Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Moments 2011

 It's almost time to bid farewell to 2011. It's actually only hours away! Another year gone past.  For me, it is a time of deep gratitude for what was and as I get ready to hang up a new calendar, it is a time of hopefulness for what can be. I know for the most part, what I paint on the 2012 canvas is in my hands. However, it's the experiences that happen when we aren't too caught up worrying about what we should be painting that create a masterpiece.
I thought I would share my annual holiday letter on this post as well as a few photos of moments that made my heart smile during this past yultide season.

Christmas Morning
25 December 2011
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold everything is softer and more beautiful." Norma Vincent Peale

Happy Merry Holly-Days to you and yours! Finding time to make time to spend with each other can prove challenging especially when are so many important things to take care of! I find myself hearing all of the usual sentiments of the season. Questions such as, "Are you READY for Christmas?" or "Gee I wish I could stop by/have some tea with you and visit but I have TONS to do before Christmas Day" the list of busy-ness goes on. What if (and this is just a thought) we really DID slow down...and savor the season and each other? Enjoy the moments that add up to create magical memories? Eggnog lattes, freshly baked goodies, the smell of a fresh Christmas tree, beautiful carols, twinkling Christmas lights...and children who still BELIEVE in the wonder of it all. I suspect they (the moments) are there, waiting for us to embrace IF we just allow the time for them to happen. Let's see if I can recollect some of our "moments" of 2011. We have begun our journey to be totally self-employed and living in a little villa by the sea in Italy creating awesome iPhone/iPad apps and interactive children's stories. We released Astoria! Sights to See With Skyler Seagull in May. It is a travel iPhone/iPad/iPod app with a talking seagull named Skyler as tour guide for Astoria, Oregon. Nate also created a Marine VHF app that helps mariners use Marine VHF frequencies. When he is not doing freelance interactive work he is working on one of our many creative projects. I am still seeking a publisher for one of my completed children's books. Would love to have one of my stories printed up the old fashioned way in addition to having it be on an iPad. Santa??Could use a spot of help with that request. We feel totally blessed that Ronnah, Mark, Shiloh, Isabelle and Cameron as well as Jessi, Kyle and Carter will be celebrating Christmas with us. That is the best gift I can think of to find under the tree. Well actually they will not be UNDER the tree, but I'm sure you caught what I was going for. Christmas. It comes once a year.
Enjoy it and your friends and family.
May the coming year surround you with much love, prosperity, good health and magical moments.
Laura, Nate, Kona the dog and Zoey the Kat

In approximately 4 hours Nate and I are going to head downtown to participate in a "year to year" 1.5 k walk/run.  I've got my jingle wrist bells and kazoo ready!  My nephew Ty just "face-timed" us from Afghanistan.  He was just beginning the New Year on that side of the world. I think it's great that technology actually allowed us to chat "face to face"! Me in Lake Oswego-land and Ty half way around the world in Afghanistan. I only wish that the people who inhabit our wonderful planet could embrace peace and respectful co-habitation as quickly and easily as technology is introduced into different cultures and countries. As John Lennon so eloquently wrote in his song Imagine, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one..."
Imagine by John Lennon

I guess that about wraps up this Holly-Day post, other than including a few pictures of some of my make my heart smile moments.
thankful for visit from cousin

picking out poinsetta's at Al's

picking our own CB tree

volunteering at a bookstore

 A Charlie Brown Christmas

stockings hung with care

*stringing popcorn and cranberries at 4 in the morning while watching a I Love Lucy Christmas special   *going out for a fantastic breakfast with friends and family and then attending the Portland Christmas Revels medevial holiday presentation   *eating frosted butter cookies with our afternoon tea   *gift of one man presentation of A Christmas Carol from Nancy the Neighbor  *both daughters and all the grand-munchkins spending Christmas with us  *learning to play "Munchkin" with the munchkins  *opening night of the Festival of Lights at The Grotto  *listening to the music of the season  *"stanza standoff" with granddaughter Isabelle..we learned The Night Before Christmas  *just to name a few....

a gift
our tree

make a wish snowflakes

family :)

baking command center

enjoying the smells (and flowers) of the season

"they don't move"

Friday, November 11, 2011

It Happens Too Often...

It happens too often.
You know, when a song gets stuck in your head? And goes on "repeat" at 2 a.m or in the middle of an important conversation? I think (to some of us at least) that this infuriating situation happens to some of us more often than others.
This time of year seems to be when the affliction flares up in all its annoying glory on a regular basis.
It is not even mid-November and a local radio station has already switched over to become "The Christmas Station" for Portland. That's all fine and lovely however when all they choose to play are the songs of the season that drive a person friggin nuts. "Over the River", "It's a Jolly Holly Christmas" or even ones that I do not know how they even got recorded such as "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer". It seems the more repetitious or horrible the lyrics are the easier our brain waves want to latch on to them for repeat mode.
There are so many beautiful pieces of music that refect the season AND ARE INSTRUMENTAL! Piano, classical guitar, orchestra the list goes on! They all play wonderful songs that soothe the soul, have been around forever and help to capture the magic of the season, not the insanity of it! Guess I need to be pro-active and get into defensive mode since I know I am extremely vulnerable. I vow to NOT touch the radio dial in my car and to allow only songs in my brain that I can handle. I guess that will have to include Raffi's "Must Be Santa" and "All I Want For Christmas" by the Chipmunks as that is one of the hazards of being a Nana to a two year old during the holidays. Thank You universe for Pandora and iTunes hopefully I will get through the rest of the season (for the most part) mentally intact!

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Bowling Team

Yes it's true.
I have my very own bowling team hanging out in my closet.  Since I have guy and gal bowling shirts I decided that it would work well to have it be a mixed league team.  The number of shirts that I actually own are not that many...but enough for a team for sure!  There is "Doc", "Abner", "Sammie", "Nev" and "Dino". Unfortunately I sold "Erma" awhile back and although she may be gone, she will never be forgotten.
I started collecting retro bowling shirts after I had outgrown a fondness of Hawaiian shirts.  The coffee shop I had in Astoria, Oregon was right next door to a vintage clothing store. Once word was out that I had an affection for these kind of shirts they seemed to make themselves available out of nowhere!  But that was o.k. since not only did I enjoy wearing the shirts I found myself imagining what the namesake on the shirt was really like on their bowling nights back in the day.  Having a vivid imagination AND a captive audience provided the perfect stage for my storytelling.  As I prepared various beverages I began sharing tidbits of the person whose shirt I was wearing.
For example I pictured "Dino" as being a solid, sturdy, cigar smoking bowler who when he rolled his ball down the lane it would guaranteed almost always be a strike! And not just a strike but an EXPLOSIVE  strike!  A pins in the next lane strike! You see "Dino" had very powerful arms and even though he did enjoy his cigars, he was in excellent shape and a very focused bowler.  (I bet he even had bowling tattoos on his forearm)
On the other hand...I imagined "Sammie" as also being a committed bowler, but not to the actual game itself.  Her hot pink shirt reflected her hot pink attitude!  It was HER night to smoke a bit, drink a bit and flirt ALOT.  Hubby had to stay home with the kiddos.  She wasn't the best on the team, but she really didn't have to be as keeping moral high (for the WHOLE league) is an important contribution.  Wasn't it?
 My daughters have threatened to turn me in to the show: "What NOT to Wear" but I tell them that there is NO WAY that I would relinquish my "friends". I realized that after "Erma" was sold on Craigslist.  The sale took place in some random parking lot and I felt like I had abandoned her! "Sammie" and "Erma" were both moms who had their one night out a week.  However "Erma" would have dinner ready, kids p.j's out and a heartfelt gratitude to her husband for allowing her that one little weekly escape. The team has kept me company on many occasion and have been the start of conversations (not that I need too much help in that department).  And bowling shirts are so versatile!  When its cold out you can wear a turtleneck underneath, or if its warm they work well alone...all around making it a fashion STRIKE!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weekend Escape

It was only two days and two nights AND less than a four hour drive from our little cottage.  However it FELT like we had gone to another world.  It had been way too long since we had escaped from our every day schedules and worries so this little jaunt to Bend, Oregon was just what was needed for our overly-stressed souls.  I was happy& relieved that the bed and breakfast I chose was a winner!  It's location across the street from beautiful Drake Park allowed easy foot access to downtown Bend and all the festivities that awaited us that weekend.  Not only was  First "Art Walk" Friday going on that weekend, the BendFilm 8th Annual Indie Festival was also in town!  After much ooh-ing and aah-ing over our room and the rest of the gorgeous lodge, we quickly unpacked and set off with no particular agenda.  The park was absolutely lovely and I was happy to see many "please DO NOT feed the ducks and geese signs" about as our people food is really quite yucky for them to digest.  While we were enjoying the sights and smells of the park along came a rather large black "puppy" on a freedom run.  I got lucky and grabbed his leash to slow him down a bit and hopefully see if a owner would be close behind.  Luckily (since he had no tags) a couple of young guys came panting along very grateful that we had caught the escapee.  After only a couple of hours in Bend we realized that this was one very dog loving/dog friendly community!  The businesses were open late (because of first friday and all that jazz) welcoming all (furry & non-furry) with hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer and live music.  As we meandered in and out of stores, deciding on a place to eat dinner became a priority.  There were people EVERYWHERE so one can assume that the lines in each of the restaurants would reflect the extreme busyness of the evening.  We happened upon a parking lot that had been transformed to an outdoor theater showing one of the award winning indie films that was featured in the festival.  A few food stands were also in place so it seemed like the perfect place to settle down for a spell, enjoy a film and finally eat.  "In the Spirit of Laxmi" was an excellent film about a man (Gerhard Wiehahn) who commits 16 months of his life to raising an injured leopard cub.  It's a good thing the film was so well done as it helped to off-set the most horrible tacos I had ever tasted in my whole life (and trust me I have had a few!) Thank goodness the next meal on the docket would be the gourmet breakfast from our hosts at the lodge!
It's funny how a person gets used to their sleeping accommodations. In this particular B&B the room we had originally selected was out of commission, so the innkeeper upgraded us to a room with a very huge KING SIZE bed. That may not be a big deal to most folks however we are used to our cozy double bed. That's right double. To jump from a double size to a KING size bed made us very empathetic with Goldilocks who struggled with finding the right sized bed. It's funny how we still only used 1/4 of the bed!
Breakfast was a delight and I have to admit some of the enjoyment of the meal is discovering the other guests at the breakfast table. Once we were fed like royalty, we headed out for a day of learning all we could about this interesting and very different than Portland terrain. The intoxicating scent of sage and Ponderosas reminded me of Flagstaff, Arizona. The area that we "explored" was once a very active volcanic range and are part of the Cascades.

I learned more about volcanoes that Saturday! We drove up one, walked around the rim of one, visited a lake that was the result of one and lastly walked a wonderful trail that led through a large obsidian flow.
Don't know if I have ever mentioned before how much I LOVE "google-ling"!  Back in the day if I had a question my dad would say..."Look it up in the dictionary" or "Look it up in the @#&!! encyclopedias we bought for you kids!" (there were no other options for inquisitive kids such as myself back then either) NOW I can google any question I have WHENEVER I want as I am now the proud owner of an iPhone!  As usual when I travel I get a whole new repertoire of questions.  For instance I did not know the difference between a National Monument and a National Park!  Come to find out that the difference is what is IN each one.  A National Monument contains something of historic, prehistoric or scientific interest, whereas a National Park has some outstanding scenic feature or natural phenomenon.  How about that? (google helps my smart meter) :)
Considering the AWFUL dinner we had on Friday night we really wanted to have our other Bend evening dining experience to go well.  Unfortunately things were starting to take a turn for the worse as we did not get back into Bend until the bewitching dinner hour and my diabetic slumpies was starting to kick in.  We walked and walked looking in the windows of the crowded restaurants (the film festival was still going strong) and at the very expensive menus that were posted outside of them.  At the outdoor cinema one of the tents had offered a meatloaf plate (which we totally should of chose instead of the tacos) ANYWAY...the restaurant with the homey -looks like mom just made it for you- meatloaf called itself The Common Table.  It's claim to fame was that it was a totally non-profit restaurant with the cool twist that those who paid, paid for others who were unable to!
I totally felt cool & totally couldn't see a thing either!
It took awhile to locate the establishment and we were most happy when a volunteer greeted us on the sidewalk to welcome us to the table!  The food was fantastic, the (totally volunteer) staff was superb and simply said a good time was had by all!  We even were given complimentary sunglasses and hats!
On the way back to our neck of the Northwest woods we made a quick stop by Smith Rock. The trails and rock climbing in that beautiful park have something for every skill level! We made a mental note to get in better shape and head back that way in the spring!

We will see YOU in the spring!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Wedding to Attend/Part One

I don't do weddings.
But family ties and a free ticket to Arizona made it next to impossible to come up with any sort of reason to NOT go. After all it WAS my nephews wedding. And being the Auntie that I am, any trepetitions on going would need to be set aside. This was going to be a good thing I told myself. I just needed to get through the ordeal of finding a dress to wear. (I felt bad about the poor guy at Urban Outfitters who didn't know what to tell me as I emerged from the fitting room in tears to look at some silly floral frock that I would never wear again under ANY circumstance) Now I am getting off track but I bet you can tell where this is going. I don't like shopping. For clothes anyway. I own TWO dresses and TWO skirts. I need (or at least feel the need) to lose AT LEAST 10 to 15 lbs to justify spending any sort of cash on this body, and to be honest the cash was not as abundant as my waistline was. I am aware that I need to work on my "Hello I Love Myself No Matter What Attitude", however that was not in functioning mode when I went shopping.
I did get some good advice from the checkout girl at the Whole Foods Market. She said she simplifies her wardrobe by wearing nothing but black (the Johnny Cash look) and coloring her hair fushia pink to off set the dark look.
Nice. And she gets all of her clothes from second hand stores as she claims there always is a huge selection of black articles of clothing.
I respond that that is excellent advice HOWEVER my HUGE problem with procrastination had left me searching for something to wear to the wedding the day before I was scheduled to leave. Throw in compulsive need to CLEAN and COOK and leave EVERYTHING taken care of for my guy and well, I guess that's where they get the expression of running around like a"chicken with it's head cut off." (not a pretty picture by the way)
Back to my quest for a dress. In the past when I, (as I refer to it) lived on the other side of the fence, I would do all of my clothes shopping at Nordstroms, and not at their "Rack" store either. Their customer service always rocked, so I decided to roll the dice and see FIRST if I could find a parking spot in downtown Portland near Nordstroms during commute home time. I did. Hmmm, my angels must of taken pity on me as it was RIGHT NEAR the entrance. I zoomed by the doorman and decided to skip the fancy older ladies department and go to the Junior zone. I know, am I a total gluton for punishment? The sweet little sales girl asked if I needed some help. (having been a sales person before if I saw a tear-stained, wearing what I was wearing "older" lady zoom into my department that would of been my signal to go straighten up the dressing rooms or something)
She smiled. Oh boy she was going to earn her minimum wage with me!
I told her I had 20 minutes to find a dress, that did NOT make me look fat, that would be worn in 100+ degree weather AND would need to cost less than fifty dollars.
She didn't bat an eye.
She led me to not one but TWO racks of flow-ey (not flowery...FLOW-Y)dresses out of cotton. The price worked within my meager budget, then came the true test of trying it on. Would I cry?
One worked! Bless the patient salesgirl, I was going to say bless the maufacturers of the inexpensive dress, however I can't go down THAT road or I would have to veto the dress as I imagine someone working 80 hour weeks at $1 an hour to sew it. For the moment I had found a dress.
Done and done.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Not So Different...

The Seedy Cafe is open seven days a week. The feathered, furry customers come EARLY each morning ready for their breakfast of peanut butter suet cakes, seeds, peanuts, fresh water and sometimes an apple or two. The cafe is hopping (no pun intended) for the whole day. As evening approaches the feathered customers like to perch and generally hang out in the branches before heading home to their respective nests. They aren't eating (because they have been at it ALL DAY), but seem to enjoy the quiet comradery of just chilling on the branches. It reminds me of going to a favorite coffee house where they don't shoo you and your computer away once your cup of joe is gone.
Evening arrives, and the night inhabitants emerge.
The rat holes that lead under the cottage that had been filled in during the day get re-opened. Owls work the evening-all night shift as they realize that their most scrumptious meals are on that same nocturnal schedule. Morning comes, the day customers show up and the cycle begins again.
Except on Sunday.
The squirrels especially like to sleep in, sometimes taking the whole day off.
If you have ever worked an evening shift you will notice that there is a whole different society out there that does what they need to do while some of us are sleeping. And vice-versa.
Once again I am reminded of how we (feathered, furry, human and plants) are all really
not so different....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Cardboard Box

That's what a cardboard box can become when left to the creativeness of children.
It can be a boat. Or a car(make/model of their choosing).
It can turn into a house, a condo or a cabin in the woods.
And usually the box does not cost the adult who provides said box anything (except maybe the item that CAME in the box originally).
Provide a box of crayons for the interior decorating, perhaps cut out a window and wa-la a four sided piece of cardboard transforms magically into whatever the inhabitants want it to be!
The other day (after many LONGGGG days of babysitting my two year old grandson) I popped into the Learning Store that I used to work for (and barely broke even with since I usually spent the paycheck on toys). Anyway, I stopped by to say hello and of course check out the fantastic new "learning" toys available. Keep in mind this IS a fantastic store and I just LOVE that everything is educational and age appropriate. As usual my grandson gravitated to a cool toddler marble thingy. I thought to myself....hmmm wonder if this will keep him interested through dinner preparation?? So I bought it.
Yes, he did like it, and other than using the plastic marbles (the size of golfballs) to try and throw at the dog it all and all was a good purchase. Or so I thought until my partner gently reminded me of our commitment to staying in budget...wanting to take a trip...etc etc.
It was then that I remembered, not so very long ago, when we watched my granddaughters quite a bit, that there was no way jose that we could buy toys of any sort. We did always manage to keep unlimited supplies of paper with lots of scotch tape and of course crayons/paints and colored pencils. Those little munchkins could create just about anything with those!
And then of course there was the occasional magical cardboard box. It is amazing to watch children use their imaginations to create whatever they want to be or play with out of a simple cardboard box. We were witness to an indoor lemonade stand, a castle, a grocery store, an office where I visited a "Publisher", who upon reviewing my story wrote out a contract saying "Publesh a children book called William G. Quail yes I WILL!" (I keep that one posted where I can see it near my computer).
Next time I am thinking of purchasing a new toy I just may have to stop by the grocery store first and check out their extra (free) boxes!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Hole

That's what we called it.
The Hole. 
My trustworthy Chambers Dictionary describes a "hole" as being a noun, a hollow place; a cavity; place of lodging; an animal's place of refuge; or even as a secret room.  It was all of these and more to those of us who felt lucky enough to live in one of the neighborhoods that bordered the empty field that housed The Hole.

Our neighborhood was referred to as the "White Island".  In that part of the LosAngeles burbs back in the 60's I guess our small group of Craftsman homes was indeed surrounded by a sea of, to lack a better phrase "non-whites". What "ethnicity" one was never affected ownership rights to The Hole. On any given day, it was the kids that got there FIRST who could proclaim themselves the winners and official occupants (for the day at least) of The Hole.

Due to school, homework and early dinner hours during the week The Hole would sit uninhabited and quite ignored except for the random crows that would scavenge pieces of dried up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches left behind by the previous occupants. Also, it wasn't quite as fun to stake claim to The Hole when there wasn't anyone to challenge who got there first. Saturday mornings were a totally different story.  If we were lucky...(lucky being whoever got there FIRST) managing The Hole would consume most of our day.  It's one of those things that even if we did not want to spend the whole day in a dirty hole, in the middle of an empty field, keeping a lookout for Hole Snatchers, that is where we would all hang out.  Like it or not.  Boring or not.  And for the whole day.
Bragging, ownership and WE'RE THE BEST rights overruled having fun skateboarding or riding our bikes.
What were we thinking?!

Then one day it finally happened.
We had our eyes opened (or in my case shut) as to how really stupid it was to spend valuable play time claiming and defending this very small piece of real estate.
Let me explain the events that led up to this revelation.
As in every "army" there usually can be found a renegade or two who choose to not follow the rules of war.  Respect to the rules understood by all the parties involved fly out the window when the enemy is disrespected. That is when people can get hurt if there is a retaliation to the disrespect. (am I making any sense here??)
On this particular Saturday morning our renegade soldiers from "The White Island" decided to sneak up to the already occupied Hole and toss in a couple of dirt clods to "show the other neighborhood that although we did not have claim rights to The Hole that morning we wanted them to understand that we were not happy about that status.  Keep in mind this was a random bullying act from two brothers who most likely were just acting out of frustration from extra chores at home or something along that line.  It did not matter why they did what they did, but by doing so a Cry to Arms was sounded. Soon EVERYONE (inhabitants of The Hole and of the White Island) were involved in one of the largest dirt clod/rock throwing fights the Neighborhoods had ever been witness to before.
I was five at the time and quite the peace loving (and curious) little girl so I  just stood by my older brother in a show of solidarity behind a small fence that was being used to deflect the onslaught of rocks and dirt clods.
Being quite curious about anything and everything, when I peeked over the fence to get a good view of the fracas I allowed my person to be momentarily un-protected. That is when I got clobbered in the eye by a rock disguised as a dirt clod.  (those do tend to throw further  and not fall apart in transit).
All flinging of clods, rocks and insults ceased when my older brother yelled that there had been a casualty on our side.  Parents came streaming out of homes wondering what was going on and I was whisked off to the local emergency room to see what the damage was. 
I was lucky.  A good flushing (and many treats) later my bruised only eye and I went home.

We all learned a lot that day.
One being that if you hurt one of her kids my mom will make sure the perpetrator turns over any and all of their paper route money to pay for the damage.
More importantly the Neighborhoods learned to share The Hole, (once everyone was allowed to actually go out and play in the field again).

Sure wish those lessons were as easily learned by everyone everywhere.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


It's a love/slightly not like relationship for me. This technology stuff. For a person, such as myself, who tends to be "a reactor" in life, the instantness of our gadgets can get me in trouble! If I tweet or post my status on Facebook it is INSTANTLY OUT THERE. Sheesh, it would be lame for me to post something else within the next ten minutes (even though my status has changed) however that is how it goes sometimes. Up-Down-Hot-Cold-Happy-NotSoHappy. In some ways this whole social networking thing has made me a bit of a shrinking violet since not only do the people closest to me know that I am similar to a fart in a whirlwind, EVERYONE on Facebook or Twitter can be aware of that fact as well.
And what about cell phones?! Hands down, no doubt about it, they are useful and convenient. I know I am going to "date" myself as I roll down memory lane, but heck it wasn't that long ago when cell phones were non-existent except to perhaps secret agents and spys. Back in high school if I really liked some one, I would somehow figure out how to let them have my phone number. And then the waiting would commence. Hoping beyond hope that when the phone rang it would be for me AND that my sometimes bratty younger brother would not answer the phone first. Or my parents, who always asked too many questions. IF the phone call was indeed for me, most likely the whole family would be able to listen in on the conversation as I was CONNECTED to the wall or desk by the phone. Luckily my parents had long cords so I could stretch into the pantry for a bit of privacy. There were no answering machines when I went to high school either. My younger brother (yes, the bratty one) certainly did not fit the description of one either. Ideally (in a pefect world)should he be the one to answer the phone,he would write down an accurate account of who the caller was (with more detail than "some guy"),and write down any pertinate information relating to the call. My brother employed his own unique style. And he was expensive, since bribery is never cheap. It was always very "iffy" on whether he would actually pass on information to me when he anwered the phone, or totally RUIN any chances I had with the caller by making what he called "small talk". I'll give you an example: "Oh you want to talk to my sister? Why? Oh. O.K. even though she thinks you are a jack-hole and only wants to ride your motorcycle? So do you want her to call you back? Yea I thought so. Later."
As awful as it sometimes was at least I did not have to live with the angst of NOT getting a call. With caller I.D., messaging, e-mail, everyone having their OWN cell phones there really is no way to excuse non-communication.
That's where the love /slightly not like part comes in.
In the midst of all this instant communicating I am working to STAY IN THE MOMENT (but not let everyone on Facebook and Twitter know what that moment is about!) When reflecting on how we used to communicate, a phone call never happened while walking, paying for your groceries or driving your car. So if I am going to talk on the phone, write a note or update my status...I hereby make a vow to FOCUS on what I am doing at that moment and make it magical, which should be easy if I am not thinking about the traffic, the checkout person, whether I bought enough tomatoes...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skyler Seagull Hatches An App!

Finally!  It feels good to  participate in a creative project as it moves through the stages of idea-plan-research-write-edit-write some more-edit again and then mesh it with the other components of the project until wah-la!  It is finis!!  As a confirmed procrastinator it was the best thing in the world for me to have others depending on me to produce (on time) my stake in the project. 
And we are all pretty proud of it as well!  Here is the Press Release that I am using as we begin the process of Getting the Word Out.

Astoria! Sights to see with Skyler Seagull
Enjoying the sights of Astoria, Oregon will be a breeze with this application for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, iOS 3.2 +.  With Skyler as your audio guide,detailed descriptions of the interesting sights and museums in the area are at your fingertips.  Professional pictures and descriptions of the attractions are only the beginning!  A Google map, addresses, hours of operation and other pertinent information are all available just to name a few.  A share feature is provided,making it simple to Tweet, Facebook or email your friends about the great time you are having!  The star feature allows you to highlight you favorite attractions.
Priced at only $1.99 it's a fun and convenient way to experience Astoria!
Remember to keep the wind under your wings!

Available now for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, iOS 3.2+ on the App Store

So there you have it!  Check out the website even if you do not have one of the Apple products to download it onto.  I feel as if I have been stuck in the mud, or on ice, or in the sand...just spinning my wheels, wanting to get going but to no avail.  Well this mirliton likes the zoom zoom feeling of a completed project and I do not plan on getting stuck again (at least not for awhile!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Talon the Squirrel

I had finally decided to name this cute (and chubby) squirrel that was one of the "regulars" to our outdoor Seedy Cafe.
So one might be wondering how I came up with a name such as that as it sounds mighty noble and tough for a squirrel.
Well, he was.
Approximately a month or so ago I noticed one of our furry friends had a rather large red wound on his back.  And although those little rascals are very quick as they scurry here and there checking out all possible food sources in our outdoor cafe I was finally able to figure out what the wound was on his back.
A large bird of prey had obviously grabbed Talon and somehow, someway the lucky guy had managed to get loose from the visor death grip and escaped.
This wound covered his whole back and it would make my day each time I watched the lucky squirrel eating and playing with the other squirrels, trying to chase off the rats that are visitors to the cafe as well.  The wound healed and left a very distinctive scar that looked exactly like, you guessed it.
A talon.
His luck ran out yesterday, but not before he taught one very important lesson to the two dumb humans that run the Seedy Cafe.
The lesson?
Listen to your intuition!!  Yes, that inner wisdom that tells you what is right or wrong...for you. We didn't and now we are feeling the anguish of what a human feels when they don't listen to that voice.
Previously I had mentioned that other visitors to the Seedy Cafe were rats that enjoyed the bird seed as much as the birds and squirrels.  Unfortunately one rat had turned into two and then lo and behold there are four little ones out and about.  With the growing rodent population came more holes all leading to under our cottage.  With the multiple holes came horror stories of what would happen if we did not do something to control the situation, as rats tend to reproduce like rabbits (or so  I heard) which in actuality I do not know the reproduction schedule of rabbits other than they do it alot?)
Our "intuition" told us to use a live trap.  Our neighbor, and everyone else we spoke to regarding this situation pretty much suggested a humane way to get rid of the rats was to electrocute them in a special trap.
"Intuition" told us both dead was dead.  However we went ahead and justified setting the trap out near one of their entrances deciding that perhaps killing a couple of rats will prevent us from having to kill many more if we waited.
Well even the baby rats knew not to go in the trap, (don't know if you know this but rats are extremely intelligent) and after four days had not triggered it.  In fact one of the babies sleepily emerged from under our cottage, scurried past the trap (and me) looking for his seed breakfast. 
Yesterday, as us two dumb humans were getting ready to head off for a morning of errands decided to "reset the trap" with of course lots of yummy bird seed.  I saw where Nate had set it and thought to myself that's too tempting (and accessible) to the squirrels.
However I did not say or do anything to honor what my inner voice had just told me.
That's how we murdered Talon.  I don't know if murder is too strong of a word, but that's what I am feeling.  He is dead and will not greet me when the sun comes up this morning.  He liked to sit on the gate and look into the living room willing me to go outside and fill up the peanut container.  It always worked.
Nate says the other squirrels will not hold a grudge.  They won't have to as I am holding it against myself anyway.
Talon had beat the odds and escaped an accomplished bird of prey's grip only to be zapped to death in a "safe environment" that he had trusted for almost two years.
I am so sorry Talon.
We will figure out another way to deal with the rats that does not involve killing, humane or not because after all dead is dead.  More importantly when one values life, it truly does not matter if you are cute or not. 
I wished I had learned the lesson without having to feel the guilt that I do because I have violated something that is important to me.
Please forgive me.