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!!