THE WRITE PLACE…

to find Patti Singleton these days.


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A Writer/Caregiver Packs For A New Journey

Tokeland, WA PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Tokeland, WA
PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Tomorrow (Friday) I set off on a new journey. It may take a week, a month or maybe longer. The timeline is open and so am I. I’ve detailed my truck, except I need to vacuum it. I’ve re-potted and watered my houseplants. I stirred the compost pile and planted the lilac and rose by the fence, and a handful of mini-crocus near the pond’s edge.

I’m fairly certain that I can come home once a week. Mrs. M.’s grand daughter lives near and should be able to manage a day and night with her. It’s over 300 miles, round trip, so I hope I can break that into 2 days. I’ve got the edited hard copy of my Postcards manuscript packed and I’ll also be working on the middle book of the memoir series. I’ll take my laptop, but I will hold off on taking my printer until I have a better idea of how long I’ll be needed.

The biggest thing I will miss is my little cave/home (Maggie) and the beach. It will just be the two of us and I’ll have my own room, so I can still be a part-time cave woman:>)  I look forward to getting to know Mrs. M. better and seeing what mischief we can come up with in Portland. I’m certain to get a better schedule going and get outside more often.

Journaling is a strong habit for me, so I do plan to journal about my time with Mrs. M. I know I’ll take a lot of photos of my new surroundings. I am sure that I will be online and checking in with all of you at least a few times a week. As you can tell, until I get settled, everything is up in the air. That would frustrate many people, but I really look forward to the mystery of it. I am very adaptable and change doesn’t bother me.

The big difference with helping out this time is that I don’t know Mrs. M. I have met her maybe 3 times over the years. She has passed the main part of physical therapy and does not need a lot of assistance there. Also, there is no stress or heart break related to her care. She may be almost 91, but she is mentally sharp and physically on the mend.

These links will take you back to the posts where I talked about this new adventure and my other caregiver experiences. Here and here.

Did you notice that I changed to a static “home” page? Check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think. I am still working on the site…

Take care,

Patti


19 Comments

Happy Halloween!

100_2293

The photo is of the first Halloween that Paul and I celebrated together, with our little grands surrounding us. This is Cora, who is now seven and still remembers her “Papa.” These are some happy memories that still make me smile.

Everyone who knows me, knows that holidays are not my thing and never have been. My children are lucky that I had two holiday-happy best friends while they were growing up. I can still feel the energy that they brought to each holiday and/or celebration.

I’m also not religious, but the Waldorf school that we were involved with for several years, brought holidays closer to us with myth, nature and reverence, all in a gossamer water-colored package.

Then there was Paul. He loved my playfulness and I loved poking and prodding the curmudgeon that he often projected. I knew better. A curmudgeon doesn’t enjoy making others happy by coming up with special surprises that fit each person like a glove. And they don’t laugh until tears are running down their face. Oh, and they don’t have half a room dedicated to holiday decorations.

Sure, the room was from a time when he and his late wife raised their children. But Paul kept it up by hanging the lights and putting out the holiday decorations. On our own, neither of us were really into all that, but together? Man, did we have holiday fun! We were young again and silly, and it almost seemed like we challenged each other to be our funnest holiday selves.

We even bought silly costumes and presents for our dog Jake and the felines, Oliver and Abby. The year before he got sick, we went to all the after Christmas sales, and bought everything blue and white that we could find. We filled totes in the holiday room with tons of blue Christmas bounty. We had so much fun making plans for an awesome blue Christmas the following year.

No, our theme Christmas didn’t happen, but those memories still make me smile. We relived our crazy shopping spree and plans while we were in the hospital fighting leukemia, and they made Paul smile too. And we never gave up hope for our future blue Christmas. We also laughed to tears while we planned crazy Halloween costumes for the future.

For the first time in 4 years, I think the happy memories and tears are over shadowing the sadness and tears. That’s a good thing, right?

How do you feel about Halloween and the holidays?

Peace,

Patti


9 Comments

Under Construction

PHALL PHOTOS 2013

PHALL PHOTOS 2013

For the next several days I will be reconstructing this blog. If you pop in and things are mucked up, please return later and, hopefully, it will be repaired. I’ve only been blogging for 7 months, but some of the topics that are my focus are getting clogged up behind some of my “this and thats” of frequent blogging. Everything will still be here, but I hope to make it easier to find.


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Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 2

Bridge Along The Journey PHALL PHOTO 2013

Bridge Along The Journey
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Metaphor musings. Bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity, to next bridge as opportunity…into the horizon…

Continued from Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 1

An executive caregiver position came open many years later. (No phone call this time.) By then, my children were out on their own and I had divorced their step father. I was 4 years into the best relationship that I could ever have imagined. And then, my partner in life and business, was diagnosed with leukemia. I became Paul’s 24/7 caregiver. The hats I wore covered all aspects of our lives during the year of his illness, treatment, stem cell transplant, our hospital wedding and his final battle with graft vs host disease. We were fortunate to have a strong group of supporters in our family and friends. We all learned so many lessons during this time, that Paul and I began to plan a book about it. My 3-part memoir series of love, illness and loss is a work-in-progress.

I readily admit that nepotism was involved in my next caregiver position. The patient was my mother. My family (2 parents in their 70’s, and 6 siblings in their 40’s and 50’s) were still reeling from the loss of my sister in February 2012. Two months later, my mother had an accident that left her with two broken arms, 2 black eyes and a variety of pain, from head to toe. Yep, I got the call. I was back on an airplane heading north. It had only been five weeks since I returned home from Alaska after my sister’s death,

When I arrived back in Alaska, my brother picked me up and took me straight to the hospital. I stayed in my mother’s hospital room that night, and we took her home the next day.  Mom was unable to care for herself at all. I became her right-hand and left-hand person, and slept beside her at night. I would like to break off and tell you what an amazingly strong woman my mother is, but I will leave for another day.

Two of my siblings live nearby and they circled the wagons to provide support and relief. I stayed in Alaska 4 months and wore many hats while I lived with my parents. My most rewarding role was that of adult daughter to my parents, but the second best was that of caregiver to my mother. I was also able to spend some special time with 2 of my sisters and their families, as well as both of my brothers. I flew home to Washington in August, on the 3rd anniversary of my husband’s death.

A holiday bonus. The patriarch (I call him “dad”) sent Ms. Daisy (mom) and I on the vacation of a lifetime in late November 2012. I joined my Alaska family for Thanksgiving, then mom and I toured the Hawaiian Islands for weeks. We spent Christmas and New Year’s with my Arizona sister (it was her twin who we lost earlier that year) and her family. Mom flew home from Washington in January, after visiting her sister and the rest of our Washington family. [3 months later my grandson died and mom flew back to Washington to mourn with, and nurture our family here]

To make a long story short (hahaha), I received another call. It was the call from my sister that I wrote about in the first paragraph of Part 1 of this post. I’m still not perfect, but I guess I will keep on practicing this caregiver role, until I get it right. I am looking forward to this new adventure of giving care to Mrs. M. in Oregon.

I’ve taken some time this week to ponder the meaning of these calls-to-action that keep arriving in my life. They seem to be bridges to the next part of my journey, rather than minor side trips. So, now I have to wonder where this next bridge will lead me…

You can be sure that when I get the call that Mrs. M is being released, my laptop, printer and works-in-progress will be traveling with me, so please hang out for more.

How will you answer the call? Has a caregiver call been a bridge in your life? We would love to hear your thoughts and experience (in the comment section).

Here are these Helpful Links again:

http://www.caregivers.com/caregiving/ All things caregiver.

http://alzjourney.com/helpful-resources/ An incredibly helpful list of resources for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and caregivers.

Peace,

Patti


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Someone Needs You. How Will You Answer The Call? Part 1

Holding You Up A bronze statue on hotel grounds in Kauai, Hawaii PHALL PHOTO 2012

Holding You Up
A bronze statue on hotel grounds in Kauai, Hawaii
PHALL PHOTO 2012

by Patti Hall

They Say That Practice Makes Perfect

Technically, I wasn’t looking for practice or perfection when I answered my sister’s phone call from Alaska a few days ago. Just last week I was deep into my grieving cave-woman mode. Tuesday, I traveled about 350 miles (round trip) to a convalescent facility in Oregon. I met with the care team of my sister’s mother-in-law, Mrs. M.  Yesterday I started cleaning, packing and planning for an extended stay at the home of Mrs. M. in Portland, as her caregiver.

Caregiver: Is This A Calling And/Or A Bridge?

My caregiver internship began within the parameters of my first parenting role when I was 28 years old. That’s what parents do, they give care. Care-giving starts when you wake up in the morning, extends throughout the day, and continues into the night. It is wiping snotty noses, changing diapers, feeding, clothing and loving those in your care. Care-giving is sleepily welcoming a tearful dreamer under your covers, and into your arms, in the middle of the night.

To further my caregiver qualifications, I answered the phone and agreed to join a caregiver group in California. A troupe of his sisters and nieces, gathered at the home of my maternal uncle, when he was in the last stages of his battle against cancer. We came from 3 states; sometimes one at a time, sometimes overlapping, but one of us was always at his side. Despite my uncle’s sad prognosis, he basked in the songs of this Florence Nightingale choir. The songs were expressed in our laughter and love. We nurtured, laughed, cried, reminisced and took care of his physical needs. It was the first time that I truly considered how fragile life is.

A few years later, an interim caregiver position came available via an out-of-state call from my children’s father, aka my former husband. His mother was in her 80’s, living alone and had recently been widowed. She was not doing well emotionally, although, she was physically fine. I packed my bag, drove 100 miles north and left my own family to fend for themselves (again). K and I had known each other for many years and we had remained friends.

K was in deep grief and needed help with the mounds of paperwork and legal procedures that come after a death. While her son handled his job and household transfers from Utah to Washington, I helped K negotiate the details at hand. The signs of dementia came on fast and I consulted her son over the phone. I took K to her doctor and explained our concerns. She was poked and prodded and tested.

I received a promotion. Along with K’s paperwork, legal matters and emotional distress (grief), I had to keep her physically safe. From herself. Household hazards suddenly loomed everywhere. She was a fragile child one moment and an angry woman in the next moment. By the time her son came, K and I were exhausted and traumatized by trying to navigate the chaos brought on by the changes taking place within her brain. I returned home and wished that I could have done more.

Stay tuned, Part 2 will be posted soon…more caregiver experiences and I ponder whether this role is a calling or bridge to the next step in my life.

Have you answered the call? We’d love to hear your story in the comment section.

Helpful Links:

http://www.caregivers.com/caregiving/ All things caregiver.

http://alzjourney.com/helpful-resources/ An incredibly helpful list of resources about dementia, Alzheimer’s, and caregivers.

Peace,

Patti

Alley Tales In Art-Graffiti and Blog Updates

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Aberdeen, WA Alley PHALL PHOTO 2013

Aberdeen, WA Alley
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Aberdeen, WA Alley PHALL PHOTO 2013

Aberdeen, WA Alley
PHALL PHOTO 2013

More on my photo blog here. Including a link to an article about the graffiti.

Crazy changes around here. I moved blogger awards up to their own page above header photo. There is a post there that tells more, but I have stopped accepting the blog awards, so I can get down to business:>) I had a lot of fun with them and am so grateful for those who thought so kindly of me to give me one. It seems the longer we are blogging, the more of us are choosing to let the newest members participate in the blogger awards.

I ran into some glitches, such as the right hand column text being so small you can barely read it! Working on it…

You can now go to my photo blog by clicking on the link on the right (at least on a full screen computer).


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Naked Without Them

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Naked Without Them; Gold & Silver Memories

My wedding ring set has such a bad track record.  You’d think that I would want to drop it down the sink or bury it in a drawer. Never. Like most of us, that set of rings has had its ups and downs, through no fault of its own.

Before their life with me, the rings had a life on the finger of a young bride, full of high hopes for a happy future, with the man of her dreams. That dream died quickly and lives were shattered. The rings sat in a box, in the very back of a drawer, forever. Who knows how long it really was, as rings have no sense of time.

My friends, the preacher and his wife, gained possession of the rings through their family ties. They finally found a way to aim the rings on a path towards a happier future; much happier than living in a drawer full of undies and unopened packages of socks.

Admittedly, the groom (whose bride would wear the rings) was being treated for leukemia, but surely he would live to rejoice in his recovery with his new bride? The rings could have a new life too. The betrothed were living in the hospital and did not have the freedom to go shopping for wedding rings. So when the preacher and his wife drove across the mountains to perform and witness the hospital wedding, they brought the set of rings to offer as a gift to the couple. The rings would be redeemed and the newlyweds would live happily ever after. The gift was gratefully accepted.

The groom’s wedding band was chosen from the offerings of the preacher couple and the bride’s aunt. He simply chose the one that fit the best. The wedding is another story altogether, and you are welcome to read one version of it here. Most of you know that the story didn’t end so well. The groom left this world and his bride less than 2 months after the ceremony. Once more, the rings were marked by tragedy.

That was 4 years ago and I wear Paul’s wedding band on my thumb now. I just recently moved my wedding set to the ring finger of my right hand. I read somewhere that this was the custom for widows in…? I can’t remember what country that was. My wedding ring finger is still much thinner where the rings once sat, and I’m sure that time will be successful in healing the finger, if not my heart. Either way, the rings and I are happy for the company along the way.

The other piece of jewelry that I cherish is the heart locket that you see in the picture. It was already special to me, but now I only take it off to shower (so I actually am naked without it). Sealed inside is some resin mixed with my forever-3-year-old grandson’s ashes. We lost him in April and I can still hear his voice and see those bright blue eyes,

I had more to say, but I lost my steam somewhere up there in that last paragraph. I can say how grateful I am that I have these special things, and I truly would feel naked without my gold and silver memories. Some people don’t want such constant contact with objects that hold sad memories. That’s odd to me. When I adjust the rings or the clasp on the locket chain, I may shed a tear (or a bucket of them), but then I usually end the tearful session with a smile for all the happy memories.

Do you have something special that you feel naked without? Maybe something romantic or funny or magic to cheer us up? Well, then please share it with your friends here :>)

Peace Out,

Patti


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Book Review: In the Body of the World: A Memoir, Eve Ensler

 In the Body of the World: A Memoir

 

In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler
Patti Hall’s review on Goodreads and Amazon

Oct 12, 2013
Recommended to Patti by: Elaine Mansfield
Recommended for: *Cancer victims and survivors. *Anyone with a female in their life.
Read from September 10 to 28, 2013, read count: 2
*I easily concede that this may not be the right book for everyone. I know that I would want to read it if I had cancer, but it may be too raw for others. Ensler does not filter out the horrendous things done to her body during her fight against cancer, nor the horrendous things done to the bodies of females in the Congo. I strongly value the message of hope that she brings to both subjects. Oh, and the “V” on the cover is not an accident.
Any possibility of love and respect for her body was taken away with the violation of it by her own father. Eve Ensler kept her body busy though, with good, bad and ugly actions. Years later, she began talking with, and interviewing women about their bodies. Part of the discussion was about how they could value and protect their bodies. Ensler wrote and published the Vagina Monologues and performed the play on stage. Her character portrayals are pure art. Other artists took on her role. The result of all that wondering and questioning can still be witnessed on campuses and theaters across the country. Ensler continued to interview women from every walk of life, and from around the world. There was only one thing that stopped her, or I should say, refocused her.
The plight of the women and girls of the Congo gave her a new focus. The Congo is a place where the rape, pillage, murder and destruction of females, from infants to grandmothers, are rampant. These crimes against humanity take place in collusion with the destruction of the Congolese earth. These crimes take place in order to mine the earth’s natural ingredients, which feed the rest of the world’s lust for resources and technology.
Not long after Ensler began to envision and ignite solutions with and for the women of the Congo, she encountered the destructive force of cancer within her own body. While the Congo women and earth continued to be attacked, Ensler was forced to retreat (although never out of contact) and fight her private battle. And a horrendous battle it was. Ensler writes about it like a gentle, yet ferocious mother. She writes in awe of the mighty foe. Her writing invokes a woman who is, at once, humble, brave, weak, passionate and grateful. As if that were not enough to compel readers, Ensler is also generous with her unvarnished honesty.The City of Joy is being built and run by the girls and women of the Congo. It is its own powerful force, envisioned and ignited by Ensler and her circle of supporters. When Ensler and her doctors were done slaying her cancer dragons, she went right back to The City of Joy. She continues to travel the world to garner funds for the V-Day movement to end violence against women and girl’s bodies. This daunting challenge is no less heroic than the fight to save her own life.

The loudest lesson Ensler offers her readers is hope.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite

Pondering Infinity... PHALL PHOTO 2013

Pondering Infinity…
PHALL PHOTO 2013

From http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/photo-challenge-infinite/

And now for some awesome infinity quotes:

“It seemed like forever ago, like we’ve had this brief but still infinite forever. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“Have you ever once in your life reached out to touch infinity?”
― Ellen Hopkins

“HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity.” Alice Walker

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”
― Albert Einstein

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
― William BlakeAuguries of Innocence

“A library is infinity under a roof.”
― Gail Carson Levine

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”
― Vincent van Gogh

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

“That’s when I realized that certain moments go on forever. Even after they’re over they still go on, even after you’re dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on into infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once.
They are the meaning.”
― Lauren OliverBefore I Fall


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A Terrifying Tale of 3-D Gravity; Hold On!

A screen shot of the Gravity preview, ticket stub, and real 3-D glasses w/bag that they came in. PHALL PHOTO 2013

A screen shot of the Gravity preview, ticket stub, and real gorgeous 3-D glasses w/bag that they came in.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

You can take the “Gravity” movie review shortcut; it was a great movie, go see it. Or you can take the long way, like I did. I have enjoyed watching Sandra Bullock age gracefully, and become a better actress over the years. There were a couple fluff movies, but I still watched them to get another sample of her wonderful humor. Nothing like a stressed out Sandra.

Then there’s George Clooney. I have just plain enjoyed watching him. And he is also great to just watch, cinematically speaking. Some of his movies were not so great, but they could easily be made better by cutting everything except George out of the movie…so I could just watch him. Okay, I’m over that for now.

The closest movie theater to Westport, Washington is a 40-mile round trip. It was an arduous trip, because the sun was setting behind me all the way. I kept getting glimpses of the spectacular color show in my rear-view mirror. I’d slow down and look longingly at my camera in the seat next to me, and then at the clock, which nagged me to put my foot back on the gas. Luckily the traffic was light and my frequent gas vs brake battle didn’t risk any lives. By the time I got to the theater, the nature show was over, but I did get this shot of the moon.

Moon over South Shore Mall, Aberdeen, WA PHALL PHOTO 2013

Moon over South Shore Mall, Aberdeen, WA
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I should tell you that I haven’t been to a movie theater in…not sure, but a very long time. Movies just aren’t in my budget, and I can see why. Ticket + popcorn + drink=$22.50! I really wanted M&M’s to go with my popcorn, but that was another $3 or $4. I don’t mean to sound cheap, but think of all the gas I could buy with that money. Okay, bad comparison.

Another thing I rarely experience are malls. I’m just not a shopper. (Paul was, but don’t tell him I said so.) When I walked through the entrance I was immediately lost. I had to ask a couple of girls, that were hanging out in a beauty shop, where the theater was. As I walked further and further into that deserted retail tomb, I considered leaving bread crumbs to find my way back to the entrance when the movie was over. Later you’ll see why even bread crumbs wouldn’t have helped.

I paid my pretty penny, grabbed my grub and went down a hallway to door #5. Some pre-movie, pre-preview nonsense was playing when I entered. Sheesh! I had the whole place to myself. I picked a lovely seat in the center and waited. A middle-aged couple shyly peeked in, and I welcomed them to my private showing, and generously invited them to chose any seat they wanted. They laughed, even if you didn’t. As three more couples joined us, we all joked about how empty the place was.

Okay, all the previews were over and I grabbed my hermetically sealed “real D 3-D” glasses (do not use for sunglasses). They fit perfectly :>) This was my first 3-D movie and I was a little nervous, and not just about the way the glasses looked either. I was also nervous about being scared spitless and maybe even screaming. And I was scared, but just a couple times, and no screaming. It was all worth it though. Did you know that 3-D makes you feel like George Clooney is, well, practically in your lap! ? I didn’t either. I’ll never give these glasses up. They are worth billions to me.

My George Clooney, I mean, 3-D glasses. PHALL PHOTO 2013

My George Clooney, I mean, 3-D glasses.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Floating tears, I can’t say whose, looked as if they were floating in the air in my private screening room! In another scene a strap came loose and it began floating right out of the screen, right in front of me! What magical illusions! It all seemed so real, that when space debris came flying at me at a billion miles an hour, I actually flinched! I think I got whiplash.

The movie had an unbelievable, I do mean really unbelievable, story line, but I’d still recommend it. I love a strong, brave-woman-movie, I love space, and, I probably haven’t mentioned it, but I love George Clooney. The movie is also shown at theaters, without the 3-D, but why?

Now, back to the bread crumbs. When I walked out of the theater and turned right (I remembered that much), there was a fence/barricade across the wide hallway that should have led me back to the main part of the mall. I had it all figured out: right, right, left. Nope, not gonna happen. Mall closed for the night. See how the bread crumb idea was a wash? My only choice was to turn around and go out the back way. Into the dark.

I stepped out of the large doorway and was completely disoriented. (Huh, just like when I stepped in.) The few people in the parking lot were getting into their cars, and I was too embarrassed to ask which way the front entrance was. I followed the sidewalk to the right for a couple of minutes, but it just didn’t feel like the way to the front of the mall. So, I casually turned around and walked the other way. It was a very long walk and it was dark, except for a few widely spaced flood lights on tall poles. A bicycler whizzed by. That was weird. None of the theater goers drove by. That was weirder. I practiced holding my ignition key like a weapon. I hummed a little tune. I looked behind me, and in all the building nooks and crannies (surprisingly, there were many places for scary people to hide). Then the damn flood lights went out! I am so not kidding.

It was completely dark and I still had not made it to the front of the mall. All I could do was to keep walking. Why didn’t I even have a flash of a thought about the cell phone in my purse? I could have called someone and told them what a silly scary-movie character I had become. I finally made it to my truck and refrained from kissing it.

Ask anyone, I used to be street smart. I think that I’m off movie theaters and malls for awhile. I wonder if Netflix has any 3-D George Clooney movies? Back to the beach cave for me.

I should have gone with  my cousin.

I didn’t mean to call this a movie review up there in the first line. We both know that is isn’t, but I hope you at least get a smile out of it.


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Gates and Fences; New Page at Phall Photos

Rustic rope and wood fence. Grayland, WA PHALL PHOTO 2013

Rustic rope and wood fence. Grayland, WA
PHALL PHOTO 2013

As far back as I can remember, I have loved car, truck and RV road trips because I was so entertained by looking out the windows. I am still an observer of life beyond the vehicle windows.  I love the size, shape and color of everything, as far as my naked eyes can reach. I keep at least one set of binoculars in my truck, and usually one in my purse, bag or backpack. I like to look at things up close, at different angles, and in different lighting.  Long before I owned my first camera, I recorded “good shots” in my mind; often boring anyone who would listen to the details about the objects of my observations.  Now I have a camera, the internet and you! No details, so you shouldn’t be bored:>)

I fell in love with gates and fences while I worked as a real estate agent years ago. I raised my children in the country and always loved the western theme of many country gates and fences. Some had a hunting theme, some were rustic, some were just plain neglected “antiques.” Not surprisingly, on the Western Washington coast, gates and fences tend to lean toward a nautical theme. They are elaborate to whimsical, with everything in between. The salty ocean air and more than our fair share of rain and clouds  around here cause fences and gates to rust and grow moss, lichen and mold quickly.

Gates allow access to a home at the owner’s discretion. Gates are the first focal point to a property when entering, and the last thing seen when exiting. Some gates provide high security, with cameras and codes, some have a simple lock, while others don’t ever close. My neighbor wants to install one to keep the deer from snacking on our plants and flowers. Others want privacy, with a capital “Stay Out!”

Fences tell their own story. Fences are erected to keep someone or something, either in or out.  I’ve seen utilitarian livestock fences that stretch up steep hills, across miles of fields and forests, and some that even tip-toe through small creeks.  Some say that  fences make good neighbors and some demand, “Don’t fence me in!” Looking from the outside, in, I have run across some beautiful, ugly, fun and charming fences in my photography travels.

See “Gates and Fences” photo page at www.phallphotos.wordpress.com

 


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Sunset, Sand, and Sacks of Clams; Reflections

Sunset and clam diggers. PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Sunset and clam diggers.
PHALL PHOTOS 2013

I’m am still filled with adrenaline from my impromptu visit to the beach. Drove to Bonge Beach in search of agates and other beach treasures (and the solace that the beach provides) at 6 P.M., then drove all the way down the Grayland Beaches. Just in time for a spectacular sunset and to watch the excited clam diggers harvesting enough razor clams for several meals.

They go home wet, sandy, and cold, but also filled with satisfaction for a hard job done. It looked like everyone got their limit, by the happy smiles and bulging bags. A few were in groups, and some had fires built on the beach. We are a dog-friendly community, and many folks had their furry friends along. I saw at least six families with children.

Taking all this in, while I am still reeling with the recent loss of my aunt, was like a meditation. I thought of her sisters, children and grandchildren. I ache for the raw pain they must feel. I thought about how much they all would have loved seeing what I am seeing. I hope they come here and look what I found tonight, and get a moment of…comfort?

All 22 photos are at my site: www.phallphotos.wordpress.com

Peace,

Patti


8 Comments

Trashy or Treasured Book? Each Reader Decides For Themselves

Stormy day on beach. Not a great place to read:>) SONJON PHOTO 2013

Stormy day on beach. Not a great place to read:>)
SONJON PHOTO 2013

I get asked about what books to read, pretty frequently, but it is so difficult to answer. Unless I know your reading style and preferences, I can’t begin to answer you. One person’s trashy book, is another person’s treasured book. That means I can answer the question for my mom and my aunt. I could make a good guess for a few others. That’s it.

I love many things about technology, and one of them is the way I can easily find books that I would like to read. I hope these suggestions lead you to hours of great reading.

If you go to www.goodreads.com and join, you can quickly zip through, mark and rate the books that you have read. Soon, goodreads magic will give you tons of suggestions based on your top-rated books. Easy-peasy. You can even see what your friends are reading. You can even see what I’m reading. However, my page is not very accurate. I read many books that I don’t mark, and I review books that I win, or books from other writers that I meet. I am lousy at updating with the books I am reading.

Join http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=24 and look for threads of the genres you enjoy. I randomly chose a thread about end-of-the-world themes WITHOUT aliens, vampires and the like. Oh, and I didn’t join. About a dozen people answered with title and author and a short comment. If you click on the title, you are taken to the book’s page on Amazon.

At http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet23 you can chose book lists by age group, and they also have a list of banned books, just for fun:>) My library, Timberland Regional Library, list books the same way. When I click on a book, to read its description, it also has links to the same kind of book, or other books by the same author. Your library probably has some of the same features.

http://bestsellers.about.com/od/readingrecommendations/Reading_Lists_Recommendations.htm has some interesting lists that you might want to check out. Extensive reviews, including pros and cons.

There are many, many more sites, but this should get you started. Happy reading!


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Dedicated to My Aunt, Her Children and You!

On October 1st, while I was being amazed at the offerings of the sky, my Aunt Norma was on a final journey to her loving husband who passed away eight years ago. As a hole in the stormy clouds above the ocean opened up, it sent rays of light from above, and chills ran up and down my body. This is usually my reaction when I get to witness this natural phenomena, but it felt stronger that day.

Hole in sky. October 1st. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Hole in sky. Westport, WA, October 1st.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

Yesterday I visited my other aunt and talked to my mom in Alaska; they had both lost a sister the day before. For my mother, that is a daughter, a close family friend, a great grand child and a sister, that she has lost in less than 2 years. I got to hug two cousins yesterday and renew our cousin-love vows. I stopped by to give my uncle a hug and to renew our vow of family love. I have recently been rebuilding friendships with the children of the aunt who just died, and I am trying to support them through this hard time.

A double rainbow, double the hope. Oct 2nd. PHALL PHOTO

A double rainbow, double the hope. Oct 2nd. Centralia, WA
PHALL PHOTO

All of this has me thinking about the nature of loss. How very different the loss of one person can be to each of us; how the news hits us and how it settles around us. Our experiences with loss, and our relationship and history with the lost one, make such a difference. Some want to laugh, some need to cry, others want to reminisce, while some just want to ignore the pain. It is very hard to know which way a grieving person is leaning on that particular day, or hour or, even, that minute. I am doing the best that I can for each. The biggest thing I think I can do, is to be a good listener and let them lead me to the place they are, emotionally. I offer gentle sympathy. After a lot of listening, I can usually offer something that I think will help. Sometimes it is just a hug, or hanging out for awhile. Sometimes it is an action I can take. Either way, I try and be gentle. And yes, this loss is my loss also, so I’ll need to be gentle with me too.

Fall Rainbows. Oct 2nd, Centralia, WA PHALL PHOTOS 2013

Fall Rainbows. Oct 2nd, Centralia, WA
PHALL PHOTOS 2013

I also spent time with my daughter’s family yesterday. As usual, I drug them all out to see Nature’s glory in the sky. Pretty soon, Nola (6) and Cora (7), were dragging me down the sidewalk and around the corner to get better views of the incredible fading rainbow-setting sun-lit sky.

Sunset on window-wall of Centralia College. Oct 2nd. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Sunset reflection on window-wall of Centralia College. Oct 2nd.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

 

They ran up the concrete steps of a vacant 1930’s church, and still, stood on their tippy-toes to get a better view…then, around another corner, and they careened, arms out, down a wavy concrete ramp.

Nola & Cora, Oct 2nd, Centralia, WA. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Nola & Cora, Oct 2nd, Centralia, WA.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

This loss, like others, seems to bring us together, even as we regret not having spent more time, laughter and rainbows with the one we lost. Let’s just try harder with the ones we have left. I think my aunt would be happy with that vow.

Sunset of a happy-sad day. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Sunset of a happy-sad day.
PHALL PHOTO 2013