Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Many are away enjoying a little vacation time with their families because on Monday many who work outside the home get a day off. May they stay safe as they travel and enjoy their activities.

I'm linking my Ten Things of Thankful to Josie Two Shoes' blog hop as usual. I so appreciate the time she puts in to keeping this blog hop functioning through her encouraging words. The interesting thing is to see is how different we all are, but still the same in that we express thanks for the things we notice, hear, and experience. Through that expression, our eyes seem to be opened more to this world around us and the people in it.


1.  I am thankful for those who gave their lives while serving in active duty in the military. I am also grateful for those who suffered the rest of their lives from injuries and flashbacks as a result of their service in the military. They paid a huge price for their service.

2. Rhododendron, azalea and peony gardens. My husband and I were able to explore a very old rhododendron and azalea garden last weekend. In all the years we have lived in the state, this garden was a new one to us. The same day we visited a peony garden which I have been to before, but my husband had not. I never tire of seeing beautiful flowers.

Beautiful fuchsia pink peony petals with salmon and watermelon pink center stamens

Graveled pathway that takes visitors under and through large rhododendrons and azaleas 

3. Sharing the work. There was an opportunity to get together with some friends this week to do some weeding for someone who is not able to keep up with all the weed pulling. I was thankful that I was able to assist in small ways and let others who were more agile do what I could not. I love the camaraderie that is there when people work together to help someone.

4. A good report after my yearly appointment with my dermatologist this week!

5. Free strawberries. A friend and her family picked strawberries today for a non-profit organization that connects with local farmers and backyard growers so that food doesn't go to waste. Half of what is picked is given to an organization that distributes the food to those in need and the other half is taken home by the pickers. Their family picked a lot of berries, so she let it be known that if anyone wanted some of the berries to contact her. I was able to bring home some to eat fresh and had enough to share. These berries are so delicious! I'm thankful for the generosity of others.

6. A list of favorite restaurants at the coast. A friend put out a request on Facebook for people's favorite restaurants at the coast. She had a fantastic response, so thanks to her inquiry I also now have a long list of places to try when we get over that way again. We have had kind of had a tradition of eating at the same places, so it will be fun to try some of the recommendations of others.

7. Old-time piano music. It is as much fun to listen to as to watch.

8. Being able to identify weeds. This week as my husband and I were trying to identify a plant, I found a great resource for identifying weeds in our area. I like it because it shows the plants in their various stages of growth. 

9. Food carts. There is a place that is growing in popularity where  many food carts are doing business. The last time I had stopped there the number of food carts was about three or maybe four. Now the number has tripled or more. No matter what your food tastes are, you are bound to find something that you like. There are plenty of tables in the shade that makes it quite enjoyable to eat there when the weather heats up. About seven of us met there this week to enjoy lunch and visiting together.

10. Going to the temple. A friend offered me a ride to the temple this week. It was nice to be able to ride up with someone and to be able to take someone else too who had never been there. It is so peaceful inside the temple and the grounds around the temple are especially beautiful this time of year when so many flowers are in bloom. A Visitor's Center is there too where people can ask questions and learn more. 

Portland Oregon Temple

Friday, May 25, 2018

Finish the Sentence Friday - A photo and the story behind it

Photos galore, but which one should I choose? I know, this one!
Recently I took a photo while we were walking through a garden full of rhododendrons and azaleas and saw this and just couldn't resist snapping a photo. Now I have an opportunity to share it with you for the blog hop Finish the Sentence Friday - A photo and the story behind it. Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee is the host and Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours is the co-host. Since I really have no idea of the story behind the photo, I decided to get a little creative. Enjoy and click the link to see photos and stories others are sharing this time.

A large forked branch about 15" tall and about 6" around at the base, completely devoid of recent growth, leaning against the base of a very tall fir tree growing in a very old rhododendron and azalea garden among many varieties of low growing plants and flowers
It was properly displayed in an upright position so as not to go unnoticed and be likely to slowly decay amidst creeping vines and moss on the earthen floor over the eons. 

Had it been part of the slingshot of one of the giants who once roamed the earth, according to biblical and historical records?

Was the ogre in Jack and the Beanstalk a lover of not only beans, but of the ancestors of the rhododendrons and azaleas included in this forested area?

Maybe, instead of being used to fling heavy stones, it was used as a tool to hold up part of a heavy vine once used  to ensnare an unsuspecting creature.

Another possibility is that it  could have been utilized as a crutch for an injured dwarf, or used as a cane for an taller aged dwarf from the folklore kingdom.

However it came to be in this spot and in this position, it did not go unseen by me.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Flexible

It is time to sneak in another story before calling it a day, or rather an evening. I'm linking this one up to the blog hop Six Sentence Stories - Flexible hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge. Click the link to see how many different ways other bloggers have chosen to include the word flexible in their stories while being limited to only six sentences. It is a fun challenge.

One rainy day in winter she discovered her husband's love for the glossy, gooey, pliable candy that she had spread the best she could into a glass pie pan. His mom had made mostly cakes, not candy, so he could make no comparisons as to how it should have looked.

Not being a family that entertained, or for that matter doing hardly any socializing at all, the children didn't realize that what would soon become their favorite holiday candy didn't fit the norm. In fact, other light, dry white candy puffs of confection by the same name seemed to be an entirely different species and tasted nothing like their divinity.

There would be plenty of time later on to explain to the children why her candy was not quite as divine as what the other mothers made. For now she would show how she could be obediently flexible to his desires, like many wives did in those days, and try to assure that this was a peaceful happy holiday season.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Here it is a Friday night. The link to the blog hop Ten Things of Thankful that Josie Two Shoes hosts every weekend (shortly after midnight Thursday, Central Time, until Tuesday evening) for those who want to share their comments, lists, ramblings, etc. as to what makes them feel grateful is open. Oh, I know, one only needs to listen to or read the news to know that not everything is going well in the world, nor even necessarily for ourselves every minute of the day, but there is much that can be seen and heard all around us individually and collectively that we can think of that makes us feel happy and thankful. So embrace the better part. I believe the apostle Paul said it quite well. 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovelywhatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8

Other participants of this blog hop may have other favorite quotes or passages of favorite writers, wise words of a parent or an inspiring teacher that guide their thoughts and help them not get weighed down by the negative aspects in the world. Who inspires you to remember to be thankful?

Click the link to read the posts of other bloggers

1. I found my last Fitbit when I had to move a suitcase the other day. My Fitbit has been missing for several months. I felt pretty sure it was in the house, but I couldn't find it, so I went back to wearing my old watch, which of course had none of the advantages of a Fitbit. 

2. There was a very good Focus meeting at the nursing center this week with the new nurse leading the meeting. It is always helpful to be able to meet with the staff to hear what changes they are seeing in my mom and to have a chance to share any insights I might have with them. They welcome my input and make me feel a part of the team.

3. There were a few stressful situations this week for me to take care of and it was good for me to be able to see my own personal growth in dealing with difficult things. Perhaps participating in the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop helped me to keep a positive outlook.

4. Being around a couple of very young children happily interacting with each other and seeing some baby bluebirds makes me smile.

5. Being able to use a recently learned sewing skill involving one of my presser feet to do some mending.

6. Being able to participate with several women in preparing some rooms for some challenging escape room activities. I enjoyed getting to know the other women better as we worked together.

7. Having a fan I could turn on when the temperatures climbed to the high 80ºs F for a couple of days this week.

8. Having an opportunity to go with a friend to visit someone who needed a listening ear and people to care.

9. Beautiful flowers.

Yellow and white iris in our yard

Combined purple, lavender, and gold iris on our neighbors' property

10. My husband who spent a lot of time with a weed whacker this week. Walking over uneasy terrain ever ladened by gopher holes and mole mounds, all the while using the weed whacker isn't the easiest of jobs especially when the years catch up with us. He also picked up the slack when I was out taking care of some other matters. I appreciate that we are a team taking on whatever may come our way.

And last of all this, because it is!

Finish the Sentence Friday - Food

After taking a little time to let my conscious self ponder the subject of food, I jotted down some thoughts that came to mind and am sharing them in a post to be linked to the blog hop Finish the Sentence Friday - Food. The host is Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee and co-host Kenya G. Johnson of Sporadically Yours. This is a stream of consciousness post since it is the third Friday of the month. Click one of the above links to see what streamed through the minds of my fellow bloggers when they thought about food.

For many years our family drove up to a campground in the Cascades for a family reunion of many descendants of the first ancestors of my mother-in-law to settle in this state. Some family members camped out the night before to make sure they could get the best picnic area which meant the one with plenty of room to play softball and to throw horse shoes, and of course a covered area to spread out all the potluck dishes everyone brought. The covered area also had a fireplace which was nice in case there was unusually cold weather that weekend. Even though it was a potluck, people looked forward to the certain dishes from some of the relatives. One of my husband's uncles always brought fresh picked cherries so he could send some home with other relatives. My mother-in-law was known for her delicious sourdough chocolate cake. 

Food reminds me of the various kitchens in the apartments or homes where we have lived. Two apartments were on the second floor of a home. In each of those kitchens it was impossible to stand  completely straight in parts of the room. 

In another apartment, which was a one-room efficiency apartment, the kitchen was basically behind a sliding partition making it impossible to be in the kitchen with the partition closed. We ate our meals on TV trays. It was in this kitchen where my very young scientific minded husband/science teacher wanted to prepare a badger skull for display in his classroom. (Badgers are listed as one of the unprotected animals in our state.) He needed to boil the head and remove any flesh. Just so you know, the smell of a boiling unseasoned badger head is not a smell I'd wish on anyone. Unfortunately some of the neighbors probably felt sorry for my husband, knowing his new bride was still learning to cook, and not knowing he was the one tending the kettle this time.

One spring morning when I was starting to heat up the griddle on one of the stove burners, a mouse popped up from under the burner. In case you are wondering, I screamed. Breakfast preparation went on as planned, after a short delay to trap the mouse. That was many years ago after we had become first time home owners. Fortunately, we have never had a repeat performance of a mouse under the burners.

This was the kitchen where a mouse came for breakfast, but thankfully not for this Christmas dinner.

In our younger years, my husband went elk hunting a few times. He and a friend shot an elk and shared the meat, but we weren't sure where we were going to be able to put it. Our friend had a large freezer that was like the kinds one would have seen in grocery stores back in the 40's and 50's. You could lift up the the lids on top and reach down and select an ice cream bar or popsicle or a quart of ice cream. He loaned the freezer to us to use. There was plenty of room to store the elk meat and other frozen foods.

When our children were growing up, we did our share of gardening, canning, freezing, and drying food. My husband even built a very large wooden food dehydrator.

As much as I love food, there have been times in my adult life when I have had reactions (allergies) to eating and/or touching certain foods. It is not anywhere as much of a problem these days. Yeah!

I have enjoyed trying out so many different recipes over the years, and amassed more cookbooks than I really need, especially now that recipes are so easy to find quickly on the internet. It is easy for me to still get a lot of enjoyment from thumbing through cookbooks, and seeing how the recipes and trends have changed through the years, and boy have they!

I wonder what kind of dishes were served at this family reunion at Mooney Grove Park in the late 30's, maybe early 40's. (This was my mother's side of the family.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Six Sentence Stories - Constant

An elderly woman I know may have been an entertainer, or a singer at the very least in her younger years. Often a single word overheard in a conversation will bring to her mind a song that has that particular word in the title or the refrain, and she will begin to sing. When so many things from her past have slipped from her memory, songs she knew have stayed a part of her much longer than one would have expected. Perhaps when she passes from this life to the next, I'll learn more about her younger self as I read her obituary.

The Six Sentence Stories blog hop prompt is usually a single word. Sometimes that lone word will immediately bring to mind an experience, or a way to write a story based around the word. If you like to write, and find yourself making associations to a single word, you might enjoy writing a story for this blog hop. Our administratrix, Denise at Girlie on the Edge gave us Six Sentence Stories - Constant as our challenge for this week. Click the link to see the other blogger's stories written using only six sentences.

The shell of a house with bedrooms divided by kraft paper stapled to the studs was only meant to be for a temporary time during their lives, so it was like a camping adventure to them.

Being welcomed to the area by the neighbors bringing meals or plates of cookies eased some of the oddity of their new adventures.

After days of exhausting work getting settled in during one of the hottest Augusts on record in their area, her body craved for a good night's sleep and a cool breeze to flow through the screen of the bedroom window.

They found it to be a novelty at first to say, "Good night, John Boy," knowing the child four rooms away would have no difficulty hearing his parents' or sibling's remarks, but the lack of privacy was also a challenge.

Finally everyone settled down for the night when it was too dark to read using the last of the dimming rays of the sunset to see the print.

She closed her eyes, but her aspiration to slumber was disturbed by a nocturnal visitor's constant loud stridulations, bouncing off concrete and wood, doing his best to impress a female of his species at the other end of the house.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Ten Things of Thankful

Some things on my to-do list got accomplished this past week, but as usual there are some that got pushed back to be done later. That is typical for me. I take a few breaks to do totally unexpected things which makes life so much more interesting.

So getting down to the nitty-gritty, I'm here to write my Ten Things of Thankful post so I can link it to Josie Two Shoes blog hop. I could even postpone this a couple of days since it is Mother's Day. She is just nice that way, but really she allows a couple of days into the new week every week! Be sure to click the link to get an idea of how very accommodating she is and, of course, to read the posts of the bloggers participating. Comments are always welcome, as are adding an item or two for which you are thankful. If you really get into the spirit of this blog hop, maybe we will see you linking up in the future. Hope so.

1. The other day as I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, something caught my eye up in one of the big fir trees outside. We have been seeing Lesser Goldfinches lately, but this appeared to be a bigger bird. I quickly went to the other room to grab the binoculars, and patiently waited to see if I could see the bird again. After a few minutes I confirmed what I thought it might be. It was a Western Tanager. They are a beautiful birds and striking because of their yellow and black bodies and red heads. They show up here very briefly this time of year during their migration. What a nice break from my kitchen chores, and it did make the start of my day so much more interesting.

2. Good news from family members is very high on my list of thankful items. There will no doubt be more to add to this in a few months, but for now, I'm just feeling very happy.

3. When I make a mistake, and know fixing the mistake is going to be a pain to resolve, I just want to put it aside and come back to it later, and sometimes, much later. Such was a case with making these sweet little burial gowns for stillborn baby boys. These will be given to a local charity to give to local hospitals to make available to the bereaved parents. I'm thankful I could finally undo my stitching error and get these finished. 

Two burial gowns for stillborn baby boys

4. One of our daughters preceded a question this week with, "It might be a long shot, but do you still have. . ." Sometimes I'm thankful that I tend to save things, and even more thankful that I knew where to look and was able to find a 45-year-old pattern.

5. While I was working inside the house and my husband was working outside, he spotted several wild turkeys in our neighbors yard. He came in to tell me to grab my camera, but the turkeys were faster at navigating the hillside than we were, and had escaped from view. I'm thankful for our neighbors a couple houses away that did see them later and shared their photo of three turkeys eating bird seed under their bird feeders.

6. In the spring there are so many sweet smells to enjoy or maybe to detest if allergies are problematic for an individual. At the edge of our property there are a couple of hawthorn trees in bloom now. I personally like the smell of the hawthorn blossoms, but I may be in the minority, according to some articles I've read. Do you like the smell of hawthorn blossoms?

Clusters of white blossoms on a hawthorn tree

7. Both tulips and irises are in bloom here now and I love the way these two colors offset the other. Like people, it is good to have some friends who are not exactly the same as you are. Are there people you really enjoy being friends with because they add variety to your life and offer new perspectives?

Pink tulips arranged with purple irises

8. Learning that something I did beginning as a young mother had some value that I didn't realize at the time, other than the obvious one. Have you sung lullabies to children?

9. I'm thankful for time: time to go eat lunch with friends, time to go to the fitness center, time to enjoy warm weather outside, and time to attend a Mother's Day activity with my mom at the nursing center.

Mom (age 101) and I enjoying a vase of peonies and irises

10. To think that my husband and I could become one in purpose in building a family and that the children born into that family grew and formed families of their own, and so forth is such a beautiful blessing. It is beyond me to be able fully express that gratitude, but I know it is real, and I will be eternally grateful. I also am very appreciative for the love I felt from a couple of aunts and uncles who were not able to have children, but reached out in loving ways to their nieces and nephews. They too influenced me for good.