UNCLE!!!!

These past couple of weeks have not been good ones. I’m calling Uncle!

My cold reinvented itself as sinusitis and a viral “thing” (my doctor’s words), and has knocked me basically flat.

Saturday evening we had a freakish accident in my house, and Misty May did not survive it. It was horrible, and I am having trouble erasing those awful images from my mind. Double Uncle!

I’m crawling into a hole now. For awhile. Until the world smiles again.

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Our Week of Bliss

Upholding traditions is important, don’t you think? Of course you do. So the first week of May, we neighborhood “girls” – or at least 3 of us, with The Artistic One flying in from Santa Fe, New Mexico – upheld our tradition of spending the week on the Oregon Coast, in a comfortable condo in Depoe Bay. Part of that tradition includes stopping at Dairy Queen at about the halfway mark. This trip, we double-dipped – we stopped at our regular Dairy Queen for lunch (no photos of that), and then, further along, we checked out a second Dairy Queen for extra energy for the rest of our drive.
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Once we arrive, it’s always important to check out the view from the balcony, to reassure ourselves that the ocean is, indeed, still here.
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During the week, we ventured out nearly every day, although we spent more time relaxing at our temporary home than we usually do. Part of that was because on the third day, I managed to catch a cold – say, what?! I haven’t had a cold for a very long time, and the timing on this one was not to my satisfaction. We did, however, get out enough to be satisfied – a little shopping, a little wandering to sightsee with part of one afternoon spent at Nye Beach because that’s what you do when you’re on the coast near Newport.
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A little house up above the beach caught my eye – picturesque and so warm and inviting I think.
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The wind was strong and cool, so after being outside for awhile, we wandered down to Nana’s Irish Pub seeking something to warm our hearts and bodies.
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We opted for an Irish Coffee, but, as you can see, we are sharing only a little of it with you. Because that’s just how we are.
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There were lots of late lunches out, one at MacDangDangs Reefside, where we enjoyed beer and wine with out halibut and chips – but the halibut and chips were shy and did not wish to be photographed.
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Of course we had a late lunch at Mo’s in Newport, too. That’s a must when you are at the coast.
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At home, we read and worked on jigsaw puzzles
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enjoyed wine on our balcony
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watched the 5 geese who spent every day foraging in the grass below us
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and the gulls gathering nesting materials and preening
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as well as taking a short walk to check out the seals,
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one of which wanted to know what the heck we were looking at anyway!
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We enjoyed quiet evenings with a variety of sunsets
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and then, alas, the week ended, far too soon as it always does. We returned home, restored, refreshed, sad to leave our holiday but happy to be back home.

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Endings and Beginnings

That’s what life is all about, isn’t it? days end and days begin; seasons end and seasons begin. There is a time for all things under heaven.

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As you may recall, my Twiggy was diagnosed with Lymphoma last November. She did very well for the first few months, but this spring she began eating less and less and losing weight. A few days before we were to leave for Girls’ Week at the coast, she became very lethargic and when I weighed her I realized she had dropped to only five pounds. Hard times were here – time to make a decision. Time to recognize that she was no longer being the cat she was, she was not doing the things that defined her. Time to call the vet. A time to weep.

Twiggy joined our family in May of 2007, a wee thing sparse of hair and long of leg.

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She was the runt of her litter, but what she lacked in stature she made up for in feistiness and determination.

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When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2007 and started my chemo treatments in August, she became my napping companion.

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She was the cat that questioned me when I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to, that reminded me that when the dogs got a treat, she needed a treat too.
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The cat that stretched out on my legs whenever I sat where she could do so. My evening companion during TV time.
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And then – she was no longer that cat. And then – she had reached the point of no real quality of life. We made the trip to the vet. I wept, appreciated the vet’s patient demeanor, appreciated the fact that Twiggy did not struggle, that she seemed ready to just let go now. I appreciated the peacefulness of the moments.

It seems that following an ending, there is always a door that opens for a new beginning. This time, that door came in the form of a couple that attend the same church as The Gracious One and her husband Рa couple that had taken in a feral female cat, a cat that entered their house for the first time the day she was ready to birth her kittens Рfour boys and two girls. She gave birth under his desk, and stayed quietly with her kittens while they needed her. The kittens needed homes, so after we returned from the coast, I picked up my choices. Two rather than one, because I feared a single kitten would be lonely, missing his brothers, sisters and mother. I had selected what we thought were two boys. Misty May, who turned out not to be a he after all:
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And Batman (name courtesy of Kat), who turned out to be a he as originally thought.
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Now these kittens rule our world. Two was a good choice, I think. There is a time – a time for laughter.

Twiggy would be pleased.

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 16

Lately I’ve been very “here today, not tomorrow” about sharing my world, but today it seems like a good idea, so here I go.

1. If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts? Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected? Years ago, I wore contacts for awhile, but, like Cee, I have astigmatism and they weren’t a perfect solution. I could not wear them to drive at night and finally they seemed more nuisance than anything – the removing, cleaning, reinserting, so I went back to glasses. They aren’t a perfect solution either, because they bother the bridge of my nose sometimes, especially when my sinus are misbehaving.

2. If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be? Some days, I would be a traffic signal on the fritz, constantly blinking in a series of green, yellow, red, back and forth, up and down. I get started, then I get distracted, then I come to a complete halt. Lately, maybe one of those intersection signs – where it shows crossroads – would be appropriate. I’m feeling the desire for change, for adventure. Yet, I’m not sure I want change or adventure. Hopefully our Girls’ Week at the coast the first week of May will quiet my discontent.

3. Was school easy or difficult for you? How so? School itself was not difficult for me – unless we get into the subject of algebra. What was difficult was so frequently being the new kid on the block, because I was shy and awkward.

4. Would you rather take a 1 or 2 week vaction with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice? This is a tough one. What I would prefer is to take a vacation with a rental car in the British Isles, then maybe wander over into Europe and go where the whim takes me. But – given the choices of an organized tour or a cruise – either of those would be good for starters, because either of those would point out places I’d like to explore more thoroughly. The tour would take me to those places I’d later rent a car and visit on my own – with a friend to share with, of course. The cruise I’d select would be a Mediterranean cruise, which would have to include some of the Greek Isles. Not sure two weeks would be enough, however.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful that spring has arrived, that our one snowy day in this past week proved to me that anymore tantrums Old Man Winter chooses to throw will be short-lived, that the sun shines warmth on my back. I am grateful that I have been awaking and able to get out of bed to enjoy these things. I am looking forward to more of the same.

And because I must, to satisfy me, a couple of pictures – random pictures, taken because I felt like it.
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Inside/Outside

Inside and outside my world, that world in which words have not been flowing through my brain, anxious to escape, to venture out into public view. Inside and outside my world, it has been a period of flurries of activity, followed by periods of minimal activity, those followed by periods of absolutely no activity. Today, outside my world, the seasons are at war.
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Today, outside my window, old man winter is not giving up without a fight. He is spewing his anger across the green grasses, whipping the heads of the daffodils in his fury, shouting what I hope is his last hurrah for this year.

Today, outside my window, the blackbirds have arrived for their traditional spring visit, here to consume every possible morsel from the bird feeders before they head on their way to their summer destination. They believe in strength in numbers, obviously.
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Yesterday, outside my window, I spied the first little chipmunk visitor of this season. I suspect he has scurried back into the safety and warmth of his underground home, letting old man winter and princess spring fight their fights, awaiting the return of calm. And sun. And warmth.
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Last week, outside my window, there was a very persistent white-breasted nuthatch, who seemed entranced by the window. Perhaps he saw his reflection and thought he’d found the perfect mate, the mate that would be his perfect partner. Whatever his obsession was, he spent a few days constantly flying to the window, pecking at it, peering into it, until finally he decided she was playing far too hard to get. He has now moved on.
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Last week, as I wandered outside around my yard, I came upon this leaf skeleton, a remnant from a summer long gone now. Who would know, looking at this leaf when it was dressed in its summer finery, that it was so complex. Well, sure, a botanist would know, but I was not able to see beyond it’s green coat. Until now. I have put it in a book to press, thinking I will frame it one day. If only I can remember which book I put it in. Perhaps there is a similarity between this leaf skeleton and my brain – all those little openings through which memory escapes.
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And that’s how it’s been, inside and outside my window, inside and outside my world. Yard cleanup continues, and will likely continue far into the spring. Again this year, the pine trees seem to have an unending supply of pine cones and pine needles with which to offend my senses and cover my yard.

Gep has talked to me about life in Cuenca, Ecuador – a haven for ex-pats. He has talked to me about how much better I could live on my income, how consistently perfect the weather is, how lovely it is and how many new birds there would be for me to capture with my camera. It is tempting. But it is complicated. There is much to consider about the idea of moving, the uprooting and establishing new roots. First, later, I will visit. For now, I will stay put and enjoy life inside and outside.

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 14

After being AWOL for a couple of weeks, I decided to reenter the world and share some more of my part of that world with Cee and those of you who choose to read my thoughts.

1. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Yard work, first and foremost. Although I enjoy some of it, I would like less of it. Then cleaning – just maybe every three months or so, to do the real deep cleaning parts that I tend to ignore. Cooking is not a problem, most of the time, and when I really don’t feel like cooking a large green salad works for me.

2. What makes you laugh the most? Usually something one of my furry girls does, or one of the outside critters does. Sometimes something I see on TV or in a movie. Although I think I would like to laugh more, there is more laughter in my life than tears, and that’s a precious thing.

3. What was your favorite food when you were a child? Mashed potatoes topped with butter and peas. Yum. Even now, that’s something I really enjoy, although I don’t make mashed potatoes very often. Usually only when Gep is home and requests them. From “real potatoes”, he says.

4. List at least five favorite flowers or plants. Oh! Peonies. Lilacs. Daffodils. Heliotrope, because it has the most wonderful scent. Angel wing Begonias. Any flower that is brightly colored and lightly scented. Anything that blooms in the spring helps to wash away the winter doldrums. Anything that blooms in the summer sun, laughing at the heat. Anything that blooms in the fall, prolonging the season, abating the onset of thoughts of winter.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for life. For conversations with loved ones, hugs, wagging puppy tails, the bird song, watching the swallows pick their summer residences. I am looking forward to continued spring weather, more green sprouting from the warming soil, waking each morning to puppy kisses.

The month of March brought bright skies and persistent squirrels, along with the other joys that come with spring.
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Mine is a Quiet World

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted – inspiration has been lacking and there hasn’t seemed to be much to say, in addition to which I haven’t been settling long in one thought process. The attention span has been short. These are not bad things. I have been enjoying the feel and the sights of a new spring, enjoying watching winter fade away, practicing patience with its protests and reluctance to depart. I have spent little time with my camera – that’s that lack of inspiration thing. I need to get back to seeing things with a more creative eye, to recognizing opportunities for photos in odd places.

Life goes on. Things change. Some changes are better than others. Gep is settling in in his new home, however long it may be his home, in Ecuador. He is loving the temperate climate, the culture, the opportunity to begin a new phase in his life. He is with me briefly, a quick trip to the U.S. because his shipment of possessions from Oman have arrived and he needs to gather some items to take back to Ecuador with him. Kat is preparing for her move at the end of this school year to Thailand, preparations that are complicated by her little furry roommates, the cats that come in shades of orange and white, that will accompany her in this new phase in her life.

On the home front, spring yard cleanup continues, slowly by slowly. The daffodils are blooming, the bushes and trees are budding out, the ground is warming. The urge to plant is nagging at me, although I know it is too early, that we will have many more nights of frosts. The muscles I needed to help me move my computer desk and filing cabinet to their new homes in this used-to-be-a-living-room but is now a craft-computer-anything-goes room, became available and I am most happy with the results. The process has begun to offer the old Canon Rebel for sale, since it has become obvious, even to me, that I just am not interested in taking the time to learn the secrets of that camera that is heavier than I care to lug around with me.

I watch my furry girls; the little girl who is eating less and less, showing the signs of her lymphoma, but still cuddling and purring.
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The old bigger girl, whose crippling arthritic joints are making movements more and more difficult, although every once in awhile she shows a few spry signs. She is still my love, even though she is a bit stand-offish. We often discuss the hell getting old can be.
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Then there is my young girl, although in dog years she may well be approaching middle age. The girl who thrives on attention, who never gets enough petting, who cuddles with me in bed at night, who alerts all of us to impending danger – although sometimes the danger exists only in her imagination. The girl who does not believe sleeping on the floor is an option. When I suggest such a thing, her look clearly says “get real, will you!”
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I am turning a deaf ear more often to the broadcast news, being picky about those email headlines I choose to click on, enjoying time with Gep, setting no goals for completion of any projects until after he has flown away again. There is nothing that cannot wait. There is nothing more important than time with my loved ones when they are here. Listening to the news will change nothing – the election will be what it will be. When sanity returns to this country, I will tune in again.

In the meantime, in this life that contains enough, in this quiet world, I am grateful.

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