Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

View Down The Stairs...

Like pieces of eight
spilled from a pirate’s treasure
Fall leaves sparkle gold

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hunt and Peck...

...or how to type with two fingers whilst right shoulder is in a sling.  Yes, peeps, I managed to torque my shoulder, didn't take care of it properly and now can barely use my arm.  Many tears, hours of lost sleep and a very bad attitude have prevailed until I finally accepted the fact that if I don't stop abusing my arm/shoulder, I could end up in serious trouble, so...pain pills, an uncomfortable sling and an attitude adjustment were in order.

And this all started with a simple chore, one I've done dozens of times...

I have a very large palm tree that needs to be lifted into the kitchen sink to be watered.  About ten days ago I hauled the thing to the kitchen, watered, then couldn't get it out of the sink.  Several muscle-crunching minutes later, I get a grip, lift with all my strength and as I'm hoisting the plant, I feel this sort of popping, tearing sensation, followed by a burning blade being shoved into my shoulder.  I stagger across the kitchen, plop the palm into it's place and hop around for awhile trying to rub away the pain that is radiating from my shoulder to my fingers.

Over that week I washed the car, hauled a load of heavy stuff to the Goodwill, even carved two pumpkins, each task making my shoulder hurt more until this week I thought ripping the thing off and getting an artificial limb was a most excellent idea--anything to stop the agony.

So today I gave up--about a week too late, but still, better late than never.  And now Nick can stop badgering me to take care of myself.


After I carved the punkins last weekend, Nick rigged LED lights that make one glow bright red (weirdly, the red doesn't work with my camera), while the other shines blue.  They look really cool at night in the pitch dark.

Happy Hallowe'en !!!


I know I've been horrible about posting lately.  Well, more than for months, but I had a great deal of crucial and necessary house/garden work to do this year, during one of the worst Summers of all time--drought, humidity and forest fires.

I'm feeling pretty good about crossing almost everything off the list I started in May, though whilst in the middle of things, I really just wanted to get in my car and drive away.  Forever.


Okay, my two fingers are getting tired and my shoulder hurts, so I'm going to take another pain pill, make a nice cuppa, and sit down for awhile to rest my bones.

Don't forget in all the excitement of parties and trick or treating and woo hoo it's Hallowe'en that Standard Time begins on Sunday, peeps.  Buggers...

Friday, October 2, 2015


Nick's parents were here last week.  They stayed with me because I have more room.  It was really fun, getting to know them.  They left Monday morning to spend some time at the Oregon coast before heading back to Colorado, but they called yesterday and wanted Nick and I to meet them at one of our local restaurants for a final visit over lunch.

So, mid-morning I was out in the back garden watering before the rendezvous--because yes, it's still hot here--when out of the blue, like someone flipped a switch, every siren in town began to wail.  I was startled, and worried.  What in the world would make fire, ambulance and police all ignite at once? My first thought was the lumber mill outside town had caught fire, or exploded, though I hadn't heard any booms.

About an hour later, I drove down the mountain to Nick's.  He took the wheel, his face grim.  I asked him what was wrong as he merged onto the freeway.  He looked at me and said, "You haven't heard?"

"I heard the sirens going all over town earlier, was it the mill?"

"There was a terrible shooting at the college," he said.  "There were several people killed."

I stared at him for a minute, not comprehending.  "Was it Oregon State or the University of Oregon? It must have been bad if they needed our help."  (Both schools are in towns about an hour north of me).

Nick glanced at me again.  "Our college,"

"What are you talking about?  Umpqua?  That can't be right."  As the words were spilling out and my stomach was beginning to roil, a LifeFlight helicopter roared over our heads toward the local hospital and two ambulances blew past followed by two State Police cars.

It was true.  In my little corner of the world, an inexplicably tragic act of horror had just taken place. I've watched this scenario play out many times on the television; I've felt for the victims, the communities, the families and friends.  But never, not ever, did I imagine it happening where I live, in the back of beyond small town America.

Our lunch with Nick's parents was fraught, the whup-whup of helicopters and sirens erasing appetites as we watched the story unfold on the big screen televisions at the restaurant.  We parted with extra tight hugs and promises to keep in touch.

Last night there was a candlelight vigil in the park--a place usually filled with kids and picnics, summer music and art festivals.  In the middle of town, the park meanders, following the bends in the river.  It seemed like most of the town was there.

There's a strange sense of solidarity when people come together in disbelief, sadness, shock.  I've seen this time and again on the news, but never understood it until now.  You want that little candle to somehow light the darkness, keep the evil at bay.  You stand next to strangers that aren't strangers after all and you wonder how this happened...why does it continue to happen?

Homeland Security, ATF, the FBI and every major news network have taken over the town.  I had to grocery shop this morning and a store that is usually bustling with noise and clatter, was almost silent.  Afterwards I went to my local coffee kiosk to check on the barista girls as I know several of them go to UCC. Thankfully, only one was in class yesterday.  This morning she told me the images in her head will be with her forever.  We cried.

I have always felt safe here, in Roseburg.  It's off the beaten track, quiet, unassuming and small. The ground has shifted under my feet, peeps, and I don't know how to find my balance.

Monday, August 24, 2015

To Paraphrase Mark Twain...

...rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Actually, I'm alive and well (and thanks peeps, for the emails and phone calls!), though to be truthful, I am sick and tired of the relentless heat, the forest fire smoke that's been a constant for weeks now, and the endless work I've been doing on this blasted house--in particular, for most of this long, interminable month of August, hence no blogging, reading or writing.

Although...a few weeks back, on a truly horrible weekend of triple digit temps, Nick and I loaded the truck, hitched up the trailer and headed to the coast for a couple days of dune action.  It was a welcome relief from the inland heat, though temps nearly reached 80*--which at the Oregon coast is not something that happens often.  Seems no matter where I go, I'm destined to sweat.  Then we got food poisoning on Saturday night and spent the remainder of the night and into Sunday's early morning hours bonding over the toilet bowl.  Ah, the romance of it all...

A few shots taken before the Mexican Dinner of Doom...

Jumped out of the Maverick to take this shot of Nick and machine just as it began to get dark...and okay, I wanted another photo of my favorite bridge, off in the distance.

Love the pools and swamps that appear so unexpectedly, hidden below the rise of a dune...

So, one little bit of fun in a very grueling month of repairing gutters, sanding and painting, installing a new cook top--I handed Nick the tools, he did all the work--deck prep x 2, and a million other things that I'm trying to accomplish before the heat, smoke or workload do me in.

At the moment, I'm not sure who's winning.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Fire Weather System

I've watched programs on the Weather and Science channels about fire-driven weather systems, but never thought I would see such a thing myself.

Yesterday, the fire that's burning closest to town jumped the containment barrier and roared to new and dangerous life in the afternoon.

Nick was over and called me outside around 4:30 or so to look at this weird cloud.  At first, I thought it was just a normal Summer thundercloud and hoped it wouldn't add lightning to the out-of-control blaze.  I snapped a quick shot but couldn't stay out on the side deck for too long as the temperature was 106* and still climbing...

Curious about what we thought might be a pending storm, Nick went out again at 5:00 while I was starting dinner, then yelled at me to bring my camera.  The cloud had grown, creepy and huge and we now knew it was a weather system generated by the fire.  Doesn't that second shot look like a giant mouth, ready to take a big bite?

Another check, just past 6:00, temperature 108*.  This was amazing in real life; wish my camera could convey the magnitude of this monster, or the turmoil I tried to capture in the second photo. At the bottom right corner of the first shot, you can actually see part of the fire smoke rising just on the other side of that hill.  And yeah, that's the town right below...

I heard this morning that another fire has started 30 miles south of this one and has already consumed 6,000 acres of wilderness.  The scary part is, the two fires are burning toward each other.

Today is to reach close to 110*, the area is tinder dry in this endless drought, the air is nearly too scorched to breathe...and I'm thinking a nice, long vacation at the coast just might be in order.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fixes, Fires and Fawns

I need a holiday...seriously, a very, very long one.  I'm still working endlessly on the House Chores From Hell list--for what seems like most of my adult life at this point--and though I'm making progress, there hasn't been much time to blog, read or have any fun these past few weeks.

I managed to spend some quality time on the roof last week, scrubbing out the gutters.  Got them clean and washed, then sealed the splits in the bad corner joins, and now just need to sand under the eaves and repaint, though perhaps not this week as the temperatures are soaring: today is 105*, tomorrow 108*...and no let up in sight.

In another attempt to cool the house from the relentless heat of Summer in southern Oregon, I've covered the laser beams--aka the skylights--with sliding shades.  Nick's idea and a really, really good one, too.  We spent last weekend installing three in the great room and almost immediately, I could feel the difference in the Greenhouse Effect.

One of three skylights that blast nuclear rays into the house...and Nick balancing on the 10' ladder getting ready to install the first shade....

Of course, each window was just slightly askew so it took lots of maneuvering and shimming and general cursing to get all three shades in place, but we did it.  And wow, Nick did just an incredible job...

New shade closed, blocking the orb.  And new shade open, though that won't be happening again until about October.

With the temps so high for the foreseeable future, it's really wonderful that we got the shades installed just in the nick of time (yes, pun intended...)


Got up this morning with a clogged throat and a burning nose.  I woke up in the night with cool, fresh air blowing in my open bedroom window, so I was really concerned to smell that now-familiar acrid bite of smoke.

Last night, crystal clear, almost full moon, millions of stars overhead.

This morning...and somewhere down there in the valley is my little town, engulfed in smoke.  I quickly got on the internet to see where this latest forest fire was burning and discovered it's in the deep wilderness just 20 miles or so east of me...holy crap.

Have I mentioned that Summer is my least favorite time of year?   And it isn't even August yet, the real fire month.  Ugh.


Just when I think I can't hack it up this mountain one more day, or deal with another scorching Summer...this happens:  Wee downy Bambi babies start appearing, all wobbly legs and fawn spots and big ears, and I wonder how I can go back to city living.

Though, that might be the heatstroke talking...