Thursday, May 31, 2012

Police Log

Today we first start out with people who have too much time on their hands--otherwise, they wouldn't feel the need to bother the police with these calls.

--12:22 PM, possible domestic disturbance reported; no domestic, subjects jumping on mini trampoline.
How loud WERE these people?  Or did we just have a little old lady with nothing better to do than butt into her neighbor's business?

--12:35 AM, subjects on the football field; 40-year-old guy running laps on track.
The person who called this one in obviously didn't watch what was going on long enough before calling.  MYOB!  This is the advantage to living in a small town:  you CAN run the high school track at 12:30 AM and not have to worry about your safety.  And then the cops get called...

And then we have the 'just plain weird:'

--11:40 PM, report of person walking into home while resident not there and taking pictures with camera.
Just HOW did the resident find out about this if s/he wasn't home?  Was this someone 'casing the joint?'  And if so, why would the person do this at night and take pictures with a flash--which I assume is how someone knew pictures were being taken?

--9:15 AM, report of semi tractor-trailers speeding.
This made me giggle as I am imagining two 18-wheelers drag racing down the street--at 9:15 in the morning.  :D

--9:15 AM, two garden gnomes stolen from porch last night; male and female.
I LOVE the 'male and female' part.  :D

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Police Log

Today we will find out that some people don't pay attention, I guess.  But, what ever the reason behind these calls, the people doing the calling are completely clueless.

--6:52 PM, request for well-being check on male in residence; not home, he is in jail.
I applaud whoever it is that worried about this guy's well-being, but just how worried is this person if s/he had no clue the guy was in jail?  Obviously there was some amount of time since the guy and his caretaker/friend/family member were in contact--and they probably aren't very close if he didn't use his one phone call to contact them.

--8:44 PM, runaway located; was not runaway, was with mother.
What?!?!?!?!  WHAT?!?!?!?!?!  Just WHO was the one who called about THIS one?  Unbelievable.

--11:01 AM, suspicious female in area; meter reader.
Are we in the middle ages where we can't even consider a woman is doing this job?  I can't believe this was called in.

And then we have THIS guy:

--7:50 PM, report of a possible stolen vehicle; owner not sure if vehicle stolen or friends playing a joke; vehicle located by owner where he had parked it last night.
HOW drunk did this guy have to be that he couldn't remember driving and parking his car the night before?  And why was he even driving in the first place??  Good grief!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Police Log

After a holiday weekend/road trip, I am finally able to settle down and write a post.  Actually, this will be a few posts, as I have collected enough police log entries to break them up into multiple posts.  Today, we will deal with animals.

--6:47 PM, report of a dead duck in the roadway; unable to locate.
It baffles me as to why someone would even report a dead duck in the road--or what is otherwise known as 'road kill.'  Nature takes care of the dead animals and the only time I feel they should be removed by humans is when the animal is very large--such as a moose or a deer.  As to being unable to locate said duck:  we have crows, ravens, turkey vultures, various critters that will eat dead stuff, etc. Problem solved and it probably was taken care of by Mother Nature herself.  Then again, the duck could have just been 'playing possum' and wasn't dead after all.  ;)

--8:38 PM, turkey in parking lot; captured and relocated.
This one had me floored.  While we have all sorts of wildlife wander into town, this is the first turkey I've heard of.  Wonder if someone will have wild bird for Thanksgiving this year?  :D

--11:32 AM, kitten at large.
I want to know more!  Is this the owner that called or did someone see a kitten and report it?  I'm so conflicted about this.  It can either be someone very concerned over a little furball or someone who needs to mind their own business.  And there always is the possibility that someone saw a furry animal in their yard and only THOUGHT it was a kitten when it very possibly was a squirrel or chipmunk.  SOME people DO need new glasses, you know.  :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse

Scandinavian model
(don't worry, the reference becomes apparent later on)

Many women hate to go into department/clothing store dressing rooms because of the extremely unflattering mirrors they have.  (Seriously, HOW can we possibly look as bad as those mirrors make it seem?  Wouldn't we all be arrested for crimes against humanity if the images were true?)  I hate the dressing rooms for one more reason:  the lighting.  I'm not sure what kind of lighting they have in those places, but it doesn't come anywhere close to being flattering.  BUT, I know of someplace where the lighting is even worse.

We did a road trip this weekend.  (We went to see 'Rain-a Tribute to the Beatles.'  FANTASTIC and a whole lot of fun.)  For a few years now, we have stayed at the same hotel when we go to Appleton, even through a change in ownership and hotel designation.  (It used to be part of a chain and promoted as a 'business hotel.'  While it still is advertised for business travelers, it now is a 'boutique hotel.'  I'm really not sure what a 'boutique hotel' is.  ;))  Anyway, the place is well-kept and reasonably priced, the rooms are large, there is free wi-fi, and the staff is friendly--AND it serves eggs for breakfast in the morning--so we keep going back.  My biggest complaint about the place is the bathroom lighting.  Oh, my.

First, I have never been blessed with a 'peaches and cream' complexion.  Despite being 100% Finn/Scandinavian, my skin has NEVER looked like the beauty queen/model/actress versions of Scandinavians that we have been fed all these years.  My skin is olive--probably from the Sami blood--and has never been great-looking since I was an infant.  Actually, the skin on my face looks exactly as my ancestors' skin looked: as if it saw too many harsh winters and had snow, ice, and wind assault it while caring for the reindeer herd.

I completely admit to not taking care of my skin as I should have over the years.  With me it has always seemed to be 'feast or famine' when it came to skin care.  There were times when I would put myself on a skin-care regimen and keep up with it diligently for months.  Then there were other times where I would just say "The hell with it." and do nothing more than wash it with soap and water.  Sadly, it never seemed to matter which cycle I was in, my skin never looked great.  I also will admit that I have done more damage to my skin than I should have.  Other than not taking care of it properly, I have tanned for most of my life, I have smoked, I have 'picked at it,' I haven't eaten the proper nutrition for healthy skin, and I neglected it far too often.

So, along with age, my years of abuse/neglect have left me with quite a myriad of problems.  And this isn't only the skin on my face.  From head to toe I have numerous varicose veins, broken capillaries, spider veins, age spots, scars, dark spots of no known origin, moles, along with dry patches--other than the psoriasis--red patches, and plain yucky looking areas.  Okay, so it sounds as if anyone would run every time they saw me walking down the street, but it isn't as bad as all that.  For the most part, most of my imperfections are mild enough that most people would never notice.  Also, I do a good job of covering up the worst of it with clothing.  And other than when I'm naked in the bathroom, I don't see most of the problems.  And I can live with it.  Until we go and stay at the hotel with bathroom lighting from hell.

I have not been able to figure out why the lighting in this place is so bad.  First, the room itself has such muted lighting that I'm sure the 'business' part in their advertising must have little or nothing to do with offices.  It is the exact kind of lighting that would be used in a romantic setting--something to make a person look better.  And it really hasn't been a problem for me, as the main reason for us to be there is to sleep, so I don't need exceptional lighting in the room.  Then you go into the bathroom and you have a whole different story.  The lighting is so bright in these bathrooms that you can actually see several layers INTO your skin!  I kid you not!  You can see veins under your skin's surface that aren't visible anywhere else.  And that isn't the whole story.

The first time I saw myself in this harsh lighting, I almost screamed.  It was horrifying.  As I said, you can see veins practically popping to the surface.  The pores in your skin are so large, it's as if you are looking at them through a magnifying glass.  You can see hairs you never knew existed.  Any blemish that you have is now visible--even the ones you never knew you had.  Even the lines--NOT wrinkles, but those, too--in your skin are magnified.  (This is where I found every one of the imperfections listed above.)  And to top it all off, for me, my coloring turns from 'olive' to a shade that is closer to 'yellowish-grey.'  I truly look like I am on the verge of becoming a member of the zombie apocalypse--as a zombie, not a victim.  Not surprisingly, I only look in the mirror when I am putting on my makeup--and even then I have been known to go into the bedroom to apply in less harsh light.

There is no solution to this problem.  And I will continue to scare myself a little bit whenever we are on road trips.  But things could be much, much worse, of course.  We COULD be on the verge of the zombie apocalypse.  :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Dear anonymous young woman (I would call you a young lady, but you showed no indication that you know what a 'lady' is)--

What did you think you were going to accomplish when you leaned out of the car window and screamed at me "You're fat!"  Did you think I was going to collapse into a puddle of tears?  Did you think I would get angry?  Did you think the weight would just melt off of me if you brought it out into the open?  Do you REALLY think I don't know how much I weigh?  I have mirrors in my house and I DO use them.  You were telling me nothing more than what I say to myself each day.  So, honestly, you accomplished nothing other than showing how ignorant and disrespectful you are.

I don't know why people say such hateful things.  Without knowing a thing about the other person, they become judge and jury and find the target 'fat.'  For anyone thinking to judge an overweight person, think about this:

  • You have no idea if the person has health issues that contribute to weight gain.
  • You have no idea if the person is taking medications that cause weight gain.
  • You have no idea if the person has a metabolic condition that makes it difficult to lose weight or keep it off.
  • You have no idea if the person is physically unable to do exercise.
  • You have no idea if the person is celebrating because s/he just reached the goal of losing 50 pounds.
A lot of overweight people have self-esteem problems or depression and eat as a 'solution' to the way they are feeling.  Congratulations young woman, you just may cause someone to go on a very long, very destructive eating binge by your actions.  Thankfully, your words did not affect me in that way.

While I am overweight--by quite a lot--I don't know if I eat all that much more than you do.  Because of your age, I would think that I may even eat healthier than you--I just turn every bit of what I eat into fat.  There obviously is more going on with me than just overeating, but I haven't figured it out yet.  I certainly hope that you don't find yourself in my predicament 30+ years from now, because it isn't a fun place to be.

I'm sure your words had some affect on me, or I wouldn't be writing this.  I won't dwell on this incident and one way for me to 'put it behind me' is to write this out.  I know you will never see this, but I hope one day that someone can explain how wrong your actions were--and I hope you find out sooner rather than later.  I feel sorry for you because it seems as if you don't know any better.  You will have a difficult life if you don't learn.

Thank you for your time,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Yes, I'm quoting a movie I have never seen.

The only air conditioning we have in our house are window units.  And we usually run three of those every summer.  I guess most people would wonder why we don't just put in central air, considering I rely on the a/c units so much, but we can't do that very easily in this house.  Our 'furnace' is a boiler and we heat with  hot water, so we have no hot air vents that are used by central air units.  To change our house over to ductwork, etc, is just too much of an undertaking, so we use window air.  And this isn't a very efficient way of cooling.

Our house is old--probably late 50s, early 60s era, so we still have proper rooms.  By that I mean, our house is NOT of the 'open' design that so many newer places are.  This poses a big problem when it comes to cooling, as air doesn't circulate very well through doorways--and the hottest room of the house is not one where we keep a cooling unit.  The kitchen has casement windows--the kind that open and close outward instead of by raising and lowering--so it isn't easy to find window units that fit.  Also, when you DO find an air conditioner for a casement window, you usually wind up losing the light from the entire pane--something that isn't true with 'normal' units.  The lack of air flow leaves us with a dilemma and the solution for us has always been fans.  We usually have one or two fans--along with air conditioners--running for most of the summer.  Such fun.  But they do the job.

My BIGGEST problem with regular fans is trying to keep the damn things clean!  Some fans have screens that can be taken off so that you can access the blades to clean, but most of them aren't that easy.  At least twice a season, I will take the fans (along with my tool box) and disassemble and clean them.  It usually takes me a couple of hours to do this.  And I hate it.  I have come close to throwing out the fans every fall and buying new ones every spring, but the ones we have are good, so I mess with trying to clean them.  And then along came the Dyson company.

This is the new Dyson 'fan.'  (It might be called an 'air circulator' or something equally as ridiculous.)  There are NO viewable fan blades, so they can't get grungy like a normal fan.  It is really quite cool--at least in appearance.  (No pun intended.  ;))  Unfortunately, as with ALL Dyson products, the cost is extremely high.  Luckily, Sam's Club came through with an 'e value' deal one day when we were there and the price of this fan was half off the normal cost, so we bought one.

So, what did all those dollars buy us?  The air circulation is different than with a conventional fan--it seems to be smoother, but not necessarily more forceful.  When run at high speed, it can be a bit noisy, but it seems to be more of a 'white' noise rather than the drone of a regular fan.  It is very easy to clean, very lightweight, and SAFE.  Without fan blades, I never have to worry about the cat getting too close or one of the grandkids sticking their fingers in it.  I'm pleased with the fan and I would buy another one if I got it at a good price, but I don't know if I'll be shopping for one any time soon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Remembering a Friend

The Butchart Gardens--not one of Pete's designs (that I know of ;))

My last post was about my friend Pete and the fact that he was living his last days here on earth.  Five days later, he breathed his last.  I have been so incredibly saddened by all of this and came to the conclusion that I have to write this post before I can move along.  Here is the story of Pete.

Pete's mother and my uncle's wife were half-sisters.  It seems strange that Pete and I didn't meet until I was in the later years of elementary school, as 'back home' is a very small and close community.  As it is, I first met Pete after my mother began working for his family and she took me to work with her.  He was two years older than me and it was obvious that his task was to keep me entertained so that my mother could get on with her work.  Even though Pete was in early middle-school, he never gave me the impression that I was a pain-in-the-ass or that he didn't want to spend time with me.  And this is the kind of person he was.

Pete's family owned greenhouses and a floral shop.  I still believe that my experiences there are what have made me love flowers and floral design as I do.  (I am not now, nor have I ever been, a professional designer--I have taken several classes and enjoy the process of making arrangements very much.)  We would walk through the greenhouses and see all of the flowers growing--I remember being shown how they planted poinsettias.  Pete and I even 'manned' the road-side store/hothouse on numerous occasions.  Other than this, I don't remember much of what we did on the days I spent there.  This is when we became friends.

As the years went on, I quit going to work with my mother, but Pete and I then became 'phone-buddies.'  The phone was about the only way we kept in contact, as we lived in different towns and went to different schools.  This is not to say we didn't get a chance to see each other, just that it wasn't very often.  Whenever I would babysit, Pete and I usually had marathon phone sessions.  I have no idea what our conversations were about, but I'm sure it helped solidify our friendship.

Just before I began dating my first love, Pete and I went out a couple of times to the movies.  It was as friends having fun together, but I often wonder if he would have wanted to move into a different direction.  This was not something I was interested in, so any spark was extinguished before it even began.  And this worked out well for each of us.

During my 'dating years' of high school, Pete and I had very minimal contact.  We both were busy with different aspects of our lives and with him being older than me, he moved onto college and the real world sooner than I did.  Pete got his degree in biology at our local university and spent many years working the family business before moving to Oregon.  When he moved to Oregon, he got his master's degree in horticulture and met and married his wife.  They returned to the family business and he helped make the area just that much more beautiful with all of his gardening skills and advice.

I must say a bit about Pete's skills with everything green.  He was the go-to guy when anyone had problems with their lawns or plants--and everyone in a 100 mile radius of where he lived knew him and went to him for advice.  Not only did he have his own call-in talk show on the local radio station, but he also taught the master gardener's classes for many years.  My sister-in-law tells the story of bringing a tree branch into his store in order to ask advice.  She said he told her more about the tree the branch was from than she ever wanted to know and he was able to tell her what was wrong with it and how to take care of it.  His knowledge was immense.

Pete and his wife ran the business for 25 years before retiring and returning to Oregon.  He continued with his love of 'beautifying' places and worked for the town they lived in as their master landscapist/gardener.  After being diagnosed two years ago with leukemia, he was only able to get back to his job for a few short weeks--something that must have saddened him beyond words.

Since high school, Pete and I saw each other rarely.  Actually, we had almost no direct contact with each other.  We didn't write and we didn't call.  This may seem strange, but it is what it is.  The most surprising thing, though, is that whenever we DID get together, it was as if we had just talked to each other the previous week.  We had a strong connection somehow and time didn't seem to diminish that in the least.  When we would see each other, after the first few minutes of catching up with each other's lives, we would settle into our friendship and just be able to talk.  It truly was an amazing relationship.

What can I say about Pete, the person?  He had the kindest, gentlest spirit of anyone I know.  As I said, he was a genius when it came to growing things, but I also remember he played the organ beautifully.  (I'm not sure if he continued playing after high school, but I remember him playing for me when I would visit at his parent's house.)  He was very spiritual and a very dedicated member of their church.  His wife had a particularly bad bout with breast cancer a few years ago and I'm sure her getting through it was partly the reason they were so optimistic about his chances of beating the leukemia.  Sadly, it didn't happen.

Arrangements are still being finalized for Pete's memorial services.  There will be one in Oregon and another 'back home.'  I don't think I will be attending the one back home, simply because of the enormous amount of people that will be there.  If less than 500 people attend the service for him, I will be shocked.  And in that crowd, I won't be missed by anyone.  I will send a card and note to his wife and remember him in my own way.

Dear Pete:  I am saddened by your death, but happy that you are now at peace.  I cannot imagine the joy you felt when you got to see the gardens of heaven and realized you get to spend eternity doing the very thing you loved best, taking care of flowers.  I will never forget you, my friend.  With love.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

So Very Saddened

Almost a year ago, I shared the story of my friend Pete who was battling a very virulent type of leukemia.  He was doing quite well, but he (along with his wife and medical professionals) decided he would go for the 'permanent' cure and do a blood marrow transplant.  At the time, no cancer cells had been found in his body for over six months, but the doctors recommended the transplant as an extra step toward cure.  Pete and his wife decided to go along with the recommendation and he had his transplant on 8 August 2011.  Since then--as well as before--I have been following his 'story' on his webpage on CaringBridge.  This morning I read the latest post, written on 1 May:  Pete is going to stop struggling and hanging on and make arrangements to go into hospice.  It has been quite a while since I have been so saddened by something I have read.

The transplant went well for Pete and he even managed to go back home for a short period of time, but that is all.  Most of his time has been in a medical setting of one kind or another, whether a hospital, a long-term medical care facility, a rehab/physical therapy facility, or 'halfway' house.  He has struggled with emergency surgeries, enormous amounts of medications, side-effects from the medications, and other horrifying problems.  I'm not sure if he has gone many days without pain of one sort or another.  The struggle has been enormous and the doctors have said it is time to come to an end, they have no more that they can do for him.  It is at times like this that we realize how much medicine is still in its infancy.

I will spend the next days praying for Pete.  I will pray that his last days on this earth are as pain free as possible and that he and his wife can have the closure they need.  And I will pray that they will not look on the attempt to prolong his life as a mistake.  That last prayer, more than anything.  Go with God, Pete--I know He will welcome you with open arms and say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."  (Matthew 25:21)