Friday, August 19, 2011

FRIDAY FENCE POST #80: Raccoon Highway

It's been a Long time since I did a Friday Fence Post, and this one is kind of a cheater. It has a fence, the one right outside our bedroom window, but I'm reasonably certain that isn't what will get your attention. I was sitting near the window when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye....

Isn't it beautiful? I got quite close to it, even closer than these photos. The fence is only about six feet from the wall, and our not-so-little friend here was at eye level. It was only when I opened the window to get a better shot that s/he backed up, away from me. I thought to myself, when it did that, Huh. Apparently, this raccoon understands the difference between an open and a shut window. Now isn't that interesting?

I wonder how often raccoons use the top of our fence as their highway....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

SUNDAY RERUN: Dad Tells Me a Story

This is an entry from my diary, May 12, 2003. It includes a story Dad told me, one which I'd forgotten:

There are times I'm intensely aware that any journal is a series of choices--what to record, in how much detail, what to omit. You may even have to choose whose stories to tell. I'm deciding tonight, here in the time-share vacation condo I'm sharing with my parents, Mom's sister Charlotte, and Dad's brother's widow Jewel. Already a week has passed since the fund-raising dinner/theatre entertainment for the new production of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Mother's Day was yesterday, Bruce's hearing with his supervisor's superior was this morning, and I have spent a rare five hours alone with my dad as we drove from Portland, (actually he joined me in Hood River) to Leavenworth, followed by dinner here, a round of crafting stick-pins, and swapping reminisces until Mom and the aunties were too tired to stay up any longer. Dad went to bed shortly after dinner. The trip had worn him out.

Now here I am, sitting propped against the wall, sideways at the head of the Murphy bed. I'm trapped in pajamas, as the living room is my bedroom, and perspiration beads my forehead. Aunt Charlotte was worried some Peeping Tom could see through the vertical blinds. What would she think if I opened a window? I am ready to go out and sleep in the van. Anything to cool off. I am going to open a window.

I surprised myself by being ready to leave when Mom and Dad arrived this morning. The car was packed, I'd had time to eat, RC had checked the tires and transmission.

Mom rode with me as far as Aunt Charlotte's, in Hood River. We had a brief visit there with cousin Cindy, and a light lunch, and then loaded Charlotte's gear into Mom and Dad's little red Taurus and drove over to pick up Aunt Jewel. Dad was my passenger now. Said he didn't want to get stuck in a car with three gabbling women. He'd told me in Portland he'd switch with Mom. Sometimes I've felt as though Dad and I didn't have a lot in common. I think it's a male/female thing. Duane told me once he always fretted about what to get Mom for Christmas and birthdays, but Dad was easy. It's just the other way around, for me--with Mom, I have to take a l-o-o-o-n-g list of possibilities and pare it down; with Dad I walk around wondering what one earth he might like to get! But there's one thing Dad and I have always shared: Our love of music.

We sang together for long miles, reminding each other of songs we hadn't thought of in years, resurrecting lyrics in a patchwork fusion of mental filing systems. 

And Dad told me stories. 

He told me of the time he'd been out logging with his brother, (my Uncle Walt) and a couple of buddies. They'd set out from camp one morning, Dad and one of the guys. Uncle Walt was still in camp, and the fourth man was already out in the woods. Dad had a double-headed clearing axe over his shoulder, which they used the way I suppose one would use a machete, to clear brush around the trees they wanted to cut, or to clear a path through the forest. It was honed every morning until it had an edge you could have shaved with.

Well, it was cold and frosty, and Dad stepped up onto an icy log lying in the path, lost his balance, and tried to keep his feet by bringing the handle of the axe down, slicing his neck quite neatly at the base of the skull.

His buddy managed to get him back to camp, where Uncle Walt hustled them into their old car. Dad's friend had a thick, folded cloth over the gash, trying to staunch the bleeding, but it wasn't working. At the sound of the car's engine, the fourth man came out of the woods wanting to know why they were going back. Uncle Walt jerked a thumb at the back seat, where Dad and his friend were. 

That fourth man took one look at the two of them and said, "Stop the car!" to Uncle Walt, yanked the back door open and said, "Get out!" to the friend, who did, and scrambled into the front seat. Then the latecomer climbed in with Dad and pushed his thumb into the pressure point on the side of Dad's neck, stopping the flow of blood. Without his knowledge and action, Dad would have bled to death.

Now, back to 2011, with the latest photos from the yard:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

SWAP-BOT SATURDAY: Altered Bingo Card, ATC, Chunky House

What? It's been a month since I blogged?! Oh, dear. Well, I'm going to try to get back into the swing of things, and I'll start with a Swap-Bot Saturday post.

These are the things I sent out this week. I enjoyed working on them, and am hoping their recipients like getting them in the mail.

This first one is an ATC (Artist Trading Card). The swap theme was "Altered Photograph". I had several to choose from, and was leaning toward a pretty child.

As I went through my little stash, this one grabbed my attention, as it does every time I see it, but I set it aside. I know my proclivity for the quirky and irreverent. It would be too easy to make fun of her, I thought, and I don't want to do that.  There's always been, for me, something compelling in this woman's face. I feel a little sad looking at her sometimes. Her name is Rebeccah. I look at her eyes and mouth, and think, She must have been beautiful as a young woman.

A little while later, I fixed a cup to tea to drink as I worked, and read what was on the teabag's tag. I knew instantly that I'd use Rebeccah's photo after all. The tag is on the ATC. (You may need to click on the picture to read it.)

Then came an Altered Bingo Card, my first. I thought at first that I'd do something vintage-y and frilly and feminine, but....

Last up, a Chunky House, with the assigned theme of "something to do with the sea". Here's my creation, with the "porthole" closed:

And then with it open:

In two days it will be Independence Day. Already the fireworks have begun. I love that part, everybody setting off firecrackers all over town, in spite of the fact that most of what I can see and hear are quite illegal here! I'm so glad Washington still lets people have big, loud, showy fireworks; what would Oregonians do, otherwise?!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Almost Summer in the Garden

Well, I think I've been brain dead for the last couple of months! Odd what dealing with even a non-threatening bit of cancer will do. (Update: My DH has been through the surgery, and the first six treatments, and is doing fine. No more treatments now until mid-July. As you'll see from the photos, he's feeling a Lot better!)

Today marked the first real day of spring/summer here, and was it a wonder. We went from day after day of cold drizzle, to mid-sixty temperatures yesterday, with more drizzle, to brilliant sunshine and a high of 90 degrees today.

There was just one thing to do: Get out in the yard and garden!

Bob and I had been working for a couple of hours when I looked across the yard and realized, It's finally coming together. After all these years...look how beautiful! I had to get the camera, even though some of the photos are littered with spades, wheelbarrows, and other tools.

We've lived here now for eleven years. When we bought the place, our main thrust was to keep the weeds mowed. The "lawn" was up to our thighs the first time we mowed it. There were no arbors, no benches, no swings, no paths, no flower beds other than the ones along each of the houses, and they're only about 18" wide. (Unusual property alert: We actually bought five houses on half an acre. We live in one, and rent out the other four.) Now...Well, I'll let the photos do the talking.

Okay, so what have I been doing? I have a new passion, or an old passion with a new twist: For the first time in my life, I'm taking voice lessons, something I'd always dreamed of doing. The new twist is what I'm singing--opera! Coloratura, to be exact. What's coloratura? Usually soprano, I'm told, and rather acrobatic, with lots of movement and runs and jumps from one octave to another. I am having SO MUCH FUN! Our teacher's master class is having a get-together tomorrow, and we'll all sing for each other. This is one of the tunes I'll be singing:

Friday, April 8, 2011

FRIDAY FENCE POST #79--Child's Eye View

I'm two weeks past due for a Friday Fence Post. I do apologize for being away so long. I got kind of distracted with the DH's illness, and to tell the truth, kind of misplaced the big WHY of blogging, a bit of lame on my part.

But I'm here, with some cool fences, and even cooler, several of the shots were taken by my 7-year-old granddaughter, Meggie. She has a real eye, that one, and her own thoughts about framing. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that she did not want me rotating any of her pictures, that she had taken them the way she wanted them to be seen.

So now, here are some of the fences we shot on our walk today, hers interspersed with mine. I'll tell you which were hers at the end. I think it will not necessarily be obvious.

The fences are: Meg's, mine, mine, hers, hers, hers, mine, mine. Did you get them all right?

A word on the last two, also. The next to the last, if you look closely, especially at the right side of the sidewalk, is the shadow of a picket fence. The last is chain link, reflected in rain water on some corrugated sheeting.

Click on any photo to see it large.

Your turn! Has spring brought out the fences in your area? Post them on your blog, and drop the link here so I can come see them! And be sure to leave a comment. I love them anyway, but comments in my inbox let me know something's going on over here!

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

SUNDAY RERUN: Brain Teasers

Brain Teaser: Balancing Four Nails by MadeContact
Time for a Sunday Favorite! If you want to join the party, click on the button in my left hand sidebar--it will take you to Chari's instructions on Happy to Design.

This is an entry from my old diary, dated April 17, 2003. Hope you enjoy the Brain Teasers!

These brain teasers were sent to me a few days ago by one of my readers. I say, "Thanks, Phil!" And I'm adding one to his, an old (1933) jigsaw that gave you the brain teaser on the back, and then you could put the puzzle together to read the solution on the picture, which they didn't put on the box. 

So, written teasers first, picture teaser next, and answers after that.

Brain teasers that will make you groan ...
1. A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him?

2. A woman shoots her husband. Then she holds him under water for over
5 minutes. Finally, she hangs him. But 5 minutes later they both go out together and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?

3. There are two plastic jugs filled with water. How could you put all of this water into a barrel, without using the jugs or any dividers, and still tell which water came from which jug?

4. What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away?

5. Can you name three consecutive days without using the words Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday?

6. This is an unusual paragraph. I'm curious how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so plain you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is unusual though. Study it, and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out.
Here is the back of the box, with the captions to pictures below:
  1. Rich princess want to marry a poor peasant. Her father objects.
  2. King decrees on following day he will offer poor man two slips. One reads "marriage", the other "death". Peasant must abide by his choice. 
  3.  Poor peasant is secretly told the night before that both slips will read "death".  
  4. Peasant goes before court, and after making his choice, marries the princess. HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Answers to the brainteasers:
1. The third. Lions that haven't eaten in three years are dead.
2. The woman was a photographer. She shot a picture of her husband, developed it, and hung it up to dry.
3. Freeze them first. Take them out of the jugs and put the ice in the barrel. You will be able to tell which water came from which jug.
4. The answer is Charcoal.
5. Sure you can: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!
6. The letter "e", which is the most common letter in the English language, does not appear once in the long paragraph...

Answer to the Jigsaw teaser:
Peasant swallows the slip he chooses. The King said one of them would read "marriage", and the "other" death, so the peasant must have chosen "marriage", as the one in his hand is "death".

Hope you enjoyed the Brain Teasers! Now I'm off to see what Chari's got for us today....

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but it's really Sunday. I didn't get the photos taken early enough to do this yesterday, so I'm pretending. And Blogger is so cooperative that way--you can tell it to post something on just any date you want, and it will do it. What will they think of next? Time machines! I know it!

I got several lovelies this week, beginning with a piece of mail art:

Mail Art Envie by MegaMar
 Don't you love it? Let me tell you, I went right out and got myself a unicyclist rubber stamp. Lucky me, too, 'cause Michaels had one for a dollar. Yes!

I also got this awesome chunky tag, created with a coffee theme because, well, you know me and coffee. That made me smile big.

"One Cup Is Never Enough!" by Tootheri

And then this darling ATC, with a fairy theme, in a perfectly wonderful holder. I need to figure out how she did that, but she glued it, and I don't want to destroy it in the figuring. Maybe steam? Hmmm...

Pink Fairy by BeverlyBling

And then, because my little collection of ATCs is growing, I picked up a funky old photo album at Goodwill. (Another $1 wonder!) The sleeves hold photos that are 3.5" X 5", perfect for two ATCs.

It's not beautiful, which makes me think there's a project lurking, and the sleeves, oddly enough, work much better if you put the ATCs at the back instead of the front, but I like it, because it let's me flip through and see them easily. A person could put four in each sleeve, but doing just two lets you see the back of each one, and who created it.

Also, the fact that the sleeves are double-sized means that ATCs with extras can be slipped in sideways so nothing gets smushed. (Would you believe Blogger thinks 'smushed' isn't a real word? Honestly, that's just silly. Of course, it is!)

Time ATC by Veronica

What about you? Did you send or receive art this week?

Friday, March 25, 2011


I love this time of year, when Spring arrives and photographing fences becomes an excuse for taking pictures of what's in front of them! AND I got out of my car! My foul weather fence photography secret is I park across from the fence I've chosen, roll down the window, and shoot from there. What can I say? I have a strong distaste for being cold and wet!

Today's first fence:

At the left edge of the photo above, you can just make out the hellebore in these next three. Isn't it beautiful? I love the new varieties that have come out in the past several years!

Filters R Fun

How about bright yellow forsythia against a white picket fence? Is there a brighter harbinger of Spring?

Last one, an "owlish" fence on the next corner:

These photos are all much larger than they appear, sort of like things you see in your sideview mirror. Click on them to bring them up full-size.

Now it's your turn! Post your Friday Fence, and come back here with the URL, so I can come see it, too! (Make sure it's the permalink to the post itself, so I can find it.) You've got a whole week to bring back your link, so be sure you leave a comment, so I'll know to look. (By the way, I'd love it if you'd grab the button in my left sidebar for your own blog. Let's get more people, with more fences!)

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