Wednesday, December 31, 2008


This year I started a blog, and was rewarded by other blogs. Thanks to "Blogs of Note" provided by the blogger people, whoever they are, I'm reading some awesome stuff, straight from the source. So, today, I want to thank the blogger people for identifying and parading blogs; and I want to thank the bloggers whose posts have been inspiring. If I mispell your blog, forgive me; I'm still a neophite in this playground of computing.

So in the order in which they get read, here are the blogs I follow:



Each blog offers a window to that person's world, and additional windows as well because each writer has a list of blogs they follow, and so on and so on. I have peeked and observed photos and opinions from different parts of the world. ( My one and only official follower, a student from Ireland, had to give up her blog because she ran out of money. Sorry.)

This perusing has taught me a few things I need to do, kind of a New Year Resolution for blogging: 1. incorporate pictures and links; 2. leave a comment every time I stop and read; 3. be adventurous and travel the world on the net.

Finally, I want to thank people who have read and left comments on my site: Matawheeze at sixtyup; Cheri at her blog; the folks at Island Press, an environmental group who have published my comments on their esteemed and learned website. In addition, I want to thank my Bandon Writers, who are generous with their attention and their comments. Without your insights, I would still be wishing and hoping.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Whale migration

Off the coast of Oregon, hundreds of whales are swimming south to Baja this week.

When we moved to this coast, we spent hours at the beach, eyes fixed on the horizon, hoping to see a blow spray. We were always rewarded with glorious demonstrations, blowing and circling close enough to be visible without instrument assistance.

But this is not just a December activity in this part of Oregon. Whales can be spotted all winter long, often close to shore, enjoying our mild weather and abundant seafood. Our school children spend a lot of time studying marine environments, delighting in the discovery of small and big animals on their field trips. No wonder the idea of digging for oil off shore did not receive enthusiastic support.

While the rest of the nation is in a winter freeze, we watch storms and whales migrating.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another year, another Christmas

It's the end. By tonight, the presents will all be wrapped, the stockings hung and the goose stuffed. Tomorrow morning, millions of children everywhere will squeal with joy at the surprises under the tree, or in the stockings. And we too, will feel their joy and collectively sigh a big sigh of relief. Another Christmas, another major event for which we were assigned the part of provider of mirth and fulfiller or desires, has come. Mission Accomplished. We played our part as well and as fully as we could. All of us. Even if we do not believe in Christmas magic, or Santa, or Baby Jesus.

Pagan or Christian, agnostic or Jew, Muslim or Buddist, we have all stretched our understanding of celebration to include a fir tree, decorated and imposing, a spectacular dessert and gift giving. Indulgence going both ways.

And we have remembered all the other Christmases in our lives; the sad and disappointed ones too. Mostly,though, we kept fussing with our memories until something about the magic and the giving and the joy was unearthed. For me, it was about making Panettone, the sweet bread my mother made only at Christmas. It was so hard for her to get all the ingredients collected-most of the time she had to improvise when something was missing, one reason I enjoy that form of cooking also-that presenting the family with such a treat on Christmas morning with hot chocolate takes me back to all the Christmases past.

I hope my children and grandchild (and future grandchildren) will still maintain the tradition of making Panettone. It will connect them to their families for centuries.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cape Blanco-Part Two

I spoke too soon yesterday. Rain began pelting around five, and within a couple of hours, the wind and the rain were so raucous that their noise drowned the television. The trees swayed and bent and shook out loose branches, hurling them all over, across the street, into neighbors' gardens. Seagulls will be off miles from shore this morning, mercifully looking for their sandy coves.

We get these storms from November to March, abundant rain flowing from every direction and winds from the south. Windows and doors on the southside must be sturdy, with double/triple panes; yet,after each storm, we check and recheck everything, including cars and sheds.

Cows and other grazing animals know what to do most of the time; our ranchers go out, though, and rescue many animals. Some just get spooked, and it is not unusual to find a cow wandering on Highway 101, miles from its pasture, slowing traffic or being herded by it.

This was a mild storm. Our big trees are still standing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weather Watching

Cape Blanco, the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, is a few miles away from my house on the Oregon coast. Storms will hit Cape Blanco at hurricane speed. Wind and rain will imprison us for weeks at a time. But we are hardy folks here; we stock up for such events, with plenty of supplies for heating and eating; we hold storm parties, and dress for all eventualities.

Fishing boats go out through the night-dozens of lights bobbing on the waves-to place and collect crab traps. This year's catch is healthy, but not spectacular. The price of fresh crab in the markets is $4.50 a pound this week. With hot butter on the side, a beer, a crusty loaf of bread, dinner is as fresh as one can get. And one fat crab will feed the two of us nicely.

We can catch our own, with a $6 license,and an hour or two on the dock.

Weather watching and crab catching are top activities during this season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We all need a bit of Christmas.

Every year, we spend too much, running on a threadmill with millions of others, buying and buying to feel something. to feel a bit of Christmas the way we experienced as children. What we want is that sense of magic that was the result of others' generosity and good will. And that can't be bad, can it?

In my community, the bell ringer for the local Salvation Army reported an unusual amount of donations. The local schools have collected more than ever, even though there are more children on free and reduced lunches.
Traditions that make goodwill and generosity come alive during these tough times must be maintained and encouraged. This is not the time to feel like Scrooges.

Only then, the joy of the season will warm us all over.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Believe the Weathermen!

I'm skeptical when it comes to weather predictions. Even if I hear about a storm coming our way, I will not believe the story until it has passed.

Well, I was warned about this present storm, the chill, the icy roads. And I didn't prepare much more than my usual 'make a soup that can feed us if I can't cook for a while.' If we lose electricity with the next punch that's supposed to hit us tomorrow night, we are in for chilly nights and cold bread and butter. The soup is gone, and I will not make another one. I'm now sick of soups.

Husband is a hardy type; he opens cans. He could live on Spam and Vienna Sausages and canned soups. Not I. For me, anything from a can is second rate food, not worthy of refined palate I've cultivated all these decades.

But now I must prepare. If not a soup, then a terrine,an eggplant parmigiana, or a pizza. All these can be eaten cold and become fillers when we have had enough cereal and milk, and peanut butter sandwiches. Maybe I should rig the fireplace to become an indoor grill for meats and pizzette, and hot-in-the-ash potatoes. Yummy.

Come to think of it, I better get busy and get the wood into the house, enough for a week of possible bad weather.

Wait. It's sunny outside; and the ducks are back on the lake; and the deer are munching on the fast-browning lawn. They are not worried.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Illinois Governor loves Poetry!

I just discovered a blog called "Poem of the Week". The author? Answer: the current governor of Illinois. The same one. The one selling the senate seat. On the profile page, with his picture, there is nothing else to explain why he would choose a poem a week to share with the world.

Who knew! He's a closet intellectual, living the poetic life of self-scrutiny and meditation.

Someone, please explain to me these inconsistencies.

But wait,and I quote from his profile: "if you want to choose next week's poem, it'll cost you"

That last part might be a clue to the man.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rain, and snow, and other storms around us.

I spoke too soon, and the furies were right there behind the horizon, watching for an opportunity. And last night, all throught the night they tore at the coastline, ravaging the dunes,sending all animals, big and small to take cover. Today, and through the entire weekend they are supposed to hang around, showing their power. There is snow on the roof of my sunroom. At sea level. Snowroom.

We needed the rain. And the snow. And winter.

Today the garden will rest, while I remain indoors and use up those sticks and branches that I've collected around the yard and have not burned. The fireplace will go back to fuel coziness.

I'm watching the flames burn quickly through two boxes of wood and kindling in just one hour. Fortunately, my electricity is working, and the fireplace is not really needed. It is just a prop in a play, to remind us of the days when we couldn't survive without that fire.

Rain and snow and thunder will be the protagonists today, in a play where we can be the audience, comforted by our circumstances.

I wonder how many people will be affected by the other storms hitting our world, storms where people have been the protagonists; storms that were fueled by greed and selfishness and carelessness. None of us can rest.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Who's got our rain?

After stripping down to t-shirts for the last few weeks I'm beginning to worry. Where is the rain? My paper-whites are blooming and even the roses haven't slowed down. The arugula is going to seed after a couple of weeks of life, and the apple trees are threatening to bud.

Where is the rain?

We shouldn't be complaining, I know. But this is our rainy season, a time for snow to pile up on the mountains and flow down in our rivers and creeks in the summer time.

The geese have arrived this week on the lake, waking us up yesterday with their honking. Great big geese, usually here by the end of October, are late and fat and perhaps confused, too. How long will they stay. How much will they find to eat since the farmers have harvested their hay long ago, readying for the rainy season. It is the middle of December, but here on the southern Oregon Coast it feels like spring, with temperatures in the high fifties and sun so warm on our south facing patio that I'm maintaining my summer tan into winter.

It is hard to think of Christmas, and spruce trees, and garlands of evergreen perfuming the house. We don't get enough of summer, out here. This feels good; but weird, and abnormal. It ought to rain big time by now. Last year, in early December, we had a major storm that lasted days, and brought major havoc. What's happening out there?

Who's got our rain?