I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Thank You

To all of you who have been so faithful with your responses to my posts, I want to say a very heartfelt thank you! You have all brought so much joy and pleasure into my life! I just wanted you to know how much it has meant to me. The past year has not been an easy one, but you have all made it joyful in spite of the difficulties. I wish you all joy, beauty, and peace.

Wisdom and Beauty

The sun came out today and we had such beautiful skies and needless to say I had run out with the camera to catch them to share with you tonight along with some lovely words as well.

/\ Namaste

"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
Kahlil Gibran
Lebanese Poet and Novelist

The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands.

Robert M. Pirsig
Author of Zen and the Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance

At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by 'I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.'
Hungry not only for bread -- but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing -- but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks -- but homeless because of rejection.
Mother Teresa
Catholic Missionary, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient
Books Quotes

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
The Enlightened One
Books Quotes

“Democracies Die Behind Closed Doors” But No More In Our Country

The title of the my post today is a quote by Judge Damon Keith in a federal appeals court ruling in 2002 that I found in Bob Herbert’s Op-Ed Column,“More Than Charisma”, this morning in the New York Times in which he writes about Obama.

Two years ago when Herbert was on his way to a public interview Barack Obama, his cab driver asked him who was on the program. Herbert told him and the taxi driver said, “Oh, our next president.”

Obama hadn’t even announced that he was running at that time, but the capacity crowd in that auditorium was very clear about what it wanted. It cheered every mention of a possible run. Obama-mania was already well underway and, as Herbert wrote, it would only grow.

I think and Herbert writes about the many people who are talking about, wondering about, excited about, this continuing love affair with all things Obama – the feverish excitement, the widespread joy and pride and the remarkable surge of hope in an otherwise downbeat, depressing period in our history. Who would have thought, even fifteen years ago, that this country would be so in love with its first black president?

Gwen Ifill has a new book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama” and she notes that, “Voters are attracted to youth, vitality and change.” And Americans do tend to get giddy over winners, especially underdogs who take the measure of a foe thought to be impregnable – such as the might forces assembled by the Clintons.

Herbert says he’s seen charismatic politicians and pretty families come and go over the years, but there is something more to this love affair with Obama, something deeper. And it is called leadership. Obama has been feeding the almost desperate hunger in this country for mature leadership, for someone who is not reckless and clownish, shortsighted and self-absorbed.

However you feel about his policies and, of course, there are those that grumble on both the right and the left, Obama has made it loud and clear that the era of irresponsible behavior in public office is over. No more crazy wars, no more torture, no more throwing people in prison without even the semblance of due process. No more napping while critical problems like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, global warming and economic inequality in the US gets increasingly worse.
Obama said in his inaugural address, “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.”
And on Wednesday he took steps to make the federal government more transparent, signaling immediately that the country would move away from the toxic levels of secrecy that marked the Bush years.

Obama said that “Transparency and rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” It was a commitment to responsible behavior and a challenge to the public to hold the Obama administration accountable – hence the title to my post, “Democracies die behind closed doors.” Ours did almost die under the Bush Administration.

A year ago during his campaign, Obama promised to be a “president who will be honest about the choices and challenges we face, who will listen to you and learn from you, even when we disagree, who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to know”.

We’ve grown accustomed to dismiss political rhetoric, but somehow Mr. Obama carries himself in a way that suggests the he means what he says and this gives him credibility when he urges us to work hard, make sacrifices, not just for us and our families, but for the common good. He tells black audiences that young men need to hitch up their trousers and behave themselves, and that parents need to turn off the TV so kids can do their homework. I would add that keeping computers out of young kids rooms and returning to doing things together as a family is critical for kids and for their future – but that’s a whole new post.

As for the many challenges facing us today, Obama said, “They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.”
And Herbert says that the bond is growing between the nation and its new young leader. Let’s hope it’s a mature romance that weathers the long haul.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wisdom and Wishes

"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good."
Author Unknown

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
Mahatma Ghandi

Medicare Coverage in a Nutshell

The phone rings and the lady of the house answers, "Hello."

"Mrs. Sanders, please."


"Mrs. Sanders, this is Doctor Jones at Saint Agnes Laboratory.
When your husband's doctor sent his biopsy to the lab last week,
a biopsy from another Mr. Sanders arrived as well. We are now uncertain which one belongs to your husband. Frankly, either way, the results are not too good."

"What do you mean?" Mrs. Sanders asks nervously.

"Well, one of the specimens tested positive for Alzheimer's and the other
one tested positive for HIV. We can't tell which is which."

"That's dreadful! Can you do the test again?" questioned Mrs. Sanders.

"Normally we can, but Medicare will only pay for these expensive tests one time."

"Well, what an I supposted to do now?"

The folks at Medicare recommend that you drop your husband off somewhere
in the middle of town. If he finds his way home, don't sleep with him.

Oh, let's do hope for more constructive help with Medicare under our new Administration!

Presidential Library

This is Friday, the end of an incredible week for our country and this is my last shot at the former president.

The George W Bush Presidential Library is now in the planning stages
and accepting donations.

The Library will include:
The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.
The Alberto Gonzales Room, where you won't be able to remember
The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.
The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.
The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has been able to find.
The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.
The Tax Cut Room, with entry only to the wealthy.
The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.
The Iraq War Room. (After you complete your first visit, they make you
to go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth visit.)
The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.
The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty.
The Supreme Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.
The Decider Room, complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.
Note: The library will feature an electron microscope to help you locate and view the President's accomplishments.

The library will also include many famous Quotes by George W. Bush:

'The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.'
'If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure.'
'Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.'
'No senior citizen should ever have to choose between prescription drugs and medicine.'
'I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.'
'One word sums up probably the responsibility of any Governor, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.'
'Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.'
'I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future.'
'The future will be better tomorrow.'
'We're going to have the best educated American people in the world.'
'One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some
fantastic pictures.' (during an education photo-op)
'Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.'
'We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.'
'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.'
'I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.'...George W. Bush to
Sam Donaldson

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A New Age, A New Way

In his Op-Ed column this morning, Nicholas Kristof, took a look at the remaking of America. He started out with a memory of the Web site The Onion, that deals in satire and in January of 2001 at the end of Bill Clinton’s presidency, it declared “Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is over. But what was designed as satire actually proved to be a very shrewd analysis. One measure of the bleak picture of the past eight years is that today The Onion looks equally astute when it says of the latest transition: “Black man given nation’s worst job.”
That man is making an excellent start, and news Web sites all over the world reflect the globe’s eagerness – even desperation – for American leadership.

The Guardian in Britain declared, “Let the remaking of America begin today.” The Independent called Inauguration Day “a day for hope.” In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of “a truly great hour for America” that offered “a multitude of opportunities.” The Times of India welcomed “a new beginning.” And in Northern Ireland, The Belfast Telegraph asked: “Can Obama save us all?” A BBC poll in 17 nations found that on average 67 percent believed that President Obama would improve America’s relations with the rest of the world; only 5 percent thought the opposite (or maybe feared that if they seemed critical of George W. Bush, they would be waterboarded).

Kristof says that two themes were particularly reassuring in Mr. Obama’s Inaugural Address. One was his inclusiveness, his effort to tug people into his big tent, a huge contrast from Mr. Bush’s years of governing from and ideological pup tent.

His inclusiveness started with his celebration of America as a patchwork of “Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers.” As far as Mr. Kristof knows, no other sitting president has dared to embrace atheists. (Thomas Jefferson did, but not while in office). President Obama was also the first president to use the word “Muslim” in an Inaugural Address. One of the important statements which was taken to be directed toward Iran and Syria, was “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

The Bush/Cheney years put all the emphasis on “hard power” according to Joseph Nye, a Harvard professor, and they relied on “military hard power” and the result was set backs around the world.

According to David Sanger in his new book “The Inheritance”: “We pursued a path that has left us less admired by our allies, less feared by our enemies, and less capable of convincing the rest of the world that our economic and political model is worthy of emulation.”

The first attempt at soft power is the new White House Web site, complete with a White House blog. And in his speech he focused on soft power alongside hard power: “Our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” I don’t know about you but, I don’t ever remember hearing any of the leaders of the Bush administration talk about “humility and restraint”. And tempering qualities? Cheney never wanted to temper anything, including his temper!

Professor Nye said that Mr. Obama’s inaugural was a perfect example of smart power. “That’s not going to make our adversaries roll over, but it’ll help in terms of mainstream Muslims and it’ll help in terms of allies. And it’ll give a very different tone to foreign policy.”

Roger Cohen, also of the New York Times, sat 30 feet from the podium and said that while Obama was not at his most uplifting, nor inspiring as he called in sober tones for a new “spirit of service” that will renew America and, through it, the world. And that was not a put down, Obama was making a point, there’s too much work to do for high rhetorical flourish. It was a spare inaugural speech, but there were still powerful phrases and signals that together amounted to an attempt to re-imagine a nation in crisis.

Responsibility, restraint, humility, peace: this is not the hatitual vocabulary of America’s heroic narrative. It constitutes a new lexicon of American power. Are Americans ready to die for responsibility? Perhaps not, but they may well seek dialogue in its name. “The world has changed – and we must change with it,” Obama said. Even change has changed now: no longer a clarion call, it is a responsibility.

Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen’s columns are so worth reading today, I would urge you to read them in them in their entirety.

A Letter to the World

Dear World:

We, the United States of America, your top quality supplier of the ideals of liberty and democracy, would like to apologize for our 2001-2008 interruption in service. The technical fault that led to this eight-year service outage has been located, and the software responsible was replaced November 4. Early tests of the newly installed program indicate that we are now operating correctly, and we expect it to be fully functional on January 20. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by the outage. We look forward to resuming full service and hope to improve in years to come. We thank you for your patience and understanding,


Sky Watch Friday

I'm not able to sign into Mr. Linky on Sky Watch site. Anyone else having problems?
Much of the time whenever things look grim on the ground all I have to do is look up and see the beauty!
Join us and show your skies! Just click on the icon in my sidebar and sign up!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Summary of Life

Feel like singing?? How about Karaoke???
Okay, I've been pretty serious for a couple of days, time to lighten up!


1) No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.
2) When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don't let her
brush your hair.
3) If your sister hits you, don't hit her back. They
always catch the second person.
4) You can't trust dogs to watch your food.
5) Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
6) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
7) You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of
8) Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.


1) Raising teenagers is like nailing jelly to a tree.
2) Wrinkles don't hurt.
3) Families are like fudge, mostly sweet, with a few nuts.
4) Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that
held its ground.
5) Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the
6) Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fibre,
not the toy.


1) Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.
2) Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I
can get.
3) When you fall down, you wonder what else you can do
while you're down there.
4) You're getting old when you get the same sensation
from a rocking chair that you once got from a roller coaster.
5) It's frustrating when you know all the answers but
nobody bothers to ask you the questions.
6) Time may be a great healer, but it's a lousy
7) Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.


1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus.


At age 4 success is . . . not piddling in your pants.
At age 12 success is . . . having friends.
At age 17 success is . . . having a drivers license.
At age 35 success is . . . having money.
At age 50 success is . . . having money.
At age 70 success is . . . having a drivers license.
At age 75 success is . . . having friends.
At age 80 success is . . . not piddling in your pants.

A Busy Day in Washington DC!

I get a daily email from the office of Chuck Todd, Political Director for MSNBC every morning and a wrap up in the afternoon. You can check it out here

President Obama instituted sweeping ethics rules for his White House by executive order, including freezing pay for senior staffers making more than $100,000 a year, banning lobbying his administration once staffers quit and banning gifts.

Hillary Clinton was confirmed by a 94-2 vote to be Secretary of State.

This morning Obama made his initial contacts as president with prominent players with regard to the violence in Gaza, including Israeli Prime Minister Olmert, Palestinian Authority President Abbas, Egyptian President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan.

Pentagon officials confirmed that at the "direction of the President" Defense Secretary Gates verbally ordered military prosecutors to seek a 120-day suspension of all military commission legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay.

In his first full day as president, Barack Obama participated in a prayer service this morning at Washington's National Cathedral. He also signed a few executive orders, including one that bans any White House staffer from lobbying the Obama White House if he/she leaves. The big meetings of the day takes place later in the afternoon, when the president sits down 1) with his economic team and then 2) with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. David Petraeus, and Joint Chiefs Chair Mike Mullen. This second meeting fulfills a promise that Obama made during the summer, as the AP reminds us. "My first day in office, I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war responsibly and deliberately but decisively," he said then. Sources tell us that Obama will indeed ask for a plan to begin the process of troop redeployment in Iraq in the next 16 months. As for Gitmo news, it appears the military lawyers quoted in the various news stories circulating got a bit ahead of themselves; still, it's the intent of the new administration to begin closing it. And new White House press secretary Robert Gibbs plans to hold his first briefing at noon ET, though, this could get pushed back a day. By the way, yesterday's immediate change at whitehouse.gov was pretty striking, and what stood out to us were all the issue pledges the Obama team included. Many are not detailed, but the pledges are there for all to see. The Web site has more of the feel of a campaign Web site than the official White House site. It also appears a bit more interactive than Bush's or Clinton's sites.

As for yesterday's speech, the rhetoric might not have been as soaring as we're used to, but Obama pivoted from being candidate Obama (the inspirer), to President Obama (the guy elected to get things done). "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done," he said. "The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth." As others have noted -- including Maureen Dowd, who compared it to Stephen Colbert's brutal roast of Bush at the '06 White House Correspondents' dinner -- Obama's speech also was a not-so-subtle rebuke of the past eight years. The market's "power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control, and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous." More: "[We] reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals." And: "[W]e will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." And don't let it go unnoticed that Obama laid down a marker when it comes to dealing with the Muslim world. Obama goes down in history as the first president to say the word "Muslim" in an inaugural address. Historians will use that anecdote some day. Of course, yesterday was a memorable day for Obama and the country on a whole other level. But, even as the new president reminded us, it will last the test of time not for what happened yesterday, but what happens afterwards. "In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given," he said. "It must be earned."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Memorable Lines from Memorable Speeches

The inaugural address that Obama delivered today was just the latest in a long line of big speeches he's made. The first, of course, was at the 2004 Democratic convention ("There is not a liberal America and a conservative America; there is the United States of America"). Then came his presidential announcement in Springfield, IL ("I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington, but I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change"). There was his speech on race in Philadelphia ("I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible"). There was his speech at the Democratic convention ("I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me; it's been about you"). And there was his victory speech in Chicago's Grant Park ("If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible."). As Chuck Todd said, Obama will likely use speeches to help him govern more than any other modern American president. And speeches will likely create many of the defining moments of his presidency.

It's Here!

That new day, that promise, the hope, the joy -- it was not only in Washington DC, but all over this country and the world.

I think that anyone who watched the inauguration ceremonies today came away with a smile, with tears, with a sense of hope, and some sadness as well, when we learned of Senator Kennedy’s collapse at the luncheon following the inauguration. I know that we all wish him well.

My watching the inauguration had its frustrating moments and I had to rely on reruns. As some of you know we cancelled our TV service some time ago so I knew I would have to watch online and I did – until Obama spoke his first two sentences and the picture froze, no sound. So, I scared the dogs for awhile as I jumped up and down behaved in a very unladylike manner until the techie person arrived to set up my new computer. So, I’ve had to rely on reading and seeing re-runs.

But all of that didn’t take away from the joy, the excitement as this country realized what we have accomplished, what huge steps forward we have taken. The crowd of people there was amazing and gave voice once again to the hopes of so many in this country and the world.

It is a day that I will never forget.

How Interesting Life Is!

I began blogging, as most of you know, because I was at a real low place in my life and as a result I have found a truly high place in my life! I have connected with people that I would never have had a chance to know; people that have filled my life with so much joy, pleasure – whatever you choose to call it. I have found people all over the world, young and my age and everywhere in between and you have brought to me such amazing and incredible joy! I guess this post is about thanking each of you for all you have given me and shared with me. I cannot even begin to tell you what you have come to mean to me, but I am grateful. Grateful for the beauty of your photos, your own world, which I have been so delighted to discover is “all over the world”! And that is exciting and rewarding.

Thank you all, for reminding me of the joy, the love, the mind boggling experience of being able to share “my/your world” over the past seven months! Life is good – but sometimes we need to be reminded, you have and I am.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My World #12

This is a very personal look at my world today -- the lovely things, the well-loved things.

There is Sam Schnauzer, my very best friend.

Our lovely deck where I spend so much time during the summer.
The beautiful sunlight warming my bedroom.
A very happy African violet that greets me every morning.
Blue, blue water of the harbor a five minute drive from the house.
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And beautiful cottonball clouds in our lovely blue skies!
It's looking at photos like these that remind me everyday of what a lovely world I live in and how grateful I am for all that I have.

Join us by clicking on the icon at the top of my post and share your world with us!

Mount Rushmore

The other side -- weren't you curious?

Monochrome Monday

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Looking out my window this morning it's hard to believe this photo was taken just a couple of weeks ago. Ah, time does indeed, change everything!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Promise

As we approach the Inauguration Day you can almost feel the excitement wherever you look or listen. It is in the air, in people's faces, in their voices. I have never seen this much excitement regarding a new president. It is the promise of that rainbow, that new day that everyone in this country is so desperately hoping for and have been talking about ever since Obama began speaking -- actually, I think, as far back as the Democratic Convention four years ago. There was from the beginning a quality about him and the way he spoke that inspired people, gave them hope, a belief that he could indeed bring about a new day in this country, a day that is so desperately needed.

I'm most definitely one of those, but it's not going to happen over night and I hope people realize that it's going to take time to clean up the mess this country is in right now. Obama is probably going to make mistakes -- he's human and we need to remember that and not expect miracles during his first year in office or even the second. And I do know this, but for now I have to admit I'm like everyone else, I'm excited, I'm hopeful for the future for the first time in over eight years.

So, lets go on being excited, but realistic as well. Let's support Obama, but have patience and let's all do all that we can to help his promise become a reality.

Sunshine for Another Day!

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Sam Schnauzer and I went down to the beach this afternoon and it was so beautiful! You can see how blue the water is and if you click on the photo you'll be able to see the boat I was trying to photograph, but I don't have a zoom lense so I have to rely on Picasa. Those are the snow covered Cascade Mountains in the background.
As you can see, the seagulls are a lot happier today, basking in the sun, instead of having to walk around in the snow. I couldn't tell if they were actually smiling, but the expression is different from the one I caught I couple of weeks ago.

Happy Sunday!

About mid-afternoon yesterday the sky suddenly cleared, the clouds melted away leaving a beautiful, fragile blue sky, the sun poured golden light all over everything, there was no wind and it had finally gotten out of the thirties! I was so excited I was just running around everywhere taking pictures! I could see the Cascade Mountains still covered with glistening snow, sparkling in that gorgeous sunlight! AND to top it all off, my new computer arrived!! and Tuesday I have someone coming to set it up and transfer all my files etc. Hooray! I'll be back in business!

I'm happy for Adam who got to go skiing with a couple of our neighbors -- even got a free ticket! He hasn't been able to go skiing for ages and what a great day for it! So, we are starting out a new week with elevated spirits. Amazing what even a little sun can do for you in the middle of a very long, cold winter!

The past few weeks have definitely tested my determination to keep a bright take on things this year -- with the winter storms preventing David and Kerith from coming for Christmas, my computer crashing, along with the economy, daily doses of bad news and gray, cold, short days that seemed to reflect all of it. But it's amazing how even just a few hours of sun and blue skies can lift you out of the pits and put a smile back on your face. So, I'm ready -- again, to take on a new week and to make the most of whatever rays of sunshine find their way into Seattle.

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time