Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year - and Just Keep Going

Here is a story we sent out in 2005 at Christmastime. It was a year we had to often remind ourselves to 'just keep going'.

With the economic turmoil spreading and deepening as we enter the New Year, we offer this parable of innocents just going about their business while those-who-should-know-better put the blame on them for getting attacked. Although those-who-were-in-charge for the past eight years may send out unfunny parodies that imply 'things just happened', we know who removed the safeguards from the stock market, we know who looked the other way while their friends looted our country, and we will know soon where all the money went. After that - watch out! I'm reminded of King Louis XV who is famously to have said "Apres moi, le deluge." His descendants died in the ensuing revolution. We don't seek anyone's head in a sack, but it surely is time to hold malefactors responsible.

Meanwhile, we all may need to practice how to 'just keep going' in what is forecast to be a time of widespread difficulties.

When Goldibear was about five years old, he went to the corner grocery store for his mother, to get some bread. A neighbor had a little dog that came out and barked ferociously at him, so he turned back home. His mother told him to go back and “Just keep going.” He went back to the store, and on the way, the dog came out and barked. Goldibear just kept going. The dog followed him, barking and nipping at his heels, and my favorite bear just kept going. Finally, the dog bit him, but being so small, it could only sink its teeth into his pants and the heel of his shoe. Goldibear just kept going, trying to ignore the occasional sharp pains from his heel. He arrived at the store and went up the three steep cement steps, the dog holding on, yipping loudly as he was jerked up each step. A lady came up the sidewalk yelling, “What are you doing to my dog?” (Remember he was only five years old) he responded, “Your doggie is biting me, but my Mommy told me to keep going.” When the Store Owner opened the door to see what the commotion was about, the lady was forced to disengage her pooch from Goldibear’s pant leg and shoe, and depart. Feeling very grateful to be free of the ‘bitey dog’, the little bear went into the store and bought the bread and took it home. He never forgot what his mother told him - “Just keep going.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

HUGE - a Rant

Huge - 22 times in 374 pages. Aargh! That is an average of huge once every 17 pages. It was a huge man's shirt; huge towering man; huge ... mansion; huge room; huge eyes; huge room (again!); huge ebony bed; huge headboard; huge desk; huge tension; huge engorged (umm - you know); huge fist; London was huge; huge eyes (again!); huge buildings; huge ... house; huge brick stable; huge salon - and finally! a" huge understatement" (bit of irony there).

Oh I itched to take a red pen to every huge in that otherwise entertaining historical romance. The writer created passages of descriptive prose smoother than ice cream and lovelier than a rose. Her characters grew in depth and maturity. Her plot twisted nicely without flagging. Her settings contrasted beautifully, and one of them was interesting enough to be almost another character.

But. Huge. Yikes - please add "huge" to "teeming" on your list of words that are inappropriate or overused, and avoid it like the proverbial and hackneyed plague.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowed In

More snow is predicted.

How to travel when the Max rail, bus station and airports are all shut down?

Dogsled. Cross-country skiing. Snow shoes. Maybe horse-drawn sleigh.

Or we could just put studded tires and chains on our car.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A bit of Christmas Cheer

You Are Eggnog

Your holiday personality is indulgent.

The holidays are when you enjoy your favorite treats without abandon.

And while you're a bit greedy for your favorite goodies, you aren't selfish.

You're the type who makes a whole bunch of holiday treats and gives them to everyone you know.

Yes! I'm my favorite winter drink!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The bears excellent adventure

So yesterday Pandababy and Goldibear set out to get studded tires on their bear car. Simple, yes? Not.

The tires were not here, they were still in the storage unit from when the bears moved. First challenge: the car without studded tires would not go up the icy incline to storage.

Enter bears, bundled up against 18 degree weather, carrying four tires down hill, across intersection in freezing bear-town. Look, mama bear, look. See the funny bears carrying their tires? Where is the rest of their car, do you know? How could it possibly be, that tires is all they have left of their car? Oooh, see the lady bear fall down. I think she bounced at least three times. My, is it slippery out there, or what?

Once the tires were in the car, challenge number two - how to drive from storage to tire store and arrive un-dented. Oh My! See the pretty red pickup spinning through the intersection! Go, red pickup go! Just don't hit us bears, please. Whew! that was too close for comfort.

The bears shared a pot of honey at the local Smack-Donalds, celebrating the successful installation of four studded tires. All's well that ends well, or so they say.

So this evening, a storm bigger than the one we just experienced is due to visit us, big time. I think Pandababy willl just turn on the electric fireplace and wait this one out.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunset and Snow Fall

We've seen entire winters go by with no snow here in western Oregon, but this year is looking white already, with more snow on the way. What a difference a day makes to the view from our windows.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Moving Your Aging Parents - EARLY REVIEW

Moving Your Aging Parents - fulfilling their needs and yours before, during and after the move
by Nancy Daniel Wesson, Loving Healing Press, Sept. 2008
ISBN: 978-1-932690-54-5

We are the aging parents who needed to move! We sold our house, every corner and crevice overflowing with forty years of our family's life, and moved to an apartment. The overflow filled two storage garages and a storage room (and that was after we gave away some large items).

Author Nancy Wesson covers practical, soulful, and medical needs in a variety of thoughtful settings. She makes a compelling case for being sensitive to the emotions of someone who is downsizing, as well as looking out for the physical requirements. She includes a section on how to meet the special needs of elders who have low vision or hearing, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease with specific details known to experienced caretakers.

As I read Nancy's admonishments for caretakers to remember to be kind to themselves too, I was amused to realize that I needed that advice. I had been rather hard on me, demanding too much of myself at times during our move.

This guide goes so far beyond downsizing or even helping elders downsize, that it surprises me that I also found it easy to read, and easy to implement her ideas. I'm so glad to have received this particular book as part of my participation in the LibraryThing Early Review program, because I have made room in our new place, in my new life, in my heart, for things I would have put aside without Nancy's wisdom.

Retirement, it has been often noted, is not undiluted joy, but can also be a time of facing new limitations, whether they be physical, financial, social, or all three. Nancy shows how to put the joy back into the Golden Years.

I dusted off my portable sewing machine, and discovered it can fit under and on top of a desk, making the area dual-use, then added my laptop for a triple-play. I brought my hand-loom out of retirement, and have been inspired to combine weaving, beading, crochet and sewing, making unique designs. It is fun to give myself permission to ignore "the rules" and make something just for the pleasure of it.

I cannot recommend this handy collection of practical wisdom and nurturing encouragement too strongly. Even people who are not moving could benefit from reading Nancy's book, as many of us could benefit by sorting out our lives, belongings and activities to get a fresh start on the tangle of possessions and frenetic scheduling we call home.