February 25 2018

Still recovering from the flu, but we are making great strides in recovery: today we bought groceries! I am eating potato salad and mixed sherbet in orange juice. Because I can. I’m not super happy with this picture but I really only took one photo today and this was it. This flower obviously doesn’t know it’s been snowing all this past week and is supposed to do so again next week.

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NOT a “photo a day” right now…

There’s a good reason. And yes, much better now. Why the hokey paper sign on the clinic wall? Oregon is in the midst of a flu epidemic. And by epidemic, I mean I know people who have died in the last two months from the flu. I guess the only moral of this story is if you have a bad feeling, get checked out just in case and don’t keep telling yourself “it’s just the flu…”

Oh, and please vote for universal health care. Thank you.

Feb 13 2018

Portland, Oregon. Between Hayden Island and the mainland. View of RR bridge.

My friend brought in the Willamette Week horoscopes today. The current writer is clever. Mine related the powers of chance to a Dr. Suess anecdote. My friend’s horoscope, Capricorn, told the story of a Chinese farmer who bought two shaggy dogs from a traveler. They were unusually aggressive. They sometimes ate his chickens. Two years later, he realized his puppies were actually Asian black bears.

She and I were sitting in the lobby. A young man -also an artist -sat on the other side of me. My friend and I were discussing dinner plans for Thursday. The artist politely ignored our business, plunking away at things on his cell phone.

“Wait!” she exclaimed, “I totally forgot -Thursday is Valentine’s Day. Don’t you already have plans?”

“Oh no,” I replied, “Thursday is fine. Valentine’s Day is on Wednesday.”

There was, as it’s known, a pregnant pause. “Are you certain?”

Yes. I and the artist affirmed. Valentine’s Day was on Wednesday.

“Well, that won’t do. I have to cancel my dinner plans for Wednesday. I said I’d have dinner with him, but I didn’t really want to and if it’s Valentine’s Day, he’ll read too much into that.”

This was serious girl talk, and while it would be impossible not to hear us, the artist steadfastly kept his eyes forward on his phone and his face straight.

“Why would you agree to have dinner with someone that you didn’t really want to have dinner with?”

“Well, I don’t know. He just kept hounding me and he lives in my building so I finally said I would.”

“On Valentine’s Day. That’s not dinner. That’s like, a big date.

The artist confirmed that this would most likely be a fellow’s perception, while being more successful than I was at remaining serious.

“I know! That’s what I’m talking about. I’m going to have to cancel -stop it! Are you laughing at me? No, you laughing at me!”

“No, no I -I’m not! I just -ok, yes I am. But I’m not. It’s just…you just found out your dogs were bears!”

The artist finally lost his composure.

February 11 2018

Potato Curry

Inexpensive psuedo Indian Food

1-2 potatoes per person

1 onion

Curry powder to taste

Oil for cooking (I use Spanish olive oil)

1 28oz can diced tomatoes

Slice and saute the onions in the oil at a high heat. While the onions are cooking chop the potatoes into bite size peices. Boil them in water in the microwave until tender. (Or, you can begin by pre-cooking the potatoes on the stove top.) Once the onions are cooked, add the potatoes and Curry powder. Reduce heat to medium high and cook for about eight minutes. You can add about 1/4 cup of water to prevent sticking each time the water boils off. Add the tomatoes. Cook until heated through.

I also made asparagus. Brush it with your favorite oil based salad dressing such as Italian and cook at 350 degrees until it’s tender.

February 10, 2018

There is a methodist church nearby that has a large grassy area in front of it. Years and years ago, they turned it into a memorial arboretum. Any time a church member passed away, they planted a tree. One, which was planted some time ago and has grown to giant proportions, produces really big pine cones -almost a foot tall.

Noah really wanted one of those pinecones. Her daycare was on the same grounds and on her first day she asked about the pine cones and was told that the groundskeeper collected them whenever they fell and they were kept as school property to prevent children from fighting over them. Noah didn’t like this option.

Every afternoon, when I picked her up at daycare, she would ask to walk around the grounds for a few minutes before getting into the car. Just to stretch her legs, of course. But somehow her walk always took her around that tree.

Then one day, after almost a year -a year of this! -it happened. Not one, but three of those giant pinecones had hit the ground and she found them before the groundskeeper.

They are so big, and rather sharp too, that she couldn’t gather them all up in her four-year-old arms. One would pop out and she’d try to catch it and end up dropping another. She managed to stagger along like this for about ten feet. She was just frantic, convinced that the groundskeeper would materialize at any moment and snatch away her prizes. (In reality, he was a rather nice gentleman who always gave her a rose, trimmed of thorns, whenever he saw her. But at that moment, to Noah he would be a pinecone-seizing demon incarnate.)

She looked at me with tears -actual tears -brimming over, and begged me for help. Of course, I immediately took charge of two of those awkward pokey-death pods while she hugged the third in her jacket and we hastened to the car, secret agent style. Only when we were safely down the road a ways, did she let out a deep breath of relief and begin to wonder and crow over her contraband.

That was about three years ago. I wonder if she even remembers these things. Last fall I gave one to her older brother when he asked if he could have one. I honestly don’t remember what happened to the second. But the third and last lives atop the cabinet where I keep my dad’s antique violins and mandolins and other memorabilia. I don’t know that she even remembers the year she was obsessed with obtaining a giant pinecone, how triumphant it was to finally obtain one and the urgency to get her covered cone away to safety. I don’t know if she even knows it’s there. But I will probably keep that pinecone forever, just to help me remember that day. She was four years old, fighting the big world with rules and dumb policies about pinecones, and she won.