Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for . . . Shoes Full of Sand

Long before I wrote a book titled Shoes Full of Sand, I wrote a song by that name. It was inspired by my then-new love for Fred Lick. Our first date took place just before Christmas. Dinner and a movie. Then Fred went to Southern California for two weeks to spend the holidays with his family. After only one date, we were already in love. We agreed to meet in Monterey.

I arrived first. I remember looking for him by the carousel, walking down the steps and seeing him coming toward me. Just like in the movies, we flew into other's arms. We spent a magical weekend at the beach, where every moment confirmed that we were meant to be together. That was 1984. We were married in May 1985 and lived in San Jose, where Fred finished out his career with the City of San Jose's recreation department and I worked for several newspapers, ending up as editor of the Saratoga News.

In 1996, we moved to Oregon. We both wanted to live by the beach, and here we could actually afford it. We longed for those shoes full of sand.

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of Fred's death of complications from Alzheimer's Disease. We never suspected back in 1984 that our lives would take such a turn. As I dig my feet into Oregon's cool gray sand, I hear "Shoes Full of Sand" playing in my head again. I recorded it for you the other day. Dressed up, arranged the perfect background, repeated it till it was perfect. Unfortunately, that computer is in the shop today with a virus, so I tried it a capella on my phone. Note the dog helping in the lower right. 

I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge. S stands for "Shoes Full of Sand." My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:



Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for . . . Rhodies

Here on the Oregon coast, color is bursting out all over as the rhododendrons spring into bloom. They're coming out in all shades of red, pink, purple, white and yellow. It's a spectacular display that only lasts for a few weeks, but Lord it's beautiful. The rest of the year, the plants offer a sturdy green presence able to endure snow, ice, rain and wind. Back in San Jose, we had roses. I miss my roses, but they can't stand up to the elements like rhodies can. Rhodies are tough.

The rhododendrons in my front yard were blooming when Fred passed away. The third anniversary is this Wednesday. I will always think of him when I see rhodies or when I hear robins singing just before dawn.

A few miles south of here in Florence, Oregon, the town celebrates rhodies in a big way with its annual rhododendron festival. It takes place May 16-18 this year, with the crowning of Queen Rhododendra, a parade, car show, craft fair, rhodie run, and lots of flower displays. For information, go to the website at www.florencechamber.com/chamber/105th-rhododendron-festival

I'm participating in this month's A to Z blogging challenge. R stands for Rhodies. 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--O is for Oregon Everything
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. Come back tomorrow to find out what S stands for.





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.