Wednesday, November 25, 2009

LA hot days, cool nights, animals optional...

We're in L.A. to spend time with our family. What do you do in a big city?


No matter where you want to go, you better check your GPS in advance and plot your route.  You can get lost in L.A., in your own neighborhood.

You can go shopping for hours.

You can get consultations for everything.

You can spend more than your mortgage payment on a modest bag. 

And when you sit down for a small meal, prepare to exchange your 401K.

We return to L.A. during cool months, to soak up the sun, and to remember why we left it.

L.A. is too hot, too cool and too distant.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Oregon beaches on a calm day: Bandon

Bandon is the town north of us, about twenty-three miles up Pacific Coast Highway.  We do this trip whenever possible, to walk on the beach, admire beautiful homes on the bluff, and end up having a fish meal at Tony's Crab Shack whenever we can sit outdoors.

Just north is Bandon Dunes Resort, with these views greeting the lucky golfers.
We don't golf. Yet. We are tempted. Especially on such a glorious day.

This is another typical day after a heavy storm that dropped inches of rain, and deposited driftwood all over the place. The sunshine was enough to coax us outdoors.

It will be weeks before I can return to these beaches.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Banking Time: neighbors helping neighbors

You might have heard about Time Banks. Our town has begun to talk about creating one. Not the whole town, but a group of us, four women, one man. We met at the library, a central meeting point, a clean, well-lighted place.

The five of us are all retired, living far from our extended families. Some still travel a lot. Some  are still  in great health. But, we know neighbors who need help getting to doctors or pharmacies out of town.  We have had our share of emergencies, and were it not for a good samaritan, we could not survive.

The discussion went on for a couple of hours. We decided that we could run a pilot program with just the five people present, with few steps, such as  exchanging phone numbers and email, and writing down a list of jobs we were willing to do for others. The usual stuff: driving, running errands, cleaning up yards, garages, taking stuff to the dump, trimming trees.  I volunteered my gourmet cooking skills.

I bet none of you in Blogland guessed that I have such an amazing set of skills.

Neither did I.

I thought I was a normal, average cook. Who knew? A couple of parties later, I've been designated the official gourmet cook in town. They bid $60 at a library silent action, for one of my gourmet meals.  Imagine how that went to my head! I demanded Le Crouset pots in my kitchen, and a subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Now, with such a title, I feel compelled to prepare meals I only dreamed about. It does help that I'm retired, have traveled and have frequented great eating places. 

O.k. So, I'm willing to cook for others now and then, banking two hours or so for each event. (Frankly, I would do it for free, just to feel so needed!)

I'll let you know how this goes.

I'm telling my husband not to expect his jobs to be done with my banking hours. I'm trading for my self on this one.

I'm off to cook for my son(s)  down in California. For a week, my nubile son will host his mom and dad in his newly purchased house in need of a woman's touch, and I will be buzzing around making suggestions for this and that. We'll have the traditional Turkey Dinner at Thanksgiving, and the traditional Ham Dinner a couple of days later, making enough food for a crowd of friends who might come over and watch football. I will eat one serving, then rush over to my favorite digs in L.A. filling up on stuff I can't make at home.

When in California, it's In-and-Out Burgers. There is a joint every few miles. I could do a midnight run.

Forget the home-grown veggies, the freshly caught fish grilled on applewood and pearwood, gently pruned and seasoned for these meals, year after year.  Even the sage, the lavender, thyme and rosemary were picked fresh from the front yard. The lemon tree growing indoors contributed its fruit too, never sprayed, watered from the basin each time, gently nourished and appreciated.

In Oregon, we have always been GREEN.

When in Oregon, it's Fish and Chips at Crazy Norwegian's, right here in Port Orford, not a chain, a one of a kind establishment, right on the highway. You can't miss it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Public Input: Where is the public?

Our school board had a public meeting last Monday, to gather input on our yearly goals.  We met at the local library, in a big, comfortable room. The library is new and attractive, warm and airy. It sits in the middle of town, with plenty of parking and accessible to most people simply by walking. Meeting notices had been emailed, posted and publicized.

We anticipated a good crowd.  Our district had just completed a consolidation, closing one school and moving students to another, and  major renovations putting Stimulus Moneys to work in our town.  Also, just a few weeks previously, there was an incident over a weekend  involving arson and theft at the high school that had the whole community buzzing.  Over $ 4,000 dollars were raised overnight by students and community to catch the perpetrators of such acts.  Our board of directors had been busy maintaining open communication on many fronts and felt that a public meeting would allow many people to ask questions, receive answers, and feel reassured about the future of our schools.  Our goal setting protocol had not been this elaborate in the past, I might add.

Working on goals with our community would have allowed us all to clear the air, concentrate on children's future, and face our challenges together.  The specialist from Oregon School Board Association that was invited to guide us, had been briefed on what our situation was and what we might expect. We had set aside a good four hours for this task.

The day was rainy. Nothing unusual about that. I walked to the event, a mere 1/2 mile from my house.

At meeting time, we counted two community members: a parent, and a volunteer.  The rest of the group was associated with the district in some capacity or other. We explored our strenghts and challenges, identified areas of need, outlined priorities. The group worked hard and left satisfied and united in their resolve to build strong schools.

Everyone leaves politics for the politicians.  That's not how democracy works. If we don't get into the conversations, how will anyone know what's on our minds, what our needs are?

You see, politics is about the good of the many.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Health Care Bill passes one hurdle.

Key elements of the bill

The House health care bill would:

• Require most Americans to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

• Expand health care coverage to 36 million more people over the next decade.

• Require employers with payrolls above $500,000 to provide insurance to their employees or pay a fine.

• Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions.

• End premium disparities between men and women.

• Impose a 5.4 percent income tax surcharge on income above $500,000 annually for individuals and above $1 million annually for households.

• Establish a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers beginning in 2013.

• Cost $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

• Cut Medicare spending by more than $400 billion over 10 years.

The 220-215 vote cleared the way for the Senate to begin debate on the issue that has come to overshadow all others in Congress.

A triumphant Speaker Nancy Pelosi likened the legislation to the passage of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare 30 years later.

In the run-up to a final vote, conservatives from the two political parties joined forces to impose tough new restrictions on abortion coverage in insurance policies to be sold to many individuals and small groups. They prevailed on a roll call of 240-194.

The legislation would require most Americans to carry insurance and provide federal subsidies to those who otherwise could not afford it. Large companies would have to offer coverage to their employees. Both consumers and companies would be slapped with penalties if they defied the government's mandates.

The bill drew the votes of 219 Democrats and Rep. Joseph Cao, a first-term Republican who holds an overwhelmingly Democratic seat in New Orleans. Opposed were 176 Republicans and 39 Democrats.

The bill is projected to expand coverage to 36 million uninsured, resulting in 96 percent of the nation's eligible population having insurance.

The bill was estimated to reduce federal deficits by about $104 billion over a decade, although it lacked two of the key cost-cutting provisions under consideration in the Senate, and its longer-term impact on government red ink was far from clear.

(The above information comes from The Oregonian.)

A special thanks to Rep. Peter DeFazio for voting yes on this bill. Pete DeFazio represents the Fourth Congressional District of Oregon. He is well loved in our neck of the woods.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

After every storm...

This part of the lake could use a good storm to clear the weeds.
By the end of December, this area will all be cleared.

Hubby and I walked to the beach this morning, the waves beckoning.

This was the scene this morning, twelve hours after the first big Pacific storm hit land and winds clocked in at 60+ at Cape Blanco.

This morning, the sun was shining, and we combed the beaches as the surf  pounded in the distance, collected agates, small, irridescent stones barely visible among the tiny pebbles, as  dog owners chased their pooches on the sand.

My Hubby found a good place to sit.

Tonight, there is another high wind advisory.  From November to June, we get out and walk whenever we can, whenever the rain is mild and the winds are not ferocious.

By January, cabin fever sets in. Then, we drive down to California to visit our relatives and soak up more sunshine.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Authorblog: Sunday Roast

A few months ago, David at Authorblog interviewed me. Today, Eddie at Clouds and Silver Linings is continuing David's work and has added my interview.

Please visit him to see my responses to his questions:

Enjoy, and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Talk to me

Are you there?

Tell me what you see, what you feel. Teach me to see with your eyes.

With our mutations and evolutions we have developed language(s).  With language, we have learned to express what we see, what we sense, what we wish.  With language, we draw maps for others to follow. With language, we construct our universe.

In Dante's time, people wrote in Latin. The official communication, especially for literate people, was Latin.  He chose to write in Italian, thus elevating street language to a new status.  That simple declaration allowed many more people to read his work, to expand their understanding of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.

We have seen a similar movement in our life time. Blogging. (I know, this is quite a stretch. Indulge me.) Blogging has become the official communication among friends and strangers, along with twitter, facebook, email, texting, mobile, and indie music.  Not a day passes that we don't get on the web and talk to someone, share recipes, products, pictures, poetry, household remedies. We can't stop talking.  We need it as much as oxigen.

In Dante's time, during a major pestilence that killed more people than most wars, minds worried about the afterlife. Daily life provided minimum subtinance without Faith and belief in an afterlife.

Today, I  consulted with Web/Md before breakfast, with my Associations' representative in another state before I had my second cup of coffee, left a text message for my son in California, reached my pharmacist with a stroke, and my investment adviser in Geneva with one click. I have one device that allows me to do many tasks no matter where I sit or stand. Instant news/chatter/information has shrink-wrapped my universe and yours.

In a few minutes, Canada, Australia, England, Africa, Philippines, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, as well as the rest of this nation will receive my blog and talk back to me. I don't worry about disturbing anybody's life.  We come and go, sleep and eat at different times.  But, we can reach each other all the time.

Columbus had no idea!

So, this was a stretch, I admit.

Set me straight, won't you. Talk me down.  Or, just talk to me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Love as an element.

Like the 118 elements on the periodic table, like mountains and oceans, the universe is slowly revealing itself.  Some things appear to be permanent, many appear fluid and changing.  The force we call love is such an element.  We can only understand it through its mutations,  apparitions, and the feelings we experience when we possess it.

This poem of mine is about those first encounters.



Must I tell you in Latin, or Sanskrit,

Or in ancients’ scripts of

Tombstones and moldy signs?

I know you read the news-track the story

From one end to another-

Factual slips catch your eye.

You know everything

in print, all the elements of a life time.

I sit behind you in Chemistry

My whispers too soft for you to notice.

When the 118th element was added

to the periodic table

-translucent the two times that

Ununoctium appeared-

Sounds like Nostradamus you said,


Hardly worthy of all that attention and ink

You said and turned toward me.

But you didn’t see me

My whispers were too soft.

I wrote you a note

Left among ciphers and equations:

“I weigh more than

Oxygen and Water and Ununoctium

At high temperatures

I act in unexpected ways.

Can’t you smell my scent

Heaven - Earth –Eternity?”

If you find this in time, I wrote in Italic,

turn around and call my name.