Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful - A week of taking it easy

It is time to post some things that make me feel thankful and link my post to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. She gives us reminders each week in case life gets too hectic that we might forget. She posts her link up each Thursday evening shortly after midnight Central time and we have until the following Tuesday to link our posts. That leaves plenty of time to give some thoughtful consideration to the subject. Be sure to go to her link later to see what others have shared this week.

Since the virus I was starting to come down with last Saturday decided to stick around a while, I took it easy, although it wasn't a fun "taking it easy." My bout with this stuff took a different course than it did with my husband. Fortunately by day four, I stumbled across a product that had thousands of positive reviews on Amazon. I had been reading about essential oils and wondering if I had some  that would give my sinuses some relief. In one of the articles it mentioned using a product mentioned on Amazon before using the diffuser with suggested essential oils. After reading the reviews, I was sold. There was only one store in our city which carried it, and they only had three boxes left on the counter. I ventured out and bought two boxes, not knowing how long I might be fighting this. To my amazement, it worked so quickly, that using the essential oils didn't turn out to be necessary. Today, my energy has picked up, and my sinuses, ear and head pain have improved greatly. I am thankful for being able to be rid of sinus and ear pain, and to have discovered a product that worked so quickly.

Home canned peaches and a cheery yellow primrose

A friend stopped by the second day I was sick with a quart jar of her home-canned peaches and with a yellow primrose to cheer me up. I put the peaches in the refrigerator for a while to get them nice and cold. Those cold peaches and juice sliding down my sore throat felt wonderful! I'm thankful for thoughtful and caring friends.

This has been a week of poached eggs for breakfast, something that I always enjoyed as a child when my paternal grandmother made them. I decided that I was going to try to make them the way she did. My first attempt wasn't so good, although it tasted as good. The second attempt was better, thanks to reading the instructions in my very old Joy of Cooking cookbook, © 1963. However, I didn't quite get the "swirl the water into a mad vortex with a wooden spoon," pg. 196, quite right. The last try was perfect, thanks to a combination of watching a youtube video and remembering how my Grandma tilted the saucer slightly before slipping the egg into the water. By the way, as it turned out, no swirling the water was required. I'm thankful for old cookbooks, for poached eggs which also feel good on a sore throat, and for memories of my Grandma's cooking.

Oops! The yolk and the whites separated in this failed try of poaching an egg.
Perfect poached egg
Poached egg and liquid it was cooked in served over pieces of  multi-grained bread

This week as I rested and tried to distract my mind from the sinus head pain, I read some interesting articles, such as one written by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Alex Tizon, who passed away March 23, 2017 in Eugene OR. A posthumous cover story in the Atlantic Monthly, June 2017 written by him and titled My Family's Slave is a thought provoking read. You can read NPR's interview with Alex Tizon by clicking this link. Within the link it also has a link to the article in the magazine. I am thankful for those who share their histories which stir our conscientiousness and broaden our understanding of how some people of different cultures live.

A vase of flowers I received for Mother's Day was very pretty, but the flowers hadn't quite opened up yet on the day they arrived. I have loved watching them evolve this week and thought how like people they are. We take a while to mature and bloom in our own ways. Some do so quickly, while others take their time. To see and know the real person, requires looking into their inner nature. I am thankful for the things that we are reminded of through observing the creations on this earth.

Vase of pink tulips and purple irises

Inside of a tulip

When I clicked on a post on Facebook this week, I listened to a Tibetan singing bowl.  I had never listened to one before, and I discovered how relaxing it was for me. When I have tried meditation in the past, my minds starts to wander and I need to bring my mind back to center, but I discovered that with the tones of the Tibetan singing bowl about the time a thought started to emerge, I heard another tone and I just relaxed. Because of my experience I read a little about them, and discovered that they have been used for both healing and meditation purposes. I searched on Pandora for Tibetan singing bowls and was happy to find some tracks that include singing bowls. I'm thankful for discovery. Although these have been used for centuries, for me, this was a discovery in how they are used.

Anne Frank: A Diary of A Young Girl was published in 1952 in the United States, and it was probably about three years later that I read this account of her life and became aware of some of the atrocities of war. I remember how I felt when I read of her plight, while at the same time feeling almost guilty for living in this land and having escaped these horrors. While in my teens and drying dishes one day as my Mom washed, I talked to her about this subject, of how come we were placed in this land instead of some other place where life would have possibly been one of much hardship. Although with maturity and added knowledge I have come to know that many have suffered here too and that man's inhumanity to man is spread over the globe. However, there is an ever growing sense among the populations throughout the earth to reach out and do something to alleviate the sufferings of the people, to help them rise above poverty, and disease, and to give them hope. There are even among the histories of past generations here and in other lands, accounts of courageous and compassionate acts to assist those who were in desperate need, and there were people who offered hope. I am thankful for all those who in whatever way they can offer a ray of hope to others. 

In pouring though some photos today, once again I was reminded of how quickly the years go by as children become adults and then grandchildren become adults, and then great grandchildren are born to begin their trek. What is said and done builds memories and influences and shapes who we are and who we become. I'm thankful for each one in the family for their love and example.

Wishing all my fellow bloggers and followers a wonderful coming week.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

What a week it has been! With the Ten Things of Thankful post I will hopefully remember the highlights and dwell on the blessings.  I'm linking my post to Josie Two Shoes, Ten Things of Thankful site, so you can check out the post of others who link up. Striving to concentrate on the positive when challenges come has a way of keeping one focused on what really matters.

1. We have niece who is fighting leukemia again for the third time. It has been heart wrenching to read of her challenges this time around. Her story has been shared by family members on Facebook, and seeing how many have added her name and the names of her family and the healthcare workers to their private prayers and prayer circles, etc. has been so uplifting. To see her be able to make it to this point has been very inspiring and faith promoting.

2. Before we left on our recent vacation, our 17-year-old dishwasher went on the fritz. We had to wait until we got back to have a repairman come. Once he did, we were told trying to fix it would cost quite a bit, so we decided to get a new one. We were able to get a floor model that was last year's model and was on sale, plus we got an additional $40 off. I learned that the average life for a dishwasher is about seven to twelve years, so getting 17 years of use from our last one was excellent. In addition to what I've shared already, the repairman was able to take care of an existing problem with installing the new dishwasher.  That was a plus!

3. I enjoyed having lunch with a few friends one day this week. Even though we see each other at church frequently, that is a time to worship or teach classes, so getting together at other times where we can just spend some time sharing bits of wisdom and such brings a sense of commonality and builds upon our friendships.

4. One afternoon I had an opportunity to try to help someone with her genealogy challenge. Although I don't know that I helped her a lot, because she is trying to find out who her Mom's birth Mom was, I was able to teach her a few things about using Ancestry. Her Mother was adopted. Some states have made it easier to find out that information than others. The good news is while I was with her, she received a call from someone who is an expert in the field of finding adoption records. I'm thankful for moments to share knowledge that may be of help to others.

5. The neuromuscular massage treatment went well for me this week, and he added another exercise for me to do at home to try to maintain the range of motion I'm gaining in the treatments. This truly is a case of no pain no gain, but it will be worth it. It is a slow process, but I am making progress.

6. My husband and I have spent some dedicated time this week to planning and purchasing some of the tickets for an upcoming vacation later this year. At times I think our patience was tested a bit, but we met the test. :-)

7. A few weeks back I mentioned in one of my blog posts about an encounter with a shrew. I'm beginning to think there may have been a nest of them, because we have caught three more now. They were caught using a strong type of glue board made for the purpose of catching mice and spiders. This is crazy! These are the pygmy shrews, so they are really little and almost cute, but I'd prefer they hadn't sneaked in. I'm thankful for traps.

8. There were several large vases of gorgeous Hawaiian flowers at the nursing home where Mom is. A family member of one of the residents had sent them. I was amazed at the size and variety of flowers. They are nothing like ones we see here in our area. I'm thankful for the beautiful creations on this earth.

9. If it weren't for having good hearing, I wouldn't have known about an animal that seemed to have made its way under a shingle outside our bedroom. Waking up to scratching noises in the middle of the night is a little disconcerting. When it finally quieted down, I assumed it had made its way out, but I heard the sound again around daybreak another day. No, I doubt this is a shrew, but maybe a bat. Bats love to wedge themselves under wooden shingles. 

10. I'm thankful my husband is feeling somewhat better. He has been fighting some "bug" for over a week that seems to begin as a cold and then settles in the chest. Today I awoke with a sore throat. I feel better tonight, so maybe my body won't allow it to hang around. He made me a pot of delicious chicken vegetable noodle soup this morning for me. 

11. And lastly, I'm thankful for my mother, my daughters, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter who are mothers. I also honor other family members and others who are not mothers, but exhibit mother-like traits to others whether it be to children or those who need to feel loved and cared for no matter the age.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Maybe it is because I am getting older, or perhaps it is because of posts I see on Facebook where one can see historical images, but my post today for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop now generated by the Josie Two Shoes site is a product of my thoughts from my past and the present.

1. When I was approaching my teens, my mother bought me a pair of nylon hose to wear when I went to church. I hadn't even considered wearing hose at that point. (The girls at that time were wearing bobby socks with white suede shoes to school and leather or patent leather flats to Sunday School.) 

Unlike the pantyhose available at the stores now, which may snag and create a fairly small hole, the nylon hose that were available when I first started wearing them would create a run down the nylon if snagged. In addition, a girl needed to make sure that the seam was straight up the back of the leg. The hose came half way up the thigh so a garter belt was needed to keep them up. The hose came in many more sizes then, but after they began making hose that were stretchy, there was no seam up the back. I am thankful for the advancements in fabrics, improved designs and ease of wearing (for the most part).

2. No one needs to be reminded that people need to take care that they don't stink. (Now I do not mean to cause anyone to feel offended, because I do know that there are many people in this world who lack the means to obtain even the bare necessities in life, and may lack a way to stay clean and free of offensive odors.) I'm sure that there came a time when my mother realized after being around me when I was in my pre-teens that it was time to introduce me to Mum deodorant, which was sold as a cream in a jar and applied with one's fingertips. A few years later I was able to buy roll-on deodorants which had became available. I am thankful for deodorants and antiperspirants that can be purchased  unscented or scented and are available in stick form as well as in the earlier forms of application. 

Note: Many people are very sensitive to scents, and when they are in a room with a lot of people who have used scented soaps, shampoos, lotions, antiperspirants, scented laundry soaps, perfumes, etc., it can be overpowering. They become limited in where they can go, without feeling sick because of the overpowering combinations of scents.

3. One of the first sets of dishes I remember my parents buying, was a set of Melmac or possibly Melamine, probably because our other dishes had gotten broken from children dropping them. I am still thankful for dishes that are available that are not easily broken. There is definitely a time and a place for their use, although now buyers must also pay attention to unbreakable brands that are safe for use in microwaves and in  dishwashers.

4. Between the ages of three and seven I lived on a farm in the country. We didn't have an indoor toilet. The outhouse was a ways from the house, for obvious reasons, and a pot was set in the hall for use at night. I remember my mother carrying a bucket of lye water out to the outhouse to clean it and telling me to stay away when she was doing this task. There was always the warning to watch out for black widow spiders in the outhouse. Needless to say, when we moved to another state and had a house with an indoor toilet, all of us were very excited. Having the convenience such as an indoor toilet is something for which I am very thankful, which I am aware that not everyone in the world is as fortunate, and many also do not have running water.

5. Attending grade school for me required bringing my own school supplies, although the list was much shorter back in the 1950's. One of the items we needed to get was a cigar box to hold our supplies. Later on school boxes of similar shape with cute designs on them were available for purchase, but I started school with the real deal. School paste was one of the supplies that we purchased to put in the cigar box. I wasn't one who enjoyed using the paste, or eating it as some younger kids were prone to do. Adhesives have come a long ways over the years, for which I am very grateful. There is such an assortment of products now.

6. Although phone service was available in many towns during my early years, we didn't have phone lines that came out as far as our farm until I was about four or five. It was pretty exciting for me to be able to talk to my Grandma on the phone when she called soon after we got the phone. I'm sure it was a long distance call for her even though she only lived about 10 miles away. Having a phone made it so much easier to respond to emergencies. I am thankful for the many ways we can speedily communicate with people all over the world now.

7. When I was between five and seven years old, a young boy  living across the street from my paternal grandparents was stricken with  polio. He suffered from paralysis and had to be in an iron lung. He was not allowed to have visitors. The fear of being exposed to the polio virus was extremely great. Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine was deemed safe and effective in April 1955, so sometime after the seventh grade I received my first polio vaccine. I am thankful for the discovery of the vaccine and that I was able to receive it when I did. There are so many people doing research to discover ways to prevent other deadly diseases, and I appreciate their research and dedication.

8. With the availability of books in public libraries and in school libraries now, one might be surprised by the fact that a two-room country school that I attended in the 1950's was first able to get some books in 1953 from a library (whether city or state, I do not know). These books were put on a two-shelf rolling cart. We were able to check out one book to read and then write a book report. I selected a book about John Paul Jones. I am thankful for the many sources of reading materials now for children and adults. Many books have been digitized and are available online. Click here to see one source.

9. One of the ways children enlarged their understanding of people living in other countries was by writing to a pen pal. I wrote to a girl in Sheffield, England, to a girl in Ireland, and to a boy in Kyoto, Japan. We also exchanged photos of ourselves and wrote about our schools and everyday life. Sometimes we sent post cards and we also enjoyed seeing the postage stamps on the cards and envelops. I am thankful for the opportunities I had to expand my world a bit and learn how others lived. It is my hope that children all over the world will want to become friends with those in other nations and help overcome the prejudices and misunderstandings that exist among some people.

10. I am thankful for the experiences I have had in life and for those early childhood memories my husband has shared with me. It has been interesting to compare them, and also to consider how our own way through life differs from the experiences of our children and grandchildren.

This life is short. May we each make the best of our journey and share some of those experiences with our posterity. 

What a great day to just look at the sky!

Be sure to take a break though and read the posts of others at Ten Things of Thankful.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #147 Leap&Throb

After a week's vacation, part of which was in an area where we needed to keep an eye out for snakes, the prompt at Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt #Challenge #147 Leap&Throb took a direction that I suspect not too many took. Curious what others wrote for the challenge this week? Click the link and see the links of those who took the challenge.

coiled and camouflaged
snake caused heart to leap and throb
with trepidation

Striped Rattlesnake

TJ's Household Haiku Challenge - Spring and Cold

Since the beginning of autumn, through winter and into spring the northwestern part of our nation has had record setting rainfall, so TJ's Household Haiku Challenge - Spring and Cold brought to mind a certain image.  I'm linking my haiku to his blog hop.  Check out his site to see the creations of others. It is always interesting to see the thoughts that have been penned by other poets.

craggy rock covered with moss

verdant moss conceals
cold spring water seeping forth
under craggy rocks

Ten Things of Thankful - Trip

This is going to be a really short post that is too late to link to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, but I will post anyway. That way you can click the link to read the posts others did link. 

We made a trip this past week to see one of our daughters and her family in the state south of us. We drove this time instead of flying, and my husband went with me. (The last time I went to see her, I fell and broke my arm, and he had to take a plane down to be with me. It was a much more enjoyable trip this time around.)

1. Invitation to see the California poppies in all their glory.

California poppies

A field of California poppies

2. Time to spend with my daughter.  Because of the wind and my need to stay shaded from the sun as much as possible, I kept covered up as much as possible, otherwise my hair would have looked like the 'featherdo' of the bird.

East African Gray-Crowned Crane at the Los Angeles Zoo

3. Different terrains.

Mt. Shasta
flat desert
Black Butte cinder butte
4. Freshly picked artichokes from the garden. I'm amazed by our daughter's green thumb.

artichoke plant

5. New games to play. We learned to play Five Crowns, a rummy type game. It was lots of fun! Of course, we did play more than one Scrabble game as well. I'm thankful for our children who tolerate, and I think enjoy playing this game with me. 

6. A visit with my brother on the way home. We got together at the Pizza Factory in the area where he lives. I'm going to have to see if there are any Pizza Factory restaurants in our state.

7. Being able to see my great grandchildren and their parents. We had not been able to see them the last time we were in the area, so this was a special time to be with them. Taking family group pictures can sometimes be like this.

giraffes looking all different directions at the Los Angeles Zoo 
8. Going to a JetHawks minor League Baseball game with our daughter and son-in-law. It was a very pleasant evening to watch a game.

9. Great food throughout the trip!

10. Fun, fun, fun, and relaxation, relaxation, relaxation with my husband and family!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

This week has been a week of learning, trying, appreciation, and prayerfulness. I'll post some of those things for which I am grateful here and link to Josie's Ten Things of Thankful site.

Apple blossoms in the springtime

Our dishwasher decided to behave inappropriately, like going to a two-hour delay all on its own. After trying to discover the solution and none of it working, I got some recommendations for a repair service. A repairman phoned me after I scheduled the appointment. He just wanted to clarify the problem so if it was something that could be solved by him talking me through some steps, a service call wouldn't be needed. As it turned out, we will still need a house call, but I really appreciated the diligence of the repairman who called to try to save us the cost of a service call. In the meantime, we are handwashing the dishes. In reality, with the simplicity of the majority of our meals handwashing the dishes isn't that big of a deal, especially since my husband helps out. 

I no more had tucked away one manual when I needed to find another manual. (thanks for manuals) One day this week we had a robocall from the same number about every hour throughout the day. To my way of thinking, this was beyond annoying. It was harassment! I had never been one to block calls in the past, but I decided that this definitely warranted it. After finding the manual for our phone and following the directions, we at last were rid of that caller. The company she represented never calls the customers indicating the type of problem she said we had.

Trying to remember all those who could benefit from the prayers of others in their behalf has been a memory test for me lately, as there are so many people, all the way from babies to elderly, but I know they need the comfort that comes through their own prayers and from the prayers of friends, family and even those who are unknown to them. Sometimes there is little that one can do for someone other than pray, and I'm thankful that I do know the power of prayer to bring comfort and healing, if it be the Lord's will.

How times change! When I was in high school, our school newspaper was run off on either a either a spirit duplicator machine or a mimeograph machine. I'm not sure how they were reproduced when our children were in high school. Going forward in time, I received a Facebook post this week of one of our grandson's articles in his high school newspaper. The newspaper is only distributed online. I'm thankful for the internet which allows me to see and appreciate what is happening in the lives of our family.

After another appointment with the neuromuscular therapist this week, I decided to stop at the bakery next door to the therapist. I've resisted stopping there all these weeks, but I admit that wasn't the case this week. (I hadn't eaten breakfast before going to my appointment and would have settled for an egg and toast at home.) After I purchased two walnut/raisen sticky rolls, I headed home for my husband and I to enjoy them. My husband said they looked like the ones his mother used to make. (She had been a baker at a guest ranch.) Thankful for yummy rolls.

My paternal grandfather was born in a town that used to be called Osage Mission in Neosho County, Kansas. He was Catholic, and there was a mission there run by the Catholics. So you can image how my ears perked up when I listened to a podcast this week that was an interview with David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. (He also wrote The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.) The Osage moved from Kansas to Oklahoma and at one time were the wealthiest people in the entire world. This was a fascinating interview about people of the Osage Nation and some of the terrible crimes that were committed against them. (Click here to see the transcript of the podcast.) I'm thankful for authors and their diligent research to share a piece of history.

In a previous post I mentioned the free public domain digital images available at the New York Public Library, but this week I actually used one on my blog post. The is an interesting site to explore. In case there are some old sheet music collectors among my blog readers, there are many free public domain digital images of old music.

My husband and I seem to be on the same wave length so often. He frequently completes my sentences or provides an answer to a question I have only started to ask. Sometimes his answer isn't correct, because that wasn't what I was going to ask, but more times than not he is spot on. I love that about him. 

Remember to go visit Josie's site to see what other's have shared this week for their Ten Things of Thankful. While you are at it, ponder your own blessings and give thanks for them.

TJ's Household Haiku - Moment and Ancient

Since different types of dementia are penetrating the lives of so many people who are living longer and even affecting some who have barely reached middle age, my haiku that I am linking to TJ's Household Haiku - Moment and Ancient may be something with which you are familiar. Some people suffering with dementia are able to be cared for in their own homes, and then may have to be moved into the home of family members, finally into nursing homes when the dementia and other health needs can no longer be handled by family or care givers. There are many ways dementia may be manifested in a person, and the behaviors indicated in this haiku are some of many.

with flickering thoughts
her mind grasped ancient moments
shattered delusions

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Six Sentence Stories - Question

If you enjoy writing short stories, by that I mean stories with only six sentences, and you like blog hops, then this is right up your alley.  Each week there is a different prompt for writing a story.  If you have more questions check out Zoe's site Six Sentence Stories - Question, so you can join in the fun.

Click for source

There he was, an engineer, standing beside her in the front yard as they were gazing at the stars. Although it wasn't the first time she had stared up at the stars, it was the first time she had stood beside her uncle while doing so.

Sometimes while taking care of some overlooked farm chore, she found herself walking to the barn on a still starry night. She couldn't help feeling but more than a speck on the earth in comparison to the immensity of the sky above that was adorned by the expansive Milky Way and with a multiplicity of constellations.

The distance between her and the celestial bodies left her without a way to learn for herself, but perhaps her intelligent uncle would know the answer.

"Do you think people live on other planets?" she said, as she looked up at him.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful - Some sunshine and respite

Some sunshine and respite brings a bit of joy! Hopefully you felt some joy and gratitude this past week, in spite of whatever else might be going on in your life or in the lives of your loved ones. I'll share some of mine with you as I write this post which I'll be linking to the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop managed by Josie Two Shoes. By clicking the link you will be able to read the posts others have shared on her site.

While we have had some teaser days of sunshine offering us a bit of hope that Spring, with less of the wet stuff, was on its way, it seemed to be a false hope. We had been following the weather reports for a couple of weeks to see if we might escape to the coast when the sun was shining there. Finally we saw a window of opportunity, even though the weather in our area didn't look as promising.

Dark clouds with heavy rain moving across the valley as we left for the coast.

Blue skies, calm ocean, little wind, only a light jacket needed
Our drive to the coast took a little longer than expected due to a long stream of traffic that had come to a complete stop. After waiting for 15 minutes or so, we decided to turn around and take a different route, which proved to be quite scenic. We hadn't driven our chosen detour route in years. We learned the next day that there had been a fatal accident early in the morning that we left and our intended route was closed for hours following the accident. I am so thankful that there is more than one route from our area leading to the coast.

Because recently we had heavy winds in this area as well as on the coast, there were many signs that the beach had been affected by the storm. There was a fully intact dead stingray on the beach. I had never seen a dead one on the beach. The mass of jellies that had been washed ashore by the high winds a week before had been washed back into the ocean by the time we arrived.

(Just a heads up, even though I took two cameras and captured lots of images, somehow when I downloaded my photos, I was missing some of the photos I'd taken. The only thing I can think of is that somehow I accidentally deleted some on one of the cameras. I'm definitely going to have to be very careful not to do that again!)

While eating in a restaurant Friday evening I saw whales spouting quite a ways out in the ocean. It is always fun to see evidence of whales even though they were so far out all I could see was the spouting. Earlier in the day we had seen sea lions sitting on a buoy, and seals playing in the ocean.

At a lookout point at Seal Rock State Park someone had left what I think was a geocache rock that had been painted blue with some kind of figure. The number 12 was painted on it and circled as was the year 2017.  I think the words Sea Hawk was written at the bottom. I've never gone geocaching, so it was fun to discover this even though I wasn't playing the game. I left it where I found it.

My husband had really wanted to get some photos of some birds that had been sighted along the South Jetty at Newport. He was especially excited to take some pictures of some Harlequin Ducks.  They are beautiful multicolored birds.  I'm thankful he was able to see them and add them to his list.

It is interesting to see plant life anywhere, but I enjoyed seeing some very old nursing trees where all that is left of the original tree is a stump. In the rotted center or sometimes along the side of the stump can be seen new growth of a different tree or shrub of some kind. It is quite fascinating. We saw evidence of this in the forested areas at the edge of the beach, and in the gardens at the Connie Hanson Garden Conservancy in Lincoln City.

One of the beautiful plants that some thought should have been the state flower of Oregon is the trillium.  They are such simple, yet lovely plants.

Trillium growing in the Connie Hanson Garden Conservancy
It is not unusual to see wild blackberries growing just about anywhere on the Western side of the Cascade Range in Oregon, but I was surprised to see so many wild strawberry plants growing on rocky areas at the coast. The plants are just blossoming at this time.

Wild strawberry plant growing on rocky hillside on the Oregon coast

As we were heading home from the coast, we spotted a large herd of elk. They are known to live in the area, but we don't always see them.

On one of our favorite radio stations was playing a song that made us laugh. Sometimes the lyrics of songs have a way of doing that.  My Rice Ain't Got No Gravy by Johnny Nicholas was playing.   Click here to listen. We ate a lot of rice when our children were growing up, and quite often I served it with with a combination of meat and vegetables with one type of sauce or another, and sometimes with gravy

When we were almost home, we decided to stop at the Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge, and I am so glad we did.  Years ago there were many Western Meadowlarks in this area, but their population has decreased over the years as farmlands became housing developments. I loved listening to them singing as they sat on telephone wires as I waited for the school bus in the mornings.  We saw one sitting on a power line at the refuge. My husband edged the car as close as he could to where the bird was so I could take a photo out the window.  I don't know which I was more excited about, the beautiful sound it makes or seeing one up close. Click here to listen to the sound.

Western Meadowlark at Basket Slough NWR
One of the other great things that happened this past week was receiving a phone call from a friend I had made many years ago when we were both serving as volunteers at the grade school our children attended. (Our daughters were best friends.) It was fun catching up on what has been going on in our lives.

Thanks to a yearly appointment I had with my dermatologist last week I received help in an unexpected way. At the end of the appointment she asked if I had any questions. I told her I did, but I would save it for my ophthalmologist. She said that she might be able to help. Long story short, she prescribed some medication for me to take to help with what she thinks is a case of rosacea in my eyes. Since taking the medication she prescribed, the irritation I'd been having, in spite of using lubricant eye drops, seems to have lessened. Yeah!

Thanks to some fairly loose rules for the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, meaning ten might be less or it might be more, I'll wrap this post up. A huge thanks to all who have made it through reading this long post, and a thanks to my husband for being there with me every step of the way.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Six Sentence Story - Key

The blog hop at Six Sentence Story brought back a childhood memory.  After reading my memory, click on Six Sentence Story - Key to read what others have written for this week's prompt.

She never would have dreamed that the old red barn on the farm and the covered play area at the two-room schoolhouse would have anything in common besides being a place of shelter from the frequent Oregon rain.

They each had cement floors, although the one in the barn was much smaller and had a gutter down the middle for cow manure, which by necessity needed to be hosed out before using the area how she wanted.

The old board floors in the barn were quite worn and ridged in many spots making it impossible to glide evenly over them, and the sloping floor above the tunnels that had once been used as driers for long racks filled with plums was definitely out of the question if she didn't want to fall and get a hand full of splinters.

She had received a pair of metal skates in the third grade when she entered her new school after her family had moved to the farm, and after the teachers told the kids that they could skate in the covered playground area during recess on some of the rainy days.

Her skates came with a key that she used to adjust the skates to the size of her shoes, making it possible to wear the same pair of skates the next year even if she needed a larger pair of shoes.

One of the scars on her chin became a permanent reminder of learning to skate and became a key motivator for her to try to stay upright in the future, although sadly she had to receive stitches again in the exact same spot within a few years, but not because of her own doing.

Do you have a memory of something that became a key motivator in your life?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

Now that the weather is back to normal, I think, I am going to write my Ten Things of Thankful post and link up to the blog hop at Josie's  Take a few minutes to check her site to see what other bloggers are sharing this week. 

The coast and the Willamette Valley experienced quite the windstorm yesterday. It was reported that the area where we live had 60 mph winds. Some areas on the coast experienced 90 mph winds. Needless to say there were many trees and branches that fell on houses and on the roads, and lots of people were without power most of the day. We were fortunate not to lose power, although we did have the lights flicker off and on several different times during the day. The storm lasted all day, although there were times when it subsided and the sun came out, but just as quickly returned to high winds, dark clouds and rain. I'm thankful for all those who have spent the day sawing through trees to clear the roads, to remove trees that had destroyed homes and cars, and came to rescue those who were injured. There are many people who are working hard even today to restore power to people who have been without power now for 36 hours. Although we lost a good-sized limb on one of our maples, it just slid down the tree and stayed leaning against the tree instead of falling outward and landing on our vehicles parked nearby. 

Fallen maple tree branch

This is the spot high up where the branch broke off.

One day this week my husband and I went over to Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. Now that the trails are open again after being closed for the winter, we ventured down toward one of the blinds to see if we could spot some birds on the pond without them seeing us. I felt like I had on sea legs walking on the uneven ground. Next time, I'm going to take a walking stick. I still don't feel very sure of myself walking on anything except level ground, but I was taking it easy and noting things like mushrooms growing in among clumps of grass and an old bird nest in a tree. The nest was now sprouting  grass growing out of it. 

Trail at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge

Blind at Ankeny NWR
Pussy willow catkins near a pond at Ankeny NWR

Pussy willow catkins beginning to bloom

I am thankful the deer haven't eaten all the English Daisies. The flowers have such beautiful shades of pink.

Oregon's state plant is the Oregon Grape and it is in its golden splendor now. The leaves remind me of holly leaves. It grows wild, but some people use the plants to form a hedge. Some of the Oregon Grape we have on our property are five to six feet tall. The deer do not eat it, probably because the leaves are leathery and prickly.

Oregon Grape in bloom

The flowers in bloom inside my house now are some of my African violets and a Christmas cactus, although my Christmas cactus mostly blooms at Thanksgiving and at Easter.  I get a lot of enjoyment from watching plants grow and bloom. 

African violet

Christmas cactus blossom

One day this week I was able to go with friends up to the temple.  The traffic was exceptionally busy on the freeway and it took us longer than expected to get there, but we enjoyed being there and having lunch together afterwards. There were no traffic delays coming back home and unlike some other days, it was not pouring down rain.

When my friend came to pick me up she saw two wild turkeys in our lane. We had not seen any wild turkeys on our property over the 36 years we have lived here. While I was at the temple, our neighbor called my husband and told him about the wild turkeys, so  hubby was Johnny-on-the-spot with his camera and took a photo of one of them. The tom had ventured off already.

I'm thankful that my sleep clinic follow-up this week showed a good report and that my neuromuscular therapy appointment to help relieve the pain in my shoulder went well. I seem to be making some progress.

My husband accompanied me to Costco today. I normally don't do grocery shopping on Saturday because there are so many shoppers in the store. Yesterday many of the stores were closed due to loss of power from the storm, and it was such a crazy windy day, going shopping was on the bottom of my to-do-list. I appreciate his willingness to help, in spite of the fact there was an OSU baseball game playing that he was watching. He listened to part of the game on the radio as we traveled and then caught the rest of the game when we returned home.

I hope that each of you continue to look for those good things that are happening in the communities around you and are among those who are trying to be good and do good.  One by one and little by little we can make a difference.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful

This past week went quickly in some ways, but racked up several "thankfuls" for my Ten Things of Thankful post. Now I can link up to Josie's site where you can read the things others have shared from this past week.

The nursing center told me this past week that my Mom could use about four more pair of fleece pants, because they were easier to take on and off, especially since she needs to be transferred using an Arjo machine now. They also said that she had a hole in the bottom of one of her shoes, so I added shoes to the list. That is an indication of how much she propels herself around the halls in her wheelchair by using her feet to move forward! (She isn't able to move in the wheelchair by using her hands to turn the wheels because of her lack of strength in her arms and her frozen shoulders due to arthritis.) I didn't realize what a task that would turn out to be to purchase these items. Let's just say, shopping isn't as much fun for me as it once was. I spent all of two afternoons trying to find the needed items. I was told by one salesperson that it was the very last week that stores were carrying the fleece items, if indeed they had any left, because the spring/summer items were in now.  The shoes weren't as easy to find either, at least that weren't way more than the budget allowed.  I finally found a pair in like-new condition, that were an exact duplicate of the pair she has been wearing (minus the silver-dollar-sized hole in the bottom). Sears saved the day by having exactly four beautiful fleece pants in Mom's size, except for the length, at over half-off! Thanks to sewing skills developed over the years, I was able to shorten the length and take them to her a few days after they were requested.  I'm thankful for a helpful sales people, like the one who mentioned Sears as a possibility.  To be able to bring a bit of Spring, via pretty colors in clothing, to my Mom is a plus too. I'm thankful for those who decide to take items in excellent condition to stores where they can resold. 

Fleece pants, mostly in spring colors

I'm happy to report that after having another session with the neuromuscular massage therapist this week I'm having more flexibility in my arm and shoulder. It was another painful session, but there wasn't as much pain following the appointment this time. Things are looking up!

The honesty and helpfulness of others made me feel very grateful.  When I was paying for my groceries using my bank card, I put the card down for a second. Normally I put it right back in my purse, but for whatever reason, I didn't this time. As I was bagging my groceries, the next customer saw my card and gave it to the cashier, who in turned asked if it was mine. Whew! As I was finishing putting my groceries in the car, a young teenage boy approaching his car asked if I would like him to put the cart back for me. How nice of him!

It is almost  Easter, and right on schedule one of my Thanksgiving cactus plants is budding again, just in time for Easter blooms!  

Watching sports on TV is not my favorite thing to do, but when the game between the NCAA Mississippi State Women's basketball team and University of Connecticut Women's basketball team was playing, I got caught up in watching a fingernail-biting (except I don't) game. Even after my husband decided he was going to watch a different game online, I still watched the Mississippi/UConn game to the very end. University of Connecticut had won 111 games straight until Mississippi beat them this time! I'm thankful for the variety of skills that women have and for how they can overcome the odds. One of the players is very short for a basketball player, but she is an amazing player.

A friend invited me to go to the Portland Temple with her and two other women one day this next week. I'm looking forward to going.

Part of one of my ferns bending toward the light

This weekend I enjoyed staying home to watch General Conference on Saturday and Sunday.  It is broadcast throughout the world via satellite and is translated into many different languages.  It is also available to watch online. I'm so thankful for being able to hear of personal experiences of how the leaders in my church have come to better understand the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I feel enlightened by their words, and feel reenergized to be better and do better. 

More and more flowers are starting to be in full bloom.  I can't wait to go see the tulip gardens in the area.

Now our daffodils are in full bloom!

I hope each of your will have a wonderful week ahead. Spring is here and the sun is trying to make more and more appearances in our area.  So happy!

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