Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Little Weirdness

I told Dean this morning, he may want to check my horoscope, or my temperature, or look for pods under the house. I am thinking about being active in the kitchen.

When my first husband and I had been married about 30 years, I said, "I am tired of cooking. I am not going to cook any more." He was fine with that. We were empty nesters. He often ate a big lunch in the college cafeteria. I was traveling a lot. Snacking or a simple meal was just fine.

After he died, I ate a lot of Lean Cuisine. Once when I was agonizing over cooking something for company, daughter Meredith said, "Mom,  you are a good cook. You are just having a problem deciding what to cook." Well, yes. Tell me what to prepare and I'm all over it.

Dean and I eat well but simply. Honestly he does a lot of the cooking - grilling and wonderful soups and stews in the pressure cooker. But recently ~ recently ~ hmmmm. I am cooking.

I am coming up with ideas about what to cook. The other night Dean came home from a meeting to meatloaf, corn pudding and asparagus. Where did that come from??? I have started cutting corn from the cob and roasting it for freezing. While doing that the idea of corn pudding popped into my head. For only the second time in my life I have made it, it turned out really good.

This morning I was looking in the freezer and thought, "I really need to clear and clean that." What?? I do?? Well, yes ~ but oh, my. The fact that I think about it and might actually do it is rather weird. If you know me personally, you know I am not much of a housekeeper. I would rather read a book, take a walk, do almost anything than clean or organize around the house. And here I am, thinking I could use this morning to clear and clean the freezer.

You do notice, however, that I took time to write about it first. Ha! Unless I write a mea culpa, we will all assume I will now clear and clean the freezer. Blessings on your day!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Garden Variety

When I was young, we used to say something was "just a garden variety _____" ~ meaning it was plain and ordinary and not much to comment on. The phrase crossed my mind this morning just as I was eating a tiny tomato our friends had brought us from her garden. We have tomatoes this year as well, just not in the quantity she does. And suddenly I thought ~

~ Garden variety? There is Nothing plain and ordinary about a garden variety tomato. Anything from the garden is So Much Better than what we can buy in the store. We cheer when the Farmers' Market comes to town and grieve its passing every October. Dean nurses tomatoes and an occasional squash in our high altitude, even having built a cold frame to keep things warm during cold mountain nights. All of it done with love and care in order to have garden variety taste in the summer and into the fall.

I have friends at lower altitudes who have really large gardens and harvest and can and freeze in order to have that fresh, garden variety, taste all year round.

Maybe this has always been true and we started using the phrase when freezers became popular and small farms and gardens were not as popular. They were so ordinary. Today we know better. They are wonderful and the vegetables grown in them are delectable and delicious. Which may be the very good reason why calling something "garden variety" has gone out of style.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Art of Conversation

As most of you reading this will know, I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my face last Wednesday. All went well and the dermatologist removed it all the first time. So - done and done.

I posted a picture on FB, grateful for it all and that the dimples remained in tact. Nobody messes with these dimples! Of course I received all sorts of love and support and caring. Friends are wonderful. I have also been amazed at how common this type of cancer is and how many people have had the surgery. Knowledgeable support was So appreciated!!

One dear friend had emailed me a couple of times and today I emailed her with a question. She called me back!! We had a conversation - a give and take, in the moment, sharing conversation. It was great to hear her voice again. She offered answers and we told each other stories.

She could have written an answer to my question and that would have been just fine. And I am still aglow with the sound of her voice and our conversation.

I have another friend who asked if I would read a book with her and discuss it once a week. We are now on our 4th book and once a week I get to hear the voice that goes all the way back to when we both learned to talk as babes. That is so special.

And then of course there are the times when my daughters call and say, "I just needed to talk to my mama." "I just needed to hear your voice."

Technology is wonderful. Sometimes I need the time to read and think about what is said and answer out of my own wisdom and not just blurt the first thing that I think or feel. And sometimes, it is really good to hear a voice, share in the moment, be present with each other while miles apart. When I was young, long distance calling was a treat and we did it only on Sundays when the rates were lower. Today it is all part of the technology that allows us instantaneous communication. I think we should take advantage of it more often.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Our Story in the News

Most news stories are about extraordinary things happening to and around very ordinary people doing ordinary things ~ like flying home from vacation. We had spent a week in Alaska and were on our way home. Had a short layover in Seattle which soon became national news. I'm going to make this as factual as possible. You've seen the articles and heard the reports.

Our plane was due to pull back from the gate at 8:05 pm. At 8 pm, an airport worker took (stole?) an Alaska Airways/ Horizon aircraft and started flying around. At about 8:05 or so our Captain stepped out of the cockpit and to the front of the plane, taking the mic from the flight attendant.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to tell you that something crazy is happening and I have been listening to it. A man has stolen a plane here at SeaTac and is flying it around." He proceeded to assure us that their job was to keep us safe and we were to gather our things and be prepared to deplane. In just a few minutes he was back, telling us again that we needed to deplane right then because it was necessary to get us all off the tarmac. All he could suggest was that we stay close to our gate for a little while anyway. We would be told more.

Bless him, we weren't told much more inside and we at least knew to go online and see what was happening. Kudos and Commendations to that Captain, he told us all he knew and was honest and transparent.

Inside we quickly found seats which were at a premium and begin to wait. During the two hours, people helped each other charge phones so we could reach loved ones; helped people find seats; I even played grandmother to Logan (2 1/2) who showed me every Lego in his pack. A woman offered me her charger, saying, "keep it and give it to the flight attendant when you board. I'll pick it up from her." Well, I wasn't going to do that, and I did get a bit more charge on my phone.

Pictures began to come up on line of the plane and finally the smoke from the crash on the island. About 30 minutes after word went around that he had crashed the plane, we were told we could board. Even with the internet, there was a lot of misinformation until things got sorted out. We did learn finally that he was an airline employee.

One sort of funny thing was the announcement that kept being made: Would the Alaska Airline desk attendants please read Page 1, Lines 1 to 6 immediately." Later it was changed to lines 6 - 13. Makes you wonder what they were supposed to learn that they didn't already know. On the other hand, our Captain said in all his years of flying, he had never encountered this particular episode so they all may have been learning in the moment.

When we were back on board, our Captain came out once again and said, "We lost one of our own sons tonight, and, we still have a job to do and that is get you to Reno safely which we will do." It was not until I told that to a friend this afternoon that I cried over that. This young man had spent the last three years keeping planes safe by guiding them in and out, deicing them in the winter, and doing some mechanical work. The crews knew him. He was one of theirs.

As for Dean and me, we were due to leave Seattle at 8:05, we pulled out at 10:08 and were in the air by 10:37. Arrived Reno at midnight, home by shortly before 2. I turned off my light at 2. Dean read about the event until 3. We both slept long and hard and made it to the fly fishers' barbecue with our story to tell.

I am so grateful that it all turned out as well as it did. As far as I could tell, all Alaska Airline employees were competent and efficient. F15 fighters from Portland Air National Guard were on the scene almost instantly and worked to get the rogue plane out of air space above heavily populated areas. Air Traffic Control folks were also counselors trying to help a very troubled young man be safe. If you want to read more, there is an excellent article in the Washington Post "Authorities identify Seattle plane thief" - posted August 11 at 6:19 pm.

Remember when you are flying from here to there to be grateful for your crew. They really are there to protect you and keep you safe. ~ blessings to them all and to you

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Beach

Cook's Inlet, Alaska. I have probably told you at some time how much the beach means to me. It is the Womb, Home, Peace and Ground. I return as often as possible but usually it is a serendipity rather than a planned trip. Yesterday evening after an early dinner (or very late lunch), we found the beach.


Can you see the smile? I had to have my picture and mine alone taken first.

Dean understands and after I took a long lonely walk, he wrapped his arms around me and said he was glad I found a beach and had some time there. 

I'm not alone in my love of the beach of course. Granddaughter Lettie immediately set about creating, all based on finding three seagull feathers on the sand.

It was fun to wander the sand with Rob, Chenlu, Levi, Carly and Lettie. 
I try to avoid being selfish and always share my beach when I can. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

I Saw A Puffin!

 Dean and I are in Cooper Landing, Alaska, staying in a rental house with Rob, Chenlu, Carly, Lettie and Levi. We are having a lovely time. Yesterday we cruised Resurrection Bay.
The Orca Song was our boat. We were on the top deck, covered from the wind, with perfect views of all we passed. Our captain, Kaylee, was not only wise in the ways of maneuvering boats, she also knew all about wild life and their habits. 

Although there were no whales, there were


Eagles, 

Otters, 

and Puffins, oh my!

I learned that sea otters can dive down 300 feet and hold their breath for 15 minutes.
Puffins have very dense bones and tend to overeat, meaning when they take off flying, they have to flap their wings three times faster than the soaring seagulls.



Some of us didn't make it past the first few minutes of the cruise and slept the rest of the way.


The little white dots are mountain goats. With independent operating toes on their hooves, the dams are able to climb these high cliffs to give birth far away from predators. Once the kids can climb and winter comes, the families move to lower pastures.

Rock full of cormorants 

Sealions resting on the rocks. They are night hunters so they sleep in the day.


~ and the Misty Mountains of Middle Earth. 

Family on the boat: Rob, Levi, Chenlu, Carly, Lettie, Susan, Dean. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

It's a Good Story

Dean is downstairs watching the World Cup final.

May my McKay family forgive me, I am upstairs doing work on the computer. And some play - I check into FaceBook.

The World Cup sound is reasonably quiet for a World Cup. I am scrolling through FB when I come upon a video of a new born giraffe struggling to stand up for the first time.

Just as the baby starts to stand, the cheers from the World Cup become louder. The harder the baby tries and falls down and gets up and tumbles over, the louder and louder the cheers.

Finally, he makes it, stands up, and actually begins to prance a little bit. The World Cup fans went crazy!!

Now I know, someone must have scored a goal and the timing for the baby giraffe was Perfect! We all need cheering once in a while.