My friend Trudie recently posted about hydro-power and it got me thinking about what has happened locally [and in my own experience] in regards to choices of green/clean power.

I live in a state that has long relied upon hydro-electric power. Grand Coulee Dam is Exhibit A, but there are quite a few dams on our big rivers here in the Pacific Northwest. Powering our cities with water seems like an easy choice, but there was sacrifice involved. The rivers are forever changed. Salmon can no longer follow their natural pathway “home” to spawn. People are displaced as well because the landscape itself changes when lakes are created and water is diverted to irrigate land — hundreds of thousands of acres of land.  I grew up thinking that dammed rivers are normal; the Native Americans who were forced to give up ancestral lands likely do not have the same viewpoint.

When I was younger, there was a big battle over adopting nuclear power. Folks wanted to remain with the status quo but a few years of drought and long lines at gas stations in the 1970’s forced people to think differently. In the end, 5 power plants  were planned in various places around Washington State. The project had many faults and detractors, but I suspect that the Three Mile Island accident (partial melt-down) in 1979 was the tolling of the bell regarding nuclear power for the masses in the PacNW. With the general public no longer willing to see nuclear power as the best choice, WPPSS (an acronym pronounced “whoops!” — not a good sign to begin with) eventually put an end to “clean power” progress at the Satsop plant and three others in Washington State; the projects were abandoned with only one facility completed, at Hanford.

Windmills along the Washington coastline

These days, when I drive across Washington State, I see an abundance of wind farms.

Those who formerly lived in peaceful silence now hear the sound of air being sliced by humongous blades: whoop, whoop, whoop.

The landscape, which was once speckled with barns and houses and gently criss-crossed with roads, now is dotted with giant towers each sporting three huge blades.

click on pic to embiggen

Places that depended upon feeling remote or wild have lost that feeling. The local economy at large does not benefit; the power companies bring in their own workers instead of hiring local. True, the land owners have been paid for the use of their land (without monetary compensation, they surely would not have agreed to it) but the small town cafes remain devoid of the hoped-for extra business.

For size comparison, click to enlarge the picture and notice the line of traditional power lines on the hillside just above the trees and rooftops.

In the give-and-take of life, there will always be advances and losses. Sometimes, even the better choice isn’t a happy compromise.

Thankful Thursday: Percocet, Pajamas, and Pretty flowers

Thank you for your good wishes for recovery. I’ll be in a boot for the next 6 weeks. The recovery will be a long haul  — I  nearly passed out at the bathroom sink this morning — but the surgery itself went well and the pain meds seem to be working.

Maybe I should rephrase that… the pain meds are working when I take them on schedule. It keeps things at a dull ache with just twinges of pain. When the Percocet start to wear off, my foot stings, hurts and itches. And I can’t even feel where the fascia was “lengthened” yet — I’m only feeling things around my [former] hammer toe. It’s going to be a lovely six weeks. *sigh* I will need things to take my mind off this constant companion.

One of those distractions are my new lounge pants — really just super-soft pajama pants, I picked them up at Costco a few weeks ago, immediately following the podiatry appointment when I was given my surgery date. [Is calling it a date for surgery supposed to make it sound better?] The doctor had specified in his instructions the need for pants that were loose and comfortable. That’s almost like giving me a prescription for new lounge pants, right? And Costco had just the thing, so I bought two: one pair is white and light blue — a fluffy cloud design — and the other pair, which I wore out in public (or as Ron White says, in pub-lic!) is a black/gray/white tartan with tiny pink stripes. Did I mention they are super-soft? So comfortable!  No wonder they are called lounge pants! I’m wishing I could wear them All The Time, but once my 3 days Rx of constantly elevating my leg is done, I might have to put on real [yoga] pants again… at least to go to church and volunteer at SM’s school on Monday morning. (And not just because they are a couple of inches too short on me.) In other words, I probably shouldn’t wear lounge pants when I’m not actually lounging around. 

These beautiful flowers are from my BFF. ♥  Aren’t they gorgeous!?!  The hydrangea is bluer than it shows up to be in this picture, and the vase is a really pretty cobalt blue. Yes, my BFF knows my favorite color.  🙂  And the lilies smell fabulous! 
She also sent me flowers when my oldest son flew the nest to go to college 3,000 miles away from home. And that wasn’t the only times she has blessed me in this way!  Sending someone flowers isn’t the sort of thing I think of doing, so it is extra-special when she does this for me.



Making is different. It is special, meaningful and long-lasting in a world full of disposable items. It stretches us to do things we never thought we could do, enables us to enjoy child-like pride over something we have created, connects us to people in our community and around the world and perhaps most importantly, creates cherished moments and memories that are sure to out-live us.

-Josh Scott, one of the Founders of

Me, peeking over the quilt top

I’m so very pleased with how this turned out! Can hardly wait to see it all completed and put together in another week or two…

Are you Making anything for Christmas gifts this year?

Time Warp Tuesday: the old barn

We spent Thanksgiving with my husband’s parents and extended family. While there, my MIL pulled out a photograph and shared it with several of us:

Family photo at the farm, circa 1940

The little girl is my mother-in-law. Her father and mother (my husband’s grandparents) appear to be petting the farm dogs, while my MIL’s older brother stands tall with cattle behind him.

The farm is still there and operating today. Slim farmed there until his health declined, although he outlasted his son (the young boy in the photo above) who farmed alongside him and sadly died before him. That boy grew up to have children of his own, one of whom farms the property now. Another of my husband’s cousins runs the old farmhouse as a B&B.

We went there after The Lovebirds‘ wedding in August. It was so fun to share this place with my uncle, sister, and my brothers’ families.

My brothers’ wives and me, with the barn in the background

Keeping house

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Trying to blog while SuperDad is critiquing the Celtic Woman Christmas Celebration special on PBS is not the smartest or easiest thing to do.

It’s distracting. He keeps wanting me to agree with him. And mostly, I do — the women seem overly made up, the music has been [so far] American Christmas songs which do not lend themselves to showcasing the voices of the Celtic and bright pastel gowns remind me of candy-covered almonds, Why not reds and greens? And where are the elf hats?

Two sides of the table runner

Today was a busy sewing day. I’ve now got both sides of the runner completed and am ready to sew them together. This is the pattern I am following. It’s one of several created by my friend Lexi.

Freshly pressed batik fabric for the back of a quilt

While I was piecing and pressing this afternoon, SuperDad was outside putting up our lights in the sunshine (I think it might have gotten up to 40 degrees (4 C). He says he used all the LED holiday lights in our possession (we added to our stash this year thanks to a few yard sale deals).  I love the colors, but I might be begging for some additional strands… maybe some red lights in the Japanese Maple…

Do you put up outdoor lights (or inside lights in a window) this time of year?

Looking ahead

Realizing it is now November 25th… and freaking out a little bit…

  • As a procrastinator, I’m feeling the stress of Christmas gift projects (read that as things only I can do/complete) not yet finished.
  • My foot surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning. I’ll be mobile afterward but very much slowed down.

So I’m going to take a deep breath and just focus on today, one day at a time. God knows what I need, and I’ve discovered that He is full of surprises — like this heart I saw in the kids’ ice cream bucket last summer:

It’s chocolate, of course. After all, God knows my heart well.

Thanksgiving by the numbers

potluck Thanksgiving dinner for 20 people

It’s the day after the day after Thanksgiving,

and I am finally home again in my own cozy nest. Okay, not so cozy (we keep the heat set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime) but it still feels good to be home again!

A few tidbits about our time with my dh’s parents and extended family:

  • SIX households bringing together a meal for 20 people, with buffet lines in the kitchen and dining room
  • FIVE = the number of minutes it took to decide to stay a second night
  • FOUR minivans parked in front of the house
  • THREE:
    3 long folding tables (the Costco variety) set up and decorated in the family room, which was remodeled years ago for just this purpose
    3 great-granddaughters
    3 visiting dogs
  • TWO of each of the following:
    bathrooms, Television sets, varieties of ball games on those TVs (basketball and football)
  • ONE annual football game between college rival teams… which none of us saw to completion.

Time spent with this extended family is all about FAMILY. We do things together. We go on “safari” outside with the youngest members and play card games at night when the little ones are in bed. We trip over one another in the kitchen with food preparation and clean-up. We share the morning paper and laptops and iPads.

On Friday afternoon, the menfolk (including teenage boys) piled into a van and headed out for a brainiac adventure — something to do with physics and outer space which was totally over my head so I won’t even attempt to explain it. (Yes, they did try to explain it to me…)  In their absence, I grabbed an empty recliner to watch the 2nd half of the Apple Cup game, only to be cajoled into joining the other 4 remaining women on a late-day shopping trip.

In other words, I failed the objective exercise in staying home on Black Friday. It happened around 3pm, while I was online, looking at beautiful beads on my computer screen (while my team was failing miserably on the TV screen) and considering which shades of blue I liked best. I managed to resist until the words “Hobby Lobby” were dangled in front of me like a craft-infused carrot in front of a starving rabbit.  What can I say? These women know me. I grabbed my shoes and purse faster than you can say, “What the heck — the Cougars are losing badly anyway!” and buckled myself into the backseat of my SIL’s minivan.
In this extended family, going shopping is a community activity. The women all go together. It would have been rude to refuse and stay home.  So while I did fail in my resolve to stay out of the stores on Black Friday (I was only “window shopping” online… truly!!) perhaps… perhaps… if the goal of the day after Thanksgiving is to spend time with ones family, I still managed to be true to the spirit of the non-holiday.

I’m curious…

If you celebrate American Thanksgiving, what were you doing Thursday and Friday?
What about “Black Friday” — did you go out and shop?

**And wha’d’ya know, the Cougs came from behind and beat the Huskies in overtime! Maybe I should skip their games more often.

The Day After Thanksgiving

I won’t be hitting the stores today.

Instead, I will be doing some of the things recommended by Shawn Vestal in this article:  sleeping, playing games, reading books, consuming leftovers, and generally enjoying time with extended family. Sports will be tuned in on the TV. We’ll be passing sections of the newspaper back and forth, smiling at the antics of my adorable grand-nieces, and challenging one another in ruthless games of cards.

Shopping can wait. Small Business Saturday is coming!


In recognition of the laid-back atmosphere, I’ve written my plans out here in advance and this post will be automatically published in the wee hours of Friday morning. I”ll be sleeping in, but this blog post will have to get up with the early-risers and urgent shoppers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother’s house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through (the) white and drifted snow!

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast, my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Song lyrics found here