Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Once in a while, as I'm plugging through life trying to get the necessaries done, I get to check off something on my "bucket list." For me, that list of things I want to do before I die includes a lot of big ticket items--travel to foreign lands, learning other languages, getting a doctorate, making a difference in the lives of the people I meet.

Once in a while, an experience comes along that's so simple, so pure, I never would have thought to put it on my list. But as soon as it happens, I know it was supposed to be there, to experience that moment and to feel just a little more alive.

4 minutes. Me, my violin student and a room full of strangers.

And Itzhak Perlman playing the Theme from Schindler's List. No microphones or amplifiers, just the pure, sweet notes of the master violist telling the story of his people through his art.

4 minutes well-spent.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snooze Button

It's time to plant the garden. There's nothing in the weather forecast that agrees with me, just an internal alarm clock that tells me I need to plant NOW!

My first clue should have been the garden center. My daughter, the nursery cat and I were about the only ones hanging out in the vegetable section. And the cat wasn't buying. A bored worker wandered by every few minutes, glanced at the group of plants I'd chosen and stated, "Nice selection!" with great enthusiasm.

12 tomatoes
3 green chilis
1 eggplant
1 dill
1 rosemary
and a set of walla walla sweet onion starts

All sitting in the garden waiting for the downpour to end so I can put them in the ground.

Methinks I need to get my internal clock tuned up.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Something From Nothing

After a major fiasco of a garage sale when we moved back to the states several years ago, I refused to ever hold a garage sale again. We had puzzle pieces and straight pins all over the lawn, people dickering over the 25-cent price tag on a lead crystal vase, and women pulling on items of clothing they wanted like they would in a Black Friday sale on a B movie.

No more garage sales.

The problem is, what do I do with all the stuff I'm taking out of my house. Most of it goes to the church garage sale where it will be converted into cash to purchase supplies to build houses in Mexico. I'll even go work at this sale--that doesn't bother me. It's having MY stuff aired in front of the world that I can't stand.

I took 3 boxes of books out today, crossed a couple of bridges and found the Powells warehouse. Picture a warehouse full of bookshelves, books on every shelf, with a busy little army of Northwesterners pushing cartloads of books up and down the aisles to be shelved. One of 6 warehouses that feeds the Powells physical and online stores, it was a bibliophile's delight.

Only the books in the warehouse are not for sale... at least not at that location. If you want to handle to books, you have to visit one of their stores.

I walked into the warehouse with 3 boxes of books and walked out with 1 box and a Powells card loaded with $98.

Mission accomplished. Anyone want to go to Powells?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I've finally come to grips with the fact that we are in this house to stay. So, instead of dreaming of how to increase our floor space, I'm decreasing our belongings...

Starting with books.

15 apple boxes full of books have made their way off the shelves so far... 5 for storage, 4 for the church garage sale, 3 for used book stores, and 3 boxes of homeschool books to sell to younger families.

I know I'll miss some of these books. I'll hunt for them and won't be able to find them. But then, I've been doing that already. It seems when there's a book I really need to lay my hands on, it's gone into permanent hiding. At least now I can blame my purge instead of my memory loss.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Henri Matisse is Dead

This probably doesn't come as a surprise to you since the French artist passed away in 1954. But for those of you who haven't met him, Henri Matisse (Henry, for short) was also the name of my youngest daughter's beta fish.

He lived a long and happy life... for a fish.

I'm not sure if it's a sign that we're raising the girl right or a sign that she is heartless, but the mourning period lasting about 22 seconds. Then the shovel came out and she picked the perfect spot to bury him, right beside the 2 frogs she had for about a day last summer. She didn't even flinch when she shoveled the dirt over that ever-open eyeball.

I don't think I could have done it. I'm sure someone else in the family always officiated over my hamsters' funerals while I sobbed into my handkerchief. I remember moping through a whole day of school (3rd grade) when Fluffy died. (And using his untimely death as an excuse for not participating in class activities.)

It's been almost an hour now.

She's campaigning for another pet.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pavlov and Turkey in the Straw

The ice cream truck just went by, singing Turkey in the Straw at the top of its electronic lungs. Kids from miles around hear the song and, instantly, their mouths start to water. Nothing could taste better on a barely warm spring day than a Sponge Bob Push-up, drastically overpriced at $2 a pop.

"It's the ice cream man," they shout, scrambling for their own money or begging their mothers for some. They flock to the street, waiting to satisfy the craving they didn't even know they had.

I keep a constant supply of fudge bars and twin pops in the freezer for just such an occasion. For the same price as indulging a momentary craving for a minute, I can fill the same craving in all my kids for a week or more.

I don't respond to Pavlov's call. Not when it sings "Turkey in the Straw" (which I find immensely annoying). I must admit, though, that the theme song for the NPR news quiz makes me want to take a walk. And I suspect they put the milk at Safeway right by the donut case for a reason.

How 'bout you? Do you have any pre-conditioned responses?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Where in the World?

A handful of you will know where I've been and perhaps the same number will know why.
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Butterfly Kisses

This butterfly must have recognized this as a child who loves flying creatures. Owls, bats, juncos- even starlings- all flying things deserve to be fed, admired, and studied. She caught a glimpse of a crow carrying nesting materials this afternoon and ran inside to write it down. The great blue heron, the chickadee and the bald eagle have earned their spots in her life list book. Everything but flies and bees are to admired and encouraged.

She deserves a butterfly kiss.

photo credit: Aunt Dana