Showing you Oregon,one post at a time. Did you know that I post the links of many of my stories and articles on the sidebar? When you have extra time, please scroll down to see more. At the bottom of this page there are links to many other blogs that I enjoy.

Hello, friends, thank you so much for stopping by. I really hope that you will enjoy your visit to Oregon Gifts. Due to spam, I am not accepting comments from anonymous people. Please email me at: if you are unable to leave a comment on here. I write back through email when I can.

My words and photographs are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission, even on Pinterest.

~ Kathy M.

Favorite Posts:

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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July 13, 2010 ~

Plan, Do, Review:

Do you ever wonder about the key to success?  I do.

I did come across a tool that has served me well ever since I was going to school to teach preschool. The tool is called Plan, Do, Review from High Scope curriculum.  It is easy to remember and not very difficult to implement.  We were teaching the 3, 4 and 5-year-olds about it, and I thought, hey, why not?  I'll give it a try.

Here is a low tech version to help you remember:

Here is a more complicated graphic with extra details.  It has an atom in the center, so it must appeal to folks older than preschool:

I have been laying out my plans on here, filling you in, especially during this past year.  I have planned to do a lot of stuff.  I carried out some of my plans, and will now review my accomplishments or lack of them.  I interviewed myself, because now I am into being a reporter, and I need the practice.

1.  "Kathy Matthews, how is your backyard garden coming along?  Can we see photos of your raised beds and your chickens?"

Well, that one got postponed until next year.  First it was the weather (it snowed off and on until June) and then it was lack of enthusiasm from my best friend husband and helper.  That turned into a lack of enthusiasm on my part.  And all the baby chickens were sold out at the feed store. I would have had to drive to Redmond or ordered them through the mail.  Hassle after hassle on this project!  

Plus, I decided that I wanted to buy old, leaky stainless watering troughs off of Craig's List to use for my raised beds.  That is a really good idea, actually.  They will never fall apart and are up high enough for old people to sit in a chair and garden. That could add to the resale value of the house, after the initial investment.  

The troughs will hold in the heat, which is important around here.  And, I can paint them up in a darling Mary Engelbreight fashion using stencils.  I just don't know if anybody ever sells used troughs for cheap.  They may be collectors items, for all I know.  

It also didn't help that I took the frame and shelves from my Bi-Mart portable tarp green house and set them up for my finished craft projects in the spare bedroom.  Now I have to get some PVC pipe from work, cut it to the right size, etc.  

The goal for this project is next spring.  I am still in the planning portion.

2.  "I remember last fall when you posted about buying cute polka dot rainboots in order to clean your hot tub.  You were going to clean it with a shop vac.  Have you and your best friend been enjoying soaking your hot tub, now that it is repaired and clean?"

Now that there is another project that hasn't actually been completed yet.  The cleaning isn't that hard (or it wouldn't have been last fall).  But then we need to bring in a concrete mixer truck full of water, lift the chute over the fence to fill up the clean hot tub with clean water.  We do have a hose, but our water has a lot of iron and tannins in it, and using the mixer truck will actually be the best way to come up with a lot of water all at once.
Link: Preparing for Winter

3.  "How did your homemade bath salts turn out?" 

Those turned out great!  Kosher salt and almond oil, put in small canning jars.  Thank you for bringing that project up.
Link: Bath Salts Tutorial

4.  "How is your collection of chicken decorations going?"

I bought two chicken coffee cups for 50 cents each a couple of weeks ago, but otherwise nothing has changed there.  I was told to stop buying things that we could not eat.  I silently added, or can not use to make something.  I too have to admit this house is filled to the gills.  Collecting Chickens

5.  "How have you been doing on your sewing projects?" 

Well, I did get the machine set up and sewed about 10 bean bags.  I just can't get very into sewing right now.  It is hot out and much easier to blog.  I will though.  I need to make cute bags for my cookie mixes.  I did make 38 cookie mixes a while back, and that was a good accomplishment. Link: Cookie Mixes in a Bag

6.  "What about your adventures in canning?"

I am proud of that.  I haven't canned anything since the cornish game hens, but I will be canning from time to time.  I buy a new set of canning jars each week to stock up.  I am happy that I am learning how to preserve things the old fashioned way. 
Canning Cornish Game Hens
My First Time Canning

7.  "You recently mentioned that you were interested in writing a book.  Have you begun that project yet?"

I have!  I have two books in the works.  They are definitely in the baby stages.  The novel has around 900 words so far, and a lot of research information.  Also, I started working on my non-fiction resource book.  The novel is fun.  The other one is more like a school project, but it will be great when I finish it up.  I am not pressuring myself about getting these done right now.  It is a lot of extra work. Books on Writing Books  Oh, yeah, I'm supposed to be helping Cary with his memoir also! Preparing for Cary's Book

10.  "How are you doing with your creative recylcing program?" 

Great!  I really have run out of of storage room, so I set up a recycling center in the kitchen.  We go to the dump ourselves, so I just drop off the glass and plastic there.  I still melt down the wax in the old glass candles, save the containers, and put the wax into canning jars so that I can make my own candles.  I am ready to go when I buy some wicks.  I guess that I need to go into Bend to Micheal's to get those.  Nobody else seems to carry them.  

My decorated wine bottles are ready to be filled with syrup or homemade Kahlua.  I found corks at Walmart. 
From Trash to Treasure
Saving That Candle Wax! 
Homemade Kahlua Recipe
Transforming Your Containers

9.  "Do you have anything that you would like to share with your readers right now, Kathy?" 

Lemon juice really does lighten your hair and age spots.  White vinegar in your laundry rinse water takes a lot of soap and scum that builds up when you have hard water.  It also takes the hard water stains off of your shower for a cheap and non-toxic cleaner.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my readers for keep coming back to see what is going on here in Mayberry/La Pine.  I appreciate you all very much!  

Not that I am one to give advice, but remember, things do not get done if you don't begin them in the first place.  If you have a dream or a strong feeling about creating, take those baby steps and get going!  Nobody taught me how to make a blog or take photos.  I just decided to give it a try. Best wishes to you.

Plan, do, review.  It works! 

P.S. - I will keep adding more links to this over time and save this link on the top of this page under favorite posts.  It will make it easier for all of us to find things.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010 ~

The Good Babysitter:

 "The Good Babysitter"
by Kathy Matthews

One of my best friends from junior high on is my friend Camille.  Camille had a big sister, Debbie, who is two years older than us.  Debbie was good to us.  She shared her clothes, old boyfriends, and her babysitting jobs with Camille and me.

One summer, when I was a sophomore, Debbie and I actually split a full-time babysitting job.  Being older and wiser than me, I think that Debbie had this figured out to her benefit.  I had the morning shift and she had the afternoon shift.  I got up every morning at 6:30, hopped on my bike and the rode three miles to work for .75 per hour. Debbie showed up at 1:00, after all the hard work was done, just in time to relax by the apartment swimming pool with the kids.  Good thinking, Deb.

We worked for a divorcee named Linda, who had two sweet kids named Bill (6) and Wendy (4).  Being a single mom working full time is not easy.  I have done it myself.  Linda would be gone to her job in a dentist's office by the time I arrived.  I was reliable, so she could afford to do this.  (I don't know what would have happened if I had had a bike wreck one morning, but that never happened.)  The kids would still be asleep, the kitchen would be trashed and Wendy would have wet the bed once more.  I think that Linda must have left for work a few minutes early just to avoid looking me in the eye.  But, you know what?  I really didn't mind all of the extra work, because I knew that she really needed my help.  And, it was kind of like having my own house.

So, I would clean the kitchen, start the laundry, clean the living room, vacuum, and make the kids breakfast.  I made sure that Wendy had her favorite outfit ready, the one she wore every single day, if she could.  It was a pink t-shirt and some long shorts.  She looked cute in that ensemble, and it made her feel pretty.

We probably ate an early lunch and then hit the pool as soon as it opened.  I wanted to get in some pool time too, not just Debbie.  Then the second shift of help would arrive, and I had the rest of the day to myself.  It was a good job.  I could have friends over to visit me there if I wanted to.  Linda had some great 45 records for her stereo, including my favorite at the time, Kiss An Angel Good Morning.  She also had some great books.  I read Linda's copy of The Happy Hooker, on her dime.  It was fascinating.

There was an older guy, in his 30's, who took notice of me.  I think his name was Michael.  He worked in mill.  He lived in the apartment behind Linda's.  Michael was becoming a little too interested, and Linda went over there and verbally abused him on my behalf.  He never talked or looked at me again.  Thank goodness, that was kind of creepy.

Yesterday, I just got to thinking about that summer, so long ago.  Camille and her boyfriend at the time, Steve (a good Catholic boy who attended the Catholic high school) told me about a couple of boys who lived in that apartment complex even though they were still in high school.  One of them was Rick, who I would meet two years later and marry the year after that.  It is just funny how things are intertwined and how they turn out.  

I was a great babysitter for Linda.  And, what goes around, comes around!  Later, when I was a divorced single mother with two sweet babies, my friend Brenda drove across town to watch my girls and clean my house for $2.00 an hour.  God bless you, Brenda, I am still grateful about that.  I wonder if Linda still remembers me.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Little Black Bra and Some Duct Tape is Sometimes All You Need:


Perhaps things are beginning to settle down and get back to normal around here, because I actually have a post to present for Sepia Saturday this week.  The first time in over a month. This one is actually a re-run, but I went through and cleaned it up a bit and that actually took me longer than writing a whole new post!

Today's prompt photo shows some old cars in the background, including a VW bus, and I couldn't resist sharing with the following story with you all:
Source:  Google Images
Back in the 1990's I was living the life of the broke.  My mother always said, if you are broke, you have hope and a chance of getting out of it someday.  She said that if you were actually living in poverty, then sorry, there isn't a lot of hope, unless a miracle happens.  Such as winning the lottery or receiving a scholarship or marrying up.  (I ended up divorcing, living off of student loans, working hard and marrying up.  Whatever it takes!)

I was on my second marriage, and I had 6 kids, as a result of yours, mine and ours.  During the course of that marriage, there were between one and three kids living with us at any given time, at first in a two bedroom house, and then later in a four bedroom farm house at a Christian Camp in Walterville, Oregon.

We always had food, electricity, and for the most part, jobs.  We also had several old cars. We needed that many, since we would never know which one was going to be working the next day when you had to go to work.  Also, they had to be old so that my husband could work on them  We had to drive a lot, so they were very necessary.  One set of kids lived an hour away. Good thing that gas was cheap back in the 90's.

 Kristin and Ollie washing the bus.

One of our old cars was a tan lowered 1968 VW mini bus with a black bra above the headlights.  More or less reliable and inexpensive to fix, it did hold everybody if they were all in town.  Neither fancy nor restored, this particular VW bus cost us around $400, because it needed work in order to make it drivable.

 Peter and Nigel helping them.

One summer afternoon I was driving down E. 13th in Eugene, past Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour.  As I turned the corner, much to my dismay, the sliding door on the van slid open and fell right off!  Pulling over, I was scared and mortified.  What if one of the kids had fallen out?  
I pulled over, and a nice man helped me get the door back on its track, and after that we never opened that sliding door again.  I put duct tape across the seam to remind everybody not to open it. My husband at the time, who never did do well with any sort of stress, yelled at me when I got home, for ruining the paint job with duct tape. What paint job?  Brother, that is an example of what I was dealing with back then.  But the duct tape stayed, and we all crawled through the front passenger door after that to reach the back seats.
 A view of the interior with my sweet little baby.

Speaking of the walk down the isle to the back seats, I will never forget when Nigel was four, and we were visiting La Pine.  He had been playing the video games at Ponderosa Pizza.  The boy was still young enough that he didn't require quarters to play; he thought that he was winning while playing the demo screen.  Nigel was going through his 4-year-old cussing phase at that time.  We were done with our pizza, and were getting back into the van.  Heading toward his car seat, Nigel sauntered down the isle, as proud and cocky as a 4-year-old can be, and said, "Man, those bideo games are F****** AWESOME!!!  I said, "Hey, you can't talk like that!"  It was funny though, even though I didn't dare laugh.

As I mentioned previously, this bus was lowered.  That meant that when you went over a speed bump, you had to turn at an angle or you bottomed out.  I am not quite sure why that option was considered cool, because it was rather impractical. The bus was also always cold in the winter, because old VW heaters never did work very well. 

Are you wondering about the black bra?  It was the only ornamental piece on this vehicle.  My ex must have found it in the markdown basket at Knehcts Auto Parts, most likely overdrawing our checking account in the process.  The bra went across the front, with openings for the headlights.  I remember being in staff meeting at the church where I was the secretary, asking in all sincerity the other staff members (who were all guys), whether or not you could run a black bra through a car wash.  They cracked up!  Then I realized how that had sounded and got so embarrassed.

That vehicle served us well for the price.  We sold it to a young kid a few years later, who never changed the title and left it abandoned.  He must have not been as handy of a mechanic as that husband of mine was.  We told the cops that it wasn't ours any longer, do what they had to with it.

Looking at the pictures of does bring back some good memories though.  We took the kids to a lot of fun places in that old thing.

So, there you are, my friends.  If you enjoyed this story, please visit my Sepia Saturday friends by "CLICKING HERE" to find other neat photos and stories.  To read more about my family and other stories featuring old photos, memories and more, please look for this picture of me and my dad on the left-hand sidebar and read whatever else catches your fancy.  Thanks so much for visiting!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Saturday Errands with my
Best Friend Husband:

It snowed 7" yesterday and rumors have it that we can get up to 12" more during the next few days.  We decided that we'd better get to town and do our errands while the getting was good. Cary prepares the car for our trip. (FYI, this car is a really good car for the snow, if you are looking around. It is a Chevy Equinox. You can probably get a good deal on Chevy's right now, with all of the issues surrounding THE BIG THREE.) We left home at 8:18 a.m. and the temperature was 21*.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite trees residing in our yard. When I moved in to this house in 2004, it was about a foot tall. Now it is 10 feet! When I happen to spot it, I always think of the song that was popular when I was in 3rd grade called Honey (See the Tree, How Big it's Grown ... about the lady who died and when the guy who was singing the song planted the tree, and it was just a twig .... remember?)

Bye, bye house.

First we stopped by work to check the
messages and to take a look around.

Yep, the cement silo is still standing,
watching over the joint.

The trucks are parked safely side by side.

The back road. The snow was up to the bumper of my car, but, no problem for this car! Our neighbor Bill called and I told Cary to tell him, no way, we were not going to pour any concrete for him today. He laughed at the joke, because he knows better than to pour concrete in this weather.

The car needs gas. We stop at Gordy's to fill up.

Lots of trucks were stopped at Gordy's too.

We went to eat at Gordy's Restaurant.

Cary patiently waits for me
to finish taking his picture.

Cary and Gordy discuss business and catch up. I just watch Cary. I admire his cute backside.

We both ate chicken-fried steak with eggs over medium, home fries, sourdough toast and water. For those who have not noticed, we are clones. It is easier when your best friend is your clone....and if he is your husband, even better.

While we were eating, we visited with a couple of truck drivers that were on their way from Southern California to Seattle (driver#1) and Grandview, WA (driver #2). They had had a hell of a time. The Grapevine was closed for 14 hours, the weather has been horrible, they both had broken windshields due to other people's chains flying off, and they had lost chains themselves. One talked to his wife and to dispatch, the other talked to his sweet sister in New York. I blatantly eavesdropped. I'm glad for them, that cell phones were invented. They were really friendly nice men, and we wished them a safe trip. The one with the sweet sister (driver #2) wished us a safe trip too.

Snow plowing tip learned from waitress #2:  If you have a pick-up and a pair of bed springs, tie a rope on either end, and clear your driveway with the contraption. Her husband did that yesterday with amazing results.

As we leave, I call and ask Cary's Mom if she and Grandma need anything from town. She gives me a list, but it is short because I put her on the spot. I tell her she can call me back if she thinks of more . In a little bit, she does.

After breakfast, we stopped by the post office. I got a Christmas Card from the bank! Everybody signed their names. We got one for work too, and I let Cary open it. That is the kind of best friend wife that I am. My Dad and Jill got a card from Arkansas. I said to myself, I said: "I am going to write or call that relative sometime after I figure out the genealogy questions that I need to ask." And I will do just that, someday.

Next we went to Bi-Mart.  I love Bi-Mart. It is from the valley. Like me. When I first moved here, I had to drive to Bend to Walmart and fight the madness. But not anymore. Cary and I stocked up on food and sundries. Our checker was Marianne. We visited with her and asked upon her brother and parents. They are all doing well. Sometimes living in a small town is really neat. We also waved to our friend Neal who was plowing the parking lot in his tricked out backhoe.

After Bi-Mart, we drive to Shop Smart. It used to be Ray's, and is still owned by Ray's. There is a new Ray's in town, but old habits die hard (and Shop Smart is a bit cheaper), so this is the store that I go to most often.

Cary stays outside and smokes. There is some action in the parking lot while I am inside the store .... the sheriff shows up and blocks in a yellow car with a handicapped sign. Nobody was arrested.

I talked to Tamara, the checker lady and our neighbor. I told her that I had some things for her girls. She gave me a big smile and said thank you.  Prior to that, I thanked the butchers for the great prime rib they made up for us last weekend. They said, well, bring us a sandwich. I said, no, I wasn't come back to town because of this new storm on the way and it has been in the fridge for a week. I said, maybe next time.
Next Christmas when we cook prime rib again.

On the way home, we stopped by the leased property and checked on everything. Cary unlocks the gate.

We are headed towards our trailer. It is a security trailer right now, but it is really our camping trailer. Our Komfort. We love it. Here is a close-up:

Pictures of what we are securing.

Another view.

Cary locks up the service truck.

I wrap up the generator
gently in the picnic tablecloth.

We picked up Grandma's mail, and delivered the shopping goods to Cary's Mom and Grandma. This is me standing in front of the Grandmas' House.

Then we went home and unloaded the car. We are done with our errands! It is 10:30 a.m., the temp is 27* and we did good.

Go sit down! Where I say to!

"Go Sit Down!  Where I Say To!"
by Kathy Matthews

The story I am about to tell you is true. The hospital worker was not wearing pink, nor was she smiling, but I had a hard time finding the right picture, so I figured this one would have to do. You don't need a picture of me, I am easy to spot; I guess I look like a shady character.

This morning, I went into Bend with my husband to Bend Memorial Clinic. He was getting some blood drawn (well actually, he has a CDL and his name came up in the random pool for one of their tests). We were in the Family Practice/Urgent Care waiting room, surrounded by sick people wearing masks because either a) they were afraid they had the Swine Flu and had to see the doctor; or b) they were afraid they would get the Swine Flu in the waiting room, which I can relate to. After Cary went inside the doctor's office, I hightailed it out to the hallway, next to the drinking fountain. I didn't want to be surrounded by sick people, because I'm not sick. I was just along for a ride to Bend and some lunch, for goodness sake!

After a while, I decided to sit on the floor. People walked by and smiled at me and I explained my presence in the hallway ... I'm just waiting for my husband, and I don't want to be in that waiting room with the sick people. They nodded and said, well, I don't blame you. I was at a strategic place, where I could see both exit doorways to make sure I didn't miss Cary when he was finally done. It took a half hour for him to finally finish up. He was in there flirting and laughing with the lab lady, while I was doing my best to avoid jail time (come to find out later).

Anyway, this administrative woman came out and asked why I was sitting there. So I stood up and told her my plan on avoiding the Swine Flu. She said, well this is a well traveled hallway, why don't you go and sit on that chair in the waiting room (next to two people with masks). I don't think she was listening to me very well. I said no thank you. She said, well the main waiting room is up this hallway, go sit there. I said, no, I might not see my husband when he gets through. Then I asked, why, has somebody complained about me being in the hallway? No, no, nothing like that. At that time, this older woman with blond hair walked by and said, I saw you sitting there, and I thought you couldn't get up by yourself. Perhaps I looked like I was the one in need of a random drug and alcohol test? Jeeze, I thought I looked alright. The blond lady had reported me to the administrative lady. Great. If I looked to be in such desperate need, maybe the blond lady could have asked if I needed help instead of calling the hall cop.

So, I scooted over a few feet, to the other side of the drinking fountain, and waited another 10 minutes. The administrative woman stopped in front of me again. I am just worried that your legs will get tired, standing here, she said. Okay, so, it is against the law to sit down, and now perhaps against the law to stand up? I began to worry that she was going to call security, just to win the power struggle of where I was allowed to wait.

The whole thing was kind of weird. I was really glad when Cary finally came out the door, and we were able to leave that place. However, if I was worrying anybody, I am sorry. I just didn't want to get the Swine Flu, that's all. That is the reason why I was standing/sitting by the drinking fountain instead of sitting in the waiting room with the mask people.

P.S. - I am avoiding drinking from drinking fountains until this flu is gone...especially in hospitals and doctors offices. They look way too germy to me. And I will make sure to ask people if they are okay first, instead of calling semi-security.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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Date Night!

After sitting around in our pajamas until 3:00 yesterday afternoon, my BFH Cary suggested that we go into Bend to McMenamins for dinner and a movie. At risk of this entry being free press for the St. Francis School, we had a wonderful time and I highly recommend the joint. (We have stayed at the Olympic Club in Centrailia and at Edgefield in Troutdale, and for the $60 a night they are much, much better than a Motel 6.)

After parking our car across the street, we noticed this sign. It says that this baseball field used to be flooded and used as an ice skating rink, groomed by the street sweeper. Grandma Jill, did you used to skate here when you were little?

For those of you unfamiliar with McMenamins, they buy up old, historic buildings and turn them into restaurants, hotels and movie theaters. The one in Bend used to be a Catholic school.

These people know how to garden and decorate!

We got there early and sat in the Fireside room.
I had a hamburger.

The billiard table in the Fireside Room.

You cannot smoke in bars anymore in Oregon,
so Cary had to go outside to smoke. At this place
they give you a heater, which I thought was nice.

The movie theater is right down the hall.
Get there early for a good seat!
It only costs $3.00 per person.

You get to sit in nice, roomy, comfy seats.
There is a bar and snack bar right there.
Cary ordered a pizza.

The movie was funny.  It was called Role Model. We are going to buy a copy when it comes out on DVD.  It really isn't for kids though ... a lot of cussing.
I dressed as a gypsy.  It was kind of fun, because the rest of the people there were Bendites dressed in their earth muffin wool and fleece outfits. (If you are from Eugene or Bend you know exactly what I am talking about.)

After the movie, we left and stopped by
Timbers South on our way home
for a game of pool. Cary racks up the balls.

Oh, he is soooo handsome!

Of course, I lost the game of pool,
but I didn't do too bad.  I was a little tipsy.

We had a wonderful date!

The Pink Stingray

If you think this is going to be a story about how I dreamed of getting Pink Stingray for Christmas and then woke up to one on Christmas morning, boy are you wrong.

Last night, I was feeling nostalgic and went online searching for the toys of my youth.  I started thinking about the bikes my sisters had, matching Pink Stingrays similar to the picture of the one above.  I was too old for Stingrays; I had a 10-speed.

For whatever reason, one sunny day I had to borrow one of their bikes to ride the 8 blocks down to Albertsons to buy some tampons.  Maybe my bike had a flat tire.  Maybe I wanted to use the basket (we didn't have backpacks in those days).
There was some boy that I had a huge crush on at the time, though for the life of me I don't remember his name anymore.  That is how those things go, as you age.   I felt like I was risking humiliation by the possibility of running into that boy and being seen on that bike.  To make matters worse, I was sure that if a chance meeting did occur, he would say, hey, what is in the bag in the basket of your Pink Stingray?  I was mortified just thinking about the whole scenario! 

It was necessary that I went to Albertsons in a timely manner, so I took my chances on that bike.  My worries were unfounded, like so many worries turn out to be.  I made it to the store and back without getting stopped by the cute, inquisitive boy of my dreams.  And I probably made sure my bike was in tip-top shape in the future, just in case of emergency.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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"Adjusting Your Angle"
 by Kathy Matthews

One of my friends that I went to high school with wrote on her Facebook status that she was having a horrible day as the result of a family member's actions.  Several people left encouraging comments and offered up their prayers and thoughts.  She thanked them and said that their friendship was very much appreciated.

It started me thinking about how hard it is to be in the middle of a mess that really isn't your fault.  It isn't your fault, but is there something you can do to help make the situation better?

One definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again expecting different results.  If that is the case, when you keep trying to make things better and nothing changes, then maybe you need to move your part of the triangle.

Let's say there are three people involved.  Pretend each person is one of the angles.   Nothing will change and everything will continue, unless somebody scoots over and interrupts the continuity.  You only have control over your own actions, so, even if it does not seem fair, it is up to you to begin the change.  See, like this:

Your shift will cause the others to shift, whether they want to or not.  Plus, you have taken a step of power, a step towards taking care of yourself.  You can expect resistance, but oh well, maybe the offending person has taken away too much power from others in order to continue their behavior.  And, they like it that way, at the time.

Sometimes there are more than three people involved.  Let's say there is a fourth person, and a square is formed:

Same idea as the triangle, but maybe the fourth person is just standing back and unknowingly making things worse.  In being supportive of the other two people against the one messing things up, this fourth person keeps bringing up past injustices and other things.  If you are the fourth person, it is a good thing to shift your angle, move over and let it go.  This is not easy.  Start by just not talking bad about the offending person.  That can be hard enough, but effective.  Even harder is praying for the one messing things up.  It may not change them, but it will change you.  If you don't pray, at least do not send negative energy their way.  It is not easy, but I do believe it works.

Just remember, adjusting your angle forces change.  It may not happen quickly, but it is a start.  Try hard to let go and go on.  Good luck!

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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"The Better Than Free Car Wash"
by Kathy Matthews

Once upon a time there was this nice lady. She was a faithful volunteer at a structured community organization for years. If somebody needed something, she was there. She was on it. You couldn't ask for a better volunteer than she was.

One day, the organization got a new leader. Everybody was so excited! This was the guy to make their organization grow and become even better. They could just feel it. The lady was happy to help the new leader with whatever needed to be done. But, after awhile, the new leader wasn't very nice to the lady. Who knows why, but he started treating her with unkindness. Actually, he started being unkind to others in the structured community organization too. Many people decided to volunteer someplace else, including the nice lady. It was a hard decision, but she didn't need the unkindness bringing her down.

Several years later, she went to the local mini mart for some milk. There was a free car wash in the parking lot of the mini mart. Her car was dirty, so she walked over and talked to the free car wash people. She told them she would give them some money to wash her car. They said, no, it was free. Actually, more than free. They were even paying everybody a little bit of money for the privilege of washing cars that day. Now there was a twist. Huh, thought the lady. Then she noticed by their t-shirts that they were volunteers from the structured community organization that she had left those years ago.

A little bit of orneriness stirred inside the lady. She said, well thank you! And she took their small amount of money as she watched the volunteers wash her car. Then she went home. And brought back another car. They have several cars at their house, and she had them all washed that day, getting paid for each one she brought in. She thought, hmmm, this is better than returning pop cans. She stopped short of bringing in the motorhome. Would she have received even more money for having it washed? She will never know, but there was a certain sweet satisfaction of not quite revenge on the new leader who had treated her with unkindness.

The end.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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A Trip Down Memory Lane
to Home, Sweet Home:

January 2009:  Last Sunday, on our way home from Corvallis, we drove through Sweet Home. 

I lived in Sweet Home when I was 4 and 5.  I went to kindergarten there, at Oak Heights school. We lived in a house that was converted into a duplex, and my little friend next door was named Terri. My friend M. lived with his parents and 4 brothers in the house next to us. I was living in Sweet Home when President Kennedy was shot. I remember that day very well, because when I got home from school, my Mom was watching the black and white t.v. and she was crying. It may have been the first time that I saw her cry ... she's very good about holding it all in. I felt a sense of doom, and, of course there was good reason for that. 

My Dad was the manager at the grocery store. My mom was a R.N. at the hospital in Lebenon. We weren't that far away from Harrisburg and Junction City, so Uncle Red, Aunt Vete, Shelly and Terry ... as well as Grandma and Grandpa Johnson and Grandma and Grandpa T. came to visit often. I had a world globe, that I was very proud of. One time Uncle Red brought his wild brother Tom with him, and Tom broke my globe. I felt pretty bad about that one. 

I learned to ride my bike at this house. I ran through the sprinkler in the summer with my brother wearing only my underpants. The older kids (probably 2nd or 3rd graders) made fun of me, and made me feel bad and ashamed because I didn't have a top on. Never again did I go outside without my top! (Until I grew up and discovered Cougar hot springs.)

The neighbor's dog, Sadie, died when somebody threw poisoned meat over the fence and she ate it. 

I lived in that house during the big flood. My dad's store was flooded, but we lived up high enough not to have our little house effected. There were old, unused railroad tracks behind the house that we used to explore.

I went to a sleepover at M.'s in the backyard when they had their tent up. I got up very early and went home because I was a little spooked. When the boys woke up they came over and made sure I was okay. They were nice boys. M. liked to play dolls with me, and his mom was nice and bought him his own dolls. (He showed up later at my high school, in 1976, and we all assumed that he was gay...I was nice to him, but I didn't hang out with him; and I didn't tell that many people that he was my best friend when I was 5. Sorry M.  M. tried out for the rally squad and was the best guy for the job, but he didn't get voted in because everybody thought that he was gay. I did vote for you though M., and if you really are not gay, I am sorry to bring the whole thing up. That is how things were then toward kids who people thought were gay back then.  I hope they have changed a lot.) 

Here is a picture of my dad with a reverse mohawk, my little bro, my baby sister and me, sitting on our porch:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This is what the house looked like on Sunday. It doesn't really look that different, does it? Too bad all those cars are blocking the view. I hopped out of the car with my camera and a lady flung open the front door. I said, "I hope you don't mind, but I lived here when I was 5." Cary said, "Is this a duplex?" He still wasn't sure it was the right house. She nodded her head. I said, "Does it have an upstairs?" She nodded again. I guess she thought we were legit, because she just turned around and closed the door.:

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This is what my old school looks like now:

My BFH is 11 years older than me. He was a senior in high school when I was in kindergarten. We have a standing joke that he walked by my classroom one day, looked in the window, pointed to me and said: "I'm going to marry that little girl someday!" This would have been the school where he found me and claimed dibs. It's funny how 11 years makes such a difference when you are young but not when you are old.

I loved going to school. I remember walking up the long hill from school to home, by myself. Guess what? It is barely a slope, and certainly not a hill. Also, it is only about a half block away from my old house. On Halloween, we were dressing up at school. I wore my costume to school, because that is what we understood we were supposed to do. But, no. We were supposed to bring our costumes to school and put them on for the party. Once again, I was embarrassed. Oh well.

I graduated from kindergarten at Oak Heights School.

This is my doll Sherry. I got Sherry for my birthday when I was 5. I loved Sherry very much. So did my little brother. He was really a pretty easy going guy at the age of 2 1/2, but he would fight me for that doll. I had to hide her under my shirt just to avoid conflict. My mom and dad decided to buy him his own doll. It was a jester stuffed doll, and little bro named him Pinocchio. He loved Pinocchio so much that he eventually loved him to death. After a couple of years, Mom and Dad had to get another, similar jester doll that was subsequently named Pinocchio. I think he still has that one. We are kind of a sentimental bunch in our family.  

On our drive back home, I was telling my Cary all about my time living in Sweet Home and the above memories. I started feeling really bad about Sherry.  I built her a new body about 25 years ago, but currently she was just shoved in the toy box in the spare room. Yesterday, when I was at Bi-Mart, I found a cute doll with extra clothes and accessories on sale. I bought it, came home, dressed Sherry and put her in the cute little doll bed pictured above. I held her and kissed her, and felt really bad that she has been hanging out naked with her arm falling off in a dark toy box. Now she is all spiffed up, as you can see. I showed her to Cary and he said, "Do you still have her original clothes?" I said, "Heck no! She doesn't even have her original body!" Then he said, "What are you doing, holding and kissing that doll?" I said, "Trying to make up for 45 years of neglect."

Welcome back, Sherry. Now I just need to go retrieve Tippy from the (clean) garbage can in the storage unit that holds all of the old stuffed animals.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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