Haven’t noted a thing here since november. Wow. I guess KNOWING that the site hosting these little diary writeups known as Scuff Productions….WILL go away sometime, and the modern version of blogging (the FB) have taken me out of the habit of writing here. I think writing here is a lot more helpful to me, it’s ALWAYS nice in the spring to look back a prior spring and note the differences in what weather we were living with then vs right “now”… also I can note house changes, lives, etc. On Facebook….seems one-liners are all that’s wanted…. I’ve become more dis-connected with that medium this winter than I expected. And. I think that trend’s going to continue…..after all, I’m NOT the witty guy others seem to be.
So. Why am I here today? Because it’s snowing out of this window right now? No, but it is….probably will for half hour. Nice.
November 14…..I recorded the end of the growing season markers in the yard. In December, we had a bit of an arctic freeze (well, a freeze for a rainforest climate)…..with teens at night for over a week…here was one casualty…I always feel sorry for these guys….NO body fat….NO insulation….
NO snow, ice, NO moisture. DROUGHT conditions exist in Oregon that started last summer…… From the beginning of the water “year” (Oct 1 to Oct 1)….we are currently 15″ down on what we should be….If we hike in Forest Park or Drive Highway 30 along it’s bottom elevation borders, there are NO streams running off the hills that should be full flowing in February. Farmers in SE Oregon may have a disaster year….. as will ALL of California. The disaster that awaits California is impossible for me to imagine……
Our holidays were nice…..and for what’s become almost standard, on Thanksgiving day itself, we enjoyed just being home, cooking a holiday dinner. Almost the same as Turkey Dinners we enjoyed from our parents when we WERE kids…..it’s become a restful, wonderful holiday. The period around it is unbelievable though isn’t it? Shopping, Cleaning House, Decorating House, Setting up a Christmas Tree….decorating it alone takes days…. preparing foods for a likely neighborhood gathering, Christmas Cards, oh yes, wrapping…. ALL of it. Whew!
This year, it became worth it though, our neighborhood gathering here at the house seemed perfect…..I think part of that is that we’ve all lived around each other so long, it’s not hard to talk for a while ….we know too much about each other. Nathan & Melanie took the prize though, he spent the afternoon (unknown to us), grilling lots of bacon wrapped treats –3 or 4 kinds….and brought them along…..there was a LOT of food when we added his trays to our bits and bites.
One lesson learned though: BECAUSE of the new families that have been moving in along the hilltop near us, and at the suggestion of Jen & Maria, we held this party very early with the idea that folks with little kids can go….. and be home in time to get the kids to bed early. So. We said, come at 4:00 PM……until whenever….. that changes the dynamic a little, since no one has had supper of course….. EVERYONE ATE like it was “suppertime”
as soon as they got here, and by 7:00, everyone had left. Not only that, but when invites were responded to, Only one of the four couples with kids invited even came….. It didn’t last long enough to even sing around the piano a bit. This means next years party will start at 7:00 PM. The “normal” time it always started.
This piano that has been a disappointment, is awaiting replacement
(at the right price)…..”Classic Pianos” here, well, the sons of the owners at least, seem to have taken a liking to us, and are ‘watching’ for the ‘right’ piano to come in, and will trade us up…..giving us full price paid for this one….. I look forward to it. This piano sounded okay at the store …..but completely tinny here….. it can’t stay. . … maybe it was a good thing we did NOT sing.
So, Christmas was quiet and nice……….. the tree up in the ‘new’ Dining Room
(originally built as the Living Room….but with the new family room in the back, we’ve moved things around in this busy year of new floors, trim, furniture, etc. Looking forward to enjoying the house all anew this year.
And back to the weather. I thought of updating this a tiny bit today since we have, for Portland, a little weather event coming this week: Severe drops to the teens at night and below freezing in the daytime at least until Saturday when we’ll probably see snow….. It feels seriously whiny to even mention our ‘event’ when the entire midwest, east, and south have seen severe arctic blasts, crippling snow, ice and more……. but remember, I’m noting this for my own year-to-year comparison on how our yard recovers from winter. Already, crocus and other little plant starts are UP…..some little baby buds on a few trees…. a few nights in the teens, and our spring may turn out completely different. . . .
I’m accompanying a friend to chemo treatments a few times. Stephen was diagnosed 3-4 months ago with lymph cancer of the spine and in the late stages of it. As a man of the arts, he’s lived on the wise thrifty side of life, so has no car…..I could give that ride and be happy to do it as some of his other friends have done. They put him on a severe treatment schedule….EVERY DAY for the first two weeks….. then, as he gets sick from the chemo, he’s given a week or two break……in-between all that, his blood has had to be transfused a couple of times requiring some hospital time. It’s been interesting to get to know Stephen in this light….. I’ve always known he was brilliant, a brilliant creative writer, and a man who will tell you honestly what he things, NO being nice. It’s been rewarding to have this experience, and hopeful when he was told right at Christmas the tumors are shrinking……. but what a balance! Chemo, trying to continue to eat, exercise, and keep some weight on…..he’s showing how strong his character really is. My salute goes this winter to Stephen!
Finally, January became the month to clean out what almost have become pathways in two back rooms…..family boxes from relatives long gone, cookbooks, mementos, etc…..our OWN detritus that’s piled up over the years…..keeping some things at first not knowing what it would be like living here, and on and on. Well, we finally had to make room. It’s been a VERY busy month with attention on separating all this out, trips to local charities, finding out “which” relative truly WOULD want to have certain items, and finally shipping some. Still a bit more to go. Whew! It’s been exhausting…..but it got me out of the annual hated winter “tree pruning” task …….well, up to this week. I have apple tree almost done…..and that was 3 weeks ago….nothing since then.
And now……that task must be finished. Maybe I would have kept my focus on pruning had I thought the arctic weather WAS coming in for a visit……. BUT. It’s a good time for the tree at least…… so off we go……coats, long-johns, gloves, hats, ladders, tools….well, IF it quits snowing pretty soon……………..