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Thoughts Over Coffee

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To join in the fun of an informal “catch up”, write and post your entry then enter the URL for your weekend coffee share post in the Linky here.

If we were having coffee, I think I would want to listen more than talk. It is that kind of a day, or I guess it was that kind of a week. I don’t have a lot going on. There is a lot I want to do but still don’t have the doctor’s thumbs up so I’ll wait. I find that I tire easily these days anyway so I guess I still need to take it easy on myself.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am a little nervous about my kids. My oldest (and only son) is in Japan, working. In Tokyo. He has been there since March and will be there through June. And my youngest is leaving for Tokyo tomorrow where she will visit her big brother for ten days. I was fine with that until yesterday when word of a volcano eruption in Japan and then this morning when I woke to the news of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake which shook all of Japan, including Tokyo. Now I’m nervous. I will be happy when they are both home where I can get to them in a matter of hours.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Anderson had his last day of preschool on Wednesday. He was a bit out of sorts that day, not wanting to stay when I dropped him off. He hung on to me and they had to come and pull him from me. Then when we went to the certificate presentation, he was cuddling with one of the aides and apparently he had not wanted to participate in any of the activities that day so he just sat in the corner and watched everyone else. It makes me sad when he’s sad, especially when he doesn’t say why he’s sad.

If we were having coffee, I would talk about a movie I saw the other night. It wasn’t the first time I have seen it. I stream it often. It’s called The Way and was written by Emilio Estevez and stars Martin Sheen. The movie is about the road that people take when making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage that people have been making since the Middle Ages. It’s an inspiring movie. I’ve talked about it here before and mentioned that I would love to be able to travel that road; to make that pilgrimage. However, that was in my unhealthy days when I knew it to be physically impossible for me to do. Now that I’m healthy, the thought has entered my mind again and now it is finances that keep me from doing it but if there were any possible way for me to travel to France to begin the journey which begins in France and goes through Spain, I would do it in a heartbeat. It takes an average of a month. I’m sure it would take me longer. I need to work toward finding a travel partner to join me (or more than one would be great) and the finances with which to do it, the air fare being the biggest part for me. I don’t know that I will ever do it but it is certainly something to strive for.

Is there any kind of a trip or pilgrimage you would consider making? Why? What keeps you from doing it?

I just this week finished two Catherine Ryan Hyde novels, the first was called The Language of Hoofbeats and the second was The Electric God. I really enjoy her books. Have you read any of them? Most are familiar with her bestselling novel, Pay It Forward. I’m slowly making progress to catch up to my own reading goal of 80 books for this calendar year. I’m now only 9 books behind instead of the 17 books behind schedule! It’s doable now!

What have you been reading? Anything you would recommend?

By the way, the movie, The Way is on Amazon Instant Video Prime so if you happen to have prime on Amazon, then you can stream it for free. It is set in some of the most beautiful places and it follows the story of several people making the pilgrimage. They aren’t really making it for religious reasons. One is doing it to lose weight. Another to get over writer’s block. And the main character is completing it for his son. It’s a very interesting and thought provoking (at least for me) movie. Give it a try if you get a chance.

Movies. Have you seen anything lately you might recommend?

That’s about it for now. The sun is shining and it’s warm out so I have to find the key to my storage shed to get my oscillating fan out or I’ll have to go see if I can find one at the store as it is getting to be hot enough to need one now!

Until next time, enjoy life and family. Don’t take either for granted!

I like posting “throw back Thursday” pictures on Facebook and I’ve posted a couple here but I get tired of posting pictures of myself and I don’t like to post pictures with other people in them unless I have their permission so when I saw Trent post a throw back Thursday memory on his blog today, I decided I could do that, too!

As most of my regular readers know, I’m originally from California but have been living in Oregon since 2008. Today, in Portland, it is one of those days we’ve been waiting to have for a long time…our summer-like weather. The sky is a beautiful blue with a few wispy clouds and the temperature is 80 degrees. Not horribly hot like it can get but a very nice change from the 50 degree weather we’ve been having!

To me, nothing says summer better than music by the Beach Boys! I love their music. I taught it to my kids and I also taught it to my inner city students the year I taught fifth grade! Now that was a scene but I’ll save that for another day. Today, I will tell you about the first time I saw the Beach Boys in concert. It was on May 24, 1975 in Oakland, California at the Oakland Coliseum for A Day On the Green (a series of all day concerts organized and promoted by Bill Graham in the 1970s).

I had looked forward to the concert for weeks. There was a group of us from the dorm going but too many for the two cars in the group so I was riding the Greyhound with three friends (Laura, Jose, and Ramiro). The night before the concert, there was an impromptu dorm party and, while I enjoyed the party, I did enjoy it a little too much via drinking a lot of booze. I was a freshman that year and at 19 years of age, I had not ever had alcohol other than a sip from my dad’s beer or wine, so during the late part of freshman year, I was drinking too much (not often but still too much). The next day, I was so hungover that I didn’t even hear the alarm. One of my friends got the RA to open my room door and she got me out of bed and got me dressed, including some very hard to keep my feet in “flip flops”. My friends knew that there was no way I would want to miss the concert which was being headlined by Chicago, the Beach Boys, and Riders of the Purple Sage, with a lot of other local groups performing as well. So off we went for our LONG walk to the bus depot which was about a mile northeast of the campus, not too far but we were starting from our dorm which was in the far southwest part of the campus so we had to walk about four miles, maybe more. Well, they walked, I sort of dragged along as they pulled me along. The bus ride from Palo Alto to San Francisco was about an hour then we had to walk to the local city bus stop to take a bus across the Bay Bridge to the Oakland Coliseum for the concert. We finally made it and found our friends in the block of tickets we had purchased. The warm up bands were great but my head was pounding. Someone bought me a beer, saying it would settle my stomach and make me feel better. So by the time Chicago came on, I really was feeling much better, but I had a horrible headache. I enjoyed Chicago and then a couple of small bands then the Beach Boys came on to a wild reaction of standing, clapping, singing, and dancing California fans! Including me, headache and all.

By the time the Beach Boys had played, I was exhausted and still had that horrible headache. One of the car drivers was leaving early and asked if I wanted to go back with her because she had an extra seat. I agreed, having seen the two bands I most wanted to see, and off we went back to Palo Alto, to the dorms, to the dining hall, and to my bed for sleep.

That was the first of about ten times I was lucky enough to see the Beach Boys perform in concert. I’ve only ever seen them in California so I wonder what song they open with in other places because in California they always open with California Girls. (I hope that link works…my plugin for sound is not working on my laptop so I can’t check.)

I’m Ready

My hair is very gray. I usually dye it about every three months. I do it myself, at home. I found a dye recently, well less than a year ago, that is much better than what I was using. It is a foam in product that is much easier to apply and to see where you have applied it to and where there is no product, which means that you don’t have those “untouched” spots that translate into dyed dark hair (deepest brown is my natural color) with a lot of gray peeking in here and there. At $10 an application, it is more than twice what I pay for the other stuff that leaves gray in but it is well worth it. Plus it leaves my hair conditioned and feeling great!

I haven’t dyed my hair since Thanksgiving. That means that it is almost completely gray all over, down to my shoulders where there is still some of the dark coloring left down to my mid-back. I toyed with the idea of letting it go completely gray but I’m not ready for that. My daughter agreed that it’s not time yet. You see, I’m 59 years old. With my gray hair I look like I am well into my 60’s. With it dyed, I look late 40’s. No brainer. I decided to dye it.

Today is my grandson’s last day of pre school. He begins kindergarten in September. There will be a little presentation of certificates and pictures. I decided that today I was taking myself back. It has been a really rough three months and I am ready to start being myself again. So I rummaged through the cupboards looking for the good dye package but didn’t find any. However, I did find the old stuff that doesn’t cover the gray well. It was after midnight so I decided I would use the yucky stuff just this one last time. Maybe I should have waited until this morning or gone out at midnight. When I washed it out and dried my hair, I could definitely see a lot of gray. It seems that I left a lot untouched just below both temples. Then I realized that I only got the surface so when it is moved slightly out of the way, all the gray is underneath!

Oh well! It will have to do. It will wash out in less than a month anyway and by then I will have gotten to the store for the better stuff. I think I’ll stock up on it.

Then came the clothes. At about 75 pounds lighter than I was in April, nothing fits. I have two pair of leggings that fit loose but well enough to wear. I also have two pair of jeans that fit kind of baggy but they don’t fall down! So that’s what I have been wearing around the house. To go out though, I had my daughter take me to the store where I found two pair of nicer pants, not leggings and not jeans, that sort of fit. They were on clearance and then half of the clearance so I paid about $16 for the two pair. I’m wearing the dark blue ones today. The tops are harder to find so I dug through boxes of clothes that never made it to the Goodwill donation center, clothes that were too small when I was so much bigger. I found a few that looked less larger than others and gave them a fresh washing. One in particular is kind of gathered with elastic at the sides, creating a waist. That one is not huge on me. It’s a size or two too big but it doesn’t look like I’m a two year old playing dress-up in my mommy’s clothes. So I’m set. I’m stepping out! It’s only to my grandson’s pre school graduation but it means a lot to me.

I’m taking myself back. I’m ready to. My mind is anyway. My body isn’t entirely ready and I will have to remember to not over do things but I’m not waiting. I’m coming out, not as the sickly shell of who I used to be, but as the person that is looking forward to so much more than doctor’s appointments and medicines and fear of the cancer recurring. I’m not thinking of that today. Today is about an ending and a beginning.

I’m ready.

Magic Hour

Through the open window
I hear the world
Outside…

Tap tap tap
Lori’s cane constant
As she takes her midnight walk

Vroom vroom vroom
Andres’ clunker as it coughs, warming
Before it carries him to work

Tinkle chinkle tinkle
The delicate chimes
Whispering in the gentle breeze

Midnight’s habits never change
Midnight
The magic hour
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I don’t usually try poetry but today, while browsing for a writing prompt to try, I came across this one at Something New Daily and thought I would give it a quick once over try. The poem above is what spilled out. My poem is not great but it’s a good first try that I might play around with later.

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To join in the fun of chatting informally with us, write your post then enter the URL in the linky found at Part Time Monster here. You can also check the linky for a list of other bloggers joining us this week.

If we were having coffee this morning, I would ask if I could interest you in a fresh fruit smoothie. It’s kind of late and if you’ve had your caffeine for the day, you might want to try one. My daughter brought me lots of berries and I have some bananas so there’s a lot to go around. This (very late) morning I’m having a blackberry and banana smoothie. It’s quite delicious.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am doing better this week. I’m physically better and perhaps emotionally, too. I’ve been taking it easy, mostly. I did have the boys over here for a couple of hours on Wednesday night while their dad ran an errand. Anderson is 5 and he’s great; no trouble at all. However, Spencer is only 2 and he is into absolutely everything and has no fear so he ends up climbing where he shouldn’t. So after less than two hours, I was exhausted.

If we were having coffee, I would have to share my “super sweet Anderson moment” from last Tuesday. His mom was not feeling well so I drove him to preschool then picked him up after it was over. When I picked him up, he asked if he could go to McDonald’s and get chicken nuggets. I agreed as it had been a while (since last March) since I had taken him any place, just the two of us. He chose which McDonalds he wanted to go to (we have five in the area that we visit) then he said he wanted to go in and eat, not drive through. So we did. He asked if he could have the meal this time, “with the box and apples and juice and fries and chicken nuggets”. We usually just get the big box of 20 and take them home but I said he could get the kids’ box meal this time and I also got the big box so they could have it later at home. As I sat waiting for him to eat, I saw him eating french fries and apples but no chicken nuggets. Then he gathered up all four of his chicken nuggets in his hand and asked, “Nana can I please have more chicken nuggets?” I said that he already had some in his hand. He answered, with the most innocent look in his eyes, “but I can’t eat them, they’re for my brother.” That melted my heart. He was saving his food for his little brother! I told him we had more nuggets so he could eat his and there would still be a lot for Spencer and I showed him the box inside the bag that were taking home. That made him feel better and it made me so happy and so proud that have a grandson that is so thoughtful and loving with his little brother.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while I am feeling better, I seem to not have as much energy or stamina as I used to. I know this will change as time goes by and I’m looking forward to being back to normal. I know I just have to be patient.

I would also tell you that my mother and my sister are working on a plan to have a memorial get together for my dad. I told my mom that I just didn’t feel right that he should leave this earth alone, without anyone marking his passing or his life. (The woman that he lived with for the past 20 years chose not to have any kind of service.) She agreed. And my sister told me about a friend of my dad’s, a much younger friend, that called her to ask about a service because he and his brother sing at parties and my dad had asked him to sing three specific songs for him when he died and he wants to fulfill that promise. So now they are making some plans. I will go down for it but I think it will need to be by plane and a short visit until I am stronger later this summer when I am supposed to take Anderson all the way down again, by car.

I finished a couple of books this week and am currently reading (just started) a book called The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I’ve read four or five of her books (including Pay It Forward) and have enjoyed them all. And after that, I think I will be reading a couple of cozy mysteries because they are short and light.

What about you? Any outings coming up? If you’re in the U.S., do you have plans for this holiday weekend? If so, I hope your weather will behave itself. Have you read anything interesting this week? I want to go see Tomorrowland and might take myself tomorrow. Have you seen it yet? Are you catching a movie this weekend? What do YOU have to share?

Well, that’s it for today. I am going to go stay with Spencer in a couple of hours while he naps and his dad takes Anderson to a pool party for a little while. I need to do some things here before I get ready to go so thank you for stopping by. Please let me know what you are up to!

Friday 56

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I’m really enjoying Rokitansky by Alice Darwin. It is about three different women, each in a different stage of their life. The chapters rotate from Moira to Tori to Ms Brown. As of this writing, I don’t yet know what connects them, although I can guess, as that has yet to be revealed. So far, very interesting and very sad.

“The letter from the stranger had made Tori cry. harry had wanted to cry watching her read it. He had grown accustomed to watching his wife have her heart repeatedly broken. He felt powerless to stop it from happening again, unable to mend her.” (55% on Kindle)

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in Linky here. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Jason was spending the night at his one friend’s house. There were things he hated about living in Oregon. It meant that his parents had split up and it meant that he had to leave Southern California with his mom. It meant that all his friends were a thousand miles away and it meant that instead of the “warm California sun”, he was stuck with the cold wetness of Portland where it rained from October til May. He hated that part the most.

One good thing about living in Oregon was that he didn’t have to listen to his parents fighting all the time. Here, with just his mom, there was a lot less stress and his mom was a lot happier. And he had a new friend; a new best friend that he was closer to than any of the friends he had left behind in Los Angeles. This friend, Andrew, was a lot of fun and his father was very outdoorsy. They included Jason in a lot of the stuff they did. Since moving to Portland the year before, he had gone hunting (he didn’t want to tell them he was afraid to shoot a rifle so he went along whenever they invited him but that was the one part he didn’t like, the rifle), fishing, rock climbing, skiing, and Andrew’s dad, who was also named Andrew but called Drew, had even taken them to hunt for mushrooms. Jason liked that. He liked having to hike and be on the lookout in the damp forest to find all sorts of mushrooms.

Jason’s mom had to work late on Saturday night (she was a pianist at one of the fancy restaurants downtown) so Jason was spending the night with Andrew and his family. They lived in one of the old buildings near downtown. The area had been run down for a long time but it was starting to come alive as people bought the old buildings and fixed them. There were plans for a lot of stores and businesses to move to the area. Jason liked it because he and Andrew always got to take their sleeping bags up to the rooftop to sleep, as long as it wasn’t raining anyway. He liked being up there because at night he could see all the lights spreading out below and he could see across the river into Washington. In daylight, he could see all around him and across the river to the east. Jason loved it up there because it was so different from living in Los Angeles where there was no nature unless you got in the car and drove for an hour or more. Here he could see patches of trees and mountains and volcanoes. He could see Mt. Hood which was a long inactive volcano (last minor eruption in 1907) and he could see Mt. Adams and across the Columbia, he could see Mount St. Helens which was in the news every day now. It was a volcano and it had been spewing steam and shaking up the area for awhile. Geologists thought it was going to erupt at any time but then there were other experts that disagreed, saying it was just venting steam and keeping the pressure down so it would not erupt. Either way, Jason thought it was pretty exciting.

That Saturday Jason and Andrew had spent the night up on the roof. They had a lot of snacks with them and Jason had taken his radio with him. The two had talked all night and listened to the radio, singing along with some of their favorite songs. Jason liked the Pina Colada Song because it made him want to dance and move like he was really cool but his mom didn’t like it because it reminded her of Jason’s father who used to order pina colada drinks for her every time they went out, even though she didn’t like the drink. The sang; they danced; they talked about some of the girls in their eighth grade class and about what they would do when school was out in three weeks. On Sunday morning, the sun came out bright and early and woke the boys up. They lay in their sleeping bags because although the sun was out and it was looking like it would be a warm day in Portland, it was only six in the morning and it was still cold. So they talked some more and they dozed off and on. By eight it had warmed up enough for them to venture out of their sleeping bags but they didn’t want to go downstairs yet so they sat up and turned on the radio again. They goofed off and wrestled a bit.

Suddenly, the whole building shook and Jason, being from California, yelled “earthquake!”. They jumped up and ran to the ledge, looking around then they saw it. It was across the river in Washington. It was Mount St. Helens but they couldn’t see any lava. There was dark grey smoke and clouds where the mountain should be but they couldn’t see the top, only the smoke and what they would later find out was ash. It had erupted. Jason thought it was cool and both of the boys started to whoop and and jump up and down, high-fiving each other. They had bet the kids at school that it was going to blow before school was over in three weeks. They had won the bet. They stayed up there trying to get a look at the lava when the smoke went away but it didn’t go away. It kept coming out.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, the music stopped on the radio and there was an announcement making it official. Mount St. Helens had erupted and reports from the bottom of the mountain were that damages were devastating but it would be hours and days before there were pictures and video and all the stories and a list of the people that were missing. The boys went downstairs then to wake Andrew’s parents and tell them about the eruption. Maybe they could drive out there and get a closer look. The two fourteen year olds could barely contain their excitement.
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This is a fictionalized story based on actual events and accounts. When all was said and done, 57 people lost their lives on the mountain that day. The mountain lost over 1300 feet of elevation. Nature was destroyed for miles around the mountain; it included fish, deer, elk, plants, trees, and more. The entire area was changed forever. It was the first eruption in the 48 contiguous states since Mt. Lassen erupted in 1915. It also allowed modern scientists to study the build up to the eruption, the initial eruption on the 18th of May, as well as a series of eruptions that have continued to occur since that day, 35 years ago. It is still an active volcano. The last eruption occurred in 2008 but steam continues to vent, even now. We have not heard the last from this volcano.

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