A Truce with the Spider in the Door Jamb

  One of the door jambs in our back hall provides housing for a small spider. I call her Gertrudis. She occasionally ventures out of the door jamb onto the floor, but if I put a finger within inches of her, she scurries into her lair with unbelievable speed. I know the spider is in residence when there are no ants wandering about in the hall’s wooden floors.   Whenever the weather changes, ants wander in from the back door where the insulator between door and floor is less … [Read more...]

Can We Raise Kick-Ass Daughters?

How Can We Raise Strong Daughters? My dad wanted a daughter who didn’t buy into the Cinderella syndrome. No moping by the fire waiting for rescue. Will his method work for your daughters and granddaughters? For my dad, there was no being sweet in the face of mean treatment. He wanted me to speak up. Speak loud. Insist on respect. He started on this project early in my life. He rewrote nursery rhymes. I still have a card he gave me where Miss Muppet stamps her foot and frightens … [Read more...]

Rushing Streams are Dead Streams

  Bringing Life Back to Our Stream We thought our swift and unfettered stream was nice and clean and therefore wonderful. Not true. For a long time, those who owned forest land were encouraged to clean debris from streams. Let the water run free and clean, was the mantra. No longer. Now, we know that old trees that fall across our creeks and streams are a good thing. Each year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists tromp through our land, (with our blessings) to … [Read more...]

On the Way to the Earth Quake

 Do you know what direction your world turns? Do you know how to stop it from running around you in a blur of color? Here’s how to stop that feeling. After a year of writing about how we can get ready for an earthquake, I created my own personal earthquake a year and a half ago, and now I am recovered. I created a perfect earthquake by ignoring stuff in order to do something I love. Don’t do this at your house! My son and daughter-in-law know me well, and asked me to help as they … [Read more...]

Being Played?

Friday, September 16, 2016, on NPR, reporters covered one candidate's admission that Obama actually was born in the United States. They asked themselves if this announcement was important. They even asked themselves "Are we being played?" This is a question all news reporters should have asked themselves long ago. Dang betcha you all are being played. For months you've allowed yourselves to be attracted to the accident by the side of the road. You caused other accidents, and forgot your … [Read more...]

Who Stands up to The Bully?

 Selling Fear in America   Do none of us remember when Catholics were accused of plotting to take over the government of the United States? when John F. Kennedy was accused of being a puppet of the devil Pope? when Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale told us we should be afraid of the ‘real purpose’ of the Catholic’s among us? I became aware of the need to stand up to bully liars during those days. The injustice of these accusations about any religion was plain for even my young … [Read more...]

Trump Knows Just Enough History

 Donald Trump must have been paying some attention in history class. That’s where you can learn that being a bully works in America. We can’t be shocked that this is happening. It has happened so many times before that its effects are known. Our country has a long history of allowing the bully his (rarely her) sway over the public. The public becomes a tool of hate. Our fundamental values as a nation are spelled out in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the … [Read more...]

Guns Kill, Not People. So, Control the Money Behind Guns

We have allowed the Gun manufacturers and their front, called the NRA, to control all discussion. They threaten congress with their money.  Republicans, afraid of the gun makers' big money, refuse to discuss gun control, claiming we instead need to fight ISIL. They pretend this is an either/or choice. What Hooey! It's like pretending we need to choose between fighting ISIL and providing better mental health care. You and I know we can and do fight ISIL. At the same time, we can and must … [Read more...]

Collect Water from the Roof? How? Where?

My neighbor, Robinson, has been collecting water only from the roof of his garage for the last two years. He has given me a very big challenge, and at the same time, the challenge brings a heartache. I know I should do what he has done. But what part of my garden has to make way for the rain collection system? Do I really have to do this to 1) be safe in an emergency or 2) to rely less on fragile water services and more on myself? Do I really have to rip out that beautiful Japanese maple? … [Read more...]

Be Prepared to Enjoy

Yes, we’ve talked about how to be prepared for the next emergency. We’ve got a long way to go to really be prepared and I worry about getting you, my eager readers, all the information we both should have. But, in between writing about the butane stove and giving you-all our next ‘get ready’ alert, the world had given us some moments of wonder. There was the moment I realized the family’s youngest girl is on the edge of learning to read. The excitement shone in her face as she began to … [Read more...]