Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Not Quite Ready to Cry Uncle Edition

Pretty soon, regular readers will not only know that I end each list expressing gratitude for John, they will also know that I begin each list expressing gratitude for the rain.  Granted, this is getting a little bit harder to do, as the rain in this area has become destructive and is now reported on the national news.  Despite the destruction (which I do not wish on anyone, and feel badly for those impacted), I am a stubborn woman, and will remain thankful.

1.  I am thankful for the rain.  I like listening to the pitter-patter on the roof.  I like the fact that we haven't had to turn our sprinklers on, and the plants are still alive.  We even have a green lawn now!

2.  I am thankful that we could travel safely in the rain, and for navigation apps that directed us around the many accidents that were on the freeway.


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3.  I'm thankful that though it has rained every week for quite a while now, that the rain is interspersed by sunny days.

4.  I'm thankful that my grandchildren got to visit on one of those gorgeous days.  

I'm thankful for simple pleasures, like:


5.  Hammocks

Photo:  John and the grandkids in the hammock.  (Yes, even though grandson has his finger in his nose, this was the best photo I got.)
 6.  Books 


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7. The companionship of a good dog


Photo:  Drexel and grandson look at the camera
Photo:  Granddaughter gives Drexel a hug
8. I'm thankful for friends near and far, long-time and recently acquainted.

9.  I'm thankful for faith, which puts everything in perspective and brings hope.

10. I'm thankful for John.  Last night's venture out onto the rainy freeways of Los Angeles was due to another one of my bright-idea date nights, for which I had already purchased tickets.  Continuing my Italy theme from last week (and before I knew what a soggy experience Italy can be), I booked tickets to see Lady and the Tramp at the El Capitan Theatre.  "We've lived in Washington," was John's reply when I expressed concern about navigating the freeways.  I wasn't so concerned about our ability to drive in the rain, but was concerned about all the other cars on the road. Fortunately, we traveled without incident.  

I've never seen Hollywood so subdued.  There were no street performers, no celebrity look-alikes posing for photos--just an umbrella salesman standing under a dripping awning. ( I think he thought we were going to be an easy sale, since we were the only people without umbrellas, but what kind of Oregonian would I be if I carried one? Seriously, Oregonians don't really use umbrellas.  I may live in California, but I still maintain some weird Oregonian traits.)   

In any event, the date went swimmingly.  (Yes, I used that word on purpose.)  As John likes to say, "Life's an adventure, and adventures usually work out."  I'm so thankful ours is.  

How did your week go?  Are you in ark-building mode, shoveling snow, or enjoying sunshine?  

I can't quite figure out why I'm getting an error code with the link up, but link your posts up at the Ten Things of Thankful blog.



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Ten Things of Thankful

Friday, February 17, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Sink

I've been blog-negligent this week, but am procrastinating working on taxes to do some writing.  :-)  Linking up with Six Sentence Stories.  This week's prompt:  Sink.

The children, undeterred by the grey skies, met in the "back back" yard, where the barbed wire and electric wire fence delineated the property line and the pasture.  Perhaps the pussy willows would be ready to pick, or perhaps the friendly cows would wrap their rough tongues around proffered greens.  One brave child conducted the time-honored experiment, touching a single blade of grass to the electric wire; all were relieved to know that the adventure was a "go."  The barbed wires were gingerly spread apart to allow the little explorers passage.  As the last child stepped forward to cross, her foot came, but her boot remained firmly stuck in the mud.  The exploration mission was aborted, and the rescue mission began.  


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Thanks for adventures!

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#52Stories Project: Friendships

This week's #52Stories project prompt is: "What have been the most important and valued friendships in your life?" While my husband is my best friend, and other family members are also important and valued friends, today I'll exclude those easy answers, and look back at early childhood friends.  

Kurt was one of my first friends, because he was the son of my mom's good friend.   Kurt's family owned an apple orchard, and I remember the feeling of leaving behind the sight of the house and wandering to the far end of the apple orchard, knowing that as long as we headed back the same way we came, we would find the house again.  In retrospect, I'm sure we were in no danger of getting lost, but as a 3-year-old, I felt like I was on the ultimate adventure.

Yvonne was, as Anne of Green Gables would say, a "kindred spirit."  We met on the first day of school, when I was arguing with my next-door-neighbor, Lonnie, about what the sign on the door said.  He insisted it said, "First Grade," but I read, "Grade 1." Yvonne backed me up, and we were immediately friends.  

My elementary school was small, with maybe 100 kids total in grades 1-6. While there were some who moved in and out throughout the years, for the most part, my sixth grade class was made up of the same children as my first grade class.  Those classmates, and the children in my Primary class at church, shaped my understanding of friendship.  

Friends play together at recess. Whether the game is dodgeball, or double-Dutch jump roping, boys and girls alike are welcome. Friends learn together, and not just the ABCs.  Friends share--even if that means bringing a pair of your own green tights to the Christmas play dress rehearsal so a boy in your class can wear them in his role as elf.

Friends are friends regardless of reading group.  Friends are friends even after disagreements.  (Back in those days, if a little boy tried to kiss a little girl, and the little girl kicked him in the shins and he tattled on her and the teacher sided with her, the whole incident was dropped and the little boy and the little girl--relationship firmly established as platonic--could go on being just friends.)  Friends are friends regardless of religion. So what if some friends avoided caffeine and others didn't salute the flag?  Friends are friends are friends.  

I've had many friends over the years, and my most important and valued friends have been my family members, but when I think of friendship, I think back to those early, formative years and the people I first called friends.  

Next week's prompt is:  Who was your first best friend?  Are you still in contact with each other?

Answer one question per week as part of the #52stories project from FamilySearch.

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Thanks for friends.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Rain (Again) Edition


If you've been following my Ten Things of Thankful posts, you might realize that this is the 5th week in a row that I have mentioned:

1.  RAIN!  I am still thankful for rain.  2.  I am thankful that I have had my sprinklers off for so long.  3.  I am thankful the yard is greening up.  4.  I am also thankful that rain sometimes makes me laugh.

One of the Christmas gifts I gave John last December was a calendar, with many of the weekends filled with different activities for date night.  Written on February 10 was an idea in which I took particular pride.  We have always talked about visiting Italy some day, but some day hasn't come yet, and won't this year.  I decided to create an Italian experience the weekend before Valentine's day.  

The highlight of the date was to be a gondola ride in Huntington Harbor, on an authentic Italian gondola.  I had done my homework: February 10th was a full moon, and the reservation was made so that we could watch the sunset and moonrise.  As the date got closer, I learned that there was also going to be a lunar eclipse that night.  This was going to be spectacular!  I just didn't realize that it was going to be spectacularly cloudy and rainy.  

When the guy from the gondola company called, he told me that they had an umbrella, and the ride hadn't been canceled.  I told him that we were still game, and so we began.  Our gondolier was quite the sport, maneuvering the gondola while being constantly rained upon.  (We felt so bad for him, and made sure to generously tip him.) He even took a photo for us before we all braved the elements.

Photo:  John and I sit in a red gondola in the rain, with our sparkling apple juice in a bucket by our feet
We did not see the moon.  We did not see the sun.  We did not see any other vessels moving on the water.  With the exception of a couple of people who clapped and cheered for our gondolier from inside their nice, warm, dry houses, we didn't see anyone.  For one hour, this is what we saw (and heard--be sure to turn up your volume if you want to hear the rain falling):

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5.  I'm thankful for the gondolier, who put on a cheerful face even when his work conditions were less than ideal, and who never even once called us crazy.  He said we "have a sense of adventure!"

6.  I'm thankful our hotel was just down the road, so it wasn't long before we were warm and dry again.

7.  I'm thankful to witness a touching sight this morning.  As we were walking along the beach near the Huntington Beach Pier, we noticed a large number of surfers on the shore, and a huge crowd of people on the pier.   

Photo:  People line Huntington Beach Pier, and surfers gather on the shore
At first, we were wondering if there was a surfing competition happening, but there didn't appear to be any judges nor media. Then we noticed that every surfer had flowers stuck in the back of their wetsuits, or in their mouths or hands.  We had stumbled upon a memorial service.

Apparently a young woman who was loved in the surfing community passed away recently.  All of the surfers swam out on their boards and gathered offshore near a boat.  There was lots of cheering and splashing, and I got the impression that this was truly a celebration of life.  It was a touching scene.

Photo:  Some of the surfers that gathered for the memorial (each dot is a surfer).  The boat is out of sight, on other side of the pier.
8.  I'm thankful for our youngest daughter, who kept down the fort while we were gone.  

9.  I'm thankful for sleep.  I caught up on sleep.  I fell asleep early, and I woke up late, and it was wonderful.  

10.  I'm thankful for John.  I'm thankful for his sense of adventure. Our gondola ride was not exactly what we had anticipated, but it was fun anyway.  And really, isn't that a fairly accurate metaphor for life?  It doesn't always go as planned, but we can have a good time together anyway--rain or shine!

(The Ten Things of Thankful is changing a bit.  Lizzi has stepped down as our fearless leader, Josie Two Shoes has volunteered to take her spot, and the hop now has its own blog: http://tenthingsofthankful.blogspot.com/ Go there to link up and join in!)

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Six Sentence Story: Bread

I find the process of writing a Six Sentence Story somewhat fascinating.  I read the prompt on Sunday.  Sometimes I know right away what I will write, but most often, the prompt just gets tucked away in my brain.  Thursday morning at 4 a.m., I wake up, turn over, and look at the clock.  Before I roll back over and go back to sleep, I usually have the thought of what direction to take with the prompt.  When I wake up for good on Thursday morning, I get my six sentences written.  This is probably why I won't be a novelist--I would have to wake up way too early!  :-)

Anyway, today's Six Sentence Story prompt is "bread." Instead of one specific incident, I tried to capture the memory of a recurring event:

As the last of the kernels fell into the wheat-grinder, the low hum of the machine changed pitch, and the basset hound howled along, creating a somewhat-harmonious canine/appliance duet.  That song, together with flour that was poofing out and dusting the kitchen counter, signaled the woman to turn the dial to the "off" position. 
She took the still-warm flour and added it to the water/honey/oil/yeast mixture.  Vital wheat gluten, dough enhancer, and salt rounded out the recipe, and the mixing of the dough began in earnest.  Within minutes, the stickiness subsided, the sheen mellowed, and it was time to shape the loaves, put them in pans, and let them rise.  The next hour, the house filled with the delicious smell of bread baking, and the husband and children started asking, "Is the bread done yet?"

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Thanks for bread!  :-)

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