Wednesday, November 22, 2017

In Defense of Children

I do not usually post twice in one day and when I found this in a mystery I am reading and also saw another political post about "a child molester", I had to do it. 

from The Price of Murder (Sir John Fielding) by Bruce Alexander - pp 65,66

“ . . . the vicar quoted from Saint matthew, Chapter 18, verse 6. 
‘ But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’

Then, pausing but a moment to look each of us in the eye, he continued, signaling by some lightening of his tone that he no longer quoted scripture but spoke now as himself: ‘It should be understood that this the most frightening passage of any in the gospels. I know of no harsher words to come from the lips our Lord than these. Whey then did he save them for those who commit crimes against children? The answer should be plain to us all. Because such as they are quite unable to defend themselves. They must depend upon the generosity of others for their defense.”

Thanksgiving, 2017

Today I am thankful for simplicity. I love a big family gathering. I have been a guest and a host to numerous Thanksgiving dinners that included family and friends, a huge turkey, pans of dressings, bowls of gravy and enough food to feed us all for days. I loved it all. 

On the other hand, if you asked me what Thanksgiving is my most memorable, I will tell you of a time when both daughters were gone from home, I preached at the interfaith Thanksgiving service and then we came home to steak and Caesar salad. 

This will be another one of those years. We were invited and were unable to travel that far. We invited and they couldn’t travel that far or already had plans. And so tomorrow it is just us. Dean wanted to smoke a turkey so the meal will be rather traditional, just made in smaller portions than usual. I’m experimenting with dressing made with just the cornbread; one baked sweet potato shared between us; and no given time to indulge in our feast. We will eat when the food is ready. I may set an elaborate table. I may not. Dean may take his plate to the tv to watch football and I will enjoy a new book I have just now ordered on Kindle. 

Throughout it all, we will be grateful. Grateful for the love surrounding us from distant family and friends. Grateful for life and health and energy. Grateful for simplicity. 

May your Thanksgiving be as simple or as noisy and boisterous as you desire and may you be grateful for all your blessings. Thank you for stopping by and sharing time with me here. I am grateful for you too. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Seventy-five and Forward

With Dean’s birthday and mine coming up soon, I have been reflecting on 75. Seventy-five is a rather impressive age. Three quarters of a century. An age when in the past people were old and feeble except of course for those who weren’t. Again I look at the books I read, noticing it first in my Agatha Christie’s when I was about 60. Old people, dying people are in their late 50’s or early 60’s. Seventy was out of the question. Today at 75, people are very physically active. The ski slopes opened yesterday and Dean was there. As a generation we hike, we travel, we do yoga, tai chi, play tennis ~ people our age are very active both physically and mentally. Friends who teach are just now retiring and of course my father was still practicing law when he died at the age of 85. 

With age comes wisdom too ~ at least for some of us. It manifests itself in ordinary and also deep ways. We are able to mentor in the ways of the world. Maybe it takes our grandchildren to help us with newer technology, but we are still learners at the same time we teach and offer insights. We still look forward although the aim doesn’t have to be a big event or project. We take classes. We read. And today we are more active politically than we have been because we want our grandchildren to enjoy the diversity and equality we fought so hard to obtain. 

Maybe we go to the doctor more often than we used to but on the whole we are doing well with continuing health and interests and wisdom in the world. We look back to all the stories we can tell and we also look forward to the good times, the fun times, the learning and the teaching as the future unfolds around us. Seventy-five is a good time to be alive. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

So Grateful for our Dog!

Well, it was a little bit disconcerting. Oso went on a barking jag about 2 this morning. By the time I woke up, he was in the living room moving across parallel to the deck. Back to the bathroom and finally one last bark and back to bed. There had to have been something on the deck. It wasn’t a bear because his bark was a grounded (all four feet on the ground) baritone. A bear would have elicited a tenor bark and levitation (all 4 feet off the ground). Must have been a raccoon. 

So he went back to sleep and as I was already awake, I decided to go to the bathroom. The bathroom felt chillier than usual. I looked at the door onto the deck and it was open about 9 inches. Something had tried to come in!!! oops. Time to repair that lock. I put a stick on the floor by the frame, kept there so animals won’t open the door but we rarely use it unless we go out of town. Thank you, Oso, Protector and Defender of the realm!!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Chocolate Perfection

Bought this at World Market the other day. Tried it for the first time last night. Oh My Goodness!
This is "drinking" or "sipping" chocolate. It is rich, thick and deserves to be served in a demitasse cup. Unfortunately I gave mine to my daughter several years ago. I'll wait until my Christmas china with smaller cups come out of storage on December first and enjoy it then. Meanwhile, if I make it again, I will just go with a regular cup. 
It calls for 3 Tbs (or more) of the chocolate mix to 1/2 cup of water. I started with 4 Tbs. It was Wonderful and my writing skills do not do it justice. I suggest if you like dark chocolate, go to your local World Market and purchase this extraordinary drink. Do your best to sit in front of a fire but if that is not possible, at least snuggle up with a really good book and enjoy the sensation. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

"He's the Man!"

I have been with the Little Man several times this summer and noticed that he really likes machines and working. I decided he needed a truck. When we came to his house this week, we discovered there was a pool being dug in his back yard. All the more reason for a truck. I found a good old fashioned Tonka dump truck. Simple, uncomplicated.
Big sister started him off, showing him how it all works.

And then the Little Man took over.

Strong boy!

Pile them up in the truck.

"I can do it!"

"I did it!!"

"I'm the Man!!"

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Halloween Coup

It was a great party!!!  Mandy had chili - someone brought mac ’n cheese (which was delicious under the chili), someone brought a cheese and meat platter, and Mandy and the girls had made chocolate chip cookies. Oh - and someone brought lemonade which I was the only one who drank. So grateful. Dave stayed home and gave out candy and I went with the girls and Mandy. The neighborhood was Full of kids and folks with fire pits burning in their driveways, and lots and lots of candy. 

So here was my coup of the evening. Mandy and Dave had set up a large screen with Looney Toons Halloween cartoons (Tom and Jerry) playing. They put out chairs and blankets and let people sit and watch. So I have finished my rotations with the kids and am standing outside when  a couple of teens arrive. I give them candy, they notice the cartoons, I tell them they are welcome to sit and watch. They thank me politely and leave - talk to three more of their friends who are waiting on the sidewalk and come back and take me up on it. They must have stayed for 30 minutes. At one point I took out popcorn, told them a movie needed popcorn but they had to share. They passed around the bowl, ate it all, had a great time and left, thanking us (Mandy was back by then) profusely. I think it made their evening. It certainly made mine.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I Have a Hat!

I have always enjoyed Halloween from dressing up and racing from house to house as a child to sharing that time with my own children. There were a few adult parties over the years for which I was able to throw together some sort of costume. I know I was in theatre and I scrupulously avoided the costume department so I really did improvise at Halloween.

When I moved to Tahoe 16 years ago, Dean told me there would be no children coming by. Hoping he was wrong, I had candy. He was right and we have had no spooky visitors in all that time. I did go to Carson City once with Michelle, Meredith and Trinity and we went out as our own family coven. 

This year I am going to be with grands in Southern California over Halloween and have learned that there is a block party with lots of kids and open houses and visiting neighbors. I have no idea if the adults dress up or not. I am going to. And I have already started planning. 

I have a hat! And it is purple - my color, so coordinating my outfit will be no problem. I am having such fun planning ~ and of course I have to have everything ready to take with us when we travel. You will see the whole outfit on the day but for now know that I am enjoying gathering my costume and becoming a purple witch because I have a hat! 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I Am Not a Fax

I am not a fax machine! There has been a company that for a long time has thought I was a fax machine. Irritating. Finally this morning, the third time the call came through, it dawned on me I could Google them and find out how to contact them. They are a very legitimate company as far as their website goes - and Bethany, the receptionist, was very helpful. She is going to do what she can to find the right person and stop faxes to my home phone. She was also rather amazed that I was not a client, had no account with them, and had never heard of them until the fax calls started coming. Lovely if it is finally over. Now I know what to do as their are several others like this — and why I haven’t though of it before, I have no idea. Phew.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October De'lish

The first frost was coming so I brought in the three tomato plants and lined them up in the bathroom. And haven't moved them since! I suppose we could have taken them back out to get more sun and brought them in again at night. We didn't though. They sat in their warm corner where steam from the shower would bless them and the heated floor gave them some protection from the cold. The result was little clusters of tiny sweet tomatoes. They ripened one at a time until today when there were enough to pick and picture. So good. And such a delight to have summer flavors in October.

Friday, October 6, 2017

“They want to call you?”

It is 25 years ago. Michelle is pregnant with Joshua, and yes, we know it is Joshua who is coming. My friend Anne comes late to dance rehearsal, apologizes and says, “Cory wanted to call and talk to his grandmother.” Cory was about 3. My immediate and excited response was, “They want to call you??”

Wow! Grandchildren might want to call their grandparents. I could hardly wait. And sure enough Joshua was born, grew up enough to want to call his Mama Susan, recognize the weekly postcard and finally find it amazing that when he came to our house, I was actually there.

Time passed. When he was in high school we lived close enough that we saw each other every week or so and therefore the need or desire for phone calls was not as great. 

College years passed quickly (for me - not so much for him) and we saw each other when I could make it to Ashland. He graduated on a Saturday and on Monday started a new job that he enjoys. Once in a while I would see a post of some kind on FaceBook and in the last week I saw him on my chat list. As happens a lot, as I was typing a message, he signed off. And then the other day, my phone rings. It was Joshua!

My excitement was just as great after 25 years, as that earlier anticipation of just the fact that they might want to call. I’m not sure grandchildren understand how much their grandparents love them until they themselves become grandparents. I find myself thinking of my grandmother and some of things I was told she said about me. Even after all these years, I wish I could call. 

Mama Dear and Susan in 1943; Joshua and Mama Susan at graduation in June. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Random Observations

1) Oso loves to swim and retrieve.

2) I am tired of politics, disrespect for other human beings, ugly language and using the First Amendment to justify anything done or said without regard to consequences.

3) I am tired of people using the Second Amendment to justify civilians having assault weapons. Gun control may not stop what happened in Las Vegas and it would be a step in the right direction.

4) First frost killed all the flowers and the basil. The mint survived.

5) Aged Gouda is very different than plain Gouda or even smoked Gouda. Aged Gouda is very good and it just isn't Gouda. It's another taste and texture entirely.

6) Warm fall afternoons are good for the soul.

7) I am trying to age gracefully and sometimes I just have to complain.

8) A loving family is one of the greatest gifts we have. I am so grateful.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Fall Afternoon at the Lake

Those of you who remember the draught pictures from last summer, will be pleased to see a full lake, rolling waters and even some waves curling against the shore. 

And in the middle if you look closely is Oso, making his way to a ball Dean threw.

He found it, and back he comes.

Success - several times over on this warm fall day.

Don't stand too close, mom. Here I go!
Shake it off and head home to sit on a warm deck to dry. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Even in a Peaceful Place

The Wellness Center where I have my chiropractic and acupuncture sessions is a very peaceful place. Quiet music plays throughout the small building. Voices are usually kept low in order not to disturb massage or acupuncture. The energy is gentle and peaceful. 

This morning, just as I was called into a room for chiropractic, a man whom I have seen there before, burst in the door, saw the other man sitting there, and started venting his anger about the NFL players taking the knee during the National Anthem. His energy was all over the place, bouncing off the walls and swirling around the room. 

Being in another room, only one wall away though, I was away from the immediate impact of his energy and I still had to sit still, center myself, drop a fresh grounding cord and surround myself with silence. He was so angry and so loud. The other man’s ideas agreed with him but he was quiet and 
stated his position reasonably. Although I disagreed with them both, I could have had a conversation with the one man while the other was almost scary. His angry energy was incredible. I don’t think I have heard anyone that angry in a long time. 

Truthfully, I am grateful I had been placed in a treatment room. I do wish I had had an opportunity to thank the other man for being so quiet and rational and peaceful in his opposition to my opinions. We are not going to change the other’s mind and I would like to have heard his story. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I Kneel

I have been trying to decide what is in my heart around this “kneeling during the national anthem” controversy. I had just about given up trying to find the right words when they were said for me. Representative Sheila Jackson (D-Texas) knelt in Congress with these words:

“I kneel in front of the flag and on this floor, I kneel in honor of the First Amendment, I kneel because the flag is a symbol for freedom, I kneel because I am going to stand against racism, I kneel because I will stand with those young men and I’ll stand with our soldiers and I’ll stand with America because I kneel.”

Thank you, Congresswoman Jackson! This 74 year old white woman kneels with you. 

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.