Author Archives: mariadeathstar

About mariadeathstar

This is where I express myself. The real me. Prolly not for the faint hearted. I'm also real on twitter: @mariadeathstar

2012 at Madison Pond, as seen through my iphone camera

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new years eve dinner

We started off the year with a New Years Eve dinner featuring turducken and the wonderful company of Tom and Joyce.

pups on couch

Pippi was diagnosed with cancer and when we found out she would need weeks of daily radiation under general anesthesia after surgery, and her heart condition would most likely mean sudden death during one of those, we decided to let her live out her days with us, one day at a time. And while her tumor is now the size of a cantaloupe, she is still with us, wagging her tail, playing with her toys, eating and drinking. As long as we feel she is not suffering and has a good quality of life, we love having her with us. She is one very special dog, Pippi is. Poppi too, who appears here to be camera shy.

memorial balloon

We lost a wonderful family member when sweet Cindy Coop was killed when her auto was struck by a flatbed pickup on Willamette Pass. Our hearts were broken and we wanted to hold brother Curt tighter.

superbowl spread

The Koss family came for our Superbowl extravaganza, but I must have been focused on eating as I have no pictures of the people, only the food.

book group

We had a wonderful visit with Cynthia, a woman from Beijing Marie met when she visited Joyce and Tom in China in 1997. She spent several days with Joyce and Tom and we were fortunate enough to get to share a dinner with them, where Cynthia gave us wonderful wishes on paper. She also came to a meeting of the world’s smallest book group, which has been meeting monthly since September 1990 (except those months when Joyce is gadding about the globe). From left, Joyce, Cynthia, me, Darcy and Reba.

mom and pippi

Mom visited with us each time she was seen at the Digestive Health Center at OHSU, following her small bowel removal surgery after it more or less came apart at the seams. We loved having her here, as did Pippi.

We got to watch grandson Owen in a baseball game he played near Portland, which was such a great treat. This is him at bat.

We got to watch grandson Owen in a baseball game he played near Portland, which was such a great treat. This is him at bat.

We were in completed admiration mode as we watched oldest grandchild Joe Stoutt graduate from Eastside Catholic High School, where he was a star student and athlete. He's now at Carroll College in Montana, where he is no doubt hard at work making a name for himself.

We were in completed admiration mode as we watched oldest grandchild Joe Stoutt graduate from Eastside Catholic High School, where he was a star student and athlete. He’s now at Carroll College in Montana, where he is no doubt hard at work making a name for himself.

colin

Grandson Colin Stoutt taking in the scene at a party in Joe’s honor at their Grandma Donna’s house.

stonework in garden

We had some stonework installed along our driveway and fence moved to the property line and in the process created a new area for plants. YAY!

Toaster Moon

Ric and Marie got to go camping in Toaster Moon at Prineville Reservoir State Park.

ric fishing

And Ric got to fish!

clematis

Our yard bloomed like there’s no tomorrow! Apologies for our lovely neighbor’s lovely wall in the background. We’re working on walling it off with a wall of plants.

kitchen before

We remodeled our kitchen. It went from this….

kitchen after

…to this. We owe great thanks to old friend from high school Paul Dunn for seeing this gigantic project through! Another old friend from high school Terry Carpenter helped with the wiring. So it kinda feels like a CGHS kitchen now! :)

granddaughters eat froyo

We had four glorious days with our extra special granddaughters Calla, Caitlyn and Ellery. We stayed busy doing lots of things, including eating froyo

doing art

and art projects! and more!

consciousness

Ric’s new CD came out and I do believe it is his best ever! And even better, you can support him by buying Consciousness as a song or album on itunes or broadjam or amazon.

smokey robinson

Thanks to the most kind and generous heart of Duncan Campbell, we got to see live and in person one of our family’s superheroes: Smokey Robinson. Take our word for it, he’s still got it!

Ric as Morning Reign frontman

But speaking of who’s still got it, check this out! Ric’s old band from the late 60s/early 70s – the Morning Reign – got back together for a Salem gig (along with the Kingsmen, Merilee Rush, etc.) so I finally got to see him perform. Let’s just put it this way: if I had seen him back in the day, I wouldn’t have been crushing on Mark Lindsay so hard.

caitlyn plays soccer

We also got to watch granddaughter Caitlyn Stoutt play soccer this fall, which was totally awesome. She’s one to watch, that’s for sure. We didn’t get to see Calla and Ellery perform gymnastics this year, but we hope to do so soon. They are so talented.

curt turns 60

Curt’s year was looking up by the time he turned 60 this fall. He takes such good care of Cindy’s beloved dachshunds.

blaine halloween

With the help of a caregiver Pat Arnold, Blaine transmogrified into the devil for Halloween. He’s far too convincing, I’m thinking.

We came to the realization that we are getting too old (and an ROI of about one egg per $100) to be gentleman/woman farmers so we gave our hens back to the Urban Farm store and the coop to a man and woman who told us they had three chickens living in their bathroom?? And now there's more room for more plants. Every loss is a win in disguise? :)

We came to the realization that we are getting too old (and an ROI of about one egg per $100) to be gentleman/woman farmers so we gave our hens back to the Urban Farm store and the coop to a man and woman who told us they had three chickens living in their bathroom?? And now there’s more room for more plants. Every loss is a win in disguise? :)

commissioned quilt

I managed to fit a bit of quiltmaking in this year, though not nearly as much as I hoped I would. There’s always next year…

bright lights

And speaking of next year, we hope yours is awesome and full of peace and joy. May it be as bright and colorful as this new quilt I’m working on.

Happy holidays from our pond to yours… may you have good food, good company and good cheer. Let’s kick 2013’s ass!

Follow the money. Then refuse.

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Most days I don’t feel very smart, or nearly as smart as most of the people around me.

But I have not entirely wasted these 63 years, so I have learned a few things.

Like this…

Nearly all people have goodness at the core. They are not by nature filled with hate. They did not start out hating people of other colors, religions or creeds.

But humans are prone to being moved by drama that provokes fear. And when exposed on a continuous or even continual basis to thoughts and words designed to make them afraid, they become fearful. And stressed. It eats away at their health, their spirit. And when they feel cornered in a cage, they will do anything to survive.

I don’t listen to talk radio or watch television “news” shows that feature pundits or talking heads. On either side of issues. I believe those “experts” are paid to create drama rather than impart insights, they are playing a cynical game, they are condescending to us all. But somehow enough people are willing to hear and watch this form of made up drama that media companies design programming around it and advertisers pay because they think this audience will buy their wares. Go figure.

But these shows are making us stupid. They are making us mean. They are making us afraid of one another.

Yesterday I saw a clip on hulu of a moment from one of these shows from election night coverage where Mary Matalin called President Barack Obama a “narcissistic sociopath.”

Besides reminding me why I never watch these clown shows, I wondered what I would think of our president if my exposure to him was limited to hearing the voices of people who are paid to shout obscenities and create drama and behave on screen in ways that would embarrass our parents or grandparents.

Let’s start with the fact that “narcissistic sociopath” is a medical condition that only doctors who study for years and treat many patients are permitted to diagnose.

If our words are to mean anything, or we hold any regard for the medical profession and think that training and practice is an important qualification to diagnose illness, then I don’t think it’s okay that a paid talking head lay person can proclaim medical diagnoses. Kind of makes me think they are trying to practice medicine without a license, which I hear is a legal problem.

But of course mainly her words were designed to make people afraid of him. To hate him. To dismiss him. To disrespect him.

Now why would anyone pay her to do that? A civics lesson, perhaps? To educate us? Hardly. She’s being paid to create drama and make audiences thirst for the next chapter. It’s a soap opera, with caricatures in all the roles. For whose benefit? Only those being paid. Follow the money.

But that’s how people talk on these shows, it’s just part of the game, you might be thinking.

Exactly.

That is the game. And we are all being played. And it is dumbing us down and making us disrespectful, mean and afraid of one another.

The 63-year lesson I have learned is this: what we surround ourselves with, the voices we listen to, the hate and fear we expose ourselves to… all that is what we become. Is that what you want to be?

I refuse.

What if we all did?

CKC #53: Nearing the end, feeling the love

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It’s hot, so I only have energy to show you a couple of photos. I expect there will be only one or two more entries in these chronicles, as we are nearing the very end of our project. We have a new kitchen. We’re almost moved all the way back in. I love it so very much. I never imagined having a home this wonderful.

One of the last pieces to fall into place was this bench seat cushion, which only went in yesterday. This is where the pillows I showed you the other day live. I love love love the bench seat fabric, it played a very important role in the colors of the kitchen.

I can’t resist showing you another view of cushion/pillow land, featuring Ric’s purple guitar at one end. And please note the adorable fan I found that’s perfect for a Portlandia kitchen. It’s running right now, in fact.

And this is my view while I am sitting at the table creating a blog post. Still life is good. :) So is life.

A botched circumcision? the unkindest cut of all?

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This morning we woke to find that the most glorious member of our newly re-emerged streetscape phallic forest had been decapitated. What kind of villain would do such a dastardly deed, leaving only a nub of a stem behind? Its former stature has been reduced to a point it now appears impotent compared with its smaller neighbor.

Have rogue bands of circumsizers been set loose among us? What was their tool? Please tell me Mike Tyson was not involved.

Be wary, my friends. Evil moves among us.

A botched circumcision? Or some other unkindest cut of all?

CKC #52: Second course, as viewed in morning light

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More glimpses of the almost finished kitchen. This time in morning light.

This is the view from my morning office today, it’s too hot on the second floor where my regular office is, so I have my laptop set up on the kitchen table.

I even made coffee, which means our kitchen is no longer cookless… and these chronicles will come to an end soon.

And this is what the chair I’m sitting in looks like when I’m not sitting in it :) Isn’t it divine?! And the dishtowel almost matches it. Yes, I do realize I am ridiculous. In case you were wondering.

Here’s another little pop of red I forgot to show you last time.

Whenever and wherever there’s an opportunity to display the color story of the kitchen, I take it.

And have I mentioned how much I love pillows?

Naturally, we put a bird on it. This is a Portlandia kitchen, after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CKC #51: The first course of the photo reveal

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If you ask me what I’ve been doing the last few days, my answer will be something to do with the kitchen. Mostly moving back in. While there are miles to go before we sleep, I’m posting a few photos as, well, more than appetizers, let’s call them the first course.

south end of kitchen

This photo looks at the southwest corner of the kitchen, you can see the upper cabinets, the countertop that includes a little extension that accommodates two bar stools, and a ceramic pendant light that is really cool. On the right side is the sink with another pendant, this one made of Venetian glass. Please note the orchids are back in the garden window too!

See how the slits in the ceramic shade cast pieces of light that look like bamboo leaves when it’s dark in the room.

 

A closeup of the mixer (that started the kitchen hope chest) and little spoon man.

 

To the right of the kitchen sink is the espresso machine, toaster, bread box and, like several other places, a pop of red.

Another little pop of red, including the little ladybugs crawling on the berry basket. No, not real ladybugs, but the artistry of Meghan and Jenn of jampdx (see their jampdx etsy shop)

The bookshelves are beginning to flll. Can you figure out my organization system. It ain’t Dewey Decimal, that’s for sure. I confess it was inspired by Portlandia.