Birthday in the Park

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Fun and games with the birthday boy turning double digits.  Games, play, costumes, searching for gems, pulled pork sliders and picnic food.  What fun!

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The birthday boy and his “crew” prepare for battle.

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First game of Kid Kubb goes to the little ones.

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“Wind” blows

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The “Shadow” knows

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“Fire” crackles

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“Death” ….scary

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Mom and Dad still have the energy to smile after hosting such a full energy bash.

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The birthday boy dabs out.

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Kid’s Kubb

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While thinking about our grandchild’s birthday party at a park, I wondered what field games could be played with the variety of ages in attendance.  My brother, who was visiting at the time, introduced us to Kubb, a game from Sweden he had heard about.

There was a great deal of information on YouTube and Google about the game.  A few of us watched several videos and thought it would be a splendid game….and one we could make rather “easily.”  Lincoln and I discussed colors and how to change the original rules to something more birthday-friendly.

My husband, who can make anything, bought a couple of dowels, a piece of wood, and gathered some wood from a wooden pallet.  He cut everything to size and rough sanded the pieces.

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I took over the blocks and painted them with used paint from the garage.  It took a while, but it helped to give the wood two-three coats.

The next step took the longest.  I taped off each block and baton in preparation for the colors.

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To say this step took hours would not be hyperbole.  Still, it was fun to see the colors bring the set to life.

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Once the set was painted two or three more times, everything was handed back over to my husband who sprayed a sealer on the entire set.  Yes, several coats.

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The game turned out to be a lot of fun.  After the kids played a couple of games, the adults played as well.  It was a success, and a game I hope we will play for years to come.

Amazon Prime Madness

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“Try it FREE for a month…..”

Six most dangerous words online.  “Try Amazon Prime,” they said.  “You’ll love it,” they said.

Well, dang it, “they” were right and I may now be hooked.

I started my month timidly, making sure I was ONLY getting what I would otherwise buy.  Three weeks in, I’m LOOKING for things to buy.  Lord, have mercy.

It started with Divina Dolmas, the best stuffed grape leaves I have ever eaten.  One 4.4 lb can makes four meals for Hubs and myself.  Add a salad, and there ya go!  The shipping for a can a month would pay for Amazon prime (so I told myself).  What a deal.

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While searching for more goodies, I found a six pack.  I mean, who does not need 26.4 lbs of dolmas.  I sure do.  Amazon probably thinks I am part owner of a Greek restaurant.  So now I have cans stuffed around closets, etc. since our pantry can only hold one can.

The box came with 3 straight cans, two with dings, and one soundly smashed.

Will I continue Amazon Prime after the 30 days.  I do not know.  But I have enough dolmas to eat while I think about it.

Eagle Creek Fire

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Photograph and poem by Emily Bittel

Eagle Creek Fire  2017

I breathe, and smoke fills my lungs.

The forest I love is burning –

The place we first backpacked together.

The senseless loss is staggering.

 

What will be left when the burning is done?

We will shuffle through ash

Shake it from our socks into little piles on the floor of the tent.

 

Perhaps our grandchildren’s children

Will gaze up with wonder

At the lofty heights of the douglas fir

Through the filter of vibrant vine maple.

 

I pray for rain as the ash drifts down from the sky

Flakes of a forest I once knew

The last time light will shift through its leaves.

Head in my arms, I cry

 

Maybe, just maybe, my tears will water the desolation.

 

I thank Emily for sharing her personal poem.  Below is a picture from katutv, a split screen of what the Bonneville Dam looks like normally, and now during the fire.  My heart goes out to all those working the PNW fires, the critters who make the forests their home, and the forests themselves.  Photo: National Coast Trail Association

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Oregon State Fair

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Robert has worked at the Artisan Village for the last 8 years.  Two days of set-up, 11 days of demonstrating and selling his artwork, then a day to break down the booth.  Eight long years working the Oregon Fair.

This year he retired from the fair and we went on an Oregon State Fair date.  Loads of walking and enjoying all the sights.  A root-beer shake from his favorite booth for Robert and fresh grilled corn on the cob for me.

The fair is so big, we had to make a mental list of things we wanted to do.  Either do them or wait until next year!

Robert wanted to see his chums who he had worked along side for the last few years.  I wanted to ride the sky chair.

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We arrived in the morning when the place was pretty quiet and still cool.  The weather was in our favor.

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A short trip to the fair lasted about four hours, but was loads of fun.  Loads!

See you next year, Oregon State Fair.

What day is this?

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There is a rhythm of the school year in most USA learning institutions that begins around September and ends in June.  Although the beginning dates may change a little here and there, these have been the seasons of my life since I was five.

When I received my bachelors from the University of Kansas, I realized that the teaching job I had wanted from the time I was 10 was not the job I wanted as a 20 year old. I had changed. I no longer wanted to teach small children.  But then what?

After graduation, I moved to a different state and tried a variety of occupations for a couple of years.  This did not work out.  If I was a waitress, I would quickly become the one singled out to train the others.  In the print shop, I became the one who trained others on printers, computers, mailing processes, etc.  What was the universe trying to tell me? I fell in love with American Sign Language and was, within two years, teaching others.

It all came back to learning and teaching and the cycles of the school years.  New Years Eve was never a big deal for me.  It seemed to cut my year in half.  The real NYE was always the night before the first day of school.

So, I followed my calling and became a trainer, teacher, and then instructor at a Community College. After what seemed like a lifetime in education, I decided to early retire.  I was able to….so did.  I wondered when the rhythms would tilt and move to match the rest of the country.

What has happened?  The gentle tilt has become a spin.  I seem to have no sense of the calendar at all.  “What is today?” is a question I’ve asked my spouse on more than one occasion.

While I believe that old dogs CAN be taught new tricks, I may always live the rhythms of a school year.  That’s okay, I just have to learn to figure out which day of the week it is.

And really, if that’s my biggest problem, I am blessed indeed.

May Ocean

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Our May adventure to Lincoln City was filled with blue skies and wonderful sunsets.  We got some “good news/bad news” from the desk when we checked in.  The good news…..no one had the room above us.  The bad news…..the whole top floor was empty because they were re-roofing while we were there.  No way to warn us.  The company was supposed to be there last week.

I was not looking forward to three days of hammering, but it all went rather smoothly.  The hammering was not as bad as all the equipment (and the sounds the shingles made when thrown from the top floor. *shudder*)  Thank goodness ocean waves can overwhelm so many other sounds.  Plus BLUE SKIES – NO RAIN

Robert spent extra time during low time to find some beautiful rocks.  He treasures them.  Collecting was just half the fun.  The second half was organizing them with a “look at this one” and “see the layers in this one.”

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It was my job to pick out a new breakfast spot, since we try to do something different each visit.  I’ve always been fascinated with a swanky hotel called Inn at Spanish Head not too far from our modest digs.  I read there was a great breakfast so we were there when it opened.  The restaurant served good food, and the view was crazy beautiful.

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We tried to get a selfie without backlighting ourselves too much while still showing the view.

Don’t file the next part under “too much information.”  As it is with being human, I had to visit the bathroom.  I walked in and was confronted with this scene.  I KID YOU NOT.

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When a restaurant’s bathroom has a better view than your hotel room, one might imagine the cost of a room. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t switch.  We love The Sandcastle, and stay there every time we can.  Note: I made sure to catch a corner of the sink just to prove….holy cow, it’s a bathroom.

While I didn’t see “our” seal this time, I was lucky enough to see the spout and body of whale/s!  Such creatures.  I either saw one whale four times or four different whales.  Either way, it was a thrill to experience.