Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow: Bah! Humbug!

Instead of the hackneyed "Let It Snow" comments and blog titles I've seen of late, I'd like to change the tone and put forth my plea of: "make it stop!"
I want a break from this, damnit!
Doesn't the snow make the pasture and barn look almost idyllic?
Probably would have been better had I put the cart away and not left it in front of the door, but it was COLD the night before!

Most years I'd love a bit of snow in the days preceding Christmas and of course the Eve of as well as the day itself, but this year it's just getting in the way of my overall tardiness in preparation for the holiday.
It didn't help that I was away for five days on the East coast. Since I am a "shop local" enthusiast, I could not justify doing much Christmas shopping there (I think I bought one jar of pumpkin butter at the Lancaster Kitchen Kettle Village), so you see my hands were tied!
Previous to that, we were awaiting our first settlement from the crab season to really get started on the shopping, so here we go...I am behind, and need a break in the weather to get it finished up. Not much, just a day or so, please?
I thought for sure that back in PA it would be snowy and cold, but it was more like 65 degrees although the freezing rain showed up the day I was to leave, giving me fits of flight delays. I made it home, though, to arrive to frozen water pipes and haven't seen the lawn in over two weeks (which really is ok).
The roads today were a sea of brown slush, the parking lots, too. Just gross. Stores are crowded, but luckily I have not and do not shop much in the stores like Freddy's or Costco, the worst offenders. They were my last resort for a few items, but I will do without if I cannot find them in smaller stores.
In looking all over the county for toboggans and sleds, we started in Costco (because we were nearest when we had the inspiration) and learned they would be getting a shipment of them in. We left, to look first at our local stores...Purple Cow, Ace, Builder's Supply, etc. etc. and lo and behold, the last place we looked, Utzinger's Hardware had scores of them! We purchased about five and took 'em home and used 'em well.

I felt sorry for the "lucky" ones who got part of the shipment at Costco; those styrofoam things should last about two hours. Our Utzinger's-purchased toboggans were even made in the USA.

Well, I'm off to sleep, to see what tomorrow allows for finishing my holiday preparations.

Look at how much the family loves making snowmen...even my yearling, Pyro, got into the spirit (it really was the peppermint eyes and parsnip nose that held his interest in the long run, but Pyro LOVES people and all they do, even though he fails to understand the purpose of the activity).
Anyway, shoo, snow, shoo!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Looking at the live camera on top of the Columbia River Maritime Museum from my parent's house in West Chester, PA. I can see snow on the rooftops and can hardly believe it.
We rarely get snow this time of I am looking at the cold, wet miserable weather and it is cold here, too, but bright and sunny.
I feel odd about everything in between myself and home. It's been 16 years since I have been here, and though I've flown and been a few places since then, it feels both sad and liberating to be this far away.
I would love to travel more, but mostly by car, I think. Unencumbered, and with all that implies.
Monday will see my father graduating with his Master's Degree in Physical Science (the reason we are here), and Wednesday we will be winging it home.
I hope that all of you are well and your holiday preparations are going swimmingly.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Interesting article

on our year-ago storm:

What a week that was!
It's interesting to read the post-mortem, and see the damage that still persists. The little boys won't remember much of it, though Colton (our youngest) is still rather traumatized at each new loss of power and resulting dark the symptom of a generator dependent on fuel that would run out of gas now and then when we (the adults) were not paying attention, and putting the house back into pitch blackness for a few moments during that week we lived on nothing but its power. The smell of the exhaust was everywhere. I can't imagine what we would have done without it. Thankful for the Olney Store that sold gas and diesel for our genny and truck.

Still, let's hope we don't see another like it. Ever! For three days the wind blew, and sucked! Hahah.
For 7 days we lived without power, alternating dependent appliances to the little Honda to make sure we nurtured their wards through the outage. Mostly the freezer (a hundred lb. of frozen Alaskan Halibut among other things can't be left to go bad), refrigerator (so that we could have water and keep our food), computer w/satellite modem (for communicating outside the county) and tv (for something to do on long nights) and occasionally the coffee maker, although that one coffee maker strained the generator to the maximum of its capacity.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fires and Flowers

Link to video of Roger performing in Shanghaied in Astoria's Olio Act
As so many of you must already know, we lost our friend Roger Martin on Thanksgiving night in a fire that also burned most of a block. We will not soon forget this loss, and certainly every time I attend an Astor Street Opry Company production or event, his memory will be near. Roger was a troubled man, to be sure, but why dwell on that at this point. He also gave a lot to the show he was in, and in turn to the community. The video above shows his game attitude, and his portrayal of Capt. Jack was always my favorite. As I drove past the florist where he was living/had lived and died, I noticed the stack of flowers and notes. I will add to them. I don't know that it helps in any way to do so, as in flowers for the dead, but I also want to send a message to those of us here dealing with his loss that I remember, and I remember the good things about him. I hope somewhere he can feel that. I have forgiven him for saying I'd make a good Miss Vivian. ;) Love to you, Roger, and godspeed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn moves on

and Fall is here, treading eagerly on the heels of Winter...or is that the other way around?
Either way, it's a long, dark, wet haul from here on 'til about June, maybe July.
Seriously, though, I hope for a few breaks in the weather between now and then.
I can hardly believe the week of Halloween is past with its scorched-pumpkin smells, the chill of fear a tingly, giddy bit of excitement amidst the sweet and sugary treats.
So next come the big family holidays, the long dark nights and...and...mud!
Yep. I fell down in the pasture twice, last night. Our pastures are all sloped and so with the clay-based soil they turn to the consistency of grease with just a little moisture.
I'm sure I've bitched complained about this in the past, probably even here.
The second time I fell down, I had a half-full bucket of soaked beet pulp in one hand and of course that was what cushioned my chin when I hit the ground. Uggh.
My little old mare (32 going on 33) is off her feed and seeming...well...just faded. I am worried for her. She seems healthy enough and drinking water, even showing interest in some food now and then.
My Dad's getting his Master's in December and I'll fly to West Chester to see that. Been 16 years since I've been there.
This is going to be short because the short ones need to get into bed.
We've got a new president and much of the "change" is still in OUR hands.
Happy November, Clatsop County!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Patriotic School Shopping

I finished the school shopping for my two boys the other day.
I managed about 98% Made in North America, too.
I was unable to easily find folders/pee chees and sketch books made here in the USA, but those were made in Canada, and I find that acceptable.
We had to buy an alternate brand of glue from the typical Elmer's, because good ol' Elmer's is made in China. The other brand was less expensive and also made in USA.
The only failure we had was the glue sticks. I didn't go back to change them out, but read the back (my oldest son picked these up) and these ended up being made in China.
All the Crayolas were made in USA, at least the crayons themselves. The watercolors were made in China, so I chose the "off" brand at a slightly higher price.
I'm pretty proud of that and hope that we can continue with clothing, although I have little control over what their grandparents buy for them.
Even if there aren't any school supplies that I know of made here in Astoria/Oregon, I can still buy American.

Friday, August 29, 2008

O, Summer where art thou?

I wish you hadn't left so early!
It's really messing with my head this time around, and it's not even September, yet.
This weather.
I was hoping we'd have a stretch of nice weather to make up for the non-event our Summer was.
'Nuff bout that. I have been organizing my great piles of clutter. Much of it isn't mine at all, being the domain of little boys and grown ones.
The latters' possessions I am moving aside to make way for my own organization.
I would say that there is a considerable amount of it that 'belongs' to me, though, and some of it's been taken away to other places, a little's been tossed or burned, and stuff's up for sale.
For some reason I can't seem to give away my old saddle. Granted, it was inexpensive to begin with, but it has a nice Cashel cushion. I suppose some 4H-er or someone might show an interest if I did put it on Freecycle.
Space is at a premium, though, and the clutter is torturous to me as much as the weather is only it seems a hazardous juxtaposition to it when the indoor spaces we flock to in order to hide from the wet and cold are so cramped and impossible to keep clean with piles of things here and there and it only seems to get worse.
I've been neglecting my blogging for the most part, but it's been for good reasons.
I hope the Expo next weekend is fun. I wish this weekend would dry out! Last year, the weekend following Labor Day was hot indeed.
Happy Labor Day, y'all, stay dry!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Commercial Fishing Expo and Hotdog Highliners Competition in Astoria, OR

Astoria, Oregon is hosting an entertaining, informational display of "Deadliest Catch" type skill on Sept. 7, 2008 at Astoria's Sunday Market Sept. 7, 2008.NW Limited...History in Vogue will be there selling Dead Reckoning of the Pacific Graveyard lithographs for $50 each or $500 for the full "Cadillac" version with all the photos, framed and documented.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Shooting stars (make a wish)

Many opportunities, last night, to make wishes on falling stars.
Last night we sat out on the front porch to watch the Perseid shower since it was clear out and we were close to the peak rate for these meteors.
The little boys were awake and excited to be there, and got out their little glow-necklaces they'd bought at the Regatta fireworks last Saturday (we put them in the freezer to conserve them), which luckily didn't cause enough light interference to make a big difference.
That big ol' waxing gibbous moon did some work on washing out the sky as did the neighbor's mercury vapor yard light. Still, we saw several per minute at times.
Many were the long, faint blue streaks that leave you wondering if you really did see anything at all. Others were larger and almost audible.
We watched for about an hour and a half before we all got too cold.
I wished we could have gone to a more remote location (that's funny considering we live 12 miles outside of town already) away from the lights of the neighbor and our own.
I've fantasized about watching them either from Neahkahnie mountain or out on the water maybe in the river, lying flat and looking up from the deck of a boat.
Over the years, we've had some good nights. Our "stargazing hill" was sold and now has a family living there above their new stable, so we no longer have that nearby. One year we saw several meteors with persistent trains and even some large fireballs.
Some years we've been "clouded out" and had to come home and listen to them on forward-scatter radar via the internet.
Even when there are no meters, there's nothing like the view of the night sky with no light pollution.
Last night was still great. We pointed out a few constellations (bonus to having a father with a degree in astronomy and a deep love for it), stars, saw several satellites, and best of all, nobody was scared of the dark.
A simple, good time was had.
Sorry, no pictures...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nine Inch Nails in Seattle

WOW, it was great! Not as great as Ridgefield two years ago, at least energy-wise, but still great.
Loved the visuals, the lighting effects and the sound was mesmerizing.

Not much a fan of the opening act, Crystal Castles, but the music part of that was pretty good.

Anyone else from the 'sop go to this?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

HMS Bounty stops in Astoria, OR

The historic tall ship Bounty is just passing through on her way to San Francisco. Astoria is no stranger to movie stars!

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Oh, say can you see?

Independence day approaches!
We really enjoy making ribs to take to the beach with us...we always go to Long Beach and set up our screen tent at Bolstad approach for the entire day.
It is entertaining to watch the people in their seriously ON road vehicles tackle the approach. Dubs don't necessarily make good beach cruising.
There was the one year when our neighbor came over to slap my sister (she deserved it) and the men then got into it. Can you say Jerry Springer?
The firework display over there is spectacular though the private displays rival that, there is never a dull moment.
One big birthday party!
I'm just bummed that we didn't pick up any of these over in Chinook, today:
4th of July firework

What better to go with a national holiday? I got a great chuckle out of a shopper at the stand reading this off his "list" as he walked past!
How can you not love a nice rack?
Wanna see it in action?
Pyro King Nice Rack

Saturday is Columbia River Coffee Roaster's Grand Opening...yep, it bodes well for a great weekend.

Stay safe!

Monday, June 16, 2008

A teeny bouquet of wildflowers

Makes me think of a piece of a William Blake poem (from Auguries of Innocence):
"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

We were out at the Hammond marina viewpoint, today, watching the USCG Eagle depart.
The boys (and dog) played in the biting wind, and (once done taking photographs of the tall ship on the way out of the river) I plucked the tiniest bouquet with my numbed fingers.
I don't know what any of the three are technically named (my grandmother loved the "homespun" names for flowers, as opposed to the real ones), but they made a sweet, little arrangement.
If only for a moment, for they wilted rather swiftly once they were on the dash of the truck.
Glad I snapped a pic.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


The doldrums have arrived!
I haven't been able to get completely out of them, either. The weather is my main excuse. Someone told me it was "just" an excuse, and well...they're right, I suppose.
Still, the sun, when it shone one week ago, was blistering hot. Didn't do much for my motivation.
The house has been torn apart, and one appliance after another seems hell-bent on quitting. Can't quite get my sh*t together to get it as clean as I'd like to before something else happens that stalls my progress.
I guess last weekend was Summer, but I'm not ready for Fall, and not wanting Winter. Please come back, Summer. I miss you!
TV is boring, and sleeping more than 7 or 8 hours is overrated.
Back to the surfing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bang your head!

I just detest hitting my head. Don't know too many that enjoy the sensation, though I wonder...
My small barn (six stalls for six small horses) has always been a little bit of a "make do" situation. From the days when we first moved here and it was just a two-stall shed, to the expansion in the Winter (yes, Winter) of '99.
I ADORE having an indoor space to go and feed the horses, and the barn cats have shelter.
What's happened is that it's a storage space for everything else. Four-wheelers, lawn mowers, extra lumber and what-have-you. The things that go with the horses are supposed to go in there, but the other things really bug me.
At times when we've had an extra stall, it's not so bad other than the dust and such that goes with the horses/bedding ends up on the stored item(s).
Martin had the idea to put in a shelf-type setup. This would make space for storage overhead. I didn't know this was going to happen until after it was built.
I thought it was a fine idea, but when I saw the execution, I was disappointed, though I tried to temper that.
The shelf was approximately 5'6" off the ground. I am very nearly 5'10" tall. I am the shortest adult member of the family. That was explained by the shelf being only 4' from the back wall...very little need to get under there.
Not so, I thought, as I remembered that that's where the horses like to go to pee. Of course, I ended up dropping it. Not sure why the shelf couldn't have been higher off the ground.
I envisioned myself bumping my head. Often. Happily, that did not happen.
Instead, it happens about 2-4 times a year, give or take. Today was the first time in about 6 months.
No matter, because it was a doozy.
I was dragging a huge, probably 80-lb. sack of bedding into Mouse's stall, walking backwards and shuffling at that. I had it going pretty good when I felt it.
I think I had one of those jaggy dialog clouds over my head like in the comic books. It said "KERRR-THUMPPPP-KRAKKKK" as the back of my head hit the corner of the 2X4. I had been in the process of standing up as I was shuffling backward.
I cursed. Loudly.
The horses, which had been milling around outside the doorway, thinking about coming in, quickly left, crossing the creek and away from my negativity.
Something about hitting your head that puts visions of violence dancing through the air.
I squeezed out tears, sobbing a few times just because it hurt that bad. I would have fallen to my knees, but I was in a horse stall that had just been stripped. Guess I didn't hit my head THAT hard.
Still, it pissed me right off.
As my Dad used to like to tell me, "better to be pissed off than pissed on."

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Remembering mother

When one endeavors to write about personal topics in a public format, it bears keeping in mind that others may know of the ones involved.
I wonder, then, does anyone who stumbles across this remember my mother?
If so, I wonder what their recollections were.
The nature of my maternal family was to ostracize and "reward" those of blood relation with unusual cruelty. I have no idea why, but my theory remains that it was the ultimate in self-loathing manifesting itself.
In other words, these individuals disliked themselves to the point of hating their own offspring because they WERE flesh and blood. I could be wrong.
If, however, you were lucky enough not to have been born with a genetic link to them, the Piersons were apparently good as gold. I wouldn't know, though my grandmother Connie was very kind and generous to me, it still hurt that the others were shunned for one reason or another.
I think it's interesting how the other blood relations from that side of the family all but amputated any contact with myself, my brother and half-sister, at least as far as I am aware, for my relationship with my siblings is very sporadic in the former, and completely over in the latter. I guess again the fact that we were related made us repugnant. Family = the people who know all the right reasons to hate you.
This is probably greek to most of you.
I realize also that many of my mother's friends are either passed on or moved away. Several of her contemporaries (how can you call such creatures friends?) have probably died of the same vices that took her life. The good ones, like Heidi, I miss. She died last Summer.
I wonder where Frank has gotten off to, and wonder many things about many people I met there.
Most of them had no idea what kind of monster she had the potential to be. Why do I feel guilty in saying that? I can't completely forgive her, even though she is dead and cannot redeem herself.
If I were to do that, it would feel like acceptance (of what she was), and I will not do so. I know what she is/was, and that is enough. I don't have to like it or be comfortable with it.

So if you were a friend or acquaintance of Julia Cargill (née Parsons, Branigan, Seely and Douglass, maiden name Pierson), hello to you!

The number of my blood relation family is quite small, but I count myself fortunate to have many good friends. Some better than others for sure, but friends nonetheless. I hope that I am as good a friend as you are to me.


yes, it is there, always looming, or bouncing slowly around the spaces of my brain.
As much as I tend to spend time at home, I love the open road.
I love to stop in a new space, and sample the sensual variety. Sights, sounds, scents and the ensuing change in feeling.
Short trips tend to mollify this beast within, but nothing more so than the "someday" imaginings of fruition.
Luckily, I live in a vast and expansive region. For as long as I have lived here, there are still new, and where once was something old, is quickly changed by the elements.
Craving desert, I can drive for less than four hours and find it. Verdant gaps between craggy mountains, streams and waterfalls. Snowy meadows, all of these exist near enough to soothe my need for different.
I suppose that I may need to bicycle there in order to afford all of these things, when and if that someday comes.
Right now, there is no better place than here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It's Spring Break, though you'd not know it to look and stand outside.
This is nothing surprising, for next week the sun will shine warmly, and the breeze will caress the empty playgrounds, parks and beaches in a heartbreaking display of irony.
It's too bad, that.
Another thing that is depressing is the vacancy in the downtown business areas. I don't pretend to know every contributing factor in this sad eventuality, nor do I profess to have the remedy.
That, as well, is too bad.
Since I don't own anything there, the most I can think to do is frequent the shops that are open, and pick up trash here and there. For no other reason than that I live here, and wish things were different.
Why do people let their dogs crap on the sidewalks? Why do they feel the need to dump their trash everywhere? Feeding pigeons is right up there...As is waiting with baited breath for the Home Depot, the Staples, the Big 5 to show up and further the destruction of small businesses.
Competition is all fine and well, but what about monopoly? Soon there will be no choices. It's a good thing we all love the exact same things, in great quantity, because it's being provided in convenient formats.
Buy, buy, buy, and throw, throw, throw. (as in trash)
Something vicious about the circles we seem to walk around in.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is it really coming?

The S-word. Spring.
There have been a few times when it felt close. Times when the sun felt warm, and glimpses of daffodil-strewn banks. Pussy willows, skunk cabbage...and mud.
I had hope that the grass, even the weeds would absorb most of the mud created when hurricane Cooper showed up on the heels of our major storm last December.
No such chance.
I'm ready for an eternity of Spring, of Summer...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


(Originally posted October 10, 2007)
We took a walk, today, along the riverwalk and to the West End Mooring Basin with a stop at the Fishermen's Memorial along the way. For the first time ever, both boys were riding their bikes without training wheels. They rode on along ahead of us until we called them back to keep them in sight.

Martin remarked that they must feel so free, and told me the first time that I must have felt free was when I got my first bike. I thought about it a few seconds, and could not find that memory associated with my bicycle. A sense of power, maybe. Of course there were the obligatory accidents associated with it, too. Skinned knees and the inevitable "bar incident" that even hurts for girls!

I tried then to find that sense of freedom's arrival and I could not locate it til well later in my life. I realized why, too:

I think that in order to have, or truly feel freedom, one must first know security. It must be deeper than acquaintance; it must be unmistakeable, intimately familiar. That did not exist for me until I was grown.

As we walked later along the docks between the boats all buttoned up in their covers and tied securely to their moorages, I thought of how the shelter of the harbor always calls to mind the contrast of open water, the limitless freedom of flying over the river. Perhaps it is more a yearning.
I never imagined, when I was young and had no choice but to go along with my mother and her husband on our 48' Salmon troller, that I would love the experience so much. Not all of it, but there is something indescribable about being on the ocean, or even a lake or river. The boat felt both powerful, invincible and miniscule at the same time, heading West out over the bar and into the open ocean. Not so much fun idling along at troll speed waiting for the fish to bite. There is a certain thrill to watching a 70+ lb. King Salmon breach the water on the other end of the line, and the paydays made the adults happy. My favorite, though, was when we were up on plane, soaring along at 28 knots. I would either lie on my stomach on the top of the lower house, or stand on the deck and jump in the air or let it fall out from under my feet for that giddy weightless feeling. Either way, it was glorious to me, even now remembering it.

(gads, she was ugly colored, but I was proud of her even though she did not belong to us, the "Freeloader" in all her glory, in her slip at Ilwaco, WA., probably about 1976, bless her diesel heart)
I'm glad for those times, which were also some of the most uncertain times in my life. A taste of freedom in the midst of uncertainty.
They're part of who I am.

I understand freedom, now, though happily, I also understand security.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Oregon Shipwrecks!

Recent storms have revealed a plethora of shipwreck mysteries.Oregon's maritime history is showing up, and there just may be treasure lurking out there in the sand and salt.This is just one reason why 'history is in vogue'!We live in a fascinating part of the world...

read more | digg story

Monday, February 25, 2008

For want of a farrier...

I've had the same farrier for 9 years, now. Robert Larson of Tillamook. Loved our time chatting as he trimmed, and felt like he was a friend. He would tell stories, and I would tell stories, we would laugh and pass the time. I think he did a darn fine job on my horse's feet, and didn't charge me double just because they are miniatures. Miniatures, after all, need the same type of attention a full-sized version does, with few exceptions and the fact that they don't wear shoes.
I had him out in December, and desperately need him back. I can't get ahold of him. I've tried calling a few people that I know used him in the area, but their phones are either out of service or they don't return the calls.
Bob's home phone is disconnected and his cell phone mail box is full. His emails go unanswered. I'm a little worried, really. For him and his family.
And on the home front, I hate having to look for a new farrier. If anyone in the area reads this and has a recommend, I'd appreciate it. I've got two yearlings and I like to stay on top of those growing horse's hooves....they've gone too long already.

Meantime, I hope if anyone knows Bob, they can pass along my concern for his welfare, even if he's not trimming anymore.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


denial, destiny. I arrive at assumptions of some type of guilt in these. I know that I cannot force anyone to feel a certain way, or do a certain thing. Perhaps it's so. Is it a disservice to allow these sleeping dogs to lie, while the rest of us tip-toe past?
If they wake, a small sacrifice (dignity, comfort and security are good bets) will often mollify the fearsome beast long enough to forget. And wait.
I feel the inkling of alarm bells, but also know where the lines are drawn. I am resilient where I need to be, and fragile when I can.

If this is cryptic, I apologize. I may be more forthright over at myspace, just because some of my dearest friends are there, and because I've been "there" longer, and have my comfy little preferred list.
I have to think that some brighter, warmer days would help. I look forward to them. If I did not have friends, and some indulgences, it would be considerably more difficult.
The error of my ways are just that. Mine. I will do better.

A tonic is the burst of energy I can feel looming with the change of seasons. Many things need doing. I am equal to the tasks, for they are fully surmountable. This is comforting, as is the work I enjoy when time allows. Paint the windows, walls, and clean all of the above. Pieces of cake, each of them.
Ice cream, anyone?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crunch, crunch

Eggshells underfoot.
I detest eggshells. Ever get one in your omelette? The feeling as you bite down on it is unpleasant, but can't match the one of walking on them. Even worse is knowing you will, and being unable to avoid that inevitable.
Every step is bound to make that dreaded crunching (reverberates through nerve endings painfully), and so you wait, and hone your tread-lightly skills.
It should be second nature, for the path stretches back as far as I can see, and well into the future. There are little breaks, here and there. For that I am grateful.
The eggshell path leads up the steepest slopes.
The wind is roaring, and pummeling the already-stressed trees. Good night to climb in bed and pull the covers over one's head.
Hey, at least my shoes are dry, today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No parking at high tide

(or the dumb@ass award).
Today's Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras! It also happens to be one of those blustery, wet days as is typical for the season. A gumbo day. Sure enough, I decided that would be dinner: seafood okra gumbo with rice and cornbread as sides. The problem with that is that I would need to go the grocery store for some of the ingredients.
I had a few errands to run in town, or so I thought. Turns out it was two of those instead of the four or five that I had hoped to get done. I figured that stopping at the grocery store would be the last one. Turned out to be pretty much the only one.
Pulling into the parking lot at Fred Meyer, I had a whole 50 minutes to get home, whereas I would have had no time budget, if things had gone as originally planned. It was icky out, so I parked as close to the door as possible.
Grabbed Colton and off we ran to the door, my grocery list in my head. Even with a "rest stop", we managed to get in and get out of there in record time. 12 minutes!
I left the cart inside, thinking it would be a nice change for someone to come in and find a dry one, not a wet one blowing into the side of their car. I only had four bags and Colton, so off we ran, into the wet.
I stopped when I realized that I was standing at the edge of a stand-in for the great lakes. Or was it the Pacific Ocean lapping at the toes of my walking shoes? Ugh. Either way, my truck had gone from being parked on wet pavement to an island. A big, dirty-white island. Surrounded.
I sure as hell didn't have time to wait for the tide to go out, or the drain to unclog, or whatever was supposed to happen.
How did I make this particular mistake? I even know that Warrenton is below sea level. Dumbass! "Double dumbass!" I cursed inwardly.
"How deep could it be?" I stepped in, gingerly, to avoid splashing or rippling the water. That effort would cease to matter within seconds. The water was higher than the rubber soles of my Reeboks. It was deep. Annnnd cold. Crap.
The color of the water swirling around my feet and ankles was a grungy-grey complete with a rainbow sheen. Not much choice, now. I reached the truck by the time the water was mid-shin. My toes were feeling numb. I didn't even bother to look down and get grossed out at the gack I was wading in. Opened the door, tossed the groceries and kid in, and moved them all aside so that I could step inside onto my ingeniously-placed floor towels. At least they would absorb the runoff.
I wanted to take them off, but instead traded the time spent for getting home asap.
Shoes are on the dryer after a quick detour in the washing machine with the floor towels, and the house is filling with the pleasant aroma of simmering gumbo.
I made the roux while the shoes were washing. Takes just about the same time to do each. Never made that correlation, before.
Lesson learned.
Happy Mardi Gras!
At least my shoes are wet.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Take me to the river

The river running right past our town is to me a talisman; a soothing, calming presence as well as inspirational. As much as I love road trips, the river is the ultimate road, beckoning with a greater sense of freedom, an elemental appeal that tarmac and concrete just can't match. It provides an endless parade of color, light and activity. Ships, marine life and a vast array of flotsam and jetsam ride past in its currents. The skies above are reflected on its surface. At any one time, you will find shades of blue, gray, or the reds of sunset and rise reflected in its ripples and waves.
This river is the very reason "we" are here. It is the core of this region, a magnetic presence even before we were here. Consequently, I feel that it's important to maintain broad access to the river. Visually, physically, as well as practically. Fishing and pleasure vessels use it constantly. Even on a grey, low-ceilinged day, it is a focal point. From the streets and sidewalks laid out over the hills of town, it's where the eye naturally settles, and inevitably follows Westward to where the river meets the sea. Dreams follow suit. A mental cleansing, of sorts.
Very often, it is pivotal in turning around my mood. Sitting still, watching the tide flow past is meditative in nature. Even the smell of a clean river is something irresistable to me.
Last night, on our way back from the beach at sunset, the river called me to its side. A barely audible whisper I could not even so ignore. It had turned to liquid black, reflecting a glittering array of lights. The night was calm, clear, as it settled into the region. To the west, a sublime stripe of maroon and persimmon burned horizon objects into sharp relief. Opposite, low in the eastern sky, a magnifed, mellow, golden moon held court over snow-sprinkled hills. Ships sat quietly at anchor. I felt a surge of equanimity as I observed and became part of this magical landscape.
Every sense felt renewed, my psyche soothed. I was gratefully overwhelmed, immersed in the beauty laid out before me. The liquid lane beckoned. It would be cold, though.
I started my truck, and reluctantly backed away.
Maybe some other time.
I did take with me some fodder for daydreams, and other mental meanderings.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Deep freeze

It's cold. Crisp and clear, and I certainly appreciate the view of the night sky. The stars, planets, the Milky Way itself, are gloriously showcased against the blackest of black backgrounds. It's cold, though, and I am loathe to linger too long in admiration. The ground winks back with its own reflected sparkle.
Instead of slopping through the mud, I crunch over it on my way to the barn.
The horses are thick with glossy Winter fuzz, their guard hairs standing out. I've let their bridle paths grow out, and they all sport a Tina Turner-style 'do.
I hear that more cold's on the way. The kind that will freeze the water buckets even inside the barn.
I could complain about it, but it's not raining. The brightness is welcome, though I could do with a longer day in lieu of these short, bright, brittle ones.
So each little fuzzball gets a bit extra hay, and then it's back to the now overly warm-seeming house.
The phones are all screwy again, so I'll have to assuage this bit of Winter loneliness with trying to scare up some online friends for a bit of distraction, tonight. See how everyone's doing. My cell doesn't work very well at my house.
The cold seems to add an extra layer to the isolation I feel sometimes. It has nothing to do with being alone, though everything to do with loneliness.
Even those stars seem more distant, this night.
One other thing about nights like this is that the bed sheets seem every bit as cold as the air outside. Climbing in, I huddle in a fetal ball, and try to conserve body heat. Luckily, I will fall asleep before I get fully warm, and wake up midway through to enjoy that warmth.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Snow today, wind tonight

I've heard at least five accidents in the hour or two that I've been listening to the scanner, this morning. Much of the county is encased in a layer of crusty, frozen slush or ice. What I don't get is why people drive fast enough to flip their cars over when they know it's icy?
It snowed out here for several hours, though it would mostly melt on groundfall, some of it piled up in the form of heavy, wet snow. Which froze overnight.
Kids have a two-hour delay and it's pretty obvious the second one steps outside that driving will be dangerous, something to be done with caution.
This wintry landscape seems especially foreign to me, in light of the dream I had last night: It was complete with rocking, floating on blue water, warm, soft (not hot) sunlight and the sweetest scent of Spring bourne on a breeze that was more like a gentle caress itself. Short and sweet. The details were muted, though it all felt very real. Every sense was supplied with exactly what was necessary to fool me into thinking that I was lying on my stomach in the sunshine, on a boat, with the warmth of the sun on my back, and the sweet scent of life and rebirth around me.
I clung to that bit of bliss for as long as I could, which was about a nano-second.
Next best thing is a big, hot cup of XDPNG coffee from Astoria Coffee Co.
Good thing, because the hike across the pasture's going to be cold, this morning.

Forecast is for another wind and rainstorm, tonight. Let's keep it interesting and add some sunny, warm days? I need light, dammit!

Stay warm, and drive slow.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Again with the wind

Another storm's on the way. No panic mentality, not even after last month/year's doozy.
I am, however, doing the usual that I like to do when I hear one of these is on its way: making sure all the vacuuming, laundry and cleaning is done. Well, as much as I can GET done, for as soon as I stop cleaning, dirt will commence its dictatorship.
Charge all your lights, batteries, fill the gascans and generators, lay in the firewood, and take a good, long, hot shower. Prepare for a windstorm.
I'm hoping they're right about the rain, though, that it is mostly headed south.
Summer, anyone?

Reality show


What gives?
Originally, I think the concept was a sound one: to see how real people handle real situations. Hopefully we'll see something extreme. It started out innocently enough, to go to these extreme places and situations and watch it all go down.
Now, though, we've managed to take it to the extreme. The glut of these shows is hardly reality, IMO. It's more like delusion with a dose of bipolar disease on crack.
Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, I Love New York (who coined that one...does anyone love New York?), The Bachelor, Big Brother, Survivor, and more I'm hopefully blissfully unaware of. These people are pathetic, not interesting. If this is reality, I truly need a break from same.
Editing, scripting and carefully planned situations turn it into a circus of fantastic proportions. It's insulting to the average viewer. Like 60-minute long ads, punctuated with annoying commercial breaks which advertise more of the same.

Do I really want to watch (insert has-been of choice) go through addiction counseling/fight with his or her wife/make out with same and have tantrums ad nauseum? Nope.
I'm sure there's the old can't look away from the train wreck mentality at work, but the train wreck likely needs a mirror to see these days!
What's wrong with us that we even bother? Just one of those burning questions.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Thar she blows...

Here goes the video for the gingerbread demolition (daytime version):
The ending needs to be edited out (I shrieked because I was hit in the back by warm shrapnel as I was running off, and then started to laugh about it all), and hopefully add a slo-mo of the actual explosion in its place. I have asked a friend to assist with this.
One interesting note was that the only piece of gingerbread that remained at ground zero was the gingerbread man's EYES.
Anyway, that's the gingerbread house New Year tradition. "My" raven really enjoyed last night's explosion this morning. She was waddling around in the front yard and gorging on gingerbread bits when I looked out first thing. The bluejays were happy to help with cleanup as well.
I think the best thing we learned this year was to remove the plastic tray before adding the explosive device. Last year, we spent a good amount of time hunting for the fragments of plastic.
Next year, we have designs on a full-scale gingerbread hotel or condo. Possibly a townhouse or high-rise. Thinkin' there needs to be a happy crowd of onlookers with gumdrop buttons and icing grins.
Dinner for us was our first deep-fried turkey. Not bad.
Happy 2008!