversy. If the thumb is casually thrown into the sea of fingers, wouldn’t this mean we as humans, I mean Homo Sapiens, are related to more than primates and whales. Have you ever seen the bones of a whale? What does a whale need opposable thumbs for?

“The Oxford definition for finger is as follows: ‘each of the four slender jointed parts attached to either hand (or five, if the thumb is included)’. This wording implies that, while the thumb isn’t typically regarded as a finger, there is enough evidence of this use to include it in the definition. Although thumbs have certain similarities to fingers, there are some key differences. It’s therefore more accurate to describe a thumb as one of five digits that we have on each hand, rather than as a finger.”

Maybe it’s just me, but that entire thing went right on over my head; wasn’t even a close buzz cut; there was altitude in that chunk of information as it soared clumsily over my head. Maybe I’ll try to read it slowly and parcel out pieces of information so I can digest the various parts.

Oxford specifically announced or pronounced that there are only four slender jointed parts. Maybe the thumb didn’t make the grade because I’ve never seen a slender thumb, not compared to the fingers on the same hand as the thumb. I could, however, compare my thumb to someone else’s thumb to make my fatter than usual  right thumb look slender and therefore fir the finger category. I don’t think my thumb or I really care as long as it is staying in joint.

“Four slender jointed parts” is was Oxford says. Maybe we’re talking about the four joints in our fingers. All of my fingers have been broken so often, I don’t really know how many joints each one has. My poor pinkies have taken most of the beatings. Soccer Goalie. No gloves. Lacrosse goalie. I don’t recall gloves, but that doesn’t mean anything. Softball. Gloves don’t do squat against that of a softball. I imagine in my baseball days, I would have  had to gotten hit on the hands at one point. In the one year of fast pitch softball, a ball against of my fingers as I held out for a bunt. It’s probably not fair that a runner gets to advance when hands are on the bat. Maybe they don’t. Maybe they play it as if the batter hit the ball. I don’t imagine the ball going very far or the batter being able to run very far. I’d be cussing up a storm if something smacked my fingers that hard. Why do they call swearing a blue streak? Once again, I’m asking questions.

“According to The Word Detective in all likelihood, the term did arise by analogy to the speed and force of a bolt of lightning, especially in “talk ablue streak,” meaning to speak rapidly and excitedly. The “blue” in “curse a blue streak” probably also invokes “blue” in the sense of “obscene.”May 27, 2011.”

Back to thumbs as to say I am all thumbs. Thumbs are jointed, though clearly fingers and thumbs have different amount of joints. I have had my thumb out of joint a few times, though the other fingers, the regular fingers have also gone out of joint. No. I am not double-jointed. The worst joint on my body are my little toes. They go out of joint swimming and sometimes walking, and that is pain. My fingers and toes, also known as phalanges, are not the only thing that’s been out of joint in my life. My nose has been out of joint many a time.

So, what’s the difference between fingers and digits and where does the thumb fit in that conversation?  I’m gonna let go of that one as I’m done with that tangent.

My mini self-imposed vacation is officially over. Returning home Sunday after departing on a Saturday got stretched a little.  By mid Sunday, I knew teaching or babysitting middle school music was against my better judgment, I cancelled and asked my  nephew and niece -in-law if I could extend my visit.

Sunday, I arrived at their doorstep on 53rd Street like what the cat dragged in. Does wet toast a better cliché? milk toast? Beyond exhaustion.

Because A & K had school and work, I got a chance to hang out with grand nephews Luke and Lloyd.  Grand nephew Luke  wasn’t so keen on the walks, but I dragged him along using the harness and leash to my advantage. I love having a beagle for a nephew, and Luke is so adorable.

While Monday was still in its infancy, I knew that Tuesday’s assignment with first graders was going to be beyond my capability. I still had no voice. That was lost Saturday before the tragedy of Sunday’s defeat. The only thing on the agenda in addition to work was choir and practices are critical with the May 21 Concert looming. Exhaustion. No Voice. Two hundred miles away. Those ingredients add up to another day off.

Tuesday looking into Wednesday. Instead of taking the one day at a time approach of recuperating, I opted to clear the table, Clean off the agenda for the entire week. Poof. No more work. Maybe I’ll come home by Friday. Early morning Wednesday I’m starting to adjust the timing to Thursday. I was starting to feel homesick. Miss the Dogs. Miss Sylvia. Miss the cats. The standings have changed.

And then the urge to come home hit home around noon. I packed. Said my good byes to Aaron, Kristin, Luke & Lloyd.

Within an hour, I felt as if I hadn’t left. The saran wrap of my home enveloped me. Don’t worry, it was breathable saran wrap. The trip home was so easy and felt timeless.If I were to get a speeding ticket from cops in the sky, how many days would it take for that ticket to make it from the Portland area to Eugene?

There was still plenty of time to do some gardening Wednesday night; it was good to see all of my plant babies. The eggplant looked a bit riddled with bad bug bites, but I suspect the yellow spotted cucumber beetle are the culprits. There’s a lot of the Wild Cucumbers growing in the garden. Sylvia’s ex step-sister Linda once told me that the wild cukes are the poor man’s hallucinogen. I will take her word on that. The spikes on the cucumber is enough to create resistance.

I had to return home. I had run out of clothes after Monday.wildcucumber042116 Naturally, I will overpack a day’s worth of clothes for just-in-case. While growing up, I thought that there was someone in my family called Just in Case. J.I.C. got a lot of attention from my parents than I did.

In all of my traveling and packing experience, especially when going to exotic places like Portland, Oregon, I’ve never thrown in four extra sets of clothes. That’s a hell of a lot of Just in Cases. Boggles my imagination.

Not working also boggles my imagination. Early on in the school year, I scheduled days off. I’m convinced that I was sick so much last year because teaching takes a toll on me, especially the little ones. Well the big ones do as well, though only the ones that say Fuck You to me.

After awhile I joined the rest of the gerbil wheel workers. Every Monday I climbed on with some energy and vigor, but by Friday, repletion is the only word on the menu. Depletion is probably a better word.

Throw in an exhausting bowling tournament after a full week of work. A bowling tournament that required me to get out of bed at five in the morning. I don’t do mornings. Ten is early for me on a Saturday. Five is flat out obscene. But I was stoked for the tournament. I hadn’t bowled this freaking tournament in twelve years. Lots had changed in a dozen years.

Now I am coming to understand why I was so exhausted. By Sunday, I was so exhausted that I cancelled the job to teach middle school music. The longer I thought about that kind of job, the quicker it was for me to decide to back out. Just step away from the job and no one will get hurt. Who was I kidding? Middle School Music has always been a problem except I will admit I had a good time at Thurston Middle School with their music classes. Might have been a fluke. The question is should I take the chance to find out. Not this week.

If I slow down enough and listen to my body and my mind, I tend to make better choices. Driving home at that particular time caused the two hour drive to go by in a snap and I had plenty of energy when I got home.I could have worked Thursday. I had plenty of opportunity, and the pick of the litter. I felt and thought that I still had some things to sort through before returning to the classroom, though most of what I had to sort out had to do with bowling rather than teaching, and you have noticed that I’ve not said too many words about bowling except for the word abysmal.

Jobs for Friday the twenty-second came my way, though not nearly as many as the jobs for Four-Twenty. Nobody wanted to work, especially at the high school level. Be that as it may, it only seemed reasonable to take the aftershock day off and had Friday penciled out. Friday the 22nd  jobs  were for the most part easy to deflect; that was until the job for an alternative school came my way. Just my speed to re-enter reality.

IMG_2626Reality. I didn’t identify what kind of reality I’d be casually coming back to. Since I was to be substituting for an art teacher, I threw my camera into my bag. Taking pictures of students just hasn’t felt okay as though there could be construed something bad. I asked all of the students permission and did steer clear of those who said they wished to abstain from being in my blog. A blog that perhaps five people read probably won’t get someone taken off the protected status list.

IMG_2627It helps to have the ears of a beagle when mixing with other people, alternative high schoolers especially. Philosophical conversation about intelligence. How to measure intelligence. In that particular conversation, the woman who initiated the discussion seemed to feel boxed out of her own topic and soon withdrew into music and her art. Was that the result of her sitting at a different table from the group that picked up on the thread and perhaps what she was thinking or meaning had morphed into something totally different and no longer appealing?  “We have all of this, ” she said, and IMG_2628opened her arms to demonstrate all that is in the classroom; doesn’t this make us feel far superior to other animals?” After her topic was Bogarted by the other table,  I didn’t contribute, but I did think to myself of chimps and how they “have all that we have” in that they have families and jobs that is supposed to  allow us to have fulfilling lives. Isn’t that what life’s about?10184918_chimps


Hiatus nears the

End. Hiatus on 53rd St. in Portland is nearing the end. I don’t want to wear out my welcome, and I have run out of clothes.

When I arrived at K & A’s or A & K’s, my nephew and n.i.l, last Sunday, I was a mess physically and psychologically. I didn’t have a voice. My back was a wreck. My ego was in shambles.

Four days later. I’m still talking half-capacity. My back will always be a wreck, but it does feel a smidge better. My mental health is feeling much better. Great talks with Kristin and Aaron have done my soul wonders.


It doesn’t hurt to have some therapy animals around. Lloyd and his green eyes and his purr have helped me shed some layers; actually, it’s been more like Lloyd and Luke, my other great-nephew, have been helping me to re-record the inner voices that don’t serve my life to the better.


There’s nothing better than rejuvenating with Mr. Lucas. Whether we’re hanging out on the couch or walking around the block, all is good.

20160418_St. Mark

As I said in my earlier blog, the architecture of the houses, of the churches, just amaze me I don’t know much about the Lutheran denomination, but I’d never seen a church that has a Chinese service as well as a Spanish service.

A & K live in a nice quaint neighborhood even though it butts up against Powell. Along our walk, Luke and I came upon a daycare. I hope it was a day care. Twelve children under the age of five. Youngest was four-months-old. Eleven toddlers came up to the fence and started to tell me their names and their ages and what they had been doing. I would have taken pictures but my phone battery was on its last leg. They were so cute.

20160418_155323I’m thinking that once I get through the pictures I took the other day, I can take Lukester out for another walk and photo op.

20160418_53rdIn my opinion, especially in the midst of a city, it’s important to have color and texture. The fence has seen better days, but it adds to the picture. It is time to go take some more pictures.

Hiatus on 53rd

Street. Hiatus on 53rd street in Portland. When I packed my bags Friday night, I took enough clothes to cover me until Monday. It’s Tuesday. An inkling whispers to me about the Sylvia, the dogs, and the cats. But there is also a gentle inkling is reassuring me that it’s okay to Take Care of Me. Exhaustion sits on me like a house. I always suspected I was the Wicked Witch of the West in a previous life. Maybe I’ve come down with something and it’s not all about the bowling weekend that wiped me out, but maybe it is.

The days where I practiced and felt success, hope was building. Saturday hope was Eternal. The bowling Gods were not always messing with us; there were glimmers where I felt right with the world and what I was doing. The only dichotomy that was getting in the way was how beautiful the day was out in the parking lot. For one that spends times in the woods on a daily basis, to have the dark cramped bowling alley and the parking lot as my only backdrops couldn’t have been good for my spirit.

On Saturday, for most of the day, out in the parking lot, I listened to bag pipe music. Music from next door. Some kind of festival perhaps. I never did figure out the purpose for live bag pipe music on a Saturday. Is that Milwaukie, Oregon for you? I don’t know much about that little city.

In reflection, the  difference in investing money and coming back home with dividends and the feeling of achievement than spending a lot of money and coming home with an empty wallet and the  feeling of disappointment has a canyon between those camps. Since I tend to dump as much upon myself as possible, I think about the four women I let down. I don’t feel quite as bad when I blow it for myself, but being a deficit on the team kicks me in the  gut. Doing horrible in a singles tournament used to cause me to dust my butt off, accept my need of work, and  get to it. I’m wondering if I have that little kick inside to do that this time. My back is telling me no, but I’m not sure I want to listen. I like to think that my back can’t get any worse and won’t get any better, so why not, but I don’t know if that’s true. I certainly don’t want to be looking back twenty years from now and wishing I hadn’t pushed myself. I just don’t know.

This is the second time I have visited my nephew Aaron and my niece-in-law Kristin. I love it here and enjoy spending time with family. Since I moved away when Birdie was three or four, our paths have not crossed many times in his thirty-three years. My sister was visiting during my initial visit.

And then there’s luscious Lucas, my great-nephew. 20160419_lucasWhat an amazing little therapy dog. The only time he really says anything is when someone returns, and then he acts like he’s not seen you in years, maybe eons. I gather that dogs don’t have a sense of time, so any time of separation feels like an eternity to them.

Sometimes I think that when a dog stares at the door, at the place you disappeared out of, when they see you return, it’s as if they have visualized you coming home, and maybe think they made you materialize through their thoughts. If I wished for her to come home, even though it took hours, it still happened because of that, and if it worked once, it’s might work again.

This  goes for sounds as well. When I come home, regardless of day or night, Abby is always at the gate waiting by the time I drive in. Doesn’t matter if I’m in the Mini or the Subaru. She’s the only one that does this, and then she  gets to ride in the car all the way from the gate to the parking spot. Fantastic reward for Abby. I think she would even perceive sitting in the car in the driveway a reward, as long as I am in the car with her.

Abbylucy040116Thoughts of a Dog when we’re not home. I believe that dogs can grown beyond the Out-of-Sight, Out of Mind” stage of conceptualizing ideas. Abby knows that I’m hiding a toy behind my back. Sometimes Lucy has those moments, but mostly she just doesn’t care that it’s there. She’ll get it eventually.  When I leave, my dogs know I’m gone, but they don’t have the ability to imagine where I’d be. There’s no, “she must be at work or at the store.” Abby can’t resist trying to find me when I am gone. Sylvia can’t leave her in the yard after I’m gone. Abby will scale the fence and search for me. Thankfully our neighbors are vigilant and keep her safe until we can come and get the little brat.

My time on 53rd Street in Portland has been so nice and gentle and open. Hanging out with Luke and Lloyd while A & K or K & A are out and about with school and work has been soothing. Plenty of Reflection Time to sort. Being out of the country, my senses are going in so many directions with all of the city chaos and mayhem. But sometimes commotion causes the peace and quiet to seem all that more quiet. The Lull after the Storm. Sirens are more often and closer. Neighborhood dogs have picked up on the siren 20160418_neighbordogand are singing. I tried to get Lucas to do some baying or howling, but he looked at me as if I were mad.

In a way, the not so distant traffic sound like the ocean, there’s a calm to the hushing sound. I don’t feel this way when I have to cross four lanes of traffic. Pausing in-between. Playing Live Froggie. Luke’s always with me, so precaution causes taking my time and waiting until the coast is extremely clear. But mostly I’ve been avoiding that aspect of fifty-third by walking the side streets.

I’ve only tripped twice walking around the blocks, and it was in the same place. My shuffling feet, my Tim Conway Old Man routine, caused the slight trip. I almost expected the trip the  second time And the weather. Summer has arrived. Shorts and Tees. I did, however, m20160418_walking with Lukeeet a woman on the street, she stopped Kristin to ask for a cigarette, and she was wearing a parka. K, L, and I  were sweating. I imagined that perhaps she was wearing all that she possessed and didn’t have a place to hang it.

On my daily walks at home, I’m not reminded of the homeless. Driving around Eugene, I’m reminded when I read the cardboard signs on major corners.

I think about the bowling balls in my car. The money it took to get to Portland, to enter the tournament, the food, and it’s so easy for me to take it for granted. It helps me to extinguish the “I Want More” out of my daily life and think about how so much more that I have than a lot of people. And I’m disappointed over a silly bowling tournament and the worst wound was that to my ego. Does my ego have to be attached to competition?

20160418_calpoppy.jpgIf I had focused on the trash in the city, I would have seen a lot of trash, but on my walk around the blocks, I discovered beauty. Manicured yards. Well-loved yards. I’ve been racking my brains to remember if I have ever trimmed hedges. It’s only slightly tempting to add onto m20160418_hedgesy every-growing Bucket List. I didn’t start creating a list until this year. I’d be an idiot if I tried to say that I am not sure how this came about to be. In five years, the difference in doubling my age has exponentially grown. A hundred versus a hundred and twelve. I have never met or perhaps even heard of a one hundred and  twelve-year-old.



Lessons. Life Lessons during a long weekend in Portland. About a dozen years ago, or so, I walked away from competitive bowling. For a few years, or so, I didn’t bowl at all. All of my  time got sucked into becoming a teacher and then my time as a full-time teacher at the Willamette Leadership Academy. This was after bowling practically every weekend and practicing at least a hundred games a week. I was obsessed with not just being good, but always improving. I told myself that when my average starts to go down, it is time to walk away.

And I did. Obviously. And I didn’t miss it. I was too busy. My life was full enough that I didn’t need to add anything to the plate.

Five years ago I convinced a friend from WLA to bowl a social league. Lionel Coleman also bowled, and our team had so much fun at Strike City in Eugene. I had to learn how to have fun bowling, but the social league helped me remember that it’s a game with fun written all over it. The casual bowling cells collided with the serious competitive cells within my body; the war was long, but casual bowling won and I re-learned how to try hard, challenge myself, and have fun at the same time.

I don’t know how many years ago I joined a team to bowl a Firs Trio tournament. Seeing old familiar faces was an amazing reunion. It was competitive, but I still had fun. Maybe it’s been two to three years since I started bowling the every second Sunday of the month. The eight games in a day was always hard on my body and by eight, my back was ready to walk out the door regardless if the rest of my body joined it for the wise escape.

I shouldn’t listen to the voices, and for the most part I don’t. But there was this little voice that said I ought to get back into bowling. I talked about it. I put it out that I wanted to bowl tournaments. I’m coming back. I might be twelve years older and my body at forty-four is a lot different than my current fifty-six body. I was never, ever a very flexible person. No way would my legs ever do a split without my tearing something. I blame it on the Thunder thighs and other leg muscles I developed from skating a zillion miles, especially after joining a ice hockey team. I can easily say that the Waltham Angels, which became the Waltham Wings, saved my life. At least that’s the excuse I’ve always used that muscle prevents extreme flexibility.

I thought I learned my lesson in  being careful in what I wish for. Not long after I told people I wanted to bowl, I was asked to bowl the Kellogg Lanes Swiss in Milwaukie, Oregon. No was the farthest thing from my mind. I got so excited that not only did I start practicing, but I investing in two new bowling balls. My favorite, a Track Silencer, is sixteen years old. Other equipment either older or not much younger. It was time.

The new stuff was a pound lighter, and I had high hopes that going from Fifteen pounds to Fourteen would help back issues. I thought practicing more games than I was used to would help.

The Kellogg Bowl Women’s Swiss has got to be the most popular and most competitive tournament in the area. It wasn’t uncommon for Professional women in the area, when there was such a thing as the PWBA or before that the LPBT. Why do organizations think that with a name change and perhaps a logo revamp will save them from financial doom. This Swiss always got me primed for PWBA tournaments, at least the regional ones. I was abysmal at the National level. I didn’t have the experience or the knowledge. They could show me the oil pattern just as they do showing me notes on a page. I can bowl, but I can’t the sheet music that goes along with it. Cheetah Pattern or whatever else animal-named oil on the lanes. Short oil. Long Oil. Out of bounds. In studying the game, that was my weak spot and my recipe for failure.

Maybe after practicing for a few weeks, getting new balls at a lighter weight a day before the tournament wasn’t a good strategy. I do this to myself every so often. Oh sure, I want to take Anatomy my frosh year of college before I had taken Biology with the rest of the freshman. The second time of Anatomy was much better, but I struggled. I probably had too many things on my plate and still hadn’t understood the concept of studying.

The Kellogg Swiss reminds me a lot of that first time with Ms. K’s anatomy class. Interest and enthusiasm doesn’t always translate into success. I tried so hard this weekend, and the more I tried, the worse I got. I’ve heard this song so many times in my life, but it keeps playing. when does working harder and failing ever amount to anything but frustration.

It didn’t help that my team was in contention. After the first six games, the Social Saturday when everyone is in high spirits. Hope exudes from everyone bowlers, fans, and family. The place was packed. Twenty-four lanes. Five women on each lane. Most had an entourage that took up all the chairs and tables. Bowling balls took up the most room. My five were about average, though most people have three-ball bags. They were parked every where and there is no forgiveness if you accident kick a ball. I weaved my way between people and bowling balls and bowlers.

By Sunday morning, I had no voice. My back was already trying to rally the troops to abandon ship and leave me stranded. My back argued with me, screamed at me. We survived the first game of the day and moved up. We won again and moved up. and then came the slide. All of the teams that beat us in the handful of games left, won money. The women, for the most part, waved to use from the back window as they drove ahead and we sank closer and closer to the bottom. It’s not good that your team is close to first place, but on the opposite side of first. Sometimes it becomes the winners and the whiners. I was so happy that my team weren’t whiners regardless of how awful we  were, and there was some ugly, lifeless games when our souls were getting sucked out of us by the angry bowling Gods. What had we done or not done to appease the Gods that break up splits or knock down an extra pin or two.

The competition was fierce; Good bowlers with high ball speed and revolution succeeded, but the more I wanted to be like the twenty-two year-old near by with the smooth release and arm swing and easy ball movement right into the pocket to smash the pins so nothing touched the deck, the more I dumped it and the more I missed my target and the worse my score went.

At one point I was so desperate, I bowled naked. Not really. I took a brace off of my hand that I’d been using forever, from day one practically. I stopped dumping the ball and started to bowl better, but I hadn’t made that adjust quick enough.

Another life lesson. Make adjustments quicker or perhaps don’t adjust at all, but have good logical data to support the decision.

Deciding to not go back to Eugene after the twelve-game tournament has helped my body immensely. My back is still mad at me and won’t shut up. Drugs are just making me tired. Resting and recuperating at my nephew, Aaron, AKA Arthur, and my Niece-in-law, Kristen, AKA N.I.L, house has been so soothing. I love these two to pieces. Down to earth and so relaxed. I can be who I am without worrying about judgment, and I do believe they feel the same way about me.

Since I cancelled my job with middle school music for tomorrow, I’m seriously thinking about taking a nap in lieu of driving the two hours to Eugene. If I don’t get my voice back, I won’t be of much use for tomorrow’s choir rehearsal. Maybe if I stop talking to Aaron and Kristin, I might recover, but I don’t see them often enough to be silent; there’s just too much I want to know.

Nap time.

Words With

Friends. Words With Friends is my downtime game. I have over thirty active games, though only ten are waiting for my turn. I played quite a few while in the bath.

Often times I’ll throw down some letters in a reasonable order, words that I don’t know if they are legit or not, and I get surprised. What does wat mean? This program doesn’t believe me that it’s a real word.

I don’t take the opportunity to learn what the new word means, and since I don’t write it down, I can never take advantage of repeating the word.

I won’t go into the urban definition of war; this is still a kid-friendly blog after all, and I don’t want to blemish my record, though I have in moments of anger and frustration have sworn, but that rarely happens. There are just so many other words that I can use.

Have you ever heard of the word war? To borrow Wikipedia:Wat_Kor,_Battambang_(2012)

wat (ThaiวัดwatLaoວັດvadKhmerវត្តwōat) is a buddhisttemple in ThailandCambodia or Laos. The term is borrowed from Palivatta “which goes on or is customary, i. e. duty, service, custom, function

Wat reminds me of what, but closer scrutiny, I think of wattage. Maybe there’s a correlation somewhere in the root of things.

In one of my games with Donna Dill, the word foh was played. Another word that Word Press is telling isn’t legit. Upon my first look for a definition, I only got that foh is an acronym. Sometimes Wikipedia isn’t the best source.  Front of house is one of many examples Wiki gives. But the Free Dictionary suggests that fog is an expression of disgust. Words With Friends does take expressions of oh and ho.

Some words that are played get head scratches. Azotes? Isn’t the Spanish word for blue something like this, though I think there’s an l in the word. When I typed in azores in the free dictionary, it came back with a Spanish definition:

m. Golpe dado con la mano a una persona, esp. en el trasero.
Instrumento formado con cuerdas anudadas o provistas de puntas, con que se castigaba a los delincuentes.
No lo se is all I can say for that definition.
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary online, it just says Nitrogen, but then it says:
“Wait, there’s more! This word doesn’t usually appear in our free dictionary, but we’ve shared just a bit of the information that appears in our premium Unabridged Dictionary. There’s more definition detail there.”

So, if I want to find out more I have to pay for it. If I really need an unabridged dictionary, I have a few of them that come in book form, and it’s much more fun to paw through those large books, but since they are two flights down and back up again, I’ll have to find a web source that will give me the information for free.

According to the British Dictionary, Azote means nitrogen, but it’s gone out of style:

an obsolete name for nitrogen
Word Origin
C18: from French, from Greek azōtos ungirded,intended for Greek azōos lifeless

Makes me thing of eggs, like Zygotes. I never get a chance to play that word; it would rack up the points.

Being an image-oriented person, I wanted to see what would come up with Azotes, but this is where things in English don’t line up with what’s in Spanish. Expecting pictures of nitrogen or perhaps chemical makeup of nitrogen, I was startled to see so many pictures of spanking, ranging from the parent disciplining a child to something that once again would make this post not child-friendly. Maybe I don’t want to know the spanish translation.keep-calm-y-no-te-azotes-2

The Universe

Answered my prayers.The Universe answered my prayers. For those of you who read my blog or listened to me rant and rave about the kiddos at CHS Friday, and how I cried in front of the third and final class of the day, I was rewarded with a couple of amazingly easy days of substitute teaching. Yesterday I had two students. If everyone shows today, I’ll have four. Students who work independently on the computer.

But for those who missed my head-banging experience, class two got me all primed, though class one got the whole thing rolling downhill over a squabble over moving a desk. I told the second period Geometry class that I wasn’t fitting in with their behavior. “You might not realize,” I told them, “that when you do things that disrespect me or don’t listen to what I say, I am being bullied.” Not much of an impact.20160408_104043

I did what I could to deal with the emotions that enveloped me. I started third period with the same lecture. This time I was preaching to Algebra kids. Solve for X. If Ms. Susan is pissed off, it’s because you guys are treating me badly. These kids have work avoidance down to a science. There were so many things I wanted to say, but I bit down hard on my tongue, knowing that I had plenty of time to unleash my emotions via blogging and Facebooking. Getting my frustrations out in a way that was constructive. Took me all weekend to purge.20160408Mightybigstretch040916

Yesterday didn’t start off the greatest. Having no address, I had only a vague idea where I was going and figured out a plausible route. With Friday’s experience still freshly buried and somewhat diluted, I opted to go the long way around, trading Loraine Highway than West 18th. Traffic and slow drivers only irritate me. Looking for a relaxing and soothing start to the day, I suspected that I’d have fewer obstacles, and I knew that my Mini Cooper would have almost as much fun going around corners and letting the Super Charged Engine do its thing.  I know I was above the speed limit, but I never did look to find out the exact MPHs. Various ID’s dangle from the rearview mirror blocking my speedometer.

I’ve dreamed of opening up my own Summer Hill-type school where class size would max out at five, perhaps six. Students choose what to study and How. There are so many ways to get information beyond textbooks. The internet is our oyster. My goal is to bring back curiosity and on 3-30-16 at 10.43 AM

Soon after arriving at room nine, which used to be room fifteen, I heard some owls across the street. Positive omen. I’m listening to them again as I type this. I’m determined to find out what kind they are.

Ying and

Yang & Ying focused on feather081008Yang. Ying and Yang. I have know that I have too many g’s if I were writing the proper phrase, but since they are the names of two cats that share my life, I can spell their names any way I want to. They don’t seem to care. Both reply to their names; it’s not a good idea to speak the other’s name while in presence of the other.

Their dislike for each other can not be measured and clichés are the only thing I can think of.

Yang and me082808

Eight years ago. Blink of an eye. How many years has it been since I brought home kittens? Sylvia only knew about one. I wonder what I was thinking as I drove home from Portland. I knew that I probably was in the dog house after announcing that another feline was joining the flock. But two? I wouldn’t even have the privilege to sleep in the dog house.

Even with the extra g’s, their names define their relationship and their personalities. Yang hardly ever leaves the house. Nine years ago, Yang spent time with me in the garden; this apple tree uprooted at least five years ago.Yang in a plum tree071909

I know that  cats aren’t pack animals, but I’m wondering if there was something I could have done to keep Ying and Yang on speaking terms. How about you? Have you had siblings grow up loving or squabbling?


Writing to

Remember. I write to remember. Names and moments slip through the cracks and crevices in my brain. My brain is like a sieve or colinder, which I thought was easier to spell, but I was wrong. The thing I drain noodles is called a callinder?
Colander? Can I blame my very barely identifiable Bostonian accent on not being able to resort to my phonetic prowess to solve the mystery? Spelling usually is  my strong suit.
Remembering things is my weak link. If the team is as strong as its weakest link, how does that affect an individual’s links?
I am resourceful and curious.
Sometimes I dream about starting a Summerhill-type of school. Student’s create their own education and we all know how choice is a major motivating factor. There was this guy who I worked with at Willamette Leadership Academy. He was as close to a mentor as I ever had. I came into the job so unaware of not only what I was getting myself into, but that would have been true in any educational system, yet alone a charter school of struggling students. As I wrote about my first days at WLA, I couldn’t remember this guy’s name, but the more I wrote, the clues started to surface. I think the drain in my brain is plugged up with debris and nothing ever goes down the drain. Instead the information, trivial and important, move about, but the water is more like a stagnant pond that say a fast moving clear river.

My brain fed me some scraps. One of his names began with P. Spectacles. Short in Staure, but large in enthusiasm. Up to the surface, Randy Prince’s name. It’s been years since I have seen him. I don’t even know if he’s still in Eugene. I don’t remember if he continued to teach after the school thanked him for all the hard work he had done by telling him he wasn’t “invited” back for the next year. Bells ought to have been going off to protect my future fate.

Randy Prince. WLA hired him to teach high school. He agreed to teach everything. In exchange, he was given a paltry salary with no benefits. No insurance. No retirement. He may have been give five days of sick leave. And it’s not like he didn’t get  a bonus: he got to develop the curriculum. Four grades of English, math, all the Social Sciences, and sciences. Classes that fit the Oregon Standards in credit classes.
Randy was the only high school teacher, which meant there was no time during the academic schedule to prep or grade.
And then I inherited Bravo Company to go along with Randy’s Alpha Company.  They dusted the guidon off in December, and I was sworn in as a pretend second lieutenant.
It took me a while to learn how to spell Lieutenant, but I gravitated towards L.T.
I played military-style army for five years. Prince got out early for good behavior. I  served my sentence of hard labor. Sixty to Eighty hour work week.
I threw my heart and soul into that job.  We were reminded often that if the low pay and no benefits weren’t for us, we must not be teaching as a profession. Everyone who got decent wages and extravagant benefits like retirement, sick leave, vacation, and insurance, saw teaching as a job and their heart wasn’t in it.
That’s right up there with accusing me of animal abuse. No,  I didn’t help Lucy on my bed last night. Wray a horrible person I am.
Maybe it was a coincident. While Randy and I battled the kids behavior and the school admin not holding the kids accountable, the threat of the the school closing loomed liked a dark cloud in Oregon.  My philosophy was to boot the ones that did not want to be there and those who were not willing to change to create a better environment for those who did.  I met some amazing and remarkable kids that just wanted to take advantage of the small class size. Sometimes Bravo Company would consist of a dozen students, but they worked hard.
I  was accused of being too strict, expecting too much. Expecting anything from some students was too much.
There were consequences for not doing homework, for not following instructions.
In the pretend world of pseudo Army, I grinned from ear to ear when promoted. 2nd Lt. First Lt. Captain.
WLA felt like family. A dysfunctional one, but I was used to that kind.  I was mad when Sylvia was not invited to pin the Captaincy rank on me. When Captain Cheney was promoted, it was during the Winter banquet, so a big deal was made. I accepted the Christian-founded school was not ready to really embrace my being a lesbian. Staff weren’t shy about coming to our house, and they always did the cordial social pleasantries when Sylvia was concerned.
Sylvia never touched the premises during my five years.
I stayed through that discrimination because I believed in the school. Numbers grew during my tenure. The staff grew. One by one people got on board.
I don’t know how long Alpha Company was by itself in the high school. My Bravo Company kicked their butts on a regular basis.
A science teacher was added, a major relief. One subject off the plate. I was still responsible for four levels of high school English as well as an elective or two. I learned to love teaching US History, and as the years passed, repeating curriculum helped a lot. I wasn’t good at teaching Government. It would have helped that I had ever studied the subject. I  learned how to learn quicker than the students so I could teach the bloody subject. I did the same thing with the foreign Languages class. The cadets wanted to learn German, French, Italian in addition to Spanish. At least I had two years of Spanish twenty years earlier at Lane Community College. Guess it didn’t matter that I failed French in high school.
I have been gone from WLA for as long as I worked there.  I put up with so much.
Right after I bought my dream car, my Mini Cooper, someone keyed the side.
In my US History class, I used YouTubes and used one for the Constitution. Hundreds of thousands of viewers had seen it, so when someone pointed out that a cadet posted some derogatory comments with my full name,  I was outraged. Harassment. Bullying.
The student was given a in school suspension and put to physical work. I still had to see him everyday.
As I forfeited my own personal comfort, I continued to burn both ends of the candle. As my five years neared the end,  the school that was always on the brink of closing grew so big, it had to move to a bigger facility.
In my first year,  we hardly ever had fifty students. Twenty-five in each company. From two companies to six or seven, the school became self-sufficient.
Maybe it was a mere coincidence and not my insistence of holding students responsible for their ill-chosen decisions that the school grew and moved away from a school for troubled students into a school for those needing some consitency and structure.
Unfortunately, this question is right up there with where is Amelia
Instead of being recognized for my efforts, I was discarded like last night’s trash.
This story comes on the heels of a very bad teaching day. The good news is I hadn’t had a bad day of students treating me like shit in a long while,  and who knows maybe it will be a long time before I have another.
Randy Prince, if you ever read this,  I never thanked you for showing how to be innovative and demonstrate teaching for the love if teaching.

I May Have to Watch Bill

Durham again. I may have to watch the movie Bill Durham again. I’ve seen it a handful of times, but it’s been a while.

Since I seem to be on a baseball kick. Optimism of a young season energizes me to think of possible glories while motivating interests in rooting around in history.

I started reading a book, Swing and a Miss: My True-Life Adventure in Baseball by John R. Phythyon, Jr. It was one of those freebies that looked interesting and five stars backed it up. It’s always a good idea to have back-up in baseball, lots of backup. Most of the time you don’t even see all of the moving pieces on the field. Outfielders hustle to back up the infield. Pitchers do their share of backing up other positions if their head is in the game. Even the catcher with all of that gear is expected to hustle down the lines if need be.

In the book, there’s a quote by Annie Savoy about baseball being religion and that she believes in the Church of Baseball. I have no idea who Annie Savoy is, but Susan Sarandon, one of my favorite actors, played her in Bull Durham.

Annie Savoy: [narrating] “I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan. I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I learned that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring.”

I don’t know about the boring part. I love baseball, but watching it sometimes is just like watching grass grow. Doing other things while watching baseball is the answer. The hardest part about watching baseball is that by the time the season starts, the weather in Oregon starts to break away from the rain and the wet and the cold and it is so hard to be inside watching a game when the sun is out. The Sun is more of my religion than baseball. I try to have both. Sometimes I’ll take the game outside and listen to it. Radio announcers get so much more excited in describing the game. After all, they can’t say, “Did you just see that play?”

“Annie Savoy’s character is important. She is first involved with future real-life husband Tim Robbins as Ebby LaLoosh, but soon is drawn to the deeper, more mature and complicated Kevin Costner as Crash Davis. Any woman who can own sex scenes that hot with two leading men (including one ending with a pedicure) and still talk baseball has stolen the show.”


I wonder if Sarandon had any previous  experience with a bat before taking the role? I’d probably straighten out her knuckles, lining them up, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend wearing a white dress to play baseball.

Speaking of what to wear while playing baseball. I don’t understand why baseball pants don’t have more than back pockets. When I play softball, I like to stuff my pockets full of sunflower seeds and spit them when I am in the field, especially when I am grazing in right field where the ball seldom comes. And who in blazes thought that wearing white was a good idea? Did their ancestors play Cricket or something?

Annie Savoy has great lines. I don’t remember if Susan Sarandon won any awards for Bull Durham, but when I read some of her lines, I can’t imagine how she didn’t win:

Annie Savoy: These are the ground rules. I hook up with one guy a season. Usually takes me a couple weeks to pick the guy – kinda my own spring training. And, well, you two are the most promising prospects of the season so far, so I just thought we should kinda get to know each other.
Crash Davis: Time out. Why do you get to choose?
Annie Savoy: What?
Crash Davis: Why do you get to choose? I mean, why don’t I get to choose, why doesn’t he get to choose?
Annie Savoy: Well, actually, nobody on this planet ever really chooses each other. I mean, it’s all a question of quantum physics, molecular attraction, and timing. Why, there are laws we don’t understand that bring us together and tear us apart. Uh, it’s like pheromones. You get three ants together, they can’t do dick. You get 300 million of them, they can build a cathedral.
[Crash laughs]


The front of the Wheaties box from which Crash eats depicts Chicago Bears great Walter Payton.

I didn’t know that the term Annie refers to a baseball groupie. There is a major difference between a baseball groupie and a baseball fan.

Red Sox

I tell people that I became a Red Sox fan in the mid sixties, though I don’t really know. Carl Michael Yastrzemski was one of the greats during my formative years. redsoxx-large

Yastrzemski, known as Yaz, had mighty big shoes to fill when he took over for Ted Williams, but he was up for the task and then some.

Most of my experience of the Red Sox came through collecting baseball cards. I’m sure I watched some games on the black and white televisions, though I don’t imagine that too many games were broadcasted. We never went to the games, though I have a vague recollection that my sister Barbara went to a playoff game in 1967. Did Pam go? Was I aware enough to even notice the historic opportunity?

Billy and Tony Conigliaro. The same year that I started eating solid foods on a regular basis, 17-year-old Tony Conig. joined the Red Sox. He and his brother Billy, boys from Revere, Massachusetts, roamed Fenway Park’s outfield.  In 1967, the shot that was heard around Red Sox nation, was when Tony took a pitch to the face. Helmets weren’t like what they are today that may have kept his jaw from breaking and protected his eye-sight.Conigliaro

Most of my love of the Red Sox grew from the 70’s. Carlton Fisk was my favorite. Twenty-seven became my favorite number to go along with number Twenty-four, Boston Bruin’s Terry O’Reilly’s number. Perhaps it was the tenacious way that Fisk played the game. I had the impression that he went all out. Little did I know that later on I would get the opportunity to learn that the Fisk wasn’t the only one in his family to have athletic genes when I played softball with Janet Fisk, Carlton’s sister. I didn’t meet her when she was a Fisk, but had married a Red Sox outfielder, one of the sweetest men I had ever met, Rick Miller.

Speaking of Rick, one of the things I love about researching is stumbling upon information that I had never heard before. As I was looking for information about Janet Marie Fisk Miller, I stumbled upon the name Rick Wise. Not a clue who he was. Turns out, Rick Wise was a baseball prodigy that led his high school team to the Oregon Championship, and he ended up pitching from the Red Sox bullpen at a critical juncture and won game six of the 1975 World Series. I can’t imagine that I didn’t watch this pivotal game.

“Wise grew up in Portland, Oregon and led his Rose City Little League team to the Little League World Series in 1958, making him one of a handful of major league players to have played in both the Little League and Major League World Series.[2] He attended Madison High School in Portland.”


I can’t expect that I would be able to remember all names of players I watched or of those cards I collected.

New Toy


To celebrate two wonderful days at Veneta Elementary School, I dropped by a local Seed & Feed Store.

As I entered the store, a customer was leaving with two large items that looked like rocks. They were salt licks. I’ve never had horses or cattle to know about things like this. I knew I was going to buy veggie starts, and then I remembered I was out of cat food. I was not planning on buying a dog toy, but Abby the Labby Number Nine always deserves a new toy.

Ricky could care less that there’s a new squeaky snake with multiple squeaks, but he jumped at the chance to play with Abby.Ricky and Abby040616

Even though the toy has a warranty, I suspect it won’t cover the tug of war that will eventually break out once Ricky gets used to the new toy.

Yesterday was my first day at Veneta Elementary School this year. My apprehensive of working with second graders quickly evaporated. The kids were so cute and so well behaved. Perhaps it was the small class size that extinguished the bad behavior I had to deal with a few weeks ago at a different school, at a different school district; the kids had me banging my head against the wall, wondering what the hell I was doing. Obviously I didn’t have a clue how to teach.

Today I returned to the home of the cougars, and even though it was a half an hour drive, I arrived early. When I walked into room nine to get ready for third graders, I was shocked to see the room packed with chairs. So much for working with a small class. I was convinced that the only thing that made yesterday’s second graders sweet hearts was the small class size.

But the third graders blew that theory out of the water from the get go. They were a dream come true.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to take the past two days of positive experiences and transplant them. Can my experiences with elementary kids transfer to high schoolers? High Schoolers that have been identified as at risk? I’ve only had head banging moments with these kiddos.

look at me040616

Ricky reminds me that it takes him a while to get used to new things, especially new people, and maybe I need to be patient. That will hurt a lot less than banging my head against the wall.

David and

Goliath. David and Goliath. The Boston Red Sox broke the piggy bank this off-season to bring in David Price to the tune of two hundred and seventeen million dollars.
Is this thirty-year-old the savior that the boys from Bean Town need to combat last year’s debacle of a season?
Other than David being the first round pick in 2007 and made it to the bigs in just a year, I know very little. And I only know this much because I read about him on Wikipedia.
David Taylor Price.
The Tampa Bay Rays, aka The Devil Rays, saw something in the Rising Star when they not only brought him up in September, but had confidence that he could save the seventh game and send the team to the World Series.
How often did this boy who hailed from Murfreesboro, Tennessee dream of pitching in The World Series his rookie year?
I wonder if he would mind if I call him a Smurf? It probably won’t tell me in Wikipedia if Mr. Price has a sense of humor, though from his ear-to-ear grin, I imagine so.
I wonder if success came easily his entire climb up the ladder or if his All-Star selection just his Sophomore year of being a full-time pitcher. He finished in second that year in the Cy Young selection.
What a silly, silly question to ask. Price has been stellar from day one. In high school he one awards left and right and was a standout in basketball as well as baseball.
He could have gone into baseball before he was old enough to drink, but he wisely chose the collegiate path when Vanderbilt offered him a free ride.
David almost quit baseball so he could focus on school and was ready to start asking if people wanted fries with their orders, but the coach talked him out of leaving baseball. Did the coach know he would be signing an eleven million dollar contract in just three years?
Not only was he setting records on the field, but his signing bonus of just 5.6 million dollars was the second highest in draft history.
His debute was a smashing success. That’s if you think hitting a Yankee batter is a good thing. David Jeter got revenge for New York by hitting a homer during Price’s debut, and later on Jeter’s 3,000 hit was a homer off of Price again.
While in the minors, he pitched against Pedro Martinez, one of Red Sox Greats, saw David’s unusual maturity and command of the five ounce baseball. He had no fear.
Perhaps with two seasons in a row of being worst, the Goliath that needs slaying is David to the Second Power: The incoming David Price and the outgoing David Ortiz.
Perhaps the snow and cold weather season opener game postponement will give the planets and stars a chance to move as to be in better position to help line up the BoSox in a historical 2016 season.
The baseball season is long, so it will be a while before Red Sox Nation know if the Price was Right and that he is priceless or not.


Fawn Lily

When I come upon the few Fawn Lily that grow on our walking path around the property, I treasure their beauty.Fawnlily040116

There’s just this one wooded spot where they grow. I do my best to keep the dogs from traipsing on them, but they are not far from the path. I had expected Trillium when I first spotted the leaves, but the petals, known as recurved tepals, are more than the tri suggests. The last time I saw a Trillium, it was in the same area; maybe they just haven’t found there way through the leaves and lichen and various other woodsy debris.

As I did some research, I found out that not only is the plant edible, but the Japanese version of a Fawn lily,  Erythronium japonicum is used to make Japanese starch Katakuriko, which is used to make tempura.

Ery. Thronium. My attempt to remember the Genus. There are many varieties of Erythronium, and I’m not quite sure which Fawn Lily I have been watching. Erythronium citrinum is one option, but they are connected to Klamath area, Southern Oregon. Or, it is possible it is Erythronium oregonum.

I found this picture of an Erythronium oregonum: Erythronium_oregonum

It almost matches the picture I posted of the one in my yard. Almost. Even though the Erythronium citrinum is described as a cream Fawn Lily, it looks more like mine:

Erythronium citrinum

I’m tempted to buy more since I only have three or four and they don’t last very long. The deer don’t seem to eat them, or at least not these species.

Have you ever seen a Fawn Lily before?

Garden of

  1. The Garden of 2016 is coming along.peas040216

Peas from the greenhouse joined some sowed-directly peas.

Was it February where Eugene’s sky’s cleared and caused me to go crazy with strawberries and raspberries? February 23rd.20160223_strawberries

The raspberries from Sara Marvin are thriving.raspberry031116

Unfortunately with March showers, it has brought not only April Flowers, but weeds ready to inherit the earth.dandylion040216

So tempted to blow those little bitty seeds into the air. Have you ever counted how many seeds there are? I don’t even know what to call this cluster of Dandelion seed puff ball.

Taraxacum is the genus with two species,   T. officinale and T. erythrospermum. I did know that they are completely edible, but I didn’t know the common name dandelion comes from the French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth.”

It’s a good thing that tomorrow’s forecast is more sun as I think I’m done for the day. Maybe a nap will rejuvenate me.April022016

Sounds of

Spring. Signs and sounds of spring surround me. Natural and mechanical collide and dance. Crows cawing. Neighborly desputes. A rooster in the East competing for bragging rights. Maybe my neighbor to the west finished his lawn,  but once one mower is pulled to life,  others will follow suite.
Most bird sounds I cannot name the warbler. Doesn’t help they compete with trucks, television, and barking dogs. Not mine.  Not this time.
I ought to put the imagine of a Junco with its song, assuming all birds sing or chirp. Does squawking count as Singing?

I Will Never Take

the same photograph. Today, as I started our sometimes daily walk, I realized that it is impossible to take the same picture ever again. That’s like saying I’ll be able to live another 4:28 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, April 1, 2016. No April Fool’s Joke. Guess that would have made a better headline.

I don’t edit blogs. I figure that if I write for free, you get what you paid for. One draft and done. Now if I want to start making some money, I’d better start thinking about the whole editing philosophy. Don’t get me wrong; I love editing. I’m so good at editing that I’m never satisfied. I can edit a story, an article until the cows come home.

I did, however make an exception to this rule when it came to homework assignments. I found that my grade always went up after I’ve been through a few rough drafts or so. I learned that most of the time, my first drafts weren’t so great and didn’t even hit the target.

Early on in school, my mechanics were horrendous. I drove most of my elementary school teachers crazy because I didn’t like paragraphs and didn’t think  there was much use in punctuation either. I’ve always been a strew of consciousness writer. I meant stream, though I suppose it means the same.

As I gathered my cast of characters for today’s escapade,  I can’t help to think about how fragile their time on this planet is. Abby’s white chin reminds me that’s she’s getting close to middle-age.

Ricky’s just a knuckle-head and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Since I rescued him, I don’t really know how old he is, but I know this gentle soul has been around a few times.

Lovely Lucy. My Geriatric girl who doesn’t walk very fast, but she doesn’t quit and keeps on trekking.Abby040116Ricky040116Lucy040116.

Well, it’s time to shuffle off to the lanes. Hopefully I’ll remember to write more about some of the pictures I took on our walk.

If Today Were the Same As

Yesterday. If today were the same as yesterday, I would be seeking employment as a poisonous snake charmer; it probably pays better than being a substitute teacher, and less riskier. Ouch. I’m still hurting from yesterday’s half day session of torture. I could not wait to get away from the school. ON my half an hour way home, I kept asking myself, Why the  Hell are you doing this job? The pay is lousy and I wasn’t having any fun at all. Yesterday, which I already blogged about how even the school building wasn’t cooperating.

I was standing at what I believe would be the Eastern Door. East Door. Whatever. There wasn’t a sign per se indicating what direction I was facing, but it did tell me to find the South Entrance. I’m under an eave of this used to be an entrance but harsher security reduces that door’s rank to locked and never used. Today I was in a modular building that had a door that  did not go anywhere. You can walk to the other side of the wall that the door is in and there’s no door. Two halves pushed together would be my guess. Anyway, I didn’t know where the sun was at 11:30 and even then I don’t think I would have been able to translate into do I go right or left. There was a door to the right, but it was so close,  and it didn’t have the stateliness that a Entrance should display.

I went to the left, but after looking around the corner, I didn’t see anything to suggest the Grandiose Southern Entrance was in that direction. Back to Point A. I put my used to be a hound dog in a previous life ear’s to work. I heard kids towards the right. Of course, I tugged on the door as I passed, praying and wishing and only silently cussing. I’m walking in what seems to be a back alley. The Porta-Potty, AKA, Bucks, wasn’t giving me much confidence that I was going in the right direction. As I rounded the corner, I was able to witness a couple of boys trying to tip the plastic waste collection system over. There was a smaller boy inside.

Little did I know that the cesspool metaphor would become my afternoon. Within two hours of this combat mission, I cancelled the next mission. I would even had been a PE teacher, my favorite, but an hour of total driving for four hours of hard labor with no chance of parole. I’m trying to be nicer to myself on my second half of 55. When I started talking about using age 56 as a halfway point in my life, I had forgotten that that’s what I said last year. I hadn’t ever said it before, though fifty would have been more reasonable. I think the oldest woman in the United States danced with President Obama twice. She was only a hundred and four the first time, but four years had passed. My math isn’t quite adding up. I don’t rightly remember even when I saw this. Nightly News perhaps.

Did you notice how quickly I shifted from the cesspool of yesterday’s battle. Walked straight into the eye of a tornado. Blown away.

Maybe I just wasn’t on my game. I either was drawn a bad hand or I didn’t play the good hand well enough. I’d like to think the latter. I couldn’t do anything yesterday. Being super nice and quirky wasn’t working for them, so as a result they got the I have to put my foot down approach and demand they tow the line. Toe the Line?

I don’t like being mean or strict; it’s not my cup of tea, but some kids need that extra structure and discipline. Give ’em an inch kind of thing.

But today was such an amazing day. It helped that I had been at this school several times, but same grade. Different school. Different school district. Different Socio-Economic situation. Night and Day.

Middlers will always be middlers. Goofy. Hormonal. Still Growing. Still Figuring things out. Not in control of much, not their face, their body, their mind, and especially their mouth. Today’s middlers were just as noisy and crazy as yesterday’s, but they weren’t mean or disrespectful or flat out defiant. No, you can’t make me. The throwing of things. The constant chatter. None of this behavior was displayed. They re-focused very well. We had fun, they got work done. They even earned some do work outside time, always a great way to make bonus points.

Earlier I was thinking about how teaching and playing sports are the same. Some games the refs aren’t throwing the flag and cheap shots are happening, so it’s not a fun game. Tempers flare. But when the refs are on top of things, which I guess as a Substitute, that would be my role of enforcing the rules, if I call a tight game, then there’s more room to have allow the kids to have fun.

There’s a scene that’s just amazing in Robin Williams’ best movie, Maybe the name will come back to me as I  write. Dead Poet’s Society. The scene is when he is telling students to huddle up and he tells them a story; the kids are laughing, even the shy one who has to follow his great brother’s footsteps and has a smaller foot. I love that scene, and I marvel how the character earned their trust right away. Maybe I should do trust falls in my class. He is a teacher that tells it like it is. It’s not realistic that his character would ever be hired at a school where he was notorious for being a rebel. Did they really think that part of him disappeared over time?

Mr. Keating. John, I think, wanted students to think for themselves. Schools typically don’t like this. At the Willamette Leadership Academy, my last place of servitude. I served to the best of my ability and was rewarded, but I am a rebel rouser. Always have been. When I don’t see something right, I’m going to talk about it and make a statement.

I was teaching a upper-level class, Film and Literature. We’d  read the book and then watch the movie. I had junior and senior high school students. I had permission slips signed by parent or guardian to allow those students to watch R rated movies. The movie where the soon to be king with a stuttering problem is R rated because of the number of times he swears, and he pretty much uses up his  quota in one scene. Maybe after he had to have marbles in his mouth and talk at the same time.

All Syllabi came back with signature of approval. There was a movie about a kite. Great movie. Kite fighting. I didn’t realize that the book version would be more graphic than the movie, but no one seemed to have an issue.

The issue came when I had students read the book Color Purple, One of my all time favorites. Kill a Mockingbird might have a little higher rating. The movie is so mild and meek compared to the book. The School Board President had an office on the school grounds, which I thought a bit bizarre, but when she got wind that I was teaching this Still probably banned somewhere book, she took the first page to the boss and read it in his face. Probably yelled it in his face.

Have you ever had to report to the principal’s office? well, typically I felt the same working at a high school as I did when I was in high school. When the Colonel either called me to his office or even worse, came up to my classroom, I knew I was in trouble.

The schools bought the small class set of books. They knew well in advance that it was part of the curriculum. I had crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s. I did learn how to cover my Ass while working at WLA in just five short years, but I’m a quick study with these kinds of things.

We were just finishing the book in class when the hammer came down, declaring that this book was off limits in the future. I don’t tend to teach the same thing again anyway, so I didn’t care, but I cared since  that was the first time the school was pulling in the reigns. The two of us teaching the entire high school curriculum illegally were given carte blanche. Do what you need to do to accomplish the mission.

I seldom know what I am getting myself into when I get a job. I wanted a full-time teaching job. I had never heard of WLA. I didn’t know what a military-style school would be like.

As I got used to the screaming and the spit flying and the profanity and the put downs, I noticed my humanity was crumbling. Same thing happened when I was in Boston as a young security guard where my job was to kick homeless people out of buildings or door steps. I watched the wanna be police officers abuse people. I could tell that the Boston Police Department was doing a great job keeping the undesirables out by seeing these idiots abuse their “powers” because they dressed like police and even carried guns. Thank God they didn’t give me anything but a Mag Light, Cuff’s and a radio. Sometimes I didn’t get the radio.

There was a point to this story, but it seems to have vanished into thin air. This is my brain’s way of telling me to unplug and go outside and play.