Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holly Days

I've been utterly worthless with my blogging these past several months, barely managing to write, either here or with the ongoing serialized novel, let alone read a book, and my camera is gathering dust on the bookshelf so my photography has languished as well.

I have plans to do better in the New Year.  Not a resolution, mind you, because I don't do those, but a sincere attempt to organize my time, get focused and step away from the endless torture of owning an older home.  No doubt when Spring and Summer come however, I will once again be consumed, but that's months away and not something I want to think about right now.  Ugh.

So, Happy Holidays to everyone. Think kind thoughts, dream of childish things and believe that--as humans sharing this beautiful planet--we can and will do better in the coming year.

Blessings of happiness and hope, dear readers.


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...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Midsummer Madness

I think it pretty much goes without saying that my blog posts have been very hit or miss lately.  And it's not just because of Nick's presence in my life, but the load of work I've been doing around the house this Summer.  And truly, without his help, I would have long been overwhelmed by now and probably not be posting on the blog until Hallowe'en.

I've spent the last week or so trying not to have a meltdown in the heat and humidity, whilst still making some kind of effort to power wash both decks and the gutters.  I'm going to forget staining the decks--that hasn't worked and I'm tired of endlessly doing the same work over and over every damn Summer--so I'm going to try the Deck Over stuff which is sort of like paint and stain in one application.  The only bad thing is, the decks have to be super clean and any defects have to be fixed beforehand.  I have a few boards that will need to be replaced--according to Nick.  Frankly, I would just leave it, but he's too professional for that.  In the long run, I can see his point, but while my brain fries in the relentless heat, I find myself not giving a tinker's damn.

There are some splits in the gutters at three corner joints which have to be washed, wirebrushed and cleaned before I can apply the sealant, then the fascia boards will have to be sanded and repainted because the dripping rain (what rain??) has bubbled the paint under the eaves. Thankfully, the gutters that need fixing are easily accessible.  With no shade from the nuclear orb, I've been forced to work in the early or late parts of the day which means that project is dragging on and on.

And I'm still forging ahead with The Purge, though that's going much slower than I expected.  I mean, really, how hard is it to sort through closets, drawers and cupboards?  Very hard, as it turns out. When I finally get a good bunch of boxes and bags filled and stuffed into the car, I have to haul everything to the Goodwill.  The other day it was close to 100* and no one was manning the area where you drop stuff off, so not only did I have to load the crap, I had to unload it too.  A big bonfire in the backyard would work for me about now...except for the drought and fire danger.

Working while sweat pours down my face, soaks my shirt and makes me cranky is becoming normal these days--and totally not something I'm happy about.  Each task seems to take longer and be fraught with problems, shorting out my temper--and the will to live--while I dream of cooler days, chilly nights, flannel shirts and jeans.

Ah well...this too shall pass.  Right?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Speed Of Life

Another wild week has sped by since last I wrote a post.  Honestly, I don't know if it's the heat, or all the work and chores I've been doing, or...what exactly.

Last Thursday I had to move some of the furniture--crammed most of it into the back bedroom--because the carpet cleaning guy was coming first thing Friday morning.  Nick helped me move the big stuff, then after he left, I spent a couple more hours rolling up rugs and stashing numerous smaller items in all the closets before collapsing in a sweaty heap of too hot and tired to do another thing.

So, up at 6:30am Friday, I vacuum the house for the next hour and a half and barely had time for a cup of coffee before the guy arrived.  Still, getting the carpet cleaned was at the top of my Things To Get Done By Fall and I couldn't wait to cross that task off the list.

Friday turned out to be 103*.  It nearly killed the carpet guy, though thankfully he managed to do an excellent job before he began to croak.  I plied the man with endless glasses of water, and fortunately all ended well with the carpet now looking brand new.  I'm pretty sure he was really sorry to be scheduled to work that day.

The new fittings arrived on Saturday for the last three lights in the kitchen and Nick got them installed in a matter of minutes.  I love the clean, clear look of the glass shades; they sparkle like crystal and make me smile.  It's amazing how just a few little fixtures can change a room so much, and with minimum expense if they're on sale.  And you know a guy named Nick.

Then, as the day wore on, Saturday became utterly unbearable...for breathing, moving, eating. Being alive.  The heat was brutal; the burning asphalt road to Hell sounds about right.  By early evening, it was so humid, my hair frizzed.  I don't have the kind of hair that frizzes.

The Arts Festival--a once-a-year event that's usually really fun--was taking place all weekend and we'd planned to go, but it was just too flaming hot. I felt bad for the craft and food vendors...but especially for the bands trying to play music in the swelter.

Sunday...more of the same: heat, humidity, brain fry.  Nick and I went out to lunch, then sat in his backyard under some trees where there was a tiny breeze.  Or maybe it was just me wheezing while my lungs tried to inhale water instead of air.

This huge Monarch butterfly wandered past, picked a leaf and didn't move for the rest of the afternoon.  So, it wasn't just me then...

I don't have a clear picture about everything I've done between Monday and right now, but I have managed to keep busy on the chores list and even finished the closet sorting that I started two weeks ago, and all the drawers and cabinets in the bathroom, and loads of other stuff that I can't remember, thanks to the mind-melting heat.

Long holiday weekend ahead, and although several plans are on the table, Nick and I haven't decided what we're doing yet.  My vote is to fly to some Norwegian fjord and throw myself into the icy cold water but at the moment no one else seems interested in that brilliant idea.

So, dear readers, in case I lose myself in the space/time continuum again...or melt into a gooey human puddle as the heatwave rolls on...and on...

Have a safe, wonderful and Happy 4th of July...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cars, Kitchens and Chaos

So, Nick says to me on Saturday afternoon that he saw these really cool light fixtures at Lowe's that could replace the ugly and terrible (my words, though I'm sure he was also thinking them) 20-year old track lighting spotlights in the kitchen.  We decide to go on Sunday and since it's easier to pick him up on the way, I drive to his place around 11:00 the next morning, we spend a few minutes dinking, then get in the Blazer to head for Lowe's.

The car won't start.  Dead as a doornail.  (And hey, what exactly is a doornail...???)**

I look at Nick, he looks at me, then he gets out of the car, lifts the hood, does some tinkering and discovers my battery is a complete goner.  I had no red light warning, saw no change in the gauge, but the thing is toast.  As I'm slightly stressing about the situation, Nick says, "Well, the car couldn't have died in a better place."  And because he's totally right, I just resigned myself to the inevitable and let him rescue me...again.  Course, he knew right where to go for the new battery, even got me a discount, and an hour later we're back on track and off to Lowe's.

[Have I mentioned already that I'm anticipating imminent dumpage?  Seriously.  The Blazer has run like a dream for years--yes, with regular maintenance--and yet in the past two+ weeks, I've Nick has replaced the water pump, running boards, and now the battery.  I'm telling you, dear readers, it's only a matter of time before he decides enough already.  Cripes...]

Anyway.  We get to Lowe's, and although I've just spent the light fixture money on the new battery (holy crap they're expensive these days!), he was right: the lights are really great...and they're on sale. So what the heck, I buy three--to go over the kitchen sink and counters--and with his usual attitude of no time like the present, we have lunch, get back to my house, and...

My wonderful new lights...

There will be three more on the other side of the kitchen to light up the stove and counters, though Lowe's was out of the hanging part of the fixture so they had to be ordered and won't be in until next week--a delay I'm fine with because, honestly, what with all the car rescues and stuff, I'd really like the man to just come to my house and not do any work.


The West Coast is having a record-breaking heat wave, running from Anchorage, Alaska to San Diego, California.  That's 3,750 miles--give or take--of blistering heat, forest fires and temps in the high 90s and low 100s.  Friday will hit 103 here, in southern Oregon, then for the next three weeks, most days will hover right at the 100* mark.  It gives me brain fry just to think of it.

It's too weird having deep August temperatures in June.  My only hope is that by actual August it will be October weather as we seem to be at least six weeks ahead of normal this year. Unfortunately, I fear this could be shaping up to be the Summer The West Coast Burned.  I don't know when the unrelenting drought will end...or maybe this will be the new West: deserts, dust devils and fire.  It's frightening.  And probably not the time to be living on a mountain, surrounded by forest...just my luck.


Still.  While I'm laying on the cold Italian tiles in the kitchen for the rest of the Summer as it swelters and scorches outside...I can admire my beautiful new light fixtures.

And dream of autumn days and warm soup, cozy socks and flannel jammies, pumpkins and falling leaves.  Sigh...


** Okay, peeps, you know I had to look it up.  

Doornails are the large-headed studs that were used in earlier times for strength and more recently as decoration. The practice was to hammer the nail through and then bend the protruding end over to secure it. This process, similar to riveting, was called clenching. This may be the source of the 'deadness', as such a nail would be unusable afterwards.

(Answer and photo courtesy of

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hey, Pop...

Happy Father's Day to all the great, kind and loving Dads out matter what form they take...

P.S.  I'll be thinking about your smile today, how your blue eyes twinkled when you'd laugh at one of your own corny jokes, and I'll always remember your welcoming hugs every time I came home to visit.  Miss you, Pop...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Last Week Was A Doozy

About two weeks ago, I stubbed my big toe...really, really bad.  Just as it was getting dark one night, I stumbled on the front deck steps after saying goodbye to Nick, managed to catch myself, but still teetering, slammed my foot into the riser.  Agony, a lot of whimpering, I hobbled up the last several stairs to the front door and fortunately looked down before I walked onto the carpet.  Blood is pouring out the top half of my big toe and running over the side of my flip flop.

Holy crap.

I do a quick scan up and down the mountain road, then take off my shirt and wrap it around my foot so I can get across the carpet to the kitchen without leaving a CSI crime scene trail in my wake.  Up on the counter, foot in the sink, water flushing the wound so I can assess the damage. Damage I don't want to look at, let alone assess, but I suck it up, get everything clean...and realize I've nearly ripped the nail clear off.  I'm not sure what to do, so I wrap the toe in gauze and tape in the hope that the nail will somehow miraculously reattach itself.

Then I stub the dang thing at least twenty times over the next ten days requiring endless bandaging and mollycoddling.

Monday, last week, out of the shower, drying off, I look down at my foot...and what in flaming hell is wrong with that nail?  It's...**gulp**...twisted somehow, like almost turned sideways. Eeewwwww.

Long story short, skipping gory details:  I had to pull off the nail.  To the base.  The process was wretched and ugly and yes, there were tears.  And although it was one of my top five yuckiest moments to date, within hours of being nail-less, my toe felt better.  No more throbbing, no more painful swelling, just blessed relief...

Tuesday, I went grocery shopping, came out of the store and found that someone had backed into my Blazer and wrecked the running board on the passenger side.  Bits and pieces were laying on the ground, though thankfully the running board saved my car from getting bashed which would have been way more aggravating.  With Nick's most excellent help, I found some replacement running boards online, delivery expected by Thursday.

Wednesday, hot and miserably muggy day.  Stuck in traffic, A/C roaring, I'm at one of the worst intersections in town (a 12-way which is beyond-description horrible) when my water pump decides to implode.  Chaos ensues as you can imagine, dear readers, what with the soaring temps, the traffic, my rising anxiety and imminent heatstroke.

And honestly?  If I were Nick about now, I would dump me at the first opportunity because, yet again, he comes to my rescue. We get the car towed back to the house, then he takes me to the car parts place and we order a new water pump.  Coincidentally, both the running boards and the pump are delivered on Thursday.

I was feeling guilty about Nick doing all this work for me, but he told me not to worry, we'd have fun doing the car together.  I was still protesting when he left Thursday evening.

Friday, I get up, turn on the laptop and get this email/photo from Nick...

Caption read: "Help comes in all shapes and sizes"

He was leaving for work that morning and saw this spider hitching a ride on the back of a very large snail.  I laughed out loud...and smiled for the rest of the day.

So.  We did indeed spend the weekend inside the engine and underneath the Blazer and it was fun. Now my baby runs like a dream and has shiny new running boards, too.

I'm gonna owe Nick until the end of time.

And I don't mind one bit...

Monday, June 8, 2015

Man, Oh Man...

...what a great weekend.  The weather at the coast was outstanding, in the mid-70s, brilliant sunshine all day, once the early morning fog dissipated.

And riding the dunes?  I'm officially hooked.  It was wild and crazy and exciting, and I laughed like a lunatic from start to finish.  There's something about climbing a vertical dune, then plunging down the other side in a rush of wind and sand while hanging on for dear life that's just indescribable.

Nick said at one point, when we stopped so I could take some photos, that he'd never known anyone to laugh so much in the face of death.  I swiveled my Darth Vader helmet head and said, "Death?" He smiled and said, "Nothing for you to worry about, but there were a couple of dicey moments going over that last ridge line."

"Which moments?" I ask, suddenly concerned that I was clueless about the possibility of my imminent demise.

He just grinned, said he had years of experience, reassured me he wouldn't let anything bad happen and told me to just keep laughing.  I took him at his word and had the best couple of days a woman could ask for.

I didn't take as many photos as expected--too much fun racing up and down dunes all day--but I still got some good shots.  Here's a smattering...

We were racing toward the water so I could get photos of the Coos Bay bridge.  I have a thing for really dramatic bridge structures and this 1930s cantilever bridge--on the National Register of Historic Places--is a beauty.  So we had a great three mile run, even catching some serious air a time or two.

Off in the distance (middle of picture) is the bridge...

For an idea how high up on the dune we were when I took the bridge shots, notice the SUV below us...

On our way back to the truck at mid-afternoon, Nick did some fancy swirls and spins around these dead trees, then I asked him to stop so I could get a shot of the stark reality of the dunes...sea grass, dead trees and endless miles of sand...

Sunday morning we got a very early start.  Had breakfast at a little Mom and Pop pancake place where everyone at the other tables started chatting with us, and before too long it was like we were locals.  Small town America at its best.

Then we drove to a different place to ride, crossing Coos Bay, and the bridge couldn't have been more wonderful in the early morning fog...


All around the dunes, there are these pools of water, brought by the rain and fog.  Dozens of oasis(es?) tucked willy nilly at the bottom of several dunes, some hidden and hard to see, others large and deep.

Again, we stopped at the top of a dune.  Below us, skirting the water in the center of the shot, is a lone rider and in the far distance behind the trees, fog is rising off the ocean.  We drove to the sea, but it was too damp and foggy for pictures...

Another series of pools...

We stopped for lunch at an Airstream trailer turned into a most excellent diner and while Nick talked to some guys interested in his modifications to the Maverick, I wandered toward the bay and took this last shot of a gull as he flew next to the railroad bridge.  Love the Bay bridge arches in the background.

It would have been great to get more photos, but the weekend was more about riding.  And though there were apparently some death-defying moments, I was having too much fun to care.

A perfect weekend, then.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Screwdrivers and Sand Dunes

Honestly. between working my way through The Chores and daydreaming about Nick...I just can't seem to find time to write these days.  Inexcusable, I know, but there you go.  In the rush of a burgeoning relationship, it appears I've lost any talent for multi-tasking, being able to focus for longer than five seconds, or remembering why I've gone from one room to another. Good thing I don't have to operate heavy machinery.

I've also found myself shaking my head in amazement at Nick's ability to fix anything.  So far, he's fixed the back door, the screen door at the front, the water pressure in the shower, balanced the washing machine and changed the flickering fluorescent lights in the laundry room.  He knows exactly where I keep my tools and usually has my favorite screwdriver in his hand not long after he arrives.  I've tried to hide the thing because I really don't want him to feel like he has to work for his supper...but he just goes to his truck, gets his own screwdriver and carries on.  I'm trying not to get used to this turn of events--if it's broke, I'm the one usually doing the fixing--but really, having a guy around who can do anything?  You bet I'm smiling...


Yesterday I spent the day cleaning out my closet.  Well, my intent was to clean it out, but after four hours and a heap of things for the thrift shop or the bin, I was shocked and dismayed to realize I had only sorted through shoes and one wall of stuff.  I have two walls to go, plus shelves. The hard part about cleaning out a closet is having to try on all the clothes/shoes and make decisions about what to save or what to release back into the wild.  And there are lots of memories in these little pieces of fabric; doesn't matter that I'll never be a size 6 again in this lifetime.

Before...                                                                     After...

Hot and grueling as the experience was, it's encouraging to see the vast difference between the start of the task and the end result--even if the true end result is still days from being accomplished.


But the closet sorting will have to wait until next week.  Because I've been diverted by this bad boy...

Nick and I are off to the Oregon coast this weekend to ride the dunes.  Can't wait to put on my Darth Vader helmet and start screaming in fear yelling with excitement at the thrill of it all...and to take some great photos...

That's way more fun than cleaning the closet...

Friday, May 29, 2015

No Complaints

There comes a time in a new relationship--depending on circumstance--when the inevitable meeting of family and friends occurs.  I've always found it difficult to go from the excitement of getting to know someone one-on-one, to the nervous breakdown phase of being introduced to the other part of a person's life.

Nick asked me to go with him to a Memorial Day BBQ...with most of his motley crew of friends and cohorts.  My stomach flipped, heart raced.  Ah man, isn't it too soon?  We've only know each other for 3+ weeks.  Isn't that a bit early to meet the crew?  He assures me it's all good, so I make a big bowl of potato salad and try to calm the jitters.  What if they don't like me?  What if I don't like them? What if an asteroid hits the planet and I have to somehow fight to survive with these total strangers? (Hey, it could happen!)

However, other than that first awkward moment when we walked out onto the back deck and everyone turned to stare at the "new girl", the party was really fun.  His friends were sweet and welcoming, and the heaps of food were amazing and delicious.  I laughed my head off, told a few good stories myself, and felt like an idiot at the end of the day for worrying, even when I met Nick's sister--who was really nice, by the way.  (And thankfully, the rest of his family lives in Colorado, because there's only so much a girl can take in one day).

I don't seem to be getting much done lately, what with these new and unexpected Nick distractions. It's been quite awhile since I've had long, meandering phone conversations, shared dinners with someone, or been to a really great party.  I often find myself staring off into space, mind spinning with the changes that have transpired in just one short month.

And ladies, just between us?  I forgot how time-consuming it is to have a man around.

I'm not complaining.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Take A Moment

Memorial Day, 2015

The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every 
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart...
Should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, 
gratitude and rededication on this solemn occasion.

                                         --Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Buddha and Boyfriends

Still working my way down the very long To Do List, which will take me clear through the Summer and into early Fall.  I'm trying to pace myself, take my time...after all, I have at least three months to accomplish my tasks.

So, yesterday, to break the monotony of what seems like endless chores, I went into town and wasted some quality time by window shopping and checking out the new stuff at Pier 1, one of my favorite places to dream and admire and fantasize about owning a beach bungalow somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard.

What I found was this amazing piece of art that I just couldn't resist.  Thankfully it was on sale, with a further 20% discount, and I also had a coupon for $15 dollars off any purchase.  Good thing, too, because I think I might have paid full price no matter what--which definitely wasn't in my budget after the dishwasher fiasco.

Let me digress for a moment:

I've been looking for a large piece hang over my bed.  I change my duvet covers with the seasons, so whatever I found had to be neutral to work with four totally different patterns and fabrics.  I've been on the hunt for this elusive item for ages.

So, yesterday.  I'm wandering in the nether region of the store where the pictures and art pieces are stacked against two walls and I begin rummaging.

And there it was.  The one.  I pulled it out from behind several other art works and just stared in amazement.  It's about 2-1/2 feet by 3-1/2 feet, four solid wood planks, carved in Indonesia, signed by the artist. I knew it was going to kill me to turn the price tag over, but then I did--and realized it might be doable with the various discounts and holy crap, this is going to be MINE.

It's beautiful and looks incredible in real life.  Every single time I go into my bedroom, I can't help smiling.

My most excellent Buddha...


It's another long weekend, peeps; the holiday that effectively kicks off Summer.  I have some plans, though not sure what Nick and I will decide to do in the end.

Wait...  Nick?  Who's Nick, you're wondering?

It's early days--couple weeks so far--and I haven't mentioned him because I didn't want to jinx anything, but yeah, there's a possible, maybe, too soon to tell, boyfriend kinda guy named Nick who seems interested in knowing me.  He's been over for dinner a few times and we talk on the phone every day, so the interest is going both ways.  I'll share the first meeting one of these days...even the blushing and stuttering parts where I acted more inept than a 15 year old once I realized what was happening.

Clueless doesn't come close...but hey, I'm totally out of practice.  And it's scary cool...

Sunday, May 17, 2015


This has been the busiest week ever.  Honestly, from Mother's Day weekend to this moment, it's been non-stop.

I had a great time with Mom, though it was also really good to hang out with just my sister and do girly things too.  And eat out.  And go the mall.  And stay up way too late drinking wine and laughing our heads off.

After my sister left to drive home on Monday, I had a house full of men washing all the windows, inside and out, including the skylights so there were even guys up on the roof.  "It's raining men," (hallelujah) kept running through my head the whole time the crew were here.  It's great to have all the windows shiny and clean...even better that I didn't have to climb a 30-ft ladder or get on the roof myself.

The window cleaning started the week and things just got more busy as the days went on with appointments and errands and chores.  Every night I'd sit at the laptop, my mind whirling from all the stuff I'd done that day and what had to be done the next, so rather than write, all I could do was sigh and shut the machine off.

I know things have become too fraught when I haven't read a book in over two weeks.  But now, at last, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm caught up with so many things I can hardly believe later today I'll actually be able to sit down and read.


Yesterday, the last of the gardening work was finished.  I'm set for the Summer--only the lawn to mow each week, and the backyard pots and containers to water--which is a great feeling especially after all the work I've done to get to this point.

I took some shots yesterday of my begonia, columbine and iris blooms.  I might not like the scorching heat of the impending Summer, but I do love the colors and beauty of the flowers that bask in the sunshine...


It will be good to get back to a more regular and reasonable schedule again.  I miss my walks with the boys, so have started a new exercise regime.  I'm calling it Joyful Dancing.  I have dozens of SiriusXM radio channels on my TV, so I picked one that plays Jukebox Gold...and I dance to 70s and 80s tunes.

The dancing--and the idea--started on Friday when I wanted to listen to some music while I was working.  I picked a station, but before I could get back to work, the first song had me dancing around the house, then the second one was a great dance song too and before I knew it, I'd danced about eight in a row and was breathless and sweaty from the workout.  Well then.  Who needs an exercise machine or a gym?  I've got music, rhythm, and my feet.

So, I dance for a solid half an hour, flying around the house doing hardcore twisting and turning, wiggling and shaking.  It's been really fun, though Saturday morning after my first "session" on Friday, I was so stiff, I crawled out of bed moaning and groaning.

Still.  I love to dance and can't think of a better way to exercise, even if it hurts.


I expect to post the next installment of the story this coming week.  I've let it languish for well over a month now, leaving Mitch and Kate in a dicey predicament.  They've been banging and shouting in my head a lot lately, so unless I want Ace to use me as his personal chew toy, I have to get back into the plot soon.

Okay, now Joe Walsh is singing "All Night Long" and I've gotta get dancing.  So, come on, peeps, get your feet moving and join will make you smile...really.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mom's Weekend...

My sister is driving down from Washington, then we're headed further south to our mother's for her birthday and Mother's Day celebrations.  The weather is to be in the mid-80s, sunny and warm, so we've planned a picnic and have loads of gifts and goofy things for Mom that should make for some good laughs and fun.  I'll be out of town and off the grid until Monday.

Have a great weekend, peeps...and for all you Moms out there:

** Happy Mother's Day  **

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Holiday Photos

Well, here I am at the hotel.  It's warm and sunny, palm trees are swaying in the gentle trade winds, the air is redolent with the heady scents of hibiscus and ginger.

The ocean whispers, beckoning me to the water's edge to sink my feet in the wet sand as the sea laps at my toes.  Here's the incredible view from my balcony...

Before I hit the beach and revel in the tropical mindset of slow and easy, I think I'll head to the tiki bar and order a lovely, cold umbrella drink from one of the yummy cabana boys I can see below, smiling at their customers as they deliver beverages beside the pool...

Such a wonderful holiday.  I'm so glad I was able to save up for it this year...


New dishwasher installed much for my holiday money....sigh.