Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bit of rain... and a twister

Thank you all for your kind thoughts and emails about my Uncle Russell.  If you were looking for the post I wrote about his passing it is here: My Uncle Russell

We have had a touch of rain over the last week or so. I can hear you saying... umm.. Rebecca.. it is Oregon. It rains there.  Yes yes... I know.  I lived in the Pacific Northwest several years ago... in the great state of Washington and absolutely loved it... there is a reason it is so green and lush.  David was living in Oregon around the same time I was in Washington... so he is familiar with the weather patterns in this part of the country as well but the rain we received recently was a touch more than we expected.  

 There was even the added bonus of being in the path of a tornado.
Of course being in the path of a tornado that peters out is soooo much better than being 'touched' by one.

We are not in Kansas anymore Toto.... we are in Oregon. Tornadoes are not real common in the Pacific Northwest so it was pretty big news around 'these here parts'.  David and I had closed the course during the worst part of the surge in water and were trying to loosen tree trunks that were lodged under the covered bridge.  David had climbed over the railing and was standing on one of the support pilings chainsaw in hand 

and I was leaning over with my hand on his collar so he would not fall in. That picture there is two trees...  and they look small in this photo... the one is underwater and then the other has the roots showing.  Here is a different angle.  They were not small:
Another view of the trees hung up on the covered bridge
David was sawing away at parts of these trees and I thought cold, wet, wood chips were hitting me...  it was hail.  Not that unusual except that is was the hail that preceded the tornado that touched down to the south of us. We had no idea until we came back to the clubhouse to defrost and turned the TV on to see the tornado warning... and that we appeared to be in it's path.  It lost steam though and passed through our area without any problems although it demolished some buildings where it touched down in nearby Aulmsville.

The creek that runs through the course that seems to swell and at times overflow like over-filled bathtub with every drop that falls from the sky... or every Russian golfer I catch wading through it.  This overflow seems to occur semi-sorta-frequently despite previous assurances that the creek floods .... "oh maybe once every 20 years or so."  Well, this must be an off year because we have seen the river crest it's banks twice in the past 7 months. 



That photo above is normally a grassy area and cart paths... under all that water. This shot below is of David and Delta and her stick (sigh) walking past a small golf cart bridge on the way to the big covered bridge. That railing is the TOP of the railing and is normally waist high.

One thing about the speed of this particular creek's rising and subsiding is that the very next morning, after a break in the clouds and a couple hours between rain showers the creek is back within it's banks and golfers are able to make their way around the course relatively easier... and much dryer.  David got some help from Adam and they hooked the trees up to tractors and managed to work them loose so they could flow under the bridge. 

Because of the weather and because it gets dark so quickly it has been slow here at the course.   We planned for it and after the wild and crazy summer it is nice to catch our breath.  Christmas is coming and we have been getting ready for that.  

I put up some decorations, baked some banana bread, put Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Overture on the stereo, and got out the world famous and rather well traveled Christmas Angel and placed it on the top of my faux Charlie Brown tree.

This will be a fun Christmas time this year as there is a baby in the family...  well, he was here last year for Christmas but in the semi-floppy needing to be carried baby mode.

This year Donovan is running around like a madman getting into absolutely everything and he is going to get a big kick out of this Christmas business for the next few years.

He is going to just dig on that huge tree at Great Granny and Great Poppa's house!  Little ones make it fun... Christmas is best seen through a child's eyes and we are going to soak it up.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Uncle Russell

My Uncle Russell died yesterday.
Details are sketchy still as the shock and news is still filtering in... but Russell died after having a massive heart attack on a golf course in Georgia where he and my Aunt Denise were vacationing. 

I have a lot of aunts and uncles. On my Mom’s side there were 4 kids, and on my Dad’s there were 16.  That is not a typo.  This was a family reunion for just my Dad's side of the family several years ago...

My Granny Hazel is front and center in the blue dress.  The rest are aunts and uncles and my Dad in the center of the back row.  My uncle Russell is in the row of brothers, third from the left in the light blue shirt and beard.  There are two aunts missing from this picture, and one uncle.  

This photo below was another family reunion.  Sadly there are a few more missing faces.  Russell is in the back row, second from the left with the grey beard. 

You can imagine once folks started getting married and having kids just how big these families grew.  

Russell was actually the youngest of the whole group.  
My Granny Hazel was pregnant with Russell (the 16th child) when her husband
Elmer died of a massive heart attack.

I have so many memories of Uncle Russell, but of course a few stand out.  First when I was little I remember sitting in his lap and I would look up into his seemingly giant sized nose and he could blow cigarette smoke out of his nose like a dragon!

I was pretty impressed with that.

Russell, like the rest of the family was very athletic.  In the 70‘s my Dad, and a few of their other brothers played all together on one basketball team in an All Indian League.  Later he played for many years on a Men’s soccer team based on age.. he would play in his age bracket and also the younger bracket.  I know he was playing as he went into his 50's... heck he might still have been on a team there in Monroe, Washington, where he made his home.  It would not surprise me.  Russell just had a natural talent for sports and enjoyed some form of exercise weekly if not daily. 

Russell was also smiling, joking, and laughing nearly every time I saw him. 

However,  one memory of my Uncle Russell will always stand out above all the rest for me.

My Uncle Russell could dance.

His immediate family... his wife Denise, his son Russell Jr., and his twin daughters Jada and Jeni claimed to feel a slight embarrassment when he took to the dance floor.  The would turn their heads, and cover their eyes... but they were always smiling.  They loved him so much, and he enjoyed it so much so I am sure their embarrassment came only from the fact that when Russell took to the dance floor everyone turned their heads.

Now for the obligatory (and shortened) dictionary definition of the word 'Dance'...

1. To move rhythmically usually to music, using prescribed or improvised steps and gestures.
2. To leap or skip about excitedly.
3. To bob up and down.

There is no describing Russell’s dance...  it encompassed everything within the above definition and more.  His limbs had a mind of their own.  And unlike that definition that states to ‘dance is to move rhythmically’, Russell’s movement on the dance floor sometimes followed the beat, but many times it did not.  It was never a matter rhythm to Russell.  His dance was about his love of physical movement, and his love for the music that he danced to. 

Arms this way, arms that way, leg kicks, twirling partners, and intermittent staccato stomping.   I know what you are thinking...  he must have danced that ‘hippy’ dance that you see so many people of his generation engage in... you would be wrong.  Those dancers move so similarly there is no really no individuality involved any longer, those dances fall under the ‘prescribed steps’ section of the definition listed above.  For those of you who watched Seinfeld you might think he must have had an ‘Elaine’ type dance... you would still be wrong.  Russell moved uniquely.  People would clear a big space for Russell on the dance floor...   you had to for your safety.. you could never anticipate where a limb would go next.  I watched him dance at one of his daughter’s weddings in the Seattle area.  I had heard the rumors but this was my first chance to see it in person.  It is a memory of him I will cherish forever.  He loved it, he smiled, laughed, sang, and moved all over the floor.  He made everyone else in the room as happy as he was at that moment.  No matter where I go, when the music starts and people walk towards the floor I will smile and think of him.

No one could dance like my Uncle Russell.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Go ahead... be brave.

There is soooo much crap on tv now... All that seems to be available to watch is pushing and fighting and faux reality shows.  It's all a bit 'big-time wrestling with lets see how much we can humiliate ourselves or others' programming... 

Well folks...   enough already.

Here is something nice...  yes I said nice.

Just watch... enjoy...   smile.... notice how much these people are smiling... 
and have a good day-week-year-life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


As the scene unfolds we find our hero relaxing, enjoying his afternoon... and then the phone rings.   
 Always at the ready, Super Donovan responds quickly as he knows he must.   
"Don't worry Momma and Auntie Bethy! I will be safe... but for now I must MAKE HASTE!"  
"I wonder what super power will be needed this time. Leaping tall buildings with a single bound?"
"Or perhaps bending steel?"
I think I know just what is needed..."

 Ladies and Gentlemem note the blinding speed with which Super Donovan moves... it is difficult to catch it on camera he is so fast!

"Well... my work here is done and my Momma said I did a great job with all that running and laughing business."  
A mere 5 minutes later we find our hero:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

  Here we are again already... the wheel has turned, harvest is in...

(yes I had a harvest... finally)

and time for family gatherings before winter makes her appearance.
 Not goona say whose family this is.
Wild Thing!

Anyhoo, I am anxiously awaiting photos of Donovan's costume this year.  Last year if you recall his mother made him a wonderful "Max" costume from "Where the Wild Things Are".   

He was a bit more horizontal last year so she didn't have to worry about the practicality of his outfit. Look at the great claws on the hands and feet!  Love it!

This year though he is mobile... and is he ever! 
 He likes this walking around business and keeps everybody on the move.  I just love how they take off in a direction they are not supposed to go and then turn around and look to see if you are following them.  They train us well.  

He also likes to make noise... not talking yet but singing and vocalizing at all levels.  I hear he really likes the stairwell because of the echos it makes. 

Rumor has it he will be the man of steel this year. I am hoping to see photos soon... hint hint.

We had some goings-on this year at the course so  I was slow to decorate.  I actually did not dig my decoration box out until early this morning and pulled out some of my favorites and placed them around the clubhouse. Just a few though this year.  We sent out a coupon for half price if people wear their costumes and I thought it would be best that the participating golfers be greeted with some halloween decor. 

I also did a fast  search on the internet for some fun pictures, for inspiration, and of course searched around on Etsy.

I just love Etsy.  One of the artists on Etsy does Dia De Los Muertos sculptures and I have linked to the shop on halloween before. I figured I might check her shop and she what she had going on this year...  she did not disappoint. Not as festive as the one I posted before... but I like this one.. It is called:
Best Friends Forever


 And now for your spooky viewing pleasure...
The night was dark and dismal... (isn't it always!)

  The night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability, but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and waywardness.

     Ichabod, who had no relish for this strange midnight companion, and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Galloping Hessian, now quickened his steed in hopes of leaving him behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace. Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind, --the other did the same. His heart began to sink within him; he endeavored to resume his psalm tune, but his parched tongue clove to the roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless! but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!

     "If I can but reach that bridge," thought Ichabod, " I am safe." Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath. Another convulsive kick in the ribs, and old Gunpowder sprang upon the bridge; he thundered over the resounding planks; he gained the opposite side; and now Ichabod cast a look behind to see if his pursuer should vanish, according to rule, in a flash of fire and brimstone. Just then he saw the goblin rising in his stirrups, and in the very act of hurling his head at him. Ichabod endeavored to dodge the horrible missile, but too late. It encountered his cranium with a tremendous crash, --he was tumbled headlong into the dust, and Gunpowder, the black steed, and the goblin rider, passed by like a whirlwind.
~From "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving 


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life Imitating Art - Yikes

We don't usually have particular tv series that we like watch but this year we are really enjoying

The Middle
Modern Family

and sometimes.....                     

Community has been wavering a bit with the silliness lately but we still enjoy it.  The other night there was the "Messianic Myths and Ancient Peoples" episode where the character Peirce (Chevy Chase) was hanging with some of the other "senior aged" citizen students.  On the show they called them "hipsters".. because they all had hip replacements.

Anyway, the premise for that segment of the show was that these other students were a bad influence on Peirce, and causing him to act out... like they were teens.  One example is that the group was playing poker and sneaking booze on campus after being told by the Dean of the college that it was not allowed.  They agreed that if the Dean caught them they would pretend to be playing Bingo and their excuse for the booze was because it someone's 91st birthday and 'suddenly it's adorable".  Another example was when one of the "hipster" students suggested stealing a car after they had been sneaking booze again.  When Peirce objected saying that was illegal and they had all been drinking alcohol, the hipster ring leader told him that joy riding for seniors was ok.  All they needed to do if the cops caught them was to pretend to be disoriented and the cops would just give them a ride home.  We chuckled but did not think much about it until the next day when life imitated art... just a little bit.

We have a group of retired men who come in and golf three times a week.  When they are done they sit in the clubhouse and visit.  A few of these men have known each other since high school.  Well, one was telling the others how a shared acquaintance of theirs was not golfing that day because he had to go to the DMV and he was really nervous about it.  You see it was time for that fellow to renew his license and apparently the years have not been kind to his vision. 
The man can not see.  

 He was concerned the DMV might actually test his eyesight and his vision is so bad he knew he would fail. So the men started laughing and chatting about that and they shared a trick on how they get around eye tests at the DMV.  

Apparently if you wear those big temporary dilated eyes sunglasses things that the optometrist gives you to the DMV appointment, the DMV workers assumes your vision is ok because you were just at the eye doctor and so the workers frequently let you skip that part. 

Note that their first concern was NOT THAT THEY CAN NOT SEE TO DRIVE SAFELY any longer, but how to trick the DMV so that they don't know you can not see.  This way you can make sure that while you might actually be legally blind and a complete menace to anyone else on the road... sidewalk... parking still can have a valid license to drive that 1-2-3 ton vehicle (think RVs) down the highways and byways.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Settling in a bit... finally.

We have been here at the golf course since April or so for David to train on equipment etc.  We officially took over the course in July. Summer here is the busiest time of the year for golf courses so we have not had much time to get settled in to our new home.  We have been up at 5 or 6  am to greet the first golfers at 6:30 or 7 am with a pot of strong-ass coffee and freshly mowed greens.  

Then we would fall into bed around 9:30 at night... 7 days a week.  During summer there are plenty of cold dinners, or meals that are mixed up and confused as I am trying to get some sort of cooking schedule going. Never a missed meal...  heaven forbid... we both are foodies but the eating routine has definitely been disrupted.
That's not to say we did not get any fun time... we had visitors several occasions.  My daughter Amber and Grandson Donovan came to visit during the summer, as did my parents,
Dad and Mom at Japanese Gardens in Portland

David's brother Terry's family, my brother Dale and his wife Kendra, some friends from N. Cali, and our friend Doug the cabinet man and his son Casey.  Doug is the premiere cabinet maker... a master craftsman in my opinion, and is the same fellow who made our cabinets for the house in Michigan.  He came to visit and brought along a customized bookshelf he had crafted to fit along a low wall in the residence that ran along the living area into the kitchen area.

Not only is this a beautiful addition there is very little storage in the apartment so this was very practical as well.  While we left furniture, including beds and stuff in Michigan we DID bring boxes and boxes of books and really had no where to put them.  I also have a few kitchen collectible stuff that I drag around with me wherever we go.  We absolutely love the shelving unit.  Doug does gorgeous work and I have been slowly filling it as time and ambition has allowed. 

Speaking of my Grandson....  he is growing like a weed!  

Look at him showing off his teeth! and his new haircut!  

Playing with Great Grandpa

He also had his first birthday last month and he and his mama, daddy, and the rest of the family enjoyed every bit of it!

Left the walking toy behind!

Look out behind you PAPA! 

And for some more photos:

Look at the rapscallion eyes!

Sweet boys once again!

Not from party but sweet girl just the same.
Donovan with the new high chair that Great Grandpa made.

Grassy Baby Toes! What is this ticklie surface!  LOL

When we first took over the residence at the course I had been Goodwill surfing and found some temporary furniture.  However, by the time September rolled around those straight backed hard wooden Ben Franklin chairs were really not enjoyable any more.
We had frequently taken to laying on the carpet with Delta.  So.... finally during a couple of rainy days in a row, David was able to escape with me and we ran to Ikea and got a sofa!
Yayyyy! Finally!

Pretty crazy this sofa came in this little box:

We took it home and in like 5-6 steps *poof* we had a couch!  Literally poof.  The cushions are vacuum packed into bags and when you open them they suck air in and POOF... you got cushions. 
Those vikings are pretty sharp.

And now enters the beginning of Autumn.  Kinda like a heavy happy sigh. Things are slowing down on the course, dark is coming much earlier in the evenings and staying later in the mornings.   There has even been the smell of wood smoke in the air on a couple of the more chilly mornings and finally, we have been able to get tucked in better to our new home. Heck, I even made soup a couple of nights!

It is a wonderful feeling when you are finally able make your abode your own.  When you first move you unpack... you find the absolute 'day to day' necessities and make them easily accessible.  Then you slowly start to settle in.  At some point...  your new place suddenly becomes yours.  It transforms into 'home'.   The process might be a bit different for folks but after you hang a certain photo, or put out a couple of favorite books, or even when you find a spot in the cupboard for your favorite coffee mug.

Either way there is an invisible line of sorts where it goes from just some place you are staying....  to a home.  It took a bit longer for us in this space, but it is finally happening.



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