One Sunday we took a leisurely drive from our St. Helens home near the Columbia River to the historic town of Vernonia. Winding our way from the flat lands up towards the gossamer clouds it would be easy to pretend we were entering Misty Mountain territory from Lord of the Rings.
It takes about an hour to travel the twisting thirty-one miles into tall-tree country. (That is if you don’t stop for pictures)
Vernonia’s history is rooted in the timber industry. Magnificent giant trees dwell on hillsides like skyscrapers dominate downtown San Francisco.
Vernonia’s famous Big Gun Logging team is part of the History Channel Ax Men series.
And the 1961 film Ring of Fire, starring David Janssen and Frank Gorshin, was partially filmed in Vernonia.
Arriving in this charming town, with a population of a little over 2,200, we were greeted by a winsome old hip-roofed barn.
I am crazy about bridges, and could not resist getting a photo of this stalwart structure…..
We found parking next to a grocery store that is definitely “parent friendly!” I’ve NEVER seen this before. I’m impressed. How accommodating…how touching….how thoughtful!
We strolled down the sidewalk to the Black Bear Coffee Company on Bridge Street.
Our delicious hamburger was only outdone by my fantastic Bloody Mary…and it was true, as one of my friends noted, “there’s a salad on top of your drink.”
The service was terrific and the atmosphere delightful. We’ll be returning to the Black Bear Coffee Company.
Leaving the carpets of ferns….
….but I know that the road leading out of Vernonia, can take me back anytime I want!
In the summer, at our house, there were always two pitchers of iced tea in our refrigerator. One of them, my mother referred to as ” Your Father’s Tea” (meaning sweet tea–southern style) and the other was, regular plain iced tea, no sugar. These were the two choices available. My mother made the iced tea from tea bags, although our neighbors used that very modern, “Instant Tea”. ( You can taste the difference).
Growing up in the ’60′s, I started making sun tea in the summertime, and have continued the practice. Now, however, warnings about bacteria that can grow in sun tea may cause me to consider it a “Steep Risk” http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp.
If any of us got sick from sun tea, I didn’t know it. I probably blamed some other “germ” or even
decided that a small child must have shared his illness.
The popularity and availability of a wide variety of flavored black and green teas has greatly increased my iced tea choices. (See list below for teas that are excellent iced). Magnificent Mango, quite popular in our tea room, competed with Arctic Raspberry and Shanghai Lime (photo) as favorites for iced teas. My iced tea choices are not limited to tea bags, instant tea, sweetened or unsweetened. …..I can celebrate incredible abundance !
Oregon Street Tea Company‘s Great Iced Tea Recipe:
For 2 quarts (1/2 gallon)
* In a 6 cup teapot, place an infuser filled with 12 teaspoons of tea.
* Fill the teapot with water heated to 195 degrees.
* Brew 5 minutes.
* In a 2 quart container fill 1/2 with ice.
* Pour tea over ice.
* Add cold water if needed to make 1/2 gallon of great iced tea !
The following teas make excellent iced teas and can be purchased from the Tea Booth UPSTAIRS at the Oregon Street Antique Mall….
Black Flavored Teas:
Cranberry Breeze or Cranberry Orange
Wild Cherry Blast
Green Flavored tea:
Strawberry Fields Forever
The Very Popular “Arnold Palmer” http://www.arnoldpalmertee.com/news.asp
Fill a glass with ice and add:
1/2 black tea (brewed)
1/2 Lemon slice to decorate the rim of the glass
Very Refreshing !
Hawaiian Iced Tea
Make 2 quarts of Oregon Street Tea Company’s Great Iced Tea
1 can (16 oz) pineapple juice
1/2 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
Refrigerate until chilled.
Garnish with fresh pineapple spears and serve
Simple Syrup: ( You can also purchase this)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Cool.
Happy Iced Infusions !
When we lived on our rural ranch in the 1990′s, I was often alone with our children while my Sweet Husband traveled to Japan for his business. Our nearest neighbor was at least a mile down the road and the Sheriff’s Department was over an hour away.
It’s been said before, but it is true….rural people think differently than city people. We’re used to depending on ourselves or our neighbors. It’s not that we don’t appreciate “government” help, it’s just that it’s not always readily available. And most governmental agencies in rural areas expect their population to do what they can in the face of an emergency.
So, if there’s a fire on a hillside, we get our shovels, run up the hill and do what we can to contain it until the volunteer firemen get there.
One day my neighbor stopped by to tell me a convict, from our minimum security facility in the county, escaped from the crew working on our side of the mountain. I was home alone with our children. I called the Sheriff’s Department.
Deputy: Hello, how can I help you?
Me: I live in Surprise Valley and my neighbor told me one of the convicts on the work crew escaped. I’m home alone at my ranch. Can you tell me if this is true?
Deputy: Mam, I cannot verify that.
Me: You mean you can’t tell me if a convict escaped?
Deputy: That’s right mam.
Me: Well, let’s just pretend one of them did, what should I do?
Deputy: Leave your keys in your vehicle, load your gun and lock your door.
Me: Thank you. You’ve been very helpful!
See? I told you we think differently. Translation……
Leave my keys in the vehicle: Just in case the convict may want to use the car to escape. A car isn’t worth a life.
Lock my door: Why would he tell me to lock my door? Doesn’t everybody keep their doors locked? Normally we didn’t lock our doors, except maybe at night. On a ranch you sometimes have to go in and out several times a day or a neighbor might need to use your phone.
Load my gun: He presumed I had a gun and that I knew how to load and shoot it. (I did)
I’ll never forget his succinct, wise advice!
(My precious daughter-in-law took the above photograph at our ranch)
<Hi nammer this is Mitch>
Be still my beating heart!
I read the message twice. Oh my goodness, my nine year old grandson just texted me from his mom’s phone. (That phrase “texted me” still “sounds” funny when I say it out loud. I’ll get used to it I’m sure!)
I touched letters on my phone trying to compose a readable answer. My fingers refused to cooperate. Why was I hurrying, making mistakes, backspace, backspace,….what should I say?
I’ve had unsuccessful, well, more like embarrassing, forays into the “texting” world in the past. One day a young employee of mine was late. I admonished him for not letting me know he wasn’t going to be on time. Sorrowful big brown eyes looked up at me, and he said, “But I did. I texted you.” Oh geez.
“Honey, I don’t text! You’re gonna have to call me.” I hated to admit I wasn’t savvy. I didn’t understand the latest technology. Now he knew….the truth….I didn’t even know how to retrieve a text from my phone, let alone send one.
Since then, I’ve learned a little and practiced a bit.
One, lingering, nagging problem begging for a solution, though, is, how do I remember to keep my phone with me every moment of the day? That silly phone seems quite content to stay buried in the deep dark recesses of my purse where it never makes a peep.
And then, when I do think to retrieve it and set it out on the counter, I find myself walking by it several times a day, glancing sideways…checking it….just in case I have a text. BTW (that’s text message code for “by the way”….in case you didn’t know), I learned the “walk by and glance” trick observing expert texters! You can learn a lot by watching people. Of course, some of what you see, you wouldn’t want to imitate.
Now, once out in the open, the problem becomes, remembering to find the thing before I leave the house on an errand. My poor phone is like a neglected lover, habitually ignored!
I text back…….
<Hi Mitch. How are you? Did you have
basketball practice tonight.>
<Yes I had practice>
I’ve read articles warning grandparents if “you want to stay in touch with grandchildren these days, you have to become tech-literate: texting, ichatting, and of course, you must have a Facebook page.” Email is passé.
I assumed the article referred to junior high grandchildren, not fourth graders!
<Hi nammer Its hay. I love you>
And, certainly not first graders…..my seven year old granddaughter Hayley sent me a message! Oh joyous day! Instantly in touch with my grandchildren….even if it’s just a one-line text…. is pure pleasure, especially when we live three hours apart.
<Hi Hay. Grandpa and I love you too. What
did you do today>
Impressed with my recent texting conversations, I underestimated the shock, the fear that gripped my heart, when my mind wandered off into the land of “curiosity,” and I anticipated the next wave of technology.
Oh no, could I possibly successfully negotiate more than Skype, iChat, FaceTime, texting, Facebook, Twitter….is tele-transport on the horizon? Help…who’s gonna help me?
Are your parents or grandparents technologically challenged? How have you been able to help them?
I like these websites offering assistance:
(I sent myself a few of these helpful videos…. It’s really a clever format, I just wish they had a “large print” edition..LOL)
(Very helpful in translating text messages)
(This site has a section devoted to technology!)
It has been my tradition since I was in high school to list my goals and resolutions every January first.
During the next year, on occasion, I sneak a peek at The List. Pulling it from an obscure hiding place, tucked haphazardly in a drawer, incorporated with miscellaneous receipts, business cards, notes to self, and outdated coupons, I steal a glance at the numbered contents.
Still working on this….
Yikes….what made me think this was something I wanted to do?
Oops, forgot about that one.
Should I revise this one?
I stuff The List back in the drawer and forget it, but in a few months I retrieve it again for another review.
At the end of the year, I fetch The List for the final assessment. With pen in hand, I judiciously, and joyfully cross off those goals and resolutions accomplished.
I study the unmarked enumerated intentions.
Sometimes I experience remorse. Regret. Wishing I’d had more resolve to complete a task or commit more fully to a resolution.
Sometimes I chuckle. I am amused at my own naïveté.
I evaluate whether to add the unfulfilled ones to The New List, or trash them.
And, on January first, early in the morning, I find a lovely piece of paper, a nice pen, pour myself a cup of tea, and sit down to meditate on the coming year and write out The List.
I have repeated this process for over fifty years.
However, on occasion, Once in a Blue Moon (meaning “rarely”)…..but enough times in my life to recognize it now….I experience a “paradigm shift” creeping, crawling into my mind. Infiltrating my thinking when I am agitated or reflective.
Perhaps, because I am in the habit of striving and brawling like a thug to change my circumstances, I am not responsive to a knock upside the head, or a slap in the face.
Explosive revelation doesn’t seem to be part of my journey. No burning bushes, or parting of the sea.
A “paradigm shift” disclosure that I am able to embrace has come like a caterpillar….in an unhurried, nonchalant but determined forward stride.
I realize, in time, but reluctantly, that I must admit my attitude and my thinking need to adjust to a reality I had previously been unwilling to identify as unchangeable.
I was not raised to believe “it is what it is.” I was raised to believe that what “is” can be changed with prayer and hard work. And, while I wholeheartedly subscribe to this view, I have experienced circumstances that are NOT alterable:
The responsibility of caring for someone 24/7.
The death of an unborn baby.
The death of a son.
The theft of a trust.
The betrayal of a friend.
The ravishes of a disease.
Once I capitulate, once I surrender, once I yield to the understanding of “it is what it is” I am free to let go of the fight to change something outside my ability to alter.
2012 is a Once in a Blue Moon kind of year for me.
The List is ready. I’ve written down my goals and resolutions, but on this New Years Day, I have no strategies, no plans, no ideas of how to accomplish what I want to do.
The List is ready to be superimposed on the “it is what it is” reality page.
I will have to adjust, tweak, and rearrange this overlay to accommodate pursuing my intentions on The List.
Of course, the process doesn’t happen in a day. It may take the first six months of a New Year…..but, just as the caterpillar emerges from the cocoon a butterfly, I believe my adjusted reality will allow me to achieve my goals and resolutions.
Do you have a List of goals and resolutions for the New Year? Have you experienced a “paradigm shift” recently?
Wishing all of you a blessed, joyful, prosperous New Year!
An invitation to stay with someone is a great honor. Your host wants you to be happy, to be comfortable and to feel welcome. If you’ll be a house-guest during the holidays here are eight easy tips to ensure you’re host will be dreaming you’ll be back again next year!
1. Arrive with a gift. Know your host. Don’t bring wine, if they don’t drink. Purchase something neutral like a tin of gourmet flavored popcorn, a holiday-scented candle or if you know they’re avid golfers, a box of top-notch golf balls. If you’re staying more than two nights, plan to treat them to a nice dinner at their favorite restaurant.
2. Lend a hand. Help in the kitchen. Volunteer to walk the dog. (Don’t forget the “doggie doo-doo baggies”….don’t want to make enemies in the neighborhood!)
Wash any dishes you’ve used or put them in the dishwasher. Keep common areas (like the bathroom) neat and tidy.
3. Be considerate of their work schedule. It may not be their vacation time. Although they are happy to have you stay, remember not to keep them up too late, and don’t expect them to take time off to be your tour guide or babysitter.
4. Ask about house rules: “Do you put your knifes in the dishwasher?” And don’t just show up with your pet. Ask first! That even includes checking with family members if it’s convenient to bring an animal to their home. Sometimes it’s just not a good time to have Rover at a family gathering.
5. If you’re on a special diet, bring the groceries you need. It’s always good manners to supply a few snacks or something special you’ve baked. (You know you’re from the South if you stop at a fruit stand and buy a “lug” of peaches or tomatoes to divvy up!) If you have a preference for soaps and toiletries, pack them.
6. If you have babies or children…..please don’t take a “vacation” from parenting. Get up with them in the mornings! Entertain them and keep them as quiet as possible until everyone else in the house wakes up. Don’t expect the “older” children or your host to “babysit” them. Grandparents might be an exception, but ask, be sure to clarify expectations. Keep an eye on your children and help them understand the “house rules.”
7. When departing, straighten the bedroom and bathroom. Ask if your host would like you to strip the bed. If so, leave the sheets in a pile or take them to the laundry room. Any towels or washcloths you used should be included in the pile or in the laundry room.
8. Send a handwritten thank you note once you are home. People often underestimate what a host goes through to have guests for a few days or longer. It takes a lot of time, money and energy, even if it is a joyous experience! Express your gratitude with a note!
May your Christmas and New Year be full of joy!