My Town Monday: March

It rains. And it rains. Soon, the weatherman tells us, the snow will be gone from our yards and gardens, slowly whittled away by pelting water that falls steadily from the bleak skies.

Spokane River in March, rain and melt

The river roils with energy, its power unleashed and clearly visible.

March River, strength and energy

The water pushes its way through town, tumbling toward the lower (but truly higher) falls where it hurtles over the edge and drops to a wider and more peaceful valley flow.

From above the falls, Spokane River

This is not the highest it has been in the past five years; there have been times when to stand on the suspension bridge meant getting soaked from the spray. However, more rain is expected over the next two days, with temperatures that will encourage continued snowmelt.

 

Downtown was quiet this afternoon compared to the noise of Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. We avoided the crowds and noise then (sorry, no parade pictures due to our 5th year of not going) but today SuperDad and I had a late lunch/early supper of corned beef sandwiches at the Irish pub. The taste was so rich and flavorful that I had to close my eyes and focus on each bite. As I write this, four hours have passed and I’m still smiling — this is what good food can do to a person.

The view across the street from the restaurant, however, is different story.

farewell to the old carrosel building

I’m not smiling over this scene, despite it being positive progress; this structure that was erected for Expo ’74 — and has housed the 1909 Looff Carrousel since 1975 — is being dismantled, torn down after 42 years. The carrousel itself, with its band organ and wonderful painted horses and other animals, is safely in storage (and/or being restored) during the time needed to take down the old building and put up a new one. The park feels achingly empty without the carrousel. I’ll have to wait another year to have that space filled once again.

MTM: Exhibit at the Brewery

1475880014812You could call it “stepping out in fear and trepidation” or you could call it “making the leap”  — or any of a number of other phrases — but last fall I committed to being the artist of the month at my favorite local brewery.

After much thought and procrastination, I chose the photos that I wanted to display and then had them printed and matted. A few were from (or will be on) the walls of my own home.  All of them are for sale.

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This picture of trees in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon (above) normally hangs on my living room wall. It was the only one that I had already shelled out money for — the rest of them (twenty-nine 8×10 prints, plus some larger pieces on canvas or metal) were paid for over the past two months in the hopes of recouping at least some of the cost in sales.

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These photos of my artwork were taken prior to adding labels with the title and price of each piece.

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For the 8×10 photographs, I had them printed at a local shop on metallic paper and then a local gallery matted them and added hanging hardware on the back.  I’m really thrilled with the results!

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I spent 4 hours hanging out at the brewery on Friday evening. Two friends from Canada drove down to surprise me, and my good friend ~A~ stopped by for an hour after work.

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I’ll be popping in to visit off and on all month. While I hope to sell at least a few pieces, it’s exciting to just see my photographs hanging in a public space.

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Your turn:  What’s something you’ve done lately to step out of your comfort zone?

 

 

A visit from Little Foot

It is still winter here where the snow falls like powdered sugar.

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Little Foot arrived at our house on Saturday evening. His mama and daddy both caught the stomach bug he’d just gotten over, and Oma and Opa were happy to have him here so his parents could rest.

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The resident uncles pretend it’s not a big deal to have Little Foot here for a visit but given the opportunity, they are happy to interact with their nephew.

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It’s hard to focus the lens on a moving toddler!

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This boy is amazingly mellow. This is the first time he has spent extended hours in our house without his parents here with him. He has asked, “Mama, where you? Dada?” a few times. However, most of the time he is content to play. Opa’s meatloaf, Oma’s pumpkin pie, bananas and peanut butter toast have been the favorite foods for the past day, along with muffins and breakfast breads at church on Sunday morning. Green beans were decidedly “meh.”

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Oma, why is there only a tiny bit of sparkles on this toenail? 

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I’ve been taking advantage of his nap times to get some rest myself, even if it’s just reading a book. And really, who could resist just watching him sleep?

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This nap, however, is coming to an end. Time to get back down on the floor and play!

We’ll be heading home to his mama and daddy this afternoon. They are feeling better and I have work tomorrow.

 

 

MTM: Soggy

Rain has been a near-constant companion for the past week, helping to thaw two months worth of icy, dirty accumulations of snow.

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It’s not pretty — and not just because it is a cheap cell phone picture.

All that rain is also raising the level of the river, which has been running three times above normal at 16,000 ft. per second. I’d share a picture but this weather has also affected my ankle; the hardware (or maybe it’s arthritis?) does not let me get out-and-about easily when it is damp and cold.

We’re down to 8 inches of soggy snow in the front yard, although it’s much higher wherever the shovelfuls landed or the snowblower blew it. The dirty snow at the edges of the street is ugly, but it’s nowhere near the danger level of the many potholes that have become evident now that the streets are no longer covered with several inches of compact snow and ice. Commuting to and from my exercise class (and yes, I know that is a silly thing: driving in order to workout elsewhere) I’m one of many drivers zig-zagging in and out of the lanes to avoid becoming a pothole victim.

Days like this are good reminders to “unplug” so I went to the public library after church and returned home with a stack of books.

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The two items on top are DVDs about Ellis Island: one is an overview from the History Channel and the other is a PBS documentary about the hospital on Ellis Island. Three out of the five books are stories of immigrants. I may be unplugging for a bit, but I am not ignoring what is happening all around us.

MTM: Local Events

SuperDad trains all year for his favorite event, the Langlauf 10km Nordic skiing race on Mt. Spokane. In 2016 he took 3rd place in his age group, which only encouraged him to train harder. The extra training he did (some in thanks to Pokémon GO) paid off in yesterday’s race. Congratulations to the first place winner for his age group!

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This, of course, begs the question: will 2018 bring him more cowbell?

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too cool for sitting around the fire

Winter, however, is far from over. I snapped these two pictures prior to leaving for work on Thursday morning. The school district had to cancel classes and after school activities due to weather. The main roads were okay but we had received a fresh load of snow followed by a layer of ice and freezing rain.  It was the first day that The Scout felt up to going to class all week; he learned his lesson about checking his phone for messages after he got the the empty school parking lot.

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This is the kind of ICE we like best.

After church yesterday, I headed over to one of the university campuses here in town for a #RallyWithRefugees. The large room was filled to capacity and overflowed to other places where people could watch on screens, thanks to use of Facebook Live. The event had been pulled together with 3 different groups sponsoring it — Whitworth University, Gonzaga University, and the World Relief office — after the immigration fiasco at our nation’s airports. Those who attended were given the big picture of what is happening, the intimate look at what refugees go through to resettle here (the personal stories were eye-opening and inspiring), some details on how local officials are dealing with it here in Spokane, the legalities facing everyone (but especially refugees), and concrete suggestions on how we can help others. The event was worth every minute I spent there.

We had just finished hearing the story of one young woman’s quest for education when a city councilman got up to speak. He was showing his emotions not only because of the personal stories that were being shared but also because he’d just gotten word that ICE was currently doing sweeps downtown and that other city council members were hurrying to the main bus station and train station to question them. Having leadership in our city and state that support humane treatment of others is priceless.

The tactics used by the administration of POTUS45 are fear-based and education-deficient. So let’s combat those two issues (fear and a lack of education) with some information from the World Relief office:

“Under both international and U.S. law, a refugee is an individual who has fled his or her country of origin because of a credible fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, political opinion, national origin, or social group. This definition of a refugee does not include those who flee their homes but stay within the boundaries of their country (“Internally Displaced Persons”) nor does it include those who flee a situation of poverty, national disaster, or violence, unless the violence was specifically motivated by their race, religion, political opinion, or one of the other grounds under the legal definition.  The U.S. government admits individuals for resettlement within the United States only after a thorough individual screening abroad to ensure both that they meet the legal definition of a refugee and that they in no way pose a national security or health threat to the United States.”

The current screening process for all refugees involves many layers of security checks before entry into the country. In addition, only the most vulnerable are referred by the U.N. for refugee resettlement (less than 1 percent of refugees worldwide). For more, read this New York Times article.  It’s not a rapid scenario — vetting a refugee takes approximately 2 years with multiple background checks, interviews, and approval processes. Syrians go through additional layers of checks. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps. They don’t have a home to which they can return.

As a person of faith, being concerned with how my country and fellow citizens treat others is not just a matter of personal opinion; the Bible is full of scriptures relating to how I am to respond to refugees and other migrating people, regardless of whether you read the New Testament or the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures. Even for those who do not profess faith, the Golden Rule makes is clear how we ought to respond to the crisis of refugees.

 

Waiting for Warm-up

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When you choose to not drive…

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and leave your car at the side of the road,

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the snowplow will eventually come by…

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to ensure that you go nowhere.

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Joining in with Carmi for this week’s Thematic Photographic: messy.
The driving around here is particularly messy now that we’ve started to thaw during the day and ice back up at night.

Icy Feathered Hope

We’ve been in a deep freeze. Weather changes are coming, I can feel it in my hardware.
The Resident Teen also suffers, but there is no rhyme or known reason for when his setbacks occur.   dscn1517-cropped-macro-4x6

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.
by Emily Dickinson
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MTM: It just keeps snowing

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Off in my trusty minivan (nearly 127,000 miles on it) to take our teenager to a doctor appointment.  Good thing I like this white stuff!

What’s another 6 inches of snow to such a reliable vehicle?

A: Hopefully nothing at all!

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Check out more Out the Window shots with Carmi and friends this week.

My Town Monday: Historic Reflections

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On  Thursday evening, my friend ~A~ invited me to join her at a small concert in a privately owned historic home. We met there after work, shedding warm coats and settling into a row of dining room chairs to enjoy the dulcet sounds of oboe and piano and a soprano.

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This was my view straight ahead, with the large reddish-orange star hanging from the eaves on the front porch and the lights from indoors reflected in the window.

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The home was built in 1909 and has been beautifully preserved. The current owners pointed out the recurring theme of the Maltese crosses, the original lighting fixtures and told us that the beautiful woodwork had never been painted over (unlike some fixer-upper historic era homes).

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It was such a lovely evening that I did not notice that my ankle was badly swollen until I was leaving to go home. I’d brought my cane with me to help me manage the many stairs from street level to the house, and it was definitely needed for the trek back down to the car.

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At home I attempted to massage out the swelling while sharing with my husband how beautifully perfect the evening had been; a few hours later, I was using his foam roller to release tension in my calves and feet — an the effort to achieve sleep. In the morning I headed off to my regular water exercise class but once that was over, I was done for the day. A full day of work plus the evening concert on Thursday caused me to be overdrawn on my Pain & Abilities account. It’s been over a year since my surgery and apparently this is my “new normal.” The things I was able to do just 13 months ago are no longer possible. I know this — I’ve experienced it before — and yet I continue to forget or else stubbornly try to do things. I can attend a concert in the evening or have a busy day, but I cannot do both without paying the consequences in overdraft fees for that Pain & Abilities account.  After my class at the YMCA on Friday morning, my kind husband assisted me into stranded turtle position (ankle on pillow on overturned laundry basket) and massaged out some of the swelling. I spent the afternoon looking out the window at the falling snow, much as I did one year ago.

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