Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Summer Somewhere.

Cherries for me have always meant summer -- after all what can top a big bowl of fresh cherries right off the tree? As a kid, growing up in SoCal, cherries were only to be found in the grocery store and then, rationed by my mom. The rationing was a strategy she used so my brother and I wouldn't fight over who got more!'s always something. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Today on my jaunt to Bauman's Farms here in Woodburn, I was so excited, just thinking I would get the last strawberries of the season. Weather being what it has been here, strawberry season was oh too short. I guess strawberries need a lot of sunshine and warmer temperatures to truly mature and sweeten. And since we've had neither of those two things in any quantity to mention, strawberries were on the short list.

But don't despair -- even better than strawberries fresh from the field -- Bauman's had Rainier cherries to delight my senses. Piles and piles and piles of beautiful red, just waiting to be bitten, cherries. Now, I know there are all types of cherries in the world...but those of the Rainier variety happen to be my favorite. Lamberts take a close second and Bings are third. And, please don't even think about offerring me a cooked cherry anything -- in my mind cherries are meant to be eaten raw. When in NYC I waited for the first sign of Rainers in the green grocer's on the corner in my neighborhood. Then I would buy them every day until they were gone; but honestly, they never tasted like those you get fresh-picked from the tree. I never saw any at the Farmer's Markets which leads me to think that they are only grown in this part of the world.

So -- lucky for me -- Rainier cherries for breakfast, lunch and dinner until I can't find them any longer. I have to stop now, it's very challenging to type with one hand and eat cherries and spit out pits with the other. So...cherries rule today! It's a bit of a consolation prize for putting up with gray skies and rain and temps in the low 60s. In case you doubt my weather-reporting skills -- the picture of the weather vane at Bauman's gives you a pretty good indication that I don't speak untruths.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Power Has Left the Building

I was heading out this afternoon to mail a few parcels and run to the grocery store when I heard the postage meter reset itself and then I heard the printers click off; but it still didn't register as a problem. A few minutes later, I heard the ringing of the phone from the garage and immediately thought there must be a problem with the answering machine. Sure enough the answering machine was off, along with all the electronic equipment in the office, lights were nonfunctional. Handygirl that I am, I checked the fuse box and flipped a few response. I picked up the phone in the garage (aka shipping department) and got a dial tone. There is something to be said for the old technology -- the phone out there is from the 60s, a "Princess" style wall phone that is ugly avocado green and requires no electricity to function properly. When I moved in to this place I couldn't bring myself to change it up -- you see I have a penchant for things of the past. I thought about going my way and running my errands but stopped when I realized not only would the garage door not open, there was a good chance they would not be able to check me out at the store. So I was pretty much stuck here for a bit.

In the silence of the power outage, I flashed back to 1967 and life in Sunset Beach in SoCal. I used to shop at Woody's Market -- times were much different then. Woody's was a little mom and pop store that had been in operation for years and was now run by the son of the original owners. To get what I needed, I just had to leave my front door, walk across what used to be the Red Car tracks and enter the back door of Woody's on the corner of 10th and Pacific Coast Highway. Every thing I wanted was right there -- and here's the kicker. When they checked me out on some old-fashioned kind of register, they handed me the receipt, I signed the back, they then slipped it back in a paper envelope and at the end of the month, I went in, they totaled the receipts and I paid what I owed. They simply knew me so they trusted me. Sounds crazy, but I hold fond memories of that little store. One day while passing the meat counter I overheard Mrs. Turner, who must have been a hundred years old and was one of the longest living residents of Sunset Beach, ask Dave, the butcher, for a chicken chest. Yes, a chicken chest...she was a proper woman and just couldn't bring herself to say the word "breast!" I looked at Dave we both smiled and went about our business. I visited with Mrs. Turner several times a week -- she had the best stories of rumrunners on the beach during prohibition, old beaux and a life well-lived in that little corner of the world. I know people say you shouldn't look back, but I like looking back. I think it is important to look back and to hold on to dear memories. So, to better fit my personality, I've changed up the saying -- "it's okay to look back, but you just can't stare."

When I think about it all, I really feel fortunate to have lived the life I have...through it's ups and's all been very good and truly wonderful. I don't think there is one thing I would least not that I can think of a this moment in time. (Okay, so there are a few men I wish i hadn't dated and I am sure they feel the same way about me.) So, that being said, once again, I find myself at the end of a post feeling grateful and content. It's a very good place to be.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Mountain is Out!

First day of summer and this afternoon I was gifted this view of Mt. Hood. Taking a break from the office and studio I thought it would be a perfect day to take a quick run to Fessler's and gather just a few more plants before they closed for the season. This was my view as I pulled into the parking area. I grabbed my mobile so I could share it with all of you. For those of you who don't know, this is Mt. Hood -- which I have had a love hate relationship with since about 1980 when I took a tumble while skiing at Timberline, thus ending my formerly enjoyable skiing adventures. While the years have come and gone, I still have the achy shoulder and hip to remind me of that day. But maybe it's time to put that all behind think? That being said -- whenever I do get a glimpse of the mountain it still makes me gasp. Yes, rises in all its glory unlike the mountains I was so used to seeing in SoCal, Mt. Hood just seems to pop up out of the flat ground -- I guess the rise to the mountain is gradual enough that from a distance you don't really notice. The fact that, with the weather being what it is in this part of the world, we don't get to see the mountains all that much...clouds you when I am given the chance I usually take full advantage. Today was no exception. In the distance I could also see the top of Saint Helen's, well, if you can still call it the top after it erupted about the same time I was zipping down a glacier on another mountain (hm-m-m wonder if there is a connection?) and, in the other direction I could see Mt. Jefferson. Sadly, there was enough haze or dust in the air that I knew the mobile wouldn't capture those images so I stuck to getting the best and quickest shot I could of Hood. While I do a lot of grumbling about the rain and gray weather here, I totally get why people are attracted to this area. If you are an outdoors type then this is the place for you. There is such a wide variety of locations. So wide, in fact, that you can be at the beach, the mountains or the wine country all in the blink of an eye. And, what's more interesting is that all of those spots have something to offer year-round. Yes, snowboarders of all types, flock to Mt. Hood throughout the summer months -- it's one of the few places that they can "represent" no matter the season. I wonder how many of them will be complaining about hips and shoulders thirty years from now? Just a thought. Anyhow, in the grand scheme of things there are some pretty spectacular things to see no matter where you are. As I am known to just have to keep your eyes open.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Morning Moon

Trust me when I say that I am not a morning person. But, living as far north as I do, this time of year the "nights" are very, very, very short. The sun does not go down until a bit after ten in the evening and then, when it's not shrouded in the clouds, it comes up again about five in the morning. I hate having heavy blinds or curtains on the windows in my house, makes me feel very closed in for some reason. It's true, even when I lived in NYC, I did not have window treatments that cut off my view or the view of others (as in those looking into my place) -- so I guess it's safe to say I'm a bit claustrophobic. I digress here but one beau that I dated for a few years while living in NYC told me that he paid his rent my renting binoculars to the guy who lived in the apartment across from my place! Sorry, I just can't seem to bring myself to cover the windows. In this house, my bedroom faces east which means when the sun comes up on a non-cloudy day it streams through my window and across the bed. While it gives me a cozy feeling, to Beatrix, the wonder Cairn, it means she should be up and exploring the yard; tracking the critters that came through during the dark hours while she slept .

Well, this morning, when I sleepily got up to open the door for her -- this is what greeted me. A beautiful morning moon. The glow on the back yard was so beautiful -- enough so I actually stood out there and gazed up at the glowing orb. I tried to capture the spirit of the moon with the camera on my cell phone. Remember it was 5:23 a.m. so my brain was not functioning on full throttle and I didn't think to get the "good" camera and snap a few shots. So this is what I got. The back of my house faces west so the moon was on its way down while the sun was slowly rising in the east. I think the color of the moon reflected a bit of the morning glow of the sun. Whatever it was it made me stop, stare, snap a few images and then sit out back and simply breathe in the morning air and enjoy the moments before the moon disappeared. Working on moonstone today -- it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beatrix, Fesslers and Weekend Plans

Guess what's on the agenda for the weekend? We drove over to Fessler's Nursery today and picked out the plants for the patio. Fessler's is a wholesale nursery best known for fuchsias, geraniums and azaleas and is located out in the "country" a few miles from the center of Woodburn. After living in NYC and buying plants for my terrace every year, I am still surprised at the fact that I can get about five times the number of plants for about one-fourth of what I paid in the city. And, I don't have to load them in a taxi to get them home! Today I loaded them into the back of a friend's car. Beatrix, the wonder dog/gardener, had to supervise to be sure that I didn't forget to get her favorites, too. I mostly go for the Martha Washington variety geraniums primarily because they remind me of my grandma. She had what seemed like thousands of all different colors in her yard. And, since it was in SoCal, they bloomed all year long. To me they look inviting and old-fashioned. I also like them, because it seems that I can actually keep them alive throughout the summer months here. I like to underplant some smaller little plants like alyssum and lobelia and some tiny little things which....wait...I have to go get the label to see what they are called. Be right back. Good Lord....calibrachon is their proper name. To me they look like tiny petunias and I like the white and coral colors with a few pinks to blend with the geraniums. Oh, since I couldn't find the Chinese lantern plant that I had last year, I found brown-eyed Susan's that are a soft coral color and the vine-like branches look as if they will climb up the patio posts in a similar fashion as the Chinese lantern. So keep your fingers cross that they all survive. The nurseries here opened very late this year because of the unusually cold and cloudy days we have had in this area. Even in the greenhouses, they depend on sunlight to grow -- so without sunshine -- no plants! I've been anxiously waiting for the Fessler's outing and today was the day. Even though the sun is not shining...the plants look happy sitting in the patio just waiting their turn.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Celebration Time is Here!

Why am I dancing around the studio today? And, why am I doing it without any music? Once again -- I am reminded that it is, indeed, the little things in life that are so very important. What little thing happened to me today that has me jumping for joy? Today, after all these long months, I was actually able to put my bra on like it was intended. Yes, I know...weird. But I was able to reach around the back and hook it without pain! Remember me telling you about my rotator cuff injuries way back in 2010, and how I wanted to avoid surgery if possible, and how disappointed I was when the local accupuncturist gave up on me? Well, with lots of patience and some slow but beneficial exercises, I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and guess what, it's not an oncoming train! While I am still being very careful with what I do and how I do it when the shoulders are involved, I am beyond thrilled that this day has finally arrived. Let me just say this, you don't realize how much you use your shoulders in common every second activities. And, to have them functioning in a healthy way makes me feel like dancing. So I am celebrating in the studio while wearing the perfect "Pop the Bubbly" bracelet and enjoying a fresh raspberry scone from the bakery at Bauman's Farms and a freshly brewed cup of Peet's French Roast (decaf of course) from my very own kitchen. Grab your coffee and get your celebration on. And, remember to be grateful for every little move you make.