Monthly Archives: July 2015

I power-washed the back fence today (2)


I power-washed the other half of the back fence today. Dear God, somebody shoot me now. I don’t think I can raise my arms ever again.

To accomplish this task, Stef and I had to move about half a cord of firewood plus about 8,000 boards of various lengths Stef Neyhart somehow can’t bear to part with, some we have had so long they are now petrified, which means they are now heavy as rocks. Every few years, we actually have a need for a board and she races to that pile and, after several hours of figuring, pulling, un-piling and then re-piling, she comes up with the perfect board to use for some project, waving it in the air and cheering like she’s headed home from the hunt. To her, this proves that a big pile of rotting boards is a good thing to have and to keep forever. And, so, we do.

Power-washing is one of the most satisfying and filthy things I think I ever do. Years of grime and dirt fly off those boards or off that concrete and plaster me with so much ook I’m fairly certain I’ll never again be clean. I love the look of things, though, once I’ve knocked all the dirt and moss off of them, and I feel pretty much the same way about myself when I get out of the shower and realize I DID get clean, after all. It feels like a miracle.

We were both just about to run out of steam, so we threw together a quick, but delightful dinner – grilled chicken breasts which had been marinating in olive oil, fresh rosemary from our garden and some sliced garlic. Grilled asparagus and a salad completed our meal which made it all so lovely to see but, really, it’s so darned healthy, I hope it doesn’t make us sick. Guess we’ll have to have some ice cream later just to make sure.

Our beautiful granddaughter, Ruthie, will be arriving on Sunday, so we are excited about that. She’s amazingly talented in so many areas it’s hard to keep up with them all – singing, gymnastics and dance are the big ones, I think. Nana (Stef) is going to teach her to kayak – what fun.

Well, that’s all the news fit to print from this end of the country. I would wave to you, if I could lift my arms. Since I can’t, I’ll blow all of you a kiss. JS


Remind us that this is what we are here for…


An elderly cat died in our bathtub this morning. He belongs to our neighbors who are out of town and, clearly, not very aware of how sick their cat was.

Stef brought him home from an alley-way last night where he was dying, wasting away, and very, very old. We had him resting on blankets and towels in the family room, but I insisted we put him in the tub last night so I could get up and check on him or give him water if he cried out, which he did, a couple of times.

I talked to him about the Rainbow Bridge and told him that this house was a safe place from which to make that launch. I told him to look for Riley (who would show him the ropes) but to watch out for Tinker (who could get kind of snarky) and how much fun it will be to feel his body young and strong again and out of pain.

He made hi.s transition about an hour ago at 8:30am. I had gone in there about a half hour before to give him a little sip of water, stroke his head and talk to him. He has always been an outdoor kitty, so this might have been the most affection he’s ever gotten in his life, and I’m feeling really sad and weepy, reactivated in remembering all the animals I’ve carried in my heart and had to say good-bye to. I’m glad we were the ones to do it, though, the ones to be kind to him right at the end of this life, the ones to remind him that this is what we are here for – to love each other, to care for each other gently, and, when the time comes, to wish each other well as we strike out for the next great adventure. JS


Beautiful Rogue River Hovercraft Ride


We are heading down to the beautiful Rogue River today to go on a hovercraft ride up the river for an hour or so, then we will have a scrumptious dinner at one of the lovely lodges up the Rogue – only accessible by boat – before we head back. Should be a fabulous day on the river.

I’ve only been on the Rogue once before, and it’s one of the most powerful and gorgeous rivers in Oregon, really something to experience. I was with a bunch of friends there about 20 yrs. ago and we all really got clobbered on that last kayak run – boats and paddles everywhere, my Chapstick swirling ’round and ’round in a whirlpool, people having to be rescued (no names mentioned) by others who actually knew what they were doing. When we stopped for lunch, someone noticed a slice in my leg and blood running down to my ankle, plus a giant bruise on my other leg. “Wow,” she said, “you really got smacked!”

I wiped the blood off my foot. “Oh, this?” I asked. “Well, this is where I had to save Robin and Nanbo from drowning while ago (which, as we all knew, was a totally false, humorous joke.)

She pointed to my bruise. “What happened here?”

There was no time to think up something as heroic as I wanted to, so I just told the truth. “Oh, this one? Well, this one…uh…this one…this one is where I hit my leg on the car door at the Taco Bell on the way down here.”

I don’t think today will be nearly so exciting or adventurous, but I bet it will be fun. And memorable. JS


The recycling center at the dump


Stef, Heather, Sam & Trish did a kayaking river run down the Umpqua yesterday.

Toby and I went to the recycling center at the dump. It’s quite a nice facility and very clean. Still, the smells are enough to make him swoon, so he loves going there with me just to hang his head out the window and sniiiiiiiifffffffff to beat the band.

For me, getting the recycling done always feels good. A few years ago, we ripped out a built-in bar in the family room and transformed that into our own recycling center, complete with 3 tall plastic containers marked “PAPER,” “PLASTIC,” and “TIN CANS & GLASS,” making it so much easier to just grab the containers, throw them in the car and head to the dump. The containers fill up much faster than I would have ever imagined, though, especially since I feel so guilty over the tiniest scrap of paper I don’t recycle. Finally, when things are spilling out and onto the floor, or they are getting so heavy I know they’ll be hard to lift, I load Toby up and we go get the job done. If I don’t, I obsess and fret and that’s never a good thing for me to do. JS


They are NOT on my head


Stef’s son, Sam, arrived late yesterday with his girlfriend, Trish, whom we’d not met before. Clearly, we wanted to impress her with our tidiness and flair. So, we have cleaned and scrubbed like maniacs for the past week, sprucing up the whole place with new lamps, comforters, pillows, etc.Since parts of our house often look like a grenade just went off in a laundry basket (no names named here) you can understand that this has been an INTENSE process. Indeed, right up until Stef left to go pick them up at the airport in Eugene, we were up on ladders hanging baskets with gorgeous flowers tumbling out of them.

While ago, as I was sitting in here perusing Facebook, Stef stuck her head in the door and asked, “Did you really mean to leave your underpants there on the bed?”

I looked up, perplexed. “Oh!” I said, “I actually DIDN’T mean to do that.”

She cocked her head, like a puppy. “So, then, you just got distracted?” she asked.

“No, not really,” I replied. “I was in the process of putting them on when suddenly – and, for no apparent reason – I wandered off.”

She snorted and headed down the hallway.

“At least, they’re not on my head!” I shouted after her.

And, they are NOT on my head, although I’m not entirely sure why I’m wearing this cap right now. Oh well. JS