Thursday, December 15, 2011

December on Puget Sound

Wonderful foggy photo ops today! No Polo, just me and my camera and a hundred birds... and bliss.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poor Dogga

Alas, poor Polo. I snapped this photo today on the way to our -- *my* -- favorite walking place. He is so afraid of cars, either inside or out.

Poor guy. Now he won't even face the front where Mom is sitting.

Usually, once we get out on the trail, Polo's tail comes up and he trots happily along. But before the trail, we have to walk out of the parking lot and across a street.

Poor Spud. There was traffic on the road today, but a very nice driver stopped to let us use the crosswalk. Polo wasn't thrilled about going in front of a car, and then I tried to jog across the street so the driver could go on his way.

Poor pup. Mom running in front of a car -- even one that's sitting still -- is NOT a good thing. Polo hunkered down, scared. I further deepened his anxieties by dragging him across the pavement.

Poor fella.

But we did stop in the meadow at the end of our walk, so Polo could sniff some bunny scents. That was good, anyway.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unfinished Story

My long-term Bible reading has brought me to the story of Jonah, the guy who ran from God's assignment and was swallowed by a big fish. You've heard this -- Jonah is trapped in the belly of the fish and realizes there is no running from God, so he apologizes and gets spit out to go and complete his mission. But then we get to chapter four, where Jonah sees the people of Ninevah repent and turn to God, and the city is saved.

          "Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." And          the Lord said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?" 

          Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And [Jonah] said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."          (Jonah 4:3-4, 9)

Okay, so how is it that God didn't send lightning bolts to zap Jonah dead on the spot? Jonah is totally impudent, whiny, selfish, and snit-faced. The notes in my study Bible title this chapter, "Jonah Learns". All I see is Jonah having a temper tantrum. And this is the end of the story -- we don't get to see what he did next. Did he relent and have a complete change of heart? Even if he did, was he ashamed about this for the rest of his life? Or did God fully restore and heal him? Was it a long process over many years, or did God take him to heaven quickly?

Maybe the best answer we get comes from Jonah's statement here --

          And he prayed to the Lord and said, "Please Lord, was this not what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity."          (Jonah 4:2)

Jonah knew God. He was really mixed up, but he knew God.

Someone dear to me is pretty mixed up, but I trust that he knows God, too. He recently set foot in a church for the first time in years, and told me his heart was pounding and his hands sweating.

"What, did you think God would strike you down for being there?"

He nodded.

My next response might not be theologically sound, but it was from the heart. "If I thought God was going to hit you with a lightning bolt for the stuff you've done, I would have disowned one of you by now."

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Son's Wedding! (a photographic essay)

I took a few bootleg photos during the official pre-wedding photography session. Would you like to see? Of COURSE you would!

Here are all the girls, doing a traditional wearing-heels-in-wet-grass bridal dance:
And here are the groom and his men (and the photographer) showing how it's done:
This is just my family, including the new bride AND the bride-to-be. Yes -- I'm getting two girls in less than a year, after 29 years of all men! Woo hoo!
And here's most all of the bride's and groom's families, including an adorable passel of nieces and nephews!
It was a beautiful day for a wedding -- and here's one full-sized photo to prove it:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They Came From the Earth

Things you see in the yard on a sunny autumn day...
This post brought to you courtesy of Polo, ball-chaser extraordinaire. Thanks, Spud, for giving me a reason to stand in the yard today!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Whale of a Nice Day

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

The first football game of the season is only a few hours away. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it's not too hot, and Polo just had a good run in the back yard. Except for my little virus, all is well. So, you ask, how's business at the library?

Work has been busy. Several years ago, August was such a quiet month that we did major projects -- such as checking in the entire collection of movies and music, replacing worn cases, making sure our records were up to date. Then, September would hit us hard with a sudden surge of library patrons. These days, the summer isn't that quiet, but I'm sure we'll still feel slammed once school gets going.

Although I have no trouble wasting time -- sometimes whole days -- at home, I hate not being busy at work. After all, I'm there to do something, not sit around. It's way more fun to be challenged and active there. When the phones aren't ringing and the patrons aren't needy, I get fidgety.

Come to think of it, Polo gets the same way. He can take long naps, but there comes a point in his day when he needs to do something. If no one is paying attention to him, the easiest thing is for him to pick up a shoe or sock, or look for something near the edge of a counter that he can reach. Then he holds it in his mouth and runs up and down the stairs, up and down, up and down, waiting for us to chase him and take it back.

This week, I've learned that Polo knows a new phrase: "Play ball!" When he hears these words, he is morethanready to pound some sod and chase flying spheres in the back yard.

Polo hates being bored at home. I hate being bored at work. Maybe I'll pack a tennis ball in my lunch bag tomorrow -- it's bound to be a slow day at the library.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two Weddings and... uh...

Presto change-o! Within a couple of months, two of my sons became engaged. As in, they're planning to be married! Woo hoo! Do you know what this means? All those stories I've heard about kids growing up -- those were definitely true. But all those stories I've heard about kids leaving the nest to build their own lives? It appears that those stories may be true, also! Amazing! This may be proof -- one of the boys acquired an apartment last week, and he has been living there for three days! It's empty, he's alone, but he's got a bed and utilities and maybe some food in the cupboards, and he's loving it.

Economic circumstances being what they are, this has been a difficult time for my guys to strike out in independence. The desire has been there for a long time, but the boys just couldn't afford to get their own places. A few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a hairdresser about this. We were making small talk -- do you have kids? how many? how old? When I admitted that all my sons still lived at home, she was totally supportive. In her cultural mindset, it's expected that the kids should stay home until they are really ready to be on their own. A solid career is a must, and a solid relationship is preferred, before there's any talk of leaving the parental home. On top of that, she saw it as a positive thing that my sons were willing to stay at home after high school. That's a marker of a decent family life, she said.

I was kind of taken aback. Not that I didn't agree, but I'd never heard these things spoken with such directness. She made me ponder my own expectations. In my family of origin, finances dictated that my brothers had to live at home through all four years of college. One moved across the country to attend graduate school, but the other stuck around a couple more years while he searched for a decent career. When I came of age, I took my cousin's advice and went away to college. After a year, I got married and never looked back. For me (and perhaps my brothers), it was most comfortable to move away to learn independence; distance gave me strength.

Anyway, back to the present. I'm thrilled, ecstatic, joyful, grateful, and happy that these two wonderful gals will be entering our family! I'm beginning to see myself in a new role, a new season of life. I'm not sure, but I think that becoming a mother-in-law means I'm grown up... as much as I'll ever be.

Oh, and the son who's not preparing to tie the knot? He says he's too smart to leave home for a while. He'll have three bedrooms to himself, and his mother in the basement.

P.S. The flower pictured above is from one of my future daughters-in-law. So nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Strides

Earlier this summer, I decided to "gentle" young Polo into accepting car rides as necessary means to a reward. I figured it would take many, many days, but would be worthwhile. Then I got a migraine and gave up on the whole long process.

A few days ago, I decided that I really want to get out walking again, on the trail where dogs are leashed. I love being out among the native plants and getting good exercise. But this means Polo must ride in the car.

It continues to embarrass me that I have to stoop to lift and drag and push a 70 pound furry baby into the back seat of my car. It would be different if he were old and lame, but he's clearly young and sprightly.

We've walked three times in five days, and I'm currently working on teaching him the word "walk" as a fun concept. Once we hit the trail, his ears relax, his nose goes into overdrive, and his tail curls up high with pride. He loves walks!

Too bad he hates car rides.

On one of these walks, for the very first time ever, Polo marked a spot along the trail. That must be a good thing, right? And he's learned where to watch for the feral brown bunnies that play freeze tag in the field. I think we're making progress.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spotted at the Aquarium

Not only did I have a great time with my family, but I got to play with my camera. Woot!

Some subjects are not prone to smiling for the camera...

There was much to see OUT of the water...

A tall ship from the Russian Navy visiting the port...

Architectural splashes always catch my eye...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Great Minds... [or, Spending Time with my Brother]

Summer has finally come to the Pacific Northwest, and so also have arrived my brother and sister-in-law. Time for drives and sharing meals and visiting places. Sometimes we visit interesting places, other times not so much. But it's good to be with family.

Here's a representative illustration of our mutual... um... mutuality. (A big thank you to my very-good-sport sister-in-law for handling the camera for this opportunity!) We thought this made a meaningful photograph. The sign reads:


I'm being safe, sitting there on the roadside of wood fence, on a bench.

If you see us around town, you would also do well to remain on the roadside of wood fence. The free-ranging sense of humor we share isn't very safe. You should've heard us at supper tonight. Really, though, if the restaurant didn't expect people to snort and guffaw at the name of that beverage, they should not have put it on the menu. Talking about free-range moose only made it funnier. Maybe you had to be there, but it was quite an exchange.

Just so you know. Be safe. Stay on the roadside of wood fence.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Front Deck Friends

Just playing around with my camera. I talked a few of my young friends into posing for me...

Ahhh... Just the therapy I needed after shopping online for a new garage door. Pretty flowers are nice, happy friends. Oh -- why, you ask, are these my "front deck" friends? Because Polo owns the back yard. Every cubic inch of dirt, it's all his. And he knows it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


At least it's still July as I post these pics... Thanks to the Tacoma Rainiers for a great show in a beautiful newly-remodeled stadium!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I've Been Lookin' on the Railroad

On a whim, I made a stop for a train that's stopped. This is one of the few remaining rotary snow plow engines made famous (to me, at least) in the book White Cascade, by Gary Krist.

It was cool to see this machine up close. Too bad there wasn't even a skiff of snow on the ground -- maybe I'll have to return in a colder season. The sky made an interesting backdrop. Someday, our skies might be blue, but for now they're just interesting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Let's Get Medical

All right, I've had enough. The pain in my foot isn't severe, and it's not as serious as my very first flare-up, but I'm tired of ending the day with a sore heel. I'm tired of having to always sit with my legs crossed because it's too uncomfortable to put weight on my tender heel. I'm tired of thinking about plantar fasciitis.

This week, I'm going to my podiatrist to see about getting a cortisone injection. Take THAT, plantar fascia!

I don't mind wearing sensible shoes. It doesn't matter that my orthotics have to fit inside of them. The foot brace I wear to bed every night isn't any bother. But I've had enough of this nagging pain that should be curable.

Now, if I live through the injection, I should feel better soon. After that, the next thing will be to get Polo more accustomed to riding in the car to our walk sites.



I had the injection about four hours ago. My doctor was amazingly smooth about the procedure -- although I kind of wanted to see the needle and maybe watch it go in, he made sure I couldn't even get a glimpse of anything. It hurt, but my foot hurts some days anyway. I was glad when he said he was done! For now, it's ice alternating with heat, and comedy TV. I've got a good stack of books, but don't have much concentratability right now.

Aren't you glad you asked?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Behind the Curtain...

Oh, the dangers of channel surfing. Last night, I came across a documentary on PBS... okay, not my usual genre... but it was so much MORE than a documentary.

One of my favorite TV programs is the Red Green Show. It reminds me of things my dad and his older brother might have done, if there had been duct tape in the 1920's. (Happy birthday, Dad. I miss you.) Red Green is this middle-aged dude who loves his wife but cannot be trusted to be safe out of her sight. Since she never appears on the show, he's pretty much always making trouble or blowing up an engine or scheming about a Possum Lodge activity.

But I digress. Red has a dorky, inept nephew named Harold. (Harold Green is on your far left in the above photo.) Of course, Harold isn't quite as dumb as Red thinks, and he often rescues Red from the best [worst] of his plans gone haywire. Patrick McKenna is Harold, and Harold is Patrick McKenna. Period. Or so I thought.

This documentary had me on the edge of my seat for 90 minutes. Why? Because it's hosted by none other than Patrick McKenna, as himself! It's amazing -- like when a clown removes his makeup and speaks in a normal voice! Like when the wizard comes out from behind the Oz curtain! Like when Mrs. Doubtfire turns into Daniel Hillard!

So, if you've ever watched the Red Green Show, or if you know anyone who might have ADD, catch the next showing of ADD And Loving It?! on PBS. It's humorous and informative, and Patrick McKenna has a really cool wife who loves him a lot. Go figure!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Photos from the Beach

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a marvelous weekend with 129 of my friends at a women's retreat on the Sound. Here are a few mementos of that experience.

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A Guilty Pleasure?

I seldom stick my neck out to offer critical comments or reviews, but having watched a Deadliest Catch marathon last night I've got something in my craw. Following is a note I sent to a friend to dispute her assessments of some of the recent developments on the show. I write this, knowing that I have no basis from which to judge these men... but because I enjoy the show so much, I'll admit to being a pretty rabid fan. Disclaimer done.

Dear J:

Now that I'm up to date on the Catch, I have to argue with you about the Cornelia Marie captain. I don't think Derrick is a bad guy at all. He was put into a really tough situation, replacing not only an owner/captain but the father of two crewmen. And then there was "little Jake's" abrupt departure and refusal to take a drug test. Denial, denial, denial. There's a saying -- How do you know an addict is lying? His lips are moving. The Cornelia Marie had a terrible season of fishing, but so did a couple of other boats! The CM crew couldn't have known how badly some of the others were doing, but those crab counts at the bottom of the list were abysmal. On the other hand, he came right out and said to Josh and Jake that their dad had done them a disservice by not teaching them more before he died. Ooooo... low blow! Sure, Phil could have taught them more, let them run the boat, but he was busy earning a living, and he was teaching them. No one expected him to pass away so suddenly. The whole owner-but-crewman thing makes everything so complicated. In one way, it seems like it might be better for Josh & Jake to move to other boats to get fully trained, and then return to their boat as co-captains. But financially, that isn't workable. If you own a boat, you need to be there to oversee your investment.

Another point of interest for me was watching Wizard captain Keith "interacting" with his crew. I know, you're not crazy about Keith, but I like him. What got me was, after he had chewed them out and then had a long silent treatment from his brother Monty, Monty comes up and totally makes Keith lose it with laughter. ("Can we go in and get a candy bar?" I'm not sure what the joke was, but Keith was laughing so hard he couldn't finish a sentence.) Although they can fight like the best of them (i.e., Sig and Edgar), Keith and Monty have a really solid, loving relationship. That warms my heart!

So, there you go. Let 'er rip and tell me what you think!

Oh, and have a nice day... :-p

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's Back There?

I'm always curious about how things work behind the scenes. The first few years doing football stats for a 4A varsity team, I spent every pregame time agog at the field-level view of preparations. The few stage productions I've been involved in were fascinating literal behind-the-scenes experiences. I love singing in the church choir and looking out at the congregation, watching their responses to the service. And, like everyone, I sometimes wonder what "they" think of me or "us". Don't you?

This morning, I picked up The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University, by Kevin Roose. This young journalism student from a famed secular university wonders what like is like at, of all places, Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. What better way to learn about it than to go under cover and enroll as a student? I'm only a few chapters in, but it's a compelling read and I have to find out what happens. For once, I'm not going to skim and skip ahead in the story.

Because Kevin is not an evangelical Christian, will he be able to pull of an imitation of one? Can he keep his language acceptably clean, and will he be able to adopt the right amount of Christian-sounding jargon to fit in with the other students? Do I listen to what other people say, or am I too wrapped up in judging how they say it?

Are the "real" Christian students really, uh, real? Are they genuine folks, or are they cardboard cut-out facades with no depth of character? How long will it take Kevin to spot a fake? How do people view me -- shallow and conniving, or solid to the core?

If someone discovers Kevin's identity as an impostor, what will their reaction be? Will they ostracize him, out him, or will they pity him? How do I judge people, and how does that change how I act toward them?

One of my strengths as a codependent is a drive to be likable. I shrink away from anything that someone could find distasteful in me. Ugh. Let me rephrase that. My greatest weakness is that drive to be likable! It's tricky to balance those things that should be staunch convictions while also needing to be accepting and understanding. Most people do what they do, not to be bad but because they feel a good reason to do it. Some of those actions are bad, a few horrific, but many just happen without a lot of rationalization. I'm out of my depth in theological terms here, but I hold that mankind is predisposed to be selfish, and therefore makes selfish (and sinful) choices. It should go without saying that I'm in that boat with everyone else. It would be silly for me to deny this.

Am I real? I hope so. At least, I'm trying to be.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another Post by Polo

Hello. I am Polo, here to rite again. I know much more things now than when I first rite here. I been practicing. Still trying to understand "smellcheck" but Mom says it will make my words better for your reading. Silly 'puter -- I know it can't smell. Anyway.

I have been working on many many things in family and house. I very, very good at getting treats out of Kong Toy. Mom and Dad laff and laff, for five minutes. Then I win and eat good treats.

When Mom makes food in Kitchen, I pay close attention. I wanna learn how to make food. I like food very much. Mom doesn't let me see what she does up high, but I watch everything I can and remember all. One day soon, I make food. If I make enough, might even let Family have some.

I have a crate in Kitchen. I don't have to use it except when it's raining outside. Mom goes to work a lot. I wait. Crate is okay place now. I even go in without Mom leading me. I can sleep there and then Mom comes home and makes food. Yum! Soon, very soon, I do that too. Mom will be suprised. Anyway.

ManBoys aren't scary as I thought at first. But I still must bark at one who looks like Jesus picture. He's quiet and worrysome. I bark, he pets. I bark, he pets. It's okay, but I bark and then he pets. Other ManBoys are nice, except when I take their shoe toys to chew. Yum!

When I first come here, I did not know Stairs. It was hard and slow to climb bumpy leg-tangling hill from Bedroom every morning. Now, I can do Stairs much better, hardly ever trip. And, of course, Stairs help me play with Kong Toy and ball. I drop toys down, Stairs make them go fast, I chase and catch. Fun stairs.

Mom still makes me go in awful Car. Yuck. But walks are good. Here's a picture she took. We're both smiling -- Mom thinks I'm cute; I see Bird behind Mom and want to chase. Anyway. We're happy.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Love a Parade!!!

When I was a kid, The Parade* was a big deal. I was fortunate enough to be able to play in a school band starting in the fifth grade, and it was tough for me to choose between learning the very melodious french horn or playing the drums so I could make other hearts pound with my cadence. I chose percussion, although I later spent a summer trying to learn the horn. (One upperclassman had said I'd get beaten up if I showed up to play drums in the high school band.)


These assorted photos are a little memento of three hours spent standing on the sidewalk with a good friend. Since I like to keep my blog semi-anonymous, the images are jumbled and blurred and tiny. However, in honor of my trombone-playing brothers and *that* high school, I included a photo of the back of their mascot's head in this collage. The rest of the photos are either percussion-related or some other special interest.



There's a little more to the story. My friend had to listen to my rants about how they've changed the parade route (no more waiting for the train crossing), no shoes could be worse for your feet than discount-chain deck shoes, no uniform could be uglier than my band's, and no drums these days are as heavy and ungainly as those I carried. And it was uphill both ways, in the snow, in 90-degree weather, with lots of reminders that there were mounted units ahead of us. That's how it was, back in the day.

*Actually, there are four parades in this neck of the woods. All on the same day, all celebrating the gloriousness of daffodils and the joys of a capitalist economy.

And now for a P.S.
The photo collage that looked so good on my screen was apparently too good to load, so it had to be replaced with a few individual shots. Those shots were hand-pasted into the text, taking much time and effort because they kept covering bits of said text. Argh! Since I'm doing this postscript, I'd like to add that my favorite band uniforms are shown in the last drum line photo. The school's mascot is a logger, and the band gets to wear tan Carhartts, work shirts, and orange suspenders! Too cool for words!