Friday, December 6, 2019

That TV Show Should Be a Crime

Mom!  Mom!  Animal Planet is on!

I watch very little TV, some Discovery Channel,  Mythbusters, Top Gear, Firefly, Castle, Dr. Who, Corner Gas, all on tape as I don't have a TV or cable (getting cheap tapes and watching on the big computer monitor is a lot cheaper than a flat screen and cable).  Mostly I'll join the rescue Labs on the couch and watch an action movie with my husband and have fun making fun of some of the technology-

Because I'm the second generation in a law enforcement field (my Mom was a Deputy Sheriff, the first woman in her county), the weapons in the shows ARE fair game and my husband just sits there quietly and chuckles as I pick apart the errors.

Picture the scene, a Sniper setting up on a hill to take out his target.

"The Gun is totally disassembled?"

"The scope is completely off of it, WT. . . ."

"No Free Floating Barrel?"

9 MM. " 9 MM?????"


Then, later on, towards the end.

"Why do all the bad guy guards have short barrelled AR15's? They're going to make so much noise that every cop in the county will be here to arrest all the now deaf people".

"Oh come on! M203 doesn't work that way!!"
There's probably a reason guys, including my husband, never took me to the theater while dating . I almost got thrown out at the last one when a gal friend took me to Twilight and every time the bad CGI werewolves in wolf form talked like humans I'd exclaim like the talking dog from the Bush Baked Bean commercial  "Roll that Beautiful Bean Footage!
But with the Ph.D., I also have to make fun of the science in the shows.  So once in a while I just can't resist and  I will watch some CSI type shows on tape when my husband is on the road.

It's more entertaining than most of the TV shows out there now, so removed from actual reality that they hardly bear watching. The original CSI Vegas though I actually liked, shelving most of the science and just watching the interactions between the characters which were well acted and crafted. But the spin offs were sometimes painful to watch..


Opening Scene -Young party girl in the New York subway has her face suddenly start to melt while vomiting blood.

In the distant city, Mac the steely eyed investigator, to his date: "sorry" (damn, my beeper went off at the opera. . . AGAIN).

Here comes the CSI Team, back from their night on the town, arriving in terribly expensive fashion wear, from their homes or dates, with all the traffic, in minutes.

Mac (entering the scene with no gloves, no mask, no eye protection, as he bends closely over someone that looks like a sleeping supermodel, except with lots of blood splashed on her and the melted face.

"Detective Angel, What have we got ?"

Detective Angel, (Victoria's Secret Model in tight pants and a skin tight low cut sparkly t-shirt under her suit jacket) "Looks like a Chemical or a Biological ! ! "

Female CSI assigned to the scene: "Oh Happy Birthday Mac!" (giggle, giggle, blush stare at ground, forget to work the scene)

Mac smiles and pokes closely at the body again, steely eyes glinting since he's not wearing any eye protection.

Mac: looking closely:" hmmm. . . doesn't look like small pox or anthrax"

(Time to look a little closer and poke in the blood spatter to make sure it's not something you can GET from exposure to blood spatter)
From XKCD - click to enlarge

Dr. H.: "No pruritic macular or papular rash" (Good thing, as that might be Ebola or Cutaneous Anthrax, which means you're standing in the minefield.)

Mac: "So no hemorrhagic fever!" ( Wow Mac, you diagnosed with just that steely glance. You didn't even have to isolate the virus from the patients blood and have acute serum samples inoculated into tissue cultures of mosquito cells or directly into live Toxorhynchites or Aedes mosquitoes or try a Immunodiagnostic method such as detection of anti-dengue IgM and IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and detection of hemagglutination inhibition antibody. Good job Mac, you'll have this solved before the hour is up!)

Pretty girl in a $700 outfit playing with something that I swear is an Etch a Sketch: "It's OK now! This subway tested negative for all hazmat and biologicals!"

Mac: " great!"

Watching any more would have made me laugh so hard I'd spill my single malt. Besides they'll have their DNA evidence in oh, like 10 minutes.
Forensic Science Dog will hold the dead pose (for a treat) until you get the chalk outline drawn.

TV is fantasy, what remains of a life is seldom so pretty. If you don't suit up properly, to protect yourself from elements, the terrain, or a hoard of nasty biologicals, you will likely join them on the next table. But then again the TV scientists never discovered that if you have a linoleum floor, some chalk, and liquid nitrogen you can make little hovercraft. . .

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Thursday Smiles

 For those of you who went shopping on "Black Friday" the day after Thanksgiving".
It's the holiday season - you've been warned.


Best wedding cake EVER!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Monday, December 2, 2019

Things that NEVER Happen on Star Trek

Abby T. Lab here - As you know my Mom is a HUGE Star Trek fan.  She used to watch it with her big brother when she was a little kid and has watched the reruns again and again.

With a little help from her friends and the interwebs here is a compilation (tongue in cheek)

Things that NEVER Happen on Star Trek.

-The Enterprise runs into a mysterious energy field of a type it has encountered several times before.

-The Enterprise goes to visit a remote outpost of scientists, who are all perfectly all right.
-The Enterprise gets involved in an enigmatic, strange, and dangerous situation, and there are no pesky aliens they can blame it on in the end.

-Some of the crew visit the holodeck, and it works properly.

-The Enterprise visits the Klingon homeworld on a bright, sunny day.

-The crew of the Enterprise discovers a totally new lifeform, which later turns out to be a rather well-known old lifeform wearing a funny hat.

-An attempt at undermining the Klingon-Federation alliance is discovered without anyone noting that such an attempt if successful "would represent a fundamental shift of power throughout the quadrant".

-The crew of the Enterprise is struck by a mysterious plague, for which the only cure can be found in the well-stocked Enterprise sick-bay.

-The Captain has to make a difficult decision about a less advanced people which is made a great deal easier by the Starfleet Prime Directive.

-The Enterprise successfully ferries an alien VIP from one place to another without serious incident.

-Scotty walks up to the replicator and says "Coke on ice".

-An enigmatic being composed of pure energy attempts to interface to the Enterprise's computer, only to find out that it doesn't know the password.

-Kirk doesn't get into a fistfight.

-Kirk gets into a fistfight and doesn't rip his shirt.

-A power surge on the Bridge is rapidly and correctly diagnosed as a faulty capacitor by the highly-trained and competent engineering staff.
-The Enterprise is captured by a vastly superior alien intelligence that does not put them on trial.

-The Enterprise is captured by a vastly inferior alien intelligence which they easily pacify by offering it some treats.

-Kirk doesn't end up kissing the troubled guest-female before she sacrifices herself for him.

-The Enterprise visits an earth-type planet called "Paradise" where everyone is happy all of the time. However, everything is soon revealed to be exactly what it seems.
-A major Starfleet emergency breaks out near the Enterprise, but fortunately, some other ships in the area are able to deal with it to everyone's satisfaction.

-Spock forgets himself and breaks into an expletive-laden stand-up comedy routine.

-The Enterprise is involved in a bizarre time-warp experience which is in some way unconnected with the Late 20th Century.

-Kirk falls in love with a woman on a planet he visits and isn't tragically separated from her at the end of the episode.

-Somebody takes out a shuttle and it doesn't explode or crash on an isolated planet.

-The warp engines start playing up a bit but seem to sort themselves out after a while without any intervention from Scotty.

-The mysterious giant threatening object is on a direct course for some world other than Earth.

-The transporter is actually able to lock on to someone's signal when they're in danger.
-A redshirt sneaks down a deserted corridor, turns a corner, and suddenly has a surprise birthday party.

-A redshirt manages to avoid the thrown knife, phaser shot, arrow, or whatever.

-The deflector shields hold through the duration of the battle.

-Kirk meets a woman whom he's known for years but never made out with.

-Kirk says "Uhura, I'm frightened".
-Kirk gets court-martialled for violating the Prime Directive.

-An unknown ensign beams down as part of an away team and lives to tell the tale.

-An android race turns out to be completely friendly and not threatening or menacing in any way.

-Some patient of McCoy's who is NOT a central character lives.

-Scotty doesn't mention the laws of physics.

-The episode ends without Bones and Kirk laughing at Spock's inability to understand the joke and doesn't raise his eyebrows.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

For Thanksgiving - Strays

Chapter 43 - Strays    

Walking through my neighborhood with our rescue dog yesterday, I saw a cat, arrested within the eyes of that dog, pulled up high in the apostrophe of fear as he held poised for fight or flight.  I pulled her gently away, as she has been around cats since being rescued and we weren't in for a rumble. But I didn't want her to get a clawed nose for her curiosity.  The cat's coat was in good condition as far as I could tell, but it was very thin, likely a stray. I was going to see where it went, where it might have a home, but it was gone in a flash before I could check on its well-being. I'd seen it before, always hanging around the same spot in the fence, where she likely had found a safe place to sleep.


I’m glad we adopted our rescue dog after our last dog died suddenly from cancer. She had been dumped heartworm positive at a high-kill shelter. A stray. We’d see them on the streets, in shelters, the fortunate ones collected by rescue groups, the unfortunate—the look in their eyes, heartrending.

But animals aren't the only “strays” we see; people fall into that same category.  I'm not talking about the homeless, necessarily, but about those people that by circumstance or transplant find themselves in a new city, for a new job, or a fresh start, where they don't know anyone, or are stranded somewhere while traveling for a day or days, due to weather and fate.

I found myself in that position after I hung up my professional wings and took a job in a neighboring state before I met my husband and got married.  Like any new person with little seniority, that meant I would be on duty over the holiday.

I remember walking out to my little VW Jetta from my workplace the night before Thanksgiving that first year there, as the sky spat cold rain, and felt a tear on my face. I'm not sure why, as a professional pilot in my younger days, I'd spent many a holiday alone, on-call or in a hotel.  Years, later, holidays were busy times at work.  But that night it got to me—I really had no place to go but home to my dog and a sandwich, my belongings still not unpacked from the move. I was hoping someone would remember that I had no family near, and would turn around, pulling back into the parking lot to ask me to join them for dinner the next day when I got off work. As I walked to the car, I got a gleam out of the corner of my eye in the darkness, a movement and I smiled thinking someone remembered me and was turning back with an invitation. But it was nothing more than an illusion, that faint glimpse of reflection imagined there as you gaze into the depths of a wishing well, only to find cold stillness.

There was no car, just a flash of light reflected off a nearby road, and it brought back every moment as a child, those moments we have all had when we feared we just didn't fit in, that we didn't belong.

I was always the one inviting the new kid to play with us, befriending the nerdy and the odd.  Perhaps it was because I viewed myself that way. So, when I was a very young flight instructor, living out of a suitcase with no roots, I decided to continue that tradition and share my table with others like me. With most of us on call to give an “introductory flight” to a prospective student, hoping to earn some dollars to pay next quarter’s tuition, or too broke to fly home commercially, many of us had no place to go on Thanksgiving Day. So, I hung a flyer up on the instructor's bulletin board at my airport, for any errant corporate pilot in the area or my coworkers. An invite to come over to my little place for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'd not say I was “friends” with all these guys from the perspective that we would continue to hang out together when we finished college, going off to fly for the military or the airlines.  These were simply people I'd spent hours in the cockpit with getting my various instructor ratings or occasionally getting the &*#@ scared out of us, absorbing the wonderful colors and shapes and shadows of the sky, making temporary homes in a series of small apartments with multiple roommates, cramming as much as possible into the rare twenty-four hours we actually were off.  So yes, we were family, if only related by adventure and empty pockets. And for that, I could think of no better reason than to peel thirty pounds of potatoes, bake five pies, and to bat my big green eyes at the butcher to talk him out of that extra ham at half off.

Yes, thirty pounds of potatoes, for although I expected RSVP's from about six people, I ended up with twenty-seven people, some of the pilots I worked with, some of the office staff who were single, a couple of our mechanics, and a number of corporate pilots that used our facility and stayed at the local hotel while their passengers enjoyed Thanksgiving with family and they got free cable. They arrived with drinks and chips and thankfully, some extra rolls and a couple of pies from the Safeway store.

It was a wonderful evening, with massive quantities of food eaten, countless stories told and much laughter, eating until we couldn't eat anymore. There was something starry in the kitchen that night, where I learned as much about my ability to organize and create as I did about the essential bond that a meal around the table creates, even if it's a bunch of card tables shoved together with white bleached sheets over them.

Did it mean that we all got along perfectly after that night? No, for there were still those days that intruded darkly on hours normally full of light. Those long close-quartered days where we plowed through thick dark clouds to reach ice-covered firmament, cursing the weather and long lines for takeoff. Days where the alarm clock snatched us violently out of wrung out sleep, sweeping us all back into the thrall, impotent for days against returning to home, knowing that instead of getting a nap afterward, many of most of us would be heading off to night classes.  As much fun as flying could be, after a few months of such a schedule, even the best of us got a little self-absorbed. Add in constant travel, books and study hall, and it was a life of scattered adrenalin, little sleep and scant time for real relationships. Just like life for many of us now, with families and jobs and pets and demands.

But that night, if only for a few hours, we had that bond of family and food, warmth and safety. It was that moment when chance aligns with time, whose only foe is death and together death's darkness seems so very far away.

Strays.

You see them at an airport, that frazzled traveler that just missed the last flight, that young person sleeping on the floor after their flight canceled without the means to secure a hotel room. I've offered a hot coffee and a sandwich with a smile to more than one soldier or college student I saw stranded at the airport. Because I have been that young person with a rumbling stomach, surrounded by strangers, wanting only to be home.

I had a flight between two Midwest cities a few years back after I'd picked up a couple of days work as a contract corporate pilot after getting a call from a corporation I’d done some part-time flying for in a neighboring state.  The city where I was flying out of to connect with that aircraft wasn't home, but it was near where I was spending Thanksgiving with friends.  Easy money and the holiday was over anyway.

The sky was cold and cloudy as I waited for my return flight, to be followed by a long drive home, but there was no precipitation. All of a sudden, our flight was canceled, with no reason given, but we were only told we'd be on another flight real soon. I didn't see any mechanics at the plane, and the flight crew was all there, so I called Flight Service, for the aviation weather, providing them the registration number of the plane I'd just flown in, the previous night.  There was severe icing aloft, unusual to be so widespread, but deadly. No one, big or small, was going to be flying out of that airport, and likely for the rest of the day.

At this point, we were standing in line to be re-booked; the word not having gotten to the gate that the airport would essentially be shutting down flights.  There was a well-dressed gentleman behind me. We had chatted a bit and it turned out his wife worked at the same bank one of the folks I had spent the holiday with worked at. I quietly told him about the weather and explained that NO ONE was going to be flying, and I was going to get a rental car now, as the flight was just a “hop” and getting home back to where my car was parked was just a three-and-a-half-hour drive. A couple of other people overheard.  I asked, “Do you want to go with me?”  With a quiet nod, four of us snuck out of the line.  For it only takes a word that the last flights are canceling to start the disturbed buzz of voices in the customer service line, like bees, before they move in an agitated swarm to the rental car counters, with stinging glances to the Priority Customers, the worker bees hoping for one solitary car to be left.  I wanted to get out before THAT happened.

The weather out of the clouds was great, just a little snow and we made the trip in four hours, everyone calling their spouses or friends that they would be a bit late and whether they needed a ride from the airport. On the drive, we were strangers and we weren't.  We talked about holiday plans, kids, and vacations when it got warm.  There were bad puns and WAY too many references to the Trains Planes and Automobiles movie—something only folks that saw that movie would appreciate. “You're Going the Wrong Way!” one of us exclaimed and the whole car erupted in laughter like we were a bunch of grade school kids, the cool kids—“Those Aren't Pillows!” as we laughed again, just having fun, with no fears of rejection or hurt or loss.

With a stop for sandwiches at one of the toll plazas, we soon made it, only to find the terminal pretty much deserted, most of the flights coming from north or east also canceled inbound.  They thanked me for making that call and offering to pay for the rental car. I had let them pay for gas, and that's all I wanted.

We said our goodbyes and walked away towards home. The sun, whose brilliant form dwarfs us all into the smallest of particles upon the earth as we are held within its glare, was hidden behind the steeled gray of cloud cover. With its brightness now captured behind a stratified door, the night fell upon us as we walked to our cars; it was as if we were all just shadows, covered with a fine, soft scattering of night, falling like ash.

I never saw any of them again.

Thanksgiving for me that first year after a career change was one of those “sandwich days,” not for lack of an invite with friends, but personal and work-related.  Still, it gave me time to think and reflect, something that is as important as giving thanks.  The human heart is large enough to contain the entire world, and it's small enough to be felled by just one being, yet it is valiant enough to bear all burdens when you realize you are not alone.

As the phone rang tonight with the cherished voice of my husband, to let me know he had reached his destination safely, I realized I had much to be thankful for. Even in an empty house, there was a gentle doggie snore of an adopted friend until it was time to join them in slumber.  With a quick warm hand pressed for a moment on top of a cold square box in which my former furry best friend lay, I left the house and walked to a little store a block away, a can opener and a little plastic bowl in my pocket. I got some cat food and put it out in a bowl along a solitary fence. 
From True Course - Lessons of a Life Aloft by Brigid Johnson      
     

Monday, November 25, 2019

Part of This Complete Breakfast

 What's that?  I heard the sound of a bowl.
 I hear it, I smell something.
 Could it be?
Yo, Mom.  Dad has foodables and I don't! It's a bowl of Great Nuts (I hear they're made out of stone-ground squirrels).
 The prosecution objects!
Look - I'm not against bribery.  Will $15 get me a bowl of Great Nuts?
 Fine - distract me with throwing a stuffie.
 He Shoots. She Scores.
Oh boy, that's the ball my friend Frankie Furter sent me.
 I got it!
Seriously Mom, you're not on your game, first the cereal and now a Chewy box that's been sitting here for like four YEARS.
I'll just sit here and starve to death, you all go ahead and open the boxes.

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Cabin is Gone

Before Dad went into assisted living the family members who could take the time off from work took Dad to the Oregon Coast where we spent our summers growing up in a tiny rental cabin.

The first night there, there was a huge Pacific storm and the next day dawned blustery, to say the least.
My husband and I had rented three suites, one with a huge kitchen and living room, that adjoined or were across the hall from the others so a few of us could gather. The biggest one was a corner unit with great views. Everyone involved had done so much for Dad this summer while we worked, this was our treat, lodging, food, everything.

With it being mid-week and during school, it was a small group but it was a tight group.  My cousin L (who shares with me the care of Dad now) and her Partner K., and Big Bro's beloved only daughter and her daughter (her husband, a former submariner was working and wasn't able to make it) and Partner and I.
 The storm had passed.
People and their animals ventured out.

I remember once as a kid the tide went out so far we could drive a car around the backside of Haystack.  Cars aren't allowed now, but 45 years ago, this beach was almost deserted but for the locals and the occasion moron that drove his car into the incoming tide and got stuck and watched it get covered with saltwater. Still everyone morning, before it was even light, Bro and I would head out to the rock to check out the tide pools, not disturbing anything, just taking in the wonders of the natural world.
We'd get up before light, being careful not to wake Mom, and head on down to the tide pools that were exposed, gingerly looking, while not harming anything that was there, hoping to find a prehistoric shell to take home.  On the old 60's TV cabinet at Dad's, as we moved him from his home we found a dish full of sand dollars. Many of you have seen a sand dollar. They're commonly sold in souvenir stores. But what you see is only the remaining skeleton of a living sea creature. When living, the sand dollar is covered with fine hair-like cilia that cover tiny spines, soft, and almost purple in color. But the remaining shell is beautiful, fragile, white. The essential essence of what this creature was.
We'd throw some of them back in the water, the tide moving as fast and as slow as life itself, even as we ourselves could not sense that momentum, believing that it would always be like this. All that distance between ourselves and the future, it was not even a thought in that long peaceful creep of a childhood afternoon.

I think back to that childhood beachside Cabin, But the cabin is gone.  It's wood cremated to ash, its foundation covered by the advance of time,  But from that time of my youth, it burned brightly in my mind, that one constant, that spot on earth on which we grew and spread our wings, even as we were rooted to its ground, drawing our faith together there with our life.
I spent a good part of my childhood summers and the occasional holiday weekend at that cabin, right on the water's edge, only a small margin of sand between the sea and tranquility. It was small and clean and within its walls were my happiest memories. Getting up before dawn with my older brother to walk miles to look at the wonders the night had exposed. Clouds caught on the mountains, the sky grey in the morning, a filtered, ocean blue-grey, hesitant cloud cover that we felt safe under.

Days running through the trees, down onto the sand, playing soldier or stormtrooper or spy. Days filled with time, as though it were something solid you could pick off the ground and put in your pocket.  But what I put in that pocket was a small stone, no moose etched on it, but a stone, a small smooth weight I carried in my pocket, worn smooth by the action of the waves that flirted with the shore. Waves are part of life, the cadence of your day, perhaps that is why I'm drawn to the shore. The beach where we vacationed, like any stretch of sand and stone, is formed of glacial drift and rock, the small stones that you can still hold in the palm of your hand are worn to their element. I would touch them, smooth against my skin, stroking the surfaces well rounded by the waters never-ending manipulative caress. But in addition to the stones, we'd find all sorts of treasures, branches and bits of bone, small pieces of the wild, tossed about by wind and galloping currents, and abandoned as casual playthings of the wild, just waiting to be picked up and held.
TV was not allowed at the cabin and we'd play outside unless it was raining hard enough to drown a duck, coming in only for lunch (and once to catch Dad watching football - busted!). We played, racing around rocks, trees, and water until supper, when we'd come into Mom, to freshly baked cheddar garlic bread and fresh-caught fish. We'd bound in and she'd take us in, in arms that smelled of flour, her auburn hair scented with Wind Song perfume, her laughter a balm to any skinned knee that might have occurred during the day's warfare. We ran until we couldn't take in a breath.  We drove our feet deep into the sand as if imprinting it forever.  We conquered the waves on skimboards, shooting across the wet sand with nothing more than the physics of motion and an inch of water, getting a sensation of movement of air and water, that never left either of us.
Nights were filled with the sound of the water lulling us to sleep after our nightly family time that consisted of board games, fires, Jiffy Pop popcorn, and always, prayer before our simple supper.

The cabin is gone.
I loved those mornings with my brother at the tide pool when no one was around and I had miles of the wild to myself. I loved it in the afternoon when the sun beat off my back while we played with a big weather balloon Dad got us and the chance of an encounter with something large of tooth and fin was simply an annoyance. I loved it when the fog lifted off the land and I could take the little Piper from the local airport where I worked as a teen, and follow eagles as they danced in tandem with the waves. With the light of the sky reflecting off my prop guiding me back to the airstrip, a wing-tipped to a pod of whales.

I still believed that life was uncomplicated. I loved it in the evening when I could get in one last walk at my world's edge when the whole landscape took on an otherworldly look and I could dream the dreams of my future in the sky against the backdrop of clear, iridescent waters.

Even into adulthood, that cabin was our hearthstone, even if distant, that place where we all had the right to sit as a family. We were already traveling hundreds of miles of uncharted ocean and sky, earning under or beyond the ocean, our glory, or sometimes no more than a stale sandwich and strong coffee. But going back there was like rendering an account, the open sky and that mighty ocean our friend, our inspiration, our judge. We came back, sometimes scarred, but we came back whole, as family, to face the peace and the truth which was simply grasping each other's hand in prayer before someone decided to play "Mr. Pincher" with a crab claw on a sibling that outranked them.
The cabin is gone

It was sold and replaced with a condominium on the site where the little cottage and those of its kind stood. We went back one last time before the buildings were razed and watched the sun set on my innocence. I wanted to hold onto that night, the way the water smelled, the wash of colors of a Western skyline, the lonely cry of a bird of prey echoing off of the wind. I looked so hard, so long, that I forgot to blink, and my eyes teared up. I didn't want to shut them; I wanted to capture what I was seeing forever, a color imprint on the film of memory. I simply did not want to let go.
I think of how many years Mom has been gone, now Big Bro. I think of dreams shattered, of dreams born. Before I left home to come back to work this week, I dreamed of Big Bro at the cabin, and in my dream he was silent, simply hugging me while I could hear his heartbeat as if it was the only thing in the room. I wonder if his silence is more from my holding on to him than letting him go. But letting go is easier said than done.

The cabin is gone.
I know that parts of my life are over and the cadence of my days and my future will change once again. But dealing with change as I grew up was easier at the cabin because over the years it was as constant as the gentle waves upon the shore. And so very last night, as I sat in a quiet room, only my laptop to keep me company, I opened up my picture folder stored therein, where I carry those glimpses of places and people that I love. As the world outside stilled, I took myself back to it, as if I was there. I took myself back so I could let go.
As Partner I ventured on that second day in this last family trip, I looked out upon the water, and remembered those days, happy I was out in the rain, getting wet, in doing so. As we walked, we talked, of mice and men and many things, sharing stories that occurred before he was born, that made me what I am, as our past shapes us all, like wind and tide.

I didn't mean we were ALL serious. There were these seagulls, and off to the left, one solitary seagull  Partner asked why he wasn't joining and I said: "he is just waiting for his tern".  Laughing is good, even at really bad puns.

Time for some games as another shower comes through.
Cribbage and then Dominoes!
We're not type A or anything.
 Then a Trip to Bruce's Candy Kitchen established 1962 or 3.  I always remember it being there
Childhood favorites!  I don't care if your five or fifty - it's always fun to get hyped up on sugar and then go annoy your parents.
I just had the cheap point and shoot camera but you get the idea.
I got some "seafoam" candy and a HUGE bag of their incredible salt water taffy for my great-niece.
 Shasta is tired and it was time for supper.

So many meals in this small coastal town, in good times and in bad,  as children, even during a time my Mom was battling cancer. She may have been too weak some days to get out of bed, but we were there, with Dad cooking pancakes that were so bad that the dog took them out and buried them and the one I threw in the fireplace wouldn't burn. Years later we still laugh about those pancakes.

We were there when storms tossed tree limbs like toys, taking out a window and reminding us just how vast and powerful the sky and ocean were, understanding both their saving power and severity. We were there through joy and hope and loss, and many, many a dismantled crab.
But for our first night- Chicken Tetrazzini.

But first, some homemade bread, cheese and olive spread.
We paused to say grace, for family and all our blessings.  Then we dug in.
 Some homemade Cardamon bread for Breakfast with fruit and yogurt.
Then it was time to explore some more.  Dad can't walk on the beach, but he had fun on the balcony with the binoculars, waving at us.
The storm washed up all kinds of stuff.
But some things it didn't budge.
Halibut fish and chips for lunch!  Partner and I both can't do shellfish but I've got him hooked on Halibut.
After lots of walking after lunch out on the beach, Dad beat everyone at Cribbage. 
Then Dad took a little walk around the property with a view of the beach, then came in with Shasta to wait for the baseball game to start. We let him break the rule about TV, it was THE baseball game to watch apparently.

Before we knew it, it was time for "fresh off the boat" crab which K went and so generously bought. With it, there was mac and cheese and salad and garlic toast.





Dad - he just ignored the kids being silly AND the sides and worked on his crab til he had this heaping pile of crabmeat on his plate and then ate it all at once with a bit of cocktail sauce.

The rest of the family had headed back to Central Oregon to work the next day, so it was just my husband, favorite cousin and her Partner and Dad.  We poured some wine and enjoyed every minute.
After a good night's sleep, it was soon time to go.  K. taking Shasta out for one last romp on the beach before an 11-hour drive for them, back to the mountains.
 Then back, as we gathered up our things.
Shasta senses something is changing as bags are gathered up, sticking close to her favorite human.

Partner and I made one last trip, by ourselves, to the spot where my parents rented a cabin when Bro and I were children, right on the water, the place now a huge hotel.  The dynamics of the ocean have changed, a river inlet to the ocean now shifted so much closer to the shoreline, where it had once been a huge expanse of beach.
This view is one I knew for my entire childhood - but for the water being a little further away when we were little.

What is it about certain things in life, the simplest of things, a tool, a smell, the feel of a piece of wood or small stone in your hand that evokes a place, a voice, a wistful goodbye, that makes you feel like a small child walking on a path of life that got suddenly big. And like a child, you deeply sense how it makes you feel, but the words you know to explain it are so very limited, so you just sit and look, and breathe it in.

The only sound I hear is the internal tick of a clock, the only other thing I can sense is a taste of salt, that of the ocean, or tears, I can not tell, but distilled there on my tongue taking me back some 40 or so years to that wooded area where we played soldier and spy, almost unchanged.  As I stood there, I could hear my brother calling to me from deep within the green - We've beaten the bad guys, come join me.   Not too soon Big Bro, I hope, but I will see you again

Then it was time to load up Dad and say goodbye.
Dad with my beloved cousin L, - who he took under his wing after her Dad died in a fishing boat accident when she was a young woman.  He will see her again, with her loving partner and family member K., but Dad knew it would be his last time here, with the family.

As he got into the car, I saw the tears as all he could get out was "last trip. . "  Then I said "but you DID beat everyone over the age of 5 in Cribbage"-- and he slyly chuckled "I did" and laughed, enjoying the car ride back to his house with a stop for marionberry pie before we got on the ferry.  Good memories to the end.
A couple of days later, Partner and I load up the rental car to take one last ferry ride to catch our flight home.  Dad watches me through the window from that old recliner that has faded, there where the light fell strongest. I wonder, does he see a grown woman, a few laugh lines there beneath the long red ponytail and ball cap? Or does he still see a little auburn-haired girl growing into adulthood at the speed of sound?  Does he recall all of those moments that haunt the winter of our memory, or just those golden days of summer at the beach, unmarred by rain or thunder? Or has he simply surrendered it all over to simply this moment, now, these remaining days that are left?

He yawns and his eyes close, there in the late Autumn sun, one last exhalation that empties his body of waking or worrying. The neighborhood lay in that soft hazy light that makes the houses look like old photos, faded scraps of color that scatter lightly on the earth, lighter than dust, with which one hard rain would wash forever from our sight and memory, were we not to gather them up to protect them.
I remind myself that love is more about how I feel in my heart than how others feel about me, that home has more to do with those who love me, than their being with me this very moment. And when I think of Big Bro standing against the landscape in my dream, still strong and healthy, I realize something. The undercurrents of ocean and sky had shaped him, eroding away all but what is essential; until all that was left was pure love, a pristine light that is his soul.  That, I will always have with me.

I tell myself, not how much I miss him, and will soon miss my whole family, but that I am thankful for who they were to me, and always will be.

The cabin is gone, but it's the memories that matter. They are in me, the way waves, incessant, after a long time, cease to be sound, yet are still there

 - LBJ