Midnight Adventure


David and I had a little adventure the other evening. After his Dad got confused and drove to downtown Portland and lost his car and ended up in the hospital last year, we put a tracker on his car. Dave gets notified every time the car moves. Tuesday night the tracker went off at 10:30 PM and he certainly shouldn’t have been out that time of night for anything, so we jumped in the Flex and drove over to NE Portland where he lives. I was driving and Dave was following his progress on the tracking app, figuring he would be back at his place by the time we got there. But instead, he went the wrong direction, and as we got to his neighborhood, he was 10 miles ahead of us, heading East on Hwy 26!

After some debate about if this was a real emergency, or if the cops would even want to get involved in an adult going for a midnight drive, we finally called the cops, and by the time we explained everything, they said ‘well, he’s crossing the county line, lets send you to Clackamas 911’. So those folks were real helpful, but they didn’t have any officers in that part of the county who could chase him down. So we kept going as fast as we could, following the tracking app. We called his house to make sure someone hadn’t just stole the car while he was safe at home, but there was no answer, so we followed the car.

Along the way the tracker cut out as he drove out of cell service areas, or we were out of cell service, and we’d call back 911 when we had updates. Meanwhile we are driving out into darker and darker country, out past Sandy, heading for Mt Hood. Finally an officer called and asked where he was and where we were and said ‘sorry, but you guys are closer to him than we are’ and offered to tell officers in the NEXT county, because another 15 minutes and the highway would split, and depending on which way he went, he would be heading for Hood River or Madras, and worse, that was a service deadzone, so we were probably going to lose the tracker just before the split and not know which way he went for a while.

So by then I’m doing 70-80 mph (because obviously there’s no police to stop me, and there was zero traffic this time of night), we are just absolutely hauling ass up this highway, pitch dark. We’re out of service and lost the tracker, and we see another car ahead of us, and Dave says, that would be great if that was him, and we get up close, and it IS HIM! I get behind him and honk and blink and put my hazards on, and he pulls over. Dave runs up to his door and his Dad says ‘I figured if I kept going this way, I’d see something familiar.”!

He had driven 45 miles into the mountains! He was almost at Government Camp! When we got back to where we had service Dave called 911 and they were very happy to hear we caught him.

Dave drove him home and took his keys away. He’s going to go over daily to help him with whatever he would have needed a car for until we figure out what the next step is.

Update: Update on Dad. He has given up his car after talking about it and a week of running him to errands. Now getting Shari’s delivered and getting him on once a week errand visit. Will look into other help and potential medical assistance. Luckily he gets around fine and other then these jaunts he is generally able to do his day to day.

Lockdown in the time of Coronavirus

I guess we’ve been hearing about the virus in China for a month or so, but it has suddenly hit us hard. With the knowledge that this bad new flu is circulating, but without testing capability, and an already overtaxed medical system, we are now in semi-lockdown. The play we have been rehearsing for over a month (Much Ado About Nothing) is on hold until later in the summer, I’m working from home, and people are wiping out the grocery stores (glad I went to Costco with friends and stocked up a couple weeks ago). Crazy times.

I had just settled on a plan to expand my photography into family portrait work, and decided that this summer I would train and do any odd jobs I could get, and hone my craft. I bought a new (used) lens just for this pursuit.

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This is a Sony f/4 70–200mm. It takes really sharp pictures with nicely blurred backgrounds. I’m really happy with the few test shots I’ve done.





Combined with my full-frame a7ii, this is certainly a rig capable of producing high-quality images.

I also plan to dedicate any ‘hustle money’ I can make to my meandering Mustang project. But who knows when things will get back to normal, when I can start hustling, if I will even care about the Mustang when this is all over. Maybe priorities will change? Right now the poor Mustang is buried in the garage under shipping materials leftover from Christmas. The toy shipping season has stretched out significantly. Things are still selling now in March!

But I don’t mind working at home. I’m hanging out with my hubby and dogs and cats:

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surrounded by all my craft projects I’ve been putting off. Like my ‘learn to paint’ project. I’ve got my paints, I’ve got my easel, all I need is time.

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I can FINALLY follow along with BOB!

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It’s actually kind of nice, but I’m only a few days in. We will see how it feels by the end of the month! I hope to sneak off for some fishing when the weather warms up next week. We will see how it all goes. I’m just hoping people handle this sanely, take care of each other, remember to be kind and considerate, and we will all ride out this strange time, stay healthy, and be back to normal sometime this summer.

Until then I’ll try not to spend too much time riding the range in Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (13)

Thoughts about horses

Warning – exceedingly long, meandering post ahead! Since this is my journal, sometimes I like to write down my thoughts so someday I can look back on them, and see just what the heck I was thinking.

Since I was a little girl, I have loved horses. Don’t most little girls? I read books about them, drew pictures of them, collected Breyer horses, and in general obsessed about them, to the point where in 5th grade my teachers told me I couldn’t write anymore stories about horses! My parents even had the supremely bad idea that they would get me a pony when I was little, and took me to test ride a friend’s little shetland pony, which I fell off of, prompting my overprotective mom to forbid any pursuit of my horse interest again as too dangerous.

I still have mixed feelings about this. Like, if I had somehow gotten access to horses and learned to ride at that age, it would have been wonderful, and a skill I would have enjoyed my whole life, instead of merely longing to be involved in horses from the sidelines. But my parents were not the sort of attentive folks who could have taken me to riding lessons, nor could they have afforded it. I don’t know what they were thinking when we went to check out the pony – we lived on a small lot in the suburbs. Maybe they figured it could stay on my grandparents larger lot. At the time we were unincorporated, and there was a horse living right down the street from us, so it’s not too crazy an idea, but for them to have taken care of a horse? They couldn’t take care of themselves, their children or their dogs, a horse would have been a disaster. But I’m sure their hearts were in the right place. Actually, I’m sure Dad’s heart was in the right place, because I would just about bet it was all his idea, and Mom went along right up to the point where I fell off. For a long time I couldn’t help but blame myself for missing my only chance to have a horse by being too clumsy to stay on!

I never got closer to a horse than petting one over the fence, until i took a trail ride with the outdoor club in college. Then nothing again for a long time. I have friends with horses, but they never actually ride them, they are just pets. A couple years ago I finally took the leap to get involved, and took lessons for about 6 months until my teacher quit and moved to another barn. It was fun because I really liked my teacher, there were some nice calm lesson horses, and the stables was literally around the corner, with a big covered arena to work in. She let me stay as long as I wanted and only charged me for the half hour, and sometimes I’d be there for two hours, just hanging out and talking and riding around the arena. I finally had my fix to my horsey longings, and I looked forward to my lessons every week.  I even went in on the weekend to help her out and muck out the stalls. Yes, I am so horse obsessed that I enjoyed mucking out the stalls!

I learned some important things about horses. They’re big – bigger than you think until you’re up close to them, or on top of them. Riding is a lot higher up than it seems – and yes, I did fall off to test that distance. Horses can be unpredictable and spook and test your balance and ability to stay on them. They can also have fun horsey personalities that test your balance and ability to stay on them 🙂 But they are also wonderful, and warm and there’s something really amazing about sitting on one, even just sitting still and having that connection with this huge animal.I enjoyed getting to lessons early and brushing the horses out, and if the horse I rode was already brushed out or working in the arena, I’d go brush out some other horse. It’s just fun to be with a horse.

The real downside is that everyone I know who is involved in horses has stories to tell about horrible accidents they’ve had with them. After my riding teacher moved I hadn’t heard from her in awhile so I got in touch and found out a horse at the new barn had tripped over his own feet while she was riding around the arena and fell on her, crushing her leg and leaving her laid up for months. Another friend’s horse got spooked by someone using a leaf blower, and he spun around and kicked her in the stomach, resulting in emergency surgery. Another friend had been kicked in the jaw and had permanent scars from having her jaw wired shut while it healed. It seemed everyone I talked to about horses had a story like that, but they were all very upbeat about it. It happens, they would say. It’s not the horses fault. I did something to cause it, I should have known better, I should have seen that coming. Getting seriously injured or being hospitalized or bedridden for a few weeks or months could be financially devastating. I decided riding horses was fun, but not worth the risk to our family and all we’ve worked so hard for. I sold my riding boots and helmet, and wrote off horses forever.

Well, sort of.

I still have that longing for a horse of my own. It’s the future I saw when we bought our three acres of beautiful pasture. I’ve had llamas, goats, and sheep, but I still have that itch for a horse. Of course, there’s another thing I didn’t see when we bought our acreage, and that is that it is very wet. Part of the main pasture is unusable all winter because the swale runs through and floods it. The rest of it gets muddy easily. Even the sheep made muddy paths in the pasture during the rains last spring. A big horse would destroy it. I’ve seen my friend’s horses beat the path to the barn into such a swamp of mud that they sink in it up to their knees. I can’t have that. Without thousands of dollars in investment in making a proper winter yard for them, I don’t think I could keep horses here.

Not a big horse anyway…

This is my friend’s miniature horse.

She is a neat size. Standing next to her I can comfortably lay my hand on her back. She is a rescue. Who could have abandoned such a beautiful girl?

My friend warned me she can have a pony attitude, but I think she’s just cute as can be. I went over to visit her a couple times and give her scratches. I think this might be the perfect size horse for me. Unlikely to seriously hurt anyone. Small enough she wouldn’t turn our pastures to mud pits. Less horse to feed. Could be happy with the small shelter we built for the llamas. Just as much personality as the big horses.

What can you do with a miniature horse? How about this?

It’s all just dreams right now, maybe someday I’ll finally have a horse of my own. I just wasn’t sure how until I met a miniature horse. Now that sounds like a good idea for the future. Something to work towards. Until then at least I can go visit my friend’s horse and enjoy her company.


The colorful side of my family

Looking up family history for Veterans Day, I ran across a few other pictures to share, and a few stories I thought I’d write down before I forget them, because there’s no one else in the world left who’s been told these stories. Unfortunately, all those folks are gone.

It seems like the Oklahoma side (my Dad’s side) of the family was the more colorful, or maybe they were just the storytellers. I really don’t know any stories from my mom’s side, even though I grew up spending time equally between both camps (never the two would mix, even though they lived three blocks apart, but that’s a story for another time).

I guess the thing that makes them colorful is all the drama. And drama is a great thing for story telling, but it’s often a lousy thing to live through. And so it was for my family.

My grandma (Oda Fay) met her husband (James) at her cousin’s birthday party. Unfortunately James was her cousin’s boyfriend at the time! He was a handsome older man – 25 years older! in 1940 he was a mysterious stranger who had recently arrived in town, and nobody knew his family or much about his background. 25 year old Oda and James disappeared during the party, and turned up the next day – married! What do you imagine her parents thought when she turned up married to a stranger who was the same age as they were?!

By 1946 Oda and James were surrounded by their brood of four bouncing happy kids – Little Jim, Charles, Dannel, and baby Marjorie Faye. Little Jim would be my dad someday, and the only one of the gang to have a family of his own.  In 1952, when Little Jim was 12 and baby Marge was 6, James passed away, leaving a large family to survive on their own. I believe they were helped out by his veteran’s benefits for the widow and family.

Oda lived with her mom and dad, and got help from her sister Dormalee and brother Dolan ‘Red’. But four kids was a lot to take care of, and Oda had the horrible misfortune to be struck by tuberculosis. Called The White Plague “Because the disease is deadly and highly infectious, victims were isolated in special hospitals called sanatoriums, where at the beginning of the century, at least, they lived out their last days with other patients. The death rate from tuberculosis in 1950 was only 11 percent of what it was in 1900; still 33,633 people died from the disease that year. By 1955 the number of deaths from tuberculosis had been halved.”

 Indeed, Oda Fay had no choice but to go to a sanatorium in far away Arizona, leaving her four little ones in the hands of her elderly parents. Three rambunctious boys and a precious little girl. And for some reason, a horrible choice was made – one that would haunt the family for the rest of their years. After having just lost their father, the kids lost their mother as she was sent to the hospital, and then they lost each other. The family was broken up. Little Jim was sent to an orphanage. Marge stayed with her grandparents. I don’t know if the other two went to the orphanage or to other family. I think the assumption was that Jim would handle it best, being the oldest. At the time of course they didn’t know if she would survive the tuberculosis, a lot of people didn’t. It turned out the breakup was only temporary, and some time later Oda recovered and came back from the sanatorium (with only one lung was the story, though maybe it was only one working lung, or the equivalent of one) and everyone was back together, but the damage done lasted a lifetime.

It’s funny to think how kids grow. From a 12 year old to a 17 year old is five years and a world of difference. Somewhere in that period, my dad was abandoned by his family and spent some time, a few months, a year, I don’t know how long, in an orphanage. He said the only thing that kept his spirits up during that time was getting his issue of MAD magazine, and he’d sit outside and read it and laugh and forget where he was. He ran away from the orphanage repeatedly, trying to go home, and they kept sending him back. When folks talk about the post-war prosperity of the ‘good old days’ of the 50’s, they leave that part out.

When then family was reunited he was a teenager, and he was understandably upset. He had a hard time connecting back up with the family. Things were strained. Dormalee had bought a house in Portland, OR, and invited her favorite nephew to come out and join her, invited the whole family actually, but they didn’t want to move until Marge graduated. The kids were all in school in Sapulpa, and Oda had a cafe on Route 66 where she was slinging hash to support the family. So ‘Little’ Jim moved out to Oregon for his senior year, and his nickname changed to ‘Big Jim’

He drank too much, partied with his buddies, raced his 57 Chevy 2-door post at the strip, ruined Dormalee’s beloved Edsel squirreling around on Larch Mountain (something she reminded him about for the next 25 years), and somehow failed to actually graduate high school. But he had a home. For the rest of his life he had a strained relationship with his mother for abandoning him, and with the brothers and sister who were chosen to stay with family while he was sent away. Dormalee managed to be the hub that kept the family connected.

So next time I will have to tell you about how Big Jim got his girlfriend in trouble, and was forced to do the right thing, which lasted the rest of his life, for better or worse…


The veterans in my family

Thanks to all who serve. From my family that would be:

My Grandfather on my Dad’s side – James Arthur, drafted to fight in France during WWI. He’s the fine looking man holding the baby.

Great Uncle Doland (Dad’s uncle) who fought in the Pacific during WWII.
My Dad, who ran away and joined the National Guard after his shotgun wedding to my Mom. Luckily he just missed Korea, and was too early for Vietnam. Good thing, if he’d run off and got shot up, they might never have had ME, which is all that matters.
My Grandpa on my Mom’s side, Carl, who was drafted into the army and fought in Italy during WWII. Standing next to him is my grandma, who told me that the time she spent with her infant daughter in the home for military wives while he was gone was the best and worst time of her life. She said they all lived together in a group home, and helped each other raise their kids, and they were all very close through good and bad.

Since we’re mentioning the women back home, I would also like to mention my great aunt Dorma Lee (the one on the right), Doland’s sister. She ran off to work in the airplane plants in Wichita as part of the war effort, which was very adventurous for a lady her age back then. She was a ‘Rosie the Riveter’! Her scrapbook is full of the fun times she had with the girls in their off hours, adventuring around without men to boss them around! At least that’s how she described it 🙂 She enjoyed her independence for the rest of her life, preferring to remain unwed and help her sister raise the kids. I spent a lot of great times hanging out with Aunt Lee, she was a really great lady.

No one in my family were in the military for a career. In fact I think they were all drafted (except my dad). Just regular people, doing what they had to do at the time, and happy to go back to their regular lives when it was over. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like.Unfortunately I never got to hear what that was like from them, Doland, Jim, and Carl all passed away long before I was born.