Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

I am heartbroken, along with much of Oregon. A group of young people were hiking in an area to the east of Multnomah Falls, and apparently one of them thought it would be funny to throw a smoke bomb from a trail down into a ravine. Fireworks. Into the dry forest. In August. Now this whole area is a raging inferno, zero percent contained.

The earth is resilient. It will recover, but it will never be the same in my lifetime. I am grateful for the many times we braved the crowds and headed to this beautiful, popular location, most recently after the ice storm, when it was the coldest cold I’ve ever experienced, and again last May when I took my car to Portland to be serviced. That last time was a spontaneous decision to drive over after my appointment just to take a few pictures and drink in the forest beauty before heading home. It may have been the last time I will ever see it like this.

Sometimes it only takes one person to ruin it for everyone. Treasure that which you hold dear.

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Share Your World 8/14/17

Here are my answers to Cee’s questions for the latest Share Your World:

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time?

I keep the lights off, and the habit is so ingrained I’ve been known to turn the lights off on my poor showering husband. My dad helped create this habit with his constant reminders during my youth. I more recently read that the biggest impacts on the family electric bill come from the hot water heater and the furnace, and with low energy bulbs throughout the house, I’m not sure I really need to be so diligent about the lights.

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? 

I just got back from a foodie visit with my son and daughter-in-law. I would definitely spend it trying new restaurants with friends and family.

Complete this sentence: My favorite thing to do on my cell phone is…

I don’t have a favorite. I do enjoy having a mini-computer available all the time. I enjoy taking pictures, even if I have my DSLR hanging off my shoulder. I love being connected to my family and friends. I also love being able to Google anything! I think I’d be lost without my phone at this point.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I just got back from a visit to Charlottesvile and DC. I was overwhelmingly inspired by walking in the footsteps of our Founding Fathers. I toured Monticello and learned about our conflicted Thomas Jefferson, who believed that all men were created equal and apparently opposed slavery, yet owned hundreds of slaves himself. I walked through the rotunda of the University of Virginia and reflected on the ideals of Jefferson that his newborn democracy should have an educated population of citizens to support it. (I am a teacher and a firm believer in public education.)

In DC, I walked through the halls of Congress in awe of the grandeur and history of the place. At the end of the tour, our guide, an older woman, related being evacuated and running from that very building in fear on 9/11 as a plane approached. She said that as she ran, she looked back over her shoulder and saw smoke rising from the Pentagon. She later learned that her husband’s office was ground zero in that attack, but shared that he had not gone to the office that day. She impressed upon us the somber knowledge that she worked in the number one terrorist target in the country, but also how important it was to show strength and not fear. I was not the only person in tears hearing that story in that great setting.

The day we were in DC was the same day the KKK rally was happening in Charlottesville. We were getting updates via Facebook, text and Twitter as we toured. It struck me that at the same time that was going on we were walking the mall in a giant crowd of people of every race and color, listening to many different languages being spoken. A rainbow of humanity was sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the same day a group of white men beat a black man with poles and another angry young man bore his car down on people standing up for the rights of all.  I read the words of Lincoln from his second inaugural address and thought that imagining the world he lived in was not as far a stretch as it should have been. And just this morning I heard echos of Reagan, Bob Dole, and Bush Jr., excerpts from speeches strongly and definitively denouncing white supremacy and the KKK, only to be saddened by the tepid response of the current resident of the White House.

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What inspired me? In the past week I walked in the footsteps of one of the authors of our founding documents. I read the words of another great leader who sought to rectify this situation. I sat on those steps and gazed out upon a mall that was the scene of a historic march for civil rights.

And I wondered, isn’t the time for KKK rallies long past?

And lest you think these outsiders represent Charlottesville, I can tell you as an outsider myself that I found the town charming, educated, and progressive, which is why that darn statue is coming down in the first place.

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Aren’t you glad you asked?


As always, thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds. Thanks for reading. I wish you all safety in these troubling times. We do live in a great country.

In memory of Heather Heyer.

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Share Your World – 7/31/2017

Here are my latest answers to Cee’s Share Your World questions:

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts? Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected?

This is something I’m going to have to consider in a couple of weeks. I’ve been able to avoid glasses for quite some time, but things are getting a little blurry. I’ve finally made an eye appointment. I think I’ll probably choose glasses, though I’m terrible about misplacing things. Contacts are convenient, but I don’t think I’d like to stick things in my eyes. Plus, I’m pretty cheap, and contacts can be expensive.

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person?

I used to love both, but we’ve gone a long time with only dogs and now have a kitten. She’s cute, cuddly, and funny, but her litter box stinks and she’s constantly slipping through my legs into rooms she’s not allowed in and outside where the dogs and cars threaten. True to cat form, she doesn’t care that I’m not a cat person. Maybe it’s a challenge for her to win me over to her side. Whatever the reason, anytime I sit still she ends up on my chest or shoulders.

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If you were to buy a new house/apartment what is the top three items on your wish list?

Gourmet kitchen
Hardwood floors
Big, fenced yard with established shade/fruit trees.

What inspired you this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I am inspired by my youthful parents who, in their 70s, are still up for a hike up a mountain or down (and up) a switchback trail to get lakeside to a national gem.

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Mom and Dad at the top of Iron Mountain in the middle of a 5+ mile hike.
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Mom and Dad (left) heading down to the boat dock at Crater Lake.

Once again, thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds! Wishing everyone cooler weather than I’m experiencing this week!

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Share Your World – 7/24/17

List some of your favorites types of teas.

  • Sencha Green Tea (great for a cold, by the way)
  • Chai, iced or hot
  • Earl Grey made with a crushed cardamom pod

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be?

Yield

What are a couple of things could people do for you on a really bad day that would really help you?

Well, I’m pretty good at hiding bad days, unfortunately, but if they were there to let me vent, or just to have a warm, nonjudgmental body to sit next to (think Pooh and Piglet), that would be wonderful.

Irregardless of your physical fitness, coordination or agility: If you could be an athlete what would do do?   Remember this is SYW, dreaming is always allowed.

If we’re dreaming, I’d probably be a gymnast or figure skater. OR I might want try an ultramarathon or go mountain biking. Sadly, reality keeps me grounded. 🙂

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for my baby, who turned 19 yesterday. What a joy he’s been in my life!

Next week I look forward to not having any plans. 🙂


As always, thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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What’s on the Menu of Life?


Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Life can be
Two all beef patties on a sesame seed bun,
Wan, plain, and always the same,
Served up with the requisite colorless potatoes
And washed down with an artificial cola drink,
Often eaten on the run,
A daily fare
Lacking in substance
And flavor,

OR

Life can be
Apples and brie,
Red curry paste,
Tom Kah Gai and Dim Sum,
Shared experiences,
New and exciting,
Exotic and strange,
Stuffed with nuanced flavor and
Always to be savored.

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Photo credit: Foter.com

Ferrari or jalopy?

Love.

It’s something you never think about when the gears are in motion and the machinery is chugging along. You take for granted the easy ride, but the machinery of love requires upkeep, regular tuneups in the form of outings, dates, memory-making experiences. It benefits from regular polishing with the wax of affection, carefully and deliberately applied. Smoothing oil of conversation and companionship keep the motor purring.

Neglect any one of these things and this machinery starts to break down. Gears start sticking, squeaking and squawking. The motor gets tarnished and full of gunk. Forget about the tuneups and soon you find yourself stuck by the side of the road, trying desperately to flag down help.

 

 

Share Your World 7/10/17

Here are my answers to the latest Share Your World questions:

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

I’d love to say I spend my rainy days immersed in a good book, but I’m more likely to be found on my laptop. I’ve recently discovered Lightroom, so I spend a lot of time on my pictures. If it’s not that, I might be writing or playing Civilization.

List at least five favorite treats. (They do not have to be sugary).

  • Good dark chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Sushi
  • French fries (or potatoes in any form, actually)
  • Black licorice
  • Candied ginger

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Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?

We usually end up at Silver Falls State Park. It’s beautiful and relatively close. We may end up at the Columbia River Gorge, but it’s a bit of a drive by comparison. Both places are very popular and as a result are usually crowded, but they are popular because they are beautiful.

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You are trapped in an elevator, who would you want to be trapped with?

Someone who tells good stories.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for my sister. We hiked to Tamolich Pool with two of her kids yesterday. We’re planning another two hikes for the upcoming week, so I’ll be looking forward to that.

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Thanks again to Cee for the opportunity to share our worlds. Have a great week!

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Battling the Loneliness Monster

The monster sleeps fitfully in its lair. A vicious opportunist with an insatiable appetite, it dreams of stragglers, outliers, awkward members of the group who veer to the dangerous periphery.

The smell of solitude awakens it from its slumber. A single soul wanders into view. Fully awake now, the monster sizes up its victim. Definitely alone. The monster gets up, hungry with anticipation. It pads on stealthy paws, silently creeping up from behind. Without a sound, it pounces, grasping the prey’s neck with sharp claws and rendering it immobile. The prey, feeling the tightening grip, feeling the danger, valiantly struggles to break free as the monster’s grip intensifies. With a desperate, pleading glance, she cranes her neck to look it in the eye, but dark emptiness stares back at her.

The monster pushes her down to the ground and puts the whole force of its weight into its goal of submission.  Tenaciously it clings on, waiting for the moment of despair, salivating at the chance for a long-awaited meal.

The prey fights back. She weakly calls for reinforcements, but they are far from the periphery, where she now lies immobile. They can hardly make out her cries for help. From their vantage points they can’t see the monster. They tell her to get up, to come back to the group, and then go back to their business.

On her own, she knows she must struggle or perish. Her hands flail wildly to the sides for something within reach, something, anything with which to attack the monster. She grabs a paintbrush and beats the monster, hitting its sides, its head, prying at the claws around her neck. She feels its weight shift, its grip relax slightly, feels its energy subside, but its weight is still on top of her and sharp claws, though looser, still encircle her throat. She grabs garden clippers and stabs at it, slowly, deliberately, purposefully. It releases one strong paw in defense and swings its head around. While it’s distracted, she drops the clippers, grabs a guitar, and bashes it over the head. With a yowl, it finally releases its grip and flees back to its cave.

There it lies in fitful slumber, temporarily subdued, awaiting a chance to strike again.

 

Share Your World 7/3/17

Here are my answers to the latest Share Your World questions:

For your main meal do you prefer sweet and sour, hot and spicy, spicy and sweet, bitter, salty, bland or other?

Anything but bland. I used to love spicy, but now the heat irritates the back of my throat to the point of feeling like it’s closing, so I’ve had to tone the spice down quite a bit. I enjoy anything with complex flavors, but bland leaves me wanting more (and rifling through the cupboards for salty, sweet, etc).

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

Oh, in my bedroom, much to my husband’s dismay. Fortunately (or unfortunately) we don’t have people coming over very often. That fact should leave me plenty of time to tackle the previous hide, but it’s still there. It’s an organization thing. Overwhelming = avoidance.

What daily habit would you like to introduce to your life?

I would like to re-introduce daily workouts to my life. I’ve lost some of my hard-won fitness lately. Every day I commit to going for a run and every day I put it off for everything else. (And I have plenty of time right now. No excuses!)

If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?  

I’d be the ringmaster. I have 4 kids. I’ve had plenty of practice.

Although, on second thought, I’ve been practicing on the tightrope a lot lately.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for friends who keep me connected to my sanity.

I recently got the crossbars for the top of my new car, so this week I look forward to hitting the water with my kayak.


Thanks again to Cee for a chance to share our worlds.

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