Saturday, February 16, 2019

Today is...

National Do A Grouch A Favor Day

I called my dad.

(Love you, Dad.)

Roses are Red .... How does that go again?

My favorite place to get greeting cards is Emily McDowell Studio. I dare you to look and not find something you love there. When I visit her site, I invariably think of the people in my life and buy cards that are perfect for them, or perfect for a situation.

The last time I placed, an order, I made sure to get a really great birthday card for Hubby who was going to turn 60 this year. We were traveling the week of his birthday, so I made sure to pack the card and bring it with me. By the time his birthday rolled around, though, I had completely forgotten about it and ended up giving it to him the next day, unsigned.

I told him that if I had remembered to give it to him, I would have written in it that I love him and wished him a happy birthday. That's okay, he said, I can give it to him again next year.

Valentine's Day was the following week and I completely forgot, again, to give him a card I had purchased and put away for the occasion. I guess I now have two cards I can give him next year.

This certainly isn't the first (or second) time I've forgotten to give someone a special card I picked out just for them. I bought a birthday card with a bunch of pink flamingos - an inside joke - for a friend's birthday, put it in my closet with my collection of other cards, and then forgot to send it. For years, I would come across it when sifting through the cards looking for one that would make a good thank you note or note of congratulations and I'd think, Oh, yeah. I forgot about that card. I should send that to her next year. But, I never did.

Eventually, we sold the house and I was going through all the stuff that accumulates in a house over ten years and was giving away or selling anything and everything just so I wouldn't have to move it. I found the flamingo card and thought, I'll be damned if I'm going to pack this card! So, I sent it to her and wished her a happy birthday, whenever that was.

If you know me, you've either received an Emily McDowell card from me or you will. You might check this out, too. I haven't read it yet but I'm thinking I will. (I'm definitely a fan.)

Happy birthday! Happy Valentine's Day, too, while I'm at it. (You know, just in case I forget to send your card.)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Orientation, part 2

Boaters know this feeling: it's a slight feeling of disorientation on land after spending a lot of time on a boat. Especially in the shower, for some reason, it feels as if the room is rocking back and forth ever so slightly.

I sort of remember a similar sensation after ice skating, oh so many years ago. Walking in street shoes after gliding on ice was like a mermaid becoming mortal. My feet felt weird, sluggish, sticking heavily to the ground.

I've been traveling a lot lately and getting disoriented in hotels has become a common occurrence. Last night, I woke up and I wasn't sure of where I was at first and I was in my own bed!

Don't worry. It'll wear off.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


The last hotel I stayed in, I could not see the TV from the bathroom which is a clear violation of hotel layout regulations. A couple of steps away from the sink, I could. Not that I necessarily need to see the TV from any given bathroom in any given location, rules are rules and hotel architecture cannot be exempt. It would be a slippery slope indeed if suddenly hotels considered bathrooms as a relatively private space rather than an extension of the room itself. What would be next? Soft toilet tissue? Quiet closing doors? Thick, plush carpets and tasteful art? Breakfast after 9am? Espresso machines?????

Hotels are meant to provide a consistent experience so frequent travelers know what to expect: subtle discomfort sufficient enough to ensure check out. Any departure from the hotel layout regulations could lead to happy travelers contemplating long term stays which could disrupt the entire multi-billion dollar travel industry.

Also of note, unaided moms traveling with children appear universally tired. All should be awarded a perfectly chilled martini at day's end (if not immediately).

Lastly, there was a small sign above the sink in the bathroom at the Phoenix airport that read, "Automatic turn on. Do not push." That kinda cracked me up but I'll leave it to you to imagine why.

Thursday, February 7, 2019


I was staying in a hotel recently where I went through my usual routine of mapping my route from bed to bath so I could navigate my way in the dark without stubbing a toe. While I was successful in that endeavor, I never quite got the hang of navigating my way to the room itself.

The carpet in the hallways had a busy pattern of the sort you might find in a Las Vegas casino, although in slightly muted colors, with the exception of a small area in front of the elevator. Without this differentiation in the pattern, I was lost every time I left the room. Once I found the elevator, I was fine. All I had to remember to find my way back was to turn right out of the elevator (or was it left?) and my room number (which was 2-something.)

I'll be home soon and my orientation will get reset. My focus will be tax returns for a while and I'm not going anywhere. Mark my words, though: I'll be on the road again April 16th and trying to figure out where the hell I am.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Dedicated to Galina

She's still nagging me to write a book. I thought she forgot about it but, nope. She asked me just the other day, How's the book coming?"

She's not my muse. She's more of a cheerleader, someone that refuses to stop pushing me. Not that it will change anything but if I ever write one, I told her, I'd dedicate it to her. 

This will have to be good enough, Galina. For now. 

Or, this:

Don't stop pushing, Galina. Maybe, someday, it'll actually happen. And if it does, your name will be on the dedication page. 

Oh, by the way, if you're looking for a hair stylist, you should look her up (whether you're writing a book or not). She's at Parkwest Studio, #VanWA. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Whenever someone is talking about "The Wall" in the media, it often features someone talking in front of a wall. This got me to thinking. If there's already a wall (or fence), why do we need another one? How much of our border already has one? What problem are we trying to fix?

I asked Google and found this:

Borderline - The Washington Post

Take a look. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Welcome Home

CNN: Washington is under a state of emergency as measles cases rise

" Last week, a person infected with measles attended a Portland Trail Blazers home game in Oregon amid the outbreak. Contagious people also went to Portland International Airport, as well as to hospitals, schools, stores, churches and restaurants across Washington's Clark County and the two-state region, county officials said. "
From The Columbian:  "The virus lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person, and can survive for up to two hours in an airspace where the infected person coughed or sneezed."

Like in an airplane?

We arrived at Portland International Airport yesterday from Phoenix. Our flight was packed and it seemed everyone was sneezing.

It started even before we got on the plane. We had to take a shuttle from the rental car area to the main terminal and we were surrounded by small children, most too young to know to cover one's mouth. We considered holding our breath for the entirety of our commute but figured we wouldn't last the two mile journey.

The flight was similarly packed with children. (On a Monday. Don't these kids have school?) Even the adults were coughing and sneezing, all around us.

Of the 36 cases of measles in Clark County, 31 involve people who were not immunized. According to the Washington State Department of Health, 7.9% of children entering kindergarten had a vaccine exemption - meaning a signed Certificate of Exemption excusing the student from one or more vaccinations due to medical, personal, or religious beliefs - during the 2017-18 school year in Clark County compared to 4.7% of the kindergarteners statewide. For all grades K-12, 7.5% of students in Clark County had some exemption from immunizations versus 4.9% for all of Washington (which breaks down to 7.5% for private schools versus 4.7% for public schools statewide).

Here in Clark County, 12.2% of students in the Battle Ground School District alone had exemptions (with an enrollment of 14,523). The worst school district in the state, by the way, is Orchard Prairie School District (40.7%) in Spokane County while the worst school is St. John of Kronstadt Orthodox Christian School in Yakima (68%) so I guess things could be worse.

I've been immunized against the measles as well as the flu but I loaded up on Vitamin C today anyway. And I plan to stay in bed until March as a safeguard.

Seriously, if you think you have the measles, call your healthcare provider before going to see the doctor to safeguard against spreading the infection to others in the waiting room. And, if you're a parent, consider getting your kids vaccinated. (The Washington state legislature has introduced a bill that would ban personal exemptions for the measles vaccine.)