Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Mind On Books

For the past month, I've been reading a book about John Law, a man from Edinburgh basically responsible for the creation of banks and paper money, as we know them today. At one time, he had control of the entire Louisiana Territory. It is not easy reading (late 1600 through early 1700's) but it is interesting. And about a week ago, I began reading a book about how Wall Street began (it actually was a pasture that the owner built a wall around - hence, "Wall Street". How quaint!)

Anyway, after all the frenzy of financial news of late, it made me really uneasy to read both of these books. I felt like I was on overload. I put the books aside. Perhaps when this settles down (and a bailout or whatever is settled), maybe I'll return to the financial reading.

For now, however, I have started reading one of my tried-and-true books that make me happy. Do you have books like that? Ones that you like to read again and again, because they are safe, predictable, you know you'll be rewarded when they are finished. I read these books when I am stressed/worried/fearful because they take me away from those feelings. At least for a little while.

This time I turned to my book about a couple living in CA that bought an ancient ruin of a home, located at the foot of an old castle in a little hilltop village in Provence. They buy it, return home to CA while it is being renovated and when they go back to Provence months later, it has been restored beautifully. This place and the people in the village they live in truly become their second "home". There is pretty much nothing but happiness in this book. Oh, a few difficulties but, mostly, real life dreams coming true. I never want this book to end. Would you?

A few pages here and there get me through the day. And when it is done, perhaps I'll be ready for John Law. Perhaps. Wall Street, however, may have to wait awhile.

P.S. I am so sad to hear about Paul Newman. It's like the end of an era. It IS the end of an era.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wedding Vows and Firewood

Just what do wedding vows and firewood have in common? Absolutely nothing. But they were both part of my day.

This morning, I went out to the garage to get a cassette tape of The B-52's*, because I had "Dance This Mess Around" in my head all morning. As I went through the drawer (in his pre-nursing days, my husband built garage cabinets with drawers) I came across the audio tape of our wedding vows. Since we had an aversion to being videotaped on our wedding day, this is all I have. I had thought about listening to this tape on our 20th anniversary last month but, since that didn't happen, I decided to hear it today.

I called the kids in to listen as well. We all sat around, listening to Pastor Matt talk about Adam meeting Eve for the first time (Adam said the Hebrew equivalent, "Wow, what a woman!"). He also talked about what it meant to have a Christian marriage. Great stuff. Todd and I kept glancing at each other. It's amazing just how right Matt was. After 20 years, you can look back with hindsight, but at the wedding, it was all ahead for us to experience. Sickness and health, richer and poorer, etc. Todd's role as the head (spiritual and otherwise) of our household. My role as his helper (also translated as "rescuer" and here Matt told Todd, "You'll see this come true someday" or something like that. A rescuer ... I don't know if I've been that exactly but I do know I've been a helper. It was really neat to realize that we have both been nearly everything that was said by Matt or spoken of in our personal vows that we wrote ourselves. By God's grace, obviously. God already knew what our future would be, we just had to find out for ourselves and own up to our promises. And I think we have, so far. No plans to change that course.

When the tape was done, I got a big hug from Todd. Then I put in the B-52's tape and danced. The kids didn't like it. Who doesn't like Rock Lobster? If you are too young to know that song, my apologies and my condolences.

This afternoon was a firewood bonanza. After over a month of worrying and fretting, I finally got 2/3rds of the required amount of firewood delivered, which means we will be warm for most of the winter. We had two different suppliers deliver, thankfully at different times, and the boys and I stacked a total of two cords (that translates into 4 pickup loads). Todd helped a bit but had to stop to get ready for work. My arms are sore but not nearly as sore as they'll be tomorrow (it takes me a day before the pain really sets in).

My sweet husband starts his three night work week tonight. As always, I will miss him.

*FYI - B-52's is an offbeat music group from the early 80's that dominated a good portion of my life for a long time. Amazingly, they just did a new record. But their old stuff is the best.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I See

I got contacts today. After nearly 20 years of wearing glasses, it felt really, really strange to walk around (and drive) without my "face jewelry" (that's how I feel about my glasses). I felt like I was missing something.

Unfortunately, my eyes still haven't grown accustomed to the new lenses so I blinked a lot and had trouble focusing - for 6 hours. No wonder my eyes are tired.

I was nervous when I went in to get my contacts. I had to be retrained because it has been so long since I last wore them. But after a few attempts, I got them in. It worries me how much you have to pull on the delicate area around your eyes just to get the flimsy little things in. Age is already showing around my eyes - I really don't want to make it worse. And when good ol' Doc Williams talked about what I needed to do when I removed them tonight, I was surprised (though I hid it well) and a little scared. I hadn't thought about having to take them off. And clean them. And buy solution for them. And the wearing schedule for the first week. And after a week, try the other pair that he gave me. And then I have to buy them in a 6-pack twice a year (these are for 1 month use). When Todd and I talked about me getting contacts, I didn't think about all the work and worry they are. I had forgotten. At least I don't have to cook them anymore. That was a hassle.

So now I have even MORE things to do at night before I go to sleep. Sigh. The older I get, the more there is to do to maintain ... me. But, I went and bought new cheapo sunglasses today (instead of the expensive prescription ones I've been wearing for nearly a decade). And spent some time trying on reading glasses (yet another fun thing about being 45). My kids were giving me their extremely honest opinions and I spotted a lady in her 50's, watching us with a knowing smile. That will be me in 10 years!

Now, what is nice about reading glasses is that they have some really cool styles now. They are not your grandmother's reading glasses anymore! I guess because the baby boomers are now all in reading glasses, newer styles were called for. I tried on leopard spotted ones, cat-eye with gem stones, black with colored spots. I'm still looking. We've seen some zebra striped ones in a catalog, too. Decisions, decisions ...

A few weeks ago, when I told the kids I was getting contacts, my 7 year old lamented, "Mom, you'll look ugly with contacts!" I have no idea what she was picturing in her head but I think her fears are put to rest. My lenses are kind of blue and make my hazel eyes appear bluer. And she likes that.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Week

I have many reasons why I haven't blogged for awhile ...

1. Todd has had 4 days off.
2. The weather has been awesome!
3. I am in hot pursuit of finding our winter fuel - we heat with wood and it has been scarce this year. I mean, we live in Oregon, HOW could firewood be scarce?
4. Last but not least - we started up school this past week. How did it go? Read on ..

Alec - easy. He gets up by 8:00 a.m., has enjoyed everything he is doing and has given me no problems that I can remember (it was a long week, o.k?)

Chad - challenging. He wants to get up at 11:00 a.m. (Todd sprayed him with a water bottle a few days ago - it wasn't pretty). The kid is 13 and I guess he's growing 'cause he just can't wake up in the morning. 9:30 is as good as it gets, so far. He gets distracted easily so getting him to start his work and keeping him there is also a challenge. Fortunately, he gets everything done really fast. I have to keep an eye out for his carelessness, however.

Carmen - ahem. My sweet little girl. NOT! I don't know where she gets her attitude but, man! She enjoys reading to me (Pathway Readers) but once we start math, she becomes a toad. We worked in Miquon last year so we began with that. 2 days later, I switched to something more fun for variety. But on Friday, she became a nightmare again. I just made her sit there with me until we finished the page. I kept encouraging her that she could do this, etc., and helped where I needed to. She has an extremely low tolerance for things she doesn't understand and doesn't really give things a chance before getting, well, rude and obnoxious. We talk about this and I try to help her but I guess it will take time for her to get through this stage. I can't let her continue this way (for her sake or mine). She is good at math, I've seen it over and over. I don't know what the deal is. This attitude spills over on to spelling and writing as well. Perhaps it's just "first week" nonsense. I have hope that this coming week will be better.

Todd has spent the last two days working on the house (prepping and painting). It's about 2/3 of the way done (is that right, honey?) and it looks great.

And I've been able to take a walk every day but one this week. That REALLY makes me happy. Is that strange?

This week is done. Tomorrow starts another one.

Friday, September 5, 2008


We got the test results - NEGATIVE, NEGATIVE AND NEGATIVE! Thank you, Lord! Thank you everyone that prayed! I didn't want to find out at the doctor's office because I knew I would break down, either from fear or relief. But that's how it happened anyway. It took me all day to decompress, to realize that I didn't have to think about it anymore. Todd's chances for recurrence are approx. 16% but I'm not going to think about that either. The cancer is all gone and may it never, never come back.

Sigh. I feel like we can go forward with our lives now. Thanks again for your support and encouragement - you all really, really, helped me through this. I praise the Lord for my friends here!

If you want to know more about our day in Portland, visit my HSB blog. Aerial trams and baby elephants - don't miss it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Animals In My Town

I don't often post about animals, as our only pets are fish, but living where I do, you sometimes encounter interesting situations involving wildlife or at least pet dogs. We seem to be the only people in our county that do not own one so you are bound to meet up with a dog or two, when out walking. Like we did the other night ...

Our whole family had walked halfway around "the loop" as we call it, which takes us up to the top of our hill, part way around the top and then back around down toward home. There is one house on a corner that has two scruffy little dogs that always bark a welcome/warning - we don't know which. In this yard is a tether ball pole. I never gave it a second thought until this one particular evening when we saw a man walking a Boston terrier and a corgi. We stopped to talk to a friend of my husband's and by the time we approached this particular yard of barking dogs, the man with the terrier and corgi had gone inside the yard with the terrier. We saw the terrier playing tether ball with one of the barking dogs (I think it was also a Boston terrier). The corgi was tied to the fence outside the yard. I asked the man if this was a "play date". He laughed and said yes. I asked why the corgi wasn't allowed to play and he said that "It likes to hurt things." One of Astoria's finest moments I'm sure. Weird.

About a month ago, on another walk, we encountered a most friendly young adult cat. Too friendly, as it followed us nearly all the way home and wouldn't take no for an answer. It kept running in front of us and sprawling on it's back, hoping for a rub. It's just wouldn't leave us alone for anything. I think this was the same walk where we saw some commotion up in a tree along the street. We looked up and saw a couple of raccoons, looking sheepish (can raccoons look sheepish?) They were a long way from home and were probably arguing about who took a wrong turn (one of them may have been clutching a map).

There are patches of forest all around here where animals reside and a few weeks ago, we spotted what looked like a goat, grazing on a grassy hillside in town. It turned out to be a most unusual deer. It was normal brown color to the shoulders and forelegs. Then it became grayish-white with dark brown spots. We couldn't get near enough to get a good look. Then, last week, I was doing the dishes (as usual) and saw out the kitchen window this same deer with it's mom, grazing in the vacant corner lot across the street. I grabbed the camera and called to the kids. We ran outside and I got some photos that hopefully will turn out. We made sure the deer crossed the street without incident (I felt badly for disrupting their meal!)

So, there's my animal post for the year (I hope). It's got to be more interesting than hearing me yip about Todd's test results - which we won't know until Thursday but that's o.k. It's in God's hands and if we haven't heard by now, it's a good bet that there's nothing to report. And thanks again for your prayers. I have felt your support and appreciate it very much!