Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the Beachgods are coming I must be insane. That is the conclusion I came to about 15 minutes ago. The source of this conclusion? My decision to open an Etsy shop. My thinking process was, "I have a lot of really neat stuff. Stuff my mother collected for years.And now I have it. And I know my daughter is not going to want to haul all this great stuff around the country as I have been doing for over 10 years now. And I have a lot of my own stuff that (sigh...) certainly meets the Etsy qualification for "vintage" rating. Their definition is anything over 20 years old. Thinking of "vintage" equals 20 years. Oh my, I am (let's do the math) 3 x 20 = my age plus. yikes. That does it. I am now both old and insane. Great combination. Meanwhile, despite the MBA and lots of years working in commercial finance, I knew I had to get a game plan. So I promptly began reading "A step by step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond" by Derrick Sutton. Unfortunately I managed to spill a strawberry milkshake on it halfway through the read. Quite a few of the pages have clumped together - particularly @ the end. Probably not a good omen. But I have a new camera, a new laptop - my 3rd one from Dell - and even the oh so sexy little Google tablet. My 'laptop' is monster sized + 17 inch extravagamt screen and with a real keyboard. Of course that does mean that II am truly struggling with Windows 8. It is painful and not the user friendly OS it's been hyped to be. So far I have bought two book/magazines on "shortcuts". I spend a horrendous amount of time trying to figure out why suddenly I am in another program. Perhaps Windows 8 would be a bit easier to work if I didn't feel I needed a mouse...but I am so attached to that rodent I couldn't say goodbye. Since my huge tablet doesn't exactly fit in anything but an overnite suitcase and weighs enough that dragging it from my bedroom to the dining room table counts as portable I don't take it outside of my house. My dear daughter has gone over to the dark side as so many of her generation has. The dark side being an Apple convert. Perhaps my ever so cool Apple II-E of the late 70's (early 80's?) got into her DNA. Nevertheless, she is small help being a mere 10 hour drive away. so I continue to struggle. As a consequence of the too big "laptop" I also invested in the Google tablet. It seems like such a rational alternative to Kindle or Book Nook or the too expensive Apple. Unfortunately it is totally a different operating system - Android. I'm well aware that Android is beloved amongst many - but for me it is just one more thing to learn. Tablets are not built for women with long fingernails, I might stress. I have visions that one day I will have this whole etsy shop as well as my site up and running and easy to catch while being out and about. More later.... the BEACHGODS are coming...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I have lived in quite a few cities here in the USA. And in each one I spent various amounts of time haunting the public library. It is a sure sign of the legacy of my youth.

In my own public school was a public library – open to all and including the summer months! By the time I was 10 my mother allowed me to take the bus to our town’s main public library. Torn down many years ago, it still remains as a wonderland of ideas, voices of writers and poets and most of all – a place to escape from my every day life.
I’ve enjoyed every library I’ve ever been to including studying in the main room of the Library of Congress during one college year spent in Washington, D.C. But here I am living out the burning embers of my life in the Big Tree land of the Pacific Northwest. And I’ve been gifted with a wonderful library in the city of Eugene, Oregon.

In honor of this marvelous library, let me share with you recent books I’ve read or in some cases listened to on CD version. I belong to a strange book club haunted by a small group of aging female baby boomers with somewhat even stranger reasons for why we choose a particular book to read each month. But more about the CD book versions and my beloved but strange book club in a later blog.
                  Pics of library to follow”

Current book: Truth Like the Sun by Jim Lynch ISBN # 978-0-307-95868-6
Published 2012, Alfred A Knopf division of Random House.

One sentence synopsis: Fictionalized account of a politico wizard set simultaneously in his young year as a mover and shaker to the Seattle World Fair of 1962 and 40 years later, October 2011 as he runs for mayor.

Book was bought for the library under a new wonderful program called LUCCKY DAY. And more about that later also!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

THREE suitcases!

Flying off to Calgary with Chelcie Dog

This will be my first flight with her.  But what an expense!  Not so much the $100 fee for the joy of stashing the dog under the seat -- but all the rest~especially since flying from Oregon to Calgary is now considered an International Flight.  (Yes I know it is a different country--but still it is far less miles than flying back to Atlanta).  I'm having trouble teaching her to bark Canadian but there is still time/hope.

So far:  Chelcie expenses:  $55 for a specialized Pooch Carrier medium size.  The specified brand is Sherpa.  Unfortunately not readily available in the size medium I needed locally.  Instructions were to leave it out for the dog to get used to it.  That worked until I tripped over it in my tiny apt one night @ 3am. I've been jamming "stuff for the dog" into it for a month or so.  NOW there is little room for the dog.  I can't even imagine the horror it will be to get the pack thru Security and Customs.

Shots and stuff - I needed a new rabies certificate altho she was up to date.  So in February I discovered a $5 rabies shot special @ a local Feed and Grain Store.  (Actually, having a reason to go to something as exotic as a Feed & Grain store was equally compelling.)

International Health Certificate:  I'm not sure I got this one right.  After spending $141 at the vet for a mandatory physical exam, kennel cough shot and something else shot wise - I drove out to the airport to see if the form they gave me was correct.  Turns out it is only good for North America.  After a brief geography discussion with Alaska Airlines, it appears that Canada is currently considered part of North America - so the State Certificate will do.  I was warned, however that if we were flying to - oh say - Bolivia or Singapore - I would have to get a specialized ( read more:  expensive, Pain in the butt, etc) form of the US federal govt.

Side expenses:  Despite the 100 bucks extra fee, Chelcie counts as my one carry on.  Therefore all my luggage except my purse will have to be checked and paid as extras.  Alaska Airline charges $20 per suitcase for the first 3.

 Given the Uncle Bill/Gail road trip will last almost a month and incorporate a wide variety of locations - from the wilds of Canadian Rockies, to a Glacier drive by and several cities - I need lots of clothes.  The concept of stopping along the roadside to wash clothing in a frigid mtn stream is fairly abhorrent. So, it is three suitcases!

Back to packing and perhaps straightening up my miniature apt. Eh?!? 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It seems to take forever to blog.  Things I think about to share never meet up in the same time spot as when I'm hunched over this poor worn out laptop.  I am amazed to see how long it has been since I got around to posting.  Perhaps I will become better later this summer.

Right now my life seems to revolve around a most excellent trip to the Canadian Rockies.  At the largesse of my Uncle Bill, I shall stuff my dog Chelcie into a carry on doggie bag.  Then I will stuff her under the seat in front of me.  Off we will fly, first to Seattle and then to Calgary.  Doesn't that sound almost exotic?

After spending some time in Calgary and Banff, we will start our trek across the Canadian Rockies.  Bill is a marvelous driver and has a huge super size van.  He is always the driver.  He's been planning this trip for months and months now.

Bill came late to the Internet but now uses it with great abandon, except for email.  The few family members he communicates with via email all know to telephone him with a reminder to read his emails.  I think he has used Google map to look up almost every intersection we will cross in our three week journey.  He has even found  a three star kennel for my dear dog for part of the time in a teensy town at the Alaskan/Canadian border

  Of course another communication issue dear Bill has is the telephone.  He refuses to set up his answering message.  I think either his son or son in law has now put a warning on his cell phone.  We callers receive the message, " Bill doesn't respond to voice messages or texts, so don't even bother to leave one".  It is rather amusing in a Luddite way.  Nevertheless we have spent hours and hours on the phone, during a long winter, debating where, when and how we will see what we want to see.

Some point in the trip - near the summer solstice - we will arrive in a British Columbia port town.  After boarding Chelcie Dog, we ourselves will board a huge ferry for a 13 hour trip.  Then on land for  mere 5 hours.  Then back on board for the return trip North, back to our starting point.

We are not allowed to stay on the ferry so I had to figure out place to hang out for 5 hours.  I think I made everyone at the little motel giggle when I asked if I could rent a room by the HOUR instead of overnight.  The implications of what my innocent request stirred in the mind of the motel proprietor escaped me until I heard her somewhat nervous giggling but negative response.  Oh well.  Like I said, it has been a long winter for me here in the Northwest.  It must have been even more so for a hotel owner in a tiny BC town.

Getting a passport to go to Canada seems inherently wrong to me.  However I was forced to do so.  Passports have become so much more expensive than when I got my first one- over 15 years ago.  These new ones have a micro chip in them.  I'm not quite sure how it all works.  But then again I paid about the same to have my DOG microchipped 5 years ago.  I hope we don't set off any alarms due to crossed chips when we go through Security.

It turns out getting Chelcie flying status to Canada is a bit of an ordeal within itself.  So far I've invested $55 in the special, guaranteed to pass Airline rules of a "sherpa" brand carry on bag.  I've had her Rabies vaccination renewed.  And then
within the 10 days prior to flight... well... .more in a later blog.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fall changes everything

from a pretty fantastic book I just finished reading. Published in 1995 and written by a male, Robert Hellenga -- The Sixteen Pleasures. A book about a book of 16th century Italian erotica.

It always surprises me when a male can write a book filled with emotional changes and spiritual growth from a female perspective. But this is probably sexism on my part. anyway, the long quote,

Have you ever read a great novel or listened to a great symphony, or stood in front of a great work of art, and felt--absolutely nothing? You try to open yourself to the text, the music, the painting, but you have no power to respond. Nothing moves you. You are turned to stone. You feel guilty. You blame yourself, but you also wonderr if maybe there is nothing there, and that people only pretend toenjoy Dante's Paradisio or Beethovens Eroica or Botticelli's Primavera because they get good marks in Culture 101 for doing so. And then, when you least expect it, when you've closed the book, walked out of the concert hall or the museum, it hits you. SOMETHING hits you, comes at you from an odd angle.
A book worth reading for us boomers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Facebook (8)

What I am reading:

For my book club meeting on the second Tuesday of August:

I breezed through a wonderful summer read: The Guernsey Litereary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows.

Set in the post World War Two times on a little known island chain off the coast of France. These islanders were quickly overwhelmed by German occupation. What makes the book such an easy read--the story line is carried by a series of letters to and from about 5 main characters with a few little notes on the side. Loved it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer read

Summer reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Immediate Boomer comment: the main author - Mary Ann "worked as an editor, librarian and in bookstores". According to a biography her life long desire was to have a book of her own published. Unfortunately she became ill and died before its publication. This book is both her debut and swan song.

SO - Boomers BEWARE! We don't have forever, so figure out what you really want to do...and do it now. Our "in the futures" are running out of time. It is the time to act on our dreams and wanna-do-its!

Back to the book, A few years ago, while living on the Gulf of Mexico, I belonged to a writing group. Each week one of our members wrote and re wrote and re wrote again various chapters of her "future" book. The format was developing a plot line, characters and a mystery all in a series of various letters. She was so earnest as we listened to her read aloud the variations of each letter each week. I found it excrutiating and often noticed I was either gritting my teeth or gripping onto the seat of my chair in frustration. So, when I joined a book club last month, one can imagine the joy I felt upon beginning to read Guernsey Literary. It too was written in letters from the main character to others.

Fortunately the team of Shaffer and her neice Ann Barrows were much more clever with this format. It actually turned out to be a rather pleasant Summer Read, all taking place on the little island chain of Guernsey right off the coast of France during WW2. Naturally being a Boomer American with little world travel experience, I had very little idea of where these islands even were. My last geography class was in 7th grade with little knowledge picked up through my later years.

The book is charming with just a few bits of war horror tossed in to add a dash of reality. Surprisingly the novel in the form of letters seems to have worked here. A great read, not too heavy but a very personal look at the class driven citizens living under German occupation.

Ta...Ta... I must go for now and write the Great American novel before I did. Any suggestions? I did actually make it to the seminal event of my youth Woodstock. I think that story has already been told and told. Perhaps one more time before I die.