26 April …

Well, here we are … again on a wednesday … short blog week …only four days and a whopper of an infection in my right palm which makes typing (and a lot of other things) painful. Right Hand

I am taking an antibiotic with lots of water (had to get up three times last night) and yogurt.

Oh well …


This spring is filling up with medical appointments.  In May I go for a follow-up with my hand, George goes for his semi-annual check-up at the VA, he goes for his monthly stab in the eyeball, and he goes for a cardiac check-up.

I seem to be obsessed with appointments, right?

Closing in on 90 is      …

Oh well …


We recently watched the three part titled “The Great War” on PBS.  It was well done.  I think it should be part of high school history classes.

I learned from it. 

One thing which caught my attention was information about chlorine gas which was used extensively in WW I.  It seems it doesn’t just disappear.  It settles into (onto) the ground and soldiers running across a field which had been gassed stir it up in the dust and it is then like a new gassing.  It made me wonder about Sarin.  Does it hang around?  If so, how long? 

The other thing which caught my attention was the use of Choctaw “codetalkers” during that war.  Seems the Navajo codetalkers weren’t the first native Americans to serve.  In that earlier war they were recruited along with whites, unlike “negroes” who were recruited but segregated.

At one time the Germans were monitoring all allied communication so surprise was impossible until some savvy officer asked one of the Choctaw soldiers if he spoke Choctaw.  That did it and changed the path of war in France.

There was a difference between the codetalkers.  It seems the Choctaw just spoke their own language and that was enough to confuse the Germans.  The Navajo in WW II spoke Navajo but added code names such as the Navajo word for turtle to indicate tanks.

Clever …


No pictures this week other than the lead-off.  Holding the camera is difficult (George took the hand picture).

It’s been raining, sometimes pretty good, sometimes simply showers.  It is supposed to clear tomorrow for a week or so.  We shall see.


And so …  

The inevitable sad truth is that time is marching on for all of us, whether we like it or not, and we’re getting pushed to the front of the line.

That may seem as if I’m depressed.  Not so.  I realize most of the people I knew in my youth weren’t given the opportunity to fret over late life appointments and I am grateful.

So … ’til next week …



19 April …


A few more tears, a bit more rain, and then snow at the end of last week …

13 April 2017 Trees

13 April 2017


Our nephew, Eric, was here for a visit.  He arrived last monday and left wednesday morning.  He was on his way to the 50 year reunion of his college class down in Claremont.

It is always great to have him visit.


The trip to the retinologist had been delayed from the 11th to two days ago due to road conditions.  And we had to be in Yreka early yesterday for pre-exam blood draws. That’s why this post is late.

Between trips to the retinologist and to the cardiologist and the semi-annual VA appointment, the next month is full of trips.  Aging really isn’t for sissies.


Math has never been one of my “genius” subjects.  I can do simple math, but the “modern” math with its extra steps and diagrams and flow charts is way beyond me.  But I recently came across an article about an elementary school math teacher who listened to the students who did a rap in order to learn basic division.  No complex diagrams … just simple moves (both physical and vocal).  A student at the “black”board, while dancing in time with the rap, wrote the problem on the board.  Then, while the class rapped, that student pointed out the moves and wrote down the answers. 

The rap goes … First you divide, then you multiply, then you subtract and bring it on down.

Written down it seems a bit simple and abstract … but it works.  Turn on your visual imagination and give it a try, or watch this video.



There was a report on NPR last week about the impact of ritual on community.  Social psychologists report that if you participate in ritual with someone, you are more apt to trust them in other situations.

Religions are great at creating ritual, and at using the resulting trust.  But families can do the same. 

In the Far East, this is the time of tomb cleaning/clearing when families care for their own.  When I lived in the midwest I learned there were in those days (60+ years ago) a sunday in spring when families take a picnic to the cemetery and spend the day together scrubbing markers and mowing grass.  I have no idea if or how many midwest families still do that, but in the light of the recent report, it seems like a good idea for cementing family trust and values.  Can’t work for us however since we live too far away from the previous generations, and the current generations are opting for cremation.

Oh well …


I thought this was funny …

I was thinking about how a status symbol of today is those cell phones that everyone has clipped onto their belt or purse. I can’t afford one. So I’m wearing my garage door opener.


On our way home from a shopping trip in Weed last week, I saw an eagle nest in a pine tree very close to the side of the road.  It surprised me since it was low enough for me to see and so close to traffic (although traffic in this area wouldn’t qualify as traffic most places).  I’ve seen golden eagles around here rather often, and once saw a bald eagle.  I don’t know what kind of eagle made this nest even though I am sure it is an eagle nest.  Their nests are rather easy to identify since they are mostly sticks.

I don’t often go past the place where I saw it.  We were going that way because of the effect of snow on the local dirt roads.  I may make it a point to go that way more often for a few weeks or so in order to keep track of events there.  I’ll try to get a picture next time.


Geese & DucksThere are returning geese and ducks on the reservoir …  Full Reservoir

which is fuller than I’ve seen it in a long time.

And as this week ends …Still Not Full Spring


As dark as our lives may seem, lost though the world may have become, we must still believe in the power of light.


So … ’til next week …

12 April …


 All  those years I lived in southern California I thought I knew what seasons were.  Now I really know, or I would if they would fall into order.  Last week (blog time, i.e. wednesday to tuesday) began with snow, rain, and wind on thursday. 

First RedThrough the rain streaking down the windows I saw the first signs of the red leaf buds on the maple tree out front.  There are more apricot and plum prunings in the house, but the trees in the courtyard are not yet in bloom (although they are hinting).  And the iris are showing all over the place.  

But here is how it has been …

6 April 2017 Evening

The evening of the 6th …

7 April 2017

the morning of the 7th …

8 April 2017

the 8th …

12 April 2017

and this morning …

Daffodils in Snow




The bulbs were hunkering in the snow …

AC Footsitter                                    and AC became a foot-sitter.

I am waiting for the dandelions in the back yard.  They are always good for salads and the “Spring” tonic.  I’ve tried jelly only once, but I may give it another go this year.

I am also rethinking the growing areas around the courtyard.  My nephew, who is King of the Hostas, will be here for a visit next week.  I plan to pick his knowledge for where I might place a hosta patch.  I’ve seen some hostas with incredible greens and greens are such a joy.

In Dunsmuir the seasons are (as I told you recently) Fishing, Tourists, Hunting, and Locals.  Here at Cold Comfort they are Buds and Blooms, Radio Events, Putting By, and Relax and Enjoy.  I’m told that in India there are five seasons.  And a friend in Louisiana says their seasons are Pollen, Summer, Football, and Tornado.


The radio club is already thinking about our involvement in summer events, both biking and running.  George and I will begin cutting back on our participation for a couple of reasons.  1.  We’re not as young as we used to be … and 2.  It’s time for younger hams to take over.

I really enjoy working with Joyce Zwanziger and her crew at Mumbo for the Castle Crags event, but this may be my last year because of making the drive up there. 

Mark and his family will be here in time for the 4th of July Security watches so he’ll share with George and I’ll take Kamille with me.

The Summit Century is not planned again this year and there is still no word about revitalizing the TinMan triathlon.  That leaves the BiketoberFest and the Headwaters marathon.  I’ll do my regular at the “airport” for the bike event but send Mark with George on the drive down to the lake.  George and I can do net control for the Headwaters. 

Even with cutting back it will be a busy summer.


I’ve been reading (and hearing) about the abandonment or destruction of those out-of-date malls from before the turn of the century.  Years ago I had an idea about how to use them rather than tear them down or let them sit and decay but never talked with anyone about it.

My thought was that they could be turned into education campuses serving children from pre-school through 12th grade, maybe even through the first two years of college or trade school depending on the physical size of the mall and the numbers and needs of the population served.

Children would be fed breakfast and lunch from the food courts which would also serve as the classroom for cooking classes in what used to be called domestic arts or for those interested in becoming cooks/chefs. 

Other “domestic arts” classes could include childcare by having older students help with the pre-schoolers and those in kindergarten.

Children would be integrated racially and economically.  Young children don’t make distinctions and once exposed to the “other” are less likely to accept prejudices.

Older students would mentor younger ones.  Smarter (?) students would help tutor those with problems. 

The center court would be physical education and recess areas with addition physical areas in parking lots.  There would be student-managed gardens on the roof, for both food and leisure, as well as solar and wind power arrays.

That was my basic thought.  There is more, but no room here to explain.  I still think it might work and be better than letting old malls sit and decay while schools also decay.

Oh well …


Passover began at sundown yesterday.  It is an interesting holiday highlighting the history of difficult demands and choices, in this case a cultural response to a “Sophie’s Choice” situation.

Chag Pesach Sameach to all those celebrating.


I was reading through an almanac last week and noticed there are several countries that celebrate a “Children’s Day” each April.  In Palestine it was the 5th.  In Bolivia, the 12th.  The Japanese have separate days for girls and boys. 

We have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and even Grandparent’s Day … but no Children’s or Girl’s or Boy’s Days … at least I’m not aware of any.  I wonder why.


Juanita Barnett (Pritchett) High School

To end the week … my name niece died last weekend. She graduated high school in 1970.  She turned 65 last month and so was looking forward to relaxing and enjoying.

The last time I talked with her (on her birthday two weeks ago) our conversation ended with “I love you” .


“Don’t leave unsaid how you feel about those in your life,”


 So … ’til next week …



5 April …



Weather continues to refuse to behave normally (whatever normal is).

BulbsStill, the spring bulbs are doing their best to brighten the days through the winter debris …

Lilac Budsthe lilac is budding …

First Hummerand the first of the hummers has arrived.


The trip to see an optician last week was pleasant if tiring (but then at our age all daylong trips are tiring).  Nevertheless, there was a lot to keep me intrigued. 

It was overcast and foggy as we left home.  Then, as we moved north, we were in rain on and off.  A little over a mile from the summit (4,300″) the snow began.  That made for eye candy where snow was etching the lines of the rocks.  That area of I-5 shows off the cracks where the Pacific plate is slipping under the North American plate.

Then as we went down we seemed to move into Spring.  The madrone were in clear white bloom with the bright orange of their trunks showing through the glossy green of their leaves, the pear trees were on the very edge of bloom (the 64th annual Pear Blossom Festival in Medford will be this weekend), and  the plethora of greens was …

well … just provide your own over-the-top description here.

Some changes I had not noticed before caught my attention. One was an agricultural change.

Years ago a small family vineyard was started south of Ashland.  A friend and I used to stop in when we had been to a play at the Shakespeare Festival. It’s where I first tasted Gewürztraminer.  Now the valleys all around Ashland and Medford are showing new vineyards.  I guess this area is becoming the new Napa as temperatures and precipitation levels change.  Direct sale stores with tasting rooms are popping up with all the new family wineries.  Makes me think I may give wine another try.


As an aside …

I first saw these signs many years ago.  Peope


Other People

They are the loo signs in the Greenleaf Restaurant in Ashland.


I recently realized I hadn’t made cornbread in a long time.  So I started looking through my recipe files (note the plural) and took out all the recipes I could find.  Found one for a pie tin and one for muffin tins and two for a cast iron skillet.

I decided to use one of the skillet recipes and as a result …Cornbread


April Fool’s Day didn’t produce any new tricks.  We don’t have young children around any more … and the world offers more and more fools and tricks daily. 

Oh well …


Last weekend we took down the winter tree and put away the lights and decorations until next winter.  That part of the living room looks a bit bare, but things are showing up outdoors so we no longer look out at only whites and greys. 

Buds on the fruit trees are swelling Forced Blooms(and I have been able to bring some pruned branches into the house to force bloom) …

bulbs are pushing the first of their foliage up … and the deciduous trees and bushes are greening.


In addition to the eye joy, our ears are doing well too.  The sand cranes are back in the high meadow  and the Canada geese are traveling …

      haiku time …

the sound of the geese

as they fly over our heads

provides song to spring


Last week one of the laying hens provided a laugh-snort moment.  The hens can hear the geese as well as we can, and one morning George heard a hen make a honking call like a goose rather than the usual cackle as she came off the nest where she had just laid her egg for the day.


And finally a thought for this week …

“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and sing it to them when they have forgotten.”


So … be the reason someone smiles today.

                                     … ’til next week …