THE WRITE PLACE…

…to build a community. Share Patti Hall's journey …


19 Comments

Alaska Travels: Revving Up and Winding Down

Sunset last night, from my parent's deck, Eagle River, Alaska.  Phall Photos 2014

Sunset last night, from my parent’s deck. Eagle River, Alaska.
Phall Photos 2014

A week from today I’ll be catching a ride home on another big metal bird. Yes, I’m 55 and still amazed that those things can carry us through the sky. Of course, the miracle of electricity still boggles my simple mind too. No, no, don’t try to explain them! I NEED every little miracle I can claim ūüôā

Up and Down

So, I’m revving up to wind this visit down. It has been one of my best trips home (I always say this, because the present one IS always the best one!). The lists that mom and I make just grow longer, as my days here grow shorter. Sure, we got a lot done the last 2 months, but man, there’s still so much to do!

And Up and Down Once More

One way or another, I’m heading home on the 29th and am very excited to see my Centralia family; 2 adult children, 5 little grands, cousins, aunt and uncle. There are some special friends I’ve been missing too. And then there is my beach gypsy cave and secret garden awaiting my return to Westport. From social to solitary again. At last. The solitude lures me more every day, no matter the love and joy I receive in the presence of family and friends…

A Traveling Clan

Dad will be flying “home” to Kentucky to see his ailing sisters and brother for a few weeks, on October 1st. Four days after he returns to Alaska, mom will leave to spend the winter in Arizona with my youngest sister and her family. We should own Alaska Airlines by now. The sister that I have had the longest (not allowed to say “oldest sister”) and her husband spend the coldest winter months at their condo in Costa Rica. Some how, some way, I have plans on making it over there this year. A girl can dream ūüôā

Swing over to http://phallphotos.wordpress.com/homer-alaska/ to see some slide shows from our trip to Homer, if you have a few minutes. No metal bird needed for this tour!

Traveling On,

Patti


28 Comments

Phall Photo Friday; A Few Map Inches and 3 Counties

6

Or…between The Cascades and The Olympics. ¬†Like the eyes on the portrait that follow your every move, these mountain ranges gaze down at you, no matter the direction you travel. You may not always even see them, but they are there… more Between Inlets and the Ocean photos on myPhall Photos blog here:¬†http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-fU

My regular dental clinic is only 40 minutes away, a beautiful drive through coastal forests and along Willipa Bay.  I spent my birthday yesterday traveling over 200 miles, to and from, a visit to the oral surgeon. From the Pacific Ocean, into Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, flow inlets, bays, canals, lakes and rivers. They flow over, through and around the luscious green forested lands of Western Washington. I did thoroughly enjoy the drive home across a few unknown map inches and three counties.

A Lesson: Let Go Of The Worry and Grab Onto The Good Stuff

My neighbor drove as I fretted and worried: Would the surgeon require I.V. sedation? How would I come up with the advance cash to pay for it? Could I convince him that I am just too afraid of general anesthesia (which I am)? Will luck be with me and the surgeon be a decent person? I was prepared to walk away if he was a stoic, judgmental creep, like some that have worked on my teeth.

How many dentists, dental students, assistants, and hygienists have had their fingers in my mouth over the years? Such an intimate thing, made clinical by necessity. Probe my ears, look up my nostrils, but please leave my other orifices to me.

I didn’t request one single photo stop on the way there; I was too busy worrying. What a waste of the beauty on the scenic route we traveled! After the two-and-a-half hour trip I was buzzing with negative energy. After pacing the waiting room floor for an hour…well, you may wonder if¬†the dental surgeon even survived our meeting.¬†

The black-clad assistant led me to the consultation room. I studied the detailed tooth poster on the wall. I nervously eyed the instruments on the counter. The assistant displayed the panoramic x-ray of my mouth and jaw on a small screen next to me. She took my blood pressure (high, for me) and walked out the door, making promises about how soon the doctor would be in. 

Every one of the employees wore black tops and bottoms. Weird, after all the cheerful? bunnies and rainbows and colorful uniforms on personnel at the many hospitals and clinics I have been in. I kind of liked it. Sure, black may have been a bad choice for a place where clients are mostly afraid and nervous, but I liked the uniformity (pun?) of them all wearing the same color.

In walked Dr. Calm and I fell instantly, deeply in love. Not with the man, per se, but with the feeling he brought into the room with him. The atmosphere filled with calm, until there was no space available for my fear, anger, angst and worry. He spoke softly, he smiled, his movements were casual, he kept eye contact, and he laid aside every ounce of worry baggage that I had brought along with me. I gathered up that pile of worry and dropped it into the garbage can on my way out the door.

The drive home was spectacular.

Phall Photo Friday is a weekly feature here. Phall= P(atti) Hall.

Patti, the worry-less one (for now)


15 Comments

Phall Photo Friday; The Bay and The Bike

20140612_161656

Wild Bleeding Hearts, Phall Photo 2014

See The Blossoming Of The Garden Bike on my photo blog, Phall Photos http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-fH

and Morning Glory Evening On Willipa Bay at http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-fq

I’m setting this to publish on Friday morn, as I’m off to more adventures. I’m going to see Kevin in Packwood. Hopefully, we’ll have good weather and I can go check on all the wild plants that I’ve been following with photos. I look forward to seeing how Kevin’s veggie garden is going too. Oh, and the hummingbirds. I hope to see some new birds at the feeders with seeds.

Saturday morn, we’re taking off for the Portland area to see his mom, Mrs. M. We’ll stay over one night, then head back to Packwood Sunday afternoon. The latest school shooting took place just down the road from his mom’s place. I can only imagine the anger, fear and sadness of that community. I took a lot of photos there this fall and it was one of the places I was going to take Kevin, but we’ll probably do that next trip. Instead, I hope I can find one of the back roads to some vineyards and a great view of Mt. Hood.

If we’re not too tired, we’ll probably play a game of pool and listen to some music. I’ll head home Monday, with a stopover in Centralia to see my children, grands and maybe an uncle, aunt or cousin. If there’s things for me to do at my aunt’s, I’ll probably stay the night at Sara’s.

Then I’m home for the rest of June, except a trip to Bremerton to consult with an oral surgeon. Since I got some white picket fence from my aunt, the secret garden has been extended, so there is a lot of work to do on that. Greg does most of the structure work and I do the planning and planting. I hope to incorporate a sampling of the wild plants, berry bushes and shrubs from the strip of woods on his property. They will go along the length of my beach cave, where there is mostly shade.

I’ll post again on Newsday Tuesday.¬†Phall Photo Friday is a weekly feature here.¬†Phall= P(atti) Hall.

Take Care,

Patti, the gypsy cave woman ūüôā


Leave a comment

Phall Photo Friday; Art Along The Way

Horse farm sign

See Horse Manure and Art on my photo blog,

Phall Photos http://wp.me/p3J4Ab-aJ 

Dan Klennert's signDaniel Klennerts ‚ÄúSpirits of Iron‚ÄĚ Sculpture Park¬†is¬†located off State Route 706 on the way to the west entrance to Mount Rainier National Park in beautiful Washington State. NW Trek is up the road a piece too.¬†Klennert‚Äôs life-size (and bigger) wood and scrap metal sculptures,¬†Spirits of Iron, have been displayed all across North America. He has web page http://www.danielklennert.com/, which includes photos, a map, and the title of a movie that his art is featured in.¬†

Phall Photo Friday is a weekly feature here. Phall= P(atti) Hall.

Patti


25 Comments

One Year on Word Press. Thanks!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Yes, it has been a year since I began blogging. Even though it was very lonely the first few months, you eventually found me and have kept me going with your support and encouragement ever since. The secret to bringing folks to your blog is so simple: Get out and visit, comment and “like” other blogs. That’s it. Go forth and make friends :>)

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Here’s how the first 6 months went for me. I didn’t know one blogger and had no idea how to blog. After a couple months of loneliness, I started searching for info about memoir and children’s writing and publishing. During my quest for info I started visiting other blogs, I made some friends. Adding photos to my posts seemed to bring more people to this little community. Popping in on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, really brought some new faces to The Write Place.

I hope to add some highlights of the second half of my first year in the next few days, but for now, here is what I was up to my first six months…

PHALL PHOTO 2013

PHALL PHOTO 2013

Six entries in March 2013, including things like:

I posted a quote that seemed to fit my state of mind as I began this new endeavor of public blogging, writing and (hopefully) publishing. “Do not hurry, do not rest,” by Goethe. As fast as I wanted to get started, I knew that I also wanted to take my time and not make a bunch of (public) mistakes.

I was unsure of what/how to begin, but decided to use my long dormant maiden name for my writing. I posted a poem inspired by my mother, who instilled the love of reading and humor in me. Another poem that I posted that first month reflected the pain of the sudden and unexpected loss of one of my sisters the year before.

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach 3

Sunrise at Westhaven Beach, WA w/Coast Guard Tower. Phall Photo 2013  

The post, Keeper Book Synopsis,¬†http://wp.me/p3i5jo-x¬†tells the genesis story of the handcrafted “Keepers” that my friend (Leslee) and I created years ago. My hopes are to publish the stories that I wrote for each one. I also finished typing a 2500 word story that I wrote for my children in 1996.

The last entry of March 2013 says, in part, “I woke up this morning, well, it was really almost 11. Anyway, I was looking around and my eye caught on some star wands that I need to give my granddaughters, from a mutual friend. Soon I had a story rumbling in my head and I was off.¬†I have been writing and editing all damn day long, and half the night! I made some coffee, finally ate a snack, packed some things for my move [home relocation] tomorrow and wrote like crazy. I completed a children’s story 10 words shy of 4000 words. Crazy. It just came out. Does it happen like that for you? And, hey, I have no illusions that this would not get whittled in half by a real editor, but I’m good with that.¬†It is the process that is so…gripping, so addictive.”

April-¬†12 entries. This was my third month going to the local writer group that I joined, and I posted, ¬†“Have been checking out and “following” several other writer blogs. Have been “invited” to join a writer site that allows us to give and receive feed-back. I am learning about the current trends in writing and publishing…” Another entry, Good Grief, A Widow Writes A Memoir,¬†http://wp.me/p3i5jo-V¬†explains some of the things I was learning about memoir writing and how painful it can be to write about Paul’s illness and death. Still is.

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Breakfast for fawn. Across from my driveway.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I posted about a writer retreat and a writer conference in Homer, Alaska, which is also home to one of my sisters and her husband. I began taking a writing class taught by a local writer, and I met several other writers there. I posted a poem that I wrote for Paul’s 60th birthday in 2007. I made an ambitious attempt at a blogging schedule. Hilarious, if you really know me; the “s” word and me are not close.

I signed onto several more social media venues and shared some sites with helpful information for writers. I touched on some newsy information in one post, about the way technology is taking away our privacy. I wrote a poem about the deaths and injuries in the Boston marathon bombing and the explosion in Texas. I posted a short story about a child molester/monster.

Kites down on beach. PHALL PHOTO 2013

Kites down on beach.
PHALL PHOTO 2013

I moved Maggie (my trailer/cave/home) from the bay outside of Westport, into Westport proper and closer to the beach. The worst shock and heartache of my life happened on the 26th, when my grandson died. Still dealing with the other recent losses in my life, I stopped blogging for awhile.

May- 13 entries. I lost my mind a bit, but returned to blogging late in the month, with 2 poems on grief and loss. Lady In The Cave http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1N and Treasured Souls http://wp.me/p3i5jo-1P  were followed by a post complaining about the new parameters for the medical definition of grief. I wrote a few other poems/essays and shared some of the writing/publishing information that I was learning. Still very few visitors or followers on my blog, but I kept on. This was my first poetry/photo combo post: Beach Bird Bliss http://wp.me/p3i5jo-2c and it made me realize how much readers enjoy photos along with the words.

Fresh seed pod on tree. PHALL PHOTO 2013 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

Fresh seed pod on tree.
PHALL PHOTO 2013
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS19

June- 22 entries. This was a very busy writing month and I had some fun with the essay, Things That Go Rrrrr, Crash, and Drip In The Night http://wp.me/p3i5jo-4w. I also got better at working with photos and started posting photos for Word Press Daily Prompts and Weekly Photo Challenges. I posted quite a bit under Writing Journal as I learned about and organized for successful memoir writing. The post, New! Dedicated Memoir Page and Sneak Peek of Prologue http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3m tells the story of how I got from the house that Paul and I shared, to living at the beach. What I Would Tell You Now http://wp.me/p3i5jo-3v is a letter to my late husband, written long after he was gone. I also started writing and submitting book reviews this month.

Butterfly on Flower in my friend's garden. Phall Photo 2013

Butterfly on Flower in my friend’s garden.
Phall Photo 2013

These are busy days, but I will try to post the summary of July-December 2013, in the next few days… Still not smoking and happy about it, over 2 months later!!!!!!!! Was thrilled to know that one of my sisters quit smoking 4 days ago too. So cool.

Happy Almost Spring!

Patti

Thistles PHALL PHOTO 2013

Thistles
PHALL PHOTO 2013

 


30 Comments

March Mountains; Alaska to Washington, It’s Time

PHALL PHOTO 2014

Chugiak, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2014

My one year bloggiversary is coming up on the 17th, and I will write a summary of my first blogging year on that day, but today’s post is about a completely different summary and adventure.

As most of you know, I’ve been living near the beach in Washington State for over four years, and I’ve been a widow almost five years. They have been some hard years, with too many losses of family, friends and pets. Among those losses (after my late husband’s death), I lost my sister, my little grandson, and my aunt. Just as I picked myself up off the floor from one loss, another death flattened me.

Yet I’ve also had some real joys these last few years; I reunited with a dear girlfriend and several family members. I have a new grandson. Both my nephews, and several other family members, have had babies. I’ve reveled in the healing atmosphere of my wild west coast beach, while I gained energy, balance and perspective in my solitary world (with the help of family and friends).

One thing I haven’t done, is make room (in my heart and head) for the possibility of becoming part of a couple again. Since you’ve been trailing along on my blog journey, you know that I’ve finally done that recently. Kevin and I were reunited on New Year’s Eve, about 38 years after our first and only date. He is my sister’s brother-in-law and the son of Mrs. M, who I broke out of the nursing home in Oregon this past November.

You may also recall that Kevin tried to catch me at the airport, before I left Alaska, all those years ago. He missed by 15 minutes. Now I’m ready to leave Alaska again (after caring for my folks for a couple of months) and Kevin will be waiting at the airport for me in Washington. He has been faithfully courting me long distance, with a romantic Youtube song every morning, and an hours-long phone call every evening. Do you really think there is any chance that we’ll miss our connection this time? Me neither.

PHALL PHOTO 2014

 Eagle River, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2014

Every time I come to Alaska, I fall in love with the mountains. You’ve seen the photos. Of course, you’ve also seen my camera-love of the beach too. I can’t give up either, but tomorrow I will be moving from my parent’s home below the surrounding mountain ranges of Eagle River, Alaska, to Kevin’s home, nestled¬†between Mount Rainier National Park to the north and Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument¬†to the south,¬†with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest¬†in all directions.

Eagle River, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2014

Eagle River, Alaska PHALL PHOTO 2014

My next post will be on my one year bloggiversary. I’ll also give you an update on the new views of mountains and maybe a few other things…

Happy March!

Patti

Eagle River, Alaska  PHALL PHOTO 2014

Eagle River, Alaska
PHALL PHOTO 2014

 

 


30 Comments

Transitions

The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK PHALL PHOTO 2014

The greenhouse and garden, Eagle River, AK
PHALL PHOTO 2014

Almost SIX weeks, and you know what I’m talking about. But I don’t want to make a big deal about it. Well, okay, I do want to make a big deal about it. Just give me a paragraph or three and then I’ll shut up about it. At least for today. More than anything, I feel that giving up cigarettes (and the caffeine addiction) has given me more freedom. The biggest freedom, is the freedom to go after a healthier life style.

No matter how many times that I have attempted to quit in the past, I always remained a slave to cigarettes. Even if I went as long as eight months without one single drag off one single cigarette, I was still chained to the addiction. I thought about the lack of them, more than I thought about anything else. Secretly (and probably outwardly) the drama was intense. It went on almost every waking moment that I didn’t smoke. “Should I? Could I? I can’t. I won’t! Damn, I’m weak. Man, I’m strong. I can’t go one more minute. If I can make it one more hour, I can go to sleep.”¬†The internal drama was intense, as I’m sure the external was. Poor family.

This time no one suffered; not me and not my parents. That’s how I knew that the addiction was broken. For awhile, I waited for the other shoe to drop. As hours, days and then weeks passed (6 of them!), I kept waiting for that slam/slap on the shoulder and a rousting voice saying, “Fooled ya! You are about to have the worst withdrawals in the history of cigarette/caffeine withdrawals!” It never came. One of my reasons for diet and exercise, was to head off any shoe-dropping slam/slap on the shoulder. If it came, I’d be ready with a healthy routine and a new excitement for living without the chains of addiction. So far, so good.

It may very well be an illusion, or even a delusion, but I honestly think that I’m out of the woods, and that the damn shoe could never be thrown THIS far out! (Knock on wood, or whatever superstition will keep that big bad shoe away.)

On the home front. Mom goes to her first Physical Therapy session today. She has been moving less and I’m hoping that they will pick up the slack and get her into a good routine to further her recovery from the hip replacement. Dad is still fighting a painful-sounding cough. Hopefully, this last batch of meds will help him.

The best thing about the Olympics these past few weeks, has been watching mom and dad enjoy them together. Whether, mom was laying with her feet in dad’s lap, or sitting up and holding hands with him, I had the best seat in the house. They cheered and gasped in awe together at the inspiring wins, losses and injuries, while I just smiled at the two of them.

The low carb diet is going well. Really. Today will be day 5 of my crazy idea of joining a gym…wait, that was mom’s crazy idea. I’m a little sore, but it has been fun. I kind of earned another free pass by story-telling. Yep, the membership woman loved the story of Kevin and I, so much, that she promised more free passes for my future visits. Cool.

I just stepped out and took some shots of the light pastel pink and blue sunrise. It is a balmy 14 degrees this morn. I’ll share a few photos from yesterday, then I have to get ready for my next yoga class. Yikes.

P1020537 (1024x768)

Funny, I started writing this about the transition I will soon be dealing with; from living alone in Maggie (my cave at the beach) to living with my folks for the past 2 months in Alaska, to making a new life with Kevin in the foothills of the mountains. Somehow, I never got to that…maybe next time.

Peace,

Patti

PHALL PHOTO 2014

PHALL PHOTO 2014