Archive for November, 2009

Another Full One

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Enough already. I worked up a sweat moving knick knacks off the shelves in the corner of the living room. A job that took hours. Every year or so I move the cute little dust catchers and wash the shelves. I did not start the day with that in mind but you know how things go, one thing has to be done before another can be done and still one more before that and pretty soon you are committed. In the middle of it all I felt like I should be committed someplace where I couldn’t harm myself. But that is not likely to happen. I do not let anybody with that power see me in such condition.

Anyway back to the beginning. I was doing my morning walk around the furniture with a cup of coffee. I should have walked outside. Would have if the rain hadn’t still dripped off the branches. Well I decided that the corner nook was absolutely cluttered so I couldn’t appreciate each one singly. Sort of like seeing the forest but not a single tree. I did the logical thing and picked up the items and what do you know? The reason I couldn’t clearly see the details was because of the accumulated dust. Can’t run a duster over them where they stand, either because the dust just dances in the air until I leave the room then it diabolically settles down in a new and different place. Playing musical chairs.

Not really heavy lifting, the work required constant going from the shelves to the sink and back again. No landing in jail just keep going and no collecting $200. There didn’t seem to be an end to it. But enough is enough. When I began to put the items back without cleaning I figured it was time to quit. There is a good side. I managed to throw out bags of paper generated during the planning for the library expansion. Stacks. The committee went through deliberations about the needed space. Then what the space should be for. Then where to put the stuff. Then a contractor and then more deliberations. And I saved every sheet.

But I digress.

The day was tiring and although the job isn’t totally completed I can see the progress. I will catch up some other day when there is nothing better to do. Now for supper. No cooking thanks to the care plate that I brought back from the Cardinal turkey feed.

Wrapped up in my colorful fleece I will lay back in my comfy chair and take a pre bedtime nap. Couldn’t have asked for a fuller day.


Friday, November 27th, 2009

What a satisfactory day! I arose at daybreak, and that’s no hardship because the sun doesn’t come up until almost seven o’clock. So I made my own breakfast and showered. Great start for a day of loving friends and family. I simply sat back and watched other people cook. Boy oh boy did it ever smell good! And it tasted wonderful. I got lost before I got there so the food was nearly ready by the time I hugged everybody and had a shot of liquor.

Turkey, dressing, cranberries, squash, green bean casserole, cooked carrots, broccoli salad, apple pie a la mode, and creamed coffee. I was stuffed tighter than the roasted old bird and could hardly stand up.

I will help with leftovers for a few days. Grand daughter saw to that with a care package now in my fridge. Rain began as I left the Cardinals and continued well into the night. My trees are happy too. I repeat: What a satisfactory day!

Wish Granted

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

For a free alcoholic drink, I took a tour of an assisted living home. In the lengthy interview the hostess found out I thought it would be fun to sky dive — free float down from an airplane. Well she thought that was a cute wish for an old lady. She lined up such an arrangement, on her nickle, in the spring when the sky riders are in business. How’s that for enticement to join the waiting list for a luxury apartment? I can envision myself floating down over Ritzville on the back of a qualified diver. But the vision is really as far as I can see the action. I have a very healthy heart. And it would probably withstand the drop. Would my mind? Would my body? It sounds like a lot of fun. The law of averages would predict a small thing to go wrong. Do I want to take the chance that I would not live to age 83?

Somebody would have to be ready to make the funeral fire if I did not.

I have to think seriously about that.

End of my sidewalk

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Some items are not welcome at GoodWill or other thrift shops. I do not want to do much cooking or baking any time now. I eat too much as it is, or rather too much of what I eat settles around my stomach. So I gave up my stove. Sure I would like to receive some money from a transaction. I do that with advertising in a local Giant Nickel. But there was nary a bite when I put for sale an apartment-size electric stove — a neat compact four burner with full oven. What to do?

I resorted to the old standby, curbside sales. Put the stove at the end of my sidewalk, my property, and tack on a FREE sign. Works wonders. The stove did stand on the sidewalk over the weekend but believe it or not, this morning the stove was picked up. What a relief. I have renewed respect for my curbside sales outlet. Such a joy to have my castoff picked up as a prize by someone who really wants it. No dickering over size, color, or appearance. Like “I’d take it if it was green, or if it had a see-through oven door.”

No questions asked. Somebody wanted it just the way it was. I wanted someone who wanted it to have it just the way it was. Everybody happy? Well I should say!

A Free Drink?

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

One never knows what all will happen in a single day. Walk in rainy back yard before dawn, make breakfast, drive to NWR before sunup toward wind from southeast, greet overseers of McNary NWR, trail talk, pot luck, lunch, margaritas at a retirement home with full tour of independent living in a nearly dependent way, finally circle back to drive home after sundown.

There you have it. Immediately upon rising, I head for a backyard hike. Yesterday I raked leaves off a path around the shop and the Charlie Brown spruce so I had clear ground on which to walk without stumbling knee deep through leaves. That is no easy walk when there is no light but the neighborhood porch lights through my cedar fence. Avoiding ups and downs is difficult enough without wading through wet soggy leaves that seem to have been grown on elephant plants. Honestly the leaves this fall are as big as my widespread palm. And I have a big hand. When they spread across the yard they do not seem formidable but just try to walk over them. I sink more than ankle deep. Hence the need to move them aside. It’s OK, I need the exercise, but more than that I need a clear path so my ankles aren’t scratched or soaked as the case may be. This morning it was the rain, such as Richland precipitation is erroneously called, that falls in my back yard. I did not walk more than five minutes. I got too wet. And I couldn’t see too well in the dark anyway.

I did my time at McNary NWR which included giving a tour around the main learning stations to twenty out of town visitors with full explanation of what occurs at each station. No rain just then. The wind was blowing from the southeast. At McNary that means bringing the undeniable odor from cattle imprisoned in their feces for days on end.

No matter. I did my duty which is a labor of love. The science I can expound upon is delightful. But teaching is also tiring. So I was happy I had an invitation to attend a margarita drink-up at a retirement village. In all fairness I don’t expect something for nothing and so I listened with rapture to the advantages of living in a retirement community. Now a large population of people who look bored with their walkers and gray hair does not impress me. Imagine living with old people! Not at all the type who looked friendly, certainly not happy. But I listened and promised to let the hostess know when I would be within six months of choosing an apartment. That’s when a down payment would be required. Well the drinks were good. I suppose I could have had refills for an hour or two but it seemed a good idea to go home and get comfy in my own chair (which I could take with me to my retirement apartment!). It is a very very elegant place and for $2440 per month why wouldn’t it?

Does it appear that I try really really hard to have new experiences?

Now I will continue to cook for myself. And wash my dishes by hand. And clean the floors. And wash my towels. Such a bother.

Am I ever glad I have a home of my own. Leaves and all.

Leaning Bones

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Light doesn’t come early this time in November but I wake at 5 am anyway. Today was my day “off” so to speak and last night I planned to get up when I woke today and get at writing my November novel. I did get some written but not a thousand words by a long shot. I had to get my yard waste can filled so it will be out by 7 am tomorrow for pickup. Well the activity of raking, bending over, and lifting rake-loads of leaves is no simple activity. Hauling leaves, most of which are from the neighbors trees not mine, is heavy work. I was worn out. So I took the rest of the day to recover. I had a big portfolio of art work in the living room and wanted it out of the way. I couldn’t move it without having a look at the stuff I did once upon a time.

My goodness what wonderful stuff! I was so enamored that I photographed the drawings I did for Art 101at the University of Minnesota, Duluth branch, I guess over 40 years past. I made a movie of them and want to put it up on Salmonriver or Sherer to show off. The photography took time and toll as well. The pencil and wash drawings are on 30 x 40 inch paper so I laid them on the floor to capture them with my COOLPix. I guarantee that anything you lean over to do at least 150 times wears on the vertebra’s. I really didn’t take into account the leaf raking but that had to be a factor.

Last night I went to the Pasco City Council meeting in which the six men and one woman accepted a request from Planned Parenthood to locate a clinic on Court street. Hooray! Pasco has the distinction of having the highest teenage pregnancy in the state. I think the clinic will make a difference in that statistic. The anti-abortion group of all things were picketing with signs “Abortions hurt women” as if that was what PP would be doing! I never had an abortion but I bet it would hurt. The group got nasty at the Council’s approval but were pushed out the door by the Sargent at arms who probably expected such outburst.

The telephone has been most active. I had an invitation to a special lunch at an old folks home, a request for $25 per month to the ACLU, call for Ron (when I said he is deceased they said his phone number would be deleted), and an indignant telemarketer who at first reminded me that I had not finished the requirements to receive a free laptop computer. She said I should finish but I refused to do the third requirement because I would not buy a DVD every month. She slapped down the receiver. Now I know who sponsored the ad to give away a “free” laptop.

Got my package of cranberries and a recipe for sauce to take to Cardinal’s for Thanksgiving. Little Nick was three in August so he will be entertaining. I will do my usual Freethought stuff on the winter solstice instead. Year’s past about six of us had a turkey at a member’s house. I will be back in Bellingham from December 2 until December 16. Just a real gadfly. Then an hour ago Ashton called and will fly up during her winter break so when Dan makes the arrangement I expect to have company from then until early January. Just the sort of thing to keep my brain working to keep up with my world. Life is full of wonderful surprises.

Tree Park

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

A walk through Whatcom Park which exists behind the bed and breakfast where I am currently residing is an arboretum of sorts, albeit a tree study without requisite labels and or other descriptive information. The differences, however, are stark and notable. Many of the deciduous trees are bare of leaves, or nearly so. The trunks and limb configurations are a study of plants reaching for maximum sun exposure. Where possible according to their species, they rise higher and higher or wider and wider to achieve that goal.

Some species I can identify by the bark, the striation of it or the blotches. In one stand the grays varied in intensity with an overall pattern of camouflage. What were they hiding from? Interesting. As if they had anthropogenic tendencies. Animals use camouflage to protect themselves, why not trees? In trees, however, the group did not fade into anonymity, it became more noticeable because of the numbers. More likely the grove occurred because the seeds were more prolific in that small area. Any seeds taken away by the wind or birds or other animals would likely come up as isolated individuals that may or may not propagate a grove in due course.

I recognized a balsam tree, one loan sentinel, with other shorter specimens of widespread branched kinds clustered around it. One group of bare deciduous specimens had thin limbs that went upward at forty-five degree angles from the trunk, making a tree pointy like a pencil tip. Some evergreen trees are that shape but the variety of shapes is inherent in the species. Limbs that reach out in a droopy fashion are graceful recipients of holiday ornamentation. The greatest difference among evergreens is between spruce and pine. Spruce leaves are needle-like but short, perhaps an inch or less. Pine leaves are needle-like but are longer, from the two-inch ones on the ornamental Mugho Pine to the six inchers on the mighty Ponderosa, with the needle length of other species falling somewhere between those two.

Trees may not be the most revered item of the plant kingdom but they are planted around new homes and other buildings for shade as well as beauty in the landscape. They vary in speed of growth and longevity. Often young trees are planted without consideration of the space they will need when full grown and make a mess of sidewalks and foundations. Topping trees or removal becomes difficult if the branches are close to electric wires or buildings.

I lived with trees all my life. One memorable scene I remember involved a man sitting on a large limb trying to saw it off between himself and the trunk. I think his neighbor suggested he get down and use a ladder before he absolutely ruined his own skeleton during improper limb removal.

I like trees. There was a delightful silver maple tree in the yard of one place I lived. Not only was it a lovely ornamental but its limbs were properly placed for climbing. Another type of tree had sturdy limbs high above that took kindly to ropes for a swing. Others furnished shade for relief from the hot Minnesota summer sun. Some in California are hundreds of feet tall as well as hundreds of years old. Not all trees are lucky. Sometimes lightening strikes and shred the trunks. Some are attacked by insects or chopped with blaze marks of hatchets. Many of the trees in one area of Whatcom Park went up in smoke when a gas line leak exploded about ten years past. Nature has greened over most of that disaster and Whatcom Park is a year-round study of plants that do well in a forever damp and rainy place.