Thursday, August 28, 2008

Talk Thursday – Shooting Stars

Stars have always been an escape for me. I never really spent much time dreaming on them, making wishes on them…at least not after thirty, but watching them. Magic. Pure magic.

Ducky is usually asleep pretty early, something about an eighty mile commute at 4 in the morning. What--ever. So I get the hot tub to myself late at night, in the dark of dark when the wind whispers in the top of the trees, it’s just me and the stars…and lots of hot water. Heaven.

It was a Wednesday night a few weeks ago, we’d had what seemed like weeks of 50 mph winds and finally came one night that was quiet and cool enough to enjoy a soak. Around eleven I climbed into the hot tub and let the dark envelop me. Over head Vega was glowing yellow, Mars hung red in the western sky with Mercury, and Jupiter; Venus had long gone to bed.

Leaning back I crooked my neck and stared up into the Milky Way. My eyes traced a north bound flight destined for Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver. Thousands of feet overhead that small, tiny light traversed the sky full of souls bound for another place. Where? Somewhere away, somewhere different, somewhere with other stories.

Moving in the southwestern sky, thousands of miles above, the International Space Station slowly arched to the east. A silent smooth light that flared suddenly before going dark on its orbit through the night.

I floated across the tub, kind of a glide because the breast-stroke was completely out of the question—no Ducky, and rested my head on the south rim. Eyes searching the stars to the north my head turned to the east just as a shooting star arched across the night sky to the west. A brilliant star flying light years away, brighter than it had ever shone, and then it was gone. I’d not wished for world peace lately so I closed my eyes.


I could hear the wind whisper in the trees, the ocean’s song calling from the sea, and some large animal crawling through the brush on the otherside of the cyclone fence. My eyes opened wide, my ears listened more intently-- lions? Tigers? Bears. Oh, mi! Hey it could be bears.

And then all was quiet again. And right in at least my little corner of the world.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Talk Thursday – Thunder Rolls

The Floydian Slips concert was just winding down Saturday night, when I caught the first flashes from the corner of my eye. Ducky had just commented on the drive into town that it looked like a thunder night. Apparently, his personal Doppler system was working fine. As we drove out of the parking lot the flashes to the north were more visible and picking up frequency, soon bolts of lightening raced across the darkness.

We are all up for a good electrical storm. Hey, I live in Florence lightning storms are far and few between, so this was a treat. Brilliant forks split the sky, diving downward, to seemingly impale itself into the distant ground and then the thunder would peel. It would start with a crack, nano seconds after the flash faded into the dark, and roll from one cloud to the next, as if filling each sound before moving on to the next. A symphony of bowling Angels battling Thor’s tympani booming bass a clash of in rolling waves of sound that burbled against my skin and through the night.

I love thunder, heaven’s music, this would have been the type of night that I would sit out and listen with my eyes close and feel the thunder rumble though the night. Our joy thought was short lived for as we drove west towards home the thunder was too far away, the flashes dimmer and distant, then all was dark and quiet again.

Until two o’clock in the morning. When the sky cracked open with lightning and the force of the thunder shook the house. Nirvana. Ducky and I got up and watched the light show for its short duration and then went back to bed.

A feeling of impending thunder lasted through out Sunday. The much needed rain had been absorbed by the thirsty ground and for the first time this summer my lawn looked sated. I began seeing flashes around eight in the evening, at first I thought it was just my eyes, then from the deck Ducky ask if I could hear the thunder? The flashes were small, the thunder distant, but it lasted the entire evening.

Until two o’clock in the morning when with one brilliant flash and a deafening ka-boom the lights went out. And then back on and I went to work. Power outages play havoc with small radio stations, so when the power comes back on I have to go reset the equipment – my computer screens freeze up, on air boards are all out of whack. At two in the morning, dressed in my jammies and slippers, I waddle out to my truck, drive the mile to work, reset my equipment, drive home, and go back to bed.

Until three thirty when it starts all over gain. Ducky leaves for work around four fifteen, so I’m thinking the next time I had to go to work was four thirty. Do people really get REM sleep? And did I mention I love thunder and lightning? And why do they say thunder and lightning when clearly the lightning comes first?

The national weather service had been issuing Severe Thunder Warnings for much of the early morning hours the EAS automatically sends the audio out over the air when we’re in walk away mode. Later Monday afternoon, NWS sent out one last Severe Thunder Warning over the EAS. I’m still laughing, following the usual warnings of impending doom the broadcaster ended with, “If you can hear the thunder you’re close enough to be struck by lightning.
Which begs me to ask, “If you hear the thunder isn’t it too late to worry about the lightning? And would you hear the thunder if you were stuck by lightning for all the ringing in your ears?

Just askin’.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Sour Grapes - Warning Rant Ahead!

I know I’m supposed to be blogging Talk Thursday, I will get there because the topic is great. But what is really griping my soul at the moment is the Olympics. Sadly, I think I stand alone in my grief, the world’s acceptance of China as this season host country is a global blanket of approval on China’s human rights policy. I bristle when the United States does something egregious – like water boarding and Guantanamo Bay, but I know at least half of my fellow American’s are pissed and hopefully a bit ashamed of tactics and are awaiting the slight possibility of a war crimes tribunal against one certain shrub and his slimy VP.

China not only has a terrible history of human rights violations, but it’s not just history. Countless (but the numbers are reported in the tens of thousands) Chinese have been arrested and removed to create “balance and harmony” during the Olympics. Hmmm, activist? It doesn’t pay to be Falun Gong in China unless you’re looking to be tortured to death. The site of the opening ceremonies that people have oohed and ahhed over was not so long ago… just over a year ago, were people’s home. People who were forcibly removed so the Chinese government could awe the world with a great ceremony that featured the communist concept of mass. Oh, wait I’m wrong, they weren’t just removed so the Olympic stadium could be build, but several other Olympic venues as well. Did they give them another place to live, reportedly no, they were just up rooted, but of course you would want to remove the poor population, I mean why show the world your condition?

The woman and mother inside of me is friggin’ pissed that people aren’t even rolling their eyes over the fact that the “adorable” girl who sang during the opening ceremonies was lip-syncing. Milli Vannili, Ashley Simpson, and Britney Spears have all be socially tarred and feathered for their lip-syncing fiascos. So the “adorable” girl is lip-syncing on International TV to (potentially) billions of homes because the girl with the lovely voice wasn’t pretty enough to be on TV. Excuse me? WTF?

Chinese officials revoked the visa of American Speed Skating Gold Medalist Joey Cheeks, who was planning to take in the Olympics. Why? Because Cheeks’s is the founder of Team Darfur, an outspoken group of 70 athletes who raise Darfur awareness. Cheek’s opposes the Chinese government’s military, economic, and diplomatic ties to Sudan – so they revoked his visa.

I love the Olympics, I have always enjoyed watching my team and the athletes I can only imitate in my mind, but I can’t this year. In the past when boycotts of the Olympics have left us, the US, out of the competition I agreed. When the US didn’t go to the 1980 Moscow Olympics because we were protesting Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan – I agreed. Now we condone in silent acceptance. Sad, ever so sad.

Should I be surprised? No. Bush really put the cap on my week with this comment about Russia’s invasion of Georgia. (In concept I believe this should be our stance, but in today's reality it is-- do as I say, not as I do.)

"Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century." Bush also said, “Russia had damaged its credibility with the West by invading neighbor Georgia.”

Now, not only are we condoning China’s human right’s actions, but the Shrub is rewriting his, ergo America’s, history-- when that history isn’t even cold enough to be considered history. Arrogant Asshole. But thank heavens I’m American (and I say that with all respect) because If I was Chinese I’d be in prison right now, if I was Afghan I’d be in Guantanamo.

Please get your anger on,

Monday, August 11, 2008

Talk Thursday: What Now?

Deal with it! The great words of Sid. I’d been frustrated by Angie’s Talk Thursday topic “I’ve Got What I Wanted, Now What?” and that just won’t do. Why the frustration? Because, besides world peace and the safety and health of my family I really have no wishes, and that’s not bad.

Why? Because I’m that lucky. After three marriages I am married to a man who loves me back. My daughters are humanly wonderful, my grandson is the sunshine of my life, my dog stinks, and I have a great job. There is really nothing more I want. I am a content homebody with wonderful family and friends. And I will tell you a secret that only Ducky knows, I don’t have any fantasies.

My philosophy on fantasies is that once you put your fantasy into play it’s reality with cold hard clay feet. Fantasy rarely live up to their reality. And then what do you have? No fantasy, just mud.

Shocking, I know – EVERYONE has fantasies. But everyone else is also trying to keep up with the Jones, and when they buy the biggest flat screen on the block, Jim Bob Jones will just buy a bigger one and we end up with plasma screen envy. In my reality I would only envy that they can donate plasma and I can’t.

My sister has had a hot tub forever. I’ve always wanted one. In fact Ducky and I spent half of our first date in my sister’s hot tub. Then Ducky’s sister got a hot tub. And I thought darn they beat us to it (we’d been promising each other a hot tub for years.) We did finally get one this spring, and there folks ends my keeping up with the Jones. Thankfully the hot tub wasn’t a fantasy, it has been everything I expected it to be…and will be all year long…the cool life on the Oregon Coast.

Living at the north edge of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area it would be logical for us to have Quads or ATVs, but we don’t. Ducky’s sister and bro-in-law have ATV’s and a toy hauler. They are fun, they are spendy, and they can be used for a whole five months out of the year. Okay, some people go twelve months, but I am a fair weather person – to me a cold, rainy day is made for my woodstove, cocoa, and a good book – and later my hot tub. If Ducky really wanted an ATV I wouldn’t give him arguments. But to buy one just because they have one, I can’t go there.

I am content. Oh wait, I want more flowers. Lots of flowers for cutting, giving, smelling, and dead heading. Flowers for spring, summer, and fall. Flowers that will give other people flower envy. But your toys and keeping up with the Jones. Sorry just not my style. And I will deal with it.


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Talk Thursday: Green or the Wedding of Mr & Mrs Red Sox

I hate being in a new place for a length of time and unable to take off and enjoy it, but this was worth it. We spent the better part of Wednesday getting to and Friday getting from – but all of Thursday was spent waiting for the night. The Portland sunshine had lasted the entire day, the evening promised to give us perfect weather for daughter number one’s (soon to be Mrs RedSox’s) wedding.

Major digression here…but necessary. Let me tell you a bit about my family, we are very sports oriented. Ducky is a tried and true Oregon Duck and Yankee fan; Miseray’s significant other – the Brit (an absolutely adorable keeper) is a through and through Oregon State Beaver Fan; The Groom (from Boston) you’ve got it, a Red Sox fan – through and through. This all makes for friendly and competitive dialogue and wagering at family gatherings – weddings included.

The barn of the Cornelius Roadhouse was decorated in white lights and glowing candles. Potted green herbs and red geraniums sat among the cutlery on waiting guest tables that covered the barn’s worn wooden floor. In the area next to the barn a white linen runner divided bark covered area and chairs into two sides for guest seating. The flower girl and ring barer ran about in the high spirits of three year olds.

Ducky was sexy hot in his tux – possibly the first and only time I will ever see him thus dressed because both Miseray and Psam are swearing off big ceremonies after seeing the extreme frustrations of a big “I Do” to-do. Being only the step mother I had dressed down for the occasion, but not too dressed down (I just didn’t go in for the mother of the bride caca pastel dress) and it was the first time I’d worn heels since I’d dislocated my hip three Decembers ago. Standing on the paved path, greeting guest was beginning to kill the balls of my feet (I wanted soooo bad to take my heels off.)

Despite the crappy, miss fitted tuxes the wedding party looked great in their spring green vest and black tuxes. Groomsmen and brides maids were stress free (except Miseray) with a microbrew or three under their “braces”. Soon to be Mrs RedSox and her dads were waiting under the green canopy of trees awaiting the opening strains of their music to walk her down the path to her waiting groom. Mr RedSox, standing there alone, looked a wee bit lonely as time passed (later we found out the official conducting the ceremony had told him, “You live in this circle.”

After the unity candles were lit by the mothers a lively chorus of “We Are Family” ushered in the attendants as they walked the paths and runners to the ceremony’s circle. Poor Mr RedSox still waited.

Suddenly Etta James was singing “At Last” and all turned to see the Bride, Ducky, and her step father slowly walking down the path under the canopy of green towards the groom.

At last
My love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
Oh, yeah,
At last
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clovers

The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine
At last
Composed by Glen Miller performed by Etta James

I’m relatively certain this is the moment my eyes began misting. Sitting to the left of me in the front row, former Mrs Ducky (the bride’s mother) misting was accompanied by sniffing and I’m pretty certain a gulp or two as she was trying to contain herself – not an easy task, soon to be Mrs RedSox and her escorts were a beautiful vision. The ceremony was quiet and moved quickly soon Mrs Red Sox and soon to be Mrs RedSox were husband and wife, the mothers were crying, fathers were smiling, and most of the young crowd wanted more microbrews; my feet were killing me.

South of the Barn was a beautiful green field of grass, trees, and shrubbery. An arbor of wisteria created a green den for pictures, the green grass created a cool fresh haven for feet battered by heels and hot pavement. Most of us who didn’t have to wear shoes that this point TOOK THEM OFF as we waited in the green garden for Mr & Mrs RedSox and the rest of the pictures to be taken.

The food was divine, the conversation light and friendly, the cake delicious, and then the dancing began. As the couple of honor the first dance was reserved for the bride and groom, I can’t remember the song that played. Then the DJ announced the father’s dance and the strains of the Temptations singing “My Girl” began as Ducky and Mrs Red Soxs took the floor.

Tears freely rolled down my cheeks, someone handed me a tissue, but I was still able to snap a few shots on my digital while, I’m pretty certain, Mrs RedSox dipped Ducky. In return I think he had to jump up so he could spin her across the dance floor to many hoots and cheers.

Before the night was over I was able to grab one shot of my shot my girls – unfortunately I was out of film in my Pentax, but I think this is shot number 96 with my digital.

Psam – Miseray – and
of course
Mrs. RedSox