November: It is Over

Current Location: Klamath Falls Oregon, at 40 degrees F with snow coming tomorrow.

Berries on the madrones in our yard at Grants Pass

For me, May and October are the very best months.  I can never decide which I love best.  Springtime promise or the brilliance of gorgeous October days.  It is the same with February and November, on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Which do I like least.  Both months require an artist’s eye to see something other than gloom.  My friend Jeanne, back in Vermont, calls it “Stick Season”, an apt description. 

Dirt piles from the new septic evaluation, all now approved and ready to install

For now, though, it is November.  After the wettest October on record for Grants Pass, we are heading into winter.  The last of the leaves on the east side of the Cascades have fallen, while the color is just past peak on the west side.  We cross back and forth between these two worlds in about 2 hours, coming and going between our homes. 

When I say it is over, of course, part of what I refer to is “the election”.  Yeah that one.  Only time will tell if the dire predictions of one half of the country come to pass or the rosy promises of a bright future surprise the other half of the country. And that is all I am going to say about that here. 

The other thing that is over, the very good thing, is that the Rocky Point house sale is final.  Closing went without a hitch, on the day it was supposed to, papers all signed, and money in the bank.  Neat as a pin.

Mo planted this maple at Rocky Point in 2002

Mo and I went there one last time, to pick up the random garbage cans, and load up the cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner.  I walked around the place, looking at the little trees we planted over the years that are now matured, remembering the sunny summer days we spent together working in the yard, bowling Bocci with the kids on the sloping lawn, cooking hot dogs on pitchforks at the edge of the forest over a campfire.

We planted this Japanese maple in 2010 when it was barely a whip

I didn’t feel the least bit sad, even though I took some time to give myself space to grieve a bit.  It wasn’t necessary.  Amazing memories, and yet no sadness or regret slipped into the joy that at last it was over.  Done.  Now the new owners can plow that snow and blow that roof and drive 40 minutes each way to the grocery store. 

I haven’t had the time to keep up on blogs lately, reading a few that I love, rarely commenting.  Until this past year, Mo and I traveled almost half the time, managing to get the rig out every single month for a few days or a week or a month, sometimes three.  This past year that has slipped, and I do miss our travels.  Mo said yesterday, “Well, we have a choice.  We can have a home or we can do all that other stuff that we enjoy.  Eventually we will do both again, but not right now.  Make your choice”. 

Mo planted this beech in 2004.  It took almost 4 years for it to get above the rock.

So I thought about it.  I spent a few moments thinking about how it would be to dump the idea of the house and simply keep living here at the apartments into old age, going to Grants Pass and the acre and the cottage, where the MoHo lives as a second home.  But the bottom line is that neither of us have any desire to be “full-timers”.  We want our home to return to when the road gets tiresome.  And we are old enough that an exit strategy would have to be in place, and that exit strategy would include a home somewhere.  Grants Pass is our exit strategy, our home for our last decade or so of life.  For the few moments I tried to imagine letting go of life to come on the cottage acre and building a home there, replacing it with world cruises or full time RV life, I only felt rootless. Not freedom.  Choices, it is always about choices.  It was fun to consider the options and fun to reaffirm that our choice is the best one for the life we want to live.

The pump house is finished, except for the final paint which will come after the house it built, and that sweet little building is filled with some serious high tech water management equipment.  We have the main well, which pumps raw water into our first 1700 gallon cistern installed last year.  A pump in that cistern sends water up to the first big pressure tank by way of a simple sediment filter, then that pressure tank sends water into the softening system.  From there, the softened water enters the reverse osmosis unit, with two big membranes that purify the product water to less than 3ppm of anything.  The R.O uses 4 gallons of water to produce 2.5 gallons of pure final product, which is then sent to the second 1700 gallon cistern.  From that cistern, another pump sends the water back to the second pressure tank which then sends that pure, sweet, fabulous water into the house. The waste water product exits the system into a gravity flow drain area which will subirrigate the fenceline shrubs which seem to be tolerant of the salt content.  Amazing system. 

Next year, when I start irrigating with this water, I will have to pay attention to the input and output of all parts of the system so I know just how long I can run whatever drip sprinklers we set up.  Some plants that we have don’t mind the salt, so I can use the raw water for them, but others that I took to Grants Pass had leaves turning brown and crispy, so those plants will get good water when all is said and done. 

I took a bath in that water, and oh my…what a treat.  No scum on the tub, silky baby soft hair, and no iron to stain the clothes.  I have said it before and will say it again.  There is nothing quite as wonderful as really good water, no matter the price.  If in the future, for any reason, we have trouble with the well and have to drill deeper, we already have the system in place to purify whatever water we get.  It is a big deal.

In late October, the “sand pears” were ready for canning.  Hard as little rocks, these pears don’t ever seem to ripen, and when they fall off the tree, they are still very hard.  I learned that they are called “canning pears” and once peeled and cooked they give of a heady perfume in the kitchen, and instead of getting all soft and mushy they stay slightly firm and are incredibly delicious. 

We spent a week or so each time at the Cottage, with Mo still working on her wood shop, and I started the big annual project of raking leaves.  I would rake a few hours each day and then retreat to the kitchen table to do some more quilting, and finally finally at last I finished my One Block Wonder kaleidoscope quilt.  This quilt was made from only one fabric, cut into a gazillion triangles sewed together into mirrored images creating the kaleidoscope effect.  It was more challenging that I expected, and about 3/4 of the way through I decided that I really didn’t like it.  I have learned that is a common response for me, however, and now that it is finished, I love it.  The fabric was one I bought years ago, and is one of my favorites.  I will put the top away and wait to quilt it until maybe the aforementioned month of February, when a burst of garden color will be much needed.

The grass just starting to green up after one rain

The grass after a couple of weeks of rain

One thing about living on the west side of Oregon that natives understand is lawn grass.  It is said that you can tell a true Oregonian by how brown their lawns are in the summer.  I spend a lot of time and energy making sure that my little patch of “real” lawn grass at the cottage is nice and green, especially appreciated when the temperatures are over 100 degrees and the rest of the acre is a fried crispy brown. 

The most amazing transformation happens when the rains start.  This year, instead of waiting until November, our rains started up in October, and literally, in a matter of days, the thin, crispy, brown stuff that you would swear was completely dead started greening up.  Our acre went from hard and crunchy to green and lush in less than a week.  A truly amazing thing to experience.  One of the minor joys of living on the west side.  It will stay green all winter, but Mo won’t have to mow until spring because the cool temperatures keep things in check.

Mo and I worked together, loading leaves into the little trailer and making trips to the composting area of the county landfill.  We learned after a couple of years in Grants Pass that this was a much better solution than trying to wait for the few burn days.  The piles were incredibly huge, made some awful smoke, and required days of standing around with a rake and pitchfork to make sure nothing got away from us.  The cost is more, but at least it benefits the environment more than all that smoke.


Finally, finally at last, tomorrow we are ready to hook up the Tracker and point the MoHo toward the west.  It may be November, it may be raining, but who cares, we are heading for the Coast.  We haven’t been to Harris Beach all year, and are looking forward to a few days doing nothing but hanging out, walking the beach, hiking the trails, and eating fish and chips.  It has been much much much too long!

A new addition to the family

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon sunny, warm, and gorgeous!

How many times can I write an opening sentence for a story? Guess I’ll revert to an old technique I learned in some great Gestalt therapy I had many years ago.  “What are you feeling right this moment?”  Mattie (1 of 4)

The sun is shining brilliantly into my office window.  I am in a sundress, with bare feet and it is barely May.  Wonderful.  Today I planted a few goodies in the greenhouse, even a couple of tomatoes.  That goes completely against all the rules that say don’t plant a thing in the Klamath Basin until after Memorial Day.  Or at least Mother’s Day. 

I guess I am having a hard time with opening sentences because things are beginning, things are ending.  Some things are basically right in the middle, and my mind is finally settling down after a crazy month of working on the Klamath Falls Painter Street house and dealing with getting her on the market. 

almost done on Painter St (1 of 18) And of course, knowing that a surgery is coming up has been always in the background, creating a deadline, and just bugging me in general.

And now it is basically here.  Mo has the MoHo in the driveway and the Tracker hooked up for the trip to Springfield tomorrow where we will park for free in the hospital lot with electrical hookups.  At least if they aren’t all full.  Otherwise she will be boondocking in the lot until something comes open while I languish in the comfy, air conditioned, fully electrified big fancy hospital.

Should be fun.

I probably wouldn’t have done a blog post at all about any of this if it weren’t for one thing.  We found a dog, and yes, in spite of the business of life, we decided it was time.

Mattie (2 of 4) Our very smart, very well thought out decision to wait at least until after our fall trip to Ireland just flew out the window when Mo said, “Hey, look at this.  You have to see this little dog” and she showed me an internet photo of “Tilly”, a 2 year old rat terrier/mix at the Klamath Humane Society.  She had a sweet face.  Mo didn’t really want a little dog, so her reasoning was that if I got a little dog for myself, a little lap dog of sorts, I might miss my cat a bit less, and then she could later find a medium sized dog to her liking.  Two dogs?  We already said we wouldn’t get any animals again for a long time.

Animal lovers know how silly it is to say that.  Somehow when there is a vacancy in a home that has had loving animals, it is like water flowing into a low spot.  Something happens and the new family member shows up. 

Tilly has been renamed and she now is “Mattie”.  Eleven pounds of fear and anxiety.  We have taken on a project.  I knew when we found her that it might be like this.  She was so afraid, and what little history we had of her life explained why.  Shuttled from Shafter, California as a stray several months ago, then to Sacramento, to Redding, then to Klamath Falls, she is afraid of most everything at the moment.  Except sitting in my lap.

Mattie (1 of 2)When we took her to the visiting room, she was fine on my lap, but when she was put down on the floor she ran to a corner and tried to make herself as small as possible.  What in the world happened to her?  We will never know. 

There are many things about her that are encouraging, most of all the fact that she completely loves to be held, to be in my lap.  After a few days, she will now look me in the eye, and loves to have her ears rubbed.  Today she finally ate a bite, drank some water, and thank goodness piddled outside.  She had surgery on Thursday, so that was an excellent milestone.

She is afraid of the outdoors, and when I take her out will anxiously run back to the house if I let her. But each time it gets a little bit better.  She has shown no signs of aggression, except for a tiny growl in PetSmart as we were fitting her harness.  She growled at a big dog passing by.  Shocked the heck out of both of us, and we have yet to hear her bark.

Yeah, the timing may be a little strange, but then again maybe not.  Taking care of a small, needy being is a great way to get outside myself and quit obsessing over stuff. 

Travel?  She loves being in the car, she loves riding in my lap, and she seems to have no issues with separation anxiety.  I think our biggest challenge will be getting her to actually get out of her little bed on her own!  This week will be the first MoHo test with Mo and the little dog, and I have a feeling it will be just fine.  Mattie (2 of 2)

While you are at it, check out the beautiful quilt on the chair behind me.  Here is a better shot of it.

my Huggie Quilt (2 of 4)

The amazing women of the Rocky Point quilt guild donate what we call a “huggie” quilt for comfort to anyone in the community who has lost a loved one or is in the hospital at least overnight.  Day surgeries don’t get a quilt.  They surprised me with this very special quilt last week, a bit early, but time to enjoy it a lot before I have to go as well as afterward.  The special story behind this quilt is that each of us made sets of blocks and then put them together after being inspired by a quilt we saw last year at a show.  What a surprise to be on the receiving end of this group effort.

Next on our travel agenda will be a week we have planned at Harris Beach in June.  I plan to be mobile by then and am really looking forward to walking again! Judy will be there volunteering, and has promised another round of her famous New York Chicken!  A week in the MoHo with the little dog at the beach will be a great break from the next round of projects that are on the big transitions list that we have going. 

What Happened to February?

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon at 35 degrees F and spitting snow mixed in the rain.

February used to be a really tough month for me.  Back in the days of working and living in Northern Idaho, the sun was still low in the sky, the days were still short, the snows deep and tiresome.  I had a tremendous dislike for the month, and when I would call Maryruth, my friend in California, all pissy about whatever, she would say, “Oh, Sue, it’s February.  You will be fine soon”.

too early for spring (4 of 6)-2 Somehow the old paradigm no longer holds.  February can still be long and cold and tiresome, but not this year.  I have no idea what happened to February.  I have daffodils up in the yard, some even with buds on them.  We haven’t shoveled snow even one time this winter.  The tiny skiff that showed up on Christmas lasted for a long breath and was gone. 

Last year we spent February exploring Florida, so that winter doldrums thing never had a chance of finding me. Last winter we had Abby and Jeremy with us as well.  Still trying to adjust to not having them with us.St Joe SP_013

At the beginning of the month, Mo and I were thinking we only had a short time at home after our January travels to do some house projects before she would be leaving again for Beaverton for a couple of weeks caring for her brother’s dogs while he and his wife vacationed in Hawaii.  We decided to paint Mo’s bedroom.  It is a project that has been on the agenda for a couple of years now, and with all the goings on and traveling that we do, it just never seemed to get top billing.mos bedroom (6 of 6)

Took us just two short days to get the job done, but going to town for paint was another day, with some color adjustments here and there before we settled on the pale spring green for the walls.  Mo already had the Cranberry color chosen to match her original watercolor painting gifted by a friend a few years ago.  We enjoyed the project.  Felt good to be doing something around the house again that wasn’t just the everyday kinds of maintenance that a house in the forest always needs.

mos bedroom (1 of 6) Immediately after we finished painting, a huge windstorm hit the Klamath Basin and knocked our power out for 19 hours.  We pulled out the oil lamps, heated coffee and food on the wood stove and settled in for the duration.  It was actually kind of nice, although I am glad it didn’t last any longer than it did.  We were within minutes of packing up all our food in the freezer and heading over the mountain to Grants Pass and daughter Deborah’s freezer when everything blinked back on into brilliance.

windfall (3 of 4) The rain was needed, but again, it didn’t bring any real snow to our sadly deficient snow pack.  The high winds and saturated soils did create a real mess.  Many trees tipped right out of the wet ground and crashed on the power lines.  The funny thing for us was that we were somehow protected in our little concave draw and the winds went right over us without causing any real trouble on our property.  The worst damage was about 4 miles away where it looked as though a tornado had ripped through.

Another week was spent dealing with complex and tiresome business issues for Mo, with me acting as administrative assistant.  Mo does the hard stuff, but I manage to keep the computers on track.  I even figured out how to create some complex forms that were needed.  That week flew by!  It was almost like working again!!

Another tiresome time thing is an ongoing health issue for me.  Not a big deal, but the surgeon I will be seeing is nearly 200 miles away over the mountain, and as things often go for these kinds of things, we have to make several trips before it will all be resolved.  Tiresome, but I am glad it isn’t anything particularly serious, just irritating.  And did I say Tiresome?  Surgery in April, and recuperation will require no lifting of anything over 5 pounds for something like 90 days.  I haven’t quite figured out how to put a stick of wood on the fire that weighs less than five pounds! 

We enjoyed a day in Medford shopping for Valentine chocolate and having a late afternoon lunch at Olive Garden.  And shopping at the quilt stores, of course.  As I write, I realize that a big part of the past month for me has been finishing a quilt that I saw in Palm Springs when we were there and immediately coveted.  I bought all the fabric and the pattern, and for once actually started on the quilt immediately, while the inspiration was still fresh and the fabric all new and shiny.  Ocean Dreams in the Desert (2 of 4)

I call it “Sea Dreams in the Desert”.  I started with an idea to make it a simple throw, but loved it so much that I decided to continue and make it a full queen sized quilt for my summer bed.  First time doing something called a “pieced border”.  I guess that explains what happened to February.IMG_4743

Mo left for Beaverton mid month, and on the same day my friend Maryruth drove up from California to spend 8 days of girl time with me.  Her husband held down the fort at home, and Maryruth came loaded with her new sewing machine and lots of fabric for a quilt that she wanted to make.  It was her first and she was excited.maryruth visits (3 of 13)

Sometimes in the past we have managed girl time, with a trip to a B and B somewhere, or a meet in the middle kind of visit, but this was different.  We had a whole week at home just the two of us and our sewing machines.  It was like a quilt retreat for two that didn’t cost anything.  We went to Medford to the quilt shops, and had a fabulous dinner at McGrath’s Fish House.  Maryruth ordered the mile high mud pie, but missed the “mile high” part, and we burst into incredulous laughter when her dessert arrived.  What fun!IMG_4735

One night at home we cooked up a fabulous Thai Green Curry Chicken with Pad Thai and it was wonderful.  I had never made a green curry from scratch, so that was a first.  All the traditional Thai flavors of lime, tons of cilantro, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, and about a dozen other herbs and spices went into the curry that was so fragrant and perfectly sweet and spicy.  Mo isn’t all that excited about Thai food and Maryruth’s husband isn’t all that excited about spicy, so it was a food cooking adventure for the two of us that probably won’t be repeated till we get together again.maryruth visits (13 of 13)

We took another break from sewing and went to breakfast at our local Harriman’s Resort on Sunday morning.  It was cold and windy, but the sun streaming in was gorgeous and the food was fabulous.  Maryruth has a nice little Nissan Hybrid and will NOT drive in snow, so this was an extra special treat.  In a normal winter, she would have been unable to visit during February. 

maryruth visits (6 of 13)maryruth visits (9 of 13) Maryruth managed to finish her quilt for her mother, and I managed to finish putting the last big border on my quilt on the day that she left.  It will take 9 yards of fabric to back my quilt.  At 12.99 per yard, that was a bit daunting, in addition to the cost of having it quilted.  I certainly wouldn’t attempt something this big on my own.  Found a perfect batik online for 5.99 a yard so problem solved.maryruths first quilt (1 of 5)

With Maryruth gone, I now have five days to myself here at home, hoping to do some of the detailed chores that I don’t do when Mo is around.  Who knows why.  It is nice having alone time to catch up on details, but I will definitely be happy when Mo returns next week.  Managing the fire alone is a full time job.  It seems I am either starting, stoking, taking away ashes, or bringing up another load of wood all day long.  Mo does most of the fire management when she is here and I help out a bit, but I can see now that what I do isn’t nearly enough.  

Today I am dealing with “stuff”.  We have a five year plan, and sometime during the next five years, I will have to move my stuff.  I really need to get it more organized.  I can’t believe how it gets away from me.  I am fairly well organized, but there are places where that breaks down, such as the office drawers.  I also have a couple of drawers for crafting, and of course I have bins of yarn for knitting and many containers of fabric for quilting.  I am not quite sure how this stuff keeps multiplying, maybe it is those trips to the quilt shops.

So today, I decided that I would try to go through the office “stuff”.  Most of it has been in a small set of drawers beneath my desk, but it seems that I never actually get into those drawers for anything.  Scotch tape, scissors, a bazillion pens and pencils, who knows if they work, and a whole lot of other little thingies that I have no clue what to do with except I can’t quite bring myself to throw it all away.  Ocean Dreams in the Desert (4 of 4)

I started the project, and then in frustration gave up.  Here is the result!  It is packed and ready for the next stop, and someday maybe I’ll get the nerve to try to figure it out one more time, or just throw it all away.  I can hear you laughing from here.Ocean Dreams in the Desert (3 of 4)

As the evening progresses, the rain/snow/sleet spitting continues.  Predictions of an inch of snow at our elevation for tonight, but I’ll believe it when I see it.  Can you imagine, no snow all winter and it shows up at the end of February?


A Fight!

Home in Rocky Point: cloudy, chilly at 40 degrees F, with snow coming tonight

IMG_3758IMG_3755 It was just a fight with a lawnmower, but the results looked as if I had been in some kind of bar fight!  Early in the month, we took the MoHo over to Grants Pass for the last time this winter and decided to do a bit of yard cleanup while we were there.  Mo, of course, is the riding mower queen and I was busy raking leaves.  I was at least 20 feet away, but was downside from the eject window on that mower and a rock hidden in the long grass decided to come my way.

Ugh!  It knocked me down, hurt worse than anything I can quite remember, and the results were not pretty.  Of course, all the yard equipment danger stories came out of the woodwork after it happened.  Of course I wouldn’t mow barefoot, am pretty careful with the weed eater, and have managed to do yard work for half a century without anything like this happening to me in the past.  Still, you can bet I won’t be anywhere in the yard in the future when that mower is going.

Now, of course, it has been a bit of time since I last posted and lots has been happening, and it is time to try to catch up so I don’t forget what we did in November.  How do you pick a title for the mish mash of stuff that is to follow?  A funny thing to note….until recently the most popular post in my entire 6 years of blogging is one called “Vandalized”.  Go figure.  At last the main post about the MoHo has surpassed the stats for Vandalized, but it has taken years!  Betcha I get a bunch more hits when I talk about a fight.  What is it about people anyway.  I am sure the the word “Fight” gets a ton more views than something like “gorgeous bird” or “Halloween” or “My grandson’s play”.  Wanna make a bet with me on that?

IMG_0963 We have driven the MoHo across the mountains more times than we planned because it was time for new tires.  Basin Tire does great by us, but it is a locally owned company in Klamath Falls, 30 miles east.  The MoHo was already over in Grants Pass, where she doesn’t have to be winterized, 100 miles west.  Oops.  So we brought her home to get tires, and an oil change and transmission service, which made her very happy, and made us very happy with more than 8,000 travel miles already tucked away on our winter agenda.  Of course, sitting at home in Rocky Point, with sub freezing temperatures and a smattering of snow wasn’t the best.  Mo set up the electric heater inside and we parked her under the shelter of the big trees.  It was nice to see frost and snow all over the grass but not on the driveway.

IMG_3748 Not long after the tires were added, I got an early morning wakeup call from Daughter Deanna, who was just an hour out of the truck stop in Central Point.  This was exciting for several reasons, one of which is that I don’t get to see her often, and their jet engine deliveries don’t take them down I-5 all that often.  For some reason she thought I was in Grants Pass, but instead we jumped up and dashed over the mountain in the melting snow, in the MoHo, so that we could meet them by 8 at the restaurant so they could continue with their very tight schedule.  They were delivering some kind of big jetway, an oversize load, and had all sorts of permitting and route variations they had to follow on their way south to LAX.

IMG_3751 Whew!  Now,  just maybe, a few old time readers will remember Deanna lent her huge fast magnificent Nikkor lens to me for our trip to Alaska and I crashed to the ground and crashed the lens.  I replaced it for Deanna, and repaired the old one for myself and I love it.  I happen to have a zoom lens, but it isn’t anything like the big zoom lens that Deanna had for her photography business, and since I was responsible enough to replace her lens, she had no problem lending her big zoom to me for our upcoming trip to the southeast.  I really do want to get some spoonbill photos!  Now lets hope my old lady tendency to crash every now and then won’t cost me the several thousand dollars it would cost me to replace THIS lens.

IMG_3760The good part about the quickie visit to Medford, is that Deanna had a chance to pick up the lens from their storage in Wenatchee and bring it along for me. Way better than trying to ship and insure the thing.  Breakfast and daughter hugs were great too!

Another good part about the quickie visit is that I was able to bring the beginnings of the quilt I am making for their truck bed over for her to see and approve in person.  Deanna saw Sally’s quilt and asked for one, and was willing to pay for the fabric if I would make the quilt.  We decided on an idea, and it was great to see that our over the phone choices worked out perfectly for the soft gray and blue interior of their truck.  Eventually I will even make truck curtains to match.  It is been good that I can stay at home in the dreary November weather and just quilt and not scare people with my fighter face.

new lens-015 Another little glitch showed up early in the month while I was working away on the quilt with a broken sewing machine.  Sheesh.  My machine is a Bernina 1230, a model from the 80’s, and it seems the part is expensive and hard to find.  It would require a 150 mile round trip to the Ashland Bernina Dealer.  Sister Sal, the other trucker in the family, who recommended the 1230 because she loves hers, sent a quickie text message to me saying, “Go get mine, it is in storage, you can use it while I am driving”  Wow!  Just before that, Mo and I decided it was time for me to get the little 12 pound travel Janome 600 machine I had been eyeing for awhile now.  So now I have the Janome for travel and classes and quickie piecing at home, and my broken Bernina, and Sal’s working Bernina and two of her sergers which I haven’t a clue how to thread. Did I mention I don’t have a sewing room, that I store all my sewing stuff in my bedroom and quilt on the dining table?  Ha!

new lens-010It seems I don’t have a lot to show for it yet, except of course Deanna’s quilt which will be ready for the quilter this week.  They promised to get it back before Christmas, so the next time I meet Deanna on the road somewhere (probably in Florida or Texas or something), I’ll have her quilt all bound and ready to give to her.  Yippee!!

IMG_0976-001 The other little busy maker around here has been Mo’s computer.  She has a great Dell workhorse that has plunked along for a very long time, but it is a bit slow and still runs XP without the bones that could be upgraded to Windows 7.  I had Bel’s little Dell laptop I got for her before she passed away, just sitting in a cupboard, so decided that it would be a good backup computer for Mo.  Sure enough, Mo is now learning to use Windows 7 and is getting more and more used to the idea that she can let the old beast go.  I have been using Windows 7 for some time now, but in teaching Mo the differences in the OS, I am learning things I didn’t know.  I have no desire whatsoever to try out Windows 8 any time soon.  Just the upgrade to the IOS on my iPhone made me a bit crazy.  Finally, after some of our computer work, this morning Mo said something to the effect, “Gee, I like this, I can work on Quicken on my old machine and see all the banks on the laptop at the same time!”  Power User!  You go Mo!!

woodpecker_133 Oh yeah, another little busy maker….I am trying to get all the old VHS videos that I have in boxes transferred to DVD’s so that I can actually do something with them.  I bought a Toshiba machine that does the job, but still takes a bit of tweaking and concentration to make sure that the resulting DVD can be viewed on a computer.  The plan is to eventually get those files converted and transferred from the DVD’s to the computer and to then make some nice movie clips from the good parts.  I can’t believe how much wasted, pretty boring footage there is on the old videos, and yet how many sweet special moments are tucked away in there as well.  It is a big job, and I have to thank Erin and Mui (this is a link to his great videos) for sending some emails along that helped me at least begin to understand what I was dealing with, what kinds of files and software I needed to understand to actually do the project.  For now, I am just happy to get them to DVD’s where I can skip and fast forward and find things much more easily.

Another delightful treat early in the month was a trip to town to watch my youngest grandson, Xavier, starring as Jack Rover in the play Wild Oats.  It was amazing to me to see how great the kids were in this high school production.  It was as good as many community theater productions I have seen.  I even went for the second night since I did learn, when Melody was doing theater, that every single performance has its own nuance, its own special moments.  Sure was proud of that kid!  Plus he is getting all A’s for his first year of high school in advanced placement classes.  He is on  a roll, and I trust it will keep going throughout his high school years.Wild Oates_060

I would imagine that those who read the blog because it said “Fight” are long gone.  Those who read the blog because they read RV travel blogs have probably bailed by now as well.  But at least when I go back to the blog to try to remember what we did this month I will have something to read.  There are times in the past when we ask that question, and if we weren’t traveling there is nothing but a big blank!new lens-002

I have lots of practice ahead of me using Deanna’s lens, but I did try it out a little bit.  She has a nice tripod that is attached to then lens rather than the camera to help hold it.  While it is only a 200mm, it is fast, so hopefully I can get photos that are more clear than I have managed with my much less expensive slower lens.  Wish me luck!


September – a Chatty Catch-up

Crystal Creek on a smoky September day at very low water Being the month of my birth, I am somewhat partial to September.  Here in Rocky Point, and in this part of Oregon in general, September can be the very best time of year in so many ways.  The mosquito population has finally decided to disappear to wherever they go, the midges are at least confined to places you don’t want to be anyway, the skies are blue and bright, the days warm, the nights cool.  Several bloggers that I read regularly have found out just how delightful this part of Oregon can be, with RV Sue hanging around just over our hill on the Rogue River, and Paul and Nina up at Diamond Lake. 

Mo and I have spent some quality camping time in both those places and it’s fun to read about folks finding out just how wonderful this part of Oregon can be.  Everyone seems to know the coast part, and lots of folks travel there, but fewer have found the wonders of the Cascades waterfalls, magical lakes, beautiful forests and SUNSHINE. Welcome to my world.

Once again, Mo and I planned to travel a couple of hours south to camp at our favorite Medicine Lake, and once again we were thwarted.  In the midst of extra work hours for me, some other business needs for two of us, and the smoky skies from California fires, we put off our planned mid-month camping trip for another time.  The month was anything but quiet however, with visiting friends, Rocky Point get-togethers, and of course, my birthday!

jeannejeanne 01 It started off with a visit from Jeanne, long time friend I once worked with here in the basin who has returned to her native New England for good.  Everyone needs a friend like Jeanne, probably the most amazing athletic woman I have had the pleasure of knowing.  Jeanne treks Nepal, climbs the second highest mountain in the word, does back country skiing down the cliffs at Crater Lake, jumps out of helicopters to ski in British Columbia back country, launches her tiny white water kayak over 23 foot waterfalls in Costa Rica.  Yeah, I could go on and on.  She runs and rides her bikes for hundreds of miles and travels the world.  How did I get a friend like Jeanne, you might ask?

IMG_3548 I almost didn’t.  Anyone from New England knows there is a special New England persona.  Anyone from California knows there is also a definite West Coast Persona. Jeanne and I were complete opposites, and on my first day of work in 2002 in Klamath Falls, I met Jeanne, who instantly disliked me.  I was all gushy and open and “chattery”, and Jeanne of course, being from New England, was all reserved and “don’t touch me” and would you please just shut up!? I disliked her almost as much as she disliked me!  All it took was a long day in the field to discover that even with our different ways of being in the world, we had the makings of something deeper that grew into a great, strong friendship.  Of course, I can’t even come close to keeping up with her, but she has a great batch of friends who do that very well.

having fun making wocus sun hats on Crystal Creek with JeanneJeanne came “home” to Klamath for a long visit with all of us, spending time biking, and hiking, and kayaking, and then came out to Rocky Point for a couple of days.  We went kayaking on Recreation Creek, a far cry from the adrenaline pumping kinds of boating she and her friends are used to, but we still had a good time, at least Jeanne and I did.  Some of the other friends thought it was great for a one time thing, but too dang boring to do again.  Me, I love the slowing down part, I love seeing the birds and the wildlife and the reflections.  Adrenaline is not one of my favorite things, and I will avoid it if at all possible!

quilt work In between visits and work time, I managed a bit of quilting,  working on my queen sized quilt that got started from a single jelly roll of fabric my sister picked up for me because I thought it was pretty.  It is kinda scary how a $39.00 jelly roll can morph into a LOT more money by the time all is said and done.  I took a break from the big quilt by piecing a bright little table topper that I have yet to actually quilt because I can’t decide just how I want to do it.

DSC_0058Another fun project was completed when Mo and I worked together removing a bazillion staples from my ten year old dining chairs and recovered them with a gorgeous fabric I found after two years of looking for just the right thing. 

 IMG_2717The greenhouse is a bit later this year, with our tomatoes just barely ripening toward the end of the month, but we have had cute little peppers, lemon cucumbers, lots of green beans and of course lots of good lettuces and greens.  I made a trip over the mountain to Medford to buy some gorgeous sweet tree ripened peaches from the local orchards and made peach jam, froze some peach pie filling and experimented with some hot pepper jellies.  The Peach Habanero is good but the Pineapple Habanero is fabulous.  Some of the Peach Bourbon jam didn’t set up and it is now a quite delicious Peach Bourbon Sauce, ready for waffles or ice cream on a cold winter day.

The very next week I got a call from Maryruth, saying, “Hey, are you and Mo around?  I want to come up for a few days for your birthday.”  What a treat!  She left her husband Gerald at home to take care of everything while she drove the 6 hours north from Oroville for some very much wanted “girl time”.  We usually manage this once or twice a year but this one was an unexpected surprise.  We filled up three days with lots of laughter, lots of “hand and foot” (a game I can’t get Mo to play with me), and good food.  Well almost good food.  Sadly the Rocky Point Resort has changed hands since we were there and I would definitely suggest that folks visiting this area avoid the restaurant if at all possible.  Or maybe just go in for a drink.  The view is gorgeous, the place is historic and charming, it is just the food that is probably the worst I have ever actually paid for.

Maryruth and Sue at Rocky PointMaryruth was barely gone when it was time for my ‘real’ birthday.  Seems as though I celebrated this one for a very long time and it wasn’t even a biggie.  I still have three years to go before I think a birthday is really worth paying attention.  Seventy even sounds scary to me, but I have a bit of time yet.  On this minor birthday, however, I went off to town to have breakfast with my sister, visited with Melody and the jewelry store where I got a FREE bead for my Pandora bracelet, and came home for a nice bit of quilting time before Mo said, “Let’s go out to dinner at Lake of the Woods”.  Whew!  Birthday breakfast,  and dinner on the same day?  Thankfully, our dinner up at the lake was incredible, with the gorgeous view, great service and wonderful food.  It may be a 15 minute drive rather than 5, but oh so worth it.  Thank you, Mo!!

DSC_0049 Then on Sunday, Melody, Kevin and grandson Xavier came out for an afternoon visit bringing even more wondrous presents.  I am the lucky beneficiary of a daughter who works in a jewelry store, so I am sure the “giftie bits” she brought to me are something I never would otherwise have.  Of course, everyone keeps saying no jewelry when traveling, but this pendant is definitely going on my November cruise even if I can’t wear it to Europe! The diamond hoop earrings however, are small and tasteful, and don’t scream “steal me”!  I AM wearing them.

What I didn’t even know yet was that the plant and twist movement I made jumping out of bed that morning had torn my knee cartilage.  In the next couple of days the pain got worse and worse until I couldn’t walk at all, even with a walking stick.  Sigh.  A trip to the doctor, xrays, MRI, another trip to the orthopedist all confirmed my worst fear.  Torn meniscus and a long healing time.  Actually it was my second worst fear.  Surgery was my worst fear, and so far that one has been avoided.  I can’t take pain pills or medication, so surgery isn’t a lot of fun.  Anyway, I have been hobbling around on crutches, and graduated to the walking stick and even a bit of hobbling without anything this morning, so am encouraged. 

jam Mo is dealing with yard work and house work all alone right now while I gimp around like a useless piece of moving furniture.  Sigh.  It is not fun feeling completely useless around here.  I can’t even quilt since that requires lots of jumping up and down from the machine to the iron, so instead I got back to knitting.  I even finished Deanna’s sweater and have it all wrapped up to mail.  Yippee, at last!! I started it back in December of last year.  Guess you could say I am not a fast knitter.

A week from Thursday my daughter Melody and I will drive to Portland to board our overnight flight to Amsterdam and then on to Budapest. I have been planning this trip and looking forward to it for soo sooo long, and am excited to see this part of Europe, but even more excited to see it through the eyes of my daughter.  It will be her first overseas trip, and I remember how incredible I felt on my first such trip with Mo back in 2005.  Everything was so new and exciting for me, as I am sure it will be for Melody.  She is beside herself excited right now.

Deanna's sweater I sent an email to a great photographer (Mark) from Mark and Chris’s Phaeton Place, who knows a LOT about techie stuff and traveling and he kindly wrote some very detailed answers and I learned a lot about traveling with technology. Thank you Mark!  I bought an iPad, and ordered the global data features for both the iPad and the iPhone, bought the photo transfer doohickey for the iPad and the camera (no usb on an iPad), and hopefully I’ll be able to carry all this stuff along with my walking sticks which will be going on the trip for sure!  Once again, the Cotton Carrier I bought for the camera will likely be a lifesaver when I need both hands to manage the sticks.  I will never never never measure up to Erin’s photos, but hopefully I’ll get shots that at least won’t embarrass me. I have learned so much from Erin, from Two to Travel and Two to Travel’s Phaeton Journey about blogging and photography. Thank you, Erin!

And on a final note, I just have to really thank all the blogging friends who saw my post on FaceBook about my knee and sent good wishes.  It is amazing to me that people take the time to pay attention and care.  So many are dealing with really difficult health issues that are about the internal operating system and mine is merely mechanical.  Mechanical issues are a pain but it isn’t life threatening, so I consider myself pretty lucky.  Does everyone have to get all silly when they first discover Apple’s crazy photo stuff?