Friday, April 29, 2005

Two Birds...One Stone House

For those of you who really wanted to see the inside of my bosses home, the wait is over.  This afternoon she decided to shut the office down early and she invited us to her home for some vino.  It's been a while since I've been inside her home; last time I was there some work was still in progress.  I was impressed with this place the first time I saw it...and now, even more so.  Some people just have really good taste, you know.  And an eye for details.

I was the first to arrive, having left the office an hour before everyone to take care of some banking tasks.  Yesterday Wanda told me she was off to buy some chicks...chuckar and pheasant chicks.  I mean, doesn't everybody go off and buy chicks?  So, I got a major baby chick fix this afternoon.  And yes, they are soooooo tiny and sooooo cute.  The first one I picked up was a chuckar.  The chick prompty fell asleep in my hand, but peeped the entire time.  There's just something about holding a creature so tiny and helpless and having it fall asleep, in your hands.  The trust soothes the soul.  It was so simple and yet so satisfying.

Okay, so enough about the cute chicks...the fuzzy kind anyway.  Somewhere in this entry is a joke about having chicks (Playboy) and chicks (feathered) in this house within a two week time period.



Time for more photos of the house.  This is the living room with the front door open just outside the right side of the photo.


The atrium, not finished.  Beneath the rugs is a falsefloor.  At some future date, the false floor and rugs will be removed, and giant plants will be brought into thebasement and flourish within this space.  

Now, that's what I call a kitchen!

Inside the cupola (not finished).  What a view!  L-R:  My boss Wanda, admin asst. Julie, loan asst. Shanna, Lewis-Clark Bicentennial coordinator Jenni, and Shanna's daughter (sorry, can't remember her name).

Guest wing bath.  Playboy used this room and the bedroom as a backdrop for the Pac-10 pictorial.

Considering that Wanda and her husband did most of the work themselves...yes...I'd say they should both be quite pleased with the end result.  And now, last but not least, the driveway and front elevation.  That's the master suite balcony right over the front door.  To the right of the suite is the upstairs deck, where we had just been sitting, drinking wine as a gentle breeze blew.  Bliss!

Before we left, we all decided Wanda needs to have these Friday afternoon vino breaks more frequently.


~~May your beauty sprout like a garden for all to see.~~

Wednesday, April 27, 2005



Through many windows in my life

Simple moments became significant.

Time just stood still.


For me.


I have fallen

In love

With clouds.


I have laughed

In jest

With friends.


I have dreamed

In time

With hope.


I have waited

In seclusion

With courage.


I have gazed

In awe

With wonder.


I have cried

In pain

With fear.


I have prayed

In silence

With faith.


I have stood

In defiance

With conviction.


I have loved

In spirit

With soul.


Always on the inside

Always looking out

Searching for an answer

Yet finding what I need


(c) DLC 2005

I almost forgot...

After my lunch time adventure yesterday, I returned to the office for some birthday cheer.  Yes, it was two days late...have to coordinate these things around everyone's hectic schedules and sometimes that's just the way it works.  So we had my favorite cake, Angel food (of course!) with blueberry's and whipped cream on top.  YUMMY!  :)

Naturally, I received the token 'office' birthday card.

Card front:  Hey, Birthday girl - Dont' throw away these candles!

Inside: You've got enough wax there to keep your legs hair free for years!  Ha Ha Ha    Happy Birthday

You know, for someone who hates buying birthday cards, the administrative assistant Julie really excells at selecting the appropriate birthday card.  It's comforting to know she puts so much thought into this part of her job.  That card had me snickering all day.  :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Easy #3

Here's Kelly's question of the weekTell me......

"Do you have a favorite show on TV?"

Current?  Or all-time favorite? Currently, if there is one show I watch faithfully, it is CSI.  I catch the original on Thursdays (set in Vegas) and CSI: Miami on Monday nights.  I've only seen a couple of the CSI: New York shows.  Funny thing is, during CSI's first season, I did not watch the show at all.  The first time I watched Crime Scene Investigation, it was an intensely graphic episode, and it really bothered me.  At the time, it was too graphic.  Then two years ago, when the Miami version premiered, for some reason I got hooked.  I liked the story lines, the depth of the main characters, and the setting...sunny Miami.  I've always like detective type shows: Quincy, Columbo, McMillian & Wife, Magnum, etc.  CSI just fit right in.  Jerry Bruckheimer is a gripping writer.  I don't watch the other CBS show, NCIS; just don't care for it.  But I do like to watch Monk (A&E).  He cracks me up.

However, my all-time favorite is The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.  Is any explanation why really necessary? 

Right Here In River City

Today at lunch I was drawn to the river.  Having procured something to eat, I headed over to the levee to eat my lunch in the warm sun  and watch the river flow by.  When I arrived I noticed a train waiting to travel across the old, rusty railroad bridge that spans the Clearwater River.  The bridge span is kept elevated at all times to allow barges and other vessels to travel up and down the river.  But, once a day, the bridge is lowered for the trains that travel west to numerous cities.

Armed with only my lunch, keys, and camera, I headed up a hill to have a seat and enjoy my lunch.  The only available bench was taken by an elderly couple enjoying their lunch so I walked a few more yards toward the bridge and set my stuff down on the ground.  Since I was wearing a cotton skirt, sitting on the weedy gravel was not an option.  Besides, I sit all day at work; for once, standing would be a treat.

Basking in the warmth of the sun, I dined on my lunch and waited for the bridge to lower, thinking of how cool it would be to get some photos of the train crossing this bridge.  In all my life in this valley, I have never seen this bridge lowered, or a train crossing it.  Yes, I've sat many times at the railroad crossing just down the road, so I know this bridge works.  It's the only way for trains to enter and leave Lewiston.  Several times I heard the blast of a warning horn coming from the massive bridge.  Ten minutes pass, the blasts have sounded half a dozen times, but the span remains elevated.

Soon, I see a figure walking the tracks.  No doubt someone from the bridge control room going to have a looksee at the problem.  He reaches the bridge and begins the task of solving the problem.


By this time I have finished my lunch, and I noticed two pairs of Canadian geese gliding on the water, looking for handouts.  They provided a bit of entertainment and one of them even tried a little 'hocus pocus' to get the bridge down, to no avail.  ;)  

I waited...and waited...and waited.  But, lunch time was over and I needed to return to the office.  Somewhat disappointed, I gathered my stuff and walked toward the trail leading down to the parking lot.  On the way I saw a woman and young girl now seated at the bench, enjoying this beautiful day.  While walking down the trail, I stopped and captured a moment shared between mother and child.


All in all, a wonderful lunchtime treat, even if I didn't get to see the bridge lowered or the train cross it.  Another day, perhaps.


~~May you live every day as if it were made just for you.~~

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Show Continues

^ Shirley, day 8, the petals begin to change color, again.  :)  v Close-up shot.

It gets better, I promise.  :D

Thank you, thank you...

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to wish me a Happy Birthday during the past few days.  :)

BTW, no baby yet.  Amy was here earlier, swollen ankles and all; boy she is puffy, and miserable.  Her next appointment is on Wednesday, which is her due date.  Hopefully Baby D will be here before that so they don't have to induce Amy.


Happy 15th Hubble

Today marks the 15th anniversay of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch -- and that being the case, John Scalzi thought we'd do something special for the Monday Photo Shoot:

The Monday Photo Shoot: Show off your favorite Hubble Space Telescope image. Tell us why you love it.

Crucible of Creation: Panoramic Hubble Mosaic Zooms in on Maelstrom of Star Birth (photo by NASA)

So, why do I like this photo?  First, there is the combination of the brown and blue tones.  Yes, it resembles clouds and most of you know how I feel about clouds.  ;-)  But, it is the visual image in the center that drew me in...there is this "what do you see?" quality about it.  In it I see many things, a dog's face, an angel taking flight, a man standing...or I just have an overactive imagination.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dogwood Days...It's Hot Hot Hot

Boy!  Nothing like a milestone to get that hit counter binging away!  At 8 this morning before I wrote that entry, it was at 4944.  At 11:30 Cat said it was at 4960.  And an hour later, who else but my friend Robin would be the one... 1 x 5000!  Woooohoooo! Robin, you rock!

So now that the excitement has settled down, and there are no longer any trees going past my window, time for the Dogwood report, with photos of course.

I must have inherited my Dad's car genes because the first thing I wanted to do was stroll through the streets lined with vintage cars.  And there were some real beauties.  Dad always told me there are two types of restoration buffs: purists and butchers.  Dad was a bit of both, but leaned on the purist side.  Anywho, there was much to see...

I think Kermit wants out!  Doesn't it look like he's saying "Help!"  Wonder where Ms. Piggy is?


It was the back seat Coca Cola Bear that made me stop.  But then I got to looking at the upholstery, especially the door panels.  Very, very nice workmanship.

Cool garden stakes.

The sticks were beautiful, but what most impressed me was the faces this guy carves out of knotty wood.

The sun popped in and out all morning, but by the time I got down there, ol sol was out to stay, and it was warm.  Whew, it was warm.  I was dressed in layers with Levi's and peeled off most of the layers immediately.  The Festival was packed, and I got to chat with many people I haven't seen in a while.  Saw my former supervisor, Linda, from my days working at the county auto license department.  She was diagnosed with colon cancer after I left twelve years ago, and she's doing great.  Retired, loving it, and healthy, as she should be.  That's good news.

So, I've been telling you about the tulip 'Shirley' and now it's time to let the photos do the talking.

Day 1, immediately after opening.  Shirley starts out a creamy yellow.  Look closely and you will see an ever so slight tinge of purple on the very tip of the petal.  In the left background is a Ballade, still closed.

Day 4.  Shirley is now white, and the purple is more prominient.  But the show is just getting started.  And Ballade is now open as well.  The tulip behind Ballade is Rembrandt, which you'll see in a bit.

Day 6.  Not much change yet, but she's just getting started.  Over the next week you will not believe your eyes.  This tulip is a show stopper. 

And this beauty is Rembrandt.  It didn't come up last year, and I'd forgotten about it.  So it was a lovely surprise when I saw it the other day.  Beautiful, no?

Well, that's all for now.  It's been a very busy day and I need to recharge.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by today.

Tomorrow's my birthday.  :)


~~'Tis the set of the sails and not the gales which decides the way to go. ~
Ella Wheeler Wilcox~~

Good Times, These Are The Good Times

WOW!  I just glanced at the old visitor counter! 

Will it happen today...or tommorow, for my birthday?  It's anyone's guess.

I do have one request.  Visitor #5,000 please identify yourself...'k?  I just want to know.

Actually, I'm truly amazed.  Six months ago I started this journal with some hesitation.  I mean, who's going to read it?  Why would anyone be interested in my thoughts, and my day to day stuff?  In my ventures around J-Land I felt as if I'd stumbled onto a new land.  So much talent, so much to see and take in.  What would my contribution be?  Time held the answer to that question.  Looking back, I can see the change, how my journal has evolved.  But, I woudn't still be here if it wasn't for one thing, people.  And some very special people I have met along the way.

Robin.   Geraldine.   Diane (private).   Kelly.  Gaye.  Cat.  You have been with me since the beginning my friends.  Having you here made a difference, a huge difference.   More I can ever tell you.  Love you ladies.

And each day brings new surprises and new friends.  There are so many, Mary, Tressa, Marc, Karen, Nettie, Diane, Trisha, Elizabeth, Sara, Sandra, Judith, BoiseLadieLinda, many hearts and souls.  Angels.  Friends.  No doubt there will be more, and I know there are many 'silent' ones who quietly drop by.

Okay, I just saw a tree strut by my window.   All righty then.


I just realized I've neglected my little weather character in several past entries.  Oh, I'm slipping.  Must be age related, temporary memory gaps.  So in case you were curious, yesterday is was .  We are talking a high of 78 degrees.  Highly irregular for April.  Seriously.  This weekend is the Dogwood Festival 'Art Under The Elms' and the Asotin County Fair and Rodeo.  It's April.  It always rains this weekend.  Always.  'Art Under The Elms' generally turns into mud under the elms, and the Asotin County Rodeo turns into mucking in the mud.  And then, there's the matter of my birthday.  In all the years I have lived here in the valley, it has always rained on my birthday.  As a teen it bummed me out...a little.  Then I heard someone say "April showers bring May flowers."  That is when I realized having rain on my birthday could lead to something really  I love flowers.  So, it just meant one of my birthday presents would come later, or bloom later.  I can get jiggy with that.

It's  right now, and looking out my window I do see some clouds.  Hmmm, well either way I'm heading out the door with my camera to take in some sights. 

Well, I'm getting long winded and we all know how...and there goes another tree by my window.  Hmmm, guess I'll be spending some time today at Art Under the Elms.

Oh, and the tulip 'Shirley' is up and open.  Photos to follow.  :)



~~Write your sorrows in dust, and your blessings in granite.~~

Friday, April 22, 2005

Someone's been very naughty

Today started just like any other day.  Woke up, fed Rumbeau and Allie, got my coffee, let the dogs outside, then go upstairs to check my e-mail while Sam takes a shower.

I heard Sam let the dogs inside, then I heard my little shadow walk into my room.  When I turned around, I knew exactly what she was doing while she was outside.

Someone's been digging holes again!!!  Sorry but those sad puppy dog eyes don't fool me!  The evidence is undeniable.

Yep, this is my dog.  My dog has to be the one that runs around in circles, digs holes in the yard, sleeps in back breaking positions, and...has this obsession with spots.  Don't ask.. 

Do you suppose she was trying to remind me that today is Earth Day?

So, my cats are doing the yin and yang thing, Allie's up to her nose in Earth Day messages...and my birthday is right around the corner.

This may get interesting....


~~It's not your age that matters.  It's how your matter ages.~~


....yin and yang?

My two cats, Sassy (black, 11 years old), and Miss Kitty (3 years old...who is actually Kari's but stays here).  Think they're trying to tell me something?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Three days and counting...

Dirty Vegas  : Dirty Vegas  : 'Days Go By' <---- click (heard this song on the radio earlier, and noticed how well Snoopy was keeping the


  It's almost my's almost my's almost my birthday


It's almost someone else's birth day too!  Baby D, when will it be?  :D

And just when is my birthday, you ask?  Sunday, 4/24.

Yes, Kelly, I will be officially older than dirt.

April Artsy Essay

This month's Artsy Essay contest will run for approximately one week, and will end next Friday, April 22nd, at midnight EST. Everyone is eligible to write, including all former winners.

The subject for the essay will be:

A Mysterious Photograph

This month you have carte blanche to go in any direction you desire, as long as whatever essay you create relates in some way to this mysterious photograph. Weave a story, tell a tale, share a memory, fact or fiction, poetry or prose.... whatever you choose (within the bounds of TOS please).Extra points for creativity!!! Just be sure to draw us in with lots of detail and descriptive language. Help us to feel, see, and hear what you describe.



"You can't go back," Jay chided her. "You can never go home again."

Even from across the van Shaina felt the heat of his words. What did he know? Mr. Know-it-all. She could go back...anytime. She had nothing to hide, and no one to hide from. He was the one on the run, hiding from his past. And soon, with her plan now in motion, she would put him behind her. Forever.

As the van hummed down the winding mountain road, she cranked open her passenger window and lit a cigarette. The cool Sierra mountain air filled her senses, temporarily reprieving her mind from her heavy thoughts. Even in the darkness of night she could see the tall pine trees, hundreds of them, towering overhead. Breathing through her nose slowly and deeply, she closed her eyes and filled her lungs with the sweet crispness. Oh how she loved this smell, the pine aroma was so liberating and calming. For a moment, she almost forgot.

She glanced briefly at Jay, taking in his deep-set brown eyes, the thick straight dark brown hair, his large Roman like nose and those thin lips set against his bronzed skin. Even in October, he retained his tan. Looking at him now, she didn't feel a thing.  She could do it. She would do it. It was time to put the pieces back together.

The drive from Lake Tahoe to Oakland was quiet. She kept to her thoughts, mulling her plan over in her mind. It wouldn’t be easy and she was scared, there was no denying that. She had to do this. If she stayed any longer she would end up a statistic. Just another domestic violence statistic. There had to be more to her life than that.

Back at home, the couple made their way around the house in silence, Jay unpacking his suitcase as Shaina prepared his dinner. It had to be on the table soon, or he would start…again. Just like the last time when he threw her favorite turquoise blue ceramic bowl across the room at her. Her ears still echoed with the loud C-R-A-S-H she heard when the bowl hit the cabinet doors and shattered just inches from her head.

It was time to put the pieces back together.

Within two weeks, the time came. The night she spent scanning the classifieds for an apartment to rent, Jay lashed out at her. After he kicked the chair out from under her, after she fell to pieces again, Jay had walked out, leaving her lying on the floor. More than ever, she was determined to do this. His threats no longer intimidated her. Now she had the upper hand…the advantage. And she was readyto use it.

An hour later she heard his footsteps approaching her office door. He had returned.

"Look, baby, you know I’m sorry." He said it softly, almost convincing her. The words rolled out of his lips like butter. Like so many times before. He stood in the doorway and smiled that shallow smile of his.

She didn’t reply.

Jay stepped toward her. "Hey, I said I’m sorry." Words without feeling. There was nothing behind them except his need to have his way. He wasn’t sorry.

When she didn’t reply, he reached out to touch her shoulder. Shaina moved away. "Don’t touch me," she said.

He laughed at her, mocking her feelings. "Come on baby. It was just a little push. Get over it."

And then everything she had been holding back came to the surface with such power she felt like someone else was speaking through her. "Jay, it wasn’t a little push. It was a huge push. This time you pushed too far. It’s over. You’re not doing this to me anymore."

The fire ignited in his eyes and she knew she had to act fast.

"Just so you know, before you do anything, hear this." She turned to face him, her eyes narrowed. Her jaw firmly set. "This afternoon I gave the head attorney at the office a sealed envelope. I asked him to hold the envelope for me. I also instructed him to open the envelope in the event something should happen to me. If I am injured, or killed in any kind of accident, he will open the envelope. Inside the envelope is a sworn affidavit naming you as my killer and recounting everything you have ever done. The insurance fraud, the counterfeit checks, the drug deals…all of it. And everything you did to me. Every detail of every rotten deed you ever concocted is in that document. I am leaving you. Leaving you far behind. If you try to stop me, if you ever threaten me, or anyone in my family again, that document will be opened."

The weight of her words smacked him in the face and he stood looking at her, stunned. Attorneys. Affidavits. Where had all this come from? She couldn’t be serious. "Hey-"

"Don’t hey me. You think I’m joking?" she asked, standing up to face him, eye to eye. Inside she felt hot. The fire of rage burned deep within, filling her with an energy she had never felt before.

Jay let out a nervous laugh. "Baby, come on. Don’t get all serious on me."

Shaina took a step toward him, her heart pounding in her chest. Jay took a small step back. Her pounding heart vibrated in her ears and she prayed Jay couldn’t hear it, or sense her fear. She was scared, there was no doubt about that. But more than anything else, she was determined.

"You listen and you listen good. You don’t loveme, you never have. In your eyes I am not a person, I’m just another possession. You once had me convinced that no one would ever love me, but I know you are wrong. I deserve love. I deserved to be loved by a man who truly loves me. And you are not that man. I am leaving you. You and your lies, and your schemes, and the pain you have inflicted on me. But I swear to you now, if I so much as hear one whisper about you hurting my sisters or anyone in my family, you will regret it. If anything unusual ever happens to them…or me…you can kiss your twisted life goodbye. And if you think I’m joking, just try me."

She brushed past him, out of the office to their bedroom and started packing her things. She didn’t see Jay for several hours, but he appeared in the bedroom and begged her to stay. He tried and tried. But his words fell on empty ears. She no longer cared how he felt.

It was over.


Seven months later, she was seated on the deck of her father’s home in Oregon. The morning sun gently washed her pale skin with soft spring rays. She wrapped her fingers around her coffee cup, closed her eyes and thought back over the past few months. It had not been easy, but she made it. She got through the days without thinking about Jay; with each passing day she gained new strength, and put back another piece. With that thought she opened her eyes, stood up, and walked back to the table where she had been working.

It was symbolic, of her dreams, her hopes…her life. Once shattered into many pieces, with loving care the pieceshad been gathered, grouped, and given new life. Granted, the surface wasn’t smooth, but that was the point. The unevenness and staggered heights of all the pieces gave it more depth, she thought. Character. Unique character. With a tentative finger, she checked the grout. It was dry. She was finished. A smile spread over her face as she carefully picked up the blue sphere and slowly turned it in her hands. Her favorite ceramic bowl, shattered into many pieces, had been transformed. Once it had been half a sphere; and now it was whole. Rebuilt, repaired, renewed. Complete.

"Yes, I can go back," she said out loud. "And, I am home, again."

Well now isn't this interesting...

Tuesday I wrote an entry titled Rollin' On The River about the steam boat Queen of the West.  Today, the Lewiston Morning Tribune decided to feature another steam boat, Columbia Queen, on the front page.  And the headline reads The Queen's rollin' on the river again

Copy cats!

P. S. If you'd like to read the LMT article, leave a comment.  I'll see what I can do.  Without an account to the Tribune, you won't be able to read it.

4/22 - The article and photo are gone from the on-line edition, but I'll leave the link as is.  The photo today is...funny.  :)  Rhubarb wine?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Earth Day and Renewal

This journal is getting graphic intensive, and not everyone has high speed internet.  So I'm putting my Photo Shoot entries into my photo journal (imagine that). To see them, click.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Rollin' On The River

Styx  : Come Sail Away; The Styx Anthology  : 'Come Sail Away'  <----Click

This afternoon on my drive to meet my step-mom Rita for lunch, I was treated to a wonderful sight.  I have been waiting for weeks for this, and today I was rewarded.  Every Tuesday, the steam boat Queen of the West docks at the Port of Clarkston on her journey from Portland along the Columbia and  Snake Rivers. 

Steam boats play a significant role in Lewiston's history.  Before the railroads made it to Lewiston in 1898, it was the steam boats that delivered needed supplies and mail.  But the steam boats of those days were not always reliable, and rarely kept to a schedule.

As they say, you've come a long way, baby!

Is she not a beautiful sight?  I really wanted to get some up close shots, but the lack of a ticket prevented me from accessing the dock.  :( 

I had a few minutes to spare, so I jumped at the chance.  For weeks I've been wanting to get some photos of her, but I always forgot my camera.  Then the locks down river were closed for a couple of weeks...and so I waited.  But I was all smiles today.  Every time I see her it takes me back to my high school days, and I remember reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Seeing this boat now, well, she just has that affect on me.

I've actually entertained the idea of taking this cruise, even though I've already seen most of the scenery (not all of it, but most of it).  But one look at the cost put that thought right out of my head.  I thought the cruise to Alaska was spendy...oh no.  Compared to this cruise, it was a bargain, all things considered.

You know, when you see signs like these, it just makes you wonder.  Did sneaking livestock onboard become a problem?  Guess you just can't trust those skateboarding sheep.  And watch out for those horses and bicycles...they can be a dangerous combination (this I know, first hand).   ;)

Welcome to the wild, wild West!!!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Grrrrrrr X 2!

Yesterday, Kelly was experiencing technical difficulties with her internet service provider.  She was *slightly* frustrated.

All around J-Land this past week, difficulties of the technical kind abound. 

No one seemed to be immune, myself included.  My problem, however, wasn't AOL or internet related.  No.  It had to do with my scanner.  It wouldn't work.  At all.  Nothing. 


I tried restarting my computer.  Unplugging and replugging the USB cord...the power cord.  Nothing.

I tried uninstalling the software, and when the "there was an error so the program won't be uninstalled" message came up during the uninstall, I knew I was in trouble. 


WHAT?!?!  But -- WHATEVER!!!!!

I tried everything.  I even convinced myself I didn't need a scanner.  Yeah, right! 

So, I dragged myself to the local store and purchased a new scanner.  A very cool one.  It's an HP Scanjet 4070 Photosmart.

The 'retired' scanner is an Epson Perfection 1650 and is barely two years old.  Now, I've always purchased HP products.  I have an ink jet printer at home that is over seven years old and still going strong.  At work I have a laser jet that I can always depend on.  But, a couple of years ago when I decided to get a scanner, I'd heard very positive things about the Epson product line, so I ventured onto their path.  Never again.  Ever.  I'm sticking with HP.

Strange thing is, once I installed the HP scanner software, my WindowsXP operating system software is actually operating the way it should.  I noticed some time ago that Windows stopped doing certain things (won't bore you with the details, just trust me on this).  But now, it's been miraculously restored to the 'pre-Epson' way.

I find this very strange.

Get Literate!

John Scalzi's Assignment for his Monday Photo Shoot is up.  And it's one of my favorite topics, literacy.  I've gone with two photos this time. 

#1  Amy and Kari's hall closet.  They have moved out, and yet the remnants of their childhood within this home remain.  Oh, Amy is now a teacher; she teaches 1st and 2nd grade at a Catholic school in a local farming town.  Guess you could title this photo "Where future teacher's come from."

#2 Another childhood revisited.  That's me reading to my younger sister, Chris in 1967.

Literacy is a very important topic.  Between 1990 and 1992 I volunteered four hours a week, every week, at the Adult Basic Education literacy program.  Of all the volunteer work I have ever done, my time spent in the literacy program was the most rewarding.  My first student wanted to pass the GED (General Education Diploma) exam, and was struggling with the English component.  On her first exam she scored a 54 percent; needless to say she was disheartened and frustrated.  I was assigned to work with her and the first thing she wanted to cover was poetry.  She just didn't get it.  Today, I can't recall exactly what I told her or how I explained it, but after she seemed to understand.  I spent about an hour with her.  Two days later, she retook the English component, and passed...with a score of 79 percent!  :D  When the instructor passed the news on to me, I was thrilled, and knew I was in the right place at the right time!  Over the next two years I worked with many students, and only quit when Kari asked me if I would.  Back then, I had a full-time job, a part-time job, and the literacy program.  Over time, I tapered my activities back to just the full-time job so I could be available to Sam and the girls.

Why did I get involved in literacy in the first place?  Simple.  I was writing a book and a part of me felt that it wouldn't do any good to write a book if my target audience could not read.  And, maybe it was my way of putting something good out there.  I have always loved books and reading.  The thought that someone could be missing out on so much...well, to me it was just unacceptable.  I wanted to change that, so I did.   

Easy #2

After a bit of a delay due to technical difficulties, Kelly's got her question posted for her weekly "Easy" asking.  Her question is:

"What do you LOVE to have on your pizza?  AND do you get to order it that way, or do you have to compromise for whoever you usually share pizza with?"

I don't eat pizza as much as I once did, but on those occasions when I do I love it simple, with just sausage and black olives.  That's all.  And lots of cheese!!!  With the exception of the extra cheese, yes I always get half of it my way (is it a compromise if the whole pizza isn't the same?).  I always order one pizza, 1/2 with my fav, and 1/2 with Sam's (he likes the garbage type pizza...everything including green peppers which my stomach can not handle).  Problem is, Sam likes my combo too, so he'll eat from both sides, which leaves very little for me.  So, I have decided to switch to my other favorite, Hawaiian (canadian bacon & pineapple...yum).  Sam hates Hawaiian.  :D  Oh yeah, that's the ticket!!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Little Allie Mac

Looking back, at some time in my life I must have asked for a shadow.  A four legged shadow to follow me...everywhere.  Upstairs.  My craft room.  The living room.  The kitchen.  Outside.  Downstairs.  The family room.  And yes, even the bathroom.

I don't remember making this request. 

But she's mine.  All mine.  Heart and soul.

Allie came to me in a round about way.  Kari's former boyfriend had a lab mix female he bred to a registered lab male (yes, the guy was one of those, but I did say former boyfriend).  Kari brought Allie to us when she was six weeks old, with the hope we would adopt her.  We told Kari no.  At that time, Sam and I were not ready to bring another dog into our lives.  With hectic work schedules, we didn't think having another dog would be a good idea.  But we could not deny the feeling that Rumbeau was lonely all by himself during the week.   Then, Kari moved back home, and Allie came with her.  Many months later, when Kari moved out again, Allie stayed.  And she's been mine ever since.

Sam often comments how Allie is 'so in love with you.'  He's right.  It's written all over her face.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

When You Care Enough To...

Today it was a little bit of  this morning, with  this afternoon.

I love checking the mailbox each day.  Most of the time all I get is the same lot of usual suspects.  Junk, bills, catalogs.  But every now and thing, I get a nice surprise.  This week, I got two lovely surprises.  Cards.  A thinking of you card, and a thank you card.  Thinking of you from {{{{{{{Robin}}}}}}}.  Thank you from {{{{{{{Amy}}}}}}}.


Aww, Robin.  Thank you.  You are a special sweet heart.  What a pick me up.   And look, there's another butterfly!  They are everywhere!!! 

You rock, my friend.

It's little surprises like this that make my daily walk to the mail box so worth while.

And speaking of the blanket, I found the photo of Phoebe and my Mom.  Phoebe has a very special place in my heart, beyond the baby blanket.  Phoebe will always be my guardian angel.  She rescued me, my sister and my Mom from the hands of an wicked person.   It was Phoebe who got us out of a bad situation and put a roof over our heads.  It was Phoebe who stepped into action the minute she learned the woman we rented a room from was beating me and my sister while my mother worked.  Truly, a friend, and an angel.  My mother's friend, my special angel.

L-R: Phoebe, Mom, me, Lyn, Jim, Unknown male.


~~A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle.~~

Grains of Sand

My friend Marc has a wonderful perspective on life.  He sees every day things, and puts those things into words that I understand.  He has a gift.  At times I find myself wishing I could write as he does, to possess that ability to put things concisely into clarity.  I wish...and then I realize in that wishing I am ignoring my own talent, my own gift.  What I do, and the way I do it, is as it should be.  Because it is me.

Marc's made several entries this month that are significant, and uplifting.

The Escort begins like a children's story, but speaks the language of adults.

The Puzzle sorts through the many pieces of our lives, to reveal a simple reminder.

The Puzzle (Part II) brings it all together.

Take just a moment.  Pick just one.  I think you'll see what I mean.


~~It's the little things that matter most.  What good is a bathtub without a plug?~~

Friday, April 15, 2005

Spring in Bloom :)

Every April the Lewis-Clark valley celebrates spring with the annual Dogwood Festival.  Go anywhere in the valley and you will find Dogwoods in bloom at every turn.  There is one outside my office, and I snapped this first thing yesterday morning.

And, 'Ballade' is now open.  I just love this tulip, it is so delicate...and the color is perfect.  The fluted, champagne glass shape is not so apparent in the shot, but I think you get the idea.


But my favorite is Shirley, which is a late spring bloom, so it will be a bit before she appears. 

You know how sometimes you take a photo of something, then after you develop or download it, you see something you didn't see before.  When I took this pic, I didn't see the insect until I downloaded the photo.  It's kind of a daddy long-legs, twig looking thing.

The dead blurry yellow thing in the lower left foreground is another double daffodil, 'White Lion' I think.  It is an early daffodil and unfortunately it came up too soon, during the late frost.  Last year the same thing happened.  I have yet to see what this daffodil looks like because each year it freezes before the bulb gets a chance to bloom.

But, it serves as a reminder to me.  It reminds me not to rush things.  That everything happens in its own time and place.  It reminds me that pushing too much, too soon can sometimes destroy the flower before it is ready to bloom.

If the earth can speak in flowers, then I can listen.


~~This is the perfect season to be the salt of the earth.~~