Eclipse Totality

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Lucky to be in the line of the solar totality, my iphone slowly moved across my face causing a partial selfie-clipse.

Robert and I set up in the back yard for the August 21, 2017 event.

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We tried a variety of ways to take pictures of the event, including Robert using his phone inside his welding mask.  Sadly, we ended up with forty or so pictures of … the sun.

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Our most successful pictures were those using a pinhole in foil and shining that image on paper.

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I was most eager to experience the totality, since I have seen several partial eclipses in the past, but never one with direct coverage.  I was not disappointed.

Some of the things I had hoped for didn’t really happen: birds stopping their song, crickets singing, total darkness.

What did happen in our back yard: a neighbor narrating the event to a disinterested toddler, a couple loudly saying “look at that” over and over again, a neighborhood of viewers cheering during the moments of totality, and several people setting off fireworks.  The crickets didn’t have a chance.

I guess what surprised me the most was the temperature drop, and drop it did.  I also admit I cheered seeing something so dramatic and rare in the sky.  I understood the mechanics from science class (and the endless tweets and FB pages).  Yet, I could not help to be awe-struck by the majesty of the event.

 

House Arrest

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This could be called “Roofing, Day Two” but I like my title better.  The roofers were still hammering away on top of us.  We had grand-kiddo day care, but couldn’t leave the house.  The kids couldn’t play outside because of the falling tiles/nails/etc.  Plus, we didn’t want to leave because my husband is vital when any technical questions arise.

So….what to do…what to do??

N and I decided (after parents approval was received) that we could try my henna kit and do some hand painting.  It took a very long time….but was fun.

J and hubs were in the other room doing all kinds of buildings with jenga blocks.  They set up dominoes type designs that would fall over.

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Sure, we could have had the TV on or handed them electronics, but they only get a couple times a day to do that.

When the workers left at 3:30, we jumped in the car and they got 30 minutes of running around an arcade.  It was still 103 deg. and the yard was not yet cleaned up.  But they needed to run and jump and play a few games of air hockey.

Now if you are reading this and live in an area where you can not leave the house for days on end…my hat is off to you.  As it was, we did quite well.

Hot Time in the City!

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Living in “the valley,” our Oregon temperatures are relatively mild, which I like.  We get a few hot days in the summer and a couple of snow storms in the winter.  The rest of the seasons, we joke, include hot, warm, cool, or cold rain.

If you are having your home re-roofed, you want to pick a time that is dry, but not too hot.  The heat advisory in triple digits coincided with our re-roofing.  I worried about those guys, but they cheerfully showed up around 7 each morning and worked until 3.

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Let’s just say that the fine folks from Valley Roofing didn’t need a gym membership.  They exercised, did weight lifting, and had a sauna all in one job.  My husband would take them out cold water during breaks and ice cold watermelon and grapes during lunch.

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We appreciated their hard work, all in tripel digits.

Once I saw that they were all tethered to the roof, I no longer had visions of them fainting and rolling off. However, the noise is what got me.  I don’t know if I would survive in a big city with constant construction.  It was not just the hammering, but the compressors and the ‘bang’ when shingles fell into the truck.  By the end of the three days I was on my last nerve.

But now that it’s done, we don’t have to worry about it for 20 or 30 years.  ALLELUIA!

August Weather is Mocking my Brother

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My brother flew into PDX today (required picture of PDX carpet).  He had it all worked out.  Since Kansas is soooo very hot and humid in the summer, he planned to escape the weather and spend some time with his Pacific NW family.

Mother nature had other plans.  Kansas is having temperatures in the high 70’s while the valley is experiences a heat wave….mid 90’s.

As he left the airport he laughed out loud.  “This feels familiar,” he stated as we were hit by the humid heat.

Worse, the traffic coming home was at a crawl.  We finally pulled off in Wilsonville and ate dinner at a lovely Chinese restaurant.  Weather would not dampen our spirits.

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Tomorrow he heads to the coast where the weather is to be mid-60’s !  Yes, finally he will experience the cool weather of Oregon.

Be kind to my brother, Oregon Coast.  No more surprises.

 

July Ocean

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Blue skies, few clouds….is this really Oregon?  Why yes it is.  As sunny as it looks, it was chilly outside.  This does not make it any less wonderful.

This month was different in that family came to visit during our stay.

Sister Patti came by to chat, walk the beach, and do some business on the coast.

Niece Carrie made her yearly trip to hug on family and enjoy the joys of Oregon.  This gal had been very busy this summer.  She and her sister, Renee, took a whirl-wind trip through Ireland and added on a trip to London.  Carrie sold her house and bought another, then flew from Kansas to Oregon to see us.  She was to return home, move into her new house, unpack, then begin teaching.  Busy, busy.

While in London, Carrie had a run-in: knee vs. cobblestone.  The cobblestone won. Carrie really didn’t have time to slow down so just kept moving.  Once she slowed down, her knee made itself heard.

Let’s just say that the Lincoln City Emergency Room is getting to know us on a first name basis.  The knee doubled in size and the pain got too much to ignore.  In we went in for x-rays.

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Her smile is fake.  The pain is real and the doctor was not playing.  Carrie got a lesson on walking with crutches and her Oregon trip slowed WAY down.  Still, she was at the ocean and enjoyed every minute looking out the window at the beautiful view.

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Even with the change of plans, we told stories, shared, and laughed as we watched a most glorious sunset.

NOTE:  I hurt my knee trying to get into a truck that was higher than I thought it would be, so we were both limping.  Major props go to my wonderful husband who, without one complaint, packed the car, unloaded everything, loaded it all again at the end of the stay, and drove everywhere.  Carrie and I voted him Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the trip.  Thank you, sweetie.  The trip would not have happened without you.

NOTE: Carrie, I miss you already.

Happy 4th

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Oregon – yup

Caught sight of this uniquely colored flag as we were zipping around town getting ready for the big party on the 4th.

There were plenty of red, white and blue flags in the wind, I just thought this was clever. To be honest, I’d rather have neighbors smoking than drinking while setting off fireworks near our house!

Be safe out there.

 

Neighbors Near and Far

A few days back, I heard a very loud and scary crash outside our home… somewhere down the block.  I yelled for hubs and we both went out to see if someone needed assistance.  Doors flew open and neighbors noisily poured out of their houses.

I heard what sounded like a gunshot and hubs saw a car speeding around the corner on three tires.  “What’s going on?”  “Everyone okay?” “Call 911!”   Someone near the corner rang out “I got the plate number!!” and we all cheered.

A car had just plowed into two cars parked on the street in front of our neighbor’s house. One car was pushed so hard that it almost landed on the sidewalk as it damaged the second car.

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While we are standing there, a car speeds down our block, does a U-turn and flies back down the street.  Curious.

We all had our smart phones out and were comparing stories…..”What did you hear?” “Who’s car?”   It appears our neighbor a few doors down had two guests over and their cars were now destroyed.  They just stood there and we tried to make encouraging comments.  They were thanking everyone for mobilizing so quickly.

But the story is not over.  I don’t know how many noticed the car that made the U-turn, but when the car returned I recognized it.

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A kind young man, Robert, stepped out and shared his story.  He was not from the neighborhood, but when he turned down our street he was face to face with a car on three wheels driving like a bat out of hell.  He knew someone was up to no good.  Once he made the U-turn he followed the vehicle for a cat and mouse chase around the back roads, alleys, etc.  The hit and run driver even tried the old “turn off the lights and drive very slowly” trick, but Robert was determined not to let this guy get away.

Robert stayed in communication with the police until they joined him and stopped the hit and run perpetrator.  Knowing we were a curious bunch….he came back to tell us that the guy was in police custody.  We all cheered!

Clearly, you don’t have to live in a neighborhood to be a good neighbor.  An officer arrived and we all said our goodbyes and let the officer talk with the two car owners.

Thank you, Robert (no idea his last name), for being our neighbor.

Remembering our Mothers

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On Tuesday,  I blogged about receiving.  This blog is more about remembering.  Each Mother’s Day since his mother’s passing, Robert has followed a certain tradition.  His mother loved flowers and in particular rhododendron of every color.  Mother’s Day morning Robert circles the house and begins to clip a little here and a little there, creating a bundle of whatever is blooming well around our house.  He does not want store bought.  He wants to bring our home to adorn her headstone.  Depending on the Oregon weather we have more or less flowers to share.  He mostly snips the Rhodies and azaleas that turn our yard into a color-fest around this time.  We drive together to the cemetery and Robert takes care arranging the flowers.  He has his private moments.

I do not yet have a tradition for Mother’s Day.  I am still surprised when I pass a card display that I won’t be picking up a card for her.  Yet, there are, around our home, many objects that bring her close.

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This simple bell, which I keep in the bedroom, floods me with memories each time I pass.  It’s the bell we would use when we were ill and had to stay in bed.  We would ring the bell and help would be on its way: a tuck in, a bowl of soup, or 7-up.

There is no “right” way to remember mothers.  Robert brings our home to her graveside.  I bring mom’s objects into our home.  We both remember in our own way, but are grateful for the love given and the lessons learned.

Mother’s Day

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Felt lucky with the beautiful cards, flowers, hugs and messages for Mother’s Day.  A hanging pot bursting with colorful flowers and elegant card from my husband.

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I received a bouquet of flowers dyed with so many colors it looked like a party in itself.  Along with Bryon’s flowers, Nora added her own card – with glitter, of course.

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A beautiful plant arrived with hugs along with more lovely messages.

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fam card

The plant was huge (about four feet tall) with blooms that will live in the sun for years.  My husband has already lovingly planted the flowers where I can see them from our little deck.

Every single one of the cards made me tear up, except for the last one….which made me laugh so that I had to present it in video form.  There is just no other way to get the full impact of a child’s imagination.

Happy Mother’s Day!  I felt like a queen!