Manic Monday

Another Monday, another brief message from the barefoot backpacker — this one to tell me he’d made it to Crater Lake and “I have more that needs to be said than can be said in a voice mail so… I’ll call you back.” That his voicemail message two three hours ago… from a pay phone that doesn’t take incoming calls. My stomach is in knots.  I think I just sprouted a dozen new gray hairs.  This particular son is the cause of more than a few worries over the years.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been awake for the past 37 hours.
Did you know it gets light here at 4:30 AM?

So… how about some good news! Well, the heat wave has subsided and it’s been downright pleasant outside — a little too warm, because it is summer, but it’s cooling down at night again and that makes all the difference.  The Scout has assured me that his paperwork for Eagle rank has all been turned in.

Speaking of scouts, I spent 4 hours driving out to summer camp and back home again last night because SuperDad had inadvertently left several Very Important Items in the back of his car… in our garage. BFF rode out with me and got to see their campsite and the upper portion of the camp, and the scouts explained what they would be doing for the week. Possibly more importantly, we got to use the toilets at the beginning of the week instead of at the end of the week.*   And most impressive of all, we saw an adult female moose just before we reached the camp. Sadly, there is no photo proof because we didn’t have a camera with us.  And before you ask why I didn’t snap a picture on my cell phone, #1- I was driving, and #2- I accidentally left it charging on the table at home. We were supposed to be back at home being outdoorsy on the patio, but I was interrupted 5 sips into a nice cool lime-and-agave beverage.

To summarize: no moose picture, a rather different sort of outdoorsy experience for several of us, and no details on the barefoot PCT hiker (although we do have indication that he is alive and somehow ahead of schedule).  The northern lights were supposedly visible last night but it’s too light here in the city to see them, and I’m going to head to bed and pray for sleep — with the phone next to me, volume set to stun.

How is your summer going?

*I’m full of strange fun for her: as a birthday gift, I took her to an alpaca ranch — and now she’s had the experience of visiting a Boy Scout camp.

MTM: The Heat Is On

If the weather app on my phone is to be believed, today’s and tomorrow’s respite of 82°F [28°C]  is a brief interlude. Electronic readerboards around town last Friday were showing 103 degrees (the actual temperature away from asphalt intersections was closer to 99°F) but I’ve seen 106°F  predicted for this coming Sunday. I’m hoping — really, REALLY hoping — that is a sensationalist number.

Meanwhile, I’ll have this song from Glenn Frey running through my head:

 

News from the one left behind

The comings and goings have peaked and eased. Over the course of the weekend we burgeoned from a household of 4 up to 11 people — and briefly even an additional dog — before settling down to only 3 of us on Sunday afternoon.  My BFF stopped by for lunch on her way home from the airport to pick up her plants. She courageously entrusted me with plant-sitting her herbs and tomatoes; thankfully, they weren’t forgotten in the heat, we watered them daily and found them some extra shade, and they are now safely back in her care.

Little Foot at wedding

Little Foot at the wedding (cell phone picture. Obviously.)

The entire clan (dh’s side) was in town for the nephew’s wedding. I was really impressed when the photographer managed to get Little Foot to look at the camera, and even more impressed when he easily managed a gaggle of additional 6 kiddos and their adults — a total of 33 for the big family photo.  I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Also, I fibbed: we were missing one person; there should have been 34 of us but our niece’s husband had to stay back home and work. We had a wonderful time at the wedding. We danced, and I paid for it with a swollen ankle that is still a little sore tonight, but how often is there a party like this?  

 

 

IMAG0607 WEBSIZED
We stayed until the music took a decided turn for the younger set (wedding party members and friends). My MIL seemed to be surprised that I danced, but I’m equally surprised that the 80-and-above folks were looking fresh at 11pm when we walked back to the car.  

Last minute packing, T-minus 90 minutesIt occurs to me that some of you may wonder: did the 24yo wear shoes? And yes, he did! (Footwear was policy at the event location and it was a formal event.) However, I’m pretty sure he took them off as soon as he was out of the building. He left earlier than the rest of us and walked the 3.5 miles home — ostensibly to pack, but that didn’t begin until 2 hours before his bus was scheduled to leave on Sunday morning. At that point SuperDad was by his side, putting his own expertise to work.

 H-J came home via Greyhound Bus, carrying all he needed in a small knapsack. For his return trip, he was joined by his brother hoisting a somewhat larger pack. Yes, The Barefooter is off on his big adventure.

PCT-ready, 9 July 2017 WEBSZED

This next week will be a return to our new normal: family dinners for three; work and time spent on beading (I’ve got a special order for this week’s market), card-making, and reorganizing my crafting area at home for me; The Scout and SuperDad getting that Eagle paperwork completed and preparing for the last hurrah of Boy Scout camp.  We’ll be busy but it will be quiet.  I might need to take a nap first…

 

Your long-overdue update, or: “At least I’m not 241 years old.”

This evening marks exactly one year since my youngest son fell 23 feet out of a tree and landed on his back. He still suffers from post concussion syndrome, with an inability to focus and function for very long — or sometimes at all — and the same headache he’s had since he fell is still present.  The Scout turns 18 and therefore will age out of scouting before the end of the month.  His Eagle Scout project was completed last summer; however, he has limited ability to work and there is much “paperwork” (computer work) still to be done to achieve the rank of Eagle.  He has already had so many disappointments over the past twelve months, so many things he’s had to give up and no end in sight with his PCS, that I really want this honor for him to carry forward for the rest of his life.  It would be a bright spot in his craptastic year.  His senior year of high school is yet to come.

Humorous-Juniorous had landed his dream job at one of the university laboratories a few months ago, only to lose it due to immaturity. Showing up on time, asking questions and communicating are important skills to learn. He’s now working at a cafe, because understandably he was not hired by another lab boss — and food, rent, and utilities still need to be paid for on a regular basis.  H-J is coming home this weekend for a short visit and a large extended family get-together, so at least we will get to see him for the first time since Christmas.

In answer to our consistent pestering about applying for a job, The Barefooter announced to us less than 2 weeks ago that he had decided to go hike the Pacific Crest Trail north from southern Oregon. His original plan was to leave last Thursday but then I reminded him of the aforementioned family get-together (based upon a wedding) so he’s now leaving on Sunday.  True to form, The Barefooter is not yet prepared for this venture but committed to going because once he gets an idea, he is tenacious.  I shake my head and bite my tongue often. He tells us that he’s taking 2 months to hike as far north as possible before getting off the trail on September 10th (the day before his 25th birthday) and then switching his studies from horticulture to firefighting.

IMAG0529_1The Engineer and The Author continue with their jobs and the fine work of parenting Little Foot, who is now one-and-a-half years old. SuperDad and I visited them a few weeks ago (I had him playing in the sprinkler and his clothes were drying on the deck when I took this picture) and they will be coming here this weekend for the wedding/extended family extravaganza.  I’ve already told Little Foot‘s mama that if they want to stay and dance after dinner, I’ll take this sweet boy home with me. Grandmothers with bum ankles do not do much dancing but they do enjoy playing and cuddling with babies. No doubt his uncle The Scout will also be ready to go home early.

If you had heard, yet doubted, that Pokémon GO is an exercise app, I can assure you that is correct information. Not only do I see and talk with folks who would otherwise be holed up indoors out in front of the building at work (our site is a Pokémon gym), I am married to a level 35 trainer. SuperDad continues to need additional calories to ensure that he does not lose weight from all of the exercise he gets running, biking, rollerblading, and more. He also does the majority of our shopping and food preparation; basically, SuperDad has been the glue holding us together.  And I need someone to hold me together these days. There’s an unquantifiable toll on a mother’s heart as she can do nothing but watch as her (17yo) baby suffers or her adult children make mistakes. It doesn’t help when the prescription for antidepressants runs out prior to a holiday weekend and the regular pharmacy claims they cannot get it. (In truth, someone higher up has chosen to not obtain it; Rite-Aid pharmacy has come to my rescue with the very medication I need although it requires additional hoops and jumping through them without medication helping my chemically-challenged brain is… well, challenging.) As for the ankle, nothing has changed: it swells with use and weather patterns. I try to exercise in the pool several days a week for strength and balance, and I adjust my activities to match my capabilities.  Some days that translates to sitting on the sofa with my feet up.

As I look back over my writing tonight, I note that it lacks cheeriness and for that I apologize. It’s hard to be cheerful without my usual dosage of antidepressants, especially when anxious over a few of the circumstances described above. The biblical mandate to be anxious for nothing and pray about everything doesn’t always get me through. Tomorrow should be better thanks to the “emergency” dispensation of 3 days worth of pills from the nice pharmacy up the road — enough to tide me over until they can speak with my doctor and get the renewed prescription into their files. And baby snuggles, which always improve my mood and general outlook on life, are a planned part of my weekend.

Happy birthday to the United States of America. May the temper-tantrum toddler days soon be behind us all.

flag at the island house

From August to September in only one week

 

  1. Monday was a summer day in August. My teenager was still on summer break, the day was hot, the sun was bright.
  2. On Wednesday morning, I went to the dermatologist to ask about a spot (sort of a suspicious mole but not exactly).  The doctor agreed it was worth checking out and numbed me up for a biopsy. I walked out with a dime-sized wound on my cheek well-covered by an appropriately sized bandage.  [Awareness alert and example of white privilege: the bandage color is close to my skin tone so it blends in very well when I’m not using a flash.]    I walked back in 90 minutes later to have the wound re-cauterized and bandaged again. It is best to not walk around with blood streaming down your cheek.

    Hopefully this is all just for peace of mind (worth it!)

    Hopefully this is simply the price paid for piece of mind.

  3.  I placed two bead orders this week — one to each of my favorite online bead stores that just so happen to be my favorite bead stores to visit as well. I received one package in the mail today and plan to pick up the other at the store tomorrow. [Side note: $80 worth of beads may fit in one hand.]  I sold quite a few pairs of earrings at the farmers’ market today and need to replenish my stock, so the timing of all sales — stores with price reductions, stores to me, me to customers — worked out nicely. Now to actually sit down and create! I’ve had a bit of a dry spell but am feeling inspired tonight with new vision for my new beads and some positive feelings. Having a customer return to my booth today made me happy for both of us. She had purchased one pair of earrings last week after I told her why I make them. (The very short story is that I can’t wear most store-bought earrings. My skin is really sensitive to metals, but the earrings I make I am able to wear on a daily basis without any trouble.)  She had the same experience I’ve had, being able to wear earrings again. She returned today to purchase 4 more pairs of earrings. I’m grateful for the sales, but most of all I was happy to make her happy.
  4.  On Thursday, September 1st, the clouds gathered, the wind blew, and the air cooled. It felt as though Mother Nature looked at her calendar and got busy. It rained a little overnight, and then today a storm snuck into town. The wind nearly blew several canopies away while setting up at the farmers’ market this afternoon, but the rain held off until we were taking them down again after 7pm. By the time we drove home, there were flashes of lighting. I feel a little cheated, like a kid whose summer is interrupted by fall. Nothing against fall — I love many things about fall — but I don’t feel like I had enough summer. Not camping might have something to do with that feeling.
  5. Five is the number of Fridays this month — and that’s a good thing, right?
    (Confession: I edited and changed that last bit. I had previously written “– and that’s a good thing, eh?”)  Five Fridays = five market days until the end of my vending season. I’ll miss the people and interactions, but it will be nice to have my Fridays free again.

Bonus pictures:
The Scout goes to grade 11, 8-30-16
first day of school = sad dog
Moses sad under table after his boy went to school

Have you transitioned into fall yet?

Wilderness in the City

SuperDad has been playing Pokemon GO — which I find somewhat amusing and only slightly annoying. His phone is the only one in the entire family that can support the game but we all joined him in exploring a new-to-us city park on Sunday evening.
DSCN0649 Upper Lincoln Park, resized

The upper portion of the park has been primarily left in its natural state.

DSCN0664  path, websized

DSCN0669 Peek-a-boo Lincoln Park pond, resized

Peek-a-boo view of the natural pond

DSCN0635 Lincoln Park pond, resized

DSCN0634  Reflection, Lincoln Park pond duck, resizedIt is easy to forget you are in the middle of a city residential area while walking through this park. It was established in 1913.

Beacon Hill, left foreground, and Mt. Spokane, right background

DSCN0644 Hiker's view, upper Lincoln Park, resizedThe view from the cliff wasn’t too shabby either.  The zoomed-in photo shows Mt. Spokane in the far distance to the right (the bare portion is the ski area), and Beacon Hill (which had a fire burning on the back side of it just one week ago) is on the left — it received its name from the lights that shine from the tips of the signal towers at night.

DSCN0689 Moses and Boy, Lincoln Park, cropped, resized   Moses was happy to be with his boys. I imagine that both he and The Barefooter walked a little gingerly on the basalt trails.
DSCN0683 late summer, upper Lincoln Park, resized

I didn’t need to use a cane for the flat road that rimmed the upper park, but it was needed and helpful for the trails and downhill sections.

DSCN0691 Lower Lincoln Park, rest rooms, size comparison, rock, evening sun, resized, cropped 4x6

Behind this large boulder is a timber-and-rock restroom, built in the early days of the park.

DSCN0697 Lincoln Park house for sale, websizedThe lower park had lush green grass, a playground, restroom, and picnic tables. By this point my ankle was done (nine months post surgery and I continue to be very limited in activities), so I walked to the edge to sit and wait for the others to bring the car around.

Before driving home, we admired (from a safe distance) this home for sale. It is only a block down the street from the traditional portion of the park and it backs up to the cliff on which the upper park is situated. Designed by architect Kirkland Cutter and built in 1916, it has 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 6,200+ square footage on 3.16 acres. The woodwork is exquisite, the setting is private and there’s even a guest house. It can be yours for 1.18 million dollars.

DSCN0700 late summer sunset sky, vapor trails, home, resized

Then we drove home and appreciated our own humble abode and the sunset sky. The view is free.

Manual Labor

At 10:20 pm last night, this creature came through the front door:

After working all day removing burnt fencing in Fruitdale

This is what manual labor looks like after working all day to remove burnt fencing (charred in last year’s fires).

I told EB that he looked like a miner and sent him to wash in the laundry room utility sink.(I’m not mean — I also filled a dinner plate with meat & veggies and poured him a glass of milk and a glass of water.)

He drove 90 minutes home looking like that and he plans to return on Thursday to finish the job. Tonight he hits the shower before he hits the sack; tomorrow he drives an hour in a different direction to chop and split firewood.  All this for $10-15 an hour.  Sometimes I wonder if he regrets dropping out of college.

High Summer

Summer is going strong here in mid-August. On Saturday there were at least two big events going on within 3 miles of my house: a brewfest of craft beer (of which I was sadly unaware until the final 6 hours) and the annual street fair. After brunch that morning, SuperDad and I headed over to the street fair. I told him he could probably find me near tie-dye. 2012 August 11, Garland Street Fair 011
I adore the bright colors! In another life, I could dress like this on a regular basis.

Before long I had wandered over to the classic car display.

Oldsmobile 1951 Super 88, websized

1951 Oldsmobile “Super 88”

DSCN9851 Old blue Ford, resized

This beauty is owned by a man I know. He was looking forward to driving it to get licorice ice cream after the car show ended.

 

Ford Model A 1929, websized

1929 Ford

When I walked over to take a picture of that orange car my camera announced, “Battery Exhausted” and shut down. At that, we decided it was getting too hot for us on sunny pavement and headed for a free (air conditioned!) show at The Blue Door improv theatre. It was a great way to cool down before heading home.

Now that we’ve finally settled into a pattern, our temperatures hover in the mid-90s during the day (35°C) and generally cool off to 60°F (15°C) at night. Since we don’t have central air conditioning, SuperDad keeps the house relatively cool with strategic use of fans. This works really well unless the air outside is too warm or full of smoke.

DSCN6655 websized

Mt. Spokane sunset, August 2015

Unlike last year, we are blissfully free of smoke-filled skies. The sunsets were beautiful but the air quality was terrible. I’ll take clear skies over breathing bits of ash.

There are always a few days or even weeks when we wish we had A/C — I can’t sleep when it’s 80°F/27°C at midnight — but by late fall even I have forgotten those nights when I cannot sleep because it’s too hot in the house.  For mid-day use on a hot day, we have this awesomeness:

DSCN2594 This is how we stay cool in August

Note the sheet closing off the doorway, the a/c unit* venting up the fireplace flue and draining into the plastic tub on the floor.  (*It’s a dehumidifier as well as an a/c unit.)  Our windows do not open in such a way to accept a/c window units, so this is our one and only solution for summer cooling.

I suppose that technically we could all sleep in the living room on hot nights, but that would be too much family togetherness for me. I don’t even camp in a tent with that many people anymore — a 6-person tent is cozy enough for just the two of us old married folks. I need breathing space!

I’m still a little bummed that I missed out on the Brewers Festival — with tastings from some of my favorite breweries (Bellwether, Icicle  and Iron Goat to name a few) but I can only manage a certain amount of walking in a day before needing to elevate and ice my ankle, and no amount of jonesing for a Second Breakfast, Goatmeal Stout or Dark Persuasion* can change that.  Saturday was my 9-month breakiversary. I’m going to see a doctor on Thursday to ask about continued pain and swelling.

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*Just writing about those 3 draughts of deliciousness made me thirsty! I’m signing off now to get get a drink of water. Happy Monday!