Looking Up, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Looking up from the kayak while roaming Scappoose Bay.

Taken with the Canon PowerShot SD750.

Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End

We went to see the new Pirates movie last night. Getting to the theater we were pretty hyped up. We’d loved the other movies and were looking forward to having a similar vicarious romp of an experience with this one. We were wrong.

First off, the movie is long. Nearly three hours, to be exact, and with this particular film three hours was almost agonizing. I actually found myself looking at my watch an hour or so in thinking, wow, that’s all the time that’s gone by? I thought it would’ve been longer… it seemed longer. I looked over at Karen and she looked like she was having a hard time staying awake, which she admitted was true when we talked after the movie. Granted, the last 45 minutes were good. They were what we’d expected. They made sense. We knew what was happening.  Which leads to the second point… the messy plot.

The plot never seemed to find it’s way. It sort of meandered around, just as the Black Pearl does during the movie for a time, without direction, hoping to stumble upon a path. It seemed pointless and what’s more, I didn’t care what was happening to anyone. I kept wondering, who is that, or what’s going on, or why is this happening. It’s as if they slapped some scenes together in no particular order. Yes, the special effects were great, and some of the acting was pretty good as well, but it felt a bit like watching unconnected vignettes with characters who had no idea what they were doing, and who provided no contribution to moving the story along.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the first two movies. Or maybe they expected that the audience would automatically know what was what, and yes… I was able to figure it out, or at least guess at it, but who wanted to. Not I. I wanted fun, a definite direction, a good romp. And sadly, I didn’t get it.

Ah well… it did complete the saga. Sort of. Because, of course, they left it open just a bit in case, at some point down the road, someone decides to make a fourth movie. I can only hope, if that’s true, and they do, that we get more of what a smart audience wants. Less of the too long bits of thrown in jokes and acting to amuse themselves, and more of the swashbuckling silliness we’ve come to love, look for, and enjoy.

Table decoration

Table decoration

Originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl

Weston decided he wanted a closer look at the flowers I got Karen a couple of weeks ago. I just ran across this photo and had to share. He’s actually grown quite a bit even since this photo was taken.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

June 1… Wow

 Here it is, the first of June.  How did this happen?  And I know, everyone always says this, how much time flies.  But, it’s true… it does.  I’m sitting here thinking, man… it was just December.  Ah well… it’s June and that means more fun outside, more time spent wearing shorts and flip flops, more time wearing sun glasses, and more time at outdoor festivals.  I love this time of year.  It’s like the whole world takes a collective sigh…. ah… it’s time to relax….

The Haps

zoo-brew-beer-chips.jpgBeer and Chips

zoo-brew-glasses.jpgTip Your Glasses

weston-at-the-beach.jpgWeston at Cannon Beach

Ok… here are some shots. The first two were taken at the Zoo Brew the weekend before last. It was a first annual event designed to expose ticket holders to new brew as well as provide the zoo with some much needed support. I can say that I did enjoy Fred, a particularly robust little number, in small doses. I’m convinced Fred cannont be enjoyed in large amounts. My favorite beer was from Kona Brewing of Hawaii. At least, I think it was Kona brewing. Maybe I had too many tastes to remember. Nah…. it was Kona. It was a nice beer. On top of the beer, the brat, and the company (nice to have Mary and Martin there, as well as a couple of our friends), we got to enjoy the always terrific sounds of a band called Sneakin’ Out. If you ever get a chance to see them, do. They are a little trio… guy on base, guy on mandolin, and guy on percussion, including a typewriter. They do some original stuff that’s good, but they are best known for their spectacular renditions of classic rock tunes. It’s pretty amazing.

On to this last weekend. Saturday we headed south to enjoy a fine 40th birthday dinner cooked by Mom and Don for Kev. We had some great food, and a great visit with not only Mom and Don, but with Kev and Lisa as well. It was a nice day.

Sunday…. we worked in the yard. Me with the weed eater and Karen with the back pack sprayer. We covered a lot of ground and got a lot done we’d been wanting to. Afterward we showered, of course, as I looked like a moving pile of brush, and then headed to PF Changs for a very nice dinner with Mary and Martin. Karen and I had never been there before, but Mary and Martin had, evidenced by the greeting from our waitress, who’d waited on them before. It was like we were family to her. I think she wants to adopt us. Dinner was great, but the best part was a comment Karen made. We were ordering, and I decided to have, for obvious reasons, Tam’s Noodles. It’s an actual item on their menu, so what could I do. The waitress thought this was hilarious, and after a witty exchange about it she moved on to Karen, who said, well… my name is Kung, so I have to have the Kung Pao Chicken. We all cracked up.

Monday… The four of us and the two dogs headed for the beach. Neither dog had been there before, so it was quite an experience for them. Weston chose to stay onshore after dipping his little self in as far as his knees and deciding it was too cold. We know it’s not that he’s afraid of water because the other day we took the dogs to a park along the Columbia River and at one point he just jumped in and swam. He only did it once, but he did it. So we know it wasn’t the water at the beach, it was the cold. Wicket, on the other hand, was a true sea dog. He got in the water more than once, and even body surfed one time. Well, he sort of body surfed. He was out there and a wave went over his head, he had to swim briefly… and did. I’m convinced he was looking for his merdog, but alas, he came back alone, other than having Martin on the other end of his leash that is.

So… we’ve been busy… as you can tell. Now… it’s time to head for DQ and an ice cream cone. It’s 80 plus out there and an ice cream cone sounds very tasty.

Oh, and… happy Birthday Aunt Joan. Hope you’re spending it doing something you love with the people you love most.

Editing My Pic

Yep, this is Me, Again

So, it’s tough to post a new pic to your profile in blogger. You have to already have a pic somewhere on the web so you can use the url. I tried pasting in from picasa and then from myspace, no luck. I’m going to try this. You’ve all seen this picture before, so no worries about ignoring this post. Bear with me. Or is that bare with me…. nah, probably the former. I digress, and am going to stop typing now.

88 of the Hundred Best

OK gang, there’s now an itunes mix, for those with iTunes, that’s called 88 of the Hundred Best. If you’re interested in finding any of the music on my 100 Best Songs list, you might want to look there. Go to iTunes home page for music, click on iMix, then search for 88 of the Hundred Best. iTunes didn’t have all 100, but 88 out of a hundred isn’t bad. You’ll be able to listen to snippets of the songs and purchase any you feel the need to own. (did I really just type snippets back there?) Enjoy.

Mark Your Ballot

Man… I just voted. What a mental work out that is. You sit there, ballot and pen in hand, flipping through the pages and pages of pros and cons in the voter’s pamphlet, trying to figure out what the heck these measures and the candidates are all about. It’s maddening really.

Though, I always feel good about voting. After all, voting gives me license to complain about the outcome, since I’ve participated in the system. I figure, if nothing else, I have that. It’s part of what still makes this country a great place to live, our constitutional right to complain. Though the pessimist in me says in today’s climate it seems disagreement, no matter with who or what, is looked on with contempt and suspicion. And to that I say… come on. Please. We’re supposed to disagree with each other. It makes the system better. When there are questions, answers are expected. It’s what keeps things from spinning out of control in any singular direction. But hey, those are just my thoughts.

So, I’ve voted. I’ve marked my ballot, made my choices, for good or bad (depending on who’s reading and with what eyes), and the deed is done. I only wish I wasn’t voting just so I have the right to complain. I wish I was voting FOR something. FOR someone. I want to feel excited about politics again. Like I did, way back, when I turned 18 and filled out my first registration card. I want to feel like I could make a difference, that the system makes sense, and that it works well. I want to feel, that at the end of the day, my selections work for me, and for those I love. I want it to be pure, and I know that makes me naive. But I do… I want it to be about a coming together, not a pulling apart… moving forward, not standing still.

A Flare for the Dramatic

No, I didn’t misspell the title of this post. There’s a reason for the madness. Yesterday, with all the flair we could muster, we once again tried a new approach to getting rid of the moles or gophers that are plaguing our home and our flower beds.

We’ve tried other things before now… Most notably “the worm”. Advertised as a new cure all and invented by men who, I’m sure, don’t actually have moles, and probably never have. They are little flexible sticks of mole poison fashioned to look like actual worms… which if you think about it is a tad silly, since moles can’t see. Ah well, humans can, and stuff like that is always made for the buyer, not actually for the mole. You know what I mean? But, the guy at the feed store said they worked, so we bought them. A box of 10 for $20 big ones. We put them out and for a couple of days we thought we had success. No new mounds, no mole… right? Alas, it only lasted a few days. Because after a few days, yep, you guessed it… new mounds. Which, logically to us, meant new mole. We thought, OK, we must have killed one, it’s a new one that’s moved in. We were “in the moles head”, thinking like the mole. Trying to be one with the mole. We just knew there was a mole conspiracy out there. They had like a little mole party pad, and at that little mole gathering they would tell each other where the good spots were to set up residence. Kind of an underground mole network. We felt they must certainly be recommending our place, after all, it’s beautiful here. And, to make matters worse, they were spreading the word on the whole worm thing. So, when we tried the worms again, at a cost of another $20, the new mole was wise and cunning. He stayed away from the worms. They had no impact.

Which leads me back, in this sad and telling tale, to the title of this post. Last evening, after we returned from the Children’s fair, which I will post about in a moment, we took ourselves to the store and bought a couple of old fashioned road side flares. Yes, the kind you use when your car breaks down. We brought them home, found a couple of places we could dig in and get to the moles little underground habitrail, lit them, and put them in, covering them up so the smoke couldn’t escape. We don’t know if it worked, but, this morning at least, we are mole free. No new mounds. We’d heard this technique had worked for others, and so far, it’s worked for us. Though tomorrow is a new day and there seem to be either a lot of places for the little buggers to hide, or their network is mighty and vast. We shall see. If it doesn’t work this time, we are determined to go get more flares, a bushel of them if necessary, and try again. At only $2.79 a stick, it’s much cheaper than the worm, and at least a little more fun. At least you get something akin to fire works, with nearly the same amount of smoke.

I’ll report back and let ya’all know how it goes, since I’m sure at least some of you have been assailed by moles yourselves. Who knows, this flare thing could light the way toward a day when there are no more moles making tunnels, and we, citizens of the world, might be free of their tiny mole tyranny. I might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s been born out of the frustration of feeling like we’ve been under attack. They’ve singled us out. And now, we’re fighting back, and taking no prisoners. I have a good feeling about this. This time, we’ve won. I just know it….

B Sides – 100 Best Songs

As I made the 100 Best Songs list I had occasion to add and delete songs as I went along. In order to give those songs who were once on the list their due, I include them here in what I like to call the B sides.

Long Road Home – Patty Griffin
Galileo – Indigo Girls
Two Tickets to Paradise – Eddie Money
Weather With You – Crowded House
Vox – Sarah MacLachlan
Creep – Radiohead
Hollywood Nights – Bob Seger
Avalon – Roxy Music
Burning Down The House – Talking Heads
Right In Front Of You – Celine Dion
100 Years – Five For Fighting

100 Best Songs (in no particular order)

Preface: I realize people won’t agree with all of these selections, and frankly, I might decide to change some of them up at some point, but for now, these are them. Take em or leave em… they’re the 100 best songs I could come up with. Let me know what you think and what you’d add, or remove. Music is personal… so without further ado, here’s a look into my musical psyche.

1. Under Pressure – David Bowie & Queen
2. Me & Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin
3. Sister Golden Hair – America
4. Tuesday Morning – Melissa Etheridge
5. She Says – Howie Day
6. I am… I Said – Neil Diamond
7. Never Been to Spain – Three Dog Night
8. Suspicious Minds – Elvis
9. Heroes and Villains – The Beach Boys
10. Yesterday – Beatles
11. Summer Highland Falls – Billy Joel
12. Slave to Love – Roxy Music w/Bryan Ferry
13. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills and Nash
14. Time to Say Goodbye – Andrea Bocelli
15. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin
16. You’re Still You – Josh Groban
17. Come On Come On – Mary Chapin Carpenter
18. Anna Begins – Counting Crows
19. Stuck in the Middle With You – Steeler’s Wheel
20. Sail Away – David Gray
21. Arms of a Woman – Amos Lee
22. Hold You In My Arms – Ray Lamantagne
23. Nessun Dorma (from Turandot) – Puccini
24. Don’t Come Easy – Patty Griffin
25. Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
26. Rocket Man – Elton John
27. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – The Platters
28. Boogie Woogie – Tommy Dorsey
29. Maybe I – Five for Fighting
30. Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong
31. All of Me – Billie Holliday
32. At Last – Etta James
33. Don’t Take Your Guns to Town – Johnny Cash
34. Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’ – Charlie Pride
35. Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
36. For the Good Times – Ray Price
37. He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones
38. Let’s Stay Together – Tina Turner
39. When I Fall in Love – The Lettermen
40. Along Comes Mary – The Association
41. To Love Somebody – Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
42. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – The Four Seasons
43. Let it Be Me – Everly Brothers
44. That’ll Be The Day – Buddy Holly
45. Soul and Inspiration – The Righteous Brothers
46. Candy Man – Roy Orbison
47. Georgia On My Mind – Ray Charles
48. I Can’t Make You Love Me – Bonnie Raitt
49. Colour My World – Chicago
50. No Woman, No Cry – Bob Marley
51. Fever – Michael Buble
52. Cecelia – Simon and Garfunkel
53. Honky Tonk Woman – Rolling Stones
54. Changes – David Bowie
55. The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
56. Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips
57. Closer – Better Than Ezra
58. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
59. Mercy Mercy Me – Marvin Gaye
60. Dance To The Music – Sly & The Family Stone
61. Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers
62. Stormy Weather – Etta James
63. Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles
64. This Side – Nickel Creek
65. Cold Day in July – Dixie Chicks
66. Secret Garden – Bruce Springsteen
67. Take Your Mama Out – Scissor Sisters
68. Everybody’s Changing – Keane
69. Angel – Sarah MacLachlan
70. Melt With You – Modern English
71. Let Me Down Easy – Chris Isaak
72. Daughters – John Mayer
73. Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World – Israel Kamadawiwo’ole
74. She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
75. Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos
76. These Are Days – 10,000 Maniacs
77. I Don’t Wanna Talk About It – Indigo Girls
78. Have a Little Faith In Me – John Hiatt
79. Red Light – Jonny Lang
80. No More, No Less – Collective Soul
81. Home – Dishwalla
82. I Fall to Pieces – Patsy Cline
83. Bright Lights – Matchbox Twenty
84. Doth I Protest Too Much – Alanis Morissette
85. Right to be Wrong – Joss Stone
86. Cannon in D – Pachelbel
87. Four Seasons – Vivaldi
88. Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers
89. Home – Marc Broussard
90. On The Sea – Vertical Horizon
91. In the Mood – Glen Miller
92. My Funny Valentine – Frank Sinatra
93. Bleed To Love You – Fleetwood Mac
94. Something in the Way She Moves – James Taylor
95. Drift Away – Uncle Kracker
96. Big Yellow Taxi – Counting Crows
97. Let The River Run – Carly Simon
98. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters – Elton John
99. Superstition – Stevie Wonder
100. Behind Blue Eyes – The Who


That would be the number of miles we traveled on our road trip. We took 2106 pictures, between the two of us. Stayed in 6 hotels, 1 campground, and two lovely nights at Dan and Linda’s place in Vegas. We hit 6 states, and 7 national parks. I wore 10 different t-shirts, 6 different pairs of shorts, and only one pair of flip-flops. We bought one set of bookends near Zion, three pairs or earrings from a Navajo woman near Monument Valley, and three books in Boise. We made friends with two German guys while in Bryce Canyon and one woman from Georgia at the Grand Canyon. It was a great trip. Fantastic.

This morning we got up and were out of Bend by 9:00 after a call from mom to wish me a happy 41st, and making our way to old downtown Bend to find coffee and a couple of pumpkin old fashioned donuts. Tasty. We took highway 20 towards Salem out of Bend, which took us through Sisters and past the very bright, clear, and beautiful Three Sisters peaks. Instead of sticking with 20 all the way into the valley we decided to go a more scenic route and followed 126 West toward Springfield and Eugene. Don, we would’ve stopped to see you, but when mom called this morning she mentioned you were up in Portland, so we just moved right on through. Well, almost right on through. We stopped for some chicken to go, and then went to a park in downtown Eugene that’s on the river, to have a little picnic. Karen said, because it was my birthday, the food choice was mine. So, I picked a picnic, it seemed a fitting last vacation meal.

Finally, on day 10, we are back home. I love traveling, but I also love coming home. There’s something nice about not having to drag the bags in and out of the trunk, or wondering if the bed is going to be comfortable, or knowing that you have miles to go before you sleep. As good as it is seeking the adventure, it’s just as good or better being home again. This home that we’ve made and I love so much.

So, I’m posting my last road trip related post, and Karen is in caulking the shower. LOL… That girl doesn’t waste any time. She said, “I just thought of this and want to do it so it doesn’t bug me, you just hang out and relax… it’s your birthday and besides, you’ve got a cold”. This was, of course, after she washed and vacuumed out the rental car. It was quite a mess. I’ve never seen so many bug bodies stuck to one car. So… I’m resting, because yes, I do have a nasty cold. We sort of passed it back and forth over the course of the trip. It never got terribly bad for either of us. We each had one day we were exceptionally tired, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. So, I’m hanging out, typing, and relaxing… And, for now, she’s caulking. I’m sure there’ll be other tasks she thinks of because that’s my girl, always taking care of things. And this post, well, this takes care of what I had to do. Now? It’s more advil, a good movie, and a handy close by box of Kleenex. Tomorrow we return the rental car. After 3504.7 miles, they will probably regret renting to us.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way. It’s been a good day, a good trip, and a good 41 years.



First I want to say a happy happy birthday to my aunt Syd. We thought of you as we were making our way today, hope you had a great day.

Second, here we are, day 9 of the 2006 road trip, nicely ensconced in the Sugarloaf Mt. Motel in Bend. Coming in from the east this was the first place we came to, after the Econo Lodge. It’s a huge place, and had rooms available with wireless. The signal keeps going in and out, but hey, it works, so I’ll be able to post tonight.

We had a long day today, but another good one. We started a bit late out of Boise after walking to a local bagel place for some coffee and a blueberry bagel with butter for Karen and an Early Riser bagel for me. It was a tasty and satisfying way to start the day. Plus, there was a bookstore next door we couldn’t resist and three books inside we didn’t resist.

After getting the bite to eat and doing a little shopping we hit highway 26 west through numerous small towns and some beautiful countryside. We stopped a couple of times in the John Day Fossil Beds area to take pictures, read some roadside signs, and then again in Prineville for some food to go. It was a long day in the car, but once again we turned up the music, sang, and chatted with each other. Nothing beats good music and great conversation.

Tomorrow we’re going to mosey around Bend. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here and really walked around… and Karen, she hasn’t been here since Mary was swimming.


Canyonlands and Arches, Oh My!

We were up and at em by 8:00 this morning, leaving our fine little hotel and heading North toward the southern most entrance to Canyonlands. It was an adventure, to be sure. We found and fed wildlife, in the form of horses roaming freely near the roadside, and also ran some over…. Yes, sadly, I hit a squirrel. I still haven’t recovered. We also ran ahead of, and then finally with, the weather. The views though, were amazing. Every time we hit a new park we are astounded by the difference in the topography and the phenomenal way Mother Nature can paint.

From Canyonlands we made our way to Moab for lunch at La Hacienda. There’s nothing like a couple of enchiladas to keep you going in the right direction. We also discovered a Starbucks and gave in to the temptations of the black gold by purchasing a couple of cups for the road toward Arches.

Arches, again, was amazing. We found ourselves asking the same question over and over… how? How did this happen? How were these made? We took picture after picture, but looking at them just now I thought, we didn’t really capture it… and I don’t think a person really could. The size of the monoliths is incredible. There’s no way to take a picture of something and put it in perspective, except perhaps when there are people in it. And still, it doesn’t get the bigness of it all.

We ended our day today running with some major weather. Lightening so bright it lit up the whole sky, making it seem like day. The rain was so heavy we were creeping along, following the car in front of us who was traveling with its hazard lights going. All this in what was supposed to be a 75-mile an hour zone. I think we were going 30. For a while there was hail. The weather report on the news tonight said the hail was an inch in some places. Luckily nothing that big hit us. We were just glad to find Salina and this hotel. It’s the first town we came to and the first hotel we saw once we got here.

Tomorrow we head further north through Salt Lake City toward Boise. There’s a huge storm coming in tomorrow, which is actually supposed to dump some snow on the ground in higher elevations. We’re hoping to get through Utah before it hits. It means an early start in the morning, but we’re up to it… or will be after I get this posted and try to get some sleep.
We’ve hit 6 National Parks since leaving home last Friday. It’s been a great trip so far… and it’s not over yet.


Royal Point, Monument Valley, and Deer in the Headlights

First off, we got up early at the North Rim Campground, took our tent down, packed our stuff up, and then noticed a strange looking squirrel. They have black bodies and very white tails. Pretty cool looking little things. They’re native to the canyon.

After we got our stuff packed up, we hit the little market at the campground for coffee (with many creamers) and headed out toward Royal Pt. It was a spot we didn’t make it to yesterday on our trek around the North Rim points. It takes 45 minutes to drive out there on a very twisty road, but it was so worth it. There weren’t that many people out there, other than a girl named Carolyn from Georgia we happened to meet and sort of hung out with during our time there. It was the best place we’d seen as far as the canyon went. It was beautiful. And, better yet, you could actually get a glimpse of the Colorado River meandering at the bottom. Stellar.

From there we hit the road, with a stop at Jacob Lake (it’s a town, not a lake, though there could actually be one there… we didn’t see it) for lunch about noon. Afterward we made our way east and north toward Page, Arizona with a view of Lake Powell, and then North further still past the Vermillion Cliffs, a town called Cave Dwellers where strange rocks were perched like blocks on top of each other, Monument Valley, a beautiful sunset, and a stop here at Monticello, Utah. We were trying for Moab tonight, which is now only about 50 miles or so North of us, but there were so many deer on the road, not to mention a fox we almost hit, we decided it was time to stop. We’ll tackle the wildlife in the daylight.

About Monument Valley I will just say this… if you haven’t been… go. Pictures don’t do it justice. How could they? The views are too massive, the scope too enormous. It’s both beautiful and strange.

And now… it’s time to post this, and the post from yesterday I wasn’t able to get out, watch a little HBO, and get some sleep. Tomorrow we head to Arches and Canyon Lands before moving on North toward home.


100 Things About Me – In Four Parts – Part 3

51. I once played backgammon while driving.
52. My truck is 10 years old, though I’ve only had it for 8.
53. I once gave up on my career, quit my job, and went to live at the beach
for a year where I worked pouring coffee while wearing a berret.
54. I went on the road with a truck driver for a few months.
55. I’ve enjoyed at beer at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich.
56. My second toes are longer than my big toes.
57. I fell off a horse once.
58. I shower every other day, unless it’s a special occasion.
59. I’m an excellent communicator.
60. I’m the unofficial IT person at work.
61. My favorite alcoholic beverage is the Mojito, which I first had in
Key West and have been stuck on ever since.
62. I can’t play the accordian.
63. My golfing nickname is… Banger.
64. Right now I need to go throw the clothes from the washer into the dryer.
65. Celebrity Poker Showdown is a guilty pleasure of mine.
66. I use the jokers from decks of cards as bookmarks.
67. I love good writing and cinematography in film.
68. My first car was a 73 plymouth scamp.
69. Arrogant people and attitudes piss me off.
70. I’ve had to dive for underwear and glasses, at separate times,
and neither of them were mine.
71. Thai food is my favorite.
72. My espresso drink is a triple grande latte, no flavoring.
73. I love to make music mixes.
74. I am a member of the Sierra Club.
75. I’m also a member of my local zoo.



Well… today was the first day my work golf team played, which I’m on. We’re trying to get ready for an upcoming tournament. It’s the only one we play every year and today was the first time I’d played since the tournament last year. Which, I might add, doesn’t bode too well in regards to my golf playing ability or final score. I must say my compadres (two were there, one was unable to play today) play MUCH better than I. After all, I just started playing golf three years ago when I joined our team to play in this same tournament when another member was unable. I’d never played before. I think, sadly, it shows. But, we have fun. And, really, what else matters.

We have nicknames, of course. Mine, given to me by the big Kahuna, Stan, is banger. I got this name because I always smack the heck out of the ball. Sometimes that works for me, others… not so much. Today Stan was saying, “we need to see something from the banger”. He didn’t. I had a couple of decent putts, and that was about it. However, the other two members were pretty darn good today. Their nicknames are stroker and closer. Stroker because Eskimo has an excellent professional looking stroke, and Closer because Stan is the go to guy, the clinch player… or at least we hope so. Today these two were so good we finished only one or two over par. Not bad for not playing together for a year. All I have to say is thank god I have them. Otherwise I’d look like just another clown getting out of a clown car.

We will play one more time together before the big day. We might not be Sports Center worthy, but one thing is certain… we will have a most excellent time trying.


Getting Ready

We spent Monday, Labor Day and a day off work for us, getting ready for the upcoming road trip. We found and put up the tent, unrolled the sleeping bags and opened them up, made sure we got batteries for the gizmo we use to blow up the air mattress, went shopping for some things we didn’t have and wanted, made lists of things we didn’t want to forget to take, and started a couple of piles of aforementioned “stuff”. We made reservations in Reno for Saturday night, arranged to pick up the rental car on Friday, and looked up the great balloon fest or race or rally or whatever it’s called that’s happening in Reno this coming weekend. It was a fluke we found out about it, but now that we have, we’re going. We probably won’t get into Reno until nearly midnight Friday, but we’ve already decided we’re getting up at 4:30 to be at Rancho San Raphael Park Saturday morning to watch the dawn patrol do the balloon glow. And then, at and just after sunrise, they take off. How cool is that? Totally worth not getting much sleep Friday night. We’re excited about the trip. Can you tell?


Taking Note

I’m in the middle of a project. I’ve decided to digitize all my music, or at least the majority of it. So I’ve been grabbing a stack of CDs, when I have some time, and plugging them into the computer. From there it’s a matter of uploading them to my ipod and then deleting them off the hard drive. There might be an easier way, but I don’t think so.

At times it’s kind of tedious. I listen to snippets of songs on the discs to see if I want all of them, or just some. I choose the tracks I want and then import them. Disc after disc. The thing is… I get to hear music I’ve had for 20 years. I was looking at my collection and I purchased my first CDs in 1986/87. In fact, I know the first one I bought. Basia. I know, I know… everyone is saying… who? But really, it’s pretty good. Anyway… I find myself listening to music and feeling all of these unexpected emotions. It’s amazing how much music is connected to our emotional lives… it’s phenomenal. It’s like taking a trip down memory lane listening to it. It brings back actual memories of things I was doing and people I was with while listening to a particular song or CD. The music definitely reflects my “self” back then. What a great thing to be able to experience again. That and the other part of it… which is, I’m so happy now.

What prompted this whole little diatribe is that I was listening to a CD and thinking and feeling how sad I was when I was listening to it all those years ago. How much I was wishing I had someone in my life, etc., etc. How comforted the me then would’ve been to know how happy I was going to be. Because now, today, I have what I was missing and wanting… I have a big big love in my life. One that fills me up to overflowing. I was feeling that so strongly, listening to the CD, that when Karen walked in I was tearing up. So happy with how happy I am today, compared to the little bit of crazy I was feeling so long ago.

That is the power of music. It lifts our souls to soaring, helps us feel lighter when we are adrift, and brings us down to earth when our hearts need quieting. All of that while being a time machine to our past and a conduit to what our future could be. It’s truly magic, and wonderful.

Pictures of a Parking Garage… and Other Tales

This tale actually begins with the Oregon Symphony, Thursday night. Every year the symphony starts off it’s season with a free concert at Waterfront Park and this year was no exception. So, we grabbed our low folding chairs, stopped off for some Thai food to go, and when we arrived we searched for and found a couple of friends in the crowd who’d gotten there early and secured a spot. The concert itself was lovely. Excellent music performed in a beautiful spot. There were thousands of people… hanging out with friends and family, eating take out from one place or another, some reading to their kids, others sipping wine, all enjoying the music, the sunset over the Willamette River, the shooting off of the Howitzers during the 1812, the fireworks that followed, and the sight of numerous boats out on the water. My favorite selection of music was the medley of Beatles tunes. It was wonderful, and a big crowd pleaser. It was a good night.

A good night, that is, until we got back to the parking garage. Though, as you’ll read, we can make a good time out of almost anything. The thing is, we’ve parked in parking garages so many times when we’ve been downtown. And yes, sometimes it’s a bit slow getting out after an event… but nothing like this. It took over an hour. We decided, since we could tell there was a bit of a backup and a bit of a problem, that we would just hang out there, inside the garage, but out of our car. So these are the things we did… Karen grabbed a box top from our trunk (who knows why that was in there), tore a hole in it, and used it to shoot a golf ball at (the putter and the ball were also in the trunk). We kept placing it in different spots and took turns shooting at it. I must say, she was much better at it than I, which is scary since I have a tournament coming up. I also grabbed the camera and took a bunch of pictures of the inside of the garage and then out from the garage (we were on the fourth floor). We looked out over the edge and watched the traffic, the night, and people walking by. We also sat in the car, talked, and listened to music. All in all it wasn’t a bad way to spend the time, except for the large amounts of carbon monoxide shooting out of a particular car’s exhaust pipe… we could’ve done without that, but otherwise, we actually had a bit of fun.

Friday night we had “date night”. Which, for us, usually means dinner and a movie. Last night we combined them with pizza and water from the concession at the Laurelhurst. There’s nothing like a $3.00 movie alongside good pizza and beer, if you want it. The movie, Thank You For Smoking, was pretty good. We enjoyed it. And the pizza, being Pizzicato pizza, was quite tasty. The funniest thing though was after we sat down in the theater. They’ve taken out every other row or so to accommodate tables for the pizza plates and beer pitchers and glasses. We had also purchased two cookies (one chocolate chip for Karen and a super cookie for me) that were sitting on the tables in front of us. A couple came up and asked if anyone was sitting next to us and Karen said no, that’s just my cookie, I’ll move it. The woman, being funny, said no, you can just leave it there. To which Karen replied… “I don’t think so”. We all laughed. I love hanging out with her.

So now she’s out watering and I’m plugging one cd after another into the computer so that I can then transfer them to my ipod. We are looking to bolster our road music for the upcoming road trip to the Southwest. We can’t wait.

And this, people, is entry 29 of the 30 in 30. Stay tuned tomorrow, same place, for installment 28. Until then… peace and love to all.

100 Things About Me – In Four Parts – Part 2

26. I like peanut butter and powdered sugar on my French toast.
27. I would wear cargo shorts, a t-shirt, and Birkenstocks every day if I could get away with it.
28. My favorite flower is a gerbera daisy.
29. I sleep on the left side of the bed, but used to sleep on the right.
30. Purple is my favorite color.
31. I’ve written poetry most of my life.
32. There are over 500 cds in my collection.
33. My favorite painter is Salvador Dali.
34. I was the psych club vice president in college.
35. My motorcycle helmet is red.
36. My wisdom teeth have been pulled.
37. My house is in the woods.
38. I recycle.
39. I’ve traveled a bit and still love Oregon more than anywhere else I’ve been.
40. My dorky sense of humor came from my dad.
41. My appreciation for truth and living an honest life came from my mom.
42. My brother Kev calls me his lost bohemian sister.
43. I’ve been accused of talking too much.
44. I’ve also been accused of being shy and not talking enough.
45. I love to read.
46. I’m intimidated by big dogs and have been since the time I was bitten by one.
47. I have a Ukulele.
48. I’ve had on the same toe ring for three years.
49. I have an authentic pooka shell necklace I’ve worn for nearly three and a half years.
50. I floss daily.

"Snake in the Grass"

…as Karen likes to call him, has struck again. He comes in, at different times of the day and night, stealing from us. He loves roses, lupines, rhododendron, ground cover, maple tree leaves, flowering cherry leaves, the grass behind our house, azaleas, and any new growth… on almost any plant. He is at once totally annoying, and beautiful. We hate him, and love him at the same time. We’ve been able to see him grow from just a young lad to the fine teenager he is now, horns getting bigger almost every day. Soon he will go off looking for a woman and we will be both happy, because our plants and flowers will get some relief, and sad, because we’ve practically raised him here on the fine diet we’ve provided. And sitting here, writing about this after our encounter with him this morning, I just feel lucky really, that we live in such a beautiful place. A place where the “snake in the grass” likes to hang out, and can get such a good meal.

Oregon Country Fair

The Crowd

Taken from the car window at 75 miles an hour on the way home

Dust. Hippies. Overwhelming smell of pot. Naked painted breasts. Long lines for food. Good barbeque chicken. Long shuttle bus ride. Overwhelming smell of pot. Ice cream spoon and plastic ice cream container dress. Sweetjuice. Tarzan in the trees. Painted kids. Tie dye. Loin cloths. No water. Man on stilts. Big crowds. Great people watching. Unfunny group Umo. Spontaneous “street corner” political diatribes. Capes. Tattoos. Free form dancing. Overwhelming smell of pot. Friendly strangers in food lines. No litter. Mellow people. Full honey buckets. Long lines for the shuttle bus. Maze-like setting. Good watermelon. Happy chipper hippy people directing bus lines and trying to make the wait more enjoyable. Faeries. Overwhelming smell of pot. Great drum circle. Excellent fair going companions in Karen, Mom, and Don. Spontaneous gypsy parades. People feeling free. Men in silver painted jackets and motorcycle helmets playing instruments. Twirling girls. Men in dresses. Seat stealing young girl. Women in tutus. No alcohol allowed or sold on site. Girls with wings. Masks. An extra large head. Shade in the woods. Dreadlocks. Peaceful gathering. Bare feet. Colorful costumes. Man with riding crop holding leash to woman dressed as horse. Decent pottery. Lots of piercing. Overwhelming smell of pot. Very tasty beer after a hot dusty day provided by Don and Mom. Beautiful sunset driving home. Stop to drop off camcorder to Connie. Pasta for dinner. Getting home… where there is no overwhelming smell of pot.

Eleven Days… and One Week

It’s been awhile since I skulked around the pages of this blog of mine. At least a month, I think…. hard to believe. In some ways, what’s happened in my life the last month has been strange and seems far away, almost like it happened to someone else and all I did was watch a documentary. Then, I wake up.

Eleven days isn’t a long time, but sometimes, it can seem like forever. Days melting into days, until two or three have passed, and you get caught in the blur of it all. You can’t remember what day of the week it is, the time, when you last had something to eat or drink. Sleep impossible, you wait, and wait, and wait.

At first, before all that, you hope. You get the phone call, the one no one ever wants… the voice of your sister saying, “dad’s in the hospital”. She sounds a bit alarmed, but isn’t panicked, so you think to yourself, OK, it’s OK, nothing terrible is happening. Then you get the second call, and her voice is strained, and worse yet, she sounds scared, “they found a mass on his spine”. So… you go. And, once you get there, you don’t leave… except for short jaunts away at night to try and sleep, which you don’t, but hey… you’re in it now… this weird other world is your life, and in this place, nothing else exists.

He went into the hospital on June 3. Eleven days later, at home surrounded by his wife, kids, and grandchildren, he decided he was ready to go on to the next adventure, and he quietly slipped away. It was beautiful really. Strange to say, but true. Over the course of those eleven days and then during the service, which happened the following week, I kept looking at us… my brothers and sisters, their children, our spouses, my step mom, and I kept thinking to myself, wow… look at us. Look at what my dad did. We are beautiful. Our lives, the people we are… his kids, his grand kids, how my sister and brothers are as parents, and how much we all love each other. I looked at all of that, and felt this overwhelming sense of pride for my dad. We are all, to the last of us, part of him… and he is a big part of who we are. What a wonderful thing that is. What a tremendous legacy. His life was full, and lovely.

Now, days after the memorial, I feel, more than I ever have in my life, that dad is holding me. He’s looking at all of us, how our relationships have grown over the course of this experience, and he’s smiling that smile. He’s throwing his head back and laughing that full body laugh of his, and his eyes are twinkling… joy spilling out all around him, flowing around us, around me. His life, so full of love, of laughs, of joy… made evident during the course of just eleven days, and one week… it’s amazing how much you can feel and see, in such a short time.