Friday, December 23, 2011

Cristmas Past and Christmas Present Wonderings

                                      Ok, time to post some of my babblings of wonder. The first two are from holidays past followed by this years greeting of wonder. I then felt inclined to add some of my more twisted weird therapeutic stuff, so beware! 

Wondering at Life  First wondering?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2006
As you may already know, I have always been one to wonder greatly at life. My Grandma Eris used to comment on how when I was a child and she would come visit us in Logan Utah I would not come home right away after school. One snowy day she came looking for me and found me sauntering along, smiling and looking up at the snow banks in amazement.

I have not changed much in some ways, even at 45 years of age. As I ride my bike or walk along our road I often notice interesting items and sometimes pick up trash. Once in a while I score a good tool or bunji but sometimes there are strange articles of apparel or other "things" that just send me to wondering. "Who does it belong to?, where did it come from?, How did it wind up on the side of the road?"

Today I was walking to Triangle Market to post some mail and once again was sent into a mode of wonder. There on the side of the apple orchard was a foamie (Yes, the thingies used to enhance the size appearance of breasts). Just one.  Now the possibilities are endless as to how this lone foamie got to be on the side of Triangle Rd. next to the apple orchard. Now somehow this single foamie perplexes me much more than the broken snow chains or even the lime green undies I wondered about last year. Questions of who?, why? what? spin through my mind and scenarios take place like stage plays in my imagination. 

I can't help think of Grandma E. and her piece of obscenely shaped driftwood she loved to plunk down in front of people at the table after a holiday meal when we would be sitting around talking & laughing. Aunt Marie would turn beet red and laugh so loud & hard, we all had to laugh. Somehow  Grandma passed on and understood the sense of wonder in this child. Hmmm.   

May your holidays be full of laughter and wonder!

Love and joy and all good things in life,


The foamie of wonder

                              Santa Baby                      2007

Merry, merry Christmas & Joy to your new year!                                                                           

This is NOT, as it may seem a picture of sugared chocolate raisins. It is actually (I believe anyway) frosty reindeer poop, which I found while gathering foliage for Christmas boughs. A good sign that Santa is near! 

As you may know, I returned recently from 12 days with my Grandchildren. Now last year, I brought to them, with great excitement & joy mind you, my precious Santa doll that my Grandpa Johnson gave me when I was a tyke. Now Santa has been through a lot and has a taped leg as well as other issues, but despite these defects, and the fact that My daughter Vanessa, to my surprise was "creeped out" by the elf all these years, little miss Lily (1 & 1/2 years at the time) fell in love with the doll, dubbing him "Santa baby". She slept with Santa baby every night for months obviously as enchanted with him as her Grandma Neen had been so many years ago.

Before my trip a few weeks ago, I asked Vanessa about Santa baby, knowing that Lily (all of 2 & 1/2 now) had been playing with her Mama's old but well kept Strawberry shortcake dolls who donned lovely pink and yellow locks. Vanessa informed me that Santa baby had been forgotten and wound up at the bottom of the toy box. Just days before my phone call Lilly discovered him there, pulled him out and looked at the taped leg and touched Santa baby's tattered dirty beard with disgust. Santa baby was rejected by the person who just months before held him like a precious gift and saw magic in his still rosy cheeks. I knew I must bring the magic of Santa baby back!

After I arrived and settled in at my Grandchildren's house, I asked Lily about Santa baby. Lily disappeared into her room and reappeared holding Santa baby out to me. "Oh" I said, " I'm so happy to see him. Oh look (said I while stroking his dirty tattered beard), he's so old" Lily reached out and took Santa so gently and held him so carefully in her arms. "He's so old and precious" I said. Santa baby shared Lily's bed again, being the chosen one that very night. The magic was back as well as hope for all that is old, including this old Grandma!  

It just goes to show that we don't have to be young and beautiful to be considered precious. How gently and preciously are we each held by the one whose Birthday we celebrate this and every Christmas.

  May you be blessed, and kept, and held Dear each day of the New Year,

Frosty reindeer poop

Lily & Santa baby
Simply Wonderful                                                                                           December 2011

Yes, yes, here I go again. Not therapy this time, just simply simple wonderings of a wandering well of weird, wild waywardness. The journey this wondering wanderer has been on has sparked much wondering to the simpler ways of life. So much has seemed complicated this past year, but after taking things a bit too seriously, the simple ness of life has revealed itself to this soul and opened some doors for less complicated joys. Recently I came across my Great, Great grandfathers song that he apparently sang every day that I had stored on my computer along with these babblings of mine.  The song speaks of such raw realities of such a simpler time that I had no choice than to regroup my perspective on my own life that seemed to have gotten so very complicated.

Wondering wonderment began to fill these untamed brains of mine after reading G, Gpa’s  favored song. How in the bleeding blue blazes does one turn ever so slightly around to find their babies grown, with babies of their own. Simple struggles such as how to tromp through the snow to milk the goats, will the well recover in time to give the garden the water it needs, do I need to allow extra time to get down the hill on my bike if the car won’t start, Does the neighbor need food or some help with a new baby, is there enough food and cheese put up for the winter from the harvest and such seem to be exchanged for more complicated worries. Now there is time consumed fretting about how to get a document working on the computer, people suing over every little thing instead of practicing what they were taught in Kindergarten or Preschool, Do I have to learn about webinars, or to click away at texting just to be able to communicate. By the time I am finished checking email and answering all that seems important, the day is half gone. Good thing there are no goats to milk!

This year my loved ones has been one of the most difficult for this weary wondering wanderer, but the most rewarding in the end. It all comes together with what my friend Kitty said to me one day during an extremely rough time in my journey. “Don’t forget your frame of reference”. That frame of reference dear ones is you. All of you.  My joy in sense of community has carried me through the roughest of times this year and my roots grow deep in the rich soil of that frame of reference. People have come beside me and even carried me at times when I thought I’d never make it. The joy and peace brought by such love is so simply wonderful that no complicated lifestyle or gadget can interfere. There is no doubt in my heart and soul that there is someone too big to put in a box of religion in charge.

Tonight my friends and family, I sit in my simple cabin, with my simple fire, simple cat, simple unemployed life and simply tap away on my complicated computer to simply say, thank you for being my frame of reference.

Peace, Joy, Grateful Blessings for an astounding New Year.

Wonderful things, Jeannine

For the tune and words of Sweet Betsy From Pike (song that my G,Grandfather sang every day ) check out this family website  Baby Lucy Gird lamb on the lap of her older siblings is my Grandma Lucy who my little #3 Grandmonkey Lucy is named after. 

Little miss Muffet                                                     5/25/2009

The other evening I while showering, I looked up from scrubbing my hair to notice a female spider way in the far corner embraced in the act of mating with ... well, her mate. It didn't take me long to realize that she was murdering the poor amorous fool while tangled in the throws of passion. Yes really. Sucking the life right out of him.
The next night I got ready to hop into the shower & noticed the male spiders curled up, lifeless body laying limp on the bottom of the tub, while the female spider rested contentedly up in her corner. This all, of course, led me to wondering...wondering... Hmmmm...  
Never cease to let the mysteries of life spark wonder in your soul.


This next blathering of pure poetry was inspired by NanO, one of my biggest inspirations in life. She was my Park ranger little house on the prairie buddy when we were raising our kids and has moved through her schooling to Teach Deaf Ed. NanO makes me laugh at just the right times, and her wonderful husband Rick shows up with perfect timing with an encouraging word and if I'm lucky, a bottle of wine! Cheers NanO!

NanO & Rufus at Briceburg

               Butts & Boobs, or A Celebration of Gravity                        Feb/2010

Butts will spread, and boobs will fall, beauty fading...over all 
Brighter colors brighten the face, but black around the hips is placed
Springtime calls, the garden beckons to plant those taters I do reckon 
No time to wonder about sagging asses, mine is joined by the masses
Celebrate the new found grace a gift from gravity to body & face

There you have it. I believe a scarf dance is appropriate with recital of this "poem"

Masses of Sagging Asses

I'm in the masses of sagging asses
 What er' shall I do?
 my friends they all have asses that run downhill like goo
 Our butts are where our knees should go,
 And knees set at the ankles (oh woe)
 Masses & masses of sagging asses
                What er’ shall I do… 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Northern Exposures BC

For eight years my summers and much of some Falls were spent exploring as much as I could of the area surrounding a little village at the end of an inlet on Vancouver Island BC called Tahsis. I made some lasting and dear friendships there. The experiences I have had have been unforgettable and I will miss my times with those wonderful funny people as well as the nature that I clung to while homesick for my backyard. I saw breathtaking things while hiking alone in the rain forest. I've bumped into a bear, been lunged at by a mama bear, come within 15' of a Mother cougar laying along the base of a hemlock tree while her kits played in a tree nearby. Of course these are the times when I didn't bring my camera, or panicked and snapped the pic after the bear ducked back into the bush! Here is a peek at life in a place that you get to only by boat, float plane or  a looong bumpy gravel road 3 hours from real civilization and the people who wind up in such a place!
There is so much to post and so many beautiful pictures from 8 years of summer & falls that I decided to do a whole blog on Tahsis and the adventures in surrounding areas. For more, check in once in awhile to

Going through the pics and setting up the new blog has made me want to head further North from my monkeys to Tahsis. Tempting. I am missing the people, places and nature there.  

Tahsis & Nootka Sound year 1 (Fall 2004)

Above the inlet at the lookout (looking towards the village)

I think this is where I said "but I don't want to work on any more houses"

This was the view

But this was the house!


A boat ride with Bob Devault (Oyster Bob) on The Nootka Rose which he built himself was the first boat adventure to his Oyster Farm on Nuchalitz where his home off the grid is. The Nootka Rose remains my favorite boat! Here is a Blog that shows a recent trip to Nuchalitz and Bob's place:

Bob built the home himself with his sawmill. 
A paddle in Bob's rowboat from his place to a trek over the sand revealed this awesome double rainbow (you're not the only one Bear!) after being pelted with hail. For more on the Oyster farm, I found this link. I'm not sure Bob is still oystering though!

Year 2, 2005

This year in Tahsis was probably the most joyous for me. It had its hardships with work on the cottage, but the exploring, making new friends were great and having visitors come from home was awesome. Exploring and bushwhacking the rainforest alone had its challenges. The terrain is so different from Mariposa & Yosemite! The ferns can be above ones head and holes that drop into the unknown including caves can be under those ferns. My leg dropped into one once all the way to my hip! Cougars are hungrier there and when bending over to harvest a shroomie it is common to feel watched by one. Constant warnings from the locals wouldn't keep me away. I have to explore nature and if a cougar enjoyed her meal at my expense, I wouldn't find that a bad way to go.I did bump into a bear in the bushes one day though! Good neighbor Brenda was about the only one who was up for the adventures I enjoyed and she was not often around. Our limited treks together were always a gift!

The Dorian still there!

                My favorite nephew Julian (now in college) and Bro Steven came up. Here Julian & Steven, but when I went out with the kid we saw a huge bear from our Kayak. It was close to us on shore as we paddled out to open water. If I didn't know that grizzlies don't live on Vancouver Island, i would have thought it was one! This story on this link makes me think we did see a Griz. told Julian that we had to let the bear know we were there by making noise so we didn't startle it. The kid began to growl at it! He said "aah, I've seen bigger bears than that". He lives in Salinas Valley. We explored the Coral Caves (I made Steve take his VW van up there! ), Westbay Park and surrounding places.

                                                     Ann & Ralph at Coral Caves
Ann & Ralph came for some great adventures. I loved having them there. Ann & I have been neighbors and friends, for years and partners in crime on horse, bike and foot. I even pepper sprayed her once and she still loves me! Ok, I meant to get the dog, but Ann was peddling uphill behind me! 

Here Hillary & Ross from the Bay Area are getting to know good neighbor Brenda.Hillory & Ross went on the Uchuck historic boat to Yuquot (Friendly Cove) for a salmon roast put on by the local First nations band.  
Tahsis neighbors Mike & Virginia Mountain took Ann & Ralph with us to Nuchalitz on their zodiac. Oyster Bob wasn't home that day, so we visited a woman on the Island named Anne who was  raising her kids out there alone. The otters were grouping as a storm was blowing in.
Clay & Silvi from Beano Beach had us out to their surf camp on Nootka. It was an incredible time and this beached whale was grossly cool.

There were no corn tortillas to be found even 3 hours away in Campell River where the closest civilization was, so Ann & I made tortillas to make fish tacos from Ralph & Clays catch one day.  

Yuquot (Friendly Cove) Mowachaht

Mountie Rick was great to let me ogle his boots. He apologized for having only shined them 20 times!
Real Mountie riding boots, SIGH...

Salmon roast at Friendly Cove

Mowachaht dancers Friendly Cove

Alex and his wife Terri became good friends that year. Alex is chef on a Coast guard boat and he & Terri had a bakery at this time in Tahsis. Alex and his Dad who passed away this year took us with Ann & Ralph on a bushwhacking hike towards Rugged Mountain. Unforgettable! Alex is the Indiana  Jones of the rain forest! Baker by night and bushwhacker by day! That same year he took us on a hike that I am thrilled I did, but will never do again! At one pint while he rushed ahead on a sluffing trail barely there on the side of mossy cliffs with a river far below, he said "go quickly because the trail is gonna go and don't rely on the rope (I was) because it is rotten". Alex is also a fungus expert. He got me off to a good start on hunting Chantrells, Hedgehogs, and Boletes. As a natural gatherer who was away from a garden, this was an activity I clung to.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Family

This year my Family squished together in my little cabin for Thanksgiving which I really love. I always love when they come up and there seems to be space even in my less than 700 square ft. houslette. I thought the pics from that would be a good way to intro my Fam to this nutty blog. Vanessa, Isaiah and my monkeys did not make it down, so you will meet the rest of them. My family is as dysfunctional as any family around only I spell it dysFUNKtional. We laugh and make due in spite of each other! We are a heinz 57 bunch with my children having Chinese & Japanese added in the mix. From Mom's side we get 1/2 Basque and the rest English, Irish & Scotch as much as anyone figures. For more on my Maternal Grandmother (Grandma Lucy) check out this site! It will explain why I love a good fiddle and banjo song! Grandma & Grandpa Eris met in Yosemite. Grandma came up on the railroad through El Portal and Grandpa drove by car through Wawona. My Uncle has a picture somewhere of him standing on his hands out on Glacier Point! Dads side is 1/2 French and 1/2 Swedish. Mom & Bro got the great Basque olive skin & dark hair. I got the English, Irish Scotch pasty skin & pale eyes. Dad is somewhere in between, but I always looked different and Bro (Steve) used to tell me I was adopted or found under a rock. I believed him! Steve's son Julian is back East in College and didn't make it this time.
Thanksgiving Day Steve, Brenna & I went to Mirror Lake and sat around people watching, eating hummus at the Ahwahnnee We had our TG meal on Friday.

My cat Dandy (Micah is wanting to change his name to Rock) fell in love with Brenna and hasn't been the same since.

Thursday night Brenna decided that in addition to the pumpkin and apple pies we should have lemon meringue pie. Since I had no lemons, she decided at 11:30 pm to make gluten free Mandarin orange meringue pie. "It only takes me 35 minutes" she said. At around 1:45 am the pie was done and Brenna said "Well, that took me longer than 35 minutes!". Maybe the bottle of wine that got very low had something to do with us thinking it was a good idea...
Steven tried out the couch while the pie was being made.

The pie was enjoyed! Dad (Richard Andre) is on the far left getting pie at the counter. At the table from left around to right is my daughter -in-law Ashley Arii. Ashely got her Doctorates degree in Physical Therapy last summer. My son Aaron Arii who is Teaching students with disabilities in Fresno  and working on his Masters degree. Far back is Brenna & Bro Steve who you now know, then last, but not least My Mother Ramona Andre who later, as usual, whooped us all in Hearts even though she never pays attention.   

I try to get stuff done when Bro & Aaron are up cuz the muscle is handy. Between dinner & pie, we leveled a spot to put this old wood burning stove for a fire pit. They didn't let me just over see! 

This monster was actually in the little cabin at one time!

Bye for now!

Backyard Bliss

This post is just a spattering of some of what my camera has  captured of my backyard. They are from times I have enjoyed this year and left me breathless at times. I hope you enjoy them! 

I am choosing to open this post with a quote from Disturbing the Peace by Vaclav Havel: A Conversation with Karel Hvizdala about hope. My friend Sue Inge shared it with me over email today in grieving over Havel's passing and it seems so appropriate. I hope it moves you as it moved me to read it just this morning. I dabbled in this book some years ago, but never had the time to sink into it. Guess I'll check out the Kennewick library! They have a real nice Library here and a good book is what I need.
Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but, rather, an ability to work for something because it is good, not just because it has a chance to succeed. The more unpropitious the situation in which we demonstrate hope, the deeper that hope is. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. In short, I think the deepest and most important form of hope, the only one that can keep us above water and urge us to do good works, and the only true source of the breathtaking dimension of the human spirit and its efforts, is something we get, as it were, from "elsewhere." It is also this hope, above all, which gives us the strength to live and continually try new things, even in conditions that seem hopeless as ours do, here and now.

These were taken in late summer while camping the east side of the sierras over Sonora Pass along the Little Walker River. 
My shadow across the river
Indian Paints & Soda Creek (?)

Volcanic hills along the hike

Below are a couple from a hike above May Lake 
Swirly reflection

Rick, Cindy & Carl checking out the view. WOW!

My camping trip mid October to the East Side just a ways outside Bridgeport was an incredible experience topped off by my first hot springs soak!

Fall colors looking towards Burts canyon
Friends I met who guided me to Emma Lake
and gave great pointers! 

Wagon wheel on the trail

Lake Emma

Burts Canyon

   Somewhere in the mix this summer I treked beyond Dewy Point via McGurk Meadow and had a great nap on a rock at the top and another day to Ostrander Lake, again with the nap thing!

Dewy Point

Ostrander trail chipmunk
Backlit Snowplant Ostrander trail

Other highlights included 10 Lakes (why, oh why didn't I have my camera?!), Yosemite falls, Spillway lake, and several trips to Mirror lake all which were awesome. The people along as well as nature in its glory made for memorable experiences.
Whitney made it to the top of yosemite falls in her Momma's pack without so much as a whimper!
Suzanne, Naoko, Fhilip (Suzannes Son), Kim and Whitney in Kim's pack.

Naoko, always with a song and a smile led our hike.
Yosemite Falls with fallbow. Clark Range in the back.

On the edge with railings works for me! 12 year old Fhilip kept saying "are you nervous yet? now are you nervous?" anytime I would get near the edge of something after telling him I didn't do well with heights. 

Suzanne (left) blew out her boots 1/2 way up and kept going!

Deer on Mirror Lake trail
My Bro Steven & his sugar plum Brenna being silly at Mirror Lake Thanksgiving day
Frosty Black Oak leaf Yosemite Valley along Merced River  November
Bobcat on Mirror Lake trail
Mirror Lake
El Cap reflection on Merced River November Mirror Lake hike
NanO, Me (Jeannine), and Lori at Spillway Lake
Ominous view of Halfdome from Spillway Laketrail
Here's Lori and the "Life Enthusiast" napping at Spillway after lunch. See a pattern here?
To Spillway Lake