Thursday, December 20, 2007


Can a phone call at 5:30 in the morning be a good thing? Not too often. And not in this case. I was roused from slumber to learn that a deer had chosen to commit suicide on the front of Michael's truck. Off I went to meet him at the Elma Rest Area, where we finished making all the necessary calls...police, insurance, tow. Got wonderful service from our ins. co., tho we had to wait over an hour for the tow....which was coming from 45 miles away (when there were tow companies in Elma not 5 miles away).

We are now wondering if his '98 Toyota...with 230,000 miles on it...might be considered "totalled". Hope not. This has been a really great truck. We ARE looking into getting something that gets even better mileage, so let's hope this works out for the best.

If bad things come in threes....I hope this is the end of it. Our shop broken into and chainsaws stolen in November.....then the storm and resulting damages....and now his truck. Enough already.

Friday, December 14, 2007


The weekend of Dec. 2 proved to be rather interesting around here. The winds began to blow about noon that Sunday, and they continued until Tuesday morning. They say we had 13-16 inches of rain in that period, but I'm not sure any of it hit the ground around here....the high winds were sending it in another direction. I went blissfully to sleep Sunday night, hearing the wind (which at times sounded like a freight train), but not really concerned. Little did I know that winds reaching category 3 hurricane-speed were tearing through the west part of our county.

We awoke Monday morning to a totally different landscape. The first thing I noticed when opening the living room drapes, was that the last of our major pine trees (60') had gone sideways into the power pole servicing our area, snapping off the top 20 feet. The tree and the top of the pole were dangling in the wires over the 4-lane highway bordering our property. It didn't matter....there was no traffic at all. We found out later that you couldn't get in or out of Aberdeen....and Central Park, where we live....because of so many similar situations repeating itself up and down the highway. We were kind of surprised...but not alarmed. We didn't yet know the full extent of the damage. We thought, "'s gonna be late tonight before we get power." We have a fireplace with an insert, so we weren't cold. And fortunately (if one can call anything fortunate about these kinds of storms), it's usually warmer than normal when they occur. We were okay....just inconvenienced.

I dug out the battery-powered radio, and could find no local station. An Olympia station provided most of our news, and it was through them that we learned there was no getting in or out. We learned there were slides covering the highway in the 45 miles between here and Olympia too. We were beginning to be concerned. Power might be out longer than we expected, and we had two freezers full of food that needed to be protected.

Tuesday morning we were off to Olympia to get generators. Mind you, there were none left in Grays Harbor County, and we only found one in Olympia because the Cabela's store was so new, folks weren't thinking of them as a source of portable power. We had to divert around the slide area at Summit Lake, but got through with no problems. There were a great many semi-trucks lined up that apparently hadn't heard about the slide, and were too big to take the detour. We noticed several long flatbed trucks loaded with power poles, and we kept our fingers crossed that they would find a way through. Anyway, we got the last generator in Cabelas...and borrowed another from my brother-in-law (thanks, Randy!). And we got a hot meal too...our first in days! (Thanks, Sarah!) We were able to get power to our place, and to my father-in-law. And so we settled in for the wait.

Late Tuesday afternoon power crews began arriving. Up until then it was just too windy for them to begin working. It was with real joy that we welcomed a team of "pud people" to the front of our house....where they stayed until the following Saturday. Let's give a shout out to Michels Power.....thanks guys! You worked 24/7 to get our area of the world up and running. And thanks to my brother-in-law, Al....I'm sure it was he who got us a phone by Wednesday...when a whole lot of other people didn't have one until that weekend.

We had water....but you couldn't drink it without boiling it. And since it was a hassle to heat up the barbecue to boil water, we drank bottled. Wed. night they drilled a hole through our water line (drilling a hole for the new power pole), and without phones to most of our area, no one could get ahold of the water dept. to turn it off. We didn't know this until early (4 a.m) Thursday morning, when Michael got up for work. His first day back to work, and we had a lake in our front yard. He madly began digging trenches through our yard to divert the water to the driveway....instead of going under the house. We still have the trenches, but the water is gone. Our front lawn was rather sad to begin it's even more interesting. It was Monday before we got a new water-line in, and Tuesday they gave us the go-ahead to drink it. Fortunately for us, we have a creek running through the property, so we were able to bring in buckets of water to flush the toilet during the time we had no water at all.

By Wednesday Sunny 102.1 was back on the air....with donated gas for their generators. Rhys Davis's show in the morning was a bright spot in our day. We were constantly updated with what was going on in around us....when a grocery store would open, who was giving away free ice or water...what restaurants were open for business. With most of the county blacked out, there were no gas grocery restaurants. People were making gas-runs to Olympia. Michael brought home drinking water from work. It was interesting to say the least. The spokeswoman for the PUD gave updates several times a day, and it was then we realized that we weren't getting power for another 5 or more days. The governor had declared our county a disaster, so FEMA was coming in with help in the form of generators, and checks for food and shelter. We knew lots of people that had parts of their roofs missing. My girlfriend lost her car to a tree....but she was wanting a new one anyway...fortunately! There was some flooding in east county, and millions and millions of board feet of timber now lay on the ground.

And because we had no power for the week, we missed all the TV coverage on our neighbors to the southeast in Lewis County, who were in much worse shape than us, with horrible flooding. I-5 was closed for days. Even parts of Olympia were flooded, with water up to the roofs of cars only a few blocks from the shopping mall. It was amazing.

But, here we week after life returned to normal....getting ready for Christmas. It will take us awhile to get this mess cleaned up, but no real damage done to our place. Other people fared a LOT worse. And look at the rest of the COUNTRY....those ice storms in Oklahoma (off all places) and other parts of the midwest....all that snow in New England. And it's not even winter yet. Help.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


"Welcome to Cabela's....and thank you. Thank you for your part in making this store a reality!" We were greeted by half a dozen or more smiling employees, shaking our hands, thanking us for building their store, and asking what part we played in the process. They accompanied us through the entrance, asking where we'd like to go first, and pointing the way to the different areas of the store.....camping, fishing, marine, home, and of course, archery, hunting, and "camo." Needless to say, my husband is in 7th heaven. Is there a higher one than that? If so, he's there.

It was "Contractor" night...a chance for those who'd built the building to go in and shop, at a discount, with their families before the store opened to the general public this weekend. The parking lot was full, and parts of the store were really crowded, but it was really an enjoyable experience. No where have we ever encountered such smiling, helpful employees. They were out en masse and were more than eager to answer your questions, find the product you were after, and quickly made dozens of trips to the cashier center to see what kind of discount was being offered on different items. They certainly earned their money last night, and I can only wonder if they will still be smiling by the time Christmas is over! (Of course, my family knows that whoever has Michael's name for Christmas, they need look no further than the check-out counter at Cabela's...where the gift cards are...for his gift.)

We spent three hours in the store, and if we'd been able to get into the restaurant there, we'd have stayed til they closed. As it was, the place was packed to the rafters with hungry shoppers, and so we went elsewhere. We will be back, tho, for the restaurant serves wild game, and I'm told they have lots of varieties to try. There is also chicken and hot dogs for the not so adventurous.

Needless to say, I don't need to do any (more) Christmas shopping for my hubby this year. He's done it all himself....hurrah! But I'll probably sneak a new sweater in. What's Christmas without a new sweater?

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Today was "open house" at all the little gift shops in town. A holiday mood prevails, and my friend Laurie and I traditionally make the rounds of these shops each year on this special weekend, and end with lunch and conversation.

We began our adventure this year at Country Tyme. It's a really special place any time of year, but for the holidays all sorts of special treats abound. Every nook and cranny is stuffed with the things that women delight in....beautiful fabrics, scents, pottery creations, foodstuffs, jewelry, the whimsical and the downright gorgeous. And the place smells divine! I can always tell when my husband has shopped there for a treat for me, because the package smells like their shop! This is the kind of store where you'd love to work....but would never take home a paycheck because you'd spend it before you got it.

I made a variety of purchases here today. A gorgeous green polyester "silk" table runner, embroidered with satin ribbons in the shape of a Christmas tree at each end, and a wreath in the center with ribbon roses and beading. It is so lovely...and at 20% off (everything in the store!) a mere $24.
I also picked up a taffeta velvet-lined drawstring bag...embroidered with flowers. The inside has individual pockets for jewelry. It's beautiful....and again, only a mere $12. I have a thing for fabrics (avid quilter that I am), and these are both beautiful.

I picked up 6 new folk-art angels for the dining room tree, some tiny sterling silver and coral earrings for Rebecca, and a stir-fry cookbook. I also picked up a ceramic travel mug with a picture of a frazzeled housewife and a saying that read "I'm a complex woman with many moods.....and they all require chocolate!" So true. I added that to my pile at the counter, but Laurie snatched it away and said she had intended that to be my Christmas gift, and insisted on paying for it. I got to take it home now, tho. :-)

From there we popped in next door to the liquor store where I purchased a bottle of rum for the fruitcakes I make. My brother-in-law said last year that we needed a new tradition of my bringing fruitcake to every Thanksgiving dinner now (as I did last year), so that means I need to get baking.

The Kitchen Links store was crammed with women....I think they were there for the food! In the entryway to their store was a table set up with several different dips and crackers, chocolate truffles and cookies, a pot full of cocktail meatballs, and platters of wrap sandwiches. We elbowed our way around the shop and found lots of things we'd like to have, but the prices were a little usual. I did buy a pasta bowl set....but only because I really liked the big bowl that was on display, not knowing that it came with four individual pasta bowls. It was big, yellow and red...tomatoes, I think, on a yellow background. It will look great on my dining room table. I can't imagine ever making enough pasta to fill it, but it's really pretty.

Next door was the Country Closet, and they had their usual array of decorative items...none of which looked "fresh"....the same old thing from past years. They did have some new candles...beautifully made. The brown ones looked like leather, they were gorgeous.

Across the street to the town's quilt shop. In and out. The place is pathetic. I don't know what keeps them in business. I have to order my fabrics from online shops.

We had an amazing lunch at Casa Mia....tortellini in a butter cream sauce...and the other half in tomato....a wonderful big bowl of French onion soup (oh, man!)...and it also came with salad (cheese and olives on romaine) and bread. For $6.50! I ignored the salad and bread, and concentrated on the soup.

It was a lovely afternoon. It's not often that Laurie and I get time to spend together, so this was a real treat. Once again we vow to do this more often. In fact, we will do it in two weeks when the holiday fairs at the other end of the county happen. The big show at the pavillion at the fairgrounds, open house at Blackberry Hollow and P, B & J' THERE'S a fun shop. Amazing stuff at amazing prices. And lunch at Saginaws...exceptional food. And a martini bar!

It's official. I'm in the mood. Let the holidays begin!

P.S. Got a call this evening from the Country Closet. I am a winner of a $25 gift certificate. Now I can go back and buy the ivory-colored pedestal cake plate I was carrying around...but changed my mind about. Yay.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I am never so aware of my lack of interior decorating skills as when I pick out paint colors. No matter how much I study those paint chips I always, ALWAYS, get it wrong. (Well, not always. I insisted on Martha Stewart Bee Balm Red for my office space, and I LOVE IT.)

My dining room had three shades of yellow on it before I found the right one. And even then I made the mistake of painting the ceiling the same color, when it should have been a lighter shade. Some day when I'm feeling brave I'll change it. My bathroom paint was in shades of gray to match the tub, etc. but in that room with so little natural light, the paint looks blue. I hate blue. Our bedroom is a disgusting shade of "antique green" that has a blue tint, and the carpet is a tweed of lighter greens and browns. I let Michael pick that out. I hate it too. The two don't go together at all.

Obviously carpet and I don't do well either. I ripped out the last one we put in, and put in another, and in the past year I have seriously come to not like it either. It's in the living room, and that's the room I'm currently trying to paint. I'm on my third paint color....tested on the small wall the stairs are on...and I hate it. Oh, it is SOOOO wrong.

I am just not cut out for this. It's ovioulsy not in my genes. I'd had the job over to my hubby, but he's not interested....tho he does (USUALLY) make better choices than I do. He stands back and lets me do my thing, and then comes to the rescue with a suggestion that usually works out better than my original plan.

Sometimes I think I'm expecting too much from a little can of color. I would love to have the entire room magically transformed, and paint is not up to the task. The needs of this old house go deeper than any can of paint can fix, and what we really need is dig in and get to fixing and finishing all the undone projects around here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


A few weeks ago our church was robbed. In the middle of morning service, thieves came in and stole all the monies from the giving boxes in the hallways. Those of us who had checks stolen were advised to close the accounts and open new ones. We went through that process...getting new checks, canceling auto debits from ins. companies and the like, applying for new ATM/debit cards. That was two weeks ago, and our new materials just arrived today.

I was thinking we had things under control when our pastor mentioned that the sheriff had mentioned that we might be vulnerable to robberies since the thieves had our names and addresses, and knew where we were on Sunday mornings. I needed to hear that like a hole in the head.

So today I am trying to do what I can to safeguard some items....I can stash the better jewelry, credit cards, a bit of cash...but in reality, it seems kind of futile. I know the "pros" can think of any place "I" can. I can lock up pertinent personal information in a filing cabinet...but is it really break-in proof? We have a small fire-safe lock box, and that could be carried away. Where do I put all the boxes of financial records, payroll records, investment records that won't fit into the "locked" filing cabinet? If someone wanted to steal one's identity, it wouldn't be too hard. How does one lock up and protect one's life?

I don't like feeling vulnerable, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. What happens, happens, and if so, you deal with the mess it will create and start over. This has been a wake up call. It certainly has me thinking of things we can change....and we'll be doing a few things differently.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Okay, I've been holding off on expressing my joy that it is finally FALL because, frankly, it's been more like a Northwest winter out there. But is FALL.

Was it in the 30's when you got up this morning? I don't know what it was when Michael left at 5, but when I crawled out from the down comforter this morning it was a chilly 35. There was a low-lying fog, and the sun was trying to break through. Ahhhhhh.....everything a fall morning should be.

I love this season. I love the darkening days, the warmth of a fireplace, the fact that there's less running around and "making hay while the sun shines." I can put away my sleeveless clothes and hide myself in warm, comfy sweaters. I'm ready to gather-in, find some new quilt projects and good books. Bring out my heavier winter meal fare, and try out some new soup recipes. Think about the holidays. Get those fruitcakes ready for Thanksgiving.

The maples in my yard are turning a gorgeous shade of red. There is snow in the mountains. A fuzzy catepillar was climbing my front door yesterday. (I don't want to talk about the spiders that are hanging EVERYWHERE.) The northern hemisphere is getting ready for rest. Ah, bliss.......

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Google tells me today that this is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. Fifty years ago Russia launched this tiny satellite into the sky, and millions of Americans gazed into the night heavens hoping for a glimpse. I can remember well standing out on the front lawn with my Dad, looking and looking until we finally spotted it. What an amazing thing it was! This man-made object floating around in earth's orbit. We looked at it many nights, and as a 9-year-old I remember it as an exciting, happy thing. Now I wonder what my parents were really thinking.

The fact that Russia was the first in space was definitely not an occasion for celebration during the years of the Cold War between our two countries. Rather, it was something to be feared, for it opened the door for attack from space. What an idea! I had no inkling of the tensions created by this little satellite...not something we discussed around the dinner table.

But, as a young student of the American school system, I was very aware of the dangers of the Cold War. It was in grade school that we learned to "duck and cover" and for goodness sake, don't look at the light during an atomic blast! We also had a drill that involved our getting to a "safe house" within 10 minutes of the school. My grandparents lived within that range, so on drill day, we would race out the back door of the school, across the sports field, and then the three blocks to their house. These same grandparents would move in 1962 from the city out to our neighborhood in the country, and would build a new home that included a built-in "fall-out" shelter room. We were very much aware that this other country wanted to blow us off the map. I don't remember now if I ever had nightmares about it, but it was very much a part of our lives.

Still, I don't recall Sputnik ever being anything other than a really cool thing....and an opportunity to share some fun time with my Dad.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


My favorite 12-year-old called me this morning on the way to her soccer game in Tumwater...."Kathy! I saw the Curves sign going up in Montesano!"

We have been keeping a watchful eye out since the rumor started that a Curves would be opening in this little town. Since it's growing by leaps and bounds (the town, that is), it apparently has now been deemed Curves-worthy. HIP, HIP, HOORAH!

I have belonged to Curves in the past. Went for a year and a half until my exercise partner disappeared to Australia for three months, and then I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer...both things adding up to my stopping and not returning. The only thing that returned was the weight and inches that I'd lost. I could have gone back at any time, but I didn't. Another detriment was that it was in downtown Aberdeen, and I'm never in Aberdeen. All my errands are to Montesano. I said if they ever opened one there, I'd be in line on opening day.

It is opening one block east of the post office I frequent, one block west of my bank drive-in, around the corner from my library, one block north of where we get gas, and right next door to Oishi Teriyaki and Subway. The only way it could be better is if there were a fabric store in the same block.

So, once again I will become an exercise junkie. My doctor will be pleased. She says I need to walk....just walk! I'm thinking I will park several blocks from this Curves and get my walk in coming and going.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Last night my husband flew in this itty bitty plane with a friend of his who’d recently gotten his pilot’s license. I was nervous about the whole thing.

The plane was old, with lots of re-built parts. But of course, it was in fine flying condition. Right? And so what if Wayne had only recently gotten his license. He’s taken lots of people up flying, and everyone said he did a fine job. Uh huh.

So I hugged my hubby tight, kissed him hard, told him I loved him, and sent him out the door, wondering if the supper we’d just finished was our last meal together. Okay, so maybe that thought was a little morbid, but hey….I told you I was nervous about the whole thing.

After he’d left I found myself thinking these thoughts: No matter how tightly I hugged him, or how hard I kissed him, or how many times I told him I loved him…..if he didn’t come back, it wouldn’t have been enough. There’s no way it COULD have been. Nothing we do ahead of time could prepare us for the reality of losing someone we love.

He came home in one piece….had a great time….got a little air sick though, and I’m hoping that will discourage him from going again!

Monday, September 3, 2007


We went out to the beach this weekend. There is a new housing development going in at Pacific Beach, and the ads for the properties show such nice homes, we wanted to check it out. The development is called “Seabrook” … and it’s not just an area of homes, it’s a whole town. Houses, parks, shops, promenades, an amphitheater…you name it, this place will have it. It’s in the early development stages, so there wasn’t too much to see right now.

The houses are beautiful. Cedar shingled, for beautiful weathering, with paint trims in Federal blue, hunter green, old barn red. Balconies on most….crows nests on some. These homes could easily fit right in at Cape Cod or Nantucket. Gorgeous. I picked my favorite immediately, and when I went online to look at their houses for sale, found it was listed at $899,000. And it’s not even 3000 sf. Whoa. I was surprised to see little 770 sf homes listed at over $400,000. (This really IS like the east coast!) What’s interesting is these homes are not on the beach. They are across the road, and at a level that doesn’t allow you to see the ocean because of the trees on the other side of the highway unless you have a crows nest at the top of your home. The houses have no property other than what they are sitting on, and I don’t think they are more than 5-6 feet apart. Seems a tad expensive to me. But they say they are selling a living experience…not just a house. There are houses and cottages for rent (nightly to monthly), and those rates seemed reasonable.

From there we drove down to Ocean Shores. We were rewarded with lots of sunshine, crowds of people enjoying the first day of the Labor Day Weekend, and what appeared to be a brown pelican migration. The skies were filled with them…different groups in different parts of the ocean along the south jetty. In the horizon you could see V-formations of them approaching….bird, after bird, after bird. Perhaps there was something special in the water that day, some tasty morsel of a favorite fish or vertebrate that had their attention. Whatever the reason, they were fascinating to watch, and I don’t recall ever seeing them in such numbers.

As close as we are to the ocean (20-25 miles), we rarely go there. We are not “ocean” people. I don’t care for the sand between my toes, am not entranced by the repetitious pounding of the waves, and the smell of fresh salt air does nothing for my mood or disposition. The one exception to this would probably be a beach on Maui or something like that. I am very fond of the tropical islands we’ve visited. But other than that……

I’d rather be on a mountain. I could stand on a mountain, raise my face to the heavens, and swear that I can hear the voice of God. As some people can sit for hours watching the ocean waves, I can lose myself in a vista of mountaintops. My soul feels free, and at peace. Complete serenity. The scent of fir and pine is the sweetest odor on earth, and the birdsong is music to my ears.

I dream about a home where I can walk out my front door, sit on the covered wrap-around porch, and look out at a forested valley, bordered by mountains. That would be heaven-on-earth to me. I certainly don’t have that now…but it doesn’t hurt to dream.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


#73 Dear Diary

July 15, 1988

Dear Diary.......It's been almost three months since the diagnosis that spun my world. What seemed like a "simple" gallbladder attack back in April, was in reality stomach cancer. Things have been so crazy since then that I haven't had time to write. We have been thrust into a world of hospitals, doctors, needles, and drugs. Of feeling sick almost all the time. The good days are few and far between. And I am so tired.

Our first doctor washed his hands of us....said that surgery or chemo wouldn't do any good. How does he know this? He has done nothing more than biopsy a metastasized lump in B's neck. I know that the fact the cancer has moved from point A to point B is not a good thing. seems cruel to have all your hopes dashed to the floor in one quick sentence. This doctor is a brilliant surgeon, but his lack of tact and cold bedside manner are well known. B tells him...SCREAMS at him...that we will find another doctor. He is not going to just give up. Th doctor replies, "Well.....good luck to you, buddy."

We find another surgeon who is willing to operate. To cut B open and see just what's going on. So on a lovely day in May we head up to St. Peter's. There is a large group of us....B's family, and our pastor and his wife. The surgery was going to be a long process, and they encouraged us to go get some lunch while we waited. We went to Wendy's and kept the talk light and upbeat.

We had just gotten back to the waiting room when Dr. H appeared. He had the saddest, tenderest look on his face as he approached me. I'm sorry, he said. The cancer is through all his organs. There was nothing I could do for him. Maybe chemotherapy can help.

I just stared at him in disbelief, and then slowly walked to the ladies' room. I stumbled inside and collapsed against the wall. Sinking to the floor, I began sobbing. My sister-in-law was right behind me, and together we sat on that cold, hard bathroom floor, crying as tho the world had ended. I know lots of women went in and out, but no one said anything....after all, this was a hospital, and tears can be pretty common.

B was moved into the hospice unit, and chemotherapy began. For two weeks drugs were pumped into his system. I drove from Aberdeen to Olympia every day to sit by his side. It must have been adrenaline that kept me going, for I was exhausted....mentally and physically. Lots of friends came to visit while he was there, and the guys from the archery shop brought in their VCR and some hunting tapes for him to watch in his hospital room. Their visits cheered him greatly.

Because B has
hypogammaglobulinemia, he is uninsurable. We have no medical insurance that is going to cover ANY of these expenses. The hopsital was wonderful about it. They gave us forms for Medicaid, and told us that what the state wouldn't pay for, they would wipe off their books. I was so grateful....I cried again.

After he came home from the hopsital, he continued getting chemo from our local hopsital. This was a several hour ordeal, and he was placed in a hospital room for the treatment. I had always been terrified of needles, and couldn't bear to see them stuck in anyone. It has now become so common that I don't even turn my head. To pass the time of his treatments, I am crocheting. My first afghan. The nurses tell me I am doing a great job.

Last week we were told that the chemo wasn't working. In fact, his tumors had doubled in size. I guess we can't be in denial any more.

I am busy during the day. Friends are in and out a lot. One of his family members is here every day. It irks me that his family sits back and expects to be waited on with coffee and if I don't have enough to worry about. Fortunately, my church family has been awesome. They come by regularly with foods they hope will whet his appetite. He doesn't want to eat. His body is shutting down. So, it gives me something to feed the visitors.

I don't know if I sleep. My mind goes constantly. I think I feel guilty that he is dying. I prayed so often to be taken out of this abusive marriage. Well, God has answered my prayer, but not in the way I ever expected. So, part of me is sad....part of me feels guilty....and part of me is relieved. Oh, that sounds so horrid! What kind of person am I to feel even a bit of relief that he is not going to be around any more? That I am going to be free of the verbal, mental, and physical abuse he has handed out for the past 14 years? I must be some kind of monster to feel any kind of gratefulness. He has asked me to forgive him. And of course, I do.

What will my life be like with him gone? I'll turn 40 next month, and soon I'll be a widow. I haven't worked in years, other than to help run the well drilling business we own. And I'll be left with the responsibility of that, and dealing with his son, who thinks that the business should be handed over to HIM...not me.

But I can't deal with any of that now. I'm so tired. And I'm so scared.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


It's hydroplane Sunday in the Pacific Northwest. Those jet boats are tearing up Lake Washington under picture-perfect blue skies. The Blue Angels came out and did a "half-time" show...always awesome to watch. My sister, Teri, is at Safeco watching the Sox and the Mariners, and I'm wondering if she can see the Angels from outside the stadium. You could watch them perform from the old King Dome.

The Sea Fair boat races were a big deal in our household when I was a kid. (ANY sporting event could be a big deal as far as Dad was concerned.) But back in the 60's, we would combine forces on that race-day Sunday with our neighbors down the street, and have us a bit of a party. Dad and Fred would hunker down in front of the TV, beer in hand, to talk and watch the boats. The amazing Bill Muncey in the Miss Thriftway, Run Musson at the helm of the Miss Bardahl ("Bardahl did it again"), the Slo-Mo boats, the Miss Maverick, Miss Wahoo, and later, the Miss Madison and the Miss Budweiser. The Gold Cup Race was a HUGE deal, and boats came from all over.

In the kitchen, Mom and Aurelia would be putting on a taco feed of mass proportions. There were 14 of us in the two families, and tacos are not the easiest thing to prepare for a crowd. But Aurelia was from El Paso, and tacos were a family specialty. I'm sure we did a lot of waiting in line for our turn for another taco once the initial serving had been received. And as if the frying of hamburger, chopping of tomatoes, grating of cheese, and shredding of lettuce wasn't enough, not to mention frying the taco shells (that's the way we did it back then) they also made chili rellenos. Oh, yum. Well....I'm not sure I liked those back then, but I sure do now.

And while all that TV watching and cooking was going on, we kids were outside playing. Nine girls, and my lone brother. Something called "No bears are out tonight" and "kick the can" were two favorite games. It was a great time. It was summer...the weather was was just around the corner but we weren't thinking of that yet.

So today when the races came on, I felt a bit nostalgic. It always reminds me of a special time in my "childhood." And if that wasn't enough, who's busy announcing these races today but Pat O'Day...DJ to all us teens in the 60's...and 70's. KJR, Seattle...Chanel 95. Ah yes. He was our constant companion in the days when transistor radios were a brand new thing, and we could take our music with us without benefit of electricity. He brought us Elvis (well, later Elvis), the Beach Boys, and of course, the Beatles and the rest of the British invasion. He was so funny, even the adults listened to him. And what's amazing is, his voice sounds exactly the same as he did 40 years ago. Exactly!

Well, I'm sure it's about time for the final heat....gotta run!

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Remember the TV show, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father"? That adorable child with a single dad, and the wonderful Japanese housekeeper, whose name I can't recall. In one episode she relates to Eddie a that has stuck in my brain from that moment on.

"From time to time while
gazing at the moon
clouds will come to give us rest."

I like it. I like thinking on it. I think it holds an important message for us all.

Well, today while I was out soaking up some rays, that haiku popped into my head. And I immediately made my own version:

"From time to time while
soaking up some rays
breezes come to cool me off."

It was cooler today, what with the winds and a cloud or two. But I'm still working on getting some Vitamin D. I hear that in our area, it will be the liquid variety by the weekend. :-(

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Okay, let me say once more that I don't like summer. I don't like the heat. But in spite of that, articles I've been reading have prompted me to put my dislikes aside, and encouraged me to soak up a bit of sun. These articles are telling us that Americans have become so cautious about getting any sun (loading up on sunscreen, me....just staying out of it) that our bodies are lacking in Vitamin D. "Experts" are now recommending that we get 10-15 minutes of pure, unadulterated sunlight on our bodies 3-4 times a week. So, motivated my wanting better health...and more likely because I think my arms would look better in sleeveless clothing if they had a little color on them...I purchased a lawn chair this past weekend.

Today was a beautiful day to begin getting some rays. The temperature gauge read 72, and there was a light breeze blowing. Even tho it is noon, and a bad time to be sunning, it's not that hot yet. I made myself a cup of cranberry tea, and put on some pjs....shorts and a tank top. I'm hoping that if the Fedex guy pulls into my driveway while I'm out there, he won't KNOW that they are pjs. I have shorts somewhere. Somewhere.

I set up the chair, hoping that it won't collapse while I'm climbing onto it. Mind you, this is not some lovely wooden chaise with big thick padded pillows....we're talking plastic weavings on a metal frame. Cheap. I manage to get situated, stretch out, cup of tea balanced on my stomach. Ahhhhh. Ya know, the sun actually feels kinda good. I can't remember the last time I purposely laid out in the sun. Probably on a trip to Hawaii. It's hot, but not too hot, and I think I can easily manage 10 minutes of this.

I finish my tea and go inside to get a glass of ice water. I am surprised to see that 15 minutes have passed. Why, I haven't even broken a sweat. Even tho my 15 minutes of required time has elapsed, I've got to give some time to the backside of me, or...should I get some color....I would be forced to let folks only see the darker "front" of me...not the pasty white "back" of me.

Fifteen minutes later I have finished exposing my backside. I must say, all in all, it was a rather pleasant experience. Perhaps doing something healthy won't be so painful after all. (Unless, of course, I experience a sunburn.) I can hear at least two of my sisters laughing...they are the ones who LOVE the sun....LOVE the heat....the two who think I am nuts for not glorying in it the way they do. I will never get to that stage, but for now I'm willing to give getting a few rays a chance.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The gals on The View this morning were talking about having/not having children. Apparently more and more people are deciding not to have kids these days, and the general consensus is that these people are more "selfish" than those who have chosen to have kids.

If you don't already know it, I don't have children. I helped raise two teenage boys with my previous husband, tho I use the term "raised" rather generally. These boys were allowed to raise themselves, with no input allowed from me, as daddy didn't ever want them to choose to live with mom instead of him. Discipline was handed out on rare occasions, when the act screamed for parental intervention, but most of the time nothing they did was bad enough for corrective measures to be taken (in their father's opinion). The oldest of these boys is now 45, and still behaving like a spoiled teenager. The other is 42, and the total opposite of his brother. He is an excellent example for someone becoming a fine, responsible adult, in spite of the people who brought him up.

I have never felt the urge to become a mom. Never. I don't know why. It's not something I can remember ever wanting to do. I had lots of baby dolls, and played with them constantly. It just didn't translate into adult life. I don't THINK I'm particularly selfish. I don't spend lots of monies on toys for myself, or traveling....both suggestions as reasons not to have children. I see myself now as feeling like a's wonderful to be around the kiddies for a bit, but great to send them home with the folks.

I absolutely adore my favorite 12-year-old, and she has tugged at my heart strings in ways that must somewhat mimic what a mother feels for her child.....tho I'm sure on a much lesser scale. Don't want to offend any moms out there! But I love her....I care about what happens to her...and being around her is one of my greatest joys. She is this amazing person and I love watching her evolve into the person she's meant to be. So, I guess I'm not totally without a maternal feeling or two.

Maybe if I'd met Michael first, and we'd married when we were young, we'd have kids. I'm sure of it. A houseful probably. So there you go. I just didn't meet the right man at the right time. And how fortunate for me that I don't miss having children, and neither does he.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, summer is finally here. Much as I hoped it wouldn't, it has shown up. With a vengeance. I live in Washington State. On the coast. That is supposed to assure me summers of breezy indifference...sometimes warm, lots of cool, pleasant nearly always. Fog in the early mornings. Fog in the evenings to cool down a too-hot day. Well, I'm praying for that evening fog right now. It is 10:30 in the morning, and the temperature is at 82. This is NOT supposed to happen here. I don't have air conditioning. We're not supposed to need anything like that living where I live. But if this "global warming" continues, we will seriously have to consider doing something about it. Like moving to Alaska.

I am not a fan of summer....most of you know that about me. But I will admit to one thing I enjoy that's only available in summer: Summer fruit. Oh, the delights of rainier and Bing cherries! There are tubs of them in my house right now, and we don't even mind the cost for this once-a-year treat. Also on my counter is a honeydew melon....the fragrance wafting through the entire house. At no other time of year can you get them RIPE enough to offer up this aroma. We are also enjoying cantaloupe, chilled from the fridge, cut into tasty little nuggets of goodness. Haven't been brave enough to try a watermelon yet....they don't offer up a telltale scent of ripeness like the other melons, and so we'll hold off a bit before buying one.

Soon the blueberries will be ripe. Nothing like gathering a bowlful for breakfast each morning, to eat plain or on top of your Fiber One. They are SO GOOD....and so good for you (just ask Cole). We have three pretty good sized plants, and three baby ones that the deer (for some reason or another) have left alone this growing season. We are thinking of putting our weedy garden space into blueberry plants, but would like to acquire larger ones instead of this gallon-sized version that takes years to produce enough fruit to notice.

Hey...I detect a breeze outside. That's a good sign. Maybe it won't get to the 95 degrees that they are threatening us with today.

One can hope.

P.S. At's 95 out. I got a new dress delivered by mail. I had to let it cool off before I could try it on....the fabric was HOT! Poor mailman!

Monday, July 9, 2007


Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week: Slippery

What is more slippery than time? Last weekend we celebrated my brother's birthday. 53 years ago he was born....I can remember it like it was yesterday. Mostly because I was sent to stay with the O'Leary's during Mom's "confinement", and was given firecrackers to play with (I was not quite 6), and had to sleep in a bed with spiders (I was told they wouldn't hurt me). Naturally I am terrified of them to this day.

My one and only auntie was at the party. Looking more like my mom, her sister, than ever. She is the only aunt I have left. She will be 86 next month. Soon she will slip away, as my mother did nearly 4 (!!!) years ago. One can't help but wonder where the years have gone when I can glance from my auntie, the oldest member of our my great-nephew Ethan who, at not quite 4 mos., is the youngest member of our tribe.

I can remember when I was the age of my nieces, and the family would be gathered at the grandparents' for Father's Day or Christmas. My Mom and aunts would be in the kitchen, and there would be talking and laughter, and I longed to be a part of that group, that female gathering...but their conversation would always stop...or change... when I entered the room. I was not included....too young....even in my 20's.

Now my sisters and I are that group, and I wonder if their daughters have any desire to join us in our kitchen share the laughter and the secrets. I think they must, for they hang with us for a bit. I wonder if they know how much joy we get from their company? I wonder if they know how important they are to us, and how much we love them.?

I hope I have enough time left to share real moments with the "great" nephews and nieces. Little Ethan, Garrett, and Emma won't remember that auntie tickled their tummies or bounced them on her knee. Cole, at 2 1/2, won't remember that his auntie taught him to say "antioxidants" at this party while he was stuffing his face with blueberries. And Zack won't recall how his auntie laughed at his antics and admired how smart he is.

Is it a sign of old age that my reveries are about times with my family? That being with them and enjoying our bond and each other's company is one of the biggest joys of my life? We've all heard the saying that when you reach the end of your life, you won't regret that you didn't spend more hours/time working, etc., but instead, will wish for more time with your family and loved ones. Well, before all my time slips away, I hope I have many more years...and many more memories...with this family that I love so much.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I'm cleaning out drawers today....mostly because they won't shut.

When I got to the jewelry section, I found a double strand of big "plastic" pearls my Mom had given me for my 16th birthday. It was the era of Jackie Kennedy, and those type of pearls were popular. I'm sure I wore them then....and I haven't since.

This isn't the first time I've tried to toss them out. I always change my mind and keep them. I put them back this time too.

Why is it so hard to get rid of our stuff?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


My siblings and I grew up on some of the most fertile soil known in Thurston County. Our five acres contained not only various species of evergreens, but also lilac trees, peach trees, transparent apples, the best Gravenstein apples in the world, and Italian plum trees. They all produced an amazing bounty every year, with friends and family reaping the benefits of our prolific fruit trees. The peach trees no longer exist, but when we were young, there were boxes of golden fruit. We kids liked playing with the sticky balls of amber-colored sap that would appear on the trunk and branches. We must have had hotter summers then, for you would be hard pressed to find a peach tree anywhere in Thurston Co. these days.

The ditches that bordered our front lawn were filled with little wild blackberries....those special ones so highly prized...and on summer afternoons we'd take our bowls out to collect a snack, and sprinkle them with sugar.

My father grew an amazing garden, and was into organic gardening years and years before it was ever popular. His garden was a showplace...not a weed in sight. Summer evenings after supper he could always be found out in the garden....hoeing rows of green beans, cabbages, squash, onions, and potatoes. There were carrots, beets, cauliflower, corn and broccoli. You name it, he grew it. And BIG. The size of the produce was amazing. Some of his cabbages could be cut up and given to four different families. There were also strawberries and rows of raspberries. On Saturday mornings, when the raspberries were ripe, we'd go out and pick them, and Mom would take us in to Grandpa's grocery store, and he'd buy our berries for 5 cents a pint. Dad also grew rhubarb, and we loved breaking off a stick, dipping the end in a bowl of sugar, and munching away.

Needless to say, with a family of 7, Mom did a lot of canning. Every August there would be weeks of washing jars, cleaning fruit, cutting and packing, and making syrup. Of course canning season always hit during the hottest time of the year, so the kitchen was a hot, steamy, muggy place to be. Green beans and peaches found themselves put into jars, while corn and applesauce were packed in paper cartons made for the purpose, and put into the freezer. Cucumbers were made into pickles...dill and bread 'n butter. Beets were canned...plain and pickled. And there were jars and jars of jam. All these pretty jars were sent out to shelves in "the fruit room."

Ah, now that was a place. Tucked into a corner of the (extremely messy, crowded, and cobwebby) garage (which was more like storage and a work space for Dad), dark and cold, was the fruit room. An enclosed room, with shelves along two of the walls (I think)...and bins for the potatoes, onions, and squash. I always thought it was kind of a scary place, for we'd be sent out in the dark of a winter evening to get a jar of this or that for supper, and you had to stumble through the cluttered, unlit garage area (I know there were spiders everywhere just waiting to attack), go into the fruit room (creaaakkkk) and find the chain hanging from the ceiling that would turn on the dim little bulb by which you'd find the jar you were looking for....and hopefully no spiders.

I always looked forward to the time when I would be able to do the canning for my family. Aside from my mother's wonderful example, I thought it rather romantic to be able to set aside in store, food for my family. Tho I know there is nothing romantic about slaving in a hot, steamy kitchen all day....I was enamored with a passage in my favorite book, "Little Women" , where Meg, as a young wife, decided to surprise her husband with pretty little pots of jam. She buys the pots, the fruit, makes the jam...and after a hot, sweaty afternoon, hubby returns home to find his wife in tears because the jam won't jell. Sniff. I wanted to make jam for my husband. I thought it would show him how much I loved him.

One year I canned everything that I could get my hands on. Even crabapples. Salmon. Tuna. Pickled green beans. I must have been insane. I made jam from anything and everything. Have you ever had fireweed jelly? Well, it's wonderful. It involves picking an awful lot of fireweed blossoms, but it's quite delicious, and is this wonderful shade of ruby pink. I haven't made that in years. We also decided to make fruited vodka...peaches covered with vodka and sugar and I'm not sure what else, in a glass bottle for a month or more. I don't remember what we did with the vodka, but the peaches were a tremendous hit with my husband's family.

Nowadays I do can peaches and pears, and I make a little jam. This past weekend I made strawberry. The strawberries from Spooner's this year are AMAZING. Big, red, and the sweetest flavor I've ever tasted. I guess our cool, dry weather agrees with them. I will do raspberry jam when they are in season, but that's it. I've given up my romantic notions of putting food aside for my family, and am taking the easy way out. The shelves of my local grocer.

Friday, June 15, 2007


The Sunday Scribblings prompt for this week: Eccentricity.
Wikkipedia defines eccentricity as odd or unusual behavior, as opposed to being normal. I'm not sure I have any eccentric behaviors. Well....not many. Let's see.

I have to have my rug vacuumed in one drives me crazy otherwise. But Michael says that's normal. I USED to insist on vacuuming before bed...I couldn't rest easy if my floors looked "messed up." Now THAT might be eccentric. But I no longer do that.

The last thing I have to do before getting in bed is....pee. If I pee, and then head to the kitchen for water, or close the dining room blinds, I have to go back and pee again. Even if it's only been 2 minutes. It has to be the last...very last...thing I do. So okay...that's odd. I guess.

I'm thinking, but I'm not coming up with anything. I asked Michael, but he says I'm the most normal person he's ever met. Hmmm. I'm reading that as "boring." Maybe I should work on that. I think a little eccentricity would be nice.

I wonder if I'm just too close to the subject to be objective. After all, we are often blind to our own "faults"...and maybe some of you out there could give me a long list of my weird behaviors. If so, please share!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The "Sunday Scribblings" prompt for this week is "Spicy." In other words, what comes to mind when you hear that word.

The fact, the only, image I see is of a beautiful Spanish flamenco dancer. Her skirts are twirling as she dances, and she is smiling coyly over her shoulder at some handsome male bystander. She is beautiful, desirable, and she knows she has this man in the palm of her hand. She is self-assured...confident...bold...unafraid to say what she thinks or feels. She can conquer the world if she wants to. Because of her confidence, everything she tries is a success. She doesn't know what it is to fail.

And wow....where did that come from? What an interesting response. Hmmmm....I'm thinking maybe I would like to be this woman.
Anyone out there teach flamenco?

Monday, June 11, 2007


Over at The Brave, Strauss was discussing the abundance of Alex's at a birthday party her son attended. It reminded me of when my stepson, Daren, first entered high school. There were three Daren's in his homeroom, and the teacher tried hard to give the boys other names to keep them distinguished from each other. Our Daren Wayne became "Duke"....after John Wayne's nickname....and it's a name that has stuck with him to this day. I think family members are the only ones who still call him Daren...he's Duke to the rest of the world, and he likes it.
Modern-day moms today seem to go overboard in finding names for their children as different as their imaginations can dream up. I know one family that boasts the names "Piper","Aspen", "Chase", "Hunter" and "Racer" (her sister had a baby at the same time and named him "Rally", so they'd have "rally racer"). Now, some of those names aren't all that bad, but they're not that common. Which I guess was what they were going for. At least they aren't as odd as, say, "Kanatanisha" or seeing "Lois" spelled as "Lowus". I tell ya, these names are out there. Do these parents ever think how this name will sound on an ADULT?

I'm not crazy about my name. I would have preferred to be a Katherine instead of a Kathleen, and would like to have been called Kate instead of Kathy. Kathy just seems so....uninteresting. My Dad called me Katina. That had a little more pizazz, but he was the only one to use it.

But when my Dad would dance me around the living room, singing Perry Como's "Kathy-O"....or "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen"...I truly loved my name. And I love those memories even more.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

ARE MY EYES SMILING? appears that my volunteering to do the weekly church bulletin, has taken on a life of it's own. It almost immediately morphed into taking over the responsiblities of the treasurer too. Yes, I have a talent for numbers. Bank statements don't scare me. I understand debits and credits, but double-entry bookkeeping is still a little hazy. I know how to deposit monies, and I can certainly write checks (I'm very good at spending money). I can't use an adding machine without looking, but maybe that will change. And using an accounting software program is a totally new thing. I'm old-school, paper and pencil. But that's all I know. Is it too late to teach this old dog some new tricks? I hope not. Apparently my church doesn't think so. (But then, they are just eager for someone to take over the job who isn't ready yet a retirement home.)

The deacons tell me that they are glad to have me on board, and that they will find lots of things for me to do. Pastor would like me to re-vamp the church directory, and says the church's constitution needs some work. His wife thinks a monthly calendar of activities would be nice to include with the bulletin the first of a new month. (I agree on that...we used to do it.)

So it sounds to me like "would you volunteer to do the weekly bulletin?" has turned into a real live secretary/treasurer position. I guess that's what I get for volunteering. And NO ONE has said anything about this being a PAID position. I'm not sure I want to be paid. When you're getting paid, it implies a certain responsiblity to the position. If I'm volunteering, I should be freer with the hours I spend there...and when....and should be free to say no to something that just doesn't fit my schedule. (If you know me well, you will know that it's almost impossible for me to say "no.") So if they ever offer money, I'll have to think that over.

I'm actually kind of excited about it all. It's the kind of work I did for years....both in State employment, and when we ran a business from our home. I'm just a little rusty. But it's wonderful to have something to do! To actually have a purpose to the day other than doing laundry, shopping, cleaning, and fixing supper. I think I'm going to like it. And so I'm smiling.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


In my last post, I mentioned Paul McCartney and his new CD (I'm so old...I always want to write "album" instead. Smile.). Today I just want to talk about Paul, and the rest of the Beatles.

I was a fan. A HUGE fan. I know some of you out there weren't even born until after the Beatles had broken up, and so you probably don't understand the LARGENESS of what it was like to be a Beatles' fan. I don't believe any group since then has inspired the kind of fanatic following that they had. Maybe I'm wrong. You can let me know.

Teen magazines were very popular then (I'm talking 1964 and following), and if their photo was on the cover, I owned the magazine. I had a scrapbook of photos....a big, thick one. Filled to the brim. I also owned a Paul McCartney bobblehead doll. He was my favorite. Swoon...... My best friend, Sylvia, loved George. She still has his bobblehead. I don't have mine. I don't have anything. My large scrapbook disappeared from the crawlspace in my bedroom when I moved out. I'm not sure what happened to it....assumed that Dad tossed it. Maybe one of my siblings has it????? Hmmmm.....Wouldn't that be a joy! I still have their first 4 record albums. Covers worn, vinyl scratched...but every once in awhile I'll dig them out and give them a spin. Relive some memories.

I remember their coming to America....can see the photo of them on the steps of that airplane as plain as if it were yesterday. And the Ed Sullivan Show appearance! Oh, not in our home!! My father refused to watch, and so my Mom took me (and probably my sisters) down the road to my grandparents home, so I could watch....and cry....and kick my feet as I lay on the living room rug. Yes, it's true. My Mom said she understood....that in her day, she'd felt the same way about Frank Sinatra. From comments my father made later, it became clear that he TOO had watched Ed Sullivan....tho of course, he had nothing good to say about it.

Can you believe how I felt when I got tickets to see them in person for my 18th birthday? My then-boyfriend, Mike, got them for me. Seattle Colliseum. August 25, 1966. The tickets were $6.00!!! He and I went, Sylvia and Rick, Sheryl,and Lora. Sylvia has photos of done, pretty summer going to the prom! But then, girls always wore dresses "back then." And, we WERE going to the Big City. Olympia was much smaller then, and more "countrified."

The concert was amazing, of course. I took photos....pasted them into that missing scrapbook, so they are gone forever (Sylvia has some). I can remember the dark concert hall, them spotlighted on the stage, and the music totally drowned out by screaming fans that did not let up the entire night. Well...maybe during the ballads. It was incredible. A magical night, for sure.

And now, 41 years later, John and George are gone. Ringo is hiding out somewhere, and Paul still makes music. I find him more handsome than ever. I love the age that shows on his face, and the youthful spirit that still shines through. I suppose one has to be old one's self to appreciate that!

Paul turns 65 June 18......Happy Birthday, and thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Just saw an ad for a new Paul McCartney CD...."Memory Almost Full." Doesn't that title make you smile?

Think about it....a memory all filled up with.....memories. How amazing is our brain. To think that something you can hold in your hand could contain all the memories of a lifetime. A LIFETIME. Sure, we may not remember all of them....not easily. But aren't you constantly surprised at how a photograph...a scent...a conversation....can bring to life memories that you'd "forgotten"? Without warning, something from the past is as clear and remembered as if it were yesterday. Called from it's little section of a brain cell to the forefront of one's "memory."

I often think about having Alzheimer's. I guess my father had it...happening late in his life. I wonder if it will happen to me. What it will do to my memories. It's so sad to think that so many of the memories I take such joy in, would be gone from me. From what I understand, long-ago memories may be more easily recalled than something current. So while I might remember my first date, I may not remember my husband's face. Since I won't remember, I guess it will be harder for him. What a disgusting disease!!

I don't dwell on it. What will happen, will happen. I'm not interested in having my brain scanned to see if the potential is there. I don't want to know. They "say" they may be close to finding a cure. I hope so.

A NEW DAY....A NEW PAGE in a fit of frustration at my boring old blog, I hit the Delete button, and off it went. Gone forever. I actually felt bereft! And cursed myself for not saving some of the things I'd written. Aarghhh!

I had no intention of doing this again, but here I am. I honestly fell asleep last night thinking of all SORTS of things to write about (none of which will probably see the light of day), and so I am inspired to begin again....with a smile.