Monday, December 18, 2006

Waking Joy

“We may say to ourselves, one day these souls of ours will blossom into the full sunshine, when all that is desirable in the commonness of daily love, and all we long for of wonder and mystery, and the look of Christmastime will be joined in one, and we shall walk as in a wondrous dream, yet with more sense of reality than most of our waking joy now gives us.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~ George MacDonald

Friday, December 15, 2006

Of Darkness, Candles, and Snow

You may have heard on the news about our Major Storm yesterday. Major Storm - sounds like a cartoon character, or a weatherman. Anyway, yes, it was a doozy!

A little after six o'clock we watched the trees begin to sway, and twist, and full-on watusi. Soon, debris was rolling and tumbling down the street: air filled plastic bags, huge unstowed garbage cans, and branches that had been torn from their limbs. Our trees lost a few smaller branches, nothing dangerous. This, for our area, is quite a significant distraction from the norm. Unusual weather gives us a buzz.

Around six thirty the power went out, right in the middle of It Takes a Thief, that show on Discovery with the two hunky reformed thieves who teach people about security by trashing their homes and robbing them blind. (Did that grumpy guy EVER get over Jon taking his classic 'vette?) Yep, the power flickered, went out, nope back on, nope out, yes, uh huh, okay, yyeeaaah's gone.

When the power goes out here you pretty much just sit there for a moment or two because it usually comes back on. Not last night. We sat. We watched. I went outside. I'm getting over my cold, but not there yet. Still, I sat on the porch to watch the darkness. Don't worry, warm temperatures and thick clothes protected me. The kids made sure of it. All their hard work getting me well was not to be undone by a stupid dark-watching session.

While sitting on the porch I witnessed a few blasts and flashes of transformers blowing. Startling. Several blocks were out of power, cars began to drive slower down the street, people began to leave their homes. (Hmm, good time for a home robbery; yes, I watch too much TV.) It was peaceful. "I need to see how far and wide this outage goes," so the girls and I hopped into the car and drove around, just as the sideways downpour began, making the wipers' high speed seem like low/intermittent. Street lights were out, yet patient politeness ruled the night. Sweet! How odd to have a black hole in front of me while driving these familiar roads, when I'm used to being able to see all the way down the street due to street and house lights. Just weird. Like driving a country road - but we're in town!

Home again. Sitting there. Looking at each other. Quiet. Candles and oil lamps burning. How many times did Cassie go into the kitchen, flip the light switch, sag her shoulders, and sigh? We lost count. Habit supersedes cognizance. Words began to come. Quiet words of reminiscence, teasing, giggles, laughter. Togetherness in blankets. Peace settling in. Three hours and counting. This isn't so bad.

The winds continued to rip down the street and howl over the house. Through our large living room window I lazily kept my eyes on the silhouetted outdoor scene, when, what to my wandering eyes doth appear, but a sky-filling dark lime green glow, descending curtain-like, intensifying, wavering, shimmering, and eventually snaking away.

Huh? Wha??? Did you see that? What WAS that?? "Oh, Mama, you are so faking; you're trying to scare us."

"No, she's still hallucinating.....," snorts Joe.

"No, I'm not!! It was green.....the ENTIRE EASTERN SKY!"

Jabbering, I returned to the porch. A few moments later, there it was again, more northerly. And later, it came again, only reddish. The girls witnessed these flashes.

Vindication - snort.

My computer brain began to decode what I'd seen. It remembered an article on The Drudge Report about a solar storm currently taking place, a big one, which was having its effect on the Earth.

Land Sakes! I think I saw the Northern Lights!! Aurora Borealis!!


To see the Aurora Borealis with my own eyes has long been high on my list of Things To Do Before I Die.

It was gloriously frightening. It was as awesome, startling, and as ethereal as I'd hoped. Maybe even more so because it was a mystery for several minutes.

Thank you, Matt Drudge, wherever you are.

Thank you Mother Nature for your storm.

Thank you God for all of the above.

And thanks, power fixing dudes, for restoring our lights, just in time for bed.

Morning has brought hail, sleet, snow - and blue sky sunshine. Buzz!

It really is the simple things in life.

Good photos of Aurora Borealis - these July 22, 2004 photos show pretty much what I saw last night, as far as color and form. Amazing to me to learn that these lights are visible to those of us in the Lower 48 all year long, but for the light pollution of the city which obliterates them from view. Thanks to God for his gift of good timing last night, which allowed me a magnificent blessing!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Invading - threatening - dark.
Bullying, heedless.

Obligation? Response?
Gentleness earns bluster.
Kindness earns rant.
Then greets now.

Abandon hope?
Close doors, lock, bolt?
End, finito, enough?
I precede you? When?

Why repetition?
Kowtow, submit, capitulate. No.
Spoiled child, spoiled adult.
Fools dismiss wisdom.

Bleak situation
Demands strong will, heart.
"Enough light for the next step, Lord.
Just enough for one, more, step."

~~~~~ Ethan Itia, poet

It's been a rough day.

(Before you go there, no, it's not Tom or the kids. Something menacing this way comes.)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Cookies and Cheerful Children

Merry Christmas!!

Cassie (green teeth) and Caroline (red teeth) made these cookies while Christmas Carols filled the house, the Christmas Spirit energized all, and the scent of cookies wafted, yes wafted, up our noses driving us batty - GIVE ME SOME!!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sweet Contentment

I had one of those moments today, you know the kind, where your body pulses with pink faced contentment. Oh my goodness.

Joe showed me a paper he had written for an art class at Gutenberg College. Marked with glowing comments from his tutor, and a circled capital 'A', the paper painted such a vivid picture that my blood warmed and my mouth turned up in a smile. The insights, the sophistication, the simplicity stopped my breath in my throat. It was great.

Then I thought about my other kids, and my husband, and the things they do which amaze me. Maybe they aren't grand world-changing things, but to me, they are marvelous.

Caroline made a batch of dinner rolls using one of Emeril's recipes and they beat any rolls I've ever made! They are ready for the Thanksgiving table. Such satisfaction, yet nonchalance. Hmmm. No big deal to her. She can do anything. I've always told her so.

Cassie can grow pumpkins, cut 'em up, cook 'em, squish 'em, and bake them up in pies that rival anything anyone's ever tasted, and I'm serious. She makes it look easy.

Ben sails with glee, abandon, and confidence. He takes beautiful photos that make me cry. He paid for and graduated college, manages a household full of young adults, works a full-time job, enjoys outdoor life in Oregon, and still has time for us, his family.

Tom never stops learning. He honestly believes he can fix or build anything on this house and he DOES. Anything. He amazes me, when I'm not taking him for granted.

Joe, yes, he writes beautifully. Like Ben, he pushes his boundaries outward, outward, outward, never settling, always seeking. Why, this spring the boy up and flew to England on his own just because he'd always dreamed of such a thing. Now he attends Gutenberg College where finally, after years of not finding his niche, he's found a place that matches his curiosity, a place which does not disappoint. He's working hard, full of energy, getting excellent grades. Purpose makes all the difference.

And then I think of me, the mom to these kids, the wife of Tom, and I am astonished and humbled at what has taken place in our lives in the last quarter century. To most it would seem like nothing. No big house. No new cars. No big paychecks, no nice clothes, nor celebrity. But to me, it is living, real living. Living that challenges, that satisfies. Simplicity. Mindfulness. It fits, and I like

Grace of God.

Monday, October 30, 2006


"Sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

~-~- Paul Newman in, "Cool Hand Luke" ~-~-

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fifteen Years

It was fifteen years ago today that Cassie came into this world, a curious, quiet, pink, pretty baby. My dad quickly named her, "The Most Beautiful Baby in the World!" She didn't have the usual misshapen head or discoloring, and she wasn't squalling. She was peaceful and her little eyes were wandering all around the room, though I'm told babies can't see very well. I am certain she had no idea how to interpret her vision. She seemed to be curiously trying to understand!

All I could do was cry and say quietly, "I have a"

"Thank you, God," was my prayer. Still is.

On that night, fifteen years ago, Tom, the boys, and I watched the World Series from my comfy hospital room, with Cassie in a small bassinet by the bed. The boys were ON the bed, drinking pop. Cassie was perfect! We went home that evening and slept soundly - all five of us. Excited and content, all at once.

I was PARTICULARLY content, as I'd suffered for several days with pneumonia, the coughing from which snapped a rib. Yep, I had a nearly full term baby inside, a broken rib, and a vicious cough, when here comes the onset of labor just as I was getting into bed for the night! It was a magical night........all night. It really was.

Cassie decided to remain in her comfy womb-home, to sleep the night off. She graciously let me sleep, too, in the hospital. No gymnastics that night. She was calm. In the late morning labor was induced, and in the afternoon Cassie was gently born. Such a relief for her.....and for me. The pneumonia abated. The rib slipped back into place to painfully grieve me no more. My pants fit again, and I felt TERRIFIC!!

My family of four had grown to a family of five with the birth of our beautiful healthy little girl......

......who's turned into a wonderful daughter, still curious, still pretty, and still a JOY!

Birthdays are fabulous reminders of our roots, our journey, our progress - and the mercies of God!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TMBBITW, Cassie! (That's for you, Pam!)

P.S. Here's a picture of Cassie with her birthday cheesecake. What you can't hear is our off-key rendition of Happy Birthday to YOUUUU!! We had a perfect day!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Rising Above

"A secret of love is not voicing negative emotions, but waiting for calmness to return to its post. One who is upset perceives few things with clarity, though Emotion parade itself in the garb of revelation. Calm the heart: Only by so doing can you perceive things as they really are." ~~ J. Donald Walters

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." ~~ Eleanor Roosevelt

These concepts simmer in my mind and heart, hopefully to settle in, and join........ Me.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bestest Friends

The first weekend of September Tom, Cassie, Caroline, and I rented a white PT-Cruiser and drove up to Olympia where we spent the night after snooping around the Capitol buildings, climbing up the steps, and marveling at the hugeness of the pillars and buildings. We were in Washington for a reason: HEIDI, STEPH, and NICK!!

Heidi and I have been friends for years, meeting on-line during my e-Bay years. She lives in Connecticut, but her daughter, son-in-law, and adorable grandson live in Washington. Heidi came out last summer to visit Steph and family, and we got to meet face to face for the first time in Portland! Such a blast!

And here, in 2006, we were about to have another close encounter of the exuberant kind!

We spent a good part of the day together, visiting Steph's comfy home, touring the Navel Museum, and eating lunch in Poulsbo. We met Nick for the first time. At seven months old he is the happiest baby we've ever beheld! You can't help but smile when you are around him.

See how jolly he is?!?!

Here we are eating lunch by the harbor of the Puget Sound. Blue sky, warm temperatures, great company, and terrific food made for a lovely lingering shared meal.

Steph took us to the Navel Submarine Museum. It was loaded with fascinating things, not the least of which were the control panels that one could pretend to manuever a sub with. Here Caroline and Heidi are deep into the fantasy! They were cracking me up!

The museum had displays of torpedos which Tom found quite fascinating. It was a great hands-on and educational place, and we all had a really fun time there.

I miss you, Heidi! Can't wait to see you again!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

September Sailing and Retreat

It's been a few weeks since I made a new entry, so here goes. This will be short - yeah yeah, heard THAT before!

This is the first weekend I've been home for both days in a month! Feels like a vacation!

Cassie and I joined my sister, Janet, and my mom for a retreat at Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center. It was very relaxing and totally fun. Been a long time since I've spent a good amount of time with my sister. As always, we still finish each other's sentences and have inside jokes foreign to everyone else. Pretty cool.

The first picture is of Cassie, Mom, and me at the whale statue that graces the courtyard near the beach.

The first thing we do when we arrive at the Conference Center is to walk to Bruce's Candy Kitchen in downtown Cannon Beach, just a block away. Cassie and I made our purchases; treats for the family left behind. You can see Janet back there shopping.

Cassie on the beach with the beautiful sky and sunshine on the water surrounding her.

Janet and Cassie stop and pose after walking on the beach. That's the conference center behind them, in fact, it's the building where we stayed.

Cassie had some time to practice her karate on the beach. That's Haystack Rock in the background which dominates the beach for miles. A gorgeous place! Cassie said the beach was an unusual surface for kata work - shifting sands.

This sign says, "Tsunami Evacuation Route" and we had some fun with it.

Another weekend was spent helping Tom's mom, Nita, clear away some clutter from her garage. Tom did some household repairs for her as well. We filled up the back of her van with bagged and boxed garbage which we hauled to the dump. A widow for nearly two years, she is finding home maintenance to be a bit beyond her abilities. She lives 100 miles away from us, so depends on local friends and neighbors for help. We go down to lend a hand when our differing schedules permit. She's very busy with social crafts and activities, always on the go. Good that she is active!

Here Tom wearily tosses the contents of this tiny wooden box, the last thing in the van to throw into the dump. We kept the box for Nita as it was old and cool.

Rocky is Nita's little bat-faced, hyper-active, maniacally-licking, jumping-on-you yappy best friend. It took Tom and I about 10 tries to get the dog still enough to snap his picture. I ended up deleting several photos of his retreating hind end. Love digital cameras!

One Sunday afternoon was spent sailing with Ben and Sarah. Ben learned to sail a few years ago and LOVES it! He gave us a wonderful afternoon/evening. Tom, Cassie, Caroline, and I were taught the ropes, literally, by Ben and Sarah. A gorgeous autumn sunset kissed us good-night and we left the lake in the tranquilty that only a warm twilight can offer.

Here Caroline, Ben, and Cassie are at the helm steering us to a peaceful place........lovely day.......

This is Caroline relaxing to the sound of the water while on the bow.

Ben and some colleagues are starting up a photography business. Here he's craning his body around to get a good sunset photo. He's quite talented, if I do say so myself.

A pensive Tom completely relaxed after several hours of sailing and enjoying the day.

I've got a gazillion photos but will only put a few on here.


Ducks play Arizona today - Go Ducks! (First game of the season that Tom and I get to watch together!)

More later!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Black Belt

Cassie began taking karate lessons five years ago when she was nine, almost ten. She's one month shy of fifteen now. Karate was a passion from the very beginning, one that never wavered. She has worked hard, had a blast, and enjoyed nearly every minute of her lessons. She's made wonderful friends.

On Saturday, September 9, 2006, Cassie tied her brown belt on for the last time here at home, nervous as could be for her black belt test. I drove her to the dojo, kissed her good-bye while wishing her luck, and sat in the car.......waiting.......with one is allowed to watch the test...........only testers and the tested and judges...............nerves!

Cassie's black belt partner and coach, Nick, came out before Cassie did and told us that she did, "Wonderful!" (Thanks, Nick! You're the BEST!!) The results weren't tallied, yet, and we'd have to wait another hour or so. Nail biting.

Tom and I went to have breakfast out while we waited. Cassie stayed with her group and listened to a pep talk and whatnot.

Finally, it was her turn to go in for results. A few minutes later, smiling the biggest grin ever, running rapidly down the cement steps, Cassie raced for our car where we were waiting. "I PASSED!!!!" she squealed as Tom grabbed her up in an embrace and twirled her around off her feet. Then, she hugged me so hard I nearly suffocated, but that's okay! I'm thrilled! A few of her friends tested and passed as well, so there was much jubilation in the parking lot and all around.

Afterwards we came home and had a hot dog roast over our backyard campfire, something Cassie loves to do. Then, she and a bunch of her karate friends went to see Lady in the Water. After THAT, at nearly eight o'clock, Joe took Cassie out to the Sushi Station for a promised dinner. "You get your black belt, I'll take you for sushi!" She'd never eaten it before, and ate 5 or 6 rolls, but says it must be an acquired taste. Yup.

Tom and I looked at each other at day's end and said in amazement, "Huh. We are parents of a black belt." (Tom is a brown belt. This has inspired him to "go for it" this next school year. He'll have to earn two more brown belt levels, then, test for black belt. It'll take more than a school year, but he can do it. Cassie says she'll coach him at home and during class.)

As the dust of an exciting day settled, Cassie said she doesn't feel any different except that now she senses that she's in some kind of elite place - with black belts. It IS a special place, Cassie, and you deserve to be there! You did it!

There is a one year wait before confirmation which requires a confirmation test and several service type experiences, such as judging and assisting.

And now, as her sensei says, "The learning begins."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Age is a State of Mind

I have a few pet peeves, and one that has been drilling on my last nerve from several sources lately is people who declare they are old based on the number of years they live, and then, begin to act OLD, talk OLD, and expect, no DEMAND, special treatment because they are OLD. Some of these people are younger than I am!! Good grief. You know the type, every conversation has at least one, "When you get to be my age.....bla bla bla." Or, "Now that I'm old....."

I know several people who are 80 years old or more and they have never thought in their minds that they are old. I like to believe they never will. They haven't stopped. They aren't sentimentally looking at grandkids while anticipating their own deaths, weepy eyed, keeping track of gray hairs, wrinkles, and skin conditions. They are vital, creative, joyful people who take their physical aches and pains in stride, working to minimize the effects of age through exercise, right eating, creativity, and a positive in-control outlook. These people don't let the doctor tell them how they feel - they tell the doctor!

I think of Uncle Floyd, spending his 80th birthday with his son, Denny, in Alaska working on Denny's hanger.

I think of Aunt Joyce, spending her 80th birthday on the road in her motorhome with Uncle Floyd, swimming in mountain lakes with her great grandkids.

I think of Aunt Irene, over 90, making doughnuts because she likes to eat them, and regularly traveling from state to state to visit family.

My Cousins Carden and Millie remain vitally engaged in helping their sons with their businesses, and catering to skiers at qualifying meets, enjoying life in their 90's.

Well, here are a few quotes from people who will never be OLD. To me, they exemplify the attitude of true human beings, who see themselves as creative spirits, minds, and emotions, as well as constant learners, rather than simply aging bodies.

First, Goldie Hawn, who turned 60 this year, and is enjoying living her life to the fullest, refusing to give in to others' expectations of a 'woman of her age.' She has considered the kind of grandma and mom she wants to be for her adult kids, and is living it out. She refuses to accept the mindset that a certain age requires enfeeblement, but takes care of herself in all her dimensions, maintaining control of her life.

In her book, "A Lotus Grows in the Mud," Goldie writes her ideals as to the type of mom she wants to be for her adult daughter, by reflecting on her relationship with her own mom:

"I was only guilty of what all girls do. In order to become real individuals, they don't want to to be like their mothers. But now that I have experienced the loss of my own girl child to the great seduction called life, I have true compassion for both mother and daughter in this passage. That's all it is, a passage. It isn't lasting, and, if handled well, it moves into a healthy friendship that only grows and grows. But letting go is a most important first step: letting go of roles and the power we have had all of our lives as mother and daughter; letting go, and having faith that the lessons learned will be remembered. It's not easy, but it is necessary, unless you want to be a mother who has to be "dealt with" instead of a mother who is free and fun."

Isn't that a marvelously healthy way to look at the process of children leaving our care and taking it on for themselves? Wonderful! And who of us hasn't known one of those women who become the type of mother or mother-in-law who has to be "dealt with." Shudder.

Okay, switching gears a little tiny bit, I read another quote this past weekend that resonated with me. This one from Bob Dylan, the 65 year old Legend in His Own Time, who has an insouciant 19 year old dwelling within, but who also has grown as a human being, paying attention along the way, and becoming a wise, thoughtful man, besides one of the greatest lyricists ever.

From the September 2006 "Rolling Stone" magazine comes this quote:

"I see that I could stop touring at any time, but then, I don't really feel like it right now. I think I'm in my middle years now. I've got no retirement plans."

Middle years! YES!! My sentiments exactly.

These people and more inspire me to never look at a number for who I am or what I can do!

Cheers to you all!

"He not busy being born is busy dying." -- Bob Dylan

"Some grow young, some grow cold." -- Tom Petty

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ah, the Delights of August

August is such a restful month. I don't know why. Perhaps it's just that all the craziness of the school year ending is long past and the early summer excitement is over, leaving only the quiet lull between that activity, and the coming hustle and bustle of autumn. Whatever it is, I LIKE it.

We went to another, much larger, Living History Festival here in town, at a huge old filbert orchard. (It's the same park/ranch where I took the pictures of us in the woods, down by the river, and on the old red tractor displayed in earlier blog entries.) At this festival there were union encampments, confederate encampments, and civilian encampments all nestled under the canopies of the venerated nut trees. Horses carried soldiers along the paths amidst foot soldiers and ladies in hoop skirts. Mountain men, French trappers, and green uniformed sniper units co-mingled in the vastness of the park. There were booths and demonstrations. We witnessed another Civil War reenactment. This time there were over 500 participants plus cannons and horses. It was sobering. Very well done.

Rounding out the adventure of the festival were friends we bumped into in our journey to the past. Under the shade of the trees we discussed life in those times, sharing what we knew and pondering what we didn't.

Sadly, idiot that I am, I didn't check the battery level of my camera before I left home. My picture snapping was abruptly stopped after two photos. I D I O T ! Oh well, as I always say, "More time to drink in the day without having to think about taking pictures." Yeah, okay, if it makes me feel better, right.

I did get one of Tom and Cassie riding in the shuttle bus out to the park.

As we walked toward the large field where the battle was raging, we spied this handful of Union soldiers hiding in the oak trees, waiting for action. Right after I took this picture, several of the men looked up at us, smiled, and waved.

Switching gears a little, for another August Adventure, this past weekend Cassie hosted a Halo Party here at our house. Halo is a video game which Cassie and some of her friends like to play in a large group, with two teams, all playing in the same game via X-Boxes, multiple tv's, lots of cables, and a hub. Pretty fun! The picture below shows Nick, Cassie, and Zack helping set up.

The location rotates, alternating from home to home, every few months, when it works out for everyone. This was our turn, and Cassie superbly brought it all about through careful planning and much emailing. She even easily persuaded Tom and me to grill hamburgers and provide veggies, fruit, chips, and of course, OREOS!! What a blast!

Tom and I get a kick out of listening to the kids reactions as they play. "Look out!" "AHHH, who shot me in the foot!!" "Oh MAN! I died." Sounds gruesome, but it's really fun.

You'll notice Caroline in the picture with Zack and Cassie. At eleven, and not having 'played with maps', still she managed to keep up and lasted the entire seven hours. Ten til five, with a lunch break at noon, and an afternnoon break to reconnoiter - and eat Oreos. (Cassie and Zack have Tootsie Pops in their mouths.)

It's nice that our girls are getting to the age where we start having their friends over in droves with activities beyond slumber parties. The boys did that sort of thing often and I realize now that I miss it. I really enjoy the kids' energy. And what a terrific bunch this is!

I call this group, The Couch Potatoes. Experienced players, great people.

The kid on the right, Mitch, should not have settled himself down next to the bowl of Tootsie Pops. In his excitement, he ended up eating TWENTY (count 'em, 20!) and did he have the happy jitters by the end of the day. Hopefully, he doesn't have a ginormous hole in his tooth where he lodged the suckers while he played. (You can see the Tootsie Pop stick protruding from his mouth. He's a cool kid.)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Tom Petty - "Some Grow Young, Some Grow Cold"

"I Need a Big Weekend, Kick up the Dust, Yeah a Big Weekend, If You Don't Run You Rust" ~~ Tom Petty

At 55 years old Tom Petty is in no way slowing down or growing cold. In fact, he rocked on for two hours with the Heartbreakers, no break, and sounded absolutely terrific! What a great show! We enjoyed singing our favorites with him. I think Cassie, Caroline, and I were part of only a handful in the audience who knew the words to the Traveling Wilbury's song, "Handle With Care" and we enjoyed singing along.

I don't imagine many of you reading this will even know what I'm talking about what with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Traveling Wilbury's, but, we know, and we are happy to be able to add this concert to our growing list of wonderful musical expeditions.

Joe wore the shirt I bought him to wear on his England Trip, the one with the "Sell you computer, buy a guitar" and "Tom Petty Rocks" words on it. Well, a pretty blonde girl had one on, too, and she squealed, "OOOOH, we have the same shirt. Let's get a picture together!" So, Joe obligingly put his arm around her shoulders and smiled. Click! Her sister took a picture.

When people gather together with a common interest, well, you just never know what kind of fun you'll have!

Our ride home was rambunctious as we were all happy and excited.

Bed at 3 in the morning, was BLISS!

Back to work tomorrow!

"Lost Children" - by Tom Petty

"Lord please watch over
all these lost children
born to chase the hurricane.
Please shine some light down
on those who wander
filled with hunger and pain.

Please raise the wind for
all those out sailing
on an ocean alone.
Lord shine a light on
all these lost children
far away from their home.

Lord keep an eye on
all these lost children
swept away in the wind.
Please shine some light down
on all those travelin';
lead them all home again."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thursday Evening Escape

"Find Yourself or Maybe Lose Yourself While Your Free Spirit Flies....."

"Cool and Green and Shady"

Tom and Caroline relaxing at the ranch.

Ben, Cassie, and Caroline settling into the quiet rhythm of the water and the forest.

Snag in the Sky

The Eldest

"Could get a lot done if this thing could MOVE."

"Let's keep exploring."


Thursday, July 27, 2006

July 2006

Blogs go by the wayside during the recreational outdoorsy months of summer! Gardening, walking, know all about it.

More pictures and fewer words fill today's entry. Enjoy!

We went to a Living History Event a few miles from our house this month. There were many interesting things to see and do, including many guns to view. Tom is showing Caroline and Cassie how to load this pistol.

My parents came up to celebrate the Fourth of July with us. What fun! We read the entire Declaration of Independence and afterwards pledged our allegiance to the flag of the United States of America (and in your mind are you repeating after me, finishing the pledge in that hurried slurred rendition we said every morning in school?) An interesting thing is that when we came to 'Under God', my dad kept going without reciting that part. We all looked at him, until it dawned on us that when he was a kid that phrase was not part of the pledge. Eisenhower added it, I believe. It was a great civics lesson for the kids. (Yes, I choked up. Always the patriot!)

Here is our backyard campfire/marshmallow roast. While we were sitting here there were fireworks going off all around. It was surreal!

Even with a casted broken arm Tom made a toasty bed of coals that roasted the marshmallows to a golden brown.

While we were out watching fireworks and enjoying the fire Sammy began to bark his baying beagle bark. He'd sniffed out a baby opossum, playing dead under the tomato plants in the vegetable garden! Well, the girls rescued it, with Tom's help, and here's a picture of the cute little thing. Cute while little, not so much when they grow up. We made sure the critter was all right, then released him back into the neighbor's blackberry brambles where the possums seem to hang out.

This little guy made a repeat performance a couple of weeks later, this time under the shed, at midnight. How do we know? You guessed it! Sammy......baaaooooooo! He let us know there was an intruder. Tom and Joe, newly home from their swing shift jobs, went out with Sammy and managed to help the little guy escape......again!

We decided to stay close to home this year, foregoing a formal 'vacation.' It's been pleasant to be foot loose and fancy free. No big house projects, no planning and packing. A surprising turn of events occured because of Tom's broken arm. He had to be put on light duty, so the powers that be at work decided this would be a good time for Tom to participate in some cross-training, which he's been asking to do for years.

One of the men working in Utilities is going on a month long vacation, so Tom is training for two weeks in that job, and will perform it for the month of August, while the guy is away. The cool thing is that he retains his exact same pay and benefits, PLUS he's on day shift instead of swing. He gets up early, goes to work, gets home in the mid-afternoon, and we play until bedtime!

Last night we commented that this year the vacation came to US!

It's amazing how just a change of pace, a break from the routine, can refresh a person.

We shall end our July with a Tom Petty concert up in Ridgefield, Washington.

August holds visits with dear friends, camping, swimming, and more hanging out as a family. I LOVE summer!

Hope yours is enjoyable in its own special way!

(I THOUGHT I said, fewer words! Is that even POSSIBLE with me????)

"Some of the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least." ~~ Bob Dylan