Sunday, March 18, 2018


I really can't believe Deacon is four years old!  It seems like just last year.

He asked for a SWAT Team birthday party theme.  The parents came through with flying colors.

Mr. Dad baked the cake!  It was a fire engine mold from last year but he made it look like the SWAT truck. (Sorry, not a good photo)

Ms Mom made the pinata out of old Amazon boxes. She decorated the tables with light blue plastic tablecloths with a length of "POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS" caution tape on top.

The Fireside Room has a door to the community library so she hung black streamers in the door with a JAIL sign above.

The goodie bags had handcuffs, disguises, pretend magnifying glasses ... everything a SWAT detective would need.

There were two little boys and their mom, Jesse's Mom, her boyfriend and Jesse's brother ... and the five of us.  JUST right for a four year old.  They played pin the badge on the police officer but mostly just ran around, chasing each other and the balloons, eating pizza and having fun.

The cake was delicious ... and the black went away pretty quickly.

He was a tired out little guy after the three hour party.  Took a bath then just wanted to lay in front of "the campfire" (wall heater) and relax.

Yesterday, the boys went to a church carnival in honor of St. Patrick!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Awkward Reign is Over

Yep.  I quit the condo HOA Board.

It's been building since Day One when the previous Chair did not want to hand over the binder with resident info to me.  She finally ended up making herself another copy.  (She would have been FURIOUS had the Chair previous to her did not relinquish all pertinent HOA documents.

She has been on the Board off (but mostly) and on for 20 years.  She is very frugal which is a great attribute and our HOA has more than enough Reserve Funds in case a tornado comes through and rips off our roofs.  She is a full service Mother figure to most everyone who lives in all 112 units.  She's hands on if she gets a call that your cat ran away at 11:00pm.  Your garbage disposal not working at 10:00 pm?  Yep!  She walks over and tries to help.

The property management company has worked with her for years, usually as the Chairperson.  And they continue to do that.  You'd think, just as a courtesy, they would include the current Chairperson?

Probably my main gripe is that she doesn't apply our written House Rules to everyone.  We went through a big expense four years ago changing the locks on the Clubhouse and the Pool area.  The keys cannot be duplicated and we got everyone to sign an agreement that lost keys will cost $100.  We had people using our pool who hadn't lived here in years.  We had people who live in the apartment complex across the street use the pool.  Even the hot tub after hours!

It was a massive undertaking but with several helpers, all keys were signed for.  But now if someone misplaces their keys, she gives them a new set.  NO CHARGE (and it costs us $20).  Property Management companies who rent out units can afford to pay if the previous renters do not hand over the keys.  New buyers also get free keys.

But the final straw was when I asked for an "on demand" check (rather than waiting two weeks for a check run) for our new trellises.  The committee talked with about 7 vendors, most would not even give a bid on a project this small (9 trellises).  The committee chairperson talked the vendor into giving us a discount and he agreed!  10%.  He wanted to get started ASAP before the summer busy season.

I got Board approval and his terms were 50% down, 50% when complete.  I emailed the property manager on a Wednesday afternoon about 4pm.  No response.  I emailed on Friday to see when the check would be mailed.  FINALLY got a response saying Monday.  I check in again on Monday.  Oh golly, the assistant has it and she will send it to Accounting and they will send it and then they will have the Treasurer approve it and BY THE WAY this is NOT how we do things.  You should wait until the March 21 Board meeting to discuss in front of the owners (maybe ten people show up) and you must get three written bids and ... and ... and the lecture went on.

I was embarrassed for our community and the landscape chair as she was meeting the vender on Monday, to finalize measurements and hand him the check.  Nope.  He had to drive over on Thursday afternoon.

Previous Chair (and the only other active Board member) did not think this should be an issue ... that's just the procedure, JB.  This weekend I went and talked to the former Treasurer who agreed that an on-demand check is usually 1-2 business days.  But Previous Chair would not answer my email about NOT paying $35 for an "on demand" check.  I texted her the same question.  Again no answer.  She finally left me a voicemail saying she could talk but only until the Bachelor came on.

She knew I was mad as she informed another resident.  And the next morning she texted me as a friend with no mention of my email or text.  I wrote an email to her and the property manager saying I was resigning.  She was surprised and hurt and confused and hurt and we went back and forth.  She wanted to meet in person to discuss because I was making it sound like it was her fault (I could use support now and again).  I had MOHS surgery and had a Olaf bandaid on my nose and who could take me seriously???

I slept on my decision overnight but honestly felt so relieved to be done.  She has run this place for a long time and can continue.  Six months and I'm throwing in the towel!  I sent an email to the other four Board members ... have gotten a "thank you" (yes, just two words) from each of those two.  The Vice Chair (who will take over for me) has not responded.

Remind me to never ever buy into an HOA neighborhood again.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Oh UGH!! I hate changing the clocks.  I think we should pick one and just stick with it.  It's a bother to think about all the clocks (some inside your TV that may not be automatic like your cell phone and computer)

I always thought DST was started to help farmers have more daylight for working in their fields.  But oh no, Ms. Google set me straight!

An Ancient Idea
Although modern DST has only been used for about 100 years, ancient civilizations are known to have engaged in comparable practices thousands of years ago. For example, the Roman water clocks used different scales for different months of the year to adjust the daily schedules to the solar time.

However, the idea did not catch on globally until Germany introduced DST in 1916. Clocks in the German Empire, and its ally Austria, were turned ahead by 1 hour on April 30, 1916—2 years into World War I. The rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort.

Within a few weeks, the idea was followed by the United Kingdom, France, and many other countries. Most of them reverted to standard time after World War I, and it wasn’t until the next World War that DST made its return in most of Europe.

The hardest part is our little people who do not operate on clock time!  They get up at their regular time and they are hungry at their regular times.  Bedtime tonight will take a lot of encouraging.  Mr. First Grade catches the bus at 7:30 am.  I'm trying to convince him to let me drive him to school for a week or two until his body adjusts.  Nope!  He's excited to get up at 5:00 am!  (I've politely informed the parents that I am no longer on morning duty ... even 6:00 am is too early for me these days)(this in lieu of tripling their rent ....)

And the week following DST was usually statewide testing at Kate's schools.  Good golly!  Why can't the schools change the testing dates ... until we get rid of DST.

Oh.  Wait!  Am I sounding like old curmudgeon????

Monday, March 5, 2018


We moved into our Lake Oswego condo in August 2010.  Shortly thereafter, grandson Braeden was born and fortunately, we got to "borrow" him a lot!

The patio is small (such a step down from 1,000 sq ft of decks at the old house), but there is a patch of grass just beyond our sidewalk that was ever so fun.

Each year B got a little bigger and could play out there a little longer and be creative.  A bucket of water and some plastic measuring cups and spoons.


Then in 2014 a little brother joined the family.  Summer time was fun with Dad squirting him with the ice cold water from the hose.  They had picnics in the grass.

In October of 2014, the Landscape Committee thought the grass looked bad and cost too much to maintain.  They proposed this:

Beautiful dark bark mulch, lovely big boulders, green ferns.  Then it turned out the committee did not have enough money to install ALL of the features.  The inset photo shows what it looked like in January 2018.  Ferns are gone (well, because dogs tinkle on them ... and they were only about 3 inches tall).  Rocks were too expensive so we will do them next budget.  Nope.  Not yet!

Well, the view from my patio does show two rocks.  Bark mulch was gone in less than six months.

But the boys both love the mud pile!

I have submitted a request to put in sod and maintain it (except for mowing)(at my expense).  So far 50% of the committee are AGAINST it!!!

Fortunately, the head of the committee is a friend (and new to our community) and she and the remaining 50% will recommend my upgrade to the Board.  

Remind me to never buy within an HOA again ...

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools for 12 years.  I'm glad I was raised in a church even though I no longer practice any formal religion or go to any church.  But I'm rethinking this.

So many of our holidays (HOLY days?) and traditions are based on a religion.  Some of my relatives are Jewish and I am always surprised at how many traditions are based on their religion.  Like "spring cleaning", I think.  Some say origins of spring cleaning date back to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the springtime festival of Passover.  Also to get rid of bugs that may have infested their perishables like flour.

It's hard for me to explain Christmas and Easter and so on to my grandsons without giving a little bit of the background. Usually I lead off with "some religions or cultures" believe .... yada yada yada.  It's easier in this age of Google as quite a few Catholic and Jewish holy days are about the same time of year.  And I know I could branch out with Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Zoroastrians celebrations and, of course, modern African-American holiday Kwanza.  

I'm just not that politically correct.  Yet

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


February 21.  No school today due to SNOW!  Not much but Lake Oswego roads are very hilly as well as very curvy with 900 ft elevation, so we always get some.

The condo has a lower elevation so we get way less than the old homestead.

I have a wicked coughing cold and am sitting in the living room watching the bright sun melt the snow off branches.  Today is Kate's day off so they were out and about playing in the snow by 10:00 am.  It's about 1:00 pm and both boys have fallen asleep.  Because we were all awakened at 3:30 am by our upstairs neighbor.  He usually thumps around about that time but just for an hour or less.  I feel like I hear him fall every night.

Because since he moved here in September, he has fallen and broken his left wrist.  "Tripped" over something.  Last week an ambulance came as he "tripped" and broke his right ankle.  Before he moved here he had three other "trips" within two years.  Maybe it is something other than tripping?  I think so.

Kate made a run to Starbucks to buy us brunch!  Cold brewed coffee and an egg mcmuffin type sandwich.  With an afghan on my lap and still in my jammies ... I'm just enjoying the wonderful advantage I have living here with my people. 

Braeden is starting to enjoy reading rather than feeling like it was punishment.  Deacon astounds me with his vocabulary (Gramma, I have a situation in here).  The kidults are very indulgent.  As I am with them. 

Monday, February 12, 2018


I really am getting OLD!

It's hard for me to understand how I was taught history that is (?) untrue.  How do people go back hundreds of years and learn the "truth" which is the complete opposite of what I was taught?  

Christopher Columbus for one example.  Being born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, celebrating him was a big deal.  He fell out of favor and parades were halted but he is slowly but surely making a comeback among Italians.  And once again has a national holiday.

And then there is Saint Christopher.  I grew up Catholic and a St. Christopher medal or figurine was always in our car.  He was the patron saint of travelers .... until he was demoted.  I suppose that is why GPS was invented?

Here we are at Black History month.  Which is what inspired today's blog.  I learned about historical figures who were black side by side when I learned about that era of history, US or World.  I'm not sure who invented Black History month.  Why not an India and China month?  Their population alone should be  a factor.  Why not elder history month?  Why not Grandmother month?

Yes, I know that great people do bad things.  Even in the 1960's elementary school we learned about the harm to our native American Indians.  And slaves.  And so on.

Maybe I am just a Pollyanna ... we can still learn a balance between accomplishments and failures.  My grandson seems to be learning mostly the negatives about historical figures.  

Hmmmm ....