Category Archives: Life

September Reflections, 2020

September reflections…

September, this year, was an unusual month. The first half was filled with smoke and anxiety due to the many fires burning here in Oregon. The air quality was at the very hazardous level, and so our family all had to stay inside even more than usual — a quarantine within the quarantine! Many (but not all!) of the fires were finally brought under control, and the air cleared, so we could begin to enjoy the outdoors again, within the limitations of the pandemic.

With all of this necessary indoor time, I filled my hours with lots of reading. I focused mostly on reading mysteries for the Readers Imbibing Peril challenge, and thoroughly enjoyed myself! But I read other things, as well, including starting the first books for my annual Holiday reading. So all in all, September was a good, and very enjoyable, reading month for me.

Summertime 2020

This year, 2020, is the strangest year! I posted this 2020 version of the calendar on my Instagram account, and we’re all just hoping (but not holding our breath) that December will be like that…nice and normal!  But the quarantine days in the middle there are exactly what it has felt like to me. One big jumble of days!

But I’m checking in here to say HI to everyone, and report that we are all well here, although the summer has not been without stresses and anxieties. I am so grateful, though, for our wellness, our resilience, and all the love and support of family and friends!

Some time in April, my oldest brother tested positive for Covid-19. It was such a shock to hear that news. But he was without symptoms, and couldn’t believe that he had tested positive. He was in isolation (at home) for 10 days, then in quarantine for 24 days beyond that. He never developed any symptoms that he could discern, and at the end of the quarantine time, he and his wife were tested again and both results were negative. Also, he requested an antibody test, and that returned negative, as well. We will never know if he was simply one of those asymptomatic cases, or whether his test was one of the 5% false positives. We are all just deeply grateful for his good health.

Our summer projects are moving along slowly. I ended up not planting a vegetable garden this spring/summer, but the butterfly garden is doing really well and looking quite pretty. I’m getting ready to plant some autumn veggie crops in the raised beds, and look forward to planting lots of bulbs for the spring. Hubby has been working on the patio cover next to the new shed in backyard. Our pace on these usual projects seems to have really slowed down. I think it’s due to what I call “quarantine fatigue.”

My reading, however, has NOT slowed down, but sped up. I finished Deborah Crombie’s mystery series, and read a number of books for my anti-racist self-education. And then, at a friend’s suggestion, I tried out the first book in a “romance” series. I hardly ever read books from that genre, but I thought I’d give it a try for some lightweight summer reading, and now I’m already on book #9. I got completely captured by Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series, which takes place in a very small town in the mountains of northern California. Once I met the people of the town, I was hooked. Robyn Carr does relationships (and sex) very well, the men are all decent and kind, the women (almost all get pregnant) are strong and independent, and everyone cares about and helps each other. So Virgin River has not been a bad place to spend this crazy summer!

I hope that you and yours are all healthy and safe this summer, and I hope you are enjoying your summer reading.

Stay safe, my friends.

 

The World Has Need of You

everything here seems to need us
~Rainer Maria Rilke

This poem by Ellen Bass speaks to my heart today, so I wanted to share it with you. With the news filled with sadness and madness, we must try harder each day to feel that “invisible tug between you and everything.”  The beautiful words of Ellen Bass remind us that each one of us is a precious meaningful being, and that each one of us can and must make a positive difference in a world gone mad.

 

Keeping Busy

It’s a quiet Saturday afternoon during this continued period of shelter-in-place..  I know that community life out there is beginning to reopen, but not for us. We are all pretty much in the high risk category —  Hubby and I due to our advanced age, and our son due to his asthma. So we will continue to hunker down for the time being. Perhaps for a long time!

Life continues to be busy, despite being home all the time. I am grateful that we are retired and don’t have to worry about WORK. Our son is very fortunate to be able to work from home. I am grateful that all our family is well and safe at this point. And for the most part, we are happy to stay busy at home.

Here are a few things that are keeping me (us) busy during this time…

READING! So many books, so little time! I’ve read 22 books so far during this quarantine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HANGING OUT WITH MY FAMILY: (we call ourselves the FamNet!) on Zoom every Wednesday afternoon! So much fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

WALKING, although I’m still not getting as much exercise as I was before this quarantine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

ATTENDING ONLINE MEETINGS (a couple each week!) for volunteers with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEARNING:  I signed up for a year’s worth of Masterclass! Why not? I love to learn and I have lots of time!  First class was Jane Goodall on Conservation. A wonderful class!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GARDENING:  I take lots of photos of my flowers, mostly close-ups. I rarely show a whole yard view because then you’d see how many weeds are winning the battle out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUST SHARING SPACE with the Hubby. So glad to be sheltering-in-place with him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY DURING THIS CRAZY TIME, MY FRIENDS!

Checking in After a Long Absence

Us…together in the study…

Once again, I’ve taken an unintentional but necessary break from this blog. I hope that this post finds you and your family healthy and safe! Some of you I follow on social media and some I receive email copies of your blog posts. I have deeply appreciated all your posts and updates during this time despite my silence.

What a strange period of time we are living through right now! A killer virus called Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the world to go into a mode of self-isolation in hopes of saving lives; a trip to the grocery store is an act of courage; school is quickly becoming a completely online experience for our young people; and lives and livelihoods are on hold while we wait for our superheroes of science and medicine to save us from this killer.

Right from the beginning, I found my own connections to this virus very sobering. The original epicenter of the US pandemic was in Kirkland, Washington…in a recovery center/nursing home just four blocks from where we used to live, just a mile from the school I taught in for almost 20 years, and where many of my friends and former students live and work.

The first case of the virus here in Oregon was admitted to the hospital where I go for all my doctor and dentist appointments and care. I found out a little while later, that I was at that hospital for an appointment on the same day as the Covid-19 patient was admitted. Yikes!

As my husband said, it felt like the virus was “following us around!”

This is scary stuff, and scary times!

But here are my positives:

  • We are well. I hope you are, too!
  • We are keeping busy at home and are grateful for our retired life that is full of books, gardening, long walks — all things that are healthy for us during a time of self-isolation.
  • Our adult children and our one precious teenage grandson are all well and staying safe. I miss being able to hug them, but that time will return.
  • And as I’ve already told my social media friends…I am so grateful to be in self-isolation with the love of my life for over 50 years. He makes me laugh every day, we don’t usually get grumpy at the same time, and we’re well practiced with tackling problems together!

I’m not sure I know yet how I am doing emotionally with it all. My reading focus has been limited, but my listening focus long! So I’m enjoying my audiobooks, and realize that I’ll get back to reading books later on.

It’s my writing focus that has taken the biggest hit by the emotional upheaval of our lives. Although I’ve finished audiobooks, it just hasn’t been possible to focus on a review or blog post up until now. I’ve managed social media pretty well, posting humor and pictures of flowers for my family and friends.

But I’m glad to be back here today and checking in with you all on this blog. In the next few days I will be posting a number of posts about upcoming reading events. And I am hopeful to publish a couple of reviews of books I’ve read recently! I don’t dare call it “catching up” when it comes to book reviews, but I’ll try.

Sending each of you hugs and best wishes. Please stay healthy and safe!

Reading Cures


My family has long claimed that watching the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) is a great cure for whatever illness puts you on the sofa for a week or more. It used to be sold in VHS format on six cassettes, so one episode a day was the prescription, and it made being sick a bit less miserable.


Nowadays, we can just stream the whole series at once, and can also watch our other favorite version — the one with Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennett — and although not in the one-a-day format, they also help one feel slightly less miserable while fighting a miserable cold.

And audio books also are a great prescription for one who is fighting a nasty cold. It’s particularly soothing to listen to something out of the ordinary and quite humorous such as Paul Gallico’s view of our human species as seen through the eyes of the cat world, in The Silent Miaow. And there’s nothing better than listening to another book in a captivating mystery series by Deborah Crombie.

But the best medicine of all, for someone who hasn’t been sick in years and years, is all the well-wishes from friends and family. I want to thank you all for your kind wishes and sympathy as I fought this really mean modern viral form of a nasty cold!

Stay healthy, my friends!

Sick Days


I’m sick this week and spending a lot of time napping (no energy) and reading when I’m up to it. No fun being sick—I haven’t had a cough and cold for a long time so I’d almost forgotten the misery of it.

So for comfort, I’ve started listening to a sweet book, another by Paul Gallico, called The Silent Miaow: A Manuel for Kittens, Strays, and Homeless Cats. It is doing the job, a comfort read with humor always helps.

My November Focus


November and  December have blown by in flash! It’s been a nice Autumn this year, full of new activities, family and friends…and some fun reading. I’ve gone missing again on my blog, so it’s time to check-in and let you know what I’ve been up to and what I am reading.

My first City Council presentation on the new Oregon ERPO law.

My focus and time commitments changed recently. This retired person has taken on some new volunteer responsibilities which require training, meetings, and events. Right after the Parkland shooting almost two years ago, I volunteered to work with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I desperately needed to DO something about the gun violence epidemic in our country. So I went to monthly meetings, occasionally helped with events.  This Fall, however, I agreed to take on more responsibility and a leadership role in my local chapter. I am now the Community Education lead for our chapter, and I have trained to talk with local community groups about the new Red Flag Law in the state of Oregon. I have also just finished training so that I can present and introduce community groups to the Be SMART For Kids program which focuses on education and awareness about child gun deaths and responsible gun storage. I’m very proud of my work with this national organization, and am happy to be able to give some of my time each month to educating the public about these important issues.

My reading has continued, despite my new obligations. It’s my blogging that got hit the hardest while my focus has been on new learnings and new experiences. But I am finding a new balance of home and volunteerism, so I am planning on returning to more consistent posting as we start the new year.

My November and December reading…I have been captured by Deborah Crombie’s mystery series with lead characters Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. I’m now on book #7 in the series, and I just don’t seem to be slowing down on reading one right after the other. What a pleasure to get caught up in a new-to-me series.

Books read in November and December (so far…still more December reading to come!):

  • A Share in Death, by Deborah Crombie
  • Fight Like a Mother, by Shannon Watts
  • The Burglar’s Christmas, by Willa Cather
  • All Shall Be Well, by Deborah Crombie
  • Leave the Grave Green, by Deborah Crombie
  • The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding, by Agatha Christie
  • Dreaming of the Bones, by Deborah Crombie
  • Kissed a Sad Goodbye, by Deborah Crombie
  • King of the Wind, by Maguerite Henry
  • The Spirit of Christmas, by Nancy Tillman
  • Christmas with Anne, and Other Holiday Stories, by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Crowded Street, by Winifred Holtby

I do hope you have had an enjoyable Fall, too. Busy and full of books!

 

We Three

I will be gone for the next few days while I go to Seattle to visit my former teaching team! We three try to get together at least once a year now. We taught together for many years, and we were a wonderful team! When you work so closely together, in the trenches and on the front lines, you become lifelong friends. These two ladies are so dear to me! I can’t wait to see them again and talk lives, memories, books, and hopes.

We Three, 2018

 

Walking on the Beach

It’s time for a short road trip to spend time walking on the beach. We’re headed to the Washington coast for a few days. I’m taking my good walking/hiking shoes, some warm sweaters, and some books to read. We don’t care if it’s cold and/or rainy…we’re just going to enjoy some time by the ocean! See you soon!