…began at the end of August when I broke with solitude for a wonderful visit with my cousin and his girlfriend. Jimmy, Darcie and I strolled around Westport, had a bite to eat and I gave them the 5-cent debut tour of my almost completed Turtle (homemade wooden mini-camper). It was a joy to share The Secret Garden and send them home with some raspberry plants.
September kicked off with a little road trip to meet one of my Alaska sisters in the Seattle area for 3 days. There was a lot of laughter and cussing at the map app as Laura and I navigated around Auburn for 2 days. We managed (without the damn app) to figure out how to take the Sounder train from our airport hotel into Seattle to check out Pike Place Market. It was so good to be with my sis, but we were both a little creeped out about being in such crowded places in the violent climate of our world today. Sad but true. (12 photos)
Back To Solitude And Some Nature Nurture
The rainy season has begun here on the Washington coast, which means many thick foggy evenings and mornings, but also rainbows!
The temperatures are between the high 60’s and mid 50’s, hovering only about ten degrees between day and night. (Was 74 on Sunday!) On some days the skies are a solid blanket of light grey from dawn to dusk, horizon to horizon. Other days are bright blue with cool cloud formations that develop into stunning sunrises and sunsets. (12 photos)
In many of my sunrise and sunset photos there are black dots or clear silhouettes of birds. During spring and summer it was a mix of ducks, geese, pigeons, doves, starlings, sea gulls, eagles, crows and Northern flickers.
Sunrise, crows & moon
The birds seem to travel on an mapped out skyway. In the morning they fly into Westport along the eastern skyway, and at night they fly out of Westport along the western skyway. So as I step out of my door and look to my right (over The Secret Garden) in the morning, the skyway of birds cross the sunrise. To my left in the evening, they cross in front of the sunset.
By now, in early fall, I’m seeing mostly crows and a few sea gulls. Early morning crow migration from their night time roosts, plays against the background of calm pastels or vibrant oranges, pinks and purples of the rising sun. As the sun begins to set, the crows make their way back to their slumber party among the inland trees.
I can’t help but wonder why they never stop to gaze at nature’s colorful background for their journey. Of course, I wonder the same thing of fellow commuters when I seem to be the only one to pull out of traffic to take in the wonders in the sky.
Ground mail. Rusty abandoned mail box. PHALL PHOTO 2014
Yep, I’m going to break down and try the blog schedule thing. I also added a mission statement and a link to my Facebook to the sidebar, and I updated my HOME page.
So here’s the plan:
MEMOIR MONDAY- Every other Monday(beginning May 12th) will be all about memoir—yours, mine and theirs. An excerpt, poem or story from my memoir-in-progress, and/or links, news and reviews relating to memoir reading or writing.
NEWS DAY TUESDAY- Every other Tuesday (beginning May 6th) will be my writer-reader news roundup. Whatever I come across that is newsworthy and of interest to writers and readers.
PROMPTLY WEDNESDAY- If I join in a photo or writing prompt, I’ll post my entry on Wednesdays.
PHOTO FRIDAY- Beginning May 9th, I’ll add photos from the current week and/or photos from my archives to my PHALL PHOTO blog. I’ll pick my favorite photo and post it here, with a link to the photos I added on my photo blog. If inspired, I’ll include a poem, short story, or a quote relating to the photo.
Later, I may add THOSE WHO CARE THURSDAY for care-giver news, fiction and non-fiction stories and information.
So, each week I will have a Monday OR Tuesday post and Friday photos. The rest are occasional.
As usual, I’ll probably include one of my photos to each post, whether it’s relevant to the post, or not 🙂 If you have a post (yours or someone else’s) that relates to anything I post, feel free to add a link to it in your comments.
I doubt that I will be able to completely curb my wide streak of spontaneity, but this schedule will hopefully make my busy life easier, AND allow you to follow posts that interest you.
I’m sure you will, but please let me know what you think about this blog schedule plan. Do you have a schedule or have you tried to implement one? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Hiya friends and family. I’m taking the last few days of April off. Not actually off, just off the internet. I have X,Y & Z posts lined up to automatically publish over the next three days. I will be back to catch up on any comments that I miss on social media on CORRECTION!!!!! MAY 1st. I’ll leave you with this slide show. Photos taken with my phone yesterday. Peace Out, Patti
It was a month, yesterday, that I went on a whirlwind photo tour of the Alaska State Capital city, Juneau. I sure hope that I get back there some SUNNY day:>) We still found some fun shots. I hope you enjoy. Thanks to my driver and new friends, Brian and his girlfriend, Kathy!
Since our earliest recorded history, we have been looking up to the Moon for answers. We’ve sketched and painted the beautiful orb, and written poetry and love songs based on it. Given its size in our sky and its regular phases, the Moon has always had a significant impact on cultural language, art, mythology, and of course, calendars. Some believe that the Moon was created with the debris from a crash between Earth and another planet. I was born a Moon sign and I love that the first contact humans made with the Moon (unmanned Soviet Union spacecraft) was in 1959, 3 months after I was born. The Moon is in charge of our beautiful tides and the length of each day we are given. P.H. 2013 PHALL PHOTOS 2013
Today in the Northern Hemisphere, we have a 20-day-old waning gibbous Moon with 74% light.
Christmas day will bring us the last quarter of the Moon.
On New Year’s morning we get a new Moon to begin our year.
On Jan 15th we are presented with a full Moon.
April 14, 2014 at 11:42 pm Total Lunar Eclipse
April 28, 2014 at 10:14 pm Annular Solar Eclipse
October 8, 2014 at 2:51 am Total Lunar Eclipse
October 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm Partial Solar Eclipse
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” ― Rumi
It’s funny, but I think that you like the truth better than any tale I could weave, and I can weave some fanciful ones. But, surely it is the real heart and real emotion that we need the most…
Whether it’s, “Oh, my gosh, I never knew!”
or, “That’s just how I feel too!”
The best and worse of me, resounds in you. P.H. 2013
I just wrote that for you:>)
Traveling home is very different, on many levels, to each of us. It also changes with the reasons that we go home. Since 2007, there has been a different reason each time that I traveled home. My late husband, Paul, came up with the money for a ticket, and then insisted that I go that first time. The visit was initially to see my dad, who had a health scare, but then, also to make up with a family that I had distanced myself from for too many years. That was good. And hard. And it lightened my heart to have my reading, gardening, rolling- with- laughter mom back in my life.
Another visit to the north was a casual one, almost a vacation. Fishing in Homer with #1, a sister who took me everywhere when I was little, says I was HER baby! A long-time friend of hers verified the news. I made up with a sister that I hadn’t seen or spoken to in at least eight years, and made headway with another. I helped dad with his yard sales and listened raptly to tales from his childhood in Kentucky. I loved the way his faded southern accent peeked in and out of his reminiscing. Of course, mom and I reveled in working the garden together, and I, in watching her dance in front of the green house in her jammies, to the loud music coming from within. Joy.
In 2012, my visit was filled with pain and heart-ripping sorrow. My direct sorrow was laced with regret. The sister I had reunited with just eight months earlier, the sister who had been sending care packages of craft ideas and love ever since, the sister I’d been sharing texts and long-missed phone calls with, was gone. The gratefulness that we DID connect, didn’t come until much later. My secondary sorrow was the torture of witnessing how the loss hit my parents; the death of one of their seven, a crushing blow.
Then, too, the twin to my lost sister, their birthday is tomorrow, lost her literal other half. There are just no words for the pain I felt she must be suffering. Still suffers. Another sister was a close business and personal buddy with our lost one. Another sister was out of the country. The brothers stood by, strong shoulders for our tears. My heart tore in painful strips of crumpled, tear-stained ribbon. I tried to capture and identify my pain and soothe it, but the ribbons flew in all directions; my parents, our twin, each sibling, even dear friends who fed and flowered us so well. A tattered ribbon of pain from my husband’s death flew in, and tangled with the rest.
Our (now) single twin flew home, soon after the beautiful memorial, into the loving and healing arms of her husband and son in Arizona. When I flew back to my beach a few weeks later, the ribbons of pain flew behind the jet and tangled between my feet as I disembarked. They knotted in my hair as I walked the beach, searching for my lost loved ones. A little over a month later, a phone call; my mother is in the hospital, and so, I packed my ribbons of pain for another flight to Alaska.
The ribbons of pain were no longer filling every space in my parents home. But as I cared for mom, cooked, cleaned and organized, the ribbons fell from every drawer, cupboard and closet; still there, but moved aside to make room for daily living. The ribbons filled pillows that we rested our heads on each night. We used them to wipe away the tears that flowed, unbidden, from our eyes. I was there for over 4 months, which allowed special time with the four siblings who live near.
Eight months after the return to my Washington beach, I lost my 3 year-old grandson and the fresh ribbons of pain, added to the others, almost smothered me. My mother’s sister died October 1st, adding still another tangle of ribbons. I feel them right now. Those ribbons of pain make it hard to open Maggie’s door; my little RV cave is packed with them. I am safe, as long as I keep them away from my nose and mouth. I’ve accidentally swallowed a few and they almost choked me.
Mom is having hip surgery January 3rd, and a brother is having a potpourri of surgeries in the next few months. I fly out on the 2nd and spend the day in Juneau, the capital city that I have never been to. I look forward to walking up to the huge Mendenhall Glacier, that presents its blueish glory, just a few miles from the airport. There are other wonders close by that I hope to explore. Are you excited to see the photos? I am too! If you have a friend in Juneau who can give me a quick tour between 2 and 6 that day, please let me know.
I’ll be back to my beach in mid-May and I’ve promised to visit Mrs. M soon after. She’s doing well, by the way, and is doing outpatient PT now. I also have a long list of family and friends to visit on my return. Those ribbons that I’ve been writing about? They have been keeping me inside the sorrow of those lost loved ones, and not allowing me room to be with the loved ones who are alive. I know that. I’ve decided to drop them out the airplane on my way back from Alaska:>)
“Every traveler has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.”
― Charles Dickens
Here’s a beach sunset from a few days ago. Enjoy, please:>)
Played hooky from life today and spent six hours within 15 miles from my home, exploring and taking photos. Went with my friend and Gertrude, his dog, of course. What is nice, is since he is driving, I can shoot from my window or jump out to take closer shots.
He’s a good sport about being the photo shoot driver. We laughed ourselves silly when, on one deserted street near the cranberry bogs, I kept asking him to go forward, no back just a few feet, no up a little bit more. This is often our M.O. on the beach, but it was weird being on a public street doing the stop-start-reverse-forward thing. I also showed him some of the cool things I had found on my lone expeditions.
PHALL PHOTO 2013
It was very cold on the beach, with frigid winds slapping us when we got out to grab agates. The sun was just right (when it came out) and we found some great ones. I got some shots of a sail boarder in the same area by the jetty where I took the shots of the surfers last week.
Also, here’s a few other beach findings. Mama Plover and her 13 babies, weird orange brain fungus, jelly fish that looks like it is a landed space ship, a smaller one with an orange glow inside, sea grass with orange base–only a small section of grass looks like this. Seems to be a orange thing going on down here at the beach.
TO BE CONTINUED…Part two in next post.
As soon as I can, I will put the whole series up at my photo site. For now, I hope you enjoy these samples.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22) This week: “It’s understandable if you want to turn off your phone, lock your door and pull down the shades with this Gemini Full Moon in your 12th House of Secrets. Of course, you’re more likely to be swamped with activities that require your attention, but finding private time and space is a must. When you can get the quiet you seek, your mind will start popping with ideas that might even seem like miraculous answers to critical questions.” Jeff Jawer
To continue from my photo tour in EDDD 18 post…We explored a gravel state road that is gated, and rarely open. Listened and watched a variety of birds and got a cool shot of a nest. Not sure what the state does up here, but there were several areas that they dumped fill material like cement, asphalt, old cement drainage pipes, and other misc items. There are some cuts in the cliffs where you can see history in layers of various sediments. We were only about 1/8 of a mile from the beach, on the other side of the highway.
The dark photo of trees shows that all the trees around are covered in ivy, so much that only the very tops of the actual tree are visible. There is a photo of a piece of asphalt with linoleum on it and Mother Nature taking over that too.
Further along the same highway there is what remains of an old camp, maybe for vacationing fisher people, maybe for cranberry pickers. I call it the Ghost camp. Man, the stories it could tell, I bet! I’d guess the cabins were built 1920-40. Mother nature is reclaiming them, and she does it like a real artist. I was in photo junkie heaven. I hope to go back on a day when the marine layer is heavy, for that eerie look, ya know?
I included a mushroom and some cool white fungi/moss?
As soon as I can, I will put the whole series up at my photo site. For now, I hope you enjoy these samples.
Friday was busy and full of smiles and hugs from Sara & Jon and the little grands. I am so glad that it worked out that I could watch the my gr’daughters get their awards before I headed to Oregon.
It was a beautiful fall drive from Washington to Oregon, and my truck remembered how to get back to the nursing home just fine. I spent some time with Mrs. M at the nursing home, and then I followed her gr’daughter over to Mrs. M’s duplex. It is a 2 bedroom in a little community near Gresham. After the gr’daughter left, I unpacked and did a little freshening up around the place, then went to explore the area in my truck.
Yes, I did get lost once, but it was worth it. I now have a better idea of where I am and where most of the places that we may need to go are. Mrs. M doesn’t drive, and I know that it’s hard for me to get to know a place if I am a passenger. I bought a map:>)
I made it back over to the nursing home the next morning with no wrong turns. Mrs. M was ready to go, after fond farewells with her roommate and the staff. It was obvious that she was well-liked there. I packed her up, and when her gr’daughter got there, we left. By Saturday afternoon, Mrs. M and I were as settled in as two strangers could be. She seems to take well to changes and is amiable about the big and little things. Ahhh, that makes things easy for both of us.
White Picket Red Berry Gate Wood Village, OR PHALL PHOTO 2013
Sunday & Monday
Mrs. M and I had an exciting day and evening yesterday. The nursing home sent a nurse to look over the meds and check her vitals. We should also have visits from physical therapists in the next few days. We were sitting here filling out some papers after the nurse left, and we heard a loud boom; the electricity went out. With Mrs. M’s directions, I found the flash lights and batteries, but didn’t have the right batteries for the radio. We still don’t know what happened, but we were in the dark for only an hour or so.
Once the power came back on, I turned the thermostat up to get us warm. I smelled something burning and got up and looked around. It was coming from the wall heater, so I turned it back off. Then 3 smoke alarms started screaming out. I turned those off and Mrs. M called the landlord; he got here pretty quickly. It turns out that dust build-up inside the heater caught fire. As he was testing the heater in my bedroom, it started smoking too and set the alarms off again.
Please vacuum out your heaters for winter use. Might as well check your flash lights and emergency radio for batteries while you are at it.
PHALL PHOTO 2013
That was our crazy Sunday. Yesterday I took a long walk around the neighborhood. I had my camera and found some of the season’s last flowers and some other great colors and textures to take photos of. We had a big plan to go get groceries, but at the last minute, Mrs. M’s back pain flared. She called the gr’daughter to come over while I ran our errands. Yep, got the batteries. It was nice to be back in Oregon, where an attendant pumps your gas. Everything else feels pretty much the same as Washington.
My little grandson, Tiven has been gone almost 6 months, and November 3rd would have been his 4th birthday. I have been fighting tears for several days, but yesterday I was able to get away and let them come as they wanted to. I miss my little guy every single day. That’s all for now.
Autumn Rose for Tiven. 3 Nov 2009-26 Apr 2013 PHALL PHOTO 2013
Let me know how things are going with you. Still getting our routine down here, so I haven’t got back to editing the memoir postcards. Not online much either.
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
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
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.
Add commas, periods, exclamation or question marks at will. I just couldn’t decide how to make a title out of all these subjects, so I quit. You decide, I’m tired.
I know I take a lot of photos of some subjects, and this wind turbine is one. But, guess what? I didn’t take these, I was going to, but son, Jon, said he had a better angle where he was. I’d say! Now I know why these are called bird-friendly wind turbines.
Had a good week with Jon. I drove him home this afternoon. I keep thinking he’s in the other room. I even started to tell him something tonight, but caught myself and laughed. When I took him home, we stopped at daughter, Sara’s, and had an impromptu dinner. She had a pot of chicken noodle soup on and had just taken lemon bars and raspberry bars out of the oven. Had Texas toast with the soup. Yum!
Also got pedicure:>) Anything to avoid my poor wounded toe! Cameron’s making sure she doesn’t hurt me:>) That’s my truck in the background.
Yesterday I stubbed my toe pretty hard while cleaning my kitchen. I screamed a Marine word, then went back to washing dishes. A little while later, I felt something sticky on the floor and realized that my toe was bleeding. Went to wash it off and realized that the nail was only barely held on by the skin at the base. I screamed, “Ahhh!!!” Then I put a Band-aid on the whole thing. I thought maybe my son would check it out and deal with it when he got back from fishing. Nope. Every time I said, blood, he said, Ketchup. Sheesh. So, I figure my daughter would take care of it today…you know, the one with firefighter training and a CNA? Nope. Oh, she soaked it in a bowl, put some cream on the Band-aid, bandaged it up big so I wouldn’t hurt it on anything, but she refused to look at it. She liked the idea of calling my blood, Ketchup, too. Wimps. All three of us :>) At least I can say “blood.”
That’s enough of this family saga for now. I’ve been adding some writerly finds to my Facebook page here, in case you want to check them out.
Oh, this and that. Crafting and reading to my little grands, taking over daughter Sara’s kitchen to make Chinese Chicken Salad, visiting gr’son in Tacoma, having a quiet week with my fishing & gardening son in Westport, building secret garden with pond, and taking a lot of photos. Will post more on phallphotos.com later this week….including a variety of bees on a variety of flowers and a tattooed seal!
Saturday (later today) I play leader of our writing group and Jon is going to be my assistant! Trying to convince him to read a poem he wrote. We are taking both laptops to show everyone some of the cool writing sites and our group’s new blog site that we set up. Also, get to announce date for our first mini writer’s conference this winter. Should be fun…especially if I don’t get any sleep:>)
I’m reading a little bit and will have some reviews up soon.
Grieving is an interesting journey. At times, I can hold grief in my arms and rock until it drifts off. Sometimes grief walks beside me like a shadow. Sometimes I have to carry its heavy weight on my back everywhere I go. Other times it slams me to the mat like a wrestler does his opponent.
Grief has this thing about mixing things up too. I cry over anything/everything, yet I get immense joy at the smallest things. I’m exhausted, yet I can’t sleep., or I sleep for 12 hours. I want to be close to my peeps, yet I have to have my solitude; I pull you close, then push you away. I can’t think straight, misplace everything, forget everything, yet I can upload photos and (hopefully) lead a writing group. I crave food, yet I’m too unmotivated to make or eat it, and when I do, it doesn’t taste right anyway. I have a very difficult time making any decision and am allergic to commitment. I mean even tiny ones; “Mom, you want to come out to the docks while I fish?” “I’m not sure, I’ll let you know when we get there.” If I can force myself to get out of my truck, I go, if not, I sit and read or head back home. You just never know with me. And I never know with me. That’s grief for ya.
Don’t fret though, I AM pulling myself off the mat and watching for a brighter day.
Take it easy and thank you for hanging in there while I regroup.
The most exciting moments in my life have been the birth of these 7 people (I’m sure my birth was exciting to me, but I just don’t remember:>) My son, daughter and 5 little grands. And, since that first birth (Sara), the excitement has never ended!
I did miss attending one of the births, because I was in Seattle with Paul, fighting that damn leukemia.