Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Institute of Children's Literature

Jan Fields is the moderator of writing forums at the website for the Institute of Children's Literature at www.institutechildrenslit.com. This morning at 11 a.m. pst, she told those in her weekly writing forum that she signed with a book packager to create a juvenile book series about magic. This should interest all those Harry Potter fans. It will be the basic hero's journey and a look into the portal of a magical world.

Anyone interested in writing for children should check out this website packed with important articles, forum transcripts, and great tips to publish your writing for children. Be sure to attend her weekly Tuesday forums. Jan Fields had considered a career in media law so she has keen insight into the publishing process. Jan has published over 20 children's books for a toy company, and dozens of articles and stories for magazines.

This Thursday, Jan will interview Charles "Tony" Burton about publishing children's books. He's the editor of Crime and Suspense at www.crimeandsuspense.com. He also started a small press publishing house--Wolfmont Press at www.wolfmont.com. Come ask your writing questions, check out the Tuesday forums, and explore all the great writing articles at www.institutechildrenslit.com.

On October 12th, Jan interviewed Bonny Becker from 5 to 7 p.m. pst about "Birthing a Book." You can read the forum transcript at the website. Every other week, Jan interviews a successful published children's author, book editor, or publisher. Bring your questions and attend a forum.

I can highly recommend the Institute of Children's Literature. I've taken two magazine courses and am working on the novel writing course. What is most impressive about the novel writing course is that it takes the writer through the complete first draft of three children's picture book manuscripts or a juvenile novel and through the revision with a writing mentor who is an instructor with the Institute of Children's Literature. My juvenile novel is about two sisters who go to writing camp and come back home to start a neighborhood theater. My only regret is that I didn't take this course many years ago. The fun would have started much sooner.

The Long Ridge Writer's Group

This morning at 10 pst in the writing forum at www.longridgewritersgroup.com, Mary Rosenblum said, "Words are just the lego pieces you use to build the castle." I love this quote. Mary is the forum moderator and webmaster for the Long Ridge Writers Group, which is connected to the Institute of Children's Literature.

Mary Rosenblum has published 7 novels and over 60 short stories for Asimiov's and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines. Mary teaches writing and is a frequent speaker at writing conferences. See an earlier post in my blog where I nominated Mary as one of the women I admire most in the world.

I'm in the middle of reading one of Mary Freeman's (aka Mary Rosenblum) mysteries, Garden View. I found some sentences I like in her book. Mary said, "Rumors had wings here, and grew like zucchini wherever they landed." Another one...."Death was a personal enemy here--a dark familiar who peeked from the depths of the mirror and lurked behind the infirmary door." Then in describing what a gardener or landscaper can do in dialogue, she wrote...."You create magic places for people. So that they can dream, they walk into them and escape all the ugliness of the real world."

I know from writing forums that Mary has a big garden and writes a series of garden mysteries. The last quote makes me understand the potential of what I can do here in my own garden in Alsea on my 3.68 acres to create my own magic place to escape all the ugliness of the real world. I think it should be surrounded by sunflowers.

Yesterday I took the heads of my sunflowers and put them on my fence so I could watch the Steller's Jays eat all the seeds from my kitchen window.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Toyota

My husband and I bought our first Toyota in 2003. It was a white 2003 Corolla. It was the best car that I've ever driven. It had every option that I needed and more. I loved my Toyota and enjoyed driving it. It handled well on the road, around curves, and it was dependable. More than this, it had great gas mileage. It's not the most expensive car in the world but it has everything I need and I can't see why I would ever want to buy another car.

Earlier this year with all the driving we do, we had to make a decision about our car. It had almost 70,000 miles on it, needed new brakes, and we had a high interest rate loan. My husband decided to buy a new 2006 Corolla LE with a low interest rate, which put us in a stronger position financially. When he went out to look at cars, I told him that it had to be a Toyota. Our new car will be paid off sooner than the loan on the old car so it was definately a wise decision.

I love my new Toyota too. It has everything I could want and more. It's dependable and gets great gas mileage. It's safe and it's stylish. This time, we're not driving into Corvallis as often or making so many trips. That should help keep our car in better condition. I plan on keeping this car for a long, long, long time.

News Column

I read a newspaper column recently by a young person writing for the Gazette Times in Corvallis, Oregon. I'm impressed with the Gazette Times for encouraging young people to write and for all their amazing and creative efforts to encourage readers.

This column written by the young person expressed a common attitude expressed by many these days. The idea is that one shouldn't create a scandal by shining a light on what's wrong in life. I have a difficult time agreeing with this because I think that it is far more important to make sure that a scandal does not happen in the first place and that light does shine on what's wrong.

A check and balance system in a free society should ferret out what's wrong, correct it, and prevent it from happening again, in my opinion. The right to express your opinion is central to this and a concept that is growing more restricted. This concerns me.

Monday, October 09, 2006


On Saturday night, I took my five bucks in hand and went to the Hope Grange in Alsea to hear the legendary band, Swampgrass. I had one of the best times that I've had since I moved here five years ago and all I did was sit on a bench by myself and listen. The members of the band came out of retirement for one last time as a fundraiser for the Hope Grange. Most of the members are probably pushing 60 and 70 and you would never guess by looking at each one that there was this kind of music pulsing in their veins. They surprised me. I didn't know anyone on stage. I'd heard of Russ Sapp since he is on the board for Consumers Power. Everyone should hear him play and sing.

One of the guys hadn't been on stage for 20 years and yet when he belted out the Johnny Cash song, "A Guy Named Sue," I had a hard time believing that he hadn't been on stage every night for the last ten years.

These guys are really good. They sure had a great drummer. It's sad to think that they aren't going to play anymore. They played a mix of rock and country. It was all good and some of it original. The Hope Grange was crowded with young and old. There were some good dancers out there carving out patterns on the floor. It looked like everyone was having a great time as evidenced with smiles, laughter, dancing, and singing with the band. It was good old-fashioned fun and something that Alsea needs.

I'd like to see a community band and community theater. It would be nice to have weekly or at least monthly dances. My husband and I don't dance but I think everyone else would enjoy it. They sure did on Saturday night.

I got a chance to talk to one member of the band between sets. I asked him who everyone was and I found out that he was Gary Banowetz who leads a research department at OSU working for the federal government in the development of biofuels. They are planning on reopening the old lumber mills here in Alsea and using them to convert wood and straw to biofuel. He said that the USDA believes that straw and manure will be the largest source of material to be used to create biofuel. It's a safe bet that it will be up and running in 5 years. If you have 1000 acres of grassland and a combine, you will reap the rewards of cashing in on this new venture. My 3.68 acres just wouldn't do. I can see a Nobel Prize on the horizon for Gary Banowetz who is living out his boyhood dream of finding an alternative source of fuel to gasoline.

It was nice to see the community having fun on Saturday night. I'm glad I got the chance to hear Swampgrass. It was worth going and spending the $5.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dancing with the Stars

I'm starting to get into the show, Dancing with the Stars. This last week, I didn't vote because I didn't watch it until the next day. It was saved on my TiVo. If I would have voted, I would have voted for Jerry Springer, Mario Lopez, and Emmett Smith. In my opinion, they are the ones with real personality on the show. Mario and Emmett have dancing toes. Mario is a brilliant dancer with so much emotion and energy. Emmett has power and owns the stage.

The real shocker is that I like Jerry. I've never been a fan of his talk show which concentrates on the worst in human beings. In my book, he gets stars for being an attorney, smart, and Jewish, but rocks for his show. After seeing him in Dancing with the Stars, I can see that he's a nice guy and I misjudged him. I still don't like his talk show though. He's dancing with his daughter who will marry in December. It was touching.

I'm going to try to watch the show next week so I have time to vote.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Homeschool Pledge

I homeschooled my children in Arroyo Grande, California for four years starting in 1978. I wrote a pledge that I had them say every morning after the Pledge of Alligence to the Flag and after singing "It's a Grand Ole Flag." I designed the curriculum myself that was recognized by Gifted Children Newsletter published in New Jersey by the editor, James Alvino.

Here's the pledge...........

I will work hard and never give up.
I will work hard to be the best I can be.
I value myself. I am of worth. I am important.
I will always show respect for myself
and the rights of others.
I must prepare myself
to take my place as a future world leader.
I must work hard to find the answers
to all the questions in the world.
I must work hard to serve my community and my country.
I will work hard and never give up.
Nothing is going to stop me from being who I am.
Nothing is going to stop me from being who I am.
Nothing is going to stop me from being who I am.

I will work hard to be a good friend.
I will be kind and understanding.
I will not put others down or say things
to make my friends feel sad
for when I diminish others,
I am also diminished.
I will remember that there is something special
about each person I meet.
By making my friends feel like winners,
I become a winner.

My Pumpkin Patch

My grandchildren visited on Saturday to pick out a pumpkin in Grandma's Pumpkin Patch in Alsea.

The first photo on top at the left is of my daughter Gretchen with my grandchildren, Lizzy and Jack. See Lizzy's great smile!

The second photo on top at the right is with Jack sitting on his pumpkin next to his Dad, Christopher, my son-in-law.

The photo at the left is a skeleton I made for Halloween for Jack and Lizzy to take home. I got the directions out of the Disney magazine, Family Fun. It's made out of PVC pipe. The head is a bleach bottle and the hands and feet are cut out of milk jugs. I think he's pretty cute. Family Fun calls him Mr. Bone E. Part. The directions are on page 76 and 126 in the October, 2006 issue of Family Fun.

Garth Stein

Garth Stein is in Eugene, Oregon to speak to writers gathered for a Willamette Writers event tonight. I wanted to go and listen to him. Pitched as one of the best speakers in the northwest about writing, I know that I am missing out. He's going to speak about the "creative process in fiction." He writes novels, screenplays, plays, and directs films. Wow! Evidently he knows Robert Downey Jr., one of my favorite actors with talent off the charts. Downey starred in one of Stein's films that he produced. Robert Downey Jr. played opposite Calista Flockhart for awhile in Ally McBeal, one of my favorite shows.

I dream of the time when I can afford to attend these monthly meetings of Willamette Writers, attend conferences, workshops, and join other writing organizations.

Right now I must suck it up and accept what I can do each day.

I think I'm going to ratchet up the time spent writing every day. I read a bio yesterday for Nora Roberts online. She writes 8 hours everyday and has published as much as 8 to 10 novels in ONE year. How's that for being productive! What an inspiration!

Patricia Dunn

On the front page of the Gazette Times this morning is the headline, "Five charged with felonies at Hewlett Packard." www.gazettetimes.com Patricia Dunn is one of the five charged in the companies "disastrous boardroom leak investigation."

The first thing that came to my mind is that I wonder if Patricia Dunn is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Why? I know that there are many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who work at Hewlett Packard in Corvallis and in other places. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2001 serving in callings in the Stake Relief Society Presidency, Primary President, and as a church service missionary helping people in Salem, Oregon find employment in an eight stake area, I have seen how easily members violate basic constitutional rights of their church members without hesitation.

When you move to a different city or ward in a different part of the city, Relief Society sisters offer to help you unpack and help you put things away. There is a purpose to this joyous help. The Relief Society President or a member of the Relief Society Presidency reports back on any books, possessions, or food that is contraband or violates the word of wisdom. You can tell a lot about a family by looking at their possessions, books, and what they have in their cupboards. Is there reading material that you shouldn't be reading? I was told I shouldn't be reading National Geographic by a visiting teacher here in Alsea. Is there coffee or tea in your cupboards? The Elders Quorum President went through my cupboards in Alsea.

When I moved to Alsea, I was asked by the Relief Society President what I wanted or needed. I said friendship because I knew it would be hard for me to live in Alsea. I think she was taken aback by that. They offered to unpack my things. I wasn't raised to take advantage of kindness. I also wasn't raised to go through people's things or go into people's drawers when I visit someone. I think I was suspect from the beginning because I didn't allow them to unpack. Yes, it would have made my life easier. I don't have questionable stuff, but this is a violation of basic privacy.

I also wonder if the person who set up Homeland Security is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because these ideas come right out of church practice.

Let's see now...........violating constitutional rights, hiding assets (my husband saw this happen when we worked as church service missionaries), protecting child preditors (the Catholic Church isn't the only one)..................It seems like there is a case to be made in court to take away the tax exemption from this church.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. This is a challenge to write the first draft of a novel in 30 days during the month of November. I completed the challenge last year and signed up this morning to begin again on November 1.

Chris Baty, who started this Nano challenge, wrote a book about it called NO PLOT, NO PROBLEM. On the wall next to my computer is the scheduled word count outline for each day during the month. On day 1, I should have 1,667 words done. Day 5--8,335 words. Day 10--16,670. Day 15--25,005 words and so on.

People all over the world take up this writing challenge. It's pretty exciting to be part of this amazing experience.

The website is www.nanowrimo.org. I signed up as wendywrites. You can keep track of my progress and say a few prayers for me during the month to keep me moving towards my goal. I will be listed under Team 2006. Right now I'm listed for Team 2005.

I learned a lot by taking this writing challenge last year. I learned I could write the first draft of a novel in a month which sure boosted my writing confidence. Before this time, I was struggling with my writing speed. Nanowrimo is the marathon for writers. As I keep learning how to write well, I should be able to turn out two novels a year--my goal.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gretchen Bennett

There is a contest at www.lizclaibornestyle.com/awcontest/ to nominate women who inspire others.

Gretchen Bennett is one of the women I admire most as a leader fighting a difficult battle to help children who have been abused. Gretchen is the Executive Director of Liberty House in Salem, Oregon. She works hard to solve problems to ease the way for abused children to receive help in the least invasive way at a traumatic time. As a mother of two preschool children, Gretchen goes beyond what many in her field would do to raise money, work on prevention, and to bring in the best leaders in the area to aid this important cause. She has brought law enforcement leaders, counselors, community leaders together to focus on a solution to help children with resounding success. She encourages the community to come to periodic open houses to see first hand the story of the abused child who walks in the door to receive help. Gretchen is an inspirational public speaker, a strong leader who inspires the best people in the community to aid in the fight against abused children, a poised woman of strength, and an example to all women. As a graduate of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon who used to bring back trophies in debate, who worked tirelessly for environmental causes in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, and who makes a difference every day to help abused children, I nominate my daughter, Gretchen Bennett.

Diana Simpson

There is a contest at www.lizclaibornestyle.com/awcontest/ to nominate women who inspire.

Diana Simpson is running for Sheriff in Benton County, Oregon. A strong woman and a leader who stands for integrity and accountability, she has faced strong opposition in a man's world with courage. I spent time in her office listening to her and asking questions about her background. I learned about her commitment to prevention and solving problems in Benton County. Her easy-going manner and strength impressed me. Her background as Undersheriff, in parole and probation, and her commitment to the law made me admire what she stands for. What impressed me the most was her offer to read my mystery novel manuscript and critique it for law enforcement details. She took the time out of her busy schedule to help me and support my efforts. She has come to Alsea twice in the last year to speak to the community, listen to our concerns, and answer questions. Women face special challenges in law enforcement dominated by men. Her commitment to the law, accountability, and integrity is to be admired. These are some of the reasons why I admire Diana Simpson and why I nominated her.

Mary Rosenblum

There is a contest at www.lizclaibornestyle.com/awcontest/ asking for nominations for women who inspire.

Mary Rosenblum, author of several mystery and science fiction novels, and winner of many prestigious writing awards. She is one of the women I admire most in the world. Mary is the web editor of the Long Ridge Writers Group and moderates online forums for writers. I've learned more about writing from Mary than any other single writer. I'm constantly amazed at her level of expertise, the ability to answer any writing question with depth and insight, her intelligence, and the level of productivity in her life. Mary works hard at every level of writing from mentoring students, moderating the online interviews with published writers, writing her novels, and teaching workshops. Mary gives constantly to others and supports writers who are trying hard to succeed in a difficult arena with so much talented competition. A mother who raised her two sons alone for years on money earned from her writing and eating from her garden, Mary knows about persistence and determination to reach a goal. A strong role model for women and a strong voice as a writer makes Mary Rosenblum my choice. Check out Mary Rosenblum in the science fiction section of your library and Mary Freeman in the mystery section. If you can't find her books, buy them at the book store or ask your librarian to order them because you will want to read them. If you're a writer, go to www.longridgewritersgroup.com and learn from her online forums. You'll be amazed too.

Zel Brook

There is a contest to nominate a woman who inspires you at www.lizclaibornestyle.com/awcontest/

It says, "everyday we are surrounded by woman who have a profound affect on our lives. They inspire us and amaze us with their unwavering commitment and passion."

Here is one of my four nominations:

When I start to question my ability to move towards a fitness goal, I think of Zel Brook. Without a doubt, Zel Brook is one of the women I admire most in the world who has worked through difficult health challenges and has achieved her goal of running marathons. I first met Zel as I was struggling with an added one hundred pounds on my frame to run my second 5K race. As Zel whizzed past with her cane running with ease, she stopped to encourage my efforts. In other 5K and 10K races, I noticed how supportive Zel is to other runners who have special challengesj--people recovering from heart surgery or older runners or those with added weight like me. I learned later that Zel was in a wheel chair years ago recovering from brain surgery. Determination and persistence to live a full life again, Zel worked slowly from her struggle to walk across the room to running her first marathon in the Portland Marathon in 2002. Zel runs with a cane because her sense of balance was effected by the brain surgery. Persisting in spite of pain and health issues that would cause most people to quit, Zel has healed many of her problems with her running. Zel will run in the Portland Marathon on October 1 and the Seattle Marathon on November 26, 2006 which is before her 60th birthday on November 28th. Zel is an inspiration to any runner who knows her and to all women.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Craig Sheppard

Last night my husband and I went to the LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University to hear Craig Sheppard play on the new Steinway grand piano to begin a concert series. A professor of music from the University of Washington School of Music, Craig Sheppard gave everyone in the audience a virtuoso performance resulting in a standing ovation.

Craig Sheppard took my heart and spirit through the full range of emotion as his fingers danced and tenderly carassed the notes on the keyboard. He dazzled everyone with playful passages building with texture to bold crescendo. He played Bach's Partita #6 in E Minor, Beethoven's Sonata in E Major, followed by Debussy's Estampes and ending with Chopin's Sonata in B minor, Opus 58. My favorite was Chopin but it was all glorious and a touch of heaven.

Thank you, Craig Sheppard for coming to Oregon State University for the free performance so I could have the privilege of hearing you play. It was magnificent.

It was a sea of white and grey in the audience. There were very few young people. I think it takes age to see what is most important in life and what brings meaning. I was happy to see an Asian father bring his five children. I noticed three of the cute little girls cross the street. I didn't hear a peep the entire time. Of course, they were very well behaved. The Asian culture values excellence. You see it in schools on test scores and grades. I saw another mother and a cute young girl with a big smile. How nice that these parents understand how important it is to take their children to such an important event and for the wisdom to know that this is a wonderful way to spend time together.

I thought at the end as I was standing and clapping with enthusiasm that this was a wonderful job to have in life--to play the piano with passion, to entertain, and then have everyone love you and clap for you at the end of every performance. How thrilling!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Comfort Care

Comfort care is a definition of medical care given to the elderly in nursing homes and hospitals. It sounds good. It sounds like someone everyone would want, but I learned first hand about comfort care when my husband and I were watching out for his mother.

Sadelle was healthy at 90 and told that she could live 10 more years. She was opinionated and spoke her mind, which was not always welcomed. I admired her intelligence and felt she had a right at 90 to say whatever she wanted. She was coded comfort care, which means no food or water with morphine to ease the pain, without consulting family and without a legal document to support this action. The family would never have consented to this outrageous action.

I'm concerned that comfort care could be used in the future in hospitals and nursing homes on those individuals without sufficent funds at a time when budgets are tight and as a way to eliminate a population of babyboomers who become dependent. If family members are busy and don't visit often, this can happen. It almost happened to Sadelle.


Polygamy has been in the news this last month with the fundamentalist Mormon in Utah being charged.

This was one of the topics of one of my letters that I wrote a few years ago to Salt Lake. After being part of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2002, I wanted to know from Salt Lake why they espoused distance publically from the concept of polygamy and they still keep printing those scriptures with Doctorine and Covenants 132 still in them. Yes, Mormons study four scriptures--the Old Testament, the New Testament, The Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants/Pearl of Great Price. I wanted to know the answer because in Doctrine and Covenants 132, it says that it is God's will that man practice polygamy.

Let's make it clear here that I don't believe in polygamy, but I sure heard comments from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about their desire to practice polygamy and how they looked forward to it. The brothers seemed to have a glint in their eye and the sisters looked forward to help with housework.

One of the last times that I received visiting teachers here in Alsea, I was told not to read National Geographic, which they found on my table and I was told to get to know a single sister who quilts so that my husband and I could watch out for her. For one thing, I love reading National Geographic and for another thing, I'm was not interested in polygamy. This sister with the ideas was not some odd ball. Her husband has a high paying job at a large corporation in Corvallis.

I enjoyed the television series on HBO, Big Love. It said a lot of things and told a lot of truth.

I have other alarming concerns about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but one central concern is that they call their Sunday service is a meeting, not a sacred service to worship God or Heavenly Father. It is filled with teachings about the history of the Church and the Book of Mormon. When we lived in Gates for a short time, some of the sisters got together and objected to the fact that there was no picture of Jesus in the church. That was changed. In the Gates Branch, I didn't see any different service for Christmas or Easter. I tried to change this when I was Primary President and had the children perform a Christmas play on the nativity story that I wrote based on the Dickens book, The Year of Our Lord.

Another practice I didn't like was the instruction given to men in priesthood meetings to search for contraband in a member's home. Contraband--meaning coffee, tea, beer, or something that would violate the word of wisdom. A priesthood leader came into my home and searched my cupboards here in Alsea. They are told to ask for a glass of water and then they offer to get it. He picked out a coffee cup at the back of the shelf.

My biggest concern, that I wrote about in a letter to Salt Lake, was discovered when my husband and I were serving as church service missionaries in Salem, Oregon to help people find employment in an eight stake area at the employment center. I found a document that said there was an employment office at the stake center in Hayden Lake, Idaho. Yes, my eyeballs almost popped right out of my head because this is the place where the FBI disbanded the Nazi Party in 1999. Hayden Lake, Idaho is not a big place. If there is a stake center that means the town is full of Mormons. I remembered it on the news. I think it was this letter that the Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Corvallis told my husband to "shut me up and control me."

These are a few of my concerns that resulted in shunning. You do not receive a temple recommend, if you hang around with people who object to the church or cause you to question the teachings of the church. That pretty much wiped out friends.

I have been in the temple as often as three times a week and went faithfully every week when I lived in Salem. I think it was when we lived in Gates, I went to the Portland Temple one day and I saw a temple worker point to me. He was talking to another temple worker. He was close so I heard what he said, "She has more guts than a slaughterhouse floor." I figure that's a compliment for a writer.

I have not violated my temple recommend or commited a serious sin except for drinking coffee, tea, an occasional beer with my husband, speaking my mind, and laughing loud. I've never cheated on my husband. I've never used illegal drugs. I've never smoked cigarettes since my dad died of lung cancer. I've always tried to be good. I've stayed away from people who violate the law or are into witchcraft or use drugs my whole life. And yet...I was shunned when I was wearing a missionary badge. And NO one has said they were sorry. No one. Not one. Letters from Salt Lake said to continue to go to church, that not all leaders are doing what's right, and that I should show my example as a leader. How do you continue when you don't respect?

It's truly hard when you are shunned. It's hard to take off the garments and your faith when you are told that this is the only way your family will be together in heaven and the result is outer darkness. I was doing everything by the book. I was following the directions but when you can't respect what's going on, you are forced to make a choice to swallow your concerns and shut up or speak your mind.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Benton County Candidates

Candidates for the position of Benton County Commissioner and Sheriff came to the Alsea Library to speak to members of the community. It should have been at the Grange so more people could have attended, especially since the meeting room at the library wasn't used.

I came to support Linda Modrell for County Commissioner and Diana Simpson for Sheriff and I expressed my support.

A few months ago, I went to a County Commissioners meeting in Corvallis for the first time. I was impressed with Linda Modrell as the shining star on the board. I came to the board meeting with my expressed need for safe walking trails, a community center gym with exercise equipment, a skateboard park for young people, a pool, and a wide paved trail that would allow roller blading, running, walking, and bikes. I want to see a trail similiar to Green Lake in Seattle here in Alsea. Yeah, I know....a pie in the sky dream with low budgets and no money for such ideas, but Linda Modrell took me seriously and called me. We talked on the phone a couple of times and she encouraged me to proceed to find support. A meeting was scheduled at the library and I was the only one there.

Last year in November, I wrote a mystery novel for National Novel Writing Month. Diana Simpson was generous and kind enough to offer to read it to critique for law enforcement details since she enjoys reading mysteries. She also met with me in an interview as I asked her questions. I wanted to get to know her a little better to understand this strong woman who came to Alsea last year to meet the community. Diana has the law enforcement background in parole and probation, and experience as Under Sheriff to be Sheriff. She stands for integrity and accountability, things that I believe in too.

I learned some new things last night as I listened to all the candidates. I learned how vulnerable Alsea is in a disaster in emergency preparedness. I learned that deputies from the Sheriff's department do not always have contact with Corvallis on their radios. We need a cell tower or a radio station in Alsea.

Some community citizens expressed desire to build houses on their acreage. Some expressed concern that people are moving away and it's hurting the school. I expressed the opinion that unless clean industry comes into Alsea to provide jobs, who would buy the houses? I suggested that the proposed Benton County Jail be here in Alsea or a Casino since the Alsea Indians used to live here. We need some kind of a big box store distribution center to provide jobs here. County Commissioner Candidate, Wright (no literature was handed out so I think that's right) expressed a plan to open the old lumbermills in the area to create biodiesel out of the brush collected and cleared in the forest. Interesting idea but I would have to understand the bi-products and what it does to the environment.

I was impressed with all the candidates--good people who are stepping up to take a leadership role to serve.


Way to go, Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart sets the standard.
Wal-Mart does it better.
Wal-Mart has a heart and cares about bringing low prices to those who need help stretching a dollar.

Yesterday, I went into the bedroom to hang up some clothes and my husband was watching Fox News on television. On the news, it said that Wal-Mart is going to test market in one of its Florida retail stores selling generic prescription drugs for $4 to help those in need. Wal-Mart is a leader with compassion.

I watched a couple of television specials about Wal-Mart and was impressed with the business model of efficiency and smooth opperation. The positive energy at its conventions and the drive to keep finding ways to do things better was impressive. My son works for Wal-Mart in Kissimmee, Florida. He tells me about how he sings marketing jingles over the loud speaker to sell his products in the garden department. He enjoys his job and I know he's good at it.

Sam Walton created Wal-Mart to bring low prices to rural America. Alsea, Oregon 97324 is a village of 600 to 1000 people. We are one hour from the coast and 45 minutes away from Corvallis. Alsea needs a Wal-Mart for the jobs, for the low prices, and to create hope. I know I would enjoy a job in the fabric and yarn department. How about it, Wal-Mart? Please come to Alsea.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Stupid King

I wrote a fairy tale this morning that I will share with you.


Once upon a time in a kingdom far away, there was a little princess with long golden curls without any friends. The princess had one major flaw. She spoke her mind, had opinions, and wouldn't keep her mouth shut. The little princess was smart with great ideas.

The King gave power to the Royal Smart Person's School to follow the princess around with video cameras and tape recorders to record her every word without her knowledge. They had to be sneaky and not let her know what they were up to but she knew something was amiss. Everyone was afraid to be a friend to the princess because they had to be very careful not to tell the princess the truth.

The people in the kingdom were sick of paying taxes so the King wanted to make money from the ideas of the little princess. The King discovered there were other ways to make money to buy the Queen all she wanted. He listened to all the tapes, hour by hour, of the words of the little princess. The King was able to fund several trips to Tahiti for the Queen based on invention ideas of the princess.

After several years, the King discovered that the princess had lost her spirit and she was no longer happy because she had no friends. This didn't bother the King but it stopped the flow of saleable ideas since the princess was sad. The King decided to send the little princess to a spa to pamper her from morning till night for a month. Then she would be happy and would think up new money-making ideas to make the King rich beyond measure. This new idea didn't work because no one could make the princess happy. The little princess knew that no one was a friend unless they told her the truth about what was happening to her. This no one would do.

The little princess with the golden curls tried to get help and people to listen in other Kingdoms. The King had contingency plans in place so no one learned the true identity of the princess with the great ideas.

The little princess with the golden curls grew sadder and sadder until she started to get sick with symptoms that needed pills and a doctor. The King called the Royal Smart Doctor with all the answers. "Oh, Royal Smart Doctor, you must make the princess happy again." The Royal Smart Doctor said, "I can do it. I have a little pill that works magic." The Royal Smart Doctor gave the little princess the pill and she died from the side effects.

The King said to the Royal Smart Doctor, "Just look at what you have done! You killed the little princess with the golden curls. Now my source of money has dried up. I'll sue you in court and take all your pennies."

The Queen heard of the calamity and told the King that maybe the little princess only needed a friend and someone to trust who wouldn't betray her. "I wouldn't have needed trips to Tahiti, if I had a true friend who was kind. Maybe the little princess could have been my friend." The Queen looked sad and was disappointed in the King.

The King looked down into the Royal Garden where the Queen sat by the Royal Timber Bamboo that was a cash crop to be made into flooring in the Royal Kingdom, one of the ideas of the little princess. "My Queen, yes, you might be right. Maybe we all made a mistake. We should have been kind. We should all have been a friend. We should have invited her to the Royal Palace for a feast. We shouldn't have been greedy and used her ideas without her permission."

The King decided to mend his ways and try a different path. He commanded the Royal Smart Person's School to find the way to happiness, friends, and peace. The King realized that maybe if people were happy and had friends, there would be enough great ideas to make every dream come true in the Kingdom. Although the little princess with the golden curls died a horrible death being isolated and alone without any friends, her life served a purpose because it changed lives for the better.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Wedding Photo

This is sure fun to add photos to my blog! Here is the wedding picture of the beautiful Amanda Label Haber married to my son, Benjamin Leslie Haber next to her. Amanda is an RN. Ben works for Zymo Genetics in Seattle and graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in biomedical engineering. He's also a great runner. On my dining room wall, I have a plaque with a photo of him coming in 174th with a time of 2:44:05 on October 11, 1998 in the Chicago Marathon. Next to Ben is me in my dress that I received lots of compliments that I bought at a bargain price at the Fashion Bug in Corvallis.

Gretchen is the oldest and Ben's sister. Gretchen is with her husband, Christopher Bennett next to her with my two beautiful grandchildren, Jack and Lizzy. Besides being a great Mom, Gretchen is the Executive Director of Liberty House in Salem. Chris is a Senior Mortgage Specialist with American Gold Mortgage Corp in Salem.

Right in front of Ben is the Amazing Alexander Haber who was the ring bearer. Alex is my handsome grandson who makes films. We created one together when we were in Seattle. I am the film editor. Alex was the Director, Actor, and Producer. The title of the film is "Good Side, Bad Side." I'm editing the film and working on the credits.

Next to Alex is Daniel, the youngest Haber and the brother of Ben, Gretchen, and Joe. Daniel works for Battell in Mountainview, California. He's a project manager with Battell working with NASA and the airline industry. Daniel graduated from Oregon State University and plans to go on to graduate school for his MBA. He went to Copenhagen Business School in Denmark during the summer of 2003 and then worked for a pharmaceutical company in Berlin, Germany for six months.

At the far left of the photo is Joseph or Joe, Alexander's father. Joe went three years to Mesa State College in Colorado and majored in music. He's written over 20 original songs and lyrics this year. He's so talented on stage and I have yet to hear anyone not love his strong, clear, and powerful voice. Joe lives in Florida and is a garden manager at Wal-Mart in Kissimmee.

Next to the beautiful Amanda, is Leslie, my husband of 34 years. Leslie went three years to the University of Illinois in Chicago before I met him. He's a Mensa.

I love my family. I wish we could be together more often. No one goes for my idea of everyone living on the same street. Maybe if I can ever make it with my writing, I can hop around and visit everyone often. I would also pay for a family cruise each year.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Married for 34 Years

I've been married to Leslie Haber for over 34 years. We eloped on April 17, 1972. We didn't go to one of those cheesy wedding chapels in Reno, Nevada. We settled for the Justice of the Peace in City Hall.

I didn't have a fancy wedding. My family wasn't gathered around. I got one wedding gift from the people I worked with--an international cookbook.

Why did I marry Leslie? I married Les because he looks like Jerry Lewis, has integrity, personal courage to do the right thing, and we were attracted to each other right from the first moment we met.

This photo was taken a couple of years ago. Les is 56 and I'm 58.

Over the years, we've been through a lot of tragedy and hardship. We've also had some great times when we've had money and had opportunities to travel.

We have the best kids in the whole world. I'm proud of every one of them. They're amazing. Gretchen, Ben, Joe, and Daniel. Aaron died in 1995.

Les was right there to help with homework, drive kids to and from school, and battle with teachers who were unfair. Les let me stay home because I wanted to be with my kids even when we didn't have a lot of money. Most men would have booted me out the door to get a job. I loved reading stacks of books, playing games, and teaching my children.

I haven't always agreed with Les about things. He doesn't dance. He does respect my right to speak my mind and is supportive. Most men wouldn't do that, if I said something they disagreed with. We agree on almost everything.

When I have ever been in the hospital which has been very little (birth of children, cancer, and bleeding ulcers), Les has been right beside me.

Now Leslie is in pain most of the time. He sure has done a great job this last year of cutting brush and making our 3.68 acres look nice. He does what he can, when he can, as much as he can. We've lived here in Alsea now for five years and I am finally adjusting.

Every morning when Les wakes up, I start coffee and we sit down at the kitchen table to play canasta. I usually win, which makes it fun for me. Les won yesterday and the day before. Oops!

We love watching the wild birds outside. The Stellers Jays have left us. So have the American Goldfinch. Where are they? The trees used to be filled with song.

Les is the one who fixes everything. He's the one I call when I have problems with the computer. He's the one I call when I need something put together. He's the one who reads directions.

Les loves watching Fox News and tells me what's going on in the world. That's his area.

I make frozen TV dinners so I don't have to cook all the time. Then I know Les gets his vegetables with his meat that he loves so much. Yesterday I made him German apple pancakes for breakfast.

Les has been my best and only friend for a lot of years now. I'm worried about him. It's sad when he goes out the door with his pruner in hand and says that he'd rather die cutting brush than in a hospital room. I told him that nothing can happen to him because I need him. I love you, Leslie.

Please God watch out for Leslie and keep him safe. Please heal his body and make him painfree.

Health Care

Millions of Americans are without health insurance. I am one of them. It's a bit scarey. I deny symptoms and try to prevent problems. I try to eat healthy out of my garden and to exercise.

What does it say when basic care isn't provided? It says that there is no safety net when something goes wrong. It says you are not of value and that you don't matter.

My husband is having problems right now. He suspects a heart condition. When he goes to see a doctor or a nurse, he said they don't use a stethoscope. Why is that? If you don't look for a problem and record evidence, then you can pretend it doesn't exist. Is this what is going on? When one of the millions without insurance keels over, no fault is found. Then there is no evidence of not providing the proper treatment because no problem existed in the first place.

I guess the medical community who is afraid of malpractice law suits have discovered a way to protect their rear end. See no problem. Hear no problem. No evidence. No problem exists. No fault found.

Maybe this is the New No Fault Insurance for the medical community.

Meet the Candidates

Republican candidate, Jim Feldkamp who is running for a seat as a U.S. Congressman came to Alsea on Wednesday evening.

I forgot to put this event on my calendar. I didn't realize that I made an error until I saw the Jim Feldkamp sign in front of the Alsea Hope Grange on Thursday on my way to the library. When I got home, I looked at my copy of the Alsea Valley Voice, our community newsletter. Yup, I'd missed it. It was the night before.

What should I have done? I should have highlighted this on my calendar. It's a great idea to meet candidates, ask them questions, listen to what they have to say and see how they field questions. It's unusual that candidates come to Alsea, which is out in the middle of no where, 45 minutes from the nearest city with bargain shopping.

I know I have been interested in politics less and less. I used to subscribe to the Congressional Record years ago when I first got married. It came in the mail every day. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching C-Span to see live debate in the House and Senate.

I am concerned about the election process. I am concerned that nothing is being done about the integrity of the election process to make sure that each vote counts and is protected. When evidence was brought forward to show that voting machines have been tampered with so that a vote for one candidate will register a vote for another candidate and nothing has been done, something is very wrong. The voting process should be of utmost concern by all people in the United States.

I remember watching BookTV on the weekend on C-Span2 when the author spoke who wrote about this very issue. His book documented evidence that the election process was tampered with throughout our nation starting with the Presidential election between Bush and Gore and then again in the last election. Something is wrong when attorneys don't come forward to protect the law and the integrity of the vote. People in power remain silent as if powerless. Why?

Until this matter is fixed, we can not be sure that our vote counts. Is the American electorate in a state of denial, marching forward anyway going through all the formality of an election process? I am worried about the integrity of the voting process.

Oregon has paper ballots. I'm grateful for that. I want my vote to count. Each vote should be guarded and protected. Each vote needs to count in every election, especially the national election.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Just as my husband and I were leaving the Consumers Power event in Corvallis today, I noticed a man with a navy shirt that said DirecTV. Of course, since I enjoy talking to almost everyone I see, I asked if he was from DirecTV. He said yes, so I said that I LOVE DirecTV.

I met Matt Webb, the owner of Global Communications at 2323 NW 9th Street in Corvallis, Oregon 97330. 541-754-9931. Matt's a nice young man who gave me three of his cards to pass out to people who want to connect to DirecTV.

Why do I LOVE DirecTV? I love it because of the great service, price, variety of programming, and my TiVo. I couldn't live without my TiVo or DirecTV. I can't imagine people with a busy schedule who want to watch their favorite shows without a TiVo. With a TiVo, you can schedule your favorite shows to be recorded to watch at a time convenient to you. You can fast forward through commercials. You can back up and pause to write down a recipe or an address. You can take notes during science shows. It's amazing. You can watch shows recorded last week in the middle of the night, if you can't sleep. You can save up movies to watch. If you work odd hours, you can have all your favorite shows waiting for your off hours. I can't just couldn't tolerate watching television the old fashioned way by sitting down and turning on the television hoping that something good is on.

Think about it.............get a TiVo and call DirecTV.

Consumers Power Inc.

Did I have a great day or what! September 9th is my lucky day. I went to the annual Consumers Power meeting for all its share holders. Everyone in the area served by Consumers Power was invited. Last year I heard from some women at quilting how great it was so I was determined to attend this year. I'm so glad I did. My husband and I had a great time.

Consumers Power is a coop and gives better service than any we have experienced living in other cities. Last year Oregon had major weather problems. When an outage occured, they are right out there fixing the problem in the worst weather. You can count on them to get the job done right and done as quickly as possible.

Not only do you get great service from Consumers Power but they invite you to an annual free chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Yes, my mind constantly centers on good food. Two pieces of crispy chicken from KFC with cold slaw, baked beans, potato salad, and one of those melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. There was also cartons of cold chocolate milk, coffee, ice cream, and delicious white cake with nice people all around you at one of the large three long tables. Each family took home an aster. I got a purple aster. I've been wanting one. They served a lot of people. It had to have been over 200. Maybe more.

During the meeting, they gave out great prizes to anyone with a winning ticket. They gave out everything from a chain saw and brush cutter to a set of knives and a blow dryer. A bald man won the blow dryer so that got a laugh. I won the perfect gift. It was something that I have been wanting for a long time--a HoMedics Sound Spa with six nature sounds (ocean, summer night, rain, rainforest, thunder, and waterfall). It's a clock radio with an alarm clock. You can work, read, and go to sleep at night or wake up listening to the sound of a rainforest or a waterfall. Since I love the sound of water, it's the perfect gift for Wendy. Thank you Consumers Power!

Mark Parker spoke during the meeting, the Voice of the Oregon State University Beavers. He was fun to listen to, especially when he recapped the great moment when the Beavers won the National Baseball League Championship. It was fun to hear that at the age of seven, he was giving a play by play account of his friends as they played basketball and baseball together. It was cute when he said his parents encouraged him as he used a tape recorder when he watched the games on television growing up to record his own sports commentary. He's now living his dream since 1999 to give the play by play of the OSU Beavers. What a great guy and a nice person! The OSU Beavers have the potential to win every game, every year. They just have to work hard and believe.

The monthly magazine, the Ruralite, was also there handing out free coffee to everyone. It would be fun to write articles for the Ruralite.

What a great day! I met so many nice people. I saw Russ Sapp (a nice family from Alsea) up on the stage who represents Alsea. I won a great gift for which I am grateful that I will use every day. I had a great lunch with KFC chicken. They gave everyone an extension cord and four 60 watt eco light bulbs. The only thing I didn't get to do was ride in the bucket. Maybe next year....

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jerry Lewis

Just where is Jerry Lewis this Labor Day? I don't see announcements of a telethon or news about Jerry.

I've always loved Jerry Lewis. He's always been my favorite for all these years. When other kids were oogling over rock stars, I oogled over Jerry Lewis. Yes, I like the Beetles and Rolling Stones but no one comes close to Jerry on my list.

My husband looks like Jerry and that's one of the many reasons why I married Les in addition to his intelligence, integrity, personal courage, and many other attibutes.

Jerry has always made me laugh. He does anything for a laugh. He's the good guy on the screen and the one with the big heart.

Les took me to see Jerry in Portland, Oregon. Jerry starred in Damn Yankies, the Broadway play. I kept my eyes on Jerry throughout from my seat. After it was over, I waited outside and stood in his way so he had to brush past me. It was awesome. They said no one could talk to him so that was it.

I wrote him a letter once but never got an answer or a signed photo.

I would love to see him on stage someday in Las Vegas. He's the draw for me. I've never had the opportunity.

For all the years of telethons and hard work to help kids, Jerry should win some momentous award--like the Nobel Peace Prize for the millions and millions of dollars for muscular dystrophy research. Jerry Lewis is a hero.

I love you, Jerry. I always will. Please get better and listen only to the best doctors.

Friday, September 01, 2006

$5 Quilt Club

Oh the fun you can have at Grandma's Attic Sewing Emporium in Dallas, Oregon! I love Rachel Greco's monthly $5 Quilt Club and Rachel is one of the women I admire.

This is how the club works. August started the new quilting year at Grandma's Attic. If you bring in $5, you receive a quilt block with fabric and instructions. Last year the theme was "She flies with her own wings," and this year is "First Ladies of America." You receive one of the amazing redwork designs created by her son and you hear stories about the First Ladies at the White House throughout history. Last month was Martha Washington and today was Abigail Adams. Rachel talked about the inspiring example of Abigail this morning and how she was intelligent with strong opinions.

Rachel Greco is a natural entertainer. Her love of research and learning shows as she shares stories of women. She is a strong advocate of women. Rachel should have her own quilting show on national television. It would sure be popular. She would be great and loved by all who love to quilt. Everyone flocks to Dallas on the first Friday and Saturday of the month for five sessions. Last year were stories about pioneer women. Not only do you learn to quilt but you feel inspired and uplifted after listening to Rachel.

Abigail was a woman of strength and leadership. Interesting that in 2006 that in the United States of America, women do not have equal rights under the Constitution.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance

Can you believe it? I still haven't watched the final show. I watched the first 15 minutes and then I speeded over to the end to see who won.

It's great that Benji won. He's a great dancer with heart and he will represent the show well. Heidi and Benji are great dancers who work hard and who live dance. All the dancers in the top 10 are deserving to win and I hope that all go on to major jobs that showcase their talent on stage.

I have been busy and haven't had time to watch a lot of television. That's one reason why I haven't finished the show. The biggest reason is because I just don't want it to end. I want to savor it, minute by minute. I love this show. It's my favorite show.

I wish I had dance in my life. I had a chance to dance at Ben's wedding but it's obvious that I don't get to dance. I dance only in my heart.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Tangletown in Green Lake

A few blocks from Ben's house in Green Lake, off the main roads and in the center of the neighborhood is Tangletown, an Elysian brewing company.

2106 N. 55th Street

It's worth a visit for great food and great beer. You can buy a sampler of 5 beers to try. The waiter talked about a pumpkin beer that's popular in the fall that sounded delicious.

Boy, did I have a great breakfast with an Italian sausage and cheese omelet. Wow! That was good. I don't remember the name but it's delicious.

My favorite breakfast place in Seattle so far has always been the Rusty Pelican in Wallingford but now I also like Tangletown. A perfect start for any day in Seattle and then mozey on over to Green Lake and walk the 2.8 mile trail around this amazing manmade lake. How could life be any better than this?

RACHA NOODLES and Thai cuisine

After we rode the duck, Ben took our family over to Racha Noodles on Mercer Street to enjoy Thai food in the Queen Anne district of Seattle. Ben's taken me here before and each time I have loved each dish ordered. It's elegant dining with delicious food.

I remember another time when they had music on Thai instruments softly playing in the background. I love the sculptures of large glass and metal flowers.

My favorite dish is #68 Golden Cashew with bell peppers, green onions, celery, carrot, cashew nuts, and Racha special sauce.

Always the best food and the best jasmine green tea. www.rachathai.com
RACHA NOODLES and thai cruisine
23 Mercer Street close to the Space Needle
Seattle, WA 98109

Ride the Duck

Anyone visiting Seattle needs to head on over to the Space Needle and ride the duck. It's a tour of Seattle's best spots with an entertaining account of all interesting highlights as you pass on land and in the bay.

One in eight people living in Seattle owns a boat. I remember eating at Ivars at another visit to Seattle and watching people arrive in boats to eat at this amazing restaurant that caters to an upscale crowd.

While our duck was touring the bay, we learned that Seattle allows a fixed number of houses in the water. Some multi-million dollar homes have a basement enclosed by glass windows with lights to attract the fish. One woman who retired early from Microsoft decided to start a rowing school. When told that her school on the bay was one too many and would have to be torn down, she added a motor. I would sure like to meet this amazing woman who is an inspiration to all. Now she takes her "boat" out each year for a huge fundraising event to circle the bay overlooking the Space Needle and downtown Seattle.

If you want laughter, fun, and to see the best of Seattle, Ride the Duck. I can sure highly recommend it. Thanks, Ben! www.ridetheducksofseattle.com 1-206-441-DUCK (3825).

A Fairy Tale Wedding

When your children marry, all you want as a parent is their happiness. This is all I have ever wanted for all of my children.

My son, Benjamin married Amanda on August 20th in the rose garden at the Woodland Park Zoo in GreenLake, which is part of Seattle. It was a fairy tale wedding in a beautiful setting. Ben's brothers, Joe and Daniel stood beside him in support as I looked on with pride sitting next to my husband, their father.

At the reception, Joe sang a song created by Joe and Sharon Label, Amanda's mother to the tune of "Going to the Chapel." It outlined Ben and Amanda's journey of love that brought them to the garden in marriage. It was cute. Joe also sang a selection from Andrew Lloyd Weber accompanied on the harp by Karyn Jones.

Daniel made a magnificent speech as the best man. He's always great in front of a group.

The food catered at the reception at the Zoo couldn't have been a better selection or variety. It was delicious.

Amanda and Ben are both happy and I'm happy for them both as they start their new life together. They are off to Tahiti for the honeymoon on the beach, surf and the sun. They have a beautiful home in Green Lake and the years ahead to share together.

Although it was only a few days of meeting Ben's new family, it was nice to meet everyone and get to know Amanda's family. The blending of families makes life much richer.

The garden wedding among the gorgeous roses makes me want to start a rose garden of my own here in Alsea. It sure was beautiful and I don't see how it could have been nicer.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mel Gibson

I had a phone conversation with my Aunt Ellen who is 97 years old who excuses the behavior of Mel Gibson. I, however, cannot excuse his words so easily.

Alcohol may have released the words but they were in his heart.

I am always confounded when any Christian pours out hatred for ANY group of people when Jesus commanded that we love thy neighbor as thyself. Can one be an example of Christianity and feel hatred towards anyone? I think not!

God made everyone. We are all a little different so He can tell us apart. Some are different colors. We come in different shapes and sizes but we are all children of God. We should be kind to one another and get along.

So You Think You Can Dance

So You Think You Can Dance is ENTERTAINMENT in all caps! The high energy show teaches the spirit of dance. Nigel Lithgoe, the correographers, and other produces of this important show, my favorite show, should win major awards for encouraging dance at a time when obesity is so high among youth and adults in this country. I can think of no greater joy than dance.

I've learned a lot about different types of dance. I had no idea what krumping was and now I have a true appreciation for hip hop. I still have a lot to learn but this show is explosive with talent from the dancers and choreographers. Original routines are expected by Mia Michaels. Brian Friedman said, "I love when dance is art." So do I. The "dorktastic" routine, a phrase coined by Brian referring to Shane Spark's choreography tonight, was fun and unexpected. Gifted choreographers, the BEST of the Best are featured on this show.

The group pop routine at the end, choreographed by Wade Robson, was original, art, fun, and pure joy to watch. I love this show. It makes me want to get up and dance at 58. I dance in my heart with each one on stage.

Next week we will learn who America picks as the favorite dancer. Out of four gifted dancers, one will be selected by the vote. My vote out of the four is for Travis who I feel is the greatest of all as a technical dancer and performer. All will go on to major careers on stage, no matter who wins. They have all danced their hearts out, showing emotion from their toes, up through each part of their body with high energy and talent. They are all winners! Thank you, Nigel Lithgoe, for bringing So You Think You Can Dance into my living room!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

My Garden

I measured my garden space last weekend and found out that I have 2500 square feet in garden. I have plans to dig more beds and to put more of my land in production. We have 3.68 acres. One acre can be used for garden. The other 2 1/2 acres is to be kept in timber.

I have big plans to add dwarf fruit trees, nut trees, more blueberries, thornless blackberries and raspberries, seedless table grapes, currants, hardy keewee, more corn, and more delicious fresh vegetables.

I'm not sure I want to sell much. I'm mainly doing this to make sure I have enough food. I know how to can and preserve since I took the Master Food Preserving course in Salem in 1999 at the same time that I went through the Master Gardening course. That year in Master Gardening, I volunteered 175 hours of my time in addition to the time with showing people how to can in demonstrations.

I've never had a garden this big before so I need to learn more about crop rotation, what vegetables work together, and I need to start a serious garden journal.

I also want to have a big dahlia bed with a large variety of dahlias. I love dahlias. They make such great bouquets to bring in the house and to give away.

This will all take time. Inch by inch, foot by foot, and yard by yard, my garden will get bigger and bigger.


I received a letter from my cousin in Sweden a couple of days ago. My cousins from Sweden came to visit me in Alsea three years ago. Although I sent letters and a package, I didn't hear back. I thought it odd.

Finally, I have proof that I'm not getting all my mail. In my cousins letter, she said she sent two letters that I didn't receive. So there it is in writing.

I try to make a formal complaint and was given a telephone number. I was told that my cousin in Sweden needs to follow up on this. No one wanted to know my name. I didn't get to sign a form. I didn't get to make a formal statement.

I sure wonder how much mail I don't receive that is sent to me.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Religion is one of those topics, like politics, that people say you should avoid discussing.

I grew up going to church every Sunday as a Lutheran. It was central to my identity. I was baptized in Libby, Montana. In the third grade, I went to the Lutheran School across from my church on the same street as my house at 1120 Montana Avenue. When we moved to Salem, Oregon, I was confirmed at Grace Lutheran. Then we moved to Keizer and I went to Luther League at Faith Lutheran on North River Road. My days of being a Lutheran stopped when I visited my church in Montana when I was in college. The minister said that only those people in that particular congregation was going to be saved. I knew that wasn't true so I went searching.

I started to go to the silent Quaker meetings at the suggestion of my history professor at Oregon College of Education, Dr. Kenneth Holmes.

When I married my husband in 1972 and he told me he was Jewish, the first words out of my mouth were, "Oh, I love Jerry Lewis!" I had learned in Sunday School that Jews were God's chosen people. They are the BEST! They are the ones that God loves best.

My husband and I couldn't find common ground and a religious home. I was told that I couldn't belong to the synagogue because I wasn't born a Jew, and he was told that he couldn't be a Lutheran because he asked too many questions.

Years later in 1995, we joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We put our whole hearts into this church. I had parties in my home to welcome new members, celebrate birthdays, new babies, and welcome missionaries. This was in our home on Burlwood Loop SE in Salem. I enjoyed being on the compassionate service committee. My husband was in the Elders Quorum Presidency. I was Primary President in Gates and Secretary in the Stake Relief Society Presidency. I loved singing in the Stake Choir in Salem. Not only did we serve with volunteer time but we tithed all our money. One year we tithed over $25,000 in Salem. I still have the copy of the tithing statement signed by the Bishop. Then we served as service missionaries to help people in an eight stake area find employment in Salem.

After we moved to Alsea, we were driving back and forth four days a week to make the 2 hour trip each way. I started to question a few things so I wrote letters to Salt Lake, which embarrassed the Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Corvallis. He told my husband to "shut her up and control her." That didn't go over well with me. I was hurt that he didn't care to help me get to the truth and talk over my feelings. When we moved to Alsea, I was asked what I needed, I asked for friendship because I knew it would be hard to live in an isolated area. We were shunned when I started to question a few things. I stopped going. I guess the shunning was supposed to silence my mouth and teach me a lesson.

I witnessed that people can go to church every Sunday, take on the name of Jesus Christ, and steal, lie, and betray their church the rest of the week. I saw the cruelty to others who don't agree. I understood for the first time how political extremes could exist in the same church when I took the political test on the Liberterian website which lumps communists and fascists together in one category--all who want to suppress dissent and who want complete obedience. I learned much more taking that test than that I am a Centrist in the Left Liberal area.

My husband continued serving his mission in Salem driving faithfully back and forth to Salem. Medicine was given to him to help him cope with the strain of it all by a doctor belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Corvallis. This doctor ignored my pleas that my husband was falling asleep in the chair and I worried about the safety of my husband driving to Salem. An attorney belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped to drain all our money away. We have been betrayed. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen fit to cause problems in our family and they have done their best to stop any kind of progress.

I've been told to shut up about my feelings and what happened to us but that only allows it to continue. On my wall is a framed poster that says, "In Germany they first came for the communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time no one was left to speak up." Pastor Martin Niemoller

What do I have left? My truth.

I believe in Jesus Christ. I grew up with my faith. I feel comforted by my faith. I believe that God made all people that live on the earth, and that the two greatest commands are to love the Lord with all thy heart and to love thy neighbor as thyself. This means we should care about everyone. We should love everyone even those who are hard to love. This means people who are different from us, people who grew up different, people who live on the other side of the earth. I believe it is important to hold strong to your values and to not compromise them. I feel it is important to be kind to others, no matter how you are treated in return. I believe I have a right to my own opinion and I feel responsible to speak out against injustice.


We have a new Post Mistress in Alsea named Nichole. I really like her. It's the best building in Alsea when its hot outside because of the air conditioning. Usually my husband wants to pick up the mail but I enjoy it when I do.

I attended the ceremony last year when Nichole was installed as Post Mistress. I even included the ceremony in my Nano Novel for 2005 last November. I'm a sap for parades and ceremonies that touch the heart and expect one to do their best. This ceremony talks about the great responsibility of safeguarding and protecting the mail. I admit that when these words were said, there were tears in my eyes.

I was alarmed the other day when my husband came home to say that the key was stuck in the lock. The lock had to be replaced and new keys issued. I'm impressed with Nichol's action.

I have a vivid imagination, which helps me write novels. My mind immediately took off wondering whether someone had tried to jimmy the lock to get into our box. Were they successful? Then I wondered if someone had a key and has been getting into our mail since I never think I am getting all my mail. Then I thought I would check this out by asking if anyone had been seen getting into our box. A strange look on the face by the guy who helps out let me know that he thought this was an odd thing to say.

So You Think You Can Dance

I can't believe that Allison was voted off the show. I thought she had the talent to make it to the end. I don't like to see anyone go home. Ryan is another extraordinary talent that went home.

I was interested to hear that the tour of the top ten dancers is a go. The first city is Seattle on September 12. I wish I could be there. I wish I could afford to go. I'm not sure I can afford to make a trip back up to Seattle or go anywhere.

I know the tour will be an amazing success and it will stimulate the love and joy of dance even more. So You Think You Can Dance has been so refreshing to watch on television. It's my favorite show and always lifts my spirits.

So who's left....Donyelle, Travis, Ivan, Natalie, Heidi, and Benji. They are all gifted dancers. Each one deserves to win.

Thank you to Nigel Lithgoe and Simon Fuller for bring so much joy to millions and especially to me.

Health Care

There is a crisis in the United States. Millions of people are without any medical insurance. My husband and I are among this number.

When you are without health or dental insurance and without any savings, you start to ignore and deny symptoms. I try to treat everything with exercise, fresh air, healthy foods. When medical bills start to pile up, as in our case, you have to wait until they are paid down to continue with any further medical help.

I've been ignoring chest pains, numbness, and high blood pressure. It doesn't help that I haven't been exercising since I stopped going to the gym. It's only compounding the problems but I can't afford it and I can't afford the gas to go into Corvallis.

I got stung by a bee or hornet on my ankle four days ago. My foot is swollen and it's bright red. How do I deal with it? I took two Excedrin for the pain. I put cold compresses on it. Yesterday I plastered oatmeal all over it. I went to my medical reference book and learned that it isn't a life threatening situation unless it starts to effect the respiratory system so I'm not worried.

My husband went to a clinic in Eugene months ago for help. I thought this was a great idea because the clinic was set up to help people without insurance. He was seen by a doctor. A whopping bill of $400, no answers or help. The doctor wanted him to come back. My husband insisted that he talk to him over the phone to avoid another big bill. The doctor admitted that he didn't have any answers on the phone.

Now he went for blood tests at the clinic in Benton County in Corvallis for over $200 and they won't give him the results without the $20 bucks for a visit. They said that the price was discounted 50%. He made two phone calls so far to try to get them to tell him the results over the phone.

Millions of dollars are being funneled into Oregon from the federal government to help people without insurance. It's going for buildings, salaries, and discounted care. We can't afford discounted care on a fixed income.

Dental care is another crisis. You can afford to have great teeth, if you have insurance and money. The last time I was at the dentist, he was aware that I have a chip in my front tooth that needs to be filled. He let me walk away without taking care of it. I can't afford to go back until the bill is paid down.

About three years ago I started to pour out my heart to someone who works with the homeless. I thought she would have compassion, would listen, and care. I was wrong. She said, "No one cares. No one wants to listen." So you learn to shut up, deny feelings, deny medical problems, and do the best you can with what you have.

So many people are left without adequate medical help and care. It shows that people aren't valued. It shows that there is a lack of compassion. It shows that money gets you the care you need.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Yes, I have a TiVo. I'm not sure I would want to watch television without it. It organizes your shows and keeps them waiting for you when you have the time to watch.

Many people recommend against watching television but I truly love the escape into shows like So You Think You Can Dance. It's my favorite right now.

My television is broken. I had a 32 inch old set so now I watch a tiny one. It's better than nothing.

TiVo's are amazing. You can fast forward through commercials or back up if you want to write down an address. You can freeze a frame even on live television with a TiVo. I use this feature most often when I'm taking notes.

If I didn't have a TiVo, I wouldn't be able to keep up with all the great shows on television. There are amazing science specials that I don't want to miss. Some great older Doris Day, Jimmy Stewart, or Jerry Lewis movies are only on at odd hours. A TiVo makes it all possible at the flick of a button.

Weight Watchers

I really miss Weight Watchers. I miss the meetings and I miss learning from everyone.

I find that I struggle to exercise staying at home without going into Corvallis to the gym. Gardening has been my major exercise this past month and my garden shows it. I'm starting to till a new garden bed. I have big plans.

As I weigh this morning, I see that I have lost one pound since June 21 on my last Weight Watcher meeting. I'm surprised that I haven't gained. I know I'm not making the progress I would be making if I were going to the meetings.

I received Weight Watcher magazine in the mail yesterday. I'm grateful for the articles and recipes.

I'm trying to stay on the Weight Watcher diet eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and drinking lots of water. I miss it Weight Watchers and being part of it. I hope that I can do it again one day.

So You Think You Can Dance

This is my favorite show. I tivo it to make sure I don't miss a minute. The only trick with tivoing a show like So You Think You Can Dance is that you MUST watch it within an hour or two after the live show so you can vote. I must admit that I haven't watched the Thursday show yet. I don't like to see anyone go home. I love all these young people. They are amazingly talented.

Nigel Lithgoe's excellence, class, high standards, and love of dance is infectious. I'm grateful that he created this show with Simon Fuller. I love seeing the different styles of dance. Dance celebrates the beat and essence of life. The energy on the show is electric.

My favorites this week were Allison, Ivan, Natalie, Heidi, and Benji. I'm surprised that I didn't like the others as much this week. They are all excellent dancers. And I miss Dimetry. He had such presence on stage and so much drama. I really enjoy the talent of Donyelle, Travis, and Ryan. They are ALL excellent and outstanding dancers but this week, they were not my favorites.

The talent of the correographers surprise me with original routines that amaze and delight. I love it all. It's fun. Thank you Nigel Lithgoe for bringing dance to television.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Global Warming

Do you believe yet? I do. Even my 97-year-old Aunt Ellen in Wolf Point, Montana believes in global warming. She's a conservative Lutheran from a small town. She's intelligent and she used to teach school.

We can't keep abusing our planet without global consequences.

Ever since I have moved to Alsea five years ago, the logging trucks have been piled high with logs coming by my house. Some trucks only have three logs to fill it up. It takes much longer the grow the trees than it takes to cut them down. I'm not against responsible timber harvesting. I know that the forests here are replanted but I wonder about other parts of the world. I wonder if too much timber is being harvested even in my area.

And what about water that's unfit to drink. The Willamette River running through Oregon is now given the label as a dead river. There are mixing zones up north of Portland where chemicals are dumped legally into the river. This water flows into the ocean. Businesses that have polluted for years still dump into rivers without consequences. Now it says in the Corvallis Gazette Times that they are finding dead crabs and other sea life floating to the surface. The AP journalist got a quote from an OSU scientist who said that pollution isn't responsible but I question it. You can't keep letting chemicals flow into rivers and the ocean without consequences detrimental to all life.

Specials fill up network schedules on global warming. There's also specials about global dimming which is responsible for reflecting sunlight back into space thereby masking global warming.

I voted for Al Gore for President. Since the election, he's been trying to make a difference about global warming. I feel strongly that we need Al Gore for President but first we need to make sure that elections reflect the vote of the people.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wild Birds

My husband and I enjoy feeding the wildbirds here on our property. We have such a wide variety with several feeders available. I like to put the feeders next to the window so the birds have to come up close. I don't enjoy hunting birds down with binoculars.

We have five hummingbird feeders in two windows and I need to buy more. I saw that at John Boy's Merchantile in Alsea, there are some for sale at $4.99. That's a bargain. A wire feeder for dried corn cobs is hanging in the Redwood tree next to our house. Three suet feeders hang in the tree and near the fence post. I make about 64 suet cakes a month using Crisco shortening, wildbird seed, sunflower seed, corn, and sometimes a dab of peanut butter and oatmeal. They like it. The Stellers Jays scream at us from the White Oaks surrounding our property when the suet isn't put out fast enough. The two thistle feeders for the American Goldfinch are almost empty. We need to buy another 50# bag of black thistle for them.

It's fun to have bird friends who visit at different times of year. Across the road is a wetland that attracts birds and wildlife. I'm grateful for the wetland. Not only is it beautiful to see but it cleans the ground water.

More feeders are needed and different kinds with a variety of seeds. It can only get to be more fun watching the wildbirds here as I enjoy my garden. When I have more plants that attract butterflies, birds, and hummingbirds, it will only get better.

My Garden

My garden is growing by leaps and bounds. Each day I see new growth. Now with the hot weather today through the weekend, it should take off.

My corn patch is over my head and new little corns are developing. The sunflowers are high over the corn. I planted the broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and peas in the shade of the sunflowers and corn so they wouldn't bolt or go to seed. I have thirteen tomato plants with lots of little green tomatoes on the vines. I'm looking forward to eating tomatoes as I walk through the garden. The spinach is almost done for. I need to plant a new row. The beets and carrots are hidden under the spaghetti squash. I have romaine lettuce ready to pick and head lettuce almost ready. This is the first time I've grown head lettuce so this was fun. I have a giant pumpkin plant developing little pumpkins and I look forward to seeing what will happen. They are supposed to weigh 100 pounds. I have little green peppers developing and cucumbers.

I'm already eating the broccoli and zucchini. The bok choy is already gone and was great in stir fry. I've enjoyed munching on spinach when I go out to water in the morning. The lettuce is ready and I've been giving some away to neighbors.

This is the most fun in the garden I've had since we moved here five years ago. It took me a long time to adjust to living out in the middle of no where but I genuinely am having fun on our 3.68 acres now. I have no intention of ever moving away. It's precious to have land that's quiet and beautiful. I plan on growing grapes, kiwi, raspberries, more blueberries, and much more. It's fun to be able to eat fresh and healthy food grown in your garden. It's also practical since we don't have savings or any insurance.

Right now choices are limited about what I can do but I do love my mornings out in the garden in Alsea.

So You Think You Can Dance

I love this show. I love the high energy and the talent of the young people. I love the creativity of the choreography. I love the judges, especially executive producer, Nigel Lithgoe. I love Cat Deeley.

Ten talented dancers were up tonight to dance a solo and perform routines as a couple. Mixing it up was just what was needed. My favorites again were Ivan, Donyelle, Travis, Heidi, Allison, Benji, Natalie, and Ryan. Dmetry is a favorite and a smooth classical dancer. I'm surprised that Martha chose to hide her electric smile with the huge hat. I enjoy seeing Ivan dance smooth ballroom styles. Travis is magnificient. Heidi brings her best every week and surprised me with the contempory dance. Donyelle puts everything into her dance with great intensity and passion. I agree with Nigel that Ryan will make a great contempory solo performer on stage. As the competition picks up, everyone will need to be at their best with every solo and as a partner. All of them are talented. They can't let up or relax, if they want to win.

I'm grateful for this showcase for dancing talent, and the uplifting spirit of the show, So You Think You Can Dance.

Political Cartoon

A mean-spirited political cartoon was in the Sunday issue of the Seattle Times. You can google "Seattle Times political cartoon and July 16, 2006" to find it. I feel it shows a lack of respect for the contributions made by babyboomers and a lack of regard for human life and dignity.

I am worried that an entire generation will be exterminated by another when help is needed and when babyboomers are most vulnerable.

There are other hints that this devastation is on the horizon for Babyboomers with the practice of "comfort care" in nursing homes. Comfort care sounds like something everyone wants. In reality it means the withdrawal of food and water. Morphine is given for the pain of starving to death. Normally, the label of comfort care is only for those individuals with a terminal illness but I have witnessed this happening to an elderly woman who was not terminally ill and without consent of the family. How can this happen? It can happen when family members are not alert to the care given in nursing homes, do not visit enough, and trust medical personnel without question.

Babyboomers need to be careful about their health and practice preventive measures to ensure their protection.

The Happily Ever After House

Ben's new home is close to everything he loves. I was happy to get the chance to see it last weekend. It's close to running, Green Lake, the Purple Pelican for breakfast, Wallingford for great pizza and a movie, tennis courts, golf, and it's close to the Zoo.

I named the house. I call it "the happily ever after house" because it has everything Ben loves.

A beautiful home with a tropical backyard, lush grass, and a great area to entertain. Mature trees outline the property to give shade and cool summer days at a time when global warming will become more real in the years ahead. If the potential bamboo problem is solved, the house will give many years of happy memories.

The kitchen was gutted and with the help of Lowes, a new kitchen was designed that is spectacular. I helped to paint the kitchen with American Tradition paint from Lowes, a paint that goes on like whipped cream or pudding.

It showed that I haven't exercised in over a month. I walked to Green Lake and half way around and then I had to stop or I could see myself limping the next few days.

Green Lake is a nice area. You pay to live close to the paved trail around Green Lake but it is worth having a healthy life style within walking distance.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I'm excited to leave today to drive to Seattle to visit my son, Benjamin. He owns a home in Ballard, the Scandinavian part of Seattle. I love Ballard and would love to live there someday. Ben's getting married to the beautiful Amanda in August. Ben just bought another home in Green Lake. Green Lake will be close to running and closer to his work at Zymo Genetics.

I love the energy of Seattle. So many opportunities. So many cultural events. The Seattle Art Museum, the great new library system all over the Seattle area, the Space Needle, the science museum, broadway plays, the symphony, the Nutcracker at Christmas put on by the Northwest Ballet Company, J.A. Jance the mystery writer, Gloria Kempton of Writers Digest Magazine, the zoo, the troll under the Freemont Bridge that I'm writing a children's book about are just a few of the things I love about Seattle.

I love driving on I-5 approaching the center of Seattle. When you start to see all the tall buildings, you know life is happening all around you. There is an energy that makes me feel alive. I love visiting. I love seeing my son. I'm blessed to have a fine son, like Ben. I have fun talking to him, listening, hearing about what's important to him, playing canasta, laughing, joking around. Another trip to Seattle in August to see Ben marry Amanda and live happily ever after.

So You Think You Can Dance

Oh, I love this show. It's my favorite right now.

This week my favorites were Allison and Ivan, Martha and Travis, Donyelle and Benji. I thought Allison and Ivan were off the top with their contemporary routine. They were shooting stars! I loved them. I can't get over the growth in Ivan. He's only 18. He's such a gifted dancer and so is Allison. My second choice this week was Martha and Travis with the fox trot. Donyelle and Benji are great and always do well but Donyelle is dancing with an injury.

It's always great to see Cat Deeley. She's charming, a great host, and wears gorgeous dresses that are so unique. I also enjoy Nigel. Nigel makes the show. It was great to see Brian as one of the judges. Mary was so touched by Ivan's performance. She did such a great job of correographing the opening dance on the first night this week. Nigel, Mary, and Brian are a great balance.

Ashlee and Musa went home. All these young people are so talented in dance. Dance is their whole life and means everything to them. We need great entertainers in the world. I hope the world opens up to all of them with opportunities.

I'd sure love to see each large city starting their own dance competitions to encourage talent. Dancing is a great way to channel energy. It would be great to see talent encouraged more than it is now. I'm so happy to see this show, So You Think You Can Dance which encourages the spirit of dance.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Car in the Ditch

The excitement this morning was going out for the newspaper and finding a car in the ditch. This happens at least twice a year. It almost happened twice yesterday. Breaks screeched to a slower speed going around the corner. The last time was a few months ago when a car took out the fence next door.

The Benton County Sheriff Deputy is still here. The tow truck just took away the car.

I'm shocked that I didn't hear it. Usually I hear all the commotion even if it happens in the middle of the night with screeching breaks, skidding tires, and a slam into the ditch. Nothing this time. My dog, Polly didn't even bark.

Now onto the real work this morning, plotting my mystery novel....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Visit to see family

On Friday morning I started out from Alsea early to go to Grandma's Attic in Dallas for the $5 Quilt Club. I signed up for two colorways in the next quilting year that will be star blocks that celebrate First Ladies in the White House. Rachel will concentrate on one First Lady a month with stories about these great women. I wonder if Rachel will continue the great original redwork to go along with the star blocks. Maybe flowers for each First Lady? Her creative and talented son draws the original designs enjoyed by all the quilters.

Then I headed on into Salem. I stopped at Starbucks for coffee and to brainstorm ideas for my mystery novel while waiting to meet my daughter, Gretchen for lunch at Applebees. I noticed that the cups at Starbucks publish flashfiction and short nonfiction essays. I wish I had remembered to keep my cup.

I arrived early to see Gretchen at Applebees on Liberty in North Salem. We had the best time over great salads talking about her work and my mystery novel. I don't get to see Gretchen enough so I thought lunch once in awhile would be great. Afterwards, I went over to volunteer at Liberty House for a couple of hours at her work.

In the afternoon I spent time with Jack and Liz at their daycare in South Salem. Gretchen has worked for the county and state of Oregon for the Commission of Children and the Family, and Child Care Information Services so she knows the best person in the area to watch her children. We spent the afternoon outdoors with water play--frozen and spashy wet in the hot sun.

Delicious pizza for dinner with Chris, Gretchen, Jack and Liz in their beautiful home in West Salem. Early to bed for me after a long day. I'm an early to bed, early to rise kind of person.

Then up at 5:30 for a shower. When everyone started getting up, we headed on over to A.C. Gilbert House Discovery Village, an amazing children's museum. www.acgilbert.org The mission statement for Gilbert House is "to provoke curiosity, inspire awe, foster enjoyment, encourage learning, and enable understanding in all youth." This is a fun place to visit with children and is probably would be one of the BEST places to work in Salem. A.C. Gilbert earned a degree in medicine from Yale, earned the Olympic gold metal in pole vault, and invented the engineering toy for children--the Erector Set.

After Gilbert House on the river front, it was off to a great lunch at Baja Fresh and then I needed to start heading back to Alsea. It's hard to live so far from family. I wish all my kids lived on the same street in the same city but that's unlikely. It would be fun to bring over homemade bread, have dinner at least once a week at my house, and find ways to be supportive and encouraging.

On the way home I stopped at the Bi-Mart at the Independence/Monmouth junction for a great 50% off sale on plants. I noticed the last time I came there were lush, healthy plants. They have a great grower in Junction City, it says on the tag.

Many fun memories, great photos, and sad to have it end so soon. Till next time.

Baja Fresh

My daugher and son-in-law took me out for lunch at Baja Fresh in Salem on Saturday. I LOVE that place! Baja Fresh is a Mexican grill. This is the second time I've been there. I wish I could eat there every day.

Baja Fresh boasts No microwaves, no can openers, no freezers, no lard, no msg, no compromises. Sounds good to me. I enjoy eating healthy. You can relax and know that you aren't harming your body. You just sit back and enjoy the flavors. I love the veggie bare burrito. It's $5.25.

My grandchildren, Liz and Jack sure seemed to be enjoying their lunch as much as their grandma.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Fun

I'm off to Dallas, Oregon for the $5 Quilt Club at Grandma's Attic. www.grandmasattic.com Rachel Greco, the owner of the shop has a great club which draws women from all over central Oregon to her shop. Armed with great stories about women in Oregon history and quilting, she entertains and teaches. Next month is the start of a new quilting year at her shop. If you pay $5 for fabric and instructions to complete a quilt block and bring it back finished the next month, your next block in the series is free. This continues so that you can make a quilt top for only $5. Of course, there are tempting fabrics and quilting notions in the shop that make everyone want to spend more than $5 a year.

Then I'm off to have lunch with my daughter, Gretchen at Applebees in North Salem, next to her work at Liberty House where she's Executive Director. I love eating at Applebees--great food with lots of healthy choices. I like it that they link their menu to Weight Watchers.

After that play with Jack and Lizzy, my grandchildren, at their daycare. Then I enjoy dinner with the family, spend the night, and come back home to Alsea on Saturday.