Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh, Deer...Snow!

It's snowing in Oregon City! I realize that this is small news to the rest of the world, and that most of the Midwest and East are buried under many inches, or even feet, of snow...but Oregon City snow makes it's own kind of messy havoc with our lives. Here are a few pictures.

The yard deer with her snow blanket.

No canoeing today!

Winter scene - big maple tree.

A perfect little Christmas tree.

Molalla Avenue - on our way to rescue Holly and David and Arora, but they got their chains on before we arrived...they had been stuck by the old high school, but now they are on their way back home.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Journal

Near the end of 2006 I heard about a unique kind of journal from my friend, Paulene Kerr. It's a 10-year journal, where each page has space to write a few lines each day, year after year, on the same date. Not sure that made sense...for example, for today's date, my journal gave me 5 lines to write about Thursday, Dec 27, 2007; Saturday, Dec 27, 2008; tonight I'll write about Sunday, Dec 27, 2009; next year I'll write about Monday, Dec 27, 2010; etc.

I like it for several reasons. One, the space is so small that I can always write at least a line or two before I go to bed. (If I want to write more, there are "overflow" pages in the back.)

The most amazing thing about this journal is being able to look back and see what I was doing on this date a year ago, or two years ago. By the time I finish the journal in 2017, I will have (probably) retired, and I'll be able to look back on eleven years of memories, date by date.

Two years ago today we got up early to go to the temple with Bryan and Katie and Bryan's parents, so we could all enjoy that special quiet place before the wedding the next day. Last year we went with Greg and Cheryl to the Air Museum in McMinnville. Good memories.

It's interesting to watch the day-by-day progress toward goals...or the day-by-day unravelling of something headed into a mess. Even after just three years, it's easy to look back and nod knowingly to myself, as I see lessons learned and insights gained.

Sometimes I'll turn the page and catch my breath - something unexpected happened on that date a year or two before. Sometimes those were moments of joy; more often in life, those seem to be moments of heartbreak. We don't generally get up in the morning and wonder to ourselves what catastrophe will hit that day. They're more likely to come zinging out of the blue.

When I ordered my journal three years ago, I ordered it from the company's website. Now it looks like they are selling it through Amazon.com.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve at Dragonfly Cottage

Mark and Maleena and I are in Colville, Washington, visiting my parents (Ken and Nancy Jenkins) for Christmas. We arrived yesterday afternoon; we are staying at a little cottage nearby called "Dragonfly Cottage." It is a wonderful place to stay. Here's Mark on the porch after bringing in some more firewood.

The cottage is close to Rocky Lake, which is mostly frozen over. We saw a family ice skating on it this morning. Too bad we couldn't join them! But we didn't bring any skates...and even if we did, we don't know how to use them. Watching the skaters made me wish I could learn.

The interior of the cabin is made with fine details. Look at the specially-made space-saving stairs that lead up to Maleena's loft:

The last time I remember being this peaceful at Christmas was in 1973, the year before I married my first husband. My dad was a harbor manager at a small harbor on California's central coast. My parents and I went to a lighthouse near the harbor so the lighthouse keeper could spend Christmas away from the job. We stayed there at the lighthouse overnight, with just a handful of gifts to open in the morning. There wasn't much to do except enjoy one another and the beautiful place. Kind of like this year (except now in 2009 I'm "wired" to the internet to stay in touch with loved ones and friends).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Four Photos

I returned on Monday night from a four-day trip to Rexburg, Idaho, and then to Provo, Utah, to be with David for his graduation from BYU-Idaho. He and his wife, Holly, moved directly from Rexburg to his new job in Portland, Oregon, and since their daughter, Arora, doesn't travel well, she came back to Portland with me on the plane after a two-night stay in Provo, where I got to visit with Kendra and Katie and their families. (Kendra and her husband Chris, and their two children, Abbi and Charley, met me at the Salt Lake Airport and then we traveled together to Rexburg. It was wonderful to have them there for David & Holly's graduation, and they were a huge help with David & Holly's move.)

Here are photos from the trip--one for each day.

Holly, Arora, David, me. Arora sat with me and Kendra, Chris, and their two children, Abbi and Charlie, during the Convocation ceremony. Holly and David were among the last group to cross the stage, and Arora was getting pretty restless by then, so just before they walked across the stage, I slipped down to the main floor and handed Arora off to them. She crossed the stage with her parents, which was fitting, I think. David told me that one of his main motivations to stay focused and finish college on time and with good grades was having a wife and daughter. (Holly's cap & gown are blue because she completed an Associates Degree.)

David shaving - using the window as a mirror. This was taken Saturday morning. We arrived on Thursday night, and then we spent most of the day Friday loading the moving truck before going out to dinner and then to the Convocation. Saturday morning we were working hard to get the apartment all cleaned and ready for the final check-out. By the time David remembered to shave, both bathrooms had been thoroughly cleaned, and he didn't want to get in trouble for getting stubble in the sink. Voila - the window became a mirror. Yes, that's snow on the ground behind him.

After Kendra's family and Arora and  I returned to Provo, we had time for some playtime with Katie and her family, too. The weather was beautiful - blue skies, snow on the ground but not the roads. We took the kids for a brisk, invigorating walk. Kendra and Katie amaze me with their creativity in managing life with small children in small spaces--the Wymount apartments require space efficiency! These women are pros.

Have movie will travel--here's Arora in the Salt Lake Airport, watching "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" on my laptop for the 300th time. She was great on this trip. She's not quite two, so she traveled free with me--my first time traveling with a lap child. I was a little anxious about how this was going to work! She's only met me 5 or 6 times since she was born, and she is very much a Mommy-Daddy girl. Before the trip I sent her a book titled, "Arora and Grandma Kathy Ride on the Airplane," which showed her parents packing everything into boxes and driving a moving truck from Idaho to Oregon while she and Grandma Kathy chilled on the airplane. It must have helped, because she was a delight. (Of course, it also helped that we spent two days in Provo with Abbi, 3, and Charlie, 2--what fun to have cousin time--where Kendra is an experienced mama of preschoolers who has flown many times with children; she gave me some very helpful tips.) I'm not a fan of children watching lots of TV/movies (Arora doesn't), but what a godsend on this trip to keep her entertained with some delightful children's stories in video format.

Now it's 7:00 am Wednesday morning, and we're loading up the car--we're heading to Colville (1.5 hours north of Spokane) to spend Christmas with my parents. They live in a very small home, so Mark and Maleena and I are staying in a nearby cabin. We were hoping for snow, but it's all melted in the last week--great driving, but not so picturesque--oh, well. I haven't spent Christmas at my parents' home in over 30 years, so I'd say it's about time. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writing Submissions

Here's an email I received from "Brevity," an online nonfiction journal. I submitted two short essays to them last month. Oh, well...

Ms. Haynie

Thank you for submitting your work to Brevity.  Although we do not have a place for your work in the issues for which we are currently reading, we wanted you to know that our readers read your essay closely.

We have been blessed with a large number of excellent submissions lately, and we hope that you understand that we can only publish a small fraction of the material we receive.  

Good luck with your writing,

The Editors

Then, a few days later I received this email, also from "Brevity," about the second piece I had submitted. I submitted both pieces at the same time, so I was greatly encouraged that they spent more time reading the second piece. Note that this time they address me as "Kathy" instead of "Ms. Haynie." They like me!


This one came very close, up to the final round of decision making, in fact, but we've decided to pass on this essay.

I don't know if that makes you feel good or if such "close but no cigar" news is just hard to hear, but we have been blessed with a large number of excellent submissions lately, and hope that you understand that we can only publish a small fraction of the material we receive.

We encourage you to submit your work elsewhere and to consider us again (remembering our rule, 
no more than two submissions per author per calendar year.)

Good luck with your writing,

The Editors

Yesterday I received this completely unexpected email. It's from "Oregon 150," a website that was set up last year to celebrate Oregon 150th birthday. I submitted a piece, along with requiring my students to submit writing several different terms. They really, really like my piece! It's going to be published in a book! I think I posted this link before, but if you haven't already read, "Volcano Weather," you can read it here. Or you can wait till the book gets published.  :)

Ooligan Press
Portland State University
P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207
(503) 725-9748

Dear Kathy Haynie,

Congratulations! Ooligan Press will be including the story you submitted for the Oregon 150 Commission’s Oregon Stories project as part of a book by the same title that we will be publishing in the spring of 2010. The book will be comprised of 150 regional stories, which capture diverse Oregon experiences from myriad voices.

There were many potential pieces, and we enjoyed reviewing all of them. After much consideration, we have decided that your work fulfills our aspirations for the forthcoming book.

We will be contacting you with more information as the publication date draws closer. If you would like more information about Ooligan Press or have specific questions about the project, please visit our website www.ooliganpress.pdx.edu or e-mail editing@ooliganpress.pdx.edu.

We thank you for your time and effort and for your Oregon story.


Lauren Saxton

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Canada Report

Ha ha! The title of this post is designed to strike terror into David's heart. He and I both remember, so well, that weekend...

It was near the end of 6th grade. Mark was his scoutmaster, and the troop was scheduled for a campout. I was looking forward to a little quiet "me" time at home. And then David dropped the bomb: his Canada Report, assigned weeks before, was due the following Monday. And he had barely started. And he was now panicked and fessing up.

Sad, sad day. We waved goodbye to Mark as he left to head out with the other scouts. We went to the library (pre internet days). We scrounged up facts about Canada. I was an unhappy mama and he was an unhappy son.

I shouldn't have been surprised. This wasn't the first time we had been surprised with an unfinished project. But there was something about the Canada Report weekend that really got to both me and David. I began to despair that he would ever be successful in school. It wasn't long after that l-o-n-g weekend that we discovered that David, although very bright and in the Talented and Gifted program at school, also had Attention Deficit Disorder. I remember a conversation with his 4th grade teacher, Nancy Johnson. "What will he ever be able to do?" I wondered. "Don't worry," she said. "David is a good thinker, and the world needs thinkers." Even though I agreed that David was an excellent thinker, I wasn't so sure that would ever translate into marketable skills.

In high school, David did great on tests, excelled in drama productions, stank at homework. We insisted he maintain a B average in order to drive, and somehow he managed to squeak by with good enough grades to keep the license. I celebrated his high school graduation with a sigh of relief - we made it! But that wasn't the end of education, of course.

David's first couple of terms at Clackamas Community College weren't stellar, but he hung in there. I did, too, trying to strike a balance between nagging him about his assignments and letting him figure out how to manage adult college life on his own. Then he went on his mission. Came home and started back to school, dated a wonderful girl named Holly. When he and Holly married, I warned her that it was now up to her to make sure he kept up with his homework. "He'll need a planner," I suggested.

So she got him a planner. And he got better about using it. He finished at CCC and transferred to BYU-Idaho in frigid barren windy cold Rexburg, Idaho. Where he found his niche and was brilliant. Where his beautiful daughter was born. Where his wife decided to go back to school and complete her AA degree. Where he and Holly will both walk the stage at graduation tomorrow night.

So here I am, sitting in the Portland Airport, waiting to board a plane to Salt Lake City. Kendra and Chris will meet me at the airport, along with their darling kiddos, and we'll drive through into the night to Rexburg, where I will laugh and cry at David's college graduation. Where I won't even remind him about the Canada Report. Maybe.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Helping Polly move in to her new home

Polly has moved to the Northwest! Eric will follow this weekend. Polly and the kids are getting settled into their new home in Granger, WA. Mark and I went up on Friday night to help her unpack and get organized. We stopped off at Multnomah Falls on the way home to enjoy the spectacular ice show.

Grandpa putting the crib together.

Seth climbing up on the "monkey bed" - Katie's bunk bed. Polly takes the ladder down for the day if the kids are being too reckless.

Polly making waffles in her new kitchen - so much roomier, with lots of nice cupboards.

The roomy living room with the Christmas-tree-with-an-attitude. Polly plans to have the kids string popcorn and cranberries soon. So far it has two strings of purple lights.

Rebecca sitting in a box - getting into the spirit of things.

Katie playing hide-and-seek in her mama's new big closet.

Multnomah Creek completely frozen over - we saw salmon swimming here a month ago.

Spectacular ice display at Multnomah Falls - all the frozen spray. Hard to believe Mark and I hiked here just last month.

Close-up of the pool at the base of Multnomah Falls - look at all those ice sickles!

At the end of our play day - time to head home!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paying Bills

Last night I paid the bills.

Such an ordinary statement, but there are so many families who can't say that. It is too easy to take a job and a paycheck for granted, to complain about the bills, about getting up in the morning, about interest rates or coworkers.

My children can tell you that shopping is not a favorite activity of mine. I generally regard grocery shopping as a chore. But some years ago I had a friend whose husband was unemployed. They received food assistance from the church, for which they were grateful, but she shared with me that she longed to go grocery shopping, and choose the specific foods for her family. Ever since then, while I haven't been thrilled about going for groceries, I have at least been more aware of the privileged position I hold when I walk into the store with the ability to make a purchase.

This comes up in a book I've been reading about the author's adventures in Uzbekistan, called Chasing the Sea. At one point he realizes the gulf between him and his translator, simply because he (the author) comes from a stable economy. It is so easy to forget that what seems normal and ordinary to us in the U.S. would be miraculous in many other places.

For many of the people of the world, including a bunch of folks here in the US, even the families of some of my students, this post would be major, wonderful news.

Did you hear? I sat at the kitchen table last night and paid the bills.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nine things that made me happy today

1. Going into Portland on the MAX train to go to a seminar. The seminar was a dud - left after 2 hours - but the train ride is so good. I took the laptop and some work to do, and just puttered while the train took me into Portland. It was nice and warm inside the train, too.

2. Finding out more about my new students as I worked on the train. Yesterday (first day of the term) they wrote on a 3x5 card with their favorite activities, something unique about themselves, what they do well as a writer, what they want to improve. I was a little intimidated by the whole group of them yesterday--38 kids, 24 of them boys--but reading about them individually I can tell that they are such interesting people. I can't wait to get to know them better.

3. Finding my way to the seminar from the MAX station. I walked about 6 blocks, and found my way with no problem at all. I love walking, and I love being outdoors. It was such a nice thing to get to do.

4. Riding home on the MAX train and enjoying the beautiful blue sky. It's COLD out - never got over 30 degrees today, and there was a wind on top of that, but the sky was so, so pretty. And it was warm inside the train.

5. Coming back to school and seeing Mark in the teacher office on his prep period. He was wearing his beautiful purple shirt. He looks so handsome, and I was so glad to see him again.

6. Getting a phone message from Polly to let me know that she and Rebecca arrived ok in Granger. They drove over from Seattle today to move into their new house. She knew that I've been worried about her making this move by herself, since Eric is still in Berkeley finishing up his dissertation. She is brave to do all this on her own! It was so thoughtful of her to call and let me know that she's doing ok.

7. Going to Fred Meyers to buy a new 3-ring notebook for my class. The new term started yesterday, and it's time to set up a new notebook for lesson plans, grades, attendance, etc. I love getting all those sections organized and ready.

8. Going to the car wash on the way home. Even though it's below freezing, I'm glad I went and got the car clean. I love driving a clean car!

9. Paying the car wash guys a tip. As I was waiting for my turn, I could see that there was soapy ice all over the floor where they get the cars soaped up. At 28 degrees! They must have been freezing! So when I gave them $10.00 for the $6.00 car wash, I told the guy that the change was a tip for him and his buddy. It didn't seem like much, but they were excited. The guy at the window yelled to the other one, "Hey, a $4.00 tip!" and then the other guy waved at me, too. I'm sure they like the money, but I'll bet it's even better to just be noticed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Scouting for Food

Today was the annual scouting service project called "Scouting for Food." That's not when the cub scouts go on the prowl for snacks. It's a food drive for the local food bank. Scout troops and cub scout packs do this all over the US on the first Saturday in December. If any cub scouts come to your house and ask very nicely for a donation, you really should give them something, even if it's only one can, because those little kids are standing out there in the cold. They don't want to hear that you already gave to the food drive at the office. (We really do hear that, every year. Give me a break - just one little can???)

But for the most part, people are generous. This morning we started at 9:00 am and finished at 11:00 am. We had 4 cub scouts show up, 6 parents, 5 siblings, 2 den leaders, and 1 den leader husband. The 18 of us went door-to-door in 30-degree weather and collected 597 pounds of food in 2 hours! I think that is pretty remarkable, especially since we weren't in a ritzy neighborhood.

Friday, December 4, 2009


I always have such mixed feeling about Fridays.

On the one hand, of course I'm thrilled to have a weekend ahead, with all the promise it holds of leisure, getting caught up on the work I'm behind on, getting chores done, just some quiet down time.

Everybody loves Fridays, right?

On the other hand, each Friday is a marker to me of another week gone by. Another week of time I will never see again. Another week--I know this is taboo to talk about--closer to my death.

I certainly don't hate Fridays, but they do make me a little nervous. They remind me of my mortality. Some day I'll say hello to Friday for the last time, and I suspect that even if that is many, many years from now, I still won't feel like I have everything done.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things that go bump in the night

One of the worst feelings is to have a child far away and not be able to help. (Probably the child feels worse about that.) Last night Katie called to tell us that Kendra was in the emergency room, very ill, with constant vomiting + diarrhea after 3 hours, lots of pain. She came home during the night, then went back to the ER this morning because she blacked out and conked her head and hurt her arm.

I just wanted to get in the car and drive from Oregon to Utah, to try to help out.

But instead, of course, I went to work and waited for a phone call with some kind of news. I finally heard that Kendra is doing better. She was passing out because she was so dehydrated, so they gave her more IV fluids. Now she's keeping fluids and bland foods down - she told me she never knew that a cup of broth would taste so good!

I remember years ago when Polly was on such a tight budget at college and I worried if she had enough in her food budget. Or when Julia was living in Wisconsin and nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. So far away. So little I can do. I pray and try to not fuss and make the situation worse. I try to be sensible and useful.

But it's hard when you worry and there's really not much else to do in the middle of the night.