Monday, June 30, 2008

Our Comings and Goings ... In Our Busy Lives.

THIS may seem like an odd photo to post, but it's important. As I stood looking at this doorway today ... for about five or 10 minutes ... I saw maybe 250 people pass through. Some carried bags, some carried crying children, some pushed carts full of groceries - for it's the exit door of a supermarket.
A remarkable thing happened, however. A shift in perception, I guess. I began thinking about all of the people coming out of the store and I thought of how an insignificant door in an insignificant building can sometimes hold the most precious thing in the world - to you, to me, to any of us.
You are waiting to see that one face in all the sea of faces that makes your heart sing and your soul feel glad. That one face that can make you feel not so alone in this world.
And when I looked at the people I didn't know - the large woman who walked slowly and painfully on swollen feet, the very round man who shouldn't be wearing shorts, the tall gangly teenager with huge shorts and a humongous T-shirt, the thin woman who sort of talked to herself and scolded the drivers who didn't stop soon enough when she crossed the walkway - I realized that if I knew that person well enough I might be happy to see them, too.
If I knew their favorite color, their favorite song, their favorite book - we might have something in common.
Seeing all of those people coming out of that door gave me only the smallest sample of the people in my neighborhood; in my tiny, itsy bitsy section of this gigantic world. I wish I could know more of them. But in the busy lives we seem to lead, with so little time now and then even for each other, the Mister and I have our hands full spreading ourselves around.
In our comings and goings, I pray we stay safe, so at the end of the day we can sit across from each other and share a meal - we are so lucky to have food.
I pray we stay safe so we can lie next to each other at night and tell each other "I love you." We are so lucky we have a roof over our heads.
I pray we stay safe for a long, long time so I am able to see that most wonderful of faces greeting me at the door.
Which significant person comes through insignificant doors to greet you? Remember to tell them "I love you" - because we are so lucky to have each other - femminismo

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Take the Weather up to 80 F - add humidity.

YUCK! It is muggy out and we are having our second thunderstorm this summer. Big fat drops fell on the skylight in the kitchen and gave us some hope of a cooldown, but that stopped almost as soon as it had started. (Yesterday was much hotter ... above 90. Today was only about 84.)
It was cooler after the slight rain though and I went out in the garden and found these lilies blooms had formed ... and soon will open.
Check out the sky in the bar on the left-hand side of my blog. It's small, but will give you an idea of our gray rumbling skies.
Yesterday we went to a family get together and the people who hosted also had a horse stable - a large one. The two granddaughters fed alfalfa goodies to the animals. There were miniature horses, too.
Zoe tried to make her hand as flat as possible so Carrot would eat the snack and not her fingers. But each time the horse nibbled and caused the goodie to fall, and Zoe shrieked. Eventually, Uncle Joe fed the horse.
Cassie petted the miniature horses and fed one of them a snack. All of the animals were very well behaved and we found a great barn cat living the life of royalty.
Grandchildren are surely the best invention ever. I know there are those of you out there who know what I'm talking about.
We worked in the yard today and got the potting table moved farther to the back so we don't have to look at the mess of potting soil and containers. I have wanted to do that for forever!
Then we went to a family birthday party and enjoyed cake and ice cream. Grandchildren were there, again, so the day was perfect.
As we drove home, we caught a red light right at the barn on Jackson Road. I have always wanted to take a photo of this barn, but I was in a cake and ice cream-induced coma. As I came to realize we were sitting right beside it, I barely had time to get the camera out and turn it on - and the window unrolled - before the light turned green.
A car was in back of us and the Mister had to get going. Here, though, is the photo of the barn. I haven't balanced the lighting in Photoshop, so perhaps it could be better. I just know the barn and farm will be gone someday - replaced by condominiums and concrete - but now I have a photo.
Today I thought about my unfinished projects and wondered when I will ever find time to do them. At the birthday party today three of us talked about jobs we had when we were younger. I get as sick of hearing it as I get sick of saying it, but where did the time go? If you could tell a young person one thing - or two things - on how to make their life experience richer (experience-wise) and better (living-wise) what would you tell them?
Mine's an old admonition: Get an education. The other is, keep a diary of every single day of your life. Write down at least one thing.
This blog is part of my determination to start on that second suggestion. Although you will not hear from me every day, I will be wishing I were here - femminismo

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Imaginary People and Pets.

I NEVER had an imaginary friend while growing up, but I do have an imaginary pet now. The Mister has something against my canine pal, so he's never allowed in the house. He stays in my car.
Coco has been to Paris, Italy, Las Vegas and once to Mexico, where he suffered a misadventure and was almost lost forever.
The other day, my friend, E., suggested I bring Coco to work. It was awfully warm in the car that day anyhow, and even though he's imaginary, I didn't want him to suffer in the heat.
He sat in one of the in/out baskets (I'm never sure which it is) and kept watch for those who would sneak up behind me with unexpected work assignments. (Note: This hardly ever happens.) My friends - or at least the "fun" friends - agreed Coco is the best dog ever.
This morning I worked some more on my Funky Window Woman - speaking of imaginary people. She is taking shape and I am regularly gaining and losing ground with liking her and wanting to throw her away. However, in the interest of encouraging those with as little talent as I have in shading facial features, I will post her. (A friend, S., e-mailed me a link to a new book on mixed media by Cloth, Paper Scissors editor Cate Coulacos Prato, and one of the pages is totally perfect in showing how to shade eyes and noses. The book is not released yet.) My latest art journal is in the foreground.
I am making the Funky Woman to hang on the fence in my garden, so I am thinking as soon as she is totally, really dry, I will coat the glass with some sort of finish - shellac, maybe. Any suggestions on this or dire warnings?
It is now 71 degrees F and not yet 9 a.m. I'd better get busy with my real life work ... Wait! What am I talking about? This blog is my real life work. Never mind, the laundry can wait - femminismo

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Remembering 40 Years Ago.

TODAY is a baby's birthday: Baby Joey.
I know what you're thinking. Every day is some baby's birthday!
This baby is 40 years old, however, and he's mine!
So some of you are thinking, "Oh, my goodness! She's old!" Others are thinking, "Hey, pretty good she can figure out how to post to a blog." (Good for you!) For the record, I do think technology is a great brain "de-rustifier." I just made that word up. Feel free to use it.
There's nothing like the 40th birthday of an offspring to get a Mom feeling all misty and frightened at the same time. I remember the enlargement, the waddling, the waiting, the way he took his time coming into the world ... and took his time ... and took his time. Andthenherushedsofastwealmostdidn'tgettothehopsitalintimeandIwas
... oh my gosh! He's here!
And now the time - again with the word "time" - has magically evaporated and the once tiny baby is gone and I'm left with this great big person way taller than me. Cell division is an amazing thing, in case you've never noticed. He's grown up to be the sort of person any parent would be proud of, and I don't know how much credit I get for that. He's been blessed to know many wonderful people in his life who've coached him, mentored him and cheered him on. Happy birthday, Joe.
ON ANOTHER NOTE: The Woman of Mystery painting has been won by visitor 2,001. Nikki and Ned *win. I hope they will find she brings them nothing but peace and quiet and does all the worrying and wondering for them so they won't have to. (Or anyway, just a modest amount.)
*And by "win," I mean they get it even if they regift it. I'll put it in a frame too.
I WANT to give you one more photo to look at from the property - it's a wonderful tree that has a unique pattern on the bark. Maybe put there by some climbing plant, like English ivy. I don't know what did it, but it certainly is different.
The mysteries of life are many and precious. I guess that's my thought for the day. We never know when those mysteries are going to please us or make us cry. We just stand in line and take our chances.
Here's to many more days of standing in line and being pleasantly surprised - femminismo

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can You Stand Some More Pictures?

I TELL YOU, since I learned how to post photos along with the words on this blog, an entry without photographs seems pretty blah. So I hope you like pictures.

Our camping trip was fun. Exhausting, but fun. The weather was perfect, and in Oregon you can't ask for much more than that. The Mister and I slept under the stars without a tent. I was disappointed when I awoke in the middle of the night to find it had clouded over. I couldn't do much stargazing.

A son, daughter, stepdaughter, a daughter-in-law, two significant others and four granddaughters - I'm not counting puppies - were all there for a short overnight campout. It was a lot of fun to show them what we had discovered on the property.

cut up some branches for the fire. One of the first things we did was bring up rocks from the creek for the campfire. This really odd rock (above) - a petroglyph, I guess - showed up. Pretty neat, huh?

is shown here with Monique, the mama, and Uno, the baby, who was born with only one eye. He found good owners with this crew.

discovered something extremely tiny in the creek when we put on boots and walked along the water. "A lizard!" she shrieked. "The tiniest lizard I ever saw!" She was brave to pick it up and then shared it with her cousins, Cassie and Zoe, who admired it and passed it around. It was a tiny, baby salamander.
Walking in the creek was fun although we stirred up the mud a little. It's not usually this brown looking.

Ruth went out on the balance beam - the giant fallen Doug fir log. Pretty brave, huh? She has always been my adventurous child.

was something else, with everyone pitching in food and talents. Peter was turning out pancakes as fast as we could eat them and the Mister had a flat piece of metal for a cooktop. Yum yum!
Bacon and eggs seem absolutely harmless over the campfire.

As you can tell by the look on Zoe's face, as she walks along the creek, it doesn't get much more fun than this!
There was so much to discover.

everyone left on Sunday the Mister and I did some work on the property. Trimming, raking, pulling out ivy and berry vines.

And then it was time for a reward. You guessed it: food!
Ooey gooey s'mores: chocolate graham crackers, Hershey chocolate bar and marshmallows - femminismo

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Time Still Marches On.

MIDNIGHT Friday has come and gone and the visitor from Brighton, England, has not checked in to claim the "Mystery Woman." Or should I call her "Woman of Mystery"?
I guess I'll decide when I send her to ....... drum roll, please ...... the next visitor in line: someone from Bandon, Oregon, who checked in on June 17. "Bandon Visitor" has the ISP address, Comspan Bandon Network LLC, runs XP Windows, uses Firefox as their browser and has WON the "Woman of Mystery."
If this is you, send me an e-mail at and let me know where to send this fabulous lady.
Soon. Or next Friday at midnight she will move on to the next visitor.
Now I must leave for the woods where I am going to get grubby, dusty and sweaty and teach my granddaughters which flora are our friends and which are our enemies - unless you like nettle soup or salad, which some folks do. Ta, ta - femminismo

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Solstice Comes ... And Is Gone.

STRAINING the bounds of sanity I sit down at 11 p.m. so I'm able to post on the first day of summer. I am supposed to be putting the finishing touches on some packing for a camping trip tomorrow ... but my blog seems to come before sleep a lot these days.
I have a new photo to post above in the "self-portrait" series. The aphid-free (knock on wood) yellow roses are beside the self-sowing foxglove. And here is a house in our town I have admired for some time.
The front yard was totally dead throughout the winter. Well, actually, it was anything but dead. Look at it now in the full bloom of *summer* and you can see there was plenty waiting to happen.
For some time I have wanted to take photos of this house to document the changes the yard goes through during the year. I missed the winter time shot because I am just so shy about intruding - by taking a photo. I missed the springtime shot. Same thing.
Enough is enough I said today as I drove through the neighborhood on an errand. A car actually stopped in the street and a girl behind the wheel encouraged me to go ahead and take the picture. After I did - calling out my thanks - she moved on by.
I don't know who lives there, but when the first day of fall comes I may stop by to introduce myself - the gardening "lurker," who loves lush, packed yards.
I also did something for myself today: I stopped by to visit with an aunt and uncle. I keep putting off visiting and I know it is not a good idea. My aunt started crying because I remind her of my mother, and I started crying because my aunt reminds me of my mother.
We both still love and miss her so much. In earlier posts you may have gotten that idea. She was the "best mama in the world." And that's the truth!
So we visited for a while. I have learned the hard way not to put these visits off. You will never be sorry you took 20 minutes out of your day and went a little out of your way. If you don't do it, you'll always be sorry. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not be sorry - femminismo

Life Goes On.

WARNING: Visitor from England (at will be bumped from winning the prestigious painting of the "Mystery Woman." Next up will be the second person, No. 2,001, and this person is from Bandon, Oregon.
Midnight tonight is the deadline for the Sussex, Brighton, England, viewer/visitor to send me an e-mail at and let me know where to send their prize.
Bandon visitor? Are you there? Oh, the Mystery Woman is beginning to wonder and worry even more than usual! - femminismo

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The 2,000 Visitor Arrived from England!

THIS IS the information I have on my 2,000th visitor from Sitemeter. If this description fits you - if you live in England, visited and then clicked on my link to visit on June 17, you WIN the "Mystery Woman."
The visitor will have to come back and check in to recognize herself/himself and let me know by leaving a comment and where you can be reached by parcel post so I can mail the artwork to you. (You are on your honor, but there will be clues to the right person!)
I'll keep waiting until Friday at midnight and then will choose the next person who visited after them. (This is a rotten way to have to do this, but it's the only way I know since I don't want to be harvesting e-mail addresses when you visit.) Let me know soon. Bye now - femminismo
Additional info on 2,000th visitor:
Domain Name:
IP address: 90.203.37 Easynet
Lives in East Sussex, Brighton, England
Microsoft Windows XP
Browser: Internet Explorer 7.0
Time of visit, in US, I guess: Jun 17 2008 9:45:56 am
Referring URL:

Monday, June 16, 2008

So Much Going On ... Living Life.

YES, there has been a lot going on. Good and bad. One of my favorite teachers died. I attended her funeral this past Friday, June 13. It was like going home again, there were so many familiar faces from my childhood and teen years. My teacher, Mrs. Nyberg, would have been 99 years old this month. She knew it was time however, and so ... she let go of this world.
At the life celebration for her it was obvious, looking around the room, that she drew only the best people to her. We will all miss her. She was full of fun and lived LIFE - not the pale imitation, but the real thing. So, in her honor, let's LIVE it!
WELL, for starters, our family is going camping on the property this weekend and so it was only "natural" that we would need ... well, you know. A proper outhouse. (There's the "starter," above.) There are going to be small children along and we wanted to make this wilderness adventure a little more civilized.
The Mister said I could get a construction job now since I got so much on-the-job training holding the plumb up to make sure his building was ship-shape. Verrrry funnnny.
I decided to try out the balance beam on a tree that stretches from the road across the creek. The Mister estimated it is maybe an 80-100 foot long fir tree that blew down years ago but has been suspended in the air so it has stayed solid and hasn't rotted. I may have mentioned before my lack of balance - Meniere's syndrome (spelling?). But I made it across to the creek, pulling nettles that lurked along the log waiting to sting the next log walker. It's a really cool log.
The other end is shown too, with the mister pulling off some of the smaller branches. The ones sticking out sort of help those of us with balance problems along the way. We need to figure out if the "path" goes any further, or if this is the end. The ground is damp here because there is the creek and a spring, too, so the ground is real wet.
Last picture tonight and then it's off to other chores.
Jen: I painted my new lady's eyes green. Not sure if she looks hypnotic or just a little insane. I think maybe I have her nose the way I want it. I was studying Judy Wise's and Katie Kendricks' artwork to see how they "did" noses. So I guess this is the way I "do" them. Painting on glass is turning out to be lots of fun. I am learning as I go along, and as usual I want to do it perfectly right away. Argh! Grow up, self!
There's still shading to do, but I'm getting closer. I love throwing on the paint - femminismo
p.s. Just one more photo. I found a new flower on the property: inside-out flower. Here's a picture I stole from the Web site Rainy Side Gardeners.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Permission to Play.

BARB from Michigan (thank you, friend) gave me permission to play today. I haven't finished my playing, but here are the first, second and third steps I've taken in my latest project - painting on the glass in an old window.
Never, ever done this before so I found a number of things happening I hadn't planned on.
1. I didn't think the paint (acrylics) would dry so quickly. Wrong.
2. What I thought would be the front and back got reversed as the paint dried. Or did it? Maybe I will have a second chance on the other side of the glass when I've finished. Maybe I can have two - click - two ladies in one.
3. Here is the lady as she is resting now in the sunroom, waiting for me to find time tomorrow to paint some more.
Who knows how her looks will change? Today was another one of my days for going around in circles denying myself the opportunity to play. Thanks again, Barb - femminismo
p.s. What color eyes will this lady have????

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Am So Lucky I Can't Believe It.

LUCKY, lucky. That's me. I spent Sunday in the real woods. Not the mind-boggled "woods" where I sometimes find myself when I'm lost without the least notion of where to go next or what to do.
On Sunday the Mister and I went up on the property again. I took my trusty camera to give you another fine tour. First we worked on making a trail. I cleared a path down along the creek to what I call "Fairy Fern Point." It's the perfect trail since it ends at the base of a tree right at the creek, where most likely fairies sit in the shade wondering who they'll marry when they grow up and what they'll name their children. (Anyway, this is sort of how I hope my granddaughters view this place. They might imagine the fairies think of ways to become president or the best way to accomplish a leveraged buyout. Who knows? This might be much better!)
The Mister cut up sections of a railroad tie to make a nice staircase down to the creek. I can just see this when it becomes edged with moss and plants. I'll transplant some there to make sure it happens more quickly.

We had lunch and then put on tall rubber boots to walk up the stream and find out more about the creek. The Mister found a bright orange crawdad claw sitting in the river bed and then he found shells from bivalve creatures under a tree along the riverbank. Mussels? Sometimes I feel pretty stupid. Although I've seen them all my life at the beach I don't know what they are called. How did they get on this riverbank? We are 50 miles inland, at least, as the crow flies. Something had them for dinner.
Here's the Mister cutting branches off a log that is lying across the creek. He thinks we can use it for a bridge. Maybe those with a sense of balance can! Circus performers?

Next we came upon a plant that I believe is called "Devil's Club." The plants grow to be 8 feet tall or taller. The stems are thick and stickery. Check out the thorns on the underside of the leaves here. I don't think this is a plant I want to grab hold of when I'm hiking. No siree!
Walking up the creek, we had to duck under some logs. There was a place where the creek narrowed and was deeper and there is a small waterfall downstream. It was all so beautiful.

I took this one photo straight up overhead. You are looking at years and years of growth. Imagine five or six or 10 years per branch, and that's about how long this tree has been here - reaching up to the canopy for sun.
The Mister found a really large rock along the stream and turned it on end. It looked so sculptural we wanted to take it home, but neither of us wanted to carry it back just then. We wanted to keep going up the stream and then up the hill to follow the animal trails. So I put a "hat" on this river goddess and took a picture to show you. Voila!

Last but not least I'll show you the creek we stood in - and this was our view.
We cannot believe our luck to have had such a wonderful Sunday with great weather, a delicious picnic lunch and a beautiful place like this to share. (We'll take all the thanks we can get for continuing to let these trees grow and contribute to our world's oxygen resources. You're welcome. You're welcome!) femminismo

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is It Really Wednesday?

TIME, time, time! Trying to take it one day at a time is a good thought, but often it seems they are rushing by two or three at a time instead.
Monday night I caught up with a writing buddy in the vegetable aisle of a local grocery store. Stuck without my trusty digital camera I had to make do with taking a cell phone photo (actually a stranger pitched in and took it) and then e-mailing it to myself. Here we are, CJ and I. After a good talk together by the lettuce, about how life goes by fast and doesn't always turn out the way we'd planned, she has inspired me to send out some of my writing. And maybe even check in with some of my story characters that have been sitting on the page waiting to see how their lives turn out. Thanks, CJ! (Let me know if you are a "lower case" cj.)
I have also been visiting a friend who is very ill. She is 98 years old and as her nephew says, she has "had a good run." In her years as a teacher she gave so much of herself to all her students. She will live on through every good thing we do.
Her nephew, Dennis, and I were in the same high school class together and he is lucky enough to live in Alaska and sent me this photo which he took in his back yard. (Big back yard!) He put out a salmon carcass hoping to invite a bald eagle and got one. (Look sharp!) A loon paddles in the background. Can't you just hear its lonely cry? There was also a fox running around, but Dennis wasn't quick enough to get a picture of that fellow.
So much has been going through my head regarding living and dying, celebrating and mourning, and I've been considering how I spend - or mis-spend - my time. Sometimes it doesn't seem my brain is big enough for all the thinking I do, so maybe it's time to slow down. Any suggestions on how to do that? Maybe meditation.
Here is a journal page I have begun. With matte gel medium coating the picture, I stuck it face down on the book's photo of two boys fishing in a stream. My mother used to tell us that she always knew where we were. I wondered how that could be when she was always at home and we were traipsing through the woods and all over, up and down streams. So when I found this woman's photo it just seemed to belong watching over these boys.
One more photo and then I'm off to bed. It's newspaper production day tomorrow and there are plenty of loose ends to tie up bright and early.
Here is a calla lily after yet another of our Oregon rainstorms. I hope you are dry and warm tonight with someone you love close at hand - femminismo
p.s. Happy Birthday to Pat who doesn't have e-mail ... or, as far as I know, a computer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Upper Body Strength Must Be Nice.

WORKING in the woods again today and trying things girls weren't taught, like using a bow saw. The picture on the left shows you the friends I spent time with today - the first day of June.
The shovel looks malformed - and is - but it came in handy for carving steps in the bank down to the creek. The saw, which jumped and stuck in the wood, removed some large exposed tree roots ... finally, just before my right arm muscles gave out. If I can lift my right arm tomorrow, I will be lucky.
The large long-handled clippers were for branches and thick blackberry vines. The flora on our property is growing by leaps and bounds. The ferns are mostly unfurled and some of the plants, with small, tight buds, are now in full flower.
But I wonder which is more handy to know: How to fold beaten egg whites into pancake batter to make them lighter and more delicious or how to use a hand saw without using every swear word you ever learned. I guess the first one could help you snag a fellow who can use a saw properly, but why aren't girls taught things like this? (Well, some are, I know, but not this one.)
Anyway, I'll survive. There is now a nice little path down to the creek. Here are some flowers (right) that need identifying. I have Googled Pacific Northwest flowers, but haven't found them. These grow right along the creek. Botanists: help, please. (Update on June 4: Gresham High School teacher Paul S. has identified this shrub as a goatsbeard, a member of the rose family.)
Going back one day to Saturday, I was having an awful time getting my bearings. Grumpy, crabby, drifting from one mind-numbing (housework - yard work) task to another. Finally I called Barb in Michigan. Everyone should have a friend like her. She listened and gave me the feedback I needed. After we had talked for over an hour I was back on track and not feeling quite so sorry for myself. I hope she has Internet service again so she can find out how much she improved my day.
I sent a card off to a different friend on Saturday. Here is the back of the envelope. It is about the only art I can claim to have attempted in two weeks! My shame runs deep.
Two more pictures and then it's bedtime for me. The Mister and I walked deer trails for about an hour, up and down hills. There are several springs on our property and that stopped our hike once. We didn't have rubber boots on. We found lots of hoof prints in the damp earth and wondered where they all were. Not that "Hawkeye" and "Chingachgook" were any threat to them. There were lots of slugs in the woods, all over the place, all going somewhere to do something. We also found several varieties of mushrooms, these among them. Don't worry. We didn't have them for dinner. I'm not in the market for a new liver - femminismo