Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A ti Z Challenge: X

I'm not the only one having trouble coming up with something for "X."  Sue Grafton, the author of the alphabet mystery series with a private investigator named Kinsey Milhone, broke tradition in naming her newest novel.  The earlier books in the series, starting with "A" is for Alibi , up to the most recent "W" is for Wasted, all started with a letter and "is for" followed by a word that starts with the same letter.  Then she got to "X" and had the same problem I'm having.  There just aren't any good "X" words.  The new book is "X"  ...that's it, just "X."  It will be released in August.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A to Z Challenge: W is for Working Vacation

The final letters of the A to Z Challenge are this week.  Why is it that as soon as I post a mediocre response to the day's letter I immediately think of numerous other topics starting with that letter that would be more interesting.  Yesterday's letter was "V" and I posted old vacation pictures of Venice because I couldn't think of a thing.  I could have used "vacation" and told you about our most recent plans for adventure.

This week we are leaving for a working vacation.  The spouse and I will be volunteer hosts at the Port Orford Lifeboat Museum.  I read about this opportunity on a blog I read, Wheeling It.  It is amazing the connections we make in the blogging community!  Now the spouse and I will be living at the southern Oregon coast for the month of May.  We get a free spot to park our RV in return for volunteering as hosts at the Lifeboat Museum for  five or six hours a day, four days a week.

We've spent the past week scurrying about to get ready to leave home for a month.  The garden is planted and new drip irrigation is installed.  It will be a jungle when we return, but we couldn't go a summer without a garden.  We've got new curtains in the fifth-wheel to replace the old roll-up blinds.  Our son will maintain the home front while we are gone.

We're looking forward to exploring the southern Oregon coast.  The spouse is excited to fish every day and I'm taking my kayak to try on the lake...I'm not brave enough to try the ocean!  There is Wi-Fi at the museum so I'm sure I will bore you with our adventures, not the least of which will be living in a small trailer for a month with the spouse!

Here's the fifth-wheel trailer we will call home for a month.  Nothing fancy, but it has all we need.

Thanks to Nina at Wheeling It for posting about this hosting opportunity.  I hope we cross paths one day in our travels...the first round is on us!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge: V is for Venice

The real challenge of A to Z is the end of the alphabet and we are approaching the end with the letter "V"   I googled up a list of "V" words and found nothing that inspired me.  So, I' m taking the easy way out and sharing some photos from Venice.  Two years ago my daughter had to go to Italy for her job and I decided to tag along and share her hotel room.  Venice was by far my favorite place.  It really is magical.

I couldn't get over that Venice looks just like all the pictures from travel magazines.  It was like no other place i had ever been.

The vendors sell everything from beautiful fresh vegetables to trinkets.

Venice is unique.  I am very fortunate to have shared this experience with my daughter.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A to Z Challenge: U is for Untold

U is for Untold, Unwritten, Unmentionable.  

It's all the stories that never make it into the blog.  Once I year I meet up with five fellow bloggers who I "met" through our blogs.  We have become dear friends and although we only see each other once a year, we are in contact frequently through our blogs and social media.  When we first met it was surprising how well we all got along.  We knew so much about each other through the words we had written in our blogs. It was like we were old friends. 

Here's a picture of my blogging friends at our first meeting on Vashon Island in Washington.

But there was also a lot that I didn't know about them, and that they didn't know about me.  When we were together we talked about the things that we don't write about, the things that we don't publish in our blogs, the things that are unmentionable.  All of us self-edit on the very public forum of our blogs.  Sometimes I don't tell stories because they're not mine to tell and sometimes I don't write because of a perceived potential for backlash...I've lived too long in a small town and know how gossip travels.

Writing in the calm and quiet of my living room it is easy to forget that our blogs have the potential to reach thousands of people.  I am sometimes surprised when I am in town and an acquaintance comments to me about one of  my recent activities.  I forget that local people read my blog.  

I long ago realized that I would never face a congressional hearing for a cabinet level job, but that doesn't mean I want ALL my dirty little secrets posted for eternity on the internet!  ...and I won't post the secrets of my fellow Vashonistas.  Well, unless it's a REALLY good story!

What don't you write about in your blog?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A to Z Challenge: T is for Thankful

I'm a believer in counting my blessings.  Every year in November I participate with many other people on Facebook in posting a daily message of gratitude.  The first year I did it I found that focusing on what was right in my life made me a happier person.  Since then I've made a habit of noticing the abundance of goodness in my life. I'm grateful for blessings large and small.  

I allow myself to bask in enjoyment of new socks.  Who knew that new socks could be such a pleasure?  ...and I'm grateful.

Yesterday I drove to the Tri-Cities to visit a friend at the hospital.  On the drive I tuned the satellite radio to the Broadway channel and sang along to the show tunes....with NO commercials!  I'd be a fool to not appreciate this blessing.  Joyful music lifted my spirit and made the drive enjoyable.

Every day I am grateful to be retired and have the ability to choose how I spend my time.  The freedom of choice is a gift that I appreciate every day.

Life is good,  and I am Thankful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A to Z Challenge: S is for Satan

I was searching the abyss of memory for a topic for "S,"  and then Satan rose from the depths.  Here's my story about Satan.

Most people think of Oregon as a liberal state, but I live in Eastern Oregon.  It's the red part of the state.   It's sort of the bible belt of Oregon and very conservative.  

For 7 years I was the vice principal in our one high school town.  Early in the school year the Christian students organize an event called "See you at the pole."   Students gather before school at the flagpole and pray.  Because it is a student-led event that does not disrupt the educational activities of the school, the administration does not intervene.

One year several students decided to express their displeasure of this activity by wearing devil horns, tails, and carrying plastic pitchforks.  I started getting phone calls about 15 minutes into the school day.

"My daughter is upset because YOU are letting students dress up as the devil.  It is not appropriate to have the devil at school."

Now, you might wonder how many phone calls I got from secular parents about the hoard of students praying and singing Christian songs at the front entrance to the school.  The answer is none...no one in Eastern Oregon is surprised when people break into spontaneous prayer, even at a public school.

I explained to the Christian parents that freedom of speech allows students to express their beliefs, political leanings, and points of view.  If we allow Christian students to wear a "Jesus Saves" T-shirt, then another student is free to wear red plastic devil horns as a form of protest as long as neither expression creates a "material disruption of the educational process." 

Another reason to be grateful for retirement...I no longer have to participate in these stupid debates!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

2015 A to Z Challenge: R is for Republican

R is for Republican.  I'm married to one.  I'm not sure how that happened.  When we met in college he didn't look or act like a Republican.  We were both against the war (Vietnam) and I'm pretty sure that he voted for Jimmy Carter.  We served in the Peace Corps...Republicans don't do that!

I was raised a Democrat.  My family supported the civil rights movement and boycotted grapes.  JFK was our hero.  The spouse's parents supported Nixon.  I didn't know that when I married him.

Early in our married life we looked like every other hippie couple in the 1970's.  I thought we were liberal.  I think the spouse's Republican roots were dormant.  Once he hit his 60's he became more conservative.  It doesn't help that he listens to Republican propaganda on the radio...and actually believes that FOX News is a legitimate news source.

I'm not looking forward to the presidential election.  There will be many months of bickering, but at least the spouse won't be driving my car.  I'll have a Hillary bumper sticker and the spouse wouldn't want anyone to think he was a supporter!
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