Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Grant me the Serenity

Coming up on the 2017 Astoria Crab Festival. 

Doing events in Astoria is like being at home.  Since we moved to Scappoose in 2001, Astoria--70 miles west on Highway 30--has become our second home.  We've rolled a series of at least five different trailers, plus several incarnations of restaurant equipment, down the highway to events in that lovely little town.  The event center at the fairgrounds has become so familiar, I almost feel like a part owner.

One of my favorite things about doing events in Astoria is the opportunity to "camp" practically on the grounds of the venue.  The past couple of years, we've been able to turn our little 12-foot utility trailer into quite serviceable sleeping quarters for 3 retirement-age ladies.  It's kind of funny, really.  We have to squeeze three cots, three sets of luggage, three sets of rainwear (it almost always rains at some point while we're there), lighting and power for after-hours entertainment (which involves sitting on one's cot and reading or watching You-tube videos on someone's device) a cooler for cold foods and a box for non-refrigerables into a 12' x 6' space.  Quite the challenge!  But...well, I love the challenge.  It's a part of the trip that I most look forward to

So this year, we have managed to fall into some "luck."  A friend of one of my sisters couldn't abide the idea of us cramming ourselves and our stuff into that teeny trailer, so she offered to acquire a hotel room for us for the three nights we'll be on the coast.  As it happens, three nights in the Best Western on the Prom in Seaside.  For free.  A gift.  That's great isn't it?  Isn't it?

Well, yeah.  It is. 

But my crotchety old-lady soul is being surprisingly cranky about the change in plans.  Apparently I have finally become too old and set in my ways to be grateful and graceful about manna falling from heaven.  I guess I want to bake my own bread, thank you very much.   What am I...some kind of idiot?

Shoot me now...           

Monday, April 24, 2017

Enough Already!

The view of my deck through the sliding glass door...  :(

This article was posted on February first at 

Since then, there has been THIS news: 

And then, there was March:

According to the National Weather Service, the wettest March on record was in 2012 when 7.89 inches of rain fell. As of Monday morning, Portland International Airport had recorded 7 inches of rain.

...Portland has also not experienced two consecutive dry days since Feb. 12 to 13. The last time the region saw three dry days in a row was Jan. 12 to 16 (but there was plenty of snow on the ground, so the "dry" might have been hard to notice).

And April:

The normal annual precipitation for Portland is 40.8 in. The normal water-year-to-date precipitation in Portland on April 24 is 32.94 in. At 53.17 in., the water-year-to-date precipitation as of April 24, 2017 is 161.4% of the normal water-year-to-date precipitation.

I am so god-damned sick of RAIN, and COLD, and DARK, I can hardly get up in the morning. 

Please....MAKE IT STOP!!!!  For just two or three days in a row.  That's all I'm asking.



Sunday, April 23, 2017

What's on the Tube?

Several months ago, we cut the cord to cable TV.  We simply got tired of paying $200 a month for 200 channels, of which we faithfully watched maybe a dozen.  We decided that we could make do with Netflix and Amazon Prime, thereby  saving ourselves $2200 a year (my sister pays for the Netflix) and the annoyance of sifting through 200 channels and finding nothing decent to watch, much more frequently than $200 a month should allow.

I've always been a re-run addict anyway, dating all the way back to our newlywed days umpteen years ago when I used to tune in to reruns of "Emergency" while I made dinner in our tiny one bedroom apartment next to the airport.  So "binge-watching" entire series in a couple of months has not been a great stretch for me.  We've done "Bones" and "Crossing Jordan" (which,  it turns out, are essentially the same show, with similar plotlines, similar characters, and similar unconsummated sexual tension between the major male and female characters.)  I confess, in the end,  I liked "Jordan" better, as the characters, while quirky, were never as caricaturized as the "Bones" cast eventually became.  Too, with "Bones," I have a real problem with the wardrobes of the female characters.  Apparently, you just throw a lab coat on over your  body-hugging designer sheath dress, and the stilettos make it so you don't have to pump the autopsy table up too high.  What woman wouldn't want to display the height of fashion while sifting through gore and rotting flesh?

Having come to the end of the series with both "Bones" and "Jordan," I had to choose another series to keep me company while I stay up late on puppy duty--keeping her out of trouble and making sure she goes potty one more time before I head to bed.  After some deliberation, I decided on "Grey's Anatomy," since everyone seems to be so hooked on it.  The OTHER things that are so wildly popular these days--like Orange is the New Black, or Breaking Bad, or Mad Men or some of the other dark, sex-obsessed offerings that are floating around the airwaves have no appeal for me at all.  Sorry.  When I watch TV, I like to be entertained.  Not titillated or grossed out or pissed off or frightened. 

So.  Grey's anatomy.

I guess I was expecting something a little more...mature?  Believable?  Something...

If Grey's characters are supposed to be representative of  "strong female roles," someone goofed.  I mean...the first scene of the first show has our main character giving the bum's rush to a one-night-stand, flippantly ejecting him from her apartment and her life on the morning of her first day as a surgical intern at a fictitious Seattle hospital.  Now...there's a strong woman!  An independent woman; one who knows what she wants and goes after it with single-minded confidence!  Right? 

But then she goes to work and finds that the guy she just rushed out of her bed is a surgical attending at that very hospital.  Basically, her teacher/boss.   And of course, she proceeds to fall in love with him, and things get very messy. And hyper-sexual.  

Honestly...these young people are supposed to be working 48-hour shifts, and yet they seem to have limitless energy and appetites for sex.  One of these supposed brilliant young female interns is even stupid enough to get pregnant from one of these intense sexual relationships. 

Yes, I know this is fiction and is not meant to resemble reality.  But I am a little put off by what these characterizations say about young female professionals.  About the fact that they can't seem to be good at or serious about what they do without being in the thrall of some man--and, incidentally, a man who is in a position of authority over them.  It's the same old tired, male-dominated garbage that we've been watching since Donna Reed, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver.  These young interns might not be wearing shirtwaists and pearls while they vacuum and wash up after dinner, but they are clearly demonstrating Woman's inability to climb out from under the thumb of Man,  even though that thumb rests on a higher level than it did fifty years ago.

I'm into the first couple of episodes of season 2, and so far I haven't seen anything magical.  It's a nice little show, inoffensive enough on the surface.  It's entertaining; it keeps me awake while I wait for 11:00 and the final dog walk to roll around.  But, frankly,  I can't quite figure out what is exceptional or award-winning about it.   

I'll keep watching.  Maybe it will get better.         

Monday, April 17, 2017

Helen Wheels


An 8.5# munchkin came into our lives two weeks ago.  (BTW, she now weighs almost 11#.)

And this old lady has felt like she has been dragged behind an eighteen-wheeler for most of that time.   

I decided on her first day “home” that we had misnamed her.  Josie?  Really?  It had a cute ring to it, especially when paired with “…and the Pussycats,” since she’s going to have the five-feline back-up band for the rest of her life.

But, no.  “Josie” is way too tame.

What should her name have been?


As in “hell-en wheels.”

This dog has energy to burn, and enough of the devil in her soul that much of that energy is spent devising ways to do exactly what we don’t want her to do.  She understands what “no” means.  She knows what “Come here!” means.  She just…chooses not to obey.  With a vengeance. 

And the name “Helen” would also bring to mind Helen Keller, who eventually became a beloved and brilliant writer and humanitarian.  But she had to have that “ah-ha” moment first—the one (which may or may not have actually taken place) depicted in “The Miracle Worker;” where Helen suddenly realizes that the world is full of things and things have names and communication may happen.   

We keep going through the training motions with this pup…but I don’t have the sense that she has figured out exactly what she does that earns her that bit of hot dog.  She seems to associate the treat more with the words, “Good girl!” than with the fact that she DID something we want her to repeat. 


C’mon, Helen (I mean, Josie)!  Let’s see that light bulb flash on above your head!


She’s cute, anyway.  


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

when the pigeon meets the hawk

finches and jays
sparrows and starlings
woodpeckers and flickers
stop in my garden
to dine upon the humble offerings
of sunflower seed, millet and suet

a flock of collared doves
(stupid pigeons, we call them…
loud, awkward and scatter-brained)
pecks at corn scattered
under the maple tree

and the woodland hawks
sail in to dine upon the diners
fierce and arrogant
determined and efficient
sleek and agile
of all the birds my  garden
I admire them most

one misty morning
a twisting cyclone of feathers
tumbles over my shoulder and hits the ground
feet from where I stand
cooper’s hawk, stupid pigeon
in the ancient dance
of predator and prey

“pigeon!” I cry
the hawk, startled
loses its grip
dove flails off to a nearby bush
hawk gives desultory chase
breaks off and sails
to a bare tree
stares at me balefully

why could you not
leave me to my breakfast?
it seems to say
guilty, I reply
I’m sorry…
but my first instinct
is to root for the pigeon

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mary Oliver: I Happened to be Standing

I don't know where prayers go,
     or what they do.
Do cats pray, while they sleep
     half-asleep in the sun?
Does the opossum pray as it
     crosses the street?
The sunflowers? The old black oak
     growing older every year?
I know I can walk through the world,
     along the shore or under the trees,
with my mind filled with things
     of little importance, in full
self-attendance. A condition I can't really
     call being alive
Is a prayer a gift, or a petition,
     or does it matter?
The sunflowers blaze, maybe that's their way.
Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not.

While I was thinking this I happened to be standing
just outside my door, with my notebook open,
which is the way I begin every morning.
Then a wren in the privet began to sing.
He was positively drenched in enthusiasm,
I don't know why. And yet, why not.
I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe
or whatever you don't. That's your business.
But I thought, of the wren's singing, what could this be
     if it isn't a prayer?
So I just listened, my pen in the air.