Ides of February

I got side tracked and didn’t write up the rest of the weekend! So, I’ll do it now and post accordingly.

Saturday was a busy day. I planned on cooking a ham for dinner that night and decided to add whole wheat homemade rolls. They had sage and thyme and a bit of shredded Parmesan as ingredients. However, I’ve not made whole wheat before and the rolls I made were cute little clover leaf almost weapons. Soft deep inside, but quite sturdy on the outside. (I had made a larger loaf so I’d have extra dough to wrap around hotdogs for dinner on Sunday and those were waiting in the addition overnight.) I was also going to make cookies for a church potluck, but needed sugar. The guys had planned on going out on Saturday afternoon, so I had asked them to pick me up some.

By the time dinner was on the table, I realized I needed to find a cookie with just the ingredients I had and not ones I was used to using since they had NOT left. Dinner was interesting, my tiny Yukon taters exploded in the pressure cooker (It has been a while since I’ve used the pressure cooker for tiny whole taters!) and made a bit of a mess and those paired with the rolls, well, aesthetics aside, it did taste good!

The Craftsman watched TV with Moses on Saturday, and did a lot in the basement. He finished an earring holder I’d planned on making. Mine was going to be much simpler and from recycled picture frames. You can see the one he made (also from recycled wood) is definitely not simple, but that is why he’s a craftsman and I’m more of a dabbler in crafting! It will be nice to have most of my earrings hanging where I can see them instead of in boxes. I’ll still need to keep some in boxes, but they won’t be all jumbled together with the earrings with hooks. (and yes, I do have that many!! I love earrings!!!) The hooks on the frame are for necklaces. He actually finished this on Sunday, was going to hang it on Monday, it is still in the basement with this other item on the lathe he said is for the kitchen and I’ll use it the most. (run on sentence!!) I’m not entirely sure what it is, besides pretty.

So, Saturday night, I needed a sweets recipe without white sugar and found a different sour cream cookie one, once again it is one of Betty’s. It is also fiddly, but I might make it every so often anyway! Little Bear tried one when they were just out of the oven and decided they were a ‘cookie that was trying to be a cupcake and only made it halfway.’ After I frosted them, he enthusiastically decided, ‘these are like pancakes with syrup and butter!’ At church, one youngster said they were like little maple bars. I was intrigued by the change in the glaze color with a difference of a single ingredient. The recipe called for butter, melted until slightly browned. Also adding powdered sugar and maple extract. I did this with margarine (yes, I know there are evils in margarine, but all cookies are evil from the first pan pulled from the oven, so I tend to go cheaper instead of buttery) and it wasn’t that good. I ran out of glaze, (the recipe made around 60 cookies, so that was good) and made it again with butter. It was lighter in color and the taste was much better. (also didn’t take the time to let it cook to the darker hue) I’m not a fan of maple bars, but I do like maple. Once this extract is gone, I think I’ll make them again with real maple syrup in the glaze. I wonder what that glaze would be like on a cinnamon roll????

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I didn’t get to bed til early Sunday morning, I had toyed with putting the glaze on in the morning, but realized it WAS morning and figured I’d just do it and get it out of the way! Which was good, Sunday morning brought its own chores and duties! After church, I did more things around the house and the guys left to go shopping (Grandma needed pellets for her woodstove). I got the wrapped dogs out of chilling and hoped for the best. Oddly, after rising for almost 3 and half hours, they were beautiful. I wouldn’t have done that if they had been something other than very good highly processed meat wieners. I hate leaving food in unsafe conditions! (I even bleach down my sink and cutting boards after working with fowl!) The taste of herbs inside the wheat was perfect! Little Bear didn’t care for them, but he prefers his wheat white and colored only by chocolate.

I finally finished the last Witcher book I had checked out. I’m done with those for now. (I’m shaking my head as I type!) In the first pages of the latest book I read, a main character (I’d not met before) was sighting in carefully with a bow on something and in between waiting for the object of her intent, reminisced a LOT, catching the reader up on things. For more than a chapter! The end of this book an old man was telling the story I was reading to a group of children and they were demanding more, so after choosing what character story to share, he did. Completely confused me! However, I did love the vampire. He was of a race of peoples who don’t drink blood to live, but for enjoyment, like a party beverage, and this particular vampire tended to get ‘drunk’ on it, so he didn’t drink it anymore. He pooh poohed vampire regeneration because anyone can regenerate fingernails and hair and skin, vampires just do it better. He scoffed at sunshine melting folks because most peoples fear the night and his own people had to adapt and mutated to live in it comfortably. He did believe sunshine is a killer anyway and in another thousand years, most people would be nocturnal anyway. This particular vampire was a sort of a doctor and very good at it. As stated, I liked him. But not enough to keep reading the rest of the series any time soon!!!

Which brings us to Feb 17 and Random Acts of Kindness Day. I hadn’t realized how hard it is to randomly act, most of my day has planned portions and random ones will need to wait til I leave the house! Actually, today is the 18th in Oregon and I should probably do some chores after posting this! May your week be filled with sunshine and laughter! (photo from Alaska in feb 2018)

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The eve of another journey around the sun

I’m feeling age today. I had a bunch of checks in mom’s name I was finally able to get into the bank (3 months later!) and was excited because I needed to use that cash to pay for stuff attached to the house. Then, I realised how silly I was. I need to see how to do mom’s taxes for these latest checks and wait til the IRS takes them all. (or something) Not to mention, I need to split it with my sister.

Last week at dinner The Craftsman asked if I was going to buy flowers or should he. I was absolutely confused cuz I had no idea what he was talking about. Then, it dawned on me and I laughed. I said I had flowers already and they were still in good shape, if he wanted  to get me flowers he could wait til the 4th when these would be worn out. He asked why he should buy me flowers on Little Bear’s birthday and I said, ‘Cuz I’m the mom!’ (He also forgot my birthday was on Saturday and not Friday, he needs FB. lol)

My book series can’t be finished cuz I don’t have the middle book, so I will put that on hold while I go back to a different series I finally got the next book for. Totally different books, but both series have blood, death, swords, and male characters with a good does of hubris! (The Saxon Tales are ones I’m reading now, The Witcher is the one I had to put on hold first!) My dinner isn’t thawed, so I am hoping it will be before it goes in the oven.

On the other hand, February first is National Eat Ice Cream for breakfast day, so that is a great way to start the new month! Plus, I purchased a few more Valentine cards to mail to dear ones around me. I’ve purchased books for Little Bear for his birthday, books on CD for The Craftsman (I always try to give notes and gifts from the first til the 18th to him because of our anniversary. He says he isn’t any good at those kinds of things, but he enjoys being remembered.), and I even bought myself a book by Phil Collins. I had to, I rarely impulse buy, but this phrase sold me. “But, when I do go, I’d prefer my epitaph not to be ‘He came, he wrote ‘Sussudio’, he left.‘ (Phil Collins, Not Dead Yet) The Craftsman purchased a movie ‘The Hangover‘, which is a hilarious black and white, so maybe we can watch that on Saturday evening (or Dean Martin’s very funny, ‘Who Was that Lady?’).

I’ll spend most of this Friday evening making stuff for Sunday afternoon’s game hours and an angel food cake. Or maybe I’ll cook tomorrow, I do need to warm up the stove to make dinner.  I’ll just embrace whatever happens! (I share this often, it is one of my VERY favorite songs: enjoy thanks to YouTube!)

 

Wonder

There are moments when I think I need hammered upside the head. (often!) I run across thoughts and stories and comments that all say the same thing and they are generally in a theme I’m familiar with, but not realizing at the moment. This week is another one of those.

I have a favorite book (OK, I know, I say this all the time, but it is true!! Almost every book I’ve read has special bits in it and so I class them all together under favorite!)  Each book, experience, person, and interaction shapes a being in some way. This particular read was an important tool in who I am (as nebulous as that topic is!). It is called ‘A Touch of Wonder’ by Arthur Gordon. It isn’t a churchy book, it is an inspirational one. It isn’t a chapter book or a teaching book, although it does teach. It is full of stories of wonderment. One of the best ones is the last, the story where the book title comes from. (I’d take a photo of it and share that way, but the iPad did that best and well, as you know, it is toast!)

“  ‘There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle….’

This inscription was found on a small, new gravestone after a devastating air raid on Britain in WW2. Some thought it might be a famous quotation, but it wasn’t. The words were written by a lonely old lady whose pet had been killed by a Nazi bomb.

I have always remembered those words, no so much for their poetry and imagery as for the truth they contain. In moments of discouragement, defeat or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things, usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved.

No man is so poor as to not have many of these small candles. When they are lighted darkness goes away…and a touch of wonder remains.

I had a hard time the last day or so deleting mom from her kindle and taking it over. I’ve been absorbed into so much of mom’s world and have kicked every step of the way. I am so tired of spending money on mom that I will never ever see recouped and yet, when it came time to deregister this small electronic device, it took a few days (it might have been longer, but I really wanted to finish the book I’d started!). It seemed as if I was trying to erase her.

This Sunday, I was thinking about how much of her life has gone on to bring joy to others. People have sent me pictures of skirts, scarves, holiday décor, and told me stories of where mom’s SABLE has spread. Her cat lives in Oregon, I wear her gold nugget watch, and now I’m using her Kindle (for now, I really truly much prefer Apple over Amazon!). She’s not gone, she never will be. When I eventually finish up north with the stuff of Mum and I can finish down here with the SABLE brought back (I refuse to EVER do this to my boys and if I die before I get things sorted here and leave mom’s and my stuff, I’ll move to the far side of the Kingdom of Heaven for a few centuries til I’m not grumpy at mom anymore! I am going to have to unload stuff up there for pennies or donation. I’m not thankful for that, but it will have to be. I cannot keep lollygagging around with this job!). I am looking forward to the day when I can finally step away from hers to see where my own life is going.

In the meantime, I am going to remember to look for candles to keep lighted and the wonder in that magical light. Such as being able to actually walk today without much pain and while outside finding tiny itty bitty spears of daffodil and crocus barely clearing the dead grasses of last summer around the melting snow. (NOTE: this particular pic is from awhile back)

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A Tech Plan?

Written at 1 in the morning on an incredibly blustery night. You know, during the time between dusk and dawn in the witching hour when thoughts wander and light on solutions that may or may not be logical because wind makes me nervous and I have to have something to do besides fret under blankets!

(The above is one of my favorite scenes from The Princess Bride. YouTube is wonderful about finding bits and pieces to share, the book is also excellent!!)

As I sit here in the darkened living room beginning to cool down from daytime furnace temps, I shiver while I contemplate not having a certain book to finish. In this late hour, I realized I can do what Fezzik and Inigio did. I can go back to the beginning. (So to speak.) Let me sum up and hope I make sense:

I have always wanted technology and managed quite a bit with the family desktop. Then, in 2014, a good friend purchased me my laptop. It was an amazing gift that transported me all over the net. (in spite of the odd screen glitch that has half of it slightly off color and wavy!) Around that time, another friend gave me her old kindle. (I had wanted one of those for quite some time!) In addition to these two incredible tools, I had a trac phone cell phone. It was a flip phone, but I was pretty good at texting via the alphabet keys! I used these devices a lot. Then, Amazon stopped supporting the older Kindles. (I recently learned, the devices can still be used in a roundabout way. You download documents to your computer and then load them to your kindle! Thus, giving lip service to the ‘we still support older models of Kindle’.) I sorely missed being able to get new books to read, yet enjoyed the ones I had.

In December 2016, I gained a more modern cell phone (because the one I had wasn’t working in the area of AK I was in) and then the iPad. They were godsends in so many ways. Yet, at this time in my life, I really only need the cell phone.  As much as I love my hand me down iPad, I don’t exactly need it. I can reluctantly mothball the technology until I can afford to get it fixed. I have mom’s kindle here at the house and can ustilise that for several of the things I did with the iPad. (NOTE: A person can have up to 6 devices linked to a single email for kindle. I won’t need that many and can decommission the oldest one.) I might even be able to load on a few games, in spite of their quirkiness! (not that ridiculous word one..although, I’ve gotten through so many levels on the IPad, perhaps I can fly through them on a kindle!!). The kindle is made for documents and I’ll just not download my naughtier books. At least not all of them!!!! Maybe I’ll keep some of the more innocuous titles and authors. Definitely Aiken. (LOVE that author!!) For the majority of the social media, I will go back to using the laptop. I will not worry about losing the things on the iPad. I will try to see if I have the photos elsewhere and put them in a different method of saving and hope those I can’t are not lost for good. With the documents, I am working with One Note. It appears they don’t like something in my identification. I’ve sent them an email and we’ll see what happens next. I absolutely will miss Facetime and Skype. Although, I’ve not used them in months, I still like that option! Skype on my laptop is dubious. Workable, but not as efficient as it might be. I’m not sure about apps with the Kindle.

I don’t like Amazon as much as Apple when it comes to devices (Apple is more close mouthed with its technology, allowing a user to be more private!), but gift horses should not be looked at in the mouth. You never know what you might find!

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Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com

Presents are wonderful things and I’ve gotten many I’ve taken care of, while using them thoroughly. I’m truly a fortunate person. (and speaking of gifts, the two I ordered for Little Bear’s birthday have arrived. They aren’t needed til the 4th! I was thinking I’d ask for purple hued duct tape for mine. I do not like mom’s hot pink kindle cover and duct tape might help make it more Kris. I might even use some stickers I’ve got around.) 

So, reading this over in the waning afternoon light before it is time to make dinner once more (what is that with always needing to feed people????), I think this is a doable idea. Especially since Microsoft sent me an email saying I could log into my account, but it is still locked. (I even tried to communicate with a ‘person’ and had to log in only to be blocked cuz of the account being locked!!) I also picked up more books from the library. Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales and Tamora Pierce’s Alanna quartet. The other ‘Witcher’ ones are on reserve…Hooray for books!!!

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Photo by Renato Abati on Pexels.com

To Read or not to Read? Just READ!

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I love this picture of Loki, which is why I use it often! Without technology and the books on my iPad, I am thankful for bound editions. (I still want to finish the bubble gum book I’d started!!! Bubble gum reading are usually romances or lit churned out by authors with story lines very similar to each other. Comfort sorts of book). The books I’m working on at the moment are by a Polish author Anderzej Sapkowski. You might recognize his name, he’s the ‘HOT‘ fantasy author right now with a game and now a TV series made from this series I’m reading.

Personally, I cannot see how on earth these were made into a game. I don’t play video games, but I thought in a game you are a character and accomplished goals to reach an end. (at least that is how it works in the original Oregon Trail game..til you get dysentery and die!) The first book I read jumped around worse than a frog on a hot sidewalk. I was talking to Strider and he mentioned how most of the authors from that time period (80’s to early 90’sdid that. Little Bear then interjected those were called cliff hangers. Terry Brooks is very good with those, drives me nuts as a reader!!! Most of the book is similar to those favorite fantasy authors! Which makes sense. It is funny he is just now coming to light in the US market.

It appears the TV series (also not something I’ve partaken of), is based more on the books than the game. No matter, I’m plowing through quite quickly. The story is entertaining and I much appreciate the pithy comments interspersed inside the story. They are gems to find and hold up to the light. I’ll show you! (Note: he also is good for sentences that go on and on. Thankfully, NOT like Tad Williams who spent three pages going up a staircase.)

First gem: One of the characters is visiting a university town. The author shares this: “It was also a town of amusement, constant festivities, permanent holidays, and incessant revelry. Night and day, the streets resounded with music, song, and the clinking of chalices and tankards, for it is well known that nothing is such thirsty work as the acquisition of knowledge. Although, the chancellor’s orders forbade students and tutors to drink and play before dusk, drinking and playing took place around the clock in Oxenfurt, for it is well known that that if there is anything that makes men thirstier than the acquisition of knowledge it is the full or partial prohibition of drinking.”

The last one I’ll share made me laugh out loud. The mostly main character is a girl. (She starts out about 9, I imagine her TV character is the older version of her found in later books). In this ‘scene’ she is around her mid teens and is interested in sex. She’s been teased by other girls about being a virgin and her main teacher thinks the whole topic is pointless. Eventually, the teacher (who, according to my eldest, is an important TV character) tells the girl this about bedding a man: “…If you have any choice at all and no experience, appraise the bed….Those who have no beds, eliminate on the spot. From those who remain, you eliminate the owners of dirty or slovenly beds. And when only those who have clean and tidy beds remain, you chose the one you find most attractive. Unfortunately, the method is not 100% foolproof.”

I had to laugh at that last method of choice because it is true! I recall an incredibly mussed nest that startled me. Sweet man, but I do appreciate tidy and clean bodies and sleeping areas!

I didn’t realise this was going to be a ‘review’. I don’t think it is, exactly. It was a fun read I wanted to share by an author in his late 70’s. I do hope he doesn’t write off the deep end and I do hope I can get the rest of his books in this series soon. Since the series has taken off, his books are now harder to find. I was fortunate I snagged them just after the New Year. So, what is the series? ‘The Witcher‘. A name that is a type of mutated human and not just a single entity, although there aren’t very many of them anymore. The first book I read is called ‘Blood of Elves” and the title appears to be part of a prophecy or maybe it refers to the child character. I’m not entirely sure and hope the next book might tell me. It probably won’t, but we’ll see!

 

Achilles and Angels

I recently thought about how each of us probably has an Achilles heel. A place we are vulnerable and a spot that gets us every time. Granted, we don’t get killed from this place of weakness (I hope!), but it exists and generally isn’t good. Then, today, while waiting for a friend, I started a short story in an erotic anthology. (this is a fairly good anthology series. I enjoy a short that is fairly well written and makes one think. There are some typos, a few bobbles here and there, and the editing isn’t as good as I’d like. I think those come within the territory of ebooks in this age) This story, it made me think. And so, you are getting a post about Achilles and Angels.

The story is titled ‘Bringing Angels to Life’ by Chloe Thurlow. A little bit like ‘My Fair Lady’, but not exactly. (oddly, until typing those words, I had not even noticed how similar it was in genre to that classic musical or even the story of ‘Pygmalion!) The story is about a man who sees a woman and awakens her, the author litters the short with pithy sentences that I ended up highlighting (I wonder if that is why my iPad went from full to 14% in just a few hours???).  Thinking about my own Achilles heel of being responsible, of doing for those around me and not as often myself, these phrases showed me places I need awakened. This will be a long post. Bear with me!!!!

This first quoted started my words winnowing, ‘What is life for, but to be lived?’  Mum made me aware of this and in the last months, I’ve forgotten it a bit. She always planned or said she would do something and it never was done. I have wanted to do things this year, they generally are pushed off because of responsible.

Was I living life? Or was I like the hands on the clock, just going through the motions?’ ME in Oregon or taking care of mom. I didn’t want to come back to the house today, because I am doing the same things over and over. (granted, as I work by myself or with others, I am making a bit of progress) ‘I wasn’t sure if chances came or chances were something you made happen yourself.’ Exactly true. In my Achilles heel, do I wait for chances or do I reach out and grasp them? ‘You only fail when you stop trying, stop believing. I was waiting for something to happen without realizing I was waiting. It was like I was dreaming of winning the lottery, but neither had the ticket or the intention of buying one.’ OUCH!!! I look at where I am with The Craftsman, dream of where my life could be, and do not do a thing besides what I’m expected to do. (I have had affairs. They have taught me more about myself than 30 years of marriage. Odd!)  One of my friends is changing his life, I’m so proud of him. I need to not just follow his example, but strike out onto my own path of change.

I laughed at this next quote I found. It was so me. Except I don’t look for new shoes, I look for books. The main character is wondering what she wants to do and glances down. ‘Some new shoes, I thought, that’s what I need.’ I highlighted it because it is so easy to find important things one needs that are useful for our daily life, but not what our soul needs.

The tired working woman character meets the Angel Maker after work and he says, ‘Come.’ She ‘realised I had been waiting as if on a cliff edge and just needed a push.’ When we are bent on one pattern, it takes something major to move you out of that rut. I have many places that trip me up. I don’t have a very good self-image. Mom didn’t encourage me much, my spouse doesn’t, and I absolutely crave being told I look nice or am pretty (I know, women are supposed to be beyond that. We are supposed to be lauded for our brains or achievements. I figure I can start with pretty and go from there!). The Angel maker tells the female character, ‘you are more interesting than you think you are.’ When I’m told this, I am flabbergasted. I often excuse the person saying it because they don’t know me in ‘real every day life.’ He then tells the woman, ‘You are here because you want to be.’ She’s not so sure. ‘You are crossing a bridge that is burning behind you as you go, he said. You don’t want to go back into the flames, the what’s the word, the ashes. And you are afraid to go forward. Is true?’ I nodded, ‘Yes.’ ‘I learn in this life, we do not regret the things we do, only what we wanted to do and never did.’   Powerful thought provoking words, those.

The secret of life is to discover what you are good at, then do it, whatever it is.’ I’m not sure what I’m good at. I do like to make others happy. I should not do it at the expense of myself. I need to be the chocolate chip cookie maker and not the doormat. (I was sad last fall when I went back to Oregon and learned the guys sort of weaned themselves off of sweet baked goods. Now what do I do?) ‘I had been waiting for something to happen. I had grown used to waiting, and you grow tired of waiting.’ Actually, that isn’t exactly true for me. Sometimes I get tired of waiting (most of my blog posts the last couple of years! Or getting the pipes dug up—there is a tractor in the drive as I type!), generally I carry books to help me during waits. Escape into another world is a good way to make time vanish.

In her transformation, he begins by sexually loving her. I liked how these scenes were written. It wasn’t graphic, it was beautiful. He accepted her for what she was, saw her desirability in her work environment and her clothes, removed her from the former and removed the latter—not because they were offensive, but as a part of who she was– dressed her in those same things the next day, then took her to buy new clothing and be guided into the woman she should have been.  He accepted her and guided her. (I’d probably do anything for a person who accepted me for myself.) ‘He made me feel wanted, beautiful, special.’ ‘I looked sexy but, more than sexy, I looked in the warm yellow light almost beautiful, and more than that, I looked happy, and thought those things go together like a matching handbag, shoes, and gloves.’ He pretends to be startled by the transformation and she laughs. He notes, ‘There is nothing sexier than a beautiful girl laughing.’ (NOTE: I had no idea sexual intimacy could be fun until I experienced it! I am a great flirt and giggle often while doing that, but laughing and giggling during sex? Blasphemy!) This last quote, I have experienced. KK told this to me years ago and it is a card I pull out every now and then. ‘If you think you’re beautiful, and special, if you lift your chin and hold your back straight, you are a desirable woman.’ ‘Remember at all times, and never forget it: you are a lady, not a tart.’ Then, the Angel Maker reminds her to ‘Never complain, never explain, and never apologise. Some famous lady said that, it’s good advice.’

As in ‘Hello, Dolly!’ ‘When you wear beautiful things, you do feel beautiful.’ I wore black sparkly tights today and my split jean skirt with a favorite flannel top that has a black velvety collar.  Warm and I felt it was pretty. (It was pouring rain today. When I texted The Craftsman that it was raining cats and dogs and I thought a St. Bernard landed in the lake, he responded with ‘A St Bernard?’ I should have just stuck to basic raining! Lol) Since I was meeting one friend for lunch and hoping to see another and shopping, I wanted to feel good and I did. This story I started, it helped me realise I need to wake up and shake off the clinging arrow in my foot.

I don’t need to keep waiting for something, I need to do. Whether I go back to school or move to Alaska or what, staying inside the house cooking and cleaning isn’t all I was created for. Taking care of mom won’t last forever. (I hope!)  I’m good at being responsible, somewhere there must be a different shoe for this Achilles heel of mine.

Annoyed By Debris

You would think after getting stuff ready for a sale, most of the debris would be tossed or sorted and only the cream would be left. Not. Jake said she was going to go through and ready the shed for use for the sale. She had the shed and her bedroom to do (granted, the shed was a HUGE task!). The room was pretty much full of lightly organized boxes, except where I had officially organized things. The shed looked ok, but when I went in it to clean it up, I was startled. (I have to constantly remind myself. My sister gave me as much time as she could, it must be enough. She came over the other day while I was gone to take down the old tent she used for books. I am glad I had her move the books to her bedroom, the tent was wet inside. I’ve not seen her since last Saturday.) Anyway, I was consolidating boxes and sorted an entire large garbage bag full of junk. I also found stuff I’d made mom that I wanted to keep. (One was a tiny wooden nativity set I seem to have made for EVERYONE except myself or my boys!) I hope most of the jingle bells are gone, I did find a few more. A rather disturbing Santa candle was gently placed in the garbage (gently, so it might not haunt me!! I have read way too many stories in the Deathlehem anthologies to treat even a candle badly!). Some horrible, mostly stuffed, snowmen were sent to the garbage bag. One adorable small one I kept because it matches a larger one I decorate with every year. I put all the winter/Christmas dolls in one tote. Gathered up more light houses of different kinds (she has a large one, NiB, identical to one in her bay window!) to bring inside and hope I can do the other holiday stuff this next week.

I’m also throwing away kitchen things. Ages ago, I shared a post about spiders in a toaster. Mom’s toaster stopped working, so Jake gave us theirs. It was filthy, but usable after being cleaned. Mom had a blender in the cupboard. Way back in the cupboard, covered, and it looked ok. I took it apart to move it, since it had not sold, and was appalled! It was very dirty and gross. I’m not even going to try to clean it. (Why on EARTH can’t people clean things before putting them away? Although, there is a cute coffee pot I am sure I cleaned after its last use that doesn’t look like it has been cleaned….)

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I was thankful mum’s car didn’t look like this one I parked near when I had to stop at the Sr Center. This one made me cry. There was barely room for a driver. From the scissors among the papers on the dash to the empty drink containers stashed everywhere, it shouted negligence. The Craftsman said he has had to work on cars like it. It makes me wonder. Do those people have no children to keep an eye on parents? Do the adults need housing? Mum’s rig is bad now, mostly cuz it is full of things I hope to sell on Sunday after church. (that sounds blasphemous!)

I have trash outside in bags getting rained on (hooray for rain!!). I made the decadent canned cinnamon roll pull apart cake today and have eaten about half of it (BAD) because it was cold in the house and there is just something comforting about warm cinnamon bread. I am going to make halibut for dinner tonight. A friend texted me a recipe that sounds easy and scrumptious. She called it poor man’s lobster. You boil halibut cubes in water with a smidge of sugar and then serve it by dipping it in melted butter. I’ve never cared much for lobster, but I absolutely love halibut! I’ll see if it needs garlic and lemon. Now, my phone has lost signal. I can’t text my neighbor across the lake! (definitely a modern problem! lol) I reckon that means I should probably go and move some more stuff. I need to do a paper chase and see exactly how much cash I have. (I also just discovered today, I don’t have a receipt for the digging work done last fall.) BUT, first I really want my dining and living room somewhat tidy looking. Then, I can move the stuff that got stashed in mum’s room (where I’ve been sleeping) because it was the catch all for important stuff. (did I mention I’ve been hiding the estate cash not deposited in a drawer, under my ‘toys’?) I’m sure my bear (I end up sleeping on him!) is helping keep an eye on things. Even if I did dream last night about burglars. I think I woke up after I hid in a pile of stuffed animals—very ET! (although, I AM home!! If you look close in the lake picture, you can see a small garden light reflecting in the water, not a heart light. A garden one. I was in the kayak around 9, just as it was deciding to get dark.)

Midweek

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lupine

One of the two things I did on Saturday was attend a Relay for Life gathering. I was disappointed in the turnout, but was told it has dropped in the last couple of years. (some people don’t like participating because of who the money goes to, corporations and not the people. However, much of the stuff raised here stays here.) I did pretty well til the reading of names. Hearing ‘In memory of my mum’ was hard. (even if I am mad at her!)

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Later in the day, I took another photo of the old bull (you can see how his antlers are starting to look better!). He’s the old bull since just a few car lengths down the road was a young bull!! Much less, ummm,…worn and he just looked younger. Then, on my way to the inlet, I saw a LIVE porcupine. This isn’t all that common, generally there are corpses on the side of the road. So, I was excited to discover this critter scurrying along.

I also caught a couple of gulls on a different day, the landing one I’m pretty impressed with. I take no credit for it, the sun was in my eyes and I just wanted to snap a couple of photos of gulls, so I did.

I’ve been going through more of mum’s debris. Cards sent to her over the years and the like. I’ve found several books of stamps, lots of old pictures (many of people I don’t know, some I hope to discover the history of. Like is the lady in the turquoise in white and the beehive hairdo, mum eons ago or someone else???), and a small booklet I opted to read.

Every so often, life tosses things in your way and you have the choice to see them or not. Well, this one, I saw. It was rather along the lines of things I’ve read from Rhapsody, Collette, Amanda, Jack, GT, and many others. As you know, I tend to accept what is in front of me as the way it is. (too much 70’s music in my past?) Let it be, Que sera, sera..(OK, Doris was much older than the 70s), and to try and look on the bright side of life (When was MP and The Holy Grail??) while still being certain that nothing I want matters since it probably won’t anyway. The author Patricia Briggs said in one of her books, ‘All things happen in their own time whether we want them to or not.’ BUT, as I was reading this little Guidepost booklet in mom’s debris, I also realized I need to actively accept that miracles can happen to me and will if I let them. It was sort of rather startling, in a way. Granted, I need to do what I can to make change. Yet, if I can believe that I am worthy of good things happening, that they will happen, then, they will happen.  There is evidence this is true in other lives. We’ll see it happen in mine.

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photo I took while writing to Rhapsody-about 1030 pm

I never make goals or extended plans, yet yesterday I decided I needed to. The first thing I wanted to do was manage a fishing trip for the guys when they visit. I did and ended up chatting to reservation lady for quite some time. (we knew some of the same people) On Monday, I met with mom’s accountant. Not a whole lot was accomplished (at the end of our visit, the IRS lady hung up on mom’s accountant. Something that was not only highly rude, but startled us both. Mum’s accountant was asking a question and the woman kept repeating her rote answer and not actually answering. So, when the accountant asked for the lady’s name, asking her to speak slowly, the woman hung up! She may have been having a bad day, but no one on our end was being mean or snippy…although, I imagine when mum’s accountant went back after lunch to reach the IRS with the lady’s ID number, some snip may have been involved!!), but we did a few things. Later, I managed to get our bank account put in just my name and chatted with TnT and made several phone calls to get help on Friday. So, things for the next few days might be hopping. I also talked to my sister and asked if she could come by on Sunday to get some of the things she wants. Jake said yes, then asked if I wanted her to come by on Wednesday or Thursday. (I guess the syllable for ‘day’ threw her into confusion, she is going to be here on Sunday. Probably!)

All in all, there is hope. Throw in a stack of pancakes and life is pretty darn amazing!

Although, when I found this card in mum’s stuff with the words ‘Get well soon’ inside, I kind of wondered. Those eyes are NOT health encouraging!!!!!!!

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Learning Goes On

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I feel like poor Ned in the Dr. Seuss book ‘One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish’. I don’t know what to do! I kept putting things off so I can talk to the accountant, but really, I just need to dive in and get the debris packed/sold/gone. As much as it breaks my heart, I cannot keep this place. (I’m starting to cry as I write) I cannot feasibly afford it and it is like experiencing my dad’s death all over again. (oddly, not mom’s. Mom left me with so much of a mess, I miss dad more right now. He brought us to this house and was our dad and it was home.) Yet, it isn’t the actual house I’m going to miss so much, or the lake (although, I will miss that. Dad’s ashes are in it-I need to add mom’s sometime), or watching the saga of life unfold outside the window (there is a fight commencing between two male common golden eyes for the same lady!). It is this amazing place where I belong. Once I actually leave, I can only return as a visitor. And, honestly, I’ll have no real reason to. My sister isn’t a large enough of a reason (she didn’t come south for anything in my family, although she might since her daughter is in Seattle and that is fairly close to where I live down there). This place is in my bones and blood. I may have lived in Oregon for most of my life, but not much of it counts for anything other than a place to have and raise the boys. There is a line in the book of Ruth-‘Your place shall be my place and your people shall be mine’ or something like that. I used that in my wedding, but my mindset wasn’t right. I was always the interloper, the outsider, the one who came in and stole a town icon and even the town icon seems every so often like he got into something he didn’t expect (of course, most marriages have that tendency!!!!!). Another thing I’ve learned, being up here, in my own house, I can act and do exactly what I want without having to worry about how people see me or gossip and I can dress in the way I want to. (small towns are very knowledgeable. In fact, out here, there is a giant network of information-right or wrong-, but I’ve not found it as wearing.)

This week has been educational in many ways. I’ve realized being alone is incredibly peaceful. Walking on the beach, spying a very young eagle overhead, and chatting with a fisherman who has a house with many of the same problems mine does! (must be a thing out here!) He has a wife who is dying, has 8 kids (that isn’t the same as me, thank goodness!), and goes to the inlet to find rest.  Although, he takes a pole and I just look at the mountains and find rocks.

I went to a bridal shower and found it entirely too loud! (I also thought about how different showers were in the late 80’s. Or at least mine. Mine was guested by mostly older women who gifted many utilitarian items that were doubled or tripled. Not a speck of lace unless it was on a throw pillow, or silky stuff or gift certificates for anywhere. Not a smidge of anything even slightly inappropriate!) This shower had things that made the older than I am bride to be blush like a full blown rose all mixed in with utilitarian. I admit,  I didn’t take one of the cupcakes. Mostly because I’d had a sliver of cake and was trying to keep the carbs down. I was also given a bag of kisses and a lovely cookie on my way out the door! (the elegance of the candies on the glass plate with the cupcakes nearby made me laugh!)

Friday was pretty busy with running around. I finally got the estate check (I hope) taken care of, I don’t know if there are any other checks in Oregon that might be estate. I hope not. (no one has notified me of any mail I might have gotten. I know I got an invitation to the wedding this weekend, but I’ve not been told yet. Thankfully, I asked what time it was while at the shower!) I also found out how very horrible technology is. Let me ‘splain. Mum had an expensive sewing machine. (If the price she wrote down is any indication, it was around 5 thousand US dollars) She didn’t use it much. (I found out later, my sister used it after it was purchased and broke something with the needles-of course. I believe it was fixed, as mom used it a few times before she died and  I was told that sort of thing happened often.) When she was in the hospital that last time, she kept telling me to sell it. l found out today it might be worth $500. Just before 6 pm, I called the Fabric Center where it was purchased and after exchanging more information, found out it might not even be worth that. You see, when mom purchased this, it was new and top of the line (that is actually in the name!). However, part of the fancy technology was computerized. Floppy disk computerized. If it had a USB port, that would make it more user friendly for today, but as my youngest said, it will need remodeled for the new era.

(OH! UPDATE: there is one male golden eye bobbing in and out of the water right near where I sit when I am down by the lake! I don’t see a lady. I wonder if he’s the spurned lover? Or perhaps he’s showing off how well he can dive in the same spot? I see the other male across the water, but the female is not visible. Of course, she’s not in bright white and black!)

One of the best parts of Friday was meeting an author. Patience Griffin not only creates chaptered designs with words and syntax, but she creates quilts and (I believe) the fabric she makes the quilts with that go with her books! I was honestly glad mum wasn’t with me, she’d have purchased all of Patience’s books and fabric and patterns online! (Actually, there may be some of the novels in mum’s stacks and boxes….) I need to find one to read. AFTER I get done here. I’m taking ages to read anything I have with me. Crazy!

The very best part of today was seeing twins. I think they were probably a couple of days old, I wasn’t able to snap their photograph. Babies even the size of a tiny horse move fast! I did take a fleeing photo of a single baby with a mom on my way to the wedding shower. I’ll work on getting better photographs of babies!

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A Bit

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Just a short note. I’m a bit annoyed. A bit really busy. A bit tired. OK, most of those are more than a bit, but whatever!

I have been going full tilt most of the day. I did take a break and read while I had lunch and sat in the sunshine for 10 min after clipping my toenails (amazing how much better I can see in full sunshine!! I didn’t snip anything but nails. Very cool!). Anyway, we were sitting down to the dinner I’d made at the table I’d set. The Craftsman asked if there was anything I needed done. I mentioned after dinner the dishes needed unloaded before I could completely clear up dinner and the kitchen, I said the stuff in the dryer needed folded and put away, the shower curtain outside needed brought in and hung back up, I’d purchased some plants that needed planted in pots (one I still need to put dirt in, I’ll do that after I get done with my rant!), and then I’d need to sort what I need to take with what I want to take and what I have to take and pack it. His response? ‘Those are things you need to do all the time, what can we do to help you get ready to leave?’ (he did say he’d help with the shower curtain) Needless to say, all of that except the plants and my packing, is done. I did it by myself. The guys went up to Grandma’s. Little Bear needed to mow and it is finally cool enough. They did take up the trash (grandma has a dumpster), but I put in a new trash bag. (It is the little things that take the time. Le sigh!!)

It appears they are spending all day tomorrow with me-I know there is a drive to the next town and a meal at an old drive in. We are taking the Mercury and they might go shopping somewhere. I hope I have everything done by tomorrow!!! It is 8 pm now…. Yup, running out of time! (that was an EXCELLENT book!! Margaret Haddix. it’s about a family who were living in a historical post Civil War town. Some of the children in town were catching diphtheria, so a mom sent her daughter out for help.)

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