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leaks, drips, advent!

It’s a mystery, the drip, drip, drip, gush from our bathroom shower.
Here’s the scoop:  I went to clean the downstairs bathroom about a month and a half ago – not an every week happening.  I’m not a cleaning slacker, far be it, I’m actually a bit of a neat-nik bordering on germ-a-phobia.  Truth is that bathroom is only used by overnight guests; now, back to the leak and bathroom cleaning chronicle.
Company had come and gone.  It was time to go down to clean so things would be spic and span for the next visitors.  Turning the light on over the vanity, I was met by a dinner-plate-sized bubble in the ceiling, so not a good thing.  The gotta-figure-this-out in me took over.  Where was the leak coming from?  Duh, upstairs, but was it the tub, the shower or the other shower.  So many choices, not many answers, especially because water travels.  It’s like a no rhyme or reason maze.
After inspecting, thinking, checking, snooping out the options, I narrowed the escaping water issue to the main ba…

Verb of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a verb.  Mind you, most dictionaries list it as a noun – you know the standard person, place or thing concept, and it is.  But, while Thanksgiving is a noun, it is also an active expression of something that should be happening in our ordinary routines.
Heaps of words are busy little multi-taskers, describing a thing and explaining actions.  In reality, just looking around I spot quite a few.  There’s a roll of tape sitting on the kitchen counter.  Tape is a noun – it is sitting there ready to tape a package, which is a verb.  I have a bottle of olive oil from a place called the Olive Pit.  An olive pit is the seed – a thing, but to pit an olive is something to do.  You get the general idea.
So, back to the holiday that is trending this week – Thanksgiving, is a time to come together.  We stuff ourselves just like the turkey arranged on the table and we take a few moments to share what we are grateful for.  Then we are off for pumpkin pie with a mound of whipped cream an…

captured in ice and mindfulness

Collecting leaves is an obsession of mine.  In a park, the yard or out in the woods, I feel the need to pick them up or nudge them off a tree to have a look.  In fact, today, I was sorting through some stuff and found a bunch of leaves I pressed a number of years ago.  They were incredibly intact.  I was supposed to be cleaning things out, but kept my leaves.
Autumn is full-on right now, except for last week’s shower of ice.  While unexpected for this early in the season – some talk about a polar vortex taking over – it left grasses and still dangling leaves with a sharp frosted layer.  Instead of gathering foliage to plunk in a jar, I simply gazed at how they looked like exquisite crystalized ornaments. 
The intricate veining on the leaves was illuminated by the frozen shellac.  When I touched them – I couldn’t help myself – they felt fragile and glass-like.  As the sun rose, they glistened and the not-so-gentle wind caused branches and leaves to tinkle a wintry tune.
It all sounds ver…

kodachrome gray

Gray:  a nondescript color living somewhere between black and white; a mood or disposition that’s not quite foul, just rather dull and monotonous.   Skies are scrubbed in shades of gray.   Ashes in a smoldering fire are shadows of gray and my hair has subtle streaks of silver, a kind way of saying gray.  Heck, my furniture is a browned touch of gray, we’ll call it bark.  Doesn’t that sound better?  I wear the color - literally and figuratively.  It’s comfortable.
gray skies are just clouds passing over Duke Ellington
Hold on!  All is not lost in a biosphere of vague doom and gloom, Will Robinson (1960’s Lost in Space).  Danger, schmanger!   Gray drapes itself as an obscure background to play up whatever is dropped against it.  This Switzerland of the color wheel exposes design, shape and form; making junk dazzling and perky.  Much like that morning person who needs to be a tad less cheerful before the coffee has had a chance to do its magic.
Portland has been gray for the past several day…

Parking on the verge

Living in Australia taught me many earth shattering things, like beets are called beetroot, but carrots are not called carrotroot.You “ring” when you are phoning someone and to “call” is actually to stop by.You can understand my American confusion at some of the Aussie ways and vernacular.Fortunately, we had great friends that kept us straight on proper protocol in this once penal colony.
Terminology tweaks set aside, there was the whole driving on the left side of the road.  What’s up with that?  Is it because they are on the other side of the world or just trying to be oh, so British?  I must admit, I never did relaxed when cars were careening toward me from the “wrong” lane. 
Now, that we’re on the subject of cars, it is perfectly natural to park in the verge.  To be honest, I didn’t know what a “verge” was.  Oh, I knew the word as in “edge or limit” but it actually referred to the strip of grass between the yard or sidewalk and the street.  The only time we were ever allowed to par…

Periphery, the Edge Traveler

When we were road tripping this last spring, I caught what I consider to be an “epic” photo.We were driving along California SR 1 and passed a wide spot in the road known as Westport.There was a sweet little cemetery that had a killer (pun not intended) view of the Pacific Ocean.We whipped over so I could snap a couple of pics.That’s when my “this is the coolest, most epic” moment happened.A big, wind-ruffled oily black crow landed on the cemetery sign.Oh, my stinkin’ goodness - this was absolutely beyond legendary…not to mention that I have a thing for crows and grackles!

This photo has been sitting on my computer in a file labeled “April 2014” just waiting for Halloween to come around.   In the spirit of all things blustery, wild and autumn here’s a little story of the Edge Traveler…

Periphery.  That’s where he chose to be.  Never quite revealing his whereabouts was better for this nomad.  Shadows and back roads were his costume, allowing him to peer into the warps of time.
Tonight, as…

Mr KC's boots

Over the years, I might have blown a speaker or two.  I like music loud!  You know the head-pounding, ear-ringing decibel level that concert-worthy speakers belt out.  Given that tidbit, Friday nights we regularly find ourselves at a local fish joint that has sweet blues bands gigging on the pub side.  It’s a bit of a dive bar, but in the best of ways.  There’s nothing fancy; just a comfortable, well-worn spot serving fish and chips that are off-the-charts good and cheap drinks.  Definitely not a swill-slinging bar, but not a slam-glam either.  Halibuts is a neighborhood spot where Jennifer, the gal behind the bar, remembers what we order, even if it’s been a couple of months since our last visit.
So, we’re sitting there listening to Angel Bouchet rock the blues with blasting speakers –I need to mention the place is small and has had complaints from the next door tenants about the volume and how everything was shaking and rolling on their side of the wall.  Everybody is vibing.  You ca…

Muse in the form of grape juice

Yesterday afternoon I sat staring at my notebook, pen in hand, but no thoughts.  I flipped through some previously sketched out pieces and thought, “I got nothing.”  Big sigh, looked at photos for muse clarity, and still nada, zip, zilch.  That’s it; I no longer have anything to write – right – I have words, but not sentences?
Still seeking my brainchild of illumination, I decided to do what any good writer would:   make grape juice.  It just so happens, that the previous night we had picked a colossal-sized bowl full of green (I think Chardonnay) grapes from the trellis above our patio.  Those translucent chartreuse tidbits have been oozing nectar-sweet juice all over the furniture and concrete; a definite indication that they needed to come down from their loft.
A couple of years ago I made the mistake of not harvesting the grapes before the downpours started.  Talk about a slippery slope of an ice rink; who knew overripe grapes could become such a smarmy mess?  Needless to say, I lea…

Smudged memories, To Grandaddy with love

A weekend road trip saw me getting my “Fruit Loop” on.  Before you start to think – uh, crazy - (which is quite possible) the Fruit Loop is a 35 mile drive through the Hood River Valley.  It’s strewn with orchards and vineyards and Mt. Hood living large in the background.  It was an iconic fall day; crisp morning with a marine layer that dissolved into a pleasant afternoon, definitely a fall-lover’s daydream. 
While greedily living the tour de Fruit Loop, snatching up apples, pears and snapping photos galore, my attention was captured by a strange, yet familiar contraption.  Somewhere in the recesses of my childhood mind’s eye, I saw them, plopped in an old grove of walnut trees – smudge pots!
Looking much like a rendition of the Tin Man, these gadgets have a very warming purpose.  Blanketing orchards with a smoky layer of balminess (certainly a stretch of the word) to help prevent old Jack Frost from nipping the setting fruit.
My much younger self remembers the low-lying clouds that sm…

Defining moments

I’ve been living the surreal…and it’s a disorienting place.
Decisions we make set a course – choosing schools, picking who we hang with, jobs, marriages, blah, blah, blah.   Even small picks like what we eat and our sleep habits affect us to varying degrees.  Then, out-of-the-blue, you are smacked with the big stuff – those defining moments that wallop a punch; throwing you into that surrealistic state of not wanting to believe it’s true, that you will wake from the bewildering dream that is reality.  Fortunately, these moments are not the everyday.
This past weekend my family encountered a defining moment – my brother was missing.  The details are not the important part of the experience; the responses are.  We had a desperate need which required ultimate trust. 
The week prior I’d been reading about determined faith – it’s intense.  Now, I needed to live that determination.  My conviction was being pressed; what was coming out?  Trust, doubt, fear and belief; my cocktail was shaken wi…

Funneling swifts in the dusk

Confession:  I’m a bit of a bird-nerd, but only sort of since I don’t really know much about them.  What counts is watching them, hearing their chirping-squawking noises and their flight patterns are astonishing.  How is it that they never run into each other?  I’ve never seen a bird fender bender. 
During the month of September Vaux Swifts use the chimney at Chapman School as a stop-over roosting spot on their annual migration to South America.  The watching-event attracts thousands of Portlandia dwellers, including me.  When I mentioned it to one of my sisters, she replied “Who are they?”  Not a who, but a what.  Here’s a peak into my night life:
Sky shows burst with glittering showers of light performing acrobatic feats against an onyx background to the ooo’s and aahh’s of the crowd below.
On a waning September evening, against a dusky background a shower of graceful, fluttering aerial acrobatics entices ooo’s and aahh’s from those gathered at Chapman School.  The shoulder season sta…

Freedom: I remember...

I remember…
Like so many other people, I remember this day, the events that transpired and how I felt.  Waking to a phone call from my husband…he left a message on my phone.  It said, “honey, turn on the TV, don’t be afraid.  I’ll protect you.”  I received the message before even being aware of what had taken place on the other side of our country.
Switching the television on, I couldn’t even begin to comprehend what I was seeing.  The images seemed like some warped Quentin Tarantino, post-apocalyptic movie.  The scenes were surreal and the skies outside were eerily silent, except for the clarity of birds chirping.
This morning, as I awoke and went about my usual routine of coffee and devos outside, I was transported back to 2001.  It was a clear blue, blustery, mild morning, very much like what I was enjoying today.  The exception that I noted was there were planes in the skies above me.  For that simple happening I am very grateful.
Another photograph time-stamped in my mind were of peo…

Watching from my belly

Swimsuit on, sun pile driving my body with its intense rays…
Lying in the grass, flat on your belly (if your belly is flat; maybe I should say a wee bit bulged) certainly gives you a unique view.  I mean it’s not even close to the same as what you see when you are face-up staring at the clear blue expanse, dusted with cotton clouds and jet streamers crisscrossing in string-art patterns.
While indulging in a massive hit of vitamin D, I studied the activity and scenery.  It was incredibly abuzz.  If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see an industrious honey bee sipping sweet goodness from the white clover that fills our lawn.  It can be considered a plague to turf purists, but bees and little kids who pick the blossoms and suck the nectar would beg to differ. 
Oily ants, which I’m not fond of, roamed through doing whatever it is that they do.  A total sidetrack, but have you ever noticed that ants taste like they smell?  Don’t ask how I know, just trust me, it is not pleasant. 
Gettin…

Snippets, mist and controlling the wind

Just like everyone else trying to cram in more sun-filled excitement, last week was our final getaway for the summer.  We had time with our kids and grandkids on both ends, but sandwiched in between was a couple of days at the beach.
I adore the beach!  Warm and sandy or a stormy, craggy perch to view, like the gulls...ahhh, I’m smitten.  The melody of the waves crashing or gently lapping is quieting and cathartic; I’m infinitely aware of how small I am in contrast to the vast sea.
The snippet of down time plopped in the center of an upending, brutal few months was just what my soul needed.  Breathing musty, salt air, allowing the wind to pummel sand against me – which by the way, gives you perfect beach hair, not the try-to-get-it from-a-bottle-type – and time to write.  Observation:   My last post was three weeks ago…that’s sad-sack stuff.
dis-si-pate disperse, scatter, squander, separate into parts and disappear or go away
A couple of days prior to arriving at the beach, the word dissi…

Bare escapades

Stepping out of the traffic

Stuck!
Tail lights go whizzing by like streaks of red tracers on a bad trip.  The next moment, screeching sounds as brakes lock up and traffic is at a standstill.  How can you be flying along and then find yourself on a collision course with the Prius in front of you?  Why all the movement spurts in an everyday commute story that doesn’t make logical sense?
Impatient, you peel off at the next exit looking for a way around the congestion.  Gridlock messes with us, insisting on its own annoying way.  Mindless of the inconvenience it doles day by day.  Ugghhh!  As you come to another stoplight and detour.
Unless you’ve just come back to earth from some remote pie-in-the-sky- island where things like clocks and schedules and to-do’s have never been heard of, you know the treadmill feeling I’m describing.  We are up to our ears in the influx of truckage.
 The freeway should be fast, the shortest distance between two points – three or four lanes of straightness – but it’s jammed with cloned min…

closing chapters

doors open, the story begins                 opportunities present themselves
some things materialize, become real, relationships are established                 bonds are created                                 but what holds them together, invisible glue?                                                                                 why does it dissolve and wash away?
page after page the story unfolds                                 drama, romance, comedy                                                                 then tragedy strikes
unable to put the story down                 reading on for the what’s next                                                                 an unexpected turn of events                                 the story changes, begins to unravel
have we reached the closing chapters?                 is it the beginning of the end                                                                 or the end of the beginning?
a new novel to be written                 doors open…