Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Hatch

At first I thought the cue for this blog hop was a joke. Could it possibly be that a word we hear so often in the blog hopping world could be the one presented? Denise at Girlie on the Edge wasn't kidding after all it turns out. So this is it. Six Sentence Stories - Prompt. So click the link and see what other bloggers did with the word prompt in their six sentence stories. 

WELL, I'm not sure where  my focus was when I checked  to see what the prompt word was early in the week, but when I went to link up, I discovered that the joke was on me. The prompt word wasn't prompt after all. It is Six Sentence Stories - Hatch. So let's see what creative thing I can do to make my six sentence story still work. Feel free to laugh at my error. I did!

She wondered why he wanted to be so prompt that first day there. After all, they planned to be there, just the two of them, for a week celebrating her birthday and their 50th wedding anniversary, a month early, and there would be many days they could watch that phenomenal act of nature.

The night before arriving they stayed in Jackson Hole where they took time to browse in some of the tourist shops and visit the town square with the famous Antler Arch. Driving to the National Elk Refuge framed by the Teton Mountains was a must see early the next morning before continuing their journey.

The conversation during the drive from Jackson Hole to Yellowstone National Park was interjected a few times by him inquiring as to what time it was and how he would need to find the perfect site for setting up his tripod and camera before Old Faithful erupted. 

They made it was a half hour to spare, so she decided to walk down a boardwalk as he set up his camera gear, but then as she walked back toward him, she was shocked to see almost their entire family practically hatch out of nowhere approaching her singing  Happy Birthday!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

It may have seemed like I was ducking out on writing my post for Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, and in a way I suppose I was, as can be seen below. Click the link to see who else decided to share their thoughts of gratitude this time around.  

1. I am thankful for trips to the park.
My husband and I went to the park this afternoon to see if we could see any ospreys doing their incredible plummeting dives into the lake to catch fish. While he was zooming in on the ospreys, I was snapping photos of ducks, including these two. They are called Indian Runner Ducks. I suspect they were unwanted pets that were dropped off at the park. They do not fly and are not native here, nor for that matter to this country. Today both of these ducks seemed to have a little bit of an attitude and bullied the other ducks in the area. As you can see they are very "upright" birds otherwise.

Indian Runner Ducks

2. I am thankful for signs like this.
I'm not sure if the owners have always grown daffodils strictly for u-pickers, or if at one time they had grown them for florists, but I love the idea of u-pick daffodils!

U-Pick daffodil patch with a bright yellow flag to catch the attention of drivers who are zipping by on the highway

3. Colors brighten our world, and fluorescent colors intensify the colors. I'm thankful for discovering this beautiful beetle one morning this week. Since he wasn't where he should have been, we took some photos before departing ways with him. We have no idea where he came from and neither one of us had ever seen a beetle like this. Thanks to the internet, we were able to identify him.

We placed this Golden Jewell Beetle (Buprestis aurulenta) on a spent Christmas Cactus blossom while we took some photos.

4. To see the first of something usually takes some planning, but in this case it was purely happenstance. While watering my plants this week I noticed a tiny blossom emerging on a coffee plant we have had for years. The plant has not really thrived under my care, maybe because I'm not a coffee drinker, but it should have known that there was at least one coffee drinker in our house. Anyway, I was very surprised to see the first ever bloom on the plant! I had assumed it just wasn't ever going to bloom for me. I am thankful for even a very brief appearance of this surprise blossom. (Two days later the blossom had shriveled and dropped off.)

Emerging white blossom on a coffee plant

5. It has taken a while for this little orchid to decide to grow a new leaf and hopefully the beginning of another spike.  I had cut off the old one after the blooms had dropped off, and then decided that was probably a mistake. I'm thankful for new growth on my orchid plant.

New orchid leaf coming forth from the center of the other leaves.

6. When I was given another orchid plant I decided not to cut the spike when the blossoms dropped. After a period of time more blossoms appeared on the spike. I so glad we can learn from our mistakes.

This beautiful fuchsia colored orchid blossom appears to be nodding to the Christmas cactus below. I love how the five petals appear to be a mass of tiny fuchsia dots on a background of pure white, with one small pompon-shaped dot in the center of the blossom.
Speaking of learning, this is what I should have watched when I received my first orchid.

7. I am thankful for radio stations which read books that the entire family can enjoy, and I am thankful for the influence Patrick McManus's books had on our family. We gathered together each week to sit and listen as a chapter from one of his books was read on the public radio station, and often laughed until we cried. Rip, Patrick McManus.

8. I'm thankful for those little promptings I receive, you know the kind you have and sometimes ignore only to think later, I wish I had done that, or I wished I hadn't done that, depending on the situation. We had turned in our tax papers to the accountant at the beginning of the last week in March. When at the beginning of this week we still hadn't received a call saying the return was ready for us to pick up, I thought I should give her a call. There had been a mistake in leaving a message, so someone else had received our message. I'm glad I decided to call her.

9. I'm thankful for prayer, because there have been so many times the past couple of weeks when people have asked for others to pray for them and for those in their families when the the future is unknown, or when the outcome is heartbreaking, or when bearing something alone is nearly impossible. Even when people can't gather together, they can be united with and through their prayers and feel His strength by doing so.

10. I'm thankful for things that were not our fault. (1)Just this week I noticed a discrepancy on our bank statement. The amount of one of the checks I'd written showed up as a different amount on the statement. When I followed up on it with the bank, I learned it was an error the bank had made. (2)A few days after the first item, we received an email stating our internet usage was unusually high and that we had used up almost our entire allowance for the month after just a few days into the next billing cycle. After checking into this, we learned that the internet service company had made a data entry error. They quickly correctly the mistake. I'm thankful that both of these errors were easy to correct.

Last of all, I am thankful for beautiful music which comforts and reaches the heart and the soul.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday: Listicle - 10 things I don't like or wish I could change

There are four (or five, if there are five Fridays) writing challenges each month for the Finish the Sentence Friday blog hop hosted by Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and co-hosted by Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours. This second Friday is a listicle where we are given the challenge to list 10 things, exactly what is given to us a few days before we post and link up. Some bloggers may this time refer to 10 things that they hate more than anything. Others may list items they don't like, or things they wish they could change. Click the link to see what bloggers are writing about this week.  Finish the Sentence Friday: Listicle - 10 things I don't like or wish I could change

I do not like

1. Hard rock music and heavy metal music

2. Riding on roller coasters

3. Ferris wheels stops when people are being unloaded and you are in a seat at the top or near the top

4. Hot temperatures, i.e. above 90ยบ F, nor heat combined with high humidity, nor very cold weather accompanied by wind chill that makes it seem much colder

5. Such fine print on labels that it makes it impossible to read unless one uses a magnifying glass

6. Very loud previews of movies in theaters and very loud commercials on TV, i.e. louder than the full length movie that follows the previews, and louder than the scheduled show that follows the commercials

7. The smell of eucalyptus, although I am told the oil is used for aromatherapy

8. Seeing the consequences that addictions have on families and in turn on society

9. Violence and war although I realize that because of man's inhumanity against man and unwillingness to cease, violence and war becomes the vehicle to protect and defend 

Fallen military remembered by their boots displayed on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii 

10.I prefer Red Vines to Twizzlers' strawberry or cherry flavored candy (Note: Some people really don't like the taste of cilantro because for them it tastes like soap.  I don't have quite as drastic a reaction to eating Twizzlers, but it does make me feel a teensy bit nauseated.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Wake

There may be some serious writers who hope to someday be able to  exclaim like Lord Byron, the renown British poet, "I woke up one morning and found myself famous." The only thing I am claiming here is how much fun it is to try to assemble six sentences using a prompt word to write a story. Each week Denise at Girlie on the Edge provides a cue. We bloggers never know exactly what is coming, so we often go scratching our brains before we can even begin this little writing exercise. Click the link, Six Sentence Stories - Wake, to read the other stories on this blog hop. If you have a story just itching to be composed using this cue, post it and link up. You are invited.

As she sat on the rustic bench at the edge of the dock watching the boat's wake ebb and flow, she shivered from the cool morning breeze. She put on her royal blue, cat eye sunglasses to block the glare of the sun's rays reflecting off the water, and scooted closer to him for warmth. In another hour or so they would be getting on the boat they had chartered, so she poured a cup of hot cocoa from her thermos to wash down the pill the doctor had prescribed, just in case she needed it. She would have enough new adventures just learning to deep sea fish, without discovering she might be one of those who gets seasick, to boot. As the hour went by, a sense of queasiness emerged and increased within her making it difficult to concentrate on the friendly banter among the men about the kind of fish they hoped to catch. She glanced in the direction of the restrooms and quickly excused herself thinking, I thought it was supposed to keep me from getting seasick, not make me seasick!

A picture of some fishermen in seven small boats near the foundation of the 3,261' long Yaquina Bay Bridge, Newport, Oregon. Passengers on deep sea fishing charter boats often see sites like this as they head for the deeper water.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

How important do you think it is to be thankful, and not only to be, but to express it? Has this been a difficult lesson for you to learn, or has this always come naturally for you? Why do I ask, you might be thinking. 

Well once a week some of us write a post about those things for which we feel thankful, and then we link our post to Josie Two Shoes' Ten Things of Thankful blog hop. 

After linking up we visit the sites of some or all those bloggers who shared their thoughts on this subject. By the time we finish reading, we understand this group of individuals, our sameness and a little of the ways in which we differ. We need more of this in our world, more attempts to communicate, more trying to understand the feelings and beliefs of others, and more strengthening others in ways we can. Good things can come from small, individual efforts, even if it is in a comment to a blog post.

1. Being able to finally feel up to resuming my life, i.e. going grocery shopping, running errands, and visiting my Mom, etc. yesterday. I love feeling well again, and I love seeing my Mom's smile.

2. Having a beautiful sunny day yesterday for my re-entry into the outside world again. Being home is nice, but being able to get out energizes me.

3. Having someone contact me telling me we are connected through our DNA. I believe he is my second cousin once removed. I remembered hearing of his mother when I was a little girl, although I'm not sure if I ever met her. If I needed to stay home and rest this past week, it was nice to have this exciting news and to be able to share information.

4. Being able to do some online shopping for birthday gifts. I was a little late for some these, but glad I was able to get caught up.

5. Thankful my husband was able to get another load of wood pellets and get them inside our house. It is a lot of lifting, and I am grateful he is able to lift all these bags. There have been some years when buying another load of pellets wouldn't be needed this time of year. (Having an earth sheltered home provides more insulation than other types of homes, and so we do not need to heat the home to the extent other homes might need to be heated.) With our very strange weather changes this month, we wanted to have pellets on hand. There is lots of snow forecasted in the mountains this weekend and rain and high winds here.

6. Noticing new life and continued life. We now have at least three fence lizards near our home. My husband just spotted a young one sunning the other day. It may seem strange to be thankful for fence lizards, but I enjoy seeing different kinds of creatures and am thankful these lizards survived the winter.

7. Youtube for learning and relearning the proper way to do things. It is important to be able to retain one's ability to squat and to be able to rise again. Just saying.

8. Discovering that my eyesight has not changed for the worse. A week or so ago, I decided to wear my backup glasses which I bought at a big-box membership type store, not at the eye clinic where I bought my original pair. I'd noticed the past couple of weeks that I was having trouble reading smaller print. I'm not sure what made me think to compare the glasses, as the backup pair supposedly was made using my original prescription I'd given them. Anyway the lens for the right eye does not allow me to see nearly as well as the lens for the right eye of my original pair! I'm so glad that my vision has not changed.

9. Discovering, sooner than later, that a set mouse trap in a closet had a dead mouse. Every spring, we usually have a mouse that makes its way into the house so we set a trap just in case. This week what appeared to have been a pregnant mouse had been trapped. 

10. Cherry blossoms. Seeing these blossoms make me feel happy and peaceful. They are so beautiful and there are so many trees in bloom in the northwest now as well as in Japan as depicted in the following YouTube video. Japan has a lot of sister cities in our state too. Enjoy. 

As always I am thankful for my husband and our family.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - This time of year

There are countless ways bloggers might choose to respond to this Finish the Sentence Friday prompt. This is the prompt that Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee and Kenya G. Johnson at Sporadically Yours, host and co-host respectively, have thrown our way this week: This April's fool and/or Easter.  That being said, we were given license to write about pretty much whatever we wanted to regarding this particular time of year. Be sure to click the link to see what interpretation of this prompt others have taken.

Like spring weather which seems to all over the map, so are my thoughts for this prompt. Thoughts landed briefly in my mind and then fleeted onward only to be replaced by others, mostly past memories, but not all.

Watching my paternal grandmother clip purple and white lilacs by the back steps of her house and then placing them in a large black vase that cast a maroon glow when the sun shown on it

This is the large black vase that once belonged to my grandmother and was handed down to me after I was married. In another month we will probably have some lilacs in bloom that I can put in it, instead of the arrangement of daisies shown here.

Carefully treading around large mud puddles in the lane from the farm house to the bus stop all the while trying not to get my white buck shoes dirty. . .Thank goodness for my bunny bag (Even though other white shoes were worn beginning on Easter or after Memorial Day, depending on where you lived and then not worn after Labor Day, it was a different story when white buck shoes became popular.)

Spring break and going to the beach with some friends, one of whom had her license, and feeling so grown up

Easter dinner at my paternal grandparents house (A few of the things that I looked forward to were the simple lettuce salads with a few pieces of small shrimp, pieces of tomatoes, avocados and a simple lemon juice and salad oil dressing; eating the fried chicken feet that only my Grandma and I liked; and the yummy angel food cake with the icing so thin one could almost see through it.) Note: Several adults gathered around to help my grandmother devein the shrimp, kind of an arduous task. Watching my grandmother make cakes captured my attention. She would sit on a chair with her legs spread apart so she could rest the bowl on her house dress and hold it in place with her knees while she rapidly beat the cake batter to the right consistency with a spoon. I loved watching and hearing beat of the spoon against the sides of the bowl. My mother had a mixer and rarely made cakes in the same way as my grandmother.

Going to Disneyland with the family 

New Easter dresses, purses, lacy socks, Easter baskets filled with a hollow chocolate rabbit, a few other pieces of candy, and pastel colored Jordan almonds (my favorite)

Going to my first Easter sunrise service when I was in junior high

Rainbows that appear with the fickle spring weather 

Bluebirds and robins arriving

This male bluebird landed on a metal rack near our house. His colors of orange and blue are so vibrant.

Lambs, kids (the baby goats type), piglets, calves, bunnies and kittens which are all soft and new and appreciative of attention 

The growth of new moss and ferns brightening up tree limbs and forest floors

Budding trees and flowers painting a new spring scene every day

A clump of narcissus in bloom on our hillside

These chartreuse yellow buds on this maple tree just started popping  out this week.

Family birthdays (Here is one for the "what are the odds" books. One of my grandparents on one side of the family was born on the same day as another of my grandparents on the other side of the family, except for the year being different.)

Cotton Day at my high school when the girls wore cotton dresses, usually new, and quite often dresses they had sewn themselves

As a young child making Easter and May Day baskets by weaving construction paper strips

Being baptized by immersion as a 27-year-old pregnant mother in the church I belong to now and several years later having a child born on that same day/different year

There is so much to enjoy about this time of year!

What are your thoughts about this season? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Limb

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering the method by which the administrator of a blog hop decides what the prompt will be each week? For the SSS it is usually a single word. Denise of Girlie on the Edge has given us Six Sentence Stories - Limb this  time. 

Here are some of my guesses for how she picks a cue.

1. She closed her eyes and opened the dictionary (book with paper pages) and randomly pointed to somewhere on the page. The word where her finger landed was it.

2. The cue was the second word in the title of a book on her nightstand.

3. It was a word on the first bumper sticker she saw that day.

4. It was the fifth word on a Chinese fortune cookie.

5. It was something she saw outside that morning.

Okay, enough of my ideas and on to my Six Sentence Story, a little historical fiction, with emphasis on "little."


Her four-year-old self was very thirsty, and her shoulder length hair was sticking to her forehead and the back of her neck. As she stood impatiently watching her dad place the last metal siphon pipe into the irrigation ditch, her little brother was trying to twist away from her grip on his sweaty hand. During the tussle she stepped back and the surprise poke of a cocklebur on her ankle caused her to let go of his hand. He laughed, knowing he was free, and started running alongside the ditch as she tried to catch up with him. Since he was only two, he wasn't as sure footed as she was and stumbled, propelling himself head first into the water-filled ditch. She rushed to grab his slippery muddy lower limb and pull him back onto the bank to console him before taking his hand and heading for the house to get some dry clothes, and some lemonade.