Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Old Dude and The Pilot

We have heard wonderful rescue stories from the hurricanes and floods. They are amazing and great. There are other rescue stories to be told from the fires in other parts of the country. This is one of them told by Meredith with a bit of editing by Susan.

I (Meredith) got to tour an airplane called an albatross. It's an old Indiana Jones/Casablanca-esque aircraft, oozing old school romance and adventure.

Why did I get to tour it, you ask? Good question; let me tell you. The 76-year old owner of the albatross is also the owner of a house that was in the line of a fire not too long ago. He was pretty much convinced he was going to lose everything, until a Chinook came over the ridge and doused the previously undousable fire, saving The
Old Dude's house and everything in it.

So Old Dude wanted to thank The Pilot, and figured, as a pilot, he must like aircraft. And brought him an albatross to look at. BUT! The other reason Old Dude wanted to give him a BIG thank you was because Old Dude had a favor to ask of said pilot, yes, even above and beyond the saving of the house. Turns out, as The Pilot had been saving Old Dude's house, Old Dude had been taking pictures of pilot saving old dude's house. And Old Dude has had those pictures printed up and enlarged to 11x17, to be framed and hung on the walls of the house that didn't burn to the ground ~ and Old Dude wanted said pilot's autograph on the pictures. Old Dude recognized that this was a big favor (??????) and so wanted to offer a big thank you, and did said pilot think a tour of an albatross was a big enough thanks? Spoiler ~ yes, yes the albatross was enough. The albatross was unnecessary in this context. 

Said pilot saved said house three days before said old dude's 76th birthday. "You gave me my home and all my memories for my birthday..."

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It's a Mouse!

I don’t know if this is just me or if this demonstrates the difference between male and female brains. When they work on a car at Jiffy Lube, after you pay your bill they take you to your car, lift the hood and show you that all the little tops are tightened down. Great! I really appreciate that. 

So, I am checked out and Don has taken me to the car, opens the hood, I immediately back off and say, “Get rid of the mouse, please.” He had to look for a second to find the little dead body up in the corner. He gets a cloth, removes the mouse and comes back apologizing profusely that none of them had found it earlier. 

My take: they were all men concentrating on their mechanics. I am a woman and if you open anything that has a dead mouse inside it, I will notice it At Once! Whether that is just me or we can generalize to male and female brains, I have no idea. I just know, Don opened the hood and there was the mouse, seen for the first time all day. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Sign of the Times

Daughter Michelle works for the Ashland Oregon School District. Today they received an update:

"With no dissipation of smoke overnight the one-hour DEQ reading for Ashland remains very unhealthy and the 24-hour reading remains hazardous. The guidance of the Oregon Health Authority and DEQ have now clearly stated that we should us the 24-hour reading as our guide as there has been no outdoor fresh air to pull from to circulate within our buildings." ASD website

What does this mean?

DEQ is Dept of Environmental Quality. It means Michelle's kids don't go outside without their expensive masks; buses have to keep their windows closed in 103* heat; schools are providing masks for staff and students who want them and all outside activities and field trips have been cancelled. For Michelle's family - given Akira's having had that horrible bout of pneumonia two years ago and Trinity's having asthma - it means they will probably stay home from school now that Hazardous level has been reached and until the smoke dissipates.

These hang next to Michelle's front door.

When I asked if I could post the picture and the conditions, she said, "Yes, but please add how aware and thankful we are that we are merely inconvenienced. Neither fire nor flood has threatened us, and we are safe and sound in our home. Prayers for all for whom this is far more of a painful and tragic reality." 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What Can I Do?

If you want to help the folks inundated by Harvey, may I suggest you donate through a fund of an organized religious organization.

I am a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Our mission is called Week of Compassion and can be found at One hundred percent of your designated gift goes to where you request. If you give an undesignated gift, only 7% is kept to keep the organization running and the rest is donated where most needed.

It is my assumption, although I have not researched this, is that most Christian, Jewish and Muslim organizations operate along the same lines. Donate through these organizations and your gift will reach the people who need it. Blessings to you and your generous gift ~

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Pig Roast

The invitation warned us: Rotisserie Suckling Pig and Pot Luck
Polynesian Theme

So there was no surprise when we walked in to discover an entire pig on the rotisserie on the deck. I had never seen this in person before, only pictures in magazines and travel articles. I was not the only one taking pictures.

Now I am not a vegetarian. I like my meat of all kinds, and I'd rather not see it "on the hoof" as it were. And of course this pig was already almost done by the time we got there. Nevertheless, I kept a reasonable distance. One woman refused her invitation because she couldn't face the pig.
Jeff, the man with the apple juice spray, had been up all night nursing the coals into perfection. The pig went on the spit about 5 am and we ate about 3 pm.

Here they go, pulling the meat off the bone as the rest of us laid out an amazing pot luck to accompany the pork. There was no luck about the pots that graced this table. Every dish was prepared with love and care. As is always the case with such meals, it was well balanced. Just the right number of appetizers, three green salads, potato salad,  two fruit salads and a bowl of sliced watermelon, baked beans, a savory bread pudding, bread, tiny sausages, rolls with a parmesan stuffing, and lots of deviled eggs. All of it absolutely yummy. 

All of this was followed by two pies, upside down cake, brownies, and cookies.

It was a feast worthy of the main dish. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Eclipse

Well, that was an interesting experience. We had perfect seats for our 83%. We sat on the front deck, our neighbor came over, we had coffee and tea and good conversation and for an hour or so we let the experience of the morning take over and blot out politics and the rest of the world. At one point Dianne said, I’m surprised people aren’t posting like crazy. I said, “maybe, just maybe, they are actually experiencing what is happening instead of observing and posting about it.” That was almost as amazing as the eclipse itself. 

A noted difference from other eclipses, it only cooled off but there was no sense of it getting anywhere near dark. More a sense of it was getting brighter as the moon moved on. The birds kept up their chirping and flitting around the trees. We could hear airplanes overhead and cars on the road. 

But mainly we shared some time with each other. We also shared time with people all over the country ~ some of whom are just now witnessing the event. There had been so much hoopla ahead of time that there was a bit of let down when the time went by so fast. Jack Canfield had it right: “after the ecstasy, the laundry.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I'm Back!

I’m back. Woke with lots more energy for everything including the resistance than I had yesterday. I do appreciate all those on FB who “liked” what I wrote yesterday. Your clicking “like” or “love” was very affirming. I still may not read every article or click “like” myself and you know where I stand even though once in a while I need to take a day to breathe. 

I’m looking forward to a couple of days with two delightful grands who will affirm my faith that we are not born racist. ~ blessings on your journey!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


I am tired. Tired of seeing all the posts on FB about Charlottesville. Tired of struggling with my own words to try to express my outrage and anger. Tired of the realization that the now blatant racism has just been lying dormant all these years waiting for permission to explode again. And if I am tired - oh my, how desperately tired must be the folks against whom all this racism and oppression has been focused for centuries.

As a privileged white woman, I cannot begin to imagine (although I do try) how tired people who have faced this all their lives must be. I may have thought it had gone away. They knew differently and watched it explode through police violence, ugly responses to Black Lives Matter marches and personal slurs and accusations. 

Again I am reminded of the orchestral analogy that when the note is to be held for measures beyond the breath’s capacity, take a breath for someone else will still be holding the note and once you breathe, they too can take a breath. And so today I take a breath. 

A former pastor of mine posts, day after day, articles and pictures and blogs of resistance. And at the same time he posts pictures of his delightful granddaughter and his pride in his family. He balances his resistance with his love and light in life.

Today I will take a breath. Then I will return to finding my way through my own life to resist, to stand tall, to say This is Not Normal. I will continue to believe in America as it can and should be. ~ blessings to you on your journey through this life

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cousin Joe

My cousin Joe lives in Colorado Springs so he drove to Breckenridge to spend the day. We have not seen each other in a long time - well, several years. We did, however, start our lives spending summers together in North Carolina. 

Joe and Susan, 1948

Joe and Susan, 2017

What a fun day! We talked family history, present reading, and all sorts of other topics. And sure enough, we found a pole to lean on and have another picture made. It was wonderful to spend time with him. Love my cousins so much!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Fun on the Mountain

The family spent the day at the adventure park in Breckenridge. To get there we rode a gondola to the  park. The older grands took off for the zip line and disappeared into a long wait for most of the morning. The younger ones headed to Kids' Base Camp for a delightful time.

Preparation for a ropes course.

Already a confident expert ~ 

~ who gets a little irritated when the person in front of her won't move. 


And she too enjoys the spirit of adventure. 

Tubing down an alpine run.
There was a much longer tubing run that you took a ski lift to the top.
Some of the older grands and parents did that one.

Ready to fly on the zip line.

And she's off!! And loving it - over and over again. 

Heading home down the mountain. For the back story, 
you have to notice the dark clouds coming in. By the time we were down
and home, the folks left on the mountain were calling for a lift home.
All the rides and the gondolas were shut down because of lightning.
Thank goodness, Rob was able to drive to the upper hotel where they met
him after a short walk down. Folks not so lucky were being bussed down
the mountain in 15 passenger vans along the ski slopes - a 40 minute ride
after waiting and waiting for your turn in the van. Money was refunded so
for our crowd it turned out to be just another part of the day's adventure. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Levi Loves Grandpa

It started as a simple hand game and has grown into a full-fledged
partnership and maybe a little idol worship.

"I love you, Grandpa."

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Utah Sunset

Sunset pictures from the patio outside our room at the airbnb where we stayed for two nights in Salt Lake City. Sunset over the Great Salt Lake (that clear strip beneath the hills.

Moon over Salt Lake City. 

Thursday, July 27, 2017


On the road from Tahoe City to Salt Lake City across stretches of I80 I had never traveled. I took a few pictures along the way ~ and will continue them tomorrow as we head toward Breckenridge CO.

First stop: The Griddle in Winnemucca, NV for lunch. This wedge was so amazing looking that a man from another table came and asked if he could take a picture. That reminded me to take one too as I rarely photograph food. First of all, I have never seen a head of lettuce this big. The wedge was as big as some heads of lettuce I have seen. Grannie Smith apples, caramelized walnuts, tomatoes, bacon with bleu cheese dressing topped with onion crisps. Worth the picture taking!!

I liked this rock formation.

Rain the forecast.

We arrived at the rain and shortly after this, I had to close my eyes
because I could not see the road which meant Dean couldn't either.
He watched the yellow line and the little light posts and promised to
let me know when he could see again.

And then there was sun. The storm did follow us into Salt Lake City
and hit just as we were going to bed. 

Bonneville salt flats. That's salt out there and it just goes on forever.
Some of it was really wet and mushy from previous storms.

After checking into our wonderful airbnb, we had dinner at a small Greek
restaurant about 6 blocks distant. I did remember to take a picture of out
zucchini crisps. We stayed traditional. Dean had salmon and I had spanakopita.
We shared a tiny piece of extra rich baclava. Yum.
We made it through dinner on a patio and stayed dry. The storm hit after
we were back to our lovely B&B.

Sunrise over Salt Lake City. These are views from our room.

We are having a lovely time. Dean is exploring his genealogy at the History Museum and Library; I am writing, reading, and learning about hosting an airbnb. I'll let you know when that happens. Meanwhile ~ blessings on your journeys wherever they take you. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Mother and Daughters

I mentioned in my previous blog that my mother was her mother's fifth daughter. This morning, I came across this picture while looking for something else entirely. The resemblance I talked about yesterday is definitely clear in this picture. My mother is standing directly behind her mother.

Front row: Mabel, Mama Dear, Lalah
Back row: Rubye, Polly, Maude

Mabel, the oldest, was born prematurely. The doctor signed a death certificate to save himself another trip to the country. Mama Dear lined a drawer with warm bricks, swaddled her little one and fed her when she cried. At age 21, Mabel had only a death certificate when she needed a birth certificate to get married.  Aunt Mabel lived to be 98.
Maude, the second, was a wonderful farm wife. She and Uncle Bill had room in their home for Mama Dear and Aunt Rubye and always welcomed my family every summer. 
Rubye was the professional woman. She never married and worked in a real estate office during a time when women were just beginning to be in the work force.
Lalah was called "Happy" because she was. She raised 3 children, always had room in her home and at her table for others. Shhh - don't tell, but of all the aunts, she was my favorite. Probably because she fed me grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade apple sauce for lunch.
Polly, my mother, was 8 years younger than Lalah and was loved as the baby she was. I don't think she was spoiled though because she could certainly keep a house and raise a child. She also had the courage to leave the North Carolina family home and venture to Texas to marry some upstart lawyer in the middle of the depression. 
I feel honored to be descended through Polly while at the same time having the blood of these amazing women running through my veins. They loved me, nurtured me, and taught me a lot. There is a lot more inheritance here than the shape of our noses.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mothers and Daughters

Cousins found a picture of my grandmother as
a young woman. They thought my mother looked a 
lot like her.

My grandmother, Addie Martin Trent.
We called her Mama Dear.

Her fifth daughter and my mother, Polly Trent Shank.

My first daughter, Michelle, who probably carries more of the Martin family genes than I do.
This was my granddaughter Trinity's 6th birthday when she received a doll that Polly, Susan and Michelle had all received on their 6th birthdays. I am holding my mother's picture made at about the same age as her mother's above. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Kitchen Lessons

I have a very simple recipe for rather amazing oatmeal cookies. I have added raisins and chocolate chips (to separate batches). Lovely and yummy. Today, however, I also added coconut. That was too much. The liquid was not enough to allow the extra ingredient to adhere, especially to the batch with raisins, and I have a large batch of delicious crumbles. Without the raisins, they are ok - and as these are cookies I make when I am giving a tea, I will certainly go back to the original recipe then. Adding too many more ingredients just doesn't work.

On the other hand ~ earlier in the summer I had made a small batch of apple sauce which I discovered needed more than one kind of apple. Oh, well, I froze some anyway. It was tasty. Just not my apple sauce. Today I found one last container from last fall in the freezer downstairs. *Light bulb* ~ mix the two. Yummy!! The one from last fall made with several kinds of apples added just what was needed to the summer one. Perfect.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, it was all good!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer Vegetables

I am not a vegetarian, not by a long shot. And over the years, summer veggies have often called for a meal all of their own. Today was one of those days. 

Nothing is from our garden yet and except for the asparagus (Costco) everything else is from the Farmers' Market. The squash was melt-in-your-mouth sweet, the tomatoes juicy and perfect, the asparagus just right off the grill and the corn - oh, my goodness, the corn. Sweet, tender summer perfection. Yummy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Random Round-up

Chapter Three:The last pictures and some stories from the McKay family trip to Tahoe.

Little Man is off to explore the world. 

And isn't happy when he is called back to the
safety of the deck.

Precious loves to build with the blocks her Grandpa made.

And to discover stuffed animals on a high shelf.

Little Man loved to join Mama Susan for breakfast. Mama Susan
quickly learned to scramble him his own egg so to alleviate her 
guilt over eating all her own breakfast. 
Any time I sat in this chair, he wanted in my lap. If I was without eggs,
he was down in a flash.

If we can just keep him cleaning the floor as he grows up.

Ahhhh - this is the life.

Fun at the beach. 

We had another visitor one day. About 30 seconds after I took
this picture, Oso burst out of the shop, barking and levitating as he ran. 
I was worried for a minute he was going to catch the bear. He gave up
the chase while still in sight.

Did you ever wonder what dental floss looked like when explored by
a 17 month old? Now you know!

Proud and happy dad and Little Man at the beach.

Precious was there too and everyone was happy.

The McKay family minus one - our lovely grand daughter Kaitlyn
who has just finished her masters in Germany and will be staying
there to work. It was so good to have Carter with us before he is
deployed with the Marines in November. Kyle lives in Tahoe so 
we were glad he took his evening off to have dinner with us and 
spend some family time. It was a wonderful trip for them and a
delightful time for us.