August 25, 2016

All Good Things....

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for still visiting regularly. The visit register is still going up in spite of the lack of new posts, and I appreciate the loyalty.

Life is still hitting hard and fast. I find myself stretched pretty thin and living on the edge of sanity. There is little time to write and when I find myself sitting at the keyboard, I find my fingers 'backspace' more that any other key.

I am spending an extremely tremendous amount of time 'wondering' and not much time 'wandering'.

For this reason, Wandering and Wondering is taking a sabbatical. Thank you all for being you.

August 22, 2016

Bob and Jordan

Bob, over at I Should Be Laughing, shared a wonderful letter from an ex-slave to his former 'Master' this morning.

You should wander over and read it.

August 03, 2016

Cunumdrum #67

My folks are in their late 80's. They've been married for 67 years but have known each other much longer than the anniversaries log in.

I think they first met when they were perhaps 10 or 11. They lived in the same apartment complex in Denver. Dad lived upstairs and Mom lived downstairs. One day Dad dumped a bucket of water from a second story window over my mom's head.  She didn't like him much. The families moved soon after the bucket fiasco and lost track of each other.

Eight (or so) years later, they met again at a USO dance in San Francisco. Dad was in the Army Air Corp and Mom was a lead teller at Crocker Bank. They danced and had a great time. Mom thought Dad was handsome and she loved Dad's dance moves. He thought she was beautiful and loved that she could keep up with his boogie woogie steps. The music ended and they both went their own ways; Dad with his Army Air Corp buddies and Mom with her friend, Dora.

After the war ended they both returned to Denver. I'm not sure but I think they met each other at another dance. Dad went home that night and told his mother that he had met the woman he was going to marry.....and so.....they did. I like to think it was destiny. Depends on the day and their moods what they think about it.

Actually, the families knew each other way, way, way back in the days of ranchers and rustlers. Another story for another soon as they get it straight, because right now we don't know which family was rustlers and which family got rustled.

I've taken them grocery shopping several times, usually just Dad and I go but sometimes Mom tags along. Yesterday the three of us made the trip to Food-Max. If you are unfamiliar with the store, it is huge; each aisle seems to be a quarter of a mile long (can you tell I have bad knees!).

It's quite an experience to go with them. Both are a little unsteady on their feet. Dad holds onto the grocery cart and shops like it is a race, Mom meanders through the lanes of items like an alien who is unfamiliar with the products. She inspects fruits and vegetables, wondering what she can cook without an oven (3-digit temperatures in August). She also carries the list of what they need, but, my dad knows whats on the list...mostly.

In the first 5 minutes we are at they store, Dad has loaded up red potatoes, bananas, pears....he mumbles, "I think she needs tomatoes," and bags 4 or 5 good ones. Into the basket the tomatoes go and around the corner he goes.

In the meantime, Mom is still squeezing cantaloupes which are the on the first bay end by the entrance.She picks a good one and hands it to me and meanders off to check out the avocados. I have walked back and forth between them four times.

I take off to find Dad, make sure he's doing okay. He is already two aisles down. Has milk, chocolate chip cookies, Cheerios, creamer. The basket is half full of items. He seems to be doing okay so I drop the cantaloupe into the basket and head back to Mom.

She is at the end of the first aisle holding on to two or three things. She hands them to me, turns back to shopping. We pick two or three additional products and I head out to find Dad and deposit Mom's cache. Dad is now three aisles ahead of us.

This continues for about 45 minutes. Dad always in the lead, Mom methodically strolling. Both of them collecting items from the list that Mom is carrying.

 Somehow, we all end up at the ice cream at the same time, just before checkout.

At their house, we unload the groceries. Everything on the list has been purchased and, miraculously, there are no duplicates. Only one jar of creamy Jiff peanut butter, only one milk, only 1 bag of tomatoes. Absolutely no doubles of anything, well, except for tissues which were only 99 cents, so Dad picked up three boxes.

There were at least 9 bags of groceries, not including big items that don't fit in bags.

How can this be? Inquiring minds, you know!

"Okay you two, how do you do it?"

"Do what?" Mom asks.

"Dad is three aisles ahead at all times, you are trailing way behind with the list, both of you are collecting things from the list but you don't get two of anything? Is it some kind of telepathy you guys have got going on?"

They look across the kitchen table at each other and smile. Dad shrugs, "I don't know!" He sounds surprised!

Mom looks at Dad with love in her eyes. "I never thought of that. I don't know either!"

"Tom, how'd we do that?"

Frank and I have been married 32 years, only 34 more before we can shop like Mom and Dad.

A mere 34 years!

July 30, 2016

Question Of The Month

July's question passed me by, maybe even June's. Life is still slamming me from all directions but when I opened the email from Michael @ A Life Examined and read his question of the month, I slammed on the life-brakes and decided to take a break.

This question is so good because it does not have the tiniest bit of political, religious, racial or life & death impact. I really, really, really need that.

"What's your favorite beach?" That's it! Incredibly exhilarating in it's mundane-ness! Love, love, love it. What's best, there are two beaches that are totally awesome. My heart sings when I think of them.

First beach, is at Whiskeytown Lake in Shasta County. It is a fresh-water lake, surrounded by pines, mountains and wildlife. We've seen bears, deer, fish, osprey and eagles while floating on the crystal clear water. One can easily see the bottom of the lake at least 20 feel down.

Our whole family spends whole days on the beach. My kids were basically raised on the beach. When they were young, we would pack up breakfast, lunch and dinner, and hit the beach around 9 a.m and swim, go rock hopping up the creek, and, occasionally hike. My husband would come up after work, we would bbq hot dogs, hamburgers or chicken drumsticks and stay until it got dark.

The water is always perfect because summer days in Redding tend to hang around the three digit temperatures.

Now that our kids are grown up, we continue the joy by taking the grand-kids out and our great granddaughter loves it too. We toss the kids or they dive off of our shoulders. They still love to jump rocks in the creek or hike up to the falls.

My second favorite beach (again, fresh-water....I am a mountain girl....what can I say?) is in a remote area on an arm of Shasta Lake. It is called Chirpchatter Campground. There are only 3 campsites, though, you'll have to look hard to find them.

It's a must to bring rakes with you and gloves, so you can remove all the blackberry vines that have intruded into the camp sites. A snake kit is probably a good idea too, as well as, one of those scare-a-bear air horns. Once you've cleared your campground, grab a towel and hike downstream along the creek.

The water makes a 90 degree left turn at a huge granite boulder. Over the years the granite has been ground down and has formed a little beach. Just big enough for the five of us when the kids were young but now perfect for two of us.

Do not drive or ride your bike down the road past the campsite because it the road is usually washed out.

If you swim about 30 feet down from the little beach, you'll find a good size boulder in the middle of the stream. There is a long rope tied to a tree on the bank. You can swim to the edge of the water, grab the rope and swim back and climb the rock. Swinging out over the water and dropping in is loads of fun no matter what age you are but watch out for rope burn.

Sleeping in your tent at night is an awesome experience. You can hear the babbling of the creek, wind blowing in the pines and an occasional snort from a bear rustling around in the under brush.

There you have it. Two fantastic beaches and not one seagull or crab!

p.s. July's question of the month answer: Book series: Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys! Book: Tiger Tiger. Loved them both and read them all. 

July 22, 2016

Womens' Weekend Away!

Portland bound.

Gonna love the Oregon scenery.

Gonna love the conversation.

Gonna love the wine tasting.

Gonna love the shopping.

Gonna love the photo ops!

Bye bye Redding heat! See you on Monday!

July 20, 2016

Well, That Was Fun!

Have I mentioned that life is definitely keeping me in the fast lane of late?

The exits from the fast lane are often quite scary. I took one of the exits last week and, despite the title of this post...the merge was not fun.

Saturday evening, I was working on my Catechesis Certification class. Not actually working, just reading the assigned readings. The house was quiet and I was alone. During the third reading an incredible feeling, much like an angry bull, rushed up from my chest and was trying to bust through the area just below my right jaw. The pain almost knocked me out.

I sat wondering what the hell was happening, when my chest became totally constricted by what seemed a girdle that kept tightening and tightening. My heart beat was racing. I became a little light headed and was holding my chest as my husband walks in from work, actually about 15 minutes earlier than usual.

We raced to the hospital where two teenagers (why does everyone under 30 look like a teenager when one is over 60?)  did a trauma review of my symptoms. They gave each other those raised eyebrow looks and sent me back to the waiting room for 5 minutes. The waiting room that had no one in it.

After our 5 minute wait, someone brought out a wheelchair to take me in, stating they didn't want me to walk since it appeared I was having a heart attack. Okay to die in waiting room but not while walking back to ER....hmm.

In the ER, all the beds were empty. There were seven or eight personnel sitting around the nurses station. The RN who met us at the door told the wheelchair driver to push me to Trauma Room 3.

Begin Questions: Same 11 questions asked and answered by me or my husband to about 14 different people.

Chest is getting tighter, bull under my jaw has been joined by the rest of the herd.

So, I would share with you the whole sordid details, describe the bruises from shots in my stomach and collapsed IV's and blood draws but I'm going to pass.

What I am going to tell you is that after every heart test, scan, contrast-thingy things, including an angiogram and full body scan for blood clots, I am 100% okay!  The cardiologist even asked me to trade arteries with him because mine are so clear (that deserves some Ben & Jerry's, right?)

I have a bundle blockage from a past heart attack, which everyone said could not in anyway have caused this 'event'!

So, I am home. No new meds, no new diet (blood work was awesome, even dropped 4 points in my cholesterol!) No new anything except advice to bring the stress level in my life down.

Really? Ya think?

July 07, 2016

ISO and Monet

A week ago we took a drive out to Mom and Dad's house. They live along the Sacramento River in a fairly remote area. We forgot to take our cameras. (What's that you say? Photographers who don't carry their camera bag in the trunk of the car....!)

We took the 'back-way' on the return trip and saw 3 osprey nests with big chicks peeking over the sides, a giant blue heron standing on a rock in the river, several hawks, a woodpecker, rabbits and an incredible build up of bright white clouds over Mt. Lassen.

"Never again!" cried my husband.

Sunday, Frank had his camera. He pulled it from the bag sitting on the desk since our vacation to June Lake near Mammoth.

We visited with folks and headed home, the back way.

Osprey, here we come.

Oh my god! It was incredible. We actually saw 5 huge osprey nests. One had four birds in it, all staring straight into Frank's lens. Three nests had three birds in and one nest had only two. One of the birds of a trio clutched onto the edge of the nest and gave us an incredible show of his wings. Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. Frank's Nikon takes about 12 shots per second and he was going for every one of those shots.

Around one of the bends in the road we spotted the largest hawk either of us had ever seen. He was standing on a fence post.  Click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click, click. The hawk was not bashful. He wasn't going to leave his perch. Then we realized he was eating a fresh catch and he realized we weren't going anywhere. He grasped his squirrel in both claws and flew away. Awesome shots, wings spread, clutching his prey.

We discovered a couple more bunnies and snapped their portraits. We've been searching for a Western King Bird and found a guy who would not only sit for his portrait but sang to us as  Frank snapped away.

We rode home into the sunset, talking about the incredible photos that we can submit to this and that contest, talked about printing on metal or canvas.

We skipped dinner and headed right for the computer to load the pictures....

Here's where Monet comes in!

It appears that the last time we used the camera was at twilight up in the mountains for family group shots. Flash was wiping everyone out so the ISO was set up high....very, very high.

Those perfect photos at unbelievable close range? Not so sharp! Claude Monet would have been extremely envious of our osprey. Superb impressionism!

Sidenote: Check your ISO!


LIFE! Dang, it does have it's moments.

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post.

Catch up time:

Book is done: went to layout 3 times but is now awaiting diocese approval for imprimatur before publishing

Proposal at diocese went well: going to start pilot program at three parishes

Class Handout is done:

Still working on Syllabus

Daughter is moving to east coast with her two daughters and husband....3000 miles away
(thrilled for them, dreams come true but I know the minute they leave I will crawl into a dark corner and suck on my thumb for a month or two)

Taking an online catechesis certification class through Notre Dame....dang, a lot of reading but really, really good class. Love the discussions.

First day of vacation I took a bad fall and landed on both knees, titanium one and one that needs titanium.  Bruised and ugly but was a great excuse to sit along the river and read while everyone went hiking at 8000 foot elevation.

So, basically, been running (or falling) as my blog gathers dust.

I miss you all.

Secret Love

Imaginary Garden with Real Toads is having a little poetry contest about secret loves.

While I wish I had time to write a poem, I do not, but many, many, many years ago I memorized a poem that touched my heart. I didn't however memorize the author, for that I am sorry and will try and find out who to give credit to.

"In secret we met,
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?
In silence and tears."

Memorized it in high school, there was no secret love.....or was there?

June 03, 2016

Question Of The Month

What a crazy two months have just flown by. There hasn't been time to just sit and think, sit and be still or, frankly, just sit.

Today I am calling a personal time out. It is Michael D'Agostino's Question of the Month time. I've locked my bedroom door, turned off my cell's ringer and have turned the Mumford Brothers on Pandora really, really loud.

I am declaring the next 20 minutes "Free Play" time to answer this question. Is it a question that requires deep thinking? Nope. Is it a question who's answer is going to change your world. Not even the slightest bit. It is a question that requires nothing from me nor can I be wrong.

It is even an inquiry whose response can be changed by me three minutes after I have posted it, if I care to. Yup, though I can (almost) guarantee you that it won't change.

For Michael at A Life Examined, I thank you for the respite and the question:

Of all the places in the world that you haven’t yet been to, where would you like to go next?”

Having either lived in or traveled to 37 states and 3 countries, I realize that there is still so much world to see. Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Italy, Costa Rica...even the moon, the list seems endless.

I want to see them all. Not so crazy about landing ON the moon but sailing through outer space and watching a sunrise or sunset over the big blue marble in the sky would turn me on more than cheesecake.

In this moment, though, at this stage of my life, my dream destination would be a nice cabin in the woods, miles and miles and miles away from towns, freeways, cellular reception and (not that there's anything wrong with them) people! Of course, you know that means no television. I will bring a couple of CD's if I need music other than the wind in the trees, the flowing of the river and an occasional call of a hawk or an eagle.

Maybe a nice single story house with a view of the pine trees, a river, the ridges across the river. Montana would be good, even Kentucky or those little tiny hills they call mountains in West Virginia.

When I said 'no people' I did not include my handsome husband. It would be wonderful, if after 3 days or so, he would come join me. I would probably need more wine by then and a little wedge of cheesecake!

May 13, 2016

Listen To Your Intuition

Kate is my grandson's significant other. They have a brilliant two year old daughter. They both work very hard at their jobs and their work ethic is extremely strong.

Kate, as you know, works at a credit union. She is a teller and she loves, loves, loves her job.

Tuesday afternoon she looked up from her paperwork to see two people walk through the door. The one in front walked straight to a teller, the one in back sat in one of the waiting chairs.

Her thoughts were that he was probably going to sit while the first person got his transaction done, so she continued her work.

The 1st person finished up, walked out and the young man was still sitting. Kate took a little time to study him and found a huge knot building up in her gut. "Something is wrong," she thought.

She left her station and walked over to him and asked him if there was something she can help him with. He stood up, answering, "I'm waiting for a teller."

"I'm a teller," she replied. "I can help you."

"No, not yet. In five minutes." he replied.

The knot in Kate is growing but knowing that something was seriously wrong, she studied him. Height, haircut, facial features, black jeans, black hooded sweatshirt (in 88 degree temps) and a black handkerchief around his neck.

She went back to the bank manager. Shared her feeling of impending trouble. The manager walked over to the stranger, asking again, "May we help you?"

"I'm waiting for a teller."

"There is a teller open at that station," he said, pointing at Kate.

"No, I am waiting for her." The man in black points to the older teller who has a customer.

"Okay! She should be available soon."

The manager walks back to Kate to tell her that the guy must know one of the other teller's older kids and is specifically waiting for her.

Kate doesn't buy it! She takes all but the minimum amount of cash from her drawer to the vault. As she is starting to walk out of the vault, she sees the stranger walk to the older teller and say, "I'm sorry for what's about to go down!"

Kate stops in the doorway and takes a step back into the vault. As she was telling us the story she says, "I've watched enough cop shows to know that the phrase, "I'm sorry for what's about to go down" is almost always followed by bodies and blood. Well, it wasn't going to be mine, I have a two year old who needs me."

She stayed in the vault the whole two minutes the robbery took place. Robber didn't even put his hankie over his face as he had been siting in the back for at least 10 minutes, so cameras had a good record of his features.

Panic buttons hit, police showed up within 3 minutes. They searched the area around bank but could not find the 'bad guy'! He actually took the money her had stolen and handed it out to homeless people in town. He turned himself in the next morning.

Kate was rewarded for her intuition and perception with a $10 Starbucks gift card! (Nice job trying to save our butts, go have some coffee!)

I tell you, there is nothing like the intuition of a young mom with a kid to live for. Not one other person in the credit union had any clue that something was wrong, even after her warning.

The saddest part of the whole story is that for the past two days, customers at the credit union have been abusive, rude and cruel.  They accuse the tellers of not standing their ground and refusing to hand over the money, accuse them of being cowards, etc, etc.

One aggressive woman customer "He didn't even have a gun, you should have just told him 'NO!'"
"We didn't know that he didn't have a gun." was Kate's answer.
"Well, you should have been able to tell!"

So, the 'bad guy' steals $800 and gives it away to homeless people on the streets and the upstanding 'good' citizens are being nasty.

What a world!

May 11, 2016

Bad News and More Bad News!


Bad News #1:

Our grandson's girlfriend's bank was held up yesterday!

What a story!

Bad News #2:

I don't have time to write it down today....dang gum!

But tomorrow, am I going to have a story for you!!!!