Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blueberries are the best!

Originally uploaded by cher_ware
What else is there to say?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring, maybe

Here we are again, sort of... almost... maybe... it's going to be Spring!

I think...

Mr. & Mrs. Duck have returned for their fourth year of enjoying the fine cuisine served in our back yard: cracked corn spiced up with a stray insect or two. They've become quite fearless, and will even venture up onto the deck if we aren't outside. They've taken to flying in at least twice a day in the afternoon - and once they arrived in the morning.

I guess even ducks know an easy mark when they find it!

Our Neighbor From Hell has erected an all-but-invisible fence to a height of 12', and into which Mr. Duck accidentally flew on Saturday. He toppled pinfeathers over bill into another neighbors' yard, but was able to fly away. We spent the next day worrying about him since Mrs. showed up by herself, but by the afternoon he, too, was at the trough. We have noticed, though, that they now give the neighbors' yard a wide berth when they leave!

Addison spent Friday and Friday night with us, and Ada came over for the day on Saturday. Jim and I had carefully strategized for the weekend, given that clear skies and sunshine were forecast. We figured that the two kiddos, being much closer to the ground than Gran and Grandpa, could be bribed hired to pick up the copious quantities of fir cones that bury themselves in the ground around here during the winter.

At 5¢ per cone, we figured the incentive to work hard would be darned near irresistible. And we were right; the little rascals lightened Grandpa's wallet to the tune of $12.00 EACH! We've since had people from all over the U.S. offer to come out and pick up fir cones!

But it was all worth it; we had some fun with the grandkids, moms and dads got a break, and the kids got some sunshine, exercise, and spending money! (I'm thinking we should make it an annual event; Grandpa is thinking it could get really expensive!)

Sunday was another lovely day and Jim & I both worked hard getting things ready for our garden wedding in July. We've reset the steps through the arbor, planted dahlias and ranunculus, and finished setting a redbrick mow strip around the deck.

Our rhodies are beginning to bloom, as are the azaleas, and spring is definitely arriving in our garden.

I'm certain spring-like temperatures can't be too far away!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Give peace a chance

For the past several weeks, Jim and I have been watching HBO's series The Pacific, based on events in the Pacific Theater during WWII. I'm not really a fan of war movies (although Saving Private Ryan is one of my all-time favorites!), and I hadn't intended to watch this series. My plan was to read while Jim watched, but the story and the acting are both so good that I was pulled into it, almost against my will.

There's plenty of gore - after all, it was a war - but not gratuitous shots of viscera and body parts (although they both are shown as incidental to what's going on). Mostly there are young men who are uncertain, frightened, and - by turns - both brave and not-so-brave. I keep reminding myself that these characters are representing US Marines who are now in their 80s and 90s; the age my father would be if he were still alive. And, indeed, he did serve with the Navy Seabees in the Pacific Theater during WWII.

Lately, too, I've been thinking about my generation's war - Vietnam - and the young men who saw battle in other jungles and in other times. I remember how painfully young so many of those sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines were, although all of us certainly thought of ourselves as quite grown up at the time. I remember two years ago at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in our nation's capital. As Jim and I began our walk along the path adjacent to The Wall, unexpected and uncontrolled tears began streaming down my face. I don't recall that I was sobbing, but my eyes seemed to just be leaking copious tears. Jim asked, "Did you know anyone here?" and I replied, "I knew all of them." They were my classmates, my friends, young men I had dated, the fathers, brothers, husbands and lovers of my friends. Someday, there will be an HBO series about Vietnam, I'm certain.

Someday, too, there will be series covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More young lives forever changed by the horror that is war. More minds damaged beyond repair - both physiologically and emotionally - coming home to a world that cannot comprehend how truly awful war is.

Following the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, I made it my daily practice to read the brief biographies of each of those who died as they were printed in my local newspaper. It was an act of respect for those lives lost, those who, in a sense, were stand-ins for me and my loved ones - for all of us in this country. And so, although it's somewhat outside my comfort level and I have to take frequent breaks because of the intensity, I watch The Pacific. I feel that, in some small way, I am honoring those who served in time of war, who fought for our freedoms, who came home changed - or who never came home. By extension, I am also honoring those who serve today - young women and men who probably never thought they'd really be on foreign soil facing deadly attacks by people who hated their way of life. The older I get, the younger they seem, until even those who are approaching great old age seem like children to me. Lives interrupted in the midst of becoming.

My only thought, my only prayer: No more, dear God. Please! No more!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Getting away from it all!

Last weekend, Jim and I took a long-awaited trip in our 5th wheel just to get away from it all. Between holidays, family, and some legal issues, we hadn't made an out-of-town trip since last summer.

We left on Thursday night for the Oregon Coast - our refuge of choice is just north of Tillamook at the Barview Jetty County Park - and arrived, along with the wind and rain, late in the evening. We didn't take time to set up since it was cold and wet, but had a bite to eat and fell into bed, rocked (quite literally at times) by the lullaby of the wind and rain.

Next morning, we got fully set up and drove over to the jetty to watch the waves crashing as they entered Tillamook Bay from the Pacific Ocean. There is nothing peaceful about this great body of water, but I do love the powerful forces of water and wind as the waves break across the jetty and on the shoreline. It's a far cry from the truly peaceful Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico that were the experiences of my youth.

I could watch these forces of nature for hours, and some people do - we always find cars parked facing the ocean when we make our trek to the jetty, and many of them are still there when we leave.

We made the obligatory trip to the Blue Heron Cheese Company where we purchased delicious Brie and bleu cheeses, and then drove up the coast to Rockaway and Flamingo Jim's for a little early Christmas shopping!

On Saturday, we drove South to Munson Creek Falls, where a short hike provided us with some of the incredible scenery - including some old growth forest - for which the Northwest is known. 

I do love this gorgeous state and feel so fortunate to live here!

We managed to visit a few local restaurants and enjoy the fresh halibut, clams, and other local delicacies (Oregon has some delicious wines!), but mostly we just relaxed and were thankful for some time away from the cares of the world!

But it's always good to come home.