Monday, September 28, 2020

Oopsie Pumpkin

 Today was our Costco day--according to the fridge, that is. Off we toddled, into the car and down the road-- after lunch, the way N prefers and I'm happy to oblige. I actually had a short list today--that was well padded during our travels through the store (of course). And, thankfully, we remembered--it's pumpkin pie for breakfast month! 

We were happy to see one of our favorite Costco employees at the checkout counter. (Hi, John! Bye, John!) And out the door we went. THEN, we began to notice a car that was hanging back on our heels. My first thought or two, was that the driver was anticipating us crossing the car path in front of them. But when we crossed, she was still there. 

I turned to make eye contact, she gestured towards our cart, I looked, saw nothing and then finally I went over to her passenger window. She gestured to our cart again . . . and FINALLY we saw the pumpkin pie escaping it's aluminum pan.

Fortunately, the majority of the pie slid into the plastic clam shell and not the ground or cart. It may not be pretty or easy to portion, but I reckon that pie will be just as tasty. And an attached memory that will make us laugh with each slice.

Happy Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast Season! 

Love, K

Sunday, September 27, 2020

To Find More Gratitude Essays or Let Them Find Me?

Several nights back, as I read my one Ross Gay essay before opening my novel, I began to wonder--
"what will I read when this is done?". I remembered seeing that Ross had written another, similar book, but maybe (I worried) . . . they're too similar. Or maybe this is one of those crossroads, where the decision must be made to rely on past good book picking fortune or to sit back and see what comes next. 

Sitting back seems the best strategy, because (speaking from past experience) so many of those books turn out to be a second chance after a first failed attempt to bring their joy to their readers. Though, to be honest, I doubt Ross would publish a "less than" book, but that's just my opinion.

Or maybe it's time for a new phase {shrugs}. Whatever comes next, I'll do my best to be present and focused, because there's always more to learn. Always. And I'm not talking about the weird, convoluted, conspiracy theories so many people are happy to let wash through and over them. That's not you, is it? Whew! 


Friday, September 25, 2020

The Thirty-Eighth: Snail Mail Joy


When it comes to snail mail, it's not just the writing, 

receiving and reading that bring joy--

there's also the discovering beauty nearby, 

tracking down its source 

and pulling out the wallet. 

Thanks, "What Penny Made"!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

And Today . . .

 Late last week, it was so great to watch the rain rinse the ash from our air. Suddenly, we can see the color of neighbors' houses and trees on the hill above us  . . .  plus the joy of good or better air. (Apologies to all who are still waiting for relief.) Then, after last night's dinner, we lost water pressure. A half hour or so later, we learn there's a broken water main, a short distance from our house. Another layer to this year--never a boring moment? Or something like that . . . maybe.

This morning, our Everbridge app alerted us to the inevitable boil water notice. Hard to complain when that broken water main was repaired seven hours later and we have shelter and everything we need to boil and store water for a day. Yes, indeed, it's difficult to complain, when you have an inkling over how much worse it might be. 

Soldier on . . .

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Thirty-Seventh: The Day After

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

Earlier this week, our area had one of those hours long, thunder and lightning storms: a seemingly never ending stream of "cells", levels of sound from loud grumbling, to a crazy roar of hail pelting the roof, a spectacle that can take your breath away. Then, finally--sleep in the last few hours left beneath the sheets.

When it was at long last done with us and rolling north up the freeway, a sweet group of memories popped into my head. When I worked with the wee folk, they'd enter the room in the morning, wide eyed with their memories of the previous night's big storm and the story sharing would begin. Probably much the same in all the small cafes and coffee shops--only younger eyes and shorter stories.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Spoon

Today, after licking the raspberry freezer jam off of a spoon, I felt like I was tasting everything I've been missing all these months. Something about that fresh sweet tang. It was like a brief but welcome, tap on the shoulder, to say "hey, remember me?".

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What Strange Times Are These 2020

 I was just getting used to the current retirement schedule--such a sweet wee groove I dug for myself: friend day, volunteer day, shopping day, etc. And then the virus showed up and the schedule constricted. N and I, did our best to adapt and adopt good practices and found ourselves in a new groove with fewer options, but . . . with food, shelter, entertainment (as well as the trailer taunting us in the driveway). 

Since the majority of the northwest, experienced a cooler, wetter, spring, we were hopeful for a less wild wildfire season. But then a historic east wind reared its old head, bringing down power lines, pushing the flames, consuming our flora, homes, businesses and fellow humans. And leaving us all choking in hazardous smoke--not just stuck at home, but stuck INSIDE.

I wouldn't have thought it was that much different, until I began to forget little routine things. And then I ponder--what else am I losing, but not noticing? <shrugs> Or I can start seeking some gratitude and singing those Raffi songs that re-landed in my brain this morning. Though I may be changing some of those lyrics. No offense, Raffi, but "Gonna Take A Walk Outside Today", is changing to "Gonna Stay Inside Today".

Thursday, September 10, 2020

The Thirty-Sixth: Heart Beeps

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

When bud K and I, were doing science lessons with the wee folk, we would make needed adjustments from year to year. Some adjustments were due to our time frame changing or a change in the number of small groups or to fix something that wasn't working great. One year, after doing our February lesson on the heart, we realized the wee folk weren't saying "heart beats", they were consistently saying "heart beeps".

We tried writing the two words on the board, to pronounce and compare the different consonant sounds, which helped, but then they'd revert back to "beep" without missing a beat (sorry, couldn't resist). Also, can I admit how difficult it is to correct "beeping" with a straight face? (But, no, stop that K! Save your sillies for recess!)

The following summer, I let my brain ruminate on the problem--inspiration arrived in the form of a small Bluetooth speaker. I'd purchased one for myself, to use while enjoying the backyard deck and was amused at the feel of the bass, when the speaker was in my hand. And that's when the spark landed. I searched online for a downloadable mp3 file of a human heart beat. 

It took some time, because we all know how much crap there is to wade through when doing a search for something specific. But eventually, I found a site with sounds for medical training--wahoo! There were a few bumps and potholes with keeping a good smart phone connection inside the building, but the hand-sized speaker emitting heartbeat vibrations was a huge hit. Their eyes lit up and the focused excitement level was on point . . . but . . . they continued saying "beep".

Monday, September 7, 2020

The Thirty-Fifth: Gifted Fence Tomatoes

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

Last Thursday, lucky for us, N had something he wanted to take a drive to check out. We hopped into the car and he drove us across the bridge to the west side of town. And then up the main road, through the residential area of apartment buildings and houses (some older, sagging houses, reminding motorists, that these haphazardly divided lots were once acres of farmland), and then the orchards, barns, rolling fields--some still growing and some harvested and a few tilled under, with the hint of the river, mostly hidden, on our right.

The Willamette has a greenway and water trail. We pass it often, as that particular drive beckons to us, but had never taken the time to stop. And that's what we came for this time--to finally stop and check out two of the access points. We didn't walk the trails far in the lose, dry, fine dust, that puffed up around each step. We walked just far enough to see what the access area offered and to watch a young couple cooling off their big dog in the water. And then home again, home again, jiggity jig. [As I type this, I'm surprised we didn't head to Dayton to pick up a fruit or pot pie. Doh!]

The pups were happy to see their tenders returned home before dinner time--so little trust after all these dog years! I opened the sliding glass door, to step outside to do some watering of the shaded plants in back, when I heard a man's voice say, "hello?". My brain decided it was our hard of hearing neighbor on his phone, but no--it was another neighbor, Ron. He said, he had too many tomatoes and couldn't visit friends to share during "our current situation". Would we like some? Amazingly, I didn't grab that tomato filled container right out of his hands, but I did make two batches of galette dough and we enjoyed bruschetta for dinner that night. And now I'll try not to wait on the deck, peering at the fence, waiting for more fence tomatoes.

Nearly forgot to brag--today we were given porch eggs, from the sweet fam across the street.

Friday, September 4, 2020


When did it start? Who knows, but I reckon it continued far longer than it should've. Perhaps it was the influence/role modeling of someone I worked with or it was due to whatever may have been going on in my life at that moment. Whatever it was, it was a force I didn't resist. Heck no--I embraced the hell out of those impulses.

What's amusing me, right now, as I type, is my firm belief that I had cracked the code of living in a small city, shoulder to shoulder with people (I'd been told) who wouldn't see my value if I didn't offer anything useful to them. "You'll see, it's different in a city. You'll need to dress better and be presentable whenever you leave the house." Ah, to peer at another's interesting baggage is . . . reassuring (and maybe amusing) in a way.

What was this force I had come under the influence of? Helping people. No one had asked or even hinted at needing this help I would dispense, but once I heard of (what I considered to be) a need or a lack, I might insert myself or rally others to step in. {Oh golly K! I'm embarrassed and ashamed to be typing this.) How did I finally "see myself"? I'm not sure, but it was probably in another's eyes or their words in response to something I'd done.

Change requires watchfulness and a willingness, which I'm working on. Though I do get concerned that I'm changing something fundamental about myself--where does this impulse begin and end? Am I trimming out too much? It'll probably continue to be a balancing act for awhile. <shrug> Besides, it's not like we stay static our entire lives. Thankfully.

Btw, my sincere apologies if you were ever a 'beneficiary' of my busybodiness. Sincerely, K.