Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

It is a sunny day and a perfect day to write my Ten Things of Thankful post to link to Josie Two Shoes blog hop. Click the link and lift your spirit by reading some of the things that remind others that there is much of life that is good, things that make them feel a significant degree of gratitude.



 

1. A week ago Wednesday my husband went to a bird festival at the southern part of the state. He had to chain up going over the pass. Things like that do not get any easier as one gets older, but he did it. Coming home last Sunday, there was already sufficient snow in the town from where he was departing that he just pulled in some place and let those who have a business doing such things put on the chains. I'm thankful he had a safe trip. His happiness is my happiness.

2. We watched the weather forecast a lot this past week because the forecast kept changing. The predictions had some people a little worried because of the big storm that hit the state last winter and kind of paralyzed our biggest city for a few days. Fortunately the storm this week did bring snow, but by the time the storm actually hit, there had been more preparation time. As for our household, we only stayed home one day because of the snow. Some other days I didn't travel much either because of not knowing if it was going to start snowing at our place before I would be able to return home safely. We live at a higher elevation than city center and the weather in town may not reflect what is happening at home. I'm thankful for the beauty of the snow, but just as thankful this past week I didn't have to travel in it.

The view from our front door as I overlooked the railing of the ramp which had about three inches of snow on it. The lawn and fir trees and butterfly bush and other shrubs are covered with the snow that fell overnight. Although there is a bank of stormy clouds just above the trees, there is bright blue sky above them.

3. When the temperatures drop, that is not a time for the pellet stove to act up, but it didn't get the message. One morning we discovered that the auger wasn't working. That is what causes the pellets to feed into the stove. Getting a repairman to come out isn't always easy and the stove is older, so we weren't sure what this might mean in the long scheme of things. My husband decided to remove all the pellets and with his handy dandy screwdriver try to gently nudge the auger a few times just on the chance that a pellet had somehow gotten stuck and blocked the auger from moving. Yeah! He got the auger working again. No repairman needed and no repair bill. 

4. There was one day this past week that I felt like I'd earned a "star" for how well I did with my Duolingo Spanish lesson. I had correct responses to everything and didn't lose any health. That usually is not my pattern, but practice makes perfect and I am progressing. I also bought three Quick Study guides this week to help me in my goal to speak Spanish.

5. Do you ever find some dressing or mix that you would love to discover how to make at home? A few months ago I ate at a CafĂ© Yumm (a northwest restaurant), and fell in love with one of the sauces they use. While you can buy the sauces at the cafe, and I have, I decided to see if anyone had tried to come up with a tastes like version. I haven't tried it yet, but will be trying it out. I'm thankful for the internet and for almost duplicate versions of bottled or canned products.

6. A while back I read a comment by a woman who wished she had a photo of one of her good friends when they were in their teens. I had taught both of them in a church class years ago. Imagine my surprise when I was looking through some old photos this week to discover I had a photo of the two of them together. I was actually looking for another photo, and came upon the one of them. I immediately messaged her on FB, then scanned the photo and attached it to an email for her. She was so happy to have it. I am thankful for even small ways to brighten someone's day.

7. Once I had scanned the one photo, I decided it was a good time to scan a few others and attached them to people on my Ancestry tree. Of course there are more for me to scan and attach, but I felt good about sharing them so descendants of my great uncle's family can see them. Everyone in large families do not get photos passed on for them to see, so perhaps my effort will be appreciated by some of them. I need to attach these photos to trees I have at other sites as well. I started with the Ancestry tree because I'd had contact with one of my great uncle's descendants through that site. I am thankful for ways to share family photos that do not require using snail mail. 

George Alfred Pierce and wife Regina Smith Pierce standing on Daytona Beach in Florida where they were vacationing on December 26, 1947.

8. For years I have used Reunion. It is a family tree app specifically for the Mac. They have a new upgrade and I was able to download it this week. I am looking forward to discovering all 80 of the new features of the upgraded Reunion app.

9. Gradually I seem to be improving my strength and flexibility, which I noticed a few days ago when I went upstairs and was able to use both legs, each one taking a different step than the other. Hey, these are things some of us begin taking note of in our upper years.

10. Seeing and hearing of the testimonies and strength of so many young people this week has reminded me once again of this amazing generation of youth who are not afraid to make their voices heard. Many of them will become a leaders of tomorrow. I am thankful for the youth and their example of resilience and desire to make a difference.

I am thankful for all the things I learn through the words of other bloggers. I found this song that sums up some of my own thoughts about memories, because a lot of writing draws upon our own experiences and memories whether directly or indirectly. Enjoy this YouTube NPR recording of Cantus singing Memories to Teach Me.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Finish the sentence Friday - Photo with the story behind it

This is the fourth Friday of the month so that means it is time to share a photo and the story behind it and link my post to Finish the sentence Friday - Photo with the story behind it. Kristi Campbell is the host at Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson is the co-host at Sporadically Yours. I'm sure you will see some interesting photos and even more fascinating stories about the photos. Every photo has a story to tell and often more than meets the eye.










The place is in the dining/family room of my grandparents' home in Hanford, California in November 1960.

The old wooden rocker, where I had once as a little girl sat on my grandmother's lap, is now occupied by me, at age 17. There was always a lace doily draped over the back of the rocker and also a soft fabric-covered cushion to help relieve the pain my grandmother suffered from her rheumatism and arthritis. The chair wasn't one of those dainty rockers, but instead it was sturdy and made to hold a larger woman's body, just right for my grandmother.

Between the wall and the rocker is the large floor model radio that was usually on when my grandmother was sitting in the chair, unless she was reading the newspaper or the Reader's Digest, or when she was saying the Rosary. On top of the radio is a clock.

The wall behind the radio has narrow vertical strips of wood attached about every foot apart. The wall contains a sliding pocket door that be used to separate the dining family room from the parlor.

The floor standing lamp is made of metal and the rod that is attached to the vertical rod to which the lamp shade is attached angles upward toward the ceiling and can be moved either to the right or to the left so the light can be directed better. The shade is one that resembles a stiff flared skirt and is beige in color.

On the off-white wall behind me is a wall phone, the kind that you must stand and talk into the speaker on the phone while holding the flared funnel shaped receiver to one's ear. A caller could just dial the operator and ask her to make the call for you. That wall also has vertical strips of wood that are nailed to the wall like the other wall, but these strips are wider. There is a horizontal strip about two and a half feet above the phone which separates the wall from the ceiling. The strip works as a shelf on which my grandmother placed special vases or other things that she didn't want handled by others. I remember loving the way the sunlight made some of the glass vases change color. This high stripping was throughout the room.

The drapes and the cotton lace curtains cover the windows. As a child I remembered not only the feel of those lace curtains, but the smell if they had become a little dusty.

Part of one of the dining table chairs with the knobbed leg and curving slats on the back of the chair is just to the left of the rocking chair. Something appears to be hanging from the table, possible a napkin.

The floor is made of wood and brings back memories of my grandmother making her way slowly around the room using her dust mop to get the dust bunnies from behind the stove and in the corners.

My hair was as long as it had ever been and was a dark brown during the school year but became much lighter during the summers when exposed a lot to the sun. Once a beautician asked me if I had bleached my hair. I hadn't. I just didn't wear a hat when I worked outside in the summers.

I'm wearing a grey soft wool flannel jumper I had sewn. I don't remember what sweater I was wearing under the jumper, but possibly a soft grey or light blue one. By this time panty hose had been invented and were available in the stores, so I suspect I was wearing those. Most girls rushed to get them, as it was so much easier to wear them than the ones that required being attached to other items of clothing. Pointed-toed shoes were in style, and from the picture there is no doubt that I am wearing flats with very pointed toes. My feet paid the price later on in my life for giving in to that type of fashion.

I am fairly certainly that this photo was taken the week of my grandfather's funeral. We had to travel from another state to be there. Someone probably asked me  to smile for the picture. I had been interrupted from reading the newspaper, or possibly checking out the funnies to see which ones the paper had that our own paper back home didn't have. 

Seeing my smile seems so contradictory to the feelings I'd had at the funeral, my first to ever attend. It was held in a Catholic church, and I hadn't been prepared for what I would see. The last time we had visited my grandfather earlier in the year, he had expressed how it would probably be the last time he'd see us and then he slipped a silver dollar into my hand and into my brother's hand. I felt sad that I couldn't remember him every hugging me, or me him, or expressing any verbal expressions of love, although I did love him.



Click for source









Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Fling

I wasn't sure where I was going to go this week with the prompt for the Six Sentence Stories blog hop. It was an interesting trail I took to get to this point, but I'll spare you the details of that. I'm linking this piece of writing to Six Sentence Stories - Fling hosted by Zoe at Uncharted. I'm not sure how she decides what the prompts will be each week, but I'm glad she comes up with a new one each week. All the stories that are linked to Six Sentence Stories are only six sentences, as short or as long as you wish. Click the link and read a sampling of the posts to see what I mean. If you think you would like to take the challenge, join us next week. The new prompt if usually posted the Sunday prior to Thursday when the link up is available.





His granny knew he hadn't slept well the night before in their shack which had thin walls and with his family bickering about anything and everything and the all-to-familiar eventual fighting and shoving between his ma and pa which caused his granny to to call the cops again, but it was time for her to take control and get her nine-year old grandson enrolled in school even if it was two months after the beginning of the school year.

Billy, dressed in tattered bib overalls, no shirt, and wearing no socks and some badly scuffed hand-me-down shoes, much too big for him, was aware that he towered over the other kids in the first grade classroom and that the kids were staring at him as his shabbily dressed granny nudged him gently toward the nicely dressed woman approaching him.

After the teacher found a desk that was big enough for him at the back of the room, he slouched in his seat hoping that he could blend in with the smaller kids, but he slid down even further when he heard how well they read when called upon and wished even harder that he wouldn't have to read, but his wishes were futile. The whispering and impatient looks of some of the faster readers made him wish that he could run away, from school, from home, from his non-existent friends, from everything, but the whipping' he'd get when caught wasn't worth it.

At recess he roamed alone around the edge of the playground until he found a place where he could sit hidden behind an old oak tree and whittle on a stick with his pocket knife until the bell rang.

After school, he knew his granny wanted him to hurry home, but he hung back a bit as the cliques of kids walked and ran ahead of him, all the while talking about the fun things they were going to do when they got home, at which point, he grasped a small garter snake sunning at the edge of the road and debated only for a moment whether to fling it with all his might toward the kids and listen to their screams hoping to drown out the disturbing voices he was hearing within his head.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

What an emotional week this has been, but now it is time to take a deep breath and consider some thoughts I have about being thankful. I'm sharing these as a post that I am linking to the Josie Two Shoes blog hop Ten Things of Thankful

This blog hop started off with people listing or sharing in whatever form they desired ten things for which they were grateful each week, but as time has gone by, it has become a little more lax as to the exact number and style of the post. Photos are okay to share, or not, depending on one's mood at the moment. Just click the link and discover the wide variety of posts on this topic. We are also given from Thursday evening (shortly after midnight Central Time) to Tuesday evening to post. That is a very generous amount time.






This part of the country, and in the coming week more of the rest of the country, will be experiencing what is referred to as Winter Storm Oliver. Beginning tonight there will be a lot of snow falling in the Cascades. The ski lifts were shut down earlier today. It is not unusual to have snow in the mountains, but it has been a while since we have had snow this late in February and the beginning of March. I'm thankful we have snow chains, as the forecast is that there will likely be snow in the higher elevations around some of the valley cities and possibly on the valley floor beginning tomorrow. The other word that is being mentioned is possible ICE.

My husband and I were able to vicariously enjoy a friend's trip to Brazil where he visited the Pantanal, which is the world's largest freshwater wetland. He was nice enough to share many of photos of the colorful birds which reside there with a group of fellow birders. 
Some birds which live in the Pantanal are shown in the first half of this YouTube video. Click the link to watch. I am thankful for friends who share their talents and travel adventures. I am also thankful for beautiful places in the world which are refuges to so many creatures. Stopping by a favorite dessert deli on the way home to get a couple of pieces of cake to take with us. It was too near closing time to eat it there.

I got together for lunch with a couple of friends. We had Chinese food this time. It is always fun to chat and listen with friends while enjoying good food. 

Our son was able to travel to be with us and go with us to a memorial service for his former Scout leader who also had been his Bishop for a while when he was growing up. Our son and another former Scout in the troop had been asked to speak at the service and to be pallbearers. This Scout leader was a veteran and had served in the Marines and his uniform was displayed at the services. Our son wore his own Navy uniform to the services.

Some of the deer have discovered that our solar panels make a nice lean-to for shelter from the rain, and now I suppose from the anticipated snow. I was able to snap a  photo of one leaving the structure one sunny day. I'm thankful that the solar panels are multi-functional.


Deer exiting from beneath the solar panels positioned on the ground behind the house

With the approaching lower temperatures and not looking forward to the colder days, I am thankful for memories of places where I was able to feel warm. 


  • high up in the hay loft among bales of hay while holding warm kittens
  • standing in front of a wood stove which was burning oak logs
  • taking a break from stacking wood when I was a kid and sitting among a pile of old newspapers (There was a good reason why newspapers and magazines were used as insulation in some older homes before the availability of insulation as we know it now.)
  • as a child, being nice and warm at night under several layers of woolen quilts made by my maternal grandmother

This is a woolen patchwork quilt that was on my bed when I was growing up and was made by my maternal grandmother. The quilt is draped over a chair to display for the photo. The quilt blocks are six-inch square pieces in some solid colors while other blocks are plaid materials. There are solid colors of red, blue, black, green, tan, and brown. The plaids are mostly lighter blue and tan in a small plaid on white. She used whatever wool scraps she could buy at thrift stores or would cut up woolen clothes that had little resale value to make the quilts.
  • sitting in our loft under cozy afghans while reading a book and enjoying the rays of sunshine on my face
  • sitting closely together to stay warm on a evening hayride
  • dancing with my future husband





Have a great week ahead and remember to be thankful for the good things that are happening in your life.







Friday, February 16, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - When it comes to this body

This third Friday of the month is a stream of consciousness post which supposedly is writing for five minutes on the prompt given, however I admit I went over that limit. Knowing this about me from the get-go, I'll understand if you limit your reading time here today. It wasn't meant to happen, but I just couldn't stop. So read on, or click the link and read what others have shared today.

I'm posting reflective writing to the blog hop Finish the Sentence Friday - When it comes to this body hosted by Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee. The co-host is Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours.



When it comes to this body, I am thankful to have all my parts, except for my  tonsils, adenoids, wisdom teeth and the lenses which were part of my eyes at birth.

Some parts have malfunctioned, been broken, been straightened, or had things removed that shouldn't have been there.

It has been burned and blistered by the sun, by hot liquid, and heating elements. High fever has over heated my body. It has felt pain from injuries, from surgery, from overuse, from lack of use, and from parts that don't function well together.

Stings, bites, punctures, cuts, rashes, pocks, and boils have violated it.

This body has felt the impact of hard falls and collisions and has the scars that leave lasting reminders of the events.

Tiny, healthy babies have been born from this body.

With this body I have seen and heard wondrous, beautiful, horrible, and sad things that caused me to smile, laugh, cry, act, and to pray.

This body of flesh has been hugged, caressed, patted, tickled, tapped, rubbed, and massaged.

It knows what it feels like to be carried, swung, lifted, and tipped.

Best of all, this body encases my internal organs which allow me the blessing of learning, feeling, remembering, loving, and living.

Within this body lives my spirit. This body is mine to maintain, nurture, and respect.



Thursday, February 15, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Smoke

Getting your point across in six sentences can tell as much about a person as the subject. I tend to waffle a bit on how I write my sentences for the blog hop at Zoe's Uncharted web site. Sometimes my sentences are succinct, other times a tad rambling. In other cases, the story is based on tidbits of personal history with a new story line thrown in and twisted somewhat. Let's see what I come up with today for Six Sentence Stories - Smoke. Click the link to read some more Six Sentence Stories by other bloggers. 




Sadie and her brother had been listening to some Saturday morning radio shows one wintry morning when Mom asked them to please go get into the car so they could go with her to the grocery story. While waiting for a few minutes in the back seat of the car while the car warmed up, she and her brother pulled the woolen car blanket over their legs.

Mom drove towards the grocery story until she slowed down behind a big delivery van in front of her. As the van started to turn on to another street, Sadie pinched her nose as she smelled the plume of black smoke spewing from the tailpipe under the van.
When she saw the red, yellow and blue balloons painted on the side of the the vehicle, she said excitedly, "Mommy, can we get that kind of bread when we go to the store?"

Her Mom thought to herself, "I wonder when they will stop telling the children to ask their Moms to buy that bread because it helps them 'build strong bodies eight ways'."

  

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

The link has been open for a day over at Josie Two Shoes site at the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, so I'd better take a look at my notes and see some of the mentionable items for this week. Can you believe that I actually made note of some things as I recognized them at the time? Of course, there probably will be some things that will come to mind as I move my fingers over the keys right now. Writer's inspiration or the great unlocking of the mind, who knows. Being thankful is something that if we keep our hearts and minds open can be felt and seen every day in small ways or in large ways. With time and practice it becomes easier to do, like so many other things in this sphere of existence.





1. Organ music - I discovered university radio station that plays organ music every Sunday evening at 6 pm. Did you know that there is a beautiful organ at the Disney Hall concert hall in Los Angeles?






2. Tissue rather than handkerchiefs - With the advent of the cold and flu season and hopeful the disappearance of such soon, I am so grateful for tissue. An interesting fact is that tissue (washi) was first 
first used by the Japanese in the 17th century, but in the United States of America tissue wasn't introduced until 1924 for the reason of using it to remove makeup. By a couple of years later 60% of the people were using it for blowing their nose.

3. A movie to look forward to - I am already looking forward to a movie, You Are My Friend, about Mr. Rogers with Tom Hanks playing the role of Mr. Rogers.

4. Performing arts - My hubby and I along with a friend were able to attend a toe tapping, hand clapping, and head bobbing show this week at The Shedd Institute. We saw one of Chico Schwall's American Roots shows. This time it was American Masters: Uncle Dave Macon & Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I can't be still when listening to this kind of music, and I wasn't the only one.

5. Beautiful sunsets - Apparently some outdoor burning was allowed this week, because we had some gorgeous sunsets.

An orange and yellow sky seen at sunset from the Willamette Valley as we looked toward the the coast range. The bottom half of the photo is almost black, but the outline of a few buildings are showing against the grey/black mountains.

6. Daffodils - The signs are there and it won't be long before we will see some in bloom. That splash of yellow will likely make its appearance a little sooner this year.

7. Friends to join for meals out - An Empty Nesters lunch and lunch with a friend on a day we explored the merchandise at a large craft store that opened in the area. I mostly looked, but it was fun seeing what they had. In some ways it was like stepping back in time, since in the merchandise world there is that trend to make what once was "in" look improved and brand new.

8. Safe travels - A parent is always a parent. Although I don't worry now about the travel of my grown children, or I would be worrying all the time, I am always glad to know that they had safe travels. Even my own mother at 101 years (only rarely now because of her memory loss) shows concern when I just drive to my house from the nursing home.

9. Mystery photos - Among some old photos that belonged to my paternal grandparents are a few which have people who remain unknown to me. Because DNA tests can indicate others to whom you may be related, I learned of a couple of people this week who are related. One is a descendant of my great uncle, George Alfred Pierce, born 1874 and his wife, Regina Angela Smith. I am  hoping that perhaps she or some other relative may be able to identify the people in this photo as there are quite a few photos of my great uncle's family. Mystery photos keep me searching and keep me discovering about my family. 




10. My husband who has done more than his share of work this week for me and for us - What would I do without him? I don't want to know, although deep down I do know. I will always love him.