Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Multnomah Falls Still Roar

Monday Sept 25, 2017

I must write this while it is raw.

When I read that the firefighters where striving to save the bridge over Oregon’s Multnomah Falls my heart ached. The bridge! A fire decimating the forest around Multnoma Falls? It can’t be.

When I was eight years old I saw the falls for the first time, and our love affair was instant. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And over the years we often hiked to the bridge and looked over its cement railing to the tumultuous water spurting out beneath us. When I was a kid we drove up the Columbia River Gorge, past the falls, to Portland. Now we live on the west side of the gorge and last Sunday my husband and I drove down the always exquisite gorge to our little home town of The Dalles.  

Mulnomah Lodge, a stone structure with a cedar roof, sits at the base of the falls.

When flames ripped across the ridge at the top of the falls, they swept down the hillside, and raced toward the Lodge and all those cedar shakes.

The firefighters had their marching orders: “Protect the lodge.”
It was an exhausting overnight firefight. They brought in sprinkling trucks and drew water from the creek. The one that made the falls, and flows steadily toward the Columbia? 
See the falls was instrumental in saving its Lodge.
Multnomah Lodge is the icon of Oregon,” said Lance Lighty, a Eugene-Springfield Fire battalion chief called in to help manage the blaze. “We didn’t want Oregon to lose that. And we weren’t going to let the fire win on this one.”
I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the Gorge was on fire.

Yesterday when husband dear and I drove to The Dalles, and passed Multnomah Falls we could see that the bridge and the lodge was still there. And looking to the bluffs we could see that the burn had been chased by the wind into a serpentine pattern.

Strange, seeing the scars that were once green trees, and seeing that portions burned, yet next to it giant green Douglas fir trees stood healthy.

I heard that the fire jumped the Columbia River—a mile wide strip of water one would think would be the best fire berm in the world, but winds being what they are, and cinders floating on currents, a spark can travel a long way. Thus an area on the Washington side of the river burned as well.

I was happy to see that the area around the gorge still had green trees and was still gorgeous, but the fire is still burning, out of sight of the highway, and about 50% contained. Sunday, however, the air was clear.

Looking on the bright side, perhaps this fire will rejuvenate the forest, fertilize the soil, clear the underbrush, and open some pine cones that only reproduce when fire has melted the wax that binds them shut.

We must drive by in a year or so to see the recovery.  Some trees will survive. Some will be gone. Some will grow up from the roots. We’ll see.

My mother and I moved to Oregon when I was seven years old. We moved from the flatlands of Illinois to mountainous Oregon-- eye-candy to a flatlander.

The soldier-boy my mother married had enticed her with images of his home town of The Dalles. It is nestled beside the Columbia River east of the Cascade Mountain range with its resultant rain shadow. This leaves The Dalles’ topography close to a barren prairie. In spring, though, the hills emerge triumphant. The area is known for its fruit, and in the spring the enormous orchards burst into color, and little wildflowers sprang up and spring shoots transform the area. The rest of the year, set me up with eyes that love green.

And as they say, you can’t go home again. You can, but it hurts.

What was once home isn’t home anymore, guess that’s the reason they say you can’t go home again. The Dalles feels worn compared to its life when I was a child, relishing horseback rides, camping trips, and excursions to the creek to fish.

The Dalles Dam desimated Celilo Falls that narrow strip of river that was a Native American fishing ground. (A treaty said the Native Americans could fish there forever.)  Once, so it has been said, salmon were so thick you could walk across the river on their backs.

We have a lot to apologize for.

My husband’s brother said that they used sonar to determine if the rugged basalt flow that made Celilo Falls still existed under the lake behind the dam. Some proposed that the rock formation, now buried under so many tons of water, had been blasted away removing any possibility of future litigation, for it is a sore point with many people. But the rocks are still there, neither are they silted in as some had surmised. Future generations may have them back. Someday we will probably have no use for dams. But we will always have use for a river.

Imagine this: You know how prospectors pan for gold in creeks? Perhaps those rocks have collected gold dust over the years, the rushing water upstream washing it down to the now buried Celilo Falls.

Does it then belong to the Native Americans?


I’m dreaming.

While in The Dalles, we drove past my parents old property on Cherry Heights, and I didn’t even recognize the spot. It was as though straw covered.

The house—gone. The terraced lawn my mother kept so beautiful—gone. The crabapple tree that blossomed, a bouquet in the front yard, pink flowers along with green leaves that was so gorgeous drivers stopped to take pictures of it—gone. The cherry orchard, peach orchard, and apricot orchard—all gone, as were the apple trees that grew abundantly around the house. And that peach tree in the front yard with its peaches so juicy you could hardly eat one without choking? Gone.

Don’t go home again. It isn’t there.

The museum where my brother-in-law and wife volunteer, rather bothered me, not because it wasn’t an excellent museum, and I do believe in preserving history, but except for the nostalgia I just talked about regarding my childhood home, and the memory of good times, it is best to look ahead.

Looking back works if we learn from it, but it does not provide uplifting thoughts.  

I believe in a better world, a forward thinking world, not holding onto the old ways. But remember how resourceful those people were, the ingenuity of the men with their farm equipment, the arrowheads of the Native Americans, the creativity of the women, beading, quilts, some artwork made from their own hair. These people used whatever resources they had on hand.

 “Gone are the swarms of snapshot-seeking tourists at the foot of Multnomah Falls. The hordes of hikers are nowhere to be seen. There are no diners in the lodge. No fight for parking.

“But the falls don’t need an audience. They continue to roar.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Free House Moving?

Motivated by Casey Hester on the Texas Flip and Move TV show, who to sweeten the pie for bidders (he needed a certain amount for his flip house to break even) offered a free house moving.

Okay, I thought, when it comes time to sell my book how can I be different?

What could I offer as an incentive?

See I need a little help from my friends.

My book won’t come out for probably another year, but I’m thinking about it. Bookstores have gone kaput. Golly, I just saw this morning that Toys R (backward) Us has gone bankrupt. That was toy heaven when my kids were little.

Have people stopped buying toys, electronics, books?


They are buying online.

So, how do you stand out online?

Well, you can move a house if you have enough strong backs.

I’m not a salesperson. I don’t believe in talking a person into buying something they don’t want. I don’t believe in seeing everyone you meet as a potential customer. I hate being in that little room at a car dealership, left alone with my husband to “Talk about it.”

Didn’t I go there to buy a car? So, give me a good price, be nice to me, and I’ll buy it.

Of course, I might be “Just looking,” or checking out their cars so I can buy the same model at that cheap joint down the street. So I guess they must hook me.  But I don’t like that. Just give me what I want and I’ll buy it.

I think that if you want something like insurance, something everyone needs, but doesn’t want to buy, that you are there as a facilitator, to be of help, to make the painful process easier, not to strong arm the customer.

How can you be of service and not be pushy?

Am I off track?

A book is somewhat different. A person must want to read it. And they must know enough about it to make it a “must read.”

That’s where the reader comes in.

A book is something you write because it speaks to you, but then a book without a reader is like a seed planted on pure obsidian.

That’s where the reader comes in.

Well, I have a year to think about it—a lot can happen in a year.

Any suggestions?

And then Seth Godin’s blog popped up with this:
#Your fast car—Seth Godin
Right there, in your driveway, is a really fast car. And here are the keys. Now, go drive it.
(Want the car.)
Right there, in your hand, is a Chicago Pneumatics 0651 hammer. You can drive a nail through just about anything with it, again and again if you choose. Time to use it.
(Don’t want the hammer.)
And here's a keyboard, connected to the entire world. Here's a publishing platform you can use to interact with just about anyone, just about anytime, for free. You wanted a level playing field, one where you have just as good a shot as anyone else? Here it is.
 Do the work.
(Want to learn this.)
P.S. Still doing my photo a day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fun, Box Springs, Work


That’s Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. After the serious blog of last week, this one is frivolous. 

Are you in?

The fun was visiting the Carousel in Albany Oregon. When friends invited us to visit a carousel, I thought, O.K., an opportunity to be together, to visit, and I love carousels. I just didn’t know how much I would love this one.

And since I have kept my agreement with myself, to take a photo a day for thirty days, I thought, Wow, a photo opt.

I didn’t know how astounded I would be. That was the most exquisite carousel I have ever seen. Husband and I rode it. How could one resist?

Yes, and I posted more than one photo that day on Instagram. I couldn’t’ resist that either.

All the animals on the carousel were hand carved and hand painted, a three-year process for each animal—two to carve, one to paint, and there were months of curing. One cannot ride an animal until it is trained. Whoops paint cured.

The attention to detail was exquisite, the unique adornments art in themselves. And although each animal was one of a kind, they all fit together like a collection on the dress design show #Project Runway.

I almost fell on the floor in awe and envy of the artists.

The pavilion that housed the carousel was a work of art, too, as were the tables placed around the periphery of the room. The tops had been hand painted each with a different carousel animal.

I am even reticent about posting pictures. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this carousel must be experienced to be fully appreciated. I know that not all my readers live in the vicinity, so here you are folks, but if you are ever here, know that I did not photograph all the animals. I left some for you to experience live.

And I must visit again. With an appointment, a guest can visit the basement where craftspeople carve and paint the animals.  A notice said more were on the way. I saw the drawing of a proposed bison, a bucking horse, a bird…and in the photos below you can see a few animals in process—these were displayed next to the gift store. And there were some antique animals on display as well; one was a Zebra named Sweetpea. That’s my dog’s name.

My carver daughter’s teeth will probably ache at seeing this opportunity, although, it is all volunteer. Talk about a labor of love.

2. Box Springs:

There is a mountain range outside Riverside California named The Box Springs; I always thought How strange, almost as bad as Drain, Oregon, but here I am talking about true box springs. You know, ones that go under a mattress.

We invested in a pair of box springs to go under our King sized mattress. We have been sleeping on a platform bed, one that has an air bed on top, and does not need springs. It’s one you hear so many ads about, a “Sleep number,” bed where each sleeping partner can, with a remote control, adjust their side of the bed. No compromise there. The trouble was since it was so low; it was like crawling up from a squatting position. And in the middle of the night—you can imagine.  Now with the box springs, it has been brought up to civilized height. I’m a happy sleeper.

3. Work:

That was Monday. I got the first two chapters of my manuscript back with editing comments. Now it looks as though it is glued together with red ink. I am happy for the comments, though, for it is just what I need. Elaborate here, adjust this, put this over there. Great input. I am so afraid to bore people that I tend to be cryptic. That works for blogging, not so much for a full-length book.

My editor is the best. She is a gift.

Carousel work in process: 

A Poodle dog about to become a carousel mount. 

The horse is before it has its glossy top coat. I like it this way, but I guess it wouldn't hold up to wear.

Patterned after the artists own rescued a retired Grayhound

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Who do You Trust?

 “I just spent 90 minutes talking about authenticity dressed in an outfit I only wear to funerals.”—Brene’ Brown

That was today.

This was yesterday:

 “Trump isn’t crazy. We are.”--Allan Francis.

I had to laugh out loud when I read that. Not because it was ha ha funny, but because it was pathetic funny.

Trump has scared so many people that six dystopia classics have suddenly jumped to the top of Amazon’s top seller list. 

They are Orwell’s 1994 and Animal Farm, Huxley’s Brave New World, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Margaret Attwood’s Handmaid’s Tale and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Psychiatrist Allen Francis, twilight of american sanity (small letters his.) “A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump” writes that “Being a world-class narcissist doesn’t make Trump mentally ill as many diagnosticians claim.  

It makes him even more fearsome because he isn’t. 

If he was we could excuse him, kick him out of the Presidency, or dismiss his blatant blow-hard tactics.

“Insanity in individuals is somewhat rare, but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”-- Freidrich Nietzche

Well, crumb, and here we are sitting right smack dab in the middle of it.

Perhaps that readers are turning to the classics will make us saner people.

Francis wrote the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While other diagnosticians are correctly noting that the disorder’s defining features fit Trump like a glove (grandiose self-importance; preoccupations with being great; requiring constant admiration’ feeling entitled; lacking empathy; and being exploitive, envious and arrogant) still Francis maintains that it does not prove that he is mentally ill. 

Actually, it has gotten him fame, fortune, women and now political power.

That people call Trump crazy is to ignore a deeper social sickness.

Simply put, Trump isn’t insane, but our society is.

An individual can be dead wrong and not be crazy, but for a society to be dead wrong is scary.

Used to be the world was huge, the resources boundless and self-preservation necessary for personal survival. (Often they didn’t know where their next meal was coming from.) The survival instincts that worked for fifty thousand years now need to be redirected into a world that requires cooperation.

I don’t know what a big hairy dilemma looks like but I know he has horns for I am sitting on one.

Why would we elect a man so blatantly against the earth, global warming, woman, immigrants, ethnic differences, conserving resources, and world trade?

Throw out a phrase, “Make American Great Again,” and enough Americans believed it to elect Trump, not to mention that Hillary was demonized to the extent that even women didn’t trust her.

I think it was the Archie Bunker phenomenon (TV’s All in the Family). Archie began as a laughable bigoted buffoon, and he became popular. Perhaps people appreciate an individual who lets his thoughts spill out his mouth without censorship, and without any care about what others think. It is what they wish for themselves.

 It is a child that has never grown up.

Why we can't stay silent on social issues due to fear of criticism or getting it wrong.--BrenĂ© Brown,  BA, MA and PhD.

And then today happened.

As I listened to Brene’ Brown talking about “Belonging, Courage, and Constructive Conversations” on Marie Forleo’s show, I was reassured about the health of our society when nigh on to 40 million viewers showed up for her Ted Talk.

I am reassured when attendees in the thousands plunk down funds and go to a Tony Robbins event to confront their psychological, financial and spiritual issues.

Brown points out that we are hard-wired not to hurt each other for we are a social species.

But, to harm another first we need to dehumanize them.

When the president calls women, “pussy,” or “dogs,” it renders them subhuman.

On the flip side when we call him “a pig,” we are doing that as well.

This chips away at our soul.

It is a moral exclusion and at the core of every genocide.

If they are sub-human then we can justify eradicating them

People are hard to hate close up.

What is Trust?

Brown says there are 7 elements to trust, and these are observable and testable.

Her anarchism for those elements is BRAVING

B is for foundries, what’s ok, and what’s not ok.
R Reality. Say what you’ll do, and do what you say.
A Accountability
V the vault. Think of the cone of silence. It is a safe place where trust is shared. Sometimes we “talk out of school” to make a connection. However, we are telling stories that are not ours to tell.
Integrity, choose what’s right over Fun, Fast, and Easy. People don’t do discomfort well. We have become a society of fun, fast and easy. 
Both Brown and Forleo said that the important things they achieved in life were not easy.
Generosity. Assume positive intent. In the absence of data, it is human nature make up stories. We can run a long narrative of how they did us wrong when we aren’t facing them head on. (Remember it is hard to hate someone close up.)

The earth still laughs in Flowers.

This Gerbera Daisy from my porch wintered over. I was surprised to see its little green sprout in the planter box, and so I tenderly watered it, and look what I got. 

I have high hopes for it as winter is coming on. 

Perhaps we, too, can winter over.

 From my daughter’s trainer:
“Avoid realistic goals.”
“With realistic goals, you will settle. Instead set realistic time frames.”

I like that man.