My Bob said once, when I told him I would not be going to camp at the Oregon Coast that year, “if you don’t go, you will not be livable”.  That year, I went.  The next year after that, I did not, because he was deeper into his illness, and dying and that year, Bob did not object.  This year, I did not go because my cat suddenly appeared to be dying.  This is the second year I have missed since I began vacationing on my own on the Oregon Coast some thirty or forty years ago.

The cat has not died; she simply did not want me to go.  I am somewhat livable, but you might want to ask my sister about that.  But I am very happy that the cat still purrs, and I know the ocean will be there next year.  Somehow.



Why the Shelves Were Empty

A while back, my lovely sister was cat-sitting for me while I made my annual camping trek to the ocean.  During many of her previous visits, we had spent some time at a local coffee/tea/bakery place that has very good chocolate croissants and cinnamon scones and other wonders.

So anyway, when I arrived home after a long drive from the ocean, sis was waiting for me with a bag of bakery goodies.  The bag was a delight of lovely pastries, but I wondered why she had bought so many.  Her answer:

“There were only four left!”

And that is why the shelves were empty.


Sometimes it just is not difficult to get a laugh.  Often I just say or do things and it turns out to get a laugh in response.  Often, too, I am not at all sure what was funny.  But, oh well, it’s nice to make someone happy, just one someone if that’s the best I can do.

So yesterday, I went to my local with my current paperback book–a pretty good fantasy–and the barista was absolutely overjoyed to see the book.  She said happily that this was her absolute favorite author and it was just wonderful to see someone else reading the book.  Make someone happy–even by accident.

Tonight, chatting online, I mentioned that I had baked a cinnamon bread today from a new recipe that used oil rather than butter.  I usually bake Amish cinnamon bread because it is easy, and delightfully tasty and light.  But I only had frozen butter and I was impatient to get a treat, so the new recipe came out.  So I went on to mention that I thought the new recipe produced a bread that was too heavy.  Also, however, that I wasn’t really sure about that because I had not yet cut a slice to eat.  So her question was, how do I know the bread is heavy if I have not yet had any.  My answer was that I tasted a crumb and the crumb was heavy.

We ended our conversation a few hours ago, and I think she is still laughing.

Must I Wash?

OK, so here is the problem.  In winter or during cold weather, I like to wear corduroy pants and flannel shirts to keep a bit warm.  The issue is that eventually these things seem to want to be washed.  So, ever so reluctantly, into the machine they go.  The shirts are not too bad–I buy them larger than I need and let them shrink to their hearts’ desires.  However, the pants are another story.  I don’t want to buy them really large because it would make me feel  large.  So I buy them to actually fit me.  But then, when washed and dried, I am shrink-wrapped in corduroy until they stretch themselves out again.  Somewhat embarrassing for an older lady to be walking around in really skinny pants (however, if you have not watched the You-Tube video “Older Ladies” by Donnalou Stevens, I do recommend it).

So, to wash or not?  In summer it would not be a problem, because I line-dry stuff in summer, but this is a winter problem, and even inside, it would take a long time to line-dry heavy corduroy pants.  My solution so far to being shrink-wrapped is to wear a long coat for the first few wears as a cover-up.  Today, however, I decided to go for it.  I put on the pants (there must be an easy way to get into skinny pants, but I’ve no idea how) and went out to my local and said (without saying a word), “too bad if you think I’m too old for this” and enjoyed the heck out of it.

Wash, then wear.  That’s the answer.


A couple of years ago, a friend gave me a book to read about happiness from the perspective of various dead (mostly) white (mostly) philosophers.  I finally have begun to give it a read–maybe a couple of pages at a time, but it is not a terrifically long book so I may finish it sometime.  One good result of this is that I think about being happy more than I have been doing over the last few years.  Today I had one of those inadvertent thoughts that come along occasionally and that thought led to the question of whether we just plain can decide to be happy.

I am actually not going to even attempt to answer that question–at least not until I have finished reading the book (if ever I do).  However, the inadvertent thought came about (I think) because of an encounter at my local this morning, so I am going to tell you about that encounter.

Walked in, was pleased (but wouldn’t say exceptionally happy) that there was no line and that my usual chair was available, and one of the people I say hello to was there.  All of that was quite nice, but the happy came next.  The barista was wearing a white collared shirt (more of this sartorial stuff, sorry) and had on a tie.  This was not a normal tie, if such exist.  It was an exceptional tie.  A rather large bow tie, it was.  But the really happy thing about the tie is that it was a striped bow tie, and it was a tie that just made my mouth turn up into a big smile (even though that makes all of the wrinkles show more than usual).  Without even thinking about it, I was happy.  But that wasn’t the end of the story.  I told him I really liked his tie.  He told me that his mother had given it to him a year or so ago, and that she had found it while on a vacation to Italy, wandering down a street filled with vendors.  He said she saw it and just had to buy it for him (now this is not a particularly young man about whom we are speaking–upper middle-aged married [I say because his hair is gray] with maybe grown kids).  I immediately had a mental picture of the sighting, the joy that she must have felt when she knew she had found the perfect gift for her son, and I can almost see his expression (and his kids’ expressions) when he saw what his mother was offering to him.  And, saw in the gift the person she knew him to be, and was apparently delighted by that sight, because he actually wears the tie even when his mother is not there to see.

So.  First, I was happied by the sight of the tie, and then I was happied by the intuition that this was one very happy family being represented by the barista, and finally, I was happied by the knowledge that I was happy at that moment and for a while after.

What do you do when get all that happied?  You come home and do your happy dance, sing your own secret happy song, and purr to the cat as you tiptoe through the tulips in your home.  I am not sure that I decided to be happy.  I know that I was happy, and that I am happy right now as I relate this story.  Picture me happy, and hopefully that picture will make you smile and be happy too.

Big Guy, Little Guy

Every once in a while at one of my locals a young man and his small son come in together.  The young man is not so tall, but slender, with close cut blondish hair, and he usually is wearing a blue jacket and jeans.  His son is not so tall, but slender, with close cut blondish hair, and he too is usually wearing a blue jacket and jeans.  The young man leaves his son to order their drinks, and the son searches for a place to sit.  The play continues.

The son finds an acceptable spot in one of the armchairs that are scattered around the room.  There is another such chair across from him and one beside him.  The father comes with drinks in hand and frowns at the choice of seating his son has made.  He takes the drinks to a table with two chairs and gestures to his son to come to him.  Son does not move.  Father repeats the gesture, still standing.  Son does not move.  It is a sit/stand-off.  Will the winner be the big guy or the little guy?

Big guy walks over and sits the the chair next to little guy.  The proceed to have what appears to be a happy conversation over their drinks, clearly enjoying each other’s company as they sip.

I have watched the scene play out several times, always with the same result.  I find myself smiling each time, at the same time wondering what lessons are being learned by the father and by the son.  I would very much like to see their interplay twenty or thirty years on.  Will they both still be wearing blue?  Who will defer to whom? Who will be the big guy, then?  Who is, now?