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.

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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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