Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Vacation

Dear family and friends,
It is with a sigh I leave Spring Vacation and go back to work tomorrow. Not that I didn't work this week, too, but it was all disc
retionary and long-awaited projects I was doing.

We cleaned the basement. Yes, the last line of every "to do" list I've made in the past 10 years finally got top billing and we actually devoted ourselves to it. It's not done, but it's a lot better and the impetus to keep going is strong. Ron says he feels very encouraged--bu
t he said that right when my energy was flagging so it may be suspect.

Okay, at the risk of losing you as friends I will show some "Before" pictures:
I am not legally responsible for the traffic signs in our basement--well, maybe legally, but not personally. It has to do with teenage sons.

But then these teenage sons grow up and come back home and offer to build a basement closet for you...
And the kids come one by one to collect their stored boxes...."Oh, I remember this..."
And they help to paint (first we washed and rinsed with TSP, then we primed, then 2 coats of paint)
It's looking a lot brighter already!
So, after a week of sorting, separating, and either tossing out or setting things aside for the camp garage sale, the painting felt like a celebration of progress. We have empty corners! We only got half of the basement area painted, though. Hopefully we can keep the pace up even with the return to normal activities.

This week we also had Grandma C. here with us. She brought books and things to do being forewarned of our agenda. We had many nice visits between our sessions in the basement. She said she enjoyed watching the traffic at our house, and she meant on the inside of it.Today, Sunday, we drove her back to her home in Sweet Home. We went down Highway 99 hoping to see the tulip fields in bloom, but it must be too early still. We saw lots of daffodils.
Then we had the great fortune of finding a beautiful spot along the Santiam River where we stopped to eat our McDonald's hot fudge sundaes--yum--and I took these pictures of the spring run-off. I wish you could hear the sound of this powerful water.

I just love moss and ferns!

The week also included surprise visits of friends bearing apricot coffeecake from MennoniteGirlsCanCook, daughters-in-law with blackberry coffeecake from the same recipe source, chocolate chip cookies from an adorable 3 year old, a day's outing with my daughter and a "spring tea" with her at a friend's. We celebrated my Dad's 84th birthday with a nice turkey dinner here, and we had a welcome pizza supper with some of the kids after painting.
It was a great week, close to home but filled with people we love, who showed their love for us in many generous and helpful ways. We are so fortunate, and we're getting a clean basement too!

This last picture is of a big barn in Lebanon, Oregon which we passed today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Bouquet List

The problem with having a bucket list is that after you do the items you have to croak.

I much prefer having a list of pleasures to anticipate enriching my life, not kissing it goodbye. So I call it my Bouquet List, goals and dreams that will add on-going texture and color and beauty and joy to my future.

After I renamed my Bouquet List, I remembered Hyacinth Bucket, the British matron in Keeping Up Appearances, who always insisted that her last name was pronounced Bouquet. I do fear that the similarity doesn't stop there; I have a bit of Hyacinth in me.

On with the fun:


1) learn to really type

2) learn to speak French

3) see the Solomon Islands

4) go to Roratura

5) go to New Zealand

6) swim in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia

7) ride in a hot air balloon (over France, preferably)

8) learn how to use digital photography with my computer

9) get better results from my color prints

10) Really paint

11) have a treehouse

12) have a sunroom

13) write real poetry

15) kiss chubby cheeks of grandchildren

16) learn to play the piano

17) spend a summer in northern coastal France

18) spend a long time in the Outer Hebrides

19) make a mosaic river between my house and the North fence

20) meditate in God's Word

21) walk all the trails in Forest Park

22) have dinner guests 1 Sunday per month after church

23) use the stuff I have in interesting ways

24) develop a practical world view

25) spend a week in the Gulf Coast

26) spend a summer in Maine

27) ride my bike again

28) collect bits of china to my heart's delight

29) sit by bubbling musical brooks anywhere

30) think

31) if I have a good "think", write it down

32) go back to Prince Edward Island and stay in those little colored-shutter cottages

33) go back to Rye Beach

34) own a convertible and drive it across America, up and down the land

35) have a screen porch

36) have a white garden in a corner somewhere: lilacs, hydrangeas, lilies-of-the-valley...

37) .........

So, you see, if I am having this much fun I shall want it to go on and on. There was a movie, Heaven Can Wait, but I prefer the book title All This, and Heaven Too. I figure in heaven I'll be able to finish up the stuff I didn't get to, here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A New World

I was sitting at my computer working out the intricacies of blogging. New to the art of expressing myself to an unscheduled, undefined audience, I was tiptoeing through the pastures (not to say minefields) of what to say outside my family circle.

I only told a few people about having a blog.

Then my brother came to dinner at my house, read my blog and gave me a boost into the unknown by putting my blog address on my Facebook account. Yesterday I threw out what little caution I had left and changed the blogs I read from “Follow anonymously” to “Follow publicly.” I am so out there now.

So, I am sitting at my computer a couple weeks ago and Poof! alongside the blue stripe where it says “Hollace the Mopsy” and “Blogger Dashboard” it suddenly said CAKE AND CAPPUCCINO. “Mmm, that sounds tasty,” I thought, and clicked on it.

“No, no,” my computer savvy sis-in-law says at this point in the story, “You don't open those.”

Where did it come from? I don't know. It fell from the sky. The truth be told, a few weeks earlier I clicked on something on my dashboard and found a graduation-garbed Indian-looking fellow, but the words were in Arabic or Hindi or some kind of calligraphy I didn't even know my computer knew, so I begged his pardon and deleted him.

But I did open the door to Cake and Cappuccino and I fell through it just like Alice into a world of delights! She was talking about the very things I had spent the weekend doing and then writing about! Gardening. Thrilling in the first sunshine after the interminable winter. Cleaning up the yard and seeing signs of spring. Wow, me too! And she was halfway around the world!

Then I saw the blogs she follows and I looked at them all. Yes, I did. Suddenly, I was surrounded by kindred spirits: artists who blog, lovers of shabby-chic, gardeners anticipating Spring, people who like to stroll with their dog (“Bilbo Baggins”) on a Sunday afternoon, women who go to boot sales (not Wellingtons; car trunks), women who walk up the hill to the tea shop or the dearest vintage cottage. There actually are other people who find clotheslines charming. (I took pictures of clotheslines all the way through Nova Scotia and the Gaspe peninsula). And these girlfriends make things. Buntings (which I knew as a baby's wrapping, but in current usage is what I would call gas station flags, only much cuter—you'd be surprised how many people are doing buntings.) Pillows. Slipcovers. And then they talk about them, and show photos of what they are making and heaven help me, they show pictures of their china cabinets filled with mismatched vintage china. Oh, be still my heart. When my husband heard me cry out and came to look over my shoulder he knew instantly he was in trouble: there was an open shelf of mix-and-matched plates, just what I am doing now after years spent coordinating everything! And just like I do, they love old watering cans and chairs with things displayed on them—oh, it's another world of people like me, people who like to enjoy things and stage them and photo them and share them and walk around enjoying their lives.

The most amazing thing is that one of the blogs I fell in love with came out of my hometown, Portland, Oregon, USA. Who knew? Right here there is a kindred spirit that I never would have known about if I hadn't gone to The Netherlands, somehow, and been tossed back. That's Posie Gets Cozy. I tried to tell her by leaving a comment but I still don't have some of the knack of it...I think that was when I was suffering from “Password Confusion”. See my previous blog, “Facebooking”

Yesterday it happened again. I was pursuing reading lists of other bloggers and, low and behold, found another Portlander, Michelle.

I'm just feeling like there's a lot of people out there who could be my friends.

Hi, there!

Friday, March 6, 2009


This week I have been filled to the brim with words and ideas. The only thing holding back my wild expressions of exuberance, dismay, delight and embarrassment is technology. Maybe you should be thankful.

As you know, I am new to blogging. I have gotten enough of the hang of it to really enjoy it and I admit I am writing more, though the intended recipient is not quite as clear as in letter writing and may only be me. However, it is very cathartic.

Armed with this recent adventure I felt fit enough to attempt the next hill: Facebooking. I have looked over my husband's shoulders as he catches up on friends' activities, and once in a while he passes along a tidbit of gossip—strike that—information--that I haven't heard yet, and when I say, “How do you know that?” he says, “Oh, Facebook.” So I'm jealous. I have always been the social instigator and coordinator and now the news on who is engaged or going to Disneyland is coming from him!

But I have been afraid to come into this world of open community where maybe the wrong thing gets said or someone who you've ditched for a coffee date finds out you had coffee with someone else (not that I have ever, ever, done that) or people you don't even know see your Christmas pictures...It's not that I have anything to hide. I am just more interested in knowing about other people than in having them know about me. Which is why I have read over my husband's shoulders when he's logged on.

Tuesday, I succumbed. I had heard enough from others having fun on Facebook to know that I wanted to be in the club, if not an active member. A wallflower who goes to the party. I wasn't sure I would tell anyone I was on Facebook. So I struggled to figure out how to sign up. They didn't like my Juno account because it was Unsupported, whatever that means. I had a Google name of Mopsy from years back when I needed to comment on Lindsay's entry, but I do not wish to be known to the entire world as Mopsy. I have my school account as Hollace_Chandler and my usual email as ronandholly, but I wanted to be known independently in this venture, supported or Unsupported. I am starting to collect so many passwords I am locked out of my programs by my own hand. I try to keep passwords the same, but you need letters, numbers, case sensitive...oh, it's a wonder. The only person my email, ebay, juno, google, facebook, and blog are secure from is ME.

Anyway, I finally got on to Facebook, at least I think I did. I guess it was a WALL. I wasn't sure if it was mine or someone else's, so I didn't like to say anything. I did finally blurt out that I was now in the loop and I would be seeing them, but for whatever reason our server cut it off repeatedly and I stuttered my way in. Later that evening my daughter called my husband to say “You've got to help her, Dad. It doesn't make any sense”. Hard to be the idiot child of your children. Apparently you are supposed to KNOW somehow that when the computer asks,”What are you doing now?” it is going to supply the first two words, “Hollace Is...”

No sooner than I got into the club I had to leave for my writing class. In one session, the choice of two prompts was: Lost and Found or Find Yourself. This was my 8 minute write:

I found myself

not sure I was really


not sure I even wanted to

go there

not sure I wanted to be


I found myself

on Facebook

hoping I was in reality

not losing


not joining a group of

lost souls,

empty, who need to

find themselves

who want to suck the

life out of

my life

in order to find

their own.

I found myself at the

lost and found.

So you see I had misgivings. Imagine my horror when I got home and found a list of 10 people who asked to be my friend. The next morning when I woke up, 13 more people were waiting. Don't these people go to sleep?

The next day at Bible study someone said they had gotten a request from me to be my friend. They thought it might have come from Ron. So my blushing husband admits that when he thought he was sending me a list of prospective friends (does he really think I'm lonely? Doesn't he read my blog?) he inadvertently sent it to the people requesting them as friends for me. Such a dear man, so helpful.

I am really glad to have friends. Really and truly. I love my friends. Its just that I don't know who all these people are, talking to each other in conversations that sound like Jabberwocky. Hearing one side of a conversation is as good as listening to my husband talk to my daughter in Africa when I don't know what she's saying. I feel frantic!

I might be more of a blogging kind of a girl. Slow. Contemplative. Where your computer doesn't grab it and publish it before you fix it up. Where it doesn't supply words for you. Where people don't pop up and start talking to you just when you think you're headed to bed.

Hi, pretty lady”, it said. Nervously, I looked around the room to see if someone was looking through the blinds. “Who are you talking to?” I asked, not sure if I was eavesdropping on an intimate moment between strangers. “I hope it's my Aunt Holly” came the welcome response. What relief, but how did she know I was sitting there?

So that's the good part, talking to someone special when it otherwise wouldn't happen. And if you have read this all the way through, you are indeed someone special in my life. So write me a comment.

Next time I am going to tell you about blogging surprises!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In Oregon

In Oregon
we have Portland: beautiful city named by tossing a coin
Salem: seat of government, named for peace
Astoria: cornering the Columbia and the Pacific
connected to those New York Astors
And we have Halfway between two points no one can remember
Eightmile, Thirtymile, Tenmile, Four Corners, Four Cabin Corner, Five Corners, Six Corners, Twelve Mile Corner
and little Imnaha, Idanha, and Illahee

We hear the chanting of the tribes that came before us in the drumbeat of their names:
Umpqua, Chiloquin, Yaquina, Chemawa, Chehalem, Tillamook, Nestucca, Wallowa, Neskowin, Clatskanie, Neahkanie, Umatilla, Estacada, Wapinitia, Indian Village

We know the glad arrival of our early pioneers: Garden Home, Cloverdale, Happy Hollow, Pleasant Valley, Happy Valley, Homestead, Shady Dell, Dew Valley, Edenbower, Fortune Branch, Grandview, Horseheaven, New Hope, Wonder, Sweet Home, Sublimity, Bridal Veil, Paradise, Promise

We have heard the sad tales of the hardships that they bore: Dry Creek, Needy, Wagontire, Starvation Heights, Burnt Woods

and the support they gave each other: Sisters, Brothers, Friend, Unity, Amity, Harmony Point

as the skies watered the earth: Dad's Creek, Cow Creek, Day's Creek, Beech Creek, Long Creek, Drift Creek, Trout Creek, Rock Creek, Beaver Creek, Clear Creek, Union Creek, Fall Creek, Wolf Creek, Myrtle Creek, Drain

as the land gave sustenance: Cornucopia, Cherryville, Timbergrove, Deer Island, Green Acres, Cranberry Corners, Plum Trees, Alfalfa, Elk Lake, Rice Hill, Fields, Applegate, Fruitdale, Dairy, Fruitvale, Crabtree, Fruitland, Gooseberry, Hopville, Grouse, Antelope, Cherry Heights, Cherry Grove, Timber, Cove Orchard, Wheatland

In Oregon, the dream is realized: Noon, Summit, Climax, Copper, Gold Beach, Sunset

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In the Sunlit Room

In the sunlit room, Amanda cozied herself into a corner and read, propped between a pillow and an afghan gathered at her ankles. The sun streamed through the windows, casting a golden halo on her head and chair.

Outside the wind blew with piercing strength and trees bowed low. The waves sprayed high and clouds circumferencing this sun stream were dark and threatening.

But for Amanda, this was the eye of the storm. This was the perfect calm of peace when all around is raging.

The events depicted in this paragraph are fictious. Any similarity to any living person is merely coincidental. No books were harmed in the making of this paragraph.