Tag Archives: Three word Wednesday

Things in My Backyard

Things in my backyard—

Well these aren’t literally in my back yard, but a quick trip down the coast last fall and a stop at Beach 1 near Kalaloch, Washington revealed this anomaly in the Sitka Spruce growing in and around the Olympic National Forest.  The rounded knobs are tumors, possibly caused by a virus that damages the growth cells and makes them grow more rapidly than normal.  The result—these burls.

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Burls that look perverted

Among animated branches in the wind

Cause impassioned longing for the sun.

Three word Wednesday:  pervert; animate; impassioned.



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Filed under Three World Wednesday, Washington

First Snow Adventure

I grew up in Southern California during the 1950’s.  It didn’t snow in our neighborhood.  The rare sleet or hail storm was almost as exciting for us as the snow is for children here in the Pacific Northwest.  I remember at least one time that our Church took us to the mountains to play in the snow.  This was supposed to be a rare winter highlight for us.  I must have been ten or eleven years old because it was before we moved into the Poppy Way house.

Mother packed sack lunches for my younger sister and I containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple and two cookies.  Then she dug out our winter gear.  We had mittens, not gloves.  Mom attached our mittens to a length of yarn and strung it through the sleeves of our coats to make sure that we didn’t lose them.  I was old enough to find this embarrassing, but now realize how practical that was.  We didn’t have fancy jackets or waterproof snow suits like those commonly seen today.  Instead we donned our brothers hand-me-down plaid flannel shirts, pulled on a pair of pajama pants under our regular slacks, and put on two pairs of socks.  We packed a change of dry clothes into a bag, added our boots, coats and scarves and we were ready to go.

We joined our friends at the church and were assigned to a car.  Parents drove in those days.  Our church didn’t have a bus or van.  The trip seemed to take forever.  As we made our way up the mountain pass the rain turned into tiny snowflakes that spotted the windshield.  We had never seen it actually snowing.  Anyone living where they have winter weather wouldn’t have considered what we saw as snow. It melted as soon as it hit the glass.  But for us the excitement was almost unbearable.

It took forever before the driver in front of us pulled off the road into a little turnout.  Not a parking lot, just a little turnout.  Our driver followed.  Soon we all piled out of the cars and put on our coats and boots.  I remember that at that time I didn’t have regular boots, I had overshoes instead.  They were just a rubber slipper that slid over my shoes.  They didn’t even cover my ankles.  They were designed for walking in the rain, not playing in the snow.  I considered my coat as really luxurious.  It had a faux fur yoke and collar.  The body and sleeves were “wine” colored corduroy.  It was long enough that it reached my knees.  Most of the kids had some kind of knit cap, but my sister and I had scarves to tie around our heads.

At first we made snowballs.  We didn’t have enough snow experience to think about a snow fight.  We tried to make a snowman, but none of us really knew how and none of the adults seemed interested in instructing us.  We didn’t have  a sled so we just sloshed around in the wet snow.  What had resembled snowflakes on the trip up the hill soon turned into a torrential down pour.  Our inadequate gear left us defenseless against the moisture. We had been in the snow for less than half an hour when the adults nudged us back into the cars; the girls in one and the boys in the other.  We were happy to submit to their commands.  We all changed our clothes right there inside the car, first sliding off our wet shoes and pants and replacing them with our dry ones.  Next we slid our arms out of our coat sleeves and slipped off our wet shirts while still covered with our jackets.  We replaced the wet tops with our dry ones before we removed our coats.

Our coats were too wet to put back on, so we sat shivering inside the car while we ate our lunches.  Then the adults drove us back down the hill.  Perhaps it should come as no surprise that as an adult, I don’t really get too excited about going out in the snow.

Written for  Three Word Wednesday   words:  highlight, instruct and submit.

Also written for The Short and the Long of It:  Three words:  plaid, moisture and defenseless.


Filed under HOME, This and That, Three World Wednesday, writing

NICKNAMES, SILLY LABELS and other Conventions

What my photo album revealed….

JoAnn and I cropped 2

 I opened my photo album and my younger sister, Jo-Ann, appears. July 1949, she isn’t yet six months-old.  I am no more than a year-and-a-half.  She has hair.  I don’t.  Well, mine is very light and it appears as if I have very little.  This image doesn’t make me shrink with disgust.  I know that I am en route to a discovery.

The next picture of me was taken sometime later.  I am big enough to sit on a backless stool.  I have no more hair than I had in the first picture.  Today, this one doesn’t make me pout like I did for the photo.  Instead it makes me smile.  It reminds me of why Dad nicknamed me Butch.  Butch is such a silly nickname for a girl.  But yes, he was right.  When I was small I didn’t have much hair.  Dad never used that moniker maliciously.  He never called me that in front of my friends.  It was instead a special endearment that seldom went beyond the family.  I wish he were here today to call me Butch just once more. September 3rd would have been his 99th birthday.

As I continue through the album, I come across numerous pictures of Jo-Ann and I dressed alike.  Unfortunately the quality of the photos is so poor that I cannot scan most of them in and share.  And alas, I do not have the technical ability to scan them and improve them.

 My favorite is of the two of us standing in the yard.  It reveals so much about our childhood.   It was probably a Sunday morning.  We both have our short blond hair curled in soft curls, parted on the left and combed to the right.  Hair barrettes hold our hair out of our faces.  That in itself is a reminder.  Bangs were not permitted in our household.  Never! They reminded Dad of a really mean little girl from his school days.

We both wore white ankle socks.  I know there was probably a stitch of blue embroidery thread in each of Jo-Ann’s and a stitch of red in each of mine.  Each Monday the laundry was done and sorted.  All of our clothing was labeled.  I am not sure why it was so important that we each had our own clothes and never wore the others.  As we grew, items were always passed down from one of us to the next.  And when we were quite small we were always dressed alike. However  I am grateful that we each had our own things.  I know a lot of kids didn’t.

Our brown sandals reminded me of another part of the family tradition.  Brown, not white.  Brown could be polished and didn’t get scuffed up as easily as white..  Oh how I wanted Saddle Oxford’s for school when I got older.  But my folks often bought Jo-Ann and me shoes from the boy’s department; because that was the only way they could get brown or black shoes for us.

In the snapshot we are both wearing checked cotton dresses, with puffed sleeves, and ruffled skirts.  Jo-Ann’s looks neat and tidy.  Mine looks wrinkled.  (Hmm, I wonder if there was more to that nickname than just my lack of hair.)  I am not even half-of-a-head-taller than she is.  I can tell which one is me because my shoulder is higher than hers…and my skirt is shorter.  Her skirt almost reaches her knees.  I must have been in a growing phase.  My skirt hem and knees had separated company.  That was another family must…Skirts are to be worn halfway across the knees.  Can you imagine how much stress that caused when I was in my teens in the 1960’s and the mini-skirt was popular?

We both have little purses with long straps that reach across our bodies from one shoulder to the other side.  That is how I know it was Sunday.  There was, no doubt, a handkerchief with a few pennies for the collection plate, tied in the corner and stored within those bags.  We are both looking at the camera and smiling.  And best of all, we are holding hands.  Today we live in different states.  I wish she was close enough that I could reach out and hold her hand today.

Now let’s recap this photo.  We had the same hairdo; the same socks and shoes; the same dresses; matching purses; and we are just about the same size.  I guess I don’t have to wonder why people thought we were twins.

Jo-Ann was nicknamed Jeep.  One of the most popular stories was that she was standing up in the back  of the car on one of our outings.  A Jeep vehicle had cut Dad off, or some such thing and he said, “Get out of the way Jeep.”  At this point Jo-Ann ducked, she thought he was talking to her.  From that day on the family says she was called Jeep.  But as I look through the album I wonder if there might be an additional reason.

In the album I find several pictures of Jo-Ann and me dressed alike.  The big difference is that in one I am admiring how cool I look; and she has a wad of her skirt twisted up in her fist, and she is crying.  In the next, she has her hands bawled up into little fists, and yes, she is crying.  I am just standing there looking at the ground.  And on and on they go.  She always looks ready to be on the go and not happy to have to stand still.  She wasn’t a sit and do nothing child, unless she was ready to fall asleep.  And now I wonder if that is why Dad affectionately called her Jeep.  She was like a Jeep–always ready to go.

As I continue I discover a photo taken in 1955.  This is a picture of me with both of my sisters.  We are dressed in matching blue dotted nylon skirts.  Other than the 1955  photo matching outfits seldom show up in the photo album after we started school.  The pictures that appear are instead pictures of us under the Christmas tree with three identical dolls; or on Easter Sunday with different dresses, but wearing identical hats, bags and sandals.

It is amazing that we grew up to be such different personalities.  We are compatible, but different.  Just the way it is supposed to be.


This was written for Three Word Wednesday.  The words:  disgust; pout; wad.

Also written for my monthly memoir group.  Topic:  Something from your childhood.



Filed under Three World Wednesday

Where is My Muse?

Sometimes my muse behaves like a delinquent child.

She refuses to send me a  coherent thought.

She does nothing to trigger an inspiration and

I end up feeling like a hapless lass.

Today is one of those days….

Three word Wednesday:  hapless; delinquent; trigger.






Filed under This and That, Three World Wednesday

Lifetime Treasures


Life is filled with this and that

Trinkets that we treasure

Little bits of memories

Stored within

A cherished doll,

A favorite ball

Or other childhood pleasure.

As we age and look around

Wondering how to measure

I wonder if the this and that

Stored inside

A cedar chest

Even if it is our best

Will still bring us such pleasure?

Material things are best

When they bring us joy or laughter

So if I discarded it

Sometime past

Without a question asked

I will not mourn it after.

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June 11, 2013 · 4:45 pm

Blue Glacier

I watched from the top of a boulder as the ones I called the angelic ones gathered beneath the blue glacier.  I had not figured out why this was the place they chose to meet every evening during the winter.  They could have met almost anywhere to divvy up their bounty.  But each day as the sun set, this is where I found them.

There were eight of them, four males and four females.  They all had long blonde hair so light that it appeared transparent.  The men held their hair back with vine-like ropes and wore drab white coats with long sleeves that reached to their finger tips , and had skirt hems that grazed the ground.  The females allowed their tendrils to fall freely framing their faces.  Their silhouettes were visible through their sheer blue cloaks.  The moon was bright and as it reflected off the glacier the angelic ones were bathed in light.

The tall male laughed as he sang out, “Berries, sweet berries were my find today.”  Another chanted, “Seeds, filling seeds, are my bounty.”  Then one of the females added her voice, “Roots, I pulled roots for a fine stew.”  Soon all of the voices joined the merriment as they sang about their finds.

They transferred abundance from their large hunting packs into individual parcels.  As I watched bits and pieces fell to the ground.    I could not imagine where they found the food.  One night I had tried following them to see if I could discover the garden they foraged, but they had disappeared into the darkness.  So tonight as usual, I waited and watched and hoped.  They continued to dance and sing until shortly before sunrise.  Then just as quickly as they had come, they picked up their packs and disappeared.

The blue glacier was now barely visible.  Clouds hid the moon and the winter sun was late to rise.  My heart began to pulsate when I heard the growl of an animal nearby.  It appeared as a large black shadow against the glacier.  I could not discern what it was.  I held my breath and tried not to cry out as I watched it devour the fragments left behind by the angelic ones.

I reminded myself that I had nearly made it through the winter. Spring would come and food would once again be plentiful.  But my empty being was not convinced.  As I was about to give up, the shadow disappeared.  Daylight returned.  I could see the glacier once again.

I flew from my perch with little hope.  But to my delight, I found seeds aplenty on the ice.  And I ate, grateful for another day.


Three Word Wednesday:  drab; pulsate; tendril


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Forgotten Places

As we drove between Forks and Port Angeles earlier this week my husband commented, as he always does, about something that used to exist on a now vacant plot.  At one time this stretch of highway was filled with thriving communities that had been created or were supported by the timber industry.  As the face of logging changed and the big logging companies closed down and moved or abandoned their logging camps these communities withered.  The old-timers that grew up out there in the 1920’s and 1930’s are also gone, or soon will be.  Now most people give little thought to what used to be out there, or that there was anything out there at all.

For example there used to be a pair of communities out there called Beaver and Tyee.  When the federal government moved the Post Office to Tyee, what was Tyee soon became more commonly known as Beaver because the Post Office was still called the Beaver Post Office.  Today whenever a young person talks about Beaver they are referring to old Tyee.  Anyone that grew up out there before the post office was moved will ask, “Old Beaver or new Beaver?”    And then you will almost always hear someone mutter “Tyee.”

We are so focused on what is new and exciting in the world that it is easy to forget the rich history of these communities that no longer exist.  And before we know it all those who still mutter “Tyee” will be gone.  We really must start documenting the stories of our families if only because it helps preserve the history of these communities.

If you have stories of Tyee or Old Beaver, I would really love to hear them.

Written for Three Word Wednesday:  focused, pair,vacant.

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