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My Heptad of Things That Make Me Happy
Posted On 01/17/2016 00:53:23

My Heptad of H's that Make Me Happy

1. Hattie-Fur Baby of my Heart. My twenty year old grey and brown Tabby cat.

2. Hugs-I am a Hugger of people, fur babies, trees and good memories

3. Holly Trees-especially the fifty year old one growing in my front yard. I celebrate the day each winter when a flock of Robins decorates the tree like bird ornaments and gobbles all the berries.

4. Hydrangeas-my favorite flower.  I grow several bushes along the south side of my house.

5. Hats-I love to wear hats and am seldom seen outside without one. While I write, I wear a straw boater decorated with a roaring twenties headband and sporting a peacock's feather.

6. House/Home-built in 1928, front porch, entry hall, living room, bedroom, bathroom, study, kitchen, laundry room, screened-in back porch (which I designed and mostly built myself) aka Hattie's Taj Mahal 

7. Houseboats-even though I love my house, I do fantasize about living aboard a houseboat.


G is for Gazing
Posted On 11/18/2015 01:11:43

 Gazing is one of my favorite pastimes.

What is gazing?  According to my online friend,the Word Hippo, to Gaze is to "look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise or thought".

     Recently, I was sitting on a stone bench at a university campus, waiting for a friend.   Loud laughter erupted behind me.  Startled, I spun around...to fix my gaze on two arguing (sure sounded like human laughter!) squirrels.  They put on quite a show, one chasing the other around, up and down a Tanoak tree.

    Last week, I let my gazing get too intense.  I got to within three sidewalk squares of a roaming wild tom turkey (yes, they're trying to take over my residential neighborhood)!  I was gazing upon and silently admiring Tom's absurdities, when suddenly,  he gobbled hysterically, spread his tail, and stomped toward me. I slowly retreated backward and didn't stop until I was positioned to close my front door.

   There are gallons of gazing opportunities out at "my pond"...pretty pebbles on the sandy pond bottom, schools of fish of all sizes, hovers of damselflies and dragonflies, bales of turtles and armies of frogs to watch.

    I like to play a game with the frogs. While lying almost prone in my rubber dinghy, I paddle by hand, to within inches of a frog sitting partially submerged in shoreline water weeds. We gaze at each other for a time of kairos and then I paddle away, trying not to scare the frog into submerging or leaping. It's taken practice, but I win most of the time, now.

    After my cataract surgery in 2013, I spent a month in the United Kingdom.  It was FUN to gaze about me, without the hassle of wearing glasses 16-7 (a pastime that I had not had the privilege of experiencing since my preschool years). One evening, I was alone in a narrowboat moored to a canal post. My hosts had gone to their cottage overnight (as was their habit).  The sun had set, welcoming in a clear night unmanacled by the mist that had tried to mar every previous night of my voyage. I opened the hatch over my bunk so that I could gaze at the starry sky, while drifting off to sleep.

    I gazed.  I gazed and while I gazed, I was suddenly saturated with the knowledge that I was seeing the stars with my naked eyes, for the first time in my life!  

     I wept.  I wept tears of wonder, tears of joy, tears of gratitude to the God whose Presence I feel in my life.


Tags: Alphabet Blog Challenge

Posted On 10/08/2015 12:47:45

It is a  flash in time that I never want to forget.

My Irish friend, Finbar and I had finished our days' work and I had flattered him into driving us out to the pond. We planned to swim, instead of floating in my boat, so Fin drove off the road and parked on the far side of the pond, opposite the boat landing.

While we got out of Finbar's Ford, a flock of Mallard Ducks flew over the water and splashed down near the pond's shore closest to us.

I started down the steep path to the water's edge, clutching at young willow saplings to slow my forced slide.

There were willow branches snarled together by fishline at the water's edge.  I ducked below them to avoid getting tangled. 

Suddenly, the air turned fetid with frantic fowl quacking!

A Drake had flown into the the snarled fishline and was suddenly suspended in it, like a fly trapped in a spider's web.

"Fin!"  I bellowed.  "Get out your knife!" (Finbar was finally retired from his life in Her Majesty's Special Forces, but still considered it a point of fealty to always have a knife on his person).

I tucked my elbow around a sapling and with my other hand, held the duck tightly against my body, so that it would stop flailing.

Finn leapt down beside me, whipped out his knife and with four cuts, freed the duck.

I flung the duck skyward and as he took flight, Finn and I (not so gracefully) fell into the pond.


Tags: My F Blog

Posted On 08/23/2015 23:43:05

One excuse that I will never use is an excuse for getting wet, in the water or on the water..in my case, both actions are usually drops in the same bucket.

~My earliest memory is of falling off a dock post at a Minnesotan lake.  I remember watching my air bubbles effervesce to the surface, while I sank.  Mom told me once, that after I was rescued, all I talked about for weeks was the "pretty bubbles".

~~While growing up in western Washington, there were more than enough opportunities during rainy season, to have fun splishing my bare toes through large and gooey mud puddles.

Our farm was lakefront property. The lake was twenty feet deep at its shallowest depth, so I learned to swim before I entered kindergarten.

Several years later, I went to a classmate's swimming party, held at a larger resort-like lake.  The other kids laughed at me because the   "crib" section of the lake was too shallow for me...I kept hitting the sandy bottom.

~~~We moved to Oregon when I was thirteen.  The only available swimmable water was in our artificial pool (which I considered a necessary evil).   

~~~~At University, which was located beside a quiet river, I bought my first inflatable dinghy.

I lived in co-op housing, and while I was never? the instigator of a  water fight (via bucket, hose or squirt gun) I was always ready to dive into the fracas.

~~~~~One summer break, I was a camp counselor in the high country of Colorado.  On a free afternoon, I went on a solitary hike and found a pond. I stripped.  As I waded into the figid water, a beaver, from across the pond, slapped its tail and lumbered out. My next day off, I went to the pond again and spent hours (hidden behind cattails) watching a beaver ballet.                                              ~~~~~~After University, came several dry years, when my only recreational opportunity to get wet, was  "Singing In The Rain", outdoors, during storms.

~~~~~~~When the "State of Jefferson" became my home port, an understanding friend introduced me to a former gravel quarry turned pond on county property. For thirty years, I've biked out to kaleidoscope (my name for it) Pond, as often as possible (usually once a week) six months out of our year.

~~~~~~~~More Excuses I've used  to get wet:  Swimming off the Baja Coast, Wading in the Atlantic Ocean, off Bar Harbor Maine; wading in Loch Lomond, Scotland; Rowing on a lake in England's Lake District; Spending four nights on a Narrowboat cruise, along an English canal;

Wading in the healing pool in Glastonbury, England...the ONE day during my September 2013 trip that I had the opportunity to wade, was the day that I was wearing jeans, instead of parachute pants and had left my aqua socks back at the B&B.  

Did I let my lack of proper wading costume anchor me to dry ground?



Tags: ABC~~E Challenge Fulfilled

Posted On 08/18/2015 14:08:39

September 2013:  Leominster (pronounced Lemster by the natives)England was an evening to late morning stopover, during my travels, a pause between two points of keener interest.

When I checked into the youth hostel next to the Norman era Priory Church, I had no clue that during that evening, Sir Serendipity would bow to me and ask me to dance to the music of one of my most diaphanous dreams.

The desk clerk mentioned that there would be a bellringers' practice at the church that night.

Being the Anglophile that I am, I've read many passages in many books about bellringers playing a "sally forth" on bell tower bells and have always thought that it would be fun to see it done. But, it had never been important enough to move from the "wanna someday" to MUST PLAN column of my life adventure list. 

Twenty minutes before the practice session, I walked through the priory/youth hostel grounds to the church and found a woman unlocking the door.  I asked her permission to sit in the back of the nave to listen. Instead, she invited me to climb the stairs into the bell tower!

The stone stairs leading to the bell tower are shaped like isosceles triangles laid sideways; a delightful and dainty example of how diminutive the feet of medieval people were. I with my size ten gunboat feet found it necessary to carefully crabwalk my way upward.  Two thoughts dashed through my mind; that I would some day describe my upward journey as following in the footsteps of Sleeping Beauty as she climbed toward her castle's tower room, and HOW was I going to DESCEND the stairs, without disgracing myself...would the local fire brigade have to come rescue me?

There were ten other people in the bellringer's loft.  There were ten ropes hung in a circle around the loft.  I was told that each rope with its sally( the soft, colored wool woven into the rope strands to make it easier for a bell-ringer to grip) was attached to a large bell. I sat on a stone bench molded out of the wall and listened delightedly to the Dong-Donggg of the bells.

While I was sitting contentedly on the wallflower's bench, Sir Serendipity (in the disguise of the Bell Captain)stepped up to me and offered me a dance...a chance to ring a bell!

he didn't just let me ring...he taught me how to do it; treated me like I was a new recruit.  He had me stand on a plywood dais (so that I would find it easier to place my hands on the bell sally) showed me how to hold the rope by the sally in one hand and below or above the sally (I don't remember which) and PULL when he pointed to me.

He pointed to me.  I pulled on the rope.  The bell sounded DONGGGG.  I forgot to let go. The back of my head, indeed my entire back side, slammed into the centuries old wall behind me. It HURT.  But, I felt that I dared not show any distress.  I was, after all, a guest of the English...famous for their stiff upper lips. 

Soon after I rang the bell, it was time for the bellringer's practice...my dance's denouement. I glanced at the woman who had shepherded me up the stairs.  She came to my side and told me quietly, that the bellringers had all made their exits, after their first practices, by crawling down the stairs, backward.

I did.

I often wish that the centuries old dust that had decorated the back of my windbreaker, after the bell slammed me into the wall, had proved more than difficult to dust off.


Tags: A Diaphanous Dream

Crayons of Joy
Posted On 08/06/2015 01:31:43

                         CRAYONS OF JOY

                         a Blog in one act


 Katy,Volunteer Receptionist; Maria, mother of Lucera;

 Lucera, 4 years old, dressed in hand-me-downs.

SETTING: Interior of old house turned office.

AT RISE:  Katy is sitting at reception desk with clipboard in front                                                      

          of her.  Maria is sitting beside desk.  Lucera is standing 

          beside Maria.

KATY:  Of course it's okay that you had to bring Lucera with you

        today, Maria. You can't help it that her Tia got sick.

        (looks at paper on clipboard) You know Maria, after you make 

         lunch for all of the volunteer staff, today.  You will have 

         volunteered enough hours to earn a business-donated 

         backpack full of school supplies for each of your four 

         school-aged children.

MARIA:   I will get busy in the kitchen.  (Holds out hand):  Come    


KATY: Wait, por favor. (Opens desk drawer, takes out a small box           

      and notebook):  Here, Lucera.(Hands box and notebook out to     

      Lucera)  You can sit at the kitchen table and draw while your       

      mama works.

LUCERA: (Takes box, opens it, sinks to stage, takes each of the     

         eight crayons out, one by one and lays it on the stage:  

         (chanting)Nuevo, nuevo, nuevo, nuevo...

        (each Nuevo is said louder and more joyfully)  

MARIA (Tears in her voice): Katy, Lucera, my artista child has never                        

      before had a new box of crayons to draw with, always before,

      she makes do with the broken stubs rom her sister and brothers.

      Gracias, gracias, gracias

(The phone rings, Katy moves to answer it as


Tags: Based On An Actual Experience

Bed-time yarn
Posted On 07/28/2015 20:20:52

   Waves banged against my boat, waking me from beautiful slumber. 

My shoulder bashed against the bulkhead and I knew that I would be decorated with a bruise before the next chiming of the boat's bell.

A behemoth wave broke against the bulkhead of my berth and bounced me from the mattress to the deck...I woke up, benign as a bug on my bedroom floorboards.  I climbed back in my bed with its brass head-and-footboards and fell asleep, thinking about how brilliant it would feel to bunk down every night in a berth-like bed..basically a free standing wooden shelf for a mattress and three drawers built in to the frame. But, my purse was almost as bedraggled as that held by a beggar and I counted my blessings that I slept each night in a bargain basement bed, that was a decade old.

     Next time I awoke it was time to bumble out of bed, bow to the beautiful dayrise and get ready for my dogsitting gig across town.  

     I had packed my bag and backpack the night before.  I took them out through my screened-in back porch and loaded them into my bicycle's baskets.   I turned on my radio (for my cat) gave her a loving cuddle, told her that I'd Be Back after one long sleep, mounted my bike and peddled the back way, up across town to my petsitting job.

     After I got settled, it was time to take my blond Labrador buddy for his evening walk.  We had a certain beat that we followed (by his insistence).  We walked briskly to the corner, but before we could turn left, someone down the block dropped a handful of snappers.  Buddy hates banging noises and has been known to hide in the bathtub, during thunderstorms.  He promptly bumped his butt (tail tucked) to the sidewalk and wouldn't budge, until I beguiled him with a dog biscuit that I had hidden in my jeans pocket.  

     We crossed the street, walked down three blocks (uncharted territory)and crossed another street. I knelt at a driveway to tie my shoe. When I stood, I stared at a parked pick-up truck.  There in its bed was the bed that I had dreamed about!  There was a teen-aged boy in the yard.  I asked him how much he wanted for the bed. "Take  it," he said,  "It will save me from donating my class carpentry project to a thrift store."  He even delivered the bed to my front porch.

   The words above were not just a bedtime yarn, A dozen years later, I'm still blissfully bedding down in my berth, every watch below.


My Alarming Life
Posted On 07/10/2015 16:30:56

The first alarm clock that I remember is my mother's voice calling up the stairs, "Time to get up girls! Time to feed the stock!"

We'd get out of bed, jump into last night's jeans and flannel shirt, thunder down the stairs, pull on our rubber boots and run to the barn, the sheepfold or the chicken house.

One morning, while I was in high school, we all slept in and we woke up to Mom shouting, "Ferme la bouche, girls!  Ferme la bouche!" My sisters and I were all learning prep school French and Mom thought she was telling us to get up, not shut up!  

The September that I left home for junior college, Dad gave me a  wind-up alarm clock.  It was the size of a salad plate and the bells and clapper were made out of brass.  If you'll indulge me by performing the following facial exercise, I can show you how the alarm made me feel, every morning:  Slack your jaw.  Completely relax it. Now shake your face rapidly, side to side, while saying oooo.  I put up with being jangled awake, for a year.  Then, when I moved on to a university.  I bought a clock radio, and felt much more sophisticated, until I discovered that waking up to radio music  might as well be a lullaby. During my life of punching time clocks, I tolerated clock  radios that beeped or buzzed, to get me out of bed.

Then, twenty years ago, my Hattie cat walked on my life's stage.  She's a Cat of a cat, hardly ever seeking attention, UNTIL she would decide that it was breakfast time. I woud awaken to a sheathed claw paw patting my face. If I was slow in arising, the pat would become a slap and if I was slower still, the slap would become a nip!  Sadly, the Hattie alarm stopped a few years ago, after Hattie had a stroke.  She's still alive and happy, though!

When I purchased my first iPad, I discovered an alarm app that had a rooster option on it.  I used it until that iPad developed issues and I had to upgrade.  Sadly, my new iPad's only fault is that the rooster alarm apparently flew away.  Now, on the rare days when I don't awaken before it, my alarm sounds like a tolling church bell.  I start my day with a smile and by the time I walk from my bedroom, through my livingroom to my library desk (where my iPad lives) I am AWAKE.

St. Patrick's Rune
Posted On 09/03/2014 23:15:51

I feel the need to share this, tonight.

On Terra  in this fateful hour,

I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the wind with its swiftness along its path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the Earth with its starkness
All these I place
By God's almighty help and grace

Between ourselves and the powers of darkness

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