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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Since I left work on Friday, I've been to 2 tree lightings, had my picture taken on a Harley and another with Santa, attended a Friends of the Library board training session, rode on THE Christmas ship (thanks Ellen!), sang carols in the rain on said ship on Lake Union with the Space Needle and Seattle skyline in the background, had my 1st ever Anthony's  clam chowder (I'm not supposed to call it fish soup), and took a 2 hour hike in St. Edward Park with Ellen and her dog Taz. (Another first - our summer camp and monthly program kids hang out there.)
And got my first ever offer of a senior discount at the movies...I took it. I figured if I looked that old, I needed it.  Of course the kid selling tickets looked about 12, so I imagine I did appear elderly to him.  "Life of Pi" was amazingly done, and stayed pretty close to the book as I remember it...but parents really should read a bit about it before taking children if those children do not understand that tigers eat other animals...every time the tiger acted like a tiger, there was crying from the back of the theater.
I've been so blessed with opportunity for fun this fall.  Since my last check-in, I've been treated to a weekend on Stevens Pass in a very comfortable cabin on the Skykomish River with a trip into Leavenworth for Oktoberfest. 5 couples from chchurch shared their vacation with me and another single lady - they wouldn't even accept gas money!  We had a blast, and the area was lovely. I really need to learn to fly fish!
Thanksgiving was spent in the company of other dear friends, with good food and wine - just as it should be when family is far away. 

Life has been incredibly complex lately, and rich, and exhausting, and wonderful.  An old Missouri friend left this message on my FaceBook page: Linda, it is so great to see you being such an outgoing person. I remember the shy Linda that didn't do much -- You are an inspiration!

Sometimes it's hard to remember who I was when I came out here in September of 2006. While I still struggle with the why, I am truly thankful to be here. And I'm thankful for those who remind me of how far I've come, and for those who have helped me along the way.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's Nice to Have Friends!

I am blessed to have such good friends!

One of the realities of working for a non-profit is that sometimes you work really hard for long hours. And it's worth it because you know the value of what you do...if not, you should probably be doing something else.
 Sometimes it gets hard to remember why you do what you do.  Lately I've been feeling a bit put-upon and ragged around the edges...I usually try to keep it to myself, but my friends know.

Without my asking, this is what I've been gifted with the past 3 weeks:
  • The friend from Bible study who e-mailed out of the blue to volunteer to come to the office and help out gave me the gift of her time and attention.  She spent the day stuffing envelopes while I worked on catching up with data entry. (A second Bible study friend would have joined us, but was ill - and we were glad she stayed home to get better -and that she did not share her germs  that's the gift of health.)
  • The friend who bought my lunch and listened to me let off steam on a Saturday gave me the gift of food and attention. 
  • The friend who called to find me just getting ready to leave the office at 7 pm, and drove across town so that I would not have to walk (a mile and a half - uphill...really). She also offered food, but I had put pork ribs and sweet potatoes in the slow cooker before I left the house. We sat in her truck for an hour while she gave me her attention. (Do you see the theme here?)
  • The dear friend from far away, who mailed me a gift certificate for a massage sent me the gift of health and comfort...I am so looking forward to getting to use it! I'm going for the ultimate 2 hour craniosacral session with the extra aromatherapy option. 
Aside from the unexpected generosity of these wonderful people, the thing that I noticed was that I initially started to decline each gift..."Oh, don't let me take up your time."...  "You don't have to treat me." ...  "I don't want to be a bother."... "That's too much to spend on me."

I almost did the same thing when another distant friend packed up all her yarn and knitting needles to send me last year. As I use the beautiful wool and the bamboo needles that I would not have purchased for myself, I am ever grateful that she thought of me, and that I did not turn down the offer.

Thankfully, I over road my first response and accepted all the gifts in the spirit in which they were offered.  I am very grateful, and I am truly blessed to have friends who know me so well that I don't have to ask for their love and support - the very best gifts of all. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Short and Sweet Tracking Story

Yesterday as I neared the office I noticed that the new houses going up on First were nearing completion and that someone has been planting ornamental along the sidewalk...Immediatly, I also noticed the deer tracks amongst the new shrubs.

"Those tracks look really fresh," I thought..."really, really fresh."

Even then, I was astonished to look up and see 2 smallish Blacktailed bucks and a little doe not a block ahead of me!  I've only rarely seen bucks in velvet, and I enjoyed watching the pair of "fuzzy-antlered" fellows and their consort walk down the street away from me.

Yes indeed...those tracks were really, really fresh!

And I had the opportunity to look at the tracks on my walk home, and again this morning, adding to my "mind's eye" ability to tell a bit about the age of a track. Now I'm off for another look at them as I head for my book club meeting... 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

This morning on my walk to work I nearly ran into a pair of Black tail deer...and I was on foot. The local deer are accustomed to wondering my neighborhood and recent new building activity has changed their normal routes.  I did not expect to see them pop out of a side street just around the corner from where I live...I followed for nearly 4 blocks, taking photos, but had to hang back so as not to spook them into traffic. At the busy intersection, 3 vehicles stopped and let the pair cross into a yard where I've often seen up to 8 deer feeding.  Duvall residents are accustomed to seeing deer in the street. 
I can't say that this is one of the pair I saw this morning, but it's within sight of the intersection I just referred  to, but further on down the street -the dip in the road is very near the yard my morning companions entered.  There's a well-worn trail between the fence and the rock wall where deer move frequently between feeding and bedding areas...fortunately the drivers this morning were more aware than these girls were...They were deep in conversation, and I do not believe either of them saw this deer.  I count it as a true blessing when I have a close encounter with the local wildlife!

Friday, April 20, 2012


As of last evening, I'm officially a trustee on the Duvall Friends of the Library board. The word "trustee" always makes me think of Cool Hand Luke.  If your library books are overdue, I think it means that I get to come to your house and set the hounds on you...or perhaps I just have to attend one meeting a month and vote on stuff...I've already volunteered to help with the used book sale (that's almost a conflict of interest!)
I love libraries! 
Our little town only had a shelf of books in the corner of the general store and one in the grade school that were serviced by the Bookmobile.  I would try my best to collect gold stars in class so that I'd be allowed inside that marvelous traveling library to choose books for our shelf.  I think my classmates got tired of Billy and Blaze. 
The only up side to leaving the farm in mid 3rd grade was that my new school had an entire library, as did my new town.
The head librarian tried to run me out of the adult section, but I insisted that I could read well enough to handle the books I wanted to check out. She very wisely made me prove it.  
I grabbed a paperback Louis L'Amour off the shelf and started to read aloud to her from Down the Long Hills. Then she made me tell her in my own words why the little boy on the big red stallion was responsible for taking care of the even smaller girl until his dad could find them after the wagon train was attacked.
The librarian studied me for a moment, then gave me permission to check out whatever I wanted to read!  That's still one of the happiest memories of my childhood, and I still love that western story. 
I'm delighted that I might have a chance to make sure that other little kids have an equal opportunity to read books.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Rumble of Thunder

On Thursday we had a thunderstorm here on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains.  It lasted about 17 minutes.  Friends later reported seeing the lightning... I've always hated thunderstorms...I spent many nights back home hiding out in someone's basement fearing the lightning and potential tornadoes that can come with spring storms in the Midwest.  One of the reasons I stayed here was that, although it rains often in western Washington, it's nearly always a quiet and gentle rain.  It was late in the work day, and I was surprised to hear the rumble and only left my computer to verify it when the wind hit my office window so hard that I swear I felt the glass move.  With the wind came a hard rain that blew in sideways - much like a Missouri rain storm.  Small, soft hailstones slid down the window and melted away before my eyes.  At first I wasn't able to see the cottonwoods down by the river for the rain, but almost immediately the rain started to slack off, and I watched the treetops whip wildly around...this did not look like a typical rain. 
I quickly saved my work on the computer and grabbed my coat and keys, thinking to get home before the storm got worse.  Crossing the parking lot, I evaded most of the puddles and streams of water running down the slope of the parking lot.  It was necessary to actually turn the wipers on, not just set them to occasionally swipe the windshield.
At the stoplight I had to lower my window to verify that it was safe to turn left on the green light, it was raining so hard. I was so glad I'd not walked to work as I often do!   It's a mile and a half from my door to the office - a bit further by going down to the highway, but not by I approached my turn back up hill, I saw sunbeams cutting through the darkest of the clouds on the southern end of the squall...the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started, the wind stilled, the trees quieted.  By the time I'd parked in the garage and walked up the stairs to my rooms the storm was gone.  The cat was relaxing in a puddle of sunlight that warmed the corner of the bed. 
I'm so thankful to be here where even the thunderstorms don't last long enough to put me into a panic...I hope that my friends and family back in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas  will be so lucky this year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Latest From the Foothills

Today I reached a tracking milestone...a very dear friend, at the request of her husband, mailed me a package of Missouri scat to ID...coyote...lots of cottontail rabbit hair...somehow I feel like this is a great honor. I really am a bad #** tracker chick!
You may have seen the crazy western Washington weather on the news.  The sun was out today, but last week was just insane.  Four snow days, a rally unusual ice storm (not in my neighborhood, but close), rain, wind and many people with no power...It was wonderful!  Of course, the longest stretch I was without power was 22 hours from just past midnight Thursday night/Friday morning to 10 pm Friday night...and it wasn't bad. 
Linda's Special Storm Survival Tips:
  • When the power is on, keep the cell phone and Kindle plugged in so they will work when the power is out.
  • Keep a pan of water simmering on the stove so that when the power does go out you can make tea.
  • Books...old fashioned, but they work when you've ignored the first rule. E-readers are good, too...can't have too many books.
  • You can knit by book light.
  • White wool long johns, hunter orange knit hats, hot pink and purple wool slippers and blue fuzzy  gloves are a perfectly respectable ensemble for lounging around the house when the lights are out. The cat doesn't care.
  • Cheese and crackers and freeze dried peas (straight from the can, dry and crispy) make a nice meal in a pinch. Particularly if you paid attention to the second rule.
  • The cat is perfectly happy to keep your feet warm in a pinch - you know, when she's cold enough to cuddle.
  • You will be just fine without TV and Internet.  Really.
  • Be kind to the people who want to rescue you from the solitude...but don't let them succeed - unless you want to be rescued.
  • Snow tracking is fun! 
  • So is birdwatching from the window. 
  • When the power goes out and you pack your freezer with snow, just give the birds the bread crumbs you had frozen for meatloaf. 
  • Give thanks for the people out in the storm who work so hard to get the power back on for you.

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"