31 January …


Last Wednesday was a snow day.  Buses were late and some schools in Oregon were closed.  Not as bad down here (Why is “south” equivalent to “down”?  Who made that choice? When?).

This was the 25th.  I am convinced we will never again see winters like we had when George and I first moved here.


Paul recently brought home an art project.  He certainly isn’t a realist, but may have potential as an impressionist.  The blue is the sky.  The orange is the Mountain. 

The spelling is also impressionistic.  It is written phonetically.  Translation … “I like it around my house”.


The eye doctor said the cataract in my right eye is worse so we scheduled surgery for March when the danger of bad weather is less.

Not so good news is that a new cataract is developing in my left eye.  Decision about that will be made after the first go’round.


I had started spinning fiber for a sweater for Paul a month or so before George died.  It is finally all spun.


Next step is to ply the singles and then make skeins.  Next is to turn the skeins into balls and off we will go … a sweater of many colours … as soon as the Fair Isles vest is done for Tyler.



Yesterday Mark and I went to the VA office up in Yreka to apply for a widow’s pension.  We had been worried we wouldn’t find the necessary papers in time but Mark sat down  and started sorting last weekend.

Going through George’s desk was an adventure.  Among the treasures found were all his Navy papers and several family birth, death, and marriage certificates as well as deeds and other genealogical prizes. 

And it was all accomplished without too many tears.


Paul Michael’s birthday was two days ago.  He is now officially six.

He has grown taller since they joined us here on Cold Comfort Farm.  Odds are he will top out at over six feet like his father and uncles.

He wore his new ‘spenders and bow tie to school and took fruit cups to share.



I had not heard Chopin’s Funeral March in quite some time.  George and I enjoyed the interpretation done in the film “Aria” using all those piano players.  Then this past week, it has been on the Sirius “Symphony Hall” four days in a row. 

Is someone trying to tell me something?


Another week gone and I am thinking of weather as I look out the front door.  In the past, late January and February had always been the stormiest part of winter …


“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.

“So it is.”

“And freezing.”

“Is it?”

“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”                       ― A.A. Milne


… and so ‘til next week …

24 January …


Weather started the week with rain. Then last Friday we had one of those puzzling times when it was snowing and the sun was shining brightly.  An older relative who had been raised in the southeast used to say when there was precipitation and the sun was shining the Devil was beating his wife.  I’m not sure what the connection was supposed to be, but I’ve never forgotten the saying.

Sunday it began to snow.  At first it was just an occasional flake drifting down. 

By dusk we had a skiff of an inch or two.

That night it continued to snow.

Monday morning Mark went out early to clear the road.  It has been years since he went through a winter here and he is having to relearn our snow patterns.  And Kamille has never been here in winter.

Tuesday it settled. 

Today we are on the eastern edge of a storm watch,  We shall see …


The radio club meeting went well.  It wasn’t as difficult to step back into the Presiding Officer role as I had anticipated.  And the condolences were gentle … especially the one when a longtime friend gave me a hug and handed me a pint of ale saying “When you need this … here it is.”

Plans for activities this coming year have started and I find I am able to do what needs to be done with a minimum of “memory” interruptions.

The class at the middle school began yesterday.  Six club members are involved in teaching the classes. The students who complete the class and pass the ARRL exam to become licensed amateur radio operators will be rewarded with more than a license (ticket).  Can’t say what the reward will be since one of them may see this … but there are rewards planned.   


Last Saturday, Mark was installed as the Junior Warden in the local Masonic Lodge.  Freemason ritual is impressive with the emphasis on learning to live honestly and honorably.  Neither George nor my Dad were Masons, but my Grandfather Tyler had been an active member.  Membership just seemed to skip a couple of generations … although I am a life member of Job’s Daughters.

The installation was followed by a taco-enchilada luncheon served by the ladies of the Eastern Star.  We had not anticipated a free lunch and at Paul’s request, had planned to go to Burger King (we had coupons).  We will do that later.  The coupons are good through February.

A side activity of my attendance at the Lodge was reconnecting with folks I’d known in the past but hadn’t seen recently.  One had been a Sheriff’s Deputy I used to see in the Emergency Department and once out here on the Ranch when we had a problem. 

I worked with the wife of another. 

Two gentlemen had recently lost wives, so we had a short period of sharing.

 And I had once belonged to an investment club (back when they were all the rage) with one of the Eastern Star ladies.

All in all … a very good day.


I spent a couple of days last week going through boxes of pictures.  Talk about triggering mixed emotions.

Oodles of wonderful memories of wonderful days doing wonderful things in the company of wonderful people … among them my husband and sons.

Also oodles of tears.

The collection is now down to semi-manageable size.  I’ll be going through again in a few weeks or months and resorting.  Some will be scanned into the computer (with explanatory text) and some will go into the fire or be passed along.  But for now the job is done.

Some interesting contrasts were found such as pictures out the dining room windows …

This is the old view out the north window.  You could see nearly a quarter mile down the road.

This is now.


This is the old view to the east toward the Mountain.

And this is now.

My how time changes everything.


A side discovery of sorting the photos was that my daughter-in-law is interested in genealogy.  I had begun to think I was the last of the family researchers and wondering what to do with all my information.  Now I can continue work with the assurance there is someone interested in the books I am compiling.

Onward …


Tomorrow I see the ophthalmologist.  I had seen him just last fall, but he wanted to see me again is six months because of the cataract in my right eye.

Report to follow.


 And finally a bit of advice … don’t wait … do it now … say it now … look now … listen now …

… for one day you will have blinked …


So … ‘til next week …

17 January …


Another week …

Weather has been all over the place.  Snow, rain, fog, cold, nice … you name it. 

Mark dropped three trees last week so the chicken house gets some winter sun again and there is a bit more sun on the front of the house as well.


John and I spent last saturday in the local cemetery photographing grave markers.  I have a friend who used to work there and did all the photo requests from genealogists who use the “Find a Grave” site, but he moved to Idaho and the list of requests had gotten rather long.  So, list in hand, John and I went grave tracking.

We were able to find six of the requested ten and I am following up on the others.

But now I find there are requests for at least five other cemeteries in this area.  Guess I’ve better get back to driving myself again. 

This activity gets me out in the fresh air with a purpose and there is a friend from a bit ago who may want to go cemetery hopping with me.


Yesterday was a Medford day.

As usual, the drive was an adventure.  The scenery is different each time we go.  Yesterday a lot was brown with occasional bursts of red-orange.  And at the rest stop there were raindrops on the trees.  From where we parked the light was just so and there was one tree which appeared to be decorated with wee lights.

We did some shopping.  There is a new, bigger CostCo near the airport.  The layout of the store is very close to that of the older store with just enough variation that when you think you know where you are and which direction to go to get where you want to be next … you find you are lost.

Oh well …

I was surprised that the book section had shrunk and that several grocery items are cheaper at the local Grocery Outlet less than five miles away.

We made a stop at the retinologist office, where George and I had been going once a month, to leave them a gratitude gift of a box of premium See’s chocolates.  I know it is a cliché gift, but I couldn’t think of anything else. 

The staff had always been kind and thoughtful with us and I wanted to let them know I had appreciated it.  It was a bit awkward … it seemed to surprise them and left some in tears. 

I’m glad I did it however.  Those visits could have been awful (after all, who enjoys having a needle stuck in their eye?), but their attitude helped and I wanted them to know.


I’ve been doing the breakfast and dinner cooking and dishwashing thing for the family for over a week now.  It is more of a challenge than when it was just George and me.  Different people, different tastes … and Kamille has a gluten sensitivity so I’m learning new recipes such as that gluten free flour seems more “glutinous” and requires extra liquid to reach the same consistency for pancakes and waffles.

Another lesson in the-more-things-change-the-more-they-stay-the-same … standing at the sink, washing the dishes, just like I’ve done for 40 years or more and crying because nothing is actually the same.

But there are smiles as well such as when Paul ends grace with   “… and make sure Papa is having a good time.”


Did I tell you I’ve returned to spinning? We have been changing the arrangement of the living room and I abandoned my rocker place beside the wood stove for a more central location on the other side of the room.  It took some rearranging but I think things are now in working order so it feels “normal” (there’s that word again).

I have two sweaters in the works and planning for next winter holiday gifts has begun.

Can anyone say THERAPY?


Radio club tonight. Several items to discuss.  The club, like so many things in my life, is changing.


… and a thought related to chocolates …


Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.


So … ‘til next week …



10 January …

These past few weeks have been (insert your choice of adjective here and you are probably correct) …

Kamille and Paul were here for Christmas Day and then they flew east to be with the Plociniks in Baltimore.  They got back home last Thursday and normal school/work routine resumed last monday. 

I have etched out a role (however temporary) for myself as cook and bottle washer.  Mark has enough to do and fret about, so I make breakfast and their dinner.  They eat at 1700 and I have my big meal at noon, so I get for my dinner what they have the night before.  I plan it that way and it seems to be working.

Positive side effect is that I once again feel that I have a role, if not yet a purpose.  

Another current step is getting back into the radio club.  It is time for election of officers and I’ve been nominated to run as Presiding Officer again.  I think I will.  Not that my technical knowledge is great, but I do know how to run a meeting.

And I’m working on getting back into genealogy.  The friend who used to fill photo requests for the local cemetery has moved to Idaho and the requests are piling up.  Once the weather clears, I plan to tackle that.  A morning outdoors followed by lunch sounds okay.


We’ve been having rain on and off.

This morning we have fog and a slight sprinkling of snow. 

This winter is nothing like last year (in oh so many ways) …  at least not so far.


Late last year the oil painted animation film “Loving Vincent” was released.  George and I were both impressed.  It is a miracle … each frame hand-painted in the style of Van Gogh.

As a result, I decided to explore the lesser know works of Van Gogh as my art project this coming year.  

I begin with a work titled “Self-portrait with Pallette”. 

All in all, Van Gogh painted 36 self-portraits.  This one was painted in 1889 when he was 36, the year before his death.  He painted himself when he was unable to pay someone to sit for him, which was often.  This was painted after he cut off the lower part of his left ear but since he was painting what he saw in a mirror, it is actually his right ear we see in this painting.

The colours are what grabbed me … the many blues, the contrast with the ginger hair and beard, the death-like shadows on the flesh, the eyes, the blue halo …

So … what do you think?


There are still unexpected knocks-upside-the-jaw which leave me in tears, but there are also glimpses of sun …  

Omni fine initium novum.

So … ‘til next week …


3 January  …


A milestone was reached last New Year’s Eve.  It has been exactly seventy years since the fateful party I gave which ended with my Daddy sticking his head in my bedroom at 0500 (as George left with a roar in his “Frankenstein” Ford) asking why George didn’t stay for breakfast. 

This is the first New Year’s Eve without him since 1949-50.  My how rapidly that time flew …


Healing continues at the two forward, one back pace making it difficult to write an upbeat blog.

So  …

For all of you, here is my end-of-the-year prayer …


May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.

Apache Prayer


… ‘til next week …