Sunday, March 19, 2023

Even the Birds Noticed!

 I have a bird feeder. It is a 4 story wonder with little “windows” around the outside that let the birds get at the food. Those little windows have balconies that the birds that stand on while they gorge themselves. 

But there was a problem…one of the windows fell out somewhere this winter and evidently disappeared into the soil. The fact that I didn’t notice until I was filling the feeder the second time is not relevant. But still a bit funny. Anyway, when I noticed the hole I went to my duck tape stash and grabbed a roll. I really didn’t notice that it had a zebra design on it until a piece was applied over the hole.

The feeder was filled and it was hung in my mesquite tree so my precious birds could feast away.

Now I may have not noticed that the hole was covered with zebra duck tape but I can tell you for sure the birds noticed. It turns out that birds are very suspicious of zebra striped duck tape!

For reasons I cannot explain, I just thought you needed to know!

Have a great day.


Saturday, March 18, 2023


 I’ve been thinking a lot about how far it is from here to New York City. Someone once said to me that they live so far away, they would not have any idea how even to get there. I could only think of Confucius. You remember, Confucius is the one that said, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.”

One of my stops in life: TRAVEL
The Taj Mahal

At the time we were living in a community in eastern Oregon called Ontario. It is found in the Treasure Valley where some of the richest land in our country can be found. It was a beautiful place in the spring. It was green in the summer with truck farms that grew vegetables. It was a place you could easily love because of people were warm and the community wrapped its arms around you.

But occasionally a person wants to get out of town. And so I was talking about going to New York City with this person. I am a day-dreamer and she wasn’t. She said to me that she would have no idea how to even get to New York. How would you do that? Of course, I wanted to convince my husband that we should drive all the way across the country and see Chicago and the great lakes and all of those places that I’d heard and read about but had never actually seen. I’m a small town girl.

This little community of Ontario, Oregon was located on the very eastern edge of the state and to our east in the direction that you would go to get to New York City there were other communities. Nampa was the first and maybe Caldwell and then, of course, Boise, Idaho. When she said what she said, I looked at her and I said “Well, I’d go to Boise” because remember, Confucius said the journey of 1000 miles begins with one step and I saw Boise as the first step. 

They often say that life is a journey. I have left my little community of Ontario. I’m now in New York City. At the age of 81 I’m finding I like New York City a lot, but then I’ve liked Nampa and Caldwell and Boise,Idaho too. The journey of life has many stops, and some of them are beautiful and some are not but when you arrive at New York City, be sure to look around and appreciate the ride. 

I’m not a good swimmer but who knows, I may have a dream about London too.

Where are you in your life’s journey?


*In case you didn’t know, I am really in Tucson Az. NYC just symbolizes my age.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

On Figuring it Out


Tohono Chul Gift Shop (OLLI Field Trip…gardens and lunch)

I have never ever really been alone…not alone in a house with myself and the knowledge that this life is what I have. As you can imagine, there is a certain amount of self  examination that has to be done. Being alive is simply not enough.

My mind is so excited to learn more, create more, be more. But emotionally I have had to recover my self confidence. Simply figuring out who I am has turned out to be a real awakening.

Up until now I was always in tune with what my husband was interested in and those he chose to surround himself with. Don’t misunderstand…I did love my life with him. It was a good thing.

But now, I am not the same person. I realize so much about myself that is good and so much that has not been. While the past does not exist, it still is the benchmark that we all measure our future against. As humans we cannot continue to make the same mistakes over and over and expect a different outcome.

When I returned to Arizona in January and I found myself alone in a large house with a small dog to talk to, I knew that if I were to remain sane, I would need to look outside the front door and down the road for things to excite and interest me. Because I didn’t really have any idea how to do that, I was a little afraid. In fact I was a lot afraid. Like so many things in this life, there was not a guide book.

I slept like a baby. Not because I was sure of anything but sleep was the perfect escape. 

This is where it becomes interesting. Simply because I was bored I decided to download Turbo Tax and do my own taxes. Now please know that I did not know what I was doing but it seemed to me that learning to do that was what I needed. It was the ultimate puzzle and I loved  it. 

It amazed me when the life I had before with friends (couples) did not include me. So I also began looking for a place where people gathered. I signed up for a chair yoga class at a recreation center here in Tucson and I went to the University of Arizona to see what they had to offer in the way of adult learning organizations. I quite by accident stumbled on an organization called Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

It has been a miracle for me. I have discovered what I like and what I don’t. There is a difference you know.

I am a kind of Pollyanna and I hate to admit that I don’t like things or even don’t feel well. So admitting that I don’t enjoy a particular activity is hard for me. It is like quitting and I have never done that with something I have committed myself to.

Since joining this group of like minded people, I am feeling more confident. I drive across Tucson to take classes at the OLLI /ASU center and have joined a Walk and Talk group. I have gone to the DeGrazia Art Museum and the Toronto Chulla botanical gardens with different member groups.  I am going to a meet and greet occasion for new member of OLLI that I think with be fun. I am taking a class called Our Brain and one that features famous crooners for the 40’s, 50’s ,60’s etc.

Life it seems does go on…at least for me. For as long as it lasts I am having fun. The anxiety of being out in public is still there…do I talk too much? If I start a conversation am I seen as pushy? And so it goes. I am hoping that I am normal in those feelings but I try not to care. I am doing the best I can with what I know.

Do you have any thoughts? AND if anyone is interested, I think you should write a guide book for being alone  Any takers?


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Letting Myself Go! Yikes


Yes, I did go out in public looking like this. It was my birthday so cut me some slack

I know there is more to life than owning a dog…but she sure is cute and keeps me happy. However I may be letting myself go because she loves me no matter what.

I looked in the mirror this morning. Imagine my surprise when an white haired old lady wearing a red plaid shirt and flowered pants returned my gaze. She had on teal green socks with black tennis shoes and her hair…oh my goodness.

I knew I had to come up with some excuses for my appearance just in case someone rang my door bell by accident. Heaven forbid that I should go make myself look decent. So after some thought and considerations here is what I came up with:

  1. I am so embarrassed. I had to get up very early this morning for a yoga class. I dressed in the dark.
  2. Oh I know I look at mess. All of my clothes are in the washing machine/dryer.
  3. I am waiting till later to shower so I put on what was handy.
  4. Sick…I feel ill.
  5. My glasses went missing.
  6. When I came to Arizona, I didn’t bring the right stuff. (So very true.)
  7. It is very cold and this is what keeps me warm…the truth so this one is very convincing.
  8. I just don’t care what you think. Come on in and lets drink wine.
  9. I lost my clothes. They have gone the way of all my single socks.
  10. Don’t look at me that way…
    I am old!!!
Anything to add? Leave a comment.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

What day is this and where am I?…MEXICO

I went to Mexico for Thanksgiving. Here is a post I wrote while I was there.


My husband passed away suddenly and the vacation was put on hold.  I traveled back and forth from Tucson, AZ to Oregon and I boarded a plane alone to travel to New Dehli, India for my granddaughters high school graduation. A lot has happened and the vacation in Mexico remained in place waiting for me to be ready.

So here I am in Puerto Vallarta with my daughter and her family.

Now, you need to understand that I love to visit Mexico…it is a beautiful country like my own. I do know though that no matter where I am in the world, the people/humans remain pretty much the same. There are good/bad/indifferent people. In the end it is the cultures that I gravitate to. 

Although it is unfair to day that all Chinese will push you if you are in their way, in some ways that is true. The Chinese live in close proximity to their neighbors and simply getting through each day requires a certain amount of pushing.

The Vietnamese are not alike themselves. We contacted tribal people, true Vietnamese and communities that fished etc. The diversity of the people astounded me. Because China is so large, we did not get to experience the Mongolian people or cultures of different provinces. In that regard the Chinese and the people of Viet Nam are much the same. We always miss a lot. 

I am now aware of the danger of putting a culture in one box. It just doesn’t work.

And so it is with Mexico. But the culture I have experienced here for many years just makes me happy. It seems to me that no matter how poor or what their occupation is, they exude a great appreciation for their good fortune. I have really never rubbed shoulders with the rich or famous so you will need to fill me in on that.

Mexico Today

This visit to Puerto Vallarta has been a mixed blessing. I gave up a membership in Vidanta Grand Mayan. The Grand Mayan in Puerto Vallarta have walled their resort in so escaping to enjoy the local people takes a lot of effort. Giving up the membership was hard but the cost versus fun did not work for me. I love Mexico and all of my family loves getting to know the culture…hanging out with a bunch of tourist is not my idea of a vacation. My daughter, her family and I stayed there for a week and then we moved to a small boutique resort close to Puerto Vallarta. It is busy, well cared for and happy. I personally feel very at home!

View from our deck in the small boutique resort.
Family leaving fishing boat.

The family fished yesterday with a fisherman from Mismaloya. They had a beautiful day and discovered the pueblos that are south along the coast beyond where the highway goes. Yelapa was the place they stopped and took a hike to a waterfall. Truly, I think if  you love this kind of adventure, it would be great. I know my husband would have loved it.

*note: if you’re interested in this just take a taxi to Mismaloya and book with fishermen near the water. They have a concession set up there.

We are experiencing the food as “all inclusive” for just three days and at this resort the food seems to be very good. However, we went to a restaurant called Campomar near the hotel zone. I would actually give it 5 stars if I could. It was a place where service and taste of food seemed perfect…I do love my wine so there is that.


Some advice when going through the airport in Puerto Vallarta: 


Really, at my age I believe that they are even more persistent. One gentleman even grabbed at my arm. Just-keep-walking!


Bucerias, downtown Puerto Vallarta, any market place, restaurants, exploring and on and on. Taxi drivers can suggest places but you do not need to go with them. Just remember, do your research and go the next day. You can drive to Tequila or Guadalajara from here in a rental car. It’s not that hard  


The taxi ride from the airport to Vidanta (Grand Mayan) is the same was a ride from Nayarta to the city or to Bucerias…is the same price. We paid $250 pesos from the hotel zone to Mismaloya. That is the equivalent of $15.50 usd. I tip10% which is what is expected here. It does not seem like enough but the workers are happy. Right now the exchange rate is very good  


We are immersed in the language here but I still spend a certain amount of time playing with the Duolingo app. Something about listening to a language on the street that helps you tune in to a language.


This is the beginning of a life of adventure and growth and above all, learning for you and me. Life is good. Post a question and I will see if I can help you. I promise I will check back to see what you say.


Friday, September 30, 2022

Oh my goodness…I own a dog!

 I did wonder what I was thinking…buying a dog, living for a dog, loving a dog.

Annie and her friend, Moose

When my husband passed away in December of 2021, I said (in front of my grandchildren, children and perfect strangers) I am going to get a dog. It was one of those moments in grief when a person is trying to figure out how they are going to spend the rest of their life alone…alone.

I own a home in Oregon, a small house in a retirement community near my family AND I own a four bedroom house on a golf course in Tucson. AZ. When my husband was alive, we spent a lot of time restoring houses in Arizona. It was our hobby. But as my husbands health deteriorated, the responsibility became more and more mine. He did the work I made decision and suggestions.

Our plan had been to just keep on going until we couldn’t.

This is where the dog comes into the picture. See, I still love hard work and creating a beautiful world around me. I have been in love with interior design all of my life. And making my world beautiful without a living breathing creature nearby just did not seem right for me…not another human but just a creature to love and care for.

Still in spite of all those realities, I had second thoughts about my plan as soon as the words came out of my mouth! But my grandchildren and children and friends loved the idea…they were totally onboard. They offered to help care for this other being. They picked out dogs and cats and names and when and where. They had so much advice and thoughts on the fact…a lot of advice. A lot of advice.

As for me I was still sorting out my life. Tons of things went to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity. I don’t know if all widows do this but I was simply making room for my world. A king sized bed was traded for a queen. Furniture was rearranged. Our iwatches were traded for given new homes and  new phones were given away and so it went. 

I think it was the end of July that Amelia, aged 15, started an internet search for a small, non-shedding sweet puppy. I had decided on a cat but she and her older cousins assumed control, called, made the arrangements and I made a down payment on a tiny dog. And Annie was mine! It was the nudge that I needed.

Annie at the beach! (I’m the short one in the
hat. My grandson Sam too!

When I brought her home, she was less than 1 lb. and 8 weeks old. She was afraid but it turns out she was also very brave. She sleeps with me at night. She has peed and pooped in every room in the house. She can run fast and her favorite pass time is chewing. 

Almost two month have passed. We have learned about each other. She is almost house broken…well she can get pretty excited when company come so there is that. But she walks on a leash, sleeps in my lap but also sleeps in her crate, on my bed and in the dog training enclosure. I can leave her alone in her crate for hours and she will hold it until I come back. I can carry her in my purse or in a pouch that I carry. She is very durable it turns out.

In a word…perfect, she is absolutely perfect! She is just what I needed. My husband would have loved her and since he was Dr. Doolittle, she would have loved him. I like to believe that. 

We are happy.

How about you…what are you doing to make your life better?


Thursday, July 28, 2022

No One Honked Their Horn!

My granddaughter is learning to drive! She had signs all over her car, STUDENT DRIVER  they say and her mother sits in the front seat monitoring her every far. I did hear that her dad took her out the other day so that is different. We will see.

I have been relearning to drive. I do not have any signs on my car...where do you buy those "Old Woman at the Wheel" signs? Sigh!

Now I have a new goal for a successful day. When I told my granddaughter that I measured a successful day by how many people honked at me when I drove, she said that was because I didn't have any signs on my car. No honks was considered a huge success. No one honked at her.

Let me explain. My husband had done most of the driving forever. He hated it when I drove and in his last days of life, he let me know it. He didn't like that I was not coasting up to the stop sign or red light, etc. I had to drive so he had to get over it.

Now here is the deal, not driving leads to gawking and dreaming and surfing the net. When I stopped riding and had to drive, I realized the when you drive, you need to pay attention ALL OF THE TIME! It was hard. 

I am getting better.

The measure of a successful day is not huge for me. My life is now about making myself happy...well there are other things but in the end, in my spare time, I just make myself happy.

What is your measure of a successful day?


Monday, July 25, 2022

The Back Corner for Poetry Monday

In the end the burial plot was not

what she had expected.

I guess she was not sweet

and kind.

The shot gun she protected 

her child and land with

stood in the corner of the kitchen


Grandpa had been taken

to a safer place they said

so when she died

the place she was to be buried

had already been taken.

You will find her in the back


I think she was happier

there anyway.

True story. 


When My Spirits Soar...Books

These are the days when so many things pull at me, I cannot think of what to do next. It is inconvenient when all the tires on my Mini Cooper need replacing and there is washing to be done. But then you all know what I am talking about...SUMMER!

Books call me before anything. I have read few notable books this summer and 2 have come from my library box that sits in front of my house. It appears that my neighbors have very good taste in books. ☺ Because I love a good mystery as much as anybody I was delighted when a Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache novel, A Trick of Light, appeared one day. If you are a fan of Louise Penny and you have not read this, do. If you aren't, just give her a will not be disappointed.

Then, much to my delight,  The News of the World appeared right in the front row of my library box. I had heard so much about the movie starring Tom Hanks on HBO Max. When the movie came out, I am sure that sales for the book soared. (It is 39% off on Amazon right now...FYI) A reviewer said that the Captain Kidd character should sit along side Captain Call from Lonesome Dove. It is not only a beautiful little book even in paper back, the author, Paulette Jiles, has captured an era in the late 1800 when the Kiowa were being driven from their land and the Civil War and all the change that implied left Texas a place that was lawless and dangerous. 

I read the reviews on Amazon and many did not like the quotation marks etc. I was reminded of the stream of consciousness format used in The Shipping News by Annie Proloux. If you are not willing to learn from those books or bend your mind a little, stick to some simpler book.

I think I have already told you about The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. A friend lent this to me when I was in Arizona. I did not give it back but purchased her a copy instead. I have since lent it to my family and bought a copy for a friend here in Oregon. It is a delightful book and perfect for late evening reading or even the beach. Because it was about a lady that loved books and traveled to America to connect with another lover of books, I could not resist being taken away.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a sweet, smart, and uplifting story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

So there you have it. I am thinking of my flower garden and family gathering and winery visits but those are for another day.

What have you been reading? 



Saturday, July 23, 2022

How Important Are You?

"Do you see Color?"  

Carol Cassara asked that question on a blog post the other day. She had heard an interview on tv where the person being interviewed was asked about bias and bigotry and the person replied that they did not see color! Is that a good thing or a bad thing. Or did I simply misunderstand.

Carol pointed out the ignoring another person's color denied that person of their identity all together. After all we are a part of many generations of humans that led to who they are. But her thinking was that when a person says that it is not what they mean. Those that disagree with the statement have taken it literally. We might do the same if we didn't think about what the deeper meaning was. Here is what she wrote:

"So let’s break it down. Yes, yes, fools like me do want to rush in where angels fear to tread. Kids, we MUST discuss these hard topics or we are doomed to be stuck in this hell called our society forever.

So it’s impossible not to see color. Color of hair, color of eyes, color of clothing and YES, color of SKIN. Racial identity. We ALL see color. But here’s what I think people NOT of color mean when they say “I don’t see color."

They mean that they do not attach negative and stereotypical traits to a particular race.

I liked her words...a lot. Thank you Carole for bringing meaning to a phrase that is being misread over and over. Unfortunately, as I travel the world as well as my own country, I see evidence that many leaders do see "color". I give you that wall between Mexico and the USA that I live close to in the winter. 

Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

I might take that a bit further. It is a razors edge we walk on when it come to color, age, sexual orientation or even linage. It all depends on what your base reaction is. I have traveled a lot and I know that color permeates every culture. The Chinese look down on the Mongolians. The Indian's base their opinion of another on the color of their skin and is a result of centuries of the caste system. The Middle East is all about religion and so it goes. In the United States all you have to be is different. Each finds someone to hate or denigrate. Maybe that is true everywhere on this planet.

I have always believed that humans disparage others because it makes themselves feel more important. Back when I was a child we often said the our poor uneducated white people hated the blacks because it make them feel bigger and, well, less poor and uneducated. Does that make sense?

I took a trip to India in May of this year where I got a glimpse of what the English rule in that country did to that culture. Inside The Imperial New Dehli where my daughter-in-law and granddaughters stayed spent one night, we saw a world where no sign of the language of India appeared. Even thought pictures lined the walls were lithographs of India's history created back in the sands of time, the language under each was English. It seemed like a time warp of sorts. The hotel was built in early 1930 and opened in 1936. The Indian people won their independence in 1947. The architecture speaks to the era. 

But according to this piece of history of the hotel, the governing body and those with influence in India found a place here. It served as a meeting place for the Indo-British governing bodies in spite of it's "Britishness". I find that very interesting. 

"The Imperial was placed on the second most important social boulevard of the nation, the prestigious Queensway, now called Janpath, the first being the grand and ceremonious Kingsway, now known as Rajpath. From the time it opened its doors in the 1930s, when India was beginning to write the last chapters of its saga on independence, there was little space in New Delhi for an Indo-British rubbing of shoulders. The Imperial provided such a space. Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten met at The Imperial under congenial conditions to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. The Nehru family had a permanent suite here."


My suite.

Grounds of the Imperial

The Spice Road Restaurant

Before dinner drinks with Daughter-in-law Amanda

The British control of this country is history but how it left the country with an image of it's people was less than kind. I suppose even today there are those that look down on the Indian culture. I recall when a girl from my hometown married a gentleman from India 40 years ago, my mother commented that he just look black to her.  

As for the Indian people they also had the caste system leaving every level of society feeling better about themselves because they had someone to look down on...that was and is important. My son's maid did not clean the toilets until caught refusing to do that ugly "unclean" job. It is and was part of what a lower caste did.

When we traveled in China my son lived in Pu Dong just east of Shanghai. The development where his school was locate was built at the end of a dirt road that traveled through a Mongolian settlement. The people lived (and maybe worked) in the neighborhood. The school for the children was segregated from the local school district serving the Chinese people. It was not good! I might mention here that no "foreigner" could attend a Chinese public school. Inner Mongolia is part of China so there is that. But in my world it was not an unfamiliar.

But do we not acknowledge that these people are from a different culture and actually do look different than we do? I don't think so. We simply need to learn more and maybe even rub shoulders with them so we can understand and even maybe make a part of their culture our own. I am as guilty as anyone of carrying bigotry from a childhood where people struggled and it was important to, well, feel important.

So, how important do you need to feel? I stopped and thought about that today and I think we all should do that?


Thursday, July 21, 2022

What Did You Promise Yourself this Morning?

My Flowers this Morning

Do you promised yourself that there will be a time to write? After the floor is clean and the dishes are washed and the bed made and you have gone for a walk? Do you promise yourself?

It is finding the part of my thoughts that I want to share...honestly people the list of done things in a day are not...inspiring or interesting. What I had for supper, how my driving was today (no horns honking or even how many hours sleep I had last night.) What is a girl to do?

On Women of Midlife I read several blog posts that interested to buy a cocktail dress after the age of fifty. It was interesting but the cost of those dresses made me gasp. I dress in an inexpensive slip dress from Target with a simple top I purchased many years ago. I think I look good but who knows. (Women of Midlife is a private group on Facebook....want to join other women over 50? Let me know)

Dianne Tolly wrote about her now grown son's childhood temper tantrums. Now I can relate to that one. Raising children stories are funny after the child is 50+...not so much at the time but later, well,  her story was very funny!

I don't remember what the third one was and that is not what we are going for at all.

But that trail of blogs led me to Elephant's Child blog. Her photos are beautiful. I have been reading the Elephant's Child blog since I began writing many years ago. Taken from Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name the the web address is names "my just so story". I like that a lot. Some of us have been at this for a very long time. 

What did you think about writing this morning? I need some inspiration and I promise I will not steal your idea. (Yes I do look on Pinterest so there is that.)


I promised some time writing this morning. In fact I even copied a prompt yesterday so that I might have a place to begin. When I woke this morning I looked at the list:
  • earthy
  • sonorous
  • corn
  • paste
  • twig
  • Madeira
Nothing clicked with me at all. Maybe you can use it. Sigh. The post you see is what I came up with.

Featured Post

Even the Birds Noticed!

 I have a bird feeder. It is a 4 story wonder with little “windows” around the outside that let the birds get at the food. Those little wind...