mother’s planters

Here it is, Mothers Day again, and I have refreshed my annual tradition of putting something alive and lovely in my mother’s planters.

This blog comes in handy when I forget certain facts such as the origin of the planters I moved from Florida to Michigan after Mother died, then to Oregon when I married Mauri. A search brought up this post, where I read they were a gift to Grandma Nill from her grandson Kevin.

I posted that story in 2006, when Quinn and Cassidy showed up for Mothers Day and helped me in my slightly disabled (broken ankle) condition fulfill my tradition.

Even in 2006, the condition of those planters had declined from how they looked on our front step in Michigan.

It’s been several years since Mother’s planters have had the attention they deserve.

Half way finished shows just how bad I let them get. Don’t tell anyone I turned the cracked and crumbling sides away from the street view. Sigh.

Happy Mothers Day to my mama.

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bailey graduates from dordt

Visiting Dordt as one option for his college education, Bailey had no trouble choosing.

Four years and a double major later!

A venue this size to accommodate the family of 352 graduates meant we grandparents “attended” graduation via cyberspace.

It’s all good! We had a good view of Bailey in all the important parts.

It took me a while to spot him in this sea of caps and gowns.

Turns out Bailey walked in the final graduation as Dordt College. On Monday it will be known as Dordt University.

And now, everyone poses with the graduate. Sarah and Bailey are in countdown mode to their wedding day—June 1!

Cassidy has adored her big brother since day one—and the vice is versa! Marissa would be in this picture too, but she’s saying farewell to her studying-abroad friends in Verona, Italy.

With his proud parents. Emphasis on proud!

What’s next for Bailey (besides getting married!)? He and Sarah plan a move to Illinois for one season of football coaching experience at the University of Chicago. I’ll stick to a short answer because this is all I’m mostly sure about.

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garage work week

We both marked our calendars and somewhat avoided filling it with rehearsals and coffee dates so we could concentrate our attention on a sadly neglected area of our house—the garage.

Now don’t try to tell me you’ve never been in our shoes, no matter what size you wear. Out-of-control garages are part of the curse on mankind, and only the saintliest of earthbound humans keep order in theirs.

For this reason I bypass the humiliation of showing you before pictures, thus saving you the certain tsk tsking at your computer/phone. After all, we’ve spent the past 25 years creating the necessity for a garage work week!

Even after multiple trips to the dump, Goodwill, antique stores, and ReStore, we still had a few items we’d rather gift than donate or toss.

While this workhorse had already given our Carlson family many years of service, it traveled cross country to find new purpose as Mauri’s tool, um, trap. When he inherited family hand-me-downs, they found a place in one of these drawers. So “work week” hours were dedicated to discerning just how many hammers (etc.) a person of his station in life needs.

Once emptied and cleaned up (better than what you see),

…we put a dolly under it and pushed it down the street to its new home.

Turns out Mary Ann loves to strip and restore old furniture in the chic chalky style. But even before we showed up, Dan, a retired contractor, thought it could be better served as a home for his vast tool collection. Right on! It has experience in tool storage.

Much better! A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Then I needed to find a new home for this large beveled mirror that has been hidden behind a desk for the 25 years that have passed since it traveled west on the U-haul. I have long since forgotten its story, making it very easy to release attachment to it.

I emailed this photo to our friends who are restoring an old nut dryer up on the mountain, Jess said yes! Win/win! They get the mirror; we get a tour of their fabulous restoration project.

Who knew our garage work week would come with perks?

Oh, and of the shelf of things we thought the Macy boys might want, these were left unclaimed. For some reason neither son wanted to take them home.

With so much stuff rehomed, who needs shelves? Which leads me to show you the very best part of this project.

I don’t have to walk sideways to my car anymore!

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coastal reflections

I listed this post in the category of “travels,” but a drive to the coast barely qualifies. And in a place that feels like a home away from home, with so many warm, familiar fuzzies, it more appropriately fits under “in the neighborhood.”

This panoramic shot skews the perspective but lets me include all the Harbor Villa accommodations, an embellished amount of grass, and a bit of the ocean (if you squint). I added that arrow on the left to show the tiny cabin we love for this obvious reason.

I didn’t take pictures of the inside, so I’ll include this 1979 photo of Mauri (legs), Rachel (ponytail), John (shades), Pete (arm raised), and Brandy (furry). Margaret-Rose is likely the photographer. It illustrates just how far back vacationing at Captain’s Cabin goes in our Macy family.

For balance, I offer this sunset pano of the beautiful Twin Rocks of Rockaway Beach fame.

We made friends with this little guy, Mauri seeking its identity on his phone app.

He (or she) reappeared often enough to pose long enough for us to get our cameras with their telephoto lenses. I’ll admit I’m proud of this shot, but I won’t admit how many shutter openings it took. I often say “I take a lot of pictures, and I throw a lot of pictures away!”

I emailed this to my birder sister-in-law, Margi, and she accurately identified it as a white-crowned sparrow.

Of course we walked on the beach, but one day we meandered through this remarkable space, described on the Rockaway website: “In the middle of the residential section of town is an ancient cedar bog that contains some extremely large and old western red cedars (Thuja plicata) and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchesis). This is not the urban forest, this is the forest primeval somehow preserved within the city. Furthermore, this type of forest, with large cedars and spruce on flat ground, would have been extremely lucrative to loggers. Today it is very rare to see an old-growth cedar bog anywhere on the Oregon coast.”

We highly recommend it! Especially on a sunny day.

Photo credit: Mauri Macy

Another feathered friend posed for my camera.

This one made me smile.

We walked out on a pier, and the undisturbed water offered us views of the life below. This sizable crab moved fast, likely because humans with visions of a crab dinner dancing in their heads raked the water nearby.

This picture gives my post’s title a dual meaning.

It’s fun to leave home base to investigate new sights/sites, but I couldn’t imagine a better view than this.

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the end . the beginning

Since you’ve all been waiting by your computers for me to finish the story about our apple tree I thought I’d take a minute, while I sit in this old familiar place overlooking the two matching rocks, to relieve your curiosity.

Our friend/neighbor/arborist, Carl, did some of his best work on the old girl. He respectfully and methodically went about the task of dismantling nature’s valiant effort to outlive all the competition.

He didn’t seem to mind my occasional appearance to observe and record the process.

Given the nostalgic nature of this wood, we asked Carl to stack it where our Macy sons can claim it for their outdoor fires.

You probably noticed the see-through “qualities” of the larger ones. A clear indication its time had come.

I quickly snagged a few for myself.

Carl’s stump grinding left us with a mound of bark dust that wintered into excellent potting soil.

I’ll go out on a limb here* and show you what we did. You see here, in that old hollow apple-tree log, planted in its own bark-soil, the camellia I received for completing the Camellia Festival 5k walk. If it thrives*, we know it will need to be transplanted to a more appropriate spot in a few years. But for now, we’re going to just enjoy the whole full-circle picture it represents. Birds and squirrels have found other places to procreate, but this one lone apple-tree log will enjoy its new purpose.

Note to self: Water the camellia when you get home.

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My retirement is now six months old, and I’m still basking in the freedoms it has opened for me.

Not long ago I got to interview the director of Chehalem Cultural Center for a story in this issue of The View. His enthusiasm left me with no alternative but to become a member of Newberg’s “cultural gem.” I realized being so busy with work et al had separated me from my community as I more often than not chose an introvert’s position of comfort a the chair at home (where I now sit).

So to start off, I registered for the annual Camellia Festival 10k/5k run/walk as a 5k walker. It was a first-timer, conservative choice.

The 10k runners/walkers left first, and I happened to capture my young friend Emily in the picture,

wearing her always-pleasant demeanor.

Newberg’s mayor announces the lineup for us 5kers.

We less-competitive walkers did our best to give the runners a good start.

That’s my friend Connie (red jacket) with her daughter, Tami, part of my smaller community within the bigger one.

This enthusiastic cheerleader danced and shouted encouragement as we passed.

I heard my name announced as I crossed. Sharon! Oh, my parents (who named me for Jesus, Rose of Sharon) would have loved that!

I stopped to pick up my free camellia plant,

and asked a friend to take my picture. Mission accomplished, I walked on home to start the laundry. It is Saturday, after all. Retirement hasn’t changed everything!

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Poetry emerged as a theme this weekend, not that we planned it or anything.

I guess it started when Mauri received a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay in his email about the arrival of spring. Several lines caught his attention, compelling him to share it with me. “It is not enough that yearly, down the hill, April comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.”

But then our friend Bethany, who herself has written a book of poetry that is about to make its debut, was being featured with her harp at a poetry reading by Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford.

We were both smitten with his easy manner and engaging writings,

especially when the two read/played in tandem. We were so glad to be part of this!

And part three of our poetry weekend involves this event six months ago when my whole family gave me the surprise of my life.

Sage gifted me a date to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland. Our first attempt to go was thwarted by a snow storm, and today, determined, we carried umbrellas because it was pouring rain when we left Newberg. But look ^ —blue sky.

Looking down …

… and looking up, we found plenty of inspiration to participate in the Couplet Poetry Arch Activity featured at the garden.

But it was tea time, and the upper level of the tea room called out.

We had a server all to ourselves, and he kindly complied to our request for a photo. While we sipped bamboo tea, we composed couplets from our list of key words.

Back at the arch, we wrote out our compositions. My granddaughter, the poet!

She added her couplet to the arch. I wrote one too. Something about the koi performing their troupe’s routine.

Hers is much more, um, poetic.

Dr. Jiyu Yang, Chinese musician, calligrapher, and brush painter, demonstrated his talent. He was just getting started, but it was inspiring to watch for a while before our parking meter ran out of time. And we needed to hit the gift shop!

What a fun morning! And to think we drove there in pouring rain. Oregon!

But there was more! The date included lunch . . . and Sage likes Thai food. Me too!

I delivered her back home with her parasol from the gift shop. Cutie patootie. . .

Thanks, Sage! I sure enjoyed our date. Happy retirement to me!

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