Share Your World 4/10/17

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

I started running at 45. I had been through cancer and thought, why not? (Funny how illness wakes you up to possibilities.) My sister and I started the Couch to 5K program, which starts you with walking and gradually builds until you can run that distance. We supported each other and commiserated at the distances we had to run each week. It was tough, but gradually we improved until we could run nearly 5K. (3.1 miles)

Finally, we signed up for our first race. It was a fun run in Portland that crossed a couple of bridges and ran down the waterfront on both sides of the river. We made a girls’ weekend out of it, taking our daughters with us. I was nervous and didn’t see how I would ever run the whole thing, but I did it. We did it. We went on to run some 10Ks and even a couple of half-marathons. Not bad for an old cancer survivor, eh? Just proves you can do anything you set your mind to.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I’m usually lonely.

What is your favorite flower?

I love dahlias. We have them planted all around the yard. Last winter we left them in the ground. I’m afraid we might have lost them. They are not lovers of damp soil, and it’s been a super soggy winter.

Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

There’s a giant painting of red poppies at a gallery at the coast. I would love to have that in my home. It’s out of my price range, unfortunately.

I would also love a hot tub. I have the perfect place for it, right below the deck around the stairs, tucked into a little alcove. I looked up homemade hot tubs the other day because it’s looking like we won’t fork out the thousands of dollars for a new one. The homemade ones look intriguing. It would be a bit like sitting in a hot spring.

Barring the hot tub, I’d take a sauna. Especially lately. Dry heat sounds particularly appealing.

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 another week to be grateful for small things like coffee and Cadbury Mini Eggs, fresh baked scones, baby chicks, farm fresh eggs, and wine & conversation with friends.

I look forward to finding joy in more small things like the adoration of my son’s pup and watching teenage shows with said son.

wp-1481819756075.jpg

As always, thanks to Cee for the chance to share our worlds! Have a great week. I’m off to wash a stinky dog!

041514-sywbanner

 

Share Your World 3/13/17

It’s time for another installment of Cee’s Share Your World. Here are my answers to this week’s questions:

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?

Confession time. I do not push the button multiple times. I’m not a type-A personality by any stretch. Instead, I’ve been known to stand outside an elevator waiting and waiting, only to find out I didn’t push hard enough in the first place. (Slightly embarrassing when someone walks up and thinks you’ve pushed it.)

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)

I used to love spontaneity. When my husband and I were first married, we would head out on a whim for any type of grand adventure. Then we had kids, and became saddled with diapers and clothes and snacks and bedtimes, only to have those replaced with school schedules and activities. We tried to be as spontaneous as all of that allows, but hauling kids along requires lots of planning. I’ve become even more of a planner lately, after landing at ideal locations only to find a row of No Vacancy signs at all of the desirable hotels. Even successful camping requires a reservation anymore!

So, life, you win. I’m now a planner.

Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words.

Creative

Faithful

Thoughtful

Kind

If you had a choice which would be your preference salt water beaches, fresh water lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert? 

Give me a kayak and a fresh water lake, and I’m a happy camper!

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 sun. I have been living in the Oregon of my youth lately – days upon days of dismal, rainy weather. Sunday was sunny, so we grabbed our things (spontaneously) and headed to the coast, where it was warm enough to eat lunch outside! (And if you are from Oregon, you know how rare that is in March.)

wp-1489622134998.jpg

I look forward to the weather warming up, the sun coming out, the flowers emerging, and kicking my exercise program back into gear.


Thanks to Cee for another chance to write! Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

041514-sywbanner

Share Your World 2/28/17

Here are my latest responses to Cee’s Share Your World. If you would like to play along, click here.

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle?

Not while I was driving. We ran out of gas less than a mile from the gas station when my husband was driving, and on the freeway, no less. You can imagine the bickering that came from that incident.

That being said, I’ve come close. When I was driving Sunshine on our cross-country trip to college, the gas light came on. At night. In the desert. In the middle of nowhere. It was me and three kids in the car, Needles, California was the next thing on the map, and it was nowhere in sight. Finally, lights blinked in the distant darkness, and with a twisting in my gut, I coasted into the nearest gas station, thanking my lucky stars. I am now careful to fill up when it gets around 3/4 empty.

Which are better: black or green olives?

I’ve finally jumped onto the olive bandwagon somewhat after eschewing them for most of my life. I prefer black to green, though I really like a couple of chopped kalamatas on a salad.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

I would explore foreign lands and cultures. I find it really interesting to see the way our different experiences intersect and how other people have learned to adapt to their situations.

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

This is a long one, but it’s always been one of my favorites. I tend to be a sideline sort of person, so it pushes me to put myself out there beyond my relatively close comfort zone.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

And this one about being an authentic person has always stuck with me.


Photo credit: R J Ruppenthal via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

This quote about just doing the right thing and being who you are also really speaks to me.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa

Here’s another. (Don’t get me going on quotes!) It’s highly applicable to our current political situation.

What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Last week I pulled out my drawing pencils and sketch book. I haven’t played around with them for a while, but some art therapy is needed at this time in my life. Like so many other things, this hobby is a combination of work-in-progress and steep learning curve. My fantasy is to paint a giant masterpiece on canvas, something that others would relate to. Haha. For right now I will content myself with trying to figure out how to draw non-Picasso-like faces and symmetrical eyes. But I am grateful for this hobby.

The second part of this question is much harder to answer.

I don’t ever look forward to the week of daylight savings time. I think I dread it more than the dentist, if that’s possible. It stems from not being a morning person and having a relatively early-morning job. I guess I could look forward to my internal clock eventually catching up.


Wishing you all a great week!

As always, thanks to Cee for this wonderful opportunity to write!

041514-sywbanner

Blocking the Opponent

Let me start off by admitting that I’ve never been much of an athlete. I tried track in high school and got 4th out of 4 by hanging back to encourage a teammate during the mile. (She had the nerve to sprint ahead of me at the finish!) I was the kid shooting granny-shots in middle school basketball during the last 5 minutes of a winning game. So maybe my view is skewed, and maybe I have this wrong, but allow me an attempt at an analogy.

I remember during that middle-school basketball experience learning how to plant my body in front of my opponent to impede his progress. I don’t remember the name of the move, but I do remember that it was risky. Placing yourself in front of a charging, basketball-wielding player intent on hitting the goal might cause you, upon contact, to go flying across the court. It was also tricky. Not fully planting your feet would cause a foul call upon you. Your job as defense was to plant your feet firmly and road-block your opponent.

Progressives are now playing defense. Not only that, but we are playing against the team that is known for playing dirty, and they’ve probably bought the refs. But we can use and must use this play.

It’s time to dig in our heels and not chase down the players. It’s time to plant ourselves firmly in front of the player with the ball and not move. He may, and probably will, get around us, but hopefully we’ve given the blockers time to move into position to successfully throw the ball back to us. The opposition may score a few points, but this is a game we must win. Our democracy depends upon it.

Life as a Jenga Tower

Carefully the foundation was laid,
Criss-crossing planks reaching toward a sky
That tantalized with low-strung clouds of hope
And a vast expanse of possibility.

Life took a plank here and there,
That’s how the game is played,
Opening holes into the recesses of mind and heart,
But a Jenga tower is not easily toppled.

Illness came like the petulant child and
Swiped at the blocks, scattering a few to far reaches,
Never to be seen again,
Knocking the tower a little off kilter.
But the tower remained standing,
Shored up by many hands.

Blocks were extracted as
Building materials for towers which were
Themselves under construction
In a reach for that wide expanse of sky
In a never-ending shuffle of finite resources.
Still, the tower held firm.

Then a block was drawn from the bottom,
And the tower groaned.

Then another.

And another.

Players played on,
Wondering why the tower swayed.
Unaware of the laws of physics,
Of gravity
And of equal and opposite reactions,
They poked and prodded at the structural integrity
Of the Jenga tower.

The game is still in progress,
Though the base has become riddled with openings
Where the winds of disillusionment and melancholy
Eddy and swirl.


Photo credit: Nicola since 1972 via Foter.com / CC BY

All Good Things Have An End

My dog is dying.

As I sat outside with my furry friend last night, grateful for the unseasonably warm weather, I reflected on our life together. This pup stole my heart. He drew me from my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, implored me to cuddle his little furball body, and begged me to take him home. We already have a dog, I said weakly. We will be great friends, he seemed to answer through his puppy dog eyes.

As these things can’t be decided alone, I waited for my husband outside the store. Please, I said. He can be my Christmas present, I said. I tried the pup’s tactic of pleading eyes. My husband was powerless, and we were the proud new owners of a mottled ball of fur.

True to his promise, the pup and our existing dog, Paintbrush, became the best of friends, and under the caring hands of our kid-riddled family, he soon grew into a beautiful, 60 lb gentle guard dog. We named him Ranger, a good name, but fortunately not a fitting name, as he liked to stay close to home.

One day, Paintbrush, an escape artist who we would lock into the large kennel only to later find on the doorstep, tried to show him her technique for getting out of that kennel. We watched from behind the garage as she coaxed him from the top of the kennel down to a  hole in the field fencing. She looked at him as if to say, Here it is. Follow me. Then she climbed up and slid through. He just looked at her, then sauntered back to his cozy dog house. Ranger was a homebody.

He loved being at home, surrounded by the noise and activity of our young children. When we would spread a blanket under the maple tree to read, Ranger would find his spot and cuddle up next to the kids. He wasn’t the playful type. He wouldn’t chase anything. We can’t say the same for any other dog who has entered and exited our lives. We’ve had cat chasers and chicken chasers. The fun ones are the ball and frisbee chasers. Ranger was happy just to be. He was the Ferdinand of the dog world, content to sit under the shade of the maple tree.

Dogs came and tragically left our family, yet Ranger remained. Over the years he started wobbling as he walked. He fell behind on walks through the field. He looked up at us as if he didn’t understand what was happening. We would call for someone to bring the pick-up to the back of the field, but when they got there, Ranger would find the spark within and begin loping toward home in an arthritic, stubborn old-man way. A couple of years ago, I thought we were going to lose him. The dogs were being rambunctious, knocking him down over and over again, so I opened the gate and brought him to the front yard for relief. As soon as we were on the other side of the fence, he perked up, hopped arthritically, and headed toward the road. In his mind we were going on a walk. What else could I do? If it killed him, at least he’d die happy.

He didn’t die. He’s plugged away for another two years. Like any old creature, he has thought he could do things he can no longer do. It was a sad day when we went for a walk in the field only to have him stop twenty feet from the gate and look around. He couldn’t go any further. He was done. His poor hips had become too stiff and uncooperative, but his heart so wanted to go.

Little by little, Ranger’s world changed. One by one, his kids left or opted for a screen over a smiling dog face. He would lay by the back door waiting for them to come out. Sometimes Goose would walk away from the computer and head outside with his old friend. Through the years he would tell me that we should clone Ranger. I told him I liked that idea; if only it weren’t so expensive. We wondered if a cloned Ranger would result in the same dog. Smartypants and Sunshine would come home for a visit, and Ranger would show signs of his old self. His ears would perk up and he would grin his doggy grin and nuzzle under their willing hands until they went away and left him alone again.

This time it’s real.

Last night I covered my old friend in a blanket. I propped his head on my leg and spent hours petting him and talking to him. I thought about the time gone by and how much both of our lives had changed. I thought of how fleeting love is, of how we take for granted that the good things we hold dear will always exist for us. As he relaxed into my leg, I willed him to let go, but his heart is too tightly bound us.

This weekend we will have to make the hard decision to put him down. I will miss my canine friend, this furry little sidekick to what’s been an amazing part of my life. It’s time to say good-bye, to hug his frail, furry body one last time, to pet that mottled snout and give him that scratch behind the ears he’s always longing for. I will miss this dog, as I miss this part of life, yet in the unfairness of life, clinging tightly to something you love doesn’t prevent it sifting though your fingers.

I hope there’s a dog heaven. If any dog deserves to go, Ranger does. I picture Paintbrush eagerly waiting for him. She must have some really great things to show him by now.

Cee’s Share Your World – 2/13/17

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

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

The bottom of the sheet needs to be tucked in or it makes me crazy.

Have you stolen a street sign before?

Never. I remember kids doing that when I was young. They would hang them on their walls. My own street name is the same as that of my newlywed niece. She and her husband have talked about stealing one of them, though they would never do it.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

I’ve given up on paper coupons. I used to seek them out and carry them with me when I was newly married with young kids. Our budget was tight back then, and the coupons did help a lot. Thankfully, the economy has released it’s stranglehold on us and we have a little more breathing room. Now it’s not worth the added clutter. I still buy almost everything on sale (which I consider the real price), and I will look  up a coupon on my phone if I’m at a store like Michael’s.

Do you have freckles?

I have a few light freckles. I have larger “wisdom spots,” as my dermatologist called them.

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 furbaby. Such unconditional love! If only humans could be more like dogs.

I look forward to surprising my mom with a visit on her birthday. Shhhh! Don’t tell. 😉


Thanks to Cee for this great challenge!

041514-sywbanner

Resist

There’s a whisper growing louder
(Have you heard?) –
Voices lost now being found
Sweeping up the scattered words,

Whipped by robust winds –
They are landing in the streets.
Upon people of all walks of life
They’ve found a pulsing beat

The heartbeat of America
A promise to deliver
As immigrants and native souls
Create a human river.

Words splatter over painted signs,
And rise from voices strong
Of dedicated people
Who sing their country’s song –

They sing of lofty principles
Inscribed on fragile paper,
By men of foresight long ago
Lest they dissipate like vapor.

These words are seared upon the hearts
Of freedom loving folk,
We are all created equal
And won’t accept the yoke

Of stubborn inequality,
Of silencing our voices.
Remember soon the season comes
When we renew our choices.

Until then we claim these words,
We use them as our tools,
Of building our foundation
That precludes your silly rules.

We stand together strong and proud
And raise collective fists
Declaring our autonomy
And pledging to resist.


Join us. https://www.indivisibleguide.com/

Share Your World – 2/6/2017

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

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Funny you should ask…

After retrieving something for breakfast (and having to rearrange the piles to get to it), I made a mental note to clean the fridge today. It’s never organized, per se. Things get shoved in there wherever they fit, and not just by me. I’m beginning to think refrigerators should be shallow. As it is, the boys in this house can’t find anything that’s not right in front of their faces. Move the milk, guys! Check behind things!

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

It depends on the food. I’m not picky about my foods mixing. Some things taste better mixed together, such as rice and beans or fish and salad. You can discover some amazing things by mixing your food. Once I tried a piece of candied ginger with a swig of some cold coffee. I thought it would taste nasty, but it was really, really good! It turns out this is a thing!

wp-1482898082068.jpg
Moroccan coffee from Ovation Coffee, The Pearl, Portland, OR

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

I prefer literary fiction, though I do like well-written non-fiction. Coffee table books can be great eye candy. Alas, I don’t have any. If I did, it would be a photo collection by Ansel Adams or Ray Atkeson.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you? 

My body is telling me that it is becoming one with the couch. I think somewhere deep within the message is that I should get up, get showered, and get on with my day. 😉

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 #3 child who celebrated 20 years on this planet this last week.

This week I look forward to seeing David Sedaris speak.


As always, thank you Cee for this wonderful excuse to write something!

041514-sywbanner

Resist


Photo credit: marcn via Foter.com / CC BY

When confronted with the Holocaust, one question many of us have is why didn’t the German people see this coming and stop it? Sane people recognize that Hitler was a madman. He somehow managed to pull people into his cause, to harness the energy of darkness and squelch the light. He was given license to commit atrocities against millions of people in a dark cloud of torture and killing that hangs over humanity to this day. So why didn’t the German people stop it?

Maybe they didn’t see it coming.

I remember as a child playing outside all afternoon. The sun would be going down and twilight descending over the land, but we could still see, so we remained outside. Only after coming into the light and looking out did we realize how dark it had actually become. This is what is happening to my America right now. Twilight is descending in the form of bans and firing of the acting A.G. It is enveloping us with the inclusion of an avowed white nationalist as a major player on the security council. Darkness is encroaching with attacks on our free press. For the moment, we can still see, but for how much longer.

Someone recently told me she couldn’t understand why people are protesting. She made a comment that good people had jobs and couldn’t be leaving their jobs to spend their lives protesting, insinuating that protesters are not working people. I pointed out that when a cause is sufficiently important, even working people make the time to protest. I live too far away from a major airport, or I would contribute one of my days off to joining in to protest the Muslim ban (or travel ban, or whatever alternative reality label you want to slap on it). I recognize the injustice of the EO, and I will add it to my ever-growing list of things to stand up against, policies that are not reflective of our American identity of leadership in the world and inclusion (ultimately) of our immigrants.

May we learn from Hilter’s Germany. Resistance begins with us.


As I finished typing this I got a notification that the senate had approved Mnuchin and Price without Democrats present by suspending the rules. Welcome to your new America. I encourage you to support your free press. Subscribe to a newspaper. Support the ACLU. Above all, resist.