Friday, February 28, 2020

Daffy Down Dilly

Good golly! I had no idea this was a long poem! I had assumed it was a single stanza created for the art project we did each spring.

Daffy Down Dilly

Daffy-down-dilly
Is new come to town,
With a petticoat green,
And a bright yellow gown,
And her little white blossoms
Are peeping around.

Now don't you call this
A most exquisite thing?
Don't it give you a thrill
With the thought of the spring,
Such as once, in your childhood,
You felt, when you found
The first yellow buttercups
Spangling the ground?

When the lilac was fresh
With its glory of leaves,
And the swallows came fluttering
Under the eaves?
When the bluebird flashed by
like a magical thing,
And you looked for a fairy
Astride of his wing?

When the clear, running water,
Like tinkling of bells,
Bore along the bare roadside
A song of the dells,—
And the mornings were fresh
With unfailing delight,
While the sweet summer hush
Always came with the night?

O daffy-down-dilly,
With robings of gold!
As our hearts every year
To your coming unfold,
And sweet memories stir
Through the hardening mould,
We feel how earth's blossomings
Surely are given
To keep the soul fresh
For the spring-time of heaven!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Life in Oregon

     There we were, driving to Tillamook. I can still remember when the two of us traveled to N's interview. He'd been working as an assistant manager for Willamette Tree Systems, a tree planting company, whose owner was ready to retire to Eastern Oregon. This new job offering seemed suited to his experience and education. And oh did that sun shine on the coastline that day! Glistening white foamy waves, highlighted by the gorgeous blue sky. Perhaps that's what teased us into submission.

     Once that avenue had played itself out, we hitched up our britches and headed to Roseburg, to a new job, a new employer. Roseburg was good to us. We made some good friends, as we dove head first into volunteering at the girls' elementary school. And I found my 'vocation'--working with the wee folk. Good friends, good neighbors, and we loved the area--it wasn't easy, but we pulled up our happy, established roots and moved to Salem.

     In Salem, I realized it was time to say goodbye to many of my rural habits and beliefs. As well as learning how to drive and navigate on busier city streets. The transitions were slow, as I resisted, shaking off all that we had loved about Roseburg. Growing up with few education choices in the HS of my youth, I was hopeful that the girls would receive a better education than I had: the lure of better schools, more opportunities and more friends to choose from. All in all, it was a good place to end up.

     Even though my folks were sure that living in a city with a prison or two, would end with us all being murdered in our beds, we've come to love Salem. She's not perfect--a plus in my opinion--but she's lovely, vibrant, eager to please, and oh so green. People come here (I assume), to escape the big city, yet live with many of the benefits of one. A small city can make you feel like you do make a difference, that you are needed, and you won't have to worry as much about sharp elbows pushing you out of the way. It's not for everyone, but it is for me.

Ps. And guess what I forgot? All of the gratitude for the family help we received during every move (including the moves from rentals), except for the last. That's when the benefits of staying with the same employer came into play. Finally.

   

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Sand Dogs of Time? The Dogs of Sand Time?

     As our pups continue to senior on, the more I notice the small adjustments we all make. So many small accommodations and changes. When Shiloh and Gretel (dogs from our past), were getting elderly, we didn't notice as much, due to raising an active family, but the signs were there.

     It's difficult to forget those defining moments: for Shiloh, it was a vacation that included a stay at Rainier NP, that caused us to embrace her frailty. Thankfully, N was able to carry our Golden Retriever on that trail. Not sure how, but forever grateful. And Gretel? She decided to hide from us, after a hike on Mt. Bailey--definitely a sign of changing abilities.

     In the wee hours last night, Izzy, who no longer sleeps with us, began to dream-bark in the living room. At first, the overwhelming response was to worry we were under an unknown assault. I laughingly asked N if he had checked the 'perimeter' before returning to bed. But no, it's part of our current chapter.

     Caring for pets in the difficult stages, feels like a responsibility. And I don't mean that in a reluctant participant kind of way, but as a human trying to make sense of a situation. And as a human whose family rarely took a pet to the vet, I often question my motives. And so I'll continue to watch the pups as they sleep and cough--because they've given much to us.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Ants are Back

     And now, Sir Elton's song, The Bitch is Back, is playing in my head. Thanks, ants. 

    I don't remember ever seeing a sugar ant, until we moved to Roseburg. They were constantly coming into our bathroom and crawling all over the toothpaste. I'm unclear as to what remedy we employed back then, though I think it was a simple exercise in removing or relocating whatever was attracting them.

     Since we moved to Salem, 28ish years ago, sugar ants have become as regular as the seasons. What really opened our eyes, besides the (sometimes) massive ant biway that traverses our backyard, was when we replaced our roof and discovered other massive trails on the rafters. Our main defenses have been Terro traps, placed on the offending trail. They help, but don't cure. To be honest, there is no cure, but there are ways to stop them from coming into the house.

     When N retired, he began to take a more active role in the ant situation. So now, our main weapon is Ortho's Home Defense, in-door and perimeter. It's not easy--having to leave the spray undisturbed as it dries, but the dogs leave it alone and I can't detect an odor. Again, it's not a permanent solution. He usually uses it around the foundation a couple times a year, as a preventative, and less often, inside the kitchen or bathrooms. 

     Probably the most important thing when you're dealing with sugar ants, is to remember not to squash them. Their scent will alert their nestmates to come retrieve the body. I don't know if it's the best way, but I sometimes use a window cleaner to knock them down and a paper towel to swipe them up. But . . . I do wonder what food value they offer. Talk about a renewable resource!

   

Monday, February 17, 2020

Garrison Keillor
I know, it seems outrageous, But it's getting a lot of attention on some very respectable Web pages - which mainstream media won't mention:

Donald Trump was not born in

Queens,

He was born in the Philippines,

In a hotel in downtown Manila.

Where his hair turned bright vanilla

Due to vitamin deficiencies.

His mom and dad were Celanese

And left him with Franciscan nuns

At the age of fourteen months.

Adopted on the 3rd of June

By a real estate tycoon

Who took the little boy away

To a mansion in the U.S.A.

Bestowing on him great largesse

And naturalized him more or less.

The record of his nativity

Is kept under lock and key

With his tax returns, the MRIs

Showing what's behind his eyes

Including, according to rumor,

A diverticulated tumor.

I hope it isn't true, although

It comes from folks who ought to

know.

A week ago, a panhandler in Times Square sat holding a sign, "Give me a dollar or I'll vote for Trump," and people laughed and reached into their pockets. His bucket overflowed. He stuffed the bills into his jacket and other panhandlers looked at him with admiration. The man could've sold franchises and retired to Palm Beach.

The panhandler knows what every New Yorker knows, which is that the biggest con job since the Trojan horse is taking place in our midst. Millions of Americans are planning to cast their votes for a man who has lived his life contrary to all of their most cherished values. They are respectful, honest, generous, loyal, modest, church-going people with no Mafia connections and good credit records who try not to spout off about things they know nothing about.

His followers out on the prairie were brought up to be wary of slick-talking New Yorkers and here they are, falling right into line behind the biggest braggart ever to hit the sawdust trail. It's going to be an education for them, watching him cut taxes while expanding the military and building a wall and deporting 11 million people. In America, you can't send gendarmes through the streets to round up people in trucks and load them on boxcars and ship them away. There is a judicial process. Lawyers are involved. People have certain rights.

His boast after the Manhattan pressure-cooker bombing Saturday night was revelatory. "I called it!" he cried on Fox, as he had after the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shootings. It would've been classier for him to have congratulated New York's Finest but instead he took it as a personal coup.

What the bombing showed was the courage and smarts of the NYPD, arriving on the scene in time to defuse a second bomb, identify the suspect, and track him down Monday morning. "We've got to be very, very tough," cried the candidate out in Colorado, but back in New York, the work was being done by men who know how to do it.

Ah, chutzpah! There was once a mayor of New York who overruled the NYPD and the Secret Service and put the city's Emergency Command Center on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center, and whose emergency plan for the towers led to massive confusion and miscommunication, some desperate people directed to climb up, others told to stay put, as the mayor stood in the streets below and urged residents to be calm, and thereby became a national hero and started his own security consulting company. This is like the captain of the Titanic, had he survived, writing a book called The Art of Navigation. The mayor is now a close Trump adviser.

Trump is a man whom few Republicans would care to invite into their homes. So what's going on here? An epidemic of hippocampus poisoning from bad enzymes in cheap beers? The man is a fraud, a tax cheat, a compulsive liar, a clueless playboy, and his presidency would be an unmitigated disaster for the country. If you would make us the laughingstock of the world just to irk your liberal sister-in-law, you are someone who should not be allowed to come within 500 yards of an elementary school.

The success of Trump will show our children the exact value of education, which is: not that much. It will mean that fact-based journalism has very little bearing in America and a Manila-born Celanese child can aspire to the highest office in the land. So here's a dollar in the beggar's hat. Good luck to democracy. Hang in there.

Keillor is an author and radio personality. Garrison Keillor, distributed by The Washington Post News Service with Bloomberg News.

Forgiveness

As soon as I read this, I immediately thought of the following letter, as found onhttp://viewonbuddhism.org/ange...
What forgiveness is
"Forgiveness is a form of realism. It doesn't deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us or the pain that we have suffered. It encourages us to look squarely at those old wounds and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.
Forgiveness is an internal process. It can't be forced, and it doesn't come easy. It brings with it great feelings of wellness and freedom. But we experience this only when we want to heal and when we are willing to work for it.
Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. We no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims. We claim the right to stop hurting when we say, "I'm tired of the pain, and I want to be healed." At that moment, forgiveness becomes a possibility-although it may take time and much hard work before we finally achieve it.
Forgiveness is letting go of the past. It doesn't erase what happened, but it does allow us to lessen and perhaps even eliminate the pain of the past. The pain from our past no longer dictates how we live in the present, and it no longer determines our future.
It also means that we no longer need resentment and anger as an excuse for our shortcomings. We don't need them as a weapon to punish others nor as a shield to protect ourselves by keeping others away. And most importantly, we don't need these feelings to identify who we are. We become more than merely victims of our past.
Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who hurt us. It is understanding that the anger and hatred that we feel toward them hurts us far more than it hurts them. It is seeing how we hide ourselves in our anger and how those feelings prevent us from healing. It is discovering the inner peace that becomes ours when we let go of the past and forget vengeance.
Forgiveness is moving on. It is recognizing all that we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It is realizing that the energy that we spend hanging on to the past is better spent on improving our present and our future. It is letting go of the past so that we can move on.
We all have been hurt. And at one time or another most of us have made the mistake of trying to run away from the past. The problem is that no matter how fast or how far we run, the past always catches up to us-and usually at the most inopportune time. When we forgive, we are dealing with the past in such a way that we no longer have to run.
For me, learning how to forgive wasn't easy. But I did learn, and my life is better for it - even here on death row."
Michael B. Ross
Death Row
Somers, Connecticut

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The List

     I like lists. They give me purpose, direction, focus and a reward when I cross off an item. But, I've begun to notice, they no longer drive me in retirement as they did before. There was a time when they meant much to me, and when I forgot, I'd create a list after I'd spent the day tasking, just for the satisfaction of drawing a line through each entry. Currently, we have The List magnetically attached to the fridge door. It's been there--waiting, nagging, since last spring--with only two items marked off. One done this week. Oof!

     What's happened? I don't get it. We have a routine with regular outings and tasks. There doesn't seem to be a problem in the routine area. Maybe it's the extra stuff--the things that aren't as easy to get excited about. To be honest, clean floors and clean sheets are a tad exciting to me, because accomplishments can bring joy. And now as I reread that last sentence, I'm rolling my eyes, but for me it's true.

     With all the pondering time available, I'll be sure to let you know when the epiphany hits. Because it will. Eventually.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Rediscovering One Percent

     After the stomach issues caused my weight loss, and I was able to enjoy food again, my doctor cautioned about losing anymore weight. "Your bmi is just right", said Dr H. Losing weight without effort seems like a good problem, until you've watched your posterior disappear. I mean . . . a person needs some cushioning!

     And so, I was having some trouble with keeping the existing weight on. I was talking to oldest child and she suggested I try whole milk or cream in my tea and oatmeal in the morning. Which sounded good, as the fat has a soothing effect on my stomach.

     I've been following her advice for over a month now and good advice it was. Until, my taste buds began to balk over the whole milk flavor. Oi! I sat down to ponder the situation and how I've learned that our brains need a certain amount of fat for functioning. Then it hit me: both of us could benefit if I changed to one percent. Maybe that fat really does help the brain!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

February Musings

Oof! That February afternoon sun is fierce today . . . oh wait, it's stopped. Whew! And now it's raining! Whew!

Hmmm, maybe that's why the NW coast tugs at me now--intermittent sun. There were times, when we would camp with family at Sugar Loaf CG at Cascade Reservoir, when the sun would make me feel sad and headachy. One afternoon, N found me sweaty and sobbing in our sweltering tent. Not the sanest thing I've ever done, but there was nowhere else to find private relief.

And I'd almost forgotten the summer we went to Indianapolis to visit daughter. The best part was spending time with oldest daughter and seeing the sites, but the worst part was the constant summer haze. It seemed to defuse the sunlight into a constant glare pointed at my eyes and then drilled through my brain.

I feel most happy and settled when I'm amongst the trees and green. When we lived in the south end of the state, I can remember driving northward, away from the bare, rolling hills, and feeling the relief wash over me, as the trees grew taller and crowded together on the hillsides, awash in soothing shades of green.

The Trees
by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Tritanopia

     To be honest, I can't remember exactly when I learned about my issues with not seeing all of the colors--but most likely it was in my teens. Because that's my first memory of living with these eyes I inherited from my Mother.

     My cousin, Clarissa, also ended up with Tritanopia. When we were teenagers, we would ask to be dropped off at the mall for the usual teen activity: shopping. Bold Clarissa would often turn to a close-by woman, hold up an item of clothing and ask, "can you tell me what color this is?". Some women would look at our young smiling faces and assume we were part of Candid Camera or another kind of joke. But most would happily or cautiously answer. I can't remember if anyone would ask a follow-up question. They probably just wanted to escape. I think I would, too.

     Working in kindergarten, I could ask children for help. They rarely asked me why, probably because we're always asking them questions we already know the answer to. I can remember twice, during the years I worked, when I noticed a student with a color problem. I'd help them use the possible clues/strategies: crayons might still have their color word wrapper on or they could ask a table neighbor.

     And people I meet, who find out, will usually have a list of questions. Which caused me to fine tune my explanation--though I have no clue if it's a good one or not. But, it's the best I've come up with. My answer is that I can see the colors in the crayola box of eight, but I can only guess at the shades/hues in between.

     It's on my mind today, because the website where I learned the name of my color deficiency has put out an app with a new type of test. This morning's test, shows the severity of my Tritanopia is increasing. That's permission to dress however the hell I want . . . right? Don't worry, N, I'll still consult you (when I remember) when I buy something for the house. Hopefully.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Meh Dinner Reinvented Into Tasty Breakfast: News at Eleven

     Several days ago, I opened up the refrigerator to find some dinner inspiration. And there you were, Jimmy Dean, you sexy chub o' pork and fat . . . begging to be included. I'm not certain of all that was tossed into that slap and dash dinner, but I do remember diced potatoes, onion, a small amount of rice (who knows why), and possibly a can of tomatoes with green chilies.

     Last night, as I lay in bed, telling my brain to calm the hell down, I began to ponder feeding that meh dinner to N as (wait for it . . . ) BREAKFAST! My brain also remarked, "Dude, that was hash you made", and then I went to sleep with thoughts of Jimmy Dean being mentally transformed.

     How did a meal go from "meh" to "tasty", due to eating it at a different time of day? I can only surmise that those 'several days' in the fridge were what that globby mass needed. OR perhaps it had to do with those over easy eggs, dripping their golden gravy over the hash? Whichever--it was a success and I'll be craving it again, no doubt.