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.