Thursday, January 31, 2008


It took me most of yesterday to write the following...power blips, restarting clocks and computers, a very scary trip into town were all contributing factors and delays.

I have learned from experience (over twenty years of living in this area) when I can and shouldn't drive. I most certainly could have made it down the hill yesterday (from the main road)...I would not have made it back up! Actually, I'm not sure my car would have made it to the main road. I felt awful for not making my painting class. That is until G. called to let me know that the class was let out very early with the promise to have a "make-up" class later due to the weather. This is my sacrifice to live where I live.

I live where others dream to be or pay to spend vacations. Mt. Hood National Forest is just off the back end of my property and Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery is just across the creek and up a bend or two. It's probably lovely down there right now, but I will have to miss it. I'm smart enough and wise enough to know it's too dangerous to venture down the trail to the creek for a peak.

We managed to make our way into town today in the truck. The hubby was driving! I realize I have his experience in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot to rely on as the snow falls off the sixty plus foot Doug Firs that line the road and lands on the windshield...the man didn't flinch! I thought I would scream aloud and he didn't flinch! I sometimes have to remind myself to breath in those situations. It's silly, I's hard to relinquish control and remain calm. I have to remind myself that I really don't have any control over what is going to occur anyway. I just don't want to be maimed. I don't mind going if it's my time. I'm ready to meet my glory. I think I can handle that.

We lost another dear friend last night. My youngest called in tears that he was taken to the hospital and wasn't expected to make it. My poor daughter. She's been away from home for two plus nights due to the snow. Her car would not make it safely up these hills so she stayed in town with friends . At least she put a jacket and sleeping bags in the car (FINALLY) . She got a lovely fully loaded roadside emergency kit from my hubby and I for Christmas this year (it was more for me/less worry). Anyway, she's hurting and could use a "mama" hug and my arms don't reach that I guess it's fair to say that we're both hurting. Your children grow up and move out or away but their pain is still yours for the rest of your life.

Hubby and I managed to get three wheelbarrows of firewood up on the was an effort, but the weather can do what it will and we'll be warm and have an alternate source to cook on if the power fails again. I don't mind power failures because we heat exclusively with wood and are always warm. The one thing that loses it's charm fast is the inability to flush - eventually the water runs out (we have a well and usually have back up water for cooking).

I start preparing for power failures right after Labor Day. I stock up on lamp oil, candles, batteries, canned or dried sources of protein. We usually experience them at least a dozen times a year. Some longer than others. It's harder in milder weather because we usually lose what we have in our freezer. It's sad when you raise your own food and lose it long after it's been processed and saved for later in the year. I find it one of the saddest things. I have actually wept while disposing of a full freezer of meats and veggies I have raised and lost!

It's still above freezing and almost dark...promising...relieving...I have Story Time tomorrow. I ran into several of my little people on our trip through town! One invited me to join him for lunch! Sadly enough, I had to decline as we were on a "mission" and needed to continue on our way. I so enjoy the leisurely visits with the little ones! This is one of the joys of being a grandmother and the "Story Lady". My Life is good today! That one thought always brings me joy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm a Big Fat Chicken!

Okay...I'm a big fat chicken! I don't like trying to drive on ice in the snow! Go ahead, laugh, send me your tips, shake your heads, nod; just don't make me drive in this mess. We have had over a foot of snow. The plows made it up this far (we're not on a main arterial and the school district was closed) early yesterday making their first swipe, leaving about five inches of packed snow which promptly turned to ice. My husband stayed home from work and drove me into work...make sense of that one! The ride home last night was rather scary! Last night brought more artic temperatures followed by a brief thaw very early this morning. As day light hit and I prepared to go to work it started raining and the east winds began to howl. By the time I got out to my car and got it scraped off and semi-warmed an inch of new snow had fallen. I made it partially down the drive and dirt road with little to no control. I got scared and turned around, hauled everything back inside and telephoned a coworker to inform her because I was unable to reach the "boss". It then snowed to near white out conditions dumping about an inch of snow in an hour!

It appears we are having another "thaw". I know this because I'm listening to the snow slide off the metal roof and land with a thud on the carport and around the house itself, including our Daphne which is under about three feet or more of roof-snow that has landed on top of it. I have no idea what the main road is like to the highway. I have a painting class tonight. I'll just have to hang out and make the most of being alone until later (BIG SMILE!)...then I'll check out road conditions and decide if I want to travel down the 6%+ down grade of winding roads to the highway that leads to town (about 4-6 miles).

What annoys me, while scaring me nearly senseless, is when people jump in their trucks and decide to play on the roads. The roads you are trying to maneuver through in ice and snow. The roads that are slick as snot and nearly knee deep in snow. Sixty foot Doug Firs dropping their loaded branches of snow on your windshield as you're trying to remain in your own lane, which is not visible because of said snow and ice. Scary business!
Did I fall off the face of the earth at some point? Is it okay to go spin doughnuts and take out electric poles when others are merely trying to get from point A to B safely? Isn't the rule to slow down, avoid using your brakes, and allow more room to other drivers? When did it become okay to play these dangerous games with individuals, such as myself, who might not want to participate?
Well, so much for the's snowing again...sideways this time! At least it's pretty to look at!

OMG! I've Been Tagged

I've been "tagged" by Michelle at My Semblance of Sanity (still not sure how to put the "links" in my blog-someone help!)

I'm hoping the power stays on long enough to get this done!


Share five random/weird things about myself.

Share five places that I "want to see or want to see again."

Tag five random people and link to them...and let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, here it goes!

1. I love Brandy Wine tomatoes.
2. I collect children (see my previous post to understand).
3. I've danced on stage with Eric Burdon and the Animals (perhaps I'll post the picture IF I CAN FIND IT).
4. I'm going to paint the Alamo this July!
5. I spend my Fourth of July with a bunch of crazy Vietnam Helicopter Pilots every year.

Five Places I Want to See or See again.

1. I want to wander the deserts of New Mexico and see what Georgia O'Keefe saw...and then paint my own rendition.
2. Amsterdam!! Been there three times, love the place!
3. Africa...never been, would love to see the Serengeti.
4. Mt. Rushmore.
5. Heaven! (I've got a long list of questions I'd like answered when I get there).

Here are my five tags...the reason for my tags...pure enjoyment of reading their blogs.






Thursday, January 24, 2008

Meltdown Time

I wrote a letter to a friend this weekend. He is one of my husband's oldest and dearest friends. He's dying of prostate cancer. (Encourage every male you know to be vigilant about being checked!) I wrote him the following letter because I have a gut feeling I might never see him again and never thanked him for being my friend.

Dear ______;
I haven’t known you very long but feel I can still refer to you as “my good friend___”. Life has handed you some crap recently and you are handling it amazingly! (At least from what I hear). Your reality is what it what is my friend…this you know. So many of us never say all the things we think and feel about a person until they are no longer around to hear the words. We hurry through life doing what we think or feel is important at the time…always thinking “I’ve got to remember to do this or that”…putting things on the back burner so to speak…time goes on and we forget, or never get around to conveying our feelings. You’ve never been like that…and I appreciate that about you. This is why I am writing you this letter to be sure I tell YOU how wonderful you are. You have been a joy to know and I feel privileged to be a part of your circle of friends. I know this sounds cliché, but if there is anything I can do for you or your family, please let me know.

Thank you for bringing joy and laughter to my life.
Thank you for the Deschutes experience.
Thank you for my first Dylan concert.
Thank you for all your sincere thank you cards.
Thank you for being my friend.


The thing is, while I was writing this I got an update from Care Pages...MiMi was informing Julian's subjects that he had gone.

My life is full of death and sadness at this time.

I didn't sleep well last night. Again! I woke up about two this morning and was unable to go back to sleep. I finally got up about four. I had a staff meeting and Story Time today.

As I drove through town on my way to work, I stopped to mail the letter. As I pulled out of the post office I had a meltdown, or started to. By the time I reached the library I was shaking and cold. My head was pounding. I decided to attend the meeting, set up my story teller and go home. Then I saw my good friend B. and that's all it took...I had a meltdown...we had a good hug and I burst into tears...the boss arrived and sent me home(not before she joined the hug). Thank you library family!

So here I sit thinking of Miss P., who recently lost her husband; D. and L. who recently suffered the loss of their unborn child; King JuJu and the family he left behind; my friend and his family, and I cry. I cry for them. I cry for myself. I really need to go to sleep for a while...I know sleep will refresh my oh so tired body...then I can work on feeding and nurturing my soul.

Remember Julian

Please keep the Avery Family in your thoughts and prayers today...think yellow!

Unfinished Painting

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pray for the Avery's

...think warm thoughts, whatever it is that you do.

This lovely family that I have never met has lost a member...their lives are shattered at this time. This is a copy of a posting from his mother taken from his Care Page and displayed on Michelle's blog

Dear friends,
Our Mimi needs us now MORE than she ever has. She is hurting so badly and she needs our prayers!
She writes:"Empty shell are the words that came to my mind today as I laid my eyes on Julian's so very still body. It made it so real, so final... I felt like I was at the wax museum, it looked like Ju but it was just a cold, hard ,wax copy of Julian . It wasn't him , how could it ? Surely I left him at home playing with the boys... Seeing him laying in his caskett was unbelievably painful, my heart cracked a little more, a little deeper. I won't EVER get to hold my child again, EVER... Nothing is more final than that."
Julian's viewing is Wednesday night from 6-8pm at their church and his funeral is Thursday at 11am where yellow balloons will be released. (yellow was Juju's favorite color)
You can read his obituary and sign his guest book here.
You can join the near-thousand people and light a candle for him here.
I am hoping that everyone reading this will post a picture of Mimi and/or Julian on their blog and ask your readers to pray for the strength she will need not just in the coming days but in her lifetime without her baby Ju. PLEASE.

First Born Child of My Loins

She's thirty six, one of my best friends, a wonderful mother, an incredible poker player, and has the most beautiful face and one of the most brilliant minds on the planet. Yes, this is M.M.(FBCOML).

She has her hands full today. Her oldest daughter, my first born grandchild, is in the "pooper" today. We had a pow wow on what happened, what needed to be done about it, the lesson that needed to be learned, and how not to strangle her, tie her up, put her in the closet, and lock the door for the next oh five or six years. Seems my granddaughter not only lied about where she was going last night and who she would be with but got in a car accident and had to call her mother's boyfriend, who is an attorney, to come and get her because she wasn't "ready" to deal with her mother's or grandfather's wrath over the situation.

She's okay, no one was injured in the accident. But that is not the point!

Evidently she was given a time line by Mom's boyfriend. She had up to a certain time to call and inform her mother what had happened. She did this. It just happened to be during the final break in a poker tournament. According to my daughter, "I busted out and announced that I was now going home to kill my oldest daughter".

It seems Little Miss M. (the grandchild) was supposed to be at a Young Life meeting. Not only was she not at Young Life, but had not been there at all (Lie#1). She was in a "forbidden" area of town, (#2). She was with young people that her mother "had warned her about" (#3).

Little Miss M. has a serious case of senioritis. The only problem is Little Miss M. lives in Sin City. She also, just recently, turned 17. She's been "skipped" ahead in school leaving her nearly two years younger than most of the other kids in her class. She's also beautiful and brilliant. (Reason enough to lock her in a closet for the next several years!)

After much discussion my daughter hung up the phone to give our conversation some thought and to check that Little Miss M. was indeed in school today (it's Senior Skip Day). Dear Lord, I hope the child is there!

My daughter was so angry last night that she told Little Miss M. she would deal with the situation after school today. That is how she found out it was Senior Skip Day. Little Miss M. promptly burst into tears and in between sobs blurted out "But it's Senior Skip Day!".

So here I sit waiting to see what happens. This is what kills me about her being so far away!

I thought the first thing she should do was check that she was indeed in school. Do you realize how hard this has become? Due to "security" and "privacy" issues you can hardly check on your son/daughter without going to the school in person and showing ID?! I understand that our children are being "protected" but this is rather silly. If this is how we have to be, because it's what we've become, then we should be issued some code or something.

The second piece of sage advice I had to offer was have her Young Life leader greet her as she walks into the house today after school and have her apologize for having used them in her lie.

Beyond that I say lock her up and throw away the key!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hug Your Kids!

Several years ago I attended a woman's Bible study and the challenge was to hug your kids ten times a day...each kid! I thought, hey I'm a hugger, I can meet this challenge easy. WRONG!

It's easy to hug them when they are cute or sick. It's not so easy to hug them when they are being belligerent, rude, and ornery!

The past few weeks this little voice in my head has been reminding me about this lesson. I think it's because of Julian and Mimi. (See postings on Dawn Meehan's blog BECAUSE I SAID SO and Michelle's blog Some Semblance of Sanity). Mimi KNOWS the importance in this. Every hug might be hers and Julian's last.

I have no idea if anyone even reads this blog. But if you do, hug your kids, each one, ten times a day for a week. Try it. For that matter, give everyone who is important to you a hug when you might just be your last!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Water Color Magic

First let me say that this is the second time I've written this much for Blogger automatically saving your drafts! The first is gone...floating in cyberspace somewhere. So, here we go again.

I'm starting a series of water color painting classes tonight...I'll be going with a friend. I used to be very good at it. A long, long time ago husband #2 arrived home to find me with my art supplies and portfolio spread across the dining room table and me working on a project. It didn't go over well, and to spare you the gory details and myself the pain of going through it again I will tell you that the portfolio, my supplies, and my project ended up in the burn barrel after several hours of ranting and raving. I wasn't the one who did it, I just watched...watched them burn and turn to ash. I didn't paint for a very long time after that...nearly 15 years.

Just over a year ago, my oldest daughter, M.M., First Born Child of My Loins (that is her official title) was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I still find that hard to type and bile rises in my throat each time I do. After over a year and two surgeries later, she is cancer free. Before her surgeries we went to the craft store and bought ourselves paint, brushes, and lots of paper. During her recuperation we painted because how much Food Channel can one watch?! We painted for hours. Her brother and her daughters joined in the fun. We had a grand time!

Just before the Holidays a library patron came to the check out desk with an arm full of water color books. I told him that I really enjoyed two of his choices and actually had just returned them that morning. He then informed me that he was a retired art teacher and was going to have classes starting soon and asked if I might be interested. I said I might be interested and definitely had a friend that would be.

So, tonight I'm starting over again. I don't know if I will be able to do it but I feel I owe it to myself to try. The proverbial horse I fell off of years ago is waiting for me.

I'm very scared! I've thought of all kinds of reasons I shouldn't/couldn't go...but I made a promise to my friend to be her transportation and partner for the classes so I have to go...kind of trapped myself in a good way this time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

She could wear purple... the gates of amazing woman, who's heart is bigger than one could ever imagine or hope for. Her husband left for work and never returned. Taken from her and her boys without notice. Without a word. Without warning. Beware! Say good night, good bye, be safe, I love you...they may be taken from you without any brave, be faithful, them unconditionally...believe! My dear friend, P.P. finds herself a widow, among other things this evening. No notice. None. I admire her for her strength, faith, and resolve...she is amazing!. I mourn her loss. I am so thankful that whoever answered her phone this evening recognized my name and knew that I would try to bring comfort, that I meant no harm. My prayers go out to her and hers this evening for comfort and peace...

Monday, January 7, 2008

I think I'm going to live...

My head still body still aches...but, I think I'm going to live! My husband, on the other hand, is lucky to have returned to work today. Had he not, I might very well be having a cavity search at the county jail! Couples SHOULD NOT ever be sick together...EVER!

When I am sick, I want to be alone...I don't even answer the phone...well okay, I don't often answer the phone anyway...I'm a "screener". I want my pillow, my favorite blanket, a box of kleenex and solitude. Evidently my husband (God bless him!) wants just the opposite. I have listened to him sneeze, cough, sigh, and sneeze again for five days. I'm talking blow the house down sneezes here. Don't get me wrong, I like a good sneeze, and have been known to shake the rafters myself, but his are the long drawn out ones and he doesn't believe in covering his nose and mouth (which is probably how I got this crap). Both my daughter and I have called him on this more than once this week.

The man is a nurse. He understands the effect of germs. He just refuses to acknowledge that germs come out of his nose and mouth...that must be it...what other reason could there be?

I realize that I'm probably not the easiest person to live with at times. I've been reminded of this several times over the past few days. Mr. Won't Cover His Mouth has been gracious enough to evaluate my demeanor on a fairly consistent basis lately. I keep reminding myself that he doesn't feel good either and probably needs some comforting...but what he doesn't realize is that I'm all out. All out. Don't have any in reserve. Nada. It's been buried under all this Holiday Crud he gave me. I have a lump from biting my tongue/lip for the past five days. What would normally slightly irritate me makes me want to pull the flesh off his face in less than five seconds! See, this is why I need/crave solitude when I'm sick. I find myself having fantasies of smashing a pillow over his snoring head. I don't want to hug him and tell him it will all be better in a few days. I want to tell him to go to HELL (and not come back!).

It's not that I want to be nurtured either...I just want to be left alone so I can be sick...let it devour me and spit me back days later. When I finally allow myself to give in to the usually takes a raging temperature and near collapse for this to actually happen...I REALLY need to be left alone. My children know this...and once again, my husband does not. Or, does he just refuse to acknowledge this because he gives me what he expects to get? This my friends, is a mystery to me.

This has been a trying few days for me for other reasons...I'm trying very hard to not smoke...having this Holiday Crud thing going on has actually been quite useful to the cause. But, I'm afraid it may have contributed to my irritability. I might just be thinking too much. I tend to do this...think too's the number one reason I can't sleep well at night...some nights I just can't stop thinking...and with very little physical exertion because of this stinking disease (it's now referred to as rhino virus) I'm really not tired when it's time to get to bed...then starts the sneezing, coughing, sighing, and eventually the snoring(among other noises)...that's when the urge to shove my pillow into his sleeping face occurs. I don't do it of course...the fear of a cavity search squelches that desire. So I lay there and think of other ways to do the job...have I lost my ever loving mind?! It sure feels like it.

Our day usually starts at 4:30 in the morning, but only four days a week. If I have trouble sleeping I usually fall asleep about ten minutes before my husband's alarm clock goes off...go figure. He, like most of us, has a morning ritual that he plods through VERY, VERY LOUDLY! It's not loud to him...he's hard of hearing...all other occupants of this house and surrounding property will be awakened when he has it or not. I have bolted upright from a dead sleep (on those rare and wonderful occasions) and watched deer that were sleeping under our window run for the forest in a panic from the noises that are made by this otherwise unassuming man.

So this morning, after a restless night, I of course fall asleep shortly after four only to be woken up ten short minutes later by loud heavy sighs. I won't describe the sounds that followed. I froze. Afraid to move, needing desperately to cover my eyes before the blare of the lights, I instead pulled my pillow up and around my head. That maneuver didn't really matter because my dear sweet man threw the covers off and leaped out of bed, making more noises I will not discuss along the way and leaving a green cloud in his wake. At this point I regret my decision to avoid the cavity search...I know I will not get back to sleep and I really want to do more than smash his face with a pillow. I keep telling myself that it's okay, he's going to work, all will be well, but it's not working very well. I'm still not feeling all that good. I think I need to call in sick again...but at least I think I'm going to live...and so is my man! He should only know how lucky he is!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Holiday Crud

It's official...the holidays are over and I have the Holiday Crud!

I knew it was inevitable yesterday when I was stuck in a truck with my sneezing husband. About two in the morning with head throbbing the coughing started. I either passed out from exhaustion or lack of oxygen somewhere around four. At eight thirty I realized it was garbage day and I needed to get the trash down to the road or live with it another week...I ran!

By the time I got back from the road I was exhausted...I passed the offender in the hall (he had called in sick just before I had the coughing attack)...he asked how I was...FINE! I'm Fine! His response was that I was not fine judging from the coughing attacks I had all night...I am too fine!! I'm just running late and oh dear...I think I'm sick, you made me sick...look what you're done to me! I have Story Time today and you sneezed your germs all over me...and nobody wants a germy story lady! It's all your fault!

Here I am yelling at a sick man who's been up all night with the crud and is obviously miserable, as miserable as I am or worse...I'm definitely sick. I'm rarely grumpy or mean...I'm sick! So, I called in to work, then called a coworker who went in an hour early to do Story Time for me. She has a two year old and actually was quite thankful I wanted to stay home and not share my germs with the wee ones of the community.

So it's official, I have the Holiday Crud...and I'm not very happy about it!

I've been drinking AirBorne and popping vitamin C for weeks to ward off this nasty Holiday Crud that rears it's ugly head year after year. I have washed my hands till they're raw. I've wiped down the house with bleach solution. I've done every thing possible and it caught me and isn't going to let go anytime soon! Those ugly little mucus monsters are inside me having a party and there isn't anything I can do about it.

I think I'll go back to bed now...Happy New Year!