Nov 13, 2017

My Thoughts on Football becoming the Good in our Country

The inside of the tiny library my
husband built for our neighborhood.
We decided to be the good in
our world. How about you?
I am not a fan in any way but I do want to let you know that it is on the TV a lot here at my house. In fact I know more about it than I need to.

Lately...doggone seems that there is a film of discontent hanging over the whole thing. I used to enjoy not liking football and yelled at the TV a lot on Sunday afternoon.

Football came into the conversation last night at dinner. A friend brought up the professional football players rebellion that has become part of the pregame ritual. First kneeling during the national anthem then standing but kneeling before. There is a video going around that has been digitally altered to show ballplayers burning the American flag. I suppose there is a lot more of which I am not aware. I simply did not want to think about it.

But then my friend had an idea that really got my attention. In football we have a group of greatly admired men in a position to do something good for their people. I for one would like them to join together a movement that could help someone in the USA. I for one would join. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Does that make sense? The election is over for a year now...the time has come for all of us, including professional athletes, to become the good in this country and that good should be inclusive and polite. I think that professional ball players might be the very place it could all begin.

So, do you have a connection with one of those men? I don't but somehow we need to get their attention. We need them to help those of us that have no voice or influence.

Pass the word my friends. I am waiting.

Oh and please tell those men that the American flag belongs to the American people. The President has to salute it because we expect it just like we expect them to stand and be proud of their country no matter how flawed it is.


Nov 11, 2017

On Remaining a Logical Thinker

b+ 2017
I was going through my comments today when I stumbled on one of those "one year ago" trips down memory lane when we were just trying to wrap our mind around an election that made absolutely no sense to any of us and the prospect of what that election would mean in the future.

See, the thing is I am so emotionally attached to my ideas and dreams that I cannot be very logical.

I am old enough that I remember the day John F. Kennedy was elected. I was in my college dorm room and I thought at the time that  "now we can live in a country that respects intellect and it's value to our world". I didn't count on an assassination and then later the tearing down of the "Kennedy" myth. I was attached to that dream. (I was in the classroom when Kennedy was assassinated.)

Over the years I have been through the ups and downs of politics. I was running a summer sunday school program on June 8, 1968 when Ten Kennedy was assassinate. During the Vietnam War I did not read the newspaper. The insanity of the whole thing was too much for me as a young wife and mother. That was not what I had dreamt of when I graduated college and became a teacher of little children.

Like so many people of my generation I truly dreamt of equality among all of us. I for one celebrated the Equal Right Amendment. When President Barack Obama was elected, I felt so hopeful that people would see the opportunity to lift up the minorities in our country. I didn't count on a leftover recession from G.W. Bush and a group of people that were so hung up in bigotry and hatred for the President that they forgot about the rest of the American people for 8 years. we are in the midst of a 4 year term with a president that simply undoes all the good that Obama has done because he is obsessed with the idea that he is called to do that. We will see the repercussions of all that. Oregon's homeless population has doubled in the past year in many parts of the state. Our beautiful Portland is being called a tent city.

Last night we had dinner with friends and one of the people at the table began extolling the progress Trump has made in his visit to the Far East. I was absolutely silent. Trying to remain logical at that moment was not even possible. I can only hope that she is right but.....! (CNN)

Are you still a logical thinker? Do you sift out and let go of ideas that are just dreams and nothing more? Let me know.


Nov 9, 2017

That One Day When Travel Surprised Me Again

Mail boxes taken through the screen on a dirty window...just interesting!
We often travel without a plan. Life seems to happen to us without any prompting and we find what we really like and are not unhappy for what we did not see. We like it that way. It is all about the surprises in life.

This trip to Santa Fe comes four years after our last. It was my birthday so it was a celebration of sorts. We ate authentic New Mexico food, visited Canyon Road and the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. We ate at the Plaza Cafe for breakfast (a must).We shopped from the Native American artists that sell their wares in front of the Palace of Governor's.

Those artists are chosen by lottery so the person you see today will not be back tomorrow. Every item must be hand manufacturing of any kind can happen.  One does not get to "think it over". I like that too. I am always surprised by what we find.

On the way to and from Santa Fe we found new gems and missed some old ones. Hatch NM did not have the chiles drying on the roof or in the street this year. But they did have some beautiful pottery from Mexico.

We found a restaurant in Deming, NM on our way home called Elsa's House of Pies & Restaurant. The food was good old fashions southern home cooking. The very small space was located in the alley beside the Well Fargo Bank parking lot! It was a surprise to say the least.

Out of all the wonders this trip brought, it was the totally unexpected event that happened at the The Museum of Art and Culture on Museum Hill south east of the city center. As we arrived, a crowd was gathering and a crowd of Native Americans and locals were walking up the hill toward the center piece of that complex. Native drummers were practicing in the parking lot. It was there we happened onto a ceremony for the unveiling of a statue of Valentino Tzigiwhaeno Rivera. Valentina was the son of a former New Mexico governor, George M. Rivera and a famous hoop dancer that performed around the world. His father is a renowned artist and created the bronze sculpture as a way of healing.

Valentino was injured in a car accident in 2015 that took his life 14 month later. He was 8 years old at the time of his death.

Even in the womb, Valentino Tzigiwhaeno Rivera was a dancer. Complete story here.

Performers from dance troupes called the Lightning Boy Dancers, some very small and other's teens that contend in the World championship competition held in Phoenix each year. Tzigiwhaeno was Valentino's Native American name and meant "lightning". The group is lead by a world champion hoop dancer and named is sponsored by the Lightning Boy Foundation formed in Valentino's memory. His mother, Felicia Rosacker-Rivera, leads that foundation.

We were very fortunate to witness the whole event from the speeches to the unveiling of the beautiful sculpture to the hoop dances dedicated to Valentino's memories. It was a remarkable though heart wrenching thing to see. That little boy was a gift and a wonder.

We spent 4 nights in the area and never stopped to wonder what we were going  to do. The more we come to Santa Fe the more I want to go back. And on this happened to us again. I suppose we shouldn't even be surprised after almost 57 years of marriage.

What was your big surprise lately? :)

Canyon Road Art Gallery. It is a feast for the eyes.

Fall brings out the last colors!
She was just sitting in the Plaza in Santa Fe and waiting for an admirer. I am glad we came by!
Sculpture in the garden on Museum Hill.

Albuquerque Old Town Plaza
Thank you for stopping by and have a wonderful day.

Nov 1, 2017

What do YOU know?

Have I said this before......?

Having been a mother/grandmother/great-grandmother/teacher for over 50 years a lot of words spoken by children have gone in one ear and out the other. Yet I never cease to be amaze.
I simply bought his spices and then said "Thank you!" You
will notice that the Muslim man did not touch me even
though he pretended to do so. That would not have been
courteous in his world. Dubai, UAE 2015

As I sat the kindergartners every day for the last 5 years of my career I learned I could not even possibly guess what was going on inside all those minds. I only got a small glimpse when I asked the simple question, "What do YOU know?" It was amazing the answers that came, all different, as I went around the circle of the children seated before me.

If you were to ask me that question today my answer would be,
"Good manners never go out of style." I think we are lifted up by the small courtesies that make up an ordinary day. 
So today I am asking you, "what do YOU know?"

Have a wonderful day!


Oct 27, 2017

New York Times and Me: Dancing to Roy Orbison on Main Street

I wrote this post in 2012 and it did not get read back then. I think my readers now will appreciate a glimpse into life in a very small town. It is a response to an article Dave Berry wrote for the New York Times. Even after all this time, this is one of my favorite. Here is the comment I made in the Times all those years ago. Remember it was an election year so everyone was seeing ghosts of things past and what it all might mean in the future.

    • Retire In Style Blog by Barbara
    • Hillsboro, Oregon
    Small town America simply refuses to die. It could be that it will take the death of the last of "breakfast club members" sitting in a small diner to end that rural community era.

    In the meantime, retirees like me will continue to dance to Roy Orbison in the middle of main street and not fear for our lives. It is what it is!


Dan Berry used to write a column at the New York Times called This Land. It was about the unremarkable corners of small and large towns. He looked at more than just the news...he talked about the people. Back in 2012 he wrote about Elyria, OHIO and the owner of a small diner in an article called "With a New Menu and a Makeover, a Promise to Keep Going". There was and maybe still is a small restaurant on a Middle Avenue in Elyria called Donna's Dinner. 

I've never been in Ohio but Donna's sounded just like the Main Street diner in every small town I have ever known. A place like that was where I stopped after school to have a coke with lemon or a maraschino cherry. That was over 50 years ago. Little restaurants in my home town have been closing and reopening over and over again since that time. Any given day could the the last day the restaurants will be able to stay open. One mistake and they are gone.

New York Time Interactive Page here
Life on Main Street in small town America never changes. Even in a very small town there are those people that see themselves as important and like to call the shoots while staying our of the line of fire. That is the Main Street I worked and lived near. They gave unsolicited advice and made decisions that were not their's to make.

In those places the "movers and shaker" met in their diner over coffee or pie both in the morning or afternoon. They call themselves "the breakfast club" in a lot of places. Politics and the high school football teams might be discussed. This is where coaches are fired, teachers gossiped about, and mayors demoted to figure heads. 

Communities are shaped in places like Donna's without the town ever realizing what is happening. The "breakfast club" always meets in a quiet back corner booth. Times will change but as long as small towns breed those that will participate in "breakfast clubs" the diners will be around. Only when the last of the morning breakfast club dies and people quit playing western music will that era be gone.  It may be next week or it may be never. Who knows?

The characters in the story by Berry written back in 2012 could have been my neighbors or gone to school in my husband's high school. The Grandmother's that were pregnant in their teens have grandchildren that are pregnant teens. High school ball players are still living off their high school glory, some burned out by drugs or damaged in some other ways. The banker, lawyers and judges don't stand on ceremony...people mix in the red vinyle clad booths. The only hope for these place with high unemployment is the community college or the satellite campus from a distant University. I am talking about Eastern Oregon but the New York Times was talking about Elyria, Ohio. It really doesn't make any difference. It is all the same.

In the end though, people like you and me, seasoned and experience, know that change is always happening. If we are smart, we will adapt and find a newer version of our home town just so we can feel at home. Lots of us will cling to the important things like good books and friendship and tolerance. We will promote education and dream that technology will only get better. But all that is good and bad in small town American will keep on after day.

The last paragraph in the story segment called A Promise to Keep Going talks about an old fashioned car show on the main street Donna sponsored with her own money said it all:
“One more time for Donna,” the bandleader says. “She works very, very hard.” Then, chuckling, he says, “Now get off the stage.”
The band closes with some Roy Orbison. A fleet of American-made beauties start their engines. And Donna Dove steps down from the stage to melt back into Elyria. (A Promise to Keep Going, NYT, Oct. 17, 2012)
Don't we all...melt back in the streets of our hometowns? So here's to old cars and to dancing on Main Street to Roy Orbison until the end of time! And we should all wish Donna and her diner the best of luck.  She is going to need it.

Be well,


Oct 17, 2017

Advice on the Forces of Gravity

Yes, what goes up does come down. Although we all know it, sometimes the self evident gets forgotten. Case in point...don't throw a hammer in the air unless you are a very good catch.

Let's take the installation of a new light fixture for example. In this case, we are talking about putting something back up that came down. Gravity made the first part so easy that the second part didn't seem to be a worry.

I decided that I could do that! I could remove the exterior light fixture, clean it, spray paint it and put it back up. How hard could it be? I was thinking that I had scored a point in my accomplishment book as I removed the fixture. Gravity made taking that baby down a dream. I pulled the wire nuts off and it simply fell into my hands. Wow, that was easy or so I thought.

I cleaned, scraped the glass to a new glistening finish and spray painted the simply fixture black. It is so cute and looks almost new. Then I climbed on the ladder with the fixture and began attaching the wire nuts when I noticed there were more wired that there had been before (I thought). Did that light fixture breed and multiply over night? When I attached the wires the light came on...permanently.

Now my husband was watching over my shoulder wondering what the heck I had done. I got down and he mounted the ladder feeling a little smug I think. Again, how hard could it be. He untwisted wires, reattached wires and looked hopeful. We gave it a try but now nothing came on...nothing outside, nothing inside...absolutely nothing.  That was when we turned the electricity off so we could work it out. It appeared that the electricity was in charge and we weren't taking any chances.

A light flashed on in my I remember. Those black wired had a nut and were tucked inside with not attachment to the light, that black wire attached to the red wire. That white wire attached to the two white wires. Let there be light. We were up and running...a couple of hours later.

Is there a lesson? I never know for sure. Yes gravity still works. Yes is does pull down. Yes getting things to come down is a lot easier than getting them to go up. So there you have it.

Now ask me about the range hood. :)

Have a great day!


On Coming "Home"

We are back in Arizona. We left in April to stay in our Oregon home and now we are back...already! People in both place will say to us "Aren't you early this year?" and our reply is usually yes.  It seems that for those people that do not leave we come and go much quicker than they expect.

This is home today. Tucson AZ
We came back to Arizona in September this year because we are moving to a townhouse. We have lived in a RV resort for many years and we needed a change. We found the place we are moving to because of serendipity...who can fight the will of the universe. So here we are setting off on a new adventure.

We have a beautiful home in Oregon. We live in a 55 plus community and love all our neighbors. They are alway there and I like that. I don't want to stay in one place but it makes me happy that they stay. So, here in Arizona we have found a new home that fits us perfectly. It is mixed age so we can see children and younger adults. It seems at this stage of our lives we need that kind of community a lot.

In the second stage of aging we are finding that we need what we have always loved as adults. We don't need to play so much as we need to work and live. Life continues to be very good.

Think of you all.