Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tribune Democrat.

The name of my hometown newspaper is the Tribune Democrat.  When I was still living there, my work required me to visit the paper on a regular basis.  I loved going in that building, it was (is) the life blood of the community.  And, to me it seemed to audibly 'hummm'.

I didn't realize just how connected I was to my hometown until last year, when (for some unknown reason) I became extraordinarily attached to the place.  Oh, I still have friends and family there with whom I've stayed in contact all these years, but one day while snooping around the Internet, I discovered my hometown newspaper and a vision of the building and all the time I spent in it sprang to life.  I was delighted to find I could browse the site for free for a certain time frame.  Suddenly I was fascinated with the names of places once so familiar to me.  There were pictures, too, my, how my heart warmed.  I spent a lot of time perusing the pages of the newspaper.  I checked rentals and homes for sale, I checked the weekly advertisements, I read the daily news articles, I even checked the 'obits' and funeral notices.

Then one day I saw an ad for my hometown magazine, thought 'what the heck', and ordered a year's subscription.  I figured it would be printed on newsprint paper, and have maybe a dozen or so pages.  I was thrilled to find it is a beautifully produced magazine that rivals those you find in bookstores, and it is (monthly) filled with fantastic articles about the people who live there, and also what they are doing to keep the area vibrant and alive.

By now I was hooked.  I can't say I'm homesick for my hometown...it's more like nostalgia, but I did discover my roots for the place are still firmly planted there and they thirsted for the place.  Truly thirsted for the place, and so it was I also started to subscribe the Tribune Democrat as well.  I wrote in my blog late last year how my subscription didn't work well at first and how a very lovely person helped me get my account set up and how she even extended my subscription for the period of time I was unable to move through the site.

Recently I got the renewal notice for my subscription to the paper, and I contemplated not renewing, then I realized just how much I had reconnected with my hometown, how much I miss the place. There, I've said it, 'er written it I miss the place. Is that the same thing as being 'homesick'? Perhaps it is, all I can say for sure is...move over San Francisco ...Johnstown is where I've left my heart.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


This morning I couldn't help but wonder why it took so long to get daylight.
I knew it was after 7 AM, because my bedside clock told me so, yet it seemed excessively dark. When I pulled the drapes I discovered my world was blanketed in quite a heavy fog.  It hung low, low into the trees.  I could make out the houses on the street behind me, but little else.

I turned on the TV and learned the entire valley was shrouded in the grey matter.  I was told depending on when the fog lifted, the temperature could rise to 60 degrees (possibly).  I decided today would be a good day for a hearty potato soup and I set about slicing and dicing vegetables, threw in a can of diced chicken breast and a can of cream of chicken soup.  Boy, this was going to be good.

However, by the time I got the soup cooking in the slow cooker, the fog was gone, the sky was a winter/spring blue, and I am hopeful it will indeed get up to 60 degrees, because I would love to open every window in my house and clear out the last of October's air.  Yes, that is a hyperbole.  Still, I would certainly like to clean out the air, at the very most it is a healthful thing to do, and at the very least it will boost my spirits...not that I need that at the moment.

Something does trouble me though, and that's the fact this has been one of a handful of weird winters since I've been living in the Pacific Northwest.  We are beginning to break records when it comes to high temperatures while clusters of sunny days require us to look for our sunglasses (seriously...in January?).  At the same time the snow base in the mountains is frighteningly low, the ski resorts are suffering badly.

I don't want to delve into what could be causing all this unusual weather, GW (Global Warming), but it seems to me this tired old earth is trying desperately to tell us something.  I hope it's not to late.

But I digress.  I started out talking about fog.  I don't know how you feel about a foggy morning, as for me, sometimes I like them, sometimes they strike me in a very different way.

                                                        Foggy Morning

                                                       SH April 15, 1988

There is something special about a morning when the fog nestles in the branches of the trees.  All the morning sounds are muted, even the freeway traffic can scarcely be heard.  The birds, eager for their breakfast, chirp, but their song seems melancholy. The trees hang full with moisture, and occasionally a large droplet lets go with a loud 'splat' that resounds as it hits the plastic covered woodpile. Some days you can almost see things grow, but on days such as this everything seems to be moving in slow motion.

Poor flowers, heavy laden with yesterday's rain lie face down in the soil.

Windsocks hang limp, wet, barely moving.

Hanging chimes make no music.

The earth smells musky, sweetly pungent, slightly peppery.

The birds become impatient, adding a sense of urgency to their melancholy song.

I'll move slowly today, contemplative, I find not only are the birds melancholy,
so am I.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


As I was coming out of my sleepy time fog this morning, the news was on.  I was kind of listening, kind of not.  When I heard the reporter state that 'Tweets' have negative aspects to them, and can harm your health. Especially if they have the word "Hey!" in them.

Apparently posting angry Tweets can cause a person (over time) to have at least heart problems and at worst a heart attack.

It was at this point I began to pay attention.

Hmmm, I says to myself...are Tweets going to take the place of, let's say 'road rage'?  Surely that kind of anger can cause a heart attack, too.

And, really, I pondered, what does the word "Hey" have to do with this?

Let's face it if somebody yells "Hey" at you, you do have the tendency to stop, drop and roll. And, the first thing that goes through my mind is, "Uh oh, what the heck did I do now?"

Oh, sometimes "Hey" is not used in an angry manner, such as..."Hey, Dude, wazz' up?" However, in this instance you are actually looking at the Dude, and the sentence is generally followed with a 'high five', of fist bump.

On the other hand, an angry "Hey", can be followed with a punch to the face or stomach, or the worst case scenario a stab wound or gun shot to your tummy area.  Hey, it's crazy times, folks.  

At this point of the news clip, the reporter stated that the best way to handle your anger is not with an insulting, irrational, expletive laden, pent-up Tweet, but by letting loose with a good long, loud, scream, or by letting loose with a swing at something...(not body), like a pillow or punching bag.  I personally would not suggest a wall, door or other object that could break a bone in your hand.

Here's the thing.  I have for years suggested that every home should have a screaming room. One with pads on the walls, no windows, and soundproof doors. And, after hearing this mornings news clip I know I'm right.  However, now I think a life sized, feather filled mannequin would be an excellent addition to said room.  Hey, you know you want one in your house.

In the end though, I think the best way to handle anger, is the good old fashioned way.  The way they did it in old, black and white, silent films.  Yep, with a good old fashioned pie fight. Talk about releasing pent up emotions, ain't nothing better.  We had one once when the kids were little.  Nobody was angry with anyone, it simply was something I had always wanted to do.  So we filled paper plates with whipped cream, and chased each other all around the apartment building.  We were whipped cream messes.  In the end we hosed ourselves off, and went back in the apartments to shower and put on clean clothes.  Gotta' say it was a ball.

If it was good enough for Laurel and Hardy, it was good enough for Lucille Ball, it was good enough for us, it should be good enough for you.  Nobody ever got hurt, and how can you not laugh at somebody with whipped cream covering their face, hair and at least 50% of their body.

Hey!  You ought to give it a go.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I'm pretty sure I've written before how time sometimes plays tricks on me, and some days slowly move through each and every moment.  I can accomplish in two hours what normally takes eight. Then other days, no matter how hard I try to accomplish even the easiest, shortest chore, it seems to take eight hours.

Take for instance, emptying the dishwasher.  I will open the door, remove a few items, discover I have an urgent need to visit the bathroom, and leave the remaining dishes exactly where they were when I placed them in the washer. Then, on the way back to finish that chore, I stop to watch a few minutes of whatever show is being played on my TV, pull out the carpet sweeper, and take a few swipes across the living room carpet and totally forget I was on my way to empty the dishwasher.

The whole day is like that.  Eventually, I get hungry and have to start a new batch of dirty dishes, so that around two in the afternoon I actually finish putting the clean dishes away. But, do I at the same time put my dirty dishes in the washer...of course not...that's not accomplished until about 10:30 PM, when I'm contemplating going to bed.

Looking back on the day I can see I've accomplished very, very little.  I hate days like that.

Yesterday, I discovered I have days that are half and half...why I didn't realize this before, I've no clue. The morning went swimmingly.  I moved through my routine with ease, and had plenty of time to shower and get ready for Bible study.  It was great.

Then, after my study was over, things went to heck in a hand basket.  Dirty dishes accumulated in the sink.  All the books and papers from my Bible study were still piled on my TV tray/desk or the hearth, and although I tried to work a bit, I accomplished absolutely nothing.  Even getting ready for bed I got sidetracked.  Seriously, how hard is it to get into your 'jammies', brush your teeth, pull down the covers and slip between the sheets. Obviously, some nights it's not easy.  I see my pets' water bowl is empty and I take time to refill it.  I have to double check the doors and windows to make sure they are locked (even thought I know they are), that I've turned off all the lights (I know I did), and have to decide do I or don't I want to heat up my rice socks.  Sigh!

And, there you have it.  The morning was terrific...the afternoon and evening...not so much. What the heck happened?  Did my 'sign' suddenly fall under a different star?  Did some kind of supernatural phenomenal cross my path?  Did the barometric pressure change?  I certainly didn't walk under a ladder and no black cat crossed my path, so what the heck changed my day?  I don't think I will ever know.

Maybe, it was my Pixie.  I guess that's a good excuse as any.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Stores

Okay, I know the age of technology has made it possible to easily visit Chain Book Stores and purchase books without leaving the comfort of your home.  A few clicks of your computer mouse will have your books at your front door in a matter of days.  I buy books on line all the time.  I used to belong to three book clubs, too, but gave them up when I learned how easy it was to buy them (cheaply) sitting where I am at the moment.




However, here in the Pacific Northwest, we have something amazing and tangible.  It is an honest to goodness Book Store.  It covers a whole city block, and you navigate through it with a color coded map.  It is amazing.  I try to include this store as part of my "Guided Tour of Portland", if my tourists have the time.  Oh, I don't mean a half hour or so...I'm talking at least a morning.  Seriously...at LEAST a morning. Yep, it's that kind of a place.

The first time I went there I was agog.  For a person who loves books, THIS was better than the Chocolate Factory, Hogwarts, and the Emerald City, all mushed together.  So, when I got a posting on my Facebook page this morning about this store, I realized I was not the only person who felt this was indeed a store extraordinaire.

The name of this store?  Powell's Books.  And this morning...this very morning, I discovered it had been named by "Yahoo! Travel" as a must see/do in their "State by State Guide to the 50 Coolest Things in America."  Seriously...this is fantastic.  My book store, my personal, magical, leather bound/paper-backed castle, made it onto the list.  Can you even fathom what an honor that is, and can you imagine the thousands of places that didn't make the list? Wow!

Now, I know I've written about this store before, and I can't guarantee I will not write about it again in the future.  I'm simply a bookworm to the nth degree, and when Powell's Books hits the 'big time' I simply have to shout, 'er, at least write about it.  I hope you will check it out for yourselves.  Take a few minutes to, at the very least, visit their web-site.


And, if you ever come to my neck of the woods, remember to allow yourself the luxury of spending at least a morning...a whole morning browsing this magical, fantastical, extraordinary-ical, place.

Oh, and congrats, Powell's Books...way to go!!!!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

This will be short and sweet...

...like kissing your brother.

I was up late last night correcting my stupidity of my morning blunder.  So, I sat at my computer scanning, saving, scanning, saving, scanning, saving.  I'm pleased to report the scanner worked great, all the snowflakes and snowmen are properly saved to their proper file.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Well....that was a big waste of time

I knew it was going to be a busy Saturday, and since I know I can't do more than one thing at a time........(anymore); I also knew today was going to present challenges.  I thought I was prepared.

I'm not.

First and foremost I have groceries being delivered sometime between 11 AM and 3 PM, so I have to be ready to stop one project at a moment's notice and begin to put my delivery away.

In the meantime I've started my laundry.  I noticed my detergent container was getting low, and figured this would be a good morning to open and mix in the detergents I ordered some time ago.  I buy a famous name brand and a house brand and mix them together, with whatever is remaining in the 'leftover' container.  I do this using a wooden spoon.  I've noticed the stores now carry powdered 'concentrated' varieties, and that is what I purchased last.  The directions stated that one scoop equals six loads, so I rummaged through my plastic containers trying to find one 'just right' that would fill the old scoop six times to the top.  I eventually found one that came close and I started my first load.

Being a nonbeliever, I checked the water as the tub was filling just to make sure I actually saw some semblance of suds.  I did and was a happy camper.

Next, I decided to go to work.  I've been creating return address labels for my store, and spent the rest of the morning scanning in snowflakes and snowmen.  Crap.  Suddenly my scanner went bonkers, and would give me an error message.  Did I panic, yes...and I began to back myself out of my programs, trying to undo whatever error I had made...NOT REALIZING I HAD NOT 'SAVED' ALL MY HOURS OF WORK ALREADY DONE.  CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.

Sigh, everything was gone.


So, I think it's time to 'step away', turn off this blankity, blank lecronical gadget and concentrate on my laundry, and waiting for my groceries to arrive.

So far today has been a big waste of time.