Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Hearty "BetterLateThanNot" Holiday Hello

    Vivian Amelia Podd

"I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle."    
-Vincent Van Gogh-

It's a New Year and I send a heartfelt hello to one and all!
There is a expression that us procrastinators like to know the one "better late than never?" After receiving 2014 yuletide greetings I started to feel a wee bit guilty about not writing my usual letter. 
So here it is:
I'll start with Joyous greetings & wishes for a HappyValentinesEasterMemorialFourthHalloweenBirthdayThanksgiving Days! (I'll save the Christmas letter for this coming December...I hope!)  
In late fall we welcomed TWO new little ones to our families! Miss Colbie Rose arrived on the 6th of November blessing Nate's brother Luke and Melissa Potter's lives, and Miss Vivian Amelia graced Kyle, Jessi and Carter Podd's lives on the 18th of November. I was intrigued with the definition for Vivian's name. 
"People with this name are excited by change, adventure, and excitement. They are dynamic, visionary and versatile, able to make constructive use of freedom. They fight being restricted by rules and conventions. They tend to be optimistic, energetic, intelligent, and to make friends easily. They may be changeable, restless, untidy, and rebellious."
I want that name!! However, since realistically I am not going to change my name at this point in my life I still have time to use my mantra of "better late than never" and adopt even a few of the characteristics from Vivian's name. To do so would perhaps make experiencing the challenges of being a human being more enjoyable.
2014 found us still living very cosily in our 408 sq ft studio. Our dog Kona passed away last summer leaving a void in our hearts that only a dog that loves you unconditionally can leave. Zoey the kat is still with us, somehow finagling FIVE special catnapping spots (she took some of Kona's).
That's a cat for you.
We enjoyed visits from Shiloh, Isabelle and Cameron (Ronnah & Marks munchkins) and of course lots of hanging out and slumber-jams with Carter which had us creatively figuring out where to put the extra bodies in our just a bit bigger than a walk-in closet living space :)  
I will close this greeting with a quote from the late Maya Angelou:

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

Wishing all that and more for you and your loved ones throughout the year.
Laura, Nate & Zoey

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nitty Gritty Details

My Full Name: Laura McNeeley (my parents could not figure out a middle name for me although they gave each of my brothers one) I have also had the last names Wandersee and Amundson, which I inherited from not one but TWO ex-husbands.

Date Of Birth: May 9,1956 (sometimes my birthday falls on Mother's Day which totally robs me of one of my #youhavetobenicetome days.

Place Of Birth: Covina, California (that is more in the southern smoggy area of the state)

My Mother's Full Name: Amelia Monje (no middle name either!)

Date of Her Birth: September 2 ? (will need to check on that)

Place of Her Birth: Mata Ortiz, Mexico (in the state of Chiuahua)

My Father's Full Name: Lyman Dennis McNeeley

Date of His Birth: February 14 ? (same thing will need to check on it)

Place of His Birth: Some place in Indiana

Whew that didn't seem too bad. :) It's funny (and sort of sad) that I did not know a couple of the details like birth year and place of the two people that popped me into the world. 

My stories. My words.

I have to admit that the title of this series of blogs that I am about to embark on does not sound too interesting. (each blog pertaining to this project will be labeled with #mystoriesmywords)
And that may well turn out to be a truth.
However, grand-munchkin #3 presented me (or rather his mother did) with a little book to fill in titled "Grandma. Her stories. Her words."

When I began to fill it in I thought it would be easy-beezy and that I could just zoom through the book and be done with it.
That was not the case.
The first query seemed easy enough, however after thumbing through the questions I found that they took a turn from simple to complicated.  A discussion (and several examples of the questions) with grand-munchkin #1 found us agreeing that:
Firstly, #3 as well as the other grand-munchkins, would not be ready (and may never be) for some of their Nana's not quite "Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver" answers. We decided that other than shelving the project I would answer the questions via my Miss Mooty's Musings blog allowing me to answer as candidly as I could. With that plan in place the younger ones could discover a bit about their Nana when they were ready to.

That being said, I should say that I will dive right in...but in my case it is going to be more like a "hold my nose" and make a cannonball splash.

I hope to not get them too wet in the process.


Monday, September 15, 2014

"Where is the Love?"


I was nine years old when the Watts Riot erupted in the neighborhood that my Grandmother Neva lived in. We were living in white suburb-e-a Anaheim, California (home of Disneyland!) and I had never heard the term "riot" before, so had no idea what one was when I heard my parents speaking of it after a phone call to my Grandmother.

It did not sound good.

The (predominantly black/hispanic) Los Angeles neighborhood that my father and mother had grown up in, was under siege with residents unable to leave their homes for fear of being caught in the crossfire of the riot. The news stated that no one who lived or worked in the area were safe from the violent release of suppressive feelings that had long been a part of living in Watts. The looting and physical violence affected everyone and everything in its path.

My dad knew he needed to drive into the city to pick up his mother and remove her from the danger, however, even he, (tough Irishman that he was) seemed a bit unnerved as to how he would make it to his mother's house safely. Being a "ginger" he knew he would stand out driving through the rioting streets.

It was decided that perhaps if I accompanied him, that would avert any problems.

After all, a father and his nine year old daughter would stand a better chance of making it to my grandmothers house unscathed than just a single white 40-something male driving through the area. (I always KNEW my parents had it out for me...)

This whole driving to rescue my Granmother (and her black next door neighbor) was long ago filed away under my "childhood events" that I thought had been forgotten until something, such as the recent events at Ferguson, Missouri, pushes them to the forefront demanding to be examined once again.

Wikipedia-ing the Watts Riot I was appalled to read that the very same situation that I had been a part of 49 years ago was happening in Ferguson, and had been, in communities through out the states. I knew that we citizens had a long way to go before this country could live up to it's (self established) name of "Land of the free..." it's just one of those facts that get filed away to the back of the cabinet unless you are directly affected by it. What a supreme tragedy that after all this time, situations like these are still such a part of who we are in this first world country.


Perhaps we all could use a refresher (or introductory) course asking ourselves..."Where is the Love?"

Change is more than long overdue.








Thursday, June 05, 2014


let the packing commence!
OK, there are some folks out there that have down-sized much more than we have. That being said, I still think that we can be considered in the running for some sort of award (as long as it does not take up any space) for doing our part to lesson our "foot prints" on this planet (and hopefully some of our debt as well)!
Last September (2013), after we had recieved a "nudge" (actually, it was more of a gentle boot) to vacate our Lake Oswego rental, we decided that it was as good as time as any to simplify our lives and our monthly bills. We had one month to find a new rental, one that accepts pets as well, and sift through our five year accumulation of stuff . Hoo-rah for Craigslist!!
We found a 408 sq ft studio in the way cool NW Portland. Some serious sorting of our, what we thought we had to live with, stuff commenced. We were aware that we would be squeezing two adults one dog and one cat into the studio, as well as host an occasional grand-munchkin slumber-jam. Our Lake Oswego rental had a bedroom, a bathroom, a laundry room (with my brand new washer/dryer front loading machines) a faerie room, a meditation room, an office, a living room, a breakfast nook, a plant sunroom entry way, a reading nook inbetween the meditation and faerie room a full size basement where we kept a drum set and our art easels...1300+ sq feet. AND we were there for almost five years. You get the picture...LOTS of stuff to consolidate and fit in a one closet 408 sq ft studio.
tip of the mountain of STUFF!
It was a bit difficult to begin with. Actually, it was tougher than "a bit". Choosing one spatula to keep, not three. One mixing bowl. Six dinner plates, not twelve, you get the picture. And our books!!! We LOVE our books! How does one decide which to keep and which have to go? Zoey the kat had to give up two of her favorite perches and get used to the fact that there was "no place to hide" in our new digs.
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas
Well we DID get quite a bit of our "dood-le-doos sorted. Some of them got sold, some donated, some given away to happy friends who of course always said..."if you ever want it back..." And now eight months after THE MOVE we are going through even more totes!! These last few are going to a pain in the hiney. LOTS of loose photos, picture albums and even more CD's than photos! I plan on picking out just my favorite songs from all of those CD's and copying them to my iTunes, if I didn't keep going down memory lane whilst doing these tasks I would get them done straight away!
And on that note I will sign off and contemplate how badly I want to reclaim some of our space back and get busy.


bed (with CTP's toys) is in middle of studio


Saturday, March 01, 2014

A Re-Write

Have you ever done something over and over and OVER...and you know it needs to change, but you have been doing it for sooooo long that wish as you might,
it. just. does. not. happen.
And perhaps you feel frustrated.
Or angry. Or sad. Or totally fed up with yourself, and yet the behavior continues?
I look in the mirror and say "Oh yea, that's me." And yes I do feel totally frustrated, angry, sad, and fed up with mySELF! :( One would think that with all of those negative emotions whirling and twirling inside of me that I could change, that I would WANT to change. Years of therapy, self talk and all that jazz have not managed to do the trick...YET.
The other morning during the first walk of the day with Kona the dog, I had a profound epiphany! You heard me, I am labeling it profound!
It was on June 19, 1965 that I was caught sneaking off to play one beautiful Saturday morning, BEFORE my chores had been done. When I finally arrived back at the house for a mid-morning snack, I was greeted? by my mother who was NOT in a snack provinding mood, (SMACK-ing would be a more appropriate assessment of the situation) Not knowing what punishment would be dealt out for my crime, my mother took a less physical route and instructed me to write a letter to her as to what I thought my appropriate disciplinary action should be. The letter was to include a list as to what my house hold duties were. At the time of said letter I was nine years old.
Since the letter IS 49 years old I will not make a copy of it to use in this blog (although my pensmanship was very impressive if I do say so myself) I will write it down verbatim:

June 19, 1965

All my jobs are sweeping doing all the dishes, clean my bedroom, clean the bathroom, make my bed, clean the house, dust. The time I should play is after all my work is done. And helping you with your work and helping the boys. What you should do when I don't do my work is weap me or make me stay in our yard for a month or two months or make me stay in my room for a coply of days or not let me watch T.V. for a week or not let me play with my toys for a coply of days or not let me ride my bike for a coply of days or make me go to bed at 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. or not pay me an allows for a long time.
The time I'm supost to do my work is in the morning before I go out and play.


Can you believe that I have had that letter with me for all this time?! It was given to me when I left home so that I would remember (like I could ever forget?) the proper order of how to do things, and that play before work is taboo. Well, after much distress over my inability to get the things done in my life that I really want and would love to get done, my epiphany told me that it was time for a REWRITE!!
So here goes:
28 February 2014

All my things that I love to do are talking with animals, sitting next to a nice tree, savoring a perfect latte,strolling in the sunshine, writing from my soul,loving myself. The time I should work is after all my things that I love to do are done.And having coffeetimes with Nate and hanging out with my grandmunchkins. What I should do when I don't do the things that I love to do is pet Kona or Zoey, or go on holiday for a month or two months or curl up in a chair and read for a coply of days or watch Sherlock or Star Trek for a week or let me play with the munchkins for a coply of days or let me ride my bike with Nate for a coply of days (sunny weather!) or make me stay in bed reading until 7am or 7:30am or treat myself to something new for a long time.
The time I'm supost to do things that I love to do is in the morning before I do any work.
My Munchkins!!!

bicycles, coffee and thee

Sunday, February 23, 2014


One might wonder what being Sherlocked entails. To be quite honest, I'm not totally sure, one thing I do know is that it involves me saying things like "the game is on!" or looking for clues in every situation I encounter. After Season Two wrapped up I felt an emptyness in my mystery musings. A trip to the public library produced an antidote to those feelings of loss. When I read, usually mysteries work their way to the bottom of my list for holding my interest. And yet, due to my recent introduction to the mystery genre, I soon found myself reading a YA (young adult) series called The Boy Sherlock Holmes by Shane Peacock. Not only was I reading the mystery series but enjoying them as well! I was, to say the least, pleasantly surprised. Six books later I felt that I had a fairly good grasp as to what made this intriguing character tick when he was a young lad roaming the streets of London. 

It, (the state of mind of being Sherlockedstarted innocently enough when I first started watching the BBC version of Sherlock Holmes several years ago. Each season consists of three episodes (which are actually just like mini-movies). The Sherlocked hook was set. 
Season Three (the most recent Sherlock presentation from the BBC) was a wild ride of excitement and as always, did not disappoint. As luck had it, Omsi (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) complemented the season with an excellent International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes!
I realized after visiting the exhibit that I was sorely wanting in my knowledge of the man they call Sherlock Holmes. The exhibition was well done, interesting and worth the visit. What would of turned it into one of the most AMAZING exhibitions that I had EVER had the joy of visiting, is if I had read Sir Arthur Conan Doyles stories FIRST, and not relied on my televison only knowledge. Hence began my quest to read Sherlock Holmes the Complete Collection to help me through the end of Season Three. As I read and savor this collection, my ever-evolving condition of being Sherlocked flourishes with each page.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014



Yesterday I was able to go see a doctor and a psychiatric nurse to discuss meds, my health and where I go from here without the ginormous worry that I cannot afford the tests that need to be done!

It was a big deal.

I know this sounds corny but I cried tears of relief when I got the letter in the mail saying I was in the system to start receiving health care. I even had to share my good news with the people sitting next to me on the streetcar.

For the past several years I have lived with chronic pain 24/7. It wakes me up every two to three hours. Imagine having an infant that wakes you up with colic except you are the one who feels like crying. When I sit down to write, my arms and legs go numb. Sometimes, various parts of my body like to send sharp shooting pains that can stop me in my tracks. Oh, and I have a couple of teeth that are starting to feel neglected and are demanding my attention as well. And that's just for starters. It's not that I enjoy living like this. But when push comes to shove and a person has to choose between eating and paying rent or a visit to the doctor, healthcare gets put on the back burner or not on the stove at all.

I am grateful that I live in a country that cares that the water I drink is good for me. Or that the food my grandchildren eat is not laden with poison (for the most part). I know our country is not perfect by any means, but at least it is trying and luckily we are allowed to share our thoughts and take action if we feel strong enough about something. It seems so simple that there really is enough in this world to take care of it's inhabitants, but I guess the inhabitants need to agree that everyone deserves to be cared for.

In the meantime I will continue to try and do my part, however small, to help make someone elses journey a bit less difficult.

Metta Prayer

And I will give daily thanks that my own journey is being helped along with the Affordable Care Act.