Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


Divorce-Once Removed

Watching my children make life decisions can be exciting and it can be painful. Right now, my daughter is going through the awful realization that her marriage of four years is not viable. There is no life support that can revive it.

They are who they are. She had a dream and he wanted to come along so that was what they used as their foundation. It never happened. Life got in the way.

They are who they are. He is a nice guy, fun to be with. Energetic. Athletic. Wants to explore and experience. But has issues with the mundane issues that life requires. Can not stick to a plan. Can not do what he says he will do.

They are who they are. She is a planner. She sets her eyes on a goal and plans out the steps that will get her there. She makes lists and succeeds. She makes friends easily and holds them dear, but will not tolerate someone who hurts her.

They are who they are. They are trying to get through this next phase as “friendly” as possible. No kids. No property except what each of them purchased out of their own funds for their travels. So the process is as simple as the law permits.beach

But there are missteps and pain along the way. Communication to explain how a misstep caused an additional problem. Excuses given.  Tears flow.

All I can do is tell her she will wade through this and life will get easier.  All I can do, if he reads this blog, is tell him the same.

Life’s mistakes are opportunities for personal growth.  The only thing we can control in some situations is our attitude.  Chose the high road. And parents-watch what you say. It is not your life. Let the adult child make the decisions.



Noticing, and Adjusting, to Differences

We’ve been blessed with a wonderful reception here in Oregon.  When we moved here the end of the summer we started building a circle of friends who have introduced us to places that would enrich our lives, taught us skills that enable us to enjoy the bounty that Oregon provides, and welcomed us into their homes.tree

As we headed west, we carried with us so much of our years in West Virginia.  The people and places there continue to be well loved and we are so very thankful for the contacts on Facebook who help us remain connected.

Making a move like ours need not be 3000 miles to have similar feelings. Whether someone moves across town, across the state, across the country, or even to another nation each of us carry some sense of what makes us feel comfortable. It is when those comfort zones are rediscovered in the new location that a sense of building new roots can start. Likewise, if it takes a while to replace what is missed, it takes longer, unless a decision is made that not all places need be alike.

I once had the wonderful opportunity to work in Europe for 6 months. While I had never had Germany on my personal bucket list of places to visit, I never turned down travel where expenses were covered by someone else. I looked forward to what I could learn while being vigilant because of my heritage and understanding the history of the place.  It was a wonderful time and I learned a lot.clock display

beerBut one of my travelling companions for the job, I’ll call him Bubba, had a very different experience. During our first evening ordering dinner in a restaurant he was impatient, used to the way restaurants provide pretty quick service here in the United States.   The drink orders came fairly quickly, but he was dismayed to find out that the beer was served at room temperature, not ice cold. I pointed out that the glass was about a liter of beer and would have been room temp anyway by the time he got through with it. But that was the least of the issue that evening. After we put in our food orders we waited about an hour before the first dish was presented. It was mine, and as we are used to all plates appearing together here, I waited.  After ten minutes I told my companions I was going to eat while it was warm.

Bubba then pounded the table, hollering “schnell!”, the only word of German he knew and the source of that had been from the tv show, Hogans Heroes. Of course, the service on our meal slowed down, as the Ugly American had to be taught a lesson.  But Bubba learned, instead, that he would not tolerate this cultural difference, and for most of the three months that he was there, he ate at the local McDonald’s. He went home for Christmas and refused to return to German to finish the work. He would not tolerate anything different from “home” and so lost a wonderful opportunity to enhance his life experience.

With the homogenization of American culture I knew so much of what I was used to would be found here in Oregon. Living in West Virginia prepared me for living in a small town in a rural area in many ways. Although McMinnville has almost everything I need, If I now need to drive a bit (here, maybe 20 minutes) to get to a more densely populated area where more shops are available, I have learned to tolerate that.  We just plan those kinds of trips because driving into the suburbs of Portland means more traffic and I am loving living in a small town surrounded by farmland.

Basically, it comes down to a choice on how each of us faces life. Do we stay in the nest we grew up in because it is too scary to fly away? Is the concept that this home nest is the best place in the world based on actually evaluation of other places? Or is exploration something that can provide exciting stimulation and help build a sense of flexibility while building a new

Leave a comment

Drugs and Medicine

Eons ago, when my 31-year-old was in 4th grade I spent some time with the class. I was helping them plan and build (very 4th grade level and low cost with cardboard and paper and markers) an amusement park. It gave them some skills to think about the services that are needed to make a fun place like that work as well as some spatial awareness and map skills.

dare-logoAnyway, one day I got there a few minutes early and one of the town’s police officers was presenting the DARE lecture why drugs were bad. (This was during the “Just Say No” era.) After I heard his talk I went out to the hallway with him and told him there was one thing he had not mentioned.

“What’s that?” he challenged.

I was ready for him. “You forgot to tell them that whatever problem they have that the high or the mellowness helps them forget does not take the problem away. It just adds to it.”

He told me he could not change the script, but I made sure my own kids got that message.

No question about it, drugs are around us.  Parents who swear their kids will never mess with drugs may be right, but most likely they are wearing blinders.  Think back to your own teenage years and your 20s: what your friends were doing became more and more “normal” and it would be a very strong willed young person with an amazing personality that can keep away from things that might not be wise choices.?????

I heard today that someone I got to know had been arrested for drug issues and his business is closed. While that is pretty awful, it is minor compared to the fact that he CHOSE to do that to himself, denying there was a downside.  What could his life could have been without those drugs? The potential of what people can do is amazing, but the reality of their perception on drugs is not true and not honestcrime-and-drugs

On the other hand, I know a lot of people who take medicine, myself included. Without my migraine meds at times in my past I would have had a lot of dysfunctional days. Without my blood pressure meds my body would be a ticking time bomb waiting for a stroke. Medicine, when issued by a medical practitioner (western or eastern) can make a huge difference in how you feel and function.

But I have also known a number of people who, after a time on a prescribed med, felt “better” and took themselves off that medication without talking to their doctor. Their perception of reality, like the drug addict, was also not true. People around them can see the difference but usually can’t explain their concern in a way that the person involved cares to hear.

So, I am NOT saying all prescribed medicine is good. But if you have a problem with it, talk to your doctor. Get it changed to diminish or eliminate uncomfortable side effects. And then stay the course to function better and healthier, even if it means a lifetime. The people around you love you.


Seeing the Flowers Growing in the …..Manure

Years ago I had to walk a pathway that none of us want to but many of us have to. My husband was dying. I had a very young son who was not even 15 months old when his dad was diagnosed with brain cancer. From that moment, it was not a matter of “if” but “when” and my goal was to make that final phase of that man’s life the best goodbye I could manage.Muddy Boots 01

It was hard, no question about it. When I looked down the road I only could see something sad. So most of the time I stopped looking that far ahead. I took it in small segments…each hospital stay, each new piece of information to research and learn more, each new program that could or could not offer some assistance or guidance. Devising systems to help remember meds, to manage where he could be during the day while I had to be at work, to finally figure out how to get help when he no longer could stay at home._42416924_muddy_boots203pa

And yes, I was walking through a lot of….manure. But in the midst of the manure I started noticing the flowers. Those flowers were always there, but I had never really noticed them, never really appreciated them. When things are going well we kind of expect to see nice things so we begin to take them for granted.wheelbarrow-of-compost

Things like the parking attendant at the hospital who always wished me a blessed day…not my personal style but I could appreciate that it was hers and her heartfelt blessing always helped me smile.daisy

Like the woman who came up to me in the grocery store parking lot after I had run in to buy some milk with $5 left to get me to the next payday…and she asked me for money for gas for her car.  Quick decision made, I gave it to her. She needed to get home to her children, mine was with me, and we would make it the next week.Flower+Pictures

Like the duo of women who worked where my husband had. They organized a weekly collection of stuff from the other employees there. One week it was canned goods. One week it was paper goods. One week it was toiletries. And one wonderful week it had chocolate, several small bottles of booze, and a couple coupons for ice cream. The poorest I ever was, and the richest.conservatory_of_flowers3

And the years passed….he swore he would stick around so that baby boy would know him, and he ended up surpassing that initial three to five year life expectancy and made it to the day after his son’s 11th birthday. He died in his sleep. Another gift to all of us.


This week is that anniversary week. Sam just turned 19. His dad has been gone eight years now. And yet, not gone. A tune on the radio calls the memory of him playing his guitar. A mannerism in the boy makes me wonder on the roles of nature versus nurture…how could he have the same movement that his dad had when he was only a baby when his dad’s movements became so different?  Life continues in strange but wondrous ways.

All the hassles of life have their flip side….look for the flowers. Just get good boots to be able to wade. And remember, the only thing we truly have control over is our attitude.