A Weekly Offering of This n That

Rainy Day is my alter ego. She is the little angel that sits on one shoulder and whispers in my ear to forgo that 6" piece of triple chocolate fudge with the four scoops of ice cream on it; she is also the little devil who sits on my other shoulder and convinces me that I can eat just one bite of each and be satisfied, and then laughs with such great abandon when in fact, I eat the whole thing, she falls off my shoulder. Mostly, Rainy Day helps me see the humor in living and, mostly, she encourages me down the right path. Not necessarily the straight and narrow one (how fun is that?) but the path that offers the most adventure and fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Hey! Guess what? It's the Holidays and Rainy Day is taking a vacation. She shall return on the 2d of January, next year. Yaaaaayyyyyyyy, a vacation!!!!

She wants each and every one of you (naughty or nice) to enjoy the Holidays to the max, to eat forbidden foods, to play those childish games you used to love, to love, to laugh, and to know

that the seeds of Spring are hidden in the frost!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Annual Gift List

Rainy Day Presents her Annual Christmas Gift List, in no particular order:

1. For the person on your list who has everything he or she needs, be K.I.N.D, buy a desk for a kid in Malawi. The money not only buys desks, but it provides jobs for the men who build the desks so they can feed their families. These kids want to learn, and sitting at a desk instead of on a dirt floor, makes learning a lot more enjoyable, and easy.

2.  Or buy some living gifts through Heifer International http://www.heifer.org/ to give families a way to provide for themselves and or their villages.

3.  Do you belong to a group of folks, and want to give each of them a little something? Donate a desk in all their names. Or a Goat or Water Buffalo. Or a box of age-appropriate books to your local Toys for Tots and the Literacy Program.

3. Buy books! Lots of books. Buy books for the children on your list regardless of their age, for the adults on your list no matter what their age is, and for your local library. Buy from local authors, if you can.

4.  Make gifts. Don't do this as a way to save money, because it usually ends up costing more than if you buy it, but the love and time that goes into each gift means more to the recipient.

Oh, and may Rainy Day recommend just a few books? All except Ken Rand are local to Washington State. All of these books are available from Amazon.com as well as other places. Rainy Day has highlighted reviews, not necessarily purchase information.

Mattie by M. Ann Rohrer (Biography of Ann's Grandmother)

My Adventures as Brother Rat by Lenora Rain-Lee Good (Young Adult, Historical Fantasy) 

Belonging in Africa by Jo Alkemade (Coming of Age) 

Jiang Li: Warrior Woman of Yueh by Lenora Rain-Lee Good (Young Adult, Historical Fantasy)

Breaking the Code: A Father's Secret, A Daughter's Journey, and the Question That Changed Everything by Karen Fisher-Alaniz

Paralysis by Jeff D. Copeland (Adult, Thriller)

Yadh, the Ugly by Lenora Rain-Lee Good (Young Adult, Fantasy) 

POD by Steve Wallenfels (Young Adult, Science Fiction) 

Peculiars by Maureen McQuerry (Young Adult, Steampunk) 

Any book by S. A. Bolich (Adult, Fantasy) 

and for the writer on your list, From Idea to Story in 90 Seconds:A Writer's Primer by Ken Rand  

Whatever you buy or make for the people you love, have fun doing it. The Joy, truly, is in the Giving. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rainy Day and Henry Scheirman

This has been a week of memories for Rainy Day. Her grandparents (maternal side) were married on Thanksgiving and had more than 50 years of happiness. Rainy Day's little brother was born on Thanksgiving Day, so he celebrated another milestone.

As Rainy Day's dearly beloved auntie used to say, "S/He who has the most birthdays, lives longest." Rainy Day and her brother are in a competition to see who wins;-)

And an old friend of Rainy Day's died. Henry Scheirman. Rainy Day met Henry and his delightful wife, Mary, several years ago at a Writer's Workshop held in Charleston, OR. She had so much fun, she kept going back, and when she retired, she moved close. Mary ran the workshops and Henry hovered about helping out as needed. He also did much of the catering. He was a gourmet chef.

All the men who met Henry liked him, and all the women loved him. It was great fun to flirt and 'fight' over Henry's attentions because we all knew there was only one woman in his life, and that woman was Mary, whom he adored.

Mary quit having the Workshops, and they moved, and Rainy Day moved, and there was one too many address change, both snail and electronic, and we lost track of each other. Some of us tried to locate them, but we couldn't, Henry and Mary had vanished, it seemed. What happened is, according to someone who heard it from someone, they moved into a retirement home.

Sunday, their son Ted, called a mutual friend, who let several of us know, Henry had died on Saturday. Mary, he said, was aware of what happened, but is very frail, and sleeps most of the time. So, now Rainy Day has found her old friend, only to find out he's gone, and his wife nearly so.

Be in peace, friend Henry. You are much loved and missed.

Rainy Day has lost a lot of friends and family in her life (that's to be expected when one get's 'old' – the longer you live, the more goodbyes you say). But she has learned some good stuff through this loss. She has learned to tell her friends and family often how much they mean to her. She has learned that Death is not to be feared, it is a part of Life. She has learned that Grief must be worked through, not ignored (or it will rise up and bite you on the sit-down-upon when you least need or expect it, and at the most inappropriate of times, it will bite and it will bite hard!)

And Life goes on, the wheel goes around. An oldster who lived a long and happy life dies, a baby with an unlimited future arrives; leaves fall off the trees; buds of next year already forming. It is a never-ending-cycle, and we have choices how we see that cycle. Rainy Day likes to look for the Spring and the Summer, the rebirth, even while acknowledging the Fall and the Winter. The choice of how you see Life is entirely up to you.

Know this. Rainy Day values your presence in her life.

Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come." Those are words Rainy Day has held onto, and found comfort in, while she grieves her loss. The dawn has come. It always comes.


Update on 12 Dec 12, Henry's bride of many years, Mary, is now reunited with him. She, too, died peacefully, in her sleep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rainy Day is Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Rainy Day hopes all of you have a wonderful day, filled with great and glorious wonderments for which to be Thankful.

Rainy Day's Thankful list contains, among others not listed:

The Elections are over. Finally.
She has re-connected with her biological brother and sister.
She has a large Family of Choice.
Her children are healthy, happy, and on their own.
There is no turkey for her oven (she has a duck thawing)
She has a small dog (aka 6am Alarm – or Paco Belle, if you prefer) and a large cat (aka Tashiko) to love and be loved by.
She has a computer, and can actually use it to some degree of proficiency (OK, she can turn it on and off).
She quilts, though she doesn't design her quilts.
She takes photos that others enjoy.
She has sold three novels, and has two more out, shopping for agents and or publishers.
She is healthy.
She is happy.
She doesn't have to brave the madding crowds to shop (she makes most of her gifts).
She lives in a nice home, in a nice town, and has nice neighbors.
If your Thanksgiving is half as nice as hers, you will be blessed beyond measure!
Oh, and there are restaurants open to serve those of us who don't want to cook and clean up the mess. Oh, indeed, indeed, so much to be thankful for!

She is, truly, very, very Thankful this Thanksgiving Day, and hopes each and every one of you are, too!
Rainy Day would be very thankful if someone could tell her what kind of flower this is. The fruit looks like a green apple and grows right from the branch.

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Living and Working With Differences

Being 'different' is, well, just that. Not better, not worser, just different. (And, yes, Rainy Day knows there is no such word as 'worser' but she likes it, so there!)

Several things came across Rainy Day's computer screen in the last few months stating, usually in a humorous way, that Democrats and Republicans are different (well, shut the front door!). These emails stated the differences were in the brain, but none of them cited reputable sources. Rainy Day smiled, shared a few and then forgot about them.

The other night, Rainy Day was watching one of her favorite commentators who mentioned studies showing the differences in the brain. Hmmmmmm. And then Rainy Day saw Don Lemon talk with a psychologist Dr. Wendy Lee Walsh and she mentioned studies showing differences in the amygdalas of Conservatives and Liberals. So, Rainy Day went to her BFF Google, and googled "amygdalas and conservatives v. liberals" and was surprised at the number of pages that came up. Bazillions.

And the number of scientific papers, complete with citations. She read a few, and settled on the one at ProCon.org because it shows all the citations which were peer-reviewed studies that do, indeed, show liberals and conservatives are physiologically different one from the other. All this time, Rainy Day believed if your family was conservative, you would be too – that it was more a cultural thing.

ProCon lists 16 differences on their page and gives a summary of each, with all the peer-reviewed studies on the subject they could find. If you know of more, they would like you to tell them.

Conservatives and Liberals are different, and it's apparently hardwired. Knowing that, and knowing the hows and the whys, maybe, just maybe, armed with that knowledge, and a willingness to accept the differences, we can stop trying to convert each other, and instead try to find common ground.

One ground we hold in common is we all love this Country. We should also all love and respect each other, even though we're 'different' one from the other. A good way to begin is to trust that we both want what is best, to respect each other and each other's rights and opinions even though we may disagree. And, as Robert Fulgum taught us in his book, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten, hold hands and look both ways before crossing the street. And share your cookies;-)

Rainy Day spent time in the Military, and on four separate occasions she raised her right hand and gave an oath to die, if need be, to defend our Constitution. She took that oath very seriously. Although no longer in the military, she holds the words of Voltaire close to her heart and tries to live by them, "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

In Rainy Day's church, a song is sung as the children leave the sanctuary to go to Sunday School – Go Now In Peace:

Go now in peace
Go now in peace
May the Spirit of Love surround you
Everywhere, everywhere
You may go.

Rainy Day asks you to take her hand, and the hand of your neighbor (literally or virtually), and go now in peace, look both ways before crossing the street, and let's laugh and play, and work together for the good of all. (Remember, it's a small planet, and we got nowhere else to go!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living With the Election

Rainy Day thanks all of you who voted! If the people or referendums you wanted didn't pass, Rainy Day is sorry, but now it is time to hold each other's hands and together walk across the street to the other side, and together, work to put our country back on track. The key words being: hold onto each other, and stay together. Respect each other, and remember, 'race' is a human construct – each and every one of us is an African American (or African Canadian, or African ______ - insert name of country in which you live;-) All of our ancestors walked out of Africa, some just got the wanderlust earlier than others.

Rainy Day also apologizes for being so late in getting this week's post up – her computers were in the computer hospital getting updated, etc. The timing was good, though, as she had lots of time to spend watching the elections;-)

Now that her computer is updated, she can't find a darn thing. It's sort of like washing your hair and then you can't do a thing with it!

Fall has for sure fell here in Rainy Day's town. These photos are of the grape vines on her patio, with the early morning sun shining through them. Rainy Day has unpacked her long johns. The temps have dropped, and she is delighted her wee singing puppy sleeps snuggled next to her at night;-)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day Tripping, Again

For those of you who want to help our brothers and sisters on the East Coast, please DO NOT take supplies to your local Red Cross. It puts an extra burden on them to sort, clean, pack, ship, and etc. Please, donate money. If you don't like the Red Cross, consider the Salvation Army (again, money) or the Unitarian Universalist Organization www.uua.org. 

Rainy Day is happy to announce that, so far, her Family of Choice who live in New Jersey is safe. She is very concerned about one of her SOCs who says she is not safe and has no where to go, but Rainy Day doesn't know what that means - is she without water/electricity (a given), or did her house blow down?

Yakima River at Roza's
On to a happier topic....

The other day, Rainy Day and two of her gal pals took a day trip up the Yakima River Canyon (for those of you who don't know where it is, it is BLM land between Yakima and Ellensburg, WA)

The idea of the trip was to photograph fall foliage in all its splendiferous colors. We left our homes under gray skies, and each secretly wondered if it would be worth the drive, but we figured to go ahead and try. A short way up the freeway, we hit fog. Lots and lots of fog. Thick, pea soup fog, then, a miracle happened and we drove through a cosmic door into great and glorious sunshine!

Seed Pods
We got to the canyon a little after ten, and much was still in shadow, but pulled off at the first two recreation sites. Rainy Day got a couple of pictures, and then we went to the Umtanum Recreational Site. There was a footbridge across the Yakima River, and a trail beyond that someone said went to a grove of aspen.

We crossed the bridge (bouncy, bouncy, bouncy!) and walked a way up the trail, then took the left fork and climbed a ways up the hill. Got some wonderful shots of the aspen and the river, came back down, and took the right fork, along the river, under the aspen.
Yakima River and Aspen

Rainy Day took many photos, only a few of which are here. Many more are on her Flickr site  and, of course, yet more are in her computer.

Speaking of computer, Rainy Day is about to go into a week-long anxiety attack. She received a letter from Apple stating her hard drive is being recalled and when she called the local Apple Store/Hospital, the assured her they could and would fix it, but it would take about a week.

Aspen Grove
So, if Rainy Day doesn't play as nice as she usually does, be patient. She will be trying to work on a wee, tiny, itty bitty (by comparison) laptop!

Self Portrait of Rainy Day and Gal Pals


And vote for someone who supports FEMA!

Big Horn Sheep across the river
Part of the herd of Big Horn Sheep

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Almost Election Day!

In just under two weeks, it will be Election Day in the USA, and you, Gentle Reader if you are a citizen of this country, can help elect our next President, not to mention your State and Local officials.

Rainy Day has already voted. She lives in a state where they mail ballots, and she received hers, filled it out, and mailed it back. Rainy Day voted for people who respect other people of both genders to make decisions regarding their lives and livelihood, and who truly believe this country was built, and will be maintained, by a strong, job wielding Middle Class. Rainy Day has her criteria to choose the 'Best Person,' and she is sure you also have yours. Manners are big with Rainy Day and the people she voted for have manners. And put out the fewest negative ads.

All Rainy Day asks is that you carefully weigh your decision, and not make it based on someone else's hysteria or fear, or false statements, but give each issue on your ballot careful and thoughtful consideration. Do a little research on your own. Don't take the word of your neighbor, your priest or pastor, or the tv sound bytes.

The important thing is that you Vote - intelligently. And that you encourage your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors to also vote, even if their vote may cancel your vote.

Remember, if you don't vote, you won't earn the right to voice your opinion for another four years!

And if, after reading and researching everyone and everything, you still can't decide, vote for Tyrion Lannister! A Lannister aways pays his (national) debt!

"A mind needs books like a sword needs whetstone." – Tyrion Lannister

A country that does not respect women, respects no one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jam Session, Part 2

Rainy Day's SOC, Nancy, was kind enough to type up another matrix of the jams we made this year, so if any of you are interested, it is at the bottom of this post.

As you may remember from last year's post, Rainy Day and theFifth Annual Jam Session, we started a recipe of Peaches and Lemon Basil (from Tigress in a Jam), which we now call Racoon's Delight. It's one of those preserves where the stuff has to macerate overnight, and as the 'fridge was full, we set it in the garage. Alas, the raccoons came in through the kitty door, ate all the peaches, had a delightful time, and left me with the mess. We tried it again, this year. This year, we put the stuff needing maceration in the Frog Room, also cool, and had the pleasure of processing everything for human consumption;-)

Remember, jam goes on your toast, not your ballot, though if enough ballots with jam were submitted, it might turn our politics a wee be sweeter, eh?

How much sugar?
Canton ginger
Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking
Caramelized Onion Jam
Cherry Chutney (sweet)
Art of Preserving, p. 52
Classic Sweet Cherry Preserves
Jam Lady Cookbook by Beverly Ellen Schoonmaker Alfed (referenced in a blog)
Damson Plum-Orange & Ginger Jam
Gingered Pear Marmalade
The Home Canning and Preserving Book, p. 164
Ginger-Peach “Honey”
? The Home Canning and Preserving Book ?
Jalapeno Jelly

Jalapeno-Habanero Jelly

Mango Chutney
The Home Canning and Preserving Book, p. __
Peach Chutney
The Home Canning and Preserving Book, p. __
Peach with Cardamom Chutney (w/ almonds)
Art of Preserving, p. 54
Peach-Lemon-Basil Preserve (aka Racoon’s Delight)
Pickled Cherries with Tarragon
Well-Preserved, p. __
Plum and Raisin Chutney
Art of Preserving, p. 57
Plum Butter
Family recipe
Plum Ketchup
The Home Canning and Preserving Book, p. __
Spiced Damson Plum Jam
Summer Squash Relish
Lenora’s cousin Melani
Blackberry-Port Jam
Pomona Pectin newsletter
Blueberry-Blackberry Jam
Blueberry-Lemon Jam
Ginger ‘n Spice Cherry Jam
Gingered Cherry Jam
Raspberry Jam
Raspberry-Cherry Jam
Spiced Peach-Plum Jam
Strawberry-Raspberry Jam
Yellow Plum Cardamom Jam
Yellow Plum-Peach Cardamom Jam
Zesty Strawberry Jam