Nature at its not so perfect best

It’s a gorgeous sunny day here, with temps about 80 degrees so I decided to take a wander through another of our local parks.

This one, named DeCoursey Park is an extension of the Clarks Creek Park system named for the meandering creek that runs along the north side of this area. It has been a destination for many moms along the western edge of our town for years. I remember taking my kids there when they were babies, so roughly 26 years ago.

I haven’t really had a reason to venture into this park in quite a while and the sad state I found it in was really disheartening. It was never a groomed sort of park per se, but the years of ducks and geese living and breeding within its pond have taken a toll. Nasty, stagnant water and waterfowl poop are the biggest claims to fame anymore, although the children’s play area is still well-kept and the picnic shelters and lawns are great.

Here are a few photos as I wandered the trail system around the pond area.

Most of the wildlife was not cooperating very well and even when I could get closer to them I was stepping in poop.

And finally, a shot of the creek itself.


Saturday Writing Prompt

Today I find myself faced once again with a decision. Do I hunt for a meaningful prompt to share here or do I get off my ass and get chores done around my home?

I must finish a research paper. I am literally halfway complete on this last one. I remember having a great thought and emphasis in which to focus the final few pages before conclusions when I stopped writing a few days ago. Sad thing is that now, of course,¬† I don’t have a clue where I was headed. Thank God it’s a short paper and my direction was not the only possible direction to go although it was going to be a great wrap up vehicle for this paper. I think it will come back to me, I just need to sit down and do it. For small papers such as this one I have a pretty informal process, so please don’t cringe too much if you are a research professional and are having issues with my process. It works for me. It might not be pretty, but it works.

I have a multitude of flowers in various locations around my yard that have taken a beating in the last few days. They were sadly neglected by me initially, crying out for a small drink, and just when I planned to give them that drink torrential rain and thunderstorms struck. I now have water-logged, half dead plants and flowerpots that look incredibly sad. Those flowers are now crying out for grooming.

I have to find someplace that will enlarge a diagram for me. I have that wedding event in one week. I received the seating diagram just a few days ago and I really want to enlarge it to use as a workable road map for my set-up crew. Right now it’s sort of all jumbled onto a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. Trying to adapt my printer to spit out a larger, workable chart was not going to happen last night mostly due to the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing. I want to take this to a copy center today and see what they can do for me. Then what I really want to do is come home with all sorts of cute and appropriate colored papers, cut out rectangular and round table images and such and attach them in their proper places to create a truly awesome and most likely unnecessary seating diagram. Thus presents the neurotic, Type A control freak to the world. But a little artsy-craftsy indulgence will be great fun and make me feel like I am a professional at this whole wedding planning thing, even though I am not. The pic below is not what I am working with but it did give me an idea.

I am sure there are numerous other activities that I just must do. The reality is that I have the entire week to do them. The second reality is that I just spent ten or fifteen minutes on this post when I could have easily chosen a writing prompt for today and written about it.

I think an appropriate writing prompt for today should be:

What is the one thing that you procrastinate about the most?Do I have any takers on this one?

Resurecting the random muse

Feeling a need to break from sociology research for a bit, inspired by an arbitrary random event today, and a memory evoked from a blog post by trophos just the other day I feel as if it is a great time to muse on life for a short time.

Topic: younger days, stupid but incredibly fun moments and the realization that at 52 I once had a life much different from what I am living now.

My fellow blogger wrote of a man on a motorcycle from her past. Many memories of my own man on a motorcycle came flooding back. What I didn’t share in my response with her is that I can say I had 3 men on 3 motorcycles come and go in my life in a short period of time many years ago. A little look back is in order, inspired by an obscure song that really means nothing to this conversation and a funny little scooter that just passed me winding its way down the road at a slow but steady pace.

Motorcycle man #1

His name was Don. He was a friend of a sort of ex-friend. I was twenty-ish. He was forty something and married. He rode a Harley. Looking back now I’m sure it was one of those male midlife crisis purchases. I’ve seen that trend in the forty-ish something man a lot since then. I rode with him a few times on the back of that Harley. I was so altogether naive. Don’t ask how I could be that naive even at twenty. He was a nice man. Scratch that, a nice older man. I was not into older men, but I was into taking a ride on his Harley. When his advances were not met with his desired outcome both he and his Harley no longer roared up to my apartment doorway. I still have a fleeting image of Don jump into my head every time I hear a Harley.

Motorcycle man #2

His name was Mike. He was one of my patients. No, I don’t think I violated any professional codes with this one. As far as I know there is no hard and fast rule that forbids a dental assistant from casually dating one of her patients but I may be wrong. Mike worked construction I think and was really into Martial Arts. His teeth weren’t great, thus the reason our relationship began in the first place. He was easy to chat with, nice looking despite the amount of dental work we were doing in his mouth and had a sort of bad boy biker image while the underneath was really rather sweet. For those of you old enough to remember I would suggest thinking Bob Seger circa the late 1970’s. I would specifically suggest Bob Seger singing Roll Me Away. I must pause a moment to listen to this song and smile.

I am back, although the pause was longer than expected as I had to scroll through a few other songs by Bob.

Mike and I did not date in the true sense of the word. We went to lunch a few times. A few eyebrows were raised as we pulled back into the parking lot of my dental office on his motorcycle after lunch. I think I remember a dinner and I definitely remember going with him once to a Martial Arts competition. I also remember 1 night and then it was over. Mutually over.

Motorcycle man #3

His name was Paul. I knew him in high school slightly. I then came to know him again because in a long involved way he came to know my ex boyfriend. This was the ex boyfriend whom I did not want to be “the ex” at the time. Young, stupid, and thinking it was love. It took me a while but I realized that was not love. Paul in some odd way that I don’t really remember became the ex boyfriends roommate after I exited the shared house. The ex and I had many mutual friends and we would run into each other quite often initially after the break up. Paul again was one of those bad boys. Paul was also really into drugs. Lots of drugs. This was probably 1980 or 1981. This was my I’m-going-to-do-everything-I-didn’t-do-in-high-school-phase. This was also my I’m-going-to-get-back-at-the-ex-for-dumping-me-phase.

Come to think of it, I believe that drugs were what drew the ex and Paul together. I think they worked with each other and through a mutual interest in all things hemp related, they became friends. The ex originally had been a “good boy” but he had his rebellious phase prior to mine and chose to jump on the experimental bandwagon. Long story that is best saved for later but my outcome with Paul was two-fold. A downright, flaunt it in your face one night stand under the very roof of the house I used to share with the ex and the drunkest motorcycle ride I have ever taken meaning the only drunk motorcycle ride I have ever taken.¬† In fact, I am pretty sure I haven’t been on a motorcycle since.

I look back on this night and wonder how and why I am still alive. The short version is that I appeared at a party with some of those mutual friends from earlier in the story. I drank, a whole lot. Paul had a motorcycle and Paul was going for a ride. Paul was drunk, high, hot and exactly what I thought would make the ex jealous.

I truly have no concept of where we went, how fast we were going or how long we were gone. I remember leaning into a corner, sliding, gravel, laughing hysterically and then we were back at the party. I never would have suspected until hearing Paul telling someone nearby just how close he came to dumping the bike that that particular ride may have been my last forever, taking away any choice I ever had to ride anywhere again.

Even though I know and understand the stupidity now I can’t help feeling a little smile tug at the corners of my mouth when I remember all three of those motorcycle men.


Saturday Writing Prompt

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Well, that’s a loaded question isn’t it?

At my age I hope one answer would be that I am still alive, still capable of functional thought and action but there are days I have my doubts about that one. Not so much the alive part but the functional part.

As a wife, there are days I have my doubts in this arena also. Shocking revelation to many readers here but please don’t read more into this than I am able to comprehend myself at this point in time. He goes one way, I go another and what that means for either of our futures I really don’t know. I do find myself asking the question, “Did we ever have anything in common at all?” lately. Enough said on this one for now.

As a mother, I hope that another child, or maybe two will have married; that there are more lovely grandchildren running amok in my life and that all of these various components are happy, really truly happy.

As the student, well crap, I don’t even know where to head with that prediction. I am such an nontraditional student in the first place. Here is this woman, who at forty something decides to go to college to earn her degree. She gets the AA but then just can’t leave well enough alone and jumps into the process for her BA for no apparent reason other than she:

-likes education

-wants a challenge

-is maybe slightly masochistic

-is trying to prove a point? and to whom?

-is determined to reach a lifelong goal (Okay, I like that one)

The truth of the matter is that I have no intent of doing much at all with this degree once I have it. I simply could have taken every single one of these classes that have been a part of my life for the past few years as audit classes. But dammit, I realize that secretly, or maybe not so secretly, I wanted that piece of paper that has my name nicely printed in calligraphy smack dab in the middle with the nifty designation of Bachelor of Arts underneath it. If, by some cosmic alignment of universal force, someone  somewhere asks me to apply all this sociology that I am cramming into my brain cells in a practical sense, well then I just might do something with this degree once it is conferred. If not, then I have really truly been working for the last few years to simply finance my odd obsession with education.

Which brings me to the last role of significance worth mentioning here.

As the employed American worker, in 10 years I hope I am not employed. To my new boss, when you read this, please do not fire me on Monday. I still need a paycheck because I have not figured out my life quite yet. The excitement of the new changes in my professional life are intriguing, and actually fill me with a sense of renewal. I must be honest though. I have worked a long time. Not really long enough to retire but a long time. My ass is big enough. I don’t want to sit on it all day and watch daytime TV but I also can see the end of the employee journey getting closer.

That’s about as close as I can get to any 10 year predictions right now. If those brain cells of mine are still firing in 2022 maybe I’ll post an update so we can all see what actually happened.


That brief photo excursion

I did manage to get out with the new camera the other day and gets some pictures although I was sidetracked by a little shopping trip and was then disappointed in the lack of nature in my local park. Sounds odd I know but I was really hoping for more flowers to be in bloom and this local park was not cooperating. There were a large number of children playing in the park that day also and I had this weird, creepy feeling trying to snap pictures when everything I wanted to photograph had semi-naked children in the scene. I had this nagging worry that police officers might appear behind me and inquire as to why I was taking so many pictures of little ones frolicking in the wading pool and grass.

I did get a few pictures that show a smidge of history of our city. We actually are rather famous as the home of Ezra Meeker, hop farmer extraordinaire. This picture actually shows a refreshed concrete and steel footprint of his original homestead which just happens to be in our local downtown park. The youths were hampering a better shot this time around.

Once dear old Ezra made it big in the hop industry, he and his family were able to move up in the world and build this mansion just a few blocks to the east of his original homestead.

The city now uses this gorgeous home as a museum and event venue for things like weddings

These are some of the other attractions that occupy this one particular downtown park: our library with its chiming clock tower, the newly built stage area where they hold outdoor concerts and directly behind that is the pavilion where part of our local farmers market takes place each weekend. The pavilion can also be rented as a wedding reception venue after a lovely wedding in the park proper.

Finally, I did get a few shots of some of the prettier roses that were still blooming in the small rose garden but missed out on the huge rhododendrons that had already come and gone.

And finally, just two of the many pieces of public art that adorn almost every corner and free space along our main street.

I got an email from Oregon!

I just received an email, the first one, from the archaeologist daughter down in Oregon! We have been communicating by text message and today was the first opportunity she had to get into town and find some wi-fi to send an email.

I am still rather misty eyed even as I type this post. I have read the email twice and sent copies to her brother and sister. The agreement is that this is not the person who drove out of my driveway in her old duct taped Jeep just a few weeks ago.

The girl who left my house was academically mature but she was a girl. This person, the one who sent this email is turning into a competent woman who absolutely loves what she is doing. Love isn’t strong enough a description. She is passionate about what she is doing. She is interacting with fellow future and current archaeologists, speaking about culture and history and times that I know nothing about but that she revels in.

She has taken side trips and excursions out of camp both academically planned and with her fellow students. She reported a large group spent the weekend camping completely under the stars and spelunking in a lava tube. (I am tearing up a little again) She has collected samples to bring back to her own college here and use in her research work.

Not knowing this person, I’m sure it can be hard for anyone reading this to understand or comprehend the emotion here but as a parent who so wants each of her children to not only be successful but love what they do, this email has assured me that her road is firmly set. Give her a trowel, a tent, a grid and she will be content anywhere for the rest of her life.

She posted this picture on Facebook and noted that this is what she sees each and every morning when she wakes at dawn to begin the days dig:

Another completely uncharacteristic thing that popped up in her email was the specific mention of just how handsome her dig partner is. This girl has never once in her 19 years noted (to me at least) even the slightest interest in the handsome factor of any male. Guys have always just been that other gender so to have a specific reference to this person’s appearance is really more than a passing comment.

Apparently they ended up arriving at camp at the same time, both early and before the rest of the crew, and must have hit it off right away. She said they have a great location for their dig site and have, thanks to Mike, rigged a nice tarp system to keep them in the shade.

There is so much more that jumps out of her email, but I need to savor that for myself for a while. I was thinking just today about how quickly the time is going by, and how soon that she would be rolling back into my driveway in that duct taped Jeep. I am sure she is thinking the same thing but almost assuredly no where near as anxious to point that Jeep back in the direction of Washington.

I can’t truly imagine what she must be feeling to be experiencing such a life changing event but I am oh so happy for her while at the same time dealing with that twinge of longing for my baby to stop growing up, pull her Jeep into its familiar spot and stay little just a bit longer.