Archive for July, 2009

So We Gather

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Last night’s meeting with a group of authors, published and wannabe, was a pleasure. This gathering is entitled “PNWA-TC” and the concept is to have a local link with the Pacific Northwest Association in the greater metropolitan area of Seattle. Of those who attended, one is an author awaiting final review of her childrens books by a large publishing house, one is preparing a queiry for his war series, one has a novel self published with the high end iUniverse package and myself with a completed western romance SAGESONG using the iUniverse economy package, also WILDLY IN THE ROCKIES self published on CreateSpace now on Amazon, and THE OPEN DOOR and BEYOND NAMCHE awaiting proofs from CreateSpace.

Meetup is a national corporation into which a person has to pay to start and maintain their MEETUP group. The leader of this writer Meetup group brought forward the subject of author websites and especially their blogging. And naturally the discussion was what is a blog? What does it contain? How often should the blog be refreshed? Here suggestions flowed. The point being that the website is about the author. Readers want to know about the author’s personal interests, the family, hobbies, and why they write, therefore various individual pages can contain those details.

But what of the blogs? What indeed should the subject be? Writing? How to write? Personally I think a how-to may be helpful now and then. I do not have that much experience in teaching writing or grammar and my helpful hints will be brief in those areas. But my mind is full of experiences in many other ways — travel, nature, philosophy, love, art, and community. The only bearing my blogs have on writing will be in sentence construction and a description and flow of reasons for the subject I choose. Whether visitors to my blog site are casual or frequent depends on how my words hook them to return. That is not my concern. I simply blog along.

My experience with Meetups, however, brings out a crucial action. I attend when invited for some subject which on the surface catches my interest but without ongoing content I do not return. I have no inclination to form a Meetup group on my own. Atheist Meetups satisfy my philosophy and volunteer hours at the McNary National Wildlife Education Center satisfy my heart.

Unexspected Bonus

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

A few hours past, I hugged grandchildren and son farewell after a 101 F degree Saturday. Thomas, Avery and Morgan came shortly after sunset Friday night to escape a boring (they said) Saturday in Everett. Susie would be absent at work so came over to Richland. They set up a tent for camping in the back yard, cooler and less crowded than the living room floor. We retired around eleven pm looking forward to a day of just hanging out.

While the kids slept in, Tom and I searched our ancestry, building on his previous experience of looking up my Dad’s origins in the Everett library encyclopedia. I have birth dates of siblings of my mother’s parents and we began to look at US census records for clues as to their whereabouts. We found that and were rewarded with much more. One page indicating state of birth and occupation pointed to other locations that led to some amazing discoveries. Chapmans and Hortons were found in Michigan and Ohio from Connecticut. They were cross checked with names and birth dates of my list and verified to be, indeed, relatives. A number of Haydens still reside in Decatur Michigan.

Celestia Hayden married Leland Elton Swift February 6, 1859, had a daughter whose birth and death I have in a news article photocopied from Civil war times. Ada Leora Swift of the article was born November 12, 1859 (died March 1862). Swift died a prisoner of Yankees, July 13, 1862. Celestia Hayden Swift married Dewitt Clinton Chapman on November 25, 1868. This couple eventually had four children, the youngest of which was my mother’s mother, Lily Albina, June 4, 1874.

Other facts were corroborated when tracing my grandfather Horton and his marriage to Lily. Tom learned when tracing my father, Michael Hodak, which type of records to pursue. Detecting for ancestors was exciting but much more work can be done. We haven’t begun to work on the Horton line, and I do have a photo of my grandfather’s family with a note on the back from Lily identifying James O. Horton, before their marriage.

Avery was serious when he said on Saturday night that he wanted to get an early start Sunday morning. He came in before I was out of bed, showered and began to pack. He didn’t have an alarm clock but it turned out that rain at 6 am woke them all. You know what kind of rain we have — a sprinkle — but enough to splat, splat, splat, on the tent and disturb them. As if stiff bodies reacting to the ground beneath them didn’t add to the awakening! They moved swiftly, toasting bagels, brushing teeth, packing, hugging goodbye.

So they were off by eight oclock. I watched Osgood on CBS Sunday morning and ABC George Stephanopoulos, I got that spelling from Wikipedia so I know it is correct. I had toast, coffee and apricots to energize me for a few hours so off I went to Freethought for discussion about missionary efforts in China and elsewhere. Talk deteriorated into criticism of conventions that chose to meet in expensive downtown hotels. Over that I have no control so I came home to a lunch of hotdogs and word processing. The Hanford train whistles proof that some government folks actually work on the seventh day – not rest.

On a whim this morning I left the windows open and returned to find the house comfortably cool. I’ve had a good week, chipped tooth filled, application sent for passport renewal, and a new story pecking out of my computer. Alone again.

Nice to have family around no matter how short the visit.

Good Going

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

The watering began beginning at 1am. The sprinklers were set yesterday
before dark so all I had to do was turn on the water, although each half
hour or so (I did not time my snoozes) I got up and switched to a different
connection. The plants behind the back fence did not look well watered
so I will hose that area down separately. That’s where it appears to be
mowed but maybe the wind laid the dry grasses flat.

My echocardiogram was read by Dr Seda this morning. When I asked how
it looked, he quipped, “well your heart is still there.” I hope all his
patients get that cute chubby grin. Blood pressure is 145 over 78 and
that’s good. My left ventricle wall is a little weak, he said, but not
serious. He checked off a lot of things as OK on a yellow sheet that I
didn’t try to translate. That sheet was handed in at the office and the
clerk remarked, “Wow you must be in good shape, because you don’t need
another checkup until next year. Usually he wants patients back within
six months.” That makes me happy but I would like myself better if I lost
some belly fat.

Back at home I went and did exactly what I criticize my neighbors for
doing — watering in the sun at 80 degrees. I had to extend the hose to
reach out back of the fence. The irises there are doing fine, better than
the ones in the yard. The little evergreens were brown as could be. None
of them lived. There are Virginia creeper vines and I am tempted to let
those plants climb up the fence. The leaves turn bright red in the fall
but the vines are not very pretty if the leaves fall off. Anyway I’ll
face that decision some other time. Today’s watering is as complete as
it is going to get and probably not again until next week. .

My microwave is in an awkward place, above the water heater, but it’s
still the best place considering how little counter space I have. I put
a cabinet on the south wall and that helped but the cords on the coffeemaker
and toaster are short and those appliances are close to the edge. I had
a sturdy box constructed to bring me up at a safer height to lift out
hot stuff. When I lean back my hip bumps the toaster. OK. Except yesterday
I made toast and then nuked a cup of coffee. The cup was too full and
the toaster too hot and my hip was too bare. Yeah, a nasty burn. Got an
extension cord connected — like closing the barn door…etc…

My shipment of SAGESONG arrived. I scheduled a book sell/signing for
a week from Sunday at the Refuge. Now to arrange more publicity at a local

I have tomorrow free, would you believe it? Well not exactly. I picked
all the apricots I shook off my tree and they will be cleaned and frozen
first thing in the morning, while the sun is in the east. I would have
done the job when I brought them in but the sun was too hard on my eyes.
The sun is down. the dark is up. The bed beckons.

Lazy Daisy

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

My day began with a great meeting over hazelnut coffee. Several dozen freethinkers get together at Hastings booksellers to discuss whatever is on our minds and today it centered on Pasco where Planned Parenthood is proposing to set up a clinic just about women’s health. The residents are against it fearing that if young girls get educated about their bodies they will be more likely to engage in early sex. Ludicrous, in view of statistics that show Pasco Hispanics have one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies anywhere in the state. Not to mention the dangers the very young face during childbirth because they don’t ask the right questions about reproduction.

One mother was concerned about how her girls were into making friends through email and wondered about urging them to get into TV. Well I was not the only parent that spoke up about how harmful TV is. I think it is a very bad baby sitter. Ads are clever and devicive. The mother defended the programs and complained that her girls did beg to buy the products. Advertising stuck in their minds way past the merits of program content. I would like to get girls (and boys) outside to consider their connection to nature.

But I put that aside at home and set about enjoying my sunny backyard. I applaud those who enjoy lazy days in summer with energy to run through sprinklers and play ball or chase bluejays. I don’t run my sprinklers in the hot sun, some of the water evaporates before it hits the ground and besides that I have sprinklers that keep the water spray close to the ground. Couldn’t get under the spray if I could run. I remembered that at Universal studios last week there was water spraying from many low fountains around the lot. No visitor had to suffer hot feet for long. Water was also delivered as mist through fans in many places along the streets.

Back to my day. After a hotdog dinner I went to pick up apricot windfalls. I cleaned and packaged 4 quarts for the winter. Good job. I noticed the sun had disappeared in a menacing black cloud coming up behind a cool breeze. Be very nice if the menace proceeded to float overhead and wring out water tonight. I decided to leave my car windows down to encourage a pleasant rain. Well it seems to have worked in the past, especially after I washed the car.

When I walked into the house the temperature was warmer than the outdoors. What a shock! So I opened the windows and doors to let the cool in. A neighborhood kid is popping off his leftover rockets. I hope he runs out soon.

There Ain’t No More

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Well it is 1 AM and the bang and spizzle of fireworks is still going on. What an end to July Fourth! Fancy displays around my house started just before 10 this evening and even now there is a popping of more in the distance. I don’t believe I could have had a better fireworks display in such comfort if I had spent the evening in Columbia Park where Toyota advertised the biggest and bestest show ever. I laid out there in my sleeping bag one year just to get that perspective. I didn’t feel like doing that again and it didn’t take any effort to decide against walking up Badger mountain to watch a community display like I did one year. I’m happy with the energy I spent working in the back yard.

A scorcher was forecast for today and it did come up close to the hundred mark on my shop thermometer so officially it was probably higher. I was out early raking and cleaning. Went to work with the weedeater about eight of the clock. I wear out fast so I only worked an hour or so at a time and did I sweat! No glowing for this old lady. Water poured off every inch. I worked and I drank and I rested. I was in and out a lot. What a productive day!

Turned on the water after dark so everything will get a drink overnight. It is interesting to see how far north the sun sets — way out of range of my west window this past week. I will always remember the summer solstice I spent in the arctic circle. What an energy boost that day was. We built bonfires and danced all night. And didn’t need any sleep the next day either.

Maybe it was the sunshine that gave me energy today. Suppose the morning oatmeal kept my energy flowing — cinnamon, bran, raisins and all. Apricots were a constant snack. Didn’t want to take time for freezing — too much other heavy work to do. Did make a hamburger — nuked it – for dinner and drank a lot of milk. All those good vitamins and such. I actually laid out in the sun just before noon so maybe I’ll show a little tan soon.

I stepped outside just now to watch more local fireworks and that brought out a glow this time — no heavy sweat. Those loud buggers sure leave a stink in the air. I mean there were a lot of rockets shot off just down the street and off beyond the apartments, too, all within my view above the trees. Will hit the shower and toddle off to bed. And when I wake up it will be Sunday and I can watch Osgood and even Stephenofelous. Someday I will learn how to spell George’s name but you know who I mean.


Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Without my computer I wouldn’t know what day it is. I got up this morning planning to watch Good Morning America, the early Sunday show with interesting features hosted by Charles Asgood. Well what come on was a special from Ellis Island with the Secretary of the Interior talking about the new access for visitors to the crown of the statue of liberty. Well OK. I’ve seen the statue from Manhattan Island, never making the opportunity to get into the icon. Essays were read by contest winners about what the statue meant to their ancestors. What about my ancestors? The Hortons left England in 1492. That part of my heritage along with Chapmans on my mother’s side have yet to be researched.

Regarding heritage on my father’s side, Michael A. Hodak recalled illegally entering the promised land where streets were paved with gold, therefore, he was not brought into America through Ellis Island. According to the 1910 census, he was in Newark, New Jersey, not far from the New York harbor. The transport ship he arrived on brought workers for smelting and refining. Such ships were responsible for a massive emigration from eastern Europe in the early 1900s. He had no recollection of seeing the statue. However as a young man escaping conscription he knew land ownership was possible in this new land, and a statue may not have made an impression, no matter how large it loomed on his horizon.

History was brought back to memory on the television and I was pleased to watch the audience milling around the base of the honored Lady. But, I thought, this is Sunday, July fifth, why all this fuss about a past holiday? Better check that out. Sure enough this is July fourth, Saturday, after all. My goodness I have an extra day in my weekend! Could I have discovered that without my trusty computer?

Too Early to Rise

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Back into the routine of turning on the sprinklers in the middle of the night was fine — still works as long as I get back into bed and sleep. This morning I decided to work on the computer files after turning water on the front yard. To the files. Turn on a sprinkler. To the files. Turn off the sprinkler and turn on another. To the files. Turn off the sprinkler and turn on another. Round and round I went until all four of the areas had a turn.

The sky lightens up hours before the sun actually peeks above the eastern horizon, and the cool time was right for raking yard debrie. Got a tummy full of fresh apricots. Somewhere during the day Tom and I talked. He had the day off — the third is the official fourth of July — and he found some facts about my Dad. I put Michael Hodak’s WWI draft notice on and Tom has been going into census records and other history to find information that verifies parts of life in Austria we learned from Dad as kids. Really filling in his whereabouts from census and other documents. Also the Sherers and Rasmussens occupations and locations.

Breakfast was oatmeal and lunch was a nuked hamburger. Apricots are falling off the tree so I cleaned and froze a gallon. Probably have to do that much every day. Good thing all the fruit does not ripen at once. Took time out to read and take a catnap. I looked over a “how to write romance” guide while I racked MY books on the table by my chair. Proofs for three more will arrive any day — when there is mail delivery that is. Meanwhile I wander around trying not to find work to do.

A friend gave me a bunch of asparagus last month and I did eat some fresh but knew it was too much all at once so I cooked and pickled it. I have that to munch on when I eat my dry popcorn. Have celery and carrots also. You can tell there isn’t much going on around here but I have to write and am not quite in the mood for another novel so I blog. A blog – so much blowing fog. No wisdom, no recipe, no critical information but it shows action on the website.

The temperature was above 90 degrees and I manage to keep the house interior comfortable by closing and covering the windows when I get up. I have them open all night. I put off removing the insulation from the air conditioner. Unless I run it (and that would have to be most of the day) the outdoor heat comes in and so far I do nicely without wasting electricity to chill me out.

Caught up on all my laundry on Wednesday. Had an echocardiogram yesterday and the doctor will read the results for me next Tuesday. I have one every couple of years. I have to have the dentist check my front tooth where a little piece broke off a week ago. I must send attendance estimates of events for records to Audubon Refuge Keepers. Then I am off to an early bedtime.

Independence, Declaration thereof,

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

The Declaration of Independence is our nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty and President Jefferson’s most enduring monument. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration expressed, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people, then and now.

The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. Here Jefferson summarized this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

The Declaration reports in a manner of a natural philosopher to the world what are the particular causes of this particular physical event. It presents an objectivity, not a presentation of some public controversy, on which good and decent people could differ.

America and England were already separated by the more basic fact that they had become two different peoples. Their political, intellectual, social, moral, and cultural differences could no more be repaired, as Thomas Paine said, than one could “restore to us the time that is past” or “give to prostitution its former innocence.”

The purpose of the Declaration was simply to “declare” – that is: to announce publicly in explicit terms the “causes” which were impelling the newly formed Republic to leave the British empire.

The estimated population of the USA at the time of the Declaration was 2.5 million. As of July, 2009, the population is estimated to be 306,809,221.

Dollar value of trade last year between the United States and the United Kingdom reached over $107 billion, making the British (our adversary in 1776) our sixth-leading trading partner today.

We import millions of dollars of fireworks annually for July 4th celebrations. The USA manufactures more than $350 million fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems. On the Fourth of July, tons of beef and/or pork hot dogs, steaks and burgers are cooked on outdoor barbecues in celebrations nationwide.

Celebrate. Reflect. Indulge. Enjoy. I intend to.