18 December 2014

Winter Dark-Thirty

I don’t mind getting up early.  In fact, if I had my druthers, I would get up at sunrise most days.  In the summer, it’s easy.  The sun brilliant and the sky bright, birds singing, the dawn calls to me.  In the winter, I would also like to get up at sunrise, except that sunrise is late.  Late for the workers, anyway.  Today it was at 7:46.  I wouldn’t mind lazing in bed until 7:46!

In my region, in winter (who am I kidding; fall, winter and spring) the sky is often cloudy.  The cloud cover sits like a bowl inverted over the city.  Sometimes it is a monotone of gray, but most of the time there is texture to the clouds. 

Frequently, the cloud cover does not reach all the way to the horizon.  It hovers above us, allowing a thin band of clear sky to be seen if one is not surrounded by buildings or forests.  At dawn and sunset there may be bold diagonal beams of light lancing across the city.  It is spectacular.  It only lasts a few minutes, and then the sun is hidden again and the light dims to the normal setting.

Some years ago I was given a dawn simulator alarm clock.  What a wonderful device!  I’ve written about it before.  I haven’t been using it lately because I am sleeping in a different bedroom and haven’t bothered to move it.  Instead, I have an irritating beepbeepbeep electronic alarm clock that I can’t stand.  I think I will switch these out this weekend.  I need my cheerful light.  The lamp is key to getting up in the winter and not feeling a dragging depression.

What about you?  Are you an early riser by nature or more of a night owl?

09 December 2014

0.8 FTE

Three more Mondays.

Three more Mondays.

Three more Mondays.

That is all.


03 December 2014

December and NaNoWriMo

Another November and another NaNoWriMo is in the books.  Whew!  I fell behind in the middle of the month and had to really push myself to catch up and finish.  But, I did.  Well, I should amend that statement.  I wrote 50,000 words, but I didn’t finish the story.  Does that sound familiar?  It should.  It’s the same as last year. 

This is my third NaNo.  The first year I wrote a memoir about my mom.  I needed a way to make sense of my loss, and words are my go to method of deciphering life.  Also, I wanted to get things written down so that I wouldn’t forget and so that I could give them to my daughter (who loved her Grammy fiercely).  It’s a rambling, stream-of-consciousness, non-linear sprawl of words.  Mostly about my mom, sometimes about other family member, but always about our family.  I have tried to read over some of it in the two years since I wrote it, but it’s still too painful for me.  Some of the stories are funny, and I know that I will enjoy reading them when I am able.

The last two years, though, I have written children’s books.  Chapter books, mind you!  Well, I have started children’s books and have enough material and ideas to complete them… I just need more time.  That’s all!  More time!!!  That’s probably what everyone says.  But, since I am going to start working four days a week, maybe I’ll be able to devote that extra day to sitting in front of the computer and assembling words.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

The first novel was a stand alone story.  It was a bedtime story that I had started making up when Zoe was a very small child.  I never finished it during her childhood (sorry, Kid!), mostly because I was always exhausted and would fall asleep during the telling.  It changed a bit between the telling and the writing, but the core of the story remains the same.  I really like it!  Its theme is a classic one; the Hero’s Journey.  It has a young girl as the hero of the story, as is only right and proper since it was thought up for a young girl.

The second novel is pretty exciting for me.  The way it is structured, there is a definite possibility for sequels.  I spent some time in the world building mode, and there are lots of characters and I think that there could be further novels with the same cast of characters.  That’s exciting! 

So, that’s November’s effort done.  I have some other projects to complete – including a quilt for one of my best friends’ first grandchild (before she turns 1) – and I am really looking forward to working on things that are satisfying and pleasing to me.  And, as the NaNoWriMo folks say, November is for writing, December is for editing.  Well, first to finish the story, and then to edit.  I will get there!

02 December 2014


Tuesday counts, right?  Lol.

Survived Thanksgiving.  Both.  The inlaws didn’t start getting squirrely until after dessert, so I call that a win.  Some bickering, some yelling, some heated tempers, but not an all out scene or tantrum.  We left shortly after the flare up, so it wasn’t too bad. 

Then, I cooked all day for Thanksgiving at my house.  Everything turned out well.  My dad and brother came over.  They didn’t leave the moment the plates were cleared.  They didn’t stay for pie, but we were all too full, really, so I sent some home with them.   Along with containers of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, spinach.

My daughter and her husband did not come so it was just the four of us.  I will call it cosy rather than small and sad.  The holidays do bring sadness, missing people who we wish were there with us.  I guess it’s best to acknowledge the absence, reflect, and have pie.  I don’t know.  What works for you?

24 November 2014


I have to go with a seasonal theme today.  Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving.  The ‘giving’ consists of food, family and friendship.  It isn’t a shopping extravaganza kind of holiday.  Except for the food shopping, I guess.

This year, I am going to the in-laws on Thursday.  I’ve gotten out of it for a few times, and I would be happy getting out of it forever.  That sounds rude, I know, and I don’t truly mean to be rude, but honestly, my mother in law is not a good cook.  She’s a family cook.  True, she has cooked in diners for years, but more along the lines of a short order kind of cook.  She makes the same dishes she always makes.  It’s their family’s traditional comfort food.  It’s also pretty bad.  Or, maybe I should say, it isn’t what I grew up eating.

Instead of feeling disappointed in the meal and the holiday, I am adjusting my expectations.  I’m not going for the food.  I’m not even going for the company.  I’m going because it will make my partner happy.  For a bonus, it will make her mom happy too, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It will be loud, too hot, televisions on in two different rooms, a small yappy dog underfoot all day long, mediocre food, and the mother in law (who is nearly deaf) bossing everyone and wielding a wooden spoon.  As long as I know this and plan ahead for it, I’ll be fine.  I’m going to lay claim to a remote control, put on some football, sit on a couch and watch a game and smile through the whole thing.  I can be nice!

On Friday, I will cook a small Thanksgiving dinner for myself, my partner, my dad and my crazy brother (who may or may not come).  I have purchased the turkey breast.  I have planned out my menu.  I have done most of the shopping and will be ready.  This will be a delicious meal.  And I will be giving thanks twice.

What are you all doing?

17 November 2014

Still Here!

Monday Update

I've been thinking to myself that I should make an attempt at the Microblog Monday style of posting.  I usually think of this on a different day of the week, and since I am finding it easy to not post, well, yeah, nothing has gotten posted to my poor old lonely blog.  BUT, today is Monday, and here I am.  Woot!  I'mma do a little bullet list... cuz that's easy.

  • Sleeping Arrangements: When last we compared notes, T and I were fussing over who got to sleep on which side of the bed.  Well, you'll be happy to find that we have resolved that issue.  We were alternating sides, a month on the right, a month on the left, and that was working well.  But, then, she tweaked her shoulder again and it was giving her so much pain that she couldn't sleep comfortably on either side.  Basically, she needed the whole bed.  Fortunately, we have two beds.  We are now sleeping in different rooms, but both are so much better rested.  I confess, I like it better.  We sleep together sometimes, and not just for sex, but really, it is just so much more comfortable to have the bed to yourself.

  • Holidays: Thanksgiving is just around the damn corner.  This used to be one of my favorite holidays.  There would be delicious food, beautiful dishes and silverware, and the best of company.  Besides my daughter and parents, one of my brothers would come, several cousins, and friends who didn't have anywhere special to be.  The house smells wonderful, there's a football game, glasses of wine while cooking... what's not to like?  But, now, it has dwindled.  My mom is gone.  My daughter lives away.  Nobody is calling to ask if there is room for an extra at the table.  I'm probably going to the in-laws for dinner and then cooking a very reduced meal for my dad and brother the next day.  I feel that I have to produce some kind of festive celebration to share with them, or they won't observe it at all.  They are likely to have a cheese pizza.  But, it'll probably just be the four of us, so I think I'll just cook a turkey breast.  I'd like a half a turkey but have yet to find such a thing in my grocer's meat department.  I'm sorry if I sound like I am whining.  I miss my mom.  

  • Birthdays: T's birthday is next Sunday.  I already took her out for her big gift.  It was actually pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself!  It was the Big Birthday Adventure!  And, I kept it completely secret and she had no idea what we were doing so that was fun for me.  Especially fun since she liked it.  Would have been an expensive drag if she hadn't.  So, what was it, you ask?  We went ZIP LINING!  Actually, it was more than zip lining.  We went to this place.  Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure Park!  It was so fun!  It's an aerial obstacle course with lots of zip lines.  Wow.  We were exhausted when we got home!  But, it was possibly the best present I have ever gotten her.  She loved it.  So did I!  But, her birthday is still coming up and I have to get her a couple of small gifts to open, just because.  So, yeah, shopping.  Besides T, there are several other November birthdays all clumped together.  My dad, T, T's brother, my nephew, my favorite cousin, my sister in law... November is now competing with April for most expensive birthday month.
So, that's it for this Monday.  I understand that the point of the microblog Mondays is that one doesn't feel pressured to put together a lengthy post.  I like that.  I'll try again.  Really!

02 October 2014

For the sad girls that we are...

Because, some of us are still beset by sorrow.  It will ease, one day, I am sure.  Right now, it is still present.

I read this on another blog, and then looked it up.  I'm sharing it with you friends who have also lost a mother, a sister, a friend, whomever.  It resonated with me today and I wanted to share it with you.

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine 
We let you go 
Into the dance of the stars and the planets 
We let you go 
Into the wind's breath and the hands of the star maker 
We let you go 
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy 
Go safely, go dancing, go running home 

Ruth Burgess

Love to you all,

07 August 2014


I’m in a funk.


And, being in a funk and knowing that I have little reason to be in a funk, sends me even deeper into the funk.  It’s the funk spiral.

I’ve tried to puzzle out what is triggering the funk, but I’m not having much success.

We are having good weather, so that’s not the cause.  Well, it’s been too hot for my preference but we’re talking somewhere in the 90’s, not the 100’s.  And, really, yesterday and today were as close to perfect as it gets.  Cool mornings, sun burning off the clouds by mid-day, and a high of about 80° F.  What’s not to like about that?!?

My partner is not more or less aggravating than usual.  We are just rolling along on our bumpy road as we have been.  Her family is even a fraction less irritating.

My family is much the same.  My brother, sister in law and their kids visited and that was great.  My crazy brother and my dad are the same as ever.

My work is drudgery, but it has been for some time.  It should be getting better, but it hasn’t yet.  I’m still setting my sights on retiring early, but I am getting cold feet about income.  Still, my tentative plan is to work full time for the rest of this calendar year and then part time for another year, and then retire.  But, nothing is set in stone.

My chatty coworker, the one who sits behind me, is annoying as hell, but I can tune her out pretty well.

I’ve been riding my bike, which usually leads to better mental health, but hasn’t of late.  I’m out of shape, once again, which makes it considerably more of an effort, but it’s still pleasant.

So, something is bugging me and I can’t figure out what.  It’s all probably to do with missing my mother, but that hasn’t changed either.  I’m restless, bored, anxious, cranky – yes, a joy to be around.  Something needs to change, but I don’t know what.

Sorry for the ramble about nothing…

04 April 2014

Not Really an Issue but Kind of…

It’s about the bed but related to sleeping, not, you know, recreational activity, ahem, as it were…

My partner and I both want the same side of the bed.  If you are in it, it’s the right hand side.  We both have our reasons and we both think that our reasons outweigh her reasons.  So far I am winning.

When T first moved in I let her have the right side.  She wanted it and I was in a tolerant mood.  Soon after, however, I said that I needed to switch sides with her.  I said that the other side was too claustrophobia-inducing for me.  It’s the side next to the wall; the bed is a couple feet away from the wall, but still.  I have a deeply ingrained need to be able to bolt.  Domestic violence scars will do that to a person.  I get a little panicky when I feel trapped.

Her reasons are less potent – to me, at least.  She has always slept on that side; her shoulder hurts if she lies on the other side; she is not as comfortable or as able to ‘get busy’ on that side; and her latest, she can’t sleep through the night when she is on the other side of the bed.

In response to her latest I said that she would just have to get used to not sleeping through the night.  I mean, that’s part of aging, right?!  In middle age our sleep patterns change.  She can’t sleep through the night because she is a menopausal, middle-aged woman!  Not my fault!

We were at a stalemate for a while, she refusing to budge and me being bitter and resentful.  Then, she adopted the scared little dog.  HA!

Tanner has special needs.  One of his needs is that he needs to sleep somewhere that he feels secure.  T built him a special bed and put it on the right side our bed.  That just didn’t work.  He didn’t feel secure, it’s right by the door and there is too much coming and going.  He would run to the far side of the bed and hide but then when I would walk over there to get in bed, he would bark and growl at me and generally freak out.
So, I told her that for the dog’s peace of mind we would have to switch sides.  She agreed; reluctantly, grudgingly and gracelessly, but she agreed.  She moved to the wall side of the bed. 

Now that Tanner has relaxed somewhat she wants to switch back to the other side.  I am holding firm on my refusal to move.  She then asked if we could rearrange the furniture so that the left side of the bed was near the door and the right side would be next to the closet.  It’s not an ideal arrangement by any stretch, and I’m not even sure that it would work.  The door would open right onto the bed that way.  Plus, another of my quirks is that I feel much healthier when my bed is facing south.  It took me many years to figure this out, but it makes a big difference for me, especially in this cloudy climate.  I feel a little too idiosyncratic with this additional requirement, but I’m just being me. 

So far, I’m still on the right side.  Thanks, Tanner.  Good boy!

20 March 2014


It’s Spring here in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s chilly and damp with rain and even a little hail today, but it’s Spring.

In the last couple of weeks I have seen: snowdrops, crocus, camellias, violets.  Forsythia, star magnolia, azaleas, hellebores.  This week the cherry trees and ornamental plums have burst into bloom.  And, yes, daffodils.  Pussy willows are fuzzy and the catkins are hanging on the alders.  New green foliage is unfolding. 

Last Friday I stepped outside in the early morning and the air was rich with the scent of the sea.  A sure sign that warmer (and wetter, for us) days are nigh. 

I haven’t posted about it because I didn’t want to rub it in.  I know that you all have been suffering through this interminable winter.  But, I saw Washington, DC on the tv last night and there were cherry trees in bloom.  And I thought, yes.  Spring is coming.  Even to the mid-Atlantic.  Can New York, Massachusetts, Chicago and the prairie be far behind?

Hold on!  If it’s not there yet, it’s coming!

12 February 2014


Here’s a little catch up post:

  • ·         The Seahawks won the Super Bowl!  But, you knew that already…  still, we’re happy!  My hair color is slowly washing out.  Still quite colorful, though!

  • ·         Remember the old dog we were fostering?  Angus?  He got adopted!  Amazingly, there were three different families that were interested in him and we had to let him go.  He is now living downtown in one of the swankiest neighborhoods in Portland.  He has a middle-aged dog buddy and two happy humans to keep him company.  We haven’t taken on another foster yet, but we will.

  • ·         I have filled the open support staff position (again) in my office and I am sending up a prayer that it is for the last time.   We’ll see.  Once she gets up to speed, I will be transferring some of my workload to her and scaling back on my hours.  I am so excited at the prospect of working less!

  • ·         A friend from childhood is coming to Portland on a college scouting trip with her son.  She asked if they could stay.  When we were talking about it, I thought the plan was for them to come on Friday and leave on Saturday.  So, I said yes.  Then she sent me her itinerary.  They are coming Thursday and leaving Monday.  Who does that?!  We haven’t seen each other for many, many years; I’ve never met her son; we have other plans…  yikes!  T is fuming, of course.  I mean, it’s a holiday weekend!  We had planned to sleep in!  We’ll see how this plays out.  There’s little chance that they will get a second invitation. (Am I being too grouchy? Not sure.)

  • ·         I’ve been enjoying the Olympics – despite Bob Costas’ eye issues.  But, just like every other time, I take issue with the broadcasting decisions.  Why do we only get to see the pretty people, or the sure winners, or just the Americans?  And, for crying out loud, why is NBC running infomercials on Saturday instead of showing non-stop games?!  Gah!!!  If only I were in charge of the broadcast!  We would see it ALL!

  • ·         The snow.  Ok, I hesitate to add this to the list since all of you live in places that get real winter weather and have been bludgeoned by it this winter.  BUT.  We had a snow storm in Portland that shut the city down.  It was crazy.  Kind of fun since it happens so seldom, but also kind of pathetic and aggravating.  The snow was followed by an ice storm just to add to the transportation woes, but we are all back at work now and the snow has melted.  At least throughout the metro area.  Hopefully we got lots in the mountains and it will last.  We don’t want to follow California into a drought.   I did get my cross country skis out and went around the block.  That was fun.  Then I went inside and watched the Olympians cross country skiing.  Nice juxtaposition, I though.  :-)

I think that’s it for now.  I’m trying to keep track of stuff and actually post the occasional update. 

Cheers, m’dears!

31 January 2014


Ok, I know it's only Friday, but we are stoked!

Yes, I dyed my hair blue and green for the game.  I went with the throwback blue and the current neon green.  T has the dark blue of the current uniforms and the neon green.  Here's something funny: I had dinner with my dad last night and he didn't say a word.  I don't know if he didn't notice or just thought it was... to be expected?  I don't know.  Funny guy.  Maybe he's rooting for the Donkeys and didn't want to say anything.  :-)

Are you going to be watching?  Are you going to root for my Seahawks?  Kaw!  Kaw!

Here's to a good game.  And a Seattle WIN!

27 January 2014

Past to Present

Facebook Reconnection

Sometime last year or the year before, I decided to look up a girl (ok, no longer a girl) with whom I had gone on a summer home-stay language course in Guadalajara, Mexico.  We spent 5 weeks living with a family, attending classes in the mornings, and absorbing the culture in the afternoons and evenings.  Somehow we survived.

I was 16 and Kitty was 15.  Let me tell you, there was virtually no supervision!  There was so much potential for trouble!  We found some, but were fortunate enough to avoid much, much more.  Just as an aside, I will say that it was never a 'girlfriend' situation, or even a girl crush.  Just friends and roommates.

So, I looked her up and found her living in Anchorage, Alaska.  She has a son in college in Portland and said that she travels here periodically.  We tried to get together one time last year but the schedules just wouldn’t 
cooperate.  This time, though, it worked out.

We met for drinks at a pub near my house yesterday afternoon.  Besides her college attending son, her daughter has just moved to Portland to complete an internship in town.  So, she has twice as many reasons to visit the Rose City. 

I wasn’t sure what it would be like to reconnect with someone I hadn’t seen for nearly 40 years.  That’s a lot of water under the bridge!  As it turned out, she is a wonderful person and instead of having a quick, awkward drink and scooting out of there, we stayed and chatted for about three hours.  Three hours!  We reminisced about our adventures, about the other kids in the program, we had a lot of laughs and reminded each other of stories the other had forgotten.

I also got to meet her daughter towards the end of our get together.  A lovely young woman, a do-gooder like her mom; smart, sweet, and genuine.  I suggested that she take a self defense class at my school, and I think she will.  She is smart, but she has grown up in Alaska and Portland is a lot more like a city than Anchorage.

That’s something good that I can say about Facebook.  It sometimes helps people reconnect with friends from the past.  I'm glad we met up!

23 January 2014

Yes, another.

But, it will be different this time!

Last Saturday we went down to the shelter and picked up another dog to foster.  Not a puppy this time, that was just too hard.  Too hard on T, for sure, because: puppies!  So adorable!  This time, though, it will be different.  Probably too different.  This time we are fostering an old dog.  Here he is:

Handsome oldster, isn't he?!?

His shelter name is Walter, but that didn't work for me because I have a brother with the same name.  Too awkward.  We decided on Angus.  We tried out lots of other names, calling him everything we could think of with a good boy! tone in our voices.  He was picked up as a stray on the 12th and no one has come to claim him.  The shelter originally listed him as a lab cross, but he clearly isn't.  Our best guess is Cattle dog, Australian Shepherd, or Heeler mix.  Hence the name Angus.  I thought that was rather clever.  Soon he will even respond to it!

Here's the thing.  Old dogs don't stand much of a chance at getting adopted.  We didn't want him to have to live the rest of his life at the shelter so we took him in, knowing that we'll probably have him as long as he lasts.  The shelter will call it a foster placement for several months, but after that they will consider it an adoption.  That's ok.  He's super easy going, gets along with the other pets (although, he does want to herd them), walks perfectly on a leash and just wants to hang out with us all the time.  The shelter vet speculated that he was about 10 years old, but who knows.

I wasn't willing to adopt the puppy but I will definitely keep the old dog.

(Photo: taken by me.  But, that is not T sitting behind Angus.  It's a friend of hers.)

10 January 2014

Football Fever!

OK, people!  The game is tomorrow!


This is me at work today.  I tried to post it during the day, but I was too damned busy.  Not too busy to take a picture, but busy.  Anyway.

So, my team, the Seattle Seahawks, are in the playoffs and actually, leading the league.  They are playing the New Orleans Saints tomorrow.  At Seattle, which is a huge advantage.  We are hopeful and cautiously optimistic and will be yelling our heads off tomorrow during the game.  Give it a looksee if you happen to have the time, and please, root for my team!