Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Empty Nest and 'What about that committee?'

Empty Nest

I knew our babies would not be long for the nest when I made this photo.

It happened this morning and I'm so happy we were able to witness the event. There were four of them but it seemed like a dozen. They were all over the patio at once plus mother. No way could I get a picture. We certainly enjoyed watching that nest. I guess we're now suffering empty nest syndrome.
What about that committee?

Republicans have to do a lot to shock me these days but I have to admit this one was a shock. The Senate committee appointed to write the 'new' healthcare bill is 13 white men, not a single woman. Republican men seem to focus on the female anatomy anytime they get the chance. I suppose women on the committee might make that a little awkward. 

People Watching

While the House was busy this week passing their repeal of Obamacare I was busy people watching.

Mainly I was watching this man, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-SC). Meadows is chair this year of the House Freedom Caucus.

Meadows is especially eager to see the repeal of Obamacare. You see his district is 91% white. He is a land developer. He was instrumental in the failure of Speaker Paul Ryan's attempt to pass a repeal bill, saying he wanted to help the president with a better one. He leads about 40 ultra conservatives in the House that most of the time vote no on everything. This latest attempt was a success because he had the votes of the Freedom Caucus.

He was one of the leaders in causing Speaker Boehner to resign. He voted to shut down the government in 20113.

People watching isn't always accurate but I'm thinking there's a good chance Speaker Ryan sold his soul to the devil with that last repeal vote. It seems to me the tail (Meadows) is now wagging the dog (Ryan). I'm going to keep my eyes open, and my ear to the ground in the coming months. Mr. Ryan I wouldn't get too comfortable in that speaker's chair if I were you.
2017 Congressional Directory

My copy of the Congressional Directory finally arrived. I've enjoyed looking through it, making notes, and marking information.

2018 Election

33 Senate seats will be up for election.
   23 Democrats
     2 Independents
     8 Republicans

Democrats have a challenge for 2018.

House Seats = 435
   237 Republicans
   193 Democrats
       5 Vacancies

Democrats will need to win 24 additional seats in 2018 to win the House.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Checking In

Our world is pretty quiet so I have to let news build up if I'm to have anything worth blogging. I'll begin with the happiest news and work toward the serious.
Patio Residents

A few days ago I saw a tiny Junco was very busy on our patio but could find no evidence of a nest. A few days later I discovered it in a pot of ivy.

I expect by the week-end these little ones will have flown the nest and we'll have our patio back. We've enjoyed watching them though their mother has not appreciated our attention in the least.
Ninja Coffee Bar

Lord knows if there's anything we need it's another gadget to figure out. Daughter bought this coffee system and loves it so of course we had to have one too. It will make everything from one cup to a pot.

The pod coffee maker bothered me because it was expensive and very abusive to the environment. Personally, I never thought the taste was very good. Our new pot uses regular coffee, no more pods. Brewed coffee is much hotter and tastes much better. Should be much cheaper to operate.

Old Husband has done amazingly well with it. He really wanted it and has tried hard to learn to operate it.

Zoo in the Rain

Out of 207 days we had 145 days of rain. I think people here are beginning to adjust to the possibility we may never see sunshine and summer so they've decided to go on living. Daughter and I dressed in our rain gear and off we went to visit the zoo. Turns out that's a wonderful way to do it. The animals loved it and were out having a good time, the crowd was light, and parking was easy.

I've developed a real love for our resident otters and Nora, the polar bear. Our resident river otter has two pups that I keep up with on the Oregon Zoo site. It was so fun to watch her teaching her little ones swim.

Tillie wasn't thrilled to be called out of her den to perform for visitors but eventually she drug the pups out and they put on quite a performance.

Then we were off to visit the sea otters and got to see a real show there as well, though I didn't get pictures. I was too busy watching all the activity.

Nora, our young polar bear was really enjoying the cool rainy day so she too was up for a lot of activity to keep her guests entertained.

I was a very happy camper when I left the zoo.
An Evening With Son

I had an evening out with Son when we went to dinner and to see comedian Marc Maron. Not a person you would normally take your mother to see but we've always done weird things together. I had a good time and laughed a lot.

Colored Pencils

I'm still having a good time playing with colored pencils.

Old Husband

Old Husband's health report card gets mixed grades. On the whole he's in a fairly stable situation, but always there's the slow decline.

Our newest situation is loss of words. It's almost like he has aphasia. He clearly knows what he wants to say but can't find the word. He now wants me to accompany him everywhere so I can talk if he gets in trouble.

We had a anxiety episode a week or so ago. It was time to get the car inspected. He was sure he knew where the place was and it would be no problem. I'm new to taking care of the car so I figured he knew what he was doing. Just to be on the safe side I ran a copy of the directions and it was no where near the location he had given me. He refused to change his mind when I showed him the directions and map. He just wasn't going to have it that way. Finally I put him in the car and drove him by the location so he could see the building. Only then was he willing to admit he was confused.

His decline was very noticeable to daughter when she was here this week-end. She took him to Costco and was amazed how long it took to get the shopping done. She's very aware of my kitchen situation now because every time she went to the kitchen he went to the kitchen. He's so slow he really tested her patience.

She's here for a few days when she comes and gets to see her dad as he really is. Son is clueless. He pops in and visits for a little while and goes on with his life. He looks good to him and figures if anything goes wrong I'll take care of it. 

I have no words to describe how I feel about our political situation. I'm very embarrassed by those representing our country to other countries. It's painful.

I tell people it's like reliving the Bush administration, only this administration is on steroids.

It takes a lot of time to sort the news for the facts these days. Even those whose job it is to do that are sometimes fooled by a piece of "fake" news. This tells me the majority of the country is believing an awful lot of stuff that's simply not true. It's very discouraging trying to stick to the facts when so much that's false surrounds you.

This is the clearest thing I've found on the new budget deal.
__No border wall $
__No $ cuts for 'sanctuary cities'
__Keeps funding for Planned Parenthood
__More defense $
__No $ for Jeff Sessions and his war on medical marijuana

I think this is correct but everything I've read from the White House paints it as a big victory for Trump. How?  I don't get it.

The country remains highly agitated and I see no end to that as long as the President and Congress remain out of control. I took up colored pencils to try to keep from checking my digital devices so often but I can't seem to stay away from it. You never know what ridiculous idea will pop up next and you have to follow it until hopefully someone denies it or it's defeated. I'm afraid to turn my back.
The Ridiculous

In local news this morning we had the story of a man accused of sexually abusing a chicken.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Don't Post When You Have Nothing To Say


Life around Harmony Cottage is boring a lot of the time so from time to time I run out of anything to say. Old Husband is clicking along, keeping me on my toes.

It is raining a lot here but this is the season it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, nothing new about that. March seems to be hump month here when it rains until you don't think you can stand another day of it. Very soon though spring will burst forth in all its color and we'll forget how tired we were of the rain.

Our daughter-in-law and grandson are in Japan for a month to visit her parents. Unfortunately since their arrival her mother has been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, with six months or less to live. I feel really bad for Naomi. It must be especially difficult to live in another country at a time like this. She is an only child. We stand ready as a family to do anything we can to help. Daughter has volunteered to fly to Japan to accompany grandson home if Naomi should decide she needs to stay in Japan with her mother.

I continue to be encouraged about the Democratic Party's future. Good changes are being made, the needed excitement remains, things are looking good. 

I encourage you to read the following article. 

In spite of the good things happening among Democrats it is only realistic to admit we had dug ourselves quite a hole, one that's not likely to be corrected by one election but 2018 should make a big difference toward putting us back in the game in 2020.
I smiled to myself on the day it appeared the House would vote on Trumpcare. As you can guess I was hoping it would be defeated. Never could I have imagined I'd be on the same side of a vote as the House Freedom Caucus (most conservative group of Republican Party), but there we were, both of us hoping for defeat of the bill.

A closer look reveals we had very different reasons for wanting the bill defeated so that's not likely to happen again.

For years I've looked for something to take the place of my obsession with politics but never found anything. Recently in an effort to break my habit of checking political news every five minutes I decided I'd give coloring books for adults another try. I'd tried that once before and found the whole process exceedingly boring. If you think knitting socks sounds boring, try coloring books for adults.

As expected it didn't take much of that until I knew my career in that field was limited. What I had not expected was an interest in drawing to develop! Wow, what a concept, pencil and paper. 

I'm having a blast drawing, then using colored pencils and watercolors to complete my drawing. Who knew? Grandma Moses maybe?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daughter is Gone

Daughter was here for a week but left this morning. This is the rainy season in Oregon so, as expected, it rained every day but one that she was here.

The zoo gods smiled upon us for a day so we were able to visit the zoo in sunshine without a single raindrop! We wanted to visit Nora, the polar bear, and the three otters we've grown fond of through zoo videos. 

I think every person in this part of the state with small children was there. You could hardly walk for little ones zipping around. The zoo has very little flat surface, you're either walking up or walking down. I wasn't sure how I would do given I've exercised very little this winter but I made it. I did take my walking stick (stick, not cane), and it was very helpful.

Every time I visit a zoo I wonder why I put myself through that. Most of the time the animals I'm interested in are not out for viewing or have chosen that time to sleep. Thus was our visit this time. The polar bears were not out for viewing. One otter was out and provided us with quite a show but I was left to wonder if it was worth the effort. Perhaps I'll just keep watching videos.

The next day it was back to rain. I think we've had rain every day for about a month. Pools of water are standing everywhere. That's the norm for this time of year so I'm not complaining. About the time I think I can't stand one more day of rain this place will burst forth in the beauty of spring and I'll forget all about these dreary, rainy days.

Daughter helped me buy frames for new eyeglasses. Only twice in 40 years have I had frames I've dearly loved. I'm hoping that's going to be the case with these. I've had cataract surgery and don't necessarily "need" glasses but I need them just enough it really annoys me. I wear the reader glasses you can buy everywhere but I'm tired of keeping up with them. I often wind up with a pair on top my head, a pair on my face, a pair in my purse, a pair in the car, a pair by my recliner, a pair by the computer, and a pair on the table beside my bed.

What I'm missing is the middle part of trifocals. I've worn trifocals so long I'm lost without them (with lines please). I prefer putting my glasses on first thing every morning and taking them off as I'm crawling into bed at night.  I'm more than sick of chasing glasses.

Heads up Democrats, we have a problem.
I love this woman and can hardly bear to think about the Senate without her,  BUT,  she was born in June 1933. Figure that and you'll see she will be 84 in a few months. She's up for reelection in 20118 for another six year term. 

She has said if Hillary had been elected she would have retired. That did not happen. She was born in March 1940 which means she'll turn 77 in a few days.

Born November 1950 he will turn 67 later this year.

In September Bernie will turn 76.

Born June 1949 she will turn 68 this year.

In the past few days I've hear a few names mentioned for possible 2020 candidates. 

I ask you to look instead at these names for possible 2020 candidates.

Democrats Strike Back in the Redistricting Wars

Saturday, March 11, 2017


Son Rodger with Grandson Caleb
(Caleb not into selfies)

During the Obama administration we were often urged to engage in some form of volunteerism. Our son, Rodger, has found himself in a form I don't think even he could have imagined.

He donates blood occasionally. Recently he heard from Red Cross asking him to consider making a platelet donation since he has a high platelet count. He also has A- blood type which only about 6% of the population has. He learned it's difficult to get platelet donations because it takes two hours to give one. Nevertheless, he did his civic duty and appeared for such a donation this week. The blood suckers were very pleased because they were able to help two patients with his donation. He learned that before the day was over two cancer patients had received his platelets.

He belongs to a gym in a building owned by Oregon's medical school. There he learned they needed healthy people to use in some of their research studies. 

Yesterday he took the arial tram up the hill to the medical school/hospital (OHSU) to fill out the paperwork and undergo the testing required to be a healthy volunteer.

I believe I've found my presidential candidate for 2020.  No, at this time she isn't a candidate but she may be by then.
She is a new senator from California. I've been watching her because I've read some very good things about her.

Then I listened to a podcast interview that sealed the deal for me. I want this woman for president.

I'm aware you don't like podcasts but I'm going to urge you to download her interview from David Axelrod's podcast.
Being a native Texan I find this ruling particularly exciting


I found this coloring book yesterday in the gift shop at the Oregon Zoo. I like this book because it names all the animals and plants. I can then research them, read about them and color them in appropriate colors.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Harmony Cottage, Protesting, Knitting


Life has been pretty calm around Harmony Cottage. Old Husband occupied himself yesterday by going through a church cookbook we purchased in 1962, the year we married. He wanted to reminisce about recipes we used to cook and some of the people that had submitted recipes. Who would have thought that cookbook would still be around 55 years later?

Food pretty much consumes Old Husband's thoughts. He had kitchen duty in the boys home where he grew up and it's never left him. As soon as he's had his morning coffee he begins thinking about lunch. He's still holding forth in the kitchen. I suggest what he should cook and help with the shopping. I only get involved when I'm called. No kitchen is big enough for the two of us to work together. About 4:00 p.m. every afternoon he begins saying "What's for supper?"
Daughter flies in tomorrow for a week. I'm suffering cabin fever so it will be good to get out some.
I have a bit of a quarrel with this protest. My daughter is a nurse. What if all women nurses stayed home from work one day? I think teachers would be in that same category. Think how much confusion that would cause in classrooms across America if all women teachers failed to show up to teach.

I strongly believe there is a place in democracy for peaceful protests. I believe protests have made a difference in the situation regarding the repeal of Obamacare. 

Perhaps it's just me, but I feel like some of the protests are beginning to exhibit anger. Nobody wins when that happens.
Why Republicans Can't Do Health Care
This was an interesting article, a bit different than the usual. I suggest you read it.
Obama Has A Bite-Your-Tongue Policy On Trump. It's Proving Harder To Keep.
President Trump is like a buzzing mosquito getting under people's skin.
Pete Buttigieg Is The Future Of The Democratic Party. But What Kind Of Future?

Since the election I've found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on much of anything.  Add to that my tremors and some nerve pain and my knitting is limited.

I seldom knit anything but socks but I found this long ago started shawl the other day and decided to do a little work on it. The pattern is "January Scarf" on Ravelry.
I lost patience with the bright colored socks of thicker yarn and changed to a yarn much easier to use, "Felici" from KnitPicks.

Not the best quality yarn but oh so soft. After I've struggled with a difficult yarn I go back to "Felici" to recover. This will be short ribbed socks for spring and summer.
Then I decided to try my hand with colored pencils and coloring books.
That was okay but I soon realized I was gripping the colored pencils as hard as I gripped knitting needles. Besides, I've never figured out how to sharpen colored pencils to a good point.
Then I tried Crossword Puzzles
I've never had the patience to do very well with crossword puzzles. Then I read you should stick with one puzzle creator. I found these very simple books by Stanley Newman. I started with the super simple ones and thought I might work my way to more difficult books. 
Somewhere along the way I decided it was time for some new shoes.
How do you like these for sedate old lady shoes? Actually there are only two companies that make athletic shoes in my size so I don't have a big selection to choose from. When I was a child I was wearing adult size shoes and could never have shoes like my friends wore. As an adult I was obsessed with pretty shoes. Anything unusual in my size and I quickly bought it. Looks like I'm still that way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Telephone, ACLU, Bush, Conway, and Knitting

Life was not good this morning in Harmony Cottage. The morning began with me deep into my reading and Old Husband at the dining table working word puzzles. The phone rang. It was on a table near my chair so I glance over, do not recognize the number, and glance back at my reading. Old Husband goes into panic mode so I answer. It was a wrong number.

All would have been well if I could then have gone back to my reading but no, that wasn't going to happen. "Who was it" he said, "Wrong number" I said, "Who did they want" he said, "I don't remember" I said, "What do you mean you don't remember," he said, you get the point.

The phone has now been moved to a table next to the dining table where he sits. He has a phone next to his chair in his room. I have resigned phone duty.

I may send him to live with our sister-in-law. She's just like Old Husband when the phone rings. They couldn't live together because they'd both dive for the phone, butt heads, and knock each other out.

Reminds me of the days as a child when we had party lines. On our party line was an old woman who wheezed something awful. She might not have had enough breath to talk but she had enough to make it to the phone every time a call was for us. We could hear her wheezing while we talked.
The ACLU Is Taking Its Trump Fight From The Courtroom To The Streets

I smiled when I read this article about the ACLU. In my past life as an Evangelical Christian I was taught the ACLU was one of those nasty liberal organizations. Years pass, life happens, and since January 20, 2017 I've become a donating member of the ACLU. Who would have thought it?
Former President George W. Bush Speaks Out

Thanks President Bush for speaking out. We need your voice.

I try not to be disrespectful but this one just struck me as too funny. Pete Souza served eight years as the official White House photographer for President Obama, and took millions of photos to be archived for history. He was a master at being in the room and not seen by anyone. I can only imagine what he thought when he looked at these photos. If President Trump has an official photographer perhaps someone should speak to Kellyanne about making herself scarce when photos are being taken. No doubt these will make it to the archives as well.

Yesterday I wrote about my concerns knitting this yarn using #1 needles. Not wanting to rip out I had decided to push on to completion. That did not work out well. That night I was in much pain through my shoulders and upper arms. 

Morning came and rip went the sock. I dropped the stitch count to 56 stitches and am now using #2 needles. I have such a hard time making myself knit socks with anything but #1 needles. I'm learning though, yes I am.