Monday, October 05, 2015

Late Trip to the Lake

October is late to be headed to the lake with my raft.  I had no idea what the water level would be.  It's not really a lake, but rather, a reservoir behind a dam and right now, they're drawing levels down to keep the river below it running.

I wanted to go, since the weather was to hit 80 today.  So I went.

The water was shockingly low, however.  Boat ramps high and dry too.  I probed for a place I might be able to get my raft down to the water.  It's too awkward, long and heavy to carry by myself.

I have a little two wheel cart I can strap to the back, but its extremely dysfunctional.   I have meant to do something about its design flaws.

I took this from the water of the Calkins boat ramp where I usually launch.  Those are the docks, usually mostly floating, now high and dry.  The boat ramp ends between the two vertical poles of the docks.   

Calkins boat ramp from a distance.

Stumps everywhere exposed in the water and on shore.

The exposed shores are stepped, for stability I guess.

That's my dinghy I tow.  Ship to shore, I tell people.  Since my raft is not a raft at all---it's a yacht!  With a yacht, one must have a dinghy.  

North shore boat ramp also high and dry.

The area around Calkins is mostly narrow canals of water now.

Distant Dam

Sorry about all the bird flock photos.  Birds were everywhere.  Some seemed a little self conscious about it, I imagined, taking over the lake that way, and uh oh, here comes a human.

Canada Geese eyed me with what seemed like the looks a neighbor might give, should you trespass their property.  "What the hell YOU doing here, huh?"  That kind of look.

A Great Blue Heron strolling casually the shallows also eyed me.

Great Blue Heron tracks

Five Toe tracks.  Possum tracks.

I got very muddy, getting the raft into and out of the water.  Mud flats, still slippery and sucky, must be traversed.  Was not easy and I'm very dirty and so is my raft.  Worth it?  YES!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Roseburg Tragedy and a Mother's Blindness

The Roseburg college shooting has taken its toll on Oregon.  I watched the coverage for a few hours the day it happened, then I turned off the TV and I couldn't watch anymore.

When the victims were named with their stories, I sat in the dark and sobbed.  Most were young, way too young to face that kind of horror when they'd just gone off to school, somewhere they should be safe from everything but nerves during tests.  There was a woman killed exactly my age, trying to go back to school, was scared to go back but did, hoping to make something of the rest of her life.

I still cry when I think about it.  Why?  I don't know.  I didn't know any of the victims.   People die every day in all kinds of horrible tragic ways.  Car accidents kill people everyday, even the people who were not at fault.  Diseases do also.  19 people just lost their lives in an Afghan hospital when bombs hit, allegedly US bombs.   Over a dozen people are presumed dead from a freighter that unwisely perhaps marked its path through that of a hurricane off the east coast.

When I heard he had 13 or 14 guns, some with him on his rampage, some back at the apartment he shared with his mother, I thought what the fuck?  Who needs that many guns?   Why on earth would someone have that many guns?

Sure, I have a lot of cats, but they're fun.  They play and cuddle and make me happy.  They purr. Guns kill.  That's all they're for.  Killing.   For self defense, one's enough.

When I read that the mother was a big fan of open carry and bragged about her gun arsenal and what she liked to sling over her shoulder, I felt sick to my stomach.  She has a son with obvious anger issues and the house is littered in guns.   What the fuck? Does she not read the news, I thought to myself.  Remember the Sandy Hook mom, buying her twisted son guns, taking him shooting?

Mom should go to jail.  Face the music for lack of judgement.

I know Americans love guns.    I know lack of impulse control is a very common trait anymore.  I know one person's bad day can turn into a fatal day for many now, when a person has a gun to grab.  What I don't know is how the violence in America problem could be solved.  I have no idea.

Nothing will change after the memory of this latest mass shooting fades.  And it will fade.  The next will be farther away, I suppose, and will fade even sooner.

Sometimes I'm grateful there are not even more mass shootings given the number of angry people in society and the availability of weapons of all kinds.

I think to myself it may be more of a problem in America with anger coupled with a lack of empathy for life.  I don't know.

There have been articles about the Sheriff down there and even his facebook posts.  I don't care about the sheriff's facebook posts.  He has a job and he and his fellow officers did the job, a difficult one, when the crisis came.  Leave him alone.  We all have our personal lives, and our lives online and post things one day we wouldn't another.

My old girl, Vision, caught a cold a week ago, and its laying her low.  I don't know if she will survive it.  It's making it hard on her to eat, with the slurpiness of the cold and she was already thin, as old old cats often are.   There is one tech who works at Heartland, who is now in Hawaii, but when she returns, I think I may help Vision on her way if she hasn't kicked the cold by the time of the kind tech's return.

Fall is here, and despite higher than average rainfall in September, right now, we are having very nice weather again.  Might be mid to upper 70's today, in fact.  My 2nd crop of sunflowers has now bloomed!
2nd Crop Sunflower!

Rose of Sharon bloom

Maple leaf colors brilliant in morning sun

 Beauty trumps ugliness!

Oregon will heal.  I hope those wounded in the attack in Roseburg can heal. I hope families of the victims can too.  That would sound shallow to someone in the midst of this, who lost someone, but I don't mean to be trite.  I just don't know what else to say.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Another Mass Shooting, This One in Roseburg, Oregon

I was recovering from yesterday's long day, doing chores, TV on in the background, when I hear breaking news.

There has been another mass shooting, this time at a community college and this time in Oregon.  I don't know how many victims or dead or who the damn shooter was this time, some angry person with a gun.  I'm tired of hearing about angry people with guns taking out their issues on innocent human beings.

The news is early still.  The pictures will be familiar.  Bloody young people, now traumatized, the lucky ones still alive.  It's all so wrong.

The media will rush to show it all, climbing over each other to get the best shots and the best most emotional interviews.  We're all so ghoulish over it, wanting to see the images.  By next week, we'll have moved on.  But the victims and their families and friends won't nor those at the school that day.  Nor will the firemen and police officers and health care workers who respond.

Angry people with guns are everywhere.

People shouldn't die that way, especially young people and kids.  Monsters do these things.  Has to be monsters.  How else can I think about why a person would make that decision, to go into a school and pull a trigger that sends bullets into the bodies of young vibrant hopeful funny mischievous wonderful young people.  I have to box up the perpetrators of such acts in some way to make them go away and seem very unusual and rare.

Good people are everywhere too.   One freak with a gun versus thousands upon thousands of good people who would never do such a thing.  Perspective.

Roseburg, Oregon, where this tragedy just happened, is about an hour and a half south of where I live, via the freeway.  It seems easier to bear the news of these shootings when they're much farther away.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Panda and Juno and I Go on Road Trip

Panda and Juno had their turn today, getting their teeth cleaned and the bad ones pulled.  We went on an early morning road trip, to the north coast clinic.

I had the pair ready last night, so early this a.m., I just had to get in my car and go.  So off I went.

Juno, from the seed warehouse took the trip with me today.   She was very good and had four teeth pulled.

Panda, a sweetheart, went with me too.  She had six pulled.
 We arrived at the vet clinic right on time, just before 8:00 a.m., after a very long drive.   I checked the cats in, and headed for the beach.  I drove back over Young's Bay, into Warrenton and on to Hammond.  But just before the left turn to go to Fort Stevens state park and the beaches out beyond the campground, I ran into this pair, almost literally.  

A pair of young elk
I went down to Area D, to see if I could find the place that burned just after I visited last with cats.  This is taken looking back up the Columbia River towards the bridge to Washington state.

I'm not sure why people drive onto the beach.  So many cars everywhere.  Why take them onto the beach.  It's not far to walk.

I found the area that burned down by the south jetty.  Doesn't look like the fire was very extensive.

I parked at the south jetty and was going to hike out to the beach.  But wouldn't you know, I fell sound asleep and slept for over two hours.  I was jolted awake by people talking.  It was a tour bus.  Later, I saw a cruise ship at the docks in Astoria.  I wonder if they were from it.

I drove back towards the campground part of the park and turned down to the beach with the wreck of the Peter Iredale. The wreck is vanishing over the years.  There is less of it now than there was a year ago.

As I'm walking that beach, enjoying the walk, here comes a pickup speeding down the sand.  Once again, I thought to myself, you fricking asshole.  You've got roads everywhere and you have to come careening down the beach.  There are so few places one can go without cars everywhere now.  You got legs, use them!  Walk!

By the time I'd walked there, then went and bought a sandwich at Safeway, it was time to go pick up the cats. I had noticed gas prices varied greatly there.  In Seaside, when coming through, I saw it being sold for $2.59 per gallon while a 76 Station in Astoria was selling it for $2.33.  The other stations in Astoria were $2.49.  But when I went to pick up the cats, that same 76 station had changed its price to $2.27!!  Down five cents in half a day.  Woohoo. I gassed up there.

I watched the ships coming and going for awhile before I went to pick up the girls at the clinic.  

The Pilot Tug, moving that ship on through, probaby headed to Portland.  When I was little, I wanted to become a tug pilot.

This ship looks new, all shiny and those lifeboat pods on the side look new too.

On my way home, I stopped in at my vacation home, the rest area.  Ha ha.

The bill for the two cats getting dental cleanings, four extractions for Juno, six for Panda, antibiotic injections, ear cleaning, nail trims, rabies vaccination updates, droncit injections and 10 big dog Advantage tubes (will treat 100 cats), was a little over $400.   That is quite a lot of services for that much, and that's why I make the trip to that clinic.