#281–Random Thoughts . . .

No one topic this week, just lots of little stuff I’ve wanted to write about but didn’t have enough for a full post. Maybe enough for a random thought. So, here are a week’s worth.

I REMEMBER

–My mid-life crisis–age 10––When I was 10, one of our spelling words was decade. The teacher explained it by saying that a decade is 10 years and people live about seven or eight decades. I was 10 and realized that I had used up one of my decades and only had six or seven left before I . . . . That’s when I realized that I was going to die someday. I would actually die––just like our cat had died, just like a friend’s grandfather had died. I was devastated. And I still remember. Now, that I’m nearly eight decades old, it doesn’t bother me.

When I was about 10 (on the right) with my brother and sister. We lived in Portland. I think this is a stop to take a photo in the snow on the drive to Timberline Lodge.

–The 1973–74 Oil Embargo––The death of the former Saudi Oil Minister Yamani was announced this past week. He was the one who engineered the October 1973–March 74 oil embargo that brought havoc to American drivers. Gas was very limited and prices had gone up because the newly formed OPEC stopped––totally stopped––sending oil to countries supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Waiting in line for hours became commonplace. Gas stations were only open for certain hours a day one or two days a week.  

I remember that one of the days the station near the school where I taught would have gas and be open was a Tuesday between 9 and 2 or until the gas ran out. I needed gas and would be teaching that day and unable to obtain gas. So, one of the parents of one of my students volunteered to get gas for me. She waited in line for hours, so I could have gas. This had become the norm. Just as we have adjusted to wearing masks and social distancing during the pandemic, we adjusted to spending a good part of a day just filling up the gas tank or getting someone to do it for us.

When most telephone calls were from people I knew––I remember when most of the time, the ring of the phone was actually from someone I knew—either social or connected to my life in some other way.. Now, I check the number before I answer.

Even so, I get unwanted calls. They remind me that my car warranty is about to expire, that I have a charge of anywhere from $299.99 to $799.99 on my Amazon Prime account when I didn’t even have an Amazon Prime account, that I qualify for a reduction in credit card rates, and that they want to do some updates to my Windows computer when I don’t have a Windows computer. Sometimes, it’s the IRS calling to say I owe money or the FBI calling to warn me there is a warrant out for my arrest. Lately, the most common one is Medicare has a brace for my knee or shoulder or wrist or a new benefit I might qualify for. They just need some information before they can proceed. AARRGGHH!!! I think they are all scams.

CONTRARY VIEWS

–Why I Like Facebook––Facebook has a fair amount of bad publicity and rightly so. But I like it for a couple of reasons. One, I can connect with people from my whole life. When I look at the folks who “like” something I’ve posted, they are college roommates, folks I met through working for Oregon Coast magazine, fellow co-owners at Backstreet Gallery, relatives, fellow writers, and folks I know casually around town. What a wonderful mix. This is a way to stay connected with many of the people I know

Second, it’s a place where I can publicize my blog, my books, my cards. It’s especially helpful when I have a new book out. It doesn’t cost anything, and it’s an easy way to spread the word.

Sir Groucho is a long-haired cat, and his fur has been getting matted more and more this past year.

–US Mail Service Not Slow––I hear a lot lately on the news about the mail service being so slow. As far as I’m concerned, mail service has never been better. We have USPS package delivery on Sundays this past year––no mail, just packages. Unheard of! And at Christmas, I sent a package on a Tuesday, not expecting it to get there before Christmas on Friday. But it arrived on Thursday. Two days from Florence to one of the many cities in the LA area. In January, not a holiday, I sent a package to the LA area and it arrived, again, in two days. Amazing! As far as I know, the rest of my mail may not be that speedy, but it’s not late. And I’ve received no late notices on outgoing mail.

FRUSTRATION

Mats in fur of long-haired Sir Groucho––This has only become a problem in the last year or so. Sir Groucho is no longer young; he is somewhere between 18 and 20. Evidently, he doesn’t groom himself as often as he used to. And I should be brushing him more.

To get out mats, I usually use the brush and comb and then my fingers and as a last resort, the scissors. Research says to keep the cat calm, use something like cornstarch on the actual mats, use the wide part of a comb and your fingers but not scissors. Hmm! Once Groucho figures out what I’m doing, he goes from Mr. Lovable to Mr. Vicious. So, I usually have a very short window of time to work on the mats. I haven’t tried cornstarch, but I will.

HAPPINESS

Winter’s Blue Hole Days––These are those sunny days of winter when it doesn’t rain at all during the entire day. These are the days that the late Doug Newman called the Blue Holes of Winter. He wrote the hiking column for Oregon Coast magazine for several years, that’s how I got to know him.

A sunny day in a rainy winter is simply wonderful!

We had such a day this past Wednesday. I got up early and loaded the car and went to the dump aka the Florence Transfer Station. I take my recycling as well as all my garbage. I have never had garbage pick-up service in the 35 years I’ve lived here. Since I compost and recycle, I only need to go every seven weeks or so.

On my way home, I stopped by the nursery and ordered bags of soil and fir bark to be delivered and a few flats of a particular ground cover I want to plant. I also picked up 30 plants of another groundcover for a sunnier area and 10 replacement flowering plants for the upper deck. I want both groundcovers planted soon to take advantage of the rainy months still to come.

Then I worked out in the yard from 1 to 5:30 p.m. It was cool, but sunny with an occasional breeze––perfect. My yard man came by and did the heavy-duty stuff preparing the areas that will be receiving the new groundcovers. I raked the front area and my east side yard and collected many piles of downed branches and fallen leaves that I carried to one spot. My yard man ended up taking all of it in his trailer to the transfer station the next day. I loved getting outside and getting stuff done.

That’s it! A week’s worth of random thoughts!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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