Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

I've been thinking a lot about a couple of different topics since yesterday. One is the Mosul Dam in Iraq and the other is Egypt.  These oddball thoughts are probably a result of reading this week's issue of The New Yorker magazine which I've subscribed to for nearly 50 years. Both of the topics were covered this week. One article was about the Mosul Dam which is located in Iraq and has the potential to burst and kill up to hundreds of thousands of people. Its danger has been considered since its construction began in 1981 under the orders of Saddam Hussein (remember him?). Such a structure could highly impact the power and strength of the country and its leaders. So reading about it and how compromised it is by its own weight made me spend some time thinking about water and the power it has to influence civilization as a whole.  These are heavy thoughts for me to have so early in the year.

The other article was about Egypt, in particular its leader President Sisi, a country and a political figure I can barely comprehend. In fact, I can probably just almost describe Egypt's location. I have nearly no knowledge of its leader or even how its people and culture work. Here's what I do know: Egypt is the oldest country in the world, was home to an ancient culture that is still influencing the whole world, and seems to be subject to a lot of revolutions. I used to long to go to Egypt myself because I was so fascinated by the excavation of King Tut's tomb.  I wanted to see it and absorb the desert history that flourished so long ago in this arid valley so far away.  See?  More weighty thoughts.

So I started the New Year lost in random thought about far away places and people and even though I was thinking about a possible catastrophe and a country where a voter can be arrested for "spoiling his ballot," I am nonetheless considering heavy topics having nothing to do with the monumental changes that will occur soon in my own country.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Keep Moving

Happy December! I'd like to introduce you to one of my Important People. It's Angie and she's my trainer. Angie is petite and pretty in what I think is a Jennifer Lopez sort of way. She has long dark hair which is almost always stuffed into a baseball cap. Her skin is bronzy and I wonder if she uses a tanning bed but my guess is no. She's way too busy to spend her time doing dangerous light time. Most of the time I see her she is dressed in her gym clothes with the jacket zipped up to her chin. It's cold in the gym.  Which, by the way, she owns with her hunky husband, Justin. I can hardly conceive of spending my work days in such an environment.  There isn't a book in sight.

I've been working out with Angie for six or seven years. Once in a while, I work out with another trainer.  There are three: Maddy, Dale, and Zoey who's fairly new.  Maddy is the go-to girl for the gym and can be relied upon to do just about anything around the gym. I don't see how Angie and Justin could get along without her. I see Zoey once a week and Dale sometimes directs the Saturday flex class. Each is interesting in his or her own way and can easily amuse me with chatty bits of personal information from their own lives.

 I don't remember the sort of routine I started with but I do remember that Angie worked me in correspondence to whatever body part was on the fritz. That has continued as I've made my way through my 60's and now into my 70's. I've learned what to expect in terms of movements but I swear that the routine has never been the same twice since I started there. I know that pelvic tilts and other on the back exercises will take up about half the time and that I'll be up on my feet for the other half.
I will clock-watch as much as she allows me to. I don't like to exercise and I feel free to tell Angie every time we're together. She has promised to allow me to complain as much as I want but it
doesn't make the drill any easier or any shorter. And she always asks me if I want to stay and do cardio. HA!

There are things that Angie regularly says.  Most of these are comments I don't like, but I try not to complain when she says them in the spirit of being a true gym rat.  Here are some examples:

  • That's right!  You've got this!
  • Only three more; you can do it!
  • Don't forget to breathe.
  • Watch those planks as you step up; they're a little rickety!
  • Push, Ter, push!
And here's what I really like to hear from here:  "Good job, Miss Terry, we're done for today."

I'll  never be an official gym rat but I do know that I need to keep this body moving if I expect to follow my life's path. If you go the gym, well, bless your heart. (And I think that's part of the goal of exercise, isn't it?  To "bless your heart"?  Happy downward dogs to all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Election Selection

I'm just as tired about the election hype as you are. My ballot is cast and I am eager for next Tuesday to get here just so we can have it over with.  Well, maybe not "over" as much as being finished with this part of the election.  I fear that no matter who wins, we are in for a bumpy inaugural and first 100 day ride for either a short time or a longer time depending on who's elected. But here are some conclusions I've come to regarding the voting Americans of this campaign:

  • Americans want to be respected no matter who they are.
  • Americans are suspicious of people with a lot of money.
  • Americans don't think anyone should mix their professional e-mails with their personal e-mails.
  • Americans are still heavily influenced by the media, particularly television.
  • Americans are divided into two power groups-the haves and the have nots.
  • American  "have-nots" want more opportunities for jobs.
  • American "haves" are still interested in big tax cuts.
  • Americans are more reluctant to accept immigrants than they used to be.
  • Americans are experiencing the strangest election in history.
  • Americans want change.
There are many other observations I could have made.  What are some that I've left out??? Will you miss any of the campaign drama and wish it wouldn't end???

Friday, September 30, 2016

Canadian Beauty and Quirks

Our trip to Calgary, Canmore, and Banff Canada brought our travelling group into new and surprising realms of experience-some good and some not so good.


  • Look at the first photo over there and you will what's best about Canada.  This random shot of the Bow River represents what's all nearly everywhere you can look as you walk your body around in a circle. I'm not kidding.  Big plus=no billboards, no advertising, no litter, few traffic or directional signs. You can drive and drive and see nothing but stunning views that bring instant calm and peace to your soul.
  • Eating is truly fun. Not only is the food superb, the servers are all interesting people from all over Canada who have come to Canmore and Banff for snow sports, to make some travelling money, or just to enjoy the different life experience found in remote resort areas.
  • And about the food mentioned above-we only had one mediocre meal in all our time there. Even though the food was just okay at one of our stops, the service was prompt, courteous, and saw to every serving detail.
  • Imagine you just left the crowds of tourists at Lake Louise and don't care to spend top dollar at the chateau. Just a hop down the road and two left turns and following the short gravel road will bring you to the Railway Restaurant.  Too small to accommodate the herds of bus tourists, you'll find few diners here at this unique preserved RR station from old time Canada. The wooden floors creak, the lovely tables are set up beautifully, and you can gaze at all the historical items displayed in the cabinets here and there.  The food is fabulous.
  • Check out the photo of the head. That's one of Canada's quirky things. This head is found near the footbridge in Canmore.  Canmore means "big head/smart person" in Gaelic. Ed's big head is also quirky in its own bald and likable way.
  • Visit the Heritage Historic Park Village and enjoy the authentic buildings, whimsical costumed people who periodically break out in acting scenes of representations of street life back in the Canadian day.
  • READ all the small print on your passport. As we were picking up our boarding passes at PDX, Ed and Penny learned that their driver's license sized passports  only permit travel into Canada by land or by sea.  Uh-oh. Major disaster for all of us that called for quick brainstorming. We ruled out abandoning the trip. Canada Air helped them get a flight to Spokane where they rented a car and made the nine hour driving trip to meet us in Calgary. That surprising leg of their trip left them exhausted and anxious but brought us all back together for the rest of the trip.  And how did they get home? You cannot be denied entry into our own country so we all flew home together. Big, big WHEW.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


The cake pictured on facebook will never win any State Fair awards for appearance but would easily earn some kind of recognition somewhere because of its fabulous taste and quirky history. It looks funny because it's totally homemade from the wax paper lined cake pans to the melted chocolate drizzle on top.  It's been presented to my family on this plate made by Brian when he was in pre-school at age four originally as a way to award his art endeavors.  When the Cake is brought out, the family greets it with hoorays and clapping.  Everybody loves it.

The recipe came to my mother from her oldest sister, Ethel, who sweet talked her way into procuring a copy from a family down the street a few houses.  That neighborhood was somewhere in California in the 1920's and the recipe belonged to the Comstock family of the famed Comstock Lode.  Ethel was served a piece at a social gathering of the Comstocks and when she asked for the recipe, she was told it was "secret."  Ethel, whose people skills were as honed as anyone's, figured that if she couldn't get the recipe through the front door, she could maybe get it through the back door.  Hence, her friendly approach of the Comstock maid who happily produced the recipe. She shared it with my mother who, in turn, taught me how to make it and now my own daughter (the non-cook, as you'll remember) and two grandgirls all know how to prepare this cake exactly as it was intended to be made and served all those years ago in a rich person's parlor.

The made from scratch cake begins with wax paper lined cake pans and ends with the chocolate drizzled according to the creative mood of the baker and thus always looks the same and yet has an original twist due to the mood or fancy of the baker as she applies the drizzle. The leavening is vinegar and baking soda and "don't over mix it as you add it to the batter."  Be sure to add "just a drop or three of almond extract to the cream cheese frosting for that extra bit of flavor" and "remember  it tastes even better the next day because of the buttermilk." I can hear my mother reciting these lines more than a few times as she led me through the process of making the Cake.

The Cake in the photo is literally only moments completed by my own hand and will be served tomorrow at a family BBQ. I can never, ever get the Cake to rise as high as my mom's Cakes always did, but I'm resigned to my shorter Cakes due to the compliments of the family.  And tomorrow the birthday will be my own as I enter my birthday season celebrating 70 years at the table.  And I'll bet that I've easily made 100 if not more of these cakes in my lifetime.

Happy 70th birthday, Terry!


Wednesday, August 10, 2016


I'm late for the August posting because I was at the beach.  I was so excited about going and so involved in getting ready that I forgot.  Sorry.

Going to the beach with my female relatives on my Dad's side has become an annual tradition.  Plus or minus 15 of us rent two houses and spread ourselves between them. My niece Tracie is our travel agent and she always finds us roomy yet cozy places to stay.  We always bring way too much food and pack in more clothes than we'll ever wear and many even supplement with new outfits from the outlet stores.  Others buy clothes and gifts for their families at home. We are serious shoppers.

My sister and I always spend as much time as we want in a bookstore and revel in the lack of a timeline. My goal this year was to look at every shelf of books in the Canyon Way Book Store and Restaurant.  That was fun and easy and most enjoyable because we also brought along my niece from Madras who found her books, bought them, and then sat down to happily read while she waited for us.

Another tradition is our trip to the casino to play Bingo. I don't really like casinos because they are too noisy and smoky and seem full of people who fool themselves into thinking that they will hit the prize of a life time if they just spend $20 dollars more. But those of us in the Bingo room are content to wear our lucky hats (which we made before we came) and enjoy the contest. We don't win much but three of us won enough to cause an explosion of screaming and yelling.

Our big deal this year was our Sand Drawing Contest.  This idea had been in the works since my sister suggested it last year. We divided into two teams:  North and South.  We were split into those teams according to where we reside. My sister-in-law and I were the judges and we sat at the top of the 107 step staircase to the beach while the two teams prepared their entries.  The North team even had matching hot pink t-shirts and it was hard not to give them extra points just because they did. The South team drew a gigantic Starbucks coffee mug full of a steaming latte with a donut minus one bite on the plate next to it.  The emblem was detailed and gorgeous with the mermaid's hair steaming beautifully on the front of the mug.  Different colored sand was imported to fancy up the donut and the latte.  It was great. The North team divided their entry with a precise grid and then used the measurements to create a sea scene with a huge fish blowing blue-ish colored bubbles. The bubbles were made with shaving cream and looked awesome.

People passing us as they climbed down the stairs helped us decide the winning team.  Several paused to spend some time just  watching the artists and the whole project became an event not only for our family, but for many other beachcombers.  Fortunately, the entries were started at low tide so there was enough time to finish before the tide began to shift. Well, just barely.  The steam in the coffee mug was disappearing almost exactly when the contest was finished.

You might try this with your friends and families the next time you go to the Coast.  It is sure to put new energy into your trip and make a forever memory at the same time.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

True Story: Sing With a Country/Western Tang

Western Weekend

'Twas a  trip like no other
as we piled over each other
to get the best seat in the  Ford.
                                                Ed did the drivin' and we did the directin'
not a second was one of us bored.

O, Jerry Jeff Walker you're more than a talker
You sing til our hearts grow full!

We stopped to see family
and a few joined us gladly
as we wound our way up the road.
Our rooms were awaitin' so we did our unpackin'
and were glad we got rid of our load.

O, Jerry Jeff Walker you're more than a talker
You sing til our hearts grow full!

To the casino we ventured
for buffet food was featured
along with the great Jerry Jeff.
We whooped and we hollered stompin' and clappin'
til the last of all songs then we left.

O, Jerry Jeff  Walker you're more than a talker
You sing til our hearts grow full!

We wandered those mountains
and stopped for food and attractions
We liked the Falls best and the most.
Homeward we traveled with taped music rattlin'
our own Walker concert we'd host.

O, Jerry Jeff Walker you led us out yonder
and sang til our hearts grew full!