Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for . . . Question


I have a question. Why do we need the letter Q?

Q is quirky, which is a polite way of saying it's crazy and doesn't make any sense. Look at it. It's an O with a tail. It can't travel alone, always has to have a "U" after it. And it makes the same sound as a K or a hard C, so it's redundant. You have to look hard to find Q in the dictionary between P and R. It doesn't even take up a whole page in the white pages of my phone book, and it isn't there at all in the yellow pages. P goes straight to R.

We could say Q is "quaint," which might be a snarky way of saying it's old and out of date, like my Windows XP computer which was being stripped and its contents loaded into a new computer as I wrote this on my laptop. Querulous is how I feel about that. But the dying of my old computer left me in a quandary and forced me to go to Staples for a new one.

Q is quizzical, meaning it makes us raise our eyebrows and say, "Huh?"

Q sits way off on the upper left edge of my QWERTY keyboard because everybody knows you don't need it very much, unlike D or I, which are right under my fingers. 

Q makes a body want to quit this alphabet challenge because what can I write about Q? I did come up with some words: quail, beautiful birds which I have seen wandering around my woods; quilting, which a lot of Oregon coast ladies are crazy about; quiet, which it is up here in my trees when the ocean isn't smacking the sand in a hissy fit; quill like folks used to write with and dogs sometimes run into trouble with when they get friendly with porcupines; quote, which would require me to find somebody else's words to quote; quarter, one-fourth of something or the coin I have stuck in my Wells Fargo stage coach bank that I can't get open; and query, which is a pitch letter I could write about in my Writer Aid blog, but this isn't Writer Aid day (Fridays). I keep coming back to my question:

What's up with the letter Q?

Answers greatly appreciated.


I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and Q is for Question. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
 
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon--F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon--G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage--H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon--I is for I-5
J Writer Aid--J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon--Key is for Keys
L Unleashed in Oregon--L is for Lick
M Unleashed in Oregon--M is for Milk-Bone
N Childless by Marriage--N is for No, I Don't Know Any Children's Songs
O Unleashed in Oregon--O is for Oregon Everything
P Writer Aid--P is for prompts
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
V Writer Aid
W Unleashed in Oregon
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Childless by Marriage

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Come back Monday to find out what R stands for.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for . . . Oregon everything!

Of course O is for Oregon. But it's more than that. Driving along the roads in this state, one is likely to see big green, yellow, orange or black letter O's on the windows and bumpers of passing cars. You may even see flags bearing the letter O, but these O's don't just stand for Oregon. Oh no. You see, we don't have a pro football team in this state, so people are crazy about our college teams, specifically the University of Oregon Ducks--green and yellow--and Oregon State University's Beavers--orange and black. All it takes is the one letter to show their loyalty. Fans put it on their cars, their clothes, their foreheads and chests, anywhere, just one big O. Of course folks in Oregon forget that there are other states with names that start with the letter O. Oklahoma and Ohio for example, have state universities, too. But here, O stands for Oregon.

I went to San Jose State, so I don't care who wins the football games, but I like the black and orange colors better, so if I were going to buy a sweatshirt . . . No, I don't dare. Once, while I was walking Annie on the Bayfront, a drunk staggered by and said, "Hey, an orange dog. Yay, Beavers." I didn't have the heart to tell him Annie is tan, not orange, and neither one of us is into sports.

O. Around here, everything starts with the letter O. It's alphabet soup with too many O's. For example:
OCCC--Oregon Coast Community College (as opposed to CCC--Central Coast Chorale)
OCA--Oregon Coast Aquarium
OCCA--Oregon Coast Council for the Arts
OCP--Oregon Catholic Press
OMTA--Oregon Music Teachers Association
OPB--Oregon Public Broadcasting
ODFW--Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

O--kay. You get the idea. There are more, but I'm drawing a blank. Help me out if you can think of other O abbreviations. 


I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge. O stands for Oregon and just about everything in it. It could also stand for ocean, ode, origami, old, or ordinary, which Oregon is not. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
 
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon--F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon--G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage--H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon--I is for I-5
J Writer Aid--J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon--Key is for Keys
L Unleashed in Oregon--L is for Lick
M Unleashed in Oregon--M is for Milk-Bone
N Childless by Marriage--No is for No, I Don't Know Children's Songs
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
V Writer Aid
W Unleashed in Oregon
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Childless by Marriage

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Writer Aid tomorrow to find out what P stands for.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for . . . Milk-Bone



M is for Milk-Bone. What would we do without Milk-Bones? Annie and my previous dogs have all trained on these bone-shaped cookies. I use Milk-Bones to lure Annie into going to bed, to distract her when I’m leaving, and to bribe her when she’s got something in her mouth that I don’t want her to eat—like my paycheck or a paper clip. The trick is to grab the unhealthy item before she finishes eating her cookie. But it works every time. You’d think she’d remember this is a trick, but no. She always goes for the Milk-Bone.

We use the small size cookies that come in various colors and flavors. When Annie gets a larger treat, she furrows her brows, wanders around the yard with it getting soggy in her mouth and ultimately buries it. Sometimes the mind of a dog is a mystery.

Did you know that Milk-Bones are made by Nabisco, which also makes Lorna Doones and Oreos for people? That might explain why I find them so appealing. But for the fear of breaking my teeth, I’d eat them, too.

I once did research on whether people could safely eat dog food. Some of the treats made for dogs look so tasty they’re hard to resist. Those little steaks and “Snausages,” yum. Lately I’ve been buying “Blue Dog” treats that are flavored with peanut butter, bacon, cheese, and chicken. They’re shaped like birds, cats, cows and other animals, and they smell so good. Again, my wimpy human teeth hold me back.

When I asked pet food manufacturers if people could eat their dog treats, they said they wouldn’t hurt us, but we wouldn’t enjoy them. They don’t have the salt, sugar and other flavorings that humans are used to finding in their foods.In other words, they're too healthy for us.

Should we start eating dog treats? Annie thinks I should keep my paws off her cookies.

M is for Milk-Bones.

I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and M is for Milk-Bones. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
 
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon--F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon--G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage--H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon--I is for I-5
J Writer Aid--J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon--Key is for Keys
L Unleashed in Oregon--L is for Lick
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
V Writer Aid
W Unleashed in Oregon
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Childless by Marriage

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Childless by Marriage tomorrow to find out what N stands for.






Monday, April 14, 2014

L stands for . . . Lick

Lick is an interesting last name. I can think of worse ones, and honestly I was delighted to marry into a surname that people could pronounce and spell. Folks have always had trouble with my maiden name, and my first husband's last name wasn't much better. But Lick. Now there's an easy name. Or so you would think. It's amazing how many people ask me how to spell it.

So, Lick. The word lick has lots of meanings, some of them not so savory. Over the years, we've had our share of obscene phone calls from people making suggestions related to our name. But there are nice connections, too. You can lick an ice cream cone. Horses are drawn to salt licks. A good fighter can lick a bully. One can lick one's wounds or lick something into shape. And my dog licks my face and my hands, especially when I've just eaten something good and greasy.

My musician friends think I have the greatest last name ever for a person who plays guitar and piano. In music, a lick is a catchy collection of notes that light up your song.

Now that Fred is gone, some folks might wonder whether I'll go back to my original name or re-marry into another surname. Not a chance. This one's going on my gravestone.

L stands for Lick. I welcome your suggestions for other ways this word can used. I know there are more.

I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and L is for Lick. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
 
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon--F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon--G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage--H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon--I is for I-5
J Writer Aid--J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon--Key is for Keys
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Come back tomorrow to find out what M stands for.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

K stands for . . . Keys

Ever lost your keys? Me too. The last time was in Hawaii. I discovered they were missing after we were back on the mainland. Not so easy to go back and look. I think they fell out of my purse in the rental car where I kept pushing my purse under the seat to hide it.

Actually I lose my keys almost every day. I just had to go look for them to write this post. They were in the pocket of the sweatshirt I wore to walk the dog last night, but they could have been in my purse, buried under a pile of mail or still stuck in the front door. Once in a while, I actually hang them on the key rack.

Quick. Don't look. What keys do you have on your chain? And what would you have to do to replace them? My key chain includes: key to my house, key to Dad's house, two car keys, my post office box key, a key to the room at the cemetery where Fred's ashes rest, and three church keys. No, I don't mean church keys as in can openers for that afternoon beer. I mean actual keys to an actual church.

I work part-time as a music minister at Sacred Heart Church in Newport. I have separate square-topped keys for the chapel where we practice, the little room that holds our sheet music and instruments, and the hallway into the office wing where I make photocopies. I can get into the sanctuary, but I cannot get into the hall because my job doesn't require me to go there. It's a shame a church has to be so security conscious, but we have had several burglaries and our pastor is adamant that all doors remain locked unless someone is using them. That means when all the singers have arrived in the chapel, I lock the outside door.

I'm proud of those church keys because they mean I have this great job and people trust me. One of my favorite memories is the night I took my visiting father and brother to the church. Dad was so impressed that I had keys to get in and could take him into the sanctuary. It proved I actually do have a job, something he frequently doubts, and that maybe I actually do something real with my music.

I have other keys. The rack in my kitchen holds a spare house key, the keys to my safe deposit box and a few old keys whose use I no longer recall. Somewhere in the garage, I have more orphaned keys, including an old-fashioned skate key which I used to attach my skates to my worn-out school shoes before playing Roller Derby with my friends. Every key holds a memory of a place I lived or worked, a car I used to drive, a lock I used on a storage shed or a gym locker, or a suitcase that took me far from home.

Actual metal keys are slowing giving way to digital cards like the kind we use at hotels now, but those will never feel the same as that clanging chain of keys that opens all the doors.

K stands for Key.

I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and K is for Key. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:

A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon--F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon--G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage--H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon--I is for I-5
J Writer Aid--J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Come back Monday to find out what L stands for.









Thursday, April 10, 2014

I stands for . . . I-5

Photo courtesy Photobucket.com (Can't shoot when I'm driving!)
I stands for I-5, the interstate highway that stretches between the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border. It’s the road that seems to connect everything for western Oregonians heading for Portland, Corvallis or Eugene, and for me, it’s the road home to San Jose.

We don’t have a freeway here on the Oregon Coast. We have Highway 101, maximum speed 55, mostly one in lane in each direction with lots of curves along the ocean and through the redwoods. You can get to San Jose that way, but I-5 is more efficient. The trick is getting to it. From anyplace on the coast, it takes at least an hour of windy roads over the coast range to finally get to the open farmland of the Willamette Valley and the freeway. I have driven it in sun, snow, rain and fog, and I’m always glad to finally enter I-5 Suddenly I can drive fast, with multiple lanes to pass the many trucks, Rvs and slow-movers. I can just hear my car saying, “Hooray!”

I-5 is designed for long drives. It has rest stops every so often where one can use the restrooms, walk the dog, and eat a picnic lunch. Sleeping is also good. At many of the stops, people sit near the bathrooms holding signs asking for money. Some play guitar. many have dogs with them. They claim to be homeless, out of gas, in a jam. I never know whether or not it’s true.

The freeway also offers lots of billboards and informational signs that tell us how far it is to the next cities and what restaurants, gas stations and special attractions can be reached off the next numbered exit. The road is so straight most of the way that we need something to keep us awake. Radio stations in the rural areas tend toward Christian and right-wing talk shows. One could listen to an entire audio book--or write one--while cruising I-5.

It’s 700 miles from South Beach to San Jose. I spend most of those miles on I-5. I know the landmarks well: the Apple Peddler restaurant in Sutherland; the wild animal park in Winston; the casino and antique stores in Canyonville; the great Best Western in Roseburg; the Heaven on Earth restaurant; the truck stop with the porn theater; the rest stop at Rogue River; the series of mountain passes leading to Siskyou Pass, elevation 4310; the Welcome to California sign with its yellow poppy on a blue background; the agricultural inspection station; Yreka;Weed; Mt. Shasta; Lake Shasta; Redding; Corning; Willows where I eat at the Black Bear restaurant; Sacramento, where the traffic clogs up; Stockton, and Tracy, where I exit to 205 to 580 to 680 to 280 to Dad’s house in San Jose, arriving exhausted from fighting the Bay Area traffic.

It’s a long drive, which I have made approximately 40 times, mostly alone, since we moved to Oregon almost 18 years ago. That first trip with the rental truck that kept breaking down was something to remember. It occupies a whole chapter of my book Shoes Full of Sand. And when I went back the first time to visit, I brought so much stuff, my mother thought I was leaving my husband. I don't pack light.

These days, I go back two or three times a year. I fly sometimes, but it takes so long to get to the Portland Airport that driving seems more efficient, and it's definitely more fun. Sometimes I think I actually live on I-5. When I drag my suitcase into my room at the Best Western in Yreka, which is exactly halfway, I often feel that I am finally home.


I stands for I-5.


I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and I is for I-5. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
 
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon
G Unleashed in Oregon
H Childless by Marriage
I Unleashed in Oregon
J Writer Aid
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Writer Aid tomorrow to find out what J stands for.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for ...Gunk!



This A-to-Z post has nothing to do with the dog—unless you count the many times she charged into the bathroom yesterday to lick my friend’s face while he was on the floor with his head under the sink. He tried to fix my pipes but eventually decided we needed a pro. As I write, I am waiting for the truck to arrive.

I searched hard for a G word related to plumbing. Sink, pipes, crescent wrenches, leaks, clogs? Oh, gunk! I’ll explain.

My bathroom sink has been clogged for probably a year or so, draining very slowly. Every now and then I’d pour in half a bottle of Liquid Plumber, the clogs would clear for about a week, and then it would clog up again. Clearly I needed to try something else. One of the tough things about being a widow with no kids and no nearby family is that I don’t know what to do when things go wrong with the house. While the men were learning about tools, pipes, wires and cars, I was learning how to knit, sew, and bake a cake. I’m good with a spatula, but I don’t know what to do with a wrench.

I tried. A couple weeks ago, when the sink no longer drained at all, I got out Sunset's Basic Plumbing book and followed the directions. I removed the plunger. I got underneath and removed the trap, that loopy piece of plastic right under the sink. When I tilted said trap over a bucket, a big wad of gunk came out. It was made of hair and soap and I don’t know what else, but it had turned into gunk. It made a big plopping sound. Oh, I felt so clever.

Now came the tricky part, putting the trap and the plunger back on. I did it, and the sink drained freely--onto the floor under the sink.  I took it all apart again. When I went to put it back together, I discovered the pipe behind the trap was badly corroded. “Toast,” is what my friend called it.  He tried to take the corroded pipe off, failed, and now I can’t use the sink at all. Blame it all on gunk.

The gunk from the sink, though made of different substances, looks an awful like the gunk I cleaned out of my gutter a few weeks ago. Smells like it too. That gunk is made of weeds, pine needles, and mud. They’re both disgusting. Webster’s defines gunk as “filthy, stinky or greasy” matter. Yes, yes, and yes. I would much rather bake a cake.

G could stand for gutter or green or grass or growling (back to the dog), but today it stands for Gunk. 


I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge, and G stands for Gunk. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
A Newsletter--A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage--B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon--C is for Crate
D Writer Aid--D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon--E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon
G Unleashed in Oregon
H Childless by Marriage
I Unleashed in Oregon
J Writer Aid
K Unleashed in Oregon
L Unleashed in Oregon
M Unleashed in Oregon
N Childless by Marriage
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
W Writer Aid
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Unleashed in Oregon

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Childless by Marriage tomorrow to find out what H stands for.